27 May 2012

Romney disavows Republican economics

So the logic behind the entire Republican austerity program is that taxation and government spending (redistribution, to use the buzzword I know all y'all hate so much) makes the economy less efficient, causes it to slow down, right?

The solution to the economy is to cut government spending? This is what we've heard over and over again?

Here's a transcript of Mark Halperin's recent interview with Mitt Romney.

The whole thing is worth reading as a rhetorical exercise, just for the amazing doublespeak, but there's one question and answer that I want to copy and paste here:
Halperin: I want to get to a lot of those, and let’s go to spending, which is a big thing for you, one of the bases of comparison – you say you’d cut spending a lot more than the President has.  And like most governors I know, you can get down in the detail.  A lot of people don’t know that about you; you can really get your arms around a policy issue and go deep, so let’s talk about spending.  You have a plan, as you said, over a number of years, to reduce spending dramatically.  Why not in the first year, if you’re elected — why not in 2013, go all the way and propose the kind of budget with spending restraints, that you’d like to see after four years in office?  Why not do it more quickly?

Romney: Well because, if you take a trillion dollars for instance, out of the first year of the federal budget, that would shrink GDP over 5%.  That is by definition throwing us into recession or depression.  So I’m not going to do that, of course.  What you do is you make adjustments on a basis that show, in the first year, actions that over time get you to a balanced budget.  So I’m not saying I’m going to come up with ideas five or ten years from now that get us to a balanced budget.  Instead I’m going to take action immediately by eliminating programs like Obamacare, which become more and more expensive down the road – by eliminating them, we get to a balanced budget.  And I’d do it in a way that does not have a huge reduction in the first year, but instead has an increasing reduction as time goes on, and given the growth of the economy, you don’t have a reduction in the overall scale of the GDP.  I don’t want to have us go into a recession in order to balance the budget.  I’d like to have us have high rates of growth at the same time we bring down federal spending, on, if you will, a ramp that’s affordable, but that does not cause us to enter into a economic decline.
"Well because, if you take a trillion dollars for instance, out of the first year of the federal budget, that would shrink GDP over 5%. That is by definition throwing us into recession or depression. So I'm not going to do that, of course."

Even ignoring the stupid, stupid math Romney's employing to talk about the ACA, and the amazing vagueness of his answer, yeah, he just completely admitted that, for him, cutting government spending doesn't immediately help the economy in the way that the Republicans have been saying it does.

All y'all have a good Sunday.

26 May 2012

The Yes Declaration

The Yes Declaration, from the folks working for an independent Scotland:
I believe that it is fundamentally better for us all, if decisions about Scotland's future are taken by the people who care most about Scotland, that is, by the people of Scotland.

Being independent means Scotland's future will be in Scotland's hands.

There is no doubt that Scotland has great potential. We are blessed with talent, resources and creativity. We have the opportunity to make our nation a better place to live, for this and future generations. We can build a greener, fairer and more prosperous society that is stronger and more successful than it is today.

I want a Scotland that speaks with her own voice and makes her own unique contribution to the world: a Scotland that stands alongside the other nations on these isles, as an independent nation.
I agree.

Yes.

Good luck, y'all.

Sitting on a chain...


25 May 2012

Evals: Ginsberg and Bernstein


Last quarter, I taught a freshman composition class that used poetry by Allen Ginsberg and Steven Jesse Bernstein to approach writing, culture, etcetera. These are poets whose work I absolutely love, and I felt like, overall, the class went pretty well; there was a lot of pushback from students during the quarter about the contents of the poems, about the style of the poems, and about the kinds of tasks I asked the students to do, which led to some great discussions (sometimes arguments) in class and in individual talks about their essays.

 

Today, after a series of misadventures, I finally got the student evaluations for the class back. I've got a somewhat ambivalent relationship to these documents - the question of whether students should be the ones evaluating the classes they take is pretty loaded - but they're still useful in terms of seeing what students thought, the ways they related to the course, and so on.


Takeaways from the statistics:

- The students thought the class was well-organized (92% said "sequential development of skills" was Very Good or Excellent, 70% said "opportunity for practicing what was learned" was Very Good or Excellent).

