All the President’s Men……

My dog Susie says

Who are these guys?

Since we already know a lot about President Obama, I decided to find out about Mitt Romney.

Personal Information: His full Name is: Willard Mitt Romney  (Do you think anyone calls him Willie?)

He was Born: March 12, 1947 and is 65 years old. (Wow, he’s way older than my Big Daddy)
His Father: George W. Romney, former Governor of the State of Michigan & President of American Motors. They made Jeep & Rambler during the 50’s & 60’s. (
What’s a Rambler?)
He was raised in Bloomfield Hills , Michigan (
Michigan is really nice for about 6 months out of the year) He is Married to Ann Romney since 1969; they have five children and a bunch of grandchildren.


Education:B.A. from Brigham Young University ,
J.D. and M.B.A. from Harvard University
(Now this is just crazy smart)


Religion: Mormon – The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints (Why were they late?)


Working Background:
After high school, he spent 30 months in France as a Mormon missionary.
(But I doubt  it was the Riviera!)

After going to both Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School simultaneously, he passed the Michigan bar exam, but never worked as an attorney. (He’s smarter than I thought)

In 1984, he co-founded Bain Capital a private equity investment firm, one of the largest such firms in the United States . (Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns sure wished that Romney ran them instead.)

In 1994, he ran for Senator of Massachusetts and lost to Ted Kennedy. (Who didn’t?)

He was President and CEO of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. (Park City has the best snow on Earth)


In 2002, he was elected Governor of the State of Massachusetts where he eliminated a 1.5 billion deficit.

Some Interesting Facts about Romney:Bain Capital, starting with one small office supply store in Massachusetts , turned it into Staples; now with 2,000 stores employing over 90,000 people. ( I wonder if Mitt could do the same for an organic dog food company I’d like to start?)

Bain Capital also worked to perform the same kind of business successes again and again, with companies like Domino’s,Sealy,TheWeather Channel, Burger King, Warner Music, HomeDepot, and hundreds of others. (So, after eating a Cheeseburger for lunch and a Pizza delivered for dinner, you can listen to music while lying on a comfortable bed, watching TV for a weather update, thanks to Mitt.)

He was an unpaid volunteer campaign worker for his dad’s gubernatorial campaign 1 year.
He was an unpaid intern in his dad’s governor’s office for eight years.
He was an unpaid bishop and president of his church for ten years.
(Where does the collection plate go?)

He was an unpaid President of the Salt Lake Olympic Committee for three years. ( Hope he got free skiing)
He took no salary and was the unpaid Governor of Massachusetts for four years. (
But he got all the freelobster and clam chowder he wanted)
He gave his entire inheritance from his father to charity.
(So he started with no money?)

Mitt Romney is one of the wealthiest self-made men in our country, but has given more back to its citizens in terms of money, service and time than most men. (See list of wealthiest Presidents below) And in 2011 Mitt Romney gave over $4 million to charity, almost 19% of his income. Over his lifetime, it’s been rumored that he’s given over $250 million to various charities.

To me, Mitt Romney seems trustworthy and qualified to run for President of the United States.

Because of the recent shooting tragedy in Colorado recently, all the “Presidential “ negative advertising was pulled and we all got a few days of no attack ads:  Thank Goodness!

Catch you later,

Susie and Sandy,

P.S. My big Mommy and Daddy always vote as independents. I don’t really know who they’ll vote for this time around. However, from what I’ve heard, both Mitt Romney (dog on top of car) and President Obama (eats dogs for dinner) have a way to go to before this Border Collie is convinced who is better!

Also, I researched what some of the past Presidents were worth in today’s dollars: 

  1. Bill Clinton $100 million
  2. George W. Bush $ 20 million
  3. Lyndon Johnson $100 million
  4. James Madison $101 million
  5. Andrew Jackson $120 million
  6. Franklin D. Roosevelt $ 90 million
  7. Thomas Jefferson $212 million
  8. Teddy Roosevelt $125 million
  9. John F. Kennedy $400 million

And the most interesting fact is that the wealthiest and poorest of our past Presidents are considered our very best:

George Washington was worth $525 million and Abraham Lincoln was worth less than $250,000.  Who knew?

 

 

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Has America gone to the Dogs?

My dog Susie says

The Sky is Falling”

 

 

Chicken Little is famed for proclaiming, after being hit on the head with an acorn, that the sky was falling. Her friends, hen, duck, and goose, helped sound the alarm to all the animals when they heard the news. Mr. Fox, however, didn’t really believe it. Instead he used their fears to lure them to his inviting safe den where he enjoyed a great feast of fowl. There’s a lesson to be learned here I reckon.

