The mental games that are going on in Washington are breathtaking in their importance in either sides minds. I couldn’t keep up. I wouldn’t have the patience, there is too much to accomplish, especially in job creation at home. It is appalling that Goldman Sachs is laying off employees at home and hiring abroad, it is also galling that in the Bay Area in CA. they are importing a bridge from China instead of having it manufactured at home and putting steel workers at home. And don’t give me any of the “it’s the union’s fault, the Chinese are cheaper”, it doesn’t work out to be cheaper for our country in the long run when our people don’t have any money to spend in our consumer driven society to shore up and grow back our economy. It is galling that our huge corporations don’t have any pride in being an American company and helping America and its people to continue to be the best, all they care about is the bottom line and their stock position. That is the primary reason why we can’t trust the private sector to get us out of this at this moment, it doesn’t coincide with their self-interest. This is why we need another economic stimulus package aimed at rebuilding our infrastructure following the Made In America plan to get the momentum going with the hiring of Americans which will spur more demand for goods because there will be more money in workers wallets.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost
It’s been since 2007 that I’ve had the opportunity to make the decision of aisle or window and I don’t remember which seat I had. Traveling with kids makes that question obsolete. All that you can pray for, traveling with 2 children, is that they are happy, comfortable and occupied. Prior to children, I didn’t really have a preference and my sister and I traveled every summer to and from New York and France. All I ever wanted was to sleep on the plane and get to France as quickly as possible.
Nowadays, when I will take my future flight, I will be asking for a an aisle seat. Since getting over my battle with liver and kidney disease brought on by the tropical virus I picked up in Costa Rica and exacerbated by what I might add to be extremely irresponsible nasty anorexic behavior such as not eating, drinking and smoking. Since coming back from nearly dying, I have been very careful in living a very healthful existence but one of the consequences of kidney and liver failure is that I need to drink a lot and thus use the restroom as well. So as not to needlessly annoy other passengers climbing over their laps in a cramped cabin, an aisle seat would be preferable.
Air travel used to be a lot of fun, I’m 43 going on 44 years old and I remember my first flight alone with my little sister, without my mother, I was 9 years old and it was 1976. The stewardesses were so nice and took such good care of us. We had one all to ourselves. But gradually throughout the years, especially in the last 15 years, airlines have been making the seats smaller, reducing the amount of items in the goodie bags, the food has gotten worse and now you have to pay extra for everything. The fees are still outrageous, even when the price of oil went down, did anyone ask themselves why haven’t the airlines lowered their prices or decreased their fees? Once a company increases its prices, due to increased cost of doing business, if that cost goes down anytime in the future, the consumers price rarely goes back down. Which I find a bit disheartening because when you say to yourself oh I’ll go abroad when the price of fuel goes down, the tickets should be cheaper and you see that the price of oil has gone down but the tickets and fees not so much, it pretty much stinks.
Well that is neither here nor there, like I said earlier, the next time I’m on a plane I’ll be happy with an aisle seat, even if I have to pay extra.
I am trying to think of things that I have done, that I was scared of doing and there were a few, but I can’t think of any of those times ending at all any easier. I don’t often get scared, get scared to do new things or go to new places. When I am scared of something, there tends to be a reason for it. I have tried to overcome my fear of roller coasters, I have stopped because after each time I was bent over with my head between my legs.
Scuba diving was another adventure that I was a little scared of doing because I wasn’t sure that I was up to the challenge. It turned out that I was correct in my fear, I struggled like no-one had struggled before, with all aspects of diving, and I am quoting the certified Master diver. I couldn’t descend to the bottom by myself, I had to be carried like a baby in the assistant dive master’s arms. It was so embarrassing. Since I was so thin at the time, I had to wear a weight belt alongside the tank and regulator, getting back in the boat was humiliating because I needed help from both ends to get hoisted back onto the boat. After all that, I actually earned my certification and I was happy that it was over. “Not so fast, missy”. My very good friend and the Master diver, both talked me into continuing to get certified as an advanced diver. My rebuttal to that suggestion was “Are you both crazy, I can barely get under water, I’m not good enough to get an advanced certification.” They wouldn’t take no for an answer, especially my friend because she wanted us to do it together.
One of the next lessons for the course was to dive down to 100 feet and perform easy math exercises on a water-proof board to see if any of us was affected by nitrogen narcosis. It’s when there is a large build up of nitrogen gas in your blood stream and it can impair your judgment. It is a serious thing to always be on the look out for on deep dives. We, (surprise! I actually got down there, with help) got down to 100 feet and were about to commence the math equations when I looked around and saw the assistant diver, who was our look out buddy stationed at 130 feet, who was way above me. That sent me into a panic because I realized that I was sinking and I didn’t know why and how to stop. What happened was that my tanks had been dislodged somehow and were falling off and dragging me down. The Master diver realized that I was in peril and came to my rescue. He took me away, fixed my equipment and swam me gradually up to the surface in several stages so that we wouldn’t have the bends. I almost drowned, it was seriously touch and go for a few minutes. I had a really hard time getting to the assistant diver and he was having trouble holding onto me. After that harrowing experience, I still managed to earn the certification of advanced diver. But, did my initial fear go away even after two weeks of diving, no it did not. I had trepidation before, and I was right to have it. I am not physically made for scuba diving. It took a lot out of me. Would I do it again, no I wouldn’t.
