Archive for March, 2008

Not so fast

Well, I did go back to work today, but tomorrow’s up in the air. I got home this evening to find that Mr. Yenta had not had an especially good day. He’s cold and he’s weak and tired. He could be getting sick or his blood could be just a little too thin. In any case, he’s got an appointment at the doctor’s office tomorrow morning and he’s in no shape to drive. It looks like it’s going to be another morning out of work for me, at the least. I’m really getting pissed thinking about the doctor whose orders set this thing off.  Would it have really killed her to talk to the doctor who first prescribed the Wayfarin before telling him to stop taking it?

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Back to work tomorrow

Well, Mr. Yenta is allowed to drive now. His blood count is much improved and while he’ll still be going to the doctor a couple of times a week for a while he can be left to fend for himself now. It hasn’t exactly been a vacation, but it has been two weeks since I’ve been at work so I guess it’s time to go check in. I asked a co-worker if they’d given away my office and they hadn’t, but some ants did move in during my absence.  Tomorrow is looking like a long and very busy day, so it’s unlikely that I’ll get a post in. I hope I’ll at least find time to see what everyone else has to say.

CIA Man

Meet the Press was devoid of candidates or their official surrogates today. Bummer. We must look forward to those “Gotcha!” questions. We keep tuning in on Sundays, after all. It’s either the questions or fascination with the size of Tim Russert’s head. Is just it me, or is it getting even bigger?

The main guest this week was General Michael Hayden, Director of the CIA, who was trotting out to explain, among other things, how things are going well in Iraq. Much better than you would think, if you were just basing your opinion based on the amount of carnage going on – or your lying eyes, apparently.

Russert also asked about waterboarding, quoting John McCain’s opinion that waterboarding is indeed torture. WriteChic Press correctly points out that it’s embarrassing to have to be dancing around the legal definition of torture and whether waterboarding fits into it. That doesn’t matter to the CIA, Hayden explained, because the CIA hasn’t waterboarded anyone – lately. But they do want to provide CIA agents with liability insurance. Just in case. Well, talk about embarrassing! The CIA sure isn’t what it used to be when Tuli Kupferberg of the Fugs penned the lyrics to CIA Man.

Who’s got the secretest service/
The one that makes the other service nervous

That was the CIA that we who came of age during the Cold War remember. It’s hard to imagine that the CIA of those days would have a director who would look more natural in Accounts Receivable than in a uniform. In fact, I think that we pictured anyone connected with “The Agency” as pretty much just a shadowy silhouette.

The break-up of the Soviet Union had to have been rough on the CIA. They were all about the commies. The War on Terror should have put them back on top of their game, but instead the image of the CIA has taken a beating during the Bush years. The finger pointing, the outing of Valerie Plame, the lack of WMD and the 24/7 news cycle have all taken a toll. Former CIA agents don’t disappear into anonymous lives these days.G. Gordon Liddy was the pioneer in the area of Spook as Media Star, but the thing may have gotten out of hand in recent years. Besides having their covers blown by the White House, they show up on C-Span, they’re talking heads on cable news, they have blogs – they’re everywhere! Where’s the mystique?

Not only that, but now that we know something about what they used to do, what they seem to be able to do now seems a little weak. For one thing, Osama bin Laden is still running around loose, making videos. For another, if it was regime change that was wanted, why did we even have to invade Iraq? Wasn’t regime change a CIA specialty at one time? In Tuli’s words:

Who can squash republics like bananas
If they do not like their social manners?
Who can train guerillas by the dozen
Send them out to kill their untrained cousins?
Fuckin’ A, man
C.I.A. man

Well, those days seem to be over. Now they’re getting liability insurance.

Photoshop Express

We learned today, via LI Biz Blog, about Photoshop express, wherin Adobe is offering a web based photo editing app and albums with 2 gigs of web storage for free. Pretty cool. Of course, I signed up for an account to check it out. Nice, but the editing capabilities are a little sparse just yet. What’s there works very well. They plan to add more features and are actively solicting feedback and feature requests. Still, it’s hard to understand how they launched a photo editor without a “resize image” feature. And it is, indeed, a photo editor, as opposed to image editor. It handles .jpg’s only.

For right now, Photoshop Express has great potential and looks like an excellent place to keep photo albums and/or host your photos. For online image editing Picnik remains my first choice. There are many, many more editing features in Picnik and it handles any of several different image formats.  It’s also incredibly easy to use. And it’s good lookin’, too.

We’re Number One!

Long Island at top of state’s mortgage crisis

Suffolk and Nassau counties accounted for 33 percent of subprime loans that were made in 2006 in New York State and that are now in foreclosure, according to a report to be released Friday by the Empire Justice Center, a nonprofit law firm that advocates for low-income families.

The analysis, based on data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, shows Long Island at the top of the mortgage crisis in the state, the Albany-based center said. The group will publicize the 80-page report, which will show foreclosure and default rates across the state and also talk about solutions and the impact on minority communities.

Long Island’s one-third foreclosure rate equates to 12,936 subprime loans, the report said.

At the same time, Long Island has 30 percent of all subprime loans scheduled to reset before October 2009, according to the study of subprime loans given out in 2006.

The articles cites aggressive mortgage sales and overinflated prices as the prime reasons for Long Island winning this honor. No doubt, but my best advice to avoid this kind of thing is don’t live on an island.  We’re developed from one end to the other now. There’s no longer the option to find affordable housing by moving farther out east, away from NYC.  Leaving Long Island, which a lot of people are doing, involves picking up stakes and changing your job, moving away from family and friends.  Could be that if you’re priced out of Westchester County, NYC’s northern suburb, you can find something in Rockland or Orange County without so much disruption.  And maybe it’s a little easier to find affordable rentals on the mainland. It couldn’t be much harder.

A lot of this is why I believe it might be time to embrace the post-nuclear, multi-generational family, instead of fighting it.  Our kids might not be homeowners, but at least they’re not  in danger of foreclosure and a default judgment on a mortgage in excess of a home’s value. We might not have an empty nest, but we don’t have to leave home to babysit.  Not that a nice quiet condo doesn’t sound pretty good sometimes….

Make it so, Number 1!

Q: Do you still think the Democratic race can be resolved before the convention?Reid: Easy.

Q: How is that?

Reid: It will be done.

Q: It just will?

Reid: Yep.

Q: Magically?

Reid: No, it will be done. I had a conversation with Governor Dean (Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean) today. Things are being done.

Las Vegas Review Journal

Your mouth to God’s ears, Harry.

How Government Adds to Ranks of Uninsured

The Wall Street Journal (of all things) explains it all.