Archive for November, 2009
I guess you’ve heard the news about Dubai – the oil rich, over-spending tiny Arab Emirate that tried to rebuild “The world” is now drowning in debt!
The country can’t pay some 60 billion-dollars it owes to mostly European banks. The news sent European stock markets plunging, which in turn dragged American markets down with them.
(I hope the protectionist people see a lesson in there. When America sneezes the world catches a cold. And when the world is down with that cold…the virus finds its way back to the US!)
I feel sorry for President Obama…
The poor guy DID NOT create any of the messes he now has to deal with. How do you fix Dubai or the next Dubai? How do you insulate the US from these economic meltdowns…and can we?
I guess these are questions for FED Chairman Ben Bernanke…and Treasury Secretary, Tim Geitner.
Bernanke is one of the few people I have confidence in on the economy. I don’t particularly care for Geitner. I’ve always thought that HE should NOT have been appointed…after his tax debacle came to light.
Geitner did not pay 34-thousand-dollars in self-employment taxes when he worked at the International Monetary Fund (IMF). It is supposedly a common “mistake” that Geitner conveniently realized around the time he was being nominated for Treasury Secretary.
How can a banker, and a prominent one at that, or anyone in the financial industry, especially the top dogs, NOT know they have to pay taxes…and on what?
That is a question that should flummox me; NOT the former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
If you don’t understand a simple thing like that, HOW CAN YOU UNDERSTAND THE CONSIDERABLY MORE COMPLICATED US ECONOMY?
Still, the IRS did NOT go after Geitner. But it comes after me…and YOU – ordinary Joe (NOT John McCain’s Joe the non-plumber – the IRS went after him! That poor Joe!).
Do you know auditors sent me a letter over my withholding for a couple hundred dollars? Even though I stapled a COPY of the bank forms to my return?
Yep. But Tim Geitner slipped through the cracks. I guess our tax guys are more efficient here in Massachusetts.
Anyway, back to Dubai!
In August 2008, CBS’S 60 Minutes ran a story on Dubai entitled: A visit to Dubai Inc. Steve Kroft reports on a Success Story In The Middle East.
News headline this past week: Debt crisis in millionaires’ playground could herald new phase in global financial meltdown
I feel sorry for people who are near retirement and have invested in the Stock Market…
Heck, I feel sorry for myself. But I don’t feel sorry for Dubai!
60 Minutes opened its Dubai piece by saying: Dubai is a tiny sheikdom nestled along the Persian Gulf on the eastern edge of the Arabian Peninsula and part of a tiny, oil-rich country called the United Arab Emirates. Over the course of just a few decades, it has transformed itself from a spit of sand about the size of Rhode Island into the Singapore of the Middle East.
Kroft described the transformation as: the vision of one man, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum.
According to 60 Minutes: One project, called by some the “largest construction site on earth,” was just desert several years ago. The site employs half a million laborers, working 12-hour shifts on a reported $300 billion worth of projects, building Sheikh Mohammed’s dream of a modern, efficient and tolerant Arab city with fine restaurants, a vibrant nightlife, that is both the playground and business capital of a new Middle East.
Sheikh Mohammed came up with the idea of turning Dubai into an international center for finance and media. He set up a series of free trade zones, promising no taxes, minimal regulation, and special incentive to corporations willing to locate to the emirate.
Since it opened three years ago, the Dubai International Finance Center has attracted banks, investment firms, and capital from around the world
According to the Sheik: Five years from now you’re gonna see towers on your right, towers on your left. You’re gonna see a kilometer-and-a-half garden where you can exercise. And if you’re bored of that, you can go underneath it for a kilo-and-a-half shopping mall…and it is not the largest shopping center in the world. Because that’s next door…
The Sheik was referring to The Burj Dubai development, where the largest shopping center in the world is under construction at the base what will become the world’s tallest building.
The building includes the first Giorgio Armani hotel with floor after floor of million dollar apartments. It was already nearly a mile high, and when it is finished it will be twice as tall as the Empire State Building.
60 Minuets reported that: With no environmental regulations to stop him, Sultan began dredging a hundred million cubic yards of sand from the Persian Gulf, along with seven million tons of rock to form a man-made Island in the shape of a palm. It more the doubled the coastline of Dubai, and created waterfront condos and homes for 150,000 people, not including 35 hotels.
