just another ex-jazz-musician/proto-rapper/Jersey-Irish-poet-actor/print-junkie/film-raptor/beat-hipster-"white Negro"-rhapsodizer/ex-hippie-punk-'60s-radical-organizer's take on all things cultural, political, spiritual & aggrandizing
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
LONG QUOTE FOR THESE DAYS
"By the time the flames reached their height, the arsonists had slunk off, and only the firemen were left for people to take out their ire on. The result is a kind of political cognitive dissonance. Frightened by joblessness, “the American people” rewarded the party that not only opposed the stimulus but also blocked the extension of unemployment benefits. Alarmed by a ballooning national debt, they rewarded the party that not only transformed budget surpluses into budget deficits but also proposes to inflate the debt by hundreds of billions with a permanent tax cut for the least needy two per cent. Frustrated by what they see as inaction, they rewarded the party that not only fought every effort to mitigate the crisis but also forced the watering down of whatever it couldn’t block.
Part of the Democrats’ political problem is that their defense, confusingly, depends on counterfactuals (without the actions they took in the face of fierce Republican opposition, the great slump would have metastasized into a Great Depression), deferred gratification (the health-care law’s benefits do not kick in fully until 2014), and counterintuitive propositions (the same hard times that force ordinary citizens to spend less money oblige the government—whose income, like theirs, is falling—to spend more). Another part of the problem, it must be said, is public ignorance. An illuminating Bloomberg poll, taken the week before the election, found that some two-thirds of likely voters believed that, under Obama and the Democrats, middle-class taxes have gone up, the economy has shrunk, and the billions lent to banks under the Troubled Asset Relief Program are gone, never to be recovered. One might add to that list the public’s apparent conviction that illegal immigration is skyrocketing and that the health-care law will drive the deficit higher. Reality tells a different story. For ninety-five per cent of us, taxes are actually lower, cut by around four hundred dollars a year for individuals and twice that for families. (The stimulus provided other tax cuts for people of modest means, including a break for college tuition.) The economy has been growing, however feebly, for five straight quarters. Most of the TARP loans have been repaid and the rest soon will be, plus a modest profit for the Treasury. And the number of illegal immigrants fell by close to a million last year, thanks in part to more energetic border enforcement. The health-care law, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says, will bring the deficit down." —Henrick Hertzberg
[Read more of this terrific analysis of the recent election in the whole New Yorker "Talk of the Town" piece from the Nov. 15th issue here.]
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I'll be taking part in my friend Rachel Diken's inaugural New York poetry reading in the Acidic Ghost Spectral Reading Series on Saturday, January 28th, 6PM, at Studio 26 gallery, 179 East 3rd Street, NYC.
I'll be speaking, and reading from some of my books, at a Faith+Works "spiritual reflections and delicious refreshments" gathering, on the theme of how I had an unexpected spiritual awakening while living and working in Hollywood, in the TV and movie business, Sunday, February 26th, from 5-7PM, at The Unitarian Universalist Church, 35 Cleveland Street, Orange NJ.
I'll be reading my poetry, and responding to interview questions from David Lehman, and the audience at The New School Poetry Forum, April 25th, 6:30PM, Room 510, 66 West 12th Street, NYC, all welcome.
CLICK ON IMAGES BELOW FOR LINK TO ORDER (OR EMAIL ME FOR A SIGNED COPY)
THE VILLAGE SONNETS
IT TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE
IT'S NOT NOSTALGIA
2000 American Book Award winner
MARCH 18, 2003
WHAT YOU FIND THERE
CANT BE WRONG
1997 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award "for Excellence in Literature"
ROCKY DIES YELLOW
CATCH MY BREATH
recordings of my reading from some of the books above