Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It's Your Money (Sort Of)

$700,000,000,000 divided by 4,149,000
     Equals $168,715.00. This simple equation transacts the following figures: Divide the amount of money being requested by our government to plug the holes in our submerged economy by the estimated number of U.S. home mortgages currently in foreclosure or more than 90 days in arrears. The solution: $168,715. The median price of an existing, single-family home in this country is $202,000. Why not give each of these 4 million+ families $168,715 and demand that they immediately fork it over to their mortgage holders, which would effectively get the families out of debt and bring real money (sort of) into the banking system? The answer: this is too simple and also prejudicial.
     Why not divide the $700B evenly between the entire citizenry of the USA? We would each receive $2,293.00 (this figure goes down a little bit about every 7 seconds so if we’re going to go this route let’s get on with it.) Every time I’ve received an unexpected $2,293.00 I’ve bought a new television, tool or guitar and given a little of it to my kids. I suppose some would make wiser decisions but I think most Americans would do something frivolous like me. Of course, these unwise choices do put real money (sort of) into the retail system and that can’t be bad for the overall economy. The answer: This will do nothing to forestall the gigantic debt carried by most American families.
     What if we targeted this money to pay for the costs of the Iraq War? I just checked and the cumulative debt realized in this action since 2003 is just under $600B (this figure goes up about $2,000/second so if we’re going to go this route let’s get on with it. Check the clock: http://zfacts.com/p/447.html) If we act quickly we could earmark (read: steal) the balance of the funds to underwrite the medical costs and welfare of those who served in the field of battle during these troubled years. The answer: this makes too much sense and also greases the pockets of those who have already gotten rich from this war – and others.
     Would it be wise for our government to buy shares of Berkshire-Hathaway? Anyone with the slightest bit of knowledge of the stock market knows that this company has done handsomely well for those who can afford to own a few shares. The current price per share is about $130,000.00 and with $700B the USA could own 5,384,615 shares of this most impressive stock. This seems much more interesting than owning an over-extended insurance company, mismanaged brokerage firm or bankrupt mortgage lender and I’m confident the results would be much brighter. The answer: I’m thinking there’s a fellow who may not think too much of this plan – I may be wrong.
     How about we toss this money into rebuilding the infrastructure of our country, focusing on the Interstate highway systems and bridges we’ve heard so much about? And let’s be fair with the distribution of the resources and give each state an equal share be it Rhode Island, Kansas or Texas. I have no idea but let’s say it costs $5,000,000 to build a safe bridge. That would allow us to build 140,000 bridges in the USA or 2,800 per state. That’s absurd. Let’s build 280 bridges in each state and allow each state to use the balance to enhance their own infrastructure with the remainder. Each state would have a paltry $1.26B with which to work. The answer: There will be an empty, 8-lane, paved highway named after every state congressman, senator, deputy sheriff and mayor that ever lived crawling into every backwoods borough in this country and someone in each state capitol will have a brother-in-law in the concrete business.
     Or why not simply acquiesce to the request from most of our noble governmental leaders? After all, doesn’t this seem like the correct thing to do: Print money that has no value, place the discretion of its disbursement into the hands of the idiots who should have seen this coming a long time ago who will turn it over to their friends - greedy, arrogant pricks who have bankrupted our nation and are hiding out in their Martha’s Vineyard bunkers with the bloody millions they’ve stashed away until these ‘necessary clouds’ lift and they hear they’ve been bailed out and will come back to Manhattan next week for a couple days and do some new deals? The answer: Well, it hasn’t passed, yet. 

