New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Two-Tiered Work

January 16, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Diane Lefer, Economy

What Happens in Bogotá Doesn’t Stay in Bogotá

by Diane Lefer

Jorge Parra is speaking out — even though his lips are sewn shut.

Parra was a skilled trades welder when he went to work for General Motors Colombian subsidiary Colmotores. There, he developed herniated discs, severe carpal tunnel in both hands, and upper spinal tendinosis.

In a translated written statement, he explained, “I underwent three surgeries and now walk with a cane due to the injuries I sustained at GM. When I first started feeling pain in my lower back and legs … I went to GM’s medical center. They gave me injections of Oxycontin and Diclofenac and sent me back to work.” (more…)

Noise for Palestine

December 26, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Christine Baniewicz, Culture, Current Events

‘I Have Friends There, and I Don’t Know What to Do’

by Christine Baniewicz

My best recurring celebrity-demagogue fantasy starts like this: My boss calls me into his office…

“Christine,” he says, leaning back into his executive office chair, hands clasped across his belly. I’m perched at the edge of my seat across from him. My shoulders hunch down, preemptively apologetic.

“Mind telling me what the fuck this is about?” There’s a laptop open on his desk and I rise from my seat, cross closer to him, close enough to catch a faint whiff of his older-guy Polo deodorant and there, pasted across his computer screen like a smear of virtual finger paint, is my essay “Tears of Gaza”.

My stomach liquefies. My neck sweats. Physiological apocalypse sweeps across my body and I attempt to say something with dignity, like “I wrote that because I have friends who live in Palestine.” But I’m too far melted down and it comes out soupy, wet, and quiet. (more…)

Work-Life Balance

July 02, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Economy, Family, Jennifer Browdy

Not Just a Women’s Issue…

by Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

I decided to bite my tongue and wait to see the reaction to the recent Atlantic Monthly cover story by Anne Marie Slaughter on women and the work-life balance — I knew as soon as I started reading it that it would set off a firestorm of commentary, and I have not been disappointed.

Slaughter, in case you have not been following this story, is a Princeton University professor and dean, who was drafted into the State Department by Hillary Clinton and worked there for two stressful years.  She wrote the article after returning to the snug harbor of Princeton, where, thanks to the flex time allowed by the higher ranks of academia, she is far better able to manage her professional and family commitments.

Slaughter’s main point in writing seems to be that our society needs to adapt itself better to the needs of working women. She calls for more women to get into leadership positions in business and government, and make workplace and policy changes that will make parenting and working outside the home more manageable. (more…)

Coinstar

June 15, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Economy, Mary Sojourner

Or, Why the Poor Gamble…

by Mary Sojourner

“Pin your ear to the wisdom post; Pin your eye to the line; Never let the weeds get higher; Than the garden…” — Tom Waits, “Get Behind the Mule”

Four years ago, I was meeting the moving guy to bring my seven pieces of furniture from Twentynine Palms to my new one-room cabin in Yucca Valley, California.  I’d been renting a 16’ x 10’ jackrabbit homestead. Sharing a kitchen and bath, one mid-May day of 111-degree heat and one day of 50 mph winds that ripped a window off proved me to be the Hippie American Princess I had always suspected I was.

I pulled into the cheapest gas station to fill up.  The cheapest gas in the cheapest gas station was $4.15 a gallon.  I shoved my credit card (SHOVED is the operative term) into the slot and watched the numbers launch. (more…)

Volunteer Spirit

April 30, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Economy, Jay Walljasper, Politics

Implementing Strong Pro-Commons Policies

by Jay Walljasper

The Tea Party, libertarians and other so-called conservatives devoted to slashing all government spending not related to the military, prisons and highways have an easy answer when asked what happens to people whose lives and livelihoods depend on public programs. They point to volunteerism — the tradition of people taking care of each other which has sustained human civilization for millennia.

It’s a compelling idea, which evokes the spirit of the commons (the growing movement to protect and expand the whole sphere of cultural and economic assets belonging to all of us together). Volunteers working largely outside the realm of government — neighborhood organizations, fire brigades, blood banks and other civic initiatives — are obvious examples of commons-based sharing and caring.

So that means Ron Paul, Michelle Bachmann and Mitt Romney qualify as commoners (people working to improve the state of our commons)? Even with their adamant skepticism about Medicare, environmental regulations and campaign finance limits? (more…)

Preamble to Peace

March 14, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, David Swanson, Politics

The Universal Declaration of Human Responsibilities

by David Swanson

PREAMBLE

Whereas the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is not self-enforcing,

Whereas statement of the inherent dignity and of the equal and supposedly inalienable rights of all members of the human family achieves little without a struggle against greed, injustice, tyranny, and war,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights could not have resulted in the barbarous acts that have outraged the conscience of humankind without the cowardice, laziness, apathy, and blind obedience of well-meaning but unengaged spectators,

Whereas proclaiming as the highest aspiration of the common people the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want doesn’t actually produce such a world,

Whereas nonviolent rebellion against tyranny and oppression must be a first resort rather than a last, and must be our constant companion into the future if justice and peace are to be achieved and maintained, (more…)

The Homeless Bach

February 21, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Economy, Pat LaMarche

‘Can Anyone Spare a Pair of Bootstraps?’

by Pat LaMarche

In June of 2009 PBS predicted that — according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness — “The recession will force 1.5 million more people into homelessness over the next two years.” That was 1.5 million MORE people. That makes best estimates for the number of homeless people in the U.S. anywhere from three to five million. The same PBS story says that 1.5 million of the overall total are children.

These numbers are so large that it’s difficult to imagine the typical homeless person. Because homelessness is at such epidemic proportions, there is nothing typical about the conditions, circumstances, or character of the homeless.

So rather than try and imagine the entire spectrum — from aging military veteran to colicky new born — let’s just talk about one of these newer homeless folks.

Allow me to introduce a man who became homeless as a result of our nation’s economic downturn. He’s one of those million and a half extra folks added to the already existing crowd experiencing chronic homelessness. Only recently and unexpectedly, this gent found that he couldn’t keep his bills paid and a roof over his head for the first time in his life. (more…)