Sunday, January 31, 2010

Blue Collar Comedy Tour

I told my girlfriend that it was like Woodstock for rednecks. It was very funny, but since they are getting up there in age most of the jokes were about prostate health.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Bill White promises to drag us to the poorhouse

Former Houston mayor Bill White is running for Texas governor and he is promising to take us to the poorhouse.
An educated workforce is critical in today's economy, but today too many families cannot afford to send their children to college because of prohibitive costs and skyrocketing tuition. College tuition in Texas public colleges has risen more than 63% since 2003, far faster than financial aid and family incomes. I will work to make both two year and four year programs more affordable. Texas students should have an opportunity to pay little or no tuition with a public service commitment after school.
College employees aren't underpaid by any stretch, and salaries are just part of it. If I use the TRS online calculator and plug in someone making "just" $50,000, who started work at 24 and retired at age 54, we find a guaranteed $3000/month pension, which will automatically increase each year based on inflation. On top of that that they get lifetime medical benefits. A 30+ year free ride on the taxpayers and tuition payers.

I'll repeat it again: Take away the Sallie Mae punch bowl. Starve the beast. This will force admins and legislators to reign in costs and make college affordable again. Skeptical? Tell me that removing the punchbowl from the housing market didn't make houses affordable.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Evolution

Thursday, January 28, 2010

J.D. Salinger

Do they still make high school kids read Catcher in the Rye? It was mandatory for us in 10th grade. I enjoyed it even though I was depressed while reading it. Many years later as an adult I read Franny and Zooey and tried to enjoy it but I just couldn't. It was crumby.

Roger Ebert reads my blog

That was a nice surprise. Well, hello there.

The New Dark Age

This piece is floating around the blogs for some reason.
The people of North America and Western Europe now accept a level of ugliness in their daily lives which is almost without precedent in the history of Western civilization. Most of us have become so inured, that the death of millions from starvation and disease draws from us no more than a sigh, or a murmur of protest. Our own city streets, home to legions of the homeless, are ruled by Dope, Inc., the largest industry in the world, and on those streets Americans now murder each other at a rate not seen since the Dark Ages.
Well, except for the entire European continent every 50 years or so, southeast Asia, Central America, the entire Middle East on a daily basis and much of Africa he may have a point. Remove those places and murders in the US are unprecedented.
At the same time, a thousand smaller horrors are so commonplace as to go unnoticed. Our children spend as much time sitting in front of television sets as they do in school, watching with glee, scenes of torture and death which might have shocked an audience in the Roman Coliseum.
Sponge Bob. Wile E. Coyote and The Road Runner. The horror!
Music is everywhere, almost unavoidable—but it does not uplift, nor even tranquilize—it claws at the ears, sometimes spitting out an obscenity.
Going back for centuries, that's pretty much what old people have always said about popular music.
Our plastic arts are ugly,
In your opinion.
our architecture is ugly,
Modern architecture in the US is a lot better than the trash cranked out by Le Corbusier 70 years ago.
our clothes are ugly.
You mean for the first time in human history new clothes are affordable for the masses.
There have certainly been periods in history where mankind has lived through similar kinds of brutishness, but our time is crucially different. Our post-World War II era is the first in history in which these horrors are completely avoidable.
The brutes! New, clean clothes! Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel! Skyscrapers designed by Phillip Johnson that don't have flat roofs! Troy Bolton! Such horrors indeed.

Lost spoiler alert: Jack's death at the Swan hatch

Someone sent me this pirated copy of the 3rd episode of the new season of ABC's Lost. It answers a lot of questions, but the most intriguing (and shocking!) moment of this episode is when Locke kills Jack at the Swan hatch (see 26:15). Here's the scene, which you'll have to watch pretty quickly before the lawyers at ABC get the clip pulled.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What was missing from Steve Jobs' iPad presentation

While watching Steve Jobs' presentation today I noticed that one slide is missing something.
Where's Al Gore? From the 2007 Keynote that debuted the iPhone:
"Now let me show you visual voicemail, this is a collaboration which I'll talk more about later. It allows us to have random-access voicemail. Oh, there's a voicemail by Al Gore."
Poor Al. Steve and Scott deleted him from their iPad contacts. So he sits and waits, longing for the phone call that will never come again.

