"Navigator" - The Pogues
They died in their hundreds with no sign to mark where
Save the brass in the pocket of the entrepreneur.
By landslide and rockblast they got buried so deep
That in death if not life they'll have peace while they sleep.
Their mark on this land is still seen and still laid
The way for a commerce where vast fortunes were made
The supply of an Empire where the sun never set
Which is now deep in darkness, but the railway's there yet
A plea for a massive infrastructure program undertaken by workers who will accept payment in whiskey.
- This was a really excellent piece in the Washington Post by Alexander Keyssar about the complete unraveling of the social contract in America. Keyssar posits that the American social contract consisted of three important components -- 1) the regulation of business to stop the excesses of capitalism that threatened the safety and stability of society; 2) the allowance for workers to organize in order to demand a greater share of the pie created by capitalism; and 3) social insurance to alleviate the hardships that could not be addressed in the marketplace or workplace. He argues in this article that all three of these pillars of the social contract, which have been under attack for decades, are now seriously threatened. Moreover, he points out that things like the Citizens United decision, the Republican pushed voter ID laws, and the attacks on the 17th Amendment and the direct election of senators, constitute an attack on democracy itself. A world in which this social contract is destroyed and the electoral means to rectify it made difficult, if not impossible, is not a world in which I am anxious to live.
Keyssar was my professor for post-Civil War American History back in 1979 at Brandeis. He was a terrific classroom teacher. Naturally those bastards over in Cambridge snatched him away with their big money and fancy chairs, as they were wont to do with our young star faculty in those days.
- I have to laugh at the desperate need of right wingers to have their hands held during even the most innocuous of events. And their obvious amnesia about what actually happened on 9-11 -- about the only time in my life where I think I was looking for some presidential leadership and got absolutely zero from "Pet Goat Boy." It was actually quite stunning being here in DC that day, with chaos afoot and an utter void at the White House -- an absolute shameful fucking silence. But we are made of strong stuff here -- we can pick our plastic lawn chairs up without government assistance. Did I wait for the Red Cross to show up yesterday to put Stanley's picture back up on the shelf? Fuck no!
- Jim Benton posed this question below in comments: "Why is it important to you that Perry -- and the majority of Republican Presidential candidates in the last two election cycles -- claim to be willing to consider creationism and evolution equivalent?" Here is my stab at it. I think it is important that politicians attempt to undertake policies that have an empirical basis indicating their efficacy. I would not want to elect someone who believes that the National Institutes of Health should promote "bleeding" or "hot cupping" as a means for treating illness nor someone who believes that the alleged grant of dominion over the birds of the air and the fish in the sea in the Bible means we should indiscriminately slaughter animals to the point of extinction. Nor do I want to elect someone who has no sense of the scientific method or other evidence-based modes of thinking. And I sure as hell don't want to elect someone who thinks that the abstinence-only approach to sex education and family planning works.
Everyone feel free to join in on this and anything else that moves you.