Monday, December 29, 2008

Football Imitates Government

Once again a bailout has failed, or rather the lack of one.
No one came to the rescue of Detroit and as a result they are the first NFL team to ever go OH & 16.

As a side note the Jets fired their coach Eric Mangini.
How about a former great to replace him?
I hear Brett Favre is about to become available.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Quick Time Sensitive Bailout

Detroit needs another bailout and fast.
But this time it's the Lions. They need a "W" over Green Bay on Sunday or their season will be bankrupt!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Snow Effect Lake

In winter when the white flakes blow
With cold above but warmth below
When rain doth follow all that snow

Where does the water have to go?
Lake Resch

At willows base below the mound
When skies are dark and storms abound
There is a spot where can be found
Much liquid pooling on the ground

Lake Resch

If this were Summer Spring or Fall
No touch of rain would hurt at all
But with white walls of snow so tall

The deposit left we have to call

Lake Resch

Some warmer weather comes to tease
With leafless trees in gentle breeze

But cold returns to chill and freeze

And lo so truly my eye sees

Lake Resch

Perhaps we'll move so far away
To temperate climes and live one day
Where wintry skies are blue not gray

What would be missed? I'd have to say

Lake Resch

Pardon Me

This week the President pardoned Isaac Toussie and wiped his slate clean. Mr. Toussie confessed to schemes that cost Suffolk County millions of dollars and many Long Islanders their homes.

But first of all would someone please explain why a President should be allowed to hand out pardons in the first place?
Obviously those who receive pardons have done something wrong or they would not need the high level leniency. They must have also been convicted by a jury of their peers to be placed in the position from which they are pardoned.

I understand that in some cases justice is ill served by a conviction and upon further review may be appealed and repealed but to allow a pardon merely because a man has a wealthy family or connected friends flies in the face of fairness to society. In this case Mr. Toussie only donated $28,500 to the Republican National Committee. I am surprised that the President did not hold out for more.

But what makes the most recent pardons even more abhorrent is that they have been granted by a President who should be thrown in jail and never be pardoned himself for the trampling of our constitution and many other heinous acts too numerous to reiterate here.

History may condemn Mr. Bush, as well it should but the criminals he pardoned will have a clean slate upon which they may write new scams and crimes.

If we must have Presidential pardons should they not be made after a bi-partisan board has reviewed them and agreed to them in private? The verdict from a jury of their peers must not be overturned by a jury of one friend.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What Have We Learned?

This is a quote from 2,000 years ago.

"The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work instead of living on public assistance."

Cicero - 55 BC

We have learned very little indeed.
(Thanks Dan S.)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Rules? They Don't Need No Stinking Rules

The big guys do not have to play be the same rules as the rest of us.

As the year is coming to an end I tried to clean up my club's investment portfolio by selling off or relinquishing a worthless stock. This will enable the club to take a loss, small though it may be in this years taxes.

I called the broker and asked him to take the stock off our hands and deliver a letter stating that we have in effect sold the thing as proof for the IRS.

Unfortunately I was told that while they realize what I wish to do they have to follow some governmental rules and regulations before they can do as I ask and it could take up to 30 days. This would negate any benefit for this year's filing.

By the way the loss will be $200 total.

I wonder if the government scrutinized the likes of Bernard Madoff who seems to have been able to work on a slightly higher sum.

(Old adage - If you owe the bank $100 they own you; If you owe the bank $1Billion you own them!)

Paterson Visits Iraq?

As a New Yorker I have to wonder about the timing of Governor Paterson's visit to Iraq.
Now I am all for vacations in fact I am on a forced one ever since being laid off in September. And even our illustrious leader, President Bush has been able to take several months worth of vacations during these troubling economic times.
But Mr. Paterson, you just announced your painful budget so was this really the right time to vacate the State? (I hope you flew on a hybrid!)
Safe trip home sir and next time you feel the need to travel come visit us on Long Island. We could really use your help.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Patersons Doomsday in New York

Newsday reported that Governor Paterson is unveiling his 'Doomsday Budget.' I say that's a prophetic title.

