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Category Archives: Economic issues

Democracy in Chains

Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America, by Nancy MacLean. Viking, released June 13, 2017, 368 pages. This book has been out for just over two weeks, but already there are 65 Amazon reviews. With the exception of one 2-star rating, all the ratings are either 5 stars […]

Looking for economic indicators

From our pockets to theirs Last year, we were transfixed by the horror of the 2016 election. So far this year, we can’t take our eyes off the train wreck of Trump in the White House. Most of us haven’t been paying much attention to the economy. It would be smart to take a look. […]

More Buffalo China

This blog gets a lot of visits from people who are interested in the history of Buffalo China. I would collect Buffalo china if I had anywhere to put it, but as things are I’ve collected only enough Buffalo china for the table, and no more than will fit in the kitchen cabinets. But recently, […]

2016: Record temperature for 3rd straight year

Wikipedia Commons: Polar bear starving on Svalbard because of ice melting early Reports are out today that 2016 set a record for global temperature for the third year in a row. A lot of people don’t quite grasp an important part of the science of global warming. A few degrees doesn’t seem like much. But […]

“Where to Invade Next”

It’s easy to dislike Michael Moore. He’s rude, and he looks like a slob. But his documentaries fill an important need, because he tells us what we otherwise wouldn’t hear. In this blog, I’ve often mentioned the Overton window. That’s the window of allowable discourse, the range of ideas that the mainstream media will talk […]

In search of environmental justice

Since 1974, the people of the Walnut Tree community have lived in the shadow of Duke Energy’s Belews Creek Steam Station, Duke’s largest coal-burning power plant in the Carolinas. Not until 2008 were scrubbers installed on the plant’s stacks. For all those years, people in Walnut Tree were at Ground Zero for the plant’s emissions […]

Kill your dryer

According to an article at, Americans spend about $9 billion a year on electricity to power their clothes dryers. While appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines have made great strides in energy efficiency, dryers have not. In 2014, the Natural Resources Defense Council published a “call for action” for more-efficient clothes dryers. It […]

Farms and farmland: What are the trends?

This is the farm of my great uncle Barney Dalton in Laurel Fork, Virginia. Barney was born in 1876 and died in 1972, but his farm is still owned by his heirs, who work hard to keep it looking like it looked 75 years ago. A story in this morning’s Winston-Salem Journal (by my friend […]

Fiber gets closer

Generally, if I see heavy equipment anywhere within miles of the abbey, it’s a reason for panic. It means that someone is cutting trees to sell logs, or someone is up to some kind of mischief with a bull dozer. But there is one kind of machinery that is a joy to see nearby. That’s […]

Review: Inequality: What Can Be Done?

Here are two must-read books for those who care about the human condition in an era in which we are immersed in a dumber-than-rocks political and media culture. I read Thomas Piketty’s book Capital in the Twenty-First Century last year shortly after it came out. That book has received an enormous amount of attention among […]