Friday, July 04, 2014

Made for TV Spectaculars!

What to do when the day is rained out, the family is on the road, and your back is sore?

Watch TeeVee & blog, of course. Time for the 200th post in this joint.

I miss the old time Made for TV movie. Sure, if you look at any kind of serious list of the best ever, there are a bunch of artsy cable flicks, and they're still making those.  On different fronts, SyFy has plumbed ever deeper veins in the cheese mines. Hallmark has perfected instant product  :  tune into any of their movies, at any point, and you know exactly what's going on & how it will turn out.

Boring.

I miss Lindsay Wagner heart tuggers, Barbara Eden pepfests, Robert Vaughn villainy, and Christmas Specials, most of all.

2 of the greatest ever were Chritmas specials!

Silent Night, Lonely Night was about 2 middle aged strangers hooking up at Christmas, and....
And nothing, really. They filled up the time taking long taxi rides from the bus station to the hotel a few yards away, and talking about their marriages. Just the perfect holiday movie!
 

Lloyd looks slightly more appalled than I remember.

Sunshine Christmas is even better. A Texan whose wife died (In Sunshine : this is a sequel) comes home from Canada for Christmas and maunders about whether to stay & hitch up with Barbara Hershey. I remembered how good the young Kirstie Alley looked in this, until I looked it up & found out it was Meg Foster. Oh well.


Another great one was Single Bars & Single Women. I thought this was about Earl Holliman & the meat market bar scene of the 1970s, until a woman explained it to me : She'd had the same jacket that Shelley Hack wore in the show.

Alas, I can't find it, but there is this classic clip:


There you have it America! For the Glorious 4th - moral decay, corporate soullessness & a deep nostalgia for that which never was.

(I note that this long dormant ghost of a blog has now passed 140,000 page views. 2% humans? Maybe)


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

100,000 views, Lincoln, & Concern Trolls

The strange popularity of this blog among the robot set (500 views a day & no real comments) has pushed it over 100,000 page views.

To celebrate without illusions, it's convenient that I've been reading The Coming Fury, and found a passage about Lincoln's secretaries answering letters during the campaign. Per Catton, Lincoln, asked to soothe Southerners sincerely disturbed by the tone of the campaign, replied "There are no such men".

Or, in a more modern - Linkable! version -

The president understood the dangers that any public pronouncement would entail. Shortly after the 1860 presidential election, Mr. Lincoln talked to one visitor about yielding to the worries of Southerners: "It is the trick by which the South breaks down every northern man. I would go to Washington without the support of the men who supported me and were my friends before election. I would be as powerless as a block of buckeye wood. The honest man (you are talking of honest men) will look at our platform and what I have said. There they will find everything I could now say or which they would ask me to say. All I could say would be but repetition. Having told them all these things ten times already, would they believe the eleventh declaration? Let us be practical. There are many general terms afloat, such as 'conservatism,' 'enforcement of the irrepressible conflict at the point of the bayonet,' 'hostility to the South,' and so forth - all of which mean nothing without definition. What then could I say to allay their fears, if they will not define what particular act or acts they fear from me or my friends?"


Which is, of course, a bit different than Catton's version. Such are quotes from the pre-tape recorder era. "Modern quotes are 100% accurate" - Albert Camus.


Friday, March 28, 2014

Doing pretty well for a dead blog

I have nearly 9000 page views in the last month. Mostly, because an old post happened to mention the Ukraine & the IRS.

Of course, I get that this is robots.



Thank you, robots. Bet you don't even realize this is really Reese & Joaquin. Heh.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

This blog is defunct, but the mission continues

Pretty much everything I tried to say last year about excessive cost in higher ed was said much better by Thomas Frank, last year in Harpers & this year in The Baffler


I don't have much of anything to add to his prescription:

What ought to happen is that everything I’ve described so far should be put in reverse. College should become free or very cheap. It should be heavily subsidized by the states, and robust competition from excellent state U’s should in turn bring down the price of college across the board. Pointless money-drains like a vast administration, a preening president, and a quasi-professional football team should all be plugged up. Accrediting agencies should come down like a hammer on universities that use too many adjuncts and part-time teachers.

