Spring, maybe, has sprung

Mariner’s town had its first Spring day three days ago. A Spring day means the Sun is shining, the breeze is comfortable and the temperature is in the sixties. Two days ago the town had its second Spring day in a row. However, as expected the temperature returned to highs in the forties and in the twenties at night and a couple of inches of rain the ground doesn’t need.

On those two Spring days mariner wandered outside to examine the gardens and lawns. Early bulbs are breaking through the mulch; the azaleas out front haven’t shown any interest in growing yet; there is hope they will return in zone 3-4 conditions. He cut back the patch of dead cattails and the brown zebra grass in the shade garden. Mariner cleared the Asparagus bed. The pickup truck was full and ready for the dump.

Mariner noticed other small things. A #$!!@ rabbit had eaten his newly planted fig tree to the nub and two 18-inch high emerald arborvitae as well. Two years ago three fox families moved into town because of the abundance of rabbits. The foxes don’t seem to be around this year and the rabbits are back.

Mariner’s wife feeds the squirrels and birds during winter snows. The snow is gone and thousands of sunflower hulls cover the kitchen garden as if mariner had spread mulch. Mariner has lots and lots of tree leaves like Ash, Oak, Walnut, etc. to collect along fence lines, in the gardens, and across the lawns. Funny thing, mariner has only one tree – a Pecan tree.

So it’s the beginning of another garden season. It was not easy to collect the grasses and clear vegetable boxes. Fifteen years ago mariner could clean up the yard in three hours or so; this year it took all day and required several breaks to ease the pains of codgerhood. Tomorrow he’ll drive to the dump and maybe find a dumped truck load of good dirt to pilfer.

Ancient Mariner


Primer for the Electorate in 2020


In the 1980s Reagan proposed a four-pronged economic policy that was intended to reduce inflation and stimulate the economy and job growth:

1) reduce government spending on domestic programs;

2) reduce taxes for individuals, businesses and investments;

3) reduce the burden of regulations on business; and

4) support slower money growth in the economy.

If the reader recognizes these policies, it’s because today’s Republican Party still believes in the sanctity of these four policies. However, the issues that confronted Reagan (high inflation and high unemployment) do not exist today. Deregulating industry was so prevalent that during Reagan’s Presidency, businesses were allowed to use assets locked in retirement funds as a source for new venture capital. Unions have been decimated by Reaganomics; Reaganomics is a ‘supply-side’ policy, that is, provide products and people will buy them, raising employment as a factor of profit. However, the net result in today’s economic environment encourages capital investment rather than manufacturing.

By reducing or eliminating decades-long social programs, while at the same time lowering taxes and marginal tax rates, Reagan’s approach to handling the economy marked a significant departure from that of many of Jimmy Carter’s policies. The results spread the gap between the wealthy and working classes versus poverty levels. The number of children, ages 18 years and younger, below the poverty level increased from 11.543 million in 1980, 18.3% of children, to 12.455, 19.5%, in 1988. Also, the situation of low income groups was affected by the reduction of social spending, and inequality increased. Hence GOP resistance to universal health strategies and discretionary spending.

Today, the advantage granted to business and wealth has grown to the point of imbalance. The government is close to becoming a plutocracy as the wealthy, large corporations and lobby support for legislators have grown into disruptive proportions.

What needs to happen in 2020:

It’s time for Reaganomics to end. For both houses of Congress, this is done by replacing the old GOP with young centrist republicans and by increasing the number of democrats.

Lack of collaboration and compromise in Congress.

Newt Gingrich is considered the House Speaker who changed a more or less collaborative legislative process into a contest for party dominance. The old days of party leaders negotiating balanced compromises was replaced by a ‘my party first, the Nation second’ attitude in the 1990s (just like Mitch). The Democrats responded in kind, replacing statesmanship with gamesmanship. This situation has grown worse as big money and gerrymandering have become the tools of political power – causing significant damage to the classic strengths of one person, one vote and the democratic engine perceived by the Founders. Part of the reason for Donald’s success is that the electorate has grown tired of a do-nothing Congress.

What needs to happen in 2020:

The electorate always will be influenced by personality first but add a second awareness in 2020: Does the candidate talk about new solutions for current issues or repairing old ones? Pick the one with new solutions.


Corporatism is multifaceted. What will replace Reaganomics is an economy that engages several nations at once. Think of a strip mall with many storefronts and a couple of large box stores at each end. Each store contributes to the overall GDP of the mall. Different stores sell and buy different things but all the stores are dependent on the mall as a whole.

