Sunday, November 18, 2012

State Of The Unions...

I posted this to Facebook the other day, and it prompted a lot of discussion, so I thought I'd throw it out here for people to consider.

"If employers provided a fair wage, safe working conditions, reasonable hours and some kind of opportunity for their workers to advance within the company, there wouldn't be a need for Unions.

However, when left to their own devices, employers choose to under-pay their employees and reward themselves with huge salaries and bonuses. They leave workers in conditions that are physically dangerous or

harmful to their health. They want overtime with no pay, longer work weeks and throw some kids on those assembly lines while you're at it. They don't want to provide health care or benefits. They want to pay less than minimum wage to "bring jobs back" to our country, the same jobs they shipped out, so they wouldn't have to pay the minimum wage.

If employers weren't such dicks, workers wouldn't have to be such dicks.

And that's why Unions exist."

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veterans Day

My profile pic on Facebook today is my Dad, Kenneth Nutting Gelder, during his time in the Army Air Force during World War II. The Air Force used to be a division of the Army, before becoming it's own military branch. He was a Gunnery Sergeant and earned a number of medals and honors, flying more than 50 missions.

As I understand it, the "deal" at the time was, if you flew 50 missions, you were given your ticket home. Fifty times in the air was enough risk, as far as Uncle Sam was concerned, and if you made it to that mark and you were still alive, they let you go. (My favorite band, the Tragically Hip, coincidentally has a song called "Fifty Mission Cap")

Dad flew his 50th mission near the end of the war, when fighting was at some of its worst. His commander called him in and told him that he was released, but that they were asking men if they would stay to help finish the job.

Dad said yes, and flew several more missions, where he could have lost his life. When I asked him what made his stay, he shrugged - literally, shrugged - and said, "We had a job to do."

Thanks, to my Dad, and all the Fathers and Sons before and since who have sacrificed for all of us. Let's try to make sure no one else has to remember a loved one lost to war ever again.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Predictions & Considerations

So, this is it. November 5, 2012, the day before Election Day.

Although many early votes have been cast across the country already, absentee ballots mailed by those who can't make it to the polls, etc., the big day is tomorrow, and an anxious nation waits to see what the results will be.

I made a couple of predictions on today's show, and I'll share them with you again, here. I think President Barack Obama will win re-election. I believe he will pull in somewhere between 280 - 290 electoral votes, and I think he might edge out the popular vote, as well.   However, I'm not confident enough to say it's a lock or a shoe-in, even with pollsters as reliable as Nate Silver claiming 80% odds that Obama will win by a sizable margin.

Partially, that's because I'm a little nervous about declaring anything a "sure thing." After the results of the national elections during 2000 and 2004, I consider very little in politics and voting as a sure thing. In other part, it's due to the overwhelming support some of my friends are throwing behind the Romney/Ryan ticket, support I can't fully understand.

I worry that we may run into lawsuits and legal actions following this election, much as we did in 2000. Florida is already having problems with early voting; the Northeast has been slammed by Sandy and left many people displaced and unable to vote; a number of States are running anti-voter fraud initiatives that are more like voter suppression tactics.  I hope we have a clean, clear winner, so we can get back to the business of running (or ruining) our country quickly.

I'm not voting for either of the two major party candidates this election cycle; I live in California, which will go to Obama (alright, I guess that's one result that can almost be considered a sure thing), and my vote is not as necessary here as it is in a swing state. So, since I support the idea of more voices in the national conversation, I am going to support and vote for Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party Candidate. I've interviewed her on my show, I support many of her stances, and I appreciate her on a number of personal levels. Those are the things that add up to support for a candidate, to me.

If I lived in a swing state, or a state where the candidates were polling neck and neck, I would support Obama for re-election over Romney, 100%, no question. I have many reasons for this, first and foremost being - I think he's done a decent job, given the circumstances. I remember an Onion headline the day after the election in 2008 that read something like, "Black Man Gets World's Shittiest Job," and I couldn't help but both laugh and agree. We all knew whoever took over the office of President in 2009 had their work cut out for them.

Turns out the headline was "cleaner" than I thought...

