Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Year Ago

A year ago I was in London having one of the best vacations I've every had. Here are a couple of pictures of the trip. Since I have my new computer, I can actually post video that's longer than 20 seconds. So over the next few days I'm going to posting some video of my trip.

This is one of my favorite pictures. One of the bobbies at the Olympic torch ceremony.

Spring Finally Almost Is Here

The mornings are still very cold and you've got to leave your house with a winter coat on but by the time the afternoon rolls around it does feel like spring. Here are some pictures showing from around my neighborhood that spring is indeed just about here.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Rehearsal for Murder

Sunday was indeed a delightful day. It actually warmed up and the sun came out. I wen to see Rehearsal for Murder put on by the Providence Players of Fairfax. It just so happens I know one of the people in the play. He’s one of the people I volunteer with at Food and Friends. He hasn’t been at volunteer night for the past couple of months because he was in rehearsals.

On Sunday three other Food and Friends volunteers along with myself met up for brunch. We went to a great place called La Cote D'or Cafe.

Then it was off to see the show. It was very well done. It is as you might have guessed by the title a murder mystery. Just when you think you've figured it out, it throws you a very big curve.

Here's a little of what the Post had to say about it:

Richard Levinson and William Link leaven the drama with jokey asides and silly aphorisms ("There's no beastliness like show beastliness," one character declares), and rely on the broadest stereotypes of the genre -- a dark and stormy night, a suspicious beverage, an assembling of all of the suspects in one room and a sudden blackout. Still, the old formula works its magic one more time.

Afterwards, we congratulated our friend on a job well day. It was a great way to spend a Sunday.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Kalb Report: Journalism in Crisis

I went to another Kalb report last Monday. This one was called Down to the Wire: Journalism in Crisis. It focused on the plight of traditional news media these days how it's going to cope with the new technology of the world wide web. An emphasis in the discussion is what is happening with newspapers today. This seemed especially relevant with the demise of the Rocky Mountain News and Seattle Post Intellingencer.

The panelists agreed that single greatest problem was how to generate revenue. The old model of ads supporting a paper no longer will work. It really hasn't for the past few years and with the economy in the dumps newspapers are really feeling a loss in revenue.

As Jon Klein said you have to get over the idea of the old fashioned newspaper. And Alberto Ibarguen added you need to look for a way to deliver content to people for the next 5, 10, 15 years. The consensus being how do you deliver content to everyone's mobile device. And I thought what exactly will that mobile device look like in 15 years which could have a huge impact on how the content is delievered.

They all seemed to think that journalism will come through this fine. That as the economy recovers so will the new business. They really didn't answer at what cost. I think we need to be concerned about newspapers going under. They provide a wide range of news for a specific location. They also provide in depth coverage of issues that you just don't see any where else. I guess the question has to be asked how would the Watergate scandal unfold in today's media age.

Also I worry about, which was touched on at the forum, of people going to sites that only reflect their views. Conservatives to the Drudge Report; liberals to Huffington Post. When do people ever hear opposing views? Most of the time that comes from the main stream news media. Newspapers being an important part of that.

I guess the question to ponder is as the technology allows us to become even more instantly connected to what going on in the world do we become less connected to each other.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Let's Go Fly a Kite

Today was the 43rd annual Kite Festival at the Smithsonian. It's always fun to go down and see. It was a little gloomy and rainy but that didn't stop lots of people from having a good time. I know I did.

Here's some video to look at too.

Obama Press Conference

I'm playing catch up on posts. This past week was a busy one.

I was able to see most of it. I think I missed the first question. One of the things I liked was that Obama didn't call on the same people who always seem to ask the questions. For instance there was the correspondent from Stars and Stripes. I think this brought in a wider range of questions then you would normally hear generally. I don't think anyone would have asked about Mexico.

I also like his response, to what I thought was a rather silly question, on AIG about how long it took him to respond:

QUESTION: But on AIG, why did you wait -- why did you wait days to come out and express that outrage? It seems like the action is coming out of New York and the attorney general's office. It took you days to come public with Secretary Geithner and say, "Look, we're outraged." Why did it take so long?

OBAMA: It took us a couple of days because I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak.

Now there's a change from the last president we had.

Finally, I was really impressed by the answer to the last question. Obama said in part:

That whole philosophy of persistence, by the way, is one that I'm going to be emphasizing again and again in the months and years to come as long as I'm in this office. I'm a big believer in persistence.

