Friday, January 29, 2010

Focus On The Super Bowl

by Dick Mac

CBS has always avoided selling Super Bowl advertising to political or social advocacy groups. I am certain the NFL has been happy about this, as they do not need their premier television event to become a shit-throw among activists. Super Bowl advertising is strictly about product placement. Period. Many of the advertisers endorse the NFL and vice-versa.

This year, however, CBS is selling airtime to Focus On The Family, who advocate against a woman's right to make her own choices about reproduction.

Focus On The Family is a political group that works against choice, gay rights, and progress. They spend a lot of money making our nation a bad place. There is no good reason for CBS to accept their advertisement, except that the NFL and CBS must support the Focus On The Family mission, and do not really see it as advocacy.

I decided to write to the NFL to let them know my feelings about this.

Good morning.

I have watched every SuperBowl. I have watched from my home, in bars, restaurants, and hotels. I even watched from a bar in Amsterdam at three o'clock in the morning one year, and from my apartment in London another year. I can't imagine missing a Super Bowl.

I have learned that CBS is selling airtime during the NFL SuperBowl to an advocacy group that works against the rights of American women to make personal choices about reproduction.

Focus on the Family is a political organization. Your decision to endorse their mission by allowing CBS to sell them airtime during your premier television event is troubling.

If these advertisements are shown, I cannot watch. It saddens me to say this, but: If these advertisements are not withdrawn from the network by Friday, February 5, 2010, I will boycott the SuperBowl from this day forward, and encourage others to do the same.

You can write to the NFL, too, by using this link to their corporate contact page.

Do boycotts work? Yes. They always work. And now that the NFL is making the Super Bowl a battleground for socio-political issues, a boycott is an appropriate response. So write to them and let them know what you think of their tacit endorsement of Focus On The Family.

Then, if CBS does not cancel the advertisement, turn-off the Super Bowl and let them know you're doing it!

Write to them even if you agree with them, and let them know your thoughts. I'm sure they would like to know how many of their fans support the mission they endorse.

I will be following-up on this issue.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Hipster Olympics

by Dick Mac

From POYKPAC: A battle of apathetic grandeur. Hipster Olympics is a shameless tribute to Monty Python's "The Upperclass Twit of the Year."

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

State Of The Union?

by Dick Mac

I am not sure why America's so-called conservatives are unhappy with President Obama (well, except for the obvious: that he is black and they are racists). Beyond that, though, I think they should be very happy with the job that Obama has done. He's bailed-out big-business and nobody else. He's continuing the wars. He is backing a pro-bank Fed Chairman. His so-called health care plan is the Republican plan from 1993 and not even remotely a liberal or socialist plan.

Leftists should be the ones angry with him as he has never really had a progressive agenda beyond using the word progressive in a sentence (if he ever has).

Although liberals are justifiably angry about the Supreme Court decision to let big business take-over our elections, those who voted for Obama should take comfort knowing that he is exactly the kind of President big business adores: a pro-business liberal.

You want to know the state of the union? Everything is just fine! It's exactly how the politicians and the corporations think it should be.

Relax! Have a latte, watch Fox News, and I'll see you over at Facebook!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

City's Loss Could Be My (Short-Term and Temporary) Gain

by Dick Mac

Brazilian soccer player Robinho has been playing at Manchester City, in the English Premier League, for the last couple of seasons, and has always seemed just a bit discontent. His threats to leave the club seem to have been persistent, followed immediately by statements about how happy he is to be playing for City, and that he has no intention to leave.

Now comes Brazilian club Santos, Robinho's original club, seeking to secure the services of the young player. City is willing to discuss the transfer, but only if it is to their advantage. City has a lot of money invested in Robinho and wants to be properly compensated. Perfectly reasonable.

