The presumption of innocence is a cornerstone of the American criminal justice system. It is also a cornerstone of the American republican ideal. It is the fundamental difference between being a citizen and being a subject. A citizen has rights that are not subject to abridgement even if a majority wills it; rights that exist by “natural law” and outside the […]
They came upon a circle of nomads Camped far from the lights of the town Blue men with scars and malarial eyes And teeth that were pointed… filed down He said: “These are the people I’ve been searching for, This is more than I ever could have hoped!” As they threw him down on a blanket And tied […]
“This is the kind of surveillance that people can actually like. There’s satellites up there not only to spy on us, but to help us lead better lives.” — Marcel Salathé, head of the Digital Epidemiology Lab at Switzerland’s École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne on using satellite photographs to correlate obesity and environment. Oh, fuck […]
A recent letter to the editor in The Nugget Newspaper, which I edit and where Craig has a column, defended “political correctness” as “basically another term for respect, consideration, kindness, and generosity towards others despite their race, ethnicity, gender, or disability.” This definition elides the modern origins of the term, which lie in totalitarian attempts to own […]
My wife Marilyn has a thing about Anthony Bourdain. It’s not a celebrity crush, exactly. She says she wants to be him when she grows up. And who can blame her? The guy has a pretty extraordinary gig, wandering the world, exploring cultures and conflicts, with food and as a focal point and an extended cultural metaphor. The May […]
Looks like the punditry is catching up to a principle that underpins The Running Iron Report’s worldview: The Imperial Colossus is just too damn big. In a May 11 op-ed in The New York Times, sociology professor Neil Gross notes that: Last month the Pew Research Center released a poll showing that Americans are losing faith in their […]
“…When fixing items is actively discouraged by manufacturers, repair becomes a political act.” — Stuart Ward, repair café volunteer My grandfather made his own electric lawn mower out of a pair of scrap metal blades and a washing machine motor that he pulled out of one of the machines at an apartment complex he owned, and repaired. […]
“…Demonstrators should seek more effective and more lasting reform. They should demand a repeal of the Second Amendment.” — Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens I have been naïve. My temperament has always bent toward seeking common ground — the Willie Nelson ethic of bringing the cowboys and the hippies together. I have opined multiple times […]
Living in one place for any length of time supplies a kind of general knowledge, but that tepid way of knowing is often vague to the point of uselessness. I may be able to see and identify, for instance, the particular song of a western meadowlark, and I may thrill at the extraordinary memories it calls forth from my youth on the Great Basin desert, but other than the sound it makes and the emotionally pleasing memories stirred up in my brain, what do I really know about western meadowlarks?
We are, many of us, walking around with a veteran consumerist’s thousand-yard stare, which can be seen clearly in the aisles of any Target or WalMart, where the shell-shocked and emotionally flat-lined queue up daily to buy mostly disposable products manufactured by sweat-shop slaves in Chittagong and Rangoon. Especially when there is a “Fire Sale” or its cousin, the infamous “Year End” sale, and my personal favorite, the “Blowout Sale
Those of us making a deliberate choice to resist these pernicious influences in our lives had better accept that we will, eventually, be made into outlaws and Indians. Our insistence on remaining reasonably self-reliant—and vigorously defending the benefits of independence–is ultimately threatening to those who would exploit us for profit and notions of progress.