Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Birk Economic Recovery Plan

Someone e-mailed this to me and I thought it sounded great. I never really thought about the math, but this makes great sense. We wouldn't need the 700 million dollar baillout if we just took the AIG bailout money and distributed it like this:

This idea sounds just crazy enough to possibly work, so naturally it won't be given serious consideration. How great is our bureaucracy!!
Hi Pals,I'm against the $85,000,000,000.00 bailout of AIG.Instead, I'm in favor of giving $85,000,000,000 to America in a We Deserve It Dividend.To make the math simple, let's assume there are 200,000,000 bonafide U.S. Citizens 18+.Our population is about 301,000,000 +/- counting every man, woman and child. So 200,000,000 might be a fair stab at adults 18 and up..So divide 200 million adults 18+ into $85 billion that equals $425,000.00.My plan is to give $425,000 to every person 18+ as a We Deserve It Dividend.Of course, it would NOT be tax free.So let's assume a tax rate of 30%.Every individual 18+ has to pay $127,500.00 in taxes.That sends $25,500,000,000 right back to Uncle Sam.But it means that every adult 18+ has $297,500.00 in thei r pocket.A husband and wife has $595,000.00.What would you do with $297,500.00 to $595,000.00 in your family?Pay off your mortgage - housing crisis solved.Repay college loans - what a great boost to new gradsPut away money for college - it'll be thereSave in a bank - create money to loan to entrepreneurs.Buy a new car - create jobsInvest in the market - capital drives growthPay for your parent's medical insurance - health care improvesEnable Deadbeat Dads to come clean - or elseRemember this is for every adult U S Citizen 18+ including the folks who lost their jobs at Lehman Brothers and every other company that is cutting back. And of course, for those serving in our Armed Forces.If we're going to re-distribute wealth let's really do it...instead of trickling out a puny $1000.00 ( "vote buy" ) economic incentive that is being proposedby one of our candidates for President.If we're going to do an $85 billion bailout, let's bail out every adult U S Citizen 18+!As for AIG - liquidate it.Sell off its parts.Let American General go back to being American General.Sell off the real estate.Let the private sector bargain hunters cut it up and clean it up.Here's my rationale. We deserve it and AIG doesn't.Sure it's a crazy idea that can "never work."But can you imagine the Coast-To-Coast Block Party!How do you spell Economic Boom?I trust my fellow adult Americans to know how to use the $85 BillionWe Deserve It Dividend more than I do the geniuses at AIG or in Washington DC And remember, The Birk plan only really costs $59.5 Billion because $25.5 Billion is returned instantly in taxes to Uncle Sam.Ahhh...I feel so much better getting that off my chest.Kindest personal regards,BirkT. J . Birkenmeier, A Creative Guy & Citizen of the RepublicPS: Feel free to pass this along to your pals as it's either good for a laugh or a tear or a very sobering thought on how to best use $85 Billion!!

Picture Post

I couldn't figure out how to edit the post I did about our up north trip in order to add photos, so I'm just going to put a bunch here.

The first thing the girls went to at my brother's place was the chicken coop. just the right size to house chickens and seven year olds.

Meet Mason, the egg-lovin' egg-stealin' great dane who thinks he's a lapdog.

Allison kept a pocketful of corn so that the girls could feed the angora goats (and sheep, not in this picture). They seemed to be having a lot of fun. They kept going back for more.

Deb bonded with a stunned goldfinch while we were at June's house. He became so attached, he didn't want to let go when Deb tried to put him down.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Bailout Buffoonery

(Note: This was written last night, just posted tonight.)

For the first time in my flaming liberal life, I agree with Newt Gingrich on this economic bailout thing. He has been saying that we need to stop a minute and really think through who the bailout will benefit (he states it should be the people-not the wall street big bad wolves.) and who are Paulson and Bernanke going to report to when they are told, "show me the money". He said that we shouldn't draft knee-jerk two day solution that will cause a twenty year mess to clean up. I hate having to admit that I agree with him.

