Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Porn Star Strips in Protest of Financial Crisis

Now THIS is the sort of grandstanding a guy can get behind (or in front of, to the side of, upside down, whatever)!!!

Porn star strips in Milan bourse protest
"Italy is down to its underpants," the Sicilian-born actress shouted before being taken away by police. She was charged with obscene acts.

"I want to send a message to all those who have so badly managed people's savings," Perego told the Ansa news agency.
She can send me a message any time. I have been very, VERY bad with other people's money (I haven't but she doesn't need to know that).

Laura Perego, Italian porn star

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bob Dylan and His Toilet: Rolling Stone Is Blowin' in the Wind

Bob DylanI love Yahoo! and its Odd News. This one comes from Malibu. It's about Bob Dylan's portable toilet and the stench that arises from it.

Bob Dylan's toilet smell blows in the wind
Cindy and David Emminger say the toilet wafts fumes from waste treatment chemicals, and that the smell carried by breezes from the Pacific Ocean makes their family feel ill.

"It's a scandal - 'Mr Civil Rights' is killing our civil rights," David Emminger told the Los Angeles Times.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Natasha Richardson Is Dead

Natasha RichardsonI didn't know who she was, but it's really not important who she is.

What is important is the story. Richardson died after falling and hitting her head on a ski slope in Canada. She was on a bunny slope, fell and hit her head and was carried back to the ski lodge.

This one hits close to home because the same thing happened to my wife (who's fate, it turns out, was much more fortunate than Natasha's). On the level surface right near the ski lift, my wife fell directly on her head and had to be carried on a stretcher to the first aid station...she had a concussion but after a few hours she was okay.

Not so for Richardson.

It is sad that in such a place as Canada, in the province of Quebec, that they don't have a modern MEDEVAC capability. If they had, she might still be alive.

Doctor: Lack of medical helicopter cost actress
NEW YORK – As a steady stream of celebrities pay their last respects to Natasha Richardson, questions are arising over whether a medical helicopter might have been able to save the ailing actress.

The province of Quebec lacks a medical helicopter system, common in the United States and other parts of Canada, to airlift stricken patients to major trauma centers. Montreal's top head trauma doctor said Friday that may have played a role in Richardson's death.
We here in the States, despite all of our problems, don't know how good we have it.

There ARE Some People Against the AIG Bonus Tax!

It seems that everyone is aghast at the AIG bonuses and in favor of taxing every single employee of any financial institution up the wazoo, but it seems there are a few folks with level heads (not many in Congress though. Those guys are sub-human).

Letters - An Overreaction to A.I.G. Bonuses? -

Friday, March 20, 2009

Tax on "AIG Bonuses" Hurts More Than Just Executives at AIG

I'm all for sticking it to greedy executives of companies who made buttloads of money at our expense. But guess what? Most of those guys (and yes, they're always men) are long gone. And so is the money. We'll never get justice from those guys.

But this bill, HR 1586, just passed by the House, overwhelmingly I might add, is atrocious. Each and every politician who voted for it must be considered a public bafoon.

Here's why. (Oh, there are so many reasons this bill is bad.)

First off, this was clearly a ploy to leverage the public outrage over the AIG bonuses that had already been planned, agreed on, and paid. President Obama did nobody any favors on this one, either, by saying that he was sending his dumbass attack dog, tax evader extraordinaire, Timothy Geithner (is that a Nazi name?) to the front lines to figure out how to stop the AIG bonuses from being paid.

So the constitutionality of the bill is in question. I'm no legal scholar, but this might fall under Article 1, Section 9, Clause 3.
Constitutional prohibition on bills of attainder.  states that "No bill of attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed." A bill of attainder is an act passed by a state or federal legislature that punishes a specific person or group without a trial. In determining whether a piece of legislation violates the constitutional prohibition against bills of attainder, the Supreme Court generally tests whether the act specifies a group of people, contains a punishment specifically for that group of people, and does not require a trial. Given that criteria, this legislation could be ruled unconstitutional for imposing a tax penalty on a specific group of individuals.
I understand the public outrage. I do. But "Mob mentality" got us into this mess; I doubt it's going to get us out.

