The current incarnation of the GOP is not your father’s Republican Party. These people are not fiscally responsible, and certainly not conservative. They’re really not that bright when it comes to economics. For some reason, they have convinced themselves that low wages are necessary for most companies to survive, and that is just insane. If it’s necessary to survive, then consider the example of Costco. They makes a higher profit per store than Walmart, and have for many years. Here’s another: the Washington, DC City Council proposed a minimum wage of $12.50 last year, and Walmart killed plans for three stores. There was no mass exodus of companies from the District; just Walmart. (By the way, they settled on $11.50, and there is still no mass exodus.) If low wages are so necessary to compete, why do so few companies pay the minimum wage? Fewer than 15 percent of all workers make less than $10 per hour, and small businesses that pay the minimum wage or less are actually at higher risk of failure. Most companies that pay at or around minimum wage are in the discount retail and fast food industries. Yet supermarket chains, which have a much higher union membership and pay higher wages against a much tighter profit margin, seem to do quite well.
I was a waitress at Applebee’s restaurant in Saint Louis. I was fired Wednesday for posting a picture on Reddit.com of a note a customer left on a bill. I posted it on the web as a light-hearted joke.
This didn’t even happen at my table. The note was left for another server, who allowed me to take a picture of it at the end of the night.
Someone had scribbled on the receipt, “I give God 10%. Why do you get 18?”
One quality of a great artistic work is its innate ability to speak to us, not in the time and space of the author, but in our own time and space. That it transcend its own moment, and become part of ours. Alan Ginsberg’s ‘America’ is one such ‘great work’.
I call it ‘fortuitous’, not because Ginsberg’s foresight was accidental, so much, rather for its intuitions and prescience.
H.G. Wells is known as a great 20th century futurist, but much of what he predicted actually has not come to pass. Much of his foresight was deliberate, imagined, and quantified. On the other hand, ‘America’, is as passive aggressively about the future as it is about the present, the now. That it is still of the now, is its genius.
Gay rights; marijuana; Russia; business; news media; Marxism; the ‘Atomic Age’; religion; it has it all, suggesting, we have not changed that much at all….
America I’ve given you all and now I’m nothing.
America two dollars and twenty-seven cents January 17, 1956.
I can’t stand my own mind.
America when will we end the human war?
Go fuck yourself with your atom bomb
I don’t feel good don’t bother me.
I won’t write my poem till I’m in my right mind.
America when will you be angelic?
When will you take off your clothes?
When will you look at yourself through the grave?
When will you be worthy of your million Trotskyites?
America why are your libraries full of tears?
America when will you send your eggs to India?
I’m sick of your insane demands.
When can I go into the supermarket and buy what I need with my good looks?
America after all it is you and I who are perfect not the next world.
Your machinery is too much for me.
You made me want to be a saint.
There must be some other way to settle this argument.
Burroughs is in Tangiers I don’t think he’ll come back it’s sinister.
Are you being sinister or is this some form of practical joke?
I’m trying to come to the point.
I refuse to give up my obsession.
America stop pushing I know what I’m doing.
America the plum blossoms are falling.
I haven’t read the newspapers for months, everyday somebody goes on trial for
America I feel sentimental about the Wobblies.
America I used to be a communist when I was a kid and I’m not sorry.
I smoke marijuana every chance I get.
I sit in my house for days on end and stare at the roses in the closet.
When I go to Chinatown I get drunk and never get laid.
My mind is made up there’s going to be trouble.
You should have seen me reading Marx.
My psychoanalyst thinks I’m perfectly right.
I won’t say the Lord’s Prayer.
I have mystical visions and cosmic vibrations.
America I still haven’t told you what you did to Uncle Max after he came over
from Russia.picture curtesy of meetville.com
I’m addressing you.
Are you going to let our emotional life be run by Time Magazine?
I’m obsessed by Time Magazine.
I read it every week.
Its cover stares at me every time I slink past the corner candystore.
I read it in the basement of the Berkeley Public Library.
It’s always telling me about responsibility. Businessmen are serious. Movie
producers are serious. Everybody’s serious but me.
It occurs to me that I am America.
I am talking to myself again.
Asia is rising against me.
I haven’t got a chinaman’s chance.
