Sunday, February 28, 2010

The New Underground Railroad

She escapes, perhaps, from an unnamed cotton plantation on the Delta only to be picked up and jailed in the Panola County hill country town of Sardis, Mississippi. But a kind soul from Memphis, Tennessee springs her. She spends a couple of weeks in a Memphis safe house hiding out with 3 others.

Then she is spirited across Tennessee to a station in Kingsport, where she spends the night before the next conductor sneaks her along with a cargo of other rescues northeastward across western Virginia to Maryland then Pennsylvania. Eventually two conductors, a couple from Connecticut, bring her to a wayside inn in Sturbridge, Massachusetts.

In Sturbridge, at the back end of the parking lot where the pavement turns to gravel and then to grass, she is passed off for the final leg. From there she rides to her new home in Somerville, Massacchusetts.

This is the new underground railroad, transporting not escaped slaves but rescue dogs, dogs rescued from animal shelters in rural parts of the country and transported to new owners or foster families in urban areas.

It is a completely aboveboard traffic. The dog received puppy shots, rabies vaccination, and a certificate of interstate transportation from a Mississippi veterinary, and was provided with food and water along the trip, which from Memphis took only two days. A tote bag with her papers and a paper bag of food stapled with her picture accompanied her.

These rescue leagues are informal and run by volunteers but well organized. In her case, she was identified as a Brittany mix at the animal shelter in Mississippi. That brought her to the attention of New England Brittany Rescue.

Many of these rescue leagues are organized around breeds. The internet has also facilitated long range adoptions, with sites like providing the ability to post dog pictures and histories on web sites for would-be adopters. That's how she made the Somerville connection.

Not all these rescue dogs come from the South. In her first trip to the Summer Street dog park, she met two other rescue dogs. One from a local animal shelter, one from New Hampshire. But often in rural areas there are a lot of strays and many strays and pets aren't neutered. So supply outstrips demand for pets at many small town animal shelters across the country.

Cities, on the other hand, do not support many puppy breeders. So adopting a rescue dog over the internet can be just as easy or easier than finding a purebred dog in the suburbs or further out, with the added knowledge you may be saving a dog from being put to sleep.

Leaving Sturbridge.

Arriving in Somerville.

A new toy in a new home.

Settled in after her 1,357 mile odyssey.

Canada Wins the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics

The overtime goal by Canadian Sidney Crosby iced the cake for Canada, giving Canada the gold medal in hockey. But there was more at stake than a hockey medal.

Team Canada went into these Olympic Games with a vow to "own the podium." They had to back off that goal after the first week, but came roaring back in the second week. Yes, Canada finished third in total number of medals. But what counts most is gold medals, and there Canada is the clear winner.

We'll give the overall gold medal to Team Canada, and the silver and bronze medals to Team U.S.A. for winning those two categories. Team Germany, though it had the second most total medals didn't lead any medal categories, so we award them the dreaded fourth place. Norway gets an honorable mention.

Overall results:

United States9151337

Iowa's Cynical Senator Grassley Asks What's the Point of Negotiating on Health Care Reform

From an interview with Republican Iowa Senator Charles Grassley following the health care summit at the White House this past week.

QUESTION: Yes, I'm just wondering a little bit about the health care summit yesterday. What's your biggest concern after that all happened?

GRASSLEY: The same concern going in, that not much would come out of it. I was hopeful that it would. But I'll tell you, what kind of dictated to me in being cynical about much coming out of it was that over the weekend -- or on Monday, I guess it was, the President put up a program that was pretty much like the bill that passed the Senate.

And when he put up a bill like that, you kind of wonder, well, what's the point of negotiating, you know?

Maybe sprinkle in a couple Republican ideas, and you've got a bipartisan bill? Well, I don't think so.

But -- and the other one was that they were talking about reconciliation, which means don't have the Senate function like it normally sits as a deliberate -- deliberating body, just push something through. Instead of with 60 votes, make sure you got at least 51, and you can do things in a partisan way.

And I think the end result is to move ahead in a partisan way, which is probably the same thing that Reid and Pelosi were talking about, you know, before the meeting ever started.

But I thought it was a very worthwhile six and a half hours of discussion.

