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Showing posts from February, 2020

FREE LUNCH FOR FRENCH OLD FOLKS

TANSTAAFL

There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

I first learned that acronym through my reading of the sci-fi novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein. But the phrase probably originated in the 1800s in American bars that offered 'free' lunches. The lunch was, of course, not really free. You had to buy a drink, and the drink cost more than necessary in order to underwrite the lunch. The lunch itself, often composed of salty foods, enticed further drinking.

TANSTAAFL

What has this to do with old folks in France? Well, I've just attended my second free lunch for folks born before a certain year who reside in our village. This year, that year was 1951. So everyone in the room was 69 or older. And there were about 170 of us in the room. No kids. Just lots and lots of grey hair, white hair, bald pates, and red hair. (I don't know why bright red hair is a thing with older French women. But it is.) The occasion? An annual day to show appreciation for the …

BERNIE, BLOOMBERG, AND GEORGE SANTAYANA

You know Bernie. You know Bloomberg. Who the hell is George Santayana?

Santayana was a very interesting guy. He came to the USofA from Spain at the age of eight shortly after the US Civil War. Although he spoke of himself as an American, he lived a Euro-centric life, spending his last years in Italy. A poet, novelist, and philosopher, Santayana taught philosophy at Harvard with T. S. Eliot, Robert Frost, Gertrude Stein, and W. E. B. Du Bois among his students. Very influential.

Santayana had one of those minds that translated thought into pithy turns of phrase.

"There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval."

"The Bible is literature, not dogma."

"Sanity is madness put to good use."

What does all of this have to do with Bernie and Bloomberg? Here is the relevant Santayana quote:

"Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set fo…

LATEST USA IMMIGRATION NEWS

I've said it before. My liberal friends think that I'm way too politically conservative and my conservative friends think that I'm a wild-eyed progressive. I must be doing something right.

The latest bone of contention involves immigration. The US Supreme Court has allowed implementation of Trump's plan to require that all prospective immigrants demonstrate that they will not need certain forms of public assistance after entry. For something like 30 years, American immigration rules have forbidden recent immigrants from receiving cash payments. The new rules would include such benefits as SNAP, formerly Food Stamps.

I'm conflicted.

Americans can visit France for up to 90 days without a visa. If we want to stay longer, or want to stay more than 180 days in any one year, we have to apply for a long-stay visa. That application includes proof of medical insurance throughout the stay and the demonstration of sufficient financial resources so as not to become a burden …