Thursday, July 30, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.
He should take his own advice and ask himself, "is it wise to look like a tin-foil-hat crackpot when my intelligence and expertise is what I'm selling?"
$100,000 Reward for Proof of Obama's "natural born citizen" status.Hey, I'll give $100,000 to the first person that proves, TO MY SATISFACTION, that Jason Hommel isn't a whack-doodle.
(Born in USA still might not qualify)
Silver Stock Report
by Jason Hommel, July
Copies or links to the previously released, Hawaiian "Certification of Live Birth", which is NOT a valid Birth Certificate, does not constitute valid proof to claim the reward.
I, Jason Hommel, promise that I will give $100,000 to the first person who can prove to my satisfaction that Barack Obama, acting as president of the United States, is a "natural born" citizen of the USA, which is a qualification to hold the office as indicated in the U.S. Constitution.
Oh, snap, it's impossible. Because I refuse to be satisfied by any sort of proof you put on. Ever. Period. Oh, and for the record, there are invisible disclaimers pointing out this is a satirical post... Just behind the invisible pink unicorn that's whispering all this stuff to good old Jason...
My question is, though, why would you entrust your investments to a ding-a-ling like this...? It's bad enough the sober and stable ones aren't much better than monkeys... But this guy?
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|The Born Identity|
This "birther" thing... Too stupid for words... Which is why Lou Dobbs runs it...
Thursday, July 23, 2009
PATNA, India (Reuters) – Farmers in an eastern Indian state have asked their unmarried daughters to plough parched fields naked in a bid to embarrass the weather gods to bring some badly needed monsoon rain, officials said on Thursday.But we can't see the humor in our own beliefs...Via Wonkette:
Witnesses said the naked girls in Bihar state ploughed the fields and chanted ancient hymns after sunset to invoke the gods. They said elderly village women helped the girls drag the ploughs.
"They (villagers) believe their acts would get the weather gods badly embarrassed, who in turn would ensure bumper crops by sending rains," Upendra Kumar, a village council official, said from Bihar's remote Banke Bazaar town.
"This is the most trusted social custom in the area and the villagers have vowed to continue this practice until it rains very heavily."
Did you know that some Christian dingbat has dubbed today the “Day of Prayer for the World’s Economies?” Well here they are, at the Wall Street bull statue thing, praying to Jesus for money. The dingbat has explained, “We are going to intercede at the site of the statue of the bull on Wall Street to ask God to begin a shift from the bull and bear markets to what we feel will be the ‘Lion’s Market,’ or God’s control over the economic systems.” Don’t they know that God taking over the economic systems would be SOCIALISM from SPACE? Also: God will be very mad that they are worshiping a bronze idol here, since his second commandment PROHIBITS THAT, duh?...because our religious beliefs, well they make SO MUCH MORE SENSE!.... At least to most Americans...
As for me, I can't help but notice that, so far, the drought hasn't ended and Wall Street still sucks...
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Pension ShortfallAnother famous example:
What Does Pension Shortfall Mean?
A situation in which a company offering employees a defined benefit plan does not have enough money set aside to meet the pension obligations to employees who will be retired in the future.
Investopedia explains Pension Shortfall
With a defined benefit plan, the employer bears the risk of the investments in the plan. Therefore, when investments such as stocks perform poorly, a shortfall occurs, meaning there isn't enough money in the pension plan to meet the needs of people about to retire. A company can rectify a pension shortfall by increasing investment returns (usually an unlikely course of occurrence) or putting aside more money into the pension plan, thereby reducing the company's net income.
As an example, in August 2002, UBS Warburg reported that General Motors had a pension shortfall of $22.2 billion, equal to 83% of the company's market value. This means that $4 of the first $5 that GM earns per share each year stands to get eaten up by pension obligations.
May 29, 2006 Edition of Business WeekIn the good times, the funding requirements of defined benefit pension plans work spectacularly well. In fact, during the good times, California only had to contribute a mere 1% of employee salaries to it's pension plan to meet future funding requirements. Far less than the typical 2%-to5% matching you see in company 401(k) plans.
Scroll through the financial data of the biggest U.S. corporations and a surprising fact appears: Arguably the mightiest of them all, Exxon Mobil (XOM ), has left its employee pension plans with the biggest funding deficit. Its assets are $11.2 billion short of projected obligations, according to company figures as of Dec. 31 -- greater even than the gaps at struggling Ford Motor (F )and General Motors (GM ).
