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   A half a century after the initial publication of Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand's masterwork, we're plagued by a class of folks Rand would have called moochers or looters, depending on their particular mode of moral failure. Whatever good there was to be had in Rand's writing has been twisted beyond recognition in the philosophical support of their deceit and thievery. The perpetual question in Rand's novel, Who is John Galt? has become a line delivered in a mocking tone.

   I look at our hopelessly corrupt, bankrupt financial system, our warming, drying, flooding world, our soaring unemployment, and it's clear; we're all Okies now.

   The media can prattle on about the rich 'going Galt', a reference to the builders of Rand's book and their exit from a hopeless corrupt, socialist world to a hidden valley of perfect capitalism, but I think a new question is going to take primacy:

  Who is Tom Joad?

    John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath, the tale of the Joad family's flight from Oklahoma and the dust bowl of the 1930s was published in 1939. The novel won a Pulitzer, a later Nobel for literature, and just a year after publication it was made into a movie by director John Ford.

   The protagonist of the novel, Tom Joad, arrives home from prison just as the Joad family is gathering themselves for a desperate run to California. The land they sharecrop is blowing away due to drought and poor management. The advent of the gasoline powered tractor has made it possible for one man to work the land of a dozen, the environmental catastrophe of the dust bowl coupled with the banking crash permits such an accumulation in the hands of but a few to occur, and a million discarded farmers drifted west, looking for a way to live.

 Joad had served a four year prison term for murder, but today we'd call it manslaughter. He was knifed in a fight at a dance and caved the other fellow's head in with a shovel. Tom's potentially violent nature comes out in a couple of episodes where he harms those harassing his family or other Okies. He does finally kill again near the end of the story at the same time that Jim Casy, a former minister who traveled with the family from Oklahoma is also slain. Enlarging upon the theme of self defense, this second killing and Casy's death are due to the injustice being heaped upon the migrant workers, who've begun to unionize in order to resist.

  The Joad family is extended – three generations, eleven members, and one of the Joad children has a spouse. Jim Casy joins them at the beginning of their adventure and they later team up with a couple from Kansas who are also headed west. The theme of collective action in the face of life challenges and injustice is strong through the whole story. The difference between life then and the hyper-individualism of today is stark; there are many homes now which have a single resident, while this decaying shack held my mother and her eight siblings during those years. The outhouse sits off to the right about twenty yards from the back door.

   So who Tom Joad, anyway? A lot of people who might never have read Steinbeck got introduced to him by Bruce Springsteen during his 1995 through 1997 Ghost of Tom Joad tour. The all acoustic one man show was a tremendous departure from Bruce and the E. Street Band. My diary title stems from the nickname fans bestowed on this tour; Springsteen had to pause frequently and 'encourage' his normally rowdy fans to provide the silence in which this performance was meant to occur.

From a suggestion in comments - there don't seem to be any videos of these performances with good quality audio. You might want to save this for while you're reading comments - the lyrics are below.

First sung fourteen years ago, Springsteen's lyrics could have been ripped from the headlines in California yesterday.

Men walkin' 'long the railroad tracks
Goin' someplace there's no goin' back
Highway patrol choppers comin' up over the ridge
Hot soup on a campfire under the bridge
Shelter line stretchin' round the corner
Welcome to the new world order
Families sleepin' in their cars in the southwest
No home no job no peace no rest

The highway is alive tonight
But nobody's kiddin' nobody about where it goes
I'm sittin' down here in the campfire light
Searchin' for the ghost of Tom Joad

He pulls prayer book out of his sleeping bag
Preacher lights up a butt and takes a drag
Waitin' for when the last shall be first and the first shall be last
In a cardboard box 'neath the underpass
Got a one-way ticket to the promised land
You got a hole in your belly and gun in your hand
Sleeping on a pillow of solid rock
Bathin' in the city aqueduct

The highway is alive tonight
But where it's headed everybody knows
I'm sittin' down here in the campfire light
Waitin' on the ghost of Tom Joad

Now Tom said "Mom, wherever there's a cop beatin' a guy
Wherever a hungry newborn baby cries
Where there's a fight 'gainst the blood and hatred in the air
Look for me Mom I'll be there
Wherever there's somebody fightin' for a place to stand
Or decent job or a helpin' hand
Wherever somebody's strugglin' to be free
Look in their eyes Mom you'll see me."

The highway is alive tonight
But nobody's kiddin' nobody about where it goes
I'm sittin' down here in the campfire light
With the ghost of old Tom Joad

 I sometimes wonder what strange planet spawned our media, but maybe I'm the one from off-world. I'm one of the oldest members of generation X, but thanks to life's little quirks instead of baby boomer parents mine were depression babies; my dad was old enough to remember seeing the Grapes of Wrath movie in the theater. He was born in a clap board sided log cabin a few miles down the river from that little farm house where my mom lived, and the first experience of the outside world he and my uncles had were visits to places like Guadalcanal, Kasserine Pass, and Normandy.

 I've had a softer life than my parents' generation by far, but even so the reports of 'trouble' I see are often completely nonsensical. A couple in Omaha can't afford to keep their daughter's horse riding lessons going and they're having to skip lattes? My heart bleeds for them. The stories of people being so stressed they have to lay off the gardener and the maid ... but they never talk to the folks who actually got laid off? I'm sorry, but what freakin' planet is that transmission from?

  We're going to be, as a nation, going back to our roots. Back to what Thoreau had to say about economics. Back to the drive that lead us to victory in two world wars. Back to the perseverance in the face of all odds that carried my grandparents' generation through the Great Depression.

  And at some point someone is going to have to rip off Springsteen's line and beat our lamestream media about the head and shoulders with it. Barack Obama, our duly elected president, has begun this process, but I think it's really up to us acting in a collective fashion to carry the fight right to them, ripping away their market share and undoing the harm they've done. I see far better reporting and research on this site than I ever do in the mainstream outlets. We need to not only stay on this path but turn up the intensity – newspapers are dying due to financial turmoil and well run blogs are one means to fill the gap. And the survivors, such as they may be, can give that poor Galt fellow a rest, and Jesus too while they're at it. Both of those men would have little good to say about the conduct of our badly corrupted fourth estate.

 Who is Tom Joad?  He is many things, but I think if he were around today he'd probably be writing a little here and there about his motivations and actions. And he wouldn't be afraid to say "Shut the fuck up!" to some assrocket, say Ed Henry for example.

Originally posted to Stranded Wind on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 07:49 PM PDT.

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  •  tip jar (164+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skybluewater, MichaelPH, DavidW in SF, catdevotee, Odysseus, Trendar, Gooserock, tin woodswoman, RunawayRose, Debby, liz, eeff, object16, Creosote, kissfan, rasbobbo, TheMomCat, metal prophet, mollyd, wonmug, Cedwyn, wader, smarty jones, snakelass, kalmoth, zerelda, greeseyparrot, TexMex, nailbender, G2geek, Bluesee, radarlady, 3goldens, NoMoreLies, greycat, Ckntfld, BluejayRN, Elise, JanetT in MD, subtropolis, bagman, Simplify, snacksandpop, GreyHawk, lotlizard, skyounkin, kaliope, techno, Pluto, turdraker, dsteffen, Jim P, martini, Shirl In Idaho, trashablanca, Pinko Elephant, Kingsmeg, vigilant meerkat, Clytemnestra, edwardssl, Mahanoy, ActivistGuy, ruleoflaw, ginja, NBBooks, tecampbell, bubbanomics, NewAmericanLeft, ER Doc, Unitary Moonbat, doinaheckuvanutjob, Pilgrim X, profh, thatvisionthing, DBunn, marykk, ibonewits, wa ma, DUKETYPE, crankyinNYC, Stwriley, Wino, FishOutofWater, MI Sooner, crose, millwood, Moderation, keikekaze, trueblueliberal, konscious, Empower Ink, gizmo59, kafkananda, rogerdaddy, JayC, JaxDem, joycemocha, Youffraita, Wes Opinion, theunreasonableHUman, lineatus, Judgment at Nuremberg, beltane, geomoo, Jeff Y, valsagem, luckylizard, Karl Rover, palantir, In her own Voice, shortgirl, SolarMom, pileta, smellybeast, Dirtandiron, bsmechanic, Baldur, CanyonWren, WiseFerret, jck, mississippi boatrat, ZilV, soms, allep10, MAORCA, XNeeOhCon, stevenwag, fernan47, EmmaKY, math4barack, Tricky, o possum, appletree, parse this, ppl can fly, Phaseshift360, ArtSchmart, LaughingPlanet, on board 47, chrome327, legalchic, sharonsz, Unenergy, USHomeopath, ebbet, ambeeeant, ban nock, Olon, MaryinHammondsport, AuroraDawn, indigoblueskies, Cintimcmomma, elizajade, trs, Vladislaw, blue husky, Lorikeet, worldlotus, Vtdblue, COkdub, destructiveanachronism, psilocynic aka Nick Zouroudis, wide eyed lib, cherish0708

    This diary sucks. I think I might delete it. The concepts are good but anything that is this stilted and took as long to write as this did has some fundamental flaw. I just didn't see it in time to correct it is all.

