Forty Rooms

images.jpgForty is God’s number for testing the human spirit. It’s the limit of man’s endurance, beyond which you are supposed to learn something true. Oh, you know what I mean — Noah’s 40 days and nights of rain, Moses’ 40 days in the desert, Jesus’ 40 days of fasting and temptation. Forty of anything is long enough to be a trial, but it’s man-size, too. In the Bible, 40 years make a span of one generation. Forty weeks make a baby.

Apparently the story goes that we all live our lives moving through forty rooms: my bedroom in the family home, my dorm room, the rooms of my first apartment, the rooms of my first house. This becomes the simple structure of Olga Grushin’s novel Forty Rooms.

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We’ve Had It Backwards For 30 Years

Fat BoyThe Working Class Is Sinking and Dragging Walmart Down With It was the headline in a Slate article by Alison Griswold. We have noted this earlier but it seems to be getting worse. Now we hear that not only is Walmart feeling the pinch because Food Stamps have been cut back but also there are general reports that fewer people are able to afford simple things like taking the family to Olive Garden for unlimited salad and breadsticks.

Maybe greed is not so good after all.

Several years ago I was scanning the tabloid papers racked up at the checkout stand in my local food emporium and (embarrassingly) broke out in loud laughter which continued until everyone within fifty feet was looking at me: the reason, a headline on a reputable rag-sheet ( Star?) announcing that a fat man had broken the (world’s) record for beer drinking and had then exploded. I want to ask all the greedy billionaires how their guts are feeling?

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Five Facts That Put America to Shame

Paul Buchheit writes for Buzzflash at Truthout:

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses…I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” These words, from poet Emma Lazarus, were inscribed on the Statue of Liberty over 100 years ago. Today the golden door has a lock on it, paid for with record profits from the health care, education and financial industries.

  1. We’re Near the Bottom of the Developed World in Children’s Health and Safety
  2. We’ve Betrayed the Young People Who Were Advised to Stay in School
  3. The Main Source of Middle-Class Wealth Has Been Largely Wiped Out
  4. We Give Prison Sentences for Smoking Marijuana, but Not for Billion-Dollar Fraud
  5. You Can Have Health Care, If You Pay for It


Privatization simply hasn’t worked for health care, mortgage banking, higher education, or prison management. There is little incentive for profit-motivated firms to invest in disadvantaged or underemployed Americans. That’s why taxes are necessary – to provide for the common good, and to return some of the gains from 60 years of productivity to the great majority of Americans who contributed to our growth. Unfortunately, the golden door on the Statue of Liberty seems to have an invisible hand holding it shut.

Read the complete article with further information about each point at BuzzFlash.