jeudi, décembre 11, 2008


When Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson went to Congress to ask for 700 billion to bail out the banks, he didn't have to do much explaining. In fact, there weren't a hell of lot of strings attached.

Well, guess what? Paulson gave 300 billion to the banks -- who are sitting on it, refusing to lend to desperate homeowners, or restructure mortgages or do a lot to get the economy rolling again.

When the automakers, and the union, say that they may go bankrupt, some Republicans in the Senate (and in the House) way can they get a loan -- unless we can break the union.

Personally, I think union folks need to share in the hard times and make major concessions.

But for some ideological neanderthals from the South to use a national crisis to score against a once mighty union is revolting.

Accountability? Of course. Restructuring? Probably. Negotiations about union benefits? You bet. There's lots of pain for everyone.

But what's happening now is that the wealthy are getting bailed -- and the less wealthy are performing the bailing.

Hopefully the brain trust on the Hill will create some kind of agreement that asks everyone to share the pain. To do anything else would be a travesty.

mercredi, décembre 10, 2008

Facebook friend

Something kind of neat happened last night. I got a friend request from a guy on Facebook. Sad to say, I didn't recall the name, although it looked vaguely familiar. But that could have been because he played baseball for the Phillies, or I had reviewed one of his books, or any number of peculiar reasons.

So I wrote him back and said: "You look interesting, and you have a beautiful daughter and girlfriend," but I don't know who the heck you are.

When he told me he'd been on a dating site, but left about six months ago it came back to me. We had some really interesting email exchanges. As different as we are, he seemed like a genuinely empathetic, nice guy with a strong commitment to being a parent - an atheist of course. Aren't they all? (grin)

I confess that I felt a touch of envy as I read his profile, and wondered how he'd stumbled across the gorgeous girlfriend professor online. I was baffled that he sought me out again, but Facebook is an odd place. It's good for introverts who want to make friends promiscously, and not have to see them in the morning if they don't want to.

Maybe my destiny is to be Platonic buddies with smart men.

Yikes, I sure as heck hope it gets a little more complex, and fun, then THAT.

lundi, décembre 08, 2008

Just a little RESPECT

One of my colleagues at the blog I write for penned a smoking post on Lisa Miller's piece on gay marriage in Newsweek. It wasn't a post you could be tepid about. Basically, what we had were two kinds of advocacy journalists squaring off against one another.

I'm not delusional enough to think that we are getting lots of attention from Miller's readers. But, as I said to my pal Doug, I wonder if they read us and comment under other names.

What bewilders me, as many times as I've encountered it, is how commenters feel amazingly free let their worst selves out of the closet. I have grown to feel affection for some of our commenters. I'd love to have a beer with some of them. But others, frankly, are not people I'd like to get to know better. There's a reason for all of them, however -- and sometimes the grumpiest are the folks who contribute in the most surprising ways.

dimanche, décembre 07, 2008

A few steps towards freedom

I admit, it's a little insane. But it's the kind of crazy I've been yearning for.

Which shows how staid my life is right now.

When I started going to physical therapy a couple of months ago, I was such an achy collection of joints that I thought I'd have to retire to the back porch crosswords? Needle point? (hehehe) Put on long underwear and freeze, because this is no time to sit on the back porch?

But I don't have to do any of that dumb stuff. At least not this past Saturday.

After I finally got myself into the car around 4:30, it was snowing. Not a lot of snow, but enough to coat the Wallace streets with white.

And when I started running, it was closer to five, and what daylight we had was almost gone. But it was still beautiful, in the way that grey winter days with a touch of snow are beautiful.

The megamanse that I thought was sold has an open house on Sunday -- the night before lights glimmered in the windows, awaiting the banker or lawyer who still has enough money to pay the mortgage.

On the other side of the road the park was getting darker. Now and then, I thought I heard a gunshot, but nothing close enough to the road to frighten me.

Overhead, a flock of geese honked at one other -- I want in! Get out of my way!

On a side street a dog parked piteously, waiting for his or her owner to realize he was done with the cold and wanted to come in.

Why are those people walking around in the farmers yard? I wondered, until I saw their big white tails.

Almost no one else was out --certainly not walking as dusk turned to evening.

It was close to glorious.