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Stupid Athletes

March 7th, 2013 by Michael Tabor

I am just going to name three: 1. Travis Henry, former running back with the Buffalo bills has 9 children with 9 different wives or mistresses (he also was sent to prison for dealing cocaine but I won’t get into that) 2. Evander Holyfield, champion boxer has fathered 11 children – ELEVEN with 9 different mothers; he pays 100s of thousands of dollars in alimony and child support each and every year. 3. Jason Caffey, former NBA star with the Chicago Bulls (he has 2 championship rings) also has 10 children with 9 different mothers. How can any human being be so utterly reckless, immoral, promiscuous and just plain old stupid !!!

I’ve blogged in the past about professional athletes who make a ton of $$$ and end up bankrupt a year after they retire; however I’ve never specifically written about the # of children these uncontrollable animals (I know terrible thing to say but what else can you call them) have fathered. Where do they get the time ??? I guess all they do once the game is over is fornicate. Even if the aforementioned is the case, why not use a rubber??? Everyone knows that there are groupies and celebrity – stalking whores who don’t give a rat’s ass about the player and purposely try to get pregnant – well guess what ladies ? Get in line, besides these “ballers” are going to be broke in a few years anyway.

The 3 athletes I named are black but I’m sure there are some stupid promiscuous white people out there too. So WhaDaYaThink ? What do you think ? Feel free to add to the list.

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What is All The Hoopla About Lindsay Lohan ?

February 28th, 2013 by Michael Tabor

I don’t think there is a day that goes by in which I don’t hear some thing or some incident concerning Lindsay Lohan – and my question is what is all the commotion and excitement about. I still don’t know a whole lot about Ms. Lohan, other than the fact that she was a child star- continues to act, model and sing and parties; she likes to drink and has had a couple of DUIs (what young person doesn’t party a little ?) Early in her career (she got into show business when she was 3), the press loved her and she got a lot of praise, now she’s the red – headed step child of show business and now everything is all negative. I’m sure she is a spoiled, insolent 20 – something but the media are all over her – give her a break !!!

The Germans have a wonderful word for all this tabloid media frenzy, it’s called schadenfreude – the malicious delight and satisfaction in seeing another human being suffer. Another truism is that people in general don’t like other folks who are too successful, especially if one seems ungrateful for their incredible good fortune. I started reading Wikipedia before writing this and I got bored after the first two paragraphs – there’s nothing special or outrageous about this Lindsay Lohan. So, again why do the media pick out a certain celebrity and then just incessantly grind away at him or her ?
So, WhadaYaThink ? What do you think ? Oprah, Lady GaGa, Alec Baldwin & Madonna (were).. the list is endless; but what is it about Lindsay Lohan ?

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My Love/Hate Relationship with MMA

