Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Blank Slate

In about six hours that’s what we have. At least that’s how we think about it. NEW year. Epiphany. Resolutions for change. As almost President Barack Obama would put it, we long for change, for the better.

2008 and all the years before started the same way in our minds. The blank slates turned out to have some invisible historical chalk on them that colored each new year. 2009 will be no different with respect to the effect the past has on the future.

Even as babies, we do not have a tabla rosa upon which to build. We have physical and environmental influences that shape us. But, we do have what we have and a mindset that drives us to change for better. We differ on what is “better.”

So, what is better for you? Think about it. Decide how to get it. Follow your plan. The steps? Epiphany, resolution, change. It's that last word that is the hard part. Let me know how you do.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Warranty Woes

Interspersed with making a living today I:

Took the car to the dealer because it is making a ticking sound on an increasingly more often basis. I’d researched on the Internet and found that it can be a precursor to a lifter problem.

It made the noise when I left home. At four this afternoon, I was told the service writer, the technician and the service manager couldn’t hear it; and, it could be the result of not using a “genuine Hyundai oil filter” which is not something that will lead to a lifter going bad. The technical bulletin I was given called the symptom of the after market filter an engine knock which I don’t have. I have a tick, not a knock. I know my ticks and knocks. As I left the lot, I could hear the tick. Oh well, my symptom is on record and there’s another 60K on the power train warranty.

This morning while waiting for a friend to pick me up at the dealership, my Google phone did what it is wont to do on a too often basis: calls don’t go out. This is the fourth time it’s happened since I’ve had it. The first time, the problem went away on its own. The second time, replacing the SIM card did the trick. The third time and today, doing a master reset of the phone brought it back; though doing this is no fun as you have to download all of your applications again and you lose all of your call, text and Email history.

So, after lunch I called T-Mobile and explained my problem and my frustration. The nice 611 lady sympathized with me and diagnosed that I had a hardware problem which she would solve by sending me a new phone. She rattled on, throwing in the middle that the replacement phone wouldn’t cost me anything, I just needed to pay $9.95 for shipping by T-Mobile of the HTC defective phone. I asked why I had to pay for T-Mobile to send me a phone to replace a defective phone. She repeated what she’d said before (from the script on her screen). I told her that I fully understood what she was telling me but that I wasn’t happy with what she was telling me. She then said the same thing in a slightly different way. I said that I was assuming that she couldn’t help me with the charge and asked if there was someone up the chain that could. She said she didn’t know but she would ask her supervisor. Less than a minute later, I had free shipping. I told her that I thought she was a very nice person.

She then read me another script about the exchange process that included the advice that if they didn’t get the bad phone back within seven days of receipt of the new phone that I would have to pay a $395 non-refundable fee. Since it was coming ground and it would take as many as “seven business days (not including weekends and holidays)” to get to me I asked what would happen if I sent it and UPS sent it astray. She then said as long as UPS scanned it in, they were on the hook, not me. Why not tell me that in the first place?

Polite and persistent wins the day, I think.

Monday, December 29, 2008

"Job seekers should dress professionally but remember to stay comfortable and make sure the outfit they choose is free from stains and wrinkles...."

From an article at reporting the results of a survey of IT managers and their hiring criteria when it comes to attire.

"Cash Value 1/10th of a Cent"

That’s what used to be in the fine print on the back of a coupon. I just read a post by Jim Donahue at The Velvet Blog. He copied the fine print on a Borders coupon to humorous effect. But it struck me that the cash value part wasn’t a tenth of a cent; rather it was “.01,” a hundredth of a cent.

Cheap bastards.

I tried to Google the meaning of the disclaimer and struck out. Any ideas?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Very Short Tour of the French Quarter

Here is where I ate breakfast on Saturday morning in New Orleans, Cafe Du Monde. Cafe Au Lait and Beignets. The guy on the sidewalk with the beret was singing, not too bad, and talking to the diners. His best lines: To a group of people along the rail next to the sidewalk trying to studiously ignore him: "You can't ignore me away." "You want me to go away?" The guy near me on the covered patio nodded his head. "That'll be twenty bucks," pause, "it's cheaper to keep me."

This is half way back to the Central Business District. The dude immortalized by the statue in the left side of the picture is the founder of New Orleans, someone Bienville. The baby park is also an historical park and museum according to the sign on a building just to the right of the picture, dedicated to Jean Lafitte (I may well have spelled first and last name wrong; but I'm lazy: he's the French guy that helped us win our first, among many wars).

This is a picture of Canal Street, at its foot, showing you the "neutral ground," the median between the north and southbound lanes, so called because the early French on your right, and the later coming Americans, on your left met here. This last factoid is brought to you courtesy of the local tourist channel in the hotel.

Less important, my hotel is immediately to the lower left of the picture. Harrah's Casino is immediately to the upper right.

A last side note, the new Google phone has an OK camera.

Back to work.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Off to NOLA

I had planned to drive down to Biloxi tomorrow morning, staying at Harrah’s Grand Biloxi and coming back on Sunday. As I was wrapping things up at the office yesterday I realized that I'd just be sitting around home today and decided to look into going a day early.

Harrah’s Biloxi must be doing better than Harrah’s New Orleans. Biloxi wanted $150 for tonight. Checking New Orleans revealed a much better price – free. So, I checked AirTran which had a cheap flight; and, I’m off to NOLA. says high seventies with some showers today and Saturday, so Friday looks like a good day to wander the Garden District.

Dispatches to follow, maybe.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas 2008

Many of my readers have gotten this picture by Email, sorry for the duplication. For those that read me and whose Email I don't have (or can't find), enjoy the holidays, be well and come back soon. For those of you passing by, the best to you too!

Monday, December 22, 2008

An Annoyance of Modern Life

My cell phone number has made its way to one or more spam texters of the sleazy sort:

“yes baby I (I is actually lower case, Word won’t let me type it other than as upper case) love it send me a picture of u….”

At least (or damn!) the “˂Picture˃” didn’t come through in the texts. I’m not a prude and I’ve gotten the Viagra/appendage enhancer/Nigerian princess Emails too many times in the past. I use filtering and domain blocking to cut down on them. What bugs me about this new mini-onslaught (one yesterday and four today) is that my only defense is to block all SMS’s.

In reading up on the issue, I learned that other cell providers allow you to block texts sent via Internet auto dialers thus eliminating or greatly reducing text spam. T-Mobile, my provider, won’t do this, it gives me the choice of all, good and bad, or none; and, of course, if I exceed the number of allowed texts allowed, it will charge me for the pleasure of receiving sleazy spam. I’m not a programmer; but, if Verizon and AT&T can implement a sub-program to block this kind of stuff (and not charge for it), T-Mobile can too, and should.

In the interim, if you want a good time, text 202-315-7097 or 704-609-5824.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Before It Happens, I Hope

The Atlanta Falcons are just into the second half against the Minnesota Vikings and are leading by a bit. Sorry Moe (and sorry about the Lions).

If they win, they get into the play offs. I don’t really care.

Sports Illustrated predicted they would win two games. I thought four of five would be nice, given where they were.

Think back with me. We had Michael Vick and his baggage. We had Jim Mora, Jr. who wanted to be every players’ best friend. Then there was the Petrino guy, who left in the middle of the night a bit over a year ago (he left a note on the lockers of the players).

Then Arthur Blank, the Falcons' owner, one of the former owners of Home Depot, made the best decision of his post-Home Depot life. He quit trying to run the team. He hired two professionals – Thomas Dimitroff, a scout/draft kind of guy from New England and Mike Smith, a defensive coach from one of the Florida Teams, now respectively the General Manager and Head Coach of the Falcons.

Here’s what they did. They drafted and traded for players that played old-fashioned football. Then they insisted that the players would do what they were told to do. They had a bunch of millionaires on the team, though kids.

Here’s the cool part. Some of you know that when you tell a kid, you don’t even have tell them what to do, you just have to expect it, kids do what they’re told/expected. The kids on the Falcons, with the jaded veteran,s have bought into playing their hearts out and their asses off.

A few minutes into the second half and they have just recovered a fumble when they were about to be scored on. Again, they might not win the game; but, they’ve won the season. We don’t do foolishness around Atlanta football anymore. Win or lose, the Falcons are a well-run, professional football team.

$5,568,000,000,000 UPDATED

In the event you still aren’t comfortable counting as high as the number in the title (as I'm not), it’s $5.68 trillion.

According to this article that’s the amount of money we have authorized to be spent to deal with the financial meltdown in this country. About $1.6 trillion of it has already been spent (according to my Fed banking friend, committed, not spent).

The U.S. GDP for 2007 was about $13.8 trillion, a little more than double the money committed (authorized) to save us. How does it take about 40% of what we produce in a year to do this?

At times like this I wish I had more than one micro-economics course and no finance course under my belt. I’m not used to feeling stupid; and, I don’t like it.

I have no clue, 1) what the hell we are doing; 2) why the hell we are doing it; and, 3) whether the people doing this stuff have any more idea what they are doing and why than I do. And, I REALLY don’t like that.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Don't Read This Unless You Love Golf

Now that those people are off to something else, this morning started a bit rocky as I had the guys over for poker last night, which ended later this morning than it should have.

Then there was the mist alternating with light rain bands. Coffee fortified me for the drive to my missed pastime.

You may recall that I broke my toe at the end of October. I hadn’t been able to play for a couple of weeks before that. So, this morning, it had been nine weeks since I’d teed up a ball.

I can still “feel” the toe now and again and I made the mistake early in the round of compensating in my swing so as to not stress the toe. This led to a lot of, let’s say, less than perfectly straight tee shots for the first few holes. Then I decided the toe either worked or it didn’t and swung like I’m supposed to. I felt it a few times; but, it didn’t fall off.

