11/5/21…  14,532.73 

10/29/21…  14,447.45 

6/27/13…    15,000.00


(THE DOW JONES INDEX:  11/5/21…35,606.36; 10/22/21…34,912.56; 6/27/13… 15,000.00)



LESSON for October 29, 2021 – SHOULDA CALLED SAHL!


So Joe’s flown off to the Old World, leaving behind a dumpster of old problems – most of which arise from his own party.  Unable to close the deal on his physical or personal infrastructure proposals, stymied on his intent to finance them by taxing the billionaires – dogged by DINO Democrats Manchin and Sinema and whipsawed between them and the liberals in the House, Biden has been called everything from a socialist and a reprobate to a demented old fossil.

Democrats now look to December 3rd as that beautiful wall, on the other side of which highway funding lapses, as their new drop-dead deadline as both the terrible two Senators and the liberals stick to their guns. 


When CNN asked if it would take until Dec. 3 for them to pass it, which is when highway funding would lapse after the stopgap that members approved before disapparating for the weekend, House Minority Leader Steny Hoyer said, “no, I don’t think” it will take that long. 

In term of when they will finally vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, Hoyer said, “I hope soon.”

 “Our members have been saying for months that these two bills need to be, need to go together and that we need to have the legislative text,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal, head of the House Progressive Caucus, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.


The epic fail and aerial escape anti-climaxed a week of a thousand cuts, as the “human” infrastructure bill… originally $3.5 trillion for a literal Christmas grab-bag of goodies for the needy, the greedy, the grumblers and the gamblers... shriveled to a Halloween haunted plot of rotting pumpkins.

The legislation, liberal experts said, expertly, would also aim to start cutting climate pollution and put the United States on a track to reduce emissions by at least 50 percent by 2030. It would provide clean-energy tax credits and an electric vehicle tax credit that would lower the cost of an electric vehicle by up to $12,500 per middle-class family, the officials said.

All this was lost on (or, in the majority of cases, simply denied by) Republicans – some of whom even support the (physical) infrastructure measure but most lawmakers in that party oppose both bills, and Biden can only afford to lose three votes in the House to get either passed.  (Reuters)

In addition to their slight majority in the House, Democrats only narrowly control the Senate, with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris holding the tie-breaking vote, meaning legislation must win support across a wide swath of progressives and more moderate members of the party – which presently consists of a caucus of two… West Virginia’s Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

Rep. Kweisi Mfume, a Democrat from Maryland, said President Biden told the caucus that they are “within inches” of a deal with moderate Democratic Sens. Manchin Sinema, though he didn’t mention them by name.  The inches remained inches as Joe flew off to Italy, then Glasgow.

Senior administration officials told NBC that the measure will total about $1.75 trillion in funding, which they described as “the most transformative investment in children's caregiving in generations, the largest effort to combat climate change in history, a historic tax cut for tens of millions of middle-class families and the biggest expansion of affordable health care in decades.”

But the latest version does not include funding for paid family leave, “a priority for many Democrats, including several women lawmakers.”

NBC News reported Wednesday that Democrats had dropped that proposal for paid family and medical leave from the spending package after Manchin expressed opposition. Biden had originally proposed 12 weeks of paid leave, then last week it was reduced to four weeks before it was eliminated altogether.

The measure would also have provided for universal free preschool for all 3- and 4-year-olds, extend the child tax credit that was created in a previous coronavirus rescue package, and reduce health insurance premiums by an average of $600 per year for more than 9 million Americans who buy insurance through the Obamacare marketplace, the officials said.


White House officials had hoped that the measure will be fully paid for through new taxes and would reduce the deficit by generating about $2 trillion in revenue through an array of changes to the tax system; officials stressing that no one making less than $400,000 would have their taxes raised.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., told reporters Thursday afternoon he supports the price tag of the bill because "that was negotiated."

But Manchin has not nor has ever been that particular roadblock – his issue is coal.  Sinema was.  And if she had any alternative proposals for revenue enhancement short of Maggie Thatcher and Ben Carson @999 poll tax, with rich, middle class and poor all paying the same percentage (or, as the farthest right right Republicans advocate) same sum, she wasn’t revealing her plans, if any.


Still, President Joe tried to project confidence CNN reported, as he and the legislators traipsed into Friday morning’s House Democratic Caucus meeting in the Capitol.

"It's a good day" Biden said, adding, "Everyone's on board."

During the meeting, Biden told lawmakers: "I don't think it's hyperbole to say that the House and Senate majorities and my presidency will be determined by what happens in the next week." He also emphasized a key theme from his presidency -- that the American must show the world that democracies can outperform autocracies and meet modern challenges.

"The rest of the world wonders whether we can function," Biden said.

By mid-morning, however, it was evident not everyone was on board quite yet. Liberal members of Congress said they wanted to see more details after key items, like paid family leaves, were swept away; bagged, tagged and tossed onto the sidewalk for removal. And they remained firm in demands the social spending bill pass simultaneously with the infrastructure deal.

“We spent hours and hours and hours over months and months working on this," Biden tried to put a happy face on the fiasco. "No one got everything they wanted, including me. But that's what compromise is. That's consensus. And that's what I ran on."

The newest proposal amounts to $1.75 trillion, down from the original $3.5 trillion request. It includes priorities like funding for climate change, childcare and universal preschool. It relies on new taxes, including one aimed at millionaires and billionaires. But, NBC noted, “it omits many Democratic priorities, like paid family leave and free community college.”

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told reporters after the meeting with Biden that while he had made a "compelling speech" for both the infrastructure bill and the economic measure, she said that many members of her caucus still feel that they want to see legislative text and want to vote on both bills together.

Jayapal said in a statement later Thursday that the overwhelming majority of the progressive caucus had voted to endorse in principle the Build Back Better framework released by the White House. But she added that dozens of caucus members continue to insist on passing the two bills in tandem.

“Members of our caucus will not vote for the infrastructure bill without the Build Back Better Act," she said. "We will work immediately to finalize and pass both pieces of legislation through the House together.”

Bernie Sanders told progressive members that he supports their demand for legislative text before they agree to vote for the bipartisan infrastructure bill, according to two aides familiar with Sanders' thinking. “No legislative text, no [bipartisan infrastructure plan],” one aide said of their position. (NBC)

Similarly, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., the progressive caucus whip, said Thursday there are concerns that Sinema or Manchin may not follow through on a framework. She said the caucus position remains that the Senate should pass a bill first before they agree to support the infrastructure bill.

"There is certainly a trust issue," Omar told NBC News. "I mean, people who are constantly changing their position can't be trusted. So we have to actually have legislation that we vote on in order to trust that that legislation would be the final bill."

A denizen of the Fourth Estate asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, (D-Ca) if she trusted Manchin and Sinema.

"I trust the president of the United States," she demurred.


Pretending that nothing was out of order, Congress discussed plans to hold a vote on Thursday on the infrastructure bill, and the House Rules Committee released a preliminary text of the 1,684-page bill.  "So we're on a path to get this done," Pelosi said. "But for those who said I want to see text, the text is there. For you to review, for you to complain about, for you to add to or subtract from, whatever it is."


Biden’s voyage to Europe on Thursday to meet with other world leaders in Scotland to discuss climate change, was supposed to give him an element of his agenda to promote (NBC).  Instead, it kicked off a Halloween Hell Week, Mischief Night and Tricks, no Treats, that commenced with a High Noon (EST) address to the press and the public, wherein he promised to put an end to methane (cow farts?), build a highway to the sky and… citing how great we were in the past and how we have fallen, Make America Great Again.

Though without the terminology…  (See the text as Attachment One)

In remarks from the White House ahead of his midday departure, Biden framed the months-long haggling over the deal as a good-faith effort to find middle ground between liberal and moderate Democrats.  He literally fell to his knees and begged his own party to fall in line.  "I need you to help me; I need your votes," a “person familiar with the matter” quoted Biden as saying. "I don’t think it's hyperbole to say that the House and Senate (Democratic) majorities and my presidency will be determined by what happens in the next week."  (Reuters, See Attachment Two)

"We spent hours and hours and hours over months and months working on this. No one got everything they wanted, including me. But that's what compromise is, that's consensus. And that's what I ran on," Biden said in his speech from the East Room.

Again: "(I)t's not hyperbole to say that the House and Senate majorities and my presidency will be determined by what happens in the next week," Biden said.  “We are at an inflection point.  The rest of the world wonders whether we can function."

We can’t.  That, of course, is the third Obvious Problem – under Mitch McConnell’s direction and the looming shadow of Donald Trump, Republicans have pledged to destroy the Biden Administration wherever, whenever and however they can… no matter what collateral damage accrues to the nation.  (Obvious Problems numbers one and two center upon the two refusenik Democratic Senators: Joe Manchin of West Virginia is adamantly opposed to any climate change measures that damage his state’s critical… and imperiled… coal industry, while Kyrsten Sinema (Arizona) has wrapped herself in the flag of freedom, free enterprise and free lunches for the plutocracy – refusing to confiscate even a shiny penny from the billionaires.

Calling Joe’s proposal “still robust”, ABC News admitted that paid family leave and efforts to lower prescription drug pricing are now gone entirely from the package, drawing outrage from some lawmakers and advocates.

 “With support for even the narrowed package still an issue,” a patently delusional Biden said, as he left the Capitol, "I think we're going to be in good shape."  (See the numbers crunched by Yahoo News, Attachent Three, and the Washington Post, Attachment Four.)

"Not everyone got everything they wanted, not even me," Biden conceded in his White House remarks. "But that’s what compromise is. That’s consensus. And that’s what I ran on."

House liberals were not in a compromising mood.  "If a vote on the BIF is held today, I'm a no," Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., told the Fox.  "I feel a little bamboozled because this is not what I thought was coming today."  Bush's fellow "Squad" member, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, R-Mich., reportedly said, "Hell no on BIF" after she left a meeting with fellow Democrats. 

Nor did Republicans see any consensus and are expected to reject both the bipartisan infrastructure bill – duly dubbed "BIF" –  and the spending packages as "socialist" agendas, the biggest hurdles facing the president’s cornerstone legislation are in his own party. 


