This week congress voted on and passed an amendment (!*@!?**?!) that condemned MoveOn.org for an ad that criticized General Petraeus. Worst of all, a large majority of Democrats voted in favor (!*@!?**?!) of it. And we the American public spent more time (!*@!?**?!) hearing the media coverage on that, and the political fallout against those who did not condemn MoveOn.org.
We spent another week not paying attention to what really counts.
I swear it's much easier for me to just rail against the Republicans, but when my party goes along with the nonsense, I swear (!*@!?**?!). It was less than a year ago I was saying sweet ... now I'm saying something else that starts with S and ends in T (!*@!?**?!).
There is still no Democrat better than President Bill Clinton, who stands up for what all Democrats should be standing up for. He spoke of the hypocrisy of it all. That the same politicians that supported relentless television ads against Vietnam war veterans Max Cleland and John Kerry, were on the floor of the senate voting on an amendment condemning a newspaper ad. The text and video from his interview with Anderson Cooper is really worth checking out if you haven't seen it. If anyone reading this is still using Monica Lewinsky against Bill Clinton... (!*@!?**?!). Oops there I go again.
Translation... it's tapped!
The official start of Oktoberfest was today, it will continue until October 7th. I LOVE Oktoberfest, and I have a difficult time being anywhere else on this opening weekend except in Munich. I'm not in Munich... as you will soon learn.
I went to the official Oktoberfest website to see the latest live shots from the Wies'n, and the tears started. Oh geez. So I went downstairs, so that my sweet husband wouldn't see me crying. He always feels responsible when I cry homesick for Munich.
Actually he should feel responsible. If I hadn't met him, fell in love, and moved to the city he called home for 20 years, I wouldn't be missing it today, and in this state of despair, yes despair!
Missing friends, the energy, my goddaughter (who was born on opening day in 1994), the beer (Augustiner Edelstoff), the grilled chicken (yes, chicken), the obazda, the pretzels, the schnapps, the beer. So what's a girl to do when she's thousands of miles away. Well here's what this girl did in pictures. It helped.
The anniversary of September 12, 2001 is an important and perhaps even sadder day for me than the anniversary of September 11, 2001. The Bush administration took world support and solidarity, and turned it into hostility and hatred towards the US that is much more widespread than prior to 9/11. On this day I find myself asking, how did we let him do this, how did we re-elect him, how do we continue to sit back and let things get worse. Looking back doesn't help much, except to learn what must never happen again. Learning from the past to influence the future is a worthy reflection. We need to move towards a better future.
with flipup headlights, has signature taillights with vertical lines...
I have always loved cars. Growing up, there were a few people around me who loved cars too, an uncle here, a cousin there, but neither of them spent too much (any) time discussing them with me. I secretly prided myself in the fact that during long rides in the backseat of my parents' Oldsmobile I could identify, make and model year of almost any car on the road. American cars of course, and the occasional Volkswagen that was brave enough to drive around midwest steel country. Cars that still standout from back in the day, the 1968 Camaro, 1972 Ford Gran Torino, 1968 Pontiac GTO and the 1968 Mercury Cougar.
The Cougar. I started this entry a couple of days ago but came to a bit of a bump in the road when for the life of me, I could not remember the name of this car. Knew it started with a C, new it came from the Lincoln Mercury line... blank, blank, blank. My husband (another car fanatic) and I were having a wonderful dinner last night, sitting outside at our favorite pizza place, and we started to discuss my stalled blog entry. He said, "oh I'm sure we'll see one soon and it will spark your memory". I answered with, "not likely, you don't see many of these around". A few minutes go by, and he points at a car that took off up the road, and says "that's hot". I turn my head to see the signature taillights driving away! Really. No kidding. He confirmed that the name started with a C, but still no closer.
Thanks to the internet I was able to solve the dilemma, and finish this entry! Along the way I discovered some wonderful websites with posters of car ads from the 60's and early 70's that were equal to the wonderful cars being designed and built in the U.S. They really messed up the Cougar in the early 70's. And it's re-release in 1999 was just plain sad.
