Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."*

*Yes, it's F. Scott Fitzgerald and, yes, I've used it before for an entry title.

I am posting this entry just after midnight on November 29, 2011 -- the 30th anniversary of my arrival in Maryland with my mom and Ray after we left Texas (where I lived for about a year between 1980 and 1981) three days earlier on my 12th birthday on Nov. 26, 1981.

Here is a picture from Nov. 26, 1981 that I recently posted. It was taken when my mom, Ray, and I stopped at the WFAA-TV studio to meet on-air meteorologist Troy Dungan. 

We were driving from Killeen, Texas back east to Baltimore, Md., and stopped in Dallas where he had dinner atop Reunion Tower in the revolving Antares restaurant and visited the next-door station.

This marked the start of my Maryland and subsequently D.C. life. At that time, though, my New Jersey life was still very much in place with my then-sane dad and my then-alive grandparents.

The day we arrived in Baltimore at "The Tribe's" filthy Bristol Avenue bungalow, Nov. 29, 1981, was also the day actress Natalie Wood (pictured here) drowned under suspicious circumstances off Santa Catalina Island, Calif.

I didn't stay in Baltimore too long but instead moved back with my dad and grandparents in New Jersey in February for the next 9 months before moving to Glen Burnie with my mom and Ray (where they had settled in an apartment) in August 1982.


Lonely Star ...

So I learned that Mr. Sirius is no longer with his boyfriend.

In fact, as I understand it, the boyfriend broke up with him this past spring and moved out. (I also realize now that this likely explains the 30 to 40 pound weight loss he has had, something I wish to replicate for my blobby self.)

Anyway, a few thoughts ...

I am genuinely surprised and not happy to hear this and feel badly for him. He is (very unlike me) rather relationship-oriented so this really cuts him loose from his usual moorings.

Secondly, it can't help but be noted that this is the second time a live-in boyfriend left him. Granted the first boyfriend was (to put it charitably) a kind of vicious gay Dorian Gray character, so comparisons are tricky, but this does suggest a pattern.

I shall avoid any discussion about the disproportionate tendency for gay relationships to fail and the many dysfunctions of urban gay culture, if only because it is not directly applicable here.

However, I would suggest that he is taking the "I want to date myself" shtick a little too seriously (by which he means, "I want to date someone  who is basically a clone of myself because I am so perfect ...")

One of life's little-appreciated but important rules: Never believe your own propaganda and/or stories you tell others, at least not too much. 

How do you think the GOP got so crazy??

I mention this because while he won't have trouble finding another boyfriend, he may just end up repeating the same pattern.

In any event and for what it is worth to him (nothing), I am genuinely sorry to hear this news. It is a very rough thing for anyone to have to go through.

On the upside, his D. will never forsake him, and let's not forget all the gifts and graces he has: health, intact family, smarts, youth, looks, money, talent, and charisma -- and that's a heckuva lot more than most folks have.

Oh, yes, it just dawned on me that both of my bad situations with him -- May 2004 and January 2011 -- involved him with one of these two boyfriends. Funny that.


Anyway, I was going to write a lot more but it's Monday night and I'm just The Golden Girls reruns on We TV. Hallmark is airing nothing but Christmas movies for the next month. As for TV Land, I'm looking forward to the next season of Hot In Cleveland due to start this Wednesday. I have grown to like it quite a bit. Yes, the show (as others have noted) is a sort of updated version of The Golden Girls.


On the Passing of a Troubled Little Sparrow

The last surviving child of one of history's most murderous and psychotic tyrants, Josef Stalin, has died in obscurity in a remote part of Wisconsin.

Lana Peters (born Svetlana Stalina in Feb. 1926 and for a time Svetlana Alliluyeva) was 85 and lived a very tortured life that took her all over the world, always running, and through so many situations, but eventually she ended up in her last years in Richland County, Wisconsin. 

The New York Times obituary is well worth a read.

The opening paragraph is worth quoting:

"Her three successive names were signposts on a twisted, bewildering road that took her from Stalin's Kremlin, where she was the 'little princess,' to the West in a celebrated defection, then back to the Soviet Union in a puzzling homecoming, and finally to decades of obscurity, wandering and poverty."

The ending is also worth quoting:

"In an interview with The Wisconsin State Journal in 2010, she was asked if her father had loved her. She thought he did, she said, because she had red hair and freckles, like his mother.

