Ridge Quiting in '05 to make more money for kid's college

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Discus: College Confidential Café: 2004 Archive: Ridge Quiting in '05 to make more money for kid's college
By Backhandgrip (Backhandgrip) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 12:35 pm: Edit

Did anyone catch Homeland Security Chief Ridge's statement that one of the two reasons he was quiting in 05 was to find a job earning more money so he can send his kids to the college where they want to go.He earns $187.000 now.

By Fredo (Fredo) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 01:30 pm: Edit

You beat me to it - I was going to post about this also. I thought it was an interesting comment: That on that salary he didn't feel he could "comfortably" send his two kids to college.

By 1moremom (1moremom) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 01:38 pm: Edit

I'm sure he was making six figures as governor of PA and the cost of living in Harrisburg is not that high (especially when one's housing is provided). You'd think he could have set a little something aside.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 01:40 pm: Edit

Sending 2 kids simultaneously to many private colleges would cost $80K or about $160K in after tax dollars. How can anyone afford that on $187K. It's the middle class squeeze even though most would not consider that a middle class salary.

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 01:47 pm: Edit

I wonder what his wife makes? If she makes close to that or even half, they could just bank her salary.
That is what lots of people do anyway, its what permitted both my parents and my grandparents to pay cash for their homes.
I am glad our kids are 8 years apart, not that we planned it like that but it sure makes paying for college easier!

By Alwaysamom (Alwaysamom) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 01:57 pm: Edit

I think a lot of people who have chosen to make their primary careers in public service face this same kind of situation. Even as a lawyer he worked as a prosecutor, where he would not have earned the same as in private practice. I think he has a valid concern that he wants to be prepared to, as he said, be comfortably able to pay for his children's education. We shouldn't make assumptions that he and his wife haven't saved for this. I would be very surprised if they haven't. The reality is, that if he had not held political office, this wouldn't be such an issue for him.

By Mini (Mini) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 02:04 pm: Edit

Oh, he'll go make multi-millions as a "security consultant" with kickbacks on government contracts.

(At my alma mater, with two kids at college, he'd qualify for need-based financial aid.) And he probably has a house in PA and one in Washington, DC, and who knows what he drives.

"Comfortably" is relative, since his income (without his wife's ) puts him in the top 3% of the American population (hardly anywhere close to the middle.)

By Garland (Garland) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 02:13 pm: Edit

"Sending 2 kids simultaneously to many private colleges would cost $80K or about $160K in after tax dollars. How can anyone afford that on $187K."

On less than that, we saved and/or paid tuition approx. 70,000 a yr the last several years. Anyone *can* do that; the question would be what else they're willing to give up.

(and like the other poster says, this is only one parent's salary. Add another, and it sure looks doable to me.)

By Dennis (Dennis) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 02:17 pm: Edit

Of course, the main reason he'll be gone in '05 is that we'll have a new president in John Kerry. Ridge will eventually end up where the other Bush cronies go - companies like Halliburton and Carlyle.

By Alwaysamom (Alwaysamom) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 02:23 pm: Edit

Everyone makes choices as to how they want to spend/save/invest their money. Obviously, the term 'comfortably' is relative, and will be different for each of us. My point is simply that, after approximately 25 years in public service, I don't see that it's a negative thing that he's looking to earn what he could have been earning for many of those years. I bet if he made the choice to remain in Washington at his current salary and thus, applied for financial aid for his children, people would be complaining about that, too. :)

By Patient (Patient) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 02:44 pm: Edit

Well, one big advantage of his having an extremely high profile job is that I imagine his name, which is pretty much a household word, will be a plus on his children's applications. The other reason cited seemed to be that his job was one big morass and headache of trying to coordinate many different agencies. Maybe the college issue was just a smokescreen.

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 02:46 pm: Edit


Where did the Friends Of Bill end up? They are not exactly lining up to serve meals at the local Soup Kitchen. Thanks for that little gem of objectivity and intelligence.


By Backhandgrip (Backhandgrip) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 02:49 pm: Edit

He could save by buying staples from the dollar store, participating in drug store rebates, and buying clothing from the clearance rack.(ha, ha)

By Mini (Mini) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 02:53 pm: Edit

He's lived on public assistance all these years....in Pennsylvania, they even gave him free housing. But his parents never taught him money management skills.

By Dmd77 (Dmd77) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 03:16 pm: Edit

People say all kinds of weird things when they quit their jobs. The bottom line is that Ridge doesn't want the job anymore--and who can blame him? You couldn't pay me enough to have that job.

By Dennis (Dennis) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 04:01 pm: Edit

Well, Xiggi, the extensive connections between former and current Bush (both H.W. and W.) administration figures and groups like Halliburton, Carlyle, Bechtel, etc. have been extensively documented. Many have noted the "revolving door" between these companies and government jobs under Bush I and II. This is objectively true and any reasonably intelligent person can find the relevant info for themselves. It is perfectly reasonable to expect that someone like Ridge might follow suit.

By Marite (Marite) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 06:12 pm: Edit

If the person involved were not Ridge, we would have a very different discussion, along the lines that Mom101 suggested: the middle-class squeeze.
It is of interest that someone with a before-tax income of $175k will have trouble sending his or her children to college without financial assistance or without substantial prior earnings. It should be immaterial to the discussion whether there is another source of income or whether Ridge will strike it rich thanks to the revolving door. I personally am not interested in Ridge's personal concerns. I am, as a citizen. concerned about how affordable college is for the middle class.

By Simba (Simba) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 06:20 pm: Edit

May be he is tired of streching the truth - playing with the terror level alerts like a piano (I think this was F9/11 line).

By Momto2 (Momto2) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 06:30 pm: Edit

Maybe $80K is a lot with a $175K salary, but does someone who makes that kind of money expect to pay all of it out of salary the year it is due?

Really, one does have about 18 years before the child enters high school to plan and save. Granted he probably didn't start off at this salary, if he socked away $5K a year for each he would probably be have it all in savings. It is not like he has been barely getting by all these years and coundn't save.

I thought colleges looked at it as a major life expense, kind of like buying a house. You don't expect to pay that kind of money all in one year. In the same vein one shouldn't expect to pay all of college in four years.

I only make about $50K a year, but I am putting $3K towards college.

PS - I believe it may be just an excuse to get out of the job anyway.

By Momto2 (Momto2) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 06:30 pm: Edit

Whoops - I meant enter college, not high school.

By Garland (Garland) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 06:53 pm: Edit

Momto2----I think your point is well-taken. Your post also supports another fact about life that gets lost here--you are living on 50,000 a year, I presume before taxes. If someone making 187,000/yr did pay 80,000 of their income toward school, they'd still have left the same income as you. (Say, conservatively, take-home of 120,000, minus 80, that still leaves 47,000. Shoot, most of the country gets by on less than that.)

I mean, it's his prerogative to go get more money or leave this position for any reason, but I just don't buy that his income level prevents putting two kids through college.

By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 06:56 pm: Edit

Agreed that for most of us, college needs to be paid out of savings, not just current income. However, Ridge's salary may look good, but let's not forget that we pay for college out of after-tax income.

By Mini (Mini) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 07:11 pm: Edit

Poor guy - he won't be able to put away 20k for himself and 20k for his wife (if he works in the public sector into his 403B this year.) AND all his per diem exchanges - travel, meals, and hotels was paid for by the government for the past three years - he didn't pay for a dime of it. No car expenses, no gasoline expenses, no food expenses. Oh, boo-hoo. And prior to that, he had free rent for how long?

He is as further away from the middle of the middle class as the disabled homemaker living on general assistance with 3 kids on 7k a year.

Let him mortgage one of his homes.

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 07:15 pm: Edit

It seems that accepting a high-level job in Washington, DC can turn out to be quite costly for someone in his late fifties. I do not believe that the government can be as generous as the private sector in subsidizing moving expenses and housing. I assume that the Ridge family must spend a few dollars on the very high mortgage of their new house in Bethesda.

By Alwaysamom (Alwaysamom) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 07:22 pm: Edit

I'm a little surprised at the hostility shown in some of the responses here. In none of the articles that I read about the possibility of Ridge resigning was there any mention of him claiming that his income level prevented him putting his two children through college. Nor do any of us know what, if any, saving he and his wife have done through the years. He didn't claim to be a part of the middle class, and I doubt he's looking for anyone's sympathy. I must say that I've enjoyed participating in some of the discussions on these forums, and I also am thankful for the knowledge I've gained, as well as that I've been able to impart, but this is not the first time I've noticed real anger and bitterness barely below the surface in some discussions, and it seems to always be aimed at those who have worked hard enough, and been fortunate enough to become financially successful. I'm not a Republican and certainly no apologist for Tom Ridge but this discussion has taken a very nasty, and somewhat immature, turn. I'm disappointed.

By Mini (Mini) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 07:28 pm: Edit

I think it's great that he is hoping to send his kids off to college. But since we all know that folks always leave an Administration in droves at the end of a first term (whether there is expectation of re-election or not), my complaint is that he is being disingenuous (not that he makes good money, or will, of course, make better.)

What he has done, in his own way, is add to the fires of class warfare, and unnecessarily. And THAT is offensive. He is a living example of why we shouldn't roll back the Bush taxcuts (LOL!)

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 07:48 pm: Edit

It kinda reminds me of Nixon making a big deal about Pat wearing a cloth coat. A little before my time,, but it sure had legs

I would hope that if I was a government employee whose income was in the top3% of wages not counting the benefits I had received over the years, and if I was in the public eye, I would not be making a fuss over how I was going to pay for my kids college.

Most people I daresay don't "comfortably" put their kids through college. Most either have their kids hunt for merit aid, attend instate public universities or hock the farm.
I don't blame him for looking for another job, but have a little class. Think of the millions of people who have been looking for a job to pay their bills for so long they aren't even on unemployment rosters anymore. Think of the people that are working more than one job with no benefits cause they are "part time", including teachers in those universities.
Just try and have a little class.

By Garland (Garland) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 07:50 pm: Edit

I'm only going with the facts as presented here. I'm assuming the OP's facts are accurate.

I have nothing against wealthy folks. I think I am one. I get tired of privileged people who whine about not having enough--there's just too much real need in this world--and this country--to take seriously the income complaints of people in the top five percent. It doesn't make me angry so much as I find it unseemly.

And people who make 50,000 work just as hard.

By Alwaysamom (Alwaysamom) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 07:55 pm: Edit

I agree with you, Garland, about tiring of hearing privileged individuals complain. However, as I said before, I didn't read anything about him complaining, or whining. Who knows if the reports are even accurate, considering the accuracy of the press, it's very likely it's not entirely accurate. I do, however, think you're putting words in my mouth by your last comment. I didn't say that. In any case, that's another issue entirely.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 08:09 pm: Edit

Alwaysamom, I too have wondered when reading many threads why there is clear disdain for the well off. Further, many threads seem to carry the thinking that being poor is virtuous. Is this just an ultra liberal meeting place? Are people interested in higher education left leaning? Anyone have a hypothesis?

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 08:16 pm: Edit

I think that there is a virtue in living within your means, by not using more resources than you need, by not consuming just for the sake of showing off.
If you can't send your kids to college when your income is in the top % nationally, doesn't that just indicate that you are a spendthrift? Hardly a virtue I would want to cultivate

By Garland (Garland) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 08:20 pm: Edit


I was replying to this:

"I've noticed real anger and bitterness barely below the surface in some discussions, and it seems to always be aimed at those who have worked hard enough, and been fortunate enough to become financially successful."

I misconstrued it to mean that they've worked harder than others.

By Texas137 (Texas137) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 08:32 pm: Edit

this sounds like one of those vague things people say when they are leaving a job but don't want to discuss the real reason or say anything negative about the job/employer. It's along the lines of "I'm leaving to spend more time with my family". Or "I'm leaving to explore other opportunities". I don't think it has anything to do with paying for college on x number of dollars a year.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 08:34 pm: Edit

I don't believe a public servant making $175K has squandered his money if he can't comfortably afford to send his kids to a private college. The guy's wife probably stays home because they've uprooted the kids and they need some nurturing. They probably have a home back in their home State leaving not much for a home in the expensive DC area. Family and friends are probably back in the home State and require 4 plane tickets to visit. Maybe they chose private schools for their kids. This man clearly had the skills and connections to be making millions of dollars a year and chose to take a thankless, highly demanding job. Why is the tone so scathing if he chooses to have fine homes, good cars, travel and give his kids great educations? Most religions even say that those who live with good values shall reap abundance. Why is it less than virtuous to desire material things?