Anyway, the 68 Cougar was a great example of some innovative thinking around components. This was a beautiful car, perfect size and power. My high school cheerleading coach drove one. I never thought she was cool, until she gave a couple of us a ride home after practices. She was very cool after that.
One definition of liberal is "open-minded or tolerant, especially free of or not bound by traditional or conventional ideas, values, etc.". Free of conventional ideas... I am, I am... I'm not. At least not when it comes to home mortgages.
In Sunday's New York Times magazine there is a short, very informative article by Roger Lowenstein titled Subprime Time about the current home mortgage and real estate crisis. This is by far the most simple and clear explanation as to the root cause of the financial vulnerability of what always was seen as the most solid of all investments - real estate.
Because mortgages are traded like stocks, local lenders have very little to do with the risk associated with loans. Simply, loans were given to those who could not afford them.
In the article, Lowenstein writes:
As mortgage bankers discovered that investors would buy virtually any loan whatsoever, they naturally lowered their standards. What difference whether a loan was sound if you could flip it in 48 hours? The market thus corrupted, it only wanted for the right circumstances to implode. And over the last few years, as Robert Barbera, the chief economist at the investment advisory firm ITG, observed, the Federal Reserve took short-term interest rates from 1 percent to 5 1/4 percent. This raised mortgage rates and put home buyers at risk of being priced out of the market. But bankers lent to them anyway, offering, in effect, “junk mortgages” — risky loans with low teaser rates (and much higher rates later), as well as other deviations from sound finance. Lenders and borrowers alike knew that such loans were dicey; they were counting on the borrowers to refinance — which, as long as home prices kept rising, was a cinch. Naturally, when prices stopped rising, the music stopped.
He goes on to say:
Homeowners should not be induced to gamble on mortgages that will leave them insolvent should prices fall. Fewer mortgages might be written, but more mortgagees would stay solvent.
This is when I turn conventional... not conservative. "Homeowners should not be INDUCED to gamble on mortgages"??? What are they threatening these people if they don't signup for one of these "junk mortgages"? What about buying within one's means? What about knowing what you can afford? What about buying a smaller home? I need to stop before I sound too... conventional.
We need more commitment to affordable housing. We need to find new, unconventional ways for providing more access to housing other than risky loans. We need some additional tax benefits and protection for those who rent. And stop buying McMansions and starter castles even if that friendly loan officer across the desk says you can swing it. Progress and reform, a true liberal p.o.v.
I've blogged here about my ability to make a mean Greek salad, even provided my recipe right here on this site. We've had our share of them this summer, with fresh ingredients from our local farmer's market. Take a look at the beauty I made last week. I substituted pickling cucumbers for the seedless. And added a couple of yellow tomatoes to mix-it-up a bit. Yummy! We served it with some boneless sirloin lamb chops, corn-on-the-cob and fresh bread. The perfect summer grill. Of course, the company was perfect too. My mouth waters just looking at the photos, and I wish that we could repeat this together a little more often.
For all my constant thoughts and ramblings about EQUALITY, TOLERANCE and INTEGRITY, I realized on a summer's night in August of 2007, in an open field in Troutdale, Oregon that in fact we are NOT all equal. We are not the same.
Case in point - Stevie Wonder is different! The genius kind of different. That transcends generations. And deserves the respect and the love he certainly heard and felt from his audience, for the most part.
For the most part.
At one point this living legend, invited members of the audience up to help him in an audience interaction. These LUCKY people were on stage, NEXT to Stevie Wonder, and do you know what they did? They tried to upstage him. Seriously, they felt as if this was their "Place in the Sun". They failed miserably, but what prompts this? Is it too much reality TV? Is it American Idol-itis? What is it?
Yes, we all deserve our place in the sun. Yes, we are all created equal. We are NOT the same.
And really... bottom line, IT WAS STEVIE WONDER people!!