Sunday, December 26, 2010

Being Inspired by Others

Being Dr. Albert C. Barnes

"The Barnes Foundation would attack...the enemies of intelligence and imagination in art, whether or not these enemies are protected by financial power or social prestige." --Dr. Albert C. Barnes
I so honor Dr. Barnes who wanted his some $40 billion dollar art collection to be kept for educational purposes and despise the actions of all of those who thwarted his will for profit.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Being Christmas

Merry Christmas! Peace, love and blessings to all.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Being Republicans

Republicans care most about money. Issues of morality and ideology are by far less significant. These are means to the end: money. Republicans are content to give in to Democrats so as long as hundreds of billions of dollars are given in tax cuts to the likes of the Waltons, and hundreds of billions more are given to the likes of Halliburton in war contracts. DADT? No problem. Money matters most to these.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Being in the Obama Triangulation: The Right, the Left, and Slick Willy

White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer told the New York Times, "As I understand it, triangulation is the idea that you demonstrate to some set of swing voters that you are politically palatable by poking the extremes of both parties in they eyes." After President Obama's press conference I wrote to a veteran pundit friend. The press conference reminded me of President Clinton's Sister Souljah moment. The statement by Pfeiffer affirms my suspicion.

In triangulation all points are stable and necessary. In this context the left and right are needed to position Obama. They are used "to demonstrate to some set of swing voters that you are politically palatable." The "you" here is Obama. This is the gut reaction analogy I made to my veteran pundit friend. As Clinton needed to prove to swing voters that he could offend the black community really badly and they remain on his side, Obama needs to prove the same but he does so on the left and right with half the skill. He has been called “divisive.” Perhaps triangulation is the genesis of that critique.

It was obvious to the black community what Clinton was doing, but what happened? He was dubbed “the first black president" until the real first black president emerged. He disrespected black people who were so loyal to him by openly making veiled racist statements when Obama ran against Hillary Clinton in the primary. President Clinton responded in shock by the response. What? The triangulation isn’t working now? The offense is not taken? Blacks aren't rallying to me in spite of the offense? Behold! A native son had arrived and one with great potential.

In this context of triangulation Obama makes both the left and right extremely offended by poking them directly in the eyes in order to secure swing voters. Where else would the left go? And the right is never counted upon for votes. This is how Obama seems to have governed. But there is a problem. He does not seem to be as smooth as "Slick Willy" and perhaps not as dishonest either. There had often been contradictions on his face. But they seem to be fading with each year as president.

The last press conference seemed to reveal Obama's contradictions in the uncharacteristic anger he showed toward the left. Had he not given them what they wanted? Had he not played his triangulation role well enough? It was a moment of self-indulgence. The anger seemed to fit perfectly into his sense of failure of not being like "Slick Willy." So, what happens? The real "Slick Willy" appears once again in the White House press room.

The Obama triangulation may not work because of the lack of deftness in delivery. But perhaps all that is needed is time.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Being Thankful

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. There is a lot to be thankful for.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Being a Fox Female Newscaster

From this shot of Megyn Kelly to her daily appearance on Fox News it is clear that the more things change the more they stay the same. On Fox the women are simply sex symbols. Kelly is on the cover of GQ with this title: "She Reports, We Decided She's Hot" That's a joke. Fox News sells soft porn daily. With the women on Fox, it's all about plunging neck lines and rising skirts. But what they're pole-ing is more than titillating. It's deadly politics. Get thee to a topless bar. Go!

Being Inspired by Others

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Being Galled

Stephen A. Schwartzman, chairman and co-founder of the Blackstone Group, compared his company's corporate tax increase of 15% to 35% to the invasion of Hitler. The galling thing about Schwartzman's statement is that his company exists because of the bailout, and contracts given to this investment and advisory firm. Now, he is deriding the government. Schwartzman is angry with the government when Blackstone would not exist without it. The comparison is also disturbing and grossly hyperbolic. Is Schwartzman Jewish?

Being Brotherly

When I phoned my brother Haywood earlier he seemed a bit distracted. After a little while, I asked him if it was a good time. He said for me to go ahead. We had a good conversation as usual. A few hours later he phoned to say he was sorry that he hadn't given me his undivided attention earlier. I thanked him. I also wondered about our integrity and the concern we show each other.

Being Foolish

In the Senate race in Nevada between Harry Reid and Sharron Angle, it is utterly foolish to keep talking about personality when there is so much to lose politically. Get a grip people!

Being Profitable

There is a reason why the stock of Borders, and Barnes and Noble is tanking. Looking for books on the history of Detroit and Chicago in the 30s, I went to the aforementioned bookstores. I live in Detroit and there were no books on Detroit save some picture books, and they had nothing on Chicago. This is the why I largely order books online. The selection is vast and there is no hassle. I don't think Borders or Barnes and Noble can sell enough coffee to be profitable.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Being a Socialite

While shopping today I ran into a socialite going on and on about this and that to a friend who seemed utterly disinterested. The socialite's voice alone was annoying. I felt pity for the friend. When I got to the parking lot we were parked next to each other. She was still yapping as she loaded her many bags. The friend stood at the passenger's side. I inched out. "Look what I got" asked the socialite. "What?" replied the friend, from the distance. "A Soul Train T-shirt," she exclaimed. The socialite instantly became a schoolgirl. "Nice shirt," I said. "You can get one online," she said. "I will," I replied. The friend joined us. "Remember Don Cornelius?" she said. "I do," I said. "I just looove Soul Train," said the socialite swooning." "Good day to you both," I said, pulling away. Suddenly, I felt better. Maybe she's not just some yappy self-centered socialite. Well, maybe she is, but at least she looooves cool music.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Being Inspired by Others

"The Flower Duet" from Lakme by Leo Delibes

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Being Driven by Fear

Last week U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton ruled that key parts of S.B. 1070 could not be enacted. A rally took place in Arizona to protest the ruling. As I came across the photo below of a Tea Party member spewing hate over illegal immigration, the image reminded me of a scene in 1957 when women screamed at Elizabeth Eckford as she sought to enroll in Little Rock Central High School.

The nature of people do not change. Fear causes us to act out. The question is when will we identify and overcome such fears?

The fear of Mexicans that produced such hate clearly evident in this woman's face is irrational, as was the fear on the faces of the women in 1957.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Being Inspired by Others

Pergolesi's Stabat Mater sung by countertenor Andreas Scholl and soprano Barbara Bonney is divine. Added to this video is the subliminity of Michelangelo's David. When I first saw the Pieta I was in college. I stood there immobilized, silently weeping uncontrollably. It breathes and speaks. It's just the most amazing piece of art. I must have stood at the sculpture for an hour. There was so much to take in, such extraordinary lines from the neck to the clothing to the femur bone to consider.

