Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Going Green in 2008 and Saving Money

In spring of 2008 I stopped using plastic bags because I learned that millions of our plastic bags are in the Pacific Ocean killing birds and fish. In the spring at Santa Monica College I heard Marcus Eriksen read from his book "My River Home: A Journey from the Gulf War to the Gulf of Mexico" about taking a raft he made of soda pop bottles down the whole length of the Mississippi. Eriksen worked for Algalita Marine Research Foundation in Long Beach, California, which does research on plastic bags in the Pacific Ocean. In late spring he and his colleague took Junk, a raft they made out of plastic, and sailed it from California to Hawaii doing research all the while on plastics in the ocean.

I decided if Erikesen could sail the raft across the Pacific I'd quit using plastic bags. Whenever I went grocery shopping, I trained myself in a new habit of bringing my cloth bags to haul my groceries home. A lot of community groups gave out free cloth bags so I have quite a collection. I also bought organic cloth bags for $30 to bag fruits and vegetables rather than using the small plastic grocery store bags. I don't have all these plastic or paper bags cluttering up my drawers or needing to be recylcled, so cloth bags are definitely more convenient.

Also, I started composting in my mother's backyard. I took a class in composting that the L.A. Parks and Recreating holds at its Griffith Park composting facility:

After the class I bought one of the low-cost big green composting bins they had for sale. Learning how to compost was very easy, and I got two households to compost: mine and my mother's. Actually it was amazing to watch how the compost reduced itself. Keeping up the compost doesn't take much time--just add more fruits, vegetables, leaves, lawn clippings and water. One needn't take a class. In a half hour Internet research one can find out how to compost. By composting, getting rid of the plastic bags, and recycling all paper, metal, and plastic in the blue bins, I've reduced my trash for landfill quite a lot.

Also in 2008 I helped plant three trees. I donated money to Treepeople to plant a tree as a memorial for two friends who had died: my mother's old friend Delores Smith and our family friend Dr. Saul Niedorf. I find it comforting that out there in Southern California there is the Delores Smith tree and also the Dr. Saul Niedorf tree growing.Treepeople, who have planted one million trees in the Los Angeles area, can be found online at

I also got a free tree from the Los Angeles Conservation Corps which was planted in the parkway in front of my mother's house and I've ordered another tree from them for the parkway. In Los Angeles people can get free trees from either Los Angeles Conservation Corps or LA DWP as part of Mayor Villaraigosa's initiative to plant a million trees My mother's garden already has a fig tree, an orange tree, a tangerine tree, and a lemon tree, and we've ordered a fuji apple tree. I've also had bougainvillea planted around my mother's back window to shield the house from the sun.

In the spring my brother and I planted our first vegetable garden in my mother's backyard. I figured if I want to green the earth I'd start by learning about our backyard soil, so did a test to see how quickly the soil absorbs water and also put store-bought compst to improve it before we planted We used Pat Welsh's excellent book "Southern California Gardening: A Month-by-Month Guide" as our bible. We planted corn, beans, tomatoes, carrots, watermelon, strawberries, radishes, and herbs--basil, sage, parsley, rosemary. I used the basil to make pesto, the carrots to make carrot cake, and we enjoyed eating the corn. We didn't plant in the fall but I want to resume planting as soon as possible. Though a few things didn't work out--the watermelon, for instance or the zuchinni--but we learned a lot and are proud of our first vegetable and herb garden. I had to learn how to dry and store our rosemary and sage.

Lastly, when my mother's water heater broke, I got her a tankless water heater which saves energy and water. The tankless water heater does cost more than the gas water heater, but over the long run it will reduce electricity and water bills so the cost between the two water heaters will be the same. My mother's washing machine also quit, so I got a Energy star washing machine and a $200 rebate from L.A. DWP. We got a rebate for the tankless water heater also. I've been trying to buy all paper products which are recycled as well as non-toxic cleaners such as Bon Ami cleanser and Trader Jo's cedarwood and sage multi-purpose cleaner. By careful shopping at stores like Trader Jo and Vons one can find non-toxic cleansers and paper that are about the same in price as the standard cleansers and paper goods or only a bit more.

