Posted 3 weeks ago
Posted 1 month ago
One day, whether you
are 14,
or 65

you will stumble upon
someone who will start
a fire in you that cannot die.

However, the saddest,
most awful truth
you will ever come to find––

is they are not always
with whom we spend our lives.
Beau Taplin, "The Awful Truth" {Hunting Season – 28 copies left}  (via theremina)

(Source: afadthatlastsforever)

Posted 1 month ago
Posted 1 month ago


Walk up to a stoner and ask, “Are you going to smoke the rest of that?” and point at the smoldering, yellow joint that they’re mushing between their forefinger and thumb. As they try to sort through the mush where their brain used to be to come up with an intelligible answer,…

Posted 1 month ago

One Of This Week's Most Misleading Ledes

A real quick thought on media literacy as it applies to defense spending:

Since Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s announcement regarding military spending cutbacks, the response from both right wing and mainstream corporate media has been the standard freak-out one can expect - cutting spending by this (or any) level will be a disaster for America and for “freedom.”

Much of the focus has been on a particular point - that the reduction in the Army’s troop levels will shrink to its smallest size since before the United States entered the second world war. However, when one compares the words and the numbers, a slightly different picture develops.

From the CNN article:

It calls for reducing the Army to a level of 440,000 to 450,000 troops, which would be the lowest total in more than 70 years. At its height, the Army had 570,000 troops after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and currently has about 520,000.

The “lowest total in more than 70 years,” is the type of factoid that makes for the kind of meme every flag waving, red blooded American exceptionalist will not only shout about and share, but practically demand the Defense Department get cut a blank check to avoid. But, when you put the numbers up next to each other over the years however, things don’t seem so hyperbolic. Via a very similar article in Newsweek:

A reduction to 450,000 would be the Army’s smallest size since 1940 - before the United States entered World War Two - when it had a troop strength of 267,767, according to Army figures. The Army’s previous post-World War Two low was 479,426 in 1999.

And though sourcing sites of this nature can be problematic, a chart (via Infoplease):

Chart from Infoplease detailing active duty US military personnel

While what we’re looking at is a difference of semantics in reporting, it’s an important distinction. For anyone who’s familiar with the Price Is Right, the real story here is that we’re reducing Army troop levels to a number slightly below pre-9/11 levels. However, considering decades of Cold War hysteria, it’s not surprising the reaction to such a reduction borders on hyperbole. 

One more chart to consider (via CNBC):


The CNN article reports

"For now, the Pentagon budget for the rest of this fiscal year and for 2015 is about $500 billion for each, as set by a congressional compromise in December."

So basically, even when cutting defense spending by more than $100 billion, the United States will still be spending more money on defense than at least the next five countries with the highest defense budgets combined.

Posted 1 month ago

Alleged Thrown Snowball Nets 13-Year-Old A Felony Charge

Meanwhile, Snowbrawl 2014 went off without a hitch. No vehicles or arms were harmed and no arrests were made.

Imagine that? I wonder what the difference between these two things is.

Posted 1 month ago

Haiku for today, February 17, 2014


Our austerity

So bare and severe, this love

Wants very little

Posted 1 month ago

UIC Faculty, Supporters Picket Campus In Two-Day Strike

“We are asked to continue to make sacrifices in terms of not getting raises and not being considered as having a voice within our university governance,” she said. “It’s not so much about a number as it is about governance and about being fully respected for the work that we do.”

Posted 1 month ago

Photos from this afternoon’s rally and march around UIC’s campus. Faculty are on strike for two days demanding better wages and better governance regarding the university’s resources.

Via my piece on Chicagoist earlier this morning:

"The negotiations have been dragging on almost interminably,” professor Joseph Persky, president of the union,told the Chicago Tribune. “I never thought we would get to the point where we had to strike to get a contract. It is time to deal with this.” The faculty hasn’t seen a raise since the union formed in 2011. A federal mediator stepped in during November to help arbitrate.

The striking teachers are seeking a minimum salary of $45,000 for full time lecturers and multi-year contracts, along with a 3.5 percent raise for all faculty. The administration for the university has offered to increase minimum salary to $36,000 by 2016. Faculty at the school’s flagship campus in Champaign-Urbana received 4.15 percent to 4.65 percent raises this year. John Casey, a UIC graduate and English professor with a PhD making $30,000 a year told the Tribune:

“I am living off of my credit cards. It is not a position that someone should be in regardless of education, but particularly when you have a doctoral degree and spent all the time and money earning that degree. If I am teaching courses seen as being that important, you would think the paycheck would reflect that.”
Posted 1 month ago

Some quick photos from the beginning of today’s faculty strike at the University of Chicago. After 18 months of negotiation and bargaining sessions, UIC United Faculty (which represents more than 1,100 teachers) has been unable to come to an agreement with the administration. Hundreds rallied in the quad this morning and will be picketing throughout the campus today and tomorrow.