Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Outsourced Thanksgiving/ Shaky Leaf/How Obama Saved Capitalism and Paid For It/Communalism/Hell

(P1) Poetical

Outsourced Thanksgiving

Welcome to the Butterball Turkey Hot Line
What is your name please?
Thank you Edward. How may I help you?
Oh that is a good question.
I will tell you what to do with your turkey before you roast it
First, remove the original plastic wrapper
from the thawed or fresh turkey.
Do you understand?
Good. Now remove the neck and geeblets,
then drain the juices and blot the turkey dry
with paper towels. You may now stuff the turkey
then return it’s legs to the tucked position,
insert an oven-safe meat thermometer into the thigh,
brush with oil to prevent the skin drying
and follow roasting directions that come
with every Butterball turkey.
Have I helped you, Edward?
Good and Happy Thanksgiving
from all of us here at Butterball Turkeys in
Bangalore—I mean Illinoize! Goodbye

Ed Coletti


One quivering leaf

lets go,

glides across

a bit more time,

then softly


Comment or Read Comments Here on any of the above or below. Log in under "Name" or "Anonymous," but please be sure to sign some facsimile of your name. Actual name is best, but use what you like. Or email me at, and I can post it.

(P2) Political

How Obama Saved Capitalism and Lost the Midterms

This piece by Timothy Egan appeared in the New York Times November 2, 2010. I'll begin with the highlights and then leave you with a link to the full article.

"If I were one of the big corporate donors who bankrolled the Republican tide that carried into office more than 50 new Republicans in the House, I would be wary of what you just bought.

"For no matter your view of President Obama, he effectively saved capitalism. And for that, he paid a terrible poitical price.

"Suppose you had $100,000 to invest on the day Barack Obama was inaugurated...

"...As of election day, Nov. 2, 2010, your $100,000 was worth about $177,000 if invested strictly in the NASDAQ average for the entirety of the Obama administration, and $148,000 if bet on the Standard & Poors 500 major companies. This works out to returns of 77 percent and 48 percent...

"...The banking system was resuscitated by $700 billion in bailouts started by Bush (a fact unknown by a majority of Americans), and finished by Obama, with help from the Federal Reserve. It worked. The government is expected to break even on a risky bet to stabilize the global free market system. Had Obama followed the populist instincts of many in his party, the underpinnings of big capitalism could have collapsed. He did this without nationalizing banks, as other Democrats had urged...

"Saving the American auto industry, which has been a huge drag on Obama's political capital, is a monumental achievement that few appreciate, unless you live in Michigan. After getting their taxpayer lifeline from Obama, both General Motors and Chrysler are now making money by making cars. New plants are even scheduled to open. More that 1 million jobs would have disappeared had the domestic auto sector been liquidated...

"And apology is due Barack Obama," wrote The Economist, which had opposed the $86 billion auto bailout...

"Interest rates are at record lows. Corporate profits are lighting up boardrooms/ it is one of the best years for earnings in a decade...

"All of the above is good for capitalism, and should end any serious-mined discussion about Obama the socialist...Obama got on the wrong side of voter anxiety in a decade of diminished fortunes...

"...Of course, nobody gets credit for preventing a plane crash..."

Here's the full Egan article.

Comment or Read Comments Here on any of the above or below. Log in under "Name" or "Anonymous," but please be sure to sign some facsimile of your name. Actual name is best, but use what you like. Or email me at, and I can post it.

(P3) Philosophical

And for those of you not as keen on runaway capitalism, check out this thought-provoking opinion piece that appeared in the Northbay (SF) Bohemian recently.

A Broken Record

Why are solutions for the economy stuck on repeat?

By Art Kopecky

Friends, here we are at the very apex of human thought and endeavor, yet public discussion on the economy sounds like a broken record. For instance: we're waiting, hoping for the economy to "recover." Maybe at some point, growth is not normal or possible, and we cannot recover by reverting to an unsustainable trajectory.

Where do the size of our population and finite resources enter the equation? When people and animals mature, they reach a certain size and stop growing. Perhaps that's the correct analogy. Is it so hard to imagine we have reached a mature economy? Maybe there are enough cities, freeways, suburbs and shopping malls. How often do you hear that?

On the left, there's the monotonous broken-record mantra that we must "stimulate" the economy, and the only solution imaginable is government action. It's never suggested that the people themselves, with the greatest freedom and prosperity in all human history, can find a way to help besides being good consumers and shopping for their nuclear family.

