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Tuesday Hopred: work week wise the number is 4

I have been working more and more with people whose week-end starts on Friday. They hate that the rest of the world kind of assumes that Friday is a working day. In the spirit of true multi-culturalism I have a simple proposal to make: we all add Friday and Sunday to our respective week-ends.

As simple as that.

Knowing that a great many will say this is unrealistic and will be punished by The Markets, I propose to start not having any meetings on from Friday to Sunday (both days included). People can then have a quiet day with their mails or find the inspiration that allows finding the >20% productivity gains that ultimately will more than offset the lower work volume.

Feel free to start a FaceBook group on this idea.

November 1, 2011 Posted by | economics, Tuesday Hatred | 2 Comments

Sunday Stories: Gravity’s Rainbow (7)

This is the time of the Great Paranoia. Where good and bad billionaires set up their factions of militant activism preparing a struggle that could lead to enough insecurity to justify a backlash that would provide security for billionaires – of both sides. “Otto is earnestly explaining his views on the Mother Conspiracy. It’s not often a sympathetic girl will listen. The Mothers get together once a year, in secret, at these giant conventions, and exchange information. Recipes, games, key phrases to use on their children. ‘What did yours use to say when she wanted to make you feel guilty?’” A whole generation, which is only now finding the truth behind the adjective ‘lost’ attached to my generation, set up to defend a status quo that will allow this generation to live past a 100 years old, past 200 years old, until a time when death is finally pronounced dead.

“Tits ‘n ass,” mutter the girls, “tits ‘n ass. That’s all we are around here.”

It was prophetical to use the detective story analogy. Everybody is (a) suspect now. Continue reading

October 16, 2011 Posted by | economics, Sunday Stories | , | Comments Off

Tuesday Heatred: success div-zeroes me out

It is hot here and I am conclusively ambivalent about being cool.

I hate people coming out to say they want to avoid ‘the year too many’. Once they said that 3 things invariably happen: the current year immediately proves to be the year too many, there will be at least another year which is even worse because it will be a kind of goodbye tour critically self-referencing the previous years and in so doing it will even ruin the fun you did enjoy in these previous years of innocent excellence. Yes, I’m talking about House.

I hate ‘on the one hand … on the other hand’ type of discourse. On the one hand cool is irresistible. It is of the essence of cool to be irresistibly hot. On the other hand being cool requires at least some behaving like a bastard. Behaving as if one couldn’t care less is of the essence of cool. I hate that you think that the cool/hot thing has been done before and has been done better.

I also hate any talk about win-win-strategies. It’s as if non-zero sum games are somehow the only games that are possible. Maybe this is so for the cool guys but it is certainly not so for those of us that get all heated up because they know that in the realm of the possible there’s no option in which it is possible to even have a cake, let alone eat it. Mostly this is so because other people take our cake after eating theirs too. These people are cool. Sometimes they are so fed up that they go out of their way to leave us something as well. Even the successful can’t go without friendship I guess. They don’t have to fight for it though, the fighting is left to us. I hate that you think that the cake eating thing has been done before and have been done better.

It is all a matter of success. In the end we all know that winners pick winners. The rest of us are by default whiners. Losers too but only because we see it as losing and seeing it that way is just whining and whining is for losers. I hate that you think that the winners/whiners thing has been done before and has been done better.

I hate that I have to admit that thinking in terms of success is unavoidable. The title I had in my head for this was “S*cks a*s div-zeroes me out” (and then I thought about the morons that link to The Weblog with search terms like ‘albino girls naked’ or worse, things that freak me out because even if I’m not a prude: come on, get a life!). Thinking about success does make me I feel trapped like a fly on the inside of a very clean window, trying to reach the lamp post on the other side. I am not a winner; I hope daugter is.

I leave you with something that also freaked me out when googling the title, it was in between Miami heat merchandise:

I hate modesty, certainly if it requires you to be extremely thin on the inside.

June 28, 2011 Posted by | economics, Tuesday Hatred | 15 Comments

Excerpt from a dream

I had been told to rescue a girl, who turned out to be held captive in a back room in the Hopleaf (a bar in Chicago). I found where she was being held and then assured her I would be back to rescue her. When I did come back, she was up and about, getting ready to wait tables. I asked her about this situation — was she free to leave after her shift? She hemmed and hawed and I said I could help her sneak out while she was waiting tables, but she said, “I don’t know — in this economy, it seems better to be a prisoner.”

