Friday, December 02, 2011

Friday Funnies: Mixed Bag

  Todays list comes from many site from all over the Internet and are not necessarily political, for a change of pace

Council flat (social housing apartments) tenants complaints
These are genuine clips from British Council flat (apartment) tenants
Complaining to the Council about problems with their apartments/ flats.

1. My bush is really overgrown round the front and my back passage has
fungus growing in it.

2. He's got this huge tool that vibrates the whole house and I just
can't take it anymore.

3. It's the dog's mess that I find hard to swallow.

4. I want to complain about the farmer across the road; every morning at
6am his cock wakes me up and it's now getting too much for me.

5. I am a single woman living in a downstairs flat and would you please
do something about the noise made by the man on top of me every night.

6. And their 18-year-old son is continually banging his balls against my

7. Please send a man with the right tool to finish the job and satisfy
my wife.

8. My lavatory seat is cracked, where do I stand?

9. I am writing on behalf of my sink, which is coming away from the

10. Will you please send someone to mend the garden path? My wife
tripped and fell on it yesterday and now she is pregnant.

11. I request permission to remove my drawers in the kitchen

12. 50% of the walls are damp, 50% have crumbling plaster and 50% are
plain filthy

13. I am still having problems with smoke in my new drawers.

14. The toilet is blocked and we cannot bath the children until it is

15. Will you please send a man to look at my water, it is a funny colour
& not fit to drink.

16. I want some repairs done to my cooker as it has backfired and burnt
my knob off.

17. The man next door has a large erection in the back garden, which is
unsightly and dangerous.

18. Our kitchen floor is damp. We have two children and would like a
third so please send someone round to do something about it.

19. I wish to complain that my father hurt his ankle very badly when he
put his foot in the hole in his back passage.

20. I wish to report that tiles are missing from the outside toilet
roof. I think it was bad wind the other night that blew them off.
I recently turned 65 and had to choose a new primary care physician for my Medicare program.
After two visits and exhaustive lab tests, he said I was doing "fairly well" for my age.

A little concerned about that comment, I couldn't resist asking him, "Do you think I will live to be 80?"

He asked: Do you smoke tobacco or drink alcoholic beverages?"

"Oh no," I replied. "I don't do drugs, either."

"Do you have many friends and entertain frequently?"

"I said, "No, I usually stay home and keep to myself".

"Do you eat rib-eye steaks and barbecued ribs?"

I said, "No, my other doctor said that all red meat is unhealthy!"

"Do you spend a lot of time in the sun, like playing golf, sailing, hiking, or bicycling?"

"No, I don't," I said.

"Do you gamble, drive fast cars, or have a lot of sex?"

"No," I said. "I don't do any of those things."

He looked at me and said, "Then why do you care?
The Dead Cow Lecture!
This is the best example for paying  attention that I have ever heard.

First-year students at the Ohio State Vet   School were attending their first anatomy class with a real dead  cow. They all gathered around the surgery table with the body  covered with a white sheet.
The professor started the class by  telling them, "In Veterinary medicine it is necessary to have two  important qualities as a doctor. The first is
that you not be  disgusted by anything involving the animal's body." For an example,  the professor pulled back the sheet, stuck his finger in the
butt of  the cow, withdrew it, and stuck his finger in his

"Go ahead and do the same thing," he  told his students.
The students freaked out, hesitated  for several minutes, but eventually took turns sticking a finger in  the butt of the dead cow and sucking on it.

When everyone finished, the Professor  looked a them and said, "The second most important quality is  observation. I stuck in my middle finger and sucked on my index  finger. Now learn to pay attention. Life's tough but it's even  tougher if you're stupid."
Honeymoon Train!!
After returning from his honeymoon
in Florida with his new bride, Virginia, Luigi stopped by his old barbershop in Jersey to say hello to this friends.
Giovanni said, "Hey Luigi, how wasa da treep?"
Luigi said, "Everyting wasa perfecto except for da train ride down."
"Whatayou mean, Luigi?" asked Giovanni.
"Well, we boarda da train at Grana Central Station. My beautiful Virginia , she pack a biga basketa food. She bringa da vino, some nice cigars for me, and we were lookina forward to da trip, and open upa da luncha basket .
The conductore come aby, waga his finger at us anda say, 'no eat in disa car. Musta use a dining car..'
So, me and my beautiful Virginia, we go to da dining car, eat a biga lunch and starta at open da bottle of a nice a vino!
Conductore walka by again, waga his finger and say, 'No drinka in disa car! Musta use a cluba car.' So, we go to cluba car.
While a drinkina da vino, I starta to lighta my biga cigar. The conductore, he waga is finger again and say, 'No a smokina in disa car. Musta go to a smokina car ..'
"We go to a smokina car and I smoke a my biga cigar. Then my beautiful Virginia and I, we go to a sleeper car anda go to bed. We just about to go badaboom badaboom and the conductore, he walka through da hallway shouting at a top of his a voice..
'Nofolka Virginia !
Nofolka Virginia !'
"Nexta time, I'ma just gonna taka da bus."
Sorry teacher
Attendance call on the first day at school in Birmingham
The teacher began calling out the names of the pupils:
"Mustafa El Ekh Zeri?"
"Achmed El Kabul?"
"Fatima Al Chadoury? "
"Abdul Alu Ohlmi?"
"Mohammed Ibn Achrha?"
"Mi Cha El Mey Er" Silence in the classroom.
"Mi Cha El Mey Er"
Continued silence as everyone looked around the room. She repeated,
"Is there any child here called Mi Cha El Mey Er ?"
A boy arose and said, "Sorry teacher. I think that's me.
It's pronounced Michael Meyer."

