DETAILED CONTENTS OF THIS BLOG

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OTHER TIMES

Thoughts from Long Ago
I. Quintus Horatius Flaccus, 65 to 8 BC (temporarily  withdrawn)
II. Marcus Tullius Cicero, 106 to 43 BC

Working Class Hero (my father), 1884-1954
I. Jim’s education
II. The price of progress
III. Jim in Argentina
IV. A devoted father

Childhood in Wheeling, 1930s
Introduction
I. Hairstyles for a young man
II. The river
III. Laundry days
IV. Summer evenings
V. The Island in winter
VI. Epilogue: After Wheeling Revised

TRAVEL ADVENTURES

Alaska, 1952
A restless glacier
Project soda straw

Nevada, 1955
Atomic testing

Svalbard, 1955
Arriving in style: West Germany
Arctic hunting: Svalbard
Bear Island, Svalbard
Spy ship

A Vietnam experience, 1966
The preliminaries
The main event
Letters from the front

Iran, 1967
I. Welcome to Bandar Abbas
II. Kerman

Alaska, 1977
An Alaskan post script

ARTS AND CRAFTS 

Enamel and metal arts
I. World askew
II. Healing fragrance
III. Alpha and omega
IV. Scorpion fish
V. Moon checkers
VI. Working with metals
VII. Long interest, short career
VIII. Design with nature: Birds
IX. High-firing experiments
X. More boxes, dishes, and mementos
XI. Design with nature: Fish and shellfish
XII. Design with nature: Flowers and butterflies
XIII. Design with nature: MORE birds
XIV. Grand finale

POLITICS

My introduction to politics

Published letters 
Capital, labor, and government create wealth
Education under attack
Another view of Obama’s policy (Syria)
Civics 101: Continuing resolutions
Environment work by Nixon … Reagan
… about Titanic survival
Press freedom and the Daily Progress
Tate misses the point (Republican legacy)
Logic should drive pipeline debate
Communication … needed during pipeline debate
Is armor-piercing ammunition needed?
Finding a balance on the Second Amendment
Quinn’s letter off base (support of Republicans)
Something to consider (response to ISIS)

BOOKS PUBLISHED

Once upon a blog (temporarily withdrawn)
Vietnam ‘66
Enamel art: An appreciation

OTHER TOPICS

Hospital care: A caution
A historic letter
A personal note: My dear son Philip

My Introduction to Politics

After retiring from the Civil Service, where my political activity was restricted, I continued for some years to have only a limited interest in politics. Most of the professionals in that field seemed unimpressive, and some downright lacking in integrity.  So I chose to give little attention while they went on doing their thing.

That changed during the presidency of Ronald Reagan. For the first time it became clear to me just how much damage the politicians were doing to people’s lives and welfare.  I didn’t use such a sharp term as class warfare, but I saw a growing suppression of the middle class under the policies of Reagan and his Republican successors.

The labor unions were weakened. Sharp limitations were put on governmental benefits – through lids placed on the existing benefits, proposals for privatization, and sharp opposition against new benefits.  A combination of technological advances and forced gains in productivity managed to reduce available jobs and to cap the growth of wages beneath the growth of inflation. The previously strong influence of Corporate America in politics has been expanded enormously.

To me, these developments were directly related to our lingering economic problems involving unemployment, declining tax revenues, and growing national debt. The reduced purchasing power of the middle class reduced demand for domestic products and services, from which the other problems were spawned.

Since the 1970s, I have never voted Republican, because I realize that their policies are against my interests as a member of the middle class. Unfortunately, many of my class continued voting Republican because they supported that party’s “cultural warfare” on such issues as abortion, gay rights, tax reform, climate change, and immigration.  This was warfare in name only, but it was an effective bait for voters.  The groups under Republican attack have consistently gained ground.  Middle-class Republican supporters were not only deceived about the warfare, but they have also seen their own economic situation shrink under Republican policies.

Business interests have repeatedly claimed that the solution to our economic problems is to get government out of the way and to minimize labor costs. They say that only capital can create wealth. This gave rise to my first published political utterance, a letter to the editor titled Capital, Labor, and Government Create Wealth.  Writings such as this became easier once the feet were first wetted.  And so, over the following years, I wrote more letters as more issues came into view.  Only those letters that met the test of publication have been featured in this blog.

I believe these political issues are so serious that I cannot simply rest after voting. I feel a further need to apply my skills as best I can, and to date this has been through writing and publication.