Intravenous Caffeine

Totally Unfair and Completely Unbalanced

The New Financial Reform Bill Has the Banks Crying All the Way to the …. Bank

Chris Dodd displays his financial reform package to Batman and Robin, who likens it to Holy Underwear!

Hole-y Reform!

The disaster bubbling up to the surface down in the Gulf is assuming proportions that make the plagues of Egypt look like a teen party that got a little out of control. “Don’t worry. Accidents Happen!” says the new bright star of the Tea Party Brigade, Rand Paul, “it’s un-American to blame BP for being negligent.” After all, there were THREE companies that were negligent down there and one of them was that shining example of patriotic profit-taking, Halliburton! You can’t blame BP for an Act of GOD! Well, I have a question. If these god-fearing jackasses think the destruction of the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi Delta is an Act of God, then WTF do they think God is trying to SAY???

But I digress. My real topic is that other corporate disaster, the Financial Reform Bill. Yup, Chris Dodd has finally achieved his valedictory legislation, a financial reform that is in every way the counterpart of the Health Care and Credit Card Reforms. Like underwear that is so full of holes, the skidmarks get on your pants anyway. Yes, there are some nice new picket fences with signs that say, “Don’t Go Here Or We’ll Slap You,” in place, but by and large, “too big to fail,” has become enshrined by law as the WAY THINGS ARE in the United Corporations of America.

Limiting the size of banks? Perish the thought–just like the US itself is too big to fail, our banks are too big to close. Breaking up some of the companies that were responsible for a worldwide economic collapse? You gotta break some eggs to make an omelet! Caps on credit card interest? We covered THAT back with credit card reform! And what a success THAT has been. And the piece de resistance? The wall between trading and commercial banking that would prevent banks from using our money to buy chips in their own casino? Hahaha you must be joking.

OK there’s a new consumer agency that Elizabeth Warren, darling of the Daily Show, has been pushing. And there’s some new regulation and oversight. But mostly Wall Street is left with the task of policing Wall Street and us chickens know what it means when the fox is guarding the hen house. The Street will still hire its own credit raters, you know, the ones who gave those risky investments AAA ratings? And derivatives will still be sold to hedge risk, thereby allowing risk to be swallowed up in bookkeeping. So in every way, the things that led to the economic collapse of 2009 has been left in place. Anyone want to take bets on another collapse by 2016? How about 2012?

If this is Chris Dodd’s valedictory achievement in the Senate, I’d say his retirement is a very good thing for the American people. But–couldn’t you have left a little quicker, Chris?

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The Real Reason All Those Oil Companies Screwed Up

We'd have been better off if the Three Stooges had been in charge of drilling in the Gulf.

Moe Inc., Larry Inc., and Curly Inc. Woowoowoowoowoooooo!

Well, let’s see, you still need papers in Arizona–finish the danged fence, eh, John McCain? And Elena Kagan is now the darling of Laura Bush–who has started opening her mouth more and more since she doesn’t have to just nod her head and smile–although she does that quite a lot in her new book–the one with the mummy mask on the cover? So it looks like we’re back with the LaGulfa Tar Pit–formerly known as the Gulf of Mexico. Just think, boys and girls, in 50,000 years, people, or whatever intelligent species will be inhabiting this planet, will be able to excavate the Gulf of Mexico and find all sorts of creatures that used to live in the ocean!

We were treated to the spectacle of BP, Transocean and Halliburton all pointing fingers at each other, saying that it was some other guy’s fault that for nearly a month now, crude oil has been gushing into the sea, endangering wildlife, fishing, creating a dead zone far greater than the previous one, and in general, becoming OILMAGEDDON. Really, it looked like a Three Stooges movie. In fact, it probably would have been much more fun for all of us victims to see these three guys slapping each other and poking fingers into eyes!

True, this is probably unfair to Moe, Larry and Curly. They only created disasters on a purely local level. Like leveling a house. It takes an oil executive to create one on a global scale! See what a college education can do for YOU!

The “Drill, Baby, Drill” ideologues have in the meantime weighed in with their peculiar brand of irrationality. Sarah Palin says this is why we shouldn’t trust furriners like BRITISH Petroleum (never mind that TransOcean and Halliburton are American companies). Rush Limbaugh ideates that environmentalists did this to scotch any further offshore drilling–this is the cutting off your nose to spite your face strategy–or maybe Koreans. He’s not sure–he’ll know in another dose of oxycodone. And of course, the pro-drill crowd says this just PROVES we need to do more offshore drilling–look at all the oil we’re losing, we’ve got to make that up SOMEHOW and after all, practice makes perfect!

