Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mistakes

To be human is to make mistakes. We all have done so on various occasions, more often than any one would care to admit. The recent mortgage-backed securities debacle is a good reminder of that. Not too long ago, we could pat ourselves on the back and smugly observe, "look at us here in the USA - we are housing more of our people than ever before, sharing the good life with more and more." Until the whole mortgage securities market unravelled.

Most of the time we can learn from mistakes. We can learn our limits, or learn not to do something or other, as the outcome will be bad. When growing up, we had to learn the limits of our capabilities the hard way. Every action had a price (still does), and every stunt we pulled had some kind of cost involved, more or less depending on what we did. In adulthood, the penalties increase for various kinds of foolishness. Mistakes are the one thing we all have in common, no matter how hard we try and avoid them. Heaven knows, I have made more than my share. I just try to bow my head humbly and keep going sometimes, flaws and all.
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Trouble is, we are all on this moving platform called our lives. Moving down the timeline, trying to make decisions in a changing world, changing society, changing country, even as we find ourselves changing. Juggling concerns, wishes, fears, hopes, dreams, desires, for ourselves or our children or families. Sometimes we take our best guess, our best shot at the time, given the circumstances. Some outcomes are unforseeable. Is it no wonder we make mistakes and blunders, small or large? To be human is to fumble in the dark, trying to find our way in a hostile universe. Seems to me we can hardly help making a lot of errors. Although hopefully we will try and correct them, learn from them.
Sometimes an error to one person is a smart move, or a well-performed act to another. Depending on belief systems. So it is difficult to even quantify what is a mistake sometimes. My definition is if it causes human grief, pain or loss, it is highly likely to be a mistake or error of some kind. Although I could be mistaken, after all, I'm only human *grin*.
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Speaking of large mistakes... It also seems to me that the major root of terrorism is the human desire to get even with someone. If you are large and powerful, you have a huge regular army. If you are little and angry, you resort to terrorism to get even, because it is all you have. So for a counry to declare a "war on terror" is seemingly the same as a "War on Human Nature" . Well, that is us against us, and who is going to win that one? The (to me) mistaken notion that we can invade and bully our way to security is ineffective, and has a tendency to turn more against us. Hopefully the next president will realize this and rein in the dogs of war, giving our economy a real break. And, redirect the energies thus preserved into making our nation energy-independent.
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Mistakes - life is hell sometimes, but if we learn from them as much as we are able, we can still end up better off than before. Just an opinion, of course.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Palin-tology
The analysis of Sarah Palin, her effect on McCains' campaign, her dress, speech, and most of all, her appearances on Saturday Night Live.
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Sarah Sonnet


Sarah speaks in her red dress getup,
Mimicking Tina Fey mimicking her;
News coverage continues without letup,
Keeping her name front and center.
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For all of this publicity and attention,
Things are not changing in the polls;
Obama is good at support retention,
Palin noise machine not taking any toll.
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Colin Powell weighed in with his support
For Obama, despite his party affiliation;
Sarah Palin proved she is a good sport,
Cannot guarantee White House destination!
Sarah will be able to go back to hunting moose,
When this failed campaign season turns her loose.
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I would love to have someone like Sarah as a neighbor or member of a neighborhood association. A fine person she may be, but not for political office (IMHO), please.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Here is a quote from an email - factual information on financial history in the US.

..."From 1929 to 1931, hundreds or thousands of banks failed when depositors panicked and withdrew their money because they didn't want to be the last in line - the first guy to take his money out got his money, the later guys got nothing. The Glass-Steagall Act was put into place to stabilize the situation. Banks were forbidden to invest in anything other than loans and obligations of the US Government. In exchange for this limitation, banks were offered the chance to buy insurance from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
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About the same time, the Savings and Loans were chartered and insured by the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation - and they too were restricted in their investments. They could only make loans secured by real estate, and originally the interest rates they could pay on Certificates of Deposit were set by the federal government. How boring is that? -

In 1981 or early 1982 those rules were loosened to the point of elimination.A few years later the FSLIC went bankrupt and it cost the US Government $160,000,000,000.00 to bail them out.
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Never prone to learning from mistakes, Congress in 1999 passed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which did away with Glass-Steagall. Nine years later, we're staring at a default of the $56,000,000,000,000.00 FDIC - thanks to the repeal of Glass-Steagall.

-When will they ever learn? "

Indeed, we are seemingly afflicted with a giant case of the 'stupidity flu' when it comes to passing financial laws in this country. Lately, while washington pols have been admonishing people to "not panic", they have done major panicky moves every day. Throwing hundreds of billions at the problem, bailing out corrupt companies left and right. Acting panicky is not a good way to inspire confidence. Someone should read up on what was done in the early thirties perhaps, and re-do those things. In any case, it looks like we are in for
another rough ride.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Two Cars

Riding my bicycle blithely along,
Decided to stop by a friends' place;
Right on the way home, won' t take long,
Instead of a holler, will greet him face to face.
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Upon stopping by, found him standing outdoors,
Rode up, greeted him, began to chat;
He informed me his vehicle was out of order,
Danged timing chain went, and that was that!
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So, later I drove over to his place,
Fetched him and his friend;
We drove to where the car was placed,
Lined the two cars up, our way to wend
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Pusher and pushee, through stops and turns,
I kept my bumper aimed straight and true;
Hands gripping wheel, stomach did churn,
Finally pushed him into his driveway, up which he flew!
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Mission accomplished, I travelled back home.
On the way, what did I see?
A neighbor stuck at an intersection, alone,
I was thinking, "It sucks to be me!"
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Felt like I should help him out,
He has helped me oftentimes before;
So I got in the car, went back out,
Pulled up behind him: he swung open his door.
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We greeted each other, with customary jibes,
Me and another offered to push him off
The roadway, into a nearby lot, an easy ride;
We did so, swiftly, even as some kids scoffed.
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After chatting a bit more, I took my leave,
Legs felt tired and rubbery from a long day;
A sigh of relief I can now heave,
Two good deeds done, now can rest and play!



.....Almost reminded me of a winter snowstorm, pushing cars around and all.