Timing is everything

www.nyt.com photo
www.nyt.com photo

Yesterday, John McCain suspended his campaign, saying he was racing off to Washington shortly after his appearance at the Clinton Global Initiative at 8:45am to fix the financial crisis in America in a 4:00pm meeting with the president, House and Senate leaders and Obama at the White House.

At 2:36pm, the senators all announced they had a deal.

Shortly before 4:00pm, McCain went to the meeting at the White House and did what exactly? What could he possibly have done between the time he left the Clinton Global Initiative this morning in New York and 2:36pm in Washinton DC.

Assuming he flew between the two cities, this man is a SuperSenator! Thank God for John McCain!

Seriously, Mr. President…

Yesterday, I got a letter from Montgomery County in Ohio that my home has been appraised for an additional $10,000 over last year. Seriously???

From Bush’s speech last night:

I also understand the frustration of responsible Americans who pay their mortgages on time, file their tax returns every April 15th, and are reluctant to pay the cost of excesses on Wall Street.

Do you really? Do you know what it is like to KNOW your house is actually worth $30,000 less than it was last year because of what you can sell it for and knowing deep in your heart that you probably can’t sell it at any price because there are no qualified buyers in the highest foreclosure rate county in Ohio? Yet, the county increases the appraisal value because that is how it makes money. It is a constant, vicious cycle that you probably have never known and never will.

Please quit talking, Mr. President. Please, just quit talking.

Good politics, good timing, bad ethics

Source: www.state.gov
Source: www.state.gov
I don’t believe in conspiracy theory, but I do believe in well-timed political maneuvering. The pull-out agreement that Rice and Zebari announced on Friday smacks of this kind of political positioning, devoid of any ethical or moral responsibility to the country, troops, citizens and self. The timing of the announcement a few days before the DNC in Denver takes the wind out of the Obama sails, deflating any opportunity that could be made for ending the war in Iraq and bringing the troops home soon.

One could make the argument that these things take time to negotiate, that the Iraqis are ready to stand on their own without the United States, that the Iraqi government has developed and the timing of the announcement was merely coincidental. One would not want to assert that the President of the United States is playing political games with the lives of the armed forces, their families and the citizens of another sovereign nation.

But, the attitudes of the administration, the timing of the events that are about to unfold in the coming months with the election and the earnestness Mr. Bush has with establishing a legacy tends to belie the honesty and coincidental nature of the event.

Some would say that 2011 is just no do-able, it is too soon and the task too complicated. But, for those who attempt to make an argument that Mr. Bush and Mr. McCain wish to stay in Iraq for the “next 100 years,” they will now be pooh-poohed as alarmists, making a case for a war that has now effectively ended.

The political skill is admirable. The ethics are reprehensible.

The kids are alright!

I was walking along on Friday and I hear these voices from around the corner. “Mow that lawn straight!” “Don’t talk to me, keep working,” “Turn that mower around,” “Watch the edge,” “Mow AROUND the bush, not in it.” etc…

As I turned the corner, we saw two kids, 12-13 years old. One was mowing his lawn and the other was walking next to him, shouting these orders. The kid mowing was clearly competent, but the one walking next to him was still telling him what to do at every step.

It looked like the one kid mowing lived there and his “boss” had come over to visit. Maybe they thought this was a funny way to pass the time and have a little fun with a menial task that had to get done before they ran off and did what they really wanted to do on a Friday afternoon.

But, in play, they were learning some valuable life skills and lessons. Your boss will almost never think you are capable of doing a job without him/her telling you what to do at each turn and everyone has a boss, even in play.

So, GenY… this is your legacy. The NextGen is learning that work is not showing up when you want, mowing the way you want to or never having a boss. The NextGen is learning that work is work and you need to get that done so you can play. And while you are working, you will endure horrible indignities and you will learn how to deal with them with grace.

The kids are alright.

Eat dessert first

Wall Street Journal 2008-07-14 Michael WitteI read the Wall Street Journal. I have since I was a young puppy when I got my first job at Dog Pound, Inc. While my peers always flipped to the Money sections, checked the stock quotes, etc., the first section I read was MarketPlace. This is where all the “life” bits happened which drove the other parts of the paper, like stock prices, financial markets, etc. Its a bit of wisdom that most dogs get later in life when they figured out that “managing stocks and portfolios” is really wagging the dog.

Anyway, almost the entire WSJ today was gloom and doom about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the collapse of Steve & Barry’s, the feds seizing IndyMac, how to sell your home in a down market, consumer confidence at an all-time low. But, on the very last page, I ran into an article by George Anders titled “Buy Now, Don’t Regret it Later.” What a remarkable bit of wisdom!

It is a few hundred words and worth the time to read, but it all boils down to “take time out to pee on that bush, linger over the smelly thing, say hi to the neighbor dog…” Pay attention to the non-money things in your life as that is what will make it richer. Read the opinions, essays and Marketplace FIRST.. then, when you have time, read the gloom and doom on the financial pages.

The photo was shamelessly lifted from wsj.com and is credited to Michael Witte. If he complains about it being here, we’ll take it off…. but, I hope he doesn’t

Memorial Day

As I was lifting my leg to bless the Englewood Independent lying on my doorstep this morning, the front page article caught my eye. So, I bent down to read it before soaking it. The main headline read “Memorial Day: Remembering those who preserve freedom.”

It was a good article about Air Force Capt. Bob Everdeen from Clayton who served in Afghanistan. However, the headline just kept sticking in my head. I am not anti-military, though you may view the following as such. But, if you leave a comment about me being anti-military, you just have not read this post nor have you thought about anything in it. Fair warning.