Another point to be brought up here is the fact that this bill is poorly worded. Again, I'm no legal scholar, but last time I checked, a "person" is not a "corporation." Yes, I do remember Business Law in college, and I do remember that corporations have the same legal standing as an individual. Corporations are legal entities. But this bill says,

        (A) any person who receives after December 31, 2007, capital infusions under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 which, in the aggregate, exceed $5,000,000,000,
        (B) the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation,
        (C) any person who is a member of the same affiliated group (as defined in section 1504 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, determined without regard to paragraphs (2) and (3) of subsection (b)) as a person described in subparagraph (A) or (B), and
        (D) any partnership if more than 50 percent of the capital or profits interests of such partnership are owned directly or indirectly by one or more persons described in subparagraph (A), (B), or (C).
I haven't received ANY TARP money, but the company I work for has. Last time I looked, Bank of America, Chase, Wells, and Citigroup were not people or persons.

By the way, my company was strong-armed into taking the money by Henry Paulson. Now, Chase could pay the money back and my particular issue would be moot, but this bill would still penalize folks who don't necessarily deserve it. More on that in a bit.

This is a so-called "Executive bonus tax." Guess what? The tax in this bill is applicable to married couples who make $250,000. In California, that's not really unheard of, even for "non-executives." Bottom line: Your salary does not determine whether you're an executive or not. Simply moving up in the ranks and being a middle manager over the course of 20 years could get you lumped into the same box as a true "executive" (you know, a guy or gal making "executive decisions" not the guy deciding whether the company letterhead ought to be in Verdana or Sans Serif font).

Contrary to the media and government representation that this is a tax on "bonuses," it is clearly much more than that.

In fact, it's not about the bonus at all; it's about the income. Look at this passage:
      (1) IN GENERAL- The term `TARP bonus' means, with respect to any individual for any taxable year, the lesser of--
        (A) the aggregate disqualified bonus payments received from covered TARP recipients during such taxable year, or
        (B) the excess of--
          (i) the adjusted gross income of the taxpayer for such taxable year, over
          (ii) $250,000 ($125,000 in the case of a married individual filing a separate return).
What does this mean to you? Again, I'm no Jacoby & Myers, but I read this to mean that if you work for a company that got TARP funds (hear me, Detroit?), you're married, you make $30,000 a year, and your spouse makes $1,000,000 a year, guess what?

You get taxed at 90 percent on $750,000 PLUS the "normal" marginal rate on the first $250,000!

Is this fucked or what? Am I reading that right? I know the dolts in Congress aren't the sharpest tools in the shed, but do they read this shit? Who writes it?

I have a really hard time believing that they'll tax people like this, but this is what the verbiage says, no?

And if this passes into law (read this, Obama), the US Treasury (IRS) gets to "interpret" it. You think they have an open mind on this? They want their money back!

Hey, Treasury! Just because you gave money away with no strings, don't get all pissy at poor working Joe and try to take his money.

Here's some background. I work for a financial institution that was taken over by the FDIC and then given to another bank. This other bank had to keep the wheels turning, so they offered me and a lot of other folks an incentive to stay. This goes all the way back to October 2008.

They had to retain the talent, else bank operations conducted by WaMu might get totally out of whack. In essence, the employees made a deal with the bank. This is before the bank got any TARP funds.

Had we known our incentive would be wiped clear, we could have started looking for other employment 6 months ago, when the job market was better. As you know, the labor market is a lagging indicator, and it's gotten worse, even if the economy has stabilized (questionable at this point).

So we've actually been put in a nut wrench because we have a lower likelihood of finding a job. Plus, our "incentive" may turn out to be a small fraction of what was promised to us.

I don't see where the government thinks it can break a contract between an employee and a private company (publicly traded, but certainly a private enterprise).

