Monday, September 29, 2008


Well, looks like the financial world retaliated for Congress turning back on their promise to pay off the tab run up by the rotten decisions of the moneychangers by selling off assets quick like a bunny. Now they’re on to Act Two, where they’re jumping up and down and screaming about how nobody’s going to get credit anymore and small businesses are all going to shrivel up and Santa Claus isn’t going to show up for your family this year.

They’re basically pulling out a recitation of the full litany of all of the standard Chicken Little alarmist bullshit, to which I feel that there is only one adequate reply.

Fuck all of the dumb shit.

I’m sick and tired of seeing the pundits and mouthpieces of Wall Street trying to blackmail the United States government by trying to conjure up a tornado of paranoia in order to force them into paying up for what in all foreseeable circumstances would be a pile of utterly worthless mortgage-backed securities, in which winking Congressional leaders suggest that we may even make the money back, though they can’t guarantee it, predict how much we could make back, or even determine exactly who “we” are.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson looked absolutely hysterical at a post-Congressional vote press conference (which was also being held after the Dow Jones closed with the largest loss in history.) Paulson wailed, seemingly desperate to anyone with ears to hear, “We need to work as quickly as possible…We need to put something back together that works,” somehow avoiding the tacking of a “GodDAMNit!” at the end of the sentence.

He also sounded almost surreal when he stated, “Our banking system has been holding up very well, considering all of the pressures.” Uh, sure. Consider, if you will, that Washington Mutual and Wachovia, along with other financial institutions, have been going down the shitter in the past few weeks alone. If that’s what’s considered as “holding up very well”, then hey, I’m living the life of an award winning scholar, considering that I only have a high school diploma! Hey, I’m gonna start applying that observational style in more areas of my life, starting, like, todaaaay man!

I wouldn’t exactly paint the majority of dissenting Republicans who voted against the initial bailout legislation as working class heroes either. They’d be more than happy to grab backpacks, fill them with fresh currency straight from the U.S. Treasury, and hop on the next Amtrak leaving D.C. for New York City to deliver the loot directly to the robber barons in person. No, the issue here, as usual, is too much government regulation would be mandated, and God knows we can’t have any of that pesky oversight stuff getting in the way of what they probably still insist is a fundamentally sound economy behind closed doors with their big business lobbyist homies. So no medals for these self-styled mavericks. If anything, they deserve a flaming bag of shit in front of each and every one of their office doors.

And the Democrats are looking pretty fucked up in this whole fiasco as well.

“Look, nobody liked this bill.”
(Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland, on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show)

Then why the fuck did anyone even vote in favor of it, much less put it to a vote?

It should be painfully obvious by now that perseverance over the potential collapse of the economy, if that collapse even has a chance of happening, is going to be accomplished by winning a marathon and not a sprint. Adding muddy regulatory water to an insta-quick cake mix of a bailout package and bum rushing it to Dubya’s desk isn’t going to resolve anything, except perhaps for the folks holding all of those possibly worthless piles of mortgage-based securities hoping to dump them on the taxpayers for a few hundred billion fistfuls of dollars.

It is my hope and prayer that true working people all over this country are neither swayed nor terrified by all of this hubris oozing out of what seems like every pore of every government official and financial “expert” in the country right now. If the proletariat of this country has shown anything time and time again, it’s resilience in times of crisis. As for those of you living beyond your means, too bad, you’re part of the problem anyway, so smile and eat it.

But for those of us who live within our means, no worries, it’s going to be alright. Keep your FDIC-insured money in the bank. Keep driving the same old car and keep it well maintained. Go to work and try to save a little of your paycheck. Keep renting, unless you really, really love that new house, you have about twenty five percent cash down, and plan not to sell it for about twenty years. Above all, let the power fall and it’s okay to be a little smug in these times. Oh, sure, sooner or later some kind of bribe will be paid off to the robber barons to loosen up the credit again, but in the meantime, fear not, for this is our time to breathe easy and relax while the addicts of the trough get put on a forced diet for awhile.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


I'm sure glad that I'm a speed reader when I have to be. After skimming through the current 110 pages of the discussion draft for the pending bailout legislation, here's what I find interesting (that is, if this shit gets passed in total):

1. Looks like we're going to be hearing and seeing the term "TARP" (Troubled Asset Relief Program) a whole Hell of a lot for the next few weeks or so. It does have a kind of New Dealish ring to it.

