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Number of posts: 2
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Posts by Pat Garofalo:
With the New Hampshire primary now secured by Mitt Romney, the GOP presidential candidates are setting their sights on South Carolina, the nation’s first southern primary. And in one big respect, South Carolina is significantly different from the two states that preceded it in casting votes for the GOP nominee: its high school graduation rate is far lower.
In 2010, New Hampshire had the ninth highest high school graduation rate in the country at 83.3 percent. Caucus state Iowa was third, with 86.4 percent. South Carolina, however, is 49th, at 61.9 percent.
Yesterday, Jefferson County, Alabama, filed the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, the final step in a sordid tale involving sewers, credit swaps, and some of the nation’s biggest banks. The bankruptcy became necessary “after an agreement among elected officials and investors to refinance $3.1 billion in sewer bonds fell apart.”
The swap deal that sunk Jefferson County was crafted by the mega-bank JP Morgan Chase (in concert with other banks, including Goldman Sachs). As Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi put it when describing JP Morgan’s actions in Jefferson County, “here you can see a trail that leads directly from a billion-dollar predatory swap deal cooked up at the highest levels of America’s biggest banks, across a vast fruited plain of bribes and felonies — ‘the price of doing business,’ as one JP Morgan banker says on tape.”
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At this time in my life I am beginning to view so much of what is happening around me through an increasingly cynical prism. As a friend is quick to point out, though, that behind every committed cynic there is a disappointed idealist wondering what happened to a world that once seemed so good and full of possibilities. I blame Shakespeare for part of my mental dyspepsia. It all began back in university when a supercilious professor dressed down a fellow student for misspelling the bard’s name. Now after reading Bill Bryson’s book Shakespeare: The World As Stage, I find that the Read on →
"Okay, Houston, we've had a problem here." -- Apollo 13 astronaut Jack Swigert When was NASA's finest hour? Most would say, "The Apollo moon landing." As a bit of an insider, I have a different take. NASA's finest hour, hands down, was the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission. Two and one-third days into the nominal nine-day voyage, a ruptured oxygen tank left the spacecraft crippled, the mission in shambles, and the lives of three astronauts in jeopardy. Mission controllers, engineers, technicians and astronauts worked around the clock to stabilize a dire situation and work the impossible, bringing Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise Read on →
In his poem The Cabbages of Chekhov, Robert Bly had me again when he wrote that, “William Blake knew that fierce old man, irritable, chained, and majestic, who bends over to measure with his calipers the ruins of the world.” Despite such a fierce image in his poem, Bly has that way about him where he can rescue you in the end from all the bad news that comes tracked in on the dog’s paws. With Bly on my mind, I wasn’t all that surprised that something magical was about to happen this past weekend. On the wings of Bly, a sweet little guy with a funny Read on →
"Blah, blah, blah..., sir." All I really hear is the "sir." It's the cashier at the sparkling new CVS who first catches my ear. "'Course, she's wearing glasses. Maybe the lenses are fogged over and her vision's obscured," I consider. She's mistaken me for someone older. "Honest mistake...could happen to anybody," I mumble under my breath. Several days later, a new check-out person at Roger's Fine Food and Spirits gives me the quick once-over and instantly coughs up the 5% Senior discount. Doesn't even ask me if I'm a senior. Bernice, the regular cashier, always asks. I bet this newbie is giving 5% t Read on →