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Musings and Meanderings

Friday, April 30, 2004

Disposable Society

I have to say that my ire is rising higher and higher about this disposable society the American Homeland has become. I know all of you watch television, so you probably watch the commercials too. Unlike some I do not tune them out mentally, but watch them.

I am also bit of a Galbreathian disciple. Galbreath was a radical economist, and I've always liked radicals. Well anyway, one of Galbreath's concepts was that in certain economic situations, demand is created out of thin air by advertisers. We don't need a product per se, but we really WANT IT once we see that it exists. Now a days this seems self evident but it was a radical theory at the time.

Anyway what got me going on all this is the pile of garbage we are creating because as Americans we are too lazy to do things that have served mankind for anywhere from a few years to literally hundreds of years. The latest one I saw today is some sort of disposable toilet bowl cleaner head, use it once, and pop it off to the trash.

Then there is the whole swiffer concept. Obviously its too hard to use a mop and water now a days, instead we need chemically enhanced plastic products (I cannot imagine what the decomposition rate of these things is) to clean our floors. So toilet bowl brushes ( or god forbid using a sponge and your Hands - sponges are biodegradable) (AND YES I clean toilets), are out. Mops are out. Matches are out, we need little plastic capsules of non renewable petroleum products to light our whatevers.

To me this just another symptom in the sick materialistic mentality this country suffers from. Gas prices are 2.00 a gallon and SUV's still out sell every vehicle on the market today. As a country our recycling initiatives are a joke. This wave of disposable products to fill our land fills. It's all just wrong. This country consumes more resources per capita than any other nation on the planet, and we contribute more to greenhouse warming and depletion of non renewable resources than any other. Yet our population as a percentage of the Planet is ridiculously low.

We cannot entrust corporate America to make the right decision and NOT produce disposable products and non renewable resource guzzling products. Corporate America has no ethics or morals unless they are legislated. It is up to individual consumers to do the right thing. And the average consumer will not do the right thing as long as they think that it is ok to just consume without remorse as if it is their god given right as Americans.

And you know what? It only gets better......... Imagine how much more damage Corporate America can do with 4 more years of their CEO's running the country? Of course I do mean the Bush administration.

posted by Mike 11:04 PM

Thursday, April 29, 2004

The real Me me me me me me......

On a lark I took a personality test online. These were the results. Did it peg me? I don't know. You tell me.

General Character

You have a strong sense of humor. You usually know when to lighten a difficult situation, amuse and entertain people.

You are a generous person, perhaps overly so.

You have to be with people. This extends into the need to gain popularity, achieve social recognition and influence those people around you. The "bottom-line" is a strong people orientation.

You have a strong feeling of optimism, considered favorably by most people around you. Your perception is that the bottle is half-full rather than half-empty.

My Comunication Traits

You are a natural communicator. You love to talk, offer jokes and make sure that everyone is having a good time. This trait is especially evident at functions and outings.

You can generate enthusiasm in yourself and in other people. Your enthusiasm, often contagious, involves many people in a social activity who might not ordinarily become involved.

You have a natural, outgoing style that some have labeled as the "natural salesperson." You are generally likable, talkative and socially assertive. Your primary intent is convincing or persuading people.

One of your great strengths is your ability to communicate and talk readily. Since all strengths may be overused at times, you may sometimes talk too much.

You show sympathy to the feelings and needs of others. Your natural empathy style may draw others to you.

Keys to you communicating with me.

Take time to be certain that you reach an agreement.

Talk about expectations.

Ask for opinions and ideas.

Be sincere and use a tone of voice that shows sincerity.

Plan sufficient time to talk and listen.

Keep the conversation at the discussion level, rather than confrontation.

Support ideas for change with facts, figures and logic.

Be stimulating, fun-loving, and fast-moving.

Take time during explanations.

Offer immediate rewards for accomplishments.

Be prepared to listen to many stories.

Relationship Stengths

An excellent listener.

Never a dull moment.

Bring a feeling of security and stability.

Excellent sense of humor; see humor in events spontaneously.

Respect the property of others.

Will gather facts before offering an opinion.

