Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hey Buddy, Can You Spare 700 billion?

Now, the Stoli is safely tucked away in the freezer and the only foreign substance coursing through our circulatory system right now is caffeine, so why are we so confused about whether we should be thinking about that timeshare in Boca, or gathering nuts and berries for the winter?

Let's review:

Wall Street is crashing, Boo!

We're saving Wall Street, Yay!

No we're not, Boo! but Yay!

Now mix in there McCain rides to the rescue, Yay!

No he doesn't, Boo! Or maybe Yay! because he thought he did. But he didn't, Boo! Or Yay, Or meh.

Wow. We needs us some o' that big time leadership right now. Where have you gone Mr. President, a bankrupt nation turns its eyes to you...oh...there you are.

President George W. Bush said the economy was depending on decisive action from the government on a financial bailout plan or the economic damage could be "painful and lasting. Hey. I think I just summed up my legacy," the president added.

You mean like that "government action" that got us into this mess in the first place?

"I assure our citizens and citizens around the world that this is not the end of the legislative process," Bush said. "It's the end of the legislative, executive and judiciary processes. IT'S THUNDERDOME PEOPLE!! SAVE YOURSELVES!!! I'm sorry, that wasn't very presidential. Where was I. Oh, yeah. I'm moving to Paraguay."

Bush pledged that his economic advisers would press ahead this week with talks with key lawmakers. "Of course my economic advisers are about as useful as a screen door on a submarine, so don't hold your breath."

House Republicans, in particular, balked at spending so much taxpayer money just before the November 4 U.S. elections. "Well, that was until we realized we don't have any taxpayer money," said House minority leader John Boehner. "What we're really doing is spending Chinese taxpayers' money."

Bush said he understood the objections of some members of Congress, including many in his own Republican party, to the financial rescue package, but insisted action was urgently needed. "I've made a career of acting without thinking and look where it got me," Bush told reporters. "OK, bad example."

Monday, September 29, 2008

After I'm Done Being Mayor I Want To Be One O' Them There Theologian Fellas

We're coming to you today from the Would It Be Irresponsible To Speculate? It Would Be Irresponsible Not To Department here in the marbled halls of IM Central. WIBITS IWBINT is a division of Just Asking, Inc. in partnership with the What Are You Looking At Me For Corporation.

Fort Mill Mayor Danny Funderburk says he was “just curious” when he forwarded a chain e-mail suggesting Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama is the biblical antichrist. “Hey, you can find anything in the bible,” Funderburk said in a telephone interview. “I was just wondering if you would still be a racist if you didn't vote for the antichrist.”

Funderburk apparently sent the e-mail from his business account at Gastonia Sheet Metal where he works as a business agent. "Actually I'm more of a change agent," Funderburk said. "I change the towels in the executive washroom. Being mayor just means I'm the one who can read."

OK, now while we certainly understand that a guy named Funderburk might have some...ah...issues because he probably spent most of his high school years being crammed into his locker or pushed into the girl's bathroom, we're pretty certain that being mayor means you're not supposed to be forwarding chain letters around.

The e-mail, which has circulated in the last six months since Obama secured the Democratic nomination, claims the biblical book of Revelation says the antichrist will be in his 40s and of Muslim ancestry. "You have to admit, that's pretty darned coincidental," the mayor told reporters. "I mean, I'm just doing my job here. I've got the people of Fort Mill to think about. This is why I was elected."

There is no such scripture. And Obama is not a Muslim.

"Oh. Well then...um...my bad."

The mayor said it was a mistake not to include a subject line when he forwarded the chain e-mail. "Something like 'Don't vote for Osama bin Obama' or 'Antichrist '08.' would probably have worked. I'm just spitballing here."

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday Hound Blogging

Hey, you think Wall Street is in deep trouble? You should be an overlord.

Wonderland Greyhound Park is considering a new plan to pay almost $807,000 in back taxes and water and sewer bills owed to the city.The struggling dog racetrack now proposes to pay $250,000 by Oct. 8. The track owes $790,000 in taxes and $16,673 for water and sewer charges dating back two years. "The first plan didn't work because the city wanted actual money," said James Cipoletta, a lawyer representing Wonderland. "We were thinking they might like a nice dinner, or maybe free passes to the dog races."

City Councilor at Large George Colella, who urged the commission to take swift action, compared the payment plan with the corporate bailout being proposed in Washington. "I say this unequivocally," Colella told the License Board. "Because I like saying 'unequivocally.' I also like saying lugubrious, grammatical patterns and hemidemisemiquaver. What was the question again?"

Ward 6 Councilor Charles Patch disagreed, saying, "They're lucky if they get 100 people a night, most of whom you wouldn't want wandering around your neighborhood. I say keep the place open so we know where the undesirables are."

Ouch. That's a little cold. What's that you say Bounce? Mr. Patch must have met some of the classier customers?

Bounce loves everyone he meets. He is friendly, outgoing, curious and very playful. He likes to play tug of war. He loves attention and he lays on his back to get his belly scratched. He wants to be around you all the time. He lives up to his name because he likes to bounce around when he gets excited. He is a fun loving dog that makes his family laugh often. He hides things; his family can’t leave anything around the house. Bounce loves to look at himself in the mirror. He likes water, in a wading pool at the prison. He is a Second Chance at Life Dog from the Coldwater Prison Program. Bounce would do well in a working family home with well-mannered children, 8 and up. He is good with other dogs and would probably be fine as an only dog. He has a lot of energy, so he would do best with a family that loves to play or walk. He is a bit big for a family with smaller children, as he might accidentally knock them over. For more information about this dog, and other rescued racing greyhounds looking for homes, go here. If you don't know about the plight of racing greyhounds go here.

