Thursday, February 18, 2010

It's worth reading to the end of Joseph Stack's suicide note

In It Can Happen Here: America On the Brink, self-proclaimed patriot, ardent capitalist and business school professor Bruce Judson (see his blog) begs all who will listen or read his book that the U.S. must rectify the last 30 years of income inequality or face the prospect of riots in the streets, political instability, terrorist acts from disenfranchised and impoverished Americans with nothing left to lose, and the end of America as we know it (see buzzflash book review here ).
Judson says we need universal health care and aggressive social works program (similar to the 1940's New Deal) in order to head off unrest.  Hm.  Bring on the unrest!  But do we have boots in the street yet?  Do we have desperate people with nothing left to lose committing acts of violence?

Well, as of today, we at least have flying your plane into an IRS building.

The media are generally spinning Joe Stack's suicide note as insane ramblings.  It's worth reading and making up your own mind,  here.  But if you don't have the time or inclination, at least check out his final two sentences:

The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.
The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed

Not very rambling.  Pretty sane.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Yes, I am eccentric... I should live near like-minded others

Last fall H and I moved to Cambridge, MA, escaping the misery and noise of the Boston student ghetto where I had regrettably purchased a condo at the height of the housing bubble in 2003.

The joys of Cambridge are many, although in my "leave the house only for 20 hours a week on campus" third-trimester pregnancy state, a primary enjoyment  (after the blissful quiet) is the Cambridge City public access TV station, that airs shows like Democracy Now, Free SpeechTV, and quirky offerings were high school students explain why they chose a particular famous portrait as the inspiration for their self-portrait for their photography class.

Because Cambridge is so famously politically liberal, I was prepared to join neighborhood campaigns against corporate excesses, but thus far the only flyer in our mailbox asking us to join a neighborhood movement has been a campaign to prevent our elderly African American neighbor from raising chickens (now an illegal practice, but he was grandfathered due to his 40 year chicken raising history).  

They provided an email to "complain" and I thus wrote:

I live on [street] where my neighbor (who my husband and I chat with) raises chickens.  I have never been inconvenienced by the chickens and I object to the campaign to forbid my neighbor to raise them.

In my view, we need more gardening and raising of (manageable) animals, not less.  I grew up with chickens and roosters crowing next door in Los Angeles in the 1960s.  Raising one's own chickens is a healthy alternative to factory farming.  Children's exposure to farm animals in the first 3-5 years of life decreases their chances of acquiring allergies.   When my twins are born next month, I will certainly try to expose them to my neighbor's chickens (well, I mean, in a year or so).  I realize that very few urban dwellers want to raise chickens; given that raising chickens can be seen as a community service, the grandfathering clause is a sound one. 

A little too much time on my hands?  Maybe I should  find a way to put up barriers so the comment page of this poor blog isn't the dumping ground for marketing bots.