About Me

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New York City, New York, United States
41 year old African-American Male. I like to think of myself as a jack of all trades and a master of none...I rely on reasoned common sense, rationality and what my gut tells me is right/wrong (combined with the well reasoned opinions of others!). I don't consider myself an expert on anything in particular, but I have lots of opinions.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


I haven't figured out why I am so slow at times...Today was the first day that I decided to see if there is an actual web-site for Occupy Wall Street---there is and here it is...http://occupywallst.org/

I decided to look for it after my partner and I decided that we would contribute financially to the protesters...I still don't know why I didn't take a moment to search for it sooner...

Cain is a Fraud

Herman Cain is a fraud, but I didn't need this article to tell (detailing his extensive ties to the ultra wealthy Koch brothers, who have an extensive history of funding radical and extremist right wing causes) to tell me that...In fairness, I guess he is no different than most politicans, who are pretty much bought and sold by special interests.  Nonetheless, it does add even more color to the origins of his "ideas" (and I use that term loosely).

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Wall Street Views OWS with Disdain

According to this story in the New York Times, most bankers privately view the OWS crowd with disdain...That's not really surprising considering that a prime (although not the sole) target of the protesters appear to be excessive corporate greed (as I understand the OWS movement).  There is no place that I can think of where corporate greed is more pervasive than on Wall Street.  I mean, honestly...one banker quoted in the article stated that financial services is one area left in this country where "we" (meaning, presumably, Americans) perform well.  Really?  The economic downturn of the last several years was caused by whom?  The sole proprietor of the bodega around the corner from my house?  Or, maybe it was my local dry cleaner? Perhaps it was the sales clerk who helped me at a local department store this afternoon...

I don't personally know any of the organizers or the protesters (so, I can't profess to speak for them), but I certainly understand their pain and fristration...The rate of income inequality in this country is a sad state of affairs (and, contrary to the popular narrative, is not a correlative to effort and/or competence---either for those on the top or the bottom of the inequality pyramid).  I was a proponent of the TARP program because I was under the belief that it was necessary to stave off wide spread economic disaster....But, I wasn't a fan of providing bailouts to the largest financial institutions without conditions (which is exactly what the politicians did).  To express their grattitude for saving their behinds, what did the bankers do?  Instead of using the money to ease the credit crunch (which presumably was  factor in causing the downturn to reverberate throughout the economy), they instead awarded themselves out sized bonuses that in no way were tide to performance (or, they wouldn't have needed the bailouts in the first place!).  I still have a hard time understanding how/why AIG was allowed conscious to pay their counter parties 100% on the dollar for claims (what ever happened to negotiating!) or how AIG was able in good conscious to award retention bonuses to their employees (again, whatever happened to negotiation?!  As a condition of receiving federal bailout fund, AIG should have been required to go back to all necessary parties and re-negotiate those agreements!!!!!!)...I also don't understand how a hudgefund manager is able to pay a federal tax rate of 15% on his/her income (which is often many multiples of millions of dollars) under the auspices that the income is a "return on investment" or the equivalent of a dividend.  The reality is that most hedge fund managers are not really earning a return on their own actual investment (of either their sweat or financial equity).  The money used to make their risky investments is often borrowed.  Contrast that 15% tax rate with the rate federal tax rate of 25% - 35% for folks earning a standard salary (and who lack the funds to lobby politicans for favorable tax treatment).

Here is but another example of questionable business practices by one of the country's "esteemed bankers"....Goldman Sachs makes a foray into the shady area of for-profit educational institutions...The institution at issue experiences phenomenal growth (and, therefore, an substantial increase in federally guaranteed student aid)...Except that the enrolled students have questionable credentials, are often manipulated and/or coerced into enrolling and when they default on their government back loans, the average American (that's you and I) are left holding the bag while Godman makes out like a bandit (literally).

So, when a banker says that s/he doesn't understand why Americans are so upset about the current economic climate or that they don't "get" the ire of the OWS crowd, I respond that s/he (the banker) just doesn't get it....and, I suggest a look period of introspection...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Made in America...As Easy is ABC...

This little series being run on ABC News (actually, I think that the official title is World News with Diane Sawyer) is interesting...The reporter(s) attempt to showcase all us what we can do to help the American economy by purchasing American made products (a laudable goal).  Given that the ABC is part of the huge Walt Disney conglomerate, I am curious as to what their own purchasing department (not just ABC, but the entire Disney organization) is doing?  Just me being cynical I guess...

Friday, October 7, 2011

Occupy Wall Street

Link to a post from the New Deal 2.0 on why the Wall Street protestors should not be ignored...I have noticed the mocking tone taken by some in the MSM media (to the extent I can stomach any of the MSM)...I have been a little confused about the point of the protest (and may be that's just it...they are protesting many different things...frankly, there is plenty to be upset about).  The corrupt and intertwined financial poker game that is been played on the majority of people who don't constitute the "1%" should cause outrage.  I just don't have an answer on what can/should be done...

