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It’s going to be hard to give up my idealism. Oh, pragmatism, neither hot nor cold, I will spew thee out of my mind (apologies to John and Revelation 3:16). It has been so long. Was it JFK? LBJ? Or RMN who was the last Dem to hold the office? Matters little. They have taught us for so long to compromise that I might as well accept my fate. After all, the difficulty of reaching out across the aisle is dependent upon on how far you are away. I must find solace in the lyrics of the Stones that “if you try sometimes, you might find, you get what you need.” Short of the moments with my family, the election of Barack Obama is the greatest moment I’ve heretofore lived. I mean it with all my heart. I love to hear this brilliant man speak and to believe this his […]
The economic pundits seemed convinced that this economic crisis will go on for a while – a year or two or longer. And we all know that cutting back will actually making the situation worse for others – after all, we are each other’s economic engine, but mine seems to be idling. Always ahead of the curve, we felt fortunate to sell our home at a 25% discount before Hank Paulson made that practice the standard. We got out of the market when the Dow was in the low eights the last time. The seldom used second car was sold. Eating out anytime became eating out every now and then until it became reserved for a special occasion. As did travel. Gift giving turned into craft projects. Subscriptions weren’t renewed. Books traded. Software upgrades skipped. Insurance shopped. Coupons clipped, organized and used. Generics and store brands became preferred. Ironing and […]
That Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC.com) reports that Georgia governor Sonny Perdue has received a last minute bailout from vestiges of the Bush administration’s “Justice” Department. The “Justice” Department launched an investigation of state-run hospitals two years ago after the AJC reported, “at least 136 patients died under suspicious circumstances from 2002 through late 2007.” It is presumed that an anonymous source read the AJC story out loud to Bush Administration officials. The bailout required Perdue to sign a pledge for Georgia “to undertake its best efforts to find enough money to transform the hospitals,“ according the AJC, but stopped short of Perdue actually admitting that any was wrong with a 136 crazy (or maybe just having a tough time) people dying and many others suffering injury and illness from critical errors, mistreatment, abuse and/or assaults by hospital workers. Anticipating the settlement, Perdue addressed the General Assembly this week seeking no […]
The U.S. Supreme Court announced on Friday (source: Reuters) it would hear a challenge to the 44-year-old voting rights law aimed at preventing states and local governments from making it harder for minorities to vote. Nine states are affected by the voting rights law: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. Think there’s any coincidence that from this list only Virginia voted for Obama? Freedom around the world is down for the third straight year (source: Freedom House). Another example of a George Wrongway Bush goal (2nd Inaugural). The full list of other goals are too long to list, but lowlights include the results of the ownership society; compassionate conservatism; no child left behind; the uniter not the divider; immigration reform; peace in the Middle East; et cetera ad nauseum. 2008: the greatest loss of jobs since 1945 (source: Wall Street Journal). What happened in 1945? […]
There’s little risk here. Of the 200 million or so bloggers, there are only about 50 million blog readers (it is interesting, at least to me, that 62% of internet users report they don’t know what a blog is). It is so easy to write and cite to prove a point of view (especially if you unabashedly willing to use worldwide figures and compare to US figures or don’t mind that each citation has conflicting data, knowing that most people won’t bother to follow the links or the link’s links or read either. Using a more appropriately “balanced” approach, so often found in “journalism,” would force me to present data that might confusingly conflict with my particular bias de jour (as well as type a lot more words, actually do research, read what I cite, and offer links to websites that, yikes, might disagree with me). For instance, the Wall […]
When midnight struck, “American Pie” was played. And sung. Yes, the long version. It has become a tradition for our group of friends who meet over New Years each year as part of Mid-Ages (aka: Dark Ages) Weekend (in no way associated with the best and brightest who celebrate Renaissance Weekend). Mid-Ages Weekend is a simple celebration of the best parts of the Middle Ages (drinking, storytelling, verbal jousting, funny hats, and general revelry) without the worst (inquisitions, crusading, plague, and sword wielding of all kinds). But mainly it is a group of liberal middle agers who “who dig those rhythm and blues” and “still remember when” at least most of the time. But I stray… My new year’s resolution. After 8 post Bush v. Gore years of spending way too much energy being against things, I am resolved to be for things. Sounds simple enough, but most Old Year’s […]
