Coffee Break 10-7-17

Fun and Games at the Tax Bill Trough


The Senate budget resolution would allow the tax plan to cost the government $1.5 trillion in revenue over the next decade, though advocates argue it would be made up for through economic growth unleashed by corporate and individual tax cuts.” Continue reading “Coffee Break 10-7-17”


Social Lenses 10-6-2017

A Tale of Two Movie Reviews


The chasm between a magic castle and a magic kingdom could inspire an essay on the supposed outrage of economic inequality. Yet if you told the grifters and petty criminals of The Florida Project that the pernicious structure of Late Capitalism created the cracks into which they’ve fallen, they’d just scoff and think about how to lift your wallet.”

Kyle Smith, “White Trash Cinema,” writing in The National Review 

“…The Florida Project is overlong and lacks the sustained narrative drive of its two immediate predecessors. But it’s nonetheless a fabulous mosaic of one particular pocket of America’s invisible homeless population — families living hand-to-mouth in motels originally designed to catch the tourist overspill from the flashy theme-park resorts across town.”

David Rooney, “The Florida Project,” writing in Hollywood Reporter

We look at a range of film critiques of a low-budget, high-art film focused on the dispossessed of Orlando, Florida–home of Disney World and its Magic Kingdom–and wonder what the real goal of both films like The Florida Project and of reviews like those we consider might be. Social change didn’t make it onto anybody’s list. Continue reading “Social Lenses 10-6-2017”

HEJE Overview 9-30-17: Education

If you think U.S. schools are integrated, think again


They said they didn’t intend to hurt the people on the other side of the highway. For them, it wasn’t about race, or even class. Instead, they said they wanted to protect the high standards of their schools and give their children the best chance for a good education.”

—“Bridging the Divide”, a Baltimore Sun series on school desegregation

It’s always about something other than “race” or “class”. And when people make this explicit, you always know it’s precisely about race and class.

Today we begin what we hope to turn into a regular series on the re-segregation and non-integration of the U.S. K-12 public schools. Continue reading “HEJE Overview 9-30-17: Education”

Coffee Break 9-29-17

Reflections on a progressive shock-doctrine for Puerto Rico


“How can one put into words how it feels to be completely powerless as the world I’ve always known slowly turns into Hell for those that I love the most? How can one fully express in words that could convey, in any way, the overwhelming sense of constant pain, of horrible uncertainty, the fear of loss, and the fury over what is, in the end, an unnatural disaster? And how can I live with myself for not being there?”

–Miguel A. Cruz-Díaz

We consider what a genuinely progressive “shock doctrine” for Puerto Rico might look like–and why it’s in all Americans’ best interests that it be applied. Continue reading “Coffee Break 9-29-17”

HEJE Overview 9-23-17: Environment


Pictures and videos don’t give you the full effect. You don’t know it until you see it in person. It’s one thing for places to be deforested or damaged, but to see places where I’d stood replaced with thin air … it’s so alien to human experience that it’s difficult for people to wrap their heads around it.”

–Vernon Halthom, Co-Director, Coal River Mountain Watch

Today’s environment overview considers: San Francisco and Oakland’s suit against five major oil producers; the health of coal country; fracking wells in Appalachia; Puerto Rico as test case of environmental justice in the wake of total destruction, and damage caused by drift of the powerful herbicide dicamba onto non-resistant soybean and other crops throughout the U.S. Continue reading “HEJE Overview 9-23-17: Environment”

HEJE Overview 9-22-17: Healthcare


“Everyone included. Care based on need. Lower costs. No financial barriers to care. Better outcomes. Less administrative hassle.

Are Americans all bonkers, that we continue to reject this?”

–Dr. Don McCanne, Physicians for a National Health Program

As many as 60 million uninsured. Means-testing for care. Higher costs. Endless financial barriers. Outcome = (more) federalism + massive tax cuts for the rich.  Administrative nightmare. Chaos in insurance markets.


We hoped our next Healthcare Overview could be devoted to SB 1804, Sanders’ (+16 co-sponsors’) Medicare for All bill introduced on 9-13-17.  Instead, we find ourselves examining Graham-Cassidy, the latest iteration in the AHCA/BCRA devolution of Republican initiatives to Repeal and Replace the ACA. Below the fold, coverage by category: Summaries, Opinions (both sides), and Analysis. Continue reading “HEJE Overview 9-22-17: Healthcare”

HEJE Overview 9-21-17: Justice/Injustice


From this week’s annals of justice: “Naked from the waist down, mentally ill man throws flower pot through neighbor’s window, brandishes a garden hose with a metal nozzle and a garden basket at Hamilton County, Ohio, police. The officers Tase him, break his ribs after he declines to cooperate, struggles. Coroner: He died a natural death. Sixth Circuit (over a dissent): His wife can’t sue the police.”

–on Roell v. Hamilton, Cty., Ohio

Background of the case here. Roell died at the scene where he was tased and his ribs were broken. The Sixth deemed the amount of force used on Roell, who suffered from schizoaffective disorder, was not inappropriate.

Today’s Justice/Injustice overview considers the ongoing protests in St. Louis following the acquittal of Jason Stockley last week, the growing chasm between the view of law enforcement officers held by blacks and whites, an upcoming case filed on behalf of disabled veterans whose pensions have been “disappeared” by fraudulent loan companies, Georgia’s planned execution of a mentally-disabled man, one of whose original jurors expressed explicit racial bias pre-trial, plainclothes ICE agents onsite at the Brooklyn DA and refusing to identify themselves to a Brooklyn DA bureau chief, and the anti-civil rights recent legal career of the administration’s nominee to head up DOJ’s Civil Rights Division.

It’s a veritable cornucopia of (In)justice we’re following. Continue reading “HEJE Overview 9-21-17: Justice/Injustice”