A couple of years ago a consortium of 12 nations participated in designing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)[1], a classic example of international economics. Sadly, it failed muster in the US because of a rift between Republican Congress and a Democrat in the Whitehouse. There were some rough spots where the corporate authors ignored human rights and economic obligations but the attempt was headed in the right direction to launch a new and different economy.

Another facet of corporatism is taxes. Very large corporations virtually are not taxed; they live in several nations at once so they aren’t really controlled by any given nation. The solution is something similar to the European Union or TPP where economic policy is centralized across all member nations.

A third facet (there are more but these three desperately need electorate assistance) is the issue of human rights, privacy and security. Today, giant multinational corporations have no obligation to provide living wages, decent benefits or working conditions. Further, they totally disregard privacy and security. The old Reaganites are afraid to tax corporations because they will locate in another country – which is true because the countries have not banded together to formulate common taxes. Not taxing is not a solution.

What needs to happen in 2020:

Economically speaking, what needs to happen is expressed in the first issue – it’s time for Reaganomics to end. Consider giving the vote to a candidate that doesn’t spout the four policies of Reaganomics.

Further, take notice of candidates that talk about information security (see the recent post, How someone can live your life for you to understand privacy). The security side has to do with national security and high-tech industries that would prefer not to worry about the expense of national security on a nation-by-nation level. If the electorate can fix one security item, let it be US election security.


A Chinese Corporation won the bid to build Chicago’s new rail system. Electronic manufacturing for US products largely is performed everywhere but in the US. The US is falling behind other nations in knowledge-based industries. Historically speaking, the US doesn’t make things anymore. Even armchair doilies are made overseas.

This is so obvious that it’s Democrats who know how to fix manufacturing! Their proposal is called the Green New Deal (a reference to FDR’s New Deal). The democrats combined the requirements to meet climate change, improve transportation in all its forms and create new industries for a new era driven by Artificial Intelligence into one sweeping manufacturing economy. Generally, the Green New Deal will turn the US into a nation that builds stuff again.

What needs to happen in 2020:

The Green New Deal is the opposite of supply-side Reaganomics; it’s Keynesian demand-side economics. It’s a Democratic Party program that needs a Democratic majority in both Houses of Congress.

Cabinet-Based programs

A citizen is familiar with these issues: health, education, housing, equal rights, immigration, environmental protection, agriculture, and several other state and Federal policies – all managed by cabinet secretaries of one kind or another. Desperately needed immediately is a functioning State Department to restore US leadership in the world and to lead the US into a new economic and social age.

What needs to happen in 2020:

Get rid of Donald.

Ancient Mariner

[1] The TPP was between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam. The countries involved produce 40 percent of the world’s total gross domestic product of $107.5 trillion.

How someone can live your life for you

The following article from CityLab’s Kriston Capps expresses the exact fear that mariner cites continually and why he is a privacy advocate:

[CityLab] Ben Carson mentioned you: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today that it is charging Facebook for violating the Fair Housing Act. According to the charges, Facebook’s ad delivery system discriminated against users by screening who can see ads for housing on its marketplace listings. The site gives advertisers—including lenders, real-estate agents, and landlords—the tools to target potential buyers or renters and block others based on specific characteristics.

The charges from HUD describe how that can translate into housing discrimination. One example in the complaint says users can block people from seeing housing listings if they’re categorized as “moms of grade school kids” or “foreigners,” or if their interests include “hijab fashion” or “service animals.” “Using a computer to limit a person’s housing choices can be just as discriminatory as slamming a door in someone’s face,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson in a statement.[1]

–> Most people are not aware that data mining corporations like Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and many others already slice and dice a person’s profile and sell it to other interests. Internet users do not get offers for the better credit cards if their credit history is too low; every time someone uses a search engine, their selections are marketed and the user begins getting advertisements related to that search; does anyone receive only one seed catalogue? And on and on.

While commercial profiling is a nuisance, the HUD violation against Facebook points out the dark side: interfering in one’s private life and intimate issues like health (Insurance companies already are converting policies to require the insured to participate in electronic tracking of everything about the insured; if one didn’t jog today, their premium may increase). As mariner has mentioned many times (and readers know this), if the public isn’t stringent about privacy law, someone else will live their lives for them – saying where they can live, what they can eat, select their spouse, create their budget, limit debt ceilings, alter the cost of retail items – all without the authority and without the awareness of the individual.