Co-pays work really well for the chronically well and the chronically well off. Averaging about $40 for a doctor visit or outpatient procedure, $20-$40 for prescriptions and a little more for hospital admission. Might not sound like much every now and then. Insurance companies do this to prevent what they call a “moral hazzard.” I don’t know about you, but I’m convinced that my healthy friends would spend as much time as possible in a doctor’s waiting room if were not for co-pays. Great way to catch up on your reading from, say, 4 years ago. Plus, everyone loves a good colonoscopy and what woman wouldn’t prefer an extra mammogram or two a year? Surely, the typical mother of three who makes minimum wages has no problem working 20 or so extra hours to get her kids an annual check up. Great idea. This is America, for god’s sake. Pay […]
While flipping around last night, I landed on a local PBS show called, Georgia Weekly. The subject was supposed to be high school graduation – not. It was about dropping out of high school. Had I not stumbled on at precisely the right moment to hear one of the experts state while the other expert was shaking her head in agreement, that he could accurately tell which students were going to drop out in the 2nd grade. Wow. Georgia has a drop out rate of 40% (source: U.S. Department of Education) and they know which one’s will drop out 10 years in advance. Talk about futility. Something is seriously wrong here. You see, I’ve got this theory that the sole purpose of government is to help us be the best taxpayers possible. Covers just about everything – safe from terrorist and nuclear attack, safe from scoundrels making off (past tense: […]
I don’t know about you, but I really love this time of year. Sure, you say, who doesn’t love the parties, the drinking, being with family, the drinking, watching bowl games, the drinking, and so on? But wait. There’s more. This is the time, a season really, when we get to appreciate all the important moments of 2008. This will be a banner year. In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and project that the important moments of 2008 will break last year’s record breaking important moments total. Every list will surely include the election Barack Obama, the Beijing Olympics, Britney’s comeback, the Intergallactic financial meltdown, and our successful surges around the world. Many will focus on Sarah’s clothes or Blagojevech’s hair or Elliot’s new focus on his family. Some will chronicle Phelps or Tiger or Eli or OJ. The rise and fall of Alaskan influence on politics. The […]
Driving on the interstates is inherently irrational. To think that the drivers of all those other cars would voluntarily and routinely entrust theirs and their family’s lives to me is nuts. Based solely on a ten minute driving test in high school, with no knowledge of my driving skills, my car maintenance or my attention span, and regardless of whether I’m returning a call, Twittering, checking email, drinking coffee or booze, locating an iPod playlist, picking my nose, watching a DVD, lost or lost in thought, they have enough faith in me to share the highway at speeds guaranteed to to kill and maim. With my car aimed directly at theirs, they ride along fearlessly believing they are more likely to fall asleep from boredom than my minimum breaking distance. Why do they do it? What makes where they are going so important? Why do they trust me completely at […]
Pardon the pun, but I’ve worked with way too many clever people and there is a long term effect. Anyway, I have this list of things I planned to write about this month and am fast approaching the time where it just isn’t going to happen. Here’s my attempt to plant or at least provoke some metaphorical seeds… Social Networks Caused Economy Crisis Or maybe it’s the other way around. Probably too early to tell if this part of the Chicken/Egg Conundrum, but visits to LinkedIn and Facebook are up 20% and 18% respectively. My explanation (using the Colbert approach) is that as people have less and less to do at work, they are spending more and more time looking for someone who will discover them and give them money. Here are some links: LinkedIn Facebook Quantcast Wikipedia CSI North Pole We moved last year and are using basic cable. […]
For 10 days or so after the election, there was exuberance. Their faces shone. New hope. Belief this was the time. Energy. Real joy. And, parties that would go late into the night at the bench outside my window. The conversation, always vigorous and boastful, now had a new topic: their future. One after another they pledged to get out of the park. This was the time. In the weeks that followed, one after another kept the promise and left. One mended fences with his dad and went home. Another called his grandma and she sent a bus ticket. One finally got his ID so he could get his disability and could get out on his own. One was befriended by stranger who found him an apartment for couples so he could be with his current true love. One got on the list with the VA and was waiting. And […]
Perhaps it is I? Here we are in the last week before Christmas. The time to cast fear to the wind and spend, spend, spend out of hope, love and tradition. Surely our best and brightest, the good men and women who run our government have things under control – unless they are all out reading their copies of The Pet Goat instead of the daily security briefs. Surely the pundits would be screaming even louder if something really bad was going to happen – unless they just don’t have the video, or are under orders from the top to lighten up the holiday buzz kill. Is it just me? The paper (is is time to use the phrase “My RSS Aggregator”?) this morning is again filled with fresh new announcements of layoffs and plant closings. Statistics of unemployment, bankruptcy and foreclosure. Stories on how the dollar is crashing. Oil […]
