Sunday, November 30, 2008

How to get your sh*t into the country has a neat article about the 7 most ingenious (and insane) ways people have tried to smuggle stuff into the country. Like this guy here, who dressed in car upholstery then had someone sit in his lap.

The article linked in this one, about the 5 greatest things ever accomplished while high is pretty good too.

See, the way it works is the train moves...not the station

Rosie O'Donnell's latest career move has failed. After failing to beat even the crappy ratings Knightrider was pulling, Rosie's Variety Hour has been scrapped. One NBC spokesperson had billed it as the "YouTube of variety shows." Uh...they wish.

Guess who did pull dominate the ratings that night? None other than Rosie nemesis Babs Walters. Ouch.

Personally, I am sad to see the demise of any show that featured an "Alec Baldwin Door." Oh well...

At least Rosie did help give us a classic movie that offered up the title quote.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Taking a break

Apologies for the lack of posts recently. But early Duck Season is in and if you blink, you miss it. I've been trying my damnedest not to miss it this year. Don't really think its a good thing to wade out into the swamp with the laptop or blackberry, hence no posts.

Anyway, hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. Von and I cruised to Fayettenam for a little TDay lunch. Man, my nieces and nephews are hardly recognizable. A good time was had by all. I'll be running some errands today before heading out to Santee to spend the night for a morning hunt.

Enjoy your shopping and the Clemson-Carolina game.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Dawson wants to know what "survey says"

SC GOP party chairman Katon Dawson has officially thrown his hat into the ring to be the RNC Chairman.

I first posted about Katon turning up the heat on this back on November 7.

What's his chances? Dunno. I hope he gets it, because I think he will be terrible for the future of the GOP. Let's face it, the Republican Party needs to grow. Electing a Chairman from good old South Cackilacky ain't going to grow it much.

Both Michigan and Florida's party chairs are supposedly interested. I know knothing about either of them, but they each have seem to be in better positions to appeal to the idea of moving the party forward than a chair from SC. As Reino commented on my other post, Dawson is big on the social issues side, which will not appeal to growth.

The head of the American Family Association has said Katon is the man. But this is a guy who thinks Republicans have to "get back to their roots" (ie. pro-life crap) and Dawson is the man for that. Whatever, keep thinking that pastor while the rest of the country worries about real problems. It sure as hell ain't gonna help that Katon only recently left a club that the new President could not even join.

Of course, I'm sure former MD Lt. Gov Michael Steele is going to try to somehow ride Obama's coattails into the position. As I posted before the election, Steele is a true sell out. If the GOP makes him their Chair, he will pale in comparison to Obama.

Too much meat for just one seat

Obese people have the right to two seats for the price of one on flights within Canada, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled recently.
Althouse brings up a good points:

If you get a free extra seat now, won't people be clamoring to be
considered one of the truly obese? Does some government agency certify that you
are fat to the point of disability and thus entitled to accommodation? Or is
this just a matter of airlines telling some people they'll have to pay for a
second seat -- and now, they're being told they will need to give that seat for
free? If the latter, some of the chubbier passengers may decide to sprawl
strategically to extort extra space from the airline. If the plane is full, who
gets bumped?

Time to give thanks

Let me join all these folks in thanking Sarah Palin as well. I mean, without her, we could have had this guy as our President-elect.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Princess Leia spills all

The Daily Mail has an excerpt from Carrie Fisher's new autobiography. The Postcards from the Edge author was the child of Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, so she grew up a child of real stars. To say she had a messed up life is a bit of an understatement. But then again, who knows any functional families? We're all dysfunctional.

Personally, I think her best role was in Loverboy.

BTPC hits 100, no failure to communicate

Hey...Behind the Pine Curtain has reached its first milestone: 100 posts.

To put that in perspective, if writing posts were eating boiled eggs, I would have doubled what my man Lucas Jackson accomplished back in that Florida Prison camp back in 1967.

And we made it in just over one month.

These guys might call that "prodigious."

Get your Clemson-Carolina groove on

Behind The Pine Curtain is hosting a kick ass USC-Clemson party this coming Saturday. Be there or be square(ly kicked in the head by a felonious Tiger player).

Details here.

Jobs or Health? Is that our only choice?

Hope you have all been following John Monk and Sammy Fretwell's excellent series in The State newspaper over the last week, investigating DHEC's failure to lead on some of the biggest health and environmental issues affecting South Carolina’s future. It's always refreshing to see one of our local media outlets actually do some investigative journalism, instead of say, puff-pieces on outgoing defeated politicians.

Anyway, this past Wednesday, they looked at a major environmental and health issue we are facing in the Pee Dee: Santee Cooper's proposed $2.2 Billion dollar coal fired electrical plant on the Pee Dee river (over near Pamplico and Johnsonville).

This plant is a perfect example of the term boondoggle. The folks behind this monstrosity are preying on the economic fears of the community, holding out the promise of jobs to communities starving for them, in exchange for putting a dying technology in their back yard that can kill them.

Think for minute about the term "clean coal." There is no such thing. Santee Cooper knows the damn thing is obsolete BEFORE they even build it. But yet they continue to push it. Why? Why not nuclear? Why are they so bent on using a finite fossil fuel that pollutes A LOT? Most utilities are moving away from coal because of these problems. In fact, Santee Cooper itself is pimping coal in this hand, while extending their other hand in the Columbia area to push a nuclear plant they want to build along with SCE&G.

