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Since I Never Get the Last Word

Thursday, September 8, 2005
Socrates, GW, and Me

31 years ago today Gerald Ford issued Richard Nixon a "full, free and absolute" pardon for any crimes he committed while in office. It cost Gerald Ford his political future while - 26 years later – earning him recognition for his brave action from the John F. Kennedy Library as its awardee for the 2001 Profiules in Courage Award. Had a couple of blogs earlier about what kind of man ought I seek to vote for public office. My answer was and is a “virtuous” man.

Been studying up on Socrates these past few weeks and I understand better now some things that I either never grasped or had forgotten. It seems that recent learning makes me understand that points I have made to GW concerning the existence of ‘truth’ in its own right parallel arguments Socrates attempted to defeat. Kind of disconcerting to think I took sides against the old boy. Even more disconcerting to realize that GW was probably trying to have the same argument with us that Socrates had had with Meno. Most disconcerting of all is that I left the conversation before GW had an opportunity to make his points. Ah, well, I have always been more brash than wise.

One thing seems certain: we recognize virtue after the fact. Makes it difficult to select people to vote for.

Posted by Dan Bieger 2005-09-08 11:27:18

Wednesday, September 7, 2005
Thirty-Seven and Counting

On a day numbered just like today, that many years ago, the Lady Who Shares Her Life With Me committed to doing precisely that while standing at an altar in front of massed family and friends. Today, looking at her, I see the best friend I’ve ever known looking back at me. Together we watched two children reach adulthood, one strong and true and sort of like what we envisioned; one on a path of her own. They both gave us heartaches and worries and hopes and dreams and now they are on their own…as are we.

Thirty-seven years wreaks havoc on bodies. One of us grew fat; one didn’t. One wrinkled; the other not so much. One grayed a whole lot more than the other. What stayed the same is that she takes my breath away every time I see her. She shows me day after day what Rodin tried to show me. He was right, of course, but I had to earn that realization the long way.

She is still working and I am not. The highlight of my day is when she comes through the door at night. I cheer and clap and pour her a glass of wine and we talk about what a great day it has or hasn’t been when what we mean is that we’re happy to be together again.

Posted by Dan Bieger 2005-09-07 15:40:31

Monday, September 5, 2005

As a boy, my family home consisted of mother and father, brothers and sisters, and maternal grandparents living with us. This arrangement lasted for several years. Young as I was, I remember the time fondly but a sister says that this was not necessarily an idyllic time. Older, she probably remembers better than I.

That same sister now lives alone, widowed, children and grandchildren spread across the state. My mother-in-law had been widowed for 25 years before her death. A sister-in-law has now accumulated an equal number of years widowhood. And my brother has been single all his life.

These folk who live alone, inevitably I think, become victims of their own thoughts. They seem to spend the day thinking great thoughts; arguing those thoughts with themselves; achieving astounding insights most sensible to themselves but skewed from folk with more social interactions. I suspect they become blind with their self-involvement because there is no other choice. They have no one to provide them a balancing counter opinion to their wildest imaginings.

The Lady Who Shares Her Life With Me and I have lived alone for seven years now, our last child venturing out into the world to make a life. I suppose that the two of us are similar to those who live isolated lives. We argue ourselves into common positions on the issues of the world and remain content. But, we two, at our advancing age, seem to spend more time finding fault with how things progress then finding time to praise. Neither one of us can envision us living in a retirement community and none of those relatives identified above would consider it for more than the time it takes to reject the notion.

Old people get in ruts. They need young people to jolt them from their tracks, force them to see the world through younger eyes. Son and daughter-in-law provide us much needed counter-views but we see each other for a few days at a time, once a year. Young people need the cautionary tales of experience. Perhaps, we all lost something when multi-generation families no longer live together.

OTOH, I do like our private and serene life style.

Posted by Dan Bieger 2005-09-05 10:06:36

Friday, September 2, 2005
Boren's Guidelines for Bureaucrats

James Boren advised bureaucrats: "When in charge, ponder; when in trouble, delegate; when in doubt; mumble." Some among us might notice a current devotee to this maxim occupying the nation's highest office. On the other hand, some might consider a man not directly involved in the current crisis but smart enough to realize it is everyone's problem:

"Governor Edward G. Rendell today mobilized 2,500 Pennsylvania Army and Air National Guard members to support hurricane disaster relief efforts along the Gulf Coast. Pennsylvania National Guard personnel will begin arriving in the region over the weekend. The mission is expected to last at least 30 days. This is the largest state activation of Pennsylvania National Guard troops since Hurricane Agnes in 1972.
"The governors from the states affected by Hurricane Katrina have asked
for assistance in disaster relief efforts as they begin to recover from this
catastrophic event, and all Pennsylvanians are proud to respond to this call
for help," said Governor Rendell."

Posted by Dan Bieger 2005-09-02 10:23:38

Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Dear George

Now that you cut your vacation short, here are a few items for your Things-To-Do-List:

Get the Experts Together To:

Food: Since a sizeable segment of the market and consequently a sizable segment of the profits to be made from food sales in the LA-AL-MS area has been erased, seek cooperation from the food producers to supply food at government guaranteed half-price. Establish credit for all people in the affected areas to be paid back at rates to be determined. Use the National Guard, Reserves and active duty military to initially distribute but request the food producers/deliverers re-establish their distribution systems ASAP.

Water: Establish water distribution points converting everything usuable to water distillation burning all the consumable trash to distill water. There’s lots of water there, find ways to make it potable.

Shelter: Establish a CCC to begin clearing the land and initiating construction. Priority goes to current useable high rises to house multiple family units during the interim. Have less than 90 days tioll winter comes.

Waste Disposal: #1 priority for CCC is to establish waste disposal system to prevent spread of disease and harm to land.

Civil Order: Shoot on sight gangs of looters. Take very seriously the idea that anyone not helping to make things better is making things worse and we don’t need them.

Disaster Recover: Establish list of required services and prioritize by greatest good for greatest number. Enlist the people of the United States to assist in the work. Since the economic fallout cannot be limited to just the disaster area, it is everyone’s problem; get everyone involved.

Posted by Dan Bieger 2005-08-31 17:03:16

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