Dec 30, 2008
Dec 29, 2008
25 Mashed Chart Toppers
DJ Earworm takes the Billboard top 25 songs of 2008 and makes a nice ballad style mashup.
The top 25 songs of 2008 all mashed up is greater than its individual parts... and proves that most people have terrible taste in music.
Here is the track list:
Flo Rida Featuring T-Pain - Low, Leona Lewis - Bleeding Love,Alicia Keys - No One, Lil Wayne Featuring Static Major - Lollipop, Timbaland Featuring OneRepublic - Apologize, Jordin Sparks Duet With Chris Brown - No Air, Sara Bareilles - Love Song, Usher Featuring Young Jeezy - Love in This Club, Chris Brown - With You, Chris Brown - Forever, Ray J & Yung Berg - Sexy Can I, Rihanna - Take a Bow, Coldplay - Viva La Vida, Katy Perry - I Kissed a Girl, T.I. - Whatever You Like, Rihanna - Disturbia, Rihanna - Don't Stop the Music, Natasha Bedingfield, Pocketful of Sunshine, Chris Brown Featuring T-Pain - Kiss Kiss, Ne-Yo - Closer, Colbie Caillat - Bubbly, Mariah Carey - Touch My Body, Madonna Featuring Justin Timberlake - 4 Minutes, Pink - So What, Finger Eleven - Paralyzer.
Vote for Blaspheme of the Year
Don't remember? Plug 'em into the google search engine on your right.
(Not seeing it? Got Safari or something?)
Here's the list...
Best of Blasphemes Throw Down
What was your favorite post this year?
John Lovell Is Alive (Vet ventilated two bad guys at Subway)
Pressing Issue (How long was Luke on Daghobah?)
Who is Worse? (Comparing terrible US Presidents)
GPS Nudar (Strip Club Finder)
GI Joe Movie Updates
Let's RickRoll The Mets!
How to Photoshop Sarah Palin
Guns as a Crime Deterrent
Clinton and Rezco
Fail - they all sucked
Dec 28, 2008
Santa Psycho Killer
I figured it's time to learn about it... it just didn't sound random - as I was sure that he knew those people, and that there would be some sort of domestic situation to tie into it.
Here's what I've learned about Bruce Jeffrey Pardo's story and why he went on a rampage.
He had a brain-damaged son - that he abandoned as a toddler - a beloved dog that he had just lost in a divorce - and a murder plan gone awry.
On Christmas Eve, a week after his divorce from his wife, Sylvia Pardo, was finalized, Pardo went to his in-laws' house with a gun and a fuel-spraying device. The Los Angeles Times has most of the details of what motivated his crime, how he planned to kill and torch his ex-wife's family, and how his escape went wrong:
- Pardo had a son, Matthew, with a previous girlfriend. The child, now 9, suffered brain damage after falling into a pool when he was 13 months old while his father was babysitting him. After sitting by his side for a week at the hospital, Pardo abandoned him, but continued to claim him as a tax deduction for seven years. When Sylvia Pardo (his new wife) discovered this, the couple fought, a feud which led to their divorce.
- The couple was separated for two years. Their divorce was finalized on December 18. Sylvia was awarded custody of the couple's dog Saki, a brown Akita.
- On Wednesday, Pardo drove a rented Dodge Caliber to his former in-laws' home in Covina, Calif., arriving at 11:30 p.m., and began shooting. "Pardo had disguised a pressurized fuel tank as a Christmas package and responded to the 8-year-old girl who answered the door. Santa Claus shot her in the face when she answered the door."
- Pardo then shot partygoers: "A relative said the dead included Pardo's ex-wife, her parents, two of her brothers and their wives, a nephew and a sister." Body count of 8, for the scorecard.
- Pardo had $17,000 in cash and a plane ticket to Canada strapped to his body, suggesting he planned an escape. But the fuel he sprayed ignited unexpectedly, and the Santa suit melted to his body, causing third-degree burns. (Personally, I really hope that hurt.)
