Sunday, March 29, 2009

Earth Hour! YAY!

Lights go out across planet for Earth Hour

(CNN) -- Lights went off across the world Saturday as millions of homes and businesses went dark for one hour in a symbolic (thereby, meaningless) gesture highlighting concerns over climate change.

More than 2,800 cities and towns worldwide dimmed their lights at 8:30 p.m. local time (after the business day was done? Big sacrifice) for the third annual Earth Hour -- a day-long energy-saving marathon spanning 83 countries and 24 time zones.

In Washington, the lights went out at the Capitol dome at 8:30 p.m. ET; the same time the Empire State Building, Central Park and the George Washington Bridge in New York went dark (good thing I wasn't driving in the GW at 8:30pm, then).

The Philippines topped this year's participation for Asia, with more than 650 communities taking part in the event, according to Earth Hour's Web site. (Time to step UP, Asia! Get with the program!)

The light illuminating the face of the landmark Big Ben clock tower in London, England, went out at 8:30 p.m. (4:30 p.m. ET). (how would they know what time it was if the clock's light was out?)

In Dubai, iReporter Sharad Agarwal turned out the lights and sat down to a candlelit dinner with his family. (aaaaawwwwww....)

"I personally believe in going green and everything that goes with it (I thank you all....but, it's been no bed of pleasure cruuuuise...)," Agarwal told CNN.

In Australia, floodlights of the Sydney Opera House were extinguished as the city's iconic harbor kicked off events for Earth Hour. The event's Web site reported that hundreds of people lined the harbor for a glimpse of the dimming skyline at 8:30 pm. (then, had to wait an hour before leaving because they couldn't find their fucking cars in the dark!)

Sydney became the birthplace of the Earth Hour campaign in 2007 when 2.2 million turned off their lights, igniting a grass-roots movement that has become a global phenomenon. (and accomplished absolutely nothing)

Other landmarks around the world expected to join the World Wildlife Fund-sponsored event were the Egyptian pyramids, Vatican, Niagara Falls (lights?), the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building, the Acropolis in Athens and the Las Vegas casino strip. (whoa! whOA! WHOA! What the fuck did you just say?!? 8:30pm in Las Vegas and you're going to turn down the lights?? Lemme tell you fuckers something - if I'm at a hot table, slot or card game and this shit breaks up my mojo, so some liberal, mincing, sandal-wearing, hippy bastard can 'feel' better about the 'planet', I'm coming out with a knife looking for necks to slit....)

CNN iReporter Marie Sager of Los Angeles, California, said she planned to hike up to the Griffith Observatory to experience the massive lights-out event. (it's Opposite Day!)

"A good portion of the city is participating. We'll see the Capital Records sign go out. A lot of these places haven't turned out their lights in awhile (because they're paying for it to stay lit)," Sager said.

Event sponsors (the HELL you say! There's MONEY involved?!?) hoped participating U.S. cities would set an example for the rest of the world.

"We think we are going to have 100 million people around the world sending a message that climate change is real, and we need to take action now (Now! With this THIRD annual event....)," World Wildlife Fund CEO Carter Roberts told CNN (with a straight face).

"The world is watching to see what America is going to do," he said, "because if America acts on climate change, the world will follow." (clearly.....just like the Iraq War and nuclear arms)

Earth Hour events got off to an unofficial start in the remote Chatham Islands in the southern Pacific Ocean where locals switched off their diesel generators, organizers said. Shortly afterward, 44 New Zealand cities and town joined in the event.

Organizers say they hope this year's event will send a message to world leaders meeting Copenhagen, Denmark, in December for a major summit on climate change. (They're already meeting on the subject, aren't they? Do you really have to hustle them to raise their awareness? They're aware! They're aware!)

"We are asking one billion people to take part in what is essentially the first global vote for action on climate change by turning off their lights for one hour and casting a vote for earth," said executive director Andy Ridley. (Oh, eeeeeeasy stomach. 'Vote for earth'??!? Goddammit! I thought I was going to get through this without it comes...gotta go!!...)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

No Club Fed for Madoff
If convicted, the accused Ponzi swindler will likely land in a low-security federal prison or, if he's lucky, a less stringent prison camp.

