these are the words and photos that depict the world in which we live.

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Going Full Circle

So, while perusing the front page of the NY Times after a killer evening of climbing, I come across an article titled,  “Gas pedal Flaws Lead Toyota To Stop Building 8 Models”.  It might have well of had an exclamation point at the end.  Seriously.

What a fate in this economic climate!  To be struck by an internal quality control issue, especially in an industry where quality control is the Achilles heel of a reputation, is a situation that will never go away.  How many of you remember that tire issue that Ford Explorer’s had almost a decade ago?  The Firestone tires would give way to high speed rollover accidents….really tragic shit.  I don’t think they’ve ever fully recovered to that market leading high before then.  Explorer’s were the top of the market for the popular SUV.  It was the poster boy for the SUV industry.

Anyway….this article is on the front page of the NY Times.  Exclamation.

A rare condition causing the recall of 4.8 million vehicles.  In a time when you dominate the word’s number one auto market, while your competitors are recovering from a financial one-two punch that has left them tightening their belts and reorganizing themselves, their entities and their debt.  Talk about a bad struck of luck.

So what’s the first thing that pops into my mind?  At 9am I would be buying puts on Toyota like they were going out of style.  Then I would find out who their number one suppliers are and buy puts on them if they’re publicly held.  Then I would find out which insurance company was at the foundation of the health-care provider that provided health-care to all of those employees.  Scratch that last one, they’d be covered on the new unemployment insurance for a while.  But I would find out the service providers that depended on the Toyota production model and buy puts on them too.

Once you realize that there are a ton of other people with the biggest plan you start watching the premiums on these puts going through the roof.  So you start selling certain puts and then buying them again when the supply increases from others thinking like you are.  Before you know it, you’ve doubled your money and someone else is collecting unemployment now too.  Then you start looking for exotic derivatives that tie global aluminum into being the correlate for the yen and how it is a proxy for Toyota stock.  That’s the evil wizard behind the drape pulling levers and mixing potions type of shit.

Since most folks will never get within arms length of people who take part in that side of the financial industry we turn to a different indicator of public health besides the financial indicators that reduce the health of our existence down to an index.  That is when we turn to the life we live every day and look around at the signs.  There are a few less gas stations these days and if you’re in the market for a home it’s a great time to buy.  And people are drinking more and doing less sport…or are they.  What of these not-cheap habits that are fundamental in the who-we-are and how-we-are sequences that make up our lives?  And this is how I get back to climbing.

At the climbing gym tonight it was pretty busy.  Tuesdays and Thursdays always are, but today was pretty crazy.  Tonight I was pretty lucky.  I was climbing with two great individuals and the session was something that had a life of its own.  Before I had realized it, there was no more skin on my hands, I had reacquainted with two or three people that I hadn’t seen in years and I was still climbing.  It’s hard to complain about that, especially considering the updates people had been giving me on their lives.

There are so many professionals out of work right now.  IT folk, mortgage peeps, builders…and a lot of them.  But what I thought was even crazier is that somehow, someway, they’ve still found the psyche to go climbing and pursue something that they enjoy and identify with.  Be it from their savings or government aid, it is something that still allows you to enjoy a part of your life even when the days get dark.

Hooray for climbing.  I think we’ve made it full circle.  Isn’t that always fun.  Though if you’re looking for a car these days I’d say take a look VWs.  My Golf has brought me to a lot of incredible climbing spots.

Maybe the next thing will be on wind power or home remodeling…ciao

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Taxes with Tea

us1There was nary a breeze in the well-paved over downtown of Stuart, Florida.  The temperature hovered over the registered 80, as the 90% humidity and heat waves bounced off of the asphalt and up at the Tea Party underway.  The streets in front of the US Post Office are lined from end to end and flowing onto Federal Highway 1 where the intended message of revolution would get better exposure.  News cameras were interviewing anyone who had something to say and lawn chairs started taking up prime curbside real estate.  There were hundreds of people pounding the pavement for governmental change, like fiscal responsibility and term limits in the congress.

