Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Where's the Bottom?

I work for a non-profit organization that works towards affordable housing for a low-income community, so part of my job and my interest is to research the current housing market and real estate trends. I have also taken several courses in property law and estates, so it's a career interest as well. It has been very fascinating and absorbing, and a little frightening, to read about the collapse of the real estate market, particularly as a result of the alternative mortgages like subprimes, Alt-As, etc.

And this report from 60 Minutes shows that we may not be even close to the bottom when it comes to the mortgage collapse. There is a second wave of writeoffs and defaults coming. I find the economy so unique right now. It's like being stuck underground on the train tracks, and when you see the light, you think you're going to get out, but it's just another train coming at you. Put another way, when you think the worst is over, it really is not.

A few things I found striking about this report: In Miami-Dade County, one repo company (who comes and has to take things out of homes, and if necessary, people) gets assigned 20 to 30 foreclosed properties A DAY. You had anthestiaoglogists being real estate speculators. And 1 out of every 10 mortgage-holders are behind on their payments.

Watch CBS Videos Online

I'm Back, Hopefully

School is over for the semester, and I am almost done with my Paralegal Program. Just one more class in the spring. I can't believe how quickly it's passed, I took my first class last winter, the day after Christmas, and a year later, I am 3 credits short. I had a really good time, learned a lot, and will hopefully be working at a firm in the near-future. I know the economy's terrible, and I'm trying to be as versatile in many areas as possible, but I am still optimistic.

So, I am still busy working, and prepping for my last course (Civil Litigation) in the spring, and studying for my Notary Exam which I hope to take in the spring, but I won't have as much schoolwork to do, so I will be blogging a little more frequently than I had been in the past year or so.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Shield: The Best Show on Television, Ever

Everyone knows I'm a huge fan of "24". I've long said that it's my favorite show and probably the best show ever. But this season, another show that I've also been a fan of for a long time, has knocked it off its perch. That show is "The Shield", which is in its final season, and will be airing its series finale this coming Tuesday at 10.

When I first saw commercials for "The Shield", before its debut in March of 2002, I kind of dismissed it as "NYPD Blue on steroids". I had planned to watch it anyway, but was away at college, and they didn't have FX. So, after I'd came back home, before the premiere of the second season, FX aired the first season again. I caught it this time, and my attitude had changed towards the show by the end of the pilot. The twist that had happened towards the end of the pilot knocked me on my ass and made me instantly realize that my prior critique of the show was way off the mark. This was many times better than NYPD Blue, or any other police show I'd seen. Plus, I've always been a big fan of Michael Chikilis (Vic Mackey) from his time on another cop show, "The Commish", and was awed at the way he transformed himself for this role.

But that isn't my whole story. I have seen a lot of TV series over the years, and virtually all of them (the ones that lasted more than a season or two) tend to peak in quality pretty early on. 24, a show that I love, for me personally, had peaked by season 3. Same with The Sopranos, which is usually compared to The Shield and has received a lot more attention and acclaim. At least for me, that had peaked by the end of its second season as well. After the first 2 or 3 seasons, the best of shows usually begin a slow creative spiral.

"The Shield", to me, is the one exception. If anything, it has gotten better with age. In my opinion, the two best seasons have been in the final three years, the 5th season and the 7th season, its last. What makes this season so extraordinary is not only that it's coming to an end, but that you envision the beginning of the end in the prior seasons, and it's another thing entirely to actually see them play out.

This is the best cop show/crime drama ever made, and IMO, the best TV series. Seasons 1 to 6 are out on DVD, I highly recommend that you track them down and watch them. I would recommend that you watch them chronogically, as although there's like a crime of the week in each episode, there are a lot of serialized elements that might not make sense if you watch the show out of sequence. The series finale airs this Tuesday at 10 on FX.

And David Chase, if you're watching, you should take notes. This is the way you end a show.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

24: Redemption

I just wanted to remind you all of the "24" movie that's coming on next Sunday, at 8 on Fox. What a friend had just told me, and that sounds so cool, is that there is an ongoing EBay auction to win two tickets to the world premiere of "24: Redemption" (that's the movie) in New York City on Wednesday night. But that's not all. Before the movie, the auction winners (10 in all) will get a 30 minute meet-and-greet with Jack Bauer himself, Kiefer Sutherland. You know how big a "24" nut I am. This gets me ecstatic. I probably won't go, because the auctions will likely end at thousands of dollars, but I'm hoping that this is the one situation where the global credit crisis will do some good and not a lot of people would bid. However, I shouldn't wish that, as all the auction proceeds are going to fight malaria.

Well, if I am not able to go to NYC to meet Kiefer Sutherland, I will sit down in front of my TV next Sunday to watch "24: Redemption". What a gut-wrenching wait it has been. How long has it been, 15 months with no "24"? But fortunately, the long wait is almost over. After the movie, there will be a new season in January. Until then, here is the trailer for "24: Redemption".

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Another reason why I'm voting for Obama (Or Final Notes on the Election)

Yesterday morning, I was at home and bored, and I remembered that Ron Silver's show was on Sirius. (Note: I wrote this first sentence on October 18, and never got around to finishing up, which I want to do now). Silver is an actor who is also very intelligent in the political field. He is known by some for being a lifelong Democrat, but changing to an independent and speaking at the Republican Convention in 2004 in favor of George W. Bush and his position on Iraq and foreign policy. So, I don't agree with him all the time, but he comes off as very reasoned and calm, which is very unlike every other political person on the radio. But I digress.

Anyway, that day, he wasn't on, and I tuned out. But before I did, I got to hear a sampling of what people at a McCain rally thought of Obama. The first person said, "if he gets elected, the blacks will take over." It gets worse from there. Others accuse him of being a "terrorist" or having "terrorist connections", most of them tout him as a "Muslim", one person says he'll vote for McCain because "we can't have a nigger in office", and one woman says "he looks at us (I presume that "us" means rural white people) as trash".

Ever since I've voted, I have really tried to avoid voting against anyone, or vote for someone because he's less worse than the other guy. My position hasn't really changed, but I feel that for this election, voting for Obama is necessary. One of the reasons I feel that way stems from the extremism at these McCain rallies. I know that I should take the high road, and try to understand the socioeconomic circumstances that many of these people face. But Obama tried taking the high road with his "God and guns" comments, which he was right about, and he got slammed for being an elitist. So I'm going to take the opposite tack. These people come from the sewer. They are rabid, illogical religious fanatics, the kind of people who vote for George Bush, and a McCain White House to me, simply isn't an option. This is only one of the reasons, there are many more, but to me, this one is really important. Whether we like to admit it or not, and I'm talking to you too, Senator Obama, this country is sharply divided, in at least two ways. Their representative, Mr. Bush, has held power for eight years, and the nation is in a significantly weaker position. I did not understand this in '04, but I do now.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Last month, I finally took the plunge and bought a XBox 360. I had been wanting one for a long time, and I had the means, so I got one with a bunch of games. From the little time I've been able to spend with it, I really enjoy it. I have a cheap HDTV and a regular hookup (meaning no HDMI cables), and it still looks really damn good. I really want to get XBox Live, but I have to spend 100 extra dollars for a wireless modem, and with the limited time I have, I'd rather wait until I have a little more free time.

Anyway, I got Grant Theft Auto IV, Saints Row, Assassins' Creed, Just Cause, Condemned, Dead Rising, and for the original XBox, Halo. The only games I've played at length so far are Just Cause and Condemned. Just Cause is, meh, okay. The graphics are amazing, and it's really cool how you can paraglide around the island, but other than that, it's a medicore GTA clone. There are a lot of glitches, and the experience and atmosphere just feels really lacking. I've put it to the side, and will pick it up again someday. But Condemned: Criminal Origins? To me, that's my first taste of what the 360 is about.

Condemned is a real experience. To me, if it were a movie, I'd say that it's a mix of Seven and Dark City, with a little splash of Cobra (old Stallone movie) mixed in. You are an FBI agent framed for the murder of 2 cops, and you must catch the real killer. But this takes place in an environment where the homeless and the fringes of society are freaking out and becoming violent for an unexplained reason. Birds are dropping dead. And you chase the killer through empty buildings, railroads, and other dark areas, hence the title "Condemned." Your flashlight will be your best friend in this game. That, and the taser, and the weapons you need to defeat the bad guys. While you may come across a gun here and there, most of the weapons you use are considered "melee" weapons, such as a shovel, pipe, conduit, whatever you can find in the buildings. And this game is one of the few that has really freaked me out. Do yourself a favor, and play this game at night with the lights off. It can be pretty terrifying. More than a few times, I've had a crazy, drugged-out guy with a pipe sneak up on me from behind.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Election conspiracies

Being as this is a quiet time (for ten minutes), and I had a brainstorm on a blog to post today, I might as well get to it.

The election is in a little less than 3 weeks, and while I have been back and forth since my last post (on who I was voting for), I am pretty sure that I am going to stick with my decision to vote for Obama. I am going to hold my nose, since while I do see some possibly redeeming features in Obama, in the end he's just another politician being backed by suspect interests, to say the least. But I'm following Noam Chomsky's logic in "endorsing" Kerry in 2004. While there might be little meaningful difference between McCain and Obama (like there was between Bush and Kerry), that little difference can make a big difference to at least a few people, not only here but around the world. Also, and perhaps more importantly, I feel that it's important to vote for Obama, even if you are in a non-battleground state like New York. Part of what dissaudes me in a general election (and why the college needed to be abolished eons ago) is the fact that in the bulk of states, your vote really doesn't count. It's a foregone conclusion in New York, for example, that Obama will win and NY's electoral votes will go to him, just as, say, Georgia will go for McCain (although that even might be in question, since I heard that McCain is struggling to hold onto red states as a result of the certain groundswell of black voters who will be coming out for Obama). The only people whose votes really count are in the "battleground" states. But this year, I still think voting for Obama is important, even in a state like NY, since a decisive win in the popular vote would make it easier for him to implement his agenda, for better or worse.