I know, it's "for the good of the country." Bullshit. It's because Congress and the President want to grandstand and proclaim that they were "on the side of the people." But you know what? It's people like me and my peers, white-collar working stiffs, just trying to do our jobs, and having nothing to do with the crackpots on crackpipes who got us into this mess, that are going to pay most dearly for it all.

Not only are many of our houses underwater due to the financial shenanigans our "leaders" pulled off (and don't forget Congress and the repeal of banking regulations in the late 90s), but we're about to be jobless and get robbed of what was coming to us.

I don't care where you stand on "executive bonuses." I am NOT an executive, yet I may get slapped with a marginal tax rate the likes I have never seen (back in the Kennedy days). And this is NOT a tax on bonuses. It's a tax on success.

If Congress passes this and President Obama signs it into law, they are no better than the last set of politicians we voted (mostly) out of office.

The rule of law is what this country was founded on. That, and the entrepreneurial spirit. Self-interest with prudent oversight. Capitalism. Middle class rising up.

God forbid we actually try to live up to those ideals.

WTF Is Wrong with People?

Woman leaves newborn on plane. That's bad, immoral, criminal, insane, horrible.

Reports: Woman gave birth, left baby on plane
Media reports said the mother left the baby in a bathroom waste bin on the Pacific Blue plane carrying 150 passengers; others said she was spotted with bloodied clothes in an immigration line. Police have declined comment on the reports.
What the hell was she thinking? Obviously, on one level, she wasn't. But on another level...did she think nobody would notice?
  • Fat lady walks in bathroom
  • Thin, smelly, stinky lady walks out
Really? You didn't think anyone would spot that?

You're not only fucked in the head, you're worse than a bitch, you're a murderer (or at least you tried), and you're stupid.

They need to put her away for good.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

American Auto Manufacturers Continue To Lose, Even When They Win

Detroit keeps taking it in the shorts. I think they like it, based on the many times they've taken a groin beating and keep on doing the same shit that got them the ball busting in the first place.

Now, Jaguar, formerly owned by Ford, and Buick, the almost-defunct GM make, both beat Lexus in a reliability study.

Jaguar, Buick dethrone Lexus in reliability study
Jaguar and Buick surged to the top of J.D. Power and Associates' closely watched vehicle dependability study this year, tying for the No. 1 spot and dethroning Lexus for the first time since the Japanese luxury brand has been a part of the survey.
And none of it matters because...guess what?


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Rants - March 18, 2009

Welcome to the March 18, 2009 edition of Rants.

Chris presents Investment Letters from a Financial Iwo Jima posted at Martial Development, saying, "These two short investment letters tell the sad story of the US economy..." 

One Weekly Gun presents About Rush Limbaugh - republican radio host posted at One Weekly Gun, saying, "Rush Limbaugh wishes Obama fails. Well, people on drugs can say the craziest things. This is a satirical song about Rush getting high and ranting." 

Wenchypoo presents Using Your Own Money Against You posted at Wisdom From Wenchypoo's Mental Wastebasket. 

Joey Martynowski presents Rick Santelli's Revolution and the White House's Response posted at The Last Capitalist, saying, "A rant about a rant. It's perfect." 

steven germain presents Rough Fractals: AIG - Behind The Scenes... posted at Rough Fractals, saying, "An inside view and analysis of what went wrong at AIG." 

 steven germain presents social policy in a financial crisis posted at Rough Fractals, saying, "Trying to enact progressive social policy in the midst of an economic crisis..." 

Obadiah Shoher presents Did Hamas win? posted at Samson BLinded. 

Wren Caulfield presents Darwin Award Nomination: the blogger that advocates overturning Roe v. Wade to save the economy posted at True Adventures in Money Hacking. 

Madeleine Begun Kane presents Ode To GOP Grovelers (Song Parody) posted at Mad Kane's Political Madness. 

Wenchypoo presents The Origins of Congressional Pork posted at Wisdom From Wenchypoo's Mental Wastebasket. 