The people have something to say and, via keen online organizational strategy that mimics Gov. Howard Deans in the 2004 election, have opted for an evolved Tea Party to exercise their first amendment rights.  The interesting thing about this well-publicized event is that it was not the grass-roots event as it was advertised, but instead a well-organized, cyber-based partisan push against the current administration.  When you have Strategic Activism, LLC organizing your events, Visual Enterprise Systems, Inc., designing your copyrighted ‘grass-roots’ campaign and one of the movement’s national organizertheshows being the founder and director of “Top Conservatives on Twitter”, there is only one more way to show your partisan stripes: having Fox News host a live broadcast on this ‘American Tradition’.  Oh, they did that too.

Being April 15th, everyone is still buzzing from their annual tax shot, so the statements being made were even more poignant as individuals with slogan t-shirts walked around with home-made placards screaming everything from “No New Taxes, Cut Government Spending” to “Fire Congress” to “Freedom Not Tyranny”.  Tea-bags were pinned to hats, shirts and earrings, and for every voice of dissent there was a horn supporting it.  Horns for gun rights, horns for impeachment and horns for that really cute blonde girl with the ‘Freedom Not Tyranny’ sign.

tyrannyThe air was electric with revolutionary spirit and the South Florida Action Committee was out canvassing the youth to get them thinking about democracy and activism.  Standing behind their Gadsden flag handing out pamphlets to the fresh blood, it seemed like the youth were more energized by the social energy that accompanies upheaval and dissent.  The new sons and daughters of liberty were using loud angry voices paired up with the Gadsden flag and it’s desfacfiant, “Don’t Tread On Me” motto, an exciting thing for any age.  The activist energy must have worn off, as the kids who were approached by Action Committee volunteer got impatient during her spiel and just asked how they could get one of those yellow shirts with a snake on it.

A gentleman who wanted to only go by Carl, was giving out leaflets on a corner where the surrounding people were in the midst of the chorus of “God Bless America”.  When asked if he had come up with the “I’ll Keep My Money-Guns-Freedom.  You Keep The Change” message, he said no.  Someone had seen his car all-dressed up for the event that they had asked him to give these out.  He insisted on giving me two.  One for me, and one for the friend that wasn’t with me.

Standing on the curb waving her American flag was another woman whom I asked why she was there.  She questioned me who I was reporting for and I replied that I was doing some citizen journalism for the Huffington Post. yellow She turned to me and from behind her big sunglasses said, “I have three kids.  One who just lost a job.  One who is on the fringe.  And one who is on the other side of the desk laying people off.  Stop taxing and stop spending.  And you can tell that to Adrianna!”.  Then she promptly turned around and started waving her flag again.

Passing cars were as much a part of the demonstration as the troops on the ground.  One old lady screamed from the comfortable front seat of her SUV, “Fire all of the Idiots!”, then smiled, waved and drove off.  A few photos later a man in mineral blue PT Cruiser comes through the big intersection making a left hand turn and yells, “You lost the election, get over it, Assholes!”, and proceeded to speed away before anyone threw a bottle thredrough his window.  Cars were honking so loud that picketing parents had to take their children out of their strollers and hand them off to the other parent who could take them away from this ruffled feathers parade.

One of the less fierce protesters was 6 year old Philip who was dressed in a t-shirt that read, “No More Zer000,000,000,000s”.  Little Philip was an entrepreneur with his parent’s help, running a lemonade stand.  All proceeds from the lemonade and snack sales were going to be sent right to Washington.  I sat back and thought where they were going to send this to.  Maybe to President Obama or maybe to the congress.  What type of note would they include?  Here is all of our six year old’s money, take it now and don’t bill him for it later.  All I knew is that it was still a hot day and people were moving away from the Post Office where people were still driving through and dropping off their taxes in the drop box.  So I decided to donate a couple bucks to Philip’s mission and cool myself off at the same time.  As I handed the cash over, philipPhilip’s dad turns to me and says, “That is the most expensive glass of lemonade you’re ever going to buy.”  He was probably right.

