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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Writer's Life 9/14 - Food for Thought

There are two particularly interesting op-ed pieces in today's NY Post. Conservative pundit Jonathan Podhoretz devotes his column to a troubling two-generation trend detailed in a new book, Men Without Work by Nicholas Eberstadt. One in six males, seven million, have withdrawn from the work force - by choice. 60% have chosen government support, food stamps, disability payments, over a job. Although it can be argued that they are enabled by ridiculous leftist policies, I always blame the individual. Podhoretz states that it would be nonsense to claim these men are being kept out of the work force by illegal aliens, an arguing point of the right. I wonder if any would even bother to vote. It seems logical to assume those who would will vote for Hillary to keep the payments coming. Does this offer a clue as to which way the election is heading? I'd say it's a plus for the Democrats. First, it diminishes in large part the right's argument that the unemployment numbers are bogus. This large bloc is choosing not to work, which may account for the historically low labor participation force, which conservatives attribute to failed Obama policies. Obama's approval rating in the latest poll is an astonishing 58%, which Podhoretz attributes to the good news that wages increased 5.7% in 2015, the first gain since 2007, more good news for Dems. Now spring forward to John Crudele's article. He is middle of the road, possibly a tad left. He voted for Obama in '08, not in '12. He sees the wage increase as attributable to two factors: lower gasoline prices, of which the President tacitly disapproves, and new methodology used by the Census Bureau in arriving at the rate. Despite the increase, the rate is still 1.7% below its level in 2007. These writers have offered readers a lot of food for thought. If Obama's approval rating is truly 58%, I don't see how Trump can win, as Hillary's policies - or a replacement's should she fall too ill to continue her campaign - will not be any different than the President's. The only hope of the opposition is the polls showing that 60+% of Americans believe the country is on the wrong track. 58% approval rating? For the first time since youth I feel completely out of touch with the mainstream. What am I missing?

Podhoretz also cites a current best seller he dubs "the book of the year": Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance. It is currently ranked 14th overall at Amazon, #1 in books on politics. Here's an excerpt from the blurb that introduces it: "From a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class through the author’s own story of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town. Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of poor, white Americans. The disintegration of this group, a process that has been slowly occurring now for over forty years, has been reported with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside..."

Here are the covers of the books in question:

The quote of the day comes from Colin Powell's hacked emails: “Hillary’s Mafia keeps trying to suck me into” (the email controversy). In fairness, he also called Donald Trump “a national disgrace” and an “international pariah."

My thanks to the kind folks who bought and donated books today. All but one sale was in Russian. I had a gift for Ol' Smoky, who gave me about 100 books before he was evicted from his apartment. Yesterday he told he bought a cassette player. I brought him five homemade tapes that have been gathering dust in a rack on my wall. There were once more than 90. I've given many to a guy on disability. Bob was very pleased, impressed with the variety. He played one while seated on the ledge that surrounds the garden in front of the building where I set up shop. He sat quietly for the most part, which is very unusual. I didn't have to decipher his scatter shot dialogue. After an hour he suddenly rose, touching his gut and grabbing the handle of his cart, and said: "I gotta go to the bathroom. Geez, I hope I make it." Me too, Bob.
Vic's Short Works:
Vic's 5th Novel:'s 4th novel:
Vic's 3rd Novel:
Vic's Short Story on Kindle:
Vic's Short Story Collection:
Vic's 2nd Novel: Kindle:
Vic's 1st Novel:

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