The 2,700-acre plant, to be built 25 miles southeast of Florence, would be
Its smokestack would be 650 feet tall — 95 feet taller than the
Washington Monument.
It would consume 4 million tons of coal a year in two
giant coal furnaces that would produce 1,320 megawatts of electricity. That’s
enough to power 300,000 to 500,000 homes and perhaps hundreds of new

But what it would release into the air, even with pollution controls,
is causing a stir statewide.
Each year, the smokestack would release 9
million tons of atmosphere-warming carbon dioxide, at least 93 pounds of
potentially nerve-damaging mercury and thousands of tons of other pollutants.
The smokestack would release pollutants high enough to be caught by upper wind

Those protesting the coal plant include state and national
environmental groups, some area doctors and residents and 10 attorneys general
from other states. They fear winds will carry the pollution their way.

That's right, 10 other states are concerned about the pollution this plant would cause, but folks around here are ready to sell their souls (or more importantly their health) for the plant. Apparently, Pamplico Mayor Gene Gainey still believes that the almighty dollar has not corrupted our economic culture:

“This will help generate more industry,” he said, adding that more than
1,100 area residents last year signed a petition supporting the plant. “I don’t
believe Santee Cooper would do anything to harm the community.”

Gainey added that the plant even could help offset some 2,000 jobs lost in recent years when textile plants closed. it can't. Those jobs are gone and they ain't coming back, not to mention that even Santee Cooper's job estimates are only for a fraction of that number of jobs. And even those estimates are high because they count construction jobs, which will of course disappear once the plant is built. Plus, I skipped Mayor Gainey's ridiculous remark that he doesn't believe Santee Cooper would do anything to harm the community, because it is just that: ridiculous. Especially when one considers Santee Cooper was pumping massive illegal amounts of pollutants into the air at its Winyah plant in Georgetown county for more than a decade. There is no such thing as corporate stewardship of the environment, Mayor Gainey. If Santee Cooper was at all concerned with the community, they would not be trying to throw a obsolete plant in your area to cash in quickly.

Of course, Wukela is the only local politician to voice opposition to this plant. Hell...Florentines should be against it for the traffic mess alone. You guys realize we'd have a mile long train hauling coal through our city every day? Better get used to sitting there at South Park.

More than that, you have to wonder why this piece of junk is being pushed. Funny...I seem to recall one of the projects for that 1-cent sales tax was widening Hwy 378 from Lake City to Johnsonville. At the time, I thought it was awfully nice of those pushing the tax to help make it easier for Wellman to pull their equipment out of Johnsonville. But now one wonders, who is really benefiting? Hmmm...

Lazy Sunday with the House of Commons

Bored to tears. Just watched my Dolphins make Matt Cassell look like Johnny U. Wolf Blitzer's Lap is cruising to another W. So I got on YouTube for one of my new favorite past times: looking at video from House of Commons debates. Here's a good one of Brown and Cameron going toe to toe. As I have said before, our failure to have this type of public give and take is a sign of our country's immaturity.

Rodney Mullen ripping it up

Now I haven't been on a board since me and the Mayor made my nephew a street ramp for Christmas a few years ago, but I still appreciate a good shredding. And Rodney Mullen is still fly. The side-board slide (I'm sure Jaime can extrapolate on the real name) is suhweet.

The Perfect Crime

Yes...that is perfect, Dwight.

Throwing up in my mouth

Deputy Dog was on Meet the Press this morning. What a pompous, bloated-with-self-importance, full-of-sh*t, jag-off.
Seriously...Brokaw has been trying to get him to admit he's screwed up and he's sorry, but the self-righteous prick just can't. In fact, he's busy bragging about how pleased he was that the resolution did not criticize him for backing the Republican nominee, because his friends in the Democratic caucus "respected" that he did it as a true "independent" irrespective of Republican or Democrat.
What a load of crap.
But I've got to hand it to him, he pretty much continues to piss on Harry Reid, letting him know what a punk he is. Losing that chair of the environment committee? Not a "sanction." He volunteered to step down, so Harry could have some room for some other folks.
But I was glad to hear Obama has not talked to him, he's having to go through Rahm and Reid. Not that its enough. The Dems will pay for letting this prick keep the committee with government oversight. Mark my words.

Saxby Chambliss is a piece of sh*t

The fact that Saxby Chambliss is a piece of sh*t isn't exactly news. Hell...the world has known that as fact, ever since Chambliss ran an utterly disgraceful ad about his opponent Max Cleland in their Georgia Senate race of 2002.

You remember that ad, the one that linked Cleland to Osama and Saddam and question the "courage" of a man that suffered such grave injuries in Vietnam, he had to have three of his limbs amputated. Injuries Cleland suffered when he threw himself on a grenade upon exiting a helicopter on a mission that was part of a coordinated effort to relieve the Marines under attack at Khe Shan. Injuries the vile Ann Coulter once discounted by saying Cleland "blew himself up," or tried to discount because by all accounts it was a fellow marines grenade--friendly fire if you will. An ad John McCain, who is know strolling through Georgia campaigning for Chambliss, condemned by saying:

"I'd never seen anything like that ad. Putting pictures of Saddam Hussein and
Osama bin Laden next to the picture of a man who left three limbs on the
battlefield -- it's worse than disgraceful. It's reprehensible."

Always one to steer into the skid, Chambliss has now decided to go after his current opponent, Jim Martin in the one way no one with an ounce of decency or class would: attack him as soft on crime. Why is that so incredibly tacky? Because Martin's daughter was abducted when she was eight years old. Luckily she was returned.

