So Much Going On Yet So Few Results

IMG_1394 I feel like every time I turn on the tv or go online for news its like groundhog day. Crisis after crisis, each side pointing fingers at the other, lots of scare talk. Why is there no one who can really explain things so that people can understand the problems of the day and attempt to fix them. What we have now are a bunch of politicians who are posturing and posing; trying to keep their jobs and their power. While non of them is thinking about the American public. The American public overwhelmingly has stated job creation and the economy as their top priority. Congress and President Obama have completely ignored that. We still have a crisis of epic proportions with 25 million people unemployed; and what do we get from Washington? Guns and Immigration. While both are admirable and should be dealt with thats not what the people want as their top priority. What we want are more jobs. Even the employed people are very anxious about losing their jobs because they know finding another one is extremely difficult. Who do I hold responsible for all of this? All of the leaders in Washington. I will say that a good 80% of the blame goes to the GOP for their obstructing everything, not compromising and basically seeming like sore losers who just want to take the country down.

I agree our biggest crisis now is the tepid economy and the minimal job growth. We should have leaders who focus on this. As I have said many times on this blog we need more stimulus spending to create jobs. Its all about jobs. Jobs will bring in more tax revenue that will lower the debt and deficit. More jobs will raise consumer confidence, which will make consumers spend more. Consumers spending more is what fuels our economy and makes it grow. Instead we lurch from crisis to crisis. That makes everyone uneasy, companies hire fewer people, people put off spending, and the downward spiral keeps on going. Whats going on right now with the sequester is an absolutely absurd situation. All of these spending cuts will lead to many lay offs, higher unemployment, slowing of the economy. The economy has to be strong to institute cuts that will make our economy fiscally viable for the longterm. Let me be very clear; nothing has been done for job creation in years. There is nothing being proposed now, except a small ‘fix it’ program. What are they doing in DC instead of creating jobs, or working together for the good of the country? They, John McCain and his boys, are annihilating Hagel, going over everything he has ever said. Knowing all along he will be confirmed, but Hagel is already weakened by all of this; he is starting his job as a tainted Sec of Defense. Thats not the image we want for the most powerful nation on earth. John Boehner is in the news today, being told by his tea party coalition that if he offers any increase in taxes he will lose his speakership. So the fuck what? Boehner should do whats best for the country not cow tow to the tea party, which should be referred to as the American Taliban.

As disgusting as this situation is there is hope for the future. Today the GOP announced that many of them had signed a petition to legalize same sex marriage. I am sure it was done just for politics, but the example it sets for young people is excellent. Also, people under 30 are much more rational and much less prejudicial over matters of gay rights, rights for black people. The up and coming generation is not tied down to the narrow minded hateful talk and rhetoric of todays GOP. So there is hope for our future when our future arrives.

In a perfect world, or in one that someone backs me financially so I can do it, I’d like to see the media focus on what exactly is the impact of our $16.5 Trillion debt; whats the longterm impact of 25 million people not being able to afford to live; what exactly is the sequester; is it really spending more than last year? If so, why all the fuss. If not why are people saying that. I know there are opposing views but there are also proven facts that could be given to people so they know how to make a decision. If people knew that spending $400B on stimulus for job creation now would net us a savings of $4Trillion in 10 years then they’d know it was worth doing. The American public doesnt have the facts it needs to make decisions. And thats because they dont want the facts. They want to watch or read what reinforces the opinions they already have. I for one, hate that. I want all facts to make a clear decision.

Our country is headed in a bad direction. Are there any decent minded Koch brothers type people that could fund research and education to people? Is there anyone out there that wants to save the United States of America? If so, please contact me. I can do it, I need the backing. And our country needs to be saved.

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Confessions of an Apple-aholic

IMG_1259It started in the early 2000s with the iPod, they were never all that fun or exciting but I wanted one to listen to on the subway or at the gym so I got one. A few years later I got another one for no particular reason, maybe I liked the way the new model looked. This is in the days before they had small ones and different colors. Then in 2007 iPhone was released. Hearing about it didnt do much for me, it seemed like it had a bunch of features I would never use. Also back then I had a blackberry that had a cell phone in it that work paid for so I wasnt particularly interested in purchasing one and paying a monthly fee. I did notice that one of my fabulous young work colleagues had one; she always had the newest things and was on top of all the trends. So I would check hers out and still wasnt really wanting one.

