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I have long been wary of the fetish among the business and political classes for efficiency. It’s a frequent rationale for bureaucratic decisions that seem to come at the expense of living, breathing people.

A Good Read

Thomas Frank (“What’s the Matter with Kansas?”) speaks with Barry Lynn at Salon on the reemergence of monopolies in America. Lynn describes how, rather than overturning laws on the books for decades, the Reagan administration changed the way the laws regulating monopolies were enforced.

Yes, that was what was so brilliant about what they did. The Department of Justice establishes guidelines that detail how regulators plan to interpret certain types of laws. So the Reagan people did not aim to change the antimonopoly laws themselves, because that would have sparked a real uproar. Instead they said they planned merely to change the guidelines that determine how the regulators and judiciary are supposed to interpret the law.

The Justice Dept. went from raising its eyebrows in the 1960s at mergers that concentrated a few percent of a market to waving though deals involving 80-90% of it.

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Jun
06

D-Day

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This is a cross-post from NeverNesters (www.nevernesters.com)

 

Arielle and I tend to get a little roller-coastery on the question of spawning, but taking a long view you’d pretty much have to say declines have led advances. For long luxurious periods of our marriage we’ve enjoyed a warm relationship with the idea of never procreating. In fact we bought this very Web address back in 2012, I think.

The goal was to carve out a space wherein the intentionally childless could explore their condition. Seemed to us that more and more like-minded folks were making that decision. We were thinking big with the concept.  Read More→

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May
08

Osama [hearts] Whitney

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The following is a crosspost from www.nevernesters.com 

 

Last week Arielle and I went to go see Transcendence. It was larky, this expedition: we’d never heard of the movie and knew nothing about it save “Johnny Depp” and “sci-fi.” It SUCKED!

But this post is not meant simply to harangue Transcendence (a movie whose tag line could’ve been: In which a man stuck in a big flat screen TV engineers nanites that don’t get mean exactly, but sort of do!) I have bigger fish to fry. The fish is Hollywood’s depiction of bad guys, these days. And actually, now that I think about it, it’s also Hollywood’s depictions of good guys. I guess in general the fish I’m frying (probably more sautéing, honestly, in a little butter, because I heart movies enduringly and heart Hollywood and heart capital “c” Creatives) is Hollywood, which for the purposes of this screed I will call H-Wood, so as not to have to look plainly in the face the object of my abuse.  Read More→

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The following is a crosspost from www.nevernesters.com

 

There’s an essay by Jedediah Purdy in the new n+1  that I found difficult and a little embarrassing but really, really worthwhile. I didn’t know who he was. His political consciousness struck mine like the mallet striking the big damn gong.

At 24, Purdy wrote a book (For Common Things) that made a case for “structural politics” (as opposed to ideology politics and personality politics). He called for radical imagination. He maintained that the foundational tenets of neoliberalism could be got out from underneath of. (Chief among them being the slavish worship of the free market and the ubiquitous, smothering and pre-emptive surrender to the idea that things are crappy but, hey, they’re as good as we can expect.)  Read More→

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Apr
04

Clock In

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The following is a cross-post from NeverNesters, a blog on local politics, Asheville real estate and what to expect when you’re not. 

 

Between classes on dramatic structure and narrative poetry while working toward my MFA, I’d sometimes attend an unfriendly Garden City bar for a pint. One day, in 2008, events external to ESPN had become so compelling that even those cold provincial pubsters switched one TV (a little one) to CNN. My memory’s hazy–was it the floor of the House or the New York Stock Exchange? was it mostly the ticker I watched or the muted heads, their panic unspooled across the screen in tortured, Close Caption’d grammar?–but the thrust is clear: the economy was blowing up. The Dow was down 600, 650, 700. I sipped my beer, then returned to Adelphi just in time for a playwriting workshop. This is my preferred anecdote to explain how I acquired such a satisfying and ornamental piece of debt.

Within a couple hours of finishing my last class, Arielle and I were beating a retreat back to Asheville; and three years after graduating from UNCA we were renting a tiny apartment in Kennilworth, she waiting tables and I languishing among the unemployed–only now with a Master’s. When we had fifty bucks to spend we bought whisky and smokes because, what else do you do with fifty bucks? It was basically impossible, then, to imagine ever playing a serious role in things. Read More→

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Apr
04

Friday Open Thread

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shapeimage_4Terry Van Duyn replaces Martin Nesbitt in the NC Senate. Buncombe Democrats also selected her to replace him on the fall ballot last night.

What else significant happened this week?

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Apr
03

The Union Business

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“The union business”. Americans Against the Tea Party put a Target corporate video up online that purports to help their employees protect themselves from the wolves of main street, those nasty union business guys. In it, unions are portrayed as just another business. One that is intent on stealing your money, taking your job, and ruining your prospects for employment. In exchange for your casual signature on a perfectly innocent-looking form. The trouble is that most people already believe this crap. Read More→

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Mar
31

Go Read This

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At the risk of doing so without asking his permission first, like I would ask anybody’s permission first who wasn’t two strings and a b-cup shy of naked, I am forwarding this little nugget for you in case you missed it on the Book of Faces. LINKAGEUMONGUS.

We can discuss the implications in the comment section, if you are so inclined.

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Tuesday’s blogger conference call with Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, Moral Mondays leader and North Carolina’s NAACP president, covered a lot of ground and no small amount of history. It’s purpose was to rally support for the February 8 march in Raleigh. Isaiah Poole, with Campaign for America’s Future, has this:

The organizer of a February 8 “moral march” on Raleigh, N.C. says he wants the largest mass demonstration in the South since Athe 1965ASelma to Montgomery, Ala., civil right march to be a loud rebuke against Tea-Party extremism in state legislatures around the country.

“What we hope this march will do is send a signal around the country that if these legislatures in other Southern states start this extremism, this is what they will face in their state,” said the Rev. William Barber II, the head of the North Carolina NAACP and the leader of “Moral Monday” marches against the North Carolina legislature last year.

Historic Thousands on Jones Street (HKonJ) has been an annual People’s Assembly in Raleigh since 2007. Since last January when Gov. Pat McCrory and the tea-party legislature began passing a raft of radical legislation that includes the most radical voter suppression legislation in the country, this year’s HKonJ has taken on national significance. Barber says,

In order to change America, you have to change the South, and in order to change the South, you have to change state by state. What we need now is an indigenous, deeply moral, deeply constitutional, broad-based, agenda-driven, fusion-based model [for] taking on the actions of these extremist and regressive people.

Busses are planned from across North Carolina and multiple states will be represented. These links will help you learn more and register to join the march.

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Dec
26

Tim Muppet

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