THURSDAY’S CONUNDRUM

Jim Skinnell: ‘Well, sure, this year is the only year that particular formula would work. Next year, just add 1754 (or 1753 if your birthday hasn’t happened) instead and it will work.’

FIVE VOWELS, MAYBE SIX – BUT SEVEN?

Eric Pollack: ‘FACETIOUSLY is the only English word that has all six vowels contained alphabetically.’

☞ Half-seriously, what about abstemiously, arseniously, aeriously, and abstentiously?

Greg Buliavac: ‘You wrote << And what about ultrarevolutionaries? You got it – each of the seven vowels is used twice. >> What – did L and T become vowels without my hearing about it?’

☞ Ah, yes. Been meaning to apologize for that slip for some time now. There are seven sisters, seven dwarfs, seven Santini Brothers, seven swans a swimming, seven days in your average week – but only five vowels in the English language. Six, when Y is acting as a vowel. Seven, rarely, if you count the W in cwm and crwth.

YOU’RE RICHER THAN YOU THOUGHT

Dan: ‘You’re probably familiar with the Kevin Phillips’ Wealth and Democracy, which documents the history of wealth inequality in this country. An excellent capsule of the current status of the problem was published in the September 6th edition of the Economist, page 28. The share of wealth of the top 1% in 2000 was 38%. The share of the bottom 20% has gone from 0.3% in 1983 to -0.6% in 2000. You yourself have a higher net worth than the bottom 20% of the population! And that’s before the repeal of the estate tax and Bush’s tax break give-away for the upper class.’

☞ Assuming Dan and the Economist have these numbers right, the idea must be that the bottom 20% have more debt than assets, and thus a collective negative net worth. Thus, you, too, if you’re solvent, have a greater net worth than collective net worth of 20-odd million American households.

THEY’RE POORER THAN YOU THOUGHT

It’s hard to read Bob Herbert’s column in yesterday’s New York Times and not wince for the working poor – and seethe at the credit card companies. They collect more than $7 billion a year in late fees? When, truth to tell, they actually want you to be late?

To the quiet desperation so many of this country’s hard-working working poor must feel – just read Herbert and imagine yourself faced with these problems – the administration has a solution: borrow trillions of dollars to fund a massive tax cut for the rich.

 

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