Archive for September, 2009

My smart friend Fred

Saturday, September 26th, 2009

explain the economy

I never really understood economics and whenever I try to I go to my smart friend Fred.  He has a way of putting things in terms I understand.   So I was asking him about some claims on the internet.  They claim that if you really want to be wealthy you subscribe to their read and they will show you how President Obama and Washington are undermining our ability to have wealth.

I forwarded it to my smart friend Fred and this was his response.

Money has no intrinsic value. It is a medium of exchange and a temporary store of value. Emphasize “temporary”.
If you hold money you lose value as it inflates, which it almost always does because government can’t resist using inflation to pay for its excesses of spending over its ability to tax. Remember the Bush tax cuts when waging an expensive war.

Too bad the government ran a deficit when the economy was booming. Now we need a bigger deficit to stimulate a bad economy. This is inflationary and we will see our money buying less in the future.

Don’t hold money. Hold items with intrinsic value like real estate, stocks, and even gold, though this does not earn a return.

Don’t pay attention to this crap. It’s just scare tactics to get you to buy a useless book.


So the federal government does with our money like what we did with our equity of our homes?  Imaginary income that we used to buy new carpet, or a pool.  They use imaginary income, be it inflation or equity, and buy stuff — like wars or healthcare.

I suppose “imaginary income” is one way of putting it, and yes, there is a similarity.  However inflation is a little different than the bubble of inflating home prices.  With a bubble the price of one thing (a durable item) goes up faster than the price of everything else; usually because people believe it will keep going up.  Eventually the bubble bursts, the price falls, and the people holding the item lose wealth.

Inflation is where the money price of everything rises because money is worth less. People holding money lose, which is virtually all of us. It isn’t so bad unless inflation gets so high people run from money.  In some countries, Germany
in early 20th century,  people were paid wages twice a day and given time off in mid day so they could go spend it before it lost too much value. Are you kidding me?

I shouldn’t date myself this way, but when I was a kid the price for a loaf of bread, a pack of cigarettes and a gallon of gas were all 25 cents. A big wad of bubble gum was a penny.  Prices are now about ten times for these things except for cigarettes which the government has taxed much higher than the other items. The one-tenth value of the dollar has been so gradual that we didn’t notice it much, except in the late 60’s and 70’s when the government took steps to control inflation.

As a kid I recall people (my father often), saying ‘I remember when a dollar was worth a dollar.’ So now I say, I remember when a dollar was worth 50 cents.  Today that makes it worth about 5 cents.

I don’t mind if you use the exchange on your blog.  I’ll try to keep it clean.

happy Fred

So OK I understand that economics is about the value of money.  My GOP friends don’t want reforms from Washington because they are afraid it will tap in to their own personal wealth.   Personal wealth is the money you hold and the stuff (items with  intrinsic value) you own.  What should be done differently?  Maybe we need to change our value system.

Another explanation that I could understand regarding economics today in this country was from Bill Maher.
How about this for a New Rule:  Not everything in America has to make a profit. It used to be that there were some services and institutions so vital to our nation that they were exempt from market pressures.

Some things we just didn’t do for money. The United States always defined capitalism, but it didn’t used to define us.

I also received a response from Stacey Derbinshire at

and am including her link as it was helpful to me

leaving the chicken factory town

Saturday, September 19th, 2009

poultry workersCan you imagine living in rural America almost your entire life and then someone knocks on your door and tells you you have to go live in Guatemala.  My friend (I’ll call her Maria) and co-worker had that very thing happen to her.  She grew up in a small southern town after her mother came here from Guatemala to work in a chicken factory.  The chicken factory paid for her mother to come here with her two kids, Maria and her little brother.

Ok, so Maria grows up, goes to school, graduates and gets a job in a hospital while trying to put herself through nursing school.  She falls in love with the wrong man and has two children. (it happens)  Going to school is even more difficult, so she just concentrates on working to provide for her little ones and buys a house and a car and pays taxes on all of it.

Now, I think I need to add, that I had no idea that Maria wasn’t American, she looks American, talks American and puts ketchup on her french fries and ranch dressing on her salad.

The hospital loves her because she is able to wear many hats.  Nurses aide, unit secretary and pharmaceutical tech as well as Spanish language  interpreter.  When the hospital finds out that they are going to lose their beloved Maria, they write letters, and raise money and call Senators and Congressman.  None of this seems to help.  Lawyers have taken her money and the Senators and Congressmen say they can’t interfere with the deportation “process”.  The hospital has lost a wonderful employee and a wonderful, kind person.  I lost my Spanish teacher.

Maria told me she didn’t even know where Guatemala was and we looked it up on the internet.  I exclaimed, Guatemala is beautiful!  Why would you want to stay in a chicken factory town when you could live on the beach?  She said, “because this is my home, I’ve never been anywhere else.”  So many American kids would give anything to get out of their chicken factory towns.  But — would they really give anything? pier Antiqua

So I guess my idea is.  Why don’t we go to Guatemala and open hospitals and resorts  so Maria will want to live there  and she won’t even miss the chicken factory town.   Americans will be able to work in the chicken factory instead of Maria’s mother.  Maria will be working at a posh American resort in Guatemala on the beach and we can have our chicken factory jobs back.  Then everyone is happy right?

What is inside

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

Doesn’t this picture just grab you?

