Monday, August 20, 2012

Dog Day Doings

As noted before, this is not a hot place, nor was it hot this year, but the rest of the country didn't do as well. It's even been hot in places like Portland and Seattle. It's even reported that the country has NEVER had a hotter month than July 2012. I'm no scientist, and have no predictions to make - except one. When, in a few months, it becomes unseasonably cold somewhere, some local wag is going to throw out an uninformed, sarcastic remark indicating that the local cold snap "proves" that there is no global warming. You heard it here first.

Some sports news of note: Major League baseball has had just 23 "perfect games" pitched (no base runners, just various putouts) in more than a hundred years of existence. One took place last week in Seattle. Now, if someone could just explain why it was the third perfect game of this season, that would probably earn a Nobel Prize of some kind.

When national soccer teams hook up for a game that isn't part of some larger tournament, they call it a "friendly", even though some of the rivalries between teams are anything but friendly. The US had played 24 of these in Mexico over the years, earning ONE draw against 23 defeats in a 75-year period. That changed last week, when our boys in red, white and blue managed to hold on for a 1-0 victory in a huge stadium in Mexico City. Bueno!

I still watch commercials, even though it's perhaps not the best use of time. I've noticed lately that the financial genius companies are on TV as much as ever, all implying they have the edge in employing the smartest investment "sharpies".  Funny, though, that NONE of these companies use the following words: "We saw the market collapse of 2007-8 coming, and advised our customers to get out of equities and start stuffing their mattresses." In fact, some of these outfits have changed owners as a result of that collapse, and now work for someone else.

And there is, no surprise, campaign news, too. It took less than a week for Paul Ryan, our possible next vice president, to be caught in a less-than-truthful mode. The Obama stimulus package got zero Republican votes, but that didn't stop GOP members of Congress from asking for stimulus cash for their home districts. Not Ryan, according to Ryan, who called himself an exception. Anyway, letters with his signature to the administration asking for his Wiscinsin district's fair share were found, forcing Ryan to clarify his own memory and place the blame on...his Congressional staff. That's pretty short, it seems to me, of saying "The buck stops here."

About 30 years ago, Congress created the IRA (Individual Retirement Account), a tax deferred device allowing folks to stash money away for retirement. Few people know just when Mitt Romney's IRA got started, but the rules limit the annual investment in such an account to $6,000, an amount you could probably find in the Romney family sofas. So, just how did Mitt's own IRA grow to over $100 million dollars? I'm starting to agree with him that this country's just not big enough for all that cash.   


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