Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Rove's IT Guru Warned of Sabotage before plane crash

I found this story very interesting. But, then we all know we have had criminals running this country for the past 8 years at least. Now, the question is, will anybody be investigated and/or go to trial? Here is just one more example:

Rove's IT Guru Warned of Sabotage Before Fatal Plane Crash; Was Set to Testify
Monday 22 December 2008

by: Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!
Mike Connell, the chief IT consultant to Karl Rove, reportedly asked for protective custody from the government before he died.

Amy Goodman: A top Republican internet strategist who was set to testify in a case alleging election tampering in 2004 in Ohio has died in a plane crash. Mike Connell was the chief IT consultant to Karl Rove and created websites for the Bush and McCain electoral campaigns. He also set up the official Ohio state election website reporting the 2004 presidential election returns.

Connell was reportedly an experienced pilot. He died instantly Friday night when his private plane crashed in a residential neighborhood near Akron, Ohio.

Michael Connell was deposed one day before the election this year by attorneys Cliff Arnebeck and Bob Fitrakis about his actions during the 2004 vote count and his access to Karl Rove's e-mail files and how they went missing.

Velvet Revolution, a non-profit investigating Connell's activities, revealed this weekend that Connell had recently said he was afraid George Bush and Dick Cheney would "throw [him] under the bus." Cliff Arnebeck had also previously alerted Attorney General Michael Mukasey to alleged threats from Karl Rove to Connell if he refused to "take the fall."
full article here

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dana Perino gets black eye in shoe incident

So does perfect spokesmodel Dana get a purple heart???
Sorry, I feel quite snide about now.

Bush had SHOES thrown at him

Watch this first

and then the version shown on YouTube

and another version:

Listen carefully for the sounds of the reporter continuing to scream off camera. Not to mention the idiotic comments by the lame duck, who got what he wanted, oil

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It's snowing !!!!!!


We woke the kids up and went outside to play, and had a ball! However, Lexi would not touch the snow, LOL. And, as of 0019 hrs it is still snowing. Wonder what the morning will bring?
Call me crazy but I love snow. I was the biggest kid of all.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 14, 2008

Austin on election se puede!

and in hard fought New Mexico...kudos to NM, our neighbors...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Obama sweater

Obama Knitter Girl
Originally uploaded by fyberduck

Found on a knitting blog, what an awesome sweater! Don't I wish I could knit with this skill!

The blog where I found this was Keep on knitting in the free world

Pennsylvania has HOPE

Pennsylvania has HOPE
Originally uploaded by a35mmlife
Found this on a knitter's blog, this was taken in PA! Go PA!

Friday, November 07, 2008

What now?

Barack Obama said the following, which sums up what we need to do now.

"The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. ... There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as president. And we know the government can't solve every problem.

But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And, above all, I will ask you to join in the work of remaking this nation, the only way it's been done in America for 221 years—block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand."

So, let's go!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Leonard Pitts: ‘We' are finally part of ‘We the People'

Leonard Pitts is right on target:

For most of the years of the American experiment, "we the people'' did not include African Americans. We were not included in "we." We were not even included in ‘‘people."

What made it galling was all the flowery words to the contrary, all the perfumed lies about equality and opportunity. This was, people kept saying, a nation where any boy might grow up and become president. Which was only true, we knew, as long as it was indeed a boy and as long as the boy was white.

But as of today, we don't know that anymore. What this election tells us is that the nation has changed in ways that would have been unthinkable, unimaginable, flat out preposterous, just 40 years ago. And that we, black, white and otherwise, better recalibrate our sense of the possible.

link to full article

Saturday, November 01, 2008

How Universal Health Care Changes Everything

Well worth reading, and very true!

By Sara Robinson
With one fell stroke, giving Americans universal access to health care will undermine some of the deepest and most persistent myths of the conservative worldview.
We've worked hard to build a progressive political juggernaut that will, God willing and the creek don't rise, put us in control of both Congress and the Executive Branch starting just a week from now.
But it's one thing to get power, and another thing to keep it.
Someone (OK, it was Rick Perlstein) recently asked a group of friends to name the single most important policy step progressives could take to solidify a long-term grip on the government — the kind of extended run we had from 1932 through to the Age of Reagan.
There were a lot of good answers. Ending privatization was, I thought, the best answer of all. Reinvesting in education is important if we want to ensure that the next generation will support and sustain our work and values. (I like to joke that the reason they call it "liberal education" is that the more of it you have, the more liberal you're likely to be. It's not quite accurate, but it's true enough.) Ensuring that people's interactions with government are useful and positive was another: In a lot of states, one afternoon at the DMV is enough to make the most ardent good-government partisan turn into Grover Norquist. (Maybe we don't want to drag the whole government into the bathtub to drown it, but that SOB at Window 11 would be a fine place to start.)
But in the end, I settled on "provide universal health care—preferably single-payer" as my final answer. I chose this not just because health care is an important public good (though it is), but because I'm convinced that this single step will do more to rapidly and permanently undermine the conservative worldview than anything else we could possibly do.
How Universal Care Changes Everything: The Canadian Example
I've seen this happen, at very close range. Over the course of nearly five years living in Canada, I've been continually impressed by the durable, far-reaching role universal health care plays in expressing and reinforcing the entire country's political philosophy. It's probably not overstating things to say that the health care system is at the very core of the Canadian sense of national identity, right up there with the Mounties and the Hudson's Bay Company and well above the Queen. Every time my neighbors go to the doctor, the experience reaffirms a set of cultural assumptions that, over time, have made and kept the country unwaveringly progressive.
First, they're reminded that taking care of each other is a core Canadian value—a cherished piece of who they are. In the Harper era, the conservatives up here have tried hard to sell American-style rugged individualism and the belief that "you're on your own" (or should be), beholden to no one, needing no one. Most Canadians reject this as a peculiar form of insanity: Their interdependence is so patently obvious to them that it's like denying the existence of gravity. They're so proud of their health care system—and what it says about them as a nation—that, when asked to name the greatest Canadian in history a few years ago, they chose Tommy Douglas, the provincial premier (governor) from Saskatchewan who was the father of the first single-payer plan.
Second, they're reminded that their government does useful and important things that add immensely to their quality of life, and thus deserves their ongoing support. And their high hopes also lead to high expectations. They not only expect a lot from their health care system; they also expect that their police will be respectful and law-abiding, their city parks will be well-tended; and their public buildings will be beautiful. If it takes money to make that happen, they'll spend it—but those who've been trusted with it had better be damned careful. Where Americans believe in "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," the Canadian Constitution calls for "peace, order, and good government." And that set of aspirations is reinforced every time they walk into a doctor's office and get the treatment they need.
Third, they're reminded that certain rights are inalienable, and certain levels of inequality are intolerable—and that every Canadian has an intrinsic and equal entitlement to shelter, food, education, and health care. In the conservative era, America's hypercompetitive society has been very quick to throw away people who haven't made the cut in some way—people without money, connections, or education; people with disabilities that make them economically less viable; people who come from the wrong racial or religious group or the wrong part of the country. You only deserve what you, personally, are capable of earning. If you're badly equipped to do that, it's your own damned fault. If you can't afford health care, you deserve to die. In no case is it the taxpayers' job to step in and make it right.
That attitude is completely foreign up here. It's notoriously hard for immigrants to find good jobs here, but even immigrants get health care. There's a heroin problem in downtown Vancouver, but even junkies get health care. You don't lose your insurance just because you got sick, or got disabled, or had to quit your job; even the unemployed get health care.
Nobody falls through the cracks, no matter what condition their condition is in. Nobody is chained to a job they hate because they can't afford to lose their health care. Nobody has to pass up the chance to go back to school, or take a year abroad, or stay home with their kids. Nobody hesitates before starting their own business, either. The result is a healthier, more skilled, better-traveled, more fulfilled, more entrepreneurial and ultimately more competitive workforce.
A lot of Americans seem downright threatened by the idea that everybody deserves the same level of health care, delivered by the same doctors. It sounds like wild-eyed socialist ranting (all this crazy talk of "rights"!). For Canadians, though, that right is such a basic assumption that it's not even up for discussion. A civilized country does not turn any of its citizens away from the table. And that idea, once set, opens up a broader sense of what we owe each other. Health care is the social contract in daily action. Ultimately, having that contract reaffirmed so intimately and so often affects how my neighbors do business, how they treat the environment, and how they relate to the rest of the world. The effects of this affirmation ripple out into everything Canada touches.
Which brings us to the last observation: sharing a common health care system reminds Canadians that they're all in this together. From the richest to the poorest, everyone arrives and dies in the same hospitals, tended by the same doctors. It's in nobody's interest to let that system fail. (Prairie folks -- Canada's version of Midwesterners -- will tell you that the northern climate extremes also encourage people to look out for each other. And that makes some sense, too: denying help to neighbors and strangers during the winter in places like Edmonton or Winnipeg can all too easily become an act of negligent homicide. In extreme conditions, free access to good hospitals becomes a critical piece of that caretaking.)
The upper classes occasionally try to introduce privatization options in one province or another; but the citizens/patients, the government, and the health care unions have usually brought tremendous pressure to bear to limit or end these experiments. Everybody understands that if the wealthy bail on the system, there won't be the political will to keep the quality high. This conversation is ongoing—and the very fact that they keep having it also helps keep the symbolic importance of the system front and center. Everybody understands very clearly what's at stake.

