Coronavirus as Metaphor: It’s Not Peanuts

“No problem can be so complicated that it can’t be run away from”

~ Linus, from Charles Schultz’s comic strip Peanuts

One now sees people walking along streets masked, gloved, and occasionally gowned, as if on their way to a Halloween party. The unluckiest of them are zombies who don’t yet know that they are the living dead. The situation is unprecedented and, sadly, un-presidented. Because we are human, we search for a metaphor that encapsulates the situation.

Coronovirus, bless its creepy little heart (speaking of metaphors), is the proximal cause of the disease with the unfortunate bureaucratic appellation COVID-19 (as if it were a defense program or a government dossier) that has quickly come to symbolize extreme measures presented as its palliatives. And while “nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition” (Monty Python’s Flying Circus, 1970), many public health experts have expected a pandemic to emerge for which they warned society and its masters will be ill-prepared. And now that one has presented itself and we do find ourselves unprepared, how are we to think of that? What does that teach us about our civilization?

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Business as Unusual: Notes on a pandemic

Even if no one you know catches it, you’ll start to worry if you’re not already flushed with paranoia. At first, everything seemed normal. It was hard to understand all the attention given to it when it was half way around the globe. We’ll be ready for it when it comes, you thought. Wasn’t Trump telling us it was less concerning than the Flu. So confidant was he that he barred the WHO test for the virus that is used all over the world. Why didn’t he just put a tariff on it, like everything else? Instead, he encouraged pharma friends to develop tests and vaccines (based on publicly-funded research, as usual) that they could make dear and make a killing (literally). It’s the economy, stupid, not the citizens. All the smart people are investing in drug companies, medical suppliers, and collaborative web platforms. Continue reading “Business as Unusual: Notes on a pandemic”

Literary Agent Querying 101

Allison K. Williams of Brevity Blog on how to manage querying literary agents

You’ve written—or almost written—a book. Time to find a literary agent. Except you should have started the process much sooner, because you might end up querying 100 agents. Read Allison K Williams advice on managing all that in her Brevity Blog post. Look at the resources she lists, and once you’re ready to start querying, go visit querytracker.net.

Yes, But HOW?

 

Where Was Rudy Giuliani When Democrats Needed Him?

Help me get this straight. Rudolph Giuliani is the President’s private attorney, or at least he still seems to be. According to CNN on 10/11/19:

“Rudy Giuliani is still President Trump’s personal attorney but will not be dealing with matters involving Ukraine, a source close to Trump’s legal team told CNN.

Earlier today, Trump wouldn’t say whether Giuliani was still his personal attorney.

‘Well I don’t know. I haven’t spoken to Rudy. I spoke to him yesterday briefly. He’s a very good attorney and he has been my attorney, yeah, sure,’ he told CNN.

Asked later by CNN if he was still Trump’s attorney, Giuliani responded, ‘Yes.’”

As CNN went on to note:

“However, Ukraine is at the center of the current impeachment investigation being conducted by the House of Representatives into Trump. Also, the criminal indictment against two of Giuliani’s associates who were arrested Wednesday night trying to leave the US, describe an elaborate, months-long scheme to funnel foreign money into federal and state elections around the US to curry favor with politicians on behalf of at least one Ukrainian government official and a Russian businessman.”

Wasn’t Giuliani the bagman for Trump’s sordid campaign to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens under pain of losing US military assistance—to fight the Russians, whom for Democrats seem to be the source of most of the world’s evils? Aren’t these two shady guys (Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman) his erstwhile if not indicted partners in crime? Why aren’t Rudy and his pals fodder for impeachment proceedings? This does not compute. Continue reading “Where Was Rudy Giuliani When Democrats Needed Him?”

The Cost of Never-Ending War

Blogging from a weekly newsletter from Open Source Radio at WBUR in Boston, assuming they won’t mind. It’s hard to get your head around the enormity of this, but thankfully some have. Words and images are all theirs. Find original article here.


A conversation with Rosella Cappella-Zielinski, Linda Bilmes, Tulsi Gabbard, Shamiran Mako, and Neta Crawford about the costs of U.S. wars since 2001. Listen today at 2 pm EST or anytime at our site.