But she could not forgive his cruelty to her. 'He broke my life,' she said. 'I want to explain to you. He broke my life.' And he left a shadow from which she could never emerge. 'Wherever I go,' she said, 'here, or Switzerland, or India, or wherever. Australia. Some island. I will always be a political prisoner of my father's name.'"

Well, at last, no more.


In addition, read this piece by Thomas Edsall in The New York Times on the Democratic Party's idiotic and disastrous plan to give up on the white working class vote entirely.

Think of it as the anti-New Deal coalition, and it is predicated ENTIRELY on the country undergoing a demographic shift to "majority minority" (non-white) with minority poor (black and brown) voting in a block with Blue State upper middle class and socially liberal Democrats. Amazing.


OK, that's all for now. My next update will be perhaps on Wednesday. I hope we get some rain -- and I really want this unseasonably warm weather to end (65F to 70F for days on end in late November).


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Turning 42 (Without the Answer to Everything) -OR- Still Taking the Long Way Home

**This entry was updated 7:18PM 10/25/2014: See below.**

Riding the Metrorail Red Line toward Silver Spring, 4:20PM, Nov. 24, 2011. I was heading to Silver Spring to go to Quill's parents' house for Thanksgiving dinner. The train was near Takoma Metro in Northeast D.C. (and the silhouetted fellow was seated in the opposite direction of the way the training was moving).

The Hughes Memorial Tower was prominently visible -- but behind the tree visible in the window.


A pleasant, rather mild mid-to-late fall day, 1900 block, New Hampshire Ave., NW, Washington, D.C., 2:07PM, Nov. 25, 2011.


NOTE: This entry was prepared Friday night but timed for posting on my birthday, and it was ultimately posted at 3:30AM on Nov. 26th -- SEE IMPORTANT UPDATE below.


Today is my 42nd birthday* ...

*Alternatively, if my calculations are correct and considering "day 1" as the first full day after I was born  (which would be Nov. 27, 1969), I am as of today 15,340 days old.

The number 42, of course, figures prominently in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as the "Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything."

But the Question to which this was the Answer had to be determined -- was being determined by a super-computer created for that purpose -- and the super-computer was Planet Earth itself. The novel opens with the destruction of Earth by the Vogons just 5 minutes before it was to come up with the question in order to make way for an hyperspace bypass.

Apparently, 42 also figures in repeatedly in Lewis Carroll's writings including Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.


The corner of Hillyer Place (off Connecticut Avenue) and 21st Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 2:51PM, Nov. 25, 2011. The leaves are mostly now off the trees.


Musical Interlude

Supertramp's Roger Hodgson performs Take the Long Way Home with an orchestral accompaniment (possibly in Montreal in Oct. 2006).


The song is from Supertramp's 1979 album Breakfast In America, which had a most unusual cover image:

A bit creepy -- and interesting (especially now) that the glass of orange juice joins the World Trade Center Twin Towers on the backdrop of the stylized Manhattan skyline.


**Updated 7:18PM 10/25/2014: Two pictures removed.**

Some excerpts ...

"So you think you're a Romeo / Playin' a part in a picture show...
But you're the joke of the neighborhood / Should you care if you're feeling good? ...
Lonely days turn to lonely nights, Take the trip to the city lights,
Take the long way home ...
You never see what you want to see,
Forever playing to the gallery,
You take the long way home...
When you're up on stage, It's so unbelievable! Oh, unforgettable!
How they adore you!
Then your wife seems to think you're losing your sanity.
Oh, calamity!
Is there no way out? ...

Does it feel that your life's become a catastrophe? Oh, it has to be, for you to grow, boy.
When you look through the years and see what you could have been ?
Oh, what you might have been, if you had more time?
So when the day comes to settle down, Who's to blame if you're not around?
You took the long way home, You took the long way home ..."


This is a picture of L'Enfant Promenade above the CSX/Amtrak/VRE train tracks with the U.S. Capitol Building about a mile away (and my shadow in the corner). I took this on Aug. 28, 2011.


Yesterday (Friday), I was supposed to work from home but I basically didn't do anything work-related, and if I can't get in any hours between now and Monday, I will have simply have to take the day off. It was not an off day for us as a Federal contracting company, but many of my co-workers also worked from home or just took the day off.


Friday Night Frights and Exorcisms from Long Ago...

Last night, before I went to Nellie's, I watched on Planet Green an agonizing 2 hours of what was the 2002 "pilot episode" of the Discovery Channel program A Haunting, which is described (on Wikipedia) as an "American paranormal docudrama anthology television series."

