While I do think that the success or failure of healthcare reform rests squarely on the shoulders of the Democrats in Congress and with the president, I still wish that Republicans would come aboard...
I’m fairly annoyed by the brouhaha that has erupted over President Obama’s deeply inaccurate attack on the Citizens United decision. One of the weird aspects of my annoyance, though, is that I find myself...
Over at the Liberty Papers, Quincy offers a distinctive take on Obama’s attack on the Citizens United ruling. Money quote: It is not the thought of special interests influencing politics that scares the ruling...
Memo to the conservatives who suddenly discovered that they were in favor of limited government when George Bush left office: if you want people to believe that your conversion is real, it would probably help...
The ship's presence, he speculated, might have been related to the testing of a nuclear-powered cruise missile.
Did Trump tweet anything about this, you ask?
The United States is learning much from the failed missile explosion in Russia. We have similar, though more advanced, technology. The Russian “Skyfall” explosion has people worried about the air around the facility, and far beyond. Not good!
As some of you know, I lost my father two weeks ago. My mother called me that Friday afternoon and said, in not such direct words, that “you better try to get up here if you can.”
I did, but I was too late. But in the aftermath of it, it was good to be there. My mother and I ate together for two weeks (my brother and his family are coming in later, such are the vagaries of scheduling bereavement leave in a government agency). We cooked some favorite things. My mom roasted a chicken and then laughed ruefully and said “I guess it’ll be harder to use a whole one up now” and the day after that, we made a favorite chicken enchilada recipe given us by a former minister of her church who had lived in the Southwest. And she baked a favorite cake of ours (my father was diabetic and we had to be careful about sweets in the house, and also baking was hard while he was so unwell). I think it helped, maybe?
There’s a German word, Kummerspeck, which literally means “Grief-bacon” and is used to refer to the weight you put on while grieving. I had scoffed at that before because the more minor griefs (eg., breakups) I had suffered made me NOT want to eat…..but I know I’ve put on a couple pounds in the last two weeks and will have to explain to my doctor when I go in for my checkup on Tuesday….
And people brought in food – lasagna, and bread, and other things.
And we went out to eat lunch a couple times; before my father’s health failed so much going out to restaurants was a favorite thing and my mom hadn’t been able to do it, really, for six months or more while he was needing her care.
When I spoke to her today after I got home, she noted that even though she had told the ‘church ladies’ who do bereavement lunches she didn’t want them to go to the trouble for the memorial service this fall (we have some people with some specific dietary concerns coming), someone did call her back and suggest a dessert-and-coffee reception before the service and I urged her to have them do that – I have fixed things many times for funeral lunches at my own church and it feels very much like it’s one kindness I can do for the family, and having a piece of cake or a few cookies may make small talk easier in a time when it’s going to be hard.
I admit I always rolled my eyes over the “how to relate to your weird dumb relative who isn’t like you” pieces, or, worse, the “you should refuse to spend time with them or try to harangue them into your viewpoint over the Thanksgiving table” pieces, because my family has a lot of….different…..people in it, and we’ve always managed. You talk about other stuff, that’s all. You talk about how a favorite team is doing or the funny things someone’s kids are doing or you share memories….
Jeffrey Epstein, the millionaire financier and accused sex trafficker, is dead by suicide, according to three officials familiar with the matter.
The officials told NBC News he was found at 7:30 a.m. ET at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York and that he hanged himself.
Epstein accuser claims she was ordered to have sex with prominent men
He was transported Saturday morning from the Metropolitan Correctional Center to a hospital in Lower Manhattan. Upon arrival, he was in cardiac arrest, people familiar with the matter say.
Epstein, 66, was being held on federal sex trafficking charges.
He was arrested July 6 in Teterboro, New Jersey, as he returned from Paris on a private jet.
He had pleaded not guilty and was denied bail.