Profiling data has the largest profit margin of any industry. It is inexpensive to create and generates political and economic power by suggestion. It takes no effort to slip from suggestion to manipulation by controlling the perceived reality of the individual.

Ancient Mariner

[1] CityLab’s Kriston Capps has the story: https://www.citylab.com/equity/2019/03/facebook-discrimination-policy-housing-ads-hud-charges/585931/?utm_campaign=citylab-daily-newsletter&utm_medium=email&silverid=%25%25RECIPIENT_ID%25%25&utm_source=newsletter

More about Swamps and Glaciers

If you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere
[CityLab] “Don’t sneeze: It looks like New York may finally become the first city in the United States to introduce congestion pricing on its streets. The New York Times reports that state leaders have reached a consensus to put electronic tolls in place for drivers entering the most heavily jammed parts of Manhattan. Politically speaking, the idea has come a long way since 2008, when then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg floated a version of congestion pricing that was seen then as a non-starter.”
–> Anyone who travels major highways around the US has observed electronic toll gates where a driver does not need to pay cash but has a pre-paid pass that reads the pass as the vehicle drives through the turnstiles. Some toll roads don’t want any cash but photograph the license plate of non-pass drivers; the driver gets a bill via the US Postal Service.
New York City has a two-fold issue: Manhattan traffic jams last all day and the solution is supposed to be a modern, civilized subway. The congestion toll will help pay for subway construction that is over budget in astronomical numbers. If one has need or simply plans to visit NYC, definitely use commercial transportation – leave the car at home.
– – – –
Mariner has a few friends who are preparing to move into retirement communities. One easily can relate to the confrontation of which books to keep, which memorabilia, large and small and dear to the heart and maybe belonged to a beloved grandmother, to dispose of or to keep. Will there be room to keep the entire collection of photograph albums, LPs and 45s? And clothes, and yard equipment, and furniture and . . . The agony of it all.
It occurs to mariner that changing a life style is as difficult as changing from one cultural age to another. Much faster, of course, than the decades it takes to make cultural changes in perceived ethics, economics, and life values in every family and business that is affected.
Many consider the decades after World War II to be the Golden Age of American history, the time when ‘The Greatest Generation’ lived. WWII expedited change by bombing every nation from Norway to Mozambique and from France to the islands of the Pacific. Mariner has mentioned before that many sociologists believe there is a fifty to sixty-year life cycle to a given culture – give or take a few years. This includes small towns, cities, nations and today many nations at once. The sixty-year cycle seems to hold up in recent history:
– From the War of 1812 to the Civil War (58 years).
– From the Civil War to World War II (75 years).
– From World War II to the Vietnam War (50 years).
– From the Vietnam War to the Iraq War (45 years).
It is a shame that cultural life cycles can be measured loosely as the time between wars. It seems the entire planet is at war right now; in fact that’s true. Only 11 nations out of 182 are not at war. The advantage living humans have is that they are aware that more is happening than just war. War is a simplistic and cruel way to respond to insecurity but in the midst of the gunpowder and espionage, people are changing their values. As the values change, increasing pressure is brought to bear on government, business, economic law and daily life to change as well.
And so it is that the US is in a bipolar state: what cultural behaviors and rules will be kept? Which will be thrown out? What are the new rules? Like it or not, the US is at a time similar to mariner’s friends; the nation is moving to a new culture.
Ancient Mariner

Progress is hard to define when walking through a swamp

But that’s how progress moves through a giant culture. Consider:

NPR] 55 Years Later, Lawyer Will Again Argue Over Redistricting Before Supreme Court

“Emmet Jopling Bondurant II knew about the civil rights movement when he was a student at the University of Georgia in the 1950s. . . As a 26-year-old lawyer, he took part in one of the most important voting rights cases before the Supreme Court in the 1960s — one that ultimately required states to put equal numbers of people in congressional districts.

“55 years later, in a case that bookends his legal career, Bondurant is returning to argue before the high court in a case that asks whether politicians can draw political boundaries to benefit their own political party at the expense of the other party. In 1964, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Bondurant’s side. In states with more than one House representative, districts must have the same population.

“This time he’s asking the court to block partisan redistricting in North Carolina. Although the state is closely politically divided, the legislature ensured that Republicans would dominate the congressional delegation.

“Bondurant has no plans to retire, or quit trying to improve democracy in the country through the courts.”

