Sunday, March 29, 2009

Top 15 Paul McCartney Post Beatles Songs

After reviewing my ten favorite Rolling Stones songs last Saturday and considering the feedback to my list, I decided to tackle my favorite Paul McCartney songs. I could easily pick off 10 popular Beatles songs, but I believe it to be more interesting to cover his post Beatles career. Pardon my blasphemy, but I like his solo career better than his Beatles career.

Full disclosure: I believe that Paul McCartney is second to no one when it comes to the title of the greatest musician of all. Elvis Presley ain't the king, Paul McCartney is THE KING. Elvis burned out at age 42. McCartney keeps going and at age 66, is still touring and making music. Elvis may have been a great performer on stage and a terrific singer, but wasn't much of a musician or songwriter. Elvis mostly performed other people's songs often times to perfection (Elvis' last hit single, Burning Love from 1972, is one of the most underrated rock n roll songs/performances ever). Paul McCartney is blessed with one of the greatest voices in rock music, no one writes a better melody, and he can play bass, guitar, piano, keyboards, drums, etc.

Now, not all of Paul's music is good. He's written a lot of awful songs and sometimes his laziness when it comes to the lyrics is embarrassing. He also has had several dreadful albums - see McCartney II (1980), Off The Ground (1993), Wings Wild Life (1971), Press To Play (1986), and Red Rose Speedway (1973). If I had to pick the worst one, it would have to be Red Rose Speedway, an album full of lightweight, half baked (or in Paul's case at the time, very baked), ditties that go nowhere. Song titles such as "Single Pigeon", "Little Lamb Dragonfly", and "Loup (The First Indian On the Moon)", tell you all you need to know about the poor quality of the songs on Red Rose Speedway. But I digress...

Anyway, we're here to celebrate the great songs of Paul McCartney's post Beatles career, so without further ado, here's my list in reverse order:

15.) Figure Of Eight - this is from 1989's Flowers In The Dirt. For most of the 1980's, Paul's songs didn't go far enough. He'd have a good idea and foundation for a song, but it would seem unfinished. Figure of Eight went all the way. There are actually two versions of Figure of Eight (not counting the live version from Tripping The Line Fantastic). There's the original album version and also there's a version that was released as a single. I played this song so much when it came out, that my college roommate Jim still gets a little bitter thinking about it

14.) Beware My Love - from 1976's Wings At the Speed of Sound this song is a heavy and hard rocker featuring nasty lead guitar by Wings' guitarist Jimmy McCulloch and a tremendous vocal from McCartney. It is a shame that Beware My Love is never played on the radio.

13,) Jenny Wren - from 2005's Chaos and Creation in the Backyard (dumb album name), Jenny Wren is a gorgeous and moody acoustic song similar to Blackbird, and it features a duduk solo (Armenian woodwind instrument) in the middle of the song. This song marks a departure from the normal upbeat McCartney fare, as does the entire CACITB album, due to the presence of producer Nigel Godrich. Godrich allegedly wasn't afraid to give his famous client the boot in the ass that he badly needed, telling him that many of his songs that were originally ticketed for the album were crap and to go back and write more. Because of this, the album has several strong songs and is very good, in no small part to Godrich's presence.

12.) Let Em In - another one from Wings At The Speed of Sound, the piano driven Let Em In comes across as breezy and effortless. I find the song to be almost hypnotic. Paul will still occasionally include it in a live set list. I still remember the big cheer that came from the 60,000 strong at the old Foxboro Stadium when the doorbell intro to this song played, when I thought I was the one of the only ones there that would appreciate it being played!

11.) Arrow Through Me - from 1979's Back to the Egg, this is a shameless pop/disco song featuring nothing but synthesizers which also serve as fake horns and drums. Despite its comical outdatedness, I still really like the song, because it is quite different than most of his songs. It was released as a single and peaked at #29 on the charts.

10.) Every Night - this was one of the few songs that sounded "finished" from Paul's first solo album McCartney. Every Night is an acoustic guitar song about chilling out and staying home with a lady, presumably Linda.

