Sunday, January 31, 2010


Reported by the Washington Post and then commented on by The Daily Beast, it seems that the U.S. is going to honor a sale of some military items to Taiwan and the Defense Ministry in China is having some PMS over it. Does anyone have a handkerchief so I can cry my eyes out?

Oh tell me I'm off base here, but doesn't the Chinese sell Nuclear items to anyone they want without a concern if that nation is an enemy of ours or not friendly to say the least? Don't the Chinese sell all other military weapons to countries that responsible nations refuse to sell because of their outlaw conformance to everything decent and humane?

So this Chinese Communist nation who we bolster with commerce is loathe to support the U.S. in anything but the most innocuous of agreements. These are the people said to shoot convicts, which are people described not to agree with their ideology so they must be insane, and then harvest the convict's organs for a healthy profit. These are the people we stupidly allowed to become creditors of ours. These are the people who send us poisonous toys and food. These are the people afraid of free speech and who let young children toil in factories. I am surprised they don't eat their young. If you want to find out what they do eat, contact the ASPCA.

Taiwan has been a friendly democracy, a true trading partner, and composed of a small island of people that the mainland Communists are loathe to leave alone because they want to engulf it into their own corrupt government. I think Nixon lead the way for Taiwan to be kicked out of the U.N. Well, that crook get credit for opening the doors to China. No recent U.S. president had the fortitude to sell the latest weapons to Taiwan, helping China force our friends to cower.

Now the Chinese say that they are suspending planned mutual military visits. I say that is "good" having less spying potential. We should not allow them to see even a bb gun of ours.

I'm not Asian, but visited Taiwan many times and loved doing business there. I am so ashamed of the way Taiwan has been treated.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


The good people at The Huffington Post sent me a recap of the French research firm's study on worst company offenders. They mention also some of the best such as IBM and Intel and I smiled because IBM is an Alma Mater of mine.

The worst companies or should I say the 10 worst had a common thread of doing some rather nasty things to pad their pockets. I thought this was going to be some backwater firms in some third world or Communist countries selling their grandchildren or harvesting body organs from convicts like I read about in China. In this world wide study, I was almost totally off base.

Why I'm writing this blog is that there were three shockers in my mind. One is that all but one of these firms are in major countries. Only one was in Indonesia and the others in either Canada, Italy, Mexico, Switzerland, Ireland and the U.S.A. I think that many companies sin, but I never thought the worst of the worst would be in famous countries that made things like Prada, DosXX beer, chocolate, Baileys Irish Cream and..... oh no, in U.S.A. we don't make anything anymore.

The second shocker was that 5 of the bottom worst 6 in the world were U.S. firms or associated with the U.S. Halliburton, Occidental Oil, Philip Morris, Monsanto, and Chevron. Next time some conservative tells you we need to leave corporations to do what ever they want to without oversight, please pull out my blog and ask them to eat it like a goat.

Lastly, of the 5 U.S. firms, who would guess, mostly oil companies, a tobacco giant and a chemical company. Thank god it wasn't Burger King else I'd starve to death. This whole thing seems to beg the question as to why no insurance companies are named. People are going bankrupt and dying. I wonder if they lobbied the research company.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


I enjoy the wit and laughter listening to Wanda Sykes. She is one of the funniest show people of this era and her political and social commentary, on almost all subjects, are very compatible with my way of thinking. I was introduced to her on the Jay Leno show where she'd have me falling off my bed with her brand of edgy, sometimes sarcastic, and mostly opinionated views. I watched her and Ellen on UTube and Wanda was a riot.

When Sykes started her own show on the Fox Network, I scheduled it, weekly on my DVR. and have watched all installments from its inception. I don't know what her token white, chubby Tranny girl does, but believe she should have a few lines, and can really offer something, instead of mostly looking bewildered. Her black announcer is often funny and charming.

Digressing if I may, years ago watching BET I was taken aback by black comedians using the "N" word in every other sentence drawing a great deal of laughter from the black audience. I thought it set a poor example especially if children viewed the channel. I wrote articles on this and felt that I may have made some inroads. I think any race dissing any race is wrong.

So now Wanda is way more politically correct in using "white" or "black" to designate race but what I feel is that race as a topic, particularly favorable to black, and demeaning to white is creeping into the format at an increasing rate making me uncomfortable. The difference between Sykes and Leno is that Leno usually jokes about an individual rather than a group. Wanda will talk politically about individuals as does Leno, but when it comes to race as it more often does, there are many negative overtones toward whites as a group. It seems to me that this is getting more popular with not only Wanda's monologues, but with her guests.