Although the President talked -- President and Democrats talked four hours and Republicans only got an opportunity to talk two hours, it was still a healthy exchange of views and understanding.

And it's a very complicated issue. So the more you talk about it, the better off the country is, but it's what policy comes out.

And most of us have looked at the -- the program that passed the Senate, and if you were visiting with a group of people about health care reform with the emphasis upon reform and I told you this bill raised taxes, raised premiums, didn't do anything about health care inflation, took half a trillion dollars out of Medicare that's already broke, you'd probably say to me, "Well, that's doesn't sound much like reform."

And that's the way the American people have seen this product, and that's why on a -- on a poll of about 37 for and 55 against it, it's why I'm taking the position that we need to start over with a clean sheet of paper and do things a little more incrementally.

Comment: And what do Senator Grassley's constituents think about health care reform? He appeared at a town hall in Clarinda, Iowa just a week before the summit. Not all of them agree as reported by the Clarinda Herald Journal:

The first questioner was Lisa Lovig, Red Oak, who asked Grassley very specific questions about the difficulty some Americans – including her son – have in obtaining and keeping affordable healthcare because of private industry requirements, such as pre-existing conditions. Lovig noted that just having a pre-diagnosed health issue can limit both care and employment options for people like her son.

Jennifer Herrington, Clarinda, noted that she was disappointed in the tone of discussion about healthcare issues and reform. She said Page County may be sending a mixed message.

"We need to be consistent in what we say we believe in and what we don't," she said. "We have been working to keep the Clarinda Mental Health Institute open and MHI is socialized medicine – so do we believe in it only when it's local?"

The Clarinda MHI is a state facility and faces the possibility of closure by legislators concerned about the state budget. The legislator in particular who proposed the closing is a Democratic State Senator from Des Moines.

The town of Clarinda also has a regional community hospital. Of course, that hospital depends for its existence on medicare reimbursements and subsidies for rural hospitals. It is governed by an elected board of 5 local citizens. That's right, the board that oversees the hospital has to run for election. They would say that is not socialized, that is democratized.

And if someone gets sick and can't afford an expensive operation or treatment, you should see the Clarinda community kick into gear. They wouldn't call that socialized medicine either, they would call that being Christian.

And so it goes. I think small town Republicans do believe in socialized medicine when it is local. You can call that hypocritical, but it is really quite consistent. Their concern about government takeover is about faraway bureaucrats in Washington, DC.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Apple iTunes: Over 10 Billion Served

Apple has announced selling its 10 billionth song download on iTunes. Here are the all-time top 20 downloads (if by all-time you mean only since 2003):

1. I Gotta Feeling, Black Eyed Peas
2. Poker Face, Lady Gaga
3. Boom Boom Pow, Black Eyed Peas
4. I'm Yours, Jason Mraz
5. Viva la Vida, Coldplay
6. Just Dance, Lady Gaga & Colby
7. Low, Flo Rida
8. Love Story, Taylor Swift
9. Bleeding Love, Leona Lewis
10. Tik Tok, Ke$ha
11. Disturbia, Rihanna
12. So What, Pink
13. I Kissed a Girl, Katy Perry
14. Single Ladies, Beyonce
15. Hot N Cold, Kate Perry
16. Stronger, Kanye West
17. Live Your Life, T.I.
18. Hey There Delilah, Plain White T's
19. Right Round, Flo Rida
20. Party in the U.S.A, Miley Cyrus

I am happy to say that I don't have any of these songs on my iPod. In fact, I don't have any songs by most of these artists. I do like #18, which was recorded in 2006 and is the oldest song on the list. So it must be said that these songs are all babies.

The 10 billionth song served up is one that I do have. Louie Sulcer of Woodstock, Georgia crossed the 10 billion mark by purchasing Johnny Cash's "Guess Things Happen That Way" (written by Jack Clement). This song reached #1 on the country charts and #11 on the pop charts in 1958. Over a half century ago. That song is grown up.

Leave it to the great Johnny Cash to sneak in and steal the candy from the babies: "Well you ask me if I'll forget my baby. I guess I will, someday. I don't like it but I guess things happen that way."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Failing and Firings at Central Falls High School

The Board of Trustees in Central Falls, Rhode Island took dramatic action to turn around their failing school system, which has a 50% high school dropout rate and poor reading and math scores. They fired all the high school teachers.

