Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Why can’t some body bail me out?

I’m knee deep in student loans which, after my rent, is the largest bill I pay monthly and although my salary is nice I’m still feeling the stings of my debt and shake my head at some of the not so great financial choices I’ve made. This in turn affects how much money I can give to charity and for gifts. So, can the government help me out? No?

Hmm, so what if I was knee deep in my large companies debt of my making and although I make millions upon millions of dollars a year, I can’t get out of it. This in turn effects the policies I put forth to my customers who are now paying dearly for these polices and bad financial choices I’ve made. Can I get some help now? Yep!

Right or wrong, this is what the public understands the issue to be and they are mad as hell about bailing out the CEO “fat cats”. The problem remains, however, that if we don’t bail them out we all will suffer. Then there is the partisan politics being played. Let’s break this down, shall we, on my extreme laymen’s knowledge of finance.

Public Outrage
We don’t get help when we fail (however, when I fail the economy doesn’t fall apart).
Yet, this is exactly why thousands of people called the white house to protest the passing of the 700 billion dollar bailout. Why help the greedy who make profits of up to 80 million dollars a year!!!! I mean, perhaps, had they been willing to cut their salaries their companies wouldn’t be in such dire straights. Further, the economy and the people facing foreclosure wouldn’t be slipping off of a proverbial cliff. The idea of helping companies whose CEO’s are living large is repugnant to the public.

We are told that this plan MUST happen to help us all but we aren’t really clear why and why no other alternatives work. We are further enraged that the rich CEOs aren’t paying some price for this. Why aren’t they putting their salaries in the pot to help things out? They can afford one less house or car!

The Bailout
If we don’t bail them out we are told the economy will suffer. The situation is similar to saving the life of a murder so that we can use his skills to solve similar crimes (Silence of the Lambs?). If we don’t help these Wall Street companies we can’t make it. Now I’m all for the new regulations and I think the innocent employees at these companies shouldn’t be put out to pasture but the pubic needs reassurance that this is the only way to help us, that it won’t happen again and that there was absolutely no other way (with a detailed explanation of why nothing else worked).

Partisan Politics
As long as John Q Public hates the bailout plan the politics will continue to be played. John Q Public is also known as the voter. And if you are a senator/house member up for reelection do you want your voters upset at you? No. You want to go with what they want and that is a no go on the bailout so you vote their way. You also point fingers at the other side to help you out (anyone hear McCain’s useless rant about Obama and other democrats causing the failure of the bailout? Which is clearly odd to me since 67% Republicans voted AGAINST the bailout! One speech by Nancy Pelosi shouldn’t change their minds- get some tougher skin!)

So What Should Be Done?
Don’t ask me, I don’t know a darn thing about economics but I think the government needs to realize that the public is wising up (or at the very least mistrustful and mad as hell) which leads to no more soothing parent like words to a child like public. We demand some real answers and explanations. For any plan to work and for the pubic to shift, politicians need to understand that we are listening not just staring with mouths gaping open and eyes glazed. We have the Today Show, MSNBC, CNN and even the freaking Colbert Report to break things down to us if we don’t get quite what the politician’s are saying. So work it out- the public is watching!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Race Relations Today

With the upcoming elections being so historical talk of race can't help but wiggle it's way into our media.
I've read three articles recently that got me thinking: Have we come a long way since the civil rights movement as a country?

Article one in yahoo! discussed whether blacks and whites view race issues the same. The answer is an obvious no. Blacks still believe by at least 60% that racism still is a large issue and it is not our own doing or a play of the race card. Almost an exact percentage of whites believe just the opposite. Why is that? My first thought is simply, blacks (and other minorities) are still the number one victims of racism. We aren't the majority, us employing institutionalized racism on whites will simply have no societal effect. Therefore, we are going to continue to see the world at a different angle than whites simply because of our minority status. In a world where I am one of the few black people around, I am always going to be conscious of that and more sensitive to racial issues that may appear to be less obvious but all the same just as damaging as racism back in the 1960s. I will recognize racial inequality in employment and education as well as racial profiling and even the ever common walking down the street and a person of another race clutching their purse or moving away when you stand near them. A white person, not facing these issues and not seeing these issues on a regular basis (there are no more "for whites only" or "for coloreds only" signs and we don't have the media showing peaceful protesters getting hosed) are not going to feel the sting of racism. Already in this campaign the media has called Michelle Obama, on a professional news cast, his "baby momma" and can we forget the New Yorkers cover of Barack and Michele Obama? Was McCain so disrespected?