In 2006 my Dell desktop just stopped working one day. The machine was dead, but somehow we got all the info off the hard drive, dont ask me how. So I had to buy a new desk top, Dell was my brand so Dell is what I bought. This 2006 Dell was very unimpressive and by 2008 I wanted to get a new computer before this one died. I had heard so many people rave about Apple products so I looked into an iMac. There is an Apple store in SoHo near my doctors office so I went in a few times. Every time I went in there were lots of friendly people to great me, to show me the iMacs and when I said “Ok, thanks a lot for your help” one young guy said “Happy to help, have a nice weekend.” That said to me that Apple, and its employees, knew they had excellent products and didnt have to beg customers to buy something now. I love confidence. Apple also has excellent videos on its site that show you lots of information; they have one on switching from PC to MAC; I found that very useful. Anyway when the day came that I wanted it my partner at the time came with me and I had to decide between the 20″ or 24″ iMac. I chose the 24, knowing that if I hadn’t I would regret it. As soon as I started using it I loved it. The nice big screen, the quality. I could not have been happier. For Christmas that year I bought my partner a MacBook Pro laptop; and I also purchased the Time Capsule – which backs up your information and is a wireless network. Somewhere in there I bought the second generation iPhone, I think it was called iPhone 3?

For years I was loving everything Apple; I got the iPad when it came out and then got the iPad2. I couldnt wait to get the iPhone4; then they took so long to upgrade I also bought the iPhone 4S thinking that Siri would be life changing. I was totally into Apple, if they made it I wanted it. I got the Apple TV which was nice for renting movies or TV shows I might have missed.

Then everything changed one day in June of 2012. My iMac died; I had been itching to get a new one but wanted to wait until the desktop was 4 years since I had never owned a computer that long. Apple has a 14 day return policy so I called on the phone, bought the 21.5″ model and then went to the store to pick it up. The size selection had changed, now it was 21.5 or 27; 27 seemed ridiculous so I got the 21.5. Much to my disappointment the new computer was no faster than my old one; the graphics were no better and I did notice a size difference. So I ordered the 27″ and returned the 21.5″. The 27 inch model was ridiculously big, not luxuriously big. It was also slow. Anyway to make a long story short I tried various versions of Macs. None was quite right. I ended up with the 15″ MacBook Pro Retina display. The picture is great, getting used to a laptop has taken a while. In here somewhere I bought the iPad4. When reading and using it I noticed a significant weight difference. The 4 is 11 oz. heavier than my 2. It was enough to make it uncomfortable so I returned it and tried the Mini. I do like the Mini, its nice and light; but I want it to have Retina display and it doesnt.

The iPhone 4S was also a disappointment; Siri is practically unusable. The iPhone5 is not too enticing. Seems to not have a lot to offer. I’ve heard lots of complaints about the phone scratching a lot. Also new rumors about a 5S coming out. Apple has changed, and not in a good way. They dont seem to have any products that are must haves for me. I believe Apple has piqued and will slowly become just another  company. I can honestly say Apple has nothing I want now. That is not good for them!

The Ad for MarriageEquality ** The Politics of Hate ** Laura Bush

IMG_1340When I first read about and saw the ad showing same sex marriage in a positive light and showed clips of many conservatives stating their belief that gays should be able to get married it was very exciting for me. I thought, isnt that great people like Dick Cheney, Laura Bush, Colin Powell all saying they believed in same sex marriage. As a gay man I thought this message is great for everyone to hear; from people who are on the fence to the actual bigots who think gays should be dead, let alone get married; the message coming from both sides of the isle is one the country should hear, and see unity in.  And then Laura Bush ruined it by asking for her image and voice to be removed from the ad. Why on earth would she do that when she has publicly stated she believes in same sex marriage. She is sending the message to others that its ok to discriminate against gay people. What a horrible message to convey. Now, one could argue that none of the people in the ad were consulted or asked if their images and statements could be used; I am not sure how the law works when you say something publicly. I would imagine its fair game since so many politicians do it. But of all people I am very disappointed in Mrs. Bush. Her running away from this issue shows her own weakness to stand up for her beliefs and it shows other people they are fine in disagreeing with same sex marriage.