2. There's going to be a whole bunch of committees and commissions and bureaus created with a whole bunch of new appointed positions available to provide oversight and regulatory enforcement and all that stuff that governments like to do to try to convince the public that they are doing something good with their tax revenues.

3. In my own layman's opinion, the Secretary of the Treasury still has way too much juice in regards to how this whole bailout process is going to operate.

4. There's yet one more Special Inspector General position being created and with a little luck, since it's a Presidential appointment maybe this can stall out until January 20. If McCain somehow gets elected, however, my wishing defeats the purpose.

5. The statutory debt limit is being increased to just over eleven trillion dollars, which at this point, if that doesn't make the public debt limit meaningless, aw Hell, nothing will.

6. It seems like renters of properties owned by landlords who are holding failed mortgages will be protected from unfair eviction, but it's pretty thin language, so how effective this protection would be remains to be determined.

7. As for the supposed crackdown on fat CEO severance packages- same as point number 6.

8. There's going to be yet one more Congressional oversight panel to be created to have meetings, and by the way,

"Each member of the Oversight Panel shall each be paid at a rate equal to the daily equivalent of the annual rate of basic pay for level I of the Executive Schedule for each day (including travel time) during which such member is engaged in the actual performance of duties vested in the Commission."

Yeeeah boyee. Mo' money, mo' meetings. That's how we DO it on Cap Hill, G!

Yeah, I predict that, in the end, this act will accomplish... well close to fuckin' nothing, actually. But, hey, the nation's conscience will be cleared. Maybe. After all, we've got to do something, and gosh darn it, we sure did! Now, let's get this thing passed, and signed, and get right into those meetings that look great on C-SPAN!

But don't just assume that I know what I'm talking about. Read some of this stuff yourself, especially if you've got a couple of hours to kill. Click Here, Pilgrim

Saturday, September 27, 2008


You know, with all of the crappy things going on with the economy and whatnot lately, I think that it's high time for me to write about lighter, more contemporary and purely entertaining subjects for a minute.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, there's a lot of buzz and whatnot about the local blogvertising site They've become local media darlings, with a decent sized pile-up of Establishment Media ass-kissing. David Watts Barton wrote in Sacramento Magazine recently:

TwinSoup, one of the prettiest, best-organized blogs in town, is the brainchild of 28-year-old twin sisters Sarah and Rachel Campbell, who live in the Sierra Oaks area and work in real estate. They started their blog because, as locals who spend a lot of time shopping and eating out, they’ve earned reputations as girls who know where to go.

Which is exactly what they write about on this well-designed site. Regular features like Fab Find of the Week and Sacramento Weekend Quickie are short, sassy and informative. The sisters blog about everything from the current peace-sign fashion craze to their favorite places to go on Second Saturday.

Now, honestly, this thing may not be for me, but blogvertising (niche or consumer culture related blogging designed to draw people who spend money and thus drive up, for example, Google AdSense revenue, which I plan to avoid doing on this blog, like, forever, man) is so commonplace that it's considered perfectly acceptable behavior by many elements of the netizen mainstream. So I don't really have an opinion either way about the site, other than it has zero percent of what I'd consider on a personal level to be interesting content.

Something that most people out there may not realize, however, is that Sarah and Rachel Campbell didn't just pop up out of the blue and become overnight blog sensations after only six months of operation. No, they had a bit of recognition in the past but it had nothing to do with print media.