And if you 'd like to know more about the good work the Second Chance at Life program is doing for the dogs, and the prisoners, go here.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

We'd Have A Fireside Chat, But Homeless Bankers Stole The Firewood

President George W. Bush warned that the United States was in the middle of a serious financial crisis that could push the economy into a long-term recession if the government did not act to ensure that the nation would be pushed into a cataclysmic depression instead. When asked what his first clue that the economy was in trouble was, the president replied that Cheney was refusing to return from his overseas trip to Europe. "I knew something was up when I called his undisclosed location and was told he was at another undisclosed location, Bush said.

In a televised address aimed at persuading the public to support a $700 billion financial bailout ultimatum to Congress, Bush said his "natural instinct" was to ignore problems until his dad solved them, but "Poppy hasn't been returning my phone calls."

"I believe companies that make bad decisions should be allowed to go out of business," Bush said. "Unless of course they're companies I'm running. That's where the Saudis come in."

Bush cited markets that were not functioning properly, a widespread loss of confidence and major financial sectors at risk of shutting down. More financial distress could lead more banks to fail, the stock market to drop further, businesses to close, job losses and home values to drop, Bush said. "Now, for me that's just another day at the office, but my advisers tell me the American people aren't used to failure on that scale," he added.

Less than two hours before the speech, Bush telephoned Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama and invited him to the White House for a meeting with congressional leaders and Republican nominee John McCain on the financial bailout package. Obama accepted and McCain had already said he would abandon his campaign and return to Washington to help work on the bailout. "It's not like I'm getting anywhere convincing voters I'm not a drooling pervert using the campaign to try and cope a feel on a woman young enough to be my great granddaughter," McCain said.

Later his office issued a clarification that his campaign was temporarily suspended, not abandoned. Except for the parts that weren't.

The Bush administration and Congress have been trying to hammer out an agreement on a plan that would allow the government to step in and take bags of financial crap from shaky Wall Street firms to dump on American taxpayers, thus reducing the possibility that "Financial Experts" would have to pay for having all the professional judgement of a bag of peat moss.

The unprecedented bailout has met skepticism and anger from lawmakers who argue that the administration's proposal should not just be rubber-stamped. But they have also avoided suggesting they would block the plan for fear of spooking the markets. "The last thing we need is for people to lose faith in the markets," said Senator Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader. "Oh wait, that's what this crisis is all about isn't it? I've got to start paying more attention at meetings."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Just Wondering

You know, being broke most of the time, the prospect of other people going broke isn't quite the grab for us that perhaps it should be. Just don't ask to share our coupons, OK? Besides, even if it is rich people going broke, dude, you get used to it.

Well, that being said, we admit we have been watching the journey of the Rich People Bailout bill now making its way through Congress under the kindly ministrations of Secretary of the Treasury Paulson, and one element of the bill brings a query to our otherwise preternaturally addled pate. The particular interrogative arises from Section 8 of the bill which goes something like this:

"Sec. 8. Review. Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency."

All of which causes us to wonder, what makes him so special?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Gives A Whole New Meaning To "Mr. October"

Generally we like to stay out of the wackier neighborhoods out there amongst the inter toobz. Wading through the thought free effluvia of the terminally clueless who think The Flintstones was a documentary, or Hurricane Katrina was sent to get the homos generally makes us despair for the future of humankind, causes us to type things like "land in Belize" into Google and sends us rushing headlong to the liquor store.

OK, that last one happens any time our supply of Stoli drops below critical levels, or the president holds a news conference, but you see our point. Anyway, when we ran across this post over at Ed Brayton's place we were intrigued because we would welcome our supersized overlords, having long thought that a well placed giant or two in the Cubs' lineup would finally get them over the hump, or a thirty foot tight end could finally make the woeful Lions contenders. The possibilities don't end there either. Giants could be helpful in other areas as well. For instance, right now basically no one is paying attention to Condolezza Rice and American foreign policy. Set aside for a moment that we don't really have a foreign policy unless you count blowing up things, but imagine if Elthar the Humungus were to crash through a wall into the chambers of the UN Security Council with a proposal for Arab Israeli peace. Well, we have to believe diplomatic channels would open up.

