Category Archives: The Us

Capulin

Last week we went to Capulin, a volcano in Northern New Mexico. It’s about 90 minutes from Springer, the town where I was born and my grandparents still live. But, like the Sandia Tram, it’s something that I’d never seen.

Ellen listens quietly as I explain our plans for the day One of many fantastic views from Capulin DSC_0211.JPG

The volcano doesn’t look like much when you’re approaching, and I thought it would turn out to be pretty lame, but when you start to climb, the view gets fantastic almost immediately. (There are hiking trails, but apparently none of them go from the bottom to the top, so you have only one choice — drive to the top.)

When ladybugs attack When ladybugs attack When ladybugs attack

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Eight time zones, three weeks

We’ve been in New Mexico for two days. The jet-lag is starting to wear off, but it’s still not easy to stay awake during the day or asleep at night. Ellen, much to our relief, made the trip with very little fuss, but it’s a lot to ask of anyone, much less a seven month old. Luckily Lisbeth secured an infant bed on the long flight, and that helped a great deal.

Ellen, on the flight from Copenhagen to Washington D.C. Across the Atlantic Ellen was good -- very good. But she was not as good as the little Swedish girl next to us, who didn't make a sound the entire time. Ellen studies her rival on the flight to Washington D.C.

It’s pretty strange to be on this side of things. For years I’ve been flying and I’ve been not infrequently annoyed by screaming babies on board. I think I was under the impression that the parents could do more to quiet the baby. But that’s silly. No one wants the baby to be quiet more than the parents, but there’s only so much you can do.

We traveled with Lisbeth’s parents, who joined us both to see where their son-in-law grew up, but also to visit the US, which they’ve never done. It really helped to have them on the plane because when we got tired we could hand Ellen off to them and get a little rest.

Jet-lagged and hungry, freshly arrived in Albuquerque Getting ready to go get on the tram On the tram

On Sunday, after introducing Ellen to my brother Ben and his wife Heather, we all went up to Sandia crest on the tram. Despite the fact that I grew up in New Mexico, I’d never been on the tram. It’s yet another example of things that tourists do and locals don’t. It was a pleasant surprise.

The tram from the top The Sandia Tram At Sandia crest Albuquerque, from Sandia crest Albuquerque, from Sandia crest Ben savors the adrenaline rush of becoming an uncle. For the fourth time. Seven months ago.

On “Obamacare”

Americans don’t have any experience or perspective on socialized medicine. That’s abundantly clear from the horror stories that are currently circulating among opponents. There are many reasons given for the opposition. So many, in fact, that it’s hard to summarize what the objections are. The most famous, of course is the “death panels“.  But another objection is that it will further stifle the economy — that it’s socialistic and therefore bad business.

In my experience it’s the opposite. The system that America has currently is what’s bad for business. Costs are too high, and millions are uninsured — we all know that much. But it’s worse than that. Americans often stay in jobs they hate or don’t take jobs they might like better because they don’t want to risk losing their medical coverage. Now that is bad for business.

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Reagan Did It

Paul Krugman wrote this piece in The New York Times yesterday. I couldn’t agree more. In fact I wrote a very similar entry back in October called Regan’s Revenge. Amazing, considering that the GOP is allegedly the party of fiscal responsibility.

Doomed to repeat it

“Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men. True they have tried, but their efforts have been cast in the pattern of an outworn tradition. Faced by failure of credit they have proposed only the lending of more money. Stripped of the lure of profit by which to induce our people to follow their false leadership, they have resorted to exhortations, pleading tearfully for restored confidence….The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933, in the midst of the Great Depression

Top threat to the US

According to this article, National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair (a former navy commander, not an economist) says that the economic crisis outranks terrorism as the biggest threat to the US.

How ironic that — after the endless warnings from Bush administration about terrorism and the urgency to fight it “over there” — that the larger threat would turn out to be not only unrelated, but both domestic and entirely self-inflicted.

No Time for Poetry

I just read a good analysis of Obama’s first speech as president called No Time for Poetry. It points out, among other things, that the mess we’re in isn’t due to Bush alone (although he certainly isn’t free from blame.) Many, many people joined in on the spending spree that was powered by a stock and housing boom that now seems completely ludicrous, but at the time seemed merely suspicious. It’s never been more clear that hard times have arrived. And that we haven’t seen the worst of it yet.

It’s certainly striking close to home for me. Lisbeth got laid off last week. She’s on a year of maternity leave and never intended on going back to that job anyway, but nevertheless, it’s scary. It affects both our finances and our psychology. Then a friend of hers lost his job in the publishing industry. And this week Microsoft announced that they will cut 5,000 employees. About 100 of the initial 1400 will be from the Copenhagen office where Lisbeth and I met, and where we still have friends. The specific people that will be jobless are to be announced on Thursday.

My company is suffering as well. There haven’t been any layoffs, but in less than a year we’ve gone from having customers lined up at the door, with projects booked almost year in advance, to being worried about having enough to do for the next three months. Plus several big customers in our London office have gone bankrupt, and so large projects we did for them will never be paid for.

And we haven’t seen the worst yet.

Reagan’s Revenge

Pray for our Republic. She’s being placed in … very greedy hands.

Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, on the bailout

George W. Bush just signed the largest government intervention of the free market since the Great Depression, freeing up the better part of a trillion tax payer dollars for injection into large, private corporations.

I don’t know if it’s the right thing to do. It seems to me that the core problem is people defaulting on their mortgages, and so the way to keep things from getting worse would be to help them stay in their homes. Read More →

The Nobama Machine

My window into American politics in almost exclusively limited to the web, and what I see is depressing. I know that the US is full of smart and reasonable people, but the unreasonable ones are the loudest. The forces of the right are in full swing, trying to tear Obama down. There’s an array of anti-Obama images and cute little memes floating around, but none of them address any issues. Read More →

Crying over taxes, conservative style

Sharing the planet with people that don’t want to pay taxes is like living with roommates that don’t want to pay their share of the rent. It never ceases to amaze me how many cry-babies there are out there that just can’t stand the fact that they’re expected to help pay the bills.

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