Archive for January, 2011

Are you a person or an IPO?

January 23rd, 2011

Vermont Senator Virginia Lyons

Ever since the idiots on the United States Supreme Court who cannot tell the difference between a baby and a stock certificate, that is, “Justices” Kennedy, Roberts, Alito, Scalia, and Thomas, decided that corporations have the same rights to speech under the First Amendment as individual human beings, thus removing any possible legal impediment to an inundation of corporate political campaign spending, there has been a howling need to amend the Constitution to repair the damage.  Now the Vermont legislature is taking a step to do just that.  Readers of this blog who are Vermont residents, please call your Senators and Representatives and urge them to support J.R.S. 11.  Readers from other states, please ask your legislators to emulate Vermont and pass something like the following as soon as possible.

J.R.S. 11. Joint resolution urging the United States Congress to propose an amendment to the United States Constitution for the states’ consideration which provides that corporations are not persons under the laws of the United States or any of its jurisdictional subdivisions.
Whereas, free and fair elections are essential to American democracy and effective self-governance, and

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Huck and Slave Jim’s Excellent Adventure

January 15th, 2011

Professor Alan Gribben of the University of Alabama – a Mark Twain scholar, no less – is publishing an edition of Huckleberry Finn in which the word “nigger” does not appear.  No more Nigger Jim.  “Slave” is the euphemism our professor has chosen to replace “nigger,” all 219 instances of it in the work, if “slave” can be considered a euphemism for anything.  The rationale offered for the change is to avoid offending contemporary black sensibilities and thereby to gain readers for Twain.

It is touching that such sensitivity should emanate from a bulwark of the former Confederacy. One would not think that a person makes amends for former sins by covering them up, and in any event it is a peculiar tactic to cover up the sin of racial denigration by repeatedly referring in its place to the greater sin of chattel bondage, but white guilt takes us to some strange places.  I don’t know whether guilt actually is the motivation here, but it seems implicit in the project.

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RIP the Arizona Six

January 9th, 2011

“What really matters, what is the great black beast that we have to fear, is the right wing.”  – Lyndon Baines Johnson

So it begins.  When you draw a target on someone, as Sarah Palin did on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, don’t be surprised when someone starts shooting.

Update, Sunday, January 9, 2011: Alas, this kind of behavior calls into question the sincerity of Palin’s condolences.  Not that one expects much sincerity of a sociopath.   The friend who forwarded the link to me made a comment about “the banality of evil,” but I question his word choice.  I think it would be more accurate to characterize this as an example, not of the banality of evil, but of the evil of evil.

I am thinking today about my mother

January 2nd, 2011

I am thinking today of my mother, who died on May 26, 2009, after a long siege of cancer.  Her struggle at the end was not so much with the disease – you can’t really struggle with something you can’t see, touch, or for the most part feel – but with her body’s extraordinary resilience and vitality, which far outlasted her desire to remain within it. Her body fought on long after the war was lost and everything it was fighting for, which we may subsume under the pallid rubric “quality of life”, was irretrievably destroyed.

My mother was the most intelligent person I have ever known.  Most of us think of intelligence as the ability to score well on standardized tests, or to deploy fluently a large

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