I think that, when it comes to domestic affairs, if we keep on working at it, if we acknowledge that we make mistakes sometimes, and that we don't always have the right answer, and we're inheriting very knotty problems, that we can pass health care, we can find better solutions to our energy challenges, we can teach our children more effectively, we can deal with a very real budget crisis that is not fully dealt with in my -- in my budget at this point, but makes progress.

I liked that he said he would keep going after a problem. But he admitted he might make some mistakes and not have all the right answer.

To me that shows the flexibility needed to be a great leader.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Another Episode of 2political

2PP003 – March 25, 2009

Episode 3 begins our regular schedule of podcasting every other week (more or less…). After special news, a special announcement: 2Political has it’s own US-based comment line—206-426-0527. Then it’s on to AIG and the implications of that whole situation. We say that reform, regulation and oversight will all be necessary. We then move on to talking about the plans to buy “toxic assets” and what that can mean. Back in a couple weeks!

Feel free to visit our new website: 2political.com or call our US-based comment line, 206-426-0527. You can also send an email to arthur[at)2political.com or jason{at]2political.com. 2Political episodes will continue to be available through AmeriNZ Podcast for quite awhile, but you can subscribe directly through iTunes (see the link below). You can also subscribe directly: http://feeds2.feedburner.com/2politicalPodcast.

Arthur's Podcast:
AmeriNZ Podcast

Get 2Poltical Podcast for free on iTunes

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Spring Tries to Make an Apperance

This is the spectacular tree that is in bloom on the grounds of the Treasury Building about two blocks from my office. It shows that spring is at least trying to break out around here.

What is particularly amazing about these shots is the way the sun seems to only shine on the tree. It is just beautiful. Click to see on the picture to see a larger version.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Funny Ad from The Express

The Express is a free daily paper that the Washington Post puts out. This is the banner from today's paper. I want you to take a look at the ad in the upper right hand corner for liposuction. I've even scanned the ad itself which is the second picture here.

I'd like you to take a look at the after picture in the ad. I'm wondering if you noticed what I did and everyone else I showed the picture to.

I noticed that you're seeing the crack of the person's ass. I just kind of wonder if no one noticed this or if they did thought maybe this shouldn't be on the front page of the paper. Or just thought hey we got an ad let's run with it.

As someone at worked said you use the cropping tool in Photoshop.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday Smile

What a week we've had! AIG certainly dominated the news and looks like it could this week as well. There'll be more to learn about bonuses there and at Merrill Lynch. So I think it is time for a smile. So here's my Sunday Smile.

Taxes, taxes, taxes and tax returns

We seem to have all sorts of taxes these days.

Income taxes both federal and state, property taxes, sales tax, excise tax, capital gains (probably not many people are paying that one these days) on and on.

Then of course there are tax returns. I filed both federal and DC taxes last week. To be precise I did them on Sunday. I used Turbo Tax. I've found the program to be very reliable except for one little problem I had one year. It took a call to tech support to solve the problem.

Anyway so I do my returns. I'm getting a return from both DC and federal. I submit both returns at the same time. The federal returned is excepted on Sunday. I keep checking my e-mail to see when DC will except mine. Monday passes nothing. Tuesday nothing. I'm starting to get a bad feeling about this. Have the lost it? Will I have to file again?

Finally on Wednesday, I get the e-mail saying DC has accepted the return.

Thursday I go on-line to my bank's site to look at my checking account balance. And to my great surprise is a deposit from the DC government. It's my refund.

Pretty amazing. Hopefully my federal return will show up this coming week.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

More on AIG

What to say about AIG?

Here’s a thought what an incredible tin ear these people have. I wrote about this in an earlier post. Stepping back from the issue just a little I have to ask the question did no one in this company realize what the public reaction once the news of the bonuses got out. Seems to me they didn’t. Are they so arrogant and obtuse? I guess the answer is yes.

Company after company on Wall Street and the banks that got us into this mess just don’t get it. The landscape has changed. It seems to me that what they think will happen is this: the government will rescue them by spending billions if not trillions of dollars to right the mess they help to make. Then these firms believe business will return to the way it was before this mess. They expect they will still be getting 7 figure bonuses. Over and over again we get this well we must pay bonuses to keep people. Guess what in the current economic climate you don’t. If you insist on doing this you do so at your own peril.

