9.14.2017 Daily Links

  A Thought for the Day   

Life’s longest journey starts with a birth that one does not plan and finishes with a death that, under normal circumstances, one does not invite; in between come the hurly-burly exigencies and mundane routines and typical ongoing thrills and spills of everyday existence, realms in which action occurs regularly and inevitably and choice presents itself whether one dares to choose or not, arenas furthermore where, just possibly, with significant luck and plenty of pluck, one might find a path, bull of honorable and passionate purpose, irresistible in its joyous engagement, that one desires to pursue.

  Quote of the Day  

We leave our homes in the morning,
We kiss our children good-bye,
While we slave for the bosses,
Our children scream and cry.

And when we draw our money,
Our grocery bills to pay,
Not a cent to spend for clothing,
Not a cent to lay away.

And on that very evening
Our little son will say:
“I need some shoes, Mother,
And so does Sister May.”

How it grieves the heart of a mother,
You everyone must know.
But we can’t buy for our children,
Our wages are too low.

It is for our little children,
That seems to us so dear,
But for us nor them, dear workers,
The bosses do not care.

But understand, all workers,
Our union they do fear.
Let’s stand together, workers,
And have a union here.”    Ella Mae Wiggins: The Mill Mother’s Lament

 This Day in History  

harvard educationA thousand six hundred and ninety-one years ago, more or less to the day, the iconic Helena of Constantinople asserted her ‘discovery’ of the ‘True Cross’ at the site which supposedly contained the remains of Jesus of Nazareth; exactly three centuries and three years hence, in 629, the Eastern Roman Empire’s forces returned to Constantinople from their defeat of Persian imperial threats to Heraclius’ reign; three hundred seventy-nine years before the here and now, the relatively youthful founder of Harvard College, John Harvard, breathed his last;MORE HERE

 two hundred sixty-five years in advance of today, around the world, dominions under England’s imperial sway adopted the modern, Gregorian, calendar, thus skipping over eleven days; eleven years subsequently, in 1763, British military forces suffered a brutal defeat at the hand of Senecas in the Battle of Devil’s Hole, part of Pontiac’s War; not quite exactly a half century later, in 1812,France’s Grande Armee marched into Moscow in what turned out to be a pyrrhic victory; two years beyond that, in 1814,in a conflict seven thousand miles to the West and South, Francis Scott Key composed the verses of the Defence of Fort McHenry, penning the words of the U.S. National Anthem; a decade and a half thereafter, in 1829, agents of the Ottoman Empire acceded to the Treaty of Adrianople, ending the Russo-Turkish War; twenty-two years further on, in 1851, the esteemed author, James Fennimore Cooper, experienced life’s final adventure; nine years henceforth, in 1860, the baby boy first cried out whose fate would be to inscribe in fiction the lives of Midwestern rural dwellers, especially small family farmers; eighteen yeas still nearer to now, in 1878, a little girl entered our midst who would mature as the tough-minded and relentless feminist and reformer, Margaret Sanger; one hundred sixteen years back, William McKinley succumbed to an assassin’s wounds from the killer’s attack eight days previously; a decade and a half after that conjunction, in 1916,across the Atlantic in Spain, the Nobel Prize laureate in literature, Jose Echegaray, played out his final scene; eleven years thereafter, in 1927, the glorious bohemian sensualist and dancing maven, Isadora Duncan, strangled when her huge red scarf caught in the wheels of her new car; two years closer still to the current context, in 1929, company hitmen murdered a mother of nine, Ella Mae Wiggins, near Gastonia’s cotton mills; three hundred sixty-five days more down time’s stream, in 1930, the male infant came along who would rise as the cultural critic and scholar, Allan Bloom; three years farther down the road, in 1933, growers on Cape Cod began using guns against strikers in the Cranberry bogs, shooting several and arresting scores; yet another three years onward, in 1936, the young and prolific producer and screenwriter, Irving Thalberg, died from the effects of congenital heart disease; sixty-three years back, in a grotesque duplication of U.S. A-bomb tests, which used soldiers and civilians as unwitting and soon-to-be sick-and-dying guinea pigs, the Soviet Union exploded a 40 kiloton weapon near Totskoye and marched soldiers through ground zero, again dooming many of them and nearby civilians as well; a year on, in 1955, half-a-world away, the baby girl was born who went on to fame and fortune and journalist and storyteller Geraldine Brooks; four years even closer to today’s light and air, in 1959,Democrats and Republicans joined together, per usual, to eviscerate labor and union rights, with the passage of the Landrum-Griffin Act, and the Soviet spacecraft, Luna II, crashed into the moon; a year after that moment in time, in 1960, the organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries came into being with the help of the world’s largest banks and oil companies, and, in a somewhat related incident, a ‘left-leaning’ African leader died in a coup that brought mass-murderer and friend of the Central Intelligence Agency Sese Mobuto Seko to power; a quartet of years onward in space and time,in 1964, seven thousand miles to the West and North, Lyndon Johnson bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom on author John Steinbeck; five years hence, in 1969, the U.S.’s first draft lottery took place to select inductees for the Vietnam War; thirteen years later still, in 1982, talented writer and teacher John Gardner died in a motorcycle accident; three years subsequent to that point, in 1985, the feminist and generally progressive television series, Golden Girls, premiered on NBC; nineteen years ago, the dotcom bubble inflated to near maximum with the merger of MCI with World Com, a joinder that would soon enough bring scandal and ruin.

