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Monday, October 30, 2000

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I finished reading "Thunder at Twilight" by Frederic Morton. This is a history and a story telling of Vienna, Austria in 1913 and 1914 as it unknowingly moved towards war. He does a marvelous job of showing how the job of Vienna was to maintain the Hapsburg play which it did right up to and into war. Morton brings out the absurdity of Princip, the assassin of the Crown Prince of Austria-Hungary, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, killing the one person who did not want to destroy the Serbs.

The people that would bring down the world they knew all walk through Vienna, Trotsky, Lenin, Stalin, Tito, and the people they would bring down, the cousins, descendants of Queen Victoria. He shows the hysterical rush of the people into war that overwhelmed the half hearted attempts of the rulers to avoid it. Now, 87 years later the countries involved are at peace except for Serbia, Bosnia, Albania and all the little balkan countries that are still involving us in their blood feuds. This is a wonderful telling of this very momentous eighteen months.

Everyone has been decorating like crazy at work. I enjoy having a fun halloween but I don't get carried away by it all. I'm too busy anyway. It seems like my counterpart or I are always gone on halloween and the one left behind is very busy. There are some very elaborate setups and other areas that do little if anything. We always fall in the middle so it's fun but we know we'll never win a prize.

The countdown is on to the election and I still don't have my absentee ballot. I guess I'll have to call the election board and see what happened. I think I had to have it in by tomorrow so I think I'm out of luck and will have to rush to vote after work. Absentee voting is so nice. I can't wait till I can vote on my computer.

Gore is out, as far as I'm concerned. I would vote for Nader except that the greens have such a strong anti business stance. Business isn't wrong, that's how we earn our money. Large corporations need to have some of their privileges and protections taken away to give the rest of us a more level playing ground but I certainly don't want to live in a country where the government owns the businesses or even controls them too much and they do get close to too much control now.

I think companies should be held responsible for dangers they knew about and didn't do anything about but the people who make these decisions also need to be held responsible, and corporate officers aren't. The companies and executives need to be held responsible not only in civil actions, they can afford the money, but in criminal actions. If someone allows a dangerous product to kill someone else, they need to be held responsible in a criminal court. That isn't to say that every time a product hurts someone it's the company's fault since probably, most of the time, it's the consumer being an idiot and that does need to be taken into account. I have seriously considered voting green but I don't think so. It's just a little much.

Cat wants to go outside and keeps sitting by the door and looking pitiful. She never goes very far and never downstairs but I don't like letting her out the day before halloween. She doesn't understand this, of course, and is not happy with me.

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(c) Rachel Aschmann 2000.
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