In particular, the episode I watched was A Haunting in Connecticut about a purported case in 1986 of a haunted house and haunted / possessed family in Connecticut -- and which apparently was the "basis" of the subsequent 2009 horror movie The Haunting in Connecticut, which I never saw and never will. The episode ends up with a Catholic Church-sanctioned exorcism of the house.

The Exorcist steps in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., 1:13PM, May 25, 2011.

Continuing with the post-Thanksgiving "Friday Night Frights" demon possession theme on Planet Green (ostensibly a channel dedicated enviro and ecological matters), the next program was actually about a 1949 exorcism of a boy named Richard (!) -- at least in the series -- that occurred both at Georgetown Hospital and at a mental hospital in St. Louis, Mo.

(Oddly enough, the show almost entirely omitted the Maryland/D.C. connection.)

The boy lived for a time in Cottage City, Md., a weird little enclave just inside the Prince George's County side of the DC-Maryland border, though news accounts of the time state it as Mount Rainier, Md., located a short distance from Cottage City.

Yes, both Mount Rainier ("Mount RAIN-yur" is how the locals say it) and nearby Takoma, Md., are named for THE Mt. Rainier in Washington State.

The 1949 exorcism story forms the historical "factual" basis of the 1971 book by William Peter Blatty, and the subsequent culturally iconic 1973 film The Exorcist, which I have talked about before on my previous Arcturus blog.

Here is a thorough account of the historical basis of the book from Strange Magazine in 1999 or 2000. His name is listed as "Roland" in accounts of the time. Of note, the newspaper articles from 1949 did NOT take the story seriously but more sarcastically.

Speaking of exorcisms ...

**Updated 7:18PM 10/25/2014: Content removed**


Anyway, today, I am going to the National Capital Trolley Museum with a co-worker friend. My earlier plan was to involve lunch with my mom and Ray at Union Station, but that too did not occur because of Ray's health issues and my mom also not feeling well and having trouble walking (a bad knee). However, I will be seeing her at Christmas.


Speaking of my mom and things old and religious...

Here is a picture of my mom and me taken in front of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on a long ago rainy day, specifically, Aug. 18, 1979.*

*Or, if I don't miss my Excel spreadsheet guess, as of today, 11,788 days ago.

Actually, I forgot to post this picture in my Nov. 11, 2011 entry of old scanned photos.

Also, as some additional blog-keeping, I had to update my Sept. 20, 2011 entry To the Corners of the Big Apple -OR- New York In Geographical Extremes because of a geographical error I made involving the location of the Breezy Point neighborhood and Rockaway Peninsula in New York City's Queens borough. (I had them incorrectly placed in Brooklyn.)

That entry is now corrected.


The view looking south from the Spanish Steps (no, not the famous ones in Italy), which are at the dead end of 21st Street at the edge of the Kalorama neighborhood of D.C., Washington, D.C., 2:58PM, Nov. 25, 2011. These steps and the fountain (which was off Friday afternoon) are on the same fall line hill that runs through so much of D.C.


A youngish man helping an older lady (possibly his mother) up the Spanish Steps, Washington, D.C., 3:02PM, Nov. 25, 2011.


UPDATED at 9:05AM EST 11/26/2011:

I think I have discovered an ALMOST perfect NEW BAR for me here in D.C.

The new place is called The Saloon at 1207 (or 1205) U Street, NW, Washington, D.C. (pictured above), at 12:21AM, Nov. 26, 2011, and it is a wooden/brick pub that has some interesting characteristics including NO TELEVISION screens (and thus showing abominable movies or endless sports games) and a rule that one may not be there if there are no seats -- either at the bar or in the restaurant area.


The interior wall at The Saloon with (an excessive number of) signs discussing all kinds of issues, Washington, D.C., 1:05AM, Nov. 26, 2011.


OK, I think that's all for now. My next planned update will be on Monday or Tuesday.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving -OR- GOP Turkey Talk & Trot 2011

There was an interesting clip on The Ed Show last night on MSNBC on how to talk to your low (or no fact-based) information Fox News-worshiping relatives around the Thanksgiving dinner table. The video clip is here after a 15 second ad.

The last point about the Recovery Act and the jobs it created -- and more importantly, how it kept the country from plunging headlong into a Second Great Depression with all the violent social upheaval that would have entailed -- is key.

Not mentioned is that of the approx. $800 billion spent, half of that went to bullshit ineffectual tax cuts (to get GOP support in Congress) and of the remainder, about half of that simply plugged up massive state budget holes and thus prevented massive job losses.

