Politics and Culture in the Comic Zone

Daniel Rigney

Daniel Rigney
New Texas, USA
August 01
free-range writer
In this writing workshop and citizen's blog I'm exploring various short forms, often from a satiric angle. My interests include politics, culture and the human comedy; old and new media; social theory and urban ethnography; the commercialization, corporatization and tabloidization of everything; sustainability; Unitarianism (UU); coffee; and writing (sorry, I mean providing content). Turtle stamp is from Tandy Leather. Interested in republishing a piece? Contact drigney3@gmail.com.


Daniel Rigney's Links


By Daniel Rigney

It’s hard to say exactly when the party of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and Dwight Eisenhower fell off the edge of the earth and became the party of Rush Limbaugh.

The Tea Party, which began at the margins of the GOP, now dominates its base and… Read full post »

By Daniel Rigney

The word “patriotism” has a manly lineage, descending from the Latin patriota, borrowed in turn from the Greek patris meaning “of one’s fathers.”  The Greeks applied patris to barbarians who shared a common patrilineage, reserving the more elevate… Read full post »

JUNE 11, 2014 5:04PM

2020 Vision -- Dreaming the Future

By Daniel Rigney

Last night I had a dream. I dreamed I fell asleep for six years and woke up in the year 2020 to find a United States and a world perceptibly transformed. Any resemblance between my dream and a dream Washington Irving once had about Rip Van Winkle… Read full post »

JUNE 9, 2014 5:29PM

Climate Haikus

By  Daniel Rigney


Inside the greenhouse

the heat is rising.  Don’t blame

the thermometer.


Ralph Nader was right.

We’ll get solar power when

Big Oil owns the sun.


Is natural gas

a bridge fuel? Or is itRead full post »

JUNE 6, 2014 12:41PM

We Live in a Greenhouse

By Daniel Rigney

We live in a greenhouse. The temperature inside is rising steadily. The thermostat doesn't care.

The greenhouse effect, as you probably know, occurs when  atmospheric concentrations of certain gases (carbon dioxide, methane, etc.) trap the sun’s heat and warm the Earth… Read full post »

JUNE 4, 2014 3:06PM


By Daniel Rigney

In years past, when social surveys asked people to identify themselves, they sometimes did so by asking whether the respondent was an “X” or a “non-X”? For example are you “white” or “non-white”?  A “Christian” or a &… Read full post »

By Daniel Rigney

In my search for signs of hope in the green war on global warming, I’ve come upon several reports of potential breakthroughs in renewable energy that seem to show promise of mitigating climate change significantly.

In this article I want to focus on four proposed… Read full post »

MAY 26, 2014 11:54AM

Inventing Words

By Daniel Rigney

Neologisms are as old as language itself. Every word in the dictionary, including “word” and “dictionary,” was once a new mint. Were it not for our capacity to create new words, we would literally have nothing to say or write to each other. We could not speak… Read full post »

By Daniel Rigney

Modern societies contain within themselves a multitude of  'movements' to nudge the world in one direction or another. I was curious to find out what sorts of self-described social movements are out there now, so I did a quick internet search of the word "movement" with an eye… Read full post »

MAY 21, 2014 4:49PM

The Tea Party and the Teal Party

By Daniel Rigney

Everyone’s heard of the Tea Party. That’s the 21st-century movement with 20th-century Birch Society roots and 19th-century ideas whose followers think we’re still living in the 18th century.

Not so many have heard of the Teal Party, mainly because it doesn’t… Read full post »

By Daniel Rigney

I follow @God on Twitter (no joke). According to @God, “I’m not a parody account. You’re a parody universe.”  

Also according to @God, here are the Five Stages of Global Warming.

1. Denial

2. Guilt

3. Depression

4.… Read full post »

By Daniel Rigney ©2014

This children’s story about climate change is in search of a publisher and illustrator. It offers an honest yet hopeful message to young children about meeting environmental adversity with ingenuity and resilience.