Snots and Snobs


This kind of elitism gives me the dry heaves. Comments to the Calculated Risk thread Existing Home Inventory: A long way from Normal:
Comrade Kristina (profile) wrote (in reply to...) on Tue, 1/26/2010 - 11:29 pm

Of course Joanna. I live in Red State hell so they love them some WalMart. Hell, they don't even bother to get dressed to go to WalMart. PJ's and bunny slippers are not uncommon.

Comrade Kristina wrote:

Hell, they don't even bother to get dressed to go to WalMart. PJ's and bunny slippers are not uncommon.

People of Walmart: a collection of all the creatures that grace us with their presence at Walmart, America's favorite store.

dryfly (profile) wrote (in reply to...) on Tue, 1/26/2010 - 11:31 pm

Comrade Kristina wrote:

PJ's and bunny slippers are not uncommon.

Cold weather has some advantages - I can only IMAGINE the tats & stretch marks covered up by parka's & snowmobile suits - you actually have to SEE them.
merchants of fear (profile) wrote on Tue, 1/26/2010 - 11:32 pm

Good one CK!
patientrenter (profile) wrote (in reply to...) on Tue, 1/26/2010 - 11:32 pm
Women with stretch marks. Snowmobiles. Wal-Mart. How gauche.

Monday, January 25, 2010

France: Trails behind Arkansas but just ahead of Mississippi

Per capita GDP:Something in this Paul Krugman piece doesn't sound right:
For those Americans who have visited Paris: did it look poor and backward? What about Frankfurt or London? You should always bear in mind that when the question is which to believe — official economic statistics or your own lying eyes — the eyes have it.
Regarding his first question, of course not. Visiting as a tourist, most places I've seen in Europe are inhabited by people with serious cash. All of the locals look fabulous and people dress in expensive clothes and eat out in expensive restaurants where the food is top-notch. But coming into town you pass through the suburbs, where most of the locals live and few tourists venture. You get a mere glimpse of these "suburban" high-rise dwellers, particularly in Paris. Tino puts Krugman in perspective.
If you stop and think about this for a second the problem becomes apparent. These are not representative cities, they are three of the absolutely richest areas of Europe!

According to Eurostat, which contains GDP per capita figures for European regions, each inhabitant of London produces 65.3% more than the UK average. The figure for inner city London, the area most American visiting would see, is an 279%. That is not a typo. Inner city London is the richest region in Europe. Paris has a per capita income 272% higher than the French average. Lastly Frankfurt, the financial hearth of continental Europe, has a per capita GDP 278% higher than Germany as a whole. (Stockholm earns 37% above the Swedish average, for those curious).

These figures overestimate the wealth disparity somewhat, since cities contain more jobs than people, especially important for financial centers (one reason why Luxembourg is so rich). But statistics are not fooling us, central Paris is rich, which our eyes would confirm. The suburbs and most of the rest of France is not. The correct comparison for Frankfurt would be Manhattan, not the US average.
Tino is absolutely correct. What Krugman did was like visiting Munich and Detroit and making economic assessments of the two countries solely based upon what you saw within the core of those two cities. That's not to say that quality of life is worse in Europe... it's just different, and Krugman doesn't lay it out truthfully.

Someone tell me why Krugman is feted when he clearly pulls a lot of stuff out of his ass for his columns.

Gary Coleman Update

This is what happens when you don't pay CashCall.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Featherbedding in Europe

Our unions can learn a lot from the Spanish.
A storm has followed the discovery that some (air traffic) controllers are earning more than £800,000 a year.

Of 2,300 controllers, ten were paid between €810,000 (£725,000) and €900,000 last year. A further 226 were paid between €450,000 and €540,000 and 701 were paid between €270,000 and €360,000.
Our people need to think BIG.

Animal Farm comes to life

San Francisco Chronicle:
President Obama, congressional Democrats and labor leaders cut a sweetheart deal last week. They agreed to create a loophole for a new 40 percent tax on "Cadillac" health care plans. In their holy bid to take care of their own, this new triumvirate agreed to exempt from the excise tax union-bargained health care plans and state and local government employees until 2018.
This attitude is why Coakley lost. It's not a liberal vs conservative thing. We've simply reached the breaking point and every time the powers that be grant special favors to a select group another slice of the electorate peels away. Whether it's bailouts, government pensions or medical insurance plans, they just don't get it. Republicans found this out in 2006 and Democrats will find this out in 2010.

