Keep Me Smiling
Thursday. A trip to Palo Alto later at noon for an annual checkup and a get together much later this afternoon in San Francisco with some of the usual crew for a beverage or two at one of the usual places. Odd that Thursday is the preferred evening to end the week, but maybe that's for the best, as Fridays, wherever we might go, might be too crowded. Doesn't much matter to me being retired, but the people I get together with are pretty much gainfully employed and have an office waiting for them on a Friday morning.
The usual breakfast at the usual place reading the papers, all of which are full of the current financial mess. Nobody knows what's going on, but McCain is shooting the dice again to see if he can't stop his ship from sinking. For all the well deserved blame this current administration is getting - name something they've done that's worked to the nation's benefit - McCain is still awfully close in the polls and one really off the wall move on his part could tip the election in his favor.
Is it because we've got a black man running against him, all that racism we know about but never talk about holding him down? Some of it you have to suspect. But how much? Enough to put McCain hobbled as he is in the Presidency? That makes me very nervous, but how nervous should I be? The choice of Palin, whom they've been hiding from the press, evidently made a big difference to a lot of people out there. Because she's against abortion under almost all circumstances (even rape and incest), that she's a fundamentalist, she's whatever she is (hiding from the press) and that fits a large number of voters idea of what it takes to run a country? I guess it is and I'm naive to think otherwise. Neocon central. More wars, less oversight, tax breaks for the rich and the famous.
Yeah, I know. I have no real interest in starting a political blog because I'm not interested enough to expend the needed energy. I think you do a political blog if there's some aspect of the political world you wanted to know more about, rather like writing a book about a subject you know nothing about in order to teach yourself that subject, setting forth toward learning rather than teaching. My early work career included stints with investment companies and I learned through the process that I really don't care enough about the investment business (except, perhaps, for the income) to spend the time required to do it properly. Writing about it might have been somewhat different, but if that had been an option back then, it was an option for the younger and not the older me.
What these people do on the national and international stages have consequences. International relations, the wars, the local politics that dictate our national stance on so many conflicts in the world: all of the crap we've acknowledged pulling over the decades in South America, the Middle East and Asia. Over oil. And bananas. For Christ's sake: over bananas. How many people are you willing to kill for bananas? Plenty, if you're United Fruit Company. All of this stuff can and these days more probably will come back to bite us and, as a citizen, as a voter, you need to have enough information about them to make an intelligent decision when you're picking a President.
This real estate crisis I've known about for at least the last two or three years in the sense I understood how far over the top it had gone when I heard that half the mortgages then being written in the Bay Area were interest only loans with near term balloon payments that would require refinancing, listening to this somewhat dumb struck on the car radio two or three summers ago when I was driving up to Portland. This in a market where only twenty percent of the residents were calculated to have enough income to make a down payment and support the required mortgage payments.
That told me the real estate market was dead, but I wasn't aware nor did I look to find the rationale they were using to package and re-sell these dumb-assed mortgages. Congress knew. You have to think that at least the members of the financial committees knew, both Democrat and Republican. Any member of Congress who was paying the least bit of attention knew, but they were getting literally tens of millions of dollars every year from the financial industry in political contributions, both Democrats and Republicans, and it's hard to see an error in your ways when your income depends on turning a blind eye, which brings it back to me, which brings it back to all of us as half knowledgeable voters.
I dunno. Perhaps it's best to stop thinking about it and meet with the crew this evening in San Francisco, have a glass of Guinness or two and let it slide. They're going to spend 700 billion (there goes any health insurance reform), let's hope they spend some small part of it in a way that's beneficial. I don't have any confidence they will, but what the hell, I'm not sure what else it is that can be said or done from way out here in Oakland.
Later. So, a trip thirty miles down the way to Palo Alto, an annual heart sonogram taking all of about thirty minutes, lunch, back to the doctor's office to hear everything looked just fine, thank you, and back to the apartment. The trip to San Francisco later this afternoon has been cancelled, although I'm meeting at least one of the usual crew tomorrow morning at the usual place for breakfast. The day has been warm and humid, but the attitude is good as these swell little pain pills I keep taking seem to work just well enough to keep me smiling.