NEW YORK ( -- Ensconced in his $7 million home, Bernard Madoff, the accused Ponzi swindler, is probably wondering what type of prison awaits him. (Not at all. He hasn't been the least bit delusional in all this.)
Madoff, who allegedly stole more than $50 billion through his investment firm, could face a 150-year sentence if convicted in Federal Court in Manhattan on Thursday. He is expected to plead guilty to 11 criminal counts, according to one of his lawyers, Ira Lee Sorkin.
Madoff has managed to avoid prison so far, thanks to the $10 million bail that he posted. (Fair)Since his December arrest, he has remained with his wife under house arrest in their luxurious Manhattan residence. (Hopefully he can find some solace in that)
But he won't be able to dodge jail for much longer, assuming he's convicted, and it's unlikely the 70-year-old man will ever be free again.
Madoff may ask the court to be placed in a prison of his choosing and the court can then forward this request to the Bureau of Federal Prisons. (Oooo! I'll take the one with the silver toilet!)
"The Bureau of Federal Prisons ultimately decides where the inmate (is incarcerated)," said bureau spokeswoman Felicia Ponce. "We take into consideration judicial recommendations, but they're not binding."
Despite his white-collar status and non-violent history, Madoff won't be whiling away his days in some cushy "Club Fed" type of prison. (Uh-huh.)
Ponce said the bureau weighs the "seriousness of the offense, the expected length of incarceration, any history of escapes and violence" as well as the age of the inmate and "security needs." (All this is code for "how many buddies he has at the DA Office")The bureau tries to incarcerate inmates within 500 miles of their homes, she said. (Gee, thanks.)
Madoff's lawyer, Sorkin, wouldn't provide any details of his client's preferences. "There are many different facilities in many different places," he said. (Cape Cod in April is just gorgeous!)
No such thing as Club Fed
Ponce, of the Bureau of Federal Prisons, dismissed the Club Fed institution as a "myth."
Ed Bales, managing director of Federal Prison Consultants, which prepares inmates for prison life, said that "Club Fed" facilities used to exist in such places as Nellis Federal Prison Camp near Las Vegas. He said these types of facilities were also located in Florida and Pennsylvania. They provided more freedom and better accommodations to inmates than the typical prisons, but were shut down several years ago. (By some old party poop I'm sure!)
Larry Levine, another prison consultant and former inmate, wrote on his Web site about the experience of being transferred from Nellis when it shut down in 2005 to a "real" prison near El Paso, Texas, replete with "warring gang members" and other violent offenders.
"The Nellis inmates were shell-shocked into the real world of federal prison," wrote Levine. "Gone were their cushy days of being in a camp."
White collar crooks: You never know where you'll go
Nowadays, all types of prisons await white collar offenders. Martha Stewart, the domestic diva convicted of insider trading in 2004, served her five-month sentence at Alderson Federal Prison Camp in West Virginia, a minimum-security women's prison known as "Camp Cupcake." (I thought they were a myth?)
At the other end of the spectrum, former Tyco Chief Executive Dennis Kozlowski, who was sentenced to up 25 years for grand larceny, was sent to a rougher, medium-security state prison in upstate New York. In a 2007 letter to Fortune, he wrote, "[Prison] is the most difficult of all difficult places to be." (They get Fortune in the prison library?)
Bales, of Federal Prison Consultants, said his newly convicted clients typically expect the worst, their nightmares of prison rape fueled by television shows like "Oz" and movies like "The Shawshank Redemption." (Yeah, prison rape rumors started with those movies)But once they end up behind bars, some inmates are pleasantly surprised to find that it's not as dangerous as they'd thought, he said. (Only soap poundings, not ass poundings. What a relief!)
"They're scared out of their minds," said Bales. "They think they're going to get jumped in the shower. But once they hear what they're really like, they calm down a bit."
Fairton is the fairest
The best possible facility is the so-called prison camp, where there are "no murderers or rapists" and "no bars on the walls,"(reach for the stars!) said Bales. But he added that a lengthy sentence such as Madoff's might bar him from such a desirable facility.
Instead, Madoff might be eligible for a low-security prison, which isn't as bad as medium-security, but it's still a prison.
"In low security, you have some violence, you may have some low-level Mafia type figures, you may have some people who have been involved in child porn," (pffft! Is that all? They're harmless) he said. "[Madoff] may be facing that type of scenario." (Mafiosos and kiddie porn peddlers. Easy street, here I come!)
The best possible low-security federal prison where Madoff could conceivably land is in Fairton, N.J., said Bales. That's the current residence of Sanjay Kumar, former Chief Executive of Computer Associates, serving a 12-year sentence for fraud and obstruction of justice.
"It's one of the best places to do your time," said Bales. "They send a lot of senators there and attorneys." (And scene...)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

