Intravenous Caffeine

Totally Unfair and Completely Unbalanced

Insurers Raise Cost of Protection Against Pirates–They Should Just Hire Ninjas!

Insurers offer pirates anti-ninja insurance

Insurers offer pirates anti-ninja insurance

Now there’s always been piracy in the South China Sea, but the Indian Ocean has had its share as well, especially in the Gulf of Aden. No one in maritime trading would have been surprised at the latest spate of incidents off Somalia, but the sheer audacity of the attacks is what seems to be getting the publicity. Now insurers have gotten into the act and have begun upping the premiums of anti-piracy insurance. I say, HIRE NINJAS! They’re cheaper than insurance and everyone knows, pirates and ninjas have a natural antipathy towards each other. Only don’t get ninjas from the school with Naruto in it. They might bring him along and then the only pirates they’d be able to protect you against are the ones from One Piece. Definitely not Jack Sparrow. (Hmmm why are they negotiating on Popeye’s old boat?)
Hmmm, but what if the insurance companies offer protection to the pirates as well? It only makes sense to play both ends against the middle–they could make money both ways. Maybe that would’ve helped prevent AIG from going belly up!

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AIG: Are you SURE this was the first you knew about bonuses, Mr. Geithner?

Chris Dodd wasn't about to take the fall for Tim Geithner's insistence on softening the bonus language in the bailout bill. Parody of a Maltese Falcon movie poster

Coming to a Congressional Hearing Near You

Well, this HAS been an interesting week. The news about the AIG bonuses broke late Saturday, early Sunday. The liberal bloggers picked up on it immediately, but the conservative bloggers didn’t touch it until Tuesday. Evidently, they don’t read the liberal blogs and had to wait for someone else to digest it and hand them a party line. The moderates joined in and there was a firestorm of protest, best summed up by Chuck Grassley as a general demand for resignations or hara-kiri. Personally, I’d like someone to leave a gun on their desks and tell them to “do the right thing,” but what can I say, I’m an anglophile. Obama said he hadn’t heard about the bonuses until a few days before the s**t hit the fan. Tim Geithner said he’d only heard a few days before that. HOWEVER, Ron Wyden revealed that when the bailout bill passed the Senate, there was a strong provision putting caps on executive bonuses for companies being bailed out. It wasn’t there when it hit the House. As Rita Rudner once put it, where did the glue go? Treasury tries to put the blame on Chris Dodd, claiming he added a clause granting exemptions for bonus agreements already in place. But what REALLY happened, as Jane Hamsher has documented is that Dodd et al had inserted a provision placing caps retroactively on executive compensation…and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Lawrence Summers, head of the National Economic Council, put pressure on Dodd to remove or seriously weaken this provision. And Senator Dodd pointed the finger straight back at Geithners–who, you will remember claimed like Sergeant Schultz, “I knew nuzzing, NUZZING!” Obama then said, in one of his less-than-sterling statements, that the administration will use every legal means to try to recoup these bonuses–which have already been paid. Well, hell, Barack, did you think we expected you to use ILLEGAL means?
Obama’s appointment of Tim Geithner to head the Treasury was an iffy deal to begin with. The charismatic young president’s strong points do not include economics and Geithner’s appointment seemed an attempt to look like he was putting one of the adults in charge. After all, a banker should know about banking, right? It also looked like a safe place to put an opposing viewpoint. Well, Mr. Geithner has just demonstrated that his loyalties run with the banking community, not with the people of the US, and his appointment, far from placing one of the adults in charge, actually was putting one of the foxes in charge of the henhouse. It is time for Mr. Obama to reconsider this appointment. No, screw that, it’s time to ask for Timmy’s resignation. Geithner was going to follow a timid course, the tried-and-true, which in this situation is neither tried nor true. Let’s get someone like Paul Krugman in place so we can get an economic policy with balls, not cronyism.
Oh and AIG has decided on a new strategy to save the company. It’s changing its name…
Check out Glenn Greenwald’s Salon column on this for more information on the legal ramifications of the AIG stink.
BTW I think Timmy Geithner makes an excellent Brigid O’Shaunessy–he’s about as honest, dontcha think?

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State of the Union Edition: Republicans say Obama’s plan needs bolder ideas–suggestion? More tax cuts.

Cartoon of Republicans too busy tweeting on Twitter to actually listen to Obama's first State of the Union addresses and send snarky messages via their blackberries.

John Culbertson (R-Tx) is all a-Twitter during Obama's Address

The disloyal opposition had its own theme song during President Obama’s first State of the Union address–Rockin’ Robin–tweet tweet tweet, Rockin’ Robin, tweet, tweedley-deet! Since Party Head Rush Limbaugh (not that titular figure who looks like the token VP of a financial institution) has called for a united obstructionist front, Republican senators and congressmen attempted to sit out the whole speech on their hands–except for the ones who were busily hunting the snark on their blackberries until it was pointed out to them that it really looked like they were playing Worlds of Warcraft instead of listening–but goshdarnit, that crafty Obama said some thing that they HAD to applaud or look as if they really did want to screw the little guy–which they do, they just don’t want to LOOK like it. However, it is nice to know that some conservatives have abandoned their dip pens. After the Obama address, Louisiana Governor Booby Jindal–excuse me, BOBBY Jindal–decried the wastefulness of parts of the plan–like $140 million for volcano monitoring or $8 billion for high speed rail projects–and how it didn’t go far enough in–what else?–taxcuts. Obviously more tax cuts like those during the Bush administration will bring in even more revenue than they did during the past eight years. What, you say the tax cuts lost money? Simple explanation–we didn’t go far enough even then! Hasn’t anyone ever pointed out to these numbskulls that if you don’t collect any taxes, you don’t get any revenue? However, Jindal assured the nation that Republicans would be willing to work with the new President–up to a point. We saw that point the other week when they almost unanimously voted against the stimulus plan. As ordered by Chairman Limbaugh…

NOTE: Because I have already created and published two special editions this week, I will take off Thursday, February 26. The next new cartoon will be up Monday, March 2. 🙂

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