Category Archives: Makes me angry

Free country or obscenity? Vulgarity at the least.

tampa bay 1For Floridians, heartbreak is a constant. In my little town, just this month, demolition began on the historic winter home of the Barnum & Bailey circus, in the face of years of campaigns and fund-raising by citizens to preserve their heritage – located on municipal, not private, property.

tampa bay 2And then this happened a few miles north. An added insult: the fixtures, windows, precious woods and more were only a nuisance, so they were left in place for the bulldozers. After all, the whole thing – as the story points out – was already 12 years old.

SARASOTA – A 6,100-square-foot house built just 12 years ago on this tony barrier island was being torn down Monday to make way for what neighbors say will be a three-story home for Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik.

The half-acre bayfront property at 112 N. Washington Drive was bought five months ago for $4.25 million. . . .

The classically inspired house, designed by architect Clifford Scholz and built by the late Mike Collingwood, was yellow with white trim and had a double staircase leading to the front doors.

The arched Palladian windows were framed with white shutters. Iron gates over the gray paver driveway and an ivy-covered masonry wall provided privacy.

The property had two wings that made the pool area private, too.

It obviously was not sufficient for such a grandee who is, no doubt, a legend in his own mind. He came, saw a tear-down, did it.

Ssshh, don’t tell the kids now . . .

Here we go again – Time Magazine knows not to challenge its readers.  It’s American readers that is.

What are they smoking in Korea?

According to the Weekly Standard (I know, sometimes too rapid linky-linky lands me in strange places), this is the architectural rendering of a pair of residential towers proposed for Seoul with what they’re calling a ‘cloud feature’ connecting the buildings. I’m speechless.

Income gap – no comment

h/t mac at Talk & Politics

Those Commies are still out there you know . . .

The way Jesus wanted it

This is last week’s story and we political junkies know all about it: Congress voted 361-9 to re-affirm that the motto of the United States is still In God We Trust. But did you know that our ever-vigilant congress critters took time to do it five years ago too? I guess we can’t be too careful. This time, they had a thoughtful debate, but we may assume that this is the sentiment that carried the day:

“Is God God? Or is man God? In God do we trust, or in man do we trust?” said Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.). He was laying out the deeper meaning behind this debate — saying it was a chance for the House to reassert that it believes there is divine goodness and order in the universe.

If there isn’t, Franks said, “we should just let anarchy prevail because, after all, we are just worm food. So indeed we have the time to reaffirm that God is God and in God do we trust.”

I was in school when the beautiful motto of this nation was tossed aside for a cheap political point. E Pluribus Unum -  Out of Many, One. Probably the finest most aspirational motto of any state in history.

But there were Commies out there in the ’50′s and they were – gasp! – godless! And atom bombs would not be enough to protect us; only a deity could do that. So we shielded ourselves with a completely unoriginal, generic motto, one that would make any theocracy proud: In God We Trust. Which means exactly nothing.

That wasn’t enough of course, because maybe Uncle Joe Stalin wouldn’t bother to read our motto. So to be really really safe, we added a little protection into the Pledge of Allegiance as well.

One nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all would no longer do. To assure full-fledged homeland security, it had to be One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. (God’s justice or man’s?)

I never say it. I like the old one.

How can I market my books and myself for FREE?

Run for president.

From a Bachmann email to her supporters yesterday:

 

How could I have missed this guy?

Ever heard of Uncle Jay? I hadn’t till I found myself there yesterday while following some new links. Behold . . . Uncle Jay, citizen.

There’s lots more. He doesn’t seem to have a channel, just click around.

Social Security retirment age is not 65

Fer Elvis’ sake! I can’t bear it any more.

What we hear: the eligibility age for full Social Security benefits is 65. Why, we all know that; it’s SS 101. And we also know that based on that, one of the popular ‘solutions’ to our non-existent SS problem is “raise the age to 67.”