And, to me, that's where I feel an election conspiracy might come in. I don't have a doubt that electoral fraud takes place in this country, and quite regularly. In 2000, it was Florida, in 2004, it was Ohio, who knows what it'll be this year? And, although the Democrats certainly are guilty of this too, the Republicans have especially been involved in this in a big way, at least lately. And if they try it again this year, I don't think their goal will be to fix it so that McCain gets elected. Obama has too big a lead; a CBS poll broadcasted yesterday had him up by 11points, I think. But I do think their intent behind their fixing the election and throwing out votes (if there is a cabal intending to do that), would be to lower the margin of victory enough so that Obama just squeaks by in a tight race, and can't claim a mandate.

Well, this isn't absolute, Dubya stole the election but that didn't stop him from instituting a far-right agenda as soon as he got into the White House. Just giving my thoughts on a slow night.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The End of Suburbia

I just watched a great documentary on our suburban way of life and peak oil called "The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the End of the American Dream." Or at least most of it. I got the DVD on an inter-library loan, and it was really banged up. So I used my PS2 and my 360 (video game systems that can also play DVDs), and no dice. Which is too bad, because it was just getting to what I find to be the good stuff. Well, it's not good at all, it's quite scary, but it's the aspect of peak oil that intrigues me most. And that's the impact it will have on our political system.

But for the moment, I'm getting a little ahead of myself. Although I regrettably was not able to finish it, I will buy the DVD and lend it out to anyone I know who is interested. I came in to this documentary with knowledge on the subject, so many of the insights were not new. But the value of this film is that it presents the issue in a fast-paced, involving style, and it's very short, around 80 minutes. And a lot of people don't like to read. So I think it's invaluable for the average person, if they can be persuaded to sit in front of the TV and check it out.

A few things. One of the aspects of the age that we live in now is our abundant use of energy. And I found it ironic in what I just said, that in addition to my DVD player, I have 2 game consoles hooked up that happen to be DVD-compatible. So I'm just as guilty as everybody in using these abundant amounts of electricity that aren't sustainable. I try to be good, I disconnect my appliances before going to sleep. But I know that that isn't enough.

Also, I wanted to get back to what I was talking about, the part of the film where it ended for me due to the DVD being scratched. And that is the impact that peak oil will likely have on our political process. As James Kunstler (the man who introduced me to P.O. through his book "The Long Emergency") says in the video, "the 21st century will be a battle for the table scraps of the 20th." Most inhabitants of this experiment called suburbia will demand that Washington do anything possible to maintain the illusion that we can have it all: the suburban lifestyle, the commute, the cheap goods, etc. And, again in Kunstler's words, we "will elect maniacs who will tell us that they'll do anything to maintain this lifestyle."

Another thing the video touches on, albeit briefly, is the conspiracy by the auto industry to dismantle our street-rail lines in the 20's, forever compromising public transportation so that more people would use the car to get around. It always annoys me when I see these commercials and other platitudes spouting about America's "love affair" with the car and the open road. I don't feel that it's so much a "love affair" as it's the only avenue that we have to get places, and that it's been imposed on us as a result of our developing our society around the automobile and the consistent undermining of alternative modes of transportation, such as train, bus, pedestrian and bicycle travel, etc.

It's also funny (and sad) when Kunstler says that we have a railroad system that the Bulgarians would be ashamed of. A vital player in a peak-oil world would be the railroads, and we've virtually destroyed it in the name of a lifestyle that cannot possibly last.

Well, Youtube has a 52-minute cut of the film that I will post here, but I want to see the full 78-minute version, so I will probably buy the DVD from Amazon.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

financial crisis is the YOUR HOUSE IS NEXT CRISIS

I haven't had time to post on the blog lately, and I know that it's a bad time to be busy, as there's so much going on that I can talk about, and maybe even try to do something about. But it is what it is. I have been trying to follow the Wall Street meltdown and the proposed bailout as much as I can, and have many feelings about it. Naomi Klein was just on Bill Maher's show, and now I really want to read her book, "The Shock Doctrine", which basically foretells something like this occuring. One of her main points, which I haven't heard much discussion of, is that a financial crisis such as this would give the people in power who hate what remains of our fragile safety net (mainly, Social Security and Medicare) the ammunition to seriously weaken it, and even eliminate them entirely.

Anyway, Kimberly Wilder gives her thoughts on the bailout. I got it through email, and wanted to share it, it's very worthwhile reading.


I just did a really bad thing for one's head. I went to an event at a bar and started a conversation with a young politico and 2 Libertarians. Libertarians worry. I worry. Now I am freaked out. I hope some people will read through this and consider which parts are truly freaky, and which are me really, really worrying. I will confess that I was someone who had food stored in my cupboard for the projected 1999/2000 computer breakdown crisis.


The social justice movement has got to try one more time to stop the bank bailout.

The social justice movement has got to make a threat to the two parties for what if they pass the bailout.

And, the social justice movement has got to imagine what happens if this crisis gets real, real fast, which it looks like it will. What if there are hundreds of thousands of Americans suddenly out on the street with no home?

(And, what if any of the current conspiracy theories are true?: the camps being built around the country by Blackwater and friends are meant for homeless Americans; the Army is going to run 3 month war games in the NY metro area starting next week; the whole world is going to stop taking American dollars next week...???)


Let's start with ourselves and/or our relatives having no home, perhaps starting in a few days, weeks or months from now. What would we do? Perhaps we should put aside the more philosophical part of politics and do what our politicians should and won't do. Think: Where the heck would these people go? How could we use the resources of ourselves and our government to house people who get kicked out of an apartment, or can't keep their electricity on?

Some thoughts (I don't know the answers. This is my e-mail begging smarter people than me for answers after those 3 guys in a bar worried the cr-p out of me):

-Demand the absolute moratorium on foreclosures that some people have already envisioned might be needed.
-Demand a moratorium on apartment evictions.
-Encourage our friends and neighbors to truly evaluate their resources now, a few days or weeks before something happens: Make a network with 3 or 4 family members. Where would everyone go, who would they live with, if one by one they got kicked out of their homes?
-Start thinking of laws to propose, or amendments to this bailout bill, that either punish landlords with residential property not rented out, or make squatting rules so simple that there will not be empty apartments rotting around the country, while some people are homeless and looking for a place to lie their head.
-Start thinking about a way to put a moratorium on the enforcement of "keeping my neighborhood affluent laws" such as in the town I live in, where it is illegal to have a home with two front doors. Or, rules that only one family can live in a home. (Which should be well thought out, I realize. Because, they could be misapplied by bad landlords to overcrowd, or create burdens that make impossible parking/traffic situations if there is not an emergency.)

Inform the Community about the Bailout and the Current Housing Crisis

People never want to think that this might happen to them. We should study the statistics, imagine the possibilities, and communicate it to our neighbors and families about how bad this could be. We should think of names for what will really happen that make it less philosophical and more real. Maybe call it the: "Your House is Next" crisis. Or, "Homeless people will be roaming your neighborhood looking for food and shelter crisis". I am in the suburbs. People here will have trouble imagining what trouble will look like. Though, I think the trouble may be coming.

Pressure against a bailout

That bailout can't be a good idea. There is too much money get moved to fast, with too little authority by people who should not be trusted. And, the money is going to a lot of very rich people. I think Americans are going to need that money.

I think it is time for every non-violent threat in the book. What could people agree on?:

-A general strike the next day after any bailout goes through? (I have friends that have been working on the general strike for years....might be the sentiment for it now.)
-A demonstration at every Town Hall of City Hall at 6pm the day after any bailout goes through? (With the internet, we could make a pretty big strike. Town Hall is a good place to go, because housing and zoning issues might have to be adjusted locally.)
-A threat that since the two parties are getting together and doing this, and two parties are bailing out their rich corporate supporters, everyone immediately REGISTER in a third party to make a statement now. And VOTE in a third party for the election? (Which reveals my bias as a third party activist. But, I have heard regular people talking about the fact that they call for "bi"partisanship at every turn is really starting to sound suspicious.
-Calling officials of every level of government now to make them care about this. (I have heard some emphatic requests to call Congress, which is great, but maybe we should express our demands and fears locally as well.)

I do not think all of the above is factual, or the best thinking even of myself. But, hope it is a start to thinking about this. I believe that many of us have a sense that this bailout should not and cannot go through as is. I really don't want them to have my 7 billion dollars. What can we do today. We have a whole Sunday. Let's not just play around.

Peace and struggle,
Kimberly Wilder

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Drill, Drill, Drill!