Martin's response:

"Jim Martin has never forgotten the horror of coming face-to-face with violent
crime. That's why he spent his career working to protect Georgia's children and
families," Martin spokesperson Kate Hansen said in a press release. "Georgians
will reject Chambliss' false personal attacks because they know that Jim Martin
always stands up to protect Georgia families."

Hopefully, Saxby's latest trip into the gutter leaves Georgians with a bad taste in their mouth and they vote his ass out.

CP laying down the rhymes

An oldie but goodie. From December of '05, I think. Von and I caught this last night on an E rerun and laughed our asses off. I had forgotten about it. Truth be told, Parnell is quite to prolific rapper. He's also got an phat jam about Kirsten Dunst. Of course, all this was prelude to the greatest rap in the history of SNL, Lazy Sunday (and the true birth of Digital Shorts).
Chris Parnell Raps For Demi Moore - Watch more free videos

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sweathog brings it home

The Sportsguy has a great running diary of the match race between Robert Conrad and Gabe Kaplan on the 1976 debut of Battle of the Network Stars. Talk about bloated self-importance. The only thing Simmons misses, how can he not point out Kaplan getting a peck on the cheek from Wonder Woman when ABC "wins" after the penalty?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Dana Perino: Idiot

Ah...the lovely Dana Perino. Resident hottie of the White House, chief doofus of the press room.

Yes, this is the very White House Press Secretary who did not know what the Cuban Missile Crisis was. Moreover, she admitted to asking her husband if it was the same thing as the Bay of Pigs. The lady who once touted the "benefits" of global warming: not as many people will die from the cold.

What's her latest whopper? How about her statement recently about the Endangered Species Act: "...I know that the Endangered Species Act is a tangled web that doesn’t actually help support any species, including our own."

Uh, Dana? The grey wolf, the grizzly bear and the American Bald Eagle would like a word with you. Seems they think pretty highly of the act.

What was Dana responding to? Oh, just the fact that her boss wants to eliminate the input of federal wildlife scientists in some endangered species cases, [by allowing] the federal agency in charge of building, authorizing or funding a project to determine for itself whether a project would be likely to harm endangered wildlife and plants.

According to National Wildlife Federation spokesman John Kostyack, "These changes take unbiased, professional wildlife biologists out of the equation and put decisions in the hands of political appointees."

I mean...what could go wrong there? Listen, self-regulation worked pretty well for Wall Street didn't it? Uh-oh...bad example.

This bullsh*t rule change is just one of the many things W and his cronies are trying to sneak through at the buzzer, a little political payoff for their patrons. Come on,'re smarter than that. Ok, maybe not.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Klostermann reviews Chinese Democracy

One of the icons of rock reviews takes on one of the icons of rock.

In the end, he gives it an A-

But as anything with Chuck, it ain't the destination, it's the journey that is so much fun.

Reviewing Chinese Democracy is not like reviewing music. It's more like
reviewing a unicorn. Should I primarily be blown away that it exists at all? Am
I supposed to compare it to conventional horses? To a rhinoceros? Does its
pre-existing mythology impact its actual value, or must it be examined inside a
cultural vacuum, as if this creature is no more (or less) special than the
remainder of the animal kingdom? I've been thinking about this record for 15
years; during that span, I've thought about this record more than I've thought
about China, and maybe as much as I've thought about the principles of
democracy. This is a little like when that grizzly bear finally ate Timothy
Treadwell: Intellectually, he always knew it was coming. He had to. His very
existence was built around that conclusion. But you still can't psychologically
prepare for the bear who eats you alive, particularly if the bear wears

Analyze this

This site claims to analyze blogs and determine their type. Apparently, the BTPC is an "ESTP- The Doers:"

The active and play-ful type. They are especially attuned to people and things
around them and often full of energy, talking, joking and engaging in physical
out-door activities. The Doers are happiest with action-filled work which craves
their full attention and focus. They might be very impulsive and more keen on
starting something new than following it through. They might have a problem with
sitting still or remaining inactive for any period of time.

Hey, Reino, here's yours, ISTP - The Mechanics:

The independent and problem-solving type. They are especially attuned to the
demands of the moment are masters of responding to challenges that arise
spontaneously. They generelly prefer to think things out for themselves and
often avoid inter-personal conflicts. The Mechanics enjoy working together with
other independent and highly skilled people and often like seek fun and action
both in their work and personal life. They enjoy adventure and risk such as in
driving race cars or working as policemen and firefighters.

I think they hit it on the head, no? They certainly tagged my ADD pretty well and the books littering our house attest to the fact that I am keen on starting things, but not so much on the finishing. And Reino does work in the automotive service field (ie. mechanics).

Wax on, Wax off.

More bad news for Detroit.

In addition to looking like complete tools for each taking their own Gulfstream to Washington to plead for free money, the CEOs of America's car industry just lost one of their bestest and longest committee-chairing friends, Rep. John Dingell.

Looks like Waxman has taken over as head of the Energy and Commerce committee. As TPM notes, "the defeat of Dingell is a major victory for environmentalists, removing a key obstacle to real energy reform just as a Democrat with climate change high on his agenda takes the Presidency."
The big issue here, is Dingell's fall is a pretty big sign that change creeping around Capital Hill. Dingell was the incumbent chair and had seniority. Didn't matter. Marshall also makes a good point: with Waxman assuming the chair and his former chief of staff (Shiliro) now as Obama's point man on legislation, we may be seeing a real shift in energy and environmental policy.

Is health care reform really coming?

Here's Obama with his new head of the Department of Health and Human Services, former Dem Senate majority leader Tom Daschle.

