Hiking the Argentine Trail

June 24, 2009

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090624/ap_on_re_us/us_sc_governor_where

Crazy Boss Frog Governor Mark “I’m not black” Sanford, the guy who wants his state’s schools to disintegrate because he’s afraid of the future deficits has spent the past 5-6 days AWOL.  Aides said he was hiking the Appalachian Trail, what soon became  a new euphemism for the scandalicious perversity du jour.  Whoring around?  Drug binge? Botox? Religious pilgrimmage?  And how the hell doesn’t your wife know where you are?  The state of South Carolina, god bless it’s secessionist arrogance, has not had an elected leader for a few business days.

It’s amazing, such a story.  At first, I didn’t really care about the Sanford missing thing as it bubbled up monday morning.  He’s hiking the Appalachian Trail, aides tell us.  Now he was seen flying back to Atlanta airport from a flight returning from… Buenos Aires?  You gotta be shitting me.

When asked what he was doing there, “driving along the coast” was his answer.

What?  Now I’m intrigued about this story.  What the hell was he doing there?


Political affiliation

May 6, 2009

It’s hard to call myself a Democrat.  If we live in a world of Republican and Democrat, I’m definitely a Democrat.  But does the world have to be so binary?  Where are the shades of gray and splitting?  It’s because the 51% takes all.  I’m somewhat disappointed in what has been and is being accomplished by the Democrats.  It’s true, the Republicans are essentially doing nothing but saying no, refusing to compromise and they are suggesting they would filibuster anything that doesn’t fit exactly what they want and envision.

The Democrats have a pretty big majority, almost the magic number of 60 to stop any chance of filibustering.  But sometimes the Democrats allow the Republicans’ threat of filibuster actually serve as a filibuster.  They have compromised and then those people they negotiated with voted NO to the legislation they had just compromised and negotiated. This is not an isolated incidence. This is their m.o.. By allowing this to happen over and over, this is not a way to get respect.  The Republicans seemed to have barely given the Democrats to have any say about any legislation except for naming post offices.  Now that they have gotten their keisters handed to them in two consecutive elections, they think they are not being “right” enough.

And yet the Democrats keep having to back down and compromise.  I’m not against compromise.  I’m against people compromising and then voting against the legislation with regularity.  It’s frustrating.  The country is in crisis and instead of working with Obama and the Democrats to get the country back in the right direction.  The Republicans are actively working to undermine Obama at every turn.  And yet the Democrats are still afraid of them.

It’s hard to root for that team.  True, they can accomplish the most good of the two but really, it’s practically a toss-up at this point.


Current News

April 26, 2009

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090426/ap_on_re_as/as_pakistan

This is an article about the Pakistani military attacking insurgents outside Swat Valley, their recent, government-backed peace plan where the government would institute Islamic law in exchange for peace.  With the reports this week that the insurgents were making their presence know in the neighboring districts of Buner and others, many were wondering what the government was going to do about it.  Now we see that they are trying to maintain the peace agreed to with the insurgents and to not accept their insolence to dare step on the agreement just months after it went into effect.

I think this is a good thing.  Many of the insurgents I think want to establish a place for them to live and have their crazy, Sharia law then fine.  Since the (War on Terror) thing began after September 11, 2001, this Swat Valley Accord was one of the first instances of a kind of settlement with the “terrorists”.  We cannot allow them to flout one of their first peace treaties just 100 km from a nuclear arsenal.  These people are going to have be shown that now that they’ve actually sat at a table and come to an agreement like civlized people, they cannot just go on with their silly little plans of destroying the world as we know it because of God.


Capitalism and Che

March 17, 2009

Che Guevara I’m sure would find this world a place rife with desire for revolution, though maybe he’d have to learn Arabic to be as influential as he was to Latin America.

this guy is the current head of the AIG Financials Dept.

this guy is the current head of the AIG Financials Dept.

