Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fast Times

This is an experimental piece, I'm fasting for 24 hours (except for clear liquids) before a routine medical procedure and I'm curious enough to reflect on how I feel about not eating.

So, it's 8:45 am, I skipped breakfast, now on my second cup of tea and I honestly don't feel hungry. I'm conscious of the fact that I didn't eat my usual bowl of zone-balanced cereal, fruit, cottage cheese, almonds, protein powder and 1% milk. But that's it. That's all. Not hungry, I'm at my desk, working on condo business and plans for an alumni relations roundtable event. I'm also conscious of the fact that hundreds of millions of people woke up this morning and didn't eat breakfast because they don't have anything to eat….and they're not blogging about it.

10:45 am, oops, first hunger pang. I had sort of forgotten what a hunger pang feels like…rather weak, I expect, compared to the average hunger pang…ever wondered what a "pang" is? My old favorite Random House dictionary says: "a sudden feeling of mental distress; a sudden, brief, sharp pain, or a spasm or severe twinge of pain." I'm not really sure I believe that a hunger thingy qualifies as a pang, I am pretty sure it's more mental than physical at this point. Anyway, what does "severe twinge" mean? C'mon already.

12:15 pm, yup, I'm thinking about lunch, I have been thinking about eating off and on for the last hour, but really this isn't bad. I'm doing a steady input of clear fluids. No, Virginia, gin does not qualify here as a "clear fluid" for some reason….

4:30 pm, OK, now I'm sporadically thinking about particular food items instead of just plain old generic "eating," in particular I'd love to go downstairs and eat a date as I do most every afternoon, just one, at my age the old alimentary canal is very completely satisfied with just one…and only one..

7:20 pm, I went to a faculty development meeting around dinner time, so I didn't do any conscious countdown to not eating the evening meal, my stomach knows that I haven't eaten today, but it's pretty much just a dull awareness, haven't had a "hunger pang" for hours, obviously the body fat I'm carrying is taking care of my metabolic needs today without much problem whatsoever….

This whole business of fasting has been greatly less troubling and greatly less interesting than I imagined at the outset. I've been distracted from time to time, but honestly I haven't felt "hungry" with a capital H or anything…

I'm very strongly aware that not eating for one day isn't much of an achievement in a global context. I think I've been trying to feel low key about this, it hasn't required much effort to do so…

8:45 pm, very little sensation of hunger, it's not top of mind….it may be a different story in a few hours, not sure if I will wake up hungry during the night…how important is it, really, to eat three meals a day?

Conclusions right now:

This was too easy. I'm overweight. I need to do this again, soon.

Images of Hunger from Bing:
Hunger in America, think about it......

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I know I'm in the 99%

I'm encouraged to see that more and more Americans are joining public protests against the financial and political clout of "the 1%" and against the disastrous, growing imbalance of wealth and income and concern for the public good in America. Yes, the protesters are a somewhat disorganized, polyglot, motley and perhaps slightly grubby group, but, to their credit, they are mad as hell and they don't want to take it any more.
And, no, they're not the liberal progressive version of the Tea Party.....for starters, no hatred of immigrants, no disdain of the poor, no Bibles, no dogmatic interpretation of the Constitution, and no guns!
And, yes, Virginia, there is a chance that the pilgrims of the "Occupy Wall Street" movement may become a political force in the coming presidential election.....
For me, the important thing right now is that they are expressing righteous outrage about the financial and political stranglehold that "the 1%" are using in our government and in our society, with no obvious intention to do good in ways that benefit all of us.
Here's a thoughtful commentary from The Economist:

We are the 99%  -  Straining for the populist mandate|newe|10-14-2011|new_on_the_economist

And more from The Washington Post:

Occupy Wall Street protests reveal liberal tensions

And more from The

Tea Party Takes Aim at Occupy Wall Street

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The boy with a red hat

Just a little boy playing on the beach?
No. He is a dreamer, making his mark.

Skinny legs pumping as he navigates the sand,

               Dad's big red hat on his head,
                          pinched in behind so it fits,
                                    the big brim points his way,
                          his eyes are hidden…
                                    but he sees his way clear enough.

