Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Drive Off Into The Sunset

I am a fan of the automobile industry. The US automobile industry provided the fabled good job at good wages and many a family were raised on that paycheck. That was then, and this is now. The truth is the industry for decades has manufactured cars that they wanted to sell not what the consumer wanted to buy. When Volkswagen, Toyota and Datsun (now Nissan) came onto the scene the US manufactures laughed. They were after all the big 3. Now Toyota is the worlds leading car manufacturer. You can say what you like but you cannot deny the company is well run and makes fine automobiles. More importantly in business, they make a profit.

If the big three file for bankruptcy what will happen is any body's guess. I believe they will be forced to deal with the bloated salary's, trim cost, in the case of GM drop a line or two of cars but, they will still produce automobiles. A bail out now I believe, just postpones the inevitable. They have been poorly managed for years. Chrysler was saved once and here they are now asking to be saved again. Look at the airline industry. There have been major carriers that have gone bankrupt and some gone forever. However you can still catch a flight and go anywhere you need to go. In a lot of cases you get there for less money. The US automobile industry will not go away. It is time that they take responsibility for the mismanagement of the very companies they now want us to save.

We cannot bail them out because in the end, no money is enough to save them from themselves.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Happy Fourth of July

The Halloween decorations have just come down, the leaves are still on the ground and the turkey for Thanksgiving dinner has not even been bought, yet it is now officially Christmas season. Can someone explain to me how this has happened? I am not knocking Christmas, but each year it comes so much earlier than the next I am almost expecting the fourth of July fireworks to spell out Merry Christmas against the darkened sky.

Are retailers so desperate for sales they think hearing Christmas carols by Nov 1st will get you in that shopping mood. Dear retailers, your ruining the holiday. The fact is by mid December most if not all people will be tired of Christmas and will view it like a bad day at the office and hoping it ends quickly. Whatever happened to the "Christmas Season" which normally began the day after thanksgiving with the annual "lets see how many fools we can get into our store by 3am" shopping extravaganza.

It is sad to think that Christmas, perhaps the last holiday with some religious meaning for most everyone who celebrates it, has now been transformed into a giant white sale. The last holiday where everyone on that day acts just a bit different. It is perhaps old fashion to say it but we are a bit different on that day. We are a bit kinder, quicker to forgive and slower to find offense. It is one day a year but it was a special day. Now it is a reason to sell us what we can not afford to buy, and that pressure makes us forget all the meaningful things that are free.

I understand it is not going to stop. Soon the "back to school" sales will involve Christmas. Laugh now, but that day will be here soon enough. Meanwhile this third week of November my neighbor has put enough lights on his lawn to resemble a municipal airport in most towns. I can only hope he goes broke paying for this. So thank you retailers for allowing us to get this eight week jump on Christmas.

So, on this day the three wise men brought gifts. which included a fifty percent off coupon......

Friday, November 14, 2008

My Own Bailout

It has become apparent that the government has so much money they are now willing to dole it out to almost anyone that asks. So after some soul searching I have determined that I to must now apply to that government for a federal bailout. I have in the past made business decisions that many would consider on par with the management of the big three automobile manufactures, which of course means stupid.

In retrospect perhaps I can see now that the Super Deluxe Fire Eating Red Ant Farm was not going to be the comeback toy of the year in 2007. However I went with my gut and now am stuck with over six thousand of them in my basement. Big three, I can feel your pain. My ant farm inventory in not unlike your automobile inventory. They are both old in style and function and lets face it, who really wants one. I now see the ant's are the Chevy Vega of toys, except more dependable.

I did however look at the changing landscape, just as the big three did, and felt sure that the etch and sketch was going to make a big comeback in the first quarter of 2008. I reasoned that after playing on the computers and PS3 all day the young children of America would enjoy the fun and excitement of creating panoramic pictures using of course, only straight lines. How sure was I of this? I have seventeen thousand of them stashed all over my house. That's how sure I was. I feel just like the designers of the Ford 500. You remember that new and exciting automobile. It was going to change Ford. They sold less than a thousand of them after producing ten's of thousands of them. It was on the market for about a year. It did however, do as promise and helped change Ford. It gave them that giant push they needed to surpass GM on the road to bankruptcy.

