Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Last night as I was putting the kids to bed, George told me she needed to mark off her chart. Knowing nothing about the chart she was talking about, I asked her to show it to me. George then took me into the hallway and pointed out a printout of a calendar that covered the last few months.

Now, I'm going to make an admission, noting the location of the calendar, I quickly deduced that I had walked past that calendar every day, morning and night, for the last few months, but was still clueless about what the heck the thing represented. At that point, I'm debating in my head whether it is something that Valinda set-up with George to help George keep track of brushing her teeth before bedtime (since that was the last thing I saw George do) or whether it represented some other sort of goal. I'm not willing to ask one of the kids because I know I'm going to get a "Duh, Dad" response from the two oldest and, as for the youngest, I might as well be asking her how to assemble a bicycle - i.e. 34 year olds sometimes have a hard time communicating with 4 year olds.

George then goes on to explain that she needs the 11th marked off. Okay, I saw George brush her teeth, should be okay to mark off the date; it's obviously important to George and she knows its supposed to be marked, so I mark off the 11th with an "X" using a pen I found close by.

George then tells me that she needs to mark off some other days. I look at the calendar and it appears every day has been marked up until the 11th with an "X" except for the 8th, 9th, and 10th. I look at George and ask her which of the days need to be marked.

George quickly jogs down the hall and shouts up to Fred who is in her bed on the top bunk wanting to know which day needs to be marked. Fred tells her the 1st needs to be marked. George rushes back to me and says the 1st...I tell her that the 1st has been marked...George goes down the hallway again and tells Fred that the first has been marked and wants to know what other day needs to be marked...Fred says the 2nd...George rushes back and says the 2nd...I inform her that the 2nd has been marked...Again, George runs down the hall to ask Fred...Fred now says the 3rd and George runs back.

Okay, I'm a little slow, but by this time, I'm starting to see a pattern, and I tell George everything has been marked up through the 7th and that the 11th is also marked...George spins around and rushes back to Fred armed with this new information. This time Fred tells George that she needs to mark the 8th, 9th, and 10th. George comes back, tells me the dates and then I pause for a slight second to think about the ramifications of marking off the calendar for something that George may not have done...images of the wrath of my lovely spouse flash through my head...then I look at George and decide to roll the dice (heck, I live in Vegas, why not) and mark off the 8th through the 10th.

George smiles real wide, pumps her fist and does a short hop reminiscient of one of those old Toyota commercials and then goes to bed. Uh-oh, I may be in trouble, that looked awfully suspicious.

A little while later Valinda comes home from her costuming at the play "Once On This Island". I make sure she's comfortably on our bed reading a book, eating some ice cream and nonchalantly ask about what I witnessed earlier.

Good news I get to sleep in my own bed tonight! Turns out that at the end of the last school year George realized that the next time school started up again she would get to go. Valinda had a difficult time explaining how long three months was, so she came up with an idea of setting up a calendar and marking off the days of summer. In essence, it is a count-down calendar to the start of the school year. Apparently, George is still very excited about school; hopefully, she will still have that eagerness after she has gone for a while!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Glenn Beck and the Black Helicopters

I listened to another installment of the Glenn Beck show at the request of one of the people I work with. This installment covered the moves by the government during the recent financial crises and asks whether the moves are:

A) Unrelated to each other,
B) A case of friends helping friends,
C) A case of companies using the government framework to make business and profits bigger, or
D) A case of banks ruling the world (thus the black helicopters)

So here is some background and the moves that were made according to Glenn Beck:

1) Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson (who was appointed by Bush) use to be CEO of Goldman Sachs
2) The decision was made to let Lehman Brothers (the biggest competitor of Goldman Sachs) and Bear Stearns (a competitor of Goldman Sachs) fail
3) The decision was made to bailout AIG with $85 billion of taxpayer money
4) One of the first things AIG did with its newly received bailout funds was to make payment in full of the amount it owed Goldman Sachs from derivative deals ($12.9 billion)
5) The government hires a Neal Kashkari (VP Goldman Sachs San Francisco office) to oversee the TARP money
6) Goldman Sachs and GE are fast tracked into being bank holding companies (they are now regulated by the Federal Reserve and not the Securities and Exchange Commission)
7) Stephen Friedman, a member of the Goldman Sachs board of Directors, also oversees the Federal Reserve
8) Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (who was appointed by Obama) waives conflict of interest provisions for Stephen Friedman thereby allowing him to continue working with Goldman Sachs and to increase his holdings in Goldman Sachs by 52,000 shares (at the time Beck was doing his show, this had netted Stephen at least $3 million)
9) Goldman Sachs then purchased 10% of the Chicago Climate Exchange for $23 billion and $1 billion of carbon assets (basically another form of derivative)
10) Goldman Sachs then turns around and becomes the biggest supporter of mandatory limits on carbon emissions and lobbies for cap and trade (which would then increase the value of their newly aquired holdings)
11) Goldman Sachs reports a record second quarter earnings in 2009 of $3.44 billion (helped by less competition and collecting on its investments with AIG)

Based on this information, you can make an argument that the moves are at least answer (C). I'm not to black helicopter level just yet, but I would like to see the power of the Federal Reserve be checked more than it currently is.

None dare call it conspiracy


Monster Miata


Flying in a squirrel suit