So, with that in mind, we decided to risk only having two bottles of Stoli in the freezer and visit said article described by Mr. Brayton to get the down low on the up high. The first thing we learned is there are a lot of books in the bible we didn't know about.
In the Book of Genesis, beings of great stature called "giants" appear. The Apocryphal books of Enoch, 2 Esdras, Genesis Aprocryphon and Jasher support the Genesis story.
OK, Genesis, Numbers, Deuteronomy, those we got, but Genesis Aprocryphon and Jasher? Sounds like a rock band to us. But then it gets kinky:
Some biblical scholars believe giants came into existence after powerful angels known as 'Watchers' descended to earth and used women (or their biological matter) to construct bodies of flesh, which they used to "extend" themselves into the material world.
"Women (or their biological matter)"? Now, we know women are generally second class citizens when it comes to godly stuff, but biological matter? Talk about being a sex object! Come on. Didn't these guys at least take them to dinner first? Flowers? No wonder feminists hate us.
2 Samuel 1:18, says, "After the fallen angels went into the daughters of men, the sons of men taught the mixture of animals of one species with the other, in order to provoke the Lord" (4:18).
Animals? Now we got animals? Look, we were just looking for some help down the stretch, you know? A little backup in case of a late season injury. There's no way we want to get into a whole barnyard thing here.
In "Nephilim Stargates: The Year 2012 and the Return of the Watchers,"author Thomas Horn asks, "What if, by corrupting the species barrier in which each creature was to recreate after its 'own kind,' Watchers (or demons) had successfully mingled human-animal DNA, creating something new, a construct that God had not made, manipulating genetic material and crossing the species barrier, which God had forbade, resulting in a body they could incarnate within?"
OK, we haven't hit the Stoli yet and we still have no clue what that means, but Stargate, that's something we know about. Mmmm...Amanda Tapping...now there's some "biological matter" if you know what we mean.
Horn believes the fact that these powerful angels blended species in this way is vital to understanding how they were able to leave their plane of existence, and to enter ours. Horn hypothesizes that, through genetic engineering, they created blended beings, not entirely human or animal – creatures that neither humans nor animal spirits would indwell, for they were neither man nor beast. This provided bodies into which they could extend themselves, just as is described in numerous ancient texts.
If by ancient text you mean Star Trek episode.
"The results of this genetic modification were the giants known as Nephilim,"Horn says. "But imagine the staggering implications of such science if dead Nephilim tissue was discovered with intact DNA and a government or rogue agency somewhere was willing to clone or mingle the extracted organisms to make Homo-nephilim."
Yeah. The only thing worse than Nephilims would be homo Nephilims. Just as a matter of curiosity, would there be lesbo Nephilims too, or are we just talking guys here? And as a followup, even if these were homo Nephilim, could they still go to the opposite field if they got an outside fastball?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Times Are Tough. I had To Give Up My Condo In Vail And Go To A Timeshare

Regular readers of this blog probably ought to expect more of themselves...er...we mean are aware that we are not economic experts, and yet we know that just because there are checks left in the checkbook, does not mean there is money left in the account.

Apparently this comes as a shock to the Secretary of the Treasury.

Making the rounds on the Sunday morning talk shows, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson repeatedly said today's financial problems were long in the making. He should know. He was part of the Gold Rush that has brought the global financial system to the brink of collapse.

Um...We're not sure, but we don't think that was meant as a compliment.

Bush saw Paulson's Wall Street experience as a plus. "Hank will follow in the footsteps of distinguished Treasury secretaries who used their talents and wisdom to strengthen our financial markets and expand the reach of the American Dream like Brandy Alexander, or somebody. I'm not good with names."

But with Paulson now seeking virtually unfettered authority to administer the largest bailout of the financial industry in U.S. history, many are wondering whether Paulson also doesn't come with enormous potential conflicts of interest. If by 'conflict of interest' you mean the guy has all the financial acumen of a box turtle.

That was one reason Democrats expressed reluctance to approve the administration's draft legislation that would leave to Paulson virtually all authority over the proposed $700 billion bailout. "Well, the guy has two strikes against him in my view," said one democratic legislator. "One he's a Bush appointee, and two he's a Bush appointee."

"If we grant the Treasury broad authority to address the immediate crisis, we must insist on independent accountability and oversight," said Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barrack Obama. "But since we're democrats, give us a week or two and we'll cave."

"Hank is the right guy," New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg , who made his millions providing information to Wall Street traders, told NBC's Meet the Press. "If I had to have one person at the helm today I would pick Hank Paulson, but that's because my money is in a mattress."

The administration's draft law also would preclude court review of steps Paulson might take. "Well, doing it this way is more efficient," said an aide to Paulson. "It saves us having to break the law if there's no law there to begin with."

The Treasury proposal sent to Congress also offers no process to hire asset managers in an open and competitive process. That's particularly questionable given that Wall Street players are now hiring Wall Street players, Joshua Rosner , managing director of economic researcher Graham Fisher & Co. in New York , said. "That makes perfect sense," replied a Treasury spokesperson. "Who better to fleece you than the folks who've already fleeced you? Wait, that didn't sound right."

"This seems to invite a risk of collusion between sellers and buyers to the detriment of the taxpayer," Rosner said. "What's his point?" a Treasury spokesperson replied.

"Last week there were times when the capital markets or credit markets were frozen," Paulson said. "American companies weren't able to raise financing. That has very serious consequences. So what we need to do right now is stabilize the markets, and this is for the benefit of the taxpayers we're doing this. And I feel obligated to point out that my friends at the club are taxpayers. Just saying"

Yeah. You have to admit he has a point there. Rich people need extra protection because they don't know how to be poor. The rest of us, well we've got experience on our side. Or soon will have.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Friday Hound Blogging

One of the challenges that the overlords face in trying to avoid the labor market is state regulation. Ask any overlord who is half way sober at the time and he or she will tell you that intrusive regulations like having to vaccinate the dogs, or making sure there's some sort of paper trail following them when they're (ahem) retired all cut into the profit margin. And besides, given their devotion to the best interests of the units...er...dogs...why does the state insist on all these checks and balances anyway. It's like they don't trust the overlords or something, right Susan Via?

