Casaubon's Book

Archives for November, 2010

American Banana Republic

In yesterday’s NY Times Op-ed, Kristof apologized for comparing US income inequity to that of “Banana Republics” – that is, for insulting other nations by comparing them to the US, which has now achieved wholly unprecedented levels of economic injustice. My point was that the wealthiest plutocrats now actually control a greater share of the…

PANRC, by the way, is the acronym for “Post-Apocalyptic Novel Reading Club” pronounced by those in the know (ie, the person who just made this up 3 seconds ago) as “Panric” ;-). And while December’s selection (we’ll start on 12/1), Jim Kunstler’s _The Witch of Hebron_ has been out for a bit, Kurt Cobb’s _Prelude_…

A Day in My Life Redux

This will be a quiet week – I’ve got my Dad making his annual visit, a talk, a short trip, and then a slew of guests arriving for the weekend for Simon’s 9th birthday party and Simon’s first Torah reading (he’s too young to read in the main synagogue, but he’ll be the youngest kid…

Is the Local Food Movement Elitist?

Local food is elitist! This trumpets from one paper or another, revealing that despite the growing preoccupation with good food, ultimately, it is just another white soccer Mom phenomenon. Working class people (who strangely, the paper and the author rarely seem to care about otherwise) can’t afford an organic chicken or a gallon of organic…

Variations on the obligation to love one’s neighbor show up across both the religious and secular spectrum. They tend to provoke a range of responses – from those who attempt to sort out what loving people who are not part of your immediate tribe would mean, to those who reject the necessity. This is not…

First of all, in response to reader suggestion, I’ve changed the names of the categories. People rightly felt “domestic economy” and “household economy” were too confusing, and reader Apple Jack Creek suggested we change “domestic economy” to “domestic infrastructure.” Claire also suggested that “Farm and Subsistence” was too specific to my case, and that we…

Round the World in Four Seasons

The oft-discussed 10,000 mile Caesar Salad, used to illustrate the degree to which our food system is drenched in fossil fuels, really is only a piker when it comes to the spaces that food can make you cover. 10K miles by airplane, refrigerator truck, etc… is nothing compared to the distances in time and place…

I have a vivid memory as a teenager of yelling at my Mother, “I didn’t ask for two mothers! I don’t need two mothers! I don’t even want *you* and you got me this other one who won’t leave me alone!” I was 14 and about as revolting as every other fourteen year old, or…

Note: A cold, wet day in November seems like as good a day as any to talk about owning a wood cookstove, re-running a piece I first wrote in 2007. When people come to my house, they are often a little disappointed to see that it looks pretty much like other houses. But the wood…

The election is over and the results are depressing, much as expected – it was not a good night for anyone who believes that the most important work of government in hard times will be protecting ordinary people. This is a stretch to imagine at the best of times, and this was not them. There’s…