Saturday, September 12, 2015


Midway, a neighborhood in St. Paul that borders us, has a great facebook forum that is unintentionally documenting what looks to be several guilty white liberals', and their racist code word using "the neighborhood's gone to hell" conservative counterparts, first real encounters with the lumpenproletariat. They switch traditional race roles on this, actually. The liberal response is often the "colorblindness" championed by people fighting against things like affirmative action, and the conservative quickly points out that race is an issue. Of course, a comment or two in, racism becomes the sole focus of a robbery, even if people don't know the race of the robber, who was much less interested in skin pigment than iphones and wallets. No where to be found is poverty, much less the causes of poverty and why it hits certain population segments harder than others. At this point it'd be refreshing to talk about culture vs. structural poverty, as I think there's some common ground. (Where do people think culture comes from if it's not a reflection of your material conditions? Generational, structural poverty will certainly affect at least your localized culture to some degree.) Our "working class" (ie, poor) neighborhood has the same problems, and has for years, but the lower income level for all, even whites, means the lumpens are more diverse. Which is a win for the left neoliberal identity folks I guess? 

Saturday, February 14, 2015


After a rough few weeks, Joy surprised me with some cash tucked away to get a nice TV for the living room. I went to midway Walmart to get the biggest goddamn TV I could find for the money. (This is a different topic, but yes, from time to time I'll shop at Walmart. Because we're on a budget. And, well, if you think shopping at Target instead of Walmart makes the world a better place, then god bless you I guess.) The dude checking people out at electronics was going between Somali and english having a conversation with three people while helping me with my pretty new 42" sanyo. It was like a dance. The dude was pulling out a sim card and (I think) explaining how calling cards work to a couple women all the while with a company land line tucked under his chin, which would prompt him to announce the occasional "yes" or "yep." Before I could process who was being helped, all the sudden there was a spin to put the phone down with fleeting eye contact towards anyone remotely near him.

 Brilliant form!

An older Hmong woman was trying to buy a laptop. She explained to him, in broken english, that she needed it primarily for email. He didn't bullshit her. He told her the cheapest one will do and pointed her in the right direction.

Apologizing profusely for the two and a half minute wait, he smiled and handed me the receipt.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

The Piss Test

I find some perverse solace in knowing someone has to handle my piss, right there in front of me, in order to tell if I've been a good clean boy, or whether I've been dirty and bad.

I hope there's at least a brief moment of " good god, what the fuck am I doing"

(now she's tipping the capped piss container on its side in order to write something I assume is highly technical medical jargon on it.)

Is it warm enough?

Like baby formula, you have to warm up fake piss in the microwave before you can pass it off as your own. (The microwave wattage is important. I don't think altitude matters though.)

I don't even know of any gods who care about piss temperature. 

I know it's not her fault. It's a job.

But holding piss, even if you label it a "specimen," is still a depressing way to sustenance. It's only slightly better than being a bill collector, a stock broker, or the President.

We do share a bond. An unspoken understanding that it's really awkward to be doing this.

(I call it a urinary pact.)

It's superficial, as it should be, but it's also specific enough to be ritualistic. 

Someday, in some grand utopia, it will be more socially unacceptable to be a piss handler than someone compelled, by grave threats, to piss in a plastic cup.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Probable Cause

Interesting how this probable cause works. Easy to find thousands of times across the country every day, particularly if you've the profile that fits, but no where to be found when it counted last night.

Rest in peace Michael Brown, and all the victims of our peculiar institution called a "justice" system. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Capital is afraid of their own economic system

The response to HRC's recent comments regarding who creates jobs has been interesting.

In a market economy, consumers create jobs. Business does everything in their power in order to not create jobs (e.g. raise productivity of current workforce), as labor is a major expense, and is only forced to when demand overwhelms capacity. I thought this was market economics 101?

She was posturing, trying to fend off Elizabeth Warren, to be sure, but capital is so afraid of this basic fact (which at least in theory gives the rabble some power) it gets buried in hyperbole.