If anything comes from this retro-revolution it just may be that Lipton’s second quarter revenue is going to outpace prior estimates, otherwise it may just be another whopping success in proving the power the internet can play in amassing momentum for a cause.  As an exercise in flexing one’s first amendment might, it was quite visible that people care in this little Florida town, where home foreclosures are through the roof and unemployment is growing by the day.  It seems there was a voice for every issue on the table.  Voices for the left, voices for the right, and voices that just want someone to look out for the people on Main Street.   Many of the voices came from pensioners that found this to be a great time to bond with their kids and their grandkids, especially seeing how everyone is affected by the downturn.  This little tea party might just end up being that really fun day after Easter where the family all got together, made patriotic banners and got loud on the town like it was July 4th all over again.lipton

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USA, Your Door Is Now Ajar…

Can a better future be seen, even from the top floor?

Can a better future be seen, even from the top floor?

We collectively exhale one of many held breaths as President Obama is living up to another part of the campaign promises.  This time it is the one to facilitate a more humanitarian relationship with Cuba. What exactly does that mean? Does that mean that we can all travel unhindered between Cuba and the US, take bike tours of the Vinales valley and do an oooh-aaah tour of Guantanamo’s military prison after some breathtaking peak-bagging in the Sierra Madres? No, think again. Like every valuable coin there are two sides that one must pay attention to. One side with a smiling face on it and the other side with the symbols, numbers and gritty language.

While our currency always states on it’s emblematic seal, E Pluribus Unum (out of many, one) it should probably state the converse, Ex Uno Plura (out of one, many), because as we are now a singular nation, we are more so a body of voices that all want to be heard individually and are willing to say what they should not just to be heard. Obama made promises, or declarations, and is now, in the face of quite intense abnormal forces, aiming to be a man of his word. Though these actions rarely affect one person, but instead hordes who all hold different beliefs on the subject matter. For every person who believes that we need to loosen our policy against Cuba, there is another person who will tell you the difference will be made when the other side takes its own actions. Undoubtedly will relief be felt from the reduced travel restrictions and by empowering people to do more for their family that remains in Cuba then they were able to before the changes. However, giving cell phone flexibility and greater mail parcel value will not change Cuba. This is where the flame gets its heat.

Many devotees to the Cuban cause believe that actions such as these only assist in propping up a communist regime that truly keeps its people under its thumb. Until the Cuban government stops its biast and archaic practices, the Cuban people will never be free. Yes, they will have quick and free access to healthcare and everyone will know how to read, but the Cuban people will never be free.It is impossible to feel free when your government can throw you in jail for not-supporting the system.  By this I do not mean revolting and being outspoken, but more so as by not following the recommendations to the letter.  There is a reason that Cuba boasts that there are nothing but criminals in  Cuban prison, becuase from dissenters to artists, anyone expressing counter-communist beliefs are deemed criminals.

There have been numerous cases where charges such as peligrosidad, dangerousness, has been cited as the chief complaint. Peligrosidad is an article defined as behavior or action that contradicts socialist morality, thus the offending individual has a special proclivity to commit crimes. Thus peligrosidad, under the penal code, can be used as a security measure to sentence someone up to four years in prison. In the past peligrosidad has been used to send punk rockers to jail, gays to jail and, now, rock climbers. However, as per the latter, it is not because of the activity itself, it is because the activity puts Cubans in contact with foreigners on a regular basis thus possibly altering the individual’s belief in their government’s system.

So the government has concocted the idea that Cuban climbers are growing marijuana on the mogotes, the picturesque limestone mountains, that have made the Pinar del Rio province famous. The authorities have stated that using heat-sensitive photography they have evidence of such activity, though they have never shown anyone accused or restricted from climbing, or anyone else really, these pertinent photos. Anyone indigenous to the area knows the error in the argument. The only thing that climbing has in common with drugs is that climbing is like a drug. Once you start there is a probability of addiction. Once addicted you just need to climb all of the time.