FACT: The age for full benefits hasn’t been 65 since 2005.  At that point, based on the 30-year formula worked out by Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill and passed into law by Congress, the age began adjusting upward by two month increments each year, beginning in 2005. By 2016, the age will be 67. By law. Passed 28 yeas ago.

We need to get the word to our press and our legislators. Before they hunker down to write legislation, they really need to know this:

The social security age is not 65 any more.

What are you doing tonight? Troy Davis will be dying. Right on schedule.

In front of the Georgia State House

The State of Georgia will finish off Troy Davis tonight. The Pope asked nicely and so did a former President and former FBI Director Louis Free,  a large number of former Federal prosecutors and Justice Department lawyers and, um, Europe. But.

In our country, you can’t be found guilty if there’s reasonable doubt, but you can be executed.

UPDATE: 7:21 Sara Totonchi of the Southern Center for Human Rights confirms the prison has temporarily delayed the execution while awaiting word from the U.S. Supreme Court on whether they can proceed with the execution tonight.

FINAL UPDATE: 10:57 State Attorney Generals office notifies MacPhail’s mother Anneliese “[Davis] is on the gurney, the needle is in.”

h/t Atlanta Journal Constitution

Let’s not pretend anything else. With them it’s always about teh sex

Conservative Christians recoil at anything that touches – no matter how peripherally - on the assumption that females will someday have sex, and that’s only okay when making more little Christians. (Certainly, it’s never okay if the gals dare to enjoy teh sex.)

That, not government overreach, is at the core of the kefuffle over the HPV virus vaccine. That is what it’s really about. That is what it’s always about.

Let us note that Bachmann, who started the silly argument, is an evangelical Dominionist Christian. Those folks aren’t big on women’s rights.

Hit us again harder. Please.

  • Irresponsible tax cuts.
  • Toothless regulation.
  • Interlocking directorates.
  • Boards hand picked by CEO’s.
  • Quarterly earnings now the fickle measure of a stock’s worth.
  • Perverse incentive systems.
  • A business media of enthralled groupies slavishly following and thrilling to rock star plutocrats.
  • The collapse of the  concepts of the common good and civics.
  • Devotion to profits above all.
  • The demonizing of any talk of fairness or social justice.
  • Purposefully ignoring our collapsing infrastructure while we prop up the economies of China and Brazil and their enormous investments in their own infrastructure (transportation, ports, broadband) that will ultimately make us even more uncompetitive than we are now. (After all, there’s no profit in proppingup a joint where workers demand a living wage.)
  • Our government’s committment to protect the ‘job creators’ who, during a decade of historically low tax rates have managed to lose more American jobs than at any time since the Depression.

And our entirely broken government, now wholly owned by those who created it all. Bill Mahar explains some of it:

We are mock worthy. Indeed we are.

From Medical Transcription, via Andrew Sullivan. The best part:

The U.S. spends roughly $400 billion on paperwork and other administrative costs per year. This is enough to completely fund health care reform in 2011.

Read on if you dare . . .

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Wonder if they’ll have political parties?

I hope they have enough traffic lights

Guess the wars are on my mind today – all this deficit talk without any talk of wars is disgraceful. So I decided to check in and see how things are going with our new Embassy in Baghdad.

Did you know:

  • It’s the largest and most expensive embassy in the world
  • It’s two and a half times the size of Vatican City
  • It’s budgeted at $6.2 billion
  • The embassy complex comprises 21 buildings on a 104 acre (42 ha) site (Disneyland is 85 acres).
  • A Kuwaiti company got the contract to build it

From Wikipedia:

The embassy has extensive housing and infrastructure facilities in addition to the usual diplomatic buildings. The buildings include:[8]

  • Six apartment buildings for employees
  • Water and waste treatment facilities
  • A power station
  • Two “major diplomatic office buildings”
  • Recreation, including a gym, cinema, and a swimming pool

The complex is heavily fortified, even by the standards of the Green Zone. The details are largely secret, but it is likely to include a significant US Marine Security Guard detachment. Fortifications include deep security perimeters, buildings reinforced beyond the usual standard, and five highly guarded entrances.[citation needed]

Your basic small city. Embassy my ass. We’re never leaving Iraq.

