Archive for June, 2014

Eugene Puryear’s testimony on Housing


Eugene Puryear Testimony on Public Housing Budget April 30, 2014
Eugene Puryear‘s oral testimony on April 30, 2014 before the D.C. Council, Committee on Economic Development, fiscal year 2015 budget hearing on public housing.

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Tips for Chris Cillizza

Chris Cillizza has a column about how he missed Cantor’s defeat. Sadly he concludes that opinion polls are the gold standard and that he will continue to rely upon them. Big mistake. Opinion polls are commissioned by keepers of conventional wisdom and will have their blind spots. For example, as late as September 1975 presidential opinion polls did not include Jimmy Carter as an option. Big miss. In the summer of 2010 no opinion polls picked up on the issues that would launch the Occupy movement, certainly no indications that it would catch on like a wildfire with occupations sprouting up all over the country. And if you were foolish enough to confine yourself to opinion polls you would think that the suppression of the Occupations ended the movement. Wrong. A former occupier now sits on the Seattle City council. Cillizza should contact Freddie Mac, or Citi, or Wells Fargo, or almost any other bank and ask if any of their executives have been contacted by Occupy Our Homes concerning individual foreclosure cases. Or he could just follow Popular Resistance on Twitter to track left wing activism. Locally he should follow Eugene Puryear and Dan Robinson in Silver Spring. At some point all this dissastisfaction with the legacy parties will express itself by electing emergent party candidates, it could happen this year. Other races to watch are Asher Platt’s in Maine and the Howie Hawkins in New York. In the age of social media you don’t have to travel to a place to get a feel for the zeigesit, just follow the local personalities on Twitter. If it is too much trouble to develop 50 separate twitter lists to follow politics in those states, just subscribe to existing Twitter lists. I gaurantee, there is at least one political Twitter list for each state. Looking at polls will trap you in the conventional wisdom bubble. You need to expand your sources if you want to detect signficant shifts in the zeitgeist.

Waldemar Januszczak on early Christian art

Waldemar Januszczak takes a fascinating look at early Christian art. It seems for the first centuary there was no art to speak of, only symbols, such as ROTAS squares, Chi Ros, the anchor, the fish, and very rarely, the cross.

When representations of Jesus first appeared in Italy, it was not the bearded Jesus familiar to us, but a boyish Apollo-like figure preforming miracles and bringing sweetness and light to all. The early Jesus is hermaphroditic. Not until Mary appears (borrowed from the Egyptian goddess Isis) does Jesus become masculine. Even then, the beaded adult Jesus does not appear until Constantine makes Christianity the official church of the Roman empire. Dark ages Jesus is Zeus like and presides over all. The tortured Jesus does not show up until the Middle Ages (and I would love to know when the tortured Jesus shows up and what the political developments were and which pope was in business). The Zeus-like Jesus is a feature of a state church where God is there to scare people and keep them in line. If they wanted mercy they were to pray to Mary or some other saint.

Which raises the question, what happens then the Protestant Reformation comes along and Mary gets pushed aside? So far as I am aware, Lucas Cranach is the first Prosteant artist to represent Jesus, and we still have the suffering Jesus. We also get baby-kissing Jesus and merciful Jesus protecting the adulteress. Protestant Jesus tends to be more alive, not on the cross like medieval Jesus or the angry Zeus of Dark Ages Jesus.

Go forward into the 17th century and we get Rembrandt’s tender long-eyelashes Jesus.

Now in modern times we have the kitschy praying in the Garden of Gethsemane Protestant Jesus.


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