By Marite (Marite) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 08:40 pm: Edit

>>Most religions even say that those who live with good values shall reap abundance. Why is it less than virtuous to desire material things?>>

Not to object to your take on Ridge, but I want to point out that Buddhism considers desire"(for life, for love, for things) to be at the root of human suffering, and that the original meaning of nirvana is the void. It is even more drastic than the sentiment expressed by "dust unto dust".

By Garland (Garland) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 08:52 pm: Edit

"Most religions even say that those who live with good values shall reap abundance. "

Very Calvinist!

It's not the having, it's the coveting and whining I object to.

Personally, for me, the whole camel/needle's eye thing keeps me up at night. I'm pretty sure that the fact that I have more than most of the world isn't a comment from God on my better values.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 09:10 pm: Edit

I said most, not all religions! The Christian concept of grace--do good, be good and enjoy all that will come to you. I like the concept and it has worked for me! Maybe I feel no guilt over what I have because I came from nothing and made it honestly. I will be equally proud of my kids if they follow our ambitious pathes (and yes, wealth, beautiful homes and nice cars were aambitions) or choose to be teachers, and we've discussed it at length. I will only be dissapointed if in either case they do not use their gifts to contribute to society.

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 09:14 pm: Edit

even though some religions now use wealth as a sign of virtue I see that more a comment on adapting the religion to what the followers want to hear as opposed to their spirituality.
If they are so religious, what do they need so much with material things?

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 09:20 pm: Edit

This is a genuine question Emeraldkity,Garland and others: What is it offensive to you that people enjoying material things if they have done honest work to get them? Heck, even if they inherited the money? Why do you get sneers while driving a Mercedes, frowns when your address is an expensive town in America today? I let a friend borrow my car, yes an expensive sports car, and she came back shaken from the experience. I honestly don't understand and it was a real eye opener for her, too.

By Marite (Marite) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 09:29 pm: Edit

>I said most, not all religions!>

Islam? Hinduism? Shinto? Roman Catholicism?
I think Garland had it right: your take on "most" religions is rather Calvinist.

Being agnostic, I'd rather not bring God into a discussion of the pursuit of wealth.

By Garland (Garland) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 09:43 pm: Edit

Where did I say I'm offended by people enjoying things? I think the context of this discussion, and the point I keep trying to come back to, was the unseemliness of wealthy people saying they don't have enough--that's hardly the same thing.

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 09:52 pm: Edit

the more materials some one uses the more resources they are draining.
WHen someone has a huge house, a car that sucks gas, drives just for the pleasure of it often, buys things without notice of cost or where they came from, that affect all of us.
I don't believe that our species needs to act like we are the only species on the planet.
We have already seen the result in global warming, in extinctions in our lifetime, in mutations that affect our health and the health of the planet.
I believe what goes around comes around, and I try and live my life like everything is recorded and will follow me throughout time. I don't want the weight of any extra baggage.

( just for the record I don't understand that if you live in an expensive address why would anyone give your sports car a second look? perhaps it wasn't the car but the way she was driving?
I know that when I visit my mom who lives within walking distance of Bill gates, that drivers often assume that you will slam on your brakes and let them in, that they have the right of way at all times, and that if they can't pay attention cause they are talking on their cell phone then you just need to cultivate patience)

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 10:11 pm: Edit

Emerald, explaining to people that there are clear ways in which the wealthy are discriminated against is always an interesting experience. I for one having grown up not facing these issues was shocked to discover the reality. When we moved to the first obviously tony town I had ever lived in, my husband who grew up in such towns demonstrated some things for me. He called a plumbing service and told them of the same situation twice, once saying he lived in the middle class town next door and the second time telling the real, upper class town. He described the same problem and gave the same dimensions for the house. The estimate was twice as much for the same situation in the tony town. My friend borrowing my car learned what I have accepted for years, in bad economies you will get the finger, people who want to drag race you, men who try to pick you up, and dirty looks. I also have an expensive SUV, actually worth more than the 10 year old sports car, but a Mercedes sports car elicits emotional reactions of all sorts whereas I can freely travel in the more expensive car. Growing up without money I honestly believed America admired money. Living as an adult with the trappings of wealth I've learned that any show of wealth makes you a target.

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 10:13 pm: Edit


I do not think that, on CC, there is disdain for the people who are well-off. I think that the outbursts usually are reactions to perceived gloating about relative wealth, or at the other extreme, hearing complaints about the difficulties of the higher middle class. Anyhow, I forgot the details, but didn't someone write a book styled: "I've been poor. I've been rich. Rich is better."

When it comes to discussing family finances, I am out of my league. In the case of Tom Ridge, I have no problems in understanding how his finances might cause him to consider accepting a private sector position, and I find discussing undisclosed personal finances an exercise fraught with opiniated speculation.

For what it is worth, the reports that are floating around indicate the following:


Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge has told colleagues that he probably will resign after the election because of his personal finances and the stress of his job, officials told the Associated Press.

Ridge, 58, has told colleagues that he needs to earn money to comfortably put his two children, Tommy Jr. and Lesley, through college, officials said. Both are teenagers. Ridge earns $175,700 a year as a Cabinet secretary.

The former Pennsylvania governor, who agreed to serve as the department's inaugural secretary, also has expressed frustration to colleagues about the continuing problems inherent in reorganizing the 22 disparate agencies that formed the Homeland Security Department, officials said.

People who know Ridge and Bush say the two men became close as Republican governors of large states in the 1990s, as did their wives, both former librarians. The Bushes visited the Ridges in Harrisburg, and the Ridge children have stayed at the Bush family compound in Maine.

Bush nearly chose Ridge as his running mate in 2000; ultimately, GOP conservatives nixed Ridge because of his abortion rights beliefs.

In 2001, nearing the end of his second term as Pennsylvania governor and barred by law from a third, Ridge, who had little savings after a career in government, had promised his wife he would enter private life and begin making money.

Weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Bush asked Ridge to come to Washington as the White House's homeland security adviser. Ridge said he would take the job for a few months. But he became wrapped up in the task as he confronted the nation's serious security gaps and various agencies' turf consciousness, White House officials and Ridge's friends said.

During a meeting Friday in Miami, Ridge called the news "an inside-the-Beltway game" and said he wouldn't comment about it.

By Marite (Marite) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 10:17 pm: Edit

>>Growing up without money I honestly believed America admired money. Living as an adult with the trappings of wealth I've learned that any show of wealth makes you a target.>>

I, too, live in an area where it costs twice as much to repaint my home, fix my plumbing, etc...
But, hey, I'd rather live there than in one that has been redlined by banks; I'd rather get the occasional finger (not that I stand in any danger of that in our quite modest and rather old car) than having to walk, ride buses, change to subways, transfer a couple of times and walk some more to get to a minimum wage job.

By Dmd77 (Dmd77) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 10:29 pm: Edit

I drive an expensive sports car all the time (as I said in the car thread) and I certainly haven't had unpleasant experiences in it! Can you be more specific about what your friend experienced? Did someone suggest they race? (All you have to do is... not race.) Did someone give her the finger? (Maybe she cut them off?)

If my plumber is ripping me off, I haven't noticed it--but then, I don't have to cut corners and accept second-rate materials, either, which may have been the difference in the estimate. (Or perhaps the building code in one town allowed plastic pipes, while the other one required copper? That was the case in one town we lived in.)

By Marite (Marite) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 10:38 pm: Edit


It is actually well known in my area that building contractors quote different prices according to the different zip codes. One of them actually acknowledged it indirectly when he said he did not engage in the practice, LOL! But taxi drivers do not refuse to drive to my area at night because it's not safe; products in local supermarkets are actually more reasonably priced than in poorer areas because the supermarkets know folks in my area have transportation to seek out cheaper stores, unlike folks who live in poorer parts of the city. In fact, I suspect that the customers of Cotsco are either middle class or affluent. Poor people not only are less likely to have easy access, they don't have the space to store stuff bought in bulk, nor perhaps the money to buy in large quantities at one time.

By Garland (Garland) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 10:44 pm: Edit

I had no idea about the different price quotes for different zip codes, but, I have to say, and I may regret it, but I think it's kinda adorable...like EFC for home repairs!

By Marite (Marite) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 10:46 pm: Edit


LOL! Well, I don't think it's adorable, but it's not as bad as being redlined.

By Garland (Garland) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 10:52 pm: Edit

Well, i live on the "wrong" side, so if I ever get past tuition, and actually get around to house repair...it's nice to know I'll be getting the "cheap" estimates (said with tongue firmly in cheek.)

By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 11:12 pm: Edit

"The Christian concept of grace--do good, be good and enjoy all that will come to you."

Mom101, this is not a Christian concept of grace that I have ever heard. The essential point about grace is that it cannot be and never is earned. It is God's unconditional love, available to anyone who seeks it.

Emeraldkity, that is funny re driving in Gates country. In similar neighborhoods where I live, I think one reason these drivers get away with their shoddy behavior is that their cars are so very expensive none of us want to collide with them for fear of driving up our premiums. ;-)

I consider myself a liberal Democrat. My s tells everyone his mother is a socialist! But I don't blame Ridge for this one. And do I think this board is against wealth? No, I think this board is against boastfulness. I think there's just as strong a bias against showing off your kids' SAT scores as there is against acting la-de-dah about one's assets. And is that such a bad thing? Generally speaking, seems to me discourse is very civil here...

By Marite (Marite) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 11:32 pm: Edit

Actually, regarding the Christian concept of grace, there are many varieties. The Calvinist one is the narrowest. It does not actually interpret God's love as available to anyone who seeks it. According to Calvinism and to the softer version, Jansenism (banned in France as heretic in the 18th century), all human beings have necessary grace to know right from wrong, but only some have sufficient grace to be saved. The French thinker Pascal, the playwright Racine, were both influenced by Jansenism.

In that interpretation of grace, grace has little to do with doing good and being good. Racine's Phaedra was doomed from the start to have the necessary grace to know that lusting after her stepson was wrong, but not sufficient grace to desist from doing wrong and acting on that lust, thus precipitating tragedy.

As Max Weber showed, another aspect of calvinism is the idea that capital accumulation is good and that being rich is a sign of god's grace. Poor people might be very depressed by this idea, if they were not able to take comfort in the Biblical saying: "The meek shall inherit the earth." And of course, the most virtuous in the Roman Catholic hierarchy are supposed to be priests, who have taken a vow of poverty.

PS: These different interpretations of grace are why I suggest keeping God--and religion more generally--out of this discussion.

By Thedad (Thedad) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 11:35 pm: Edit


By Patient (Patient) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 11:38 pm: Edit

When I heard the news about Ridge last night, the newsclip the television showed made him look very beleaguered and somehow he really got my sympathy. I still think that he just mentioned the college concept as an example of his dissatisfaction with a civil servant's salary to do the kind of work he is having to do. He probably never sleeps, is my guess.

But, I must confess that I agree with Dennis that he'll probably end up as predicted above. I HOPE that it is because there is a new administration, since I share Aparent4's political leanings.

By Dmd77 (Dmd77) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 11:54 pm: Edit

Marite--the plastic/copper pipe example was from when we lived in Massachusetts, actually. Acton (I think) allowed plastic pipes; Carlisle didn't; different zip codes, different building codes, different prices.

By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 12:08 am: Edit

Marite, yes, we can talk not only about the Huguenots but also about the proponents of the "prosperity Gospel" who are the televangelists. In my first version of my post I wrote about the Calvinists' belief that prosperity was a *sign* of being elect; that's very different from "do good, be good and enjoy all that will come to you." I deleted because I thought it was probably more than anybody wanted to know about penguins. ;-) I do certainly agree that there are different definitions of grace, but none of them quite resembles winning the Miss America pageant.

By Marite (Marite) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 12:13 am: Edit


I understand what you are saying. But when I try to get a quote over the telephone about getting my windows washed, I'm always asked my zip code before the estimate is issued. I don't live in the most expensive zip code area (also known as "the most opinionated zip code in America"); in fact, my zip code area is mixed, so I probably benefit a bit from that. As a matter of fact, I was told that someone with the same number of windows as I recently paid twice as much to have them washed. But they live in an area of McMansions.

