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Thursday, Sep 03rd

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Editorial

Lemonade Stands and Paranoid Crackpots

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Every once in a while, an email floats in that you'd like to share with the whole nation.  It doesn't happen often, but it did happen again yesterday.  The Twainian email was in the form of a hopeful donation note from former Florida Congressman Alan Grayson, who is now running in the newly-created 9th District there.

The letter is sharp, clear, and darkly humorous, filled with heady satire and parody. It is also filled with lots and lots of heart. There is much humor and truth here, and is of the kind you may have thought not made anymore.  As you read, be prepared to grimace some --  you know, where your face starts to smile through the insistent, persistent frown etched there by the times. Prepare to hear yourself laugh out loud, knowingly.

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Turn on the Bat Signal, Bain is at it again!

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The AARP is reporting that a large number of seniors are at risk of their homes being foreclosed upon. Gosh you'd think Mittens had stolen their pensions or something. After Bane (I mean Bain, Holy typo Rush), loots a pension plan, the taxpayer picks it up, but pays only pennies on the dollar.

 

The Bush Crash took a big chunk out of the 401(k) ponzi scheme, and now a lot of people are forced to cash out what's left. They are paying huge penalties for the privilege of using their own money. These people are short of retirement, but have no hope of ever being employed again in the new Flat Earth economy of Ronald Reagan. He built the penalties into 401(k)s, do you see why?

 

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Testing the Applause-O-Meter

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Closely watching the news can become a bleak deal, trying to follow and figure what's behind headlines, trying to see what may be written between the lines.  Nature of the evolved beast called news:  We want to know what went sideways, and how bad it got.  Not what went right.

Still, for good mental hygiene, balance is recommended -- not that we're about to burst into song and dance here.  Goodness knows those "happy news" attempts made decades ago crashed and burned, but, we can try to be a bit less dismal.

(Meanwhile, Perky and Sun-Shiney live on only, I imagine, in Disneyland, where it's instilled in service workers under threat of immediate dismissal.  Perky also shows up quite a lot in those morning network shows mislabeled as news -- the ones giving 12-minute segments to fashion, 8 minutes for movie box-office updates, and 2 minutes for a 14-member panel discussion on the possibility of life on other planets, with an update on nuclear power throughout the world tossed in for good measure.)

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Fighting for the Right to Keep Elections None of Your Business

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It was just another, typical, ho-hum, routine, Republican day at the Congressional office:  Republicans doing nothing whatsoever for the average American, but fighting tooth, nail, claw, skin, and fur to protect the rights of corporations and the obscenely rich.

"Don't tread on us?"  Oh, man -- that is sooo rich.  What a hoot!

Don't expect any of this to make the news, stated clearly, or show up at the water cooler in chit-chat, of course.  This yawner-material is the new normal -- has been, since ignorance was declared the new genius, since banks have been too big to fail, since theft was made the new success, and since astroturf groups like Teabaggers sprang up to do the artificial grassroots business of billionaires.

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You Know, This Could Catch On

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Some businesses have figured out a way to make a go of it, even in tight times:  Just do business like the Pentagon and its contractors.

Say you're out in the country, seeing the sights, when you spot a nondescript place with a giant, neon sign that screams, "EAT!" in three colors.  You pull in, go inside, order a 'burger, fries, and a pop -- the penultimate American meal.

"Sure thing," says the guy at the counter, all smiles, and says, "that'll be 14 million dollars, on the nose -- if you buy it now, and can take delivery in 60 days."

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Pretending We Care About Spending

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No one really thought it would work, a reality teevee show about government spending.  And it didn't, not at first.  Understandably.

It started out as "Let's Pretend We Care About Spending!"  It was a once-in-a-while program on cable access teevee -- a standard talking-heads, earnest round-table discussion, sprinkled with flat, mic-in-the-audience-of-five comments.

Intentions were pure, with producers trying to jump-start civic involvement and legitimate political discussion -- replacing apathy and posing -- in the country and its people.

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Do you like being chewed on?

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Initial unemployment claims dropped by 26,000 this week to a relatively low number of 350,000. If you weren't aware of that, it is to be forgiven as the main stream media wasn't really interested in telling you about it. They thought you would be more interested in being teased with the idea that Condoleezza Rice was actually being considered as Romney's VP, it's more likely Willard would dig up the corpse of Sarah Palin and run it.

JP Morgan Chase's stock price jumped driving up the stock market, supposedly on "news" that the losses on its derivative trading were "only" 5.8 billion instead of the 9 billion that has been reported. Nine billion is probably not even close to the actual loss, but what the hell, it's only paper. The trading operations of the Wall Street banks are more than big enough to drive the stock market, so what exactly does it matter? Unless you thought you would ever see that money in your 401(k). Sorry, but you probably won't.

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