The palm island project sold out in less than a week, and houses that initially went for $1 million are being resold by original investors and real estate speculators for five times that.
Three more off-shore developments are underway, including a chain of 300 man-made islands, some of which will be private. They are shaped and situated to resemble a map of the world, which is what the project is called.
That was in 2008.
And coming from a real island, when I saw those low-lying sandbars they were referring to as Palm “islands” I thought of a tsunami…
This past week (ending 11/28/2009), Dubai World set off its own financial tsunami when it announced it needed more time to pay back some of its 60 billion-dollar debt.
- This past week (Nov. 15 to Nov. 21, 2009) Sarah Palin was all over the news – the way she likes it!
Here was Sarah on the cover of Newsweek – and there was Sarah on Oprah and ABC’s 20/20 and other places that I don’t watch.
And there was the phony controversy that both Sarah and the media promote. She was complaining all the way to the bank – about Newsweek putting a cutesy photo of her in her snug shorts on their cover.
Now Sarah – did Newsweek make YOU pose for that flirty photo? NO!
Why did YOU choose that particular pose for that photo? I don’t think we’ll see the Queen in shorts in that pose any time soon. So obviously, YOU posed, for your own reasons and liked the photo enough to let another publication run it.
So if it wasn’t sexist when YOU posed, then it’s not sexist now.
It’s like taking nude photos for playboy and saying Newsweek shouldn’t run them when the poser decides to run for president of the church guild!
However, Newsweek too is playing games. I mean, come on – of all the photos of Miss Palin in your archive; of her in suits that she paid for, suits the campaign paid for – you could have gotten a different (note I didn’t say better, just different) one to put on the cover.
So both Newsweek and Sarah Palin are playing games with the rest of us – the dummies who they think won’t notice.
Palin is generating publicity for her book and she will do whatever…
Newsweek is trying to sell magazines, and it will do whatever…
Play your games, but don’t try to fudge the score.
- Americans are angry over the economy…
Apparently “the economy” resides in Washington, in the White House basement, and President Obama is just sitting on it.
We forget that we, yes WE affect the economy every day with our purchasing and other choices
When we buy cheap whatever from China, WE are affecting the economy.
When you buy those expensive jeans you cannot afford and charge them to your credit card, then pay off the minimum each month, YOU are affecting the economy.
When people buy houses and cars they can and cannot afford, THEY are affecting the economy.
When we eat out, WE are affecting the economy.
When we don’t go to see a movie, WE are affecting the economy.
Buy a car or take the bus; go overseas on vacation or stay home; invest and pay taxes or stash our money overseas – all this affects the economy.
Was I the ONLY person who heard all the warning heads who were saying that the US economy is under pressure and something has to give?
That speculative housing was straining the market?
That our trade deficit was/is too large?
Why did some take note, while so many others did not?
Why did they disregard their own expenses and go on spending?
Why did people NOT save for the proverbial rainy day?
Now we are railing at the government for not providing more unemployment benefits…did the government ask you to overload your credit card?
Did the government prevent you from balancing your resources and allocating them efficiently?
So why do the prudent people who wear their shoes to the soles and buy things on sale now have to pay for your stupidity – instead of you?
AND MOST IMPORTANLY, WHEN OR RATHER IF PEOPLE GET OUT OF THEIR SELF-IMPOSED BLACK HOLE, WILL THEY HAVE LEARNT A LESSON – OR CONTINUE SPENDING AS IF THERE’S NO TOMORROW? Because we just learnt: TODAY IS TOMORROW’S…TOMORROW!
Now I understand that the government bailed out the banks. Well, you’re NOT a bank, even if you spent like you were a bank! So there!
You will never be treated as equitably as those big Wall Street guys. Not under a democrat, especially NOT under a republican, double especially NOT under a capitalist system! And not under communism either!
So basically, what all this long rambling tirade means is: We should be angry at OURselves for TURNING OUR BACKS on the old principles of saving and being thrifty and to hell with the Joneses.
But of course, that’s painful and inconvenient for us to blame ourselves, so let’s take our anger out on the government…and the banks and whomever. (Not that they’re blameless, either!) But if we blame somebody ELSE, then we can feel better about our poor/lack of planning.
You think that’s bad?
