Blow Addresses Black Violence in Baltimore After Freddie Gray Dies in Police Custody

Rad note » this entry originated from another page. It was moved here because the subject drifted far enough to warrant its own, separate page, which lets me focus on and reference more easily the concepts under discussion here.

At the end of this entry (that you're reading now) I have included a link that will return you to the exact place from where this entry originated. Here ya go ...

Charles Blow | Thoughtful gaze » Blow

In addition to today's entry, I also mention Blow (again) on that very same page where I mention Brooks ..

.. in the May, 2014 archive (in a section titled » Spanking vs Whipping .. of a 4-year old boy) ..

.. a month during which there wasnt much I didnt mention.

Blow is black, and he writes about topics related to blacks.

Unfortunately, there is no shortage of shit for him to write about.

He could write a different article every day and still not address all the bullshit being visited upon black men in our country.

Does being black give Blow more credibility to discuss topics that concern the black man? I certainly think so.

» Violence in Baltimore

29 April » Ooh, Blow .. this is good » Violence in Baltimore. Nice title. Short is power. Says a lot with few words. (Not like me.)

[ Speaking of writing well .. look » Zinsser died. At 92. Good for him.

I poured thru his book many years ago. Loved the practical advice and insights. Could see the value right away.

Could feel myself becoming-one-with the mindset he espouses. I would put its value as a writing-improvement book near the top of those I've read. The title says it very nicely.

Omit Needless Words says William StrunkZinsser must have hung out with Strunk.

The #1 thing I got from Zinsser was » Dont be afraid to use the word » "I".

Before Zinsser I was reluctant to use 'I'.

I no longer have that problem .. as you can see.

The one whose writing labors in third-person limbo, I have found, is the one whose writing seems unnaturally distance.

"Fuck that noise," I say. "Here's what I think."

Speaking of Zinsser .. Blow, do you agree with him that » writing is a craft?

Or with Dylan Thomas and Ray Bradbury who both call it an art.

You know what I think.

Tho certainly, there is a craftsman's element to writing.

I feel this craftsman element come thru when I read a lot of stuff by Egan. That's one of the reasons why I like him. The way he crafts his columns.

What do you think about Suzanne, who says that » the artistry is in the "stitching up"?

The voice in my head wants me to write that there is artistry in abstraction and in creativity. But I am not really sure that I know what that means.

Intuitively I feel that artistry is found in » deviating from the expected norm .. at just the right time .. and in just the right way .. to cast a negative image of the thing you are describing ..

.. thereby allowing the reader to paint the dimensions and colors of the positive image for themselves.

I wonder how Zinsser would have felt about the idea of the gifted writer. ]

Baltimore teen chillin' on the curb in front of a phalanx of police in riot gearI also like the photo that accompanies your piece.

Of the boy sitting there on the curb in front of the phalanx of officers outfitted in riot gear. Nice contrast.

I have been there myself, sitting on the curb with the police standing around me, just like this lad. (But without the riot gear.)

If you get enough restraining orders, you're bound to meet the men in blue. "Sir, do you mind if I go thru your wallet to look for some i-d?"

You totally kicked ass, Charles.

You seem to be in your element here, your place of power. Your center.

I read it earlier, but caught myself thinking about it later in the day.

Isnt that the goal of every writer? .. to have something you write cause a reader to ponder it later.

I wonder what the trick is for that. Do you know? That would be a nice addition to any writer's toolbox.

[ I remember doing the same thing after reading an article by Nicholas Kristof. Do you hang out with these other writers? Or do yo all live in your own worlds, isolated from the others? ]

<ignore this intentional body-text marker>

••• today's entry continues here below •••

Anyway, your piece conveyed the frustration felt by the black man .. after years of getting fucked. Shafted.

» Talk is Cheap, Bitch

I was surprised that you called out Hillary like that.

"Talk is cheap, bitch. Especially when you and your ol' man are such a big part of the problem.

If you could just make your fuck-ups go away .. we'd really appreciate that .. taking us back to the good ol' days of the pre-Clinton era."

Hippo's mouth open wide[[ Blow, what do you think about the way I just put words in your mouth?

This is a new technique that I have been playing with.

Dude, it is soo much fun.

But you have to be careful when you put words into people's mouths. Especially you, Mr NYT.

But .. did I not accurately capture the essence of your 'views' on Hillary?

Sure, I threw on a little Tabasco, to spice it up. But Hillary can take a joke.

I said explicitly what you implied implicitly .. what you really wanted to say .. but can't.

I noticed that I must consider the thing longer and deeper and stronger .. in order to draw out the essence. I'm talking about the deeper subtext.

Mostly tho, it comes to me on its own, unbidden .. while I am pondering the thing .. like it walks in the back door, while I am looking out the front.

This section where I am writing now is a » double-indent, using HTML mark-up » style="margin-left: 60px;" .. signified by the double square brackets and signifying » depth. ]]

You begin your critique of Hillary's speech at Columbia with the following sentence » "but the unacknowledged and unexplained shift in the middle of a heated moment could quite reasonably raise doubts of sincerity or commitment to execution."

» Obama Spins Off a Non-profit from My Brother's Keeper

Update 04 May » Blow, did you notice? .. that, on the Monday following the week that you published your Violence-in-Baltimore piece ..

.. where you (basically) tell Hillary that 'talk is cheap' ..

Obama announces nonprofit spin-off from My Brother's Keeper on May 4, 2015.. on the very next Monday Obama announces a nonprofit spin-off from his My Brother's Keeper?

[ I read pretty much everything that Peter Baker writes. He kicks much butt. ]

I watched the 1-min video clip. That was pretty cool.

Especially when Obama commits himself to the project for life. (Wow.)

If I were a black man, I could take heart in that. That would make me feel good, supported. Like somebody actually gave a fuck.

And while I am mentioning positive things .. did you see » this? That must be encouraging. People are thinking and offering solutions.

<end update 04 may obama nonprofit announcement>

» Obama Debates Arthur Brooks of AEI on Poverty at Georgetown

Update May 12 » I hate to keep interrupting like this, but I cant help myself. Check this out.

Near the end of this page (White House), which is a transcript of his comments and remarks during a debate about poverty with Arthur Brooks of AEI at Georgetown .. you will find Obama quoted as saying this »

President Obama at Georgetown U. on May 12, 2015 for Catholic-Evangelical Leadership Summit about PovertyTHE PRESIDENT:  I'll ask Arthur for some advice on this -- because, look, the devil is in the details. 

I think if you talk to any of my Republican friends, they will say, number one, they care about the poor -- and I believe them

Number two, they'll say that there are some public goods that have to be made -- and I'll believe them.

But when it comes to actually establishing budgets, making choices, prioritizing, that's when it starts breaking down.

Notice in particular the last sentence. Does that not sound like Obama is saying » "Talk is cheap, bitch."

He's copying you, Blow. Presidents do shit like that .. when they see something they like. "Mine now, Blow."

I so badly want to put words into Obama's mouth here .. what he is REALLY saying. But can't. Because of his office.

But is it not encouraging that, at least, we are starting to have some quality dialogue at advanced socio-economic levels?

[ David Brooks should have gone to this meeting-of-the-minds on poverty .. because he knows so much about it. ]

Doyle McManus wrote a nice piece about the Catholic-Evangelical summit on Poverty .. that I read in Sunday's LA Times .. which is delivered here to the house. I like him.

But things (inequality) are bad anf getting worse. I want to say to these leaders »

"Dude, review your history books. They will tell you that when inequality reaches extremes, shit start crackin'. [ cue soundtrack of ice cracking ] Shit starts breaking. The nation itself starts to come apart. The fabric of society starts tearing apart. And we are at these extreme levels now. Can't you see that? You greedy fucks. Or are you interested only in yourselves?"

Dont say you werent warned.

And dont say you couldnt see it coming, either .. like the way you did the last time the economy shit itself. 

Update July 3, 2015 » It appears that they can. Good for them. Now they need to do their thing and make shit happen. (end update)

I like that Brooks guy. He is conservative, but he says things in a way that dont offend your sense of how a moral society should respond to social things.

He seems like he actually has a soul. So in that sense, he reminds me of the other Brooks who writes for the NY Times (David).

And he has a boy, who is obviously loves. So, even if I care not for some of his economic positions based on their exploitive effects on society .. a part of me cannot help but respect him for the father he is. [ I know you feel me, dawg. ]

But when you work for the people with the capital, then you must represent and promote your masters' interests. Sure, I get that. Or they will can your ass and find somebody else.

You can plainly see that Mr. Brooks has been doing an outstanding job of turning his bosses' dreams into reality.

» Georgetown Rocks

Georgetown University campus arial photo

The heart of Georgetown lies at the intersection of M and Wisconsin streets. If you walk 3 or 4 blocks down M street, you hit Georgetown University.

I remember the York girl took me for a walk there one balmy summer evening (after a glass of wine, or two) ..

.. "I have something I want you to see. Something I think you'll like. Finish your wine. Let's go for a walk." ..

.. to the area around the university. And the great, old looking homes there, where many professors no doubt lived.

And I remember thinking how nice that must be .. to live in one of these great old homes, with the vines growing up the front of the brick face .. and have these great neighbors, and teach at this great old school (1789 .. year of the French Revolution).

The area had a feeling that I hadnt sensed with any other school .. especially being so close to the corridors of power.

I mean, Obama could've rode his bike there.

If you go the other way on M street, it takes you to Pennsylvania Avenue .. which takes you to Obama's house. (Seinfeld could tell you how to get there.)

» Jon Stewart's Bit on Fox News Shaming the Poor

[ Before we leave this subject of Obama speaking at the Catholic-Evangelical summit at Georgetown about Poverty and how to deal with the Poor ..

Jon Stewart May 13, 2015 about the response from Fox News about Obama's remarks at the Catholic-Evangelical Poverty summit at Georgetown.. you should see John Stewart's bit on Fox News shaming the poor.

It's a funny story that has bubbled up from the remarks that Obama made while speaking there ..

.. about the way Fox News portrays the poor. (Shaming them.)

It is very funny .. especially Stewart's facial gestures in the second half of the video. I nearly pissed myself.

But the segment does an excellent job at shining a light on the hypocrisy ..

.. the talking out both sides of their mouths. On display for you in lovely high definition video.

Sure, everybody talks out of both sides of their mouths .. to some degree. But nobody does it like your friends at Fox.

CNN addresses the topic here.

The Paradox that is Fox News » It Shouldnt 't Be Possible, Yet There It Is

But what is most strikingly on display here .. which you cannot deny .. is that the people at Fox News » arent even aware.

They arent even aware .. of the words coming out of their own mouths.

And does the image of Fox News that this video displays .. does not that image represent (to a surprisingly, but unfortunately large degree) ..

.. does this not represent most of their viewers?