I didn’t play really well, a lot of rust getting in the way of good scores. And the weather didn’t make for a picture postcard day (though my new rain shirt worked nicely). And, I’m sore.

An all-together lovely day.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Bad Business Person, Am I

I got an Email from a client earlier this evening. I replied, he replied, I replied.

Now, were I a good business person, I’d not have just thrown out the quick answer based on his need to look at a particular document, I’d have researched the general area of law, the particular law of the state and then carefully crafted an opinion.

Instead, I told him to look at paper. The paper says we are OK, as I thought.

Instead of a five digit invoice, we’ll keep it in the two’s.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I Have a Virus or an Evil Computer

I did a post last week, or the week before, saying The Hedy Experience, nee’ Hedy Blog had disappeared. I’ve had a few other losses. A few minutes ago I discovered that had disappeared from the IE7 Favorites list. I also have a problem with “Google Desktop” stopping suddenly, except that it isn’t installed on the computer.

Now I see that the MagicJack program for my internet phone is no longer resident in the program list and a search of the computer doesn't show it here.

I've been hijacked! Any ideas? Anyone?

I’m running AVG now to be followed by Spybot and whatever else is in this damn thing.

Who Knew?

I did a little Email survey a couple of weeks ago. A friend had sent me an Email saying that there was a foolproof way to know what side of a car the gas filler cap was on. Those of you that rent frequently know this is valuable information.

What the friend had said is not fully accurate; but, the following trick is. Look at your gas gauge and particularly the little gas pump icon. If there is an arrow pointing from a side of the icon, it is pointing to the side of the car that has the gas tank filler.

You are welcome.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Brian Nichols Will Live, Limitedly

Brian Nichols was convicted of killing a judge, a court reporter, a sheriff's deputy and a federal agent early this week. There was no doubt that he did the killings, the question was whether he would be put to death for his crimes.

In Georgia, after a conviction, there is a sentencing phase in a trial in a capital murder case. The same jury hears why the defendant should and should not die.

Nichol’s jury found 9 to 3 that he should die. To execute him, the vote must be unanimous. So, the judge must now decide if he gets life with, or without, parole. I’m sure he’ll get the latter.

I think it is a good result.

If a jury in Georgia, even Fulton County, notoriously “liberal” when it comes to not killing killers, can’t vote to execute Brian Nichols, it may be that our society is changing and the death penalty will become a thing of the past.

It isn’t as if he is going to “get away” with murder. Whether he spends the rest of his life in a maximum security prison in Georgia or in Colorado’s federal “Super Max” prison (he killed a federal officer) he will live a minimal life, for the rest of his life, year after year after year.

And we, as a society are better than he is. He killed, we have not.

Newspaper Slow Death

The Wall Street Journal just reported that the Detroit News and the Free Press will only offer home delivery three days a week.

“The publisher hasn't made a final decision … but the leading scenario set to be unveiled Tuesday would call for the Free Press and its partner paper, the Detroit News, to end home delivery on all but the most lucrative days—Thursday, Friday and Sunday. On the other days, the publisher would sell single copies of an abbreviated print edition at newsstands and direct readers to the papers' expanded digital editions.”

Does that make them a “treakly?”

Print is dead, but it is a slow, tortured demise.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Gas and Geography

This post may be of interest only to local readers; but, you may see the same phenomena where you live, let me know.

I live “inside the perimeter” (ITP) versus “outside the perimeter” (OTP), the perimeter being I-285 which circles the most urban part of Atlanta.

Lots of stuff costs more ITP than it costs OTP, office rents, houses, restaurants and bars being good examples. The closer to downtown, unless you hit the few remaining blighted areas, the more stuff costs.

But I’m having trouble with gas and geography. I understand that the BP station on Monroe just off Piedmont in Midtown charges a bunch for gas. As do the one on Peachtree near Ansley Park and the one on Fourteenth off of Spring, they are the only ones within miles and the real estate is very pricey, etc.

The most consistently cheap gas in Atlanta is a QuikTrip. There’s one down the street from the office, another near home and two along Buford Highway, not too far from me. All are ITP. The prices at all four track each other. Today they are $1.55 a gallon.

Today, I had to go up to Lawrenceville in Gwinnett County, Northeast of the City and about ten miles OTP. The QT had gas for $1.39 a gallon. In the past I’ve noticed that gas prices in Gwinnett and Cobb County (Northwest of the City and stretching from just OTP to 15 miles OTP) are usually significantly cheaper than where I live.

Now here’s the thing, the “tank farm” where all the gas haulers fill up is “just” OTP off of Buford Highway, much closer to me than the stations in Gwinnett and Cobb. That both Cobb and Gwinnett Counties have a cent less sales tax than DeKalb County where I live doesn’t make up for the price spread. All of the mentioned counties are within “Metro Atlanta” and subject to EPA blending regulations. The differential cost for a quarter acre in Cobb and Gwinnett versus DeKalb to put up a QT can’t be the difference.

So what is it?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

For My Nieces

Two of my three nieces are graduating from college this month.

In order of appearance on the earth, the first is a newly minted elementary school teacher. Her younger cousin by a few months is going to be a pediatric nurse.

Other than feeling a bit old, I’m feeling pretty good about this. Both women have made their way though their youth with no mishaps (that I’m aware of). And it’s silly to even mention mishaps, as both have always been at the top of their classes and their communities.

Not bad for a person who cheated at Uno when playing with her Uncle (the elder) and the other, whose first “word” that I heard from her, rather than Mama or Dada, imitated one of the family dogs panting.

I wish all the best there is to have for them. They're adults now in a dangerous world. I and their other elders have not left them as good a place as we should have. One of the things that makes me feel optimistic about what will happen as we go on, is knowing people like them are going to have a say in running things.


And less than one: Government funds are trading at a negative rate, if you have the instrument at no interest, there some people willing to buy it and give you money.

I'm not smart enough for this stuff

There's Stupid and then there's STUPID

The Governor of Illinois was arrested this morning on federal charges such as trying to sell President-elect Obama’s vacated Senate seat to Obama (for his choice for his replacement) and a few others.

The man has known he’s been under investigation for years; yet, he’s been recorded by wiretap since November 3 in conversations about his intent to profit from his right to appoint Obama’s replacement.

It’s kind of like Gotti back in the Nineties, Nixon in the Seventies and a host of others: bullet-proof people that rise to the “top” with their amoral approach to life.

It worked and it worked and it worked, until it didn’t. It seems to me that there is a bit too large a percentage of our elite that evidence this trait.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Hedy, I'm Stumped

Regular readers will now that Hedy is a reader and someone whom I read.

Hedy has apparently offended Microsoft sometime today. I was wandering through Favorites, subcategory Blogs this morning and she had an especially short and nice post. I commented.

I just now, bored, while watching the Simpsons Movie (a half hour is the interest max) started surfing again. I got to the “G’s” and there was no Hedy Blog after them. I know she renamed it to the Hedy Experience sometime ago; but, it’s always been there. It wasn’t there.

So I googled Hedy Blog, Hedy Experience is the first result, I hit it and went to her. I then added it to the Favorites. There it was, at the end of the list. I right clicked on the first Blog Favorite and then clicked reorder by name. Hedy was gone again. Not in alphabetical order, not at the end of the list.

Hedy, what did you do to Bill Gates or the Ballmer guy?

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Failure to Plan

I planned to make spaghetti today; and, I did.

As I type, the sauce is simmering in the crock pot, the aroma wafting its way toward me.

Earlier, I swore I had oregano, as it turns out I didn’t. A quick search of the internets told me that a third more marjoram is a substitute; and, it seems to be working out.

I also swore I had cheese. I do have the cheap singles stuff and some swiss. A search a few minutes ago turns up no parmesan, no any Italian sprinkle or grate on cheese.

You can’t have spaghetti without it. So, as the wonderful aroma surrounds me, I’m going to console myself with the fact that the sauce is going to taste even better tomorrow after sitting in the frig for a day, during which time I will get some good cheese.

Now, what do I eat?

Friday, December 05, 2008

Is a Depression (to be hoped mild) in Order?

I am fully convinced that there isn’t a politician extant that has a clue what to do about the current economic melt down. That’s here, there and everywhere.

Think about it. One day a few months ago someone came up with the number: $700 billion. He, she, they threw out a few ideas about what to do with it. Early “winners” were AIG, Citi (twice I think) and a laundry list of banks. Since, we’ve had a series of plans, none of which got more than a day or two of thought by their proponents.

Then the circus stalled. We are all pissed because the Big Three auto makers want a shifting low eight figures in some shifting loans, lines of credit and other stuff, which may get them through the end of the year, quarter, or not.

The chief clowns flew the first time and drove hybrids the second time, the Ford guy stopping at Quiznos on the turnpike. The GM guy said something about how saving his company was a noble thing to do, or something else. The Chrysler guy did a great job with GE during the boom times and screwed up Home Depot when things were not so good.

Think about this. You are either in a deep world of doo doo right now, or not so much. Whichever category you inhabit, it may or may not be all, some or none of your fault.

So, why not let it all collapse, if collapse is where this thing is going? Use our public resources to pull those at the bottom of the heap out of the bottom of the pile. Let the businesses that don’t make economic sense fail. Put some more public money into economic policies that make some economic sense (run by people that can at least articulate a business plan).

If we bottom out and protect the really hurting people, where will we be? The houses and apartments will still be there, at prices that reflect what people are now earning. Cars will be there, again at prices that reflect the new economy. Etc., etc..