Or, alas, to his expectation:


What actually will happen to higher ed, when the breaking point comes, will be an extension of what has already happened, what money wants to see happen. Another market-driven disaster will be understood as a disaster of socialism, requiring an ever deeper penetration of the university by market rationality. Trustees and presidents will redouble their efforts to achieve some ineffable “excellence” they associate with tech and architecture and corporate sponsorships. There will be more standardized tests, and more desperate test-prep. The curriculum will be brought into a tighter orbit around the needs of business, just like Thomas Friedman wants it to be. Professors will continue to plummet in status and power, replaced by adjuncts in more and more situations. An all-celebrity system, made possible by online courses or some other scheme, will finally bring about a mass faculty extinction—a cataclysm that will miraculously spare university administrations. And a quality education in the humanities will once again become a rich kid’s prerogative. 


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Is this thing on, or what? So long, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

This is my 2nd post this year. There have been 2800 page views in the last 3 days.

Robots, please announce yourselves. Kaiju are coming!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Retirement hasn't slowed down the page views

The busiest time ever for this blog was, according to page views, late January. Some robot had focused in on the not particularly exciting, and instantly dated, summary I did of the tax issues open just before Congress closed them.

So, not coming out of retirement, but I had to note that The Rolled Up Newspaper is now over 40,000 page views.

And that Ohlemacher still has no clue, or pretends not to.

The IRS called people up and asked them if they cheat. Shockingly,

When asked how much, if any, is an acceptable amount to cheat on your income taxes, 87 percent of respondents said, "not at all." Only 11 percent said, "a little here and there" or "as much as possible."


You can believe me, or read for yourself: He never mentions the weirdness of the survey design. "Sure, and I spend my weekends knocking over banks."




Monday, February 04, 2013

Not everybody knows

I quit blogging 5 weeks ago. From the massive lack of response, the universe was not upset. To hell with the universe! I'm the old generation, & I've got something to say.

There are many things in life that are so bleeding obvious you assume that everybody knows them. Pause to consider..
One thing that I thought was obvious is that guns are offensive weapons. You get shot - anybody gets shot - that's that. No chance for retribution or reaction - you die. Stats bear this out. If you have a gun in the house, the chance that it's involved in the death of a household member are at least 22 times the chance it gets put to any productive use. Obvious, right?

Well, apparently not. Way too many people seem to have absorbed the idiocy of Stephen Cannell and all his even less talented successors that HEROES never get shot. How is this possible? Damnfino, but it seems to be received wisdom among the usual 27%.


A second thing that everyone should know in their bones is that money is a promise. Money, in and of itself, is not, and never has been, something that will feed you, keep you warm & healthy, or make you happy. It exists only in the promise that you can turn it into other stuff that will have those nice effects. Apparently, all the Libertarians, Goldbugs, Austrians & Objectivists in the world missed that lesson. They seem to think that Au is handed down from GOD as a miracle of stored value.

Whether this is more objectionable theologically or witless pragmatically I leave as an exercise for the reader. In any event, one thing you can get for money is a bikini wax.



Oh, Yeah.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Better living from the IRS

The Ukraine has a long history of getting stomped on, abused, and put through unspeakable suffering. How are they doing these days?






 
Those spice blue eyes of the original human Barbie - now on her way to a mall opening near you (or not )-  hold more misery than the director's cut of Dune.

Which reminds me of a song - a song that poses the eternal question : Whiny or pretentious?












Sorry for the Polish subtitles - I couldn't find a Ukrainian, or even a Hungarian Horntail. But the Ukraine is hardly the only part of the world with suffering. The real question today is : How do we deal with the suffering of others?

There are a lot of approaches. Think kindly thoughts, but only act when it's in your face is a common one, usually effective as far as it goes, which is about the end of your nose. Another is political action. You know how to do that, & it's not really so difficult, although it certainly has risks. Another is to decide what's important to you, and join in the effort.

Here, for once, there's an  answer.  The IRS will help you find people of like mind, in your area, who are doing something. There are over a million active organizations - and half a million whose exemption has been revoked for nonfiling, so you can probably find a ton within an easy walk. Or,you can go the other way. Hear about a likely organization - say Ducks Unlimited - well, the IRS will tell you where they're headquartered whether they have a valid exemption, and if it has been revoked. (If you're just looking to give to a charity, something like Charity Navigator is useful too, but not as good if you're looking to find the nearest monastic historical society where you can go to weekly meetings and wear hairshirts in public)

The IRS does not post the annual filings on its website, although they are public information. Still, not a problem. There are various databases that collect this stuff. One easy way is to go to the home state AG. In Massachusetts, for example, it would be easier if you have a TIFF viewer, since the AGs office has switched to that annoying file type. Ducks Unlimited raises money in the Commonwealth, so there are hundreds of pages of documents and audited financials that tell you how they take in $150,000,000 per year, and how they spend it.