The usual suspects treated the American president with a leavetaking shower of garbage and stones, preparatory to showing the leaders of the civilized world.  An especially harsh Wall Street Journal editorial called the deal-making debacle… which Biden downgraded to a “framework”, as opposed to actual legislation… “phony”, but with social and fiscal damages that are real.

“(T)he blueprint the White House released is more frame than work. The jerry-rigged plan is an enormous expansion of government with quarter-baked entitlement programs that will retard work and $1.85 trillion in tax increases that will distort and limit investment. The $1.75 trillion cost that Democrats have assigned their bill is an illusion. They use phony accounting to finance a few years of new spending with 10 years of tax increases.”

Fox sniped at the noontime ramble, remarking that… in what has appeared to become his new presidential tradition… Biden left without taking questions, this time not only walking off stage but jetting off for his weeklong European trip to attend the G20 summit and the climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, adding that the President “has previously walked away from an inquisitive press following addresses on the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan, a poor September jobs report, and the supply chain crisis.”

"A faux victory lap on the domestic front before heading overseas," is how Fox co-host Kayleigh McEnany described it.

Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., tweeted: "What are you afraid of? Your Far Left Socialist agenda?"


As he flew off to the Old World in a hot tub of humiliation and defeat, President Joe could have used a little help in slapping down the trolls besieging him from left, right and center of the Washington buzzard. 

Sixty-two years ago, SenatorJohn F. Kennedy was having certain difficulties of his own… trailing in a close election to succeed a popular President; his campaign floundering in a sea of perceived inexperience and privilege.

Fortunately, JFK had an ace up his sleeve… the candidate’s father, Joseph, who commissioned a stand-up comedian Mort Sahl, whom the New York Times called “an inveterate contrarian and a wide-ranging skeptic… a self-appointed warrior against hypocrisy … then at the apex of his popularity with live gigs, television appearances and a top-selling record album: “live at the Hungry i in San Francisco” (the i stood for intellectual).  He’d hosted the 1959 Oscars along with Jerry Lewis, Bob Hope and Lawrence Olivier, had enjoyed regular club dates in New York, Chicago and San Francisco, with audiences full of celebrities and had recorded what the Library of Congress has cited as “the earliest example of modern stand-up comedy on record,” the album “At Sunset.” (Though recorded in 1955, it was not released until 1958, shortly after the release of his official first album, “The Future Lies Ahead.”)


Perhaps his most notable contribution to that campaign was the gag which inspired JFK’s quip at his own expense — about a telegram from his wealthy father. “Don’t buy a single more vote than is necessary. I’ll be d—ed if I’m going to pay for a landslide.”

But, once elected, JFK felt the sting of Sahl’s expertly aimed arrors of sarcasm, as did many other icons of liberalism.  After Kennedy took office, he found himself on the other end of Sahl’s ruthless pen.  Sahl fans who knew him for anti-Eisenhower and anti-Nixon roasts were dismayed to learn that the crafty Canadian’s true mission was satirizing all politicians, and they didn’t always appreciate Sahl’s Kennedy jokes.

No political figure was in the safe zone, Rolling Stone eulogized, “whether they were Democrat or Republican.”  The politically skeptical comic once declared, “Democrats are the left wing of the Republican party. Do you want vanilla or French vanilla?” Another time, the Times of Israel reported, he said: “Liberals feel unworthy of their possessions. Conservatives feel they deserve everything they’ve stolen.”

“A lot of people I have met in the Democratic Party are extremely expedient,” he said. “Once it’s over, they don’t want to know you. Of course, that’s not generic to the Democrats.”

He even earned posthumous plaudits from the Saudi Gazette; the Kingdom pronouncing that “Sahl's biting political commentary won him legions of fans starting in the 1950s and has been credited as the inspiration for modern stand-up comedy,” and that the “comedic blunderbuss,” prided himself on poking fun at all sides, often asking at shows: "Is there anyone here I haven't offended?" with zingers like…

"A conservative is someone who believes in reform.  But not now."

Or: "Liberals are people who do the right things for the wrong reasons so they can feel good for 10 minutes."


Joe Kennedy viewed the comedian’s continued potshots at his son as disloyalty almost reaching the depths of despicability that Saudis had for Adnan Khashoggi but, according to Sahl, the Kennedy patriarch merely applied pressure to have him silenced rather than dismembering him physically. And when he didn’t, Sahl wrote in “Heartland,” his 1976 memoir, “the work began to dry up.”


Though he never reclaimed his central place in the entertainment firmament, Mr. Sahl was somewhat resurgent in the 1970s, partly because Watergate had reinvigorated the public appetite for derision aimed at politicians. He recorded an album, “Sing a Song of Watergate”; was booked by television hosts like Johnny Carson, Merv Griffin and David Frost; and continued to do college concerts.

 “I’m not 18 anymore,” he lamented in “Heartland,” “but I’m the angriest man on any campus I visit.”


When Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, Sahl was devastated and the tragedy foreshadowed a decline in the comedian’s fortunes that lasted for years. He quickly became convinced that Kennedy had been killed as part of a CIA plot and he accused the government of staging a massive cover-up. Audiences stopped laughing and his bookings plummeted.  He devoted much of his monologues to reading long passages from the report by the government’s Warren Commission, which had been appointed to investigate the assassination – a side road also taken by Lenny Bruce, who would regale his paying customers with transcript of trial text until they stopped paying.  

Lenny Bruce committed the same sin around this time, though Bruce spent time onstage dissecting the transcripts of his own court trials on charges of obscenity and drug possession. Bruce died of an overdose in 1966, at the age of 40. Sahl, who was just two years younger than Bruce and an uneasy friend till the end, avoided that degree of self-destruction, but he vanished from the public light for a few years.


After Kennedy’s 1963 assassination, Sahl’s popularity cratered as he committed to conspiracy theories and began mocking the Warren Commission report on stage. Naturally, he felt his faltering popularity was also the result of a conspiracy.

A leftist conspiracy.

The easy target of the Nixon presidency restored some of Sahl’s popularity during the 70’s.  Sahl made a comeback with the reemergence, then implosion, of the abortive second term of Nixon’s presidency which — from his landslide over George McGovern in 1972 to the Watergate hearings of ’73 and his resignation in ’74 (according to the liberal blog, Slate) —served as a perfect scene-setter for Sahl’s subtly savage satire and shrewd social observations.

But he never came all the way back. Over the past few decades, he hosted some short-lived cable shows, wrote a few unproduced movie scripts, and did infrequent nightclub gigs. He became a comedian’s comedian—venerated by other comedians, especially those old enough to know that they wouldn’t be doing what they were doing if it weren’t for him—but he never quite kept up with the shifting times in a way that restored his appeal with a broader audience. Not long after his Watergate revival, he spent a few years as a resident comedian at a big hotel in Las Vegas—as clear a sign as any that his brand of humor had gone mainstream: a triumph, but an ambivalent one for an artist who had once been fueled by an avant-garde edginess.

“I spent years talking with people, Garrison notably, about the Kennedy assassination,” Mr. Sahl wrote in “Heartland,” a score-settling, dyspeptic memoir published in 1976, “and I was said to have hurt my career by being in bad company. I don’t think Gene McCarthy is bad company. I don’t think that Jack Kennedy is bad company. I don’t think that Garrison is bad company.

“I learned something, though. The people that I went to Hollywood parties with are not my comrades. The men I was in the trenches with in New Orleans are my comrades.” He concluded, “I think Jack Kennedy cries from the grave for justice.”


Often hailed and imitated by later, lesser liberal comedians and warily respected, if not feared, by the potentates and powerful, Sahl, nonetheless, counted Ronald Reagan among his friends and admirers (although not to the extent of giving his administration any more slack than he’d afforded Kennedy).  In the 1980s he frequently ridiculed his Reagan, but, reported the Times of Israel, he said the president was never offended.

“If you’re his friend, it doesn’t matter if you’re an escaped con,” Sahl once said of Reagan.  Democrats, he added, were often not as forgiving. In the 1990s, Sahl had fallen out of favor with them when he complained that President Bill Clinton’s only lasting legacy would be his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.


From an essay and his interview for the Library of Congress (See Attachment Five)…


LOC: Comedy today, I would say, has changed considerably from what it used to be.  What has been lost?

MS: We’ve lost everything. Too many comedians today--they comfort themselves with mock debates. As far as I’m concerned, nobody is really covering the President. These late night shows are not doing it. Jimmy Kimmel; Jimmy Fallon, that’s not “The Tonight Show.” It should be funny. It can be funny, if you have any skills. No wonder people are tearing Comcast out of their houses.

LOC: Do you think YOUR style of comedy changed over the years?

MS: Not much. I’m still going for the throat. But the standard has to be funny.


As the numerous tributes following his death at 94 elucidated, Morton Lyon Sahl was born on May 11, 1927, was not even a born in America phenom… he grew up in Montreal, to a Canadian mother and a father who worked at tobacco shop in New York. The family would move to California when Sahl was still a young child (Politico).

After high school, he joined the Air Force but… according to the website (operated by others since the critic’s demise a decade ago@ )... “soon grew disenchanted with the conformity of service, rebelling by growing a beard and writing articles critical of the military for a local newspaper.” 

After his discharge in 1947, he attended USC, majoring in traffic engineering and city management, but after receiving his degree in 1950, he decided to drop out of the masters program to try to make it as an actor, playwright and comedian.

At first, he had little success—at one point, he and a friend rented their own theater to put on experimental one-act plays but struggled to find an audience—and did odd jobs while continuing to write. He then hit upon the idea of performing his plays as comedic monologues, but this approach attracted little attention at first. Eventually, he convinced the owner of a San Francisco nightclub to let him audition and he earned a regular performing spot. After a few weeks, lines from his act began appearing in the work of influential San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen. With that seal of approval, audiences began to come out in droves to see what all the fuss was about.

