Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Archive for the tag “deficit”

Presidential Jabber – Roger Ingalls

The campaigning season is upon us and the air is abuzz with comedic babble. In this spirit, I’d like to share a few of my favorite political quotes; some witty and funny but others just ooze stupidity.

”You know nothing for sure…except the fact that you know nothing for sure.” —President John Kennedy

”If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?” —Abraham Lincoln

”Did you ever think that making a speech on economics is a lot like pissing down your leg? It seems hot to you, but it never does to anyone else.” —Lyndon Johnson

”My fellow Americans. I’m pleased to announce that I’ve signed legislation outlawing the Soviet Union. We begin bombing in five minutes.”—Ronald Reagan

”I am not worried about the deficit. It is big enough to take care of itself.” —Ronald Reagan

”Once you leave the womb, conservatives don’t care about you until you reach military age. Then you’re just what they’re looking for.” —George Carlin

”Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies.”—Groucho Marx

”My esteem in this country has gone up substantially. It is very nice now when people wave at me, they use all their fingers.”—President Jimmy Carter

”Politics is supposed to be the second-oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.”—Ronald Reagan

”A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward.”—President Franklin Roosevelt

”Everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke.”—Will Rogers

”I love California, I practically grew up in Phoenix.”—Dan Quayle

”We do know of certain knowledge that he [Osama Bin Laden] is either in Afghanistan, or in some other country, or dead.” —former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld

”Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.” —President George W. Bush

”We know there are known knowns: there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns: that is to say we know there are things we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know.” —Donald Rumsfeld

”Rarely is the questioned asked: Is our children learning?” —George W. Bush

There’s a million of them; we could go on for days. Let’s close this out with a quote by Mark Twain that accurately describes todays Senators and House of Representatives, ”Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”

A Free Way To Support Public Libraries

If you have been donating books in bins that are popping up around California, you might discover that some of these books are being sold for profit. Berkeleyside ran a great article on this so I don’t want to repeat the story. Below is one quote to give you a flavor.

A donation bin outside Andronicos.

“They’re not being straightforward,” said Diane Davenport, president of Friends of the Berkeley Public Library. “TRM made $26 million last year from books that they’d gotten out of these blue bins.”

Ms. Davenport is worried that people could be donating books that are of a quality to resell to the Friends of the Public Libraries. Now I love the Berkeley Public Libraries and my family are avid users. I often remind my family that this is not a free service, but one we pay for out of our taxes.

I want to educate my children about the positive aspects of paying our taxes. I hate tax-dodgers as you well know from this blog. I can’t help feeling that if people paid their share (companies too), we might not even have a deficit, or even a recession (yeah I can’t prove this).

However, I am not against finding ways to lower our taxes without compromising key services. If we can find creative ways to finance such services, why not? According to Ms. Davenport, last year the Friends raised $128,000 for the Berkeley Public Libraries  through sales of books in their little stores.

“We depend on donations of salable books,” said Sayre Van Young, a volunteer with the Friends. “If people want to stick their 1983 encyclopedia in those damn blue bins, that’s okay.”

Almost 2/3 of donated books are not in a condition to sell and these are either given away for free or donated to  the non-profit DR3 recycling program run by St. Vincent de Paul. 

So if you enjoy the library as I do, I want to suggest two things:

1) next time you are at the library or near their store off Telegraph, pop in and buy a couple of books.

2) look for a couple of books that you have at home that are in good condition to donate, so that the Friends can help finance our excellent libraries.

Libraries are more than just book lenders

I believe the role of the library is even more important during an economic recession. I see people using the computers and Internet access to apply for jobs. I see children gaining a love for literature and this can’t be bad for the world (or specifically authors!) I am on the road right now, but pledge to donate three books that are collecting dust on my bookshelves when I return.

How about you?

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Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com/and on Twitter (#alonshalevsf).

Bipartisan Rant: Thank You, I’m Not Alone (by Roger Ingalls)

Often, my head and heart burn with frustration when I can’t find the words or intensity to express myself. Like many people, I have complex thoughts, little spare time and no soapbox to pair vocal-passion with words.

Every once in awhile someone comes along and says exactly what I want to scream to the world. This gift was given to me on Tuesday. My eyes teared-up as I said to myself, “thank you…I’m not alone”.

In a rare bipartisan rant, Dylan Ratigan let all sides have it during his MSNBC show.

I implore you – the readers of this post – to watch this four minute video. It will make you smarter and hopefully move you.

This is the shortest post I’ve written, I can’t add anything to what Dylan Ratigan said. Every point he made was a homerun.

I take solace knowing others see the world as I do and, oddly, it’s comforting to see the growing frustration. Frustration will eventually lead to action.

A change is gonna come!


Roger Ingalls is well travelled and has seen the good and bad of many foreign governments. He hopes his blogging will encourage readers to think more deeply about the American political system and its impact on US citizens and the international community.

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