Risk Rap

Rapping About a World at Risk

Welcome Diwali

We want to extend our greetings to all Diwali celebrants. The Diwali celebration is a time of reflection and an opportunity to express gratitude for all the gifts we receive. It is a holiday that expresses the human joy and hope in good triumphing over evil.

May all our Hindu, Sikhs and Jain brothers and sisters have a joyous and meaningful Diwali.

Namaste

You Tube Video: Origins of Diwali

You Tube Video: Happy Diwali 2008

Risk: peace, tolerance, grace

Advertisements

October 18, 2009 Posted by | faith, holiday, soundtrack | 1 Comment

The Last Full Measure of Devotion

It is the 145th anniversary of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. The address is one of the seminal statements of a free people declaring an allegiance to a democratic republic and the price citizens must pay to sustain it.

There was a time when all school children were tasked with memorizing the address verbatim. The politically precocious would accept the assignment and use it as an opportunity to hone oratorical skills and show off their intelligence with great theatricality. Many would reluctantly accept the assignment thinking it important only slightly more then resenting the task. Some would refuse to see the point entirely remaining happily content in a feigned ignorance of the responsibility of citizens wholly ambivalent to the grace liberty confers on free people.

Gettysburg is the battlefield where our still young republic met its greatest challenge. The terrible contest of political will and military might placed our beloved republic in grave danger of extinction. Many rose to its defense by offering their last full measure of devotion.

This devotion is worthy of our continued attention. Today our republic is being tested once more and soon more will be asked of everyone to reaffirm their devotion through sacrifice, hard work, patience, service and treasure. Gone are the days where we can demonstrate our patriotism by going to the mall and running up our credit balances. These times all will be called and like the school children from a bygone era some will take up the task with enthusiasm some will grudgingly comply and others will feign ignorance.

As we continue to fight two wars while struggling to extricate ourselves from a growing recession all are needed to bind the wounds of our politically divided country.  All must step up and become engaged in some form to bear the burden of defending our freedoms by offering our allegiance, resolve and a will to sacrifice in service to our beloved republic.

Wiki Audio: Gettysburg Address

You Tube Music Video: Glory, Closing Scene

Risk: ambivalence, political apathy, constant vigilance

November 19, 2008 Posted by | democracy, soundtrack | Leave a comment

Vote

The right and privilege to vote is a great grace of liberty.
Today I had the privilege to work as a poll monitor for the ACLU.
It was my job to see that all people coming to exercise their right to vote was respected and protected.
By noon 10 incidents had occurred. Most were favorably resolved.
A very conservative person who had a passionate dislike for the ACLU had difficulty voting.
We were able to help him resolve the problem.  He thanked us profusely.
The only time American’s lose is when they don’t vote.

Keep democracy strong.

Vote!

Use it or lose it.

You Tube video:

Bruce Springsteen: Born in the USA (acoustic)

James Cagney: Yankee Doodle

Mitch Miller: Longest Day March

Mavis Staples: Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

Woody Guthrie: This land is Your Land

Ray Charles: America the Beautiful

Johnny Cash: Ballad of Ira Hayse

Johnny Cash: The One on the Right

When Johnny Comes Marching Home

The Battle Hymn of the Republic

The America experiment in democracy is still a light to the nations
and the worlds greatest hope.

God bless us all.

Risk:
Participatory Democracy

November 5, 2008 Posted by | culture, democracy, elections, folk, soundtrack | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Great Dictator

The Great Dictator is a film done by Charlie Chaplin in 1940. The first scene from the film included here is Charlie Chaplin making an anti-fascist speech. The speech speaks volumes about our political condition today and the need to be ever watchful to guard our liberties and freedoms by safeguarding our humanity. In Chaplin’s time the threat was Nazism. In our time the threat is ambivalence, the allure of narrow nationalism, dehumanization of others, consumerism, faux patriotism and an ignorance of the essential tenants of a democratic republic and why they are critical to our freedom and liberty.

