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Yes, I am still alive.
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I read this oped this morning, and it triggered a cascade of thoughts about the state of America, and where we are heading.

Herbert's lede:
So here we are pouring shiploads of cash into yet another war, this time in Libya, while simultaneously demolishing school budgets, closing libraries, laying off teachers and police officers, and generally letting the bottom fall out of the quality of life here at home.

The plutocrats are taking us down the road to oblivion.
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After reading this, I sent a letter off to my Congresswoman. I also sent a letter to her Chief of Staff, in hopes that it might actually be read.

Update: Wow I received a personal reply from the Chief of Staff, who stated that he shared my email with the Congresswoman, and that he would read the article.

Current Mood: contemplative contemplative

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On a sunny 4th of July morning, my thoughts go to the dark clouds gathering around our land. The confidence and optimism that have been a hallmark of our citizenry are slowly slipping away, replaced by an unspoken fear that things are not right, and may not get better soon.

Americans have traditionally believed that there was no problem that could not be resolved, with just the right focus, resources and "bright minds" to work on it. Think the Manhatten project, or landing on the moon as shining examples of unity of purpose followed by the inevitable victory.

More recently, one might consider the response to the financial crisis that so shook the world in 2007? The response? Throw a trillion dollars at it. Enemies resurgent in foreign lands? Surge another 100,000 troops in.

But things have changed, and the now the problems seem more intractable.

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This journal has been inactive for four years. In that time, my life has changed a lot. A divorce and relocation from Michigan to the mountains of North Carolina, reunion with my close family, a new career, a new house purchase and, of course, a new and unexpected marriage.

It is not how old we are, but rather how far we have traveled.
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Teaching Math In 1950

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit?

Teaching Math In 1960

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or $80. What is his profit?

Teaching Math In 1970

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80. Did he make a profit?

Teaching Math In 1980

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80 and his profit is $20 Your assignment: Underline the number 20.

Teaching Math In 1990

A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he is selfish and inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of animals or the preservation of our woodlands. He does this so he can make a profit of $20. What do you think of this way of making a living? Topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down their homes? (There are no wrong answers.)

Teaching Math In 2005

Un ranchero vende una carretera de madera para $100. La cuesto de su produccion era $80. Cuantas tortillas se puede comprar?
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News story: Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has sent an eighteen-page letter to President Bush. No worD on whether it was hand-written in tiny type, margin to margin, and wrapped in tinfoil.

Herewith are some excerpts.

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Perhaps the funniest piece of writing I have come across in a while.

courtesy James Lileks

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On today's Meet the Press roundtable discussing gasoline prices, Tim Russert, the show's moderator and Washington Bureau Chief for NBC, questioned Energy Secretary Sam Bodman: "Oil demand is up. Supply is down. So why are prices rising?"


watch the monkeys

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seen on a bumper sticker:

"George W. -- We will be forever in his debt."
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In Russia, Vladimir Putin seems to finally understand the importance of telling the truth
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