Friday, March 13, 2009

Addendum to Previous Post

The dilemma will be resolved when the states are made responsible for paying Social Security and Medicare benefits. Strapped for cash, the states will see the wisdom of setting up convenient, attractive, fast and reliable assisted suicide stations. They will be all over the place, just like the ubiquitous golden arches.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Big Dilemma

Almost daily, I read in the paper about how costly Social Security and Medicare are and how their costs will rise in the future.

In a satirical work, "Boomsday," Christopher Buckley suggests a simple and obvious solution: assisted suicide for 70-year olds.

OK, assuming diminished quality of life as we age and our bodies require more medical attention, testing, treatments and surgeries and furthermore assuming that we oldsters recognize that the expense of our care places a huge burden on society, what are we to do?

Except for two states, Oregon and Washington, all the others outlaw assisted suicide.

The Federal Government needs us to die to save money and the states say that we must live no matter how high the costs go.

How will this dilemma be resolved?

Friday, January 16, 2009

What Is This?

A priest, a minister and a rabbi walk into a bar and the bartender says: "What is this, some kind of a joke?"

Best Quote

From participants in the rescue at the airplane that ditched in the river yesterday:

“Basically, let me tell you, we were in the right place at the right time,”

Honorio Hector Rabanes, a deckhand on the Thomas Keane, a New York Waterway ferry.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Israel Is Not So Smart

For many years, Israel has suffered at the hands of hostile Arab neighbors. At first, the Israelis fought back and smote the Arabs mightily and survived.

For the last 30 years, the big neighbors have left Israel pretty much alone. Two have have even signed peace treaties with Israel.

Arab aggression has changed. It is no longer threatening. What Hamas is doing is not good, but it does not endanger Israel's existence.

How is Israel responding? The same old way - with airplanes, helicopters, tanks and massive amounts of explosives. It's not effective against the Hamas rocket throwers and their elusive bosses.

How should Israel (and the rest of the world) respond? With a Marshall plan for the suffering Palestinians. See advertisement by Tikkun (a Jewish organization):

Scroll down to the section entitled: "A Domestic and Global Marshall Plan—Starting with Israel/Palestine."

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Compare and Contrast


Friday, January 02, 2009

Not Morality

In today's WaPo, Charles Krauthammer published a column entitled "Moral Clarity in Gaza." He sided with Israel.

According to posted readers' comments very few agreed with him.

What's the problem? Discussing morality is a waste of time because different people have different ideas about what is moral.

The correct issue is "what works."

The proper model is the one followed by the United States vs. Japan at the end of WW II - economic development. The US brought in consultants and experts and taught the Japanese how to manufacture high-quality goods. This policy was so successful that Japan has been at peace for 63 years and has become the world's second largest economy.

Israel and the Western (and oil-rich Arab) nations should help the Palestinians to develop economically. Then, and only then, will there be peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Krauthammer's column at:

Friday, December 05, 2008

Great Page One Headline in NYPost, 12/5/08

Great Page 1 Headline.jpg

Good Summary of the Big 3 Problem


YOU know that $12 billion bailout, er, "bridge loan" we asked for? Can we make that $18 billion? So asks General Motors in its report to Congress, explaining that it needs $6 billion more than it wanted just two weeks ago - but not to worry, because it's really learned its lesson this time . . .

GM's "recovery" plan would be lucky to earn a C at a respectable business college. And what little substance it offers, the company is in no position to actually deliver. First, why is GM asking for $18 billion now, when it was only asking for $12 billion just last month? Well, this is hardly unprecedented - in a matter of weeks, this company went from reporting a cash-burn of $1 billion-a-month to reporting a $5 billion-a-month loss. Congress just might want to wonder what the figure will be next month. For now, anyway, GM says it needs to borrow the original $12 billion by March, just to keep operating, but wants access to another $6 billion line of credit just in case the economy gets even worse. Just in case? The rest of the proposal is rife with typical Detroit fantasy. 

GM presumes that the auto industry, which is expected to see sales fall to 12 million units in 2009, will bounce back to sell 15 million units by 2012. What's the basis for that hope? * It insists that it will make its labor costs "competitive" with those of transplants like Toyota and Honda by 2012. One small problem - the United Auto Workers has agreed to no such thing.

As GM was submitting its plan, UAW officials were huddling in Detroit to consider whether they'd make further concessions to give GM a ghost of a chance of keeping this pledge.The UAW agreed only to delay an upcoming GM benefits payment. Other concessions? They'll think about it. And UAW President Ron Gettelfinger said last month that the union has already given enough.

