Seventy-Nine Years of Social Security

August 14, 2014

Perhaps the most successful social welfare program ever. For millions of Americans, it’s also absolutely essential.

The first recipient was a Vermonter, Ida May Fuller.


Fifty-eight million Americans, roughly one in five, depend on a Social Security benefit, either retirement or disability.

The Right has tried several times to undercut or privatize the program, to politically disastrous results. While the program is never completely safe from attack, it’s encouragingly ironic that, these days, there’s even serious discussion about expansion.



The Yellow Brick Road Has Been Going for 75 Years

August 12, 2014

For some odd reason, Warner Bros. decided to premier “The Wizard of Oz,” which became one of the most iconic movies of all time, in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. From there, it practically took over the world. I remember it showing on television every year around Easter when I was growing up.

Margaret Hamilton is still my favorite character. Her character was brilliantly reprised and revised by Idina Menzel for the Broadway musical “Wicked.”



Thank you, Jerry

August 9, 2014


Your silvery guitar, your deep-down-in-America-and-high-as-the-sky vision, and your grace light the way still.

Love and Peace.


August 9, 1974

August 9, 2014


He said he wasn’t a crook and wasn’t a quitter. He was both. He was a corrupt little cheap-shot artist and, had he been able to cover his inner viciousness as well as Ronald Reagan could, he might have done even greater damage. He was a dark, troubled, occasionally brilliant, petty and essentially dishonest man whose ambition overcame him. In the fashion of classic tragedy, the seeds of his destruction were sown mere months before he reached the pinnacle of power with a landslide victory in 1972. Of course, a good dramatist – or a good psychologist – might posit those seeds were congenital.

The Democrats, for their part, were handed an historic opportunity to right the nation, but they put it in the hands of a bumbling moderate, Jimmy Carter, who opened the door for the right-wing counterrevolution only six years after Nixon was driven from office, and the results still plague us today.

Hunter Thompson wrote that Nixon’s downfall was less the good guys winning than the bad guys losing, and he was right. Moreover, they recovered quickly, and they’ve had their hands on the tiller of the ship of state more or less constantly ever since.


Slate Celebrates Dancer Misty Copeland

August 6, 2014

She has quite a story.


Late Night Listening with Jerry Garcia

August 1, 2014

And Happy Birthday to a great musician. Thanks, Jerry, for everything.

The famous Rolling Stone interview.