Slaves built your house

When it all began is as clear of a question as when it might end. Actual Nazis on violent parade (is there another kind of Nazi parade?) in a public square has brought the question of white supremacy out of the shadows for the time being. Hopefully the moment lasts a while longer to permit for force the reckoning it begs. Original, unrepented, institutionalized sin remains our bedrock foundation and WE continue to allow ourselves to benefit from it. Every ‘safe’ street and every ‘good’ school in every boring suburb was constructed on advantages denied to black, brown and red people in the name of God and country. We can continue to exist but we cannot continue to exist in this way.
The descendants of slaves will never not hold the moral high ground. All the beatings, whippings, killings, and arbitrary cruelty that was slavery now looks back from every set of eyes through the fence. The perpetuation of white domination without reckoning with the past is illegitimate, predicated on the keeping the book of history a sealed volume. The longer this goes on, the stronger the scent of fear and defensiveness about who we are. By ignoring this history all around us, we perpetuate a crime against those who built this country without ever enjoying its rights and advantages, the shelter they built. We all remain in the storm, but some of us are now flinching at the slight discomfort of the metaphorical version.
All American institutions, and let us note the special case of the South, now sit upon the remnants of the slave power. As we celebrate the past, as citizens do of all nations with buildings and monuments, while not recognizing the contributions and implications of enslaved people, we remain blinded to our own story, our true selves, ignorant of who we are and what brought us to the present moment.

All difficulties of the reckoning – the statues, the street names, the building names, the towns and town squares – none of them compare to the reality upon which they were built. We have tried so desperately to stomp out all traces of this memory that it is remarkable that any exist; yet they still crop up in accidental discoveries – bodies buried, markers uncovered, genealogy traced. The Pavlovian reactions and knee jerk resistance are understandable; it is better if we don’t think about it. But the reaction is also wrong. We need to think about it. We need to know who we actually are. To assume that everything is fine now, equal, fair, is a lie. Pulling down statues should be just the beginning.
Image: From an amazing animation at Slate. Wow – most of the confederate monuments didn’t come until later. I wonder why?

Radical Solutions, Inc.

That’s some kind of dystopian corporation of the future, sort of like Executive Outcomes. Remember that? Now try to dig up that Harper’s article from 1997; it’ll learn ya.

So… you wouldn’t think that an article on eliminating college football would be relevant on a blog like this. But then you didn’t name your blog this either, did you? Oh, Wall Street Journal, reminding me that Eco also stands for economy:

Who truly benefits from college football? Alumni who absurdly judge the quality of their alma mater based on the quality of the football team. Coaches such as Nick Saban of the University of Alabama and Bob Stoops of the University of Oklahoma who make obscene millions. The players themselves don’t benefit, exploited by a system in which they don’t receive a dime of compensation. The average student doesn’t benefit, particularly when football programs remain sacrosanct while tuition costs show no signs of abating as many governors are slashing budgets to the bone.

I’m down with his argument in many ways, but this part of it reminds me of a near exact parallel with the sacrosanctity of military spending in our larger budgetary reality. It is Eliot Ness. It is untouchable, all other things being up for negotiated elimination. Which is itself a reminder of what our government is becoming: an insurance company with an army.

But, to the point about college football green and the NCAA’s reluctance to part with it. No solutions are just going to prevent themselves, until the sport completes its slide toward boxing – and with solutions like, who needs problems? The idea of a triple AAA minor league paid for by the NFL seems like a no-brainer and will only take a little getting used to. In business speak, they’ve already created demand for their product, and maybe even overshot that. Time to re-route the supply.

Force Multiplier

Inside the clown car that is the field of 2012 Republican Presidential candidates, one the fake knobs that doesn’t do anything but that each one of the pushes when they can get their big shoes out of their mouths and the rubber noses out of each others… ear holes, is the EPA. By turns they want to abolish it, burn it, churn it, make it cry and turn it into a boo-boo blanket for everything the Democrats know, love and want. Their opinions on environmental issues and what the EPA does are, of course, unhinged and ill-informed, as this “debate” highlighted for all to see and ignore. But guess who else thinks the EPA is the route to their own sustainability, ne’ the future part of their future?


The Army’s vision is to appropriately manage our natural resources with a goal of net zero installations. Today the Army faces significant threats to our energy and water supply requirements both home and abroad. Addressing energy security and sustainability is operationally necessary, financially prudent, and essential to mission accomplishment. The goal is to manage our installations not only on a net zero energy basis, but net zero water and waste as well. We are creating a culture that recognizes the value of sustainability measured not just in terms of financial benefits, but benefits to maintaining mission capability, quality of life, relationships with local communities, and the preservation of options for the Army’s future. The Army is leveraging available authorities for private sector investment, including using power purchase agreements (PPA), enhanced-use leases (EUL), energy savings performance contracts (ESPC), and utilities energy service contracts (UESCs) as tools to achieve these objectives. The Army must invest in its installations and improve efficiencies in energy, water and waste for the benefit of our current and future missions.

“Net Zero,” is a signed program between the Army and the E.P.A  to collaborate on implementing technologies for resource conservation, renewable energy and energy self-sufficiency on Army bases, Perryromneygingrichbachmannpaulthatotheronemorans.