A lot has been written about Rodin's passion for movement. He must have gotten it from Michelangelo, not to mention Claudel. I seemed to see the scene at Golgotha and hear the words of he who spoke to Mary saying, "Woman, behold your son." The words reverberated again and again in my head as I stood there. He would soon be laid to rest. Michelangelo made this setting real from the tiniest of detail. I was simply in awe. The coupling of the Stabat Mater and the Peita in this video is beautiful.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Being Inspired by Others

Enjoy this brief excerpt from one of the great baritones of the 20th Century, Robert McFerrin. While I'm sure many may not know the father, many know the son, Bobby McFerrin, Jr. You will see where the son got his talent. Robert McFerrin was the first African American male to sing at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. I honor him.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Being Inspired by Others

Two great artists, Kathleen Battle and Wynton Marsalis, performing Bach's Cantata 51, "Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen"

Monday, July 12, 2010

Being Capitalists

Here is an excellent-thought-provoking animated video on the "Crises of Capitalism."

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Being Inspired by Others

G.F. Handel: "The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba"

Friday, July 9, 2010

Being Capitalists

Zorro, a frequent commenter, has shared a great article by Andy Grove,"How to Make an American Job Before It's Too Late." It deals with our misplaced emphasis on technology startups and their ability to create jobs. Think about it. How many jobs have Facebook created? Twitter? MySpace? So, we have replaced industrial jobs for technology ones that don't create jobs. This scenario ensures that the rich will continue to get richer and the poor will continue to get poorer. It is no surprise that the income gap between the rich and poor is the highest in 80 years. Being from Detroit, I have seen jobs disappear for many years so that the profit of corporations could increase through outsourcing. If we don't course correct, Lenin's quote will become true: "The capitalist will sell us the rope that we will hang them with."

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Being Inspired by Others

May God Bless America! Happy 4th!

Being America

"Let America Be America Again" by Langston Hughes

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Being Inspired by Others

"Think of the magic of that foot, comparatively small, upon which your whole weight rests. It's a miracle, and the dance is a celebration of that miracle."

--Martha Graham

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Being in Afghanistan

Bye bye General McChrystal. This is not his first act of insubordination. Hopefully, it will also be a bye bye to a war in Afghanistan where there is no end in sight. This war can't be won.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Being President Barack Obama

President Obama never ceases to amaze. His steadiness is extraordinary. Yesterday's speech left me quite disappointed. I wanted to hear him talk policy. He did not. But the BP announcement today has made me very happy. Carol Browner, White House Energy Adviser, impressively outlined the agreement with BP. There will be a $20 billion independent escrow account that isn't a "floor or ceiling" and a $100 million fund for the people of the Gulf which will expedite the claims process. This does not change or preclude any other future claims. "All rights of the claimants are preserved," said Browner. This a first in the history of a multi-national company. Bravo, Mr. President!

Being Timothy Geithner

Why is the Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, out front talking about Iran's nuclear capability? Is this unusual? What are his expertise in this area? It seems as if he has enough on his hands with the economy alone I would think.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Being Mohammed Ali

In a conversation with my brother Haywood earlier today I asked him a simple question, "Is there anyone anywhere in any field that can't be bought today? Mohammed Ali is one of my heroes not only because of his extraordinary skill in the ring but because of his complete refusal to be bought and his fundamental sense of fairness. Where are those leaders today who would go to jail for their beliefs or even take a pay cut?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Being Inspired by Others

This aria from the movie "The Fifth Element" is what's commonly known as "The Mad Scene from the opera "Lucia di Lammermoor" by Gaetano Donizetti. The ending is not quite in the style of Donizetti in one way but is indeed in another. After all, this was the era of bel canto (beautiful singing) where singers included spontaneous elaborate rapid brilliant cadenzas which spanned more than a few octaves. The style of singing is know as coloratura. It's just that this version has a way cool techno beat. Do stay for the ending. It's awesome! Someone researched the period well in this movie. This is always good to see. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Being Women

If this is the year of women with Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman who act just as irresponsible and reckless as corporate men, what praise is that then?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Being the Supreme Court

Isn't it strange that it's never judicial activism when conservative leaning judges make decisions on behalf of corporations, but it's always so when liberal leaning judges do so on behalf of the people? In The New York Times Op-Ed,"Keeping Politics Safe for the Rich," it is asserted that the Supreme Court "upended the gubernatorial race in Arizona, cutting off matching funds to candidates participating in the state's public campaign finance system." But the rich can spend endlessly of their own money as Whitman did with some $81 million in California and Bloomberg did with some $100 million in New York.

Th Supreme Court's decision declares what Jim or Jane can do with their money via matching funds but not what a billionaire or multiple millionaire can do with theirs. I think the law has to do with the inability of the power structure to envision the giving of millions of people via the internet and has hence corrected itself to maintain the balance of power. The Roberts' court has sided on the side of corporations and the wealthy repeatedly. Remember corporations are now people too. Surely these rulings aren't just.

Being Alvin Greene

Before yesterday I didn't have a clue who Alvin Greene was. I caught a bit of his interview on "Countdown" with Keith Olbermann last night and a bit more on "The Rachel Maddow Show." I was aghast. He has no job, no campaign organization, no degree, and no name recognition. He doesn't even have a website. Yet, he was elected as the primary candidate for the Senate in South Carolina. Oh, did I mention he's facing felony obscenity charges? I smell a rat.

You be the judge of his qualifications:

This guy is thoroughly unqualified to serve in the Senate. But, of course, he would never make it anyway. He is obviously being used as a tool to run against the well-funded established Republican candidate, Jim Demint. While I think he's totally unqualified, just think about this. Sarah Palin could have been our president. Same difference.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Being Immune from Public Opinion

The article written by George Friedman, The Limits of Public Opinion: Arabs. Israelis and the Strategic Balance, is very disturbing, for it posits that the only way to get Israel to abide by international law is through an alliance of Arab nations whose intention is annihilation, if only by threat alone. This is how power works, through the threat of war or annihilation. This is the only kind of respect it seems. The article posits that in the short term Israel can act without impunity as an Arab alliance doesn't exit because of factions. This can't be allowed by any country anywhere at anytime and the mere threat of annihilation, with countries with nukes whose purpose it is to be safe, annihilates itself anyway with their use.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Being Inspired by Others

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa sings one of my favorite pieces, "Vocalise" by Rachmaninoff. Feel free to add you own lyrics.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Being Empowered

Ain't no power like the power of the people, 'cause the power of the people don't stop! Say what? Ain't no power like the power of the people 'cause the power of the people don't stop! Power to people. Power to the people. Power to the people. Power to the people.