What these guys really don’t seem to get about the bonus issue is how much it endangers their future survival. I’d like to see anyone try and come before Congress and ask for more money for AIG. I don’t think it is going to happen.

There's a great article from the Post by Steven Pearlstein
. He talks about Wall Street's refusal to learn. And this goes beyond AIG. He talks about the chairman of Wells Fargo Richard Kovacevich. Essentially Kovacevich complained about:

how unfair it is that the government forced his bank to take $25 billion in bailout money last year when it could have easily raised private capital -- and then compounded that outrage by changing the terms of the deal and forcing Wells to cut its dividend. Kovacevich said it was "asinine" for the Treasury to order his and other big banks to undergo a special "stress test," explaining that well-run banks like Wells were routinely doing their own stress tests.

Kovacevich apparently believes that because his bank is still relatively healthy, he and his shareholders shouldn't have to assume the same costs and burdens as banks that aren't, particularly when those costs and burdens are imposed by incompetent government officials. That's the way it works in America.

Except, of course, when it doesn't. The reality is that, if the government had not stepped in to take over Fannie, Freddie and AIG; had not recapitalized Citigroup and Bank of America; had not provided the guarantees to allow for the orderly sale of Merrill Lynch and Bear Stearns; had not become the buyer of last resort for commercial paper and home mortgages, then the entire financial system would have melted down by now and taken Well Fargo and its arrogant chairman with it. Rather than bellyaching about how un-American it all is, Kovacevich ought to be thanking the government and asking what more he could do to help.

So now what to do. Well we can continue to be angry which we will. We can blame people. There's a great deal of that to go around. The Republicans want to blame Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. They say he should have know about the bonuses and stopped them. Well I think many people should have known. That would include Congress and the Republicans in. It seems the a notice was filed with SEC last year like in May stating when the bonuses would be paid. There was a provision in the stimulus bill that would have prevented such bonuses from being paid but the provision was dropped from the final law. I say enough of the blame game.

What needs to be figured out is how to make sure it never happens again. That means there needs to be regulations to prevent this in the future. Regulations that Republicans in the past wanted no part of. President Obama rightly pointed this out. Some of the people hottest under the collar are the same people who opposed regulations or oversight that would have prevented such things from happening.

I also have a different perspective on the guy who's running AIG, Edward M. Liddy. Talk about a thankless job. Read about his testimony by following this link. Could he have done more to stop this? Perhaps. I'm not sure. But he has taken the unusual step of asking people who received the bonuses to give them back. That to me is a first step.

I listened to Liddy's testimony on a feed and the highlights shown on the news. AIG has been able to reduce the derivatives portfolio by $1.1 trillion. But there's still a long way to go. He thinks mistakes have been made. He said he would never have set up a bonus system like this. He felt it had to be honored for the company to get ride of the remaining $1.6 trillion in toxic assets.

At the end of the day I have a suspicion that this is the right guy to do that job. All you have to do is look what he did. He came out of retirement to head AIG and try and fix this mess. He's taking no salary. Also, no bonus as far as I can tell. He appeared on the Hill to face hours of tough questioning. I have to think he was thinking why the hell did I agree to do this. But he did. Maybe he's made some mistakes but he stepped up to the plate. When his country called on him to help, he said yes I'll help. I'm beginning to think we need more people like Edward M. Liddy, flaws and all, to step up to the plate and say yes I'll help.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Review of Historic Photos of Washington, DC, Part II

I've finished the second section of the book. This section covers from 1880-1920. In this section we see Washington beginning to take the shape of the city that we know today. This is due in part to the large building campaign that occurred during this time.

One of the major buildings shown is the State, War and Navy building now the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. What' great about this picture is grounds that are shown around the building which have long since disappeared.

There's also a picture of one of my favorite mansions in the city. It was located in Pacific Circle now DuPont Circle. It was built in the 1890s. It is now home to the Church of Scientology.

This section gives a great feel for life beyond the monuments and famous public buildings. It delves into everyday life. There are several photos that show the buisnesses that were present in the city at this time. Also the activities the people participated in. There's a photo showing an Easter Egg Roll at the White House. Also on the grounds of the White House a picture of President Harrison's son and his children. There's also a great picture of William McKinley being sworn in as president as Grover Cleveland looks on.