2032's Bill O'Reilly

It looks like this could become a series at the SNC. 

It seems the New York Times has a group of women writers that get all preggers anytime a lil' one does adulty-type things.

Last November, Susan Dominus wet her crotchular region over 12 year-old food critic, David Fishman.

Now, Jan Hoffman regales us with a tale of the future voice of the Republican Party - 14 year-old Jonathan Krohn.

The Little Mr. Conservative


Duluth, Ga.

SITTING in the back seat of his mother’s van as she drives through Atlanta suburbs, Jonathan Krohn is about to sign off with a conservative radio talk show host in Florida.  In the 40 minutes he’s been on the air, with the help of his mother’s cellphone, this hyper-articulate Georgia eighth grader has attacked the stimulus bill, identified leaders he thinks will salvage the Republican Party’s image, and assessed the legitimacy of Barack Obama’s birth certificate (I don't know...he sounds every other Republican whack job parroting the ramblings of dubious sources.).

The show’s host chuckles and asks whether President Obama has called Jonathan “a little fascist.” (I'm gonna need details but 2-1 odds...)

“The president hasn’t come after me yet,” Jonathan says chummily, “but we’ve had other people come after me!”

“Jonathan!” his mother hisses from the driver’s seat.

The interview concluded, Jonathan wistfully handed his mother her cellphone. His parents still won’t let him have one, even though he turned 14 last Sunday (even though...!???!!!), right after he became an instant news media darling and the conservative movement’s underage graybeard at last weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington. (Boy, that was quite the lineup last weekend.  a 14 year-old, Joe The Plumber, John Ziegler, Rush Limbaugh, a five-armed midget and the bearded lady.  Who somebody please tell me who is at the wheel for the Republican Party?)

The annual convention brings in the movement’s grand old lions, like Rush Limbaugh, as well as cubs to rally 8,500 of the faithful, who were shaken by the election of Barack Obama. Jonathan, a slight, home-schooled (NATCH!!!!!!!) only child whose teeth are in braces, is so passionate about his beliefs that he spent his summer writing “Define Conservatism,” an 86-page book outlining what he says are its core values (Chapter 3:  I Like Republican Sandwiches  Chapter 4:  Liberal Homework Is Stupid) .  In January, he contacted CPAC organizers, asking to speak there (And said...).

With some skepticism, they gave him a spot on a Friday panel of grassroots activists (Yep.  Just lost an historic election, we're in the worst economy in 60 years and everybody in the party has no idea where it's going.  Hey!  Let's invite a 14 year old!  That will let everyone know we're serious!).  But Jonathan, an experienced child actor (Gonna need more info, Jan.  Can't find anything on him), rocked the house with a three-minute speech, which was remarkable not so much for what he said, but his electrifying delivery.  The speech was part pep talk, part book promotion.  By Saturday morning, an archdeacon of the movement was saying, “I’m Bill Bennett: I used to work for Ronald Reagan and now I’m a colleague of Jonathan Krohn’s!”

As video of the speech coursed through the Internet, radio talk show hosts and television reporters at the conference sought him eagerly.

