Sunday, November 19, 2017
I'm an old man, now, a "disabled veteran" of the soi-disant "Sexual Revolution." "My friends are gone and my hair is gray, and I ache in the places where I used to play," reported the late poet Leonard Cohen, in the 80s.
I was not an unattractive fellow in my youth and I had some severtal occasion to engage in juvenile, youthful, sexual teasing with a fair number of young women in the 60s and 70s. As honestly as I can recall, I have only ever forced my attentions on one girl who said "no."
I was mebbe 17 or 18. I did not rape the girl, but I think I tried to. She didn't report it. I am sad to recall it. With that exception, I do believe I never inserted any part or member of my anatomy where it was not being warmly welcomed by my partner(s).
My "jobs" almost never gave me power. I was never anybody's boss. I had sex with willing co-workers when I could, but there no rank/power issues at those levels. I flirted with bar-maids and took some home, or they took me. I only paid a prostitute once, in Dusseldorf, auf den Altenstadt, in 1966...I was pretty catholic in my taste in sexual adventures: If you wanted me, I wanted you. It worked for me.
I can recall only one occasion when I was ever obviously presented the opportunity possibly to extort sexual favors from a visible, obvious power differential: When I was a professor and a pretty, female student offered me sex in my office if I'd give her a C, so she wouldn't be expelled from her sorority. I refused as gracefully as ever possible.
I have known other members of the professoriate who didn't or wouldn't have...It didn't seem worth the risk, to me.
As a geezer, I AM an encorrigible pedant, and might easily be accused of the offense of unnecessary or excessive man-splaining.
I also have a loud voice and a commanding presence.
I don't suffer fools of any gender.
Monday, November 13, 2017
Copied whole from Wikipedia, which I support with a small, annual donation:
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.
Humorist Will Rogers jokingly advised in a column in 1932:
This election was lost four and six years ago, not this year. They [Republicans] didn’t start thinking of the old common fellow till just as they started out on the election tour. The money was all appropriated for the top in the hopes that it would trickle down to the needy. Mr. Hoover was an engineer. He knew that water trickles down. Put it uphill and let it go and it will reach the driest little spot. But he didn’t know that money trickled up. Give it to the people at the bottom and the people at the top will have it before night, anyhow. But it will at least have passed through the poor fellows hands. They saved the big banks, but the little ones went up the flue.
(Subequently) Will Rogers referred to the theory that cutting taxes for higher earners and businesses was a "trickle down" policy, a term that has stuck over the years.
Presidential speech writer Samuel Rosenman wrote of
the philosophy that had prevailed in Washington since 1921, that the object of government was to provide prosperity for those who lived and worked at the top of the economic pyramid, in the belief that prosperity would trickle down to the bottom of the heap and benefit all.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary notes that the first known use of trickle-down as an adjective meaning "relating to or working on the principle of trickle-down theory" was in 1944, while the first known use of trickle-down theory was in 1954.
After leaving the Presidency, Lyndon B. Johnson, a Democrat, alleged "Republicans [...] simply don't know how to manage the economy. They're so busy operating the trickle-down theory, giving the richest corporations the biggest break, that the whole thing goes to hell in a handbasket."
Speaking on the Senate floor in 1992, Sen. Hank Brown (R-Colorado) said, "Mr. President, the trickle-down theory attributed to the Republican Party has never been articulated by President Reagan and has never been articulated by President Bush and has never been advocated by either one of them. One might argue whether trickle down makes any sense or not. To attribute to people who have advocated the opposite in policies is not only inaccurate but poisons the debate on public issues."
The economist John Kenneth Galbraith noted that "trickle-down economics" had been tried before in the United States in the 1890s under the name "horse and sparrow theory." He wrote,
"Mr. David Stockman has said that supply-side economics was merely a cover for the trickle-down approach to economic policy—what an older and less elegant generation called the horse-and-sparrow theory: 'If you feed the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows.'"
Galbraith claimed that the horse and sparrow theory was partly to blame for the Panic of 1896. In the 1992 presidential election, Independent candidate Ross Perot called trickle-down economics "political voodoo." In the same election during a presidential town hall debate, Bill Clinton said,
"What I want you to understand is the national debt is not the only cause of [declining economic conditions in America]. It is because America has not invested in its people. It is because we have not grown. It is because we’ve had 12 years of trickle-down economics. We’ve gone from first to twelfth in the world in wages. We’ve had four years where we’ve produced no private-sector jobs. Most people are working harder for less money than they were making 10 years ago."
