August 12, 2007


Caption: Does Venus look placid to you?

First, I'd like to apologize about the irregular posts last week. These were due to a combination of a phone/internet crash at Goat Rope Farm followed by a week on the road. El Cabrero can usually get around one or the other but both at the same time are a problem.

Now we're back to the regular schedule of six days per week (more if something really bad or really good happens). Thanks for your patience.

This week, El Cabrero is thinking about animals and the roles they play in our lives (aside from consumption). How do they fit in yours?

Walt Whitman had somewhat exalted ideas about our animal friends:

I think I could turn and live with animals, they're so placid and self contain'd,
I stand and look at them long and long.

They do not sweat and whine about their condition,
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,
Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things,
Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago,
Not one is respectable or unhappy over the earth.

It is obvious from this passage that Walt was a city boy and idealized critters. While it is true that they spend relatively little time on theological and other reflections (as far as we can tell), they are anything but placid and self contain'd.

UNLEASHING INEQUALITY. Here's an op-ed from Sunday's Gazette by Ross Eisenbrey on the proposals offered by the recent book Unleashing Capitalism, which has garnered quite a fan club among the WV's right wing media. He particularly takes issue with the idea that wages automatically increase with productivity. Would that it were so...

THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE DARK. The agonizing wait for news about the trapped miners in Utah continues. Here's a good item by Ken Ward about the dangerous practice of mining the pillars that hold up earlier excavations.

On a related subject, the CEO of the company, Robert Murray, is long known as a foe of new safety regulations, the United Mine Workers union, and environmentalists. Here's an item about his opposition to post-Sago reforms.

On yet another related front, Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship has filed suit against the WV Democratic Party for allegedly defaming his character during the 2006 campaigns when he spent several million dollars of his own money in an unsuccessful bid to change the composition of the state legislature.

I don't know where to start with that one. Except maybe this comment: where's tort reform when you really need it?


Americans are living longer than ever, but not as long as people in 41 other countries.

For decades, the United States has been slipping in international rankings of life expectancy, as other countries improve health care, nutrition and lifestyles.

Countries that surpass the U.S. include Japan and most of Europe, as well as Jordan, Guam and the Cayman Islands.



brecht said...

I hope you had a good week on the road.

That book review in the Gazette makes a lot of sense. I am amazed at how few economists and money-people (the ones who ought to know best) admit that our greatest economic successes were built on a strong middle class, and by building protections for the working class.

I recently heard of 'tinkle-down economics' - an apt phrase.

Anonymous said...

i don't think that he had PUGS, otherwise i am sure he would have wrote about nerves and insanity

El Cabrero said...

I love the tinkle down! Can I use it?

And, clearly, Whitman was never around pugs...

brecht said...

Of course you can.