- Abandoning his escape plan, he drove 40 miles to his brother's house in Sylmar, Calif. His last act before shooting himself: turning his rental car into a bomb: "He removed his shredded suit and used it to set up a booby trap in the vehicle, police said. If the suit was moved, trip wires would ignite a flash fire and explode 200 rounds of ammunition."
And before anybody makes a snarky comment about blowing away your in-laws at Christmas (oops, I just think I did) I'll quote Jack Nicholson as the Joker in 1989's Batman. "You are vicious bastard, Rottelli. [strangles him] And I'm glad you're dead!"
Dec 27, 2008
New IL Plates
Dec 26, 2008
Dec 25, 2008
Dec 24, 2008
A Christmas Crisis Carol
by Tim Stewart
T’was the time of the Big Crash, when all through The Street,
Merry traders flogged worthless paper, growing their bonus heap.
Derivatives were shunted ‘round the world without care,
Knowing St. Greenspan soon would proclaim, “No bubble there!”
Over-leveraged homeowners were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of ever-inflating values danced in their heads.
And my trophy-wife in her designer lingerie, and I in my official logo cap,
Had just flipped on the 100-inch plasma and settled into the Jacuzzi, unable to nap.
When out in the free markets there arose such a clatter,
Paulson had to pull his head out of the Wall Street Journal to see what was the matter.
Away to Goldman Sachs he flew like a flash,
Tore open the jewel-embossed shutters and quickly hid the stash.
The rose-coloured lenses, once discarded they flew,
Then stocks began tanking, as the pyramid schemes blew.
When, what to our wondering eyes should appear,
But a 700 billion dollar bailout, and eighty fat-cat bankers hands outstretched so dear.
With an old boy as the driver, so two-faced and slick,
I knew in a moment it must be a trick.
More rapid than eagles the free traders they came,
And Paulson whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!
“Now Goldman! Now, Merrill! Now, AIG and Bear Stearns!
Sorry, Lehman. On, Citicorp! On Morgan and Stanley!
To the top of the Federal Reserve Bank! To the top of the Street’s Wall!
Take the taxpayer’s money and dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”
After impelling so many to amass debts sky high,
When they meet with an obstacle, they are ‘too big’ to die.
So back to the Congress the noble free-market men they flew,
With private jets full of toys, some for each member too.
Amid all the back scratching, Congressmen heard on the helipad roof,
The soft leather pawing of each well-heeled hoof.
As one jotted on a napkin the formula for ole trickle down,
Up the nation’s chimneys all wealth was sucked, with hardly a sound.
Investment bankers strutted dressed all in fur, from their head to their foot,
No clothes not custom-made on their skin could be put.
Bundled sub-prime mortgages they flung ‘round with Triple A matter-of-fact,
And they sounded like gamblers, just playing a game of black jack.
The Decider’s eyes—how they twinkled! His smirk how scary!
His ideals were like deadweight, his mind muddled and airy!
His fake Texas drawl sputtered out rather slow,
And the colour of his face turned as white as the snow.
He was stumped by events so gritted his teeth,
While the smoke from the Big Crash encircled his head like a wreath.
He had more lines on his face, and dreaded the sound of the closing bell,
But shrugged and laughed it all off, ‘truly sorry’ for this hell.
He was chummy with plump billionaires, around them a right jolly old elf,
The people cringed when they saw him, and resented his stealth!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave us to know we had much more to dread.
He spoke not a word, about all of his dirty work,
When people threw shoes and stockings, he ducked and he jerked.
And shooting the finger at the press conference close,
Into history he tumbled, smelling more like Herbert Hoover than a rose.
He sprang from the White House, to his team gave several loud whistles,
And away to the Crawford ranch they all flew to play golf and clear thistles.
But we heard him exclaim, as he flew out of sight,
“Happy Big Crash to all, and to Obama good luck, yer sure gonna need a might!”
