Andy Krauss: ‘I think more and more, people are considering coins not to be currency but instead just tokens that can be traded for goodies from vending machines or other devices with slots in them. Quarters are great because they’re big, easy to hold, and it only takes 3 or 4 strokes to get a can of root beer. Dimes aren’t so great because of all the work involved in feeding in enough of them to get that nice relaxing soda. Nickels? Forget it. And everyone knows that the only thing pennies are good for is to keep you from getting more of them.’

Eileen Bartlett: ‘For the past five or so years, I have been stooping to pick up change on the streets of Denver. Having lived in Ireland for a year, I tell people who scoff at me (especially my siblings), that refusing the least treasure placed by the fairies could lead to major troubles. At the end of each April, I convert my coins to dollars and place in a sealed envelope with the amount collected written on the outside. I’ve averaged from approximately $9 to $13 each year. When I’m ready to retire, I’m going to buy some little piece of art to show the scoffers that ‘a penny saved is a penny earned.’ ‘

Will Galway: ‘I often still DO pick up dimes, and even pennies. Although their monetary worth is all-but nil, the act of picking them up is an effective stretching exercise, and that stretching comes much cheaper than joining a health club. I think of the coins as being a slight, but amusing, discount on my ‘membership’ in my own personal ‘health club.’ ‘


Pat Davies: ‘You are so right about the excellent Alexander Hamilton biography. But you will have to do a LOT of walks to get through it. We listened to it as we drove to Pittsburgh from Minneapolis and home again, (with a stop at Ford’s Presidential Library, which like Pittsburgh, was a pleasant surprise) – and still hadn’t finished it!’

☞ The longer it lasts, the better.


Nick Altenbernd: Here‘s another, cheaper, and possibly better swim music player. It works via bone conduction rather than earphones. I’ve heard one only briefly, but it seems to work superbly, with very good fidelity.’


Several of you did read this, as suggested . . . and had suggestions of your own.

Carl Granados: ‘As to what to eat, cost on environment, cost on health, etc… an awesome book is A Omnivore’s Dilemma which is also available on audio by one of the best readers out there, Scott Brick.’

Mitzi Labant:Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Caldwell B. Esselsteyn, Jr., a Cleveland Clinic physician, claims a nutrition-based cure for heart disease: replacing meat, poultry and fish with a plant-based diet.’

Jim Kozma: ‘I pretty much gave up eating meat after reading the September 2006 issue of the Nutrition Action Healthletter. Unfortunately, they don’t have the entire issue online, but they do have the editorial here. (You might also be interested in their suggestions for public policy changes.)

Bill Baumann: ‘While in principle I agree with the notion that eating meat is not a good thing, there are some of us who can mitigate circumstances somewhat. I live on 10 acres in southwest Washington State. I have sufficient pasture land to sustain three beef cows comfortably (supplemented with grass hay that I buy from the neighbor down the road). I typically buy three weaned calves from a farmer friend of mine once every 18 months. They eat on my pasture (and grass hay in the winter) and then 18 months later they are ready for sale. There is a waiting list of folks around here interested in buying a quarter or half a beef every so often. They keep it in their freezers. It’s ‘clean’ (no antibiotics or other artificial stuff), it’s completely grass fed (no grain), it’s lean, and it tastes better than store-bought beef. I also have a 4kW photovoltaic system delivering electricity when the sun shines and a solar water heater that heats all of our water from May until about October. We subscribe to the idea that buying local food is the best option. But I haven’t been able to give up bananas so far!’

Karen Collins: ‘We try to only eat meat and dairy raised on pasture, grass-fed, NOT grain-fed. And because it is more expensive, we eat less animal protein. This is the way to go I think.’


Mike da retired mailman: ‘I loved your post about this. I got the same questionnaire from the Republican Party (yes I am one of those registered ones) and I just could not believe how insulting, rude, and off the mark it was. And so I told them when I sent it back without a check. Obviously, whoever prepared the mailing has not been paying attention to the current political drama where the tendencies and direction of ALL (well, all thinking) candidates is to begin new thinking, and new approaches. The public is so tired of the backbiting and back stabbing that goes on in National Politics. And that includes both your party and mine. I sure wish we would get back to civil discourse being conducted with thoughtful respect and intelligent discussions of issues. Maybe if we turn down the volume on nastiness we would all be able to actually think. Well, we can hope, anyway.’

Kevin Clark: ‘You appear shocked, shocked to find that political fundraising questionnaires use partisan wording. Your examples don’t seem more extreme than the Democrat letters I receive but there’s no particular reason you need to give equal time to both sides.’

☞ I considered adding a paragraph to acknowledge that our questionnaires use much the same annoying, simplistic tone. But I don’t think I’ve seen any of ours (send them on to me if you find one) where the premises of our questions are anywhere near as dishonest as the examples I cited last Friday.

It’s one thing for us to say, ‘Do you want us to fight Republican efforts to keep assault weapons available at gun shows?’ – because Republicans HAVE defeated all our repeated efforts to close the gun show loophole and restrict sale of assault weapons.

Quite another for us to make up an egregious Republican position that does not, in fact, exist.

If you can find me one of ours that’s as egregious as the one I excerpted, I’ll be glad to give you equal time.

Kevin continues: ‘On the taxes question it seems to me your complaint is more unfair than the survey. The question doesn’t say, ‘the Democrats’ massive tax hikes on you.’ The fact is that Democrats in general, and you in particular, want to increase taxes. Why shouldn’t a middle class person have an opinion on whether that’s a good idea? And then you go on to say it might mean a $5,000 to $28,500 increase for millionaires. [Wouldn’t it be much more?]’

☞ Sorry, I was not clear. Those are the kinds of contributions rich Dems and Republicans are asked to make ($28,500 is the annual legal limit to the DNC and the RNC). So if this were a mailing going to thousands of major donors asking them for big bucks, the context might be appropriate for a question about tax hikes. But it was going to millions of small donors being asked for small bucks, trying to scare them into thinking Democrats want to raise their taxes when in fact we do not.

Monday: More Richistan


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