My thought is that while this isn’t isolated to just this country, we still have enough economic effect in the world to make this shifting of the economic base a world thing.

Then there are the geo-political implications. Iran, Russia, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, dependant on a failed oil and industrial economy, do not have the influence they would have hoped to have wielded. North Korea is still the basket case it has always been. China is delayed, but still in the game.

I admit, I don't have a clue; but, we are mortgaging our and our kids futures on a crap shoot.

We’ve been drummed and drummed and drummed on the genius of the free market economy. Is it the time to let it work, saving our collective contributions to government largess for those who fall out during the time that it needs to work?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Watershed is Too Strong a Word

Whose physical address do you know? We can take it further. Do you know any phone numbers, Email addresses?

As a kid, I lived at 17972 Colgate. The phone number was Logan, hell, I’ve forgotten. (Hah! 2-1284. This is an edit – see below.)

I used to know a lot of addresses, phone numbers, even fax numbers.

I think every non-physical contact I have with another human is enabled by a chip. There’s a chip in my office computer, my laptop, my fancy new Google phone, my new internet home phone. The Google phone keeps all the addresses in the “cloud.”

I scroll, type a letter or two or three, etc. and then you and I talk or write back and forth.

I don’t ‘write” anymore. My handwriting has become abysmal. Do you find yourself to be impatient as you are scrawling letters on a page?

It’s time to think about Christmas, or Hanukah if you will. I stopped sending cards years ago, opting to send an “Ecard.” I’ve always felt a bit guilty about it.

My angst, too strong a word, was triggered again a couple of days ago when I got a real live paper invitation to my niece’s graduation. I would have replied by Email; but, transmitting green stuff, without her bank info for a wire transfer, seemed a bit difficult.

I don’t really think we have lost too, too much by our movement to electrons. Our communications are probably a bit less considered, but a bit more often.

I’ve occasionally thought that this blog would be of better quality if I did it the old fashioned way – write it out on a piece of paper, thinking before putting each word to paper because if I made a mistake or had a poor thought, I’d have to start over again.

I won’t go back, I don’t have the time or the inclination; but, I’m pretty sure I think differently than I did years ago as a direct result of the way I communicate. As I’ve been tapping this out, I’ve wandered back through the text a few times, changing something each time.

In the old days I said less with more thought before I said it. Better?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Georgia's Still a Red State

As of a few minutes ago, AP called the Georgia Senatorial run-off for Saxby Chambliss.

We also have a run-off for a Public Service Commission race. A politician formerly known as “Bubba,” then a Democrat and now a newly christened Republican, Lauren (his given name) McDonald, who never met a utility he didn’t get money from and vote for, is leading his opponent handily.

A right wing Republican in a non-partisan race for the Court of Appeals, is running close to his more temperate opponent.

We’ll be just fine down here.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

So Far, It's Magic

Regular readers know the new place has really bad cell reception. I think I’ve solved the problem – The Magic Jack.

You plug the device into a USB port on your computer, it auto-installs. You plug a phone into it. Register on the company’s website and get a phone number (you choose from a long list of area codes). You are now in business.

The device is $40 plus $20 a year for service. After that, domestic local and long distance calls are free. It’s portable, you can plug it into any computer and any phone and make calls. It supports 911, Caller ID, call forwarding and all the other typical stuff. It even sends you an Email when you get a voicemail. The call quality is good.

I still probably won’t answer the phone at night, but I now have one if needed.

Friday, November 28, 2008

I'm Sure I'm Missing Something

Stephon Marbury “plays” for the NBA’s New York Knicks. He is paid $21 million a year, about $190,000 a game.

He has pretty much sat the bench for the season, I gather due to a dispute with the coach.

The Knicks have been short on players lately due to trades and injuries. Before a recent game, the coach “asked” him to play and he declined.

On Wednesday, according to Marbury, the coach “asked” him to play and he declined. According to the coach, he told him to play and he declined.

So, he’s been suspended for a game.

The subtle difference between ask and tell aside, what the hell is this? Some quick Google research shows that Marbury is in the last year of his contract. The Knicks hired a new coach before the season. Marbury hadn’t gotten along with the last coach, Isaiah Thomas (who was fired over the summer) and didn’t play much last season. The new guy flat didn’t play him this year until the injuries resulted in “asking” and telling.”

If I were the owner of the Knicks, I know I’d be looking for a way to dump Marbury and I’d have found it long before now.

Black Friday Potpourri

I have not been out to the stores today, nor will I be going (other than to go to the T-Mobile Store to replace the SIM card in the new phone which I hope will turn the rectangle into a phone again).

With the wonder of the Internet, I’ve made money already this morning while lying on the couch. A client sent an Email and we’ve talked back and forth a couple of times through the ether about the problem.

I hope to do my part to stimulate the economy today if the HVAC guy shows up to find out why the furnace, though humming, is not providing any heat.

I have roast chicken, dressing, acorn squash, asparagus and pumpkin pie sitting in the refrigerator. I vow to actually eat the leftovers. No problem on the chicken, dressing and pie. We’ll see about the squash and asparagus.

I went into a Circuit City store on Wednesday. It was a bit disconcerting. There was plenty of stuff, but with odd gaps in the line of flat panel TV’s and computers. Plenty of video games. The employees were strangely chipper.

The local NPR station just went from Morning Edition to classical music. News won’t be back until three this afternoon. Atlanta ought to be big enough to support a music public radio station and a news/public affairs/features NPR station.

Time to trek to T-Mobile.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Something to be Thankful For?

I just turned on the computer and learned that Domino's Pizza has a Thanksgiving special:

The same oven baked sandwiches they've been advertising for months at the same price; but, according to the subject line on the push Email, they're Thanksgiving Savings.

Are the Feds Running a Scam?

Remember, the $700 billion bailout and the new program, for student, credit card and auto loans with a price tag that keeps changing daily, bailout both require money. The Feds don’t have any money. They have the choice of borrowing or printing or both.

At a point doesn’t the well have to run dry? Even the Chinese, the Feds’ recent creditor of choice, are running their own bailout.

The thinking on this new credit bailout seems to be that we have to give people money to spend so they start buying crap again. I’m of two minds on the student loans, the credit card and auto loan bailouts seem insidious though. Never mind that too many people don’t have any savings and their retirement funds have shrunk. Make credit available to them and they’ll start acting stupidly again, spending money they don’t really have for stuff they don’t really need.

Hasn’t consumer credit dried up for a good reason – that too many people weren’t able to pay it off and the lenders were losing money? So the government should step in and give the lenders more money to give to people who can’t pay it back?

Isn’t this what ACORN was supposed to have facilitated with the sub-prime mess? Lend money to people who can’t pay it back? Aren’t those ACORN people evil? It works for awhile as more money goes in to the scheme and then the investor (here the Feds and their backers – us) gets burned.

I’m beginning to think that we need to do some major economic triage.

Auto industry, let the strongest survive. If GM is going under, let it and let other car companies buy up the assets, stiffing the creditors, a long and honored tradition of bankruptcy law. Do you really think there won’t be cars to buy if GM dies? Yeah, there will be some, a lot of, auto workers out of jobs. We can spend a shit pot full of money for unemployment and retraining benefits before we get anywhere near the numbers we are talking about spending now on the new bailout.

Consumer credit, cut it back and let the economy adjust. More unemployment yes; but, in the long run less money wasted by helping just the unemployed rather than companies selling crap.

I’m glad I’m not Obama. I can opine away here at Rather Than Working with no consequences. He’s got to have a clue. I hope he does.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Walking Small and Hosea Williams

The two don’t have much to do with each other other than that I thought about both when thinking about doing a post.

First, I’m going to miss the outgoing Sheriff of Clayton County, Georgia. For those of you that don’t know the background, Google "Victor Hill." “Walking Small” (Buford Pusser coupled with the fact that Victor is vertically challenged) has spent a colorful four years in office.

His first day he fired a bunch of deputies, marching them out of the building with snipers on the roof. That cost the County a couple of million dollars.

He refused to allow Clayton Police detectives to interview jail inmates for a period of time because he was fighting with the Chief of Police.

He was sued for false imprisonment by the brother of the former sheriff and lost to the tune of a few hundred thousand dollars.

He ran a roadblock in front of a strip club to harass it; unfortunately it was in the City of Forest Park, where he had no jurisdiction to enforce the law. He got sued.

Speaking of being sued, I ran his name through the federal court database for lawsuits. He was a party in 29.

As of a couple of weeks ago, after being defeated, he hadn’t appeared at work according to the media.

I’d predicted to friends that he’d do at least one more stupid thing before January. It’s looking like I’m wrong.

As I said, I’m going to miss him.

The second topic, you might want to think about some of the outfall from the economy that is just starting to make the news.

We used have a guy in Atlanta named Hosea Williams. He was a second tier civil rights icon. He was on the Atlanta City Council and in the Georgia Legislature. He was what many would call a colorful character. You can read about him here. For years, he did a Thanksgiving meal for the poor here in Atlanta. His daughter has carried on the tradition.

A news story this morning said that the event was very short on donations and was cutting back on what it would be able to do.

I’m not a big fan of one-day charity; I don’t think it really does much other than provide a media event. That said, I’ve heard other stories of charities and non-profits not doing well this year given the woes we all face.

So, if you’ve got a buck or two that’s not committed to anything essential; and, you want to do something good for someone, look around you, there are people out there that could use your help.

It can be as simple as some change or a buck in the pot of the Salvation Army volunteer at the mall. A toy for a tot. Got some canned goods that are going to expire soon? You have a local food bank. Someone told me a few years ago that they instituted a gift from Santa for each of the kids that went to a charity that the kids had to pick. You get the idea.

