Saturday, November 27, 2010

Marketing 101

Consider the McRib.  It's a sandwich.  It's sold by McDonald's.  If you lived in Germany you'd have been able to buy one any time you wanted since it was introduced long ago.  However, in good old number one land, it's available only for a limited time.  Why?  Oh, because McDonald's practices artificial scarcity salesmanship.  They have been very successful.

Does McRib's limited availability make it so popular?

Now that the sandwich is back, maybe folks ought to wonder what the hell is in that gloppy 500 calorie mess anyway.  Ribs?   Come on, it's the counter part of chicken paste.

The Real Origins of the McRib Sandwich

Still want a McRib?

Stuff Lovers

As I read this year's tales of rampaging black Friday shoppers, I began to wonder why no one has made a reality show out of competitive shopping.  Can you imagine one store, one great deal, and one thousand shoppers each hellbent on being the winner....

Black Friday crush forces police to clear Sacramento Wal-Mart

GM

GM is still in business.  Their IPO did well.  They are selling cars again.  Our stake is down to 26%  from 61%.   People are buying their cars.  Chrysler on the other hand continues to blow chunks.  Don't forget, GM management wrecked the company and had to beg for tax dollars.  We, the Feds, bailed them out.  Civil servants fixed the company.  Now, the former managers are back in charge.  How long before they come begging again?  Now that I think about it, GM is the poster child for modern American "capitalism."  Who needs to depend on the market when you have a rich Uncle Sam.

G.M. Finds a More Receptive Public

Legacyland

Iraqis who left Iraq because it was a too damn scary to live there post Shock and Awe are returning home.   Are they impressed with what the locals have done with the rubble in their absence?  Oh, they have decided to go anywhere but Iraq?  Praise the Shrub, his track record is safe, he's never gotten anything right in his life.

Iraq’s Troubles Drive Out Refugees Who Came Back

Obama's Bungled War

As Obama continues to emulate his predecessor, he bumbles on towards possible stalemate.  He has learned how to commanderate and be the strategoguy in chief.  Oh,  Afghanistan remains about the same as it's been for nine years,  it's so very SNAFU.

Suicide attack at Afghan police HQ kills 12

Party Earmarks

The GOP has already spent over $600,000 on their 2012 convention in Tampa, Fla.  That seems a bit much, but I'm sure needy Republicans are being paid to put on a really good show.  Let's face it, spending other people's money is always hard work and complicated too.   Will the owners of the GOP allow their thralls to keep spending at this level or will they decide to spend it on their own ad campaigns instead?  At any rate, I hope the GOP spends even more, goes into debt, and then  declares fiscal bankruptcy (they've been morally bankrupt for decades).  Party on!

RNC convention spending alarms party veterans

Friday, November 26, 2010

War notes

On September 17, 1862 Union and Confederate armies collided in Maryland and left us with the single bloodiest battle of the Civil War.  The Battle of Antietam resulted in 23,000 casualties.   Casualties include both the dead the wounded.  In one day, 23,000 combatants were removed from the fray.

23,000 is a lot of folks, but is it that big?  Consider an older battle fought during the Second Punic War on August 2, 215 B.C. near Cannae, Italy.  There, a Carthaginian army under Hannibal engaged a Roman army led by a about one third of the Roman senate.  Hannibal lost some men, but Rome saw 50,000 troops die that day.  That is a lot of dead Romans.

Can we compare these battles?  Sure, let's assume the 23,000 figure is really all deaths (after all how many wounded really survived back then).  We have 23,000 deaths and 50,000 deaths.   Rome lost twice as many.  Big deal.  Hold it, what was the population of Italy back then and the U.S. in 1860?

Italy had abut 4,000,000 folks.  What about the U.S.?  We had about 32,000,000 living here then.  Let's see, 50,000 is about 1.25% of 4,000,000.  That's a really big chunk of guys.  How about 23,000 to its counterpart population?  Okay, that's  about  .07%.  Rome lost considerable more of its guys in one day than we did in the Civil war.  

If we had lost 1.25% in one day how many bodies would we have piled up in Maryland?  Well, we'd be moving close to the total losses for the entire war, we'd have seen 400,000 die at Antietam on that bloody day.  Anyone know the single bloodiest one day battle ever as a percentage of the population?  

Netflix

Here's another piece on Netflix.  The entertainment world is streaming and Netflix is providing most of the content.  The DVDs still come and go via the USPS, but the on-line content is getting so much better.  Will Netflix keep on growing or will other players send them reeling?  Whatever happened to Blockbuster?  Wasn't there once a Hollywood Video?