Santos is a storied club, having been the club to sign Pele to his first contract in 1955, and retaining the services of the greatest player to play the game straight through until his departure for New York in 1974. As well as Pele, Santos has given the world Geovanni and Elano, both of whom also played for Manchester City, and both of whom are formidable players in their own rights.

The transfer could be good for both clubs: City could rid themselves of a moody player who, as good as he is, has become a distraction; and Santos FC could retain the services of a player who has built an impressive international resume and is hugely popular back at his original club.

So, you wonder, why would this be my gain?

Well, my team, Red Bull New York, is planning the grand opening of our new state-of-the-art, European-style soccer stadium, Red Bull Arena, in Harrison, NJ. The inaugural match will be between RBNY and Santos on Saturday, March 20, 2010!

If Robinho transfers to Santos, I could see him play my team in a couple of months!

At this time, tickets are currently available only to RBNY Season Ticket holders, who get to see the match as part of their season ticket package. Any remaining tickets will be sold to the general public at the end of this week. You can see the RBNY tickets page here for information about season tickets and partial packages, or you can call them at 1-877-RBSOCCER.

Santos confirm Robinho talks

Red Bull Arena webcam

Monday, January 25, 2010

Corporate What?! You Gotta Be Kidding!

by Al Falafal

In September 2008 I wrote an essay about “The seismic activity rocking World financial markets” as the inevitable outcome of that garden path down which we had been lured nearly three decades prior. 28 years later after we installed Corporate America's Henchman-in-Chief, Ronald Reagan, as President the ultimate promise of “free market” deregulation had been brought fully to term by the outgoing Bush/Cheney Administration.

I had to be fair, noting that the path Corporate America had us treading was actually blazed much earlier than the Reagan Era. In fact, you can trace the rise of corporate domination of American Society to a 19th Century lawsuit taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court which has often been cited - wrongly, but persuasively - as the basis for corporations right to run amok, free of nearly any governmental authority to control them.

It was the 1886 case of Santa Clara County vs. Southern Pacific Railroad that was purported to be a precedent-setting decision that granted "personhood" to American corporations. Reagan's economic and political voodoo was entirely based on the assumed rights and freedoms that they firmly assert were granted to non-human entities for the first time in history by the Court's ruling in that case.

These rights would include the same Constitutional freedoms of speech and association to which only We The People - living, breathing human citizens - were previously entitled.

On the precedent set by the Santa Clara County case, corporate lawyers argue that the Bill of Rights’ protection of free speech, and of redressing the government extend specifically to that speech and money which all “persons” are free to use to influence political campaigns for representative office. As we know, this precedent was upheld again this week in the devastating ruling handed down in Citizens United v Federal Elections Commission.

But don't we all know by now that that precedent was a total shameless lie? Didn't the Supreme Court know that it's a lie?

The truth is that nowhere in the formal Southern Pacific Railroad decision is the concept of “corporate personhood” mentioned. Not a word. Contrary to generally accepted beliefs and lessons still taught in law school Corporate Law Classes today, and obviously taken as fact by the current Supremes, the Court most certainly did NOT establish corporate personhood in that case or any other - up to this day.

The only place where the concept of “personhood” is referenced in that 1886 decision in a court record "headnote" attached to the case. A “headnote” has no precedential status whatsoever. It is far less relevant, binding or persuasive than a judicial dissent, which is at least penned by a bona fide member of the Court.

Rather than any one of the sitting Justices, It was a hired Court reporter, by the name of J.C. Bancroft Davis, who wrote the headnote for the case of Santa Clara County declaring, on the basis of NOTHING that corporations are henceforth entitled to the privileges of "personhood."

And who was this Davis guy? It just so happens that he was a former railroad executive, clerking for the Court at the time of this ruling! A former RAILROAD EXECUTIVE! See any red flags yet?

Davis’ totally non-authoritative, layman’s case summary begins with this sentence: 'The defendant Corporations are persons within the intent of the clause in section 1 of the Fourteen Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which forbids a State to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.'"

