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Sometimes, A Working Knowledge of Pop Culture Can Really Save Your Butt February 3, 2011

Posted by wintersetruss in Crime, Humor, Music, Pop Culture, Sidebar Flag Bullshit, Travel.
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17 comments

  Tuesday afternoon at work, my manager’s wife called over from our Administration Building and asked me to run a credit card number for her.  Apparently, one of our salesmen in another office had sold about $8,100 worth of skid-steer attachments to a customer in Australia, and she wanted me to check and see if the credit card was valid.

  It went through, but when I was counting out the drawer at closing time, I noticed that our parts till printout gave a name for the cardholder:

  Brian Johnson.

  Brian Johnson.  In Australia.  Buying John Deere parts from a dealership in Iowa.   OhhhhhhhhhKay.  Right.

  I told her that night we should give that transaction a second look before we shipped the parts, with the standard “But what do I know about these things?” disclaimer.  Turns out that I was probably right.  Today, she got the shipping quote from the buyer’s designated agent, and the cost for getting these parts to Australia was about $2,900.  Oh, and did I mention that the shipping company that the buyer specified that we use is located in Guyana?  The salesman was still gung-ho to complete the transaction, but luckily she backed out the credit card charge and started looking into contacting someone to inquire about the status of that account number.

  Here’s a video of “Brian Johnson”, but unfortunately I couldn’t find one of him operating a skid-steer.

FBI Investigating Rich White People, and Michael Sells a House September 23, 2008

Posted by Michael in Economics, News, Politics.
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35 comments

Martha Stewart is out of jail, so I guess they have an empty cell.  The FBI is investigating corporate misdeeds, and they are hot on the trail of greedy Rich White People to blame for our problems.

Rest assured, this guy pictured below is not going to go to jail.  He’s not a corporate executive.  He’s not even white.

Public Enemy No. 1

WASHINGTON – The FBI is investigating four major U.S. financial institutions whose collapse helped trigger a $700 billion bailout plan by the Bush administration, The Associated Press has learned.

Two law enforcement officials said Tuesday the FBI is looking at potential fraud by mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and insurer American International Group Inc. Additionally, a senior law enforcement official said Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. also is under investigation.

The inquiries will focus on the financial institutions and the individuals that ran them, the senior law enforcement official said.

The law enforcement officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigations are ongoing and are in the very early stages.

Officials said the new inquiries bring to 26 the number of corporate lenders under investigation over the past year.

FBI investigating companies at heart of meltdown – Yahoo! News.

Oh sure, let’s blame those Rich White People.

Meanwhile, the real criminals are skating.  By “real criminals” I mean the politicians who supported the Community Reinvestment Act — long after it was known that the CRA was a scam, based on fraudulent assertions that “underserved communities” had been victimized by “redlining” and were in dire need of “affordable housing.”   So we saw the same old thing — Federal handouts easily become entrenched and addictive, even after it is clear that they have no rational purpose (don’t get me started on dairy subsidies).

Democrats, like the highly influential Charles Rangel, Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, blocked reforms that were urged by many Republicans, including John McCain.  To no avail — that “affordable housing” was real important for “underserved communities.”  Banks were literally forced to issue imprudent loans that defied all previous standards of creditworthiness, and  avid sales reps cashed in commissions by selling ARMs and up-front teaser rates to the ignorant.

Previously sober institutions like Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, insulated from risk by the implied protection of Uncle Sam, were more than happy to package these mortgages and securitize them to gullible investors who believed the housing market could only go up.  Never mind the inexorable demographics of an aging Baby Boom population.

Thus was the corruption born that led to our current crisis.

Guess who is going to pay for this?

Me.

And people like me.  Rich White People.  I’m one of those five percent of the U.S. wage earners that pay sixty percent of the federal income taxes.

Plus, just today I flipped my Ohio house to a relocation company for it’s appraised value in a dead market, which means I took a loss.  A big loss.