- The students thought that I was competent ("student confidence in instructor knowledge" was my single highest average score, at 4.8 out of 5) and available for them (nobody evaluated "availability of extra help when needed" below a Good)

-  There were two distinct groups of students in the class in terms of their relationships to the poetry: 54% of students said that "relevance and usefulness of course content" was Excellent, while 46% thought it was Fair or Poor. This tends to be the case with a lot of my classes, and was something I expected after the class discussions.

- My students exactly predicted the distribution and mean of grades for the class, which suggests that I did a good job of letting them know how they were doing.

- On a scale of 1 to 7 with 7 being the highest and 4 being "average", 46% of students ranked "the amount of effort you put into this course" as a 5, 6, or 7; the other 54% ranked it as a 4. Nobody ranked it as less than that.


Student comments, in response to "What aspects of this class contributed most to your learning?"

- "Every part of it. If you invest a lot in the class, it becomes easier to write good piece of work." 

- "Lots of steps before I eventually write something big, which helped me a lot."

- "Writing."

- I had to learn to write in a way that wasn't so obviously organized. Since I've been using the Jane Schaffer method since 6th grade, it was hard for me to change."

- "The instructor was very smart and knew what he was talking about."

- "It made me read things I didn't agree with, which broadened my understanding."


Student comments, in response to "What aspects of this class detracted from your learning?"

- "The poetry, I didn't really understand it."

- "Being near at the computer. There are just too many distractions on the web."

- "Compared to chemistry, this class wasn't much of a challenge, and the grading scale was too vague."

- "I do not like English at all."

- "The poetry he chose for us to read... Not Good."

- "The HEAVY workload - less work, more instruction!"


Reflection:

What I'm picking up on, from the statistics and the comments, is that, generally, my students who thought about this as a composition class or a requirement found it effective on that level, but somewhat resented having to read and talk about poetry; my students who were treating it as a class where we talked about politics (which it's just about impossible not to do, if you're teaching and discussing Ginsberg or Bernstein) enjoyed the debates we had; and just about everybody thought that the reading and writing load was heavy, sometimes verging on too heavy. 

If I teach some version of this class again in the future - which, it was a hoot to teach, so I might - there are a few directions I might go with it. 

One option would be to focus the whole class on a single poet, thus giving us a little bit more time to work through individual poems. In this class, we wound up spending two days on Howl and two days on Kaddish, which isn't really enough time to deal with either piece and might have led to the feelings of frustration that some of the students had; we also got to Bernstein relatively late in the quarter (week 6), which resulted in, perhaps, a lack of contextualization and a lack of discussion about his poetry. Focusing on either Ginsberg's work (the day we spent on "America" was probably the best day of class we had all quarter) or Bernstein's work (students seemed fascinated by "Morning in the Sub-Basement of Hell," which is the poem embedded at the top of this page, and by the interplay between written and performed poetry that is such an essential factor of thinking about his poems) might offer up a chance to get into more depth, orient students a little bit better, and talk some more about context, history, politics, etcetera.

Another option would be to push the class further into composition, eliminating some poems in favor of more concrete work on writing skills. There were days during this class when we didn't talk about the poetry at all - when we just worked on revising essays, or practicing essay outlining / structuring skills, or note-taking / reading strategies - and the students usually seemed to appreciate those days. On the other hand, my own educational background isn't what you might call "standard," I don't have a lot in common with these kids, so I don't always have a good feel for the knowledge base that they're bringing in; a couple of times, the students either already knew the thing I was trying to teach them or were so far below where I'd expected them to be that I had to readjust my expectations and lesson plans on the fly to provide them with the scaffolding to start learning what I was trying to teach them. Pushing the class further in a straight (ha!) composition direction might mean that this kind of disjuncture happens more often, or that the poetry drops out as the guiding theme of the class - something I wouldn't want to happen at all.

Overall, then, these evals are good in that they give me a lot to think about, some directions to push in if I teach another composition class (I'm teaching something 200-level next year, which will probably be more content-based and less composition-based), and in that they give me some insight into the mind of that fascinating creature the university insists on continually throwing in front of my pedagogical train. 

Metaphor.

22 May 2012

Civil Religion and Lack of Faith

What does it mean for Christianity that the emphasis of the Church is now on political impact rather than spiritual impact? Or that political and spiritual impact are increasingly being conflated by the people who are leading American Christianity?

