May Day!

Posted May 1, 2016 by Tom
Categories: Music, Uncategorized

Tags: ,

Happy International Workers Day!

That’s one incarnation of a classic — and here’s another, with a lovely story to frame it.

So, to channel my inner President Obama, talking to Senator Sanders last night “this is the time and place” in which I wish all my comrades a happy, peaceful, easeful international labor day.  We may all Tikkun Olam again tomorrow.

Random Food Prön

Posted April 28, 2016 by Tom
Categories: Food, Uncategorized

Tags:

Hey y’all.  Some mid-morning entertainment here.

I’m home today with a pair of bum knees (bursitis flying out of control) and — as I’ve compensated for my bad wheels — spasms around a bulging disk around L4 or L5.  I feel like an water heater with a ten year guarantee staring glumly at my eleventh birthday.

But it’s hard to complain (actually, it’s not) when these are actually minor and remediable dings.  So I’m getting on with things.  First task to do was to get a standing desk going.  I’ve got one of these at my office and it works fine, but at home it’s just the kitchen counter, which isn’t quite high enough.  So here’s my solution:

gourmet

For those straining to read my crap photo, that’s Vol. 2 of the Gourmet Cookbook from 1957.

My favorite recipe in this particular tome — and what I find to be something of a metaphor for this election? That would be his one:

Caneton

“Turn the pressure wheel and force the sauch and blood through the press…”  Sounds about right.

And finally, for a little bit of sheer madness, here’s something from Alain Ducasse’s Flavors of France.  I picked this up years ago at a used cookbook sale for something like five bucks.  I’ve yet to make anything out of it; I chose it for the utter decadence of both recipes and photos.  True “don’t know how to define it but know it when I see it” food prön from soup to nuts.  To keep within the bounds of my fowl obsession, here’s Ducasse’s ingredient list for boiled chicken:
Chix

I mean, whut?

What’s the most insane recipe you ever attempted (and what happened)?

How’s This For A Solution For Mass Incarceration?

Posted April 26, 2016 by Tom
Categories: Policy, Things that actually matter, Two Parties -- Not the Same

Tags:

Pay folks decently?

Here’s a new report that concludes, as The Washington Post reports, that:

..raising the federal minimum wage to $12 an hour could prevent as many as half a million crimes annually, according to a new report from the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers, a group of economists and researchers charged with providing the president with analysis and advice on economic questions. (h/t Washington Monthly)

On the other hand:

…spending an additional $10 billion on incarceration — a massive increase — would reduce crime by only 1 percent to 4 percent, according to the report.

William_Hogarth_018

More (and, dear FSM, better) police would help too, the report suggests.  Here’s a fact I didn’t know:

Research consistently shows that departments with more manpower and technology do a better job of protecting the public, and the United States has 35 percent fewer officers relative to the population than do other countries on average….

Spending an additional $10 billion to expand police forces could reduce crime by as much as 16 percent, they project, preventing 1.5 million crimes a year.

Ultimately, the point being made through the data is that locking lots of folks up is — my gloss here — the mark of prior failures.  Or, if you’ve got the Obama gift for seeing the policy opportunity as well as the yawning need, you’d look at it this way:

In the report, the CEA argues for a broader analysis of the problems of crime and incarceration, touching on subjects that seem unrelated to criminal justice, such as early childhood education and health care. The authors of the report contend that by helping people get by legally, those other elements of the president’s agenda would be more effective in reducing crime than incarceration.

Ya think?

Image: William Hogarth, Prison Scene from A Rake’s Progress, 1732-35

Birding While Black

Posted April 26, 2016 by Tom
Categories: Cool Video, Race

Tags: ,

Truth and wry humor — ’cause we’re too big to cry — on the subject of doing human while black.

Gotta love it:  “those crepuscular hours.”  That’s fine writing.

I figured we’d need something removed from the immediate concerns of politics.  That there’s politics in the larger (and lasting) sense in the video above?  I concede.  Sue me.

You want a lagniappe?  Here’s one more Lanham video:
 

 

Annals Of Grift, Chapter [n]: “Pastoral Medicine”

Posted April 26, 2016 by Tom
Categories: Religious follies, Uncategorized

Tags:

This story is a perfect example of a truly elegant con.  On one side, the marks:  suffering, credulous, and primed to both reject and crave authority.  On the other, the grifters, offering valiant rebellion against the establishment, all the comfort of faith, and the knowledge that the truly dedicated marks will become repeat customers.

Ladles and jellyspoons, I give you pastoral medicine!

You’ve probably heard of the credentials M.D. and R.N., and maybe N.P. The people using those letters are doctors, registered nurses and nurse practitioners. But what about PSC.D or D.PSc? Those letters refer to someone who practices pastoral medicine — or “Bible-based” health care.

It’s a relatively new title being used by some alternative health practitioners. The Texas-based Pastoral Medical Association gives out “pastoral provider licenses” in all 50 states and 30 countries. Some providers call themselves doctors of pastoral medicine.

V0011224 Doctor and Mrs Syntax, with a party of friends, experimentin Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images images@wellcome.ac.uk http://wellcomeimages.org Doctor and Mrs Syntax, with a party of friends, experimenting with laughing gas. Coloured aquatint by T. Rowlandson after W. Combe. By: William Combeafter: Thomas RowlandsonPublished: - Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

And how do these fine practitioners roll?