Yet the Lords of Capitalism failed to recognize those "smart" moves by the State. You don't see large write-ups of this in the WSJ, the Economist or Business Week. Certainly it's not mentioned by the laissez faire hacks beacause you can't possibly recognize a government has done something "smart."
Well, the worm has turned. And now it's a bad deal. Which is to be expected, seeing as TRILLIONS of pension plan dollars were lost, public and private, during this economic disaster brought upon us by the the Lords of Capitalism...
And, predictably, the hacks seize upon the bad news to further their "just so" stories. While, as predictably, fail to mention all the factors, show no grasp of the basics, have never mentioned the positives when they occurred and refuse to acknowledge the underlying cause(s) that points to the philosophical (and practical) bankruptcy of their positions.
Friday, July 10, 2009
As the Matt Welch piece mentions, "the state's annual pension fund contribution vaulted from $321 million in 2000-01 to $7.3 billion last year." That is a rather alarming rate of growth, and an astonishing figure, don't you think? Given that the state is bankrupt and issuing IOUs to its creditors, it doesn't seem unreasonable to complain that public employee unions have extracted benefits that are both obviously unaffordable and far in excess of what is enjoyed by the taxpayers who finance them.The State of California has what is known as a "Defined Benefit" plan which, like all defined benefit plans, have the following characteristics with regard to payments and funding that any accounting student would have learned in his, or her, Intermediate Accounting I or II class. Simplified for discussion, yet with enough detail by which to form a competent opinion:
1. An employer commits to paying its employee a specific benefit for life beginning at his or her retirement. The amount of the benefit is known in advance and is usually based on factors such as age, earnings, and years of service. There are compensation plan limits, but they are not relevant to the discussion.So, in 2001, the market just came off a long bull-run where the (simplified) annual return was 43% for a twenty-one-year run. That is, the market went from about 1,000 (1980) to about 10,500 (2001). That was great. But since 2001 the market has, at best, been flat and has fallen to, basically, it's 1996 levels, wiping out over a decade worth of returns. Now the ROI has fallen to just under 19% for the 1980-through-2009 (06/30/09) period. Even worse, is the current negative 4.5% ROI we suffered during, and because of, the Republican laissez-faire/Libertarian Bush-years where the market was allowed to run wild without supervision.
2. The employer is responsible for making the decisions about how much money to contribute to the plan and how to invest the contributions to fulfil the plan obligations. Employer contributions to the defined benefit plan are based on a benefit formula that calculates the investments needed to meet the defined benefit. These contributions are actuarially determined.
All of which California has to make up.
This was not the fault of the union. It was not the fault of the State. It was the fault of the system that Friedersdorf, and the rest of the "Lords of Capitalism" tout at every instance.
If Friedersdorf doesn't understand the why California has to make the payment, he's not qualified to opine. If Friedersdorf DOES understand, then he's a liar. In either case, he's just flat, stupidly wrong.
ADDENDUM: One more note -- ALL Defined Benefit Plans, public or private, have this issue. It has NOTHING to do with the Unions and everything to do with the decline in the value of the assets used to pay the retirees. It's especially dishonest to pretend it's the California Civil Service unions.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
1. Economic crisis -- Bail out the banks and Wall Street, shiv the homeowner.Hence:
2. Civil rights and justice -- Keep the Bush/Cheney shop of horrors going...
July 7 (Bloomberg) -- A new poll found that President Barack Obama’s approval rating has dropped by 13 percentage points from two months ago in Ohio, traditionally a critical swing state in presidential elections.One-and-done. I just hope the Republicans can find someone who's not a complete whack-a-loon...
The survey by Quinnipiac University released today showed 49 percent of Ohio voters approved of Obama’s job performance, down from 62 percent in a May 6 poll. The disapproval figure for Obama in the new poll was 44 percent, up from 31 percent in the May survey.
The pollsters termed Obama’s ratings “lackluster” in a release, and said the numbers were his lowest marks “in any national or statewide Quinnipiac University poll since he was inaugurated.”
The White House announced late today that Vice President Joe Biden will travel to Cincinnati on July 9, where he will tout progress being made by the $787 billion economic stimulus Measure passed in February.
“The economy in Ohio is as bad as anywhere in America,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. The poll numbers “indicate that for the first time voters have decided that President Barack Obama bears some responsibility for their problems.”
Sunday, July 5, 2009
So, so you think you can tell
Heaven from Hell,
Blue skys from pain.
Can you tell a green field
From a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?
