Monthly Archives: December 2009
Yup. No parties, no restaurants, no fireworks… we’ll stay up to see the year turn into 2010 and then go to bed and sleep our way into the next cycle.
I’m cooking a new Vegan Macaroni and Daiya Cheese with Mushrooms casserole and some steamed organic carrots as the evening’s treat. Sounds very simple, but smells and looks (and hopefully tastes) pretty good.
We’ve been keeping a pretty tight budget while I’m out of work… all things being equal. Where we used to do at least a movie a week, we’re doing one every two weeks or longer (saw UP IN THE AIR yesterday when we went on the Wednesday discount food shop at Common Market in Frederick… great film. Loved George Clooney.)
So we’re sitting around watching food competitions on TV (on Food Network) after spending much of the afternoon filling in on-line job applications while watching a Burn Notice Marathon on USA Network. The snow we had this morning got iced over by some rain and I guess the roads around Shepherdstown are a mess anyway.
Not a bad New Year’s Eve at all.
I’d like to lend my support to the “Move Your Money” campaign. It’s time we take back control of our economy.
OK… if you are convinced after the video, go HERE for a listing of Community Banks to move to. The you can be like Stephanie Frost, who ditched Bank of America after reviewing the “Move Your Bank” material: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/12/31/woman-documents-closing-h_n_407905.html
…and I will be more than happy to see 2009 disappear into the mist. It was a difficult year with, as a review the blog postings here and at other sites, more in the negative than in the positive to define it. For me, personally, it was pretty dismal, even though a few highlights kept me going.
But tomorrow is 2010… I have a job interview in Frederick, MD, on Tuesday… second interview, actually, having done a phone meeting before Christmas… for a job I feel qualified for. Plus it appears they are hiring at Frederick Community College, so I am putting an application together today to send off.
I start rehearsing Hunting of the Snark on Monday Night, and that is part of making the year start on at least a more creative note (still short 1 minor male role… will tackle that today as well).
Of course, we are kicking it all off with a new snow outside… if I see any more snow this winter it will be too much.
Here’s something to start your Wednesday morning with:
No kidding! Mary Matalin said so, and she said Bush inherited a recession from Clinton, too:
I started enjoying Levine’s work almost fifty years ago when I was a freshman in prep school.
The NY Times, whose Book Review he decorated for decades, said:
Mr. Levine’s drawings never seemed whimsical, like those of Al Hirschfeld. They didn’t celebrate neurotic self-consciousness, like Jules Feiffer’s. He wasn’t attracted to the macabre, the way Edward Gorey was. His work didn’t possess the arch social consciousness of Edward Sorel’s. Nor was he interested, as Roz Chast is, in the humorous absurdity of quotidian modern life. But in both style and mood, Mr. Levine was as distinct an artist and commentator as any of his well-known contemporaries. His work was not only witty but serious, not only biting but deeply informed, and artful in a painterly sense as well as a literate one; he was, in fact, beyond his pen and ink drawings, an accomplished painter.
The Times compared him to the 19th Century greats Honoré Daumier and Thomas Nast, and I think they are correct.
Farewell David Levine.
The whole article that this is clipped from is in the HuffPo today”:
“It would appear that you’ve got the Catholic Bishops who aren’t happy. But [Sen. Ben] Nelson (D-Neb.) found his way there as did Senator Bob Casey (D-Penn.) [both pro-life Democrats]. And the pro-choice side said, ‘We don’t like this as much as we would like to not deal with this language.’ But, you know, we’re not going to defeat health care.”
Looking for work, moving Snark forward, and getting over the fall and bruising I had the other night…
It is hard in general to get anything of substance accomplished in the dead period between Christmas and New Years. There are few people around who are working at their jobs, schools are on break and stores that didn’t make their holiday scores are not in the economic shape to hire.
It’s the third day since I fell and I’m walking around pretty easily now, although using the old cane that I had to use when this happened a couple of years ago in Laurel. I feel like I’ve lost a significant chunk of time to be working on my future and now a new month… new year… is coming and I’m still an aging guy without a regular job. Imagine, two degrees, 40 years of mixed and accomplished experiences and a clear intent and I still can’t get work!
As to Snark, I’m 52 days away from opening at Full Circle Theater and I’m still short 1 baritone… small part and, if all goes badly, I can cover it myself, but I really don’t want to. Today I’m sending packages out to the whole cast so far… rehearsals start next Monday night.
So I hope everyone has a nice day… I hear bad weather is coming for New Year’s Eve and I don’t look forward to it.
