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Kindle and Nook Books published by Thistlerose Publications
All these books are available in electronic form for Amazon.com's Kindle Reader and Barnes & Noble's Nook.
"Adventures with Bill" by Bill Mack (pseudonym) Price per copy for e-books in this series: $2.99
"Tall tales, presidential encounters, and other stuff" by Bill McGaughey Price for e-books in this series: $2.99
"A progression of philosophies" by William McGaughey Price per copy for e-books in this series: $3.45
"Real race discussions" edited by Bill McGaughey, based on real discussions in E-democracy Forum (2010-2011) Price per copy for e-books in this series: $1.00
"Civilization scenarios" by William McGaughey Price per copy for e-books in this series: $2.99
"Communication technology" by William McGaughey Price per copy for e-books in this series: $2.99
"Religion" by William McGaughey Price per copy for e-books in this series: $2.99 and $3.45
Click here (list of titles) to go directly to the list of book titles in each series.
Click here (cover designs) to go directly to the cover design of books in each series.
Click here (book content) to go directly to a description of content for books in each series.
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List of Titles
Adventures with Bill
1. APPOINTMENT IN REUTTE - I conduct a self-initiation ceremony on top of a mountain in Austria to celebrate my 21 st birthday (1962)
2. THE MINNESOTA ROADRUNNERS - My project to aid a Republican candidate for Governor (1966)
3. AN ACCOUNTING TRIUMPH - How I resolved a $129.64 discrepancy (1982)
4. GOING FOR PRIME TIME - I seek to capitalize on the changing millennium through exposure in Times Square (1999-2000)
5. RENDEZVOUS IN DES MOINES - Documentary film maker Alexandra Pelosi proposes to cover my campaign for President of the United States (2003)
6. AN UNDERGROUND VIEW OF AN ACADEMIC CONFERENCE - Including unauthorized visits to the women’s bathroom and a breakdown on the interstate highway (2009)
7. COMMUNIST STRONGHOLDS TURN CAPITALIST - Stories from the heartland of several nations (2010)
8. BUSTED IN MINNEAPOLIS - My arrest and conviction for domestic abuse (2011)
Tall tales, Presidential contacts, and other stuff
1. UNKNOWN BEGINNINGS OF THE U.S. ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY - Also, "Smoky Joe" Wood and the lifting of the Red Sox curse
2. MY BRUSHES WITH THE PRESIDENCY - An adventure in historical imagination
3. JERMAINE STANSBERRY'S CONVICTION FOR MURDER - Why was he prosecuted when DNA evidence exonerated him?
4. MONEY AND GOLD - To what extent do these exist?
5. SPECULATIONS ON THE "FRANKENSTEIN" CIVILIZATION AND HUMAN LIFE IN OUTER SPACE - Technology remakes man and his environment
6. OUR INCOMPETENT FUTURE - with fond memories of Harry Truman, in comparison
A Progression of Philosophies
1. THE PHILOSOPHY OF FORM - $3.50
2. THE PHILOSOPHY OF RHYTHM - $3.50
3. THE PHILOSOPHY OF SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS - $3.50
4. HOW I LEARNED TO WRITE A BOOK OF PHILOSOPHY - A project carried out over forty years - $2.99
5. AN INTERNAL DYNAMIC CAUSING THE DECLINE AND FALL OF CIVILIZATIONS - Why civilizations have a natural life cycle - $2.99
6. ON GOALS IN LIFE - Nothing is permanently won but must be had in the moment - $3.50
Real race discussions
edited by William McGaughey, based on actual discussions in the E-Democracy forum, 2010-2011
1. REAL RACE DISCUSSION #1 - Progressives and conservatives mix it up over left-wing and right-wing political violence, the forced cancellation of the American Renaissance conference, political correctness, and whether Tea Party members are racist Republicans, hard on the poor. - $1.00
2. REAL RACE DISCUSSION #2 - Progressives and conservatives mix it up over whether white males are inherently privileged, empathy can be demanded, and “political correctness” is an insulting term that should be avoided. - $1.00
3. REAL RACE DISCUSSION #3 - Progressives and conservatives mix it up over the demographic composition of the Tea Party, whether a parasitic class lives off private-sector taxpayers, and whether certain statements by conservatives are so offensive that decent people ought not have to be exposed to them. - $1.00
4. REAL RACE DISCUSSION #4 - Progressives and conservatives mix it up over whether the Southern Poverty Law Center is itself a hate group and whether considering it such is a sign of anti-Semitic/racist depravity. - $1.00
5. REAL RACE DISCUSSION #5 - Progressives and conservatives mix it up over prejudice against blacks and immigrants in today’s young white generation, whether or not white males can be victims, and whether whites are in denial about their privilege. - $1.00
1. INTRODUCTION: SHORT HISTORIES OF THE FIRST THREE CIVILIZATIONS - What are Civilization I, Civilization II, Civilization III?
2. USING WORLD HISTORY TO PREDICT THE FUTURE OF GOVERNMENT - national identity or race/ethnicity?
3. USING WORLD HISTORY TO PREDICT THE FUTURE OF RELIGION - freely chosen or imposed by the state?
4. USING WORLD HISTORY TO PREDICT THE FUTURE OF BUSINESS AND EDUCATION - the possibility of more personal freedom as the financial bubble bursts
Shorter Work Time
1. THE MECHANICS OF CUTTING WORK HOURS AND CREATING JOBS - Proposed amendments to the Fair Labor Standards Act to create a 4-day, 32-hour workweek
2. SOME FACTS AND FIGURES ABOUT WORK TIME - Trends in average workweeks, vacations, international comparisons, and effects of reduced work hours
3. A SHORT HISTORY OF SHORTER WORKING HOURS - from the dawn of creation to today's workaholic delusions
4. HENRY FORD'S REASONS FOR INTRODUCING A FIVE-DAY WORKWEEK IN 1926 - with comments from his grandson and successor as CEO of the Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford II
5. SOME THOUGHTS ON LABOR AND LEISURE - Changing practices and patterns
6. THE EDUCATION PANACEA - investing in hopes of a better future
7. THE END OF A LONG CYCLE - back from financial manipulation to regulation of labor supply
1. SOME DATES IN THE HISTORY OF COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY - when the important inventions were made
2. A SHORT HISTORY OF COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES - from the earliest use of writing to computers
3. THE IMPACT OF COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY ON PUBLIC EXPERIENCE - how the medium affects the message
4. COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY AND THE PRODUCTION OF KNOWLEDGE - how the approach to knowledge has changed in the successive epochs of world history
5. CREATIVE MOMENTS IN THE HISTORY OF COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY - Invention happens
1. CHRISTIANITY: A DIALOGUE BETWEEN LITERATURE AND LIFE - A probing review of ancient Jewish prophecy and the Messianic self-consciousness of Jesus
2. PERSONALITY AND BELIEF IN RELIGION AS IT HAS CHANGED THROUGH THE AGES
3. POST-RESURRECTION PROPHECY CARRIED INTO MODERN TIMES - About Armageddon, the Second Coming of Jesus, the Book of Revelation, and whether the United Nations is evil
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"Adventures with Bill" books
Appointment in Reutte ------------ The Minnesota Roadrunners ------------------ An Accounting Triumph
Going for Prime Time ------------------------ Rendezvous in Des Moines
An underground view of an academic conference ------- communist stronghold turns capitalist --------- busted in Minneapolis
"Tall tales, Presidential encounters and other stuff" books
U.S. entertainment industry ----- my brushes with the Presidency ----- Jermaine Stansberry
money and gold -------------- human life in outer space ---------- our incompetent future
"A Progression of Philosophies" books
a philosophy of form ------ a philosophy of rhythm ---------------- a philosophy of self-consciousness
how I learned to write ------------ internal dynamic & decline of civilizations ----- goals in life
"Real Race Discussions" books
cover design for books 1 and 5 ----- cover design for books 2 and 4 -------- cover design for book 3
"Civilization Scenario" books
summary of three civilizations ------------------------- future of government
future of religion ---------------------- future of business and education
"Shorter Work Time" books
mechanics of cutting hours --------------- facts and figures ------ short history of working hours -------- Henry Ford's reasons
some thoughts on labor & leisure ----- the educational panacea ------- the end of a long cycle
"Communication Technology" books
some dates in its history ----------- a short history --------- impact on public experience
comm. tech. & production of knowledge ---- creative moments in communication technology
dialogue between literature & life - personality & belief in religion - post-Resurrection prophecy
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Note: Click here (skip to later series to go to "A Progression of Philosophies" series, bypassing much text.