–> Unsung heroes are hard to find but that they exist somewhere in our culture is a blessing. Three cheers for Emmet Jopling Bondurant II at 82 years of age.

On Public Shaming

In his March 17 show, Last Week Tonight, John Oliver dedicated his subject to the destructive nature of public shaming – the kind of commentary that is excessive and often well beyond the real facts. A third of his air time was spent interviewing Monica Lewinsky, the subject of national shaming for an affair with Bill Clinton. Her life was interfered with on a brutal scale that lingers today. John’s interview was sympathetic, even to chastising old Jay Leno jokes that were incessant.

Then yesterday, the CBS Sunday Morning show interviewed Kathy Griffin who was publically shamed for holding a bloody, chopped off head of Donald Trump. It cost her contracts and appearances to a point that Kathy had to recreate her career via 1,300+ comedy bookings in Europe – a crowd more understanding of her motives regarding Donald. The CBS interview also was sympathetic.

Guru ponders whether the glacier of identity politics may have started cracking.

Ancient Mariner

The State of Things

6 days

Just six days after the attacks on two mosques that killed 50 people, New Zealand’s prime minister announced that the country had banned military-style semiautomatic weapons and assault rifles. The country will oversee a buyback program for the guns, and owners who don’t get rid of theirs will be subject to fines. [The Washington Post]

–> Now if the US had a functioning government, it could do the same thing. . .

– – – –

2,500,000 miles per hour

Livescience.com has an article today about a pulsar (spinning sun) traveling through space at 2.5 million mph! Fortunately, it isn’t heading toward Earth but will leave the Milky Way Galaxy soon. How about ten minutes from now?

– – – –

Our Ozian future

The plot of the movie ‘The wizard of Oz’ comes to mind. Our nation (in fact many nations) are skipping along on the Yellow Brick Road. Like the characters, the US citizenry has deep-seated issues, e.g., a missing heart, no courage, and no brain. So off to the Ozian world of the future. No one knows what’s behind the curtain. Can Future Oz give us a heart, courage and a brain – or – will Oz simply ignore the nation’s plight and impose an Orwellian future upon the citizenry?

There are many futures: the Artificial Intelligence future, largely still behind the curtain but bits and pieces escape. Will the citizens be nothing more than tools to sustain an economy, buying what they’re told, doing what they’re told, living where they’re told?

What has caught international attention in economic sectors is that a deep recession is bound to happen soon. The first absolute indicator comes from Europe where bond sale prices are dropping.

There is a growing rift of reality between those over 55 years of age and those less than 55; the rift grows larger as the age drops – especially to those under 30. Why are young people not having children at a rate that will replace the population? Why is the new democratic surge using the word ‘socialistic’?

The Planet Earth is fed up with humans. Scientists predict that sea levels, strong weather, droughts and flooding will increase to levels that will bankrupt human economies.

Let’s just pray that Oz gives the citizenry a heart, courage and a brain. We’re going to need them.

Ancient Mariner

Peace by any Means

The following story copied from mariner’s newsletter from The Atlantic deserves to be distributed as widely as possible. It speaks to the joy of human compassion; it is a giant example of Pass It Forward.

Peace by Chocolate

Mar 06, 2019

For decades, Issam Hadhad ran a chocolate factory in Syria, the second-largest in the Middle East. In 2012, it was destroyed in a bombing. Hadhad and his family fled war-torn Damascus soon thereafter. After spending years in a Lebanese refugee camp, they were granted asylum in Canada. When they arrived in Nova Scotia in 2016, they had little more than the clothes on their back.

Hadhad, a chocolatier at heart, hoped to resume his profession once he was settled in his new country. But he spoke no English and had no resources. That’s when the community around him stepped in. Locals noticed Hadhad at the farmers’ market, where he sold sweets baked in his home kitchen. When they learned of his ambitions, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, and other skilled workers from the community rallied around Hadhad to help build a factory. The family even received a loan to kick-start the business. “I was welcomed as [if] Canada was my homeland,” Tareq Hadhad, Issam’s son, has said.

One of those friendly and solicitous locals was Frank Gallant. “Rather than viewing Issam as an outsider, Frank simply saw him as a friend going through a tough time,” Jonathan Keijser, who made a short documentary about the pair, told The Atlantic. Keijser’s film Brothers premieres on The Atlantic today. It follows Gallant and Hadhad on the latter’s first-ever camping trip. “Frank told me about how he’d been wanting to introduce Issam to some ‘real Canadian experiences,’ and mentioned how Issam had never been camping before,” Keijser recalled.