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"southern labor history" OR south unions repression "right to work" "divide and conquer" = 32,500 results

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 Interesting People Places Things of Note 

Welsh’s Jacobs Review

Review of a Jane Jacobs tome by an always insightful blogger: “Economically active cities, in short, are powerful, and they often do nasty things to regions that are not cities. Even when what they do seems good, as with demand for oil, or Uruguay’s produce and minerals, it is a gift that can leave at any time.

… Overall this is an important book. One of the most important I ever read. The point about broken feedback and economic units not making sense is absolutely fundamental and explains a simple fact: city states which can manage to survive the political-military environment, almost always do very well.  The ideal economic circumstance is a world of city states, but we don’t have that for military political reasons (they can’t defend themselves).”


 General Media & Culture Issues 

Heroin’s Muse

A Dazed look at the multivaried and inspirational role that heroin has had and continues to exert on popular culture: “Throughout the past century, certain substances have even become the drug du jour, dominating the pop culture conversation for decades at a time – LSD in the 60s, cocaine in the 70s, crack in the 80s, ecstasy in the 90s, pharmaceuticals in the 00s, and so on. But heroin has consistently eluded this ebb and flow, from its prominence and influence in the jazz and blues era of the 30s, 40s and 50s (Billie Holiday, John Coltrane, Chet Baker) to the rockers of the 60s, 70s, and 80s (Keith Richards, Sid Vicious, Nikki Sixx) and the heroin chic trend of the 90s, made popular by Calvin Klein’s ‘waif’ models and further pushed by the grunge movement (Kurt Cobain, Hole, Alice In Chains, and more).”

 Recent Events 

ICH Russia Case Overview

An International Clearing House peek at ongoing neocon Russia crisis: ” It has been amusing to watch the New York Times and other mainstream media outlets express their dismay over the rise and spread of “fake news.” These publications take it as an obvious truth that what they provide is straightforward, unbiased, fact-based reporting. They do offer such news, but they also provide a steady flow of their own varied forms of fake news, often by disseminating false or misleading information supplied to them by the national security state, other branches of government, and sites of corporate power.”

 General Past & Present Issues 

Camus and Sartre’s Spat

An Aeon post that documents the falling out of these two great existentialists over the question of equality: “In October 1951, Camus published The Rebel. In it, he gave voice to a roughly drawn ‘philosophy of revolt’. This wasn’t a philosophical system per se, but an amalgamation of philosophical and political ideas: every human is free, but freedom itself is relative; one must embrace limits, moderation, ‘calculated risk’; absolutes are anti-human. Most of all, Camus condemned revolutionary violence. Violence might be used in extreme circumstances (he supported the French war effort, after all) but the use of revolutionary violence to nudge history in the direction you desire is utopian, absolutist, and a betrayal of yourself….

Sartre read The Rebel with disgust. As far as he was concerned, it was possible to achieve perfect justice and freedom – that described the achievement of communism. Under capitalism, and in poverty, workers could not be free. Their options were unpalatable and inhumane: to work a pitiless and alienating job, or to die. But by removing the oppressors and broadly returning autonomy to the workers, communism allows each individual to live without material want, and therefore to choose how best they can realise themselves. This makes them free, and through this unbending equality, it is also just.”