He announces to his Dad that the task is "building cities."
          He is the Designer,
             he is the Engineer,
                he is the Sand Hauler,
                   he is the Shovel Handler,
                      he is the Bucket Man,
                         he is the Creative Force.

A little boy playing in the sand?
No. He is a city builder.

Richard Carl Subber
Bethany Beach, DE
Sept 17, 2008

This poem appeared in the 2009 issue of The Manuscript, the Moravian College literary magazine.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

To All Job Creators: Get To Work (Part 2)

Some Republican leaders won't stop claiming that the "job creators" will take a big hit if federal income taxes are increased for those whose income puts them in the top two tax brackets. We're talking about the loosely defined "small businesses" that are in the 33% and 35% brackets on their annual Form 1040s.

The real scoop is that the "job creators" generally are NOT the small businesses who pay taxes at those rates.

Raising taxes for the prospering businesses in those tax brackets won't really hamper job creation because these businesses generally aren't the ones doing the job creating.

For starters, less than 4% of small businesses would be affected by tax hikes in those brackets, according to the non-partisan Congressional Research Service.

          Note: Some of my talking points here are drawn from this CNN Money piece:
          See CNNMoney story by Charles Riley on Oct. 3, 2011

What kind of "small businesses" are we talking about when we talk about the "small businesses" who would pay more taxes if those two marginal rates were raised? Most definitely we're NOT talking about the American classic kinds of small businesses like hard-working entrepreneurs and Mom-and-Pop operations.

In fact, 80% of the increased tax revenue would be paid by "non-business" types of small businesses like doctors, lawyers and members of limited partnerships. Not too many "job creators" in that bunch.

In fact, about 80% of all tax-paying small businesses have no employees other than the owner. Not too many "job creators" in that bunch.

In fact, the American classic "start-up" small businesses are the ones who create most of the new jobs---but they're also responsible for substantial job losses, because start-ups are notoriously prone to fail quickly. Not too many permanent, net new jobs created by that bunch.

"It turns out most of the firms those pols define as small businesses don’t hire or invest very much at all.," according to Howard Gleckman, a resident fellow at the Urban Institute.

          See Gleckman's Sep. 27, 2011, blog "Small Business And Taxes: Not What You Think"

In fact, taxes on businesses---including the elusively-defined small businesses---are the lowest they've been in decades.

We all know business taxes haven't been raised since the financial collapse three years ago.

Memo to all job creators:


Thursday, October 6, 2011

To All Job Creators: Get To Work! (Part 1)

Some Republican leaders won't stop claiming that the "job creators" are willing and able to create all the jobs we need, and all that's required is to cut their taxes and remove "uncertainty" so they can get started.

That would be a load off my mind if it weren't such a load of you-know-what....

Corporations generally are sitting on mountains of cash, which generally is earning an investment return that is insanely close to zero.

What are the "job creators" waiting for?

Note: Some of my talking points here are drawn from this CNN Money piece:
See CNNMoney story by Charles Riley on Oct. 3, 2011

American corporations (excluding financial institutions) essentially have stuffed about $2 trillion under the mattress, the largest percentage of corporate assets held as cash in roughly the last 50 years. This amazing cash hoard does nothing to increase shareholder value, it does nothing to create jobs. This pile of cash creates only a national shame. President Obama and Democrats should call the Republicans on it, loudly, daily. News media and cable news talking heads should be asking every CEO: why are you sitting on that cash?

Wall Street Journal on corporate cash reserves

I propose these $2,000,000,000,000 Questions:

Can we avoid suspecting that the leaders of some or many American corporations are deliberately holding back on investing their cash and hiring workers and re-energizing the economy?

Are they sabotaging our economic recovery with the aim of derailing President Obama's bid for re-election?

Are they screwing you and me and America so the Republican candidate has a better shot in 2012?
Don't you think it's about time for you to do something about it?

Think about doing something--anything--to achieve your sense of what's right.

And, by the way, if you're a job creator, get busy.