Like they must not be able to hear their own words .. coming out of their own mouths?

You would naturally think such a thing impossible. But there it is, unbelievable as that might seem.

"How can such a thing be?" you ask yourself?

Is Stewart fucking with the clips? He must be. Or do they just hear what they WANT to hear?

It makes me wonder what James would think.

I would never say that everyone who is addicted to Fox News cannot hear their own words coming out of their own mouths.

Rather, I would say that most of the people who cannot hear their own words coming out of their own mouths .. are addicted to Fox News. ]

<end update may 12 obama says talk is cheap to his republican friends>

» How Did Our So Called Criminal Justice System Ever Get So Fucked Up?

Charles Blow profileBut I will say, Blow, that much of that stuff you shared about the Clintons, I did not know.

So kudos for the illumination.

When I read that Bill was behind much of the really bad shit (like Biden) ..

.. I thought of the incalculable enormity of the pain and suffering he caused.

I dont know how somebody could ever hope to make restitution for causing so much unjust suffering ..

.. but it seems like he's at least trying.

Most of all I was impressed by his willingness to step up and accept responsibility ..

.. for hugely consequential policy fuck-ups. I can respect him for that.

Unlike other political leaders that we have had over the years ..

.. who still cant seem to bring themselves to admit that they ever made even a single stupid mistake during their entire time in office.

» Carter's Cancer Diagnosis & the Hyper-Real Ides-of-March Dream

If you dont want your tax dollars to help the poor, then stop saying you want a country based on Christian Values, because you dont - Jimmy Carter[ Carter should weigh in on this shit .. before he dies.

He brings plenty of moral cred to the national table.

And it looks like his days are numbered.

My doctors have been watching my liver functions.

They can see how your liver is doing by the results of blood tests.

And they were happy about mine.

Because, my understanding is that .. once the cancer spreads to your liver .. you are fucked.

And you usually dont have much time.

If he laid down on his deathbed tonight .. he can lay there knowing that he lived a life that few could even imagine. A long, full life.

But cancer is not the way to go. So somebody send that man some Bosworth.

Update Aug 23, 2015 » Carter taught Sunday school today, for the first time after his cancer diagnosis. And after surgery. After doctors removed part of his liver. At 90.

What a tough dude he is. How does he do it?

And he gets up in front of a room full of people and talks about his treatment. That is very hard to do. I dont care who you are.

I have been thinking about Carter and his cancer diagnosis. And I must say, I do feel more qualified to address the subject .. having had cancer myself ..

.. and enduring all the ugliness that often accompanies it. Both physical and psychological. And probably many other ways, too.

And I have been thinking about what (if anything) my Carter dream might mean.

» Letting the Vision Present Its Own Meaning

And I have learned from experience that you CANNOT ASSIGN meaning to a vision. [ I learned this the hard way, bro. ] Rather, you must » let the vision present you with ITS OWN meaning.

So I have been patient .. and now Carter has been diagnosed with cancer. (Cancers plural?)

The Ides of March, to me, represent a warning. Of the end. Of Death itself approaching. No?

So it is a VERY SERIOUS warning.

But Carter was a president .. and I distinctly saw THE WHOLE NATION watching his funeral.

Is this a warning for the nation?

Still, I refuse to ascribe meaning to my dream. I am letting it speak.

If you find my reluctance a little unusual, remind me to tell you about the perils of assigning meaning that is NOT THERE.

You know .. this is a common thing. We want to feel and believe that things are saying things to us that sound nice and pretty and complimentary.

But maybe that is not what the vision is saying. And I have learned my lesson well.

And dont think that I dont notice this section on Carter coming (naturally & organically) right here in the middle of my entry on Blow ..

.. which is about .. well, you can read the title for yourself. You'll find it at the top of the page.

Actually, that speaks more strongly to me than the dream .. which is kind of a "hands-off" thing for me.

It's difficult to discuss this kind of stuff without waxing abstract, so I'll quit.

But the fact that he has been diagnosed with CANCER .. of all things .. yes, that definitely got my attention.

If God is indeed dropping prophetic crumbs here .. that would suggest to me that he wants you to see the table from which they fell.

The table set by Mr. Blow.

I am just stating the obvious, no? You will have to judge for yourself.

(No pressure, Blow. You can do it. Tolstoy was 45 when he started Anna Karenina. How old are you? How big are your cojones?)

<end Carter Sunday school update Aug 23>

Oct 23, 2015 » Have you see the op-ed that Carter wrote for the Times? That definitely surprised me.

He is tougher than I thought. He seems nice, but you can't work on world peace at 90 years of age with cancer after they cut out part of your liver without being very tough. ]

The thought also occurred to me ..

.. that Bill entertained those policies not because he thought that they were the right thing to do ..

.. but rather as a ploy for political gain. Social consequences be damned.

I mean, that is sad. But David Simon says pretty much the same thing about Martin O'Malley here. [ Martin responds here. ]

It's like these politicians care nothing of right and wrong. They only care about one thing .. and that one thing aint you, hoss.

» The Takeaway

I could get carried away with the narrative here .. because I have been thinking about a lot of things along these lines.

But perhaps I should say that .. the residual flavor that your piece left with me is »

"We'd rather not burn these cities to the ground. But you people dont seem to listen any other way. And we cant take this shit any more.

We cant take you shooting our teens in the head multiple times at point-blank range for merely jaywalking in Ferguson.

We cant take you choking the life out of our older asses for selling single cigarettes on the sidewalks of Queens.

We cant take you breaking our necks and crushing our voice box for carrying a pocket knife in Baltimore.

We cant take this shit anymore. You will see what we mean."

» Adding the Supportive Weight of Quotes to Your Opinions

You used quotes effectively. I always find quotes a nice way to add supportive weight to a point.

There was a tidbit of writing advise that I once read [ I forget who wrote it .. maybe David Carr .. chemo makes some memories fuzzy ] that criticized ending a piece with a quote. I did not read the whole article because I disagreed with the suggestion.

Zora Neale Hurston quote about the need to speak out about racial oppressionHere you end with a quote and it obviously works. So you make my point.

A quote attributed to Zora.

When I read your article-ending quote, I thought about how true it is ..

.. that the system will grind your ass into the pavement.

And say it's good for you. True that.

So it can only be worse for the black man.

» You Must Warn Them With Your Thunder or Pay a Price in Blood

As I pondered the quote later, it reminded me of what Ezekiel said » you have to TELL THEM (even tho it might seem obvious to you) "This shit will not do. No, no, no."

In other words » you have to WARN THEM .. or it will cost you blood.

Warnings are like thunder .. which warns of an approaching storm.

I noticed that your quotes are not indented. Standard HTML mark-up indents blockquotes. Is this the result of a stylistic decision at the Times not to indent blockquotes?

I feel that indented quotes work better. Sets them off. Perhaps just personal preference.

I have been exploring the technique of dropping hyperlinks into my entries .. to supportive, confirming verses of scripture.

Christ the Redeemer | Rio de Janiero, BrazilIt makes me feel ike I have Authority from On High standing behind me, endorsing my point. (In Writing.)

The unspoken inference here is that the reader who disagrees with me, disagrees with the Living God Himself.

I normally try to align myself and my opinions with established moral authority.

» Do Republican Policies Trick-Fuck the Poor & the Helpless?

[ Here is where I dont understand the policies behind the Republican platform, which claims to be the party of the church-going faithful and see themselves as having moral authority.

Yet they endorse policies that fuck over the weak and the poor, which, anyone who can read can plainly see is » contrary to scriptural doctrine.

Which is probably one of the reasons why so many Americans want nothing to do with a church.

They want to be seen as tough guys. But they are really pussies, who seem to care only about the money and enriching only themselves. You know.

They obviously havent read the Bible, which clearly warns against such things. (Some people give Christianity a bad name.)

Because consideration of the poor goes back to the very beginnings of the christian church.

» Notice Any Differences?

What do you call a person who doesnt care about the true morality of right-n-wrong .. only that "the other" is perceived as wrong?

Compare, for example, the metaphorical 'harpoons' (slings-n-arrows) occasionally afflicting old-white-rich people such as Charles Koch .. with the real deal encountered daily by young-black-poor teens in Chi-Raq.

Notice any differences? ]

Tho, if I wrote for the Times, like you, I would probably be much more reluctant to do this, to add scriptural references to my work, in that very public venue. Here I can write pretty much whatever I like.

One of the cool things about the hyperlink .. is that it allows you to craft a document in such a way as to include references to a plethora of verses .. without ever explicitly quoting one.

And that takes a little practice. To get it right.

In this way, the hyperlink could be used as a sort of unspoken subtext. You could craft a document about one thing and really be talking about something entirely different.

Einstein | His Life & Universe» My Experience

I also noted that you began one of your later paragraphs with » "It has been my experience that..."

This topic aligns closely with what I wrote here » Qualified to Speak » Giving Weight to Words. (in today's parent entry)

Isnt there something authentic about a sentence that begins with » "My experience has been..."

Einstein says that our experience is the ONLY SOURCE of knowledge ..

.. which gets you over into epistemology, the philosophy of knowledge, and the like.

Whatever the case, I cant recall many writers coming right out and stating their experience so explicitly like you did.

Tho I think you would agree .. if you could link to the words » been my experience .. an article, or a column, or a page where you describe this experience ..

.. in detail so fine and revealing that no reader would ever doubt the veracity or the genuineness of your narrative .. that would be even better.

» The Three-Word Paragraph

I also noted your use of the three-word paragraph. It actually made me smile.

That technique has such a nice effect, doncha think? Especially when paired with the right photo or graphic.

As your mind ponders the implications of the three-word paragraph .. it seems to naturally wander over to the photo. No?

First I notice the effect, and later I go back to try and see why/how the thing works the way it does.

Thomas Edsall | Professor of Journalism at Columbia University in NYCCheck out Edsall here. Same thing.

Again, a three-word paragraph for the 3rd paragraph » Times have changed.

(Nice. Score big points.)

And opposite an image, like yours.

Does not Edsall kick much ass? I have learned a lot from him.

And the way he started his piece with the Merle Haggard song and transitioned from there ..

.. that was very cool, doncha think? Like impressively cool. The master at work.

Edsall teaches Journalism at Columbia. (The Dog went to Columbia.) Stiglitz and Edsall at the same university .. no fair.

I bet those are some interesting classes.

Show me the student that surpasses this master. That I would like to see.

Edsall is always referencing knowledgeable people. He says things like » "In an email response, my buddy so-n-so said thus-n-such."

So either he has a preconfigured network of experts (from his years at the Post) that he can tap, or he reaches out and makes contact and gathers the necessary info to write his column.

(Down below I whipped up my own version of the three-word paragrph, when I write » Pause for reflection.)

