The Squeaky Wheel

I have belatedly realized that American democracy relies on complaints. If you have no complaint, then everything’s presumably OK. That’s why natural whiners get attention and satisfied people get ignored. And that’s why it is important that those who notice lodge complaints on behalf of those who don’t have enough sense to know who’s turning the screw.

Most of this stuff was written and published long ago and can now be digitized with a scanner. That is, text and pictures are rendered as image files. Click the subsidiary historical pages under the parent heading for the annualized record.

In 1992, we discovered the Georgia coast and in 1993 I moved there. That pretty much spelled finis to my civic involvement. Restoration of two old cottages built during World War II was fairly hassle-free. We built ponds as part of naturalistic land-scaping. With a pond, there’s no need to water the grass.

1992 was, of course, an election year. The closest Clinton/Gore got to north Florida was Valdosta, Georgia. I recorded their appearance on video.

Other videos can be found here, at cyprespond.

ADDENDUM — A couple of things that don’t fit anywhere else.

Here’s my first scan– an essay on reciprocity I happened across, from about early 1990. The original may well be in Notes from the Household, which I haven’t reread in ages.


1975-6 was spent in San Diego, where much of the naval fleet was in “mothballs,” but one weekend they had an open house and invited citizens to tour some ships. I was not impressed and wrote what I suppose should be called a complaint at a time when letters from ordinary citizens were perhaps somewhat of a novelty. The Freedom of Information Act had been in effect about a decade. Perhaps I was emboldened by the success of phone calls to the Pentagon in conjunction with the Onassis refinery project in 1974.
It’s not likely the letter, of which I did not keep a copy, merited the three page response from an Assistant Secretary of the Navy. However, more than thirty-five years later, Joseph T. McCullen, Jr. still points with pride to his seven+ years as a bureaucrat, who went on to shine as a venture capitalist. He must have had his own reasons.

NavySec 1

NavySec 2

I have, since finding this letter, discovered that Joe McCullen is still active, supposedly raising capital and managing his family foundation in Boston.

McCullen Capital (“MCAP”) is a family office whose mission is to invest and … support to the family’s charitable foundation, the Flame of Love Foundation.

which has an office at One Liberty Square, but almost no assets. There’s actually a law suit wending its way to the SCOTUS, McCullen v. Coakley, in which Joe’s wife, Eleanor McCullen is the chief plaintiff on behalf of women’s health clinic opponents, who can’t tell the difference between speech and getting in someone’s way.
Grandstanding manifests in peculiar ways. Joe McCullen, for example, refers to himself as a PhD because Villanove University gave him an honorary degree in exchange for a million dollar donation.