I've also enjoyed the whole process of going green this year, especially the gardening. I love to cook, and love to go to the garden, clip off rosemary or sage or tomatoes or lemons from the lemon tree--nothing could be finer. I'm sorry we let the garden go fallow in the fall but hope we'll have a bigger, better garden using our own compost. In the end I think I saved money through all these measures. Now my brother I am are planning our garden so we'll soon do a winter planting but we live in L.A. and crops grow year round!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Woman of Rome: A Life of Elsa Morante

Lily Tuck has written the first biography of Elsa Morante, post-World War II Italian novelist. Within Italy critics consider her one of post-war Italy's best novelists but outside Italy she is mostly know as the wife of novelist Alberto Moravio. Tuck does a superb change in rescuing Morante from oblivion for English-speaking audiences and recreating her central role in the explosion of Italian literature starting in 1945.

Morante had a difficult childhood. Her legal father was impotent and scorned by her mother; her mother had a long affair with a handsome rascal who fathered her four children but abandoned his offspring. At 18 Morante left home in the 1930s to support herself tutoring and struggling to write in great poverty--an act of great courage at time for a young Italian woman. Tuck shows had courage, dedication to writing, and honesty were three main aspects of Morante's character.

By 1941 she had married Moravio, who already was an established writer. Because Morante and Moravio were both half-Jewish, their lives in Rome grew more precarious toward the end of the war until the Fascist police wanted to arrest Moravio, so both fled into hiding, first with friends in Rome and then in a small mountain village south of Rome. One of the most moving part of the biography is Tuck's description of Moravio and Morante's harsh nine-month exile up in the mountains in a one-room peasant hut close to starvation waiting for the Allies to arrive.

With the liberation of Rome, Morante and her husband returned to Rome, beginning to publish novels, establishing themselves as the de Beauvior/Sarte of post-War Italian literature. They were friends with many of Italy's leading writers and filmmakers in that amazing cultural explosion directly after the war. Tuck's book wonderfully recreates the glories of this cultural explosion in Rome of the 1940s and 1950s--la dolce vita. But la dolce vita had a harsh side for Morante. Even as her novels won literary prizes, her marriage with Moravio broke up, she had a painful love affair with the filmmaker Visconti who preferred men, and her close friendship with filmmaker/poet Pasolini eventually broke up.

Tuck also gives much insight into Morante's writing, showing how she was part of the modernistic revolution in Italian literature against realism. Her writing was influenced by surrealism, Freud, the violence of World War II, and her close friendships with two leading homosexual artists. In her writing she explores the toxic effects of obsessive loves within families, homosexuality, and the horrible violence of World War II on the Italian poor. The last theme dominated her most famous novel, "History: A Novel," which showed the impact of World War II brutality in destroying a poor mother and son living in Rome. Morante is an Italian equivalent of Simone de Beauvoir or Virginia Woolf as a courageous woman writing exploring major themes of the 20th century, and Tuck's biography is excellent.

Friday, December 26, 2008

"Links," one of the Great Novels of this decade

Nuruddin Farah from Somalia is one of the leading writers of the world and frequently mentioned for the Nobel Prize. His second novel got him exiled by the dictator Siad Barre. For decades he has lived in exile. His nine novels are always set in Somalia which first had the military despot Barre ruling from 1969-1991 and then civil wars since the 1990s. After the nation state failed, the clans which warred against each other became the dominant force in Somalia in the 1990s. Farah has always tried to keep the idea the idea of the nation alive in his writing. Starting in his first novel and continuing through his work, he has deplored female subjugation in Somalia and honored the strength of women there.

"Links," Farah’s ninth novel, deals with how Somalis in the mid-1990s during the horrors of the civil war gave each other courage, love, and refuge. The main character Jeebleh is an exile living in New York returning home after a twenty year absence to Mogadiscio. With epigrams from Dante’s Inferno, Farah leads us through the hell of Mogadiscio in the mid-1990s as Jeebleh lands at the airport just captured by a warlord and full of menacing armed young men. Jeebleh like the reader is disorientated by this strange, violent land so different from the peaceful Mogadiscio he once knew.

Jeebleh like all Somalis has to choose who to trust: his clan, the one dominated northern Mogadiscio, or his best friend Bile from a different clan that dominates southern Mogadiscio. Does one trust blood relations of the tribe or friends? Jeebleh choose friends over blood of the clan. He finds refuge from the violent city with Bile, a doctor who along with close friends and family started the Refuge, a clinic/school/refugee home for people from different clans. The Refuge that Bile creates were “oceans of comfort in a land of sorrow” (155).