Saturday, September 27, 2008

An Odd GEnesis

     And the GREAT GE hired Keith from ESPN and poured into his pockets large amounts of gold; and Keith became a liberal commentator. And GE planted a network eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom He had hired. And out of the ether GE caused to grow every issue that is troubling to the planet, and good for ad dollars; the talking heads and spin-meisters also did he raise up to blur the line between good and evil. And a signal went out of Eden to inform the whole earth; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. The name of the first station is NBC which ordereth the whole company; And the name of the second station is MSNBC which pretendeth to broadcast the Truth: And the name of the third station is CNBC which reporteth on the ups and downs of The Marketplace: that which goeth out and cometh in (mostly out;) And the fourth station is dedicated to Paid Advertisement in High Def. 
     And The GREAT GE took the man (Keith,) and put him into The Garden of Rock to war against the Fox. And GE commanded the man, saying, ‘On every controversial issue thou mayest opine: But on the topic of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt opine widely and openly: for in the day that thou opineth in that manner your ratings are surely to go up and all hell shall breaketh loose.’
     And GE said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make for him an helper suitable for him.’ And GE caused a deep exhaustion to fall upon Keith, and he took many vacations: and while he was away GE took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh thereof; And from the ribbing, biased and nonsensical postures The GREAT GE had taken from the man, made he a woman out of the guest commentator chair, and broadcast her after the man. And Keith said, ‘This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Rachel Maddow because that is her name.’
     Therefore shall a man leave the center and forego any thought of rational reporting and shall cleave unto his own politics under the guise of the news. And they were both arrogant and one-sided, Keith and Rachel, and were not ashamed.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Startling Revelations!

     I awoke this morning to the shocking news that Clay Aiken has revealed he is gay. Other surprising reports in this morning’s paper include:  
The sun is yellow and hot
Politicians are divided on bailout package 
A country has threatened to wipe Israel off the map
Some people continue to believe O. J. Simpson murdered his wife
An actor entered rehab
An athlete went to jail
Elton John, apparently, is also gay

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Lingering Purity of Sport

       Somewhere in the late-1970’s the sporting life took a nosedive into ego, selfishness, absurd behavior and big money and its innocence is forever buried in proud struts, jersey pulling and strip club incidents. This is not to say that individual athletes prior to that era did not demonstrate despicable behavior but the incidents were few and far between and, thankfully, the press tended to downplay rather than exploit those antics.
     Now we live in the times of the loudmouth, arrogant, ignorant, drugged-up, gun wielding, tattooed, overpaid holdouts to whom we are expected to pay homage and turn a blind eye to their criminal behavior. Am I being overly critical?  Ask yourself this: If you were looking to give your son a lesson in class and dignity would you send him to a camp run by Sandy Koufax or Pacman Jones?
     However, I think there is some good news remaining and it was demonstrated this past weekend in Louisville, KY – specifically, on a brilliant chain of bluegrass called Valhalla. It is not the American victory that stirred my passions for sport, once again; rather, it was the uncanny display of athletic skill that washed across 28 rounds of grueling competition. I have never witnessed a more superior demonstration of golf. And this from both sides, of course. Yes indeed, The Cup may have returned to our shores but the outcome was secondary to the duel. ‘These guys are good.’ 
     Performances by Team Europe’s Ian Poulter, Justin Rose and Graeme McDowell were tough, elegant and legendary while the iron play and putting of USA newcomer, Hunter Mahan, alongside the seasoned Justin Leonard and Jim Furyk, made The Ryder Cup a splendid feast for golf lovers.
     Finally though, it was the working-class personality of both squads that gave this spectacle – and this game – a truly needed lift. This was not a fanciful romp in plaid trousers and argyle sweaters – this was a fat-waisted, shirt-tail out, spit-in-the-hands, mouth-full-a-tobacco throw down between guys that had Popeye forearms, steel nerves and no quit. This was a dial back to The King and The Bear circa 1964. This was good shit. 
     The Euros boasted their giant-slayer from Sweden, their prince from Spain, their master from Eire and their rose, rock and magician, all from England. And tough they were. But down these groomed pastures came three unlikely thoroughbreds – drawn by a quest that brought them home. And when called upon to be themselves, they knew who they were and they delivered. Kenny Perry, Boo Weekley and J. B. Holmes. Welcome home boys! Welcome home!

National Debt Update

The Outstanding Public Debt as of 01 Oct 2008 at 6:04 AM GMT is: $9,948,992,336,683.08.
The estimated population of the United States is 304,773,952
so each citizen's share of this debt is $32,638.24.  However, you do own an insurance company.