This leads me to the next article I read about writer, actor, director Tyler Perry. He was asked why his movies are only about blacks. Okay, side bar, have we ever asked any white directors why they continuously make movies centered around white people? Perry replied that he grew up in a black town and he is writing what he knows. He doesn't know white culture so he can't write about it.

Now, I don't necessarily agree with this but all the same if Perry wants to make black movies then what's the harm? My real problem here is that his statement is so true. We are a legally integrated society making the choice (financial or not) to live segregated. I remember going to college and having a white friend of mine come to me and angrily state how another white person asked her how it was to live with black people. Or meeting white people who had never seen a black person in person. I also remember going to a predominantly black high school and having the teacher ask the students who was the majority race in America to which they replied black, but hey that's all they knew! And that's the sad part, until we really integrate, race is always going to be an issue. We will be afraid to talk about it or we will hold on to negative stereotypes because we haven't met anyone to disprove them.

Which leads to my final article rant, Glamour has a limited series on race and this month they are discussing interracial friendships. The panel discussed how, even though many of them have friends of other races, their closets friends are always of the same race. One friend stated that her Latina friend said at the end of the day she wanted to be amongst her people so that she didn't feel she had to explain herself or her culture and just be. She was tired of people asking her about Latin food. I had a similar friend in college say a similar thing. We were on the Black Student's Association and some of us wanted to do a program that was educational about black culture to enlighten "outside cultures". She said, she was constantly doing that already and she just wanted to finally celebrate us without catering to another.

I get the frustration but it is also a blockage to establishing real cross cultural friendships. Yes, it's an effort to open up to other races and talk to them as you would your same race/cultured friends but it can be pretty rewarding. I remember talking about racial stereotypes and interracial dating in front of my white girlfriends and thought "this will be awkward" and it wasn't at all! Making friends of other races will really help in the effort to eradicate racism. That might mean leaving the comfort of your same race neighborhood to check out other places and maybe join other groups/social clubs. Now I'm not say come off looking like you're trying to make your rainbow connection of friends but put yourself in places to establish new surroundings. I've made the effort and feel I'm better off for it. I think once we expose our cultures, issues and thoughts to people of other races in a friendly atmosphere we can finally establish the foundation to really be a united America.
Get's off soap box.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Final Straw

This economy has hurt our gas consumption, has charged us for checking in bags, made us pay higher prices for groceries but the final straw is when they start messing with the most important thing of all: CANDY!

Seems now due to higher prices Hershey's chocolate has taken the cocoa butter out of many of their chocolate candies and replaced it with vegetable oil! Not since the great coca cola switch have I been this upset (okay, I wasn't born when the original soda was out but I keep hearing about how it was way better than today's stuff so now I'm upset).

Anywho, vegetable oil is supposed to be cheaper but you don't see Hershey's dropping their prices on the candy and it tastes different.
I saw this on the Today show and many customers are upset and don't like the taste of the new candy as compared to the old actual milk chocolate they used to eat. Some actually like the new stuff. To each their own but if there is no actual cocoa butter in the new stuff it's not really chocolate but more so chocolate flavored. That's whack! Don't make me come up to Hershey, Pennsylvannia!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Money on My Mind

Okay, I usually try not to talk money mainly because I'm a novice to it all. I read Suze Orman and other financial gurus and follow their advice as much as my pockets will allow. But all of this financial news I am bombarded with on a daily basis is finally wearing me down. I'm actually wondering now if putting my money in the old school shoe box account is starting to make sense, however, threat of fire or burglery is preventing me from taking such a drastic step. Yet I see why people are considering it. See, even though your money is insured (well up to about 100 or 200k per bank, and not account, and Lord knows I don't have anything saved even close to that to break a sweat) you got to wonder how our money would really be paid back to us if we're in a deficit and bailing out all of these big companies out of big debt.