Looking for something cosier? How about the Boylston Chess Club? Alas, they had their 501(c)(7) exemption revoked. The name search at the IRS looks for an any word match, so otter gives 406 results. Fortunately, the Sea Otter Foundation of Yarmouth, Maine is near the top, so we can close with a bit of squee -


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Survivors of 2012

It's been about 10 years since I first heard of Dead Pools. They seemed like a pretty safe wager (either you win, or your team lives) so I did some research & entered one. Happily, most years I've finished near the bottom. It's time to congratulate some of the mainstays over the years, people who beat diseases, turned their lives around, or just plain hung on through sheer cussedness.

Annette Funicello has had MS for 20 years. It started soon after she did ads for Skippy peanut butter. It's gotten worse, of course.

Correlation, causation - whatever. I stay away from Skippy.











Tommy Morrison is a former WBO heavyweight champion who retired after testing postive for HIV in 1996. Morrison was a BSer from an early age, as well as being absurdly tough. He made a comeback in boxing a few years ago, apparently after faking blood tests. He hangs on from when boxing was big & HIV meant death,  because BS backed by real toughness never goes out of style.

Jan Michael Vincent went from pretty boy to tough guy to Hollywood washout with more dedication than even Nick Nolte. After failing to kill himself with motorcycles, alcohol, and who knows what else, his roles ran out 10 years ago and he retired to Mississippi.







Michael Douglas is here to remind us never to believe anything we read in a paper, and certainly not in a blog like this.
 
Congratulations also to Michael J Fox, Ralphie May, Ethan Zohn, Muhammed Ali, Ted Johnson, Benny the Rat & Aretha Franklin. If you have any can't miss picks for 2013, please leave them in the comments, or stop by Hobies & join the fun. 6 days left to enter.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Keeping up with the Ohlemacher

There are good ways to use numbers to explain things. Tables*, charts and online calculators** are all well known. Changes in tax law need them.



Then there's the AP way : Throw a bunch of numbers in at random points in a narrative to make it confusing, like Stephen Ohlemacher did this weekend.

The basic story is fairly interesting : Since the IRS has been told repeatedly : Don't worry, things will change, they haven't sent out new withholding tables.

Social Security payroll taxes are set to increase on Jan. 1, so workers should immediately feel the squeeze of a 2 percent cut in their take-home pay. But as talks drag on over how to address other year-end tax increases, the Internal Revenue Service has delayed releasing income tax withholding tables for 2013.
As a result, employers are planning to withhold income taxes at the 2012 rates, at least for the first one or two paychecks of the year, said Michael O'Toole of the American Payroll Association.

Clear enough, yes? A side point that this means the Fiscal Cliff is an even gentler slope than you probably realized, and this would be a useful squib. Alas, however, it's a Big Story, which means 17 more paragraphs of increasing pointlessness.

The tax increases could be steep. If Congress fails to act, workers at every income level face significant tax increases next year as part of the year-end "fiscal cliff."
A taxpayer making between $50,000 and $75,000 would get an average tax increase of $2,400, according to the Tax Policy Center, a Washington research group. If the worker is paid every two weeks, that's about $92 a paycheck, on average.
Someone making between $75,000 and $100,000 would get a tax increase averaging nearly $3,700. If the worker is paid every two weeks, that's about $142 a paycheck.

Feeling stupider? It's working.



There's one fun bit along the way:

In addition, dozens of other tax breaks for businesses and individuals that are routinely renewed each year already expired at the end of 2011. Congress was expected to renew many of them by January, so taxpayers could still claim them on their 2012 tax returns.

Read it over a couple times, and it just gets crazier. This one we can't blame on Ohlemacher : He's clearly stated the actual situation. The year is likely to end, and tax law will be retroactively changed. The biggest provision is the annual AMT patch. Since it isn't indexed to inflation, there is $92,000,000,000 at stake for 2012.