I've talked before about how curious, frustrating, and occasionally frightening I find the linkage between Christianity and capitalism that occurs within American society generally, and in concentrated form within the Republican party:

About a week ago, when I quoted Richard Gray's book "Southern Aberrations" -
One historian has complained that, "in the name of traditional virtue," Ronald Reagan's political agenda was in fact giving a "free hand to business practices that destroy neighborhoods, separate families, promote hedonism, encourage mobility, and plan obsolescence." That, perhaps, is to privilege the traditionalist side of the equation. A more neutral way of putting it might be to say that there is a latent tension in any program that aims both to deregulate the economy and to draw a protective circle, to build an insulated wall around the family.
 Back in January, when I quoted a New York Times article on fair political argument -
In particular, there is a basic tension between the two main elements of the conservative view: Christian ethical values and the free enterprise system. Christian morality is a matter of love for others and self-sacrifice on their behalf. A market economy assumes that all agents (employers, workers, buyers, sellers) act in their own selfish interests. The problem is evident in the New Testament’s unease with the wealthy and sympathy for the poor; see, for example, Matthew 13: 22, Mark 10: 23-25 and James 5: 1-3.
And back in September, when I quoted from an article on former GOP activist Mike Lofgren -
On the one hand, Rand's tough guy, every-man-for-himself posturing is a natural fit because it puts a philosophical gloss on the latent sociopathy so prevalent among the hard right. On the other, Rand exclaimed at every opportunity that she was a militant atheist who felt nothing but contempt for Christianity. Apparently, the ignorance of most fundamentalist "values voters" means that GOP candidates who enthuse over Rand at the same time they thump their Bibles never have to explain this stark contradiction.
Today, though, I found (via Rachel Held Evans) a post by Jonathan Martin, a pastor from Charlotte, NC, that points out one of the major theological implications of this marriage. I use that term advisedly.

In the context of a rumination on Mitt Romney's commencement speech at Liberty University, Martin offers a contention that makes tremendous sense to me, and that I'd never heard before:
It’s no surprise then that evangelical leaders are now going a step further than simply saying a candidate is the lesser of two evils, or this candidate better represents these particular concerns–to now signaling that regardless of theology, this candidate is “one of us.”  Because we know “us” (the Church”) from the world by where they fall on our conservative-liberal continuum.  We don’t care what anybody believes about the trinity, because we don’t believe what a person believes about the trinity makes a difference in real life.  More potently, we don’t believe the trinity can change the world.  Who cares whether or not a person partakes of the eucharist, because the body and blood of Jesus is of course trite in comparison to our political platforms–that is where the power is.

We don’t care about theology anymore because we are no longer concerned about being Christians in any particular sort of way.  Jesus is unable to save the world, thus the best hope we have now is to embrace across theological lines in service of the true god of conservative civil religion.  The stakes are too high to be concerned about doctrine when there are far more pressing matters at hand.
Catch that?

The wedding of the church to politics is the abandonment of faith. It's the abandonment of belief that the "power in the blood of the Lamb" that we sang about when we were younger actually has the ability to do anything in the world.

That's a major issue.

If the dominant manifestations of the Church are despair rather than faith, bitterness rather than joy, hatred rather than love, is it any wonder that the Church is floundering? That young people are leaving? That the cultural tide is turning further and further away from Christianity?

I left the Church a long time ago, and I don't plan on going back. Large portions of my generation have left, and are leaving, with me. Really, why would we stay? We can get our fix of negativity, faithlessness, and emptiness anywhere - we don't have to sit in pews for it. If the Church isn't going to offer a way of engaging the world that has some promise of changing it, we're not going to join.

Hell, we might not join even then. But at least Christianity would be in some way distinguishable from just another political organization. At least then the races we'd be trying to run well would be for souls, rather than for senate seats.

21 May 2012

A wild music pun appears...

Following the Vienna premier of Falstaff, Giuseppe Verdi walked slowly away from the orchestra pit, leaving the musicians and the audience behind him. His fine suit was drenched in sweat; he had been conducting for hours in the sweltering heat of the Austrian summer.

As he labored, step by step, down the corridor towards his dressing room, a small boy - definitely not one of the nobility who sat fanning themselves in their boxes, perhaps a street urchin with a taste for fine opera - walked behind him.

"Signor Verdi?" the boy asked. "Signor Verdi?"

"Yes?" the great composer said, turning to look at the child.