And did they get you to trade
Your heros for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
And did you exchange
A walk on part in the war
For a lead role in a cage?
How I wish, how I wish you were here.
We're just two lost souls
Swimming in a fish bowl,
Year after year,
Running over the same old ground.
What have we found?
The same old fears.
Wish you were here.
I listen to this song and I so see the Republicans/Neocon foolishness and sell-out in it... With their constant tough-guy, know-it-all posturing from a group of zealots, draft-dodgers, profiteers and assholes...
Life imitating art imitating life...
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Rod Dreher, Dallas Morning News, Sept. 7, 2008: She's a fighter, thisToo funny for words.
one. And worth fighting for. Come what may in November, we now know what the
future of the GOP and the conservative movement looks like.
Mary Mitchell, Chicago Sun-Times, Sept. 4, 2008: Sarah Palin may come
from the backwoods of Alaska, but she has the heart of a street
Jim Wooten, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Sept. 3, 2008: Republicans
want a fighter. I do believe they have one in Gov. Sarah Palin.
David Brody, CBN, today: Oh and by the way, the last time I checked,
her nickname is "Sarah Barracuda." Palin is a fighter.
Palin spokesperson Meghan Stapleton, quoted by the AP, today: Palin
remaining as governor is not good for Alaska, given the "political bloodsport"
by her critics, Stapleton said. Stepping down is a "fighter's move," Stapleton
said, essentially Palin stepping around political barriers in her way and
pursuing her vision.
Friday, July 3, 2009
ITEM: The top McCain aides who had tried hard to work with Palin—Steve Schmidt, the chief strategist; Nicolle Wallace, the communications ace; and Tucker Eskew, her traveling counselor—were barely on speaking terms with her, and news organizations were reporting that anonymous McCain aides saw Palin as a “diva” and a “whack job.”
ITEM: At one point, trying out a debating point that she believed showed she could empathize with uninsured Americans, Palin told McCain aides that she and Todd in the early years of their marriage had been unable to afford health insurance of any kind, and had gone without it until he got his union card and went to work for British Petroleum on the North Slope of Alaska. Checking with Todd Palin himself revealed that, no, they had had catastrophic coverage all along. She insisted that catastrophic insurance didn’t really count and need not be revealed. This sort of slipperiness—about both what the truth was and whether the truth even mattered—persisted on questions great and small.
ITEM: By all accounts, Palin was either unwilling, or simply unable, to prepare. In the run-up to the Couric interview, Palin had become preoccupied with a far more parochial concern: answering a humdrum written questionnaire from her hometown newspaper, the Frontiersman.
ITEM: In every job, she surrounded herself with an insular coterie of trusted friends, took disagreements personally, discarded people who were no longer useful, and swiftly dealt vengeance on enemies, real or perceived.
ITEM: More than once in my travels in Alaska, people brought up, without prompting, the question of Palin’s extravagant self-regard. Several told me, independently of one another, that they had consulted the definition of “narcissistic personality disorder” in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders—“a pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy”—and thought it fit her perfectly.
ITEM: A year ago, 80 percent of Alaskans viewed Palin very favorably or somewhat favorably; by this spring, just 55 percent had a positive opinion.
Personally, I hope this nut-job rides high during the primaries. The more people see her as the face of the Republicans, the better for the spineless Democrats.
Pat rants about how Islam sucks. But it's hard to not agree with the main thrust of his arguments, even though some point him as "racist" because he sees the problems of the fanatics that control Islam and speaks to the evil of so much of Islam.
I kind of agree with his rants to an extent it's against the extremists. Mostly because the people who practice it use it to reinforce their evil ways and good people won't stand up to these practices, for example:
Immigrant refugee man from Iraq sodomize young Swedish girl, Police does not do anything, the Swedish Town reacts to bring Justice, but the Swedish Press call the mob racist.There's a lot more going on than just this... Sweden, Denmark, et.al., have let in hundreds of thousands of Muslims. According to some estimates, that 4%-5% of the population is responsible for over one-half the rapes. In Denmark, or maybe Sweden, can't remember, Amnesty International pointed out that a woman was more likely to be raped in her life than robbed. And, while they don't spell it out directly in their report, they beat around the bush and point out that it's the direct correlation of muslim immigration.
The town of Raskravaller in Sweden was a scene of violent ethnic crisis that shocked the whole country.