Pretty much everyone on the left is excited about this appointment, as they think Daschle's appointment signals Obama is serious about pushing through healthcare reform. The theory is, Daschle is not being picked for his administrative skills, he's being picked for his knowledge of inside baseball in getting legislation passed.

Let me warn all my conservative friends, get ready. Healthcare reform is coming. Trust me. I talk to a wide variety of folks everyday about this topic, a vast majority conservative. Everyone is fed up with our current system. I always enjoy listening to insurance adjusters complain to me about my clients' medical costs, as if I have something to do with how high they are.

My line is usually, "Hey...I agree. That crap is outrageous. But what do I know...I want socialized healthcare."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Taking a night off

Two hearings and one jury trial in two days has me worn slap out, so I'm taking it easy tonight. A little reading of Goldsworthy's Caesar (I've gotten terribly behind in my reading), catching the latest episode on SAMCRO, then its off to bed. No posts other than this feeble one.

Doesn't help that the adrenaline has worn off from last last night's penultimate episode of The Shield. Holy Sh*t! Vic Mackey is gonna get a pass while selling Ronnie down the river? Say it ain't so. That line he gave the ICE agent, "I've done worse," was awesome.

BTW, whoever handles the PR for Detroit's CEOs, can we at least agree they can't have any money from the bailout. I mean, we'd just be encouraging them, wouldn't we?

Caught up on some Chuck tonight. Who new that the secret to Missle Command was Rush's Tom Sawyer. I would have guessed Red Barchetta. And for the record, there is nothing like the Neal Peart ride.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

End of an Era

Tonight at 10 pm on FX, the next to last episode of The Shield debuts. If you've never watched this show, go get the DVDs right now. Sean Ryan's masterpiece is rapping up a 7 Season run that has truly broken ground in television. Ryan, also the man behind CBS' The Unit, has consistently delivered with this program and is going out at the top of his game.

Now, there's no doubt I consider HBO's The Wire the greatest all-time TV show. But Hickman argues The Shield is better and he's got a strong argument. The Wire was able shift focus each season to basically tell an entirely different version of the same story. That meant that each season, Chase and Simon got new central characters to be catalysts for their world. The Shield has been going 7 seasons revolving around the same central characters. Sure, Ryan pulled in season long guest stars to stir the pot, like Forrest Whittaker and Glenn Close. But they were still players in Vic Mackey and the Strike Teams world.

I can't wait to see what happens to end this series. The way Ryan is, you get a feeling there will be no happy ending. It has been a break-neck pace for quite a while. Not bad for a series whose original trailer left me cold: "Good cop, bad cop left for the day. I'm a different kind of cop." I thought it would be cheesy. Cheesy it ain't.

Congrats to a former Florentine.

This pic is of Carl Peterson receiving his winner's check after winning the 2008 Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, NC.

Why should you care? Well, the PGA's Tour Advisory Council picked the Wyndham as the tour's "Most Improved Event." Still wondering why you should care? Because a big reason they won the award was a former resident of Florence: Keith Wood. Wood was the superintendent of Florence Country Club until moving on to Sedgefield recently. Soon after taking over in Greensboro, Wood began the task of readying the course to host a PGA event. I know he put in a lot of hours and worked his tail off.

For those that played at FCC during his reign, you know Keith knew his sh*t and was a great guy.

Keith and his wife Leslie also happen to be friends. So congrats, guys. And yes, we definitely need to take a road trip up that way to see you guys soon.

Weak. Weak. Weak.

Today, the Democratic Senate Caucus will vote on what "punishment" Joe Lieberman will suffer for being a lying sack of sh*t for his buddy John McCain during the presidential campaign. If you notice somewhat of a smile of Deputy Dog's face in the pic, it's probably because all reports coming out yesterday have suggested that the fix is in and Joe is gonna get to keep his chairmanship of the Homeland Security and Government Oversight Committee.

If that happens, the Dems deserve every bit of crap Lieberman is gonna throw at their door over the next few years. Ignore the fact that he's a two-faced, opportunist willing to lie his pants off to save his own skin, the guy was a horrible committee chair. His committe is supposed to handle Government Oversight, yet he didn't have a single hearing about Iraq, Katrina or the US attorney scandal. WTF?!

This guy has no business keeping this committee, even if he had not gotten up and blatantly campaigned negatively against "his" party's candidate for President (which he did, no matter what he tries to say now). Hey, Harry. If you let this happen, let's role play. Look at this video. I'll be Tony Blair and you can be John Major.

Who am I?

Reino has a post trying to figure out who Pluvlaw exactly is. Of course, it's no big secret. I certainly think most people who look at this blog know who I am, mainly because I shamelessly link to a lot of my posts through Facebook. The only reason I don't straight-out put my name on it, is because let's face it, I can be a smart-ass and have on occasion pissed people off. No need in making it easy for the offended to target their anger, especially when they could easily wind up in the jury pool.

But in the good-natured spirit in which the guantlet was thrown down, I offer this home video of one of my first job interviews out of law school.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Florence, your new mayor

Angela E. Kershner/MORNING NEWS

Stephen J. Wukela was sworn in as Florence's 23rd (I think) mayor tonight. Judge Anderson described Wukela by saying “I encapsulate his career to this point as a stalwart warrior for progress in the city of Florence,” Anderson said.

The 2nd picture was one I took. Not great quality, but all of us in the jury box were loving Stephen J's little stance there.

Octavia Williams-Blake and Steve Powers were also sworn in as Florence's two new City-council members. Current city council members Brand, Bradham and Williams were in attendance. BTPC assumes City Councilman Robinson was too busy at home "praying" about Wukela's arrival.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Who is this guy?