"Do you need any help?" the boy asked.

"No," Verdi said, leaning on the wall, beginning to turn back towards the dressing room. The composer was not as young as he once had been; years of writing had taxed his eyes, and years of directing had left his body spent.

"I just want you to know," the boy said, "I think - I think -" he hesitated, staring at the great conductor standing in front of him.

Verdi pulled a handkerchief from his suit's front pocket and mopped his forehead as he looked over his shoulder at the boy.

"I think you're the best ever!" the boy managed to say.

Verdi's mouth tightened. A new generation of composers were already coming into their own - Puccini from Italy, Mussorgsky and Rimsky-Korsakov from Russia, Strauss and Brahms in Germany - and Verdi knew that his time in the spotlight was coming to a close.

"Yeah," Verdi said. "Sure." He put the handkerchief back into his suit and resumed his slow walk down the corridor, towards what suddenly felt like not just a dressing room but an overwhelmingly obvious metaphor.

The boy pulled a bottle from his jacket pocket.

"You want my Coke?" he asked.

The composer looked at him, stunned.

"It's okay," the boy said. "You can have it." He raised the bottle, offering it to the great man in front of him.

Verdi shook his head. "No, no," he said.

"Really, you can have it," the boy insisted.

Verdi smiled. "Okay," he said, reaching out and taking the bottle from the boy's hand. As he took the bottle, it was as if a new symphony, built of instruments such as no man had ever before heard, began filling the air with a joyous, heartwarming tune that managed to avoid infringing on the copyright of any composer popular or well-funded enough to sue.

Verdi began drinking the ice-cold soda, and a choir began singing from within him, filling his heart with delight. He tilted the bottle upwards and didn't put it down until every drop was gone.

The boy watched him with big eyes, let out a sigh, and began to walk back up the corridor towards the masses of audience members still applauding the opera's end. "See you around," he said, knowing in his heart that he would never have the opportunity to talk with the great composer again.

"Hey, kid," Verdi said, his smile broadening and the fatigue disappearing from his frame.

The boy turned, his mouth opening slightly in confusion.

"Catch," Verdi said, pulling the handkerchief from his pocket and throwing it to the boy.

"Wow!" the boy said, his young, innocent face lighting up with joy. "Thanks, Giuseppe!"

Verdi smiled at the happiness he had brought his young fan, and the happiness that the boy had brought him in return. As he turned to walk down the corridor to his dressing room, the future suddenly felt a little brighter.

18 May 2012

Scholium (2)

Nothing in this shocks us; nothing catches us una-
wares or radically alters our feeling towards life. We
were born inside the catastrophe and with it we
have drawn up a strange and peaceable relation of
habit.

Almost an intimacy. For as long as we can remem-
ber we have received no news other than that of
the world civil war.
 
We have been raised as survivors, as surviving ma-
chines. We have been raised with the idea that life
consisted in walking; walking until you collapse
among other bodies that walk identically, stum-

ble, and then collapse in turn in indifference. Ul-
timately the only novelty of the present times is
that none of this can be hidden anymore, that in
a sense everyone knows it. Hence the most recent
hardening of the system: its inner workings are
plain, it would be useless to try and conjure them
away.

Many wonder how no part of the left or far-left,
that none of the known political forces, is capable
of opposing this course of events. "But we live in
a democracy, right?" They can go on wondering
as long as they like: nothing that is expressed in
the framework of politics will ever be able to limit
the advance of the desert, because politics is part
of the desert.

We do not say this in order to advocate some ex-
tra-parliamentary politics as an antidote to liberal
democracy. The popular manifesto "We are the
Left", signed a couple of years ago by all the citi-
zen collectives and "social movements" to be found
in France, expresses well enough the logic that has
for thirty years driven extra-parliamentary poli-
tics: we do not want to seize power, overthrow the
state, etc.; so we want it to recognize us as valid
interlocutors.

