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Scott’s Bluff, Neb.;  thanks to Todd MortenRalph Albert BlakelockHalo Reach video gameHousing tract

J.P.Morgan, NYCBuster KeatonForeclosureFire, San Bruno, Ca.Glenn Beck, ratings falling

The two permissible Parties

Barbara Davis, Beverly HillsJanis Joplin, San Francisco

Maricopa County, AZNuclear power plant, GeorgiaFire, blown gas mainsTom  McGuane, ranch, MontanaHarry Truman House,  Independence, Mo.Senators Paul Rand and Mitch McConnellWTC, Building #3Grafitti, New York subway

Winter is fading, its weather cataclysms slipping from mind, the promise of spring hinting at better things to come.  Such are the age-old cycles which, even in our technically distorted world, still function.  The cold gray lifts, the sun slants less obliquely, eros stirs.  Meantime out in the broader world other things are stirring, sending quivers through the Beltway calculus.  Utterly unanticipated, a Tunisian peddler set himself aflame, and in less than two months the entire middle-east, repository of America’s “national interests” in the form of oil, is likewise engulfed.  In Libya the tragi-comic figure of Gaddafi holds on, and Europe and America ponder whether to intervene to lessen the blood being spilled, though these policies are mitigated by a long colonial history of Western exploitation, which in truth is in large measure the cause of the current crises.  In America the faint glimmer of an alleged economic up-turn is now at the mercy of mobs calling for democracy and dismantling the dictatorships which had for some decades kept “stability” with the support of our oil hungry “democracies.”

Here at home, hot on the heels of their November winnings at the polls, the Republicans and their Tea-Party cohorts have reached quickly to translate their views into policy.  In Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana, governors and firm Statehouse Republican majorities are looking to wipe out what vestiges of union life remain in America, and are taking their cleavers to budgets for almost everything (except the military).  In the US Congress they’re doing the same.  Carried out these should up the unemployment rolls a good bit, and trash the wheezing of the communal economic corpse even more.  Pundits theorize this is purposeful, to assure a victory in the Presidential elections in 2 more years.   I’m inclined to agree though I doubt the result will be the hoped-for GOP landslide, rather it would appear there will be a harsh backlash which will whip Obama back into office for another term – Obama, whose policies are very marginal improvements on those of his predecessor.  However articulate his tongue, this President appears to be a master of the jive and shuck, saying one thing but doing another, always able to say it is better than what the crazed far-right would do.  It now seems an obvious bit of sleight-of-hand on the part of our not-so-hidden rulers. In America we might say presidents are always “right.”

So while soon the flowers will bloom, and a sunnier disposition will be only natural, it will most likely be a pleasant delusion as the next steps of our national restructuring are carried out: more work, less pay (for those who have work); no work and no social support net for those without work.  This will be the order of the day, all in the name of saving the economy.  Meantime the CEO’s of the big banks and corporations will reward themselves with yet bigger bonuses.   400 individual Americans taken together hold the same wealth as 150 million other Americans share together.  Such is our nation.  Until, perhaps soon, the things we’ve seen in Cairo and Libya arrive here.

Spiral Jetty, from James Benning’s Casting a Glance

The Milky Way, our galaxy



  1. I have long surmised that as long as a large enough swath of middle America had the means to purchase their McMansions, SUVs, big screen televisions, etc. they wouldn’t notice how little they really have compared to those at the very top.

    Unfortunately for that swath of middle America things aren’t so rosy any longer. And regardless of the incremental employment numbers (but note the pay scale of those new jobs) it seems middle America may do without for a rather long, long time. After all, there are a finite number of dollars in the economy and as the very top takes more someone else must get less.

    Perhaps this very economic downturn is sewing the seeds of change. Perhaps the masses of young men and women graduating universities only to find few jobs and still fewer paying anything they dare hoped to make, will look back and remember the policies and agenda of a certain political party who appeared to want to destroy the middle class as their sole purpose.

    • Yes, I think as the need-a-degree scam plays out, and people are saddled with “education debt” and find it means little or nothing to have a piece of paper in an economy with few jobs, and living in the old childhood room grows more constricting, we will see something happen. The problem is that whichever way we look at it, America’s wealth is going to diminish as our empire is challenged by others, raw materials grow scarce and more costly, etc. That our upper class seems unable to see that their grabbing of virtually all that’s left is going to make a socio-political pressure cooker of things that will in due time (perhaps much sooner than imagined) lose them everything is that part that is odd, though history says it happens every time, everywhere. Perhaps humans, rich or poor, just never learn.

        • forkboy1965
        • Posted March 13, 2011 at 10:06 pm
        • Permalink

        Imagine my surprise when as a 35-year old adult I returned to university and procured a degree in Accounting.

        Moving upon graduation for my wife’s employer to Dayton, Ohio I quickly discovered how useless was my time, energy and effort. No jobs. No opportunities.

        5.5 years later and I remain unemployed. First two years (2005-2007): 6-interviews and a smattering of temporary work.

        My home-based, self-created business folded at the end of 2009 after 1.5 years as my clients all went under.

        The only good thing from all this: we paid for my education as I took my classes.

        All I can remember were all the kudos and atta-boys when I returned and graduated. All the comments about how things were going to be so much better. So much more financially secure.

        Not one of my family members or friends mention those platitudes these days.

  2. That picture of Glen Beck is perfect!

  3. Fitting that the guy who made the image at the top would know something about “education debt.” I don’t regret graduate school, but it’s in no wise a guarantee of greener pastures.

    Whose picture of the locomotive there?

  4. The photographer was Ogle Winston Link (I think for this photo – I have seen many others and this is likely his though where I found was not credited.) See for more info; also in Wikipedia. He did lots of fantastic things. A quick check on him in Google images doesn’t show this one, so it might not be his.

  5. Just wanted to pop by and tell you how much I enjoy your posts in the NY Times comment threads. I envy your economy of words!
    Rev. Eliot

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