Here's a short remembrance, written by a Cherokee woman with a Cherokee
"Down in the edge of the woods a grapevine swings back and forth
in the dappled sunlight. Two squirrels, young ones, spend time swinging on the
vine, chasing each other up and down and crossing from tree to tree. Their
obvious joy in simply being alive is good to watch. We seldom do anything with
I happened on this 1982 review of a biography of P. G. Wodehouse, and I
can't resist believing the reviewer is a hatefully well-bred person.
Prof. Samuel Hynes very incautiously permits himself to label old P. G.
as " . . . the greatest trivial novelist in literary
history . . ."
Is he talking about Sir Pelham Grenville
Wodehouse (1881-1975), the remarkably gabby genius who created Bertie Wooster
Is he talking about the guy who makes us love
the incurably erratic Wooster? who makes
us worshipfully respect the very properly domineering Jeeves who can't hurt a
fly, knows nearly everything and saves Bertie's bacon every time? who makes us stiffen,
suppressing cries of delight, as we absorb the adjectival artistry of the whole
bloody Wooster/Jeeves madhouse?
Hynes goes so far as to declare that Wodehouse "created
a world without real problems and without human depths." If you've read any
of Wodehouse's work, you know that ain't true. There's a bit of Bertie's passion
and despair in all of us, and Jeeves divinely makes it possible for everyone around
him to be human.
There's just one word too many in Hynes' summary
of Sir P. G. Wodehouse: "the greatest trivial novelist."
Not one of those rascally banker
criminals—the ones who caused the 2008 financial meltdown—is going to jail.
JPMorgan is going to pay up because
its employees, and employees of some companies JPM acquired, cheated investors
a few years back. You know that story: the bankers lied about bad loans
included in the mortgage-backed securities they were peddling.
But why aren't the bad guys going
I'm talking about the highly paid top
execs and directors of JPMorgan, who collectively hold less than 1 per cent of
JPM stock, so this penalty isn't going to hurt THEM much.
Sure, $13 billion is a lot of money
to fork over, right?
Well, last year JPMorgan's profit—that's
profit, not revenue—was $94 billion.
JPM's operating profit margin was 38.4%.
That's a really nice profit margin.
Just for reference, your typical funeral home has an operating margin of
Your typical food store has a margin of about 2.3%....
Folks like the ones in top spots at JPMorgan are eating our lunch….metaphorically,
they're killing us….and they're making a
pile of cash doing it.
Global climate change and
global warming are monstrously frightening. It sickens me and saddens me that our
grandchildren are going to live through it….
A few days ago the Los Angeles Times decided to take it to a higher level: LAT editors decided they will no longer publish
letters or comments from those who "deny" man's dangerous impact on climate
change. Editor Paul Thornton wrote:
"…when deciding which
letters should run among hundreds on such weighty matters as climate change, I
must rely on the experts -- in other words, those scientists with advanced
degrees who undertake tedious research and rigorous peer review . . . The
debate right now isn't whether this evidence exists (clearly, it does) but what
this evidence means for us . . . Saying 'there's no sign humans have caused
climate change' is not stating an opinion, it's asserting a factual inaccuracy."
Of course there's still much more
to learn about global climate change, we're far from knowing enough about the details
and understanding the impacts—and certainly reasonable people can and must debate
about what we should do to improve the future for our grandchildren. And of course
it's going to be frighteningly expensive.
So, Congress finally passed a bipartisan budget/debt limit
What a relief! What a horror!
No time now to curse the hateful inability of Congress to
do The People's work.
Let's get back to work.
But here's the deal: the Reid/McConnell deal cost you a
lot, not only in terms of anxiety.
The New York Times very roughly estimates that the two-week
government shutdown, and the self-serving waffling about honoring America's debts
in the world market, and the failure of Congress
to pursue sensible economic policies in recent years, has cost you plenty.
You're paying more for credit card interest, loans and mortgages
because financial markets have been roughed up by Congressional stupidity.
Roughly a million more people would be working now if Congress
had been doing ITS job.
Roughly $400 billion was lost in national economic growth—if
you think of it as every household flushing $3,000 down the toilet, you're on the
Why do we keep re-electing the people who won't do The People's
Suddenly, I want to live in Iceland. At least for a year or so, long enough
to join the crowd and publish my book.
Turns out that 1 of every 10 Icelanders has published a book, it's like
the national hobby or something, the BBC says you shouldn't be surprised if
your tax driver starts quoting his own poetry while he's driving you to your
In Iceland, your grocery store bagger may be mystery writer.
Many folks in Iceland publish their latest tomes at Christmastime, in
some families they take turns, Mom publishes this year, Dad's up next year, the kids are next....
In fact, so many Icelandic authors put their latest oeuvres on the
shelves at Christmastime, there's a word for it in that book-loving little
Some states that eat in the federal
trough, like Wyoming and Arizona, are having a tough time in this hateful
government shutdown that has closed national parks.
National parks are operated with
federal dollars, but they generate tourist revenue that largely goes into state
Now, a piece on DailyKos.com
underlined the obvious: Wyoming and Arizona are "red states"…their
voters went for Romney in the 2012 elections that gave a re-election mandate to
And both Wyoming and Arizona are
among the 32 states that receive more federal benefits per capita than they pay
in federal taxes and fees.
Now, some states are using their own money to re-open national parks
until Congress gets its act together.
But—Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead groused about the park shutdown in his
state, but his spokesman said: “Wyoming cannot bail out the federal government
and we cannot use state money to do the work of the federal government.”
Apparently Mead is OK with the federal government (that is, you and me and all
of us) bailing out the good folks in Arizona every day, every week, year after year….
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer wants to restore her state's tourist revenues
from the Grand Canyon, but she refused to pony up the $112,000 A DAY that the federal government spends to keep Grand
Canyon National Park open. She authorized a partial re-opening, using $93,000
Arizona dollars daily, and her spokesman explained, “The daily cost difference
is enormous, especially without assurances that Arizona will be reimbursed."
Would YOU like a little reimbursement for the piece of YOUR federal income tax
that helps keep the Grand Canyon open to the public?
I want Gov. Brewer to step up to the mike and announce that she's going
to send some of that Grand Canyon tourist revenue to Washington to help pay for
water supply management in Arizona, or something like that….
This kid wants to see the animals. That's why he got all dressed up.
Keeping zoos open isn't the highest
and noblest function of our government….
But this is the hateful, stupid, annoying,
unbelievable, dispiriting kind of fallout we get when our representatives in Washington
play dangerous political games, and leave the rest of us twisting slowly in the
Why do we keep re-electing these people
who won't do The People's business?
Our gerrymandered, corrupted primary election system allows a minority of partisan
ideologues to "pack" the House of Representatives with elected reps
who are beholden to them.
In this clearly written analysis, George Friedman of Stratfor.com
argues that "safely" elected congresspersons are the fundamental
cause of the hateful congressional gridlock and doctrinaire obstructionism
which has led to the current shutdown of American government.
Take a few minutes to read it through. You won't be glad you did, but
you'll be a bit better informed….
Why do we keep re-electing the people who won't do The People's business?
"The Roots of the Government Shutdown" is republished with
permission of STRATFOR.