President Obama has done a decent job of starting us back on the right track to a full-fledged recovery. The stock market is at all-time high levels. Corporate profits are breaking records. Job growth has been slow, but steady, for the past 30+ months. We have regained many of the jobs lost at the end of the Bush term, when the housing bubble burst and the financial markets were collapsing, and we were all talking about the economy of the world - the world! - tanking beyond repair. That didn't happen, and part of that was due to the stimulus and other actions set in motion by our current administration.

I do not believe Obama has been without fault, or is above reproach, which is another reason I am supporting another candidate this election. I don't approve of the drone strikes that are killing as many innocents as bad guys overseas. I am appalled that he signed and supports the NDAA. He may have released a signing statement that says it would never be necessary to hold Americans without due process on our soil, but if it's so unnecessary, why sign off on it? I think there are other areas he could have been a better President, but it comes down to a choice between two candidates, and when I look at the option of a Romney presidency, I shudder.

Mitt Romney is a politician, and I don't mean that as a title or a compliment. He is the worst kind of politician, a man who stands for nothing solid, but instead bends and molds himself at every stop on the campaign trail to say whatever that group wants and needs to hear, and then hops back aboard his bus or plane to travel to the next stop, and fresh promises that he knows are untrue.

So many experts in finance have looked at his and his running mate, Paul Ryan's, financial strategies and written them off, saying there's no way they can accomplish what they say they will do: cut tax rates 20% across the board in a revenue-neutral manner by offsetting the cuts by closing existing tax loopholes. It isn't possible, especially when you're not willing to specify which loopholes you'll be closing. Some say that EVERY loophole could be closed, and it still wouldn't raise enough revenue to support Romney's plan. And Mitt Romney owes too many favors to close every loophole. After all, do you think Sheldon Adelson is donating multiple tens of millions of dollars to a candidate who will do away with every tax loophole he currently enjoys? Not bloody likely.

I can't tell you Romney's positions on much of anything. One day he's pro-choice, the next he's pro-life with no exceptions, or some, or not. He's going to get rid of Obamacare, which is essentially Romneycare, and replace it with something he hasn't defined. He refuses to answer questions on the campaign trail. He consistently ignores reporters standing a few feet away from him, shouting questions about FEMA (which he opposed, but now supports, after "Frankenstorm" Sandy, caused by climate change he once supported, but now - oh, you can probably guess by now...). That's not leadership. That's not a person I want in charge, someone who ignores the press, changes constantly and has the emotional depth of a snake-oil salesman.

What it comes down to is, I don't like or trust Mitt Romney.

And this doesn't even touch on the fears I have about his deeply-held religious convictions, bordering on cult-like (and apologies to my Mormon relatives, but as an Anthropology teacher told my step-daughter and her classmates once, "The only difference between a cult and a religion is the number of members."), his lack of transparency on his taxes, his shift from "Americans want a leader to take all deductions allowed" to not taking full deductions in 2011 to keep his tax rate above 13%, because the actual rate he could have paid, around 9.8%, might have freaked out a few of the diehards who think "Mitt pays enough taxes, already." Oh, and his donations to "charity" which include over $100,000 to the George W. Bush Memorial Library and $70,000 to the Harvard Business School, among other things.

So, I encourage people to look at where we were, and where we are now. We currently have a leader who has reversed our downward course and has set up back on a slow, but positive, path of growth. We have an opponent who is running on an unachievable platform, who has many of the same advisers that President Bush took with him into the White House who helped tank our surpluses and overall economy, and a plan to cut taxes to create more jobs. Sound familiar? Remember the results of that strategy?

Please vote. Vote wisely, and vote for all of our best interests. We The People need strong, responsible leadership.  I think we have that in President Barack Obama.

Good luck, America.

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"Independent Thinking With Steve Gelder" airs on and, weekday mornings at 10AM Pacific, 1PM Eastern. 

Follow me on Twitter: @SteveGelder

"Follow your heart." "What if my heart is bad with directions?" "Get your heart a GPS."

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Bring It On Home, Foreign Policy Debate

Monday evening, October 22nd, 2012. The final Presidential debate of the election cycle, and a palpable sigh of relief can be heard over a weary nation.

The two candidates met in Boca Raton, Florida, in another different format - sitting at a big table, talking directly to Bob Schieffer and each other. Foreign Policy was on the agenda, but given enough time and pivot room, either of these candidates could turn "foreign policy" into "Des Moines needs less socialist firefighters."