And, if I’ve sparked a bit of emotion, guess what? Following up on my suggestion will make you feel really good.

If I don’t post before Thursday, enjoy the holiday and give some thanks for what you’ve got however much or little it is.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Media Obsession Prediction

Way back when, Andrew Jackson invited common people into the White House.

In more modern times, Richard Nixon had Checkers and “Pat’s cloth coat.”

Jimmy Carter famously carried his own garment bag over his shoulder when getting off of Air Force One and ordered the temperature in government buildings raised and lowered to save energy.

Jackie Kennedy was adored and Nancy Reagan was berated for wearing designer dresses to their husbands’ inaugurations and getting donations for redoing the White House in a more “elegant” style.

One president, I don’t recall whom, served British royalty hot dogs.

We love and hate our serial royalty, the progression of Presidents and their families. The theme is always a variation on how plebian or patrician the incumbent's style is.

In evidence this go-around: the presidential puppy and the kids’ choice of school. We haven’t had kids in the White House since Chelsea Clinton; so, the new kids will be battered by attention. (One good thing Chelsea’s parents did during their tenure was to shield her from the media.)

The Obamas chose a private school and want a “shelter saved” puppy. Obama wears $1,500 suits and bemoans the need for his long time barber to come to him for a trim now.

I’m looking forward to the inevitable carping about the inauguration plans. Obama vows to take no corporate contributions for the inaugural balls! Liberal wing of the party snubbed in inauguration invitations! Fat Cats favored over the People! Former ACORN operative says she will accept her invitation!

Let the games begin!

Friday, November 21, 2008

I Just Discovered a New Use for a Smart Phone ...

at least for me.

I’m planning a Thanksgiving dinner and listed it out in a Word document with the ingredients I don’t have after each dish. I just sent it as an attachment to the Google phone - instant shopping list.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Remember when ...

the Federal Reserve would raise or lower the interest rate a quarter point and everything would be OK for awhile?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Big Rick Drinks Foreign Beer!

As of today, Budweiser is owned by InBev, located in Belgium. Yes, his beloved Bud will still be brewed in Cartersville, Georgia, for now, with its "born on" date proudly displayed.

But, Rick's a Buy America kind of guy. Is he going to send a chunk of his disposable income in Belgium? Other than starting to patronize micro-breweries, something that's not quite his style, he's going to have to go to Samuel Adams, Pabst (the latter hires out the actual brewing to SAB Miller, headquartered in South Africa) or one of the nine other remaining American-owned large breweries: Red, White and Blue Beers.

I wonder what the ants, the frogs, Louie, Frank, the weasel and the ferret are going to do. Are they and the Clydesdales packing up for a boat ride to Belgium?

Rick, I'm feeling for you!

Abeed al-beit

The title means house slave in Arabic. As reported by the Associated Press, Ayman al-Zawahri of al-Qaida says that's what Barack Obama is. The English subtitles for his speech translated the term as house negro. He also applied the label to Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, while praising Malcolm X who used a similar term for black leaders that didn't stand up to whites in the Sixties.

I guess that takes some of the shine off of the Messiah label.

Putting aside American race relations, it's probably a good thing that Al-Qaida isn't enamored with Obama. It also seems to lay to rest some of the fears of the Right here in America that an Obama presidency will pander to terrorists; even if he were to try, they don't seem to want to play ball.

And, maybe that's the point of this post.

There isn't any way that Obama can cozy up to the bad guys, be they al-Qaida, the Taliban, Iran or North Korea. Talk about the naïveté of talking "without preconditions" shows a certain naïveté on the part of the talkers. All of the factors that have led to our current world are still in play.

Bush "looked into" Putin's eyes back in 2001 at the start of his first term as President:

"I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straight forward and trustworthy and we had a very good dialogue.

"I was able to get a sense of his soul."

BBC News, June 16, 2001.

Replacing the "cowboy" with the "house negro" won't change the playing field. Obama as President will not magically end the ethnic, religious and economic underpinnings of the hate and envy we face in the world.

Putin is still around and still is not very trustworthy. All of the rogue states and al-Qaida will be around and still not be very trustworthy 4 or 8 years from now. Obama's task is to craft foreign and domestic policy that recognizes that fact and deals with the reality of protecting our security without wasting time, energy and money trying to spread the gospel of democracy to a world that isn't going to convert.

Insisting on preconditions that presuppose fundamental change in how our adversaries think before we agree to talk to them will decrease our security and waste our diminishing resources.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Stuffing, Dressing and the Makings of Either (and Turkey Breast and Gravy and Green Bean Casserole)

First, stuffing goes in the bird and dressing comes from a pan; though, if you make both at the same meal, it’s all stuffing. You are allowed to differ.

Jim Donahue at The Velvet Blog did a post yesterday on his grandmother’s Thanksgiving stuffing. His family’s tradition is different than that of my family.

Our stuffing went in the bird and spread to pans as the extended family grew. To this day, I’ve never had stuffing made by a relative that didn’t taste exactly like that made by my Mother and Aunts.

Crumbled bread that had been put on racks on the kitchen counters and covered with towels the night before. Salt, pepper, sage, eggs, celery, yellow onion, butter. Mush it up and stuff it in the bird or scoop it into the pan. When the bird’s done, so is the stuffing.

More important is the gravy. There is no such thing as good turkey breast. Even if it isn’t as dry as the desert, the only way to make it edible is to cover it in really good gravy. (It’s kind of like eating grits or rice, it’s all in what you use to make it taste like something good.) The secret to great gravy is using the innards and the neck. Another secret to gravy is to make a lot of it. You’ve got all that white meat, stuffing and mashed potatoes. It even helps the green bean casserole that wasn’t made with enough canned mushroom soup (the secret to “good” green bean casserole). To cover all that stuff you need a bunch of gravy.

Now you are all on the right path. Enjoy or disagree as you see fit.

Monday, November 17, 2008

What Interests, Amuses, Annoys or Outrages Me

That’s the subtitle of the blog. Nada for the last couple of days.

Friday, November 14, 2008

I'm Never, Ever Going to Buy Another Electronic Product

The title probably isn’t true; but, right now I probably mean it.

I’m on my third day with a G1, or Google, phone. My first mistake was buying it within a month of it coming out. It’s buggy. The GPS function quit working. Doing a “factory reset” fixed that. So far, there’s no way to import my Windows Mail address book to the phone and it does not want to fetch Emails from my work and personal domains. The current big problem is that it quit talking to my laptop over the wireless router. I have a full WiFi signal but if I use the browser, without trying to get to the internet, it tells me that every URL is “unavailable.”

I don’t have signal from home. I’m attempting to solve that with a signal booster, which should be here Monday or Tuesday. Alternatively, I’m trying to find out if I can use the wireless router to connect to Skype through the laptop.

OK, this is boring me. Have a good weekend.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Some Local Bad News

Like all governments these days, the City of Atlanta is in a hole. Mayor Franklin just announced that city workers would work 10% less, and be paid 10% less.

I didn’t really think much about it until I talked to my friend who is an Atlanta cop. They and the fire department are included. It just didn’t occur to me that they would be included.

In the event that you didn’t know, both departments are seriously understaffed. My friend says that this cut will speed the retirement of the experienced officers in both departments. Their pensions are based on the their three highest years of earnings: why average in a year that is down by 10%?

My advice, if you live in Atlanta, don’t have a fire, a life threatening accident, a burglary, theft, shooting, etc. in the near term future. You’ve got a pretty good shot at being on your own for a longer period of time.

One exception. The police that work at the airport are paid out of a different fund. They are still fully staffed, paid and getting overtime. If you’ve got a problem, report it from the airport.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

An Open Letter to Georgia Rep. Paul Broun

Yesterday I printed an AP story on what the titled U.S. Representative had to say about the to be President. It seems the good man is back tracking a bit. In news articles he’s saying that he regrets what he said. From

“'The point I tried to make is that he is extremely liberal, he has promoted a lot of socialistic ideas, and it just makes me concerned,' Broun said Tuesday."

I wasn’t going to do a post about this again, I tried to send the good man an Email; but, it seems he doesn’t accept them from outside his district.

So here’s the Email:

Dr. Broun,

With all of the restraint I can muster, you are an idiot.

I could go on about the differences between Socialism, Marxism, Fascism and Liberalism; but, I suspect they would be lost on you. Or would they? Liberalism isn’t a popular word. Even they call themselves Progressives these days.

It probably wouldn’t rouse your rabble if you were left with calling Obama a mere liberal, after all, he is. But the conflicting labels, there you’ve got an idea, absent a linguistic or historical base; but, an idea none-the-less.

Us Americans don’t like those Socialists, Marxists and Fascists. We don’t bother to differentiate among them. We just know that we fought all of them in wars. They must be bad, different bad maybe, but bad all the same.

Education doesn’t solve all ills as evidenced by the fact that you have an M.D. What very much worries me is that among the almost fifty million people in America that voted against Obama, there are, I fear, many people that are cheering you on. Genuine, objective opposition I can handle, I have friends and family that oppose the new President.

Stupidity bothers me though. We aren’t talking ignorance here given your education. Stupidity is the only word that describes your comments, unless you have an agenda.

Which brings to mind the classic movie, Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? Remember the guy run out of the hall on the rail? A little shorter and fatter than you are; but, isn’t there a resemblance? Come now, don’t deny it.

Sincerely, not Respectfully,


Up Faster Than Down

I did a post back in September about how gas prices weren’t sliding down as fast as they climbed up when oil hit $145 in July.

Oil is at $59 today with world demand way down and supply way up.