The current Supremes apparently read no further than the headnote in this ruling, which is to say they did not read the ruling at all. Apparently they only read the part that was totally made up by a person with a huge bias and interest in the case - a former RAILROAD EXECUTIVE!

This persuasive revelation was brought to light most famously by author Thom Hartmann in his 2002 book, Unequal Protection: the Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights. Hartmann, a prolific author and scholar of the history and textual analysis of the United States Constitution points out that any suggestion that corporate personhood was “provided” by the ruling in Santa Clara County is a gross and deadly mistake that has naturally had devastating consequences, the worst of which we may be experiencing today.

It is vitally important to distinguish what a “headnote” is and is not. What it is is a summary description of a Court decision, written into the casebook by a court reporter. It is not in any way part of the Court’s opinion and holds not an ounce of weight as legal precedent - a fundamental lesson learned on the first day in Paralegal Studies 101.

A “headnote” is similar to an editor’s “abstract” in a scientific journal or a research grant proposal or the executive summary in a business text. Because they are not products of the Court itself, however, headnotes carry no inkling of legal authority; they can never establish precedent in law and should have no real bearing on our lives.

To argue that corporate personhood was supposedly established by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1886, Hartmann says, is simply and unequivocally illegitimate.

John Chandler Bancroft Davis, the Court reporter in question, knew exactly what he was doing. He was a graduate of Harvard Law School. And Thom Hartmann knows of what he speaks: 12 books authored by Davis exist mostly as original editions in his personal library. The books reveal Davis’s close alliance with the railroad industry, and they support Hartmann’s implication that Davis injected the personhood statement deliberately, to achieve by deceit what corporations had tried but failed to achieve in litigation before then. It was a brilliant move - install a corporate mole in the US Supreme Court, preferably in a position where he can re-write any legislation that did not favor the industry! But you don't want to over use this advantage. No. It's best to be strategic. Don't do anything that would draw attention but strike decisively when the opportunity presents itself.

Hartmann admits that we cannot determine what was in Davis’ mind on composing the misleading headnote as he left no direct evidence that would implicate him in the distortion. Through the ensuing decades, however, corporate interests have successfully exploited this erroneous interpretation of the record of that ruling as the basis for consideration of “equality” between individual tax-paying persons and U. S. corporations who, coincidentally, are also subject to taxes. Thankfully corporations have never sought to have a right to vote. This concept was still taught as part of the underlying determination of how taxes are levied when I studied tax law at Wharton in the 1990s and in my Corporate Law classes that were part of my Paralegal Studies degree program.

In the last days of the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln wrote to his friend Colonel William F. Elkins, 'We may congratulate ourselves that this cruel war is nearing its end. It has cost a vast amount of treasure and blood. The best blood of the flower of American youth has been freely offered upon our country's altar that the nation might live. It has indeed been a trying hour for the Republic; but I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country.'

'As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety than ever before, even in the midst of war. God grant that my suspicions may prove groundless.'

Lincoln's suspicions were prescient. "[Thomas] Jefferson and [James] Madison proposed an 11th Amendment to the Constitution that would 'ban monopolies in commerce,' making it illegal for corporations to own other corporations, banning them from giving money to politicians or trying to influence elections in any way, restricting corporations to a single business purpose, limiting the lifetime of a corporation to something roughly similar to that of productive humans (20 to 40 years back then), and requiring that the first purpose for which all corporations were created be 'to serve the public good.'"

How do you think that worked out? Look around...

Here we are. In the first few weeks of 2010 the fate of our democracy is sealed. Thanks, Surpreme Court. Is this the change we needed? The only thing left is for those huge corporations to bid against each other for absolute control of the government.

If Corporations are persons in this country, would I get the death penalty if I murdered one?

See: Gravel Grab: Impartiality, Accountability and the War over the Courts

Friday, January 22, 2010

Blog for Choice Day 2010!

by Dick Mac

Each year, NARAL Pro-Choice America poses a question to pro-choice bloggers before the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and then asks them to blog their answer on January 22nd.