One of the men whose culpability in the current global financial mess is more than circumstantial is at a cocktail party wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt.  Probably the most whored copyright infringement marketing bullshit of all time, showing a man who was a revolutionary who was against the very thing that that AIG is doing, it’s like the new version of having the dude’s head in a jar on your desk.  You are quite possibly a huge capitalist swine wearing a shirt of the revolutionary.  Two different directions for civilization, that financial jackass or Che, but wasn’t there ever something in between?  I live in Europe, I’m pretty sure is.  America’s polarization in one image…


Obama akbar

February 27, 2009

Before beginning this short blog post, I want to make a caveat by saying that I have already been disappointed numerous times by Obama as president (DOJ’s brief on telecom immunity, his banking rescue plan, the stimulus package having too many tax cuts, his faith-based initiatives, etc, and it’s only been a month) but with that said…

Today after my class with the lawyers (we talked about the 5-year old of one of them having a birthday party and about the small apartment of the other), I went to a department store, bought a new, light brown t-shirt for 4.50euros and then over to the print shop.  There I chose a font called Pescadero and a color called Petrol which is something like a hungover turquoise.  I had them print the following on the shirt:

Obama akbar

This is a play on words for a couple of topics, namely Allah akbar, the famous Arabic phrase meaning “God is great/powerful”, usually yelled in battle or perhaps to another friend.  This plays on the idea of Obama as a god or antichrist, of which he is neither.  However, God does disappoint but more importantly, he makes you have hope and faith.  I truly believe that Obama is instilling hope and faith but it’s like he has moved into an old rundown house that used to be grand but the previous owners trashed the place, even breaking keys off in the door locks on their way out, ripping the drapes letting too much light get in and pissing on the carpet.  But this has given him the motivation to leave the door unlocked, allowing us, the citizen to be able to come in and see what is going on there, leaving the curtains as they are, allowing the transparency that is needed in this world.  You can go to omb.gov and see what the budget of 2009 entails.  He is cleaning the carpets.  He is doing all of this with a weary smile on his face as he attempts to shield us from the worst atrocities left in the house (the old foreigner grandmother tied up in the attic and the broken open safe with all the family money gone) so that we can still feel like this house will once again be presentable and we can invited friends and family over.

I am at a point in my life that I think we need to turn a little inward as a nation and inspire those in America who want it to be better to do something to improve their communities.  I think a lot of us are willing to do something but we don’t know what to do or where to do it or when to start.  I think if he were to give us The Word, many of us would do what we could to help, like a Peace Corps within the country.  Many people don’t want to make lots of money, they want to lead satisifying lives.  And so, as we await the word, I say to as we pass on the Internet Boulevard: Obama akbar.  It certainly is better than my other political shirt from the last administration: Go Cheney Yourself!


If I had to live on $500,000/year

February 7, 2009

On a cold and rainy Saturday morning, nice breakfast of bacon and bread with cream cheese, played poker with the boys last night and more or less broke even, actually won 5 euros, had planned/thought that the 50euros I bet was gonna be lost amidst fun but it’s not the case.  Considering I’m going on 10-day holiday next weekend, that 50euros could come in pretty handy.  Then again, I’m donating 100 euros to a charity in Ukraine this week so perhaps the money could go into that.  Or I just bought plane tickets to go home for Xmas so that could take a 10% chunk out of it.  Man, if I only made $500,000 a year to make these problems seem a bit trivial!

So, Barack Obama is saying that if your company gets bailout money, its top CEOs and executives cannot make more than $500,000/year.  One businessman was quoted as saying that imposing this on their top talent is “draconian”.  Now I think I know what that word means but it doesn’t seem to make any sense in the businessman’s quote.  Being forced to live on $500,000 as a salary is a wonderfully Vonnegut-like fantasy that could bring probably mostly good things in life.  And here is the this businessman using a word that means, according to Miriam-Webster, “harsh or cruel”.   Do you see what I mean?  Harsh and cruel?  Living on $500,000/year is harsh or cruel?  Fuck you.

