Saturday, July 24, 2010

movie reviews because the rest of the world bites

i watched towelhead last night ans had my socks blown off me. consider
this both a trigger and spoiler warning ...............
this maybe the only time i've ever seen the difference between a
girl's own sexual agency and rape clearly demonstrated. not to mention
the holy shit intersectionality warning batman of a brown girl being
sexualized early and responding to that attention after being made to
feel less than over and over again.
there was only one thing off about the movie, and that's the crunchy
granola hipster couple who rescue Jasira from all the adults in her
life who hurt her, but by that point i was just relieved to see any
adult act like a non douche. it prolly belongs in the horr-underful
movie genre, but you should go netflix it right now.
(someday when i have a compy and real internet access again i'll go
back to writing things that aren't pop cultural commentaries
constrained by the maximum characters my phone will let me type. in
the mean time, this is what you get)

--
The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all of your time.
Willem de Kooning

Friday, July 23, 2010

a little light bitching

i love spy shows, spy novels, spy movies. i think you have to be super
smart to write good spy stuff, and if you're not that smart you should
stick to detective shows or hospital dramas. i don't enen mind some
cheese in my espionage. i watch burn notice. so i was excited to see
covert affairs. but omfg it couldn't be any worse. i am pretty sure
it's baywatch in bad polyester. the suspension of disbelief required
to watch that rollingball of flaming shit is so large that only
hallucinogenic drugs would serve. a jr civil servant who lives with
her sister can afford a pair of louboutains? she's the best in spy
school but can't employ a few self defense moves in a fight. and she
forgets to grab the intel? and an agency where half the staff are
under 30 the girl who hasn't finished training is the only one who
speaks russian and looks like a prostitute? and i haven't even started
on the blind sidekick stereotypes yet. this show is so bad it makes 2
and a half men look smart.


--
The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all of your time.
Willem de Kooning

Friday, July 16, 2010

thought experiments

one of the biggest criticisms of radical lefty political theory is
that it only critiques the current system and doesn't offer solutions.
it's a solid criticism and part of the reason i spend so much time
playing what if in my head. Wonder and i have been bouncing around the
idea of pulling names out of a hat instead of having elections. i like
it. it gives oppressed groups better access to power and ends the
money train that is campaign financing. but......
it leaves a power vacuum that would immediately be filled by non
elected, non random civil servants. they would become the agenda
setters, and if you haven't figured it out yet, all the power lies in
the people who decide what issues are important. we need skilled civil
servants, especially if every few years we pick a whole new roster of
unskilled pols out of a hat, but how do you keep their power limited
to implementation of laws and not the creation of them? and would we
really want to choose our head of state out of a hat?

--
The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all of your time.
Willem de Kooning

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

dear Switzerland

i was in switzerland a few years ago. we were driving back to dresden
after spending some time in the south of france. we stoppped in a
quaint little mountain town and i stretched my legs and smoked a
cigarrete while my partner went to look for a room. maybe it was my
black hair and olive skin, but as soon as he left me alone i felt the
climate change around me. the people on the street glared at me, a
woman with a baby carriage made a big show of zipping up the plastic
carriage cover and the unzipping it once she got past me. i've
travelled. i lived in a dodgy neighborhood for a decade. i've never
felt so unnerved by a place as i did in that little town. my partner
returned and i begged him to get me out of there, and then i made him
walk me to a bathroom in a pub. i never pull that shit. i've had a
deep lizzard brain kind of hate for switzerland ever since.
so it comes as no surprise to me that you all released a famous child
rapist. you are the country that i have been calling 'what facism
aspires to be'.

--
The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all of your time.
Willem de Kooning

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Ya can't get sumthin' fer nuthin'

Please forgive me, as I'm liable to ramble from stress, lack of sleep, and other assorted foolishness, but all these Tea Part no-tax types are really giving me a wedgie of biblical proportions. They think government's the problem to everything and the free market is the solution to everything.

Uh, hello, you really think no government is a good idea? Go visit someplace that hasn't got a working government to speak of: Somalia. See how you like the free market solutions there, such as the strongest rule and everyone else cowers, piracy, child soldiers, rape as a tool or war, and so on. You think you're that tough, Messrs. Paul the Elder and the Younger and the rest of you, that you'll wind up top dog in that scenario?

