Good morning and welcome to our Friday edition of “Where’s the Color?” I wanted to finish the week as spectacular as a Monta Ellis reverse move on the baseline. The first photo is a lone gull at sunrise over Monterey Bay before we move on to a lone gull at sunset on the hills above Santa Cruz. We then head down to Palm Desert for a little twilight action before returning for the Pacific finishes. Shot # 4 is a November sunset at Natural Bridges with the reflection on the pond created by a huge early winter swell.
The final two photos are from January’s finest sunsets-pixel for pixel, my favorites so far this year. All these photos are previously unsent-my vault of photos just keeps growing larger and larger, like the millions and millions Hillary and Barack are raising and spending on their presidential campaigns. Obama just broke all records in February by collecting $55 million as compared to Hillary’s $35 million. He shattered the record of $36 million that he set in January. Mrs. Clinton says she’s raised $4 million online since the polls closed on Tuesday. I’m no Kreskin, but I’m guessing we’ll be looking at a new record in March. Now I realize we’re talking apples and oranges (okay, maybe tangerines) but could money like this possibly be put to better use, say, rather than outspending your opponent, helping homeowners get out from under this mortgage crisis before they face foreclosure? So maybe we can hold off the recession a little bit longer and enjoy the upcoming NBA playoffs?
Although it’s normally against my nature and brings on rashes and hot flashes, I’m going to get world serious for a moment. Read this closely for this next item is a first. Since they started keeping records in this country, the amount of debt, the money that homeowners owe on their homes now exceeds the equity of American homes. As we know, the economy is the number one issue in this election year. We just set a record for the number of foreclosures, meaning people who could not make their payments are walking away from their homes. We’re talking families and kids. This is not the American dream, this is a monetary nightmare brought on by greedy mortgage brokers and banks that is doing a horrific number on the American economy. Just look at the stock market. But at least the writer’s strike is over.
It all comes down to money. So do you have a penny in your pocket? Well, you might want to hang on to it because Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson thinks it would make sense to get rid of our cute, little copper friend stating, “The penny is worth less than any other currency.” Well, with that statement I now see why people call him Mr. Secretary. But fortunately for Penny Lane lovers, Paulson says that his idea to eliminate the 1-cent coin is not “politically doable” and is not something he plans to tackle or touch in the final year of the Bush administration.
The administration is pushing an effort that will give the government the authority to change the heavy metal content of all the nation’s coins as a way to save money. Now, let me Iraq my brain for a moment and think, what other way could we save, let’s say, $3,913 a second. That proposal, introduced in Congress last year, was prompted by the sharp jump in the price of copper and other metals in recent years. The measure has not yet been enacted into law, even thought the chocolate chip mint officials estimate it could save significant amounts of money. Hmm, once again, how else could we save a little dinero?
“Metal prices have been fluctuating so wildly in recent years that the Treasury and the U.S. Mint need the flexibility to react quickly, to change the materials used in the nation’s coinage,” says Mint Director Ed Moy. The mint produces 7 billion to 8 billion pennies annually and officials say if they were allowed to alter the metal content in just the penny and the nickel, it could save taxpayers up to $100 million. Since we’re talking about trying to save a few bucks, the next two years of our occupation of Iraq will cost $600 billion. That would be my son’s allowance for the next 800 quadrillion years, give or take a couple of large Jamba Juices. And these numbers are from Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz who just co-wrote a new book titled, “The Three Trillion Dollar War, The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict.”
Getting back to our Bush appointee, Secretary Paulson says he carries very little cash in his pockets but does carry a Pez dispenser and few dollar bills to sign for people who ask for his autograph. The signatures of the Treasury secretary and the U.S. treasurer are carried on not just the dollar bill but on all U.S. currency. Coincidentally, I also carry a few bills around with me but that’s just a force of habit after years of working as a toll taker. But as you can imagine, after years of working the booth, it eventually took its toll.
That’s our Friday finale. Coming up on Monday we’ll check out some Monterey Bay morning magnificence. We’ll also take a look at some lighter news stories like global warming, the genocide in Darfur and whatever happened to the Zucker (“Airplane”) brothers. So enjoy the colors, have a tremendous sports weekend and in the words of the great Jimi Hendrix from his epic Purple Haze, “Scuse me while I kiss the sky.” Shalom.