I like Netflix.  I receive DVDs and I do use the streaming  content too.  There's a lot of old shows and films available on line.   Will studio greed defeat Netflix?  Will content providers kill the goose that laid and keeps on laying golden eggs?  Stay tuned, but look for investment opportunities.

Netflix’s Move Onto the Web Stirs Rivalries

The New Money Pit

What is that?  Oh, it's coastal real estate.  See, people have been burning a lot of stuff.  All that waste has set the planet on a warming course.  We're a bit warmer so ice is melting.  There's more water in the oceans than in the recent past, so sea level is up.  If sea level is up, then you better not live at last year's sea level too long, you might drown.  Or, you could spend all your money building dikes.

Will Norfolk go under or will we spend billions?

Obama really fixed health care didn't he?

Gee, adding millions of new folks to government health insurance programs sounds good.  How will we afford it?  Oh, that's easy, don't pay greedy docs what they want, they will quit accepting Medicare patients, and costs will go down since there will be no payments for old fart care.  Now that's real health care reform!  Obama screwed the pooch on this one.

Doctors say Medicare cuts force painful decision about elderly patients

Who needs earmarks when you have an ANC

Need cash?  Want a slice of the Federal pie?  Okay, find an Alaskan Native Corporation which will front for you, call the Pentagon and then millions will come your way.  And it's all so legit you'll cry  your way to the bank.  Let's face it competition is for the other guy, so stick it to the taxpayer--the civil servants will defend you while you're screwing the nation.

The linked article might get you a bit peeved.  Multiply it by the scores if not hundreds and you have more reasons why we can never quite balance the budget, reduce the deficit and make government more effective.  I wish the tea bag types would worry a bit less about entitlements and a lot more about things like the ANC misuse.  We won't fix government until we eliminate the pad.  A good start is to end all federal contracts in the Defense Department.   If government needs to do something then it should be done by federal employees, think about it.

Alaska native status gave tiny, inexperienced firm a $250 million Army contract

Black Friday Thursday

As some retailers sought premature profit they opened their doors on Thanksgiving.  Others waited until Black Friday.  This year will be more profitable than last year since we're out of the septic tank this year. We're in the gutter, but that's better than where we've been.

As I read and watch stories about crowds of greedy shoppers, I wonder what is the effect of all that fat so many Americans lug around these days. Despite hard times, we did not all become svelte.  Do stores these days see bigger crowds with fewer people?  As a matter of self protection, do the lean folks stay home and shop the Internets?  Shop on, it's job number one in this economy.

More retailers, anticipating sales boost over 2009, opened on Thanksgiving Day

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanks for a future change

I'd almost forgotten the five color terror alert warning system the Shrub left us as part of his living legacy. Yep, we've been using the system since 2002. We all know that band of colors - green, blue, yellow, orange and red - in a stoplight-like arrangement that tells how afraid we should become. Well Obama thinks it needs to be replaced. I guess the home warning sets never quite caught on. Is there a Terror Color Code App yet?

A new look urged for terror alerts

Wouldn't  simple sentence work?  I suggest a four word alert systemt, "Kiss Your Ass Goodbye."

Palin Household in Pain This Thanksgiving

Sarah and other members of her tribe are sad today.  The evil socialists in Washington are making it impossible for them to practice their religion.   Government is shackling them.  The head commie/fascist/socialist who is also president, has moved to protect polar bears.  No longer will Palin and her -ites be able to wallow in freshly slaughtered bear blood. They will have to sell off their helicopters and retire their polar bear guns.  Oh, hold it, Palin and -ites have announced they will reform as the First Church of the Dead Baby Seal Pups.  They will be able fly to Canada for the Spring running of the pups.

Obama administration sets aside 'critical habitat' for polar bears in Alaska

Palin has also announced that she and her daughter Bristol will start a new reality TV show. Watch for "Species Extinction with the Stars" coming on cable next Spring.

No Thanksgiving in Pakistan

It's not because Pakistan is not part of the U.S. and do not eat turkey, no it's because they fear Indians.

India test-fires nuclear-capable ballistic missile

Happy Thanksgiving II

Gee, maybe there is at least one Democrat left in Washington.  We know that Democrat does not reside at the White House or in the Senate.  If this is true, then Go Nancy!  Give thanks!

Pelosi's new mission: Limit Obama deals with GOP

Happy Thanksgiving

DeLay convicted of money-laundering charges in campaign finance scheme

One down from the past, now about the 435 current House members, but hey, we should be thankful for an iota of justice. What's smaller than an iota?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Greed Won

The rich shafted the nation.  They tanked the economy.  To save their donors,  our elected schmucks bailed out the rich, restored them and made them whole again.  While millions remain unemployed and homeless, the rich are back.  They are making money like sin again.  Happy Thanksgiving.