This is a really good blog from James Kunstler, I think it was from last month, chiming in on the "drill, drill, drill" mentality of many people and why we are in for a big disappointment. But Kunstler says that drilling offshore is still worth doing, since it will smash our dreams of solving the oil problem. Even in the best, most optimistic cases, this will still take years to reap anything fruitful, and it's very unlikely to offset the depletion of oil throughout the world. Further, while complimenting Boone Pickens (he's the oilman who's come up with a plan for replacing our electric power system, which runs on natural gas, with wind power) for showing some vision, he blows holes in Pickens' idea of natural gas as an alternative for oil to fuel our cars. In addition, and this is me talking, I saw Pickens on Larry King last month and he was talking about how we have abundant natural gas, "we" as in the United States. Where? I thought we reached peak production in natural gas years ago, and that a lot of NG is being exported from Canada, which are themselves either at peak or near it.

While I don't have as much time to research P.O. since I have 2 jobs and am going to school full-time, I still follow it as much as I can. I really also want to work on the art of being self-reliant, and reading stuff like this makes me realize I have to work on it sooner rather than later.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The End of Travel

This article was published a month ago, in a Canadian newspaper, but it's very important to us as well. It's about, yes, peak oil, and how it will affect the airline industry. More considerably, how it will affect our ability to travel. This article points out, briefly, the profit margin of the airline industry. In order for the airlines to run at a profit, oil must be less than 100 dollars a barrel. At the time of publication, it was $124. And it's gone down further, but does anyone believe that gas will go down to approximately ten dollars a gallon, as in 1999? I don't think so.

There are varying opinions on how peak oil will impact the airline industry. Some believe it will vanish altogether. But I don't, and the writer of this article appears to feel the same. It will just be more out of reach for the lower and middle classes. The upper class, and wealthy governments and corporations will still be able to fly. But this poses another set of problems for how Peak Oil will split our society into two.

I have used air travel a few times in my life, but they've always been to forgettable, unremarkable places. If peak oil does indeed have this impact on air travel, I'll regret not getting a passport earlier and going somewhere else in the world. I'd always meant to, but until a few months ago, I was one of those many who took everything for granted and always thought that air travel would be within reach.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

World Made By Hand

I've been intending to blog about this, but time has been at a preminium for me lately. I just wanted to share a good book with all of you. It's called "World Made by Hand", by James Howard Kunstler. It was published earlier this year. I have talked about Kunstler before, he is the author of an outstanding book called "The Long Emergency", which introduced me to the theory (and some would say a reality, a near-future one at that) of peak oil, and the many consequences the world will face as a result. "World Made By Hand" is Kunstler's fictional interpretation of a post-Peak Oil world. While reading "The Long Emergency" isn't necessary to enjoy "World Made By Hand", I'd still recommend reading it first if you haven't done so.

I have trouble categorizing WMBH. Some might say that it's science fiction, since it takes place in the future, but what science fiction takes place in a future without electricity or gadgetry?

Anyway, WMBH takes place in upstate New York, in a post-apocalyptic future, in which our wars in the Middle East have resulted in the annhiliation of several American cities, including L.A. and D.C. It revolves around the former president of a software company turned carpenter in a small town, and his everday interactions and trials with the town's inhabitants. As a result of peak oil, the town has reverted back to a 19th century way of life. There's no automotives, no electricity, so as a result, people walk everywhere (or ride horses, which are very expensive since they can't be bred fast enough) and often work on farms for one or two employers. Serfdom is back in this future, and farming is big again too, obviously. What I found striking was how Kunstler identified many characters by what they'd done before Peak Oil hit. The main character was a president of a software company who flew everywhere, other characters were insurance agents, lawyers, one managed a drugstore, etc. Positions that are considered by Kunstler to be pretty much useless in a post-Peak Oil world.

Anyway, the story takes place in the course of one summer, and the town is trying to survive a gang of criminals on the outskirts of town, an even bigger gang of extortionists in the former capital of Albany, and a new religious sect that has taken up occupancy in the town's old high school, whose motives appear to be just, but also possess a tendency to make the town's inhabitants live just as they do.

I know I'm doing a shitty job of explaining this. It'd been over a week since I finished the book, and it isn't as fresh in my mind. But it's really good. I don't judge a book by its prose or even its story, but rather on its ability to hook me. To say "I had trouble putting this down" is the highest compliment that I can pay a book, and I had that experience with both "WMBH" and "The Long Emergency".

BTW, at the end of the book, Kunstler states the fate of other areas in the New York region, including Long Island. He says something to the effect of, "Due to the effects of brutal weather (presumably hurricanes) and dengue fever, Long Island's population is at 1800 levels. This means that there's plenty of free parking"> Ouch.

Monday, August 4, 2008

I'm Voting For Obama

What a difference a few years makes. In the last election, 2004, I was a political animal. I spent most of every day keeping up on the latest news, and was also an activist. I was the director of the Suffolk leg of a presidential campaign, Dennis Kucinich's. Albeit, Kucinich was on the margins of the primary campaign, way in the shadow of Howard Dean, John Edwards, and the eventual nominee, John Kerry, but I believed strongly in his platform to campaign for him. I registered as a Democrat just to work for his campaign and spread the word. I voted for him in the primary, and also for myself as a delegate.

Fast forward four years later. I've long since burned out as an activist. I really miss it sometimes, but I found out something important. Just because there are people who believe in the same things that you do, that being progressive ideals and causes that you generally consider to be just and righteous, it doesn't make them good people. That was true both for the campaign I worked for and later on, when I was directing a more general organization.

I wasn't planning to vote in this year's general election. I feel that it's the same old story, that of the two major candidates being Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum, along with a variety of third-party candidates who, while having a really good platform and message, don't stand a snowball's chance in hell of having even a minor impact in the election. I used to vote third-party as more of a protest vote, but I figure that just staying home and not voting at all is as strong a protest vote as any.

But over the past few days, I've been doing some thinking, and now, I'm pretty certain that I will vote in the general election, and for Obama. It's not because I like him as a candidate. I find him to be the lesser of two evils compared to McCain, and he's already wavering on things that he's previously said. However, I also realize that he is the first black candidate who has a realistic chance to win the presidency, and if he does win, it will be a very significant moment in this nation's history. And I want to be a part of that.

Also, it's nice to have a candidate who people are genuinely excited about. I don't really see what there is to be excited about, other than him being black as I just mentioned, but for whatever reason, it's a rare sight and it is nice to see it. In 2004, no one wanted John Kerry. No one could get excited about John Kerry. No one could tell you why he would be a good president, only that he wasn't the other guy. 4 years before that, no one cared whether Bush or Gore won.

I think that this election will be a landslide for Obama. Not like the Reagan landslide of '84, but still a very impressive showing. He's running against an old candidate who's running on an issue that no one cares about in this age of foreclosures and a sagging economy, and states (primarily southern ones) that have long been GOP strongholds can come into play due to record turnout of black voters. I feel that if McCain wins, there should be no more naysayers on the issue of electoral fraud, since that's the only way I see him winning at this moment.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Death of Globalization?

I am beginning to notice that the mass media (by mass media, I mean outlets like the Times and the Post, not television media so much) is starting to catch on to the peak oil phenomenon. They aren't saying "peak oil", but they've caught on to the fact that the days of cheap oil are over, and that the current price of a barrel is due to the sensible theory of supply-and-demand, not the nonsensical "speculation" that's been making the rounds for months.

A possible consequence of peak oil, voiced by Kunstler but also others, will be the death (or at least, dramatic downsizing) of what is known as globalization. And this article in the Times seems to bear this out. What fueled the emergence of globalization (pun not intended) was cheap oil. And with globalization came many changes, among them the propensity to catch fish in the Western Hemisphere, ship it to China to be filleted, and then shipped back to be sold and consumed. I don't know what name this goes by, but suffice to say, it doesn't really make a lot of sense. But what made it doable at the time was cheap oil. Now that PO is upon us, major companies are beginning to relocate their factories from Asia to closer to home.

Global warming, lost jobs, and all the other consequences of globalism probably were not going to doom it in the long-term, but peak oil just might.

Friday, July 25, 2008

McCain makes a huge campaign blunder...and CBS attempts to cover it up

As I'd predicted, I haven't been keeping much track of this campaign at all. Along with being too busy, the issue of PO has made elections like this one more irrelevant to me than ever. But what I do find striking about this election is the GOP nominee, McCain. This guy is a trainwreck, and if elected, he could rival Bush in his ineptness as our occupant of the Oval Office, From what I see, it seems that barely a day goes by without him making some kind of blunder or verbal miscue. And it may not necessairly be due to age, although if it is, I feel terrible for the guy, and it's certainly nothing to make light out of.

Besides, my big problem with McCain, and him being the age that he is and serving in Congress as long as he has, is not his mental faculties (or possible lack of them), but the tendency of people his age, and in the same position for a long time, to be extremely set in their ways and to fail to realize different points of view. Because we've had a guy with a similar mindset for the past 8 years in office, we've gotten in a big mess, and we don't need 4 or 8 more years of the same.

Well, that's enough of that. Now, as to why I wrote this post. The other day, in a CBS News interview, McCain made a huge blunder that could seriously undermine his campaign (if reported enough, which seems to not have been the case so far). He said in the interview that the "surge" of troops into Iraq was responible for the "Anbar Awakening", which were the coalitions of Sheikhs in the Anbar province who formed coalitions to ensure security by driving extremists like Al-Qaeda in Iraq off their lands. However, the "Awakening" was first announced by a U.S. general in Iraq on September 2006, at least four months before the new "Surge" policy was announced by Bush. McCain is running his entire campaign on foreign policy experience, as his positions on other issues (economy, health care, etc.) suck. And, judging from such a big-league gaffe as this one, he's even screwing up on foreign policy.