I’d better consider my national resources.
My national resources consist of two joints of marijuana millions of genitals
an unpublishable private literature that goes 1400 miles and hour and
twentyfivethousand mental institutions.
I say nothing about my prisons nor the millions of underpriviliged who live in
my flowerpots under the light of five hundred suns.
I have abolished the whorehouses of France, Tangiers is the next to go.
My ambition is to be President despite the fact that I’m a Catholic.picture courtesy of meetville.com
America how can I write a holy litany in your silly mood?
I will continue like Henry Ford my strophes are as individual as his
automobiles more so they’re all different sexes
America I will sell you strophes $2500 apiece $500 down on your old strophe
America free Tom Mooney
America save the Spanish Loyalists
America Sacco & Vanzetti must not die
America I am the Scottsboro boys.
America when I was seven momma took me to Communist Cell meetings they
sold us garbanzos a handful per ticket a ticket costs a nickel and the
speeches were free everybody was angelic and sentimental about the
workers it was all so sincere you have no idea what a good thing the party
was in 1835 Scott Nearing was a grand old man a real mensch Mother
Bloor made me cry I once saw Israel Amter plain. Everybody must have
been a spy.
America you don’re really want to go to war.
America it’s them bad Russians.
Them Russians them Russians and them Chinamen. And them Russians.
The Russia wants to eat us alive. The Russia’s power mad. She wants to take
our cars from out our garages.
Her wants to grab Chicago. Her needs a Red Reader’s Digest. her wants our
auto plants in Siberia. Him big bureaucracy running our fillingstations.
That no good. Ugh. Him makes Indians learn read. Him need big black niggers.
Hah. Her make us all work sixteen hours a day. Help.
America this is quite serious.
America this is the impression I get from looking in the television set.
America is this correct?
I’d better get right down to the job.
It’s true I don’t want to join the Army or turn lathes in precision parts
factories, I’m nearsighted and psychopathic anyway.
America I’m putting my queer shoulder to the wheel.
The Wonder Years seem to agree:
An interesting article today in Gawker: We Just Lost Afghanistan Because We’re Not Earth’s Special Snowflake.
I know a lot of Americans really believe this. They really like to believe that America is special. But it isn’t, and this belief is why the U.S. keeps getting in trouble.
And it plays well with the electorate. Politicians win elections by declaring America’s exceptionality loudly and frequently.
However, hubris is inevitably followed by nemesis.
Disclaimer: I like America and Americans. It’s just that too many Americans believe in American exceptionalism. To those of us in other nations like myself it’s a bit frightening. Plus we really hate to see our American friends trying way too hard to prove they are special. It makes us sad when America gets itself into so much trouble because of its pride.
I’ll admit I haven’t seen Breaking Bad and I have no wish to see it. But this morning my news aggregator found me an interesting article on why it is so popular.
Very interesting. I’d love to hear the other lizard’s take on it.
I wrote then that “it should shame America”.
Henry Porter wrote for The Guardian:
In a country where people are better armed and only slightly less nervy than rebel fighters in Syria, we should note that dealing with the risks of scalding and secondary smoke came well before addressing the problem of people who go armed to buy a latte. There can be no weirder order of priorities on this planet.
That’s America, we say, as news of the latest massacre breaks - last week it was the slaughter of 12 people by Aaron Alexis at Washington DC’s navy yard - and move on. But what if we no longer thought of this as just a problem for America and, instead, viewed it as an international humanitarian crisis - a quasi civil war, if you like, that calls for outside intervention? As citizens of the world, perhaps we should demand an end to the unimaginable suffering of victims and their families - the maiming and killing of children - just as America does in every new civil conflict around the globe.
The annual toll from firearms in the US is running at 32,000 deaths and climbing, even though the general crime rate is on a downward path (it is 40% lower than in 1980). If this perennial slaughter doesn’t qualify for intercession by the UN and all relevant NGOs, it is hard to know what does.
To absorb the scale of the mayhem, it’s worth trying to guess the death toll of all the wars in American history since the War of Independence began in 1775, and follow that by estimating the number killed by firearms in the US since the day that Robert F. Kennedy was shot in 1968 by a .22 Iver-Johnson handgun, wielded by Sirhan Sirhan. The figures from Congressional Research Service, plus recent statistics from icasualties.org, tell us that from the first casualties in the battle of Lexington to recent operations in Afghanistan, the toll is 1,171,177. By contrast, the number killed by firearms, including suicides, since 1968, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the FBI, is 1,384,171.