*Forbes laid out the tables nicely last month
Scenario 1: Tax cuts under the extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for all
RateSingle FilersMarried Joint FilersHead of Household Filers
10%$0 to $8,950$0 to $17,900$0 to $12,750
15%$8,950 to $36,250$17,900 to $72,500$12,750 to $48,600
25%$36,250 to $87,850$72,500 to $146,400$48,600 to $125,450
28%$87,850 to $183,250$146,400 to $223,050$125,450 to $203,150
33%$183,250 to $398,350$223,050 to $398,350$203,150 to $398,350
35%$398,350 and up$398,350 and up$398,350 and up
Scenario 2: Tax brackets under the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts for all
RateSingle FilersMarried Joint FilersHead of Household Filers
15%$0 to $36,250$0 to $60,550$0 to $48,600
28%$36,250 to $87,850$60,550 to $146,400$48,600 to $125,450
31%$87,850 to $183,250$146,400 to $223,050$125,450 to $203,150
36%$183,250 to $398,350$223,050 to $398,350$203,150 to $398,350
39.60%$398,350and up
 
Which means a tax increase basically of $450+ 3% of your excess over the top of the 15% bracket, a bit more if you make over $200,000 taxable. There are also various credits, the AMT, the possible reversion of dividends to ordinary, the increase o fhte capital gain rate to 20%. the expansion of the Medicare tax.... Well, there's a lot of details.

**Bankrate has a simple calculator

Merry Christmas.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

We Can't Have Nice Things

Sure, US exceptionalism means we can't have security from violence, a low prison population, well fed children or universal health care, but what about physical projects?

In the 40 years since Apollo, what neat public stuff has the US built? I can't think of anything major. Sure, there are a lot of big projects (Aswan High Dam) that would have been better not getting started, but let's take a look at some good ones:

Bullet trains
Even India has them.

London Eye

(We have Coney Island & used to have the Jersey Shore)

Dubai City:



This is like a giant version of Las Vegas. Maybe not so great.

In any event, I'm just trying to point out a contradiction. The more we insist on Private Sector Rulez! Gummint fails, the less hope we have of doing anything really special.

And I want special, not more eyesores.



At last, a Church that GOD won't touch!



Thursday, December 13, 2012

If you have something nasty to say...

I need to hear it.

This is post #189 on this blog. Every now & then I produce a real lemon*.



Only twice has anybody mentioned this. Once I wrote a post about Them when it should have been about Us. Someone got upset. I don't know if the rewrite is good, but I'm damn sure it's better.  My last post was just a mess, and needed a straightforward cleanup.

So seriously : what other ones in this work need Edit: Stat??


*At least worse than usual. If it's time to just surrender, say so.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Ohlemacher does Steno

On a day the Chronicle of Higher Education did a salary survey , finding 36 private (non-profit) college presidents making over a million last year, the Asspress excreted an atrocity that will have to bump it. Sorry, Bob Kerrey! Your $3 million pay will be the story another day.



Stephen Ohlemacher has done it again. Every easily refuted chestnut about tax hikes and small business you ever heard, taken down with a breathless stenography worthy of Paula Broadwell.

I could stop here, but why not sear your eyeballs with the gory details? Let's roll:

President Barack Obama's plan to increase taxes on top earners would have only a small impact on the nation's economy, according to congressional budget experts. But don't tell that to small business owners facing a tax hike.
Obama's proposal would hit about 940,000 people who report business income on their individual or household returns, says the Joint Committee on Taxation, the official scorekeeper for Congress. That's only 3.5 percent of the people who report business income, but those business owners are projected to earn 53 percent of the $1.3 trillion in business income that will be reported on individual returns next year.
That, Republicans in Congress argue, makes those business owners an important engine for economic growth and job creation.
They recite it as gospel: Paying higher taxes will reduce the amount of profits business owners would otherwise re-invest in their companies, making them less likely to expand and hire more workers. Many economists agree that tax increases in general limit economic growth. But there are big disagreements about magnitude - how much relatively small changes in the top two income tax rates would affect the economy and job creation.