But that's not the end of the story. CBS News, who conducted the interview with McCain, left his exact quote on the cutting room floor. It can be found on their official transcript online, but their decision has already impeded this important statement from being viewed by the millions of people who turn to CBS as a news source. What's also interesting is that the question in which McCain answered by saying that the surge came before the Awakening, was still aired on the program, but an answer from McCain to a different question was aired in its place.

This is from the same network behind Rathergate, the controversy over Bush's Air Force Reserve records on 60 Minutes. Over questionable typography, there was a huge uproar from bloggers, investgations were conducted, and careers were ended. And there was never any proof that the allegations made in that report were false. Yet, here we have an interview that was edited to substitute a different answer to a different question, a serious breach of journalistic ethics (if such a thing even exists anymore), and yet no one's talking about it, and nothing will come of it. For shame.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Home Depot Honors Fallen Soldiers With Great Prices On Tools

This is a funny video from ONN (Onion News Network). This isn't for everybody, the subject matter involved is very sensitive, but if you have gallows humor, you'll enjoy it.

Home Depot Honors Fallen Soldiers With Great Prices On Tools

My favorite part is when the woman interviewer asks the soldier's mother, "In your last phone conversation with Andrew, did you talk about home appliances or repair?"

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It's been awhile (again), but I have good news

It's been awhile because I've been very busy. I started an overnight job around 3 weeks ago, and last week, I was hired as an assistant for a community land trust (I will explain the concept in a later post, but for now, it basically promotes affordable housing). I start next week, and I am currently researching it whenever I have time. I also start school next month, in what will hopefully be my final semester. My online class is finished. So, I'll have 2 jobs, be going to school full-time, and have been approved for a federal work study, in which case I will have to work an additional 10 to 15 hours either at my college or in some other public service.

So, I'll be a busy boy. But I was very excited when I was invited to the office last week and told that I had the job. I had a really good feeling about it from the moment I applied and received the letter inviting me to the interview. I read about CLT's, thought they were a novel and unique concept whose time, I feel, will be coming (in light of our real estate market, as well as other problems in our society) and I'm glad that I got the job. I even saw the piece of office space that's reserved for me; for someone who's spent most of their working life lifting cases and doing other kinds of menial labor (not that I look down on it, it paid my bills and you always have to do what you can to survive), it's nice to have a position in which I can use my brain.

Another big part of my life has been continuing to read about peak oil. Lately, I've been reading about survivalism. While most of what I knew about survivalism to this point came from pop culture (in which they're largely marginalized as being religious extremists, I find), from the little I've researched, most of them just seem to have a "be prepared" mentality. Over the past few weeks, I've been thinking of starting a new organization, one tentatively named The Peak Oil Society. I believe that community-based solutions to PO will be much more effective than all of us going it alone. My goal, if this gets off the ground, will be to initally educate whoever wishes to take part (perhaps by showing them the documentary "The End of Suburbia") and then try to invite guests and speakers who can teach us about survival skills, ranging from being able to grow our own food, medical training, self-defense, and other methods.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Yeah, I've Been Away

...and not in the literal sense, as in I went on a vacation or something. I've just been busy. I scored an overnight job, and I have an interview in the morning for a position that looks promising. I'm taking a summer class, in which I recently had problems. You see, I registered for the wrong class, while handing in assignments for the class I'd intended to register in (it's an online class, hence the confusion). But it got fixed up. I am still learning Spanish, and it's going very well. I'm using a computer program, and I'm committed to taking 2 lessons a day. I know that there's a big difference between knowing Spanish, and being fluent in it, as in being able to hold conversations and look on it and the words without even thinking, as one would do with their native language. But I'm working on it. I bought a microphone today for my PC, to speak Spanish words into it and make sure that I'm pronouncing them correctly. I'm then going to transfer it to my MP3 player to memorize them.

I'm also catching up on TV. I just watched all 12 episodes of this show called "Burn Notice", it gets my seal of approval, it's awesome. The 2nd season's coming on in a few weeks on USA; until then, you should go to and check out the first season. It reminds me of the A-Team, but cooler.

I'm still reading about peak oil. It's amazing in that I consider myself fairly well-informed, I keep up with the news and current events, yet I was so ignorant of this until I read Kunstler's book (which I've talked about). I'm currently reading another very informative book called "The Party's Over". Whereas Kunster's book was more of a screed, this is more of a heavier read. I recommend both books, go to your nearest bookstore or library and read them, then after you're done, read them again, and then keep up on it via the Internet. But one word of advice: I wouldn't recommend these books for bedtime reading. After reading Kunstler's book, my outlook on life totally changed. It was that mind-blowing. And I decided that I was going to devote as much time as my life would permit to do more research and also read about survivalism. But the first night that I tried that, I felt like I had this huge hole in my stomach and I couldn't sleep. I knew that I couldn't devote that amount of time. As much as I know it's wrong, I have to keep living my life, going to school, getting a good job (and hoping it lasts), etc. It reminded me of that saying, I'm paraphrasing, "people don't like too much reality".

Well, anyway, I just wanted to catch up. I want to say that I'm going to try to blog more, like I have in the past, but I'm tired of making promises that I can't keep. For the foreseeable future, I'll probably be too busy to blog regularly. But I will certainly try when I can. Until then, to steal a line from "Demolition Man" (a guilty pleasure of mine, as most Stallone movies are), "be well".

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Waste Not

This article from the Houston Chronicle talks about a potential silver lining in this current era of higher gas prices due to the possible global production peak of oil. A growing amount of people are actually being conservative when it comes to their food. For far too long, we've been very wateful with our food, often carelessly throwing it out. But as the food prices are soaring, some of us are finally thinking.

This book by James Kuntsler has really had an impact on me. I went to Pathmark today, after that Quizno's, and you just have a totally different outlook going to these places. You know that it wouldn't be possible without oil. This suburban way of life of ours would have been a non-starter without oil. At Quizno's, I had a veggie sub, and for the first time, while eating it, I actually thought of where the bread, the lettuce, the olives, everything, all come from. How much oil was used just so I could have this for lunch? When you think about it, unless you're doing your shopping at a local farm, you're probably eating oil, literally.

One more thing on the book

I have at least one other thing to say about the book. I say "at least", because I'm sure I'll have more to say about it in the weeks to come. It's really changed my outlook. It's not a book you want to read before bedtime, I can tell you that much. Anyway, there was another conception of mine that was blown out of the water while reading this book. Up to this point, I thought of our soaring gas prices in the typical way: "pain at the pump", it increases the prices of everything and hurts the economy, etc. But this book helped me realize that these effects of our passing Peak Oil just barely scratch the surface of what could happen.

I'm astonished that more people cannot see the contradiction of our system, which I can see more clearly than ever. We are living in a system that promotes and advocates constant consumption and growth, and the engine that fuels that system, that is making that system possible, is built upon a natural substance that is in limited numbers and is already showing serious signs of decreasing. I find the willful ignorance of the average person even more scary than the ramifications of passing Peak Oil itself. I'm scared about the possible scenarios that I read about in this book occuring, but I really feel that Kunstler wildly underestimated the average American's connection to our way of life. I do hope that he is wrong, for all our sakes.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Book That Will Kick You In The Balls

I am a reader; I always have been, as anyone who knows me or has known me would attest to. However, it is very, and I mean very, rare for me to get totally absorbed in a book. I mean "totally absorbed" as in not eating, holding off sleep and the other things that I've been doing (mainly, looking for a summer job, taking a summer online class and teaching myself Spanish). I believe the last book where this had happened was "World War Z", an "oral history" of a zombie infestation and invasion of the world. Before that, there were a few books that influenced me and in which I'd read more than a few times, mainly Howard Zinn's "People's History of the United States", and a few of Noam Chomsky's works, primarily the pamphlet-sized ones (like "The Common Good" and "What Uncle Sam Really Wants"). While I'm not a far-leftist and have veered more to the center in recent years, I really appreciate those books for giving me a deeper understanding of the world and asking myself questions that I'd never thought to before.

Anyway, I'm posting all this because I'd just read one of those kinds of books. A book that totally absorbed me for 2 and a half days, to the exclusion of nearly all else. And it's a book that has changed my thinking in terms of our future, perhaps radically. It is a book by James Howard Kunstler, entitled "The Long Emergency." And it's a book I discovered totally by chance. In the library the other day while waiting for my ride, I had a few minutes and decided to look at a magazine that looked remotely interesting. I saw a magazine called MacLean's, which is a Canadian news periodical (I guess it's maybe their "Time" or "Newsweek"). Anyway, the cover was of a man holding a gas pump to his head in lieu of a gun. I always love novel covers like that, and I'm very interested in the escalating costs of gas, so I picked it up and read the cover story. One of the people interviewed was James Kunstler, and I'd read that he's been talking about this and its ramifications for a fairly long time. So I looked him up on the library database, and as it turned out, they had one of his more recent books, published in 2005, called "The Long Emergency." Although I've already started reading a book, "The Kite Runner", I decided to take this out and read it in what little free time I could carve aside for myself.