Mr. Sahl was married and divorced four times, first to Ms. Babior; then to China Lee, the first Asian American model to be a Playboy centerfold, from whom he was divorced for the second time in 1991; and finally to Kenslea Motter, from whom he was divorced in 2009. Mr. Sahl and his second wife had a son, Mort Jr., who died in 1996 of a drug overdose. No immediate family members survive.

The Times obituary called Mr. Sahl “a shock to the comedy system. Other groundbreaking (and safely dead) comedians — Lenny Bruce, Dick Gregory, Woody Allen, Jonathan WintersJoan RiversGeorge Carlin and Richard Pryor among them — would pour into his wake, seizing on the awareness that audiences were hungry for challenge rather than palliation. And for social commentators who took to the airwaves in the half-century after he began to speak his mind — from Dick Cavett to Don Imus, Rush Limbaugh, Bill Maher and Jon Stewart — Mr. Sahl was their flag bearer as well.”

(If a younger generation of comedians considered Mr. Sahl an inspiration, he did not return their love. He said in a 2010 interview that he found their comedy “kind of soft” and urged them to “take more chances.”)

“He just doesn’t bring to mind any other performer in the history of show business,” Mr. Cavett said after watching Mr. Sahl perform in 2004.

For one thing, he looked different from other comics of the time, eschewing the expected jacket and tie in favor of a more collegiate, informal look in an open-necked shirt and a V-neck sweater. And he peppered his routines with the language of youth and jazz — he was bugged, he dug this or that, he dated a lot of chicks. He took the stage carrying a rolled-up newspaper, a prop that was also a prompt; in Mr. Sahl’s performances, he talked about, anguished over and ranted at the news, spinning it with sardonic digressions, cryptic asides and blistering zingers.

“I’m for capital punishment,” he declared. “You’ve got to execute people — how else are they going to learn?”







Friday, October 122 2021


Infected: 45,400,506

Dead:  735,374

Dow:  35,291.13



Doctors and politicians promises that this is the week that booster shots and kiddie vaxxes will roll out this week.  TV Dr. Jah says it’ll be OK to mix and match shots while Rep. Wyler (R-NH) spreads disinfo that the vaccines are full of octopus DNA and promoted by the Vatican.  Other congressman Matt Gaetz probed by DOJ in Bannon indictment kerfluffle. 

   Economy taking hit after hit… gas prices hit $7/gallon in Gorda, CA.  Intel execs say chip shortage will last until 2023, maybe longer.  Budget deficit rises to 2.77 for 2021 – second worst ever.  Publishers react to paper shortage by cutting books.

   FBI confirms dead man in Florida swamp is Brian (RIH) Laundrie.  Triceratops fossil skeleton sold for $7M, piddling compared to the $32M that a T. Rex brings.  Mawozo kidnap gang leader Wilton Juvet promises to kill Haitian hostages as widespread riots complicate negotiations.




Saturday, October 23, 2021


Infected:  45,427,504

Dead:  735,801





Baldwin movie set shooting probers focus on a non-union prop man for providing the hot (loaded) gun that killed cinematographer and wounded director.

   With program budgets expiring on Halloween and President Joe slated to go to Glasgow for a climate summit, the pressure for an infrastructure solution accelerates.  Dems cut back spending on the “human” inf. bill to mollify renegades Manchin and Sinema… “In a fifty-fifty Senate,” Biden snaps, “every Senator is king.”

   Royalty suffers as QE2 hospitalized for an undisclosed ailment that the doctors say “is not Covid.”  More woke pressure forces the Brits to designate more minority homes as being “historical” residences.




Sunday, October 24, 2021


Infected:  45,444,284

Dead:  735,941




Escalating street violence prompts community outrage in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Chicago, Brooklyn and L.A. (anti-cop sentiment declines).  Why do we just live to die? Asks a school principle.  Shrinks blame the “stresses of lockdown”, partisan agitators blame “redlining and race.”

   Bomb cyclone (or some now call it “atmospheric river”) hits Northwest.  High winds tip stranded container ship over, spilling containers of Christmas goodies into the ocean.

   Governors’ races in New Jersey and Virginia highlight off-season elections in two weeks.  Trump wannabe closes in against former Gov. McAuliffe in the latter… social issues like critical race theory in the schools, vaxxing and masking are driving a Republican wave.  Politicians and celebrities flock to Richmond and the DC suburbs to whip up enthusiasm among the bases.  “You’re going to set the direction of Virginia and the country for generations to come,” advises Obama.  But President Joe is still without his deal as he faces the possibility of going to Glasgow empty-handed.





Monday, October 25, 2021


Infected:  45,545,583

Dead:  737,316

 Dow:  35,258.61




It’s National Greasy Food Day.

   President Joe and Nancy say they’re closer to a budget, tax and infrastructure deal… again.  Manchin goes to Delaware as Biden houseguest; says he supports taxing the rich (but that was Sinema’s issue – his goal is coal).  But liberals can engage in some light reading – Barry and Bruce write “Renegades”; Springsteen touts the “critical patriotism” of “Born in the USA”. 

   Labor shortage impacting trash pickups nationwide and spur Amazon warehouse workers to protest their plight.  Kelloggs strike rolls on and a consumer complains that her strawberry Pop Tarts had only a handful of strawberries – mostly apples and pears.  She’s suing for $5M.  Businessman collects $80K in plague relief handouts, stiffs employees and buys a rare Pokemon card

   Full plate for sports fans.  Tom Brady throws record 600th touchdown pass.  Braves and Astros meet in the World Series, starting tomorrow.  And the NBA season begins.




Tuesday, October 26, 2021


Infected: 45,609,053                  Dead:  738,881

Dow:  35,756.88



FDA approves Pfizer kiddie vaxxing 17-1.  So they can get shot and go back to school?  Nope – it now goes to a panel at the CDC and, if approved, another ream of red tape.  They say maybe Christmas.  So the kids will have to get shot another way.  NIH director Doctor Francis Collins says: “we don’t want another surge.”

   President Joe gifts Elon Musk with $13.8B worth of charging stations for all those Teslas sold to Hertz, and Elon unseats Bezos as richest (North) American with $253B, so Jeff goes out and declares he’s building his own space station and also that Amazon will experience no holiday delays,.  Continuing the do-it-yourself craze, Fox News will start up Fox Weather that will give a voice to climate change denialists while FaceBook promises it will “serve” young adults (in the way that the sci-fi writers mean “to serve man”.  MicroSoft (remember them?) complains, blaming Russian hackers for its troubled bottom line.

   Japanese princess marries a commoner and is promptly kicked out of the Royal Family.  Maybe it’s because hes a lawyer?




Wednesday, October 27, 2021


Infected: 45,703,958

Dead:  741,231

Dow:  35,460.69




Pfizer hits kiddie vax roadblock… FDA now in the bank, but CDC is questioning the short shelf life of the vaccines.  The latter also suggests “immune-compromised” get a fourth booster shot – so many have not received three and more than a few: none.  The good news:   At least 77% have now had at least one shot.

   Sen. Sinema says she’ll vote for a corporate tax, but won’t say how much as Infra/Budget squabble squabbles along.  With his deals and his popularity crumbling, President Joe may be changing his slogan to Build Back Later.

   That other BBB charges those auto warranty scams (particularly CarShield) as, well, scams.  So CarShield blames its F rating on the pandemic and sues the BBB and rotsa ruck finding jurors not enraged by all those auto warranty robocalls

   NASA discovers an extra-galactic planet orbiting a black hole in the Whirlpool Galaxy.  Name does not sound promising for Space Explorations.  Profits are up up up at Google and MicroSoft (take that, Moscow!) and prices are up up up up for holidays… Halloween candy and costumes, Thanksgiving’s turkey, even Christmas trees!




Thursday, October 28, 2021


Infected:  45,826,141

Dead:  743,359

Dow:  35,760.83




President Joe speaks.  And speaks.  (see above)  And flies off to Europe in humiliation and disgrace after being crushed between the moderate (rightists) and leftists in his own party after what are called “frantic” meetings crash.

   Mark Zuckerberg changes the name of FaceBook to Meta (as opposed to fixing all the problems of Nazi and pedophile posters).  Comedians predict trolls will draw penises on the sagging infinity logo that looks like blue balls.  His billionaire competitors are just content to get richer against the odds… Amazon dubs the NHL Seattle Kraken rink the “Climate Pledge Arena.”  Richard Branson’s Space X suffers a toilet malfunction. 

   Generals predict that the hypersonic Chinese nukes are making a “Sputnik moment”.  So many supply chain boats full of containers of toys and gimmicks may anger them further – the chip shortage is already impacting American automakers.

   Hot for the holidays: Grey Poupon markets mustard wine.  No hot dog jokes, please.




Another treat of the week for the Don, which scored one of its highest gains ever due to an employment rate so hot that companies are having trouble finding workers (and some even have to raise wages!).  The ending of supplements to the Covid-unemployed certainly had something to do with motivating Don Joneses to get off the couch and go to work although problems remain – without which the Don might even have gone back to its 15,000 starting rate eight years ago.  These include lack of childcare (difficult to fix since childcare workers still make at or below minimum wage), fear of the plague, lack of transportation… old and new cars are costlier, as is gas… and an occupational and educational mismatch (truck driving schools closing, for example, and not being reopened).

   Otherwise, the good news also extended to the Dow and even the government… which increased receipts, as usual, but also cut spending (a rarity!) although if the two infrastructure bills were to pass, that would be the end of that!  Another problem… even if only the $1T physical legislation passes… skilled construction work, recycling and green energy jobs are already going unfilled and, unless there is a supplemental charge to be paid for training, problems might be waiting ahead.

   But, as the holidays start clocking in, maybe a suitable compromise infrastructure bill will be passed, maybe a renewed attention to climate change and alternate energy will spark an upsurge in “green” jobs that both red and blue partisans can support… maybe childcare and service workers can be paid a decent wage.  Maybe one Republican Senator will tell Mitch and Trumpsy to go to hell and maybe Democrats will trim more fat, not lean, from their budgets.