    "Not dead ... yet. Still have ... things to do." -Liet Kynes

    by Stranded Wind on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 07:50:16 PM PDT

  •  And here I was about to make a snarky remark on (9+ / 0-)

    Great diary.

    Wake me up...we won..

    by soms on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 07:51:00 PM PDT

  •  excellemt article. (7+ / 0-)

    What is so amazing is that low income republicans who support this are cutting their throats.

  •  Nit, My Usual Rant (20+ / 0-)

    The 4th estate are not corrupt, they're operating the only way they can under the framework we've got.

    People make mistakes, people's work gets out of date, and whichever combination it is, the framers' conception of press is tragically beyond broken.

    We're not going to get a 4th estate till we realize that and start brainstorming what our kind of society needs for information and communication services, and build it into the system functionally for our time.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 07:56:41 PM PDT

    •  so get on with it (7+ / 0-)

      Don't tease - take that idea and make a diary or three out of it? Have you already? I've not seen them if you did ...

      "Not dead ... yet. Still have ... things to do." -Liet Kynes

      by Stranded Wind on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 07:57:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I want to see a structure (10+ / 0-)

      in which sites like this employ journalists.  There would be a very few investigative reporters and a lot of people on call everywhere around the world.  We would be calling on our Dakatons tonight, for example.  We already do this, but the relationship would be formalized to create reliability.  The money side seems tricky--would we pay for journalist work or not.  We seem to get plenty of dedicated and effective reporting for free as it is.  Anyway, these are just ideas.  The difference between our old 4th estate is that the work is juried in real time by we the people.  Imagine the first 50 remarks if someone posted a diary describing Brittany's hair cut.

      I sometimes wonder what strange planet spawned our media -stranded wind

      by geomoo on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 08:19:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I dunno- (6+ / 0-)

        Sometimes the model that developing here reminds me of the Open Software movement- We write this stuff because we write this stuff, and anybody who wants can test it, report back what they found, and we can whittle down to some pretty clean code, or reporting, or whatever.

        I think that the non-professional aspect of the writing here is a bug, not a feature. But if you wanna put that project together, I'll probably use it :-).

        •  A lot of our material is sourced from reporters (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Stranded Wind, soms

          The only thing I'm trying to do is anticipate no longer having them and filling that void.

          Would you mind explaining this:

          I think that the non-professional aspect of the writing here is a bug, not a feature.

          I sometimes wonder what strange planet spawned our media -stranded wind

          by geomoo on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 08:39:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Typo (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            thatvisionthing, Stranded Wind, soms

            Multitasking, or how to do several things poorly-

            Meant feature, not a bug.

            •  In that case, fully agreed. (6+ / 0-)

              My suggestion is that we keep that and fill in with outside reporting as we need to.  What percentage of our stuff do you think is based on the work of a journalist actually going somewhere?  I mean, the press conferences and stuff that they rely on like crack addicts--we get those anyway.  But a few of them actually interview people and travel to war zones.  I wonder how much we will miss if they disappear.

              I sometimes wonder what strange planet spawned our media -stranded wind

              by geomoo on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 08:50:42 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  A lot of the reporting that shows up here (11+ / 0-)

                is coming from people who live in the place they're reporting about- whether it's a flooded Fargo, a burning SoCal, or Galveston returning to the sea.

                If there's a Kossack where news is happening, and they can get a connection, we're pretty much live.

                I won't miss " correspondents" who barely know the place they're talking about- Give me a local every time.

                •  Well yeah, it's incredible. (6+ / 0-)

                  The first year on this site, I bored my wife to tears erupting time and again, "It's amazing.  It's like having an inside source on everything."  Ask a question here and you'll get the answer.  Post a diary about some event, and you'll learn the factual story and the entire backstory that explains it's real meaning.  For a time I was very busy, and I tried just reading the diaries without the comments.  I was amazed how much perspective was lost.

                  But I will still argue, it seems a significant portion of our analysis and discussion starts with newspaper articles, no?

                  I sometimes wonder what strange planet spawned our media -stranded wind

                  by geomoo on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 09:03:31 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I'll give you that (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    ibonewits, geomoo, Stranded Wind, soms

                    though we become a more primary source of content every day.

                    I'm assuming that you're using " newspaper" as shorthand for " mainstream news media"- I can't think of the last time I actually handled a newspaper, and an awful lot of stuff here comes from other on-line media.

                  •  that's a risk and a vulnerability. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    geomoo, Stranded Wind

                    To the extent that we're dependent upon other media, we are technically parasitic on their energy-flow.  They will naturally try to use various measures, such as extensions of intellectual property laws, to shake us off or stifle us.  

                    What we need to do is re-create or transform the base structure.  We need to do it in a manner that has positive feedback loops at the bottom and negative feedback loops at the top in order to prevent the return to a narrow set of sources.

                    For example, envision a micropayment system built into dKos.  You read a diary you like, and you can click a button to send the diarist a payment, even fifty cents or a dollar.  dKos takes a cut for being the publishing entity and providing the infrastructure, and anonymizing the transactions.

                    However, the payment system would be designed to start with relatively high rewards from zero up to a given point and then beyond that they would decline as if subjected to a progressive income tax.  The point being to encourage people to get in the game, but prevent a circumstance leading to a few voices taking over.  

                    The intended outcome being that a lot of people could earn a supplementary income doing this, a smaller number could go fulltime, but no one would get so rich at it that they would gain the economic basis to crowd out the small guys/gals at the bottom.  The proliferation of people doing something more like news reporting, because they can get paid to do it, would further develop the journalistic aspect of the site.  

                    BTW, I fully agree about the news value of this place: it's become my #1 news source because in effect it has a huge number of people reporting from all corners of the globe in realtime.  

                    •  REPUTATION. ECONOMICS. ALSO. (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      G2geek, geomoo

                      I recently wrote about reputation economics, again coming back to Bruce Sterling's thought on these matters.

                      "Not dead ... yet. Still have ... things to do." -Liet Kynes

                      by Stranded Wind on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 05:25:27 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  I like that progressive pay thinking (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      G2geek, Stranded Wind

                      Adding money to the equation at all scares the hell out of me.  Also, I have no doubt that getting recommended can be gamed.  Conspiracies, even minor ones, can work quite well, which is why it is the human tendency to conspire.  I hate to think what might arise if do re mi were involved.  People are doing it now for free, so my thinking was that all the unpaid people continue to go unpaid, but the structure is lightly formalized so that communication goes both ways, i.e., we can ask winerev to check up on a rumor we heard.  I don't know if there's a way to distinguish, for pay purposes, between people who just comment on what happens to be going on where they are and others who go looking for things.  Propaganda bs aside, there are newspaper reporters who have specialized skills and a certain kind of moxie that not just anyone possesses.  A lot of these people will be out of work soon, in all likelihood.

                      Since I've been thinking about this it has also occurred to me that, distasteful as it is, we will need to develop increasing protection against troll-induced rumor and propaganda masquerading as accurate reporting.

                      I sometimes wonder what strange planet spawned our media -stranded wind

                      by geomoo on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 08:36:01 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  reporters, COIN, etc. (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        geomoo, Stranded Wind

                        Looks like convergent solutions evolving here.


                        Maybe follow tradition and leave that up to the publisher to decide who to "hire": in this case Markos would have say-so over who gets Journalist status, whereby they get a little Pay Me button at the bottom of each of their diaries.  

                        If someone with Journalist status rigs things to get more $$, for example by setting up some kind of kickback scheme or whatever, and the publisher finds out, then they lose their Journalist status.    

                        Holy cow!,  I think we've just hit on exactly the model for the future:  Publisher sets up site and sets editorial policies.  Publisher selects people to serve as paid journalists.  Journalists have Pay Me buttons on their articles. Readers voluntarily click and send whatever they think a story is worth.  Publisher gets a cut of all of those transactions.  Bingo, done.  And of course, ads pay for fixed costs such as engineering/technical support, hosting, etc.  


                        Re. trolls & rumor-spreaders:  

                        Dealing with them is basic COIN, COunter-INtelligence.  