...But little did I know. I began reading this book on Monday evening, and it hooked me instantly. Kunstler is such a good writer, you can tell he's been at it for a long time, and upon looking at it at first glance, you might dismiss it as alarmist or doomsday. But what made it so scary, and ultimately what got me into it, was that his argument was entirely plausible. Up to this point, I've looked at our rising prices of gas with what I now realize was naivtity. I drummed it up to some conspiracy between the Bush administration and the oil companies. But what it all comes down to is our limited supply of petroleum. And then came another whopper, that dispelled another one of my misconceptions. I've long believed that we should start seriously investigating and researching alternative energy, since our supply of fossil fuels isn't infinite and will run out quite soon due to our massive use of it. But, as Kunstler compellingly argues on scientific grounds, all these ideas being brandied about (from hydrogen to wind and solar, and everything else in between) are little more than a pipe dream. The underlying architecture (for lack of a better term) of these systems would inherently depend on liberal amounts of traditional fossil fuels, which we are in short supply of. And even if we did have the fossil fuels, if we converted to these systems, they would be nowhere near capable of supporting the way of life that we have come to know and grow accustomed to.

He refers to the fallout from passing the global oil peak as The Long Emergency. According to him, life as we currently know it would totally vanish. The biggest change would be our need to grow food. The reason why we have these supermarkets and Super Walmarts in which all this processed food is available to us for low, low prices, was due to cheap oil and natural gas. When we pass this peak, and it's very plausible that we may already have, that way of life would be turned totally on its head. Factory farming by companies like ADM and ConAgra would become extinct. Kunstler feels that one of the top jobs that will be in demand in a near-future America is "farmer". A danger of this, in addition to the quite obvious one that most of us are ill-prepared, at best, to farm land, is that the knowledge of farming, which has acculmated over centuries, has been greatly damaged by the advent of corporate farming.

Another big change would be the death of suburbia. As Kunstler explains here, and in a few of his other books, he believes that the creation of what we have come to know as suburbia is the greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world. And its ability to flourish and become accepted as the American way of life up to this point, has been possible due to one thing: you guessed it, cheap fossil fuels. It'd become possible for people to drive long distances from home to work, and wherever else they need to go. Who needs public transportation, or walking? But in an era of lowering production of oil, and increasing demand, prices of gas will continue to rise expotentially and the suburb will go bye-bye.

Kunstler also explains that America, in particular, is ill-suited to deal with this kind of situation. For one thing, we've always had our heads in the sand. We've had oil crises in the past, meaning the 70's, but they didn't last forever, and we continued to "sleepwalk into the future", according to Kunstler. Other culprits are our corporate farming system; a Long Emergency will require our farming to be local. No longer will we be able to eat many apples from Chile, for example. Also, the near-destruction of our public transportation system. I think we're already starting to see that it will be inadequate to deal with our increasing needs. Another thing, the destruction of our local communities by the Walmarts and the other big-box stores. Ironically, those same big-box stores may well be a victim of a Long Emergency.

There are so many things covered in this book, that I can't possibly talk at length about them. Otherwise, I'll never leave. So, if you want to read a really absorbing thing, that will possibly change you, please read this.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Iran pulls assets out of Europe banks

This is interesting about how Iran has moved its assets out of European banks and put them into Asian banks. I also found out that Iran has changed from accepting the dollar in oil trading to accepting the yen. I wonder if that has any bearing on why Bush is talking so tough about Iran, and might invade them before the end of his term.

Chuck Berry won't sing for "Johnny" in election

Something I've always found funny about our presidential elections, are the choices of the songs that our candidates use as their campaign themes. I mean, often, they're not very imagintive. It's usually something like "Beautiful Day" by U2 or "I Won't Back Down" by Tom Petty. Although, Reagan's selection of "Born in the USA" by Springsteen in his 1984 re-election campaign I always find amusing, since anyone who listened to the lyrics knows that it isn't a patriotic song, and Springsteen had come out against Reagan's use of the song.

The latest of this is John McCain's use of the Chuck Berry classic "Johnny B. Goode" (which is named the number 1 guitar song of all time by Rolling Stone). While Berry didn't come out against McCain per se, in this article, he expresses the utmost support for his opponent in November, Barack Obama.

While I'm on this, I am sure that Berry will be attacked by some for basically stating that Obama has his vote because he's the first black candidate, the first black major party nominee, in a general election. Some people have been saying that many black people vote for Obama only because he's black, rather than having a knowledge and approval of Obama's stance on issues. That's fair enough, that's probably true. But then, consider the people who have voted against Obama in the primaries (and no doubt will in the general) because of his being black (and/or "being Muslim"). They don't have any more of an understanding on where he stands on the issues, than his black supporters who vote for him solely on his race.

Sunday, June 8, 2008


I realize that I haven't been updating the blog as often as I would want, again. I keep vowing to spend more time, because I do have a lot of time. But I'm always finding things to do with that time, that unfortunately, don't involve blogging. Lately, I am beginning to learn a second language, that being Spanish. I took it in high school and a few classes in college, and of course, once I got them out of the way to fulfill my course requirements, I promptly forgot most of what I'd learned. But I'd wager that most everyone else who takes these classes in school does the same.

But that doesn't make it right, though. And now I'm at the point where I'm trying to find any viable job skill that an employer would welcome on a resume and jump upon it. And to me, one of the most important job skills is being bilingual. I've seen good jobs that I had to pass up because they required the applicant to be bilingual in English and Spanish. When you're out of work and your wallet's getting lighter and lighter, you start to reassess your priorities pretty quickly. In this shitty economy, you have to be competitive, and I think being bilingual would certainly give me an edge.

I'm using this great program called Rosetta Stone through my library, which is unfortunately being discontinued on August 15. So now, I'm blowing through the lessons, and writing down what I learn. I retake some of the lessons every day, as well as do one or two new ones, just so I don't forget. I also want to try to spend more time in Spanish shops or restaurants, anywhere where I could use and practice my vocabulary.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The accidental benefit of higher gasoline prices

This is another post from the Bru Notes, this one dealing with what can accurately be termed an "accidential benefit" of the higher gas prices: the lesser amount of driving that's happening, which in turn lowers the amounts of greenhouse gases that we're emitting into the atmosphere. I don't know how much of an effect this has, I wouldn't think it'd be much, but it's still encouraging. Although none of us may like the high gas prices and what harm it's doing to an already weak economy, if it is what spurs us into driving more fuel-efficient vehicles, I believe that it's really all good.

I would have liked to have seen Americans shift to hybrids due to their conscious concern for the environment, but that's always been a pipe dream. They have to feel the pinch on their pocketbook in order for them to change. But we should take that change any way we can get it. I really think it's a beautiful thing that more Americans are switching to hybrids. Yes, they're more expensive than a regular car or SUV, but when you consider the gas prices, it either works out the same or you'll save in the long run. So again, it's good all around. Except for the American car companies like GM and Ford. But that's what happens when you place short-term profit above all else, as our companies have a bad habit of doing.

Even Bush Administration can't ignore climate change

I missed this last week, until I discovered it on The Bru Notes. A report issued by the Bush administration acknowledges how global warming is already changing the U.S. There are more wildfires, agriculture stands to be affected, and animals are already migrating to more habitable areas. And it's all happening sooner than we thought, this isn't something that's far off into the future, it's happening right now. And this report seems to confirm what I've suspected, that we've already passed the cut-off point. No matter what solutions or changes we make, and it's not like we've been trying very hard, the consequences of climate change will be irreversible.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Thank God, He's Finally Gone

I haven't talked about this on the blog, but I've become quite a fan of the show "Hell's Kitchen." I really don't typically watch reality shows as a rule, but I discovered Gordon Ramsay in another show, Kitchen Nightmares, and he definitely is a one-of-a-kind personality. I love how he abuses the contestants.

Anyway, this season is winding down, and for a large part of the season, I have been waiting for Matt to be eliminated. He is such a crybaby. He always has this constipated look on his face, and he looks like Edith Bunker from "All in the Family". I suspect he's made it this long because he's a natural for reality TV. He's not all there, so you never know what's going to happen. But tonight, Chef Ramsay finally had enough. Matt just totally broke down (not that it was the first time) and talked about how he had a migrane. I loved how Chef Ramsay then took him by the hand and told him to go upstairs to the dorm. It was like a dad taking a little kid to his room.

Anyway, it's down to the last 5. I am rooting for either Christina, Bobby, or Petroezza. Jen is so loud and arrogant, I really hope she's the next to go. Corey isn't as bad, but she's manipulative and someone mentioned on a forum that her face looks like Tim Robbins'. I know that's probably an insult to Mr. Robbins, one of my favorite actors, so accept my apology, sir.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

U.S. Soldiers Launch Campaign to Convert Iraqis to Christianity

Continuing what I posted previously, here is a fine article about a few U.S. soldiers distributing Bibles and other Christian publications to Iraqis.

Friday, May 30, 2008

"An Inconvenient Truth" to be an opera

In perhaps the weirdest item of the year, at least from my eyes, the global warming documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" will become an opera performed in Milan, Italy. No word yet on whether Al Gore plans to add "tenor" to his lengthy resume.

U.S. reassigns Marine for passing out Bible verses to Muslims

If you are a U.S. soldier stationed in Iraq, and want to leave, here's how: piss off the Islamic natives. Whether it's using a Koran for target practice, passing out coins with Bible verse on them, or something else, offending the Iraqi Muslim community will get you bounced from Iraq in a Baghdad minute.

