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24 June 2016
24 June 2016
24 June 2016
24 June 2016
The Cavs won the NBA championship?
Everyone feels great!
I don’t think so.
Because it really doesn’t change anything.
Not anything real.
We’re all losers in the actual count, money-wise.
Buy a new CAVS T-Shirt, a new cap. Whatever they’re selling.
Does that change anyone’s life? For more than a few moments.
Okay. There’s a feel good aspect to it. Fleetingly so.
But have you just spent another $10 or $20 bucks to help our millionaire ballplayers and billionaire owners?
Don’t you get it? It didn’t change your life, doesn’t make it better, and doesn’t make you better.
You bought the propaganda. Now pay the bill. See some the charges below.
Sports have become the new religion. An expensive one.
Joe Nocera in the New York Times recently laid out the revenue of the sneaker trade, part of the sports mania. He used LeBron James of the Cavs and Stephen Curry of the Warriors to illustrate the MONEY in sports. LeBron has a $500 million deal with Nike; Continue Reading »
20 June 2016
A great deal is written about the absolute power of the lobbyists for the National Rifle Association. There is another, possible more powerful, lobbying group: the American Association of Retired Persons. As horrible as the murders in Orlando were, I’m not surprised that Congress did exactly nothing because the victims were gay and (mostly) Hispanic, not two groups high on their priority list.
What if the victims were on that priority list? Well, 20 white, primary grade children in Newton, Conn. wasn’t enough to move members of Congress of their NRA-funded asses, but how about striking at that AARP membership? Would Congress act if instead of targeting an elementary school or a gay night club, Adam Lanza or Omar Mateen had chosen to murder residents in a retirement home?
NRA vs AARP. That’s a cage fight I’d like to see.
20 June 2016
There is one very important lesson I’ve learned from reading hundreds of biographies in all fields: if a person is truly great, then they have zero personal life. If you know someone who is truly great and they have an exemplary personal life then either (a) that person is a very good liar, or (b) you’ve been duped.
The one drawback to this self-made schedule, Murakami admitted in a 2008 essay, is that it doesn’t allow for much of a social life. “People are offended when you repeatedly turn down their invitations,” he wrote. But he decided that the indispensable relationship in his life was with his readers. “My readers would welcome whatever life style I chose, as long as I made sure each new work was an improvement over the last. And shouldn’t that be my duty—and my top priority—as a novelist?” —Haruki Murakami (1949-) page 60-1
From Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Curry.
There is a reason so many great writers have train wrecks for personal lives, they lack sufficient funds to keep those around them happy while they’re being ignored. Comments?
Found in my electronic chapbook.
20 June 2016
19 June 2016
We had family over on Friday to have a send-off barbecue for a visiting Irish cousin. The party went fine: Black Bean Chicken was grilled, bi-color corn was boiled and spuds were smothered in Irish butter; much Wood Chuck cider was quaffed (my favorite is the Granny Smith; B.B. King and Eric Clapton was listened too and dogs were walked.
At the end of the party, one of my sister-in-laws told me about Marcy Kaptur and the conspiracy between the Clintons and Donald Trump to elect Hillary as the first female President of the United States. I was unaware of the story, but, well, here is the skinny:
Some conservative Republicans disgusted by Donald Trump’s offensive, scorched-earth campaign have long suspected their party’s nominee to be secretly in league with his erstwhile friends Bill and Hillary Clinton. They wonder whether Bill Clinton and Trump worked out an agreement — perhaps during the course of that “casual” phone call between the two last May — designed to hand Hillary Clinton the White House while tarnishing the GOP’s brand for a generation.
It’s been dismissed by many as a conspiracy theory. But as Trump continues to offend with racially charged rhetoric and his own outlandish theories, a top Democratic lawmaker is now airing it openly.
“There are some theories on the Internet that this is Bill Clinton’s best political deal,” says Marcy Kaptur, the veteran Democratic congresswoman from Ohio and the House’s longest-serving female lawmaker, “that he and Donald are buddies, and they have a lot of similar friends in New York, and he has masterfully selected a friend who maybe by October will say, ‘You know, this is very boring. And I’m going to get out.’”
“Do I believe it 100 percent, do I believe it 2 percent? You know, you really wonder,” Kaptur says.
I like Kaptur. A lot. In the Mr. Mxyzptlk political world we seem to be living in, I’m not sure either.
18 June 2016
Our political economy—a wonderfully embracing phrase much used a century ago—has three main components: The electoral/governmental powers, the marketplace and the civil society, which is composed of we the citizens.
It is well known that when “we the people” get lax about our consumer rights and our voting choices, both the companies and the politicians turn their backs on us and look out for themselves and their fat-cat donors. The civil society’s energy or apathy has a profound role in shaping how the other two sectors function, and can either safeguard our democracy or drive it into the ground.
