Economic Woes

After the disappointing discovery that Cold Stone Creamery has closed, I decided to look a little deeper into the AIG concerns of today.

I've been following the recent Wall Street turmoil with a sickening fascination, like watching a slow-motion building implosion. Did you know that there are only TWO independant investment banks left in the US? Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. The others (Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Bros.) are all gone. Bought out, bankrupt. Goldman Sachs just posted the worst earnings since going public.

How much worse is it going to get? AIG (largest industrial and technical insurance company in the US) is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. That's $441 billion in assets. Stocks are plummeting. Is my 401k going to be there when Indi and I leave the country in March?

I'm not really concerned with "who to blame" right now. It's more "what can we do?" to turn things around. This kind of thing always trickles down. How long before I start to see personal, meaningful changes? Sure, an ice cream parlor went into foreclosure. These things happen. But is this a sign for the future?

We're already seeing a downturn in business at the store. How long before AT&T starts to trim things to keep moving forward?

Damn Economy!

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T


A good visit

My grandmother Gail (Dad's side) is in the hospital for another round of chemotherapy. Her leukemia has returned.

I don't get to visit with my grandmother (either of them, really) very often. I went up to see her last night and we visited for two hours. It was really nice to spend some time with her and she was very happy to see me.

We talked about a variety of things.

We talked politics: she has been a John Edwards fan for the last several election cycles, and would've campaigned for him if she felt up to it. She was very disappointed with his infidelity revelation and has lost most of her interest in the political cycle this time through. She said she isn't scared of Obama, though, like some folks she knows, and thinks McCain is too old and cancerous.

We talked the war: Grandma said during her childhood, the country was united for WWII and everyone did their part. Her Mom worked in an ammunition depot, her Dad collected metal and other recyclables to donate, they bought everything with gov't stamps (only two pairs of shoes a year, etc). After the war, credit started showing up and her folks bought their first refridgerator.

We talked medicine: She doesn't believe in getting a blood transfusion. She refuses. I was intrigued by this. She points to the advancement of science and the sickness/diseases that have been discovered that is carried with blood and genetics and she said, "What else have we not discovered yet?" She's been good enough not to require one for any of her treatments. She's refusing to have her bone marrow harvested, too, though. That just sounds creepy.

We talked family: She is excited for Indi and myself regarding our upcoming world trip. She noted that her generation was focused on home ownership and having a little piece of land. She noted that Mom n Dad's generation was focused on the dollar and accumulating stuff. And from what she's seen, my generation is focused on making an impact.

All in all, it was a great visit.


Obama Tulsa HQ

I got here late, but they said there were approx. 1200 people that showed up. Woot!
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T


Republican Blundering

I've mentioned this before...but I was raised Republican. As a conservative, I generally relate better with the GOP agenda than the Democrats. However, the last eight years have really caused a divergence between my raised values and my new look on life.

If I were still a hardcore republican, I'd be PISSED that McCain picked Sarah Palin as his VP.

She has been Governor of Alaska for 18 months. Before that, she was mayor of Wasilla, AK. End of Line. No, I don't count her time as PTA President or newscaster as her 'experience'. Wasilla, AK has a population of Vinita, OK or about half of Claremore. The entire state of Alaska has 200k less people than the Tulsa metro area. Although this is, indeed, experience...it's not experience for the Vice Presidency. And, let's face it, with McCain's age and history, she is auditioning for the highest office in the land.

She's in the middle of an ongoing investigation where it's alleged that she fired an official for not terminating an Alaska State Trooper.

Most recently her campaign announced that her teenage daughter is pregnant. Now, I know a lot of American families go through this, and I'm not bashing anyone; but this kind of family drama takes a lot of focus and attention. Let alone separately raising a 4 month old newborn with Down's Syndrome.

She doesn't know what the office of VP actually does. Check the YouTube clip, it's everywhere.

She has no foreign relations experience. The fact that several national newscasters (and Cindy McCain) have pointed to her proximity to Russia as foreign relations experience is disturbing.

I would be furious as a Republican, and I'm still upset as a Democrat. Not because McCain picked her, but because she is being so feverishly defended in light of her glaring unpreparedness and gimmicky nomination to get the female vote.