29 September, 2008
From this AP story (bold mine):
"How could this have happened? Is there such a disconnect on Capitol Hill? This becomes a problem because Wall Street is very uncomfortable with uncertainty," said Gordon Charlop, managing director with Rosenblatt Securities. "The bailout not going through sends a signal that Congress isn't willing to do their part."
Wha-wha-WHAT? Look, pumpkin, you and your lot are gamblers. The finance industry took a HUGE gamble on very shaky mortgages and guess what? Y'all lost! Big! Do you really expect the American people to believe, for even a nanosecond, that, had your gamble continued to pay off, that money would be put to the good of the American people? Because the last time I checked, the banking and finance industry were lobbying congress pretty hard to make it damn-near impossible for the average American to file for bankruptcy and you've fought regulation tooth and nail (both endeavors costing, no doubt, millions of dollars). Bank charges for the average customer are outrageously exorbitant and financial institutions are allowed to play shell games with people's money so that they incur hundreds, and sometimes thousands of dollars in bank charges--and they've done that with impunity. And yet, you damn consumers as "irresponsible".
I'll agree with you that there is--and has been--a disconnect on Capitol Hill, but only in that the Representatives have consistently failed the very people who voted to put them in office in favor of industry lobbyists who shower Congressional Representatives with gifts for doing their bidding. Every time the opportunity to help Americans in financial difficulty has arisen, the banking and finance industry rebelled and insisted that the free market is the only solution to the problem. "Those people were irresponsible enough with their money that they're in financial trouble: Let 'em twist in the wind," y'all said. "They should have known better."
But now...NOW you've decided that socialism is a Good Thing? You've Free Marketed yourselves into a deep, deep hole and now you want me and my fellow Americans--too many of whom have to decide between paying the mortgage/rent or buying food or gas or paying the electric bill--to bail your stupid, irresponsible, overpaid asses out?
Oh HELL no!
(p.s. I'd like to give props to my Representative, Pete Stark, who voted No on the bail out. When the Revolution comes, he'll be spared.)
27 September, 2008
Scott Beale at Laughing Squid was at Current TV for the opening debate Friday night and posted a series of photos and a video of Al Gore's welcome speech. le Sigh... I'm off to go look for him on Twitter, now.
Which reminds me: I was very pleasantly surprised to note that Twitter stayed up throughout the debate last night. Nary a Fail Whale to be found! Excellent work, Twitter Team!
"I don’t hate old people. I just don’t want to elect one. Especially one with a belipsticked bulldog crazypants as his benchwarmer."
Derek Powazek in the comments to his spot-on post about Friday night's presidential debate.
I woke up to the heartbreaking news that Paul Newman has died after a long battle with cancer.
Newman had a great appreciation for the craft of acting and directing, but had little use for the Hollywood lifestyle. With his wife, Joanne Woodward, he was a champion for the "little guy" and did amazing work to make life a lot less hellish for severely ill children.
His acting and directing resume is legendary and will, no doubt, be recounted over and over again in the obituaries this weekend. But to me he'll always be Coach Reggie Dunlop:
23 September, 2008
Alternate title: "I <3 Rachel Maddow!"
We live in a fascist police state. (Article quoted text in italics.)
Oh hang on, it gets BETTER:
So don't even think of coming into the United States and expecting your civil liberties to come through customs unscathed if you look anything OTHER than a White Christian or if you've traveled to a country full of ZOMG!!!1!@!! Brown Heathens!
These sweet little fascist policies were first enacted by (big surprise!) the Reagan administration in 1986 after US citizens complained of being subjected to search and seizure when they returned from Nicaragua. Yet even the original Reagan-era policies (and the revised version from the Clinton administration in 2000) required customs agents to have reasonable grounds for suspicion before seizing and reviewing documents.
You know, I like to try to be helpful whenever I can. So if US Customs (and, by extension, the Bush regime) didn't get the earlier memo (or it got misfiled) and they really want to probe MY thoughts, this one's for them:
22 September, 2008
You know, there is the ever-so-slight chance that I might possibly consider going along with the $700 billion bailout (I refuse to call it a "rescue") of the financial industry with these conditions (just for a start; I'm sure I'll have more):
* That there is SOME oversight over how this bailout money is allocated (let's call this "No, Mr. CEO, You Do Not Get Rewarded With A Blank Check For Fucking Up");
* To help pay for this bailout, the executives of these financial institutions who got rich off of the subprime mortgage scams must get taxed at a rate of 90% on their salaries, bonuses and any stock they sold for a profit while their institutions traded in these subprime mortgages (let's call this "You Sailed The Ship Into The Storm, Now Buy Your Own Damn Pail");
* If these executives don't have the money to pay their taxes on their ill-gotten booty, they get to spend a year in prison for every million dollars they personally profited from trading in subprime mortgages. (let's call this "Actions Have Consequences, Bitchez");
* Two words: Credit Counseling. These financial institutions don't get one goddamned dime until they go through credit counseling. (While we're at it, we don't release a stinkin' penny until everyone in this administration AND in congress goes through credit counseling, too.) Let's make it as difficult for them to be released from their debts as they've made it for consumers. (We can call this one "Walk A Mile In My Shoes Then Give Them Back Because I Have To Sell Them So I Can Buy Groceries This Week".)