I have two favorites in this section. One shows Pennsylvania Avenue looking toward the White House from about 10th Street or so (that's my guess), It shows the Avenue taking shape and being familiar to what we know today; yet at the same time shows how much has changed. The left side of the picture shows a large park which today is taken up by buildings. My other favorite shot is of Union Station. This picture is from around 1910. It's before the finishing touches have been made to the station. No statues and no Columbus Fountain. There's also a street car in the picture. It is just great.

The pictures are worth a thousand words but the words describing the pictures add context. As I've said before the captions help place what the picture is and where it is (figuring that out is getting a little easier) and what changes took place in that spot after the picture was taken.

Once again this is just an incredible book showing the history of DC.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Arrogance of AIG

AIG is continuing to give out bonuses to employees. After receiving billions upon billions of dollars of tax payers money. After being a major player in the financial melt down and the near collapse of this country this company is still going to give out bonuses.

BS Rationale

The rationale for paying the bonuses is that these are contracts and they might get sued. Futher AIG:

In a letter to Geithner yesterday, Liddy agreed to restructure some of the payments. But Liddy said he had “grave concerns” about the impact on the firm’s ability to retain talented staff “if employees believe that their compensation is subject to continued and arbitrary adjustment by the U.S. Treasury.”

"I do not like these arrangements and find it distasteful and difficult to recommend to you that we must proceed with them," Liddy wrote.

Wow just like everyone else that works at a company. Like when a company no longer contributes to 401(k) or suspends raises or increases health care premiums. In other words, the employees at AIG are going to treated just like most other employees who work for a living.

AIG officials say that some of the upcoming bonuses are relatively modest once they are divided among employees. About 4,700 people in the company’s global insurance units are receiving $600 million in retention pay. In addition, about $121 million in corporate bonuses will go to more than 6,400 people, for an average payout of about $19,000, according to AIG.

Modest by what standard. $19,000 is a great deal of money to say the millions of people who don’t have a job or make minimum wage.

The majority of the money is going to the people in the financial products division. You know the guys who came up with financial derivative that caused this crisis in the first place.

It seems not a great deal can be done since the bonuses have already been given out. However, New York Attorney General Andrew Cumo is trying to take action. He's demanding:

-- A list of each bonus recipient's job and performance in the job.

-- A list of those who negotiated the bonuses.

-- An immediate status report on whether the bonuses have been paid.

I'd go a step further. Since the American taxpayer is now the owner of AIG, the name of each person who received a bonus should be made public.

One further sign of AIG's arrogance is there complete inability to see how people would react to bonuses being given out. Do you think there's going to be any support for helping AIG when it comes cup in hand the next time it asks the government for money?

Maybe it's time to let AIG fail.

Something to Smile At

I learned a long time ago that memories of smell are the strongest memories that you have. This morning while walking to the subway I had one of those memories. There was an overwhelming smell of skunk. I don’t think it was an actual skunk but it sure did smell like that.

That smell reminded me of something that happened to my mom and me many years ago.

We were on vacation. We were at Bay Shore Inn in Sturgeon Bay Wisconsin. We started going there regularly for our summer vacations when I was in my early teens. We’d gone there when I was very young and had enjoyed it a great deal. It now became our regular summer vacation destination. There was a great deal to do there. You could take a motor boat ride, go out on the resorts sailboat (this is something my dad loved to do even though he couldn’t swim), there was even water skiing (I tried on several times but usually ended up face down in the water). There was also a great deal to do in Door County.

One morning after breakfast (they had some of the best breakfasts you’d ever want to have. I especially liked the Swedish pancakes), my mom and I decided to take a walk.

The resort owned some property across the road from the main part of the resort. They grew some of their own vegetables there. There was a path that went around the fields where they planted. We were walking down the path admiring the gardens when we both looked up and there was a skunk walking down the path in our direction. We took one look at each other and quickly turned and went in the opposite direction. Once we knew we were out of range of the skunk we both started laughing and laughed all the was back to our room. It was an interesting way to start the day.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Thoughts Economic

I thought it was interesting to read about Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke speech last week. Here's the article in the Post.

He said:

that to help prevent future crises, firms considered "too big to fail" should receive close supervision from regulators.