And I don't care what the republican's say, if tax payers are helping out Fannie and Freddie Mac and AIG then how are taxes not going to rise? This is an extra expense! I'm no financial maveric but the thought seems logical to me that with a new debt so to speak, comes a higher payment. Like you purchase a new item on your credit card, the monthly bill goes up. So my train of thought would believe that if we have some new companies to pay for then something's gotta rise that we pay on a regular basis which would be taxes.

And I'm all for a higher tax on the rich and less so on the middle and lower classes. Typically the middle class always feels the brunt of it. We don't make enough for it not to matter and we make too much to get any incentives or real breaks. Republicans don't favor higher taxes on the rich, who are not the majority, because they state it will hurt the economy. My assumption is this is because if the rich start feeling the burn they will cut back on spending thus hurting our whole capitalist set up. But I have to say if the middle class, which I believe I believe is the majority, stops spending as much due to higher taxes/costs then wouldn't that hurt the economy even more?

The reality is, as long as the middle class suffers and as a results deminishes by finding themselves on the lower class living, the greater our country will suffer. If you check out any third world country you will notice one big factor, a small or lack of middle class. The middle class is the backbone of any thriving society so shouldn't we be treated with a little more respect?

It's a hope that this is like our usual recession (and I mean usual, our capatalist set up makes for a recession at least every decade) and it will end in the new year. But realistic finanical advisors are relating this to a financial storm of the centry. We haven't yet hit Depression crisis but we are well past a usual recession. This one might see us into 2010. So maybe I'll be holding off on my big Europe trip to see where this economy goes.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Music On My Mind This Month

Pink- So What- Makes me want to cut my hair short and spike it! Then kick some ass!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgJly74APRE (couldn't copy the video directly)

Little Jackie- The World Should Revolve Around Me- Makes me want to rock my fro in skinny jeans and heels

John Legend and Andre 3000- Lovin the beat, lovin it all, glad to have you back John Legend!

Jason Marz- I'm Yours- I've always been a fan of this guy and I love the mellow vibe of this song.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Tina Fey as Sarah Palin on SNL- Funny!

Tina along with Amy Polher as Hilary Clinton did a great job. Had to share!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Cities for Singles?

So Forbes came out with this years best cities for singles and all I got to say is this: What kind of single people were they talking about?

but below are the top 25 cities (they list 40 in all with my family home town of Jacksonville, Florida being last (not surprising! there's no one there!):

  1. Atlanta - now for a black straight woman, I wonder if this is really accurate. I heard there is a large gay black male community here (down low and out) and even though there is a large upper class black community with a cool night scene, I'm not sold on Hotlanta being the place to be.

  2. San Francisco - now, come on, they are not talking about straight singles here! which is fine but lets be clear so no one gets set up!

  3. Dallas - I could see this

  4. Minneapolis - is this a diverse city?

  5. Washington D.C. - all the women in this city? they must be talking about for single men

  6. Seattle - I actually hear good things about this city

  7. Boston

  8. New York City - not surprised

  9. Orlando - guess all those disney characters are hooking up!

  10. Phoenix

  11. Chicago - I'm a beliver, guess people want to get attached when it gets really cold there

  12. Denver-Aurora - same thought here

  13. Miami - all the beautiful people, wonder if it's really superficial, like do you need to be a model to find love here?

