Category Archives: coffee muses

Lawmakers’ Profits Are Scrutinized

Lawmakers’ Profits Are Scrutinized: House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) made a $2 million profit last year on the sale of land 5 1/2 miles from a highway project that he helped to finance with targeted federal funds.

A Republican House member from California, meanwhile, received nearly double what he paid for a four-acre parcel near an Air Force base after securing $8 million for a planned freeway interchange 16 miles away. And another California GOP congressman obtained funding in last year’s highway bill for street improvements near a planned residential and commercial development that he co-owns.

In all three cases, Hastert and Reps. Ken Calvert and Gary Miller say that they were securing funds their home districts wanted badly, and that in no way did the earmarks have any impact on the land values of their investments. But for watchdog groups, the cases have opened a fresh avenue for investigation and a new wrinkle in the ongoing controversy over earmarks — home-district projects funded through narrowly written legislative language.

It really makes you wonder where we got off track. Politics has always had the smell of the nefarious, now with campaign funds and earmarks and an attitude that everyone is doing it so it must be ok, but, just in case we wont work the ethics committee too hard in case they do find something. Oh, and while we are at it lets ply with the districts to make sure no one can beat us until we are vested in that retirement fund we set up (you know you can’t count on social security…We’ve been spending the money for years).

What the hell happened to leadership in this country? Since when did vested self interest win out over doing the work of the American People. Come on you guys, you went in to politics to make a difference, where did your ideals go?

I think this is the same mentality in leadership that allows for the minimum wage in this country to be worth 25% less than it was in 1968 and yet bumps their own salary by $30K per year…Almost 3 times the fulltime minimum wage.

America, our leaders suck!

Late addendu…Even Molly Ivins is pissed.

Minimum Wage / Maximum Pissed

The Carpetbagger Report: “It hasn’t generated a great deal of attention, but congressional Dems are keeping Republicans on the defensive over a minimum-wage increase. At this point, the GOP leadership looks a little flustered.
Last week, the House Appropriations Committee approved a $2.10-an-hour increase to the minimum wage, despite the demands of Republican leaders, when the committee took up a spending bill for labor, health, and education programs. Seven House Republicans joined the Dems on the increase, but House Speaker Dennis Hastert responded by indefinitely putting the appropriations bill on hold.”
Seems to me if the Republicants don’t want to see the minimum wage raised to a livable wage, maybe what we need in this country is a “maximum wage” law. Let’s lock the maximum a person can see his wage increase to the same percentage as the minimum wage increase each year. And just for the fun of it let’s lock congress into a wage increase at half of the minimum increase…

Our Stories, Mythology in the Making

Wandering through the blogs I read regularly today led to another interesting discovery…
via Colleen thru her sister Kathy to Christina Baldwin and her book “Storycatcher”. Now it looks like I need to make another trip to the Amazon site. In reading at the site a couple of things caught my eye…

Story is really all we leave each other. Even the most precious heirlooms, including the ones I tend in my own home, will not last: someday they’ll end up in an estate sale or a house will burn down or they will simply lose meaning. What has the most lasting value is the story of who we are, who we come from, where we aspire to go.

And then there is this:

Story has a beginning, middle and end that makes a point, delivers an insight or shares an experience. This is called narrative… Narrative is how we remember, how we communicate, and how we assign meaning to events.

It looks like this may be what it is that is driving all of our blogging. The need to put the narrative back into the structure of our life. Without the stories of our life, can it really be said that we have left anything of us behind?

This will require more study…

“(Let us) make our own story in the world. (May) our grandchildren say about us that there was a time when many things looked dark, when people felt separated from each other … and people were distracted and busy, driven along in the deterioration of many things they held dearly. But then, in the nick of time, something that no one could see, and no one could stop began to restore hope and instill them with wisdom and action: people began to remember the sweetness of story.”

How I spend my days…

I spend my days in a darkened room staring at twin windows on the electronic world. My twin windows are the twin 20” monitors on which I design my projects before sending them through the cable that ties my machine to the others in this network of interconnected ideas.

My job titles me a design manager, but how does one really manage designs? My actual job has me spending my days (to borrow the corporate branding speak) “designing environments and graphical interfaces that facilitate face to face marketing”. Which means, I design displays and graphics for exhibits, tradeshows and conventions? The illustration on this post will give you a slight idea of what I do…I tend to reinvent myself regularly, though, keeping the myth growing.

I came to this position primarily because I was always a computer geek even before there were computer geeks…and since I was originally a builder of modular exhibits working without the benefits of a designer or detailer to illustrate what we were putting together, I taught myself to draw them, first by hand and then by computer. I was always drawn to drawing and sketching, so the discipline of drafting was a natural progression. The reason I started to draw the exhibits we were building was to be able to communicate the setup instructions to the installation crews in my absence. Over the course of the years my primary work load has shifted from a mainly production bent to primarily a design focus, so that now almost all of my work is done in a virtual world…And, since the ankles and knees no longer appreciate the pounding of the concrete on the tradeshow floor for days and miles on end, I guess the virtual world will do until I can put myself into the real world of the mountains I dream of.

Mountain Dreams