Republicans could really hammer Democrats in November if they made this the issue, but they won't. They're too stupid. Democrats are doomed in November by their own sword. Now if the Republicans were smart they'd come out with a national platform something along these lines:
  • Immediate end to all Congressional pensions. They make a lot of cash and if they can't retire on Social Security they can save for it like the rest of us.
  • Any loophole or provision created in nationalized medical insurance plans applies to all US citizens. Government officials get the same insurance plans we do.
  • No more bailouts to state governments. Some states made pension deals with their employees that they could never afford, and it's not right for residents in other states to be forced to make them whole.
  • Call for the Feds to immediately launch criminal investigations into the financial collapse, top-to-bottom, done by the best prosecutors we have. Leave no stone unturned, no matter if they have a (D) or an (R) after their name. All of us want heads to roll.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hugo Chavez and the Magic Earthquake Machine

Melonhead says we have a Magic Earthquake Machine and we used it against Haiti!

The more Hugo Chavez says, the dumber he sounds. Curiously, he has company in the US.

Let's make a tract house seem huge

After years of ranting about dumb real estate sales gimmicks, here I am seeing them applied to my own modest tract house. It's listed on the MLS and boy does everything appear HUGE! My back yard isn't large at all but with a wide-angle lens it looks like an acre back there. Still, there's nothing here like Jim the Realtor sees.

Too bad he didn't do the photos before the hard freezes turned everything brown a few weeks ago.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What can Brown do for you?

Suck it, Olbermann.

Businessman sues British Airways 'for treating men like perverts'

Long thread on airliners.net about this.
A businessman is suing British Airways over a policy that bans male passengers from sitting next to children they don't know - even if the child's parents are on the same flight.

Mirko Fischer has accused the airline of branding all men as potential sex offenders and says innocent travellers are being publicly humiliated.

In line with the policy, BA cabin crew patrol the aisles before take-off checking that youngsters travelling on their own or in a different row from their parents are not next to a male stranger. If they find a man next to a child or teenager they will ask him to move to a different seat. The aircraft will not take off unless the passenger obeys.
I never heard of this policy, but it is a common industry practice. My take? Make the kid move. Or do what Air France does by having a separate section for unaccompanied minors.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Hey France, shut your pieholes about Haiti

France is whining about the US in Haiti.
The French minister in charge of humanitarian relief called on the UN to "clarify" the American role amid claims the military build up was hampering aid efforts.

Alain Joyandet admitted he had been involved in a scuffle with a US commander in the airport's control tower over the flight plan for a French evacuation flight.

"This is about helping Haiti, not about occupying Haiti," Mr Joyandet said.
The article is quick to point out that the US has occupied Haiti in the past, but no where is it said that Haiti is where it is because of the evil French colonial empire. After the brutal French slave owners got their asses kicked off the island,
...France demanded 150 million francs in gold as reparations for lands lost by former slave owners. Haiti took massive loans from American, German and French banks at exorbitant rates of interest to pay back France.

The repayments "deformed the country's economy," she said. "For all of the 19th century and most of the 20th century, Haiti was unable to develop normally."

Even though the debt eventually was reduced to 60 million francs plus interest, it was not until 1947 that Haiti paid it off.
The French bled the Haitian people dry and continued to do so even after WWII. France imported African slaves to create Haiti, so it's France's responsibility to clean up the mess they alone created. I think a UN resolution is in order. Haiti should become a French protectorate again and Haitians should be allowed to immigrate to France, no questions asked.

Will the French do the right thing?

Bubbliest Countries

Mish has chart pron from The Economist. Yet UK prices have started to climb again. I guess everyone wants to live there!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Katy Prairie vs the Piney Woods

So we moved from Katy to northwest Houston. I spend this afternoon dealing with a problem that I haven't had to deal with since I was a teenager tasked with taking care of the lawn. It's this.

This swath of Houston was Piney Woods 40 years ago, and unlike many subdivisions built today they didn't clear-cut the forest when they built these houses circa 1975. They cut the trees down to pour the slab and driveway and roads and left the rest of the trees intact. There are numerous very tall, mature pine trees in the yard.