By Patient (Patient) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 12:20 am: Edit

Thanks for the tip on zip codes--I'm so naive, I always thought it was so the repairperson could find the house on the map

And Marite, I always love it when you teach us stuff (I am NOT being sarcastic, I mean it! I am always in awe of your breadth and depth of knowledge...)

By Marite (Marite) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 12:20 am: Edit


LOL! I'm glad that televangelists are not "most religions."

I think I will paraphrase a recent speaker at the DNC, about refraining from claiming that God is on our side, but asking, in the words of Lincoln, if we are on God's side. A very, very loose paraphrase, I know, but even better, let's keep God out of it altogether.

By Marite (Marite) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 12:26 am: Edit


Thank you for your kind words. It is impressive when someone seems to know stuff you don't, but it just comes from having a different education, with a different set of holes. If you look more closely, there are as many holes, but they are in different places. In other words, there's an awful lot I don't know that CC posters know so much better than I. I just happen to have had a French rather than an American education.

If I confess that I cannot read a prospectus, I'm sure that my stock will plunge immediately (hmm... bad pun).

By Patient (Patient) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 12:34 am: Edit

It's not just the education, though (I am not that familiar with the curriculum in the lycee)--it is the retention that is equally impressive. I think that I used to know some of that stuff too! A friend asked me today how my week was and I said, "My short term memory is so shot I can't even remember anything about it!" and I was serious!

Interesting that the one subject I have retained completely intact is French. It is the only subject where ANY question my kids ask me about rules, etc., I can answer. Maybe a right-brain/left-brain issue?

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 12:35 am: Edit

I get so much food for thought here. I've lived in wealthy areas in Fairfield county and Westchester where I didn't feel the tension I feel in Silicon Valley between the haves and the have nots. I think a lot of it here is the perception that the "dot comers" have more money than they know what to do with. I've heard it said time and again by decent people--they honestly believe it. My friend has lived in the area all of her life and lives in a good town on the $200K income that is considered middle class here. And when the average house costs $600K, and a home in a decent school district over a million, it truly is middle class. She did not cut anyone off or look like she wanted to race, she is a 55 year old woman!! She was given the finger twice, shouted at and cut off. All in a days drive since the economy got bad here unfortunately. Gun point robberies have become fairly common in wealthy, quite neighborhoods that had no crime during the bubble. We endured an abduction threat concerning one of our children while having our house renovated last year--one of the workman was responsible. Not at all a joke, but the sad reality of the extreme divide that has become reality here. So I do ask honestly why even the extremely bright people on these boards sometimes seem to harbor ill will where the wealthy are concerned. One bright young poster advised me to remove my real name and email address if I was going to post my thoughts here. Duh, what was I thinking? What is wrong with pursuing our version of the American dream? And if it's true that many of the wealthy give back little, I'm gaining an understanding. The people we know give generously--even if they didn't want to, there's extreme peer pressure to give generously in my circles. Your name and the range in which you gave is published by the schools, churches, etc! There are many, many people who became wealthy by fulfilling their passions just as there are passionate teachers and nurses.

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 12:54 am: Edit

It is a lot different in Seattle.
We have lots of expensive cars but if you drive a Hummer or an Lincoln Navigator you will be snickered at. Not because they are expensive but because they obviously never go anywhere but to the mall.
I see Bill Gates driving his honda or mazda mini van or whatever it is ( it is pretty nondescript) and even though I have never owned a Windoze computer in my life and think he is a pretty ruthless business man I would never think of cutting him off or being rude. He is actually a pretty nice guy and his family isn't any different than anyone else. Virtually all the people I know that are really wealthy don't live like it. They may have three houses but all the homes are middle class. The cars they drive and the clothes they wear are off the rack. I do know one family that is very down to earth except they live in a gated community. In Seattle? What for?
They are from Chicago so maybe it is more common there but I don't know anyone else who would even think of living there.
When companies want my zipcode unless they are going to mail something that I have requested I ignore them. I don't need to be classified for a certain level of junk mail.
I also would not patronize someone that charged for a service depending on what he thought they could afford. I know people do it, but I would worry that if he thought I couldn't afford it he would cut corners on materials and workmanship
I want a quote based on the service not my zip

By Marite (Marite) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 07:37 am: Edit


>>I want a quote based on the service not my zip.>>
So do I, so do I. No one goes around saying "You live in zip code area 02138, so I'll charge you more than if you lived in zip code area 02139." But it is an open secret that it happens all the time.

I have met Bill Gates, Sr, and his wife. She looked much less expensively dressed than many (most)women at that event. Her suit did look bought off the rack, perhaps at Nordstrom? :-)

By Tropicanabanana (Tropicanabanana) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 08:36 am: Edit

Tom Ridge came to my school and a bunch of us walked out.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 09:07 am: Edit

How mature. It's always best to hear out anyone you consider an enemy.

By Vjjones59 (Vjjones59) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 09:13 am: Edit

Just curious...Could someone with 2 kids and $187,000 income qualify for financial aid? The formula may be far too detailed to speculate, but seems to me that's plenty of income to have done some saving and be in pretty good shape for college expenses. Thanks

By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 09:22 am: Edit

Yes. With more than one student enrolled, you can earn more than that and get financial aid. Scroll down here and look at the yellow chart to see who gets aid from Princeton: http://www.princeton.edu/pr/aid/appl/05.html

Bear in mind that the amounts on that list are aid for *each* child. So each of Tom Ridge's kids could get $11,600 in aid per year.

By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 09:59 am: Edit

Marite, I have always loved that quote from Lincoln: At a White House dinner, a clergyman closed his benediction by saying, "The Lord is on our side." When President Lincoln did not respond to this sentiment, someone asked him, "Don't you believe, Mr. President, that the Lord is always on the side of the right?"
"I am not concerned about that," said Lincoln, "for we know that the Lord is always on the side of the right. My concern is that I and this nation should be on the Lord's side."

I don't bring up religion on these boards. However, living in a country where Christian faith is currently held public hostage by the likes of John Ashcroft, many of us reserve the right and consider it our duty to point out, in response to certain kinds of blanket statements, that it's not so simple (just as Lincoln did). I think you did the same thing above when you referred to Buddhism, and I appreciated your comment.

By Marite (Marite) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 10:11 am: Edit


Yes, I think that the speaker at the DNC (was it Obama?) referred specifically to that Lincoln anecdote. Thanks for elaborating. My French education was somewhat short on US history. :-)

And I absolutely agree with you about trying to avoid making blanket statements about religion (and much else).

By Emptynester (Emptynester) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 10:42 am: Edit

John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail in 1780: “I must study politics and war that my sons may have the liberty to study mathematics and philosophy…in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music…”

yes really OT -- sorry -- but it's a quote I can't get out of my head reading through a few of these threads the last 24 hours

By Emptynester (Emptynester) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 10:45 am: Edit

okay. Are we the only family here who does our own plumbing, electrical & other house repairs?? LOL

By Patient (Patient) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 10:53 am: Edit

Emptynester, you are so lucky! I always chuckle (silently) when I see my (incredibly intelligent) husband heading somewhere in the house with his tool box, because I know he'll emerge sometime later and announce that the job is impossible....and I am equally helpless. I WISH we weren't dependent on experts for these tasks....

By Marite (Marite) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 11:05 am: Edit


Yes, indeed, you are so lucky. But I also think that Americans are the most DIY people in the world. Where else would a place like Home Depot be such a roaring success?

By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 11:52 am: Edit

Emptynester, we do most of our own repairs. Had to. We lived in rather shabby, old house where doorknobs were always falling off, a pipe was leaking, always something.

We bought a brand new house 4 years ago which gave us a hiatus from many of these activities. Just had the plumber come in to snake some lines, do some caulking as maintenance. I am in sticker shock over the bill. We are doing the rest of the caulking ourselves even if it will not look as professional. My boys, though lazy slackers that have to be nagged and threatened into doing this work, at least can do it, which has proved beneficial to them when they were at college. S and 5 other guys rented a ramshamble house--nothing new to him, and he was able to do many of the minor repairs that came up. The landlord wanted to hire him as a handy man for some of his other property, as he saved him trouble and money.

By Optimizerdad (Optimizerdad) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 12:32 pm: Edit

Are you willing to give quotes to other posters under 'Parents' who are all thumbs when it comes to home repairs? You never know - you might wind up making more $ than in your day job :-) .

By Alwaysamom (Alwaysamom) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 12:43 pm: Edit

My husband used to do household repairs, and still would if I'd let him. :) Sadly, although he enjoys such work and is willing to do it, it is not where his talents lie.

Emeraldkity, I greatly admire Bill and Melissa Gates and the good things they've done with their great wealth. I must say, though, that they definitely do not live a middle class lifestyle, by any means. My husband has been fortunate to be invited to a conference that Bill holds annually and has dined at their home. I don't know many middle class homes where the dining room can seat 75 people! :)

By 2dsdad (2dsdad) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 01:20 pm: Edit

"Yes, I think that the speaker at the DNC (was it Obama?) referred specifically to that Lincoln anecdote."

It was Kerry.

By Simba (Simba) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 01:22 pm: Edit

Marite: This from Hindu mythology to go with your Buddhist thought.

In Hindu mythology the goddess of money-wealth is Lakshmi. She always stands in a pond on a lotus or water lilly. Saraswati - the goddess of knowledge sits on a piece of massive rock.

Significance? If one tries to grab and hang on to money - Lakshmi - they can't. The Lotus does not have a stable root system - it will just slip away On the other hand once you have hung on to Knowledge, you can't move it.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 01:26 pm: Edit

Alwaysamom, like many wealthy people, Bill and Melinda Gates show one face out in the general community and a very different one at home among friends.

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 01:39 pm: Edit

However much Bill and Melinda can personally purchase, they still are not inclined to behave as though their money makes them "special" which is what I see with a certain section of the population.
Money is a tool, but whether you want to use it to make a difference or whether you want to use it to buy things that will set you apart from the bulk of the population depends on your values and priorities.
We know the Gates children, as my daughter is an alum of where they are attending school and she is also working there as a science specialist, and they are excessively careful to give them a "normal" life. I know families who make barely more than we do who are living way beyond their means because "status" is more important to them than anything.
Maybe it is a Seattle thing, we don't worship our billonaires here and we don't recognize them when we see them in line at Cafe Vita. everyone shops the Nordstrom sales and buys fleece at REI. You are not going to get any Brownie points for being ostentaious

By Marite (Marite) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 01:50 pm: Edit


Thanks. I'm no expert on Buddhism. But I know that the Buddha sits on a lotus, a symbol of purity. Interesting that the same images carry so many different connotations. On a trip to Southeast Asia many years ago, we picked up a little statue of Ganesha. My S was quite taken with the story.

By Alwaysamom (Alwaysamom) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 01:55 pm: Edit

Emerald, yes, I know that Bill and Melissa do their best to provide a 'normal' life for their children. My comment was in response to yours that indicated that, "Virtually all the people I know that are really wealthy don't live like it. They may have three houses but all the homes are middle class." As I said previously, I greatly admire what Bill and Melissa do with their great wealth, but a home that is valued at approximately $65 million is certainly rare in any area of the country, not just Seattle. :)

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 02:02 pm: Edit

The very wealthy are often much more aware than the simply wealthy of the need to keep their kids grounded. Warren Buffet, who claims his kids will not inherit his fortune, is well known to be Bill's mentor on this subject. But how can you think the kids are living a "normal" life when the details of their home is public knowledge? The kids, like many wealthy children, are dressed normally and taught good manners and to fit in at school, but they hardly live a normal life.

By Momto2 (Momto2) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 02:11 pm: Edit

I want to comment about people saying there is a lot of anger towards people with money on this board.

My grip was not about people with money, or Ridge, but some people, especially some of those with significant incomes, that do not plan for college expenses. (Ridge is free to take whatever job he wants as is anyone. Great for anyone who makes that kind of money!) This is more of a general attitude of some parents, not specifically to anyone on this board.

My gripe is more about what I think of as a ridiculous and foolish senario of expecting to pay $80K/year for two children in college and have $0 savings for this obvious coming expense. (Maybe mulitmillionaires excepted.) And then whining about it. The lack of planning makes me crazy. They needed to think of this sooner.

There are always ways to cut expenses, especially when making $187K. I'm sure they could find a way to save $5-10K a year. One obvious area is cars for the family. There is a good chance their teenage kids have cars! Good chance the parents bought their cars new instead of buying 5 year old cars. Maybe the cleaning person could come every other week instead of every week. The list is endless. It never ceases to amaze me what people think is necessary to spend on while acting like saving for college is not a necessary step.

