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I seem to be neglecting this blog again. Just can’t stick to it. So much happens to distract. Am I just a busy octogenarian?

But today is worth mentioning. I attended my first class at the Osher Lifetime Learning Institute (OLLI) at the U of Southern Maine in Portland. It’s something unusual for me: I mean a class on American artists, two of whom are short story writers and one a photographer. Plus the fact that these are no ordinary artists, even though they in fact concern themselves with the ordinary. This latter concern explains the title, thought up by the teacher, Janet Gunn.

So who are these people? Raymond Carver, Flannery O’Connor, and Diane Arbus. The first two are the short story writers and they both died young. Diane (pronounced DEEann) Arbus takes pictures of ordinary people in extraordinary contexts.

I’ve read Flannery O’Connor before and even made a post on her and got comments, here. But I had never heard of Raymond Carver until a few weeks ago. They have certain similarities which probably should be discussed in this course. It runs for eight weeks. There were eleven there today taking the course, four men and seven women.

More later.

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Gail Collins in her Op-Ed today goes after the middlemen who are ripping off the students and making it practically impossible for young people to get a higher education today unless they are already Super Rich.

Here’s a couple of comments on her Op-Ed that I agree with:

The mess that is our student loan program is yet another legacy of the “Government is not the solution, Government is the problem” mantra bequeathed to us by generations of Republican (and all but Republican Democrats) “free market” fanatics: The same folks who brought the private health insurance catastrophe that has made our health care system the most expensive and least effective in the world. It’s time we cut that particularly hoary old Gordian knot and started to rely upon efficient and much less expensive government programs instead of the inefficient and horrendously expensive mess that “private enterprise” has handed us.

— calyban, fairfax, california

Well said, calyban!

Hello out there. White working-class ethnic here–from family with no interest in education, and no money to provide one to any of their five children (no birth control means lots of kids and no money for most people, FYI)-but I got a college education, thanks to scholarships, my own never-ending hard work, and low-interest loans, and graduated from college in 1981.

Anyone notice that this country is destroying its future, and any idea of reasoned discourse, in the name of fundamentalist capitalism, which is no less zealous and insane than jihad and Islamofascism that the phoney “All-Americans” claim to deride?

What would be All-American: to stop subsidizing the rich by taxing the poor. Education for all. A strong base for our future.

Stop the insanity of fundamentalist capitalism now. The right wing calls Obama “socialist”? What they mean is, they are afraid that the “socialism” that benefits them–that’s called insane capitalism, folks–has been revealed for what it is. A tax on our future, socialized risk, privatized gain.

America–let’s wake up together.

— Mother, Brooklyn

Right on, Mother! Down with socialized risk and privatized gain! TAX THE RICH!

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