Right on!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Being in Remembrance

May God bless our troops, their families, and loved ones.

May we always remember those who sacrificed their lives for ours.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Being Inspired by Others

Marian Anderson has long been an inspiration, as well as the great Eleanor Roosevelt for so many reasons, including enabling this event on the Lincoln Memorial in 1939 and having the integrity to resign from the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Being Democrats

What I find amazing about the left is if they don't get everything they want when they want it, with all of their intellectual brilliance and fierce impatience, they whimper and whine just like the right, just like recalcitrant teenagers, for the right are as children, who when they don't get their way take their books, not toys, and beat them over the head of their own. What's up with this? I'm getting pretty annoyed with these teenagers.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Being in the Media

Glenn Beck mocks Malia Obama's concern about the oil spill, her trust in her father, her race, and her education. There is absolutely nothing sacred with Beck...nothing.

The question is what can be done about him? When will enough be enough that no sponsor will touch him? Somebody is obviously watching him, eh?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Being Bizarre

Outside of the Scarlett O'Hara Tea Party theme, Bristol Palin's photo shoot in Harper's Baazar is bizarre. Why would anyone want to see her, let alone hear her at $30,000 a pop? Her son is largely photographed in the spread. Talk about using your kids, like mother like daughter.

Here is a young lady who preaches the abstinence of her fundamentalist faith as a teenage mom while living off the largess of a mother who rose to fame using her feminine wilds, winking her way with seditious "snowbilly" speech. No, Bristol Palin is not a role model and neither is she a Hollywood starlet. Bristol Palin's hypocrisy is just gross.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Being in the Cult of Personality

On Facebook a comment was made that Dr. Chu, Secretary of Energy, was brilliant but he never smiles. This ticked me off a bit, especially considering the lack of essence and thoughtfulness of so much today in various sectors. The cult of personality has to die, I'm afraid. We are by far too engrossed in what glitters while often times this is not gold. We also make a cult of many things even when it is indeed gold. Here is the band Living Colour with a great song on the subject. Awesome song! Great lyrics! Talented musicians! It's timely, indeed, even though it came out in 1988. The more things change the more they seem to stay the same.

Being in the Old Guard

Watching Henry Kissinger on C-Span and Alan Greenspan frequently in the media, I keep wondering why they are forever recycled. Are there no other experts that know about foreign policy and finance? In fact, considering some of their covert destructive actions and faulty policy decisions, some may say that these gentleman are not experts, at least honorable ones. I honor age and appreciate wisdom. But I also wonder if some views that are being propagated are not always advantageous and if there are other ways to look at issues of foreign policy and finance that will advance the cause of peace and prosperity not only in America but throughout the world.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Being Republicans

For all of you who are against big government and are now criticizing this administration for the disaster of private companies as if the government is in the business of oil drilling, you need to shut up. This was not a natural disaster; it was a private man-made one. Of course, the government now has to find remedies for the continued failure of private companies, those entities upheld by conservatives as demigods.

Being Paul Krugman

As usual, Paul Krugman writes another thoughtful piece in the New York Times about our real enemies. Yes, the Tea Party folks are a loud boisterous largely racist bunch inclined to go against their own interests. But we have always known that they are a front for the likes of Freedomworks powered by big corporations. Who are our real enemies? They are as Franklin Roosevelt said, "the old enemies of peace -- business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering." Krugman asserts that these are those whom President Obama is fighting against; they are indeed the enemy of our representative democracy--not the loud boisterous Tea Party bunch, necessarily.

Being a Nuclear War Country

The Guardian reports that the current president of Israel Shimon Peres, who was the defense minister in 1975, sought to sell nuclear weapons to apartheid South Africa. So, let me get this right. It's not okay for Iran to have nuclear weapons because of who they may sell them to but it's okay for Israel to have nuclear weapons because they are responsible in selling them? Wait...Israel has nuclear weapons? No county should have them.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Being Inspired by Others

Here is vivacious Vivaldi! Enjoy!

Being Republicans

Where is the outrage on the Right about the geometry teacher in Alabama who used President Obama in his hypothetical assassination example to explain angles? Of course, we remember the outrage it caused when school children sang a harmless song honoring the president. Really, are these people just sick? I'm wondering if there were such examples occurring on the Left when President Bush was president. When distinctions are made about the Right being extremist wingnuts-- not only because of what is done but what is condoned by silent voices-- who can really argue against this?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Being a Segregationist

Rand Paul claims he would have marched with Martin Luther King Jr., but would have been against the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for which Dr. King marched. He's a states' rights guy. But we understand well the code language here. States'
rights meant that states did not have to adhere to federal laws such as desegregation, a right in the Declaration of Independence. "All men are created equal."

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Being General Motors

According to the New York Times "G.M. reported first-quarter earnings of $865 million as its revenue surged 40 percent, to $31.5 billion. It broke a long string of losses in North America even though industry sales remain near multidecade lows. The results show that G.M. is on track to become a public company again as soon as the fourth quarter, allowing the government to recover more of the billions of dollars it spent preventing the company’s collapse. After nearly running out of money at the end of 2008, G.M. had positive cash flow of $1 billion in the first quarter." This is encouraging news. While taxpayers still own a majority stake in GM, continued profitability will ensure our payback while an estimated one million jobs during this Great Recession were saved. Go GM!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Being the Vatican

The Times Online UK reports that the Vatican will "claim bishops are not 'employees.'" If this is so, the Catholic Church is acting like the big immoral corporation that many assume it is. This is shameful!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Being Inspired by Others

Yet Do I Marvel

I doubt not God is good, well-meaning, kind
And did He stoop to quibble could tell why
The little buried mole continues blind,
Why flesh that mirrors Him must some day die,
Make plain the reason tortured Tantalus
Is baited by the fickle fruit, declare
If merely brute caprice dooms Sisyphus
To struggle up a never-ending stair.
Inscrutable His ways are, and immune
To catechism by a mind too strewn
With petty cares to slightly understand
What awful brain compels His awful hand.
Yet do I marvel at this curious thing:
To make a poet black, and bid him sing!

--Countee Cullen (March 30, 1903–January 9, 1946)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Being Jon Stewart

This is very funny! Here is Lewis Black on Jon Stewart's show: "Glenn Beck has Nazi Tourette's"

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Back in Black - Glenn Beck's Nazi Tourette's
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Being Belle Yang

Here is my friend, award-winning graphic artist and novelist Belle Yang, at work. The music is awesome!

