Life in Omaha (in Scottsdale)

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Monday, March 14, 2005

Life continues in Omaha

Those of you still reading regularly, and it turns out to be quite few in numbers, checking out my last round of stats, will note that the entries have trailed off a bit. We are right in the middle of the semester, and I'm finding time to blog increasingly sporadic. Even now, I should be grading tests and sonnets, but feel a duty to those loyal readers still out there.

And truth be told, I haven't a lot worth commenting about. Most of my energies are taken up with an issue that, as of yet, is not generally public knowledge. And while very few people are reading this, there's enough of a public presence that I'd just as soon keep things quiet for a while longer. So while there are lots of things happening, not much is making the blog.

And pictures...well, Ciela has been ill with a skin problem for the last couple of weeks, and it would just be cruel to subject people to those pictures. She had a face only a mother could love (and a daddy, too). She's back in the pink, so we'll get some photos up shortly.

The correlate to all this is that when matters of personal upheaval occur, we retreat from wider issues. I've barely seen copies of _The Nation_ or listened much to the radio or read the paper. Most of my energies are devoted to the domestic front.

The Supreme Court halted juvenille executions. That was good, but then I read the blood-thirsty letters in the World-Herald that call for the heads of 16 and 17 year old kids. Judging from the anger these people have at the court, one would think the Supremes had unlocked the gates on a maximum security prison. The letter-writers (and some columnists as well--professionals who ought to know better) rant about people paying a debt, consequences and the perversion of justice. As if these young men (and were there any juvenille women on Death Row?) would be out on the streets terrorizing the community this coming weekend. They are still in jail, still serving very long sentences (effectively life in many cases). Nothing but death will satisfy.

Congress pushes forth a bill that makes it more difficult to declare bankruptcy. This wouldn't bother me so much if I didn't receive four or five credit card offers a month. If I didn't tear down offers of easy credit approval posted in my classrooms. If I didn't regularly encounter offers for easy credit on tv, radio and newspapers. Credit is a great thing, and should be extended to as many people as possible. I certainly don't want to cast my lot with the Potters against the Baileys. But if we are going to have a society floated on credit, we need to account for the fact that people will fail. The bill making the rounds at the capitol seems solely designed to squeeze more money out for the large credit card providers, who all to easily lure people into deep debt and then feign shock that they cannot fulfill their obligations. I don't want to neglect personal responsiblity, but in the mounting debt problem in our hyper-consumerist society, some of the responsibility must be borne by the lenders.


At 12:18 PM, Blogger $sh said...

As someone who is involved in the financial industry (yes someone in that industry actually reads this blog), I am disturbed by the recent bankruptcy legislation.

Given the lack of health care coverage in this country, the opportunities for failure are tremendous. Add onto that the outsourcing of jobs, layoffs in the name of productivity gains, mandatory retirements, downgrading jobs from "full time with benefits" to "individual contractor" without benefits, the attack on social security, etc., the opportunities for individual failure are too numerous to count. We are putting people in a position to fail, and then making recovery that much more difficult.

However, to me, the truly dangerous part of this legislation is that there is no parallel legislation being considered that would make it harder for companies to file bankruptcy. We continue to see corporate executives using companies as their personal bank accounts, or making poor strategic decisions to try to fatten their own wallets. When those decisions lead to failure, companies are still able to file bankruptcy as easily as before. And for public companies, the shareholders are the ones who lose. You know, those people who are going to be investing their own retirement funds into private investment accounts? They are the ones who get screwed.

Gotta love a government that is of the corporation, for the corporation, and by the corporation.

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