Monthly Archives: October 2008

Totally Skewed: Current Economic Outlook


Current Economic Outlook Mixed



Good News                                                Bad News


Gasoline is getting cheaper by the day.      Your car is about to be repossessed.


New car prices are lower than they’ve       You can’t get a car loan.

been in years.


Credit card interest rates are moving          You’re still paying “over-the-limit” fees.



Housing prices are growing more               You now need a job to qualify

affordable.                                                 for a mortgage loan.


Bank savings and deposits are insured       Your savings never exceeded

to $250,000.                                              $1,000 anyway—and you’ve recently spent all

                                                                of it.


Stock prices are at historic lows.                You can’t “short” your 401(k).


Technology-related merchandise                You’re struggling just to keep

is getting cheaper.                                       the cable service turned on.


Grocery prices are stabilizing.                    You still can’t afford dog food.


We’re about to elect a new President.         You’re about to elect to forgo insurance.


Bargains are sure to abound this holiday      Booze won’t be one of them.





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News headlines about white powder

Sometimes copywriters crack me up. I couldn’t resist commenting on this. Today, the following Reuters headlines were posted within 45 minutes of each other:

First headline:    “NY Times sent suspicious substance in envelope”

Second headline:  “UPDATE 1-NY Times receives white substance in envelope”

So which was it? Did they SEND or RECEIVE the powder???

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What every unemployed person should know


Recently, I saw a headline that read “10 things you should know if you become unemployed,” and being the curious (and theoretically unemployed) person that I am, I clicked on the link to see what words of wisdom might be found. Ironically, most of the “tidbits” were nothing more than items for which an unemployed person could claim tax deductions. Tax deductions! Excuse me, but don’t you first need income against which to claim those deductions? 


After I quit laughing, I devised the following list of 10 things that truly would be beneficial to know if you become unemployed:

10 Things You Should Know if You Become Unemployed


#1      Where to get the best price for scrap metal


#2      How to reach your richest relatives


#3      The best time to plant garden seeds


#4      How to open an eBay account


#5      The highest traffic areas for garage sales signs


#6      The directions to your nearest thrift center


#7      What time of night the local grocer discards the rotisserie chickens


#8      What to do in case of an unexpected power loss


#9      How to siphon gasoline without swallowing any


#10    The correct way to pitch a tent



Feel free to pass this on to anyone who might need to know this.








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Plumbing the Presidential Debate


Here is my overview of the Presidential debate that took place on October 15, 2008. Candidates Barack Obama and John McCain spoke right after the Dow Jones Industrial Average had crashed more than 700 points, yet neither man appeared to have noticed.

Barack Obama stated that he wants to “spread the wealth,” though he did not explain where he expected to find any.

John McCain insisted he wasn’t President George Bush, after apparently having feared that Obama believes all white, male Republicans look alike.

In terms of word repetition, the winning phrase goes to “Joe the Plumber,” a proper noun that was uttered roughly 389 times, unless I missed a few. This term was followed closely by the words “hurt”, “angry”, “new direction”, and “ninety-five.”

Both candidates stated they wanted to move “in a new direction,” though neither indicated which direction that might be.

McCain and Obama each have a plan to help 95% of American families, making it clear that the other 5% can pretty much kiss their keisters goodbye regardless of who wins this election.

McCain said he’d be the better one to balance the budget because he “knows how to save billions.” However, Obama proved he better knows how to save face.

On the education forefront, Obama said he’d fix the education system by doing something or other with the economy and military might, which really had nothing to do with higher learning. He added that he’s a proponent of charter schools and said that every person in this country who wants to attend college should be able to afford to go (whether or not they’re sufficiently equipped to graduate).

McCain said he believes in school vouchers, that he’d get rid of poorly performing teachers, and that he’d make it easier for non-certified, ex-military personnel to enter the teaching field. While it was not immediately evident how this would help improve education, obviously this would increase the supply of teachers ready for classroom combat.

Most of the debate discussions were targeted specifically to someone both candidates referred to as “Joe the Plumber.” Unfortunately, Joe couldn’t be there to hear their remarks. It’s rumored that Joe had been called away to fix a major sewer break in a pipeline running between the Federal Reserve, U.S. Treasury and several banks.

Moderator Bob Schieffer closed the debate by saying, “Go vote now.” After his microphone was switched off, he likely added, “Before these characters confuse you any more.”




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Totally Skewed: McCain/Obama Debate Humor

For those who missed last night’s presidential debate, here’s a brief recap of what each candidate said he’d propose to do about the current economic crisis:


John McCain:     We absolutely must address this situation in America because this is America and we’re Americans. We’re a great country, America. We’ve risen above challenges in America before, and Americans will come through this victorious again. America. I just love that word. Oh, yes. Don’t listen to “that one” over there (referring to Senator Obama) because he doesn’t understand.


Barack Obama:  We have to fix this problem, and we have to do it right. The middle class must receive support. They won’t stand for this any longer. This problem must be addressed and it must be addressed NOW. Washington cannot do what it’s done for the past 8 years. We cannot ignore this any longer. We must do something, and we must do it right. NOW. And by the way, what I DO understand is that McCain is being a jerk.


Essentially, it took 90 minutes for each to say what both admitted in their final comments. John McCain acknowledged that he had “no idea where we’re heading,” and Barack Obama said wherever it was, if he couldn’t figure things out when he got there, he could always ask his wife.

The great Tom Brokaw, who mediated this event, closed the debate by telling both men, “You’re standing in front of my script.”



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Joe Default caused this financial crisis?

The current financial situation has me completely confused. OK, perhaps I’d already earned that distinction before this credit crisis hit. But hear me out.

Supposedly, all this trouble began with innocent homeowners who financed their houses on terms they didn’t understand or have sufficient income to pay. How is this possible? Who would loan money to borrowers who are clearly overextending themselves? I mean, who other than the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury.

Are you telling me that people who can successfully navigate pawn shop contracts, check-cashing fees, and bingo parlor rules can’t comprehend the terms of an adjustable rate mortgage? Maybe it’s time we returned to teaching the “3 Rs”: reading, writing, and rotten financing.

Hey, Joe Default, let me break this down for you. If you borrow money, you have to pay it back—with interest, in real dollars, not unredeemed scratch-off lottery tickets!

The amount of profit your lender expects to make will fluctuate, just like your employment, and may be greater in some years than others. But in any event, your payments must cover your share of the lending institution’s multi-million dollar salary obligations to its CEO. (On the other hand, lower level workers and shareholders are more readily converted to corporate road kill.)

Your behaviors affect others in the U.S. and in countries you’ve likely never heard of. And when you fail to make your loan payments, the Global Repo Guy takes away others’ jobs, retirement savings, and their willingness to cheerfully ignore your existence.

You, however, just might get to keep your house.


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