How Guaranteed Health Care Could Change America
If we could get Americans thinking along similar lines, all manner of impossible things will become possible. With one fell stroke, providing universal access to health care will instantly undermine some of the deepest and most persistent myths of the conservative worldview. People will, very quickly, remember that we cannot function as a democracy unless we're deeply invested in common wealth and a common future—that "you're on your own" is simply a conservative lie that allows the rich to divide and conquer. We'll be startled at first to see just how much a single well-run government program can actually deliver—and then, as our confidence grows, we'll start expecting more of other government efforts, and become more willing to experiment with other kinds of programs. It's quite likely we'll start asking hard questions about programs that divert taxpayers' money away from these essential goods, and re-prioritize our spending. Thrown together into a shared health care system, we may even learn some compassion for each other, and start to heal some of the deep social and political rifts that have divided us for so long.

If it works in the U.S. half as well as it does in Canada, the conservatives will be forced to give up on all those plans for that big 2012 comeback they're so eagerly anticipating right now. With roughly a third of the country either uninsured or under-insured; and everybody else at risk of losing their coverage at a moment's notice, the sheer relief at having that burden lifted from 300 million souls is going to make the old conservative nostrums sound absolutely insane. Anybody who suggests that there's something wrong with universal care, or that it was better the old way, or that this is that Pure Communist Evil they've been warning about since the days of McCarthy, is going to be dismissed out of hand as an ideological crank. Because only people who buy their Kool-Aid by the barrel could even think about going back to the awful way things were in 2008.
It's all happened just this way before, of course. Social Security did all these same things in its time. It shut up the economic royalists and reintroduced Americans to the value of social contracts and a belief in the common good. Americans accepted these ideas so completely that liberals were able to seize control of the country's political discourse, and dominate it for the next four decades. On most issues, the conservatives had no choice but to follow their lead.

Unfortunately, though, all this happened over 70 years ago—so far in the past that most Americans can't even imagine what life was like before we had a guaranteed retirement income. We take that much too much for granted now. Creating a long-term 21st-century progressive renaissance depends on our ability to bring these same lessons home to a whole new generation in the most vivid and unforgettable way possible. Guaranteed health care will do that. It has the potential to become the catalyst for a new season of American progressivism that could last another 40 years.
This notion is no secret to conservatives, who figured out 15 years ago that universal health coverage could well become their undoing. In the heat of the 1993 debate over the proposed Clinton health care plan, Bill Kristol wrote a famous strategy memo in which he argued that "passage of the Clinton health care plan in any form would be disastrous. It would guarantee an unprecedented federal intrusion into the American economy. Its success would signal the rebirth of centralized welfare-state policy at the very moment that such policy is being perceived as a failure in other areas."
Conservatives are already acutely aware that if we get health care that works, they're going to be shut out of power and out of the conversation for decades to come. They also know that, come January, they may find themselves too weak to put up a fight.
Presidential candidate Barack Obama knows it, too, which is why he's made universal health care a central part of his agenda. If he succeeds, I think people are going to be surprised at the depth and speed of the resulting leftward shift in American values. Seeing the government deliver such an essential and powerful good to so many people will permanently discredit many of the most fundamental assumptions of the conservative worldview—and in doing so, will make it much, much harder for the cons to ever make themselves politically relevant again.
There's nothing else that will do so much for so many so quickly—and, at the same time, lay down the sturdy foundation for a long, strong progressive future.


My view from steerage

Entire article here

Concentrating The Wealth
By Terrance Heath
A funny thing happened on the way to the bailout. A number of the members of the bucket brigade — that's us, taxpayers — realized that for all the billions of dollars worth of bailing we're doing, we still appear to be sinking. Our task seems to be keeping things afloat long enough for first class passengers to fill the lifeboats. And as the water rises, more of us are less content with apparent the "brokers and bankers first" rule.
And let there be no doubt, as the U.S. economy looks like it's going down for the first time, "brokers and bankers first" is the rule.
In the waning days of, well, everything from the George W. Bush era, to the Reagan era and 30 years of conservative rule — as is often the case in a disaster — men's true characters reveal themselves, and they reveal their intentions when they have little left to lose.
It's heard in back channels, on conference calls when they believe no one from steerage class can hear them.
How do you know that the Wall Street types were trying to steal from us, other than the fact that they said that the refusal to hand over money was akin to a terrorist act? Treasury officials had a secret conference call with Wall Street executives. Unfortunately for them, some bloggers were on the call. The 'Treasury boys' on the call made it clear that "the tranching is a mere formality, and the Treasury boys as much as said so. They could take the $700 billion max as soon as the bill has passed." That was always obvious.
And they admitted that "the exec comp provisions sound like a joke, They DO NOT affect existing contracts, they affect only contracts entered into during the two years of the authority of this program and then affect only golden parachutes." Both of these provisions were 'concessions' sought by Democrats. Of course, no one could have predicted this bill's 'concessions' to Democrats were farcical. No one at all.
And it can be heard in committee meetings, where there's strangely little concern that the news will drift down to steerage, when they essentially ask "How much do you think the take will be?"
In the final days of the election many Republicans seem to have given up the fight for power. But don't be fooled: that doesn't mean they are relaxing. If you want to see real Republican elbow grease, check out the energy going into chucking great chunks of the $700bn bail-out out the door. At a recent Senate banking committee hearing, the Republican Bob Corker was fixated on this task, and with a clear deadline in mind: inauguration. "How much of it do you think may be actually spent by January 20 or so?" Corker asked Neel Kashkari, the 35-year-old former banker in charge of the bail-out.
When European colonialists realized that they had no choice but to hand over power to the indigenous citizens, they would often turn their attention to stripping the local treasury of its gold and grabbing valuable livestock. If they were really nasty, like the Portuguese in Mozambique in the mid-1970s, they poured concrete down the elevator shafts.
Nothing so barbaric for the Bush gang. Rather than open plunder, it prefers bureaucratic instruments, such as "distressed asset" auctions and the "equity purchase program". But make no mistake: the goal is the same as it was for the defeated Portuguese - a final, frantic looting of the public wealth before they hand over the keys to the safe.
Whether most of us heard the message in such explicit terms, we got the message. The public anger over the bailout, that in the end did nothing to stop it and little to change it, was probably rooted in what was unsaid in how the bailout was sold: it was never about helping everyday Americans. Certainly, we were told that the bailout was necessary to prevent financial disaster that would devastate Main Street. That much would trickle down. But the rescue, to date, has not.

There is so much information in this article, I encourage you to read the entire thing. This is another statement in this article that just really struck me:

t's hard not to wonder about the pure contrarian inanity of the current conservative position. Our military is by far the strongest in the world, while our trains are among the slowest and our sewers are collapsing. So they propose raising spending on the military and cutting domestic investment. We suffer Gilded Age inequality, with the wealthiest 15,000 families — one-one hundredth of one percent of the population — capturing fully one-fourth of the entire income growth from 2000 to 2006. Their average income rose from $15.2 million per year to $29.7 million per year. Meanwhile, the rest of us — 133 million households that make up 90 percent of the country - divided up 4% of the nation's income, adding about $305 to our average $30,354 income. So conservatives push for more tax cuts for the wealthy, while proposing to tax employer based health benefits. Corporate profits (prior to the recession) have catapulted to what is by far the highest percentage of national income in the past half century. So they want to cut corporate taxes, inevitably increasing the burden on labor. The economic future looks dim because consumers, drowning in debt, are cutting back. So they suggest cutting taxes on corporate investments will generate new investments and growth — as if companies don't need someone to buy the products they make.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The next great depression...

Well written, and at times humorous look at the current financial crisis. As we watch the Meth system send home full time workers without pay, and try to manage on less income (while the Meth fat cats get their big salaries and bonuses), it pays to try to maintain a sense of humor about it. This article just said it all.

Keith Blanchard
Posted October 24, 2008 | 12:22 PM (EST)
The Next Great Depression Is Here... If We're Lucky


Don't panic — this is just a speed bump. You want to ride this one out. Think long-term. It's a marathon, not a sprint. Keep your money where it is — trust the market. The worst thing you can do is panic.