I understand that many would say that this is a mess we created and we should not be bailed out. However, that kind of thinking is not going to help me get rid of the sixteen thousand Love Boat figurines currently stashed in my shed or the fifteen thousand stretchable action figures now filling my attic. Lets not consider it a bailout, but rather simply throwing money away. Like we used to when the economy was good.

This is why I appeal to the US Government to assist me and supply me with the much needed cash to reorganize my business and to retool for the future. I have exciting offerings and promise to do better. After all, do you know how much money it is going cost to market my brand new almost perfected (sorry Mr Fluffy) automatic microwave pet dryer? You can mail the check to.....

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Election Day, Not a Gay Day

For many, Tues Nov 4th was a historic day. A barrier that held firm for over 230 years was not simply pushed aside it was kicked open and knocked down. In January Barack Obama will enter the white house as the first African American president. A day many thought would never come. A nation overcame real as well as perceived prejudice and did what only a couple of decades ago were thought impossible. We, as a country, have come a long way but, we still have some way to go. In 12 states anti gay marriage bans were either upheld or instituted. The voters determined that marriage must be defined as a union between a man and a woman. In many of those 12 states activist are already looking to overturn or prevent the implementation of those initiatives.

Prior to this entry I thought of creating another blog to post this. I thought it may save me from a few anticipated headaches. Those headaches I fear will be courtesy of my own relatives. Not all of them, but some. I wish to be clear here. I am not “pro” gay marriage just as I am not “pro” heterosexual marriage. My position is simply that it is not any of my business. I can understand a church being opposed or that same church refusing to marry a gay couple because it views homosexuality as a sin. I would not be in favor of any church being forced to change their beliefs or to marry any couple it chooses not to.

However, a State is not a church. A State has an obligation to make sure that one is not discriminated against. If a State cannot do that, how will the State protect any of us? Well, the critics say what is to prevent a man from marrying a dog, or a monkey? If you say marriage does not have to be defined as an act between a man and woman, well anything is possible. Now I am aware of some couples, heterosexual mind you, that in retrospect a dog or a monkey may have been the better choice. But I think the term “consenting adults” would prevent that from happening.

I understand that one can point to the bible and say that it is a sin and that is why it must not be allowed. It is the same bible that good honorable men of the south also pointed to in their attempt to justify slavery. I am not equating slavery and gay marriage I am just making an observation. I will however, close with this. In discussing slavery the future president Abraham Lincoln said “I do not understand that because I do not want a negro woman for a slave I must necessarily want her for a wife. My understanding is that I can just let her alone”

So let us try that when it comes to gay marriage. Let us leave them alone..

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Little Rain Will Fall

My sister and I chatted as we made our way up to Meriden NH. While the final destination is the goal sometimes its the trip to the destination that is the most enjoyable. We chatted as we waited for the sky's to open or the sun to finally break through. For a moment it looked like it would do this then it looked like it would do that. Despite the back and forth struggle between the sun and clouds we both hoped for the best.

It was, in its own way, a bit like this past election. She was a McCain voter and I cast my ballot for Obama. She had her reasons as I had mine. In fact I found myself nodding in agreement on occasion and I think I presented enough of a case for her to wonder about her vote. The one thing we have in common is in the end, just like we do for weather, we hope for the best.

Isn't that the way it should be in this country? That in the end, no matter the outcome you hope the new President is successful. If he is successful, isn't that best for all of us? This of course excludes the Jay Severins of the world who thrive on spewing hate. He masks it by speaking to his audience of the "best and brightest". This way if you disagree or have a different opinion you are immediately discounted as not being able to understand the issues because after all, you are not among the "best and brightest". The good news in Severin's case is this; I believe that by President-elect Obama's inauguration he will be sitting in rubber room heavily medicated. In his words that, would be sweet.