Meet Phil Schiliro. He's the former chief of staff for Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and he also worked for then majority leader Tom Daschle (D-SD). He's got a new gig: he will be President Obama's man on Capital Hill as Assistant to the President on Legislative Affairs. Marc Ambinder says Schiliro was "known as one of the savviest, smartest chiefs of staffs in DC."

Now, let me go ahead and respond to every commentator on Fox News who is going to hyperventilate this coming week about how they don't see how Hillary possibly being named Sec of State and insiders like Schiliro taking key positions represent change? Listen, change comes from Obama and his policies. Benen summed it up well, he's got to have people who know Washington to make it happen. Plus, you cannot take on cemented institutions like the professional political establishment of Washington, DC without bringing in some of those folks to the fold. If you tried that, you would turn them all against you, insuring your failure to get anything done. Ask Bill Clinton how well that works.

If his campaign showed us anything, it showed us Obama can pick smart people, lay out a strategy for them and steer them all towards a goal. That's what some of these picks are. Some of them are also probably a bit of LBJ philosophy, "better to have them in your tent pissing out, than outside your tent, pissing in."

Saturday, November 15, 2008

It probably would have been cheaper to hire an attorney

With the economy going into the crapper, here is a public service announcement for my profession. Hire an attorney. Don't do it yourself.

That is all.

Who are these people and who killed the Bull?

Since I can no longer stomach the three-way action going on between Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson and Tim Tebow, I got online and found this interesting post via Sullivan. It's an article by one of my favorite authors, Michael Lewis. If you've never read Liar's Poker, you should. Lewis was basically Bud Fox before Oliver Stone created him. In fact, all of Lewis' books are excellent. For those that don't know Lewis, he's also the author who penned "Moneyball." And if you don't know what that is, you're obviously not a baseball fan. Oh yeah...he's married to my junior high crush, Tabitha Soren of MTV News fame.

Lewis tells the story of what happened by looking at two people who were relative unknowns to most of us a year ago, Meredith Whitney and Steve Eisman, both analysts. Whitney sounded the first loud alarm about a year ago, when she dropped a Halloween treat on Wall Street: Citigroup had so mismanaged their tails, they were going to have to slash their dividends. That was the pin prick to the ballon. Eisman was her mentor at Oppenheimer and one of the few guys who not only rang the alarm, but put his money behind it, cashing in when all these mismangaged lenders started crashing. After reading this, I could not help but to wonder how so many bozos on Wall Street thought it wouldn't catch up to them. I mean, were they not paying attention when that little energy trader down in Houston went teats up and people went to jail?

It really is a great article if you want to know what happened. Here's a good section:

But he couldn’t figure out exactly how the rating agencies justified turning BBB
loans into AAA-rated bonds. “I didn’t understand how they were turning all this
garbage into gold,” he says. He brought some of the bond people from Goldman
Sachs, Lehman Brothers, and UBS over for a visit. “We always asked the same
question,” says Eisman. “Where are the rating agencies in all of this? And I’d
always get the same reaction. It was a smirk.” He called Standard & Poor’s
and asked what would happen to default rates if real estate prices fell. The man
at S&P couldn’t say; its model for home prices had no ability to accept a
negative number. “They were just assuming home prices would keep going up,”
Eisman says.

As an investor, Eisman was allowed on the quarterly conference
calls held by Moody’s but not allowed to ask questions. The people at Moody’s
were polite about their brush-off, however. The C.E.O. even invited Eisman and
his team to his office for a visit in June 2007. By then, Eisman was so certain
that the world had been turned upside down that he just assumed this guy must
know it too. “But we’re sitting there,” Daniel recalls, “and he says to us, like
he actually means it, ‘I truly believe that our rating will prove accurate.’ And
Steve shoots up in his chair and asks, ‘What did you just say?’ as if the guy
had just uttered the most preposterous statement in the history of finance. He
repeated it. And Eisman just laughed at him.”

“With all due respect, sir,” Daniel told the C.E.O. deferentially as they left the meeting, “you’re delusional.” This wasn’t Fitch or even S&P. This was Moody’s, the aristocrats of the rating business, 20 percent owned by Warren Buffett. And the company’s C.E.O. was being told he was either a fool or a crook by one Vincent Daniel, from Queens.

Even after the mess that was Enron and Arthur Anderson, still no one is minding the store. Incredible.

Friday, November 14, 2008

It's a dog with fleas.

Reino has a post up about the possible bailout for Detroit and it brought to mind the above video. Listen, folks, this is what happens when you live your life by the Gekkoian philosophy: good. isn't.

Listen, greed is what made the heads of GM, Ford and Chrysler run their companies into the ground. It's what caused them to throw all their eggs into the behemoth SUV basket, when everyone pretty much knows we've passed Peak Oil. It's what has them lining up to the trough now, begging for money to save their companies, when they know, their companies are terminal. They can't be saved. The money will just prolong the inevitable.

But if we don't give them the money and they go under, all these people will lose jobs. Okay, I understand. But I sure as hell don't want to keep GM afloat so folks can work, meanwhile their CEO gets to pocket millions of "our" money. If we're worried about these folks working and we're willing to spend billions of taxpayer dollars on it, let's start some projects. Redoing our countries infrastructure would be nice. I bet everyone would appreciate us modernizing our electrical grid and water distribution. Hey...we could even upgrade their security, you know, keep them safe from those pesky terrorists. That would be swell. How about checking out all those bridges. I don't know about you, but when I cross the river over into Marion, it's a little discomforting to see a small tree growing out of the concrete. It's almost enough to keep one from the Bobo Spa. But seriously...there are any number of better ways we could spend money and employ people. Specifically, ways in which WE receive the benefits instead of a private companies stockholders.

