WC Varones

Don't lend your hand to raise no flag atop no ship of fools

When will the sexism end?


Trading is a man's activity...and don't you forget it.

Ouch

This is just painful to watch.

Old Zeke lives in NM-1. What do you think, Zeke? Does this put NM-1 back in the red column?

Remind me not to be a donor!

From today's Wall Street Journal:

How Rusty Leonard Watches Over Donors To TV Ministries
Investment Counselor Probes Finances, Posts Alerts...

Charlie Brown in the 21st century

This is pretty funny.

Sign of the times

I just got back from a Halloween party in Albuquerque, and the friend I went with must have gotten ten comments, all completely sincere, along the lines of, "My God, that is scary."

A vampire? An axe murderer? No, no, he had on a fake beard and the garb of an Arab sheik.

Filthy Pigs

A University of Indiana graduate student, who created a "Make your own boarding pass" web application to demonstrate the absurdity of the TSA's boarding pass/ID check, is now being hounded by the FBI and by a Congressman calling for his arrest.

As usual, these morons are less concerned with the aviation security sham than with people who are courageous enough to expose it.

See his website for the story, email the brainless pigs who are pursuing him, and tell your friends.

Last minute costume ideas

Can't beat this one.

That time again

It's the last Friday of the month. You know what that means:

Get your ass to Critical Mass.

But they support the troops!

Caught on video: a moonbat asks the families of dead soldiers, "Did they go out and kill and rape and sodomize the children in front of their parents?"

This guy's obviously been watching too much John Kerry Congressional testimony.




Mmmm.... gay marriage

Today, the New Jersey Supreme Court decided:
New Jersey's Supreme Court opened the door to gay marriage Wednesday, ruling that homosexuals are entitled to the same rights as heterosexuals, but leaving it to lawmakers to legalize same-sex unions.

The high court gave lawmakers 180 days to rewrite marriage laws to either include same-sex couples or create a new system of civil unions for them.


Brilliant! But that's what W.C. Varones said a year and a half ago (and earlier):
As I've said before, the answer is to separate the religious institution of marriage from the state-sanctioned secular arrangement. Gays deserve equal rights under law, and churches should be free to maintain their own definitions of marriage according to their traditions and beliefs. Call it a civil union, or call it a marriage. The only difference is that the latter will agitate middle America a lot more.

Tales from the crypt

It's nice to see greedy lawyers get burned speculating on the housing bubble:

Twenty people went to an auction of new model homes yesterday looking for a bargain.

They were joined by about 80 “looky-loos.”

In the end, the potential buyers wanted too much of a good thing, and the auctioneer's hammer never fell.

Sixteen upscale homes in the Bressi Ranch development were advertised as up for auction at La Costa Resort and Spa, though 15 were offered because one had been sold before the event began.

Buyers were willing to pay about $1 million for a home listed at $1.4 million or $1.5 million, and as little as $650,000 for houses priced near $1 million.

Many bids fell in the $700,000 range.

...

But the owners, Model Homes Investors LLC, a group of Los Angeles-area lawyers, apparently would need about 80 percent of the asking price in order to clear their own debt with the banks holding the mortgages.


And it's nice to see that some people didn't lose their minds in the bubble:

“I just wanted to see what kind of a fool would buy these overpriced homes,” Bruce Azimi of Oceanside said.

Thanks to Todd for sending the link.

Honesty

What's the difference between the BBC and American networks?

The BBC admits it is biased.

Frisco Sundays

Off to the Bridge School Benefit. Sunny and 76 degrees.

My hero

Anyone can screw a dog.

But it takes a real man to screw a pit bull .

Bush to sign fence bill grudgingly and secretly

Bush decides to throw Congressional Republicans under the bus by avoiding a base-rallying bill-signing ceremony.

Hey, if Bush can defeat enough Republicans, the new Democratic majority will give him his amnesty bill! Truly a win-win situation.

God Bless America

A truly patriotic monologue from Carlos Mencia.

Thanks to Ang.

Excellence in advertising, #381

The Daily Reckoning is an online newsletter that's one part quality writing, one part economic doom-saying, and one part shameless hawking of various financial snake oils. From yesterday's edition:
The mainstream financial press are already closing in on this story...and fast...