After 15 years on the Katy Prairie I forgot what a pain in the ass pine trees are. Gutters are like magnets to pine straw and it took me hours to clean them out. I then mounted a metal rake to a pool extension pole so I could rake the roof off from the ground instead of climbing the roof. (When I was 16 I did that. Now? I'd wind up with numerous broken bones.)

I look forward to March, when the heavy yellow pollen drops so thick that you need a broom to sweep it off your driveway.

As an aside, the money effect is interesting. The new 'hood is... well, it's not River Oaks, but it's a quantum leap from the old "my neighbors have chickens" neighborhood. This is the neighborhood where HP upper management lives. My son's new friends all have motorized scooters. They just don't ride bikes. None of them. What's up with that? My son took it surprisingly well when I told him to forget about a motor scooter.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Friday, January 15, 2010

We used to make stuff here

While emptying the old house I ditched the microwave oven. It was almost 20 years old (bought in 1991) and getting kind of grungy. But it worked flawlessly the whole time. Out of curiosity I looked on the back and saw that it was made in Iowa.

One thing I bought for my girlfriend this Christmas was a new microwave. Her old microwave was purchased only 4 years ago, but the large rectangular button that you push to open the door was broken. I looked at the back. That microwave oven was not manufactured in Iowa, or anywhere within a 3,000 mile radius. I think I'd rather pay the extra $50 for a better-quality appliance that lasts for almost 2 decades.

Anyway, for you youngsters out there I just wanted to let you know that Americans used to manufacture things you use every day. Believe it or not!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Are college admins and professors getting kickbacks from book publishers?

I read this the other day and saved it. Don't remember where I saw it:
The new semester started. Guess what? Not one of my required textbooks is below 100 bucks. I even have to buy a new 200 dollar spanish book because they just upgraded versions, with new key codes to access the online content that is required for the class. I just bought a 200 dollar spanish book last summer, well actually you can find the books online for around 10 dollars, what you are really paying for is the key codes. Seems to be the newest trend in University txt books. WTF people.
This is new to me, but after Googling around I found that key codes are common. I think this is simply a way to prevent college kids from saving their hard-earned dollars by forcing them to buy new editions each semester instead of buying used books.

I'd like to see an AG look into the college textbook racket. I think there's collusion going on between the book publishers and the admins and professors. College students are raped every semester by fees and this just adds to it. $200/book x 5 classes x 8 semesters over 4 years = $8,000 on textbooks. Who's pocketing all of this money?

Some have tried to do something about this, but the rip-off continues. Paging Greg Abbott!

Option ARM recasts

Calculated Risk is worried about option ARMs recasting over the next two years. He's a smarter guy than me, but I think those light blue people have already walked. Why continue feeding the monkey on house that's worth half the loaned value?

Banned substance

My son started in a new school district last week. I just found out via a note from his school that Carmex and Chapstick are banned. Good thing Cy-Fair ISD admins are keeping a watchful eye out for dangerous substances!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Invest in Dubai

UAE President's Brother Acquitted of Attack on Businessman:
A brother of the president of the United Arab Emirates filmed beating up a former business partner and running him over in a Mercedes SUV has been acquitted of assaulting him.

The failure to convict Sheikh Issa bin Zayed al Nahyan will be a blow to the country's attempts to improve the image of its legal system.

A court in Al Ain, second city of the emirate of Abu Dhabi, acquitted the sheikh of rape, endangering a life and causing bodily harm against the after his lawyer claimed he had been drugged at the time of the incident and had no recollection of it.

Before sinking your cash into Dubai/UAE properties and businesses, wouldn't it be a good idea to check the legal system?

FM 529

I've been driving FM 529 twice a day for the past 2 weeks moving stuff to the new house. Each time I get a little bit more depressed. I used to ride my bike out there when that part of the county was just farmlands and rice fields. Now it's an ocean of cheap houses... which isn't a bad thing, because my first house was a cheap one. The bad thing is that entire part of the county is quickly going downhill. I see houses with roofs that still haven't been repaired post-Ike. I see fences still blown down. I see graffiti and foreclosures everywhere. Lawns that were cultivated when the houses were new 10 years ago are nothing but crabgrass. "Pride of ownership" doesn't come with Section 8.