We all make choices in life. One of them is to save or not save for college expenses for one's children. It is hard to have much less money and still be saving and hearing other people who make so much more say they can't.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 02:13 pm: Edit

And since we're talking about Bill and Melinda...Although a good arguement can be made that Bill was just preoccupied with business, there was heavy critisism that it took him some time to start giving away money. Yes, they've more than made up for that. Melinda, not well liked as a Duke undergrad, was well known for being an ambitious climber. She has used the wealth, which it's her preogative to do, to achieve many of her social goals such as becoming a trustee of Duke. All while allowing her husband, by prenuptial agreement, to spend a week every year with his former girlfriend!

By Simba (Simba) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 02:18 pm: Edit

Marite: Buddha sitting on a lotus conveys that He has enough stability and peace of mind to sit on a extremely unstable structure.

Both in Hinduism and buddhism the lotus is considered a symbol of purity. Why? The lotus is very beautiful, but it grows in 'dirty' waters, and the water does not stick to its leaves. One should train their mind such that the surrounding should not matter and one should be able to 'shed' them like a lotus.

BTW Buddha was a prince, his father tried to raise him in a hermetically sealed environment (He was homeschooled).

By Marite (Marite) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 02:20 pm: Edit


I'm disappointed. I did not need to hear about Melinda Gates'lack of popularity or her prenuptial agreement. All I need to hear about is her stewardship of the Gates Foundation. That is what I, as an American and a global citizen, care about. Her relationship with her husband is strictly her business.

It never ceases to amaze me how the personal and the public are so entwined in American public discourse.

By Marite (Marite) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 02:22 pm: Edit


>>BTW Buddha was a prince, his father tried to raise him in a hermetically sealed environment (He was homeschooled).>>

LOL! Strike a huge one for homeschooling, surely?

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 02:24 pm: Edit

Sorry, it just amazes me that people are so fooled by small shows.

By Marite (Marite) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 02:29 pm: Edit


Again, Melinda Gates' personality and her relationship with her husband have no bearing on how they choose to educate their kids or their agenda for the Gates Foundation. Sorry; I don't care to poke my nose into other people's private lives, and I don't like having other people's private business rubbed into my face just to make a point.

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 02:58 pm: Edit

But how can you think the kids are living a "normal" life when the details of their home is public knowledge? The kids, like many wealthy children, are dressed normally and taught good manners and to fit in at school, but they hardly live a normal life.

Thats why I put "normal" in quotes.
However do any of us lead a "normal" life?
When my daughter was first attending school, the local ABC affilate wanted to follow her around the first day, from filming while I was packing her lunch to when she arrived back home. I declined deciding that we all were going to have enough stress without a television camera in her face while she was trying to make new friends.
I suspect that because she was a premie,( and in a high risk study) the university psychologist made the referral since she was so excited she was doing so well.

We chose this particular school because I liked the atmosphere, it was more like a parent co-operative and it was very informal and eglatarian. However over time as it got away from its roots more families who were very concious that their children were "gifted" and who wanted to make sure the children knew it too, became involved at the school with a new director who referred to himself as "headmaster".
Luckily he didn't last long, and my daughter was old enough that we werent affected by the new families that wanted more stringent requirements for new kids. While they initially do require an IQ test, they did have kids with learning differences as my daughter and don't have a cutoff point for admission.
I think people who really strive for everyone else to know how much money they make, what prestigous job titles they have, are pathetic. It isn't envy. But rather it seems sad that these folks are desperately trying to fill up something in their lives that never will stay filled with material things.
The poor are certainly not noble. Often they are uneducated, and are too consumed with the stress of putting a happy meal on the table to think about how wonderful life is, and what a gift we have just being here in what I still think is one of the best countries in the world.
But the clones of the upper middle class with their Mercedes cream convertibles, their black lambskin jackets and their carefully streaked hair seem to have lost any individuality or in some cases humanity while they are focused on fitting into their clique

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 03:26 pm: Edit

Emeraldkity, you talk about a Seattle thing and I'm trying to figure out what that is. Is it that there are not that many mega rich in Seattle, so you can avoid being looked down upon if you keep driving a Honda? In Silicon Valley and other wealthy enclaves I have lived in, feeling special through obvious shows of wealth would be fleeting because there are always people more wealthy, more conventionally successful, more anything you want to talk about. Many people have Mercedes, so you are choosing a car you love, not a status symbol or you would need a stretch Bentley. You may have a $5 million dollar house but next week someone will start building a $20 million dollar house down the road and the Google guys are worth billions on paper next week. In a town like Seattle people like Bill go out of their way to drive Hondas so as not to stick out in traffic but then build a $65 million home and people still think they are modest? I'm just trying to figure this out...

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 05:04 pm: Edit

Seattle has the highest numbers of any large city of the populace with a college degree ( 52%- national average is 25%- guess Bill didn't do much to raise those numbers at least personally :-)
Three years ago there were 10,000 millionaires in Seattle, not counting outlying areas like Redmond or Woodinville.

I don't see people buying Hondas so as not to "stick" out but because that suits their need.
If you look in any lowincome area, you will see cars disporportinate to what you would think they could afford, people don't necessarily buy cars to blend in.

I don't think Bill gates is modest far from it, but ostentation of his home/business compound aside I don't see native Seattlities generally living the lifestyles of rich and famous.
More Ross Perot than Donald Trump.
Must be the Scandinavian influence!

By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 05:17 pm: Edit

Emeraldkity, are you talking about people David Brooks has named "Bobos" for "bourgeois bohemians")? http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0684853787/104-0088353-0795165?v=glance
As the Amazon promo copy reads: "They sip double-tall, nonfat lattes, chat on cell phones, and listen to NPR while driving their immaculate SUVs to Pottery Barn to shop for $48 titanium spatulas. They tread down specialty cheese aisles in top-of-the-line hiking boots and think nothing of laying down $5 for an olive-wheatgrass muffin. They're the bourgeois bohemians-- 'Bobos'--an unlikely blend of mainstream culture and 1960s-era counterculture that, according to David Brooks, represents both America's present and future: 'These Bobos define our age. They are the new establishment. Their hybrid culture is the atmosphere we all breathe. Their status codes now govern social life.' Amusing stereotypes aside, they're an 'elite based on brainpower' and merit rather than pedigree or lineage: 'Dumb good-looking people with great parents have been displaced by smart, ambitious, educated, and antiestablishment people with scuffed shoes.'"

By Marite (Marite) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 05:41 pm: Edit


I think Brooks wrote the book before Paris Hilton showed the world that it was better to !. be born rich and 2. be good looking than to be intelligent; that when one has #1 and #2, then one can even make money out of NOT being intelligent.

As for Seattle, it has been said that the reason why so many people who could afford cars and great looking houses, and dress well but do not is that they dont'have the time to spend their money because they're too busy earning it; and they can afford to go to work (or not at all) looking as if they'd just gotten out of bed.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 06:42 pm: Edit

10,000 millionaires (how many non microsoft?), I wonder how many are in Silicon Valley? Google alone is about to make hundreds of people, including support staff, millionaires. Here it is much more likely to find a lower middle class person with a BMW (the woman who cleans my house) then a rich person with a Honda. We do spend a lot of time in our cars here, but it would be really nice to experience a place with those values.

By Reidmc (Reidmc) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 12:06 am: Edit

I agree with the posters who suspect the Ridge "college tuition" reason is a cover. Note that this is a secondhand report, perhaps a Ridge-approved leak to test a message strategy and/or set up a backstory.

I also agree with the posters who suspect Ridge is fed-up with some of his admiinistration colleagues and his level of achievement. I know his current job is extraordinarly tough, but he sure seemed more coherent, consistent and reasonable when he was governor of Pennsylvania. This is the kind of thing he has to say now (Ridge today, on national tv): "We must understand that the kind of information (on possible terrorist attacks) available to us today is the result of the president's leadership in the war against terror." His complete statement is likely legitimate, but that sentence is a campaign ad, and not even germane to his topic.

Moving to another topic on this thread. . .I don't find much bias against wealth and success on CC, but there is a strong and very healthy bias here against statements that imply wealthy and successful people (read: financially successful people, evidently the only kind of real success available today) are smarter, work harder and are more virtuous ("be good, do good" anyone?) than others. Fortunately, those statements are not frequent, though there have been some classics on the threads about how upper middle-class and wealthy students are discriminated against in the college admissions process.

PS to my friend Xiggi - you've picked up that bad right-wing pundit tic of jumping to a Clinton-smack when someone says something even mildly negative about Mr. Bush, regardless of context. Even those supply-siders at CMC will frown at that.

By Marite (Marite) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 12:18 am: Edit

Oh dear. Xiggi's energies have been re-directed towards helping with the SAT. That's where he can do the most amount of good. Let's not help him deviate from this path.

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 12:35 am: Edit

They tread down specialty cheese aisles in top-of-the-line hiking boots and think nothing of laying down $5 for an olive-wheatgrass muffin.

That sounds about right. (Don't forget the microbrews and the wineries! )
But don't make the mistake of drinking wheatgrass if you have any caffiene in your system cause it will rush all residual caffiene right through and you wil be "high" to put it mildly.
I don't shop at Pottery Barn, but when I do spend my money I research it to death and buy the very best I can afford. I have learned that for a lot of things cutting corners doesnt work. However, some things do, like my 28 yr old down REI bag, or my 1960's era camel hair coat
The coffee fixation is really ironic, here you have people who are apparently too busy to make coffee in the morning ( double venti latte') but they have time to stand in line ?
( Starbucks do have drive throughs so perhaps that is where they go)
Microsoft is also very well known for 70 work weeks where millionaires either are telecommuting or coming to work in sweats. I know lots of people who worked there 10 years ago who now are consulting at something or other working when they want.
I am amazed sometimes how casually people dress, an aquaintance is a top corporate atty but he looks like a disreputable professor. Kurt Cobain didn't really stick out as much as he would have liked to if I remember correctly.
My husband owns one sport jacket and one pair of nice shoes, it gets him by. I just took my 14 yr old to the Seattle symphony for opening night ( local) of a major performance and people were in flip flops!
I think if major industries were more appearance conscious like film, or fashion it would be much different. BUt we have two of the richest men in the country living about 7 miles apart ( Paul Allen and Bill Gates) and frankly Bill Gates looks pretty spiffy compared to his former classmate.

By Marite (Marite) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 12:49 am: Edit


When the AOL/ Time- Warner merger happened, pundits directed attention to the clothes of the men involved and pointed out that the loser was the one wearing a suit. The winner could afford to look like slobs if he wished.
It has become so that it is a sign of power and status to be casual. Now that the economy has shrunk, people have become far less casual. Apparently, there is a connection.

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 01:04 am: Edit

Is it so casual on the East coast?
We have always been casual out here. I remember it would have to be about 30 years ago when I got my first "real" job, I had a really nice ellen tracy suit cause I thought that is what you wore "downtown". I have a suspicion that my clothes were overly impressive, because I was hired in at a much higher level than my coworkers for doing slightly different job but similar skilled job. It was actually kind of embarrasing since they were the ones who ended up "training" me.
Overall though I miss the dressing up. I had great aunts who still wore gloves to town and uncles who wore fedoras. Now a hat is a baseball cap or a "do-rag".
I don't miss slips though- gawd I hated slips!
I chose a career where I can wear keen or chaco sandles to work and the same kind of clothes I wear to the gym. My husband is the same way, he wears tee shirts in the summer and sweat shirts in the winter and 501's. I made the mistake of getting him more stylish clothes but they just hang in the closet. I should count my blessings, he could have the body type that needs expensive tailoring to look good ( like me!) He doesn't have to go to the gym either ;-)

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 01:12 am: Edit

It is not as casual on the E. Coast. For a bit Wall Street went casual, but the suits have returned. E. Coast casual was pressed slacks and good sweaters whereas we in CA favor the gap. When I first moved to CA from NY my husband and I were out for a run in sweats. We were hungry and abashedly asked at a good restaurant if they would let us in and they smiled and sat us front and center.

By Marite (Marite) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 01:19 am: Edit

Not as casual as on the West Coast (but think of the weather!). Still, the last time my H bought a suit was some time in the 1970s.

