Sunday, November 16, 2008

Economy, Catastrophes, Bloggers, Hope

My previous post on the exorcism of evil spirits evolved into releasing these thoughts. The past few days news reports tell of a local bank on the verge of bankruptcy. Rumors suggest a different bank which had been presumed to have been rescued by another institution at the beginning of the financial collapse may not be purchased after all. This leaves me wondering what happens to that bank? California Public Employees Retirement System announced extensive losses, but officials hope its broad investments will enable them to weather a long term down turn. Additional news stories speak of California companies and others across the country laying off employees, going out of business and filings for bankruptcy.

Our state of California has been in dire financial straits for years. A previous governor, Gray Davis, had been recalled because he wanted to take some unpopular financial action toward resolving our problems. I was enraged since the recall forced a special election at considerable public expense when our state already had no money to spare. The new governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, in office for several years now has yet to rectify the deficits but now wants to institute the very financial action he condemned the recalled governor for wanting to take. Neither governors bear all the blame for our state's poor financial status. Our state legislators and residents have certainly contributed to the mess, too.

Do aspects of that scenario sound familiar? Reminds me of a microcosm of our federal government operations. Our government hopes to resolve some financial issues by manipulating our state lottery. Thank heavens we don't have a federal lottery. Maybe we really do and it's what the U.S. Treasury is doing with our 700 billion loan.

Depending on how these issues all work out I may be more adversely affected than by the limited way I have been so far. I expect my story and/or variations is/are already true, or may gradually become more true for many across this country in their own states. Uncertainty reigns supreme for many, not just Wall Street as I listen to the analysts speculate about the market going up and down, with some saying we've hit bottom. They don't know any more about where bottom is now than when they said the bubble would keep expanding.

They chortled over Alan Greenspan's use of language in his periodic vague reports including his pronouncement years ago about financial world issues of "irrational exuberance." His protecting ordinary people during such times and ensuring enforcement of existing financial rules might have helped but were ignored. Am I supposed to feel compensated now because he says words to the effect, "Oops, I made a mistake"? Financial peddlers and advisors to whom so many listen are easily off the hook with similar simple acknowledgments, "Oh, guess I was wrong this time."

I watch with keen interest the actions of the U.S. Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson, this current administration and legislators. I expect their accountability as to just how much and to whom they are distributing my money in that 700 billion dollar loan. I have a few debts of my own as you might note in earlier posts about major purchases I've had to make this year. So, I don't have a lot of money to line the pockets of those who got us into this mess, or to pad the pockets of any new greedy types.

I listened to the discussion on Charlie Rose's program (Thurs., 11/13)that in the past twenty years the United States has gone from being the largest creditor in the world to the largest debtor in the world. Preparatory to this weekend's Economic Summit, his guest spoke of countries needing to give up certain financial sovereignty to some international monetary organization to provide regulation and govern the world's economy. This interview can be seen at the Charlie Rose Show's website.

Also, since I began writing this the night of 11/13 our local television news has been replete with heart-breaking fire-filled pictures and verbal narrative describing devastating destruction of homes in the Montecito area, an upscale enclave near Santa Barbara, home to many celebrities. Since then additional fires in Southern California have been engulfing more homes in both Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Miraculously, no known lives have been taken. Injuries have been limited to firemen which is not wanted either though none have been reported to be serious. My heart always goes out to those subjected to catastrophe and those hurt trying to help.

Just before sunset tonight as I drove home my eye caught an awesome view in the southwest sky ahead of me. I saw a gigantic large round fiery red sun that appeared exactly like the link. The sun gradually dropped behind gray streaked clouds before sinking out of sight on the horizon. The sight of the sun was an obscenely spectacular sight when I considered the atmospheric conditions responsible for it's coloring. Resident evacuations are continuing as fires threaten thousands of homes in areas a significant distance south and east of where I live, so I'm not remotely in any danger, nor will I be.

Trying to put all these events, circumstances and many more situations in perspective can be overwhelming. Some more directly affect my life than others. We are all connected to these topics in some way as well as to each other. I am reminded to be grateful for what I currently have. I also know I cannot expend emotional energy over what I cannot control, but determining what I can try to change and what not is not always easy. My life issues seem quite trivial when I consider an overall view of all the issues I've mentioned.

I've understood I must find my own way to maintain joy, pleasure and happiness in my daily life. I learned I have choices as to how I perceive and interpret my experiences even during the most difficult of circumstances. Like many people, I personally have relished finding humor in some of the most bleak situations I've encountered in life as a way of remaining in good spirits.

I think many of the bloggers I've encountered have survived life's extreme offerings in much the same way. Perhaps it is this underlying attitude toward living that permeates most of our writing that not only links us, but provides support enabling each of us to view the future with hope.


  1. Attitude is half the battle when facing adversity or illness. If you can remain calm when all around you are losing their heads you will weather the storm.

    We may as well get used to it; everyone is in for a rocky ride and if we accept that fact and plan ahead it will make it easier. Jo Ann, you pointed out that trying to change your situation is no always easy, but doing something helps keep the mind focused on the hope for a better future.

  2. I couldn't say it any better than Darlene did. I am sometimes accused of being a fool for having hope, but it is the only way I can get through the weeks and months.

  3. I have been following the fires as I guess have most Americans. Smoke like that is hard on everybody even those who don't live where they are in danger. Scary but I agree-- attitude is everything in life

  4. Each of your comments confirm my view that bloggers I encounter generally reflect positive views toward life. We've developed through the years adaptive techniques to effectively cope with life circumstances. Perhaps we could say we're all survivors which is why we're still here and will weather this new storm.

    Rain: Just as dawn was breaking about 6 a.m. I went outside to collect my Sunday newspapers. Immediately my nasal passages were assaulted with a strong smell of smoke. Overnight one of the fires had continued moving west and directly south of my residence threatening the Chino Hills and Diamond Bar communities south of Interstate 10. North south route 57 I often travel was closed with intent to prevent the fire's crossing the freeway.

    I was briefly outside this afternoon several times as the sun was trying to shine through a hazy sky. I stayed outdoors each occasion only long enough to move the hose from tree to tree in order to water my potted dwarf citrus and hibiscus I've been inside now at least thirty minutes and I can still feel the inhaled outside smoke-filled air's irritation in my nasal passages, mouth and throat. Hope firefighters are able to contain the fire before nightfall.

  5. Your plumbing escapades not withstanding (and the evil therein), there are many things we can be fearful about but the fact is these times will bring us all closer together. Many frou-frou things needed to be expunged and many frilly behaviors need regulating. We'll be leaner and meaner as a result. But yes, these times are precarious, very concerning, and we must manage wisely through them.

    I don't think my children have any concept of what may be before them. Some this past week are even talking of great depression -- the first time I've seen those headlines hit.

  6. I so agree, though sometimes it is very hard--Keeping up Hope---Even the riniest of glimmers of it--Is what gets us all through, I think. And we all must have hope to survive the many adversities that one faces ALL through life!
    Thanks for writing this Joarad....

    And, like you, the AIR here has been atrocious. I can smell the smoke in my house...And outside, well....It is quite frightening! And with my health issues----this smoke is so very bad for my lungs!
    I pray that the Firefighters can get it ALL undder control sooner than later....!

  7. I'm sitting here in foggy, cool Seattle wishing I could send some of the clean cool air here down to you!
    I hope you have good air filtration in your homes and can take it easy until the worst is over.

  8. I agree with everything everyone has said above. I can't add a thing except I put something that might make you smile on my blog today and give you a respite from the trials you are facing.