Saturday, December 27, 2008

Israel Attacks Gaza - Hosiptals Cannot Keep Up WIth Casualties

And so Israel in a spirit of good will for the season launches a series of air attacks on Gaza in retaliation for rocket attacks. Targeting Hamas strongholds, the attacks have injured and killed many civilians. According to one report, the hospitals cannot keep up with the casualties.

Merry Christmas to all our friends in the Holy Lands!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Eartha Kitt Dies at 81

I just listened to one of my favorite Christmas songs, "Santa Baby" sung by Eartha Kitt. It's a kitschy, sexy delightful song by a woman who had a style that is unmatched in music. That voice, with it's purring cat-like quality is now silent.

Eartha Kitt died today at age 81. Her recordings and films will keep her memory alive for many years to come.

Clean Coal? Ask The Folks In Tennessee!

A massive coal waste spill caused a huge flood in the Tennessee Valley and wiped out many homes and perhaps has polluted the Emory Rover to the point where it may never be the same.

Next time you see one of those "clean coal" ads, remember, IT'S A LIE!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Dallas Hyatt Takes In 400 Homeless This Christmas

The folks at the Hyatt Regency at Reunion in Dallas really have a great Christmas gift for 400 homeless people in Dallas. The have taken in 400 needy folks for Christmas eve. Given them first class rooms, and a big Christmas dinner. It's a terrific idea for a hotel.

They have to be open anyway and room occupancy is minimal, so why not give a nice room and bet to the homeless? Bravo Hyatt Regency!

Merry Christmas

As I prepare to have a wonderful Christmas Eve with my friends and family, I am reminded of one of my favorite scenes in the movie, Auntie Mame. Rosalind Russell sits down with her family and family of choice to exchange gifts. The year has been dismal for her economically, the Wall Street Crash wiped her investments out and so there was very little to share.

Though Mame had nothing to give she was rich in the real gifts of humanity. Her friends and family shared what little they had with her and in the end that Christmas with so little became the best Christmas of all. Later in the film, Patrick Dennis is reminiscing with Auntie Mame and they talk about that Christmas they were "so broke". Of all the days they remember, that one was most special.

Well, I didn't have a bundle in the stock market, and I hardly have a house full of servants like Mame, but this Christmas I find myself lucky. After a year of spotty freelance work, I have a steady gig for now. I have a few remaining family members and a host of family-of-choice to celebrate with. I am still pretty much broke, but at least the bills are getting paid.

I have a wonderful, considerate partner who gladly shares my life and two delightful feline companions to snuggle with on cold winter nights. I have a leather family that extends from coast to coast and beyond. I have a welcoming church with a congregation of active and caring people who live out their faith every day.

So much to be grateful for, and hardly any of it involves buying gifts or wrapping packages. That's what the real spirit of Christmas is, and for that I am truly grateful.

My wish is that you might all have such a wealth of reasons for gratitude during this holiday season!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

FedEx Pulls TV Ads From Super Bowl

FedEx has decided its money would be better spent this year somewhere other than the Super Bowl. As an advertiser since the late 1980's FedEx commercials during the Super Bowl were always memorable. However the company explained that during these tough economic times, when employees were being asked to make sacrifices, the lavish budgets spent during Super Bowl commercials would send the wrong message and be a bad move.

Here's a statement from the company by the Director of Advertising:
As a country, we are in unprecedented economic waters. And as a responsible employer of more than 290,000 employees and contractors worldwide, there is a time to justify such an ad spend and a time to step back.

As FedEx employees, we, like millions of people at other companies, are being asked to do more with less. Our most vital asset is the thousands of FedEx team members who truly enable the world to work, absolutely, positively, every day. In the ultimate medium when where the message is king, being in the game simply sends the wrong message both to employees and other FedEx constituents. A Super Bowl ad buy is not where we should put dollars at this time although, in the past, the value of doing so for FedEx has been indisputable.