The problem with climbing often is that it makes you not want to work more and it exposes you to all sorts of worldly people as well as nurturing one’s instinctive analytical nature to question and test boundaries. This does not sit well with the Cuban government. However, returning to the original argument, no matter the energy that the US throws into the Cuban issue, it will not relieve the situation for Cubans, and thus only slightly for Cuban-Americans. The only thing that can be done is to place multi-lateral pressure on the Castro Regime to free it’s people.

Individual voices have been selected throughout time to express the happiness of the Cubans, and I am not here to debunk this. For some Cubans the life they have is all they could ever want. Unfortunately there are many Cubans who want a lot more. Here is a link to a post by a Cuban with a perfect record to wishes to exercise their will to travel, as it has been affirmed by the president of the Writers and Artists Union of Cuba (UNEAC), “that all Cubans can travel, except those who have a debt to the justice system.” This is not the truth and it is unfortunate that misleading information makes its way into the popular media without the appropriate filters or counter-voices.

So, in as much as I applaud our new president for his actions and courage to make the touch decisions that his predecessors could not, I say it will not be enough. It will not be enough until a second revolution originates from the same limestone caves and dark corners that the first revolution did. It will not be enough until Cubans have the right to travel, to earn respectable wages based on their own ambition or to pursue their own dreams as life has bestowed unto them. It will not be enough until the Castro Regime turns the government over to the populous from the greedy hands of a highly-centralized and imbalanced control of power. If the sentiments and declarations of the revolution that just celebrated its 50th anniversary had been universally followed then it might actually have been enough.


news from the mogotes

so now we are two.  starting as a group of six strong, going to eight and then to five and now to two.  we remain to tie up loose ends, give off the items brought to donate to those who need and see a few last sites.  baseball gloves, insoles, soccer balls, toothbrushes, pens, paper, carabiners, powdered milk, sugar and plastic containers.  everything must stay with those who need.  then the climbing gear is given to a trusted local source who can give it to he and she who needs and deserves it.

other news is that the project went.  for days i could feel the soreness in my left shoulder from the multiple large gaston moves, especially the one in the last boulder problem.  in reality, i should have sent the climb my third go and changed my foot beta just a hair, but enough to guarantee a victory, clipping the chains just an hour before the guy who bolted the route, Yarobys, clipped the same chains.  The name is Huracan (hurricane) and I think it goes at 13a.  Definitely agreat route, with three boulder problem cruxes and a mean core tensions sequency crux at the top.  my favorite route in two years, as it is rare that I get the moves of a climb stuck in my head so that I can´t think of anything but it.

Tomorrow we are going to a new crag to bolt a couple of routes to prepare for the national competition.  Normally Cuban climbers don´t climb really strong on average, so these routes will hopefully become classics and be enjoyable for many as time passes and more people come here to clip bolts and crank on the limestone of the mogotes.   The best Cuban climbers are in the mid 5.13 range, but the majority are breaking into 5.12.

As my language gets better I feel a hurdle with three languages.  You start to think about a word and end up referencing all three when you should be able to go and focus solely on one.  maybe once I break through this hurdle will I ultimately understand more about languages, or at least more than I already do.  Such a determinable link to culture and the people, expressions and intonation alone mean so much.

The people become more and more like family, playing a nd joking and giving signs of affection that we normally do not see in the US with people other than close friends and family that you´ve known fo ra long time.  It is such a nice feeling that a sense of community gives.

The day I sent the project I traveled out to the crag with Yarobys on a Guagua, one of the local Cuban buses.  It was so chill and talk about economical.  I don´t know why we have taken so many taxis when it is completely convenient to take the local travel methods and thus pay local prices.  Ten cents for a ride instead of six bucks.  I know how that sounds on the absolute scale, but on the relative scale it is much more astronomical.  and as for convenience, it is only a limited factor as some friends of ours took a taxi, paid for half of the ride and then the  guy never came back for them.  after walking five dark miles on Cuban roads did they find a place with a phone where they worked their Spanish and called a taxi.  luckily by that point our friend, Raytheon, knew something was wrong and asked our host to go and get them.  Thus we could all eat a fine meal together and laugh about the incident.  Oddly enough it was the day I took the local hitchhike and bus option.