                        First of all, under our emerging journalism model, the publisher is the guardian against trolls & "spyders" (rumor-spinners).  (I just came up with the term, we'll see if it sticks.  Etymology:  Spy + spider; and also differentiates from the little 8-legged critters that are for the most part helpful to ecosystems.)

                        So, the publisher prevents trolls & spyders from getting Journalist status.  They'll still try to stick around as members & posters, and there, the answer is the same as now: the community takes care of it.  

                        The egregious ones will be outed & bounced by mass action pretty quickly.  Finding the subtle ones will take some effort.  For example I discovered the pattern I call "pounce & poop" where trolls wait for new diaries, pounce on them immediately, and leave a first comment that poops on the diary or the diarist.  

                        The "pounce & poop" trolls do it subtly, using emotionally-laden language because emotions are contagious: typically they'll post a comment that says "Yawn" or something to that effect, to get people to write off the diary.  When I see P&Ps, I typically HR them and leave a note saying that even if they're not a R spy, they're acting like one and get a donut for it.  

                        Another pattern is D&D, digressions & distractions: for example when people start meta-thrash threads.  D&D is more obvious than P&P, but also more insidious because it can masquerade as something within the community guidelines.  However, someone needs to keep track of the instigators of D&Ds, and call 'em out if they do it repeatedly.

                        There is another thing that can be done here:   reputation-control tools that enable someone (the publisher, or the community) to "quarantine" a troll or spyder so that to them it appears that they are posting and no one else is replying, but no one else actually sees their postings.  When they don't get replies to their posts, they move along.  And they never realize they've been quarantined.   Think of this tool as similar to a permanent invisible HR on everything they post, but not even TUs get to see their postings.  

                        Anyway, more later; and see also SW's item below on Reputation Economics.

                        I think we're moving toward a viable model that can be promoted generally and adopted widely.  

                        •  A lot of interesting stuff. (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          G2geek, Stranded Wind

                          "Spyder" works for me.

                          A word on P&P:  I've called them henpeckers.  I think of them as low on the totem pole users who lurk around the top of the diary list to try to keep currently unappreciated diarists for rising above them in the hierarchy.  Henpeckers because they try to bring up a drop of blood and thus start a frenzy of hierarchy scramble.  I think you're probably more correct that there is more of a method and a motivation to it.  I have certainly had more than one day of mine wrecked by them.

                          The idea of a secret quarantine is appealing but also gives me the heebie jeebies.  I guess we are talking about a private publishing entity here, so all power rests with the publisher, but the ability to manipulate public reality is an inherently frightening prospect to me.

                          I like the pay scheme a lot.  I wonder if it would work.  Relying on voluntary contributions seems to have a bad rep, but we are talking about something that's never been tried, so who knows?

                          I would like to see more of these discussions.  It behooves us to plan our way into the next model rather than let it happen to us or be taken over by less democratic forces.

                          I'll go read that diary now. Been procrastinating on it.

                          I sometimes wonder what strange planet spawned our media -stranded wind

                          by geomoo on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 09:49:26 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  models & methods.... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:


                            Cool.  Let's use that as the noun for the people who do the P&P.    Yep, pecking party, it fits.  It becomes a full-fledged pecking party when they draw others in.  

                            I hadn't thought of the "losers / hierarchy scramble" factor because it didn't occur to me that people would find any way to benefit from that on a board with 170-some-odd-thousand subscribers.  

                            What I see of the hierarchy is, there's a very large lower-end who are mostly lurkers, a broad middle that includes folks such as you & I & SW & others who are established in the community but not front-pagers, and then a small group who consist of the front-pagers and folks who are on the Rec list often.  The system seems like a meritocracy where the way people get established is by being active & having good ideas, and those who have great ideas & the time to post frequent diaries move up accordingly.  It's the "brains & hard work" model; if only the business & political world worked like that...

                            Secret quarantine:

                            Would be creepy if it was being done by large impersonal publishing entities, broadband carriers (cable TV, telco, etc.), government agencies, and so on.  For example if your broadband provider ran all the content it carried, and could block you from posting on any of its boards.  

                            So long as online publishing is as diverse as it is, with numerous ownership models and the chance for anyone to "have a printing press," those diverse entities could use "secret quarantine" without raising fundamental 1st A issues.  Under a diverse publishing model, the individual publishers (and editors at online editions of newspapers & magazines) can legitimately block users they don't like, just as they can presently refuse to run their letters to editors from known cranks.  (There's another category of disruptor to add to our list of trolls, spyders, and henpeckers:  cranks, for example people who promote the idea that the 9/11 airliners were flown by remote control from Cheney's secret bunker.)  

                            The dividing line is, there should not be a centralized database for this purpose that is shared among publishers and keyed to unique-identifiers for individuals (e.g. requirement to use one's legal name for online activity).  Doing that would enable blanket quarantines that effectively lock people out of being heard anywhere at all, regardless of the fact that they may change their ways or not be trolls everywhere they go.  So long as we can avoid "unique identifiers" (legal name, MAC address of their computer, IP numbers of their broadband service, etc.), this problem can be prevented.  

                            Voluntary payment:

                            I don't see any other way to do this.  If we go to a universal mandatory paid subscription model, then we end up with the huge databases associated with unique identifiers (person's legal name from their bank account or PayPal account), and that can become a means of censorship.  And under a regime such as GWB, it has a chilling effect on speech: imagine if Bush had been halfway competent and started rounding up dissidents.  Online speech would chill to the freezing point pretty darn quick.  

                            Instead there needs to be, at minimum, separation between the payment-processing system and the subscribers' names.  Think of being able to put a letter to editor in the postal mail with no return address: the editor might be terribly skeptical of something with no name on it, but if the content is sufficiently interesting, they might publish it.  And in a GWB type situation, whistle-blowers and other significant dissidents who posed a threat to the regime would at least be able to get the word out that way.  So we need an online equivalent of that, or at least something that biases the design of the system toward that outcome.  

                            The voluntary payment model assumes that a publisher will need to have a lot of writers on paid staff in order to earn decent $$ from the publishing fees for their work.  That's good for diversity of opinions.  In cyberspace the overhead costs are minimal for carrying a wide range of writers, so there should be no basis for any pressure to "weed out" the writers who cater to small audiences (and receive less payment).  

                            The voluntary payment model could also be applied to online music distribution.  It is the diametric opposite of the RIAA copyright fascism model.  It encourages people to take responsibility for supporting the artists they listen to and the writers they read, rather than enforcing payment at the point of a bayonet.   Instead it could poke yet another hole in RIAA's balloon.

                            The payment processing system needs to be set up to handle payments in small amounts, and do it without requiring a lot of actions on the part of the user.   The idea being that you should be able to read an article and then at the bottom write in any amont of money from pennies to tens of dollars, and click a Pay Me button, all without having to go through a whole bunch of crap to do a transaction.  Making it "frictionless" will encourage the large number of small payments that add up to viable income for writers & publishers.  I can think of some specific ways to do this.  


                            It seems to me we're coming up with stuff here that should be published as a diary and discussed widely as part of the "emerging model of journalism" equation.  What do we do next with this...?

                          •  Good stuff. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            Forgive me for not being able to give the response it deserves right now.  MsMoo keeps calling me in to watch Bill Maher: "How much longer?"

                            A cupla things.  Yes, a diary.  I don't feel I have the depth of experience with these things to host such a thing.  I would be happy to write up what I can--I can write okay--and send it along.  If you feel up to it, you can then cut and paste freely in turning it into a diary you could host.  I think you'd be great at it.  You're bursting with ideas.

                            About the diary--should be in an atmosphere of brainstorming.  Not get too caught up in debating the validity of individual ideas except to weed out the obviously flawed ones.  The goal would be to gather a lot of reaction and a lot of ideas.  That's mho.

                            Really gotta go.

                            Wall Street is NOT "the economy." -Giles Goat Boy

                            by geomoo on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 09:03:33 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  cool; probably will do soon. (0+ / 0-)

                            The hard part is keeping a balance between "here's a bunch of ideas" and "let's get more ideas in the mix."  

                            Goal might be to take the best of the batch and include them as an update or something.  That assumes the diary gets enough notice to get enough comments:-)

      •  I have a Dakotan I called (7+ / 0-)

        And he gave me a rec list worthy humdinger a few days back. I'm researching as it's analytical and the flooding is just going to back it up bigtime.