And let us not forget the 800 or so military bases we have across the world which cost us about $102 billion yearly.

Jobs. Jobs. Jobs.

“The criminalization of American society”

On his blog, Jonathan Turley keeps an eye on stories that mostly fly below the media radar. Turley is a law professor at George Washington University and appears periodically on the cables for legal commentary.

From today:

Michigan woman criminally charged for vegetable garden in her own front yard

Julie Bass is facing a misdemeanor charge in Oak Park, Michigan. Her crime? Planting vegetables in her own front yard. It is the latest example of the criminalization of American society . . .

How about this one?

Arkansas man arrested after videotaping police from his own front yard

 . . . a video has been released of a Jonesboro, Arkansas man who arrested after filming police conduct a search of a neighbor’s vehicle and body. The video was taken last year . . .

Police officers then confront the man for . . .  threaten him with a variety of possible charges from disturbing the peace to disorderly conduct to obstruction. Since when is it a crime to swear at officers?

The man is rude and clearly hostile to police. . . [but] Police are trained to deal with obnoxious and hostile people which is an unfortunate reality of the job. The response is not to demand identification when insulted and threaten arrest.

This one?

Good citizen, bad arrest: New York woman arrested after videotaping police – from her own front yard.

. . . new report of police arresting a citizen because she videotaped them — this time from her own front yard. According to his report, a woman named Emily Good was arrested after videotaping an arrest of a man at a traffic stop in Rochester, New York.

Deeply disturbing:

California family hit with SWAT raid . . . ordered by the Department of Education

In Stockton, California, Kenneth Wright was at home with his three young children ages 3, 7, and 11 when a SWAT team burst into his home at 6 a.m., dragged him out on the lawn, threw him to the ground, and put the family (including the kids) in squad cars. His alleged crime: default on student loans.

Add to ‘criminalization of American society, the ‘militarization of American police’. The first three arrests/threats of arrest are wrong, very wrong; but they could be attributed to a misunderstanding of the law by the officers involved. Or just regular abusive behavior by the police.

The SWAT story, however, should terrify you. It’s an extra-legal escalation.

When A Country Goes Insane

One job for every five looking

That’s the headline on a recent article at Common Dreams, a website I visit when I need to refresh my inner liberal, the one who’s deeply offended by a wealthy country that let’s its children go to bed hungry. Where my Governor is bragging about the 65,000 new ‘jobs’ this year – which pay around $20K and replace the lost jobs that paid $40K.

Six million people have lost their jobs. Twenty five million are underemployed. Many will never work again. Eight trillion dollars of middle class wealth has been destroyed in the housing collapse. One out of four mortgage holders are under water, owing more on their home than it’s worth. Fifty million people are living in poverty. One out of eight Americans are on food stamps. One of every two children will be on food stamps at some point .

And meanwhile:

[The country] can’t tell truths from lies . . . Sleazy operators pass themselves off as statesmen . . . and the crowds, unable to distinguish sanctimony from sincerity, bravado from bullshit, lap it up.

Let’s just ignore:

. . . the Republicans’ response? The working and middle class need to pay. Never mind that it was Reagan and Bush I who quadrupled the national debt in only 12 years, and Bush II who doubled it again in only eight, all to grease the pockets of their wealthy base. It’s the working and middle class who need to be bled. They still have assets that can be milked from them. They can still be made more subservient, more docile.

Remember, it’s Obama’s economy. And what about the American people? The ones who aren’t the 1% who enjoyed all the economic gains of the last 30 years?

. . . they need to give up any expectation of security, or dignity. They need to give up any childish illusions that [government] is operated for any such quaint Madisonian ends as “the general welfare.” They need to put on their kneepads and accustom themselves to being grateful servants to their new feudal masters . .