Wallets Out, Wall St. Dares to Indulge

Rules Changes Coming?

Right.  Football and Basketball have become as entertaining as NASCAR as fans await the next bit of violent thrill.  Does anyone really expect change that will attenuate the violence when the fans pay to be entertained by this kind of shit?  We need Christians, we need lions, we need a more Roman approach to sports.

Big Hits, No Flags

Thou shalt not waste tax dollars

Quick how long does GOOPER solidarity last?  Oh, about three days if the pol is buying votes for reelection--


PROMISES, PROMISES: GOP leader reaps $200 million

Watch for this guy

He will either become interesting or become a joke.  Which will it be? I'll opt for full buffoon within six months.  He will become a Michelle Bachmann type as he pursues job number one, reelection, from day one.

Allen West, one of two black Republicans just elected to House, goes against grain

Will folks opt out?

The nation's airports may become sites of minor revolt.  If sufficient numbers of pissed off people demand to be felt up instead of posing for porn shots, then passenger-less planes may have to fly off to the next paralyzed airport.  Can citizens achieve a near ground stop?  I wish them well.

Oh, unless you absolutely have to, do not fly until we rid ourselves of the TSA.   What we do in the name of safety has little to do with safety, but does have a lot to do with the politics of possible finger pointing, fund raising and the next election.  Yes, safety is part of job number one, getting reelected.  Sadly, most voters buy into the politicized version of reality too.  

Protesters' body scanner opt-out day could bring nationwide delays at airports

And this is optimistic

Unemployment is going to really suck for a long time.  When will some brilliant econ type, even a Nobelist, decide that 7-8% is normal and lower is impossible?  It's coming.  Other than the unemployed, and those making less than $200,000 year, life will be good.   For the rest, it will be either bad or getting worse.  The rich and their thralls will continue to take it all as they defend the market and this version of capitalism.  Thralls?  Yes, they are the willing slaves in Congress, in business, and on Main Street.  Of course a well armed populace could take it back.  Will that happen?

Fed lowers economic expectations for 2011

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Earmarks

Defenders of earmarks can huff and puff about meeting those critical un-met spending needs in their districts and state all they wish to.  What is the real thrust of that Congressional directed spending? It is simple.  Earmarks are bribes.  They are payments made  to voters to insure reelection.  As the elected willingly allow themselves to be bribed by various industry complexes, so they act to degrade and debase a willing electorate with earmarks.  If everybody is crooked, then who gives a shit about telling the truth, being responsible,  governing or electing the best and brightest?  It's no wonder folks keep on getting reelected, crooks of a feather...

Defenders of Earmarks Point to Urgent Needs That Would Not Be Met

Ratzy's Funhouse, Again

What's that line about taking the boy out of the country, but never being able to take the country out of the boy?  Hmm, I guess it applies to popes, priests, and Nazis too.   I wonder if Pope Ratzy has any regrets about rescinding that excommunication these days?  Now he has to deal with Nazis lawyers too.   Funny how conservatives seem to wind up affiliated with pretty despicable groups.  Maybe that should remind us, the good old days were never good. Now about Ratzy's move to restore the Catholic Church to the 12th Century....

Holocaust-denying bishop threatened with expulsion

Axis of Weasels--Mid East

Cyberwar may be working.  Iran is having nuke troubles.  Their centrifuges have lost their whirrr.  Did Stuxnet take them out?  Gee, can someone design a worm to pauperize Goldmans?

Iran's nuclear program reportedly struggling

Oh, come on

This is bullshit---TSA chief asks holiday travelers for patience

How long have our pols been pretending security is job one? (We know job number 1 is getting reelected.) And the putz in charge of TSA wants patience? Let's have a don't fly week. Drive, take a train, or just don't bother going to Granny's place this year. Patience, my ass. Well,  not until I see Obama and all the other officials go through scanners whenever they board any kind of aircraft anywhere on the planet--that includes helicopters on the White House lawn.  Oh yeah, pilots and kids need to be re-included in the scanning--it's an all or nothing deal.

Airport Porn-o-scan

I'm interested in seeing what the polls say after the national obesity day celebration about the porn-o-scan machines and personal action probes.   I'd also like to see a poll restricted to just people who have flown out of an airport that has the scanners in use.  The results of different polls might be, uh, revealing.