Reassuring words, which can all be traced, ultimately, to the same dudes who ringed our noses and walked us to the edge of this particular ravine in the first place. The Dow is literally in freefall as we speak, plunging beneath a five-year-low, with no bottom in sight. So here's my open question: Are you guys sure we shouldn't panic?

You know, not that we don't trust you absolutely anymore.

I, for one, think this is an excellent time to panic. I'm strongly considering curling up in the corner over there and rocking like a freaked-out autistic kid.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Getting ready to vote for Obama on Monday

I found many youtube videos to view, which suited my mood today. I am so excited to be able to cast my vote on Monday, for my grandchildren more than myself. My grandchildren are Hispanic and bi-racial, and it is for them that I do this. Sen. Obama as President Obama....the hope that lies within that statement!
We spent our 35th wedding anniversary in 2007, working at an event for Sen. Obama, and never expected a thank you. However, we got a thank you, an happy anniversary wish and an autograph.

We wish Barack and Michelle many years of happiness together.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Robert Reich, some common sense

From his blog:

Post-Meltdown Mythologies (I): Americans Have Been Living Beyond Their Means
What brought on the economic meltdown of 2008? Besides the bursting of the housing bubble, Wall Street's malfeasance and non-feasance, and Washington's massive failure to oversee Wall Street, fingers are also being pointed at average Americans. Some of them took on mortgages they couldn't afford, of course, but we're also hearing a more basic theme that goes something like this: For too long, Americans have been living beyond our means. We went too deeply into debt. And now we're paying the inevitable price.

The "living beyond our means" argument, with its thinly-veiled suggestion of moral terpitude, is technically correct. Over the last fifteen years, average household debt has soared to record levels, and the typical American family has taken on more of debt than it can safely manage. That became crystal clear when the housing bubble burst and home prices fell, eliminating easy home equity loans and refinancings.

But this story leaves out one very important fact. Since the year 2000, median family income has been dropping, adjusted for inflation. One of the main reasons the typical family has taken on more debt has been to maintain its living standards in the face of these declining real incomes.

It's not as if the typical family suddenly went on a spending binge --- buying yachts and fancy cars and taking ocean cruises. No, the typical family just tried to keep going as it had before. But with real incomes dropping, and the costs of necessities like gas, heating oil, food, health insurance, and even college tuitions all soaring, the only way to keep going as before was to borrow more. You might see this as a moral failure, but I think it's more accurate to view it as an ongoing struggle to stay afloat when the boat's sinking.

The "living beyond our means" argument suggests that the answer over the long term is for American families to become more responsible and not spend more than they earn. Well, that may be necessary but it's hardly sufficient.

The real answer over the long term is to restore middle-class earnings so families don't have to go deep into debt to maintain what was a middle-class standard of living. And that requires, among other things, affordable health insurance, tax credits for college tuition, good schools, and an energy policy that's less dependent on oil, the price of which is going to continue to rise as demand soars in China, India, and elsewhere.

In other words, the way to make sure Americans don't live beyond their means is to give them back the means.

Reich is correct, I need my means back! We have made no changes in our lifestyle. Still live in the same place for the past 15 yrs; we do not go shopping; we don't go out to movies or dinner more than once per month, if that; we don't have DVR or fancy cable channels, basically we have added no expenses in the past 15 yrs, but our paycheck does not go as far and we have had to cut corners. We have seen inflation, while everyone in DC has ignored it.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Posts regarding the debate on 10/06/08

First, McCain stated that Obama added charges to a bill for overhead projectors--who the hell still uses overhead projectors? Did McCain really mean power point? What century does McCain live in??

Creepy....when McCain said that Am's secret you don't know is that Obama will increase taxes on small businesses....with a smarmy smile and old man chuckle-thing. It was creepy.

The McCain statement "you know who voted for it? That one!" Now that was just ugly and nasty and creepy too. In a normal conversation who would say "that one" when referring to a person standing next to them? In our house that would have been my 91 yr old mother who could not remember anybody's name. So can't McCain remember names???

McCain's healthcare solutions to save money were records to save money (sure), and walk in clinics...didn't they used to be public health clinics, which Bush abolished?

McCain - healthcare = responsbility. So, shouldn't you have to pay a monthly bill for police, fire and 9/11?

Obama - healthcare = a right. As in, we as citizens of our nation, all pay for care for everyone?

And the part of the debate when I knew for sure it was staged, was when a retired Navy chief asked about friendship with Israel....BS. Who really believed that a retired USN chief really wanted to know that? My brother in law is retired USN and I know that was NOT the burning question that he had.

All in all, I think debates at not all that informative because they are too scripted.

I just watched the debate for a second time and I now truly believe that this debate was scripted totally. After all, who in a so-called town hall meeting, would ask about the cold war???? That is dead, gone and last century. This was scripted. What did they pay the audience members to ask these lame questions?

the economy

It is usually estimated that salaries double every 10 yrs, thus keeping up with inflation.
I reviewed my salary history since 1969, and here is what I discovered:
1.10 / hr 1969
2.25/ hr 1972
and estimated should have been:
4.40 /hr 1980
8.80 / hr 2000 and
35.30 /2010

What this tells me is that I have made absolutely NO headway since my first job. I have barely, if at all kept up with inflation.So, if there is a nursing shortage why aren't my wages higher? Simply because nurses are not really valued, profit is king to the for-profit healthcare system.

So I am screwed. I know my children are screwed as they will make even less headway, and some, if not all. of my kids will come home at some time because they can't afford rents.

Piss on John McCain! Liar, asshole and all around old, grumpy, nasty man who gives a shit about real people. Neocons be damned. Reagan may you rot in hell. You and your for profit healthcare idea got me to this point.
Thanks for the fascist corporatocracy.


These fuckers need to be in jail with murderers and rapists as roomies!

WFT???? This just makes me absolutely furious beyond belief and beyond reason. I am so sure Sullivan was "heartbroken at what has happened." My ASS ! ! ! His heartbroken ass got a massage and probably vast quantities of alcohol and food and whatnot, while families are losing their homes, their retirement savings, struggling to put basic food on the table and put gas in their tanks. My ASS, he is heartbroken.
Can we make them do some of the world's dirtest jobs? You've seen the show. Let's make it a reality CEO show, and let these guys do the jobs. They need to sweat, get dirty and get very, very hungry. Perhaps we can even make them sleep tents, gents, that's too easy for you.
You F'ing pigs.

Rescued by taxpayers, $440,000 for retreat including "pedicures, manicures."

Less than a week after the federal government committed $85 billion to bail out AIG, executives of the giant AIG insurance company headed for a week-long retreat at a luxury resort and spa, the St. Regis Resort in Monarch Beach, California, Congressional investigators revealed today.

"Rooms at this resort can cost over $1,000 a night," Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA) said this morning as his committee continued its investigation of Wall Street and its CEOs.

AIG documents obtained by Waxman's investigators show the company paid more than $440,000 for the retreat, including nearly $200,000 for rooms, $150,000 for meals and $23,000 in spa charges.

"Their getting their pedicures and their manicures and the American people are paying for that," said Cong. Elijah Cummings (D-MD).

"This unbridled greed," said Cong. Mark Souder (R-IN), "it's an insensitivity to how people are spending our dollars."

Appearing before the committee, Martin Sullivan, the AIG CEO until June, said the company was overwhelmed by a "financial global tsunami," and that "no simple or single cause" was to blame.

"I am heartbroken at what has happened," Sullivan said.

Robert Willumstad, the CEO from June to September, 2008, maintained AIG was a victim of a "crisis in confidence" and an "unprecedented global catastrophe." "Through the first week of September we were confident AIG could weather the crisis," Willumstad testified. He said the federal government offered its $85 million bail out on the afternoon it prepared for bankruptcy. Willumstad said the Federal Reserve demanded he resign, and will turn down his AIG retirement package of several million dollars.

But Congressional investigators raised question of "mismanagement" and whether AIG executives sought to "cook the books" and hide negative information from outside auditors.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Financial crisis and comments on a discussion with 18 yr old Libertarian

My young adult daughter (Democrat) was having some difficulty understanding the current financial crisis and I realized during our discussion that although I thought I had an adequate level of understanding, I was totally unable to outline the facts or explain the who/what/when/why of the entire thing. So, I began doing some research and found some excellent articles, which I have posted previously here and elsewhere.

This morning while reading the Washington Post, I found this article by David Rothkopf, which I shared with my daughter and my husband. The first statement that struck me was this:

That's because while 9/11 changed the way we view the world, the current financial crisis has changed the way the world views us. And it will also change, in some very fundamental ways, the way the world works.

