Saturday, October 29, 2011


There are two ideas of government.  There are those who believe that if you just legislate to make the well-to-do prosperous, that their prosperity will leak through on those below.  The Democratic idea has been that if you legislate to make the masses prosperous their prosperity will find its way up and through every class that rests upon it.

William Jennings Bryan,  in an address to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, July 9, 1896

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


We forfeit three-fourths of ourselves in order to be like other people.

-- Arthur Schopenhauer, German philosopher (1788-1860)


When I was young, I was amazed at Plutarch's statement that the elder Cato began at the age of eighty to learn Greek.  I am amazed no longer.  Old age is ready to undertake tasks that youth shirked because they would take too long.

--W. Somerset Maugham

Monday, October 24, 2011

Grand Kids

Gracen at 8 mos.

She waves hi.

She thinks she's a big kid because she can crawl into the kitchen.

I went to school lunch today with Hunter.

Class Warfare

Whenever it is suggested that the rich should pay more taxes and share more of the burden of recovering from this deep recession, Republican/Teaparty politicians claim that class warfare is being waged against the rich. My question is: Who is waging this war against them? Is it the middle class? I don’t think so. If the middle class had declared war on the American plutocracy the bankers who ran their businesses into the ground and took the economy with it would be sitting in prison. The politicians who were willing accomplices to the Wall St. miscreants would be sitting in a cell beside them. If the middle class had fought against the corporatocracy they would not have allowed their jobs to be outsourced to other countries.

Class warfare has been a part of American life, especially since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, but it has been waged by the upper classes against the working people. Most readers of this blog can remember a time, just after WWII when the economy was booming. Having a job meant staying with a company for a lifetime and receiving retirement and other benefits. Home ownership was within the grasp of most workers. Automobiles were affordable. A college education was inexpensive. So, what happened? Did the carpenters get too greedy and bring it all down? The teachers, policemen, and factory workers? Did unions get so powerful that they ruined the economy with their demands? During those post war times rich people were taxed at higher rates than they are now, but they were doing well. They certainly weren’t suffering. But, if you are rich enough to buy a congressman or two, you can legislate your way to even greater riches. Financial practices that were banned in the banking reform of the 30’s are once again legal although still just as unethical and immoral.

Corporate and government leaders are now telling us that entitlement programs such Medicare and Social Security have brought us to brink of national bankruptcy. They say it’s necessary to outsource labor to stay competitive in the world market place. Are they telling us the truth?

According to a study done by the Brookings Institution in 2008 the citizens of Canada, France, Germany, Spain, and Australia as well as the Scandinavian countries are living the American dream as Americans are failing in the attempt. What do all these countries have in common? They all have high taxes, universal health care, generous social services and well maintained infrastructures. So I ask this question: Who is waging class warfare against whom?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


I like spring, but it is too young. I like summer, but it is too proud. So I like best of all autumn, because its leaves are a little yellow, its tone mellower, its colours richer, and it is tinged a little with sorrow and a premonition of death. Its golden richness speaks not of the innocence of spring, nor of the power of summer, but of the mellowness and kindly wisdom of approaching age. It knows the limitations of life and is content. From a knowledge of those limitations and its richness of experience emerges a symphony of colours, richer than all, its green speaking of life and strength, its orange speaking of golden content and its purple of resignation and death.

--Lin Yutang

Monday, October 03, 2011

quote of the day

"You know, Paul, Reagan proved that deficits don't matter".

--Dick Cheney (To Paul O'neill  the former Secretary of the Treasury after the Secretary warned the vice president of the danger of running large deficits. Mr. O'neill was fired a month later.)

what I'm reading now

I read Slaughter House Five  a few years ago so I thought I might try Breakfast of Champions.  The reviewers had much praise for this novel, calling Kurt Vonnegut a genius at black humor and satire. I didn't like it. It had enough pull to keep me reading to the end, but I thought the story line was too disconnected. The lives of a car dealer and an unkown author seem destined to cross the same path and that meeting results in utter chaos. That's it.  There's some commentary by the author about pollution, politics, religion and sex, but no cohesive story that takes you for a ride and lets you off at a destination.