So many politicians use the politics of hate to divide and conquer people. To get elected they will villainies a group of people, whether they be black, Jews, Catholics, gays, and use fear of this other group to get people elected again and again. In 2004 Karl Rove used gay marriage as wedge issue to get more people to come out and vote; thats probably the only reason George W. Bush had a second term. Think about that for a second, Rove played politics with people’s lives, he demonized gays and gay marriage really making gay people lesser human beings than non gay people. That was a disgusting act on his part, and it worked.  Now 9 years later things have changed dramatically for gay people; public opinion polls for the first time are showing a majority of Americans approve of same sex marriage; this has been trending higher and higher the last 3 years or so. For the first time in history a President of the United States, Barack Obama, publicly supported gay marriage; and also making history he spoke to the civil rights and equality of gays in his inaugural address. Not to mention his getting rid of Dont Ask Dont Tell in the Military.

We are at a point in history where people who are against same sex marriage will be viewed similarly to the people who disapproved of civil rights for blacks and for interracial marriage. Their are so many religious hate groups around it amazes me; a hate group is defined as people who actively try to deny the rights of others. The Mormon church organized and funded $20 million to defeat marriage equality in CA. Freedom of the Family, Family Works, all of those kinds of groups hide behind the bible by saying being gay is wrong. There was someone from Congress talking about how gay marriage was wrong, this man was on his 4th wife. Three divorces. You cant pick and choose which parts of the bible you want to obey and which parts you don’t. Newt Gingrich divorced 2 women. Also, there are many who think the translation of the original bible was incorrect; that the book does not condemn gay people. The book condemns pedophiles; the mis translation was supposed to be condemning pedophiles but instead was translated to gays.

Thinking people know that people are born gay; thats why its sexual orientation and not sexual preference. Soon enough they will find the gene/chromosome that will prove without a doubt that people are born gay. The future looks bright for gay people; no one under 30 years old cares if people are gay or not; so as time moves forward same sex marriage will no longer be an issue and people who discriminate against gays will be vilified.

As for Laura Bush, I have lost all respect for you today as so many others will no doubt.

Life’s Lessons Everyone Should Know And Review

IMG_1200It just dawned on my when I answered the door and the postman was there with a package for me; what I know in my head and how I was brought up is not the way everyone else was so I thought I’d share some now with everyone. If you already know them you can use this as a reminder, if you dont it can give you something to think about. These are in no particular order.

  • The postman I just referred to was surprised to see me greet him with a smile and a nice thank you. I could tell by the look in his eyes that thats not the way he is normally treated at other homes when he makes a delivery. My motto is treat everyone with the same respect that you want to be treated with. Dont give people attitude because you think you are in a higher station of life, even if you are, thats actually when you should make even more of an attempt to be friendly, courteous  and generous. 
  • This is similar to the first example, but treat everyone with respect and dignity. Whether they be your waiter, cleaning your sewage or a sales clerk in a store. Always be kind to people, always make them feel appreciated; especially if they help you with something you need. Dont get me wrong, if your needs arent being met, whether in a restaurant or department store, stand up and ask nicely to have those needs or desires met. Dont let some snotty sales person in a high end store make you feel like you are bothering them or wasting their time. After all, you are shopping there, they are working there. But always start off on a positive note.
  • Never, oh never, be discourteous to someone on the wait staff at a restaurant. They are bringing you your food and you have no idea what they will do with it before hand, so dont piss them off! When I have had horrible service at a restaurant I have many times said to myself I am not going to give any tip, or just a small one. Well of course when its time to go I change my mind; when I am really dissatisfied with the service I leave 15%
  • My Father was not a man of fashion, he was a very successful doctor but wasnt interested in clothes so he was not what you would have called high style or fashion! However, he taught my brother and me a few basics that I see many men today not following. First is when you wear nice clothing you always wear an undershirt; it makes your white shirt look whiter and crisper and in the end makes you feel cooler. Also, undershirts make your nicer shirts last longer. My fathers other advice was when wearing a suit always wear socks that go to the knee, as its sloppy to wear ankle socks with a suit. His other piece of advice was make sure your shirt placket, tie, belt and pants all line up. Simple advice but you see many men not carrying it out and it makes them look bad.
  • My father had advice for every situation, no matter where you were and what you were going through. Another piece from him was never buy anything on sales that you wouldnt buy at full price. Because something is market down its no reason to buy it if you wouldnt have bought it at full price. This of course has a piece of family history; when my older brother was around 18 months old my Mother was in Saks and bought my brother a beautiful trench coat made for a child his age, or he would soon fit into. My Mother told my Father what a great bargain it was; my Father insisted it be returned since no 18 month old needs a fancy trench coat!
  • Treat everyone the way you want to be treated. Thats one of my mottos in life. Whether you are dealing with a bus boy or a CEO treat them with the same respect you would anyone else and more importantly the same respect you yourself want to be treated with. There is never any need to be rude or condescending to other people; thats never appropriate. You should treat others as equals unless they do something that is unacceptable. Then you are free to take action. But start out by giving people the benefit of the doubt.
  • Always think about the things in life you are grateful for, whether it be spouse, family, kids, parents, friend. Focus on the positive. Dont dwell on negative things, it just puts your mind in a bad place.

