Wisconsin labor wars?

Wisconsin governor Scott Walker has recently proposed taking away all collective bargaining rights for state workers (exempting law enforcement and fire employees.) I first came across the story at Talking Points Memo here. More recently I saw this item reporting that Walker has stated that he hasn’t called up the national guard, but he’s briefed them in preparation for any disruption of state services. Maybe I’ve been reading about too many labor strikes during the 19th and early 20th century lately, but then again, maybe Walker has too. I mean, it’s never too early to call in the troops when those unruly workers get uppity and agitating. It’s not like teachers (for instance) deserve the right to bargain for retirement benefits.

To be fair to Walker, the article specifically mentions staffing prisons in regards to the guard. That said, Walker’s given a draconian proposition here and Wisconsin will be worth watching in the days to come.

Ways to make a point…

From the BBC we learn that Bolivian President Morales had to flee a public event this week due to protests from local miners over food prices. The emphasis here is that the miners were using dynamite to make their point. According to the BBC:

Setting off dynamite is a common feature of trade union protests in Bolivia, where the explosive is widely available to miners, but injuries are rare.

In some ways this harkens back to labor history in the United States, though from my sources I don’t believe it would come close to being called a common feature. Mostly I’m reminded of Pynchon’s character Webb Traverse from Against the Day. That said, let’s hope injuries stay rare.

The Last Mountain

This trailer for The Last Mountain, which is playing at Sundance this year, just got on my radar. Many thoughts and I’ll come back to a post on this later, but I wanted to at least put the trailer up. The official site for the film can be found here.

Textual Detritus – McCarthy’s Blood Meridian

Textual Detritus is a running series of notes focused on my reading list for exams related to my PhD studies.  These are not reviews so I will refrain from explaining plot lines.  These posts also contain any number of spoilers for the books in question though I’ll try to keep them hidden behind a cut.  Simply, the idea here is to get some of my immediate thoughts down in a coherent manner for later use or discussion.  As such, I make no claim about the level of thought, coherence, or grammar to any of these posts.

Blood Meridian – Cormac McCarthy

I completed this novel over a number of months with large breaks in between my opportunities to pick it up.  As such my thoughts here are more scattered than what I hope to get down as I move forward with this project.

Trying to capture my thoughts about Blood Meridian resembles trying to capture the exact portent in a dream that informs the sleeper that he or she is in fact in a nightmare.  Once the fear settles in those first moments always turn a bit fuzzy.  That isn’t to say that the novel is bad.  Rather, it is beautifully written, particularly McCarthy’s descriptions of the landscapes.  His focus is intense on detail to such an extent that when the nightmare begins, that is when the violence literally erupts from the landscape in one of any number of ambushes that populate the novel, you’re left staggered.  The intensity of the detail is perhaps best captured in a passage describing the Judge that occurs late in the novel: Continue reading “Textual Detritus – McCarthy’s Blood Meridian”