 

My Big Mommy and Daddy have been watching the news and there always seems to be somebody on TV telling us that the sky is falling. I know things are bad, but are they as bad as World War II?  Or World War One? Or Viet Nam? The Cold War? How about the 10 year Depression in the 30’s? I don’t think so!

 

One advantage to being a dog instead of a human is that we sort of keep things in perspective. And since we don’t live very long compared to people, we sort of keep things more positive. We don’t sweat the small things and try to stay ahead of the pack by watching what’s around us at all times. You never know when you might run into a bear or mountain lion in the woods. So, let’s look at the facts and see if it’s fixable.

 

This current economic downturn began in 2006 according to most experts. But it really began in 1996. That year mortgage companies started giving generous discounts on mortgages to congressmen and women. Over the years, these representatives stated that they only received the same benefits as anyone else and only a few special mortgages were actually utilized. Oh really? CNN reported today that House and Senate members received lower mortgage rates and no up-front fees. Can the average person get this? Also, over a ten year period from 1996-2006, about 17,000 of these special mortgages were given out to our elected officials and other selected individuals. That works out to over 1700 mortgages a year for a total of 100 Senate and 435 House members. So a bunch of their staff and worker-bees must have received these discounted mortgages as well. What about the Presidents office? Hummmm.

 

Then in 1999 another interesting thing happened. The repeal of a major finance law called Glass-Steagall which was implemented after the bank failures in 1933. The collapse of the banking system is regarded as the main reason for the Great Depression. This law had worked perfectly since then and kept the banks from risking their depositors’ money. So why change a good thing? Was the fox getting into the hen house?

 

Congress smelled a golden opportunity to use the banks to not only loan money directly to homeowners, but to allow banks to “securitize” these loans into bundles that the banks could sell and own for themselves. This meant that an unlimited amount of money was now available to purchase homes by virtually anyone. Next, Congress decided to dramatically reduce the qualifications and down-payment requirements to purchase a home. Through Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the two largest mortgage companies in America, pressure was brought again by “well-meaning” Congresspeople to make it easy to buy as many homes as you wished.  Everyone, including undocumented people, jumped on the bandwagon.  How could we lose?

 

The Stock Market went up to its highest level and peaked in 2007. Much of it was the result of an exploding real estate market. Coincidentally, it was recently acknowledged that all Congresspeople can do something that the average person can’t. In fact, if you do this, you might go straight to jail for a long time.

 

Unbelievably, these same Congressmen and women can trade on “inside information” for their own stock accounts. In other words, when they decide to do something that might affect an individual company or industry, they can buy stock way before the average citizen knows anything. So let’s summarize:

 

Starting in 1996, our elected officials could buy a home on special terms. Next, in 1999 a powerful but simple law, Glass-Steagall, which many believe would have prevented our current “Great Recession” was repealed. Wall Street was encouraged to make available trillions of new credit available via the bundling of these “easy” mortgages. The result was a explosion in home values and stock prices. I wonder how many elected officials became millionaires during this time as a result of their actions. This period in history reminds me of a children’s game where you run around chairs until there aren’t enough to sit down and everyone loses but one. Are we the losers and Washington officials the “one”? Maybe Chicken Little was right!

 

Eventually, the whole financial domino game imploded. My Daddy frequently follows a premise in all his business dealings. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Where would we all be, if Washington had followed this?

 

Catch you later,

 

Sandy and Susie

 

P.S. I had a lot of help with this as my Big Mommy and Big Daddy are business people. However, being a Border Collie I’m smarter than you think. How smart? Well, I know which city has the most people making over $200,000 a year. Is it New York, Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Houston? Nope. It’s Washington D,C. There you go!

 

To read a few more “Susie says” barks: http://sandy-steele.blogspot.com

 

More info on Sandy Steele:  http://sandysteele.com

 

 

 

Harvard, Heaven and Dogs

My dog Susie says…

Life’s little stresses

Last week I barked about taking your dog to work and its benefits. Well, how about other places that pets help humans: like school? In colleges from Atlanta to San Francisco counseling centers are using dogs to reduce stress for their students. Dorm rooms are now allowing dogs and cats to be brought from home to live with their owners. And if you don’t have a pet, well you can just rent one.