What does Trust Women mean to me?

Do I trust women to make the right decisions in their own lives? Do I trust women with the life of my child? Do I trust women with my life?

The answer to all of these questions is yes. I trust women to make the decisions they need to make every day of their lives. For politicians to imply that women can't be trusted to make good choices, by removing their right to make decisions about their reproductive systems, is insulting and immoral.

All women are trusted to make the choices they have to make.

The choices a woman makes about reproduction and her own body are nobody's business but her own. It is the responsibility of every American to stand-up and proclaim that women have the right to control their own bodies, their own reproduction, and make their own choices.

Celebrate Roe v. Wade's 37th anniversary by letting people know that a woman's right to choose is a core value that must be protected and advanced.

Click here:

Thursday, January 21, 2010

On A Dark And Stormy Night in Ireland . . .

by Dick Mac

This story happened a while ago in Dublin, and even though it sounds like an Alfred Hitchcock tale, it’s said to be true!

John Bradford, a Dublin University student, was on the side of the road hitchhiking late at night, in the midst of a big storm. The night was growing old and no car went by. The storm was so strong he could hardly see a few feet ahead of him. When he saw a car with no lights slowly coming towards him and stop he felt he had been saved. Desperate for shelter and without thinking about it, ran to the car, got in and closed the door. He saw there was nobody behind the wheel and the engine wasn't on.

The car started moving slowly. John looked at the road ahead and saw a curve approaching. Scared, he started to pray, begging for his life. Then, just before the car hit the curve, a hand appeared through the window and turned the wheel. Paralyzed with terror he sat there as the car continued slowly forward. He watched again as the hand came through the window at another curve, but never touched or harmed him.

When John saw the lights of a pub appear down the road, he made another decision. Gathering all his strength, he leapt from the slowly moving car, rolled to the side of the road, and ran to the building.

Wet and out of breath, he rushed inside. A silence enveloped the pub when the crowd realized he was crying. He told everybody his story about the driverless car and the mysterious hand. He ordered whiskey and sat quietly sobbing and drinking with a sympathetic crowd around him.

A short while later, the door opened and two men walked in, also soaked and out of breath. Looking around, and seeing John Bradford sobbing at the bar, they rushed over, and one said to the other: "Look Mike, it's that friggin' idiot that got in the car while we were pushing it!"

Support Doctors Without Borders in Haiti

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wow! Scott Brown Had A Homosexual Lover!

United States Senator Scot  Brown (R-MA)by Dick Mac

As my nation marches to the right, I continue to be amazed.

The people of Massachusetts have elected a tea-bagger to the United States Senate.

Holy mackarel!

When will Scott Brown stop denying that he had a homosexual lover?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sarah Palin Is Not Running, But . . .

by Dick Mac

. . . her clone, Scott Brown, is running for Senator from Massachusetts. He is so much like Palin, it's amazing: no qualifications, no plan, no knowledge, no clue, just kinda, gee-whiz, a pretty face who's mad-as-heck, darn-it, and plans to blame the liberals and thinkers for his short-comings.

Brown is a tea-bagger who doesn't know what tea-bagging really is. He is a truck driver who poses for beefcake photos. He has a nice suit and a nice haircut. He has the the things that Republicans want in an elected official: good clothes and good hair, no intellect, and a hatred for progress and equity.

He's running against a very qualified Democrat, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, who is everything the GOP hates: hard-working, intellectual, considerate, and an advocate for those who are less able to help themselves.

Oddly, the television pundits have called it a close race and are encouraging people to vote for Brown, as if he represents change.

Any thinking person knows he represents the fiscal policies of George W Bush and the social policies of Ronald Reagan; both of which have proven to be total failures.

I hope that Massachusetts citizens send Coakley to Washington.