It also should remind us of something. We think of the "war on terror" in terms of Islamic fundamentalism, "jihad" and what not. But I forget that a lot of people here, perhaps especially in the military, also think of it in religious terms, like a crusade. Bush even referred to waging a "crusade" right after 9/11 happened.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Roads, High and Low

Until reading this article, I didn't know that last week, Obama and McCain had a sparring match on the issue of increasing college benefits for our military men and women. I had read a front-page story in Newsday last month about how our present G.I. Bill barely puts a dent in the costs of attending a four-year college, particularly a private one. Obama supports a bill that would increase the college tuition benefits for the men and women who've served post 9/11. McCain does not.

Obama called McCain out on this, and rightfully so. McCain's response was this: "I will not accept from Senator Obama, who did not feel it was his responsibility to serve our country in uniform, any lecture on my regard for those who did.”

So McCain's not only wrong on this issue, he's an asshole too. What does the matter of whether one served in the military or not remotely have to do with having a position, especially a favorable position, on the G.I. Bill? It's ironic, and more than a little typical, how someone who "didn't feel it was his responsibility to serve" supports stronger benefits and incentives for our servicemen and women, while the "military man", the "patriot", does not.

Also, in the runup to Iraq, McCain didn't feel at liberty to criticize the likes of Bush, Cheney, Rove, and all the other chickenhawks who didn't serve, but wanted to send people to die in Iraq. McCain keeps company with a bunch of people who didn't feel it was their responsibility to serve.

Scott McClellan

For the past couple of days, this Scott McCellan thing has been a big story. Briefly, McCellan is a former White House press secretary, under Bush. He has a pending book called "What Happened?", and it's surprisingly critical of the White House. Among the juiciest tidbits, he refers to the selling of the Iraq war as "propaganda", states that the Bush White House operated in "permanent campaign mode", and that he was deceived by some people in the White House, primarily Karl Rove and "Scooter" Libby.

Needless to say, this has been a subject of great controversy. This article from Think Progress is funny because it starts with excerpts from Bush and others raving about McCellan when he exited the White House in '06. Then it has some of the same people, two years later, saying that he's "full of crap" and that he's a "traitor." And he isn't the first White House official to come out against this administration either. In the eyes of this White House, going out and speaking the truth about your experiences is considered to be a treasonaous act.

But I also don't agree with the response of some on the Left. While most are praising McCellan, and rightfully so (going out and criticizing this administration is creating a big risk for yourself), some are indignant in that he didn't go out sooner, like when he was serving in his capacity as Press Secretary. That point isn't entirely invalid. But I look at it from my perspective, as someone who has had to do jobs I really didn't want to do. I'm sure everyone could share this sentiment. We've all had jobs that we really didn't want, but we did them to survive. And being a White House Press Secretary is a fairly prestigious job, and without saying, it looks good on one's resume. So he had to do things that were unsavory; so what, we all have.

Although what he's writing about is probably true, I do think it was mainly for the money. This book's probably going to sell a lot of copies. If it was a tome heaping praise on Bush and the White House? No, it wouldn't sell that much.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Dirty Trickster

I don't have much to comment on now, but whenever there is a good piece of journalism, a really good article, I'd like to share that with others who are interested. This is a fascinating piece from The New Yorker about a GOP operative named Roger Stone. A Nixon protege, the parts he's played in some of the biggest political stories (or allegedly played) is very interesting to read. From Nixon's "dirty tricks", to the 2000 election, to Rathergate, to the Spitzer scandal, Stone's had a part to play in all of them. If you can get past looking at his bare chest at the top of the article, there's a nice article for you to read.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

McCain still afraid to be seen with Bush

There was (or is) a fundraiser in Arizona for McCain, with an appearance by George W. Bush. As makes sense, the current candidate, McCain, is strongly trying to distance himself from the increasingly unpopular Bush. To me, it's far too late for that. There are many pictures of the two together that the Democrats can make political hay out of, McCain has voted for most of Bush's agenda, and McCain is basically running a campaign promoting himself as "Bush III".

With all that, I still fear that McCain will win in November. I have zero faith in our electoral system; who knows how many GOP operatives are in place, ready to disenfranchise voters or erase votes? But the far more pressing problem surrounds the opinions of these stupid white people regarding Obama. As I'd posted previously, a significant number of people supported Clinton in primary states like Indiana, West Virginia, Kentucky, etc. because of Obama being black. They said that they wouldn't vote for him on that basis. A large amount of those people also still believe that Obama is a Muslim. There's no excuse for this. There's so much information available now. In a simple Internet search, anyone who is interested can surf and find out that Obama is not a Muslim. But these people will continue on the wrong course, due to their narrow-minded, ignorant beliefs. Unbelievable.


I saw the film "Recount" on HBO the other night, and it was tremendous. It was the best political film I've seen in some time. I still think of how much different our country would be today if the real winner of the election, Gore, had actually won the White House. Iraq wouldn't have happened, the response time to Katrina would have been better, we wouldn't be paying 4 plus dollars for gas. The U.S. wouldn't be a utopia by any means, but it would certainly be better than what we have right now.

So yes, it's kinda heartbreaking to think about. And "Recount" isn't a partisan hitjob; I felt the Democrats came off worse than the Republicans, truthfully. Bush's soldiers, led by James Baker (played by Tom Wilkerson in the film) always went for the jugular. They wanted to win, and rightfully so, it is politics. Whereas some of the older Democrats, primarily Warren Christopher (John Hurt), were weak at the knees. They were talking about being "dignified and doing what's best for the country". Although there were many other factors at play that unfairly went against Gore, the Democrats attitude and lack of spine was just as significant a reason as any for why things played out as they did.

But it was a really good movie. Kevin Spacey stars; he's one of my favorite actors, and I barely see him in anything anymore, so it's a treat to see him here. If you have HBO, keep your eyes peeled for it, it's really worth watching.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

In Iraq, a Surge in U.S. Airstrikes

I'm not sure if I'll blog tomorrow, on Memorial Day. I hope to. But if I don't, I wanted to post this article I found in the Post on the increasing airstrikes in Iraq, particularly in Sadr City, a clerical stronghold in Baghdad. I always appreciate a good piece of war journalism, and this delivers. Anyway, when celebrating Memorial Day, it's important to take a moment to not only reflect on the sacrifices made by our military, but by the many unwilling sacrifices of others due to our foriegn policy. How many people killed in these air strikes, that are considered to be "collateral damage", actually welcomed our presence in Iraq? So all deaths should be memorialized tomorrow, not just those of "our troops."

Further reflection on this article: how come, after six years, we're still launching airstrikes to eliminate these so-called "terrorists"? Surely we've had more than enough time to work on the hearts and minds of the Iraqi populace to be able to maintain a significant ground presence in order to apprehend these guys? Rather than just launch missiles indiscriminately and kill more innocents. But that sounds like a winning strategy: limit our casualty rate by increasing their's.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Thirty Days

I just watched the pilot, which is a few years old, of a documentary program called "Thirty Days". It's from Morgan Spurlock, the guy who did "Super Size Me", the documentary where he ate nothing but McDonald's food for a month. Anyway, in the pilot of "Thirty Days", he and his financee take on the task of living on minimum wage for 30 days. It's only 45 minutes, so it's like a mini-documentary, but it's terrific. It really shows what you would expect the life of a minimum wage worker in America to be. And I think it's only worsened since then, when you consider the runaway inflation and $4 a gallon gas prices. The lesson you come away with, is that you can never really get ahead. Morgan Spurlock took on 2 jobs to get some extra money, and he got it, but then he'd gotten hospital bills for when he and his wife had to go to the ER due to their respective health aliments. They totaled around a thousand dollars. They got charged approximately 400 dollars for walking into the hospital, and Morgan got charged 40 dollars for "medical supplies", which consisted of an Ace bandage.

It's very fascinating, and I could certainly relate right now. A few months ago, due to being unemployed, I had to ditch my health insurance. I'm looking for a summer job, and I already know that it's going to be difficult. And I'm educated, articulate, and white. Imagine how someone else who isn't feels, and what kinds of hurdles they have to face.

The great thing, is that you can watch this online. Just go to, click on the TV show area, and you'll see 30 Days. It's the first episode. There are a few good movies I want to watch this weekend. Tonight, on Showtime, at 7:30, there's a documentary called "Maxed Out" that's airing. It's about how Americans are mired in bottomless debt to these credit card companies. These guys are predators. Yes, I know it's our responsibility to use our money wisely and to only buy that which we can pay back. But who teaches us these things? Our culture encourages us, at every step, to spend money on things we don't need. But I don't want to go on a spiel. I just want to see this documentary tonight, it sounds really good.

Oh, and on Sunday night, there's a premiere of a movie on HBO called "Recount", about the Florida election in 2000. I'm so glad this story's being told. And Kevin Spacey's in it, so I just have to see it.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Gay Marriage

This is sorta old news, but last week, there was a big story coming out of California that their Supreme Court overturned a voter-approved ban on gay marriage. All I can say is, good for them. I support equal rights for everybody, and am against so-called "conservatives" turning to federalism and the state when something happens that they disapprove of. Also, don't gay people have the right to be miserable along with all the heteros who are married? I think so. And finally, what is with the conservatives who maintain that if gay marriage becomes a way of life, than next we'll be promoting beastility and incest? Yeah, today you're kissing another guy, tomorrow you're mounting a horse.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Current Happenings


I know that I resolved last week to post more, but alas... it's almost over. On Monday, I have a final and a quiz, and that should be it as far as this semester goes. Then it's the summer, where I'm planning to take one online course and hopefully find a job, and then onward to fall, where I'll hopefully finish this program. But come Monday, hopefully (there's that word again), I'll be able to post more. I miss blogging terribly.

