Gravity's Rainbow

botany, shoes, books, and justice

January 27, 2017
by sarcozona
0 comments

My self care is bad for congressional staffers

Waking up and reading the news makes me feel pretty bad. I’ve been dealing with that on and off through the years by writing letters to my elected officials. I don’t know that any of them every made a difference, but it does make me feel better.

Lately, it seems like a lot of people are writing letters and making phone calls to their elected officials, often about things that matter to me. That feels good, like other people care about me and the world I live in. In return, I’d like to let you all know that I care about you and the world you live in. And here’s some of how I expressed that this week:

  • On Monday I called my senators to oppose DeVos’s confirmation because pretty much the only thing that makes this gilded age better than the last is that there are fewer children in (American) factories. Also I’m pretty sure she’d jack up rates on my student loans and I already can’t afford the interest on those.
  • On Tuesday, I called my senators and representative to encourage them to support public funding for the arts and education, specifically PBS and the NEA because the kind of stuff they fund can be a lifeline for poor, rural kids like I was.
  • On Wednesday, I called my senators and representative to oppose the EPA grant freeze and support funding for science because I want a job one day. And drinking water that doesn’t do weird stuff to my gonads.
  • On Thursday, I followed up with my senators about DeVos. Like, seriously, she didn’t even know that schools have to educate and support disabled kids. I told McCain I agreed with his initial assessment of Tillerson for Secretary of State and am disappointed that he now supports him. I also thanked McCain for his continued strong opposition to torture. I told Flake that his support for Perry for energy secretary was a bad idea given that Perry didn’t even know what the DOE did and what the DOE does is maintain our ageing nuclear arsenal and keep us from accidentally blowing ourselves sky high. I also contacted my representative asking him to support more compassionate refugee and fair immigration programs. Or to at least stop bombing the places we’re banning immigration from.
  • On Thursday night I watched Bring It On.
  • On Friday, I called my senators and representative to support Senator Markey and Representative Lieu’s bill to prohibit the conduct of a first-use nuclear strike absent a declaration of war by Congress. I think dealing with climate change is really important, but nuclear winter is not my preferred solution. I read John McCain’s list of reasons to support NAFTA for Arizona and agreed that there are some benefits, but asked him to renegotiate anyway and eliminate labor arbitrage, worker exploitation, and environmental destruction, all of which outweigh any benefits. I told Jeff Flake I was pretty pissed at his support for the March for Life and that if he really wanted to reduce abortion rates he should stop voting to defund planned parenthood and early childhood programs. And I thanked O’Halleran for telling Paul Ryan to stfu about the ACA and pointing out the good it’s done in tribal communities. But I also told him to get a move on single payer.

 

January 3, 2017
by sarcozona
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I love when cranky people write in to the newspaper about trivial things so much. This had me chortling over my toast this morning:

“Goes extinct?” (Salish Sea orca population on brink, 25 November). Since when did this become the normal way to talk about extinction? Is this some Americanism that has become acceptable worldwide? I come across this again and again in the Guardian Weekly and it really grates on my nerves. Extinction isn’t a place that organisms go to or have gone to. Organisms become extinct.
Monique Gallwey
Saint Louis, France

December 30, 2016
by sarcozona
0 comments

Full employment

After years of hibernation, will the US economy rouse itself for a big comeback over the next couple of years? With an incoming Republican administration hellbent on reflating an economy already near full employment, and with promised trade restrictions driving up the price of import-competing goods, and with central-bank independence likely to come under attack, higher inflation – likely exceeding 3% at times – is a near-certainty. And output growth could surprise as well, possibly reaching 4%, at least temporarily. [emphasis mine]

Paragraphs like these are how Trump got elected. Paragraphs like these are a slap in the face to struggling people. I’m just going to talk about one part of it.

Full employment:

Millions of Americans in communities so economically devastated people don’t even dream of looking for work. Millions of Americans who want work and have given up on finding it. Millions of Americans working multiple jobs and still not making ends meet. Millions of Americans who want more hours and can’t get them. Millions of Americans dying of drug and alcohol abuse because their economic prospects are unbearably grim and their communities devastated.

An economics prof at Harvard wrote that paragraph with a straight face in The Guardian recently. I know he’s using full employment in the very technical and specific economics textbook sense. But even if you believe that model of the world in any way represents reality, to use the phrase full employment without even a nod to the vast gap between the literal meaning and the discipline-specific meaning and without any acknowledgement of the depth of suffering occurring under this “full employment” – it is cruel, it is ignorant, and it allows the very worst kind of political discourse to flourish.