In order to portray McCain as a hero-reformer instead of a chicken shit who is trying to bow out of a debate that he knows he can't win, his Republican pals are trying to backpedal and say, "whoa-we don't like this bailout idea." Let's face it, McCain didn't march into Washington to battle the evil democrats and the traito administration. He retreated to Washington with his tail between his legs trying to avoid a battle that he knows he can't win.

As Obama said, our nest president needs to know how to multi task.

In a round about way, McCain admitted that he can't keep an eye on the economic situation and at the same time jump on a jet for a 90 minute debate, to quickly return to where he feels he needs to be twiddling his thumbs. So how can we count on him to supervise two wars (and possibly more if we don't keep our nose out of other people's business), balance the budget, help the hurricaine survivors in Texas, make sure that his selfish, nutjob vice-president doesn't fire the entire White House staff in order to hire her high school buds while he still manages to get enough sleep and decent nutrition so that his melanoma doewsn't come back and kill him, which would leave us with a loony unqualified beauty queen who feels sanctified by God to take over the world!

Todays question is: are we willing to give up 700 BILLION dollars that could be spent (if we had it) on helping people in practical ways to enjoy the liberty of, say, decent healthcare or safe and effective schools, in exchange for the security of banks and Wall Stret executives who have been preying upon people's fears of not having homes if they don't sign on for outrageous usery charges?

I think that the tip of the iceburg was breached a little when negotiations stated that there would be a cap on CEO salaries of the bailed out institutions. The thing is, those CEOS weren't the only ones involved in the scam. Shouldn't the bailout include a provision like that the governmenbt won't pay more than , say, 50-75 cents on the dollar for the bad debts so that they have some leeway to negotiate payoff terms with the individuals owing mortgages that their diminishing real income can no longer support? That way there will be some hope of dignity for those individuals to be able to survive without the humiliation of becoming homeless and there would be the practical probability that "we" (the taxpayers/government/people) would be able to recover some of the debt that we incurred in the bailout itself. If the troubled banks choose not to take this lowball offer, then they can forfeit any and all possibility of being bailed out of the same mess later.

I make absolutely no claim to knowledge in this area. My basic MacroEconomics class that I slept through twenty years ago, grants me no insight or third-eye intuition about this mess. I do know it won't be solved in a day or with one person dictating what will be. Perhaps I've got it all wrong. Perhaps we need to have a congressional seance and ask Roosevelt what he would do. We can't go to war to jump-start the economy like happened with World War II. Fighting two wars is probably part of what got us in this fiscal fiasco to begin with.

Perhaps, instead of using the 700 billion dollars as a banking bail-out, the government could use it to create real jobs to stimulate the economy so people can make good on the debts that they signed on to.

Okay, maybe I'm too optimisic or maybe I'm too pessimistic. I'm not sure. One of my friends first calls me one, then calls me the other, what's a girl to believe?

Hey, another thing that my friend said...Does anyone remember that this whole mess began in the first place when Saint Ronald (not MacDonald) decided that American banks should be trusted to regulate themselves, after all if they don't, they will lose profits and we can't have that, can we? Reganomics brought us the idea of giving the rich more money than God and trust that they will spend it in a way that will create menial jobs to keep the masses busy with minimally paying jobs so they don't have the time or education to realize that minimum wage is not a living wage, no matter how much you neglect your kids to juggle multiple paychecks. Have they inducted him into the economic hall of fame yet? If wo, I think that honor should be revoked and those who still worship at the porcelain altar of Saint Reagan need to look up and see where those policies flushed us (we, the people).