· BusinessWeek says Deveroux’s Secret Investment “offers exceptional growth at a fraction of the cost of blue chip stocks”...
and shortly thereafter...
In a moment, I will explain why Wall Street big shots can't get their hands on it...and that is precisely why you won't hear about it in Forbes, Barron's or BusinessWeek.
I don't know about you, but I'm sold.

Let's get this party started!

Bay housing prices fall .8 percent:
Bay Area housing prices are finally falling, declining last month for the first time in more than four years.

The median price of a home in the nine Bay Area counties slipped .8 percent to $611,000 in September from a year earlier in the nine-county region, according to the DataQuick real estate information service. That figure includes both single-family houses and condos.

A build up of inventory and an increase in the supply of low-priced condos in the East Bay dragged down prices, said John Karevoll, an analyst at DataQuick. The price of new homes fell 12.3 percent in September, which pulled down the Bay Area median.
We've only just begun....

Your tax dollars at work

Hate to tell ya, but yer tax dollars are doin' a darn good job of propaganda.

I was listening to Communist Radio (aka NPR) on the way home from work, and they did a heckuva job selling the Democrats.

They had Pelosi talking about reforming the corrupt institution of Congress, Rangel saying he wouldn't raise taxes, and Conyers saying they wouldn't look into impeachment. This is such a bunch of honest, clean-government, reform-minded do-gooders, how could anyone vote against them?

I swear to you, it was so effective I considered voting Dem.

Excellence in advertising, #153

In the middle of the television-autism story that Varones references below, I found this ad:


Update: Either they got smart, or the duration of the ad expired. Now it's for autism-inducing NPR.

Tales of poker and degradation

Zeke and I had a great weekend up in Tahoe and Reno. We started in Tahoe, playing 2-3 No Limit Hold 'Em. The friendly crowd was a few tourists and a lot of retired locals. A few of the locals were cranky old bastards, and Zeke took great pleasure in taking their money. He ended up taking more than $1000. I finished up about $50 after losing a $400 pot to a bad beat.

We headed down to Reno on Sunday and the cards were not friendly. Zeke gave up most of his Tahoe winnings, and I eked out just a few more dollars.

Reno has the stench of death. Maybe it was just that we were there on a slow weekend, but the casinos and hotels were empty, the streets were dust-blown, the median age was 60 and the median weight was 260. A nice old guy at the poker table asked Zeke to move to Reno " 'cause we need young people here." Another guy at the table said Zeke could get rich as a lawyer there, as there were 80 DUIs per month, and they averaged $2000 per DUI in lawyer's fees.

Tahoe next time. No Reno.

TV causes autism?

I believe it.

Sins of the Republicans

I bring attention to the following not because I want to gratuitously beat up on Congressional Republicans, but because if they lose (still a big if), I don't want the mainstream media to get away with making up a false history. The MSM will try to tell us that it's all about Mark Foley and Bush fatigue. It's not. If the Republicans lose, it's because they've become the Institutional Party of Government Growth that we sent them there to oppose.

From yesterday's WSJ ($):
If Republicans lose control of Congress next month, one big reason will be their record of overspending, especially on earmarks. What explains this GOP fiscal performance?

One answer comes from a new analysis by the Cato Institute on the Capitol Hill culture of spending under Republican rule. Examining hearings of 14 Congressional committees, political scientist James Payne found that 1,014 witnesses argued in favor of greater spending while only seven advocated less, an imbalance of 145 to 1. This is worse that a Cuban election.

In the same hearings, federal programs were described as "effective" or "efficient" 50 times more often than they were described as "ineffective" or "inefficient." Federal agencies were praised as "helpful" or "beneficial" in 990 instances, but they were scorned as causing "harm" or "hurt" only a dozen times. These are many of the same federal agencies that the U.S. General Accountability Office has found often can't pass the most basic financial audit.

"The problem is that advocates of spending overwhelm all aspects of Congressional communication," says Mr. Payne. Congressional hearings that are supposed to be impartial assessments of whether taxpayers get their money's worth become instead cheerleading sessions for bigger government. "No one wants to do the honest oversight of taxpayer spending," adds Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn, a rare Republican exception to that rule.