Back in July gas here in Atlanta was about $4.09. Today it’s about $2.05 with a few stations as low as $1.95. But, if I do a ratio of oil and gas prices back in July and today, it should be $1.67 or less a gallon.

For those of you that look at all the technical stuff, OPEC is reducing production a bit which doesn't seem to be maintaining price; and, we are into winter pricing given lower demand and use of less expensive winter blends.So, the price actually should be lower than a strict ration of oil and gas would indicate.

I guess supply and demand does work, with demand working slower than supply when it takes over driving price.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I Love My State

At today:

Ga. congressman calls Obama Marxist, warns of dictatorship

The Associated Press

Monday, November 10, 2008

WASHINGTON — A Republican congressman from Georgia is calling President-elect Obama a Marxist and warning that he might be planning to form a Gestapo-like security force so he can rule as a dictator.

Two-term Rep. Paul Broun of Athens cited a July speech that has circulated on the Internet in which Obama called for a civilian force to take some of the national security burden off the military.

Broun said he was not fear mongering but wants to warn people that the nation could be going down that path. His comments came in a Monday telephone interview with The Associated Press after he called Obama a Marxist at a Rotary Club meeting in his district over the weekend.

A Short Lesson: How to Strip Speaker Wire

When I moved, I installed the speakers for the home theater around the living room. It was a pain and I didn’t do it well.

Over the weekend, I pull apart a spliced wire to the left front speaker. So yesterday I sat for about a half hour and tried to re-strip the wire to provide a good contact. I don’t have a wire-stripping tool and am not going to buy one. So I played with a knife, scissors and some pliers.

I then had a moment of inspiration. How to strip the insulation off of speaker wire: burn it off with a lighter. It takes about thirty seconds per wire, including scraping off the residue. A bit smelly; but, it works.

Guest Post: The Importance of Knowing Your Rights in Tough Economic Times

Sergei Lemberg is a lawyer who specializes in automotive lemon law. He was kind enough to put one of my posts on his blog, Lemon Justice. So, he's sitting in the guest blogger’s chair today:

With the federal government bailing out Wall Street, it’s natural for people to be frustrated and angry about the impact that this “rescue package” will – or will not – have on the financial struggles they’re facing. What many people don’t realize is that there are existing laws can help ease their economic burden.

For example, if you bought a car in the past year or two, it may be tough to find the money to make payments. If that car turns out to be defective, you’re faced with a double whammy – car payments and repair bills. Thankfully, every state in the U.S. has what’s called a “lemon law,” designed to protect consumers who have unknowingly purchased defective vehicles.

Although every state law is different, common themes run through them. New cars are always covered (though the definition of “new” varies), and motorcycles, RVs, and used cars are sometimes covered. There’s also a time frame involved (for example, the defects have to occur within the first two years or 24,000 miles), and a required number of repair attempts (three times for the same problem, for example).

If you think that your vehicle may qualify as a lemon under your state’s law, it’s important to know your rights and stand up for yourself. When you do, you could qualify for a refund, a replacement vehicle, or a financial settlement. Consulting a lemon law attorney shouldn’t cost you a penny, since most states require that the automaker pay for consumers’ legal costs.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Unions, Business, Democrats, Republicans and Obama

Obama was the beneficiary of strong support by unions. They are now gearing up to be the beneficiaries of passage of one of Obama’s campaign promises: The Employee Free Choice Act (Card Check Law).

Some quick research (Google) gives the mechanics of the law. Workers in a company would be unionized once they got a majority of votes on cards distributed by the organizing union. I gather the process is “Joe, check here for the union.” If Joe checks (or doesn’t check the card) his vote is immediately known. The election becomes a public, one-to-one process, ending only at the point of majority – there’s no cut-off date.

The union and the company then negotiate a contract. If there isn’t an agreement in 90 days, the parties mediate for thirty days. No agreement, and the dispute is decided by binding arbitration.

Details from the AFL-CIO point of view are here. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce viewpoint is found here. Neither viewpoint will solve any of the economic problems we face.

I’ve been an employee and an employer, though I’ve never been in a union.

A couple of anecdotes to illustrate my views:

In my twenties I worked for a large insurance company. It had all of the then current fringe benefits, health and disability insurance, liberal vacations, pension contribution matching, etc. I had gotten quick promotions while doing the same job. Why? The company had an elaborate employee manual. You got raises on a regular basis based on a lock-step system of titles. The only way around the lock-steps was to be promoted. So, since my superiors liked what I was doing, I got “promoted,” got more money and did the same thing.

There was no union, and at one point there was an organizational attempt. The union organizer promoted the union as the way to get what us workers “deserved.” I asked what we deserved above what we were getting and how I would get my “promotions” under an adversarial company/union system. He didn’t have much to say.

More recently, the law firm in which I was a partner, received a complaint based on not paying overtime as required by federal law. All staff were non-exempt employees under the Federal Labor Standards Act. The complaint was based on the staff member not being paid overtime two or three times over a year’s period of time. No mention was made of the fact that the firm didn’t worry about hour and a half lunches, coming in late or leaving early based on need, etc. as long as the work was getting done.

The firm went through the pay records, identified where we had underpaid and wrote a sizable check to settle the case. The firm then republished the work rules, when you had to be there, when you could leave, made clear that lunch was an hour, that personal time would be charged as such, all required by FSLA. The complaining staff member’s fellow staff members ostracized her. Their good thing had been screwed up.

I’m not a fan of “one size fits all” treatment of people. I’ve probably been lucky that I’ve never had a job that pitted me against an unyielding, monolithic, faceless management. Maybe my views would be different if I had.

But note that the insurance company and the law firm that I write about weren’t bad places to work. “Management” and the “workers” accommodated each other. The company and the firm made money and the owners and workers got a pretty fair share.

But, it seems to me that Obama and other Democrats are aligning themselves with unions that are making the same mistakes that the Republican party and American business have been making for some time now, ignoring the reality of a changing world economy.

The car companies are clamoring for a bailout to save themselves from their bad business practices, many related to the stupidity of their adversarial relationships with unions.

A few more trillion in bailouts won’t save an economy that isn’t sustainable. Union election rules that perpetuate an adversarial relationship between management and workers that hasn’t worked for the last thirty years won’t save us either. Governments have the false luxury of not having to pay as they go. Companies and workers have to have something to sell that people want at a price they will pay that results in a surplus – profit. If they don’t follow that model, they are living in a house of cards. Companies and workers are going the way of government, trying their best to return to the good old days when the house of cards looked sturdy.

I hope Obama follows through on his promise for change. Support of the Card Check Law and serial business bailouts isn’t the way to do it.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

First Chili Night of the Season

It’s going down to the high Thirties in the morning; so, it’s time for Chili.

Mine is Chili con Carne. I wanted to do it with chuck roast; but, Kroger didn’t have any. So it has ground chuck.

At this point, it is simmering as I add spices. More chili powder, pepper, garlic. I’m thinking a bit more cumin at the finish.

One bowl tonight, then into the refrigerator to make it twice as good tomorrow.

Friday, November 07, 2008

A Small Critique

President-elect Obama had a news conference today. This post isn’t about the consulting with all of the living ex-presidents/Nancy Reagan gaffe or the puppy thing.

Soon to be Presidents don’t need a backdrop of hanger-ons, even soon to be Vice Presidents and Chiefs of Staff. Backdrops of unnecessary officials are for candidates, police chiefs and union leaders. Presidents and Presidents-elect have a podium, some red, white and blue and a flag.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

I Don't Get It

I did a post yesterday about California's passage of Proposition 8, which amends the state's constitution to bar gay marriage.

I then found out that Florida and Arizona passed similar measures.

CA: 5.3 mil./4.8 mil (52%/48%)

FL: 4.7 mil./2.8 mil (62%/38%)

AZ: 1 mil./800 K (56%/44%)

(As an aside, these measures speak to the wisdom of the U.S. Constitution's requirement that you get two-thirds of the states to vote to amend the Constitution. 50% plus one is not a good idea when you are changing the basic governing document of a society. (Florida requires 60% which the measure got.))

As the title of the post says, I don't get it. I've touched on this issue a couple of times in the
past. Being a lawyer, my first instinct is to look to the law for guidance; but, it probably isn't too helpful.

"Equal protection" under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments probably isn't going to get it, as gay people aren't a "protected class."

The First Amendment could be promising: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…." The trouble is that we know that Congress and state legislatures CAN limit the free exercise of religion and CAN allow the promotion of religion - Mormon men can't have more than one wife, Muslims can't always stop work to pray when their religion calls for it, government can post the Ten Commandments if it surrounds the plaque with the Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights, etc., you can have a nativity scene in the public park if you throw in a menorah, the list goes on.

Let me back up here to look at "marriage" as a religious institution. Marriage probably is best thought of as a religious institution. But whose religion? Should we go back to allowing Mormons to have multiple spouses? Should wives be chattel as they are in some religions?

The only solution is to get government out of the marriage business. Government issues a license for two people to cohabitate. Those two people then have the relationship "blessed" in any way they see fit. They can call the relationship anything they want to call it. Government regulates the civil aspects of the relationship based on public welfare, safety and health concerns; and, the couple and their community regulate the social aspects of the relationship.

Now government treats each couple and each religion equally and has more time to address the matters it should be involving itself in. Is this going to happen? No, see the numbers of people above that think that government should be involved in religion. But it should happen.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Obama Won Yesterday, Equality in California Lost

For all of you who fear that President-elect Obama is a flaming liberal, he wasn’t in favor of flaming or just plain gays or lesbians who wanted to marry each other. California’s vote to pass a state constitutional amendment to bar a marriage between two men or two women won yesterday.

Just what are people afraid of?