  14. Austin

  15. San Antonio

  16. Los Angeles

  17. Houston - this is the fourth texas city announced, guess love is big in texas too!

  18. Charlotte

  19. San Diego

  20. St. Louis

  21. Columbus

  22. Philadelphia

  23. Tampa-St. Petersburg

  24. Las Vegas

  25. Baltimore - scratches her head on this one, are they thinking of all races and social economic backgrounds when they list this city? You know maybe there are a lot of single folk here but we sure aren't meeting each other (at least not eligible (ie educated, job having, no drama/std/drugs toting) ones)

The site also list other categories like best/worst night life- NY got the best, Charlotte, NC got the worst (number 40 out of 40), Baltimore was 21st

best/worst on line dating- Charlotte was the best (makes since since their night life is the worst guess they spend more time indoors on line at night?), Memphis was the worst, Baltimore ranked 23rd.

best/worst culture- Los Angeles was the best, Jacksonville ranked worst, Baltimore ranked 17th. Now by culture I'm not sure if they mean racial diversity or artistic culture or both. If artistic or both- I might agree. I still haven't found the arts scene in Jville and it's hardly a diverse city (still some racial problems going on there) and ranking Bmore as slightly above the middle seems fair. We've got a lot of art but we aren't beating out NY , Philly, DC or Miami, especially when mixed in with the diversity factor.

In all honesty, I think this site is talking about who has more singles in it than which city has more love opportunities for singles. Therefore Jacksonville ranking last makes since, seeing as all my cousins are in relationships there. Atlanta and New York being top cities only shows that there are a lot of single people there which might mean less people interested in committed relationships which may mean lesser chances of getting in a relationship there (but I guess you'll have fun dating!) Using that logic then wouldn't it make since to go to the states with fewer singles? It may mean that the few singles will feel a greater desire to get in relationships because the single scene is so small. Hmm, just wondering.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I'll do what I want to do!

That seems to be Oprah’s motto in response to those pushing to have her ask Palin onto her show. After all, says critics, she’s had Obama on, it’s only fair. But the big O says no more politics on her show until after the elections. People are threatening to protest and some staff walk off her show. They feel if Oprah’s show is really for women then having Palin on the show would be a perfect piece. And it’s only fair to the republican side of her audience.
Here’s my take on it. Oprah has never really done the politics thing before until Obama. She made a public stand that he was her candidate. So already she crossed pass her regular neutrality line. Once that was done did people really expect her to go back to neutral and have Palin on her show? If she’s pushing for Obama, and we know Oprah’s clout, why would she have Palin on her show? It would look almost like an endorsement and might help to sway female voters who were following Clinton.

That is, assuming, Oprah had Palin on the show to display a more human/down home side to her that Oprah has done so successfully for other notables who were booed by the public. For example, Tom Cruise. He came back to redeem himself on her show after the couch jumping incident and I must say, I found him quite charming. And so did a lot of her audience who commented that that appearance changed their minds for the better about Cruise. Obviously, she wouldn’t want to do that for Palin, at least not before the vote. She’s pushing for Obama so making Palin seem great goes against that.

The deal is, no one was making a huge fuss (or maybe I ignored it, I do remember being a little shocked that she even took a side) when she endorsed Obama. The obvious flip side to that meant that she did not endorse Republican by extension that being McCain.

People, if we knew she didn’t endorse McCain, what would be the point of putting his running mate on the show unless she planned to negatively interview her? You know, like when talk show hosts interview murders, rapist, abusers, KKK. They aren’t doing it to make them look good!
If McCain’s committee continues to limit the forums that Palin goes on (to what, protect her? Not a good leader look right there) then they would not endorse having her on Oprah for a negative interview. Their hope would be that having her on Oprah would pull female votes, and Oprah ain’t having it.

Hey, Oprah has more money than she can count. She isn’t worried about loosing viewer ship or subscribers to her magazine. She would still flourish without them both. If she was going to lose out big time, it would have happened right after she endorsed Obama. Any leavers now aren’t going to make a big difference.

She isn’t a political show so she owes no neutrality to the public.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Running Scared

Okay I run a few miles a few times a week (okay, I run/walk a few miles a few times a week). It’s good exercise and I lost a lot of weight doing it. Anywho, whenever I go running; morning, evening, weekday or weekend; I can’t seem to bypass the catcalls, car honks or stares.

