Intravenous Caffeine

Totally Unfair and Completely Unbalanced

Goldman Sachs–shorting America

Lloyd Blankfein as Matt Taibbi's great vampire squid and his version of MAD--mutually assured derivatives--just as bad as mutually assured destruction.

The Great Vampire Squid testifies in front of Congress. Mutually Assured Destruc ... Derivatives?

Oh, how I wish I’d come up with Matt Taibbi’s description of Goldman Sachs as a “great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity.” A prescient lad, he said that even before the revelations this past week about “The Big Short”. Seems these very shrewd operators basically: 1) made a bunch of loans to people they knew had a very good chance of defaulting; 2) bundled them into a security that they noodged Moody’s and Standard and Poors to rate AAA; 3) sold them to unsuspecting investors as a solid investment; and 4) shorted them so that when the price fell, they’d clean up. In fact, the only way they could have lost money would have been for the loans to be repaid. Thus they not only screwed the poor schmucks who couldn’t repay loans (remember the sliding rates that went up after a few years? Let’s stack the deck while we’re at it.) But they screwed their clients.

And when the bottom fell out, they screwed everybody. Lloyd Blankfein–who has an eerie resemblance to Erich von Stroheim, the “Man You Love To Hate”–claims he was doing God’s work, but for the life of me, Blankfein’s God has little to do with any modern God I know–more like Cthulhu (and we’re back to great vampire squids). Senator Dodd from Arkham has heard the call of Cthulhu and has busily crafted a financial reform bill that keeps the monsters and their derivatives intact–it seems mostly concerned with restoring the power of the regulators to wank instead of work and watch internet porn. Not break up the banks that bet AGAINST AMERICANS.

Most recently, Blankfein has had the gall to tell us that if we break up the banks, we will weaken America. Like the worst economic crisis since Black Friday didn’t do that already. Maybe he meant it in relative terms. After all, they broke the economy of the entire world–maybe America would have come out ahead on the deal.

If we’d shorted it.

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Or maybe it’s just the hot air cloud over Rush’s studio…

Too big to nail?

Too big to nail?

Well, our natural world seems to be having its fun with us as a huge ash cloud erupts from Mount Eyjafjallajokull (Eye-ya-falafel-cul?) and cuts off Europe from air travel for several days. This is not the first time such a huge cloud has occurred: there was the famous Mt. St. Helens eruption back in 1980. The centuries have been dotted with darknesses “enveloping the whole of Europe” as the description of one 5th century eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that, curiously enough, signaled the start of the Dark Ages (although the Dark Ages could have been presaged by an eruption of Mount Etna in 417, on whose dating, I, in an earlier incarnation as an historian, wrote a paper on in 1990 (Olympiodorus’ Eruption of Mount Etna: a possible dating of 417. EOS: Transactions of the American Geophysical Union 71:329-334)). Rush Limbaugh has been having fun with it, calling attention to Obama’s statement on the passing of the health care bill that the world hasn’t ended yet. I certainly hope the Almighty has better aim than to punish Europe for OUR supposed transgression, so I shall assume that Rush-boy is being ironic, should he be capable of such complexity of thought.

But with such a global disaster, it might be better to look for a more global transgression, and I think we have our candidate at Goldman Sachs. Their financial manipulations–along with other august companies–managed to pull off a global economic disaster, yet their CEO Lloyd Blankfein had the effrontery to make a positively BLASPHEMOUS statement that he was “doing God’s work” while bankrupting the entire world. Now if I know one thing about Our Lord God Jehovah, you can kill millions of people and He won’t bat an eyelash, but say one thing wrong about Him and all Armageddon is gonna bust loose. On top of all, Goldman Sachs has the sheer CHUTZPAH to announce 5 billion dollars in bonuses to be paid to its executives–you know, the ones who bet short on the world disaster they themselves engineered–and you say, enough is enough.

The teabaggers have it all wrong–the cause of our ills is not the government–tho it’s not helping by spending 20 times the amount that could eliminate world hunger on a military that has gotten itself bogged down in the middle of a desert for 8 years. It’s these bankers who think God’s work consists of lining their pockets with our money. They’re no better than the guy who is going to the track and convinces you to bet on a certain longshot that he says he has a tip that it can’t loose. Then, when he goes to the track, bets all YOUR money on the favorite and after the race, picks up one of the losing tickets off the floor to give you with the lame explanation that he’s never gonna listen to THAT TIPSTER again. It’s beyond time that they should be sued for fraud. It’s about time that they should be INDICTED for it!

In the meantime, Europe is enjoying a slower pace and beautiful sunsets. Maybe Mt. St. Palin in Alaska will explode in a few years and we’ll be the lucky ones :D


I went to a small con this weekend in Alexandria called T-MODE and had a great time. The advantage of a small con is its size–you can meet everyone and do everything. Naturally, you have a bigger selection of activities at a big con, but you always wind up missing some things you would have enjoyed. The organizers of T-MODE called it “fun-sized” and that it was. I got to hear a lovely singer Emi Meyer (also on MySpace–beautiful woman, beautiful voice, beautiful music) and hip hop artist Shing02 and DJ Icewater. I had a TAIKO DRUM LESSON from Doug Manring (Power Kix Drum Team and Real School of Rock) as well as meeting the new voice of Haruhi Suzumiya and a great singer herself Cristina Vee. Also there were our friends from the webcomic Geeks Next Door, who gave sessions ON webcomics, and Interrobang Studios, whose artist Sarah Martinez, gave a great session on surviving Artist’s Alley. I didn’t get to meet the vocal artist Mega Ran (aka Random) or voice actor Todd Haberkorn, or Roland Kelts, author of Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture has invaded the US–I did have to run home and feed the kitten occasionally LOL. Oh and I nearly forgot, I got interviewed for Vidgle and I hope to have up a link next week to my podcast with them :) Congratulations to the organizers–I had a great time. My personal photos will be up on my Flicker account later this week.