You see, Sarah and Rachel share something in common with Tila Tequila, other than fame achieved through online self-promotion. In 2002, the twins were selected as Playboy's Cyber Girls of the Week (and as a Wikipedia article points out, the first co-winners). I'm not sure why the ladies don't seem to mention this very prominently in their site's "About" page but if anything the, erm, exposure would give them some cosmopolitan hipster cred, and you would think that it would be some sort of added advantage, right? And besides, there's a bit of deja vu here locally (longtime KCRA personality Kristine Hansen was a September 1974 Playmate of the Month) so it's not like there's any career threatening scandal here.

Anyway, I'm sure that, with the rising recognition of the twins in the local media scene, a lot of fellas (and perhaps also some of the gals) out there would like to get a look at Sarah and Rachel in their, um, most revealing perspective yet. So I'd like to help you out by providing a link to this page about the Campbells. In the wide, wide world of the Internet I'm sure that this information has been shared somewhere, so it's not like I've got the scoop on anything, so what the fuck, why not share in on the fun?

Be forewarned: This link is most definitely Not Safe For Work, or your spouses/children/various members of certain clergy, for that matter.
Click Here, Pilgrim

Friday, September 26, 2008


The only opinion that I could come up with about the opening Presidential candidates' debate was that both participants seemed to rather suck at debating.

Obama hasn't lost my vote, but I just wish that he would have stopped opening his counterpoints by agreeing with McCain so damn much. Actually, I take that back. Obama was doing something far worse by saying, what felt like about sixteen dozen times, "John is right about this," "John is right about that." When you say, "I agree that (fill in the subject your opponent was just discussing here)..." what happens is that you are keeping yourself at the ideological level of the opposition, and can keep yourself in a position to extend that statement with why you think that the other guy's opinion is fucked. But when it's "You are right about..." even once in the course of a debate, that's when you're giving a concession of ability to your opponent and can give an audience the impression that you're merely chiming in with what he or she just said. Obama should have had enough practice through the numerous primary debates in order to avoid such a sophomoric mistake.

And the other major mistake Obama made: breaking in during McCain's accusations by saying stuff along the lines of "That's not true" mid-McCain rant. When you break into your opponents turn to speak like that, it's the equivalent of those courtroom TV shows and cable news programs where the person in one of the opposite boxes of the split screen is shaking his or her head while someone else is stating their case. Nobody is being swayed by such behavior and it's only a useless distraction. Just be patient and wait your turn to tell McCain he's full of shit. We already have witnessed both his running mate and himself engaging in questionable honesty, so there's no need to protest so desperately.

On the other hand, I was waiting for McCain to tell Obama "Hey, you lil' rugrat, get the fuck off of my lawn!" It seemed like McCain's main strategy walking into the hall was to try to belittle Obama's world view with saying how he "just doesn't understand" at the beginning of every turn he had to speak. McCain's new BFF, David Letterman, used to have a frequent guest on his old NBC show, a comedian named George Miller, and I recall that as Miller would enter the show and walk up to Letterman's desk, the words "Desperately searching for a gimmick" would blink at the bottom of the screen. If McCain ever has the cojones to reschedule his appearance on The Late Show, Letterman should flash the same phrase. McCain's desperate gimmick was to state that Obama "just didn't understand" seemingly anything and everything that Obama had just said. The only thing that McCain accomplished with this tactic was convincing people that he himself did not understand why, the more he kept saying this type of shit, the more clueless he himself sounded.

In all, the opening debate was a dud in that if you had already formulated your opinion about either candidate, you had not really been either encouraged or discouraged about your views, and if you were undecided, you were still in that state of voter limbo, if not apathy. But who am I kidding? Nobody under the age of 45 was actually watching this 90 minute non-stop gabfest, since it was Friday night in America, when most folks are out getting drunk and trying to get laid and all that. The only time that they'll pay any real attention is if they stay away from the polls on Election Day, while McCain's age peers do show up and overwhelmingly elect him, and he promptly generates enough public support to convince Congress to reinstate the draft. Then those hedonistic little flakes'll be sorry.