Look, there is a reason Marx said give them enough rope and they'll hang themselves. You don't believe him? Check it...we, the United States Government, now owns the worlds biggest insurance company. And that happened largely under a Republican-controlled congress and a Republican president.

But to my Dems, I have this to say: It's time for some tough love. Take the hit. Let 'em die. Tell these fools that free market means just that. If you want to be Adam Smith, you can't privatize profits and socialize losses. Bitch slap them with your invisible hand, President Obama. And when you do, explain your gonna take whatever they wanted to bail out their stinking, bloated tails and you're gonna use that money to rebuild this country.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Stay Classy, McCain.

Sullivan pretty much nails it:
"I'd never seen anything like that ad. Putting pictures of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden next to the picture of a man who left three limbs on the battlefield -- it's worse than disgraceful. It's reprehensible," - Senator John McCain, on Saxby Chambliss's 2002 campaign for the Senate.

McCain will be campaigning for Chambliss's re-election run-off. And McCain is an honorable man.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"As above, so below; as below, so above."

The United States Supreme Court will hear oral argument tomorrow in a case that presents interesting arguments about regarding the First Amendment. Benen has a good summary:

Across the street from City Hall [in Pleasant Grove City, Utah] sits a
small park with about a dozen donated buildings and objects -- a wishing well, a
millstone from the city's first flour mill and an imposing red granite monument
inscribed with the Ten Commandments.

Thirty miles to the north, in Salt Lake City, adherents of a religion
called Summum gather in a wood and metal pyramid hard by Interstate 15 to
meditate on their Seven Aphorisms, fortified by an alcoholic sacramental nectar
they produce and surrounded by mummified animals.

In 2003, the president of the Summum church wrote to the mayor here with a proposal: the church wanted to erect a monument inscribed with the Seven Aphorisms in the city park, "similar in size and nature" to the one devoted to the Ten Commandments.

The city declined, a lawsuit followed and a federal appeals court ruled
that the First Amendment required the city to display the Summum monument. The
Supreme Court on Wednesday will hear arguments in the case, which could produce
the most important free speech decision of the term.

This case illustrates exactly what I hate about religion in this country. All these people who cry that we need more religion in this country only want more religion, if it is THEIR religion. I mean, Pleasant Grove City, supported by more than 20 cities and states, along with the federal government, has told the Supreme Court that the upshot of affirming the appeals court decision would be to clutter public parks across the nation with offensive nonsense.

The sheer fact that some may find their beliefs "offensive nonsense" does not matter. Hippocrit, thy name is you.

Who is this idiot making sweet, sweet love to the corndog?

Why it's John Hinderaker, a blogger for the conservative blog Powerline. Now, loving the wonder that is an all-beef kosher dog, covered in buttermilk corn meal and fried to a golden-brown hue does not one crazy make.

However, Hinderaker announced his ridiculi to the nation last year, when he won Kevin Drum's inaugural "Golden Wingnut Award" with this gem about George W. Bush's greatness: "A man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius, he can't get anyone to notice."

Fear not, my lovers of uneducated overstatement, the Hinderaker is back, better than ever. As Benen notes, Johnny H. has some incredible advice for "that one:"
Obama thinks he is a good talker, but he is often undisciplined when he speaks.
He needs to understand that as President, his words will be scrutinized and will
have impact whether he intends it or not. In this regard, President Bush is an
excellent model; Obama should take a lesson from his example. Bush never gets
sloppy when he is speaking publicly. He chooses his words with care and
precision, which is why his style sometimes seems halting. In the eight years he
has been President, it is remarkable how few gaffes or verbal blunders he has
committed. If Obama doesn't raise his standards, he will exceed Bush's total
before he is inaugurated.

What the f#*k? So apparently, in Hinderakerville, the fact that W has for the past 8 years acted and spoke with less acumen and ability than Chunk from the Goonies is not because he is dumber than a bag of hammers. Rather, it is because he is speaking with "care and precision." You can't write jokes funnier than the sincere beliefs some of these bozos have.

Monday, November 10, 2008

"Previously on Lost"

Who are these two two fly playas? It's Adam Schatz and Jeff Curtin, who have created "recap rock."

Basically, these two guys love the show Lost. Every week, they make a new song based on what happened that week, then post the song to their myspace page.

How's the music? Judge for yourself, by checking that myspace link. But the idea is funny.

BTW, the new season for Lost drops on January 21.

So 25 Years ago, ABC scared the mess out of everyone with "The Day After." Pop Candy had a post today with an interesting link that looks back on this tv movie. I remember this movie vividly, but I had no idea that some kids were made to watch this thing in school.

Interestingly, when the show Jericho came out recently, the shot of they used in ads leading up to its debut (the one with the kid on the roof seeing the mushroom cloud in the distance), reminded me of The Day After. Then it came on around that same time, on SciFi or something, and I watched it again. I'm a sucker for anything with Max Dugan in it.

69, Dude!

Hey...just noticed the last post was Bill and Ted's favorite number: 69.

Which gives me an excuse to cite one of my favorite pieces of advice: "Listen to this guy Rufus. He knows what he's talking about."

Anyway...say hello to the princesses for me. You'll see...

So long, Howard. Job well done.

