Archives for September 2008

Bailout Fails- Partisan Politics While Rome is Burning

I think that my head is about to explode. A few minutes of reading about how bad the economy is and how both parties are blaming each other and my head will look it was hit with an axe.

It is absolutely mind boggling to read anything other than we are all working together to fix the economy and to restore confidence. I don’t want to hear another ^&Y%&$^&UY$ word from any of the jackasses in office that doesn’t address how everyone is working together. Forgive me for being crude, you all need to shut the fuck up and work.

This is not the time to point fingers and engage in the blame game. I don’t care who drove the car into the wall or sailed into the iceberg. That moment has come and gone and now we are stuck dealing with the aftermath.

I never considered myself to be a wealthy man, but I always figured that if I could hang on and keep adding a little bit to my portfolio eventually I’d be able to retire. Fortunately I am not interested in trying to do so anytime soon because at the moment my investments are not even worth mentioning.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Stocks skidded Monday afternoon, with the Dow’s
nearly 778-point drop being the worst single-day point loss ever, after the House rejected the government’s $700 billion bank bailout plan.

Stocks tumbled ahead of the vote and the selling accelerated on fears that Congress would not be able come up with a fix for nearly frozen credit markets. The frozen markets mean banks are hoarding cash, making it difficult for businesses and individuals to get much-needed loans.

According to preliminary tallies, the Dow Jones industrial average (INDU)
lost 777.68, surpassing the 684.81 loss on Sept. 17, 2001 – the first trading day after the September 11 attacks. However the 7% decline does not rank among the top 10 percentage declines.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 (SPX) index was down 8.7% and the Nasdaq composite (COMP) 9.1%.

“The stock market was definitely taken by surprise,” said Drew Kanaly, chairman and CEO of Kanaly Trust Company, referring to the House vote. “If you watched the news stream over the weekend, it seemed like it was a done deal. But the money is being held hostage to the political process.”

Crossposted here.

Monday’s Music

Here is the afternoon selection of songs that I have been listening to.

Baby Now That I Have Found You-Alison Krauss and Union Station
Goodbye To Romance– Ozzy Osbourne
Young Americans-David Bowie
Let’s Dance-David Bowie
Do You wanna Hold Me? -Bow Wow Wow
All I Ask Of You – Phantom of The Opera
Under the Bridge – Red Hot Chili Peppers
By The Way – Red Hot Chili Peppers (Side note, my friends would come rescue me too and vice versa.)
If I Can Dream -Elvis Presley
In The Ghetto -Elvis Presley
Hey Hey What Can I Do – Led Zeppelin
Going To California – Led Zeppelin
Cry– Faith Hill
Love, Reign O’er Me – The Who
Shir Ahava Pashut – Aya Korem
Hazy Shade of winter– Simon and Garfunkel
Tom’s Diner – Suzanne Vega

Crossposted here.

Shana Tova

I’d like to wish you all a Shana Tova. May this be the year that we all wish and desire for.

Crossposted here.

A New Fear of Heights

I am beginning to wonder what the hell happened to the Jack I used to know and love. In the good old days that guy was relatively fearless. I won’t be a total revisionist and say that there weren’t things that frightened me because there were.

But overall there weren’t too many things that I wouldn’t do because I was afraid to do them. I spent a lot of time climbing trees, buildings and all sorts of different kinds of objects. Had no problem going up a ladder. Ladders were simple, as long as I felt like they were secure I hadn’t any issue making like a monkey.

Within the last ten years or so I noticed that something has changed. Certain things give me a bad case of the heeby-jeebies and I find myself thinking foolish thoughts like, “damn, if I fall from here I might die.”

Although to be clear I am more afraid of paralysis than death. The thought of being confined to a wheelchair or bed forever makes my heart race far more than the thought of death. And it is not because I have this rock solid belief in an afterlife. I do believe that there is something more and that upon my death I will discover that, but I am in no rush to find out if I am correct.

There are still far too many things to do, too many worlds that need to be conquered. I want to live for a thousand years so that I can do those things. I don’t fear dying for anything other than I am just not ready to consider giving up what I have here.

And I suppose that it is part of what makes me nervous about heights now. While I still consider myself to be mostly invulnerable I have seen far too many die a young death to think that it is impossible for me to be one of them.

Although I will say that whenever death comes from me I am going to surprise him. I’ll take that S.O.B. and kick him the balls, pull his halo, tie his wings together, steal his scythe or whatever the case may be. Death may get me, but not without my pulling a trick or two first.

I have to say that it is not easy admitting that heights have begun to make me nervous. Matter of fact I am not real keen on admitting that I have any sort of fear. It is far more fun to pretend to be one of the lost boys.

Aging, it is just not what it is cracked up to be.

Crossposted here.

Private School Woes

It is a hair shy of 90 degrees outside, unless you are working inside your garage as I am. In that case you can add another 12 degrees or so. In any case I have chosen to take a short break from decluttering so that I can come and share a thought or two.

Not unlike so many others my children are enrolled in private school. Each year I look at my bank accounts and I wonder how long I can keep this up for. Each year I say that I am going to spend more time exploring options for a less expensive option and each year I somehow manage to keep them in the school.

If it sounds like a bundle of contradictory gobbledy-gook that is because it is. If you ask me to create a list of what I consider to be the most important elements of raising my children it is going to be simple and look something like this:

1) Health
2) Education
3) Love
4) Character

It should be noted that this is intentionally a simple list that could easily be expanded and elaborated upon. But for the purpose of this post it will suffice as currently constructed.

I am a product of public schools. I believe that a public school education is important and that when done right is exceptionally valuable. But the obvious problem for me is that my local public school isn’t up to snuff. It just isn’t good enough.

And there really aren’t a lot of good alternatives. It is not real easy to get your child into anything other than their home school, and even if you can the process is a pain. The private schools require a non-refundable deposit to secure a space. That deposit is required months in advance of when you find out if your child will be admitted to a public school that is not their local school.

In case it is not obvious the reason I titled this private school woes is purely financial in nature. The tuition is a big nut to crack. It is painful and requires making numerous concessions. The fact that education is so important makes it less painful, but it still doesn’t serve as a cure all.

Remove that tuition and we have money for many other things that are also important. Remove that tuition and I can probably retire between five and ten years earlier than the current projection of 186 years of age.

So when I listen to our candidates talk about their plans for the future I listen carefully. Not only am I gravely concerned about the economy, healthcare and foreign policy, but I wonder where education fits into the mix. Because I don’t hear enough about it.

I don’t hear the politicians screaming that our public schools do not have enough resources or do not use their resources well enough to make sure that our kids are the best educated in the world.

I stopped believing that race was a real factor in holding people back a solid 20 years ago. But socioeconomic status, that I believe is a problem. If you are poor you are screwed out of many things. If you are poor you have a harder time getting a good education.

And that education is the tool that you will use to elevate yourself and climb out of the muck.

Better public schools serve the greater good. A better educated populace is good for everyone. Not to mention that if parents like myself weren’t forced to spend a significant amount of money on education we could spread some of that dough into other places, helping the economy in the process.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the school my children attend. They are receiving an excellent education and I am thrilled. But every now and then I like to dream that there is a chance that I am going to be able to retire when I am still of sound mind and body.

Crossposted here.