But, these debates truly bring out the inner politigeek in folks like myself, so despite my disappointment, I'll be watching and hope that things move up a notch and improve.

And one more thing... hey McCain, try looking at Obama once in a while when he is speaking. When you're all scrunched up and turned away like you're trying to avoid eye contact it almost gives the impression to the viewer that you're scared of looking at black people or something. But then again, many of your supporters out there in so-called Mainstream America may appreciate that.

Friday, September 19, 2008


So let me get this straight. Socialism is the enemy of Wall Street, until the stock market fucks up, and then it's perfectly acceptable. Hey, who would have thought that Dubya would get so desperate that he'd turn to state intervention and government assumption of private debt. Marx, Engels AND Lenin would be impressed, not to mention a tad jealous perhaps.

But anybody who has actually read the stuff of Marx and Engels knows that this isn't some noble program to improve the greater good of the common weal. It's a scared-ass desperate attempt to placate the moneychangers of the world financial marketplace and to drop a gift marker to extend their incredibly reckless losses. On top of that, the Bush Administration is recommending that we pick up all of the losses by buying up these distressed mortgages that never should have been (legally?) allowed to be approved in the first place, and according to some outside experts the cost when the smoke clears will approach a trillion bucks American.

Oh but we're going to crack down on these scofflaws, or as Dubya said recently, "Anyone found engaging in illegal financial transactions will be caught and persecuted..." (Cool! Point me to the pile of rocks! I wanna help to stone some short scammers too!) How convenient that he is taking such a noble and get-tough stance about 122 days before he hands the keys to the White House over to his successor! Gee, we just can't wait to see all of this reform legislation which will prevent investment abuses leading to near economic collapses like this from ever happening again. What I really mean is, we can't wait as in we shouldn't wait, as in our time would be less wasted waiting outside of our homes for magical stray dogs that will shit gold bricks at our curbs.

Those of us who are merely doing all of the actual work and providing the liquid assets for these fuckers to piss away at will are going to continue dealing with skyrocketing cost of living increases, disappearing jobs and general lowering of opportunity and general standards, and we bear this cross for the sins of the wealthiest ten percent of the population which owns seventy one percent of the wealth. But hey, our tax dollars are letting rich people do whatever the fuck they want with no recourse! And what's more, they won't be able to wreck everything all over again until at least a couple of years from now! Maybe! Doesn't that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?

Monday, September 15, 2008


There was a rather pointed criticism of the McCain media strategy on one of the Sunday news shows:

“McCain has gone in his ads one step too far, and sort of attributing to Obama things that are, you know, beyond the 100 percent truth test.”

This wasn't a Democratic strategist, however. This was Karl Rove speaking, on wouldja believe of all broadcasters, Uncle Rupe's one and only Fux News Network.

To read the words in plain text, the observation doesn't seem too earth-shattering, as a matter of fact it looks almost sort of wishy-washy in its sentiment. But actually seeing Rove speaking these words, if you know him like most of us old enough to have voted in 2000 know him, is truly a surreal moment. And about three seconds later or so, you're scratching your head and saying, "Wait a minute, something is definitely going on here." At least that's what I was thinking.

So what's the deal, Mr. Rove? Hearing somebody with the reputation as the man who (ha, ha, allegedly) brought you the Plame Affair talking down on his party's presidential nominee like this is to be taken with a grain of salt. Oh Hell, just take it with the whole freshly opened cylinder of Morton's.