Very optimistic; make others feel good about themselves.

Enthusiastic about activities and involvement.

Socially poised and people-oriented.

Calm excited people.

What I want and need

Support of your ideas and dreams.

Acceptance in a variety of groups.

Equal relations with others.

An audience to perform to and entertain.

Activities involving contact with many people.

Recognition of skills and ability.

Freedom from many controls and limitations of creativity.

Protection or insulation from aggression or confrontation.

An environment free from conflict or hostility.

Sound relationships which form naturally, and are not contriving or scheming

I dunno pretty accurate don't ya think?
posted by Mike 9:58 PM

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Some Boob Tube bits and pieces

There is a newish McDonalds commercial that is so irritating to me that I actually have to turn the channel, it has something to do with baby showers. Now I don't eat at McDonalds, but how many other people find this so obnoxious that they too change the channel.

Reality shows have reached a new low, and Barbara Walters is at the core. Apparently five couples are going to COMPETE to get a BABY from another couple who is putting it up for adoption. Is that revolting or what? Seems more Fox fare to me. But then again I don't like Babs and I never have. Her fake caring attitude makes me nauseous.

Speaking of Reality shows, and I know many of you watch them, I finally got sucked into Survivor a few weeks ago. This is Survivor All Stars, and the rest of the family has been watching the other series' for a few years now. Something intriguing about this group of all stars that are left. Besides I like the Dead Head Rupert, I'm sure my interest will wane if he gets voted off.

Leave it to the idiot programmers department: Two intriguing shows Wonderwalls and Game over were cancelled with nary a chance to catch on. I reviewed Wonderwalls a month or so ago, a quirky show where inanimate objects tell the heroine to do things which "do good". Kind of a new age version of "Joan of Arcadia". Well it was obviously too good to go on and was summarily cancelled three episodes in. Game Over was a CGI animated series revolving around what those Game Characters do (from your PS2) when not at work.... Now a days any good animation which is written on more than one level is slashed and burned at the Programmers earliest possible convenience. This one spoke not only to kids but had very adult references.

Turning to politics, which is on topic because most of it is on TV, the unmitigated gall of Cheney and Bush to slag Kerry's war service record when one goofed his way through a war and the other used every dispensation on the books to avoid serving shows just how mean spirited these people really are. Will the American Public finally say Enough is Enough and throw these rotters out? Time will tell....

posted by Mike 10:11 PM

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Alex's Latest and greatest Picture

posted by Mike 3:16 PM

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Anybody but Bush.. not for me

I plan to vote FOR John Kerry in November. Not against Bush.

Here are a few reasons why taken directly from his position papers. Again this information is blatantly taken directly from his position papers, not articles about him or interpretations of analysts or Sunday Talking Heads.

I encourage anyone who is going to vote in this election to go to the site (in research we call it primary source material) and decide for yourself.

John Kerry Website

This candidate has postions on issues important to the american public today. Many more are listed on this site

I hope everyone in this election votes FOR someone. Be it Bush, Kerry or Nader.

On Iraq

Kerry believes that we don't need a President who will walk away from the world or a President who will walk alone. He believes that we need a President who will lead the nations of the world into a new era of security, freedom, and peace. Kerry believes that capturing Saddam Hussein provides a new opportunity for the United States to build a broader coalition and win the peace in Iraq.

On Tax Cuts and Tax Relief

John Kerry has the courage to take on the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. However, he believes that we should keep the middle class tax cuts that Democrats fought for in 2001 and 2003. Specifically, he wants to protect the increases in the child tax credit, the reduced marriage penalty and the new tax bracket that helps people save $350 on their first level of income. He strongly disagrees with Democrats who want to repeal these tax cuts because it would cost a typical middle-class family with two children an additional $2,000. These families are often already struggling with higher health care costs and higher state and local taxes. In fact, John Kerry wants to give more tax breaks to the middle class with new tax credits on health care and college tuition. These tax cuts are part of his plan to restore the economy and cut the budget deficit in half in four years.