So now all 88 teachers and 5 administrators are fired, or are they? Well, we understand that under Rhode Island law notice of teacher termination for the next school year must be given by March 1.

The school board could proceed with the announced turnaround plan and hire new teachers to fill out the ranks, which could include rehiring some of the fired teachers. Or it could work a transformation of the school with the current teachers.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Top Ten Videos on YouTube

Here are the top ten videos on YouTube. Two don't allow embedding on other sites, which isn't playing fair. Two feature babies, two feature Miley Cyrus.

Charlie bit my finger - again ! (162,490,499 views)

Evolution of Dance (137,554,258 views)

Miley Cyrus - 7 Things (110,977,615 views)

Hahaha (108,206,915 views)

Jeff Dunham - Achmed the Dead Terrorist (107,009,017 views)

Pitbull - I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)(103,555,591 views)

Lo que tú Quieras Oír (99,804,672 views)

Click link (embedded video not available).
Miley Cyrus - Party In The U.S.A. (88,675,372 views)

Click link (embedded video not available).
Susan Boyle - Singer - Britains Got Talent 2009 (87,921,679 views)

Timbaland - Apologize (feat. One Republic) (82,737,448 views)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Into My Pints this Winter

I have been into my pints this winter. And I don't mean beers, although I may have had one or two of those. I mean ice cream, pints of ice cream. Here is the pint count:

Americone Dream (Stephen Colbert's)Ben & Jerry's6
Caramel ConeHaagen-Dazs5
Karamel SutraBen & Jerry's2
Strawberry CheesecakeBen & Jerry's1
Dulce de Leche CaramelHaagen-Dazs1
Rum RaisinHaagen-Dazs1

Strawberry is my clear favorite. That's a long story. My grandfather turned me onto strawberry floats. Often these were vanilla ice cream with strawberry pop poured over the top. But the ultimate was strawberry pop with strawberry ice cream. If you have only had root beer floats, you just haven't lived.

A strawberry float when I was a youngster working on a hot Iowa farm day was easy calories to burn off. As a city dweller with a desk job, I have to work a little harder. In the winter, that the best strategy is to skip the pop and have the ice cream in lieu of a meal.

I got reacquainted with strawberry ice cream this past summer on a bicycle trip through Begium and the Netherlands. Turns out they brought back strawberries from the new world and planted them there. You can get better strawberries (and better strawberry ice cream) than here in New England (almost but not quite up to Iowa snuff). Very easy to pedal off.

Back to my pints. The calorie count per serving of ice cream doesn't sound so bad. Only 250 calories. OK, that includes 140 calories from fat. But for a pint of ice cream, the nutrition label says there are 4 servings per container. The reality is I am going to eat the whole pint at one sitting, so that is 1000 calories. That's about half the calories an adult needs for a day. A meal, the main meal of the day, an ice cream dinner.

Now here is where the marketing ethics comes in. The Ben & Jerry's containers are a full pint, 16 fluid ounces (473ml). The Haagen-Dazs containers are only 14 fluid ounces (414ml). Same exact $4.99 price. Either way that's not bad for an full course dinner.

But why am I buying Haagen-Dazs when I could be buying Ben & Jerry's and getting more for the same price? True, I like the Haagen-Dazs strawberry but Ben & Jerry's has a pretty good strawberry flavor too. The real reason is that I get 12.5% less with Haagen-Dazs and that means a container with 125 fewer calories. Over 33 containers that's 4125 calories, or the same as not eating for 2 days.

Frankly, I would probably buy a 12 ounce container or a 10 ounce container if I could. And that is true of a lot of food products, particularly serving portions in restaurants. If I could get 20% to 25% less, I would.

It's harder than you think. My favorite lunch in Harvard Square is the hot meal counter at Pronto. They scoop into a container, so you think they could easily downsize the portion size on request. But I have spent 3 years without success trying to train them not to top off the container. It's so ingrained that even when I shout "stop" they keep scooping the food in.

