Monday, December 29, 2014

No, Video Games Should Not Be in the Olympics




Nope.

And the argument that starts off with "curling" or anything related to synchronized swimming is just more of the same kind of trolling that won't get you anywhere, son.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

How Can You Stop Capitalism?


I do not live in fancy digs, nor do I use Uber or Airbnb, but I cannot understand why there is a growing backlash against basic capitalism:
A woman has been “profiteering” from her government-subsidized, rent-controlled Central Park duplex by renting out bedrooms through Airbnb, a Manhattan judge said, ordering her to stop immediately.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Carol Edmead issued a temporary injunction against Noelle Penraat, who, as The Post reported in October, was sued by her landlord.
In her ruling made public Tuesday, Edmead said records show Penraat made $61,000 off her rent-controlled Central Park duplex in just nine months. Penraat’s “own records indicate that she has been profiteering from a rent-controlled apartment partially subsidized by another government program,” Edmead wrote.
The apartment is hers, right? And all she is doing is a form of subletting, which used to be legal. And it's not even subletting. It's called renting out a room, which was done extensively during the Depression. The fear-mongering against the "traffic" in and out of the building is absurd and elitist.
The landlord claimed Penraat has had 135 rentals since February 2012, with guests logging three- to 21-night stays.

The landlord estimated that Penraat could make up to $118,300 a year if she rented the apartment on a nightly, year-round basis.
Penraat advertised her “Gorgeous master bed/bath on the park,” a “Lovely small bedroom in a huge apartment” and a “Sunny bedroom, Central Park view” for between $75 and $150 a night until the case was filed.


Honestly, where's the crime here?  If this was Colorado or Georgia, she'd be unable to charge that much and no one would want to stay in her apartment (emphasis on her apartment). She's using the marketplace to make money. She isn't forcing anyone to overpay her. She's charging what people want to pay. Someone has found a way to undercut the profit margins of the people who are really ripping people off. Imagine that.

Making money by giving people something they want to pay for is illegal now?

An Ethics-Free Congress





You can tell the Republicans are in charge because ethics no longer matter. Michael Grimm was re-elected with a felony indictment hanging over his head and, thanks to a safely Gerrymandered district, he won his race going away.

And yes, there is a precedent here. William Jefferson was a corrupt Congressman from Louisiana who stuffed the money in his freezer and told everyone to go pound sand when they politely asked him to resign from Congress. You can read about that here and then do a comparison and contrast with how the GOP leadership has basically thrown their hands in the air over a convicted felon like Grimm. Reading that old story was like stepping into a time machine.

Ethics in Congress? Really? And people actually cared about that stuff? Wow.


Monday, December 22, 2014

None of These Clowns Are Worth the Attention




At some point, the trolling has to stop:

North Korea threatens to 'blow up' the White House after claiming to find 'clear evidence' that the GOVERNMENT was behind controversial Sony film The Interview

It now looks more like an inside job at Sony Pictures than it does anything else. And it looks to me like the extra attention granted to all three parties--Kim Jong Un, James Franco, and Seth Rogen--is about as shopworn as using a ticking time bomb as a plot device.

In a world...where things actually mattered...nobody would be talking about any of them. Ever.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

This is Why We Can Invade Iraq Again


All someone needs to do is figure out how to blame the hacking of Sony on the Iraqis.

That's it.

Once we do that, we have the case for war. We can invade. We can go break shit. We can own that country all over again.

The problem is, these hacks probably come from the Chinese, who are receiving some hard currency or some other form of graft from North Korea and we can't invade those countries. But, anyone threatening another 9/11 falls under the new American doctrine which allows for tearing up old agreements.

Seriously, though. Threatening another 9/11 isn't cool. Someone is going to overreact to this and we may well end up with a sequel to this movie. Killing Vladimir Putin would make a great film, but he'd probably just kick Franco's ass.

Trolling Ted Cruz



And what I like about this Politico story are the comments, of course:


Classic...

