Author Archives: winterSmith

From Sand Creek to the Table Mesa King Soopers: Here’s What I Think

king-soopers shooting

Welcome to Colorado, the Shoot-’em-Up State

We do have a bloody history, don’t we? The latest breaking news happened the other day at the Table Mesa King Soopers in Boulder. At least three or four good friends live nearby and shop there regularly. And I used to shop there two or three times a week – I lived maybe a mile up the hill toward NCAR during grad school. Read more

The Soul-Sucking Ur-Obsidian Ceiling

I posted this to Facebook yesterday.

billionaires

Got some interesting comments, but came away feeling like I needed to elaborate a bit.

Chris Rock explained to us the difference between rich and wealthy. Shaq is rich. The rich white man who signs Shaq’s check is wealthy.

That’s what I’m thinking about – the wealthy, not the rich. Because you can become a millionaire a lot of ways, including by being smart and working hard. Yeah, it helps if you aren’t born into poverty, but you can be a wonderfully moral millionaire. I’m lucky to know a few myself. I sometimes wish I were one.

But there’s a point where it’s not clear a person with a soul can pass. It’s like a glass ceiling, except maybe it’s made of some kind of humanity-sucking ur-obsidian. I’ll never forget Michael Milken in the ‘80s – a hypermillionaire cheating little old ladies out of their social security checks. Pure pathology.

Fitzgerald and Hemingway used to have an argument. Hemingway believed the “very rich” were more or less regular people with a lot of money. Fitzgerald disagreed. “Let me tell you about the very rich,” he said.

They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand. They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are because we had to discover the compensations and refuges of life for ourselves. Even when they enter deep into our world or sink below us, they still think that they are better than we are. They are different.”

William Gibson took it a step further: first with the Tessier-Ashpools in Neuromancer and then with Virek in Count Zero, his argument was that they weren’t really human at all anymore (or that they won’t be in the relatively near future).

I look around the world today and wonder just how human our billionaire overlords really are.

Maybe this is why the idea of lizard people doesn’t scare me.

Inauguration Day: Dignity Returns to the Oligarchy

Biden-inauguration

I feel like I’ve been holding my breath for four years.

But today the relentless assault on truth, on justice, on fundamental human decency comes to an end. At least, the portion of it originating in the Oval Office does.

I know I’m imagining it, but it’s almost like I can feel my blood pressure dropping.

Of course, I know we haven’t really won anything, and I hope you know it, too. January 6 was just an amuse bouche, and even if we make it through the day without running street battles our various fascist terrorist cells still exist. Maybe not in sufficient numbers to take down the government (fingers crossed), but there are certainly enough of them to wage a disruptive campaign of terror of the sort we tend to associate with the Middle East or Northern Ireland.

Even if that doesn’t happen – even if the Proud Boys and the Boogaloos and Lauren Boebert lay down their arms and assimilate into civil society – Joe Biden ain’t the messiah. Along with the Clintons, Obama, Chuck Shumer, Cory Booker, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Kamala Harris, and the entire Colorado Senatorial delegation, he’s the face of what’s wrong with the Democratic Party. His administration will be friendly enough to the various causes of social progressivism – up to a point. Our racist, militarized police problem, for instance, will get a sparkly Band-Aid at best.

And while he won’t fluff Wall St. in public the way any member of the GOP would, he won’t be putting them out of business, either.

In essence, President Biden will restore dignity to the oligarchy.

“Better than Trump” isn’t the same as “better.” So my expectations are tempered by my basic habit of paying attention and thinking about what I observe.

Still, while Better than Trump isn’t everything, it isn’t nothing, either. So if you’ll indulge me, I’m going to mark today by exhaling.

In the morning we all need to take another deep breath and get back to the barricades. Because losing less isn’t winning.

The Progressive Response: Grief, and Tears

trump-nation

I wasn’t surprised by the election results. They’re still incomplete, and Biden may yet win, but regardless of the final tally half the country turned out to make clear just what they are. Just what we are.

