99 Weekers – Enough is Enough !!

Apparently I lost my job at the wrong time.  It was 2007 when I was let go without notice, and without real reason.  It was devastating.  I’m single, live alone, and have no other source of income, other than my job.  I got the standard six months of unemployment and then nothing.  I was out of work fo 18 months.  Living alone is expensive.  There is no one with whom to share the expenses of maintaining a household.

I almost lost everything.  Including my sanity, my self-respect, my self-confidence, and a reason to go on living.  My car was repossessed, I was on food stamps and I sent out hundreds upon hundreds of resumes.  If it wasn’t for the good will of family and friends, I never would have made it.  On top of just living expenses, I have some chronic medical issues.  At one point, a doctor refused to see me anymore unless I paid something on my balance. 

Eventually I found a job.  It paid literally half of what I was making at my previous job.  So now I make barely above what would be considered poverty level.  The last time I earned this little of a salary, it was 1992.  Gas was about $1.25 a gallon and so was milk.  I could buy a brand new Honda Accord, well-equipped, for about $17,000.  That same car today is about $25,000.  The math doesn’t make sense.  Salaries have gone nowhere for years but prices have sky-rocketed. 

So these people who have been out of work, and on unemployment for 2 years should just SHUT THEIR MOUTHS and be thankful for what they got.  It may sound heartless, but I don’t care.  I had to take a less than ideal job making half of what I made before, and so should you.  Take any job you can find; even if it means flipping burgers part-time.  Just because you can’t get a job “in your field” doesn’t mean you can’t work.

I just can’t imagine being out of work and getting a check from the government for TWO YEARS, and then complaining that the government is leaving you out in the cold for not extending your benefits EVEN FURTHER.  SHUT UP AND GO FIND A JOB.  Or start asking your family and friends for handouts.  Because you’re not using MY TAX DOLLARS to sit around on your ass anymore.

That’s my opinion and I’m a liberal democrat.  This isn’t about partisanship.  This is about real life.


Where’s my stimulus?

I hear this question all the time.  “If the government can give banks billions of dollars, why can’t they give average American’s a bailout?”.

Well, it’s true.  I hear these unimaginable dollar amounts being talked about, and given out, to Banks, Auto Companies, and god knows who else, and it seems everyone and their brother is getting money, but no me.

It was just announced that Wall Street will give out 140 some odd billions of dollars in BONUSES.  It’s sickening.  I am driving a 14-year-old car that has a trunk that leaks so badly I get 6 to 8 inches of standing water in my trunk every time it rains.  The air conditioner doesn’t work, and it’s starting to rust out.  This car did not qualify for “Cash for Clunkers” because it supposedly gets more miles per gallon than the government cut-off of 18 mpg to qualify for the program.

The average car price now, is about $22,000 dollars.  And that’s for a regular old standard sized American and Japanese cars.  I’ve learned over the years that when you buy a used car, no matter how much you know about cars and no matter how much you know what to look for, you are always buying somebody elses problems.  Otherwise they wouldn’t be selling the car.  How many people sell a car that they like and that runs great. 

So all I want out of the trillions of dollars being shuffled about this country from one place to another to a bunch of people who don’t deserve it, is my $22,000 to go buy a decent car.  If I were able to get that money and buy a car, the first person that benefits is the car dealer, and its employees.  Then, I would be way more likely to go on road trips like I used to do.  I don’t take road trips now because I don’t trust my vehicle.  But if I go on a road trip, then restaurants, motels, retailers, liquor stores, supermarkets, gas stations, and their employees, all benefit from me spending money.  It’s called the economy, stupid.   Giving money away to people who already have money doesn’t stimulate shit.  The rich will just have bigger bank accounts but they won’t spend more than they spend now.  To grow the economy, there must be a GROWTH in spending, not the status quo.  Plus if I got a new car, I wouldn’t be contributing negatively to climate change.  Cleaner vehicles are good for the environment regardless of whether you believe in climate change or not.