(With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore. Tim Stewart is an associate professor at the Kyoto University Institute for the Promotion of Excellence in Higher Education.)
Taking Out Santa
As always, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (Norad) will be keeping tabs on Santa and children can follow his progress on Google Earth.
In addition, they can send e-mails to the tracking team or even follow Santa on Twitter.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of a tradition that started by accident in Colorado, in the US.
He will pass 24 "Santa cams" around the world, providing live video feeds of his progress, which will in turn be put onto Norad's YouTube channel as they happen.
Norad volunteers can answer e-mails about Santa's journey (the address is email@example.com).
Norad's 50-year tradition of tracking Ole St. Nick goes back to a misprint in a Colorado newspaper advertisement in 1955.
A local child wanting to know Santa's whereabouts dialled the phone number printed, which connected to the Continental Air Defense Command (Conad).
As more mistaken calls came in, the commander on the other end of the phone answered the queries and the tradition continued in 1958 when Conad became Norad.
The effort spread to the internet in 1998 and in 2007 Norad's Santa tracking site saw more than 10m visitors from 212 countries. Volunteers fielded nearly 95,000 phone calls and 140,000 e-mails. This year when Santa takes flight from the North Pole, more than 1,000 volunteers will be on hand to help out.
The Science of Santa
1) No known species of reindeer can fly. BUT there are 300,000 species of living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are insects and germs, this does not COMPLETELY rule out flying reindeer, which only Santa has ever seen.
2) There are 2 billion children (persons under 18) in the world. BUT since Santa doesn't (appear) to handle the Muslim, Hindu, Jewish & Buddhist children, that reduces the workload to 15% of the total -378 million according to Population Reference Bureau. At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that's 91.8 million homes. One presumes that there's at least one good child in each.
3) Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with. This is due to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to west (which seems logical). This works out to 822.6 visits/second. That is to say that for each Christian household with good children, Santa has .001 second to park, hop out of the sleigh, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left, get back up the chimney, get back into the sleigh and move on to the next house.
4) Assuming that each of these 91.8 million stops are evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know to be false but for the purposes of our calculations we will accept), we are now talking about .78 miles/household, a total trip of 75.5 million miles; not counting stops to do what most of us do at lease once every 31 hours, plus eating etc. So Santa's sleigh must be moving at 650 miles/second, 3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle on earth, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a pokey 27.4 miles/second. A conventional reindeer can run, tops, 15 miles/hour.
5) If every one of the 91.8 million homes with good children were to put out a single chocolate chip cookie and an 8 ounce glass of 2% milk, the total calories (needless to say other vitamins and minerals) would be approximately 225 calories (100 for the cookie, give or take, and 125 for the milk, give or take). Multiplying the number of calories per house by the number of homes (225 x 91.8 x 1000000), we get the total number of calories Santa consumes that night, which is 20,655,000,000 calories. To break it down further, 1 pound is equal to 3500 calories. Dividing our total number of calories by the number of calories in a pound (20655000000 / 3500) and we get the number of pounds Santa gains, 5901428.6, which is 2950.7 tons.
6) The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized Lego set (2 lb.), the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa, who is invariably described as overweight. On land, conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300lb. Even granting that "flying reindeer" (see #1) can pull 10 TIMES the normal amount, we cannot do the job with 8, or even 9, reindeer. We need 214,200. This increases the payload - not counting the weight of the sleigh - to 353,430 tons. This is four times the weight of the ocean-liner Queen Elizabeth.
7) 353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles/second creates enormous air resistance. This will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as a spacecraft reentering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer will absorb 14.3 QUINTILLION joules of energy. Per second. Each. In short, they will burst into flame almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them and create deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team will be vaporized within .00426 of a second. Meanwhile, Santa, will be subjected to centrifugal forces 17,500.06 times greater than gravity. A 250 lb. Santa, being very conservative in terms of guessing Santa's weight, would be pinned to the back of his sleigh by 4,315,015 lb. of force. If Santa ever DID deliver presents on Christmas Eve, he's dead now.
