Friday, June 12, 2009

Just a riding jacket

The riding jacket - we bought it on e-bay and it's a bit bigger than we thought. But my daughter is happy with it and wears it for her horse shows. Here she came in fifth place, there is a small trophy plaque and a bag of lollipops in the white bag - and the ribbon, of course!

Friday, June 05, 2009

So what were You in your past life?

I have no idea - to tell the truth, I'm not really a believer in anything. I'm the original doubting Thomas. But I have a couple friends who are convinced they lived other lives, and I suppose it's a possibility. The thing that stumps me is the logistics - if everyone is reincarnated, how come there are so many new people being born, unless you can start just anywhere, or maybe very good ants come back as humans?
Because there were only a few humans in the beginning - and if they kept recycling themselves coming back again and again, and then others are born - - is there a hierarchy among the reincarntated, I wonder? Is there a king and queen (sort of the Adam and Eve of us all) who are the eldest? And newbies - how are they treated in the reincrnated world - poor naked souls with no past lives; how sad. And if we are reincarnated, how can we retrieve our memories? Is there a sort of waiting - sorting room 'up there' where you pause before getting shipped off into a new life - and when, exactly, does 'life' start (how annoying to get shipped off and be scraped off as an abortion - Zap - right back to the back of the line...) And can you apply for a good family? If you think about it, (and you're sitting in a house sipping coffee and staring at your computer screen) you have to realize you're incredibly lucky. You could have been assigned to be baby 122589633258AHJ-female - born in Zaire to a HIV positive woman. Yes, if reincarnation exists, we hit the jackpot this time around. What about next time? Does being a good person influence who you are next time? (If that's true, Bush's next life will be as queen of the Naked Mole Rats.)
Have I been good enough to deserve being born as a caucasian female in a civilized society in my next life? I have No idea - but the idea of a big waiting line in the sky and a hierarchy among reincarnates is intriguing. An idea for a book, maybe?

Thursday, June 04, 2009


Here's one reply to an article that the NY Times will probably never print...

Cubans with their free healthcare and education don't need lessons from the US about how to take care of their own. And as far as political prisoners - can you say Guatanamo? I think the problem is that the plutarchy that constitutes the US government is deadly frightened of a system that will enable everyone to live in comfort and dignity. Cuba is the nightmare of every huge conglomerate that skims money from the poor and redistributes to the rich, every system that relies on elitism to survive (college or healthcare, anyone?), and every government that controls its people through poverty, prison, and guns.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009


Why does everything have to cost money? (to echo my son when he was 4...)You might know I put two boys in Kenya through secondary school. It was through a charity run by a missionary group in Canada - I know one of the missionaries. (she writes erotic romance at the same publishing company I do...) anyhow, both boys graduated - but one wants to go to the university and can't afford it.
We're trying to talk him into finding a training program. The other boy went into a computer program that was very cheap (well, it was just a six month program). But Justus wants to go to the university. He applied and was accepted, and then passed a test for a grant - and won about 2000 towards his education. But universities in Kenya are expensive, and its 4000$ a year, and he can't afford it. And neither can I, unfortunately. Secondary school for both boys only came to about 1000$ a year - and I used my royalties to pay that (so all those who have bought my books - imagine that you have contibuted to 2 fine young men being able to go to school and graduate - something they never thought would be possible. Thank you!)
I was going to makle a plea for donations, but I can't think how to work out the logistics. It's a four year universuty, and I'd want to make sure he would be able to go all four years.
I think the best thing would be that he finds a good training program and sets his sites a bit lower - we've all had to do that. Maybe he'll be able to get in next year - maybe I'll have a best seller by then!
Well, it's time for me to drive my number two son to the train station - he's got exams right now in his university. (In France, the universities are free - there is only a small fee for insurance (250$ covers all their health insurance) and a fee for the university (roughly 400$ a year). I'm sorry everyone living everywhere else, but that's what I call a civilized country. If education isn't free - you might as well live in a third world country.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Reagan Did It

(this should be required reading...)

Reagan Did It

Published: May 31, 2009

“This bill is the most important legislation for financial institutions in the last 50 years. It provides a long-term solution for troubled thrift institutions. ... All in all, I think we hit the jackpot.” So declared Ronald Reagan in 1982, as he signed the Garn-St. Germain Depository Institutions Act.

He was, as it happened, wrong about solving the problems of the thrifts. On the contrary, the bill turned the modest-sized troubles of savings-and-loan institutions into an utter catastrophe. But he was right about the legislation’s significance. And as for that jackpot — well, it finally came more than 25 years later, in the form of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
For the more one looks into the origins of the current disaster, the clearer it becomes that the key wrong turn — the turn that made crisis inevitable — took place in the early 1980s, during the Reagan years.

