Slope of Hope Blog Posts

Slope initially began as a blog, so this is where most of the website’s content resides. Here we have tens of thousands of posts dating back over a decade. These are listed in reverse chronological order. Click on any category icon below to see posts tagged with that particular subject, or click on a word in the category cloud on the right side of the screen for more specific choices.

Black Girls Code!

By -

One recent morning, I was driving home from a nearby errand on El Camino Real, crossing from Menlo Park into Palo Alto, when a bus rumbled past me. It was one of those double-long buses and, as usual, there wasn’t a single soul on it. Well, obviously there was the driver, probably paid in the six figures thanks to overtime, but otherwise it was, as is always the case, utterly empty and unused.

On the side of the bus, as there usually was, a large advertisement was affixed. These ads normally encourage the onlooker to drink milk, or sign up for online courses at De Anza College, or go to the Stanford Shopping Center.

However, This was one I had never seen before. There was a stylized photo of a young black woman’s face, and next to that were the giant words: “It isn’t a question of if she will change the world. But when.”

Centered beneath all of this were the words: Black Girls Code.

(more…)

What a Pain!

By -

My arm hurts.

Who cares, right? (Actually, Slopers are a gentle-spirited lot, and the last time I mentioned this, I received a heartwarming amount of personal attention and counsel). I only mention this to offer up a small point that’s been bouncing around my tapioca-filled head.

As I’ve stated in the past, my disposition toward my health has two states: either I am immortal, or else all life is about to end. The latter appears in instances in which I am experiencing any kind of pain whatever.

Over a period of two or three weeks, I’ve had pains in my left arm and the left side of my back. The pains have been diminishing a tiny bit every day, and today I actually feel closer to normal than I’ve been for a long time.

(more…)

Revolution No. 9 (Part 2)

By -

Preamble: this is certainly not the first time the United States has gone berserk printing money in order to address its present woes. This habit dates back to the nation’s founding. Here is an excerpt from my Panic, Prosperity, and Progress book on one such instance. You can find the first part here.

As prosperous as the colonies were, the government itself had very little in the way of assets. The public was not inclined to a strong government, particularly given the behavior of the British crown, and it was agreed by the colonial leaders that the issuance of paper money would be more palatable than the creation of a tax to fund the war. The colonists were, after all, already weary of taxes.

The new currency, a Continental dollar, was carefully designed to be difficult to counterfeit, and initially a prudent issuance of $19 million was distributed, with one Continental dollar being on par with one gold dollar. General Washington intended to fight a war of attrition, counting on the British to eventually grow weary of the war, but it would be years before peace would finally be at hand. Thus, there were many years of substantial expenditures forthcoming, and the temptation to simply print up more Continentals to pay the soldiers and suppliers was hard to resist.

(more…)

Revolution No. 9 (Part 1)

By -

Preamble: this is certainly not the first time the United States has gone berserk printing money in order to address its present woes. This habit dates back to the nation’s founding. Here is an excerpt from my Panic, Prosperity, and Progress book on one such instance:

When most American citizens are asked about the revolutionary war, they probably conjure up images of a freedom-loving populace striving to unchain themselves from their distant British overlords. In popular folklore, the year 1776 is the kicking-off point of a great political struggle which, led by the founding fathers, ultimately gave birth to our Constitution and a new land.

This is largely true, of course, but the American Revolution was as much about commerce and taxes as it was about political philosophy. The currency problems that the young nation grappled with during this period shaped the framework of our country, and the motivations behind the founding fathers’ fight against Britain was not always as pure as has been taught to schoolchildren for centuries.

(more…)