Belle's beautiful book, Forget Sorrow, was released yesterday. Here is a recent interview with the WSJ.

Being Goldman Sachs

In her article "Why a Criminal Case Against Goldman Sachs Matters and Why Charges Could Stick" Pam Martens makes her case clearly. Here is a large portion of the article:
The first Goldman Sachs panel to line up before Senator Carl Levin’s subcommittee on April 27 consisted of Daniel Sparks, Joshua Birnbaum, Michael Swenson and Fabrice Tourre. Mr. Sparks headed the Mortgage Department and supervised the other three who worked in the Structured Product Group at the time the SEC has alleged the securities fraud occurred.

To hear these four tell it, their jobs included trading for Goldman’s benefit (proprietary trading), originating investment products, selling the products to customers once they were created (distribution), and, in Mr. Tourre’s case, even speaking with the rating agency that would transform these subprime bets into AAA derivatives. And how did they sum up all of this as a job description? They testified, under oath I might add, that they were “market-makers.” In a sane world, a market maker is an entity that matches buyers with sellers and profits from capturing a portion of the spread (bid and ask) on the buy and sell price of securities.

To a lay jury, this might fly as legitimate conduct; something akin to a short order cook who shops for the groceries, whips up the omelets, throws a little parsley garnish on the plates, serves the diners, and tallies up his P&L at the end of the day. If he overbought on ground beef, he might have to have three days of specials like Shepherd’s Pie, Hungarian Goulash, and Spaghetti with Meat Sauce to “flatten” his position and “get closer to home.” Nothing criminal going on here; just good ole American know-how and innovative workouts.

The major problem with this analogy, and most others in defense of Goldman, is that the short order cook wasn’t trying to pass off E. coli beef for prime rib. Another problem for Goldman is that embedded in the heart of every securities law is the principle that the customer must be treated honestly and fairly and any mechanism or device to deceive, manipulate or defraud is patently illegal. Remember, securities laws grew out of the ingrained Wall Street corruption exposed in two years of Senate hearings in 1932 and 1933.

It is difficult to see how one can be engaging in proprietary trading for the benefit of the firm at one moment, acting in an agent capacity for the benefit of the customer the next moment, and creating investment products designed to fail on a latte break. Sparks, Birnbaum and Swenson all had principal licenses to engage in investment banking activities like underwriting as well as the Series 7 license to trade securities. Mr. Tourre had only the Series 7 and Series 63 licenses to trade securities. He had no principal license according to his regulatory file available online. That could be a big legal issue for Goldman as a firm, for Mr. Sparks who supervised him, and for the controlled-demolition investment product he assisted in creating without a principal license. Failure to supervise is one of the first areas security lawyers review in assessing a firm’s liability.
Please find the entire article here. Ms. Martens worked on Wall Street for 21 years.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Being Lena Horne

Lena Horne (June 30, 1917 – May 9, 2010) We so honor you for your great contributions to the arts and for uplifting a people for so many years. Thank you.

Give Dorothy Height our love.

Being a Tea Party Leader

Sarah Palin has broken with the Tea Party and endorsed Carly Fiorina (R) for the U.S. Senate in California. Considering the welcomed endorsement, I don't know which of these women should be more embarrassed. Well, we all know about the disastrous career of Palin--but Fiorina? Here is what a friend in the business wrote to me recently about Fiorina.
I know a bit about Fiorina having seen her in action at Lucent (my customer where she left a structurally unsound situation much like Todd Whitman did at the state level in NJ) and watched her from afar at HP as a competitor. She in no way can be regarded as a having a credible tenure at HP. You can't give someone a good grade for making a few good decisions when overall her stewardship was a grade C at best. Was she the worst CEO ever? No,..but she wasn't anywhere near the top either. I think the best one could say about her is she kept the lights on which in some respects is an accomplishment. Mark Hurd who succeeded her is head and shoulders above her by nearly every metric. The only thing good I could say about her running for a government position is at least in the Senate you are not managing a ton a resources like one would in an executive position otherwise I would predict disaster.
The fact that Fiorina would welcome an endorsement from Palin says a lot about her. She seems to be squarely in the do-anything-to-win McCain camp by playing to the wingnuts. I wonder how much Palin was paid for the Fiorina endorsement. I suppose she will be hitting the loser campaign trail with Fiorina as she did with McCain. By the way, wasn't Fiorina a McCain adviser? Yeah, we know how that went.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Being Inspired by Others

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms and dads in this role. You are love!

Being Goldman Sachs

It's Mother's Day and I really wanted to keep the love flowing, but I am just outraged listening to Henry Paulson testify before Congress on C-Span as if he's a bumbling idiot. He isn't. Before becoming the Treasury Secretary under President Bush for four years, he ran Goldman Sachs for eight years with some $642 billion in stock according to Forbes. It's also outrageous listening to Congress chase that illusive tail. Of course, there is probably a bit of theater going on there too.

Matt Taibbi needs to be asking the questions on behalf of the people. After he brilliantly eviscerated Goldman in a piece for Rolling Stone, Goldman wrote that it was a "hysterical compilation of conspiracy theories." Taibbi shot back with more brilliance: "The first thing you need to know is that Goldman Sachs is everywhere. The world's most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood into anything that smells like money."

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Being a Genius

This afternoon I found this quote at John O'Leary's blog, Business Lessons from Rock:

"It is not the business of authority figures to validate genius, because genius threatens authority."

-— Gordon MacKenzie

Worry not about the genius label. Move forward with your brilliant ideas. Validation from authority may never come.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Being Inspired by Others

Dr. Dorothy Height (March 24, 1912 – April 20, 2010)

Dr. Dorothy Height, Queen Mother of the Civil Rights Movement


On April 29, 2010 President Obama eulogized Dr. Height.

Rest in peace, Dr. Dorothy Height. We honor you.

You are missed.