The bottom line is that government serves us all. It's all around us and, despite its many problems, does us a whole boatload of good most of the time. It's like the list of things in the famous viral email A Day in the Life of Joe Republican--damn near everything the guy touches in his day has been developed, guarded, improved or otherwise affected in a positive way by some sort of government action, yet he thinks he's a lone superhero who achieved everything in his life on his own and he begrudges anyone else who wants a sliver of what he takes for granted.

You can't get sumthin' fer nuthin,' folks. Yeah, you anti-tax types, I'm talkin' to you. You want police and fire and EMS to come save your hide when something goes down? You pay taxes. Those rescue folks can't rescue you if the roads aren't plowed or the water doesn't flow, so you'd better have those public works types there, too. You need to sue a contractor to stiffed you? It takes court types to try the case and see to it that you get your restitution or the contractor who stiffed you goes to jail. It takes public servants to guard those people in jail. It takes accountants to keep banks in line and people at the DMV to test new drivers and bus drivers to get you to work and scientists to keep your drinking water clean and so much more. There are people doing thousands of jobs you've probably never even heard of, but if you need 'em, you'll be damned glad to have 'em.

Do government workers screw up? Sure. But I haven't seen your average rank-and-file public servant do to our country what Bernie Madoff did. Or BP. Or Enron. Etc. Our country functions better when there are enough jobs to go around, when people don't go hungry or sick, and when there's enough infrastructure (i.e. government) around to help keep the good stuff happening and keep a lid on as much of the bad stuff as possible.

And for the privilege of living in that society, you gotta pay. If you're not in a position to pay--say you're jobless, or unable to work, or have suffered some catastrophe, for example--then I think it is
perfectly fine for the government to help you, for as long as you need it, in whatever ways you need help to be safe, secure, healthy and keep a few shreds of dignity about you. People who are taken care of and made to feel welcome will, when they can, be eager to contribute whatever they can to society.

However, if you're one of the lucky ones who benefits a whole big heaping bunch from the privilege of living in a society with plenty of government to enforce laws and keep things moving, then isn't it fair that you pay a larger share of the cost? Unless you're the pirate lord in some part of Somalia, you didn't get there yourself. So unless you're willing to pay for your own private police, fire, medical, FDA, water testing, forensic accounting, armed services, court system and more, pay your share and quit your bitchin'.

crises averted, and then some.

The phone bill is paid and there is enough $ left over that this month
should end with enough food in our bellies. thank you.


--
The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all of your time.
Willem de Kooning

Friday, July 09, 2010

no taxation without representation

It's a familiar line, one that we are taught from childhood. It
sparked the revolution and brought about a democratic sea change that
would eventually span the globe.
But it's more than that. Real democracy can't exist without
representation, and it can't exist without a robust progressive tax
system. otherwise we end up with a walmart democracy. sure the price
is cheap but the product is crap and the workers are starving. we get
what we pay for, and low tax rates mean shitty policies.
Robust, progressive taxes. those 2 words are important. taxes are the
last safegaurd, the bit of leverage that means companies can pay their
workers shit if they like, but the workers will get back services from
the government like healthcare and eduction funded by the taxes the
company and their bosses pay. it incentivises higher wages so that fat
cats can offset some of their own tax burden. it makes politicians
more responsive to the people, because the people have paid for
quality.

--
The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all of your time.
Willem de Kooning

halp!

my phone (and only source of internet since my compy died) is about to
be shut off and i foolishly spent this month's donations/subscriptions
on groceries.
70 bucks keeps it on for now. 140 keeps it on till august. i wish i
had some pithy wit to make you giggle and hit the donate button but
all i got is a giant worryball o stress.

--
The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all of your time.
Willem de Kooning

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Funny conversations with Wonder

Me: so i had an idea but it was on a not eating day so i don't know if it's any good
Wonder: okay
Me: we need to start a shadow government online so that people could see something with more than laws that make rich people richer. Is it a good idea or the ramblings of a starving person?
Wonder: yes
Me: haha

The political economy

I get maybe 10 solicitations for political donations a day. You all know who they come from, you get the same ones I'm sure. But every new request for money leaves me just a bit more bitter. 'Send us money because we are the only party/ candidate/ organization looking after your interests' seems so hollow when you look at the facts. Dems are in control of everything, but they can't pass a measly unemployment extension. Financial stocks jump at the passing of banking 'reform'. My family is still uninsured and pays most of what little money they have for doctors visits and medicine.
i can't help but think all those political contributions would be better spent if they were just given to the people the pols claim they want to protect. How much more effective might that be than paying people to find new laws to make the rich richer?