It certainly is her right, it is her show and they are her writers. I don't think that my sensibilities are easily frayed, but for the last couple of weeks, I didn't have that smile on my face ready to sleep like a baby after watching. Only one opinion that perhaps Wanda can keep racial jokes in moderation. My opinion, of course; this is my blog.

Monday, January 25, 2010


I am really amazed that my President is such a gentleman. He talks with power but relies on others to follow-up perhaps so he can stay above the fray. So to most, especially the electorate, the talk does not match the walk. I love my President, but that is the way it seems.

The Republicans should be the loyal opposition. The two keywords are loyal and opposition. We know the opposition is is the Republican thirst for power no matter what effect it has on our country. That is the way it seems and there is nothing, no matter how false, undermining, sneaky, or overt, they take the position that their power is more important than the work of the people.

The word "bipartisan" is only for bills that are totally non political and carry a fear that to not support is akin to wanting our military personal to die. Beyond that, there is no such animal as bipartisan. President O'bama, they want you to fail, and you want to be friends. How nice!

Neither my President or his cabinet or congressional leaders have learned anything about maintaining the parties lead, and about fighting with the same force and power against how they are being fought. As a result, the Democrats are losing their control one election at a time. Frankly speaking, the country loses, but the Dems deserve the spanking, deserve the losses and have no concept of how to maintain party discipline and don't have an inkling of how to keep the electorate respecting the party. They let a nude model sway the balance of power. Genius!

The Republicans can threaten every member and control them. The Democrats are only good at talking. Smell the coffee fellas. Wake up.

We need middle class jobs. Yes some shovel ready but tons of middle class. Bring back enough manufacturing to assure technical and managerial middle class jobs. Do it now. Do it unilaterally. Shovel ready jobs do not trickle up with any numbers. Major manufacturing jobs do. China and other do not support us. We need to and can bring back enough to solve the unemployment.

Get an extension to Medicare with the 51% vote option or spend a few million and buy a Republican Senator or two. Why if the insurance and Pharma companies can do it, why can't you. Do not include Republicans in anything, after all Bush set the tone for this. Get a Democratic groundswell of people both liberal and progressive to march, to demonstrate, to carry the word. Finally, punish any Democratically elected official who does not vote for the party's agenda and do the same to the independents. Did you really think Olympia Snow was going to vote with you? How naive!

The Republicans are spanking you and you're saying thank you, I needed that.

Friday, January 22, 2010

My Common Law Marriage to Costco

No question that Costco has great prices. As a result, I just guess that it must be deeply embedded in their corporate culture that they do not have to give their customers any reasonable level of service. After all, "they" want price, they got price. Notice I use the word "they" instead of "customer", because I believe that the word "customer" has a much wider definition than simply the selling price and the word "they" connotes a group much lower on the service priority scale.

I notice in Consumer Reports that whenever I see Costco in the group of rated suppliers, they are very high in saving some money and hover around dead last in service. Was it Marshall or Field who advocated that the customer is always right? And, perhaps another way was cited by some French dude that the customer is never wrong. Anyone listening?

Costco had some products I kind of liked like Crystal Geyser soda water, Hebrew National Hot Dogs (now owned by Con Agra - my god, what is this world coming to), Black Forest Ham, Carnegie Deli Pastrami to mention a few. After buying these products, Costco (they) decides to have these items mysteriously disappear from the shelves. A totally unilateral decision. I wrote a number of times to their suggestion box but they don't answer "them" -at least not mine.

Costco loves to handle a major brand, get some good sales for the product type and then package it under their own Kirkland brand. I'm not saying "bait and switch" am I? The idea here looks like it is just a way to keep price down as some believe that the store brand does not have to carry the financial burden of the major brand's advertising budget. This may be true, if the Kirkland brand was a real equal replacement to that favorite national brand. However this is where it gets scary to me. Costco can now change who makes the product so they can shop the world. You might think it was just a name change and you might very well be wrong.

Additionally, some brands just disappear, such as just about every brand of washing machine detergent except Tide. I bought a Kirkland hard milled white soap. I think it is called French milled, and now they sell soap with tons of lotion mixed in so I'm sure does not last as long. Again, I asked about it, and I assume my heirs will have to wait for an answer.

The word "wholesale" is probably the war cry for packaging in sizes that border on giving me a hernia just to lift it into my shopping cart. I buy 52 razors at a time and they don't carry any other throw away razors anymore other than Gillette. I suppose a two year supply is not so bad to save a few bucks. I really can't buy butter there because 4 or 5 pounds is just too invasive to my waistline.