So I stare here at the two holes on the sides of my finger that are the remnants of my work on the project.  my sequence included a solid five feet or so of pulling on a mono with my right hand as I pull into the clip, lock off, clip and pull a few more feet to a sloper.  When such work culminates in a victory you often have no more than the vestigial feeling of elation, a few photos and perhaps some worn down skin.  It all grows back and then you are left with a memory.  How does this end up changing us in the end. That for a small period of time we are infatuated, fully in love and head over heels for this climb and think and dream about it like a stranded castaway dreams of water, friends and comfort food.  Then after this zealous fit of emotion it is gone.  Does this make us callus to intense emotion after a while, knowing that we will be changed just for period of time and then life as usual goes on?  Hmmm.

In the end, I sit here with less skin then yesterday, four minutes left on my tarjeta, and thoughts of family and of the political discourses that separate such incredible places that have so much in common, and only 90 miles of water between their secured borders.

When will our governments see the light, that we are all brothers and sisters under the same sun with the same passions and family that resides on both sides of the line.  How much it would benefit both parties for us to open borders.

Anywho…it is time to go as the seconds tick by on this card and it will probably take all 56 seconds for this blog to load.


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Seeing Our Shadow

Be afraid!  Be very, very afraid!

Be afraid! Be very, very afraid!

So it’s Groundhog Day again.  The alarm clock goes off and we wake up to another morning of dismal economic news, partisan punditry and some kind of music that will remain in our head for the entire day.  The good news is that Punxsutawney Phil, the seer of seers, the prognosticator of prognosticators is here to lift us out the monday morning doldrums.  Or so we hope.

This is the 123rd prediction of the whistlepig rodent, a tradition that started while President Grover Cleveland was in office in 1886. Now we have another strong democrat in office who also wants to be known as a great reformer.  So, 123 years later, what similarities do we see between Groundhog Day ritual and our government.  An Inner Circle at Gobbler’s Knob that consists of 22 old white men in top hats and tuxedos, pulling the rodent out of his hole and waving him, a den dwelling creature who hates heights, high aloft a crowd of thousands (people are curious why he has seen his shadow 96 times).  Sounds like a lot of pomp and no relative circumstance.

These men have titles that sound more like Sesame Street pseudonyms for current politicians.  Names like thunder conductor, storm chaser, sun beamer, fair weatherman, big wind maker, and fog spinner should come at the bottom of some type of decal-oriented trading card.  What will be next?  Hi kids, Hillary Clinton, the Thunder Conductor, has a special announcement, after which your handlers can bring you to the toddler changing area because she is sure to make you soil yourself.  It would be too much fun to keep playing that name game, which would be more like an elementary roast.

This year’s Groundhog Day is supposed to have brought record numbers, thousands upon thousands of people.  Well, if hundreds of thousands of people still had their jobs, they wouldn’t be standing in the frickin’ cold hills of Pennsylvania watching a tormented rodent shiver so hard he cannot bite his handlers.  Then his predictions are supposed to be heeded to when old Phil has a 60% accuracy rate.  There are a few other JV team groundhogs who boast better stats too.  Though the National Climate Data Center reports that the overall groundhog prediction accuracy rating is closer to 39%.  What does this say about a nation that looks to rodents as prognosticators of weather.  At least that number is better than our last president’s outgoing approval rating.

So the ritual here is translated as this: it is a sunny day and you step out of your house and see your shadow and get freaked out the weather will worsen.  Otherwise, you step out on a cloudy and possibly downright stormy day, see no shadow, and this is supposed to mean that spring is on it’s way.  What a load of crap.  To nitpick some more, what is with the name ground hog, there is no relevance to a hog.  And the synonym of woodchuck, the thing eats leaves and berries and never touches wood.  Let alone that woodchuck does not even stem from American etymology, but perhaps borrowed (because we have never stolen from the Native Americans) from the Algonquian name for the animal (possibly Narragansett), wuchak.

