Friday, July 25, 2008

Paparazzi and Hollywood

The headline reads, "Police: Paparazzi, guards, fight at Jolie chateau." The article goes on to say, " The (French) police captain said she had no information on the nationalities or the names of the photographers. "I won't hide for you that this kind of thing is really not the type of problem that interests us," she said. "There are, in my opinion, far more important things than paparazzi taking photos of a glamor couple." '

I like this police officer! Let the photographers and bodyguards fight it out. These "glamor couples" create an image of themselves, charge millions for pictures of their, usually illegitimate, children, and then complain when photographers slip around to take pictures of them. A certain Princess, who would have done well to have stayed at home with her children, instead of creating an image of an international playgirl messing with an international playboy, was killed trying to foolishly outrun photographers.

In this country the police get involved because they feel that these people are important and police always like to hang around important people. Because of photographers, the police in California actually escorted Britney "you can take the girl out of the trailer park, but you can't take the trailer park out of the girl" Spears from her home either to a hospital or drying out house. I can't recall which, and it isn't important enough to take time to look it up. Can you imagine how much that city police department has spent "protecting" a rich bimbo, who can't take care of herself?

Such "news" used to be relegated to the movie magazines and grocery store tabloids. Now it makes tv news and newspaper headlines. I don't care if some movie star has children. I don't care if one of them adopts a child. I feel sorry for the children, who will probably grow up as mal-adjusted drug addicts, if they follow the suit of so many Hollywood children. If some magazine is stupid enough to pay millions for pictures of these children, let them do it, but it isn't headlines, and I don't want to hear whining from these rich "self important" people who think they shouldn't be bothered.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Is the End in Sight?

As Barrack Obama visited the Middle East these last few days, he was given a golden egg by the Iraqi government. The Prime Minister of Iraq endorsed Obama's withdrawal proposal, much to the chagrin of the President and his chosen heir to the throne, John McCain. Now that the surge is classified as successful, they still won't commit to leaving Iraq.

Iraq was invaded by the Bush regime to establish a military presence in the Middle East. When Iraq was destabilized either by poor planning or design, it was necessary for our military to remain there to establish an environment by which "democracy" could flourish. Elections were held, a government was established, and some semblance of order has come about. Time for the US military to leave, right? Not so fast. Now American soldiers must remain to maintain order. Still no talk about withdrawal. Well, kind of. Now it is something called a "time horizon," whatever that is.

Bush is desperately trying to sign an illegal treaty to keep American soldiers in Iraq for a much longer period of time. He has committed to this "time horizon" in order to keep the Iraq government talking about his "agreement." If he can do this before he leaves office, then he will, assumably, have made it more difficult for his successors to remove American soldiers from that country. Thus he will have accomplished his goal of a military presence in the Middle East. Of course, as in Lebanon in the early '80's, American soldiers there will become a magnet for attacks.

We must speak out against this illegal treaty with Iraq. We do not need our soldiers there to attract attacks from the Arab extremists, who hate us and do not want us in the Middle East. We must demand that our soldiers be brought home, per the wishes of the Iraqi government and people. Iraq is a sovereign nation which we invaded for no reason. They have re-established their government per Bush's wishes. Now they want us to leave. Let us respect their wishes and get out. NOW, before more Americans are sacrificed there!

Afghanistan is on the verge of an explosion because of the Bush Administration's neglect. We must re-enforce our forces there and get Osama Bin Laden, if he is, indeed, alive and in that area. We need to get him, defeat the Taliban decisively, then get out of there as well. We do not need a military presence in the Middle East Afghanistan, Iraq or elsewhere.

It is time to expel the despotic, warmongering, proselytizing, regime known as the Bush Administration and put this country back on the road to worldwide respect. We must drop the fundamentalist habit of not negotiating with "non-believers" such as Iran and North Korea and threatening them with destruction, if they do not listen. It is time to reestablish diplomacy with the "big stick" supporting our point of view, not out in front, blazing a trail of death and destruction.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Great Corporate Retirement Scam

Over the past few years many companies have walked away from their pledges to fund retirement for their workers, leaving so many retirees out in the cold. These folks were loyal to their employers and worked hard for 30 or more years in return for what they believed would be security in their declining years. They were betrayed.

Recently, companies have been using the economy as an excuse to cut health insurance for their retirees. Health insurance ranks very high on the list of necessities for those who have retired. They simply cannot afford private health insurance, and they rely on their retirement plans. Now they either have to go back to work at 65 or 70 to make ends meet because their loyalty and hard work means nothing to the bean counters running the company.

Young people today and even a few of us old heads have been taken in by the big corporate 401 (k) scam. Aided by Wall Street, companies have convinced these young workers that they will be millionaires and in the driver's seat for retirement by age 50 or 60. Therefore, they don't need a company retirement plan. Just look how much better off you will be if YOU are in control of your retirement they say (Sounds kind of Republican-like doesn't it?).

I refer you to those folks who are going back to work because the slowing economy has killed their 401 (k). Their retirement dreams are on hold and may never return. There are also those who are losing homes, etc. and having to borrow from their 401 (k). Where will they be in a few years? The American dream is on a fast boat to China, no pun intended.

I am one of the lucky least for the moment. A couple of years ago when the Enron scandal hit, we were assured that our retirement plan was very solvent with no problems. Then the Governor and his henchmen began to try to mess with it. They wanted to change the way the money is invested, putting it in more volatile investments.

Suddenly, out of the blue, the plan is in trouble and needs help. Cost of living allowances have been cut. There is talk of cutting the plans for new workers, leaving them with a 401 (k). There is a new health insurance option, giving US more control over our health insurance (Sounds kind of Republican-like, doesn't it?)

Our plan appears very solvent, but the Governor and his ne'er do well buddies are looking at a way to dissolve the State of the added expense of health insurance and other retirement options for State retirees. The extra money that they save, can be better used for their pork barrel projects.

I don't know how this major change in the way Americans approach retirement will lead us, but it looks very bleak at the moment. Our parents looked forward to a day when they would be able to rest and enjoy life. Their twilight years were supposed to be secure and without the stress of going to work every day, trying to support a family, and paying for a home. That dream has become a nightmare for many and whether they awake from it remains to be seen.