» Go Tell It, Brother

I looked up your boy » James Baldwin (1924-1987) .. because I was not familiar with the name. Interesting character, I see. He is Mr. » Go Tell It on the Mountain (1953).

I noticed that you introduce Bill Clinton with the description » Former U.S. president, even tho everybody knows that Bill was pres.

Yet you give no similar descriptive introduction to James Baldwin, even tho most Americans have probably never heard of him. Just an observation.

Visual indication of the Quantum Leap» The Lightbulb Effect

There were a few parts in your piece that really stood out to me ..

.. divided into two groups ..

.. where one is a heightened appreciation of the prose, such as » "the steady beat of black bodies falling"

.. and the other with a 'lightbulb effect.' (But generally, even the dimmest lightbulb trumps the most evocative prose.)

Let me go find that lightbulb part I am thinking about. Here it is:

"The time that any population will silently endure suffering is term-limited and the end of that term is unpredictable, often set by a moment of trauma that pushes a simmering discontent over into civil disobedience."

Okay .. I went back and reread your piece and saw stuff the second time thru that I didnt notice the first time.

You really let loose with a cannon shot there, didnt you? With some seriously incendiary shit.

"That is because America likes to hide its sins. That is because it wants its disaffected, dispossessed and disenfranchised to use the door under the steps."

To let loose without loosing your shit .. is not so easy. To let loose with your thunder.

[ Note » I mention your piece in another context in another entry » range of authentic influence. ]

[[ Note from the future » you write another nice lightbulb piece here. ]]

» Baltimore Burns

I have been to Baltimore's Inner Harbor a number of times .. when I was living in south eastern Pennsylvania (for 5 or 6 years).

Inner Harbor Baltimore | The Ritz

I remember enjoying the vibe there. An easy, relaxed vibe. [ Nina captures here the essence of the relaxed vibe that I am talking about .. with a reggae beat. ]

On the Google map just below, you can see the letters 'caster' sticking out from behind the red pin-point, which hides the letters » Lan (caster). So we were close. Closer than it was to Georgetown-DC. (Another place that I very much enjoyed.)

Baltimore via Google Maps

And the lights at night .. on a hot, humid summer night .. totally enchanting. (Especially after a glass of wine, or two.)

Inner Harbor Baltimore at dusk

But even then I remember my date telling me how the city had fallen on hard times. Local girl, who had grown up less than an hour away. Straight up the 83.

This article at the LA Times says that violence today in response to police violence aint nothing compared to what it was in the 60's and the 70's.

» The City is Dying

?Do you remember that song by Randy Newman with the lyrics refrain » The city's dying and they dont know why. ?

Along these lines, you can read here the following sentence by Sonja Sohn of The Wire » "There was a hopelessness on the streets of Baltimore that ran so deep that it seemed to have killed the spirit of the people." (Wow.)

Here's another » "There is, without question in my mind, a genealogy to the anger that has been on display since Freddie Gray was killed."

This page says (4th paragraph) »

Arial shot of the blighted neighborhood in the Sandtown-Winchester section of Baltimore where Freddie Gray lived"The feelings heard across Baltimore's recent protests -- of being trapped in poverty -- seem to be backed up by the new data.

Among the nation's 100 largest counties, the one where children face the worst odds of escaping poverty is the city of Baltimore, the study found."

This article describes the blighted area where Freddie was living at the time. (Tho he did not grow up here.)

» Blind Date in Baltimore (Where Anything Goes)

I even dated this Baltimore girl once .. for a weekend .. blind date. Drove down there after work on Friday with this dude I was working with .. at a nuke plant there in SE Pa. (Turning matter into energy.)

Stayed the weekend. Had fun. Hung out. Relaxed.

This guy was crazy. An old-timer. A contractor. A Rad Road Whore. Burning for dollars. He was there at TMI when it melted down.

I'm getting off-track. But here's my point » my initial impression of Baltimore was » anything goes here. (For what it's worth.)

Baltimore is in the state of Maryland. Maryland is south of the Mason-Dixon.

Even tho it it just a short drive from the southern part of Pennsylvania, the culture there is different enough that you can sense it. You can feel it.

More relaxed. Slower. Even the speech is slower. Relations seem more personal. They reach out and touch you more. They put their hands on you more often and more naturally. So it's more nurturing in that sense.

A whole culture's worth of things come along with my experience there, but I was not expecting to find such noticeable differences across such a small distance .. New England boy that I was.

Baltimore sits near the end of the Chesapeake. First thing I did when I arrived in Pennsylvania for a new job .. was to buy a copy of Mitchner's Chesapeake ..

.. because it helps me orientate myself. With a Mitchner novel, you are not only treated to a good story, but you also learn historical facts about the area, which help to make you feel at home.

[ I did the same thing with his his novel Hawaii when I moved there. A little off-topic, but this is good. ]

I like the way some writers include personal, relevant tidbits about themselves and about their lives. So I try to incorporate such things into my own writing.

NY Times Business Card» Rad Editor

If I were an editor there at the NY Times [ do you even have an editor? ] ..

.. I would reference this sentence of yours »

"History demonstrates that too many forked tongues have delivered too many betrayed covenants."

And say » "Blow, I know what you are saying, but you cant really deliver a betrayed covenant. Rather, you can only betray a covenant after it has been delivered."

A covenant is a formal agreement between people » "If you do this, I'll do that."

An over-simplified agreement might be made between two lovers » "If you dont sleep with anyone else, I wont either."

The covenant isnt 'betrayed' until one lover sleeps with someone else .. no? See my point?

I concede that it's a minor point, but I feel that such criticism lends weight to my opinion. Otherwise it suggests that I am too dazzled to form an objective opinion of your opinion. (Like I am with Dylan, who I could never criticize.)

Also, your piece contains one representative photo. Dont you feel that one graphic element is not enough .. to convey a point graphically?

Your piece would have benefited from another image or two. You can trim the size to allow for the continuous flow of text.

There must have been tons of great shots to choose from. Like this one, for example.

[ Speaking of excellent accompanying photos .. please convey my admiration for the person who took this photo. Wow. ]

Notice how I used 3 photos of you. It is impossible to capture exactly how handsome you are with only one shot.

What do you think of the three I selected? I led off with the contemplative gaze (black-n-white). Then the profile (artsy fartsy) and finished with the straight on folded hands with plum tie and purple background.

You look handsome in that last one. Speaking of which...

Cultural Differences Regarding How Society Values the Black Man » North vs South

Charles Blow | A handsome manWhat I would be interested to hear, Mr. Blow, is a contrast-n-compare ..

.. of the differences of the way Northern culture values (or devalues) the black .. from that of Southern culture.

A comparison which premises different cultural perspectives regarding the black man.

Your Wikipedia page says that you grew up in Louisiana. Now you work for the New York Times.

So surely you must have some idea of the differences in the way the black man is treated north vs treated south.

This is a genuine curiosity that I have .. about a difference that may be intuitively obvious to another (such as yourself).

For example, Baltimore is south of the Mason-Dixon.

Do you feel that cities in the north or in the south would be more likely to convict?

I read an article a while back that said something like .. the south was traditionally more hostile to the black man, but now things are reversing.

And if this is a genuine trend reversal, what is behind it?

Wow, Blow, I got carried away there. Now I will have to off-load this section to its own, separate page. You are hogging my whole entry on Times' opinion writers. You and Brooks.

Update » done.

<end update 29 april blow's violence in baltimore>

» Maryland Prosecutor Charges 6 Baltimore Police Officers with the Death of Freddie Gray

Update May 1 » Ooh, speaking of trials .. look at this. Wow. Prosceutor charges 6 Baltimore police with the death of Freddie Gray.

Freddie Gray died of spinal-cord injuries on April 12, 2015 while in the custody of the Baltimore police<Pause for reflection>

Are you surprised, Blow?

I guess the question now is » does she have the heuvos to pull this off?

The expertise? The tenacity? The savvy?

I addressed the prosecutors a year ago .. after they had picked on our brother.

We all need to stand up for ours brothers, and to be their voice when theirs is silenced.

We need to say to these cowardly oppressive authorities who pick on only the weak and the helpless »

"Do not fuck with our brothers or we will call down fire on your asses. You are hereby put on notice. Dont say you werent warned. You only get this one. You will see what I mean. Dont make me say, 'Told ya .. you shoulda listened.' Because there will be chaos."

Here is another interesting development.

But you must admit that a charge of » second-degree depraved heart murder .. sounds like the person is downright evil.

Supposedly it means » indifference to human life .. which definitely belongs in the evil category.

<end May 1 update about prosecutor charging 6 Baltimore police with death of Freddie Gray>

[ Update May 21 » Indictments handed down. Do you think Freddie can see that? End update May 21. ]

» The Release

I dont know about you .. but, sometimes when I am writing, and I am on a track, a mission, a theme, a direction, a cause ..

.. and I am on this track for what seems like an e.x.t.e.n.d.e.d period ..

.. you know, like when you start to ask yourself » "When is this going to end?" ..

Arial shot of the blighted neighborhood in the Sandtown-Winchester section of Baltimore where Freddie Gray lived.. sometimes I get a 'release'.

In other words, a feeling like you just arrived at » the end.

But the thing about this 'release' is that ..

.. it comes so suddenly and with such 'satisfaction' ..

.. that it actually causes me to stop and look-n-see » what it was that did it.

And the moment that I dropped in the photo of Freddie Gray (that you see just above) ..

.. I knew I was done with this section about » 'Violence-in-Baltimore'.

Which has evolved in an entry that is really about something entirely different.

Sure, I can return tomorrow to add my artistic touches. My personality. My humor. Some representative graphics. Some hyperlinks to external sources to support my bold assertions. Some anchor links to heading titles to facillitate future linkage to individual sections within a document.

And this can be an enjoyable part of the process .. after all the hard work of conceptualizing and creating the document is done. Now we polish the rough-cut stone into a sparkling gem.

But the meat of the piece feels done.

I am just noting how it works for me .. experimenting with the tools, the digital tools, the technology, the language, the images, along with my skill set, and my gifts.

The artist must be continually advancing, progressing, growing .. or he feels like he is dying, no?

I like to read about other writers and artists who experience the same or similar things. Because then I dont feel so crazy.

Sao Paulo, Brazil | Inequality Demonstrated PhotographicallyBut I probably need to work on maintaining better subject discipline.

Anyway, I am noting this strictly on a » For-what-it's-worth basis.

I am really writing to myself here.

Notes from underground.

(Where the voices speak more clearly.)

Speaking of the voices ..

.. and their violent silencing...

» Freddie's Broken Neck (Spine) and Crushed Larynx

I must say .. that I do feel qualified (unfortunately) to discuss injured necks and voice boxes. Freddie was 25 years old.

One of the articles that I read said that Mr. Gray died of a broken neck (spine) and a crushed larynx.

That does not sound like a pleasant way to die.