We all know of the foreclosure crisis – 1.35 million foreclosed homes in 3rd quarter 08; 1 in 10 homeowners are either delinquent or in foreclosure; 1 in 5 with sub prime loans (Source: CNN Money, December 5, 2008). We all also know about the subprime crisis, the hedge fund crisis, the insurance crisis, credit swap crisis, the banking crisis, the Wall Street crisis and the international financial crisis. The crisis of consumer confidence. The gas crisis and the auto industry crisis. The looming Social Security crisis and the Medicare crisis. The looming pension fund crisis compounded with the 401K crisis. But all this talk about bankers and executives, leaves me worried that we aren’t talking about the right crisis. This collapse of jobs that leads to the collapse of credit that leads to the collapse of housing will lead to the collapse of our middle class. The Middle Class […]
Note: Most news companies prepare obituaries in advance, so they will have it ready when the inevitable day arrives. The news of the Tribune Company filing for bankruptcy protection yesterday, inspires this update. I hope it never comes. SOMEDAY TOO SOON. British politician Edmund Burke said there were “Three Estates in Parliament; but, in the Reporters’ Gallery yonder, there sat a Fourth Estate more important far than they all… A Fourth Estate, of able butts, springs up.” No more. After a prolonged illness, the newspaper business, age 404, has died. Officially, the death was from “natural causes” related to increased costs, decreasing circulation, disappearing advertisers, competitive pressure and the failure of the money supply. The newspaper industry was infected with a new form of cancer in late 1999 and courageously fought the spread of the disease often undergoing expensive, exotic and experimental treatments from “consultants” including mergers, acquisitions, bloodletting, amputations, […]
from the canine psychologist's couch
“Bully.” “Mean-spirited bastard.” They are true, of course. I did yell at the dog to get off the couch and slap it on its ass for pissing in our house for the fourth time in 24 hours even though I had walked the beagle in the park four times in the cold and rain.
She was right. “The dog doesn’t know better” because the dog’s not been taught what’s wrong and held accountable by either of us and, more often, given a treat for waking up, a treat for eating, a treat for getting petted.
The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey found that 61% of those polled are against the auto bailout – far from “everyone” has drunk the bailout Kool-Aid. But let us all be thankful that we aren’t governed by majority opinion. Our elected leaders have the important job of doing what is best for all of us. I agree the corporations don’t deserve a bailout. They have used their powerful lobbies to protect them from having to be good marketers for far too long. They deserve to live and/or perish from their past decisions. This did not happen just because loans weren’t being made. It happened because they chose to make large cars and trucks which were profitable so they didn’t have to find a way to make money on smaller cars. Postponing hard choices on assembly line retooling investments and energy efficient car strategies contrary to lobbying efforts. The auto industry talking […]
This is a no brainer. The $24 billion in loans sought by the US auto industry needs to happen. Our government simply cannot afford the industry to fail. According to Pete Davis’ blog at Capital Gains and Games… “The Big Three financed Center for Automotive Research has estimated that the demise of the auto industry would cost 239,341 direct jobs, 973,969 supplier jobs, and 1,738,034 other jobs from $150.7 b. less personal income. Federal, state, and local governments would be hit with $14.3 b. of increased transfer payments, $21.1 b. of less Social Security payroll taxes, and $24.7 b. less personal income taxes.” Okay, it’s not a no brainer as it takes a little math. Using Davis’ figures, the total direct cost to government to let the almost 3 million jobs disappear would be $60 billion for one year. That doesn’t include trickle down/trickle on. Taxes lost from Wall Street […]
“Joe was a good person. A renaissance man. Much loved by his family and friends.” And, in just a few seconds, made Joe’s 83 years seem almost generic, although his life was far from it. His accomplishments were made trivial. And the mourners patronized. Funerals are a twisted tribute. We sit on horribly uncomfortable benches in our most uncomfortable, colorless clothes in middle age settings listening to dark ages music moderated by people who, except for one day a week, do these things for living. These preachers and priests and rabbis talk about people they hardly know while reminding us that we need to get ready to meet the same fate. Then we get in our cars and drive in line behind the hearse with our lights on to a park designed not for the living, but to stand, regardless of the weather, quietly and contemplate merits of a wooden […]