Wait until you’re ready to retire and you didn’t plan, set NOTHING aside because it’s not your responsibility or your fault or your decision – NO ROTH IRA, NO 401K, NO PENSION…and find out there’s NO social security or a leaner payout!
America has become a country where IT IS ALWAYS SOMEONE ELSE’S FAULT.
I’m just waiting for the case where a pregnant woman sues because nobody warned her that sex leads to pregnancy. I’m sure it’s already happened. I just haven’t heard. Let me know…
- Did you see Republican lawmakers and some Democrats too, talking about spending?
The same ones who were there before AND during eight years of Bush, who helped spend, spend, spend…who gave Mr. Bush carte blanche to finance two losing wars?
Now those hypocrites want us to believe that the “economy” just turned sour overnight. That things started going downhill last January. That you sent them to Washington to enjoy a cozy incestuous relationships with their pals in the insurance industry and the auto industry and the housing industry…
And you agree – because YOU keep sending them back. Don’t you?
People from Maine are coming here to Massachusetts to get flu shots.
They just showed on the news, a few minutes ago, a woman from Maine who drove all the way to a FREE FLU CLINIC in Dorchester.
Apparently, the fact that Massachusetts allows gays to marry has not “tainted” the HINI vaccine here. Hopefully, the good folks up in Maine who are coming to The Bay State for flu shots are NOT the ones who were so busy agitating to outlaw gay marriage…they had no time to agitate for free flu shots IN their area.
Naturally, securing flu shots for their area is obviously NOT as important as stopping gays from getting married. I understand that. What I don’t get is why come to Massachusetts? Why not go to Texas or some other gay-hating place where the vaccines are gay-free?
I’ve been living here BEFORE and since gays won the right to marry – and so far I’ve NOT noticed a difference in my life that I can attribute to gays.
Well, maybe I spoke too soon. I noticed that as soon as we gave gays the go-ahead to marry, my teenage son decided that he should NOT be asked to wash dishes and that if he does, he should ONLY be made to wash those that HE used!
Our unemployment rate has climbed. I am sure that is somehow the fault of gays. I just can’t figure out the connection, but I’m sure there are people who can. Because I am convinced that we would have weathered the economic crash…if only WE HAD NOT ALLOWED GAYS TO MARRY.
I still see people getting divorced and others shacking up together with NO intention of marrying. I BLAME GAYS FOR THAT! If we had NOT allowed gays to marry, Massachusetts would be the land of June Cleaver.
Indeed, we were well on our way with the Romney’s. Stay-home mom. Cute brood of kids. Bevy of groomed grandkids. But no, we had to go and let gays get married. The Romney’s left!
Now what do we have? Divorces, alimony battles, neglected kids, an overburdened foster care system. That’s what you get when you let gays marry!
Failing schools. Another repercussion from gays getting married. Need I explain how that happens? Gay teachers suddenly started coming out and openly dating kids. Kids start exploring gay lifestyles and say: to heck with school and studies. Our MCAS (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System) scores headed to damnation.
From the moment we decided to let gays marry, people started having abortions in alleyways. Yep…even animals had more abortions! Heterosexual couples reasoned: if gays can’t have kids – why should we? So they started aborting their pregnancies.
In fact, so many things went wrong in Massachusetts since we let gays start marrying that dwelling on them are just … too painful.
So I tell the good folks up in Maine: thank God, YOU saw the light. You decided to uphold the sanctity of marriage. And so, there will be NO more kids born out of wedlock in Maine. No more abortions. No more divorces. No fornication. No ads from people in Maine looking for unusual sexual liaisons…
Every person will marry. Couples will be enfolded in a loving relationship for life, produce healthy, well-adjusted kids…who are likely to become missionaries who will then come down to Massachusetts and convert us.
96 percent of Maine’s population is white…and the few non-whites will leave.
Kids up there will no longer live in poverty…and life will be just loverly!
According to the 1999 US Census figures for Maine:
10-percent of Maine’s population earned less than 10-thousand dollars. That will change dramatically. In the new world of no-gay-marriage Maine, by the 2010 census, that figure will dramatically drop to just 2-percent.
1 percent of Mainers make 200-thousand-dollars or more. More people will now rapidly join that group…now that gays can no longer marry and break the family structures that prevented them from achieving and earning.