Allison and Seliger: Hands

Mark Seliger - Portrait of Merce Cunningham 2009


I thought of my mama like a mountain or a cave, a force of nature, a woman who had saved her own life and mine, and would surely save us both over and over again. The wrinkles in her hands made me think of earthquakes and the lines under her eyes hummed of tidal waves in the night. If she was fragile, if she was human, then so was I, and anything might happen. If she were not the backbone of creation itself, then fear would overtake me. I could not allow that, would not. My child's solution was to try to cure my mother of wrinkles in the hope of saving her from death itself.
  - Dorothy Allison, "Mama"

17 May 2012

Scholium (1)

Here a new weapon of crowd dispersal, a kind
of fragmentation grenade made of wood, is
being subjected to live field tests. Meanwhile - in
Oregon - demonstrators blocking traffic face sen-
tences of twenty-five years imprisonment. In the
field of urban pacification the Israeli army is be-
coming the most prominent consultant. Experts
from all over the world rush to marvel at the latest,
most formidable and subtle findings in anti-sub-
versive technology. It would appear that the art of
wounding - wounding one to scare a hundred - has
reached untold summits. And then there is "ter-
rorism". That is to say, according to the European
Commission: "any offence committed intentional-
ly by an individual or a group against one or several
countries, their institutions or their populations,
and aiming at threatening them and seriously un-
dermining or destroying the political, economic or
social structures of a country." In the United States
there are more prisoners than farmers.

As it is reorganised and progressively recaptured,
public space is covered with cameras. Not only is
any surveillance now possible, it has become accep-
table. All sorts of lists of "suspects" circulate from
department to department, and we can scarcely
guess their probable uses. The social space once
traversed by flaneurs is now militarily marked and
sealed, and its ties of chatter and gossip have been
transformed into recriminate whispers, the sub-
stance of new micro-legal constraints. In the UK
the Anti Social Behaviour Orders have turned the
most petty disputes among neighbours into per-
sonally tailored edicts of exile, banishing a marked
individual from a street corner or proscribing the
wearing of hooded tops within a specific zone.
Meanwhile the Metropolitan Police, working with
members of the special forces, pursue their cam-
paign against terror with a series of "mistaken"
shootings. A former head of the CIA, one of those
people who, on the opposing side, get organized ra-
ther than get indignant, writes in Le Monde: "More
than a war against terrorism, what is at stake is the
extension of democracy to the parts of the [Arab
and Muslim] world that threaten liberal civilisa-
tion. For the construction and the defence of which
we have worked throughout the 20th century, du-
ring the First, and then the Second World War, fol-
lowed by the Cold War - or Third World War."

16 May 2012

On Neoconservatism and the South

From Richard Gray's 2000 book Southern Aberrations: Writers of the American South and the Problems of Regionalism:
In the words of one observer, commenting on the 1996 results, there has been "an almost complete reversal of regional party strength." Regional distinctiveness can still be seen in American politics. But now "the backbone of the Republican Part has become the South, as well as the states of the mountain West and much of the Plains."

One explanation for this reversal lies with those strange bedfellows, a free market and family values. A free market is motored by the engines of supply and demand; it is also fueled by an ideology of self-interest, and the commodification of people as paid labor and paying consumers. Family values, on the other hand, imply the subordination of self-interest to more social, consensual imperatives; for good or ill, men and women - and, in the past, women in particular - are obliged to choose tradition over vocation, to subject themselves not so much to the demands of the marketplace as to the prescriptions of inherited communal law.

One historian has complained that, "in the name of traditional virtue," Ronald Reagan's political agenda was in fact giving a "free hand to business practices that destroy neighborhoods, separate families, promote hedonism, encourage mobility, and plan obsolescence." That, perhaps, is to privilege the traditionalist side of the equation. A more neutral way of putting it might be to say that there is a latent tension in any program that aims both to deregulate the economy and to draw a protective circle, to build an insulated wall around the family.

Any tensions that there might be in the Republican program have not, however, discouraged Southerners, and white Southerners especially, from voting for the Grand Old Party: quite the opposite, because the party's promise of a bright new future wedded to a golden past has hit a responsive chord with them, echoing their own vacillation between hope and memory.

While the majority of black Southern voters remain loyal to the party of civil rights, the majority of white voters have shifted their allegiance to a party that embraces both productivity and primitive virtue, the pleasures of the marketplace and the pieties of blood and kin.
Now, I've made this argument before. More than once.

I'll keep making it as long as people I care about (and, aren't I supposed to care about everybody?) keep buying into this contradiction.

This isn't saying that I've got the right way of running the world. I'm not so arrogant as to think that I have the answers. It's just saying that if you claim to be a Christian, you can't logically believe in laissez-faire capitalism. That combination of beliefs doesn't work. At all. In any way.