I have learned through the years that I should simply listen to my instincts because I do know myself best and what I am capable of. I am adventurous enough that I don’t need to go looking for more things that make me uncomfortable or seriously frightened. All my experiences doing that, haven’t given me the positive outcome that most would hope for. So I am done. There are too many things to do that I really like doing and those things can always find a new expression so that it doesn’t get old.
On Sunday there was an article in the NYT that I found to be quite upsetting. It was detailing how in the Bay area of San Francisco, the city had ordered a replacement bridge from China to be delivered and installed by our union workers once it arrived on our soil during the summer. Moreover, in NYC there were orders out to China for subway and bridges under way to be delivered and similarly to be installed by our union workers once delivered onto our soil. These orders were touted to have saved millions of dollars by going through Chinese manufactures, but I argue that we didn’t save we actually lost money by lost tax revenues from the workers that could have been hired and the increased consumption those additional workers could have generated. I see these off shore manufacturing deals as fundamentally short sighted economic policies, the only logic that I can see is that it was basically a political call. Since China holds quite a bit of our debt in terms of trade imbalance these orders could have cut down our debt somewhat but it still costs us more internally.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost
This is getting ridiculous, I have been reading similar conclusions from so many different economic publications, that austerity is not helping us at this time, neither here in the U.S. nor in Europe. That is has become apparent to me that the big banking industry, which is now and has been for awhile a global industry not necessarily tied to any one national interest, only their own self-interest, has been running the political landscape since the late 1970’s. Whenever there was and is a crisis of over-lending, the governments, the IMF and the World Bank come swooping in ostensibly to prevent the collapse of the sovereign economy yet the real reason is to make sure that the banks are repaid their irresponsibly lent loans at the expense of the people who can’t afford the harsh measures imposed by those doing the “rescuing”. One of these days some serious realignment of economic values will need to be done. How can one justify the existence of the too big to fail banks when they do not produce much economic growth yet since the late 70’s have contributed too much negative economic outcomes? Walter Wriston, C.E.O of Citibank, in the 70’s when he went in to lend Mexico funds, stated that sovereign nations don’t fail.His actions led to the debt crisis of 1981-1982. Let’s see where that has gotten us throughout the years, in light of what is happening in Europe.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost
It is of no surprise that Justice Roberts with his little gang of 4 would have ruled this way in light of Citizens United. And like the defenders of public campaign financing have stated thank goodness they did not go any farther. I wonder if Justice Kagan’s written dissent can ever be used in the future to further the cause of proper public campaign reform via judicial or legislative channels. I believe her dissent summed it up best regarding our need to keep corruption at bay with private campaign financing.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost
free will – the ability to choose their actions without being forced to follow a certain course either by the influence of others or by natural laws. The notion of human free will is also an important premise for a lot of what happens in human society – in particular, when it comes to our legal system.
I do believe in free will, it was a predominant part of my catholic teachings in school. The nuns always said that God loved us so much that he gave us free will. They also taught us that free will is what makes our actions so important. If we do good things, they are made even more special because those deeds came directly from our hearts. If we did bad deeds then we had only ourselves to blame and it was thus our responsibility to make it right.
I remember debating the existence of God using the argument that the gift of free will made it almost impossible to prove His existence. We can’t prove that God gave it to us in the first place, free will could just be something that we are just born with as humans, and when those wonderful philosophical and creative writers Matthew, Mark, Luke and John decided to write one of the most important books on earth. They needed to introduce the concept that free will was a gift because we were God’s children and we had to give Him our love and faith of our own Free Will. It is a perfect technique, ploy, device or however you want to put it, if you were arguing about the very existence of God. Humanity, for the most part, needs God and His name doesn’t matter, God for humanity transcends the organized religion. You will find God in every Peoples belief system except for the atheists.
When the apostles wrote and preached the word of God, who wouldn’t want His existence to be true. In return for His eternal love and a place at His side in the hereafter, all you need to do is pledge your eternal love and faith in Him. The beauty of free will and its relationship to God, is that it furthers the worship of God because it doesn’t cost you anything. There are no strings attached with God, unless you define love and faith as strings. His gift of free will allows you to worship Him or not, but always freely. When one feels alone and vulnerable in the mighty universe, what better comfort than knowing that you have God in your life as long as you believe Him to be there. These are snippets of discussions we had in theology class back in high school. Sister Patty was my teacher and she led these discussions so well, she was such a fantastic person and teacher.