         I really like things as they are now - reputation economics, they work in my favor :-)

        "Not dead ... yet. Still have ... things to do." -Liet Kynes

        by Stranded Wind on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 08:25:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Stranded wind, you seem still to be checking in (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Stranded Wind

          Thanks for that diary (which I want to call an essay, damn it).  Interesting explication of reputation economics.  It brought reminded me of the sci-fi notion I've had for some time.  When people get their universal credit card implanted in their forehead, money will be bypassed altogether.  The automated world will have gateways which scan the "card" for status and open or close accordingly.  How status is allocated will be a complex mix of job history, current job, history of supporting or tearing down the status quo, recs from powerful people, etc.  The world's population will overlap in various areas, with some very low status people always on the outside (think prison) and some very high status people never venturing into areas of production unless they choose to.  I think you get the point.

          I also learned a bit about twitter.  I'm quite confused by it.  It seems inherently inferior to blogging.  I just don't get it.  And I'm resisting like hell yet another thing to take up my time.

          I sometimes wonder what strange planet spawned our media -stranded wind

          by geomoo on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 11:07:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  first step is to split off the carriers.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Stranded Wind

      from the content.

      When you have carriers who own the infrastructure (e.g. cable TV, telco) and can provide content, that's the oligopoly version of a vertical monopoly.

      In order to get back to real journalism, we need to make the carriers content-neutral, so real competition for information sources can flourish.

      I could go on about this for pages, so I'll stop here for now.

  •  Woody Guthrie on California: (22+ / 0-)

    California is a garden of Eden
    A paradise to live in or see
    But believe it or not
    You won't find it so hot
    If you don't have the dough-re-mi

    The sight of all those Bushvilles in the Golden State makes me think we're seeing history repeat.

    The weak in courage is strong in cunning-William Blake

    by beltane on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 07:57:24 PM PDT

  •  Tipped and Rec'ed- especially for the line (12+ / 0-)

    "I think it's really up to us acting in a collective fashion to carry the fight right to them". I have watched the talking heads and elite very carefully during this meltdown and they are really trying to preserve, in my mind, a immoral system that is chock full of corruption and manipulation-for their benefit.

    •  They're disconnected. Good God, Chuck Todd! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek, lotlizard, ibonewits

      Don't know why the author picked on Ed Henry, especially with this diary.  Ed was rude and obtuse, but his question was basically sound.  Chuck Todd, totally the reverse, jaw droppingly obtuse.  When is Obama going to ask Americans to sacrifice?  !  And this guy is managing our news?  And choosing which candidates we can hear in primary debates?  This still grates, I think back to when NBC was the first to exclude Mike Gravel, who had delighted me, from their Dem debate before any vote of the people anywhere had been cast.  That's just plain election tampering and abuse of their public airwave license.  Makes me think of Russ Feingold's proposal to have all empty congressional seats be filled by public elections, not chosen by one dysqualified guy like Blagojevich or Paterson.

    •  the talking heads & the elite are what... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Stranded Wind

      ...Ayn Rand called moochers & looters.  

      Funny how that works out: the Randians look for those two species at the bottom, missing the fact that the worst of all reside at the top.  This is basically the error of confusing economic success with hard work and integrity.  Or it's the chimp-brain tribal phenomenon of wanting to identify with those who have more (regardless of how they got it), in order to get favorable treatment from them.  

  •  Good diary! (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pluto, crose, geomoo, Stranded Wind, soms

    Another dust bowl ballad for ya here:

    "If wishes were horses, glue would be cheaper." Rose W.

    by ruleoflaw on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 08:01:29 PM PDT

  •  "Atlas Shrugged" is a "master work?" (10+ / 0-)

    I actually tried to read it when I was a kid - and the excuse for trying to read incomprehensible gobbleygook like that can only be that you're an under 20 male with a testosterone problem, covered with pimples and don't have a girlfriend, or possibly are a kid as ugly as say, Alan Greenspan - but I kept falling asleep.

    I wish I could find my copy of this book now, since I am way too dependent on Ambien, but on the other hand, Ambien seems to carry a lower risk of brain damage.

    The Rand cult gave atheism a bad name, not that worshipping a withered old semi-senile lady who can't understand the simple laws of physics is actually atheism.

    •  It was a great book (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Stranded Wind, soms

      Lots of thought provoking things to ponder.  I read it when I was a teen. . .you could have as well.  At any rate it might be worth another try now.  I'm sure it is available in paper back.

      Happy page turning

      *the blogger formerly known as shirlstars

      by Shirl In Idaho on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 08:07:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      • (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        crose, Stranded Wind, soms

        Thought provoking?

        Is this a straight line?

        If you're over 18 and you're reading Ayn Rand and taking it seriously you um, need to get a life.

        I have serious stuff to do.

        •  roflol (6+ / 0-)

          I didn't say I was taking it seriously.  I said it was a great book, good reading, thought provoking. . .I didn't say where those thoughts took me.  Obviously since I am a raving liberal socialist democrat, it didn't lead me to the place she was pointing.  Good reading doesn't have to agree with your point of view and your perspective of politics.

          Sorry, I thought you were into discovery and informing your ideas.

          I loved the part about being over 18.  I read it about 50 years ago.  It did me no harm, only lead me to nurture my natural liberal bent towards things.

          Good luck with your "Serious Stuff."

          When you get to my age you will see that most of the serious stuff wasn't much worth your time or effort.  Some of it is, but the fun, interesting, adventurous exploring of concepts, experiences and people appears to have been much more valuable.

          JMO  enjoy yourself.

          *the blogger formerly known as shirlstars

          by Shirl In Idaho on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 08:42:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, it's got some things in common with Heinlein (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Stranded Wind

            … especially the libertarian propaganda strewn throughout Heinlein's "juveniles."

            Treat Rand's work as (social) science fiction, i.e. take it with a big grain of salt, and it can be quite entertaining. Perhaps in a cartoonish sort of way.

            The Dutch children's chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the children of the world a happy holiday season!

            by lotlizard on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 12:49:41 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Really great diary, SW! Rec'd. n/t (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bagman, Pluto, Stranded Wind, soms

    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 08:05:59 PM PDT

  •  That's What I'm Talkin' About! (5+ / 0-)

    The Shut The F**k Up Tour

  •  Finding solidarity is going to be a big challenge (6+ / 0-)

    Fighting back all the polarization the press has encouraged and which we suffer under right here on dkos as a habit of interaction.

    I've been thinking a lot about how to keep people in touch.  If someone becomes homeless, and has no cell phone, how does anyone know they exist?  How would we have a census today?  And it's a whole other level of disempowering the poor if they're neither reported on in media nor in contact with sites like this.  And my paranoid self worries about their vulnerability to what I'll obliquely call "coordinated government action." I've been wondering if there is a way to organize and keep track of people--a non-government way.

    Here's my depression songs diary from a while back.  I think I put it out before this stuff had become as real as it is now.

    Here's one song from it:

    I sometimes wonder what strange planet spawned our media -stranded wind

    by geomoo on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 08:08:46 PM PDT

  •  Locusts anyone? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    G2geek, kaliope, Stranded Wind, soms

    I'm waiting for the next plague.
    I'm thinking it's death by Doritos, or - Cheetos for the Freepers.

    "Let's pretend the last eight years didn't happen." RNC Talking Point

    by steelman on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 08:23:12 PM PDT

    •  Fluwiki suggests in the next few years (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      steelman, G2geek, Stranded Wind

      it'll be one hell of a virus that will nail the population.

      •  After droughts (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        steelman, G2geek, Stranded Wind

        cause widespread food shortages if not downright starvation, weakened populations will be the first to succumb.

        Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

        by crose on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 09:50:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  that would be humane... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mataliandy, steelman, Stranded Wind

        ...compared to what's coming in the climate catastrophe.  Slow agonizing deaths by the billions, often from starvation and drawn-out resource wars, and the less merficul plagues such as cholera (fatal diarrhea).  

        Which is why many of us here are ferocious about climate-clean energy, and why there seems to be a kind of truce working out between the pro-nuclear and anti-nuclear sides of that:

        Everyone agrees on conservation & renewables. If the anti-nukes here want to work on design & implementation of large scale renewable power projects, the pro-nukes here are more than willing to help.  We can agree to disagree about the nukes, and some of us will support building those wherever they're needed, while we're also helping the anti-nuclears with their own engineering & feasibility studies for renewables.  

        The point is to get the stuff built, ASAP, to shut down coal-burners ASAP.  

        •  always with the diarrhea (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          steelman, G2geek

          First it's explosive, then it's fatal. You're a semi-solid poop terrorist.

          "Not dead ... yet. Still have ... things to do." -Liet Kynes

          by Stranded Wind on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 05:27:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  that's liqui-shits, sir! (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            steelman, Stranded Wind

            "Sanitation is civilization."  

            I remind myself of that when I have to flip the manual valves on my water conservation systems here, or when the 7:00 AM refuse collection occurs with noises reminiscent of a battlefield.  