Newsflash: Cops Lie

Sorry I've been out for a while - took a huge exam last weekend, been recovering.

Just wanted to throw two quick Occupy stories up for y'all to take a look at - one from New York, one from Seattle.

First off, Alexander Arbuckle, a photographer who was arrested in New York on January 1 was acquitted yesterday. He'd been arrested for disorderly conduct. The arrest report said that Arbuckle was standing in the street and blocking traffic after the cops ordered him off of it. The cop who arrested him testified, under oath, that Arbuckle was standing in the street and blocking traffic after the cops ordered Arbuckle off of it.

Problem:

There was a problem with the police account: it bore no resemblance to photographs and videos taken that night. Arbuckle's own photographs from the evening place him squarely on the sidewalk. All the video from the NYPD's Technical Research Assistance Unit, which follows the protesters with video-cameras (in almost certain violation of a federal consent decree), showed Arbuckle on the sidewalk. And in an indication of the way new media are transforming the dynamics of street protest, a clip from the live-stream of journalist Tim Pool showed that not only was Arbuckle on the sidewalk, so were all the other protesters. The only thing blocking traffic on 13th Street that night was the police themselves.
In other words: the cops lied in their arrest report, a cop lied under oath, and then the case was dismissed after Arbuckle showed video, both from the cops (which means the cops had it before the other cop testified) and from Occupy, proving that the cops lied.

Hurrah.

Second, Joshua Garland, who was arrested for assaulting a police officer at the May Day protests in Seattle. The charge was for "grabbing an officer's hand and twisting and pulling his arm," which, I don't know, seems kind of stupid. Again, charges were going ahead, again, the cops were ready to testify, again, footage came out of the guy completely not doing the thing that he was arrested for.
After reviewing video provided by Garland's defense attorney showing the alleged incident, prosecutors no longer believe they could prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Yeah, that's great, except, you know, you arrested the guy, threw him in a jail cell, and put his name out to the media as one of the big, bad protesters who necessitated your "emergency measures" downtown.

08 May 2012

Princess Leia is a Terrorist

It's funny because we've been taught to think of rebellion and insurgency as bad things. 





Santorum Hypocrisy

I'm not even going to say anything. I'll just let the man (and I use the term loosely) do it himself.

Santorum on February 25:
It's interesting that a guy who was himself pro-choice in 1996 would be criticizing me for that. Gov. Romney at that time was dead wrong, and even after his -- quote -- conversion in 2004, he continued to do things to undermine the pro-life cause. He glosses over and doesn't even tell the truth… Here is a guy who is the ultimate flip-flopper running for president, and he's attacking me for not being principled? That doesn't wash
Santorum on March 11: 
Unlike Governor Romney, who had public sector control of the healthcare system. The bills I voted for were private sector-oriented programs. Governor Romney and Barack Obama are exactly the same place on health care. Romneycare, Obamacare, the same, with a top-down government control of the resources, mandates and of course, now we know, thanks to--you know, an interview that you did and others--that Governor Romney actually advocated for the Massachusetts model that President Obama adopt, with mandates, and then went out on the campaign trail and repeatedly--well, he repeatedly told--didn't tell the truth. He went out and misled voters that somehow or another he was not for mandates at the federal level when, in fact, he was. He went out and said, "Oh, no, I didn't require Catholic hospitals to provide things that were against their conscience," when, in fact, he did. He said, "Oh, I didn't provide free abortions under Romneycare," when in fact he did for some. So he's repeatedly had big government solutions and then gone out and told the public, bald face, that he didn't do the things that he did.

[...]

He [Romney] was for climate change, man-made global warming. He put caps on CO2. And now that it's not popular, now that the climate change--guess who changed the law with it? Governor Romney. And well, you're looking at someone here who doesn't change with the climate. I stand for the principles that made this country great, limited government, free people, building a great society from the bottom up, not Governor Romney's top-down control that will not make the kind of contrast with Barack Obama that we absolutely need if we're going to win this election. 
Santorum on March 22: 
You win by giving people a choice. You win by giving people the opportunity to see a different vision for our country, not someone who’s just going to be a little different than the person in there. If you’re going to be a little different, we might as well stay with what we have instead of taking a risk with what may be the Etch A Sketch candidate of the future
 Romney's response on March 22, from same link:
I was disappointed to hear that Rick Santorum would rather have Barack Obama as president than a Republican.
Santorum today:  
The primary campaign certainly made it clear that Governor Romney and I have some differences. But there are many significant areas in which we agree: the need for lower taxes, smaller government, and a reduction in out-of-control spending. We certainly agree that abortion is wrong and marriage should be between one man and one woman. I am also comfortable with Governor Romney on foreign policy matters, and we share the belief that we can never allow Iran to possess nuclear weapons. And while I had concerns about Governor Romney making a case as a candidate about fighting against Obamacare, I have no doubt if elected he will work with a Republican Congress to repeal it and replace it with a bottom up, patient, not government, driven system.

