Ed and Kassandra Dennis to leave Lupin

Glyn Stout and Lori Kay have requested Ed and Kassandra Dennis to step down from the present roles at Lupin. Lori Kay is now to assume control. Ed Dennis denies that Glyn Stout has the right to do this. Lori Kay has issued an invitation for an open house to be held on 21-22 January, from 1-5 pm, and for a “friendship renewal party” to be held on the 21st from 9 pm to 12 midnight.

This is an extremely welcome development for those of us who have come to care about Lupin and had to stand by while Ed and Kassandra have antagonized the membership, driving membership numbers ever lower. This is a truly beautiful place in the Santa Cruz Mountains and I regard it as a privilege to live here.

Heritage Foundation rates many nations’ economies more free

“The world is economically freer today than it was a year ago, according to the 12th annual Index of Economic Freedom, released today by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal—and that means greater prosperity for those countries that embrace open markets,” according to a Heritage Foundation press release. The United States ranked 11th, following Hong Kong, Singapore, Ireland, Luxembourg, Iceland, United Kingdom, Estonia, Denmark, Australia, and New Zealand. Canada ranked 12th. The index ranks countries according to their compliance with conservative preferences in economic policy.

S.F. minimum wage increase didn’t hurt business

Michael Reich, a UC Berkeley economics professor, was surprised to find”the San Francisco minimum wage policy has proved to be a very effective means of raising wages, without adverse effects on employment, business or the city’s economy.” The Golden Gate Restaurant Association hinted, however, at damage to the tourist industry, saying restaurants raised prices. Meanwhile, “Nathan Nayman, director of San Francisco’s Committee on Jobs, an advocacy group for large downtown companies, called the study’s conclusions ‘highly suspicious’ and suggested they had been influenced by ideology.”

Provisionally admitted to Graduate School

I’ve been running around campus all day. I’ve now been provisionally admitted to Graduate School, and it appears my financial aid is on track. This should be good enough to allow me to register for classes at postgraduate status. It appears I’ll be taking different classes than I had planned; this is unfortunate, but necessary to get me on track to teach public speaking, and thus to re-enter the class of people in this world who actually earn money (though not much).

Third time’s the charm?

Most people accepted President’ Bush’s reasons for invading Afghanistan. Iraq was, and is, more controversial, and public approval has plummeted. So now Bush may be contemplating a strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, even as Israeli military chief General Dan Halutz said he didn’t “think an operation by the Israel defence forces against the Iranians will be necessary soon.” According to der Spiegel, “CIA chief Goss reportedly handed over three dossiers to Turkish security officials that purportedly contained evidence that Tehran is cooperating with Islamic terror network al-Qaida. A further dossier is said to contain information about the current status of Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program.”

On a failure to build consensus

Ronald Brownstein compares George W. Bush to James Polk, whose “tactics deepened the nation’s divisions and fanned the flames that later exploded into the Civil War” and whose war on Mexico “added to American territory an expanse that included California, New Mexico, Arizona and big pieces of the Mountain West.”

Racing to the bottom — and blaming African Americans

On December 4th, I detailed how globalization has been a disaster for workers in this country. I’ve since read in a book by Arundhati Roy, An Ordinary Person’s Guide to Empire, that it has also been disastrous overseas, displacing hundreds of thousands of people to make way for dams, mining operations, and factories.

Yesterday, I left the RixPlace lists, e-mail lists of naturists discussing naturism and politics, because I was outraged that rather than confront the disaster of globalization, too many whites there prefer to blame African Americans for their own job hunting woes. Yes, the job market sucks. I’ve dealt with that here (on December 4th).

It doesn’t suck because of Affirmative Action. It sucks because globalization creates a race to the bottom, which benefits only those who own stock. But many who claim to be liberal prefer to follow conservative advice and focus on Affirmative Action, which seeks, imperfectly, to remedy longstanding discrimination. Some in the RixPlace Hot Tub even go so far as to claim that “overt discrimination” ended in the 1980s, as if subtle discrimination were acceptable.

Crying “reverse discrimintion,” they offer no evidence to support their contention that “the playing field is now level,” and no evidence to counter prison, life expectancy, and employment statistics that demonstrate continuing disparities.

Given a choice between blaming corporate elitists who send their jobs overseas, and blaming African Americans, they blame African Americans. Given a choice between empirical evidence and denial, they choose denial. They are nothing more than racist, ignorant, white boys whining about lost privilege, and still seeking to emulate the very elite that keeps kicking them down.