Gallant was initially skeptical about the prospect of being filmed. “He questioned what would be so interesting about following the two of them around,” Keijser said. “To Frank, the friendship that developed between [him and Hadhad] and their families was nothing out of the ordinary.”

Though Gallant and Hadhad cannot communicate fluently, the language barrier doesn’t seem to have impeded what is a palpable connection between the two men. “It was profoundly moving to witness firsthand the effortless friendship between Issam and Frank, despite their inability to speak the same language,” Keijser said. “It was clear by their interactions that they have an inherent understanding of each other—something many people search their whole lives for and still never achieve.”

Gallant frequently works alongside Hadhad in his chocolate factory, Peace by Chocolate. The company has pledged to hire 50 refugees by 2022.

– – – –

[CityLab] As AI Takes Over Jobs, Women Workers May Have the Most to Lose

Women, especially if they are Hispanic, may be at most financial risk from the automation of jobs says a new report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. (Sarah Holder)

– – – –

This is a blatant, unabashed promotion by mariner: His go to news channel is NEWSY (283 on DISH and available on many other outlets). The following is copied from a search engine list:

“For news networks like CNN and Fox News Channel, about 70% of the viewership is over 55. By contrast, about 70% of Newsy’s audience is 25-54, according to E.W. Scripps.”

Nevertheless, if those over 55 checked the program, they may become regular viewers.

–Straight news, no gossip, no manufactured reality. Sean Hannity would have nothing to say.

–Conversational style directly to the viewer. Chris Matthews would never make it.

–Very appropriate special interest coverage.

–Get it all: world news, US news, local news, weather – each in a crisp, two or three minute presentation.

–Newsy also offers an email newsletter covering top stories.

–Website is friendly. See: https://www.newsy.com/

Ancient Mariner



Leash Laws for America

Mariner lives in a small town. There are many children and many senior citizens. There is a fear that dogs on the loose will run in packs, defecate everywhere, bite everyone, destroy gardens and otherwise frighten the populace. Hence there are dog leash laws. Having lived in the town for years, mariner has noticed that there are very few dogs that weigh more than their leash. If one is to fear anything, it may be that feral shih tzu will roam the vastness of the town’s back yards competing with squirrels, chipmunks and birds for meager garbage. Rabbits need not be afraid.

However, when it comes to American society, our corporations, our governments and our moral liberties, nothing seems to be restrained, fair, compassionate or rational. This is because very little is on a leash. It is not dogs that are the issue; it is humans who should be on a leash. Humans quickly can pillage nature, greedily destroy balanced economies, and form angry packs not to bite but to kill and all the while, piss on everything.

Just like dogs, humans have special breeds. The Government Breed has two classes: elected and professional; the Corporate Breed also has two classes: small business and profiteer; The Intellectual Breed has two classes: ideological and technical; then there is the Mongrel Breed divided into four unequal classes: conservative-poor, conservative-rich, liberal-poor and liberal-rich. While dogs are not concerned with coloration, humans are not as mature as dogs and tend to flaunt color. As a last description, all human classes bite, form packs at the slightest provocation and are absolutely territorial.

Those who manage the leashes are called ‘the electorate’. It is the electorate’s job to attach or remove leashes to the Government, Corporate, Intellectual and Mongrel Breeds. Attaching leashes is difficult because the spirit of the founding Constitution says, in a phrase, “There are no leashes – freedom for all; guns for all; pursuit of wealth for all – oh, and women can’t vote and it takes five blacks to equal 3 blacks for the purposes of counting population to be represented in Congress.” Fortunately, the last limitations have been unleashed – not including guns which never have been on a leash.

Because the electorate has been derelict in its duties, the Breeds have decided for themselves whether to be leashed or not – in almost all cases, not. What meat is to a dog, money is to human Breeds. The Breeds have become voracious ‘carnivores,’ garnering more and more money and not letting disadvantaged Mongrels have any and just as importantly, not taking care of the human park.

It is past time for the electorate to get off its derriere and rearrange leash laws. It also is time for every government entity that has dog leash laws to provide a good dog park as well.

Ancient Mariner


The old home town looks the same
As I step down from the train,
And there to meet me is my Mama and Papa.
Down the road I look and there runs Mary
Hair of gold and lips like cherries.
It’s good to touch the green, green grass of home.