The point of this piece is for people to take stock in whats good in their lives; what makes them happy. How to treat others with dignity and respect. We all have our challenges, especially in these trying times, but try to carve out in your mind what is going well and focus on that.

President Obama Plays Small Ball

Italy2011 526If the title of this post looks familiar its the same title Fareed Zakaria had on his op ed in today’s Washington Post. I would advise everyone to read it, it is excellent. Talking about the president and the State of the Union the other night has been an interesting situation to watch play out. On twitter where everyone has an immediate opinion most of the people were very happy with what Mr. Obama had to say. Immigration, Gun Control, Education, and some talk of job creation. To me, this speech was empty rhetoric. The biggest problem our country faces currently is unemployment and the lack of new jobs created. There are some 10 million people unemployed; 40% longterm unemployed and if you count the people who are under employed the number skyrockets to 25 million. Some say these estimates are extremely low and that the situation is much worse than reported. Some analysts say the unemployment rate is 23%. Unemployment and lack of jobs is a serious crisis on many levels. First off on the personal level, it can be personally devastating to lose your job and spend years looking for a new one. The psychological impact of that can be so harmful that people dont recover from it, they can fall into addictions, lose their marriages, have shorter life spans. Another huge impact is on the economy itself, the deficit and the long term debt. For each of these 25 million people they not all receive government assistance they also arent paying adding revenue through their paying taxes. These issues will have a tremendous long term effect on our economy. We need these people working so they can stabilize our debt and lower our deficit. What we are doing now, which is nothing, is lose/lose for everyone involved. This must change. Our economy is in a very precarious place right now. Job creation is such that it breaks even with population growth; meaning we are creating no new jobs. The number of people who are unemployed has not dropped in over 2 years. We havent seen this kind of situation since the Great Depression; and I am here to tell you we are in the midst of another Great Depression. The Euro Zone tried Austerity and is in the midst of an unheard of triple dip recession. The United States had contracted GDP in the 4th quarter of 2012 for the first time in almost 4 years. March 1st our government is set to have another trillion dollars in cuts, the sequester, which will mean more lay offs, more unemployment insurance paid out, more personal pain.

Americans have overwhelmingly said their biggest concern in job creation. Because its not only the unemployed that are suffering; many people are afraid of being unemployed; which is a horrible way to live. In my opinion president Obama fell completely short in the SOTU by not laying out a job creation plan. Something big, something bold. I have been attacked countless times on twitter for daring to criticize Obama and I am sick of it. If you cant look at a person and judge their good and bad qualities you are lacking in intellectual thinking. Many people say to me, well Obama tried getting a jobs bill passed but he has been obstructed by the GOP. Yes, thats true. So, does POTUS give up? Also, its important to note that the last time Obama put a jobs bill in front of congress was September 2011, almost 18 months ago. That to me is unacceptable. He spent the campaign season and the SOTU talking about creating jobs, but in reality has done absolutely nothing as far as laying out a plan to accomplish this. Immigration and Guns are valuable bills to go after. But they arent the driving problem in America today. Jobs, or lack of jobs, is the biggest issue we face.

Yes I know Mr. Obama cant create jobs or a stimulus to create jobs without congressional approval. Obama strong armed the GOP into ceding on the debt ceiling and the fiscal cliff. He certainly could do the same for jobs. In Fareed’s article today he talks about $2Trillion in spending on infrastructure. This is the kind of thing we need. Big and bold. The cost to borrow money is at record lows, so it is of very little cost to the government. We need more big and bold ideas. Like President Hoover in the 1st Great Depression used a tremendous amount of stimulus to build the dam that carries his name. Thats what we need today. Not some small ball kind of effort but something big, something futuristic, something to get people back to work. Americans say their biggest worry is jobs; being that that is the case they will surely go along with more deficit spending to create more jobs and to create a better America. Right now we spend so little on things our country is becoming a third world country instead of the beacon we used to be. Infrastructure, high speed rail, investing heavily in renewable energy, we can do it all. What would end up happening would be more growth, more revenue to lower the debt, more GDP growth.

Its time to play in the major leagues Mr. President. Go big go bold or go home!