   One can dream…








(REFLECTING… approximately… DOW JONES INDEX of June 27, 2013)


See a further explanation of categories here











































Wages (hourly, per capita)


1350 points





1,481.15  26.15 nc

Median Income (yearly)







674.98   35,693 701

*Unempl. (BLS – in millions








*Official (DC – in millions)







511.83      8,408 7,630

*Unofficl. (DC – in millions)







426.00    14,270  3,602

Workforce Participtn.
















In 153,279 3,792 Out 100,054 391 Total: 253,333 4183 60.55

WP %  (ycharts)*







152.23  61.60



Total Inflation







973.36     +0.4 nc








272.56     +0.9








251.94     +1.2

Medical Costs







285.05     +0.1








287.33     +0.3




Dow Jones Index







388.28 35,760.83

Home (Sales) 














     Sales (M):  6.29 Valuations (K):  352.8

Debt (Personal)







269.86    65,282 357






Revenue (trilns.)







346.26       3,891 4,049

Expenditures (tr.)







219.13       6,894 837

National Debt tr.)







317.96    28,910 929

Aggregate Debt (tr.)







372.19    84,921 950










Foreign Debt (tr.)







275.07   7,647 633

Exports (in billions)







 189.80  213.7

Imports (bl.)







 113.90  287.0

Trade Deficit (bl.)







   94.32        73.3






World Affairs








(Rich) world leaders meet, greet and eat in Italy.  They’ll solve the problems of the world, won’t they?  Military overthrows government in Sudan, immediately massacres crowd of protesters.









Haitian kidnappers threaten to kill hostages, then go dark.  Illegal border crossings, spurred by Haitian meltdown, spike.  Taliban called ambivalent about 2,000 ISIS-K terrorists said to be in Afghanisan.









President Joe flies away to escape Washington Wrasslin’.  Star chamber hauls oilies up who deny that they’re promoting climate change denial (they’re not).  Other star chamber keeps hauling up faces in the crowd from the J-6,









Starbucks raising wages.  Amazon doesn’t, but pledges to deliver more packages than FedEx and UPS despite truck driver shortage.  Worker shortage forces Ben & Jerry to raise prices and cut less profitable flavors.  Hertz orders 100K Teslas, sending the corporate value over 1T, and they’re now Number Six, though profits are also up, up, up at MicroSoft and Google.  Lack of spending during the worse of the plague enabled 3.7T in savings, and Don Jones wants to spend it all now,  Facebook changes its name to Meta, debuts a limp infinity logo.









Hate crimes up in 2021 – FBI cites 63% increase for blacks, 76% for Asians.  The week in murder: Non-union armorer blamed for Baldwin shooting on the set of “Rust”.  Disgruntled employee kills two at Nebraska grain facility; Boise mall shooter bags six, two die;  Mom and boyfried arrested with corpse of 9 year old dead at least a year.   Sex scandal strikes Falwell’s Liberty U.  Global drug sting nets 150 pushers, $31M.  Colombia arrests its #1 druglord. Ex-Gov. Cuomo hauled off to jail for “excessive touching”.  (Watch out President Joe!)














45 climate change protesters arrested for blocking traffic in NYC (and creating another toxic emission cloud).  E2 tornado stricks unlucky Lake Charles, La.  Bomb Cyclone (or atmospheric river) strikes West Coast.  6.5 EQ strikes Taiwan.  Fox News starts Fox Weather to deny climate change danger.

Natural/Unnatural Disaster








Alec Baldwin shoots (accidentally?) the cinematographer on his film set.  NYC faces meltdown as cops, firefighters and garbagemen promise to quit jobs rather than get vaxxed.  Coast Guard rescues 25 humans stranded in dead boat off San Diego and 12 year old boy rescued from 13 footlong crocodile at Cancun’s Club Med.  Two killed as Tx drag racer plows into crowd.  Tufts lacrosse player chokes to death in hot dog eating contest.




Science, Tech, Education








NASA discovers extragalactic planet orbiting a black hole far, far away.   Space X fixes malfunctioning toilet that could make Space EXplorations very uncomfortable.  QE2 ill, will skip Glasgow climate change summit. 

Equality (econ/social)








ICE to stop raiding schools, dragging out screaming kids and sending them back to from where they came.  Students (who pay 40-50K year) protest slummy dorms at Howard.  State Department to issue “X” passports to transgenders. 
















- 103.64




- 103.43

“Alarming” rise in colon cancer as Covid sucks up all medical resources.  WalMart recalls poisonous Aroma Therapy room spray.  Critics fear cannabis edibles will be given out to poison kids this Halloween.  Plague causes rising cigarette sales after 20 years of decline.

Pfizer’s kiddie vaxx at 1/3 dose is 91% effective for 5 to 11 year olds.  CDC suggests fourth dose for immune-compromised.   Singer Ed Sheeran gets it.

Freedom and Justice








NHL player accuses minor league coach of sex abuse, wins lotsa cold cash.  USC suspends date rape fraternity, McDonald’s sued and striken for “harassment”.  SCOTUS greenlights Texas abortion law (until 11/1).  Whistleblowers contend that Facebook makes more money on hateful and violent posts and shonuff – its stock value is rising so fast that it now promises to “serve” young adults.




Cultural incidents








Circuses are back (but without animals).  Phantom of the Opera returns to Broadway. RIP Mort Sahl (see above), actor Peter Scolari (Tom Hanks’ “Bosom Buddy”); Jay Black (of the Americans); Michael Tyler (Gunter, Central Perk barista on “Friends”)  R(etiring)IP: Carli Lloyd, the Tom Brady of women’s soccer.

Miscellaneous incidents








High (prices) for the holidays: Halloween costumes, Thanksgiving turkeys and Christmas presents all up, up, up!  Gutter humour: Amazon and UPS promises no delays in Christmas deliveries of those expensive packages.  Over 900 in-air assaults set record for 2021, but airline prices are falling – one way New York to Miami for $31.  Sex scandal at Falwell’s Liberty U. RIH: Boise Mall shooter Jacob Bergquist (who also possessed marijuana). 











The Don Jones Index for the week of October 22th through October 28th, 2021 was UP 85.28 points.


The Don Jones Index is sponsored by the Coalition for a New Consensus: retired Congressman and Independent Presidential candidate Jack “Catfish” Parnell, Chairman; Brian Doohan, Administrator.  The CNC denies, emphatically, allegations that the organization, as well as any of its officers (including former Congressman Parnell, environmentalist/America-Firster Austin Tillerman and cosmetics CEO Rayna Finch) and references to Parnell’s works, “Entropy and Renaissance” and “The Coming Kill-Off” are fictitious or, at best, mere pawns in the web-serial “Black Helicopters” – and promise swift, effective legal action against parties promulgating this and/or other such slanders.

Comments, complaints, donations (especially SUPERPAC donations) always welcome at or:






THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning.  Today, I am pleased to announce that after — after months of tough and thoughtful negotiations, I think we have a historic — I know we have a historic economic framework.
It’s a framework that will create millions of jobs, grow the economy, invest in our nation and our people, turn the climate crisis into an opportunity, and put us on a path not only to compete, but to win the economic competition for the 21st century against China and every other major country in the world.
It’s fiscally responsible.  It’s fully paid for.  Seventeen Nobel Prize winners in economics have said it will lower the inflationary pressures on the economy.
And over the next 10 years, it will not add to the deficit at all; it will actually reduce the deficit, according to the economists.
I want to thank my colleagues in the Congress for their leadership.  We’ve spent hours and hours and hours over months and months working on this.
No one got everything they wanted, including me, but that’s what compromise is.  That’s consensus.  And that’s what I ran on.
I’ve long said compromise and consensus are the only way to get big things done in a democracy, important things for the country. 
I know it’s hard.  I know how deeply people feel about the things that they fight for.  But this framework includes historic investments in our nation and in our people.
Any single element of this framework would fundamentally be viewed as a fundamental change in America.  Taken together, they’re truly consequential.
I’ll have more to say after I return from the critical meetings in Europe this week.  But for now, let me lay out a few points.
First, we face — and I know — I apologize for saying this again: We flace [sic] — we face an inflection point as a nation.  For most of the 20th century, we led the world by a significant margin because we invested in our people.  Not only in our roads, in our highways, and our bridges, but in our people, in our families.
We didn’t just build an Interstate Highway System, we built a highway to the sky.

We invested to win the Space Race, and we won.
We were also among the first to provide access to free education for all Americans, beginning back in the late 1800s. 
That decision alone to invest in our children and their families was a major part of why we were able to lead the world for much of the 20th century.
But somewhere along the way, we stopped investing in ourselves, investing in our people.  America is still the largest economy in the world.  We still have the most productive workers and the most innovative minds in the world.  But we’ve risked losing our edge as a nation.
Our infrastructure used to be rated the best in the world.  Today, according to the World Economic Forum, we rank 13th in the world.