In the meantime, BP has tried to cap the well with the TOP HAT and the HOT TAP–amazing that the ONLY thing they’ve gotten to work so far is something that allows them to recover some of the spill into a tanker, but in the meantime, we still have the 10 mile long plumes of crude shooting out to sea. And it’s getting near the current that will take it to the Florida Keys. Ernest Hemingway couldn’t do it, hurricanes couldn’t do it, but it looks like good old capitalism will finally shut Sloppy Joe’s down!

And as we watch the death of one of the most important bodies of water in the world, let’s have a drink on that old fisherman and his soon-to-be-vanished marlin. One more for my baby and one more for the road–because it was the road that got us here.

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Responding to Botched Terrorism: I Can Shake My Fist Louder Than You Can

The true American response to botched terrorism--thow away the Constitution!

First Responders In Action

With the world reeling from President Obama’s surprise announcement of Supreme Court Justice–his old friend from Harvard and the U of Chicago Law School, Elena Kagan–you know, the one who’s never sat on the bench? I mean seriously, who announces something like this on Sunday night–you’re supposed to do it at 4:00 Friday afternoon!

I still have to weigh in on the idiotic and unconstitutional Arizona law requiring cops to get ID from anyone they suspect is an illegal immigrant without racial profiling–HEY, all you guys in front of the Home Depot, get out your birth certificates! Vere are your papers! Ach, so, Mr. McCain-o, you were born in Panama, eh, John? or should I call you Juan!

Now, let’s turn to the response to the botched bomb in Times Square. I know, I know, so last week! The would be terroist, Faisal Shahzad–such a loser, not only did he botch the bomb, but he botched the bomb after botching the run-through and then he botched his getaway!–is actually an American citizen. Well, again the Constitution has become a worthless piece of paper–except for the Second Amendment, we can’t have a no-gun-buying list because that would infringe upon the rights of REAL Americans (according to Lindsey Graham). There has been so much fist-shaking (or as one commentator mentioned, “length” comparing) about ignoring Miranda rights for terrorists, stripping them of their citizenship, throwing them against a wall and shooting them, you’d think we were in some bizarro US. Or a 1984 world where Big Brother is some mythical real American, played by Bruce Willis or Kiefer Sutherland! Imagine, Glenn Beck being the voice of reason! Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

Let’s zip up our flies, gentlemen. the US court system can handle these kind of things without any help from the paranoid fist-shakers. If it can’t convict terrorists caught practically red-handed and we have to throw away our freedoms, heaven help us, the grand experiment turned out to be a failure.

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Drill, Baby, Dri … Ooops!

Sarah Palin, having spent most of her national political career singing

Hey, it wasn't US, said BP, it's the fault of the contractor.

Quite frankly I don’t know what to say about this. Watching an oil spill whose size makes the Exxon Valdez accident look like somebody dropped a stick of butter as it gets closer and closer to the shores that still haven’t recovered from the devastation of Katrina is a little like watching a train wreck. A train needs a certain amount of time to brake to a stop–and that means several miles in the case of a heavy freight train or a fast passenger train. Any attempt to stop quicker is just simply not going to work because it’s against the laws of physics. So you step on the brake in the hope of minimizing the damage and wait for the inevitable crash, watching in horrified fascination as the train gets closer and closer.

In the meantime, the blame game has started. The Obama administration has blamed it on BP. BP has blamed it on the contractors in charge of the drilling and on faulty equipment. Blame the tools! The media and the right wing have begun blaming Obama for not doing enough to stop the crisis, despite the fact that the federal government had offered help, been turned down and told that the situation was being managed. They should have stepped right in and taken over, say the people who normally howl over any sort of government interference. And Sarah Palin has spun on the proverbial dime and has become sooooooo concerned about the environmental issues that you’d think she’d never even heard the phrase, “Drill, Baby, Drill,” that she led her supporters in chanting throughout the 2008 presidential campaign.

Clearly there is more than enough blame to go around, and I’ll not exempt the Obama administration for not acting quickly enough. Sometimes, you need to step up to the plate. Sometimes, acting quickly is more important than making sure all the p’s are p’s and q’s are q’s. But even if it HAD acted faster–is there anything that really could have been done? Or was this truly like the train wreck that no matter what you do, no matter how hard you try, no matter how fast you act, that collision is just going to occur and there ain’t nothing you can do about it.

Obama says that BP is going to pay for it. No. The one certain thing in every disaster that has occurred as long as I can remember is that BP will wriggle out of it and pay off at best a token amount that seems big only if you do not take into account the amount of damage this accident will cause. But it will be paid for… and the people who will pay for it will be? US.

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