Nothing Like Going to the Wire

As I've thought about the debit ceiling crisis in recent weeks, I've been frustrated that otherwise bright men and women "of the people" couldn't get done what was needed months ago.  That we've had to endure the theatrics and political posturing from both sides of the isle was ridiculous.  And where are the T-partiers?  The US's obligation to pay its debit is rooted in the constitution.  (14th Amendment, Section 4 states "The validity of the public debt of the United States ….. shall not be questioned.")

Now what should be questioned is some of the nonsense we've approved in the past that lead us to this point, such as bridges to nowhere, or studys on absurdities such as examining gas emissions from cow flatulence or the breeding habits of the woodchuck.  These were real approvals and THIS is where our representatives should address matters.  But that isn't likely to happen, of course, because that would mean taking pork-barrel funding away from their districts.  Such bull shit.  (And I'm sure there's been money approved to study that!)

Don't get me wrong, I'm glad the deal is done, it just never should have come down to the wire.

So before professional politicians like Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell hurt themselves as they pat themselves on the back, they should promise the American people that they will never hold up the world economy again for the sake of party ideology and that they'll get their respective parties working on the real problem:  trimming the budget.

NFL Lockout not equal Debt Ceiling Crisis

Debt Ceiling I heard the radio news this morning liken the recent NFL owner and player association agreement to that of wrangling going on in the House of Representatives over the national debt ceiling.  I'm not buying.

Yes, you have two sides (owners/union and GOP/Dems) posturing and acting like assholes — that part I get.  But in the NFL the compromise had to do with how to split over $9 billion in revenue over the next 10 years — in DC, it has to do with being responsible for our national debt and paying for something we've already used.  And don't make NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell out to be some sort of hero — because the NFL lockout has hurt the NFL.  Like the debt ceiling crisis game of chicken being played by congress, nobody wins.  

In the NFL, the fans are losers and the reputation and value of the league has been negatively impacted.  They act as though they resolved the problem 'just in time,' when in reality, they're several months after time ran out!  Similarly, the politicization of the debt ceiling matter has sullied the reputation of our country and called into question our government's ability to pay its obligations — making investment in the US of A a risky bet.  And in this situation, there is no time to go beyond the magical date of August 2nd because it isn't about missing practice or a pre-season game, there is so much more on the line.  Don't the men and women of congress have 401 (k) plans?  Don't they have investments in the various markets? Have they paid attention to their bottom line over the past week or 10 days — it's not good (and will only get worse if they don't act this week).

Seriously, when you have the likes of Greece, Spain and Portugal stopping in amazement and snickering, it's not good.  Let's say we put the state of Ohio up as collateral to China — that should light a fire under the Speaker's ass.

Let's go Mr. Boehner, rally your party.  C'mon Mr. Reid, find the middle ground.  GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER and do something great this week.

Republicans Don’t Get It

I want your money What is it with the US congress that they just don't seem to get the seriousness of the debt ceiling crisis and choose to play chicken with the consequences.  The men and women are representatives of the people and yet they don't seem to pay much attention to their constituents.  What is particularly disappointing is the way the Repbulican party swept into Congress last year with their so-called mandate to govern and all they've done is turned DC into a shambles as they play partisan politics with important issues.  None more so than the looming debt ceiling and our government's inability to repay its obligations.

Let's get one thing clear: we are not talking about spending more, we are talking about spending on provisions that have already been approved by this SAME congress.  The US governement has already approved expenditures and now is deciding it doesn't want to pay for them.  What is the big deal, we raised the debt ceiling 7 times under W! (Is that similar to the person that buys clothing on their credit card, wears it out and then decides they want to return it?  The best I could come up with on short notice.)

As the GOP implodes upon itself with poor decision making, falling confidence of the American people and a weak class of 2012 presidential nominee candidates, it's time for real leadership.  How pathetic this group is that the president has to get involved and tell them all to "play nicely in the sandbox."  Really — the presdident is in far too deep but that happens ONLY because these 435 representatives can't get their shit together.  Did I mention that the majority are Repbulicans?

Will somebody please tell House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to shut up and step aside, and to let real men negotiate this matter.  And while you're at it, tell Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to shut up as well — it's well documented that the tax cuts have run their course and trickle-down is a short-term fix, not a long-term solution.  (Even Regan's former budget director David Stockman has taken shots at his own party and continues to acknowledge that then and now, they had no idea what all the 'trickle down' numbers meant.)

Plain and simple: as the gap between rich and poor grows, consumer spending trends down.  It isn't rocket science, see if you can follow me.  (I'll go slowly in case Cantor and McConnell are reading.)  As the gap between the rich and middle classe grows, and as consumer confidence remains shakey, the demand for goods and services trails off because there is only so much that those at the top continue to spend on.  Get it?  The people with great wealth — think rock stars, celebrities, industry leaders and politicians — only buy so many goods and services.  There are only so many autos, big screen televeisions, homes, groceries, etc., that they buy and then if the rest of the American public isn't confident or isn't of means, they're not buying either, so consumer demand on goods and services trends downward.  (Seriously.  Take a moment to think about that and it will make total sense.)

So it seems pretty simple to the American majority, even if the House majority can't see it — work with this administration, get your head out of your ass and do something great this week.

What is that smell?

Okay, FB is the world leader in social media with over 700 million world-wide users.  Awesome.  But remember when that was said about MySpace in it's day?  And FB came on the scene and people had to decide between the two?  I was invited to join Google+ today and I'm thinking, this is pretty cool.

FaceBook has had its share of ups and downs, along with privacy scandals and strategy mis-steps.  Its user interface isn't as intuitive as it should be and that has been by design, as we've found out, to confuse its users on what data is shared and with whom.  Not cool.

Something has always been fishy for me with FB and I think it revolves around never knowing who is watching my every move — it's no coincidence that certain key strokes affect certain ads but we didn't know that until it was discovered.  Or that certain data was sold to certain 'buyers,' including the US government.  Seriously, have you read FB's Privacy Policy?  You need your attorney to decipher it.  Such bullshit.

For me, for now, I'll play in both worlds.  For what little I do, it's not a big deal.  But at some point I'll be dropping one of these relationships and it won't be based on the number of friends I have, but rather on the experience I have with the friends through the social network site.  And I have to tell you, the ability to divide my contacts into Google+'s "circles" is very cool.