            And with cholera, yep, first it's explosive, then it's fatal, and it's always contagious as hell.  As per The Sheep Look Up.  

            The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed
            but swol'n with wind, and the rank mist they draw
            rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread.
            -John Brunner


            THink about THorium

  •  Places like where I come from (8+ / 0-)

    I know you're familiar with my part of the world.  I was born and raised in Holyoke.  In the 30s, everyone was hit hard by the Depression, but it was those like the Okies, still trying to live in an America that the nation and the times had left behind, that were hit the hardest.  A way of life that was dying was more or less wiped out.  I feel like places like Holyoke are in a similar spot now.  The whole reaons for it even to have existed in the first place is gone, long gone, generations gone.  And nothing ever replaced it.

    When Obama got into the whole campaign kerfuffle about "bitter", I had to laugh.  My comment was that Holyokers have been bitter so long we've forgotten it's even bitter, it's just the way life is.

    The Okies and the Arkies represented an agricultural, self-sufficiency society that the US had left behind for a generation by the time the Depression hit.  Holyoke and the many other dea and dying industrial communities today represent a manufacturing, blue-collar America that has been left behind a generation ago.  We have to buffer, no margin for error left, that all went away in the so-called "good times".

    "Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?" ~J. Lydon

    by ActivistGuy on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 08:29:34 PM PDT

  •  First time I've seen the (6+ / 0-)

    'sucky diary I will probably delete' tag.

    Please don't.  Love it.  Tipped and rec'd.

    Mark Twain -Let me make the superstitions of a nation and I care not who makes its laws or its songs either.

    by Kingsmeg on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 08:35:56 PM PDT

  •  Recommended... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    crose, Stranded Wind, soms

    ...for the excellent use of the term assrocket. Kudos.

    •  not mine (7+ / 0-)

      Someone had a survey to graph thing in a diary a while back - listed two factors which I forget, a diagonal line, and someone named David Horowitz had a point way outside of bounds and the legend "assrocket" was associated (pun intended) with it.

      I have a mere sketch of a diary sitting over there entitled "Redtate Assrockets, Ignite!" The superheros of Redstate's Trike Force, they desperately need a good, solid lampooning.

      "Not dead ... yet. Still have ... things to do." -Liet Kynes

      by Stranded Wind on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 08:46:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good diary and pictures (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    geomoo, Stranded Wind, soms

    As I was reading your intro the thought popped into my head that I felt much more akin to Tom Joad than John Galt and I started formulating in my mind a comment to that effect. Then I got to your diary and thought I must be psychic.

    Springsteen's Ghost of Tom Joad is by far my favorite work of his. Each song on the album seems to come from the heart. Thanks for the link to his performance. Another interesting rendition of the song, Ghost of Tom Joad was done by Rage Against The Machine. Quite a bit different but it's a pretty darn good, and unique, cover. Here's the link.

    It don't take a weatherman to know which way the wind blows --Little Bobby Zimmerman

    by ambeeeant on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 08:42:14 PM PDT

  •  nice song (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Debby, G2geek, crose, Stranded Wind, soms

    I've never heard it before.

    But I  have slept by a fire by the highway.

    I now have a house and 2 little kids sleeping upstairs with the dollars in the bank to last four or five years, but you never forget what it was like.

    Nice song, I'll play it again.

  •  There's another song that's one of my faves (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JuliaAnn, crose, geomoo, Stranded Wind, soms

    by Nanci Griffith called Trouble in the Fields. My favorite verse is:

    There's a book up on the shelf
    About the dust bowl days
    And there's a little bit of you
    And a little bit of me in the photos on every page
    Now our children live in the cities
    And they rest upon our shoulders
    They never want the rain to fall
    Or the weather to get colder.

    Give it a listen, you might like it.

    It don't take a weatherman to know which way the wind blows --Little Bobby Zimmerman

    by ambeeeant on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 08:52:02 PM PDT

  •  I love this diary, tip/rec. (4+ / 0-)

    I remember the novel so well and have thought about much recently.

  •  Excerpts (7+ / 0-)

    Excerpts from The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

    The owners of the land came onto the land, or more often a spokesman for the owners came. They came in closed cars, and they felt the dry earth with their fingers, and sometimes they drove big earth augers into the ground for soil tests. The tenants, from their sun-beaten dooryards, watched uneasily when the closed cars drove along the fields. And at last the owner men drove into the dooryards and sat in their cars to talk out of the windows. The tenant men stood beside the cars for awhile, and then squatted on their hams and found sticks with which to mark the dust.

    In the open doors the women stood looking out, and behind them the children—cornheaded children, with wide eyes, one bare foot on top of the other bare foot, and the toes working. The women and the children watched their men talking to the owner men.

    They were silent.

    Some of the owner men were kind because they hated what they had to do, and some of them were angry because they hated to be cruel, and some of them were cold because they had long ago found that one could not be an owner unless one were cold. And all of them were caught in something larger than themselves. Some of them hated the mathematics that drove them, and some were afraid, and some  worshipped the mathematics because it provided a refuge from thought and from feeling. If a bank or a
    finance company owned the land, the owner man said, The Bank—or the Company—needs—wants—insists—must have—as though the Bank or the Company were a monster, with thought and feeling, which had  ensnared them. These last would take no responsibility for the banks or the companies because they were men and slaves, while the banks were machines and masters all at the same time. Some of the owner men were a little proud to be slaves to such cold and powerful masters. The owner men sat in the cars and explained. "You know the land is poor. You've scrabbled at it long enough, God knows." The squatting tenant men nodded and wondered and drew figures in the dust, and yes, they knew, God knows. If the dust only wouldn't fly. If the top would only stay on the soil, it might not be so bad.

    The owner men went on leading to their point: "You know the land's getting poorer. You know what cotton does to the land; robs it, sucks all the blood out of it."

    The squatters nodded—they knew, God knew. If they could only rotate the crops they might pump blood back into the land.

    Well, it's too late. And the owner men explained the workings and the thinkings of the monster that was stronger than they were. "A man can hold land if he can just eat and pay taxes; he can do that."

    "Yes, he can do that until his crops fail one day and he has to borrow money from the bank."

    "But—you see, a bank or a company can't do that, because those creatures don't breathe air, don't eat side-meat. They breathe profits; they eat the interest on money. If they don't get it, they die the way you die without air, without side-meat. It is a sad thing, but it is so. It is just so."

    The squatting men raised their eyes to understand. "Can't we just hang on? Maybe the next year will be a good year. God knows how much cotton next year. And with all the wars—God knows what price cotton will bring. Don't they make explosives out of cotton? And uniforms? Get enough wars and cotton’ll hit the ceiling. Next year, maybe."

    They looked up questioningly.

    "We can't depend on it. The bank—the monster has to have profits all the time. It can't wait. It'll die. No, taxes go on. When the monster stops growing, it dies. It can't stay one size."

    Soft fingers began to tap the sill of the car window, and hard fingers tightened on the
    restless drawing sticks. In the doorways of the sun-beaten tenant houses, women
    sighed and then shifted feet so that the one that had been down was now on top, and
    the toes working. Dogs came sniffing near the owner cars and wetted on all four tires
    one after another. And chickens lay in the sunny dust and fluffed their feathers to get
    the cleansing dust down to the skin. In the little sties the pigs grunted inquiringly over
    the muddy remnants of the slops.

    The squatting men looked down again. "What do you want us to do? We can't take less
    share of the crop—we're half starved now. The kids are hungry all the time. We got no
    clothes, torn an' ragged. If all the neighbors weren't the same, we'd he ashamed to go to

    And at last the owner men came to the point. "The tenant system won't work, any more.
    One man on a tractor can take the place of twelve or fourteen families. Pay him a wage
    and take all the crop. We have to do it. We don't like to do it. But the monster's sick.
    Something's happened to the monster."

    "But you'll kill the land with cotton."

    "We know. We’ve got to take the cotton quick before the land dies. Then we’ll sell the
    land. Lots of families in the East would like to own a piece of land."

    The tenant men looked up alarmed. "But what’ll happen to us? How’ll we eat?"

    "You’ll have to get off the land. The plows’ll go through the dooryard."

    And now the squatting men stood up angrily. "Grampa took up the land, and he had to
    kill the Indians and drive them away. And Pa was born here, and he killed weeds and
    snakes. Then a bad year came and he had to borrow a little money. An’ we was born
    here. There in the door—our children born here. And Pa had to borrow money. The
    bank owned the land then, but we stayed and we got a little bit of what we raised."

    "We know that—all that. It’s not us, it’s the bank. A bank isn’t like a man. Or an owner
    with fifty thousand acres, he isn’t like a man either. That’s the monster."