7.8 percent of families live below the poverty level. That will drop.
28 percent of families with female householder, no husband present, live below the poverty level. No husband present? Maine has households with NO husband present? The only explanation is that these women must be gay!
11 percent of individuals live below the poverty level. They’re gay too. Otherwise they would all be millionaires.
Here are some figures for MAINE from the National Center for Children in Poverty:
- 15% (40,952) of children live in poor families
- 33% (13,532) of children in poor families do not have an employed parent
- 57% (6,512) of children whose parents do not have a high school degree live in poor families.
- 65% (26,788) of children in poor families live with a single parent.
- 18% (14,762) of children, under age 6, live in poor families.
- 13% (26,190) of children, age 6 or older, live in poor families
- 5% (1,937) of poor children live in families with no parent present.
- 2% (4,074) of children (who are not poor) live in families with no parent present.
Now that MAINERS HAVE VOTED TO STOP GAYS FROM MARRYING, that state will now rapidly begin to prosper and change for the better.
Just sit back and watch their GDP shoot past ours. And then all you LIBERAL MASSACHUSETTS denizens will rue the day – yes, sackcloth and ashes – you let gays marry here!
I appreciate all the comments about the informative nature of my posts.
I would have liked to keep blogging daily, but it takes up too much of my time…right now.
I will blog on Sundays- if I miss one, it doesn’t mean I won’t post next time.
I don’t like people to give opinion and pass it of as fact. Fact is fact (even if that too can be subjective) but while I can have an opinion on anything…I can’t just change facts to suit me.
That does not mean that my opinion is one that everybody should subscribe to or that because others don’t – they are wrong.
People feel that if you’re a democrat and President Obama decides to invade Mexico, for no good reason, then all democrats should say: yeah!? Not so.
Good democrats should say Mr. President, with all due respect, I think you are making a mistake.
All republicans are not bad – and every issue they raise is not to be disregarded, either.
Of course this current batch of republican leaders are a sad joke, and the more acrimonious they are, the more they jockey to posture on TV!
But that, hopefully, will adjust itself with time. America needs an opposition party that comes up with constructive ideas for the better good.
We don’t need destabilization to achieve our ends. At the end of the day, when a president fails, America fails.
And when he wins, we all win.
Presidents come and go, but the economy remains with us, and so do issues like: job creation, health care, education, crime, poverty, excessive wealth etc.
When President Obama leaves the White House he will be set for life…whatever his legacy.
Will you…? If he or any president fails at job creation, fails at health care, fails at establishing green technologies/industries, fails at immigration reform – will you be better off?
If he (any president) creates more jobs, lowers crime, improves America’s image overseas – do you benefit?
I rest my case.
Thanks for the comments/emails. Keep tuning in.
Here’s a quick quiz for you:
There were 5, 071 workplace fatalities in the U.S. last year. 517 of them were workplace homicides.
I am going to give you a list of Work Place Shooters and I’d like you to tell me what their Religion was:
March 20, 2000: Fired employee Robert Harris, 28, fatally shoots five people at a Dallas, Texas area car wash.
December 30, 1999: Authorities say housekeeper Silvio Izquierdo-Leyva, 36, fatally shoots five co-workers at Tampa’s Radisson Bay Harbor hotel in Florida.
November 2, 1999: Copier repairman Byran Uyesugi, 40, fatally shoots seven people at the Xerox Corporation in Honolulu, Hawaii.
August 5, 1999: Truck driver Alan E. Miller, 35, fatally shoots two co-workers at Pelham, Alabama. office, then kills former co-worker.
July 29, 1999: Former day trader Mark Barton, 44, kills nine people at two Atlanta brokerage offices and later commits suicide.
March 6, 1998: Former Connecticut Lottery accountant Matthew Beck, 35, fatally shoots four lottery executives, then himself.
December. 18, 1997: Fired employee Arturo R. Torres, 43, kills four former co-workers at maintenance yard in Orange, California and is shot to death by police.
September 15, 1997: Fired assembly line worker Arthur H. Wise, 43, allegedly opens fire at Aiken, South Carolina parts plant, killing four.
April 24, 1996: Firefighter Kenneth Tornes kills four superiors at a Jackson, Mississippi firehouse.
