John William Tuohy lives in Washington DC

The opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality."


Noblesse oblige:  The obligation of honorable, generous, and responsible behavior associated with high rank or birth.  In French, noblesse oblige means literally "nobility obligates." French speakers transformed the phrase into a noun, which English speakers picked up in the 19th century. Then, as now, noblesse oblige referred to the unwritten obligation of people from a noble ancestry to act honorably and generously to others. Later, by extension, it also came to refer to the obligation of anyone who is in a better position than others—due, for example, to high office or celebrity—to act respectably and responsibly toward others. 

“The struggle of life is one of our greatest blessings.”Helen Keller

Scrambled eggs and whiskey

Hayden Carruth 

Scrambled eggs and whiskey

in the false-dawn light. Chicago,

a sweet town, bleak, God knows,

but sweet. Sometimes. And

weren’t we fine tonight?

When Hank set up that limping

treble roll behind me

my horn just growled and I

thought my heart would burst.

And Brad M. pressing with the

soft stick, and Joe-Anne

singing low. Here we are now

in the White Tower, leaning

on one another, too tired

to go home. But don’t say a word,

don’t tell a soul, they wouldn’t

understand, they couldn’t, never

in a million years, how fine,

how magnificent we were

in that old club tonight.

 “Scrambled Eggs and Whiskey” from Scrambled Eggs and Whiskey: Poems, 1991-1995 by Hayden Carruth, published by Copper Canyon Press in 1996. www.coppercanyonpress.org

“Yet bend not all the harm upon yourself;
Make those that do offend you suffer too.”
Antonio (Much Ado About Nothing, Act V scene ii)

“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding… And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy” Kahlil Gibran

“And silence, like darkness, can be kind; it, too, is a language.” Hanif Kureishi, Intimacy and Midnight All Day: A Novel and Stories 

What do we mean by "success" anyway?

My friend and colleague Ryan Coelho says the word “success” is like the word "God." If you ask 100 people what it means, every one of them will have a different answer. He’s right.
On one level, we understand that real success is about happiness. We know this. We’re not shallow and superficial. And yet…
And yet most of us (ahem, even those of us who help people get happy for a living) easily confuse success for happiness -- at least until we wise up.
Look up the word “success” and you’ll find a definition like, “the attainment of wealth, position, honors or the like,” and synonyms like “accomplishment," “prosperity” and “fame." I have nothing against the word success or even its traditional definition. It’s just a word, after all. But let’s call it what it is. It’s a benchmark for performance and attainment -- a measuring stick.
Tangible metrics are important and have their place, particularly in the business world. But if you’re looking for personal fulfillment, it’s not likely that traditional measures of success are going to get you there.
As a society, we've come to believe that success -- stuff and status -- is the Yellow Brick Road. Follow it, and we'll most certainly arrive at the Emerald City. While there's nothing inherently wrong with wanting stuff, status, wealth or acclaim, it’s a mistake to assume that they pave the way to happiness and fulfillment.
"Success" is thrown around so frequently and in such varied contexts that we've forgotten what it really means. It's vague, all encompassing, a catch-all. Success dangles in front of our eyes the things we think will make us happy -- status and stuff.
But we don’t actually want all that. What we want is the way we think the stuff and status is going to make us feel. Big difference. Success, when you boil it down, seems to be about what we think will make us happy. It’s a lure, shiny and seductive -- but there’s a hook: You can do everything right in the pursuit of attaining traditional success, but happiness and personal fulfillment are not guaranteed.
Personally, at the height of my “success,” I was pretty miserable. I’m not saying there’s an inverse relationship between success and happiness, just that there’s not necessarily a positive one. They're two different things.
A popular formula for success and happiness that's guaranteed to fail is the following: When I have (insert measure of success here) I'll be happy. It will fail because one doesn’t necessarily lead to the other.
How you personally define success and how you personally define happiness is entirely up to you. But recognize the difference.
Wishing you happiness -- and success.

“Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy.”  Thomas Merton

 “The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.” Terry Pratchett  

There are gangsters and then there are Banksters, same thing basically.

Elizabeth Warren calls out Obama’s top Wall Street cop, saying she has ‘broken’ promises

By Max Ehrenfreund June 2 at 5:20 PM   

Elizabeth Warren is fed up with the woman President Obama assigned to keep an eye on Wall Street.

Warren gave Mary Jo White, whom Obama nominated to the chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, a piece of her mind in a harshly worded letter dated Tuesday that runs 13 pages.

"To date, your leadership of the Commission has been extremely disappointing," wrote Warren, who voted to confirm White. "You have not been the strong leader that many hoped for -- and that you promised to be."

Warren added that in key areas, White has "broken your promises" on issues ranging from compensation disclosures to requiring that companies found of violating securities law admit guilt.

The commission is one of several federal agencies responsible for holding investors and banks to account for recklessness and fraud. Warren, widely admired on the left for her unrelenting criticism of Wall Street's misdeeds, listed several areas in which she said White has been giving the banks a free pass.

It isn't the first time Warren has suggested that Obama, his administration and his appointees aren't giving the financial sector the kind of tough love that makes for smoothly functioning markets.

Most recently, the Democratic senator from Massachusetts argued that Obama is negotiating a trade deal in the Atlantic that would let banks undermine the Dodd-Frank law reforming their industry. Earlier this year, she objected to Antonio Weiss, a former banker who Obama wanted to serve in Treasury Department, saying that he was too close to Wall Street.