The actual Keynesian "stimulus" portion of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was therefore only about $200 billion (in a $14 trillion economy) and -- as the great Paul Krugman always has said -- highly inadequate.

Slate -- historically a crappy publication that may have improved recently -- published its annual Guide to Your Thanksgiving Dinner-Table Arguments here

It is updated to take into account the Occupy Wall Street movement.

It's presented in the usual "Republicans say 2+2=5, Democrats Disagree," "Views Differ on Shape of Planet",WaHoPo bullshit "balanced" way, but it's worth reading. (The Republican and Democratic positions appear reversed under "Who Killed the Supercommittee?")

Lastly, I highly recommend David Frum's New York magazine piece published Nov. 20, 2011 entitled "When Did the GOP Lose Touch With Reality?"

Frum is a former speech writer for George W. Bush and senior member of the VRWC Agit-Prop Machine who wandered -- and then was kicked -- off the GOP Corporate Neo-Confederate Plantation. Now he is still quite conservative but his intellectual honesty is simply too great and his observations too clear to allow him to try to go get back in the Right's good graces.

The piece is too long to post in its entirety here and excerpts don't really do it full justice. However, here are a few excerpts:

"Conservatives have been driven to these fevered anxieties as much by their own trauma as by external events. In the aughts, Republicans held more power for longer than at any time since the twenties, yet the result was the weakest and least broadly shared economic expansion since World War II, followed by an economic crash and prolonged slump.

"Along the way, the GOP suffered two severe election defeats in 2006 and 2008. Imagine yourself a rank-and-file Republican in 2009: If you have not lost your job or your home, your savings have been sliced and your children cannot find work. Your retirement prospects have dimmed. Most of all, your neighbors blame you for all that has gone wrong in the country. There’s one thing you know for sure: None of this is your fault! And when the new president fails to deliver rapid recovery, he can be designated the target for everyone’s accumulated disappointment and rage. In the midst of economic wreckage, what relief to thrust all blame upon Barack Obama as the wrecker-in-chief.

"The Bush years cannot be repudiated, but the memory of them can be discarded to make way for a new and more radical ideology, assembled from bits of the old GOP platform that were once sublimated by the party elites but now roam the land freely: ultralibertarianism, crank monetary theories, populist fury, and paranoid visions of a Democratic Party controlled by ACORN and the New Black Panthers..."

"We used to say 'You're entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts.' Now we are all entitled to our own facts, and conservative media use this right to immerse their audience in a total environment of pseudo-facts and pretend information..."

"We can debate when the slide began. But what seems beyond argument is that the U.S. political system becomes more polarized and more dysfunctional every cycle, at greater and greater human cost.

"The next Republican president will surely find himself or herself at least as stymied by this dysfunction as President Obama, as will the people the political system supposedly serves, who must feel they have been subjected to a psychological experiment gone horribly wrong, pressing the red button in 2004 and getting a zap, pressing blue in 2008 for another zap, and now agonizing whether there is any choice that won't zap them again in 2012.

"Yet in the interests of avoiding false evenhandedness, it must be admitted: The party with a stronger charge on its zapper right now, the party struggling with more self-­imposed obstacles to responsible governance, the party most in need of a course correction, is the Republican Party ..."


OK, I think that's all for now. I have to get ready and trek up to Silver Spring to Quill's parent's peaceful suburban sanctuary for Thanksgiving dinner.

The sidewalk of the 1500 block of U Street, NW, Washington, D.C., filled with wet fallen autumn leaves after morning rain showers as a cold front swept through the area, 11:14AM, Nov. 23, 2011.


As for tomorrow, I'm working from home. My Saturday (birthday day) plans have changed and I'm now supposed to go to the National Capital Trolley Museum in Colesville / Silver Spring, Montgomery County, Md., with my co-worker friend DD and his family. I also plan to update the blog on Saturday.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Turkeys & Corporate Oligarchs -OR- Giving Thanks 2011, American-Style

Updated 10:06AM 11/23/2011 with two additional images.

Another Dupont Circle nighttime rainy image here in Washington, D.C., 6:51PM, Nov. 22, 2011.


OK, I actually started this entry earlier and momentarily posted it (at 10:15PM) before it was completed in order for it to have a Nov. 22nd time stamp. I actually finally posted it until 1:00AM.

This is an early-to-mid week update on a Tuesday night, except the Thanksgiving holiday is just two days away and it basically will be a three day workweek.