October 6th, 2012 by Michael Tabor

There are 2 fights I’m awaiting with great anticipation – the amazing Anderson Silva (still undefeated in the UFC) on 10/13/2012 when he squares off with the “tough as nails” (there are no wimps in the UFC, but Bonner uses his face to ward off punches and won’t stop fighting until: a. you kill him or b. mercifully the ref stops it) and the other is between Georges St. Pierre (pound for pound, in my opinion the greatest all-around fighter to have ever stepped into the cage) and Gary Condit. Georges St. Pierre (22 – 2) hasn’t lost a fight since April of 2007 when the MMA world was shocked (to use a baseball analogy, it was not unlike Bobby Thompson’s HR 10/3/1951) when MY former instructor and all – around GREAT guy, Matt Serra knocked him out in the first round. I was talking to Matt the week before and I asked him if he was nervous, and he told me that he feels butterflies the night before, but the day of the fight he’s “psyched” and can’t wait to get it on.
The title of my blog suggests ambivalence to the sport (Senator John McCain called it human cockfighting in the 1990s and wanted it banned. Sorry Mr. McCain, you’re a war hero and I have all the respect in the world for you, but MMA is mainstream now, and is here to stay – thanks in part to the former boxer/President of UFC and spirited, Dana White). The Gracie family introduced Ultimate Fighting to the United States and Brazilian Jiu – jitsu  became the hottest and most practical martial art after UFC 1. Joyce Gracie, 175 lbs., was the toughest man on the planet (except for other members of his very large family) and it didn’t matter if you could bench press a truck; strength had very little to do with fighting back then, and the gentle but prodigiously effective art had arrived and transformed the Gracies from a poverty-stricken Portuguese speaking family to a multi – million dollar dynasty.
I’ll conclude this blog with my personal involvement with the sport of MMA. I had always been interested in fighting as a kid, I wrestled in HS (sadly, I was a late bloomer and not not very good, but I tried) and took up Kung – Fu (Kung Fu with David Carradine was my favorite show)  and Kempo Karate. In 2004, I finally, with a little trepidation took up the sport of mixed martial arts, practicing Brazilian Jiu – Jitsu at Matt Serra’s academy and studying wrestling, boxing, and Mauy – Thai at Ray Longo’s and other gyms. To be honest, I was not very good except for boxing (I’m sure I had the hardest punch in the gym but the aforementioned does not make you a great boxer, though my private instructor maintained I had very good instincts) and not to make excuses, I was in my 40s and the young guys were just quicker and had more stamina (yes I lost whole lot more than I won). Still, at the age of 42, I had these very quick hands and as I said earlier, if I connected, it was lights for you, end of story. To cut to the chase, I never entered a tournament, but I sparred in the gym, and here comes the hate part of story. Yes, MMA  is fun, character – building, a beautiful art, and as we fighters liked to call it, a physical chess match. I’m not sure exactly how it happened, but I think my opponent just happened to graze my left eye – I wasn’t knocked out and I finished the fight and felt fine. Two days later, I was slowly starting to lose my vision from my left eye. If I closed my right eye, I couldn’t see my nose if I looked to my right and when I say it was dark, it was dark – SCARY DARK. I left work immediately, saw an Ophthalmologist, and got the bad news. “Mike, you have a detached retina and we have to perform emergency surgery.” I elected to go with the easy procedure, the laser retinopexy.
Well, the operation was a success and I got my vision back completely in two months. Afterwards, I made a very stupid decision – I went back to MMA; what can I say I was ADDICTED ! I couldn’t stop, even though I was 42, was going nowhere with sport, the truth be told, MMA WAS IN MY BLOOD. My rationale was, okay no boxing, I’ll just stick to wrestling and Jiu – jitsu. Stupid, stupid, stupid and STUPID ! Suffice to say, I was in the the hospital again, and this time it was MAJOR retinal surgery (I won’t go into detail, but essentially they took my eyeball out and stitched the retina back on) and unlike the easy laser treatment; I was under, so I didn’t feel any pain during the operation nor did I feel much pain  when I got home (Oxycodone works). However, the next day, still blind as a bat in the left eye, and WOW, EXCRUCIATING PAIN !!!! It was a combination of incredible soreness and pressure. It was so uncomfortable, plus I had to lay on my right side for 6 weeks (I watched a lot movies).
Fast – forward, it’s 2012 and I’m fine. I still have a little blurriness in my left eye and always have to worry about retinal detachment (for both eyes, my retina in my right eye is thin) but I’m very lucky. So there you have it – WhaDaYaThink ? What do you think? I sensibly quit after my second surgery and I stick to weightlifting and Tai –Chi to stay in shape. My position is I still love the sport but I hate the violence (if that makes sense) plus the deleterious effects one may suffer from blows to the head. I also think that because, I am near-sighted, I was more susceptible for this thing to happen. Lastly, I have never met nicer people in my life than the fighters. One might think that they’re violent, etc. but nothing can be further from the truth. MMA fighters are incredible men with character who possess these incredible skills and are second to none in terms of being phenomenal athletes. Another misconception is one might think they take it out on the streets –WRONG, only punks and insecure losers street fight. But, just to be on the safe side, I don’t think it would be wise to say anything derogatory to Randy Couture’s wife – lol. I hope everyone enjoyed my little story.