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Russian Ruble is Collapsing




Couldn't have happened to a nicer kleptocracy:

The ruble tumbled the most since 1998, sliding past 60 for the first time, as traders tested Russia’s willingness to defend the currency amid an oil slump that’s pushing the economy toward recession.


The ruble weakened 9.1 percent to 64.0005 per dollar at 7:57 p.m. in Moscow, the steepest slide on a closing basis since the year Russia defaulted on local-currency debt. The 10-year government bond yield rose 23 basis points to 13.23 percent. Three-month implied volatility for the ruble climbed to a six-year high as the rout triggered the Bank of Russia to sell foreign exchange, according to BCS Financial Group and MDM Bank.


Traders are pressing the central bank to buy more rubles to limit a selloff that has wiped out 22 percent of the currency’s value this month. Oil’s slide toward $60 a barrel in London and sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine are undermining confidence in Russian assets as evidence mounts that the economy is entering a recession. Industrial output fell the most in more than a year in November, data showed today.


Everyone who bet on oil being expensive is losing money right now. And I think that this is largely driven by the fact that alternative forms of energy are making inroads and so there's a glut of oil on the world market. I don't want to be around (but I will be) when the major producers scale back--the price will shoot up, no doubt.

Is it time to get that electric car and invest in solar panels? It's always time to get the electric car and put solar panels everywhere.

The decision made by the Western nations (The U.S. and Europe) to put a shiv into the side of Russia's economy is paying off. The price for all of this has to be for Russia to give up two things: Eastern and Southern Ukraine and Edward Snowden.

The Nightly News No Longer Matters


Are you relieved that Brian Williams isn't going anywhere? Or did you, like me, yawn and look for other news:
Brian Williams is staying put as NBC Nightly News anchor, the network announced Monday. Saying that he's "renewed his commitment" to the network's news division, NBC News presidentDeborah Turness said in a staff memo that he will continue to serve as anchor and managing editor of the nightly broadcast "for years to come."
The news comes as Williams recently celebrated his 10th anniversary as NBC Nightly News anchor and ABC News recently replaced longtime World News anchor Diane Sawyer with David Muir.
People no longer wish to be informed. They wish to be entertained. I hope Williams can continue to dance around the fact that the job he holds isn't worth what it used to be. In the 1980s, this kind of an announcement would be huge because the nightly news mattered back then, The revenue generated by those programs floated these huge, bloated news divisions. Now, the only thing keeping them alive are the morning shows.

The evening news is merely a hole for the schedulers to work around.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Ben Edelman and Slanty Eyed Chinese Food Menus




This is what "lawyer" Ben Edelman said to the owner of the Chinese restaurant that he harassed earlier this year.

And no, there are no words for this kind of discourse in American society. This is what happens when you eliminate ethics from everyday life--you say whatever you want because there are no repercussions for it. Edelman won't be fired, disbarred or anything, I would imagine, because he has mastered the law as a tool for furthering his own pathologies.

I mean, wow.

Wow.

Modern Life is a Nightmare




Ben Edelman is a Harvard-educated lawyer who found out that he was overcharged for Chinese takeout. He became enraged, in only the way that a lawyer can, and terrorized the owner of the Chinese restaurant that made the mistake of trying to have a website online and survive.

We can't let one complete and utter asshole ruin everything, can we?




Follow the link to go read the whole thing. It is the use of the law to terrorize an establishment over a pithy amount. We're not talking about a whole lot of money, and we are talking about principles, but, wow.

Ben Edelman's talents seem to be honed in a way that would make him a sociopath or worse. This kind of behavior is an indicator of other very special things and I would hope that this case would inform everyone's thinking about not to deal with others.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

New Horizons




Did you know that we're about to have a probe arrive at Pluto? 

The New Horizons Pluto Probe woke up today and, in a conversation with a lag time of 4.5 hours, transmitted messages from about as far away as you can get in our solar system.

Amazing.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Collapse of Bill Cosby


I sure hope Bill Cosby has been good with his money because when one in three people are turning in their tickets to your show for a refund, that's a pretty good indicator that your performing days are coming to a close.