If you don't know the format for my liveTweets, check out one of the previous posts, which will catch you up on the process and hopefully give you some laughs and insight into my spontaneous thinking while watching these carefully coordinated appeals for our attention. With that out of the way, here were a few of my warm-up Tweets:

The first one Tweet actually contains a reference to my appearance in the early 2000s on the TV show Jeopardy! (Yes, I lost on Jeopardy!, and the only reason I say that with an exclamation point is because the show spells it that way.)

So, without any further ado, here is the video of the full debate, so you can start it up and follow along. It's the political equivalent of starting Dark Side Of The Moon while watching The Wizard Of Oz.

And now, to the Tweetmobile...!

And, just like that, it was over. I give this one to Obama, by a decent margin. But, as I learned watching the debate with a visiting conservative friend, everything is colored by what you believe going in to the debates. She did concede that she thought Obama did win it, but she thought Romney did much better than I felt he did. Especially when you consider blunders like Syria being Iran's route to the sea and the "horses and bayonets" moments.

He's been saying this since March or May of this year. One of those "M" months.

The candidates now have two weeks to hit the road, run their ads, and make their final appeals to the American people, Sheldon Adelson and whichever foreign countries may be contributing to superPACs in order to influence our elections.

Oh, there is one more Presidential debate taking place, among several of the third-party candidates running this year, including the candidate I am endorsing, Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party and Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico, both of whom have been guests on my show. Larry King is moderating the event, and it will be streaming live on the Internets. I will not be Tweeting this debate, due to the a fore-mentioned friend in town, but I recommend you check it out. You'll probably hear topics that haven't even been mentioned by either of the two party candidates this entire election cycle.


Now, if you are, somehow, one of those undecided voters still out there, I'll stop using multi-syllabic words...

I kid. I kid, because I love.

No, if you are undecided, please use the next two weeks to explore the candidates who are running to lead the "Free World." Get informed about your state and local candidates, and the propositions on your ballots, and then use that knowledge to vote like an informed citizen.

Tuesday, November 6. See you at the polls, or in line at the supermarket with one of those lousy "I voted" stickers on our shirts. Either way, do it. Because, in the words of my parents, Kenny and Marie Gelder, "If you don't vote, you can't bitch."

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"Independent Thinking With Steve Gelder" airs on and, weekday mornings at 10AM Pacific, 1PM Eastern. 
Follow me on Twitter: @SteveGelder

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Second #Debate

I have taken to live-Tweeting the debates this election cycle (since all the kids are doing it). Still finding it a challenge, but a fun one. As with the previous Presidential debate and the VP debate, sometimes I miss a key phrase or moment because I'm already absorbed in a thought I'm texting. This time around, the most popular catch phrase of the night, Romney's "binder full of women" went right past me.

Sixty-something Tweets during the debate, which ran a little long, or at least felt like it. Some pre-debate warm-ups (test Tweets..?):

Not sure which channel provided the video I will link to below this next brief set of Tweets. The video comes from Lawrence Gaughan's YouTube channel (Lawrence is a showbuddy). I was watching on CBS, which might explain my "opening credits" remark. It really did feel overblown.

Here is the debate video, in its entirety, courtesy of Gov360. Follow along at home and maybe see where I was making smart-ass comments along the way:


And we're off!

 And we reach the end of the debate, and a few afterTweets:

Chris Novembrino did join me for the breakdown show, that episode can be found HERE.

The third and final debate on Foreign Policy will take place Monday night. I'll be there live-Tweeting once again. If you'd like to follow my stream of consciousness while it's in motion, follow me on Twitter @SteveGelder.

Tweet to your Mother...!

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Steve Gelder has spent his life living independently; his unusual jobs, his politics, his warped sense of humor and his personal values have all come together to form one interesting individual.

Steve works as an actor on a number of slightly cheesy TV shows and in quality plays involving nakedness around Los Angeles. He made a living as a stand-up comedian for years, worked as an editor on a number of popular television shows and films, is an award-winning columnist, appeared as a contestant on Jeopardy!, and is also a former Kelly Girl.

"Independent Thinking" with Steve Gelder is available on iTunes and

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Release The Biden!

The most recent bump in the road in this election cycle was the Vice-Presidential debate this past Thursday night. Vice-President Joe Biden faced off against Representative Paul Ryan in Danville, Virginia. This is at least the second time Danville has hosted a debate, having once welcomed Vice-President Dick Cheney and Senator Joe Lieberman to their University stage.