So what is this day all about.  The ‘seeing’ process is as such: the ground hog is waved in the air like a foam finger at a sport’s event  and then place on a mown over stump (no doubt sold for some extra cash) in front of two scrolls.  The varmit points to the scroll that holds the future in its text, though his handlers say that despite the message, you cannot blame the messenger.  At least he has a choice, because if it were solely on the shadow that would be bass-ackwards, as shown in the last paragraph.  Nevertheless old Phil, on this 2nd of February in the year 2009 pointed to the scroll that read:

As I look around me a bright sky I see
And a shadow beside me
Six more weeks of winter it will be

Really the scroll should have read:
As I look around me a group of morons do I see
Put me back and leave me be
Go back to your world and leave this idiocy
Solve why the icebergs are melting into the sea

So far in 2009, 6 of 14 groundhogs predict an early spring, the other 8 swing the other way, and there are probably a few more that will arise from rural reporting.  What type of impact has this had?  The Dow Jones Industrial Average saw its shadow too, opening down about %1 and has continued to drop with poor earnings data kept arriving.  The Nasdaq did not see its shadow and is seeing a tech-induced rise.

In this type of an economy it is hard to want to stifle an event that has had more of an economic stimulus than any government program since the beginning of this recession.  Though a proposition that could be made, and guaranteed to spur economic growth, is to create a pharmaceutical product that alters the sensitivity of rods and cones in these famed creatures so that they no longer see shadows, but, instead, a disco ball of color and light.  Maybe LSD or cannabis sativa would just do the trick, I hear the government has some research on their effects.

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the road less traveled

wenden >< wenderstock, switzerland

wenden >< wenderstock, switzerland

sometimes the road less taken is that way for a reason.  sometimes, avoiding the path of resistance means there is a support network, a mechanism in place that is sophisticated enough to allow you to pursue your life without binding you in the webs of others.  sometimes the road less traveled just ends in a cul-de-sac, leaving you to turn and head back.

i can remember topping out on half dome about eight years ago with Alex McAfee.  it was later than we wanted it to be, part my fault, and we had very little food and water and just knew it was best for us to get down.  walking off of the backside was kind of a surreal endeavor at night with headlamps.  there is a great slab, like a sea of granite melting away from you.  somewhere in the middle is a walkway with some metal wire handrails to guard the average person from a hideous, yet eventful death.  we crisscrossed that slab for twenty minutes expecting to hear each others’ last screams, denoting that we did not find the handrail and not to go toward the scream.  eventually we found the walkway and followed it off of the slab and turned to find the trail that would lead us back down to the front of the formation where our bags were safely stowed (or so we thought).

jingling away with rope and rack, probably still in climbing shoes and disco shades, we slowly made our way down picking through the bushes on what seemed to be the trail.  the caveat being that too far in one direction could possibly end up in a large fall and a bummer of a story for the other to have to pass on to the park service.  let alone the loss of gear that would never be used again.  hiking through the thicket, especially around climbing areas, you generally rely on these paths of least resistance, meaning that someone has possibly travelled there before.  this is often a good thing.  it means you are probably not far from where you should be, especially since you often do not know exactly where you should be, but know where you would like to be.  this is often more interesting in the middle of a large rock face when you realize you have climbed two pitches in the wrong direction because you convinced yourself that the topo and description led you up these ‘obvious’ features.  that situation, however, is a different story.

in the end, the path that was easiest to follow brought us down safely, though hungry and bedraggled, to our campsite to discover that marmots had clawed holes into Alex’s bag and eaten his snacks.  whereas my bag had oddly been unzipped and also emptied of its aromatic contents by some small mammal.  thank god tuna comes in a hermetically sealed can.  the trickle of water that seeps out of that face and some unstolen snacks got us through the unplanned second evening under half dome.  the next day we ransacked the cafe next to the yosemite post office for a three course lunch.

at the time i thought our feat was stellar.  two guys who had really never climbed before, minus a quick romp on middle cathedral, had sent the northwest direct route in 14 hrs.  now i look back and think, shit, we could have done it so much faster if i didn’t get all scared up in the zig zags and crawl my way through the ‘thank god’ traverse.  maybe next time.  but i think it would be more fun to free the whole thing and not start stepping in slings.

