Saturday, September 27, 2008

[my apologies for the following convoluted rant. It's just been brewing for a little while, and I needed to put it out there.]

The sky: she is not falling.

Enough with the freakout.

I'm not making light of what clearly is a magnificently nasty mess in the financial market, but we are in a completely different place than was the common person in the late 1920s. At that time, Americans were primarily agrarian and rural, rather than city-dwelling, and failure to rotate crops brewed up a nasty wallop in the form of the Dust Bowl, a drought which lasted from 1930 to 1936, and the blight of which emblazoned its stamp on generations of midwesterners. The double-whammy of drought and stock market crash really set people into a tailspin. But remember- these people were dirt-poor to begin with and had very little set aside, in a lot of cases.

Whatever does or doesn't happen with the mortgage industry, the structure in which you reside will not evaporate. Unless you decide to be so, you are not about to be homeless. Where we are vulnerable is our addiction to excess and luxury. Some of us are tougher than others.

Ironically, I think it's the shrinking 401Ks that has people freaking out. Yeah, that's significant, but it's a damned sight different from the situation of a midwestern farmer whose topsoil is wafting over the eastern seaboard. Quite different. A little perspective, darlings.

The media have stirred so many people into a foaming-at-the-mouth frenzy about every little thing that I wonder when these people will recognize the boy who cried wolf. Every single moment of our lives can not possibly be on the verge of collapse. I'm sick of hearing it, and I don't believe it.

Yes, serious times. By all means, the coming election is of great moment in our nation's history.

What is disturbing is the morons who allow themselves to be manipulated by those media who would whip them into a frenzy-- the same morons who would riot after a court verdict or when their ball team loses. Worse than volatility in the market is the potential of large groups of people to behave very badly, indeed.

I saw a bit of an interview - celebrity "journalist" *ack* and someone - I think Lindsay Lohan (how bad do you have to be for Paris Hilton to call you firecrotch?), anyhoo, and the interviewer and interviewee were talking about Sarah Palin in that who-the-hell-does-she-think-she-is tone. No one ever heard of her before. She can't possibly be a breath away from the presidency?!!! Translation: She's not one of the anointed elite. After all, she's not one of us.

In comments on a Paul Begala article, a reader stated that at 52, she herself was not remotely able to take the reins of the vice-presidency, and at 43, Palin couldn't possibly be. Well, the fact is that like it or not, someone must step up to the plate. Doing what is right and what must be done is not something one can question, and just because one person is spineless and helpless rather than approaching life's challenges head-on doesn't make other people less capable of putting on their big-girl panties and having a swing at it. About 6 years ago, I took a 10 hour a week job as office girl for a company. My hours doubled within a week. I started showing apartments, and whaddayaknow - I was good at it! Within a year I was assistant manager for several properties, and another year later, I was the manager. Of a substantial chunk of real estate. Yeah, I came into it sideways, and if they'd asked me to do what I do today rather than the 10 hours a week, I would have thought it impossible for me. But now I know I can do that. There must be other things I am capable of which I never imagined. Most people go through their lives never realizing their full potential because they have accepted the defeat the media and general naysayers have said is their only option.

I saw a video on YouTube at the Atavist's blog which really inspired me. Nathaniel Brandon (associate of Ayn Rand) was talking about realizing one's potential. He said "what would happen if you were just 5% more present in your every task" or words to that effect. It was amazing. I drift, I daydream, I get bored and forget what I'm doing. Just a teeny bit more concentration does wonders for striking items off my to do list. Clearly, the commenter on the Begala article needs to watch Brandon's videos.

Chris Rock was on David Letterman bitching about the Clintons not being on board with Obama-- he clearly was nervous that Obama won't be able to hoodwink the cracker vote.

Someone in comments in an article about Bill Clinton's Larry King appearance was lambasting Hillary saying to get on board, that 2012 would be her year. Um, well, if Obama is elected, uh, won't the democrats give him the nomination again in 2012? I can't see an incentive there for Hils to carry Barry's water, honestly.

It's all going to be very interesting. Yeah, some of it may be bad and have terrible consequences for a lot of people, but that's life. Death, tragedy, taxes and upheaval are all part of life. The wise thing is to savour life, to prepare as best one can for hardships and to get on with making the most of time with our dear ones here and now.

The sky is not falling. It's not falling on me, anyhow.

That is all.


Buck said...

Ironically, I think it's the shrinking 401Ks that has people freaking out.

I'm not exactly freaking out, but I AM paying attention. My 401(k) has shrunk by 20% since the first of the year, and given my age and employment status (i.e., fully retired) it's a cause for concern. That said: I agree with the thrust of what you say, Phlegmmy. This ain't the end of the world as we know it.

Anonymous said...

How old was Theodore Roosevelt when he took office, with less than two years executive experience as governor?

He seems to have done well.

Rabbit said...

I ain't skeert, and my first degree is in Economics. Cum Laude, in fact. This bailout stuff is for the birds...or maybe the buzzard Democrats who have been taking money from Fannie, Freddie, et al, in the form of 'contributions'. Letting the lobbyists write the legislation for the past 30 years. I remember what Carter did with Community Reinvestment. My professors were livid about it then. I'm sure more than one is doing cartwheels in the cemetary now.

I say put the whole mess up for bid, and let the private sector do with it what they may. Split it up, sell it off, whatever they want- just let the marketplace have the keys and a clear title.

