Archive for December, 2011

Acknowledging 2011; Reaffirming in 2012

December 31, 2011

To all of my friends, I wish you a hearty and happy New Year!  In retrospect, we have much to be grateful for and even more to aspire to.

It has been a tough year, often seeming like a grind to get through each day.  The financial markets finished the year basically unchanged.  However, there were plenty of ups and downs within that time span.  And that is the icing on the cake, as well as the cake itself: things happen, we become ourselves as if no change is visible, but in the end, so much has altered our course.  The true measure of progress is not where we start or finish, but rather in all the stuff that happens in between.  Here are 10 things to be thankful for over the last year:

The year 2012 will appear on the horizon whether we are ready or not.  Politically, the old year was a draw also. The push and pull of partisan government has turned out to be a stalemate.  The ambition to get re-elected held definite sway over the community spirit of governing by the people and for the people.  In my opinion, the deciding factor, although seemingly benign on the scale of moveable feasts, was the caving in of Boehner’s House to extend the 2% payroll cut for two more months.  Of course this was just another incident of kicking the can down the road, i.e. not really governing by dealing with our budgetary woes on an annual basis but instead just a short-term extension (woe be to those actions that might endanger a politico’s re-election).  A mere band-aid.  How ironic it is that our government is afraid of doing what they were elected to do and that the elected individuals lose sight of any cohesive plan on a longer basis?

We are faced with a new beginning tomorrow.  Can we as individuals, as members of a community and a force in the global mechanics of government make the interval between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012 matter?  Can we take a stance that reaffirms all that our Constitution and rich history imply?   There were a few incidents where we really hugged the edge of moral and financial solvency and almost fell off the cliff.  Yet, our great American resiliency brought us back to safety.  However, how many times can we avoid falling off of the precipice?  It is a dangerous pattern.  To tempt fate for the narcissistic  purpose of self-fulfillment over the greater goal of communal benefit is a losing proposition.  One of these days, it just might result in not a shove over the edge of values and oaths, but all it might take would be a gentle push.

It is time for us to not take any more chances.  Let the new year be yet another opportunity to re-affirm our ideals, smothered in our resiliency, to eventually stand up and do the right thing for the right reasons.  The year 2011 might have finished where it started, but significant strides were made over the last year.  Despite our questionable behaviors, U.S. Treasury notes still were scooped up by other countries, as if to reinforce the true meaning and strength of the phrase “the full faith and credit ” of the U.S. government.  We still have “it”, and other countries want “it.”  But we must try harder to fill that coffer with justice, honesty and hard work.  Our confidence in ourselves and the confidence that the world holds in our nation must be backed up with worthy, pertinent actions.  So even better, we can use the artifice of the first day of the new year to try even harder in 2012:

Happy 2012!

T’was, ‘Tis and T’will Be

December 23, 2011

To all of you special friends and readers, I send you the happiest wishes for Chanukah and Christmas.  May you find that special peace within yourself and then share it with the world.

Talking about our world, I find the rise of Newt Gingrich to be emblematic of the pitfalls of our political system and of our internal, individual selves.  Until we monitor our own desires, and hold them to a higher standard instead of  our current mantra of “Me first,” we will continue down this empty, selfish and twisted path.  Personal actions must be considered in the election of public officials because their professional actions will mirror their individual moralities.

Over the years, Gingrich has taken on different leadership roles and proclaimed himself a master of them all.  Hogwash.  He is a master of none of them.  He is a man who “scans”, ignoring scholarship and substance.  Thus, his focus is fleeting.  In his personal life, with three wives on record, he cheated on at least the first two.  In his Congressional endeavors, he took what he could get (which believe me, taking a stand against President Clinton in the 1990’s, was NOT a victory for Newt) and exaggerated his impact.  Just as in his his failed marriages, which included loyalty, love and honor vows that were blatantly breached, his professional career was never as successful as he thought it to be.  Newt is a surface man, not a substance seeker.  Frank Bruni, a writer for the New York Times, summed up the makeup of Newt in this article.  Not only is Newt’s behavior analyzed, but so is the actions of other politicians.  Bruni’s piece says it all.

Then Robert Reich drives home the blindness our lawmakers have as to what is their job to the general population first, with a much higher precedence to those advantages the jobs hold for personal fulfillment.  It is so simple: the public servant owes his constituency his all.  Period.  He was elected to deliver an organized, financially sound and a fair and just safety net for those who have less.  What perks are available to the official should not be the deciding factor on his duty to enact laws and programs for our nation.

Our government has always been open to corruption by the lawmakers and power players, to the detriment of the American people.  Despite this old practice, a pattern that t’was, one fact remains whether or not the minority party agrees, is that in the past, and as ’tis true in the present, they are occupying their offices with the intent of personal fulfillment rather that governing for the people.  What t’will be in the future, remains to be seen.

In the ever-shocking development of human behavior and endeavor, I hope more Americans than not will find it in their hearts and minds to dig down deep and not only set a new, higher-valued mind set about what is right, but also decry and protest the base, self-fulfilling actions of our elected officials.

On a lighter note during this holiday time, I present to you the wonderful video of a talking dog.  It is a serious mistake to deny some higher mental functions to our furry friends.  Probably mixed up with once again, our tendency to compliment ourselves by demeaning others.  During my thirty years of parenting dogs, I can vouch for their (at least in the Labrador retriever breed) ability of word recognition.  My current honey of a canine, Castine, certainly knows the meaning of “cheese”, steak” and “bacon.”  In fact, a few years ago I was draining a pound of just-cooked bacon on a paper towel on the kitchen counter.  I left the room for a while, and when I returned, the paper towel was still there and looked like it had not been moved one iota, but the bacon was gone, baby, gone.  Pretty smooth move from my pet.  No punishment was necessary: these Labs have huge super-egos, and she sent herself into exile under my desk.  Obviously, the bacon was well-worth the self-inflicted punishment.  Our current crop of movers and shakers in government have no sense of self-punishment.  Aha: could it be that dogs are actually more moral then some humans?

Think on that thought a while during your holiday festivities.  Enjoy yourselves, your family and devoted friends.  Was t’was is over.  What “tis” is.  But what “t’will” be is still wide open for improvement, a possibility for a sea change of individual behavior and standards that would trickle down and penetrate all of our institutions, public civility and most important, be taught BY EXAMPLE to our children.

A joyful holiday to you all.  Remember:  “T’will” be again.

Please Give: The Cost is Just

December 11, 2011

A driver was stuck in a traffic jam on the highway outside of Washington, D.C.  Nothing was moving.

Suddenly, a man knocks on the window.  The driver rolls down the window and asks, “What’s going on?”

“Terrorists have kidnapped Congress and they are asking for $100 million ransom.  Otherwise, they are going to douse them all in gasoline and set them on fire.  We are going from car to car collecting donations.”

“How much is everyone giving, on average?” the driver asks.

The man replies, “Roughly a gallon.”





A Ha-Ha Weekend To You All

December 9, 2011

I just had to share this clip with you.  It is reminiscent of the old Grouch Marx show “You Bet Your Life.”  Bill Cosby was a natural to play this moment to the max:

I have a lot to report politically wise.  However, it is just more of the same old, same old.  A much better strategy is to start off the weekend with humor.  The serious issues can wait; after all, agenda item after agenda item has been going nowhere for as long as I can remember.  What’s left to do?  Laugh your fucking head off!!!


P.S.:  Special thanks to ERG.