Friday, December 21, 2007

Bad Times Ahead In 2008

Based on my Sreet Economics Index, 2008 is looking as dark as Dick Cheney's soul. The evidence -- all of it true:
  • My house cleaner came into an inheritance but still shows up every week.
  • The Popov Vodka bottles at A-1 Liquor are dusty.
  • Panhandlers are asking for quarters again.
  • My eHow article "How to Prepare For Being Fired" got 82 hits in three days.
  • I wrote it for $15.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Forget the Illegals - Deport The New Yorkers

So I'm having a quiet drink at a bar and a couple of guys from New York sit down and launch into the "you can't get a decent bagel/pizza/pastrami sandwich in California" thing, including the worn out "surfer dude" imitation.

Typical New Yorker - walks into a place full of drunks and announces, "I'm a jerk and I hate everyone here."

These same bozos headline their online personal ads "New York City Native Here." Sorry homes, you've just labeled yourself as loud, obnoxious, patronizing and dumb. Why dumb? Only other people from New York will respond so you just eliminated 99.99 percent of the California dating pool. (Almost as bad are the ones who post "East Coast Native," which translates into, "I'm as annoying as a New Yorker, but not remotely as interesting.")

Instead of deporting hard-working hotel maids trying to feed their families, the homeland security people should round up all the New Yorkers in California and drop them off on Ellis Island for redistribution.

Maybe then I could finish my organic, artichoke-infused martini in peace.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Argument Against Steroids in Sports

The Mitchell report today nuked about 80 baseball players for using steroids, human growth hormones and all that other nastiness, save for amphetamines, the "greenies" Mitchell and the MLB know virtually every player takes or took.

Flaws and all, the report makes one salient point: the use of drugs like steroids and human growth hormones gives athletes an unfair advantage over competitors who worry about testicular shrinkage or whether they might fly into a rage and murder their families.

So what's to do?

Random blood tests for an ever-expanding list of performance-enhancing substances conducted by an independent agency. If, as so often said, the majority of players don't use them, the players' union could easily vote to change its position. And if the penalties are severe enough, at least some measure of compliance with reasonable rules would result.

Absent that, how could anyone ever bet a game?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Federal Judges Fight Back

The U.S. Supreme Court today took a well-aimed shot at congress' attempt to decide who should go to prison for how long.

In a 7-2 decision, the court said federal trial judges can depart from mandatory sentencing rules that require longer prison terms for bad guys who are convicted of dealing crack cocaine rather than the powder version.

In essence, the rule said a crack dealer who sold less than 2 ounces of evil must do the same time as a a different dealer who sold almost 1.5 pounds of evil. This dubious distinction has angered judges, lawyers and civil libertarians for years.

More important than the specific issue at hand is the majority decision's declaration that sentencing guidelines should be "advisory" rather than mandatory. When "advisory' is better defined based on future cases, trial judges just might be able to avoid sending nuns to prison for five years if they try to sneak across the border from Mexico.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Barry Bonds And The CIA

Barry Bonds today pleaded not guilty to perjury charges stemming from his denial of using steroids and so forth during testimony before a federal Grand Jury. His plea came a day after the CIA disclosed it had destroyed tapes showing its interrogation of prisoners held at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp.

Same thing going on in both.

If Bonds goes to trial, his only defense will be that all the other witnesses are lying or misguided. During the inevitable congressional hearings, the CIA will have to persuade lawmakers and the American people it never tortured people so the destruction of the recordings was simply an oopsie.

Neither will prevail and for the same reason: an utter lack of respect for the average person's innate intelligence and common sense.