On Education

· First, Kerry will form a New National Education Trust Fund that will guarantee that the Federal government meets its obligation to fully fund education priorities. Our children are too important to be subject to the whims of budget cutters in Washington DC.
· Second, Kerry would fight to change the No Child Left Behind law to assure that our schools focus on teaching high standards to all children, and do not become drill and kill test prep institutions. John Kerry has already proposed the most comprehensive higher education plan of any candidate. Today, he is outlining a plan to assure every child has the skills to be ready for college.
· Third, Kerry is stating his main priorities in education – from higher teacher pay for higher standards to universal after-school to assuring discipline.

On Fiscal Discipline

John Kerry believes that we need a smaller and smarter government that wastes less money. He has put forward a sensible plan that will at least cut the deficit in half in his first term, while investing in economic growth and investing in workers. To restore fiscal discipline and strengthen our economy, Kerry will repeal Bush's special tax breaks for Americans who make more than $200,000. He will cut excesses in government and reign in out of control spending. And he will implement the McCain-Kerry commission on corporate welfare to undermine the special interest groups that make it hard to cut tax loopholes and pork barrel spending projects.

On Homeland Security

America needs a new strategy for homeland security that asks Americans to do more and takes steps as big as the threats we face. We need to put our faith and trust in the people on the frontlines – and back it up with real resources. We need to make sure first defenders have the gear and support they need, and the benefits and protections they've earned. John Kerry has a six-point plan to ensure that we are safer, stronger and more secure on our own soil.
posted by Mike 11:27 PM

Sunday, April 04, 2004

It's all beginning to coalesce out there

The litany of accusations regarding the Bush Administration seems to be coalescing into a formidable platform that I hope the Kerry Campaign uses to its best advantage. The pattern of deceive and deny by this administration is possibly the most heinous since the Nixon years. Then their talking heads use this pattern of deceive and deny to brand their enemies with charges of "Flip Flopping" or "Waffling".

Three instances are sufficient to illustrate the pattern of behavior but this Administration. Iraq, the Medicare bill and the massive Bush Tax cuts.

Before the war in Iraq this Administration stated uncatagorically that Saddam Hussein had weapons of Mass Destruction. There was no waffling here, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Powell and Rice all went to various media outlets and the world in general and stated this as fact. Of course we have found no WMD. Subsequent investigations have shown repeated suppression of alternatives opinions regarding WMD including out own CIA. Instead of simply saying, "hey we were wrong, but look we took out a madman" this Administration had continued their same song, refusing to adjust that song to the facts in hand. This administration stood before congress and stated what they felt was needed to be heard, and Senators like Candidate Kerry voted for the war on the information given to them. Now as the truth comes out, they are branded flip floppers and wafflers. True leaders adjust their views to the changing information as it comes in from the field. This Administration continues to show itself incapable of that behavior.

Whistleblowers before the war started, people like Larry Lindsay, who had the temerity to say to the American People that the war would cost over 100 billion, were summarily squelched and drummed out of the Administration. As it stands now the cost of this war is already pushing 150 billion as quoted by the WSJ. This is how this Administration conducts business clouded in secrecy and false claims; the true costs are distorted; and administration officials pressured not to reveal true information.

Similarly in the Medicare issue, this Administration went before Congress and laid out a cost of $395 billion dollars. Although this number was so amazingly high, this Administration assured both liberal and conservative congressman that it was the true cost. These fiscally responsible representatives went ahead and passed the bill, with much reservation. Now it seems that the true cost of this bill is much higher, quoted at $534 billion by this very same Administration. Did they have their sums wrong at the beginning and then discover later some hidden costs.