I'm going to Quill's parents' house in Silver Spring for Thanksgiving. I'm working from home on Friday, although I actually have quite a bit of work to do, and then I'm supposed to meet my mom on Saturday at Union Station for my birthday dinner, but it wouldn't shock me if she cancelled.

The 1400 block of U Street, NW, on a drizzly, showery night, 6:27PM, Nov. 21, 2011 (this was taken last night).


As you may or may not know, I am not talking to my dad down in Florida (it has been about two weeks), and I'm not sure when we will again. Truth to tell, this is fine with me. I can't handle him or his insane behavior married to a complete cluelessness about how he is.

Tonight is a drizzly, foggy, rather mild evening (around 57F) and it follows a showery period the past 36 hours or so. As approximate numbers, DCA has had about 1/2" of rainfall today, Dulles about 3/4" and BWI just over 1.1". BWI is now over 51" for the year or over 13" above normal year-to-date. I'll post more detailed numbers in a subsequent entry.

The wet 1900 block of New Hampshire Ave., NW, Washington, D.C., with lots of fall leaves on the sidewalk, 7:29PM, Nov. 21, 2011.


Oh, yes, I should mention that I think last Saturday night (Sunday morning) as I was walking home on New Hampshire Ave. near R Street, the Cobalt Head Turkey Vulture (he with the peacock shrill) -- and part of the 17th Street gay mafia -- shrieked "Fuck you!" at me as he got into a cab. I am quite (but not entirely) certain it was he, although, honestly, I don't really care. 

What say you, Oooza the Unloved?

"My sentiments exactly! This is your notice!"

And mine to you.

(YES, this is ANOTHER Metro Weekly picture of him. That cocky grin really does remind me of Frank Sinatra -- albeit when Sinatra was skinny.)


Political Commentary with Links ...

Anyway, I don't have a ton o' stuff to say so instead I'll post some good reads and political commentary ...

I'm glad that the brutality of the Univ. of California, Davis campus police -- mirroring and mimicking the increasingly fascistic tendencies of our super-militarized police departments with their ever-expanding array of "non-lethal" weaponry used in an admittedly violence-prone society -- has gotten the notoriety it deserved. Increasingly this weaponry is designed to burn, poison, deafen, pierce, and whatever else corporate crooks, oligarchs, and banksters demand of their bought-and-paid for government.

Here Lt. John Pike of the UC - Davis campus police (and bribed tool) in full extra-extra-extra large-sized Gestapo regalia uses pepper spray chemical warfare against peaceful protesters in order to protect the forces of Reactionary Corporate Oligarchical Koch Brothers Intrigue while his similarly bloated and clad posse looks on approvingly and The Washington WhorePost / mainstream media look for "both sides" of the issue.

Ha ha

I'm not going to bother to post a clear picture of Lt. John Pike -- there are enough of those online to go around, and if you want to read about his larger pre-pepper spraying career, not to mention is uncanny resemblance to wrestling superstar King Kong Bundy, just go here.

In the end, it's just more of the corporate oligarchical overclass imposing a vaguely fascistic police state on a willing (or maybe just dazed) populace, while the supremacy of money-driven "Free Speech" is exalted -- as embodied in the Citizens United ruling travesty of the Supreme Court under Tony "Three Fingers" Scalia.

I think it's time to interview Wall-P. What say you, Wall-P??

"The Constitution clearly states from a Strictly Constructionist point of view that money equals protected free speech, and corporations under American jurisprudence meet the definition of a person for purposes of speech, and therefore, the more money, the freer the speech."

"That's crudely simplistic, Wall-P. As is said, money talks and bullshit walks..."

"Itiswhatitis and either go out and amend the Constitution or get over yourself and deal with it."

"This is why I don't like talking to you, Wall-P."

"Client call coming in." 


It is worth noting that the GOP Death Star has come up with its official VRWC-approved response to the pepper spraying (part of it overall response to the OWS protests): Pepper-spray is "a food product, essentially" -- that is, another GOP vegetable for purposes of public school lunches -- and therefore is safe and good to use.

This was what Bill "Ted Baxter" O'Reilly and his wholly interchangeable Fox News "anchor" mannequin-fembot (Megyn Kelly) agreed up last night.

TPM screenshot earlier this afternoon.

Now Teabaggers all across these United States can praise the use of pepper-spray as being what GOD and the Founding Fathers intended -- unless it is on them, of course.

Behold, this week's would-be Teabagger world-savior, a man whose very existence raises the distinct possibility that God's Sense of Humor is, well, warped.  