It's actually fascinating to me that some tradition or arcane system of selection was used in the past and still exists that has two of the men vying to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency meet in a town of fewer than 35,000 people. I wonder if it's decided upon some type of electoral "neutrality", or if somewhere in the past, Danville had a reputation for comely lasses who didn't mind entertaining a weary traveling politician after a difficult debate.

You never know.

I am live-Tweeting all of the debates this month, the next being the second Obama-Romney debate, this one town hall style and on both domestic and foreign policy issues. That takes place somewhere in New York state...again, in another town most of America is unfamiliar with. At least, I don't remember the name off the top of my head. So that's gotta mean something, right?

The Vice-Presidential debate was more contentious than the first Presidential face-off, with Biden dominating the conversation after he got warmed up, and throwing Ryan a little off-balance, although he held his composure pretty well. He also held an excessive amount of water by the end of the evening, as he kept going to that glass. However, I am well aware that many people on the Right would view Biden's aggressive approach in unflattering terms, and that was proven out in the aftermath.

My good friend, Dean Evans and I, talked about the debate the day after on the show. He is, admittedly, a big Joe Biden fan, and I kinda like the guy, too. I am also not a fan of either Romney or Ryan or the policies they seem to be proposing for the country. So, take my Tweets with a grain of salt. I have a bias, I am not voting for either candidate, but if I had to choose between the two, my choice would be to re-elect President Barack Obama. Therefore, I am critical of Ryan, and less so of Biden, although I do mention his trouble with numbers, losing his place during his talking points and more. I also credit Ryan when he gets laughs or holds his own.

One thing I also want to note: I don't fact-check a lot of the debate points, because I don't know all of the facts about everyone's voting records, Ryan's or Biden's. Occasionally, if it is a topic I am well-versed on, I will mention a larger point, point out an untruth if I'm really certain of it.

That being said, here were some of my pre-debate warm-up Tweets:

In keeping with long-established tradition (I did this in my last post), here is the complete Vice-Presidential debate, so you can "follow along" and better understand what I was Tweeting when I was Tweeting it. 

It's still an incomplete art form, for me. It takes me away from fully focusing on the debate and sometimes causes me to be left in the dust as I'm Tweeting some smart-ass remark while the two guys on stage break out into Greco-Roman wrestling poses. But, I'm trying.

So, the video:

And the remainder of my Tweets (and a couple of reTweets), for the sake of posterity, such as it is:

And that was pretty much the wrap up. Initial polls showed it an initial Biden win, similar to Romney's aggressive performance the week before.  And, as Dean and I discussed, you got what you wanted going into it. Biden fans liked what he did; Ryan supporters did not. Biden did what he needed to do - he slowed the momentum of the Romney campaign.

The media are lucky enough to get the horse race they've been hoping for over the past months and have been leading us towards for the last year and a half. It all feels carefully orchestrated, if you step back and look at it with just a little cynicism. Or, even a lot.

As I mentioned, I will be live-Tweeting the next Presidential debate Tuesday night, and then Chris Novembrino from "Don't Worry About The Government" and I will breakdown that debate Wednesday morning on the show.

If you'd like to follow the action, you can find me on Twitter: @SteveGelder

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Losing My Live-Tweeting Cherry

I took advantage of huge technological advancements (me signing up for Twitter a year ago) and decided to engage in what the kids like to call "live-Tweeting" the first of three Presidential debates between Democratic incumbent President Barack Obama, and Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

Some of my Tweets (57 or so in an hour and a half) were really well received, and I picked up a few new Twitter followers. Kinda cool.

For those who weren't following along, here's every Tweet I live-Tweeted during the debate, some complete with typos and probably the occasional factual error, or lack of understanding on my part if a candidate wasn't explaining their position or point well. I realize looking at these that the majority of my negative Tweets were directed to Romney, with Jim Lehrer probably coming in second in that pecking order. I think Obama was so low-key and almost checked out that I didn't have as much to say about him one way or the other.

BTW, I reference a drinking game a couple of times during the debates - this is the game and these are the rules:

If you followed this game to the letter, you are probably having your liver replaced this week, so, good luck with that!

Now that you've got that - on to the pre-debate warm up Tweets! These are delivered in order, and as I said, replete with typos, errors and statements that some might find offensive.