Monday, January 18, 2010

How Do You Celebrate?

by Dick Mac

Today is Martin Luther King Day in the United States.

It is a federal holiday that was signed into law by Ronald Reagan in 1983. It was not enacted as a law in all fifty states until 2000. Make of that what you will, I conclude that since American culture in the United States is still intrinsically bigotted (not just racist, per se), it's a wonder that it's a holiday at all.

Most companies use the holiday as a sort of bargaining chip: we'll give you this day off, but you'll have to work another holiday. It's never really been accepted as a valid holiday. Even Senator John McCain, the man who almost became second fiddle to Sarah Palin, opposed the holiday for decades.

In some ways, the designation of the holiday proves that the United States is working to eradicate racism and see people of color as equal to all other citizens.

In American society, the best measure of 'equality' is your place in the market. Capitalism abhors a vacuum, and you know you are making inroads when marketing is aimed directly at you. Blacks can look at this insulting measure of your station with the same dismay women and homosexuals can see themselves: think menthol cigarettes in the sixties, astrology swag in the seventies, BET in the eighties, hip-hop in the nineties, and sub-prime loans in the noughties. If the marketplace acknowledges you as a market and then aims marketing strategies directly to your group, then you are making inroads. Sad, I know, but true.

So, how does Dr. King relate to hip-hop and astrology swag? Well, he doesn't really, of course, except in the most tenuous way.

King was a pacifist, the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize, an orator, an activist, a Christian, an American, and a hero to all who truly believe in the Bill of Rights.

I am a fan of Dr. King's, and I remember clearly the day of his assassination and the mind-numbing aftermath in urban America. The name "James Earl Ray" is burned into my memory.

In his last speech, King said:

I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land.

We are all still on a journey to the promised land of American freedom: pink, brown, beige, young, old, rich, poor, male and female.

Here is his most famous speech, a speech that most of us learned about after his death:

So, how do we celebrate Martin Luther King Day? Is there a parade? Do we shop? Go to church? Host a party? Watch a movie?

I don't know!

How will you celebrate Dr. King's holiday?

I look forward to seeing you during our continued journey to the promised land.


Some links:

The King Center

Martin Luther King, Jr., at

The Reverend and the President-Elect, by Dick Mac (2009)

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., by Dick Mac (2008)

Photo of MLK statue in the nave of Westminster Abbey. Nicked from the site. Used without permission. Forgiveness is begged.

Support Doctors Without Borders in Haiti

Friday, January 15, 2010

Port-au-Prince, Haiti

by Dick Mac

I remember working in the kitchen of Brasserie 1300, in San Francisco in 1977, when a mild tremor struck the city. All the hanging pots and pans clanged against each other, one or two fell to the floor. We each found a doorway/door frame to stand in and the sensation passed as quickly as it came. We all laughed nervously and did our best to make light of the event.

I never admitted to the others that I was very scared.

Since that time there have been many horrific earthquakes around the world, including the 1989 San Francisco Earthquake that proved that a city can be well-designed to withstand strong tremors.

Most second-world and third-world cities do not have the benefit of earthquake-proof construction.

Port-au-Prince, Haiti, is one such city.

On Tuesday, an enormous earthquake flattened huge portions of the region, leaving thousands dead and injured and millions homeless.

President Obama acted swiftly and decisively in sending economic and military aid to our Caribbean neighbors, in stark contrast to his predecessor who was unable to send help to an American city in a timely manner after a massive flood.

The outpouring of good-will from around the world has been wonderful.

After emails, phone calls and conversations with friends, I am finally getting-up off a hundred bucks to send to Doctors Without Borders. Thank you to Mark, Kevin, Kim, and Beth for listening to my thoughts about Haiti and the disaster.