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Florida Facts

  I bring to you a couple of statistics concerning life in the 3rd-world state of Florida.

   While consumer confidence rose sharply in most of the United States this month, it was not so great in Florida, remaining at the same level as last month.

    The Conference Board’s Index rose up 56 from a previous reading of 409 in October. This was the biggest monthly gain since April of 2003.

   Florida uses a different confidence index ( naturally ) which stayed stuck at 65 in November, barely above the record low  according to a phone survey done monthly  by the University of Florida. The record low ( 59 ) was set back in June of 2008.

    On an even sadder note:

    47% of Tampa Bay homes are underwater with their mortgages as of the end of September. Your mortgage is labeled as being underwater when you owe more on it than the home is worth.

   That 47% comes out to some 311,511 homes being not worth the prices paid for them.          Source

   The really sad part is that many of these homeowners would not be in this predicament if they had used some common sense ( lacking in Florida ) and had not gotten greedy in the first place. Many of the owners bought their homes for the express purpose of selling later on after the value had doubled or even tripled in a few cases. Borrowing against the home as the value rose put many people on the chopping block when the bubble burst, and they now cry about having to make payments on a product that has become somewhat worthless.

    Greed will screw you over at every chance that it gets to do so. Have you homeowners learned anything?


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

$700 Billion TARP Bailout? Not Even Close….

   … as Hunter at Daily Kos points out. Let’s try trillions instead.

Fed commitments to financial sector topped $7 trillion      Mon Nov 28, 2011

Bloomberg News sorts through how the Fed handled the banking crisis. It isn't pretty:

The amount of money the central bank parceled out was surprising even to Gary H. Stern, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis from 1985 to 2009, who says he “wasn’t aware of the magnitude.” It dwarfed the Treasury Department’s better-known $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. Add up guarantees and lending limits, and the Fed had committed $7.77 trillion as of March 2009 to rescuing the financial system, more than half the value of everything produced in the U.S. that year.

“TARP at least had some strings attached,” says Brad Miller, a North Carolina Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, referring to the program’s executive-pay ceiling. “With the Fed programs, there was nothing.”

One of the underlying themes of the article is that almost nobody contacted for the story, whether in government or in the large banks, was willing to comment on it. And during the debates over both TARP and bank regulation, the scale of secret government assistance to the largest banks was unknown even to Congress:

Lawmakers knew none of this.

They had no clue that one bank, New York-based Morgan Stanley (MS), took $107 billion in Fed loans in September 2008, enough to pay off one-tenth of the country’s delinquent mortgages. The firm’s peak borrowing occurred the same day Congress rejected the proposed TARP bill, triggering the biggest point drop ever in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. (INDU) The bill later passed, and Morgan Stanley got $10 billion of TARP funds, though Paulson said only “healthy institutions” were eligible. [...]

Byron L. Dorgan, a former Democratic senator from North Dakota, says the knowledge might have helped pass legislation to reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, which for most of the last century separated customer deposits from the riskier practices of investment banking.

“Had people known about the hundreds of billions in loans to the biggest financial institutions, they would have demanded Congress take much more courageous actions to stop the practices that caused this near financial collapse,” says Dorgan, who retired in January.

Now that the information is coming out, will that make a difference in future discussions over regulating too-big-to-fail banks? Color me skeptical. Lawmakers might grumble a long while about the Fed committing the United States to seven freaking trillion dollars in loans and guarantees to the financial industry, but government is still quite thoroughly captured by the top banks:

At the meeting with [Sen. Ted] Kaufman, [Treasury Secretary Timothy] Geithner argued that the issue of limiting bank size was too complex for Congress and that people who know the markets should handle these decisions, Kaufman says. According to Kaufman, Geithner said he preferred that bank supervisors from around the world, meeting in Basel, Switzerland, make rules increasing the amount of money banks need to hold in reserve. Passing laws in the U.S. would undercut his efforts in Basel, Geithner said, according to Kaufman.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Would Jesus Join the Occupy Protests?