9.) My Love - one of the few good songs from 1973's Red Rose Speedway, the smoochy My Love is Paul's tribute to Linda's, er, um, skills in bed. My Love features what is easily the best guiltar solo to ever appear on a McCartney record by Wings guitarist Henry McCullough. The solo is very powerful and tastefully done. Unfortunately, McCullough left the group not long after.

8.) Live and Let Die – 1973 –this is the song that got Paul out of his post-Beatle doldrums. Live and Let Die was released between Red Rose Speedway and Band On the Run as the title track for the James Bond movie of the same name. Live and Let Die was the first Wings song released that was able to stand up to any of the Beatles work. In concert, this song is always a crowd pleaser with the explosions and lasers during the performance of it.

7.) Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five - piano driven rocker from 1973's Band On the Run, Ninteen Hundred and Eighty Five is the final song on the album. The song leads into an orchestra, where at the climax of the song, a reprise of Band on the Run is played. A very underrated song in the McCartney catalog.

6.) Coming Up - Coming Up was released in 1980 as part of the foul McCartney II album. There are two versions of this song – the original album version in which the vocals sound distant, as if they were 3 continents away and the rollicking live version. Both versions are good, I prefer the live version because as with just about every McCartney song, the “concert” versions of his songs are always better than the studio versions. They’re livelier and they rock harder. Beatle lore has it that Coming Up was supposedly one of the main reasons that John Lennon decided to make an album after a 5 year hiatus in which he devoted his time to being a father. Lennon was said to really like Coming Up and felt inspired by it.

5.) Listen To What The Man Said - from the 1975 Wings Venus and Mars album, Listen To What The Man Said was a monster hit and besides a terrific melody, it features a rare ona McCartney record saxophone solo. This is another one of those McCartney songs that sticks in your head for days when you hear it.

4.) Maybe I'm Amazed (Live) - two versions of this song - the 1970 original and the far better live version from 1976 from the Wings Over America live album. The performance of the live version is spectacular. Maybe I'm Amazed is a very powerful song that builds up and has Paul reaching the limits of his vocals along with great instrumental work and harmonies from Wings. Because of the strain on his vocals, Paul doesn't play this one in concert much anymore.

3.) Band On The Run - "Well the rain exploded with a mighty crash, as we fell into the sun. And the first one said to the second one there, I hope you're having fun." This title track leads off the Band On The Run album, considered by everyone to be Paul's best post Beatles work. Band On The Run has 3 parts to it, and is about prison escape and freedom. The song starts mellow, builds into a rocker, then into an acoustic strumming song featuring slide guitar and the usually strong McCartney vocals. Plain and simple, this is one of the best rock songs of the 1970s.

2.) Silly Love Songs - dismissed by critics as lightweight pop, lacking substance, and shamelessly commercial, Silly Love Songs was released on Wings At the Speed of Sound. I couldn't disagree more with the critics. The song is simplistic brilliance! Start with the bassline, which is anything but simple and lacking substance. It's awesome. Yes, I know the song is can be classified as "disco", but I love it. The song was his response to critics who would hammer him for writing love songs. The lyrics have a story to them and the song has a combination of strings, the Wings horn section, and a 3 part harmony with Paul, Linda, and Wings bandmate Denny Laine towards the end. Silly Love Songs is extremely catchy and is a great song.

1.) Jet - You can throw out Yesterday, Hey Jude, Let It Be, and all the rest, I believe Jet is the best song Paul McCartney has ever written. Jet is the second song from Band On The Run (how about that 1-2 punch to open an album - Band On the Run and Jet?), and has a tremendous intro to the song. Jet is a hard driving rocker and I believe it's also Paul's best vocal performance. Jet is still a concert staple and often times serves as a set opener. The lyrics are nonsensical and the song is supposedly about the McCartney dog. I have yet to figure out what they lyrics mean, but nonetheless, I love the song. Plain and simple, the Jet is a tour de force.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Top Ten Rolling Stones Songs

Instead of the usual topics of sports and politics, I'm going to tackle a different subject which has been on my mind lately - what are my top ten Rolling Stones songs? The Stones have such a large catalog, it is difficult to remember all of the songs I like.

As with well known bands of the past like the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and The Who, there are famous songs by the Stones I honestly can't stand hearing any more. You know these songs - Start Me Up, Satisfaction, Let It Be, Black Dog, We Won't Get Fooled Again, etc. The songs that classic rock radio has beaten into submission. Those are the type of songs that will be missing from my top ten list.

