Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New New Deal Needed

Thomas Frank (author of What's the Matter With Kansas and other books)is a hero of mine. He remarked in a review of hack Joe Klein's book of a couple years back, Politics Lost:

Harry Truman was no centrist, and neither was he a radical. Still, listening to his ferocious ad-libs back in 1948 (which was, incidentally, not during the Great Depression), his audience could have had few doubts about what the Democratic Party stood for. Truman was explicit: “[T]he Democratic Party is the people’s party, and the Republican Party is the party of special interest, and it always has been and always will be.” He reveled in what Mr. Klein would call “class war,” calling a Republican tax cut a “rich man’s tax bill” that “helps the rich and sticks a knife into the back of the poor” and describing politics as a contest between the “common everyday man” and the “favored classes,” the “privileged few.” Even more astonishingly, Truman went on to talk policy in some detail, with special emphasis on Mr. Klein’s hated “jobs, health-care, and blah-blah-blah”: He called for the construction of public housing, an increase in the minimum wage, expansion of Social Security, a national health-care program and the repeal of the Taft-Hartley Act. And this sort of high-octane oratory propelled Truman on to win the election in a historic upset.

This is precisely what is called for in the present environment - and this is precisely what the oligarchy is spending millions of dollars to prevent from being discussed.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Wheat Fields Wavin'

So, I chucked the job, cashed out my 401(k), and began a road trip on October 6th. More soon.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Some Thoughts On Bullies and The Other

First of all, read this. All the way through. I advise finding a box of Kleenex before you do.

Then read his follow-up post, here.

I will post some of my own story soon, but I need to find a place of balance from which to post it. For now, let me offer a couple thoughts.

That second post is what I've been trying to get at with some of my previous reflections here and at Vox Nova: it is when we make someone an Other that we begin the descent into sin and barbarism. I had some particularly harrowing childhood experiences with bullies, involving (this is no exaggeration) literal torture. But looking back, the most difficult part of it was that as I was being tortured, I could feel the incredible, agonizing pain emanating from every pore of the ones inflicting torments upon me. As I suffered my own pains, I also felt theirs in a profound way. I empathized with their pain even as I suffered. I could see how sad, how desolate, the world must have looked through their eyes.

This was indescribably painful; it was also what saved me.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Republicans Suck

Because I've been getting served google ads pushing Republican candidates, I will say categorically that I would rather swim in nuclear waste than vote for any Republican, period.

[Update] Ok,, I just deleted the ad code.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

The Bill Gates Index

My brother Mike keeps a "Mike Talbot/Bill Gates Index", in which he calculates how many years he would have to work at his present salary, and saving every penny of his income, to equal Bill Gates wealth. The Index stands at One million four hundred and seventeen thousand years.