In a current poll, Americans are okay with the scanners--they like the idea of being on TV?  However, they don't like being participants in action oriented porn with strangers.   Security is worth all of this nonsense?  Is this really security?  Can anyone prove that the money we've spent on TSA security has provided anything more than profits for the vender's of security gear?

Poll: Nearly two-thirds of Americans support full-body scanners at airports

I just heard this suggestion, if you'd like to have some fun with TSA, guys, wear a kilt the next time you fly (and omit the undies).

Blue Light Special--War

Will anyone buy today's special?  We have loads of buyers out there.  North Korea and South Korea have traded some artillery rounds.  War's On?  Surely our saber-rattling pols who are owned by the MIC will seize the opportunity, after all, N. Korea remains a charter member of the axis of weasels.

North Korea fires artillery at South Korean island Yeonpyeong

Monday, November 22, 2010

Rule of Law

Over the recent several years, we, our  government seem to have broken faith with the rule of law.  Instead of saying one people, one law, for all, today and tomorrow, we have made exceptions.  Hell, we've even put out a murder contract on a U.S.citizen.   Leaders of deviance have provided an abundance of very patriotic sounding noise to justify the suspension of law.  As we drift we allow the end to justify the means of our actions and sail from the safety inherent in the rule of law.

I think I  can be put in cruder though simpler terms.  Assume our ideal of the "rule of law" is an excellent bottle of red wine.  It is a superior vintage.  We enjoy the fruit of vine.   Now assume there is also a glass of water.  There is also some shit, it's our deviation from law.  Let's mix them a bit.  If we add a 1/4 teaspoon of shit into the water  glass, we will clearly see we have made sewage.  Would you drink from the water glass?  Nah, we all know that if we eat shit, we die.  Now,  if we put a 1/4 teaspoon of shit into our bottle of red wine, would you drink the wine?  Better not, you may not see the crud, but it too has become sewage.   So why are we drinking the wine?  If doesn't take much crap to spoil the wine.  Is it time to protect the wine?  How long until we die?  

How to solve PR problems

As the holiday air travel season gets underway, folks may not want to fly this year.  They may object to the mandatory porn shot or junk probe demanded by ObamaCos aces at TSA.  Hmm, how can the White House solve the problem?  Quick into Bush cave and seek a solution.  Yes, there sitting on a shelf is a book "Solutions for Dummies."  Give it a read, and implement, implement, implement.   What is the Bush solution?  Hey, have you forgotten already?  Yes, it's disseminate fear any way you  can!

Al-Qaeda affiliate threatens more small-scale bomb attacks

Why not boycott flying? If it is so dangerous as to require a junk poke and probe, then why risk it? Leave the sky to business travelers, stay home and use the phone or the Tubes to visit.

Big Drugs, Inc. is your pal?

If anyone really thinks that the companies which make meds, restricted and OTC, don't need regulation because they are only concerned with health, please note--

Removing cough and cold medicines for very young children from store shelves led to a big decline in emergency room visits for bad reactions to the drugs, government research found

Oh, do read the piece and note that we remain blessed with a lot of dumb parents. They are the logically same folks who make those damnable child proof caps mandatory.

Oops, you are screwed even after you are gone

Banks loan money in a variety of ways.  Banks like to be re-payed.  Banks hire people to collect what's owed to them.  Bill collection is an odious occupation, I think it ranks with cesspool cleaner,  especially as it is commonly practiced.  Bill collectors get a cut of what they collect, but let's face it, banks are the winners, when they lose a dime they pout.

If collections are down, you can bet the banks will do what they are best at, enhance profits via redressing grievances.  Lo, the FTC is making some changes which affect people who didn't pay their  bills because they had the temerity to die prior to paying their debt to the the bank.   Gee, can this stuff be securtized and sold to investors?

FTC proposes new guidelines for collecting debt from dead people

I wonder how long it will take for some batshit crazy Senator owned by the banking industry to propose that debt should be inherited.  He or she will tell  us that  "we all know that the Constitution tells us that the sins of the father are also the sins of the son."  Or maybe it was a reference in "My Pet Goat?"  Maybe "Power for Dummies?"  At any rate we'll know it must be true because as we'll be told that we will hear it on Glen Beck and Rush's shows.  Damn thing is 30% of the public will believe the bullshit.  Don't forget 50% or better already believe in the devil, ghosts, and UFOs, but less than half of us accept the truth, i.e., it holds, of evolution.    

Who makes the scanners, who profits

I have a nasty feeling that we have a dedicated Security Industry Congressional Complex which is a counterpart to the military version.  This means more of the national budget will go towards useless stuff, only it will be security stuff instead of more G.I. Joe stuff.  Does anyone expect the "threat" to ever disappear as long as the feds are the ones paying for solutions?