the moral of the story is that sometimes, to get where you’re going, the path most traveled is requisite.  often the journey is the path less traveled with an occasional leg that has seen the wear and tear of others.  it is in this moderation between us and society that our true individual path lies.

seeing the news feeds with hints at a partial nationalization of some of the US’s largest banks is what made me think of this path.  for we would not be the first, nor the last.  yes, true enough, we often aim to forge our own history here in the US.  but sometimes there are lessons to be learned from having only watched others.  the UK just nationalized a bank, japan nationalized many banks, and there are a slough of other examples.  actually what we would be doing probably would not be called nationalizing due to the nation’s anafalactic allergence to socialist ideals.

in some way we need to get the financial sector on track.  its hard to put the patients back in charge of the asylum but order is needed.  unfortunately, all of the dollars spent on the financial industry in the name of the tarp plan are tax payers dollars.  in the end, we want a return on our investment.  we cannot just buy bad debt in a new federal-entity and wipe them out.  no, we need to get some percentage back from functioning loans and other revenue streams.  this is not a path of least resistance by any means, nor can it be the path of most resistance.  at least for our nation’s sake.

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The Locomotion of Change

The change has already begun.  Right from the beginning, the new administration is keeping its promises, whatever those may be.  Many people balked at the Obama campaign before the election for the lack of details on a few topics.  A campaign that touted change for the better is not a new thing around these parts was the competition’s retort.  Truthfully, politics, DC and false promises go together like Larry, Moe and Curly.  What is different about the show these days, is that people are not laughing at the cliche any more, but getting critical instead.  Movements and decisions with the national welfare in mind are already being made and it seems that there will be plenty more.  Now the people are going from doubting to nods of assent.

For a while many people have been worried about the future of print in daily news delivery, there may be a solution now: there will be news to print.  If the headlines of war mongering and death to poor grammar and even worse critical thinking skills will be replaced.  It seems the new headlines actually have news.  There are no glam photo sessions of this president, just tag-lines and newspaper content.  In two days there has been a tidal change in the quality and moral direction of the subject matter .


Tim Geithner’s name emerges from text that tells the story of the administrations stance on Chinese currency manipulation.  Our trade deficit with them is substance enough, yet since stances were not being taken (cowtowing is more like it), such an important topic did not get the proper media.  Can you hear the crickets (not the whining)?  After a 60-34 senate confirmation no one is talking about back taxes or domestic help.  Ahh…just as it should be.

There are stories about the closing of the Guantanamo military base to curtail or reallocate current Defense spending.  This is an opportunity in many ways.  Communications with Cuba can be opened, the trade embargo can go to the wayside and more peace can exist in the world.  A smear on American integrity equal to Abu Graib and a vestige of the cold war era will be swept away to make room for better relations.  There are so many positive aspects about opening up relations with Cuba, the majors being: a new market for American goods; a travel destination (chaching!) that combines old world culture with UNESCO protected countryside; a new source for importing raw materials like sugar and cobalt.  So Cuban exports may not solve our current economic dilemma, but it cannot hurt.

The kicker, to round off this trio of current domestic news items with international twists, is the permission for stem-cell research to be performed on humans.  So this is not exactly a treasure chest of federal monies, but it is an astral leap compared to the last administration.  Federal monies are better served in other federal programs right now, ones that will give a more immediate jolt towards stopping this slow churning locomotive of economic depression.  Once we stop that steam breathing demon we can all get aboard and go for a much, much better ride.

This thread is just the beginning.  This is change.  It is only the first week, but already there is a renewed spirit matched with action.  Up markets, up people and a feeling that good things are on their way up too; this bodes for a better future.  This new well-spring of news is the tapping of an aquifer that has always known to be there, as it has been tapped a few times in the past, yet for some reason became an El Dorado.  Now the national GPS has put a way-point on it and will keep going back, so as to keep this new engine of change a’going.