The Arizona Department of Racing is investigating claims that trainers at Tucson Greyhound Park have been injecting racing dogs with steroids. The track's management, meanwhile, has questioned the timing of the complaint filed by Susan Via, who organized a dog protection initiative for the November ballot in South Tucson. "As soon as Via heard about this she was right on the phone to the state. It just seems a little suspicious to us," said a track spokesperson. "It's like she's watching us or something."

Steroids are used to keep female dogs from going into heat. Only veterinarians are supposed to inject steroids into the dogs, but Via said she believes trainers have been supplying the steroids to all the dogs, male and female. Via said it would also compromise the integrity of the sport. "Oh like we've got a lot of integrity to compromise," the track spokesperson said.

Hey. Careful there Bud. You don't want headquarters hearing you bad mouthing the industry. By the way, where is headquarters these days anyway?

The National Greyhound Association's leader expects its headquarters to stay in Abilene, despite dog racing's decline in Kansas. No dog tracks are open year-round in Kansas. Executive Director Gary Guccione said the wheels had been taken off the trailer when the headquarters was first opened and "no one knows where they went, so we're not going anywhere."

Local residents were concerned enough to discuss it at a recent economic development meeting. "If they'd get that eyesore out of there we could put up a Quickie Mart," said one local resident.

Well, maybe the locals should talk to Gary about diversifying into convenience stores. It's not like he has a lot to do anyway, right Quasar?

Quasar is friendly, curious, alert and outgoing. He loves to be petted. He likes to shadow his family. He is calm and very well behaved. He has a couple of bursts of energy each day where he wants to play with toys and wrestle. He enjoys long walks. He pays attention to noises outside the house. His foster family feels like he wants a job to do, either being your shadow or play buddy. He is a Second Chance at Life Dog from the Coldwater Prison Program. Quasar would do well with well-mannered children, 10 and up. He is good with other dogs and would probably be fine as an only dog in a family that has someone home most of the time. He would be okay in a working family that had another dog to keep him company. He would do well in an active family home that would include him in their activities. He might make a good therapy dog. For more information about this dog, and other rescued racing greyhounds looking for homes, go here. If you don't know about the plight of racing greyhounds go here.

And if you 'd like to know more about the good work the Second Chance at Life program is doing for the dogs, and the prisoners, go here.

Oh Yeah, Like You Thought We'd Just Let This Go By

We just ran across this headline:

Virginia GOP Planning Rally To Reach Out To Minorities -- Starring George Allen!

You don't really need us for this do you? Didn't think so. Enjoy the rest of your day.

Hola! Donde Es La Country, Dude?

Hey. Get off John McCain's back OK? You want to blame someone for him not knowing that Spain was in Europe? blame his foreign policy adviser:

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Forget Palin, We Need To Vet Our Supporters Better

OK, as we have mentioned many times, other than following politics because it provides copious opportunities to develop drinking games ("The economy is fundamentally sound") we are in no way to be considered as having anything that might remotely approach a qualified opinion about anything.

Still, given that caveat, we're pretty sure that when you send representatives of your campaign out to talk to the press, you want them to say positive things about you.

An economic adviser to John McCain says neither the presidential candidate nor his running mate is qualified to lead a large corporation. "Of course, neither am I," said McCain spokesperson and former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina. "And that's what makes me so good at seeing others' lack of ability."

Fiorina was asked by KTRS radio in St. Louis whether she thought vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin had the experience to run a big company. "No, I don’t," Fiorina replied. "But that’s not what she’s running for. Running a corporation is a different set of things. When you're running a country you've got tons more opportunities to screw up. Wait, let me rephrase that."

Later she said the same of the presidential nominee. "I don’t think John McCain could run a major corporation because as a CEO you're not allowed to bomb your competition and that's pretty much his whole bag of tricks right there."

Fiorina said the Democratic candidates also don’t have the business background for such a task. "Basically no one knows how to do it," she said. "I mean look at the guys who ran Enron, or Lehman, or WaMu, or AIG, or GM. They're all a bunch of losers. This country is totally screwed. I'm telling you we all need to think about moving to Belize."

She asserted that Palin, who was mayor of tiny Wasilla, Alaska, before being elected governor in 2006, had more executive experience than Democrat Barack Obama. "She fired that Public Safety guy because he wouldn't fire her brother-in-law and got herself into deep do do with HR and will probably end up costing her state a ton of money and giving herself a black eye in the process. Now that's executive experience."

A spokesperson for the McCain campaign said Ms. Fiorina's duties would be reviewed and she would probably be sent to Alaska "to keep an eye on Russia from that island governor Palin mentioned."

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

We Were For That Investigation Before We Were Against It

We're coming to you from the Mid Course Correction Department here in the marbled halls of IM Central today. MCC is a division of the I Didn't Think You Were Serious Corporation in partnership with Fuggeddaboudit, Inc.

It seems Governor, VP candidate, Russia-is-close-enough-to-throw-rocks-at, Sarah "The Vanilla from Wasilla" Palin has had a change of heart about cooperating with the Troopergate investigation back in her home state which is right next door to Russia if you didn't know.

Republican vice presidential hail Mary pass Sarah Palin will not cooperate with a legislative inquiry into her firing of an Alaska official, her campaign said, labeling the probe "likely to find out the truth."

