clinging to and learning from regrets, lightning and voter fraud, listening to faulkner

Romantic regrets

Key findings from the study include:

About 44 percent of women reported romance regrets versus 19 percent of men. Women also had more family regrets than men. About 34 percent of men reported having work-oriented regrets versus 27 percent of women reporting similar regrets. Men also had more education regrets than women.
Individuals who were not currently in a relationship were most likely to have romance regrets.
People were evenly divided on regrets of situations that they acted on versus those that they did not act on. People who regretted events that they did not act on tended to hold on longer to that regret over time.
Individuals with low levels of education were likely to regret their lack of education. Americans with high levels of education had the most career-related regrets.

“People who regretted events that they did not act on tended to hold on longer to that regret over time.” That is probably related to the adage there is nothing worse than a missed opportunity. Should they have said or did something different or should they have said something, and fearing rejection, hold back. And its difficult to get people to think it may have all been for the best because you cannot rewind and start over to see how things would have turned out. Having regrets, especially regarding what one said or did are learning moments. They might be why second marriages have a high success rate. For those blessed with some artistic or musical abilities those memories have been grist for lots of inspiration, so not a total loss. Where would we be as a culture without our tales of heartbreak.

Marc by Elizabeth Peyton – Colored pencil on paper, 2003. Currently in the MoMA collection. Peyton is known for paintings and drawings of quite a few pop stars. She has also done subjects that range from friends to European monarchy. Unfortunately she has been compared to Andy Warhol. Warhol lacked her technical skills and his work never could escape his cold cynicism, whereas Peyton can see both the light and dark in people. A good video tour of here work here – Live Forever: Elizabeth Peyton / New Museum, New York

Scientists have found a substance nearly as hard as diamonds and in much more plentiful supply. The bubble of non-reality in which most conservatives dwell, From Poll Taxes To Voter ID Laws: A Short History of Conservative Voter Suppression

Thursday, ThinkProgress reported that the Ohio House had approved the most restrictive voter id law in the nation — a bill that would exclude 890,000 Ohioans from voting. Earlier this week Texas lawmakers passed a similar bill, and voter id legislation — which would make it significantly more difficult for seniors, students and minorities to vote — is now under consideration in more than 22 states across the country

Conservatives have said voter id laws are necessary to combat mass voter fraud. Yet according to the Brennan Center for Justice, Americans are more likely to be killed by a bolt of lightning than commit voter fraud. And the Bush administration’s five-year national “war on voter fraud” resulted in only 86 convictions of illegal voting out of more than 196 million votes cast.

Faulkner Explains It All – In new audio files from the University of Virginia, the titan of Southern literature speaks to online fans.

Faulkner speaks! Fifty years after he spent two years as writer in residence at the University of Virginia, the school has posted online recordings of the two addresses, the dozen readings, and the 1,400 questions that students, faculty, and interested townspeople of Charlottesville, Va., posed to the author. For Faulkner fans, these 28 hours of talking and reading are Christmas in July.

This is a link I saved thinking I would get around to having something to add. I haven’t. So rather than save it, I’ll just post part of Mr. Jones, a genuine Faulkner enthusiast , review.

Everyone was polite. The students were respectful but not servile—the greatest evidence of their respect was how well prepared they were. For his part, Faulkner was unvaryingly courtly and treated every question, no matter how naive, with serious consideration. Even as a teenager, though, I recognized that there was more than a little ham in the man. I’d spent most of my life in classrooms at that age, and if I had any expertise under my belt, it lay in knowing how various teachers worked a room. I’d never seen anyone who could match Faulkner. He answered the questions he wanted to answer, no matter what had been asked. He maintained a thrilling balancing act, tacitly acknowledging that his achievement was real and significant (he’d won the Nobel by this time) but managing at the same time to suggest a deference in his answers. He spoke as a no-nonsense craftsman who took pride in his tools and an honest job of work, and if you wanted to call him a great artist or a genius, well, that was your business. It was quite a show.

From Absalom, Absalom! By William Faulkner,

“Quentin and Shreve stared at one another ­glared rather ­their quiet regular breathing vaporizing faintly and steadily in the now tomblike air.  There was something curious in the way they looked at one another, curious and quiet and profoundly intent, not at all as two young men might look at each other but almost as a youth and a very young girl might out of virginity itself­a sort of hushed and naked searching, each look burdened with youth’s immemorial obsession not with time’s dragging weight which the old live with but with its fluidity: the bright heels of all the lost moments of fifteen and sixteen….”

When you write run-on sentences in high school Faulkner is the writer you reach for as justification. Only the rest of us rarely make an art of it.


justice perverted and unequal, candlelight and bamboo wallpaper

H/T to Scott for this report, Prison Rape and the Government

Back in 1998, Jan Lastocy was serving time for attempted embezzlement in a Michigan prison. Her job was working at a warehouse for a nearby men’s prison. She got along well with two of the corrections officers who supervised her, but she thought the third was creepy. “He was always talking about how much power he had,” she said, “how he liked being able to write someone a ticket just for looking at him funny.” Then, one day, he raped her.