At any rate the porn-o-graph scanners can be modified to make the resultant images look like fun house mirror porn!  And how much will that program cost?  How much will the maintenance contract run ?  Will each machine have an annual license?  How many ways can software generate revenue?

Ponder for a minute, it's software, it's government, it's going to be a deal with a vendor.   What will happen when there is a massive screw up like when Northrop Grumman shut down Virginia's state computer system for a couple of weeks.  As Virginian's could not obtain a driver's licence will people not be able to fly or will all the past porn shots be "accidentally" posted to the White House website or Wikileaks?  Arrgh!

Get the feds out of the airport security business.  If anyone wants to fly, let them, but they will have to comply with individual airline rules.  If an airline prefers to use, say the Israeli approach, they can.   The market will decide what works and what does not work.  Along the way, we can save a wad as TSA and all their gear become history.  

Remember, the feds both on the ground and in the air, protect us from past threats, not future ones.  So get ready.  Will Americans consider it patriotic to  put up with the probes needed to protect us from butt bombs?

It's a three ring circus already

In the tent, in the rings, there be plans.  Lots of plans for pols.  Yes, the same clowns who made the mess will try to figure out how to clean it up.  It's showtime.....

Looking at three plans to reduce the deficit


Gee, coming up with plans is a great way to do nothing.  Then as they are melded into a single bill the minority can rail against the bill's confusion, complexity and unconstitutionality, or just say "no," which ever is easiest.  Will the Dems be the party of "no" this time around?

Place your bets, how many plans? Start your office pool, pick a date in the next two years when a deficit bill will pass through the Congressional colon.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

SNL TSA

Higher Ed?

Is this how we become of nation of highly but very narrowly educated specialized idiots?

College ratings ignites debate over core requirements

If the post secondary education is lacking, why bother with all those K-12 problems? Do parents know what they are paying for at State U.? I doubt it, but then again if they did they'd probably not care.

I am biased, I prefer the St. John's curriculum.

Attention Luddites

Writing is going to destroy our youth, they will no longer memorize.  Oh my god, someone invented a printing press, our youth will no longer learn how to get it right the first time.  Oh, crap comic books, radio, TV, movies, rock and roll--our youth will never survive the onslaught of technology! Our nation is doomed. The world will end at 2:17 on some day in the future!

Okay, here's a piece on today's youth, technology and the tubes--Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction

Most of this is hype and overblown piptwaddle.

Virginia Politifact

The Richmond Times-Dispatch has been running Virginia Politifacts for several weeks now.  I could not find where they keep the articles on their website.  Maybe they don't.  At any rate, going to PolitiFact.Com, I found them all in one convenient spot.  If you don't get the Richmond paper, here's what they have been running from PolitiFact--

The Virginia Truth-O-Meter

Ethanol

Here's a piece by a couple of guys from a libertarian think tank.  I have no idea who really funds them or for what reasons.  Come on it's a think tank and that means it's political.  Being warned, you can read on or pass it by.  I have thought ethanol was one of the dumbest damn things we ever foisted on ourselves from its outset.  It was dumb when it started and it's gotten dumber with each passing year.  It can end.  The GOP has proven over the past two years they have the skills needed to end ethanol.  All they have to do is   do nothing.  They don't even have to say "no," they just have to do nothing on ethanol.

It's Time to End the Ethanol Boondoggle

New Turf?  Come on it's the same turf where trogs have been chowing down on batshit for decades.   What else can we say but, gee, these places are older, whiter, and dumber than average.  The only thing missing is more guys (and potbellies).  At least tourists can find out what places to avoid in their travels, unless they love to slog through guano.   The Dems screwed up when they tried feeding theses folks  moonbeams.  It doesn't work.  Batshit is addictive.  Once anyone eats it, they will eventually go back for more.  They did.  The batshit crazies have the House.  What will the moonbeam eaters do?


Political divide between coasts and Midwest deepening, midterm election analysis show      




Assaying the new Republican turf

The 63 congressional districts that turned Republican in the midterm elections tend to be older, less educated and less diverse than the national average.

Well bless my narcissists

The first chatterer and the person who wants to take the podium ASAP both have new books out! Damn we're blessed with pols who hustle recognition, donations and votes via books.  This time Palin's appears to read well which indicates she has an excellent ghost writer.  Obama's apparently reads less well; he must not have had a ghost writer.  In both cases who cares about either of these books.  Both Palin's and Obama's books broadcast the same message---"Don't forget about me!"

New Books by Narcissists