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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Of Auto Bailouts, Retiring Nuns & Basement Lighting

Auto Bailout
I've wanted to mention something about this before, but the mood or time never seemed to allow it. Anyway, as reported all over the place last week, President Bush is providing GM and Chrysler with around $17 billion in loans so that they can, in his words avert "disorderly bankruptcy". Now there are more than a few stinky points to this whole thing, but I'll give credit where credit is due: the President did the right thing. As I've said before, this isn't just about inept auto industry executives, private jets or union workers...this is about the entire economy of some communities, right down to the small luncheonettes owned by families around these factories. I've been quick over the years to point out where President Bush has made mistakes (of which there are a few), but again I do give him credit here for doing the right thing. Now it's the turn of management and the UAW to do the right thing by working to make these companies viable. It's also the turn of Cerebus Capital Management to invest some of it's own billions into Chrysler (little fact that many people don't realize...the owners of Chrysler are no where near bankrupt...they have plenty of cash). Anyway, enough of that, as it's too early to get my already troubled blood pressure raised any further.

Sister Adrian Barrett to Retire
I caught this in the paper this morning. Article here . If you are not from Scranton then you probably don't know about Sister Adrian. I first met here when I was, oh, maybe 5 or 6 years old, give or take. Growing up we were not well off, and Sister Adrian has made it her mission to help the poor in the Scranton area. Anyway, back in those days, my brothers and I were, if you will, consumers of her services. That sounds almost sterile as a description, but I quite honestly can't think of any better way to describe it. As time progressed, the financial situation of my family growing up improved somewhat, so we no longer wanted Sister Adrian's help, and in fact there was probably just a little bit of mocking, if you will, of those that still did (when you are a teenage boy that testosterone flowing through your bloodstream will do that). My last encounter, if you will, with Sister Adrian was in 1981 when, as strange as it sounds, my date to the Jr/Sr prom was her niece. Yes, there is picture somewhere in a landfill, taken by Sister Adrian with her niece dressed really well and me in a white horrible tux that no-doubt made me look like a q-tip. Fast forward to the modern time, and there have been a few in the Scranton area that are convinced that Sister Adrian has a hand in recruiting poor people to come to Scranton. Now I don't know if that's true...mostly I don't...but regardless, you can not deny that Sister Adrian has spent the better part of 60 years doing her best to help people. On the whole, I'd say that's a very good thing. I hope she takes the time to relax and stays healthy.

Vacation Time
Speaking of taking time, I was off yesterday and today, and I'm off next Monday, Tuesday and Friday. Time off for me is weird in a way, mainly because I not really one to sit around and relax. About the closest I come to that is when I sit here at the computer and read stuff (everything from serious financial news to message boards to humor and gossip stuff). As for yesterday, it was taken up mainly with activities related the holidays and getting my oldest daughter's car inspected. The good news there was that the cost was only about $20. Having a little extra around the holidays isn't a bad thing. As for today, I have some last minute gifts to buy and that's about it. If I have the time, I'd like to start looking at the basement re-wiring project I'd like to get done early this year. That will involve...

...installing a new basement power circuit
...adding new fluorescent lighting fixtures
...connecting the new fixtures to a central switch box (so that you can turn on part or all of the basement lighting)
...removing the old lighting fixtures

There are two main benefits to the project: 1) Improve the lighting down there and 2) Reduce the load on the circuit they are currently under. I'm also going to relocate the in-house cable connections as well. The whole cost of the project will probably be somewhere around $100, with most of that being for the actual fluorescent fixtures. Pretty nerdy stuff to get excited about, but consider the source.

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