Chris Rabb talked a little at ConvergeSouth about privilege, and the implications of recognizing that one has it.
Liz Seymour has written an essay on much the same subject, reflecting on her upbringing in the "owning class" and the choices she's made as an adult.
The happiness I grew up with (and I do recognize that even if it
wasn’t bought with money, it was eased by money) sticks with a person
for life. My fundamental privilege is that I expect to be happy. Not
everyone comes into adulthood with that expectation.
But like everything else privilege comes with some baggage...
...I turned my house into a collective house because
I didn’t want to grow old alone in the uneasy aloneness that leads to
gated communities and averted eyes and “they hate us for our freedoms.”
Generalizations are dangerous (he generalized), including generalizations about the ramifications of privilege. I know rich people who are heedless and scared and unhappy, and I know rich people who are heedless and quite pleased with the way things are, and I know rich people who are happy and grateful and aware and involved in a larger world.
Or as F. Scott Fitzgerald put it in The Rich Boy: "Begin with an individual, and before you know it you find that you have created a type; begin with a type, and you find that you have created - nothing. That is because we are all queer fish, queerer behind our faces and voices than we want anyone to know or than we know ourselves...There are no types, no plurals. There is a rich boy, and this is his and not his brothers' story."
He then generalizes profusely in exactly the way he has warned against: "Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand."
Hemingway is supposed to have said, Yes, the rich are different -- they have more money.
Halloween really is the best thing in the world when you are a kid.
Things I learned as I got older: Don't set off fireworks directly in front of a police car. Girls look cute in devil costumes. And being the dad still means you get to skim the good stuff from your kids' haul.
USA Today on Davidson: "What's different here is with just 1,700 students, the school — listed by U.S. News & World Report among the USA's top liberal-arts colleges — also has a winning basketball program at the Division I level."
My advice for anyone running for the U.S. Senate in North Carolina:
--Understand net campaigning as integral to overall strategy; take ownership of it yourself at a high level. --Keep your website fresh with regular updates. --Make your videos shareable. --Use the web to make the candidate real. --Understand the web as an organizing tool. --Collaborate online with local parties and other allies; run a 100-county campaign with the web as a tool for seeding operations in places where you lack party support. --Get thee to Facebook and MySpace. --Understand the web as a media channel that has independent value and also feeds other media. --Don't count on just winding any of this stuff up and letting it run: invest time and talent in it. --Don't trust traditional party/campaign operatives to really get this stuff; you need them, too, but be alert for turf wars and lip service.
Dole has a placeholder. Hagan just started; clean but underfurnished. Hendrix looks like he rolled his own. Neal has the early lead.
The battle for Sayidia: "[A] new, quieter chapter of the civil war is unfolding. Shiite groups are
trying to consolidate their on-the-ground gains and push into
neighborhoods that have so far eluded their control. The Sunnis,
pressed into a corner, are looking for new ways to fight back."
Cheap money comes at a price. The Fed wants to ease us out of the second bubble/bust cycle in seven years, but that undermines the dollar, already under pressure from the problems that lead to the Fed's action in the first place...
WSJ: "The underlying problem is that U.S. growth is slowing
while the rest of the world pushes forward. That means the Fed is
reducing rates at a time when other central banks are expected to hold
rates steady or increase them.The interplay between interest rates is a major factor in the dollar's recent lows against the euro."
GTP: "Is Irving Park to remain a neighborhood of lawns shaded by mature trees
and classical homes with unusual architectural detail, or will it
simply evolve into a collection of newly built McMansions attached to
prestigious street addresses?"
I'm happy that people are asking the question, although I wish they'd started asking it about thirty years ago. Irving Park is still a beautiful neighborhood, but it's lost some charm in recent decades.
And about those lot-line-to-lot-line houses, the ones with mismatched architectural details spread across their hideous faces: who designs them, and why?
What drove the trend toward grotesque pastiche and away from more traditional styles?
Money doesn't equate to good taste, but sometimes it used to buy it. What happened? Where are the architects?