Harvard and Yale Universities have “resident therapy centers” that keep dogs in their libraries that can be borrowed just like a book. In fact the doggie programs are so successful that students come from miles away just to spend time with the rental pooches! Emory University in Atlanta trains these companion dogs to specifically reduce stress for the humans. Maybe I can get a PhD in stress relief!

Research at campuses across America shows that positive interactions with pets decrease the level of the stress hormone, cortisol, in humans, while increasing endorphins which makes you feel happy. Hey, maybe I can get an MD degree too!

Taking final exams is about as high a stress level as students experience except when a friend is hurt or dies unexpectedly, like in a car accident. Dogs seem to allow people to “let go” of their emotions in a much more uninhibited way than just grieving with other humans. Numerous students have stated, “These pet stress programs are so great, that if the the school doesn’t keep doing them, I won’t come back next year!”

Here’s a little story I heard recently about stress and dogs….

A man named Sam and his dog Oscar were walking on a long and winding road. The traveler was enjoying the pleasant walk, when it suddenly occurred to him that he had recently died from all the unbelievable stress at work. He was a cop. He now remembered passing away and also, that his beloved dog had died years before him.

After a while, they came to a mountain top with a tall white stone marble wall across from the road. Standing before it, Sam saw a magnificent gate that looked like mother of pearl and a glittering street that looked like pure gold. He and Oscar walked toward the gate and as they got closer they saw a man standing at a desk.

When they were close enough, Sam inquired, “Excuse me, where are we?”

“Why, this is Heaven, sir”, the man answered.

“Wow! After my stressful life this is great!  Would you happen to have some water? I’m really thirsty.” Sam asked.

“Of course, sir. Come right in and sit down. I’ll have some cold ice water brought right up.” The man gestured and soon the gate began to open.

“Can my friend,” gesturing toward his dog, “come in, too?” Sam asked.

“I’m sorry, sir, but we never accept pets. You’ll have to leave him outside.”

The traveler thought for a moment, then turned back toward the road and continued along the same way they had been walking before. After another long walk, he and Oscar came to a dirt road which led through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence. As he approached the gate, he saw a white haired man inside, leaning against a tall tree and reading a book.

“Excuse me!”, Sam called to the reader. “Do you have any water?”

“Yeah, sure enough, there’s a water pump over there. Come on in.”

“How about my friend here?” The traveler gestured to the dog.

“Sure. There’s a bowl right by the pump.”

They went through the gate and saw an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it. The traveler filled the bowl, took a long drink himself and then quickly gave some to Oscar. When they were both full, Sam and his dog walked back toward the man standing by the magnificent tree waiting for them.

“What do you call this place?” The traveler asked.

” Why…This is Heaven,” was the answer.

“Well, that’s mighty confusing,” Sam said. “The man up the road said that was Heaven, too.”

“Oh, you mean the place with the gold streets and pearly gates? Nope. That’s Hell.”

“Doesn’t it make you mad for them to use your name like that?”

“Nope. I can see how you might think so, but we’re just thrilled  they screen out all the folks who would leave their very best friends behind!”

Catch you later,

Susie & Sandy

For more barks from Susie: http://sandy-steele.blogspot.com

Information on Sandy Steele:  http://sandysteele.com

HAPPY 4th of JULY EVERYONE!

” What do Europe, Google and JFK have in common? “

My dog Susie says

What could be better than taking your pet to work?

Sometimes humans get it right. They really scored points with me when they created a “Take your dog to Work Day.” June 22nd is the designated month and day this year for animal parents to show their dogs to their co-workers and bosses. This great idea was first created by pet “walkers” in 1999. So make sure your pets are on their best behavior.

Since I’m currently in California for the summer, I decided to look around at companies located here on the West Coast. One of my faves, Google, has allowed dogs to come to work since 2002. They’re always ahead of the curve aren’t they? The Google people believe that having your dog with you at work relieves stress and makes the employees more comfortable, and thus more productive. The Discovery Channel people believe that having a dog at work allows you to take a break and pet your dog or go out for a short walk to relieve stress. They think of it as “Preventative Healthcare.”

I read that courtrooms across the country are using dogs to calm victims testifying before their criminal perpetrators. The judge allows the person testifying to lean down and gently pet a dog lying nearby. It really helps in calming children who have been sexually abused by a family member to tell what really happened. One female dog was so popular in helping these victims, that she was nominated by her co-workers for “Court Employee of the Year.”

So dogs help to calm and reduce stress for people in various occupations. Now which job has the most stress? How about President of the United States? Starting with the first president, George Washington kept his dogs with him while he was in office. Teddy Roosevelt took his dogs with him everywhere. Franklin Roosevelt was so close to his Scottish Terrier, Fala, that when he accidentally left him behind in the Aleutian Islands after a tour, he sent the Navy back to rescue him. Now that’s service!

