Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wedsday Febuary 24th 2010

I am going to begin todays post by updating family news first and then move on to stories in the news i want to comment on.First my children had last week off from school and we had to find some interesting things to do over the winter break.One thing was the medallion search sponsored by our local newspaper.We walked through a few local parks looking but were unable to find it.This year it was found by a man who has been participating in the search since it began.He is also a subscriber to the paper which doubles the prize so i am happy for him and extend my families congradulations on his victory.Jeromy and I also enjoyed a concert this past saturday at the Utica Auditorium.It was another favorite band of ours with two of the founding members of the Grateful Dead,Bob Weir and Phil Lesh.The band is called Furthur and it was a fun experience for us both.I also saw someone who i had'nt seen in 25 years as my son and i stood stageside waiting for the show to begin.He grew up a few houses away and we went to the same school,and we reminisced about musical influances that made us end up at this concert.He credited me with being the first person to ever play the Grateful Dead for him,which was kind of funny as he had a backstage pass at this show.It turns out his wife grew up with one of the background singers for the band,and they came stageside to take some pictures of her before going backstage.He asked if i would take a picture with him which i gradly did.The music was great and if i had'nt slipped and fallen on the icy sidewalk outside the show the night would have been perfect.This was difficult due to my personal issues with my back that i have mentioned in prior posts.It took several days in bed to recover but i am happy to say i feel alot better than i did a few days ago and i don't think i did anything more than agrivate my already troubled back.I am going to continue to follow doctors orders as far as my back is concerned and will post any updates as neccesary.Matthew is doing well in school as well as in his social skills class,and he continues to progress with therapy.My wife continues to work hard to support us and is awaiting some management changes at her job as the new mayor appoints new staff.We are lucky as a family to currently have my wife employed at a full time job during this difficult time in our nation.On that note i will move on to comment on events in the news starting with the current offensive in Afghanistan to retake the city of Marjah from the Taliban and restore what the coalition forces are calling "Civic Society" by deploying recources to restore utilities and "government in a box" type institutions that were previously either completely unavailable or run by taliban higher ups.The two stories that have dominated the headlines of national and international press has been the two large civilian casualties inflicted by this offensive.Both involve large groups of innocent civilians being the victums of an accident or being misreprented as insurgents and targeted purposely.These deaths will make it extremely difficult to win over hearts and minds of the people of this city whom are mostly illiterate subsistance farmers and poor peasent laborers.These folks have long held distrust of foreigners and especially large military occupations of their native soil.This city has been and always will be run by tribal elders whom also harbor great resentment of occupying forces and have historically fought to expell any such force from the area.These tribal elders also do not trust what the coalition forces call the"Democratically elected"lawful government of Afghanistan.This distrust was show to be justified as President Karsai signed a decree giving him power to appoint all of the members of the Electoral Complaints Commission,a group previously staffed by members appointed by the UN and who uncovered massive fraud on behalf of Karsai in last years Presidential election.Karsai's tightened control over the electoral process prior to parlimentary balloting next September is an ominous sign of this fledgling afghan democracys fragility.Tribal elders of Marjah believe the Karsai government has long put personal financial gain above the interests of the afghan people,and i tend to agree with that assessment.As i mentioned before i fully support our troops but i do not support this war.
Other stories in the news,Washington gridlock continues as the President contemplates asking congress to use reconciliation as a way to pass the healthcare legislation and gain a symbolic victory for the democrats prior to the elections in November.This would be a foolish move in my humble opinion as the country is already showing signs of revolt against this administrations policys and the partisan way it seems to be operating.The american people have shown with the election of sen.Brown of mass. and several govenorships that have changed hands that supermajority rule is not the constitutional way to run our country.We need elected leaders who will stand for the people and not for the next election cycles campaign fund.This constant raising of campaign funds to the detrement of the constituants who elected them must stop.We must have publicly funded elections in my opinion and i hope we move in that direction sometime soon.
As we learn that Wall St.bonuses climbed 17% in 2009 to 20.3 billion and many of the banks bailed out by taxpayer funds reported huge profits,our State's Comptroller said private economists report a plunge in consumer confidence.These conflicting numbers shows the stark contrast between what Wall St. and what Main St. see as important to the future of our great nation.The complicated financial intruments that lead us to the brink of the second Great Depression have not been addressed by congress so they could be regulated and watched so another crash is not only possible it is highly probable.Without capital requirements to control risky behavior and with zero transparacy in the over the counter dirivatives market we could see another panic hit the market any day.The government rescue of the financial sector was called TARP and was sold to citizens as a desperate last minute fix to a horrible problem freezing the credit markets and therefore the whole economy.The truth is something completely different and the American people are well aware they were sold a false bill of goods on this one.Most of these so called "Toxic Assets"were over the counter dirivatives that are still out there on the books of most of the rescued institutions who posted these record profits all of a sudden after being so close to bringing the entire system down.After taking billions of dollars from the taxpayers these same institutions take huge risks to produce short term profits at the expense of long term stability in the market.Unregulated Hedge Funds and other unregulated finacial industy tools used to avoid oversight and generate daily operating capital for these giant corporations needs to be stopped.Companies deemed "too big to fail"must be broken into entities that if mismanaged or leveraged to the brink can be allowed to collapse the way free market economies in a democracy demand that they do.If we continue removing the question of "moral hazzard" then these financial institutions will again push us to the brink,and maybe this time we will fall off.Before i end i would like to mention two things.First is the picture i am posting with this entry.It is of my son Matthew and his stuffed animal collection.He loves each one of them and will continue to add to his "family"as he can.He requested i put this picture up as he is very proud of them.He received most of them at christmas as a gift from a friend from the sites chatroom.As i have mentioned before this chatroom has been a blessing to me as i have met many,many kind people and also have another bit of news related to this chatroom.One of my good friends i met in there has "miracled"me a pair of tickets to another Furthur concert,this one at the Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City.My wife and i have not had a chance to get away together in ages,almost never get this opportunity to have a grown-up type experience and i really want to publicly thank my good friend and fellow chatroom visitor Wayneo.He is a kind generous and gental soul and i count myself lucky to be his friend.As i end this post i want to say no matter what difficulty you may face remember that life is a gift and everyday is a blessing.Until next time thank you for reading. spacewalker

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