Despite helming the DNC for arguably one of the greatest elections for Democrats in modern political history, Howard "Arrrgh" Dean is still planning on stepping down from the helm of the party in January.

Dean has always said he'd serve just one term, so it's not like it's news. Plus, it really is not his decision to make. As a practical matter, Obama will pretty much get to decide who will lead the DNC. But having said all that, let must add this: Dean did a hell of a job.
It was under Dean that the DNC implemented the 50-state strategy, which a lot of dems did not like. They thought it was a waste of resources. Let me say those arguments are hard to defeat. As a Democrat in South Carolina, I have seen those same feelings kill any chance we've had to build a true party for years. You will always lose 100 percent of the races you never run. SC Dems absolutely blew a shot to pick up one of our US Senate seats this year, by not getting a serious Dem to run against Graham. If you only want to run races you think you can win, you will stay the minority party.

Dean deserves a lot of credit for pushing the 50-state plan. If you think back to Dean's own race for the Presidency, it was his campaign returning the party to the idea of grassroots organizing combined with the 50-state plan that changed the party and brought about last Tuesday's results.

Thank you, Dr. Dean.

I don't think so, Terry.

Former DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe has officially filed for a possible run at being Governor of Virginia in 2009. What do I think of his chances? Uh...I think Terry lost any chance he had of people taking him seriously by his boderline idiotic behavior during the Democratic Presidential Primary (check out the video above for examples). Virginia is for lovers, but not for people who want an official cheerleader.

Wukela to be sworn in next Monday

Florence's Mayor Elect, Stephen J. Wukela will be sworn in Monday, November 17, 2008 at 6:00 pm. The ceremony will take place at the City County Complex. I assume the ceremony will be in the 11th Floor Courtroom.
The picture is of Wukela (with Hickman on the left) on election night, probably after I said something incredibly witty.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Not. Getting. It.

This is Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) and he does not get it. Appearing on Fox News Sunday, he had said this about the "republican brand":

When asked by Chris Wallace what "conservative solutions" the GOP would bring to their current minority-party status, Pence said social issues like "the sanctity of marriage" will remain the backbone of the Republican platform." You build those conservative solutions, Chris, on the same time-honored principles of limited government, a belief in free markets, in the sanctity of life, the sanctity of marriage," Pence said.

Since when does asking the Government to climb in a lady's vagina or say who can and can't get married equal "limited government?" Answer: It doesn't.

Yo, Pence...that is exactly what is wrong with your "brand." It no longer has any true ideological core. You guys sold your souls to get elected by pandering to the religious right with the very same "social issues" you think are your "backbone."

What's really sad, is you guys know it is all bullshit. One need look no further than your VP pick, Palin. Your "party" selected her strictly to pander to the people who care about that "backbone." Then when they lost, the same folks that counseled McCain to select her, have been ridiculing the shit out of her, saying what an ignorant hillbilly she is.

The truth is, you guys are scared to leave the "social issues" out of your party, because you don't think your ideology can work by itself. Besides, its so much easier to play the religion cuts out all that thinking stuff.

Pence also pushed the same fiction most Republican politicians have been pushing since getting their asses handed to them Tuesday: the country is still really with them. "We're going to invite the American people to join us in stopping any slide to the left by the Obama administration or Pelosi Democrats," Pence said. Afterall, "Republicans still have power granted by normal people."

I guess the majority of Americans are abnormal then, Mr. Pence. What a ignoramus.

What happened to conservatives

Good article by Mark Lilla from the WSJ.

Congrats to Rove, Kristol and the rest of them. You have done your very best to kill a legitimately needed train of thought in our country.

Must see TV on tuesday night

Frontline is showing Boogieman: The Lee Atwater story this Tuesday. Catch it.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Graham-Phelps to race

Breaking News: Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has challenged Michael Phelps to a swimming race.

Or at least he seemed to indicate he would last week warming up a crowd in North Cackilack for McCain: "[John McCain] fits North Carolina like a glove.... I'll beat Michael Phelps in swimming before Barack Obama wins North Carolina."... Graham continued, "Don't let me down, because I can't swim."

They let you down, Senator. Time to man up.
Late update: Phelps was in attendance at Saturday's SC game in Columbia. Could the race be in the works?

How Election day looked for me.

This is what the scene was like at Florence 3, which is the Beck Center. It was a long wait, but everyone was extremely nice. I think we had one rude person all day. Hats off to Ms. Farmer, George and the rest of the crew there. It was the second time I've spent all day with those folks (also did it back on June 10th for the primary) and I'm really upset I did not get a photo of all of them together. They do a thankless job and they do it without complaint.

Is Ed Robinson jumping ship to the GOP?

Did anyone else see the article in the FloMo that had reactions from Florence residents on Obama's win? They had several local politicians quoted and one was none other than our own City Councilman Ed Robinson.

So I have searched SCNow's site and can't find the article online, but I have the hard copy somewhere at my office. Basically, Ed said that it showed the Republican party was out of touch and they needed to bring minorities into their party.

So I read Ed's remarks and immediately thought he was putting out feelers. Now...that's a joke, but maybe it should not be. Robinson obviously has learned the past several months how little of a "leader" he is in the city of Florence. He backed Frank Willis and could not deliver the black vote. Then, probably because of that failure, his good buddies on City Council pushed through a 2nd reading on nonpartisan elections over his objection. And to add insult to injury, they refused to throw Ed a bone and lower the retirement benefits years of service requirement (so Ed could go ahead and have benes when he's booted out of office next election).