July 31, 2010 Posted by | dreams, economics | 2 Comments

Another Senate Reform Proposal

Over at AUFS, I posted a proposal to reform the Senate. In light of the recent Supreme Court ruling regarding corporate involvements in campaigns, I would like to give it another try. First of all, we would need to break the connection between senate seats and particular states, creating a pool of 100 at-large seats drawn from the entire country. Then, in order to save the cost and administrative overhead of a formal election, every two years the top 100 performers in the S&P 500 (by net average value for the period) would each appoint a senator. I had initially considered the idea of having the top 100 firms be chosen on the basis of market capitalization, but a share price-based metric seems more fair, as it would allow innovative, up-and-coming firms to have their say rather than having everything determined by sheer size.

The senators themselves would of course receive stock options in addition to a modest base salary paid by the appointing corporation, to ensure that their interests lined up with those of the shareholders. Each corporation would supply the requisite staff for their senator, and the Congressional Budget Office’s responsibilities would be contracted out to the ratings agencies on a rotating basis. Along with the money saved by not having a formal election, the savings on senatorial pay and staff could be put toward deficit reduction.

January 23, 2010 Posted by | economics, politics | 2 Comments

Martin Luther King, Jr.

It is my tradition to post a link to this article on King Day.

January 18, 2010 Posted by | economics, politics | 1 Comment

On geoengineering as an alternative to curbing carbon emissions

The reason we are faced with climate change in the first place is that particular human beings and corporations, in their pursuit of profit, were allowed to intervene into the complex system that is our planet’s climate in unprecedented ways (i.e., by expelling mass quantities of various gases into the atmosphere). Now, we are being told in some quarters that, because the damage to the profit-margins of particular human beings and corporations would be unacceptable if we limited or stopped the interventions that got us into our present situation, we should intervene into the complex weather system in an even more radical and unprecedented way.

October 19, 2009 Posted by | economics | 5 Comments

An early confession

This morning in liberation theology class, one of the students took issue with the overriding priority of economic poverty as the issue to be addressed. We discussed this question for a while, and I eventually said that I was something of a “class fundamentalist” or vulgar Marxist myself, then added — “not that I’m actually doing anything about it. In fact, I’m busily making my inroads into the middle class.”

After class, I walked back home and set up a service where people come pick up my laundry off my back porch and then return it completely cleaned and pressed.

September 24, 2009 Posted by | economics | 10 Comments

Bank changes

I’ve had the same bank account for close to ten years, ever since Olivet started requiring direct deposit for student employees. It’s a regional bank, mainly focused in the Chicago area. When I moved to Chicago, it became more of a hassle as the branch locations tended to be either downtown or in more expensive neighborhoods, but my frequent trips to Hyde Park required a stop downtown, meaning I usually had easy access to a branch. Since my visits to Hyde Park have tapered off, however, it’s become more and more of a pain in the ass, and obviously moving to Kalamazoo will only compound the problem.

If I’m going to switch banks, it seems like I should go for a national bank, since I currently have no idea where I will end up in the long term. All of the major national banks are about equally represented in Kalamazoo, with equal degrees of (in)convenience. I’m thinking of going with Chase, since it has the most ATM locations in Chicago and has those cool ATMs that automatically scan your checks for deposit. I have a credit card through Bank of America currently, but I’m reluctant to support them further since they have destroyed so many great streetcorners with their excessive number of branches. As for Citibank, I just get the impression that I shouldn’t be encouraging them in any way.

Does anyone have any insights to share?

July 27, 2009 Posted by | economics | 17 Comments

A question about politics

It’s largely taken for granted that American politicians tend to cozy up with the rich. My question is why. On a lower level, it makes sense as a strategic move, because wealthy benefactors can help you move up the chain. But at higher levels of government, it doesn’t make sense to me. Politics is supposed to be the pursuit of power, right? (Maybe this is the Chicago influence talking, but bear with me.) Once you reach a certain level of power, however, it seems foolish to squander your resources making other people more powerful, which is what the “make the rich richer” policy effectively does. Would you not rather want to deprive people of power?

For instance, with the big banks: the Obama administration had at its disposal the option not simply of going against the wishes of the powerful “big bankster” interest group, but of effectively destroying it through nationalizing the huge troubled firms. Or with single-payer health care: why worry so much about pleasing the insurance companies when you have the option of depriving them of all power or influence by putting them out of business? This question seems especially pertinent in the case of the president, where you can basically say, “Okay, listen, I have control over a fucking army — what do you have? You have a ton of money, do you? Well, I get to hire and fire the guy who prints the money.”

June 25, 2009 Posted by | economics, politics | 7 Comments

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