The market may have been closed yesterday (one of its best days in weeks), but our site was up and running – items targeted specifically to smokers, nonsmokers, and anyone concerned with getting older.

Today the market may not fare as well. The just-signed stimulus package is very much in our interest, yet reminds investors what a truly deep hole the world economy is in.

So let’s talk about something else.


Two illuminating items excerpted from his latest at the

President Obama: At his first prime time press conference at the White House, the president was asked about how he would go about getting more bipartisanship after not getting a single Republican vote when the House voted on the initial stimulus plan. His response:

I mean, I suppose what I could have done is started off with no tax cuts, knowing that I was going to want some, and then let them take credit for all of them. And maybe that’s the lesson I learned.

And it’s a lesson he shouldn’t forget. This tactic is used all the time in New York City. The mayor always plays the hard guy by cutting libraries and schools and neighborhood clinics in the budget he presents to the City Council. Council members then rail against him for being so cold, so heartless. They add the money back during budget negotiations. When the final budget comes out, the money has been restored to a level that reflects fiscal conditions at the time. Council members get to crow about programs they’ve saved. The mayor gets his budget. This SO could have worked for the stimulus bill. While the final bill passed the House and Senate without this tactic yesterday, the president must use some form of it going forward. Obama can rely on the courage of Republican Sens. Arlen Specter (Pa.), Olympia Snowe (Maine) and Susan Collins (Maine) only so much.

The Rev. Joseph Lowery: The opening words of the stirring benediction at President Obama’s inauguration by 87-year-old minister and civil rights leader Joseph Lowery were more powerful than many people probably realized at the time.

God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, thou, who has brought us thus far along the way, thou, who has by thy might led us into the light, keep us forever in the path we pray, lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met thee, lest our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee. Shadowed beneath thy hand, may we forever stand true to thee, oh God, and true to our native land.

Those are the closing words of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” written in 1900 by high school principal James Welden Johnson of Jacksonville, Fla., for an Abraham Lincoln birthday celebration. But it is more affectionately known among African Americans as “The Negro National Anthem,” because it speaks to the hope for liberation from oppression. To have the words echo across the National Mall from the steps of an edifice built by slaves on the occasion of the inauguration of America’s first black President is weighted with incalculable historical significance.

In the days leading up to the inauguration, I wondered how or whether this song would be a part of the festivities. Lowery’s subtle use of the words, enhanced by a voice gravely with age and wisdom, was as elegant as it was poignant.


Dennis King: “I use FireFox which according to this has a 21% share. FireFox suffers from your ‘F’ ing problem. I complained a while back about, but figured I should not expect much action given the ‘F’ ing high subscription price. But it looks unprofessional and detracts just a little from whatever the ‘F’ you are trying to say. There is a simple solution: Just don’t use that ‘F’ ing Wingding.

>>> Good point. And after reading about its zoom feature, and some other stuff (session restore), I may start using Firefox, too. (But why, when I set it up, does it import so few of my “Favorites” from Internet Explorer?)

Jeff Reynolds: “I think all you have to do to make a right-pointing finger work in any browser is to enter “☞” before your response. This is unicode, as opposed to the wingdings you’ve been using. You can find lots of info by googling wingdings and firefox (and/or unicode).”

☞ Did it work?

Gene Somdahl: “Wingdings are not supported as standard HTML.”

☞ How could Microsoft have possibly known.


Here is the link to tonight’s PBS Frontline report, Meltdown.

And here is the must-see Bill Moyers interview with Simon Johnson, former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, that really helps illuminate where we are. Well worth the 21 minutes to view (or five to read).


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