Weiss eventually backed out. He's now a counselor to the department, a less formal position.
Warren leveled the same type of accusation that she brought against Weiss at White this week. Warren wrote that because White had previously worked as a lawyer representing big banks, and because her husband is also a lawyer at a firm with clients in the financial industry, she has had to recuse herself in multiple cases.

"The impact of a recusal on the operations of the SEC can be quite damaging," Warren wrote, causing commission ties that impede the agency's ability to seek tough settlements.
  The rest of Warren's beef: She complained that the commission under White still hasn't put in place a rule requiring corporations to reveal how much their chief executive officers make compared to their average employees. She said White is allowing major banks that have committed fraud to get away with a slap on the wrist, without admitting they did anything wrong.

White responded to Warren's letter, not making any apologies. "Sen. Warren's mischaracterization of my statements and the agency's accomplishments is unfortunate, but it will not detract from the work we have done, and will continue to do, on behalf of investors," she said in a written statement.

The commission hasn't been idle, writing dozens of new rules for the financial industry and bringing more than 1,400 cases since White's confirmation in April 2013. By leaving the commission to work out many of the gory details of financial reform, Congress not only handed the commissioners and the staff an enormously complicated task, but also gave the banks another chance to lobby against the new rules if they didn't like how things were going.

That doesn't explain why in some cases, the commission has apparently gone out of its way to help major financial institutions, even after they've pleaded guilty to serious crimes.
Banks with a clean record can sell securities to raise money on Wall Street without a review by the commission, but a guilty plea usually means giving up this privilege.
In her letter, Warren writes that the commission has allowed several banks to maintain their favored status, despite pleading guilty. She suggests that these decisions amount to a kind of special treatment that smaller institutions don't enjoy, even if they've played by all the rules.

Max Ehrenfreund is a blogger on the Financial desk and writes for Know More and Wonkblog.

Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion.Simon Sinek

William Shakespeare, “Sonnet 30″
“When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time’s waste:
Then can ZI drown an eye, unused to flow,
For precious friends hid in death’s dateless night,
And weep afresh love’s long since cancelled woe,
And moan the expense of many a vanished sight:
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o'er
The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before.
But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restor’d and sorrows end.”

“She wasn’t happy, but then she wasn’t unhappy. She wasn’t anything. But I don’t believe anyone is a nothing. There has to be something inside, if only to keep the skin from collapsing.”  John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America   

“Well, I think there is a difference between loving the idea of someone and actually loving who they are.” Elizabeth Burke 

“Only yesterday I was no different than them, yet I was saved. I am explaining to you the way of life of a people who say every sort of wicked thing about me because I sacrificed their friendship to gain my own soul. I left the dark paths of their duplicity and turned my eyes toward the light where there is salvation, truth, and justice. They have exiled me now from their society, yet I am content. Mankind only exiles the one whose large spirit rebels against injustice and tyranny. He who does not prefer exile to servility is not free in the true and necessary sense of freedom.” Kahlil Gibran

“The most pathetic person in the world is some one who has sight but no vision.” Helen Keller

What I Want Is
 by C. G. Hanzlicek

 What I want is
 Enough money

 To have what I want
 What I want is

 My own hill
 And beneath that hill

 A pond
 In the pond a lazy

 Bass or two
 And duck feathers

 Resting on the mud
 Of the shore

 Between the hill
 And mud a patch

 Of grass where I
 Can lie and count

 My seven trees
 My seven clouds

 And count the coyotes
 Coming down the hill

 To drink
 Coyote 1 Coyote 2 

At a Lake In Minnesota
C. G. Hanzlicek 

Walking the shore toward me
Is the farmer from across the road
A man with seven teeth
And forty acres gone to weeds
The bib of his overalls supports
A belly bloated
By pilsner and boiled potatoes

Each fifty paces or so 
He baits and sets a steel trap
Tells me he’s after muskrats
Says these days their pelts aint worth
A nickel in a whorehouse
But the varmints ruin
The shoreline with their nests

This is a man who owns things
His body his mind
A lake and every foot of its shore
And if a woodpecker 
Breaks through his sleep at dawn
A little jolt of birdshot
Will wipe it away
Clean as a fog of breath 
Leaving his shaving mirror

After he’s rounded the point
I get the broom from the cabin
Beginning where he began
I touch the broomstick
To the baited tongue of each trap
A loud clack moves over the water
A satisfying sound
A life saved
A whole shoreline gone to hell

Sinecure. A position in which one is paid for little or no work. From Latin beneficium sine cura (a church position not involving caring for the souls of the parishioners), from sine (without) + cura (care). 

Victor Hugo
 (“L'enfant chantait.”)
    {Bk. I. xxiii., Paris, January, 1835.}
    The small child sang; the mother, outstretched on the low bed,
      With anguish moaned,—fair Form pain should possess not long;
    For, ever nigher, Death hovered around her head:
      I hearkened there this moan, and heard even there that song.
    The child was but five years, and, close to the lattice, aye
      Made a sweet noise with games and with his laughter bright;
    And the wan mother, aside this being the livelong day
      Carolling joyously, coughed hoarsely all the night.
    The mother went to sleep ‘mong them that sleep alway;
      And the blithe little lad began anew to sing…
    Sorrow is like a fruit: God doth not therewith weigh
      Earthward the branch strong yet but for the blossoming.