January 5, 2012, 10:34 am
It is that time of year. Cold and gray in the parts of the world I inhabit. Time to dismantle the Chrisnukkah decorations, the menorah and the hot pink artificial tree, the lights, the pretty, glittery balls full of possibility and take stock of another year gone by and another year begun. I will admit to hating the holidays, particularly the Shopocalypse in which people pepper spray one another to get more cheap stuff and shoppers die during stampedes at large box stores.
But this year the holidays seemed to so effectively take the Christ out of Christmas (and the sun out of Solstice and the miracle out of Hanukkah and so on), that it left me even more Grinch-y than usual. And then, a woman around the corner from my apartment in Brooklyn was set ablaze, apparently because she owed someone a couple of thousand dollars, and in that horrendous act I found something I didn’t expect: my…
November 19, 2011, 11:08 pm
By now, you’ve seen the video of UC-Davis police lieutenant John Pike pepper-spraying a peaceful sit-in. You’ve seen his strutting little-man-in-a-big-body sadism, giving his beefy little canister a nonchalant waggle before strolling down the line of nonviolent protesters, aiming the toxic stream into their faces from a few feet away. You might even have signed the petition urging the resignation of the thugs who authorized this performance. Now, courtesy of the always trenchant Vijay Prashad, you can learn what California taxpayers pay for this level of police professionalism: $110,000 a year. Yep. You heard me. Nearly twice what they pay a new assistant professor in the humanities, and three times what they pay many full-time nontenurable lecturers.
Since The Chronicle is a family paper, I’m biting my tongue so hard it’s bleeding but, honestly, only profanity really does…