Kanye's Designs

Kanye's first showing of his women's wear designs appears to have been a bust...All I saw were the pics that accompany the linked article...Not sure if any of that stuff is...worth calling "designs".  Maybe he will try again.

Fred Shuttlesworth

I have to admit that I knew nothing of Fred Shuttlesworth, who died on Wednesday.  I just read this op-ed piece on the New York Times today on the contributions of Mr. Shuttlesworth.  (Of course), I am not foolish enough to believe that King was a lone soldier in the Civil Rights Movement and I know that there are more unsung folks who have not (and likely will not) receive their dure praise...He is but one of that bunch.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Surcharge? What is a Surcharge?????

Will this "millionaire surcharge" replace the tax code loophole that allows hedge fund managers to pay the same tax rate on income equivalent to the rate for long term capital gains (15%)?  If so, I am already against it.  I thought that these folks were going to get serious about rectifying the inequities of our the tax code?  Moreover, the whole idea of a "surcharge" just sounds punitive...and, stupid!  I am no fan of Mitch McConnell, but I somewhat wish Reid would have lost his leadership position in 2010...At least with McConnell, I expect nothing...Damn, I wish Pelosi were still in a leadership position (in the House)!

An Angry Black Man Emerges....

This is why I am not voting for Herman Cain- he's a moron...It has nothing to do with me being "brainwahsed".

Scholar and advocate Derrick Bell Passes

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

More Info on Wealth/Income Inequality

More info of wealth/income inequality...I'm not exactly in the Peace Corps nor am I in the nonprofit sector...I also am not in the Top 1% of wealthy Americans (which is cool)...I recognize that I earn a higher income than the average American (and less than some other Americans)...I have been fortunate...I am willing to pay more in taxes if that means someone less fortunate will have access to certain services they might not otherwise be able to afford (like food, shelter, some time of health care...you know, the basics...).  As I have gone on ad nausem-extensive income inequality is and has been a problem in this country for some time.  Real wages for the middles have been stagnant for decades...This is enormous implications for the country's continued economic growth.

What's It All About?

I watch a lot of political television and read even more about politics. I often wonder if all the pundits do is point to what the opposing side is saying and talk about how crazy it sounds?  I just am not finding much interesting or new...no proposals, no new solutions...just the same b.s., which would be find if the country were not headed in a downward spiral...Maybe I should just stop worrying about it.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Take By the Dream update...

I have to say that I am disappointed, but not surprised by the scant media coverage given to the "Take Back the Dream" conference being held right now in DC...But, that's ok...Although I am not there in person, I am present in spirit (along with a recent monetary contribution toward the group's efforts).  Keep up the good fight my friends!

Below...some words from Van Jones (that I lifted from the "Take Back the Dream" blog as written by Bill Scher)...

We Don't Need  A Messiah.We Have A Movement.
Van Jones put to rest the notion of a divided Left, as he kicked off the Take Back the American Dream conference today.
Noting the wide-ranging feelings about President Barack Obama among the thousands attending the conference, Jones said: "Some people love the president. Some don't. But the point is, what are we going to do?"
To solve the jobs crisis, to rebuild our infrastructure, to restore tax fairness, to renew a vibrant middle class, we don't need to agree about Barack Obama. Because, as Van Jones said, the slogan of 2008 wasn't, "Yes HE Can." It was "Yes WE Can."
Jones counseled the crowd not to wait for a "messiah" or a "Superman," because the American Dream movement is "your movement."
And lest anyone had forgotten what the movement had already accomplished, despite the blows we had already suffered, Jones offered a recent history lesson.
The movement rallied millions to stop President George Bush from invading Iraq. He ignored us. "We could have quit then, but we didn't," reminded Jones.
Even after progressives fell short in ousting Bush in 2004, and Karl Rove pledged to establish a "permanent Republican majority," folks did not quit. And just years later, Rove's dream was shattered by the lost of the Congress.
"You get knocked down, but you get back up," said Jones.
Today, we are getting back up. Jones reported that American Dream rallies outnumbered Tea Party rallies 10 to 1 in August. And now, proudly said Jones, "The White House is talking different because we are walking different."
Jones gently chided those who have feel disaffected and disengaged, saying, "Call your grandmother. Get some perspective." Our predecessors fought for economic fairness during the Great Depression. Our predecessors fought for civil rights in the face of fire hoses. There is no reason think we cannot stand together today, and take back the American Dream for all Americans.
Judging from the crowd, by the time Van Jones was done, any demoralizing disappointment that came into the room had vanished, replaced by a renewed hunger to show what we can do. By ourselves. Working together