On the right, the only contribution to the debate seems to be cut taxes, even though deficits are too big. Then, the idea follows, we'll "stimulate" the economy and huge growth will pay off the deficit and create millions of jobs. (Example: George W. Bush reduced taxes, and everything turned out fine.) For all our vaunted freedom, action on the part of the people is never suggested—except to vote and shop. So little imagination.

Everyday we're besieged by a litany of concerns. We're urged to protest global warming, nuclear weapons, foreign wars and mega-corporations. There are daily reminders that we have 14 million Americans unemployed and not enough jobs for the 150,000 entering the job market each month. There are environmental concerns that development hurts the precious natural world. We need something positive in the mix, something new and exciting.

So, you ask, what have I got? How about: bring on the Aquarian Age. Not through legislation, but through service and good works. Join or support "back to the land" intentional communities. Create a culture of cooperation and generosity by sharing properties.

Are we all just guinea pigs ruled by a constant diet of advertisements, or can some of us strike out and do something outrageously positive, helpful and generous?

Forward-thinking people have greatly influenced our history in the past, starting with the very notion of a country run by the people and extending to the end of slavery, the rise of civil rights, of workers' rights and women's rights. So what's next? I believe the intentional communities movement, already well incubated with a 50-year modern history, fits our need.

I don't think it can be avoided. Some of "the people" will have to pioneer advances in the culture (some are already doing it, but not nearly enough). If young people can dedicate themselves to war, giving up life and limb and comfort, then where are the young people who can build cooperative communities for mutual survival for all? Where are their elders who can encourage a nongovernment people's movement, to demonstrate consideration and even brotherly love?

If we are so advanced, so smart, why aren't these ideas in the conversation? Are profit, greed and accumulation the high points of human consciousness? A few million people on beautiful farms, supportive of the "low money" people—is that such a crazy idea?

Unemployment is here to stay, the cost of living is only getting more astronomical, and the government is way beyond broke. So help out by creating intentional communities instead of crying to be given jobs. Why are we avoiding it? Is it too hard, too creative, too original, too against human nature? Be a pioneer and prove them wrong. Our culture has already come a long, long way.

Create a culture of conscious kinship? Whoa! Stop right there. Let's get back to stuff we're used to: "go shopping," "cut taxes" and "stimulate the economy" so it can "grow" . . .

Ah, that broken record is so comforting.

Art Kopecky is the author of 'New Buffalo: Journals from a Taos Commune' and 'Leaving New Buffalo Commune,' UNM Press. He lives in Sebastopol, works as a contractor-carpenter and is active in the communities movement.

Finally, I like this from Christopher Hitchens in his wonderful book God Is Not Great: how religion poisons everything. Nothing proves the man-made character of religion as obviously as the sick mind that designed hell, unless it is the sorely limited mind that has failed to describe heaven -- except as a place of either worldly comfort, eternal tedium, or (as Tertullian thought) continual relish in the torture of others.

(Photo by Lin Marie de Vincent)

Comment or Read Comments Here on any of the above or below. Log in under "Name" or "Anonymous," but please be sure to sign some facsimile of your name. Actual name is best, but use what you like. Or email me at, and I can post it.


Lin Marie deVincent said...

Hi Ed,

thanks for the Thanksgiving post. I always enjoy your perspective on things.

Don’t know if you can post a photo, but here’s one more Autumn Leaf, not quite ready to call it quits.

Blessings on you and your family on the Great Day of Gratitude.

Lin Marie deVincent

Ed Coletti said...

Thanks, Lin Marie. I've posted your photo to the end of this blog edition.

Don Hagelberg said...

The Labor Action

For Joe Gold, Chairman of
the San Francisco Chapter of the National Writers’ Union

When words, made by mind, hand and
Mouth as with the United Auto Workers’
Stations of addition on the assembly-line,
Transported by the teamsters of definition and
Unloaded by the longshoremen of usage,
Cower as captives in the stolen container
Of hate, decked out in the color of war,
Then the poets of the world, the universal donors,
Owe it to that which they call human blood to
Step into the labor-action of the walk which protests
The message of the lack and/or starvation of
The working conditions of care and concern.
Sisters and Brothers alike, “Picket and Strike
On behalf of Love, the minimum acceptable!”

Michael Matthews said...

Hey Ed, sweet tweets, love your choices. I am in agreement with the idea that Obama is not getting credit where it is due.