First some stuff that, if read closely, confirms income concentration. Nice start, but the Secret Language of Newspapers is already getting in the way. Then he gets into "Many economists".
Strip out the he said/she said - as Ohlemacher doesn't even try - and you find that there is no evidence that a change in the top tax rate will affect anything. Nada, zip, squat. Ohlemacher more or less concedes this - with an estimate that the effect will be 1/14th  of the total if everything bounces back. A litttle later, Ohlemacher moves into the shallow end of tax policy:

Qualified dividends, which are now taxed at a top rate of 15 percent, would be taxed as ordinary income for top earners, or at a top rate of 39.6 percent.
That, some business owners complain, would leave them with less money to hire new workers or keep the ones they have.
"We're trying to encourage people to go out and hire and take risks," said Brian Reardon, executive director of the S Corporation Association. "If you are reducing the marginal value, you are reducing the incentives for folks to take that risk."
An S corporations is a common business structure in which profits flow directly to shareholders who report the income on their individual tax returns.
Business owners note that they often pay taxes on profits they don't necessarily receive. For example, if you borrow money to start or expand your business, you can use some of your profits to repay the loan, but only the interest portion of the loan payment is tax deductible.
When business owners use profits to buy new equipment or make other upgrades, it often takes several years to write off the cost of those upgrades, depending on depreciation rules.

This sounds like it follows smoothly, but actually takes some sharp bends. Dividend tax rates are utterly irrelevant to S-Corporations. Their distributive share is taxed based on the underlying income, and owner/officers are paid taxable/deductible salaries similar to other employees. One thing about S-Corps: They have a unique loophole in Medicare taxes. Unless it's paid in salary, the owners income is not subject to FICA or Medicare tax. There was some noise about this earlier this year when Newt Gingrich's tas returns came out. There have been several attempts to close this loophole, but it seems the S-Corpation Association is bulletproof. It even survived the new Medicare surtax untouched.

This stuff about startup expenses is 100% hooey. Sure, the expenses you incur before you start a business are amortized undet Sec. 197 over the first 15 years of the business. How are you going to earn over $400,000 in a business you haven't even started?

Now we get to the stenography.

Dan McGregor, chairman of McGregor Metalworking Companies in Springfield, Ohio, said he and the other six shareholders in the business are looking at a tax increase of $250,000 to $300,000 next year under Obama's plan.
Under Obama's plan to increase the top two income tax rates, a taxpayer would have to have an income of around $4 million - depending on how it's structured - to face a tax increase of $250,000.
McGregor's company, which has 365 employees at five locations, does about $80 million a year in sales, McGregor said. Each year, a portion of the profits are distributed to shareholders, along with money to pay taxes. The rest, he said, is invested back into the company.
If taxes go up, distributions to shareholders must go up to pay the higher taxes, leaving less money to reinvest in the business, McGregor said.
"I feel a $40,000 reduction is the loss of one job, so if it's a $200,000 tax increase, that's five jobs," McGregor said.

First, for an S-Corporation, 3% is the increase - we covered the Medicare surtax loophole already. So that tax increase implies profits of about $9,000,000, or $25,000 per employee. That's profits - because all the shareholders/officers salaries are deductions. So he's saying he could afford to give everybody in the company a $25,000 raise! But he won't, because it's more important that the McGregor family each gets their million bucks a head distribution. It's a very old company. If they need more capital to expand, they can raise or borrow it. Also, accelerated depreciation means that if they really were plowing everything back in, the deductions would pile up.

Is this one of those places where things are so expensive that a million bucks a year is just getting by?

In Springfield, the median house price is under $60,000.

We've all heard about these "typical small businessmen" who turn out to be spokesmen for some wingnut front group. Is Dan McGregor? Hard to tell right now. I will note that he seems to be in charge of something called "Christian Mentoring"

Not sure what that has to do with this other Christ, who said:

Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves purses which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near, nor moth destroys."


(of the Hibbing Zimmermenschen. Heh indeedy)


Monday, December 10, 2012

30,000 Pageviews Ho-Hum

With a moderate amount of posting and a big step-up in marketing, the RuN has reached 30,000 pageviews a bit ahead of schedule.

Thanks as always to Kate Beckinsale, Balloon-Juice open threads, Roger Ailes, Susan of Texas, and those Krazy Kids on the University of California Board of Regents.

Let's review our missions:

Fighting the increase in University costs.
Preparing for the end of the cheap energy age.
Warning uselessly of environmental collapse.
Providing a few laughs & a lot of breasts.