If you haven't donated yet, I urge you to go here and do so: Doctors Without Borders Haiti Earthquake Response

U.S. Geological Survey Preliminary Earthquake Report

Support Doctors Without Borders in Haiti

Thursday, January 14, 2010

There Is No Competition Between Teams In The NFL?

by Dick Mac

A couple years ago, the NFL signed an exclusive agreement with Reebok to manufacture all apparel for all thirty-two NFL teams.

American Needle, a small company that had been manufacturing products for some teams cried foul and now charges that the NFL/Reebok contract violates anti-trust laws because it does not allow each business (team) to negotiate its own deal with manufacturers, thereby stunting competition.

The NFL argues that since the league is a single-entity, the 32 teams do not compete against one another.

Well, that's news to me! I thought that competition was the entire point of the NFL, but I guess the point is television ad sales and merchandising, after all.

Oral arguments were heard in the Supreme Court yesterday, and I suspect that things will not go well for the NFL. We'll see.

Supreme Court Notice (PDF)

Los Angeles Times: Supreme Court justices skeptical of NFL's effort to quash antitrust suit

Denver Post: Analysis: Supreme Court site of NFL battleground

American Needle v. NFL and the future of professional sports

Supreme Court justices skeptical of NFL's effort to quash antitrust suit

Oral arguments begin in American Needle vs. NFL

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

May You Stay Forever Young . . .

by Al Falafal

This movie is surprisingly uplifting - a word I usually despise - but good god, y'all . . . It's currently playing on PBS - check your local listings. If you think Sinead O'Conner's rendition of "Nothing Compares 2 U" is haunting, here it is sung by a lovely 70-something woman in eulogy for a member of the chorus who died during the filming . . .

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Miep Gies Dies At 100 Years Old

by Dick Mac

Miep Gies, one of the women who hid Anne Frank and her family from Nazis during World War II, has died in Holland at the age of 100.

Gies has always insisted that she did nothing heroic, she only did what any decent person would do:

There is nothing special about me. I have never wanted special attention. I was only willing to do what was asked of me and what seemed necessary at the time.

I think we forget that the world is not made up of heroes. It is made up of ordinary people who sometimes make heroic decisions.

Even though television needs heroes to sell advertisements; the world has not always been this way.

The decisions we make each day means the world is a better place or not.

We needn't be heroes to do the next right thing in life.

Miep Gies, Anne Frank protector, dies at 100

Monday, January 11, 2010

The T-Mobile Dance

by Dick Mac

T-Mobile made an advertisement in Liverpool Street Station, on Jamuary 19, 2009.

Although not as well-coreographed as the famous "Do-Re-Mi" video advertisement from another train station, it is very amusing nonetheless.

The T-Mobile Dance

Friday, January 08, 2010

Waste Versus Need

by Dick Mac

Waste is vulgar and disturbing. The amount of edible food discarded by Americans could probably feed a couple of small impoverished nations. It's our own fault: we have turned capitalism into a culture of avarice and self-satisfaction. Money has become not a tool for Americans to build a good life, but a method for consumption without consideration of the ramifications. We have become so consumption-oriented that most of us continue to consume at vulgar levels even when we've run out of cash: we just ring it up on our credit cards.

I am a fan of American society and American culture (well, what's left of it), and we have such a font of plenty in America that there is more than enough for everyone willing to earn it.

Sadly, we have stacked the deck against the have-nots, and abandoned charity and social welfare in deference to corporate welfare and freebies for the privileged. If we provide welfare to the wealthiest corporations, we are told, they will create jobs that will help all Americans improve the quality of their lives. We know, after thirty years of this insanity, that this is simply not true. We have more poverty, hunger, and homelessness in America today than forty years ago.

Many of us are privileged. I count myself among the privileged. I have a work, shelter, clothing, and food. Most of us, though, have no respect for our privilege, and denigrate those without, instead of using our privilege to make the world a better place.

Most would rather discard their leftovers (clothes, electronics, etc.) than be bothered to give them to a person who needs them.

