It would all be a waste!

In honor of Trump’s recent recommitment to pulling out of the Paris Agreement (like most issues, he seems to go back and forth on it), I’m re-posting one of my favorite cartoons.

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To a pro-capitalist, it makes sense: building a sustainable world would massively slow the economy. But for a capitalist profit and making money are the highest value, more so than life and health and solidarity. The choice is real: money or a better world.

A better world is about life and wellness and flourishing. Money, on the other hand, is about death, it’s about converting the so-called “resources” (i.e. the living world) into money, as quickly as possible.

Keep it in your pants

Fall colors were absolutely hyperactive in Donoho Basin, and I was similarly hyperactive with the picture-snapping. But truly, there are few places that get lit up in the fall like Donoho Basin, and so I returned with a smartphone packed with pics.

 

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Donoho Basin, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, 2017

 

At a certain point, though, I have to just force myself to stop taking pictures, let go, put the camera in my pants pocket, and just enjoy.

 

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Donoho Basin, Alaska 2017

 

 

The Case for Single-Payer

Health care is deeper and wider than most of us probably realize. That came home to me after reading a fantastic article on single-payer healthcare from Jacobin, one of my faves. It’s also a concise and critical review of the Bernie Sanders single-payer plan. Single-payer is shaping up to be the major political game-changer in the coming years. All of the major potential Democratic Presidential candidates have already lined up behind Bernie on single-payer. So, I’m passing this fine article along to my readers.

At the core of the problem is a basic fact: it’s not profitable to insure people who are sick or likely to get sick.

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life being what it is

My blog has a new name! Yesterday I sat down with a coffee from the Coffee Cat, a great little coffee shop in the Santa Cruz Mountains. With some white noise by way of a few high school students chatting in a steady, ceaseless stream about their high school drama, I worked on updating my site, and you can read all about it here, on my new About page.

Some classic cars in old McCarthy town

Every year we usually have a gang of armed thieves descend upon our little Alaskan village at the end of the road, these are desperadoes who take advantage of our small town and peaceful hippie ways and rob and pillage our village, leaving us poor and destitute. All of the parts of the last sentence are more or less not true, except that every year we do have a group of, like, really dedicated classic car junkies who band together and drive their antique gems into McCarthy from, like, somewhere, like Anchorage or something.

So, once they get here, then we’ve got all these cars from, like, a hundred years ago, and they all seem quite at home in our little old west town, a town that looks a lot like it did a hundred years back (at least from the outside) back in the days when they were mining the hell out of the Kennicott mines (and making a lot of money for thieves and desperadoes like J. P. Morgan), back when McCarthy was an Alaskan sin city, and back in the days when this little village was one of the prime spots in Alaska, bigger, at one point, than Anchorage, which used to be just a little tent city.

 

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How social media saved socialism | The Guardian

Forget the idea that Twitter and Facebook are bad for democracy. Bubbles can be beneficial, and help emerging movements unite against the elites

I sometimes fear that I’m some sort of a “slacktivist.” At its worst, a slacktivist is someone who only exerts the most minimal efforts toward causes they deem worthy. A slacktivist may share a meme on Facebook or sign an online petition, then after burning .01 calories in about sixty some seconds of exertion, they hear a distinct and rewarding voice in the back of their heads, congratulating them: you’ve done your part. [pat on the back] Read more

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon

How I rate it:  4 of 5 stars

What I liked: This is a book with many layers that plays with the theme of reality and fiction, heroes and anti-heroes, heroism and escapism… 

Plot Summary: There is a remarkable inter-weaving of time period (WW2), character development, and subject matters (comic books, superheros, and magicians). Kavalier and Clay seek to transcend the sense of desperation and helplessness they experience, living through the Second World War by way of their creation of comics. They take the hero’s journey, they are both scarred by their pasts, but ultimately they must come to grips with their frustration at being subject to fate and forces beyond their control…

 

The magician seemed to promise that something torn to bits might be mended without a seam, that what had vanished might reappear, that a scattered handful of doves or dust might be reunited by a word, that a paper rose consumed by fire could be made to bloom from a pile of ash, but everyone knew it was only an illusion. The true magic of this broken world lay in the ability of the things it contained to vanish, to become so thoroughly lost that they might never have existed in the first place.

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What dies on the cross?

Slovak Zizek asks the simple theological question: “what dies on the cross?” It’s a question asked by many millions over the last two thousand years. The standard, traditional answer is to say that Jesus Christ died on the cross to atone for our sins, so that sinners who stand in a precarious relationship to God — condemned and estranged — can be made clean and be “justified” hence restoring our relationship to God. But perhaps there’s a deeper sense here, deeper and wider, something that has been hidden in plain sight.

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My Brilliant Friend by Ella Ferrante

How I rate it: 5 of 5 stars

What I liked: This is a deeply intimate novel, and I’m hopeless and helplessly hooked. I’m a fan of historical fiction, but this, like all good historical fiction, transcends the era by its deep and honest engagement with the tensions of the characters inhabiting their time and place.

Plot Summary: Two exceptional and intelligent girls, Greco and Lila, form an unbreakable but complicated bond growing up in a poor, harsh, and at times violent neighborhood in Naples, Italy. The novel is set in the 1950s and is the first novel in the four-novel Neapolitan series that follows the two women through the course of their lives.

I began to weep with lonliness. What was I? Who was I?…What signs did I carry? What fate? I thought of the neighborhood, as of a whirlpool, from which any attempt of escape was an illusion.

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