Synopsis of Books
Personal adventure story #1 Appointment in Reutte - I conduct a self-initiation ceremony on top of a mountain in Austria to celebrate my 21st birthday
At the time, Bill is living in Munich, West Germany. With his 21st birthday approaching, he feels like creating a special event to celebrate his own coming of age. He devises a do-it-yourself ceremony. The best place for such a ceremony would be the top of a mountain in Austria.
The fact that it is winter does not faze Bill. He takes a train to Reutte, Austria, where he spends the night in a guest house before setting out on the following morning to climb a nearby mountain. The slopes are covered with snow.
It takes Bill all morning and half of the afternoon to trudge up the slopes toward the summit of the mountain. Almost there, he considers making a dangerous ascent up a cliff to the right but then decides it is not worth risking his life to reach the top. As luck would have it, he finds a path on the other side that leads to the summit.
The air is warm, the scene is still. Bill removes his clothes and performs the ceremony. After savoring the moment, he then heads back down the mountain, not yet out of danger. It grows dark. As evening approaches, he reaches a road back to town. Bill picks up his belongings at the guest house and manages to catch the last train back to Munich. By coincidence, Bill’s adventure happened on the same day in February 1962 that astronaut John Glenn first orbited the earth.
This is the first in a series of Bill Mack’s personal adventure stories. Bill, a college-prepared idealist, is also someone ready to act upon his ideas even if some of them are unrealistic. In this case, Bill is seeking to find a sign of God through the personal experience of climbing a mountain and conducting a self-initiation ceremony.
Personal adventure story #2 THE MINNESOTA ROADRUNNERS - my project to aid a Republican candidate for Governor in 1966
As a native of Detroit who now resides in downtown St. Paul, Bill joins the Young Republican League of Minnesota, wanting to help Michigan’s governor, George Romney, should Romney run for President in 1968. The head of the local club becomes a candidate for state legislature. Bill takes his place when this man resigns from the club.
Bill is a dreamer. While riding on a Greyhound bus, Bill has the idea of organizing a group of relay runners who run a long distance on the highways to promote a particular cause. He thinks this idea might apply to a political campaign. He mentions this idea to the candidate’s wife, who enthusiastically supports it, as does the man’s campaign manager.
One thing leads to another. Harold Le Vander becomes the Republican Party’s candidate for Governor. Bill gains support for his idea from Hap LeVander, the candidate’s son, while on a fundraising cruise on Lake Minnetonka. He volunteers to run one of the legs. Gerald Olson, the campaign manager for Harold LeVander, also endorses the idea.
Since it is Bill’s idea, the Roadrunner scheme becomes his project. He presents the idea to the Congressional District organization of the Young Republican League and receives tentative support. He makes the rounds of local Young Republican clubs, signing up runners. Bill also contacts the College Republicans organization. He receives the list of persons who have given their names at the Republican booth at the Minnesota State Fair. Letters are written to them.
The proposal calls for runners, each taking a half-mile segment, to run from the north end of Duluth down highway I-35 to St. Paul and Minneapolis and eventually reach Fort Snelling where a ceremony involving gubernatorial candidate Le Vander would take place. The relay runners would carry a hollow baton carrying a message written on a scroll. Olson signs off an all aspects of this plan although he wants to know more about the message to be carried in the baton.
Bill composes a statement that portrays the Republicans as a party of honest government and the Democrats as a party that uses trickery and pitches its message to a variety of special interests expecting government to help them. The message begins by observes that the Europeans who first visited Minnesota were looking for the Northwest Passage to Asia rather than being persons interested in settling there. The Northwest Passage proved an empty promise but Minnesota is still a good place to live.
Bill delivers his proposed message to Jerry Olson. Several days later, he receives a message asking that the Roadrunner project be cancelled. The stated reason is that the Democrats have lately become involved in an insurance scandal. Republican Party leaders do not want to draw attention away from that event or risk that their own ventures might fail. Bill dutifully announces cancellation of the Roadrunner project.
Sure enough, the insurance scandal does carry the Republicans to victory in November 1966. Harold LeVander is elected Governor of Minnesota and Jerry Olson becomes his trusted aide. The Republican Lieutenant Governor candidate, also elected, features a bicycle marathon in his campaign.
A year later, George Romney is running for President. His chief rival for the Republican nomination is Richard Nixon. Jerry Olson is hired as Romney’s organizer in the Upper Midwest. Bill decides to approach Olson once again about organizing a relay of runners to promote the Romney candidacy.
Bill has several appointment with Olson to discuss the project but they are each cancelled. He is again scheduled to meet with Olson on Saturday, March 3, 1968, but Romney withdrew from the presidential race on the previous Wednesday.
This is the second in a series of Bill Mack’s personal adventure stories. Bill, a college-trained idealist, is someone ready to act on his ideas even if some of them are unrealistic. In this case, Bill is organizing a major campaign activity for the ultimately successful Republican candidate for Governor of Minnesota but his far-fetched ideas undermine the project.
Personal adventure story #3 AN ACCOUNTING TRIUMPH - How I resolved a $129.64 discrepancy
The author was cost accountant at a public-transit agency for sixteen years. One of his tasks was to maintain and operate the monthly cost-allocation routine by which the computer assigns indirect costs to cost center and projects within the agencies. The story is set in a time (1982) when computer punch cards and paper print-outs were still used to process accounting information. The 21-digit account numbers controlled what would appear on the reports. When errors occurred, it took a complex type of reasoning to straighten out the problem. Only someone versed both in writing and accounting could write this story.
Personal adventure story #4 GOING FOR PRIME TIME - I seek to capitalize on the changing millennium through exposure in Times Square
Bill has written and published a book on world history titled Five Epochs of Civilization. The fifth epoch is today’s computer age. Bill coins a Latinized word “Quintepoch” to name the age. He wants to brand his theory of history with that name. This book is published at the turn of the millennium.
On December 31st there will be a special New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square that will attract world-wide media attention. What better occasion could there be for announcing a major advance in our understanding of world history? Therefore, Bill orders a clear plastic sign saying “Now comes the Quintepoch.”
His plan is to arrive in Times Square early and position himself somewhere on the periphery of the crowd. When midnight approaches and the festivities reach a peak, he will hold up this sign as the television cameras scan the scene. Millions of viewers will read the word “Quintepoch”. A new brand will be born.
As luck will have it, Bill wins the drawing for a new television set sponsored by a local flower shop. This ties him up for two hours in the morning of December 31st. Bill then drives from his parents’ house in Milford, Pennsylvania, to Jersey City, New Jersey, where he catches the PATH train to Manhattan.
There is a problem. Although Bill arrives near Times Square around 5:30 p.m., the streets are already filled with people for seven blocks up Broadway. Bill works his way forward from the back of the line but the closest he can come to Times Square is Broadway and 51st street. For the next six hours, he is stuck on the street in the middle of the crowd behind police barricades. No television cameras are in sight.
Bill watches and waits as an electronic sign on the Times Square tower reports the arrival of the new millennium in successive time zones from western Europe to points on this side of the Atlantic. A woman appearing in a fifth-story window of an adjoining apartment building bares her naked breast as the events-starved crowd cheers.
Bill shoots some photographs and takes in the camaraderie of young men and women standing nearby. When he starts to hoist his plastic sign, however, he is shouted down. Bill’s main concern while standing in the crowd for several hours is whether he can hold his bladder.