Notes on the Nikki Sixx diaries, including Tommy Lee's reflections "from the rare personal vantage point of the moral high ground."
Via The Poor Man, who also has thoughts on the juggernaut that is the Patriots: "A lot of people think Belichick should have pulled Brady before it was
45-0. A lot of people think you shouldn’t be throwing it on 4th down up
by 38. Personally, I wouldn’t play it like that. But consider
Belichick’s position: not only is Brady his quarterback, but he’s also his fantasy football quarterback! Now, tell me you wouldn’t do the same thing."
UPDATE, 8:02 PM Tues 10/30: Via TPM, a statement by Justice Dept. spokesman Dean Boyd on the Blackwater investigation:
"The Justice Department and the FBI cannot discuss the facts of the
Blackwater case, which is under active investigation. However, any
suggestion that the Blackwater employees in question have been given
immunity from federal criminal prosecution is inaccurate. The Justice
Department and the FBI continue the criminal investigation of this
matter knowing that this investigation involves a number of complex
issues. We are unable to comment further at this time."
The Bush administration responds to consumer product-safety concerns, including recent reports of "a raft of tainted and dangerous products manufactured both domestically
and abroad. In the last two months alone, more than 13 million toys
have been recalled after tests indicated lead levels that sometimes
reached almost 200 times the safety limit."
The response? "The nation’s top official for consumer product safety has asked
Congress in recent days to reject legislation intended to strengthen
the agency...Nancy A. Nord, the acting chairwoman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission,
has asked lawmakers in two letters not to approve the bulk of
legislation that would increase the agency’s authority, double its
budget and sharply increase its dwindling staff."
More: "Some of Ms. Nord's complaints were similar to the ones that business
groups and manufacturers have raised, including that the legislation
would be unnecessarily burdensome. But in other areas, like
whistle-blower protection, her complaints went beyond those of industry."
Studs Terkel: "During my lifetime, there has been a sea change in the way that
politically active Americans view their relationship with government."
Things got better, then worse again.
Now: "Congress is moving in a haphazard fashion to provide a 'get out of jail
free card' to the telephone companies that violated the rights of their
subscribers. Some in Congress argue that this law-breaking is
forgivable because it was done to help the government in a time of
crisis. But it’s impossible for Congress to know the motivations of
these companies or to know how the government will use the private
information it received from them."
"Long before law enforcement officers or University of South Carolina officials made public statements, the story of the tragic house fire in Ocean Isle
Beach unfolded on message boards and social networking sites — post by
post." (Thanks to alert reader CM for the pointer.)
We happened to be in the Costco shopping center. Lisa and I are not members of the Cult of Costco but some loved ones are, so we are open-minded. I was in the market for a small TV and found one quickly and then stood there for a while without anyone in a red shirt stopping by and then Lisa found someone who said he'd call for someone and then nobody showed up so we left without buying the TV. I understand that you don't go to Costco for service but all I wanted to ask was this: do you have one of these in stock?
Since Circuit City is just across the way we went into Circuit City. I told Lisa that my readers had informed me recently that CC's crap service was due in some part to the company laying off thousands of workers earlier this year. We had the same experience that Elijah and I did a few weeks ago, which is to say, the thin staff never got to us and we left unnoticed.
We went to Best Buy, where a helpful guy found us quickly amid the big selection. Best Buy wins.
Opacity's end. Coming soon. Painful but necessary. And temporary, no doubt.
"We’ll definitely see a lot more write-downs," said Josh Rosner, an
expert on asset-backed securities at Graham-Fisher, an independent
research firm in New York. "I think that the exposures that we are
seeing and the announcement out of Merrill are the leading edge, not
Related. If I had guts and money, I'd be looking for the moment to buy the stocks mentioned in the article; lacking both, I'll note that Schwartz says "it still looks way too early to go bottom-fishing."
Times mag sets up a long article with a quote from Terry Fox, deposed pastor of Wichita's Immanuel Baptist Church, a job that helped make him "the public face of the conservative Christian
political movement in a place where that made him a very big deal."
