Saturday, March 31, 2007

Response to a Dimwit

Email from a Southern farmer...objecting to Afro-American social groups (we don't have whites-only groups) their use of derogatory terms like "honkie" and "cracker"...writes about crime in the ghetto...he's proud to be white...and American!

It was sent to me by a friend, so I emailed this to my friend and others on her email list:

Throughout history, white people have oppressed people of color. (With the exception of England-Ireland. The Irish were more white, in skin color, than the English.)

In the US, elite country clubs, the halls of Congress, the banking industry, Fortune 500 countries are still dominated by whites -- meaning white Anglo-Saxon Protestant MEN.

Proud to be white? Russian white? English? Irish? Jewish? Estonian? German? French? Spanish? Italian? Scottish? All these nationalities are cateogrized as white. It's so broad a group that who can rationally take pride in being "white"?

What do white people--all white people--have to be proud of? That they arent black?

I'm not proud of that.

But I recognize that...I am so lucky to be white! If my skin had been black, and if I had NOT grown up in the good old USA, I would probably--based on my inative intelligence and skills and facing real competition--be cleaning toilets in a local Wal-Mart.

Anyway, it is really DUMB to criticize blacks for introducing the terms "honkie" and such. They are recent additions to the language. Negative terms for blacks go way, way back. How dare they turn the tables on us? ("Cracker, by the way, is a pejorative term that we Northerners use to characterize poor white SOUTHERN trash.)

And anyway, every ethnic group has its own social networks. There are Jewish groups, Italian groups, German groups, Chinese groups, Roman Catholic groups, Greek groups, and so forth. WASPs don't have one--apart from dominating the corridors of power.

As for the violence in black ghettos, people living in relative poverty have always been more prone to violence.

And I was once proud of being an American, too--the America of George Washington, Ben Franklin, JFK, FDR, Truman.

I am not proud of being an American in the time of George W. Bush.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


A classic statement from William Bernstein, the brain surgeon turned investment adviser:

A stockbroker services his clients the way Bonnie and Clyde serviced banks.


I've written two articles, sent copies to the two people interviewed. I'm afraid that they will give me trouble--rewriting the artiicles. Some people do. I might have to kill those articles if they do. Or should I just ignore any changes they make? Unless they are factual changes?


Suzanne, an old (not in that sense!) friend, and I looked in the window of a store in Nyack, where we often shop. It was closed. But there was a spittoon there, an old brass one, and I would have bought it if the store had been opened. She went back, bought it, and mailed it to me! (Well, she went back to buy some clothes for her kid, too.)


My next vacation: India? Plus China?


Saturday, March 17, 2007


I'm writing an article about 401(k) plans.
I wanted to write a side article about a model plan--one offered by a big, sophisticated company.

I decided on one of the biggest employers in Morris County, NJ. A company with a splendid reputation.

Talking wwith the people there, I kept asking if the company would reveal what choices were in its plan. I had already learned the match (I think it was 50 percent up to 6% of salary), what the default was (a money market fund). I had interviewed someone in benefits and was to interview someone else.

And then I was told: No, we will not reveal what our choices are. Why? I asked, dumbfounded. No reply.

Did I want to continue with the story? I was asked. A story about a company's fine 401k plan -- where I couldn't describe the 401k plan? No, I said.

What could the company expect to hide? All its employees know what's in the plan!

The company: Novartis.


A woman I know told me this story.
Her daughter from out-of-state was visiting her in New Jersey.
The daughter ran out of a medication she needed.

The mother visited a local drugstore with the prescription bottle, showing that it could be renewed.

The pharmacist refused. She said the drugstore didn't fulfill out-of-state prescriptions.

The mother begged. Her daughter was ill.

Said the pharmacist, "What is it about 'No' that you don't understand?"

A CVS pharmacy in Hackensack.

I get enraged whenever I think about that.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

William Kapell (1922-1953)

A gifted pianist, he died in an airplane accident in 1953. I was 18, he was 31. I had been hearing him on the radio. And just a few months ago I took out, from the Teaneck library, some disks of his performances. What a tragedy. He would have been 85 this year! Fifty years of his superlative piano playing that we have missed.

This morning, I had breakfast with a reader who had enjoyed reading my review of a local opera in the local newspaper. His name is Bob Kapell and he lives in Mountain Lakes. Maybe a cousin?

Are you related? I asked in the midst of breakfast.

"He was my brother."

And he told me stories about his brother--his early gifts, his triumphs, his death.

I would love to write an article about the great William Kapell, with his brother as a main source.


Letter to the NY Times

I thought the article by Noam Cohen (“A Wrangle After Democrats Shun Fox as Debate Platform,” March 12, C4) was crudely biased in favor of Fox News. Cohen ignored the overwhelming evidence that Fox is a blatant tool of the Republican Party, while approvingly quoting Fox's defenders. Is Noam Cohen the new Judith Miller?

Warren Boroson
Hackensack, N.J.

Sunday, March 11, 2007


It's not surprising that she called John Edwards a faggot.

He's sympathetic toward the poor. He admits mistakes. He's easy-going and pleasant. Feminine virtues.

Coulter is angry, insulting, contemptuous, extremist, hare-brained. Masculine weaknesses.

Some people have even suggested that she has undergone a sex-change operation.

Now Nora Ephron, whom I admire, has lashed into Hillary. Successful women, apparently, are threatened by an even more successful woman.

Hillary's "mistake": There's a difference between a mistake you made all by yourself and a mistake you made after being given false information by someone else. If a source gives me false information and I write about it, it wasn't MY mistake.


Both The Illusionist and The Prestige were preposterous.
The Departed didn't deserve an Academy Award as best picture.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Gore-y Thoughts

I am surely not alone in being deeply depressed when I realize how much better our country and our world would have been if Al Gore had beenserving as President for the last seven years.

The Supreme Court is partly responsible. Sandra Day O'Connor. I wonder if she feels any guilt, any remorse.