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I agree with Bob Herbert that we need to treat unemployment as a crisis. It is at least as serious as the banking and mortgage crises. Herbert, in his most recent column notes:
The Obama administration has been a major disappointment as far as labor is concerned. Hardly surprising since the folks in charge of the economy are the usual suspects, among those guilty of putting us in this situation.
A society without sufficient jobs at decent wages is an unjust society. If Obama lacks the will or the ability to lead us toward a just society then there is no good reason to support his administration or the Democrats. I hope organized labor will keep this in mind when the next election rolls around.
This is a disturbing story, a young man arrested for serial killing cats. This kind of violence in young people is a sign of serious psychological illness — antisocial personality disorder. Taking pleasure in cruelty and a lack of remorse are the necessary conditions for an adult career in homicide.
This particular kid has not been found guilty, so he might not be a budding serial killer, but whoever did kill these cats is a sick, sick person.
It poses a real dilemma. What to do with the person responsible for these crimes? This is not an easy condition to treat. Sociopaths don't learn from experience, so punishment is not rehabilitating. People, and cats, need to be protected, but does that warrant long-term imprisonment or hospitalization?
More political violence today. It appears — it is still early and perhaps the story will turn out differently — that the shooter is another lunatic on the far right.
Hate and guns, this is what our nation has become. Is it any wonder that people around the world thing we're insane?
The only* difference between the US capitalist class and African autocrats is the subtlety of their — the US plutocracy, I mean — means of theft.
* I'm over-generalizing, as usual.
A NY Daily News headline caught my eye this evening. Ex-VP and current sociopath Dick Cheney a strong supporter of waterboarding.
Put him in prison already.
It will come as no surprise that the suspect in the murder of Dr Tiller is a far-right domestic terrorist.
Eliminationist rhetoric gets translated into action by the fanatics. All those who preach "justifiable homicide" are culpable.
File this one under religion & morality too.
I think this will be seen in another decade or so as the last gasp of the culture-war right. Eventually, as with civil rights for people of color, Americans will realize that separate is not equal and can never be equal. Adults have the right to marry another adult. Anything less is just bigotry. Get over it.
This editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle explains the current situation:
Let's be serious. This cannot stand. Rational people will eventually realize that homophobia doesn't make good policy; encasing bigotry is special laws is never in the best interest of society. Discrimination is un-American.
From the Times today, a story about the abuse of children in Ireland. The highlights: physical, emotional, and sexual abuse of children by priests and nuns.
Is anyone surprised that the more fundamentalist the believer, the more likely they are to favor the use of violence?
Religion is a pox on civilization. Let's be rid of it.
I'll post some photos from my recent trip to Paris soon. (It's exam week, and that means, in addition to all the grading I have to do, all those meetings that get postponed because of the end of the year crunch are happening now.) I'm working on a study of commercial streets in immigrant neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Paris for the annual meeting of the International Visual Sociology Association this summer.
(I know that this is less a post than a preview of a future post, but it is the best I can do at the moment.)
Let's get straight to the point:
Because what the American right-wing stands for, besides torture and homophobia, is freedom for corporations and corporations only.
America's best editorialist, Bob Herbert, speaks the truth when he says of the GOP, "It’s not a party; it’s a cult."
He makes a compelling case:
It would be hard to imagine what a worse failure than the Bush Administration would look like. But the right-wing nutjobs who dominate the public presentation of the party (including, especially the House GOP leadership) and the wingnut talkers on TV and the Internet adhere to the Rovian strategy of pathological lying as public relations. What do we end up with?
Let's hope they go the way that all cults eventually do.
It appears that prosecutors in Spain will bring charges against six Bush Administration lawyers for their role in authorizing torture, says Professor Turley.
It is sad that the Obama administration has had no courage to do what needs to be done with regard to Bush criminality. I fully expect the Obama government to compound the war crimes by providing cover for them.
We are not a nation of laws. We are a nation of politics. Sad, that.