The indictment on his case showed that he sought out minors, some as young as 14, from at least 2002 through 2005 and paying them hundreds of dollars in cash for sex at either his Manhattan townhouse or his estate in Palm Beach, Florida, federal prosecutors revealed last month.
Epstein was charged with one count of sex trafficking conspiracy and one count of sex trafficking. He faced up to 45 years in prison if found guilty.
[caption id="attachment_317933" align="aligncenter" width="750"] National Archives at College Park [Public domain][/caption]
Old and Busted: NIMBY, YIMBY - Never/Yes In My Back Yard New Hotness: FIMBY - Forever In My Back Yard
VIDEO: I ask one of the supporters of stopping Tom’s Diner from demolition whether they realize they are ruining Tom’s life. Fascinating debate on historic landmarks in Denver pic.twitter.com/Q5rSgFAHhW
The simple reality is that societies have long needed large masses of people to do the “shitwork”. Maybe it was a large peasantry, or it was colonial subjects, or ethnic minorities, immigrants, the urban poor, etc. etc. etc. But, as a practical matter, warm bodies were needed. It wasn’t always pretty, but there you go.
What’s (kind of) interesting, though, is that the line of discourse used to justify maintaining a semi-permanent underclass never really changes: you just have to be firm with these people because it’s all they really understand, they’re fairly lazy and unambitious, given to petty crimes and breeding like rabbits, and ultimately their culture is so degraded and their families so dysfunctional that we’re doing them a favor even giving them jobs. I’m paraphrasing a bit there from a french book I just read from the mid-1800s; it was explaining why Egyptian cotton had to be grown by quasi-slaves.
But you can easily find texts about the English working class that say the same thing, or about the black underclass in America, or immigrants, or shtetl Jews, or poor white trash. The main argument never really changes: it’s not that these people are just the ones stuck doing the shitwork that makes our lifestyle possible- it’s that for people like them, doing shitwork is a golden opportunity- the only one they’re going to get, let’s be honest. Until we don’t need them to do it anymore. Then, we need to start talking about curtailing the birth population.
I live in one of those industrial cities that was being left to its own devices to deal with the cultural pathologies of poverty and high levels of blood cancer- until it was decided that the living space would be better utilized by social betters from the immediate area. So, now it’s being “revitalized”. And the poor white trash are paying double the rent to arriviste financialized real estate speculators. Because we still need them here to make steel and cook in our restaurants.
And there certainly are people here who fit the stereotype; I can look out the window and will eventually see a middle aged man passing dressed like a young boy, glaring angrily, and staggering drunk. Those men are everywhere here. Mark Maron described this city as a “ragtag parade of frenetic sadness” when shooting a movie here recently and he is not wrong. Those men- and it’s 90% men- can be frustrating and dispiriting for sure. I tire of them. If anything, they reinforce the classism I’ve internalized from my own upbringing. And I wasn’t born here, so I remain somewhat detached from those Canucks.
What’s really infuriating, however, are the many friends of mine who did grow up in this city to become passionate, brilliant, open-minded, hard-working, funny, optimistic individuals and are having all of their abilities wasted and good qualities ground out of them by year after year of this shit. They need to leave. I need to leave. We have pockets of white-collar, professional life in this city, but I can say with some certainty that those people hate them, and will never admit them to their ranks. Hell, the booshies have created an entire *mythology* about the poor, who for their part think they’ll be booshie themselves- any day now. So, they need to leave.
Now, is it the fault of the people who grew up here that this city is quickly transforming from a “shit-hole” to a very expensive shit-hole? Not really. They don’t have enough power or authority to make real changes here. What they can change is how they deal with the situation, which is why they need to leave. Leave the city to the people with money to run into the ground.
So, to some extent I sound like Kevin Williamson. But, what’s intellectually disingenuous and cowardly about blaming the poor for poverty is that the society extracts a great amount of wealth from the poor. We need them in order to function. If we run out, we’ll just have to import more of them. It’s a little disingenuous to grow trees, harvest them for timber, and then blame the trees for no longer standing- if that makes sense.