Thursday, August 21, 2014

Socialist Bible: What does "the poor will always be with you" mean?

Capitalist Christians love to cite Matthew 26:11: "For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always." The saying references an older saying that capitalist Jews like, Deuteronomy, 15:11: "For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land."

So long as there are natural disasters, there will always be poor people. When a disaster occurs, the victims need to helped generously, with hands wide. These sayings have nothing to do with perpetuating systems of economic inequality. They simply acknowledge that we will always need to help when help is needed.

This post was inspired by What Jesus knew about income inequality (Opinion) - CNN.com, which takes an approach that philanthropists like, but which Jesus's saying about the two mites rejects.

Luke 21:1-4  "And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had."

Excluded by intersectionality

Over at my other blog, I've been doing a series of short posts recording cases that were overlooked by most identitarians because they involved white men, the people who are excluded by the bourgeois theory of intersectionality: Social Justice Warriors: Do Not Engage: excluded by intersectionality. Maybe they'll become an article someday; maybe they'll be useful for someone else.

And if there's anyone reading this who hasn't heard of SJWS, two points:

1. I envy you.

2. Social justice warriors are not social justice workers. Social justice workers work offline for justice and believe in treating everyone with respect; SJWs do not.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

a simple rice cooker meal: polenta and black beans

For one:

Put 1/4 cup polenta and 3/4 cup water in rice cooker. Drain a can of black beans. When the polenta is done, add half the beans to the cooker, put the other half in the fridge for something else, like making this again in a day or two 'cause it's simple and delicious. Leave the beans and polenta on the warm setting for a couple of minutes while you get something to drink. (I had white wine.) Stir it up, put it on a plate or bowl, season to taste—I hit it with Cholulua hot sauce. Nomlicious!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Perhaps this will become my annual post about awards

History tells us there's no connection between what wins and what's remembered. Well, except for the winners that make people say, "What drugs were popular that year?" For example, generally considered the worst book to win the Hugo: They'd Rather Be Right, remembered only for a distinction few writers desire.

It is a greater honor to be nominated than to win. Only the pettiest people will quibble with whether something deserves to be nominated, but most people will wonder why the winner won. I say "most people" because most of the time, perhaps all of the time, the majority does not choose the winner. The largest minority does. In some scenarios, like judged awards, the winner can't be the work that was most loved, because the most loved works also tend to be the most hated. In those situations, the winner is the one that most judges can agree on, so the result is not "best" in anyone's opinion but "most innocuous".

That said, there's no shame in winning an award, so if you won one, yay, you!

A 1968 statement by economists on income guarantees and supplements


ETA: Guaranteed Income's Moment in the Sun.

Marvin Gaye - Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)



I was reminded of this by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in The Coming Race War Won’t Be About Race.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Race, class, and people killed by cops

I just came across Local police involved in 400 killings per year:
Nearly two times a week in the United States, a white police officer killed a black person during a seven-year period ending in 2012, according to the most recent accounts of justifiable homicide reported to the FBI. On average, there were 96 such incidents among at least 400 police killings each year that were reported to the FBI by local police.
Another article suggests the absolute number of killings is higher. From Americans Killed by Cops Now Outnumber Americans Killed in Iraq War:
In the last decade alone the number of  people murdered by police has reached 5,000. The number of soldiers killed since the inception of the Iraq war, 4489.
What's missing so far is a class analysis. Are most people killed by cops poor? In the US, 2/3 of the poor are white, so if one out of four killings by cops are black victims killed by white cops, there may be no racism. There may just be class warfare.

But we don't have the statistics to know. What we do know is that you're more likely to be killed by a cop than by sharks or terrorists.

Bonus fact: The US obsession with security may cause an additional 500 deaths per year. From Is Airport Security Killing 500 People a Year? | Science Blogs | WIRED: "The increased automobile deaths due to people deciding to drive instead of fly is 500 per year."

ETA: Kareen Abdul-Jabbar's The Coming Race War Won’t Be About Race | TIME

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Tangled Lands—now available as an ebook!


I've lightly revised this. I confess, I have mixed feelings about the book. Like The Gospel of the Knife, it's not entirely to my satisfaction, and yet, there are bits I'm proud of, and it has its fans, which pleases me enormously. At Goodreads, a reviewer said it's "tightly written" and a few people gave it five stars. It's a very odd prequel to Cats Have No Lord. Someday I may write a sequel because this book implies something about the world of Cats that is not, in the author's opinion, true—it only seems that way to the point of view characters.

It's $2.99 (cheap!). Currently, it's at:

Amazon.com: The Tangled Lands

Barnes & Noble: The Tangled Lands

Smashwords: The Tangled Lands

It should show up elsewhere soon.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

How to write characters of a different gender than yours

At Star Trek Writer's Defense of Diversity in Sci-Fi Is Damn Near Perfect, PV said,
I don't think I could ever write a convincing same-sex relationship. I'm just not wired that way. But I totally support and encourage those who do - even if that kind of relationship doesn't interest me personally. The reason is simple, if we want a better world for ourselves, we have to have a better world for everyone. It isn't always easy or practical, but it is possible. For me to have my life the way I want it, others have to be able to have their lives the way they want them. And so long as those lives can exist in harmony, without interfering with each other - then we have created an environment where there is a better world.
I replied,
Speaking as a straight guy who has written same-sex relationships, it's easy with one huge caveat: you write the characters, not their gender. If you don't understand that, you won't write convincing relationships of people of your own gender, let alone people of other genders. And to be a writer, you've got to be able to write about everyone. That may sound scary, but the answer there is simple, too: do the research to learn how those characters' lives were shaped differently than yours.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

What's missed by people who only see race: the growing household wealth gap

From The Typical Household, Now Worth a Third Less - NYTimes.com: "The inflation-adjusted net worth for the typical household was $87,992 in 2003. Ten years later, it was only $56,335, or a 36 percent decline, according to a study financed by the Russell Sage Foundation. Those are the figures for a household at the median point in the wealth distribution — the level at which there are an equal number of households whose worth is higher and lower. But during the same period, the net worth of wealthy households increased substantially."

While it's true that for many historical reasons, class in the US is racially disproportionate, the reality today is simple. The net wealth of Obama, Herman Cain, Oprah, and every rich black person increased along with that of rich whites and Asians. The net wealth of poor and middle-class whites, blacks, and Asians decreased. What appears to be an economic racial problem requires a class-based solution, as Martin Luther King noted in his support of Universal Basic Income.