It will be interesting to see how the US is viewed in future. Much will depend, I think, upon who wins the election in Nov. We can only hope that not only does Obama win, but the House and Senate elections cause great turn over.

If only our new Congress will look at things from an entirely new perspective after Jan. 20th. Europe and Asia may well have the upper hand in the end and have to drag our leaders kicking and screaming to an innovative solution that is not of American making. (IMHO).

French President Nicolas Sarkozy concluded recently that the world has seen the end to free-market economies. "Laissez-faire, it's finished. The all-powerful market that is always right, it's finished," he said. We would, he added, need "to rebuild the entire global financial and monetary system from the bottom up, the way it was done at Bretton Woods after World War II." Germany's finance minister offered a similar perspective in remarks to his parliamentary colleagues. "The U.S. will lose its status as the superpower of the world financial system," Peer Steinbr├╝ck declared. "This world will become multipolar. The world will never be the same again."

Please take time to read the article referenced above.


Now sort of on another subject---when working the Dem HQ yesterday..

According to an 18 yr old girl (Liberterian) I spoke with yesterday the entire current economic problem is caused by people who "don't deserve" a house, and don't "deserve" credit either. This young lady, who recently moved out of her parents' home, was just so certain that lack of regulations have absolutely no bearing on this crisis, it's the whining masses of we, the citizens who take out mortgages that we know we can't afford. In addition, she thought we didn't need to regulate food because it always had E. coli in it and regulations won't change that.

I do wish I had had the time to ask her the following questions:
- What if you had been able to afford your mortgage for 10-15 years, but then due to increased property taxes and job loss the payments have become too high?
- What if you became ill, and had missed a great deal of work, and were overwhelmed by medical bills, lack of income while being out sick (with no pain sick leave or short term disability), and you could not make your payments?
-What if your job was shipped overseas and you could not find a new job that paid more than half of what you used to make?

But, when one is 18 and knows everything, it is just too easy be blind to circumstances that you have never encountered.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Lordy don't we miss Molly????

I miss Molly's humor and her wit. Today, I found this article in Salon, and just had to share it. It was written by Anne Lamont, and is a must read article for those of use how adored Molly.

Here is an excerpt:
It breaks a girl's heart to know that Molly Ivins does not get to have a go at the Republican slate this year. I can see that big, rosy, sunflower face watching this all with astonishment and roaring with laughter. Ivins -- the legendary buckaroo populist, journalist, freelance hell-raiser and freedom fighter -- would be pounding her fists on the arms of her easy chair, stomping her feet as if listening to live bluegrass.

She would have had such a ball with Sarah Palin -- the trooper scandal, her love of moose (between buns), the flamboyantly botched television interviews, the bravery of people who hunt wolves for sport, from the air. Even though Molly was a Texan -- who would have been on guard for the sneering tone of liberal criticism toward anyone with a gun or a double-wide -- she still would have obliterated Palin as a faux populist wingnut with a tanning bed instead of a heart.

go here to read the rest, which is NOT to be missed!

BBC timeline on the financial crisis

Very thorough and well done. Worth reading as it will broaden your level of understanding.

In addition, the BBC has a glossary of terms here

Friday, October 03, 2008

Who is Sarah Palin?

I know who she is, and most women do as well. She is "that girl" you know, "that girl" in high school, the one who was popular and pretty,, and would stab you in the back at the first opportunity. I have said this for the past 5 weeks, and the debate just sealed it for me. When speaking with my adult daughters, and I mentioned that fact, they both said....yeah, now that you mention it, that's her."
I have one grand daughter who is on the way to being "that girl" Evidently they are born with the proclivity for it, because even by age 6 you can see it. How this attitude is nurtured, I am not sure, but I think it has to do with the fact that even at a young age you know you are pretty and you learn how to manipulate people.
So, think of Sarah Palin as the manipulator. "That girl" from high school."
Women you know exactly what I am talking about. Right?

From the Obama blog today, I had to share this one, because it is so special

I had to post this because Katheryn's feelings mirror my own so closely. I too have a rainbow family and when I think of the importance and significance of my vote this year, well, it's astounding. I cried when I read what Katheryn had to say. See what you think:

Residents of Oberlin, Ohio are flooding the local Board of Elections to vote early this week. Two buses from Oberlin College shuttled over 100 students to vote yesterday, and over 400 Lorain County residents registered to vote. Students are excited to make their first vote in a presidential election early - especially in such an important and historic election. Buses will continue to shuttle students to register and vote this weekend.

Katheryn voted yesterday in Oberlin and told us a little bit about what that experience was like.

I was excited to vote early. When I arrived there were many cars in the parking lot with Barack Obama bumper stickers. When I went inside to vote there was already a line and a 15 minute wait. There was a muted buzz of excitement.

When it was my turn to vote, I cried.

My family, like Barack's is a lovely rainbow. I cried for my two sons, who will vote for Barack, and for the first time in their lifetime be able to see themselves and their children in him.

I voted for my late mother, a teacher, and father, a truck driver, who instilled in all of us a sense of community, responsibility, the importance of education, and struggled to send us to college.

I voted for all the men and women and children in my family who have worked for generations to contribute to this country, and after many years, have finally found a principled leader who represents us all.

I voted for my precious grandchildren for whom I've dedicated all my work for Barack to these past 19 months.

Finally, I voted for all the lost, the lonely, the disenfranchised, the poor, handicapped, ALL Americans who never had the opportunity to vote.

Today I have joined with millions of Americans of all backgrounds who have come together to help change the United States into the honorable and extraordinary country we've all known it can be -- with the help of Barack Obama.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Oh just read the bailout language,.. it's total B.S. !

Fuck this...we are about to be screwed again, by our own government!

Brent Budowsky's article most closely resembles my feelings. I cannot explain how much I feel duped, used and otherwise thwarted. I feel as if my entire life is a lie. I served my country as a civil servant and in the US Army...for this?????

From Brent Budowsky:
For whom the bell tolls
By Brent Budowsky
Posted: 09/22/08 06:38 PM [ET]
I think of my former boss Lloyd Bentsen, who, as a senator and Treasury secretary, drew on his experience as CEO and financier with one iron and inviolable rule.

Bentsen probably knew more about finance than any person who ever served in the Senate. He never made rash decisions. He always insisted that he, and his staff, have total grasp of issues and carefully consider all options.

Today the president, the Fed, the Treasury, the markets and the Congress are violating Bentsen’s cardinal rule and acting at a dangerous moment in the most half-assed manner, in haste and panic, not fully understanding the problem, the solution, or the implications.

1. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson should present Congress with their anticipated calendar for spending the $700 billion they request. Congress should immediately pass one-third of the money with unanimous bipartisan support.

2. Over the next month the administration and Congress should collaborate on executing the program, assessing mid-course corrections, devising reforms of bankruptcy laws, enacting economic stimulus for Main Street and bringing the Group of Seven into the solution.

This would restore common sense and reassure markets, investors and taxpayers while sharing the burden with European and Asian players, lowering the cost to Americans and increasing the chance of success.

The bell tolls today for all of us, but especially, in a historic generational crime, the bell tolls for young people who will pay for the gluttony, misdeeds and incompetence of the adults.

The girl in the baby carriage, the boy on the playground, the high school kids, the college students, the men and women in uniform will pay for the sins and shames of their elders:

A disastrous healthcare system. Pollution and global warming. A trillion-dollar budget deficit . National debt well over $10 trillion. Social Security in crisis. Long-term veterans’ needs that are underfunded by $500 billion or more. An energy disaster that oil drilling will not materially improve while oil markets are corrupted by rampant and extreme speculation. Education that lags in a brutally competitive world.

This is a moral crime by the old against the young. Now, without serious debate, without checks and balances, without understanding the implications of actions, we rush in haste and panic to risk stratospheric sums of taxpayer money and to destroy the capability of the next President and Congress to address grave and unmet needs. Anyone who claims a $700 billion bailout will not mandate an enormous tax increase later is delusional or lying.

We faced a run on the bank by the rich. Then a run on the bank by the banks. Now a raid on the Treasury in which taxpayers are forced to bail out today and finance tomorrow the greed, gluttony and incompetence in the scandal of our times.

Young people are told they are not old enough to drink, but they are young enough to die in wars while our reckless behavior takes precedence over their body armor, Humvees and medical care. Government creates unimaginable debt while giving moral lectures to workers who run up credit card bills to make ends meet.

Those who have the most are not asked what they can do for our country. Those who suffer are forced to pay the cost, for those who made millions while making this mess.

Let’s step back and think about this. For whom does the bell toll? For us.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Keating 5 anybody?

