Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Monday, February 23, 2009

Johann Pachelbel - Canon

Music to help you forget politicians and bailouts!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. - no Othello!

The tainted from the Clinton Era Justice Department A.G. spoke rather lamely and ineptly the other day in one of those forced attendance for government worker's Black History Month Lectures. "Cowards" - the word - was a poor, extremely inept and definitive place marker on his "experience" and his inability to lead and or deal with civil rights in this country. He is already blaming us for his future failures! His Stats!

I sat through one of these awkward lectures in Tucson about fifteen years ago. Of course the speaker was an African American female working in government. What was wrong with the picture then and in that particular HUD/FHA satellite office was that no African-Americans were working there.

I found out rather in a weird way that HUD/FHA, being the weird PR organ of Big Mortgage Companies that is was/still is, that the regional headquarters in San Fran had listed me as African American on its stat sheet to Washington, to balance in a PC fashion the race, ethnic stats going to DC. At the time I thought that if HUD/FHA spent as much time wasted on this stat bullshit, and dealt with real issues, that maybe HUD/FHA could make a difference in the American scene. It is just another government dinosaur sucking the life out of the planet and especially after it helped so generously and ineptly in the mortgage ponzi scam of the recent past.

Mr. Holder's remarks about people afraid to talk about race should start at home. I remember years ago a quote of the film director Spike Lee that he could not make a movie about slavery in US history because African-Americans did not want to touch upon the subject. I am glad to join in any reasonable discussions.

Don't talk about using a big stick to resurrect the Civil Rights division after it had been the Bush-raped in the last admin. Be a big stick. Lead by example and charge up the hill holding the battle banner. A theoretical Casper Milquetoast academic paper read in boring lecture does Jack Shit for me and or the nation in its present difficulties.

Mr. Holder's poor performance of Othello does not mean that he cannot become a great actor one day. My gripe is that why does he have to learn on a learning curve on own time and our dime. How many decades will it take to restore the integrity of the U.S. Justice Department while he understudies the role via mail order acting and or mail order Attorney General correspondence courses??? Is he the best of the best Obama promised? NO!!!

Obama may be African American but he has no roots in slavery unless his mother's family has some black blood in them. I have black blood in me, maybe 1/32nd or 1/64th. Big deal. My immigrant from Ireland great grandfather fought at Gettysburg to help free the slaves. Big deal.

Good luck discussing race while the economy collapses Mr. star understudy Holder! Don’t leave me any free tickets at the box office for your future performance.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Enough of Lincoln - He was a Railroad Lawyer!

They have a temple to him in Washington DC - out sixteenth president. He is a demi-god in the grand Roman tradition. The temple, the Lincoln Memorial, is of a scale fit for Jupiter and or Zeus. We in this secular culture have as close to a secular saint or god (small “g”) as you can get in Old Abe. Hey we are a democracy of sorts. There are no ground rules. We have, in some ways, evolved like the old Roman Empire.

Getting back to Old Abe. I was surprised to read that President Zachary Taylor had offered Lincoln the post of Territorial Governor of Oregon around 1850. Think about how history would have changed if he had taken that job.

The truth of the matter was that Lincoln was a railroad lawyer. He got paid the big bucks and when he went to Washington, his estimated wealth I once read was about $100,000. I think the statistic then was that there were only something like six millionaires in America before the Civil War.

I do not want to downgrade President Lincoln’s place in history or how his CEO abilities were taxed in trying to find the right generals to mop up the Southern Mess. While on a tangent, just remember that Robert E. Lee was married to Martha Washington’s great granddaughter and step-great granddaughter of George Washington. The landed gentry of Virginia were living in a aristocratic bubble supported by an obsolete inefficient cruel system of slavery. There was no easy way to convert old wealth, land and slaves, to the new wealth, factories and railroads.

There was class warfare going on between the progressive states that banned slavery and the old dying economic culture of the South. There was one blip on the radar however. In 1860, 51% of all foreign capital coming into the US was from cotton. The south in many ways could have converted that wealth in a few number of years into a modern economy that could have rivaled the north’s factory wealth. More likely, the aristocracy would have just bought more oriental rugs for their ante-bellum mansions.

The prize in those days for the northern states or the confederate states was the untapped wealth of the western United States in the form of territories waiting to be settled and admitted to the political structure of the United States Congress.