There’s a way to go.

Election Commentary

Here's part of an hour's worth of surfing this morning:

From John McCain

"These are difficult times for our country. And I pledge to him tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face.

I urge all Americans ... I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next president our good will and earnest effort to find ways to come together to find the necessary compromises to bridge our differences and help restore our prosperity, defend our security in a dangerous world, and leave our children and grandchildren a stronger, better country than we inherited.

I wish Godspeed to the man who was my former opponent and will be my president. And I call on all Americans, as I have often in this campaign, to not despair of our present difficulties, but to believe, always, in the promise and greatness of America, because nothing is inevitable here.
Americans never quit. We never surrender.

We never hide from history. We make history."

From Debo

"I stand corrected. Thank you U.S. for proving me wrong."

From Fermi

"Here's to the millions of people who helped make history. Yes we can!"

From Doc

"History was indeed made last night. For the first time, the President of the United States will be younger than I am.Let us celebrate now, for a lot of work lies ahead in restoring responsible government in Washington, as well as restoring the public's trust."

From Ron

"I can't believe how relieved I feel. The 8 years of madness - the 8 years of 'is this really my country?' feeling I had watching the Bush administration. For tonight, at least, it is gone."

From Jim

"Wow. That is all."

From Thomas

"My Friend L: Dude, you're in the paper!

Me: Me? What did I do?

My Friend L: They printed the precinct results, and Nader only got one vote in the whole county. That was you, right?Um, yeah. It was."

From Kvatch

“'[I'm] putting this in God’s hands that the right thing for America will be done at the end of the day on November 4th."

— Republican Vice Presidential Candidate, Sarah Palin, 2008/10/22

'Just checkin in with ya on this one Sarah…you know, before we call it a night.'

— Kvatch, 2008/11/04, 9:10 PM, Pacific Standard Time"

And from me

Many of us did not get what we wanted yesterday, a few more many did. Now, for an outcome that benefits all of us, comes the hard part. Senator Obama used his "Yes we can" refrain in his speech last night. For him to be right, his party, the Republicans and all of the rest of us have to do something we aren't too good at other than in times of crisis: work together for the common good. Not snipe, not posture for the 2010 elections, not conduct investigations and hold hearings on the Bush Administration's failings and wrong-doing (though they would be richly deserved).

Am I naïve, Pollyannaish? I hope not.

Finally, from Barack Obama

"This victory alone is not the change we seek. It is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were.

It can't happen without you, without a new spirit of service, a new spirit of sacrifice.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves but each other.


In this country, we rise or fall as one nation, as one people. Let's resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long.

Let's remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House, a party founded on the values of self-reliance and individual liberty and national unity.

Those are values that we all share. And while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress.

As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, we are not enemies but friends. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection."

I hope we can.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Bed Finale

I’ve slept on the bed for the past two nights.


Bed, center support, slats: $270 or so.

Doctor, X-ray, boot for my foot and drugs (out of network): about $240.

I’m not counting gas for all of the trips.

Damned expensive cheap bed.

Sunday, November 02, 2008


We have small, medium, large, extra large and so on.

In womens’ sizes we have petite, etc.

Those I understand, other than the part about a large isn’t necessarily a large, depending on what you are buying.

What I don’t understand is number sizing. How do we get halves? I’m not talking about inches, a 16 ½” neck is what it is. An inseam and an arm length are what they are. But, who figured out a size 10 shoe? They screwed up. If they hadn’t, we wouldn’t have size 10 ½ shoes.

It’s got to be the original person. They didn’t think it through.

Saturday, November 01, 2008


A good friend, very smart, of a conservative frame of mind, told me today he’s bought a gun in the event that McCain pulls out a win. He was serious.

If he thinks like this, this country is in a world of hurt.

I Endorse Barack Obama

And, I voted for him yesterday.

There, I’ve said it. For months I’ve said to my temporal friends, and written a bit to my cyber friends, that I could never vote for Senator McCain and, when she came along, Governor Palin. I couldn’t. But, I honestly wasn’t ready to vote for Obama.

I’d love to sit this election out, vote for the Libertarian candidate. That cop-out, that I’ve been taking for the last three national elections, is foreclosed for two reasons. I know a bit too much about Bob Barr and could never vote for him. More importantly, I live in Georgia. My state doesn’t matter. Better said, it hasn’t mattered in a national election since Jimmy.

This year it seems that it may. So I can’t throw away my vote. Yet, I cannot cast it unless I believe that I am doing the right thing.

Some history for you. Despite what my conservative friends say, I am an objective, independent person. I’ve never been and I don’t think I will ever be a member of a political party, as none that I’ve seen has a perfect slate whose lever should be pulled (I’ve never actually seen such a voting machine, for you younger people, read a book or do a Google search). I’m eclectic in my voting choices. McGovern, Ford, Carter, the Libertarian, Clinton, the Libertarian, the Libertarian, the Libertarian.

That brings us back to this year. It is time to not cast a protest vote.

I don’t believe all of what Obama says, as eloquently as he says it. I actually don’t think he is as radical as he has been portrayed or as he has talked. He is a pragmatic politician, Bill Clinton without some of the character flaws. He cut his teeth in Chicago politics.

He is a very intelligent person. You don’t get to be the president of the Harvard Law Review if you are a dullard (nor do you get admitted to the law school). I am prejudiced in favor of smart.

I could give you a litany of social reasons why I’m going to vote for him. I could list some of my reservations about some of what he, coupled with a totally liberal congress could do. I won’t. Instead, here is why it is time to vote for Obama.

He is, and I hate to say this, the Tiger Woods of American politics. Tiger is the cultural descendent of Muhammad Ali. Stay with me here.

Tiger was a prodigy that delivered on the hype. He had smarts, physical ability and an enormous talent. More importantly he had, and has the will to use his smarts, physicality and talent to become the best golfer in the history of the game, see that he needed to change the way he played to remain the best player, a couple of times, and then, last year, play a major tournament with a serious injury and win.

Ali was the forerunner of what I just said about Tiger with an attitude attributable to his era, the Sixties.

Tiger and Ali have another quality. They aren’t any one thing. Ali is a black man though he became early on, and remains, a world man. Tiger is a mix of races and cultures. Black and, I believe, Tai.

Obama with his racial and cultural diversity and his studied, practical bent is uniquely qualified to deal with the world we face.

Most of us are one thing, not really, but we see ourselves and each other as a “something.” I’m white, middle-aged, upper middle class. I could add a few more categories. Most of you reading this, will categorize yourself.

Ali, Tiger and his generation, and I think, Obama don’t see themselves that way. We don’t live in America any more. We live in the world. What we do affects the rest of the world, it always has. More recently we’ve learned that what the rest of the world does, affects us.

Obama understands that last part. I don’t think McCain does. I’m sure that Palin does not.

It is time to pass the torch from the generation of people that are older than me to the generation of people that are younger than me. I’m quite happy to skip my generation, to a generation of people that see themselves as a part of the world, not needing to defend themselves from the world.

I’m not talking about terrorists. I’m talking about rational people in the world dealing with each other rationally on economic and security issues, together protecting themselves from irrational terrorists. I’m talking about people who are willing to talk to those that oppose them “without preconditions.” The alternative to talking is fighting. If the talking doesn’t work, and you are steadfast in your view, then fight. But throwing a punch first is not the way to win the hearts and minds of people around the world, the people that live and die with you economically and socially.

John McCain doesn’t understand that, Barack Obama does.

For those of you on the fence, take a shot at a fresh, intelligent, modern thinker. Stale, plodding, mid-twentieth century non-thinkers have not done us well, security-wise or economically.

It is indeed time for change, not the change that Obama advertises; but for the change that he may well bring. An America that doesn’t rail against those that are different, those that seem to be economically ascendant. Rather, an America that participates in an inevitable world economy that needs security against those that would try to destroy all of us.

Is Obama the messiah? No. But he is the best choice for the world we have just recently found ourselves living in.

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Damn Bed, Subtitle: I'm Stupid

This one isn’t IKEA’s fault. If you’re new here, do a word search for IKEA to get the necessary background.

So, I went to Lowe’s and got 1x4’s cut to the right width to serve as slats for the mattress. As they say, I measured twice so as to cut once. Twice isn’t enough. The wood was cut to 60.5”. It needed to be a hair shorter.

So last night as I discovered my error, I quit for the night and Emailed a friend to borrow a light weight power saw to “shave” the end so the wood would fit the frame.

I ate some dinner and watched some TV and repaired to the couch to sleep, as the frame with the wood filled the bedroom.

Sometime during the night I woke up and walked toward the bathroom, forgetting that there was a stack of wood in my path.

My right big toe is broken in two places.

I went to an “urgent care” place. They asked me to fill out various forms that asked questions like “do you have a religious affiliation?,” “if faced with a life or death situation, do you have a trust, living will, etc.”, the questions, not related to medical matters went on. The office manager and a physician’s assistant finally decided I could be treated without an invasion of my privacy.

So, the same PA looked at my toe and said, “looks broken, let’s get an X-Ray and see what’s there” The technician was a bit put out when I examined the film with her and diagnosed the two breaks. The PA confirmed my diagnosis, prescribed some pain pills and a Velcro attached hard soled sandal that I get to wear for the next three weeks so the toe doesn’t move when I walk.

I’ve got the pain pills inside me as I type, they are working already (I really don’t like drugs, but these are making me feel a lot better). The CVS doesn’t carry the shoe, so I have to drive to Decatur tomorrow to buy the shoe.

I got the power saw from my friend. I’m thinking I should give a pass to shaving the wood tonight, I’m feeling a bit too mellow.