Published on Saturday, November 26, 2011 by

by Rev. Howard Bess

When the Martin Luther King Jr. monument was dedicated recently in Washington DC, I was reminded that the civil rights movement in America was led not by a politician fulfilling campaign promises, nor by a popular evangelist bent on saving souls, but by a highly trained theologian who put his religious teachings into practice with a demand for justice for those who had suffered at the hands of the rich and the powerful.

The Rev. King was a Baptist preacher who took his religion into the arena of racism, economics and social disparity. However, hatred caught up with him, and he was killed.

Now, nearly a half century later, there is another broad-based protest that is gaining momentum. The Occupy Wall Street protests echo some of King’s complaints about economic inequality and social injustice – and the message can no longer be ignored.

The significance of this latest public protest movement, erupting all over the country, may eventually rival the impact of the civil rights movement of the 1960s, yet when comparing the two movements, there is one glaring difference: priests, pastors and clergy of every stripe are rarely in the forefront of Occupy protests.

Instead, secular young people are doing the very work that Jesus from Nazareth would urge us to do. Just as Jesus condemned the injustices of his own day – and overturned the money-changing tables at the Temple – the Occupy protesters are challenging how Wall Street bankers and today’s rich and powerful are harming the masses of people.

This week, religious people have felt proud of giving turkeys to the poor, but they should be joining the protests against the haughty rich. I maintain that Jesus would be a part of the actions in Portland, Denver, New York and many other cities. For Christians, the crucial issue should be “what would Jesus do”?

Today, Christian theologians and Bible scholars agree that the Jesus trip to Jerusalem at the end of his life is essential to understand what Jesus was about. Yet, Christian tradition has brainwashed followers of Jesus about the realities of his trip south to Jerusalem. We have all been exposed to the worship services in which children march waving palm branches and singing “Hosanna.”

Traditionally we have called the event “the triumphal entry.” However, put into the political and social context of Jerusalem in the early first century BCE, Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey was probably more like a protest march that mocked every leader in the city.

Political and religious “leaders” of the day probably would have ridden into town on a prancing horse, certainly not a humble donkey. So, Jesus’s choice of transportation was more street theatre than triumphal entry. It triggered a week of confrontations and arguments with the leaders of state and Temple.

The key event of the week was the incident in the Temple. Once again church tradition has given us a special name for the incident, “the cleansing of the Temple.” But It was more likely another piece of street theatre that became a bit physical.

To better understand the Temple incident, we need to understand its context. The Temple had become a lot more than a religious temple. It had become a tax collection agency and a bank. The Temple held large sums of money accumulated by collecting tithes from the faithful.

In reality, the tithe was a tax, not a freely given gift to God. In addition, fees were charged for participation in the Temple’s religious exercises.  So, the Temple collected lots of money.

With that fat treasury, the Temple had entered the banking business and regularly made loans, primarily to poor people. Poor people were the victims not only of a flat tax, but also high-interest loans. So, the gap between the haves and the have-nots was growing rapidly. The poor were getting poorer, and the rich were getting richer.

Yet, equity was a key concept in the Israelite tradition. Torah (the law) had very specific rules demanding systematic redistribution of wealth. But those who controlled the Temple operation completely ignored their own religious teachings. The banking operation that had developed was very good to those who controlled the system.

Christians believe that Jesus Christ died for the sins of the whole world. However, from the perspective of history, Jesus died because he challenged a banking system that passed itself off as being righteous.

Today, bank buildings are the temples of America and the financial industry is a key pillar of an increasingly inequitable economic system. Although banks and their controlling officers claim to be upholders of orderly American life, a growing number of people know better.

Recent surveys have asked people “who in the banking business do you trust?” Credit unions came out on top, followed by locally controlled banks. Then, came regional banks. Large national banks came in dead last.

Christians should thank the current Occupy Wall Street protesters for their message and their activism. They are doing our justice work for us. The current crop of national bank leaders are being shown to be just as corrupt as the Temple bankers were in Jesus’s day.

If Jesus were present among us today, he would be moving from Portland, to Los Angeles, to Kansas City, to Dallas, up to Chicago and on to Wall Street in New York City.  He would join the protest in every city. He would be demanding an overhaul of our financial and banking system. He would be standing with the poor and their allies — and against the rich and their protectors.

When Jesus pursued the corruption of his own day, the representatives of the religious and political status quo killed him. And Jesus said to his followers “take up your cross and follow me.

© 2011  

imageThe Rev. Howard Bess is a retired American Baptist minister, who lives in Palmer, Alaska. His email address is