We hear all about deficits and debt.  But there is still enough money in this country, controlled by the top 10 percent of all Americans, to pay off America’s debts.  So don’t tell me the country is falling apart.  The rich are STILL getting richer and the poor are still getting poorer.  I’m just trying to make it to the middle class.

Bail me out!  Stimulate me!

The February Update

Wow, I can’t believe I haven’t written a post for this blog since Inauguration Day.  Three things have kept me away.  First, there has been a lot going on in Politics but in my opinion there hasn’t been anything earth-shattering that hasn’t been covered by everybody else blogging and in the general media.  I haven’t seen any blatant mistakes or misrepresentations by others than haven’t gone unchecked, or caught, by others.

Second, I have been very busy with my other blog about Digital TV, High Definition TV, and the converstion of Analog to Digital.  It’s been very busy over there at http://mainehdtv.blogspot.com

Lastly, my Carpal Tunnel problem has quickly gotten worse.  It’s sort of ironic that after spending almost 2 years writing and teaching about Digital TV and the Conversion, that my C.T. surgery is randomly scheduled for February 17, 2009, the day of the conversion.  So if things go horribly wrong, I won’t be able to type for a few days.  In thinking about his more broadly, it’s probably best.

Oh, did you think that President Obama’s achievement of extending the conversion to digital to June 12, 2009, will actually have any impact.  Well, it won’t, because it is non-binding.  TV Stations can still turn off their analog signal on February 17, many have already shut off their analog signal, and there are only the few stations left who are so far behind the digital curve that they are using this extension as a smoke screen to cover up for their technical inadequacies.  Anyway, you can visit the other blog to learn about that if you wish.

I feel I should comment on the Stimulus Act that will be signed by President Obama (I do love typing that) early next week.  However, I can’t even pretend to understand it.  I’m not an economist. Hell, I don’t even balance my checkbook.  I know how, barely.  I just don’t.  I hate dealing with money.  So all I can say is that I hope somebody out there in Stimulus-land is way, way, smarter than me.  I trust Barack to try to do the right thing.  It seems as if nobody knows whether or not it will work.  Although, the Republicans seem pretty positive it won’t.  They don’t know what WILL work, but the know what WON’T work????  How does that work?

I had the misfortune of watching that big, screaming, Republican queen, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), swish and lisp his pretty homosexual mouth through the motions of pretending to know what the hell he was talking about.  All the while I kept wondering from whose talking points memo he was reading verbatim.    And I was thinking how scared he looks all the time that someone might out him.  Yup, that was my Sunday morning.

I’m in a foul mood today because when I had no insurance, I got some discount prescripton card off the internet.  Now, with my prescription coverage, I had to spend $178 for three prescriptions because I haven’t satisfied my deductible.  So my plan for the weekend were cancelled because I had no money to spare.  I needed every single one of those dollars to eat, drive my car,  and pay some utility bills.  I had planned to go to an inexpensive dinner with friends yesterday.  So I had to cancel.  I don’t know if the new Stimulus Plan will help me specifically.  I doubt it.  But I sure could use some stimulating.  In more ways than one.  Maybe Lindsey has some advice??

Sorry, no big news, no big opinions.  I got nothin.

Morning Joe – the blind leading the dumb

I watch “Morning Joe” on MSNBC mostly because I can’t stand watching the local news in the morning.  Local TV News is annoying, repetitive, uninteresting, and in Maine, they talk about the weather for so long that at the end of the weather segment you can’t remember what they said.

In any case, I’ve written about the cast of characters of Morning Joe before, but in the last week or so they have really shown how few real journalistic activities go on there.  Mika Brzezinski stares googly eyed at Joe Scarborough and all of the other men that surround here, pretending to be annoyed when the act like 12 year olds, but secretly she is pining away for each and every one of them. 