So, without further ado, here are my top 10 Rolling Stones songs in reverse order.

10.) Crazy Mama - from 1976's Black and Blue. Black and Blue only had 8 songs and was, to put it charitably, extremely uneven in the quality of the songs (drugs had something to do with it). Crazy Mama is the final cut from the album and it rocks hard. Extremely underrated and very rarely played on the radio, this song is a treasure.

9.) Far Away Eyes - from 1978's Some Girls, this country ballad sung by Jagger in a faux Southern accent is always a great listen. The lyrics are pretty comical. Ron Wood on a pedal steel guitar sounds great.

8.) Happy - from 1972's Exile On Main St. - Keith Richards' signature song. Keith does the vocals and the song opens with a great riff. I always really liked this one

7.) Rain Fall Down - from 2005's A Bigger Bang. A Bigger Bang is one of the Stones' best albums, featuring several strong songs, and this is the one I like the best from the album. It's a funk driven Jagger number, that is reminiscent of Jagger's solo song "Sweet Thing". The song has a great groove to it. Despite it being a "Stones" album, A Bigger Bang is the Mick Jagger Show (along with Charlie Watts' drums - he's terrific on this album). If you listen to the album it's apparent that Mick's carrying the band at this point; a point that was proved to me when I saw them in concert in 2006.

6.) Hand of Fate - from Black and Blue, an album mostly recorded before Ron Wood officially became a member of the band. This song features studio musician Wayne Perkins on lead guitar and he nails a terrific solo to go along with the usually great Jagger vocal. The lyrics of this song remind me of an Old West shoot out.

5.) Mixed Emotions - this one was from the 1989 comeback album Steel Wheels, back when everyone was convinced Mick and Keith were going to break the band up because they couldn't get along. Mixed Emotions was the first single released and it features great guitar riffs and a superb Jagger vocal. After a few shoddy albums during the 80's, this was the song that alleviated any fears of those wondering whether the band still had it.

4.) Let It Bleed - the title track from the Stones' landmark 1969 album is a countryish sing along that starts off slow and builds up into some great slide guitar work. The lyrics on this song were pretty lewd for the time.

3.) Live With Me - from Let It Bleed - the song opens with a sinister bass line (for some reason, played by Keith Richards, not Bill Wyman) and kicks right into Mick Jagger describing some of the reasons a girl wouldn't want to live with him. The bass in this song is so good, you can almost see The Who's John Entwistle and Paul McCartney nodding their heads in agreement. This was one of the first songs Mick Taylor played on.

2.) All Down The Line - from Exile on Main St. - All Down The Line is exhibit A as to why Mick Taylor was so good in the Stones and why Ron Wood can never come close to being as good. Next time you hear it, listen to Taylor's slide guitar throughout the song. All Down the Line is one of several early 70's Stones' song in which the horns add so much to the song.

1.) Bitch - This song is from 1971's Sticky Fingers and it has it all. Great guitar licks, a rare driving bass line from Bill Wyman, Mick Jagger's best vocal performance, and to top it off, those tasteful horns. This song kicks ass.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday hits

The official season of spring is here and outside the weather is trying to put aside the effects of Old Man Winter for good. It will be in the mid 50's the next few days and I can live with that. Let's get to some Friday "tidbits and musings".

Yesterday, the Boston Herald ran a poll that asked readers to grade the performance of Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick. At last check, with 7,445 votes, 74% gave Governor Patrick a well deserved F. Patrick is nothing more than a tone deaf, clueless politician looking to curry favor with other power brokers. He's an empty suit whose policies and maneuvers are taking the "working families" of the Commonwealth to the woodshed.

Holly Robichaud in today's Herald is right on the money. I need to get a 01.06.11 bumper sticker - this date signifies when Patrick's first term is up.

Other than the Oprah Winfrey show, there's no show on TV I can't tolerate more than the Today Show. I can't even stand it as background noise. To me, the Today Show are nails on a chalkboard. It is dumbed down news with a hard liberal slant, in which they recycle the same story day after day. The absurdly overpaid anchors of the show attempt to be hard hitting (particularly when a Republican is on), but they can't overcome their lightweight nature. Also, those losers who stands outside the Today show studio in 25 degree weather with a sign in their hands in the hopes of getting briefly on TV, clearly have too much time on their hands.

