Burroughs Adding Machine

Social justice, arts and politics, life in New York City

Poetry for Fading Light

The Times published six poems by some of the greats, in honor of the shift to Daylight Savings Time.

Turn back your clocks, celebrate these poems. “Free,” the prose poem by James Tate, is my favorite. An excerpt:

I was always thinking about her even when I wasn’t thinking. Days went by when I did little else. She had left me one night as a complete surprise. I didn’t know where she went. I didn’t know if she was ever coming back. I searched her dresser and closet for any clues

….were they a dream? I didn’t trust anything any longer. I searched the house for any trace of her. Nothing. I started asking my friends if they remembered anything about her. They looked at me as if I were crazy. I sat at home and began to cheer up. What if none of this happened? I thought. What if there was nothing to be sad about?

JAMES TATE, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and author, most recently, of “The Ghost Soldiers”

Towleroad also published a funny post about contentious tweets over Daylight Savings Time. Is nothing free of bipartisanship?

Filed under: literature, poetry, time, , , , , ,

Rand Paul’s Discrimination Under the Law

I’ve been following Rand Paul’s views on civil rights over the past couple days, interested by the division that Paul seems to make between the idea of racism and the intervention of government. He’s against racial discrimination, but should the government protect citizens from it?

In Paul’s opinion, he makes clear that he does not think the government should step into the realm of private business. He’s a libertarian. And his reluctance to endorse the Civil Rights Act of 1964 supports basic principles of libertarianism: small–if nonexistent–government, individual rights above all, and belief in the free market. When Rachel Maddow put his libertarian thinking to real-life scenarios like private restaurants refusing to serve black customers, Paul refused to answer directly. Though he espouses that he doesn’t support discrimination of any kind, he would not vote to protect these customers. In Paul’s view, the private business owner can discriminate as he or she wishes.

Moreover, Bob Cesca connects Paul’s troubling stand with the Tea Party’s racial issues in The Huffington Post:

However, he obviously supports allowing businesses to engage in racial discrimination with impunity. Evidently, if the government says it’s against the law to run a whites-only business, this is a bridge too far for Rand Paul.

Even more troubling, Paul gave this convoluted and misguided suggestion that goes against ADA access policies. Essentially, his viewpoint for people with disabilities is this: If you can give an employee in a wheelchair a first-floor office rather than spend thousands on installing an elevator for the person to access a second-floor office, than this solution should meet societal standards.

Separate but equal was shut down long ago. However, separate but equal is fine by Rand Paul. Is this viewpoint what we want in a voting member of Congress?

Filed under: politics, racism, republican, , , , , , , , , , ,

Why Care about the 2010 Census?

Driving home last night, I caught part of an episode of On Point with Tom Ashbrook. The topic was the 2010 U.S. Census. I’ve been interested in the forthcoming census (forms will be mailed next week): its dessimination, its implications, and, of course, the breakdown of our nation by race and ethnicity.

Ashbrook nailed the question I want to know most: When will the U.S. be a majority minority country? At what point in the next few years will the scale tip?

Common knowledge is that people of color will soon outnumber whites (to the absolute fear of extremists). Boston itself is a city in which latinos, African Americans, Vietnamese, Haitians, and any number of ethnic minorities outnumber the city’s previous generations of Irish and Italian immigrants.

The myriad of ways in which this balance of color–and in conjunction, power–affects Boston is numerous: in city allocations to neighborhoods, in representation on the city council, in the gentrification of neighborhoods like Dorchester, Roxbury, and Jamaica Plain. It’s heartening that in the last couple years we’ve had more representation on the city council from people of color like Felix G. Arroyo and Ayanna Pressley. Former councillor Sam Yoon made a historic run against Mayor Menino in the last election; his identity as an Asian American ultimately gave mayoral challenger Michael Flaherty a significant boost.

Another interesting question raised in yesterday’s episode of On Point: Will there be an increase in minority births in this census? Many experts predict this fact. If so, how will this concrete predictor of a growing minority population affect U.S. policy-setting and government agenda in the coming years?

Filed under: census, government, race, , , , , , , , ,

Writing

BIOGRAPHY

RECENT PUBLICATIONS
» "Pinays," AGNI, Spring 2016
» "Dandy," Post Road, Spring 2015
» "Wrestlers," Fifth Wednesday, Spring 2014
» "Babies," Joyland, August 2011
» "Nicolette and Maribel," BostonNow, May 2007
» "The Rice Bowl," Memorious, March 2005
» "The Rules of the Game," Screaming Monkeys: Critiques of Asian American Images (Coffee House Press, June 2003)
» "Deaf Mute," Growing Up Filipino (Philippine American Literary House, April 2003)
» "Good Men ," Genre, April 2003
» "The Foley Artist," Drunken Boat, April 2002
» "Squatters," Take Out: Queer Writing from Asian Pacific America (Asian Am. Writers' Workshop, 2001)
» "Deaf Mute," The North American Review, Jan 2001
» "The First Lady of Our Filipino Nation," The Boston Phoenix, 1999
» "Paper Route," Flyway Literary Review, 1996
» "Brainy Smurf and the Council Bluffs Pride Parade," Generation Q (Alyson, 1996)
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Pics from Africa 2010

No food for lazy man

Mao and Du Bois

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Commemorating the great pan-African writer

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Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a Manhattan-based writer and non-profit manager. More

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