Rummaging through Depression-era photos at Library of Congress, I came across some
I’d seen before, taken by Russell Lee for the Farm Security Administration in the ’30-40s.
Continue reading Cockleburs and Callings
…to six inches of topsoil and the fact that it rains.
I have PC software that makes any image into a puzzle, and I enjoy putting them together in idle moments. One photo I’m particularly fond of depicts the ruins of what was once an elaborate castle perched on the side of a mountain in France. Another favorite puzzle is the Western Wall in Jerusalem, with blocks of stone weighing up to 30 tons. It boggles my mind to contemplate the sheer physical effort required to build these structures, the power of men and animals dedicated to such work; the logistics of supplying the workers who quarried the stones, those who transported them, those who put them in place, the men and women patiently cultivating the food that sustained them. And it is with a sense of unease that I contemplate the power wielded by those in command, those who could order the building of castle, temple and Great Wall, of skyscrapers, cities and empires. Continue reading We owe it all
To the Thunder On The Right, from Trump to Cruz to your run-of-the-mill fundamentalist bigot, we can add the Cheering On The Left as BernieFans engage in their Mutual Admiration Society. With all that noise, it’s difficult to simply contemplate where we are, where we’re headed, where we should be headed and how to get there. Continue reading Götterdämmerung: Reboot
The Spectator interviews Michael Lewis on the 2008 financial crisis.
The author of The Big Short weighs in:
“Not nearly enough has been done — the regulatory response has been totally inadequate. The big banks have blocked serious reforms, meddling in the process so incentives haven’t changed enough to attack the heart of the problem — which is why it could happen again.”
“We still have the same short-term-oriented compensation, the same big bonuses at year-end…”
“I’ve never gotten over the feeling when I learnt Goldman Sachs had designed securities that would fail, so they could then short them.”
“The 1997 repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act was part of the problem  but it goes back even before that. The earlier transformation of investment banks into public corporations was a big mistake — with bankers using shareholders’ money to bet, rather than their own.”
“It isn’t just the big campaign contributions. Anyone at the table talking about financial reform is a potential hire and likely to end up working in the financial sector for huge sums, so they get captured.”
Maurice Walsh – Nobody writes English like the Irish
The Quiet Man – more than just the movie
Trouble In The Glen
The Small Dark Man
The Key Above The Door
John Masters – Superb trilogy of the Great War
Now God Be Thanked
Heart Of War
In The Green Of The Spring
Continue reading Reading List for 2015
In the long run, all that will remain of most of us will be whatever memories accrue among those we leave behind. When they are gone, so are we. Few will make the pages of the NYT, but some people deserve a wider remembrance than just family and friends. Continue reading Kenneth Aran: 1922-2015
Being the first in a planned Twilight series of observations and ruminations on the state of the world and its denizens, past, present and future.
Return On Investment: As ye sow, so shall ye reap.
When I was a teenager, I drove a 1924 Star. It rattled, creaked, squeaked, clinked, clanked, banged, jangled, clattered and protested mightily when called upon to actually move, but it did get me to school and an occasional jaunt into the countryside. We had to scrounge up old tires and spare parts, even machining some pieces in shop class, since Durant Motors was long out of business. Keeping it on the road became increasingly difficult and complicated. I finally decided it wasn’t worth the time, money and cussing. It might have had some value to an antique auto collector, but it had a negative ROI as a useful means of transportation. As I look around, a great deal of what I see reminds me of that old car.
There are a lot of individual pieces that need to work together. And they aren’t.
Continue reading Götterdämmerung: – Noises Off
It is with great pleasure and satisfaction that I take keyboard in hand to inform the world that The Agonist has a New Editor-In-Chief! Continue reading Deja Vu Redux