Speaking of too much time on their hands, how about the group of buffoons who were protesting bottled water by dumping it in the Boston Harbor the other day? If you don't like bottled water, don't drink it! I happen to like it. It's America, you have freedom of choice in such regards. How about if these people instead go to work and be a productive member of society or at least go look for a job.

I'm very excited about a potential Red Sox starting rotation of Beckett, Dice K, Lester, John Smoltz, and Brad Penny. A starting rotation of those five pitchers is second to none in major league baseball. This is a rotation that does have guys with a checkered injury past, but Beckett and Smoltz are famous for coming up big in the postseason. Lester and Dice K also have had success in the postseason, as well.

On paper, the Yankees rotation of Sabathia, Burnett, Pettitte, Chamberlain, and Wang is very formidable. However, Sabathia and Wang have had terrible postseason histories and Burnett and Pettitte are being held together with bailing wire and duct tape. Chamberlain's motion is so violent, there's concern among scouts that he can't handle a starter's load. Joba finished last season on the DL with a bad shoulder.

Considering the movies that are played on HBO, getting a monthly subscription isn't worth it. However, the shows on HBO are superb. I've watched several of the series - The Sopranos, Entourage, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and the Wire, and all of them are far superior to the unoriginal, unfunny I Won't See TV on the major networks. As good as I thought The Sopranos was, it can't touch The Wire, which is phenomenal. I haven't seen a weak episode of The Wire, yet. The Sopranos, inexplicably, would get bogged down in Tony's anxiety issues, where scenes would get chewed up with him in his therapist's office. Yawn. The Wire ropes you right in and remains intensely interesting throughout the entire episode. Entourage is far better than The Sopranos as well.

I am stunned at the left wing columnists who buy right into the havoc the Democratic politicians in the House and Senate are inflicting upon our future with the absurd level of deficit spending, cheerfully proclaiming "Taxes will have to rise". Why are tax hikes something to celebrate? Just like at the state level, if the federal government had an unbiased auditors scrutinize the books and the payrolls, HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS of dollars in waste and fraud would be found.

Considering the deficits and debt we are running up, Bono of U2 can forget about the U.S. forgiving any Third World debt any time soon.

My buddy Jim just started his new blog. If you like baseball and are interested in reading some original analysis, you can find his blog here:

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Thanks, Curt!

After 20 Major League seasons, Curtis Montague Schilling has decided to retire from baseball. Even though his tenure with the Red Sox was only 4 seasons, his impact is unforgettable.

I remember watching the 2001 World Series where the upstart Arizona Diamondbacks were facing a dynasty in the New York Yankees. The Diamondbacks gave the Yankees all they could handle and other than the loathsome Byung-Hyun Kim choking away leads late in games, the Diamondbacks could have won the World Series earlier than they did.

Game Seven of the 2001 World Series pitted Yankee Roger Clemens against Curt Schilling. At the time, I thought to myself, "Why can't the Sox get a guy like this? You'd have to pry the baseball from Schilling's cold dead fingers to get him come out of a big game."

Two years later, Schilling came to the Red Sox in a laugher of a deal in which the Diamondbacks dealt him to the Red Sox for Brandon Lyon, Jorge de la Rosa, Michael Goss, and Casey Fossum.

Schilling came to Boston promising to end an 86 year drought and bring a World Series Championship. Boy, did he ever deliver on his promise! He brought two in his four years with the team. His performances in Game Six of the ALCS and Game Two of the World Series in 2004, are legendary. How did he pitch 7 innings on a very bad ankle in which his ankle tendon was stapled in place via surgery and allow only 1 run to lead the Sox over the Yankees to force Game Seven? Then, having the ankle tendon re-stapled five days later, he went 6 shut out innings to earn the victory in Game Two of the World Series. Amazing!