07 May 2012

Ending Ulysses

Made weak by time and fate and drew him down to me but strong in will so he could feel my breasts To strive all perfume yes to seek and his heart was going like mad to find and yes I said yes I will Yes and not to yield.

06 May 2012

Voodoo Sabotage





assemble the following items: a hard-boiled 

egg, an iron nail, & 3 iron pins
(stick nail & needles into egg);

dried scorpion, lizard &/or beetles;
 a small chamois bag containing graveyard dirt,

magnetized iron fillings, asafoetida & sulphur,
& tied with a red ribbon.

Sew the charm into yellow silk
& seal it with red wax.

Place all these things in a wide-necked bottle,
cork it, & seal it with wax.

The bottle may now be carefully
packaged & sent by mail to the target

institution--for example a Xtian televangelist show,
the New York Post, the MUZAK company,

a school or college--along with a copy of
the following statement (extra copies

may be mailed to individual employees,
&/or posted surreptitiously around the premises):

Malay Black Djinn Curse
These premises have been cursed by black sorcery. 

The curse has been activated according to correct rituals. 
This institution is cursed because it has oppressed the Imagination 

& defiled the Intellect, degraded the arts toward stupefaction, 
spiritual slavery, propaganda for State & Capital, 

puritanical reaction, unjust profits, lies & aesthetic blight. 

The employees of this institution are now in danger. 
No individual has been cursed, but the place itself has been 

infected with ill fortune & malignancy. Those who do not wake 
up & quit, or begin sabotaging the workplace, will gradually fall 

under the effect of this sorcery. Removing or destroying 
the implement of sorcery will do no good. It has been seen 

in this place, & this place is cursed. Reclaim your humanity 
& revolt in the name of the Imagination-- or else be judged 

(in the mirror of this charm) 
an enemy of the human race.

03 May 2012

No charges? Five days, no water.

Story from NBC, RawStory, and Angry Asian Man blog.

Daniel Chong, a UC San Diego student, was smoking marijuana at a friend's apartment on 4/20 when the DEA showed up. Since all he was doing was, you know, smoking marijuana, the DEA agents didn't charge him with anything.

They just threw him in a 5x10 foot cell and forgot about him for five days. With no food and no water. By the third day, Chong was hallucinating from dehydration; before he was eventually released, he tried to commit suicide by breaking his glasses and cutting his arms.

When the DEA finally remembered that they'd put him there, he'd lost 15 pounds and had to spend three days in the ICU.
Chong said he could hear DEA employees and people in neighboring cells. He screamed to let them know he was there, but no one replied. He kicked the door, but no one came to get him.
By the time DEA officers found Chong in his cell Wednesday morning Chong was completely incoherent, said Iredale.

“I didn’t think I would come out,” Chong said.

02 May 2012

Sleeping With One Eye Open

Unmoved by what the wind does,
The windows
Are not rattled, nor do the various
Areas
Of the house make their usual racket --
Creak at
The joints, trusses and studs.
Instead,
They are still. And the maples,
Able
At times to raise havoc,
Evoke
Not a sound from their branches’
Clutches.
It’s my night to be rattled,
Saddled
With spooks. Even the half-moon
(Half man,
Half dark), on the horizon,
Lies on
Its side casting a fishy light
Which alights
On my floor, lavishly lording
Its morbid
Look over me. Oh, I feel dead,
Folded
Away in my blankets for good, and
Forgotten.
My room is clammy and cold,
Moonhandled
And weird. The shivers
Wash over
Me, shaking my bones, my loose ends
Loosen,
And I lie sleeping with one eye open,
Hoping
That nothing, nothing will happen.