Fox Cuts Off Guest for Mentioning the Keating Five

By hrebendorf - September 26, 2008, 2:19PM
This is a fun clip. Appearing on Fox & Friends this morning, conservative jackass Michael Reagan, in an attack on Obama and the Democratic leadership, launched into a rant about Enron and Worldcom. Guest Mike Papantonio, rightly figuring they were talking about history, brought up the Keating Five scandal, at which point, host Steve "Douchebag" Doocy immediately tried to shut him down. The producer can even be heard off camera calling for someone to cut Papantonio's mic:

Here is the Fox Video...

From Ray Story the transcript:

'Cut his mike,' producer suggests

The Keating Five scandal, and John McCain's role in it, has received relatively little mention in presidential campaign coverage, and at least one Fox News host seems dedicated to keeping it that way.

Appearing Thursday morning on Fox & Friends, radio host Mike Papantonio tried to remind viewers about McCain's intervention with federal regulators on behalf of real estate mogul Charles Keating, who was trying to avoid regulations of a savings and loan he owned during the S&L crisis of the 1980s.

F&F's Steve Doocy told Papantonio to "pipe down," called him "rude" and demanded he "cut it out." A show producer could be overheard saying "cut his mike."

As Papantonio tries one last time to explain the details of the Keating Five scandal, Doocy again cuts him off.

"This is not the History Channel," he says.

Papantonio's apparent crime was interrupting fellow guest Michael Reagan, the conservative radio host, who was arguing that it would be unfair to judge McCain based on his actions 20 years ago.

"It has everything to do with what's happening today," Papantonio said before being told to pipe down.

Regardless of whether Papantonio was being rude, preserving an orderly debate certainly could not have been Doocy's goal in silencing the guest. Not two minutes before his admonition that Papantonio was "being rude," Doocy repeatedly interrupted his guest to deliver talking points that might as well have been written by the McCain campaign.

At least three times Doocy interrupted Papantonio as he argued that McCain's political gambit to "suspend" his campaign and delay Friday's debate was more a response to his flagging poll numbers than an attempt to fix the economic crisis. Doocy wasn't buying it.

"If Barack Obama wants to do so much for the economy, why doesn't he go to his day job and work in the US senate?" he asked Reagan, cutting off Papantonio's argument.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Stealing America vote by vote


I have written many posts on the current financial crisis which can be viewed at The Kendallian Voice, and which I will not repeat here.
Suffice it to say, stop the BS, don't give our tax dollars away without protecting the middle class. We will not stand for this shock disaster capitalism!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Thoughts on the financial crisis we are embroiled in...

We have had long discussions at our house regarding the current financial crisis. We both feel that anything the government rushes into can't be a good thing. We were happy to hear Rep. DeFazio of Oregon on Cspan this morning and called his office to give him our thanks, for saying that more time and more review needed to be done before anything was passed. Then we called Rep. Lamar Smith's office to state our case.
Who did you call today??

Then low and behold, later in the day, THE Goddess of Radio, Randi Rhodes posted her thoughts.....just what we had been saying here at home all morning. Thanks Randi, for putting it so well.

From Randi Rhodes:
This is THE PATRIOT ACT ALL OVER AGAIN. Anything Congress RUSHES through will be THE WRONG RESPONSE and take from you all that you have. Freedom, privacy, money, credit, all of it must go!

The massive "bailout package" has to be paid for.

How? Perhaps a massive tax increase, definitely very tight credit markets for you and for small businesses. There will be bank merger after bank merger which will limit competition for loans and bank services. The Treasury will hire "contractors" through "no bid contracts" to place a "value" on valueless paper and set the price YOU have to pay to settle all the debt. NO one will really know how to price these things. NO one will know what they're doing, but everyone will get INTO THE BUSINESS of buying and selling these worthless assets.

There will be a bail out of both foreign and domestic banks with your tax dollars, and all of this will happened without REGULATIONS or OVERSIGHT .

THE REAL SOLUTION IS THE ONE YOU KNOW. If the markets were regulated NOW and Mortgage holders would be permitted to renegotiate the principal on their home loans this would STOP dead in it's tracks. Every individual with a bad loan could offer to pay 60 cents on the dollar, more or less and keep their home.

If we could make deals with credit card companies to settle our debts this would stop now because we'd have more money in our pockets to prop up the Economy.

If we raised taxes on Billionaires who created this mess and forced them to pay for this, This would stop NOW.

If we lowered taxes on Small Businesses and gave them low cost inventory loans THIS WOULD STOP NOW.

If we lowered taxes on everyone making less than 2M a year, and raised taxes through the roof on those who had profits of over $10 Million this would stop NOW. Small businesses would pop up all over America and people could go back to work, small business would flourish and the taxes we pay at the lower rates would pay down the DEBT.

If we left Iraq NOW we would add 10 Billion a MONTH to the Treasury.

This Government Bailout of banks BEFORE they fail, including FOREIGN BANKS with Taxpayer dollars is PRE EMPTIVE FINANCIAL WAR on the American People. It is the last part of Shock and Awe.

DO NOT SIT IDLY BY. Demand that this stop. DEAD COLD.


Give Homeowners the ability to negotiate home loans, car loans, credit card debt .
Set up a Resolution Trust Corporation to buy back homes we can't afford to keep with a Board of Directors to monitor all purchases and sales.
Immediately force Financial Institutions to stop paying dividends to shareholders.
Sell the hard assets of failed financial institutions, offices, buildings, computers, desks, any real property they owned.
Oversight on the entire Bailout process through a Board of Directors to oversee any acution of company assets.
Charge CEOs with fraud and levy huge fines on those who profited from Fraud and Misery.
Enact a law that states that a CEO can not make more than 144 times the amount the lowest paid worker makes.
Ban NO BID contracts with shadowy people who for a profit will price and sell assets, loans, banks.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Police illegally arrest Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!

She went to check on her cameraman and a producer who were taking videos of the protest. Her staffers were swept up by the police, even while wearing press credentials. When Amy went to ask about having her staffers released, she was arrested. Incredible, unbelieveable. What ever happened to freedom of assembly and freedom of speech? The press, as our watchdogs of democracy should not be treated like this, nor should the peaceful protesters. What a fascist state we live in!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

We did it! Obama is the nominee!

I listened to Cspan at work (love my XM radio) and then hopped in my car to go home an could not find Cspan on XM but listened to the roll call on CNN, and by the time I got to HEB, Nebraska had cast its votes. Whoo hoo! My sort-of home state had cast most of its votes for Obama. Then I ran, literally through HEB to pick up items for dinner. When I reached the produce section, my friend June called me to tell me what had happened, we had nominated Obama! So, I stood in the produce section of HEB, crying my eyes out and excitedly discussing the results with June. I was so excited, I cried all the way home!
Of course folks in HEB thought I had lost my mind, I am sure. However, it was such a momentous occasion, I was brought to tears. We DID IT! We DID IT!

Now the work begins in earnest. We have to work to turn Texas blue. Thanks everyone for all your efforts so far, and let us go out and work even harder.


I must thank Hillary and Bil Clinton for being so wonderful, and so courteous and so supportive of Barack Obama. Hillary showed such graciousness, and I applaud her for that.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Yes we support Obama.

June 2007, we worked hard at his event and got to meet him after we worked hours in the hot sun. It was our 35th wedding anniversary, and we got personal congratulations from Barack, and a signed t-shirt!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Why I spend my free time on politics and the upcoming election

To my friends and family:

--if this is too preachy, sorry...I can only hope I am preaching to the choir....

I worked for local, state and national candidates this weekend, Then, in my spare time, I also worked on stuff from my real job. Gotta love that overtime (brought to you by Democrats, by the way). This upcoming election is so important to me that when I am not working at my job, I am working for the candidates in the upcoming election. We need to re-think America, and where we are going, and the only way to do that is to elect leaders with new ideas. Barack Obama is one of those new leaders...and there are more in your own hometown and your own state. Help them!

However, my most important job this weekend was getting the word out on our local candidates (Daniel Boone and Gwen King) and Rick Noriega (running for US Senate) as well as Barack Obama. Working for these candidates and getting voters registered is by far the most valuable thing I can do at this moment in time. This is our moment and our time....let's elect Obama and at least 60 other Democrats to the Senate. The magic number is 60!

Come -- and help us do the work that will change our country for the better. It's really not hard to get off the couch, it's just one step....then another.....towards a greater future. Join me and your friends and family...go outside and do something positive! You will feel so much better.

We can't do this without you! Please register voters, support a candidate, visit a Vet at BAMC, or Audie Murphy, contribute a bit of yourself to make our nation a better place to live. Hope to see you soon!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Out in the heat promoting Democratic values

Oh my it was hot! Verrrrrrryyyyy hot. Nevertheless, we were out at Boerne Market Days, registering voters, swaying opinion, and informing voters in Kendall County. We met tourists from all over Texas and the USA and reminded them of the importance of voting Democratic this year.