This morning I was annoyed by her inability to say the word “lambaste”.  It is pronounced “lamb” as in the animal, and “baste” as in what you do to a turkey while it is cooking.  Put is all together and it’s LAMB-BAY-ST.  She pronounces it “lamb+bass+t”.  As in “lamb” like the animal, plus “bass” like the fish (wide-mouth-“bass”) plus a “T” sound.   This is just one example and I know that Mika is not the only one that pronounces things incorrectly.  How many times have you heard the word “pun-dints” in the last several months?  It is pronounced (and spelled) “pun-dits”.  NO “N” IN THE WORD.

It’s one thing if it happens occasionally, but when supposed journalists misspell or misuse words, and when elected officials can’t seem to connect their brain stems with a common dictionary, something is wrong. 

These are not simple mistakes; this is clear, out and out laziness.  I know it is because I do it all the time with my writing.  For me it takes the form of typographical errors, but still, laziness is laziness.  The difference is I am not a professional journalist, or even semi-pro, and I don’t get paid.

Now let me move onto Joe Scarborough, the patriotic economist.  He swears that General Motors is making great cars that are safer than the imports.  He pontificated about his GM SUV and how great the car was, how safe it was, etc.


So the Chevy Cobalt or Chevy Aveo is safer than the Honda Accord or Civic?  The Pontiac G-something (I don’t know – all their average mid-size family cars start with a G and then a number) is safer than the Toyota Camry or Toyota Corolla?  And I won’t even mention Saab and Volvo and Mercedes, two of the highest rated cars for safety, are owned by GM and Ford and Chrysler respectively but are considered foreign cars.  So even the big three’s own 0f line of high-safety, high quality, expensive cars are not really American products.

Joe Scarborough needs to find a better argument for keeping the big three in business than “just because” it is the patriotic thing to do.   Don’t give me this crap that America makes better cars, in fact, it is just the opposite and I can prove it.  Joe can prove it too because it wasn’t but one week later that is top of the line SUV from GM was in the shop with some unknown issue.  You know the kind of issue where they say it’s fixed and then it’s not fixed so you have to bring it back…..several times.

I have almost exclusively bought Honda’s throughout my life.  I have owned eight of them.  I am the type that buys a new car every few years.  While I was always happy with my Hondas, there were times when one of them would rattle a bit or the fit and finish wasn’t quite right.  It took me a few years to figure this out but based on the VIN number of the vehicle (which tells you everything from where the car was made to how many cylinders, engine size, etc) the cars with which I was a bit unsatisfied were Hondas that were manufactured in the United States.  From that point, whenever I bought a new Honda, or in recent years even a Nissan or Toyota, I made sure that from the VIN on that car, I could guarantee myself that the car was actually manufactured in Japan, not the United States.  You know why?  Because American workers don’t give a damn about anything but their paychecks.  In Japan, and in recent years Korea, the work ethic is unmistakable.  American’s have a “good enough” attitude and the fault tolerances accepted by American workers and their management lack the commitment to quality that the Asian car markets have.  Sorry. The truth hurts.

I understand that the failure of even one of the big three auto makers would be catastrophic.  And maybe giving them a loan, with severe oversight and specific bench marks, is the right thing to do, I don’t know.  But let’s not use the argument that American cars are safer or higher quality than the imports because that’s just not true.  And you know it.

Who’s the real Lame Duck?

Have you been watching the political shows?  They are pontificating, assuming, blaming, yelling, planning, scheming, concluding, choosing, arguing, whining, over-analyzing, and all kinds of other “ings” and none of them good.

The election was a scant two weeks ago and everyone from Pat Buchanan to Jon King are talking about the Obama “leaks” and how Obama has “lost control of his people”.  They are talking about how “change” isn’t change because there aren’t a lot of new faces in THEIR proposed cabinet.

Obama isn’t leaking anything, he just has less control over those outside his circle that are.  As for change?  There was only one successful Democratic administration in the last half century and that was Bill Clinton’s.  Everyone who was a democrat worked for his administration so anyone with any experience, which is what Obama is looking for, worked for Clinton’s administration.  How do the pundits think that Obama is going to fill the untold number of cabinet positions and support positions, from Monster.com?