In New Zealand, Labour Party MP Damien O'Connor has, in the Labour Party campaign launch video for the 2011 general election, called trickle-down economics "the rich pissing on the poor".
A 2012 study by the Tax Justice Network indicates that wealth of the super-rich does not trickle down to improve the economy, but tends to be amassed and sheltered in tax havens with a negative effect on the tax bases of the home economy.
In 2013, Pope Francis referred to trickle-down theories (plural) in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium with the statement (No.54)
"Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system."
A 2015 paper by researchers for the International Monetary Fund argues that there is no trickle-down effect as the rich get richer:
[I]f the income share of the top 20 percent (the rich) increases, then GDP growth actually declines over the medium term, suggesting that the benefits do not trickle down. In contrast, an increase in the income share of the bottom 20 percent (the poor) is associated with higher GDP growth.
A 2015 report on policy by economist Pavlina R. Tcherneva described the failings of increasing economic gains of the rich without commensurate participation by the working and middle classes, referring to the problematic policies as, "Reagan-style trickle-down economics," and "a trickle-down, financial-sector-driven policy regime."
In 2016 US presidential candidates debate, Hillary Clinton accused Donald Trump of supporting the "most extreme" version of trickle-down economics with his tax plan, calling it "trumped-up trickle-down" as a pun on his name.
Saturday, November 11, 2017
"Hello Washington? I would like people to stop being shot, and maybe from shooting ME. Can we have tighter gun regulations, or something? Anything?"
Washington: "No, this is a mental health issue."
"Oh, Ok. Can we have access to mental health care?"
Washington: No, health care is a privilege, not a right.
"OK. Can we raise the minimum wage so I can have the ability to buy health care?"
Washington: No. LABOR is the greatest business expense. Minimal wages are necessary to stabilize business, discipline the workforce and stimulate the economy.
"Ok, can I have a tax break that cuts my taxes so I'll have more money to buy health insurance?"
Washington: No, we need to give all the tax breaks to the top that will trickle down so they'll provide jobs that you'll earn money at, which will then pay for their tax breaks.
"Ok. Can we have a public option to at least make health insurance companies compete and lower the cost of care?
Washington: No, that's "Socialism," which is bad and anti-American.
"Ok. Well then what DO my taxes buy for me?"
Washington: Here's some thoughts and prayers.
(Ed. Note: I copied much of the text from a facebook post, edited and enhanced it.)
Wednesday, November 1, 2017
Today, Nov. 1, in the Roman Catholic ecclesiatical calendar, is "All Souls' Day," the antithesis of "Hallowe'en," the night before, when the unquiet dead are said to move about.
"All Saints' Day" celebrates the quiescent, honored departed, who gained Heaven on the first try.. There are literally uncounted/ uncountable THOUSANDS of them, many martyred, all of whom come in for hagiographic attention on All Souls' Day.
It's also the anniversary of the first time, of many, I was ever sent home from school.
In Cleveland, OH, in the suburbs of which I grew up in the '50s, to act as a counterpoise to all the "Hallowe'en" mischief, children in Roman Catholic/parochial schools were encouraged to attend school on Nov. 1 costumed as either their favorite, or their namesake, "Saint." In my case, there are LOTS of "Saints John": Chrysostom; Damascene, Revelator, the Baptist, etc. There are literally scores of 'em. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_John)
But my "patron Saint" was/is "John, the Baptist," who was martyred by being decapitated at the whim of the Babylonian whore, Salome. So, that year ('55? 56?), my father--who had a mordant sense of humor to go along with an agnostic sensibility--decided to send me to school as St. John, the Baptist's HEAD.
To prepare the illusion, he made a platter from a large, aluminum pie baking dish, by cutting out a hole in it for my head, slipped it around my neck (after dulling the edges), wrapped the rest of me in a "blood-stained" sheet, and off I went.
And back I came.
With a harsh note from the parish priest about blasphemy.
My school desisted from that "All Souls'" practice, thereafter.