Daniel Boone, running for a Texas Representative seat was out there both days, meeting and greeting potential voters.

As always the amazing Kendall County Democrats staffed the booth despite the heat, and as usual, had a great time spreading the word about the values of the Democratic party.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Dems: Grassroots to shape the platform

The "Pie and Platform" meeting generated many items that we sent to the Obama campaign, as requested. Apparently, according to HuffPo, Obama's campaign received thousands of submissions. Will they be used? Well here is what Huffpo had to say today:

Attendees of the Democratic Platform Meetings co-organized by the Obama Campaign and the DNC believed their policy proposals and ideas would be strongly considered by the Platform Drafting Committee, according to reports filed by OffTheBus Special Ops. It remains unclear how the DNC and the Obama campaign will accomplish this logistical feat. Recent news reports of the Drafting Committee's progress do not mention any review of several thousand platform submissions. The draft has not been posted publicly for review, but various ideas incorporated into the document have been reported on.

I am hopeful something that we wrote gets included. Time will tell.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Racism, when Obama jokes about Presidents on our money?

Give me a break. Puhleez. Grampy McCain, et al, just get over it. Grampy mentioned the dollar bill images in June, but now it's news? Well, how else does Grampy get in the news cycle, I guess.
All the baloney in the latest news cycle brings me back to a post on another blog that I have about bento boxes. I am proud that my family encompasses more than one or two racial/ethic groups. We are quintessentially what makes up the fabric of our nation, a veritable tapestry of humanity, with many ideas, many foods, many traditions, all of which help make our country a better place -- and can do so, if we just stop bickering about our differences and instead embrace and enjoy our differences. And how do we start? FOOD. Food is what brings us together, we like food, and we like ethnic food. So if the food is so good, what is the matter with the people??? Huh???? Tell me that one. Oh...they don't look like you. Well, get over it and try to meet people that don't look like you. This might come as a shock to you, but most people in the world really just want to have a family and raise their family in peace, and with love. Doesn't matter where they come from or what their religion, etc. They just want to raise good kids. So, take a step up to the plate and as you embrace that Mexican, Cuban, Thai, Chinese, and Soul food that tastes so good, go meet the people from that country and thank them for their style of cooking that you love so much. It is a start.

My previous post on this subject, from last Easter Sunday:
We decided not to celebrate Easter twice this year. For once we will only celebrate Orthodox Easter on April 27th. It worked out great, we relaxed and the grandkids had Easter festivities at the other Grandma's house. I did get the urge to cook, when I discovered our HEB (grocery store) was closed and I had to fix lunch for Monday with what I had in the house.
I came up with a Tandoori chicken with leftover greek yogurt, and a sort-of tabbouleh with Manchego cheese, tomatoes and green onion. Mexico meets the middle east so to speak.

We are all looking forward to Orthodox Easter and our favorite foods: Pashka (cheese), Kulich (bread), Mama's blini (crepes, which I have not mastered yet) and piroshki (yeast bread rolls filled with a meat mixture). Yummy. Everybody's favorite is the bread and cheese, even my new son-in-law is a fan, and it is sure very different from the food he grew up with in Puerto Rico, but he loves it.

We are the quintessential American family comprising 6 ethnic and/or racial groups, sharing our foods and customs across the board. We are proud of our various heritages and holidays, celebrating Russian Orthodox Easter, Cinco de Mayo, 4th of July, Dia de los Muertos, Three Kings Day, Martin Luther King Day, and various saints days (Catholic, Orthodox and Episcopalian). We ARE America, we are what makes our country so special and so great....a mix of cultures, ideas, love and faith. Our children and grandchildren are the future of our nation, and the colors of our nation. We are so proud of all of them.

So, in the spirit of rebirth, in this Easter season, please take time to let new ideas take wing. It is time for us to discuss where our nation needs to go, how we put our dreams into action, and how we work for a future for ALL of us, no matter our color, or belief system.

To quote Barack Obama (who we support):

In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination - and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past - are real and must be addressed. Not just with words, but with deeds - by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations. It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper.

In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less, than what all the world's great religions demand - that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us be our brother's keeper, Scripture tells us. Let us be our sister's keeper. Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Random thoughts

My first language was Japanese. I was watching the original Iron Chef and tried to remember the first song I ever learned. After about 10 mins of cogitation, I remembered it!
Don't know what it means, and it is spelled phonetically (as I was only 5 when I knew this song)

Mushi mushi anno nay, anno nay, mushi mushi annoy nay ah so deska.

Like I said, just a random thought.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

HBO series John Adams

My favorite lines so far:

As the Continental Congress meets, and is hesitant to declare war, John and Abigail Adams have this conversation:

Abigail Adams: Send a woman to the Congress. She might knock some sense into them.

John Adams: This is not a question of men and women Abigail. This is a matter of politics.

Abigail: Politics. Politics?

John: Mmm.

Abigail: And do women not live politics John Adams? When I go to the cupboard and I find no coffee, no sugar, no pins and no meat, am I not living politics?

Deja Vu

Do you remember gas lines? Inflation? I do, and it's all coming back, wait and see. Funny the "rice shortage" scare was averted so quickly, what will be next? Are we sheep to be herded from one made up fear to another?

From McClatchy..., on how it's like the 70's all over again...inflation rears its ugly head.

Fed policymakers in April projected a dismal growth rate for 2008 of between 0.3 percent and 1.2 percent. That forecast implies that the slowing economy will dampen inflation's embers before they ignite into fire.

That suggests "no tightening (of interest rates) until the end of the year," said Reinhart, now a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative policy group.

But what happens if a hurricane rips through the oil-rich Gulf of Mexico later this summer? Researchers for investment bank Goldman Sachs & Co. predict that'd send oil to $200 a barrel. And $200 oil would send all kinds of prices skyward, creating the potential for 1970s style inflation.

"That really gives the Fed very big headaches, because $200 oil is going to set back the economy big time and the U.S. big time," said Gramley, the Reagan-era Fed governor. "There just aren't any easy options in this case."

SIDEBAR BOX (165 words 5")

Factors affecting inflation -- the rise in prices across the economy.

Rising oil price: Makes virtually everything that we eat or make more expensive. Oil prices affect the costs of plastic, packaging, chemicals, fertilizers, transportation and sundry other products.

Weak dollar: Makes imports more expensive, adding to inflation. The weak dollar is also partly to blame for high oil prices since foreign producers demand more dollars for the same barrel of oil to make up for the dollar's diminished value.

Economic slowdown: Bad for consumers and business, good for inflation. Slow growth moderates inflation, which ticks up as the economy heats up.

Imports: For the last 15 years, low-priced imports have kept inflation low. Shoes, clothing and electronics made in Asia cost Americans jobs, but also lower costs of products we buy. China is now facing its own inflation problem, with an official rate near 8 percent, which translates into higher-priced imports for American consumers and adds to inflation pressures here.

Recommendations for reading and viewing

This book is excellent and I suggest you read it before seeing the HBO movie John Adams. It is not crucial that you read the book first, but I think it helps.

Movie..John Adams, best price so far found on

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Oil prices, dark markets, ENRON-like deals

Our young people, can't afford the gas to go to work, and buy groceries. Ask around and you will hear their horror stories. Yet, nobody is protesting in the streets. Why? Ignorance of the facts. I have put a few facts together to get you started on looking up more on the subject. Your next the farm bill, and tell your state and federal legislators that you want something done about oil prices, you want the ENRON loophole closed!

From Oil Watchdog:

If I told you that Venezuela's crackpot leader Hugo Chavez is responsible for crude oil hitting $100 a barrel in futures trading today, would you believe me? I hope not. But the speculators who drove up the price are pointing wildly at Chavez's spat with Exxon, at a refinery fire in Texas and at OPEC. Meantime the hedge fund speculators are hauling in dough, with a big side benefit for oil company profits. You and I and the national economy pay the price.

We'll never know exactly how the trick was pulled off, or by who, because so much energy trading is done in unregulated markets created by the corporate criminals of Enron. Congress has in its hands a partial cure for the speculative excess. If lawmakers don't have the guts to act now, closing the loophole opened by Enron, they should have their heads handed to them by consumers.

There is so much more to read about this....and when you do you will come to the realization that we, the lowly American citizens, the "proles" (you did read 1984 didn't you?), the proletariat, the dumb and mooing masses, are being screwed to the wall by the corporations and their shills in the White House and in our Congress.