Midnight arrives in New York City. The crowd goes wild as balloons and confetti descend to the street. After the crowds have thinned, Bill finds his way to a subway station that connects with the PATH train to Jersey City.
Then comes the 80-mile drive back to Milford where, in the comfort of his parent’s home, Bill plops himself in front of a television set and watches reruns of the Times Square scene from five hours earlier.
This is the third in a series of Bill Mack’s personal adventure stories. Bill, a college-trained idealist, is someone ready to act on his ideas even if some of them are unrealistic. In this case, Bill is hoping to gain free publicity for a book by hoisting a sign in Times Square in the New Year’s Eve celebration ushering in a new millennium.
Personal adventure story #5 RENDEZVOUS IN DES MOINES - documentary film maker Alexandra Pelosi proposes to cover my campaign for President of the United States
Fresh from a respectable showing in a primary election for U.S. Senate with the Independence Party of Minnesota, Bill decides that his next move will be to run for President. He will run as a Democrat.
Bill launches his campaign on June 20, 2003, because the Democratic state party chairs were gathering at the Radisson Riverfront Hotel in St. Paul, Minnesota, to meet the candidates for President. Bill is not invited to participate, of course. Instead, he stands at the entrance to the hotel carrying a picket sign which announces his “politics of two ends: (1) an end to class warfare, especially by the rich, and (2) and end to the politics of gender and race.”
Several hours pass without incident. Then Walter Mondale walks by. An attractive, glamorous-looking woman with a compact video camera asks Bill if this man was Mondale. Yes, it was. The woman runs after Mondale but soon returns. Seeing that Bill is a presidential candidate, she asks about his campaign. Does he have plans? Bill announces that he will campaign in Iowa. “Can I come with you?,” the woman asks. She introduces herself as Alexandra Pelosi, a documentary film maker with HBO who is covering the Democratic primaries. Bill has the presence of mind to accept her offer of coverage.
Although Bill does not know it at the time, this is U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi’s daughter who had made a name for herself producing a documentary on George W. Bush’s presidential campaign in 2000. She now wants to see Bill the campaigner in action.
Alexandra Pelosi finds a young man who is interested in abortion. Bill is asked to declare his position on this question. The man accuses him of encouraging black women to abort their fetuses to control the black population. Pelosi then approaches a middle-aged black woman who is suspicious of Bill’s call for an end to the politics of gender and race. She challenges Bill to give one example of a white male being disadvantaged. When Bill does this, the woman walks away in a huff. Pelosi next finds a young man who has a civil conversation with Bill and says he might vote for him.
Bill’s persuasion average is one out of three. Pelosi has meanwhile been taping his conversations with these prospective voters. Pelosi enters the hotel and comes back with Art Torres, chair of California’s Democratic party. He and Bill have a pointed but friendly conversation. Pelosi then gives Bill her personal email address, promising to stay in touch. She wants Bill to let her know when the details of his campaign activities in Iowa become available.
The problem is that before Alexandra Pelosi asked about it there was no such campaign. Bill is forced to invent something to sustain her interest. He decides to stage a conversation about race in downtown Des Moines, Iowa’s capitol city. The Des Moines river flows through the city. Bill imagines American and Russian soldiers meeting at the Elbe river during World War II. What if the different races similarly met near the banks of the Des Moines river?
For the next month, Bill works more or less full time on the project. He buys a copy of the Des Moines yellow pages telephone directory and writes letters to organizations listed there that he supposes might be interested in such an event. He also buys a stepladder from Home Depot painted in red, white, and blue. For a campaign on a limited budget, this could be used as a podium for delivering speeches. Bill drives down to Des Moines to scout the territory. A park adjacent to the river which might be used is too expensive. Bill obtains permission to hold his event instead at the Civil War monument near the Iowa state capitol.
When word gets out about this event, a friend of Bill’s named Ed, an African American man, volunteers to accompany him to Des Moines to help make sure there is a balanced discussion in case only white people attend. He would be representing the black point of view. A white man named Randy also offers to go. Others express interest as well but, in the end, it is only the three men - Bill, Ed, and Randy - who drive down to Des Moines to stage the first big event of Bill’s presidential campaign.
Alexandra Pelosi had sent Bill an email saying that she would be in Des Moines during the Iowa state fair between August 7th and August 17th. Bill picks Saturday, August 16th, for his racially themed event. A few days before then, Bill receives this email from Alexandra Pelosi: “I am so sorry to tell you this but it turns out that I will not be in Des Moines next Saturday. I hope that doesn’t screw up everything for you. ” It’s too late now to cancel the event.
The temperature is in the mid 90s when the trio arrives in Des Moines. The parking lot near the Civil War monument has one space left. Bill parks the car in that spot. Then, because he had said that the march would start in a park in downtown Des Moines, Bill walks down the hill and crosses the river. No one is waiting in the park. Bill returns to the Civil War monument, now exhausted from the heat. No one else is there besides himself, Randy, and Ed.
It’s time for the debate. Bill goes first. He climbs the flag-themed stepladder and talks mostly about economic issues. A three-minute speech does the trick. Now it is Ed’s turn to speak from the “podium”. He agrees with Bill on most points. Randy then says a few words. Then, wisely, the three “debaters” scrap the rest of the event and walk over to the Iowa state capitol to take advantage of its air-conditioning system.
Under the capitol rotunda, Ed introduces Bill to a young man of Asian descent who wants to talk about politics. The three Minnesotans treat themselves to pop from a vending machine. Though preposterous, the event is now complete. Bill, Ed, and Randy drive back to Minneapolis at a leisurely pace, stopping for a light supper along the way.
This is the fourth in a series of Bill Mack’s personal adventure stories. Bill, a college-trained idealist, is someone ready to act on his ideas even if some of them are unrealistic. In this case, Bill is hoping to sponsor a discussion of race in Des Moines as part of his campaign to win the Democratic nomination for President which would be included in an HBO documentary.
Personal adventure story #6 AN UNDERGROUND VIEW OF AN ACADEMIC CONFERENCE - including unauthorized visits to the women’s bathroom and a breakdown on the interstate highway
Bill is a member of the International Society for the Comparative Study of Civilizations. This organization’s annual conference in 2009 is held at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Bill and a fellow member of the Society drive to Kalamazoo from St. Paul, Minnesota, to attend the conference.
The three-day conference features papers presented from civilization scholars around the world. Bill himself chairs a session. He tries to explain the mechanism for the decay of civilizations in terms of what he calls “self-conscious” thinking. He also befriends an artist from Boston who believes that prehistoric cave drawings were an early form of writing.
In this otherwise staid academic gathering, Bill notices two good-looking, well-dressed women taping the sessions with a video camera. It turns out that they are from a teacher’s institute in Siberia. Bill attends their session which is about moral instruction in Russian schools. The current government of Russia is trying to revive studies in Russian Orthodox Christianity as a means of strengthening Russian identity.
The dormitory arrangements are a problem at this conference. The two sexes have to be lodged in the same building. Because more men than women are attending the conference, some of the male participants, including Bill, have to be placed in the “women’s wing” of the building. The bathroom immediately across the hall is designated as a woman’s bathroom even though it has a urinal while the bathroom in the other wing of the building does not.
Bill is worried about having frequently to use the bathroom at night. The official “men’s” bathroom, which seems more suitable for women, is in the other wing of the building while the one across the hall is officially off limits to men. After someone tells Bill it is all right to use the bathroom across the hall, he uses it without incident for the rest of the conference and even takes showers.
Bill’s friend from St. Paul tells him that some women have been complaining about men using their bathrooms. Bill thinks he is talking about someone else. Then, on the final evening of the conference, Bill again enters the bathroom across the hall. When he looks up, he sees one of the Russian women looking back at him. She seems to be smiling. Bill beats a hasty retreat.