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 02:54 am: Edit

Reid, I am not sure in which thread the alleged Clinton smack occured, but that is OK. As I said in another thread, I am switching camp to join the bleeding hearts. A fortunate byproduct of the switch is that I do not have to spend any time verifying facts and be overly concerned about the truth. Life is good on the other side. Didn't they say "Hope is on the way!" .

By Valpal (Valpal) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 03:31 am: Edit

Marite, just out of curiousity, who was determined to be the loser in the AOL/Time Warner merger at the time? I ask because I just met the CEO of that giant comglomerate at a recent family reunion (turns out he's my cousin---what a kick in the pants!). He was wearing what seemed to be an ordinary, off the rack suit, and drove a very modest rental car to all the events. Was he the winner or the loser in the deal?

Of course, after the bottom dropped out of AOL not long after the merger, one might easily argue that he was "the loser"---LOL!

By Marite (Marite) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 06:58 am: Edit

I think the pundits were saying it was Steve Case who'd lost out.

By Simba (Simba) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 07:27 am: Edit

Xiggi: Welcome

By Tropicanabanana (Tropicanabanana) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 09:27 am: Edit

>>>>How mature. It's always best to hear out anyone you consider an enemy.

Umm..he wasn't there to make a speech. He was there for some BS publicity stunt.

By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 10:31 am: Edit

It's interesting to hear about the men's clothing. My h is in R&D and so is not sartorially splendid when he goes to work, though he does look nice. S, otoh, is into the world of finance. These young guys, encouraged by the older ones who already have jobs, seem to believe that a custom suit is de rigueur for a job interview. He is already figuring out how to finance this. ;-) I am not sure I would know how to spot a custom suit. And does any suit make you look older than 22 when you aren't?

By Marite (Marite) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 10:55 am: Edit


LOL! My H is in R&D. Wearing twills, he is better dressed than most in his office, as they wear scruffy jeans. The folks in sales are the ones wearing suits. But we got my 22-year old a suit (not custom!) so that he could interview for entry level jobs and prayed he would not look overdressed!

Since the NYT talked about tribes, there is a tribal look to clothing styles. Academic: elbow patches for the men, the Talbots look for women; finance; pin-stripes; sales, suit (not necessarily pin-stripes) R&D scruffy; entertainment (depends: glamour for some, goth for others; grunge for musicians). What else have folks noted?

By Kissy (Kissy) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 12:44 pm: Edit

I imagine that the backlash of hostility towards Ridge on this thread is of the typical knee-jerk political variety. Back in '98, Al Gore's adjusted gross income was $224,000+. He spent $4,500 on accountants to produce a 30 page tax return, utilizing every loophole available, which yielded a tax bill putting him in the 24% bracket. Not bad for someone of his level of wealth. He also had free housing and all the other perks that go along with the vice presidency. Yet, his charitable giving amounted to a paltry $353 for the year. His explanation for his lack of charitable giving? He was funding the education for his two daughters at Harvard and his son's prep school with his current salary. Unlike Tom Ridge, Gore was born into wealth and had more financial means than most. Yet I imagine that many of those who are quick to bash Tom Ridge turned a deaf ear to the matter of Gore.

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 01:06 pm: Edit

I didn't read all the messages here, and I'm not grinding any sort of political axe. (not this time anyway).

My H and I make more together than Ridge does. We are fine funding one private college education, but two would be harder. Assuming no need-based aid, and let's assume no merit aid for the sake of argument, we'd still be able to do it, but it's quite possible that one of us would seek higher paying employment if we had to fund more than one education, in order to maintain our lifestyle (such as it is, which is not at all extravagent) and be able to retire before we're completely doddering.

I don't begrudge Ridge one bit for saying he needs to earn more $$ to pay for college tuition. I do think it's a little insensitive to those who make (much) less and somehow manage, though.

By Patient (Patient) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 06:24 pm: Edit

Kissy, I confess to being something of a knee-jerk left-leaning liberal, but I do not believe that I have bashed Ridge here and in fact I think I have been somewhat supportive of him. Not speaking for any other posters, they'll give you their own views if they want.

By Reidmc (Reidmc) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 02:14 am: Edit

Tom Ridge is a good guy. He just didn't realize he was appointed to re-elect GWB, rather than to shore up homeland security.

Kissy: The Gore shot was a miss, but a decent effort. Keep trying!

By Mom2003 (Mom2003) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 08:37 am: Edit

I don't understand. On the one hand you are unhappy that people look down upon the wealthy and then you turn around and do the same to Bill and Melinda Gates. Frankly, I am somewhat thrilled that an unpopular undergraduate has a life in which Duke considers itself lucky to have her on their board.

By Browninfall (Browninfall) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 09:36 am: Edit

Reidmc: How did Kissy's comments about Gore miss? It looks to me like she hit a homerun.

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 09:40 am: Edit

I have to say, I don't understand why anyone is bashing Ridge (or Gore, for that matter). And I'm a die-hard liberal. If someone can make several times his current salary in the private sector, and has tuition to pay for a couple of kids, what is so terrible about doing that?

The only thing I would criticize Ridge for is being stupid enough to make a statement that sounds like he's saying a $187K salary is chicken feed, when most people in the country will never make that much. But I don't see any reason to bash him for the decision he's making.

By Patient (Patient) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 10:13 am: Edit

Reidmc, Given the news this morning that all the intelligence about the new terror alert pre-dated 9/11, I understand and agree with your comment about poor Ridge's function! This kind of thing combined with recent viewings of Fahrenheit 911 and Manchurian Candidate is enough to make one paranoid...

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 12:16 pm: Edit

With the stree the guy must be under right now he'll deserve to kick back in some corporate luxury next year!!

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 12:31 pm: Edit

I don't begrudge Ridge the decision to change careers, he did his public service which by the way I think everyone should be required to do either before or after they attend college, but to use it as an excuse for changing jobs makes him sound like a naive whiner. Why not just say he is burned out and wants to shift gears?

By Browninfall (Browninfall) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 12:38 pm: Edit

Patient, It's striking to see how the views of the far left fringe have been mainstreamed these past few months. The fact that films like the ones you mentioned have been able to have an effect on people like yourself helps one better understand how the dictators of history have been able to manipulate their countrymen so easily.

When Bill Clinton was in office many on the fringe right held the same sort of paranoid views (i.e. the Vince Foster suicide was really a murder; Clinton bombed the aspirin factory because Monica Lewinsky was testifying at the same time, the Clintons were involved in drug running in Arkansas, etc. - it's a long, long list). Serious people on the right dismissed those claims, as did those on the left.

Today we see the same sort of preposterous views from the far left being given serious attention by people who should know better. This past Sunday Howard Dean suggested that President Bush issued the new terror alert for purely political reasons. Can serious people really believe this stuff? The moron George Bush is somehow able to convince all of those around him to join him in the charade?

The lunatics on the right have been replaced by the lunatics on the left. What a country.

By Marite (Marite) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 01:01 pm: Edit

I was already to discount Howard Dean until I read that the information was years old. It does not mean it is not accurate, but the timing of its release gives one pause.

I had always assumed that security measures would need to be taken at the time of the Republican Convention, perhaps more stringent than those taken for the DNC. After all, the Republicans are in power, and it was GWB who order the pursuit of Al Qaeda (alas, slowed down to concentrate on the invasion then occcupation of Iraq); additionally, as has been shown by 9/11, NYC is far more iconic than Boston, MA, of American global power as well as being the site of international institutions that are seen to be dominated by Americans, such as the World Bank and the IMF. So I was, and remain, fully prepared to hear about and to support heightened security measures in NYC. But I have to wonder about the release of years old information right after the DNC and the suggestion,until today, that it was new and urgent.

By Browninfall (Browninfall) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 02:51 pm: Edit

When Clinton bombed the aspirin factory at the same time that Monica Lewinsky was being deposed, that timing also gave one to pause. It was easy to conclude that he was trying to draw attention away from his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky. But if one stepped back and tried to look at what happened objectively, one could only conclude that it would be impossible for Clinton to bomb the factory for any reason other than legitimate ones. All of those around him would have to be in on his game. In my view no objective person could believe that. That's why I referred to those earlier who did believe it as the fringe right.

Yet the left argues through the likes of Michael Moore and others that very point - that Bush and those who advise him are all in on the con. The right marginalized those who were out there on the fringe. The left seems to embrace theirs.

By Marite (Marite) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 03:24 pm: Edit

Well, I'm no fan of Michael Moore and I don't get my information from him. Haven't even watched Farenheit 911 (yet).

BUT I take note of the fact that the latest update on the main body of information which PREDATES 9/11 is from JANUARY 2004. As I said, security precautions for the RNC are absolutely necessary. But I still wonder about that timing. Conspiracy theory, anyone?

By Marite (Marite) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 03:28 pm: Edit

From CNN:

>>U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said Tuesday that some of the information was updated earlier this year but that "there's no evidence of recent surveillance."

Neither Ridge nor Townsend said how much information was updated in January.>>

If I had Ridge's job, I would quit, too, after this.

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 03:39 pm: Edit

I am not a Michael Moore fan either
However I do read Mother Jones and other "left" wing media, I find that they cover stories that mainstream media don't
For example in 1998 my daughter got an idea for a school paper from an article in Mother Jones on a topic that we wouldn't be reading about for quite a while.
If it wasn't for the "liberal" media there would be alot of stories that we would never hear about if a dollar was involved

By Marite (Marite) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 04:12 pm: Edit


Thanks for the link to Robert Scheer's article on the Bush administration support of the Taliban despite warnings of its link with Osama bin Laden.

I note that the article appeared on May 23, 2001, a few months before the attack on the WTC on 9/11. Interesting.

By Bern700 (Bern700) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 04:16 pm: Edit

"I too have wondered when reading many threads why there is clear disdain for the well off. Further, many threads seem to carry the thinking that being poor is virtuous. Is this just an ultra liberal meeting place? Are people interested in higher education left leaning? Anyone have a hypothesis?"

This is because the majority of people on CC are democrats and the democratic party is a party based on a bunch of wealthy career politicians (example Kerry) who use people. These career politicians want more wealth and success for themselves and to do this they rile up the masses against those who are wealthier than they are (because of a natural disdain - jelousy - towards those who are more successful in life). Thus there is disdain towards the wealthy.

It's funny how people can be so fanatical about Kerry. All the guy is doing is USING you if you vote for him - you become his tool. He doesn't care about the well being of the country. He's a career politician who cares solely about himself, power, & fame. Why do you think he flip flops so much? He does it because he can get one crowd on his side by telling them what they want to hear then he can go somewhere else in the country let them hear what they want (even though it's the complete opposite of what he said before) and thus he can sway people (aka his tools) into voting for him.

So in November if you vote for Kerry feel free to feel like a TOOL.

By Marite (Marite) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 04:25 pm: Edit

>>These career politicians want more wealth and success for themselves and to do this they rile up the masses against those who are wealthier than they are (because of a natural disdain - jelousy - towards those who are more successful in life). Thus there is disdain towards the wealthy.>>

Hmm... I consider myself both wealthy and as successful in my chosen career as it is possible to be. Don't know who I'd be jealous of.

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 04:34 pm: Edit

Mother Jones did stories on women under the Taliban in 1998, I couldn't find the magazine but at the time when I was on AOL education board several people commented that " why should we be concerned with what they are doing in the middle east?"
Um duh
It is a small world and I am an independent voter who does tend to vote democratic but not always.
I will not say that politicians are saviours, and I realize that any information is skewed one way or another, that is why I am FOR independent news sources, becuase the more news sources that get sucked into one body, the more skewed our information will be.
We need a broad range of opinion, and everyone needs to be heard or at least to listen.
Like they say, the group is smarter than the individual

By Bern700 (Bern700) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 04:37 pm: Edit

oh yeah thanks for helping me remember. And they try to convince people when they are young and easy to manipulate because even if they become successful and wealthy they will still follow the party.

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 04:54 pm: Edit

I am hoping Bern that after your education at Wharton you will have learned that it is difficult to get people on your side or even to listen to you if you are calling them names

By Marite (Marite) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 04:55 pm: Edit


Did you actually read the Scheer story?

I'm too old to manipulate. But you are what? 18?
There's still time to work on you.:-)

By Bern700 (Bern700) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 05:08 pm: Edit

Ok I did really mean to call anybody names, sorry if I came on too strong, I just can't understand how people can't see through the guy. He really is just using people to better himself. He doesn't care about anybody other than himself and it's evident in the way he's lived his life.

