Thursday, July 12, 2012

NOBODY LAUGHS ANYMORE

8,500 workers in NYC were locked out by Con Ed on 1 July 2012 as a preemptive gesture against a possible strike over the company's decision to shift pensions to 401(K) plans and increase co-payments on healthcare. Despite a court injunction against the decision, Scranton mayor Chris Doherty has cut the hourly wage of public sector workers, including police and firefighters, to the minimum wage, $7.25 an hour. When John Judge, a firefighter and president of the International Association of Firefighters, Local 60, found his pay cut from $1500 every two weeks to less than $600 (less than $300 a week), he charitably speculated in an interview with NPR, "maybe we're not going to be able to go on vacation."


Basil Bunting, his introduction to Joseph Skipsey's Selected Poems (Ceolfrith Press 1976): "Joseph Skipsey was born on the 8th of July 1832 at Percy Main, near North Shields, in the midst of a turbulent strike. The pitmen wanted two shillings and sevenpence a day and a twelve hour day (with waiting time at the shaft that would make at least thirteen hours on most days) but the coal owners got the help of special constables to club such extremists back to work. Joseph's father, Cuthbert Skipsey, overman at the pit, stepped between one of the special constables and a man he was bullying, and was shot dead by the constable for his intervention."


J.H. Prynne, from "No Universal Plan for a Good Life" (published in Nepal, dated 10 May 2010): "I believe that there is no universal plan for a good life. Each person makes individual choices within the condition of what is possible during a span of life, and each person can also reach out beyond the currently possible in the direction of hope and in the continuing effort to bring hopes closer to reality. I myself believe that hope is not just for the future, and is not some general desire for happiness or utopia. For me it is concerned with true understanding and small advantage, step by step, in relation to what is real in the world of human life, so as to think and act in accord with one's principles and to keep these principles directed towards a coherent aspiration."