June 29th, 2009


In Which Banks Are Run by Idiots

Evidently some banks are not aware that one doesn't conduct executive business with one's penis...

Bank of America Sued for Gender Bias Over Bonuses
Jonathan Stempel and Elinor Comlay, Reuters: "Bank of America Corp was accused in a Manhattan federal lawsuit of discriminating against female brokers at the former Merrill Lynch & Co. by offering them lower retention bonuses than male counterparts."

... although, that would explain a few things if they did.

Poem:"Speak Down the Centuries"

This poem came out of the June 9, 2009 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from dianavilliers and sponsored by janetmiles.

Speak Down the Centuries

There are garbage dumps and rubbish heaps,
junk drawers and corners of closets,
filled with useless things
that are interesting to look at:

arrowheads and broken beads,
pot shards, spindles, buckles,
paper clips and pencil ends,
messages to people no longer living here,
plastic animals, tiny red wagons, rattles,
dead batteries and computer chips,
even a mouse-sized motorcycle.

They jumble together like space junk,
accreting and dispersing,
teasing the eye with hints of meaning
that never fully materialize.

These are the things that hold civilization together,
the odds and ends of life that have meaning
only to their owners – and yet
they are the things that speak down the centuries
to those who come after.

It suggests
that the Universe
is the junk drawer of the gods.

Future Fishbowl Topics

This is a call for suggestions of upcoming Poetry Fishbowl topics. I already have one slated for July, but that's the last on my list.

What new topic(s) would you like to see me plunk into a fishbowl? Was there anything you really enjoyed last year that hasn't been repeated this year yet? Please make your suggestions in the comments. (If you can't think of any topics on your own, but you love someone else's suggestion, it's okay to say "I second the suggestion of [Previous Topic]," etc.

Later I will collect the proposed topics and put them into a poll to determine popularity.

EDIT: Previous topics eligible for repetition are:

Civics & Politics
Languages, Linguistics, & Linguists
Folk Tales
Science & Its Stories

I have omitted "speculative fiction" as a generic category because 1) I schedule a speculative topic about every third month, and 2) I'm trying to vary the focus by using assorted subgenres. So if you want a speculative topic, subgenres are preferable.

An Interesting Connection

I wonder if the transient nature of military service actually contributes to high rates of homelessness among veterans? Beyond the obvious effects of combat damage, that is.

Some Veterans of Recent Wars Find Homelessness at Home
Jia-Rui Chong, The Los Angeles Times: "It was, back then, a joke Luis Pinto shared with his Army buddies in Iraq. As they were all eating food out of tin cans, living out of rucksacks, moving constantly from place to place, Pinto cracked, 'If I become homeless, I'm ready.' But five years later he didn't actually expect to find himself sleeping in alleys in Whittier or in friends' cars, too busy getting high to hold down a regular job. A suicide attempt on March 16 was the shock he needed to start putting his life back together."

More Thoughts on Health Care

These articles cluster around a common topic ...

Joshua Holland | Got Health Insurance?
Joshua Holland, AlterNet: "The best argument for overhauling our ridiculously expensive and dysfunctional health care system - an argument one doesn't often hear in the corporate media - is that fixing it would put more dollars in your pocket, even if you already have health coverage. If there's enough pressure on Congress, we'll add a well-designed public insurance option to the current mix of private insurance and government health care programs."

Many things are far more affordable en masse than individually. This is certainly true of health insurance, where the bigger the pool is, the better. Cutting the country into thousands of tiny pools is doing nobody any good, except the insurance executives profiting from it. Put everyone in the same pool and we will save money.

Terrance Heath | End Health Disparities With Health Care for All
Terrance Heath, Campaign for America's Future: "The debate over health care reform has taken a particularly worrisome turn. Suddenly we're in a place where passing something kind of like reform may be more important than getting to reform itself. In the name of 'compromise' and in interest of getting something passed, we could get a health reform bill that helps fewer people than originally intended, and preserves more of the status quo than almost anyone wants."

Sometimes compromise is useful. Other times, it's useless or worse than useless. The climate bill got watered down to the point that it may do more harm than good, in terms of letting companies pretend to care about global warming while actually making it worse. I'd hate to see the health care bill wind up the same, although that is what I expect.

Margaret Wheeler Johnson | Let's Get Physical: What's So Great About Working in a Cubicle?
Margaret Wheeler Johnson, AlterNet: "Why do we see the labor of carpenters and electricians as inferior to processing information in some austere corporate space, usually without any sense of an ultimate product or goal?"

An unhealthy lifestyle leads to unhealthy people. More and more jobs are sedentary. That is wrecking America's health. We need not only better paying jobs, but jobs that are active enough to contribute to a healthy lifestyle. They shouldn't all be heavy labor but should include more activity than now.