This was an interesting, long article at Truthout.com… Certainly worth reading before we send troops to Iran in the future (and who knows?, we’ll probably add Yemen, too if Joe Lieberman gets his way).
Read the clips then go over to Truthout and read the whole thing. Then wonder why we get involved in this crap!
The article ends:
This is not the first time that Giraldi has been tipped off by his intelligence sources on forged documents. Giraldi identified the individual or office responsible for creating the two most notorious forged documents in recent U.S. intelligence history.In 2005, Giraldi identified Michael Ledeen, the extreme right-wing former consultant to the National Security Council and the Pentagon, as an author of the fabricated letter purporting to show Iraqi interest in purchasing uranium from Niger. That letter was used by the George W. Bush administration to bolster its false case that Saddam Hussein had an active nuclear weapons programme.
Giraldi also identified officials in the “Office of Special Plans” who worked under Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith as having forged a letter purportedly written by Hussein’s intelligence director, Tahir Jalail Habbush al-Tikriti, to Hussein himself referring to an Iraqi intelligence operation to arrange for an unidentified shipment from Niger.
From Minuteman Media:
CEOs Sacrifice Workers While Enriching Themselves
Funnyman Bob Newhart used to do a comedy bit in which he portrayed a commanding officer addressing his troops on the eve of a big battle. The commander spoke bluntly about the bloody horror the troops would face and the certainty that many of them wouldn’t survive. The officer rallied them with appeals to courage and sacrifice and then concluded by saying, “My only regret is that I, personally, will not be able to go with you.”
That’s a perfect expression of today’s corporate ethic as practiced by chief executive officers. With bloody ruthlessness, CEOs constantly sacrifice workers in the name of global competitiveness, but the chiefs never seem to join in the sacrifice. We’ve recently been given another example of this disparity in a report on corporate pensions by the Government Accountability Office.
The GAO found that four of the largest corporate bankruptcies of the last 10 years were disastrous for the employees’ pension funds. Prior to their bankruptcies, United Airlines, US Airways, Polaroid, and Reliance Insurance had underfunded their employees’ retirement plans by $11 billion—money essentially stolen from the workers. The corporations then abandoned any responsibility for the pensions, turning the obligation over to the federal government under a program that pays only a fraction of what is owed to the employees.
But guess which employees did not suffer any cut at all in their retirement money? Right—the four CEOs. Indeed, as they were underfunding and axing the workers’ pension plans, the four chieftains quietly pocketed a total of nearly $50 million in retirement pay for themselves.
Bob Newhart’s joke has become a nightmare for millions of workers. It’s time for Congress to tie CEO pensions to the value of their employees’ retirement funds.
Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and winner of the 2009 winner of the Nation/Puffin Prize. He’s also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown.
I’ll give you a clip from it, but I suggest you read the whole thing:
… in the last couple of days, but I had an accident coming out of the theatre on Saturday. I tripped and fell on the still partly icy sidewalk and hurt my knee and ribcage enough to keep myself propped up on pillows in my recliner for 36 hours or so. A lot of the pain is gone now, but yesterday I couldn’t even deal with keyboard typing without it hurting a lot.
I expect to make up for it today and from now on. Fortunately, not much is happening during the Congress’ holiday layoff, and even Joe Scarborough is taking one of his (very,very many) vacation days from Morning Joe, so I guess we’re all laying a little low.
So onward and upward… btw, I’m still looking to cast one more man in Hunting Of The Snark (any baritones out there?) which goes into rehearsal one week from today.
Russia Today interviewed Congressman Kucinich and he commented on Afghanistan, War, Generals and more. Give a listen…
I don’t know if you get to read incoming e-mail. I doubt it, as I know the value of your time in running the country and still finding some room for your wife, children and dog. However, I would like to offer you a couple of points from my not-so-unique position as an unemployed American with two college degrees who worked on your campaign steadily for many months last year… and who is now getting more and more disappointed in your progress, or lack thereof.
“Progress” is the key word here. The expectation of so many of us who walked from door to door or sealed and sent mailing pieces or stood at intersections waving signs instead of going home to our families in the evening was that your Presidency, tied with the majorities for the Democratic Party in both Houses of Congress, would bring us out of the fiscal slurry that the Bush Administration had sunk our lower extremities in. Oh, I know you have made accomplishments… that somehow you and Bernanke saved us from a Depression with a fairly hideous Recession, that you started a process to close Gitmo and began making buddies again with the rest of the world. I know all of that.