I have noticed that because of the recession or rising commodity prices or the desire to make a profit, Dorito's has made the $.99 bag of chips smaller. I think that's great, because again I am always going to eat the whole bag.

What we need in this country is a consumer willingness to pay more per unit for smaller portion sizes. That way Food Inc. can still make its profits, and I can lose weight. Think about that the next time you shop at Costco.

Club Passim in Harvard Square has done this with success. The Veggie Planet portion sizes used to be huge, and a lot of people regularly got doggy bags. Which just makes more work for the waitresses. I of course would eat the whole meal and skip breakfast the next day (OK, sometimes I would skip breakfast).

Now Passim has the same menu but with a smaller portion choice, which is what I now always order. And sometimes a beer, which they didn't have before. My final check is often more. See how that works, corporate America.

Still I must admit that I have been a little to into my pints this winter. So I am going to cut them out for now. Since Lent starts today, I will give them up for Lent. And thank the Catholics for that.

The Road to Recovery Is Paved with Political Blamemanship

Here is a chart on job losses that the Democrats are using in their fundraising and organizing efforts. It shows job losses topping out just shy of 800,000 lost jobs a month in January 2009.

The message here is that the job losses started under President Bush and were only arrested under President Obama. But you can also write Pelosi-Reid Congress under the whole decline, and blame Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid for this happening on their do-nothing Congress's watch. As one or both of them may lose their jobs come the fall 2010 elections, you may find some justice in that.

If you believe the Obama administration turned the situation around, you can draw a straight line across the chart at 750,000 job losses a month. Then count everything between that line and the blue bar as a job saved, perhaps 3.5 million jobs. The Obama administration claims 2.4 million jobs saved through the end of 2009.

But the public perception focuses more on the continuing job losses now at 24 of the last 25 months. That is a pretty big hole and replacing the lost jobs that weren't saved means the economy has to climb a pretty big hill.

The Obama administration may have to share some credit to get the jobs creation legislation passed that is needed to climb that hill. But doing so is the best chance for Barack Obama to win reelection in 2012. That may be too late for Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

President Obama understands what is a stake:

"I realize that for every success story, there are other stories, of men and women who wake up with the anguish of not knowing where their next paycheck will come from; who send out resumes week after week and hear nothing in response. That is why jobs must be our number one focus in 2010."

Let's hope he can translate that understanding into 10 million new jobs.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Evan Bayh Gives Congress a Valentine's Kiss Off

Indiana Senator Evan Bayh has decided not to run for reelection this fall. This puts another Senate seat in jeopardy for the Democrats. But it his reasons for stepping aside that should give the most pause:

"After all of these years, my passion for service to our fellow citizens is undiminished. But my desire to do so by serving in Congress has waned."

"For some time, I've had a growing conviction that Congress is not operating as it should. There is much too much partisanship and not enough progress, too much narrow ideology and not enough practical problem-solving. Even at a time of enormous national challenge, the people's business is not getting done. Examples of this are legion but two recent ones will suffice."

"Two weeks ago, the Senate voted down a bipartisan commission to deal with one of the greatest threats facing our nation: our exploding deficits and debt. The measure would have passed. But seven members who endorsed the idea, actually co-sponsored the legislation, instead voted no for short-term political reasons."

"Just last week, a major piece of legislation to create new jobs -- our nation's top priority today -- fell apart amidst complaints from both the left and the right."

"All of this and much more has led me to believe that there are better ways to serve my fellow citizens, my beloved state and our nation than continued service in Congress.

To put it into words I think most people can understand, I love working for the people of Indiana. I love helping our citizens make the most of their lives. But I do not love Congress."

We share the no love for Congress feeling.

And what will Evan Bayh do now? He says he wants a job:

I am an executive at heart. ... At this time, I simply believe that I can best contribute to society in another way: creating jobs by helping to grow a business, helping guide an institution of higher learning to educate our children, or helping run a worthy charitable or philanthropic endeavor.

Evan Bayh has 11 months of service to finish out his term. It's a tough job market out there. We'll remind him that you can't draw unemployment benefits for a voluntary quit.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Cambridge is Oversalted and Begging for Snow

With much of the country suffering under too much snow, Cambridge has the opposite problem. The last two storms failed to produce, leaving the salt the city put out still on the street waiting for something to melt.

