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A little light reading by wisconsin_cur on Sat Jun 27, 2009 2:59 am
High Rise by J.G. Ballard 134 pages
Amazon Link but by all means check it out from your local library

Set in a 40 story apartment building this taste of light fiction takes up the theme of Lord of the Flies with an alternative setting and similar, but not identical insights, into human psychological devolution. The story line follows the experience of three primary characters as a high rise full of professionals experiences an inexplicable transition into a tribal jungle of concrete, staircases, concourses and piles of garbage.

As the transformation begins the residents find the psychological outlet of the conflict more satisfying than their professional lives. They conspire to keep the authorities away from their island of primative battles and each night brings an escalation of the de-civilization of the night before. Darwinian...

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Enron writ large? by wisconsin_cur on Tue Dec 01, 2009 5:45 am

Enron was the financial scandal that kicked off the decade: a giant energy trading company that appeared to be doing brilliantly—until we finally noticed that it wasn’t. It’s largely been forgotten given the wreckage that followed, and that’s too bad: we may be repeating those mistakes, on a far larger scale.


Nomi Prins dissects the opaque origins of the record profits that have been recorded by the big banks recently, delving in to the accounting of Citibank, Bank of America and Wells Fargo. My favorite quote comes in relation to Wells Fargo and sent me into a giggling fit:

Separately, Wells states in its filing that its management accounting process is “dynamic” and, not “necessarily comparable with similar information for other financial services companies.” This statement should give lawmakers pause...

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Self sufficiency is a myth... by the48thronin on Mon Sep 07, 2009 8:46 pm
I see lot's of discussion of Doomesteads and how to survive the coming Zombie Hordes, but let's think a minute. Unless you are situated in the farthest reaches of wilderness, the chances are almost NONE that you will be alone or confronted by Zombie Hordes out to loot your doomstead.

So what does a crashing world economy and peak oil brought about collapse of the status quo really mean?

To plan for the future, you must first study the past. Oh yes you can tell me about Christmas Island, but the situation there is without parallel here unless as I stated before you are in the farthest reaches of wilderness. So what can we learn from past collapses of order.. ( yes we are talking a collapse of order).

As the global economy ( really an attempt at global rule disguised as trade and economic activity) collapses, you the reader will not likely find yourself in a chaos state, as each level of government is lost or overturned, a more localized government will be standing in power waiting...

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Gay Evangelicals by smallpoxgirl on Fri Jul 03, 2009 8:08 pm
Now I've seen everything.

I was at Seattle's pride parade last weekend. Among the entries were maybe ten GLBT friendly churches. OK. No big deal. One of the entries, though was from a church called "Living Water". This struck me as an oddly evangelical name for a pride parade entrant. It struck me even more oddly when their members after the parade were passing out fake money with a racial caricature of Obama, the church's name, and vitriolic attacks on abortion. So I did some research today. It turns out not only is Living Water a gay friendly evangelical church, but there is a whole movement of gay evangelicals. For example Evangelicals Concerned Inc. "Proclaiming the Good News of God's Love for Gay and Lesbian People" I thought I'd seen it all: environmentalist nazis, log cabin republicans. I've got to say, I'm pretty perplexed by the idea of gay evangelicals. In any version of American evangelical...

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A trip to the library by Jack on Tue Sep 29, 2009 5:36 pm
Sometimes, mundane changes illuminate underlying reality in a way no collection of numbers can.

Today, I drove down to the public library with several boxes of old magazines. The library can sell them for a pittance and add a small sum to their funding, and it gets the magazines off my hands. It's been about a year since I went there last.

I noticed several men standing around outside. It's 11 AM on a Tuesday, and 6 men - three individuals, one group of three - are hanging out. One looked to by fortyish, the others younger - mid to late twenties. They were just standing, doing nothing in particular. The group was talking between themselves. They were dressed in the modern urban costume of athletic shoes, dark t-shirts, and casual pants.

They didn't have the defeated look of the homeless about them, nor was there any tell-tale cart of junk. Oddly, they weren't inside the library, which had seating and other amenities. No, they were just watching the comings and goings. I was...

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