After missing a significant portion of the 2005 season, recovering from that bad ankle, Schilling
bounced back with a solid 2006 season. In 2007, Schilling missed some time on the DL with a bad shoulder. No longer the flamethrower of a few short seasons before, Schilling got by on guile and an 88 mph fastball to go 3-0 in the postseason in which he helped the Red Sox win their second World Series in 4 years. Schilling's 5 1/3 inning, 1 run effort in Game Two of the World Series, in which he earned the victory, was his last Major League game.

Now the two big questions are is he a Hall of Famer and if so, what hat will he wear into the Hall of Fame? Yes he is and he should wear a Red Sox hat. His regular season numbers are very good, but his postseason record indicates he's the best postseason pitcher of all time - 11-2, 2.23 ERA . He also was selected for the All Star game six times. When he does get in, despite winning a World Series with the Diamondbacks, he should wear a Red Sox hat because his impact in Boston is greater than it was on the Phillies, Diamondbacks, Astros, and Orioles.

In retirement, I'm sure we'll hear from Schilling, particularly on the radio. He would be a natural as a radio host because he's never shy to express an opinion. I particularly enjoyed his endorsement of George W. Bush for President in 2004, in liberal Massachusetts where John Kerry was the Democratic nominee. What was comical was he made so many Sox fans in the Northeast happy with their first World Series Championship in 86 years, then a few days later, ticked many of them off by endorsing Bush. Gotta love it.

So, thank you Curt for your immense contributions to the Boston Red Sox and being a key contributor to two World Series championships. You'll always be appreciated and cheered in Boston.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Dog Days of Spring Training

Some interesting news came out of Ft. Myers yesterday, where the Red Sox decided to release veteran catcher Josh Bard and go with rookie George Kottaras to be Jason Varitek's backup. This is a bold and risky move, particularly considering Varitek's obvious decline last season. I like the idea of the Red Sox developing a young catcher by putting him in the backup role and easing him into the mix. Kottaras hit 22 HR last year in the cozy confines of McCoy Stadium and the Red Sox brass seems enthusiastic about his progress defensively this spring. Here's hoping he can relax, not put too much pressure on himself and continue developing.

Veteran Pawsox player Jeff Bailey has been tattooing the ball in spring training. Despite his monster spring and his experience last year at the major league level, Bailey may not make the big club when spring training breaks. The problem with Bailey is the same with Chris Carter. Both could probably hit big league pitching, but both have gloves made of cement. They both play 1B and LF, and are below average defenders at both positions. While it is nice to have such depth in the minor leagues, it would be better for their careers if they were sent to a team such as Kansas City or Seattle where they could get some AB's at DH, 1B, or LF; something they won't get with Ortiz, Youkilis, and Bay ahead of them.

Other than Michael Bowden's struggles, the Red Sox young pitchers have certainly impressed this spring. Daniel Bard, Clay Buchholz, Justin Masterson, Junichi Tazawa have all had excellent springs. I can't wait to get to some Pawsox games this spring to catch some of the younger players in action.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

NFL offseason bits

After reading the news yesterday that the Patriots are supposedly interested in acquiring Panthers DE Julius Peppers, I got a bit fired up about the thought of Peppers and Richard Seymour on one side and Ty Warren and Adalius Thomas on the other. In theory, such an alignment would mean it would be a track meet to the QB. Considering that a pass rush was sorely lacking last year, the idea of such studs on the defensive front seven is extremely appealing. Remember, it was the play of the NY Giants' front four that ultimately won the Super Bowl vs. the Patriots because they overwhelmed the offensive line.

By having DL's and LB's that can get to the QB quickly, it takes some pressure off the defensive backfield, which was unquestionably the Patriots' weakness last season. The Patriots have already made efforts to improve the secondary with the signings of Shawn Springs, Leigh Bodden, and the re-signing of Tank Williams, who missed all of last season with a knee injury.

I'd like to see the Patriots and Rodney Harrison come to an agreement where Rodney is on the Junior Seau speed dial plan. Because he plays such a physical game, Rodney can no longer handle the rigors of a potential 19 game NFL season. My ultimate plan would be for Rodney to lift weights with the team and be in a "coaching or advisory role", but to rejoin the team in a playing capacity sometime around December 8th. It would give him 3-4 games to get back to being in game shape, so that he'd be right in form for the playoffs.

