Archive for December, 2010

Mark Madoff: Snapped or Murdered?

People aren’t going to forget about 65 billion dollars… 
Bernard Madoff pleaded guilty and is serving a 150-year sentence in a North Carolina federal prison. His investors have cash losses estimated at $20 billion, but the wealth supposedly held in their accounts when the fraud collapsed totaled $64.8 billion.
Maybe he should have changed his name,  moved to Utica, and got a job managing a Jason’s Deli, showing up in NYC only for court dates.  But I guess giving up the houses would have been even harder to do (parentheses are mine): 
Mr. Madoff married his college sweetheart, moved to the wealthy suburb of Greenwich, Conn., and had two children. He got divorced and married his second wife, the fashion executive Stephanie Mikesell. They had two children and settled in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood (not bad). He kept a residence (great phrase) in (the wealthy suburb of) Greenwich and also owned a waterfront home on Nantucket.

 Mr. Madoff earned $29.3 million over his last eight years at the firm, according to a lawsuit filed against him by Irving L. Picard, the bankruptcy trustee seeking to recover money for the fraud’s victims.

He also benefited from his father’s bogus investment advisory business, taking at least $17 million more from his family’s accounts than he deposited, the lawsuit asserted.

In the complaint, filed in October 2009, Mr. Picard described Mr. Madoff’s compensation as “astronomical,” and accused him and his brother of being “completely derelict” in their duties and responsibilities at the firm.

Then again, maybe someone exacted their revenge on him:

According to the police reports, at about 4 a.m. on Saturday, Mr. Madoff sent two e-mails to his wife, Stephanie, who had taken their 4-year-old daughter to visit Disney World in Florida on Wednesday, Dec. 8, leaving their 2-year-old, Nicholas, in her husband’s care.  

One of his e-mails said, “Please send someone to take care of Nick.”
Another said: “I love you.”

The victim’s son was found unharmed in the apartment, as was the family’s dog, Grouper.

What kind of “caring” person leaves a 2-year old behind?  And, that’s a really short suicide note.  There was one other equally short note to…his lawyer (weird).  The note said “take care of my family” (I hope there isn’t any Pulp Fiction confusion about what that meant).  Leaving his 2-year-old child alone in the house?  Sending an email instead of calling to make sure she got the message (what if battery died, what if she got it wet on the log ride, what if she set it down at a snack bar, etc.).  You plan this thing when you’re not in charge of a child if you’re a decent human (or at least be sure someone got your “come get the kid” message, maybe someone in the same city…).
Either he was not a decent human being by any measure (in which case those kids are better off now) or maybe someone put the baby and the dog in a room and kill’t him.   I smell a mini-series.  Maybe even a movie.  Certainly an episode of Law & Order is already in the making. 

December 17, 2010 at 10:15 pm Leave a comment

Baptists to protest at Edwards funeral

 A church that pickets funerals to protest what it calls American immorality says its members will be picketing the service this Saturday for Elizabeth Edwards, who died of breast cancer on Tuesday.

Based in Topeka, Kan., the Westboro Baptist Church said it would be outside the Edenton Street United Methodist Church in Raleigh, N.C., during the funeral for the former wife of one-time vice presidential candidate John Edwards.

Westboro members, led by the Rev. Fred Phelps, have also picketed military funerals to make their point that U.S. deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq are punishment for Americans’ immorality, including tolerance of homosexuality and abortion.

Signs held by children, like “Thank God for Dead Soldiers”, have been raised at military funerals, and the church announced its latest action with a press release titled “God hates Elizabeth Edwards.” 


The 2 photos above and the 2 at the top were taken during funerals…for American soldiers.  While their family was spending a couple of hours laying their child or their parent to rest, these people stood nearby with mocking them.

Good ole Kansas.  These people make the book-burning Baptists in Florida look like reasonable people.

