Author: Jonathan Erdman

The Quotable Trump

The Trumpification of the English language: “For instance, I went to Russia for a day or so, a day or two, because I own the Miss Universe pageant. So I went there to watch it because it was near Moscow. So I go to Russia. Now I didn’t go there. Everybody knows. The logs are there, the planes are there. He said I didn’t stay there a night. Of course I stayed there. I stayed there a very short period of time. But of course I stayed. Well his memo said I left immediately. I never said that. I never said I left immediately.” From recent interview on Fox & Friends  

Happy Belated Tax Day! “We Absolutely Blew It!”

John Oliver had a fantastic bit on taxes, and I meant to post it on April 15th. I forgot, somehow, but then resolved to post it anyway, albeit a few days late. Now we are well into May, and I realize that I completely spaced this post. So even though this post may not have the same punch as it does on tax day, when we lament the amount of money that we have to pay to fund Trump’s increased security needs or Jeff Sessions’ quixotic renewal of the absurd “war on drugs,” it’s still worth taking a look.

North to Alaska

The annual trek up to Alaska is rapidly approaching, less than a week away. This will be my ninth consecutive summer working/living in AK. It’s become a lifestyle choice, to say the least, a nomadic lifestyle: summers in Alaska and winters spent wandering the world. In truth, though, it’s mostly been California. I’ve become quite comfortable and settled in here in the Santa Cruz Mountains in California. So I do a good deal less free-style gypsy living these days.

Happy Birthday, Karl Marx — you were right

Marx’s 200th birthday was two days ago. With two centuries in the can, I’d be interested to hear what ole Karl thinks of the state of things, though I imagine it would take him a while to get used to life in the 21st century, what with our smartphones, Netflix, and talk of life extension and artificial intelligence. Even so, I’m sure he’d find that he nailed it, so far as the basics are concerned, those basics being his critique of capitalism. Class struggle is still with us, capitalism is still self-destructive, and we are still told that there are no other options, that capitalism is the only game in town. Or, to put a spin of humor on it, “capitalism is the worst system out there, except for all the others.” (Winston Churchill) The great importance of Marx for us, today, is not so much about adopting “Marxism” (as system developed by Marx’s followers) as it is in uniting against the system of capitalism.  

Cruising the backwoods

I got out on the bike for a few rides this spring, out among the big trees. Big Basin Redwoods State Park is only a short ride from the house — round trip of a little more than 20 miles or so — and there are several low-traffic roads to cycle on, here in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Here’s a few pics:

Facebook: Regulate and Share The Wealth?

Quite the fascinating article today by Chris Hughes, one of the group of plucky young Harvard students who founded Facebook. In response to the recent Facebook fracas, Hughes suggests not merely that we regulate Big Data companies like Facebook but that we find a way to share the revenue with the pubic, with the users. Here’s how Hughes puts it: “the principle underlying it should be clear: companies that benefit from the data we voluntarily provide should be required to protect it and to share that wealth with the people who made it possible.”