Friday, September 26, 2008

What goes around comes around...

I've spent the last week watching the economy self-destruct.  I haven't looked at my 401k balances because I don't want to lose my lunch.

Here's the thing -- the collective greed of mortgage companies and banks, combined with developers and real estate agents created this mess.  By not performing due diligence and thoroughly checking the credit and earning potential of mortgage applicants, we've got a record number of foreclosures on the table.  These foreclosures eradicated the paper assets that the banks used to build up their collective statues in the financial world.

No sympathy here, folks.  You mortgage people deserve everything you get.  You have single-handedly contributed to:

1.  The rape of our open spaces and farmland.  Remember how Marlboro used to be apple country?  Now you're lucky to find a working orchard.  All that's left as you drive north on Lattintown Road are the ugliest god-awful McMansions I have ever seen.  Plus, nobody that lives and works in the Hudson Valley can afford to purchase these monstrosities.  This drives up the price of all the other houses and apartments, so people leave the area in droves.  It's a phenomenon that isn't limited to Ulster County, you know.  It's everywhere.

2.  Ever stop to think that the reason deer, bears and other wildlife are targeted for death because they have no other place to go?  Our forests and meadows are torn up and built up.  So let's have a hunt fest and eliminate these "predators" because god forbid the deer eat our shrubs and the bear get into the garbage cans.

3.  Since these homes are so overpriced they are assessed at a higher rate, thus driving up the assessment rate for every other home in the community.  Our seniors cannot afford to live in their homes and have to sell out and move on.

Greed is not good, Gordon Gecko.  Note to our congressional lemmings:  If you really want to see angry people, let this economic bailout be used to pay some fat cat CEO a multi-million dollar buyout.  You will see a backlash you can't even imagine. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What economy is McCain referring to?

I caught an interview with John McCain this morning on the Today show.  Prior to that interview, they showed a sound bite from Monday where he referred to the economy as being "solid."  Huh?

Just yesterday, the stock market dropped 504 points -- the largest fall in recent history.  Lehman Brothers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  AIG might do the same.  There are a record number of foreclosures, potential foreclosures and personal bankruptcies looming in the wings.  Unemployment is at the highest level in years.  

But John McCain says the economy is solid.

Oil prices, which drive the price of just about everything we touch, eat, drink, wear or use, have increased the point where some small businesses have to shut their doors.  

But John McCain thinks there's no problem with the economy.

I work in the senior housing industry.  Every day I hear about seniors who could very well be your parents and my parents having to choose medicine, food or heat because they just can't afford to live they way they deserve.

Don't worrry - John McCain thinks the economy is fine.

He must be living in some parallel universe. 

Friday, September 12, 2008

Chicken Soup for the Pre-Menopausal Soul

At my age, I should know better than to go grocery shopping during my "bad day."  You all know what those are, ladies of a certain age -- your legs feel like lead, your lower back is in a knot, and if your husband looks at you crooked, then God help the world.  Today was one of those days.

Is it any wonder that my cart at Market Basket contained the following items -- blueberry Pop Tarts (no frosting, I'm trying to eat healthy), braunschweiger,  a box of couscous, a package of genoa salami for Chris, a container of Ben & Jerry's New York Super Fudge Chunk and an industrial sized box of Wheat Thins?  Honest to God, it looked like I was getting ready to throw a 4:20 party.  (I'm not. I swear...)

So there I am as the Market Basket in Nashua, NH, wheeling my cart listlessly through the aisles, grabbing whatever looked good and I thought we needed.  Apricot jam?  Sure.  I'll get the store brand, though, because it's the same as Smuckers but cheaper.  Roasted chicken?  It's healthy and I can put the jam on it as a garnish.  Dried cranberries can go in the couscous with the chicken and the mushrooms in the back of the refrigerator.  I can even throw in that corn on the cob I bought last week and never used.

One should never enter a grocery store in this condition.    


Thursday, September 11, 2008

I understand now. No Sarah, I don't want to go back.

I came of age in the 70s, raised Catholic and impressionable in a suburb of New York City.  One day in my 13th year, my mother, a devout Catholic and a teacher, asked me if i wanted to join her on a march in New York City.  I said yes, excited because for us, a trip to the city was a rare treat.

What I didn't understand at the time was that my mother was part of what would now be called a "pro-life" group.  So I went, and carried a sign that said something like "Don't kill babies," and marched down Fifth Avenue alongside my entire clique of friends.

As I walked, I noticed a group of 20-something women staring at us.  I smiled at them, thinking that they were cool and sophisticated.  Not one of them smiled back.  One woman snarled at me, "You have no idea what you are talking about."

I was stunned at the vehemence in her voice, the hatred in her eyes.  I continued south on Fifth Avenue in silence.  I never forgot that moment.  As I grew and heard of the horror stories of back alleys, coat hangers and sepsis, I understood...and was ashamed of my naivete.

Today, older and wiser at 50, I look back at that moment and now understand the frustration.  The selection of Sarah Palin threatens to turn back the hands of time for all women.  Is this shrill, gun-toting creationist who kills animals for fun and would deny women the right to control their own destiny what we want our daughters and granddaughters to emulate?  I sincerely doubt it.

I resent the fact that the Republican fanatics think that American women are so stupid that we would vote for McCain just by virtue of the presence of a uterus on the ticket.  Women of America, register and vote this November.  Don't let the Republicans turn back the clock.