Memo to Jay Cutler: GROW UP! It's professional sports. What have you ever won? The Denver Broncos have some of the best fans in the NFL and one of the best organizations in the league. Josh McDaniels' offensive scheme will be great for Cutler, if he opens his mind up and stops acting like a prima donna.

Who's going to play QB for the NY Jets?

Look for the Minnesota Vikings' offense to be improved. Sage Rosenfels isn't a superstar at QB, but he's certainly better than the overmatched Tarvaris Jackson, who was terrible in most of his games last year, as well as journeyman Gus Frerotte. Rosenfels will at least keep the Vikings offense from being one dimensional and give Adrian Peterson a break.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Importance of Rajon Rondo

Since last year, I've noticed a particular pattern with the World Champion Boston Celtics - the team goes as point guard Rajon Rondo goes. It's not the Big Three that matter most, it's Rondo.

Check out the team's losses this year, and you'll find that Rondo didn't play well or didn't play due to injury. Last year in the playoffs, the losses occured when he didn't bring his usual A game.

Last night's game was a prime example. Rondo didn't play due to injury. There just isn't a flow to the offense when Rondo's not bringing the ball up. Marbury tries and is going out of his way to try to distribute the ball, but the results just aren't there. Marbury is still rusty and I believe he will be an impact performer off the bench come playoff time.

The reason why Rondo is so good is due to his quickness. He creates havoc on the defensive end, and is 5th in the NBA in steals. He's also the best rebounding PG in the NBA. When he gets the ball in his hands, he bursts up the court and is immediately putting pressure on the defense. Rondo is a master at bringing the ball in the lane and dishing off to an open Garnett or Perkins for an easy dunk or layup.

Marbury and Eddie House do not have that quickness and neither is as good as Rondo defensively. At this point, Marbury is a liability defensively. He's trying hard, but is a step or two slow in chasing his man. Rondo, unless he is picked, doesn't have such difficulties.

For the Celtics to win, it's okay if Garnett misses a few games or Pierce goes through a 5-20 shooting night. As long as Rondo is there and playing well, the chances of victory are great

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Obama Stock Market

I've been wondering how all the people who voted for Obama feel now after watching their 401K values tank in value since Obama took office? Don't blame me, I didn't vote for him.

Back in the fall of 2007, on his show, "The GOP, the Economy, and You", CNBC analyst Lawrence Kudlow was positively prophetic when he proclaimed that the prospect of a Democratic presidency is very bearish for the markets. When it comes to economic growth and the markets, I tend to put more stock in what Kudlow and Jim Cramer say, as opposed to Democrats in the House and Senate such as Barney Frank and John Kerry, who've been Washington politicians since the 1980's. Kudlow and Cramer actually worked on Wall Street and know how the markets operate.

On 1/21/09, the day after Obama was inaugurated, the Dow Jones Industrial Index closed at 8228.10. Today, 3/6/09, the Dow closed at 6626.94. Six weeks of market carnage due to the Obama policies and lack of action to help stabilize markets. How low can it go? Where's the bottom?

I'm already longing for the days of June 2008, when my 401K hadn't plunged, the Dow was at 12,300, and gas was $4.05 a gallon.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Proper Way to Fix the Economy

Yesterday, the Dow Jones slid almost 300 points to close at a horrifying 6764.81; a number not seen since 1997. Over the last six months, the federal government has frantically tried to keep the economy propped up by bailing out financial companies mired in bad mortgages. It’s not working. Over the winter, there have been millions of layoffs and these financial companies keep coming back to the federal government asking for more money. The markets currently have no confidence in the Obama Administration’s plans to fix the economy.

President Obama inherited quite a mess and since Inauguration Day, the economy has gotten worse. It is not entirely his fault. The Democratic majorities in the House and Senate passed a “stimulus” package that on the surface meant well, but the details showed that it was loaded with pork and items that will do nothing to stimulate the economy. The stimulus bill added hundreds of billions more in the federal government’s current budget deficit.

So, what do we do? How do we fix this broken down economy? Here’s one man’s idea to stimulate the economy.

