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May 19, 2006

An Oil-Fueled Torch

Malbug_17Leave it to Ex-Sen. Robert "The Torch" Torricelli (D-N.J.) to be the gift that keeps on giving.

The corruption-plagued New Jersey pol, who abruptly dropped out of his 2002 re-election bid, has now been linked to the Oil-for-Food scandal.  Torricelli, then a congressman, allegedly tried to get oil-for-food contracts at favorable terms for David Chang – the same campaign contributor whose ties to the Senator helped precipitate his downfall – and his company, Bright and Bright:

Contacted by telephone, Mr Torricelli, who now runs his own business consulting firm and remains a powerful figure in New Jersey politics and a prominent Democratic party fundraiser, admitted meeting Mr Hamdoun “many times”, “probably both” in Washington and New York “and in Baghdad”. He first denied mentioning Mr Chang or Bright and Bright during his conversations with (former Iraqi ambassador to the UN Nizar) Hamdoun. When told about the Iraqi documents that suggested there had been discussions, he said he did not remember mentioning them.

While the Torch's political career is dead and buried, this is the first indication that Saddam's corrupt influence might have reached even into the U.S. Congress.  Torricelli's history indicates that he would have been just the man to have obliged.

May 16, 2006

Lock Up the Hatch

Hatch Malbug_17The first "Sole Survivor" has been sentenced to more than four years in the pokey.

For being so "cunning," Richard Hatch sure was stupid.

His contention that he thought CBS was supposed to pay the taxes on his $1 million prize might have been even remotely believable – might – if he hadn't also evaded the taxes on hundreds of thousands of dollars of other income.

Or did he think CBS was responsible for that too?

We'll see how long his sphincter can Outwit, Outplay and Outlast his fellow inmates.

On a related note, a crew member from "Survivor" told "The Howard Stern Show" that they were doing Hatch a big favor by pixelating the naked gay dude's genitals on TV.

May 04, 2006

Wasting a Lott


GayPatriotWest points out the crucial distinctions between Trent Lott's problem and gays' "problem."

May 03, 2006

Time Warner Jackpot Sparks Outrage


New York (AP) — On the heels of Time Warner's announcement of a $1.46 billion first-quarter profit, the Senate Commerce Committee has announced hearings next week to investigate potential price-gouging.

"All those zeroes," said Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), Senate Commerce Committee Chairman, loosening his Incredible Hulk tie.  "All those freakin' zeroes!"

"A profit that high cannot possibly be a result of market forces," said Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), a committee member.  "I will not stand by idly while hard-working Americans and Vietnam veterans are made to pay obscene prices for substandard news and entertainment."

Commerce Committee staff members have been combing through the media giant's shareholder reports, news articles and other documents for evidence that the company is taking unfair advantage of consumers.

As the nation heads into the busy summer entertainment season, senators are concerned that high prices for Time Warner products are stretching Americans' disposable incomes thin.  Others expressed anger at Time Warner's profligate spending.

"They're paying Anderson Cooper $2 million a year for, what, 300,000 viewers a night?" said Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.)  "I mean, that's half of what Brian Williams makes on NBC, but about 6 million fewer viewers."


Richard Parsons, Time Warner chairman and CEO,
receives his annual bonus

"Look at this list of underperforming properties," said Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.)  "Ratings for 'The Sopranos' are in the toilet.  The Atlanta Braves' starting (pitching) rotation has an ERA of – what – like, 12?  And Quack.com?  What the fuck is that?"

Senators said they intend to press Time Warner to adopt austerity measures.

"Do they really need a 'Fortune 500'?" asked Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.)  "Isn't 300 or 400 good enough?"

Richard Parsons, chairman and CEO of Time Warner, was reached for comment atop a four-story pile of money.

"The men and women of Time Warner are working hard to shore up this critical sector of the U.S. economy," he said, lighting a fat Montecristo Platinum with a fistful of stock options.

"With Americans importing more of their news from Britain and more of their feature films from Europe, they should be thankful that there are still domestic media leviathans to make them think and laugh."