The thing that did take me aback a bit was the reactions of my friends. Sure, there was some outrage, as you’d expect. But the dominant response of the day was … heartbreak. Disbelief. Sadness.

If you wanted, you could attribute 2016 to ignorance. But 2020? Nobody is blind to what the GOP is anymore. This was a calculated assertion of spite. Read more

11.4.2020: American Democracy To-Do List

Usa_distress_flag

Short term:

  • get rid of electoral college
  • fix Senate
    • four-year terms
    • eliminate filibuster
    • lay groundwork to eliminate it entirely (see below)
  • eliminate gerrymandering – require that Congressional representation mirror popular vote
  • eliminate superdelegates
  • eliminate presidential veto and restrict executive orders
  • make election day a national holiday
  • all state and federal elections to be 100% publicly funded
  • eliminate all bribery lobbying
  • fix Supreme Court
    • explicitly limit de facto legislative powers of Supreme Court
    • expand number of justices to reflect growth in population
    • limit terms to ten years, subject to reappointment
  • make voter suppression a federal crime punishable by no less than five years*

Read more

The Ties That (No Longer) Bind

Donald Trump is a referendum on what kind of human being you are

A few months ago I wrote that “I don’t want to “heal America’s divisions.” I’m reflecting on that sentiment this morning, the day before what may be the most important election of our lifetimes.

Many of us have some version of the braying racist, fascist, misogynist drunkle archetype in our lives. A Karen, a Chad, a Becky. Maybe it’s a relative we have to contend with at holiday dinners. Maybe there are family obligations, so we grit our teeth, bite our tongues, and tell our children (before and after) to ignore the ravings of the yahoo at the other end of the table. For others it may be a long-time friend who drifted in the wrong direction through the years. Or maybe the friend never changed, but we drifted in the right direction. Read more

I’m Glad I Wasn’t Black Today

white-privilege

I came home this evening after running a couple of errands to find a half-dozen people at my door. Two or three were uniformed.

Two followed me around back as I parked. Since my girlfriend (let’s call her J) has never so much as jaywalked I figured they had to be after me. No idea why, but the adrenaline was starting to pump.

I’m not going to talk to cops but I can hear what they have to say. It turns out they were looking for a woman named Amanda, whom they had seen coming in and out of my apartment routinely over the past three weeks. Read more

Zen and the Highway

interstate-zen

Ikkyū regards young Sōgi’s calligraphy as golden hour yields to white. “Your hand is inelegant, as always. It’s … bold, though.”

Magpies screech disapproval from a nearby pine.

A horn echoes through the courtyard. Sōgi looks in the direction of the disturbance. Ikkyū bows his head and sighs.

“Forgive me for speaking out of turn, Master Ikkyū, but it would perhaps be best were the monastery further from the highway.” Read more

Dear Conservatives: It’s Judgment Day

Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? - Matthew 7:16

On Tuesday night, Donald Trump stood before America and refused to denounce white supremacy. Instead, he used the opportunity to order one of America’s most notorious hate groups to stand at the ready.

He did this on national television, with millions watching and the cameras rolling.

After years of denial, years of deflection, of misdirection, of dog-whistles and whataboutism and hey-look-over-there-ism, after years of insisting that black is white and up is down, you, Trump supporters, find yourselves standing naked in full daylight. Read more

Trump’s “Failure” to Denounce White Supremacy: Journalistic Malpractice in the First Degree

2020 Presidential Debate

It’s been a long time since I expected much from corporate journalism, but no matter how low I set the bar they keep finding ways to tunnel under it.

Their handling of Trump’s “debate” shout-out to white supremacists everywhere – his overt call for them to stand at the ready – buggered belief.

Check this nonsense from ABC: Read more

#ArtSunday: Fall Flora

I recently purchased a new Nikon D750 full-frame, and on Friday my new Sigma 105mm macro lens arrived. Yesterday was my first flower-hunt with the rig. More test-drive than anything, but for me there’s something quite beautiful about this time of year, as nature begins tucking in and settling accounts…

Susan-in-Fall When-September-Ends

« Older Entries