Now the conference is over. Bill and his friend drive back to Minnesota, a distance of five hundred miles. Twenty miles south of Tomah, Wisconsin, there is a loud screeching noise. The car scrapes the pavement for several hundred feet and then comes to a halt in the passing lane next to a concrete construction barrier.
It is a dangerous situation. The friend tries to flag approaching traffic while Bill walks toward a road sign so he can read their location. Eventually, a truck stops to help. The driver attaches a rope from the car’s front bumper to the back of the truck and hauls the car across the highway to the shoulder on the other side as another truck blocks traffic.
When the state trooper does arrive, the friend arranges for a tow truck to move the disabled car to a repair shop in Tomah. There is a further problem: The friend has to be at work at 6:00 a.m. on the following day. Bill borrows the cell phone and calls a friend in Minneapolis. The friend agrees to drive the 160 miles between Minneapolis and Tomah to pick up Bill and his friend.
On the way back to Minnesota, Bill excitedly tells his friend from Minneapolis about the conference. He then realizes that this has been quite an adventure. Not only was he exposed to interesting ideas about civilization but also to the “human” aspect of attending academic conferences.
This is the fifth in a series of Bill Mack’s personal adventure stories. Bill, a college-trained idealist, is someone ready to act on his ideas even if some of them are unrealistic. In this case, Bill encounters personal drama at a conference intended to discuss world history’s major themes.
Personal adventure story #7 COMMUNIST STRONGHOLDS TURN CAPITALIST - Stories from the heartland of several nations
The author lived in West Germany in 1961 and 1962, and for a time in Berlin, when the Berlin Wall was being erected. The Communist rulers of East Germany were creating a prison. He returned to Berlin in February, 1990, when, with the collapse of Communism in Europe, the same wall was being dismantled. Free elections would soon reunite East and West Germany. The world seemed to be moving toward Capitalism.
A half century later, in 2010, the author was in Beijing with his Chinese-born wife. They decided to visit Tian'anmen Square during the May Day holiday. The husband wants to take a quick look at Beijing City, behind the wall of Tian'anmen gate while the wife rests. Because the return gate is closed, he is gone almost two hours. The wife meanwhile helps a street vendor sell flags and maps and finds she is quite good at this. In the third story, the wife tells of her experiences with yard sales in Minneapolis. She's good at this, too.
Personal adventure story #8 BUSTED IN MINNEAPOLIS - my arrest and conviction for domestic abuse
Bill and his wife were considering divorce. When his wife grabbed Bill’s check book and started asking questions, Bill grabbed it back. His wife bit him on the wrist. Bill lifted his arm to get free and may have injured his wife in the mouth. The wife called 911. When the police came, they put Bill in handcuffs and led him to squad car without asking any questions. The police report said that Bill had punched his wife in the face three or four times in a deliberate attempt to inflict physical injury.
Bill’s stay in the county jail was not unpleasant. A friend bailed him out just before midnight as he lay in bed in a group cell. However, the judge had signed an order forbidding him to return to his home or have any contact, direct or through a a third party, presumably until the case was resolved. The temperature was hovering around zero degrees Fahrenheit when he was released on the street. Fortunately, the jail gave him a thick overcoat to wear.
Bill stayed at the friend’s house in a Minneapolis suburb for a full month until the date of sentencing. Bill had intended to plead innocent and insist on a trial. Then he heard from his wife’s attorney - she had meanwhile filed for divorce - that his wife was vomiting every day. Bill offered to settle the divorce with a $25,000 cash offer. The attorney said it was not enough. Bill also offered to accompany his wife to China where she had previously received treatment for cancer. To get the case behind him quickly, he pled “guilty - continuance”, which meant that all charges would be dropped if no similar offense were committed within a year.
Bill’s wife showed up at the sentencing hearing to request that the no-contact order be lifted and Bill be allowed to return home. Despite prior assurances, however, Bill was placed on probation for a year. As a condition of his release, he was ordered to attend anger-management classes for up to half a year. Bill’s wife confirmed that much of what was written in the police report was false although she insisted that she had been injured. In any event, Bill was now “in the system”. He had committed an offense against the state.
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Tall tales, Presidential contacts, and other stuff #1 SECRET BEGINNINGS OF THE U.S. ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY - (also, “Smoky Joe” Wood and the lifting of the Red Sox curse)
Don’t believe everything that you read on an electronic reader. Here we have a double header of tall tales, both set in the second decade of the 20th century. One is a conspiratorial tale about how the U.S. entertainment industry began. The other is a baseball story. It’s about “Smoky Joe” Wood. Have you heard of him? The author of this yarn actually met him.
You are asked to believe that jokes don’t just happen. Some are products of government planning. In this scenario, it’s not Socialism, but the desire to combat Socialism, that sets government employees to work creating jokes. Elihu Root and President Taft were the key figures. Later, the industry was privatized. Read all about it. None of this is true. Disclaimer: The part about Skull and Bones could be true; I’m not privy to its inner secrets.
There’s more truth to the tall tale about Smoky Joe Wood although the connection to the Red Sox sweeping the World Series in 2004 and breaking the “curse” may be stretching it. I say that the curse had to do with Smoky Joe and not Babe Ruth. Babe Ruth got into the Baseball Hall of Fame right off the bat but Smoky Joe Wood had to wait until 2004 to be inducted into the Ted Williams Hall of Fame in Florida. It’s no coincidence that the curse was lifted in the same year.
Tall tales, Presidential contacts, and other stuff #2 BRUSHES WITH THE PRESIDENCY - an adventure in historical imagination
How many walls of separation are there between you and a U.S. President? With a little historical imagination, you may find more than a few personal connections. Bill, for instance, was named for a U.S. President but in few more years he will be buried in a grave a stone’s throw from where that President’s main critic and political adversary is buried. The alleged mistress of yet another U.S. President is also buried near them in that small town cemetery.
Bill’s connections to Presidents go back to George Washington. Two of his ancestors are said to have been Washington’s bodyguards or personal friends. The connection to Lincoln is more tenuous. Someone named McGaughey was Lincoln’s rival for a presidential appointment made by Zachary Taylor.The two were Whig colleagues.
Bill McGaughey has shaken hands with three U.S. presidents during their campaigns and had personally signed letters from two others. A man who may be elected President in 2012 knows his name. All this is quite gratifying - but it and $1.00 will get you a cup of coffee at Superamerica.
Even so, those interested in the lineage of U.S. Presidents may be interested in Bill’s account of his connection with the Presidents, including some of the lesser known details of their lives. It’s fun to be able to touch history. Everyone can. Let your historical imagination soar if, of course, you have nothing better to do.
Tall tales, Presidential contacts, and other stuff #3 JERMAINE STANSBERRY'S CONVICTION FOR MURDER - Why was he prosecuted when DNA evidence exonerated him?
This is an analysis of issues in the trial of Jermaine Stansberry which took place in September 2003. Stansberry, a 29-year-old African American man and father of two, was convicted of second degree murder in the shooting death of a University of Minnesota football player, Brandon Hall, in Minneapolis’ “warehouse” entertainment district in the wee hours of the morning on September 1, 2002.
Evidence suggests that Stansberry’s friend, Raymond Hardimon, actually did the shooting. An analysis of DNA residue on the murder weapon excludes Stansberry and others from the mixture, but does not exclude Hardimon. Furthermore, according to a police report the gun used to kill Brandon Hall was recovered from Hardimon’s possession. It was picked up from the pavement of a parking lot next to a van occupied by Hardimon and a friend, Lee Cain, when police arrested them. Stansberry was arrested down the street. Yet the country prosecutor charged Stansberry for the crime and allowed Hardimon to plead guilty to a lesser charge.
Hardimon has continued to commit violent crimes while Stansberry sits in prison. The county attorney who successfully tried the case is now a United States Senator.y
Tall tales, Presidential contacts, and other stuff #4 MONEY AND GOLD - To what extent do these exist?