Fox: "The pendulum in the Christian world has swung back to the
moderate point of view. The real battle now is among evangelicals."
Having been educated at an institution created and informed by liberal Christianity, and raised in city with deep liberal and moderate Christian traditions (in addition to conservative ones) I never really understood how one group presumed to speak for all the others -- especially when the cookie-cutter never seemed to fit conservative Christians I know personally, either.
It always seemed more like politics than religion, aimed at this world and not the next one. I don't mean that the beliefs expressed are insincere, just that they aren't universal or definitive for all Christians, even all conservative or evangelical Christians. Maybe that's why the movement is falling apart.
More from the article:
2008 election is just the latest stress on a system of fault lines that
go much deeper. The phenomenon of theologically conservative Christians
plunging into political activism on the right is, historically
speaking, something of an anomaly. Most evangelicals shrugged off
abortion as a Catholic issue until after the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
But in the wake of the ban on public-school prayer, the sexual
revolution and the exodus to the suburbs that filled the new
megachurches, protecting the unborn became the rallying cry of a new
movement to uphold the traditional family. Now another confluence of
factors is threatening to tear the movement apart. The extraordinary
evangelical love affair with Bush has ended, for many, in heartbreak
over the Iraq war and what they see as his meager domestic
accomplishments. That disappointment, in turn, has sharpened latent
divisions within the evangelical world — over the evangelical alliance
with the Republican Party, among approaches to ministry and theology,
and between the generations.
My newspaper column is about Mike Munger, the thoughtful Libertarian candidate for governor.
Munger knows he's
extremely unlikely to end up in the governor's mansion, but he also
knows political science, and the research tells him that he can make a
difference. "Third parties that are compelling on the issues change the
discussion without winning elections," he says. The proper terminology
for this influence on political discourse is "cooptation." What it
means, says Munger: "I can change the debate."
Citizens for Haw River State Park: "The very generous offer for the approximate 692 acres made to Bluegreen
by the N.C. Depart. of Environment and Natural Resources, Division of
Parks and Recreation has not yet been accepted."
More: "It appears at this time Bluegreen still thinks that it has a chance to
have both the Guilford County Commissioners and the Rockingham County
Commissioners approve their rezoning request.
"Keep those phone calls, emails and letters coming! We cannot let down our guard!"
More info, including ways to respond, here. Archive of related posts here.
This Hal Crowther article was mentioned at last night's UNCG media panel. Not just another veteran's lament or blind blog-bash, definitely worth the time to read. From the column:
No doubt the news trade's easier to master than astrophysics or
neurosurgery; but you're naïve and arrogant if you imagine that nothing
is lost when volunteers take up our jobs...Never in history has so much sinister talent, or so much money, been
committed to creating, shaping, manipulating, dominating or suppressing
the stories we hear or don't hear. A blogging orthodontist with a
genius IQ is no match at all for Karl Rove, Roger Ailes or Rupert
Murdoch—believe me. It's not even David vs. Goliath, it's Goliath vs.
The panel itself was interesting, at least to this panelist. WFMY has cut newsroom staff and is pushing online, said Erica Taylor, who was bright and thoughtful in person.
(The WFMY website is still execrable. Here's this morning's lead story from the Triad's would-be news leader. Depressing.)
I left knowing a more about Hispanic media in NC, thanks to Adolfo Briceño of QuéPasa. His readers are not yet online in meaningful numbers -- a big opportunity over time; we talked a little about using the web to push stories into larger media outlets. And I thought Dave Holian's perspective on the role of net non-neutrality as a means of controlling the press was on the money, so to speak.
Commenters at Blue NC ponder the news that Kay Hagan is reportedly being courted by national Dems to run against Dole. The role of Jim Neal's gayness in any such courtship figures large in the conversation.
Anglico comes right out with it: "Kay Hagan is a good woman and I have nothing against her. But if she
enters this race, one thing will be clear: she's running against Jim
Neal, not Liddy Dole."
