Stuck like a Dope with a Thing Called Hope

For those of you waiting breathlessly to discover the age of my old dog Peaches, I have found the answer.  I went through the files in my upstairs study and located her paperwork. Today, she is ta-da…17.

I don’t go into my study very often so I found the blinds open from when Ines cleaned it.  I close the blinds to protect the books, art work on the walls, photos on the bookcases and desks, letters from long ago, and photos and slides in the closet. All fade with time.   

Fortunately, these days, the paper used in books does not deteriorate the way paper from only a few decades ago does. It always amazed me when I worked in the library at MWC, and entered the rare books room, that books printed in the 1500s could be in better shape than books printed in the 1950s.

I was thinking about this again recently because I watched the special on PBS about Oscar Hammerstein.  One of the musicals Hammerstein worked on was South Pacific based on the book by James Michener, the author who had served time in the Navy during WWII where he got ideas for the book of the same name. 

I have first edition copies of several of Michener’s books, although I lost the covers years ago so they are worth very little.  I read all of those Michener published before 1960. I used my school allowance to buy the books. My allowance was for lunch and bus fare, but I went hungry and walked the three miles home to save the money to buy books. 

I also bought several of John Kennedy’s books including one he autographed for me, The Strategy of Peace when I worked in his campaign. Kennedy was an old Cold Warrior whose hero was Winston Churchill. Some of the young men in my history class are taking a course on the Cuban Missile Crises, and have been quite shocked to discover what an anti-communist Kennedy was.  To say his politics diverged from those of his brothers is an understatement.


Folks often note the incivility in Washington these days, but it comes from both sides, I fear.  Only a few decades ago, the Democrats were more conservative and the Republicans were more liberal.  All that has changed and dramatically, during my life time. 

We see this political split played out dramatically in the Nation’s Capital and neighboring Virginia and Maryland.  According to the Washington Examiner, Virginia hasn’t raised its state taxes in 4 years, and Maryland has raised them 5 times in the past few years.  The Examiner says 9 percent of Maryland households have a net taxable income of less than $3,000 per year. The percent for Virginia is 3. 

Maryland has higher sales and income taxes but Virginia has more taxes (auto, property, cigarettes) and fees.

According to the state of Maryland, it offers more generous Medicaid benefits (10th in the nation, compared with Virginia at 24th place) and a fairly high-ranking in the quality of its schools (best in the nation). Of course schools are mostly financed by local property taxes, and a several of the counties in Virginia place very high in the national rankings.  Maryland is more urban than Virginia which is also a factor in school budgets, especially when one considers the school bus fleets.   

Whether the governor was Democrat or Republican, Virginia has cut government expenses for several years to balance the state budget. Thousands of retirees have moved to Virginia owing to its reasonable tax rates. Virginia also has a huge population of more conservative immigrants, mostly from Asia, many from the Middle East and South Korea. 

More Liberal immigrants from Latin America move to Maryland, although a number of Hispanics also live in Virginia. Maryland also loses a number of its retirees to Virginia. You can read more about state rankings at this link:

Check out the link below for break from politics.



8 thoughts on “Stuck like a Dope with a Thing Called Hope

  1. Happy Birthday Peaches, may you have many more.
    How special to have an autographed copy of the Kennedy book.
    You really did get to look close at the inside of politics.


  2. Quality of VA schools in the area where my dtr lives is one feature that has kept her determined to remain living there ’til child’s graduation. The State has undertaken some rather restrictive legislation through recent years which makes living there less desirable.

    I, too, have noticed significant changes in the two major political parties during my lifetime. I do not perceive the Democrats as having been more conservative years ago, but see them now as being less extreme. Years ago whatever actions the extreme element of the Party might have wanted to enact was tempered by a combination of Demo. and Rep. moderates — lacking today. Republican moderates have ceased to exist as the Party has been taken over by extremists for whom meaningful bipartisan legislation for resolving our nation’s problems is not the driving force. Demos have had to unify like never before for self-preservation of any of their ideals. Basically, I perceive less extremism or radicalism in Democrats and disturbingly more in Republicans. The latter no longer seem to stand for values they once held, despite the words in their platform.

    (For some reason my email address link here shows a “q” as the first letter preceding my actual correct email address. Tried to correct it, but WordPress won’t allow me to do so. User name and URL are okay.)


    • Article in the Washington Post today about how the ‘stealth’ moderate Republicans in Maryland are going to try to help Romney. The problem in Maryland is Gerrymandering. One after another the moderate Republicans have been forced out via this tool.


  3. Michigan was attractive for retirees because of low or no state taxes on retirement income and a generous real estate tax subsidy for many elder homeowners. All that was radically changed a year ago, with the proceeds going to lower business taxes. The effects will be felt next year at tax time. We’re waiting to see if there will be a mass exodus of retirees. The weather certainly doesn’t keep them here!


  4. It seems that I commented on the wrong post. I must get used to the comment box being above your posts, not below.

    Taxes? We pay the same horrendous taxes all over the country.


  5. I read that caffeine is a vitamin joke and other aspects of your blog to hubby today. We are in a gentle war about coffee. Lately, caffeine has made me very jittery. It never bothered me in the past, but now it does. So we are buying decaf from now on and will buy another coffee pot for me.

    Re: low taxes. He said: “They should move to Florida!”


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