Wednesday, October 18, 2017
It is both mildly astonishing as well as seriously gratifying to witness the change that's come over Mr. Smokes since Mz.Tasha has joined the pack almost three weeks ago. It is the difference between his former lethargic, indolent disinterest to his present state of interested activity and engagement. And it happened virtually overnight!
It's good to have a gal around the house.
Smoky's whole attitude and demeanor has changed. He's more active, more interested, more familiar, more seeking of attention, even affection. He has now begun to disengage from his lair in the library, where he took up residence when he moved in about 10 mos. ago. He sometimes follows me from the library to the office.He prowls the house both day and night (as much as his weary, worn hind-legs will let him; believe me, I sympathize), and even spends time outside in the sun. At periods during the day, he'll come over to the edge of my office-space and plop down for a nap or a thoughtful bone-chew. And this occurs both because and inspite of the fact that Mz. Tasha is napping or noodling on a mat three feet away.
At night, he's learned if he comes to my bedroom door and shakes the collar-bell he wears, I'll get up and let him out. But he's a pragmatist in such matters: if 1) the door's open, or 2) I'll get up, he'll resist for a moment the call of nature. But if the door's not open, and/or If I don't let him out, hell, it's not HIS fault. He's not the one with the thumbs.
He's also more interested in receiving attention from me: he's got a prominent, sagital crest, which he's learning he enjoys having rubbed, along with those perennial favorites, the chest and the base of the tail. He enjoys spinal palpations, too, right along the bony ol' ribs--ribs which have regained some, but not a lot, of flesh. With serious arthritis, it's important that he not get heavy.
It's all changes I could not have foreseen, although it is very heartening and satisfying and was always to be wished for. Tasha is is just what the Dr. ordered: a bright, lively, funny, active, friendly, loving dog-sprite, energetic, affectionate and attentive. They haven't exactly played, yet. But I sense it's coming.
She's teaching him to "dog"; she's a natural instructor and he's a pupil whose interest is growing daily. He emerges from his den and wants to join the proceedings.
I am beginning to think I may even see Smoky wag his tail.
I spend my time tending to their needs: It really is plenty to live for...
Monday, October 16, 2017
Re: Abuse of power.
This was going around on F-Book:
If all the people who have been sexually harassed or assaulted (and can participate without risking additional physical or emotional harm to themselves) wrote "Me too" as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.Please copy/paste.I was trying to figure out how to discuss it.
As a White male born in 1946 to semi-affluent parents, in Chicago, I was a natural-born asswhole. I've been a part of the problem, though not actively for many years. I was imbued with both racial and gendered perquisites from birth, tho' such privilege was so ubiquitous as to be all-but-invisible from the inside, as water to a fish.
As such, I cannot imagine that I did NOT, somewhere, almost inevitably, inflict injury or injustice on someone, either on my own behalf or at the behest of others. But I was never in any position to "extort" physical "favors." I cannot recall any instances when I inflicted any suffering that was not also related to changing conditions in romantic/intimate interests or relations...It may be that that's because I never had any power to abuse, though I hope not.
There was one time: the only time I was ever in a position to have possibly committed conscious abuses of such meager power as I had was during my tenure in the Academy. I was aware of colleagues who apparently were not immune to or scrupulous about the exploitative possibilities of their power and abused it. In my whole career, I had only one occasion when such temptation could have eventuated. I'm proud to say, I acquitted myself therewith, with both honor and humor.
So, to the question: how can men say #MeToo?
Own your past, admit it, and let your admission be apology, too:
(...But I got better...)
Sunday, October 8, 2017
My ENTIRE childhood was spent in the shadow of the threat of nuclear annihilation and global destruction. It's of interest, even amusing, now to regard and recall the efforts that were made to "normalize" the trauma.
"Hey, kids! Yer gonna get vaporized.!!! YAY !!! Here's a cute, little, animated jingle about it! YAY!!!!!"
It's a modern wonder and a tribute to anti-psychotic drugs that more people born after 1946 but before 1970 haven't gone all "Mandalay Bay!"
The part I remember best was in 3rd grade, when the sirens shrieked, scrambling under our desks and huddling there with text-books tented over our heads, and me checking out Connie Burke's panties, which the floor-crouch so thoughtfully revealed as she huddled under her desk in her plaid, uniform-skirt in the row in front of me.