The sponsors of the Farm Bill, Democratic Senators Harkin, Stabenow, Baucus, Conrad, Leahy and Lincoln; Republican Senators Chambliss, Grassley, Cochran, Roberts. This farm bill has a provision in it to close the "ENRON loophole."

Regulating the markets... From the Oil and Gas Journal,

Senate to FTC, CFTC: police markets aggressively

Two federal regulatory agencies are moving too timidly in response to record crude oil prices, US Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) said during a Senate committee hearing on energy market manipulation and federal regulatory regimes.

Cantwell will press both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to regulate oil and commodity markets more aggressively, Cantwell said following the June 3 Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing, which she chaired.

She wants FTC to issue an interim rule under the oil market investigation and regulation authority it received under the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act while it completes its formal regulatory rulemaking process.

She also intends to continue pressuring CFTC to revoke "no action" letters issued by its staff that allow electronic exchanges operating outside US borders to continue trading West Texas Intermediate crude oil and related commodities without being directly regulated, Cantwell said.

"Our oil futures markets were substantially deregulated by CFTC staff decisions that were made behind closed doors," she said in her opening statement.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Our early anniversary present

Almost one year ago, we volunteered for Barack Obama's event in San Antonio. We were excited about our candidate and we worked hours in the hot sun parking cars for Obama's event. It was our 35th wedding anniversary. How romantic! LOL.

Following the event, Barack Obama met with the volunteers and when told it was our 35th wedding anniversary, he congratulated us with gusto, and signed my shirt.

Now almost one year later, he is the presumptive nominee for our party! We are so excited, what a great 36th wedding anniversary present! Go Barack!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Should nurses be banned from taking gifts from patients?

My thoughts as posted on Medscape, do note I disagree with the word "exceptional", as nurses should be giving excellent care to ALL thier patients.

The question was this:
"Should nurses be banned from receiving gifts from those who received exceptional care from them? What’s your take on this?"

My Comments:

My thoughts are pro and con. 31 years ago, my co-workers and our patients threw a baby shower for me. This was on an Oncology floor, and many of our patients were not expected to survive their experimental cancer treatment. I was the first pregnant nurse in that facility in many, many years. The gifts that I recieved for my eldest daughter, many of which were hand made, are among some of the most precious things I have ever received. Even now, 31 years later, I can remember the names and faces of these patients, and the joy they had in making, or buying these items for my expected child. Many of them were still on the unit when I brought my newly born infant daughter by for everyone to see and to hold. The joy that I got from the gifts, and the joy my patients had when holding my newborn daughter were boundless.
So, yes, gifts can be wonderful. To this day I still take gifts of prepackaged food to nurses who are caring for my family members. I just think it is a thoughtful thing to do, and that it is not asking for favors, it's just a way to say thank you. It's not like getting free food, pens and post-it notes from drug companies, I think it is just a personal touch. Many will disagree with me. However, the baby gifts that were freely given to me, by my patients, back in the dark ages, are still revered at my home. Sometimes we will sit on the memory quilt made by my sister, in the (now) guest room upstairs and go through the box of things that my daughers had as babies. As I pull each item out to show my granddaughters I explain, this was from XXXX who lived in Moline, and she gave this to your mommy, and this was from a family in Iran, and this was from a reknowned newspaper food editor...and I remember each and every person, and the love and care that was expressed with each and every item given to me for my eldest daughter in 1976.
So, it can be a good thing, but is it necessary? No. Should we show favoritism for the family members that give gifts? No.
Each and every one of our patients, no matter their circumstances, should recieve the best of care from us, no matter what.
However, in recent years I have seen the less altrustic side of gift giving. Families trying to garner favor, etc. To me, this is tragic and sad.
The best rule of thumb would be to let patients and their families know that if they want to give something to the nursing staff, it should be something everyone can share, such as flowers, a tin of popcorn or things like that.
Sigh, the days of sweet and thoughtful gifts are probably gone forever. I will think of that the next time I open the (still gummy after 30 yrs) decoupaged box that was given to me by a patient's daughter. The patient, age 23, passed away soon after I was given the little box. I still use the box.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Should we "Kevorkianize" the elderly?

My comments as posted on the McClatchy news page:

Basically, our so-called legislators want to rid our nation of "inconvenient people," you know, the elderly, the chronically ill....those inconvenient people who actually require healthcare.
Here's my idea. Let's challenge these idiots to line up all the inconvenient people they can find (oh you horrible oxygen users!) on the national mall. Then invite CNN and Fox to televise the proceedings as these inconvienent people are summarily executed.
Isn't that what they are really doing, quietly, and behind the scenes as they eliminate health care resources for those who need it?
As you well know, if the nation didn't see it on TV, well it didn't happen. So it should be shown on national TV; either executions of the ill, or we could put on a reality show, where we could watch people die, real time, as their oxygen, dialysis and medications were removed.

Furthermore, is Grandpa going to change out his oxygen tanks himself? Will he just plop the tank in the back of his Buick? An E cylinder weighs 13.5 lbs, but an H cylinder weighs 145 lbs. And, I am sure that Grandpa or Grandma knows how to trouble shoot the entire oxygen system that they use at home. They can change out parts, etc. after all, Grandma is a whiz with a screw driver!
Even if you buy the thing, you still need help when things don't work, or you can't manage to do it yourself. After all, not everyone can even open an E or H cylinder, it does take a bit of muscle to wrangle the wrench.
Guess we better send Grandma and Grandpa to the gym so they can work on strengthening exercises. Oh and let's send them to RT school so they learn to fix their own oxygen systems. After all, my husband learned to be an RRT in just a couple of years time, after he got his bachelor's degree. Piece of cake, ya'll.


The article:
Congress passed a law requiring a 36-month cap on renting equipment after the Department of Health and Human Services' inspector general put a spotlight on the disparate costs. After Jan. 1, 2009, Medicare beneficiaries who have been renting their equipment for three years will own the equipment, and the medical suppliers will get no more payments....

Critics argue that transferring ownership would be a mistake. Hundreds of small providers would be driven out of business, they say, and the elderly no longer would have their equipment serviced by the medical suppliers.

"Think of a World War II veteran," said Republican Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas. "He now has ownership of the oxygen tank. He says to his wife, Mabel, 'Mabel, how do I attach this oxygen so it works?' And she says, 'Well, it'd be a good idea, dear, if you put out your cigar.' I just don't think that that is the right way to go. This is the perfect storm."

Roberts has introduced a bill called the Home Oxygen Patient Protection Act to try to stop the change.

President Bush included the 13-month cap in his proposed 2009 budget in February. The administration mentioned the cuts again last month as a way to offset increased spending on a new farm bill.

Rep. Collin Peterson, a Minnesota Democrat who heads the House Agriculture Committee, quickly rejected the proposal.

Companies that provide home oxygen services say that Congress is targeting them unfairly. Benefits for their services are set to be cut by $1.5 billion over the next two years. That represents a reduction of more than 20 percent, said Peter Kelly, the chairman of the Council for Quality Respiratory Care, a group of home oxygen providers and manufacturers.

"That's not tinkering — that's amputation," he said. "And to consider further cuts on top of that is unwise public policy."

Kelly disputed the inspector general's report, calling it a politically motivated study. He said it was misleading to compare the costs of owning and renting equipment because the latter included service and supplies. And if elderly patients no longer have their equipment serviced, Kelly said, more of them will end up in emergency rooms, driving up costs in the long run.

The inspector general's report defended the plan, saying the machines require minimal servicing and maintenance and that the companies usually train users on how to maintain them.

"Maintenance for a portable system primarily consists of picking up empty cylinders and delivering full ones," the report said.

"Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine told Leavitt that the proposed cuts would have "a Draconian impact on states" that are serving the most needy.

"It represents broad-based cuts. ... It's going to represent 16 percent cuts for physician payments. You're cutting long-term care, hospice, home health care, hospitals, across the board," she said.

More than 1.4 million Medicare beneficiaries used home oxygen therapy in 2005, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Florida ranked first, with 125,200, followed by Texas and California, with 110,200 and 88,400, respectively. Alaska ranked lowest among the 50 states, with 1,500.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Bill Clinton during his campaign, vote for the person with hope

The past always comes back to haunt you. Hillary Clinton has resorted to fear mongering, but what did her husband say when HE ran?

The Silent Coup

We need a constitutional scholar to put things right, and that would be Sen. Obama. IMOH. Vote Obama Texas.

The Silent Coup:
How a Nation Ruled by Law, Becomes a Nation Ruled by Men

By Liza Persson
OpEd News

Thursday 28 February 2008

"We are living in an era of extraordinary expansion of executive authority…."

