Big Smoke

'cause it's hard to see from where I'm standin'

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  • Published: May 13th, 2010
  • Category: Society
  • Comments: 1

I’m Too Young For This

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I’m still twenty-something, still running the starter motor on a career – any career. I can’t already be in the “what is this world coming to” mode yet. Not for another thirty years more at least.

In times of boon more government subsidies are given to the middle class: Highway construction and maintenance, tax breaks for homeowners, etc. But whenever we’re in the red, the poor must pay – mass transit gets cut. State unions get double pressure from the state and from public opinion, as low-paid private sector workers inevitably fall upon their public sector brethren in a lamentable divide-and-conquer scenario.

But what strikes me as truly unconscionable is that public schools and libraries are almost always the first to go. The NYCDoE is running for another round of thousands of layoffs (I was laid off last October), and now Queens Library stands to lose 14 branch libraries. Where can society go without education? Even during the Great Depression, these things remained sacrosanct. It reminds me of that term floating about the blogosphere: “Epistemic Closure.”

We’re Rome circa 400AD. All the great thinkers are dead and new ones are not replacing them.* The societal zeitgeist is more in tune with marketing rather than message. One political party is more interested in winning elections than governing, the other is stuck in an endless loop of second-guessing if any one necessary, life-saving act is even politically feasible, and they’re both bought, paid for and essentially wholly-owned subsidiaries of corporations who bleed society at large and whose only products of note are rich ex-CEOs.

Yeah, yeah, “we all have to tighten our belts.” Why, however, are the belts wrapped around our heads?

I know Obama’s plate is more than full, but he seriously needs to consider bailing out the states. The feds can run a debt. The states can’t, and apparently Paterson (and others) are too stupid to understand what it means to cut education.

*Consequently, I hate Augustine of Hippo, hypocritical charlatan that he was.

Fire the Editors

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Andrew Leonard makes a rather tongue-in-cheek article about how Apple fanboys are railing against Obama over a speech he recently made at Hampton University, in which he says,

“Meanwhile, you’re coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don’t rank all that high on the truth meter. With iPods and iPads; Xboxes and PlayStations; information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment.”

Leonard ends his article by clarifying that Obama is, after all, pointing out the difference between educating oneself on the world and filling one’s free time with the hyper-grapevine New Media has become. Hey, it’s a valid point and Leonard agrees with it. Which is why Salon titles his article “Obama’s self-hating iPad attack” and gives it a picture of Obama’s laser-beam eyes blowing up an iPad.

Thereby proving Leonard’s and Obama’s point. Irony.

Revisionism

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A very, very odd debate on the comments of this article can be summed up as shock over a statement one conservative made that, in essence, because liberals are moral relativists and statists, they are at the polar opposite, ideologically, from the concepts of universal human rights and individual liberty, for they could not fathom something being morally right all the time.

Ergo, said conservative continued, it was the conservatives that have always stood at the forefront of civil rights and pacifism, not the liberals. This sounds a lot like the sort of arguments that have been trotted about the conservative echo machine since Jonah Goldberg wrote his book.

Names like Woodrow Wilson and Leo Strauss are trotted out as proof, supposedly, that the liberal message hasn’t changed since then, which is something like trotting out Charles Darwin’s first book as proof that the theory of evolution is flawed, forgetting of course the body of scientific progress since then (or similarly, that all collectivist thought is bunk, using only Karl Marx’ work as example).

We supposedly live in a world where Lincoln freed the Blacks for purely altruistic reasons (saving Thomas Jefferson’s reputation in the meanwhile) and the Democratic party is still primarily Dixiecrats and educated elit(ist)s who dream up eugenics clauses. LBJ’s abandonment of the South in favor of a more inclusive party and Barry Goldwater’s subsequent entreaties to the same in the name of exclusion means nothing, and nor does FDR’s about-face on Wilson’s racist xenophobia with his statement, “we have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Strom Thurmond, of course, died in 1964.

Not that it matters, because the other half of this argument is that, because liberals have enacted collectivist policies through the state, they must be totalitarian – no matter if the state is representative or not. So Hitler’s destruction of the trade unions and Stalin’s purging of the party mean nothing, nor does theirs’ or Mussolini’s purging of intellectuals, radical dissidents or, y’know, gays, Jews, Blacks, or foreigners (most if not all of whom vote overwhelmingly Democrat here.) Wilson’s “world police” interventionist Internationalism was certainly not the central motive of Nixon’s or Reagan’s or Bush’s militarism, no sirree.

Of course, the argument’s just an anti-Democrat troll meant as the latest in a long line of fear-mongering disinformation poorly hiding the fact that it’s all a massive case of projection. The question, I suppose, is: Is this unbelievable twisted revisionism’s utter incredulity symptomatic of a sick electorate or the death of the party that espouses it? Ayn Rand’s faux-intellectual Objectivist screed has certainly found a certain brand of follower, sure, but rarely is it taken seriously…

Oh My

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Not only did the NYPD make an arrest without having to waterboard anybody, but more arrests were made by working in tandem with law enforcement in – of all countries – Pakistan. It’s like the GOP narrative is breaking down as we speak. How dare Obama’s effete, liberal agenda on cooperation bear fruit!

Bravo NYPD

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Another potential attack is foiled by the NYPD – this time a carbomb parked in Times Square – and just like last time they didn’t have to go all Jack Bauer about it. The bag vendor who tipped the cops even proved the boon of the much-advertised suggestion, “If you see something, say something.”

Moreover, the trial on the Critical Mass incident has concluded with a conviction against Pogan – if not for assault than for falsifying records. That’s right: A pot-smoking wise-cracking activist who admitted he hates the police won a case against a cop son of a cop.

While Obama is continuing Bush’s policies against civil liberties and the racist xenophobia still reigns supreme in the South and Southwest, at least NYC still believes in the rule of law. Hurrah!

Stopping For Red Lights

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Chris Raschka is clearly a man not in a hurry to get anywhere.

Consequently: Of course cabbies like it. They’d also like if you dropped dead.

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