Rangel, of course, thinks that he is only guilty of becoming a political target due to some inadvertent errors:

Rangel claims that he is being villainized by Republicans as part of their effort to win back the House, as well as headline-seeking reporters, and said that he has done nothing wrong. Rangel has been hit by a series of press reports detailing alleged ethics violations, including his failure to pay taxes on $75,000 in income from a vacation home in the Dominican Republic, his use of his congressional office to raise funds for the Rangel Center in New York City, and his control of four rent-stabilized apartments in a Harlem high-rise that he lives in. The House ethics committee is expected to vote next week to begin a formal investigation of the allegations, as requested by Rangel.

“The campaign season has begun, and to no great surprise, I’m now a Republican talking point. But I assure you, I’ve brought no dishonor to my family, the Congress, my constituents, or my country,” Rangel said in his letter.

Politico.

Fuck you, Charles Rangel.

Independence Day July 4, 2008

Posted by Michael in Heroes.
Tags: ,
41 comments

Do you want to know what the Fourth of July is about?

Go here.

I like Brad’s selective bolding of the text of the Declaration of Independence.

I almost never link AOSHQ, because I figure you all have read it anyway.  But I am going to make an exception, just in case you missed it.  Here’s the link:  England sucks,

I will also repeat something I said in a comment thread below to xbradtc:

By they way, Brad, thank you for your service to our country. On this Fourth of July, I salute you. As a track commander in the U.S. Army, you made people like me safer, and our freedom was more secure.

I mean that sincerely to WickedPinto, Geezer, Cranky, and all of the veterans who visit here.  I kinda skated through the Vietnam War on a student deferment, and it was over when I graduated.  Good for me, but I am grateful for those who served.

Thank you.

(I did serve my country as a clarinet player in a Boy Scout Marching  Band.  The odds of getting shot were not too high.)

Four-Day Work Week in Utah July 3, 2008

Posted by Michael in News.
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6 comments

Even Mormon politicians can be really dumb.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Starting next month, it will be “TGIT” for Utah state employees. As in: “Thank God It’s Thursday.”

In a yearlong experiment aimed at reducing the state’s energy costs and commuters’ gasoline expenses, Utah is about to become the first state to switch to a four-day workweek for thousands of government employees.freeing them to golf, shop, spend time with the kids or do anything else that strikes their fancy. They will get paid the same as before.

So, two years from now, please remember that Michael told you this was a really dumb idea.  The “experiment” won’t work because it is an exercise in political expediency that flies in the face of economic reality.

It will be a fiasco.  And why did it happen?  I’ll tell you.  Those folks in Utah are still resistant to Pure Lutheran Doctrine™,  that’s why.

Utah is going to a 4-day workweek to save energy: Financial News – Yahoo! Finance

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Twisters June 3, 2008

Posted by Michael in Music, News.
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27 comments

Powerful tornadoes struck Kansas in May. Some storm-chasers produced a gripping video. It gets really exciting at 3:40.

More twisting:

In this video, Chubby Checkers is shown performing black music for an entirely white audience. Something of a breakthrough, at the time. The Twist was the first major teenage dance craze to hit America at the dawn of rock and roll.

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Black-on-Black Violence in South Africa May 23, 2008

Posted by Michael in News.
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14 comments

We’ve all been shocked by the mob violence. How to explain this?

Well, you can always blame the white people.

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – South Africa’s security chief accused rightwingers linked to the former apartheid government on Friday of fanning anti-foreigner violence that has spread to Cape Town, the second largest city and tourist centre.

At least 42 people have been killed and more than 25,000 driven from their homes in 12 days of attacks by mobs who have stabbed, clubbed and burnt migrants from other parts of Africa they accuse of taking jobs and fuelling crime.

The South African government has been criticized for its slow reaction to the violence, which started in a Johannesburg township on May 11, and for not adequately addressing poverty widely blamed for the bloodshed.

So then, it looks like economic competition between natives and immigrants is the issue.

But no, there is supposedly another problem. Those white devils are guily of “stoking.”