At a more satirical level, it's written for adults… Read full post »

MAY 8, 2014 2:34PM

RepubliCare Is Working!

By Daniel Rigney

I know I speak for several other Democrats when I say we owe Mitt Romney and the conservative Heritage Foundation an apology. RepubliCare, HeritageCare, RomneyCare, ObamaCare, the Affordable Care Act. Call it what you will. It’s working better than that wretched system it repl… Read full post »

By Daniel Rigney

I read in the paper this morning that Dan Shapiro, a successful tech inventor, is now creating low-tech tabletop board games for children – presumably games played in “actual reality” where players sit face to face and talk with each other as they play.

The articl… Read full post »

By Daniel Rigney

As a nontechnical citizen-blogger with growing concerns about climate change, I have my civilian binoculars out for signs of hope on the horizon. I’m especially on the lookout for potential breakthrough projects in the fields of renewable energy and battery storage that show p… Read full post »

APRIL 25, 2014 12:19PM

Bill McKibben Violates Houston Taboo

By Daniel Rigney

Leading international climate activist Bill McKibben is a cofounder of 350.org, an environmental organization that has coordinated thousands of climate demonstrations worldwide. This week he’s in Houston and speaking publicly in flagrant violation of the Houston Taboo.

The… Read full post »

By Daniel Rigney

The Giving Pledge campaign, created in 2010 by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, invites the world’s 1,600 or so billionaires to pledge at least half of their wealth to philanthropies. The campaign’s call to generosity recalls the example of steel baron Andrew Carnegie, a re… Read full post »

By Daniel Rigney

An editorial cartoon by Chan Lowe in the South Florida Sun Sentinel poses the question, “Can corporations have religious beliefs?” The question has arisen recently as companies such as Hobby Lobby have challenged legal provisions in the Affordable Care Act on religious g… Read full post »

APRIL 15, 2014 3:10PM

The Street Poetry of Berkeley

By Daniel Rigney

Free Speech 

I’m reporting to you from the streets of Berkeley, California, a university city that has more than its share of street performers. I wish some of them would come to my own city of Houston as cultural missionaries.

My favorite… Read full post »

APRIL 5, 2014 12:35PM

Fear of the Year Awards, 1999-2013

By Daniel Rigney

We Americans are a deeply fearful people. In a previous post I recalled that when I was young, a Communist was lurking behind every shrub. Later the Communist was supplanted by a black militant, and white people fled to the suburbs. Then it was drugs (as in… Read full post »

By Daniel Rigney

My jaw dropped last Sunday when I visited a church in Houston and heard a frank and scientifically-informed sermon on climate change.This is a rare event in Houston. I’ve lived here nearly four years, and beyond academic circles I’ve rarely heard this disturbing subject… Read full post »

MARCH 21, 2014 12:40PM

News Headlines of 2034

by Daniel Rigney

Imagine the year is 1994.  You open a newspaper and confront these headlines:

Spy Drones Monitor Android Smartphones

You ask yourself, “What in the world is a spy drone? What’s an android? And what’s a smartphone?”


Google Glass StillRead full post »

by Daniel Rigney

News on the statistical front. Americans are no longer 5 percent of the world’s people.

For many years, social statisticians have highlighted the size of the U.S. footprint in the world by noting  that the United States, with only 5 percent of the world’s population… Read full post »

MARCH 17, 2014 12:17PM

Republicans Favor Minimal Wage

by Daniel Rigney

Wealthy conservatives, including Charles Koch, Steve Forbes, and Rupert Murdoch, are standing their ground in opposition to any proposed increase in the federal minimum wage. Indeed, their media  communications suggest that they oppose any minimum wage whatsoever, believing ins… Read full post »

MARCH 14, 2014 6:48PM

Scenes from SXSW

By Daniel Rigney

Austin, Texas has been called the easternmost city in California. I’m here today to enjoy its most celebrated annual event, the South By Southwest film, music and electric culture festival, or SXSW.

sbs keep austin weird

“South By” is putting Austin near the center of the Ame… Read full post »