And through it all:

The media genuflect before gibberish and idolize idiocy. They are the media-tors of a Gresham’s Law of public discourse where bad information drives out good. For their own slick whoring they become “players,” while everybody else is left with a debauched civic currency, a crushed economy, and a collective impotence that makes true democracy and true prosperity impossible.

God bless us every one.

Wipe that smile off your face Mr. Gephardt

A run for President is good for business later

How do these people even show their faces in public? I used to think that Rep. Billy Tauzin was the worst example of the congressional ‘revolving door’, but Gephardt is looking like a contender. These guys still hang out with their former colleagues – probably having a big BBQ together next weekend.

Gephardt (D), former almost-Speaker of the House, is now, well, let’s let Sebastian Jones at The Washington Monthly tell the sordid story;

Even in a town as full of mercenaries and shills as Washington, Dick Gephardt is a special case. Just a handful of years ago, the then-Congressman touted himself as a friend of unions and a universal healthcare crusader. During his failed 2004 presidential bid, he was a man who stood against “the status-quo apologists” and “the special interest lobbyists running amok.” Today, he’s at the helm of his very own lobbying firm, working for the likes of PhRMA, Goldman Sachs and the coal company Peabody Energy. Even when compared to his many peers who have made trips through the revolving door, the list of issues on which Gephardt has been paid to reverse his position is very long indeed.

Florida as fiefdom. Rick Scott’s fiefdom.

“Rick Scott doesn’t seem to care about Florida.”  -  Florida Senator Dan Gelber in a blog post.  (Gelber was the 2010 Democratic candidate for FL Attorney General.)

In just 6 months Rick Scott has dismantled our growth management laws and eliminated Florida Forever (the land conservation program) to allow developers to completely pave over our state; he successfully convinced the legislature to gut education spending in order to provide special interest tax breaks; he’s shown utter contempt for Florida’s open government traditions by operating more secretively than any other administration; he gave property insurance companies the green light to raise rates as they see fit; and advanced policies that will make our state’s oldest and poorest nothing more than profit centers for health insurers. And that’s just the beginning.

Scott is treating Florida much like the companies he bought and sold in his business life. Buy a company, reengineer it so it can be sold for a quick profit and let it’s defects become someone else’s problems down the road.

Cable out an I iz not happy

I'll be waiting.

Apparently my DVR cable box is malfunctioning. I know this because after an hour on my own trying to get it to reboot properly, and another 45 minutes on the phone with a technician, I have no cable. I must say this for Comcast, they have patient and agreeable phone techs. But I still don’t have TV.

My problem is the box and no amount of resetting from here or from their end is going to fix it. New box needed. But it’s Saturday night. And it’s a holiday weekend. And the offices are closed. And the first time they can get someone out here with a new box is Tuesday. 

When my power goes down and I call the utility company, they don’t tell me they are taking the weekend off – and neither should Comcast. They’re not a boutique service – they provide access to an essential utility for their customers. I pay lottsa US dollars every month to provide that access. Saying  “sorry Tuesday is the best we can do” is not good enough.

I shall visit the Comcast office next week and arrange for them to adjust my bill commensurate with how I price my own time.  I figure three free months? Or should I ask for more? I’m sure they’ll be agreeable about it.

That’s about right

By Monte Wolverton, via Dave at The Conservative Lie, who got it from Bill at Under the Lobsterscope, who probably got it at Cagles Cartoons . . . we really do need a WORD for this pass along phoenomenon.

.

He’s a creep and he looks like one

And based on no evidence other than his creepiness, I beleive he diddles little boys and whispers ‘don’t tell’. That’s what I think.

This is how the young become radicalized

Those little boys and girls walking into the hall with their parents won’t forget this. And as they get older, some of them may be receptive to the whisperings of the radicals.  In case you can’t hear it, the crowd is yelling ‘Go home!”, “Mohammed was a terrorist”, “Get out of here”  and a few other neighborly words.