That 212,994 more Americans lost their lives from firearms in the last 45 years than in all wars involving the US is a staggering fact, particularly when you place it in the context of the safety-conscious, “secondary smoke” obsessions that characterise so much of American life.
Everywhere you look in America, people are trying to make life safer. On roads, for example, there has been a huge effort in the past 50 years to enforce speed limits, crack down on drink/drug driving and build safety features into highways, as well as vehicles. The result is a steadily improving record; by 2015, forecasters predict that for first time road deaths will be fewer than those caused by firearms (32,036 to 32,929).
Plainly, there’s no equivalent effort in the area of privately owned firearms. Indeed, most politicians do everything they can to make the country less safe.
However, they were not exactly welcomed by the people already living there.
In 1567, nearly 20 years before Sir Walter Raleigh’s colony at Roanoke was lost and 40 years before the Jamestown settlement was established, Spanish Captain Juan Pardo and his men built Fort San Juan in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.
“Fort San Juan and six others that together stretched from coastal South Carolina into eastern Tennessee were occupied for less than 18 months before the Native Americans destroyed them, killing all but one of the Spanish soldiers who manned the garrisons,” said University of Michigan archaeologist Robin Beck, assistant professor in the U-M Department of Anthropology and assistant curator at the U-M Museum of Anthropology.
Assad has used chemical weapons against the rebels (and civilians) in his civil war.
Chemical weapons are an international no-no.
What is America to do, without deeply involving itself in yet another Mid-East War?
The answer is tragically simple:
1. Destroy the chem-weapon supplies.
2. Destroy the chem-weapon factories.
3. Murder the units who deployed chem-weapons in the recent attacks.
4. Provide aid and safety for refugees and the injured.
5. Possibly, provide training for non-terrorist refugees. (This is a big if for me.)
The whole point of this exercise is:
We don’t care about your civil war, Syria — work it out amongst yourselves; what we care about is Assad using WMDs against civilians. And that’s a bad precedent.
I really hope the President makes that sort of case on Tuesday.
I am not in favor of bombing random sites in Syria; I am furious at the people who make and deploy chemical weapons. Bomb the shit out of them (or some other operation that would not release dangerous chemicals into the locality).
In My Arrogant Opinion (IMAO).
The median donation from the 1 percent of the 1 percent was $26,584. As the chart below shows, that’s more than half the median family income in America.
Megadonors are very partisan. Four out of five 1-percent-of-the-1-percent donors gave all of their money to one party or the other.
Here’s a statistic that should jolt you awake like black coffee with three shots of espresso dropped in: In the 2012 election cycle, 28 percent of all disclosed donations—that’s $1.68 billion—came from just 31,385 people. Think of them as the 1 percenters of the 1 percent, the elite of the elite, the wealthiest of the wealthy.
The term patrician (Latin: patricius, Greek: πατρίκιος, patrikios) originally referred to a group of ruling class families in ancient Rome, including both their natural and adopted members. In the late Roman Empire, the class was broadened to include high administrative officials, and after the fall of the Western Empire it remained a high honorary title in the Byzantine Empire. Medieval patrician classes were once again formally defined groups of leading burgess families in many medieval Italian republics, such as Venice and Genoa, and subsequently “patrician” became a vaguer term used for aristocrats and the higher bourgeoisie in many countries.
Scholars who study race and racial ideologies often talk about how in the post civil rights United States racism has moved from what they call “the front stage” (the public and the readily seen) to the “backstage” (what is more hidden and private).
Consequently, being called a “racist” is the impetus for public shaming and exile. In response, white racism has moved to private spaces, uses humor and comedy as a shield, and takes refuge online.
Paula Deen also embodies the moment of “race and reunion” that occurred after America’s Civil War. In the aftermath of a conflict which took at least 750,000 lives, whites in the North and former Confederacy had to find a way to come together as a whole and intact political community.
The solution: reimagining the Confederacy’s illegal acts of treason and secession as a noble lost cause.