    "Sure," cried the tenant men, "but it’s our land. We measured it and broke it up. We
    were born on it, and we got killed on it, died on it. Even if it’s no good, it’s still ours.
    That’s what makes it ours—being born on it, working it, dying on it. That makes
    ownership, not a paper with numbers on it."

    "We’re sorry. It’s not us. It’s the monster. The bank isn’t like a man."

    "Yes, but the bank is only made of men."

    "No, you’re wrong there—quite wrong there. The bank is something else than men. It
    happens that every man in a bank hates what the bank does, and yet the bank does it.
    The bank is something more than men, I tell you. It’s the monster. Men made it, but they
    can’t control it."

    The tenants cried, "Grampa killed Indians, Pa killed snakes for the land. Maybe we can
    kill banks—they're worse than Indians and snakes. Maybe we got to fight to keep our
    land, like Pa and Granpa did."

    And now the owner men grew angry. "You’ll have to go."

    "But it's ours," the tenant men cried. "We—"

    "No. The bank, the monster owns it. You'll have to go."

    "We'll get our guns, like Granpa when the Indians came. What then?"

    "Well—first the sheriff, and then the troops. You'll be stealing if you try to stay, you'll be
    murderers if you kill to stay. The monster isn't men, but it can make men do what it

    "But if we go, where'll we go? How'll we go? We got no money."

    "We're sorry," said the owner men. "The bank, the fifty-thousand-acre owner can't be
    responsible. You're on land that isn't yours. Once over the line maybe you can pick
    cotton in the fall. Maybe you can go on relief. Why don't you go on west to California?
    There's work there, and it never gets cold. Why, you can reach out anywhere and pick
    an orange. Why, there's always some kind of crop to work in. Why don't you go there?"

    And the owner men started their cars and rolled away.

    The tenant men squatted down on their hams again to mark the dust with a stick, to
    figure, to wonder. Their sun- burned faces were dark, and their sun-whipped eyes were
    light. The women moved cautiously out of the doorways toward their men, and the
    children crept behind the women, cautiously, ready to run. The bigger boys squatted
    beside their fathers, because that made them men. After a time the women asked, What
    did he want?

    And the men looked up for a second, and the smolder of pain was in their eyes. "We got
    to get off. A. tractor and a superintendent. Like factories."

    Where'll we go? the women asked.

    "We don't know. We don't know."

    And the women went quickly, quietly back into the houses and herded the children
    ahead of them. They knew that a man so hurt and so perplexed may turn in anger, even
    on people he loves. They left the men alone to figure and to wonder in the dust.
    After a time perhaps the tenant man looked about—at the pump put in ten years ago,
    with a goose-neck handle and iron flowers on the spout, at the chopping block where a
    thousand chickens had been killed, at the hand plow lying in the shed, and the patent
    crib hanging in the rafters over it.

    The children crowded about the women in the houses. What we going to do, Ma?
    Where we going to go?

    The women said, We don't know, yet. Go out and play. But don't go near your father. He
    might whale you if you go near him. And the women went on with the work, but all the
    time they watched the men squatting in the dust—perplexed and figuring.

    The tractors came over the roads and into the fields, great crawlers moving like insects,
    having the incredible strength of insects. They crawled over the ground, laying the track
    and rolling on it and picking it up. Diesel tractors, puttering while they stood idle; they
    thundered when they moved, and then settled down to a droning roar. Snub-nosed
    monsters raising the dust and sticking their snouts into it, straight down the country,
    across the country, through fences, through dooryards, in and out of gullies in straight
    lines. They did not run on the ground, but on their own roadbeds. They ignored hills and
    gulches, water courses, houses.

    The man sitting in the iron seat did not look like a man; gloved, goggled, rubber dust
    mask over nose and mouth, he was a part of the monster, a robot in the seat. The
    thunder of the cylinders sounded through the country, became one with the air and the
    earth, so that earth and air muttered in sympathetic vibration. The driver could not
    control it—straight across country it went, cutting through a dozen farms and straight
    back. A twitch at the controls could swerve the cat', but the driver's hands could not
    twitch because the monster that built the tractor, the monster that sent the tractor out,
    had somehow got into the driver’s hands, into his brain and muscle, had goggled him
    and muzzled him—goggled his mind, muzzled his speech, goggled his perception,
    muzzled his protest., He could not see the land as it was, he could not smell the land as
    it smelled; his feet did not stamp the clods or feel the warmth and power of the earth. He
    sat in an iron seat and stepped on iron pedals. He could not cheer or beat or curse or
    encourage the extension of his power, and because of this he could not cheer or whip
    or curse or encourage himself. He did not know or own or trust or beseech the land. If a
    seed dropped did not germinate, it was nothing. If the young thrusting plant withered in
    drought or drowned in a flood of rain, it was no more to the driver than to the tractor.
    He loved the land no more than the bank loved the land. He could admire the tractor—
    its machined surfaces, its surge of power, the roar of its detonating cylinders; but it was
    not his tractor. Behind the tractor rolled the shining disks, cutting the earth with blades—
    not plowing but surgery, pushing the cut earth to the right where the second row of disks
    cut it and pushed it to the left; slicing blades shining, polished by the cut earth. And
    pulled behind the disks, the harrows combing with iron teeth so that the little clods broke
    up and the earth lay smooth. Behind the harrows, the long seeders—twelve curved iron
    penes erected in the foundry, orgasms set by gears, raping methodically, raping without
    passion. The driver sat in his iron seat and he was proud of the straight lines he did not
    will, proud of the tractor he did not own or love, proud of the power he could not control.
    And when that crop grew, and was harvested, no man had crumbled a hot clod in his
    fingers and let the earth sift past his fingertips. No man had touched the seed, or lusted
    for the growth. Men ate what they had not raised, had no connection with the bread.
    The land bore under iron, and under iron gradually died; for it was not loved or hated, it
    had no prayers or curses.

    At noon the tractor driver stopped sometimes near a tenant house and opened his
    lunch: sandwiches wrapped in waxed paper, white bread, pickle, cheese, Spam, a piece
    of pie branded like an engine part. He ate without relish. And tenants not yet moved
    away came out to see him, looked curiously while the goggles were taken off, and the
    rubber dust mask, leaving white circles around the eyes and a large white circle around
    nose and mouth. The exhaust of the tractor puttered on, for fuel is so cheap it is more
    efficient to leave the engine running than to heat the Diesel nose for a new start.
    Curious children crowded close, ragged children who ate their fried dough as they
    watched. They watched hungrily the unwrapping of the sandwiches, and their hungersharpened
    noses smelled the pickle, cheese, and Spam. They didn't speak to the driver.

    They watched his hand as it carried food to his mouth. They did not watch him chewing;
    their eyes followed the hand that held the sandwich. After awhile the tenant who could
    not leave the place came out and squatted in the shade beside the tractor.

    "Why, you're Joe Davis's boy'!"

    "Sure," the driver said.

    "W ell, what you doing this kind of work for—against your own people?"

    "Three dollars a day. I got damn sick of creeping for my dinner—and not getting it. I got
    a wife and kids. We got to eat. Three dollars a day, and it comes every day."

    "That's right," the tenant said. "But for your three dollars a day fifteen or twenty families
    can't eat at all. Nearly a hundred people have to go out and wander on the roads for
    your three dollars a day. Is that right?"

    And the driver said, "Can’t think of that. Got to think of my own kids. Three dollars a day,
    and it comes every day. Times are changing, mister, don't you know? Can't make a
    living on the land unless you've got two, five, ten thousand acres and a tractor. Crop
    land isn't for little guys like us any more. You don't kick up a howl because you can't
    make Fords, or because you're not the telephone company. Well, crops are like that
    now. Nothing to do about it. You try to get three dollars a day someplace. That's the
    only way."

    The tenant pondered. "Funny thing how it is. If a man owns a little property, that
    property is him, it's part of him, and it's like him. If he owns property only so he can walk
    on it and handle it and be sad when it isn't doing well, and feel fine when the rain falls
    on it, that property is him, and some way he's bigger because he owns it. Even if he isn't
    successful he’s big with his property. That is so."

    And the tenant pondered more. "But let a man get property he doesn’t see, or can’t take
    time to get his fingers in, or can’t be there to walk on it—why, then the property is the
    man. He can't do what he wants, he can't think what he wants. The property is the man,
    stronger than he is. And he is small, not big. Only his possessions are big—and he's the
    servant of his property. That is so, too."

