Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Sea of Green?

Yesterday was St-Patrick's Day and here in Montreal, the 189th edition of St-Patrick's parade is ready to roll on this gorgeous Sunday:
Montreal's St. Patrick's Parade is not the oldest in North America: New York claims that honour. But it just might be the most consistent, according to Don Pidgeon, historian of the United Irish Societies, which has organized the annual celebration since 1929.

The parade has been held without fail for the past 188 years, notwithstanding blizzards, Fenian raids and the luck of the Irish, Pidgeon said.

"It had its periods when it was supposedly not to run, but it ran anyway," said Pidgeon, 75, a Dorval resident who grew up in Griffintown.

"There were times, like a few years ago, when we had a major snowstorm and the media said, 'Oh, it's going to be discontinued,' and the plows pushed the snow to the side and the parade continued," he said.

Organizers pride themselves on a long-standing tradition of inclusiveness (in contrast to U.S. cities like New York and Boston, where gay, lesbian and bisexual groups have boycotted the parade for excluding them).

"This has been the secret. Without the tolerance and spirit of sharing, we wouldn't have been able to continue to this day," Pidgeon said.

"We put a hand out to everyone and say, 'Come and not only be a participant, come and see our parade as well.' "
Indeed, while cities like Boston and New York are known for their proud Irish communities, Montreal has one of the oldest and proudest Irish communities in North America and come rain, snow blizzard or shine, we've always held our parade each and every year and everyone is welcome to participate in the festivities.

On Saturday, revelers across America grabbed their green and took to the streets and bars to celebrate another St. Patrick’s Day. The London Mail posted some amazing pics of yesterday's celebrations which included President Obama sharing a pint with his Irish cousin in a Washington bar. Maybe we should call him President O'bama:

Here is an interesting pic of a man in New York holding a green muppet, obviously poking fun at Goldman Sachs:

Political comedian Will Durst of the San Francisco Gate wrote a funny piece on the Goldman controversy, We're all Muppets Here:

Not easy being a Muppet. Referring to Greg Smith, formerly of Goldman Sachs, who wrote an op- ed in the New York Times about getting the hell out of Dodge, due to his company’s relentlessly spiraling moral depravity. According to Smith, associates are encouraged to pursue profit above all else, and that includes ripping out the eyeballs of their own billion- dollar clients at the same time they mockingly scorn them as Muppets.

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. A complete shocker- big time brokerage firm with little or no conscience. My God. What next? High school prom parties where beer is served? Charley Sheen coming to, on the floor of a Vegas hotel after noon? Drive- through food that tastes like hot damp glued- together bar coasters? Mitt Romney making his own Robo- Calls?

Romney loves to hype his history as a private equity investment banker, so it’s not difficult to imagine him as another of the sucking pods on a waving tentacle of the vampire squid. Wrapped so tightly in the “Me First,” and “Success at any Cost” culture that he squeaks money when he moves. A sound that surely acts as a predatory mating call.

We’re all Muppets to him. On a daily basis Mr. Bain Capital will say or do whatever he thinks might possibly help on the campaign trail. “Pro- choice, I got your pro- choice. Oh wait, not pro- choice, well, then neither am I.” “What happens in the sanctity of one’s own bedroom is nobody’s business. Oh, Yes It Is!” Surprised every time he’s not photographed wearing one of those whiplash neck braces from the twisting and turning necessary to cover his wide panoply of paradoxical convictions.

Recently, this shape shifter comically sucked up to the South pretending to like cheesy grits. Mitt, nothing personal, but if ever there were a non- cheesy grits eating kind of a dude, it’s you. Even while referring to your NASCAR and NFL owner buddies, you still don’t have a song in your heart. Probably consider them nothing more than slightly better constructed sock puppets. More realistic button eyes.

That’s it, isn’t it? We’re all annoying obstacles to be overcome in order to better provide for your family. Who would be well advised not to get too comfortable, if there is anything to be learned from the fate of your valiant Irish Setter, Seamus. Is that going to be your solution to everything: hose us down?

The Politicrats even have a name for our particular kind of Muppetism, They call us Low Information Voters. People not paying too close attention. The ones that pretty much believe every ounce of slop our leaders shovel at us while greedy fingers fiddle at our orbital sockets.

Consider the 50% of Republicans in Mississippi and 45% in Alabama who still believe President Obama is a Muslim. While the hard of hearing think he’s muslin, a loosely woven cotton fabric.

Maybe that’s the ultimate goal of Republican Kingmakers like the Koch Brothers. Get rid of the messy unpredictable human element and create their own Muppet mouthpiece. Fold a spool of muslin into a head shaped ball, stick a hand up it and have it say exactly what they think we Low Information Voters, LIVers, want to hear. Or did they already do that and call it… Rush Limbaugh.

LOL! Another pic I liked was this one of the Chicago River dyed green with the help of speedboats for their annual festivities:

And this one of green fountains at the White House, an annual tradition:

These pics remind me that investors are finally seeing some green in the stock market as a flood of liquidity is propelling shares higher. Make sure you read my last comments on waiting for the stock market to correct and scared money getting even more scared.

Finally, this morning I saw a fascinating HBO documentary on Reagan. Watch the clip below on Reaganomics. Reminds me of what the famous Canadian-American economist, John Kenneth Galbraith, once said about cutting taxes on the rich: "If you feed the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows" (watch this 1992 Charlie Rose interview).

In my opinion, America and the rest of the world doesn't need more trickle down economics. It desperately needs flood down economics to rebuild its middle class and needs to start reforming its healthcare and pension system to provide universal coverage
(read Krugman's latest, The Collapse of Employment-Based Coverage).

Tonight, CNN's Fareed Zakaria will discuss saving America's health care. If you think the cost of pensions are skyrocketing, take a look at the cost of American healthcare. Zakaria appeared on CNN's Your Money to discuss some of his findings with Ali Velshi (watch below).

Listen to Zakaria refer to Nobel-prize winning economist Kenneth Arrow to explain why in order to bring down cost you have to have universal coverage and that's why many countries have adopted a single payer system. The exact same arguments can be used used to support universal pension coverage so people can retire with peace of mind.

That leaves me thinking of another great Irish American, Ted Kennedy, who fought hard to promote universal healthcare coverage. I embedded his passionate 1978 speech below. Enjoy St-Patrick's Day parade in Montreal, should be another beauty.

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