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Friday, June 10, 2005

A simpler time.

Make up your own caption. I'm too embarrassed.

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Thursday, June 09, 2005

Quote of the day

If Michael Jackson is convicted he could end up in the same prison as Charles Manson. Charles Manson heard this and said, "I hope not. That guy is nuts."
-Conan O'Brien

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False promises

Congress is holding hearings investigating what is likely to be the this decade's equivalent of the massive and shameful government bail-out of the savings and loan industry: companies with huge unfunded pension liabilities declaring bankruptcy and sticking the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation with the bill.

The PBGC is already $23 billion in the red, which means that in all likelihood the agency will require a huge cash infusion from taxpayers to deal with the scores of companies who, like United and US Airways, declare bankruptcy to get out of their obligations.

The solution to this problem is simple. First, do away with creative accounting procedures, so firms can't resort to Enron-esque numbers juggling to make their anemic, under-invested accounts appear adequately funded. If you hire someone with the promise of giving them a pension, then, by God, there better be a pension there when the employee needs it. And prohibit companies from using pension funds improperly; they can't be invested in speculative operations of undue risk.

Remove pension liabilities from bankruptcy protection. Currently, when you file for bankruptcy, you still have to pay Uncle Sam for any taxes you owe. That should also include pension funds, since defaulting plans end up being bailed out by the PBGC.

Finally, prohibit the management of companies with unfunded liabilities from receiving any bonuses as long as their pensions are in the hole.

Some claim stricter enforcement will cause companies to abandon their pensions. I say: fine. At least employees will no longer be laboring under the delusion that they have pension protection when, in fact, it's nothing more than a hedge fund for bad management.

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Tuesday, June 07, 2005

What's wrong with this picture...

Leslie takes on yesterday's U.S. Supreme Court ruling on medical marijuana in her blog:

"Rush Limbaugh can get Oxycodone by the gross and the Supremes are concerned about doctors overprescribing medical marijuana? Give me a break! While my mom got good anti-nausea drugs during her chemo, if it would help get her appetite back and stop her from losing so much weight, I'd be pestering her docs to get her on it right now... but it's not legal in Illinois."

Or anywhere else, for that matter.

According to AP, the Court said those who smoke marijuana because their doctors recommend it to ease pain can be prosecuted for violating federal drug laws, overriding medical marijuana statutes in 10 states.

A DEA spokesman said the agency has never targeted the sick and dying, but rather criminals engaged in drug trafficking. Or maybe if you make a pest of yourself, like criticizing the administration.

Swell. Yet another layer of hypocrisy and another example of selective enforcement of the law. While we're dismantling the bill of rights, why don't we just repeal the 14th Amendment too, and be done with it?

Wonder if ol' Rush'll have anything to say about this? By the way, what's the difference between Rush Limbaugh and the Hindenburg? One's a bloated Nazi gasbag, and the other's a dirigible.

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Monday, June 06, 2005

Old? Who's old?

The other day a young person asked me how I felt about being old. I was taken aback, for I do not think of myself as old. Upon seeing my reaction, she was immediately embarrassed, but I explained that it was an interesting question, and I would ponder it, and let him know.

Old age, I decided, is a gift.

I am now, probably for the first time in my life, the person I have always wanted to be. Oh, not my body! I sometime despair over my body. The wrinkles, the baggy eyes, and the sagging butt. And often I am taken aback by that old person that lives in my mirror, but I don't agonize over those things for long.

I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly. As I've aged, I've become more kind to myself, and less critical of myself. I've become my own friend. I don't chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn't need, but looks so avante garde on my patio. I am entitled to overeat, to be messy, to be extravagant. I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging. Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 a.m., and sleep until noon?

I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 40s, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love... I will.

I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the bikini set.

They, too, will get old.

I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten, and I eventually remember the important things. Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when a beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.

I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turn gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver. I can say "no," and mean it. I can say "yes." and mean it.

As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don't question myself anymore. I've even earned the right to be wrong.

So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day.

-Unattributed

(Thanks to Grace McGarvie on alt.quotations.)