GM's latest submission also raises a new, huge red flag. Until recently, GM financed more than half its customers' purchases through its GMAC financing arm, overwhelmingly for customers with credit scores under 700. Now that credit standards are far tighter, it can no longer finance those customers In other words, GM can now self-finance only 6 percent of its sales. That's sure to hurt those sales even more for years to come - unless the taxpayers take the financing risk.

The rest of GM's "plan" is typical political pandering and emotional appeals about GM's past - none of which make a bailout of the company from this point forward a smart business move. Missing are any actual profit projections - perhaps the plan's one bow to reality. But GM might as well have thrown in some fat profit numbers out of thin air - it would've been as feasible as anything else in the plan.

Is Congress really dense enough to use taxpayer money to prop up this fiasco? GM claims it needs the first $4 billion by the end of this month or it will collapse, so we'll find out soon enough.

Dan Calabrese, a longtime journalist and PR executive in Michigan, is the founder and editor in chief of North Star Writers Group.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Good Luck!

I watched Obama's speech and he spoke well - but he did not inspire confidence.

I watched the speech on CNBC and as Obama was speaking the stock indexes were sinking.

Why was that?

Because the problems facing Obama are so numerous and intractable that not even Obama with his clear thinking and speaking and first-rate staff will be able to solve them.

The Republicans have messed up the country so badly that it may not be possible to repair the damage.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Two Short Articles Worth Reading

Sundays NYTimes Business section had 2 worth-while articles:

The New Deal Didn’t Always Work, Either, at


What if a Slowdown Is a Never-Ending Story? at

Wednesday, October 15, 2008



Wednesday, October 08, 2008

What Needs to Be Done

If the current crisis is of a scale comparable to the depression of the 1930's, it is possible that the Government has not yet done enough to resolve the problem.

What is the problem? The masses do not have enough money and credit to continue propping up the economy.

And why not? Because the rich and powerful have taken too much money and not left enough for everybody else. That's what happened before 1929 and happened again before 2008.

After 1929 the economy stayed depressed for a decade or more, in spite of FDR's attempts to solve the problem.

Starting in 1941, World War II created many jobs and made it possible to tax the very rich at almost confiscatory rates. A side effect was to cure the depression.

I am certainly not recommending another World War. But if the Government were to tax incomes above 1 million dollars at a rate of 90% and use the revenue to start a massive public works program, our crisis would be over.

In my opinion, the Obama Administration will not do that. Obama is not that progressive (liberal).

So, we will suffer for a long time.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Oh, the irony of it!

The bail-out would have cost $700 billion. That's too much, right?

Defeating the bail-out cost American stock owners much more. On September 29, the stock market decline cost investors $1,200 billion.  (See

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

"We haven't got the man we had when we began"

A quote from Fiddler on the Roof - it applies to Barack Obama for many of his supporters. The dreamers who believed that Obama would be a "different" kind of politician. Hah!

There is no such thing. There are only winners and losers. Obama aims to be a winner. So he does not hand the Republicans a weapon to be used against him. He votes for FISA.

So, how did the dreamers conjure up Obama, the new kind of politician? Did Obama help them to have that dream? Did Obama use demagogy to win the nomination?

Demagogy refers to a political strategy for obtaining and gaining political power by appealing to the popular prejudices, emotions, fears and expectations of the public — typically via impassioned rhetoric and propaganda.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Shop Til You Drop

See set of 3 photos.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

What's More Shocking?

Jimmy Carter, xxx-Kisser.jpg

Monday, June 30, 2008

Can You Figure This One Out?

Down Under.jpg

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Want to See . . .

. . . a great catch?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Hillary - "Superstar?"

Hillary - Superstar.jpg

The cover of the current issue of New York Magazine juxtaposes a photo of Hillary with a boldface "Superstar."

I have read the New York article. It comes across as blatant attempt to sell magazines by claiming that reality is the opposite of what it seems to be.

And in the real world, reality most of the time is what it seems to be.

Hillary has to go back to being the junior Senator from New York, way down the seniority list. Not a very exciting place to be at age 60, especially after a brief period as the apparent anointed next President of the United States.

I like Hillary and I am sorry that she lost, but really that's what happened.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Bye-bye Jerry, Bye-bye Steve

In a NYTimes article entitled, "Oh Jerry, It’s No Longer Your Baby,"
Joe Nocera spanks Jerry Yang for rejecting Microsoft's offer to buy Yahoo! for 70% above market price.

It's a good article, well-written and full of relevant facts. It also follows standard Business-School doctrine that the CEO's responsibility is to maximize the wealth of the stockholders. Yang was clearly not doing that when he turned away Microsoft's insanely generous offer. What Yang was doing was protecting his own position as CEO of an independent Yahoo!