    The driver munched the branded pie and threw the crust away. "Times are changed,
    don't you know? Thinking about stuff like that don't feed the kids. Get your three dollars
    a day, feed your kids. You got no call to worry about anybody's kids but your own. You
    get a reputation for talking like that, and you'll never get three dollars a day. Big shots
    won't give you three dollars a day if you worry about anything but your three dollars a

    "Nearly a hundred people on the road for your three dollars. Where will we go?"
    "And that reminds me," the driver said, "you better get out soon. I'm going through the
    dooryard' after dinner."

    "You filled in the well this morning."

    "I know. Had to keep the line straight. But I'm going through the dooryard after dinner.
    Got to keep the lines straight. And—well, you know Joe Davis, my old man, so I'll tell
    you this. I got orders wherever there's a family not moved out—if I have an accident—
    you know, get too close and cave the house in a little—well, I might get a couple of
    dollars. .And my youngest kid never had no shoes yet."

    "I built it with my hands. Straightened old nails to put the sheathing on. Rafters are wired
    to the stringers with baling wire. It's mine. I built it. You bump it down—I'll be in the
    window with a rifle. You even come too close and I'll pot you like a rabbit."

    "It's not me. There's nothing I can do. I'II lose my job if I don't do it. And look—suppose
    you kill me? They'll just hang you, but long before you're hung there'll be another guy on
    the tractor, and he'll bump the house down. You're not killing the right guy."

    "That's so," the tenant said. "Who gave you orders? I'll go after him. He's the one to kill."

    "You're wrong. He got his orders from the bank. The bank told him, 'Clear those people
    out or it's your job.' "

    "Well, there's a president of the bank. There's a board of directors. I'll fill up the
    magazine of the rifle and go into the bank."

    The driver said, "Fellow was telling me the bank gets orders from the East. The orders
    were, 'Make the land show profit or we'll close you up.' "

    "But where does it stop? Who can we shoot? I don't aim to starve to death before I kill
    the man that's starving me."

    "I don't know. Maybe there's nobody to shoot. Maybe the thing isn't men at all. Maybe,
    like you said, the property's doing it. Anyway I told you my orders."

    "I got to figure," the tenant said. "We all got to figure. There’s some way to stop this. It's
    not like lightning or earthquakes. We've got a bad thing made by men, and by God
    that's something we can change." The tenant sat in his doorway, and the driver
    thundered his engine and started off, tracks falling and curving, harrows combing, and
    the phalli of the seeder slipping into the ground. Across the dooryard the tractor cut, and
    the hard, foot-beaten ground was seeded field, and the tractor cut through again; the
    uncut space was ten feet wide. And back he came. The iron guard bit into the house corner, crumbled the wall, and wrenched the little house from its foundation so that it fell sideways, crushed like a bug. And the driver was goggled and a rubber mask covered his nose and mouth. The tractor cut a straight line on, and the air and the ground vibrated with its thunder. The tenant man stared after it, his rifle in his hand. His wife was beside him, and the quiet children behind. And all of them stared after the tractor.

    Steinbeck's January 1939 letter to his friend and editor, Pascal Covici

    "You know that I’ve never been touchy about changes, but I have too many thousands of hours on this book, every incident has been too carefully chosen and its weight judged and fitted. The balance is there. One other thing—I am not writing a satisfying story. I’ve done my damndest to rip a reader’s nerves to rags, I don’t want him satisfied.

    "And still one more thing—I’ve tried to write this book the way lives are lived not the way books are written.

    ". . . . Throughout I’ve tried to make the reader participate in the actuality, what he takes from it will be scaled entirely on his own depth or shallowness. There are five layers in this book, a reader will find as many as he can and he won’t find more than he has in himself."

    A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

    by NBBooks on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 08:56:38 PM PDT

    •  The best tidbit (9+ / 0-)

      The tenants cried, "Grampa killed Indians, Pa killed snakes for the land. Maybe we can kill banks—they're worse than Indians and snakes. Maybe we got to fight to keep our land, like Pa and Granpa did."

      "Not dead ... yet. Still have ... things to do." -Liet Kynes

      by Stranded Wind on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 09:02:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  another best tidbit: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Stranded Wind

        "The bank—the monster has to have profits all the time. It can't wait. It'll die. ... When the monster stops growing, it dies. It can't stay one size."

        That was incredibly insightful in the 1930s when it appeared as if the Earth really was limitless and growth could continue forever.  

    •  great quote (6+ / 0-)

      "I don't know. Maybe there's nobody to shoot. Maybe the thing isn't men at all. Maybe,
      like you said, the property's doing it. Anyway I told you my orders."

      "I got to figure," the tenant said. "We all got to figure. There’s some way to stop this. It's
      not like lightning or earthquakes. We've got a bad thing made by men, and by God
      that's something we can change."

      Times really have not changed all that much, have they?

      How truly sad

      Help phone bank for or donate to Scott Murphy for Congress! The election is 3/31/09. We can win this election or we can lose it. The choice is ours!

      by MinistryOfTruth on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 09:14:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Where is Tom Joad? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    G2geek, crose, Stranded Wind, soms

    The key question is not "Who is Tom Joad?" but "Where is Tom Joad?"

    "Wherever you can look - wherever there's a fight, so hungry people can eat, I'll be there. Wherever there's a cop beatin' up a guy, I'll be there. I'll be in the way guys yell when they're mad. I'll be in the way kids laugh when they're hungry and they know supper's ready, and when the people are eatin' the stuff they raise and livin' in the houses they build - I'll be there, too." -Tom Joad in the movie, The Grapes of Wrath

    January 20: the end of an error

    by JayC on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 09:11:23 PM PDT

    •  Yes, that's next (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek, crose, soms

      First we have to know who he is, and then maybe we can set out looking for him? That seems like it would be a fun trip :-)

      "Not dead ... yet. Still have ... things to do." -Liet Kynes

      by Stranded Wind on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 09:14:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  In Molly Ivins' letter to the ACLU (7+ / 0-)

      "Every time someone down the line is irreverent about authority, I'll have my monument. Every time some kid who was born a nigger, a kike, a wop, a Polack, a gook, a gimp, a fag, or just a plain maverick lifts up her head and dares anyone to stop her, I'll have my monument. Every time they peaceably assemble to petition their government for redress of a grievance, I'll be there. Whenever they worship as they please (or not at all), I'll be there. Whenever they speak up and speak out and raise hell, I'll be there. And every time some blue-bellied, full-blooded nincompoop who holds elected office is called to the floor for deciding to keep us safe by rewriting the Constitution, or by suspending due process and holding a citizen indefinitely without legal representation, I'll be there. Now that is immortality.

  •  Assrockets crave a smackdown (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stranded Wind, soms

    their sadists like that, it gets them off.

    BIG stick, no more carrot

    Help phone bank for or donate to Scott Murphy for Congress! The election is 3/31/09. We can win this election or we can lose it. The choice is ours!

    by MinistryOfTruth on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 09:12:47 PM PDT

  •  We don't have a real media anymore (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    G2geek, crose, soms, MinistryOfTruth

    And at some point someone is going to have to rip off Springsteen's line and beat our lamestream media about the head and shoulders with it

    What we have are rich people (Murdoch) or big corporations who buy up all of the media outlets so they can shape the news with a right-wing slant. Take Murdoch for instance, here's a guy who is losing millions every year with all of his media outlets but it doesn't matter because the more important thing to him is that he is able to shape the news with the right-wing slant that he prefers.

    Does anyone ever remember the media treating other Presidents the same disdainful and disrespectful way that they treated Bill Clinton or the way they are already treating Barack Obama?

    "Load up on guns, bring your friends, it's fun to lose and to pretend" Kurt Cobain-1991

    by Jeff Y on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 09:17:18 PM PDT

  •  Great diary SW! Right on! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Debby, Jeff Y, Stranded Wind, soms

    Let em go Galt!

    There is an old russian kindof proverb, which says

    "If the peasants did not tend the fields, the rich would have to eat money"

    Yeah, go Galt, but when you go, we aren't letting you come back.

    Help phone bank for or donate to Scott Murphy for Congress! The election is 3/31/09. We can win this election or we can lose it. The choice is ours!

    by MinistryOfTruth on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 09:18:51 PM PDT

  •  I love you for this line, Stranded Wind! (4+ / 0-)

    I see far better reporting and research on this site than I ever do in the mainstream outlets.

    So true, and it would not be that way without diarist like you, and all of us!

    Help phone bank for or donate to Scott Murphy for Congress! The election is 3/31/09. We can win this election or we can lose it. The choice is ours!

    by MinistryOfTruth on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 09:20:40 PM PDT

  •  Congrats on kicking the Mafia Wars habit (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    G2geek, Stranded Wind

    Now you have time to get back to more important things, like publishing these hard written gems.  There's something snappy and poetic about this piece that's sometimes missing in your more technical writing.

