March 25, 2009

Jake DeSantis IS part of the problem with AIG.

The New York Times has printed a letter of resignation, attributed to Jake DeSantis,an executive vice president with AIG. He is one of the executives who recieved a bonus.

I am proud of everything I have done for the commodity and equity divisions of A.I.G.-F.P. I was in no way involved in — or responsible for — the credit default swap transactions that have hamstrung A.I.G. Nor were more than a handful of the 400 current employees of A.I.G.-F.P. Most of those responsible have left the company and have conspicuously escaped the public outrage.

After 12 months of hard work dismantling the company — during which A.I.G. reassured us many times we would be rewarded in March 2009 — we in the financial products unit have been betrayed by A.I.G. and are being unfairly persecuted by elected officials.
He goes on to say that he's donating the money to "those suffering from the global economic downturn." And he gives a little biography of himself, depicting himself as a family man and a decent guy, and reiterating that he and his division had nothing to do with the company's collapse.

I'm sure that will warm the heart of the woman in Long Island who's being evicted because her landlord lost the building to foreclosure. The woman had paid all her rent on time, but not only loses her home, but all the deposits she paid on it. She's a decent, warm and fuzzy family type who did everything she was supposed to, too.

Here's the thing, Mr. DeSantis: AIG is failing. Your division is part of a company that is facing the most dire emergency imaginable: its imminent demise. It's the Titanic, and it is going to take all hands with it if it sinks. You're all going down, not just the guy on the bridge who was supposed to avoid the iceberg. The wait staff doesn't get a coffee break from helping with the evacuation just because they were doing their jobs when the ship started taking on water.
As most of us have done nothing wrong, guilt is not a motivation to surrender our earnings. We have worked 12 long months under these contracts and now deserve to be paid as promised.
And so do all of AIG's customers, you gutless whining jerk. I see. You're a victim. Well shit, Jake, welcome to the club. We're having a picnic out in Sacramento, bring a can of beans with you. No, really, bring the beans: everyone's unemployed and money's tight. Maybe you can swap sob stories with those folks who had to walk away from their mortgages: mortgages that went up while their jobs disappeared. I'm sure they will be heartbroken that you didn't get your bonus while AIG was failing to cover their losses.

Jake, only a complete jackass expects to be rewarded when the business around him is in a shambles. Sure, you met all your obligations. Whoopedy do. But the rest of us whose hard-earned tax money is being used to give you money on top of your base salary didn't sign on to make sure you got your frills.

Yes, you do deserve to get paid. And once AIG is back on its feet, and taxpayers have their money back, AIG is obligated to pay you your extra money - out of its own pocket, not out of mine.

So, here's a big 'FUCK YOU' to Jake DeSantis. And I really mean that in all sincerity.

March 23, 2009

XKCD makes a good point. Or do they?

The brilliant web comic XKCD points out that the Media's been exaggerating the whole AIG bonus thing a little bit:

1000 Times

In the greater scheme of things, the actual dollar amount of the bonuses is an insignificant fraction of what we're paying out for the entire bailout package.

But it's still a shitload of money.

$165 million would pay for 80 years of full operation at my last theatre, or 25 years of operation and a new wing at my current employer.

I'm not upset over the amount: I, and I think most of the other people who have been bitching about this - are appalled at the principle of it. They basically ran themselves out of business, and we literally saved their asses,and the first thing they do is throw it back in our faces.

To put XKCD's example into better context, you're the lawyer that got sexual assault charges against XKCD thrown out on a technicality. They were accused of rape, you got them off, and on the elevator leaving the courtroom they grab your daughters tits; "Hey, thanks for getting me off the hook!" he lears, "and for getting me off!"

NOW consider the difference between 'a sip of wine and a quick grope' against 'a drunken night of debauchery' with your daughter.

Got it? Good. Now let's gather up the tar and feathers...

http://pro.corbis.com/images/SF25295.jpg?size=67&uid=%7BC4E28DD0-5AE9-4FE9-BBD0-8920E1DA81D6%7D

March 21, 2009

FPL: Mere Profits are not Enough

Remember this?



FPL is making money. That's fine. I have no problem with that. The point of being in business is to make money. Business is supposed to be profitable.

But then there's this:




Let me make sure you understand this: FPL is making a very health profit NOW. Their expansions and improvements are already budgeted - and most of those projects are underway now - and they made record profits last year. In fact, they made 1.6 billion last year. This increase will result in profits well over 2 billion, assuming effects from the economy will reduce their record earnings.