So you cant help but wonder how such a thing could happen.

Man airborne with mountain bikeBecause I went mountain-biking, at a time when I was considerably older than Freddie.

And I went » sailing over the handlebars ..

.. down into a 6-foot deep recess off to my left.

And landed ON MY HEAD .. while still clipped in (attached) to the bike.

And I didnt break my neck .. tho sure, it was sore for some time.

And Freddie was supposedly » lying face-down on the floor .. of the van that made the secret stop. (For how long?)

So I dont get it. I dont see how he broke his neck and crushed his voice box.

Do you?

Because I was probably airborne for a good three seconds. (Which can seem like an eternity.)

Landed on my head with a bike on top of me .. and walked away. At a much older age.

<end of blow's violence-in-baltimore following freddie gray's death while in police custody>

The end. ■

You can return to the exact spot from where this entry originated .. see » here.

» Update May 14

Ooh, Blow .. you are on fire. I had a nice chub going, reading that.

I am actually working on Frank, right now. But I had to at least mention this.

Stylistically, the thing that jumped out at me .. was where you wrote » Stop laughing, people! There's more. Varney continued

Where the writer assumes or implies an emotional response in or from his reader.

Intuitively, I feel that this technique takes courage (because the writer risks sounding presumptuous, or perhaps even pompous).

But it at least takes confidence.

I mean, I cant imagine an insecure writer employing that technique. Insecure about his subject.

So it is clear that you feel confident in addressing this subject.

[ I noticed that I did this myself leading off this page .. where I assume that my readers are having trouble reading the title of the image. ]

One of the reasons why I find myself here, writing this .. is because I used to be one of those people who you address in this column.

You are not going to change their minds. They have these self-serving beliefs about the way things are.

Langston Hughes & Zora Neale Hurston by Dana EllynBut you shouldnt let that stop you from calling bullshit wherever it is espoused.

The shit needs to be said .. like Nora said. True that.

But only thru many bizarre twists-of-fate did I come to see the other side of the coin, so to speak.

But like I said, it's a self-serving belief .. and much of what they have built would crumble without these beliefs, and their whole world would become problematic.

And when you present your case, you would be within your rights to give them a little dig, saying »

"If you know-nots had a grasp of the facts, instead of your self-serving klaptrap, you wouldnt be spouting this ignorant shit."

But when you catch them with their own words is the best .. is it not?

» Jeb Whiffs Repeatedly on Megyn's Softball Pitch

Whenever I think of Fox News, I think of Megyn Kelly (hubba hubba). Did you see the look on her face when Jeb responded to her question? »

"Oh my God, dude .. I tossed you the easiest softball question ever and you are totally blowing it. I can see that I am gonna be voting for Hillary."

Update May 15 » It looks like Fox News has edited out the direct, frontal shots of Megyn as she listened to Jeb's response.

Hey .. cant say that I blame 'em. But you can still get an idea of what I am talking about from the distant side shots that they used to replace the frontal close-ups.

Megyn Kelly asks the Donald an uncomfortable question at the Republican Presidential candidate debate on August 6, 2015An editor must have a very good reason not to use a frontal close-up of Megyn Kelly.

And the look on her face as she listened to Jeb's response certainly qualifies.

"Holy shit, dude. I am trying not to looked shocked on camera, but come on. This was NOT a trick question. This is Fox News, where we provide ideological reinforcement to like-minded people. And you are a like-minded Republican, who gets kid-glove treatment. At first, I couldnt believe what I was hearing .. which is why I quickly followed up with a clarifying question. I was trying to help steer you back on course. But I can see now that you are beyond help. Well beyond. Which is why I'll be voting for Hillary. Because I can see now that you are just like your brother .. you hear what you WANT to hear. I am not going to let them use the frontal close-ups of me looking totally dumbfounded. What a waste it was for me to put on make-up this morning. You fucker, Jeb."

In all your years of watching televised interviews, have you ever once seen one where they give you only a distant side cut-away of host's 's facial response during the response?

<end update may 15 fox news removes frontal close-ups of megyn listening to jeb's response>

» The Correct Response to Megyn's Question

Jeb Bush speaks to Clark county republicans in Las Vegas May 13, 2015Jeb, here is the correct answer »

"Of course not, Megyn. Only an idiot would do something like that.

My brother is a moron. A provincial moron. Everybody knows this.

The alcohol obviously pickled his brain and damaged his decision-making apparatus.

Sure, I may have smoked a lot of cannabis in college, but who hasnt? And cannabis doesnt pickle your brain the way alcohol does, because it's not a known toxin, like alcohol is.

And everybody knows that it was really Cheney-the-Puppetmaster who had his arm up my brother's ass, and was influencing his decisions.

Fuck what Oliver Stone says. He's an asshole.

And I would never be so stupid as to fuck up the country and ruin so many lives just to stroke my insecure cowboy ego.

That's why dad loved me best. I will fix everything that my brother fucked up. I will restore the family name to the status it had before my brother's incompetence tarnished it so badly.

I know that sounds like a fantastically tall order, but just watch my innovative ass go to work. So help me, God."

Heck, he hasnt even declared yet, and already he is having to say » "Uh, I didnt really mean what I said."

And the tough questions havent even started yet.

Stand the fuck by, Jeb. Things might get a little bumpy here. You might wanna look around for something sturdy to grab hold of.

The White House Boys | Dozier School for Boys, Marianna, FloridaI want to know, for example ..

.. what he did about the » Dozier "School" for Boys.

(As the former governor of Florida.)

And where does he stand on Florida's stand-your-ground laws?

Does he think that his brother is guilty of torture .. like everybody says that he is?

[ Well, everybody except Dick Cheney, Karl Rove & Numbsfeld.

Even Condi came out against it. I felt my respect for her climb when I heard that.

"Dont let this be your legacy, dude."

She was right. But George wouldnt listen to the voice of reason.

This is why I think Cheney was able to mind-fuck, George. To do the Vulcan mind-meld on him and wrestle his weak alcoholic's will to the ground and make him say torture is good.]

Would he torture the same as his can-do-no-wrong brother?

Maureen would like to know about the » near-total collapse of the American economy.

Can you blame her?

Dude, you keep touting your job-creation stats during your time in Florida, but really, you know that most of that was simply due to dumb luck

A talented chimp .. sitting in the governor's chair .. with ropes overhead attached to tasty-looking bananas could have done just as well ..

Alan Greenspan awarded the nation's highest honor by George W. Bush.. during the (artificially inflated) housing bubble that your brother's incompetent buddies blew up

with fog-a-mirror credit requirements.

The reason I selected that particular photo of Jeb .. is because I saw some of his brother in it.

The pointing of the fingers in two opposite directions at once.

So naturally, the question comes » how much? How much of George is in Jeb? (Is this not an obvious question?)

Update Sept 16, 2015 » I noticed that Jeb! defended his brother in the 2nd debate by saying that "He kept us safe."

Dude, you must've missed September 11th .. the worst act of domestic terrorism on US soil, ever. On your brother's watch.

Should I post the photo of him looking bewildered and dumbfounded there in Florida? to help jog your memory, maybe?

You dont keep the nation safe by standing atop a pile of rubble (.. because the rubble means that you already failed .. at keeping the nation safe) ..

.. with a fireman who lost many of his best friends. Because your brother's administration, whose job it was to protect this man's friends, and who were depending on your brother's administration to keep them safe .. failed.

That is what the pile of rubble says to me, Jeb. (Uh, I mean, Jeb!)

Rather you keep America safe by putting down the golf clubs and by getting off the golf course and reading the intelligence briefing titled » Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the US.

I am kinda pissed at Trump for not calling bullshit on such obvious bullshit.

» The World Trade Towers Came Down on George's Watch

[< Update Oct 16, 2016 - Donald clarifies his position » "When you talk about George Bush, I mean, say what you want, the World Trade Center came down during his time."

Is Donald saying anything that everybody doesnt already know? George failed to keep us safe .. despite the pointed warnings. (And he failed at a lot of other things, too.)

Is this not is a Commander-in-Chief's prime responsibility? What is more important than protecting the nation from threats both foreign and domestic? Tell me, Jeb. I want to know.

Because it's not lowering your handicap by a few strokes.

If you say that we kept Hawaii safe after the Japs bombed it .. you're missing the point, Jeb .. which you seem to be doing a lot of lately.

When you are the president, these catastrophic failures of national security are your fault » by definition .. because that is the president's job priority. (Not golfing.)

And the fact that neither George nor Jeb even recognizes this .. is troubling to the American people. There is no personal accountability.

He refuses to accept responsibility even for stuff that have his fingerprints all over it. His dirty, greasy (war-criminal) fingerprints.

Boy, you fuckers simply cannot accept responsibility for anything, can you? Not even a tiny little bit. Is this something that your family lawyers teach you while you are in grade school?

Or is that a rich-person thing? (Not being able to accept even a little responsibility for anything.)

Have you seen the movie Foxcatcher, Jeb? You might enjoy it. Based on a true story about a rich, older dude and some poor, younger kids. Certified Fresh.

It's hard to believe .. even when you are seeing it on display right before your eyes. But there it is .. in high-definition video.

And you think, "The rich really must be different" like Fitzgerald says. Do you fancy Fitzgerald, Jeb?

Egan says that you're looking to quit .. that you've had enough. And Maureen calls bullshit that you have better things to do. All your bases are lost, bitch. Welcome to the New Age, dawg.

Where (like I told the Pope) we have some new rules .. such as .. you can't be in charge of a state that is doing bad things to boys ..

.. and look the other way .. and think that is okay.

You fuckers need to start owning this shit .. if you want to be in charge. You will see what I mean. (Spotlight wins the Oscar for Best Picture.)

It's the Third Millennium .. we should have this shit figured out by now. I say now is the time.

And if you really can't get that Jeb, then you should just go home. You can help George mix his paints. He probably needs help deciding which colors to use.

I probably should not quote both Egan and Maureen together like that. They get me all riled up and then I take it out on poor Jeb.

I am going to make like George and refuse to accept any responsibility for anything and blame it on those two. It's all your fault Egan and Maureen.

» Trump Threatens to Torch the Entire Republican Enchilada Factory

Oh, look at this (Feb 15, 2016) .. Trump threatens to burn down the whole enchilada factory. (We're talking about republican enchiladas, here.)

My experience dealing with NYC-bred boys .. is that they possess sophisticated throwdown skills.

I was always friends with them. so they were always on my side. But I have seen them in action. Too much to discuss here .. but NYC boys know how to throwdown on the street, with political skills.

They may try to fuck with the Donald, but in the end, I would wager that they will rue the day.

They will think twice about fucking with the Donald. Because NYC boys are able to see the people dynamics behind the factors in play. Like they have a special x-ray political vision.

It's like they pull levers and push buttons that you didnt even know existed.

