Archive for October, 2009

My heroes: Elizabeth Warren

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

I’ve decided to start writing about people whom I feel are so important that everyone should know who they are. I begin with a woman who has become an amazing role model for me over the last year given her ability to speak truth to power eloquently and decisively.

Elizabeth Warren is a professor at Harvard Law School and Chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel, the committee responsible for figuring out where the TARP (aka bailout) money went.

She has been warning about the “coming collapse of the middle class” for years. The first time I saw her speak was in this amazing video of the same name hosted and presented by UC Berkeley’s Graduate Council Lecture series in March 2007.

Below is a great interview with her about her life, what motivated her to study bankruptcy and the middle class and how she got involved in consumer issues. She has co-authored two important books on the subject with her daughter, The Two-Income Trap and All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan.

Most recently, she spoke in a great interview with Yahoo! Finance at The Economist’s Buttonwood Gathering and had this to say:

Warren pulls no punches when it comes to her criticism of former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson for his failure to put any restrictions on or monitoring of the initial TARP funds, and for using the money for something other than “toxic asset relief,” as originally intended.”I have a real problem when we describe to taxpayers their money will be taken and used one way and in fact it’s used another way,” she declares.

And you can always check out how the COP is progressing by watching the quickie video updates summarizing each new report or if you are a true die-hard like me, checking out the full hearings (I listen to them while I cook).

I would call her the greatest living advocate for the middle class in the USA today. Having been born into the middle¬† class to parents who have struggled my whole life and destined to die in the middle class (assuming I don’t outlive it as a socio-economic strata in our society), I cannot put into words the anger and frustration I feel towards the leaders in big business and government who have chosen to capitulate and ultimately, serve institutions with giant lobbying budgets over¬† individual citizens. Smarter people than me have argued their complicity and collusion have systematically reduced this country to an oligarchy during my lifetime and I wonder every day where this nation will be in 5, 10 and 20 years unless we drastically change things for the better.

On behalf of our nation’s disenfranchised individuals, I want to thank you Elizabeth Warren for doing everything in your power to help us.

Theater “free for all” on Thurday

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

A gigantic, free theater orgy in Union Square is happening this Thursday Oct 15th from noon – 6pm as part of TCG’s Free Night of Theater program. Information on all the Free Night NYC events can be found here.

For those of you outside NYC, don’t fret – you can probably get your theater freak on as well – just visit the main Free Night website to see if your city has joined the party.

There are over 120 sites and over 600 theaters participating and it’s all FREE, so you have no excuse not to get your butt out to the theater on Thursday night!

I’ve been sick with a terrible flu for the past week. Now that I am finally better, I am excited to have a reason to be out and about all day Thurday. I will be in Union Square for most of the day – if you see me, please say hello!