Like I said, this is only the beginning of my list of things I need to see in that three-page "plan" before I will even think of supporting a bailout of the financial industry. A lot of tequila might loosen me up a bit on this, too.
What's on your list?
05 September, 2008
Stupid earthquakes! We just had a 4.0 (considered small to moderate). Simon is angling for a treat because he managed to "survive" it. Billie thinks Simon caused the earthquake, so she hates him even more. And while looking at the USGS site, I realized that what I thought was someone trying to break into my apartment at 3:30 this morning was actually a small (2.somethingorother) earthquake.
AND we're having an effin' heat wave here. Pffffffffffttthhhtttt!
03 September, 2008
I spent it with friends doing some night shooting at the Sutro Baths. If you're unfamiliar with San Francisco history, the Sutro Baths is a fascinating place. It's interesting enough during the day but has a completely different character at night. And, as my friend Patrick pointed out, different still when you see long exposure night photographs of it. This particular shot was taken from the Cliff House. The rocks are lit by these enormous lights from the Cliff House and they are white because birds hang out there and, well, you know, do what birds do.
So. Fifteen years. I remember my first few hours in San Francisco so well. My friend and her daughter (who I also consider my friend, even if she is young enough to be my daughter) made the trip from Portland with me. We rolled into San Francisco around 11:00 p.m. and I managed to get myself lost in the Mission, trying to find my new flat.
"Pull the car over here and let's just look at the map." my friend urged.
My eyes darted around, taking in the landscape, my very tired brain processing this information so I could make a decision. I looked up at the street sign. "Julianna, I am not stopping this car on a street called SHOTwell!" Julianna sighed and I kept driving. I knew I was close. In fact, I was only a couple of blocks away, but I was turned around. After another 10 minutes or so, I found my street and my flat. I thought I had found a parking space, too, so I pulled over and we unloaded my Hyundai. We were nearly done when a woman pulled up and yelled at me for blocking her driveway. I apologized, said I was new in town and closed up my car to move it. She kept yelling at me the whole time. (For MONTHS after that, every time I walked my dogs by her car I tried to get Reggie to lift his leg on her tires but he wouldn't. Proving once again that, for a dog, he was a much better person than I.)
I did find a parking spot about a block away (I would soon learn that finding parking within a block of your home in San Francisco after 11:00 p.m. is a stroke of bloody good luck), locked up the car and took the last of my stuff to the flat.
When my friends and I went to the car to drive into downtown (yeah, I'd soon learn how foolhardy THAT was, too), my car had been broken into and I had a parking ticket. Luckily my car wasn't damaged and nothing was taken because there was nothing in it. And I learned about street cleaning days.
So in my first nine hours living in San Francisco I had been yelled at over a dubious driveway, been broken into, had my first parking ticket and my first meltdown trying to drive into downtown (not knowing my way around). By the time we got home that afternoon I was in tears wondering how I ever thought I could do this and I was *this close* to packing up the car and going right back to Portland. (I knew that most of the friends and family had figured I wouldn't last six months but I don't think any of them picked 24 hours for the pool.) My friends and my new roommate were so incredibly supportive, reassuring me it was just a rough first day and I'd be all right. But if I really wanted to go back to Portland, that would be okay, too.
I decided to stick it out a while longer. :-)
And I'm glad I did. Living in the Bay Area is not easy, especially if you don't have either 1) a high paying job, 2) several roommates or 3) a support system. There are days when trying to make a living here really kicks my ass and I wonder why I'm killing myself just trying to keep a roof over my head and gas in the car. Hardly a month goes by where I don't spend a day or two wondering if I'd be happier someplace else where the cost of living was a little more reasonable and the pace a little less hectic and the air and water a little cleaner.
But I can't quit this. Or this. And I can't think of a town with an eccentric quite as interesting as Frank Chu. I'd miss my adopted home town too much, too. And the weather here is as close to perfect as I've ever found and, most of all, I now have some really amazing friends here. Also, acquiring enough valium to make any move tolerable for me and the furkids would add several hundred dollars to the cost of the journey.
So I think I'll stick it out a while longer. :-)
(edited to fix some glaring typos 'n' stuff)