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Beauty Without

September 14th, 2012 by Magdalena Tabor
As anyone who knows me knows, I love observing animals, in nature, pets, and otherwise. Yet, it is we who are at times the most fascinating of all creatures. Take for instance now. I’m riding the morning train to work when I notice a young woman whose eyes are heavily made up. She, on the other hand, feels they need more tweaking. Out comes this contraption looking very much like a surgical instrument to which she deftly places her eyelash so that it rests within its concave receptacle. By squeezing this scissor-like device, it clamps down on the lash so that upon removal it produces a flirtatious doll-like curl. Now guys, do not be alarmed. This bizarre invention of seemingly torturous self-infliction is perfectly harmless and as women, we are familiar with it but I am of the opinion that there are few who actually engage in this practice. But let us continue, she then applies more mascara to her already raccoon-like mask, primping and pruning, while peering into her dime sized mirror. Who knows how much time she invested in this ritual to portray the glamorous image finally achieved to her great satisfaction. When all is done, she promptly perches a pair of large dark glasses on her nose, thereby eliminating any trace of Cleopatra. The glasses, no less haute couture, took approximately one micro second to procure the desired dramatic effect. So, why go through all the trouble of making up?
A woman I have worked with for years suddenly appeared with the most gorgeous curls. Upon complimenting her stunning new look, she dully informed me that she didn’t have time to straighten it. Ever since, I guess she’s had ample time to flatten what nature so abundantly bestowed. Why do we want to straighten what curls and curl what’s straight? We spend more time and energy (not to mention money) perfecting our fantasy image than improving the imperfections in our character. We all have flaws, myself included, but the world would be a more beautiful (and less deceitful) place without the blemish of conceit and ego. This is not to say we shouldn’t be concerned with how we look, but to be consumed by it is hardly attractive. And why do we perform our grooming habits in a public forum? It seems that we’re always running late and will risk serious eye injury caused by the jerking motion of the train all for the sake of beauty. Stick with the dark glasses. You can’t go wrong. As for hair, just let it do its thing. Nature knows best. Now excuse me while I go and touch up my roots.
So………………whadayathink? What qualities most matter to you? Beauty fades as we age but nothing can deny us our inner virtues.
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Leave These People Alone

August 10th, 2012 by Michael Tabor

Listen, were it not for the people who watch their movies or TV shows, listen to their music, watch them dunk a basketball, etc. our celebrities would not exist. We are their bread and butter and they know that. Celebrities (the decent ones) also know that they ought to give back a little e.g. sign an autograph, shake someone’s hand, etc. However, for some people this is not enough; some of us out there want to have breakfast with Natalie Portman, follow George Clooney to the bathroom and worst of all see pictures, or read stories about our beloved stars when things are not going so well for them. There’s a multisyllabic German word for this – schadenfreude (the malicious delight in another’s misfortune, especially if that someone seems to have a better life than you have). What prompted me to write this blog was a front page headline staring at me in the face, as I waited on line at the supermarket: The great literary treasure, ‘The National Enquirer ‘ Macaulay Culkin is Hooked on Heroin and Has 6 Months to Live. To further exacerbate the indignity, there was a picture of Mr. Ciulkin seemingly getting sick and throwing up. Now whether or not the story is true (his PR people say the story is bogus, and the picture is of McCaulay merely coughing) is beside the point. LEAVE THE GUY ALONE! Especially if the story is true; we’re talking about human beings here – how sick and twisted is it for an individual to derive pleasure from a man who is allegedly dying.
Listen I know we’re in the middle of a recession and these are tough economic times for the average American citizen. Furthermore, I know there are the spoiled rotten Paris Hiltons and Kim Kardashians of the world who have no idea what it’s like to have to work for a living and worry about paying one’s bills. But how pathetic and sad it is for a person to gleefully look at an emaciated Katie Holmes, obviously stressed out following the divorce proceedings to her ex-husband Tom Cruise.  And quit picking on Kirstie Alley – she has a weight problem, so what ! So do many people.
I know life is hard, and yes celebrities have fewer problems (especially economically) than the rest of us. But, can we please be a little kinder and nicer (Mr. Paparazzi – scum of the earth) to the people who are perhaps trying to make our life a little better by entertaining us. Please – people are people.
So WhaDaYaThink ? What do you think? Are you sickened by this yellow journalism? Are people’s lives that pitiful and empty that we have to revel in another fellow human being’s misery?

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Ex-Professional Athletes: Why Does Retirement End So Disastrously?