By Marite (Marite) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 05:12 pm: Edit


We're not discussing Kerry here, or Bush, for that matter. The thread started about Ridge. I actually sympathize with his argument for quitting public service, though others apparently do not, and my income is higher than his. But I also suspect he is throwing the towel because he has been given such a thankless task. And the latest revelations do no help any.

By Patient (Patient) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 05:13 pm: Edit

Bern700: if that is your assessment of John Kerry, I'd be interested in your assessment of George W. Bush.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 05:39 pm: Edit

I do have to say that I wonder how much of the country can relate to Kerry as a representative of "every man". The guy went to Fessedon, St. Paul's, Le Rosey and Yale.

By Alwaysamom (Alwaysamom) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 05:45 pm: Edit

Bern, I agree that you have the right to an opinion about John Kerry's motives but I fail to see how he is using people to better himself. This is a man who has been extraordinarily successful in his career, is a well-respected Senator, from all accounts a wonderful father, a loving husband, is very wealthy in his own right, and whose wife is a billionaire. What could Democratic voters possible be able to provide which would better him?

By Marite (Marite) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 05:52 pm: Edit


I don't think Kerry is trying to present himself as representing "every man"; and John Edwards's story or Obama's story are not mine, either.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 05:58 pm: Edit

I do think that Kerry presents himself as a representative of the downtrodden. At the convention we saw many of his average American Vietnam buddies and none of his prep school or Yale friends, at least not identified. And Kerry is not at all wealthy in his own right. From a blue blood family yes, but they were the poor cousins. An aunt paid for the elite schools. Kerry married 2 very wealthy women, first one not in Theresa's league, but wealthy and connected, certainly much more so than he.

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 06:03 pm: Edit

Maybe it's just me, but I don't give a flying you-know-what whether my president is a "common man" or not. You don't have to have grown up poor to have a desire to help people who have less. And if I did care about that, I'd certainly be more inclined towards K (son of a government official) than B (son of a president). The fact is that you need $$$ to run for office successfully, so if we want "common" men and women in office, we'd better do something drastic about the way campaigns function.

By Thedad (Thedad) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 06:07 pm: Edit

Kerry using people? I don't think so.

The contrast between Kerry and Bush is stark. Here's what I wrote for my topic on another message board. My synopsis and commentary from THE BOOK ON BUSH, Eric Alterman and Mark Green.


Bush's Tax Cut.

In pushing for his tax cut, Bush said "Everybody will get a tax break" and "the average tax break will be $1,083" and "all will benefit, not just the rich." The first is a lie and the second two are misleading. Bush responded to his opponents with accusations of "class warfare" and "playing politics." In reality, the Bush tax cuts represent a huge transfer of wealth to the already wealthy. In the words of Warren Buffet, "this is class warfare and my class is winning."

50 million households get no tax breaks: those who pay no federal taxes because their income is so low, have no children, or don't have substantial dividends or capital gains taxes.

The middle quintile of households received a tax cut of $227. For 42 percent of filers who are not married or don't have children, the average break was $50.

The top 1 percent received a break of $20,762.
The top .2 percent (with incomes of $1Million+) received an average break of $89,509.

8 million children--those in poor families that need the *most* relief--receive nothing. This anomaly could have been addressed by raising the top rate on taxpayers from 35 percent to 35.3 percent but, in the words of Tom DeLay, "it ain't gonna happen."

42 percent of the benefits of the tax cut went to the top 1 percent. The percentage of decrease in the tax bill averaged 15 percent for the top 1 percent of filers, 7 percent for the remaining 99 percent.

Bush Assertion: tax cuts stimulate growth and jobs.

If you want to stimulate growth, cut Social Security taxes, which are on earned income...income from people working for a paycheck. Or shift the money directly to the states, which faced a $80 billion cumulative deficit for 2003. 80 percent of the job losses during the Bush administration occurred *after* the 2001 tax cuts.

Bush Assertion: Deficits don't matter.

The OMB has calculated a $1.5 *trillion* reduction in revenues over 10 years. And this in a scenario where the budget forecasts take the tack that since the cost of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan can't be precisely estimated, for budget purposes they're zero.

Deficits affect interest rates which effect economic power and, ultimately everything from military power to education, environmental protection, and any government oversight on big business.

There are two schools of thought regarding taxes.
Oliver Wendell Holmes called them the price of a civilized society, some see taxes as just plain evil. Bush is in the latter camp. He believes that tax cuts are the answer to everything; cf., if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

As an issue the tax cuts are overshadowed by Iraq, terrorism, and job losses. But in terms of damage to the country, they are part of a radical attack on the middle class for the benefit of the wealthy.

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 06:08 pm: Edit

"It's funny how people can be so fanatical about Kerry. All the guy is doing is USING you if you vote for him - you become his tool. He doesn't care about the well being of the country. He's a career politician who cares solely about himself, power, & fame. Why do you think he flip flops so much? He does it because he can get one crowd on his side by telling them what they want to hear then he can go somewhere else in the country let them hear what they want (even though it's the complete opposite of what he said before) and thus he can sway people (aka his tools) into voting for him.

So in November if you vote for Kerry feel free to feel like a TOOL."

Bern, it strikes me that this is all just vitriol unsupported by any actual facts. What bothers me the most is that there are many, many other voters out there who will vote on the same uninformed, thoughtless basis.

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 06:11 pm: Edit

I am not convinced about Kerry but I sure like Teresa

By Browninfall (Browninfall) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 06:15 pm: Edit

Marite: Why should it matter if there's no evidence of "recent" surveillance? We now know that there has been significant surveillance of these buildings/areas by those who want to destroy us. We knew back in the 1990s that al Queda planned on flying planes into buildings. The fact that the awarenesss of al Queda's intentions went back many years didn't make that information any less relevant.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 06:24 pm: Edit

I'm with Emeraldkity, Theresa for President! I am not a fan of George W by any means. But I'll say that something irritates me about Kerry and whether he is genuine. The two hyper wealthy wives sounds off an alarm coming from someone who is going to help the middle class. Just a coincidence?

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 06:25 pm: Edit

since we are continuing with the political commentary

By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 06:29 pm: Edit

It's clear that Kerry is no ordinary slob. I don't particularly want an ordinary slob in the White House, and I will refrain from making an obvious comment here. ;-) However, for me what is so powerful is the fact that Kerry, who comes from a life of privilege, makes the choice to concern himself with and take a stand for people who have very little. He didn't have to do that.

By Browninfall (Browninfall) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 06:32 pm: Edit

Rhonda63: You must be a college professor, or someone from the mainstream media. I like the arrogance. Only a dumb hick (i.e. uniformed, thoughtless) would vote for Bush. The great unwashed are just so stupid. I can't believe they're even allowed to vote. Why can't they be smart like the Kerry supporters are?

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 06:34 pm: Edit

I do not REALLY want to debate TheDad's eloquent post. I only have three addendum that are worth exploring:

1. Or shift the money directly to the states, which faced a $80 billion cumulative deficit for 2003.

Couldn't you agree that the state deficits find their origin in frivolous spending and ill-advised programs during the gogo years of the past decade. The transfer to the States had never been as large as during those years and the States responded by showing little restraint. The same lack of fiscal responsibility they display when spending (or diverting) the proceeds of lotteries and tobacco windfalls.

2. 80 percent of the job losses during the Bush administration occurred *after* the 2001 tax cuts.

For added effect, you could write "80 percent of the job losses during the Bush administration occurred *after* the 2001 tax cuts and the tragedy of 9/11 that brought the economy of the civiilized world to a quasi standstill.

One could note that the economy of Western European countries has shown very few signs of recovery in the same period. While we decry the impact of tax cuts, Germany and France are studying similar proposals that could deliver the torrid economic growth experienced by the US in the past 4-6 trimesters. A recovery that has, alas, been proven to remain jobless.

3. Another poster mentioned the dwindling revenues reported by the IRS. The average decrease has been estimated to be about 5.6%. It should be noteworthy that the middle class were the only to report growth in income.

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 06:38 pm: Edit


Who are the two hyper wealthy ladies?

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 06:39 pm: Edit

Thedad, would you support a flat tax rate?

Xiggi, do you think that one President, in under 4 years, can be responsible for monumental job loss?

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 06:41 pm: Edit

There is something to like about Teresa: she was a registered Republican, until she developed the recent liking for the zip code at 1600 Pennsylvania. In a departure from illustrious predecessors, she may even bring her own furniture.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 06:52 pm: Edit

Xiggi, wish I knew the exact facts, but Kerry's first wife was also from a very wealthy family, the sister of one of his buddies from one of his super elite schools. The second of course is the wonderfully ascerbic Theresa. I read an interesting article the other day about how hated Kerry was at St. Paul's, his high school. He was known to be a suck up, not a team player on the hockey team and a wannabe. When a group of classmates were honored for their public service commitments at a reunion many years after graduation, among the honored, he alone got no applause. When he ran his first election, classmates raised money for his opponent. Who knows if this is fair or if his classmates were WASP jerks who hated him for being Catholic as his side asserts, but it's interesting.

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 06:54 pm: Edit


My thoughts on job losses? The President has VERY little to do with job creation. Companies and individuals create jobs. It is amazing how people insist that the White House possesses magical powers that could manipulate the job market.

As far as hanging the job losses onto GWB, it would make even less sense. Our country had entered into a solid recession well before the votes were counted (or not counted to appease TheDad) in Florida. How could our country not suffer from the dot.com debacle and a cooling world trade? The reality is that, prior to that debacle, our economy was overheated and that a correction was inevitable. A lot of the job creation in the late nineties was simply superficial and illogical.

My view: Clinton earned way too much credit for job gains, and Bush receives too much criticisms about job losses. Bush got handed a patient that had just been moved from the ER into intensive care. Yet we try to blame him for for the persistent symptoms that elude modern medicine.

In a cynical way, if one could slide the elections dates by 24 months, we could have had a much different portrait gallery of Presidents. If elections had been held after two years into the presidencies of both Bushes, the democrats would have witnessed a tsunami similar to the second election of Reagan. If Clinton had remained as President until January 2003, his legacy in the hearts of America would have been quite different.

The economy moves at its own pace and the US is no longer able to function in a vacuum and remain oblivious to the worldwide economy.

By Marite (Marite) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 06:55 pm: Edit


The point of the whole article is that there has been ABSOLUTELY no new information since January. So why was it urgent to release it the week after the DNC ended instead of say, last February, March, April, May, June, or even July before the DNC? or right before the RNC in a couple of weeks?

I have no wish to undermine efforts to provide the best security possible for delegates to the RNC and to New Yorkers more generally. I'm afraid, though, that by issuing information that has been shown to be old, the Administration has undermined these very efforts. And it have laid itself open to suspicions that it was done in order to distract attention from Kerry/Edwards.

By Marite (Marite) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 07:02 pm: Edit


I must have read the same article, but drawn different conclusions. Yes, a lot of the SPS schoolmates sounded like jerks, determined to keep a lonely kid out because he did not share the same background as they. Sounds familiar? Anybody seen Lindsay Anderson's If about British public schools, or remember that Lord of the Flies is really about public (read private) school kids?

By Marite (Marite) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 07:03 pm: Edit

About representativeness, Obama said it best.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 07:04 pm: Edit

Xxiggi, just as Clinton had a clear shot to put away Osama when the Saudi's urged him to take Osama off their hands, he presided over many of the free trade agreements that have actually lead to much of the loss of middle class jobs. Outsourcing is they key culprit to continuing American job loss, and frankly, no one could have stopped it. America wanted made in China items at Costco and Wallmart and cheap electronics--it fueled a lot of spending and made things attainable to the middle class like cell phones which were once just for the wealthy. Along with that came an overall global economy, one in which American companies can't pay an engineer or accountant $80K when we can hire their equally qualified foreign counterpart for $20K. The proliferation of books and articles blaming Bush for losing these jobs just amazes people. That seemingly smart people believe them amazes me even more.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 07:08 pm: Edit

Marite, as an outsider in the ivy league a few years after Kerry, I found mostly welcoming peers. I do have a hard time believing that high school age kids were all obnoxious snobs. Possible? Yes. My gut just has a hard time with this one.

