The Ghost Writer:
I turn sentences around. That’s my life. I write a sentence and then I turn it around. Then I look at it and I turn it around again. Then I have lunch. Then I come back in and write another sentence. Then I have tea and turn the new sentence around. Then I read the two sentences over and turn them both around. Then I lie down on my sofa and think. Then I get up and throw them out and start from the beginning. And if I knock off from this routine for as long as a day, I’m frantic with boredom and a sense of waste.
A student of mine, who’s writing her masters’ thesis on the relationship between the Tories and Burke, found this brilliant campaign poster from 1929.
Tory Party poster, 1929
From Alan Dershowitz’s just published autobiography:
I loved Brooklyn College, and Brooklyn College loved—and still loves—me.
He then adds a footnote, which reads:
Though not the Political Science Department, in which I majored.
I guess this little exchange was the last straw:
From Gordon Lafer’s report for the Economic Policy Institute:
In Wyoming, a bill co-sponsored by a group of ALEC-affiliated legislators and backed by the Restaurant Association would have given employers the right to force employees to pool their tips.159 While employees may have previously pooled tips, this was done voluntarily. In many restaurants, bussers, who are legally considered tipped employees, in fact receive little tip income.160 In such cases, employers are required to pay them the regular minimum wage. By forcing more highly tipped wait staff to pool earnings, employers may avoid this obligation—essentially cutting the take-home pay of wait staff by making them pay the bussers’ wages, with employers pocketing the difference as increased profits.
In 2011, Maine legislators adopted a new law declaring that “service charges” do not legally constitute tips, and that they are therefore not the property of wait staff and may be taken by the employer.161 The statute—sponsored by an ALEC task force member and supported by the Restaurant Association—does not require restaurants to notify customers that the “service charge” does not go to servers; many patrons likely believe this charge constitutes the gratuity, and therefore provide little if any additional tip.162 As in Wyoming, then, the Maine law constitutes a direct transfer of income from employees to owners, accomplished through the latter’s political power.
Footnote 162 reads as follows: “The law stipulates that an ‘employer in a banquet or private club setting may use some or all of any service charge to meet its obligation to compensate all employees’”.
All that’s solid melts into air.
Schocken Verlag* was a German publishing house established in 1931 by Jewish department store owner Salman Shocken. In 1939 it was shut down by the Nazis. It slowly made its way to New York, where it eventually became Shocken Books. In 1987 Shocken was acquired by Random House. Eleven years later, Random House was acquired by Bertelsmann.
During World War II, Bertelsmann was the largest publisher of Nazi propaganda, including “The Christmas Book of the Hitler Youth.” It also made use of Jewish slave labor in Latvia and Lithuania.
Confronted about the company’s past in 2002, a Bertelsmann spokesman said, “The values of Bertelsmann then are irreconcilable with the company today. The company is now a global player in the media industry.”
Because the one thing the Nazis definitely were not were global players.
“Common sense tells us,” wrote Nabokov, “that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness.”
* I learned of this history in the London Review of Books, and gleaned additional details from Wikipedia and the BBC.
The Chamber of Commerce is one of the biggest advocates in the US of right to work laws, which allow individual workers to get the benefits of a union contract without paying union dues. Their purpose is to make it harder for unions to collect dues and thereby weaken them financially.
Back in 2005, a member organization of the Chamber of Commerce in Owensboro, Kentucky asked the Chamber if it could stop paying dues to the Chamber yet still get the benefits. This is what the Chamber said:
The vast majority of the Chamber’s annual revenues come from member dues, and it would be unfair to the other 850+ members to allow an organization not paying dues to be including in member benefits.
Hard to argue with that.
Lyndon Johnson, from his memoirs (1971):
When asked about black power in 1966, I responded: “I am not interested in black power or white power. What I am concerned with is democratic power, with a small d.” As I look back now, that answer seems totally insufficient. It is easy for a white man to say he is “not interested in black power or white power.” Black power had a different meaning to the black man, who recently had had to seek the white world’s approval and for whom success had come largely on white people’s terms. To such a man, black power meant a great deal—in areas that mattered the most—dignity, pride, and self-awareness.