September 02, 2011

Labor Day

"Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration."

August 31, 2011

Confessions of St. Arpad

Like St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo (354-430), Arpad, the (sort of) Great Pyrenees security chief of Goat Rope Farm, has spiritual struggles of his own.

Just as Augustine, prior to his conversion, prayed for chastity, provided it come at a later date, Arpad has been heard to pray thus:

"Lord, make me a vegan--but not yet!"

UNIONS AND INEQUALITY. When membership in the former goes down, the latter goes up.

ON A RELATED TOPIC, many top CEOs take home more pay than their companies pay in taxes.

AUSTERITY=JOB LOSS. Meanwhile, back in real America, more than 200,000 public sector jobs were lost in 2010.


August 30, 2011

There but for fortune

I've spent a lot of time working over the years to expand access to health care to as many people as possible. As a consumer of the system however, (as recently as yesterday with outpatient knee surgery) I must say that I feel a bit ambivalent about it.

Let me put it this way: I want everyone to have it when they need it--but I hope they don't have any need of it beyond basic wellness and maintenance. Getting caught up in health care treatment at a hospital or other facility can be just as disconcerting and disempowering as getting caught up in any bureaucracy. Still, it's far better than going without care.

My recent experience with knee pain has made me think a lot about the plight of the uninsured, most of whom are working people. For various reasons, including my own tardiness and/or wishful thinking, it took me all summer to get around to surgery.

My problem was pretty small in the grand scheme of things, but still every step was painful, and it also hurt when trying to rest. I had to stop doing a lot of the things I loved doing. God forbid I would stumble on anything or have to turn suddenly or get jerked by a dog on a walk; the pain would be breathtaking. Let's just say it was a drag and that it didn't do a whole lot for my not-always-sunny personality.

My point is this. I'm one of the lucky ones in that my condition wasn't that bad and didn't last that long and I could get it fixed. But many Americans, probably millions, have it much worse every day. The Affordable Care Act, while far from perfect, would go a long way towards changing that for the better. It is sad to think that even now there are lots of people, including major political "leaders" working tirelessly to make sure that won't happen.

ONE MORE THING. I'm not up to scanning for links today, but my thoughts also go out to victims and survivors of the hurricane. We have relatives in Vermont and the scenes from places I know there are very disturbing. While West Virginia's mountains usually protect us from the worst effects of hurricanes, we know a thing or two about devastating floods here too--and wish we didn't.


August 28, 2011


Posts from this blog may be a bit irregular this week. I'm having knee surgery Monday and may be out of it for a while. That might be my excuse, anyhow.

The knee in question has been cranky for a long time but has gotten a lot worse this summer. Every step has been painful. I've had to give up several things I like to do, including jogging, jumping rope, kicking a heavy bag, and sparring in karate.

I mean, jeez, it's been nearly three months since I kicked anybody in the head. I'm going through withdrawal.

The procedure is pretty simple, arthroscopic surgery on an outpatient basis. The only part of it I'm dreading is the wait. I'm not supposed to go in until 1:30 p.m. and have been told not to eat or drink anything after midnight. That wouldn't be so bad were it not for the fact that the instructions perversely include coffee as well. It's gonna be a long morning.

Still, I look forward to having my leg back at some point.

THE DREAM AND THE MONUMENT. Here's an op-ed by a friend of mine on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from someone who knew him.

GOING TO BAT FOR HEALTH CARE REFORM. While we're at it, here's another Gazette op-ed from another friend in defense of the Affordable Care Act.

BAD RIGHT WING IDEA #5857495. Mandatory drug testing for public assistance in Florida hasn't turned up very many users.