Atlantis Alumni

Monday, March 30, 2009

Obama Not Moving To End DADT

In regard to Obama and DADT, I'm afraid that it does not appear to look good for its demise at this point:

"On FOX News Sunday, Chris Wallace asked Defense Secretary Robert Gates about White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs' statement earlier this year that "yes," Obama planned to repeal the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.Said Gates: "[DADT] continues to be the law, and any change in the policy would require a change in the law. We will follow the law whatever it is. That dialogue, though, has really not progressed very far at this point in the administration. I think the president and I feel like we've got a lot on our plates right now and let's push that one down the road a little bit." (Source: Towleroad)

Push it down the road? Are they serious? I'm just not feeling good about Obama at this point. Where is the "change we can believe in?"

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Draconian NYC Transit Increases Penalize Poor

The New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority is broke, so they have voted to raise fares through the roof and cut services. Whom does this primarily affect? The poor, the working and middle classes, of course...those who have to take the bus or the subway to get to thier jobs. Yet I see no outrage coming from politicians and no one stepping forward to speak up for those most affected by this outrage. From the Times:

Under the plan approved Wednesday, the base subway and bus fare rises to $2.50 from $2, with the change taking effect May 31. A monthly MetroCard would cost $103, up from $81. Riders on the Metro-North Railroad and the Long Island Rail Road would see increases of at least 20 to 30 percent, beginning June 1. The fare on Long Island Bus, which serves Nassau County, would rise to $3.50 from $2.

Annuities Are Confusing? Really?

There is an interesting article in today's New York Times about 401K plans and how they have lost so much value in the current downturn. It sems that they are not the retiremkent panacea that was hoped for by so many. When Dan retired we bought an annuity with his retirement assets. One of our friends, an accountant no less, thinks annuities are "kinky." Well, it turns out that we did the right thing:

Older investors now want what their elders had: a pension income they can count on for as long as they live. A Fidelity Investments survey released last week found that 85 percent of investors 55 to 70 years old placed greater importance on a guaranteed monthly retirement income than on above-average investment gains. Expect to see new, more conservative financial products and government initiatives to encourage voluntary savings plans. But few have figured out how to get there. A 2007 consumer finance survey by the Federal Reserve Board found that only 5.5 percent of families owned an annuity, a financial product designed to provide reliable retirement income but rarely chosen by the layman because they tend to be complex and confusing.

Good News! A New "Stooges" Movie!

From today's New York Times...a new movie is coming about my favorite vintage comedy team...Moe, Larry, and Curly:

To his allies, Sean Penn is a wise guy; to his adversaries, he’s a stooge. Now they’re both correct: the actor has joined the cast of “The Three Stooges,” a new MGM comedy based on the vintage film shorts of that knockaround trio, Variety reported. Mr. Penn, who recently won his second Academy Award, for playing the title role in Gus Van Sant’s “Milk,” is set to play Larry, the wire-haired, Stradivarius-wielding Stooge. The studio is also said to be in final negotiations with Jim Carrey, who will gain weight to play the rotund Curly, and is pursuing Benicio Del Toro (“Che”) to play the irritable Moe. The film is to be written and directed by Bobby and Peter
(of “There’s Something About Mary” and “Kingpin” fame), and is planned for a 2010 release.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy Paddy's Day, And A Blot On The Emerald

I'm always a bit torn about identifying with the Irish. Sure, I qualify because I'm mostly Irish...but there is so much homophobia among particularly the American Irish and especially Irish Catholics that it sickens me. So I avoid the St. Patrick's Day parade here in Philadelphia, that excludes open gays just like they do in New York City. I don't paint all people of Irish extraction with this broad brush and so I'll celebrate with those who are decent and not bigoted. But the rest of them need to stop hating gay people. It's a blot on the emerald.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Financial Responsibility Disconnect

The auto workers are told that they must re-negotiate their contracts if they expect the government to help, but AIG can't do the same with the incompetent executives that stand to gain millions of taxpayer bailout dollars?

Whole New Thing trailer -

NIce movie that we just enjoyed via NetFlix.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sullivan's Ethically Suspect Foundations

Andrew Sullivan put up a long post yesterday lamenting the personal disappointment he has suffered in several of the institutions and movements in which he had placed his faith. These include the Catholic Church, with its homophobia and widespread cover ups of the sex abuse of children, the Republican Party and it's embrace of radical religious fundamentalism, George Bush and his use of torture, and conservatism in general. He can't become a liberal though, because he has no faith in the positive role that government can play, and he is wary of liberalism's collectivist tendencies, he says.

Andrew suffers from an inability to see what his failed institutions and movements have in common: flawed ethical underpinnings. Conservatism ignores calls for justice, as does the Catholic church and the Republican Party. Had Andrew spent more time with Plato instead of Burke and Oakeshott, perhaps he would not find himself "clinging to the wreckage" of all that he had previously embraced.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Conservatives Are Waking Up

...and, like David Brooks in today's New York Times, they are realizing that Obama is going to turn the ship of state in the opposite direction from Reaganomics:

Those of us who consider ourselves moderates — moderate-conservative, in my case — are forced to confront the reality that Barack Obama is not who we thought he was. His words are responsible; his character is inspiring. But his actions betray a transformational liberalism that should put every centrist on notice. As Clive Crook, an Obama admirer, wrote in The Financial Times, the Obama budget “contains no trace of compromise. It makes no gesture, however small, however costless to its larger agenda, of a bipartisan approach to the great questions it addresses. It is a liberal’s dream of a new New Deal.”

Monday, March 2, 2009

Obama Is Dawdling On The Economy: Pettifor

Author Ann Pettifor writes about Obama's economic strategy at Huffington: the most critical area, the economy, he is allowing his economic team to dawdle. That could be fatal to his presidency. Geithner, Summers and Bernanke are still lagging behind events. If he is not careful he, and they, will be overtaken by these events, and the U.S. could suffer the fate of Japan...The president must not allow himself to be slowed down by the timidity of his current economic team. If they don't stop dawdling, he should take over the reins and get himself a new team.