I am embarrassed to admit a connection to Boston College, the university that just folded to wingnut hysterics and barred Professor William Ayers from campus. I'm an alumnus — Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, 1992 — and have contacted the school to let them know what I think about this cowardice.
The Times has an interesting article on urban development. The author, Nicolai Ouroussoff, argues that the economic crisis has given Obama the opportunity to build the foundation for a new egalitarian urbanism.
Why does it matter? Let Ouroussoff explain:
The U.S. is well behind in terms of bold thinking about the future of cities. This is, in part, because our political system gives inordinate power to nonurban places. Nowhere is that more obvious than in New York state.
And, of course, our fanatical laissez-faire ideology has made it possible for corporations to put their own private profit ahead of public good. (Case in point: the intentional resistance to a national system of high-quality public transportation. The "culture of the car" is good for the pollution industries, but not so good for the rest of us.)
But I do think we are catching on to the importance of sustainability, and that will be good news to cities.
This is Matt Taibbi's apt description of contemporary America. It is hard to argue with its accuracy unless you're living in a cave, or watching Fox "News" exclusively.
I think we need to make the scale of the problem more understandable:
As I said before, having power is all about not facing consequences. You make the right decisions, you profit. You make the wrong decision, you profit. Someone else has to suffer. That is what the capitalist class is so desperate to preserve.
We work, they enjoy. And at this moment of crisis, they say: "Work harder!" They can't be ask to enjoy any less.
What have we learned from 8 years of Bush, the economic crisis, the poorly planned bailout, etc.? Power insulates you from responsibility for your actions. Latest proof: AIG bonuses.
Consequences are for losers.
Basically, that is the essence of the platform of the GOP. What's sad, really, is that we seem to do so many things to distract ourselves from recognizing the truth. Oh sure, our politics and mass media do their best to pretend that the world is otherwise, but reasonably smart people figure it out. But too many of us just don't want to deal with the reality that capitalism is a form of organized crime on a global scale.
The Editors, over at the 'Toot, have a splendid idea:
If we all rise up against them, they can't stop us. There are too many of us.
I know that some of the loonier among them are talking about "going Galt" and all, but I have a better idea: up against the wall! The world would be a better place with a few less bankers.
Frank Rich has a good survey of the state of the so-called "culture war" in the Times. He notes that the political fortunes of the culture warriors is about rock bottom. I agree with his assessment that people feel like we can't afford to pay attention to the moral scolds when the economy is tanking. But I think it is more than that. I think most Americans have realized that those who represent the fundamentalist position are not just fighting popular policies — such as stem-cell research, civil unions, and climate science — but are fighting history. They are, simply put, irrelevant. It is only a matter of time, as Rich notes, before we regard the homophobia, climate change denialism, and worship of the fetus, etc., of the Republican party in the same way we regard the Prohibitionists.
The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of the working people and the few, who make up the employing class, have all the good things of life. Between these two classes a struggle must go on until the workers of the world organize as a class, take possession of the means of production, abolish the wage system, and live in harmony with the Earth. -- IWW
In a democracy it is necessary that people should learn to endure having their sentiments outraged. -- Bertrand Russell
Let us strangle the last king with the entrails of the last priest. -- Denis Diderot
It's not that no one sees the straight line to Doomtown we've been on since Reagan, it's that there's big profits in it. The most superficially Christian and Other-Worldly-Yearning nation in the developed world is the one most likely to kill you for your shoes. -- Doghouse Riley
The true purpose of education is to try to foster in students a kind of critical cosmopolitanism, such that they learn, among other things, to question any notion that one’s nation or tribe is favored by God or destiny. -- Michael Bérubé
It is not enough to decry the existence of the Spectacle. We intend to use both art and theory as a battering ram against Capitalism and its false opposition, tribalism, in all of its mystical forms. We believe it is possible to move beyond the inexcusable savagery of everyday life. -- The Anti-Naturals
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