I mean, lets face it, the black community ignored Robinson's bogus attempts to paint Stephen Wukela as a racist and they let Ed know what they thought of him by voting overwhelmingly for Wukela. Further, the community has ignored his complaints about his "unfair persecution," because they know they are bogus as well. So maybe Ed is really trying to jump ship.

Hey...maybe that's why I recently saw a picture of Ed and his wife attending the Florence County Republican Breakfast thing for Senator Graham. And they're framed perfectly in front of a Nancy Harrelson sign. Maybe I should send Ed a print so he can use it on his Christmas cards. I bet Congressman Clyburn would enjoy that.

You're done, jag-off.

I swear, if Harry Reid is whispering anything else than this into Joe's ear right now, he can take his tail back to Searchlight, Nevada.

I posted about Deputy Dog's attempts to say, "just kidding" a while ago. Needless to say, Joe is a prick, who has basically been trying to say he did not say what he said about the now President-elect Barak Obama.

We know that Reid had a little post-election Come-to-Jesus meeting with the Dog, afterwhich, Lieberman told reporters he wanted to see what his options were before making a decision.

Now comes this by way of a "leak" from a Dog staffer:

"Senator Lieberman's preference is to stay in the caucus, but he's going to keep
all his options open. McConnell has reached out to him and at this stage his
position is he wants to remain in the caucus but losing the chairmanship is

I'm with Josh Marshall on this, Reid needs take a cue and tell the Dog what Reid's fictional predecessor once heard on how it's going to be: "My offer is this. Nothing." You do not campaign against your party's Presidential Candidate and get to keep a chairmanship. They ought to say good luck, Joe. See what the GOP can give you.

ps. Benen has a very interesting post on why Lieberman is so adamant about staying at the head of that committee. Reid better send him on a ride.

Dawson making his move?

This is Katon Dawson, the South Carolina GOP chair. Looks like Katon is making his move for the top slot of the RNC. RealClearPolitics has a story out that Dawson FedExed packages to all 168 members of the RNC. The packages held an 8-page survey, which I suppose Katon thinks will help them all "find themselves."

The results will be shared with all those who take Katon up on his invite to his "Reform Renew Restore Conference," which will be held in Myrtle Beach next weekend.

Personally, I'd prefer my favorite Dawson, Richard.'s keeping with the current GOP climate, which appears to be Family Fued.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Shhhh...Hear that?

That sound you have heard the last two days was the wind. The wind of change. And its been blowing hard and to the left.

As you have seen, my posts slowed considerably the last two days. I worked all day, poll watching at Florence 3 (The Beck Center), then I was with Wukela getting the results (and later, celebrating them). Yesterday, I was recovering from my celebrating.

I do with my predictions? Ok, I guess. I got 9 out of 11 right. Right: Obama, Graham, Clyburn, Crawford, Fowler, Kirby, Williams-Blake, Powers and Wukela. Wrong: Cooper and Gregg. At least I think I got Cooper wrong. Reino gave me credit on it and I have been unable (and unwilling) to find any other numbers other than those linked to by the SCNow website. Last I saw, they had Lowe winning, so I'm counting it as a "wrong."

On the Lowe-Cooper race, I probably would not have picked Cooper to win had it not been those numbers I heard from him on Monday. Zach is a good man, with an absolute passion about education. He would have been a good rep in Columbia.

On the Boone-Gregg race, I am not shocked Jimmy lost, but I did think he would pull it out. At least until about 8:15 or so. That's when I drove over to the Coles Crossroads precinct, the Leatherman Center at Freedom Florence, to pull get the numbers. I can't remember what they were in the Sheriff's race, I was shocked at how big the margin was. Something like 900+ to 300+. Gregg killed it in the black precincts, which I thought he would (Note to Reino: Kenny does have trouble with the black community--at least according to the polls). Then I thought as long as he got 1/3rd of the white vote, he would win. I figured Jimmy would carry that over on the South Florence side. So when I saw that Gregg did not carry Coles, I knew he was in trouble. That's his home turf and he needed to win there. Regardless, it was an impressive win for Boone given what the climate of change he was confronting. Interesting tidbit: the one race not viewable on the printout tape left on the door? The mayor's race. Hmmm...Wukela won at Coles, where the voting takes place in the Leatherman Center, and he ran against Leatherman before, yet his is the only race that was obscured by the push-bar of the door. Coincidence?

On the City Council race, Glynn Willis made one hell of a run. Willis really worked his tail off to get within 350 of Powers. Reino ponders whether the last name hurt him. I doubt it. After all, Powers tied himself as close as possible to Frank Willis, even having Frank cut radio ads for him that were running pretty often the last couple of weeks. Glynn got done in by the numbers and the Obama push all democrats got.

Lastly, the Mayor's race. It seems like I point out a lot when people are showing no-class, so let me say this: Rocky Pearce showed a great deal of class Tuesday night. Right before we left Michael's, where we had our party, I got a call from Rocky's campaign wondering if we were still there. Rocky's campaign manager, Jesse Cartrette--a nice guy in his own right, said Rocky was about to be at the restaurant and he wanted to speak with Stephen personally. He arrived and very graciously conceded in person. It was a thoughtful gesture that went beyond what was called for. I certainly believe it would have been a lot easier to do over the phone. I know we were all impressed by it. My hats off to Mr. Pearce.

So should I quit my day job? Probably not. I'm a liberal and those winds of change are definitely blowing our way. Most of my picks were towards the left. But it has been one hell of a campaign season and I have enjoyed the hell out of it.

I have a camera full of pics from election day and night. I'll try to post them this weekend.