March 31st, 2012 by Michael Tabor
There isn’t a day that goes by in which I don’t read or hear a story about an ex-professional athlete who has fallen from grace e.g. spent all their millions and are now broke, and worse yet accused of raping, robbing, spousal abuse and occasionally even murdering. Today I read the story of Ryan Leaf (who? Yes he had an abominable professional career so his name may not be recognizable but he was at one time one of the nation’s top prospects and the Indianapolis Colts had a difficult time deciding whether or not to draft Peyton Manning or Ryan Leaf back in 1998) who was arrested yesterday for burglary and drug charges. Wow – so sad and stupid.
One particular athlete that comes to mind whose post – football life ended up tragically is Mike Webster – “Iron Mike” the center for the Pittsburgh Steelers with big bulging biceps #52 (now retired) who was a staple of the Pittsburgh Steelers, playing 15 years (1974-1989) 245 games (longer than any Steeler in history), and 4 Super Bowls ended up destitute and was plagued with a host of injuries. Webster suffered from depression, dementia, and amnesia (football violence and injuries – another blog) and ended up living in his truck by a train station. Mike Webster sadly died at the age of 50 and one can obviously see this was the result of the “blows to the head” and certainly not Mike’s fault. This is just a sad and tragic story and the improper headgear worn by Mike and the NFL are to blame.
The list here is just a number of retired professional athletes who had it all and threw it all away:
O.J. Simpson – double homicide

Mike Tyson – bankruptcy, rape, etc.

Rae Carruth  – murdered his pregnant wife because he didn’t want to pay child support

Ugueth Urbina – a rather unknown relief pitcher for the Detroit Tigers who I included because of the gratuitousness and savagery of his actions: he gathered up a group of ranch workers in his native country of Venezuela and literally “hacked” them with a machete and burnt them alive, simply because he believed they stole one of his guns. (beyond sick)

Jayson Williams – former NBA player who killed his limo driver

Mike Danton – he hired a hit man to kill his former agent

Lawrence Taylor – Rape, drugs, alcoholism

I can go on and on but I believe I’ve amply illustrated my point. With the exception of poor Mike Webster (and others to be fair) were given a gift from God and when the fanfare went away, these spoiled, overpaid, over-privileged men couldn’t handle being a mere mortal human being.
So WhaDaYaThink ? What do you think ? Do you have other ex-athletes you would like to mention? Why do you think that exponentially more ex-athletes behave so heinously?
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Howard Stern – One Man, Changed our culture forever; For Better or For Worse – Part 2

November 1st, 2011 by Michael Tabor
In yesterday’s blog, I started writing about how Howard Stern changed our culture in the 1980s and 1990s for better or for worse. At the height of his popularity in the mid-90s, I was already sick of him. He came out with an auto biopic.film, ‘Private Parts,’ that was unspeakably awful and for me unwatchable. However, many mainstream people actually liked the movie and his fan base expanded exponentially. People like Katie Couric were actually interviewing HOWARD STERN (though as I stated he started out underground and his brand of humor was basically men’s locker room talk, but original). The bottom line was Howard Stern was now hot and just about every male between 18 – 35 was listening to him (men loved him and women hated him with some exceptions of course). The talk shows were now willing to have him on his or her show (Ironically, talk show hosts initially steered clear of him and now hosts were beseeching him to come on because the ratings would spike. And it’s all about ratings, isn’t it? BTW, Howard always got ratings even when the only TSH that would have him on was David Letterman.).
This is not a biography on Howard Stern it’s an Op-ed blog; so how did this one man, Howard Stern change our culture forever? (Clarification: when I say our culture, I’m referring to the 18 – 35 year old demographic. I’m 48 now and I don’t listen to him anymore, however having said that many people [males] my age who grew up with Stern still do. The stripper nonsense is boorish and old but the news with Robin and the gang is excellent and still fresh so I’m told. The news portion of the show was always my favorite and I would probably still listen to just the news if I had satellite, but I don’t.)
Because of you – Howard Stern we have:
Reality Shows – let’s face it people are voyeurs and Howard knew this only too well. He essentially created the very first reality radio show and it migrated to TV.
Grotesque stunt/dare shows – shows like ‘Fear Factor, Jack Ass; this was an aspect of the Stern show I never liked even when I was 18. Stern had people puking, spitting, eating insects…,  and basically just doing dangerous and outrageous things like blowing smoke rings through your eyeballs, lighting [putting on fire] one’s reproductive organs, etc. Insipid, tasteless, disgusting, and just plain stupid. Howard was doing this back in 1984, it wasn’t entertaining then and it goes without saying it’s not now. But – people like it – go figure.