Nocera could have also pointed out that Steve Ballmer was not maximizing the wealth of Microsoft's stockholders when he made the +70% offer. Ballmer was doing the same thing Yang was doing - feeding his own deficient self-concept by deluding himself that he was the master mind of a growth strategy for Microsoft, when he was in fact he was admitting that he had totally failed as CEO. Neither Ballmer, nor anyone else at Microsoft has a sliver of an idea of how to create a future for Microsoft.

It's time for Yang, Ballmer and all the other "have-beens" at both companies to disappear from public view. Maybe they should join Jimmy Carter and start their own retirement community.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

An Untimely Death

I can't get over the fact that Russert's doctors did not repair his coronary arteries and were not able to convince him to eat a lot less and to exercise more.

According to the doctor's description published in the NYTimes, Russert was allowed to live with Coronary Artery Disease without any attempt to clear up his problem. Why did Russert not have a Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG)?

I can testify that I had a CABG at age 76 and it was like having a new lease on life. I could exercise as much as I wanted and I no longer have to worry about a piece of plaque breaking loose and causing a heart attack.

Russert could have lived many more years. There are expert sugeons nowadays who do the CABG without having to stop the heart, without having to use the heart-lung machine totally avoiding the possibility of brain damage. I know, beacuse I was lucky (or smart) enough to have such a surgeon do my CABG.

What a rotten shame that Russert did not consult such a cardio-thoracic surgeon!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Parasols in New York


Suddenly Unwanted Vehicle

Suddenly Unwanted Vehicle.jpg

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Low-light, No-flash Photography

See Nassau County Art Museum.

Why? Because She Failed to Use the Internet

What makes it utterly incomprehensible is that Howard Dean demonstrated in 2004 how to rise from small state obscurity to national prominence by using the internet and Hillary was totally blind.

She should have asked Dean to advise her, not Penn, not McAuliffe or even Bill. This trio really sank her campaign.

Personal note
During the 2004 election season, I contributed repeatedly to Democratic causes - all using the internet and my credit card. My name and e-mail address must appear on all or most Democratic party contributor lists from 2004.

Yet, in 2007-8, Hillary's campaign never contacted me for a contribution, on their own initiative.

I sought out her website and contributed $100, they became incessant. By then, it was too late. Hillary was hopelessly behind in fund-raising.

Friday, June 06, 2008


According to an article by renowned astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson, it can be mathematically shown that if the General Election were held today, McCain would beat Obama and Hillary would beat McCain.

Seems that the Democrats toiled mightily to make sure that they would lose yet another Presidential election.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

What A Shame!

Bob Herbert, a respected op-ed columnist on the NYTimes has backed Obama from the beginning and with great enthusiasm. He has also ripped both Clintons mercilessly.

Now that Obama is 99+ percent certain of the nomination, Bob Herbert has made and amazing admission: Obama has no plan for the US economy - the No. 1 burning issue on the minds of voters.

So, on what basis did Herbert support Obama? I can think of only one thing: Herbert and Obama both have medium brown skin.

See today's column.

The key statement is toward the end of the column:

Senator Obama will have to develop (again, quickly) an exceptionally compelling economic program . . .

Dog Bites Man

Barack Obama’s potential partner-in-summiting (without preconditions, but with preparations) has issued more soothing commentary on world affairs:
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad predicted on Monday that Muslims would uproot "satanic powers" and repeated his controversial belief that Israel will soon disappear, the Mehr news agency reported.
"I must announce that the Zionist regime (Israel), with a 60-year record of genocide, plunder, invasion and betrayal is about to die and will soon be erased from the geographical scene," he said.
"Today, the time for the fall of the satanic power of the United States has come and the countdown to the annihilation of the emperor of power and wealth has started."
Big deal, right? That’s how Ahmadenijad talks now, but just wait until he gets a shot of the Hope/Change pixie dust in a private meeting with President Obama. He’ll surely change his tune.
Hopefully Obama will set A'jad straight on the irony of his using the term genocide. If Israel were interested in genocide of any sort, it could have made a good go of it any time in the past 30 years (at least). And yet it seems genocide truly does interest Israel's neighbors, be they the Iranian government or its terrorist proxies.
Exit question: Is there any possibility that A’jad already feels emboldened by the anxiousness to appease shown by one of the two finalists for the American presidency?

The above, verbatim from:,2933,361705,00.html

Monday, June 02, 2008

There's Something Missing

Obama supporters, who seem to be very willing to criticize Hillary have not even begun to define what Obama will accomplish as President that will be vastly superior to what Hillary would accomplish.

Will the Iraq war end sooner?

Will our economy grow faster?

Will our children get a better education?

Will college costs become more affordable?

Will gasoline and natural gas become cheaper?

Who knows? Obama never said. All he said was "Yes we can" and "Change we can believe in." Nobody knows what those two slogans mean.

Friday, May 30, 2008

If . . .

