Conceived above a saloon, delivered into this world by a masked man identified by his heavily sedated mother as Captain Video, raised by a kindly West Virginian woman, a mild-mannered former reporter with modest delusions of grandeur and no tolerance of idiots and the intellectually dishonest.
network solutions made me a child pornographer!
The sordid details...
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The Carbolic Smoke Ball
Superb satire, and based in Pittsburgh!
"No religious Test shall ever be required as a
Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the
Article VI, U.S. Constitution
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Saturday, April 29, 2006
Quote of the day
People had always dreamed of a unified world. We thought it would be a
richer one. It wasn't. It meant that the Eskimo got educated and
learned cost accountancy, but it didn't mean that the German learned to
hunt whales with a spear. It meant everyone learned how to press
buttons, and no one remembered how to dive for pearls.
-Terry Pratchett (Strata)
(via The Sanity Inspector on the Usenet alt.quotations newsgroup.)
The official release of granddaughter Leanna's official three-year-old birthday picture.
Friday, April 28, 2006
Question of the day
I've always wondered: If women really do offer equal work for
23 cents less on the dollar, why does anyone bother hiring men?
(via The Sanity Inspector on the alt.quotations Usenet newsgroup)
Bird flu strikes trailer park
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Bush joke of the day
President Bush recently went to a primary school in Macon, Georgia to talk about the world. After his talk, he asked if the children had any questions. One little boy put up his hand, and the president asked him his name.
"And what is your question, Kenneth?"
"I have three questions:
1 ... Whatever happened to the weapons of mass destruction?
2 ... Why did you give a tax break to the super wealthy?
3 ... Did you steal votes to win both elections?"
Just then the bell rang for recess. President Bush informed the kiddies that they would continue after recess. When they resumed, the President said "OK, where were we? Oh, that's right, question time. Who has a question?"
A different little boy put his hand up. Bush pointed him out and asked him his name.
"And what is your question, Larry?"
"I have five questions:
1 ...Whatever happened to the weapons of mass destruction?
2 ...Why did you give a tax break to the super wealthy?
3 ...Did you steal votes to win both elections?
4 ...Why did the recess bell go off 20 minutes early?
5 ...What happened to Kenneth?"
(via my Mom.)
Quote of the day
Elsewhere, when asked how it felt to publish her first novel and then be charged with plagiarism, author Kaavya Viswanathan said, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."
-Andy Borowitz (The Borowitz Report)
April 25, 2006
Obliterating the Dollar... and the Middle Class?
Preparing for the Economic Typhoon
By MIKE WHITNEY
Gold traders love George Bush. They know that his blundering mismanagement of the economy will keep gold soaring well into the future. In the last year alone gold increased nearly $200 an ounce capping off a 5 year run that has taken it from $274 per ounce to $635 at Friday's close.
These are serious numbers and they reflect the uneasiness with the global political situation (Iran, Nigeria) as well as concern about the oceans of debt generated by our Oval Office numbskull.
Is it really possible for one man to single-handedly obliterate the world's most robust economy?
After 6 years of looting the public till, the cupboard is just about bare. Bush has chalked up another $3 trillion of public debt which sounds the death-knell for Social Security, public education, and the social safety net.
Think I'm kidding? Consider what new Fed-master Ben Bernacke said just yesterday, "If the dollar declined sharply, it would not necessarily disrupt markets".
That's right; the Fed is conspiring to reduce its debt payments by driving a wooden stake into the heart of the greenback. In three to six months the dollar will probably be valued at 1.40 to 1.50 per euro. That is, if the bottom doesn't fall out completely. After all, allies and enemies alike are pretty sick of the good old USA, so it wouldn't be out of the question for someone (perhaps, China) to start a sell-off that would end in disaster.
The dollar is now recognized as the empire's Achilles heel and the primary target for any asymmetrical warfare directed at America. If that means regime change at home, count me in. I'll worry about the wheelbarrow-loads of greenbacks for a loaf of bread some other time.
The Group of Seven industrialized nations (G-7) took a few swipes at Washington's profligate spending this weekend; warning that they wanted "more flexibility" in the Asian currencies. This is a clear sign that the path is being paved for a freefalling dollar while the other currencies gain ground.
How do you like the idea that half of your savings will be erased through executive fiat?
Since Bush took office the dollar has plummeted 30% against the euro. The only thing that has kept it from joining the peso is the skyrocketing oil prices which have allowed the Fed to keep the printing presses going at full tilt. That's because oil is denominated exclusively in dollars, so while the price per barrel continued upward, the Fed was able to circulate another $2.5 trillion of funny money. The high cost of oil has kept the dollar reasonably stable even though the twin-deficits have eroded its true value. Maintaining the monopoly on the sale of oil (which forces foreign central banks to hold billions of greenbacks in reserve) is critical to US prosperity. A switch to euros would weaken demand for the dollar and send the American economy into a tailspin.
Unfortunately, other countries are frustrated with the recklessness of the Bush team and are threatening to destabilize the system. First there was the danger of Iran opening an oil bourse that would compete head-on with the dollar; increasing the number of euros stockpiled in the central banks. Now, the Russian Finance Minister, Alexei Kudrin has fired a broadside at his American counterparts saying, "The US dollar is NOT the world's absolute reserve currency". He noted that the unsustainable' US trade deficit is "causing concern" and that "the international community can hardly be satisfied with this instability."
Kudrin's remarks were greeted with the shock one would expect from a dirty bomb on a crowded subway. America's global dominance requires that it maintain the dollar as the world's reserve currency; if that changes then the US will be unable to trade its painted-script for valuable resources. It would also mean that America would have to start paying back its $9 trillion national debt.
Kudrin's comments were interpreted to mean that Russia might ease away from the dollar in its oil transactions; a change that might spread to other countries that are equally skeptical of Uncle Sam's recklessness.
The eroding value of the dollar is just one of the economic crises facing the American people. A 6 month downturn in housing starts signals that the housing bubble, the largest equity bubble in history, is quickly losing steam. With long term interest rates steadily rising (along with energy prices) the shaky loans that were blessed by former Fed-chief, Greenspan, are beginning to unravel. "No down payment", ARMs (Adjustable Rate Mortgages) and easy financing have the over-extended American public teetering towards insolvency. Foreclosures are up, mortgages balances are at unprecedented levels, and inventories are larger than they've been since the early 90s. Last month produced the biggest slowdown in sales in a decade and the real pain hasn't even begun. At least $3 trillion of the $9 trillion equity bubble is built entirely on the cheap money pumped into the system by the Federal Reserve to keep the economy percolating while Bush and Co. stole every last farthing in the US Treasury. Greenspan's low interest rates were nothing more than a carnival-hucksters' scam to shift the vast wealth of America's middle class into the pockets of well-heeled constituents.
Last year Americans used their homes as a personal ATM; withdrawing over $600 billion to pay off credit card debt and for personal spending. That "presto-equity" is quickly evaporating as home prices flatten out and wages continue to stagnate. Personal debt is currently in the stratosphere and there are some gloomy signs that the American consumer, that great engine of global economic power, is finally tapped out. Consumer spending represents 70% of US GDP (Gross Domestic Product) so, as housing prices retreat and energy prices increase; Americans will face the greatest economic challenge since the Great Depression.
One thing is absolutely certain; Bush will stick by his constituents to the bitter end. It is physically impossible for him to act in the interests of the American people. He won't be deterred by the falling dollar, the deflating housing market, or the skyrocketing energy prices. He'll make his budget-busting tax cuts permanent and plunge the country into a sea of red ink.
Betting that George Bush will do the wrong thing for the nation is not a matter of conjecture; it is a mathematical certainty. He is deliberately destroying the middle class, the prospects for upward mobility, and the currency. The economic underpinnings of American democracy have been demolished in just 6 short years. Smart people will prepare themselves for the typhoon ahead.
(Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Bush joke of the day
Bill Clinton, John Kerry, and George W. Bush face a firing squad in a small Central American country.
Bill Clinton is first placed against the wall, and just before the order to shoot him is given, he yells, "Earthquake!" The firing squad falls into a panic and Bill jumps over the wall and escapes in the confusion.
John Kerry is the second one placed against the wall. The squad is reassembled and John ponders what his old pal Bill has done. Before the order to shoot is given, John yells, "Tornado!" Again, the squad falls apart and Kerry slips over the wall.
The last person, George W. Bush, is placed against the wall. He is thinking, "I see the pattern here, just scream out a disaster and hop over the wall." As the firing squad is reassembled and the rifles raised in his direction, he gives his famous smirk and yells, "Fire!"
(via Paul Stockhausen)
Quote of the day
President Bush says that massive deportation is not "reasonable." Why not?
Mexico did it.
Bumper sticker of the day
Be Nice To America.
Or We'll Bring Democracy To Your Country.
(via Martin Shank on the alt.quotations Usenet newsgroup.)
Be nice to your a.s.s. today...
(Today is Administrative Professionals Day.)
Did you know that the term "secretary" is being replaced by the awkward phrase "administrative support staff?" Some committee decided that secretaries would be enriched by becoming ASSes. Think of all the ripple effects. On National Secretary's Day we'll be told: You have a great ASS so take your ASS to lunch or give your ASS the day off.
Marilyn Penn, "Blunt Is Beautiful," The American Enterprise, May 2006
(via David C. Kifer on the alt.quotations Usenet newsgroup.)
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Cartoon of the day
"Happy Earth Day, honey."
Published in The New Yorker April 24, 2006
Sunday, April 23, 2006
You say you have a bad case of the Mondays?
Gee, that's too bad. Don't forget to fill out your T.P.S. report:
Just a personal note...
The country music business yesterday was a one-time thing. Thanks for your concern, but "an intervention" isn't necessary.
I just happened to hear the song for the first time Friday night; the future ex-missus moved on Saturday. The circumstances are entirely different, but the tone pretty much nailed it. (Incidentally, I kept the cat. And the dog.)
We parted on good terms, with a hug and mutual wishes for good fortune. Like most men, I'm rather clueless about the entire situation. About the only thing that comes to mind is the old Tennessee Williams line: "There is a time for departure even when there's no certain place to go."
That, and the equally appropriate "Love is grand. Divorce is 310 grand."
This is no ordinary Pittsburgh band
After spending most of the day mucking out the laundry room and determining whether a complete cleaning of the house could be best accomplished with a large drum of Pine-Sol or a quart of gasoline, I almost decided against going to the Baltimore House in Pleasant Hills to see the Pittsburgh band No Bad Ju Ju.
I promised myself I'd only stay for the first set; as you can see from the time of this post, I had to stay for the second.
The entire band is superb, but what really makes it stand out is a tremendous horn section featuring Curtis Johnson and Rick Matt on saxes and Steve McKnight on trumpet. Their collection of R&B, soul and funk was tremendous; I think there was a bigger crowd for the after-midnight set.
Visit their website, look around and listen, and if you're ever faced with a choice between hearing them perform or cleaning your house, defer the cleaning.
Gasoline stations are open 24/7 these days.
Copyright © 1987-2016 by Kevin G. Barkes
All rights reserved.
Violators will be prosecuted.
The email@example.com e-mail address is now something other than firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com as my sole e-mail address. How to let people know that firstname.lastname@example.org was no longer email@example.com but rather firstname.lastname@example.org which is longer than email@example.com and more letters to type than firstname.lastname@example.org and somehow less aesthetically pleasing than email@example.com but actually just as functional as firstname.lastname@example.org? I sent e-mails from the email@example.com address to just about everybody I knew who had used firstname.lastname@example.org in the past decade and a half but noticed that some people just didn't seem to get the word about the email@example.com change. So it occurred to me that if I were generate some literate, valid text in which firstname.lastname@example.org was repeated numerous times and posted it on a bunch of different pages- say, a blog indexed by Google- that someone looking for email@example.com would notice this paragraph repeated in hundreds of locations, would read it, and figure out that firstname.lastname@example.org no longer is the email@example.com they thought it was. That's the theory, anyway. firstname.lastname@example.org. Ok, I'm done. Move along. Nothing to see here...
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