Plywood is the New Harvard Square Chic

Plywood is up at for locations around Harvard Square. Plywood can signal remodeling in progress but afraid it may mean broken windows the landlord doesn't want to replace.

Calliope was a children's clothing and toy store, the place for stuffed animals at one of the best locations in the Square.

The old Wordsworth bookstore space has been having trouble finding a stable tenant for some time now. Hope this is a good sign.

Poor Leather World (formerly in the Galeria) has had to compete against the impression from the street that their building has been condemned.

This getting ridiculous for poor Leather World.

The old Bowl and Board is still boarded.

And no evidence of remodeling in progress.

Getting the plywood up there required some initiative, so that's a hopeful sign. But there are also signs of fire.

President Barack Obama 25% Off at Newbury Comics

I don't have to write some of this stuff, just report it. I got this coupon in my email today from Newbury Comics offering 25% off on any President Barack Obama related item:

"It's finally here... Presidents' Day!"

"Children will be dreaming of sugar plums, bunnies will bring candy and you'll dress up as your favorite ghostly apparition! OK, so maybe not. But, as we celebrate the birthdays of Washington & Lincoln, Presidents' Day is a time to reflect on all past and current leaders of this fine country. Add some collectibles to your household and who knows? They may become relics of our National History!"

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Boolah Boolah the Musical

Here's a cute video that some clever overachievers at Yale put together to sell their university to high school students applying to college.

It's getting a lot of hits on the internet. At the risk of spoiling the ending, the narrator looks a lot like a young Barack Obama, and at the end he bags the young white high school applicant. Or maybe she bags him. For Yale.

The problem with Yale and its ilk is one of ethos. The A students become professors. The B students go into business and make lots of money. The C students go into politics and end up running our country.

In fact, I would go so far as suggest that the problems facing our country may not be 8 years of Republicans but 20 years of Yalies. Yes, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush all held Yale degrees. Barack Obama does not hold a Yale degree.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Superbowl Ads on YouTube

Budweiser: Nothing comes between friends, especially fences.

Audi: You picked the wrong day to pick on the ecosystem, plastic boy.

E*Trade: And that milkaholic Lindsay wasn't over?

Dorito's: It's a miracle.

Snickers: You're playing like Betty White out there.

Dockers: I wear no pants.

Dorito's: Keep you hands off my mama, keep your hands off my Doritos.

Late Show with David Letterman: worst Super Bowl party ever.

Denny's: Yup, It's going to take a lot of eggs.

Dodge Charger: I will drive the car I want to drive.

Focus on Family: You're not nearly as tough as I am.

Teleflora: don't send flowers in a box.

Budweiser: The bridge is out.

HomeAway: Reservation for the Griswolds?

Dante's Inferno: Go to hell.

Prince or Persia

Bridgestone: Now that was a bachelor party. Hey, do you think I could be a GoDaddy girl too?

Bud Light: Well guys, that asteroid is going to destroy the earth.

Emerald Nuts and Pop Secret: Awesome + Awesome = Awesomer

Google: Paris

Michelob Ultra life.

Dr Pepper Cherry: A little Kiss of cherry flavor.

Bud Light: I'm going to make the party right.

truTv: Six more weeks of football.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Small Business Gallups to Front While Socialism Finishes Last

A recent poll by Gallup asks Americans a very simple question.

"Just off the top of your head, would you say you have a positive or negative image of each of the following?"

Small business95%4%
Free enterprise86%10%
Big business49%49%
Federal government46%51%

No surprise here for anyone familiar with the American public. Certainly there are ideological differences within the American public on these terms. And that sometimes confuses the ideologues, who tend to sort themselves with like-minded people. So 53% of Democrats have a positive image of socialism, compared to 17% of Republicans.

The Republican Party does well to run against big government but hurts itself to be allied too closely with big business. They'll be in big trouble if the Democrats ever think to start tagging Republicans "big corporate socialists".

The Democratic Party would do well to leave any socialistic big government dreams behind, as that is never going resonate well with the American people as a whole. For example, pandering to the single payer advocates on health care reform was fatal. The American public saw right through the left's public option as single payer socialized medicine in waiting.