We live in a conservative culture that believes that recycling is a lifestyle choice and should not be mandated by law, that chemically-fortified lawns are the right of a landowner, irrespective of the impact on the water table, insects, and wildlife. People who pass themselves off as 'conservatives' are the least conservative of all Americans. We are a wasteful lot. All of us.

In a time of economic hardship, waste is even more disturbing.

A recent article in the New York Times highlighted waste by Wal-Mart and H&M, who have chosen to destroy and discard new clothes rather than donate them to the needy. One can only assume this was an attempt to control the market, in violation of the spirit of our collective notions of the market: supply and demand. If there is a large supply of Winter coats, then the price goes down. However, if the retailers destroy and discard their inventory to create a shortage and keep the prices high, that is price-fixing, and if not illegal is certainly immoral.

The stores could have lowered the price of their overstock, following the supply-and-demand notion that so-called conservatives tout as God-given laws of humanity, and allowed American families to purchase new clothes at a price in line with the changing economic hardship faced by most of us. They could have boxed them up and sent them to homeless shelters or social service agencies for distribution to those who cannot afford them even if the notion of supply-and-demand was allowed to play out.

But no, these wealthy corporations beholden to nobody but an invisible population of shareholders, slashed-up coats and children's clothes, cut the insteps of children's shoes, bagged them all up and put them in the trash. In the case of Wal-Mart, they hired a contractor to dispose of them who, instead of paying the fee to dump them, left the full bags of destroyed clothes (with Wal-Mart labels still affixed) on city streets to be collected by the taxpayers' sanitation departments.

At least one of the companies has feigned ignorance of the practice and said it will cease. They say they give their leftovers to charity and will ensure this happens in the future.

They are immoral liars, cheats and criminals, so we have no reason to believe them; and I think the SEC should investigate them for price-fixing (which I think is still against the law, but maybe not).

A Clothing Clearance Where More Than Just the Prices Have Been Slashed

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Gilbert Arenas

by Dick Mac

Every now and then an athlete surprises even a cynic like me.

Ron Artest, Roberto Alomar, Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens, to name a few, gave me pause to think. Here are men who have been given a silver platter from which they can enjoy the world. They make decisions rooted not in their experiences in the privileged class to which they now belong; but rooted in self-centeredness, fear, entitlement, or the such.

Now comes Gilbert Arenas, a man paid $111,000,000 to play basketball for six years - not quite twenty million a year. He had a conflict with a co-worker about a loan that one made to the other. Words were exchanged, and from what I understand they were not kind or reasonable words. The next day Arenas came to the job with four handguns, left them on a chair in his co-worker's area with a note that said: 'choose one' (or something to that effect).

Arenas insists this was all a misguided joke. He never intended to threaten his co-worker, it was just a prank.

I grew-up in the projects, and it was a pretty violent place, and there were guns. Later in life I had encounters with criminals, some of whom carried guns, some of whom did not. Everyone I met who was involved with guns took them pretty seriously. I have never known a person who brandishes his gun as a joke. If a person pulls a gun out in the middle of a discussion, it's not a good sign for the other party.

If there is a conflict, and the other party introduces guns, it is not a joke. Ever.

I have a job. There are rules in the workplace, and weapons are specifically prohibited:

Possession of dangerous weapons, such as firearms, explosives, and knives, is prohibited from Company premises unless they are possessed under the direction of a supervisor as part of an employee's work responsibility . . .

I am willing to bet that Gilbert Arenas' employer has a similar clause in their workplace rules.

This article includes people discussing this as a Constitutional rights issue: Gilbert Arenas, guns and the Supreme Court. Sorry guys: this is a workplace safety issue, not a Second Amendment issue. Anyone who looks to defend Arenas with the 'right of the people to keep and bear arms' argument needs to be exposed as a lunatic. This is neither a Constitutional nor civil rights issue, this is a criminal assault matter, and probably a violation of an employment agreement.

