Hot Air

A Perfect Corporate World — Without People

Here’s a little something I heard on American Public Media’s Marketplace program yesterday evening that burned my generously-proportioned derriere.

Halliburton, the Dick Cheney-affiliated oil services and war profiteering outfit, has lost scads of dough of late. I don’t know precisely why — nor do I care. Perhaps Satan has been too busy elsewhere (Ukraine? Northeast Nigeria? Chicago’s secret Black Site?) and has been lax in manipulating earthly events to his fave multi-national corp.’s advantage.

Satan

Too Busy For Halliburton?

Anyway, Helliburt…, er, Halliburton lost a half a billion bucks in its most recent fiscal quarter. Yeesh! Half a bill, babies! Think of the things actual human beings could do with scratch like that. Of course, you’d think investors would be scared off by this news. After all, isn’t it the job of investors to, y’know, make money?

Mirabile dictu, as Kai Ryssdal reported, shares of H. were up yesterday. Up! They went from 46.80 at the opening bell to 48.87 a little over an hour later. What in the hell ever that means. I only know enough to understand that share prices going up causes tumescence in all those ADHD trader characters.

Ryssdal sez a significant reason H-burton’s shares have gone up is that the co. laid off some 9,000 human beings this past quarter.

Methinks we’re entering a bizarro world here. Taking a cue from Right Wingers whose hatred of one Barack Hussein Obama trumps all other considerations, big-money guys seem to be flocking around a single knee-jerk issue to the exclusion of any previously predominant heeds. The Greed Set used to be singularly focused on making dough. Now, their loathing of labor has forced money-making to take a back seat. It’s more important to slice jobs than to see their bread grow. And, if you hate labor, aren’t you really hating humanity?

No Humans

As if we needed any more proof that Free Marketeers and unfettered capitalists despise people.

Alyce’s Animals

Alyce Miller teaches creative writing at Indiana University. She’s also a Flannery O’Connor Award-winning fiction writer.

Her novel and short stories are about people, natch, but I get the feeling she’s as sweet on critters as she is on her species-mates. She’s an outspoken critic of Bloomington’s deer kill plan. She’s big on veganism as well.

To that end, she highly recommends the documentary Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret.

Cowspiracy

“Veganism is still a bad word,” Miller says, “even here in ‘progressive’ Bloomington, but if more people ate a broad-based vegan diet, or at least reduced their meat and dairy consumption, we’d do the planet a huge favor.”

Fair enough. I agree, in large part, because the beef industry in this holy land has done everything it could to convince us that an exclusive diet of steaks and roasts is the greatest thing since sliced bread (and, BTW, hold that bread and munch instead on a hamburger patty). Not only that but it takes some 21 pounds of grain to produce a single pound of cattle protein. In other words, that Big Mac you’re eating came about largely through clear-cutting enough land to grow the corn to feed the cow to allow McDonald’s to pay its employees a substandard living wage.

Our beef (and other meats) addiction means the livestock industry has pretty much taken over the planet. Acc’d’g to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, livestock grazing takes up 26 percent of the globe’s surface. A third of the world’s agricultural land is given over to producing livestock feed. In Brazil, where Amazon rainforest destruction has reached crisis proportions, some 70 percent of the cleared jungle is now grazing land with the vast majority of the rest devoted to growing feed for the animals.

Amazon Deforestation

Amazon Deforestation

[Photo: Alberto César/Greenpeace]

I’m not now nor do I plan ever to become a vegetarian. I love my homemade Italian meatballs too much. And a day without cheese is wasted as far as I’m concerned. Still, I’ve drastically cut my meat intake since becoming an adult. My mother served meat almost every single day of the year, save Fridays (we were Catholics) and those odd days when we had chicken or pork. At the time, eating scads of red meat was seen as the key to health — a conceit propagated by the red meat racket.

We know better now. We’re omnivores so the idea that eating meat is somehow “not right” doesn’t wash but to paraphrase a line from Groucho Marx, I like my bottom round roast but I take it out of my mouth once in a while.

Cowspiracy will be shown tonight, 6:30pm, at the Monroe County Public Library. To be sure, the auditorium will be filled with vegetarians and vegans. That choir doesn’t need to be preached to. But we meat-eaters can gain a lot from viewing the doc.

Homan In A Truck

Allison Homan had a dream. Any day now she’ll wake up and find that’s it’s come true.

She’s building a home in a truck. It’s a fairly new hot thing these days. It’s called box-trucking. The 29-year-old singer/barista/social mutineer who grew up in New Albany, Indiana, just across the Ohio River from Louisville, revels in her non-compliance with expectations.

Homan

Allison Homan

And few things on this mad planet are more non-compliant that wanting to live in an old work truck for a laminated top company. But that’s what Homan wants and with drips and drabs of help, she’s building her palace in just such a vehicle. With her own hands. And lots of borrowed power tools.

Homan, who lives in Bloomington now, publishes a blog on which she has documented the arduous process of turning a truck into a home. Here’s a taste from a video she made last fall:

These dames, man, they can do anything!

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