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The ill logic of the lower classes

Lone marsh tree

It’s the Ninth Day After the Solstice, and I’m back at the shack after checking up on my house, which stopped feeling homey after a tree fell on it last year. Some of my old neighbors are doing OK, judging by the number of houses with Christmas decorations. Some of the those who weren’t doing OK have died. Others — the ones who, because of joblessness or a catastrophe, couldn’t make their mortgage payments — have simply disappeared.

On my way back to the swamp I ran into one of the disappeared — a big, blustery guy who used to remind me of a circus strong man, probably because of the striped tank tops he wore in the summer. Today he was wearing dark glasses and a ratty coat with a big hood, and he seemed about four inches shorter, but I recognized him and said hello as we crossed paths on the sidewalk. He returned my hello but didn’t stop walking. I got the impression he was homeless but I can’t be sure, because I didn’t stop walking either.

When I got back here I asked the swamp rabbit, an amateur shrink as well as a closet bibliophile, why my former neighbor and I had shied away from one another. He spit into the Tinicum swamp and said, “Your ex-neighbor feels like a bum. He’d feel even more like a bum talking to you, because you knew him when he had a house. And I reckon you didn’t want him to know you feel like a bum, too.”

I reminded the rabbit that I’m a fiction writer, not a bum. He asked me what the difference was. It was noon, but he already smelled like he’d finished off a bottle.

I said, “You’ve got a lot of nerve, all you do is drink Wild Turkey and spit in the swamp.”

“Think about it,” he replied. “It ain’t just them hyper-capitalists and their lap dogs in Congress that blame the poors for being poor. The poors blame themselves. They don’t even raise hell when food stamps get cut and unemployment benefits get killed after six months. If they do raise hell, it’s agin each other.”

“You don’t understand the fear, you dumb rodent. Things only get worse when people rock the boat. Demand better wages and you just get fired and disappear. The New Deal is done, the rich have the whip hand until things change again.”

I read him the tail end of a column by Paul Krugman:

Too many Americans currently live in a climate of economic fear. There are many steps that we can take to end that state of affairs, but the most important is to put jobs back on the agenda.

The rabbit twitched his nose and chuckled. “Whose agenda? Jobs are on your agenda if you’re jobless, but they ain’t if you’re in the owner class. The owners don’t need more workers, they’re making bigger profits without them. Who’s gonna make them hire, especially when they know the poors are busy blamin’ themselves for being poor?”

I threw one of his empty bottles at him. I hate it when the varmint makes more sense than that guy in The New York Times.

Best news bloopers of 2013

Really funny, some not suitable for work!

Iggles

As you may know, they beat the Cowboys last night to win the NFC East title. While I may hate football, I hate the Cowboys, too. Everyone around here hates the Cowboys (and the Mets, and the Rangers).

Everybody knows Miss Jackie

OFFICER GARY SKERSKI 1958 - 2006This mural is painted on the wall of the Bridesburg Rec Center.

I don’t know if every neighborhood has a Miss Jackie, but I hope so. This little woman is a powerhouse who’s touched the lives of so many families in our neighborhood.

Another reason why drones are immoral

MQ-1 Predator Unmanned Drone with Hellfire Missiles Flying at Sunset.
One of the many reasons I detest drones is the moral remove they provide to those who order their use. When you’re a politician or a general, it’s very easy to detach yourself from what happens from an eye in the sky (unlike the people who have to witness the results), which is what makes it such a dangerous tool. Read this to learn about the effects on the operators:

Whenever I read comments by politicians defending the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Predator and Reaper program – aka drones – I wish I could ask them some questions. I’d start with: “How many women and children have you seen incinerated by a Hellfire missile?” And: “How many men have you seen crawl across a field, trying to make it to the nearest compound for help while bleeding out from severed legs?” Or even more pointedly: “How many soldiers have you seen die on the side of a road in Afghanistan because our ever-so-accurate UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicle] were unable to detect an IED [improvised explosive device] that awaited their convoy?”

Few of these politicians who so brazenly proclaim the benefits of drones have a real clue of what actually goes on. I, on the other hand, have seen these awful sights first hand.

I knew the names of some of the young soldiers I saw bleed to death on the side of a road. I watched dozens of military-aged males die in Afghanistan, in empty fields, along riversides, and some right outside the compound where their family was waiting for them to return home from mosque.

The US and British militaries insist that this is such an expert program, but it’s curious that they feel the need to deliver faulty informationfew or no statistics about civilian deaths and twisted technology reports on the capabilities of our UAVs. These specific incidents are not isolated, and the civilian casualty rate has not changed, despite what our defense representatives might like to tell us.

What the public needs to understand is that the video provided by a drone is a far cry from clear enough to detect someone carrying a weapon, even on a crystal-clear day with limited clouds and perfect light. This makes it incredibly difficult for the best analysts to identify if someone has weapons for sure. One example comes to mind: “The feed is so pixelated, what if it’s a shovel, and not a weapon?” I felt this confusion constantly, as did my fellow UAV analysts. We always wonder if we killed the right people, if we endangered the wrong people, if we destroyed an innocent civilian’s life all because of a bad image or angle.

Blerg

I am going to dieeeeeee,,hate u flu :((((

Whatever that thing is that’s going around, I have it. Hopefully my flu shot will keep things to a minimum.

UPDATE: I thought I was just middle-aged creaky when I got up, but it’s been a couple of hours now and my rib cage hurts in my back when I breathe. And I do breathe!

UPDATE: I just realized the back pain is from carrying my broken microwave out to the trash last night. Never mind!

Way down now

More:

Time in a bottle

Christine Collister:

Bell bottom blues

Derek and the Dominoes:

Mr. Tambourine Man

Dylan:

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