With rising unemployment due mostly to unprecedented and in many cases unwarranted amounts of layoffs our Governor is about to strike the final blow to the middle class. And he is doing it with disdain.

The budget includes but is not limited to taxing the following of our luxuries:
Haircuts (Afros anyone?)
Non-Diet sodas (Paterson has stock in Diet-Rite?)
Movies (Blockbuster stock?)
Sporting events (No jock he)
Increased registration fees for our cars (Chauffeurs included?)
Camping and other leisure activities
Television and cable
And many, many more.

He is only a step away from taxing our bodily waste

But the bottom line in all of this is that those of us considered to be in the lower and middle classes will no longer be allowed to enjoy any pleasure without paying a fee to New York State.

Notice I only mentioned the lower and middle classes? That's because Governor Paterson answers to a
court. The higher is of course the upper class. He stated that he would not consider even a temporary tax hike on millionaires because he fears it could spark an exodus from the State.

How many of you really believe that is his reason for not asking that group to help out in this time of peril and distress?

In light of the inevitable pending rate hikes from LIPA and the MTA and our governments continued assault on the lower and middle classes this may finally be Doomsday for New York. Perhaps the Governors millionaire friends will chip in once the overtaxed classes finally move out.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The-Uh The-uh, That's All Folks

Well we finally did it. The Fed lowered the overnight interest rate to virtual zero. If this does not work they have nowhere else to go. Or it could mean that the next time businesses have to borrow money from the Fed Bank they will not have interest to pay back AND they get a toaster. In other words, we're toast!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Shoo Fly - You Bother Me

Isn't it ironic that the President who has become known for putting his foot in his mouth had a shoe thrown at it?
In Iraq it is considered a great insult to show the bottom of one's shoe to another individual let alone throw the entire shoe at him. One must truly hate the person to do this. I cannot figure out why any Iraq citizen would wish to do this to the man who illegally invaded his country, can you?
Perhaps it was also a symbolic way of asking the idiot to SHOO.
The Iraqi police detained the man but I understand that he is to be released so that he may seek his next position, Senator from Illinois. (Anyone know the current price?)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Enough Failures to Go Around

Kentucky Republican Senator Mitch McConnell included the following as part of his opposition statement to the bailout proposal for the auto industry, "We simply cannot ask the American taxpayer to subsidize failure." With that the bill to aid the industry was defeated.

However Mr. McConnell and friends already did subsidize failure by giving our taxpayer money to the banking industry. His statement is thereby reprehensible and absurd. Our leaders seem to forget their responsibilities and instead go for the quick sound-bite and 'photo op' in an attempt to show they are on our side and have a handle on things. In fact they do not and therefore nothing gets done. To gift $700 billion to institutions that squandered countless billions earlier without stipulation is irresponsible and criminal. As a result the money has not helped the economy. It sits in the pockets of greedy bankers and immoral CEOs to use as they please.

Both sides of the aisle and both houses of Congress are to blame for the continued sconomic nightmare. Where is the leadership we expect? The Big Three auto makers produce cars. Lately they have done a terrible job and are in immediate danger of going into chapter 7 liquidation. Obviously they are a collective failure. But cannot the same be said of Congress?

When Mr. McConnell's party took control of the White House in 2001 they inherited a surplus of $230 billion. Since then they have produced a deficit that now totals $800 billion. As of this moment the US National Debt Clock shows a total owed of $10.6 TRILLION. That is almost $35,000 for every man woman and child in America! I would therefore consider that a huge indisputable failure and yet we continue to subsidize Congress. After all how are they paid? Their salaries come from our tax dollars! And once they are out of Congress they and their families have healthcare for life, not to mention many other taxpayer paid benefits.

As a citizen I would hope for a more intelligent approach to our problems than having the pot call the kettle black. In this environment that is incredibly unproductive.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Repugnant Republicans

If you do something good but for the wrong reason is it bad? Perhaps it is still okay as long as the rest of the interested world does not know the back story.

The Senate Republicans do not like organized labor. They do not like the poor or working class. As any intelligent person knows they are and have always been elitists. They know that for a much smaller effort they can woo one or two billionaires and reap huge benefits for themselves and their friends and families that will make their futures bright. In order to get the same monetary reward out of the middle class they would have to ask for kick backs from millions and let's face it that is just not going to happen.

