the public trough

I recently attended a rally protesting cuts to health care for the mentally ill here in Sacramento. The Sacramento Bee covered the rally, and one of the first user comments on the web page accused the protesters of “feeding at the public trough.” At first I was indignant but, you know, I can understand the reader’s anger and frustration. Looking through the short article, several interesting facts emerge. Please try to bear with me as I attempt some arithmetic:

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An Open Letter to 21st Century Insurance

Note: this page was attacked and defaced by a “reputation service.” This is restored from a version saved by The Internet Archive, so not all of the links work correctly.

Sigh. I’d been a happy customer of 21st Century Insurance (now apparently known as AIG Direct) for close to two decades, since back when they were “20th Century Insurance.” Lately, though, they’ve gone down the tubes. I’ve referred friends to Twenty-First Century who have recently reported that their customer service has become simply awful. Why do companies that spend time and money building up a reputation for good customer relations to suddenly decide to go bad? To make a quick buck, I guess.

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Every gun that is made…

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children… This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.”

Dwight D. Eisenhower, From a speech before the American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 16, 1953

Metering Trees

Crews are busy all around Sacramento County, digging and plumbing, installing water meters. Like many transplants from elsewhere in California, where every decade or so brings water shortages and threats of rationing, I was appalled that California’s state capital had a law prohibiting the use of water meters on noncommercial property. What’s up with that? Another perquisite the fatcat Sacramento politicians had voted themselves?

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