As Charlie Chaplin implores his countrymen to “fight for democracy not for your enslavement.” I ask that you carefully consider your vote and to most importantly exercise your vote and protect the right of others to participate in our great democracy. Its the humane thing to do.

Vote, use it or lose it.

Movie Video Clip: Charlie Chaplin, The Great Dictator Speech Scene

Movie Video Clip: Charlie Chaplin, The Great Dictator Globe Scene

Music Video: Glory

Risk: democracy, elections,

October 27, 2008 Posted by | democracy, elections, movie, soundtrack | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sum2 to Exhibit at Everything Jersey Conference

Sum2 will be exhibiting at the Everything Jersey Conference & Expo.

Sum2 will showcase the Profit|Optimizer product series. Current economic conditions are creating an unprecedented demand for this timely small business risk management tool. The Profit|Optimizer can be ordered and downloaded through our e-commerce site.

Sum2 will also demonstrate its award winning AML product PACO™. PACO and related AML compliance products can be ordered through our e-commerce site.

We hope to see you at the show.

Visit www.sum2.com today.Music Video:  Jerry Lewis  The Typewriter Song

Risk: missing the show.



October 25, 2008 Posted by | commerce, soundtrack, Sum2 | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reality Bites Back

If you build the foundation of your house on a pile of sand, when the water rises it will fall with a great crash.

Wendell Phillips reminds us that “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” That vigilance demands that we examine the proclamations, actions and behaviors of the people running for office. As free people endowed with the grace of liberty we must hold up the proclamations and representations of people seeking office to the light of truth. Every free person must scrupulously examine the candidates and the evidence they offer so as to confer our vote to those who most closely represent the ideals and aspirations we desire for our community and country.

When a candidate comes before us claiming to be one of the common folk and bases a good measure of their candidacy on proclaiming their commonness to appeal to popular sentiment it is fitting if we examine their conduct and actions to see if their claims ring true when held up to the light of truth.

Sarah Palin, the self proclaimed hockey mom is not as common as she would like American’s to believe. Ms. Palin is a skilled politician who knows how to trade on her political currency to advance her career. Ms. Palin’s selection as McCain’s running mate was a cynical attempt by a stagnating campaign to enlist a willing media to derail the electorates attention from the substantive issues painfully confronting this country.

More has been written and debated about the sexism of people who raised questions about Ms. Palin’s qualifications then elucidating a coherent and complete response to those questions. My belief is that the Republican Party could have surfaced a more competent and capable candidate to assume a role that is one heart beat away from the presidency of the United States.

More has been made of Ms. Palin’s opponents elitism and urban chauvinism then a thorough examination of her insistence that real American’s reside on the Main Streets of small town America. My belief is that this is divisive. It does not build national unity and is harmful to a necessary national consensus that democracies require in order to function. Ms. Palin’s demonization of opponents does great harm to our republic.

More has been spoken about Ms. Palin’s claim to be a leading proponent of Maverickanism. Americans would be well served to examine her program to determine the extent of its divergence from the current administration. My belief is that Ms. Palin advances a program that remains subservient to the interests of large oil companies and big business and is fully wedded to the continuation of the policies of the current administration. Does the slogan “drill baby drill” sound familiar? This country has been rudderless and bereft of any effective leadership under two successive republican administrations. We need a break from SOP. We need a transformational president. (AKA A Real Maverick)

We must also ask, “when is a hockey mom not really a hockey mom?” Do all hockey mom’s spend $150K on clothes? This nation’s hockey moms are rarely seen in fancy leather jackets and very slick dress suits replete with fine complimentary accessories. Today, the majority of hockey moms are hoping they can afford the fees and expensive equipment that participation in hockey leagues requires. Hockey mom’s hope they have the extra dosh to fill up the tank to drive their worry and work weary self and child to make it to the rink for a 6:00AM Saturday morning ice time. Your Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue suits might just be enough to get you kicked out of Hockey Moms United USA. It certainly will get you a membership into the uber elite Waldorf Des Rothschild’s Social Club.