We used to lead the world in educational achievement.  Now, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ranks America 35th out of the 37 major countries when it comes to investing in early childhood education and care.  And we know how our children start impacts significantly on how they’ll finish.
We can’t be competitive in the 21st century global economy if we continue to slide.
That’s why I’ve said all along: We need to build America from the bottom up and the middle out, not from top down with the trickle-down economics that’s always failed us.  I can’t think of a single time when the middle class has done well but the wealthy haven’t done very well.  I can think of many times, including now, when the wealthy and the super-wealthy do very well and the middle class don’t do well.
That’s why I proposed the investments Congress is now considering in two critical pieces of legislation — positions I ran on as President, positions I announced when I laid out in the Joint Session to Congress what my economic agenda was.
These are not about left versus right, or moderate versus progressive, or anything else that pits Americans against one another.
This is about competitiveness versus complacency.  Competitiveness versus complacency.  It’s about expanding opportunity, not opportunity denied.  It’s about leading the world or letting the world pass us by.
Today, with my Democratic colleagues, we have a framework for my Build Back Better initiative.  And here’s how it will fundamentally change the lives of millions of people for the better. 
Millions of you are in the so-called “sandwich generation,” who feel financially squeezed by raising a child and caring for an aging parent.  About 820,000 seniors in America and people with disabilities have applied for Medicaid — and they’re on a waiting list right now — to get home care.  They need some help.  They don’t have to be put — they don’t have to be kicked out of their homes.  But they need a little help getting around, having their meals made occasionally for them. 
They don’t want to put them in a nursing homes not because of the cost, but because it’s a matter of dignity.  They want to stay in their homes.
But it’s hard.  You’re just looking for an answer so your parents can keep living independently with dignity.
For millions of families in America, this — this issue — is the most important issue they’re facing.  It’s personal. 
So here’s what we’re going to do.  We’re going to expand services for seniors so families can get help from well-trained, well-paid professionals to help them take care of their parents at home — to cook a meal for them, to get their groceries for them, to help them get around, to help them live in their own home with the dignity they deserve to be afforded.
Quite frankly, what we found is that this is more popular or as popular as anything else we’re proposing, because the American people understand the need.  It’s a matter of dignity and pride for our parents.
Thirty years ago, we ranked number seven among the advanced economies as a share of women working.  You know where we are today?  We rank 23rd.  Twenty-third.  Seven to twenty-three.  Once again, our competitors are investing and we’re standing still.
Today, there are nearly 2 million women in America not working today simply because they can’t afford childcare.
A typical family spends about $11,000 a year on childcare.  In some states, it’s $14,500 a year per child.
We’re going to make sure nearly all families earning less than $300,000 a year will pay no more than 7 percent of their income for childcare.  And for a family making $100,000 a year, that will save them more than $5,000 on childcare.
This is a fundamental game-changer for families and for our economy as more parents, especially women, can get back to work and work in the workforce.
I’m looking at a lot of significant press people in front of me.  A lot of them are working — working mothers.  They know what it costs. 
I remember when I got to the Senate.  I lost my wife and daughter in an accident.  My two boys.  I started commuting 250 miles a day because I had my mom and my dad and my brother and my sister to help me take care of my kids because I couldn’t afford childcare, and I was getting a serious salary — $42,000 a year.
We’ve also extended the historic middle-class tax cut — that’s what I call it — middle-class tax cut for parents.  That is the expanded Child Tax Credit we passed through the American Rescue Plan.
What that means is, for folks at home, they’re getting $300 a month for every child under the age of 6, and $250 for every child under the age of 18.  We’re extending that for another year.
The money is already a life-changer for so many working families.  This will help cut child poverty in half this year, according to the experts.
But that’s not all it does.  It changes the whole dynamic for working parents.  In the past, if you paid taxes and had a good income, you could deduct, under the tax code, $2,000 per child from the taxes you owed.
But how many families do you know — of cashiers, waiters, healthcare workers — who never got the benefit of that full tax break because they didn’t have that much to deduct?  And it wasn’t refundable, so it either came off of your tax bill or you didn’t get full credit.
Why should somebody making $500,000 a year or $150,000 or $200,000 a year get to write it off their taxes?  And the people who need the help even more — they don’t have that much tax to pay, they don’t get the benefit, and they have the same cost of raising their children.
Eighty percent of those left out were working parents who just didn’t make enough money.  That’s why, in the American Rescue Plan, we didn’t just expand the amount of the middle-class tax cut, we also made it refundable.
This framework will make it permanently refundable — making sure that the families who need it get a full credit for it, in addition to those who are already getting full credit.
They’re going to make sure that every three- and four-year-old child in America will go to high-quality preschool.  That’s part of the legislation I just brought up to the Congress.
Studies show that when we put three- and four-years-old in school — school, not daycare; school — we increase by up to 47 percent the chance that that child, no matter what their background, will be able to earn a college degree.  As my wife Jill, who’s in the back here, always says: Any country that out-educates us is going to outcompete us. 
We can finally take us from 12 years to 14 years of universal education in America.
We also make investments in higher education by increasing Pell Grants to help students from lower-income families attend community colleges and four-year schools.
And we invest in historically Black universities — colleges and universities — HBCUs, minority-serving institutions, and Tribal colleges to make sure every young student has a shot at a good-paying job of the future.
This framework extends tax credits to lower premiums for folks on — who are in the Affordable Care Act for another three years.
For 4 million folks in the 12 states that haven’t expanded Medicaid — all the rest have — this framework will enable you to get affordable coverage.
And Medicare will now cover the cost of hearing aids and hearing checkups.
This framework also makes the most significant investment to deal with the climate crisis ever, ever happened — beyond any other advanced nation in the world.
Over a billion metric tons of emissions reductions — at least 10 times bigger on climate than any bill that has ever passed before and enough to position us for a 50 to 52 percent emissions reductions by the year 2030.
And we’ll do it in ways that grow the domestic industries, create good-paying union jobs, and address longstanding environmental injustices, as well.  Tax credits to help people do things like weatherize their homes so they use less energy, install solar panels and develop clean energy products, and help businesses produce more clean energy.
And when paired with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, we will truly transform this nation. 
Historic investments in passenger rail.  I know everybody says, “Oh, Biden is a rail guy.”  That’s true.  But passenger rail and freight rail and public transit — it’s going to make hundreds of thousands — take hundreds of thousands of vehicles off the road, saving millions of barrels of oil. 
Everybody knows and all those studies show: If you can get from point A to point B on electric rail, you won’t drive your car; you’ll take the rail service.
We also learned that in most major cities in America, minority populations — the jobs they used to have in town, they’re now out of town.  Roughly 60 percent of the folks, they don’t have vehicles, so they need to have a means to get out of town to their jobs, to be on time.  That’s what — this will do that, like it did for Detroit. 
Ninety-five percent of the 840,000 [480,000] school buses in America run on diesel.  Every day, more than 25 million children and thousands of bus drivers breathe polluted air on the way to and from school from the diesel exhaust.
We’re going to replace thousands of these with electric school buses that have big batteries underneath and that are good for the climate.  I went down to the — one of the manufacturing facilities — saw them, got in one, drive them.  They do not expend any — they do not expend any pollution into the air. 
We’ll build out the first-ever national network of 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations all across the country.  So, when you buy an electric vehicle, and you get credit for buying it — when you buy an electric vehicle, you can go all the way across America on a “single tank of gas,” figuratively speaking.  It’s not gas; you plug it in.  Five hundred thousand of them — these stations along the way.
We’re going to get off the sidelines on manufacturing solar panels and wind farms and electric vehicles with targeted manufacturing credits.  You manufacture, you get a credit for doing it.  These will help grow the supply chains in communities too often left behind.
And we’re going to reward countries for paying good wages — for companies, I should say — for good wages and for sourcing their materials from here in the United States.  
That means tens of millions of panels and turbines, doubling the number of electric vehicles we have on the road within just three years. 
And we’ll be able to sell and export these products and technologies to the rest of the world, creating thousands more jobs because we are, once again, going to be the innovators.
We’ll also make historic investments in environmental clean-up and remediation.  That means putting people to work in good-paying jobs at prevailing wage; capping hundreds of thousands — hundreds of thousands of abandoned wells and — gas wells — oil and gas wells that need to be capped because they are leaking things that hurt the air; putting a stop to the methane leaks in the pipelines; protecting the health of our communities.  It’s a big deal.
And we’ll build up our resilience for the next superstorm, drought, wildfires, and hurricanes that represent a blinking “code red” for America and the world.
Last year alone, these types of extreme weather events you’ve all been covering and you’ve all witnessed, and you’ve –some of you have been caught in the middle of have caused $99 billion in damage to the United States within the last year — $99 billion.  And we’re not spending any money to deal with this?  It’s costing us significantly.
I met — in Pittsburgh, I met an IBEW electrical worker who climbs up on those powerlines in the middle of the storm to try to put transformers in to keep the lights on when the storms hit.  He calls himself “100 percent union guy.”  His job is dangerous.
As he said, and I quote, “I don’t want my kids growing up in a world where the threat of climate change hangs over their heads,” end of quote.
Folks, we all have that obligation — that obligation to our children and to our grandchildren.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill is also the most significant investment since we built the Interstate Highway System and won the Space Race decades ago.
This is about rebuilding the arteries of our economy.  Across the country now, there are 45,000 bridges and 173 miles — thousand miles of roads are in poor condition.  Some of the bridges you don’t even take a chance of going across; they’ve shut down.  They can’t be built back to the same standard because the weather is not going to get a lot better.  We just got to keep them from getting a heck of a lot worse.  We have to build back better and stronger.
No one should have to hold their breath as they cross a rundown bridge or a dangerous intersection in their hometown.  We’re going to put hardworking Americans on the job to bring our infrastructure up to speed — good union jobs at prevailing wages.  Jobs you can raise a family on and, as my dad would say, can have a little “breathing room.” 
Jobs that can’t be outsourced. 
Jobs replacing lead water pipes so families can drink clean water, improving the health of our children and putting plumbers and pipefitters to work. 
Jobs laying thousands of miles of transmission lines to build a modern energy grid. 
Jobs making high-speed Internet affordable and available everywhere in rural and urban America, particularly including the 35 percent of rural America that currently goes without it right now.
This pandemic has made clear the need for affordable and available high-speed Internet.
The idea of a parent having to put their kids in the car for virtual learning, drive and sit in the McDonald’s parking lot so that their child can access the Internet when school is taught virtually is not only unnecessary, it’s just wrong.  It’s wrong.
As I said before, these plans are fiscally responsible.  They are fully paid for.  They don’t add a single penny to the deficit.  And they don’t raise taxes on anyone making less than $400,000 a year.  In fact, they reduce the deficit.  Here’s how:
I don’t want to punish anyone’s success.  I’m a capitalist.  I want everyone to be able to — if they want to be a millionaire or billionaire, to be able to seek their goal.  But all I’m asking is: Pay your fair share.  Pay your fair share.  Pay your fair share.  And right now, many of them are paying virtually nothing.
Last year, the 55 most profitable corporations in America — 55 of them — paid zero — zero — in federal income tax on about $40 billion in profit.  If they report big profits to their shareholders, they should be paying taxes.  It’s that simple.
That’s why the Build Back Better Framework will have a 15 percent minimum on the largest corporations — a minimum tax of 15 percent.  The top 1 percent of the wealthiest Americans evade, it’s estimated by the experts, $160 billion a year in federal taxes.  That’s wrong.  We’re going to change that.
I want to emphasize what I said from the beginning: Under my plans, if you earn less than $400,000 a year, you won’t pay a single penny more in federal taxes, period.  In fact, these bills continue cutting taxes for the middle class — for childcare, for healthcare, and so much more.
Let me close with this:  For much too long, the working people of this nation and the middle class of this country have been dealt out of the American deal, and it’s time to deal them back in.
I ran for President saying it was time to reduce the burden on the middle class, to rebuild the backbone of this nation — working people and the middle class.  I couldn’t have been any clearer from the very moment I announced my candidacy. 
That’s why I wrote these bills in the first place and took them to the people.  I campaigned on them.  And the American people spoke.
This agenda — the agenda that’s in these bills — is what 81 million Americans voted for.  More people voted than at any time in American history.  That’s what they voted for.  Their voices deserve to be heard, not denied — or, worse, ignored.
Because here’s what I know: If we make these investments, there will be no stopping the American people or America.  We will own the future.
I have long said it’s never been a good bet to bet against the American people — I’ve said that to foreign leaders as well as everybody here in this country — which means it’s always a good bet to bet on the American people.  Just give them half a chance.  And that’s what we’re doing.  That’s what these plans do.
They’re about betting on America, about believing in America, about believing in the capacity of the American people.
If you look at the history of the journey of this nation, what becomes crystal clear is this — I’ll say it again: Given half a chance, the American people have never, ever, ever, ever let the country down. 
So, let’s get this done.  God bless you all.  And may God protect our troops.  And I’ll see you in Italy and in Scotland.  Thank you. 