Bernanke said that system-wide oversight, something known as "macroprudential regulation" is required, and that the Fed could be the home for that, or it could be another agency.

In macroprudential regulation, a government agency, or agencies, monitors an entire economy to look for possible bubbles and attempts to deflate them, rather than focusing tightly on individual sectors or firms.

I'm surprised it has taken this long for someone to address this question. I think a further question has to asked and that is why allow these institutions to get this big in the first place. It seems to me there has to be some sort of oversight by the government that takes into consideration the size of a financial institution. This is especially true when the institution gets big by buying up other banks or financial firms.

It will be interesting to see what the Obama administration does about this.

Friday, March 13, 2009

A Review of Historic Photos of Washington, DC, Part I

First and foremost, what an amazing book. Let me say that again what an amazingly incredible book!

The book is divided into four section list sections. I’ve only been able to get through the first section so far because I keep going back over the photos. My reactions to the pictures so far have been oh wow look at that, I didn’t know that, I can’t believe that’s what was there, I think that building is still around.

The book is divided into four sections. As I’ve said so far I’ve only been able to get through the first section that’s from 1860-1879. The second section is 1880-1920. The third is 1921-1949. The final is 1950 to 1970.

I’ve learned some very interesting things about DC from this book. The Old Capitol Prison is now where the Supreme Court is; there is some sort poetic justice in that. During the Civil War the city was ringed with forts one of them Ft. Reno. The reason we have Reno Road. Also there were camps one in Tennallytown more commonly know now as Tenleytown.

One of the great strengths of the book is the description of the pictures. They tell what the picture is, when it was taken and what stands there today. Of especial interest is the picture of the Aqueduct Bridge which crosses the Potomac in Georgetown or George Town as it was called for many years. Eventually the Aqueduct Bridge would be replaced with Key Bridge. You look across into Virginia and there are very few buildings as compared with today. Another picture in Georgetown shows the canals. Neither of the canals were a success and they and the harbor filled in.

This is just a few examples of the many interesting pictures that are in the book. I think it is absolutely fascinating and I’m looking forward to viewing the rest of the book and posting about it.

If you are looking for a great book of pictures that gives you a real feel of what Washington, DC has been like over the years then this is the book for you. It is just first rate.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

2Political Second Episode

The second episode of 2Political! After some very special news, we have a phone message that lets us talk a bit more about earmarks. When did they become so bad? Are the Republicans right? Or can they be good? We have even more comments to discuss. If you have something you'd like to see us discuss, or you have a question, feel free to leave a comment, send us an email or ring the AmeriNZ comment line (there’ll be a separate one eventually!) on 206-666-5172. The next episode of 2Political will be in 2 weeks.

Feel free to visit our new website: 2political.com. You can also send an email to arthur[at) 2political.com or jason{at] 2political.com. 2 Political episodes will continue to be available through AmeriNZ Podcast for quite awhile, but iTunes subscription is available now. In the meantime, if you want to subscribe directly now, you can use http://feeds2.feedburner.com/2politicalPodcast.

Link for this episode:
Freedom of Information Day
Taxpayers for Common Sense
AmeriNZ Podcast

Get 2Poltical Podcast for free on iTunes

Fleetwood Mac at the Verizon Center, Part III

Yes, I can't stop talking and posting about the concert. Maybe I'll come down from the high by the weekend. I found some video from the concert on Tuesday at Verizon Center.

Here's Gold Dust Woman

Here's Don't Stop

Both these videos and the ones I posted yesterday really give you a feel for what the concert was like. But nothing beats being there in person.

It's interesting in the course of the day I remember things about the concert. Like how Stevie Nicks dedicated Landslide to our armed forces. How kick ass Stand Back was one of my favorite Stevie Nicks songs. Just how amazing Lindsey Buckingham is on guitar. How through it all John McVie is solid as a rock paying the bass. And Mic Fleetwood the sheer joy he shows when he is on stage. I think that is an amazing thing considering all he's gone through in his life. In all I just remember what a kcik ass concert it was.

And now for a little perspective. I first saw Fleetwood Mac at Alpine Valley in Wisconsin on July 18, 1978 for $8. I'm pretty sure that was for the lawn. I saw them again at the Capital Center in Maryland on October 8, 1987 for $17.50. The next time was at the MCI Center in DC (now the Verizon Center) on May 9, 2003 for $125.00. This last time was the Verizon Center for $149.50. Worth ever penny!