The other recent pillar of the McCain campaign has been the emergence of Joe the Plumber. Joe the Plumber is not a licensed plumber. Joe the Plumber is a laborer who is on the lam from the Arizona DMV for skipping out on a bunch of parking tickets. Joe the Plumber is not in any position to buy his bosses business and it appears that his hope to make a $250K salary remains a very long longshot. But incredibly enough John McCain holds this guy up as a poster child for unfair taxation. McCain’s argument is that sometime in the future if Joe the Plumber buys a business and makes $250K he’ll have to suffer a 3% increase in taxes.

McCain’s incredibly incomprehensible and disingenuous campaign is dangerously crowned by the destructive robocalls that shout Obama is a socialist, a supporter terrorists and is eager to fleece the middle class of America and give their money to the people who don’t make money. I don’t know from what planet McCain has just arrived from but if he’s spent any time recently with the middle class of America he would well know that 8 years of unbridled republicanism has already fleeced the treasure of the middle class and is now in possession of the monied interests that the republican party slavishly serve.

Most dangerous and cynical of all is a McCain campaign flyer put out by the RNC insinuating Mr. Obama’s terrorist ties. It shows an airplane and a picture of Obama ostensively guiding a crew of terrorists to fly into a building to continue the rein of terror and bring down Babylon America.

McCain has been flying this flag for months. I would ask McCain if he and his campaign have evidence concerning Mr. Obama’s support of terrorist activities to bring it to law enforcement officials so American citizens can be protected from the devises of this pernicious subversion. Thats what true patriots are called to do Mr. McCain. Mr. McCain’s fear mongering, character assassination and attempts to question people and groups love of country and patriotism is a sick pandemic that the real enemies of this republic encourage. And like the Hockey Mom Sarah Palin and Joe the Not Yet Plumber, Mr. Obama the terrorist is a well crafted fiction in the senile mind of sedentary campaign bordering on political dementia.

I welcome the conclusion to McCain’s ugly campaign. Built on sand, existing as a fictive sand castle in Mr. McCain’s mind it is hoped the election will wash away this nonsense in a tide of an affirmative mandate for real transformation.

Music Video: Temptations, Just My Imagination

Music Video: Windmills of Your Mind

Risk: truth, voter distrust, political ambivalence’s, electoral alienation

October 23, 2008 Posted by | culture, elections, McCain, Palin, politics, RnB, soundtrack | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hockey Mom Takes Center Ice

Did you hear the one about the guy who went a hockey game and a political brawl broke out?

Or did you hear the one about a hockey mom who took center ice to drop the puck and got booed?

Only in Philadelphia, where fans are known to throw snowballs at Santa Claus and burn sacred cows in effigy could this happen and did at last nights season opener for the Flyers. The city of Joe Six Packers have no shame. They will let any less then worthy opponents of their Broad Street Bullies sensibilities know where to stick it at the drop of a hockey puck.

Being from North Jersey I know. My Devils, Mets, Giants, Nets and Knicks have been locked in a life and death struggle with their Philly based conference rivals my entire career as a sports fan. I know the fans from the City of Brotherly Love and they ain’t too friendly to the people they don’t like. Hell, even at Gino’s they won’t even sell you a Philly Cheese Steak if you don’t order it in English. That’s hard man.

So as our First Mom of Hockey came onto the ice to drop the ceremonial first puck at the Flyers season opener a raft of Bronx Cheers (sorry Philly) welled up in the stands. I’m proud of them. The First Hockey Mom even dressed her daughter Piper in a Flyer jersey to provide cover and win sympathy from the hard nosed fans. It didn’t work.