My copy of the Constitution doesn't say a damned thing about equal access to subprime loans for all. I don't even see that as a catch-all under the 10th Amendment. If there was a Republican at fault for any of this, they'd be having hearings in the House about it; I note that those are copiously absent. Roaches scatter when you turn on the kitchen light.

Hell, ain't nobody telling em to get in line for no twenty acres and a mule.


Christina LMT said...

Nice rant!
I'm freaking out a little, because I see the effect of the ka-blooey economy every paycheck. The tourists are just not coming to Vegas like they used to. But I'm pulling up my big-girl panties, trust me!

Simon David Winthrop said...

The sky is not "falling on you"...
and ultimately, as is so often the
case with those who lean Right in
political issues, that is all that

phlegmfatale said...

simon david winthrop - Uh, if we are talking money-wise - I'm at one of the low ebbs of my adult life, but I have food and I have shelter, and that will have to be enough. If I have to, I'll check groceries and clean toilets for a living, but I'll get by. I'll deal with whatever comes-- THAT was my point, not that I'm wallowing in such excess and let everyone else eat cake. I'm savoring the sweetness of life. After work today, I sat in my $5.00 plastic chair in the yard and enjoyed the cooling fall air- the best things still are free. That's what it's about, for me. I'm sorry money makes your life so crappy. Good luck with that. Thanks for assuming so much about me, though. It's great to categorize and compartmentalize people(as in those who lean Right), though, because it makes it so much easier to hate them, doesn't it?

Zelda said...

I don't know what people think the VP does, but I have every confidence that I could do it. Sarah Palin is more than capable.

Becky said...

My biggest concern is not my 401k b/c I think there's a lot of time for that to swing back the other way, but how businesses are going to be affected that might affect my business. Working for a marketing agency, we can only stay in business if others will spend money too, so I'm being cautious about my extra spending. Of course, I don't think the bailout would help my own personal situation, so I guess I'm really just rambling off point here...

On the politics side, Sarah Palin's age doesn't bother me, but I have concerns with her inability to provide specific answers to such easy questions like "what are some examples of newspapers and magazines that you read to get your information?" Now, I realize that was a lame question designed to put her in a weird position, but she still should've been able to answer it. My vote's between McCain and Obama, though, not the V.P.s

Simon David Winthrop said...

Phlegm, my love, I hate no one, including those who "lean right"; that I leave to someone posting a snarky critique of Obama (suggesting he is little more than some "handler's" dog) in one spot, while posting a celebration of Sarah Palin's ability to shoot a gun in another. Your blog, your posts, obviously. But such highjinks could lead a reader to certain assumptions, made with some confidence, as I am sure you can imagine.

phlegmfatale said...

simon - I confess I can't take credit for the poster - Rabbit did that. I don't suggest Obama is propped up by handlers - I openly state same. More than Sarah Palin's, I celebrate my own ability to shoot a gun. Thanks for giving me leave to post as I see fit, though. I don't see how me making my own observations about public figures and also making the most of my right to bear arms makes me a hater. Can you explain how you conclude thusly?

phlegmfatale said...

And, I'm going out on a limb here, I think if you and I met, you might actually like me. If you'd like to go shooting, I'd be happy to take you to the range and let you see how much fun it is to shoot targets. It's all about context. Call me a cockeyed optimist, but I'm just open-minded enough to think you and I could be friends despite political differences.

Rabbit said...

Thank you for noticing my poster, Simon. However, I can't take full credit.

As a matter of fact, my investments are still doing pretty good right now, as I'm invested in alcohol manufacturers, tobacco processors, and defense stocks. I converted my 401K some years ago. It was not giving me as much positive return as I wanted, and I knew I could do better after I left that company.


Simon David Winthrop said...

Phlegm, my good future friend, I did not "give you leave" to post what you wish...I pointed out the blatantly obvious fact that you can and will do so, just as I do on my own blog.
I also, by the way, cheerfully, even enthusiastically, take responsibility for what appears on my blog, regardless of who created whatever is posted.

Second, "liking" each other has nothing to do with the issue at hand.
Instead, I believe we have a disagreement about the proper future of this country. You have stated a preference for a winking, "g"-dropping caricature, indeed stating you look forward to said airhead being president. This is, of course, your right as a citizen (and I already know that is not something "granted" by yours truly, thank you). Apparently the last eight years have been such a stunning success in your view that we should continue the trend with an even more vacuous example of the political animal than the one with whom we have been haunted for two election cycles.
Those of us who wish to change this course are not "witless" nor do we concern ourselves with who is more "handled" (even Palin, who god only knows, gives new uncharted depths to the term). Is Obama perfect? Hardly. He will have to be superhuman in both intellect and stamina to address the wreckage wrought by Mr. Bush, et. al., and only time will tell if he possesses such talents. I am fairly certain Ms. Palin does not and it is unfortunately likely Mr. McCain will not survive long enough for us to truly gauge his own.

As for being a "hater", I believe the suggestion (or was it an open statement?) was made that I was the one feeling that emotion, by virtue of my "making assumptions" based on empirical evidence. As I noted, comparing Obama to a dog, and calling those who wish for an alternate to one disaster after another "witless" may not stand up in a court of law, but the argument could be made.

Oh, and Rabbit, permit me to express my great relief in the health of your stock portfolio.
"Alcohol manufacturers, tobacco processors, and defense stocks" might think profiting from the destruction of life would not be healthy to oneself, losing so much sleep and all.
Oh, wait...I suppose you in fact lose none. Continued pleasant dreams, then.