What Great Advice!

So, Bill Hobbs has taken time out from his job as head propagandist for the TNGOP to give us all financial advice.

This is very helpful.  Let’s take a closer look at what he’s saying:

Even though the stock market has lost 40 percent of its value since one year ago, as measured by the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the stock market at the end of yesterday was still up 397 percent from its close on Oct. 10, 1988, at 2,158, twenty years ago today.  [Twenty years ago today I was 14.]

If you had invested $1,000 in a broad-based mutual fund on Oct.10, 1988, and the fund had merely followed the performance of the DJIA, you would have $3,970 today.  [But I didn’t have $1,000 when I was 14.  Should I take a thousand dollars now, knowing what I know about the market, and travel back in time and give it to my 14-year-old self to invest?  At 14, I’m a minor, so how will I convince my parents to let me put it in a mutual fund instead of in my savings account at the credit union?]

Granted, you would have a lot more if you had sold a year ago – around $6,560  [holy shit!  That’s almost twice as much as $3,970!  Can I go back in time twice?  Once to give myself $1,000 and then again to pull the money out of the market back when the getting was good?] – but still, even after a drop of more than 40 percent in the last year, your investment would have grown 7.1 percent per year. That’s not great growth compared to some other kinds of investments, but it’s far, far better than the return you’ll ever get from Uncle Sam from all that money you paid into Social Security.  [So, Bill, are you advocating we put folks’ social security money in the stock market?  Because I’d love to see that go over like a lead balloon.]

The message? Think long term.  [Yes, long term.  So, for those of you who thought you were going to get to retire this year, sorry.  For those of you who thought you were going to get to go back to college after winter break.  Sorry.  For those of you who are not sure if you’ll even have a job to attach your 401k to.  Sorry.  But the good news is, the Republicans are prepared to sit around and wait for the market to right itself while you suffer.  Oh, and tax you on your health benefits.  Woo hoo.  Vote McCain!  Maybe if you do, Hobbs will let you use his time machine.  In which case, might I recommend going back and buying Microsoft?]

Just Slap on Another Bumper Sticker and It’ll Be Fine

Some days, I can’t help but think about Chely Wright’s song “Bumper of My S.U.V.”  I don’t believe I have anything more to say about that song than has already been said–from the fact that it’s a far leap from someone flipping you off as you drive around town (especially in this town, where people drive so bad you have to keep your flipping finger working for your own sanity) to flipping you off because you have a Marines sticker on your bumper to the belief that there is anyone who would just drive around flipping people who “support the troops” off.

But I was thinking about that song again last night as I was thinking about all the people driving around with “Support the Troops” yellow ribbon magnets and wondering–does any portion of the sale of those magnets and stickers actually go towards supporting the troops?

I mean, is it just a symbolic supporting of the troops or does it mean you’ve put some money down?

I ask this not to rip on those folks.  I just think that most Americans assume that, between their tax money and their bumpersticker buying and Congress stepping in, our troops are now well-taken care of and we’re all just now arguing about whether we support the wars they’re fighting.

So, when I read this over at Bridgett’s last night, I feel like I don’t really know how to respond to it.  I feel kind of sick to my stomach and angry.

Because he’s in the Kentucky Guard and isn’t regular Army, they won’t pay for either his flight or his dental work. Now he can’t chew anything. He smokes a lot of cigarettes. I suggested in my letter that he be sure to tell the Taliban that he’s not regular Army when they are trying to blow his ass up. What a crock of shit to be halfway around the world, freezing cold, undersupplied and put in harm’s way by a government that won’t even keep you in fighting shape.

Did you know this?  That folks in the Guard, who should be home, oh, I don’t know, GUARDING US and stacking sandbags and delivering relief where it’s needed, aren’t considered regular Army for the purposes of getting the medical care they need?

I had no idea.

And, America, I must ask you: What the Fuck?

Everyone, every family accepts that when their loved one enters the armed services, he or she might die for our country.  But, when we make that deal, I think the assumption is that they will be killed in combat, shot or blown up or whatever by our enemies.  Not raped and murdered by their fellow Americans but called a suicide.  And not left in the mountains of Afghanistan to starve or freeze to death because you won’t get them the things they need.

These folks are coming home.

I sometimes think we forget that, because we’ve been at war for so long and we’ve fought that war with the same few people going back there over and over and over again so that we can avoid thinking about how actually unpopular this war is because NO ONE would ever support a draft in order to fight it with the numbers actually needed.  Holy fuck.  Where was that sentence going?

Oh, yeah, my point–I don’t think we actually believe these guys are coming home.  So, it doesn’t really matter what happens to them overseas because out of sight=out of mind.

No matter how bad they’re treated, no one will care.

Well, we need to care.  Because these folks are coming home and they will live with and among us.

And we owe them.  We owe them now to take care of them properly and we owe them when they get home to make sure they have the services they need.

Talk about a national debt.  This is a national debt of the soul and like all soul stuff, it gets paid, like it or not, eventually.  We need to do right while we have the opportunity.

The 30 Seconds a Day Cats are Obviously Possessed?

Okay, you know how you can own a perfectly good cat, but once a day he has to, oh, I don’t know, say suddenly meow to be let in, run in the door, sprint back and forth between the kitchen and the Butcher’s bedroom three times, finally, knock open the Butcher’s door, rush in, pull something down, make a huge noise that causes the Butcher to yell “Arghthgh!” and then the cat just stolls out of the room, nonchalantly sets himself down and licks his toes like nothing unusual has happened?

Are cats subject to intermittent bouts of demonic possession?

And is it wrong to laugh?