Gloria Ferris

one woman’s view from a place by the zoo in the city

Archive for September, 2008

The Nation Waits with Bated Breath–Is It a Loan or Is it a Bailout?

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Warren Buffett knows if you are going to take on great risk, be sure to negotiate a hard bargain and at least have the option to make millions.  I just received my latest edition of The Economist where I learned this. 

I haven’t seen anything on line about the $700 Billion Bailout of the banking industry.  Personally, I like the idea of loaning them the money.  You see, when they get behind on their loans because they haven’t the money to pay back the American taxpayer, we can have our servicing agent, the government, tell them that their “client” has informed them that they can no longer work with them and that they are in default.  We, the taxpayers, will then own the banks.  In other words, we can foreclose on them. Turnabout is fair play.

Why in the world would we the American Taxpayer give the money to the banks without getting something in return?  Shouldn’t we let the free market decide which banks would survive and which would become part of the collateral owned by the United States?  After all, I believe that is what U.S. Treasurer Hank Paulson recommended not so long ago when told that the housing bubble had burst and that the walls were crumbling down.

Of course, no one knew just how far the rolling stones would fall and now that retirement and pension funds, local and state governments will be affected by this debacle, something should be done.  But I ask you, why should we give them this money with no strings attached so that they can again “play the game” with no repercussions for the reckless way they played “the game” this time?

Could that be the problem with this whole scenario?  It wasn’t a game, it was people’s lives, it was people’s savings, it was America’s way of life.  It was only a game to those who saw only the numbers and never the faces behind those numbers.

I see no reason that we the American Taxpayer should bail out the financial industry without receiving something in return.  After all, according to the investment gurus, our world revolves on ROI (Return on Investment).  Maybe not so much.

Written by Gloria Ferris

September 29th, 2008 at 3:50 pm

In the Dark of Night The Senate Succumbs Once Again–Naming Your Intellectual Property Orphans

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Shannon Okey has asked for help in getting the word out about this latest attack on individual Intellectual Property.  Her article here says it better than I ever could.  Be sure to use the sidebar to gain knowledge of why artists, bloggers, small business people, and anyone else who believes in freedom of expression should do what Shannon asks of us.

Notify your congressperson that you are against this latest attempt to tie our hands, our tongues, and our minds to a mindless buisness  bureaucracy when innovation and creativity should be keywords in any endeavor in our country today. 

Please note the clandestine way that these examples of special interest legislation become part of our law that governs us.  Does anyone else get a shiver up their spine when the chance to object is limited to fifteen minutes and when no objection is recorded within those fifteen minutes the legislation passes by unanimous consent with no roll call vote?  WOW!

Written by Gloria Ferris

September 29th, 2008 at 12:46 pm

Just The Facts, Ma’am.

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At times, I have lamented the reporting at our local newspaper, The Plain Dealer.  Today, on the business pages is a Q & A about AIG where Theresa Dixon Murray gives more facts in a few column inches than any of the other news reports I have read so far.  So today, I tip my hat to the Plain Dealer and this business reporter.

“Far-reaching consequences” is the right take on this situation.  Cash-flow problems within a company that has $1 trillion in assets is almost beyond comprehension.  But, if you read the second reason  of why this help by the Federal Reserve was imperative for global financial stability, you get a bit more of the picture than what the national papers have said about the “risky loans” that AIG underwrites.

AIG underwrites the banking industry.  The domino effect would be devastating.  By approving this short term loan, the Federal Reserve has given the financial industry some breathing room to continue to “make right what went wrong”. 

Earlier this month,  an article from The Economist  about Paulson’s nationalization of the housing sector illuminated  how the housing market has caused a big bit of the financial markets uncertainty.  We truly are in a global marketplace.

Late last year, in a comment on Brewed Fresh Daily, I said that the subprime mess would have global implications. I was soundly chastised by another BFD reader.  At that time, I stated that part of the problem was the short term thinking overtaking the corporate world and that everything was transaction based–moving numbers around on a balance sheet.    My hope is that everyone remembers that peoples’ jobs, retirement savings, and our way of life depend on a stable monetary system when making the decisions that will affect our future.   Transition should happen in a deliberate thinking environment with the human factor being considered.

If ever there was a time that our government officials should act in a cohesive bipartisan way it is now.  We need leaders that can effectively govern by best practices and not by the latest polls.  Deregulation may have gotten us where we are today, but regulation for regulation’s sake may not get us to where we need to go.

Written by Gloria Ferris

September 17th, 2008 at 11:34 am

Support the Artists of All Ages in NEO

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I just read over on RealNeo that Alenka Banco is opening Josaphat Arts Hall and her Convivium 33 gallery to artists this weekend so that the can sell there wears/wares during the Sparx in the City Gallery Hop this Saturday Sepember 20 and Sunday September 21 from 10 a.m. til 5 p.m.

