Monday, December 12, 2011

Monday Musings: Slumbrew Porter Yumminess; Endless Election; Jeffrey Sachs' The Price of Civilization


I finally had a chance to sample Slumbrew’s Porter Square Porter. (They had run out by the time I got into The Independent for their launch party during my Somerville to Sri Lanka beer tour a few weeks ago.) All I can say is “Yum!!!” A chewy, chocolaty porter (thanks to the addition of local Taza Chocolate) with nice subtle hint of hops at the back of the tongue.

Why is it that with one of the shortest election cycles in the democratic world (every two years we have a major election), we have the longest election campaigns? It never ends. The Republicans have been at it seriously since early this year – and the first vote isn’t for another few weeks. Thank goodness the Dems already have their nominee or we’d be subjected to it from both parties. And do we get the best politicians in the world as a result of this ridiculous and agonizing process? I hardly think so.

I finished Jeffrey Sachs’ The Price of Civilization: Reawakening American Virtue and Prosperity, an outstanding and relatively short prescription for what ails the U.S. (The title comes from a quote by former Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.: “I like to pay taxes. With them I buy civilization.”) There are far too many good points to summarize here, but in short it’s a rational and non-ideological argument for a return to a proper balance between government and business (a “mixed economy”), a return to public purpose in government, and a clear (if somewhat simplified) formula for return to fiscal sanity. He notes that we’re far less divided than the media would indicate and there are a number of points that Americans can agree upon. Now if we could just get rid of the ideologues who are destroying things…

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