That’s right, according to my kitchen thermometer, last night’s low temp was 32.2 degrees bellow zero and the approximate 24 hour period from when I had woken up the day before to then saw a high of -2 degrees.  When I woke-up at 6:30 this morning, we had warmed up to a not quite yet tolerable -26.1 degrees.  But this isn’t about me complaining, this is about me shocking you with the extreme of Vermont weather so that a) you won’t move here and b) you’ll have a new found respect for my hardiness/perseverance/stupidity.

All else aside, a quick perusal around the interwebs finds me thinking about this stuff:

-An article in The Nation, based on a report from the National Nurses Organizing Committee/California Nurses Association that proclaims nationalized health care would create 2.6 million new jobs and infuse $317 billion of new business into the economy.  Now, I have not read the actual report, and I am certainly a supporter of a universal, socialized health care system.  However, at first glance this looks to me like a bit of window dressing on numbers and statistics in hopes of steering the conversation in one direction- one direction that would just so happen to have tremendous benefits for the publishers of the study.  Listen, I am certain that a socialized health care system- that provides care to every single man, woman, and child- would ease huge amounts of costs from school districts, local municipalities, state governments, etc, which would in tern either lower taxes or free-up tax-payer moneys for other projects or needs.  New jobs would even be created.  But what the article certainly doesn’t mention- and perhaps neither the “study”- is what would happen to the hundreds of thousands of people employed by the existing private health care industry.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in favor of protecting the current system (it’s jobs and all) at the expense of a shift to a socialized system- I just don’t particularly care for “studies” which are funded and/or produced by a certain interest which ignore all facts that do anything but make their idea look like a golden egg.  If any of you reads the actual study (I’m not going to bother- fuck the CNA anyway, but that’s a story for another time) let me know what you find on this matter.

-I haven’t yet posted anything about the war in the Middle East that erupted at the end of December.  For countless slants which view the entirety of the events in Israel-Palestine as the sole “fault” of Hamas and Islam, please refer further to anything in the mainstream press in the United States.  For perspectives that see Israel’s actions as too heavy handed and which show a bit more compassion for the plight of the Palestinian people, there’s the liberal/progressive corner of the American media as well as almost everything from the rest of the world.  Perhaps I’ll post more on the events there at some later date, but for now, I don’t have the energy.  I will say this much though: the State of Israel is as morally bankrupt as the U.S., and as such, has cornered itself into being entirely at odds with any possible peace or security (for themselves or the Palestinians).  But as I’ve said elsewhere, often, such is the nature of state’s in general and the interests of capitalist economy.

-A friend hit me up on my facebook page, calling me out for my statements on VT Blogosphere TV in which I seriously doubted whether an Obama Administration would take steps to release some of the power consentrated into the hands of the White House by the Bush program.  In specific, I said I doubted the prison at Guantanamo Bay would be closed.  To repeat my answer to his question (which was essentially what my reaction is, now that the incoming Obama team is openly talking about the need to close the prison): what I meant by my comments was my doubt that the logic of Gitmo would end with Obama, and that the people held there would be given their legal rights and placed on trial or released (which doesn’t even scratch the surface of how to fairly conduct a trial of “terrorist” suspects, nor the problem that most often the countries that these folks hail from either don’t want them back or would most certainly torture or kill them if they returned); Obama is looking not for justice, but to clean-up the PR problem of Gitmo’s reputation.  Most importantly, the people who authorized, oversaw, and participated in Gitmo need to be brought to justice for their blatant disregard not only for U.S. and International law, but for their contempt against humanity.  None of which I expect from Obama, and none of which is a part of his plan.  Instead, he’s just going to move most of them to other prisons, elsewhere, like Bagram, which is being called “worse than Guantanamo“.  That’s not progress, just PR.

-As far as the increasingly covered back-and-forth between Attorney General nominee Eric Holder and Senator Kohl (D-WI) during which the Senator asked Holder if he thought he could compete with Obama on the basketball court: it’s not too often that such an obviously racist conversation takes place, publicly, in which not only does the press cover it as a “cute” little aside but the man at the receiving end of the degradation- Holder- takes it with a smile and even plays along.  I for one was sickened by the whole thing.  Now that there’s a mixed race president and an African-American AG, will basketball analogies be replacing baseball in the national lexicon?  This couldn’t be more “good ol’ white guy having to talk to a black man” if it tried:

I will say this though: a “New York game” will likely whip a “Chi-town game” nine times out of ten (but then, I grew up outside of NYC, so am a bit biased).

-Finally, this weekend comrades from the U.S. arm of NEFAC are meeting in Boston.  They’ve got some serious re-organization plans on their agenda, as well as intentions of re-examining their axis of intervention and how their efforts are working or not (as far as I understand it).  It’s easy to be a bit (or overly) cynical and disillusioned with the state of radical politics here in North America (and, well, the world) but these are solid people doing solid work; more importantly, the need for and role of explicitly anarchist organizations increases with every moment and NEFAC has been the forefront of this in the U.S. for almost a decade now.  And, I’m a bit bummed at not being able to head down there just for the opportunity to raise a few pints and talk shop with some great, dedicated and intelligent people.  Good luck to you all!  Cheers and Solidarity from the frozen North of New England.

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