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Sunday, June 05, 2005

A public service

This year's best song in a Broadway musical won't be performed on tonight's Tony Awards. I saw Spamalot, the musical version of the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail in its Chicago tryout, and- trust me- this little ditty is Spamalot's show-stopper. I assume it's not being performed due to a naughty word and its politically incorrect subject matter. Fortunately, KGB Report is unfettered by such matters as good taste. So, as a public service, here's what should be this year's Tony Awards show centerpiece:

YOU WON'T SUCCEED ON BROADWAY

King Arthur

Have you heard of this "Broadway?"

Sir Robin

Yes, sire. And we don't stand a chance there.

King Arthur

Why not?

Sir Robin

Because... Broadway is a very special place, filled with very special people. People who can sing, and dance... often at the same time. They are a different people, a multi-talented people, a people who need people; and who are, in many ways, the luckiest people in the world. I'm sorry, sire. We don't have a chance.

King Arthur

But why?

Sir Robin

Well... let me put it like this:

In any great adventure, if you don't want to lose
Victory depends upon the people that you choose.
So listen Arthur, darling, closely to this news:
We won't succeed on Broadway if we don't have any Jews.

You may have the finest sets
Fill the stage with Penthouse Pets
You may have the loveliest costumes and best shoes;
You may dance and you may sing
But I am sorry, Arthur King
You'll hear no cheers, just lots and lots of boos.

You may have butch men by the score
Whom the audience adore
You may even have some animals from zoos
Though you've Poles and Krauts instead
You may have unleavened bread
But I tell you, you are dead
If you don't have any Jews

They won't care if it's witty,
Or everything looks pretty,
They'll simply say it's shitty and refuse.
Nobody will go, sir,
If it's not kosher then no show, sir,
Even goyim won't be dim enough to choose!
Put on shows that make men stare,
With lots of girls in underwear,
You may even have the finest of reviews.

The audiences won't care, sir,
As long as you don't dare, sir,
To open up on Broadway
If we don't have any Jews.

You may have dramatic lighting,
Or lots of horrid fighting,
You may even have some white men sing the blues!
Your knights might be nice boys,
But sadly we're all goys,
And that noise that you call singing you must lose.

So, despite your pretty lights,
and naughty girls in nasty tights,
and the most impressive scenery you use...
You may have dancing mano-a-mano,
You may bring on a piano,
But they will not give a damn-o
If you don't have any Jews!

You may fill your play with gays,
Have Nigerian girls in stays,

GIRLS

You may even have some shikses making stews!

Sir Robin

You haven't got a clue,
If you don't have a Jew,
All of your investments you are going to lose!

There's a very small percentile,
Who enjoys a dancing gentile,
I'm sad to be the one with this bad news!
But never mind your swordplay,
You just won't succeed on Broadway,
You just don't succeed on Broadway,
If you don't have any Jews!

Arthur, can you hear me?

To get along on Broadway,
To sing a song on Broadway,
To hit the top on Broadway and not lose,

I tell you, Arthur king,
There is one essential thing...
There simply must be,
Simply must be Jews.

There simply must be,
Arthur trust me,
Simply must be Jews.

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So there.  
The kgb@kgb.com e-mail address is now something other than kgb@kgb.com saga.
kgbreport.com used to be kgb.com until December, 2007 when the domain name broker Trout Zimmer made an offer I couldn't refuse. Giving up kgb.com and adopting kgbreport.com created a significant problem, however. I had acquired the kgb.com domain name in 1993, and had since that time used kgb@kgb.com as my sole e-mail address. How to let people know that kgb@kgb.com was no longer kgb@kgb.com but rather kgbarkes@gmail.com which is longer than kgb@kgb.com and more letters to type than kgb@kgb.com and somehow less aesthetically pleasing than kgb@kgb.com but actually just as functional as kgb@kgb.com? I sent e-mails from the kgb@kgb.com address to just about everybody I knew who had used kgb@kgb.com in the past decade and a half but noticed that some people just didn't seem to get the word about the kgb@kgb.com change. So it occurred to me that if I were generate some literate, valid text in which kgb@kgb.com was repeated numerous times and posted it on a bunch of different pages- say, a blog indexed by Google- that someone looking for kgb@kgb.com would notice this paragraph repeated in hundreds of locations, would read it, and figure out that kgb@kgb.com no longer is the kgb@kgb.com they thought it was. That's the theory, anyway. kgb@kgb.com. Ok, I'm done. Move along. Nothing to see here...

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