Turnips for the TransPacific Partnership

I’m suffering from cognitive dissonance again. I suppose that shouldn’t be surprising. I’m working on my dissertation, using a critical theory methodology, which involves—oh, this is a surprise—pretty intensive critical thinking. And I’m surprised at what politicians will try to get away with.

So which side of the turnip truck did I fall off of this time? And, really? My friends know me to be fairly cynical. Read more

A dark cloud: Bleaker times to come

In many ways, 2015 has been a dispiriting year. Just as they fell for Barack Obama, Democrats are falling for Hillary Clinton. We still lack a plausible response to climate change or the other existential threats to human survival. The U.S. remains embroiled in conflicts around the world. Domestic spying goes on. People show no sign of awareness that our system of social organization itself is the problem. They even go on eating meat.

In one important way, 2015 should be a good year. I’m writing my dissertation and expect to defend it by early next year. Hopefully, I will graduate in 2016. Read more

Propaganda for jurors

The judge came down to the jury assembly room—this is the first time I’ve seen anything like this—to apologize. It seems all the cases for which jurors might be needed had settled at the last minute, so we were to be excused. Which is to say, we hadn’t needed to come in after all. “We try to avoid this,” he said, explaining that “we,” apparently meaning him and the lawyers, all work diligently every afternoon to try to settle cases in time to avoid calling potential jurors in unnecessarily.

He had brought a deputy district attorney and another lawyer along with him, ostensibly to answer any questions we might have. I can only guess that these were the two who might have been tardy in reaching a deal. No one voiced any questions, publicly at least, so I have no idea what sort of questions, if any, anyone might have in such a circumstance. Read more