Anyway, I realized this morning that I haven't really talked much about what's on everyone's minds, the ever-rising price of filling up your car at the pump. This might not affect me as much as it affects you, since I don't drive, but my family drives me often to places, so it's easy for me to understand. Every time there's another increase, I see an article in the paper outlining all the reasons why it's going up. It's everything from speculation by investors, the fall of the dollar, turmoil in oil-producing nations, and all these other reasons. It could very well be these things. But personally, just judging from my gut instinct, I can't say that I buy it. Again, I could be wrong, and call me crazy, but there are two factors that come to mind when I think of this.

For one, in 2000, there was the coup and Bush was selected by the USSC against the will of the majority of Americans. When he entered the White House, gas was in the $1.40 per gallon range. Fast-forward to the present, 7 years later. Gas has nearly tripled in that time. Prior to entering the White House, Bush was an oilman. His family comes from that world. Cheney also has connections to Big Oil. With all that, does anyone think that the guys occupying the White House have absolutely nothing to do with why gas has tripled in 7 years?

Also, if there are all these factors behind the rise in oil prices, as the media explains to us, wouldn't it make sense for the oil companies (Exxon, etc.) to be feeling the pinch too? But no, every few months, when a quarter ends, what do you read in the business section? That these companies are realizing record profits. As well thought-out as these other theories may be for the rise in oil prices, and they could well be true, what do I know? But these 2 points that I just raised are never brought up by the media. It just seems strange, I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking this.

Prior to blogging, I did read a snippet of an article that in Wisconsin, people are now connecting with each other online to share the ride to work and in the costs of gas. That's very encouraging. There aren't a lot of solutions to help manage the pain at the pump, but that's one sure-fire way to lower the costs of driving your vehicle. I remember after Katrina happened, and gas prices first started spiking up to 3 dollars or so a gallon, and on one of the news programs, people were being asked whether they'd consider carpooling, and the response was almost entirely negative. They seemed to really value their independence and at the time, I found it very foolish to not even consider that common-sense idea. Maybe now with gas prices having increased by at least another dollar since then, people will rethink some of their opinions. It's time to get over our perpetual distrust of people and realize that we're all in this together, that we're all being boned up the ass.

Sorry, I know that's an unpleasant image. But that's as simple and blunt as I can be. Now, I'm about to cover some previously unexplored territory in this blog, and I hope I don't frighten some of you off. But I am hoping that this worsening economy will make more Americans realize the totally unequitable relationship between capital and labor. No, I'm not a socialist or a commie, you'll have to take my word for that. But capitalism has its deep flaws as well, and I don't think it ensures long-term prosperity in any society, at least for the vast majority of us. But I'm digressing.

Someone close to me told me the other day, that it makes him laugh when the reasoning for increasing the prices at the grocery store, is due to the gas prices and how companies have to pass their costs on to the customers. He asked, "who do I pass my costs on to"? For the most part, I haven't been working for nearly a year. I'm in this program, and it's been my life, pretty much. But the key reason behind my leaving my job, was a conflict with my employer. It wasn't something I initiated, mind you. My everyday costs were increasing. My health insurance had recently gone up by over a third. So I'd asked for a one-dollar raise. A few weeks went by, I didn't hear anything. Then one day, I had an argument with another employee, and the circumstances behind that (I strongly believe) were chereographed by my employer to force me out. We did talk about my asking for a raise before I'd left, and he told me that I wasn't worth 12 dollars an hour. So, my costs went up, and I couldn't pass them on to my employer. But when the prices of the goods he ordered went up, the first thing he'd do is raise his prices, and pass them on to the customer.

So that's what I mean by there being an unequitable relationship. When our costs of living go up, we can't approach our employer and explain that to them. They'd likely laugh and say "don't let the door hit you on the ass." But when their costs go up, they don't hesistate. And in a lot of instances currently, these companies will use the situation to gain. This is their opportunity to charge even more, on top of what they're apparently losing, and then wrap it all in a ball and tell us, "we have no choice, our prices are going up."

So that's all I have to say at the moment. Again, I hope to update more over the coming weeks. I appreciate your patience.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Noam Chomsky on 1968

The New Statesman has an issue out commentrating the 40-year anniversary of 1968. As you probably know, '68 was an eventful year (to say the very least). There was My Lai, the Tet Offensive, the riots at the Democratic Convention, etc. So there are various writers penning essays on their reflections of 1968, Noam Chomsky being one of them. He looks back very fondly on it, and even goes so far to state that we're much more democratic today than we were back then. Some may argue with that. After all, there was a coup here less than 8 years ago. Inequality runs deeper than it has since the Depression. Business has never been more powerful and had a greater voice in our government.

But, he does raise some valid points. Widespread domestic opposition to Vietnam only began to spread after the mounting troop deaths and the draft really became a big thing. Before then, there were no marches or huge gatherings of opposition. With Iraq, there was a presence even before the invasion started. Also, it was taboo for a presidential candidate to even talk about "withdrawal" of troops from Vietnam in 1968. Now, it may be timid, but it's there. Sadly, the candidates who make no bones on withdrawing soldiers (Ron Paul, Kucinich) have long since ended their camapigns.

So I don't know how to feel about Chomsky's observation. I could go either way, I guess. I wasn't around in 1968, so I'd have a limited opinion just based on that. There may be opposition now, and it may not have taken 6 years to begin, but it isn't as widespread. The government isn't worried about not having enough troops to suppress the domestic population, like they did in 1968. There are small pockets of peace activists, but enough to have a meaningful impact? No. I think what really seperates these 2 eras is the presence (or non-presence) of the draft. The opposition to Vietnam was due to self-preservation; young people didn't want to be sent to Vietnam to die. But as we have an all-volunteer military now, today's youth don't have that worry. So that's why Iraq is probably the last thing on most young people's minds.

Friday, May 9, 2008


Back in my undergraduate days, I guess I could say I was lazy. I was smart, and I passed mostly everything, but I was content with that. I never felt the urge to go further and really apply myself. I regret that now, but it was also part of being young, you think it's going to be forever. And now, I'm a little older, and realize that it isn't like that. And so, in order to really rise above, you have to apply yourself. An instance of that is my attitude towards an internship. As an undergrad, it just wasn't something I was interested in. Plus, I didn't believe in serving as someone's free labor. I believe if someone needs you there to work for them, you should be compensated.

But I understand that it's something to put on a resume. And as I sorely need some legal experience, I felt that I had to bite the bullet and explore doing an internship. However, I only found out recently that in a college internship, not only do you typically work for free, but since it's credited (you get 3 credits like if you were taking a class), you pay for it! It really sunk in today when I got a bill for $454 for the internship I'm scheduled to take in the summer.

As I'm already taking a class in the summer, I realized that I really don't have the money to take both. We're talking 900 dollars, and I'm not exactly liquid right now. Until I find something, I'm trying to hold on to every last penny. What's the worst thing, besides having to pay to take the internship, is that I'm doing virtually all the legwork. The college isn't even helping with placing me somewhere. I was in the office of the career counselor a few weeks ago, and she showed me a list of law firms and governmental offices that have employed interns. It was really nice, but she told me that they don't give the information to students, and she only allowed me to look at it for a minute before putting it back in the cabinet. I felt like one of the salesmen in "Glengarry Glen Ross" after being told that the leads "are for closers."

So, at this point I'm leaning towards going to a temp agency and trying to get placed at a firm. It doesn't necessairly have to be as a paralegal, I'll do filing work or whatever. The important thing is getting an in and having something to put down.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

My Thoughts on the Obana-Clinton Campaign

Although I haven't been following this a great deal, I tuned into MSNBC in between commercials of Hell's Kitchen to observe the results from North Carolina and Indiana. The results from Indiana kind of surprised me. First, Obama was supposed to carry it. Than, after Philadelphia and then Wright, Hillary was supposed to win handily. And she ended up winning by a hair. The momentum from Philadelphia, and the gap in delegates that she had begun to close, was wiped out last night. And now the media is being forced to admit what any of us who have been following this knew all along: that it's mathematically impossible for Hillary to get the nomination.

George McGovern, the Democratic nominee for President in 1972 and a one-time supporter of Clinton's campaign, has called on her to drop out and I think this will be the beginning. Let me put on my pundit cap for a moment. I think that Hillary should either drop out now, or after West Virginia and Kentucky, which she's expected to win. That way, she could go out on a high note. Then, if Obama loses in the general, she could say to the party, "I told you so", and begin to run again for '12. I really enjoyed this campaign. It was very nice to see it go this far, and have the candidates go out into states and areas that are usually totally irrelevant by this time in the primary.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Stupid White Men

I read today in several articles that the Obama campaign is facing trouble up ahead, due to the racism of small-town American voters. This article from MSNBC says that it's due to Reverend Wright and the "bitter" comment. Or at least that's what Keith Wolfe thinks. "It's the stuff about his preacher ... and the thing he said about Pennsylvania towns, how they turn to religion. I don't think he'd be a really good leader." And what does Mr. Wolfe, 41, do for a living? He stocks shelves at a supermarket. Another person quoted in the article, a politicial science professor, thinks that Obama isn't doing well because he doesn't do a good enough job of addressing rural America's economic needs.

