Friday, December 19, 2008

Turning the Titanic - Kudos to George Bush on Interim Loan to Automakers

Kudos to George W. Bush for offering an interim loan to American automakers.

While there is plenty of reason to be angry with the short-sightedness of the Big Three, and there is a real temptation to let them fail for their poor management, there is just too much at stake - especially in this reeling economy - to allow them to do so. Bush is correct in stating that "[a]llowing the auto companies to collapse is not a responsible course of action"; that bankruptcy would deal "an unacceptably painful blow to hardworking Americans."

The $17.4 million of loans to GM and Chrysler (Ford doesn't need them at this time) appropriately comes with strings attached - the companies must come up with viable restructuring plans by March 31 or the loans will be called. "The time to make hard decisions to become viable is now, or the only option will be bankruptcy," Bush said. "The automakers and unions must understand what is at stake and make hard decisions necessary to reform."

We'll see - is Detroit capable of turning the Titanic?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

George Bush Shoe Incident

Just when you think you've seen it all, the President is victimized in a vicious shoe attack .

Slate suggests in "When the Shoe Fits" that this may be the best thing to happen to George Bush in quite some time. People will "marvel at the president's quick reflexes and calm," John Dickerson writes. "Bush brushed off the incident, joking that he saw into his attacker's 'sole,' a reference to his famous misreading of Vladimir Putin. It's the kind of incident where Bush's no-big-deal attitude, so maddening in other contexts, serves him well. 'It was just a bizarre moment,' Bush told journalists later on Air Force One. 'But I've had other bizarre moments in the presidency.'"

In any event, you have to give the man credit for his slick dodge.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

More Dharma

High personal standards can be a double-edged sword -a few dharma thoughts:

"It is essential that our [standards] be translated into practice, not with an idealistic vision that we suddenly will become totally loving and compassionate, but with a willingness to be just who we are and to start from there. Then our practice is grounded in the reality of our experience, rather than based on some expectation of how we should be.

"But we must begin. We work with the precepts as guidelines for harmonizing our actions with the world; we live with contentment and simplicity that does not exploit other people or the planet; we work with restraint in the mind, seeing that it's possible to say no to certain conditioned impulses, or to expand when we feel bound by inhibitions and fear; we reflect on karma and the direction of our lives, where it is leading and what is being developed; we cultivate generosity and love, compassion and service.

All of this together becomes our path of practice."

-- From Joseph Goldstein, Seeking the Heart of Wisdom