Friday, July 04, 2014

Happy Birthday America

Since good news is almost never in the news, here are some AMAZING things that happened to the USA in the last year:

Six more states now have marriage equality (now 43.5% of the population), with another 13 having court decisions in equality’s favor though the decisions are currently stayed (another 23.8% of the population).

If you didn’t notice (because it isn’t in the news much anymore), we pretty much won the conflict in Ukraine.

4 years after the law passed, the ACA’s exchanges finally went live and added 8M people, 1M above projections, despite the website glitches.  Most of these people were previously uninsured (or underinsured) and most are paying less per month than they do for cable TV.

As such, the percent of population without health insurance dropped to 13.4% in April from 18% last summer.

In March 2014, there were zero American fatalities in Iraq or Afghanistan, for the first time in 11 years.

The S&P 500 and NASDAQ are up 22% and 29% respectively over the last year (As an update to “Obama Calls the Bottom” when he said “buying stocks is a good deal if you’ve got a long term perspective” in the middle of the financial crisis in March 2009.  The Dow was at 6,726 and its now at 16,850, up 150%, or 20% annually in the 5 years since).

Speaking of finance, the US GOVT finances are in much better shape.  The deficit is expected to be down 30% this year to $436B, well below those $1.0T budget deficits Obama inherited. (Some would argue  (and I would agree) the deficit is falling too quickly)

The unemployment rate has dropped from 7.5% to 6.1% with private sector job growth of 2.47M people. (and part-time workers who wanted to be full time fell by 650k).

The jobless rate among college graduates: 3.3%

In May (the most recent month calculated), exports increased to a record high of $195.5 billion, driven by a surge in automobiles, parts and engines and exports of consumer goods were also the highest on record.

In April (the most recent month calculated), we imported 5.6M barrels of oil a day, down 18.2% Year over Year. This is down from a high of 12.5M barrels of oil in Dec of 2007.  We basically only import from Saudi Arabia at this time because it is in their political interest to sell to us at a discount.

This is because US crude oil production is skyrocketing. We are producing 7.44M barrels of oil a day in 2014, up from 6.5M last year (up 14.5%), and up from a low of 5.0M in 2008.  Basically, some reports have us importing ZERO oil by the 2030’s.

That's it for me off of the top of my head (w/a little reserach for backup data).  Feel free to add your own!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

"Father's" Day

I dislike both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. . . on Facebook. Everyone (and their mother) is posting pictures of their parents and all I can think is “Wow this must be the worst holiday for those of my friends who’ve lost a mother or father.” They must want to throw their f-ing computers across the room. Perhaps those with deceased parents spend Mom’s or Dad’s day remembering and cherishing their lost parent anyway, but the holiday seems like its being extra thrown in their faces on Facebook.
THAT BEING SAID…Happy Father’s Day to all you fathers out there!!  I’m “celebrating” my first, by realizing what a joke “Father’s Day” really is.  If Mother’s Day is a Hallmark holiday, then Father’s Day must be a Clip Art holiday…created by insecure men who want equality for a job that we all know isn’t equal.  
On Father’s Day, the golf courses are packed with Dad’s and their sons relaxing, having a beer, and maybe hitting a good shot for 7 hours in the middle of the day… as if they don’t golf most weekends the rest of the year too. 
No offence to you fathers out there, but after 70 days of being one … it’s clear we don’t hold a candle to the mothers. Honestly, we’ve got it easy. (My DJ is the best!) (My wife's nickname for you newbies)
I’m on duty for 3 hours in the evenings, 1 hour in the middle of the night (every other night) and probably 30 minutes in the mornings…with her support. My DJ’s literally on for 16 straight hours, including many days where she’s on her own for 11 of them.
Thus, her days are ridiculously more difficult than mine.  It’s literally feed him, play with him, change him, get him to sleep for an hour…then do it all over again.  During that hour, maybe she can nap for 30 minutes, or clean, or shower, or god forbid, have some food. Then she does it all over again.  Days run into each other, and luckily for us, nights are a bit of a respite, since AX tends to sleep for at least one 5 hour stretch a night (thus, we can both get around 8 hours, one broken in half, and one straight through).
But most importantly, when it’s my turn to feed AX at 4am and I have to pee?  I can just hold him with one arm and go.  Do you know how hard it is for my DJ to pee in the middle of the night if he’s awake?!?!
All that being said, since it’s my first Father’s Day, here are some things about my life that have changed.
  • We have a white noise machine we use in AX’s room every night. It cost $900 and used to be an Ipad.
  • Most nights I eat dinner alone. (We may start together, but we don't finish together)
  • Many nights I eat dinner in the dark.
  • Our cleaning lady comes twice as often, and it isn’t enough
  • Our plants are mostly dead.
  • Reading a book?  Ha
  • Watching TV?  Weekends
  • Stewart and Colbert?  DVR
  • Bedtime?  Before 10pm
  • Do squats, shoulder presses, and bench presses using AX as a weight count as exercise? Because that’s all I’m getting.
  • I have not set my alarm in 70 days
  • I fold laundry every night (haven’t done that in 10 years)
  • I ask permission to go to the bathroom and to take a shower.
  • I bounce up and down while walking or standing in place…whether holding AX or not.
  • I watch the clock.  I watch the clock obsessively.  I count in my head.  I count seconds, half seconds, double seconds… minutes.  I’m constantly telling myself, ok, I’ll rock for 5 minutes then I’ll put him down.  I check the clock, I check it again seemingly 5 minutes later… only 1 minute has passed.
  • I may have walked around my apartment with a pacifier in my mouth
  • I may do that often
  • I write blog posts at 10pm on a Saturday night… and I’m exhausted and didn’t even ask my wife if we should go out tonight.  The most tired I’ve ever been was a 4 hour drive after a 6am flight back from Cancun following an all nighter … Now, my exhaustion on a random Tuesday at 9pm rivals that feeling… even with 7 hours of sleep the night before.
But seriously, I can’t complain. . . if I do, I’ll get the biggest eye roll of my life (and deservedly so). My DJ & I both know that I’ve got it easy.

All in all, things haven’t changed toooooo much.  At least I can still spend my weekends 10 feet from where I used to spend them.