What I can’t understand is why, after the huge effort you put into the election campaign making us all convinced you were a Progressive Hope for all of us, you have really become a mostly talk and let others do the action kind of guy. I speak specifically about Rahm Emanuel, who seems to really run the domestic policies that are fed out to the Congress, about Tim Geithner and the rest financial service types who made sure their industry was protected first while your small voters, who could not commit the millions in campaign bucks that you seem all too willing to sell us off for, cut down on their grocery shopping and debated the best way to come up with their kids’ tuition over mortgage payments, and about the Military’s need to keep us involved in the most unnecessary confrontation anyone could imagine, making our international debt so huge that even words don’t describe it.
I can’t understand why the Health Care deals where made with the Pharmaceutical companies and the lobbyists from the Insurance industry, and the Liebermans and Nelsons and other bought and paid for types, and not with the cast majority of people who elected you…people who once thought there was a chance at a single-payer solution to Health Care and who continued to think they would still get an advantage with the now vanished Public Option.
We thought you wanted to change things.
Instead, you have worked yourself into a sticky and overgrown corner where just getting out is nearly impossible. While it is possible that you might reevaluate the situation before the Fall and the 2010 Congressional elections start and get into the fray yourself (and, frankly, tell your current policy wonks to listen to the people who elected you OR ELSE), the reality seems to be that all the changes we had hoped for have been sidelined by the most controllable of uncontrollable things.
I hope you had a chance to watch, or listen to, or at least read a transcript of Bill Moyers’ Journal from the 18th of the month (and one that had not been edited by your staff to remove the highlights that they are most involved in). If not, I think you should note that the first half of the program is something is something that you should pay close attention to. It’s called “Is Washington For Sale?” and it features some very clear words from Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone and Economist Robert Kuttner. You can see it on line at http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/12182009/watch.html, if you are able to get on line. I hope you can. Hell, you’re the President. Call PBS and ask them to send you a DVD!
It is so important that you become aware of what the community of Americans, who gave the government to you and the Congress not so long ago, think. All our futures are tied together, but you have your hand on the knot.
A piece of the article here:
There were too many good ones this week and I had too much time on my hands reviewing them, So here are my favorite four:
Mike Luckovich in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Yes, it has been a great Christmas for lobbyists… and we once thought that with Obama they’d get a lump of coal in their stocking!
– and –
Tony Auth in the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Isn’t Scrooge supposed to learn that he has been wrong?
= and –
Tom Toles in the Washington Post:
– and –
Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press:
Belief is a strange thing…
And this from CNN:
The administration official said there was no evidence that Abdulmatallab was a hard-core, trained member of al-Qaeda.
The suspect, identified as a Nigerian national, claimed to have extremist ties and said the explosive device “was acquired in Yemen along with instructions as to when it should be used,” said a federal security bulletin obtained by CNN.
The FBI is investigating, bureau spokeswoman Sandra Berchtold said.
The remains of the device used are being sent to an FBI explosives lab in Quantico, Virginia, for analysis, the sources said.
The suspect, identified as a Nigerian national, claimed to have extremist ties and said the explosive device “was acquired in Yemen along with instructions as to when it should be used,” said a federal security bulletin obtained by CNN.The FBI is investigating, bureau spokeswoman Sandra Berchtold said.
“It’s been a long time since the legislative system did anything this big, and people have forgotten how awful the victories are. But these are the victories, and if they feel bad to many, they will do good for more. As that comes clearer and clearer, this bill will come to feel more and more like the historic advance it actually is.”
– Ezra Klein in the Washington Post.
Elly and I are enjoying our Xmas morning, having slept late and now finishing our favorite holiday breakfast (adapted to our new Vegan status) of potatoes and “sausage”… and we are watching C-Span discuss favorite non-fiction books of the year with the call-in audience.
As usual during a holiday, there is no real political activity going on… at least not on television… but we will undoubtedly return to the lively discussion of the merger of the House and Senate bills and the extremes the Republicans will go to in order to (try to) kill it altogether.
We took most of yesterday visiting my Mother in Virginia and my daughter Penny and her sons in Maryland, and came home to our dogs who were VERY upset that they had spent the day without us. Today we spend a lot of time paying attention to them.
I hope all of you have a nice holiday. and drop in again. I don’t know what else I’ll be listing or discussing today, but there is likely to be something. Peace.
…and the Health care Bill has passed 60 to 39 with NOT ONE REPUBLICAN joining in to advance the future of America. I’m waiting for Senator Reid’s comments outside the Senate Floor (near the Ohio Clock).
Now we have what looks to be several weeks of reconciliation with the House of Representatives. Senator Baucus has said that they are targeting a compromise Bill on the President’s desk by the time of the State of the Union Message at the end of January.
Tomorrow’s vote is scheduled for 7:00 AM… Be There or Be Square!