Dec 23, 2008
Sixteen Serious Questions Raised By
"Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer"
by: Max Burbank
Now my half cent of thought of this - at the conclusion of the show, Rudolph leads Santa to the Island of Misfit toys - which is probably Santa's Guantanamo Bay for depressingly broken toys. At best, it's the North Pole's Dollar Store. Santa loads up these broken, malfunctioning, and chromosome deficient toys in his sack of goodies as the credits roll.
1.) WHY IS SANTA SUCH A COMPLETE BASTARD?
I'm going to say he has a chemical disorder, probably Bipolar. The elves sing him a very nice song and he's a total jerk about it, leaving the desperately co-dependent Mrs. Clause to patch things up. He has some sort of eating disorder that causes his weight to fluctuate wildly. He tells Dasher he should be ashamed for presenting Rudolph to the community simply because the child has some sort of nose disorder. He only changes his mind about Rudolph once he figures out a way to exploit him. Plus, this guy is absolutely ITCHING to cancel Christmas. Hey Santa. It's not your call. Christmas is the day Jesus was born. God will let you know if Christmas is cancelled. Until then, get in the damn sleigh.
2.) WHAT'S UP WITH CLARICE?
A generation of men my age is all screwed up because Rankin/Bass decided to make Clarice disturbingly attractive. She's a little forward, a little coy, and those eyelashes! I swear to God, we should all organize a class action suit to pay for our therapy.
3.) WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THE ELVES?
Why are they such fascists? Like the head elf isn't way different than all the others? And what about the tall elf?
Is he an engineer? Is he from MIT? Why is he tall? And how come the head elf and the tall elf don't get any sh*t but Hermy does?
4.) WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THE REINDEER?
Okay, Rudolph's glowing, squealing nose is weird as sh*t, but why do the other reindeer find it terrifying? What about a glowing, squealing nose makes other reindeers pupils shrink and their bodies convulse? And why does it mean the poor bastard can't 'play in any reindeer games'? He's the best at flying after Provocative; Jailbait Clarice...
...comes onto him. Is this like back when African Americans weren't allowed to play football?
5.) IS IT HERMY OR HERBIE?
My word to God, he gets called both over the course of less than an hour.
6.) IS HERMY GAY?
Yes. Forty years ago you couldn't talk about homosexuality among puppets on TV, so they used the word 'dentist' instead of...
7.) IS YUKON CORNELIUS GAY?
Yukon Cornelius, like 7% of the population is asexual.
8.) WHAT'S THE DEALIO ON THAT FRIGGIN' TALKING SNOWMAN?
Forty years ago, Burl Ives, who lent his voice and a lot more of his image than you'd think to the Talking Snowman was a big star. Now nobody remembers hits like "The Big Rock Candy Mountain" (a song that is actually about Hobos dying of malnutrition, exposure and alcoholism) or "The Ugly Bug Ball" (which is actually about unattractive bugs gathering to dance) or his Oscar winning turn as "Big Daddy" in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof". All anyone remembers about Burl Ives is that he is the talking snowman and they don't even know he was really Burl Ives. I imagine this makes the ghost of Burl Ives just about as mad as f*ck.
9.) WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH TIME AT THE NORTH POLE?
Okay, follow me here. Rudolph runs away from home right after Reindeer practice. He has adventures with Herbie and Yukon Cornelius and visits the Island of Misfit Toys. Then he leaves them behind and is off on his own long enough to enter puberty and grow antlers. Meanwhile, his Dad went to look for him right after he ran away, followed almost immediately by his mom and that Little Tart Clarice. The near adult Rudolph returns home to be informed by Santa that everyone's gone looking for him. We know it's been less than a year because Santa says he can't fly the team without Rudolph's dad, but it sure as hell has been a while. Rudolph goes directly to the Abominable snowman's cave JUST IN TIME TO STOP HIM FROM EATING THE ODDLY PROVOCATIVE...