Wenchypoo presents Using Our Own Money Against Us Part 3: Making Mole Hills into Mountains posted at Wisdom From Wenchypoo's Mental Wastebasket. 

NotYourDaddy presents Looting the Economy posted at Government is not your Daddy., saying, "We need to restore productivity, not just have government hire more people and create more bureaucracies to employ them. We need to create value, not pump more money into the economy, which only serves to devalue the money already in circulation. We cannot borrow our way out of debt, nor spend our way into solvency. We need to return to the basic foundations on which this once-great nation was built: hard work, self-reliance, entrepreneurship, industry, and personal responsibility." 

I agree, but it's in the approach where we differ. Right now, IMHO, we need the government to fill in where private enterprise won't or can't. It's the only way out. On the backside of this thing though, once the economic ship rights itself, we need a period of government SURPLUS. Don't let the GOP abuse it with "tax cuts."

It's how we run our households, right? Lose a job, and for a bit, run up the budget deficit. Things turn around, build up a surplus. It's really very simple. Government should do the same thing.

Problem is, people want their pet projects, but they want somebody else to pay for them. AND, we let them get away with it.

steven germain presents ideology and crisis posted at Rough Fractals, saying, "Ideology and crisis: opening a new door to a new dialogue..." 

Len Penzo presents Be Fiscally Irresponsible...Get $5000! posted at Len Penzo . Com, saying, "Don't look now, but after reviewing the Obama administration's Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan, I can only conclude that our President has officially gone "full retard."" 

Do you think everybody in foreclosure is financially irresponsible?

The Gnome Lord presents People are Stupid posted at The Gnome Lord . com. 

Edmund Harriss presents Airports posted at Maxwell's Demon. 

Aetius Romulous presents The Death of The General posted at ScreamBucket. 

Benjamin Himlan presents Working the Line; An American Lifestyle: February 2009 posted at Working the Line; An American Lifestyle. 

Eric Michael Johnson presents The Nature of Partisan Politics-Part I posted at The Primate Diaries, saying, "Yuval Levin justifies partisan bickering based on false assumptions about human nature." 

Eric Michael Johnson presents The Nature of Partisan Politics-Part II posted at The Primate Diaries, saying, "Republicans from Mars, Democrats from Venus and the partisan assumptions about human nature." 

Shot presents The Looming Afghanistan Disaster posted at 

Wenchypoo presents Bailout Boomerangs posted at Wisdom From Wenchypoo's Mental Wastebasket. 

Nancy Miller presents Bioethics and a Woman’s Right to Choose posted at Becoming A Radiologist. 

Archvillain presents Highway Robbery posted at A Dark and Sinister Force for Good, saying, "Didn't we used to have a 4th Amendment?"

Wow. Crazy.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of Rants using our carnival submission form.

Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Who the Hell Is Yusuf Acar?

President Obama is continually nominating and appointing idiots and crooks. Here's the latest -

He appointed Vivek Kundra, Washington, D.C.'s chief technology officer, to the position of federal chief information officer last week. Now, Kundra's office has been raided. Apparently, two of his subordinates have been implicated in a bribery scheme.
Acar worked for Kundra as an information systems security officer with responsibility for government contracts. A number of requests for bids posted on the District's Web site list Acar as "responsible for general administration of the contract" and "responsible for the day-to-day monitoring and supervision of the contract, of ensuring that the work conforms to the requirements of this contract." 
Nice work!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Rants - March 2, 2009

Welcome to the March 2, 2009 edition of Rants. 

John Tedder presents Why Are Property Taxes In New York So High? posted at Tedder's Random Notes, saying, "New Yorkers pay the highest property taxes in America; 78% higher than the national average.

New York schools outside of New York City spend more per student than any state in the nation – an estimated $18,768 in 2008-09. New York’s per student spending is more than 50 percent above the national average."

Wow. Crazy. Where does California rank? I suppose near the top. 

Nandita presents Defined by Blood posted at Cold SnapDragon. 

