Happy Labor Day!

labor  The important thing to remember about Labor Day is that “labor” here does not mean work, it means organized labor, i.e.,  unions.  Labor Day was…well, let Professor Krugman give us a little history lesson:

It wasn’t always about the hot dogs. Originally, believe it or not, Labor Day actually had something to do with showing respect for labor.

Here’s how it happened: In 1894 Pullman workers, facing wage cuts in the wake of a financial crisis, went on strike — and Grover Cleveland deployed 12,000 soldiers to break the union. He succeeded, but using armed force to protect the interests of property was so blatant that even the Gilded Age was shocked. So Congress, in a lame attempt at appeasement, unanimously passed legislation symbolically honoring the nation’s workers.

It’s all hard to imagine now. Not the bit about financial crisis and wage cuts — that’s going on all around us. Not the bit about the state serving the interests of the wealthy — look at who got bailed out, and who didn’t, after our latter-day version of the Panic of 1893. No, what’s unimaginable now is that Congress would unanimously offer even an empty gesture of support for workers’ dignity. For the fact is that many of today’s politicians can’t even bring themselves to fake respect for ordinary working Americans….

(emphasis added).  I know that these days it’s not kewel  to speak well of unions.  And a lot of that of that is labor’s fault – some of them have become bureaucratic, some were taken over by organized crime for their juicy pension funds, but mostly they did not understand the relentless propaganda that the 1% would employ against them and they failed to rebut it.  They assumed, incorrectly it turns out, that reasonable people would ignore the nonsense.  People forgot that their income is my spending, and my income is their spending.  If I (or a bunch of us) stop spending because I’m laid off, or I lose my house, or I’m sequestered, then your income goes down too.  You’re better off when we’re all better off.  Even crusty old arch-conservative Henry Ford understood this.  When confronted by his fellow top hat wearing one-percenters over the $5 a day he paid for his factory workers, he supposedly said:  “I got to pay them $5 a day.  If I don’t, they can’t afford to buy a Ford.”

Back in the 1950′s and 1960′s about 35% of American workers were unionized.  It was not so coincidentally, the peak years of the American middle class. Union membership fell off in the 1980′s and the middle class has been dwindling along with it. The data is clear in these two charts to ruin Labor Day.  Wages as a percentage of GDP (the overall economy) are at an all time low.  Blame it on de-unionization, tax policy, or to a lack of investment of education, but gains in productivity haven’t translated into higher wages.

Here’s some Labor Day music from Irish union thugs Dropkick Murphys:

Kelsey Visit


Kelsey rode down to Va. with me on my way home from a great Michigan trip, primarily to visit mom. And as usual, thanks Amy, Jon, Gary, and Donnie for the hospitality. Sadly, I missed Sharyn who was taking care of her father up around Traverse City. Hope he is doing better.  And I missed Ruth who wasn’t feeling well.  Next time.  Kelsey and I arrived in the Old Dominion (God save it!) Tuesday 7/23, and she flew home Saturday 8/3. We miss her already. Hope she had fun. I know her grandma and I enjoyed her being down here quite a bit. Among lots of other things, we went to GMU and enjoyed the dog and pony show. We went to Rehoboth over the weekend for some beachin’. And as you can see from the picture above, we had dinner with Cammy and Shawn who both coincidentally happened to be in the area. Cammy and Shawn are of course, my favorite children born to friends who live in East Lansing.  It was great spending time with Kelsey and can’t wait to spend time with Austin and Alexis soon.  And in a few years with Dane and Nick, and in a few years after that, with Julian and ????.

Here’s  picture of the three bathing beauties at the beach.  Not to worry, the “no swimming” flag only meant no swimming around the jetty.  There was plenty of swimming in the rest of the ocean. Amanda thought it would be nice to have the flag in the picture.


Happy 7th Birthday Dane, and Happy 13 to Austin and Alexis!


Dane turns 7 today!  Happy birthday Dane!  You know what else happened on June 10?  That’s the day that Ben Franklin flew his kite in a thunderstorm and discovered electricity!  And June 10 is also the birthday of Sasha Obama, the president’s daughter.  So there’s that.  I hope you have a great birthday Dane  and I wish Grandma and I could be there and give you things.




And here’s Dane having fun in the backyard pool.

Austin and Alexis turned 13 years old on June the 6th.  I don’t know of any famous people born June 6, but if I remember my history, June 6, 1944 is the date of the the D-Day invasion of Europe that took place during World War II as Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy, France – See also: Saving Private Ryan.  So there’s that as well.  I’m at work and the only pictures of Austin and Alexis that I have are about 2 years old.  And as we all know, the difference between 11 years old and 13 years old is about 25 years.  But it’s the best I got.  Happy birthday Austin & Alexis!




Beach Season Begins!

Surf's UP!

Surf’s UP!

Brenda and I along with Amanda and her friend Megan, and Gabe, Erin and Julian, and four dogs spent the long Memorial Day weekend at the beach.  And what a weekend it was!  Blue skies, sunny, water the temperature of Scandinavian glacier ice floes.  Perfect!  Here are a few pics – click on a pic to embiggen:




OMG!!1! Baby Deer!

Awww - so cute!

The cuteness is just too much to bear!  This tiny baby deer is sleeping in what used to be my snap peas in the garden.  So two questions:

1. How did baby deer get past my impregnable deer-fence that I put around the garden?

2. How did baby deer get into my fenced-in backyard in the first place?

Brenda thinks that perhaps the deer was born in the pea patch during the big storm we had last night.  That could be, but then where is mama deer?  Out drinking, I suppose.  I think I’ll open the  fence and maybe baby deer will find it’s way home, or perhaps mama will come get it.

Like a little football

RIP Thor

Thor-nick.jpgSadly, Brian’s  wonderful dog Thor, passed away Monday 4/15/13.  Thor was a very loving and very smart dog. Brian and Thor teamed up in Texas soon after Brian got out of the army.    Brian buried him in his back yard in Florida.  Here are a few pictures Brenda had on her computer.  I’ll try to add more this weekend.


Home » RIP Thor » Thor


Pictures of Thor from Brenda's computer


The Now Outdated Pool Video

So, the botnet is still hammering on WordPress websites like this one, all over the world. But my webhost has put in an added layer of security so I can at least post to my own website.  Let me get back to the video I was going to post 10 days ago:  Nick and Dane in the pool.  This is before Gabe, Erin and Julian drove down to visit.  Where are those videos I wonder?   Wait…a beach ball is an indoor toy?  I’m with Dane on this one.  Daddy is just control freakin’. :wink:  So great to see the kids in the pool! Wish your mom and I were back there.

This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

I have this nice You Tube video of Nick and Dane in the pool, but I can’t post it because some jerk is conducting a “brute force attack” on my website in an attempt to hack into it. Consequently, my web host has shut down the admin login page until the stupid is over. I just don’t don’t understand some people…

You may be wondering how I can post this if I can’t login. I’m using an app on an I-Pod Touch. It allows basic posting, but no video. Sorry.

Happy tax day!