Friday, February 27, 2009

Man WIth Subtitles - (Video)

Shades of Monty Python! This is a very clever video.

"Joe The Plumber" Advocates Assassination

Everybody's friend, "Joe the Plumber" is really getting gutsy. In a video posted by, he advocates assassination of members of Congress who in his words, "talk about our military in a poor way".

I think that is called a "terroristic threat" especially when it concerns an elected official. Maybe the Secret Service or FBI needs to monitor this jerk a little bit closer.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Clean Coal Ad From The Coen Brothers

The oxymoronic expression "clean coal" has got to be one of the oddest re-branding efforts in history. The Coen Brothers directed this biting satire:

Kenneth From 30 Rock - Bobby Jindal - Seperated at Birth?

The title speaks for itself!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bobby Jindal - Sad, Lame Response To Obama's Speech

If you look up "lame" in Wikipedia, I suspect there is a photo of Bobby Jindal. His GOP response to the Obama speech was about as amateurish and tired a piece of rhetoric as I have ever heard - and I've heard a lot of them!

It was a tired rehash of the "government can't do anything" that has been the Republican mantra for years. The problem is, back when the GOP was running the government, they tried to prove that point. The government is actually pretty good at a lot of things and unfortunately those are precisely what Bobby targeted.

A state that was devastated by a natural disaster would seem to be a state where people understood the value of things like monitoring nature. Without the Hurricane Prediction Center, Louisiana would have been even worse off with Katrina. That's why scoffing at spending money to monitor volcanoes seems silly. Of course we need to monitor them, and considering that there are several large US cities like Seattle and Portland who live in the shadow of very large volcanoes we absolutely should spend $140 million to monitor them!

He also tried to characterize $8 billion for high speed rail as an earmark. For who? Anyone who needs to travel? High Speed Rail had been far too long in coming to our country and $8 billion will only be a start for the actual cost. Here in my home town, our light-rail system cost almost $1 billion and it's just for the DFW Metroplex. That is not an earmark, it's a necessity!

Even conservatives thought it was lame. Juan Williams, conservative columnist said this.
"It came off as amateurish, and even the tempo in which he spoke was sing-songy. He was telling stories that seemed very simplistic and almost childish."
If Jindal is the great GOP hope for 2012, they are really out of ideas.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

More Poison Chinese Goods! This Time It's Drywall.

Gee, it's been a while since I found a story of products from China that are poisoning Americans, but hey it's a new year!

The latest batch of tainted goods from China is that ubiquitous material , drywall. Seems we can't make enough drywall here in America (ironic statement for those who are irony impaired) so we have to import it from half way around the globe. But hey, it's cheap!

And the reason it's cheap is that it is made with substandard materials. The drywall board from China has a high sulfur content. So high that residents have noticed the smell and the following problems are happening with alarming frequency.
  • Homeowners, building owners, or occupants in most cases will have seen continuous failures of their air conditioning coils, or HVAC units beyond anything normal.
  • Homeowners, building owners, or occupants may have noticed corroded electrical wiring in their walls, in properties built, or remodeled since 2001.
  • Homeowners, building owners or occupants may have experienced mild to severe upper respiratory problems, nose bleeds, headaches or other potentially serious medical conditions.

More on this story here on Huffington Post.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Wall Street's Bipolar Behavior

If you ever had any doubt about the bipolar nature of Wall Street, take the latest example. Last week Senator Chris Dodd mentioned the possibility of nationalization of banks and the market tumbled. This week, it looks like Citigroup will become in effect an nationalized bank and the market rallies. What gives?

My opinion is that the guys who make the trades on Wall Street are drinking way too much Starbuck's and not getting enough sleep. If they were anything but stockbrokers, they would be in treatment by now.

It is weird how our economy is influenced by a bunch of gamblers making side bets on the strength or weakness of various companies. The craps table that is the market has changed from investors, the kind of people who put money into a company because they believe it has long term potential, to slot players. These guys slam funds into whatever they think will bring a fast return and when the first pull brings up lemons, the flee for another opportunity.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sean Penn Wins For Harvey Milk

Sean Penn won for his portrayal of Harvey Milk and it is justly deserved. His work was so convincing that watching him in the movie, I forgot he was Sean Penn and believed he was Harvey.

Glad to see him win and the film be recognized for its importance. He also gave a great shout out against the ban on gay marriage! Thank you Sean!

Oscars - Who Knew Hugh Jackman Could Dance?

Watching the Oscars tonight I was struck by one thing. Well, actually several things, so here goes.

First, Hugh Jackman can sing and dance! So not only is he a symbol of pure testosterone as Wolverine, but he is light on his feet and sings pretty well. What would be great is to actually give him a good song or medley to sing instead of the disjointed mess that featured him and Beyonce in top hat and tails. Their performances were just fine, but the musical score sounded like a record that was skipping. The songs moved from one to another without any rhyme or reason and without any sense of cleverness or skill. What a pity that the Academy Awards continue to do insipid musical numbers to celebrate the world's best music and movies. Why not get the people who do the pictures to write something for this show instead of throwing this crap together?

Second, much as I like Bruce Vilanche, he needs to stop writing the Oscars. I could phone this stuff in and he gets paid for it. Amazing!

Third, the new "format" of the awards is as ungainly and cumbersome as ever, the problem is all the stiff teleprompter readings by Hollywoods best actors doing their worst work live on TV. But maybe that is just Bruce at work again? I love you Bruce, but please!

And finally, a nod to the glamorous wardrobe this year, only a few celebs wore those, "what were they thinking" outfits. Classic good taste still can't be beat.

China's Gleaming Towers Stand Empty!

The miracle that was Beijing during the Olympics seems to be a distant dream now. The Bird's Nest stadium with it's incredible architectural design sits empty. This year there was one event scheduled for it, a soccer game whose teams decided to change venues since the 90,000 seat stadium would feel empty with the 10,000 people attracted for an average game.

The stadium built for baseball that opened last spring is being demolished to make way for a shopping center. The Aquatic Center has become a site for sound and light shows, with dancing fountains in the pool where the events took place.

Everywhere in downtown Beijing the shiny new buildings that pierce the sky may sparkle at night with computerized light shows, but during the day they are empty husks. Some have no tenants whatsoever according to an article in the Los Angeles Times.

The scene sounds like downtown Houston a few years back when the first oil bust happened. Many of the skyscrapers are literally "see through" buildings, with completed outer walls and windows but nothing inside. The Chinese boom has ended with a thud.

The sad part is that 1.5 million people were displaced from their homes to build the venues for the games. Equally as bad is the fact that many of the entrepreneurs who spearheaded these projects saw the problem approaching and simply took the money and fled the country.

I guess there are Bernie Madoffs everywhere?