However for the rest of us, no matter our vote, we hope for the best. Perhaps Obama's first term will be like today's weather. Some sun, some rain, but in the end, not a bad day at all.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Our True Self

My 2 favorite quips from the election chatter has to be these two:

"It is now time for America to prove she is what she says she is"
"Perhaps, we are not as racist as we thought we were"

Isn't the second quote a great thought. That in the end, at the end of the day, the country looked for a leader. Color was not the issue, leadership was. This election will prove much to the rest of the world but I hope it proves more to us. Perhaps, just perhaps, this country is what she claims to be.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Good Night for America

It was an evening worth staying up for. The election of Barack Obama last night was an event of historical proportion. In classrooms all over this country one hundred years from now they will be watching the film clips and speeches and even that will not do the moment justice. The clips will not convey those moments of doubt, that at some point slipped into our thoughts even as we watched the vote totals climb. Around the television sat my daughter and her two close friends. To all of you who think the young voter has no clue or is disengaged from the process I invite you to have a talk with these three. They make an old political junkie proud. My wife sat there and occasionally mumbled at the results and took some gentle ribbing in good stride. She is a republican but also a fine cook. After all, no one's perfect.

Before we are told President-elect Obama won because of the black vote remember this; He received more votes from white Americans than any other Democratic candidate for President since Jimmy Carter, thirty two years ago. Barack Obama was a candidate who had good ideas, could inspire Americans to think of a better America, and a candidate who ran one excellent campaign and just happened to be black. In this election if you are the latter, the former is not that big a deal.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A vote for the Liberal

Tomorrow I will cast my vote for Barack Obama for President of the United States. In past elections I have more often than not voted on the republican side of the ballot. One of the main reasons I am casting my ballot for him is something he is often criticized about. His ability to get America to hope again. We live in a country that is not perfect in anyway. However today, if a politician points that out he is quickly and forcefully labeled anti American or his patriotism is called into question.

Barack Obama has had the nerve and audacity to suggest we are not perfect, but we could be close. It is, no matter how many ways you dissect the problem, a crime that health care is simply not available to everyone in the US. Over the years my family has suffered health care issues, some have come out ok and others have not. Each step of the way we has health care coverage to provide at least a fighting chance. As a husband and father I believe everyone deserves at least that chance. Hopefully under an Obama administration it will be available to all. I also believe that if Americans were told in order to provide it it will cost all of us ten dollars a pay check we would agree to it. Like Obama, I believe that Americans are willing to do more for the common good if only asked.

Now Obama can win and not be as successful as I hope or McCain may squeak in and becomes on of the greatest Presidents we have had. One never knows. But have after eight years of an administration that often seems adrift and detached I think it is time for a change. This is my plan for election day. I will cast a ballot for the Liberal and hope I do not need to spend the next four years saying I am sorry. Odd though, I haven't heard any republican say sorry for the last eight.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Special Place In Hell

MOGADISHU, Somalia - A 13-year-old girl who said she had been raped was stoned to death in Somalia after being accused of adultery by Islamic militants, a human rights group said.
Dozens of men stoned Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow to death Oct. 27 in a stadium packed with 1,000 spectators in the southern port city of Kismayo, Amnesty International and Somali media reported, citing witnesses. The Islamic militia in charge of Kismayo had accused her of adultery after she reported that three men had raped her, the rights group said.

Initial local media reports said Duhulow was 23, but her father told Amnesty International she was 13. Some of the Somali journalists who first reported the killing later told Amnesty International that they had reported she was 23 based upon her physical appearance.

"This child suffered a horrendous death at the behest of the armed opposition groups who currently control Kismayo," David Copeman, Amnesty International's Somalia campaigner, said in a statement Friday.


Would anyone mind, if we took these men and had the US Army use them for target practice? It is beyond my scope of reason to understand how anyone regardless of faith can see this for anything other than an act so violent, so disgusting that the world would be a safer place without these animals. I would hope that not one American dollar goes to this country for any reason. These people and their actions are beyond description and the perpetrators deserve a slow, slow death which will in fact seem like a gift compared to what awaits them once their time polluting our planet by their very existence on it, is through.