March 2, 2016 » Oh look .. now the establishment is threatening to torch their own enchilada factory themselves .. if Trumps gets the nomination .. which he seems to be doing surprisingly comfortably. Nobody is even close to him.

<end update March 2, 2016 Republicans strike a threatening match in their own house>

» Giving Up 19 Runs in the First Inning

I read that Trump later responded to their cries of, "W kept us safe," by saying » "That's like saying, we gave up 19 runs in the first inning, but after that we played well."

That's actually a great analogy. I loved it. And he pins it to the American past-time by bringing in baseball. Clever twist. I told you that NYC boys had a certain political intuition.

The fact that the World Trade Towers came down in Trump's hometown .. in his backyard, so to speak .. that gives him "standing" (to use a legal term) to speak on the falling of the World Trade towers.

(Which were W's responsibility to keep standing .. seeing that the #1 responsibility of any president is always the safety and security of the nation and its citizens.)

The Donald gets that .. because he says, "I had friends who died in there."

Who among the candidates standing there on the debate stage is going to tell Donald that he has no right to talk about the World Trade towers coming down? (Answer » no one)

And dont forget that it took much of Bush's presidency for the site to be rebuilt.

I have heard from people who dont even like Trump, say, "That was the best thing I ever heard Donald say." .. when he responded to Ted's charge of "New York values".

Obviously, Ted does not have the same political skills as the Donald .. or he never would've said that .. and given the Donald such an opportunity to make his case in defense of New York city and the values of its people.

Trump is pretty fearless. He tells everybody to go fuck themselves.

The fact that he is kicking such ass in South Carolina, which is supposedly "Bush country" .. even after calling W a liar on stage at the debate .. does that not surprise you? It must.

End update Trump says George Bush f.a.i.l.e.d to keep America safe on 9-11. >]

Sure, George tried and he's a nice, likable guy. I agree. But he was inadequate for the job.

Whether in temperament or intelligence or whatever characteristics or metric you might summon .. you can argue that shit til the cows come home.

But the bottom line is .. the nation is worse off by far because he was president. At least, for most of the nation.

What is so hard about admitting that? That doesnt mean that you dont love him. But we are still paying for your brother's fuck ups. Or maybe it just feels that way.

Why are you so trigger-happy to defend him that you cant ever hear the question that people are asking you?

If I were a campaign manager or one of Jeb's highly paid political consultants, I would not select an image of my candidate standing atop a pile of rubble (that killed people that my candidate was charged to protect) as a symbol of inspiration.

Nor would I compare my campaign to that of John McCain (.. who lost and lost very badly, as in » it was not even close).

And the fact that you obviously cant see that .. tells me that » you dont get it. And I doubt I am alone on that.

» War Criminals Among Us

Did you see that this Code Pink chick [ Michaela Anang ] called Cheney a "War Criminal"?

What do you think of that? Because there is a case to be made that your brother is a war criminal. Is it true that he cannot visit Europe?

What is it like to be the brother of a war criminal?

That was cool, tho, that you freely admitted smoking pot on national TV.

I imagined you throwing up your middle finger and looking into the camera and saying, "Fuck you, Bill."

Tho, you know that there are citizens rotting in jails all over this nation right now for the same thing you did. Primarily poor and minority citizens.

How does that make you feel, Jeb? Does it make you feel even more privileged than you already are?

<end update to call bullshit on George keeping us safe>

» Hopefully I'm Wrong

Blow, when I dropped in the photo of Freddie up above ..

.. which comes right after the photo of you ..

.. I thought that it probably wouldnt have been too terribly difficult for you to be in his spot.

Hopefully I am wrong about that.

The end (of the May 14 update Blow on fire and Jeb chokes on a softball question). ■■

Update July 24 » This is very good, Blow. You got out your magnifying glass and your flashlight. Beautiful.  I have long felt that a key to life consists in asking the right questions. Speaking of which, this is vert good. Have you seen that yet? Roaxane, you dont have to turn on the red light. They will turn it on for you .. right before they pull you over. <end update July 24>

Update July 29, 2015 » Ooh, Blow .. I have promoted you to Ultimate Warrior class .. for the column you wrote on the Shooting of Samuel Dubose.

I dont think you've written anything at that level before.That was strong. Potent. Full strength outrage.

You must know by now that you are writing at a more electrified level. Surely you can feel it.

Homie dont play dat shoot-the-black-person-in-the-face-for-a-license-plate-violation game.

There are numerous lines that I want to quote .. but I am trying to resist. Cuz I will get carried away.

<end update July 29>

Update August 6, 2015 » Wow, Blow .. you are out beyond any labels that I have here. The column you wrote on Darren Wilson's Distance. Much respect.

I found this part particularly striking »

It grows out of collective desire to perform a collective deed. It isn't so much conscious brainchild as subliminal mind meld.

There are other outstanding quotable quotes.

Actually the thing that really rang my bell was when you quoted Jack Halpern as saying »

"Together, the two reports frustrated attempts to arrive at a clean moral conclusion. Wilson had violated no protocol in his deadly interaction with Brown, yet he was part of a corrupt and racist system."

The cop, Darren Wilson, is part of a known-corrupt system .. identified as one that blatantly ands even proudly trick-fucks black people every chance they get.

Yet he does not recognize or even acknowledge that as something that might make blacks not like the police. (Which in itself is rather remarkable.)

That was simply an excellent column you wrote. You definitely earned your paycheck this week. I am proud of you.

» 12 Years a Slave

I am actually in the middle of "12 Years a Slave" right now. I had to pause it and take a breather. Because Solomon is getting ready to go over to Fassbender's place. (That cant be good.)

I will tell you Blow, that when I saw the Academy had awarded this film Best Picture .. I thought (as a white dude) that they were just being kind to the black director directing a film about a black guy. The Academy has its own politics, you know.

But I can see now that this is a well-crafted film. Outstanding. In other words, they werent just being kind.

The lighting in the scene where he wakes up chained in a cell .. and the white guy comes in and tells him that is a Georgia runaway .. with the door behind. Wow.

And the way that he had him wake up first and THEN inserted the flashbacks .. while he is already in the cell, chained .. trying to remember what happened. That worked well. Very well.

And the way he left him hanging there by the noose .. for soo loong .. with all those people just going about their business .. like everything is normal.

Strangely bizarre scene. Downright otherworldly.

This film is a true work of art .. and I am not even done yet.

And I will add, Blow .. that I saw Selma last night. You know there was a hubbub about the director not getting nominated.

So I was curious, of course.

And you know how much respect I have for Martin Luther King .. and maybe it is because I have been seeing so many outstanding movies larely. Or perhaps my expectations were just set too high ..

.. but I was not feeling Selma as much as I thought I would. I mean 12 Years seems at least 3X better. No shit.

Tho .. I was feeling the explosion scene. That was well done. She put you IN the explosion. Clever.

It was like I really felt. Totally unexpected. And afterward I was floating disorientedly in slow motion.

(I had earbuds on with the laptop. These ear-buds rock. You hear it all.)

Tho how you can tell that a film was well-directed .. this is something that I talked about with the Film school girl.

I mean, if you see a well-made film, how do you know that it is good because of the director?

How do you know it wasnt due to some great cinematography? Or an excellent scripts? Or the editing? She tried to tell me but I still dont get how you tell a film is well-directed.

» Memories of Nuclear-Grade Days

Anyway, these movies have stimulated memories. [ I am reading Proust now, who is all about memory. ]

And when I first got out here to California .. working in the nuclear industry .. I was working for this tough old guy from Mississippi.

He could be a terror, at times. And a true master at the art of chewing ass.

You never had an ass-chewing 'til he gnawed on your backsides for a spell.

But he was more than fair and you would only get gnawed on when you really fucked up.

Anyway, you often work so many hours at these plants (12 hour days, 6 days a week) that you've havent time for any relationships except with people who work there with you. (Hundreds of them.)

You cant really date a co-worker when you are a boss .. but before I became a boss, I dated a black girl who worked there. She was very nice. College grad. Educated. Fun. Sprinter in college. Athletic. This was whe I was just a regular, knuckle-draggin' tech.

Anyway, I was coming to work one afternoon and he stopped me on my way in to ask about a few things. And we were walking with some others and she continued walking in to the plant.

And after we finished and as I was walking away, heading toward the plant, he asked, "Are you seeing that girl?"

I said, "Yeah."

He said, "Wow, you really have gone whole-hog California, havent you?"

Cuz I was wearing these brightly colored baggy pants that were surfer-fashionable at the time. And he knew about the Hawaiian dude who worked with us buying a surfboard for me.

And I am driving around in Porsche 911 .. with the targa top off. I was totally diggin' it, yeah.

"When in Rome," I called out over my shoulder .. heading in to the plant.

And he is kinda old, so he has been around a while. You know .. he has probably seen some shit in his day, growing up in Mississippi.

But this obviously did not stop him from promoting me to boss. Tho, at first, I was just a part-time boss.

But after you show them how smoothly you can make everything run .. and how well you can get along with all the mucky-mucks ..

.. then, of course, they want to make you a full-time boss. (I had between 70 and 110 people. Six days a week. Twelve hours a day. That will keep you hopping, my friend.)

I shit you not when I tell you that my big in-plant boss said (when I asked him how he thought I was doing at this newly-created job) » "Just keep doing what you're doing .. if you fuck up, I'll let you know."

I had been reading a lot of books on the subject of management and project management and shit like that.

But I had to throw all that out the window with these guys. I was kinda making it up as I went.

» When Pharaoh's Wife Says 'Lie With Me'

Speaking of ruling over your master's estate .. remind me to tell you about the time I received a call from Pharaoh's wife .. five minutes before the end of the shift.

That's a pretty good story. Very good, actually.

Normally I would not answer these calls .. which came mere minutes before the end of the shift .. because it usually meant they needed somebody to work over.

And it is not fun to get somebody to work over mere minutes before they were planning to go home.

Actually, it was only two minutes before quitting time .. cuz I looked up at the clock on the wall when I heard the phone ring.

But, being Mr. Conscientious .. I answered it anyway.

"Hey," says Pharaoh's wife, "there's a movie I've been wanting to see..."

You can probably figure out the rest. But I got to thinking .. after linking to those verses about Potiphar's wife pursuing Joseph, who was ruling over his master's entire estate.

I bet that Potiphar's wife was smart and pretty and sexy and educated. And I bet she possessed political instincts, too. And I bet that she knew how to deal with Mr. Potiphar, Pharaoh's officer.

But what do you do? .. when you get the call from Pharaoh's wife? I mean, Joseph refused her advances and got his ass thrown in prison.

And I just "want to be the best fighter-pilot in the Navy, sir," and if I need to make like Vincent Vega and take out the big man's wife .. then, hey .. call me Mr. Cinema.