At this point, the debate was underway. If you didn't see it, a lot of these comments that follow will not make sense.  If you'd like to follow along at home, here is the debate, in its entirety, provided by Lawrence Gaughan at

Now this will all make more sense.

And that's where I stopped watching. I added a few more Tweets into the mix after I had a little time to collect my thoughts, but what you're looking at there is how my brain works when forced to think and write in the moment, in 140 characters or less. I'm satisfied with the results, but I think I can do better with practice.

So, I'll be live-tweeting the Vice-Presidential debate on October 11 between contender Congressman Paul Ryan and reigning Veep Joe Biden. It's "The Throwdown About The Economic Slowdown!" BEEEEEEEE THERRRRRRRRREEE!!!!

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To follow along with my next live-Tweeting experience, follow me on Twitter: @SteveGelder
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"Independent Thinking With Steve Gelder" airs on and, every weekday morning at 10AM Pacific, 1PM Eastern. Past episodes are available on iTunes and

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Holding Down Fort Hernandez

This past Tuesday, my guests on the show included Alissa Kokkins (known as Alissa Occupy Everywhere to many of us on Facebook) and Ulysses Hernandez, whose family is currently trying to hold on to their home against what could be called an illegal eviction in Van Nuys, CA.

You can listen to the episode, "Occupy Fort Hernandez" and get a summary of what has happened to this family over the past four or five years, as their bank raised their rates under the terms of their ARM to a level they couldn't sustain, advised them to let payments lapse so they would qualify for a mortgage restructuring, and then sold their house at auction before restructuring their loan.

Here's a video that briefly explains their situation, and an effort the other night to check on the welfare of Adrian, Ulysses' younger brother, after midnight on a school night:

These are the ABC's of the Banking Scandal:


I lend you money so you can buy a house and I collect payments from you, with interest.

Our arrangement is that your payments will go up, big time, at some point, but I tell you not to worry, because I will let you refinance before that happens.

I keep insurance on the loan, so if anything happens, I get mine.

When your payments are about to increase, I don't let you refinance. After all, the housing bubble has burst, and the over-inflated value we agreed with you that the home was worth is less than half of that, so you're underwater, and we can't lend to someone underwater, now, can we? You manage to meet the new payments as long as you can, because it is your house, after all.

When it becomes clear you aren't going to be able to keep up the new, huge payments, I sell your loan to another bank or investment company or individual, whatever, as long as they're overseas, as a good investment. I get my buddies in the industry who rate investments to say they're super-good.

Then, I watch as you go under, the investor overseas is left holding the bad debt and I collect the insurance on the defaulting loan.


The banks have been engaged in these practices for years, since the abolition of Glass-Steagall under the Clinton administration and continuing onward. We're taught that banks are financial institutions, the place to put your money if you want conservative returns but safe, insured investments. After Glass-Steagall went away, banks were able to "gamble" with money, investing it in ways that hadn't been allowed since....let's see, does the Great Depression ring a bell...?

So, the Hernandez family find themselves in a situation many families have in recent years. The bank is trying to evict them from their home after giving them bad advice that led to them defaulting on the loan they had provided them. The bank gets the property, gets to re-sell it, and collects the insurance on the bad loan.

BTW, the bank is required to prove they own the loan document they're throwing you out over. In many cases, they don't have the proper chain of transfers. Papers haven't been signed or filed properly; there are instances of auto-signing, which isn't allowed when it comes to this kind of documentation. But rather than give the home-owner a chance to refinance, as they were supposed to get under HAMP and the 'too-big-to-fail' bailouts, the banks pressure the homeowners to leave voluntarily, or have them evicted with the assistance of the police.

All families have to do when faced with eviction is demand proof the bank owns their loan and has the legal authority to remove them from the property. If the bank cannot provide it, in full, they can't evict.

In the case of the Hernandez family, they have been joined by the Occupy Movement and have formed #FortHernandez (Twitter: @Fort_Hernandez). There are anywhere from 40 to 100 people helping them "hold down the fort" and stop them from being evicted while the Hernandez family tries to work with the bank to renegotiate their payments and modify their loan to a reasonable level.

They have been Occupying their own home against the banks and police for 28 days now, and you have to wonder: what's the benefit in making this family homeless, when there are so many empty homes in this country, and no families to buy them? If someone owes me money, it's in my best interest to work with them if their situation changes, so they can continue to pay me back.

