It will be withheld

You have to have your guard down

It will be withheld

A corporate landlord purchased 264 homes in the Las Vegas area in one day this past summer for $98 million. One of many such companies the Dallas-based Invitation Homes bought at least 2,291 homes for $854 million last year according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

"A MetLife Investment Management study shows these companies could own close to 40 percent of all U.S. houses by 2030."

Elsewhere the amount of Antarctic sea ice cover continues to plummet "to a level so far below anything else on the satellite record that scientists struggled for adjectives to describe what they were witnessing," CounterPunch reported.

New York City spent $155 million in overtime pay alone for police on the subways in 2023. That's up from only $4 million the previous year. It resulted in an additional 1,000 cops on top of the usual 2,500 that usually work the subway. While there was a slight decrease in serious crimes last year there was a big jump in fare evasion arrests and citations according to Gothamist. As Hell Gate notes "that's about $4,200 in NYPD overtime pay per arrest or summons, and $151 million to hassle people whose total unpaid fares only amounted to about $104,000."

Over 330 people were found to have been buried in a pauper's cemetery in Hinds County, Mississippi since 2008 a recent report shows.

"Records reviewed by WLBT show those individuals span all ages and demographics, from unnamed children who died at or shortly after being born, to senior citizens who passed away at local hospitals and were never claimed."

Renewed attention has been paid to burials such as these in the state after a man named Dexter Wade who had been run over and killed by a police officer was found in an unmarked grave. The police did not inform his family that he had been buried for seven months despite the fact that he had his ID on him according to their attorney.

Someone asked on Twitter what the most demonic place in America is and there are certainly no shortage of good answers to that but if you ask me most of the top ten are certainly California inland desert towns no one who is not from California has ever heard of.

I don't feel like Miami or Hollywood or Wall Street or Delaware or Greenwich, Connecticut or whatever count as demonic because they're obviously the Devil's constituency. Demonic implies something different. The demon still has to put in an honest day's work in a place like that.

A reporter for Philadelphia's NPR affiliate WHYY must be given his job back an arbitrator ruled. Jad Sleiman was fired last year after the station saw clips of his stand up comedy that he had posted online. The station argued that the jokes – many of which are about his experience as a Muslim in the US and his time working as a military reporter in Iraq and Afghanistan – were “egregious” with “sexual connotations, racial connotations, and misogynistic information."

"The arbitrator performed an in-depth analysis of the nine comedy samples to determine whether they were in violation of this reading of the policy," Vice reported. "Though parts of some jokes were deemed potentially inflammatory, many were found to be either funny or an astute critique of some institution of power."

Sleiman – who credited his ability to fight back to his membership in a union – appears to be extremely cool.

“I’m going to walk in there like fucking Vince McMahon,” he told Vice about returning to work.

“I’m very curious to see how much they spent—Duane Morris is some of the biggest in the country. They tried their best. They called me every name in the book. They cut off my health insurance. They deleted all of my fucking stories, which like, what the fuck? And then they still lost. People keep asking, ‘Is it going to be weird going back?’ I’m like, yeah, for them.” 

On Friday the Supreme Court said it will hear a case in April about a recent ruling in Idaho that prevents hospitals from performing abortions in an emergency room setting even if it was medically necessary to save the person's life. Until then the ban on such procedures will remain in place.

Meanwhile in Ohio governor Mike DeWine has banned gender-affirming surgery for minors and has placed further constraints on care for trans adults.

"Under the new set of administrative rules, both minors and adults seeking any gender-affirming care will require sign-offs by multidisciplinary teams," The New Republic reported.

Trans adults will also have to undergo a “lengthy” period of mental health counseling before seeking care.

The new steep barrier of entry—which is not required in most states across the nation—will likely tack on incredible medical expenses, only further limiting access to what is often viewed as life-saving care for transgender individuals.

Responding to a complaint they received from a reader CBC News in Canada admitted that they use different kinds of language when reporting on violence done against Israelis and violence done against Palestinians.

"The more evocative and sympathy-generating terms don’t apply to Palestinian deaths, CBC argues, because Israel carries out its killings 'remotely' instead of face-to-face," The Breach reported.

“This use of language attempts to minimize the ugliness of Israeli atrocities and get maximum hatred out of the Hamas attacks. It also serves to skew the reader’s empathy towards Israel and away from Palestinians—a further dehumanizing of an already downtrodden people," the reader complaint said.

CBC’s Nancy Waugh responded in part:

Different words are used because although both result in death and injury, the events they describe are very different. The raid saw Hamas gunmen stream through the border fence and attack Israelis directly with firearms, knives and explosives. Gunmen chased down festival goers, assaulted kibbutzniks then shot them, fought hand to hand, and threw grenades. The attack was brutal, often vicious, and certainly murderous. 

Bombs dropped from thousands of feet and artillery shells lofted into Gaza from kilometers away result in death and destruction on a massive scale, but it is carried out remotely. The deadly results are unseen by those who caused them and the source unseen by those [who] suffer and die.

Of course we know this is how major news orgs in the west like the CBC and the BBC and NPR and CNN operate but it's interesting to see it admitted to so explicitly.