From a distance, these things seem plainly black-n-white. But when you get up in them, you can see that they are actually fifty shades of gray. Far more complicated than you ever might've imagined.

Think about it and I'll follow up later.

» An Interesting Coincidence? (The Flesh is Weak)

{[ Blow, between you-n-me, and writing strictly hypothetically here .. what if a person was not able to resist the advances of his master's wife?

What if, despite knowing that this was clearly wrong and contrary to every moral and ethical code in existence, she were still somehow able to do and say things in such a way as to lure him in?

What if he really and truly tried very hard to resist the lure, but was somehow unable?

In other words, what if he were less like the biblical Joseph and more like the biblical David?

What if every time he tried to extricate himself from the situation, he only sunk in deeper?

And what would you think if I said that the very DAY I went for my biopsy .. a date over which I had little control .. seeing that I would've preferred to get the biopsy some 3 months earlier ..

.. what would you say if, on this very day .. still speaking strictly hypothetically here, mind you .. Pharaoh's wife called me out of the blue .. after I hadnt heard from her for a long time (years) ..

and says, "Hey, I was thinking about you today..."

Would you say that this was an interesting coincidence? Curiously interesting timing?

» This Cant be a Good Sign

I am not saying that this is what happened .. but that verse of scripture in Psalms where David says, "The Lord punished and disciplined me severely, but did not give me over to death" ..

I get that verse .. better than most christians. Much better. I get what it is saying. And here I am not speaking hypothetically. Not hardly.

After I got that call .. out of the blue, like that .. and after I'd finished talking to her .. I thought about the curious timing (on long-awaited biopsy-day) ..

.. and a voice in my head seemed to say » "I'm not sure what that means .. but it can't be good."

» My Racy Homage to Anne Rice

Blow, certainly you are familiar with the notion of how one thing can lead to another.

Anne RiceAnd this looks like the perfect place .. to craft a nice, little homage to Anne Rice.

Of course, my homage would be based on purely fictional characters.

Any resemblance to persons real and living or deceased would be purely coincidental.

<standard disclaimer applies>

But surely you know how writers draw on their real-life experiences to craft their fiction. It's inevitable.

For my homage, I am not refering to her vampire books, no. Tho the current rage .. that all came from Anne Rice.

Rather I am referring to her Sleeping Beauty Series. You know.

Because this is the place where it would go. As you will see. Right here.

I will no doubt have to lift out this section and transfer it to its own separate page .. but this is not a problem.

Like I said, no problemo .. here it is » My Racy Homage to Anne Rice (Naughty Rad Erotica). ]}

» Making It Worth Your Effort

Anyway, my experience in the contract nuclear (Rad Whore) world, which is certainly considerable, has been that they want to work you waay extra hard (as a boss) but only pay you a little extra for it.

In other words, not worth the effort. At least, not financially.

But he paid you well. "I went up the hill today to talk to the man .. and he says I can pay you such-n-such."

He knew how to operate in that businessy world. I was technically oriented. So we made a good team. Cuz he was very good at what he did.

I learned a lot from him. Zen business shit in action. He was a good teacher. (He said that I reminded him of his son.)

But my point is that my dating the black girl did not stop this Mississippi Boss Man from promoting me and showing me that he appreciated my efforts in a big way.

But the fact that an old Mississippi boss man might have a problem with me with a black girl .. that thought never occurred to me .. until after I saw these movies.

Does this imply a sort of cultural cluelessness on my part?

Perhaps. But I learned that .. if you have skillz and you can keep them out of trouble and you can make them look good ..

.. they dont much care who you're sleeping with. Feel me?

He let me handle things in the plant and did not intervene unless there was a serious fuck-up with one of our folks that echoed up the chain of command, which included anything that smacked of sexual or racial harassment.

Tho I made a point to keep him informed of everything going on .. well informed. You never want your boss blindsided by anything. You always wanna keep him abreast of events.

Usually I did this via phone and email, but also with periodic personal visits to his office .. as I was able to break away from the madness.

One interesting tidbit is that this black girl, she was from South Carolina. All the girls I've ever met from South Carolina were so sweet. Knowing little else, if I know a girl is from South Carolina, the answer is usually yes. "Blind date with a girl from from South Carolina? Okay."

But what I really mean to say is that .. she KNEW the black dude. My gay roommate. Thru his sisters. Small world, no?

But God could this Mississippi boss man chew ass. It wasnt like he really tried .. rather, it was more like » he couldnt stop himself.

Almost like it was in his very genes. His genetics. (Or maybe it came via his culture.) Because he had elevated it to an art form.

And there were some days when he was just plain ol' NOT in a good mood. (Days to stay away.)

When we were kids growing up in Connecticut, playing hide-n-seek, we would always cover our eyes and count » "One Mississippi .. two Mississippi .."

I dont know why we didnt just count, "One Connecticut .. two Connecticut .." (Same number of syllables.)

These were hard movies to watch .. especially 12 Years a Slave. He made it hard. On purpose. The director. McQueen.

Good for him. Big balls that man. Respect. What a movie. Gorgeously shot. Even lusciously at times.

I think this is necessary when you are going to be showing the ugly underbelly of life. Otherwise it makes you look away.

Even with Angelina's movie I felt like looking away. But I did not look away at 12 Years. (Tho I need a break.)

But it seems out on a new level of film-making .. the techniques, the quality, the amazing acting .. there were so many aspects to this film that I am admiring.

And it certainly doesnt hurt to have all those gorgeous trees in Georgia draped with Spanish Moss.

So there is an aspect with these hard-to-watch movies of doing your civic duty and educating yourself to historical and cultural realities in our nation.

I mean, nobody is crying out and saying that shit like this never happened. Which is the thing that makes it so disturbing to watch.

But today I received in the mail the a movie that I am really juicing to see .. and that is Ex Machina.

This is the kind of stuff that really gets me going.

<end update August 6 Darren Wilson>

Update August 12, 2015 » This entry is getting much too long, Blow. And it's all your fault .. but here is a snippet that, when I read it .. well, I will tell you what I thought after quoting the excerpt. See here »

» ".. but rather a collective outrage that the people charged with protecting your life could become a threat to it. It is a reaction to the puncturing of an illusion, the implosion of an idea. How can I be safe in America if I can't be safe in my body? It is a confrontation with a most discomforting concept: that there is no amount of righteous behavior, no neighborhood right enough, to produce sufficient security.

It produces a particular kind of terror, a feeling of nakedness and vulnerability, a fear that makes people furious at the very idea of having to be afraid." 

When I read that I didnt think you had it in you .. but you do. You obviously do. You are out there cruising the galaxy.

Did you write that on your birthday? It seemed special to me. Like you reached beyond yourself.

I see from your Wiki page that you just turned 45.

Tolstoy (1828-1910)You know, of course that Tolstoy wrote Anna Karenina when he was 45. (No pressure, dawg.)

It is certainly my feeling that a writer needs physical stamina and vigor and fitness ..

.. if he wants to throw down with the literary sages of the ages.

So this is why I feel that 45 is a good age to thrown down ..

.. because you are still physically vigorous tho you've likely had many interesting real-life experiences .. from which to draw.

And once you hit 50, and certainly after 55, you are physically in decline. (Your pecker will not perk up like it did when you were younger.)

Writing to make your mark on the ages. In whatever way you deem best. Doing the thing that only you can do. And that nobody can do like you.

(I told you that I was impressed by your column today.)

Tho Tolstoy was nearly 50 when he finished Anna. (No pressure, Blow.)

And stop writing all these great columns .. so that I can get back to the others.

Did you see the perseids?

<end Blow Aug 12 birthday update>

» Cornel West Helping to Forge the Modern Sensibility

<begin update Aug 19 Cornel West forging the modern sensibility>

Did you see this thing by Cornel West. Between you and me, Blow .. when I read that, I actually thought about what is written about Dostoevsky ..

.. that he was one of a handful of thinkers who helped » forge the modern sensibility.

And to be honest, I did not even really know what that meant .. at least, not fully. But I knew that, if you can do that .. if you can help to forge the modern sensibility » you are a bad dude. A very bad dude. So to speak. Historically speaking .. for future generations.

Because you need to possess a deep, working understanding of an impossibly wide array of social realities. [ This is not the best way to describe what I am saying, but you feel me. ]

And when I read Cornel's piece .. his replies to George's questions .. I could see what they meant by "forging the modern sensibility" in reference to Dostoevsky.

And they are basically saying that .. he took the crazy-ass world that you and I live in .. and made sense of it .. in a way that makes sense to a thinking, feeling, educated man.

Is that not what Cornel is doing?

Dude, next time you see Cornel, tell him he's spelling his name wrong. (Missing the second 'l'.)

He is putting himself out there, getting arrested .. you cannot help but admire and respect that kind of dedication. That gives him street-cred that you simply cant get any other way.

If I were getting arrested in a protest-line and I looked over and saw Cornel there, too .. that would make make me feel good.

Hey, look .. that's Cornel Fucking West over there .. sweating out here in the hot fucking sun with us .. getting the bracelets put on.

Blow, when I saw your column sitting there at the top of the Times' page, listed right beside Cornel's column, I thought, "The reactor is critical."

You still need to continue the start-up until you get to the "point-of-adding-heat" .. before you can make steam and fire that bitch up.

But you are well on your way with criticality. Turning matter into energy.

» John Oliver (a Brit) & the Twenty-First Century (American) Sensibility

When I think of forging the modern, twenty-first century sensibility, I think of John Oliver (.. a Brit, no less).

Do you think he forges himself? .. or does he simply display the ways in which the nation is forging its own sensibility? 

Probably some of both. But it doesnt really matter .. because he is kicking-major-ass. All over the place.

If I were king, I would grant him head-of-the-line privileges.

<end update Aug 19 Cornel West helping to forge the modern sensibility>

Nov 4, 2015 » Much respect, Blow. That is not easy to do you. You feel in control there. Confident, but not overreaching. Nice flashlight effect.

» Krugman Brings the Nobel-Grade Thunder

Speaking of Jeb .. Blow, did you see » Krugman's column? Wow. Downright incendiary. And he makes it look so easy. With many quotable sentences.

Paul Krugman | Nobel Prize Winning Princeton EconomistWho is like Krugman when he brings his A-game?

(Well, maybe Maureen. Wow, that was very good. She totally rocks.)

Ooh, check out Krugman » here (May 18).

He reminds me of a surgeon who must operate without anesthesia.

That is bright. Where are my sunglasses? Off come the band-aids.

One of the best pieces of writing advice I ever heard was » write what ONLY YOU can write.

(I think it was Hemingway, but not sure.)

Anyway, I feel this is what makes Krugman so valuable .. is that he writes only what Krugman could write.

Tho he does not strike me as a writer. I mean, yes, he is first-n-foremost an economist. Sure.

But his writing does not have the writing-magic of the others.