If you live by the hockey stick you lose by the hockey stick. Palin’s cheap attempt to claim the Joe Six Pack hockey vote was penalized by the fans. She was called for high sticking and was sent to the penalty box.

Republicans have politicized religion, science and education. We draw the line at center ice. Vote no to the republican control of the NHL!

Rocky! Rocky! Rocky!

I hope the Phillies go all the way.

Music Video: Rocky Theme

Risk: politicalization of hockey

October 12, 2008 Posted by | community, culture, Palin, soundtrack, sports | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

McCain’s Know Nothings

Citizen Know Nothing

It was painful to watch Mr. McCain’s last town meeting. An older women took the microphone to speak about her fear of an Obama Presidency. She said that she read that Mr. Obama was an Arab. Mr. McCain took the microphone back from the woman before she could complete her thought. I guess she feared that Michelle Obama would change the Lincoln Room wallpaper to Arabesque patterns to match the architecture of the Grand Mosque of Cordoba and that the Whirling Dervishes would perform at all future White House events.

McCain was forced to give a Marc Anthony soliloquy. “My friends, I must say that my opponent is an honorable man. And he really is an American, Sean Hannity checked his papers. Twice.” McCain’s supporters were miffed and looked on with unbelief as their candidate went on to explain that Obama was actually a family man with two kids and a wife. His supporters shouted “say it ain’t so John. Don’t believe the lies of the liberal media that paint Obama like a regular American. We know the real truth. He doesn’t even like hockey!”

All week we have seen McCain’s supporters express their exasperation because “That One” has a lead in the polls which many fear their candidate may not be able to surmount. With incredulous unbelief they can’t understand how the America of their understanding might elect a terrorist loving closeted Muslim whose deep hatred of America will compel him to quickly raise the White Flag of surrender and preside over the destruction of the Union. Low information voters rely on demagogues to confirm their prejudices and fears with a few well placed words. Cultivating low information voters by speaking down to them with hate speech will yield low returns. So as our country struggles to confront drastic challenges and problems McCain’s Know Nothings implore him to show more courage of his convictions and go negative in his next debate to save America from an Arab President.

Sarah Palin’s masterful use of the rhetoric of division and suspicion “who is Barack Obama?” has stoked the ugly side of America’s political angst. The lipstick wearing attack dog has done her job well. She has skillfully tapped into voter sentiment that is frightened about their economic security, fed up with the self serving lies of our political leaders and furious about their powerlessness to exercise control and stop the radical changes occurring in their lives. The stasis of Bush Republicanism is being washed away in a Tsunami of world events that is accelerating the pace of change and cultural transformation. Palin promises to change our inability to arrest the changes that are overwhelming Americans. Sarah’s minions just want it to stop. They want it to go away. They want it to stay the way things always were. America is on top. God is in his heaven and all is right with the world. They will accept nothing less then our full entitlement to the birthright of our American Exceptionalism. And unlike Easu we will not sell it or be tricked out of it by a fast talking Jacob that goes by the name of Barack.

There are parallels to this story in our short and modest history as a democratic republic. The Know Nothings were a pre-republican party political movement borne in the civic turmoil of New York City. They were Nativists that distrusted the ruling democrats and hated the swelling population of Irish immigrants that was flooding America just prior to and during the Civil War. They felt “the purity of their America” was being lost and diluted by the foreign influence of its new citizens. Martin Scorsese’s “Gangs of New York” character Butcher Bill Cutting yearns to protect an idea of America that shares many of the same concerns that Barracuda Sarah incants with her divisive rhetoric.

The release of the movie American Carol will certainly add to the informed dialog about the pressing issues of the day. To me it looks like a heap of pedestrian clichéd camp. Its purpose will serve to reinforce low information voters political prejudices and misconceptions. The few clips I have seen are anything but funny and its natural audience will liken it more to a chilling documentary then comedy. It will also provide comedic cover to derail attempts for a serious examination of issues which can now be disposed of with a dismissive can’t take a joke tagline.

