Susan Sontag on the “Fellahin” of the South

Friday, April 11, 2014

“Every culture has its southerners — people who work as little as they can, preferring to dance, drink, sing brawl, kill their unfaithful spouses; who have livelier gestures, more lustrous eyes, more colorful garments, more fancifully decorated vehicles, a wonderful sense of rhythm, and charm, charm, charm; unambitious, no, lazy, ignorant, superstitious, uninhibited people, never on time, conspicuously poorer (how could it be otherwise, say the northerners); who for all their poverty and squalor lead enviable lives — envied, that is, by work-driven, sensually inhibted, less corruptly governed northerners. We are superior to them, say the northerners, clearly superior. We do not shirk our duties or tell lies as a matter of course, we work hard, we are punctual, we keep reliable accounts. But they have more fun than we do … They caution[ed] themselves as people do who know they are part of a superior culture: we mustn’t let ourselves go, mustn’t descend to the level of the … jungle, street, bush, bog, hills, outback (take your pick). For if you start dancing on tables, fanning yourself, feeling sleepy when you pick up a book, developing a sense of rhythm, making love whenever you feel like it — then you know. The south has got you.”


Relativity of the Velocity of Light

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

This paper was published in the journal Physics Essays on March 19, 2012. Here is a link to the paper.


Club-K Container Missile System

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Said to be a carrier killer (and a terrorist’s dream). In a big war, it all comes down to cyberwarfare and who can knock out more satellites. The air determines who controls the field.

Here is a story about the Air Force’s X-37B Spacecraft.


The Case for Gloom

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Because WordPress sucks, I couldn’t embed this slideshow.

Here is the link.

I’m just sayin’, is all.


Google, Haiti, and Taxachusetts

Saturday, January 23, 2010

There have been so many juicy topics to cover, it’s been difficult to keep away. Every time I’m moved to write, though, I really have something else to do or simply don’t want to devote the time to it. That said, here is, in summary, how to think about the following issues:

Google/China: Yes, if Google was #1 in China this wouldn’t have happened, but they’re not and it did. As a result, this is one of the great humanitarian corporate moves of all time. Perhaps the greatest (there’s not a lot of competition, I’m guessing). Google should follow through and close their business there. As arguably the most important corporation in the world, the move will properly shame China and the many companies that remain in that authoritarian country. Here’s a question that any one doing business there should ask: Would I want to live here?

Haiti: Nothing to do in the aftermath but help. In the long term, I’m with David Brooks and Bret Stephenson. Let’s stop giving money to countries “in need.” It does nothing, and may actively do harm. It’s difficult, because it is human nature to try to help fellow humans in need, but it’s also the right thing to do. Certainly, what the first world has been doing for decades has not worked.

Taxachusetts: I would have voted for Scott Brown too. Seriously. I would have voted for a cardboard cutout against Coakley. Although she was inept, I would have done it to send the message. I have said, many times, that if Obama and this Congress can’t get it done, then there is no hope for us. Year one has been an epic, unmitigated failure. Iraq, Afghanistan, secrecy, deficit spending, bank coddling, and worst of all, the healthcare nightmare. I blame Obama for not using his robust post-election strength to strong arm Pelosi (failure) and Reid (failure) immediately. Weak, poorly managed, pathetic. Obama, where are your balls? It’s time to lead.

And, btw, why do you need the 60 votes? Make an exceptional bill and let the GOP filibuster. Call their bluff. If they do it, and the bill dies, you hang it around their neck. Now, the bill dies, and it’s a Dem failure. Disgraceful.

(But then there would be no healthcare bill, someone wails. So fucking what? Paul Krugman can cry to his cats. This is not the most pressing issue in America. Budget restraint, financial reform, and confiscatory, punitive taxes on very wealth bankers, should be the priority. Followed by a 10% spending cut across the entire government, no exceptions.

We are going to have to suffer, period. Let us start suffering already so we have a shot at not fucking our children.)

The bottom line for me, in all this, is that I have really given up hope. I don’t believe our Congress (and the state legislatures) are capable of introducing the change (ethics, responsible spending) that is necessary.

Something very, very bad is going to happen in the next ten or twenty years. War with China, epic depression/inflation/default, or, in the best case scenario, a benevolent military coup (and a draft) that reforms the government in a way that makes it possible for America to function properly.

David Petraeus, are you out there? Rome needs you. Cross the Rubicon. Cast the die!

P.S. I can’t believe I just wrote that. Nevertheless, letting it stand.


The Decade of Fear

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Since everyone is summing up the decade, here are my two cents:

In America, it was the decade of fear. Beginning with Y2K, punctuated by 9/11, and ending with the continuing uncertainty of economic apocalypse.

We have gone, in a matter of a decade, from the security and comfort of Pax Americana, to, at best, a weak bipolar partner whose straits are inelegantly summed up by the popular construction Chimerica.

We are polarized, insecure, and, not surprisingly, at risk.

It hasn’t been a pretty picture.

You can figure out who to blame for yourself.


Paternity Rights: Losing Fatherhood

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I can’t believe how angry I am over this. Just finished an article in the NY Times magazine about cuckolded men raising children who are not their own. The article, Who Knew I Was Not the Father?, written by an adjunct professor at Columbia, is almost completely unsympathetic to the plight of men who have raised children to whom that have no genetic tie.

I am incensed. Livid. Apoplectic. The article cites several men who have sought to stop child support upon finding out only to be shot down by the courts in the interest of the child.

In the main case, the biological father is married (years later) to the mother and has no legal support obligations for his child. The cuckolded man does. It’s a bloody outrage.

Not once, in the entire article, does this hack take issue with the duplicity of the mother, the person solely responsible for the fraud, and the person (w/ the biological father) who should be entirely responsible for the financial support of the child. Where is that article? What kind of person does this to a man and, more importantly, to a child? Does this reflect upon her qualifications to be a parent? Shouldn’t these women be stripped of their children?

The answer, it seems, is no. Because it will upset the child. The author cites a lobbyist (now fighting against these women), who abandoned his child and won the right to have no financial obligations. She makes him sound like a monster. She quotes his young adult “daughter” as confused and damaged and mentions the suffering she endured because her “father” abandoned her.

WHAT ABOUT THE FUCKING MOTHER?

She’s not even mentioned. And, one presumes, the daughter doesn’t blame her.

Some advocates now suggest that there be mandatory paternity tests for all fathers at birth to avoid this problem. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL. The entire tone of the article suggests a kind of mystification as to why these men would be so upset about this.

Really?

I mean, really?

P.S. On a related note, as I have written before, men should have the right to opt out of financial support for a child during the same time period that a woman can choose to abort the fetus. Figure out for yourself why this is fair and just.


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