Bile’s young niece Rasta, a child many Somalis consider magical and giving protection and safety to those near her, has disappeared along with her best friend. Jeebleh wants to find the grave of his mother and rescue Rasta, and again he turns not to his clan but to his friends who help him. Again and again his clan relatives lie to him, try to coerce money from him, and try to kill him. Farah clearly sees armed warring clans as destructive forces and only trusting, loving friends who create refuges able to bring the future.

Throughout the novel Jeebleh and his friends tell each other stories—stories of what they did in the previous twenty years through which Somali history unfold or Somali folktales through which Somali culture is revealed. At one point Jeebleh thinks, “He and his friends were forever linked through the chains of the stories they shared” (334). At one point a friend tells Jeebleh that “It makes me sad to think that you’ll not only become part of the civil war story, but totally get lost in it” (215).

Jeebleh never gets lost in the civil war story but instead constructs an alternative story about honoring his dead mother, getting justice, and loving his friends. "Links" is about how constructing alternative stories to the civil war story in Somalia is necessary to creating peace, hope, and a future. The novel brilliantly thrusts us into the inferno of violent Mogadiscio but leaves us with a hopeful and tranquil. It is one of the great novels of this decade.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Best Books I Read 2008

These are the best books I read in 2008.


Alaa al Aswamy- "Chicago"--excellent novel about Egyptian graduate students and professors in Chicago caught between pull of Egyptian and American cultures

Nadeem Aslem--"The Wasted Vigil"--tragic novel about the waste of lives of the Afghan 30-year war

Po Bronson- "Bombadiers"--novel that delves into psychology of corrupt bond traders in an investment bank-

Pat Dillon- "The Last Best Thing"--funny satire about excesses of Silicon Valley
during the era

Nuruddin Farah- "Links," gripping, fascinating novel about people who help give each other hope, love, and refuge during civil war in Somalia in 1990s

Michael Frayn--"Spies"--novel set in Britain during World War II about two boys whose search for spies lead to disaster- lovely Proustian recalling of childhood

Joyce Carol Oates- "The Falls"--novel about Love Canal, environmental disaster,
an American family destroyed and then redeemed.

Ellen Ullman- "The Bug"---excellent novel delving into psychology of computer programmer and tester searching for elusive computer bug- makes poetry out of computer programming!


Gilgamesh--great 1st epic in the whole world from ancient Sumer in the modern day Iraq about loss of best friend and becoming human

Mahmoud Darwish-"Unfortunately, It Was Paradise: Selected Poems," wonderful selection from Palestinian poet who was the voice of Palestine

Saadi Yousef-"Without an Alphabet, Without a Face: Selected Poems" - heartbreaking poems by leading Iraqi poet


Paulina Borsook- Cyberselfish- extended essay critical of selfishness permeating Silicon Valley culture

V.S. Naipul- The Writer and His World- great essays by Nobel Laureate from Trinidad in Carribbean- essays about Caribbean and Argentinian politics of 1960s-1990s are brilliant

Pat Welch- Southern California Gardening- great book that helped me start my first vegetable garden in Los Angeles-- a real treasure for all L.A. gardeners

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Superb Novel about Afghanistan

Nadeen Aslam’s 2008 "The Wasted Vigil" is the best English-language novel about the Afghan wars of the last decade. The novel captures the immense tragedy of Afghanistan of the thirty-year conflict. The novel’s brilliantly shows how this tragedy affects Afghanis, English, Americans, and Russians—all imperial dreams end in ruin for the dreamers as well as bring ruins to Afghanistan.

Aslam was born in Paskistan to a secular family, and was brought to England when he was fourteen. He has written two fine previous novels about Pakistanis.

"The Wasted Vigil" focuses on the walking wounded of the Afghan Wars who find a short refuge with Marcus, an English doctor who has a house in a small town outside Jalalabad under the Tora Bora Mountains and has lived there for decades. Marcus himself is one of the walking wounded; his Afghan doctor wife Qatrina was murdered by the Taliban, his daughter Zameen was captured by the Russians and disappeared, and he’s searching for his long lost grandson. Marcus gives refuge to Lara, a Russian woman searching for her lost brother Benedikt, a soldier in the Russian army in Afghanistan who defected and disappeared.

