Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My Auto Industry Bail Out Plan

Among the many financial problems we are having is the imminent failure of the U.S. auto industry. Some argue that we should not do anything and let the auto makers fail. After all, the argument goes, they were responsible for getting themselves into this mess. Why should the taxpayers just hand over billions to them?

I agree with those sentiments. However, I am persuaded that to let the U.S. Auto Industry fail would have repercussions so far ranging and hurtful to the overall economy that we cannot let it occur. But, rather than just hand the money over, I have an idea.

Instead of just handing over billions of taxpaying dollars to the auto industry and hoping for the best why not attach some strings. How about all tax payers get "shares" in the amount for the loan. For instance, if the bailout equals $2,500 per taxpayer, each of us would get a certificate for our portion of the loan. This is not stock in the company, rather it is a voucher for our "share" of the loan.

We would all have to understand that these certificates may never have any value. But, if the auto industry does rebound, the original $2,500 value of the shares would appear and possibly grow. There would have to be a time limit before anyone could even hope to redeem them - 10, 20 years? But after that those shares could be used to get our money back at that time. The industry would have to stow away a portion of their profits (with the proportion growing over time) to be earmarked specifically for paying back the taxpayer. After the 10 or 20 year time period - we could cash in these vouchers for at least the face value.

Also as a bonus, since we all have a financial stake in this, Americans would be more likely to buy American over the next couple of decades, knowing that have a literal share in the success of the companies. If things go very well, Americans will put free market pressure on our auto industry to create better cars, we will all be motivated to purchase them, American jobs will stay here and we all profit from it. Sound like a great plan to me!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

1972 Dolphins & Their Fans Celebrate!

The Miami Dolphins remain the only NFL team to ever go all the way - undefeated, untied and World Champs!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I'm Gonna Get You Sucker!

Real or Hoax?

The first in a possible series asking the question "Real or Hoax". I was led to believe that it was real the first time I saw it and I believed it. Bruce Lee was amazing and could conceivably play ping pong with nun chucks. Others however were skeptical.
What do you think: Real or Hoax?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Picture of the Day

First Snow? No.

New York City has officially had it's first flurries over the past couple days. I saw a few on Tuesday and a couple today. But, I am not counting it as the official "First Snow" I have developed a personal definition of that. I was thinking what it should be. Is it when it sticks to the ground? No, that's too difficult. Is it when it is first sighted? Not to me, that could be dust or anything flying around. So my own personal definition is "snow that falls, hits me and I see or feel it melt". So far that hasn't happened but believe me, I will keep you posted.

Happy Friday

No music today and no profound thoughts from Mark the Blogger. It's Friday on the calendar and I even have off tomorrow. Sure, the stock market is free falling, New York City is reeling from the economy and things are sure to get worse before they get better. But I woke up today, am feeling healthy, got food in the cupboard and a couple Guinness' in the 'fridge. These days, that is more than enough to make a Happy Friday!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Song of the Day: I Walk The Line

I've got to go back to Johnny Cash again with this classic. Here's a clip from a 1959 performance. If you never listened to the lyrics carefully, you'll be surprised to learn it's actually a very nice love song.

Johnny Cash
I Walk The Line

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Song of the day: Electric Feel

This band is called MGMT. I don't know much about them but this song certainly caught my ear. The video is from a live show at Cardiff University. It's a very nice rendition of this unique sounding song. If you want to see the "studio" video look here - it's also very different and interesting.

Electric Feel

Monday, November 17, 2008

Song of the Day: Gamma Ray

I've been a huge Beck fan ever since the first time I heard the song "loser" on the radio back in the day. He hasn't lost his quirkiness or his desire to put new sounding music out there year after year. This latest song is a prime example of that creativity.

Gamma Ray

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

Song of the Day: "Paper Planes"

I have been hearing this song at work for the past couple months and I think it's brilliant. They sample a great song from The Clash which immediately caught my ear. Plus, it's very catchy, very sarcastic and has a touch of anarchy mixed in. Oh yeah, Rebel Music. It's got a fun - almost childlike rhythm to it - so much so I can imagine kids jumping rope to it on the street. Finally it deeply reflects two of my favorite cities showing New York City in the video and using London slang and attitude throughout the lyrics. This song by the muti-ethnic group M.I.A. is certainly a good way to kick start a Happy Friday.