Spokesman Ed O'Callaghan said the investigation had become "tainted" by state lawmakers targeting Palin "simply because she's acting like every other corrupt, power abusing, lackey promoting , score settling republican official of the past eight years."

"I think it's fair to say that the governor is not going to cooperate with that investigation so long as it remains apparent that the goal is to get to the truth. You know how republicans hate that," O'Callaghan said.

Alaska lawmakers voted 5-3 to subpoena Palin's husband Todd "The Dude Abides" Palin in the legislative investigation into whether his wife improperly attempted to fire a state trooper who was her former brother-in-law. "Oh like I'm going to rat out my wife," the Dude told reporters. "Do you know how good a shot she is?"

The committee also subpoenaed Palin's chief of staff and deputy chief of staff. "Do you know the difference between Dick Cheney and Sarah Palin?" asked Palin's chief of staff. "Lipstick."

The panel had agreed beforehand however that a subpoena of Sarah Palin herself would not be considered, with the understanding she would agree to an interview by the investigator, retired prosecutor Stephen Branchflower. "Well, in all fairness we didn't really have an open discussion about subpoenaing her," Branchflower said. "Considering the governor came to the meeting armed and all. Sort of put a damper on things."

In July Palin fired Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan, who has alleged that he was removed because of his resistance to pressure to dismiss Alaska state trooper Mike Wooten, the ex-husband of Palin's sister Molly McCann, and his refusal investigate the judges who awarded her second place in the 1984 Miss Alaska pageant.

Palin rejected the charge, saying she would just as soon of shot him in cold blood, but the legislature launched an investigation in late July, well before Palin was "chosen" by McCain. At the time, Palin said she and her staff would cooperate fully with the probe "as long as it didn't interfere with her policy of government by vendetta."

Since she was made the Republican vice presidential nominee seven Alaskan agency heads and members of Palin's executive staff have canceled or refused to voluntarily schedule interviews with the investigator after having the windows in their homes shot out.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Dr. Pangloss Call Your Office

Alert readers of this blog have probably noticed that life is not the fun ship cruise they were led to believe it was...er...we mean that this blog emanates from the Great Lake State. We tell you this by way of background because, you see, today's treatise is on economy, a subject we know hardly anything about, but since that doesn't seem to bother senator McCain, we aren't going to let it bother us either.


Sorry. Where we? Oh yeah, the economy. So, we're coming into work today and the voice on the radio tells us that yet another bank has collapsed. Not so good, thinks us. Pretty soon the rest of the country will be growing potatoes in the back yard like we do and wondering what exactly is the nature of the cultural aversion to cat food.

Well, that's not even the worst part because by the time we got to work and started the countdown clock for our first coffee break, we learn that the real news isn't the collapse of Lehman, but the fact that it's likely to pull AIG down with it and if that happens it's Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome for sure.

This can't be good for our retirement portfolio, and by retirement portfolio we mean having to work until six months after we're dead. Pretty soon the number of people out of a job in the rest of the country, plus the number of people losing their homes is going to catch up to Michigan and that could mean a lot of people may lose that neighborly feeling towards one another.

It has been our experience that people wondering where their next meal is coming from, or where they are going to sleep at night are seldom concerned about if the United Way is closing in on its fund raising goal.

Well, all this just goes to show how little we know about economics, right Mr. Luskin?
"It was the worst of times, and it was the worst of times."

I imagine that's what Charles Dickens would conclude about the current condition of the U.S. economy, based on the relentless drumbeat of pessimism in the media and on the campaign trail. In the past two months, this newspaper alone has written no fewer than nine times, in news stories, columns and op-eds, that key elements of the economy are the worst they've been "since the Great Depression."
Now, it's anybody's guess why newspapers like the Washington Post would be writing about the economy like that. No missing white women to write about apparently.
But that doesn't make any of it true. Things today just aren't that bad. Sure, there are trouble spots in the economy, as the government takeover of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and jitters about Wall Street firm Lehman Brothers, amply demonstrate. And unemployment figures are up a bit, too. None of this, however, is cause for depression.
Yeah. Why you want to go getting all gloomy Gus like those people in Hiroshima when we dropped the bomb. Sure there 140,000 people killed out right and another 200,000 who would die as a result of radiation poisoning and injury. Sure the city was completely leveled for a mile out from the epi-center. But the city enjoys the mild climate provided by its position in the Seto Inland Climate Zone and is sheltered by the Chugoku Mountains in the north and the Shikoku Mountains in the west from the worst of late summer and winter storms and isn't that really what it's all about?

Get some perspective people.
Why, then, does the public appear to agree with the media? A recent Zogby poll shows that 66 percent of likely voters believe that "the entire world is either now locked in a global economic recession or soon will be."
Umm...our guess would be that losing your job and your house has a tendency to skew your outlook somewhat. Especially if you're sick.
Patient zero in this epidemic is the Democratic candidate for president.
Oh man, do we feel stupid. Eight years of deficits, wars, lack of oversight, and general corruption isn't what got us here. Barak Obama is what got us here. This is why we never liked economics.
Even if Obama is right that the foreclosure rate is the worst since the Great Depression, it's spurious to evoke memories of that great national calamity when talking about today -- it's akin to equating a sore throat with stomach cancer. According to the MBA, 6.4 percent of mortgages are delinquent to some extent, and 2.75 percent are in foreclosure. During the Great Depression, according to Wheelock's research, more than 50 percent of home loans were in default.
Yeah. So statistically you're much better off losing your job and your house today than you were back then, wus.