The price of my bed has now exceeded $400 bucks in IKEA, Lowes, medical and drug costs. We’ll see what happens next.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Day Three, Aftermath

We won all the big stuff. Lost more on the small stuff than I thought we should. We have what looks like a decent appeal issue on part of it.

If anyone read Big Rick’s comment on yesterday’s post, we met for a post trial conference and talked about a bunch of things, none of which we have any influence over. I also talked with another friend more than I usually do and enjoyed it.

I’m now quite comfortable, surfing and catching up on blogs, listening to, but not watching some PBS show about zombies and puffer fish (don’t ask me, I’m not paying a lot of attention) and mellowing.

I don’t have to get up at 5:00 a.m., that’s a good thing.

Sometime between now and Tuesday I’m going to do my last post on the election. I’m going to lay out why I’m going to vote the way I’m going to vote, I finally decided last night.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Love of Law, Day Two of, it is to be Hoped, Three

So, the sandbagging on the pre-trial order worked. All of the other side’s claims other than marshalling the assets of the dissolving corporation (I know, legalese, I’m tired) are gone. Potential six-figure liability is now about $5K.

Closing arguments in the morning. I think this trial stuff is a younger person’s game. It’s kind of fun but tiring. Now I’m off to research for jury instructions and outline the closing argument.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I Love the Law

I have a trial that starts at nine in the morning. I just got an Email from the opposing counsel attaching a proposed Amended Pre-trial Order, the document that controls what issues will be tried, that she proposes we file in the morning. Said opposing counsel just figured out that there were several claims of her client that weren’t included in the current Order and suggested that we file the “cleaned up” amendment tomorrow. I declined. Wish me luck.

IKEA Saga Continued

So, last night I had the damned bed mostly put together by way of looking at the tiny pictures with no words. Next step was to put in the center support. No center support.

I also didn't buy the slats because I figured that I could use the base from the old frame. Wrong. The old base is about an inch too wide.

So today I went back to IKEA and paid another ten bucks for the center support. The nice lady I talked to about my troubles laughed and said shopping at IKEA "can be a challenge." Now I have to go to Home Depot or Lowes and have them cut a 1" thick piece of particle board to 60.5" x 79 " and then cut the long dimension into four pieces so it's easy to carry.

Then I'll be done and can quit sleeping on a mattress on the floor reliving my college years.

Oh, then I have to find a TV stand that is about 18 inches high and no more than 34 inches wide. No one seems to make one. This will never end.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I Want Words, Not Pictures

So I bought the bed frame mentioned in a previous post at Ikea, a good friend going with me to carry the ridiculously heavy three boxes.

I was going to put it together starting a few minutes ago. I’ve got a plastic bag of metal connectors and a “manual” that has a bunch of pictures and the total sum of the following “words”:


Ikea, Design and Quality, IKEA of Sweden


© Inter IKEA Systems B.V. 2004

And, some pictures of the screws, nuts and bolts have numbers giving diameters and length descriptions.

Why does stuff have to have stupid pictographs, if that’s what they’re called? I can figure this thing out; but, it would be a whole lot easier if they used words.

I think I’ll save this for another day, as it’s been a long day.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Our Economy is Based On More Money Than We Should Spend

Here’s an article from

Just when “we” need “us” to spend some discretionary income, we aren’t. I read an article the other day that talked about China. In addition to its problems with its main export recipient, us, not buying like we used to, it is trying to encourage its citizens to buy more stuff. They aren’t doing it as they have a long history of saving based on a history of not knowing what was going to happen in the future.

Back when, our parents (or our grandparents) grew up in the Depression. They had nothing and spent the rest of their lives based on that premise.

Then, the next generation came along and spent, and spent, and spent. Now, the remnants of our family, we and the next generations have quit, at least for the short term, and the experts are worried. The governments are pissed. They’re poring all this money we don’t have into the economy and we still won’t buy anything.

Should we continue the spending slow down? Reorder our priorities? Stop buying bottled water and Bistro takeout?

The recovery might not happen. Then what? Does everything then settle in at a lower level? What’s the loss? We make less money and stuff will cost less money. Supply and demand.

I know, this isn’t very sophisticated, I’m just thinking.

Actual Innocence: UPDATED

It ain't over till it's over as they say.

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has stayed the execution of Troy Davis based on his affirmative defense of "actual innocence." Leaving out a lot of procedural details and steps, Davis now has the burden of proof to show that he is innocent beyond a reasonable doubt, not based on just the evidence that was presented at trial. Even with the use of additional evidence such as witness recantations, that isn't an easy thing to do.

Some details on the process from

"Davis must clear two difficult legal hurdles to win a new round of appeals.

First, he must show that his lawyers could not have previously found the new evidence supporting his innocence no matter how diligently they looked for it. And he must show that the new testimony, viewed in light of all the evidence, is enough to prove “by clear and convincing evidence that…no reasonable fact finder would have found [him] guilty.”

The 11th Circuit added a twist. It asked the parties to address whether Davis can still be executed if he can establish innocence under the second standard but cannot satisfy his burden under the first, due-diligence question."

How Low Can it Go?

I did a post recently about the market dive and trying to decide whether to put cash into the market and when to do it. Since then I've been watching the market go further and further down.

The DJIA was 12,501.11 on January 15 of this year. As I type, it is 8,271.38 and falling. It's down 34.48% year to date.

I've made lots of money mistakes over the years; but, being out of the market has not been one of them. I have difficulty imagining how people that were/are fully invested in stocks are feeling right now.

I guess I'll just keep watching.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I Can't Resist Telling You This

If you read the last post, you’ll now know that I’m still hanging out on the couch surfing.

I just checked to see who’s been by. Someone this afternoon got to me by the following Google search:

“the bill of rights first ten amendments short version”

I’m off to search for the Cliff Notes version of the Constitution.


Fall has come to Atlanta. The leaves are starting to turn. Temperatures in the morning are in the mid forties. Highs are in the high sixties or low seventies.

Having moved, and finally having mostly unpacked, I’m finding myself a homebody.

I’ve always been appreciative of being alone. Not always, but often.

As I type, there’s some blues music playing. I’ve got a window open just a bit, it’s cool and I have a comforter over my legs on the couch.

So far, I’m procrastinating cooking, though I’m getting hungry. I’ve decided I want some sautéed egg noodles, so I’ve been surfing for a new recipe. So far, no luck as I don’t have the cream some of the recipes call for and the other recipes don’t improve on how I normally do noodles.

So the decision is, do I put a Netflix movie in and make something quick, or go make the noodles the way I usually do which requires some attention?

Either way, it’s a nice night in Atlanta.


A comment bot, or whatever it's called, has found me and has been leaving serial ads in the comment section, interestingly from a server in China. So I'm going to use the squiggly letter and word thing for a few days. Again, sorry.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Is This Post a Cheap Shot or Does it Point out Telling Conduct?

More accurately, the first adjective in the title should be expensive.

Mavericks, barracudas, hockey moms, Joe Six-pack and Joe the Plumber supporters and their families are quite well dressed these days, paid for by the RNC. They and their families stay in really nice hotels and fly on airplanes on Alaska’s dime.

If you are interested in the specifics, Google Palin clothes and Palin travel.

The RNC says there are no problems because the $150K in clothes and sundries bought for the Governor, her husband and her kids are going to be donated to charity. They’re going to take away the $98 worth of stuff bought at a high-end baby store from the baby?

The campaign says that Alaska paying tens of thousands of dollars in travel expenses for Palin’s kids and husband was proper because their participation was “official” after she wheedled such status from various program and conference sponsors.

I’ve done a post or two about Sarah Palin. But, I’ve laid off her for the most part because I saw her as a big fish in the kiddy pool dumped into the big boy’s and girl’s pool.

As time passes and she is “vetted” (I hate that word) it seems that she, her family and the people around her are nothing more than grifters.

Some of my conservative friends and readers rail on me for being naive in thinking that Obama can handle the Presidency. Dear friends, John McCain is an old guy with various health issues. Ya’ll want someone that doesn’t have W’s brains or even his low sense of honor taking over for McCain if he kicks off?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Alas, I Live In Georgia

It seems there is a fourteen year old girl here in Georgia that is one kick-ass football kicker. She attends a small Christian high school that plays football in a mostly or all Christian high school league, I’m not sure which.

A recent opponent played the game against her team; but, a spokesperson (I’m betting the person was a guy) read some sort of statement including a quote from Romans in the New Testament that did not refer to football but may or may not have been against lesbians.

The upcoming opponent has withdrawn its team without an explanation.

Sometimes…, well, regular readers will know what I’m thinking.

UPDATE: Here's an unedited quote of a comment to a piece on the girl from the AJC (God help us all):

By tcoach
October 21, 2008 1:07 PM Link to this
I do not agree with the actions and reasons given by the two other teams for not competing. With that said, how many of you played football and are aware of the level of intensity it takes to not only be sucessful but also to remain safe. With that said we live in a culture were violent crime offenses are given differing sentances depending on gender. Also there is a bias in court cases of violence of a woman against a man. With the man being found guilty at a much higher rate. That said it is fair to asses that as a society there have been certain gender rules. Such as a man does not under any circumstance hit a woman, those who do are scolded much worse than those who hit another man. So there is a possibility that the male players from the other schools had expressed concerns about possibly having to hit or tackle a female. This is a hazard, because if the boys are not playing at full speed then they run the risk of an opposing player hitting them real hard and possibly causing injury. I am aware she is a kicker and not involved in many collisions, however has her coach came out and said they will not be running any fakes or such? Therefor there is the chance of collision and contact. This is a tough subject because women should never under any circumstance not be allowed to participate in sports. There should also be consideration for the opposing players who may not be comfortable hitting and tackling a girl, and doing the normal in game gamenship. For those who have never played in a highly competitive football game funny things happen in piles and that could cause issues of its own. The coach blew it though trying to blame it on the bible.
That said what type of journalistic ethics is it agaign where if you do not know you make it up. Have some honor if you do not know what verse was used do not try to figure out, it only leads to people being misled and acts like there is a possible verse that could be used. Shameless again Jim

The boldface was my editorial comment. And the writer's name was Jay.