The really cool thing about this wears/wares sale is that you can arrive early at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday pay $5.00 and be part of an exclusive dealer/public preview.  You ask me why should I get up early and pay money when I can arrive at 10 and pay nothing?  I’ll tell you why because ALL of the admission fees will benefit the Max S. Hayes art students (CMSD)  where my friend Mary Beth Matthews is chair of the Art Department.

Mary Beth is an amazing woman who has also found the time to be a founding member of the Women’s Enterprise Network.  We are a group of women dedicated to empowering women of all ages to do what they want to do.

Tim and I have a busy weekend but I am going to be there at 8:30 a.m. Saturday “with bells on” as they say. 



Written by Gloria Ferris

September 15th, 2008 at 10:19 pm

Who Speaks for the Pig in all this folderol?

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I do.  Look we never asked to be the focal point of the 2008 General Election.  Who knew that the phrase “lipstick on a pig” would become the most important topic on the political scene with just six weeks left until the American Public vote for their next leader?

There hasn’t been this much to talk about in the barnyard since Orwell wrote that terrible book depicting us pigs as power-hungry despots. Actually, discourse among humans has decidedly deteriorated since that book was written.

We sure wish that the news media thought there was more to talk about than just us pigs.  Oh yes, we listen to  the news quite frequently.  No self-respecting farmer fails to have a radio in the barn.  They may be busy, but they keep informed.  So sad that politicians and news moguls think that the American voters are morons and would rather be entertained than informed.  Us pigs are quite concerned that we may have to take over barnyards all over the United States just as George Orwell predicted in Animal Farm.  Oh wait, somebody just told me that book was a satire.

Well, I’m not sure that pigs running things wouldn’t be a step up.  At least we already know that lipstick on a pig looks ridiculous and no self-respecting pig  would wear it.  People look down on us because we wallow in our own, well you-all-know-what.  I ask you what is different about what you humans are doing? 

I told my friend Suey the other day, well at least they aren’t talking about making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear or are you?


h/t to my friend Gloria who let me borrow her blog.


Patchouli Porker

Written by Gloria Ferris

September 14th, 2008 at 11:23 am

Craig Ferguson is My Hero

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A simply awesome commentary on our duty as American citizens to vote in this very important November election as well as a humorous look at how totally inadequate our news media is on focusing the candidates attention on the issues at hand-young people fighting a war overseas, people losing their homes, and the state of our economy.

Well worth the eight minutes it takes to watch this video clip

of Craig’s opening monologue September 10th.   

h/t to Valdis and Ed who steered me to it.

Full Disclosure;

I watched the Drew Carey Show to see Craig Ferguson not because Drew was a hometown boy.  I thought he was by far the best actor and therefore the best character on the show.

Written by Gloria Ferris

September 13th, 2008 at 4:47 pm

Posted in Cleveland

Autumn Solar Energy Tour Includes Familiar Faces

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I just received an email from our friend Bill McDermott.  If you have attended one of the Midtown Brews events, you probably have had the pleasure of making Bill’s acquaintance.  A chemist by trade, he is extremely knowledgeable about alternative energy especially, solar and shares his research freely with the Brews crowd and at RealNeo where he has a blog.  He reads extensively and freely shares what he learns with the rest of us.  In essence, he is my newspaper clipper on all things green.

The email was to promote the upcoming Ohio Solar Energy Tour coming our way this October.  Here are the specifics for the Northeast Ohio Solar Energy Tour.  Notice that Bills’ house is one of the featured sites.  His wife and he are also hosting an all day Open house during the tour.  Note that the Kious Straw House is also on the tour.  Next year will probably feature the Shaker Lakes straw structure.

I noticed that there is a combined Wayne/Holmes Tour scheduled for that weekend.  Since those are my old stomping grounds, I must check out the particulars for that tour as well.  I grew up outside the quaint village of Shreve located in Wayne County but as close to the border as possible.  County Road 1 was the delineation between the two counties. 

Who says exciting things aren’t happening in NEO and Ohio? I beg to differ.

Written by Gloria Ferris

September 12th, 2008 at 12:36 pm

The People’s University Essential To Our Prosperity

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I picked up this article form the Cincinnati Enquirer about libraries and the Internet through Crain’s Business Round-up.  I LOVE getting that update everyday in my email.  It broadens my knowledge of what is going on throughout our state through the eyes of the Crain’s Business staff.  I tried to provide the link here but for some reason am unable to do so.  Sorry about that.

I realized how lucky I am to have wireless and a laptop because my access is instantaneous and complete.  Obviously, the American public knows the advantage of access to the Internet.  Education today comes in many different forms and in many different places.  People are willing to wait in line for it.