Humanity seems to have a deep craving for gold. From ancient times until the present, this yellow-hued precious metal has propelled mankind to great adventures and inspired great exertions of various kinds. Gold was part of the reason that Columbus sailed to America. It was why Pizarro conquered Peru. Discovery of gold inspired the California “gold rush” of 1849 as well a similar event in Alaska in the early 20th century. Yet, gold in itself is less valuable to us in daily life than inexpensive substances such as water or air. Perhaps it is the scarcity of gold that makes it so precious.
Historically, gold and silver have been used as money, units of commercial exchange. People have greater confidence in it than paper money because endless quantities of paper can be printed but there is only a certain supply of gold. Gold has been an anchor of a nation’s money supply.
The dirty little secret is that money is valuable only insofar as people think it is valuable. The idea that money has intrinsic worth is a fiction. Money must be supported by government power or it becomes only a collector’s item. This e-book goes into banking, the Federal Reserve, and other subjects, before leaving its readers with a tantalizing suggestion of how to get government power. GoldParty’s the way.
Tall tales, Presidential contacts, and other stuff #5 SPECULATIONS ON THE "FRANKENSTEIN" CIVILIZATION AND HUMAN LIFE IN OUTER SPACE - Technology remakes man and his environment
The author’s predictive abilities as a scholar of civilization are here stretched to the limit. What lies ahead for civilized man? This book proposes that we may be headed for the “Frankenstein civilization”, a world created by man himself. Man will remake himself through technology and he will also remake the world in which he lives.
That world could be outer space. If humanity foolishly destroys his own home on earth, the next frontier would be space. However, space does not naturally support human life so the place would have to be artificially created. The author gives serious thought to living conditions in outer space and what needs to be done.
It seems appropriate that this book was published right after the last Space Shuttle mission was launched. There’s no money in the budget either for a human colony on the Moon. The captains of this planetary “Titanic” are busy economizing on life rafts.
Tall tales, Presidential contacts, and other stuff #6 OUR INCOMPETENT FUTURE - with fond memories of Harry Truman, in comparison
Has it ever seemed to you that things are not working as well now in America as they used to?
The 70-year-old author of this book looks back fondly on the career of President Harry S. Truman and wonders if our current Congress and President do not measure up to him in terms of competence? In fact, our whole society is headed down that path. The managers and leaders of American society just don’t know what to do.
In addition to fulminations, this book offers reasons for our supposed degeneration of ability. First, our prolonged schooling keeps us in a state of ignorance about the real world. Second, our public discourse is shaped by media stereotypes rather than discussion aimed at the truth. Third, book-learning intelligence is being bred out of the species as the ablest book learners prolong their educations and postpone child bearing.
Guaranteed, no significant candidates for public office will talk about such things because they could make people angry. If you have a taste for forbidden truths, you might want to read this book.
A Progression of Philosophies #1 A PHILOSOPHY OF FORM
Philosophy is a discipline developed in the middle of the first millennium which aims to discover the truth about certain things. Pre-Socratic Greek philosophers sought the truth about nature. Socrates and his followers turned their attention to human behavior. They tried to define ideals such as goodness, justice, beauty, and truth itself.
These concepts are represented by words. Words are elements of human consciousness that help us to navigate our own thinking and communicate with others. Philosophy in this mode meant studying the elements and objects of human thought. Yet, as Plato developed it, words became a type of being that was fixed throughout eternity. They were unchanging patterns that existed apart from the world of flowing time. Greek philosophy was thus concerned with discovering universal and eternal truths that existed apart from individual human experience. The name for such being is “form”.
The philosophy of Plato and, to a lesser extent, Aristotle describes a static world of existence where thought is divorced from its actual experience. Part One suggests that this type of philosophy came about through exposure to alphabetic writing. As the Greeks moved from an oral to written culture, they became aware of words made visible in paper and would naturally inquire what such things were. The Socratic method was a technique for discovering their truth.
Part Two summarizes the philosophy of Plato, who sat at the feet of Socrates and was his biographer. Part Three summarizes the philosophy of Aristotle, Plato’s student and later rival who became the tutor of Alexander the Great. The three parts are included in a book titled “The Philosophy of Form” which is concerned with classical western philosophy. It is the first book in this series.
A Progression of Philosophies #2 A PHILOSOPHY OF RHYTHM
The second book is titled “The Philosophy of Rhythm”. It approaches rhythm as the Greek philosophers might have done, asking “what is this?” What is the essential nature of rhythm? While it is possible to study rhythm in this way, one soon realizes that we are talking about something that cannot be understood in terms of a static concept. It is something that has become important in a culture of human images that has been created through electronic broadcasting.
Rhythm is associated with peak performance in an athlete, musician, or other practitioner of an art. It is the elusive spark of excellent performance that makes one performer’s effort better than another’s. The performance is tied to the individual person. That is why rhythm cannot be considered a universal pattern of being about which knowledge can be obtained. It is instead associated with the intense thought and action of a champion performer.
Rhythm therefore differs from the ideals of Greek philosophy in two ways: (1) It describes a series of motions transpiring over a period of time. (2) It emanates from the knowledge, habits, and spontaneous thoughts of the person engaged in an activity This performance is dynamic rather than static. Unlike the beauty of a statue or painting, the sense of its excellence cannot be grasped at a moment in time but is perceived over the extended period of the performance.
From the standpoint of philosophy, the question becomes: If the essential nature of rhythm becomes known, can it be reliably produced and reproduced? The answer is “no”. Rhythm appears in unexpected moments when the performer is on top of his game. If rhythm cannot be reduced to a technology, is there a way to induce rhythm or make it more likely that this quality will emerge? The science of sports psychology says “yes”. A skilled coach can give instructions to athletes or other performers that will help them to do their best at the time of the performance.
The key to rhythmic performance is concentration. Concentration is a particular frame of mind in which one focuses on a narrow set of elements involved in the performance, letting habit do the rest. The particular elements may vary between performances. On the other hand, it would be destructive of rhythm in most cases for the performer to try to control his motions or, in other words, become self-conscious. It would be fatal to be overcome by stage fright. Self-consciousness is therefore an enemy of rhythmic or peak performance.
A Progression of Philosophies #3 A PHILOSOPHY OF SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS
The third book is titled “The Philosophy of Self-Consciousness.” Here we are considering self-consciousness in a sense other than being a distraction from rhythm. It is instead related to the logic of thought. Whereas ordinary consciousness is the thought of particular objects or elements in the world, self-consciousness is thought thought of. Here a person’s own thoughts become an object of thought, in other words. Self-consciousness is a radically different type of thinking associated with greater complexity in the world.
Self-consciousness arises when a person is required to take certain previous thoughts into account to understand a situation. When certain purposes have been realized, they create a material object that exists along with other objects in the world. The mind must understand their history to make sense of the situation. This philosophy is following along the lines of Hegel in contemplating the history of ideas as a key to understanding our world.
The dynamic of self-consciousness appears in situations where two or more minds stand in an adversarial relationship. The stock market would be an example. One cannot predict the price per share on the basis of earnings performance alone. That is because other investors have the same information and it is their decision to buy or not to buy that determines stock price. Earnings information is quickly discounted as it becomes known.
An appendix to the third book includes a number of examples to show how adversarially intentioned minds create a situation of fundamental uncertainty with respect to knowledge. One cannot know what will happen because one cannot know what is in the other person’s mind. Self-conscious thinking creates reasoning on several levels. Such situations are called “dialectical shuttles”.
A Progression of Philosophies #4 HOW I LEARNED TO WRITE A BOOK OF PHILOSOPHY - a project carried out over forty years
Originally titled “Rhythm and Self-Consciousness in Writing this Book”, this e-book accompanies the series of books in “A Progression of Philosophies”. The three books were published together in print form by Thistlerose Publications in 2001. The title was “Rhythm and Self-Consciousness”. The philosophy of form was included as a background from which the newer philosophies would emerge.
Writing is a creative performance which involves rhythm. To get into the mood of writing fluently, certain mental conditions need to be met. A writer who feels more confident and is “loose” does better than the perfectionist.