Today these, for lack of a better term self-serving bastards turned down the congressional bill aimed at keeping the Big Three auto companies in business. Now if you have ever read my blog or talked to me I am very passionate about my feeling for or rather against the CEOs and board members of those Big Three companies. I did not want the bill passed as it was laid out since it did not require anything from top management.

So what's my problem?

The Republicans voted it down because they wish to break the back of the United Auto Workers' union. If the Senate elitists have their way there will be three million more workers on unemployment. The CEOs and top management scum will survive, especially after they count the money they have socked away all these years in obscene bonuses.

By trying to get the companies to declare Chapter 11 and liquidate the Repugnant Republicans (RRs) hope to get rid of the union and allow the companies to come back under different terms.

To see the glaring difference in their stance look no further than the bailout of the banking industry which was handed money, OUR MONEY to hoard and to hide till death do us part. There were no demanded stipulations by the RRs. There was no attempt to block the deal by the RRs. And there is no outcry from the RRs now that it has become clear that the banks have no intention of loaning the money out to jump start the economy.

It is abundantly clear that the RRs agenda was to break the unions but White House and the Democrats will try to stop them from doing so. The rest of the government will grant the auto industry billions from the TARP fund and thus keep them going, but once again without stipulations.

The RRs will thus not only lose their bid to rid us of unions but also lose whatever face they ever had in doing so. In other words they are doing the right thing but in the wrong way and for the wrong reasons.

Friday, December 5, 2008

More Straws on the Taxpayers Backs

Whether the news comes from television or a paper we are being bombarded by bombastic bullshit about our economy. Everyone either has their finger in our pocket or is trying to do so. From the Long Island lawyer who told the state he made millions more than he did in order to collect a huge undeserved pension; to LIPA who used the argument that lower energy demand caused a shortfall in their budget thus necessitating a rate hike everyone is at fault. We need our government to be our advocate and help us through these difficult times.

Here is a short list of our modern day criminals and their crimes against the taxpayer.

1. On top of the outrageous claim noted above LIPA wishes to add late charges to the bills of delinquent payers. So if you could not afford to pay the original bill you will now not be able to pay a larger one. This will allow LIPA to show a bigger gap between invoiced amounts and collections and afford them a better chance at a rate hike.
What a fantastic strategy!
I believe such creative thinking deserves to be rewarded. Top LIPA management should receive free room and board for around 10 to 20 with time off for good behavior.

2. The heads of the 3 families met with Congress in DC again this week to plead their case for more of our money. They need this gift to continue the same practices they used in squandering all their money over the past few decades. They claim they are trying to save the jobs of the auto workers. Such sincerity is touching and I believe we should listen to them and save the industry. However the first step in curing a sick patient is to rid the body of the virus causing the problem, namely the three heads and their familes. In order for the taxpayer to LOAN more money to the auto industry we must include certain stipulations.

a.Top management must be gone and without a parachute. They should be fined a small percentage of their salaries and bonuses over the last 2 years to defray costs.

b. The new management is given a timetable to turn around their company and begin paying back the loan.

c. Last and most importantly they must hire American citizens and immediately start working on alternative fuel vehicles; more hybrids and electric cars that use no foreign oil at all. And they must report any attempted interference by 'Big Oil' when doing so.

3. The MTA is asking for a huge rate increase to cover their needs. I also have needs and one of them is to not pay more money to an organization that is run as ineptly as the MTA. How long have we been reading about tunnels for a second avenue subway or an LIRR link to Grand Central Station? The only thing in those holes is our wasted money. If a house is a money pit then I say the MTA should fix their own house before coming into mine for more cash. (Remember when we were told that tolls were put in place to pay for their respective bridge or tunnel and when paid for the tolls would stop? Well? Now they want to add tolls to the as yet free East River bridges.)

The two things all of these groups have in common are bad management and huge cojones. Unfortunately we need these companies and organizations in order to have a well run country.