As the town prepared to welcome 46 refugees from Iraq. A man from immigrant background, who was not even remerciful to be accepted in Sweden, violently attacked a young local Swedish girl, attempting to commit vile act of pedophilia against her.
The Swedish police did not intervene to render justice for the innocent young Swedish, victim of sexual abuse, because any intervention, by the local police would be deemed racist, and politically incorrect.
As consequence, the whole town took matter in hand and attempted to bring justice back for the little girl who was sexually abused, trying to revenge and bring out the sexual predator to justice.
In a socialist country where political correctness is obsessed hiding acts of violence commited by immigrants, the Press is urged to hide the rapes commited by immigrants, by accusing the Swedish people of racism, and hiding the truth from the public.
So when Pat rants... It's hard to speak against him... He's living in a first world nation being destroyed by third-world mentalities and the governments inability to address the problem for fear some people might call them names...
This inaction, of course, leads to more uncorrected behavior as those who need the law to behave do not receive the punishment they earn. And, of course, greater racism as people pull back and become more ethnocentric. Like the people in this town who will probably never accept these Iraq refugees at this point. In the end, it will be a vicious circle spiraling out of control.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Does God Hate Women?It will, of course, be preaching to my choir.
By Ophelia Benson
Reviewed by Johann Hari - 02 July 2009
A directory of divine misogyny
After all the arguments for subordinating women have been shown to be self-serving lies, what are misogynists left with? They have only one feeble argument that is still deferred to and shown undeserving respect across the world, even by people who should know better: “God told me to. I have to treat women as lesser beings, because it is inscribed in my Holy Book.”
Ophelia Benson and Jeremy Stangroom are the editors of Butterflies and Wheels, the best atheist site on the web. In Does God Hate Women? they forensically dismantle the last respectable misogyny. They argue: “What would otherwise look like stark bullying is very often made respectable and holy by a putative religious law or aphorism or scriptural quotation . . . They worship a God who is a male who gangs up with other males against women. They worship a thug.”
Every major religion’s texts were written at a time when women were regarded as little better than talking cattle. Their words and commands reflect this, plainly and bluntly. This book starts with a panoramic sweep across the world, showing – with archetypal cases – how every religion has groups today thumping women down with its Holy Book.
In Zamfara State in northern Nigeria, a pregnant 13-year-old girl called Bariya Ibrahim received 180 lashes of the cane in 2001 after being pimped by her father. The state’s attorney general said: “It is the law of Allah, so we don’t have anything to worry about.” In Jerusalem, ultra-Orthodox Jews have set up “modesty police” who terrorise young women who talk to men or show ordinary parts of their bodies. They break into their homes if they are seen with men; they force them to sit at the back of the bus, away from the men; and they even, in one recent instance, sprayed acid in the face of a 14-year-old girl.
In the areas of India still dominated by orthodox Hinduism, a widow is still expected to commit suicide when her husband dies, or go into isolation in an ashram. One – a septuagenarian woman named Radha Rani Biswas – fled and now begs on the streets of Vrindavan. She said: “My son tells me: ‘You have grown old. Now who is going to feed you? Go away.’ What do I do? My pain has no limit.” And on the directory of divine misogyny goes, running through Catholicism, Mormonism and more. Benson and Stangroom note: “Religion doesn’t necessarily originate ideas about female subordination, but it lends them a penumbra of righteousness, and it makes them ‘sacred’ and thus a matter for outrage if anyone disputes them.”
Methodically, they go through the excuses offered for these raw abuses of human rights by the religious, and their apologists.
The first – especially beloved of the Vatican and Islamists – is that women are not being treated worse, just “differently”. They claim that it accords a woman special “dignity” to trap her in the home. But this is an abuse of language. As the authors note: “Permanent consignment to a limited and lesser role in the world is not what ‘dignity’ is generally understood to mean . . . The smallness and intimacy and relatedness of home are fine things, but not if one is confined to them permanently.”
The religio-misogynists then claim that it is “racist” or “imperialist” to oppose such abuses. This merrily ignores how women within these cultures protest against their treatment – very loudly. They aren’t objecting to being imprisoned in their homes, or having their genitalia cut, or being stoned for having sex, because a white person told them to. Benson and Stangroom put it well: “Multiculturalism by definition makes a fetish of cultures, and it is almost impossible to do that without treating them as monolithic. As soon as you admit that all cultures have internal dissent and nonconformity, the whole idea of protecting or deferring to particular cultures breaks down into incoherence.”
