A genie is out of the bottle

See update for October 22, 2021, at end of post.

I suppose it shouldn’t be the least bit surprising that social media networks seem collectively to be losing their minds.

To be honest, I’d had difficulty discerning whether, in fact, @DPRK_News was a parody account. Sometimes, I swore it had to be. Other times, it was just plausible enough. Which is to say it was pretty damn good parody and this is a loss. Read more

The supply chain shortage starts at the top

This is a false analogy:

American consumers might have been spoiled, but generations of them have also dealt with shortages of some kind — gasoline in the 1970s, food rationing in the 1940s, housing in the 1920s when cities such as Detroit were booming. Now it’s our turn to make adjustments.[1]

Read more

  1. [1]Micheline Maynard, “Don’t rant about short-staffed stores and supply chain woes. Try to lower expectations,” Washington Post, October 18, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/10/18/dont-rant-about-short-staffed-stores-supply-chain-woes-try-lower-expectations/

The right to survive

I guess I’m going to have to say some things that should be obvious.

It is 2021. The U.S. minimum wage should be $26 per hour.[1] Read more

  1. [1]Dean Baker, “The $26 an Hour Minimum Wage,” Center for Economic Policy and Research, August 19, 2021, https://cepr.net/the-26-an-hour-minimum-wage/

War is over

So, my new apartment is the sort of place where delivery people need to follow fucking directions. But of course, with Amazon’s labor practices, they’re too rushed to do so. Most stuff I can get delivered to my private mailbox, but with groceries from Whole Foods, owned by Amazon, I simply have to go in and pick up these orders myself.

It was on my way back from such a pickup that I noticed a large pickup truck, but a bit diminutive by Donald Trump supporter standards,[1] with stickers referring to U.S. Highway 395; to Lone Pine, a community along U.S. 395 in a valley on the east side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains; and to the vehicle owner’s profession of belief in sasquatch (“big foot”). Read more

  1. [1]Angie Schmitt, “What Happened to Pickup Trucks?” CityLab, March 11, 2021, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-03-11/the-dangerous-rise-of-the-supersized-pickup-truck

The tragic argument over California forest management

I can only address the California forest management argument detailed at length in the Sacramento Bee[1] from a systems theory perspective. The result elucidates but does not resolve the question. Read more

  1. [1]Ryan Sabalow and Dale Kasler, “‘Self-serving garbage.’ Wildfire experts escalate fight over saving California forests,” Sacramento Bee, October 14, 2021, https://www.sacbee.com/news/california/fires/article254957722.html

Economics, empire, and the environment

See update for October 24, 2021, at end of post.

In his latest, George Monbiot really reprises a theme[1] I first saw in John Bodley’s Victims of Progress. The critique specifically is that our system of social organization, being dependent upon resource extraction is environmentally unsustainable, and must expand—colonizing, building empires— to survive.[2] Monbiot attributes this, however, to capitalism, rather than the entire political and economic system.[3] Read more

  1. [1]George Monbiot, “Fire Front,” October 11, 2021, https://www.monbiot.com/2021/10/11/fire-front/
  2. [2]John H. Bodley, Victims of Progress, 5th ed. (Lanham, MD: Altamira, 2008).
  3. [3]George Monbiot, “Fire Front,” October 11, 2021, https://www.monbiot.com/2021/10/11/fire-front/

What we owe anti-vaxxers in a life-threatening pandemic

A while ago, Nancy Gibbs penned an op-ed for the Washington Post arguing that medical providers should continue to provide even scarce intensive care to people who have refused the COVID-19 vaccine because—this is a slippery slope argument—many of us do things we shouldn’t or fail to do things we should. Once we exclude one group, people who have refused vaccines meant to control a life-threatening pandemic, where, really, do we draw the line? What, for example, about people who fail to quit cigarette smoking?[1] Read more

  1. [1]Nancy Gibbs, “Do the unvaccinated deserve scarce ICU beds?” Washington Post, September 1, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/09/01/do-unvaccinated-deserve-scarce-icu-beds/

On profanity

See updates through October 11, 2021, at end of post.

Something that has mystified me for quite a long time is that some folks insist on censoring other people’s speech.

I can certainly understand, with the b-word (rhyming with rich) and the n-word, how some words transgress a boundary into hate speech and these I agree should be avoided. But when folks object to other words, I have to wonder why they insist on controlling people’s utterances. There isn’t a “good,” as in justifying, answer to this question. Read more