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 07:14 pm: Edit

I thought all (rock) musicians were popular?
I know that even the most socially inept musicians of my school were considered "hot" stuff but I suppose the climate of a suburban coed public school is a little different than an east coast boys prep school

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 07:26 pm: Edit


As you could expect from me, I do not believe that protectionism would have or would help the US in capturing a bigger slice of the world market. There is more good in negotiating free trade treaties than bad. Actually, I believe that, while not being the artisans of NAFTA, Clinton and Gore, in particular, did a remarkable job to see it come into existence.

I understand that you are devoting much attention to the issue of outsourcing. I honestly believe that the jury is still out for evaluating the final impact of current job losses versus long term gains. When we move jobs overseas, we also help create a huge market that is hungry for our products and services. We are indeed losing jobs but most of them were irremediably doomed.

I will know a lot more about this subject in the future: as it is widely offered in many leading Economics classes, I expect to receive a good dosis of the teachings of Gregory Mankiw. It is the same Gregory Mankiw who is chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers and caused quite a stir with his position on outsourcing. It may be a textbook position but his theories might end up being quite correct.

By Marite (Marite) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 07:33 pm: Edit

Ivy League, ie. college is different than high school. Kerry does not seem to have had a hard time at Yale. I have no trouble believing the story, knowing how cruel kids can be, how cliquish and, yes comformist.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 08:02 pm: Edit

I agree that high school kids are cruel about many things, but religion? I just don't know.

By Browninfall (Browninfall) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 08:10 pm: Edit

Even though Kerry's family did not have great wealth, his bloodlines were still blue. My son is a graduate of St. Paul's. It is an amazing place. Even though the St. Paul's of the 90's (when my son was there) is clearly different from the St. Paul's of the 60's, I highly doubt that Kerry was ostracized because everyone else was a snob or a jerk. Gerry Trudeau survived the place during basically the same time period.

By Thedad (Thedad) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 08:12 pm: Edit

Xiggi, it's a popular myth that the state governments are full of fat, as our Governator has recently found out. Now, I'll agree that *all* governments tend to overspend in good times and thus get stuck in bad. As for 9/11 and the economy, it's become a frantic mantra for the GOP to excuse its lousy economic performance. I only posted on the facet of taxes...if you'd like, I could post on other aspects as well. (Call me your friendly local FAO...it's a job I'm good at.)

Mom101...no, I wouldn't support a flat tax. Warren Buffet has a very eloquent argument against it that I can't lay my hands on but I firmly believe in progressive taxation. (Side note: funniest stat I ran across is that 19 percent of taxpayers consider themselves in the top 1 percent...Lake Woebegone, here we come!)

Lower incomes pay disportionately more for almost everything else--transportation, credit, shelter, etc. relative to their income. Upper income taxpayers have the most to benefit from an educated work force, infrastructure, etc. that gives social stability and room for their investments to efficiently work.

The attitude among some high income folks reminds me of the pre-Civil War Southern Congressmen who deplored federal spending (sound familiar?)...and got burned when their harbors were inadequate during the Civil War, LOL! Served 'em right.
And then there's "Let them eat cake!"

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 08:25 pm: Edit

Browninfall, my daughter starts at SPS next month. I, too, have a hard time believing they were all jerks.

By Marite (Marite) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 08:27 pm: Edit

Kerry was there until 1962. "

>Kerry took a strong interest in politics and world events, and was inevitably mocked for being too serious. He never ran for student office, in part because he didn't have the votes, but he started a debating society and wrote essays like ""The Plight of the Negro." He fell in love with John Kennedy and took JFK's side in school debates. "There was an element of courage about it," said David Irons, class of 64. ""It was certainly not cool to care about politics and social justice.">

From the Newsweek cover story, Aug. 2, 2004.

[Remember, this is before the Civil Rights era]

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 08:38 pm: Edit

Understood. But he was hardly alone in being a Catholic there at the time. And it has long been a place that promoted acceptance. I've asked friends who went to SPS and the like at that time and they expree surprise at the claim that a Catholic would have been disliked for religion.

By Browninfall (Browninfall) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 08:54 pm: Edit

I'm not ready to give sainthood to Kerry because he wrote essays on "the plight of the Negro" in the 1960's at a place like St. Paul's. Kennedy was president and the American populace leaned heavily towards the Democrats. It was no badge of courage to worship at the altar of liberalism. It was in the air. In fact the exact opposite was true. If you didn't like Kennedy, or supported the positions of a Barry Goldwater, you were considered to be someone on the fringe (i.e. a McCarthyite or a John Bircher).

By Marite (Marite) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 09:05 pm: Edit

No one is claiming that Kerry is a saint, don't worry.
The SPS alum does not suggest that Kennedy worship was rampant at SPS or that the plight of the Negro was a subject of great concern at SPS at THAT time. Interesting, though, that Kerry found a father substitute in SPS's first black teacher.
Goldwater? He was unknown nationally until 1964.

By Browninfall (Browninfall) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 09:33 pm: Edit

I'm not implying that the SPS alum did suggest that Kennedy worship was rampant at SPS or that the plight of the Negro was of great concern at SPS at THAT time. I'm saying that it didn't take a lot of courage to do what he did. You take my point on Goldwater too literally. Those who didn't agree with the liberal view were considered extreme (kind of like they are today I guess). Speaking of Kennedy, what does one make of his deep tax cuts? Must have been trying to reward his rich, fat cat friends. Eric Alterman and Mark Green would not be amused.

By Marite (Marite) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 09:40 pm: Edit


The SPS alum DID STATE that it took courage for Kerry to adopt the stances he took. It does suggest that they were not popular at SPS. For a boarding school kid, that matters far more than what the rest of the country feel. You're welcome to define courage as you see fit, or commitment to social justice. Kerry was what? 17? 18? But of course we know he is/always has been an opportunist.

I'm not trying to shift the discussion by talking about Ted Kennedy, btw.

But I'm still wondering about the timing of this information about terrorist attacks that is months old.

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 10:47 pm: Edit


The beauty of measuring economic performance is that one can dictate the outcome of his analysis by playing with the criteria.

In general terms, I believe that most everyone will tend to measure the growth of an economy by the increase in GDP or GNP. I am unsure how you could qualify the performance of the US economy as lousy when using this common yardstick. If you did, I would ask to tell us the number that could qualify as acceptable and then try to find of a country that shows identical numbers.

In the same vein, assuming that we agree that Bush deserves the moniker of lousy ofr his economic performace. What would you have expected to see him do as an alternative? Spend less? Not issue the tax rebates? Repealing the tax cuts would increase the cash on the Treasury but would it give an impetus to our economy? Reducing the spending of our government? Same conclusion!

I believe that it is not the first time that the US has worked its way out of a recession through massive spending and accelerated investments. You can analyze the strength of a company by studying its balance sheet, but you also need the income statement to ascertain its current performance. Despite being different, I think that public finances might follow similar rules, except that it can operate with long term deficits.

Again, I'd like to hear your version of how things could have been different since January 2001.

By Browninfall (Browninfall) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 11:18 pm: Edit


That particular SPS alum stated that it took courage for Kerry to do what he did. Fine, that's his opinion and God love him for it. I, however, don't believe that SPS at THAT time was much different than the rest of America. The easy path to take was the one that headed towards "social justice" - a nonsensical term in my view.

I'm not sure what you mean when you say that you're not trying to shift the discussion by talking about Ted Kennedy. My comments were about JFK and his significant tax cuts during his Presidency.

By the way, I'm curious, do you really like John Kerry or are you really motivated by your dislike for W?

Honesty, please.

By Marite (Marite) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 11:35 pm: Edit

Oh, I thought that you were talking about Ted Kennedy. The Kennedy tax cuts were way before my time. Remember, I'm like THK. A polyglot, middle class immigrant; not the descendent of slaves or goat herders or Kansas farmers, or....

Do I like Kerry? Yes, I do. I respect a lot of what he has done. I've actually met him over something we were trying to achieve together (I won't go into details here).

I disagree profoundly about the easy path in high school, especially in boarding school.
I got to understand the meaning of peer pressure only after I came to the US.

The rest of America in the early 60s contained a lot of bigots, if I remember correctly. One had to take sides--or not. At 17 or 18, it was easy not to. At any rate, I don't believe for a minute that SPS was "like" the rest of America. Affluent, lily white WASP America, very likely. SPS has come a very long way since 1960. As has America.

I vote for Weld out of dislike for Silber, btw. He did not turn out so bad. But he is a *moderate* republican; he even supports gay marriage!

By Browninfall (Browninfall) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 11:50 pm: Edit

Marite, I'm getting tired. Those who disagree with you are not dirtballs, liars, crooks, thieves, idiots, morons, Nazis, or racists et al. Sure we've got our kooks, but I think you've got them in spades on your side of the aisle too. Being against "gay marriage" shouldn't automatically mean that you're a homophobe, nor should being against affirmative action automatically mean that you're a racist. Reasonable people should be able to disagree on this stuff. Time for bed.

By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 12:13 am: Edit


You are tired? Fine.

I merely point out that America in the 60s, just as now, was a diverse place. Kerry chose to support Blacks. Not every American did. And a lot of 17 and 18 year olds were politically disengaged, as most are now. What's so surprising about that? Kerry just happened not to be, and chose a position which I admire.

You are the one who does not allow others to disagree with you. You are ready to discount the opinion of someone who was at SPS with Kerry. Why? Because it does not fit with your assessment of Kerry?

I have not accused ANYONE of being any of the things you list. Please do a word search. I WANT EVIDENCE. I deeply resent your insinuations.

By Reidmc (Reidmc) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 12:31 am: Edit

Personally, I don't blame all the job losses on Bush and his administration.

Needless deaths in Iraq, a poor job of focusing on terror threats, a great job of recruiting for Al Quaeda, tax policies whose greatest negative impacts are yet to come, packing the judiciary with right-wingers, short-sighted environmental policies, turning the legislative and regulatory processes over to corporate lobbyists, demonizing political dissent, disenfranchising Amercian voters and doing everything they can to mislead the American public about their military initiatives, their economic policies and their political opposition (TheDad: please add anything I have I forgotten). . .that's what I blame on GWB & Co.

PS I have supported Republican candidates off and on since the 1960s. I respect Tom Ridge - he was a solid governor. But over the past 20 years narrow-minded and selfish interests have purged the GOP of most of the thoughtful and compassionate members it had.. In their place, we get folks like Bern700 and Tom DeLay. http://www.takingontomdelay.com/

BTW - My money is still on Xiggi to become the first true compassionate conservative. I just hope he won't be too disappointed when the GOP bounces him for doing so. . .

By Patient (Patient) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 12:36 am: Edit

This just received from a colleague, who is prone to forward lots and lots of emails....don't blame me, I'm just the messenger...but I particularly agree with the author's statements regarding how America is currently viewed by the rest of the world.

You might be interested in the following just written by Charley Reese of
the Orlando Sentinel. If you know the writer and his strongly conservative
reputation, you should find it eye opening. Note particularly what he says
about John Kerry. The conservative journalists Robert Novak and William
Kristol happen to be saying the same things.

Vote For A Man, Not A Puppet

Americans should realize that if they vote for President Bush's
re-election, they are really voting for the architects of war - Dick
Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and the rest of that cabal of
neoconservative ideologues and their corporate backers.

I have sadly come to the conclusion that President Bush is merely a
frontman, an empty suit, who is manipulated by the people in his

Bush has the most dangerously simplistic view of the world of any
president in my memory. It's no wonder the president avoids press
conferences like the plague. Take away his cue cards and he can barely

Americans should be embarrassed that an Arab king (Abdullah of Jordan)
spoke more fluently and articulately in English than our own president
at their joint press conference recently.

John Kerry is at least an educated man, well-read, who knows how to
think and who knows that the world is a great deal more complex than
Bush's comic-book world of American heroes and foreign evildoers. It's
unfortunate that in our poorly educated country, Kerry's very
intelligence and refusal to adopt simplistic slogans might doom his
presidential election efforts.

But Thomas Jefferson said it well, as he did so often, when he observed
that people who expect to be ignorant and free expect what never was
and never will be.

People who think of themselves as conservatives will really display
their stupidity, as I did in the last election, by voting for Bush.
Bush is as far from being a conservative as you can get. Well, he
fooled me once, but he won't fool me twice.

