Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Pete Morin Editorial Review--Issue #75

Memories of Christmas past

Everyone has their own special thoughts of Christmas's past. I'm sure most would include fond memories of gatherings with family and friends. Mine start with childhood on Horse Mountain.

I must have been six, or seven, years old and my sister would corral me in the dining room as my parents would load the presents beneath the tree. My sister would exhort me to listen carefully for Santa Claus as he flew to and from the house delivering his gifts for all the family. "Can't you hear him? There he goes, he just left the gifts--I think I can see him over the roof top." I was at the age where skepticism was rearing its inquisitive head and I wouldn't be fooled by a sister overacting her part. Nevertheless, it left that indelible mark of partial wonder in a gleeful child.

When we moved to the teeming metropolis of Florence, I remember anxiously waiting for Christmas eve when the family would get together and open all the presents. It meant an enjoyable few hours of playing with new toys ( a new train set was a dream come true) before everyone would leave for midnight mass. The following morning would mean more hours of fun setting lines of track and closely examining the old 4-6-2 engine and accompanying cars.

When we moved to the center of Northampton Christmas eve celebrations became more about family and a fine table of hors d'oeuvres for special friends of my parents. They sincerely enjoyed the company of people they had known since before they were married in 1928 and I enjoyed hearing them talk of old times and experiences long gone. There were still presents and good cheer to be had with midnight mass, once again, a staple of the celebration.

After Sue and I married, we would travel to my parents home for Christmas eve and meet up with my brother Ed, his wife Rose Marie as well as my sister Joy and her husband Bob. At one time or another several of my nieces and nephews would be there to lend a hand singing songs, or playing along with me on guitar. My mother especially loved to hear all of us singing and enjoying ourselves in this festive gathering.

One of the more memorable Christmas's was spent in the ICU at Cooley Dickinson hospital where I sang and played carols by my mother's bed side. She was gravely ill and this would be her last Christmas. The nurse turned on the intercom so everyone in the ward could join in and sing. Another was at the Linda Manor nursing home when I sang and played for a group of elderly patients (including my father) in a lounge. Many people added their voice to the merriment; my father's deep, clear baritone adding a special resonance to the occasion.

No matter what our memories might be, they all bring a special significance to a joyful, loving time never to be forgotten. I hope your memories are as wonderful and give you a feeling of peace and fondness for this special time.

So, in the spirit of the season, I say--Merry Christmas to all and to all--a good night!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Pete Morin Editorial Review--Issue # 74

Smoke & Mirrors

The Wall Street Journal had some interesting pieces today on the current tax debates taking place in Congress. According to the Journal, the democrats are starting to realize that the proposed tax bill working its way through Congress will finally be accepted by the more liberal members of their party. The lame duck Congress, should it succeed in convincing the Republicans that they're acquiescing to conservative demands in extending the Bush tax rates, will have pulled off one of their most impressive feats of this Congress. Understand this about the current proposed bill: the tax rates will be effective for only two years and the national debt increases by almost $900 BILLION dollars over the next ten years. Lots of wiggle room for the more progressive members of the Democrat Party to change the rates in 2012 and loads of pork for everyone for at least the next twelve months.

Some disturbing developments are starting to show themselves with relation to our debt situation. The Chinese are seeing inflation rearing its ugly head on their mainland. What does this mean for the United States? Inflation is defined as "too much money chasing too few goods."

The Chinese can rectify this situation by allowing their citizens to purchase more of their own products rather than sell them to the U.S. By doing this, they would not be funding our deficits, making our dollar less valuable to Americans---thus inflation would start to take off in the U.S. The Federal Reserve would have NO choice but to print funny money to cover the deficit. It's extremely unlikely that our government would have the political will to slash spending and the resulting effect could be hyper-inflation. At that point, a civil society could turn into an 'every man for himself ' nightmare. In any event, a reckoning is not far off; the politicians either admit that current budgets cannot be sustained and spending is drastically reduced, or the cost of everything increases dramatically.

But don't worry liberals. You got yours, and that's all that really matters, isn't it?

Welcome to the world of the gutless, useless politicians called Democrats & Republicans.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Pete Morin Editorial Review--Issue #73

Common Sense--An American (un)activity

It just never ceases to amaze me how many people come into my bookstore, and after having looked around for a few minutes will ask me how to get to the basement. Books are priced at a bargain rate in the basement, so that's a natural destination for some customers.