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STAMPEDE!

Republicans rush from the Obama Q&A with their tails between their legs as Roger Ailes finds something to cut away to...

Roger Ailes must have ended his war on Obama AFTER the GOP Q&A session last week

Feeling a bit achey after shoveling out of this weekend’s snowstorm (and thinking a little global warming would be good right about now), I realized that I’ve been giving President Obama such a hard time lately, I should really celebrate a signal triumph, the GOP Q&A session which has been described as Barry in the Lion’s Den, otherwise known as the GOP strategy conclave. Faced with salivating opposition party members WITHOUT knives and forks, Barry not only managed to hold his own, but did so on LIVE TV! For some reason this has shocked people, in spite of knowing that all Republicans, no matter how otherwise intelligent they might be, have to sign a waiver against the use of their own brains and limit themselves to parroting “talking points” despite how nonsensical it sounds when you play back a montage of Sunday morning talking head bites. Or that Obama can actually think and talk on his feet without benefit of teleprompter. So much for mainstream media propunditry. Congratulations to Virginia Foxx (R-NC) for taking advantage of the situation and getting Barry’s autograph! Way to go, Virginia!
What makes it all worthwhile is that Fox News was so disheartened by the event that they cut away to their own tiny car of clowns to inform the loyal viewership how bad Obama was doing so they couldn’t see for themselves how WELL he was doing. Of course, Fox viewers don’t know what to think unless they’re told, so undoubtedly a poll of viewers would have told us that Obama was soundly defeated by chants of “TAX CUTS.” But no poll was taken as Roger Ailes, Fox News Channel President, declared to “This Week” that he was no longer at war with the Obama White House. Maybe he isn’t, but the information hasn’t yet “trickled-down” to his staff of commentators yet. In any case, he had no ready answer for Arianna Huffington’s asking that if he wasn’t, why the cutaway. At which point he lamely countered that Fox News was the most trusted news in cable, a non sequitur that was no better than if he’d put on a big false nose and got up to hoarsely sing “I did the Strut-A-Way in my Cut-A-Way! Ha-chachachacha!” (OK there’s my age again–Jimmy Durante? Anyone ever hear of him? Sigh, the disadvantages of being 205!)
However, good news for finance–I hear Bernanke’s been re-upped and dear Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs is scheduled for a $100 million dollar bonus. Boy, oh, boy, isn’t recovery sweet? Remind me to celebrate on my way back from the Unemployment Office. Take care!

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Lloyd Blankfein, Vampire–Edward and Bella he ain’t, but he does suck something…

Nosferatu vs. New Moon--Lloyd Blankfein scares Edward and Bella into being even more clingy.

Now this is who the REAL vampire is...

It’s that time of year again–the time that we give thanks that the Christmas advertising season is finally 2/3 over. Remember when the Christmas season didn’t really begin until the kickoff at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. Or am I showing my age again. With the creep of the merchandising seasons, by 15 years ago, the Christmas season started showing up around Hallowe’en–Thanksgiving? what’s that–all we can sell is a bunch of turkeys that say fresh but are hard as the iceberg that sunk the Titanic. Now Columbus Day rolls around and all the stores have Kris Kringle in them! What with the Great Recession, I’m expecting for Santa to show up next year right after the BACK-TO-SCHOOL sales!
But sarcasm aside, we do have much to be thankful for. We can be thankful that Goldman Sachs was bailed out and used its money to pay the salaries of those poor starving executives who hadn’t had Beluga in over a week–CEO Lloyd Blankfein, you really are doing God’s work. We can be thankful that John McCain didn’t win the election–because by now some idiot would have shot him and we’d have Sarah Palin running the show. Those of us who HAVE jobs can be thankful we still have them and as for the rest, don’t worry, we’ll get around to you next year! We can be thankful that we can still pay insurance companies exorbitant fees for denial of claims because in 3 years they won’t be able to do that! Some of us can be thankful that NEW MOON is in the theaters and the rest of us can be thankful that we don’t have to go. And finally, we must be thankful for our celebrities, without whose stupidity, that’s right, I’m talking you, Lindsay “I don’t pay for fill-in-the-blank” Lohan, our lives would be so much less interesting.
AnimeUSA was a fantastic con, for those of you who might have an interest. I finally had the chance to wear my new tux at the formal ball, ran into all my friends from deviantArt who said they’d be there, actually had some nice photos taken of me that don’t make me look my age, ran into some people who’d actually seen my cartoons–YAY! and I found a FANTASTIC band. J-rock band QUAFF is KICK ASS! they are totally awesome–so awesome I went to both of their concerts at the con. The last one–at no’on on Sunday when half the con had left for airports and the other half were walking zombies–had so much energy that the 300 people in the audience were screaming as loud as 1000. I’ll update this with links when I finally get some sleep LOL.
Anyway a great time was had by all including yours truly and QUAFF will be at ANIME USA again next year. Happy Turkey Day everyone from me, Mr. Dymme, Fred and Bert–drive safely if you’re going out of town and we’ll be back Monday with a new dose of Intravenous Caffeine.

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