Silicon Valley Blogger presents No 2009 Economic Stimulus Check? How Obama’s Stimulus Plan Affects The Middle Class posted at The Digerati Life, saying, "Here's a rant on the economic stimulus plan."

I'll say it here and now: It's too little. When all is said and done, we'll find that the "stimulus" cost $4 trillion. Mark my words. Oh, and that's only if we dig ourselves out of the mess that's been made the last 8, 10, 20, 40 years!!! 

Michael Haltman presents The Intolerance Of The Left Exemplified!!! Not For Young Eyes! [] posted at The Political and Financial Markets Commentator, saying, "At different times I post my articles on various forums around the internet, some conservative and some liberal. The point of posting on liberal forums is to try and generate a dialogue with people who may share a differing opinion from mine."

Are you saying mine is a liberal blog? :) It's not. It's, in fact, more conservative than the last 2 Republican administrations, that's for sure! 

Madeleine Begun Kane presents No Quid? No Quo! posted at Mad Kane's Political Madness. 

Steve Simbeck presents A definitive work on the state of current affairs posted at No Mato mi Pavo, saying, "You will find the author's position easy to define." 

Steve Simbeck presents 4 out of 5 experts agree that 4 out of 5 experts are experts posted at No Mato mi Pavo, saying, "Written just before the inauguration but I think it still resonates." 

That's funny!

Allen Scott presents Give me, Give me, and then give me Some More posted at Journey Across the Sky, saying, "A look into the evil root cause of America's financial problems. It appears that America's debt is not at all financial but rather spiritual." 

More true than I want to admit.

N Williamson presents You know you’re a republican when… | ughmusing... posted at ughmusing..., saying, "Awesome." 

Ian Bowman presents What The Eff Is Wrong With Me Lately? posted at If It Feels Good Do It. 

David Gross presents Reflections on the coronation posted at The Picket Line, saying, "I am embarrassed for my friends and my country that we still enthusiastically install royalty at such great expense at this late date after the success of our revolution. And unlike the former monarchies which have devolved into republics and divested their crowns of significant power, we seem largely determined to attach all of our hopes and most of our sovereignty onto our king (or even, as the last eight years showed, some court jester).

The people have spoken. If the people had any sense of shame or any self-awareness, they’d shut the fuck up. They’ve been speaking for a long time now and casting terrible, hateful imprecations that have called forth demons that they refuse to accept responsibility for or attempt to control." 

Madeleine Begun Kane presents Hey Republicans, Go Filibuster Yourselves! posted at Mad Kane's Political Madness. 

Noel Roberts presents An investment in knowledge, is the BEST investment? posted at The Official Blog of RKOTB. 

TauCan62 presents Buy American, E-Verify Axed From Pork Bill posted at rjjrdq's America, saying, "According to John Boehner, house minority leader, not one member of the house read the stimulus bill. Not one." 

Did he?

Jomammy presents The Great Slavery Excuse posted at Why I Loathe. 

Jomammy presents Bad Drivers Should Be Executed posted at Why I Loathe. 

Jomammy presents Valentine's Day is a Fraud posted at Why I Loathe. 

Matthew Roberts presents Top 10 Things I'll Miss About Capitalism posted at Pretend You Read the News. 

Madeleine Begun Kane presents Facebook Face Off? posted at Mad Kane's Humor Blog. 

Phil B. presents The Merits of a Much Higher Gas Tax « Phil for Humanity posted at Phil for Humanity, saying, "If a tax were placed on gas to keep the price at least $4.00 per gallon, then this would have a lot of consequences… some good and some bad." 

Wenchypoo presents The Pelosi-tariat and the Totalitarian Temptation posted at Wisdom From Wenchypoo's Mental Wastebasket. 

Madeleine Begun Kane presents Ode To Roland Burris posted at Mad Kane's Political Madness. 

Chris presents Girls beware of Perverts at Goa’s Beaches! posted at nomad4ever. 

