April 30, 2012

new translation of first 2 lines of the divine comedy

In the midst of the walk through our life
I found myself by a hidden forest
When I had left the right way.

(Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita mi ritrovai
Per una selva oscura ché la via diritta era smaritta.

April 25, 2012

Vermont Congress members and big wind

The American Wind Energy Association's WindPAC has donated the following to Vermont's congressional delegation, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission
  • Representative Peter Welch: $1000 in 2009
  • Senator Patrick Leahy: $1000 in 2010, $1000 in 2011
  • Senator Bernie Sanders: $3500 in 2009
David and Jan Blittersdorf of Hinesburg, CEOs of NRG Systems and Earth Turbines, have donated $41,000 to WindPAC since 1997.

Barton Merlesmith of North Ferrisburgh, Director of Business Development, NRG Systems, donated $500 in 2011.

Thomas Gray of Norwich, VP of AWEA, donated $3,450 from 1997 to 2004.

Earth Turbines also accounts for $5,000 donated directly to Peter Welch so far in the 2012 election cycle.

Turbine manufacturer General Electric has directly donated $8,000 and its employees $8,750 to Patrick Leahy so far in the 2012 election cycle.

wind power, wind energy, Vermont

April 20, 2012

Hope, a Tragedy

From Hope: A Tragedy by Shalom Auslander:

Pessimists, Professor Jove replied, don’t start wars. It was hope, according to Professor Jove, that was keeping Kugel up at night. It was hope that was making him angry.

Give Up, read the sign on the wall behind Jove’s book-covered desk, You’ll Live Longer.

But you’ve been to Yale, Harvard, Cambridge, said Kugel.

That’s how I know, said Professor Jove.

Kugel had waited weeks for an appointment.

We are rational creatures, Professor Jove explained; hope is irrational. We thus set ourselves up for one dispiriting fall after the next. Anger and depression are not diseases or dysfunctions or anomalies; they are perfectly rational responses to the myriad avoidable disappointments that begin in a thoroughly irrational hope.

Kugel wasn’t sure he understood. Professor Jove smiled warmly.

Tell me, he said. Hitler was the last century’s greatest what?

Kugel had shrugged.


Optimist, said Professor Jove. Hitler was the most unabashed doe-eyed optimist of the last hundred years. That’s why he was the biggest monster. Have you ever heard of anything as outrageously hopeful as the Final Solution? Not just that there could be a solution — to anything, mind you, while we have yet to cure the common cold — but a final one, no less! Full of hope, the Führer was. A dreamer! A romantic, even, yes? If I just kill this one, gas that one, everything will be okay. I tell you this with absolute certainty: every morning, Adolf Hitler woke up, made himself a cup of coffee, and asked himself how to make the world a better place. We all know his answer, but the answer isn’t nearly as important as the question. The only thing more naively hopeful than the Final Solution is the ludicrous dictum to which it gave birth: Never Again. How many times since Never Again has it happened again? Three? Four? That we know of, mind you. Mao? Optimist. Stalin? Optimist. Pol Pot? Optimist. Here’s a good rule for life, Kugel, no matter where you happen to live or when you happen to be born: when someone rises up and promises that things are going to be better, run. Hide. Pessimists don’t build gas chambers.

I just want my family to be safe, said Kugel. I just want the world to leave us alone. Is that asking too much?

What, asked Professor Jove, did Jesus Christ say when they nailed him to the cross?

I don’t know, said Kugel. What did Jesus Christ say when they nailed him to the cross?

He said Ouch, said Professor Jove.

I don’t get it, said Kugel.

There’s nothing to get, said Professor Jove. It hurt. First they whipped him half to death, then they held him down and nailed iron spikes through his wrists. If he was lucky, they did the same to his feet. The weight of his body bearing down on his chest made it difficult to breathe, and he died, slowly and agonizingly, from respiratory distress.

I still don’t get it, said Kugel.

There is hurt in this world, said Professor Jove. There is pain. Hoping there won’t be only makes it worse.

April 16, 2012

Arbeit macht nicht frei

“My wife has the occasion, as you know, to campaign on her own and also with me, and she reports to me regularly that the issue women care about most is the economy and getting good jobs for their kids and for themselves. They are concerned about gasoline prices, the cost of getting to and from work, taking their kids to school or to practice and so forth after school. That is what women care about in this country and my vision is to get America working again.”

That's what Mitt Romney said in a speech on April 4 to the Newspaper Association of America.

Here's what Hilary Rosen said on CNN on April 11:

"What you have is Mitt Romney running around the country saying, 'Well, you know my wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues and when I listen to my wife that's what I'm hearing.' Guess what? His wife has actually never worked a day in her life. She's never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school, and why do we worry about their future."

The rest is history, with most people revealing that they have thrown away their humanity in picking what political team they root for.

Mitt Romney and Hilary Rosen are saying the same thing. They deny the other's right to say it, because they are both expressing false concern. And both are wielding their comments as a weapon against the other.

What this whole stand-off illustrates is the false divide in U.S. politics.

Hilary Rosen is a right-wing corporate flack, famous for leading the Recording Industry Association of America's campaign against people sharing the music they've bought with friends. She still advises Obama on the issue. After quitting that job, for a short time she was interim director of Human Rights Campaign, which awarded their 2011 Workplace Equality Innovation Award to Goldman Sachs. While working at the Huffington Post, she was outed as a consultant for BP.

Ann Romney is married to one of the predatory capitalists that Rosen serves. They may not have anything in common in personal style and beliefs, but they both serve the same master.

At least Ann Romney only raised a few children and supported her husband on behalf of that system, whereas Hilary Rosen has actively contributed to its evil. Her dismissal of Ann Romney appears to be because the latter has only listened to women on the campaign trail, without a history of actively working to maintain their economic misery.

Many "liberal" commenters on this issue have expressed a hatred for women who choose to stay at home as a betrayal of feminism, as if feminism is only about a few women getting to the top of the exploitative pyramid and everyone else being forced to toil in "service" jobs as somehow liberating.

Rosen's strong support of Obama and the Democratic Party is clear evidence that the only difference between the parties is that one is slightly more tolerant of gays.

That's certainly a good to be counted, but it does nothing for the 99% of the people, women and men, gay and otherwise, who are not striving to triumph in a cut-throat system. It's good that Goldman Sachs extends benefits to gay partners, but that hardly makes it a benign force in the world. Human rights are rather a broader issue.

What is work for? Actively raising a family should not be the privilege only of the rich. Is either Mitt or Hilary suggesting an economic system that makes raising a family easier for everyone (as in many European countries)? They are both against women, against men, against families, against humanity.

Arbeit macht nicht frei. Work does not make you free.

human rights, anarchism, ecoanarchism, anarchosyndicalism