This article includes a photograph of Arenas and his teammates joking about the situation, and Arenas pointing his fingers like fake guns: N.B.A. Suspends Gilbert Arenas. This guy doesn't even take this seriously. He is, at best, a sociopath.

David Stern, the head clown who runs the NBA circus, suspended Arenas indefinitely after seeing this display.

NBA players are famous for disregarding their responsibility as role models. Perhaps it is time we heeded their request to not be held accountable as responsible adults. Perhaps it is time to cancel our season tickets, stop purchasing NBA merchandise, and turning off our televisions when the NBA is broadcast.

Ron Artest turned me off a few years ago; but, I think Gilbert Arenas has finally convinced me that there is no reason to pay any attention to this sport ever again.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Nestle Acquires Pizza Brands from Kraft

by Dick Mac

Nestle has withdrawn from the corporate battle to acquire Cadbury, which is being hotly pursued in a hostile take-over by Kraft.

Kraft convinced Nestle to get out of the race by agreeing to sell its pizza division to Nestle for $3.7 billion in cash.

Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway, a major shareholder in Kraft, opposes the company's acquisition of Cadbury. That objection is probably rooted in financial analyses. The rest of us should oppose Kraft's acquisition of Cadbury as a matter of taste (literally).

Nestle has acquired from Kraft the pizza brands DiGiorno, Tombstone, Jack's, Delissio, and California Pizza Kitchen. Please add them to your boycott list.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

It's Only News If A Famous Person Tells You It's News

by Dick Mac

With the entry of News Corporation into the American broadcast market two decades ago, the quality of news reporting, once referred to as broadcast journalism, has plummeted. Television news is now so bad, on every network, that it bears little resemblance to the informational, analytical presentations of televised information that we so enjoyed until the Reagan era.

I was always a bit miffed that Barbara Walters was considered a sophisticated news anchor; but, compared to current trends in television news, she is an intellectual giant.

Yesterday, CBS News finally removed Walter Cronkite's voice from its evening news opening voice-over, and replaced it with the voice of Morgan Freeman.

Freeman joins movie star Michael Douglas and Dirty Jobs host Mike Rowe as the voicec-over talent for a major network's news hour opening, which led Marketplace Morning Report Host Bill Radke to quip: "It's not news unless a famous person tells you it's news."


Monday, January 04, 2010

Music Video: Bohemian Rhapsody by The Muppets

by Dick Mac

I am a fan of cover versions and remakes; but I am not a really big fan of The Muppets. This video, however, is worthy of distribution.


Friday, January 01, 2010

A Wonderful New Year's Day In New York. Music Video: The Pogues - Fairytale Of New York

Green Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York.  Photo by Dick Dick Mac

It's Winter in New York. On the first day of the tenth year of the first decade of the third millenium the temperature is 36F, it's a little damp, and the city is quiet at eight in the morning.

It's been cold and snowy lately, rather lovely, Winter weather - the way it's supposed to be. The weather seems right with the world these days.

Last night I watched the scripted and choreographed events in Times Square unfold on television. A soldier in uniform waltzed with a bleach-blond to strains of John Lennon's "Imagine" - and it seemed so right.

Last night the cloud cover was very low, blocking-out most of the fireworks. We stood on the roof wrapped in coats and blankets, with a panoramic view of colorful explosions from Brooklyn, Long Island, Staten Island, and New Jersey. The sky would glow, and it seemed so right, even with the details obscured. It was lovely. Nobody cried or complained.

Mayors, governors, and the President will give speeches and wish us well today. They will espouse hope for the new year and congratulate us for our successes and perserverence in the year just ended. Most of us will ignore them, but those who pay attention will be encouraged, and they will feel better about their little piece of the world.

Today is a new day, and it is the only day we've got.

Let's enjoy it!

Happy New Year!

The Pogues & Kirsty McColl - Fairytale Of New York (Xmas Song)