Being President Barack Obama

President Obama delivered the commencement speech at my alma mater, The University of Michigan, yesterday and addressed some very important points about anti-government sentiment, according to the Associated Press:
But it troubles me when I hear people say that all of government is inherently bad," said Obama, who received an honorary doctor of laws degree. "For when our government is spoken of as some menacing, threatening foreign entity, it conveniently ignores the fact in our democracy, government is us.
This is precisely the point I was making in post this week when some senators were berating the federal government as if they had not been apart of it for decades.Being the thoughtful leader that he is he gives the student great advice:
If you're a regular Glenn Beck listener, then check out the Huffington Post sometimes. If you read The New York Times editorial page the morning, then glance every now and then at The Wall Street Journal.It may make your blood boil. Your mind may not often be changed. But the practice of listening to opposing views is essential for effective citizenship.
It was also great to see that unlike Arizona State, The University of Michigan gives honor where honor is due. It is a good tradition to honor our president irrespective of political party. We are all Americans...first.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Being Republicans

John McCain has become a disgrace. Here he is blaming the federal government for the unjust law that Arizona has passed as if he himself has not been a part of the legislating body of the federal government for eons. On the senate floor yesterday he essentially said that because illegal immigrants violate the rights of Arizonians that the State of Arizona has the right to violate the civil rights of all Americans with brown skin.

Will the real McCain please stand up? He and Senator Kyl's performance on the senate floor seemed strictly to give him free ad time. His seat is being hotly contested by a Tea Party candidate. The staged question and answer session between he and Senator Kyl was obviously for the purpose of giving him a platform. He was clearly grandstanding. The once self-professed maverick denier has no shame. Perhaps this is the real McCain.


Jeb Bush, former Florida Governor, spoke out against the Arizona law today: "I think it creates unintended consequences," he said in a interview with Politico Tuesday by phone. "It's difficult for me to imagine how you're going to enforce this law. It places a significant burden on local law enforcement and you have civil liberties issues that are significant as well." Jeb Bush is the first among Republicans to do speak out against this bill. Perhaps the fact that he is married to a Latina whose children look markedly like Latinos have something to do with this. I don't know, but it shouldn't. We should all be outraged at such a bill.

Backed by the Republican legislature, wasn't Arizona the state that didn't want to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. with a national holiday? Not until the NFL removed them from the running for a Superbowl game and the city of Phoenix alone lost some $300 million dollars did they change their minds. We need to boycott Arizona. Personally, I had enough when Arizona State University refused to give President Obama an honorary degree after his commencement speech, having given the same honor to by far less deserving people in my opinion.

What's up with the longstanding governing Republican body in Arizona--really?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Being Inspired by Others

"Music is an agreeable harmony for the honor of God and the permissible delights of the soul."

--Johann Sebastian Bach

Being Goldman Sachs

The internal emails that have been released proves what many have been saying about Goldman Sachs for some time now: It is a toxic firm. Goldman Sachs benefited on the front end and back end. As people were losing their homes, this investment bank positioned itself to win on the front end by creating and bundling an alphabet soup of complex derivatives that were given bogus AAA credit ratings by credit agencies. (Credit agencies were complicit in the financial meltdown too. Why should our credit scores have so much weight when the game system is obviously rigged? They lowered Berkshire's credit rating long after it was quite clear that they were not deserving of the coveted AAA credit rating. It currently has some $20 billion in debt on its balance sheet.) On the back end Goldman was bailed out by tax payers to the tune of $12.9 billion via AIG, not to mention the tens of billions it received directly from the government. I have been writing about Goldman Sachs' double dipping everywhere for nearly two years now. This seems illegal.

One email from Goldman Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein dating from November 2007 read: "Of course we didn't dodge the mortgage mess. We lost money, then made more than we lost because of shorts." In a released statement Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) said of the email: "There it is, in their own words: Goldman Sachs taking 'the big short' against the mortgage market. Investment banks such as Goldman Sachs were not simply market-makers, they were self-interested promoters of risky and complicated financial schemes that helped trigger the crisis. They bundled toxic mortgages into complex financial instruments, got the credit rating agencies to label them as AAA securities, and sold them to investors, magnifying and spreading risk throughout the financial system, and all too often betting against the instruments they sold and profiting at the expense of their clients." The SEC civil case may need to broaden; this seems criminal. The credit agencies need to also be investigated for their role in the financial crisis.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Being General Motors

Although many Republicans were against the bailout of the U.S. auto companies, GM has repaid the $8.1 billion dollars it received nine months ago from the American and Canadian governments and saved some one million jobs according to analysts if GM and Chrysler were allowed to fail. During this time a management guru wrote on his blog that GM should be allowed to fail and that we should move on, investing instead in technology and service. I was vehemently opposed to this. Technology and service, whether produced by big or small businesses or sole proprietors, will not create enough jobs alone. We need to make things again. Our concentration on technology and service has created this debt economy by diluting the middle and excluding many from viable jobs. The AP reports that "GM CEO Ed Whitacre announced the repayments Wednesday at GM's Fairfax Assembly Plant in Kansas City, Kan., where he said GM is investing $257 million in that factory and the Detroit-Hamtramck plant." Oh, Detroit so desperately needs this investment and America needs to regain its status as a great industrial nation. We need to re-evaluate our sense of capital. Let's wish GM and Chrysler well.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Being Kids

Here is Richard Pryor imitating kids lying. It's priceless.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Being Sick and Absurd

The absurdity of this video actually made me laugh aloud until the last 33 seconds where the sickness is especially heart-wrenching. A young child is clearly being abused. When I watched it again my heart also ached for the young people in the video who have probably been brainwashed from the time of that beautiful child.

Being Meg Whitman

Eight years ago Meg Whitman was accused of defrauding ebay shareholders when she was accused of being bribed by Goldman Sachs to favor this Wall Street investment firm as she sat on its board. Whitman did not admit guilt but settled by paying a measly $395,000-dollar fine. She was released from Goldman's board summarily, probably merely for the sake of appearances. Goldman has long prided itself publicly on being above board; what happens privately is being investigated yet again. As with the SEC case against Goldman which charges the firm with defrauding shareholders, naming and implicating the former Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson, ebay shareholders were apparently screwed too. Goldman Sachs will probably pay a fine and Meg Whitman will probably become the governor of California. How sick is that? Many of these people need to be charged criminally and go straight to jail. We need financial reform now!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Being Inspired by Others

"I've loved opera since I was a child. I study her; I mean of course I can't sing like that, but she has taught me a lot about discovering how to deliver the inner narrative of a song. Because I listen to her songs--I don't speak Italian or I don't speak whatever language she's singing--but I understand what she's conveying through her emotional interpretation."