If I were Krugman, I would route my copy past someone who had the gift for words. A wordsmith .. to make your writing look good.

Tho I must admit, this most recent column definitely has some zing. Tabasco zing.

When you have a Nobel prize .. like Krugman .. do you feel this allows you to say things, to write things, that the same person withOUT such an honor canNOT say?

I am referring to the recognition and prestige that comes that the award, with the honor. The world-class recognition.

It is another subject, but do you feel that there is a sense of responsibility that goes along (comes) with the award?

I like that, despite his soaring IQ, he still manages to present a colloquial approach.

Sometimes super-smart folks have trouble communicating with mere mortals. But certainly not always.

I wasnt even sure if I were gonna discuss Krugman .. because he is such his own category (economics).

Famous scene from Hitchcock's film 'Notorious'But economics parallel society and politics in many areas.

And now I am discussing Krugman's writing in Blow's entry .. I'll figure out the organizational structure, later.

I may have bitten off more than I can chew here. Perhaps this is why I was so hesitant to begin.

The end (of update may 15-18 on krugman's writing). ■■■

Wow, this entry really exploded. It contains 50% more text than the original page (95 vs 65 KB HTML), and more than double the graphics (650 vs 300 KB total images).

With 800 KB total weight, I should really break it into two pages. Blow part one and Blow part two.

The postcard-sized image of Inner Harbor that I use is only 70 KB, which is not bad for such a big image with decent quality settlings. (Gotta love that jpeg compression algorithm.)

Update May 25 » HTML is up to » 110, total gfx is now » 750, and page total » 900.

Update June 4, 2015 » Ooh, Blow, I am trying to avoid you and focus on the others .. but this is good.

There was also another column you posted a few days ago that I badly wanted to comment on, because of your reference to the Josh Duggar case .. but I refrained myself.

I felt my respect for you take another full step forward after I read that piece. You took a position that I didnt expect.

I liked best when you shined your light on the rhetorical sleight-of-hand, and when you wrote the paragraph that contains this fragment » "it seems to me that most simply want..."

I particularly liked this short paragraph »

People have an intrinsic intelligence about such things. Outrage isn't constant or random. It is conditional and precise.

True that, brother. This is stuff that you can write much better than me.

This is good shit, Blow. You should be proud. You should have a beer tonight with the knowing-satisfaction that you did good.

This is not easy shit to write about. And especially not easy to write about with a level head. And you put forth an impressively calm-centered perspective. To me, this would seem difficult if I were black, identifying strongly with the injustices.

Update Feb 2, 2016 » Blow, what do you think about Clarence Thomas being unable to ask any questions? .. at all. (Not even one.)

Do you think that this is because blacks who grew up in the South, in Georgia, in the 1950's, were taught (trained) to never question whites?

And that this training has been so deeply ingrained in him, at an emotional level, that he cannot overcome this cultural indoctrination .. even now when he is sitting on the Supreme Court?

Is this the reason why Conservatives appointed him? Because they knew that he had been well-indoctrinated and had no speaking voice? Because he had no legal argumentative speaking voice?

Is this not a valid question? It's like they are saying, "Sure, we'll put a black on the Supreme Court .. but only after he has been thoroughly and politically neutered."

It's quite understandable, no? Does not Dyson seem to be saying a similar thing?

You must be disappointed with Clarence. You should coax him into getting therapy for his disability. His emotional disability. Surely you have you seen The King's Speech. Same principle.

I thought of the same thing when I saw how Ben Carson could not confront Ted Cruz .. for stealing his votes. He should've thumped his ass right there on stage.

Update Feb 29, 2016 » Oh look, Blow .. it worked! Tho, does it not seem odd that he chose leap year as the day to speak out and ask questions?

He seems to be saying, "Dont hold your breath .. waiting for the next time."

I feel it is important that Clarence Thomas speaks up and asks questions .. that he asks thoughtful questions that show (demonstrate, reveal, disclose) that he possesses a grasp of the issues before him.

I feel that it is important that he ask thoughtful questions that include the perspectives of the black man in today's American society.

Is the color of his skin not one of the reasons why he was selected for the job? .. as a member of the highest court in the land?

So, he is representing every black man .. to a degree. Is he not? Am I saying anything that is not already obvious .. to even the most casual of observers?

The black man represents a part of our nation .. a significant part, for sure. He was here from day one .. from before the days when my own ancestors arrived here on American soil (from Europe).

Tell me, Mr Blow .. as an educated black man from the South .. does Clarence Thomas represents the black man .. the average black man? (.. whose soul right now is probably rotting away in a jail cell somewhere)

And if not, then what are you planning to do about it .. so as to help build a more just society for your children's children?

The color of your skin gives you 'standing,' so to speak .. to speak on these things. And your position at the Times gives you the responsibility, no?

<end update feb 29, 2016, Clarence Thomas asks a question on leap year>

What a "godly" man he is .. that Ted Cruz. Are evangelical voters really that gullible? I wonder what John Boehner thinks.

At the very end of Alex Gibney's latest documentary .. for HBO, Going Clear .. which is subtiled » The Prison of Belief ..

.. they interview all the people who were previously in Scientology (for many years), but are now out. And they all say the same thing (paraphrasing) » "I can't believe that I continued to drink the cool-aide for that long."

I thought of these evangelicals when I saw that documentary.

And the way that the documentary begins the ending with the ex-member who had been in the least number of years .. and they conclude with the dude who had been in the greatest number of years (30) ..

.. the way that they did this .. really brought home the gravity of an otherwise mind-boggling thing. I mean, after it's over, you go, "Wow." .. in the sense that you didnt even know that such a thing was possible.

I mean, these are obviously not stupid people. And, even tho you just heard for yourself from these very individuals .. it is still difficult to wrap your head around the implications of such a thing.

<terminate tangent on Going Clear after spending so many years in a self-imposed Prison of Belief>

Anyway .. you yourself, Blow, do not seem to have this problem that Clarence Thomas seems to have. By which I mean, when you called out Hillary earlier. Perhaps this is why I was surprised.

Was that a difficult thing for you to do? Did it require much courage? Intestinal fortitude? (I would imagine that it did.) Tho I added the Tabasco factor to what you wrote.

Do you know Gary Younge, over at the Guardian? He is very good, too. (But not nearly as handsome as you.) It can be enlightening to get another perspective on things. He confirms my gut feeling » "This is some some gnarly shit we're seeing here."

Go ahead and rub your eyes all you like, but when you open them back up, this shit will still be there. It'll probably get worse.

I could hear the sound of the ice cracking .. when I read Gary's column.

I have been preaching, you know, that inequality, at extremes, such as we have now here .. causes society itself to fracture. 

I think I spoke directly to this issue previously by writing, "Can't you see that? .. you greedy fucks."

Our political establishments, on both the left and the right, seem befuddled and bewildered by their respective constituencies.

But I have been trying to tell them, these political establishments, for a long time now, since 2011, you know, how unacceptable their style of government has become to Us-the-People.

I understand that they live in a bubble .. a pretty bubble, where all their bills are paid by taxpayers .. and where they dont have to worry about lead contaminating their drinking water. Which is why I have been trying to educate them about how difficult life here outside the bubble has become.

Desperate people take desperate actions and do desperate things. Everybody who has ever been desperate knows this.

Now, I understand that our political leaders cannot possibly fathom (living in their comfortable bubble) what is is like to live in such desperation .. but I have been trying to tell them.

You must vouch for me, Blow .. that I made a good effort to educate them. With plain language. With exceedingly plain language that could not be misconstrued. You can lead a horse to water... 

I want to say to these Bubble-dwellers, "Come and live out here with us in the real world for a month or two and you will see how difficult life has become."

Speaking of political establishments that are befuddled and bewildered .. most telling is how well Bernie's message resonates with the young.

The Turks actually break it down and flesh it out nicely for you. (I like it when Ana gets fired up. Nothing like an intelligent, educated hottie feeling passionate.)

And especially how young women. are feeling the bern. (More.)

This tells me that today's youth sees the essence of the problem in a way that their parents do not. And this bodes well for the future. (Do you agree? Pat does.)

Did you see, by the way, that Cornel was out campaigning with Bernie? That was an eyebrow-raiser.

What a message from Bernie. People seem to be craving authenticity, both on the left and the right.

The fact that he has been preaching the same message for so long gives him huge points for authenticity. It's like the zeitgeist came to him .. instead of the other way around, which is normally the case.

"I've been here the whole time. Glad to see you fuckers finally starting to show up. What took you so long?" [ And this is obviously what makes him the man-of-the-hour. He is rooted in a position-of-power. ]

I am most struck by .. the clarity of the visions of the respectives values embraced by the left as compared to those embraced by the right.

I mean, you look to your left and then you look to your right .. and then back again to your left. You do this a few times, because you almost can't believe your eyes.

And it takes a while to do this .. because the d.i.s.t.a.n.c.e is so great .. the distance between your left and your right .. in a values sort of way.

Is it not a remarkable sight? Such clarity. Rarely do we get such well-defined clarity.

Perhaps the cultural extremes at which our nation now lies .. are responsible for this sparkling clarity-of-values being displayed so vibrantly. I keep rubbing my eyes, but fuck .. things just keep getting clearer.

Something that the Editorial board at the Times calls » "the starkest difference in campaigning in modern presidential history." (unquote)

Feb 10, 2016 » Blow, regarding today's column, you write » "The ideological difference is that one side prefers punishment and the other pity, and neither is a thing in which most black folks delight."

I readily admit that I am no authority on the subject of the black experience in America .. but that sentence makes it sound like you equate, more or less, punishment (incarceration) with pity.

When I saw the video of Kalief, I saw no pity there. I bet that he would've appreciated a little pity at that point. But he got none.

On a related tack, Hillary's concession speech in New Hampshire .. that was the best thing that I've ever heard Hillary say. It finally felt real.

Tho I doubt that she would have embraced such reality without the pressure from Bernie.

» Hillary's Contaminated Powder-Blue Duffle Bag

She is saying that taking money from Wall Street (or from anyone, for that matter) does not influence her decisions. But nobody believes that.

Because, if a man came up to me or you and gave us $600,000.00 with no strings attached .. we would know that is bullshit.

They will be like the Godfather .. and come to collect .. at the appointed time. You can be sure of that .. because that is how the system operates. Do I need to quote Jack Abramoff?

So when she says those things, they ring false. It makes her seem as tho she has succeeded in deluding herself.

How do we know that she hasnt sold out to big-money interests? (Answer » we dont.) What evidence do we have that she isnt beholden to monied interests? (Answer » none.)

How do we know that she doesnt just tell voters what she thinks they want to hear .. while her true heart worships daily at the temple of the Almighty Dollar?

From my experience working in the nuclear industry, one of the functions of effective management is to » manage appearances.