Excuse me, let me rephrase that.  How would my life be different if I had to live on $500,000/year?  First, I would think to myself that that is $40,000/MONTH, more than I have ever earned in a year in my whole life.  I don’t want my rent to be more than 25% of my income ($10,000) so I’ll halve that and spend $5000 dollars and rent the nicest 6-room flat in the whole city.   I would immediately be the biggest pimp in this city of 200,000 inhabitants.

So now I’ve spent 12% of my monthly allotment of largesse, what else will I spend money on?  I would go to the best furniture store in town and one that I have fantasized about lightly and buy a few key pieces and spend $10,000 in there, picking up a sofa, dinner table and bed with a few accoutrements.  That would be a large expense but should only be for the month.  Normally that $10,000 will go into a safe and steady savings account every month.

Now I’ve spent nearly 40% of my monthly wages.  I will now add $2,000/month for food/entertainment/clothes/misc.  We travel a lot so I’ve got to allot $2,000/month for travel.  This can be a weekend trip flying from Basel to Rome or Bordeaux or Stockholm and every other month a trip of 10+ days to somewhere like Thailand, Namibia, New Zealand, Kenya, Mexico, Iceland, etc.

So, 5000 + 10000 + 4000 = $19,000

All right, I’m almost halfway there.  I guess now I will take 10% of my salary ($4,000) to go into a good and safe retirement plan.  $2,000 a month will go to making the world a better place and here’s what I mean.  I am donating 100euros to that Ukrainian charity this week and instead of 100 euros it could be 1000 dollars.  That would be roughly 10 times as much help.  Another $1000 can go to paying for people’s drinks, meals, surprising them in a store and saying, “I’ll pay for that.”

I’m going to buy a nice car, a BMW, that’ll cost $1000/month for car/insurance/gas.  Where am I at now?  $26,000? Damn, I’ve got quite a ways to go there.  I need to figure out how I’m going to spend $14,000 this month.  Fourteen thousand dollars.  That’s a lot of scratch.  I guess we can add another $2,000 for a person who cleans and cooks for us everyday, 500/month so her kid can go to a private school. 🙂  All right, and 500 for the lottery every month because I need to strike it big to get out of this numbing existence.

So now that $29,000.  $1,000/month on spoiling my woman, whether it be jewellery or fancy dinners and theater trips to France, flying to London for a one night to see a musical, and whatever else she might desire.

Sweet, I’ve made it to $30,000.  What else can I spend money on? Well, I’d be happy to spend $1000 a month on books and dvds and cds and stuff I like and let’s put $4,000/month into a college fund for my not-yet-as-born children.

$35,000.  $5,000 to go.  Any suggestions?  I guess the other $5000/month stays in the checking account so there is liquidity and half of it goes to the savings account when it hits $50,000.

So now I’ve spent my $40,000/month salary but we have to remember that 25% of that was spent on furniture to outfit the new pad.  What will be done with that $10,000 every month?

How would you live on a paltry $500,000/year?


Treason

February 4, 2009

definition: a violation of allegiance to one’s country, esp. by attempting to overthrow the government.

If President Obama instructs General Petraeus to bring him a 16-month withdrawl timeline and the General says on radio, tv and/or newspapers that this is not going to feasible or even Ray Odierno, the commander in charge of forces in Iraq says that the SOFA (American-Iraqi joint operating agreement that American soldiers must be out of the Iraqi cities this summer) is not going to be followed, is this not treason?  By not following protocol and rank, two of the highest ranking soldiers in the United States are actively attempting to undermine their commander-in-chief’s plan…I have respect for both of these men as soldiers, as having worked their way up and excelled in everything they’ve done, and served their country.  But the Bush years allowed “the Military” to dictate some policies.  Barack Obama is of course extremely interested in what the two soldiers have to say when they brief him in the Oval Office.  But when President Obama decides a course of action, those orders must be followed unless they are in direct violation of the Constitution.  No one has asserted such a thing.

**editor’s note: on retrospect this post looks a bit hysterical but I think I am still scarred and gun shy from the Bush Years where any form of opposition in opinion or direction was questioned as unpatriotic. What, you disagree? Don’t you love America?  🙂