One reaps what one sows. Spread seeds of obfuscation and one gets confusion. Spread seeds of distrust you’ll get suspicion and division. Spread anger you will reap conflict. Pander to ignorance and you shall cull stupidity.

American politics on the down low this October 11, 2008.

You Tube Video: Shift Happens

Music Video: The Charlatans – The Only One I Know

Risk: democracy, elections, civic participation, enlightenment, civil unrest

October 11, 2008 Posted by | culture, elections, McCain, Obama, Palin, politics, rock, soundtrack | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Level Three Sinks Lower at GS

Interesting piece at CFO magazine concerning fair value deterioration of Level Three Assets at Goldman Sachs during the month of August. Goldman Sachs reports that valuation of Level Three Assets dropped by 13%. It would be interesting to understand the impact of this collateral erosion had on GS’s largest counter-party AIG?

Was this the trigger that precursors the radical interventionist moves by the Treasury to purchase a controlling stake in AIG?

This insight will become most constructive as the Treasury begins its purchase program of toxic level three assets. Hammering Hank has hired Neel Kashkari one of his mentees from GS to head up the repurchase program. Mr. Kashkari is said to be a quantitative wiz kid and a real life rocket scientist to buy Level Three Assets from GS and other banks and create and manage a portfolio of toxic assets on behalf of the American taxpayers.

The CFO article can be viewed here.

You Tube Video: Goof Troop Level Three

Risk: collateral valuation, counter-party default,

October 8, 2008 Posted by | banking, credit crisis, EESA, FASB, soundtrack, TARP, Treasury | , , , , | Leave a comment

Brother Sun, Sister Moon

I live in the burbs of Northern New Jersey. My home is nestled in the bucolic hills of the Ramapough’s. Its very woodsy and the animal population is diverse and pretty prolific considering the fact that the George Washington bridge is only 20 miles to the east.

One of the unfortunate consequences of having a large and thriving animal population is the ugly carnage of road kill that litters community streets and highways. The decaying carcasses of deers, squirrels, woodchucks, chipmunks, Canadian geese, cats, dogs, skunks, opossums, raccoons, foxes, coyotes, snakes, rabbits, turtles, assorted birds and an occasional bear are common sights one expects to encounter each time you take the car out for a spin. Needless to say, driving in my neighborhood is difficult and dangerous. Particularly for the scurrying critters that mindlessly dart into the road and are crushed under the tires of unmindful drivers.

I raise this observation this morning in reverence for the ministry of St. Francis of Assisi. St. Francis has long been associated with a love and respect for animals and a deep reverence for our environment. In today’s homily, my Episcopal priest offered that St. Francis was asking us to find more balance and more harmony in our relationship with the natural world. The rising death toll of poor creatures that litter our roads are symptoms of a radical imbalance due to habitat destruction and a broken food chain that is horrifically corrected under the unforgiving wheels of rampaging Hummers. As sentient mindful beings who are called by God to be stewards of our planet home; we can find better corrective measures to address this radical imbalance that tilts our earth away from realizing this divine call.

This election has highlighted our need to pay more attention to a changing global climate and the need to become better stewards of our environment and to equitably share the rich bounty mother earth offers all its citizens.

St. Francis reminds us to seek more balance in our lives and in our relations with others and nature. Its a worthy reminder to consider when we vote, when we drive and as we walk along the pathways of our daily life.

May the Lord’s Peace be upon you and all God’s creation this day and always.

Prayer of St. Francis, “Lord make us instruments of your peace.”

Canticle of St. Francis Canticle of Brother Sun, Sister Moon.

Film Clip: Franco Zeffirelli’s Brother Sun, Sister Moon song by Donovan.

Music: The Muppet Show, Rodger Moore Talk to the Animals

Risk: balance, proportion, stewardship, unity

October 5, 2008 Posted by | environment, faith, soundtrack | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment