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Friday, December 21, 2007

Adios for the holidays

This is my last day before what I think is a well-deserved vacation. (Truth be told, my MIND has been on vacation for the past three days!) I'm not doing anything special during these two weeks, but I intend to relax and putter as much as I can, considering all the festivities -- Nochebuena and Christmas -- are at my house.
Mainly I'm going to enjoy my children and my absolutely beautiful twin granddaughters. Just thinking about those little babies brings a smile to my face. Having them in my life is the best Christmas gift of all.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Suite, sweet seating

I want the Marlins to stay in our area, but I'm a bit miffed about how our tax dollars are used to subsidize rich owners and wealthy players. Now it turns out our tax dollars do something more. As part of a deal in the works, city and county commissioners would get suite seating for their support.
Who else gets such preferential treatment? Not the folks paying the taxes apparently.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

So easy a chimp can do it

Have trouble balancing your checkbook? Can't figure out the tip to leave the waitress? Need the calculator to add a row of figures? Hire a monkey.
Here's a story about our hairy cousins and their math and memory talents -- some as good as a college student's.
And I was worried that American students didn't score as well on tests as students from other industrialized nations.

Monday, December 17, 2007

What really matters in politics

What a sad state of affairs. Presidential candidate Barack Obama has to constantly defend his religion and proclaim to the press he is NOT a Muslim. He is, in fact, a Christian. Yet, smear e-mails and letters are trying to portray him as a Muslim.
It shouldn't even matter. Just as it shouldn't matter if another candidate is a Mormon or a Christian. Or a woman.
What is important? How a candidate plans to deal with Iraq. How a candidate is going to deal with health care reform. How a candidate is going to deal with the subprime mess, our dependency on oil, global warming, etc.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The December Dilemma

Approaching the midway mark of December, and I'm already exhausted from the parties. It's not even Christmas, either.
This morning when I slammed shut the 5 a.m. alarm, I turned over and told my husband, "I'm getting too old to do this." This being the round of seasonal festivities. Every weekend we have a minimum of two or three parties, then several commitments during the week. What should be a jolly-holly time has become a drag-myself-to-the next-place month.
I either learn to say no or turn into the Grinch.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The other stats football players should have

Florida has long been known for its football talent, but this year the high schools seem to have produced a bumper crop. Three South Florida schools are headed for state championships and our stories are awash with statistics -- vertical jump, 40-times etc.
I wonder if anyone at these schools is paying the same amount of attention to other stats -- GPA and SAT scores.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Why rescue others from bad money decisions?

A foreclosure here, a foreclosure there, a foreclosure everywhere. Turns out we're fourth in the country in foreclosed homes, with 1 in every 32 home mortgages headed south. I feel sorry for those homeowners who got caught up in mortgage fraud schemes.
But I think the vast majority of these people who can't pay should've known it was coming. They couldn't afford the house in the first place and that's why they were getting adjustable rate mortgages and the 57 other dangerous varieties. What's more, plenty of them figured they could just flip the place and make a handsome profit. Now they're caught. Too bad, so sad. It's happened to all of us who make a bet on stocks, real estate and commodities.
But I don't want my tax money rescuing people who should've known better and who would've continued their bad economic behavior if the market had continued to soar.
We Americans have to start learning old-fashioned money values -- self-reliance, frugality, discretion. If you can't afford it, don't buy it.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Ho-hum about mass killings?

You know our priorities are all mixed up when this story on the Oklahoma shooting that killed eight people was carried inside The Miami Herald. Have these mass murders become so commonplace that we are ho-hum about them?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

A happy ending

The international custody battle over a 5-year-old Cuban girl has been settled in a Solomon-like way. The Cubas family, a well-to-do Coral Gables family that was fostering the little girl, has agreed to weekly visitations. The biological father got permanent custody but has to stay here for a couple more years.
I don't know Joe and Maria Cubas, but my hat goes off to them. They've adopted the little girl's half brother and have fought to make sure the little girl's life is settled -- at a great emotional cost to themselves. What impressed me most: when Cubas shook the biological father's hand and then hugged him before leaving the courtroom.
We should all learn from such wise and civil behavior.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Why Sean Taylor's death remains so upsetting

All week I've been trying to figure out why the senseless death of football star Sean Taylor has upset me so much. Yes, I had met him a few times when he was in high school, a nice, polite kid who my son knew. And yes, I had watched him wow us with his exploits on the field when he played for the University of Miami and then the Washington Redskins.
But that alone doesn't explain the unsettled feeling at the pit of my stomach. Then watching yesterday's funeral at the Pharmed Arena I realized that I was upset by several things. First and foremost, Sean's death typified what is happening among so many of our young people, especially among black and Hispanic men -- too much violence, too much death. His murder cut short a life with so much potential, and all because of greed, because of thieves who wanted to take wealth that wasn't theirs.
I was also pretty miffed at my profession. So many writers and sportscasters jumped to conclusions about why he had been killed, and maybe now they are deservedly eating crow. Repeatedly and in private I heard from my son and his high school friends that Sean was misunderstood, that the media had been doing a hatchet job on his life and intentions. that Sean was actually shy and humble and sometimes a little embarrassed by the attention. The person he was off the field was different from the hard-hitting win-at-all-costs player.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Tax money goes to plasma TVs?

It's bad enough that property taxes are through the roof, but when you read about questionable spending by public officials, it makes the situation appalling. A story about the lavish spending by the Miami city attorney confirms the fears of many taxpayers.
Plasma TVs? Hundreds of thousands in office remodeling? Thousands in restaurant dinner tabs?
Taxpayers deserve answers.