President Nixon had a Cocker Spaniel named Checkers who helped save his political career. His predecessor Lyndon Johnson got into trouble by picking up his beagles by their ears. Not smart! President Kennedy had an Irish Cocker Spaniel named Shannon and a Welsh Terrier named Pushinka. Pushinka, a gift from the Soviet Premier Khrushchev,  was the offspring of the first dog launched into outer space. He made JFK laugh because he was always climbing up the ladder to his daughter’s tree-house. I guess it was in his genes to try and get as high as possible.

Gerald Ford had a Golden Retriever, Liberty, who gave birth to nine puppies in the White House. Jimmy Carter had a rescue dog named Grits. Ronald and Nancy Reagan, who were neighbors of big mommy’s in L.A., owned two dogs; Rex, a Cocker Spaniel, and Lucky, a “Bouvier Des Flanders Sheepdog.” Wow what a long pedigree. I wonder if “Lucky” helped President Reagan survive the assassination attempt that almost killed him?

George H. W. Bush (I call him George the First), owned a Springer Spaniel named Millie. Millie was so popular that when her autobiography came out it sold more copies that President and Barbara Bush’s autobiographies. Bill Clinton had a Chocolate Labrador named Buddy. I’m sure Buddy helped during those trying times when he was impeached. George W. Bush (George the Second) had the only dog (Spot an English Springer Spaniel) to actually live in the White House during two different administrations. Now President Obama owns a Portuguese Water Dog named “Bo.”  I wonder if Bo helps when the president gets into hot water from time to time?

The point I’m trying to make is that pets, especially dogs, have helped every president from Washington to Obama deal with stress and strain. Don’t you think that every work place in America can use a “little help from your friends?”

Currently, more than 2.3 million dogs are taken to work on a regular basis. One in five businesses are now considered pet friendly. In fact , to keep ahead of competitors, more and more companies are welcoming workers’ pets with open arms. My big Mommy, Sandy, who grew up in Europe, told me that the Euro nations have been allowing their dogs, cats and even birds, to go everywhere with them including restaurants for decades. Glad to see America is catching up.

Catch you later,

Susie & Sandy

P.S. In San Francisco, a high-tech company named Zynga offers doggie biscuits at the receptionist’s desk and water fountains located close to the ground for the animals. They also have a “barking lot” nearby just for the four -legged companions to relax with other animals. In fact, the Founder is so dog happy, that he named the company and logo image for his beloved now-deceased American Bulldog….Zynga.

To read more barks from Susie: http://sandy-steele.blogspot.com

Information on Sandy Steele:  http://sandysteele.com

Has TV gone to the dogs

My dog Susie says

Springtime in the South”

My Daddy and Big Mommy love the springtime in Georgia. There are all kinds of beautiful flowering bushes and trees everywhere. Pink azaleas, white dogwoods, tulips of every color, honeysuckle bushes in bright orange, purple irises, blue hydrangea, yellow daffodils, violet geraniums, pink petunias, lavender daises, golden sunflowers, red roses, and more than fifty other species of flowering plants. They say that the reason for so many types of beautiful plants is the climate and the special soil found here. The smells and aromas I can’t even describe to a human, except to say… this place is like a garden of Eden especially for a scent-loving canine.

Now Mom, Dad and I spend half the year in California and the other half in the mountains of North Georgia. Dad especially likes the springtime in Georgia because that means he gets to attend the Masters Golf Tournament held each April. The very first time he went, he was awestruck at the natural beauty of the course. He discovered that the Master’s creator Bobby Jones had actually built the golf course on an old plant nursery. Daddy considers it the most beautiful man-made course in America. His favorite golf site for natural beauty is Pebble Beach in Northern California, which he considers one of the most beautiful places in all of the world. And speaking of California…

While we were back in Los Angeles a few months ago, my Big Mommy found a neat television program to help  working parents who have animals at home. And… let’s not debate who works harder, stay at home or working moms…please. Anyway, some smart people in San Diego came up with a brilliant idea for entertaining home-alone pets: DogTV. It’s TV programing shot from the “low” viewpoint of us dogs. Also, the colors are altered so animals can more easily recognize them and the sound effects and music are written especially for dogs.

