must be stopped
Editor of the Reformer:
The other day I witnessed a young man trying to cross Western Avenue in Brattleboro. As he stepped off the curb and clearly signaled that he was crossing the road, a car coming from the west came to a stop. A car coming from the east sailed past the young man and I could clearly see that the woman was holding a smartphone at the steering wheel and was texting. Fortunately the young man did not continue crossing. The driver coming from the east had no clue that the driver coming from the west had made a complete stop and no clue that a pedestrian was trying to cross the road.
I routinely drive on Route 121 in Rockingham. I notice that practically every car coming from the opposite direction that is driving over the center line, is either holding a cell phone to the ear or texting. Could someone please bring forth technology that will prevent these phones from working in a moving car (perhaps excepting 911 calls) and require that the manufacturers of the phones use the technology? This would not hurt the sale of phones. People will buy them anyway and use them as they should be used and that does not include while driving. Texting and talking on the phone while driving is hazardous to your life and mine. Stop it now.
Saxtons River, Aug. 28
Editor of the Reformer:
Anyway, I at least attended on one of the best aggressive bridge players in the world. You may have to know the game to understand what this means in terms of bidding and play, even aggressive sacrifices calculating that you would lose, but lose less than if the other guys won.
Then in Vermont I came across a serious bridge group hosted by then dentist Paul Stone in the basement of his clinic, and without mentioning other players attending, Rod Gander was one. Probably a couple months passed before I understood ‘who he was’, which included heading a major New York magazine where he rectified the count from 90 percent male journalist to 50 percent while driving up circulation.
Then he was president of Marlboro College, and after became a representative of Windham county in Montpelier. But to me, he was the antidote or polar opposite to the truly devilish stuff I was playing as taught by Paul, in that he was the equal to my bridge teacher, but not in attack, in defense.
You could probably not recommend a future politician more. Every detail contested, few overtricks, and now and again when we were not partners but opponents at the table he would stop, look at me hard, not smiling, since he is wondering if the lead of King with 2, 3 10 exposed in dummy means I had the Q or J, too, and the truth was no, it was a bare king and I am "attacking" my weakness. Can go down huge amount if wrong, in 3NT and if you always do audacious things they will get you. But early in the hand when you have two tricks to make over what you can see, this needs be one of em, and you have to play to win, and then in further play you got 2 x 50 percent chance finesses possible, so which? But then you can assess their cards, right?
I would smile back at Rod, whose face was without expression, as if I was asking, "What’s up?" You had to do this with Rod early, since his inferences after half or two thirds the cards were out there were too good to fool at same percentage of risk.
This is not about bridge really, but about someone who could assess from what was visible and what not, the best course. Would all bioregional politicians have the same sense, and while I do not say they are or not, like many people in Windham county, Rod was world class at his art.
Brattleboro, Aug. 26
When the government was here to help
Editor of the Reformer:
I do not usually read investment columns, but I read Bill Schmick’s column in your Aug. 18-19 edition ("Is Krugman right?") to see what an "investment advisor representative" might say about Paul Krugman.
I was disappointed on that score. Mr. Schmick is not progressive enough to agree with Mr. Krugman on the one hand and on the other hand did not stand up and forthrightly disagree.
I did, however find a nugget in his third paragraph: "A common fallacy among Americans is that Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s economic policies extricated the United States from the Great Depression of the 1930’s. Others, with more knowledge of those times, recognize that it was the onset of Word War II and the U.S. preparation to wage war, which truly pulled us out of that economic mire."
The GOP and their followers have been saying this for years.
Small wonder. The New Deal banished the GOP to political irrelevance for five decades.
From a Wall Street perspective the economy may not have recovered until the mid-1940s, but for the average wage earner the difference between 1932 and 1933 was night and day. Do you remember when Reagan said that the most frightening words in the English language were, "We are here from the government and we’re here to help"?
In 1933 those were words of hope because nobody else was showing up to help. The pure capitalism of 1932 dictated that that if you couldn’t make it on your own, tough. Nobody was coming to help.
FDR turned that thinking on its head and along the way built infrastructure which has made possible the life that Americans enjoy today.
I know for many who are struggling there is little to enjoy, but read Steinbeck’s "Grapes of Wrath" to see the difference between "hard times" now and then. Or read the chapter titled "the Sad Irons" in the first volume of Robert Caro’s biography of Lyndon Johnson. "Sad Irons" describes farm life in the Texas hill country in 1937. Older Vermonters tell me life here in Vermont was similarly hard before electricity.
These are changes that WWII alone did not bring. They were brought by a populace who asked for help and a government that listened.
Brattleboro, Aug. 24