OOPS. I forgot, my new hero, Newt Gingrich is one of the ones who needs to fece up to his marriage with Reganomics. Thier de-regulation has ended up to be a mess that is bieng cleaned up over twenty years later, just what Newt wants to avoid this time around.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Great Egg Dane and a Dizzy Goldfinch

Deb and I and Annie and Ellen and June and Maddie and Ana went up north a couple of weekends ago. We had a house rented a little south of Petosky. I called my brother, Paul, ahead of time to see if we could bring the girls over to see the angora goats, sheep and chickens. When we got there, the first thing that the girls did was check out the chicken coop. They immediately spotted some eggs and Ana talked Deb into going into the coop with her to get them while Maddie directed them on where to go. The eggs were HUGE!! When the girls (Maddie, Ana and Deb) came up to the barn with five big, poopy eggs, Allison told them that they can keep them, and to be careful because Mason, their great dane, loves eggs. So, the girls very carefully selected the ideal place to put them so that they could check out the four leggeds while their eggs were safe. They found a wheelbarrow piled high with hay and very carefully nestled the eggs in the protective hay. After several minutes of all of us feeding and petting the sheep and goats, Deb yells "Mason" and we all hear a loud crunch. The booger of a big dog had just bitten down on his fourth egg. There was only one left. He was so quick and so sneaky that it took that many dog-scrambled eggs before he was caught. Allison was generous and gave the girls a whole dozen eggs that she had collected earlier, so that they could take home some eggs of their own that weren't in Mason's belly.

On the way home, Deb and I spent the night at June's house. In the morning, a goldfinch bashed its little head against June's beautiful wall of windows. When we looked, he was lying on his back not moving a muscle except that he was breathing very fast and very hard. Deb held the little guy, just beginning to get his winter colors, until he opened his tiny eyes. Then he closed them again and appeared to fall asleep nestled near her neck. He opened and closed his eyes as if driffting in and out of sleep for several minutes. He gripped her shirt in his little claws and wouldn't let her go when it was time for him to go on his own. Finally, she got him onto a storage bench and we had to leave June's. Later, June told Deb that he eventually did recover and fly away.

I don't have time right now, but I'll add some pictures to this blog entry later. I got some good ones of both of these parts of our trip.

I feel so blessed to have such awesome people in my life, friends and family who are such real people that I can just enjoy myself with them.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Something I keep forgetting to rant about is the missing honeybees!! Is anyone else as freaked out as I am that the bees seem to be taking residence with the aliens? Well, maybe not, but they may as well be, they are disappearing without a trace. All over the world!! Especially in North America. Does anyone know if anyone has studied the physical proximity of the affected hives to genetically modified crops? (I know, I know, one of my pet paranoias is this whole G.M. food thing.)

If honey bees keep disappearing, food prices will be out of reach for many people, not just the poorest, but the middle class as well. If the honey bees go, we will have no almonds or honey and there will be a lot of other foods that will become scarcer, as the bees disappear.

On a good bee note, the giant thistle that has taken over the flower bed in front of my house has grown so tall that I can see its deadly spikes and purple prickly flowers through the bay window. Almost every day, I see bees feeding on the thistle nectar, as happy as can bee. I can’t bear to get rid of the thing because it brings such bee joy. There is even a goldfinch that zooms in on the purple puffy flowers now and then.

I truly believe the adage that a plant is only a weed if it grows somewhere that we (humans) don’t want it to grow.

That is why I haven’t been able to bring myself to yank the volunteer tomato plants that have grown smack in the middle of the walkways that we worked so hard to weed-proof last year. Many of those tomato-weeds have born delicious, prolific fruit. Some of them are mere saplings in the shadow of their giant siblings.

Remember the peach tomatoes I raved about last year? Volunteers. The romas that I spent the other afternoon making into tomato puree? Volunteers. (Seven quarts full so far, when added to the ones I got from Dolores and Walt.) Yellow Pear tomatoes-Deb’s favorites? Volunteers. Big cherry-like ones I can’t name? Volunteers. Heart-shaped ones? Volunteers. Brandywines-red and yellow? I planted those. They are big and beautiful and still green! Yum. I can’t wait! Not volunteers.

Did I mention that the slugs wiped out an entire 12 foot by 4 foot bed of peppers? Twice?