What I want to know is: what is the difference between profits, and fair profits?


http://conservatard.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/taxpayer-bailout.jpgRight now, you and I and every taxpayer in America is being asked to pony up 700 billion dollars (on top of the 175 billion we wasted on AIG) to shore up banks and investment firms. GM and Chrysler are on the verge of gong belly up. Regional newspapers are laying off staff and many have already shut down, with others expected to follow in the next year. Workers are losing their jobs, so they are walking away from mortgages because they simply can't pay them even token sum, and FPL wants us to pay 30% more, not because they are struggling, but because they want to line their pockets.


http://www.hurricanekatrina.com/images/hurricane-katrina-category-5.jpgRemember Katrina and Wilma? Many of us were without power for weeks; we lost wages from days we weren't working because our business sat in the dark. FPL had to replace hundreds of thousands of miles of cable, and had to make millions in repairs. And guess what? They still posted a profit! How? By pointing out to the PSC that because they couldn't bill customers for service they didn't provide, they stood to lose money. So the State of Florida paid them for the service we didn't receive, because god forbid a company should have lowered profits following a disaster.

I have only three words to say to FPL, and the PSC clowns better start practicing them right now, because if they don't use them, I say we should storm their offices and tar and feather the lot of 'em.

Here are the three words:


GO
TO
HELL

Repeat as necessary.


March 19, 2009

For Andrea Not So Jaded

Sorry for the hokey intro, but your recent post reminded me of this song:

Three Hack Writers at the Washington Post.

David Cho Shailagh MurrayPaul Kane

David Cho, Shailagh Murray and Paul Kane ;

These three reporters for the Washington Post seem to lack the ability to fully understand the capitalist system that we adhere to in our democratic republic. Their complete lack of a grasp on the realities of the situations leads me to describe them henceforth as The Three Hacks. (As you can see, this isn't Kane's first offense).

With millions of Americans angry over the outrage of executives at failed financial institutions being rewarded for leading their businesses to bankruptcy, Congress has responded with a rather inelegant solution: place a tax on those receiving the un-earned bonuses to recover those funds in their entirety. The Three Hacks take issue with this approach in their article Punitive Income Taxes on Bonuses Threaten Financial Rescue Plan:
Congress today moved to levy punitive taxes on bonuses at financial firms receiving government aid, threatening to undermine the government's rescue of the financial system.
The Three Hacks sternly - and I imagine with straight faces - wrote:
The taxes imposed would be so high that the result would likely drive away nearly all firms participating in the federal assistance program.
Well, DUH. If the firm can afford to turn away from the program, then they really shouldn't be benefiting from it anyway. And if you need to come begging for money to keep your doors open because you led your company into fiscal disaster, you have not earned any bonuses. AIG's not the victim of a natural disaster or an act of god: AIG is in this mess because their senior management was greedy and short-sighted.

The Three Hacks go on:
Employees receiving bonuses at Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would all be covered, according to supporters of the measures. At many of these firms the majority of employees receive bonuses, which often comprise a large part of their compensation.
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_wM_OZdOMR_Y/RwzQhmfaQ2I/AAAAAAAAAHY/tufA2FEWW7A/s320/intro.jpgYes, that is true. But that's not to say that their base salary is peanuts; we're still talking six to seven figures. A vice president might make $200,000 in salary, but bonuses and stock options bring that up to a couple million dollars. Very true. The Three Hacks seem to be under the very mistaken impression that no one in the entire United States of America understands employment contracts. The problem is, while the rest of us seem to understand it, The Three Hacks do not.

Here's a fact that the Three Hacks have missed: the executives are only supposed to get those bonuses for the work they do; they have contracts, and the contract spells out the exact circumstances that merit bonuses, commissions and options. That's what they are being compensated for; results, not sitting in a big office swilling martinis while planning vacations. And I think it's fairly certain that not one of the executives in question has "running the company into a black hole of debt so massive we take the entire country's gross national product with it" as one of the contractual benchmarks of their performance.

You work, you get paid. You do the work exceptionally well, you get rewarded. The more you earn for the company, the more you increase the profits, the more valuable you are and the more you should earn. We all understand that.

If not for billions of dollars of taxpayer money being funneled into it, AIG would not only no longer exist, neither would many if not most of its clients.

