A Quick Question For The Federal Government?

The former spousal unit and I spent an entire afternoon filling out the paperwork necessary to make our split legal.  (The what’s mine/what’s yours list was surprisingly easy.)  During this process it occurred to me that it’s easier to dissolve your marriage than to fill out anything more complicated than a straight 1040.  It is also easier to buy a handgun, get a passport, or apply for a mortgage (though the mortgage tends to be more anally painful.)

So I must ask, not the IRS, since the IRS only enforces the law, but Congress…


Christ, Europe has attrociously high taxes, and THEY have a simpler system!

No wonder this country’s in the toilet.

Oh, and George?  Lower spending or lower taxes.  You can’t have both.  Sorry, but it has never worked in my lifetime, and it never will, and I used to have the credit rating to prove it.

Because Why Should Puerto Rico Be Left Out?

Kentucky’s former governor gave state contracts to his girlfriend, displeasing his wife.

Ohio’s previous governor was charged with three misdemeanor ethics charges.

The Governator took steroids and pinched actresses’ fannies.

New York’s governor got caught paying over $4000 for nookie.

Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura called XFL games.

And now?

In a bid to become America’s 51st state, Puerto Rico proudly announces federal charges of campaign fraud against Governor Anibal Acevedo Vila.

Has your governor done anything scandalous lately? No? Slacker.

UPDATE:  New York Governor David Paterson revealed today that his blindness came from too much masturbation.  Standing beside him in support, Mrs. Paterson showed the crowd the governor’s palm shaving kit.

Your “Well, Duh!” Moment For The Day

Senator John McCain on the US’ role in the world:

“Our great power does not mean we can do whatever we want whenever we want, nor should we assume we have all the wisdom and knowledge necessary to succeed.  We need to listen to the views and respect the collective will of our democratic allies.”

We have allies?  I mean besides Britain and Australia?  (Oh, wait.  The Aussies did to John Howard what we haven’t been able to do to Bush.  [Thanks, John Kerry.  Now go play in the ketchup with Teresa.])

I’m waiting for Hillary to say the tax cuts will expire because “We’re in debt, stupid!” or Barack Obama to mention that we have this marvelous, dusty old document called “The Constitution” that he’s going to use to guide his presidency.

Remember when the worst thing the president did in office was get a hummer in the Oval Office?

Pre-Emptive Confession

Along the same lines as Gov. David Paterson admitting to pretty much everything virtually every politician under the age of sixty cannot deny without getting laughed at, I am going to confess a few things here.

  • I have used bad words.
  • I have had pre-marital sex.
  • I have had post-marital sex.
  • I have not smoked marijuana.  Yet.
  • I have taken office supplies from various employers, including BigHugeCo.
  • I have surfed the web on company time.
  • I have sat in the breakroom at CompUSA when I was supposed to be working and watched the Cartoon Network.  (Wait a minute.  That’s bragging.  Just add this one to the CompUSSR post from a couple months ago.)
  • I once gave Revenge of the Sith a glowing review.  (That’s one of those times I probably should have lied about the marijuana.)
  • I ate paste in the second grade.

And those are my deep dark secrets.  Not all my secrets.  I have more.  But the remaining ones are either deep or dark, but not both.  Some are neither deep nor dark.  And all of them are none of your business.

And some of those you’ll thank me for keeping secret.

Hey, Here’s An Idea

Ya know those adjustable rate mortgages that adjusted so high that some people can’t pay for them?

Ya know how they were sold off as securities that now don’t pay squat?

Ya know how that pretty much almost caused a redux of October 29. 1929?

Well, here’s an idea: Adjust the interest rates back down.

“But, Jim, that shows a lack of understanding on your part about how credit works.”

It’s not working, so that statement is both irrelevant and unintelligent.

“But we would be rewarding people for their bad credit decisions.”

Hey, dumbass. You wrote the loans. You eat the losses.

It’s really simple, and your interest formulas be damned. It’s all fake, anyway, just like any political system you can name.

Charge less interest, and people can make their payments, you get paid, and your investors get paid.

Charge more interest, and no one gets paid. Or they get paid back in penny-stock amounts, like Bear Stearns.

And who was the waste of skin who came up with the idea of some of these mortgages anyway? Yeah, I know, some people were stupid enough to take them, but does that excuse a drug dealer for selling your kid meth? I can run over your grandma with my car (or could when gas was less than $3 a gallon.) Doesn’t mean I should, even if I’m having a really bad day.