A Senate Commerce Committee spokesman said hearings would be scheduled for Tuesday, and that Parsons and other top executives could expect tough questioning.

"Like any red-blooded American, I'd fuck Brandon Routh too," said Sen. John Sununu (R-N.H.)  "But $11 is still an awful lot to ask for Superman Returns, and that's even before nachos and a Coke."

April 28, 2006

It's the Economics, Stupid

Malbug_13Nozzle Columnist Charles Krauthammer reveals the shocking truth behind the skyrocketing gasoline prices.


Actually, he ticks off a number of interesting underlying factors that have restricted supply and increased demand to their current extremes: among them, the American public's intransigence, the boom in China and India, environmentalists, and Iowa farmers.

Give it a read, especially if you sit around all day scapegoating the oil companies.

April 19, 2006

More Gas from Mr. Global Warming

Malbug_13Gore Helpful blogger Jordy sends along a little money-grubbing missive from the most inept politician in recent history (with the possible exception of John Kerry), Al Gore.

You remember him, right? The guy who took the strongest economy ever and was still unable to ride it to the White House?  (As a pre-emptive measure, I recommend that any comments about "stolen elections" save me the trouble by appending the standard line "This commenter is an idiot" yourselves.)

Even though Gore is politically clueless, I will assume that he at least had sense enough to send this only the howlingest of the moonbat base.  Because if he thinks that his message holds even the slightest appeal for a moderate/libertarian American like me, he missed the target by several furlongs.

Al.  Sweetie.  Baby.  Repeat after me: Bush hatred in not an agenda.  Rove-mongering is not an agenda.  A little line buried at the bottom about stem cells and "global warming" is not an agenda.  And until your party develops an actual agenda, something more compelling than livid, spittle-flecked rage, you will remain deservedly in the minority.  But I'm rooting for you, Al, because I believe that genuine electoral alternatives are critical to the democratic process.  You're just not providing one right now.

Letter after the jump ...

Continue reading "More Gas from Mr. Global Warming" »

April 05, 2006

The Real Pig in a Poke

Malbug_13Pig Citizens Against Government Waste's 2006 "Pig Book," tracking annual congressional pork-barrel spending, is out today.

Among the worst offenses this year are "$13,500,000 for the International Fund for Ireland, which helped finance the World Toilet Summit; $6,435,000 for wood utilization research; $1,000,000 for the Waterfree Urinal Conservation Initiative; and $500,000 for the Sparta Teapot Museum in Sparta, N.C."

That is all fine as far as it goes.  CAGW should be applauded for policing such profligacy, which by and large is meant to curry votes in home constituencies.  (I have worked in the past for congressional appropriators.  To be sure, there is a lot of validity to many individual "ear-marked" projects, but they generally are inserted into appropriations bills with the next election, and not the wise use of taxpayer money, in mind.)

But the $29 billion in "pork-barrel" projects identified by CAGW represents only 2.8 percent of total federal discretionary spending, and just 1.05 percent of the total $2.77 trillion budget.  Nondiscretionary spending ("entitlements") accounts for fully 61.4 percent of the budget, and growing.

Continue reading "The Real Pig in a Poke" »

April 04, 2006

Somehow I Doubt the "Lord" Will Be Getting His Cut

Malbug_13From a spammer who clearly doesn't read this site:

Praise the Lord

March 27, 2006

FEC Lapses Briefly Into Sanity

Malbug_13The Federal Election Commission has exempted almost all Internet activities from federal campaign-finance regulations.

That's great news, even though McCain-Feingold is still a hopeless mess.

March 08, 2006

French Wave Yet Another White Flag

Malbug_13This time, they're surrendering in the fight to compete in the global economy:

A top economic expert has warned against growing economic nationalism in Europe, as reports say the French government will move to protect 20 companies, including Danone and Carrefour, from foreign takeovers. [...]

Some analysts have noted the tones of hypocrisy in the French government's protection plan. French companies, after all, bought into more foreign rivals last year than most other European countries' firms, statistics show.