And I have to point out, that if the company were out of business, these executives who stand lose their un-earned bonuses would not be collecting any compensation beyond unemployment. And that only lasts six months.
http://l.yimg.com/au.yimg.com/i/life/img/bhg/1111-axe-350x234.jpg
The bottom line is this: if you are managing a company, and the company fails because you did something stupid, you don't get rewarded for that. In most businesses, you get the axe. You're lucky we're bailing you out; you don't deserve it: but the people doing business with you, who thought you knew what you were doing, might.

No, David, Shailagh, and Paul, Congress isn't threatening to undermine the government's rescue of the financial system: the incompetent clods who thought that taxpayer bailout money should be used to reward greedy jerks are the ones doing that, as are the greedy jerks themselves for accepting it.

Marlins Deal Smells Fishier

From the Miami Herald:

The owner of a construction company slated to build a new baseball stadium in Miami faced a previous FEC fine over campaign contributions; he blamed 'record keeping' problems.

Nothing like a hint of corruption to taint an already unpopular swindle, hmmm?

Oh, the "problem" with the records? His former employer maintains that Bob Moss was fired for reimbursing employees for their donations to candidates, and he maintains that he quit.

Centex-Rooney's parent company, Centex Corporation in Dallas, investigated Moss' employee bonus program and informed the FEC, records show. Moss reimbursed 10 employees, according to a 2003 letter from Centex attorneys to the FEC's enforcement division. Moss himself was the biggest beneficiary of the bonus program -- the company reimbursed him $42,175 for contributions.


The Centex-Rooney letter said the company had 'moved quickly and decisively to address the problems at Rooney. Mr. Moss' employment has been terminated.''


On Wednesday, Moss said: ``I actually resigned from Centex before the investigation.''

Oh, OK. He quit BEFORE they caught him breaking the law. That's completely different than being FIRED for being caught breaking the law.

March 16, 2009

AIG; From Bad to Criminal.

Well, AIG says that they are contractually obligated to pay bonuses to some of the executives who were running the company when it failed.

The American public is understandably upset; from our perspective, it looks like senior executives are being rewarded for failure. Frankly, I wish my own employment contract had a bonus schedule for failure, because it would take a lot of pressure off me come review time.

That may or may not be the case; we haven't seen these contracts, nor the clauses that spell out what the employee had to do to earn them.

But it's irrelevant. AIG came begging for a hand-out. And when you come begging, you must be willing to sacrifice something. The first thing AIG's management should have sacrificed were their own bonuses. The senior executives should have gone to each employee and made them understand that a company that is about to shut down cannot honor bonuses.

If they are unwilling to do that, AIG shouldn't be given a cent. Let AIG fail, and let the employees lose their jobs and their benefits. They'll have lots of company, to be sure.

There is a principle to be upheld here, and right now, AIG isn't upholding anything; it's simply a hold-up.

March 6, 2009

The Health Insurance Scam

No one in either party has the guts to do what needs to be done to fix health care: remove the middleman. Get rid of "health insurance" and "health maintenance organizations." Eliminate everything but catastrophic care coverage.

I know: I'm a maniac. I'm insane. How can I possibly say that?

I can say that because, once upon a time, I worked as a patient accounts administrator at a major hospital. No, I'm not proud of it, but I was young, and I needed a steady job. My job was to collect money from insurance companies that had already agreed to pay. To do that, I had to know how each and every plan worked.

The thing about using insurance companies to manage our health care system is that the concept is stupid.
in·sur·ance: coverage by contract whereby one party undertakes to indemnify or guarantee another against loss by a specified contingency or peril
Insurance is supposed to be a hedge against possible loss; for example, your home. The insurer is betting that your home won't be damaged. They collect fees from a lot of different people, but only a small number will ever need to collect. That's called "spreading the risk." More money comes in as premiums than goes out as claims.Not everyone will need to collect, so premiums stay low.

Originally, the only health insurance was basically catastrophic care coverage. Not everyone will need catastrophic care; not everyone will have a health crisis of such proportions that they will need a prolonged hospital stay. It's a sensible risk to insure against this kind of health care need.

But everyone gets sick at some point; a cold, or the flu. A cat bite. And virtually everyone will need to see the doctor on some sort of regular basis; for exams, or minor injuries such as cuts, sprains, and even broken bones. For this kind of need, the risk can't be spread, because everyone is going to file claims. So they have to get the all money to cover the individual from the individual.