All this is by way of saying that increasingly commercializing our elections every four years is devastating to the freedom and justice produced by a functioning democratic society. Our presidential and congressional elections this year represent a commercial conglomerate profit center.
There are the corporate Super PACs and the billionaire patrons Continue Reading »
18 June 2016
Brought to you by McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, Pizza Hut and Starbucks…
Thank you Katie Walsh.
17 June 2016
I respect Bernie’s decision to unite with Hillary to defeat Trump. I don’t agree with the strategy because I don’t think effort will be successful.
Too many of the under-45 demographic that Bernie talked about last night are going to walk away in disgust, lick their wounds and prepare for the next fight. The national election in November is not that fight.
The revolution will continue, in what form I’m not yet certain, but for now, the Democratic National Committee has fucked the American people for the next eight years, and, when you consider the number of Supreme Court justices likely to be nominated by President Trump and fast-tracked through hearings by a Republican Congress, probably the next 40 years.
Or maybe not. What do I know?
Dan Roberts, reporting in Bernie Sanders: I will work with Hillary Clinton to stop Donald Trump for The Guardian, writes:
Bernie Sanders has urged his supporters to look beyond the Democratic presidential nomination in a speech that stopped short of fully endorsing Hillary Clinton but made clear he was no longer actively challenging her candidacy.
In an anticlimatic speech that signaled the effective end of a 14-month campaign odyssey, the Vermont senator insisted his “political revolution continues” despite Clinton’s effective victory in the delegate race.
But crucially, he implied he would soon be working with her campaign to help defeat Donald Trump.
“The major political task that we face in the next five months is to make certain that Donald Trump is defeated and defeated badly,” Sanders told supporters in a live stream video. “And I personally intend to begin my role in that process in a very short period of time.”
“Election days come and go but political and social revolutions that attempt to transform our society never end,” he said.
Here in Cleveland sports fans are used to thinking: wait until next year.
I don’t think America has that luxury.
16 June 2016
So, this phase of the fight is over and the next phase has begun.
I need to watch this again, and again, but the part that has stuck with me for now comes at time mark 1434 where, in talking about the Democratic Party Convention in July Bernie demands:
That the Democratic Party passes the most progressive platform in it’s history and that Democrats actually fight for that agenda.
I’m not convinced that that is possible and, for now, I will not vote for Hillary Clinton in November. I will either vote third party, as I did in 2012 when I cast my vote for Jill Stein, or I will join with those who will vote for Bernie as a write-in candidate. I am not convinced that Donald Trump is the antichrist. In fact, I think a Trump presidency would be better for America than a Clinton presidency because I think progressives will watch Trump like a hawk while too many will give Clinton a pass in much the same way they have Obama.
I can’t know what I’ll do in November. Not yet. Perhaps Bernie, and we his supporters can exert sufficient pressure to force the Democratic Party leadership, Secretary Clinton, to actually pass and honor a progressive platform as Bernie has laid out tonight.
Miracles do happen.
This is a miracle we need and in the event Bernie’s vision, in some substantial form, comes to pass, then, and only then, will I vote for Hillary Clinton.
The revolution does continue…
16 June 2016
John Sanford is on my short list of go-to writers, the writers I check monthly for new books. He has been on that list for as long as I’ve had such a list and has outlasted Patricia Cornwell, Sue Grafton, Johnathan Kellerman, Faye Kellerman, James Patterson, Anne Rice and perhaps a dozen or so more writers who have caught my attention, some holding that attention for years, only to lose that attention because they begin writing the same book over and over again.
Sandford is a master and he has not fallen off my list, but I am a little pissed about his latest book.
I was perhaps 200 pages into Sandford’s lastest, Extreme Prey, when I realized that the book had nothing to do with the crime at hand (don’t worry, I’m not into spoilers) but rather must have some other, purpose.
Coincidentally, this morning’s Merriam-Webster’s Word Of The Day is MacGuffin.
14 June 2016
Many years ago I gave a writer friend of mine a copy of Outsider in Amsterdam. I discovered Janwillem Van De Wetering through his non-fiction Zen trilogy: The Empty Mirror: Experiences in a Japanese Zen Monastery; A Glimpse of Nothingness: Experiences in an American Zen Community; and Afterzen: Experiences of a Zen Student Out on His Ear.
After he had finished the book, my friend remarked that he just didn’t get the whole the source of all suffering is desire thing. In a culture driven by consumerism—Bush The Younger’s remark that in the wake of the attacks of 11 September 2001 we must continue to shop or the terrorists win—was not an off-hand comment. He meant what he said. If more Americans understood this most basic idea of Buddhism they would fear a Buddhist presidential candidate much more than a Socialist one.
This week Oliver Burkeman, writing in Can’t always get what you want? Don’t worry for The Guardian touched on his own experiences on this meme. Burkeman linked to a piece by David Cain in which Cain explains the phenomenon in the context of a dinner out with a friend.
My chili with bannock is so damn good. This is why I come here. We ought to do this more often, I say to my friend, or maybe just think it. Very quickly, however, I see the end approaching. The chili is disappearing, and I have too much bannock now. I wish I had eaten it more slowly. Next time I’ll do it right. “We should come here more often,” I say again, aloud this time.
But then I see a way out. “The desserts here are great,” I say, pretty sure that that’s true. And before the dessert even arrives, I know that when it’s gone I’ll be ordering a coffee, and by then, the need for more chili will be ancient history. I am satisfied with my plan.
The man under the bodhi tree would have laughed at this plan—to repeatedly redirect my unresolved neediness to something else just over the horizon—even though it’s a pretty standard life strategy.
I have this experience over and over. I order the large because I know that the end will be put off for a few seconds longer. That is not healthy. Especially in light of the knowledge that the second bite of a dish is less pleasurable than the first. How fucked up is that?
My spaces are filled with boxes and boxes that I haven’t opened in years, yet, I cannot, like Detective Michael Britten in episode eight, Nightswimming, let Goodwill collect the boxes and be done with them for fear that a box might contain a vital part of my past.
I feel Britten’s pain.
13 June 2016
11 June 2016
I would think that I’m prone to addictive behaviors. When I smoked tobacco I did so at the rate of 60 Marlboro cigarettes, or more, a day and I quit smoking dozens of time—once for more than 100 days—before finally stopping on 5 December 1981. Despite ample opportunities in the military and college, I managed to escape alcoholism and drug abuse. I don’t know why, but I’m happy that I did.
Others are not as fortunate and I as Ralph Nader, writing in If Only Your Body Could Speak to Your Mind, explains:
For thousands of years humans have defended themselves from harm by others. But many have proceeded to regularly harm themselves. They have actively searched for substances to ingest, inhale, inject and apply which may give them some immediate relief but damage or destroy their lives over time.
Why do these humans so beat up on their own bodies? Obviously, they know that damaging behaviors have serious consequences, both immediately and in the long run. Why have health care professionals had such a hard time convincing people “to do no harm” to themselves? The persistence of partial self-immolation is unremitting.
What’s different about recent centuries from prior millennia is that addiction, masochism, slow-motion suicide have become big business. Now there are huge profits to be made in seducing, tempting or deceiving people at all ages to spend money to harm themselves.
The addictive industries—like tobacco, legal and illegal drugs, Continue Reading »
10 June 2016
City Council may have a hard time voting to raise the hourly rate of pay for workers in the city to $15 an hour.
However, none of its 41 employees is paid less than $15 an hour. Indeed, only one ($17.68) is paid less than $20 an hour.
Council members are paid, according to the 2016 budget, $80,133. The Council President Kevin Kelly gets $90,133.
Meanwhile, over at Mayor Frank Jackson’s office $15 an hour would be a joke. (See all below).
Eight in his workforce of 31, including the mayor, are paid more than $100,000. That doesn’t count what some are taking home in retirement pay.
The mayor’s office is a little kingdom.
It now seeks a 25 percent increase in the city pay tax from 2 percent to 2.5 percent. And you can bet suburban cities will want increases too.
It’s time to produce a radical opposition—a Carl Stokes or a Dennis Kucinich. WE NEED IT BADLY.
We have a bunch of sloths on Council and even worse at the County level. Reform has become go along government.
Corporate control has never been as powerful as today.
I’ve been detailing the enormous spending by the city and county for Continue Reading »
8 June 2016
Dan Roberts, reporting in Bernie Sanders’ new slogan looks beyond nomination: ‘The struggle continues’ for The Guardian, writes:
From the dying embers of his presidential campaign, Bernie Sanders has forged a new slogan that gives a clue to what the defiant leftwinger will do next after losing the Democratic nomination to Hillary Clinton.
“The struggle continues” might not have the wit of “feel the Bern” or the ambition of promising “political revolution”, but it hints at the dogged approach he is likely to take when he meets Barack Obama and other party leaders in Washington to discuss reconciliation on Thursday.
To the dismay of some Clinton supporters hoping for a swift capitulation from their Democratic opponent, Sanders has already scheduled another large rally immediately after his White House appointment and intends to contest the final primary election in DC next Tuesday.
*The words of the immortal Senator John Blutarsky, of course.