No, and again people in the Administration who had the correct information were intimidated not to release it. According to in a piece written by Eric Boehlert, "Then, last month, Richard Foster, the chief actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the top independent Medicare cost analyst, revealed he had been threatened by the Bush administration that he would be fired if he told Congress the true cost of the policy. "

"He received orders in June 2003 from his boss, Thomas Scully, the Bush-appointed director of the Medicare program, instructing him to ignore information requests from members of Congress who were drafting the drug bill. In the past, lawmakers had free access to the actuary's estimates. And they assumed they were getting a true statistic as they considered the bill this time. " Again this was first reported by the WSJ, a bastion of conservatism. BOTH of his superiors have refused to testify to Congress what they knew about the costs of the bill before the Senate and House approved it

The massive Bush Tax cuts which benefit mostly the wealthy 1% of the Nation are yet another example of the inability of this Administration to face the facts as they change in a changing world. This Administration argued in 2001 that the Bush plan was justified because there was a huge surplus. In 2003 it was justified because there was a large deficit. The economist in me also wonders if the "temporary" tax cuts may have spurred growth, then why should they be made permanent. Fiscal stimulus to the economy as every first year economics major knows, cannot be permanent. The effects wear off as the economy adjusts to the reality of the new monies.

What all this boils down to is this. This Administration has shown itself to be deceitful. It has shown itself to be unable to adjust its policies to the changing economy. It has shown that it applies the most cowardly suppression tactics to keep the truth out of the hands of the American People.

It has shown us all that it is time for them all to go.
posted by Mike 6:10 PM

Saturday, April 03, 2004

I'm still trying to figure this one out

How does a 10 yr old child go an entire marking period without turning in one English free writing assignment?

When exactly does the teacher advise the parents that their child has not been doing an assignment. This is a 10 yr old mind you. Not a HS student.

The school system has something called agenda's. A neat tool if used properly. The child writes in his assignments. The teacher uses it to send notes home. etc. I looked through the entire marking period. Not one note regarding this issue.

We get calls mind you. Short nasty snippy phone calls from one of his teachers. Alex is playing games again she'll say. Alex is not getting you to sign his agenda she will say. Now mind you Alex's best friend is a very good student. His mom is close to us. She says she's never even looked at his agenda let alone signed it. Yet if we go a week without doing this then Alex is playing games.

So Alex came home with an F in English. The note specifically said that he had done one assignment this marking period.

This teacher's communication skills are a joke. This school is a joke. In four years he has had one good teacher. Mind you that is the year that he made honor role. I didn't want to believe it but it's readily apparent at this point that this teacher plays favorites. The kids she likes get breaks. The ones she thinks are "playing games" with her get the hammer.

I should have known we were in for problems when two months into the year, at the open house, I asked her if she had read his tests and files, the ones that we had gone out of our way to have done the previous year. She said no. NO??

I'm not a big believer in coincidence. His 3rd grade teacher and the troublesome 5th grade teacher are best friends. Go figure. Do you think they share notes? I'm guessing yes.

So it's into the school on Monday. I'm going to lay this out at the Principles feet. My opinion of this teacher is that she is one of those types who has seen too many students and too many days. If you know what I mean.
posted by Mike 5:57 PM

Friday, April 02, 2004

Air America Radio

Have you heard about this yet? Its' in only five markets but XM radio scooped it up.

Here is their website Air America Radio.

If you are tired of the same old Right Wing drek on Talk Radio, then tune in online or via XM. They are working on getting up and running in the Bay Area and are now on New York - WLIB 1190 AM; Los Angeles - KBLA 1580 AM; Chicago - WNTD 950 AM; Portland, OR- KPOJ 620 AM; Inland Empire, CA- KCAA 1050 AM; XM Satellite Radio - Channel 167

I have listened on and off to their programming and they have their portion of foolishness, making unsubstantiated charges like Rush does, but these are usually more tongue in cheek. There is a strong backbone of comedy in their DJ's, but listening to them they are dead serious about getting the truth out.

Go have a listen. You can streamcast it anytime from their website.
posted by Mike 9:47 AM

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Well our worries are finally over

As many of you know we have been playing the same damn numbers for ages. Our birthdays. Our wedding anniv etc fit into the number of digits needed by the NYS Lottery. 2 1 9 10 23 30

No we didn't hit the big one... but $10,000 is going to go a long way towards making things right here. Now I can take some time looking for the right job in another industry. Also last night I got a call from one of the radio stations that ran the advertisement that I did for my last company and they want me to be the new voice for their advertisers.

So anyway it was a very good day. One that will definitly go down in the annals our lives
posted by Mike 9:33 AM

The musings and meanderings of an overworked and underemployed mind