(NOTE: All the material related to the title of this piece can be found below the fold, after the long-winded introduction.)
I have just returned to H-Town from a six-day trip to New Orleans and Pensacola. The Pensacola part was mainly to visit a friend in the federal prison camp there, a minor casualty of the War on Drugs. I say "minor" because he received a light sentence in a very comfortable facility. Oh, did I mention that he's a middle-class white guy? Not everyone incarcerated at FPC Pensacola is white or middle class, though most are. Some of the inmates are millionaires doing time for financial and tax-related chicanery.
New Orleans served as the launching pad for the Florida excursion: I rode Amtrak's Sunset Limited to the end of the line, then rented a car to drive the 200 miles (320 km) to P-Cola. New Orleans is still a fascinating place—a few dozen fascinating places, actually, with each of its districts/neighborhoods possessing its own flavor.
One noteworthy phenomenon of NOLA is the sheer number of billboards and bus-boards advertising the services of personal injury and criminal defense attorneys. I heard someone make an offhand comment about how the criminal lawyers in particular are, in aggregate, making a very good living, mostly because NOPD is notorious for arresting residents and visitors when other resolutions might be better. Even with chemically enhanced tourists getting out of hand, the city doesn't have a proportionally bigger or worse crime problem than other medium-sized cities, but it does have a tendency to load up its judicial dockets with petty offenders and people arrested for offenses they did not commit.
Another phenomenon is that parts of the city are still in recovery mode from Mother Nature's onslaught in 2005. Well, the hurricanes came from Mother Nature, but the resulting floods resulted from engineering negligence like the reinforcements of levies proposed but never implemented. Some houses still wear the "X" markings that indicated what sort of damage and death had occurred therein. The public school system in Orleans Parish was scrapped in favor of charter schools, a mark far more permanent than those X's.
...dude, you're Not reading Enough. If you're of a progressive mindset, and if you have the time and inclination, read Naomi Klein's NO Is Not Enough, sooner rather than later.
When you have finished reading the book, take a little time to figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life, before the rising oceans swallow your city. And then get busy. Better yet, get active.
This is not my favorite progressive work of non-fiction. It is not even my favorite book by Naomi Klein. It does not explain everything about something, or something about everything. But it is an important synthesis of the research and conclusions from No Logo, The Shock Doctrine, and This Changes Everything, in a short-and-tidy format that anyone with a working heart and brain can grasp. This synthesis parallels the fact that the election of Donald Trump to a seat of enormous political power is the culmination of several decades of increasingly Trumpian governance here in the US.
David Cobb, Green nominee for president in 2004, shared the post above on Facebook.
This is incredibly exciting news in more ways than one. Personally, I cheer the Platform Committee for taking this risk.
The new language will appear in copies of the Green Party's 2016 platform that will be distributed to delegates and others when they convene in H-Town this August.
The decision to reject was not without controversy: Many established Greens objected to it for various reasons. The risk, from the beginning, was not only that mainstream America would accuse the Greens of pining for the good old days of Joe Stalin, but that GPUS might lose a fair number of its long-standing members over its new stance.
Among Millennials in particular, but by no means exclusively, "socialism" is no longer a dirty word. It is a rational alternative to an economic system that thrives on exploitation and puts millions in debt peonage.
I hope that you read and re-read the quote pictured above with an open mind. The platform also rejects state socialism, while embracing eco-socialism explicitly.
I also hope that you will read Naomi Klein's This Changes Everything, which illustrates how capitalism is incompatible with protecting the natural environment on which all life—human life included—depends. While the book is thoroughly researched and sourced, it is not such a scholarly work that readers will drown in polysyllables. But even environmentalists who think they've heard it all before may find their heads spinning at the depth and breadth of the climate crisis and the solutions that should have been imposed years ago.
Klein is not especially comfortable with state socialism either, but it may be the only way to rescue our world from climate catastrophe. The state won't budge, however, until the people get off their collective arse and make budging politically imperative.
Blogging Sporadically since 2014
Here you will find political campaign-related entries, as well as some about my literature, Houston underground arts, peace & justice, urban cycling, soccer, alt-religion, and other topics.