Happy New Year to all this blog’s readers

Baxter Xmas tree 2013I know that it is customary to do so on the first of January but why get stuck with tradition? Besides which, yesterday was rather chaotic at home with my daughter and son-in-law’s flight back to California being cancelled and the replacement one being repeatedly delayed, all due to the bad weather in this part of the country. In addition, we had a plumbing emergency that required a lot of messing around so I decided to give blogging a miss.

So after a frazzled start to the new year, now things are back to (almost) normal, so Baxter the Wonder Dog and I wish all of this blog’s readers all the best for 2014.

What do I wish for in 2014? I hope to see the end of drone murders by the Obama administration, the addition of many people who have access to affordable health insurance, worldwide outrage at the global spying network by the US and UK that lead to real reforms, Edward Snowden finding a permanent home safe from the vindictive and lawless US government, more whistleblowers being inspired by him to reveal government wrongdoing, more principled judges reining in government excesses, a hike in the minimum wage to at least $15 per hour, a rise in the maximum tax rate to somewhere around 75%, elimination of the cap on income taxed for Social Security, defeats of religious extremists and their associated racists, sexist, and homophobic agendas, and a rise in secular thinking all over the globe.

I realize that this is a far more modest list than peace on Earth but I thought that I would try to be at least faintly realistic. There are many more things I wish for but these are enough for the moment.


  1. rq says

    And as certain members of my family liked to say, “Jaunu Laimīgo gadu!” (A New Happy Year!)

  2. DonDueed says

    HNY, Mano. I continue to find your blog to be among the best.

    I would love to see even a few of those things happen in 2014, or progress toward them. I especially like your suggestions for moving toward greater income inequality, even though they would hurt me a bit financially.

    I found it interesting to compare that list to the things I’ve been supporting with charitable giving. Some of the organizations I contribute to are working to address several of the issues on your list. Other areas of support for me are education, international relief and poverty intervention, public broadcasting, and conservation of wild places. Baby steps, I guess, but steps nonetheless.

    At the risk of starting a hijack, I’d love to have a discussion on the best ways to direct charitable giving. There was an item on one of NPR’s shows recently about this. They strongly urged that donations should be directed to NGOs that intervene in the most impoverished areas of the world, rather than (for example) domestic US charities. They argued that this yielded far greater bang for the buck. Have you any thoughts about that?

  3. Mano Singham says


    When it comes to charitable giving there are so many to choose from that I think that you need to find those that fill needs that you feel strongly about and actually deliver the goods promised. So I think prescriptive recommendations (except for ways to avoid frauds) are of little use.

  4. Mano Singham says


    That was a surprise! I did not expect a greeting in Sinhala!

    But then I never expect the Spanish Inquisition, either.

  5. DonDueed says

    Paul, GiveWell was mentioned in that NPR segment I mentioned. I found a link to the story — it was on the WBUR program On Point:


    I looked into the programs studied by GiveWell, but (using the approach Mano suggested above) ultimately made my contributions to other organizations rated highly by CharityNavigator but more in line with my own ideals. One of those I chose is on Peter Singer’s list of best charities, here:


    I’m considering taking the pledge on that site, which would increase my donation level (again) in 2014.

  6. says

    С Новым Годом! May your coming year be happy, healthy, and prosperous. Also, I think your list of stuff that should happen this year is awesome.

  7. wtfwhateverd00d says

    Here’s to 2014, may it defend and encourage free speech, tolerance, and diversity.

    Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations.

    Let us all bow our heads in silence and consider, an argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition. Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of any statement the other person makes.

    Let’s all look forward to a bullyfree 2014.

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