Smart people saying smart things

Smart people saying smart things December 3, 2012

James Surowiecki: “Disaster Economics”

The size of our current deficit does not change this calculus. In fact, there’s never been a better time for a Delta Plan in the U.S. With interest rates so low, it’s cheap to borrow money, and there are plenty of unemployed workers and unused resources that can be put to work. In a time of austerity, there’s bound to be opposition to expensive infrastructure projects. But if the government — and, by extension, taxpayers — is already on the hook for all the damage caused when disasters strike, we owe it to ourselves to do something about how much those disasters cost.

Erik Loomis: “Triangle Repeated in Bangladesh”

The movement to globalize industrial production was an explicit choice by corporations to avoid the workplace and environmental regulations that increasing made work and life safe and dignified in the United States. Such regulations might have improved American lives, but they also slightly cut into corporate profits. …

And thus we see Bangladesh suffer its own Triangle Fire. A clothing factory caught on fire this weekend near Dhaka, killing at least 117 workers. Like at Triangle, most of the dead workers are women. Like at Triangle, an unsafe building choked with highly flammable materials did not have proper safety equipment or fire exits. Like at Triangle, desperate women chose to jump to their deaths rather than burn.

Jo Hilder: “Just love ’em”

We create this system of silence, lies and hiding whenever we promote a culture of perfection and shame. When we say the only true and authentic expression of the Christian life is a successful life, an abundant life, a life where nobody gets sick or hears voices, or dies or divorces, where nobody is anything but English-speaking, employed, middle-class and heterosexual, where nobody is addicted or abused or bitter or angry, or could possibly have ever been hurt, offended or abused by us, then we tell A Great Lie. Great Lies force people underground, into the dark, and sometimes that darkness is within ourselves. We force people to turn away from their pain and their truth, we make them split themselves in two, and sometimes into even more little pieces. And folks learn they can only ever show us one kind of face, tell us one kind of story. The perfect face. The story with the happy ending.

But these happy, perfect stories and faces are not what Jesus came to heal.

Bushra Rehman: “The Assembly”

By the end of the movie, we were glued to our seats, paralyzed. In what we thought was the last scene, there was a movie still of one of the men. Underneath his name was written: Died, December 13, 1983. He was frozen in his hospital bed–the man who had been laughing with his friends just a few minutes before. We were stunned, and then there were girls crying in the audience.

We thought the movie was over, so we started clapping. Something we had stopped doing for The Red Balloon. But no – another picture came of a man from the movie. This man had died, too, only a few months later. And then the other, and the others. After each picture, after each man died, we clapped, wanting the movie to be over, wanting to do something with our fidgety hands.

After the lights came on, Ms. Cooperman was furious. She took us back to the room and held us during lunch. We tried to explain to her that we thought the movie was over.

“Again and again? You’re smarter than that.” She looked like she was going to scream or cry. Two things we never imagined her doing.

How could we explain to her we were clapping because we were terrified? We had never seen people dying this way. We were only ten years old and still didn’t understand what this illness was and what we knew was happening all around us.

"And in quite a few jurisdictions, when they actually did find and arrest people for ..."

C.S. Lewis is still right — ..."
"Terrific! Such great news! My mom had one of those and it was nasty. So ..."

C.S. Lewis is still right — ..."
"We all learned that for real wrongs, not just skuffles, those child hood playground make ..."

C.S. Lewis is still right — ..."

Browse Our Archives