In sum, Congressional hearings have degenerated into a lobbying process in which advocates sing the praises of the spending that their livelihoods depend on, while stroking the egos of the politicians as constructive philanthropists. Members of Congress begin to believe their own stacked juries. It's amazing they stopped spending at $2.7 trillion this year.

The Republicans remind me a lot of the Democrats of the early 90’s: fat, complacent, bringing home the pork. Party affiliation seems less a factor than length of time in power. Any unprincipled politician from either party will become a pork king after enough time in power. That’s why it’s important to elect people with real principles – people like Tom Coburn and Jeff Flake. They are a tiny minority of the Republican Congress, but they have the key to Republican salvation.

Little Britain

I hope you find this as funny as I do:
It has taken more than 12 months and cost about £10,000 but a council is finally on the verge of discovering the identity of a man who kept saying "baa" during a planning meeting.

After a wide-ranging investigation, Havering council, based in Romford, Essex, has prepared a 300-page report, according to the Romford Recorder newspaper.

Thanks to Best of the Web.

Off to Reno and Tahoe

I'm off to Reno and Tahoe to play a bit of poker with Old Zeke.

Have a great weekend!

As much as I chafe at Bush & Co...

...the fact remains that the left is led and spoken for by ineffectual, whiny losers, to whom nobody listens, and who, incidentally, feel the need to parade their smartness by wearing Harvard apparel well into middle age.

Today, the market has spoken.

Some French do enjoy a day's work

At least until their employer finds out and gets pissed.

Requires YouTube registration, but fairly funny video of the Disney orgy here.

UPDATE: The cowards at Google/YouTube have taken the video down, but you can still see it here, courtesy of the UK Sun.

Option trade

There's a pretty juicy option trade out there on Amazon.com:

Sell the Nov 37.50 calls for 0.80.

Sell the Nov 30 puts for 0.90.

I think Amazon will float in the 30 - 37.50 range for the next month. If it does, you make a nice $170 per contract. If it drops below that, you own Amazon at a net of $28.30. And on the upside, Amazon has to go above $39.20 for you to lose.

The gift that keeps on giving

John Francois Kerry:
"My impression is there's no way he's not going to run," said a confidant who speaks with Kerry regularly and asked not to be identified.

...

"A lot of the people who helped in '04 have encouraged him to take a look at running again," [Kerry fund-raiser Robert] Farmer said. ``When you travel with him today, he's like a rock star."


Now which rock star would that be? Do you see him as more like Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, or Metallica's James Hetfield? Tough call.

Ready to suit up one more time
Suited up and reporting for duty.

HT: Karol.

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass pics


The Nashville Bluegrass Band


Dry Branch Fire Squad


On the hill above the Songwriters Circle with Steve Earle, Billy Bragg, Guy Clark, and Verlon Thompson.


Earl Scruggs


Crowd shot


Billy Bragg


Billy Bragg video

Nighttime attacks happen in broad daylight

Domestic violence plagues women worldwide, study says

HT: Ang.

Tales from the bubble

Housing bubble? What housing bubble?

After spending a year and upward of $15,000 (borrowed on credit cards) going to real estate seminars and buying home education courses from everyone from Russ Whitney to Bruce Norris and, of course, the aforementioned Robert "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" Kiyosaki, [22-year-old Casey] Serin embarked on his brilliant career as a real estate flopper, er, flipper.

He quit his job and in the next four months he acquired six more properties. All in all, his portfolio included eight single-family homes, including two houses in Sacramento and one in Modesto, a seven-bedroom fixer-upper in Highland, Utah, a model home in Rio Rancho, N.M. and five-bedroom, four-bathroom ranch house in Dallas, Texas.

Saturday

Off to Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. See you there.

Good advice

You can't beat this:
Yeah, it might be photoshopped. But it's still good advice.

Sports cliches gone bad

I may be wrong, but I believe I just heard, in a mid-inning interview, Mets manager Willie Randolph say, "His speed is infectious."

Wow. I'm going to start hanging around fast people.

