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January 29, 2009

"I want mine."

"I want mine."

Looks like President Obama's 'economic salvation' package of some $800 billion and change is going to be approved by both House and Senate.

Not long after Bush and his Band of Brothers dropped $750 billion on the banks without telling them: 1) they had to use it to make l-o-a-n-s; and 2) no, it would not be allright to use the federal dollars for the banks' "performance" bonuses to top management.

But, most of us are already lining up to get our piece of the new pie.

The government has announced new restrictions on direct lobbying for the money. That won't work. For long.

Congressman Mark Schauer is surely getting a deluge of project ideas; and his phone ringing off the wall or desk.

After all, if we're gonna give out cash like drunken sailors payin their bar bill, why not some for me?

Why Benton Harbor and not Battle Creek?

Be fair. Be square.

Gimmme mine.

We got ourselves into this financial mess over the past 20 or so years. It was all of us; and none of us. Banks. Wall Street. Real Estate people.  Consumers. All of us living beyond our means or with no means....and thinking the piper would never call.

And while it's not a popular view, or grounded in the reality of the moment, the 'economic salvation' or bailout is a terrible idea...at least as I read and try to understand the problem.

The real problem is no one understands the financial problem, or has much of an idea about a solution.

If you know anything about 12-step recovery programs (yes, dopers and druggers), one of the first steps toward sustained recovery is taking personal inventory and responsibility for one's actions.

I've come to believe in that...the hard way.

What we need not do is spend more money we don't have; lets suck it in and suck it up, individually and collectively, and reorient, recreate our lives and reorder our civic priorities in the United States.

About as much chance as me fitting in my '68 Navy uniform again.

My concern is not so much a personal one. I'll probably get by; eat at least a meal or 2 a day; likely have a roof over my head somewhere and somehow until I die.

But I worry about our children and grandchildren....and the baggage and the nation we leave for them.

It's all about money; and nothing about money.

Scarey as h*ll for most of us. Isn't it?

Here's an interesting perspective:



January 02, 2009

First Impressions

First Impressions


I swear to God it’s a lot easier to misread people’s looks, gestures, comments and emails…than it is to get them correct.

Researchers say most people make up their minds about someone NEW within the first five seconds they see or hear the person speak.

And that first impressions are lasting.

One of my problems is that I fall in love with most every woman I meet – within the first five seconds.   If you got an Olympic Gold Medal for every failed marriage or relationship, I’d be on the cover of Wheaties, instead of Bruce Jenner, Mark Spitz or that new swimmer-guy from Ann Arbor.

Anyway, first impressions may be lasting, but they are usually dead W-R-O-N-G.

For years, I wrote a weekly newspaper column about people – and before and after that, held jobs requiring the ability to listen to people, synthesize their views, their skills and potential – and then make judgments about giving away money or hiring them.

No wonder I had trouble holding a job.

 I’d been better off – have a better track record today – from a career reading tarot cards, performing brain surgery blind, or running the Federal Reserve System.

First impressions suck. 

The smartest, most charitable person I've known in my life walks around in old clothes, and likes to muck out horse stalls.

I’ve learned that people are almost ALWAYS much deeper, much more interesting in their views, much better human beings than I first think….

Which says more about what I think of myself, perhaps, than of them.

Or as my Dad would say, looking over at the decked-out, pious dude in the pew across from us at Sunday Mass many years ago, “Jimmy, don’t judge the book by its cover.”

You got that right, Dad.