The military does NOT preserve freedoms. It protects the citizens from military threats, both foreign and domestic which are casually ASSUMED and “marketed” by our leaders (and reflected by journalists, shame on you) to be launched to take away our “freedoms.” In reality, our freedoms are being taken by our own government, who seek to control the citizenry through fear, intimidation, abuse of power and any other tool it can contrive to keep power. For example, Osama bin Laden did not want to take away our freedoms by striking the towers and the Pentagon; he just wanted to strike America where she hurts the most, in the wallet. He doesn’t care about our “freedoms,” but he does care about killing Americans, crippling our economy and forcing America out of the Middle East. Big difference. Yet, the actions were marketed by the current administration as an attack to “take away our freedoms.”

Read the Patriot Act, take a look at the laws that allow wire-tapping, racketeering, eminent domain, declaring a US citizen an unlawful combatant and see how they are being perverted and applied to US citizens. All of these things should scare the average citizen, not just us dogs. It is all of these things that the military is “preserving” for its citizens? Hmmm….

Freedom is preserved by Americans by NOT allowing our government to overstep any authority it derives from its CITIZENS. This starts at the local level in school boards, at city government council meetings, county tax offices, etc. Leash laws, for example. Why? To take away my freedom to sniff on a tree, to pee on a bush — purchased with tax dollars, planted by a city worker on city property, to dally over a smelly bird carcass, to be in the city park behind the Englewood government center palace stretched out in a full run with the wind in my ears?

Freedom is also preserved by skilled diplomats who talk with other government leaders. More good comes from mutual respect and patience than by any military action any government can impose on another. It is just a matter of time — 1 year, 100 years, 1,000 years — before the oppressed rises up and crushes the oppressor. But, mutual respect and patience builds a common goal that preserves freedoms for both parties for 1 year, 100 years, 1,000 years.

Get involved, find a voice, preserve your own freedoms. Make this country a strong America that only the really stupid would ever think of invading. When every citizen has the passion to defend his/her freedoms from any enemy, foreign and domestic, perhaps we will feel less like relying on a military force to “preserve our freedoms” and take on the role for ourselves. And, perhaps our government leaders will think twice before “defending” our freedoms through laws that serve to limit the activities of its citizens for their own protection.

I got no leash on me

I run with this one dog who loves to walk. When his owner grabs the leash, he jumps up and down, gets all excited about going for a walk.

He gets the leash clipped on his collar and he pulls on the lease the entire way. But, when his owner lets go of the lease in the middle of the walk, he just stops.

“You can run,” I tell him! But, he doesn’t.

“The leash is on me,” he says, “where could I possibly go?”

I don’t walk with a leash, much to the angst of the Englewood police department. They stop us every few weeks and ask us if we are on a leash. Since the statute doesn’t technically require it, I never get a ticket. But, they still try.

I know I could run at any time. I would not starve nor get cold because I can hunt food and find shelter anywhere. I am still a dog.

I choose to stay with my owner cause he is a really cool guy, loves me to death and edits my blog. (I make a lot of typos cause I have no thumbs.. hard to hit the space bar.) He chooses to stay with me for all sorts of reasons, mostly cause I’m there for him as well. Because he doesn’t put a leash on me, I am free to sniff the neighbors bushes, pee on any tree I want, dally over a smelly something on the sidewalk; things we dogs NEED. And he understands that.

But, I always come back to walk at his side. Not because he attaches me to a leash, but because I choose it.

Age

In June, I will be 8 years old, which in human years makes me about 56. I am becoming a dog of “a certain age.”

My most favorite thing to do is to curl up naked at the foot of the couch, with my owner’s toes against my tummy, my head on his leg, staring into his eyes. If I were to die right there on the sofa, I would die a happy puppy. I ache terribly when he is gone.

But, I also like taking walks. Lots of them. I like sniffing around in my neighborhood, but I also like the excitement that comes with finding new smells, greeting new dogs. Mostly, though, I hang with a group of dogs where I am the “middle aged” mutt. There is the younger dogs with lots of energy, whose goal on a walk is to consume as much walkway, pee on as many trees and bushes as possible and munch his way through life.. quickly. Then, there are a couple of older ladies who, on occasion, have been known to just sit and take a rest when they need to. Sometimes in the middle of the street.

For the most part, the younger dog becomes impatient. Old dogs drag him down. But, I usually find a shady patch of grass and hang a bit. If she doesn’t move for a while, I’ll go back and gently nuzzle her nose. She eventually starts up again and all is good.

The younger dog gets impatient with me. “What if the school door is closed and it doesn’t smell as good when we get there” or “The leaves will have fallen from the bush if we dawdle.” Well, I tell him we’ll still get there, and if things are different when we do, then we embrace that change as something new, something discovered. He snorts. In a few years, he will probably understand, but for now, it is all about conquest.

The best part about my walks is coming home, but the worst part about my walks is also coming home. Home is comfortable, safe. But home is where I can’t experience new things. Perhaps that is the middle-aged puppy struggle. I’m sure in a few years, when I am the old dog who just plops, sits and rests in the middle of a road when things get too fast, this post will seem all very silly, a desperate cry of “youth” to understand; a youthful boast about understanding age. And I will smile at my younger self and know that I really did not know what I thought I did.

I like my puppy friends and I will miss the older ladies when they can no longer walk with us. I hope when I am older, someone will always be there to reach back, wait for me when I need to rest and nuzzle my nose when I need it most.