Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Return of the Big Monkey Reverse Difference Principle.

It is time to invoke what I have called in other contexts "The Big Monkey Reverse Difference Principle."

The plutocrats are motivated in part by a desire for wealth, and in part by a desire for inequality. They want to be sure to have more wealth than others. The Reverse Difference Principle is a rule for balancing these two goals. It says that equality is to be tolerated only to the extent that it benefits the best off.

Imagine two societies. One has a great deal of inequality, but the richest 1% are relatively poor. Another society has less inequality but the richest 1% are much better than the people in the first society. Now which society to you want to be a plutocrat in?

I believe it is now the job of political philosophy to convince the plutocrats of the US this truth.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Dear Chancellor Katehi

Linda P.B. Katehi
Offices of the Chancellor and Provost
Fifth floor, Mrak Hall
University of California, Davis
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616

Dear Chancellor Katehi,

I am writing to express my outrage and dismay at the actions of the UC Davis police office who pepper sprayed sitting protesters, now visible to the entire world on Youtube. The Davis Enterprise is reporting that he is Lieutenant John Pike. Numerous cell phone video and still pictures show that Pike's attack was completely unprovoked and the protesters where being assiduously nonviolent.

I have two children who will be college age in a few years. I cannot imagine sending them to an institution that treats its own students in this fashion.

I urge you to relieve John Pike of duty immediately. You also must change your policies toward Occupy protesters. The Enterprise reports that you personally ordered that the encampment be cleared. This incident makes clear the folly of using force to stop students from exercising their freedom of speech when your only justifications are "liability concerns and limited staffing."


Rob Loftis


Video of the Attack.

Davis Enterprise Story on the events

UC Davis police professional standards unit. The second and command of the unit seems to be Lieutenant John Pike himself.

Office of the Chancellor:

Friday, November 11, 2011

For Armistice Day, Two Poems about Vietnam.

By my co-worker Bruce Weigl

Song of Napalm

for my wife

After the storm, after the rain stopped pounding,
We stood in the doorway watching horses
Walk off lazily across the pasture’s hill.
We stared through the black screen,
Our vision altered by the distance
So I thought I saw a mist
Kicked up around their hooves when they faded
Like cut-out horses
Away from us.
The grass was never more blue in that light, more
Scarlet; beyond the pasture
Trees scraped their voices into the wind, branches
Crisscrossed the sky like barbed wire
But you said they were only branches.

Okay. The storm stopped pounding.
I am trying to say this straight: for once
I was sane enough to pause and breathe
Outside my wild plans and after the hard rain
I turned my back on the old curses. I believed
They swung finally away from me ...

But still the branches are wire
And thunder is the pounding mortar,
Still I close my eyes and see the girl
Running from her village, napalm
Stuck to her dress like jelly,
Her hands reaching for the no one
Who waits in waves of heat before her.

So I can keep on living,
So I can stay here beside you,
I try to imagine she runs down the road and wings
Beat inside her until she rises
Above the stinking jungle and her pain
Eases, and your pain, and mine.

But the lie swings back again.
The lie works only as long as it takes to speak
And the girl runs only as far
As the napalm allows
Until her burning tendons and crackling
Muscles draw her up
into that final position

Burning bodies so perfectly assume. Nothing
Can change that; she is burned behind my eyes
And not your good love and not the rain-swept air
And not the jungle green
Pasture unfolding before us can deny it.

Elegy for Peter

That night we drank warm whiskey
in our parked car
beyond woods now lost to the suburbs,
I fell in love with you.

What waited was the war
like a bloody curtain,
and a righteous moment
when the lovely boy’s

spine was snapped,
then the long falling into hell.
But lately, you’ve been calling me
back through the years of bitter silence

to tell me of another river of blood
and of the highland’s
howl at dusk of human voices
blasted into ecstasy.

That night in sweet Lorain
we drank so long and hard
we raised ourselves
above the broken places,

mill fires burning
red against the sky. Why
is there is no end
to this unraveling.