OK, so here's what you do. The next time Senator Obama comes to your town and starts going all doom and gloom about the economy, you step out of your refrigerator box and shout as loud as you can "Hey, Buddy. I'm doing just fine thank you. Donald Luskin told me so!"

Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday Hound Blogging

Well, well, well, it's Friday again and time to visit the exciting world of unit exploitation...er...greyhound racing. What crazy adventures have the overlords had this week?

A Kansas board has taken a step toward revoking the licenses for three now-closed dog and horse racing park. The commission voted unanimously to send notices to the operators of Wichita Greyhound Park, The Woodlands in Kansas City, and Camptown Greyhound Park in Frontenac, telling them they are violating their licenses."They want to close us down just because we're closed down," said Woodlands General Manager Jayme LaRocca. "It's a classic example of government intrusion into private affairs."

"I think what we're asking them to do here is make progress on restarting their race meets," Steve Martino, the commission's executive director, said Tuesday. "That's the focus here."

"What? Just because we're a greyhound park he expects us to have greyhound races?" LaRocca responded. "Look, I'm out here every day race or no race because I just don't have anywhere else to go. That didn't come out right."

Yeah. We feel your pain Mr. LaRocca. If only there was someone to speak for you, someone to be your champion, someone with a thesaurus. Wait! What's that sound? Look! Up in the sky. It's a bird. It's a plane. No it's Gary Guccione!!! Defender of overlords! Apologist for animal exploitation! Able to write readable English most of the time! Speak to us Mr. Gucionne. Drop the scales from our eyes that we may see the majesty and beauty of eking out a meager living on the backs of innocent animals.
The proponents of the greyhound racing ban initiative are relying on misinformation and confusion to carry them to victory. Fortunately, Massachusetts voters are smart enough to see through these sleazy tactics.
Darn straight. Those dogs really aren't dead. Those legs really aren't broken. Get your facts straight people.
It is also disingenuous to suggest that a collection of video clips from dates and places unknown comprises reliable evidence of anything.
Whoa. Dude. "Disingenuous?" Man, the $12.95 you invested in that Word A Day calendar is really paying off.
It comes down to a simple fact. Animal rights activists want to ban this business because they don't like it. If Massachusetts voters give them a victory on this initiative, what business will be next on the hit list? How many more jobs will disappear because a handful of extremists decide that the people in those jobs don't matter?
Right. Everybody knows it's the dogs that don't matter. The people can, like, hire lawyers and stuff if they're injured or killed at work, right Buddy?

Buddy wants to be a lap dog; he tries to curl up with you and before you know it his whole body is in your lap. He’s very curious. He likes to stand up tall and stretch. It’s almost as if he needs a scratching post. He hides his rawhides in the house. He will bark if he sees something new. He is very friendly and comical. Buddy would do well in a working family home with well mannered children, 8 and up. He would be great in a home with an 8-year-old boy or girl to grow up with them. He’s good with other dogs, and would be fine as an only dog. For more information about this dog, and other rescued racing greyhounds looking for homes, go here. If you don't know about the plight of racing greyhounds go here.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Michigan! Just Like The Founding Fathers Intended

Yesterday we learned that the Michigan political elite are apparently so dense voters have to vote twice to get their message across. Today we learn why: Only landowners can vote so they vote once for themselves and once for everyone else. Or something.

The chairman of the Republican Party in Macomb County Michigan, a key swing county in a key swing state, is planning to use a list of foreclosed homes to block people from voting in the upcoming election as part of the state GOP’s effort to keep people who've been paying attention the last eight years from getting into the polling booth. "We tried to limit it to only white landowners," party chairman James Carabelli said. "But we didn't think that would fly. We are trying to get renters' votes to count as three fifths of a vote though."

“You can’t challenge people without a factual basis for doing so,” said J. Gerald Hebert, a former voting rights litigator for the U.S. Justice Department. "Although it is true that republicans consider not being rich and white factual basis enough."

The Macomb County party’s plan to challenge voters who have defaulted on their house payments is likely to disproportionately affect African-Americans. "Yeah. That African-American part is what caught our attention," Carabelli said.

“I don’t think a foreclosure notice is sufficient basis for a challenge, because people often remain in their homes after foreclosure begins and sometimes are able to negotiate and refinance,” Herbert told reporters.

"No problem," Carabelli replied. "We're just trying to make voting as complicated as possible...er...I mean as valid as possible."

Statewide, the Republican Party is gearing up for a comprehensive voter challenge campaign, according to Denise Graves, party chair for Republicans in Genessee County, which encompasses Flint. "Look, we've fought hard to get this country where it is today. We're not willing to risk that to unqualified voters,'" she said. "And what better way to show you are qualified than owning your own house. Well, I suppose you could be a registered republican, but that's probably asking too much."

Kelly Harrigan, deputy director of the GOP’s "preferred voter" programs, confirmed that she is coordinating the group’s “Bleach The Vote” program. "It's nothing personal," she said. "These people can't help it because they believed what their real estate agents told them. Who trusts those guys?"

Party chairman Carabelli said that the Republican Party is training election challengers to “make sure that [voters] are who they say who they are: White and rich, although we'll be flexible with the rich part. This is Michigan after all.”