It is not at all conservative to balloon government spending, to vastly
increase the power of government, to show contempt for the Constitution
and the rule of law, or to tell people that foreign outsourcing of
American jobs is good for them, that giant fiscal and trade deficits
don't matter, and that people should not know what their government is

Bush is the most prone-to-classify, the most secretive president in the
20th century. His administration leans dangerously toward the

It's no wonder that the Justice Department has convicted a few
Arab-Americans of supporting terrorism. What would you do if you found
yourself arrested and a federal prosecutor whispers in your ear that
either you can plea-bargain this or the president will designate you an
enemy combatant and you'll be held
incommunicado for the duration?

This election really is important, not only for domestic reasons, but
because Bush's foreign policy has been a dangerous disaster. He's
almost restarted the Cold War with Russia and the nuclear arms race.
America is not only hated in the Middle East, but it has few friends
anywhere in the world thanks to the arrogance and ineptness of the Bush
administration. Don't forget, a scientific poll of Europeans found us,
Israel, North Korea and Iran as the greatest threats to world peace.

I will swallow a lot of petty policy differences with Kerry to get a
man in the White House with brains enough not to blow up the world and
us with it. Go to Kerry's Web site (www.johnkerry.com) and read some of
the magazine profiles on him. You'll find that there is a great deal
more to Kerry than the GOP attack dogs would have you believe.

Besides, it would be fun to have a president who plays hockey,
windsurfs, ride motorcycles, plays the guitar, writes poetry and speaks
French. It would be good to have a man in the White House who has
killed people face to face. Killing people has a sobering effect on a
man and dispels all illusions about war.

By Thedad (Thedad) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 12:39 am: Edit

Xiggi, I'll hit you with the broader economic policy when I get my write-up done. I'm posting on another board where I've had my own topic for years, everybody knows eveyrone's True Name, etc. A very different environment and it's my on-line "home" though CC has become the "vacation home."

Btw, I notice you appear to have run up the white flag about the inequities of the tax cuts themselves.

By Thedad (Thedad) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 12:43 am: Edit

Patient, cross-posted. Someone had forwarded me the same article and my eyes popped at the source.

But I don't think Novak is saying the same thing. I watch him on CNN regularly and he's as big a Bush apologist as they come.

Btw, despite my urge to put political posts in the Parents Forum, I've instead been starting the occasional thread in the Cafe as well. Had one with an analysis of the Dem convention.

Will have another one in a day or three about polls. And another about the race in terms of the electoral college.

By Browninfall (Browninfall) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 12:46 am: Edit

I haven't gone to bed yet, but I guess I'm sorry that I haven't. Marite, you've got to relax. What are you folks so angry about? I've done nothing but challenge what you and others have said either about President Bush or those who lean to the right. Collectively the folks on this site who are liberal have accused anyone who wanders off of the left wing reservation of being "goons", as your boy Kerry called the protestors at his speech in Wisconsin this past weekend.

I've tried to have a reasonable discourse about all things political on this site. Typically what happens when I make a statement that can't be refuted, it's met with silence.

I don't understand your side's hatred for George Bush. Sure, we can all disagree, but I don't understand what drives you all to the point of near insanity about his Presidency.

Many of us think that he's a great man. God bless George Bush and God bless America.

By Patient (Patient) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 12:52 am: Edit


Actually your posts have seemed harsh and you seem to be personally attacking a number of posters. You are absolutely entitled to your views as we are to ours, and we are all obviously stimulated by the debate. I have already learned a lot by reading this thread. But you could profitably adopt a more civilized tone.

I think that this is taking an intense tone because no one doubts that our country is in great trouble at home and abroad.

By Mini (Mini) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 01:01 am: Edit

So back to the original topic : I agree with Rhonda who wrote:

"The only thing I would criticize Ridge for is being stupid enough to make a statement that sounds like he's saying a $187K salary is chicken feed, when most people in the country will never make that much."

I think people are sensitive to his college comments, and should be. In my state, the "liberal" state of Washington, after telling folks for years that those who can't afford UW should first spend two years at the local community college, the UW has announced that it will no longer automatically accept community college transfers (who have a certain gradepoint average.) Now, you have to understand what that means: well-healed folks who send their kids to UW at a huge subidy from the state will continue to receive the subsidy, and more well-healed freshman will be admitted, while those who couldn't afford it the first time around and did what they were told to do in order to make it to the U. are shut out. The other major impact - of which UW is well aware, because they have the data -- is to "protect" the university from its only signficant influx of non-white students other than its football and basketball players.

I live in a community with one of those community colleges, and folks who attend understand this quite clearly as a form of class warfare waged by those wealthier than themselves. In that context, Ridge's ill-conceived comments are just rubbing in more of the same understanding.

It was a stupid, stupid thing to say, made worse by the fact that he probably didn't even realize it.

By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 01:07 am: Edit

>>Those who disagree with you are not dirtballs, liars, crooks, thieves, idiots, morons, Nazis, or racists et al.>>

You make insinuations and then you tell me to relax?

I'm not angry that you support Bush. That's what elections are about. I am angry when words are put in my mouth and thoughts that I do not harbor are inputed to me. But it's so easy to call me angry instead of providing the evidence I asked for and practically accusing me of being insane, isn't it? Whew! If that's your idea of reasonable discourse, I shudder at what would pass for unreasonable.

But guess what? I'm not among those who think that this country cannot survive another four years of Bush. In most cases, elections are about choices between two imperfect candidates. You just have to vote for the better choice according to your lights. That does not make the other person evil or even hateful. Surprised you?

I'm disengaging from this particular discourse.

By Browninfall (Browninfall) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 01:09 am: Edit

Isn't it interesting how one views posts that they disagree with. I like the post- civilized behavior. I don't like the post - unusually harsh. I've been trying to make the point all day - obviously without success- that we should be able to disagree and we're not all ******* because we disagree.

All that being said, God bless George Bush and God bless America.

By Reidmc (Reidmc) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 01:14 am: Edit

Browninfall - I was with you until the "great man" part. But I do note your choice of "many of us" rather than "I." And I second your "God Bless George Bush" sentiment, as I can't think of anyone that needs it more.

I don't hate George Bush. I'd be happy to share a chuckle with him in the country club buffet line. But he is in WAY over his head, as I would be if I was in his shoes. He was ill-prepared for the presidency and his skills and abilities do not suit the position. As a result, see my list above.

By Browninfall (Browninfall) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 01:21 am: Edit

O.K. I'm still tired. What did I say about the "great man". I can't keep track of all of this. God bless GWB ..too much typing...time for sleep.

By Browninfall (Browninfall) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 01:24 am: Edit

P.S. the Left is nuts.

By 2dsdad (2dsdad) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 02:15 am: Edit

"Another poster mentioned the dwindling revenues reported by the IRS."

Well, yes, the mantra is that the tax cuts are contributing to the increase in the deficit. Except...

"Federal Deficit Likely to Narrow by $100 Billion
Tax Receipts Pare Borrowing

By Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 4, 2004; Page E01

Smaller-than-expected tax refunds and rising individual tax receipts will pare back federal borrowing significantly for the first half of this year and could reduce the $521 billion deficit projected for the fiscal year by as much as $100 billion, Treasury and congressional budget officials said yesterday."

The report is several months old. It comes from the Congressional Budget Office and the Treasury and not the IRS but the projections should be verifiable with time. So we have tax cuts AND rising individual tax receipts. How can that be? Dr. Laffer is smiling. (Here's a chance for the usual suspects to jump in and point out that the report is generated by Congress which is run by the Party that Lies and therefore the report is meaningless, Treasury and CBO officials are all in on the GWB con.)

Even further off topic (what is the topic?): I ran across this piece of history - Top Marginal Tax rates 1913-2003

By Reidmc (Reidmc) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 02:15 am: Edit

post deleted. . .

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 02:21 am: Edit

Reid, thank you for believing in me becoming a true compassionate conservative.

I participate in these type of discussions for the sole purpose of finding points of references. It really does not matter to me if the errors are entirely imputable to the Republicans. I am simply trying to understand WHY people are so vehemently opposed to our current president. I have a lot less interest in finding out why an equal number of people are blindly supporting Bush.

What I am really seeking is a real hero, someone who will make me proud to live in this country and be proud of being an American. I am not looking for perfection, just someone I could be proud of of calling MY president. If this person would be named John Forbes Kerry, it would not bother me a bit that he is Democrat.

The problem is that there is nothing about JFK that would kindle any enthusiasm of my part. I just see him as an empty suit with a strange face who has benefitted from a set of fortunate circumstances.

I would gladly set aside most of the tenets that guide me for the opportunity to follow a true inspirational model, except that I will never believe that a government could make better decisions about my personal choices than I could.

Sadly, the politicians who have emerged in the last four elections have been deeply flawed individuals who broke about every electoral promise they ever uttered. In addition, some of them -like the Clintons- have earned my eternal and profound contempt for a number of reasons that are too numerous to cite. When I consider my own position, it helps me understand where a large number stand vis-s-vis Dubya! I know that I tend to lose my objectivity when it comes to certain individuals.

This, however, does not explain my current position. I am truly discontent with the hardliners who dominate the Republican party and I welcome and applaud the new breed of Democrats like Obama. I know that the answer could be found in a truly centrist party that could leave the radicals of both parties in the dust.

I guess that my biggest disappointment stems from the fact that our last three Presidents HAD the chance to be different but succumbed to the loudmouths and reverted to radical policies. I am still not certain if the devious cynicism of the second is worse than the stupidity of the first and third.

So, here we are thrown in a battle that will decide whom we dislike the most as opposed as finding someone who possess a modicum of the qualities the country needs in a President. One could have been one of our greatest presidents, the other could have been a decent senator.

Broken promises!

PS Reid, I hope you realize that one could take the long list of shortcomings of Bush and pen in the name of the former President, changing right wing to left wing and hit the mark with ease.

Needless deaths in Iraq, a poor job of focusing on terror threats, a great job of recruiting for Al Quaeda, tax policies whose greatest negative impacts are yet to come, packing the judiciary with right-wingers, short-sighted environmental policies, turning the legislative and regulatory processes over to corporate lobbyists, demonizing political dissent, disenfranchising Amercian voters and doing everything they can to mislead the American public about their military initiatives, their economic policies and their political opposition. :)

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 03:47 am: Edit

Maybe it's being a native New Yorker that makes me see the arguements on these boards differently than most. A good fight without everyone being polite and on their best behavior is one of the thing I love most about the anonymity here. Having some controversial ideas, I've been attacked many times on threads, in a far more brutal way than anything Browinfall dished out! My thought on the UC system have kids asking me to get off the board!! I guess I'm really strange, but I like those heated exchanges more than many of the polite ones and they keep me coming back. Heated views and the passion behind them are appropriate to me in this setting. We are not neighbors although it's clear that relationships develop here, people relate to others support their views and clearly get to "know" each other. But doesn't anyone else just want to let loose more than they can in their real lives?

By Valpal (Valpal) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 03:51 am: Edit

I think it will be very interesting to observe who'll be asked to shoulder the blame when nut-job muslim extremists launch yet another major attack on U.S. soil, only this time, during a John Kerry Administration. I think it's patently ridiculous to blame the Bush Administration for radical Islam's Anti-American sentiment. They never needed Bush Administration policies as an excuse to wage violence against American interests in the past (and there's every indication that the final WTC attack was in the planning stages long before W. ever took office). Who was in the Oval Office during the first World Trade Center bombings? During the American Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania? When the USS Cole was attacked? What steps did he take to strengthen American security, both at home and abroad? Did he see the need to centralize all U.S. intelligence agencies under one office in order to streamline information gathering and thwart future attacks? Or was his thinking a little too focused on cigar sessions with Monica?

By the way, I think the Democrats picked the wrong Kerry to run for President. Too bad Bob Kerry isn't among the choices for the November election. I'm not a George Bush fan. But I'm definitely not a John Kerry one.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 03:58 am: Edit

I went back and read the whole thread. I honestly must be crazy because in my eyes Browninfall was not at all rude, attacking or inappropriate in any way. Othere were, however, to Browninfall and Bern, those simply expressing conservative views that are always unpopular on these boards.

By Valpal (Valpal) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 03:58 am: Edit

Ziggi For President!

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 04:28 am: Edit

And Xiggi, you do have the makings of a consumate politician. You're able to express conservative views while maintaining the support of the left. You go Xiggi!!

By Valpal (Valpal) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 04:31 am: Edit

I don't identify myself as left leaning. I truly believe that I'm centrist in most of my political views, which is why Ziggi can count on my vote!

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