    I do miss playing Scrabble though.

    Hari Seldon 2012 -8.25, -6.25

    by smellybeast on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 09:41:48 PM PDT

  •  I have to admit (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    G2geek, Stranded Wind

    that I prefer the Rage Against the Machine cover alot more then the orignal.

    Personally I think Rand would have shot the people claiming her book as a guide because they really don't want to follow the ideals exposed in the book

  •  Kindly like a dream (8+ / 0-)

    I posted this once before but I love it so much and it seems to be kin to your story...

    From the October 1980 Quilters Newsletter Magazine, in an article by Norma Bradley Allen, who went around the country interviewing quilters.  She had spent the day with Fannie Shaw in Texas, who had made a wonderful quilt called Prosperity Is Just Around The Corner during the Depression:

    Prosperity Is Just Around the Corner quilt

    As I talked with Fannie, she quietly remembered, "I tell you that depression was awful for some people.  It didn't hurt us very much because, you see, we were farmers.

    "We had a cow for milk and butter.  We had our chickens for eggs and meat.  And we raised our own garden.  We had everything.  So we just went through it with flying colors.  It didn't hurt us so much.

    "But it was terrible, awful, for the folks who lived in town.  They just didn't have no work.  They didn't have no money.  'Course, we didn't have no money neither, but we could make out, ya see?

    "I just had a well of sympathy...mostly for the men and boys.  Now, the girls, they could go to a big town and these rich people would take 'em in and let 'em do the cooking and the housekeeping.  And mostly they would pay 'em every week.  That's the way a lot of girls done, but the boys couldn't do that.

    "It troubled and tossed me so.  The one morning I woke just knowin' what I could do to picture it out.  A quilt just come to me like a light one night in what was kindly like a dream.

    "Prosperity Is Just Around the Corner.  Hoover said it so many times, and we needed bad to believe it.  So...I made my quilt.

    "I got all the walks of life represented, all the folks in Van Alystyne.  I never knowed no town but Van Alystyne...lived on this same road all my life.

    "The housewife here, I had myself in mind.  That's the first block I made...lookin' around the corner for better times to come.

    "Then I made the farmer.  That was my husband, Mr. Shaw.  He didn't have no time to look around no corners.  He just had to look straight down his row behind the old plow.

    "He was the backbone of the nation then, and I put him in the center and made him the backbone of my quilt.

    "The I commenced to put the others in...all lookin' around the corner.  I was nearly two years a makin' it.  And I never made another that meant so much to me.

    "The cowboy came next 'cause so many of 'em were roamin' the country.  Lots of 'em had lost their horses too.

    "I knew the poultryman real well, 'cause I was raising chickens and turkeys.  I educated my babies raisin' chickens and sellin' eggs.  I put 'em through high school that way.  That's as far as I could go with 'em.  But I raised two good citizens.  Lord, I sold eggs by the dozens and dozens.  That poultryman was a big fat man, too.  Until the trouble hit.

    "The groceryman's name was Einspizer.  He was so good.  He would let everybody he possibly could have their groceries on credit.  He couldn't afford to do it really.

    "The bums was alwyas jumpin' off the railroad and askin' for a hand out.  We never refused but one.  He was makin' his way round about town and we heard about him.

    "He came to our door.  My husband had just brought in a load of wood.  And this bum wanted something to eat.  That's what we called a hand out.  My husband said, 'Stranger, I'll tell you what I'll do.  I'll give you everything to eat you can possibly hold, if you move on out into the yard and cut that wood into a rickett.'

    "Now that bum turned around and stalked offf without a word.  He didn't want to turn his hand for his food.  Funny, with so many lookin' for ay kind of work, I always puzzled on that.

    "We knew boys that folks in other towns would have thought was bums, I reckon, to look at 'em.  But they'd come back home, just so worried and tired.  Walkin' with most no soles on their shoes.  No work.  No work...always the same story.

    "When I was done my quiltin' I quilted it with footprints for all the walkin' in circles that was done.

    "I put the Republican and Democrat on my quilt.  The Republicans don't have much expression.  Elephants, they just have the same look all the time.

    "Now the mules...I was raised with mules.  My daddy had mules.  If you treat 'em nice, treat 'em right, they're good natured.  But if you treat one mean, they're stubborn as all get out.  I reckon that's true of everybody, Republican or Democrat, regardless.

    I put everybody lookin' around the corner, 'cause they was looking for Uncle Sam to come and help 'em.  When times gotten better, he did...he come and brought gold.  He brought farm relief.  And he brought beer and aid to the people.

    "That ol' depression was somethin', but you know, I never saw so much loviness in this country.  It was one for all and all for one.  Everybody loved.  Everybody was scared and everybody was worried.  All they owned to give each other was love.  That part was good, real good.

    "This here is the onliest road I've ever knowed and the onliest town.  It's built some and it's sat some, but it's filled with love and we always had enough."

    P.S.  A nice note, another reference to this quilt elsewhere says that quilted in the sky over the sun in the farmer's block is the word H O P E.

  •  before I read this I went to youtube to get (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stranded Wind, Remain calm

    The Ghost Of Tom Joad
    (this one will not imbed but it was put up on Bruce's youtube  account.

    There have been others who've done The Ghost of Tom Joad

    Rage Against the Machine

    Tom Morello


    "I want Obama to make Wall Street his BITCH!" - John Fugelsang, 3/19/09 Stephanie Miller Show

    by Clytemnestra on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 10:07:31 PM PDT

  •  Great diary! Great comments! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stranded Wind
  •  Six degrees of Kevin Bacon (2+ / 0-)

    One of my best friends in college was the son of the guy who wrote the screenplay for Grapes of Wrath.

    I could tell stories about the fine style in which Mr Screenwriter lived in the late 60s-early 70s, but I don't begrudge it, and besides who cares. Let's just say, he'd moved on a bit from Tom Joad style by then.

    Thought you'd all want to know that :)

  •  18 months ago I began really began paying (5+ / 0-)

    attention to the reality on the ground versus what the US media presents on a whole raft of fronts.
    Throughout the election campaign I would watch Murdoch's Propoganda xtreme cable channel and just wonder how was it that Americans would deliberately try to convince other Americans that the other candidate was 'the anti-christ' or a 'terrorist'. Therefore all his supporters are to be hated as well. Encouraging not just disagreement but outright hatred between citizens of a country.

    I used to get angry at the likes of O'Reilly and Hannity for misleading people who did not know better. They are obviously liars paid to destroy America's capacity to feel good about having the grown ups in charge.

    Yesterday I deliberately sat myself down and watched in succession O'Reilly, Hannity and the new wack job Glenn Beck.

    I didn't realize it until late last night, but this made me disagreeable and depressed for the rest of the day. I wonder how other people feel, even those who agree with these agitators? How they feel about America when all they get is negative, concocted controversy, all the time.

    The US media has ignored the fact that everything that made America great has been polluted, squandered, turned upside down, ridiculed, outsourced, wasted. Instead of encouraging science, invention, innovation and what comes from this - new industry, these things have been run out of town by the GOP and there really does not seem to be much left.

    And yet that is not quite true either. It is simply a matter of realizing that some pretty good things are possible and are happening if you know where to look. You certainly wont find it on Foxaganda.

    Good diary. Please don't delete it. End of rant.

    "In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations." Law of the Iroquois Confederacy

    by Unenergy on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 10:25:06 PM PDT

  •  I feel like this most days... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stranded Wind
    Honestly.  Good luck to everyone here.
  •  We were half Okie. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stranded Wind

    My family origins 2 generations ago were in Oklahoma. My mother's father had a steady job as an electrical engineer for Oklahoma Gas and Electric. They had a modest living all through the depression with no real troubles. My father's father died in 1933, leaving my grandmother to raise 4 boys (ages 12, 9, and on down) on her own. Before WW II happened and turned their economic lives around, they moved to California and had some fairly rough times. Not nearly as rough as a Tom Joad story, but they did get parceled out to various relatives when my grandmother had trouble supporting them on occasion. Even so, all those boys were marked by the depression, and then by the war, in ways they never overcame. All except for the youngest, who escaped most of the troubles and now has a fine life as an artist in an Oregon coast town. It's all in the timing, isn't it.

    Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

    by billmosby on Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 10:38:37 PM PDT

  •  Another good one, SW! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stranded Wind

      Keep 'em coming!

    I like to think of him as, "George WMD Bush."

    by Hoghead99 on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 12:12:31 AM PDT

  •  this belongs on the rec list (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stranded Wind

    really great writing. inspiring. thanks.... great way to start my day.

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