Joe Rozell, director of elections for Oakland County in suburban Detroit, acknowledged that challenges such as those described by Carabelli are allowed by law but said they have the potential to create long lines and disrupt the voting process. "What's your point?" Carabelli asked.

According to voter challenge directives handed down by Republican Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, voter challenges need only be “based on information obtained through a reliable source or means. So if you see someone coming into the polling place, and that person doesn't look sufficiently free of melanin, you can reliably assume that person needs to be challenged.”

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Michigan! Motto: When You Care Too Much To Vote Just Once

Truth be told, we do enjoy pointing out the foibles of our sister states here in the marbled halls of IM Central. In the interests of fair play though, we have to say that the Winter Water Wonderland also has its share of idi...er...jacka...um...a'ho...no...individuals with rather unique outlooks on the electoral process. Yeah, that's the ticket.

This morning, as we blearily perused the local fish wrap, hoping not to run across anything too blatantly crazy until the caffeine had kicked in, what to our wandering eye should appear but this:

Voters will be weighing whether to recall Michigan House speaker Andy Dillon from his current House term ending in December while deciding whether to re-elect him for a new two-year term starting in January.

Yes folks, you read that right. At the same time they are deciding whether to reelect Dillon, they will be deciding whether to recall him or not.

And you wonder why we are the way we are.

Leon Drolet, leader of the recall supporting Michigan Taxpayers Alliance, said voters now can have their say. When asked why voters couldn't 'have their say' by either reelecting Dillon or not Drolet replied "Once is not enough. People have to repeat things to me all the time, although I think that's more because of the buzzing. You hear that? What was the question again?"

OK, so here are the possible outcomes:

Dillon wins reelection, but loses the recall in which case he will be allowed to return to the House where he will then be dragged from the building by security and beaten with one of Leon Drolet's shoes.

Dillon doesn't win reelection, but also doesn't get recalled in which case his republican challenger Sandra Eggers will be allowed to move ahead two spaces.

Dillion loses both reelection and the recall in which case Leon Drolet will be allowed to move about the community without notifying the authorities first, but he will still have to stay at least 100 yards from any public building.

Dillon wins reelection and isn't recalled, in which case Leon Drolet is exiled to Indiana after Dillon sinks him in a dunk tank full of turpentine.

We'd go for option four if the turpentine was on fire.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Some Helpful Advice From Ironicus Maximus

Full disclosure: We're not political consultants. Don't even play them on the tee vee. We hardly ever pay attention to the public mood, seldom read anything other than the sports page, haven't seen Meet The Press in years and couldn't tell you how a bill becomes a law if you put a gun to our heads.

Wait a minute, that makes us as qualified as Dick Morris.

Well, be that as it may, we're still not going to charge for this little piece of advice we'd like to pass along to the McCain campaign, specifically his running mate Sarah I-can-be-mean-to-you but-you-can't-be-mean-to-me Palin.

Now, in her speech at the republican convention she said :
"I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a ‘community organizer,’ except that you have actual responsibilities,"
OK, see Sarah--may we call you Sarah, or would you prefer Mrs. Could-be-president-god-help-us-all? Yeah, simple is best. Now Sarah, the thing about making fun of Community Organizers is that you have to remember they like, organize things in their communities. And one of the things they organize is getting out the vote. So you see, ticking off people who can bring a lot of other people to the polls is not the smartest move you could make.

Now, you're probably thinking, so what if I alienate the very people who can mobilize voters for my opponent, this is the republican party, our voter suppression methods can not be defeated.

Yeah, well there is that, but here's the thing: suppressing absentee ballots overly emphasizes ballots cast by old people and they are the ones most likely to vote for you because...well...they're old and easily confused.

Hey, maybe we are qualified to be political consultants. Or candidates.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Friday Hound Blogging

The overlords are fond of telling us that even though greyhound racing is a business, because of its unique nature, they continually put the needs of the units...er...the dogs above those of profit. Well, we all know how that's working out, but it isn't often we get to see how the actual business end of the industry works. Turns out it works about as well as you'd expect for a system that relies on the exploitation of innocent animals and the...um...er...lack of sophistication of the patrons.

First up: the tracks. Seems they aren't exactly profit centers.

The License Commission is delaying a vote on revoking Wonderland Greyhound Park's liquor and other licenses as long as track management honors its plan to pay off overdue taxes.
Wonderland President Richard Dalton said the plan provides for the track to initially pay $175,000 toward an $800,000 overdue property tax and water charge bill and then pay $5,000 a month to erase the debt. "We hope to improve on that," Dalton said Friday. "This Friday we're starting our combination Flea Market and Swap Fair. Come on out and dicker. No reasonable offer refused because we don't want to go to jail."

What, no bake sale? Maybe things are better for the individual entrepreneurs.

The greyhound breeding business of a retired Internal Revenue Service auditor does not qualify for business deductions, according to a US tax court. Ralph Whitecavage, an IRS auditor in Arizona for 21 years, was told by judge Michael Thornton that he was liable for thousands in dollars of understated tax. "I always thought IRS Agents didn't have to pay taxes," Whitecavage said. "It's like a perk, you know?"

The judge also criticised Whitecavage's treatment of the dogs, of whom he 'lost' 20 greyhounds because of bad training methods by the trainers in the racing kennels. "I thought you could deduct stock loss," Whitecavage told reporters.

