Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dude Walked The Moon

It's been a while since I wrote here. Unfortunately, I've spent the better part of the last week preoccupied with other things. Some after thoughts: Go tell your loved ones you love them. Enjoy your time with those closest to you. Say hi to a stranger. Take care of yourself.

Not cool when you see the affects of aging start to take their toll on your parents. There reaches a point where Robitussin won't do the trick...

On a somewhat related (but equally unrelated) note, has anyone seen Buzz Aldrin lately? I hope I'm holding it together as well as he is at age 80. I turned on the tube yesterday to see him dancing his face off with some hottie that could have passed as his granddaughter. What a badass. Dude walked the moon.

You know what else is badass? These bands. Just a small snippet of what's fueling me these days. Gotta jet.

Mando Diago
Neon Trees
Titus Andronicus
Four Year Strong
She & Him
Florence and the mothafuckin Machine for global domination

Monday, March 22, 2010

Obamacare. Oh No

Show me a young conservative, and I'll show you someone with no heart. Show me an old liberal and I'll show you someone with no brains. Winston Churchill

Well, folks, it looks like Obama has validated the latter half of the statement once and for all. Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that our country's lawmakers just passed a hallmark bill on health care reform, one that's bound to plunge us further into bankruptcy, strain our path to economic recovery, discourage our lower to middle classes from pursuing financial prosperity, and ultimately, deteriorate the quality of care its supposedly extending to the 32 million uninsured people in this country.

Now I'm not a politico by any stretch of the imagination, and frankly, I'm unlikely to feel the affects of this legislation in the short term, but in looking past my immediate interests, it's clear we're headed for the worst. Let's face it - when you put the government in charge of running public interests of this magnitude, it spells disaster. I grew up within the military health care system, where bureaucratic processes and inefficiencies eventually led me to seek private care. It's not fun, it's not tolerable, and I can't imagine extending such a system for the greater good.

Here's the deal - over the next few years, Obama will be widening Medicaid eligibility and increasing tax credits to help others participate in public insurance exchanges. If you don't have insurance, then you better hop on board here or buy a private plan. Otherwise, you'll be fined. Sounds ok, right? Unfortunately, this isn't free.

Forget how much more we're going to have to borrow to make this a reality (thus putting us further at the mercy of foreign banks, weakening the dollar, and stimying economic growth domestically). Funding for these new programs will come out of the pockets of people like you and I - maybe not right now, but at some point in the foreseeable future when my hard-earned income level meets some minimum threshold requiring me to pay more than what's currently in law. In short, we're going to get the shit taxed out of us. Higher capital gains taxes, higher medicare payroll taxes, even our own health care BENEFITS are slated to get taxed. At least McCain had the cojones to state this last point up front in his campaign for the presidency.

More Medicaid and government sponsored options also means lower reimbursement rates for the docs tending to their participants. Without getting into the age-old argument of care cost vs. quality, the fact is that money talks, even in this setting. Naturally, when the best docs see their paychecks go down, they'll set up shop outside of the hospital setting, privatize their businesses, and seek partnership with private insurers, leaving the public system with its pants down. But it's ok because as long as everyone's insured, it won't matter that their treatment sucks a fat one. And you thought your ER wait times were long now...

I could go on, but I'll stop there. As much as I agree with some of the quick-fix policies in this bill (i.e. barring insurers from denying coverage to kids with pre-existing conditions), we need to keep the big picture in mind and understand the broader ramifications of Obamacare before we let our indignant, young adult energy make up our minds for us.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

No Cup For Becks

As if England's soccer team wasn't already mired in enough scandal and bad luck heading into this summer's world cup, David Beckham recently suffered a tear to his achilles tendon, ending his plans to represent his country on the world's biggest stage one last time. Bummer. And not because his talents are the anchoring cornerstone of his team's success the way they were circa 2000, but because for being one of the sport's most dynamic, decorated, and competitive icons, you can't help but want to see him leave his strongest, most lasting impression at the highest level. Believe me, I was the first to dismiss him as a has-been fashionista and Hollywood playboy when he brought his athletic pursuits to this side of the pond three years ago, but in recent months, he's proven he still has the character and skill to command respect even amongst the international community.

Injuries are the worst nightmare for just about any elite and competitive athlete. I went through far too many in my teenage years. They're like being robbed. Violated, almost. First, there's those feelings of questioning - "why me?" Then frustration, as you watch your sport pass you by, knowing there is nothing you can physically contribute. And in true fairytale fashion, by the end of those prolonged, psychologically crippling moments, you're fueled for the come back of a lifetime.

Unfortunately, in this case, the world cup happens every four years, and at age 34, I suspect we won't be seeing Sir Studley in the next go around.

I'm not sure how the Brits will fare this summer amidst all the drama surrounding their camp: a new captain (put Gerrard in charge!), the Terry/Bridge clash over one's spousal infidelity, Ashley Cole's split with his high-profile wife, and everything else. I can tell you one thing though - I'll miss seeing good ol' Becks out there. Here's to hoping he doesn't end his career in an Herbalife jersey.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Irwin R Sheister

...please note that i have accounted for the sale of all securities listed in both your line by line explanation and my 2007 Smith Barney 1099, both attached. In addition, I have accounted for the cost basis of all these securities, which was not accounted for in your calculation of the xxxx...according to the line by line explanation, this figure was based on gross proceeds...

Tax season.

Fun? No. Manageable? Yes. That's if you've spent months anticipating all its calamities.

For each of the past four years, I've been adequately braced for the misfortunes that accompany this time of year. But when my return home from the road greets me with a fat letter caked with Uncle Sam's own errors, only to leave me cleaning up the mess, my tolerance for the clown lessens. "I want you"?. No, you want my green.

Where's my rittersport?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Look What Happened

March 13th, 2010...

St. Patty's day weekend is in full bloom, daylight savings time is around the corner, Duke's on its way to another ACC tourney title, and I'm blogging. What?

Yes. Soon enough, my rambling will be the stuff of public domain. Til then, I must make like an Irishman, digest this fine Florence/Machine record, and brace myself for the frenzy of tomorrow's Selection Sunday.

Pretending I'm in Boston for the Murphy's show tonight...