For the Democrats to succeed, they need to embrace issues like health care and job creation from the top of the list not the bottom. That is, from the perspective of small business and free enterprise. And leave the governing as much as possible to state and local government rather than the federal government.

It's not socialism if it comes from the bottom up instead of the top down. Leveling the playing field, fair competition, protecting consumer choice and quality, fostering philanthropy, creating opportunities for small business to provide needed social services. That kind of change Americans would support.

How to explain the 25% drop from free enterprise to capitalism? Capitalism is for the big guy and free enterprise is for the little guy. America identifies with whoever fights for the little guy, whether against the capitalist or against the socialist.

I'll Be By Tomorrow Morning at 11:00 to Pick up My Stuff

Scott Brown was scheduled to take his U.S. Senate seat for Massachusetts next Thursday on February 11. That was until this past Wednesday afternoon, when he had his lawyer write and hand deliver a letter to Governor Deval Patrick and Secretary of State William Galvin:

"We request that the results of the special election of January 19, 2010 be certified without delay and that a duplicate original copy be provided to me in hand no later than 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, February 4, 2010."

Scott Brown got his certification papers, flew to Washington, DC, and was sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday afternoon.

Whatever else you may think of Scott Brown, you've to admire his style. In fact, his simple approach can be used to solve lots of problems.

Dear Ex,

I know we said we'd never see each other again, but you still have my green jacket and Free Bird t-shirt. I'll be by tomorrow morning at 11:00 to pick up my stuff.

Dear AIG,

You received a $170 billion bailout from me and other U.S. taxpayers. My per capita share is $550. I'll be by tomorrow morning at 11:00 to pick up my check. Actually, make out that check to the U.S Treasury for the full $170 billion amount.

Dear Nancy Pelosi,

I have not yet received anything from the $787 billion stimulus plan you passed a year ago in February 2009. My per capita share works out to $2,550. I'll be by tomorrow morning at 11:00 to pick up my check.

Dear Europe,

You seem to think that giving our President a Nobel Peace Prize would get him to strong arm Brazil, South Africa, India, China, and our country into your stupid Copenhagen scheme to regulate our economies under the guise of your faked data on global warming. (We're not saying carbon emissions are not a real problem, we're saying you don't have a real solution.) We'll be by tomorrow morning at 11:00 to return the Peace Prize.

Dear Pakistan,

We have good information that Osama Bin Laden is hiding in your country. We'll be by tomorrow morning at 11:00 to pick him up.

Dear Iran and North Korea,

We'll be by tomorrow morning at 11:00 to pick up your nuclear weapons material and your jailed dissidents. You might want to try picking up some democracy.

Dear Senator Brown (cc: President Obama),

Senator Brown, we hope you like your new job and like working with President Obama. You've both are coming up for reelection in 2012. Your Senate seat is the people's seat, and so is the seat in the oval office. We hope you both do a great job for us between now and Tuesday, November 6, 2012. If not, we'll be by election morning at 11:00 to pick up our seats.

Friday, February 5, 2010

How Do You Do Unemployed?

Here's some Facebook commentary started by someone I know out in flyover country who has just been laid from work.

Status: Hey this SUCKS! I can't believe that I no longer work for XXX company . . . I had been with the company 15-years and 10-months. I had to file my first EVER unemployment claim yesterday. Now I am part of that stupid statistic that I never thought I would be a part of!!!

Comment: well I too did that unemployment thing after you told me about you have to do that every week?

Status: How do you do "unemployed"?

Comment: what the hell? you cant like that! LOL

Comment: unemployed ain't so bad!!!! Get a hobby! LOL

Comment: Take severence & unemployment and look for ur dream job! Sorry to hear about this. Best of luck!

Comment: What the heck???? What happened?! And, you know I can tell you how to "do" unemployed! I'm an expert lately!

Comment: Wow - kind of glad I jumped when I did - hearing of lots of layoffs.

Status: Using up the last bit of my dental insurance..daughter had her wisdom teeth pulled today.

Comment: Hope she feels better, but now you will have to call Obama for some more insurance.

Comment: Yeah - I think it's time to cash in 'my' stimulas plan . . . LOL!!