[Stephen] Barrett [a retired psychiatrist and founder of the consumer protection siteQuackwatch.org] says the Pastoral Medical Association functions like a private club. Patients sign confidentiality agreements, pay out of pocket and are prohibited from suing if they’re unhappy with the care they receive. Any disputes are handled by an ecclesiastical tribunal.

“They’re claiming that ‘Any advice we give you is pastoral in nature,’ ” Barrett says. “In other words, ‘If I give you health advice that’s not health advice, that’s pastoral advice.’

The article goes on to dig up one person who felt helped by her pastoral “advisor” — a woman who believed “heavy metal detox, special diet and herbal supplements helped her lose weight and gain energy.”  And good for her! I’d hope she’d derive some comfort from her ~$5,000 donation to what the Pastoral Medical Association calls “the Almighty’s Health Care workers.”

A closing thought.  In the deregulated paradise sought by the Republican party and its Koch and Koch-esque paymasters, there’s no problem with such charlatanism.  Let people put their money where they like, regulatory oversight be damned, and let the market (and morbidity/mortality outcomes) decide the matter.  That sick people might not be fully at liberty to exercise their function as a homo economicus is somebody else’s problem.

Which is to say — this particular grift takes the form of the familiar American religious confidence game that has taken in its suckers since before the birth of the Republic.  At the same time, it’s a pretty good proxy for the same long con being run on too many Americans by the folks who have come to use the Republican Party as its front.

Image:T. Rowlandson after W. Combe, Doctor and Mrs. Syntax and a Party of Friends Making an Experiment in Pneumatics, 19th c.

The Worst Person in the World

Posted April 25, 2016 by Tom
Categories: quis custodiet ipsos custodes, Uncategorized

Tags:

Think of this as a bookend to John’ Coles post at Balloon Juice.  This isn’t a problem of a few bad apples.  Police violence against people of color occurs within a culture of contempt for people of color.  How else to explain the head of the Chicago  [errr…] Cleveland* police union’s decision to rub yet more salt in the wounds of Tamir Rice’s family:

Cleveland Police Patrolman Association President Steve Loomis issued a statement on Monday afternoon saying that “something positive must come from this tragic loss.”

“We can only hope the Rice family and their attorneys will use a portion of this settlement to help educate the youth of Cleveland in the dangers associated with the mishandling of both real and facsimile firearms,” Loomis said in the statement.

Yo!  Officer Loomis.  There was some definite mishandling of firearms in the context of Rice’s death.  All of it by your cops.

Master_of_the_Karlsruhe_Passion_001

How about you take some of that taxpayer cash that pays your salary and use it to acquire a very rusty farm implement.

Which you can then use upon your nether regions.

Sideways.

Seriously.  How much of a stone racist asshole do you have to be to insist, again, that it is the Black kid’s fault that he interrupted a bullet with his body?  How much of just a miserable human being do you have to be to choose this day and this vicious line of attack to add to the pain Tamir Rice’s family will never leave behind?I can’t even. There is a personal cruelty there that is contemptible.  A civilized society would spit on the street whenever Mr. Loomis passes by.

*Because all those midwestern “C” cities sound alike when you’re so pissed off you can’t see.

Image:  Master of the Karlsruhe Passion, Capture of Jesus Christ, c. 1450.

I’m Not Saying Guns Are A Problem…

Posted April 23, 2016 by Tom
Categories: Guns, Uncategorized

Tags:

…But yeah, I am.  Guns are a huge f**king problem.

Kuniyoshi_Utagawa,_The_actor_17

Arizona

Two officers are in stable condition, with one in surgery, and the suspect is dead following a shooting Saturday at a Walmart in suburban Phoenix, authorities said.

Michigan:

Bell was found shot dead with another woman, Sacorya Renee Reed, at a home in the 2600 block of Ridgecrest Drive, The Flint Journal reported.

A one-year-old child, who was unharmed, was also found in the home and turned over to child protective services, but police did not confirm whether the child was Bell’s….

The case is slated to continue, with a representative to be appointed to represent Bell’s child.

Georgia:

A man who shot and killed five people during two separate shootings as part of a domestic dispute in Georgia was found dead in his home early Saturday of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said…

The daughter of Georgia man suspected of shooting five people to death before killing himself says her father was a “ticking time bomb.”

Lauren Hawes told The Associated Press Saturday that she and her 1-year-old daughter hid in a neighbor’s house while her father, Wayne Anthony Hawes, went on a shooting rampage that killed five people, including her grandmother and cousin.

And, not that it’s a competition, perhaps ghastliest of all, Ohio:

All the victims were shot in the head, “execution-style,” and none of the deaths appear to be suicides, he said. DeWine said it appears the killings took place overnight while the victims were in bed, with one woman killed with her “four-day-old right there.”

These are just four reports of four wretched events — crimes — over the last couple of days, all gleaned from a single news site (Talking Points Memo).  As such, they’re just the gun miseries from Friday and today that rose to some kind of web prominence.  There are, certainly, many, many more lurking below that threshold of media attention.

All of these crimes, all of this woe, were done in their own contexts, their own sequence of events.  The guns didn’t decide to shoot themselves — I get that.

But the litany, the daily butcher’s bill, tells another story, alongside the too-common and too-comfortable one of “people kill people.”  People kill a lot fewer people when it’s harder to do.  Firearms make it easy.

Res ipsa loquitur.

Image: Utagawa Kuniyoshi, The Actor, before 1861.


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