Hang in for the local official at 1:27 – now that’s leadership!

Just shame on us – on you and on me

This segment from last night’s 60 Minutes is devastating. 

“American families have been falling out of the middle class in record numbers. The combination of lost jobs and millions of foreclosures means a lot of folks are homeless and hungry for the first time in their lives.  . . .  One of the consequences of the recession that you don’t hear a lot about is the record number of children descending into poverty. . . it is estimated the poverty rate for kids in this country will soon hit 25 percent. Those children would be the largest American generation to be raised in hard times since the Great Depression.”

You can go elsewhere for the statistics; they can’t be too hard to find.  But just watch these kids tell Pelley what hunger feels like and if you don’t weep, you may need an empathy check.

The pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps crowd can kiss my butt.  We’re a rich country and we should feed our kids.

Barefoot, pregnant, in the kitchen dontchaknow . . .

Watch your back

From an email I just received – twice – from women friends. A brief and sadly incomplete list of the little things Republicans try to do to women and their filthy offspring. (I used to think it was only the Catholic Church that officially hated women, but I may have to admit the GOP to those ranks.)

1) Republicans not only want to reduce women’s access to abortion care, they’re actually trying to redefine rape. After a major backlash, they promised to stop. But they haven’t.

2) A state legislator in Georgia wants to change the legal term for victims of rape, stalking, and domestic violence to “accuser.” But victims of other less gendered crimes, like burglary, would remain “victims.”

3) In South Dakota, Republicans proposed a bill that could make it legal to murder a doctor who provides abortion care. (Yep, for real.)

4) Republicans want to cut nearly a billion dollars of food and other aid to low-income pregnant women, mothers, babies, and kids. 

5) In Congress, Republicans have proposed a bill that would let hospitals allow a woman to die rather than perform an abortion necessary to save her life.

6) Maryland Republicans ended all county money for a low-income kids’ preschool program. Why? No need, they said. Women should really be home with the kids, not out working.

7) And at the federal level, Republicans want to cut that same program, Head Start, by $1 billion. That means over 200,000 kids could lose their spots in preschool.

8.) Two-thirds of the elderly poor are women, and Republicans are taking aim at them too. A spending bill would cut funding for employment services, meals, and housing for senior citizens.

9) Congress voted yesterday on a Republican amendment to cut all federal funding from Planned Parenthood health centers, one of the most trusted providers of basic health care and family planning in our country.

10) And if that wasn’t enough, Republicans are pushing to eliminate all funds for the only federal family planning program.

If Texas stayed a Republic . . . ah well, we can dream.

Maybe if I just didn’t read the paper or maybe if Ed didn’t send me these links, I could spare myself the agony of the ugly. But he did and elvis help me I read it. So . . . let me share the joy.

Texas knows how to do things. How else to explain:

  • Their students rank 47th in the nation in literacy
  • Their students rank 49th in verbal SAT scores
  • And their students rank 46th in math scores
  • They have the highest birth rate in the country
  • They rank third in teen pregnancies and
  • They rank absolutely first in  repeat teen pregnancies.
  • They spend more federal money than any other state for abstinence programs. Because it’s really working for them.

At least they have Governor Good Hair.

Is this who we are?

Once again, I seem to have taken an unplanned break from the blog. Downtime will, I expect, become a recurring feature here. This time I think the reason is because of what happened on Saturday. It left me speechless.

The killings in Tuscon describe, on too many levels, the story of the tragedy that is us. America has produced too many assassins; some succeed, some fail, but still they discharge their weapons. Just in my own lifetime: Kennedy, King, Kennedy, Ford, Reagan, a few other Congress critters (and I am sorry I don’t remember the names) and now Rep. Gifford. The wife of an astronaut. And those are just the political ones.

Public figures of all kinds – journalists, entertainers, doctors, nurses, municipal officials – it is a list too far. Agencies of the government, the buildings that house them, the innocents who showed up for their jobs that day.

