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If there is another sub-set of humanity which enjoys more universal derision than child-lovers, I can't think of it. We reserve our most caustic and public disdain for pedophiles. There is no accusation you can hurl or name you can call that packs more toxic octane than the term child molester. They are truly on the lowest rung of our social ladder, our pariahs, our outcasts, our untouchables. They have no advocates and no decent person would raise a finger in their defense for fear that there is some secret disease that lies dormant in us all which might be awakened by mere proximity.

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Making love to Michelle Obama must be like going back to Africa and climbing the tallest tree in the deepest darkest great rift valley of cannibal goddesses with amazon bones for necklaces of lust-bearing fruits fragrant as a jungle of ancient wisdom. I can say this only because I'm a dirty-minded old poet and people have come to expect no more from me than this type of gaseous nonsense. Plus I have reached the venerable age where I can say what a babe the First Lady is with no hint of disrespect. Nor am I trying to demean the President when I say that Michelle makes him look like a white boy sometimes, especially when they dance.

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Thu Nov 04, 2010 at 01:12 PM PDT

Plato Meets The Magic Mushroom

by Lightning Rod

During the 1970's it was my custom to spend the harshest part of the winters in Jamaica. The weather fit my clothes and the laid back culture fit my disposition. One morning as I was sitting on the porch of my little guest cottage in Negril trying to perfect the craft of spliff rolling, I was approached by a young Jamaican boy. "Aye, mon," he said, "I ahm Hubert. I'm gonna be your mushroom mon." He was about ten years old and small by US standards. But he had an assured, entrepreneurial little style going for him.

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A My point here is that companies and jobs and occupations are quite ephemeral in today's fast-moving business landscape. Whole industries boom and fizzle in the time it takes to design a logo. The job-for-life days are over. So are the days when we can trust the world market to define what an American job looks like. If we continue to do it this way, an American job will look just the same as an Indian or a Chinese job. We need a new paradigm, a new method of cutting up the pie.

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Fri Oct 29, 2010 at 11:15 AM PDT

The Rite To Vote

by Lightning Rod

I wish I had the right to vote. If I were able to vote it would give my refusal to do it ever so much more meaning. As it is, the State of Texas has confiscated my franchise, so it is hard to determine if I'm not voting for their reasons or my own. This generates more existential angst than my political philosophy prescribes. I get nervous around election time. It should be an easy thing to cast your lot, but it's not.

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Tue Oct 26, 2010 at 07:00 AM PDT

The Party's Over

by Lightning Rod

Article I.1 -- The Parties

There shall be Established several Political Parties to represent the various Special Interests who will appropriate funds for their support. The Parties shall have the Powers of Demagoguery and Obstruction and Gridlock. Congress shall make no law abridging their hypocrisy or graft.

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Thu Oct 21, 2010 at 01:03 PM PDT

Jobs, An American Murder Mystery

by Lightning Rod

Full Formatted Version Here
Our entire Middle Class has been feeling like it's lonely in the middle for a couple of generations now. Globalization and technology and commerce have changed the landscape so drastically that our old ideas of work and jobs and careers simply don't apply in many contexts. Some professions are changing so rapidly that a new skill-set is required every couple of years. Job titles appear and disappear in the same season. Two years ago who knew what an App Developer was? and now it's a booming professional niche, people are making millions. Do you know anybody who grew up wanting to be a Social Media Specialist? The most useful job skill a person can have is quickly becoming the ability to learn on the job or to invent your own job.

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A few weeks before he was shot, LP was feeling whipped by his job one evening and spurred by a couple of snifters of Grand Marnier, he began to expatiate to me his informed pessimism concerning the future of photography as he knew it. This was in 1979 and the digital camera had only recently appeared on the scene. "What do you do when your whole profession, everything you've learned, goes right out the window?" He could see that there was a revolution coming and that his skills and equipment and knowledge were about to become quaint and irrelevant and useless. He was singing the blues in the same key as others whose livelihoods have been absorbed by technology and progress, the cowboy, the railroad man, the steel or textile worker. LP was 29 and thought he was too old to begin a new career. I thought he was too young to die.

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It's mid-term for the Obama administration and The Poet's Eye sees that it's a pretty good time for checks and X's and plusses and minuses, for a report card.  When I was in school, the grading period was six weeks long at which time we had to submit the embarrassing document to our parents for their signatures. The marks on this cryptic scorecard were what determined my level of citizenship for the upcoming six weeks. Would my allowance go up or be cancelled? Would curfews be tight or more relaxed? Would my favorite TV shows be available? How about girls? Those letters in their little boxes were more critical to my everyday life as a teen-ager than my credit score is today.

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The Supreme Court, with the Citizens United decision, has all but codified and institutionalized the principle that money talks. The ruling classifies corporations, which are financial entities, as individuals who enjoy Constitutional rights. In other words, now money has the right of free speech, it can vote. From a Court which likes to wear the garb of non-activism, this is probably the most sweeping example of legislation from the bench that The Poet's Eye has ever observed. It could almost be seen as progressive activism in that it extends rights to a whole new species, money.

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Dollarcracy

The idea of One Man, One Vote is one of my favorite parts of the Myth of Democracy. I'm a pretty good history student. At least I've read all eleven volumes of Durant's The History of Civilization. Not once in this magnificently rendered and detailed story of Man do I remember an example of a true democracy. It's an ideal like communism which has never existed but in imperfect approximation. We suppose that Athens had a democracy and if you don't count slaves and women it was a pretty good try. But there never has been a society of any size, no matter how dedicated to the ideal, that has achieved anything close to One Man, One Vote.

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We might ask ourselves, What makes the saving of these particular 33 lives so important and noteworthy when 20,000 people could be saved every day in this world by simple application of food and clean water? Why do we care more about the miners than all the others whose lives hang by a thread? There is something murky and sub-conscious about burial and entombment dramas. We are drawn to them because at least in our nightmares or imaginations or in the hum-drum of our everyday lives we know what it feels like to be buried alive. It's a primal fear, universal and poetic.

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