That was my problem. The source notes that I had written years earlier contained what I regarded as an ideal of insight and expression. I felt I could not improve on their expression but had to piece the notes together to maintain fidelity to the original texts.
When I was working on this project in the late 1960s, I literally arranged scraps of paper in a certain order on which the ideas were expressed. I wrote and rewrote longer articles incorporating those ideas in a certain sequence. When I was dissatisfied, I had to cross out words, rearrange paragraphs, or otherwise interrupt my flow of thinking.
A friend sold me my first word processor in the early 1980s. I was skeptical that it would improve the creative process. But it did. I was now able to make corrections more easily and feel more confident about what I was putting on the page. I gradually switched from writing in longhand to composing on the computer.
Self-consciousness enters into writing in what is known as “writer's block”. The writer just sits there unsure of what to write. I think it helps to have materials previously written to help organize the project. However, there is no substitute for overcoming indecision by simply jumping into the writing process. Once the rhythm of creative thought is flowing, self-consciousness recedes.
A Progression of Philosophies #5 AN INTERNAL DYNAMIC CAUSING THE DECLINE AND FALL OF CIVILIZATIONS - why civilizations have a natural life cycle
Self-consciousness accounts for much of the complexity found in human society. It helps to explain the decline in civilizations.
The point is that human thoughts, purposes, and ideas are not eternally unchanged beings as Plato imagined them but unseen forces acting in the world.
Purposes which are achieved produce change in the world. Something is created that did not previously exist. All such beings react to each other's presence.
The world is a jungle of mutually hostile or friendly forces defining an ecology of purposes.
Of course civilizations decline. Successful purposes lead to worldly power and worldly power corrupts. Corruption causes decline. It's as simple as that.
Sadly, there is no such thing as “American exceptionalism.” We enjoy no exemption from the adverse consequences of our own foolishness.
Progress seldom if ever continues in a straight line. Pendulums swing from one extreme to the other. Unseen forces emerge.
A Progression of Philosophies #6 ON GOALS IN LIFE - Nothing is permanently won but must be had in the moment
This book covers some of the same topics as Aristotle in his Nicomachean Ethics. What are proper ends in life? What produces happiness? Happiness, this author suggests, is fulfilled desire; and some desires are fulfilled by not existing. Beyond this, there is a discussion of desiring intelligently so that they are more likely to be fulfilled.
This book also takes a pessimistic view of achievements in the world and the idea that achievers must continue achieving. Life does not always work that way; and even if it did, there is death. It suggests, finally, that in conventional achievements such as making money people are really looking for affirmations of self and behind the satisfaction that comes from this is being in a state of rhythm.
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Real race discussions
edited by William McGaughey, based on actual discussions in the E-Democracy forum, 2010-2011
1. REAL RACE DISCUSSION #1 - Progressives and conservatives mix it up over left-wing and right-wing political violence, the forced cancellation of the American Renaissance conference, political correctness, and whether Tea Party members are racist Republicans, hard on the poor.
2. REAL RACE DISCUSSION #2 - Progressives and conservatives mix it up over whether white males are inherently privileged, empathy can be demanded, and “political correctness” is an insulting term that should be avoided.
3. REAL RACE DISCUSSION #3 - Progressives and conservatives mix it up over the demographic composition of the Tea Party, whether a parasitic class lives off private-sector taxpayers, and whether certain statements by conservatives are so offensive that decent people ought not have to be exposed to them.
4. REAL RACE DISCUSSION #4 - Progressives and conservatives mix it up over whether the Southern Poverty Law Center is itself a hate group and whether considering it such is a sign of anti-Semitic/racist depravity.
5. REAL RACE DISCUSSION #5 - Progressives and conservatives mix it up over prejudice against blacks and immigrants in today’s young white generation, whether or not white males can be victims, and whether whites are in denial about their privilege.
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Civilization Scenarios #1 HISTORIES OF THE FIRST THREE CIVILIZATIONS - What are Civilization I, Civilization II, Civiliation III?
Civilizations rise and fall according to their nature and stage of maturity. What is a civilization? This book follows the definition introduced in the book “Five Epochs of Civilization” by William McGaughey (Thistlerose Publications, 2000) which is further discussed on the web site http://www.worldhistorysite.com.
By this definition, civilization is a worldwide social/cultural complex that begins with the introduction of a new communication technology. It produces a characteristic institution - for instance, government, or world religion, or commerce and education - during each epoch of world history. The institution then becomes fully developed.
This series of books considers the institutions as they enter an epoch beyond that when they were initially formed. Changes take place in accordance with the themes of the new age.
We are now in the fourth epoch of world history heading into a fifth. How has government, a creation of the first epoch, changed in the second, third, and fourth epochs; and what is its likely fate in the fifth? The same questions can be asked about world religion and about commerce and secular education, products of the second and third epochs respectively. It may be too soon to ask about the entertainment industry, product of the fourth epoch.
This book is an introduction to the series. It present short histories of government, world religion, business and education in the epoch when they were developed.
Civilization Scenarios #2 USING WORLD HISTORY TO PREDICT THE FUTURE OF GOVERNMENT - national identity or race/ethnicity?
This book considers the institution of government. In the long sweep of history, it discusses how the pendulum has swung between idea-centered communities and those based on ethnicity or race.
Civilization Scenarios #3 USING WORLD HISTORY TO PREDICT THE FUTURE OF RELIGION - freely chosen or imposed by the state?
This book considers the institution of world religion (not ritual-centered religion). In the long sweep of history, it discusses how the pendulum has swung between voluntary acceptance of a religion and its imposition upon people by the state.
Civilization Scenarios #4 USING WORLD HISTORY TO PREDICT THE FUTURE OF BUSINESS AND EDUCATION - the possibility of more personal freedom as the financial bubble bursts
This book considers the institutions of business and (secular) education, which since the Renaissance have gone hand in hand. Both are entering a period of crisis considering that the current situation is unsustainable. Here are some big-picture thoughts on what may lie ahead.
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Shorter work time #1 THE MECHANICS OF CUTTING WORK HOURS AND CREATING JOBS - Proposed amendments to the Fair Labor Standards Act to create a 4-day, 32-hour workweek
Congress and the President could create a large number of good jobs soon if they took unemployment seriously. It would not require budget-busting expenditures by the federal government but an approach favored by Americans in the 19th and early 20th centuries - reduced hours of work.
Hours reductions are needed to offset the cumulative increase in labor productivity which displaces human labor from productive employment into a variety of activities that do not add to our material or cultural well being but are instead “necessary evils”.
We could have a national 4-day, 32-hour workweek by amending the Fair Labor Standards Act with respect to the hours standard. It has been 70 years since the current 40-hour week became the legal standard. Now it’s time to move on to a 32-hour week. Don’t be afraid.
This book tells what measures are needed effectively to reduce working hours for Americans. It also tells how this leads to job creation.
Shorter work time #2 SOME FACTS AND FIGURES ABOUT WORK TIME - Trends in average workweeks, vacations, international comparisons, and effects of reduced work hours
This book contains a number of tables relating to work time in the United States, primarily since 1947 but also in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The general conclusion is that the historic reduction in hours work characteristic of industrial societies has ground to a halt in the United States though not in many foreign countries.
The book also contains statistics about holidays and vacation time, including international comparisons. It shows how Americans gained leisure in earlier periods of time in various forms.
The key to understanding work-time issues is the productivity equation: Output equals average work hours times employment times labor productivity (which is an index). Changes in one or several variables affect the other variables.
The shorter-workweek argument suggests that employment and average hours are inversely related if output and productivity are constant. Alternatively, if output and employment are constant, productivity and average hours are inversely related. Hours need to decline to offset rising productivity in order to stabilize employment.
In the absence of declining work hours in the United States, the statistics show that employment has risen modestly and labor productivity. However, there has been a huge increase in output, suggesting that Americans are becoming much more prosperous. Of course, that isn’t true. Real wages have stagnated in the past forty years. This book suggests a reason for the discrepancy.