KP Silverman presents Stimulating Thoughts posted at Kpsilverman's Weblog, saying, "common sense for the new millenium" 

Len Penzo presents I'm Just Askin': Why Bother Being Fiscally Responsible Anymore? posted at Len Penzo . Com, saying, "Obama's $75B housing rescue plan makes suckers out of those of us who have been wise enough to make sure we lived within our means. So what do we get out of the deal? We now get to subsidize the irresponsible people that bought more house than they could afford! Welcome to the wonderful world of Socialism!" 

Socialism? Can that same label be applied to the corporate bailouts? Giving tax money to large corporations? Pet projects? Didn't we spend more tax dollars on pork and pet projects over the last 8 years?

Christopher Khawand presents Heroes and Henchmen: The Lost Tale of the Individual posted at Philpropsophy, saying, "A glimpse at film & storytelling, and the frequent sacrifice of the individual they glorify." 

Gin presents Peace and Aggression posted at Sense Scribe, saying, "Articles on health, society issues, technology and science." 

Jason Zuckerman presents Stimulating Art Stimulates the Economy posted at Jay Zuck's Sketch of the Day, saying, "In this blog post, I argue that stimulating the arts has a stimulating effect on the economy. I also derail the notion that the funding of the NEA in the recent stimulus package represents non-stimulative pork." 

RE Ausetkmt presents Sick*Saturday - See Rappin Hitler and Barack?s Monkey Shots Videos posted at BadGalsRadio - RootsRock since 99', saying, "could it be possible - rappin hitler, and barack obama's monkey shots in one blog ?

Why Yes Virginia.." 

steven germain presents How To Fix The Economy... posted at Rough Fractals, saying, "How to stabilize the economy and restore confidence in the capital markets..." 

nickel presents Second Stimulus Check? posted at 

Wenchypoo presents The Law of Unintended Consequences Part 4 posted at Wisdom From Wenchypoo's Mental Wastebasket. 

Jim DeSantis presents Join The Illuminati and Help Control the Economy posted at On Line Tribune | Front Page Blog, saying, "The idea of a secret cabal of mysterious forces that make up the Illuminati has (for some) a "romantic" appeal. Granted that appeal may be filled with fear but it's a concept they hold onto in spite of reason." 

Madeleine Begun Kane presents Ode To Bobby "Kenneth the Page" Jindal posted at Mad Kane's Political Madness. 

jenafer presents Voyuerism and Facebook posted at Cage Free Monkeys. 

Jacob Duchaine presents That Which We Receive posted at The Blog of Jacob Duchaine. 

Seth Manapio presents Stupid and Unhappy posted at Whiskey Before Breakfast... the Blog, saying, "Who was drinking the stupid juice when the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan was concieved? Even a Rush Limbaugh hating non-conservative like myself can see the fatal flaws in this one." 

What's your proposal? 

The BoBo presents An American Fairytale - A Tale of Warning - And of Hope posted at The BoBo Files.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of Rants using our carnival submission form.

Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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Bobby Jindal Is a LIAR

I watched the Republican rebuttal to President Obama's State of the State (was that what it was called?) the other night and thought he came out with some good points (Government spends too much, Government thinks we're idiots, Government is the problem, etc.), but then it got ridiculous.

There was a childlike quality to Jindal's speech and at times I couldn't tell if he was trying to talk to children or if he was the child himself.

I mean, it seemed like he thinks the American people are too simple to listen to intelligent debate, and in some cases I think he's right. I often think we, as a society, are simply idiots.

But Jindal's speech was over the top. Now, I find out, one of the most compelling points to the idiots in the crowd, the part about his sheriff yelling at a federal bureaucrat over the phone during the Katrina episode, was - get this -




Gotta love politicians! They make shit up all the time and expect us simpletons to believe it. They're more crass than preachers in the tent.

From TPMMuckraker:
Remember that story Bobby Jindal told in his big speech Tuesday night -- about how during Katrina, he stood shoulder-to-shoulder with a local sheriff who was battling government red tape to try to rescue stranded victims?

Turns out it wasn't actually, you know, true.
Full story here - Jindal Admits Katrina Story Was False