political system, racism, recently noted
May 21, 2020
The May 21, 2020 Issue of the London Review of Books contains a review article, “The Corrupt Bargain” by Columbia U. Professor Eric Foner1. It is a wonderful review of the history of this peculiar institution, The Electoral College. In the midst of his survey of the history of the electoral college system he notes: A candidate can carry a dozen or so large states by small margins and capture the presidency while trailing far —>> read more –>>
books, economy, education, family, healthcare, inequality, justice/jails, politics
May 1, 2020
Tightrope provides a well-written description of the American crisis through personal stories and hard data. Unfortunately it falls flat in its call for action.
economy, free-market ideology, inequality, politics
May 1, 2020
The rich and corporations win even during a global pandemic.
environment, free-market ideology, political system, video-movies-podcasts
March 1, 2020
Back in the early and mid ‘70s both Karen and I worked in various machine shops and other industrial locations. Trichloroethylene (TCE) was used on a daily basis to clean metals parts and other materials. I remember a large tank of slowly roiling hot TCE at Stevens Arnold, Inc. in South Boston. I would use it several times a day to clean parts. Every week or so I would be detailed to drain the tank, —>> read more –>>
February 14, 2020
Perhaps the ceaseless clamoring for our attention by marketers is reaching its final stage of saturation in which our brains simply shut down and go on attention strike.
economy, family, inequality, recently noted
January 17, 2020
Essay explores the grim reality of life in one small corner of America within the broader landscape of the bottom 90%.
economy, free-market ideology
December 16, 2019
In an area with dozens of empty store fronts and several hundred thousand sq ft of empty space, a new strip mall is approved for construction. A rational market??
empire, politics, security state
December 13, 2019
How America Tortures by M. P. Denbeaux, & Seton Hall University. (2019) This report includes eight drawings by Abu Zubaydah, a Guantanamo detainee, illustrating his experiences during torture sessions. Abu Zubaydah is also a figure in the movie discussed below. This report is really a short book, some 95 pages including extensive notes, that covers all aspects of the CIA torture program. Download the report here>>>>. Here are screen grabs of the Abu Zubaydah drawings —>> read more –>>
environment, recently noted, video-movies-podcasts
December 9, 2019
Over 90% of plastic materials in consumer items and packaging end up in landfill dumps. Time for industry to take responsibility for their waste.
November 20, 2019
It is a continuing source of amazement and consternation that most conservatives and evangelical Christians support Trump. So many of his character features would seem to be inimical to both of these groups. We won’t list them here since that is hardly necessary. Trump demonstrates them on a daily if not hourly basis. Thankfully there are a few conservatives who have retained enough common sense and morality to oppose Trump and Trump Republicanism. A major —>> read more –>>
economy, free-market ideology, politics
October 27, 2019
Nobel Prize winners Duflo and Bannerjee take on idealized views of markets. They target the role of financial incentives, markets as self-correcting, efficient and ethically sound.
free-market ideology, racism, recently noted
October 15, 2019
A challenging take on the state of racism in the US. Harvard sociologist Orlando Patterson reviews books on Clarence Thomas and his views on countering intractable white racism.
environment, recently noted
October 4, 2019
The New Yorker published “Value Meal: Impossible Foods wants to save the world by inventing a better burger” by Tad Friend in the 9/30/2019 issue. During the introductory paragraphs the following statistic was cited: Every four pounds of beef you eat contributes to as much global warming as flying from New York to London—and the average American eats that much each month.
September 14, 2019
9/12/2019 A lecture at the Hudson Area Library tonight, Slavery and Dutch-Palatine Farmers: How did middle class farmers in Colonial New York interact with slavery?’ by Travis M. Bowman. The lecture began with the note that slavery in NY state lasted for over 200 years – from 1625 when the Dutch East India Company began the import and sale of slaves in New York City ending with its outlawing in 1827. Mr. Bowman brought new —>> read more –>>
environment, project blog
September 6, 2019
Friday 9/6/2019 Over the last several months I have been working on a restatement of the fundamental characteristics of the capitalist system. In doing this I have been thinking afresh about the current crisis of global warming and the surrounding environmental disasters of species extinction and the general defacement of the earth. I will complete this restatement shortly. Meanwhile I have rearranged the section of the website devoted to the environment to a more prominent —>> read more –>>
empire, recently noted, video-movies-podcasts
August 22, 2019
We’ve written quite a bit about the US Empire. A key component of this US foreign policy is regime change. Here is a list of the posts here on this topic. Recently Democracy Now! ran a 22 minute discussion of the history of US regime change actions over the last 100 years plus. It features discussion with Stephen Kinzer the author of many books on the history of American foreign policy.
other, political system
August 2, 2019
…nations are based as much on what people collectively agree to forget as what they wish to remember. In a visit in February 2019 to a photography exhibit, Imagined Communities by Mila Teshaieva, at the MIT Museum I came across this paraphrase from the late 19th century French historian Ernest Renan: …nations are based as much on what people collectively agree to forget as what they wish to remember. In the present moment we might revise —>> read more –>>
education, inequality, racism, recently noted
July 17, 2019
The recent controversies surrounding Joe Biden’s anti- school busing collaborations with racist politicians from the south has for the moment aroused new comment on segregated America. The New York Times published an excellent review of the history of school desegregation by Nikole Hannah-Jones, “It Was Never About Busing: Court-ordered desegregation worked. But white racism made it hard to accept.” As the article notes the yellow school bus has been in use for almost a hundred years. —>> read more –>>
economy, free-market ideology
June 26, 2019
Robert Reich is continuing his series of brief YouTube videos on progressive view of the economy. This is a good introduction to the arguments for re-invigorating our protections against monopolies. However, the problem is much more widespread than just the high tech industry. We’ve written about this broader phenomenon in The Monopolization of America. Here is one chart from that post. Dominance of Corporate Behemoths – NYTimes – 11/25/2108 The concentration of market power is —>> read more –>>