Look at it this way: once upon a time, an exam cost you $50. You chose the doctor, he collected the fee. 2 people, no middleman. You got $50 of value, and the doctor earned $50 for that amount of service. Everyone is happy.

Then insurance companies got in the game; they collect the money that would otherwise be used for your medical care through the year from you (or your employer, or both of you), and they pay for the care for you. For them to make money, they have to pay out less money than they collect from you.

If they take your fifty and pass it to the doctor, there's no profit. So they start with the doctor: 'let us keep $5 of the 50, and we'll send you 20 additional patients; you'll make more money." Well, that seems OK. More business at a smaller profit, you make money on volume.

Then they turn to the patient and say, "Hey, we're covering most of the cost, so you should kick in $5. That's fair, isn't it?

The insurance company is now collecting $10 on each exam, your doctor making $5 less per exam and works more to make it you, and you're paying an extra 10%. Oh, did you miss that part? Remember, once upon a time, that $50 was yours; but now it goes to the insurance company first. Still your fifty bucks, only now you're "co-paying" another 5 bucks. Sucker.

Next year, the insurance company claims the cost of the exam is now $60, your "co-pay" is only $6, and they pay the doctor $43 dollars, but send him another 10 patients.

This is were it gets good:
Your doctor is now seeing a lot more patients; and you suddenly are waiting a long time to see him, because he's running behind. He's mildly apologetic, but look, here's all these patients!

Since you can't get satisfaction from the doctor, you complain to the insurance company: you're paying all these premiums, and you're waiting around for care. So the insurance company goes to the doctor and tells him that he must meet Quality Assurance guarantees: if a patient waits more than a half hour for the exam, they'll deduct 10% from his fee. And to help him maintain Quality Assurance, he'll need to hire a Quality Assurance Nurse at his cost. But to make up for it, they will guarantee to send him at least 200 patients a week for exams, and make him a Preferred Provider physician. Of course, to do this, the doctor must spend much less time with each patient, and must get patients in and out much more quickly. He hires a couple of medical technicians to measure blood pressure, respiration, and so on.

The insurance company creates a new level of service; for a mere 15% increase in premiums, you'll have access to the doctors on the Preferred Provider system, with guaranteed shorter waits.

That $50 exam used to include everything; but now that the doctor is only collecting $35 (he's paying a QA nurse and 2 medtechs now), he's charging additional fees for urine tests and bloodwork. Your insurance company raises your premiums 3% to cover that. That's 3% for the entire package, by the way, not on the cost of the visit. And they add a buck to the "co-pay."

But that's for people with insurance: what happens to those without?

Well, we start from the $50. Add $15 for the additional staff. Add $20 for the lab fees. that's $85. Oh wait, the last contract he signed iwth the insurance company states that the billed rate to the insurance company will be 40% of his usual rate, so the new rate for people without insurance will have to be $107, so he can meet the terms of the contract.

And that's why health care costs are so damn much.

What? Oh of COURSE this is waaaaaaaaay over-simplified. It's an example. There are many other factors, too: new techniques and technologies. But all of them have become inflated in a manner consistent with this example.

March 5, 2009

..Coinky Dink?

We're told that Florida is in a severe drought, not six months after a prior two year drought had supposedly ended.

The Republicans maintain that there is no global warming.

With a continuing drought, water levels plummeting, and the planet heating up, it's possible that Earth could become a desert planet.

Like Tatooine.

Tatooine, a desert planet, is ruled by cruel and greedy Hutts.

And who, just by random happenstance, is revealed to be the actual leader of the Republican Party?

Limba the Hutt 2


Coincidence? I don't think so.

Remember When the Drought Ended?

It was October. This past October. Less than six months ago.
"Tropical Storm Fay put the bullet in the drought. The rains we had this weekend and since Tropical Storm Fay finished it off."
- Geoff Shaughnessy, South Florida Water Management District, as reported in the Palm Beach Post.
The Army Corps of Engineers dumped water out of Lake Okeechobee, but that danged Water Management District insisted on keep lawn watering restrictions in place.

And here's why:
Florida's November-to-May dry season began drier than normal, resulting in a rainfall deficit of more than half a foot. During February, the 16-county district averaged less than half an inch of rain, which was about 19 percent of the historic average.
- Sun Sentinel, March 5 2009
So how bad is it really?


Florida Drought Monitor

Severe. We are in a severe drought.


On Living Without

Today's Sun-Sentinel carries a story dear to my heart - and my health:

Gluten-free beer taps new market

I was born with Celiac disease, and was diagnosed before I was a year old; but back in the day, doctors believed it was an infantile illness that one outgrew.

Celiac Disease is actually a congenital condition; and it has several effects;
  • Celiacs do not produce an enzyme needed to break down the glutens in wheat, barley or rye.
  • Our immune system reacts to the presence of gluten by attacking the walls of our intestines.
  • That immune response also may result in muscle cramps, joint pain, skin conditions, mood swings and a long list of other symptoms. Including, yes, diarrhea.

In 2002, I was diagnosed with it again. Doctors now believe that as many as one in every one hundred and fifty Americans suffer the disease. The only treatment for celiac disease is to go on a diet that is free of gluten; no wheat, barley, or rye. And nothing made with products derived from them.

But it also means no foods that have come in contact with gluten: I can't eat eggs that are fried on the same griddle as pancakes, or eat french-fries that were cooked in oil with batter-dipped onion rings. If you've put bread stuffing into the turkey, it's the same as eating the bread directly.

It's been inconvenient not to be able to swing through a drive-through for a burger, but no big deal. I sometimes miss delivery pizza; I can get frozen rice-flour crusts, but it's not the same. And though Pizza Fusion now delivers where I live, it's twice as much and the crust just isn't the same. But I don't miss the reaction to the flour. And with rice pastas, I can get my tomato-and-garlic fix quite readily.

But living without beer was dire.
Anheuser Busch Introduces Wheat-Free Beer
Nothing hits the spot after a long, hard day, like a cold crisp, beer.

I tried to find substitutes; wine is fine, but it just doesn't hit the right flavor keys. Hard Cider is like soda, far too sweet. Liquor just got me too dang drunk. I experimented with wine spritzers, various cocktail combinations, but nothing comes close to the comfortable tang of a good brew.

I learned through research that several microbreweries made gluten free beers. None were as close as a thousand miles. I'd comb the shelves of those shops that boasted huge beer selections; no dice.

Then, Whole Foods started carrying a beer from Wisconsin: New Grist, produced by the Lakefront Brewery. It wasn't the best beer I'd ever tasted, but it was BEER! So, beer was back in my life.

Sometimes.

Only one distributor carried it, and South Florida is the extreme far end of its range. Deliveries weren't frequent. And sometimes they didn't recieve any in from Lakefront.

Then Annheuser-Busch stepped up to the plate. They created Redbridge, a sorghum based brew that is not only gluten-free, but really, really good. It brings to mind Sierra Pale Ale, which had always been a favorite.

I can get Redbridge at Public's. I even got one bar to carry it for me. Heaven!

I've moved, so I don't get back to my old hangout. But if you carry Redbridge, I will come drink at your establishment (hint hint). I'll bring thirsty friends. (hint hint).

But the Sun-Sentinel article does make misleading statement:
Gluten-free beers are made without the wheat or barley used in traditional brews. Most U.S. breweries make gluten-free varieties with sorghum. Other brews, like Japan's Sapporo, use rice as the chief grain.
While it does use rice as a primary grain, Sapporo is not a gluten-free beer. From their website:
Q. I have heard that Sapporo is gluten free. Is it true?

A.
No, our brewing process is traditional and uses malt. All beer brewed from malt contains amino acids, peptides and proteins. Therefore Sapporo is not 100% gluten free.


New to Celiac Disease? Here are some links I've found useful:
Gluten Free Living
Celiac Chicks
Celiac Handbook
Gluten-Free Blog

March 4, 2009

Boss of the GOP

At last, the real leader of the Grand Old Party reveals himself.

Charges dropped against beating victim.

Originally, Fort Lauderdale Police charged Joshua Ortiz attacked and provoked them on an elevator back in December.

The police were responding to a complaint that several men were arguing in the lobby of 201 SW First Avenue. Ortiz wasn't one of those men, but yelled at the officers to leave the men alone from the elevator in the lobby.