Yeah. Isn't that like depreciation due to death or something? Well, at least the customers are bound to win occasionally.

A circuit judge has ordered Macon County Greyhound Park, which operates the VictoryLand dog track in Shorter, to pay $10 million to a woman who sued the park in May 2006 in a dispute over an electronic bingo game jackpot. "Do you know how many two dollar bets that is?" said Milton McGregor, majority owner of the greyhound park. "We'll be paying that off until the second coming."

According to court documents, Knowles, who was an employee at VictoryLand, was playing an electronic bingo game there on May 2, 2006. She said she hit a jackpot on the machine worth $41.8 million. Knowles said two greyhound park employees approached her and told her the jackpot was "not a valid win." They said the machine had malfunctioned. "And by 'malfunctioned' they mean it paid out," Knowles told reporters after the hearing.

Looks like bingo machines aren't the only thing that's malfunctioning, huh moonlight?

Although Moonlight is a senior, she acts like she’s 4. She wants to cuddle with you; she puts her front paws on you. She’s very friendly and outgoing. She’s priceless and super sweet. Her one ear flips up; she’s so cute. Moonlight would do fine with a working family with well-mannered children and she would be fine as a second dog or as the only dog. She was in a home for seven years with another greyhound. For more information about this dog, and other rescued racing greyhounds looking for homes, go here. If you don't know about the plight of racing greyhounds go here.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The People Who Were Convinced Have Been Convinced

We're coming to you from the They Pay Me To Talk, So I Talk Department here in the marbled halls of IM Central today. TPMtTSIT is a division of The Corporation for Obfustacory Bemuddlement in partnership with Fribblers, Inc.

It seems Sarah "The Vanilla from Wasilla" Palin took time out of her busy day raising kids, commanding her National Guard, watching out for the people's money, representing the highest republican values in her state, and just generally being a patriotic American to read a speech for some old guy who thinks he'll live long enough to be president.

And the pundits got strange feelings coming up their legs.

NBC political director Chuck Todd, weighing in shortly after Sarah Palin’s fiery speech before the Republican faithful, declared: “Conservatives have found their Obama. Except that she's white. And a woman. And really doesn't have anything of substance to say, but she's fiery!"

Right-wing radio host Laura Ingraham agreed, telling Fox’s Greta Van Susteren that it was the “night conservatives have been waiting for. We've got the mother of a knocked up unmarried teen who's under investigation for abusing her power on a national stage lying about how she tried to get her nose in the federal trough. Are we the party of American values or what?"

Thematically, the three speeches leading up to Palin’s performance each took a page out of the McCain campaign playbook by attacking the media. "Well, what do you expect," said one republican official. "I mean come on, all of a sudden they start reporting and stuff. What's up with that? Didn't the last eight years mean anything to you? Didn't we feed you? Where's the loyalty? Where's the love?"

It wasn’t surprising that when Palin took the podium, she said she had a “little news flash for those reporters and commentators” — that she was not going to Washington to seek their opinion. "I'm going to Washington to find out what the heck a Vice President does," she told the wildy cheering crowd of delegates who had just returned for the Early Bird special at the local Denny's.

MSNBC's Olbermann admitted that Palin “clearly gives a great speech,” but he dusted off an Abraham Lincoln quote to express his thoughts. "Both parties deprecated war; but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive."

Chris Matthews called Palin a “torpedo aimed directly at the ship” of the Democrats, "plus she gets my torpedo going," he added.

“You see tonight that Sarah Palin has served the cause of uniting this convention quite ably,” said anchor Brit Hume. "Of course since we're all white, old and rich it wasn't that much of a challenge."

Sitting on the panel with Hume, Fortune’s Nina Easton called it a “home run,” and Weekly Standard Executive Editor Fred Barnes was even more complimentary: “It’s a gift. She’s a natural. You can’t teach this. That's why we had to write it for her."

Radio host and blogger Hugh Hewitt called Palin “terrific. The contest has changed,” Hewitt wrote. “Her character and candor have changed it, and John McCain's judgment is vindicated. As long as what you're looking for in a Vice President is someone who looks good in a dress and can read. Come to think of it, why wasn't Giuliani on the short list?”

Umm...no experience with firearms probably.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

That Makes John McCain Richard Nixon, But Without The Scruples

We're coming to you from the Spiro Agnew Memorial wing today here in the marbled halls of IM Central. We're down here doing a little housecleaning and rearranging to make room for the addition of the Sarah Palin History Repeats Itself Promenade.

What do these two great Americans have in common you ask? In the grand tradition of conservative politicians, they both put family first, well until they're indicted anyway, but even then strong family values are the core of their social philosophy, or would have been if Agnew had a daughter who knew a...erm...ah...red blooded real American boy. Both are fonts of talent and expertise whose meteoric rise through the party ranks brought them to national attention early and often, except for Palin. Agnew is committed to upholding the public trust as is Palin. And finally, both are sessionists, except for Agnew.

So we say give this Sarah Palin a chance. She stood up to the Russians, she can easily take the heat of a national campaign. Look what Agnew did for the office of the Vice Presidency. Surely Palin deserves a chance to leave her mark on the pages of history just as she left her mark on Wasilla. Besides, what else is there to do in Alaska except find a way out?

If you need us, we'll be consulting with our broker.