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.