If you get a chance see them.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Fleetwood Mac at the Verizon Center, Part II

They were incredible. The first time I saw them was in 1978 (yes 31 year ago). It was the year after Rumours came out. It was at a place called Alpine Valley in East Troy Wisconsin. And it was a very long way to go for a concert as I remember I was the driver.

I remember when Rumours came out. I went over to my friend’s Doug’s house and we listened to it. The more I listened to it the more I liked it. Who knew the phenominum it would become. I remember the ads on the back of Billboard magainze touting how many millions the album had sold. Every four to five weeks another add would show up on the back cover showing a picture of the album and saying 3 million sold, 4 million sold etc.

So that sets the stage so to speak for the concert last night. They were really good. No they were excellent. A great selection of songs. Everyone was very much on for the night. It was amazing to think just how long I’ve had listening pleasure from these songs. In some cases over 30 years! Hearing them again was like meeting up with an old friend.

The tour is billed as Fleetwood Mac Unleashed. As Lindsey Buckingham said we don’t have an album to promote, yet, so it’s going to be a selection of songs that are our favorites and he added hopefully they are yours too. And boy were they.

It's hard to really to come up with a favorite moment since there were so many of them. Landslide was fantastic. There was a slower lead in to Tusk which I think gave the song much more power. One of the many highlights were these three songs that they ended the set with (before encores) I'm So Afraid then Stand Back and they finished things out with Go Your Own Way. Kicked ass on these.

Here's a review from the Boston Herald. One from Billboard. If you scroll down you can see the songs they played. If there is a review in the Post I'll post the link to that too.

Below is video from YouTube. These post are from other nights.

Here's Standback

Monday Morning which opened the show.

And what really really made it an over the top incredible amazing fantastic awesome well as I said last night I hoped they would end with Silver Spring and they did which made the concert perfect.

If there is any video from the DC concert I'll post that too.

It was just an amazing night!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Fleetwood Mac at the Verizon Center

I just got back from seeing Fleetwood Mac. They were nothing short of amazing.

I'll write more tomorrow because I need to go to bed or at least try and go to bed (I still haven't come down from the concert) because I have a training session tomorrow at 7am.

I will say this. When they came back for their second encore, I thought what would make this concert perfect would be if they would play Silver Spring. And that's the final song they did. Silver Spring was a B side to Go Your Own Way but was cut from the Rumours album. I remember going to Dog Ears Records and finding a Japanese 45 import with Go Your Own Way and Silver Spring on the other. I'm pretty sure I still have it somewhere.

It is just an incredible song which is why it made it so appropriate to end the show with.

I think they were better than the last time I saw them. What is amazing about them, at least to me, is the sheer joy and love that they convey of their music when they perform.

It was just AMAZING!!!!!

Now I'm off to bed and hopefully going to get some sleep.

You can go your own way, Go your own way, You an call it . . .

Sunday, March 08, 2009

2political Launches for real this time

I got a little ahead of myself with the last podcast. This is the official official launch of 2political. You can find us here.

This is the first of the stand-alone versions of what Arthur and I used to call our “Politicasts”. You’ll be able to subscribe to this podcast separately if you want, but for the time being Arthur will be posting it so subscribers to the AmeriNZ Podcast will get it automatically.

We start off by talking about Rush Limbaugh, and the disarray among Republicans. To move on from that sorry tale, I have two fun factoids and the we're back to the serious. Arthur brings up the revelations about the Bush memos that gave Bush legal cover for seizing dictatorial power, some of which he did. We had no idea until recently how bad it really was, and how bad it almost was. Should members of the Bush/Cheney regime be prosecuted?

Then, some more Congress talk. What about giving Washington, DC real representation in the US House of Representatives?

Feel free to visit our new website: 2political.com. You can also send an email to arthur[at) 2political.com or jason{at] 2political.com. 2 Political episodes will continue to be available through AmeriNZ Podcast for quite awhile, but iTunes subscription will be available soon (Update: you can now subscribe in iTunes—just click on the link below). In the meantime, if you want to subscribe directly now, you can use http://feeds2.feedburner.com/2politicalPodcast.

Hope you like the first official 2politcal podcast.