The next walking wounded is David Town, an American who once loved Marcus’s daughter Zameen, comes to visit Marcus and to see the school he has built. Town, once a CIA anti-Communist spy, saw how his work arming Muslim fundamentalists helped destroy Zameen who was murdered by these same funademantalists. Now he’s long given up spying and tries to build schools in American-dominated Afghanistan as way of repentence. He is mourning his lost love Zameen.

Casa is a young Taliban who helps bomb David's school and later gets wounded. David, not knowing that Case hepled bomb his school, rescues him but Casa’s comrades see him received money from David, the American, so they are out to kill their former comrade. Casa finds refuge with Marcus. Casa is brilliantly portrayed as an orphan missing his family he never knew raised in madrassas and trained as a mujahaddin who became his new family. Lastly, Dunia, a young Afghani female schoolteacher whom the warlords want to kill as they close down her school, finds refuge with Marcus.

As these characters struggle to rebuild their lives and develop friendships, two love affairs begin—David allows himself to care again for Lara while Casa, the Taliban, begins to shyly fall in love with the modern Afghani Dunia. Great loves resonate throughout this novel: Marcus and his wife Qatrina; David and Zameen. Marcus and his wife had devoted their lives to books, art, music, and healing, so the novel is infused with marvelous language and love for the Afghani/Persian art, music, and literature.

As the characters search for the lost relatives, the novels frequently flashes back to decades previously where Marcus, his wife Qatrina, his daughter Zameen, the Russian soldier Benedikt, David, and the Afghani warlords all interact. Many of male characters--David, Casa, Benedikt the Russian soldier--have been modeled by childhood into warriors and done terrible acts as adults yet the novelist shows us their vulnerabilities and the terrible price these three pay. The women--the Russian Lara and the Afghans Quintirina and Dunia--suffer as their men, their country, and their own lives are impaled. Aslam mixes immense beauty of love and love of literature with horrible stories of atrocities the main characters suffer. No character is stereotyped but all are flawed and wounded but capable of love.

As an new war heats up between Americans and the resurgent Taliban, war again edges even closer to Marcus’s home, so the refuge Marcus hosts is only temporary. The novel ends in tragedy again for the main characters mimicking the larger tragedy of Afghanistan. Read this novel—it’s sad, haunting, and brilliant.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Best selling Egyptian novelist Alaa Al Aswany

Egyptian writer Alaa Al Aswany’s first novel The Yacoubian Building became a best seller throughout the Middle East and was transformed into a big budget Egyptian film. Now Aswany’s brilliant second novel Chicago has just been translated from Arabic into English and published in the United States.

Aswany studied dentistry at the University of Illinois in Chicago, and back in Cairo has supported himself as a dentist. He uses his graduate studies in Chicago and his familiarity with the city in his novel Chicago which has intertwining tales of two Egyptian professors at the university and four Egyptian graduate students in medicine as well as one left-wing white professor and his black partner.

Many of the characters deal with their own conflicts between Egyptian and U.S. cultures. New female graduate student Saymaa starts a friendship and then a romance with lonely brilliant Tariq Haseeb; both are from traditional families who believe in arranged marriages but the two explore new freedoms of dating. Tarif feels superior to Saymaa, a country girl, so how much should she trust him? Both Dr. Ra’fat Thabit and Dr. Muhammad Salah have made successful professional lives in the United States, married American women, and seemed to assimilate fully. When Thabit’s only daughter leaves her father's home to go live with a poor painter, Thabit becomes an enraged Egyptian traditional father. He struggles with rage and caring as his daughter develops a drug addiction. As for Dr. Salah, after years of full assimilation in his American life, he has such nostalgia for his old political girlfriend in Cairo that he starts searching for her through the Internet and ignoring his American wife. All of Aswamny's characters seems real with fascinating predicaments.

Aswany, a long-time dissident fighting to end the dictatorship in Egypt, has the core of the novel dealing with his characters differing reactions to the Egyptian dictatorship. Nagi Abd al-Samad is a newly arrived graduate student who is a poet and dissident in his home country but wants a master’s degree to support himself. His nemesis is graduate student Ahmad Danana, a spy for the Egyptian secret police who runs a student association where he bosses the other Eyptian students around. While Danana wants to organize a reception for the visit of the Egyptian leader, al-Samad wants to organize a protest. The characters argue over politics as Aswany reveals the brutality, torture, and sadism involved in a long-standing dictatorship. The book is immensely revealing about Egypt from a reasoned, intelligent critic of that government.