Speaking of 8, we have our own 8 Mile Road forming, only it's 25 miles from town. And it's brand-new. If you live in the FM 529 area please consider getting out.

Remember the Biosphere?

H/T Divorak. At least some of it still looks functional.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Avatar 3D

Outstanding effects and the storyline does a great job of keeping you engrossed. My kids didn't squirm at all even though it was 2 1/2 hours.

Yeah, it's very much a utopian lefty film... basically Dances With Wolves in Space. The savage is always noble; The white guys are always the bad evil corporate rapists. Particularly American corporate white guys who are military. It seems that Cameron's take on the whole entire GWoT is the al-Qaida guys are just nature-loving people living in their element and they'd leave us alone if we just quit stealing resources from them.

Still, if you are one of the few people who hasn't seen it in 3D I heartily recommend it.

Google Nexus One

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Dubai stiffs Japan

Uh oh. Who could have seen this coming?
A consortium of Japanese engineering companies building the Dubai Metro mass transit system is to embark on a “work slowdown” from today over delayed payments from the Dubai Government.

The dispute follows official admissions in Tokyo last month that Japanese companies outside the financial sector are cumulatively owed about $7.5 billion by the government of Dubai and a variety of state-affiliated businesses.
Remember, Dubai will be marked down 90% when it's all over. Meanwhile, rumor has it that China is Dubai x1000. Maybe 2010 is a good hunkerin'-down time? Just saying.

I need to listen to Ferris.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The History of Plasma Display Panels

An interesting history of the plasma display. Like so many things, invented in the US. And like so many things invented in the US, it was commercialized and mass-produced by companies in other countries. In the case of plasma displays, there was a good reason:
(The Japanese) saw plasma as an answer to the problem of displaying their Kanji script, something the Western alphanumeric computer displays of the early 1960s could not do. So plasma panels became widely used in Japan for cash registers, meters, and public signs.
Go read the article. It's quite good. It makes you wonder what breakthrough we're losing out on next. My guess is batteries.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Joe Bastardi on global warming or the lack thereof

Here's the video. I am not sure what Accuweather's chief guesscaster is trying to say, but if you watch until the end you can see him horck up a loogie.

I can haz cold

OK, this is getting ridiculous. It should be in the 60s this time of year.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I can haz cat

With the new house comes a cat. I am not a cat person. I think cats are a waste of air. I hate cats. I like dogs. This cat is different. This is a cool cat. It likes to hang out with me.

I am sleeping on my daughter's trundle bed until the old house sells. Do you like the attractive linens? The yellow paint may drive me insane, but there are exactly 2,377 things to do first before I worry about painting. I just wanted to tell you that I met a cat that I like.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Paul Krugman

What's all this fuss about Paul Krugman being a Kenyan?

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Evil Dwarf is pining for Michael Jackson

Currently seen on the ahmadinejad.ir website:
Dear God, In 2009 you took my favorite singer - Michael Jackson, my favorite actress - Farrah Fawcett, my favorite actor - Patrick Swayze,my favorite voice - Neda.
Please, please, don't forget my favorite politician - Ahmadinejad and my favorite dictator - Khamenei in the year 2010. Thank you.

In the new house

It only took me 1 1/4 hours to set up the computers and figure out the new wireless routers. I think that's pretty good for a marketing guy setting up a network of Vista boxes. I will say that I am surprised at how much faster Comcast is than AT&T DSL. A 5-minute podcast downloaded in less than 3 seconds.

I think it's gonna be a long, sleepless night. Tomorrow I'll be hauling ass between Katy ISD and Cy-Fair ISD to get my son registered at his new school. And since just about all of the furniture (crappy as it is, in a Gallery Furniture sort of way) remains at the old place until the house sells, I'll be sleeping on one of my daughter's trundle beds. Not fun. Hope the Katy place sells quickly so I can get my furniture.

It's fun to whine. These are mere inconveniences compared with 99% of the rest of us humans.

Bad Call

Microsoft reporter Joe Wilcox, January 2, 2010
Tablet is a nowhere category. For all the hype about an Apple tablet, it is at best a niche product. The world doesn't need an Apple tablet, no matter what the hype about rumored features or regardless of what actually releases (if anything).
Microsoft reporter Joe Wilcox, January 10, 2007
I predict some big problems for the iPhone, once people start using it for more than 5 or 10 minutes with Apple executives expectantly standing close by.