The wealth of southern landowners, slave owners, could not compete with the western movement. Slavery and the landed aristocracy were doomed in a matter of years, not decades.

Nobody in the south thought Lincoln a fool. Lincoln was a wealthy man with an eye on the future. That future was railroads and the west. The other guy who had his eye on the west was Jefferson Davis, one time son in law to General Zachary Taylor and Secretary of War under President Zachary Taylor. One of Jeff’s pet projects was several feasibility studies for the positioning of the proposed, envisioned, needed Transcontinental Railroad. What to tell Congress? That the best route of the taxpayer subsidized railway was the southern route and not the northern route???

The history books paint Abe as a saint, martyr, visionary, emancipator etc. They rarely mention his railroading job skills. Can you imagine if Booth had not shot him. Can you imagine Lincoln as head of one of the New York based railroad empires stretching from NYC to San Francisco? Picture Lincoln’s mansion on Fifth Avenue, 120 rooms, and fifty servants. Picture the probate of his twenty million dollar estate etc.

It is all right and good for a republic to have its iconic figures but put them back into human scale sometimes.

All in all Lincoln was a giant among the pygmies of his timeline group peers.

Happy Two Hundredth Birthday Mr. President Lincoln!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Perswayzon - It's the new Grunt!

Perhaps this is a bit of middle aged gripes and sour grapes. The aging generation laments the simplicity and or the golden age of the past. I do not. The past was simpler in some ways and in others it sucked. In a way, back then, the population in general were on the same page. One or two local television and radio stations and one or two local newspapers delivered the news, fashions and norms, politically correct speak (PC for short) and everybody knew their place in the general scheme of things.

Having taken some business psychology courses in college that were geared to improving communication and sales I look at everything with perhaps too critical an eye.

What this old fart would say about the discommunication in America today is that too many bubbles of intelligence exist that do not touch or interface elsewhere on the planet. I would say the best example of this is Doctors. They talk and think anatomy and chemistry all day long. That if you interface with them, they want you to describe your pain or ailment which they translate into their own little medical correct speak.

When I try to explain to a doctor how mail order prescriptions work and the various international laws involved and my need for a new prescription, I get the same blank stare as from the teenager in the mall behind the counter who doesn’t have a clue about what I am speaking about when asking about some retail items - hello - you sell this? - what kind of warranty etc do I get - excuse me - could you turn down your earphones - I would like to purchase - no never mind - I guess I didn‘t need or want the item that much from you - let me find a store that caters to human beings and not texters on the other side of your blackberry ---.

The doctor and the nurse and pharmaceutical giants all communicate correctly with each other but ME? - I am out of the loop. It seems that the disease of discommuncation in America is an acceptable disease and probably treated by some newly invented drug. This is not miscommunication.

Miscommunication connotes an effort to communicate. Discommunication is talking and understanding within the bubble and egnoring everybody else. A very old concept had to do with thinking outside of the box. That has to be retranslated in case anybody in today’s world is listening or cares. The bubble is the new box. How do you find a corner on a bubble to estimate or leverage yourself out of a bubble? To think? Differently? Duh! - It is a conundrum of sorts.

The girl at the mall, her lack of manners and or good customer skills is perhaps a local matter of the culture. I have traveled and the local thing is all over and perhaps global. The public schools in America do not teach manners or courtesy or things like acceptable social interface that once got drilled into the heads of us fools from the past that were on the same page concerning these matters and related to one or two radio, televisions stations, newspapers. In the old days, it was the religious institutions, the parochial schools, Sunday schools that put the polish on a child’s civilized life skills education.

But going back to doctors and the college educated, their educations do not touch upon manners, courtesy, customer skills or interface with the rest of the planet.

It used to be the totally uneducated who grunted a lot. Now with the advent of cookie-cutter bureaucratic education systems, a grunt is all that is needed to get through a day. The cookie-cutter tests of our youth get measured to satisfy the cookie-cutter bureaucratic requirements of state and national employed for life cookie cutter education authorities.

What came first? Education or the Student Loan Industrial Complex?

Anyway, without going on about what irks and gripes me. I must say this. That the more one is educated in America, the more degrees added to your name, the narrower the range of communication possible with the outside world. Outside World? Me. Perhaps with you as well.

Get a MBA in business and you can destroy business. Cookie-cutter education sense is no sense - nonsense - for many in this world these days. How do we reach out to the new ignorants - ignorance - of this dying nuclear age?

