U.S. Corporate Profits Hit Record in Third Quarter – NYTimes.com

November 23, 2010 § Leave a comment

U.S. Corporate Profits Hit Record in Third Quarter – NYTimes.com.

I want to be able to say something about this, something poignant yet cynical, world-weary but tinged with hope.  Or better yet poetry, as poetry is an attempt to say the unsayable.

What to say? Metaphor fails here. We are corrupted.

I guess it’s junk week

November 19, 2010 § Leave a comment

here on Biographical Solutions.

Perhaps a new blog caption: “Biographical Solutions: we solve your junk”?

Perhaps not.

More on the junk – touching.

November 18, 2010 § 2 Comments

Pat-Downs at Airports Prompt Complaints – NYTimes.com.
Ya think?  I admit it — I am totally obsessed with the whole TSA good-touch/bad-touch thingy.  I never want to get that close to my government.

This is the best thing I’ve read so far on the subject.

Melissa McEwan has also an interesting discussion going on her blog.  She, and others in comments, point out that part of the upset may because the people doing the pat-downs have a lower social status than those they are patting.  Or sexually assaulting, depending on who you’re asking.  And she’s right; these people are stuck doing a shitty job they never signed on to do.

Many of them cannot afford to quit — they have no way of supporting themselves and their families otherwise.  It’s not like the job market is, well, existent at this time.  At least not in the U.S. it isn’t.

But when does “I’m just following orders” cease to be meaningful?  At what point do we say that people, no matter what, need to follow their conscience?  I’m quite serious about this question, because in my view right now is that point.

New airport security rules rile passengers – chicagotribune.com

November 16, 2010 § Leave a comment

New airport security rules rile passengers – chicagotribune.com.

My favorite quote from the article:

The TSA officers “have to deal with nasty comments all day long,” said Steven Frischling, an aviation blogger who covers TSA and security issues. “These people don’t like being called ‘dirty’ or ‘disgusting’ or ‘Nazis.’ ”

Aw.

circumscribed

November 14, 2010 § 4 Comments

The conversation, I mean.  San Francisco is considering banning male circumcision, and the odds are that the discussion won’t go much beyond the “Baby Mutilator/Anti-Semite” name calling. New law is only part of creating real, lasting cultural change, but it does seem like it should seal the deal.  I can see the appeal of a quick fix.  The law, I mean. Not the babies.

I’m Jewish, although I’m very secular, and this is not the most important part of my identity.  Yet if I were to have a son I would not want to circumcise him. I can’t square the idea of circumcision with my profound belief that all people have the right to bodily integrity. Parents are entrusted with their children — they don’t own them — and shouldn’t allow surgeries that are not necessary for the life and health of the child.  For me that breaks down to heart surgery yes, cleft palate yes, circumcision no.

I understand why people do it, though, and I don’t think they’re bad people for doing it. Not at this point in history. Not until the culture has shifted. I am Jewish, and I always wonder in the back of my mind how much of this is motivated in part by anti-Jewish prejudice.

A friend posted about this on facebook, suggesting that it is Jewish traditions that are responsible for the vast number of U.S. circumcisions.  “Your traditions” he said and then corrected himself: “our (shared) traditions.” In fact, the medicalization of circumcision in the U.S. and Great Britain is mostly the product of puritanical, anti-masturbation evangelizers. The Jews — the influence is overestimated here.

My friend is a good person. None of us, I think, are ever fully cognizant of the prejudices that shape our thinking. The left is certainly not immune to prejudice. (No it’s true.  Really.) In a political climate of rising xenophobia (anti-Muslim, anti-Jewish, anti-immigration–the list goes on) both in the U.S. and internationally, I am concerned about both the motivations of the proposed ban and about its outcomes.

Why did you move here?

November 11, 2010 § Leave a comment

What I actually said to my student was “in your personal statement (for a grad school application) you’ll have to have a sentence or two about why you moved here.”

“Here to Chicago?”

“Here to the U.S.” I said.

“Well in a way it was about health” she said. “In (my country) I had to choose between buying a tomato or cucumber or some fresh food, you know, and paying my bills. A lot of the time it was one or the other.”

hours

November 2, 2010 § Leave a comment

The five hours I spent writing 2,000 words were five hours I didn’t spend worrying about Brady being our next governor.

I need to pick up the pace if I ever hope to finish this whole write-a-novel-in-a-month thing. I’m trying to get ahead now so I don’t get behind later.

Where Am I?

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