Monday, February 7, 2005

What's going on?:
Here is what is going on in the world these days. I haven't really had much time to watch the world argue, but it is happening. One thing that is nice about the sun coming up earlier in the morning these days is that I seem to be naturally waking up a bit earlier.

Let's start off this post by congratulating the New England Patriots for winning the Super Bowl, again. They are clearly a dynasty and work - and act - like a team. We don't see a lot of this in the sports world, where "teams" often have one or two superstars, and a whole lot of filler trying to become superstars. The Red Sox winning the World Series had a similar team-tone to it - although many have bolted for other teams to become superstars, with huge contracts.

Important programming note: As part of Black History Month, PBS is airing a documentary on Shirley Chisolm entitled "Chisolm '72: Unbought and unbossed." Those of you who don't know Chisolm should watch - and learn - about a remarkable and powerful woman who challenged the power structure in our country. Here is a link to the PBS site: ["Chisolm '72"] and a Boston Globe write-up here: ["'Chisholm '72' is riveting portrait of a pioneer"].

Speaking of the Globe, they broke this story recently: ["White House-friendly reporter under scrutiny"]. Interesting, I haven't heard word one about this on FoxNews.

Also, Richard Parker has an interesting essay here about the epic economic battles from the 1960s that continue to this day: ["The pragmatist and the utopian"]. It is interesting to note, as Dan Kennedy did over at Media Log, that almost everything that Milton Friedman touched has failed. From free trade on down. Do we really want to "privatize" Social Security or tinker with it a little bit to make sure that those of us who are younger can see some of our cash back? Of course, if we had a better economy for working folks, we would be able to save more and not have to worry about the tinkering ... oh, but that would be too easy to do.
One other problem is this, noted by a poster on DailyKos: ["Supplemental Tables and Figures"]. Private accounts have to grow at 11 percent to keep up with what future retirees were promised from the program. This is similar to data forwarded by others who advocate private retirement and savings accounts. If there could be a built-in guaranteed savings percentage for private accounts, say double inflation, or 6 to 8 percent, then this might be something to look at. But in most cases, there are no guarantees, even with banks. How quickly we forget that there was a huge S&L scandal that cost the taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars and very few of the people who stole that money were ever brought to justice. Sure, a handful were taken out, like the Keating folks and those connected to Madison, Silverado, and Whitewater. But most are still in the business of loaning and playing with money. Yet, at the same time that the S&Ls were bailed out, why is it that when the poor people's retirement fund looks to be "in trouble," it can't be bailed out? Why can't tax rates can't be adjusted to fix the problem? All income over $80,000 is not taxed. Maybe instead of taxing 7.4 percent of the first $80,000, we should tax 4 percent of everything. This would lower taxable amounts on workers who need to save and make the plan solvent into the 22nd Century while not costing "the rich" much at all.

While I have the Boston Phoenix on my mind, it is worth noting that one of its former reporters, Kristen Lombardi, the one who actually broke the Catholic priest abuse scandal a full 18-months before the Globe's Pulitzer Prize-winning "investigation," is now at the Village Voice. This week, she filed this story, about a judicial activist jailed for challenging the elevation of a local judge: ["The Scourge of Her Conviction"]. It is interesting to note that Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-Arkansas via NY, the supposed senator of the people, would consider this woman a stalker - instead of a seeker of justice. Oh how the times have changed since the days of the labor movement, civil rights movement, and women's movement, of the past. Are things really that great to stop fighting for justice?

Why am I not surprised by this headline: ["Election Complaints Emerge in Iraq"]. Irregularities here; irregularities there. Is this what has become of Americanized democracy? What happened to the old adage, It doesn't matter who wins or loses; what matters is how you play the game? What happened to the Christ-like principles that Christians are supposed to share? With trillions in oil money at stake and a country - the United States - with a history of setting and propping up dictators under the guise of free and open elections, it is obvious that the adage is irrelevant to the modern times. When a political leader worships at the altar of money, "the root of all evil," what are we to expect?
I also find it funny that educators of today are still using these adages, to the point of holding soccer games with no score and no winner. Are we truly preparing our children for the real world if we bring them up thinking that there is no score?
As any honest person knows, the fraud and irregularities of elections are bipartisan. The Republicans are not all bad; they just happen to be the ones that have allegedly done it successfully in the last two presidential cycles. In the past, it was the Democrats - ranging from the 1960 election to local elections from Boston to Miami to Cincinnati - who were the culprits. Don't forget that.

Then there is this: ["Rumsfeld Asks for Restoration of Nuclear 'Bunker Buster' Program"]. Oh, must we?

Down in Massachusetts, Democrats are analyzing why their gubernatorial candidates have been so pathetic: ["Democrats map strategy to win back corner office"]. I haven't seen the report but I bet they still don't get it.

Here is a cool article about film in New Hampshire. It mentions two guests I've had on the A&E show: ["nh film roots for indies"].

Over in Maine, IRV gets a bill: ["Bill would change Maine's voting system to 'instant runoff'"].

Lastly, I just saw Godzilla featured in a diarrhea commercial? Is there no shame?!?

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