Sunday, June 27, 2010

The old woman in the Scooter

Today I was at work and I walked passed a door. Glancing out I saw an old lady at the far end of a parking lot sitting on one of those scooters for the walking semi-impaired.

A harsh wind was blowing. I could tell by the whipping of the American flag on the back of her mode of transportation which itself was red.

She was out there by herself, her face was down, protected by her arms. I couldn't tell if she needed help. I wondered if the battery was dead in her scooter.

I continued walking a few feet, then thought that I should at least see if she was okay. Maybe she was merely waiting for a ride, but I wasn't sure. Maybe she really was in distress. I sighed, turned, and started to push open the door. It was particularly difficult. The wind was very hard at that moment.

She tilted her head up and I saw the cigarette dangling in her mouth. She was out in the far reaches of the parking lot because the hospital has a rule. No smoking on the property.

I walked away wondering if those scooters served to extend the smoking habits of people who can no longer walk because they smoked so much.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Springfield needs a 12-step program.

Even the State-Journal Register seems to deny the truth about Springfield by focusing on the score.

Springfield needs to stand up and say "Hi. My name is Springfield, Illinois, and I'm an alcoholic.

A multitude of voices will cry out in the darkness.

Opening a bar in this town is impossible. There's too much competition.

Two Springfield officers among top 15 in state for DUI arrests - Springfield, IL - The State Journal-Register

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Rod and Judas

Reading the article this morning at the SJ-R website about the trial of Rod Blagojevich, the former governor of Illinois who was impeached after being arrested on corruption charges. [ ]

I was suddenly struck by thoughts of Judas Iscariot. I have to break down why I thought of Judas while reading about the former governor.

While being raised a Christian I was taught that Judas betrayed Jesus to the Romans which eventually led to Jesus' crucifixion. I hated Judas. I think everyone else did too. But logically the dividend of the betrayal of Jesus was allegedly the salvation of everyone, so Judas really wasn't such a bad fellow after all. So what does this have to do with Rod Blagojevich? Not what you think.

The metaphor I'm going for here is that Rod Blagojevich is Judas, not Jesus. Jesus in this metaphor is actually the state of Illinois, but not literally. The Jesus metaphor here is the public perception of the Illinois government.

Judas (Blagojevich) is betraying Jesus (the public perception of Illinois) to the Romans (the reality of Illinois government).

Ultimately, since the Rod Blagojevich trial is tearing the veneer from Illinois government, I think we should give our former governor a little credit. Sort of like Judas, because Illinois government needs to be crucified, and it looks like this trial is starting to get that ball rolling.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Monetary machinations and media sorcery.

I was browsing through the tv listings at and came across an advertisement that claimed that The Wall Street Journal reported the end of Walmart. Since the ad was a graphic image and not actual text I figured it was bogus, so I thought I would check it at When I got there it was a page that requires a user to subscribe for a fee.

I almost considered paying for a subscription to The Wall Street Journal, but I was reminded of my experience taking economics and accounting in college. The books were old, and I was taking economics and accounting in the spring of 2008, during the worst recession since the great depression. What part of ironic is missing from that? If enough people who studied economics and accounting actually got the correct information, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

So I wondered how many people read The Wall Street Journal. They appear to be the authority on financial news. The publication has been around since 1889 and has a reputed circulation of 2.1 million copies and nearly half a million online subscribers. So, why are we in a huge recession?

Wait a minute. The subscriptions and circulation don’t cover the entire population of the United States, around 307 million people. So now the question is this: Did everyone who subscribed to The Wall Street Journal come through the recession smelling like roses? How many people who took college economics and accounting survived the recession?

Every day I opened my books I wondered if the information I was learning was any good at all because of the recession. Now that I thought about it for a while, those who participated in the marketplace deserve all the credit for the recession. Two million or so people out of three hundred million read The Wall Street Journal, and very few people are studying for their MBA degrees. I imagine that they weathered the recession very well indeed, but businesses failed, so there are those among the financial experts who know something more than just the old economics and accounting textbooks.

I studied communication too, so I recognize that certain information is for public consumption, and other information is deliberately convoluted. Should you get all your investing ideas from watching CNBC or reading the Wall Street Journal, or should you go to the trouble of looking up a company’s annual or quarterly financial report using EDGAR at

I figure most people regard the mass media with such validity and credibility that they don’t question the sources and dig themselves a recession, while others analyze the mass media to predict the behavior of the public reaction to it for financial gain.

Such examples of public behavior to media would be the “Oprah Effect.” [ ] Oprah Winfrey one day might mention a product and the next day the person who created it could be a millionaire. That example is one of the clearest. Another example is the recent jobs report put out by the White House on Friday that showed most of the recently created jobs were temporary census workers. That information combined with the BP oil spill and Hungary being added to the growing list of European countries in financial trouble, caused a massive sell-off of stocks in Wall Street, which in turn dragged down the stock market.

Monday, some traders on Wall Street will swoop in like vultures to buy up stocks that suddenly became cheap, causing the market to go up, but less. The trend from February through April was a steady increase in stock values, but ever since, the industrial averages are stepping down. Two steps down, then one step up. Some bit of information keeps changing the game week to week.

To find out what happened I went to Google Finance and looked at the index timeline. [,INDEXSP:.INX,INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC ] Google saw fit to place news releases along the timeline and one source that looked appealing was found at published April 28, 2010 ” S&P 500 May Drop After ‘Ultimate Squeeze’: Technical Analysis”. [ ] The headline itself predicted the current trend, and it doesn’t look likely to change anytime soon.
The uptrend appears to result from slightly improving earnings reports, while the downtrend follows news from Europe, employment numbers, or some other news related to government, like new regulatory legislation in the works.

One might think that the stock market is punishing the country for having elected a Democrat President of the United States. Either that or deregulation throughout the eight years of the Bush administration is meeting its karma in the form of bank failures, financial bailouts, E-coli and Salmonella outbreaks, coalmine and oil rig explosions, lead and cadmium in consumer products, and who knows what else lurks on the horizon. Either way, the layoffs started soon after the election of Barack Obama.

When I look at a news story, I wonder it was published literally for its own value, or intended to move the public or some audience to a certain action. Real stories about events concerning individuals aside, news about trends, numbers, or groups of people have the potential to be falsified or distorted to motivate the public.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


Massive layoffs in government. Politicians relieved of all authority. Government buildings closed permanently. There's no longer a need to vote between two evils or between the good, the bad and the ugly. For the new full-participation democracy, just go to It's the new government.