The vernacular and everyday language we use today is different. People talk about sex too openly on TV, radio, film, etc. Yes, we were too prudish in speech, manner, and conduct on television and radio before Howard Stern but now we have gone too far – it’s just bad taste. Human sexuality is normal and everyone does it, but I don’t want to see it or hear about it. Sex is a very private and personal matter. It’s not that I’m shocked by it, I just find it to be prodigiously boring. Who wants to watch people having sexual intercourse ? I’m not naive, if you want to be a voyeur and wish to see people having sex, then go on the internet or rent an adult video – it’s your right – it’s a free country. Sex is not dirty but I personally would rather be doing it myself than watching it. I am a film aficionado or a ceneaste and it irritates me to no end when a film has a sex scene and spends 15 minutes on it. Again, if I wanted to see other people having sex, I would rent an adult film. PLEASE ! A film ought to spend no more than 2 minutes on any given sexual encounter. There is no need to show nudity just for the sake of nudity (if it’s pertinent to a subject or storyline that’s different). A man meets a woman, they like each other (or maybe they don’t like each other. After all you don’t have to like a person to have sex with her) and they end up in bed. That’s enough – move the plot along.

Here is one last phenomena for which we have Mr. Stern to thank (or at least a major contributing variable). Heterosexual women having sex with other heterosexual women. This is an epidemic – for these young and immature women it’s cool or in vogue to be gay even though one is not gay. This is such an overwhelming insult to those women who are actually gay.
Okay I have said enough  – now it’s your turn WhaDaYaThink ? What do you think ? This is a dicey subject and I’m curious about what people have to say. One eloquent and intelligent woman on Facebook said that Howard Stern (I’m paraphrasing) is an oversized college sophomore with an oversized ego. That in one sentence says it all.
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Solution For Our Economic Problems: Science, Technology, and Engineering

October 20th, 2011 by Michael Tabor
Yesterday I explicitly set forth a couple of reasons why we are enmeshed in this terrible economy of ours (U.S.A.): 1) America has had it too good for too long and as a result we have become complacent; we have spoiled our children and hence our children (now today’s workforce) no longer have that edge. We have lost our parent’s and grandparent’s work ethic.  2) We are now more than ever part of a global economy.
I purposely began with our being complacent (again, I am not talking about individuals, there are people who have worked just as hard as the old-timers have – I’m referring to the whole mass or aggregate number of people.) because what I’m going to blog about today perfectly logically follows suit.
The number of people attending, finishing, and earning a college degree (though watered down – another blog) has actually increased and therefore we have a more educated population than we had at the time of the golden era of postwar prosperity (1945 – 1973). So what happened? We are more educated than our parents are (as I stated in yesterday’s blog, my father raised a family of six and carried only a high school diploma) doesn’t it stand to reason that we should continue to prosper and perhaps even enjoy more fruits of our labor?
Look at my first paragraph and read yesterday’s blog and therein lies the answer; we have become more educated BUT so has the rest of the world AND – this is new – the rest of the world (especially China and India) have earned advanced degrees in SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, and ENGINEERING. You simply cannot go wrong if you pursue science, technology (IT, computers, etc.), and engineering.
Students from Asia come to this country, we educate them (in the sciences, technology, and engineering) in our best colleges and universities, and then they go back home and build up their country. They build infrastructure and create jobs at an exponential rate far surpassing the United States because they earned advanced degrees in SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, and ENGINEERING.
Well, why didn’t we think of this? Why didn’t we major in S.T.E. ? Answer – because it’s incredibly hard work – plain and simple. Everything is cyclical; we majored in sociology, psychology, film studies, the arts, etc. because it was fun and easy. We weren’t concerned about putting food on the table and feeding our family like the rest of the world was, so we majored in sociology. Trust me, a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a token is just enough to get you on the subway.
So WhadaYaThink ? What do you Think? Hey, I majored in Journalism, do not get me wrong it was no cakewalk, but it pales in comparison to science, technology, and engineering.  What happened to us is just human nature; we weren’t starving, we got complacent and most of us got a liberal arts education. I used the word cyclical in the last paragraph because it’s apropos. We have to suffer a little, and then get back on track. If you don’t want to ever have to worry about getting a job, then get an advanced degree in SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, and ENGINEERING. The liberal arts are important and we need them. Besides, if you major in computer science, there will obviously be a concentration in that area, however every college will also mandate that one earns at least 60 credits worth of liberal arts and studies in the humanities. If I were to do things over, would I major in journalism? Absolutely! But I would have a double major – Science/Journalism. I would have to work my tail off and I’m sure I would spend every moment studying, but at least I wouldn’t have to worry about money or landing a job. What do you think ?
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Young, Educated, and Unemployed