And then I know that most Supermarkets move things around so you need to hunt and the more you walk, the more you spontaneously buy. In marketing parlance, I believe it is "impulse buying" I have not done a real analysis, but I think Costco does this with a zeal not readily found elsewhere. You see, I don't really know if it is in another location or did it disappear.

Bottom line, I do like to save money, so I wait on line, buy big packages, and grunt under my breath. But there are many many items I no longer buy just because the packaging size is meant for true wholesalers or the Octa-Mom.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Last evening, I was having to sip on Alka Seltzer while the returns were pouring in from the Senate election to fill Ted Kennedy's seat. The last time I went totally Bulimic was hearing the horrible news that Proposition 8 passed in California.

Contrasting the two I'd say that Proposition 8 passed because of the millions spent on lies, and evasions and propaganda by right wing disgraceful jerks and discriminatory religious groups. A little strong? Try the First Amendment if you don't like it. Republicans won in Mass. because of the gross ineptitude of the Democratic candidate, the lack of Democratic intelligent support on a national basis, the lousy first year our wonderful president has as a record, the woos Democrats vs. the vulture Republicans in their approach to power and politics.

And the voters in Mass. reflect my thesis that Americans don't really care about each other. This was a vote for a good looking right wing guy and against the woman who vacationed during the electoral process.

One would think that health care alone would have voted in even a Democrat Darth Vadar, but the electorate decided that if thousands and thousands of Americans die because of lack of health care, and that more go bankrupt and suffer, it doesn't matter if it does not effect that voter.

Wake up 'Democrats. You remind me of the war with the British fighting in colorful uniforms marching in close formation while the opposition was in Davy Crockett clothes not looking like soldiers. The slaughter followed. You Dems are fighting vultures who are outrageous in their zeal for power, and you fight like a disorganized, un-managed bunch of hacks.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

High End Hotel Suites

In today's update from the Huffington Post, there was a super article from the Wall Street Journal (not my favorite) about the economy and the price of luxury hotel suites. The most expensive room on earth is stated to be $65,000 per night but you'd be delighted to know that there are lots available around the world for merely half that price. I have this horrible thought of the cost of a bottle of Pepsi from the frig.

It seems that owing to the economy, this is good time to bargain for your hotel room. Why, one dude stayed in a ocean front room for only $300 a night where the regular price was so much more. If you watch TV, you probably saw Captain Kirk negotiate these things.

I hark back to years ago when Fernando Marcos was the dictator in the Philippines, and I stayed at an American hotel in Manila. I booked a standard room, but they were all filled and they gave me the Presidential Suite on the top floor. Yes kids, the penthouse floor. I had to whisper whether or not this was a mistake, but they said that I was a VIP.

The penthouse floor was rich in carpeting, wall art, and a table full of delicacies such as chocolates (things to kill for) and there was a young, perhaps 19 year old drop dead beautiful attendant to see to any special needs. Several thoughts went through my mind from the cost of special needs to the fact that Marcos could take a dim view of any misbehavior or Imelda would kick me with one of her 10,000 pair of shoes.

My point is that what keeps these prices up are the willingness of world dignitaries to pay such prices as well as rock stars and other celebrities. I can understand the celebs but some of the highest priced accommodations are very close to the U.N. in Geneva. If you remember your history, Fidel Castro wouldn't hear of it (also not my fav), but I just guess that if you were the Grand PooPah of, say, your average 3rd world country, you may want to set a good example in the use of public funds unless you feel that you need to live it up while you can.

As to me, I ask for my AAA discount and think I'm such a shrewd negotiator.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Bo Hoo Hoo Mark McGwire, Bwaaaaaaaa

Many moons ago, I sat glued to my TV seeing Mark McGwire in front of Congress. Do you remember the stonewalling, the arrogance the macho body language and mega evasion of answers?

Yesterday, he is choked up in tears saying that his children, his family all find out he used 'roids. He said yesterday was the worst day in his life. He reminded me a little of elected officials when they get caught with their fly in another zip code. Oh how disingenuous is the apology to family, to constituency to their fans, to their supporters!

I disagree with McGwire, in that I think that it was not yesterday, but that infamous day in front of Congress. That was the worst day in his life. Like most perps, they are arrogant until they get caught. They are innocent until they get caught. In front of Congress, he could have confessed, he could have manned-up but, he wasn't caught yet, so he spent the worst day of his evading the truth in front of the world.