So in an effort to fill the unfillable, that being 24 hours a day of news, the cable news shows trot every politician, political analyst, political consultant, and in some cases their own version of Joe the Plumber to rattle on and on about what’s going wrong so far.   So far??  It’s been 17 days and he’s not even the President yet.  They are blaming him for the bail out of wall street and the lack of one for the car companies.  He’s not the President yet.

Now would be a perfect time for all of the cable news programs to go on vacation. It’s been a long election season, you earned it.  Now go.  An don’t come back until there is some real news.

Why are we bailing out General Motors?

The worlds #1 auto maker is bleeding cash (in their own words) and want the infamous $770 Billion bailout to be partially funneled in their direction.

Why?  Why are we going to bail out a company who sells products that the American market neither wants not has the credit to buy?

It makes no sense to me.  I consider myself to be an average American when it comes to consumer purchases.  However, while I am recently employed, I was unemployed for 18 months, causing unbelievable damage to my credit and changed my way of thinking when it comes to quantifying what is a “necessary” purchase.

When my car was repossesed, I relied on friends and family to get me through.  I borrowed cars from family and friends, most of which were old beaters not even remotely road worthy, and would never pass inspection, but I had to take a chance.  I needed a car to get to interviews, if I ever got one, or god willing, a job, if I ever got one of those either.

In the end, it was a very good friend who loaned me money, to be paid back “whenever” to buy a decent used vehicle.  I bought a used, 12 year old Toyota.

I have driven at one time or another, just about every car out there.  Wehter it be through test drives, rentals on business trips, or just driving cars owned by people I know.  There is no way in hell I would ever buy an American car.  They are still, to this day and after everything the American auto industry has been through, unreliable, lack creativity and ingenuity, are made of plastic, and still have the same look inside as they did in the 1970’s.  You just can NOT compare any American car to its foreign competition; not in quality, not in price, not in reliability.

General Motors, and Ford, and Chrysler for that matter, are all failing.  And rightly so.  It’s part of the cycle of consumerism.  It’s basic supply and demand and we as Americans don’t demand American cars.  We bailed out car makers before, in the 1970’s and 1980’s.  These companies had some sort of a rebound only to be overtaken each and every year by Toyota and Honda.  Other than the Ford Taurus, which I still can’t explain, the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry have been the top selling cars in the United States for decades.

So why, with the incredible financial crisis goiing on in this country, would the government bail out American car companies.  Nobody wants to buy a GM, Chrysler, or Ford.  It is no longer a matter of patriotism.  Most foreign based car companies who sell cars in the U.S. build them here, or buld part of them here.  In many cases there are more foreign parts in an “American” car than there are in an “import”.

So General Motors wants the U.S. government to bail them out to keep them solvent.  Why would we do that.  Even if these U.S. automakers were financially viable right now, there is no credit available to customers to help them buy these cars.  This is not a “one-issue” problem.  And if I could get a car loan, I wouldn’t buy an American car.  For those who can afford to buy a car in cash, they are not going to buy a Chevy Impala, they are going to buy a Lexus.  Just as in the housing crisis where the government should be bailing out the consumer rather than Wall Street, the government should be giving grants or loans to buy vehicles rather than just writing blank checks to U.S. auto makers.

We have given American car companies 30 years, an entire generation and then some, to catch up with what Americans want in a car.  They couldn’t do it.  They won’t do it.  Even with government subsidies, they lack the vision.  And any company that is no longer relavent in the world tends to go out of business.  So be it.  With the advent of digital cable and on-demand television, we don’t need Blockbuster anymore.  Would we bail them out.  No. We’d let them go by the wayside because they are no longer relevant.

So what do we do about the 3 million employees of American car companies?  I don’t know.  Maybe we should convert American car factories to Toyota, Honda, and Nissan factories, and throw in Hyundai for good measure, and let these car factory workers go back to work.  We can export the ones we don’t buy here to places all around the globe instead.  Export, baby, Export.

Any time you see a documentary or news report from some unknown corner of the world about violence, political unrest, war, etc., what do you see in the background?  Not a Chevy pickup; you see a Toyota.  Even in the poorest more dangerous places on earth, where the poorest of the poor are fighting for their basic human rights, they drive Toyotas.


