Heady Conversation


If you’re sitting there staring at your computer, saying to yourself, “I’m bored.  I need to read some good intellectual conversation,” well look no further than the links below, with some explanation following:

Yves Smith’s post (here) kicks it off with, “The Coercive Power of Capitalism.”  In it there are excellent excerpts from high octane thinkers, some writing from years ago, and some from yesterday, or so.  The following excerpt is from someone named Ian Welsh (linked here):

We think of irrationality as bad, but rational decision making leads to be betrayal. If someone’s going to offer me more than I can otherwise earn to betray the rest of my people, a lot of folks are going to take that deal unless they have the irrational belief that it’s wrong, and a rational belief that if they do it, those who have an irrational belief in the system will hurt them, or even kill them.

What follows in the comments is a massive twerking.  I’m talking major, offensive bouncing of brain cells up against the paradigms of modern life.


partial attention

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phone strokers are missing out on real life. should the news even be a surprise?

“All too often we’re like cornered animals with our eyes darting from device to human and back to device,” Daniel Sieberg, author of The Digital Diet: The Four-Step Plan To Break Your Tech Addiction And Regain Balance In Your Life, recently told The Huffington Post. “Eye contact can be especially meaningful in today’s world of constant partial attention and it conveys a sentiment that the person you’re with matters.”

haven’t these strokers been schooled about the infamous be ins of the sixties? c’mon people. let’s be here now. damn it!

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Learning from Chaos

The following paragraphs from a New York Times article, on business groups with buyer’s remorse, says a lot:

Joe Echevarria, the chief executive of Deloitte, the accounting and consulting firm, said, “I’m a Republican by definition and by registration, but the party seems to have split into two factions.”

While both parties have extreme elements, he suggested, only in the G.O.P. did the extreme element exercise real power. “The extreme right has 90 seats in the House,” Mr. Echevarria said. “Occupy Wall Street has no seats.”

How is having a powerless left working out for America?

Sacrifices on the Kitchen Table

apocalypto flags temple 2006 mel gibson 4

The fabled kitchen table is always getting into conversations about the government.  Killing this metaphor is about as easy as eradicating cockroaches from existence.  The kitchen tables plagues us again, in this the time of America’s budget troubles.

So let’s take the metaphor to its absurd extreme.  After all, the American family is a perfect metaphor for the American government, right?  Balancing the books is the same for a family as for the government, right?

Imagine that Afghanistan is the opium den on the corner of your happy suburban lane, and mom and dad are staging a war against them.  Mom’s in charge of flying model airplanes around the Afghan family’s house, and dad goes and kicks the door in once a while.  Sure its costly, but that’s what the kitchen table is for.  It is for mom and dad to cradle their careworn, wrinkled brows in their cupped hands and stare forlornly at a pile of bills.  Mom and dad have been at war with many of the neighbors for a while now, and they aren’t making enough money to pay their bills.

Little Billy has a congenital heart problem, which is costing a ton in doctor visits and medicine.  Worst of all, Courtney, the sixteen year old is pregnant, so the family is going have to make room for baby.  With a baby on the way, they can’t afford to pay Billy’s bills, so they have to let him die to keep up their war with those Afghans on the corner and have a new baby in the house.  Billy isn’t a fetus, so he doesn’t matter anymore and maybe the new baby won’t have Billy’s problems.  Its a family and a family has to balance its bills every month, at the kitchen table.  Grandma might be next, especially if she reminds the family about FDR one more time.

Anyway, the family has trouble paying the heating and gas bills, so they do a lot of trading with the Saudi’s in a nearby cul-de-sac.  Dad has to go over there and hold hands with the dad of the Saudi family.  Its a little embarrasing, but Mom and Dad will lose their jobs if they can’t get gas to go to work.  Mom makes model airplanes to give to the Saudi family, and Uncle Ben, who lives in the basement, prints money that they give to the Saudis.  No one has ever seen the women who live at the Saudi house, but who cares?  It is very hard to pay the fuel bills, so Dad’s thinking about renting one of the basement rooms.  Too bad that basement room belongs to one of the kids.  Oh well, time for the kids to double up.  You see, there are bills that have to be paid every month, at the kitchen table.

At least the kids have a nice backyard to play in.  Unfortunately, with all of the bills, mom and dad are thinking they are going to have to let private interests strip mine the backyard.  It may leave the backyard in ruins, but it could pay a month or two of bills.

So, the Kitchen table metaphor is clearly mistaken.  It is actually an altar of sacrifice.  The next time a politician or a pundit talks about a kitchen table, ask yourself who’s about to lose their life to the “sacrifice.”

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i think i’m going to like this instructor…

CSS Beginner Tutorial

Like the HTML Beginner Tutorial, the CSS Beginner Tutorial assumes that you know as much about CSS as you do about the cumulative effects of sea squirt discharge on the brain chemistry of Germanic ammonites. The purpose of this guide is to teach the bare essentials – just enough to get started. The CSS Intermediate Tutorial and CSS Advanced Tutorial go into more depth about CSS.