Hokay...0.5 for 4.

soooo. Wonder Woman movie. Why?

Nice suit. But who is she in 2012?






















Anyhow, I have a new candidate :

Sunday, December 09, 2012

AssDeans are Asses : Film at 11

One important thing to remember about having too many administrators : The more there are, the more time they have to do really stupid stuff.

UC has come up with a new logo for their system.


Not sure who stared at that annoyed loading circle, and instead of muttering profanity like everybody else thought : Let's steal this!

Opposition was immediate. A petition is up.


The reviews are in:

WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT PIECE OF SHIT?
It looks like a flushing toilet.
The logo fails because its embodies an abstraction on top of an abstraction. One layer of abstraction is sufficient.

There are some efforts thrown in to explain the difference between a logo & a seal, and to note the the seal remains the same. They fail, because the logo sucks.
 I found a better one:


Anyhow, this all reminds me of when NBC pulled the same stunt.

That was 36 years ago, and the logo wasn't as bad. It just cost NBC $600,000 to develop & a million to buy off NETV. People still remember.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Dead Zones

One of the quiet nightmares of the last 50 years has been the growth of ocean dead zones as a result (mostly) of nutrient runoff. A cycle starts that ends up with rot on the bottom and no oxygen in the water.



You know where this is going : Michigan. Not the lakes - although the Great Lakes have more than their share of problems.


The cultural dead zone : The Suburbs .
How did Michigan, of all places, get to a point where the elected government could stage a coup against their people and institute right-to-work evil? Because so many of them know absolutely nothing of labor history. From the Pullman riots to the relative peace of 1945-1970 was a long, sometimes bloody struggle.

And the history of it was just vanished. The plutocrats stood aside for a generation, while pumping out reams of propaganda. The means of transmission of folk history vanished with the public spaces and places where teens could interact with elders. Places that were systematically excluded from the antiseptic residential monocultures planted in the Auto Age. By 1980, peoples heads had been emptied enough that the White Folks litany could be pumped into a vacuum. The Class War was on, in secret. Victory has been complete. Even 30 years ago, could someone as clueless & odious as Willard Mitt Romney, with his constant denigrating of most of the population, his history of corporate evil, and his sheer cluelessness been allowed anywhere near a nomination? Maybe, but the stories that he ran on - the moochers, dependent, winks, nods, dog whistles & fables - would have at least drawn derision. Now? we are cursed with Very Serious People, who appear to have been raised in jars & don't even have scruples to lose to become pundits.


Corporate profits as a share of national income in red, wages in blue. See any improvement since 2009? This chart is almost enough to turn an O-Bot into a Firebagger. In any event, it's a call to action:

Wake up, and start knitting, all you zombies out there!




Also, too : The rest of the country, walking quietly down the chute.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

5 Dead in Boston

There have been 5 people killed riding their bikes in Boston in 2012, all in the last 6 months.

The latest was today. A 23 year old was moving too fast to avoid a truck making a right turn from the left lane.


In November, a 28 year old was hit by a bus.
 
In September, a woman was hit by a truck.
 
 
A bit before her, an older man hit by a pickup truck was the only case this year where the driver has been charged.
 
 
 


A woman was hit by a bus in June :

They all seem to have come to Boston from far away - Taiwan, Ireland, Seattle. One of them - the oldest - never seems to appear in the story of his death. He has a name & an age, but nothing of his life was in the dozens of stories I searched.

Statistically, it's getting a bit safer to bike. More and more bikes, about the same number of accidents. If there is a point to this post, it's Slow Down.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Like I said, I'm usually hungry*

Before** Star Trek, there was a show with the exact same characters: Gunsmoke.
Matt=Kirk
Spock=Kitty
Bones=Doc
Festus=Scotty




None of those are the characters with which we are concerned today. Today, we explore a man's man, Quint - the Worf of his day:



In 20 years, Gunsmoke changed with the times. A lot. The early black & white shorts were violent & hard. Later they went to color, got longer, got sillier. Quint was in the transition. Indians as the Enemy were stale by the early 60s, so the half breed Comanche got to be sympathetic, while dealing with the dopey kid of the week. (Gunsmoke villains were either hardened scumbags or dopey kids)

So maybe not the most interesting character. That would be Miss Kitty. How did they keep up the euphemism for 20 years about what was going on upstairs at the Long Branch?