That perhaps the only communication the young or the highly educated do is in a day of taking grueling scaled down cookie-cutter tests is to order a number one or two off Mickey D’s cookie cutter menu.

Like the fingers on one hand is the flow of possible avenues of communication between our new modern educated elites and us mere obsolete humans down here on the ground.

Grunt. Fart. That’s two avenues explained.

You figure out the other three. Have a good day discommunicating with the planet and with the new perswayzon methods of the next generations.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Price of tin gods ( Discounted! )

John Thain in his excuse for giving out bonuses to Merrill Lynch hacks in the middle of a corporate meltdown was that top talent would march to other companies. Sure. Go ahead. Tired, broken, worn-out Reaganesque style obsolete American corporate talent - walk - look for comparable employment - welcome to the real world!!! (It’s a bitch!)

President Obama in an attempt to restore reality ( sanity would be too much to ask even from him ) to the corporate boardrooms in America, set a maximum salary cap for senior executives in failed corporations. If your bankrupt hack company wants a government handout - guess what - the talent that caused the meltdown is not worth millions a year in salary - just thousands. What a refreshing breeze has whofted over the land of America suddenly.

As for talent, a few MBAs got decent salaries for their slide rule approach to ransacking corporations and putting it all neatly onto a spreadsheet to act as ponzi cover to quarterly reports and paper profits, bonuses, corporate jets, Caribbean weekends, drugs and hookers!

The quarterly report scam thing has been going on for over a quarter of a century. Can’t we just keep up appearances for a few more quarters? “Hell I even had money with Madoff!” goes the line of many sad songs on the corporate penthouse world built not on factories but more like Blow.

I have a pint of air. I invest in that pint of air and declare that it has increased in value to half a quart. I declare a dividend. Borrow money from giant useless banks to pay the dividend and I am in business. Bring on the last few remaining state and municipal pension funds to invest in my air corporation. Not many suckers left to fleece in America or globally.

Oh the Pubs fucked up real bad when they couldn’t get the Average American Joe to break off from Social Security and invest his government nest egg in Wall Street.

Bush dropped the ball on that one. The American people will sort of go along with national security and wars in the middle east but don’t touch my privates - my Social Security thingy.

It is still a mess in America with many more quarters before real corporations declare real profits and start hiring native born Americans back at a living wage. But one thing for sure is that the Tin Gods of Wall Street just got a deflationary wake up call as to their Titanic views of themselves and their supposed talents.

It is a new day dawning in corporate America. I can smell the coffee above the pollution free future of electric cars on the newly built highways, solar power on my roof and a realization that reality starts with real things and not theoretical corporate spreadsheet profits, Keating, Lay and Madoff style.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Age of Uncertainty

It is an age
Of uncertainty.
A hundred years
From where men
Knew how to invent
Plant crops
Count blessings
Grasp the soil
Sweat and toil
And fix one’s own
Plumbing in a
house he built
A hundred years later
Youth stare at
Electronic boxes
For satisfaction.
The human condition
Decays. To touch,
To feel are freaky things.
The real thing or
At least once it was
The real thing - wavers
Needs a cheat book
To figure a higher score.
Life is plastic not sane
Built on shifting sand.
The changing time.
It is an age transiting
One age and into next
Uncertain age pending.
Today subtlety mixes
Not in understanding
Is lost with sarcasm.
It takes intelligence
To understand
Experience too
And learn by it.
From it what is it
Common sense
Once horse sense
Or farm sense is
Colleges like plagues
Spread not education
Or human sense
As much as diplomas -
The new manure from
The new factories.
Good for what crops?
Great minds can build
Diplomas can kill
Wall street -
The future as well.
No balanced view
Of brain or heart
From the ruling class
Anymore – Pot, pot,
Pot! Blow!
Send more comfort
Sage-d China.
The new land
Cannot make bricks
Or roads or ideas
The starving land gets
Fed poison. The food
Is industrial waste spun
From magic and leaves
A poisoned trail.
Consume, consume.
The sound of locusts
Destroys the crop of
The future.
And God-obsolete
With toil lies idle
Amid desolate quarters
In shame.
No points there in
The game.
Life is a game
Inside the box.
The future is simple
Provided that nobody
Switches off the
Made in U S A ?