...CLARICE! How are we supposed to view this sequence of events? Where Mom, dad and Clarice looking for Rudolph for almost a year before the Abominable caught them? It's just a coincidence Rudolph stumbles upon them moments after that? I think this stretches credulity. I'm forced to assume that somewhere in the vicinity of the Island of Misfit Toys there's an object of immense mass, perhaps a Fallen White Dwarf Star, and that proximity to this mass causes relativity in time so that Rudolph has aged nearly a year while only having left the Pole for about a day.
10.) DO CLARICE'S PARENTS JUST NOT GIVE A SH*T?
Rudolph runs away and his folks go after him. Clarice disappears and her parents… don't appear in the special. Is she an orphan? Is that why she's always on the make, looking for the love she never got? Or maybe she's got that smokin' hot thing going on chicks get when Daddy can't be bothered.
Don't tell me you don't know what I'm talking about here. You want her as much as I do and you don't give a damn that she's a reindeer.
11.) WHY IS KING MOON RACER SO DAMN COOL?
Aside from the fact that a Lion with wings is pretty cool to begin with, no one knows. I mean what does he do? He's king of an Island of Misfit Toys and all he wants is for Santa to take them off his paws. Then what would he be king of? A lot of Permafrost, that's what. But he's still cool as hell and anyone who says he isn't can meet me out back for a serious beating.
12.) IS THE BUMBLE RETARDED OR WHAT?
Ten minutes before Herbie yanks his teeth out, This hulking brute snapped a damn stalactite of the roof of his cave and beat Rudolph unconscious with it. Now he's harmless cause he doesn't have teeth? HELLO! You still have huge friggin' claws! You're still a friggin' GIANT! Get another stalactite and beat Yukon Cornelius to prospector paste instead of letting him push you off a damn cliff!
13.) WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE DOLL ON THE ‘ISLAND OF MISFIT TOYS'?
She looks fine, right? She isn't. She wouldn't be on the ‘Island if Misfit Toys' if she was. Check it out. Rudy tells King Moon Racer that if he ever gets back to the North Pole he'll give Santa the 411 on the Misfits. Christmas Eve, when the doll thinks Santa isn't going to show, she goes on a crying jag and accuses Rudolph of having promised to help them. Okay, A.) He never made any damn promise B.) Rudolph doesn't run Christmas, Santa does and he's a complete, manic depressive bipolar bastard. I'll tell you why the doll is a misfit. She's a lying little bitch.
14.) WHY DOESN'T CHARLIE IN THE BOX CHANGE HIS NAME?
You can do that, you know. Have your name changed.
15.) WHY DOESN'T THE JELLY SQUIRTING WATER PISTOL EMPTY OUT THE JELLY AND PUT IN WATER?
I mean, it's not brain surgery. Stop looking for Santa to solve your problems. He's a bastard.
16.) WHY DOES RUDOLPH AGREE TO LEAD SANTA'S SLEIGH?
I mean, when someone treats you that way, all they deserve is a swift hoof in the nuts. I'm serious. Guide your own damn sleigh. Then when you crash in the Andes you can eat your Reindeer to survive. Nobody likes a skinny Santa.
What the hell? Is he asking for a lawsuit? These toys are broken! What poor ass kid deserves these loser kicknacks? With coal, at least you know you've been a little sh*t and you shouldn't have given your little sister a swirrly. But think of the puddles of tears some little tike who had bought into the whole 'good for goodness sake.' That poor kid would bawl buckets upon opening that damn Charlie in the Box? Bonus, it's not just his name... he's a depressing sad sack of an individual in-and-of-himself.
Perhaps Santa just dumped them on Africa? Right over the same country that was outfitted by Super Bowl XLI World Champions the Chicago Bears.