I dunno. This is making no sense. Now we're all in a stupid fight about how to pronounce Zauberberg.


Avengers assemble!



*Which is not good for coherence. Bear with us.

**Also during & after - it ran 20 years














& if that made sense, hah!

Saturday, December 01, 2012

The REal Story of the New Member of the Nuclear Club


By now you know that the graph the AP ran proving that Iran was developing a bomb was not quite the threat it was presented to be. What my team of crack investigators and an undercover operative  has discovered is that this was a distraction planted by another country that is about to unviel their own weapons.



We would be happy to reveal everything. Unfortunately, we have incurred some expenses, so there will be a payment needed. You know the price.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Over the Fiscal Cliff with the AssPress

On a day when the AP embarrassed itself beyond measure with a bogus graph designed to scare us about Iranian nukes, is it piling on to point out that Ohlemacher's latest drivel on the budget is drivel?



Not until I get more hits than he gets newspapers! So lets take it line by bleeding line:


WASHINGTON (AP) — It's not just about taxes. There's another big obstacle to overcome as Congress and President Barack Obama work to skirt the fiscal cliff: deep divisions among Senate Democrats over whether to consider cuts to popular benefit programs like Medicare and Medicaid.
Much of the focus during negotiations seeking an alternative to $671 billion in automatic tax increases and spending cuts beginning in January has centered on whether Republicans would agree to raising taxes on the wealthy. Obama insists that tax increases on the wealthy must be part of any deal, even as White House officials concede that government benefit programs will have to be in the package too.

Move along, nothing to see here. A little dramatic language, but ho-hum.

But even if GOP lawmakers agree to raise taxes, there is no guarantee Democrats can come up with enough votes in the Senate to cut benefit programs — as Republicans are demanding.

Beep! This isn't about raising taxes - that's already law.  It's about whether to lower them. Reminder :THE FISCAL CLIFF IS A SET OF LAWS THAT REDUCE THE DEFICIT, THE PEOPLE MOST SCARED OF IT ARE THE SAME ONES THAT HAVE BEEN PLUGGING AUSTERITY. The second sentence makes no sense.  Let's continue. though leave out a few dull paragraphs because fair use, OK?

"Democrats like to pretend as though they're the great protectors of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid," said Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. "They make solemn pledges all the time about how they won't even entertain a discussion about reform. What they don't say is that ignoring these programs is the surest way to guarantee their collapse."

Shouldn't Stevorini mention whether McConnell was struck by a thunderbolt here? This is brazen hypocritical bushwah even by Senate Republican standards.For one thing - the Republicans have not proposed any Medicare changes for the Democrats to consider. When the Democrats have made cuts to giveaways to middlemen like Medicare C & D, or any other reforms, McConnell has screamed "The Democrats are cuttting Medicare!!"  But nope, Stevie lets it go.


There's a growing consensus among Senate Democrats and the White House that Social Security should be exempt from any deficit-reduction package. But some centrist Democrats in the Senate argue that fellow Democrats must be willing to consider cuts to Medicare and Medicaid in order to get concessions from Republicans on taxes.
"It has to be both — a significant revenue increase as well as spending cuts," said Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.
Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., who is retiring as chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, said rising health care costs in Medicare and Medicaid are helping to drive future spending, making them an essential part of a long-term deficit-reduction package.

Mentioning that Baucus wife supports the family as a corporate lobbyist, which is where Conrad is about to cash in, might be a little more significant than the code word "centrist", no?

There follows a bunch of paragraphs designed to put a sleeper on anybody who's waded this deep, followed by Lady Macbeth, appearing as a hero:

"There hasn't been the slightest suggestion about what they're going to do about the real problems, and that's entitlements," said Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee. "There's a certain cockiness that I've seen that is really astounding to me since we're basically in the same position we were before" the election.

Thunderbolts are too good for this clown. Does Ohlemacher mention Medicare Part D, or the Medicare surtax, or the simple fact that despite all the garbage Hatch has pushed, the Democrats have, in fact solidified the program, even as Hatch & McConnell undermined it?

Of course not. Once again, reading an Associated Press think piece leaves you significantly worse informed than if you'd left it alone.