I titled it “What is inside”.

what is inside

While walking around the grocery store today, I noticed a well dressed woman.  We live in a small town. I have seen her before and I have admired her “look”.  She makes me want to know her and find out what is inside. What about all the other people who were in the busy small town store.  They probably all have something interesting they do or wanted to do or are dreaming of doing.  Maybe even more interesting than the fancy lady.  Sometimes I wish I could see inside, but, today I just wanted some pickled herring and laundry soap.

Kathy is a Department head in this same small town’s rural hospital, she is trim and pert and smart.  She is quiet, efficient and organized and her words and sentences are perfectly executed.  All who work with her and for her admire her proficiency.   She used to be a roller derby queen!  She still skates once a week to keep her skills up and get some exercise. If you met her you would share my intrigue. It wasn’t until a company picnic that the speed skating and roller derby stories were revealed.  People who worked in her dept didn’t know either.

If your shadow revealed what you really are what would it look like?  If someone asked you, “What is inside?  How would you answer?

I have a friend

Monday, September 14th, 2009

I have a friend (I’ll call him Jack) who  came back from Vietnam full of hate.  He hated  “gooks” and he was pretty mad at the rest of us for not understanding what he had just been through.  He explained that his job fixing the lights along the freeway seemed mundane and all the people in the cars just don’t understand the chaos and death and hate going on in the world.

We’re putting on our make-up, changing our radio stations, worrying about our mortgage payments while soldiers are dying for them.  “No one seems to care”.   He went home every night to his wife and kids and they didn’t seem to care or understand either.  He loved her and she him, but,  his wife asked him to leave because he was too angry all the time.  He found a motel room that he rented by the week.

There was also a Vietnamese refugee who was working as a cook and trying to Americanize himself living in that same motel. He was friendly and sat outside his room after work, seemingly enjoying his good fortune while Jack bemoaned his sad fate. I don’t know the details of just how it happened, but,  Jack and the Vietnamese fellow became friends and had beers together and talked and laughed.

Jack brought him to my house and introduced him to my kids.  He was hard to understand, but he was amazingly grateful and that was clear.  Jack  made fun of how he messed up the English language.  Then would teach him how to speak words correctly.  They didn’t become lifelong friends or anything like that, but, both of them had enhanced lives because they allowed each other in.

God is a much better teacher than hate.

By the way, Jack and his wife got back together and are growing old together.  He is still grumpy and unaccepting, but, not so full of hate.

knats says:

hating haters still makes you a hater.

offended by Aquafilia.


like minds

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009
Patients in a hospital (even on life support) can be comforted by familiar television programs.  HGTV,  tennis,  golf, or whatever is watched at home can improve blood pressure and heart rate.  Familiarity can alleviate stress. The same concept of wanting loved ones around us at times of worry and decision making.

A physician suggested, he likes to go to the Methodist church every Sunday to be surrounded by “like minds.  It is comforting.”  The same can be said of those who attend temples,  synagogues,  Sewing circles, and AA meetings.  We form ourselves into groups of like minds because it strengthens us.  Socializing is a good thing, a nurturing thing.  Among like minds we find solace, reassurance, sympathy and good will.
Then someone has to give our social group a label.  Labels separate and create mobs and gangs, conservatives and liberals, left and right, stress and high blood pressure.  These labels can lead to discomfort and this discomfort can become hate and intolerance which in turn leads to wars that cause premature death.


So while we are enjoying the company of like minds and learning from opposing view points, we need to be careful so that our innate desire to seek out like minds doesn’t lead us into blind opposition. Blind opposition is dangerous and gets people killed and countries bombed and religions hated.  Television is entertaining and comforting and we tend to trust it.   TV’s droning familiarity can be as comforting as being in a room full of like minds, on the other hand,  it is a great source for blind opposition.
“…rather than search rationally for information that either confirms or disconfirms a particular belief, people actually seek out information that confirms what they already believe.  In fact,  for the most part people completely ignore contrary information.  The study demonstrates voters’ ability to develop elaborate rationalizations based on faulty information.”  Steven Hoffman, Ph.D.

Loserosity and a good education

Monday, September 7th, 2009
momma saidPresident Obama’s speech to the kids of America drew unwarranted ridicule and distress.   People didn’t like him because he has no facial hair?  Too tall?   Well anyway, These were some of my favorite parts…

…at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life – what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home – that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That’s no excuse for not trying.
Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future.

Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures. JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, “I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

…you can’t let your failures define you – you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time.

An example of some of the comments I read and the responses that made my laugh…

But I’m sorry he is still the “other” guy. I would oppose anything he says.  (what makes him an “other”?  his blackness or his intelligence?)

Yet they lost. (right-wingers) And, inexplicably, continue to wallow in their loserosity

“Loserosity” what a great word.

I don’t want a crack head talking my kids.  (I think he meant “to” my kids)

Then don’t.

Geo.Bush isn’t giving the talk,  Ha

Well then put the pipe down and get into rehab ASAP.  Double Ha

Hello world

Friday, September 4th, 2009

The news makes me want to jab my eyes out.  “Why do you let things bother you?” is the response I often get when I share my disconcert.

Sometimes, you just want to write your thoughts down, get them on paper, or blog, or comment. So here I am, stumbling around and falling over some information that needs to be shared. The authors aren’t always available to me while stumbling; I’ll try to give credit to the sites and authors of information retrieved and commented on. Quotes are in black and my comments are blue.

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