Here's something I said on October 9:

Being made to collapse
“I have ordered a complete siege on the Gaza Strip,” Israeli defense minister Yoav Gallant said. “There will be no electricity, no food, no fuel, everything is closed.” “We are fighting human animals and we are acting accordingly,” he said. “All of the places which Hamas is deployed, hiding and
I also think that it is very convenient that the dominant power in any given conflict almost always gets to commit their own war crimes from a remove via blockade and sanction or missile and bomb. Each resulting individual civilian death observed from an abstract sanitized distance in the form of a building collapsing. Being made to collapse.

A lot of people are wedded to this idea that it’s somehow so much worse to be brutalized or killed by a man standing there in front of you than by a pressed button or pulled lever. Or to be systematically killed by laws and policies of indifference or outright malevolence.

Is shooting a man in the head more or less just than locking him in your basement without food or water? Surely he'll live somewhat longer in the latter scenario but he will nonetheless surely die. Having been killed.

And October 13:

We are going to regret this
I’m not sure what else I was expecting to see after turning on cable news for the first time in a while this morning. Of course it was a parade of warmongers espousing genocidal and eliminationist rhetoric. I certainly imagined the drum was beating while I couldn’t hear it but
Like many of you I've been trying to calibrate my moral compass as it pertains to war and violence this past week and as best I can tell from what I've been reading and hearing is that the formula by which we determine whether or not a killing is either justifiable or "terrorism" is the physical distance between the aggressor and the victim. Up close is barbaric...but launched from far away is reasonable. ... Maybe it's because we think it would be so much harder to kill someone while looking them in the eye?

Is that why the powerful countries are so prolific at it then? We don't even make our combatants do that anymore.

I don't think it really matters for the victim one way or the other but the killers get to convince themselves there is a moral distinction.

Here's a report by Open Democracy on how the BBC has traditionally covered Israel and Palestine over the years.

Another key finding from these studies was that Israeli casualties were given proportionally more coverage than Palestinian ones, and the language used to describe Israeli deaths was markedly different. Words such as “atrocity”, “murder”, “lynch-mob” and “barbarically killed” were used by journalists to describe the deaths of Israeli soldiers, but not those of Palestinians.

Such patterns are also evident in current reporting. We examined four weeks (7 October to 4 November) of BBC One daytime coverage of the 2023 Gaza war using the database TV Eyes to identify which terms were used by journalists themselves (not in direct or reported statements) to describe Israeli and Palestinian deaths.

We found that “murder”, “murderous”, “mass murder”, “brutal murder” and “merciless murder” were used a total of 52 times by journalists to refer to Israelis’ deaths but never in relation to Palestinian deaths. The same pattern could been seen in relation to “massacre”, “brutal massacre” and “horrific massacre” (35 times for Israeli deaths, not once for Palestinian deaths); “atrocity”, “horrific atrocity” and “appalling atrocity” (22 times for Israeli deaths, once for Palestinian deaths); and “slaughter” (five times for Israeli deaths, not once for Palestinian deaths).

And here's The Intercept on CNN's reporting:

...whether reporting from the Middle East, the United States, or anywhere else across the globe — every CNN journalist covering Israel and Palestine must submit their work for review by the news organization’s bureau in Jerusalem prior to publication, under a long-standing CNN policy. While CNN says the policy is meant to ensure accuracy in reporting on a polarizing subject, it means that much of the network’s recent coverage of the war in Gaza — and its reverberations around the world — has been shaped by journalists who operate under the shadow of the country’s military censor. 

One member of CNN’s staff who spoke to The Intercept said that the internal review policy has had a demonstrable impact on coverage of the Gaza war. “Every single Israel-Palestine-related line for reporting must seek approval from the [Jerusalem] bureau — or, when the bureau is not staffed, from a select few handpicked by the bureau and senior management — from which lines are most often edited with a very specific nuance” that favors Israeli narratives.

I went to a funeral yesterday for an uncle of M.'s who I did not know very well but was a lovely and interesting man as far as I could tell over the years. I hadn't been to mass in a couple years but everything was familiar to me still (almost) every word of every prayer and every song and every movement up and down and up and down and I cried a little despite not having a close connection to this ninety one year old man because one thing I will promise you is that I will cry at every funeral I go to. Every wedding too.

Only a little though.

And then after we all went to a restaurant down on the south shore and people ate fish and creamy pasta and I left and walked over to the sea wall and stared out at the ocean hoping to have some kind of epiphany but it doesn't work like that when you're forcing it. You have to have your guard down. It's like when a cat knows you want affection. It will withhold it.

They read this poem by Tennyson at the funeral.

It has finally and utterly snowed in Massachusetts as of this morning and while I broke my asshole and spine in half shoveling just now and am cursing it to hell it is the kind of snow that I am always sort of worried that I will rarely get to see again.

Thank you then for the snow.

Thank you to the snow itself.


Thanks as always for reading. Chip in with a subscription if you're able to will ya? Next issue is going to be a top 5 songs thing about the great Jason Molina so keep an eye out for that.