By Trevor Hunnicutt and Richard Cowan 5:49 PM EDT

WASHINGTON, Oct 28 (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday unveiled a $1.75 trillion economic and climate change plan that he said unified Democrats then was quickly rebuffed by members of his own party.

"We have a historic economic framework" that will create jobs and make the United States more competitive, Biden said after a last-minute trip to Congress to convince reluctant progressives to support the spending plan. He then departed for a summit of leaders from the Group of 20 countries in Italy.

He left behind a U.S. Congress bubbling with conflicts and unanswered questions, but one that seemed to be inching towards votes on his economic agenda, perhaps within days.

How, exactly, it could come together remained a puzzle.

It was unclear whether moderate Democrats who want a related bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill passed first are on board. Some progressive Democrats will only vote for the infrastructure bill with the more complicated spending measure, and multiple lawmakers would like to see changes to Biden's framework.

It was also unknown whether a handful of House Republicans were still committed to vote for the bipartisan bill, or if it even matters. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi discussed plans to hold a vote on Thursday on the infrastructure bill, and the House Rules Committee released a preliminary text of the 1,684-page bill.

"So we're on a path to get this done," Pelosi said. "But for those who said I want to see text, the text is there. For you to review, for you to complain about, for you to add to or subtract from, whatever it is."

The fight over $2.75 trillion in spending that could shape the U.S economy for years to come will play out in coming days with Biden, who has been heavily involved in negotiations, thousands of miles away. He won't return to the Washington until Wednesday.

In a meeting with House Democrats on Thursday, Biden pleaded for their support, according to a person familiar with the matter.

"I need you to help me; I need your votes," the person quoted Biden as saying. "I don’t think it's hyperbole to say that the House and Senate (Democratic) majorities and my presidency will be determined by what happens in the next week."

Biden ran for president on a promise to curb growing inequality in America, using education and social spending paid for by companies and the rich. He vowed to depart from Republican tax-cutting including a 2017 tax reduction under his predecessor, Donald Trump.


The president had hoped to reach an agreement before the Rome summit, where a global minimum tax will be high on the agenda, and a climate conference in Glasgow, where Biden hopes to present a message that the United States is back in the fight against global warming. 

"Not everyone got everything they wanted, not even me," Biden conceded in his White House remarks. "But that’s what compromise is. That’s consensus. And that’s what I ran on."

U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal, who chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said the group would need to see any text of a spending bill before promising to vote on the infrastructure legislation.

The White House said the larger spending plan framework Biden presented on Thursday would be fully paid for by repealing certain tax rebates passed under Trump and imposing surcharges on corporate stock buybacks and the earnings of the wealthiest Americans.

The framework includes $555 billion in spending for climate initiatives and six years of preschool funding among other top agenda items.

But it does not include paid family leave or a tax on billionaires. Some influential lobby groups and constituencies were angered by the absence of key Biden administration pledges.

"We are outraged that the initial framework does not lower prescription drug prices," AARP, an advocacy organization for the elderly, said in a statement.

The absence of paid leave, Democrats noted, leaving the United States as the only rich country and one of the few nations in the world that doesn't provide maternity leave.

"The deal isn't done until the Senate acts.. this is not done," Senator Ron Wyden, an advocate of paid family leave, said.

Some Republicans support the infrastructure measure but most lawmakers in that party oppose both bills, and Biden can only afford to lose three votes in the House to get either passed.

In addition to their slight majority in the House, Democrats only narrowly control the Senate, with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris holding the tie-breaking vote, meaning legislation must win support across a wide swath of progressives and more moderate members of the party.


ATTACHMENT THREE – From the Washington Post



Taxes, climate, health care and child care would all see substantial changes if Democrats approve the package.

By Tony Romm, Amy Goldstein  and Dino Grandoni    Yesterday at 10:48 a.m. EDT|Updated yesterday at 3:11 p.m. EDT


President Biden on Thursday unveiled a roughly $1.75 trillion blueprint for overhauling the country’s health care, climate, education and tax laws, as he seeks to break a logjam among his party’s liberals and moderates that has stalled his economic agenda for months.

The plan includes some of Biden’s earliest policy priorities, including new spending to enhance child care and offer prekindergarten free to all American families. But it also shelved some of the Democrats’ most favored plans, including an effort to provide paid leave to millions of workers — one of many casualties in the party’s efforts to reduce its original, $3.5 trillion price tag.


What is in Biden's latest budget plan


President Biden's blueprint of $1.75 trillion in spending to address the country's health care, climate and education, along with $100 billion for immigration reform.

= $1 billion

Clean energy and climate investments

$555 billion

Child care and preschool

$400 billion

Child tax and earned income tax credits

$200 billion

ACA premium subsidies and the Medicaid gap

$130 billion

Home care

$150 billion


$150 billion

Equity and other investments

$90 billion

Higher ed and workforce

$40 billion


$100 billion

Medicare hearing

$35 billion


Source: The White House



Biden presented the plan on Capitol Hill in a private meeting with House Democrats earlier Thursday, after which many Democrats said they are still negotiating its specifics and haggling over what’s in and out of the package. He still must convince lawmakers including Sens. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), who helped drive Democrats to scale back their policy ambitions in the first place.


·         What’s in the plan for health care?

·         What’s in the plan for families?

·         What’s in the plan for climate?

·         What’s in the plan for taxes?

·         What was left out of the package?

What’s in the plan for health care?


Senior administration officials characterized the plan’s health-care elements as the biggest expansion of affordable care in a decade, predicting the changes would extend coverage to 7 million people. But the framework is far more modest than the goals that Biden first proposed. In particular, the president still wants Medicare to be able to negotiate lower drug prices but could not persuade enough congressional Democrats to support the idea, according to senior administration officials, who briefed reporters Thursday on the condition of anonymity to describe a plan that was not yet public at the time.

·         Extension until 2025 of expanded premium subsidies for most Americans who purchase health plans through Affordable Care Act marketplaces, as begun in the spring through the American Rescue Plan law.

·         Allow until 2025 low-income people in a dozen states that have not expanded Medicaid to buy ACA health plans without paying a monthly premium.

·         Expansion of Medicare benefits for older Americans to include hearing benefits.

·         $150 billion for an expansion of home- and community-based services for older people and people with disabilities — less than the $400 billion Biden initially proposed for this purpose.

What’s in the plan for families?


Some of the most ambitious and expensive plans put forward by the Biden administration seek to ease the financial burdens facing millions of American families, particularly low-income parents with children. The White House described the investments as the most transformative proposal targeting caregiving in “generations,” pointing to a slew of new programs and tax credits that date back to some of Biden’s earliest campaign promises.

·         Universal, free prekindergarten for all 3- and 4-years-olds, which the White House has described as the largest expansion in such education programs since the creation of public high school roughly a century ago.

·         The prekindergarten effort is part of a broader, $400 billion bucket of funds to help Americans afford child care, aiming to ensure families who earn less than $300,000 annually spend no more than 7 percent of their income on child care for kids under age 6.

·         A one-year extension of expanded, refundable child tax credits, which would continue to be paid out on a monthly basis, continuing a pandemic-era relief program.

·         Roughly $150 billion to construct, rehab and make available roughly 1 million affordable homes, as well as additional aid to provide rental assistance and help first-time home buyers.

·         New higher-education aid, including an increase to the maximum Pell Grant, by $550, for roughly 5 million students in need, and additional investments to boost historically black colleges and universities.


What’s in the plan for climate?


The Biden administration aims to secure $555 billion in spending to address climate change, an amount the White House says makes the bill the biggest clean-energy investment in the nation’s history.

·         The bulk of the clean-energy measures comes in the form of tax breaks for companies and consumers that install solar panels, improve the energy efficiency of buildings and purchase electric vehicles. The EV tax credit in particular could lower the cost of such a vehicle by $12,500 for a middle-class family, according to the administration.

·         Additional financial incentives for making the wind turbines and other clean-energy equipment domestically and in union-organized factories.

·         A new Civilian Climate Corps to hire perhaps 300,000 young people to restore forests and wetlands and guard against the effects of rising temperatures.


What’s in the plan for taxes?


Senior administration officials insist the $1.75 trillion plan is financed in full, raising nearly $2 trillion over 10 years. Initially, the White House had hoped to raise even more money by ratcheting up rates on corporations and wealthy Americans, a move that would have unwound the tax cuts imposed under President Donald Trump in 2017. But Biden had to abandon that plan in the face of opposition from Sinema, who opposed tax increases. In the end, they say their plan preserves Biden’s commitment not to raise taxes on Americans making under $400,000 annually. Among the most critical revenue raisers:

·         A new 15 percent corporate minimum tax on large corporations, part of a broader effort on the part of the White House and Democrats to address the fact some companies reduce their tax burdens to zero.