Personally, we should stop looking up to athletes and many elected officials as role models; at lest not when they are alive. Give it 25 years postmortem to stand the test of biographers and history. Someone like Thomas Jefferson, giving us the Declaration and having interracial love (what a man!), and honest Abe teaching us that a score is not a waitress but is 20 years. Not McGwire, a role model no more.

Thinking about all this, I need to take a long shower.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Harry Reid, Black People, and Poliics

Well, I tuned into Larry King's show and Soledad O'brien was covering a remark by Reid, the Democratic Senator from Nevada about what I think was about light skinned black people and Negro dialect. Three of the panel of three black and one white agreed that the statement was inappropriate but apology was accepted and one panelist seemed to want to hammer a nail into Reed's political coffin. Of course, she was black, and, of course she was a conservative. Now, when Ms. Obrien brought in other people, the lines of politics mainly determined whether Reid's remark was either an unfortunate comment that was later apologized to, or to draw and quarter the Senator in the Capitol courtyard.

Personally, I think all racial comments should be avoided. There is no question that black people, historically in this country, should be given wide consideration, but what remains is that everyone really does not like comments that are derogatory to their own race, their own people, their own brethren, their own gender. Most are much more liberal when the nasty comment is about someone who doesn't look like us, doesn't speak like us, and who have different preferences than we do.

I think too many Black people are as much prejudiced toward others as others are toward them. I can say the same for Hispanics, Asians, American and East Indians. When white people say some crap, everyone hates it. Also, I think too many people in a specific religion are, in more hushed tones, as discriminatory as can be. I also believe that many Americans not only think most individuals outside their own circle really suck, but they are also pretty rough on their own. Many dislike or demean their own, but dislike outsiders saying the same thing.

I have two cats. One white, one orange striped. They play together both rough and gentle, clean each other, and sleep near each other and don't steal too often from each other's bowls. We can learn a life lesson from my cats. We need more than dialogue, we need to teach children to act and speak about each other using my cats as the poster boys. So Harry Reid, come visit and observe my Gatitos. Meow.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Revisiting Gay Marriage in California


Over a short span, California has seen the voters deny gay marriage, then the California Supreme court overthrew that denial, then the voters again on the notorious Proposition 8 denied what the Supreme Court ruled on. This time the Supreme Court did not overthrow the voters.

On Prop. 8, I followed the news, the advertisements, the mailings, the Emails, and was disgusted at the blatant outright lies, the bending of the truth, the innuendo, and the millions spent by right wing organizations, religious groups, and in particular, the Mormon Church who, in my opinion, has shown a degree of shame and discrimination beyond the pale. This doesn't let the Evangelists, Catholics, Jews, Baptists, etc. off the hook. The hierarchy of these organizations are just as culpable, just as prejudice, just as shameful.

Well, I see no harm in Gay Marriage. I see harm in calling it Gay Unions as to call it a different name is to discriminate and relegate to a lesser citizenship, to having lesser rights. I did see the happiness, the laughter the faces of the people Mayor Newsome married. This joy just CANNOT be wrong. Our moral compass is useless when we discriminate against love.

The very people who destroy any sanctity in marriage are too often the ones who want to deny it to gays. I still believe we as Americans love our country, we are just intolerant and uncaring of our fellow Americans if they are not in our religion, are not our family, are not like us. If we have good medical care, I mean, why do we give a damn if they don't. If thousands die each year, so what, but if one dumb ass sneaks into a airplane with a bomb and threatens the homeland, it is on the news day and night. Gays and Lesbians are our neighbors, our brethren, our children, our relatives our neighbors. I see zero rationale that marriage need be between a man an woman?

The super attorneys, Ted Olsen and David Bois who appeared against each other at the Supreme Court regarding the Florida fiasco during Gore vs. Bush, have gotten together to fight for the rights of Gays to marry in California and on January 11 on the 17th floor of the District Federal Court in San Francisco, they will start to plead the case. They are asking for it to be televised. The people against gay marriage do not want TV in the Court. Read what you want into this.

As a side note; many many months ago, I wrote to the President of the Equal Opportunity Campaign and suggested they get Attorney David Bois. I almost fell off my chair when I read that he and Olsen teamed up. Maybe I'll start reading palms. I'll become a seer a soothsayer. How's this: Beware Mormon Church, Beware the Ides of March.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The 2002 Movie Secretary

This movie is a classic treatment of the Dominant/Submissive relationship. I could write a novella discussing each scene, the nuances, the body language between the characters, the dialogue, the supporting cast the costumes as well as the set and music, They were all brilliantly brought together not only to show the dominant and submissive behaviors, but of equal interest to me was the totally statistical improbability that two people with really different natures, of opposite ends of the personality spectrum, and past history of failures, do ultimately find each other in a perfect loving match, if not harmonious.