It's "You're Pre-approved Season" Again

There seems to be a cycle to credit card offers. Three or four times a year, for a couple of weeks each, I get credit card offers. I'm always "pre-approved." I got one yesterday and two this morning.

One of today's is funny. Though you wouldn't know it until you got to the fine print, it's from Barclay's. In big print on the front I'm told they'll give me up to a $15,000 credit line (kind of stingy, it's usually $25,000). On the back, buried in the mice type is the sentence "[d]epending on our review of your application and credit history, we will assign a GENEROUS credit line, the minimum being $250." (Emphasis added.)

I think I'll pass on this one.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Just a Question

I’m watching a movie on HBO, Fracture. There are two main characters, one is a prosecutor in Los Angeles. One of the plot points is that he comes from a hard-scrabble background. He owes $60,000 in school loans, he’s going to leave the prosecutor’s office to go for the big money with a big firm.

He just went to his apartment. Remember this is LA. From the few seconds of the interior that I saw it is quite a bit over the average sized apartment anywhere. How does he afford it? Were there three roommates hiding from the camera?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Your Intelligence Solicited

Tell me why I should vote for Senator McCain or Senator Obama.

I don’t want to hear about ACORN or Ayers.

I don’t want to hear about age or less elegant speeches.

I want to hear your objective, reasoned analysis as to your views as to the preferred next president.

I’m about to get on the Obama train. Tell me I’m right or wrong. But don’t argue, convince. Facts, not allegations. History, not distortions. Passion is OK but it has to be predicated in logic.

I'd especially like you to confirm or rebut my fear that a Democratic President with a Democratic Congress is a risky thing.

Thank you.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Want to Cost Me Some Money?

Go here. I suppose I should explain. If you click and leave a comment, it will cost me a dollar donation for breast cancer. Rules explained in Doc's post. So quit reading. Go. Now!

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Proposal For Next Time Around

Litigation about voter registration is in full swing across the country. How about we set the date for registration for an election four or five months ahead of the election so as to allow time to make challenges? If you move, you can transfer your registration. Otherwise, you snooze you lose.

Unrelated, Joe Lieberman seems to be bunking with John McCain these days. I've seen him next to him at a rally every day this week it seems. He's always smiling and nodding his head like a bobble head doll.

On Killing

As it stands, the State of Georgia is going to execute a man named Troy Davis a week from this coming Monday.

Davis was convicted of killing a policeman. Since the trial, the great majority of witnesses have recanted their testimony. Most recently, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay, considered whether to hear his appeal, and declined to do so without comment.

The part about this impending execution that really gets me is that almost everyone concedes that there is real doubt about his guilt. But the test used here in Georgia creates such a high burden on the defendant that it is virtually impossible to get a new trial. You can read all about it here: Davis v. State (warning, turgid legalese).

There are times that law gets in the way of justice. This is one of them. Davis may well be innocent. If he's innocent, the State is culpable in his death by erecting legalistic roadblocks to determining the truth. I know, at some point we have to have finality; but, when we are going to kill someone, the test should not be beyond a reasonable doubt, it should be certainty. I'm not at all certain.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Oil Barons Borrow - Who Knew?

From an article today:

"The drop in prices has already created problems for producers, who have become accustomed to high prices. Iran and Venezuela both need oil prices at $95 a barrel to balance their budgets, Russia needs $70, and Saudi Arabia needs $55 a barrel, according to Deutsche Bank estimates....

In Russia, which is not part of OPEC, the drop in prices is threatening to the country’s ability to bolster production. The Russian government has reportedly agreed to allocate $9 billion to its four major help them cope with investment needs amid the credit crisis."

The evil empires need to borrow money? It seems we've all been living beyond our means. I'm trying to be sympathetic, I really am.

I Want One Too

Regular readers will recall that the new home has marginal, at best, cell service. I had to give up my AT&T wireless internet and go with Comcast.

I was thus intrigued by this article on the Washington Post website. It seems that last year Cindy McCain inquired with Verizon as to putting up a cell tower on her ranch in Sedona, AZ. She would donate the land and they would pay for the tower, dish, a fence, etc. The ranch is located in a mostly unpopulated area and "the tower would fill gaps in unpopulated parts of Coconino National Forest and on about 20 parcels of land, including a handful of residences, and two small businesses open only by appointment." Verizon began the permitting process and ran into a problem with "environmental concerns." Cutting out part of the story, Verizon and AT&T decided to provide temporary cell towers to the McCain ranch.

Here's the part that gives me hope for my cell problems:

"McCain campaign spokesman Brian Rogers said that the senator is not a regulator and that Cindy McCain received no favors from Verizon or AT&T.

'Mrs. McCain's staff went through the Web site as any member of the general public would - no string-pulling, no phone calls, no involvement of Senate staff,' Rogers said. 'Just because she is married to a senator doesn't mean she forfeits her right to ask for cell service as any other Verizon customer can.'"

That Obama fella, everyone knows he's an elitist. Cindy, John and me, we're just regular folks. I'm going to get my staff on that website pronto.

The Three Legs of McCain's Three Week Campaign

For a change, I watched the debate last night on CNN. The little squiggly lines at the bottom, tracking 30 "undecided" voters in Ohio are distracting, but instructive.

Men like Obama less than women do. Women like McCain less than men do. At least the 15 men and 15 women on the CNN panel do. As the debate moved from subject to subject and speaker to speaker the voter panel reaction almost always stayed above neutral, slipping into negative territory only a couple of times, usually when McCain attacked Obama. The women gave Obama higher approvals than they gave to McCain and the men gave Obama lower approvals than they gave to McCain.

But the approval levels for both sexes dropped (more for women and less for men) when McCain hit his three themes: "I'm not George Bush, I'm a regular guy (I'll look out for Joe the Plumber (who makes about $250K a year!)); and, Obama isn't a regular guy because we haven't 'gotten to the bottom' of the Ayers thing."

I guess these themes are directed to "independent" and undecided voters who would skew against Bush, a tax raiser and a terrorist. I guess we'll find out how they play in the next three weeks. But, if the panel reactions are an indicator, and I were McCain, I'd be looking for a fourth leg before the campaign tips over.

UPDATE: As it turns out, Joe the Plumber doesn't make $250K. He's worked for Newell Plumbing in Toledo for about six years. He's talked to his boss about someday taking over the business and Newell Plumbing does make over $250K. I suppose Newell the Plumber doesn't sound as good.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Bottom

Where is it? That is the 25% plus of your investments question. The DJIA was a bit over 11,000 a month or so ago. As of 4:30 p.m. it’s about 8,500.

When do you put money back into the market or do you?

If you keep your money (what’s left of it) under the mattress, you’ve permanently lost.

Do you assume that this is a big “correction” or recession and the market will do what the market does, wander back up?

I’m guessing, put the money in. The question is when. No comments from brokers (except Moe) allowed.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I'm EMail Sniping With One of My Brothers

I’ve spent my adult life being the liberal, commie, pinko friend and relative of my friends and relatives. Understand, I don't think I am that, though I am if compared.

My relatives, I understand, they and I don’t have the ability to pick and choose. We are bound by blood and love. My friends for the most part are unrepentant right-wing wing nuts, smart wing nuts, but nuts all the same. My family is more subdued, not a nut among them, all smart, and all for the most part, disagreeing with the way I look at life, as do my friends.

But, for the life of me, I do not understand what is happening today in the world and its effect on this election.

We all jab at each other, thrust, parry, try to get the intellectual best of each other. This time around, the country, my friends and my family are becoming alienated, angry. We are looking for saviors and villains.

Family and friends, there are no saviors. Maybe we could all agree that there are enough villains to go around.

One of the things that is bothering me is that I don’t want to vote for Obama, I just could never vote for his opponent. McCain and Palin are all of the worst of the last thirty or so years of our political life. Polarization. Good and Evil. The big stick that that will beat their opponents, foreign and domestic into submission. There isn’t a lick of real difference between them and Bush/Cheney, other than the fact that McCain is probably smarter than Bush, and Cheney is much smarter than Palin.

Obama, with Biden in reserve, will make a better President than McCain with Palin as a quick study back-up.

But, a big but, neither ticket has a real clue what to do with the economic meltdown. Neither ticket has any clear direction for our role in an increasingly smaller world that we can’t push around anymore.

Remember back in the Eighties when the Soviet Union was falling off the world economic and military map? Remember USA! USA! “Do you believe in miracles?”

Reagan made himself an icon by calling the bluffs of a failed power. I think we are now the fading evil empire, evil in the sense that everyone else has always been envious and is now happy that we are having our comeuppance, other than the fact that we and they may sink together.

We have been living in a very different world for a while now. We are just becoming aware of it. We and our want-to- be leaders don’t know what to do about our new world, so we fall back on bromides.

We have lived decades on the idea that everything will always grow and get better. We’ve based our economy and our diplomatic policy on paying for now, later. Later has come and we have come up short.

I don’t have any answers. I am very unhappy that where we have been has brought us to where we are. We are in a world of hurt and all we can do is snipe at each other.

The title of the post? That’s my brother and me. We should be thinking and talking.