Long Island needs power and since LIPA is the only game in town we need them. But they must be under steadfast scrutiny.

All of us in the area need a well run MTA with the key words being 'well run' to keep our local economy going and stop businesses and resdients from moving out. But again we must demand better scrutiny and accountability.

And the country unfortunately needs an auto industry if for no other reason than to keep 3 million names off the unemployment roll call. There are already millions of Americans on that list who for no reason of their own were recently laid off and are not receiving bailouts. In fact they are being hit with higher rates and fares at a time when they can barely afford to heat their homes!

These companies exhibit true Chutzpah which is best described in the story of the boy who killed his parents and then requested leniency from the judge because he was an orphan! They beg us to forgive them their earlier discretions and grant absolution so that they may start over but they give us no guarantee that they will change their repugnant behavior. The jails are filled with individuals who made similar statements.

And throughout this crisis our government who sat idly by wasting their own share of our money is deciding which of their friends shall receive bailouts. Nearly one trillion of our taxpayer dollars have been given to Wall Street firms and nearly bankrupt banks with no accountability asked for or received for past failures or future promises.

As a recently and unfairly laid off unemployed taxpayer I ask where is the leadership, both local and national to turn this thing around and when will they do so?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Another LIPA LIE

Like death and taxes a LIPA increase is just one of those inevitable annoyances we have to live with. Or is it?

LIPA chief Kevin Law claims that more money is needed to cover future operating expenses even though fuel prices have recently plummeted. Expecting increased demand for energy LIPA contracted for more power generation than they will now need and they are stuck with the bill. Mr. Law sees a 4.8% increase as the only way to go. He is not looking hard enough!

Businesses everywhere are blaming and using higher costs and lower revenues as reasons to trim their staff (believe me, I know.) Many are laying off loyal workers in an effort to keep more money in their own pockets but some human and humane CEOs are looking first to cut costs and upper management compensation in an effort to hold onto their people.

I believe LIPA should look to their own top executives and the salaries they are receiving for such stupid management and inept planning. Reduce their compensation first, bring in an independant observor or accountant to cut other unnecessary costs, and reach out to other communites to sell off your so-called future excess energy. Perhaps an executive should be laid off and in the spirit of "The Buck Stops Here" possibly Mr. Law himself.

As a utility LIPA has been grossly mismanaged since the days of robust Mr. Kessel but this needs to change and change soon. If not then taxes and LIPA will surely be the death of LI.

Giant Stupidity

The football Giants have been winning regularly and doing so without 2 of the 3 marquee players from that winning drive in Super Bowl XLII.
David Tyree, who arguably made the greatest catch in Super Bowl history is out for the year due to a lack of luck. He sustained an unfortunate injury that impeded his play.
Plaxico Burress, who caught the winning touchdown pass in the Super Bowl is also out for the year (and beyond?) due to a lack of brains. He sustained a self-inflicted gunshot wound from his own illegal and concealed weapon while out clubbing one night.
Thankfully Eli Manning is still playing with the same boyish grin and on-field intensity that has marked his recent success.
There are reports that one or more other Giant players were present at the trigger pulling party and if so they may also face charges. Hopefully they will be found to be innocent bystanders and the team will only lose the soon to be former wide receiver.
It never ceases to amaze me how so many professional athletes crash and burn. Many of them have nothing if not for sports and yet given the obscene and as far as I am concerned undeserved sums of money they get they reach for the self destruct button.
Most of us would almost kill to have their money if not talent to play a game and get paid to do so. But too many of them just don't understand that with the fame and fortune comes the responsibility to walk the line and follow the rules.
In New York we know of the sad tales of Darryl and Dwight but if you wish to add all the 'roid users to your list of idiots you would need a longer blog.
I naively hope that this will be the last time the headlines have to report a stupid act by an athlete.
So the Giants only have one out of those three players left from their championship game. In baseball one out of three is not bad but...
Nevertheless I miss Tyree and the chance to hear the fans cheer him once more for that catch. I will also miss Plaxico, at least the on-field version we knew. Perhaps he can open up a canine obedience school with Michael Vick. As for Eli I really think another ring would balance out his hand beautifully.