We fiercely defend our guns – even the weapons of war – in the hands of those who mean us ill.

We allow – some embrace – the language of incitement, the mindset that sees government as the enemy off all that is good. A mindset that has taken hold and is endlessly reinforced. We now think it’s okay to yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre.

We reward liars and fools - Limbaugh, Murdoch, Beck, Savage. Those who become obscenely wealthy toying with this nation and undermining  our national stability.

Rush Limbaugh changed the face of radio and invented today’s shabby genre of talk radio. He’s been on the air for 20 awful years, on thousands of stations around the country (even the military carries him on its stations). How big an impact has this one man had with his endless stream of nonsense-made-real?

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Money for nothing

Just realized that as this nation-at-war kicks off Memorial Day weekend and the beginning of summer . . . the Cost of War clock is about to turn to ONE TRILLION DOLLARS – perhaps before the weekend is out. That’s $1,000,000,000.00 $1,000,000,000,000.oo. One trillion dollars.

I wonder what we’d be fueling our homes and vehicles with if we’d spent a trillion dollars on R&D over the last decade, instead of . . . well, instead of what exactly?

What did we spend that trillion dollars on? Killing our own? Killing Iraqis and Afghans? Guns? Ammo? Helicopters that crashed? Making enemies? Hardening hatred?

We blew it. We wasted it. And we got nothing for it. Shame on us.

Now go have a beer and a burger and don’t worry, be happy.

Let’s try to ‘splain it this way

Something I read this morning set me to looking for info on the levels of US debt (modern day). Nothing comes close to the WWII levels. But the problem as I understand it is not today’s debt as much as where it’s projected to go.

There are a number of fixes floating out there*, but most of them involve taxes – it seems however, that while we weren’t looking an amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed saying “thou shalt never discuss taxes unless they are being lowered sayeth someone”.

But look at this. And look at the years – the only years – the debt went up. It’s so friggin’ obvious and yet rarely makes it into the conversation.

UPDATE: Re those ‘small fixes’. Just reading an article by Steven Pearlstein, business writer at The Washington Post, who addresses this very issue today. He proposes a partnership to address both tax increases and spending reductions.

One of his suggestions is also one of my favorite talking points on this subject:

– Raise the eligibility age for Social Security and Medicare by one month for each two-month increase in average life expectancy. At the same time, slowly reduce the cost of living increases on Social Security benefits for wealthy seniors (couples, say, with income over $100,000) while slowly increasing their Medicare premiums. Everyone else’s benefits would remain untouched.

Another of my favorites:

– Reduce the Social Security payroll tax slightly to 12 percent and over time impose it on wages and salary up to $150,000, up from the current cap of about $110,000. Raise the Medicare payroll tax slightly, to 3 percent, and apply it to all income.

Of course, he’s proposing other stuff I don’t like, but the whole thing is worth a  read.

Do we care about tomorrow?

This morning, Gene directs me to an article in the New York Review of Books, by Tony Judt, taken from his new book Ill Fares the Land. I entirely agree with Gene that this is a very important article/book indeed. It describes where we are presently as a society, compares that to where we were until the 80′s, and compares quality of life measurement with our sister nations – mostly Europe – where financial and social practices track our own to a large extent.

The article reads well even to the economic novice and includes clear graphs measuring his premises. The gist is that we have turned away from being a social democracy invested in our future and well being, to an increasingly unequal society with collapsing infrastructure increasingly beholden to the moneyed class whose interests are not the good of this nation but only of their own wealth. It’s a fine read for tax day – makes me want to pay more taxes.  It does.

Some outtakes that struck me:

No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable.  —Adam Smith

“Something is profoundly wrong with the way we live today. For thirty years we have made a virtue out of the pursuit of material self-interest: indeed, this very pursuit now constitutes whatever remains of our sense of collective purpose. We know what things cost but have no idea what they are worth. We no longer ask of a judicial ruling or a legislative act: Is it good? Is it fair? Is it just? Is it right? Will it help bring about a better society or a better world? Those used to be the political questions, even if they invited no easy answers.