When customers enter the store by the front door they get an immediate view of the stairway leading to the second floor. Now, common sense would tell you that a stairway leading to an upper floor is also the overhead to a stairway leading to a lower floor; at least in most of my observations with respect to stairways. Could this be, perhaps, a lack of said 'common sense' in an unperceptive American consciousness?

When Americans listen to politicians promise them the world and much more if elected, do they not understand, perhaps, that this is merely a staircase to nowhere? What makes Americans think government can do a better job of running an economy than private markets. What makes them believe politicians can actually deliver on promises to make your life better, richer, safer and more rewarding than doing so for one's self?

The art of governing is said to be compromise. But compromise is nothing more than a rather large opportunity cost. Economists use this term to refer to actions that prohibit an individual from doing more than one activity or action simultaneously; i.e. attending evening college classes, but not being able to work a second shift that conflicts with the classes. Personally, I don't put too much credence in compromise, especially when I'm trusting a politician to perform the negotiation. In my mind politics is less about compromise and more about power; raw, unmitigated power to ensconce a grifter in a cocoon of protected, unchecked magnificence. Nevertheless, we have those gullible people who listen to these self-proclaimed lords & masters and expect our civilization to improve.

I would rather live my life, complete with all its flaws, misunderstandings and foolishness than subject some other individual to such a precarious existence. I wish others would act in the same manner, but I guess this is too much to ask. The urge to acquire power, either for one's self or through the agency of an elected representative is an urge not to be denied.

I'll take this as compromise: you leave me alone and I'll do the same for you. But first, learn about stairways.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Pete Morin Editorial Review--Issue #72

Nightmares & Reality

--there's no doubt I deserve a good life. Thank goodness the new tax bill the Congress is proposing will extend my unemployment benefits at least for another year. You can't be expected to get a great job after only two years on unemployment benefits. I just don't understand why they had to include all those rich people in the legislation. After all, they should pay their fair share.

--I'm really happy that Berkeley, California is awarding the guy who gave wikileaks all those documents hero status. Our Government needs to be brought down a peg or two. We've got too much compared to the rest of the world--I agree with Obama on the wealth redistribution thing and the Government shouldn't have secrets, diplomatic or otherwise.

--our society is racist, homophobic, sexist, ageist and overly vertically challenged. We definitely need to pass laws that make our society more just, equitable and short. The Democrats were doing such a great job. I can't believe that the less enlightened conservative boobs did what they did in November. Talk about bad food for the kiddies--I'm supportive of what Michelle Obama is doing to stop those horrible cookies at bake sales. Our kids nutrition is way more important than choosing to eat crummy, rotten food.

--the Government should definitely spend whatever's necessary to get us back on track. Any economist who knows about anything knows Keynesian economics works every time. A trillion here, a trillion there--whatever!

--we're all immigrants. This nation is a nation of immigrants. The dream act gives illegals--ah--that is undocumented workers--a chance to have the American dream. Besides, they take the jobs that us hard working--ah--us want to be working--Americans can't do.

--everything would be just a whole lot better if George Soros ran the world, everything would be just a ---------

(RINGALINGALINGALINGALINGDINGGGGGGG) Man, I wish that alarm clock wasn't so loud. I think I was having a nightmare, or something was really out of whack. For a moment there I thought that our country was a horrible place to live. But, then again, if it were, would anyone willingly live here? Yeah, it must have been a nightmare--must have been a REAL bad dream. I hope there's hot water. A shower would feel great right now and bring me back to reality. That's what we really need more of--reality.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Pete Morin Editorial Review--Issue #71


Turn on the television, or listen to the democrats and all you'll hear is "fairness" with respect to the tax code. According to our President and the current lame duck congress, we must return tax levels to where they were prior to 2001. "Tax cuts for the rich" is all the rage when liberals talk about the expiration of the Bush tax cuts.

Let's take a look at the results of raising capital gains taxes on the 'so called' wealthy.

Thomas Sowell writes an excellent column that appears in the Jewish World Review in which he reports on the results of raising, or lowering the capital gains tax rate. Click here for a full reading of that text.

Next, you'll want to see candidate Barack Obama's response to a question from Charles Gibson in a debate with Hillary Clinton concerning capital gains taxes. Any questions about the illogical position of the liberal democrats on tax increases and tax revenue? Keep dreaming that increasing taxes on the "rich" will lead to more revenue for our dear Uncle Sam.

Be fearful--VERY fearful for our future.