1.) Eliminate the capital gains tax – if there is one “to do” that will help broken markets and large private corporations, it is eliminating the capital gains tax. Such a move would put money in motion. Eliminating the capital gains tax is often derided as a move to help rich people, but it is not just rich people who are in the markets these days. Capital gains tax cuts influence investment decisions. Eliminating the capital gains tax would send a serious message that the Obama Administration truly wants to fix the markets.

2.) A six month federal tax holiday – A six month federal tax holiday would’ve been cheaper than the stimulus bill passed by the House and Senate and signed by President Obama. Three things would happen if this were ever implemented: People would spend more money because they had more of it in their pocket. They could’ve put it in a savings account, which frankly – is that a BAD thing for people to focus on these days? Lastly, people could’ve taken the extra money and invested it 401Ks, Roth IRAs, and or stocks. Investing money in the stock market = increasing buy activity, which would raise the levels of the indexes! This certainly would be a lot more effective than any stimulus bill that could be passed.

3.) Enough with the utopian discussions about investments in green energy and fighting global warming. It’s not the time for it. What we need is to focus on the fundamentals; the broken sectors of the economy, not invest in potentially dubious technology. To put it in blackjack terms, I’d rather hold when I have a 16 and the dealer is starting with a 5, than trying to see if I can get a 5 and get to 21. It’s the better move.

4.) Send $3,000 rebate checks to every family. Hopefully, by doing this, it will help stave off a family defaulting on a mortgage or help pay some overdue bills and keep them afloat.

5.) Extend unemployment benefits for 6-9 months. Millions of people are out of work and it will take time for companies to start hiring again. The goal here is to keep people afloat and prevent further mortgage foreclosures.

6.) Enough with the bailouts. Other than AIG, which has its tentacles in many segments of the economy and could cause a severe negative impact (they are the largest insurers of planes – airlines would be grounded across the country if they failed). However, some banks need to fail. Why should poor performance and management be rewarded, when these banks show no signs of reform or turning around their performance?

I firmly believe these six steps would go a long way towards getting America moving again and getting those unfortunate to be laid off back to work. These moves will also help stimulate markets and get people focused on investing in 401K’s and looking forward to retirement again; which as of right now, seems like a pipe dream to most of us.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Massachusetts' Worthless Governor

I remember the fall of 2006 well. Back then, Deval Patrick's Massachusetts gubernatorial campaign was all the rage. Every day there were stories in the Boston Globe gushing about what a Patrick Administration would do for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. While offering few specifics, Patrick would dazzle crowds at campaign stops with his trademark feel good slogan, "Together We Can", promising how his property tax cut proposal would greatly benefit working familes.

Two and a half years later with the economy in shambles, Patrick's idea of helping working familes is to jack up the gas tax by $0.19 a gallon, which would give the Commonwealth of MA the highest gas tax in the nation. Together we can! Together we can balance the budget on the backs of small businesses that drive trucks and vans to work every day. Let's take more money out of the pockets of plumbers, electricians, dry wallers, and carpenters.

If Deval Patrick has proven anything, it is he is one of the most worthless high profile politician this state has ever elected. In a state that continually elects John Kerry to the U.S. Senate, that's saying something.

Deval Patrick's idea of reform is to trade in the standard Governor's Ford Crown Victoria for a Cadillac, spend over $10,000 on drapes for his Governor's office, larding the state payroll with 2,000 new jobs, including a $70,000 secretary for his wife. Why would Mrs. Patrick, who has a private sector job at a law firm, need a full time secretary to schedule her appearances? Another hire was a Milton neighbor of Patrick's for $120,000 to perform some dubious role.

There's been no reform at the state level and barely any layoffs. We have MA state troopers making $180,000, severe toll increases on the Mass Pike, and no consolidation of agencies. In the private sector, employees are getting laid off every day, while watching the value of their 401K's dip in value. It's a bloodbath for those not on the state payroll. For those who work for the Commonwealth at Massachusetts, it is business as usual. There are guaranteed pensions, and terrific health benefit plans.

Due to Patrick's gross mismanagement of the state budget, cities and towns across the state are suffering to balance their budgets because of local aid cuts that are trickled down from the state. Class sizes are increasing due to teacher layoffs and local public safety efforts are being decreased because police and fire fighters are losing their jobs.

So together we can: vote this bum out of office in 2010.