Officer Derek Lade wrote a police report describing what he claims happened:
"I turned to Ortiz, and instructed him to get back in the elevator and return to his vehicle.I advised him to leave because he was not part of the incident. Ortiz continued to yell at me and walked right up to me, hitting his nose to my nose. A that point I struck Ortiz in the chest with a double handed palm heal strike, sending him to the rear of the elevator facing away from me. As I approached Ortiz to take him into custody, Ortiz spun around to face me and assumed a fighting stance (both left and right hand clenched into fists and body bladed.),"
Unfortunately for Officer Lade, there was a security camera in the elevator, and it showed something very different;



In the tape, we see one of Ortiz's companions standing in the door of the elevator: he moves aside as Lade walks up, Ortiz moves to the door, both hands tucked in his belt, and Lade indeed "struck Ortiz in the chest with a double handed palm heal strike, sending him to the rear of the elevator," But Ortiz hit the back wall hard with his back, facing Lade the entire time, while Lade was on Ortiz the entire time beating the crap out of him, two other cops right next to him, and third joining in.

Officer Derek Lade lied. And so did the cops who corroborated his story.

Even viewing the tape from the lobby end fails to substantiate Lade's story. We can see Ortiz yelling at the cops, but we can see the cops beating on the two guys who were arguing in the first place. From the tape, it's apparent that the first thing the cops did was to increase the level of violence, tackling the arguing men, hitting them, and throwing them to the floor. Ortiz and other members of his party appear to be trying to get the cops to calm down and use less violence.

After the cops beat the shit out of Ortiz, everyone exits the elevator, and a woman can be seen screaming at the cops. One of the cops throws her to the floor before arresting her.

It's a sickening display. But that's not the worst part of this utterly disgusting tale of police brutality and falsified reports.

This is what should have every citizen demanding an accounting:

Internal affairs investigators with the Fort Lauderdale Police Department reviewed the incident over a month ago and found no violations of agency policy or procedures, said Sgt. Frank Sousa, the department's spokesperson.

"It was not a beating," Sousa said. "The video clearly shows that [Ortiz] made a movement toward the officer."
Fortunately, the prosecuting attorney upheld justice and dismissed the charges. Kudos to Assistant State Attorney Lee Cohen.

Officers Lade, Smith (who can be seen delivering a roundhouse blow into Ortiz's face from behind Lade) and whoever watched that tape and concluded the cops were justified need to be removed from public service.

We can't tolerate cops who step over line, or internal affairs officers who can't tell where the line is.

March 3, 2009

McDonalds Rips Off Patron

http://nuncscio.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/05/maccas-logo-bevelled-golden-arches2_nuncscio.jpgLatreasa Goodman thought she was in a legitimate business when she walked into a Fort Pierce McDonalds last week. But after paying for her 10 piece McNuggets, Goodman was told they were out of the chicken dish.

And things got ugly.

When Goodman turned down an offer of a burger to replace the chicken, she was informed that "all sales were final." The cashier refused to refund her money, even though they are obligated to do so by law; you can't collect money for goods or services you can't deliver.

Irate, Goodman decided to call the police; after all, McDonald's was ripping her off.

Unfortunately, she called 911 instead of the direct line. And worse, she called 911 three times.

Goodman was served a notice to appear on a misuse of 911 charge.

Yes, Goodman was wrong to call 911 over the matter. But McDonald's was wrong to take Goodman's money when they could not deliver the product they promised. Once Goodman turned down the offer of a substitute, her money should have been refunded immediately.

You see, what the clueless idiot at the McDonald's register failed to take into account is that a sale isn't final until the agreed upon product has been delivered. While offering a replacement is a good business practice, you can't force someone to accept a product they don't want. The customer wanted McNuggets, and when they ran out, they were obligated to offer a choice: a replacement, or a refund.

If McDonalds has been forcing patrons to accept food they didn't order or lose their money, they are breaking the law, and should be dealt with; firmly and harshly. One hopes that this clear violation of the law is limited to the one restaurant. But I'd be hesitant to do business with McDonald's until I know that they've corrected the situation, and an error this size calls for some staffing changes at a minimum.

Let that be a warning to you: McDonald's might rip you off, and if they do, call the police business line and not 911.

March 2, 2009

Right-Wing America's Beloved Junkie

I hate writing about certain people. I feel that I'm falling into their trap by dignifying their drivel by The mentioning their names.

And that's why I will be using an anagram to discuss America's Addict, a man I shall henceforth refer to as "Shah Limb Guru." If you really want to know his real name, feel free to run it through an anagram server.