The final section of the book includes a number of examples indicating the effect of shortened work time on employment, price levels, real wages, productivity, energy consumption, and national competitiveness. Most are several decades old since the United States has not recently experienced hours reductions. For that type of information, you might have to go to China.
Shorter work time #3 A SHORT HISTORY OF SHORTER WORKING HOURS - from the dawn of creation to today's workaholic delusions
An important but neglected history has been the history of reduced working hours. Some say this history started when God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. It certainly involves the Jewish sabbath and the Christian day of rest on Sundays.
The modern history of work hours begins with the extremely long hours scheduled in mines and mills in the early days of the Industrial Revolutions. Workers organized to gain a 10-hour day and then an 8-hour day. A general strike was held on May 1, 1886, in the United States to seek the 8-hour day. This is the origin of the May Day labor holiday that is celebrated around the world.
In the 20th Century, strikes continued for an 8-hour day in the United States. There was also, however, a move from 6-day weeks to 5-day weeks. Henry Ford put his automobile factories on a 5-day, 40-hour weekly schedule in 1926.
When the Great Depression hit, the U.S. Senate passed bill that would have created a 5-day, 30-hour week but it was quietly opposed by the incoming Roosevelt administration. Hours reductions were, however, part of the NRA codes. In 1938, the Roosevelt administration and Congress enacted the Fair Labor Standards Act which legally established the 40-hour workweek.
It was expected that work hours would decline further after World War II. Some reduction in hours took place but mostly progress stalled. Organized labor, to its detriment, gradually abandoned its traditional goal of winning shorter hours. In recent years, however, a small group has emerged, comprising both union members and those outside the labor movement, which sees shorter work hours as a way to increase human happiness and reduce environmental degradation.
Shorter work time #4 HENRY FORD'S REASONS FOR INTRODUCING A FIVE-DAY WORKWEEK IN 1926 - with comments from his grandson and successor as CEO of the Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford II
Henry Ford created the Model T car and the automobile assembly line. More importantly, perhaps, he was one of the principal architects of the U.S. consumer mass market. To some other businessmen, Ford seemed crazy to offer his employers a higher wage and shorter hours, but he knew what he was doing. The Ford Motor Company continued to earn big profits and Henry Ford became one of the richest men on earth. His example inspired many foreign leaders of that period.
This book contains the text of an interview which Henry Ford gave to Samuel Crowthers in 1926 as his plants were converting from the production of the Model T to production of the Model A. Ford also decided to introduce the 5-day workweek at this time. The interview gives his reasons for doing so.
Basically, Henry Ford believed that working people needed more leisure to have more time to find uses for consumer products. As he said, a workman would have little use for a car if he had to be in the factories all the time.
Ford’s vision, articulated in this interview, was that reduced working hours would put pressure on business to increase its efficiency and this would lead to lower costs and lower prices and then to greater production, sales, and profits. The important thing is that Ford, as sole owner of the Ford Motor Company, was in a position to put his theories into practice.
An additional feature of this book is a letter which William McGaughey, jr. received in 1983 from Henry Ford’s grandson and successor, Henry Ford II, commenting on his grandfather’s ideas. The younger Ford was not in favor of reducing work hours further, at least not at that time. He, too, gave reasons.
Shorter work time #5 SOME THOUGHTS ON LABOR AND LEISURE - Changing practices and patterns
This is a set of diverse writings about labor and leisure. The first section considers the question of how labor supply should be measured. Traditionally, it has been measured in terms of worker-hours. In other words, labor is the product of the number of people employed and their average periodic hours. The shorter-workweek argument is based on that conception.
However, labor also has a fixed component in equipment used during work and the worker’s fund of work-related knowledge. There are other components of work in certain positions.
The second section takes up the argument that if people work shorter hours, less will be produced, and so the community will be less prosperous. Whether or not that is true depends on the type of product created in the economy. Some products exist simply because someone (government) funds their production, whether to make work or to have them as a “necessary evil”. In reality, few would miss them if they were simply not produced and workers stayed home.
The book also considers how sophisticated consumer products also require consumer knowledge, which soaks up a person’s free time. The services sector of industry supplies specialists who can fix problems for a fee, thus saving a person’s scarce time.
Finally, in the third section, we look at the U.S. consumer economy in a stage of terminal decline. People are losing their jobs, income is declining, and debts are growing. Is there light at the end of this tunnel? Surprisingly, yes.
We here imagine a “society of leisure” to follow one that requires sustained economic (financial) growth. More leisure is more free time, and more free time allows individuals to pursue what they really want. What they want is a positive personal identity. If we are lucky, our future society may be focused on such ends.
Shorter work time #6 THE EDUCATION PANACEA - investing in hopes of a better future
This book debunks hyped education. It debunks President Obama’s idea that the best way Americans can compete in a global economy is to prolong their educations. Presumably, they will improve their thinking processes and be more likely to invent products that people will use in the future. We can trade those new products with China to bring our trade back into balance.
The first fly in this ointment is that the most successful inventors seem to be persons of limited education - Thomas Edison had only three months of formal schooling - or college dropouts like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. People invent not because they were taught to do so but because of an innate interest in certain activities plus the incentive and time to pursue that interest.
Another variation on the theme is what New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman recently told the nation’s governors. He said that today’s college graduates could not expect to find jobs but would have to create their own by finding niche for themselves somewhere or going the extra mile in terms of effort and creativity. Politicians like to hear such things because it relieves them of the necessity to do something about the unemployment problem.
This book is going to make certain persons angry so I will stop here. If you want to be angered, read the book.
Shorter work time #1 THE END OF A LONG CYCLE - back from financial manipulation to regulation of labor supply
The financial calamities recently experienced in the United States and elsewhere represent the end of the line in certain policies begun during FDR’s “New Deal” and, perhaps, a reversion to policies previously in effect.
Prior to the Great Depression, economists looked more favorably on proposals to deal with unemployment by cutting work hours. The Depression persuaded economist and others that this was “sharing the misery”. Instead, top advisors to the Roosevelt administration favored increasing demand through government spending. John Maynard Keyes came to Washington to promote countercyclical spending.
The Depression lasted twelve years. Ultimately, it took World War II to lick unemployment and revive the consumer market in the postwar years. This lesson was not lost on economists in the Truman administration such as Leon Keyserling who favored massive increases in military spending not only to contain Soviet expansion but to keep the economy going. Military spending would permanently prime the pump.
Although Eisenhower and a few others objected, this has been our economic approach for the last sixty or so years. We built a huge military machine first to fight the Russians and then to fight terrorism, drug cartels, or whatever. The federal government threw away whatever fiscal restraint it might once have had to run up massive budget deficits. We are now locked into expensive foreign wars, trade deficits, and a growing national debt, together with unfunded entitlement programs, whose cost future generations will have to bear.
Present policies are unsustainable. It seems that we at the end of the line in heeding the type of economic advice that was given to Presidents Roosevelt and Truman. Might we, perhaps, revert to an earlier approach in considering legislation to reduce working hours? The tantalizing prospect is that the U.S. economy might then revive.
When it’s broken, fix it. Will Congress and the President get the message?
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Communication technology #1 SOME DATES IN THE HISTORY OF COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY - when the important inventions were made
The five civilizations that define epochs of world history are each introduced by new communication technologies, elements of which are invented at known times. The first set of inventions has to do with the technique of writing. The visual symbols used to identify words, first ideographic and then alphabetic scripts, are the key inventions.
In later civilizations, machines are the key inventions. Gutenberg’s printing press using movable type ushered in the age of printed literature associated with the third civilization.
In the fourth civilization, we have a series of inventions that allowed humanity to record visual or audial images. Photography, based on chemical processes, was the first. Then came devices that used electricity to communicate, the telegraph and telephone. Finally, in the 20th century, the technologies of sound recordings, motion pictures, radio broadcasting, and television broadcasting had a major impact on popular culture.