To the extent that one runs against a primary opponent, sure.
To the extent that its about Neal being gay, I hope not; knowing Kay, I'm confident that she doesn't see it that way.
From the point of view of some national and local Dems? Be serious: Neal's personal life factors into their calculations whether they admit it or not.
All that said, the fact that Jim Neal is gay shouldn't keep challengers out of the race, either.
NYT: "But in recent days, that secretive Blackwater world has begun to fray
under so much scrutiny, said four current and two former Blackwater
employees. They described a grating sense among many of Blackwater
guards, especially those with years of experience, that the killings on
Sept. 16 were unjustified."
It's a reminder that no matter how flawed our policies and mercenary the companies and tenuous the situation on the ground, a lot of the people involved are probably decent folks trying to make a living in a dangerous job, and none too happy about the way things have gone.
NYT front-pager: "Every time economists and Wall Street executives think they have
acknowledged the full extent of the losses from the meltdown in real
estate mortgages, more bad news turns up."
The lack of transparency, and the financial engineering that helps create it, are big damn problems.
Merrill Lynch is taking a charge for "mortgage-related securities on its books that is $3
billion more than the $5 billion it expected just two weeks ago. And a
report from the National Association of Realtors
showed that sales of existing homes in September fell twice as much as
economists had expected, to their lowest level in nearly 10 years."
More: "In a new report to be issued today, the Joint Economic Committee of
Congress predicts about two million foreclosures by the end of next
year on homes purchased with subprime mortgages. That estimate is far
higher than the Bush administration’s prediction in September of
500,000 foreclosures, which in itself would be a tidal wave compared
with recent years."
Even the most revered experts were fooled.
From a fascinating New Yorker profile of trader Victor Niederhoffer: "As the quiet times continued, many investors were lulled into
believing that a less volatile era had begun. Alan Greenspan, who was
the chairman of the Fed until February, 2006, helped to feed this
illusion by talking about how financial innovations, such as the
development of asset-backed securities, had spread risks more widely,
making the market less vulnerable to shocks.
The crisis in the subprime-mortgage market changed all this."
Niederhoffer himself was largely undone by the current crisis: "There were so many moving parts in his portfolio that he wasn’t sure where he stood."
Wall Street Journal: "Bank of America Corp., in a reversal of a decade-long effort to reach the top tier of
Wall Street, is forcing out the top executive at its investment-banking
unit and launching a strategic review that is likely to shrink parts of
the operation." 3,000 job cuts announced.
Can't say much yet, but expect more good stuff ahead from a group that is under-appreciated -- not only for its tangible contributions to the city, but for helping to restore a can-do spirit that had faded in recent decades.
The naysayers and reflexive negativity haven't disappeared from this town, and as I wrote a few years ago, a relapse of Greensboro Disease is always possible. But I came away from today's meeting with a good feeling about the focus and sense of purpose among a key group of civic leaders.
Jack Lessenberry: "Reporters have never been paid enough money, but now things are getting worse."
More: "Hard times for Gannett, comrades. The monster corporation's profits for
the July 1-Sept. 30 period were only $234 million! Never mind that Ford
Motor Co. executives would kill small puppies for a quarter like that
these days. No, what matters is that a year ago, Gannett profits for
those three months were $261.4 million. Cancel the Porsche detailing
Related: "The Times Company has long had slimmer profit margins than most
other large newspaper companies — less than 7 percent for the first
nine months of this year. But the company’s finances, especially the
flagship paper’s, have held up better over a difficult year...The New York Times newspaper and its Web site [...] rely more than almost all other newspapers on national advertising,
which has fared better than other types, and less on classified ads,
which have fallen the most sharply."
Previously: "It would make no huge difference in Landmark's overall numbers to
cut profit margins for a while to merely solid rates of return, and to
reinvest a few million bucks per year in product and product
development, but it would make a huge difference to the News &
Record, and Greensboro, and the future of local journalism.
Too bad that ain't happening."