A part of me cant believe that Hillary really took that money .. especially after all those protests at Occupy Wall Street.

She knows how much people resented the fact that the folks who torched the economy walked away unscathed and received record sums from the government. While millions of little people were left holding the bag to pay the price. (Yet again.)

And yet she took the money anyway. She obviously has her priorities.

» Hillary and the Signature Defect in Our Political System of Government

When I see Hillary gleefully accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars from the folks at the Financial sector, this tells me that she either sucks at managing appearances or that she simply doesnt get it. (Like Jeb!)

Or maybe she does get it, but has too much respect for the money. Perhaps she cares more about the money .. than she does about how it makes her look to be taking such vast sums .. hand over fist.

"Dont worry," she calls out to you and me, as she grabs another fist-full of fifty- and one hundred-dollar bills, cramming them into her powder-blue duffle bag, "they cant buy me."

But she has already been bought. She is already in their pocket. It was all too easy.

Which is why I am not surprised to see quotes such as this one » "Democrats like Clinton speak labor out of one side of their mouth, but the corporate interests pull the strings."

This is the signature defect in our society .. the precise point of contamination .. from which all other political evils flow. I am talking about the point at which the wealthy put money into the hands of politicians. Do your own research and I am confident that you will come to the same conclusion.

When you see Hillary grasping all that money, hand over fist, again and again, with such robust vigor .. it is obvious that she does not get it.

Tho, I am not surprised that she doesnt get it. Are you? (She is old-school .. last-century.)

I can certainly see how she might have trouble seeing the problem .. because she is on the receiving end of those super-fat checks.

But, if she knew how bad it looks from our perspective .. she would not do it. She would not take the money.

Because right there is the essence of the problem.

Give the money back, Hil. Call Lloyd and tell him that you have seen the error of your way .. and that you no longer want to continue perpetuating the corrupting influence of big money in government. Call the networks. Make a big deal about it.

[ Speaking of the essence of the problem ..

.. does anyone else find the timing curious .. that Scalia died while vacationing at a luxury ranch in Texas .. while on a junket paid for by wealthy people who have cases heard before him?

How can that possibly be okay?

It's like they are not even trying to hide it. The corruption is right out in the open.

Have you Supreme court people no shame? .. to allow stuff like this to occur and not call bullshit on your peers.

No wonder that all the decisions are going in the direction of money and against the little guy (who has no money).

Welcome to America .. where everything has a price. ]

Is it just me, or does it not seem like the old guard has become irrelevant?

Did you see that Mr. Coates has come out for Bernie? Larry Summers is feeling the bern. Killer Mike, too. Neel Kashkari is seeing the light. Spike Lee says Bernie will do the right thing because he's done the right thing. Cornel makes his case for Bernie here. And there's a photo here of the ancient one sitting with Rev. Al.

Glenn says that Bernie is more electable than Hillary. I would agree .. because I know how much republicans hate Hillary. I know that hate is a strong word, but they really hate her. 

That's why so many republicans want to run .. because they are all sure that can beat her. Because they know how much people hate her. She could offer them a free $100 bill and they would refuse on principle.

When I saw that Bernie had won the New Hampshire primry .. and by such a large margin, I thought » "It's a new day in America."

His message resonates strongly with me, and obviously, I am not alone here. His message resonates on multiple levels and at multiple frequencies .. particularly the part where he asks WHY [ at t=8:00 ]. That is powerful stuff.

I took note of his (effective) technique of defining things (during the most recent debate in Milwaukee on PBS).. such as » "What are we talking about here? We are talking about systemic racism."

Or » "We are talking about a corrupt campaign finance system." It's almost like you cant believe your ears. "Did he just say what I think he said?"

I dont think I've ever heard another politician call things with such uneuphemistic language. That is refreshing .. even if it is surprising.

When you start labeling things .. with their all-too-obvious labels .. this is an advanced technique. "Let's call it what it actually is .. instead of using a pretty euphemism for an ugly thing."

That takes courage .. because many people are too chicken-shit to stare into the abyss and declare honestly what they see there.

He is taking control of the conversation. Conor McGregor knows a thing or two about controlling the conversation. Because he is confident in his ability to back his conversation with corresponding actions. As many as are needed.

Blow, I saw your reference to Michelle Alexander. So I googled her ass. She is the New Jim Crow girl. Ooh, Blow .. she is the man. So to speak. She kicks much ass.

She is kinda saying the same thing that you said earlier about Hillary. So your position now confuses me. And probably Ashley, too.

Feb 18, 2016 » Nice to see that your kids are talking some sense into you. You should have many more such conversations with them.

Do me a favor and ask them how they feel about the way that all of the major decisions that will affect the course of our nation for generations to come are made by people who will not be alive very much longer, relatively speaking (expected remaining life-spans).

Do they think votes should therefore be pro-rated to favor the young? .. seeing that the young will be spending so many more years in our nation than those who have already entered the winter months of their lives.

I know it's a radical idea .. but when grown men make so many horrendous decisions that affect the nation and the lives of so many of her citizens for so long .. we the people become more willing to entertain other options.

I mean, we vest seasoned men with making these crucial decisions that will steer the course of our nation. But when these "seasoned" men are making such bad decisions .. it makes you wonder and start looking for a better decision-making format.

Anyway .. from my own research into what's ailing this country (.. for so many of her citizens) .. the problem can be found at the heart of the point where the wealthy put money into the hands of politicians.

That will not be an easy transaction to disrupt .. because it is how the rich and the power-hungry get more riches and more power.

So they both have an intoxicatingly strong incentive to perpetuate the transaction .. to perpetuate the corruption.

All other issues are secondary to this core problem. This is the very point of contamination. The system itself is corrupt. The very heart of our socio-economic system of government is corrupt.

Are we-the-people big and bad enough to put a stop to it? All girly men can go home now, because we are going to need some real ass-kickers here.

Brave, courageous ass-kickers .. who are willing to get their asses kicked for a noble cause.

Because power corrupts.

I say now is the time .. time to bring the thunder. "We got some new rules."

Enough is enough. We gave them plenty of time to correct the problems themselves and they only made things worse.

Worse for us-the-people .. not worse for them-the-wealthy. Inequality is at historical extremes and getting worse every day.

To say that we-the-people have no hope of ever realizing such things, so we shouldnt even try ..

.. seems to me like the boy who says, "I know that I am not strong enough to keep this man from fucking me up the ass every night .. so I wont even try to stop him."

To which I say, "Fuck that." You have to (at least) try.

I dont want Mr. One Percent to be able to say, "You little people must like my big, socio-economically-dominant dick up your asses .. because you're obviously too big of a pussy to do anything about it."

Welcome to the twenty-first century .. where we do things a little differently than you did in the twentieth. Let's get this millenium started right.

These problems that we have today, which are associated with historicals extremes of inequality (and which they had back in the 20's) are a direct result of the values that flourished at the end of the last century. (Shitty values.)

The degree of civilization in a society is judged, not by how well the rich and the powerful are treated .. but rather, by how its weak and most vulnerable citizens are treated.

You will see what I mean. Dont say you werent warned. They are coming .. on horses swifter than leopards. Stand the fuck by.

Say hi to Farhad for me.

Megyn Tells the Republican Presidential Candidates in Detroit to » Stand the Fuck By

March 4, 2016 » Speaking of standing-the-fuck-by .. did you notice how Megyn Kelly has taken up use of my phrase .. altho she leaves out "the fuck" part, as you might expect on network television.

I have never heard others use the phrase. I'm not saying that others dont .. I'm just saying that I've never heard anyone else (except Megyn) use it.

I came upon the phrase in the nuclear Navy. It was always used in the context of something like » "You have fucked up pretty badly and the powers-that-be are meeting right now in the Captain's stateroom, deciding how they are going to respond .. so just stand-the-fuck-by."

She can use any of my stuff that she fancies. And she wont be the only one .. that's for sure. If you see her, Blow, tell her that this shit is not as easy as I make it look.

She brings it .. doesnt she? And she looks good while she is bringing it.

I must say .. that I found it most interesting .. that these guys are up there, bragging about and comparing the sizes of their manhoods .. right there in front of Megyn Kelly ..

.. as tho her very presence elicited the battle of the schlongs. I totally feel like she (her presence) had something to do with that.

She's hot and she's smart and she's educated and she's sexy and she's not afraid to throwdown .. I get it, sure. (And I bet she smells good, too.)

It's like when an unaccompanied desirable female of high rank is brought before and introduced into a group of alpha-males. You can be sure there will be some serious chest-thumping going on in that jungle tonight.

Who has not seen such things play out in real life?

Someone like Trump has such a gigantic ego that they are not going to let someone like Rubio belittle his manhood right in front of someone like Megyn Kelly.

Who would really be surprised if Donald said, "Megyn, I want you to come up here and personally inspect the package .. and confirm for this pathetic little boy Rubio, and for the audience and for the viewers .. that 'Trump Towers' is not just a very big building in New York city." ?

[ Why do I feel right now like I am exploring the line between genius and insanity? ]

Did you say hi to Farhad for me yet?

What do you think of this article (March 2, 2016), Blow?

When are you going to share your response to the Coates book?

This feels like what you were born to do. Definitely your best so far. The reader could feel your sense of urgency and anxiety and immediacy. You have never done anything like that before. That feels like breaking new ground. I see growth.

Did you see Van Jones? He made me think of you.

March 9, 2016 » Re: this .. I dont know if it is just me, but sentences like this do it for me » "Having spent the first half of my life in the South and the second in Great Migration destination cities, I can attest that the sensibilities are as different as night and day."

How can anyone argue with such a sentence? (Answer: they can't.)

I also appreciated this sentiment » "Clinton is a force, but Sanders is a phenomenon."

March 13, 2016 » There is some serious-ass dismantling going on here.

At first, I couldnt believe what I was reading .. then I was gonna come here to drop a quick comment on first impressions .. which are key.

Cuz there is definitely a snap-your-head-back quality to it. Even early on, you can feel the ground shaking with the thunder of the approaching buffalo.

But I decided to read a little more, first. And fuck if it werent even more incendiary than I thought.

It reminded me of cooking a steak on a grille over coals that are burning a little too hot.

Ben Carson .. this is your bailiwick, bro .. so you need to throwdown as such.

When you take his words and feed them back to him in context like you did .. there is nothing like that. (For me.) Satisfaction guaranteed.

Re » "plagued by vileness and violence" .. that gave me a total boner. (And it only got better.)

I am feeling poetic right now. I wonder where that came from?

To what degree does the artistic correspond to the abstract? If I wax abstract, am I waxing artistic?

(I am just thinking out loud here. Experimenting with this-n-that and the other. You know.)

But I normally truncate the theme once I feel myself waxing abstract.

The end. ■

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This page contains a single entry by Rad published on April 26, 2015 4:26 AM.

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