Then the gentler, nicer apologists for religion arrive. They say that misogynists are simply misinterpreting the holy texts, which are in fact about love and compassion and kindness. But the authors point out this is certainly not the God of the texts who orders his followers to commit mass murder, including of women and children, and explicitly says women are inferior beings.
So, in order to defend their God, the apologists often have to lie about what He and His Prophets “say” in the texts. Cherie Blair, for example, claimed in a lecture: “It is not laid down in the Quran that women can be beaten by their husbands.” But it quite plainly is. The Quran says: “If you fear high-handedness from your wives, remind them [of the teachings of God], then ignore them when you go to bed, then hit them.”
Karen Armstrong – one of the most egregious defenders of superstition – repeatedly claims that Muhammad was an emancipator of women. Yet it is explained in the Hadith (the sayings and traditions of the Prophet) that he married a prepubescent child, and that when he was given two slave girls he gave the ugly one away to a friend and kept the beautiful one, Maryam, to use sexually. It is a strange model of female emancipation, to sleep with children and slaves.
There are people in all religions who have – through theological contortions – managed to leave behind literal readings of the text and invent a less foul God to believe in. It is not for atheists to say that one group of believers is right and the other is wrong, as we think they’re all wrong. We can note that the less literalist a believer is, the easier he is to live beside, but we will only discredit literalism and force reform if we are honest about the words of the texts, rather than trying to soft-soap believers.
By the end of this book-length blast, Benson and Stangroom have left religious hatred of women in rubble. Anybody not addled by superstition will have to conclude that such bigotry deserves neither respect nor deference. It does not deserve the taboos that today surround it. It deserves the opposite: contempt – and relentless, unyielding opposition.
CHICAGO – A registered nurse who directed an allergy testing health care fraud scheme, was sentenced to nine years in prison and ordered to pay $2.6 million in restitution, federal law enforcement officials announced today. John Froelich, 52, formerly of Harwood Heights, was the ringleader among nine defendants who pleaded guilty to federal charges for submitting fraudulent bills totaling $11.5 million to more than 200 insurance companies, which paid approximately $2.6 million in false claims. Through a group of businesses operating in the Chicago area, northwest Indiana and Phoenix, Arizona, principally under the name of American Institute of Allergy (AIA), Froelich and his co-defendants advertised free blood tests, and drew blood from some 4,000 patients. AIA administered allergy shots to some 800 of those individuals, without proper medical evaluation or supervision, and the shots were prepared in unsanitary conditions by individuals who were not licensed or qualified to prepare them.This happens a lot. Let's face it, people are not rational consumers. They are especially irrational when it comes to medicine. Which makes it so easy to bilk them.
Froelich, who is un custody, was sentenced Friday by U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall in Federal Court in Chicago, announced Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.
No patients suffered direct serious injury as a result of the scheme but were exposed to a risk of serious bodily injury, prosecutors argued and Judge Kendall ruled in imposing the sentence.
Froelich pleaded guilty to wire fraud in October 2008 and testified at the trial last fall of Dr. Hartley Thomas, of Valparaiso, Ind., who was the only defendant who went to trial among the 10 individuals, including four physicians, who were charged in a 34-count indictment in February 2007. Thomas was convicted but died before sentence was imposed.
Doing business as AIA or a related entity, between 2000 and 2007, Froelich and others he directed solicited individuals to sign up for its purported allergy testing services at numerous locations in Illinois, Indiana, and Arizona, including at county fairs private gyms, firehouses, and other public and private locations. AIA’s main office was located on Lawrence Avenue in Chicago.
Froelich was licensed as a nurse in Illinois but also held himself out as a nurse in Indiana and Arizona, where he was not licensed. He deceived patients by wearing an employee identification badge that he had retained after he stopped working as a nurse at a large Chicago hospital.
Among the nine defendants who pleaded guilty to participating in the fraud scheme were three other physicians who ordered prescription allergy tests without first examining patients and diagnosing their need for tests or shots. The fraudulent insurance claims were submitted under the physicians’ names, even though they did not provide or supervise the service being billed.
And while these dirtbags got caught, tens-of-thousands "honest" medical practitioners do the same thing every day. In the past year my wife has been scammed by a dentist over non-existent cavities and "tooth cracks" and her doctor ordered an unnecessary MRI for a mild sprain. I fired my dentist because he tried to churn my mouth by filling a non-existent cavity then telling me I had more...
That's just us, and I'm really hard (not impossible) to fool or get signed up for unnecessary medical procedures. And still they got my wife twice and me once.