Now, I don't why anyone thinks that this junkie ever says anything worth listening to.

When Prince Georgie W was president, I knew he was going to fail, but I hoped I was wrong, and I said so.

"I think Bush is going to make a mess of things," I'd say, "But I really hope I'm wrong."

But not the GOP's top drug abuser; he's stated on the record that he hopes that our President fails us.

When he's not spewing hate while accusing those who notice he's spewing hate of being haters themselves, this celebrity druggie swings from getting the facts wrong to simply lying outright.

Chez at Deus Ex Malcontent illustrates the manner in which the GOP's Junkie parades his ignorance on a daily an hourly basis:

Shah Limb Guru"We believe that the preamble to the Constitution contains an inarguable truth that we are all endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, among them life. Liberty, Freedom. And the pursuit of happiness."

I'm sure you do, pookie, but that doesn't make it true. The preamble to the Constitution actually goes like this:
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
The sad part is that he stated this during a speech in which Shah Limb Guru was accusing President Barack Obama of "bastardizing" the Constitution. Like Shah Limb Guru would even know, given that he doesn't know how the preamble goes.

Why anybody pays any attention to this clueless blowhard is beyond me.


March 1, 2009

Dictionary Fun with the Miami-Dade Police

According the the Miami Herald, a woman died last night when a Miami-Dade Police car collided with her Nissan.

WSVN reported that the police were trying to pull over the driver:
According to a news release... Police followed the car and tried to pull over the driver, but instead collided with the Nissan Altima that the woman was driving.
The Herald spoke with Det. Bobby Williams:
''They were not chasing the vehicle, they were following it,'' he said. ``There was no reason for their [sirens and lights] to be on because they were not in a pursuit and were not initiating a traffic stop.''
Det. Williams said much the same thing to CBS4:
"He was not in 'pursuit' of anyone," Williams said. "He was following this vehicle when the accident occurred."
So, Det. Bobby Williams would have us believe that "pursuit" is a completely different word from "following." Perhaps he's right. As you know, when people use words in a manner that seems contrary to common sense, I like to turn to the dictionary:
pur·sue
Pronunciation: \pər-ˈsü, -ˈsyü\
Function:verb
Inflected Form(s)pur·sued; pur·su·ing
transitive verb
1: to follow in order to overtake, capture, kill, or defeat
2: to find or employ measures to obtain or accomplish : seek <pursue a goal>
3: to proceed along <pursues a northern course>

synonyms; see chase
OK, no surprises there. Now let's see what it says about 'follow:'
fol·low
Pronunciation: fä- lō\
Function: verb
1: to go, proceed, or come after <followed the guide>
2 a: to engage in as a calling or way of life : pursue <wheat-growing is generally followed here>
2 b: to walk or proceed along <follow a path>
3 a: to be or act in accordance with <follow directions>
3 b: to accept as authority : obey <followed his conscience>
4 a: to pursue in an effort to overtake

synonyms; follow , succeed , ensue , supervene
see in addition chase
All right, you might notice that both words have "chase" as a synonym. But let's look at these definitions again, and this time I'm going to emphasize some crucial bits:
pur·sue
1: to follow in order to overtake, capture, kill, or defeat
2: to find or employ measures to obtain or accomplish : seek<>

synonyms see chase

fol·low
1: to go, proceed, or come after
2 a: to engage in as a calling or way of life : pursue
2 b: to walk or proceed along
3 a: to be or act in accordance with
3 b: to accept as authority : obey
4 a: to pursue in an effort to overtake

synonyms follow , succeed , ensue , supervene
see in addition chase
Well, it appears that Detective Bobby Williams is full of crap. Or he's illiterate.

The police were obviously not "following" the speeder as a vocation, nor were they "following" the speeder as a code to be in accordance with. The only way "follow" works in this case is that they were chasing a speeding car to apprehend a law breaker, and that means that "follow" and "pursue" are exactly the same thing in this context. It was a chase.

The reality is that the police cruiser absolutely should have had its lights and sirens on. In fact, the only reason those cars HAVE lights and sirens is so that the taxpaying and largely law-abiding public will be alerted to the fact that they are to get to an emergency and we need to get out of their way.

The officers in question showed a total disregard for public safety and a flagrant disregard for the law. Det. Williams demonstrates a lack of candor that we should not tolerate from those whom we entrust with our safety.