a citizen’s journal by Thomas Nephew

Down here below

Posted by Thomas Nephew on February 13th, 2010

pale male the famous redtail hawk
performs wingstands high above midtown manhattan
circles around for one last pass over the park
got his eye on a fat squirrel down there
and a couple of pigeons
they got no place to run
they got no place to hide
but pale male he’s cool, see
‘cause his breakfast ain’t goin’ nowhere
so he does a loop t loop for the tourists and the six o’clock news
got him a penthouse view from
the tip-top of the food chain, boys
he looks up and down on fifth ave
and says “god i love this town”
For Wall St., Question on Top Bonuses Is 7 Figures or 8 – (Story, Dash, NYTimes, 1/9/10)
The bank bonus season, that annual rite of big money and bigger egos, begins in earnest this week, and it looks as if it will be one of the largest and most controversial blowouts the industry has ever seen.
but life goes on
down here below
and all us mortals struggle so
we laugh and cry and live and die
that’s how it goes
for all we know
down here below […]
pale male swimmin’ in the air
looks like he’s in heaven up there
people sufferin’ everywhere
but he don’t care
An Update on State Budget Cuts

(Johnson, Oliff, Williams; Center for Budget and Policy Priorities; updated January 28, 2010)

Governors Proposing New Round of Cuts for 2011; At Least 43 States Have Already Imposed Cuts That Hurt Vulnerable Residents

With tax revenue still declining as a result of the recession and budget reserves largely drained, the vast majority of states have made spending cuts that hurt families and reduce necessary services. These cuts, in turn, have deepened states’ economic problems because families and businesses have less to spend. Federal recovery act dollars and funds raised from tax increases are greatly reducing the extent, severity, and economic impact of these cuts, but only to a point.

The cuts enacted in at least 43 states plus the District of Columbia in 2008 and 2009 occurred in all major areas of state services, including health care (29 states), services to the elderly and disabled (24 states and the District of Columbia), K-12 education (28 states and the District of Columbia), higher education (37 states), and other areas. States made these cuts because revenues from income taxes, sales taxes, and other revenue sources used to pay for these services declined due to the recession. At the same time, the need for these services did not decline and, in fact, rose as the number of families facing economic difficulties increased.

Lyrics in the left column are of “Down Here Below”, by Steve Earle on the album “Washington Square Serenade.”
The Pale Male photo is at and links to the excellent site maintained by Dr. Ward Stone.

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