Thursday, February 24, 2011

Carelli Trial

For those of you who followed the Carelli trial saga in 2009, I am attaching a link to the latest news. After several retrial delays a plea agreement resolution was reached.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Thoughts on a Birthday

Today is my 78th birthday. A few thoughts:

78 sounds old. If I use history as a guide, most people my age are dead.

I’m not dead and am still able to enjoy life fully.

Each day is a gift for which I am thankful.

I don’t jump out of bed enthusiastically in the morning. I think about the new day ahead with pleasure and then give my body a moment to uncreak before my feet hit the floor.

Of the three featured obituaries in the Times today only one was younger than I am. That’s a positive stat. Yesterday wasn’t such good news – four out of four died before they turned 78. I now notice such things.

I don’t look forward to birthdays. On the one hand I know that the difference between being 77 and 78 is only one day. However, it sounds like a whole year has gone by, which isn’t a sound I want to hear.

I sit down to read today’s paper. I notice it is Wednesday. Gee, I think, it seems like I just read Wednesday’s paper. A whole week has gone by. Quickly.

I like to think I’m up to date on what’s happening in the world. But what I know about Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga and other ‘in’ phenomena is minimal. And I’m happy inside my blissful cocoon of ignorance.

This is Day 4 of MillerFest, the weeklong celebration that Sandra puts together at birthday time. For her I do MarshWeek in November. I have no idea in advance what is going to happen. Today I am to be prepared for a 1 p.m. event, very casual dress.

Happy Birthday to Me!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

No Guts!

Everybody’s favorite topic these days is the deficit.

Our economy’s out of whack

We’re spending too much

We’re spending on the wrong things

We’ve got to cut back

If we don’t do something now it will be too late

Everybody’s talking and nobody’s doing. This is not rocket science – it’s not even economic science. What is needed is less spending and more revenue.

But the gutless wonders of all political persuasions who run our government can’t bring themselves to deal with the problem. Republicans want to cut but not tax. Democrats also want to cut (but not the same things) and are willing to tax rich people. The Tea Party crazies want to cut, cut, cut.

The Simpson-Bowles commission came closest to getting it right. Unpleasant steps must be taken, they said, and Obama said he would back them. So they made unpleasant recommendations, but Obama hasn’t backed them.

Specifically, the gutless ones have been unwilling to reduce the parts of the budget where most of the money is spent – entitlements – Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security – and defense spending. Obama and his people are nibbling around the edges, congratulating themselves because they’re willing to cut programs that they like, and arguing for taking time to get it right. That’s bullshit. There will never be a right time to get it right. It’ll always be politically distasteful to reduce benefits for old people and workers.

Republicans are also eager to nibble around the edges, for sure taking bigger bites out of small programs than are the Democrats, but again, not having the guts to take on the big issues.

I hear there is a movement among Republicans to take on entitlements. That would be good news. And if the Democrats are laying a trap, hoping the Republicans will step forward to be the bad guys, shame on the Dems. I also hear there is a bi-partisan group working to move ahead with the Simpson-Bowles proposals. That too would be good news.

I haven’t heard that anyone except the Secretary of Defense is willing to seriously reduce the defense budget. We only spend ten times more on defense than any other country on the planet. What for? There’s no good answer. Just a knee jerk reaction that we Americans are an endangered species and must protect ourselves. Again – bullshit.

And so endeth today’s rant. Have a nice day.

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Day To Celebrate

This is a day to give cynicism a rest. The Egyptian people made it happen.

Will it work? Will the military allow freedom to flourish? Will dignity and choice and full self-expression be the soil in which a new Egypt can take root?

This nonviolent revolution put the lie to those who said it wasn’t possible. A common purpose – to get rid of Mubarak – linked young and old, rich and poor, male and female, Muslim and Christian. Their commitment and staying power carried the day.

So at least for today let’s celebrate these people and the freedom they have won. Let’s celebrate without any ‘what if this or that doesn’t happen,’ without ‘what if the spirit and cohesion don’t last,’ without ‘what if the autocracy isn’t willing to give up power,’ without any of the endless ‘what if’s.’

Great job, Egypt. You are inspiring.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Today's Assessments

Sad: A fire in Rio destroyed many costumes and floats that had been created over many months for use at Carnaval.

Bad: Mubarak is winning. He is playing for time, giving little and will go, but on his own terms.

Good: Green Bay won and the game was worth watching.

Good: Southern Sudan voted overwhelmingly (99%) for freedom and the northern leaders will not stand in their way.

Bad: Sumo is on the ropes (more accurately on the clay) as match rigging allegations have led to the sport being closed down, at least for the immediate future.

Good: Obama is reaching out to the business community.

Good: More and more people see Sarah Palin as an ignorant, ego-driven opportunist.

Good: Spring training starts next week.

Good/Bad: After years of bragging about their strong fiscal position, Texas admits they’ve got a huge budget deficit.

Good: The magnolias, dahlias, rhododendrons, and camellias are blooming in Golden Gate Park.

Good: The days are getting longer.

As Usual: Violence, brutality, tragedy, wrongdoing and misfortune dominate headlines around the world.

Good: Good outnumbers Bad on this list.

Have a good day.