--Patti Smith on Maria Callas, December 4, 2009

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Being a War Contractor

Billions of dollars later amid a sea of speculation and corruption, the AP reports that General McChrystal, a top general in Afghanistan, announced that "we've gone too far. I actually think we would be better if we reduced the number of contractors involved. I think it doesn't save money. We have created in ourselves a dependency on contractors that I think is greater than it ought to be." So, without billions of dollars in government contracts, what will become of KBR, formerly Halliburton and Xe, formerly Blackwater?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Being Goldman Sachs

The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged with fraud. Great! The Wall Street Journal reports that Goldman Sachs was charged with "defrauding investors, alleging that Goldman let a big hedge fund fill a financial product with risky subprime mortgages and then failed to disclose that to the product's buyers. The SEC's civil lawsuit is one of the biggest moves by authorities in response to the financial crisis of 2007-08, and it sent Goldman shares sharply lower. The firm's shares were down about twelve percent around midday, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was off more than one percent." Hallelujah!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Being a Tea Party Leader

Sarah Palin spoke in Boston today to a crowd of 5,000 of the Tea Party Express. For comfort I watched native Bostonian, Matt Damon, and laughed heartily. Why anyone would go to hear her or worst yet pay to hear her is just so beyond me.

What's up with these people?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Being Compassionate

This image of Demi Moore and Susan Sarandon's recent trip to Haiti is very moving.

Let us be compassionate toward each other, especially toward children.

Being President Barack Obama

There were forty-seven heads of states in Washington for the Nuclear Security Summit "with a final communiqué that pledged to lock down hundreds of thousands of tons of weapons-usable nuclear fuel by 2014, and set a 2012 summit in South Korea to measure progress," the Wall Street Journal reported. The United States, Mexico and Canada have agreed to secure stocks of separated plutonium and weapons grade uranium that could fall in the hands of terrorists. While conservatives continue to rant, President Obama continues to act. He is bringing the change promised on the national and international front.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Being Inspired by Others

Come, I will make the continent indissoluble;
I will make the most splendid race the sun ever yet shone upon;
I will make divine magnetic lands,
With the love of comrades,
With the life-long love of comrades.

I will plant companionship thick as trees along all the rivers of America, and along the
the great lakes, and all over the prairies;
I will make inseparable cities, with their arms about each other's necks;
By the love of comrades,
By the manly love of comrades.

For you these, from me, O Democracy, to serve you, ma femme!
For you! for you, I am trilling these songs,
In the love of comrades,
In the high-towering love of comrades.

--Walt Whitman

Friday, April 9, 2010

Being the United States of America

You can imagine my surprise this morning as I worked on my novel to hear a cast member of the 1955 musical "Daddy Long Legs" with the awesome Fred Astaire exclaim, "A person is not a corporation. A person is flesh and blood and feelings!" Yeah, that's what I've been saying! Why doesn't the Supreme Court understand this?

With the Supreme Court decision, will the American flag look more like this?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Being Tax Exempt

Leona Hemsley was right: "Only the little people pay taxes." According to Forbes magazine the largest U.S. corporations paid no taxes last year. The "most egregious" of these were General Electric and Exxon Mobil. GE "generated $10.3 billion in pretax income, but ended up owing nothing to Uncle Sam. In fact, it recorded a tax benefit of $1.1 billion." (Didn't GE benefit from billions in the bailout via AIG?) Exxon reported making $45.2 billion in profit and paid no, zilch, nada taxes to the IRS.

How do these companies not pay taxes? Forbes noted that "Exxon tries to limit the tax pain with the help of 20 wholly owned subsidiaries domiciled in the Bahamas, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands that (legally) shelter the cash flow from operations in the likes of Angola, Azerbaijan and Abu Dhabi. No wonder that of $15 billion in income taxes last year, Exxon paid none of it to Uncle Sam, and has tens of billions in earnings permanently reinvested overseas. Likewise, GE has $84 billion in overseas income parked indefinitely outside the U.S."

In 2008 the Government Accountability Office found that "two out of every three United States corporations paid no federal income taxes from 1998 through 2005." So, can we agree that what Leona Hemsley said was true and that she undoubtedly went to jail not because she did anything different than many others in her tax-exempt bracket but because she was stupid enough to say so?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Being Robert Gibbs

Micheal Steele, the RNC Chairman in Black Face, blamed being black for the heat he is receiving for donor monies spent during his tenure on outrageous escapades and personal items. Robert Gibbs, the Press Secretary for the White House whom I have written of here more than once for his wit, responded, "I don't think Michael Steel's problem is the race card; it's the credit card."

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Being Liberals

There has been a knee-jerk response by liberals to President Obama's offshore drilling announcement without seemingly an appreciation for process and politics. Flip flopping? How about governing? How about pragmatism? I'll wait a bit and see exactly what's being proposed as a complete environmental policy. After all, the many "we are going to die" voices, prominent and otherwise, have gotten very little done.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Being a Storyteller

In a recent interview for McKinsey Quartely Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman makes a brilliant point: "Overconfidence is a powerful source of illusions, primarily determined by the quality and coherence of the story that you can construct, not by its validity." We've heard it a million times: The data doesn't lie. But it really matters who is constructing the data and why. Wall Street created well-constructed illusions with its string of alphabet soup derivatives. Now, I better understand what my mother meant when after being caught in a lie she would say, "don't tell stories." It's just that the stories Wall Street tell are detrimental to us and other countries all around the world.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Being Like-Minded

"Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation."

--Romans 12:16

No matter our social status we often desire a circle of greater influence and recognition. But where there is the greatest need there is greater opportunity. This association brings fulfillment on many levels and this wisdom supersedes our daily maneuvering.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Being Constitutional

Why does it appear that some only think that we should abide by portions of the Constitution? The government is ratified to "...provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; To regulate Commerce...To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts..." But some only want to "provide ...for the common Defence." Yet, some claim that the laws passed by others are unconstitutional. If the Constitution ratifies the provision for the "general Welfare" why do some say that this is unconstitutional? If the Constitution ratifies the "progress of Science" how can a president essentially decree through an executive order the restriction of science to study stem cells for life-sustaining illnesses? (I guess that's the prerogative of the president, eh?) And, pray tell why do we cut "useful arts" in schools and give so little to arts organizations? What about the banks? Why deregulate banks when commerce, according to the Constitution, should be regulated? (I guess it has to do with getting the balance right, eh? But the balance seemed to be working jut fine prior the the massive deregulation that began with President Reagan.) All of these, not just the provision of the "common Defence," are constitutional. I suppose some might think that it's not what we do but how we do it. Okay, but why haven't we been effective in governing? Yes, waste and abuse. But has our defense budget, with multiple billion dollar contracts to private corporations, lessen our ability to govern effectively? While we expect defense to have the lion's share in the protection of our country, we should be wiser in the reasons and ways that we launch our defense. To do otherwise would seem unconstitutional, for we will only be largely abiding by portions of the Constitution and not by others. I guess the argument might be that there are provisions for the "general Welfare," and the "progress of Science." But I would argue that if these provisions are unduly restricted and are so small that they can be drowned in a bathtub, as was suggested by the Republican Grover Norquist, are these indeed provisions?