Free will needn’t be discussed solely in terms of religion and believing in God, since free will is part of the human condition, at least that is what I believe, it can also be discussed in context with atheists and agnostics as well. They constitute a part of human society and free will thus, also applies to them, since they would need to adhere to societies laws even when breaking them. Free will is found everywhere and with everyone, aside from the truly mentally ill or brain-damaged. I see it as an integral part of human nature.
In the link that I made available above, the article also acknowledges the existence of Hard Theological Determinism as such that it was preached by John Calvin, who instituted Calvinism. He disputed the existence of free will and believed that everything was pre-ordained by God. I don’t know how many followers accept that view, but I don’t see how one can dispute free will. Free will is part of the human condition regardless of whether you choose to embrace religion or not.
The author is correct that something needs to be done to arrest the housing markets continuing fall in value. The market is digging the hole really deep and since the housing market is where most of Middle America’s wealth was amassed, there is a large sector of our population that is still in as much trouble as when the Great Recession started in 2008. Quite a few renowned economists called for very similar plans that would benefit the home-owners but the politicians on Capital hill balked at the idea. The whole mess always points back to the deregulation of the financial industry. When are we ever going to learn? Instead of trying to increase the size of our financial industry, which in my humble opinion doesn’t really hold up it’s side of the bargain in positive contributions to society, we should be concentrating our resources and energies to public education to help mold future generations in engineering, sciences, math and critical thinking, we should also be focusing on investing in our decaying infrastructure to put people back to work. I am sick and tired of hearing the bankers caterwaul about how people are blaming them for everything. Buck up and take it like a man, through greed and stupidity you bankers have taken advantage of the system and broken the economy. No whining, be part of the solution.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost
I read somewhere and I think that it was Simon Johnson that said that higher oil prices and especially higher food prices were not good indicators of inflation. The Arab uprisings are an external driver of prices, not the normal contributor to inflation and extreme weather patterns are driving the food shortages not normal market demands. With these two forces influencing oil prices and food prices, the political and economic leaders need to adjust their repertoire of solutions. I believe that something similar happened in the 1970’s with the birth of OPEC and a horrendous year in food yields and their responses didn’t correctly address the problems, they interpreted those events as signs to deregulate the banking and finance markets which in turn contributed to the bubble and burst cycles we have been seeing ever since. I think that they need to start thinking outside the box and not solely go lockstep into the austerity agenda. All we are seeing is stagnation in growth, not the desired effect.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost
Reading that statement reminds me of a few movies where the character explains some random occurrence as “it happened for a reason”. I think that many people subscribe to that belief. I am not sure how it is meant exactly. Does it mean that in your own life, everything happens for a reason because, due to decisions and choices made, certain outcomes can be expected? I am thinking that some people may think that it means that there is some grand design, and especially hardship and tragedies don’t just occur randomly, that there is a greater meaning to those acts. I can understand the desire to believe in that philosophy, it gives some semblance of comfort to those who need it, some sense of that you are not in this world suffering alone, some sense that you are part of something bigger, grander than you alone and that you fit into the greater scheme of things. I suppose that I am rambling on with questions and suppositions because I find it hard to believe that things happen for a reason outside of my reality. I know that actions have consequences, sometimes those consequences are a long time in coming. Consequences also doesn’t necessarily have to mean something bad, it is simply an outcome resulting from decisions taken or choices made. Maybe, I am uncomfortable with this topic because, upon reading the question, my first impulse was to think of my father and his murder in 2003. That senseless murder has never made any sense to me and the saying “everything happens for a reason” rings false and hollow. There was and is no reason to my father no longer being here in the grand scheme of the universe. The only thing that I have to hold on to, is that my father’s extremely poor decision and choice he made that night contributed to his untimely murder. I pains me to admit this, but my father had been drinking that night and for some reason, on his way home from work that night, he stopped at a Bodega for something and unfortunately ran into 2 gang members. They stole his money and beat him to death. His choice to drink and his impaired decision to stop at a Bodega instead of going directly home led him to be at a place, confronted by violent criminals, which resulted in his death. My understanding of things happening as a result of action and consequence doesn’t provide me with any comfort. I just feel an incredibly deep sadness that sometimes used to consume me. Over time, it has lessened to simple sadness. I don’t know that if I believed in a grand design, if I would find any comfort from that. The outcome is still the same, my father is gone, cut away from us, way to early for me, in my estimation. So, I still struggle with the question. Sometimes, I think that I struggle because some part of me is reluctant to give myself over to believing in something greater than what I am. Which is odd because I spent all of my childhood years in catholic schools with the nuns, the Franciscan brothers and the priests. So you would think that I had this covered, but I don’t. I’ll just continue to sort this internal debate slowly at my own pace. I’ll reconcile this issue within myself eventually.