Find the people who up with some of these more questionable mortgage schemes…

And use them for shark bait.

Hadn’t Noticed

George Bush announced today that the economy is in crisis.

Really?  Well, no shit, Sherlock!

I figured that one out back in April of last year when the subprime mortgage crisis hit.  I kinda noticed when I started paying $3+ a gallon for gas.  And the 18% hit to my 401k?  Luckily, I’m young enough for that to be a plus.  It just means I get more shares cheap for now.

But please, George, could you refrain from pretending you’re in charge for the next, oh, ten or so months?  The dollar’s already deep enough in the hole without you getting delusions of competence.

Why I’m not Canadian yet is beyond me.

The Wire Endgame

I won’t spoil it here.  All I’ll say is the finale of The Wire had its share of flaws, but was well worth staying up late to watch.  (Yes, I have a DVR.  But no, I couldn’t wait until Tuesday night to watch it.)

I’d made several predictions about the characters’ fates.  I was wrong about most of them, and I’ve never been so happy to be wrong.

I will say this.  I like where Carver lands at the end.  And the rest?

BG fans, remember when the Hybrid keeps saying “All this has happened before.  And it will happen again.  And again…”

David Simon and Ed Burns had the same thought, only amped up to the nth degree.

Thank you, David Simon.  Thank you.

Clue #1: Doesn’t Do His Homework

When Northcoast Shakedown was in print, I used to get all sorts of emails from people allegedly wanting to help me.

Agents who would get me into Simon & Schuster “for a small fee.”

“Publishers” who wanted to show me a new way to publish. (Yes, I’ve been solicited by PublishAmerica.)

And publicists. Mind you, I approached my publicist, mainly because she had a client list.

This guy, Milton Kahn, did not, despite the raves of his email:

Dear James:

I would like to make you aware of my public relations company. My clients have been featured in publications numbering Parade, People, Entertainment Weekly, Time, Forbes, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, and USA Today; as well as television shows such as Oprah, The O’Reilly Factor, Good Morning America, C-SPAN, CNN, CNBC, etc.

Among my most recent PR campaigns number the 2007 blockbuster, Stanley Alpert’s The Birthday Party: A Memoir of Survival, published by Penguin and acquired by Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner to be filmed for United Artists, the 2006 World Almanac Book of Records (which outsold rival Guiness Book of Records by a 4-1 ratio), and such other book campaigns as the Personal Finance number one BN.com bestseller, David Latko’s Financial Strategies for Today’s Widow (Simon & Schuster) and Thomas Sawyer’s highly acclaimed novel The Sixteenth Man (IUniverse)…

[Cue needle scratching across vinyl record] Um… Milt? Did you just say “iUniverse?” You mean the printer? And why are you emailing me now? When I have nothing in print, and the only thing in my backlist is a novel I now refer to as “allegedly published.” (‘Cuz the publisher was only allegedly a publisher. Get it? OK, I said I wouldn’t talk about that anymore.)


Then it hit me. The PWA member directory came out. This is a useful little item, especially if you’re a Shamus judge or an officer or you just want to send Bob Randisi a Christmas card. Somehow, Milt got a copy, because I got the email less than a week after it came out.


But where have I heard Milt’s name before?


Ah, yes! Here.



So what’s wrong with this picture?



Does not use proper business name of prospective client. (No, it did not originally say “Dear James,” already a tip off.)

Does not check to see if prospective client has anything in print or has signed a deal.

Does not check the blogroll of Lee Goldberg’s blog or this one.

Does not have an actual client list.


If I’m not mistaken, publicists generally do their homework first. The real publicist I worked with a few years back did. Oh, yeah. Forgot. PJ Nunn has a client list. Yeah, that was kind of a hint she knew her stuff. Where’s yours, Milt? The vague list of unverifiable claims doesn’t cut it.




Thanks, Milt, but I already found someone to financially rape me. My mortgage broker. I get a house out of the deal.



The Return Of Reader Request

Back on the old Northcoast Exile, I would periodically do Reader Request Week, usually to get posts in the can to show up in weeks while I was away.

I liked that concept and have decided to bring it back, only on an on-going basis.  So if you have a topic you want my (totally unqualified) opinion about, use the comments section and have at.  When something strikes my fancy, I’ll post about it.

“Take down the blog” is not a valid request.  It is, however, grounds for IP banning.