Attacks on Reaganomics usually focus on rising inequality and fiscal irresponsibility. Indeed, Reagan ushered in an era in which a small minority grew vastly rich, while working families saw only meager gains. He also broke with longstanding rules of fiscal prudence.
On the latter point: traditionally, the U.S. government ran significant budget deficits only in times of war or economic emergency. Federal debt as a percentage of G.D.P. fell steadily from the end of World War II until 1980. But indebtedness began rising under Reagan; it fell again in the Clinton years, but resumed its rise under the Bush administration, leaving us ill prepared for the emergency now upon us.

The increase in public debt was, however, dwarfed by the rise in private debt, made possible by financial deregulation. The change in America’s financial rules was Reagan’s biggest legacy. And it’s the gift that keeps on taking.

The immediate effect of Garn-St. Germain, as I said, was to turn the thrifts from a problem into a catastrophe. The S.& L. crisis has been written out of the Reagan hagiography, but the fact is that deregulation in effect gave the industry — whose deposits were federally insured — a license to gamble with taxpayers’ money, at best, or simply to loot it, at worst. By the time the government closed the books on the affair, taxpayers had lost $130 billion, back when that was a lot of money.

But there was also a longer-term effect. Reagan-era legislative changes essentially ended New Deal restrictions on mortgage lending — restrictions that, in particular, limited the ability of families to buy homes without putting a significant amount of money down.

These restrictions were put in place in the 1930s by political leaders who had just experienced a terrible financial crisis, and were trying to prevent another. But by 1980 the memory of the Depression had faded. Government, declared Reagan, is the problem, not the solution; the magic of the marketplace must be set free. And so the precautionary rules were scrapped.

Together with looser lending standards for other kinds of consumer credit, this led to a radical change in American behavior.

We weren’t always a nation of big debts and low savings: in the 1970s Americans saved almost 10 percent of their income, slightly more than in the 1960s. It was only after the Reagan deregulation that thrift gradually disappeared from the American way of life, culminating in the near-zero savings rate that prevailed on the eve of the great crisis. Household debt was only 60 percent of income when Reagan took office, about the same as it was during the Kennedy administration. By 2007 it was up to 119 percent.

All this, we were assured, was a good thing: sure, Americans were piling up debt, and they weren’t putting aside any of their income, but their finances looked fine once you took into account the rising values of their houses and their stock portfolios. Oops.

Now, the proximate causes of today’s economic crisis lie in events that took place long after Reagan left office — in the global savings glut created by surpluses in China and elsewhere, and in the giant housing bubble that savings glut helped inflate.

But it was the explosion of debt over the previous quarter-century that made the U.S. economy so vulnerable. Overstretched borrowers were bound to start defaulting in large numbers once the housing bubble burst and unemployment began to rise.

These defaults in turn wreaked havoc with a financial system that — also mainly thanks to Reagan-era deregulation — took on too much risk with too little capital.

There’s plenty of blame to go around these days. But the prime villains behind the mess we’re in were Reagan and his circle of advisers — men who forgot the lessons of America’s last great financial crisis, and condemned the rest of us to repeat it.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Kidnap This Logo!

Kidnap This Logo!
And You Could Win!
To celebrate its Fifteenth Anniversary, Red Sage is throwing a party! Every party needs presents, and here’s a gift that could win you the July Secrets anthology and Calista Fox’s new novel, Object of Desire!

Here’s how to play the party game.
Anyone can play! All you have to do is “kidnap” this logo and post it on your blog or website.
Copy and paste the jpg image of the anniversary gift to your own blog or website to kidnap it. Be sure to include these instructions so people know how to play!

Invite your readers and friends to send an email with the subject line “Ransom Note” to Inside this email, they must include a link back to your kidnapped logo.

Then you and your friend will both be entered into a drawing to win free trade paperbacks! Every time one of your readers sends a ransom note with a link, you will be entered again! Each Ransom Note is worth two entries in the drawing -- one for the person who sends the Ransom Note, and one for the linked blog or website. And you both can win!

Want more chances to win? Invite your readers and friends to kidnap this logo, and then you can enter again by sending a Ransom Note linking to your friend’s blog or website!
The more times you enter, the more chances you have to win!
Group blog or website? No problem! Just be sure to sign your post so we know who the winner should be!
Deadline June 30.

Good luck, and have fun!
Red Sage. Read Dangerously.