April 3, 1995: Former employee James Simpson, 28, fatally shoots five people at refinery inspection station in Corpus Christi, Texas, then kills himself.
July 19, 1995: City electrician Willie Woods fatally shoots four supervisors at the C. Erwin Piper Technical Center in Los Angeles, California.
February 2001: William D. Baker, 66, killed four people and himself at a Navistar International engine plant in Chicago area suburb, Melrose Park.
July 2003: New York City councilman Othniel Askew, 81, opened fire at City hall in killing one person – a fellow councilman and political rival.
August 2003: Salvador Tapia, 36, opened fire at a Chicago, Illinois auto supply warehouse where he used to work, killing six of its nine employees, including two of the company’s principals.
September 2009: Researcher Annie Le’s body is found strangled, stuffed in the wall of a research center at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Her fellow Lab technician, Raymond Clark, 24, is arrested for her murder.
November, 2009: Jason Rodriguez, 40, a former employee of the engineering firm killed one person dead and injured five.
We don’t know, do we! WE SHALL ASSUME THEY WERE ALL ATHEISTS!
November, 2009: Major Nidal Malik Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, opens fire at Fort Hood, Texas killing 13 and injuring about 30.
His RELIGION: Muslim.
We know that! It’s been repeated over and over and over. Why…?
Because he is a Muslim and that fits into our stereotype of Muslims as violent and terrorists? What else could make him snap except for his religion?
I’m not saying his religion is NOT a factor. I’m just saying until we know it’s a factor…we should leave it out.
We continuously try to distance ourselves from people in our stereotype who do unsocial things.
Nobody in the suburbs wants to be associated with the group of kids who spray Nazi symbols on a Synagogue…
I, as a black person, definitely do not want to be associated with gang bangers…
Yet we label ALL Muslims terrorists because a minority of Muslims subscribe to a terrorist ideology. Were Muslims behind the bombings in the UK/Northern Ireland conflict? Nope – just Protestants and Catholics fighting.
Is Pope Sylvester II a terrorist? At the end of the tenth century he “entreated the church universal to succor the church of Jerusalem, and to redeem a sepulcher which the prophet Isaiah had said should be a glorious one, and which the sons of the destroyer Satan were making inglorious.
The Turks were apparently pillaging the Holy Land…and this could not be allowed. So we got the Crusades, and of course these soldiers of religion went over to the Middle East and planted flowers…
The Muslims did not enslave thousands of blacks in the New World and try to Christianize the natives with whips and bondage! The people who were throwing shackled slaves overboard in the Atlantic to lighten their ships were NOT Muslims either!
Muslims did not rule South Africa under apartheid…
I believe all these atrocities were perpetrated by Christians…with a Bible in one hand!
Yet when these Bible loving souls open fire and kill people, we don’t say they are Baptists or Catholics, DO WE?
Fanatics occur in every religion…and Christianity has had and still has its fair share!
One British newspaper reports Hasan once gave a lecture to other doctors in which he said non-believers should be beheaded and have boiling oil poured down their throats. According to the paper Hasan also told colleagues at America’s top military hospital that non-Muslims were infidels condemned to hell who should be set on fire.
Thanks Britain. The Inca, the Maya, Native people in Australia, China and wherever you ventured during your “Conquests” think you were as bad, if not worse. I don’t think anyone will argue that you did not “terrorize” them…us. My Caribbean island was enslaved by you, too.
By the way, according to government figures, workplace killings are trending downwards. But apparently the current weak economy has boosted stress levels in many workplaces. Add to this the normal or abnormal levels of combat stress among the military, and we get incidents like the Fort Hood shooting.
It might be easier to blame Islam than taking a retrospective look at a military super-macho culture where admitting to stress is considered weak; a military that does not have enough avenues to deal with and recognize combat stress; an army that is overstretched/over-deployed…where commanders do not listen to soldiers who say they don’t want to return to combat situations, but will deploy you regardless.
(People try to kill themselves to get out of deployments or the military – but the military deploys them anyway. How many red, green, yellow, purple flags do you need?)
Easier to simply blame Islam (which may or may not be blameless)!
I suppose those soldiers who come home and kill their spouses/lovers were all Muslims, too?
I know nothing about ISLAM except what I too see/hear in the media. It is not a religion I want to follow. But it’s not the only one I don’t want to follow!