Dec 21, 2008
The Winter Solstice has always been a time of celebration, because ancient people were intricately tied to the goings on of the sky. Their constant sky-watching was tied to a life in agriculture. The stars were their calender, GPS, and DirecTV. It might have helped that there was zero light pollution, save for a cloudy night here and there. The people of that time knew that the Winter Solstice signaled that the Sun had begun it's new cycle of life. Eventually spring - and more importantly, food - would return. The promise of another growing season would be fulfilled.
You know, I think I'll stick to the sun worship, thanks.
Dec 19, 2008
A Beefy Odor
Financial News - Yahoo! Finance:-- Looking to beef up your mojo this holiday season?
Burger King Corp. may have just the thing. The home of the Whopper has launched a new men's body spray called 'Flame.' The company describes the spray as 'the scent of seduction with a hint of flame-broiled meat.'
The fragrance is on sale at New York City retailer Ricky's NYC in stores and online for a limited time for $3.99.
Burger King is marketing the product through a Web site featuring a photo of its King character reclining fireside and naked but for an animal fur strategically placed to not offend.
The marketing ploy is the latest in a string of viral ad campaigns by the company. Burger King is also in the midst of its Whopper Virgins campaign that features an taste test with fast-food 'virgins' pitting the Whopper against McDonald's Corp.'s Big Mac.
Okay, so they're putting what they put on the burgers that make you think a) this was once beef b) actually put on a charcoal grill into a perfume bottle?
I'm holding out for the smell of the deep fryer... or I could just get a job at an actual Burger King and have Essence o' Minimum as a benefit.
Bail Out for Bail Outs
A $13.4 billion loan package for General Motors and Chrysler will exhaust the last of the $350 billion Congress granted the Treasury for bailout measures. The measure comes even though polls show most people don't believe the auto industry deserves saving.
The relentless rain of billion-dollar headlines, writedowns and recovery plans, toxic assets and bankrupted investors, has worn out our financial sympathies. Already, the sight of Detroit's chiefs flying in their private jets to beg Congress for money to pay the UAW. How many more bailouts can my pocket take? Nay, how many bailouts can my grandkids take? I don't have grandkids, or great grandkids - but this responsibility will be theirs.
The Madoff Potsie Scheme
And about that Madoff's ponzi scheme... It would have been difficult for SEC investigators to uncover--unless they listened to Harry Markopolos, who repeated proved to them that it was mathematically impossible that Madoff was getting the returns he claimed--9 years ago... (link)
But now we'll be bailing these idiots out too? Let me remind you that it cost 10 million to ante in to this ponzi scheme. That's just to play. Now you want me to bail you out too?
The 'Bernie Madoff Robs Everyone and Alienates His Family' story is kind of similar to that of the Bluth family from the TV show Arrested Development. Only, the real life version has a laugh track. See Bernie married into or bought off the SEC. (Something like that.) Bernie just coasted in his swindle because he knew the 'regulators' would be asleep at the switch. No one is even sure if Bernie even put people's money in the market - so who even really knows what he did with the money?
I'll ask again, why do we need more regulation when we already have all these rules and agencies? They aren't doing their job now - so we need MORE of these idiots to not do their jobs? I'm just not following? Maybe one of our readers can draw me a picture?
My One Consolation
The one thing I have, other than the useless paper that used to be my life savings is laughing my ass off at the rich fuggers who are now poor.
In the Daily Beast, Alexandra Penney, a NY artist who lost her money in Madoff's Ponzi scheme, tells us what it's like.
I began to think about my options: I’d have to sell the cottage in West Palm Beach immediately. I’d need to lay off Yolanda. I could cancel the newspaper subscriptions and read everything online. I only needed a cellphone. I’d have to stop taking taxis. And who could highlight my hair for almost no money? And how hard was it to give yourself a really good pedicure?
