Op-Ed Wall Street’s Jet Setters

Wall Street’s Socialist Jet-Setters By MAUREEN DOWD – Published: January 27, 2009

How are these ruthless, careless ghouls who murdered the economy still walking around (not to mention that sociopathic sadist Bernie Madoff?) — and not as perps?

Bring on the shackles. Let the show trials begin.

Very frustrating indeed, but I don’t know of any means of invoking a change. We can complain on the net and raise virtual pitchforks in anger… but there’s nothing which will come of it. If there was something we could do to force CEOs who are still treating themselves like kings while all of their peasants toil and scramble, fear and get fired… I’d be all for it. But there isn’t – we are in a society where those people (the real aristocracy) make the rules and are for the most part, above the law (or will get the laws changed).

The 5%, the 1% – they got really, really (more) rich over the last 20 years, especially the last 5-10… and their economic strategies are plunging us into the current depression. And you know, that 5% are still perfectly fine… Well, they might have to sell of one of their several vacation houses.

Poppy’s First Birthday

We had a house full for Poppy’s first birthday.  Friends came in from Columbus and Lexington, but otherwise we tried to keep it family only… even so we had almost 30 people over and had a wonderful time (at least those who were able to find seats).

2009-01-24 18h11m35She had her cake and ate it too.  Anita expected that she might not take to the cake straight away, but she certainly dug in, as soon as she realized that it was food and she was allowed to eat it. 

Anita made an applebread cake for poppy and a regular yellowcake for everyone else.

Poppy did wonderfully, not melting down until the last present to open (and there were many more than we expected).  She napped, we talked, most people left, she woke back up and played some more.

2009-01-24 18h11m56 2009-01-24 17h41m58 2009-01-24 18h12m13 2009-01-24 17h05m03 2009-01-24 18h12m36 2009-01-24 18h12m49
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It was a wonderful birthday, absolutely wonderful.  We got a decent amount of video, but we haven’t processed and uploaded it yet… I’ll update when we do, until then, you’ll have to deal with just the photos.

View Photos or View Slideshow

Re: Memo to All My Valued Employees

Here’s my response to the following “letter” which I received as a forward today:

Letter subject: “Memo to All My Valued Employees”

Basic gist of the letter:

Most of my time is now occupied with government mandates and regulations and all the accounting that goes with them. On October 15th, I wrote a check to the US Treasury for $288,000 for quarterly taxes. You know what my “stimulus” check was? Zero. Nada. Zilch.

The question I have is this: Who’s stimulating the economy? Me, the guy who has provided 14 people good-paying jobs and serves more than 2,200,000 people per year with a flourishing business? Or the single mother sitting at home pregnant with her fourth child waiting for her next welfare check? Obviously, government feels the latter is the economic stimulus of this country.

The fact is, if I deducted (read: stole) 50% of your paycheck, you’d quit and you wouldn’t work here. Why should you? That’s nuts. Who wants to get rewarded for only 50% of their hard work? Well, I agree, which is why your job is in jeopardy.

The first comment on the post where I found the letter posted, which I like:

December 30th, 2008 at 9:32 am

One has to seriously question the motivation of a business owner who would send this to his employees. Essentially, this letter is sour grapes bitching to those who can do NOTHING to change the situation. 14 employees are not going to stem the tide of tax law changes about to come in. No way on earth will that happen. Instead, all this fellow has managed to do is to de-moralize his employees and leave them in a state of fearful agitation for the holidays. This is illustrative of a certain sort of behavior common among very small business owners that serves no good purpose and only harms their business and their credibility as worthwhile leaders. The oldest rule in leadership is that bitching runs uphill (hat tip to Saving Private Ryan). The mailroom worker complains to the mailroom manager and he in turn complains to the operations Vice President and so on. All this fellow is doing is showing that he is an inept leader and that he wants everyone to know it. Failure of leadership is really what’s killing this country – at all levels – and this highlights that perfectly.

More to the point though… no matter who is getting taxed, they aren’t going to like it. The email makes strong sounding points and I can certainly see the logic in them, but they are not the only points to make and there’s more than enough comparable rhetoric on the opposite side of these issues.

The basics of which I would think might sound something like: “if you tax someone who has money more than someone who doesn’t, the burden is spread according to the money in question.”

This has been the case for a long time and the current tax changes proposed are simply an alternation of where the lines are drawn, in fact putting some of the lines back in place.

Check out this from Date: 09/19/2008 By: Senator Bernie Sanders:

The top 0.1 percent now earn more money than the bottom 50 percent of Americans, and the top 1 percent own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent. The wealthiest 400 people in our country saw their wealth increase by $670 billion while Bush has been president. In the midst of all of this, Bush lowered taxes on the very rich so that they are paying lower income tax rates than teachers, police officers or nurses.

You can’t make everyone happy. The wealthy and powerful are more likely to get their way in most things, because of their wealth and power. They are already at an advantage. It is only fitting to have a government that helps even the playing field a bit – One our country’s principles has always been humanitarianism and care for those less fortunate. “Give us your tired and poor. Your huddled masses yearning to be free.” Right? Isn’t that who we are?

Yeah, not really. Not any more.


We have elected Obama, and the country has taken on a mantel of hope again… but we are still very self-centered and interested mainly in our own profits and wealth and safety and comfort. Virtues and Moralities are mostly buzz words used to sell something anymore, and though many great things are done in this country by great people in the spirit of our past… the country as a whole is not focused on helping the world by being a shining light of hope… we are interested in keeping our lights on, and the searchlight and guards on the fences we have been literally and figuratively building.

In closing…

Sorry, I can feel sorry for business owners who are going through hardships… but not enough to think that we should be taxing the poor or lower or middle classes more. Hell, they’re not even talking about increasing taxes for people who make < $249K a year. I suspect that most of the people who do make more than $249K/year could afford to give their employees a raise if they wanted to… perhaps they should just take it out of their salary until they get down to $249 and then they wont have to worry.


Poppy is babbling on all syllables

Penelope is really talking these days. There are still no really discernable words, and for the most part, no reliable mimicking. We can not prompt her and expect a desired response. But she is certainly mimicking speech patterns on her own including intonation and cadence. She’ll do so while toddling around the house carrying a toy or article of clothing or piece of trash. She will also babble back to you, when you’re talking to her.

We’ve been very excited by this milestone, and are looking forward to real words.

We are also entering the phase of another milestone we are not as happy about. She’s figured out what we mean when we say “no” and she doesn’t like it. Often, when she realizes she’s not getting what she wants, she will throw a little fit, and though we know they are quite small at this stage, they are still awful for us to see and deal with. We are just used to her being perfectly happy and easily redirected… now she’s crying and sometimes screaming for a little bit, once or twice she did the limp-baby treatment. Again, this is minor and an important developmental milestone… Stubborness is required for a baby to get back up after falling a few dozen times. It’s just a reality check for us.

Poppy’s Room, now with mural

My mom and her friend Joanne painted a wonderful mural on Poppy’s room. I decided to play with a very fun tool called photosynth to stitch together several photos into one unified picture or the room in 3-D (sort of). It will not work except on IE and FF and you may need to install a viewer (it’s safe, but an annoyance). Regardless, this is my first photosynth and I may make more… not sure at the moment.

Or view it on the photosynth site at: Poppy’s Room