Being Excellent

"Excellence is doing ordinary things, extraordinarily well."

--John Gardner

Discover the ordinary by being exceptionally observant and listening incredibly well. The extraordinary is in the excellence of the ordinary.

(Thanks, DB, for the quote.)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Being Inspired by Others

Temple Grandin is so inspirational. She says "I had to sell my work and not myself." That seems like a novel idea today. But I think we need to get back to that. We are by far too self absorbed and many great ideas are being lost because we are going after the glitter and not the gold.

Grandin also makes another great point: "The autistic mind tends to be a specialist mind, good at one thing and bad at something else." I would imagine that other minds are like this too. It is probably our egos that are so multitudinous. We like to think that we can do everything well.

Here are two more beautiful points Grandin makes. 1) "The world is going to need all of the different kinds of mind to work together." 2) "I get satisfaction out of seeing stuff that makes real change in the real world. We need a lot more of that and a lot less of abstract stuff." So true!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Being President Barack Obama

Today after a year of negotiations President Obama and President Dmitri A. Medvedev agreed to sign a new arms control treaty. The New York Times reports that "they will fly to Prague to sign the treaty on April 8 in a ceremony designed to showcase improved relations between the two countries."

President Obama made the announcement at the White House today. "With this agreement, the United States and Russia, the two largest nuclear powers in the world, also send a clear signal that we intend to lead," he said. "By upholding our own commitments under the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, we strengthen our global efforts to stop the spread of these weapons, and to ensure that other nations meet their own responsibilities."

Will this agreement affect positive relations with Iran?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Being Violent

The violent rhetoric by leaders in Congress has to stop. Minority Leader Rep. Boehner (R-OH) said this about Rep. Driehaus (D-OH) in the National Review: "Take Steve Driehaus, for example. He may be a dead man. He can't go home to the west side of Cincinnati." Boehner said he was speaking metaphorically. That sounds like Sarah Palin speaking satirically. "What's going on?"

A protest is planned in front on Rep. Driehaus' house this weekend. When his address was posted on the Internet protesters were encouraged to "drive by." He has received death threats. Rep. Boehner's words are reprehensible. Leaders have to be held accountable for both their actions and words. Is the one who incite violence as guilty as the one who does the deed?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Being Nancy Pelosi

Ed Schultz asked, "Is Nancy Pelosi LBJ in a skirt?" She is more like Frances Perkins, the first female Secretary of Labor known for her no-nonsense negotiation style, in a suit. Without her, LBJ would not have gotten Social Security, minimum wage and unemployment insurance passed. Do you think Schultz even knows who she is? I didn't appreciate the question. Pelosi is the first female Speaker of the House. She turns 70 this Friday. This woman, as a friend suggested, deserves a card.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Being Inspired by Paul Krugman

"This is, of course, a political victory for President Obama, and a
triumph for Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker. But it is also a victory
for America’s soul. In the end, a vicious, unprincipled fear offensive
failed to block reform. This time, fear struck out."

--Paul Krugman

(Thanks, Zorro, for the article. It can be read here.)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Being (Un) Inspired by Others

It has been a tradition here on Sundays to lead with an inspiring piece. But on today, the day the historic health care vote in Washington, I feel compelled to write about the despicable treatment of three African American congressmen, Representatives Andre Carson of Indiana, Emanuel Cleaver II of Missouri and John Lewis of Georgia, by Tea Party protesters yesterday.

Preceding President Obama's final speech to galvanize House Democrats to vote for health care reform, thousands of Tea Party protesters gathered around the Capitol and shouted "nigger" to these congressmen and spat on them. (Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts, who is gay, was called a "faggot.") I have been saying repeatedly here and elsewhere that while some of the Tea Party members may have legitimate concerns, the underbelly of the movement is racist. Their leaders Tom Tancredo and Mark Williams have both made racist statements. Tancredo's remarks were given at the Tea Party Convention to uproarious laughter.

Representative James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, said "It was absolutely shocking to me. Last Monday, this past Monday, I stayed home to meet on the campus of Claflin University where fifty years ago as of last Monday... I led the first demonstrations in South Carolina, the sit ins... And quite frankly I heard some things today I have not heard since that day. I heard people saying things that I have not heard since March 15, 1960 when I was marching to try and get off the back of the bus."

Rep Cleaver's office issued this statement:
For many of the members of the CBC, like John Lewis and Emanuel Cleaver who worked in the civil rights movement, and for Mr. Frank who has struggled in the cause of equality, this is not the first time they have been spit on during turbulent times.

This afternoon, the Congressman was walking into the Capitol to vote, when one protester spat on him. The Congressman would like to thank the US Capitol Police officer who quickly escorted the other Members and him into the Capitol, and defused the tense situation with professionalism and care. After all the Members were safe, a full report was taken and the matter was handled by the US Capitol Police. The man who spat on the Congressman was arrested, but the Congressman has chosen not to press charges. He has left the matter with the Capitol Police.

This is not the first time the Congressman has been called the "n" word and certainly not the worst assault he has endured in his years fighting for equal rights for all Americans. That being said, he is disappointed that in the 21st century our national discourse has devolved to the point of name calling and spitting. He looks forward to taking a historic vote on health care reform legislation tomorrow, for the residents of the Fifth District of Missouri and for all Americans. He believes deeply that tomorrow’s vote is, in fact, a vote for equality and to secure health care as a right for all. Our nation has a history of struggling each time we expand rights. Today’s protests are no different, but the Congressman believes this is worth fighting for.
As usual, Republican leaders spoke at the Tea Party protest and as usual none of them have publicly come out and condemn their actions. On the floor of the House yesterday Congressman Ryan of Ohio denounced the protesters' behavior:

Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the Democratic Majority Leader, also issued a statement condemning the protesters' remarks and behavior:
Today's protests against health insurance reform saw a rash of despicable, inflammatory behavior, much of it directed at minority Members of Congress. According to reports, anti-reform protesters spat on Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver, yelled a sexual slur at Rep. Barney Frank, and addressed my dear friend, Rep. John Lewis, with a racial slur that he has sadly heard far too many times. On the one hand, I am saddened that America’s debate on health care — which could have been a national conversation of substance and respect — has degenerated to the point of such anger and incivility. But on the other, I know that every step toward a more just America has aroused similar hate in its own time; and I know that John Lewis, a hero of the civil rights movement, has learned to wear the worst slurs as a badge of honor.

