“You will become way less concerned with what other people think of you when you realize how seldom they do.”
― David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest
Morning Coffee Read:
Amazing story from the Guardian. When this Iranian man was twenty years old, he stabbed and killed another man in a brawl. Executions are public in Iran. Side note, I think we might have a different view on capital punishment in the west if our executions were public, especially in the presence of the victim’s family. At the last second, with the noose around his neck, the victim’s mother walked up to the man, slapped him and removed the noose, essentially sparing his life. At this point, the two mothers embrace in tears. I’m not sure where I stand on capital punishment other than I know I have it in me to take the life of anyone with my bare hands who would harm my children, but of course, this is one of those situations where one cannot truly predict how we would react until we are faced with the situation. I was moved by this story. Could such a thing happen in our judicial system?
Mark your calendars! Carl’s last day is May 17h, 2014. Paula Poundstone better dam well be on the panel that day!
This week’s credit check: A record 43.6 million Americans are using food stamps. JPMorgan’s segment that makes food stamp debit cards made $5.47 billion in net revenue in 2010.
By charging States to manage their SNAP EBT cards and then charging EBT users (fucking poor folks on food stamps) a fee every time they use their cards! 40 cents each time they check their balance and 50 cents each time they try to use their cards with insufficient funds!
Here’s an excerpt from a 20 page report by the Government Accountability Institute:
An investigation by the Government Accountability Institute has found that: • Three companies – J.P. Morgan EFS, Affiliated Computer Services, and eFunds – provide EBT services for 49 states and 3 US territories. • Since 2004, 18 of 24 states who contract with J.P. Morgan to provide welfare benefits have contracted to pay $560,492,596.02. New York alone has a seven-year contract worth $126,394,917. • Projected average food stamp spending post-recession will be 175% greater than pre- recession average spending, from $28 billion to $77 billion.3 • Since 2009, 32 states have followed the USDA’s suggestion to use Broad Based Categorical Eligibility “as a way to increase SNAP participation and reduce State
And just when you thought Banks could not get any more scummier!
So this was my breakfast read before work this morning. Has irony and snarky cynicism pacified us into accepting bad art, literature and music? Been watching this slowly unfold over the past three decades, typically when non-deserving artists reap critical acclaim for really lame works, don’t make me name names, but Kanye and Koons come to mind. And can so many novels actually be critically acclaimed? All the while, I thought there was something wrong with me, that I simply wasn’t getting it. Wallace has always been the small child in the audience at the Emperor’s catwalk. This piece further congeals his point. In order to move towards something greater, Ashby and Carroll suggest that we must “reject the safety of ironic remove and risk the possibility of failure”. Brilliant stuff. Well worth a read and only seven pages! Now that’s something I can commit to.