March 2010

By Wink

When was the last time our government made a profit on anything? The post office used to run in the black, but doesn’t right now. No doubt the current PO fiscal crisis is due to the fact that nobody mails anything. (It is of note that the PO is self-funded and DOESN’T use tax dollars.)

But we are not here to discuss the post office. No, no.

Do you remember that wasteful government bailout?

Have you been railing about it? (Tea-Baggers are obligated to answer ‘yes.’)

Your spendthrift government bought Citigroup for $3.25 per share. At the time, Citigroup was headed for the dumper.

According to the Wall Street Journal, on March 29 that same Citigroup stock was selling for $4.18 per share.

What? The stock has actually increased?

If we sell at that rate the U.S. will earn a $7 billion profit. Let me repeat this. A $7 billion profit.

So here is my request of our government: Sell, sell, sell.

Yes, I am well aware that this stock was bought at a bargain basement price, and I know this stock could continue to climb.

If it does, America could make even more billions.

I don’t care. Let all the future profits go into some investor’s pockets.

You would be well-advised to NOT come to this blog for financial tips. I can’t ‘invest’ myself out of a paper bag, but on this one I am sure…

Sell, sell, SELL.

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By Wink

There are educated people in Texas. Many of them.

I am guessing they mostly live in Dallas. (No offense to the rest of Texas. I am confident you are strong and brave and no one loves America any more than you.)

Erudite Texans, whether from Dallas or not, do not appear to be well-represented on the Texas State Board of Education.

This august board routinely takes a can of whitewash to American history books, wiping out inconvenient or uncomfortable facts.

Look, ladies and gentlemen of the TSBE, we get it, America is the greatest country in the history of this planet (all 6000 years).

In order to maintain this greatness, we cannot be afraid to examine, and let our kids examine, the few areas where the good old U. S. of A. has been less than perfect. We learn from our mistakes, do we not?

I normally would not care that Texas chooses to under-educate their own kids, but their weight with the publishers of textbooks is such that, to save money, these companies mostly choose to use the “Texas-model” texts throughout the country.

Of course, I should really be mad at the publishers, but this world is made up of two key elements, dollars and cents. Publishers are not so much obligated to educate our kids as to make their stockholders happy.

This is the American way.

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By Wink

One thing that everybody seems to agree on is that we need universal health care in America. All Americans should have health coverage. Nobody should lose their house because they got sick.

We all agree, right? Right?

Okay, good. Now we can get on to a problem that really needs to be addressed.
There are too many people out of work.

There are too many people under-employed. (I don’t hate Wal-Mart and McDonalds, but those are not the type of jobs that can feed and clothe a whole family, let alone INSURE them).

Passing the stimulus package was a good start. Many of the programs will be for critically needed projects, like bridge and highway repair. Reliable streets and bridges are not just safer, they aide the business sector by avoiding interruptions and extra transportation costs.

Some stimulus money is designated for forward-thinking projects, like trying to make the U.S. into a leader in green technology.

The “Green” issue is taking hold world-wide. If anything, the U.S. is already a bit behind the curve. It is not too late, however, to take charge in this arena. If we do, other countries will come to us for our products and expertise. Jobs, jobs, jobs.

People are anxious though, and want the stimulus money to all be allotted NOW.

This is not a good idea. Of course the currently-jobless would prefer this, and I completely understand, but you can’t just fling the entire stimulus budget at this problem. Here is why:

  • It would be inflationary, perhaps disastrously so.
  • It is not a long term solution. If we spend it all now, what will there be to spend next year, and the year after that? The government doesn’t have unlimited resources (money).
  • By spreading it out we can reserve some money to add to projects that prove to be effective, and stop funding ideas/projects that aren’t working.

A slow recovery is bound to be much more long-lasting, and deliver jobs that can remain viable well beyond the end of the stimulus funding.

PS: If you read all the way down to here, congratulations.
This can be boring stuff, but not to the unemployed….
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By Wink

The Winter Olympics are now over. Did you enjoy them? Did you watch ANY of it?

I did, and am startled to announce my personal conversion: The winter games are more fun than the summer games.

Can’t believe it? I can hardly believe it either. I have always been one (of the many) who trash talk about how lame the winter games are.

But they are NOT lame. They are way more interesting than the summer games.

Let us start with the obviously fun events: ski jumping, the aerial jumps, short track & long track racing, hockey, half pipe (and ALL snowboarding events), slalom & moguls skiing, luge, skeleton and bobsled.

Those events are entertaining regardless of who is competing, but the wacky X-game additions are especially fun to watch. There is not NEARLY as much crashing in the summer games.

But I had a good time with lots of other events, even the curling. Okay, curling doesn’t elevate your blood pressure, but sort of draws you in anyway, like watching poker on TV.

The Nordic skiing events were all pretty good, but especially fun was the skiing and shooting event called the biathlon. Skiing and shooting…. Gotta love it…

Imagine how much I would like the Winter Olympics if I cared even the slightest bit about figure skating! Which I don’t!

I liked how much fun Canada seemed to have hosting it (note especially the goofy closing ceremonies). Nobody makes more fun of Canada than Canadians.

Everybody tells me how beautiful Vancouver is. Now I believe them.

Maybe I enjoyed this so much because I have been cooped up inside too long this winter and just needed visual evidence of some physical activity other than shoveling.

It makes no difference. The winter games, minute for minute, are better than the summer games. We will see if I change my mind in two years…
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