I have to agree. FedEx didn't get where they are by being foolish.

Just so you don't forget how memorable these spots were, here's one of my favorites from 2001.

New "Clean Coal" Ad -

This is another great ad by the Reality Coalition folks who are exposing the myth of "Clean Coal".

Monday, December 22, 2008

Want Some TARP Money? Here Is The 2 Page Application!

Want some of that Federal Bailout money? Well go inline and fill out the simple 2 page form and you could get a cash infusion! REALLY.

I was watching Rachel Maddow this evening and she actually showed the form, two pages and very few questions. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON IN OUR GOVERNMENT?

Here is the form if you want to get a taste of the TARP money yourself.

Bailed Out Banks Refuse To Give Accounting

"Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!" That is what the Great and Powerful Oz says to Dorthy and friends in the perennial classic I watched this weekend for the umteenth time. There is a valuable lesson to be learned in that scene, one that could be applied to the current financial bailout being conducted by our own Wizard of Oz, Secretary of the Treasury, Hank Paulson.

The Wizard turned out to be smoke and mirrors and so it would seem is the bailout. In a recent AP article when JPMorgan Chase was contacted about the $25 billion they got, the declined to give ANY specifics as to where the money is going or has gone!
"We've lent some of it. We've not lent some of it. We've not given any accounting of, 'Here's how we're doing it,'" said Thomas Kelly, a spokesman for JPMorgan Chase, which received $25 billion in emergency bailout money. "We have not disclosed that to the public. We're declining to."
After reading this article I expected to be blinded by a flash of green flame and a puff of smoke.

It is the height of hypocrisy to grill Automakers, (an industry that actually makes something tangible), like a bunch of naughty school children when they come before Congress and ask NOTHING of the banks and investment firms who are swallowing billions on a handshake.

Personally, I think this is the "Golden Parachute" from the Bush administration to pay off the fat cats who supported them and their rise to power. Now that they are exiting in a less-than-graceful fashion, they are trying to take the Treasury with them. Sometimes I get the feeling the GOP has modeled their government style on that of Mexico. There every 6 years it used to be a safe bet that the President would leave with the national treasure safely in his pockets.

Failing Bank Execs Still Take Home Millions!

How about a nice steaming bowl of outrage for breakfast this morning?

Of the 116 banks you and I bailed out recently gave their top tier of executives nearly $1.6 billion in salaries, bonuses and other benefits in 2007, an Associated Press analysis found. So my question is, "why are these banks paying their top executives so much when they are hemorrhaging money?"

Probably because the management of big business, particularly financial institutions has become a "Billionaire Boys Club". Boards packed with rich men predominately, grant big salaries to other rich men who sit on interlocking boards. It's a big Ponzi scheme where we as customers, investors and stakeholders get fleeced by those who are put in charge to prevent that very thing.

Money is moved from one pocket to another and every time some of it sticks to the execs and boards who go home fat and happy.

From an AP story:
Such bonuses amount to a bribe for executives "to get them to do the jobs for which they are well paid in the first place," said Rep. Barney Frank, the Massachusetts Democrat who chairs the House Financial Services committee.

"Most of us sign on to do jobs, and we do them best we can," said Frank. "We're told that some of the most highly paid people in executive positions are different. They need extra money to be motivated!"
Congressman Frank hits the nail on the head again! In the vernacular, the whole thing is Bulls*#t! I remember having a T-Shirt when I was much younger that said "Eat The Rich". I need to find that one again!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Hanukkah

As a child, I remember lighting the Hanukkah candles and saying the prayer so well, I can still remember it today. Mostly I remember getting little bags of gold coin candies filled with waxy chocolate, but when you are a kid that works just fine!

Since my family was a "bi-faith" family, I also got the thrill of having a Christmas tree as well. Best of both worlds for a kid. More presents!

For all my Jewish friends, Happy Hanukkah! Get out your draydels and start spinning!