Today I say goodbye to Lucky Lord Barkeley. A catalog of memories pours through me. His lost spirit hits hard. I don’t like it. A companion is too precious to lose. My eyes well wet. My stomach is sick. Music makes it worse. Busy-ness is a weak salve. I am pain. Love is pain. Mortality sucks. His nightly serenade is lonely now. This creature is missed.
“I regret that my poor choice of words caused some people to understand what I was saying.”
New Yorker’s Christopher Weyant.
So ftrain fixes our communication frailty:
So-called “people” on the Internet are writing about how no one blogs any more.
I am one of these no-ones, by which they mean those of us who used to write things on the Internet and post them to our own servers, but have now instead gone over to decentralized services like Twitter and Tumblr and Facebook, where we spend our time—the diaspora of the alienated transformed by convenience into an aggregation of the aggrieved, or something like that. And they think it’s a shame, and it is a shame.
Tweeting these days.
Check it out here.
We can devise all the clever schemes imaginable to clean up politics and get money out of campaigns, but it won’t work until the American people collectively give up on certain fond illusions:
the Horatio Alger myth, American Exceptionalism, and the whole mass of magical thinking that boils down to the belief that God loves America because we’re so virtuous, handsome, and smart, and that we, too, could win the lottery.
Well, we’re not necessarily any of those things.
The truth is that we lucked into adverse possession of a mostly empty continent in a temperate zone with lots of resources, and straddled east and west by two huge moats. We had firearms and resistance to smallpox, and the original owners didn’t. Virtue had very little to do with it.
And now, thanks to globalization, our original advantages matter less. Go to certain areas of the once-industrial Midwest. Some of the places look like Dresden after the bombing. We are in a tough, competitive global environment, and we simply cannot afford to squander our potential by playing the world’s policeman abroad and running a healthcare/service economy at home where half the population empties the bedpans of the other half. And plutocracy is not a stable political basis for a successful nation-state. As Lincoln said, we must disenthrall ourselves.
“People use drugs, legal and illegal, because their lives are intolerably painful or dull. They hate their work and find no rest in their leisure. They are estranged from their families and their neighbors. It should tell us something that in healthy societies drug use is celebrative, convivial, and occasional, whereas among us it is lonely, shameful, and addictive. We need drugs, apparently, because we have lost each other.” —Wendell Berry
Just 1,082 donors—a group small enough to fit inside a single high school gymnasium—accounted for 94 percent of all individual donations to super-PACs from January 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012. Those 1,082 donors amount to just 0.00035 percent of the US population.
Three years from the economic bottom real business fixed investment is up some 18.0%. About the same as the Clinton years. In contrast, during the so-called ‘Bush Investment Boom’ it was up only 6.9%, or merely a third of Obama’s current rise.
How do Americans spend their money?
And how do budgets change based on income?