·         A new tax targeting companies that perform stock buybacks.

·         A new tax surcharge targeting the wealthiest Americans. The proposal would impose a new 5 percent rate on those with incomes above $10 million and an additional 3 percent surtax on incomes above $25 million.

·         Roughly $400 billion to empower the Internal Revenue Service to pursue tax cheats, with a focus on Americans at higher incomes.

What was left out of the package?


Trimming a package to $1.75 trillion from its original, $3.5 trillion size forced Biden to make considerable trade-offs, including on some of the Democrats’ signature policy goals. Manchin and Sinema raised concerns about advancing a large package, and without their support, Democrats would not have been able to advance a package at all.


How spending in Biden's budget plan stacks up


Biden’s initial proposals

Latest spending deal

Proposals included in the spending deal


The $1.75 trillion plan includes policy priorities from the American Families and American Jobs plans

Biden announced earlier this year.











Clean energy and climate investments

Child care and preschool

Child tax and earned income tax credits

Home care











ACA premium subsidies and the Medicaid gap

Equity and other investments

Higher ed and workforce

New spending not in initial proposals

Priorities excluded from the deal

Major spending initiatives from the American Families Plan that were cut













Medicare hearing coverage

Paid family leave

Free community college


Notes: The bipartisan infrastructure plan also includes $15 billion for electric vehicles. Tax credit amounts include outlays and reductions in revenue. The child and earned income tax credit proposed cost of $454 billion was calculated by subtracting described costs (all except these tax credits) in American Familes Plan from total AFP cost; then subtracting an estimate of the cost of 10 years of child and dependent tax credit (based on the CBO's final score of the American Rescue Plan).

Source: White House, Congressional Budget Office




By Thursday morning, Democrats insisted that many of the eliminated provisions remain on the table. For now, though, here is what has been removed:

·         Prescription drug prices: Biden and progressive Democrats have wanted to empower Medicare to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical manufacturers to try to get lower prices for seniors, a party campaign promise. But resistance from some moderates — and intense lobbying from the drug industry — prompted lawmakers to leave out a measure that would have also raised new money to help pay for other parts of the legislation.

·         An even bigger Medicare expansion: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and other congressional progressives initially had hoped to expand Medicare to cover dental, vision and hearing. The latest version includes only coverage for hearing, amid opposition from Manchin.

·         Paid family leave: Even Biden stressed during the 2020 race that he hoped to address a long-known deficiency in the U.S. safety net, which leaves millions of Americans without paid family or medical leave. Democrats proposed 12 weeks of benefits, then scaled it down to four weeks, to the chagrin of some members — before dropping it entirely due to Manchin.

·         Clean energy: Many of the aggressive steps Biden and other Democrats hoped to take to further cut emissions, including a comprehensive program to reward electric utilities for switching to renewable energy, have fallen out of the plan due to opposition from Manchin, who represents a coal-heavy state. Still, the bill’s enactment — coupled with executive action Biden is already taking — may enable the U.S. to meet the president’s goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half (based on 2005 levels) by 2030.

·         A billionaire’s tax: In the late stages of talks, Sinema and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) emerged with a new idea: A plan to tax roughly 700 of the wealthiest Americans, including the likes of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos (who owns The Washington Post) and Tesla CEO Elon Musk. But they ultimately dropped the idea, a riff on Warren’s earlier wealth tax proposal, amid opposition from Democrats about its feasibility. A broader effort to raise taxes on wealthy Americans and corporations, unwinding the tax cuts under former president Donald Trump, had been jettisoned.



ATTACHMENT FOUR – From yahoo news



By Christopher Wilson  Thu, October 28, 2021, 12:57 PM·


President Biden announced a framework for his $1.75 trillion Build Back Better domestic spending plan Thursday after months of negotiations among Democrats on Capitol Hill.

Over the course of those talks, a number of provisions were stripped out to gain the support of all 50 Democratic senators who were needed to pass the bill, but the White House has touted the agreement, saying it will fulfill the goal to “rebuild the backbone of the country.”

“I think we’re going to be in good shape,” Biden said while leaving Capitol Hill on Thursday morning after spending an hour urging legislators to support the deal.

If it has the votes to pass Congress, Build Back Better would follow the $1.9 trillion in pandemic relief passed along party lines by Democrats in March.

The budget deal is likely to be accompanied by a bipartisan bill, already passed by the Senate in August, that allocates about $550 billion in new spending toward infrastructure like bridges, roads, waterways and broadband internet. That bill has been stalled in the House for months as progressives pushed to pass a budget deal alongside it.

The White House is calling on House Democrats to pass the infrastructure deal now, but some progressives are hesitant to do so until the budget plan has also passed.

The budget deal, although significantly smaller than the original $3.5 trillion version progressives originally tried to pass, is still the biggest expansion of the nation’s social programs in decades and will affect millions of Americans.

It’s still unclear whether the budget deal has enough votes to pass, but if it does, this is what it will mean for you.

For parents

The deal includes a one-year extension of the expanded child tax credit passed earlier this month. As a result, most Americans will continue receiving up to $300 per month per child under the age of 17. Because the credit is fully refundable, even the lowest-income families who make too little to pay taxes would receive the full benefit. Studies have found the program is keeping more than 3 million children out of poverty.

The plan includes free, universal preschool, as well as funding to limit the costs of child care. Families making up to 250 percent of a state’s median income will see their total expenditures on child care capped based on their annual earnings. The high costs of child care have been cited as one reason that many Americans are not returning to the workforce. Both those programs are funded for six years.


Medicare will now cover hearing aids for older Americans. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., had been pushing for full coverage of vision and dental as well, but it was not included in the bill.

There is funding to reduce the premiums for those covered through the Affordable Care Act, as well as providing health insurance to 4 million lower-income people who live in states that do not offer the expanded Medicaid program. There is also a program to reduce a waiting list for in-home care for older and disabled Americans as well as improving the wages for those doing that care. Biden had pitched that program as part of a “human infrastructure” investment.


The plan includes $555 billion to both incentivize clean energy production, an attempt to move the country from fossil fuels to wind and solar, and provide tax credits to Americans to buy solar panels and electric cars. The White House wanted to have a deal on climate to point to when Biden and a number of his top staffers attend the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Scotland next week.

Housing and immigration

The White House states that the $150 billion being spent on housing will result in more than 1 million affordable homes, saying it will ensure the “public housing stock in big cities and rural communities all across America and ensure it is not only safe and habitable but healthier and more energy efficient as well.” The plan also includes funding to help with a backlog of 9 million visa applicants as well as addressing border processing and asylum claims.


Tax increases in the bill are targeted toward higher-earning Americans and corporations. There are new surtaxes on incomes over $10 million and $25 million, as well as a corporate minimum tax of 15 percent on corporations of $1 billion or more. There is funding included for the Internal Revenue Service to target tax cheats as well as a 1 percent tax on stock buybacks.

What’s not in it

After opposition from Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., paid family and medical leave were dropped from the package, leaving the United States as the only developed nation without a paid leave program. Manchin also nixed the Clean Electric Performance Program, a key climate initiative in the bill.

Another one of Biden’s key proposals, two years of free community college, was ultimately left out of the deal as well. Due to resistance from a small number of Democrats, a proposal to reform prescription drug pricing — a longtime campaign promise and a potential avenue for funding the programs — also did not make the bill, nor did a tax on billionaires.


ATTACHMENT FIVE – From the Library of Congress (

“At Sunset”--Mort Sahl (1955)

Added to the National Registry: 2011

Essay by Daniel Blazek


Recorded in 1955, Mort Sahl’s “At Sunset,” is the earliest example of modern stand-up comedy

on record. No comedian before Mort Sahl had ventured very far from the clownish mother-inlaw joke or other such vaudevillian patter. But Sahl broke new ground performing stand-up in a

quick, literary way, molded in part by the rhythms of jazz and poetry of San Francisco. It had

been the standard for comedians to don a suit and tie, stick to formulas, and try not to provoke

the audience. “You couldn’t get on stage without a chorus of showgirls and a singer behind

you,” Sahl once said. But Sahl defied the norm, wore casual sweaters, and addressed the

audience as if they were a close acquaintance. On “At Sunset,” Sahl both rambles and zooms at

breakneck speed through unique topical and political terrain. “At Sunset” is a well-spun pastiche

of sophisticated ideas, an understated celebration of free-speech, and what historian Gerald

Nachman has called “a tightly packed time capsule of mid-fifties lore.”

Sahl’s topical act reflected both the country’s ideals and post-war disillusionment. His knowing

jabs at politicians and consumer society was courageous and thoroughly modern. It was bold

anti-establishment satire that foretold that of Joseph Heller’s “Catch-22” and Richard Hooker’s

“MASH.” Sahl was tackling the topics of an emerging modernist world: globalized, militarized,

and industrial. He is acutely aware there is an absurdity around every corner and he peppers his

act with clever turns of phrase. For example:

On the United Nations (“we now have 58 new enemies”); politics (“Roosevelt is to blame for all

our psychological problems”); changing sexual mores (“some motels will require luggage”) ;

student protests (“University of Cal students say Yankee go home”); poetry (“there’s symbolism

that the grass is green”); finance (“it’s banker approved, but I don’t approve of bankers”); music

(“east coast jazz is any record without Shorty Rogers”); the military (“every time there’s a

submarine sighting, there’s a Salinas lettuce strike”); and psychology (“I’m not geared toward

total acceptance”).

“At Sunset” demonstrated Sahl’s zestful exuberance at describing society’s rules being enforced

to absurdity. There’s an underlying satire of strident militancy taken too far, the language of

legalese deconstructed. His contradictory thoughts and eloquent delivery essentially defined

stand-up comedy for the modern era. Generations of comedians from Woody Allen and Shelley

Berman and pundits from Andy Rooney to Jon Stewart are in his debt.