Plunder

Ouch.
Plunder! How Public Employee Unions Are Raiding Treasuries, Controlling Our Lives and Bankrupting the Nation.
I'm not so sure we can blame this all on unions. After all, we did elect the people that decided to play along with them. So blame yourselves.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Why would anyone get the idea that I hate California?

A reader in California rubs it in.

Seriously, why should anyone get the idea that I hate California? I don't (1) (2). I just wish ya'll would get your shit together.

Moving

It's our last night in the house and needless to say moving is a pain in the ass.

Friday, January 1, 2010

62 pages of retired California teachers currently receiving over $100,000 a year in pension benefits

Found by Allena Hansen (PDF file). This gets back to what I said earlier: America will soon be divided into two classes... those who have government jobs/pensions and those who don't. Those who don't have government jobs will be bled dry to feed the government employees and their bloated, obscene pensions unless things change.

2010 Predictions

Putting on my guessing cap for 2010:
  • Apple's Jesus Tablet, as it's called at Businessweek. I'm a Jobs fanboi, but the hype for an unannounced, unspec'd product is reaching absurd proportions. It's amazing to me that not one photo of this has been leaked, even with product launch less than a month away. I am skeptical, particularly of the claims that it will revolutionize everything. Why? The mobile bandwidth issue. Networks are already clogged just from the iPhones. (At least that's what they tell us.) These tablets will inherently use much more bandwidth, slowing everything down further. I'm not saying the tablet concept is doomed or won't be a huge success, I am just saying that I don't think its time has come yet.

    Apple's very good at misdirecting the chattering crowd. Example: Until the day of the iPhone's official launch, the "experts" were certain that it would have a scroll wheel. The fanbois completely missed the haptic interface. Maybe the big event in San Francisco next month is Jobs making his last hurrah and announcing that the Beatles catalogue will finally be available on iTunes?

  • The mobile platform war will end 2010: 1) Apple 2) Android 3) Symbian 4) RIM. Palm will be dead; Windows Mobile 7.0 will go nowhere. This is a repeat of the early 1980s PC OS wars, and Apple and Google will be the winners. Too bad, Microsoft. You lose.

  • PC wars: Who cares. They are all low-margin generic boxes made in China. People will replace their machines as needed, but many of these people will decide to pay the Apple premium or decide upon a low-cost Acer notebook or netbook with a free open source OS. In other words, what's happened so far this year will continue next year. Desktop PCs are so 1998.

  • Shoeshine boy says: "Buy gold!" It will end the year below $800. The gold bugs on Mish and Calculated Risk will grow increasingly shrill and conspiratorial.

  • Oil: Bubblelicious once again! Below $40 by December 2010.

  • Unemployment: Trending between 8-9% nationwide. Unemployment continues in the double-digit range in CA, MI, FL, NV, IL and AZ.

  • Dubai: The Great Collapse continues. The dreams of an Arab Paris (it used to be Beirut) on the Saudi peninsula will be dashed when it's learned that even though Dubai real estate is marked 90% off, much of it is uninhabitable.

  • Melonhead and the Evil Dwarf: Melonhead stays in power and continues to rant about smelling sulfur while the Venezuelan economy collapses around him. The Evil Dwarf is booted out in a non-violent movement after the mullah's cave in to pressure. The Iranian nuke program will continue, but with less vitriol from Tehran leaders.

  • George Bush: He still won't be living on that supposed Bolivian ranch.

  • Barack Obama: Poll numbers improve along with the economy throughout 2010.

  • Texas Governor's Race: Former Houston mayor Bill White will be the Democrat nominee and wins the general vote. Long-range prediction: Joe Biden will announce he is resigning at the end of the first term and Obama will chose White as his running mate.

  • US House: Republicans regain control.

  • US Senate: Democrats retain control.

  • Rising anger over the "two America's": Those who have government jobs and those who don't.

  • Bankrupt: Sears, Palm, Landry's, more California municipalities.

  • Washed-up country acts have Branson to fall back on when they get old and don't want to live on the road. Washed-up rock acts need their Branson. In 2010, Prince, Led Zepplin and The Who will sign on as house acts for major Las Vegas casinos. (I predicted this two years ago and failed. It will happen! heh.)