a song about nyc. although I am quite happy in tokyo, I do miss the city sometimes. the rawness, the unrefined character of (just about) everybody, it’s a strange sort of beauty. it’s one you don’t see very often nowadays. I hope I can return someday.
If you thought the fist-shaking over BP’s lack of progress in cleaning up the Gulf was over yesterday, you’re wrong. The anniversary of the spill, the once-again-profitable oil company also happened to be the deadline to report spending on lobbying. The $2-million spent places BP’s spending on track to top last year’s total of $7.4 million, but it’s working. BP achieved their top priority to convince Obama to lift to moratorium on offshore drilling. Further lobbying efforts include advocating Congressional Republicans’ a controversial bill to speed up the drilling permit process and appealing to various governmental agencies to limit BP’s contribution to the cleanup effort.
It’s now been a year since the oil spill, and from most general measures it appears that we have completely failed to fix the mess. And now we have the company responsible, one who has claimed to offer $20 billion to clean up the mess, trying to get them out of the mess. The sort of corporate privilege on display here is, in my opinion, the greatest threat to the future of America.
Aguri Suzuki, a 44-year-old real estate agent, says she sometimes thinks the ground is shaking even when it is not. When she sees a tree branch swaying in the wind, she worries there has been an earthquake.
Doctors here say they are seeing more people who are experiencing such phantom quakes, as well as other symptoms of “earthquake sickness” like dizziness and anxiety.
I have actually been suffering this illness for the past week or so. It’s strange, as it’s mildly debilitating but not overtly so. I can still get on the subway, and I can get to class without issue. I can still cook, and hold a conversation, and walk through Tokyo.
What I can’t do, however, is stop feeling a tremor. I’m always experiencing a shaking sensation, whether I’m in class, or walking around, or trying to go to sleep. I sway a bit when I walk, as if my backpack is full of water sloshing around. And in class, I’m always clutching the desk a little bit and glancing out the window, as if to be sure that there isn’t an actual earthquake.
Like I said, the illness itself isn’t so debilitating; I have an always-present dull pain in my stomach from nausea, and I have great difficulty falling asleep. Otherwise, I’m doing fine, I think.
There’s also this persistent fear that my building could collapse at any moment, or that the earth could open up and swallow me whole, but that is a tiny fear, existing only in the back of my mind. No big deal; I can’t help but think I’ve overstated this fear simply by mentioning it.
In order to minimize pain and suffering of animals being put to sleep, Texas has adopted detailed regulations. Only a licensed veterinarian may administer the drugs, the dosage is determined by the animal’s weight, and even the lighting in the room is regulated by law.
When it comes to carrying out executions of death-row inmates, however, the state does not take the same care. The Texas legislature has given the director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice the absolute power to decide on the drugs used and how they will be administered. The current director is a former corrections officer with no training in anesthesiology, pharmacology, or science.
Something that always really gets to me is how we in this country treat our prisoners. We have one of the highest prison rates in the world, and we operate a system where regular sexual abuse is considered a fundamental part of the experience. And then we go ahead and treat their execution as something to be tossed aside. Why don’t we save some money, and just decapitate them? I’m sure an axe and a stump would cost less than these medications, and from the sound of this article, more humane.
Now, of course I realize that these are people who have broken the rules of society, and require some kind of punishment. Does that mean, however that we are now free to treat them as if those rules no longer apply to them? What does that say about us as a society? How are we any better than those who break the rules? Based on some of the conversations I’ve seen (including the comments section at the Atlantic) I get the feeling people want those on death row to die by the slowest, most painful method possible. Isn’t death enough?
Man, I haven’t even gotten into the issue of for-profit prisons, or reintegration post-prison.
Holy crap, check out that lineup. I can’t imagine a better lineup of films than what you see here. Five of Japan’s finest actresses, from a golden age of Japanese cinema, and some of their best films represented here. Personally, I would have gone with Osaka Elegy over Sisters of the Gion as it features the same female leads and I think it’s more interesting in that dynamic, but I can’t complain as it is. I also wonder a bit why they included Sansho the Baliff, as Kinuyo Tanaka is not particularly prominent, while Kyoko Kagawa has a much bigger (and more interesting) role.