The latest communication machine is the personal computer. Computer technology is what allows you to download and read this e-book. Unlike broadcasting, it is tailored to your particular needs.
This book gives the dates of major inventions or innovations in the field of communication technology. You can use it as a reference.
Communication technology #2 A SHORT HISTORY OF COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES - from the earliest use of writing to computers
This history of communication technology, though not well known, is one of the more significant types of history, supporting human culture as it has changed from one age to another.
In this book, you will learn how the earliest type of writing in Mesopotamia was used to record commercial transactions and property holdings. Alphabetic writing, which came along millennia later, was first developed in the Middle East and then spread through southwestern Asia, north Africa, and southern Europe by two trading peoples, the Phoenicians and Aramaeans.
Religion played a role in determining which script would be used in which place.
Printing, first developed in east Asia, transformed west European culture after Gutenberg’s invention was perfected in 1454 A.D. A creditor took the equipment away from him.
Each invention related to recording or broadcasting of sensuous images has a story to tell. Most Americans are familiar with Thomas Edison’s role in developing the motion-picture industry. He also made important contributions to the telegraph and telephone.
Radio and television broadcasting were introduced in the 20th Century. Besides Marconi and other radio pioneers, there is the story of bitter rivalry between Lee DeForest, Edwin H. Armstrong, and David Sarnoff, that culminated in Armstrong’s spectacular suicide in 1954. Sarnoff, as an NBC executive, was also a player in the television industry. The author’s mother was present at an unveiling of this product at Rockefeller Center in 1939.
We are currently living the history of the computer industry, relying on the Internet and its web sites as could not have been imagined even a generation earlier. This industry has made so many twists and turns that predictions of its future course must be taken with a grain of salt.
Communication technology #3 THE IMPACT OF COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY ON PUBLIC EXPERIENCE - How the medium affects the message
There is a huge difference between preliterate cultures and those that have writing. Written language is either a device for remembering important events or for allowing such events to be forgotten, depending upon one’s point of view. What we do know is that when a society first acquires written language, there is such an outburst of creative thinking that the classic expressions of philosophy, literature, and religion date from that period.
The transition from a culture of handwritten manuscripts to a culture of printed literature also brings a great change. First, there is an enormous increase in the quantity of writings, reducing their cost and making them available to the masses. Second, the mass-produced writing warrants greater attention and care. If an author’s exact words will be preserved and be widely disseminated, that person can attract a broad following. Artists, writers, and composers of music become celebrities in this culture.
When people turn from print culture to a pop culture based on electronic recordings, then the performer of music, actors and actresses in films, and professional athletes dethrone the cultural heroes of the earlier period. The public is interested in that special personal vitality that star performers have. Intellectual prowess becomes less important.
It’s hard to say how the computer will change public values. Maybe pop culture will follow Facebook in promoting personal connectedness. The greatest changes may be yet to come.
Communication technology #4 COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY AND THE PRODUCTION OF KNOWLEDGE - How the approach to knowledge has changed in the successive epochs of world history
This book takes up some of the same themes as “The Impact of Communication Technology on Public Experience” in the earlier sections. The transition from a pre-literature culture whose knowledge consists of remembered stories to one where knowledge is stored in a structure of written words serves to facilitate large organizations such as government.
A moral critique of government takes place when thoughtful persons write down their ideas about improving society and are widely read. So, too, the technologies of printing and of electronic recording and broadcasting give rise to new institutions utilizing their communication, whether in business, education, or entertainment.
A new theme in this book is how people’s ideas about truth and knowledge have changed during this process. Plato wanted to distinguish between truth and mere opinion. Philosophy promised to deliver certain knowledge through the correct delineation of generalities.
Today, however, we believe in empirical science. We believe that truth comes from studying the world rather than abstract ideas. There is, at any time, a notion of the most advanced techniques of acquiring knowledge. This book shows how such notions change with the different epochs of world history.
Communication technology #5 CREATIVE MOMENTS IN THE HISTORY OF COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGYS - Invention happens
This book draws together six separate instances of creativity with respect to communication technologies. It puts historical flesh on the process.
We start with the comparatively colorless invention of the Helvetica font in 1957. A Swiss graphic designer named Max Miedinger was commissioned to do the work. His sparse design appealed to artistic sensibilities of that time and the font became the standard.
Next we see the music industry pivot to a new focus on recordings as the Beatles in 1966 quite touring in order to record a new album. Previously, the song had been the draw in the music industry. Now it was recordings by particular singers or groups. In reality, this signaled a permanent shift to values of the entertainment age at the expense of composition.
The sexiest creation of the bunch was surely the camera phone which a Silicon Valley inventor named Philippe Khan invented when his wife was in the hospital delivering a baby girl. Khan wanted a picture of that event so he rigged up a camera on the spot.
YouTube has taken the computer world by storm. Three young men who attended Stanford University around 2002 were its principal developers. One of them, Jawed Karim, shared his experience with an audience including the author in downtown Minneapolis. Karim stressed that the invention itself does not produce success. Really, timing is more important. You need all the right conditions to be in place before something like YouTube can succeed. In its case, there were a number of false starts before the site took off.
Next we have the story of the first computer virus. A 9th grade prankster named Rich Skrenta gave some of his friends infected disks as a practical joke. While this virus did little harm, subsequent ones have done considerable damage.
Finally, we consider “viral” communication on the Internet. This is a video that is widely viewed not because of advertising or promotion but because of unique qualities in the production that appeal to people surfing the Interview. This book gives seven examples of videos that went viral in 2007.
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Religion #1 CHRISTIANITY: A DIALOGUE BETWEEN LITERATURE AND LIFE - A probing review of ancient Jewish prophecy and the Messianic self-consciousness of Jesus
What is the true story of Jesus? Albert Schweitzer, in his last book “The Kingdom of God and Primitive Christianity”, has laid bare the eschatological purpose of Christ’s earthly mission by a thorough and preceptive reading of Biblical text. It may have been too much for 20th century Christians to absorb.
Taking the Schweitzer interpretation for a starting point, William McGaughey shows how Jesus’ unique story is a creation both of religious scripture and the life of a prophet destined to become much more. Jesus was one in pursuit of the Kingdom of God. When John the Baptist appeared on earth, the countdown began on a long-awaited cosmic event that would find resolution in Jesus’ death and resurrection.
The dialogue between literature and life puts the event in an historical context. The ultimate lesson, however, is a matter of faith.
Religion #2 PERSONALITY AND BELIEF IN RELIGION AS IT HAS CHANGED THROUGH THE AGES
Religion is not just religion in a conventional or traditional sense but what people truly believe. It is what they want to be or become. This religion could involve belief in God or belief in Money (Mammon). It could be social climbing or it could be the pursuit of truth. Religion embodies the values of a society.
In this regard, we see that belief and personality are key aspects of religion. Viewed in a dispassionate way, we can see that religion has changed over the ages as humanity has acquired new kinds of belief and new models of personality.
Following the scheme of world history presented in “Five Epochs of Civilization”, this book takes us on a tour of religion from prehistoric times into the computer age. The values of each epoch of world history are consistent with the dominant institutions of society. You will be amazed to see the changes in what you or your neighbor worship or have worshipped.
Religion #3 POST-RESURRECTION PROPHECY CARRIED INTO MODERN TIMES - About Armageddon, the Second Coming of Jesus, the Book of Revelation, and whether the United Nations is evil
The bloody battleground of Megiddo in northern Israel in poised in prophetic literature to become the site of Armageddon in the end times. This is a time when evil kings of the earth will assemble in one place and the Messiah will defeat the anti-Christ.
Biblical prophecy continues into modern times in events foreseen in the Book of Revelation. It may be that scenarios of this kind have influenced governmental decisions. Who or what is the anti-Christ? Can this figure be identified by the number count of letters in his name?
Particular suspicion of evil falls upon international bodies such as the United Nations and European Union and upon those who would urge the state of Israel to seek peace.
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