“. . . Poverty is an abstraction, even for the poor. But the symptoms of collective impoverishment are all about us. Broken highways, bankrupt cities, collapsing bridges, failed schools, the unemployed, the underpaid, and the uninsured: all suggest a collective failure of will. These shortcomings are so endemic that we no longer know how to talk about what is wrong, much less set about repairing it. And yet something is seriously amiss. Even as the US budgets tens of billions of dollars on a futile military campaign in Afghanistan, we fret nervously at the implications of any increase in public spending on social services or infrastructure.

“. . . The consequences are clear. There has been a collapse in intergenerational mobility: in contrast to their parents and grandparents, children today in the UK as in the US have very little expectation of improving upon the condition into which they were born.

“. . . Inequality is corrosive. It rots societies from within. The impact of material differences takes a while to show up: but in due course competition for status and goods increases; people feel a growing sense of superiority (or inferiority) based on their possessions; prejudice toward those on the lower rungs of the social ladder hardens; crime spikes and the pathologies of social disadvantage become ever more marked. The legacy of unregulated wealth creation is bitter indeed

“. . . Although countries as far apart as New Zealand and Denmark, France and Brazil have expressed periodic interest in deregulation, none has matched Britain or the United States in their unwavering thirty-year commitment to the unraveling of decades of social legislation and economic oversight.”

Well worth a read. And well worth some thought.

How to define the straw?

I never imagined that I’d actually experience the proverbial moment when a little straw broke a camel’s back – but I did. It happened an hour ago. To me; I mean I am the camel whose back broke.

I may now say with some authority, that these moments play out very stupidly since the ‘last straw’ inspires a reaction entirely disproportionate to the offense, whatever it might be.

My former banker hard at work

The story: This morning I realized I had failed to order new checks and was now out. No checks. (but then, we all write so few these days, this it’s understandable, is it not? Isn’t it? Please say it’s understandable, because otherwise my rationale  collapses.)  And as it happens, I was going to need a check tomorrow for some of the pool work, and another on Monday. Not enough time to order through conventional channels.

So I dropped into my local previously-friendly branch of Chase. I’ve had a checking account there – in the building anyway, that’s now called Chase – for 16 years. Banks do eat each other up and sometimes the federales eat them up , so there’s been some turnover causing the sign outside to change a few times, but Chase has lasted the longest. They’ve been there at least 8 years, so they’ve been my primary bank for those 8 years. I had a mortgage there once, though it’s been since paid. My bank, you know?

And it was busy there this afternoon, but my business was to be brief and they got to me very quickly. As I was taking the chair across from my ‘banker’, I told him that all I needed was a few temporary checks, due to being out and needing them over the next few days.

They can’t do that. They just don’t do that sort of thing any more.

Straw.

And so I closed the account. I found it utterly incomprehensible that they were unable to take care of this small matter. And my ‘banker’ smiled and said he was sorry. So we closed the account and deactivated the ATM. A real pain in the butt to come as I reconfigure all the autopays etc, but it has to be because this was the moment when

the back broke.

And that’s how it goes. Something in the world is stupid and it makes us stupid. And we’re all stupid together.

Neither the bank nor the ‘banker’ care in the least. A customer is an annoyance to be moved along so the ‘banker’ can clear the desk for someone who will give them something instead of asking of them.

And by the time I left, my new bank-to-be was closed. So I am today an American in limbo. No ATM card, $80 cash (I really should have thought of that), no checks but one big fat cashiers check. And I won’t get the new account opened till tomorrow. Do I exist? Am I still even an American?

Idiots.

UPDATE: Established a new account at TrustCo, a small bank I got from Moveyourmoney.com. It’s an interesting grass roots movement. A few words from them:


Read it and weep

Enough said? Just how batshit crazy are we anyway? Comes from here. With  hat tip to Andrew Sullivan.