This is like if Tex Winter went forward to the press after Game 4 of the 2008 NBA Finals and was saying, "You know what? That triangle offense is completely useless, and Phil Jackson never should have ever put it into the playbook." Perhaps Mr. Rove is reading the writing on the wall and realizes that the bump caused by Schlafly of the Arctic's surprise appearance isn't going to last through November. The G.O.P. can't keep up this mantra of bullshit sound bites on the campaign trail without enough of the electorate (hopefully) waking up and smelling it sooner or later. And besides, it's not like Karl Rove was on very friendly terms with the Senator from Arizona to begin with, anyway.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


For those of you who are confused or puzzled about why I put lipstick on Karl Rove in the previous blog post, here is the full context of the remarks by Obama which has got all of the Republicans with their panties in a bunch.*

"John McCain says he's about change too and so I guess his whole angle is watch out George Bush, except for economic policy, health care policy, tax policy, education policy, foreign policy, and Karl Rove style politics, we're really going to shake things up in Washington. That's not change, that's just calling the same thing something different. But you know you can't, you know you can put lipstick on a pig, it's still a pig."

*Now the McCain campaign is going to accuse me of sexist remarks as well.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


Whadaya mean, he wasn't talking about Rove? Not so fast there, kids. Don't jump to conclusions so quickly.

Friday, September 05, 2008


Today, I was reading an interesting statement on

SacLights is no longer being updated by the SacLights staff. Unfortunately, we can’t keep this project advancing the way it needs to, and thought the end of summer was the best time to make a clean break. The site will remain available through the end of September, so you can save any content you have contributed. We will also be providing a list of resources to help you keep up on what’s going on in Sacramento.

The site producer's brief message concludes by thanking someone/everyone for all of the support for the past several months and implies that operations in general at are coming to a screeching halt. Just one more economic bloodletting in the Shakesperean corporate tragedy that is McClatchy, perhaps?

After all, nobody could have predicted the eventual downfall of Oh, yeah, they could have. Click Here, Pilgrim

Thursday, September 04, 2008


Yes sir, I was moved and inspired by the Republican Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates' speeches over the past two evenings.

I was moved and inspired to vote for Obama and Biden this November. Other than that, I got pretty pissed off. I can't help it. My natural reaction to fear is to recycle it into anger.

These folks is purty gosh darn scary. If this were, say, just another Christopher Guest mockumentary, I would have been enjoying the laugh-fest and marveling at the performances of Tina Fey as Palin, Guest as McCain, and of course, the unforgettable cameo appearance by the irascible Fred Thompson as himself. Unfortunately, this was reality TV at its very worst, and when this viewer pauses to contemplate the fact that the old codger has a chance of getting elected with the possibility of Schlafly 2.0 being only a heartbeat away from a job in the Oval Office, it's not a pleasant thought, to say the very least.

Oh, sure, normally I take both party conventions with a grain of salt, and even though the Democrat keynotes were pretty impressive and riveting, I wasn't exactly riled up and ready to go out and set McCain lawn signs on fire. On the other hand, seeing how the other half lives certainly made my mind up.

After witnessing the spectacle of seeing an entire arena of people who would seem to be willing to support the opening of concentration camps for Iraq War critics, gay married couples and pro-choice activists if only that pesky Constitution could only be suspended or repealed or something, I am turning into somewhat of a person of religious values myself. I will be praying a lot over the next several weeks that the American electorate isn't stupid enough to buy into this complete bill of horseshit that the McCain campaign is trying to sell of "reform" (which means the same fucked up policies of the Bush Administration, except it will now be the fucked up policies of the McCain Administration) and Trojan Horse platitudes like “Education is the civil rights issue of this century" (which in McCain's case, dealing with this so-called civil rights issue involves giving parents school vouchers while making every attempt to gut and underfund public education).

Obama may lack experience but I'm convinced that, especially with Joe Biden hopefully in the role of a working Vice President, he wouldn't fuck up the country in the way that the Dubya Regime has for the past eight years. Some people are suckers for punishment and wouldn't mind giving McCain the chance to extend that miserable agenda for four to eight more. Nah, who am I kidding? Citizen masochism has nothing to do with it. A McCain win would only prove that most people are just plain idiots. I hope that for once, just this once, enough people who are mentally competent enough to spell their name and tie their shoes show up at the polls this time and don't make the same mistake thrice.