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Saturday, April 6, 2002

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Common sense

While waiting for the bus this morning I sat my two older gentleman. One was telling the other about the comets that were going to make us pass closer to the sun. He said that was the true meaning of passover and only the righteous would survive. It seems the powers that be that include the president and, of course, the masons were hiding the truth from us. The bible can't even be counted on since he said it had been tampered with by "them" so you have to go back and study the ancients to really know what is going on. The second guy was looking a bit hunted by the time the bus came.

I went by the Arizona State Museum where they were having their annual open house. They were also having their almost annual booksale with great books for $2.00 and up. I got three for $2.00 each and could have gone crazy but decided to take it easy. I then visited the usually closed areas they had open. They had some chinese clothes and accessories. There were a few very gorgeous embroidered silk coats that I admired so much. The garments were covered with embroidery and I've never finished an embroidery project. I so admire them.

They also had shoes and other items that they found when they build the Tucson Convention Center. It seems that many single chinese men lived there when they came to work on the railroad. When they died their room was sealed with their things in it. It is such a shame that the TCC wiped out so much history. One of Tucson's great ripoffs.

I also looked at old spanish colonial documents on microfiche, masks from Mexico, including one made from a bike seat, a mammoth skull and all kinds of pots and shells and decorations. The pot room is always awesome as there are shelved lined up across the room, with just enough room to get through between them, and up to the ceiling. Everywhere there were volunteers eager to tell us all about what we were seeing. I only stayed two and one half hours but could have put in a couple more hours.

I walked downtown through a nasty windstorm. The dust was swirling madly and whichever way I turned seemed to be blowing right at me. It was rather fun except that I had to squint to keep the dust out of my eyes. When I got to the library my skin was dusty. I rubbed my face and it was like I had fine cornmeal on it.

I went to the downtown library to get Active Server Pages for Dummies, which was suppose to be on the shelf but neither I nor several librarians could find it. In fact they weren't sure where to look even. Hmm! I put it on hold since that will make them look for it.

I also wanted to go to the Common Sense Forum, which meets at the library. I'd heard of it and figured since I was going anyway to check it out. The people seemed to be a rather eclectic group. The speaker was Alfred Anderson of the Tom Paine Institute. His basic premise is that wealth comes from Natural Productive Wealth, land and the minerals in it, and Human Generated Wealth, everything else. He felt that land (and maybe cyberspace?) should be put in a trust and people would pay rent to use it. The rent would then be distributed evenly to everyone. He said this would generate about $30,000 to $40,000 per person in the US besides what they earned.

The group there, and I, found this somewhat invalid. First of all, what is the difference between paying rent and paying taxes. He kept saying that the trust would not be run by the government. Right, sure, uh huh! Of course it will. Next every little special interest group will start lobbying and suing to prove that they deserve a larger cut than the other groups.

Secondly, now, and the last several decades, if not centuries, most wealth is not from land but from knowledge. When he was asked this he kept saying that if you go back knowledge depends on wealth from land. Unfortunately he brought up Bill Gates as one of the excessively rich. Gates did not make his money from land, but from knowledge, both the knowledge of how to make a computer and the knowledge of how to market his computer.

I must say the Common Sense group are not a bunch of shrinking violets and the poor speaker seemed rather overwhelmed at the end. I got the feeling he's accustomed to talking to people who greet with cheers and approval any mention of redistributing wealth.

I enjoy watching the four british comedies on Saturday night, "Keeping Up Appearances", "As Time Goes By", "Are You Being Served?", and "Last of the Summer Wine". They aren't as funny as Benny Hill and that ilk though. I haven't seen Benny Hill in years. I wonder if he's still on? No one does slapstick like that anymore.

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Rachel Aschmann 2002.
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