- Arlen Specter United States Senator (Republican Pennsylvania)

"[the Adminstration] asserted a broad doctrine of presidential "inherent authority" to ignore the laws passed by Congress when prosecuting the war on terror. In other words, the rule of law is suspended, and the President is above the law, for the uncertain and no doubt lengthy duration of the undefined war on terror"

- Patrick Leahy United States Senator (Democrat Vermont)

"If Congress doesn't have the power to define the contours of the President's Article II powers through legislation…//…If the President's legal theory, which is shared by some of our witnesses today, is correct…//…Under this theory, we no longer have a constitutional system consisting of three co-equal branches of government, we have a monarchy"

- Russ Feingold United States Senator (Democrat Wisconsin)

"It is our duty as loyal Americans to shut up once the fighting begins. Once the war against Saddam begins, we expect every American to support our military, and if they can't do that is to shut up."

- Bill O'Reilly

There is a battle far from getting the attention it deserves considering the stakes - the rule and governing of the USA.

You would only notice with great difficulty and after spending a lot of time viewing hearing in various congressional committees, picking up a piece here and another there, and painstakingly putting them into a historical context in a far from obvious manner.

At the center is the question of presidential power vis-a-vis the congress, a group of embittered individuals set on making right what they consider a violation of the constitution.

When many Americans saw a restoration of balance of power when Congress went after and eventually reined in the Executive Branch in the Iran-Contra Affair, others saw an unconstitutional and deeply offensive act of neutering. The same people saw the same unconstitutional usurpation of executive powers when, following the Vietnam War, laws were passed and investigations were launched attempting to explore and rein in what was seen as abuses of the executive branch's wartime powers (e.g Church Committee, Pike Committee, War Powers Act ).

Such an interpretations of congressional actions during this period, has been voiced by Robert F Turner - co-founder of the Center for National Security Law at the University of Virginia School of Law who served as counsel to the President's Intelligence Oversight Board, 1982-84. "My conclusion is the President has broken no constitutional law, but Congress in the wake of Vietnam broke many, with terrible consequences. I strongly recommend that the Committee rewrite the resolution to censure the post-Vietnam Congress which violated its oath of office of its members, undermined our security and contributed directly to the consignment to communist tyranny in Indochina of tens of millions of people we had promised to defend and to the slaughter of millions of others" One of them was Dick Cheney and the man who would become his legal advisor, David Addington.Turthout

Thursday, February 28, 2008

I want a President who can bust a move and is smart too!

Here he is....
Barack Obama on Ellen.

How about a little Reggaeton?

Who is Barack Obama?

Watch the video, and be inspired. What do we need? New ideas and a constitutional scholar, and someone who will promote peace and justice and be respected across the world. Barack Obama is that man. Vote for Obama Texas!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Yes We Can!!!!!

Obama takes the following states:
North Dakota


Texas we are in play. Vote Obama!

It looke like Obama wins the delegate count! And we do know that expats are voting Obama for sure.

Monday, January 28, 2008

AlamObama South Carolina victory party

BubbleShare: Share photos - Play some Online Games.

Yes progressivegrannie was knitting with Terrie. Gotta do something to calm the nerves, and black or white, knitting/crocheting, is a universal skill, joy, and nerve calmer.
Knitters/crocheters unite for Obama!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Interesting facts about South Carolina pertinent to the primary

The South Carolina You Won't See on CNN
South Carolina Primary Colors: Black and White?

by Greg Palast

South Carolina 2000: Six hundred police in riot gear facing a few dozen angry-as-hell workers on the docks of Charleston. In the darkness, rocks, clubs and blood fly. The cops beat the crap out of the protesters. Of course, it's the union men who are arrested for conspiracy to riot. And of course, of the five men handcuffed, four are Black. The prosecutor: a White, Bible-thumping Attorney General running for Governor. The result: a state ripped in half - White versus Black.

South Carolina 2008: On Saturday, the Palmetto State may well choose our President, or at least the Democrat's idea of a President. According to CNN and the pundit-ocracy, the only question is, Will the large Black population vote their pride (for Obama) or for "experience" (Hillary)? In other words, the election comes down to a matter of racial vanity.

The story of the dockworkers charged with rioting in 2000 suggest there's an awfully good reason for Black folk to vote for one of their own. This is the chance to even the historic score in this land of lingering Jim Crow where the Confederate Flag flew over the capital while the longshoreman faced Southern justice.

But maybe there's more to South Carolina's story than Black and White.

Let's re-wind the tape of the 2000 battle between cops and Black men. It was early that morning on the 19th of January when members of International Longshoremen's Association Local 1422 "shaped up" to unload a container ship which had just pulled into port. It was hard work for good pay. An experienced union man could earn above $60,000 a year.

In this last hold-out of the Confederacy, it was one of the few places a Black man could get decent pay. Or any man.

That day, the stevedoring contractor handling the unloading decided it would hire the beggars down the dock, without experience or skills - and without union cards - willing to work for just one-third of union scale.

That night, union workers - Black, White, Whatever - fought for their lives and livelihoods.

At the heart of the turmoil in South Carolina in 2000 then, was not so much Black versus White, but union versus non-union. It was a battle between those looking for a good day's pay versus those looking for a way not to pay it. The issue was - and is - class war, the conflict between the movers and the shakers and the moved and shaken.

The dockworkers of Charleston could see the future of America right down the road. Literally. Because right down the highway, they could see their cousins and brothers who worked in the Carolina textile mills kiss their jobs goodbye as they loaded the mill looms onto trains for Mexico.

The President, Bill Clinton, had signed NAFTA, made China a "most favored nation" in trade and urged us, with a flirtatious grin, to "make change our friend."

But "change," apparently, wasn't in a friendly mood. In 2000, Guilford Mills shuttered its Greensboro, Carolina, fabric plant and reopened it in Tampico, Mexico. Four-hundred jobs went south. Springs Mills of Rock Hill, SC, closed down and abandoned 480 workers. Fieldcrest-Cannon pulled out of York, SC, and Great America Mills simply went bust.

South Carolina, then, is the story of globalization left out of Thomas Friedman's wonders-of-the-free-market fantasies.

This week, while US media broadcasts cute-sy photo-ops from Black churches and replay the forgettable spats between candidates, the real issues of South Carolina are, thankfully, laid out in a book released today: On the Global Waterfront, by Suzan Erem and E. Paul Durrenberger.

Erem and Durrenberger portray the case of the Charleston Five dockworkers as an exemplary, desperate act of economic resistance.

Thomas Friedman's bestseller, The World is Flat, begins with his uplifting game of golf with a tycoon in India. Erem and Durrenberger never put on golf shoes: their book is globalization stripped down to its dirty underpants.

While Friedman made the point that he flew business class to Bangalore on his way to the greens to meet his millionaire, Global Waterfront's authors go steerage class. And the people they write about don't go anywhere at all. These are the stevedores who move the containers of Wal-Mart T-shirts from Guatemala to sell to customers in Virginia who can't afford health insurance because they lost their job in the textile mill.

And the book talks about (cover the children's ears!) - labor unions.

South Carolina is union country. And union-busting country. But who gives a flying fart about labor unions today? Only 7%, one in fourteen US workers belongs to one. That's less than the number of Americans who believe that Elvis killed John Kennedy.

Think "longshoremen" and what comes to mind is On the Waterfront with Marlon Brando, the good guy, beating up the evil union boss. The union bosses were the thugs, mobbed-up bullies, the dockworkers' enemies. The movie's director, Stanley Kramer, perfectly picked up the anti-union red-baiting Joe McCarthy zeitgeist of that era of - which could go down well today.

Elected labor leaders are, in our media, always "union bosses." But the real bosses, the CEOs, the guys who shutter factories and ship them to China … they're never "bosses," they're "entrepreneurs."

Indeed, the late and lionized King of Union Busters, Sam Walton, would be proud today, were he alive, to learn that the woman he called, "my little lady," Hillary Clinton, whom he placed on Wal-Mart's Board of Directors, is front-runner for the presidency. She could well become America's "Greeter," posted at our nation's door, to welcome the Saudis and Chinese who are buying America at a guaranteed low price.

So what happened those five union men charged felonious reioting in 2000? Through an international union campaign, they won back their freedom - and their union jobs - after the dockworkers of Spain, the true heroes of globalization, refused to unload the South Carolina scab cargoes.

Erem and Durrenberger ask themselves why they were so drawn to a story of five Carolina cargo-handlers put in prison a decade ago. Maybe it's because the Charleston Five show how courage and heart and solidarity can lead to victory in the midst of a mad march into globalization that threatens to turn us all into the Wal-Mart Five Billion.

See video of the dockworkers' uprising and read more from the book, On the Global Waterfront, by Suzan Erem and E. Paul Durrenberger (introduction by Greg Palast) at