But Manala Manzini, head of the National Intelligence Agency, told Reuters people linked to former apartheid security forces were stoking the violence.

“Definitely there is a third hand involved. There is a deliberate effort, orchestrated, well-planned,” he said.

“We have information to the effect that elements that were involved in the pre-1994 election violence are in fact the same elements that have re-started contacts with people that they used in the past.”

Give me a frickin’ break. The curse of Africa has always been tribal rivalries, and Manzini is doing a poor job of covering this up. Actually, Manzini sorta admits this. Perhaps anticipating that the “blame whitey” excuse might not fly, he also points at the ANC’s traditional rival — the Zulus.

Zulu War Dance

Manzini said some violence emanated from worker hostels where Zulu migrants traditionally live.

Much of the township bloodshed in the final years of apartheid involved brutal clashes between supporters of the Zulu-based Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the African National Congress, which has been in power since the end of white rule.

I’m thinking the ANC needs a better excuse for their utter failure to maintain public order in their country. For starters, maybe they should take a look at official corruption, widespread criminality, and failed socialist economic policies.

UPDATE:

A friend of mine lived in South Africa, and reveres that country as one of the most beautiful places on earth. It could make a ton of money as a premiere tourist destination. But, tourists seeking an African experience go to Kenya instead, because nobody feels safe in South Africa today. My friend lived in Johannesburg, in a compound surrounded by high walls and concertina wire, just to deal with ordinary criminal gangs. It’s a shame.

South Africa says apartheid-era foes fan violence

Cistercian Monks Rock May 16, 2008

Posted by Michael in Music, Religion.
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14 comments

With Gregorian chants.

HEILIGENKREUZ, Austria (Reuters) – Monks in Austria hailed a “miracle” on Friday as they released an album of Gregorian chants under the same record label as Amy Winehouse and Eminem. The Cistercian monks were signed up by Universal Music — beating more than 200 entries from around the world — after they sent in a YouTube video in response to its international advertisement for a choir.

“I did not even know what Universal Music was. For us it is like a miracle,” said the order’s Father Karl as the CD “Chant – Music for Paradise” went on sale in Germany and Austria ahead of a wider international release.

Austria’s singing monks hail miracle debut album

Here’s the story as told by one of the monks.

You can read about the Rule of St. Benedict here. It is pretty hard for me to imagine a medieval lifestyle that involves eight church services every day, on top of a job.

UPDATE BELOW THE BREAK:

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Big Game Tonight – Updated April 4, 2008

Posted by Michael in Sports.
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13 comments

The San Antonio Spurs are in Salt Lake City tonight in order to give those over-confident Mormons a comeuppance that they surely deserve.

The Spurs face one of the toughest challenges in the NBA tonight when they try to win on the road against the Utah Jazz.

The Jazz have won 24 of their last 25 home games. They are 34-4 at home on the season. The Jazz lead the Northwest Division, 2 1/2 games ahead of the Nuggets.

The Spurs are on an eight-game win streak. They are coming off a 116-92 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday.

MySA.com: Spurs World Discussions about all things Spurs

UPDATE 1: At the end of Q1, the Spurs are ahead 24-18. They appear to be relaxing and saving their energy. Tony Parker briefly fell asleep at half court. Coach Popovich had to snap his ass with a wet towel to wake him up.

UPDATE 2: At the half, Jazz 40 – Spurs 38. I’ve seen this many times before. The Spurs like to toy with an opponent, let them think they are in the game, and give them hope. Then they crush and demoralize them in the fourth quarter. In other important half-time news — we’re eating pizza.

UPDATE 3: Erm, at the end of the third quarter — let’s just say the Spurs need to stop goofing around.

UPDATE 4: Final score — Jazz 90, Spurs 64. Dang that was painful to watch. By far the worst offensive performance of the year for the Spurs. The fourth quarter was especially pathetic, with the Jazz scoring the first 11 points. Pretty soon it was junk time, as both teams pulled their starters and sent in the bench. Then Utah’s bench kicked our ass some more. Dang.