What is amazing is that Secretary is 180 degrees opposite of a chick flick and I doubt if even a few ladies would give the movie an ovation. Yet, it is a love story almost in its purest form. I saw it on the IFC Movie Channel and then rented it from Netflix. and each of the six times I viewed it, like most movies, I discovered more and more.

You can log into IMDB - The Internet Movie Data Base via Google, Yahoo or Bing it and you can search on Sectretary, 202, see the comments, ratings, complete cast and other work by the artists.

Was there life before Netflix? I don't remember. I don't think I need a secretary but have been told that a Nymphomaniac with Tourette Syndrome provides interesting diversion from writing blogs.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Paying Ones Debt To Society

Let us say that a guy named Huey did some five finger purchasing or some other asocial offense, was soon nabbed for jaywalking, and then convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony for the non jaywalking offense, sent up the river (if that expression is still in current use) and did hard time while maintaining a clean jailhouse record and not abused too much to satisfy the romantic needs of his 2,000 fellow inmates. He might have disagreed with the "too much" statement but that was the judgment of the officers. Huey was ultimately released, found out his wife divorced him, took his kids and blew town. Huey re-entered society on a greyhound bus to nowhere.

The question looms: As society, are we even? Did the penalty fit the crime or should society extract a penalty way larger than the crime? Do we take an eye for an eye, or because it is someone else and not us, not our family, do we take a life for an eye and a life for a tooth?

We know that the "perp" is an ex con for life. He is in the computers forever, and will probably be discovered given a background check, he has no second amendment rights, may not vote as I understand it, is on other lists forever, is eliminated from an overwhelming number of jobs, often loses his family. If this person was an illegal alien, he probably would never get a green card. In some cases, he would be hounded out of his residence. He may be rounded up with the usual suspects for like crimes, and who knows what would happen if just pulled over for being 10 miles over the speed limit.

In our country, a person who made a mistake will often pay 100 times greater than the mistake they made and it is no wonder they often find their way back in the slammer. It seems so unfair, even if understandable. And what if Huey is innocent? Unfair by a factor of ten.

Tell me different, O reader, tell me different.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Bank of America Credit Card Cancellation

Every once in a while I receive an "Important Information Inside" self mailer from a financial company such as a bank, credit card firm, insurance company, investment firm and it normally is a bunch of changes to the agreement they have with me and other customers. It is sometimes unclear if the other customers are all of their customers or just those with certain attributes or account conditions,.

I never use to read these. Always found that these type of fine print boiler plate agreements were prepared by lawyers who work for the financial institution. That in itself signals to me that it is probably never account changes that will benefit me and that the changes will enrich and/or protect the issuing company. In the past, I felt that my government would protect me from said screwing on one hand and that the screwing would not be a total pounding because the issuing firm has some thought that they would want to keep me as a customer.

There are, however, recent developments that many of these same above mentioned companies poorly handled mortgages, refused to renegotiate loans, make wholesale foreclosures, and all at the expense of their own customers. I am well aware that the customer was mostly dense above-the-neck and that the economy, the unemployment, the bankruptcies were, in a large measure, the consequence of not reading and understanding the fine print put together by lawyers.

So now, to my great chagrin, I read these boring mailers. One was from Bank of America in the latter part of 2009 stating that because of how I used their issued credit card, I now would have to pay a yearly fee or I could cancel by calling a toll free number and if I canceled, the card would be void.

Well, for at least 20-25 years, I have paid all credit card debt prior to its being due, so it became obvious that the bank did not like clients who paid their whole debt on time and avoid finance charges. To them, I gathered that customers who can afford to pay the whole bill and are probably more credit worthy are not worth given the same consideration as those who pay interest.

So, I wrote to a whole bunch of places to complain including the Better Business Bureau, state and federal agencies, elected officials, and so forth, and received a phone call from someone who represented high office at Bank of America. It verified that the reason they wanted me to pay an annual fee was my clean credit account's profitability.

Ultimately, I called the toll free number, canceled the card, and now I read all the boiler plates and recommend that anyone out their in cyberspace crazy enough to read my writing, do the same.

If you think this was a rarity, I just received one from the bank that handles Orchard Supply Hardware credit cards and they want to charge $1 for every statement they mail forcing me to either cancel the card or get on-line statements. What I hate about this is that I have to spend time thinking about it instead of thinking about Michelle Pfeiffer.