October 20th, 2011 by Michael Tabor

Young, educated, and unemployed – What? You are 25 years old, you have A Master’s degree, and you don’t have a job? I know it’s cold comfort but you are not alone. Unless you come from old money and are well connected, the aforementioned – young, educated, and jobless is a chilling reality.
After World War II and at the height of the baby boom, America was truly the land of opportunity; a college education was for those ambitious folks who were not content with being just middle class. If one had a B.A. or a B.S., he or she was not only assured of a job for life but also more often than not guaranteed to be a mover and shaker. Now a bachelor’s degree is tantamount to having a high school diploma back in the 1950s or not even. My father had one job his whole life and was able to support a wife and 6 children. No, we weren’t rich, but my mother was a housewife, there were 6 mouths to feed and my father never went to college. The point is we were okay.
The United States of America was number one militarily and economically (we still are the only superpower militarily, however our economy, as if I need to even mention it is slipping and sliding since 1973). There were jobs to be had and not just service jobs, we manufactured things back then; now everything is made in China. This country has had it made (we can go back to the early nineteenth century with the onset of the industrial revolution) for so long we have invariably become spoiled. Furthermore, not only have we become complacent, we now live in a global economy and The U.S. is no longer the only player in town.
Well one may ask himself – how could this have happened to this once great economic power?  Certainly, this didn’t happen overnight. There is a plethora of reasons but for the sake of this blog, I will concentrate on just one – complacency. Yes that’s right we have become complacent. We no longer have the work ethic, which our parents and grandparents had (clarification – people born before 1940), and we as a nation are only now coming to the realization that we are not entitled to anything more than life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In other words, we can have the good things that life has to offer (especially in this country, which is profoundly rich in natural resources) but we have to work hard for everything. Mommy and Daddy can no longer afford to buy Johnny or Suzie a BMW just because he or she graduated from high school.
I will touch on other factors, which we can attribute to our current woeful economic situation. However, first we have to come to terms with the notion and acknowledge that we have become lazy and spoiled. (I am not speaking about every individual here; I am speaking of our country as an aggregate.) The rest of the world has endured a 20% unemployment rate since time immemorial; now in this global economy, the U.S. is just now getting to know how it feels. And to mention third world countries where there is not even enough food to go around – well that’s a whole other story.
So WhadaWeThink ? What do you think? I will be blogging a lot more about our economic problems and the reasons we are here now. Complacency and the fact that we live in a global economy are just two reasons. There are dozens more.  What do you think ?

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Guest Blogger – Daily Kos

October 16th, 2011 by Michael Tabor
Thank you Daily Kos for allowing Whadawethink to print this. This is a wonderful piece that we felt utterly compelled to show it here on our blog, in case you don’t visit Daily Kos. This resonates so strongly with us and we want everyone to see and read this. Perhaps we all will have a better understanding of what “Occupy Wall Street” is trying to accomplish.
Hello,

I briefly visited the “We are the 53%” website, but I first saw your face on a liberal blog. Your picture is quite popular on liberal blogs. I think it’s because of the expression on your face. I don’t know if you meant to look pugnacious or if we’re just projecting that on you, but I think that’s what gets our attention.
In the picture, you’re holding up a sheet of paper that says:
I am a former Marine.

I work two jobs.
I don’t have health insurance.
I worked 60-70 hours a week for 8 years to pay my way through college.
I haven’t had 4 consecutive days off in over 4 years.
But I don’t blame Wall Street.
Suck it up you whiners.
I am the 53%.
God bless the USA!

I wanted to respond to you as a liberal. Because, although I think you’ve made yourself clear and I think I understand you, you don’t seem to understand me at all. I hope you will read this and understand me better, and maybe understand the Occupy Wall Street movement better.
First, let me say that I think it’s great that you have such a strong work ethic and I agree with you that you have much to be proud of. You seem like a good, hard-working, strong kid. I admire your dedication and determination. I worked my way through college too, mostly working graveyard shifts at hotels as a “night auditor.” For a time I worked at two hotels at once, but I don’t think I ever worked 60 hours in a week, and certainly not 70. I think I maxed out at 56. And that wasn’t something I could sustain for long, not while going to school. The problem was that I never got much sleep, and sleep deprivation would take its toll. I can’t imagine putting in 70 hours in a week while going to college at the same time. That’s impressive.
I have a nephew in the Marine Corps, so I have some idea of how tough that can be. He almost didn’t make it through basic training, but he stuck it out and insisted on staying even when questions were raised about his medical fitness. He eventually served in Iraq and Afghanistan and has decided to pursue a career in the Marines. We’re all very proud of him. Your picture reminds me of him.
So, if you think being a liberal means that I don’t value hard work or a strong work ethic, you’re wrong. I think everyone appreciates the industry and dedication a person like you displays. I’m sure you’re a great employee, and if you have entrepreneurial ambitions, I’m sure these qualities will serve you there too. I’ll wish you the best of luck, even though a guy like you will probably need luck less than most.
I understand your pride in what you’ve accomplished, but I want to ask you something.
Do you really want the bar set this high? Do you really want to live in a society where just getting by requires a person to hold down two jobs and work 60 to 70 hours a week? Is that your idea of the American Dream?
Do you really want to spend the rest of your life working two jobs and 60 to 70 hours a week? Do you think you can? Because, let me tell you, kid, that’s not going to be as easy when you’re 50 as it was when you were 20.
And what happens if you get sick? You say you don’t have health insurance, but since you’re a veteran I assume you have some government-provided health care through the VA system. I know my father, a Vietnam-era veteran of the Air Force, still gets most of his medical needs met through the VA, but I don’t know what your situation is. But even if you have access to health care, it doesn’t mean disease or injury might not interfere with your ability to put in those 60- to 70-hour work weeks.
Do you plan to get married, have kids? Do you think your wife is going to be happy with you working those long hours year after year without a vacation? Is it going to be fair to her? Is it going to be fair to your kids? Is it going to be fair to you?
Look, you’re a tough kid. And you have a right to be proud of that. But not everybody is as tough as you, or as strong, or as young. Does pride in what you’ve accomplish mean that you have contempt for anybody who can’t keep up with you? Does it mean that the single mother who can’t work on her feet longer than 50 hours a week doesn’t deserve a good life? Does it mean the older man who struggles with modern technology and can’t seem to keep up with the pace set by younger workers should just go throw himself off a cliff?
And, believe it or not, there are people out there even tougher than you. Why don’t we let them set the bar, instead of you? Are you ready to work 80 hours a week? 100 hours? Can you hold down four jobs? Can you do it when you’re 40? When you’re 50? When you’re 60? Can you do it with arthritis? Can you do it with one arm? Can you do it when you’re being treated for prostate cancer?
And is this really your idea of what life should be like in the greatest country on Earth?
Here’s how a liberal looks at it: a long time ago workers in this country realized that industrialization wasn’t making their lives better, but worse. The captains of industry were making a ton of money and living a merry life far away from the dirty, dangerous factories they owned, and far away from the even dirtier and more dangerous mines that fed raw materials to those factories.
The workers quickly decided that this arrangement didn’t work for them. If they were going to work as cogs in machines designed to build wealth for the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts and Carnegies, they wanted a cut. They wanted a share of the wealth that they were helping create. And that didn’t mean just more money; it meant a better quality of life. It meant reasonable hours and better working conditions.
Eventually, somebody came up with the slogan, “8 hours of work, 8 hours of leisure, 8 hours of sleep” to divide the 24-hour day into what was considered a fair allocation of a human’s time. It wasn’t a slogan that was immediately accepted. People had to fight to put this standard in place. People demonstrated, and fought with police, and were killed. They were called communists (in fairness, some of them were), and traitors, and many of them got a lot worse than pepper spray at the hands of police and private security.
But by the time we got through the Great
Depression and WWII, we’d all learned some valuable lessons about working together and sharing the prosperity, and the 8-hour workday became the norm.