One well-constructed comedy bit from “At Sunset” describes an overly analytical bank teller

dissecting a robber’s demands. The robber says, “Just act normally.” The teller says, “Define

your terms.” A young Woody Allen who saw Sahl perform in New York, was said to be deeply

affected by Sahl’s act. Allen’s first directorial comedy film, “Take the Money and Run,”

contains a similar bank scene where the teller cannot read the robber’s note: Does this say “gun”

or “gub”?

In his long career, Mort Sahl has been called a “modern Will Rogers,” a “moralist” by Studs

Terkel, and the leader of the so-called “sick” comedians by “Time” magazine (a loose

association that included 1960s comedians Nichols and May, Lenny Bruce, Bob Newhart, and

Shelley Berman). As Sahl saw it, the most cynical comedians are given latitude if their cynicism

is directed in broad and general terms, but when you got specific you were called “sick.” Sahl

was adept at naming names. As biographer Gerald Nachtman has noted, “To use musicians’

terms, Mort really gets into the quarter notes on these issues [politics]. He knows the details and

the nuances, and in many cases he knows the players personally, and he knows their histories and

how they all intertwine.…”

Jazz and jazz musicians should likely be credited with helping to define the improvisatory freeflowing style that Sahl and all subsequent comedians commandeered. “At Sunset” was recorded

between sets at a Dave Brubeck concert at Sunset Auditorium in Carmel, California. Jazz was

Sahl’s first love, and, as a GI bill student, he found himself cutting classes to hang out in the

bohemian jazz dens of Berkeley. Sahl later wrote in his memoir, “Heartland,” “The debt to the

humor of jazz musicians in general and Joe [Maney] in particular was never paid by the

moviemakers/mythmakers.” The improvisational influence of jazz informs all of Sahl’s work and

on “At Sunset,” you hear the musings of a true audiophile.

On “At Sunset,” Sahl jokes about a special jazz recording, where “every time you play it, the

solos are different.” He mentions in jest the use of a “Swedish cactus needle” as a record stylus

and jokes about using his entire house as a stereo speaker (perhaps a later influence on Steve

Martin’s comedy bit about a massive “googlephonics” audio system). Sahl refers to jazz albums

where, “the liner notes are sung and the lyrics are printed on the back.” All kidding aside, Sahl

took his love of music seriously. He would emcee the first Monterey Jazz Festival, and won the

Entertainer of the Year award from “Metronome Magazine,” the only non-musician ever so

named. He opened for other musicians like Stan Kenton, and wrote liner notes for jazz artists

including Bud Dashiell & the Kinsmen, the Paul Desmond Quartet, as well as for comedian

Shelley Berman. He brought Berman and Jonathan Winters to record for Norman Granz’s

formerly jazz-only label Verve Records.

Sahl’s ear for music served him well as a comedian, but he did not set out to become an

entertainer. Mort Sahl’s father, Harry Sahl, was a failed playwright turned civil servant, and

Mort inherited his father’s literary ideals amidst the rigors of practicality. At 17, idealistic Mort

enlisted in 1945, only to have the war end and be stationed in Alaska for five years. Frustrated

by the Army, he took advantage of the GI Bill to attend UC-Berkeley to study urban planning in

1950. His military experience and academic training combined to form a Kafkaesque

worldview, and like his father before him, he wrote plays that went nowhere.

“I discovered I had to talk,” he said. Sahl’s plays served as raw material for his gnawing

ambition, and his sense of urgency compounded in the post-war boom. He cut his own path of

informed discourse straight from the day’s headlines, arming himself with a newspaper on stage

to take on the day’s current events. “Jazz musicians were saying…my newspaper was my axe

and I improvised within a chord structure.…” Originally, he learned his craft in late-night

Berkeley coffee houses, which bristled with politics, poetry and jazz. Not the typical

environment to birth a comedy revolution, but he found the quickest shortcut to the stage was to

perform his own material.

Sahl called himself “Cal Southern” early in his career and fashioned himself after the folksy

Herb Shriner. He dropped this persona quickly, however. “It’s what I say that’s funny, not me,”

he said. Sahl’s gleeful impetuosity could have gotten him blacklisted in the early 1950s, but

progressive San Francisco largely embraced his edgy style. Making jokes about topical events

and sitting Presidents was simply unheard of until Sahl tried it out.

In 1953, he performed at the fabled folk spot, the hungry i. It was a shaky start at first, but he

turned the venue into a hot ticket for relevant political satire. Sahl helped carve a niche, not only

for comedians, but for comedy as entertainment outside the typical nightclub environment. He

helped Lenny Bruce get work there, and although Bruce would later be lionized for championing

free speech (particularly in regard to religion), Sahl pioneered free speech in politics. Sahl

commanded a three-year stint at the hungry i and would sharpen his chops to sold-out audiences.

He became the toast of the town but also had his share of detractors. Hecklers threw pennies and

at times it wasn’t even safe for him to leave the club.

Sahl himself is no particular fan of “At Sunset.” It was an unauthorized release set to capitalize

on the success of Sahl’s landmark official first album, “The Future Lies Ahead” (otherwise

known as “Mort Sahl, Iconoclast”). Released in 1958, “The Future Lies Ahead” brought Sahl’s

revolutionary style of comedy to a national audience, and does so with a certain measured

political focus. “At Sunset” was recorded three years earlier, but released a few months after

“The Future Lies Ahead,” and then retracted. Nonetheless, “At Sunset” has no less charm, albeit

a bit less polish, than Sahl’s official albums. “At Sunset” offers an aural glimpse into the cradle

of modern American stand-up, revealing the breadth of Sahl’s talent teeming within the 1950s

jazz cognoscenti.

While “At Sunset” has a bit less political commentary than his other albums, it has a much faster

pace.* Sahl’s early love of auto racing could partly account for the brisk turns of phrase that

propel the recording forward. Said Sahl, “I made the first comedy record in America, and

although I hadn’t bargained for much more than telling jokes in San Francisco and racing sports

cars…I like measuring distance, covering it, determining where I was, navigating across the alien

planet...” On record, Sahl careens from topic to topic, hardly stopping to gauge his audience.

(Perhaps it’s no coincidence that lightning wit Robin Williams also made his mark in the San

Francisco comedy scene.) He told his biographer, “I was afraid no one would laugh and I

wanted to pretend I wasn’t noticing the audience. I didn’t want the audience to get the idea I was

telling a joke and waiting for a laugh.”

Mort Sahl, “iconoclast,” didn’t wait for our laughter, but thank goodness, we eventually caught





This interview with MORT SAHL was conducted by the Library of Congress on May 5, 2017


Library of Congress: What are you feelings, in 2017, about the “At Sunset” album? I read

at one time that you had some mixed feelings about it.

Mort Sahl: You know, it was illegal. It was stolen, recorded, by the Weiss Brothers who ran the

Fantasy record label. They sold it commercially without any permission…. Later, they even

sold the hungry i reunion. I was never compensated. And it was the first [stand-up] comedy


LOC: You never saw any proceeds from the album at all?

MS: No. But it opened up the whole record business to me and I signed with Verve records

after that. I then brought a lot of other comics to them—Shelley Berman, George Carlin, Mike

and Elaine. None of them had been recorded before. And I brought them Jonathan Winters, too.

LOC: Have you listened to the album in subsequent years or is it a bit of a sore point?

MS: It’s not a sore point, I just haven’t indulged myself. I think it was pretty revolutionary at

the time…and still is. Today, still, many comedians are still pretty cautious. The country is

obviously in trouble right now. The stakes are higher than ever and comedians don’t say

anything! All they do is discredit people personally. It’s like this whole [Stephen] Colbert

versus Trump thing—there’s no subtly there…

I was on stage last night and I gave a medical report about Donald Trump. I said he was

hospitalized for an attack of modesty.

Comedy should come out of opinion and it should take on the established order and make an

audience take a second look at something. Too much comedy today is vulgar, not cleaver. I say

that as a comedian, and as a consumer.

LOC: You were on stage last night?

MS: Oh, yes, I’m on stage every Thursday. I’m at Lucy Mercer’s theater, the Throckmorton

Theatre in San Francisco, Mill Valley. I’ve been doing every Thursday for two years now. And

we have a sold out clientele now. The book [“Last Man Standing: Mort Sahl and the Birth of

Modern Comedy” by James Curtis] is out now and that helps a lot but a lot of it is thanks to her.

LOC: Comedy today, I would say, has changed considerably from what it used to be.

What has been lost?

MS: We’ve lost everything. Too many comedians today--they comfort themselves with mock

debates. As far as I’m concerned, nobody is really covering the President. These late night

shows are not doing it. Jimmy Kimmel; Jimmy Fallon, that’s not “The Tonight Show.” It

should be funny. It can be funny, if you have any skills. No wonder people are tearing Comcast

out of their houses.

LOC: Do you think YOUR style of comedy changed over the years?

MS: Not much. I’m still going for the throat. But the standard has to be funny. I like to go to

something that is recognizable but people chose to ignore like the recent testimony of [James]

Comey from the FBI, or the recent White House correspondent’s dinner in Washington—that

[dinner] is absurd, it’s a self-congratulatory orgy.

You know, for comedy to work, dramatically, something must be at stake and, right now,

America is at stake. But, too often, these comedy guys now only care about getting on and then

getting off and getting rich.

LOC: Do you think comedy can play a role in American democracy?

MS: It played a role back with Will Rogers; it crystalized the problem. Bob Hope, Mark Twain.

And then the trail starts to drivels off.

LOC: After “At Sunset,” you went on to make additional albums. Do you have a favorite

among them?

MS: No. I think I made eight or so. I had complete freedom, I could be completely topical.

You know, all those people I brought to Verve--they all ended up outselling me, by the way.

I think Jonathan Winters was the most talented person I ever worked with; he was truly gifted.

And he was Republican! He used to be so good on Jack Paar because Paar would just turn him

loose and he’d be so unpredictable.

TV should not be predictable. Comedians have to challenge the power. Comedians should be

dangerous and devastating AND FUNNY--that’s the hardest part.