Paper Planes

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Song of the Day: Personal Jesus

Johnny Cash - Personal Jesus

This song is like a good lasagna - it gets better every time you reheat it. First recorded be Depeche Mode in the mid 1980’s, “Personal Jesus” has been covered a number of times and somehow manages to improve with each incarnation. By far, the very best version is this one by Johnny Cash, recorded shortly before his death. It’s haunting, gripping and a perfect fit for one of the powerful voices of our lifetime.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Song of the Day: "Human"

Now that I am listening to music more I will share some songs I like. Here's one that is currently getting a lot of air play on K-Rock in New York City and well beyond.

The Killers - Human

The Future of Social Conservatism?

"I'm starting to think that now is the time to showcase the GOP’s libertarian streak more than ever, even if that does mean sacrificing the fight for some social causes."- Big Daddy Jeff

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day

Thank you to all the Veterans out there. It's a huge sacrifice to be in the military and those who choose to serve their country deserve all our respect. Without them, we would not enjoy the variety of choices we have - both in the free market and our government. Few people like war, but no one should doubt the need for a military and the great freedom we in the United States enjoy because of our dedicated and talented troops.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

My Big Fat Post-Election blog

I have been meaning to write this post election blog for a while now, but, as usual it's hard to distill days worth of thoughts into a few paragraphs. But more than that, I am looking forward to taking a break from politics, so this is like a last hurrah for the 2008 election. It's so hard to say goodbye. So far, the break has been nice, I have even been watching less news and even started listening to MUSIC stations on the radio and switching from CNN and C-SPAN on the TV!! That's big for me.

Voting in Harlem was quite an experience. It took over two hours but, of course it was well worth it. At one point the slow moving line actually stopped. As people came out of the school where we were cued up to go into, people announced that the machine for one of the precincts was broken and that we had to fill out manual ballots. Well, you would have thought they were closing down the voting completely. People were outraged and quickly conspiracy theories swirled around about how "they" didn't want "our" votes to count. Their was also speculation that there was no way "they" would let Obama win. These flair ups came and went with each new rumor but overall everyone was very excited to be voting and there was a real feel of community in line. Finally, it was my turn and I pulled the lever (literally) for Barack Obama.

I must admit that I called in sick for the rest of the day at work. I was feeling a bit crummy, but mostly I wanted to be in front of the TV when the results came in. I felt pretty good that Obama would win, but I've also been burned so many times before that I had my doubts. I wanted to see it first hand for myself. As the returns came in I was very nervous. There was about an hour there where I thought we might lose. It seemed that McCain was doing better in Virgina than expected and I was fearful that it might be a bad signs of things to come. But almost instantly, things began to turn around. Obama won Virginia and then state after state after state. By 9m, it looked like there was no way Obama could lose.

Finally at 11pm they suddenly announced Obama the winner. The electoral votes from the western states had put him over the top! Then, quite unexpectedly and in an instant, the streets were filled. There were thousands of people on the sidewalks where 10 minutes earlier there was not. Cars were honking their horns and everyone was chanting "O-Bam-A". It was surreal. I looked at the TV and saw that this was happening all over the City and across the world. Celebration! I headed out the door to join the fun.

I high fived people on the walk to the subway and joined the fun in Times Square. It was BETTER than New Years'. Everyone was so joyful (rather than just drunk like on New Years). People of all colors, genders and nationalities revelled together. It was so amazing!!! (Curiously, the only people not happy was the NYPD. Now this is strange, I heard many cops grumble - and not under their voice - that "it won't last" "have your fun now" "we'll see what happens in four years". It was very strange. The NYPD, from my experience anyway, has always been professional and courteous - especially in Times Square. But they were NOT happy that Obama won at all! Take that for what it's worth. I saw them in a way that I have not seen before. Very, very odd.) Yet, on the way home, at around 3:30am, thousands of people were still in the street, still high fiving and hugging. In the days since, there is an unmistakable lighter feel in the air. People here are very, very, happy and relieved.

One thing that has given me unexpected happiness is the behavior of most people on the Right. I expected them to dispute the results, come up with some cock-and-bull excuses and to find a way to de-legitimize the Obama victory. I have somewhat tuned out the news so I could have missed it but so far - they have been mostly mature about it all. I have to give props to those who voted for McCain but still accepted the results. I am pleasantly surprised and it gives me even more hope for the future.