The horror. She adds she's been driven to this horrible indignity:
Yesterday, I took my first subway in 30 years. Dennis came with me to show me how to get a MetroCard. The world looks very different from a crowded Lexington Avenue number 6 train.
Meanwhile, a stunning Reuters article reports that Hamptons vacation homes may have to be rented out this year. Some are even selling at a loss, if they can sell at all. The horror... the horror...
Dec 18, 2008
Pimp of the Year
Taken during a 1980 photo shoot by Occidental College pal Lisa Jack, the snapshots show that the freshman was already showing off the quiet confidence of a future president.
Dec 16, 2008
Depression Longer Than Expected
The current contraction was a year old before we even figured out it was happening (according to someone?), which makes it longer than the average postwar recession. Bail outs and Ponzi schemes are failing. Retail stores and Car dealerships are shutting down. It's quite an entertaining train wreck. Here's a couple ideas on why it could be an exceptional soup line forming mess...
In the middle of this decade, His Holiness Federal Reserve chief Alan Greenspan believed that information technology had transformed the very nature of recession. Just-in-time inventory, supply-chain dashboards, and an army of permalancers made adapting to changing business conditions so easy, so quick, that old-school recessions, defined by two consecutive quarters of economic shrinkage, would be a thing of the past. Instead, we would experience a series of microrecessions — a down month here or there, followed by upticks — all happening so quickly we barely felt it.
Ah, for the good old days of microrecessions, eh? Let's throw some more bad mortgages on that theory.
What's happened now is something akin to the introduction of automated trading on Wall Street. What made 1987's Black Monday stock-market crash so devastating was the unforeseen triggering of an avalanche of selling by computer. After that, the market installed circuit breakers to prevent a recurrence.
What Wall Street had two decades ago, we now have business at large... Like that scene in Idiocracy, (the hilarious other Mike Judge movie) where the clueless CEO of a giant corporation complains that the computers laid everyone off when the stock dropped. That's something close to what happened in the Panic of '08. As bad news cascaded through the system, they triggered layoffs and cutbacks, which then prompted consumers to cut spending, causing problems for retail chains that overextended with cheap credit... see where this is heading?
And all of this unfolded amidst a global economy already in recession. China and India, once seen as engines of growth for the world, are in parlous states. Which is awesome - but China's imports have propped up old-world economies like Germany, dropped 18 percent from a year ago. India, already running a large budget deficit, has little room to stimulate its economy. Dropping oil prices, meanwhile, have taken the wind out of petroeconomies like Russia, Venezuela, and Saudi Arabia.
And it's pretty much causing all those anti-petro Green Industries to bleed Dark Red ink too.
That's why I think the recession could be far longer than the 18 months most economists are predicting. Where, exactly, is growth supposed to come from? U.S. consumers and businesses are reeling from debt problems. The rest of the world is hardly better off. The expectation that government spending will lift us out of this mess seems akin to expecting that President Change will deliver us all a new bicycle. Who's going to pay for that?
The Pollyanna response is that the same information technology which helped the recession unfold so quickly will help businesses spot opportunities for growth, making the recovery all the quicker. I seriously doubt it. You think Microsoft or Yahoo can pull us out of this one, really?
Human psychology, and Gordon Gecko taught us that we are far more motivated by fear of loss than the promise of gain. (Greed, it turns out, is good — because it's so much scarcer than we imagine.) Singed by the suddenness of panic, we will be much less likely to respond to glimmers of hope. 18 months? We should be so lucky. Try three years — or longer?
Dec 15, 2008
Anniversary of the Bill of Rights
Celebrate by protesting in a free-speech zone while the police execute a warrantless search of your home for the handgun you aren't allowed to own.
Let's review. Face it, some of you haven't read this since 8th grade Civics class... and even then you were just cheating off the smart kid's paper.
- First Amendment – Establishment Clause, Free Exercise Clause; freedom of speech, of the press, and of assembly; right to petition
- Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
- A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
- No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
- The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
- No person shall be held to answer for any capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
- Sixth Amendment – Trial by jury and rights of the accused; Confrontation Clause, speedy trial, public trial, right to counsel
- In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district where in the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.