Yes, they’ll all come to meet me, arms reaching, smiling sweetly.
It’s good to touch the green, green grass of home.
The old house is still standing tho’ the paint is cracked and dry,
And there’s that old oak tree that I used to play on.
Down the lane I walk with my sweet Mary,
Hair of gold and lips like cherries.
It’s good to touch the green, green grass of home.[1]

These words come to mind as mariner returns home after a trip that lasted a swirling fifteen days. True, the last verses are more maudlin (see footnote) but one cannot help but relate to the sensation of returning to what is familiar; somehow, the brain feels relieved that the five senses have ceased providing continuously new phenomena that requires the brain to process and identify them in every case. At home, things don’t need to be processed – the brain already has dealt with them.

Familiarity is an expression of implicit memory and largely is distinct from explicit memory (how to perform tasks). If it is suggested that a penny is an important coin, it is likely that, say one day later, if asked “what is an important coin?” an individual likely will suggest the penny. At home, one is surrounded with things that have been addressed over and over, including everything from spatial relations to colors to resident emotions. Everything already has an implicit value. If the reader is intrigued with further brain function, check out http://www.human-memory.net/types declarative.html .

So, settled among familiar settings, mariner can relax in a way that is not possible in a constantly changing environment. Familiar furniture, rooms, watching TV from a familiar angle in a familiar chair, it is comforting. Let implicit memory take over for a change and give explicit memory a rest.

Familiar issues return to the focus they had before the trip: Individual One, the state of the home gardens, things that require repair, balance the checkbook. Still, it’s good to touch the green, green grass of home.

Ancient Mariner

[1] Then I awake and look around me,
At four grey walls that surround me
And I realize, yes, I was only dreaming.
For there’s a guard and there’s a sad old padre,
Arm in arm, we’ll walk at daybreak.
Again I touch the green, green grass of home.

Yes, they’ll all come to see me
In the shade of that old oak tree
As they lay me ‘neath the green, green grass of home.

© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Discovering America

Yes, America still exists. The real America. Recently, mariner and his wife travelled across the Southwest sector of the US. Mariner’s wife put together a passage with ports of call and waypoints that avoided large cities, and as much as possible the Interstate highways. Our intent was to travel the forgotten routes to the villages, towns and history that are the true fabric of the nation. Referencing a recent post, we were intent to not drive a bus but actually travel the byways of culture and diversity that compose this fine nation.

Many travelers cannot put aside a vain, judgmental attitude; this attitude leads to a trip that misses the richness of diversity, the strength of freedom of choice. One must brush the dust off unused attitudes similar to sympathy and acceptance.

Up front, mariner wishes to correct any presumptions that small independent motels, small towns and villages and one-owner restaurants lack cleanliness, full-functionality and professionalism. Nonsense. They are five-star in their own right. Not five star like the plastic, sterile world of chain motels and machine-stamped restaurants but like the responsible humanness of unbleached reality. Quaintness is not another word for unacceptable.

Mariner and his wife visited several distinct cultures. One stop was in a town of 547 residents. It was on an original strip of Route 66 and the town remains as it was in the heyday of that highway in the 40s and 50s. For those who have traveled the Southwest, they know it is a vast region of little change in terrain. Deserts are common. Through this long, wide open region, Route 66 became the only road to transverse from the Midwest to the Pacific coast avoiding the travails of Rocky Mountain weather. It started in 1857 as a collection of Indian trails and sporadic wagon trails. Nothing was paved. Today with modern highways and speeds hovering around 75 or better, it still takes three days to travel the distance. Even the Santa Fe Chief takes two nights and three days by rail.

Mariner visited an American Indian neighborhood by the highway. There was very little in the way of a village, just travel services, Indian tourist items and a handful of small homes. (Most live out on the desert flats in very small shacks.) Mariner estimates that the economy on Indian reservations is about one-tenth the income per person of what the general economy represents. Bound by vindictive treaties, many established more than a century ago, American Indians largely are poverty-stricken but still very proud of their heritage. America has not treated American Indians very well.

Mariner visited a town whose economy was based on transportation – an immense truck stop and shipping center with all the retail and commercial resources that support this small city. At another stop the motel was managed by Hindus. As different economies and cultures were experienced, mariner and his wife became aware of the strength of diversity. At the same time, they felt the unity that gives the US its power. The two together are what made the US the wealthiest and most influential nation in history. It is sad commentary that US citizens and its governments have forgotten, even rejected the democratic engine that unites diversity and unity into a powerful alloy.

Ancient Mariner