Sarah Palin, Katie Couric, and the press in general

If you really want to know what you are going to get if you vote for the McCain/Palin ticket, there are a few things you can do.

First, take a look at John McCain’s actions, and reactions in the last few days.  Who “suspends” their Presidential campaign for a bill in the Senate?  You can simply take a few days off from campaigning without “officially suspending” your campaign.  David Letterman was right; “This is really starting to smell”.  He flew off to Washington, after lying to David Letterman, and arrived there where nobody really wanted him.  The repubicans in Washington can’t stand the guy and he’s only there to try and get credit for something because his campaign is in the tank.

Now go watch Sarah Palin’s being interviewed by Katie Couric:


Palin just can’t quite seem to answer any questions directly.  And that’s when she knows the answer to the question.  When she doesn’t know the answer, or how to answer, it is excruciating to watch her squirm.  (Actually, I do get some sort of guilty pleasure out of it, but whatever).

Mrs. Palin:  Can you give us an example other than reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac of what other reforms John McCain has supported?  Any example.  Just one.  Just one example.  Anything.  Really, any example.  Just one example Mrs. Palin.  Anything really. No?  Nothing? Not one?  No answer? Not one example?

And the finally……paydirt!!!

“I”ll try to find ya’ some and bring ’em to ya'”, said Palin. (yes, that’s a direct quote)

There Katie, you finally got your answer.

You really need to see the whole interview to see what this woman is all about.

As for the press who is pissed of, and rightly so, that Palin is giving them the cold shoulder when it comes to interviews, I think I have an answer.

We deserve to know what her positions are, we deserve that Palin answer our questions. and we have already had a taste of how she “behaves” in interviews.  But if she want to hide from answering questions then I say, LET HER!  From here on out, ignore her.  Don’t try and talk to her, don’t try to track her down, call her or beg for interviews.  Just ignore her.

Someday soon she is going to need the print and electronic media and when she does, it will be too late.  Think about it.  If ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, CNN, MSNBC, FOX, newspapers, blogs, magazines, Fox news (yea, I know, but I thought I would throw it in) just ignore her then she’s got no platform at all.

Let her go on Rush Windbag, and Fox Noise all she wants and let her say whatever the hell she want to people who already worship her for no reason.  

There, problem solved.

Who should really bail out the U.S. Economy?

I am not an economist.  I am not a foreign policy expert.  But here is how I see it.

People around the world, and countries around the world, have made billions and billions of dollars on the U.S. economy, which is the largest economy in the World.

In World War I and World War II the United States of America saved their asses, especially Europe.  We rebuilt Europe and Japan after World War II.

And where are they now that we are in an the economic crisis of a lifetime?  They are lined up trying to get a piece of the “bailout” pie.  Foreign banks and investment firms want to be included in the bailout because they do business in the United States.

Well I’m just going to throw it out there.  Again I’m no foreign affairs expert but come on France, and England, and Germany, and Italy, and Japan, and Austria, and Switzerland, and Belgium.  Where the beef?  Start forking over some cash, man.  It is the least, and I mean the very least, you could do to help America gets back on its feet. 

Yeah, we know a lot of you don’t like us very much.  However, we weren’t so thrilled with you, but it didn’t stop us from helping you out in the 1940s when you needed our help.  You know why?  Because it was the right think to do.  I think your anger is misguided; it’s not Americans you should be angry with.  It’s George Bush, and he is such a lame duck that the Chinese restaurants are preparing the orange glaze as we speak.  So get over it and start digging deep into your pockets.

I don’t know the address to which you should send your checks, but I can certainly find out for you.  In fact, just send them to Barack Obama, care of the U.S. Senate and make the checks payable to “The U.S. Bailout Fund”.  He’ll hold on to them until January when gets sworn into office.  Just post date them.  And Thank you.

And if you are not going to help us out?  Then don’t ever ask us for anything again.  Ever.