- In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
- Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
- Ninth Amendment – Protection of rights not specifically enumerated in the Bill of Rights.
- The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
- Tenth Amendment – Powers of states and people.
- The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.
1. Shouldn't you have jumped in front of that shoe?
2. Shouldn't you have jumped in front of that second shoe?
3. Second shoe = the one thrown after being removed from foot after first shoe was thrown.
4. Let's say people had three feet. Would you have allowed a third shoe to fly unimpeded?
5. While the shoe was in the air, were you like, "Oh, its just a shoe."
6. Same question about the second shoe.
7. Do you think this is funny, "Throw a shoe at me once, shame on--you. Throw a shoe--you throw a shoe, you can't throw a shoe again."
8. Is there not "protection training" for lunatics launching objects?
9. Let's say there isn't training for that--but do they tell you that if someone does throw (or shoot) something to be on the alert in case they want to repeat this behavior?
10. Where were you?
BONUS QUESTION: Do you think the Iraqis want us there? (Hint: their journalists are throwing their shoes at Bush)
submitted by Jon Friedman
Thanks for the submission Jon, but no matter what you say, you gotta admit that ole' Bushie was pretty quick to dodge that 10 inch stinker.
Dec 13, 2008
Week in Review
“Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is now in federal custody on corruption charges. The governor, they say he conspired to sell the U.S. Senate seat held by Barack Obama. Remember he left it vacant? He was trying to sell it to the highest bidder. Yeah, now, I don’t want to say he was brazen about it, but he did it on eBay.” -Jay Leno
“He’s facing jail time, which will be a switch. In federal prison, he’ll be going to the highest bidder. See, it’s totally different now.” -Jay Leno
“The governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, was arrested in Chicago of charges of trying to sell Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat, which I guess is, like, totally illegal. … It was a very stupid thing to do. Especially since the last governor of Illinois is currently in prison for exactly the same kind of thing. And not only that, think of it, you’re in Chicago, you have Barack Obama’s seat for sale, don’t you go directly to Oprah? Who would pay more for Barack Obama’s seat than her?” -Jimmy Kimmel
“Here’s a great story, because we had some trouble with our governor a couple of months ago, Governor Spitzer. Well, now, the governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, has been arrested. He wanted $150,000 to name somebody to replace senator Barack Obama as the senator from Illinois. Isn’t that crazy? Yeah. One count of bribery, also one count of fraud, and also one count of blagojeviching.” -David Letterman
“This morning, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested by the FBI because he was trying to sell the Senate seat being vacated by Barack Obama. Blagojevich says he’s sorry he tried to sell the seat and extremely sorry he did it on Craigslist.” -Conan O’Brien
“Now folks, the word ‘jag-off,’ it gets thrown around pretty casually in today’s society. Perhaps a little too casually. Hey, the light’s green, jag-off. Hey, what are you two jag-offs in the Yankee hats? Why did CBS take the show ‘Jag’ off? What kind of jag-off would do that? But a lot of those people aren’t really jag-offs. Some are jerks, or d***s or j***-offs. It’s a real privilege to see a true jag-off in action. Take Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. … This man has nothing to hide, except perhaps whatever is written on his forehead. My guess is it’s something like ‘bribe me.’” -Jon Stewart
“Spitzer was a lot more fun and a lot easier to say, too. Yeah, when former New York Governor Elliott Spitzer heard about Governor Blagojevich, he said, ‘Hey, you call that a scandal? No, I don’t think so. At least when a New York governor goes down, he has some fun on the way. ‘” -David Letterman
“Shocking news out of Illinois today. Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested on corruption charges, including the allegation that he was selling Barack Obama’s vacant senate seat. Now, I personally am surprised Obama even needed a seat. I thought he just levitated.” -Stephen Colbert