January 24, 2006

Giant Sucking Sound


Gays in America had about $500 billion in spending power in 2004, if you take the oft-cited 1999 figure of $450 billion and adjust it for inflation.  That is more than the purchasing power of all but the 25 wealthiest nations in the world.  (Some have alleged it to be much higher.  But if you assume that a conservative 5 percent of Americans – or 15 million – are gay, then $500 billion would give you a per capita income of about $33,000.  So I certainly don't think that figure is too high.)

So how much did opponents of anti-gay-marriage ballot propositions spend to defeat them that year?  $6.5 million$6.5 million.  That is a paltry 1.3 percent of our income.  And less than half of that ($3 million) came from the same gay-rights groups whose job it is to run interference for us on issues like this.

"Our" side was nearly even in financial terms with the "black hats," which raised $6.8 million.  Yet 13 state bans on gay marriage were passed in 2004 by a 3-to-1 margin.

Now, I don't know what the total revenues or advocacy budgets of the umpteen-thousand gay-rights groups are, but they have set up the debate over gay marriage as the great civil rights test of the GLBT movement, and all they could scrape together among them was $3 million?

Gloria Steinem, with whom I probably disagree on nearly everything, got at least one thing right when she said: "We can tell our values by looking at our checkbook stubs."

So what does this say about our values?  That we would rather spend our money on a night at the clubs, saunas or on drugs than we would on politics?  And what does it say about the GLBT organizations' rights?  Where is their money going, anyway?  "Gala dinners" to pat ourselves on the back and then raise more funds that we will squander?

Clearly, we need to spend more, or at least spend smarter.

(More at Boozhy ...)

November 20, 2005

Hurray for Casinos!

Casinochips More specifically, casinos that hire incompetant coupon printers:

Harrah's Joliet Casino and Hotel started making good on thousands of misprinted cash coupons Saturday after the Illinois Gaming Board ordered the company to honor its botched promotion.

The casino said a mailing error by a third-party vendor resulted in approximately 11,000 coupons being sent out earlier this week. The coupons were good for $525 in cash, a sum much higher than intended. If all the coupons are redeemed, the payout would by nearly $5.8 million.

I'm not much of a gambling type. I'll buy a lottery ticket when it hovers near the $300 million mark. However, the Harrah's Joliet Casino is more or less the only thing my older brother and I have in common. I'm from Mars, and my brother is apparently from the backwoods of Tennessee. He has the reddest neck in Cook County, as near as I can tell.

So, we'll get together every few weeks and head on over to Harrah's to grind out a few rounds of blackjack and poker in all its forms. Miraculously, I have never lost money in a casino. The worst I've ever done is bring $200 and leave with $202.50 after having a couple drinks.

This week, I received one of these beautiful coupons. Tossed it on the desk with the rest of the mail and forgot about it. I knew it must've been a misprint and figured they wouldn't honor it. Casinos get a little weird about handing out money they don't intend you to have.

Now, I must run off to Joliet and fellate the entire Illinois Gaming Board. See? Gambling pays off.

November 08, 2005

Grand Old Pork-Barrelers


Piggybank_1 If rank-and-file House Republicans are among the leading opponents of a cut in federal spending that amounts to barely 2 percent in an already obscenely bloated budget, haven't they abdicated any pretense of moral authority in terms of fiscal conservatism?

Barely more than a decade after the "Republican Revolution," the two parties have become virtually indistinguishable as defenders of unfettered entitlement growth and a bottomless pork barrel.

With all the enmity generated by the wars our country is involved in – both "terror" and "culture" – it is sad that so little attention is being paid to the one issue that has so thoroughly united both ends of the political spectrum.

October 24, 2005

Bush Names Fed Chair Nominee


Sure, Ben Bernanke has a "reputation for intellectual rigor and integrity."

But what Democrats will be most interested in is: What does he think of Roe v Wade?!

September 28, 2005

Our Money Keeps Getting Gayer and Gayer

Malbug_13Hot on the heels of the "peach" 20 comes the new ten-spot.  (Animated gif a Malcontent original™.)

Loves it!: