Saturday, January 10, 2009

Picture of today

Baseball fans enjoy!. These pics were taken at Ebbets Field, legendary home of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Le cirque qui est nos temps

Just a couple tidbits from our current age of financial insanity. Recent events have brought to light the rents paid by two iconic establishments in New York's Rockefeller Center. The Rainbow room, a spiffy restaurant and dance hall, has been paying $6 million per year while a nearby French bookstore has had its rent raised to $1 million.

Gotta sell a lotta pasta and hoity toity French books to make those rents, eh. Never mind the labor costs. Screwing the help can only get you so far in this unjust world. The landlord can take those small windfalls away no problem.

Yep, our system of oligarchical capitalism is sustainable. Sustainable like a Ponzi scheme. Our economic system? Ponzi scheme? Oh, sorry. Please excuse the tautology.

Le singe de le cirque

The Gothamist reports that management at the restaurant Le Cirque has been stealing tips from their waiters. Le Cirque, you may recall, recently received multiple blessings from Roman Catholic Cardinal Egan, head of the New York Archdiocese.

So not only did this Grand Poobah of Christianity perform like a trained monkey for the owner of Le Cirque (that's The Circus in French, so I'm calling him a circus monkey, get it?), he essentially blessed the practice of rich fucks thieving from the poor. Management reportedly tipped him well for his performance. Wags suspect little, if any, of that silver made it to the poor.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

That piece of shit computer is fucked

Bad news in the computer world. Apple announced that Steve Jobs would be staying on as CEO. Don't get me wrong. I wish him nothing but the best of health, and I know he's made a few good moves in the past, but frankly, these days I think he's bringing down the company and, by extension, the computer industry and the world. Certainly my world. We'd all be better off if he'd retire.

Furthermore, I'm starting to think the government should get involved. Apple's monopoly on personal computers is harmful to the economy. Certainly my economy. And in these tough economic times, we shouldn't permit monopolies to squelch so much productivity. We need healthy competition in the personal computer market and as long as Apple is all there is, the price of a decent computer will remain out-of-reach for too many good, hard working Americans.

As the headline indicates, my piece of shit computer is fucked. A new one costs well over $2500. Why so expensive, you ask. It's because Apple doesn't just make a simple, medium sized box that you can just throw in plenty of RAM and some hard drives. It's either weak-assed crap for people who only surf the web and write email or a supercomputer for people working on high end video projects. Nothing in between. Honestly, the government should step in. It's simply not right that there is no competition in this area which is so vital to the national interest. Certainly my national interest. And don't even ask about Linux. I'm not going there.

Are you listening, Mr. President-elect? Want to get the economy moving? Sue Apple to make them provide an affordable computer that's useful to normal people. Wanna cut some taxes? Start with the Apple tax.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Picture of the day

Crimes and revelations

The Washington post reports that "More Groups Than Thought Monitored in Police Spying."

Thought by whom? Anyone who's not severely retarded, a major media "journalist" or a conservative intellectual knows that police will monitor any group remotely critical of a radical right wing agenda if given the least bit of leeway. When, in the history of the world, has this ever failed to happen?

One of the possible "crimes" in the file police opened on Amnesty International, a world-renowned human rights group: "civil rights."
No, the revelation that police consider the promotion of human rights, working for bike lanes, treating animals well, opposing war or war crimes or advocating civil rights to be thought crimes, if not terrorist activities is no surprise whatsoever. The surprise would be if they had any concept of constitutional democracy or if they didn't abuse their power.

On a totally unrelated note, our previous three articles were, you know, just jokes we make for the amusement of our readers who may work for police agencies. The editors at chuckling on-line magazine fervently believe the rich should always get richer, we are steadfast in our staunch support of Likud, umm we mean Isreal, and we realize that the only thing Jesus loves better than money is America. Just want to be clear on all that. Wouldn't want any misconceptions, you know.

Poster boy politics

Today we see the first tangible results of chuckling on-line magazine’s crusade to tax the wealthy back to reality. Two-thirds of Britons, it seems, want the rich to face high tax rates not seen since the 1980s. Of course we’re advocating a progressive tax more like the 1950’s than 1980’s, but we’ll take whatever progress we can get.

How many Americans think we should tax the rich back to reality? Hmmmm. That’s not something likely to come up for discussion round here, is it? When it comes to what our rulers quaintly refer to as “class war,” the anti-war movement is strong indeed. In that sense, big business, media, and both (nominal) political parties are all rabid peaceniks. And they agree that the only way to keep the peace is by a policy of I got mine, Jack, fuck you and your’n.

Nevertheless, receptive minds are out there. As the economy settles into each stage of its collapse, the results of our pro out-of-control looting by the rich policy are becoming clear. It’s not only the ridiculous unfairness of using public policy to enrich a miniscule minority of pathological greedheads at the expense of the great majority; or the economic ruin to which those policies inevitably lead: the fuck you and your’n policy is a terminal threat to democracy as well(unless by democracy we mean that every dollar gets an equal vote). Our slide into aristocracy and corrupt oligarchy is a far bigger problem than executive pay.

The current travails of the world’s wealthiest assholes give us a window into this insanity of which we must not speak. They have recently lost billions and billions of dollars, yet remain rich beyond any reasonable dream.The American who lost the most - $24 billion - was casino operator Sheldon Adelson, reputed to be worth $28 billion in March. So he’s still got $4 billion. Do you know how much $4 billion is? If you put it in a savings account earning 1 percent per annum, you’d make $40 million a year. What can you do with $40 million a year? Anything you fucking want. That’s what. And you'll still have a lot left over to give to your worthless kids who would never have to earn a single fucking thing in their entire lives.

What possible good does it do anyone to put all of that wealth in the hands of sociopaths? Little good at all and a whole helluva lot of bad. I realize that it is not exactly a zero sum game, but at some point the pathological greedheads really are taking money away from people who work hard and play by the rules. We are way past that point. It’s time for the pendulum to swing the other way.

Granted, a little bit of progress is on the table. Obama would restore the top two income tax rates to their pre-2001 levels. But that still leaves them at under 40 percent and does almost nothing to address the most egregious forms of excessive wealth: capital gains and inheritance. Obama’s tax plan is symbolic, at best.

What we need is for someone to make the argument, which shouldn’t be that difficult. In essence, it’s about freedom and fairness. Almost all Americans agree that a person should be able to profit from hard work, whether that profit be realized in excess wealth or security. Most people want to live in a meritocracy, not an aristocracy or corrupt oligarchy. We need to demonstrate that our fuck you and your’n regressive tax policies are anathema to meritocracy as well as democracy. And we have to look no further than George W. Bush to find our poster boy.

It may not be quite as simple as this, but it could be a place to start. We should examine George W’s life and figure out what could have been done to keep such a total loser rich fuck from being in a position to become president without earning a single fucking thing even once in his ridiculously privileged life. Once we have identified the necessary policies to keep a total loser rich fuck loser like George W. from being showered with every possible advantage in this life, we need to implement those policies.

Start with the inheritance tax. Check. College legacies. Check. Progressive tax code, capital gains. Check. Strengthened democracy. Check.

And there are plenty of other poster boys out there. Fuck’em, is chucking on-line magazine's editorial position. Before they fuck us (even more).