America always has room for open and spirited debate, and the hateful actions of some should not cast doubt on the good motives of the majority, on both sides of this argument. But Members of Congress and opinion leaders ought to come to terms with their responsibility for inciting the tone and actions we saw today. A debate that began with false fears of forced euthanasia has ended in a truly ugly scene. It is incumbent on all of us to do better next time.
Historically, Republicans have long stoked racial division by using hate in their ads to get out the vote. (Remember the Karl Rove Willie Horton ad and the recent "Call me" Bob Corker ad?) By not speaking out against such despicable behavior, it is clear that nothing has changed. Throughout this health care debate the Republican Party, along with their fringe element--The Tea Party, without whom what would the modern Republican Party be?--have shown themselves utterly uninspiring, unless you count the fact that they have charged people of all races to fight bigotry wherever it rears its ugly head and denounce hatred. We, the people, are many but one.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Being Republicans

There has been a lot of talk about the deficit lately by Republicans who are opposed to the health care bill. As I listened to Representative Boehner yesterday trash the bill because it will cost $940 billion to insure some 30 million more Americans, I could not help but to think about the lies and hypocrisy that usually accompany such talking points. Republicans are supposed to be conservative and Democrats are supposed to be liberal. The line has long been that Republicans cut and Democrats spend. Here is a graph of the reality of deficit spending under Republican and Democrat administrations:

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the CBO, reports that the health care bill will cut the deficit by $1.2 trillion over ten years as the government does the moral thing to offer health care to those without it. Representative Boehner entered the House of Representative in 1990, serving under both Presidents George H. Bush and George W. Bush. He didn't have any problems with increasing the deficit to record levels under these Republican administrations. His repeated Republican talking point about deficit reduction, while being in a position then and not offering a real solution now, renders his words merely mute.

Being a Detroiter

On a brilliant day of sunshine in Detroit I saw a Chrysler Charger with a rich maroon hard top with darts on all four sides pointed down onto the sparking champagne body that rode atop big spit-fire shining chrome wheels. The driver wore shades, slightly leaning to the left bobbing his head coolly--to what tune, I don't know--confidently, somewhat cocky. I smiled. That's so Detroit!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Being in Bed with Big Insurance

The Washington Post reports that the Democrats who are holding out on health care reform are those who have their coffers full of campaign funds from the insurance industry. Here are the top 20:

1. Bob Etheridge (D-North Carolina) $505,157 Uninsured in District: 21%

2. Baron P. Hill (D-Indiana) $519,000 Uninsured in District: 14.3%

3. Michale Capuno (D-Massachusetts) $550,401 Uninsured in District: 6.8%

4. Melissa Luburic (D-Illinois) $551,000 Uninsured in District: 11.5%

5. Timothy H. Bishop (D-New York) $557,086 Uninsured in District: 11.3%

6. Dennis Moore $631,885 (D-Kansas) Uninsured in District: 12.9%

7. Betty Sutton $621,036 (D-Ohio) Uninsured in District: 13%

8. Marion Berry $634,417 (D-Arkansas) Uninsured in District: 21.7%

9. Rick Boucher $642,917 (D-Nevada) Uninsured in District: 16%

10. Ron Klein $648,778 (D-Florida) Uninsured in District: 19.4%

11. David Wu $671,035 (D-Oregon) 14.8% Uninsured in District: 14.8%

12. Bart Stupak $800,455 (D-Michigan) Uninsured in District: 15.3%

13. Ron Kind $841,913 (D-Wisconsin) Uninsured in District: 11.7%

14. David Obey $900,000 (D-Wisconsin) Uninsured in District: 12.9%

15. Jim Cooper $1 Million (D-Tennessee) Uninsured in District: 15.6%

16. Richard Edmund $1.1 Million (D-Massachusetts) Uninsured in District: 4.3%

17. Shelley Berkley $1.1 Million (D-Nevada) Uninsured in District: 28.3%

18. Carol Shea-Porter $1.2 Million (D-New Hampshire) Uninsured in District: 12.3%

19. Baton Jennings $1.4 Million (D-Tennessee) Uninsured in District: 14.2%

20. Earl Ralph Pomeroy $2.1 Million (D-North Dakota) Uninsured in District: 12.1%

Now, do you really think these campaign funds don't influence their vote? Do you really think that they care about us more than themselves?

Being Friends

When I was a kid I had a friend who was rich. She was rich and slow. I was not rich and fast. We became good friends. Her parents always looked after me when I could not afford to participate in certain activities and I always defended her if anyone even looked at her sideways. She was always in the "in crowd" because wherever I was she was there too. Recently, she found me online and we have gotten reconnected after many years. She is going through a bit of a difficult time financially. I cannot even begin to tell you the joy I felt in being able to assist her. Friends are forever.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Being a Tea Party Leader

Dick Armey, a leader in the Tea Party movement, recently said that Tom Tancredo, another leader in this movement, is "destructive" to the Republican Party. I could not help but to wonder what kind of force does Armey think he is. The once former Majority House Leader presided over a Congress blighted by scandal and excessive spending. When Armey was asked why he, Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay, both of whom left Congress disgracefully, racked up excesses in federal pork that made the Democrats look quite conservative, he replied, "To the victors go the spoils." Now, Armey seeks to create a conservative image and legitimize a movement whose underpinning is racist in nature. (Why can't these old dudes just find something else to do?)

This year at CPAC, Dick Armey said these things about President Obama: "You're intellectually shallow. You're a romantic. You're self-indulgent. You have no ability. You're the most incompetent president perhaps in our lifetime." As you can well understand, Armey himself continues to be destructive to the Republican Party. For the record, so is Tom Tancredo. I have written of him on this blog before. Like Armey, he is prone to saying racist and sexist remarks. You can read of Tancredo here when he addressed the Tea Party Convention. He received wild applause in the hall for his racist remarks. The followers of the Tea Party are obviously like their leaders.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Being Juan Ramon Jiminez

I Took Off Petal After Petal

I took off petal after petal, as if you were a rose,
in order to see your soul,
and I didn’t see it.

However, everything around-
horizons of fields and oceans-
everything, even what was infinite,
was filled with a perfume,
immense and living.

(Translation by Robert Bly)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Being Inspired by Others

President Obama awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to the first women pilots who served during World War II. During the ceremony the Associated Press reports that one of the pilots, Deanie Parrish, said that they "served our country without any expectation of recognition or glory and we did it without compromising the values that we were taught growing up."

There were more than 1,000 women in the program and some 300 are believed to still be alive. We are happy that these women were finally honored. They are truly inspiring.