Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New Post at The Avant Guardian

It's a magical time in the universe, again:

popOp springs eternal.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My Poem Over at W5RAn

The fine folks at W5RAn have published one of my poems. You can read it here.

Friday, March 19, 2010

New Post at The Avant Guardian

Another Friday, another popOp.

This week we're looking at the beef between Fahamu Pecou and Fabian "Occasional Superstar" Williams, and also the continuing palpating of spectaclist economics.


Dogs in the Media

Wired's Science blog has a great article on the world's oldest trees (here).

Did you know know trees can live to be as old as 9,500? This one did (right).

This is Old Tjikko and lives in Sweden.

And it's named after the dead dog of the geologist that discovered it.

Who's a good boy?

Friday, March 12, 2010

New Post at The Avant Guardian

I've just posted a new little ditty over at the avant guardian, this week's installment of popOp.

Something about Nietzsche vs. hyphy vs. snap vs. Bob Fosse (?)

Checka out.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

It Costs More To Be Poor

It's true: living costs poor people more than the not poor. I bring this up because I read this headline and the supporting report today:
(here's the report upon which the article is based)

Here's a report from the Washington Post that discusses this counter-intuitive truth "The High Cost of Poverty"

Also, here's a report from the Brookings Institutes, almost exactly a year before the WaPo article, discussing the financial costs of being poor, "Public Policies to Alter the Use of Alternative Financial Services among Low-Income Households"

The poor pay more to have access to their income:
  • for example -- if you cannot pass a Chex Systems report, then you likely cannot get a bank account, which means you will pay someone to cash your check. If you're not familiar with this concept, the poor will pay somebody money to give them access to the money they earned.
The poor have to pay in terms of housing:
  • if you are poor, you likely have a poor credit history, based on this you will not qualify for standard financing for your mortgage. You might be offered a subprime loan, and since about 2006 we've seen what that leads to: massive financial hemorrhaging that can only be stopped by giving the ultra wealthy of the world all the money they want.
  • Some might say, "don't buy a house if you can't get good financing." But, of course, paying rent (as everyone who tries to sell housing initiatives to the public typically brings up), means not building wealth and again, loosing that money.
The poor have to pay more for transportation:
  • Not unlike financing a home, if you are poor you will likely pay a more punitive interest rate for that car loan...
  • ...Unless, of course, you don't buy a car and instead use public transportation. As a regular user of the bus and train services in Atlanta, I can assure you that although our system is very efficient (despite what most white people in the metro area suspect) - public transit's real cost must also include the time spent waiting for transfers and connecting service. This is really a drag now since it seems likely that half the bus routes in the city will be cut soon.
The poor have to pay more for health care:
  • The poor tend to work in industries that do not provide things like health care, but they may qualify for limited assistance from programs like Medicaid (maybe)
  • The leading reason people (62% of those who filed) filed bankruptcy in 2007 because of medical debts. 92% of those who listed this as their primary reason for filing had $5000 of medical debt or more, this representing more than 10% of their gross income (from the American Journal of Medicine)
But the real cost of being poor vis-a-vis health care is more subtle - because the Federal Poverty Rate as it is, being poor is likely also going to cause a life time of health problems such as diabetes and heart disease.

The Federal poverty rate is not determined by your income, the cost of your housing, the cost of transportation; it doesn't consider medical debt, nor student loan debt, and certainly not consumer debt (credit cards or pay day loans). The Federal poverty rate is a measure of how much it costs to get a certain number of calories (not nutrients, just calories). I've talked about this before, here.

To refresh you: the Federal poverty rate seeks to find the cheapest cost for the individual to get calories. This means that the individual is encouraged to consume the foods that would have the richest calorie pay-off - since you're only given a limited amount of money to spend, you'd better buy the most food at the cheapest cost.
This is why you will see in really poor neighborhoods signs at the (freaking) convenience stores and gas stations that state "Food Stamps Accepted Here."

What foods have the best pay-off? Foods that have been heavily-processed and contain high-fructose corn syrup. They are typically foods that also have really large amounts of fat and calories from fat.

Of course, poverty doesn't fall out of the sky and like lightning strike you: you're typically born into poverty or at the threshold of being lower-middle class. This likely means also that your recipe book (as it were) is filled with foods that made sense to eat two generations ago when your forebears were working the fields and mines - more likely to die from work injuries than live long enough to develop diabetes or heart disease.

More on this later....

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Some of you may have noticed that I have a soft spot for dogs. To quote Jason Wirth, they are Nature's mute ciphers.

I named my dog Chino Zapata Moreno de Guevara about 12 years ago when I was really feeling the EZLN (and the deftones).

Some of you may be aware that Alexander the Great was a student of Aristotle. Did you know that Alexander also sought the teachings of Diogenes of Sinope? He was called Diogenes the Dog because he lived without concern for social decorum, choosing to sleep in a tub and sun bathing. If I heard correctly, Diogenes was sunbathing when approached by Alexander. Diogenes effectively told him, "You're standing in my Sun," and set him away.

It is from Diogenes that we have inherited the term cynical (related to the Greek word for dog). And really, the whole reason I'm even posting today is because my friend, Jay sent me this amazing link to what appears to be the same dog in a series of riots that have been rocking Athens over the last several years.

Behold! (The following images are from the 12oz. prophet site)
This is my favorite one, for sure.

Friday, March 5, 2010

New Post at The Avant Guardian

I've written another installment of popOp for the avant guardian and it's available for your internet consumption, here.

Also, please consider becoming a fan of popOp on Facebook, if you're into FB and all that.

the fact that you're still calling 
it that tells me you're not ready.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Some Subtle Changes

I've added a couple of other sites to Kudzu Kongzi here, all in the spirit of solidarity as these sites are all written by friends and acquantances:

HTML Giant - "the internet literature blog magazine of the future" is an excellent source for your literary needs

Routine - "the coming internet theory" is written by Greg Ulmer and is based around Deleuze & Guattari's What Is Philosophy?

We-Space - "Assembling – Distraction – Unthereness – Interruption – Agon – Atonality" written by Patricia Reed, a classmate at the European Graduate School.

We both agree that the way we blog has changed since we started reading Sean Smith's excellent
sportsBabel - "disconnect in the sportocracy"

A Thousand Rhizomating Blossoms - "thoughts on theory, politics, life and the aporias and clefts in between" written by mi cumpañero, Nico Jenkins (also a classmate at the EGS)

I'm reading about addiction and neurobiology today because I'm preparing papers for the spring conference season. My first conference will be in a few weeks in Mérida, Mexico with the 70th Annual Meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology.

Maybe I'll try some sort of live blogging from there.