A journalist's paranoid racist Scalia fantasy

Slate writer Dahlia Lithwick covered the Supreme Court's first day, and was shocked -- shocked! -- at this Scalia comment on whether a deported convicted felon is still on supervised release while in Mexico:
"Nobody thinks your client is really, you know, abstaining from tequila down in Mexico because he is on supervised release in the United States."

The horror! Suggesting that someone might drink tequila, a well-known and widely promoted Mexican liquor, while in Mexico!

Yes, Lithwick goes on:
Nobody laughs. But then, nobody winces or flinches, either. Somehow, a remark that would have flattened us had a Souter spoken it is just a solid day at the office for Scalia. I have no idea where the tequila comment should register on the nation's macaca-meter. The more interesting question is about Scalia's deliberate carelessness with language, his sense that he is somehow above the sorts of linguistic delicacy the rest of us expect in our dealings with others. Indeed, he seems to think it's his obligation to be ever more reckless with his words, perhaps because he's about the only guy left who faces no consequences for his rhetorical body-slams.
Wow! Imagine if Souter said something about someone drinking tequila in Mexico! Can you imagine the outrage? And how deliberately careless and reckless Scalia is! Tequila! What a body-slam!

The editors at Slate treated this story as the sure-fire Pulitzer story it is: they ran it as the top story on the front page with a headline reading "Scalia's macaca moment."

IP Freely scoops the Wall Street Journal

In a prescient comment on Amaranth just a few days ago, IP Freely wrote:
My bet is you will see many more of these implosions.

Today, the Wall Street Journal agrees:
As the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbs to record heights, many hedge funds are stumbling and more than ever are closing shop.

The latest to falter: Vega Asset Management. One of the world's largest hedge funds a few years ago, Vega has suffered losses from a bad bet against U.S. bonds, and is now down roughly 75% from its peak two years ago to about $3 billion in assets.

Bill Frist, you are Put On Notice!

In one of the sleaziest, most underhanded, Congressional manoeuvers since the Foley-pageboy reacharound, Bill Frist attached an Internet poker ban to the port security bill.

This arrogant, petty tyrant just single-handedly put an end to the hobby of millions.

Bill Frist has sucked for some time. First it was his shady stock trading. More recently it was his surrender-monkey attitude toward the Taliban. So this last move is no surprise.

Question: Why would Frist be so myopically obsessed with a little issue like online poker that he would go to underhanded, weaselly tactics like attaching it at the last minute to a serious security bill?

Possible answers:
1) Social conservatives want it.
2) He’s getting huge contributions from Vegas / Atlantic City / Indian gambling interests who want to eliminate their competion.

I'd say #2 is a hell of a lot more likely, as I've never heard social conservatives pushing this as one of their top issues.

Online poker is a personal interest of mine. Sure, Congress’s ban of online poker is not as terrible as the McCain-Feingold Free Speech Ban or the appalling record of earmarks, pork, and runaway spending.

All in all, it’s just another brick in the wall. If the Republicans are going to be the second big-government nanny state party, I’m not going to support them.

And Bill Frist has joined John McCain as one Republican I will never support for anything under any circumstances.

Bill Frist, you are Put On Notice!

Tax cuts for the poor

You know it's got to be blindingly obvious when even USA Today admits it:
Income tax cuts benefit all payers

Americans of every income have benefited from a drop in federal income tax rates as Bush administration tax cuts enacted since 2000 took effect, an independent analysis of newly released IRS data shows.

...

The analysis showed, for example, that a taxpayer who earned $35,000 in 2000 would have paid 8.54% of that income — $2,989 after credits — in federal taxes. In 2004, federal taxes would have accounted for 5.12% of that taxpayer's annual income, or $1,792. That represents a 40% decrease in tax burden.

At the higher end of the income brackets, a $1.75 million earner would have paid $513,625 in 2000 federal taxes, when the rate for that earning bracket was 29.35%. Four years later, when the rate dropped to 25%, that earner would have paid $437,500. That represents a 14.8% cut in tax burden, the analysis shows.

...

Millions of lower-income Americans — those earning $25,000 annually or less — have been taken off the federal tax rolls. In 2000, roughly 29 million tax returns had no federal tax owed. Four years later, the number rose to about 43 million returns.


Thanks to Todd for sending the link.
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