I just wanna run people, why does it have to be a spectacle? I’m not wearing anything other runners aren’t wearing, heck, I wear more. Nothings hanging out, so I’m not an eye sore. And a lot of other girls run who wear much less and are cute don’t get the obvious harassment.
The only difference I can think of is I’m a black female.

Despite what you might have seen in the Olympics there really aren’t that many black runners. Scratch that, not many Black American distance runners. Since I’ve taken up running (well jogging), more than a year ago, I can count on one hand the amount of black women I’ve seen outside running, a few more for power walking. Not that I’ve seen a whole bunch of black men running, but there are more.

I really don’t get why it’s such a rarity in my city but it needs to stop. I get so tired of running past of group of black men who stop their conversation and watch me as I run past, making a comment or two, sometimes verbal sexual harassment or sometimes for the positive like “run, sista”. That’s not so bad but sometimes I just want to run without looking like I’m making a stand.

Heck even people of other races look. Usually not the other runners, I usually get a nod or hello from them, which makes me feel like I’m part of some special inner circle (silly I know but encouraging none the less). However, I think other races seeing a black person run in the city are still taken back, you can just see the look of curiosity on their faces like “where’s she going, is she late for the bus?” (Just kidding). This is not everyone but I encounter it from at least two people every time I run.

Anyway, all I’m saying is, I need to see more women of color out their running (particularly Black and Latina, I tend to see a fair amount of Asian women running already) so I don’t continue looking like I’m marching for change instead of simply getting some exercise. Heck, I don’t care if all you do is go for a power walk just get out there so I’m not alone and it becomes the norm!
That is all.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

On My Own

I guess I’m late to the game but I finally moved out on my own. After years of living with parents and then in college and then back to parents while in law school and then with roommates I finally decided to take the plunge and move on my own. And here is what I found- It’s scary!

Okay, so I am a city gal all the way. I also consider myself very bohemian/artsy so what better place for me to move than the arts district. A bit pricey but for the area and cost the space is a good size. Also, the landlord is very flexible so if I have to move before the end of the lease I can and the area is excellent. Close to stores, restaurants, boutiques, night life and the Penn Station. (My parents aren't, they think I should be in the suberbs, I think "why not just wheel me into a nursing home early" because that's how much fun the suberbs feels to me).

But I must admit, I can be a bit of a princess and I can be a type A personality. My apartment is not the high level I’m use to living in (suberbs or city) but I knew that I wouldn’t be having top notch as soon as I moved in. It’s just hard getting use to the “lived in” feel. In essence, say my friends who helped me move in, it’s very New York- take that anyway you want to. I choose to focus on the positive as I like the New York feel and have been busying myself watching the Home and Garden Network with tips on how to decorate in smaller area. Also, the area forces me to stay on point. I live off of a main street so it can be high traffic (can’t even park from 4-6pm on weekdays) so can’t come out of my place looking like I just woke up. Reminds me of when I studied in Central London for law school. I was in a major area (kind of like Soho/Manhattan) so when I went running and had on ill fitting jogging pants and a old tshirt I felt like a slouch next to all the other pedestrians. I vowed to look more together, even when working out or going to the grocery store for just a carton of milk. I’ll be doing the same here!

What makes it scary for me is that I really am on my own. No roommates to watch America’s Next Top Model with (which starts tomorrow!). If there is a noise my cat sure isn’t going to do much but hide next to me. And if I find a bug or mouse, Lord help that landlord because he told me they don’t have pest problems!

I don’t know maybe it’s just the first time jitters and I’ll get through it. All my friends live on their own and I know a few people who live in my neighborhood.

It’s a fixer upper but I’m going to work it out and the landlord said he'd credit me for any imporvements I made/painting I did as long as I cover it with him first. Might take some pictures and show you the after

Anywho, wish me luck!

BTW- until I get my home internet up and running I might be a little delayed on posting on my site and commenting on others. Hopefully I can get that resolved A.S.A.P. cause I'm dying withoiut internet at home (luckily I got my cable installed yesterday to occupy me, I could read though...)