While most of the films here are among my favorites, I’m particularly glad they included The Face of Another in the list. It’s something of an outlier, as it was released well into the Japanese New Wave (while the others are golden age-era films) but it features Machiko Kyo as a middle-aged housewife in a brilliant climactic scene upstaging Tatsuya Nakadai, something you don’t see very often. This film is also one of my absolute, top-10 favorite films, and one of the reasons I am living in Japan now, so I gotta represent.
Of particular note are the Mikio Naruse films; from my understanding, only When a Woman Ascends the Stairs is available on DVD in the United States. I assume the others are owned by Criterion, who (as always) are taking their sweet time getting them on DVD. I personally haven’t seen any of these films, but I would absolutely love to. I would consider April 5, the Naruse double-header, as the night to beat.
I would also, however, consider every night as a night to beat, and were I still in New York, would consider moving into Film Forum for these films.
I live in a tiny room in Kabukicho, about ten minutes away from the busiest train station in the world. The building is quite literally surrounded by love hotels; the office next door is a front for prostitution. However, I’m also on the sixth floor, so I get a nice view out my window on said hotels. I can also see the skyscrapers of downtown Shinjuku, where the metropolitan government has its headquarters. If I lived even one floor lower, I would be facing a brick wall, so I count myself fairly lucky in that regard.
However, that is but one small concession on the apartment’s part. What it demands in return, I was not expecting. My room doesn’t have a desk; instead, I place my computer on a stool and sit on the floor with my back against the refrigerator (surprisingly comfortable!) There is a “kitchen” consisting of a sink and a hot plate. Then there’s a toilet, and that’s pretty much the apartment. The apartment is split between four of us, one of whom has left for Korea until the nuclear situation clears. I think this apartment used to be an office, as my room and the room next to me share a window - the wall literally goes up to the window, then stops.
The neighbor seems okay, though very quiet. He also is up until ~3AM, though I have been sleeping through him coming back lately. His face is covered in piercings, and he listens to punk rock music. He’s rather nice, if very quiet. Theoretically, the fourth roommate lives here, though I have yet to ever see him.
I don’t necessarily have issue with the building, but it’s not what I was expecting at all. That is to say, I wasn’t expecting to live here; I was promised by the apartment company a room in Shibuya. I think that, with the earthquake, people didn’t leave as they had originally planned, and so the room in Shibuya is no longer open. I did see that apartment, though, and it’s much nicer, and I hope to move in there soon.
Although I am very happy to have moved to Japan, I have to say that, in all honesty, it wasn’t just about getting to Japan. In a way, it was about getting out of the United States. Case in point:
At one point Randolph suggested that his wife “incorporate her uterus” to stop Republicans from pushing measures that would restrict abortions. Republicans, after all, wouldn’t want to further regulate a Florida business.
Apparently the GOP leadership of the House didn’t like the one-liner.
They told Democrats that Randolph is not to discuss body parts on the House floor.
I’ve read arguments about how the Democratic state Rep. was out of line by using the line about his wife’s uterus, and I have to agree. I actually think it’s rather sad that our political process has degraded to the point where we can only talk in these terms. I remember a period of time during the Bush administration when Democrats would try to avoid this kind of grandstanding (to an extent) and they utterly clobbered. And so now, everyone has to descend to this level.
However, this degradation in national conversation isn’t really what I’m angry about, as I can remember the Clinton impeachment trials, so I know we haven’t ever been at a high point in my lifetime (though we’ve definitely fallen since then). Actually, what actually infuriates me about this article is the “body parts” bit, explained further in the following:
"Additionally, the Speaker believes it is important for all Members to be mindful of and respectful to visitors and guests, particularly the young pages and messengers who are seated in the chamber during debates. In the past, if the debate is going to contain language that would be considered inappropriate for children and other guests, the Speaker will make an announcement in advance, asking children and others who may be uncomfortable with the subject matter to leave the floor and gallery."
What? What the fuck?! The word is “uterus.” Uterus! It’s a medical term! It’s something you (should) learn about in science class. Are these people really so poorly-educated that they would be consider the proper term for a bodily organ to be a sexual slur? Would they have been as offended by the term “penis?” What about “dickie” or “willie?” I think the chastized Representative said it best:
I think it’s a sad commentary about what we think about sex education in the state.
I know Japan isn’t perfect either; actually, it might have a more deeply flawed political stage. At the very least, they’re not screwing up over issues like this.