If Obama had studied Chapter 3 of my book posted on the web (no charge, no advertising) before he shot his mouth off about meeting Ahmadinejad without pre-conditions, he would not be getting this never-ending flak from Republicans.

Chapter 3 deals with the fundamentals of Negotiation.  Anyone with a web connection can find it at:$15

As it is, Obama has given his opponents a hook on which they can hang never-ending criticisms abut his lack of experience and unfitness for the Presidency.

What was Obama thinking when he shot his mouth off? Maybe he wasn't thinking.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Oh, They Are Ever So Wrong

Rockefeller family members want Exxon-Mobil to move beyond oil and do all kinds of things that the company does not know how to do simply because these things are politically correct.

See article in today's NYTimes. See also unflattering photo of two Rockefellers at top of article.

If indeed the age oil is ending (a dubious assumption), Exxon-Mobil should accept this without complaining and gradually liquidate the company and return the money to the stockholders and allow them to invest the money as they see fit.

What Exxon-Mobil should definitely not do is to squander stockholders' money in areas in which the company has no knowledge or assets.  They have tried that in the past and failed miserably.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Why Did Kennedy Meet Nikita S. Khrushchev?

Considering how poorly prepared Kennedy was, why did he take the risk of meeting Nikita S. Khrushchev, who was well-known to be a tough Communist street-brawler who would not hesitate to accuse, insult and threaten opponents?

An answer suggested in a letter to editor of the NYTimes, reproduced in its entirety below:

To the Editor:

Nathan Thrall and Jesse James Wilkins argue that President John F. Kennedy’s disastrous summit meeting with Nikita S. Khrushchev was a result of the president’s naïve rush to meet with an enemy leader.

There was another factor — Kennedy may well have been high on amphetamines.

As Lawrence K. Altman and I reported in The New York Times on Dec. 4, 1972, Kennedy was accompanied to the summit by Dr. Max Jacobson, a physician who routinely injected the stimulant into many prominent figures.

Dr. Jacobson told us that he injected Kennedy there. White House records confirm that the doctor was on that trip. It is not certain that the shots contained “speed,” but Dr. Feelgood, as patients called him, is known routinely to have mixed amphetamines into his potions.

The drug causes not only feelings of euphoria but also an exaggerated sense of power and superiority.

Boyce Rensberger
North Reading, Mass., May 22, 2008

The writer was a science reporter at The New York Times, 1971-79.

When Obama promised to meet enemies like Ahmadi Nejad and other tyrannical loonies without pre-conditions, was he also high on amphetamines?

Friday, May 23, 2008

If This Doesn't Get to You . . .

A group of artists is painting portraits of military service people killed in Iraq, based on photographs and information provided by close family members - at no charge. See article and pictures at:

Title of the article is Portraits of fallen comfort broken hearts.

Deadly Dissection of Obama's Mistake

See today's Krauhammer article in the WaPo, entitled Obama's Metastatic Gaffe.

This is just heating up. Expect the Republicans to really take him apart, in the Fall.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Russians Hire Designer for Military Uniforms

See article and picture in WaPo article.

Maybe our military should also hire a major designer so our guys can look good too.

Then, in the future, instead of wars, we will have beauty contests. Much less death and injury.

What a noble idea!

What JFK Said and What Happened

What Kennedy said: “Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.” Widely quoted.

What Happened

Kennedy’s one presidential meeting with Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet premier, suggests that there are legitimate reasons to fear negotiating with one’s adversaries. Although Kennedy was keenly aware of some of the risks of such meetings — his Harvard thesis was titled “Appeasement at Munich” — he embarked on a summit meeting with Khrushchev in Vienna in June 1961, a move that would be recorded as one of the more self-destructive American actions of the cold war, and one that contributed to the most dangerous crisis of the nuclear age.

Quote taken from an op-ed article in today's NYTimes, entitled Kennedy Talked, Khrushchev Triumphed.

Kennedy was advised not to meet with Khrushchev, but he went ahead.

. . . and for two days he was pummeled by the Soviet leader. Despite his eloquence, Kennedy was no match as a sparring partner, and offered only token resistance as Khrushchev lectured him on the hypocrisy of American foreign policy, cautioned America against supporting “old, moribund, reactionary regimes” and asserted that the United States, which had valiantly risen against the British, now stood “against other peoples following its suit.” Khrushchev used the opportunity of a face-to-face meeting to warn Kennedy that his country could not be intimidated and that it was “very unwise” for the United States to surround the Soviet Union with military bases.

Yes, negotiators are sometimes abusive and if you are accustomed to being polite and to rely on logical presentations, you can get whipped. Not good for a President of the United States. Bush was right and Obama showed his ineptitude.

Obama is not ready to play in the major leagues. There is no evidence that he will ever be ready.