Goodbye to Benson

Robert Guillaume, the urbane actor who received two Emmy Awards for portraying the acidic butler Benson on a pair of ABC sitcoms, died Tuesday. He was 89.

Guillaume’s polished portrayal of the imperious family retainer Benson DuBois endured for nine years, first in three seasons on “Soap” (1977-80) and then on the spinoff “Benson”, which ran until April 1986.

Benson’s personal arc went from butler/cook to state budget director and finally to lieutenant governor. He even ran for governor against his former boss, Eugene X. Gatling (John Noble), but that race — a season-ending cliff-hanger — went undecided because the show went off the air.

Guillame also was the voice for Rafiki in The Lion King movie, and was the first African-American to play the title role in The Phantom of the Opera.

This date in history

October 25, 1854–The Battle of Balaclava was fought between allied French and British forces, and Russian forces, during the Crimean War.

Why should you remember this?

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
“Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns!” he said.
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

–Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “The Charge of the Light Brigade”

Painting by Roland Mauser

Tuesday afternoon

I’m looking at myself, reflections of my mind,
It’s just the kind of day to leave myself behind,
So gently swaying thru the fairy-land of love,
If you’ll just come with me and see the beauty of
Tuesday afternoon.

–Justin Hayward (Moody Blues), “Tuesday Afternoon”

Tuesday afternoon is never ending…

–Paul McCartney, “Lady Madonna”

Tax reform?

I’ve gotta make a comment.

I am not in the tax brackets being discussed, and I am not a big Rush fan. But, as Rush says here, I reject the premise that the government is “giving” anyone a tax break.

It begins with a phony premise that all money is Washington’s. The second premise is that Washington gets to decide who gets what based on Washington’s definition of who needs what, and also based on Washington’s definition of how they can most benefit by way of votes, by quote-unquote “giving” this money back. When in truth, what’s really happening here is that the end result of the tax rate reduction is that people are “allowed” (there’s that word again) to keep more of what they earn, because the money is theirs.

The money is theirs to begin with, and everybody who earns money should have the same right to the money they earn. You shouldn’t have any right to somebody else’s earnings, and nobody should have the right to some of yours. But that’s the way we structure policy now. In cutting taxes, we’re gonna say that some people have a claim on the earnings of others, and other people do not have a claim on the earnings of others — and then, even worse, some people don’t even have a claim on their own earnings!

The pure and clean way to do this is to do what you said during the campaign: Announce an across-the-board tax rate reduction to stimulate the economy, to allow people to keep more of what they earn because that’s the just and moral thing to do. It’s their money. And then you get out of the way for all the new money rolling into Washington, because doing all of that is going to create new jobs, because new businesses will form, existing businesses will expand and need new employees, which means additional taxpayers paying taxes.