But deep down, we know better. This is another article from the New Yorker. In it, a volunteer for Hillary in Kentucky states that he'd never vote for an African-American, and has said that other people have told him the same thing. But you won't hear that reported on MSNBC or the nightly news. They'll give all these other reasons for why Obama won't do well in these states, but it has nothing to do with an incindiary preacher or his off-the-cuff comments. These people are just racist, hick morons.

I know that I'm being harsh. 10 or so years ago, I probably wouldn't be. But after 8 years of Bush, I'd take any improvement, no matter how slight. I don't like Obama, (not due to race, mind you), but he'd be much better than Dubya. For small-town America, too. How many people have jobs similiarly mimimal and unrewarding as Mr. Wolfe's in small town America? Quite a few, I'd imagine. And yet they'd rather keep going down the direction they've been on, which will get even more steep and difficult, just so a black man won't be commander-in-chief.

I don't know what Obama could do. There's probably nothing. Small-town America is dimwitted and full of hate for any candidate who isn't a white Christian. So they'll vote McCain, and take themselves further down. Hopefully they won't take the rest of us with them.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

U.S. has Mandela on terrorist list

The ineptness of our police state never ceases to amaze me. Their latest blooper is putting Nelson Mandela, a symbol the world over for justice and equality, on the terrorist watch list. Elsewhere, I also read reports of U.S. marshals, the guys who are supposed to be protecting the planes, being put on these lists because their names are too close to others who are on the list. And I should feel somewhat assured that America's being protected?

Friday, May 2, 2008

Verve Earth

I'm very happy whenever this blog gets any attention. Last week, a gentleman from a startup company called Verve Earth emailed me and told me that he'd discovered my blog, and offered me an invitation to join it, which I proudly took. It seems like a really cool website, it groups blogs together based on geography. So you can go to any part of the global map (which is the center of their homepage) and see which blogs are taking part.

So this falls in line with hopefully my (eventual) expanding of the blog. I really want to add some bells and whistles, but not too much that it'd denigrate the experience.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

US says cocaine routes shifting from US to Europe

The latest casualty of our falling dollar may be the availibility of illegal drugs like cocaine, as drug traffickers are now siphoning their shipments away from the U.S. towards Europe, where they'd get more money due to the relative strength of the Euro.

This is encouraging; with any luck, DEA agents would be laid off and would have to get real jobs.

Biggest Political Liability of the Campaign Season? George W. Bush

For all the hemming and hawing by the media about the various scandals and concerns surrounding the 2 Democratic candidates (Obama and his "bitter" non-story, and Reverend Wright, and Hillary's tale about being pinned down by sniper fire in Bosnia), the biggest concern of the public surrounding the 3 candidates is the current occupant of the White House. 43 percent of people polled say that McCain's ties to Bush worry them more than the media concoctions that they are trying to spoon-feed to us.

And if any of you doubt that they're close, remember this?

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I'm Still Here

I realized that I haven't blogged in awhile, as tends to happen sometimes. But I think this is my longest period of inaction yet, 10 days since my last post. My apologies, I've just been very busy with the program that I'm in. I had two exams last week, and a very difficult assignment to hand in. But thankfully that's past, and the semester is almost over. So hopefully I'll have some more time to devote to blogging, which I have missed terribly.

So as a result, I haven't been able to keep up with happenings here and around the globe. Gas prices continue to climb, and it downright scares me what it's doing to food supply. There are already shortages due to the climbing prices. There have been riots in other countries, and here, I believe that places like Sam's Club are rationing items like rice. There's a certain limit you can buy.

Another thing is that the "scandal" surrounding Obama's minister, Wright, has resurfaced. The more I see these kinds of news items, the more I feel that the media is going to do to Obama what they did to Gore in 2000. Back then, they skewered Gore over all these supposedly outrageous things that he said. Like he helped to "invent" the Internet, that he was the inspiration for Love Story, etc. Of course, it turned out later that he was either misquoted, or that in fact, he wasn't that far off. I believe that the writer of "Love Story" had stated that Gore did inspire "Love Story." But I don't know, it was a long time ago. I just remembered the media just did not like Gore and pulverized him every chance they got. But they loved Dubya though.

So I feel they're doing the same thing to Obama, with Reverend Wright and the "bitter" comment replacing Gore's so-called claims. To this point, it's barely made a dent in his popularity. No one outside of Beltway media was offended by the whole "bitter" thing, in fact, many agreed with it. And why shouldn't they? If working-class voters are not bitter over their living standards declining and their opportunties limiting over the years, there's something wrong with them. And now Hillary's saying that Obama is "out of touch" with working-class voters. That might well be the case, but what makes her in touch? One went to Harvard, the other to Yale. They're pretty much the same person, if you ask me.

And what did Reverend Wright say that outraged everyone so, and which prompted Obama to distance himself from Wright, after initially defending him last month? He again said that the U.S. government is responsible for HIV. I'm not an expert, I really don't know how HIV and AIDS came about, but he also said that we were behind Tuskagee (I spelled that wrong, I'm pretty sure). And he's right, if our government was behind that, how can we dismiss his belief on how HIV was devised, on its face?

And what drew the most fire, was when he talked about terrorism, and how when we've committed so much of it, it's only a matter of time before it comes to our doorstep (i.e., 9/11). And the media's up in arms about his statement that we've committed acts of terrorism. Which, of course, is a ridculous statement by Wright. Just look at our foreign policy record after World War II, and all the interventions that we took part in. All the influencing and downright overthrows of governments the world over who didn't see things in the same light as our government.

I'm sure most people would find Wright's comment offensive, because no one is more ignorant about U.S. foreign policy than the average American. It may be considered a stretch to refer to our foreign policy as "terrorist", but his overall premise was right, IMO. Why do you feel radical Islamists don't come after, say, Switzerland? The fact that they don't have military bases in their homeland might have something to do with it.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Pentagon's Hidden Hand

I always like reading lengthy pieces of first-rate journalism, and this article from Fridays' Times is exactly that. It's about the military "analysts" that you see on TV. They're paid by the networks to give their "opinion" on the war. But these same analysts often have business interests that stand to profit from wars like the one in Iraq. Also, they're coached by the Pentagon on how to respond to questions about the war.

This is nothing new. I read this excellent book a few years ago, it was published a year or so after the beginning of the war. I'm at a loss as to what it was called, I thought it was called "Weapons of Mass Distraction", but couldn't find it on Amazon. But anyway, alternative media has reported on this. As much as the Times has published this great piece, they've been as guilty as any other mainstream media outlet for marching in line and parroting Bush's talking points.

But anyway, read this article if you have the time.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Dear Mr. Bernanke

I usually don't post an entry from someone else's blog in its entirety, but this is simply too good, I have to make an exception. Contemplation of Preponderance is one of my favorite blogs to read, you really should check it out. This is a letter to Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Fed, on the recent bailout of Bear Stearns. And yes, it is a "bailout", I don't care what Bernanke says.

Dear Mr. Bernanke,
I've written several politicians and a few unelected officials, and now it's your turn. Please forgive me for not writing sooner. I think, perhaps, I could have helped. You have defended your decision regarding Bear Stearns and stated the action of the Feds was not a "bail out," but rather an action that had to occur to prevent the collapse of this huge financial presence. Your statement, as I read it in the news, indicates the entire economy would have been shaken if Bear Stearns had declared the bankruptcy that was imminent by the middle of March of this year. I realize I am not a math major, nor do I have a doctorate in economics, but . . . if Bear Stearns was at the point of bankruptcy and the stock value had plummeted from $60.00 a share to $2.00 a share, the fact of the matter regarding Bear Stearns is Bear Stearns became insolvent and unstable. Your response was a simple matter of printing more money to "strengthen" the weakened, nearly dead financial institution. The problem is, printing money and giving it to another financial entity to bail out the bankrupt bank, doesn't change the fact that the investment bank was bankrupt. And while we are discussing investments and rescue, please let me introduce you to the man on the street, not Wall Street, but simply the man that is trying to keep his investment called his home, and his stability called his job, and his security called a stable economy. Why does Bear Stearns merit so much more assistance to the tune of $250 billion? How many home mortgages would that amount of money helped save? Why do the tax payers have to keep working without hope of light at the end of the tunnel to fund the stability of Wall Street? Why, as an economist, can you not see that Wall Street has become a place of investing in money rather than investing in products or a stable economy? Wall Street is not funded to simply keep the economy in perpetual motion and you know, dropping the interest rates, and funding the big banks is nothing more than bringing the game of MONOPOLY to economic reality. The only difference Mr. Bernanke, between printing money for JP Chase & Morgan Co. to purchase Bear Stearns and counterfeiting, is the fact that you have been appointed to say it's legal to print money. The interest rates have plummeted, the value of the average American's investments have dropped dramatically, and you are not choosing to use the term "recession," while the rest of us are living the reality. The fact that you are not using the term "recession" makes me wonder one of two things. Are we already passed the point of recession and living the beginning of the "D" word, Depression . . . or are you simply out of touch with the common concerns and problems of the average American? Are you aware of the financial impact of filling a gas tank? Do you have any idea of the sticker shock, that continues weekly at the grocery store? Since you have spared Bear Stearns, to spare the rest of us, just when will that gracious decision to indirectly rescue the rest of us, by financing the purchase of Bear Stearns affect the average American in a positive economical way?
Thank you for your time and attention in this matter.
A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold. a Proverb of Holy Scripture