The book is brilliant about showing the conflicts of all its Egyptians characters and the conflicts within Egyptian politics, but it also pinpoints flaws in American culture such as our drug problems when Dr. Thabit’s daughter becomes addicted. Some critics have said Aswany's portrait of a black single mother's difficult job search is unrealistic, but what kind of job can a black single mother with little education get? Aswany seems accurate in his portrayal of a single mother's actual job prospects for only minimum wage wage but she still desires a job that can get her bling. Aswany is an astute observer of Egyptian but also American characters. All in all, if one wants to read one of the most famous Arabic novelists, read Alaa Al Aswany’s Chicago.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Yiddish Los Angeles in December

This coming Thursday I'm going to the Yiddishkayt Los Angeles concert of
Russian Jewish wedding music in Plummer Park in West Hollywood, the heart
of the Russian neighborhood in Los Angeles.

Below from Yiddishkaht Los Angeles newsletter is news of some upcoming Yiddish
events mostly musical this December:

Еврейской свадебной музыки

Thursday, December 18, 2008 7:00 pm

Free Admission
RSVP to reserve a seat (see below)

Fiesta Hall, Plummer Park

Join in the celebration. Yiddishkayt invites you to a concert exploring the many faces of Russian-Jewish wedding music. The unique trio of musicians shares an incredible, encyclopedic fluency in Jewish, Moldavian, Roumanian and Russian music, a rare and special talent.

Local treasures Isaac Sadigursky (Clarinet) and David Kasap (Accordion) have been playing music together for 50 years, meeting in their youth as Conservatory roommates. Isaac and David are both natives of what is now Moldova, located between Ukraine and Roumania. They are joined by world-renowned klezmer revivalist and music scholar, Michael Alpert (Creative Direction, Violin & Voice) of Brave Old World. Fluent in Yiddish, Russian, Polish, Spanish, German, Serbo-Croatian and conversant in a dozen more languages, Michael has drawn from his deep family heritage and extensive travels to become a pioneering figure in the current renaissance of East European Jewish klezmer music for over 25 years.

FREE ADMISSION, general seating

RSVP to reserve a seat by emailing us your name and number of people in your party (up to 4)--You do not need to RSVP to attend the concert. - email RSVP at

Fiesta Hall, Plummer Park (map)
7377 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA
(parking lot entrance off Santa Monica Blvd)

Monday, December 08, 2008

Obama's Big Mistake: Hiring Larry Summers

Obama has made a disastrous choice of Larry Summers as one of his lead economic advisors. Summers has been for decades a right-wing economist advocating deregulation, ‘free trade,” sweatshops, and privatization--economic policies that resulted in economic collapse in numerous countries including the U.S.

Summers first became famous when he worked at the World Bank in the early 1990s for his memo that Africa is underpolluted and that industrial countries should dump their pollution on Africa. He became even more famous as President of Harvard University by saying women are by our genes less qualified to be scientists than men. Harvard faculty voted overwhelming no confidence in him, so he was fired in June, 2006.

Summers has advocated disastrous economic policies for decades. In the 1980s Summers was first brought to Washington by his thesis advisor M. Feldstein to be part of Reagan brain trust, serving on Reagan's Council of Economic Advisors from 1982-3 where Summers adopted Regan right-wing attacks on New Deal regulation of bank and finance. In 1990 Lithuania hired him to help their transition to a free market. According to Mark Ames in the "Nation," Summers advocated such a harsh, brutal privatization of the economy that within five years the suicide rate in Lithuania jumped to the highest in the world and "in 1992, after just two years of Summers-nomics, the traumatized Lithuanians voted the communist party back into power, the first East European nation to do so."

Summers didn’t learn anything from the Lithuanian disaster because soon he advocated as U.S. Treasury undersecretary under Clinton the same dreadful economic policies for Russia. According to Peter Bosshard, the policy director of International Rivers, “In the early 1990s, he [Summers] was instrumental in pushing through an untested system of voucher privatization for Russia’s state-owned enterprises. As more prudent colleagues at the World Bank such as David Ellerman had warned, his policies resulted in economic collapse, widespread misery and the emergence of the current system of crony capitalism in Russia.”