48 Years Ago Today in Dallas, Texas ... 

On this 48th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, I would like to recommend this interesting piece by Jefferson Morley, former WaHoPo staff writer who is now an editor for Salon. It's called The Holy Grail of the JFK Story and is linked here.

The part about the CIA and Operation Northwoods is quite fascinating and the part about how the CIA organized assassinations in the 1960s and 1970s is disturbing. I also agree with Morley's larger point about how an "articulate minority" in the mainstream media enforce a certain narrative that does not even brook other possibilities -- and in the end this just exacerbates the mistrust and doubt so many feel of The Official Account.


Michael Lind on the Failure of Both the Blue AND Red State Social Models

(Note: The fog images were sent to me by Chris T. down in Montgomery, Alabama, on Monday morning.)

What follows is a summary / excerpts of a a column by Michael Lind that appeared in Salon earlier today -- and it motivated my entry title.

He begins by noting that what he calls the "blue state model" of economic development and taxation is collapsing. That model is one in which local urban governments tax a small number of super-rich rentiers in the FIRE (Finance, Insurance, Real Estate) sector to fund generous public services for the urban poor.

On the economic development side, policy focuses on amenities for affluent professionals in trendy neighborhoods. Meanwhile, a combo of rising real estate prices and excessive environmental regulations drove productive businesses and the middle and working classes out to the suburbs or the South and West. 

But this social model collapsing both in the short-to-medium term -- due to "cratering" revenues from the FIRE sector -- and medium-to-long term -- due to software developments that threaten the high-paying job of the professional class that render them obsolete. The (good) idea of raising taxes on America's under-taxed super-rich is a good idea but won't change these longer term trends.

Having said that, he argues that the "parasitic" red state model is also unsustainable. To begin with, he recalls that 22 Republican states are net recipients of Federal money through agricultural and highway subsidies, and massive defense spending with related industries, while only 10 Democratic-leaning ones are. "Red" Texas alone is a donor due to its oil and gas industry.

He also notes, "Nor should we forget the tax-exempt status of evangelical Protestant megachurches, some of which own multiple buildings, schools, camps, bus fleets, TV and radio studies, and bookstore chains -- all tax-free..." that help red states disproportionately.

In addition, Southern economic development policy is based on stealing jobs from blue states, in particular through "smokestack chasing", which he defines as "luring away industries from the Northeast and Midwest, and, recently, Germany and East Asia, with offers of cheap, non-union labor, low environmental standards and bribes in the form of state and local government subsidies, paid for by higher regressive taxes on the poor."

My favorite excerpt:

"Don’t be fooled by talk of the 'libertarian' West. Red state America is really just the former Confederacy, including Texas, with some over-represented, low-population Mountain and Plains states thrown in. The social ideal of the neo-Confederate right can be summed up as follows: voters who don't work and workers who don't vote.

"Ever since the Federal government deprived them of their slaves, the Southern elite has sought to create the functional equivalent of slavery, by creating a low-wage work force stripped of bargaining power and voting rights. Until the civil rights revolution, the neo-Confederates did this on the economic side by creating unfree labor systems like tenant farming and the convict-lease system, as well as 'right-to-work' laws to stifle unionization in their region. Keeping welfare benefits low, and controlled by local elites, forces Southern workers to accept jobs on the terms offered by Southern employers. On the political side, Dixie's politicians used poll taxes and residency requirements to strip poor blacks and poor whites of the right to vote."

Today the Southernized GOP goal is to create "a neo-Confederate states' rights regime." But more to the point of the article, he concludes that both models depend on a swollen (and he has argued before, unstable) FIRE sector. The former uses it to fund local government, social welfare programs, and creation of a "Starbucksy neighborhoods with subsidized mass transit for credentialed hipsters in brick-walled lofts" while the latter uses it to "tap subsidies to red state soldiers, agribusiness and megachurches, as well as to red state governments that take advantage of subsidies from blue America to lower their own taxes."


Deep Thoughts by Nighttime Text

Speaking of Christ T, what follows is an excerpt of a text exchange between him and me tonight ...

Chris T: "You must have something in common or he wouldn't be so loyal to you. You both like to go out."

Me: "Wow. How great is that. ... It's just hard being friends with gay men."

Chris T: "Most straight guys don't have any male friends at our age. They get entombed in their marriage and children and suddenly they're 60."

Me: "True."

Christ T: "I don't think men are meant to get along that well. We're selfish and territorial."

Christ T: "And gay men don't have a woman to balance that out..."


OK, I think that's about all for now. My next planned update will be on Friday or Saturday.