America’s current financial crisis explained in a single picture

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My friend Nick sent me this…they say a picture is worth 1000 words…this one certainly is.

This financial crisis is forcing State and local agencies to make some tough decisions. If things continue for much longer, there’s a real risk that we may have to lay off Jose.

Ben Franklin Preferred the Turkey as our National Symbol

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With the Thanksgiving holiday right around the corner I have been thinking about turkey…of course lately I think about turkey more often as it is now available all year, everywhere…even on the menu at Cheeseburger in Paradise!

I wonder if the turkey had been chosen as the symbol of our country as Ben Franklin originally proposed would we still be eating them as the centerpiece of our Thanksgiving day feast?

Here is an excerpt of Franklin’s Letter to His Daughter regarding America’s choice of the eagle as its symbol.

“For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral Character. He does not get his Living honestly. You may have seen him perched on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk; and when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.

“With all this Injustice, he is never in good Case but like those among Men who live by Sharping & Robbing he is generally poor and often very lousy. Besides he is a rank Coward: The little King Bird not bigger than a Sparrow attacks him boldly and drives him out of the District. He is therefore by no means a proper Emblem for the brave and honest Cincinnati of America who have driven all the King birds from our Country . . .

“I am on this account not displeased that the Figure is not known as a Bald Eagle, but looks more like a Turkey. For the Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America . . . He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on.”

“Because of their size, bald eagles are not concerned about threats from other birds. However, eagles are often chased by smaller birds, who are trying to protect their young. . . ”

It was Benjamin Franklin’s observations of a bald eagle either ignoring or retreating from such mobbing that probably led to his claim of the bald eagle’s lack of courage.
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Where were you on 9/11?

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I still can’t believe it happened. Do you remember where you were on that day? I was in Tuscany on Sting’s back porch preparing to hear a beautiful concert…we went from having not a care in the world to wondering what would happen to the world in a day. We were all in shock including Sting.

Now 9 years later what do you think of the world’s situation?
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Day One, Global Summit for Ecology

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Al Gore kicks off the Summit with passion. He introduced some of the initiatives that the new administration under Barrack Obama will begin as priority one!

Here is the press release from Waseda University’s P,resident
“An Honorary Doctorate was presented to Mr. Al Gore – the 45th vice-president of the United States of America – in Okuma Auditorium at Waseda University.

Waseda University awarded Mr. Al Gore an honorary doctorate at a presentation ceremony held on November 19, 2008, under clear autumn skies. After receiving the degree, Mr. Al Gore addressed the audience. He expressed how honored he was to have been presented with an honorary doctorate by Waseda University, and he congratulated the university on its long and proud history that spans more than a century. After the ceremony, Mr. Al Gore gave a special lecture entitled “An Inconvenient Truth”. It was both the commemorative lecture for the doctorate and the keynote lecture for the Global Summit for Ecology.”
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The Politics of Fear

Kudos to the New Yorker for putting the “The Politics of Fear,” as the cover is called, with all of its upsetting realities, on the table. I think it’s an amusing satirical illustration for a piece that dissects all the prejudice and misinformation that is out there.
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Chinese Revolution Fueled by Capitalism?

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In 2003 Communist leaders planed to amend China’s constitution to formally enshrine the ideology of Jiang Zemin, the recently retired leader who invited capitalists to join the Communist Party. Despite sweeping economic and social changes, the political status of China’s entrepreneurs is still ambiguous.

They included the communist era’s first guarantee of property rights. Certain amendments are still needed to promote economic and social development, said the party newspaper People’s Daily. It said the changes were meant to cope with accelerating globalization and advances in science and technology.

Jiang’s theory, the awkwardly named “Three Represents,” calls for the 67 million-member party to embrace capitalists, updating its traditional role as a “vanguard of the working class” and for the constitution to formally uphold property rights and the rights of entrepreneurs. Anyone who has visited Shanghai since and saw Beijing last summer will attest to the populace there embracing capitalism for sure.

As someone who has more than a passing acquaintance with China, I see this is as a big change indeed. Even under most dire oppression you cannot entirely stop people exchanging goods and services.

And so it was in the countries of the former Communist bloc, although the private sector was not officially recognized, there were shades of grey in the ‘socialist worker economy’.

Former Yugoslavia, for example, ventured furthest in its recognition of private enterprise and some semblance of property rights and in return relatively prospered. Also in practice, Poland and Hungary were kinder to their small landowners and tradesmen than the communist ideologues allowed.

Nevertheless, there was no question of formally acknowledging property rights and any form of private enterprise by governments whose grasp of economics was based entirely on Marxism. It was one thing to tolerate existence of non-state markets and even benefit from them, but changing their opposition to individual’s property rights, so firmly embedded in political systems that were barely surviving, would have been a political, ideological and social suicide.

China’s development has been very different to that of Eastern Europe, politically and economically, although both were waving the Red Flag. The proposed change to the China’s constitution may have amounted to a symbolic amendment given that China’s entrepreneurs have driven its two-decade-old economic boom. But then, symbols can be very powerful. Once the gates are open as they were during the Olympics it will be nearly impossible to close them.
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The young Chinese love and embrace capitalism, heck they have downloaded Avril Lavigne’s music and images 38 million times. And that love affair with consumerism has created a new non-violent and more powerful revolution than Tiananmen or the West could ever have hoped to achieve with sanctions and posturing.

This blog was inspired by two icons I pinched from “Wheretonext_quotes”…thanks again for finding them
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