Why is it that slugs can take over the world but honeybees have decided to go live with the aliens?

By the way, is it legal to keep honeybee hives in the city of Flint? How about chickens? Do chickens eat honeybees? (Yes, these are real questions. Don’t laugh. Let me know if you know the answers.)

(Note: I wrote this last week, I juist didn't post it until today.)

Update since writing this: I went out this morning to pick more tomatoes. I found lots of red ones. The problem is that the slugs, with the cooler weather, have somehow totally taken over that corner of the world!! Only a fraction of the red tomatoes were salvagable, the rest had been ravaged by little invisible slug teeth.

Needling Deb's Migraine

(Note: This was written September 10, I've just been slow posting this entry.)
Over the course of 9 days, Deb was dealing with a terrible migraine. I couldn’t cook much because smells made her nauseated. She wore sunglasses and kept the curtains closed because light made her hurt more. I couldn’t even run energy on her because it hurt too much. At one point, she came out of the bathroom rubbing her hands and telling me that something is wrong with the soap. The sensation in her hands was all messed up to where the soap didn’t feel right. During that nine days, she couldn’t drive because the sun and the things moving by fast hurt her eyes and made her nauseated. (She was able to drive half way to Ann Arbor for my Doctor’s appointment, but then I had to take over.) So, since she couldn’t drive in order to try to figure out what was wrong and to try to fix it, or at least make it tolerable, I drove her to the doctor three times and to the emergency room once. Nothing helped. Imatrex helped slightly for a couple of hours. Topamax and Fenegren helped for about 10 minutes and Morphine helped for about 30 minutes. Finally, on Monday, Deb decided to go to the acupuncturist. The only appointment she could get was Tuesday late afternoon. She couldn’t drive herself, so I played hookey from school to take her.

Now, that same day (Tuesday), at 11am was her third doctors appointment to try to do SOMETHING about the migraine. Deb had already taken her handful of morning meds, including the long term antibiotic for the Chlamydia Pneumonia that she has. Well, the Doctor, on day 9 of her blinding migraine, decided that the doxycyclene is what gave her the migraine. Go figure. And, she had already taken her morning dose. Dern it.

Ahh, but then, several hours later came 20 needles placed strategically in her hands, arms, feet, legs and right earlobe. She had almost instant relief for the first time since this migraine began. Ask her about the trip she took, it sounds really awesome. We were both kicking ourselves for not thinking of that earlier. Next time, that will probably be her first line of defense.

From the outside, seeing how the migraine made her light, smell and touch sensitive, but also affected her speech, coordination, balance and thought patterns. I’m beginning to think that maybe her doctor was right, way back when and her mystery episodes may actually have been headache-free migraines all along!!

She’s got another appointment at the acupuncturist, Brittney Schram, next week. We are going to try to fit into our budget, regular visits for Deb to see her, because if these episodes have really been migraines all along, maybe Brittney can help them stop, or be less requent or less severe. Something. Finally, some hope of an answer and of relief.

I had my three month check up at U of M on Monday. The pelvic exam looked good. I now get to go every four months since it’s been a year since finishing chemo and radiation. Yeah!! I don’t know the pap results yet. My CA125 bloodwork (tumor marker) came back elevated again. Even more than the last time it jumped. I’m not going to stress about it at this point. I stressed last time and it dropped right back down in a month. I’m not going to let it get to me this time. I’m sure it will drop back down once again. I may very well be one of the people for whom that test is meaningless. If my pap comes back irregular, then I’ll start getting nervous, but for now, no worries.

For those of you in my family who are reading this- I am so sorry for missing Bud’s funeral. I’m not good about checking my e-mail, so I missed it. (Actually, since composing this, I have checked my e-mail and didn’t find the announcement. As a matter of fact, I have no idea how, but Mig’s e-mail address has totally disappeared from my address book.) I hope you all were able to comfort one another and laugh together, as he would wish.