The only point of trouble I want to mention has to do with the "run on guns" we are seeing across the country. I will say this only once, I hope, because this is the fight I have been waging for 15 years and I am sick of it - others can carry on the battle - so here it is. These people say they are buying guns now because they fear that Obama will stop the sale of them. I believe that is why they are buying guns. (Now - this fear is not based on fact but rather that old familiar hate mongering being fanned by the usual sources.) The fear is being stoked by the NRA, talk radio and the right wing media. Today, they are making people fearful that their guns are going to be taken away.

Here is my sad but critical prediction. The NRA & right wing media plan to bring these folks to a slow boil over the next couple years and lead them to an attempted armed revolt against the government and the American people. If Obama has a successful Presidency and looks likely for reelection in 2012 - we will likely see domestic terrorism from the so-called Right on a level not experienced since the Civil War. These gun owners will be lead by the nose to believe that they have a RIGHT & RESPONSIBILITY to over throw the Obama government. Mark my words - we will see violence from militias and lone wolves if Obama has any measure of success. The right wing media will try to lead them there with a daily dose of hate mongering. I hate to rain on my own parade, and again, I hope I can let others fight this battle in the years to come, but take it from someone who has been paying close attention to the "Right" for many years - I assure you that this is what they are planning to do.

Now for my personal reaction to the election. Of course I am thrilled to death. I feel like everything I have been working for 15 years had been vindicated. I feel like America has come out of a long mental slumber. I feel like sanity has returned to the American people. I feel like the politics of lies, division and hatred was soundly defeated. All great things! (I have also noticed that leading up to the election, race was a bit of a factor but since the Obama victory, it is more of a topic of discussion. To me it was about his intelligence and competence, but clearly having an African American elected President is a HUGE deal too.)

However, while I am very happy - it is more a feeling of relief, rather than celebratory jubilation. It is also bittersweet. I have suddenly come to realize how long it took for us to purge ourselves from a political philosophy so damaging to the nation and her people. So much of my life has been spent fighting people and politics that never should have gained a stronghold on the American people in the first place. So much could have been done, both on a personal and national level over the past 8 years (and more) rather than fight the dark force of the "conservative movement". I am so happy that it is over, but so sorry at all the time I have wasted in my own life and time that this nation has wasted as they slept through the dismantling of everything that once made us the pride of the world. This victory is sweet - no doubt - but it also serves to remind me of all that has been lost while we waited for this to happen.

Cartoon Commentary

Quote of The Day

The festive scenes of liberation that Dick Cheney had once imagined for Iraq were finally taking place — in cities all over America - Frank Rich

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Video Slideshow

The New York Times’s Bill Cunningham reports on the energy on election night and what women were wearing the next day.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Change Has Come To America



What a great night. I went out after the Obama speech and the streets were pack everywhere with excited people. There was cheering and crying and hugging from Times Square to Harlem. At least here in New York, people are very, very happy. I will post some commentary over the next few days. Right now I just want to savor this sweet victory.

The Map

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


As soon as the results were announced at 11PM, people began spilling out to the streets. What an amazing sight!

Election Day

Heading to my polling place where I understand the lines are 4 to 6 hours long. It will be worth the wait (although this should be addressed and corrected by the next election). At long last, election day has come. Will America wake up from it's slumber? I sure hope so.

RESULTS: What To Look For

If Obama wins North Carolina, expect him to romp to a huge victory as that would suggest that a number of closely contested red states go Democratic.

An Obama victory in Florida or Virginia would also be fatal to McCain. Victory in both augurs a landslide. If he loses both, it would suggest that the electoral map is reverting to form and we might be in for a long night.

John McCain can’t win unless he takes Pennsylvania, which should be a key early indicator. Because if Obama loses Pennsylvania, it’s hard to see him winning in places like North Carolina or Virginia anyway.

Monday, November 3, 2008

One More Day To Go!

Will the election ever get here? Just one more long, long day to wait.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sunday Funny

Funny, but serious as well. This is a real prank by some radio guys who managed to get through to Sarah Palin. A McCain heartbeat away.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Odds & Ends

I found this funny picture which I titled "Political Evolution".

Sarah Palin sure has a scary view of the first amendment.

'Joe the Plumber" foresaw by The Onion 12 years ago!

I've recently found this to be a tasty cut of meat - northeast style.

Why do they spread hateful rumors? Because voters believe them.

Great new stuff on the blog Reaching Across The Aisle. Check it out.

I went out to Yankee Stadium last week for a final tour: a few pics.