Comment: in line for that one!

Comment: dont forget to use up all your flex spending acct if you have one. if you use it before its paid falls back on the company. Im getting all my work done this month! Had my crown done last week!

Comment: are you sure about all that?

Comment: You might find out but I think your insurance carries on for 6 months from when you are laid off at least it did with me.

Comment: thats COBRA ...and its $1100 a month for family coverage. I can get us coverage thru BCBS for a 1/3 of that.

Comment: no not cobra when i was laid off my med insurance and stuff carried on for 6 months after lay off. Believe me I have no idea how anyone affords Cobra

Comment: I heard the same thing abt the flex spending from someone that used to work in payroll, use it quick and it will end up back on the company! I'll get more details on it for you tomorrow and let you know.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Martha Coakley, Meet Carly Fiorina

On the left, Martha Coakley, U.S. Senate candidate for Massachusetts.

On the right, Carly Fiorina, U.S. Senate candidate for California.

If you don't see the resemblance, you might want to watch Carly Fiorina's demon sheep ad, which in its startling ineptitude makes us wonder if Carly has hired Martha's media consultants:

It's hard to know where to start:

(1) Using the word "men" as a swear word.
(2) Comparing the people of California to sheep.
(3) Making up the new slur FCINO (fiscal conservative in name only).

Here are the sort of comments FCINO is getting on its Youtube Channel:

"OK, this is really Tom Campbell's creation to make Carly look like an idiot. Right? It CANNOT be for real."

"How about your girl's silence of John McCain supporting all those bailouts? Is HE a FCINO?"

"As a registered Republican, I'm happy to say that I just determined who I'll vote for, and it won't be Carly Fiorina!"

"Reward incompetence. Vote for Carly. "

"Were drugs involved in making this?"

"Nice job, Carly Failorina."

But it doesn't stop there, you can go to Carly's new web site and submit your FCINO sighting report:

"If you have seen a FCINO in the wild, submit your detailed report below. By working together, we can protect taxpayers against future FCINO violations."

By the way, if you go to "Support the Cause" button on the Fiscal Conservatives in Name Only website, the money goes to Carly Fiorina's campaign. I'm confused. Does that mean Carly is the candidate for people who are fiscal conservatives in name only?

Am I the only one to notice:

(1) FC is Carly Fiorina's initials spelled backwards (she brought the demons into this).

(2) Fuchino Fiorina rhymes (never call your opponent a name that rhymes better with your name than his).

(3) FCINO could also be pronounced F'ckin' No (I personally might vote for a F'ckin' No candidate).

(4) Wait, wait. I've discovered that the gray haired man you can almost but never quite see at the end of this video is in fact, wait for it, Carly Fiorina herself. She's recovering from a tough dose of chemotherapy to battle breast cancer. But instead of building an inventive and inspiring story around a heroic personal struggle ... demon sheep.

Still, Carly hasn't called her opponent Tom Campbell a rape monger just yet, a slur Martha Coakley tried to put on Scott Brown. So, Carly, if you are going for the worst run campaign of 2010 award, you still have a ways to go.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Oscar Sees Its Shadow on Groundhog Day

And the Oscar goes to

Best Picture - Avatar
Best Director - Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
Best Actor - Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
Best Actress - Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
Best Supporting Actor - Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
Best Supporting Actress - Mo'Nique, Precious
Best Original Screenplay - Mark Boal, The Hurt Locker
Best Adapted Screenplay - Nick Hornby, An Education
Best Animated Feature Film - Up
Best Foreign Language Film - The White Ribbon, Germany

Oh, you were thinking that only nominees were announced today and that the actual awards ceremony is not until March 7 in 5 weeks. And that I shouldn't be making predictions without seeing all the nominated pictures. Then crawl back into your hole, groundhog.

Monday, February 1, 2010

White People Aren't Having Enough Sex

Time to throw out the contraceptives? The census keeps telling us that whites in America are well on the way to to becoming a minority.

Provocative, but there is another explanation. White people are having sex and kids with people who are nonwhite, as reported here a year ago.

I'm just not worried about America being taken over by ... Americans. Still, Karen Alloy has a point. More sex wouldn't be such a bad thing.