As talk of war with Iran escalated in recent weeks, we were reminded of the thinking, or lack of thinking, around other post-2001 military conflicts of almost unimaginable cost. Then we tried to make sense of that cost. Here’s just a summary of the wars since 2001, from Brown University’s Costs of War project: Continue reading “The Cost of Never-Ending War”

Deval Patrick for President?

Note: It was almost one year ago (11/21/18, to be precise) that I wrote this post about Massachusetts ex-governor Deval Patrick considering the Democratic race for President on 2020. Well, it took him another year to hem and haw over it before throwing his black hat into the ring, but what made him wait until now to decide? Methinks he didn’t want Michael Bloomberg, another financier with much deeper pockets, to outflank him. But now the gang of twenty or whatever candidates have a long head start with a few debates under their belts. How is Patrick going to snuggle up?

There’s a sound bite in this BBC story about his announcement in which he says “I don’t think wealth is the problem. Greed is the problem…” All right then. Let’s outlaw greed.

Anyway, here’s my article. I don’t think much has changed.
—GD


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Praising Trump for Betraying Kurds?

This week, a humanitarian crisis erupted in northern Syria, thanks to America’s autocrat Donald Trump and Turkey’s Regip Tayip Erdoğan, a tragedy which opponents to US interventions in sovereign affairs should take notice and register harsh opinions. Trump relinquished US interest in the region and Erdoğan swiftly capitalized on that decision.

Dave Lindorff is a principled progressive voice who has for years taken on the injustice, duplicity, and corruption of America’s duopolistic political system. He’s one of five fire-in-the-belly proprietors of the blog This Can’t Be Happening! that calls itself “a major destabilizing influence.” There he covers economics, politics, healthcare and environment. See his articles here.

His most recent, from October 8th, however, leaves much to be desired.
Headlined Sure Trump is ‘Betraying the Kurds!’ but What’s New about That? and subtitled “The US has a sordid history of betraying minority groups that do its fighting,” it praises Trump for pulling the US military forces from northern Syria, also known as Rojava, and not inserting them into any new wars (hmm, not even Yemen?). The article also appeared in CounterPunch this weekend, and so a lot of people have read it.

It’s true, we came close to the brink of peace with North Korea and haven’t (yet) attacked Venezuela, thanks, perhaps to The Donald, but pulling troops out of Syria has produced a nightmare there overnight, something that many predicted and Lindorff seems blind to.

Continue reading “Praising Trump for Betraying Kurds?”

Motoring Becomes Electric, Redux

We tend to think of electric cars as futuristic but for our great-great grandparents, they were a thing. Who knew so many of the private automobiles sold up until the 1920s were electric-powered or that they and their styles ranged so far and wide? They were easier to start and maintain than cars propelled by internal combustion engines and had no gears to shift through, noise to suffer through, or smoke to choke through. Motor Magazine’s 218-page catalog of all cars marketed in the US in 1907 featured something like 800 models, including 75 electric vehicles (EVs) from dozens of manufacturers offering buggies for under $1000 to limousines at $4000 or more.[1] Pretty expensive for back then, but gas and steam cars cost a lot too until after 1910 and the Ford Model T. But before that…

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Where the Wild Things Once Were

Life is already too short to waste on speed.
~Edward Abbey

So, what does footloose communing with nature mean for you?

Harper’s Magazine published this bucolic scene of camping in New York’s  Adirondacks by up-and-coming artist Winslow Homer in 1874.  It’s one of many illustrations he turned out in competition with Currier & Ives in the mid-to-late 19th century for magazines and newspapers, most depicting Americans comporting themselves out-of-doors in cities, towns, villages, and beyond, in an age unmarred by automobiles, aircraft, telephones, and digitalia.

But even by then, the accelerating pace of progress had decimated the vast Adirondack region in its voracious demand for lumber, paper, and charcoal. In the mid-1880s, after much environmentalist agitation and corporate opposition, New York’s legislature designated the area as a forest preserve. Ten years hence, after the preserve’s stewards were exposed as corrupt, the state constitution was amended to protect the 6.3M-acre region “forever.” The amendment was all of two sentences, but it did the trick:

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