The 8-hour workday and the 40-hour workweek became a standard by which we judged our economic success, and a reality check against which we could verify the American Dream.
If a family could live a good life with one wage-earner working a 40-hour job, then the American Dream was realized. If the income from that job could pay the bills, buy a car, pay for the kids’ braces, allow the family to save enough money for a down payment on a house and still leave some money for retirement and maybe for a college fund for the kids, then we were living the American Dream. The workers were sharing in the prosperity they helped create, and they still had time to take their kids to a ball game, take their spouses to a movie, and play a little golf on the weekends.
Ah, the halcyon days of the 1950s! Yeah, ok, it wasn’t quite that perfect. The prosperity wasn’t spread as evenly and ubiquitously as we might want to pretend, but if you were a middle-class white man, things were probably pretty good from an economic perspective. The American middle class was reaching its zenith.
And the top marginal federal income tax rate was more than 90%. Throughout the whole of the 1950s and into the early 60s.
Just thought I’d throw that in there.
Anyway, do you understand what I’m trying to say? We can have a reasonable standard for what level of work qualifies you for the American Dream, and work to build a society that realizes that dream, or we can chew each other to the bone in a nightmare of merciless competition and mutual contempt.

I’m a liberal, so I probably dream bigger than you. For instance, I want everybody to have healthcare. I want lazy people to have healthcare. I want stupid people to have healthcare. I want drug addicts to have healthcare. I want bums who refuse to work even when given the opportunity to have healthcare. I’m willing to pay for that with my taxes, because I want to live in a society where it doesn’t matter how much of a loser you are, if you need medical care you can get it. And not just by crowding up an emergency room that should be dedicated exclusively to helping people in emergencies.
You probably don’t agree with that, and that’s fine. That’s an expansion of the American Dream, and would involve new commitments we haven’t made before. But the commitment we’ve made to the working class since the 1940s is something that we should both support and be willing to fight for, whether we are liberal or conservative. We should both be willing to fight for the American Dream. And we should agree that anybody trying to steal that dream from us is to be resisted, not defended.
And while we’re defending that dream, you know what else we’ll be defending, kid? We’ll be defending you and your awesome work ethic. Because when we defend the American Dream we’re not just defending the idea of modest prosperity for people who put in an honest day’s work, we’re also defending the idea that those who go the extra mile should be rewarded accordingly.
Look kid, I don’t want you to “get by” working two jobs and 60 to 70 hours a week. If you’re willing to put in that kind of effort, I want you to get rich. I want you to have a comprehensive healthcare plan. I want you vacationing in the Bahamas every couple of years, with your beautiful wife and healthy, happy kids. I want you rewarded for your hard work, and I want your exceptional effort to reap exceptional rewards. I want you to accumulate wealth and invest it in Wall Street. And I want you to make more money from those investments.
I understand that a prosperous America needs people with money to invest, and I’ve got no problem with that. All other things being equal, I want all the rich people to keep being rich. And clever financiers who find ways to get more money into the hands of promising entrepreneurs should be rewarded for their contributions as well.
I think Wall Street has an important job to do, I just don’t think they’ve been doing it. And I resent their sense of entitlement – their sense that they are special and deserve to be rewarded extravagantly even when they screw everything up.
Come on, it was only three years ago, kid. Remember? Those assholes almost destroyed our economy. Do you remember the feeling of panic? John McCain wanted to suspend the presidential campaign so that everybody could focus on the crisis. Hallowed financial institutions like Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch went belly up. The government started intervening with bailouts, not because anybody thought “private profits and socialized losses” was fair, but because we were afraid not to intervene – we were afraid our whole economy might come crashing down around us if we didn’t prop up companies that were “too big to fail.”
So, even though you and I had nothing to do with the bad decisions, blind greed and incompetence of those guys on Wall Street, we were sure as hell along for the ride, weren’t we? And we’ve all paid a price.
All the” 99%” wants is for you to remember the role that Wall Street played in creating this mess, and for you to join us in demanding that Wall Street share the pain. They don’t want to share the pain, and they’re spending a lot of money and twisting a lot of arms to foist their share of the pain on the rest of us instead. And they’ve been given unprecedented powers to spend and twist, and they’re not even trying to hide what they’re doing.
All we want is for everybody to remember what happened, and to see what is happening still. And we want you to see that the only way they can get away without paying their share is to undermine the American Dream for the rest of us.
And I want you and I to understand each other, and to stand together to prevent them from doing that. You seem like the kind of guy who would be a strong ally, and I’d be proud to stand with you.
EDIT: Thanks to everyone for the recommendations and to Kos for the promotion to the front page. I’m really stunned. I hope it isn’t weird to add an edit like this after you’ve been promoted to the front page. But I wanted to say how much I appreciate the opportunity to be heard and I appreciate all the kind comments (which I will probably spend most of the rest of the night reading).
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