Summers’ policies in Russia resulted in the Russian GNP plunging 60% while Russian had the worst "death-to-birth ratio of any industrialized country" (Ames). By the end of the 1990s the “free market” in Russia Summers had set up made a spectacular collapse while his protégé Schliefer was accused by the U.S. Department of Justice of corruption in Russia and the Justice Department was seeking $100 million in damages from Schliefer. As Harvard President Summers put pressure on to get Schliefer off the hook. The death rate in Russia was still soaring.

Having helped destroy the economies for Lithuania and Russia, Summers still hadn’t learned anything. By the late 1990s was Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Department under Clinton when Korean and other Asian countries faced by a financial crises. As Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Department, Summers had policies that wouldn’t let South Korea and Thailand have economic stimulus programs like Obama wants now to do. Summer's policies enforced through the International Monetary Found forced the Koreans to sell off cheaply many of their large corporations to U.S. companies and investors. The I.M.F. policies crashed the South Korean economy, causing a severe recession including huge increase of lay-offs, unemployment, much lowered wages, and huge collapse in the standard of living.

As Secretary of the Treasury under Clinton, he is responsible for the current economic crises in the U.S. Naomi Klein says, “Summers along with Alan Greenspan and Robert Rubin were the key architects of the policies of deregulation that created the crisis that we’re living now.” The three sucessfully abolished Glass-Steagal Act from the 1930s that regulated banks, so the three right-wing ideologues got a new law that allowed for mergers that created banks too big to fail. Summers made yet another disastrous decision when his policy said the U.S. government wouldn’t regulate derivatives held by investment banks—these derivatives are weapons of mass economic destruction key to the current financial disaster. Summers in another disastrous policy decision allowed banks to carry huge amounts of debt—33 to 1 in the cast of Bear Stearns. Summers like his boss at the Treasury Department Robert Rubin was a ardent support of N.A.F.T.A and global sweatshops.

Summers has never been a “free thinker” but a dogmatic right-wing advocate of deregulation and privatization no matter how much havoc it costs it country after country decade after decade. His past economic policies have created disasters to the economies of Lithuania, Russia, South Korea, and now the United States. Rivers says, "Larry Summers is not the free thinker which his supporters make him out to be. He has time and again acted as a dogmatic neoliberal with little regard for subtleties such as the history, political culture and power relations in a country."

What’s wrong with Obama appointing such a long-standing right-wing ideologue as a top economics advisor is that Summers never faces any consequences from his disastrous economic policies in so many countries. The whole dialogue about Summers in mainstream media including the December 7, 2008, New York Times article is about how “smart” he is without any documentation of what he’s done. There’s a huge lack of reality in talking about Summers in the U.S. mass media. Reality never seems to matter. All those suicides in Lithuania never matter. All the Russians who died early deaths never matter. All those U.S. workers who lost their jobs because of N.A.F.T.A that Summers loves don't matter.

The Rachel Maddows show had an interview with Representative Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) about the Obama stimulus package just passed. Rep. De Fazio said, "There’s a pretty good consensus among members of the House that it [spending on infrastruture] should be more. But the dictate from on high in the negotiations with Obama’s advisers — I don’t think the President is there — I think he’s ill-advised by Larry Summers. Larry Summers hates infrastructure, and some of these other economists — who were very much part of creating the problem. Now they’re gonna solve the problem. And they don’t like infrastructure." De Fazio said that 33% of the stimulus package is tax cuts while 7 % is spending on transportation infrastructure. Rep. De Fazio says that Obama advisors like Summers " want to have a consumer-driven recovery. We need an investment- and productivity-driven recovery for this country, a long-term recovery." Also, Summers and the rest of Obama's economic adsiors are living in cuckooland if they think consumers are going to start spending a lot in 2009 as all eocnomic evidence is Americans are saving not spending.

Rep. De Fazio is correct. The last thing this bankrupt coutry needs now is tax cuts. Continuing Republican policies like tax cuts will only lead to protecting the rich who can benefit from reignited consumerism and misery and poverty for millions of Americans now losing jobs and homes. Summer's as Obama's policy advisor looks like the he will treat the United States like he once treated Russia pushing policies to help set up an oligarchy and leading to economic misery of millions of citizens.