The spoils of failure?

I have been closely following the taxpayer bailout of A.I.G, as you all have more than likely been doing also, and I have been stunned with each new turn of events.

Okay, truth be told, I have been more than stunned – outraged might be a better word.

Being a hard working, taxpaying citizen, who with my fellow Americans has become an unwilling co-owner in A.I.G. ; the recent news has me more than a bit confused with the idea that there is a reward for failure!

I do not know about you all, but in any review of my work performance, not once have I been rewarded for failure, and most certainly would never expect to receive compensation for putting my company in financial jeopardy, nor would anyone with an ounce of common sense! Yet, it seems that this is exactly what is happening. Moreover, beyond that, a clamor has gone up that there is a contract to pay, so pay we must, it seems.

Yes, that is right, there are, evidently, contracts that state bonuses are due even if the employee looses billions of dollars and pushes their employer over the edge of financial responsibility, causing a federal bailout to keep them afloat.

Excuse me?

I mean really, do they expect us to believe that?

What I would really like to know is why these people are still employed and are still drawing salaries, much less getting bonuses – some of which were in the neighborhood of $3 million dollars! I do not know about you, but from my perspective $165M is a hell of a lot of money and that is what A.I.G. paid out thanks to the taxpayer. Although, a reporter from the New York Times pointed out on the Today Show this morning that the majority of the payouts did not exceed $1,000.00.

I suppose that to someone earning upwards of $500K, a thousand dollars is chump change.

Maybe that is chump change for some, but I would hazard a guess that for the majority of American’s a thousand dollars would indeed be a windfall.

It appears to me that there is such a vast divide between the “haves and the have not’s” today that they have put themselves in a bubble and have been floating around in something that does not even resemble reality and frankly is more like Peter Pan’s Never, Never Land.

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo wants to shame these wastrel’s into giving the funds back and President Obama is up in arms and wants the contracts torn up – okay, good ideas, but it is a bit like closing the barn door after all the horses have gotten out. There is clamoring from the legislature to put a new law on the books to prevent this from happening, another idea with some merit but it seems a day late and several billion dollars short, if you ask me!

I do not know about you, but it seems to be that if one looks at this from a moral and ethical standpoint no bonus payout ever would have happened. Yet how do you get a group of people who obviously do not have morals or ethics to give them back or even to admit that they are the least deserving of any bonus compensation? A group of people who have obviously not given one thought at all about a contract that probably required them to be fiscally responsible for their employer or the shareholders, so tearing up a contract that has no value at all is likewise meaningless. Similarly, the legislature of morality and ethical behavior seems futile.

Once again, with the taxpayer held over a barrel in a damned if we do, damned if we don’t predicament it appears we have few choices.

It seems to me that when one is dealing with someone for whom reality does not exist would be t0 approach the situation from his or her level. In that vein, we should consider asking Tinkerbell to transport them all from Never, Never Land for a visit with Alice in Wonderland where I will gladly play role of the Queen of Heart’s and bring back the guillotine where off with their heads will be the agenda for the day!

In addition, if A.I.G. is concerned about how to replace the casualties they need look no farther than the ranks of the unemployed  which I believe contains a multitude of worthy candidates!

Rising to Meet Current Challenges as One Nation

Several weeks ago a new reader commented on one of my posts. She ws so eloquent and spoke so directly to my heart, I emailed her and asked her if she would not mind writing a post for my blog.  I am humbled that she agreed, and so proud to present her to you now.

First, a bit of information about her:

Her name is Sharon McMillan and she blogs at New Urban Mom and she is also on Plurk, again as New Urban Mom. I would encourage you to add her blog to your blog reader, and friend her on Plurk.

And, without further adieu, I give you her brilliant thoughts:

I know “photo ops” are part of the political process and we really shouldn’t read too much into them, but I was really encouraged to see President Bush welcoming President-elect Obama into the White House during a visit this past week.

Beyond the historical significance, I couldn’t help but to feel I’m living in a new and promising age as I heard President Bush expressing his support for President-elect Obama.  The global financial crisis and its pinch on the U.S. economy would have a lot to do with the “spirit of cooperation” in Washington and around the world, but nonetheless it’s refreshing to see…and feel.

Yesterday I listened to President-elect Obama speak about the need for a new spirit of service and sacrifice among Americans during his first weekly online address and I thought I’ve got to do my part–now.  Our leaders are attempting to show such a degree of cooperation and clear sighted dedication to dealing with this problem that I think we can with confidence follow their suit.

Like many of you, I have family and friends that will be affected by a collapse in the auto sector – in fact we’ll likely all be affected if that happens. I worry about the impact that a uncertain economy will have on our schools – especially in those communities that can least afford any more cuts in education.

So instead of holding my head in panic, I decided that we need to do something.  My particular focus is in helping to keep communities vital and attractive to new residents and businesses—primarily because I’m a strong school advocate and schools need revenues that our businesses and residents can bring. Here’s what our family is doing:

  • Investing in our community – and that includes everything from choosing colleges close to home to vacationing and shopping locally.
  • Instead of buying clothing or gadgets that our kids don’t really need for Christmas, we’re going to support a home-grown, community resource that brings joy to residents and attracts business and support for the struggling city of Cleveland – we’re going to purchase Cleveland Orchestra tickets and take our family there for a Christmas gift we’ll enjoy in so many ways.
  • We’re purchasing regionally manufactured clothing, toys and as many food items as we can for a local family in need (something we do every Holiday Season).

There is probably so many other things that we can do to help our communities through this period. If you have ideas about helping local economies across the country, please share.

The Winds of Change Are Indeed Blowing…

All through this election season, the words of Martin Luther King Jr. have been echoing in my head. I asked myself repeatedly, had we finally gotten to the point that we could judge a man by the content of his character rather than the color of his skin? I wondered if my fellow American’s were seeing what I saw as the days of campaigning trudged on before us, a person who was literate, well-spoken, and insightful.

Imagine my surprise at an email I received this morning in which Michael Moore eloquently wrote that while racism is not gone from America, it is no longer the majority, and in my lifetime, I will see their flame of hatred extinguished.

Those are powerful words to be sure, Gentle Reader, very powerful words.

I would like to shake the media, however, as they seem so focused on race this morning on every media outlet, NPR included. If the media would have their way, we all will stay focused on the visual differences that create barriers rather than seeing with our hearts and minds.

I in no way mean to diminish the power of Mr. Obama’s incredible victory, in fact, just the opposite. I believe that by removing racial differences it makes his win even more incredible!

I watched with indescribable joy his acceptance speech in Grant Park last night and was in awe at the sea of diversity in the people that were there to share in his win!

I will leave you with MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech… yes, almost 18 minutes of it.

I am off to roll up my sleeves and get to work with Mr. Obama in ‘making every valley exalted, making mountains and hills low: the crooked straight and the rough places plain’.

Have a glorious day!

I am my brothers keeper…

There are times in life that a person needs to take a stand in life and make it known most clearly, what they believe in.

Gentle reader that time has come.

I watched something most amazing last night, most amazing indeed. A person stood up and said aloud for everyone to hear that he is his brothers and sisters keeper. These words were like an arrow to my heart and they rang with incredible sincerity. He said them like there were engraved on his heart, not a platitude he was uttering to impress the masses. He said them because he believed them, pure and simple.

Therefore, today, here for all of you to see I am taking a stand as well. Those words, well engraved on my heart, are how I live my life. I feel a measure of responsibility for those who occupy this glorious earth with me. I care if you are struggling in your daily walk, if you are having an off day; I want to share with you the joy that fills my being to overflowing. I want to improve your day and share your burden. I want you to know that I will listen to what you have to say and that I have a ready shoulder if you have tears to shed. I have food that I am glad to share. I care that you might be struggling making ends meet, that you argued with your spouse or parent or child, that you did not sleep well, you lost your job, or have some battle you for which you need a cheer leader.

My care does not stop at my neighbor’s door; it extends on to the injustices of the world. It troubles me greatly knowing that there is a vast gap in how I live and how much of the world lives. How is it that I am so blessed to be here at this place and time? From the simplest of things like running water in my home to a market where an abundance of choices overwhelm me, I truly want for nothing. It humbles me that I have brothers and sisters on this earth that do not have those same privileges. I also have live in an incredibly safe place, I need not fear that someone will come and take my home from me, wrest my children from my breast, and commit unspeakable acts of violence to me because of what I say, think, and believe. I can stand in the open and publicly disagree with things my government does, I can freely email any elected official and share my opinions with them. It saddens me greatly that there are those who live on the same planet I do that do not have those same civil liberties. Yet, how often do I take those very things for granted? All too often, I am afraid, all too often. To those whom much has been given, much is expected. It is that simple.

How shallow we are as the human race that we reduce ourselves to judging one another based upon what we see, never getting to know what is beyond the exterior and truly look at those around us. We do not want to step outside our comfort zone, we avoid change, and we cling to the familiar believing that is what is right. It is neither right nor okay – it builds barriers that keep us from our true potential. That kind of attitude serves self only and is not one that fosters change and we need to change!

Because I care about all those things and more, I want you to know that I am voting next week Tuesday because I believe with all my heart that my voice does count. Yes, I am my brothers and sisters keeper and my vote will be with all of you in mind.

I hope you will join me.

A Whole Lotta Nuthin'

Yes, Gentle Reader, that is what I have – a whole lotta nuthin’! Unfortunately, a whole lotta nuthin’ does not make for good blog fodder.

Therefore, I will just fill you in with volumes of randominity disguised as interesting and humorous anecdotes!

First off, I have been engaged in The Battle Royal with the Ex-From-Hell. Unfortunately, upon examination, I determined it to be “battle worthy” and I have picked up the gauntlet and have lobbed my first shots. No winner has yet been determined, but I am running through the briars and the brambles and not at all fighting fairly. Thank goodness, that history has showed me that this is the way to win more skirmishes!! It seems I have unwittingly taught my daughter this fighting tactic as well and she is attacking from another front. My hope is that insanity soon ensues for the Ex-From-Hell, and that he will cease and desist from his abhorrent behavior! Stay tuned for skirmish updates!

Next, I will cry in my beer a bit over having to part of a most adult decision regarding wanting things you cannot have. However, as a consolation prize I will go spend a weekend with The Divine Miss Beth and Her Majesty, Queen Abby. A weekend in Fiber Mecca is sure to be a moist affair, and that wanting I am not mature enough to avoid. While this is not a fair trade, in the scheme of things it is a nice prize for being most mature!

I have a friend who also writes a blog, and does a lovely job I might add, who challenged his readers to share something special and I have been mulling this over in my head for some hours today. This is not at all in my character to share things I have done in a most ordinary way. Yes, ordinary is exactly how I feel about things I do that others might perceive as “wow that was nice.” For me it all boils down to honesty, and if I am not honest when no one is looking, how can I expect anyone to believe I am honest when they are? Therefore, it seems simple to me, what you see is what you get. Gentle Reader, this is the me that I am when all are looking or no one is looking.

Finally, a word on the upcoming election and a shameless plug to remind you all to go vote next Tuesday, regardless of whom you will be voting for! I was driving around my hometown this week and I have to tell you all, gentle reader, the signs I saw in yards shocked me. Years past, I would have only seen signs of one flavor, the other sorely lacking. Not so, this past week, I saw a good number of signs from both party affiliations! I even heard on Michigan Radio this morning a reporter interviewing people from the Lake shore who said they were voting in a decidedly different way this election. Hope springs eternal in my heart, that change is going to happen and that I am going to see a person elected that is going to make history. It has certainly been a long road and one that I can safely say each of us are all sick! However, do not let the length of the journey diminish your excitement next Tuesday.

Have a lovely week.

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