Jan wanted to tell someone, but the warden had made it clear that she would always believe an officer’s word over an inmate’s, and didn’t like “troublemakers.” If Jan had gone to the officers she trusted, they would have had to repeat her story to the same warden. Jan was only a few months away from release to a halfway house. She was desperate to get out of prison, to return to her husband and children. So she kept quiet—and the officer raped her again, and again. There were plenty of secluded places in the huge warehouse, behind piles of crates or in the freezer. Three or four times a week he would assault her, from June all the way through December, and the whole time she was too terrified to report the attacks. Later, she would be tormented by guilt for not speaking out, because the same officer went on to rape other women at the prison

For all these reasons, a large majority of inmates who have been sexually abused by staff or by other inmates never report it. And corrections officials, with some brave exceptions, have historically taken advantage of this reluctance to downplay or even deny the problem. According to a recent report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), a branch of the Department of Justice, there were only 7,444 official allegations of sexual abuse in detention in 2008, and of those, only 931 were substantiated. These are absurdly low figures. But perhaps more shocking is that even when authorities confirmed that corrections staff had sexually abused inmates in their care, only 42 percent of those officers had their cases referred to prosecution; only 23 percent were arrested, and only 3 percent charged, indicted, or convicted. Fifteen percent were actually allowed to keep their jobs.

Prisons are supposed to be part of the justice system. The courts mead out justice. That sometimes means going to prison. That is the punishment the court has seen fit, acting on behalf of the people, to levy on the convicted. Embezzlement and other non-violent crimes are not nice. The victims sometimes going through their own particular hell. That does not mean, or should not mean, that heaped on top of the court’s sentence, the convicted should also become a victim of some of sexual torture.

There is an old truism that only the poor go to jail. In David Kaiser and Lovisa Stannow’s example of M’s Lastocy, for attempting to embezzle she went to prison where she also became a victim. Yet, after having pillaged the United States of trillions in wealth, no one from Wall St has gone to jail. The financiers, analysts and traders on Wall St are wealthy and mostly white males.  Jeffrey Epstein is rich. he has engaged in sex trafficking and sexual slavery. He got a 13-month sentence for one count of soliciting prostitution from a minor in 2010. Behind Pedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s Sweetheart Deal

Some of the most shocking allegations against Epstein surfaced only after the conclusion of an FBI probe, in civil suits brought by his victims: for example, the claim that three 12-year-old French girls were delivered to him as a birthday present. But the feds did identify roughly 40 young women, most of them underage at the time, who described being lured to Epstein’s Palm Beach home on the pretense of giving a “massage” for money, then pressured into various sex acts, as well as the “Balkan sex slave” Epstein allegedly boasted of purchasing from her family when she was just 14. More recently, a big cash payment from Mail on Sunday coaxed one of Epstein’s main accusers out of anonymity to describe what she claims were her years as a teenage sex toy. This victim, Virginia Roberts, produced a photo of herself with Prince Andrew in 2001 and reported that Epstein paid her $15,000 to meet the prince. Then 17 years old, she claims that she was abused by Epstein and “loaned” to his friends from the age of 15.

Scott Horton notes that in regards to the torture of prison inmates Attorney General Eric Holder was supposed to act on recommendations of a congressional commission, with a rare bipartisan and statutory mandate, in 2009. He has thus far failed to do so. The president and Congress should be holding the DOJ accountable. If recommendations are not acted upon, Holder should be replaced. If the nations; highest law enforcement officers are not held accountable it makes the concept of justice and law enforcement a farce. While they are at it, Congress should be investigating the tremendous disparity between the sentences for those with wealth and power, and those who are poor. Justice is supposed to be blind to such petty distinctions. Financial, sexual and violent crimes are being committed by people who act as though they are above the law because they are aware of cases like Epstein and the complete lack of Wall St accountability. No one hears about the thousands of Jan Lastocys.

candlelight and bamboo wallpaper

Paul Baran, Internet Pioneer, Dies at 84. Baran was very fair-minded about his contributions to the invention of the internet and how credit should be divided among all the people who were part of the internet’s creation,

In recent years, the origins of the Internet have been subject to claims and counterclaims of precedence, and Mr. Baran was an outspoken proponent of distributing credit widely.

“The Internet is really the work of a thousand people,” he said in an interview in 2001.

“The process of technological developments is like building a cathedral,” he said in an interview in 1990. “Over the course of several hundred years, new people come along and each lays down a block on top of the old foundations, each saying, ‘I built a cathedral.’

“Next month another block is placed atop the previous one. Then comes along an historian who asks, ‘Well, who built the cathedral?’ Peter added some stones here, and Paul added a few more. If you are not careful you can con yourself into believing that you did the most important part. But the reality is that each contribution has to follow onto previous work. Everything is tied to everything else.”