Our Cleveland Public Library is not called the People’s University just because it is a catchy phrase.  It truly is the people’s university. Voters know the importance of our libraries.  Time after time they vote to raise our taxes so that we can continue to have world class libraries in our communities.   

So how are we going to raise awareness of the advantages of using the Internet beyond those who already know and how are we going to broaden access to the very things that could help our communities prosper through their own efforts?  OneCommunity has begun the process with Linked Communities, but there is more work to be done.

Education comes in many shapes and sizes.  Time is of the essence.

Written by Gloria Ferris

September 8th, 2008 at 5:13 pm

What Previous Occupation Prepares one to be The President of the United States?

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Lately, there has been a lot of talk of what occupation better prepares one to be President of the United States or what set of experiences makes one the more likely choice for president or even the importance of how much experience one has at a certain occupation.  It got me to wondering about past presidents and what there previous occupations were and how those occupations may or may not have had a direct correlation to the presidency.

After this cursory bit of research, I realized that maybe occupation and experience are not the criteria we should use to select our next  president.  Maybe, we should be looking at what kind of leader the candidate would be.  Now, there are many types of leaders so maybe the first order of business would be to choose the type of leader that would make you more comfortable.  Then, it would be important to choose the attributes that you would find important in a leader of your nation. So for now, here is what I am looking for in the next president of the United States:

-the ability to speak coherently and intelligently about a myriad of subjects.  This attribute is necessary so that he does not embarrass us at home or abroad by misspeaking or miscommunicating our policies as a nation.

-the ability to listen.  I want someone who will listen to other viewpoints and weigh consequences before making decisions.  

-the ability to know that it is not about him but about US.  The president of the United States should make every decision based on how it will affect our nation not only today but seven generations from now.

-the ability to surround himself with people more talented than him so he gets the best advice possible.  This attribute will become EXTREMELY important when choosing a cabinet to guide us.     

-the ability to talk to the American public like we have a brain.  I am SO tired of elected officials acting like “they know what is best for the masses”.  We are, after all, on the ground and know better than those who live within the beltway the pulse of our economy, our educational system, our banking system., our social services safety net.

-the ability to step away from sound bites and ACTUALLY tell it like it is.  If the next president doesn’t do this, a huge opportunity will be lost.  

-the ability to embrace the idea that we are in the 21st century and old models will no longer work to make our nation as a whole more prosperous.  Time is shifting and we need to shift as well if we are going to be where we should be.  

Five out of seven will probably make it for me because if one of the candidates has that many abilities, there will definitely be hope.  Oh yeah,  did I mention hope.  Hope is a big one for me because actually, the American people have the ability to do a whole hell of a lot on their own, but only if they have hope.

Many who read this will find this simplistic but maybe it is.  Could we have made it way too hard recently?  Could we be so intent on what keeps us apart that we have failed to see what keeps us together?  Is that the function of a president?  Is he the one who helps us stay focused leaving it up to the rest of us to make it better?  After all, if we truly wanted a manager wouldn’t we be looking somewhere else? 

I believe that our forefathers set up a great government way back when.  How could they have known how important the checks and balances of a judicial, executive, and legislative branch would be?  How would they know that in the coming years that those checks and balances would be used again and again to keep our country alive and strong?  And most of all, how would they have known how important it would be to guard against presidents who would be king or presidents who just weren’t up to snuff or that others who really had never shone in any other occupation would become giants among men? And, although, the media and the political parties would have us think that who we choose for our next president will make us or break us,  I seriously doubt it.  Does that mean I don’t want to make a fair and balanced choice when I cast my ballot?  No, but I sure think it brings some things into perspective.   I hold the cards just like every other voter who will cast a vote in November.  Let’s make them work for our vote.     

Written by Gloria Ferris

September 5th, 2008 at 5:44 pm

The Value of Community Organizing is Unlimited

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I wrote what appears below as a comment over on RealNEO in response to a great post about the value of community organizing by Kevin Cronin.  When I previewed the comment before posting, I decided that I wanted to crosspost it here at my site because I believe that we need to make sure that at every turn our elected government officials know that they are public servants and that the public they serve is us.

I think the disparaging remarks about community organizing shows that these politicians are very out of touch with the reality of the world.  Community organizing and community engagement will be the future of government in our nation.  Those leaders that understand the immense value of the knowledge that people on the ground and in the neighborhoods bring to what is needed and how to provide it will be key in our government moving into the 21st century.  Although some would have you believe that people want hand outs and a free ride, the exact opposite is true.  The vast majority want the chance, sometimes the second chance, to make it on their own.  Unlike some who strive for wealth they instead know that health, education, and opportunity is what is important. 

Instead of looking down their noses at community organizing, they should understand that the dismissing of the community by those offhand remarks will probably in the end be their undoing.

Written by Gloria Ferris

September 4th, 2008 at 9:03 pm