Monday, February 16, 2009

50 year old Feminist Babe

Barbie turns 50 this March. Since the nineties, I wanted to have a doctored Teen Talk Barbie. The original would speak 270 phrases such as "Will we ever have enough clothes?", "I love shopping!", and "Wanna have a pizza party?" The most infamous line, which inspired the wrath of the American Association of University Women, was "Math class is tough!" A group known as the "Barbie Liberation Organization" modified Barbie dolls by giving them the voice box forcibly removed from G.I. Joe dolls, so Teen Barbie would growl "Eat lead, Cobra!" and "Vengeance is mine.”

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Glancing at several conservative op ed pieces and blogs criticizing Obama's presidential "failures", I'm reminded of the scene in the Ten Commandments when Edward G. Robinson asks, "Where's your messiah now?"

Homework: Part One

I was in the library yesterday when the woman in front of me complained to the children's librarian that her second grade daughter had to write a 2-3 page report for homework. "My daughter can't even spell and they want her to write 3 pages!"

When I returned home, I found out my 3rd grade daughters also had to write reports. They were getting off easy, and only had to do 1-2 pages, researching the life of a famous African American picked at random. We used the internet, which lacks the sterility of a 20th Century children's biographical library book. When Annie was reading about Dr. J., she asked "What's an adulterous affair?" While researching Jesse Owens, Becca and I noticed that his first daughter was born when he was 18, but he was married when he was 21.
Doing third grade homework can be a bit humbling for me. I've forgotten little things like the answer to 8 times 8 or the difference between haplodiplontic and diplohaplontic life cycles. I now have some sympathy for Dan Quayle forgetting how to spell potato.
Researching the Jesse Owens story shattered one myth for me. Most retellings portray Hitler as snubbing Owens for obvious reasons , but Owens had this to say:

"When I passed the Chancellor he arose, waved his hand at me, and I waved back at him. I think the writers showed bad taste in criticizing the man of the hour in Germany...
...Hitler didn't snub me—it was FDR who snubbed me. The president didn't even send me a telegram." (Quotes lifted from Wikipedia)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Have I got a deal for you, Mr. President

Having a Black family in the White House is satisfying, but it still isn't enough. John McCain has at least 7 houses, while the Bush and Kennedy families have compounds. Even Jimmy Carter had a peanut farm to retire to. It's time President Obama gets a compound. I suggest Ford Heights, an impoverished village off I 94 and the Bishop Ford Freeway. Ford Heights is renowned for its poverty, decaying infrastructure and stagnating industrial areas. According to Wikipedia, the median income of the village was $17,500 with 49% of the population below the poverty line.

And that's not all. Crime and corruption in Ford Heights are even worse than in Washington D. C. or Springfield. Back in 1997, the Police Chief and half the Ford Heights police department were convicted of extorting bribes from drug dealers and abetting them in distributing crack and heroin. Just this afternoon a Ford Heights village trustee was arrested after allegedly being involved in a drug deal.

President Obama could give a badly needed boost to the local economy and free up traffic around his Hyde Park neighborhood by buying a couple acres just 26 miles south of the Loop.

Here's the latest real estate Market Snapshot:

Housing Market Snapshot
Ford Heights, IL updated Monday, February 9, 2009

Number of houses for sale: 7
Median Price: $17,900
Price change from January -48.9%

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Basic Economics

In October I was a broken record, commenting on whatever site I could that was accusing Obama of being a socialist. I argued that President Bush and both parties were dabbling in lemon socialism and that the September bailout would probably be a transfer of wealth upward. If obama is a socialist, so were the Bush Republicans. Here are two responses made on a pro-Bush blog:
Comment #1 Oh geez Masked Liberal Evangelist please don't tell me you've bought into the MSM hype regarding that insane B.S. Hussein the Inane is spreading...If so YOU should consider getting a grip on Basic Economics?
Comment #2 (Excerpts)
mad, masked... whatever, lefty liberal....The whole thing from the beginning was socialism.Why don't you try starting with the beginnin of the story?ACORN and Obama? Start there for your socialist intrigue and plot line from the get go, with Jimmy Carter, Bill Clintion and the Democrats.This started a long time ago…
...Also, Stop being Stuck on Stupid. You cannot redistribute wealth from the poor that never pay taxes. You can only redistribute wealth from those that do pay taxes. The only reason we are in this mess is to many people allowed the Socialist programs of "afforbable housing" to proceed forward with no oversight. This was done by the very Foxes guarding the henhouse today. Dodd, Franks, and Obama.They're all guilty of ripping off the American people. They should all be fired and normally would in any other work in life.

When the Bush Bailout in the Fall was being debated, we were told the money was going to free up credit and help struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure. But, as reported in the New York Times and on Fox News , a Congressional oversight panel found no evidence the bailout program had been used to prevent foreclosures. So where has the money gone?

I saw an AP story this morning: Banks sought foreign workers
Banks collecting billions of dollars in federal bailout money sought government permission to bring thousands of foreign workers to the U.S. for high-paying jobs, according to an Associated Press review of visa applications.

Why would banks want to bring in foreign workers? Because they can pay them less. It's Basic Economics.

Another instructional article appeared in the NY Times the Sunday just before the Inauguration:
Bailout Is a Windfall to Banks, if Not to Borrowers
At the Palm Beach Ritz-Carlton last November, John C. Hope III, the chairman of Whitney National Bank in New Orleans, stood before a ballroom full of Wall Street analysts and explained how his bank intended to use its $300 million in federal bailout money.
“Make more loans?” Mr. Hope said. “We’re not going to change our business model or our credit policies to accommodate the needs of the public sector as they see it to have us make more loans.”

The McIntire article also revealed the position of Boston Private Wealth Management, a bank given $154 million:
"With that capital in hand ... we'll be in a position to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves once this recession is sorted out."

More reports of lavish spending on new corporate jets and million dollar office redecoration appeared in the NY Times last Friday concerning $18.4 Billion Wall Street Bonuses.

So what Basic Economics can be learned from this mess? I'll quote Alan Greenspan.
“I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interest of organisations, specifically banks and others, was such that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders,” he said.
Greenspan called this "a flaw in the model that I perceived is the critical functioning structure that defines how the world works."
In other words, the past understanding of Basic Economics was wrong. Pass the hopium and try and get this next stimulis package right this time.