There are more families around southern California fighting to hold their homes under similar circumstances. If these families can hold out until January 1st, they will be protected under the recently-signed Homeowners Bill of Rights.

If they can't hold out that long, they will be added to the roles of homeless families, homeless children, living in the streets, in poverty, in of one of the greatest countries on Earth.

•   •   •   •   •

"Independent Thinking With Steve Gelder" airs on and, every weekday morning at 10AM Pacific, 1PM Eastern. 

Follow me on Twitter: @SteveGelder

or Facebook:  Independent Thinking with Steve Gelder

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

And Then, A Year Later...

   Following yesterday's post of the 9/11 piece I wrote in 2001, I wanted to follow up and share the column I wrote one year after the attacks. I think you can already sense in this piece the growing distrust I had for politicians and other individuals trying to exploit the memory of that horrible event for their own gains. Unfortunately, it's continued to get worse, until we're at the point where government-types drop phrases like "Obamacare is as bad for our country as 9/11."

   Hardly, You Opportunistic Jackasses.

   This is from September, 2002.

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   Before you read this column, you should know these truths, which I hold to be self-evident:

   I am an American.  I recited the Pledge of Allegiance every morning and don't think I'm any more screwed up than the next guy, as long as that Next Guy is Charles Manson or the Unabomber. 

   I can sing the Star Spangled Banner, including most of the high parts, and I don't think we should drop it as our National Anthem because "it's too hard".  The guy who wrote that song did more work saddling his horse in the morning than most people do all day. We're Americans - we don't stop doing things because they're difficult.  Following this logic, eventually "Born In The U.S.A." will be sung at the beginning of ball games, for all the wrong reasons.

   You should also know I had a plane ticket in my hand September 11 last year; for obvious reasons, my flight was cancelled   I won't dwell on that; you're reading a newspaper - you're smart enough to connect the dots, or finish the Jumble at the very least.

   Apparently, I'm not patriotic enough though, as I just recently learned September 11th was designated "Patriot's Day" by President Bush, and I didn't get a card or anything.  Basically, it's a Public Law that asks us to remember the victims and tragic events of 9/11 - like the many magazines, newspapers, books, TV news and talk shows, radio shows, etc. will ever let you forget.

   Every September 11, from now till TV is no longer broadcast into your home, but rather, into microchips in your brain so you "see" it right in front of you, you'll be forced to relive those horrible moments.  They're on film, and there's no way any news station isn't going to run those again and again.  They're sensationalistic, they provoke a response, and most people won't turn away.  I think maybe it's time we do.

I'm about to smother a bald eagle with a flag - that's how freakin' patriotic I am...

   The First Lady, Laura Bush, is making a series of appearances asking parents of young children to turn off their TV that day, to avoid those awful images.  (Looking at her and Dubya side-by-side, she comes across as the brains of that outfit, doesn't she...?)

   I agree.  We, as a country, should find our collective volume control and turn it down for a day.  A little dignity, some respect, and the chance to reflect that we're all pretty lucky to be alive and hopefully making the most of that life.

   Instead, we'll get constant coverage from Washington and New York and Pennsylvania, where the various hijacked jets ended their flights.  We'll explore the ins and outs of every angle of the people and the planes and the towers and the concerts and the reactions - because we have a lot of news channels, and that's the biggest story of the day.  And that's kind of sad.

   I think the ongoing coverage has made us all a little numb to it.  And now, some people are asking Congress to consider Patriot's Day as a National Holiday, with a day off from work.  I hope it doesn't pass.

   We already have a number of holidays that were designed to commemorate veterans and workers and past leaders (Memorial Day, Labor Day and President's Day) that have mutated into three-day holiday weekends with gigantic Sale-A-Brations.  We were originally supposed to reflect quietly on those who sacrificed to give us the lifestyles we enjoy.  Years and generations later, it's just another long weekend spent in the SUV, driving to the beach or the lake or the mountains or wherever the family goes to get away...

   Not long from now, I predict you'll see the first 9/11 sales.  You know: "September Eleventh - a day that will live forever in our country's don't YOU forget to save like never before at Smiling Jack's Half-Off Patriot's Day Sale, where all golf shirts are all $9.11 or less!"

   Volume down.  Shhhhhhhhhhh.

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