December 10, 2010 at 7:45 pm Leave a comment

Why I like the tax deal

I really like this tax deal for two reasons:

  1. After running for 2 years on the platform of cutting the deficit, the absolute FIRST thing the Republicans did (just 30 days after the election) was to cut $100 billion in tax revenue with no corresponding cut in spending. (In fact, the same bill has an increase in spending).  Turns out they were full of crap – go figure.  Thanks for immediately showing us how you would add to the federal deficit by giving money to the richest among us!  $700 billion in TARP spending for wall street bankers and another $100 billion for the richest 2%?  (Many who probably also received massive paychecks and golden parachutes from TARP).  That’s getting up near a trillion dollars for bankers and the rich in just 24 months!  So much for “real America” and “Joe the plumber”. While the Republicans are saying their “top concern” for the next 2 years is to block Obama (not to cut deficits, or to faithfully represent the voters, but to continue being the party of “No”), Obama is keeping his door open and working with them.  Obama removed the Public Option at their demands (which now all my Republican friends are saying “Why can’t we buy the same insurance they get to buy. That’s a bunch of crap, we should be able to get what they can buy“.  Ahh, the uninformed Beck-heads who didn’t even know what “public option” meant…), and now he’s working with them on their tax demands. 
  2. Obama’s decision to work with Republicans and meet their requests is being viewed very favorably by independents. By not taking a hard Democrat stance, he’s shown them he’s a centrist and a moderate who will represent the broader spectrum of voters even when he personally doesn’t agree. By meeting the Republicans, he’s disarming them and winning over the moderate independents. He’s already got the Democratic support (in terms of 2012), now he’s picking up independents. And who decides elections? Not Democrats or Republicans….it’s the independents!

This move is neither stimulating jobs, nor reducing the deficit.  It has almost no value. It only helps those who earn a million dollars or more every 4 years.  But that’s what I like about it – the fiscal irresponsibility moves independents to the left.  Good stuff for 2012!   

In September, the CBO found that those $100 billion in tax cuts on income above $250,000 would reduce unemployment in 2011 and 2012 by…somewhere between 0.1% and nothing at all.

 Clearly, $100 billion for somewhere between zero and 100,000 jobs is pretty poor performance. Giving more government money to rich people just isn’t a good way to get people working.

The deal doesn’t include spending cuts to offset the expiration of lower tax rates. That means the government will have to borrow to pay for the plan. There are those who have doubts about how much the plan will boost the economy in the short term, especially if it adds to worries about bigger deficits and higher taxes in two years.



“The top 2% of wage earners like me  are going to get their Bush tax cuts extended.
…I cannot wait for the tax rate to stay exactly the same, so I can create all those jobs.”
           — Stephen Colbert, 12/06/10

December 10, 2010 at 6:27 pm Leave a comment

Libertarian vs Tea Party

This is so funny: 

What are you?  The problem with left and right is that it’s fitting 4 viewpoints on a single line.  Try the Political Compass to account for both economic and social values.  It plots views on an X and Y. 

Libertarianism is the advocacy of individual liberty, especially freedom of thought and action.[1] Philosopher Roderick T. Long defines libertarianism as “any political position that advocates a radical redistribution of power [either “total or merely substantial”] from the coercive state to voluntary associations of free individuals”, whether “voluntary association” takes the form of the free market or of communal co-operatives.[2] David Boaz, libertarian writer and vice president of the Cato Institute, writes that, “Libertarianism is the view that each person has the right to live his life in any way he chooses so long as he respects the equal rights of others” and that, “Libertarians defend each person’s right to life, liberty, and property–rights that people have naturally, before governments are created.”[3]

December 4, 2010 at 1:43 am Leave a comment

Pollution Makes Birds Gay

Summary: Pollution makes birds gay (and possibly other animals, as well).  Ergo….if you are anti-gay, you need to be pro-environment.  And if you are pro-environment, you would not cast votes with the anti-science, anti-green, party that says pollution and climate change don’t affect us or don’t exist.

Alan Boyle writes:A years-long study at the University of Florida suggests that mercury pollution can alter the hormones of white ibises to make males more likely to mate with other males.

“We knew that mercury can disrupt hormones — what is most disturbing about this study is the low levels of mercury at which we saw effects on hormones and mating behavior,” Peter Frederick, a wildlife ecology and conservation professor who led the study, said in a news release this week.

“This suggests that wildlife may be commonly affected.”

So if reducing pollution reduces gayfulness (sic) and you are against gay rights….then the best thing to do is to vote for Democrats!

December 3, 2010 at 2:51 pm Leave a comment

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