You see, a dog’s eyes see mostly in blue and yellow colors, but not much red or green (bet you didn’t know that). The programming won’t have loud noises, commercials or high pitched sounds either, which really annoy us. And if you’re wondering what we dogs can see on these new high definition TV’s, we can see everything especially other dogs and their different breeds. In fact, studies have shown that puppies who watch video images of other dogs are more “socialized” than those that don’t. Individual programming segments show “stimulation” with dogs running, playing and even surfing, and end with “relaxation” themes of sleeping dogs in natural settings accompanied with doggy lullabies.

For all the 46 million homeowners with dogs, you don’t have to feel guilty anymore about leaving us alone while you’re gone. For just a few bucks a month on cable, DogTV will entertain and educate us without any commercials, explosions or sirens to frighten us. And that’s a very good thing!  What do you think?

Catch
you later,

Susie and Sandy

P.S. How many dogs or cats does it take to change a light bulb?

GOLDEN RETRIEVER: The sun is out, and the day is young. We’ve got our whole lives ahead of us. Who cares about a silly light bulb?

ROTTWEILER: Make me!

JACK RUSSELL TERRIER: I’ll just pop one in while I bounce off the walls and ceiling.

GREYHOUND: It doesn’t move. So who cares?

BLACK LAB: Please let me change it..please, please.

BOXER: Who cares? I like playing with my toys in the dark.

BORDER COLLIE: Just one. And I’ll replace the wiring if it’s not perfect.

CAT: You’re kidding..right?

To read more “Susie says” barks: http://sandy-steele.blogspot.com

For more info on Sandy Steele: http://sandysteele.com

For information of DogTV go to http:www.dogtv.com

When you want a new pet, do you buy or rent?

My dog Susie says

To reduce stress: rent a pet?

I’ve been hearing a lot about how owning a pet can reduce life’s daily stress levels. I saw a university study recently that said if you take your dog to work, it will lower your stress level by at least 11%. I don’t know how exactly they measure it, but it makes sense to me. How many co-workers show uninhibited love and respect for you at your job? How many listen to your every word and follow most of your commands? How many dogs have asked you for a loan or to “go get their coffee”? I rest my case.

Now for those people who aren’t sure about adding a pet to your lifestyle, there is another option to consider. When you buy a car you can either “own” or “lease” it. Well, now you can lease a pet. I kid you not. These Rent-A-Pet services are available throughout the nation via new companies that target dog and cat lovers. My advice is don’t rent one of each at the same time or your stress level will go up!

Because of the lousy economy many owners have had to give up their pets because they can’t afford them. Sad. The benefits of these rental programs are that the dogs, which mostly come from animal shelters, get a chance to spend time running and walking outside in parks or the countryside. To keep these rented dogs from becoming lost, they are outfitted with a GPS location device from the Rent-A-Pet companies. Great idea even for permanent pets… so owners, you should look into this as well. One important point: The fees for renting the cats and dogs are zero. Free!

A couple of months ago I first “barked” about the military dogs who have served overseas and how much they meant to the troops they served with. These extraordinary dogs’ primary job is bomb sniffing. Talk about stress! Anyway, I mentioned a particular German Shepherd named Sergeant Rex who served three combat tours in Iraq. His Marine handler was a lady soldier named Megan Leavey. Wow, I didn’t realize there are women Marines fighting for all of us over there. Good for us girls!

Corporal Leavey was injured when a bomb went off hurting her and Rex. She was eventually returned to the U.S. after recuperating , but Rex was left in Iraq to continue his dangerous job. That was over six years ago. Megan tried for years to adopt Rex but to no avail. She went on TV and other media, but nothing happened until New York Senator Charles Schumer started a petition to allow Rex and Megan to rejoin each other. After 22,000 people signed the petition, the Marines relented and allowed Sergeant Rex and Corporal Megan Leavey to reunite for good at home in America. One veteran Marine said about Rex, “He’s a combat-wounded marine and the person who’ll understand him the best is another combat-wounded marine.”

So stress is everywhere and it makes sense to try and reduce it by adopting, nurturing and loving animals like dogs and cats. It seems to be mutually beneficial for humans and animals. Who could ask for more?

Catch you later,

Susie and Sandy

P.S. Dogs and cats may be better than many children. They don’t ask for money, eat less, much easier to raise, don’t drive, come home when called, don’t do drugs, don’t drink, don’t wear your clothes, don’t go to expensive colleges, and if they get pregnant, and if you chose…. you can always give the results to your friends.

For more “Susie says” barks go to: http://sandy-steele.blogspot.com

For additional information on Sandy Steele : http://sandysteele.com