Sunday Smile

Here's today's Sunday smile. It is an homage to Sally. Hope everyone remembered to spring ahead today. I'm still going around the house moving all my clocks forward one hour. Also at least in DC the weather is really spring. I'm going to get out and go for a very long walk.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Sam attacks his food

Actually he attacks a bag of food I bought him. Eventually he makes a hole in the bag and starts to eat from it. He's one very determined cat.

The Book Historic Photos of Washington, DC

I got an offer from Turner Publishing to be sent a review copy of this book. Following this link to see the offer. Scroll down and read the third comment.

Well the book has arrived. I keep forgetting to mention it. I've taken a quick look through it and it is very impressive. I'm hoping this weekend to sit down and take a good long look at it. I'll then post a review or maybe reviews about it.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Dining Out For Life

Today is Dining Out For Life.


Thursday, March 5, 2009
Washington, DC
Benefiting Food & Friends

On Thursday, March 5th, 150 restaurants in the Washington metropolitian area will join together to support men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-challenging illnesses by contributing a percentage of their sales to Food & Friends

Food & Friends is the only nonprofit organization in the Washington area providing daily, home-delivered, specialized meals, groceries and nutrition counseling to individuals in the community who are facing some of life's most difficult challenges. The funds raised through Dining Out for Life allows Food & Friends to continue to provide these critical services at NO COST to the clients.

Click here for a list of restaurants participating in Dining Out For Life.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Things taxing and assessing

I learned something about my taxes. I’d thought I was all set to go to get started on them. I was going to go out and get Turbo Tax and do them last weekend. It didn’t happen that way. I realized I needed to find out the interest I had on the two accounts I get interest on. Here’s the thing if you earn under $10 of interest the bank isn’t obliged to send you the appropriate tax form so you can report it.

On Monday I called the IRS up. I have to say it did'nt take very long to get through to a person. A nice change of pace. It was interesting that each person you talked to gave them your name and their id number. I guess the idea is you need to write them down so you can say this is who you talked to. I talked to a very nice and helpful woman. She asked me a series of questions. It ends up that I need to report the interest even though I don’t have a form telling me how much interest I received. Seems some what catch-22y.

Anyway one bank I had no problems getting the amount. I just went on line and in my account summary was 2008 interest. The other account I have is with ING. I always seem to have problems getting into the ING site. I’m hoping it won’t be the case this time.

The other thing of note and interest is that the housing bubble is now hitting home. It’s hitting my home to be exact. I got my tax assement for 2009 and the assessed value of my home went down 10% this year. Of course I don’t think my taxes went down the corresponding 10% but they aren’t all that high to begin with. I have to say the assessed value has soared over the past five years so I’m not all that worried.

I just hope it doesn’t happen again next year.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

T-Mobile Dance event

These are a couple of videos from YouTube about the T-Mobile Dance event which happened at Liverpool Train Station. Here's a little more about it:

Here is an amazing new T-mobile TV commercial, ‘Dance’ which was filmed at 11am on Thursday, January 15, 2009 at Liverpool Street station in London; 350 dancers, interspersed throughout the crowd of commuters passing through the concourse, performed a choreographed routine, creating a flash mob event. The ad is part of T-Mobile’s ‘Life’s for Sharing’ campaign and premiered on January 16, 2009 during ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ on Channel 4 in the UK.

‘Dance’, created by Saatchi & Saatchi London, was produced using hidden TV cameras within the station, which captured the spontaneous reactions of commuters as they watched the dance troupe perform. […]

Lysa Hardy, head of brand and communications at T-Mobile, said: “‘Dance’ brings to life the fact that there are often unexpected, wonderful, exciting things that happen that you want to be able to share with your friends and family.

The first video is the actual even. The second is how they set it all up. It's pretty cool. Enjoy.

Pictures From the Storm, Part I

This is how it looked out my front door yesterday when the "storm" hit. Actually this was after the storm had been hitting for a while. Not entirely white out conditions but the snow was coming down at a pretty good pace. The walk to the metro wasn't bad at all. I was even able to walk on the sidewalk the whole way there.

Pictures From the Storm, Part II

The first two shots give you an idea of Rhode Island Ave. looked like as I was walking to the Metro. The next two shots after that are what it looked like standing on the very slick platform at the Rhode Island Avenue station. The next picture are what my walk to work was like. The final pictures are what the storm looked like from the windows at my office.