The resident faculty left glittery gold pom-poms outside the mail room this morning. Gold isn’t one of the BPI colors, so the staff are sure the pom-poms are a clue. (More)

First our thanks to last week’s writers:

On Monday, you shared your stories of offline political activism in Things We Did This Week and addisnana mused on Laundry Perfection in Midday Matinee.

On Tuesday, Winning Progressive questioned the GOP’s call for Freedom From Health Insurance? in Morning Feature, the Squirrel peered Through the Looking Glass in Furthermore!, and readers helped tell Tuesday’s Tale: Minnie and the Leaf-Peepers in Midday Matinee.

On Wednesday, we pondered Stuff Rich People Say: Austerity Admissions and Banker Bonuses in Morning Feature and addisnana warned of the dangers of Night Driving in Midday Matinee.

On Thursday, we began a series on Mark Leibovich’s This Town with “Suck Up City” in Morning Feature and triciawyse offered Fursdai Furries in Midday Matinee.

On Friday, we continued our series on This Town with “How It Works” in Morning Feature and triciawyse brought us Frieday Critters in Midday Matinee.

On the weekend, we concluded our series on This Town with “Anarchy in the Quiet Car” in Saturday’s Morning Feature, Ms. Crissie was asked Just Posturing? in Sunday’s Morning Feature, Winning Progressive shared Weekend Reading: Health Care Reform Edition in Furthermore!, and winterbanyan brought our weekly Eco News Roundup in Our Earth.

Note: Please share your stories of offline political activism in Things We Did This Week.

Thus we return to the glittery gold pom-poms left outside the mail room as the resident faculty made their way from the wine cellar library where they spent the weekend drinking thinking on our motto of Magis vinum, magis verum (“More wine, more truth”) to the hot tub faculty lounge for their weekly game where the underwear goes flying planning conference.

Gold is not one of the BPI colors, all of which are tints and hues of electric blue, so we turned to the Squirrel, who was gazing hopefully at Chef’s pecan danish ring.

 photo SquirrelPecanRing.jpeg

“Any ideas?” Chef asked as she tapped a few pecans into his bowl.

“Well sure,” the Squirrel texted on his Blewberry. “Cheerleading for gold is rather an obvious clue.”

“In other words,” Chef said, using her knife to scrape the frosting off the pecans, “you listened at the hot tub faculty lounge again.”

“Well that,” the Squirrel conceded, watching her anxiously, “and I sneaked into the wine cellar library to see what they were reading. Do you think they know that I can use the cat door they asked the Professor of Astrology Janitor to install for Pootie the Precious?”

“U put in a door 4 me?” Pootie the Precious asked on her iHazPhone.

“Yes, I did,” the Professor of Astrology Janitor said. “The resident faculty like hearing you purr while they drink think.”

“Datz sweet uv dem,” Pootie the Precious texted. “An nice uv U.”

“You’re welcome,” the Professor of Astrology Janitor replied as he picked up Pootie P’s purple rubber brush. She immediately hopped into his lap for grooming.

“We’re all grateful, I’m sure,” Chef said, tapping a few more pecans into the bowl.

The Squirrel’s tail curled in satisfaction. “In that case, this week the resident faculty will discuss Isaac Martin’s new book Rich People’s Movements: Grassroots Campaigns to Untax the One Percent. Here’s the publisher’s description:”

On tax day, April 15, 2010, hundreds of thousands of Americans took to the streets with signs demanding lower taxes on the richest one percent. But why? Rich people have plenty of political influence. Why would they need to publicly demonstrate for lower taxes – and why would anyone who wasn’t rich join the protest on their behalf?

Isaac William Martin shows that such protests long predate the Tea Party of our own time. Ever since the Sixteenth Amendment introduced a Federal income tax in 1913, rich Americans have protested new public policies that they thought would threaten their wealth. But while historians have taught us much about the conservative social movements that reshaped the Republican Party in the late 20th century, the story of protest movements explicitly designed to benefit the wealthy is still little known. Rich People’s Movements is the first book to tell that story, tracking a series of protest movements that arose to challenge an expanding welfare state and progressive taxation. Drawing from a mix of anti-progressive ideas, the leaders of these movements organized scattered local constituencies into effective campaigns in the 1920s, 1950s, 1980s, and our own era. Martin shows how protesters on behalf of the rich appropriated the tactics used by the Left – from the Populists and Progressives of the early twentieth century to the feminists and anti-war activists of the 1950s and 1960s. He explores why the wealthy sometimes cut secret back-room deals and at other times protest in the public square. He also explains why people who are not rich have so often rallied to their cause.

For anyone wanting to understand the anti-tax activists of today, including notable defenders of wealth inequality like the Koch brothers, the historical account in Rich People’s Movements is an essential guide.

Chef slid the bowl across the table.

“For the record,” the Squirrel said, “pom-poms were inspired by squirrels’ tails.”

That looked true enough.


Happy Monday!