Uh-huh. decide.  See if he actually SAYS anything.  Personally, I wanted someone to throw a shoe at him.

In less than a week, Jonathan appeared on “Fox and Friends” and CNN, and broadcast network anchors requested interviews (Octo-mom had the same requests so it's all relative, really).  He has lost count of the number of radio shows he has spoken on.  Though his family has received hate mail, accusing them of brainwashing their son, a Jonathan Krohn fan club has sprung up on Facebook.  High honors: Jon Stewart has already poked fun at him.

And the invitations have only snowballed since the family returned to their modest house in a subdivision here.

Why just that morning, his mother, Marla Krohn, marveled, a staff member for a potential candidate for Georgia governor asked for a meeting with Jonathan (nice editing). In her gentle drawl, Mrs. Krohn said cautiously, “I’m not sure I’m a supporter of his.”

“Neither am I,” Jonathan piped in (He's a poopy-pants).

“But I’m a voter,” Mrs. Krohn reminded him firmly (I'll take Obviously Stupid Statements for $2000, Alex).

Jonathan retorted, “Now that I’m a political pundit, I have the ability to influence people. I have to think about it!” (Whoa there, cha-cha.  You had your 15 minutes.  I believe "Fox and Friends" has a Republican giraffe scheduled for tomorrow.)

But first, his mother reminded him, he had some homework to finish. (Jan, leave the cutesy bullshit flow sentences for  They'll claim copyright infringement.)

He’s an unusual kid with an unusual background (Jan getting a little tingley down there).  Jonathan’s parents, Doug, a computer systems integrator, and Marla, a sales representative and former actress who teaches drama and speech to middle-school students, have been home-schooling their bright, curious son since the sixth grade (Moister). On Fridays, Jonathan joins 10 middle-school students at the Classical School in Woodstock, where classes are taught from a Christian perspective, for five hours of study, including Latin. They have two 10-minute recesses for tag, said Jonathan’s teacher, Stephen P. Gilchrist. Lunch is eaten at their desks while they work (Ahhhhhh, fully moist...and goin' for a word quota, Jan?  That was awfully superfluous).

“Other children his age are not quite sure how to take him,” Mr. Gilchrist said. “Jonathan is so intense, so verbal and a strong personality (Read:  He won't shut the fuck up and his parents just look at people with a "isn't he so fucking adorable" expression).  But as they get to know him, they respect him for what he is.  And he is tons of fun.”

Jonathan’s father oversees his math; he studies Arabic with a tutor (Nobody's going anywhere until I find out what Jonathan's favorite sandwich is!!!!  I have a gun!!!!)

“Before I got into politics,” (Glurp...) Jonathan said as he sat with his parents in the study of their home, “I wanted to be a missionary to people in the Middle East. (They don't take 13 year-olds...otherwise, your plan was flawless.)  I thought it would be better to speak with them in their own language.” (And tell them what to think)  The family are active members of Peachtree Corners Baptist Church in Norcross, Ga.

That was several careers ago (Umm...what?)  But he is sticking with Arabic, because, “it’s important to talk with our allies in their language.”

Although the Krohns are conservative, they say Jonathan’s passion for politics is largely his. “Politics bore me,” his mother said flatly. “I’ve learned a lot from Jonathan about the candidates I’ve voted for.” Doug Krohn said he listened to talk radio, but with his Iowa-born (Oh, boy.  Adds a whole new dimension.) soft-sell manner, he’s hardly the pontificating firebrand his son is.

Jonathan said he became a political enthusiast at 8, after hearing about a Democratic filibuster on judicial nominations. “I thought, ‘Who goes to work saying, ‘I’m going to filibuster today?’ ” he said. (What...? Part deux!

Mr. Krohn, looking bleary-eyed by recent events, muttered, “And now he can filibuster with the best of them.” (De-bat-a-able!)

Jonathan would wake up at 6 a.m. to listen to Bill Bennett’s “Morning in America” show and became riveted by politics and American history ( alternate version of American history anyway.  You know, the version that uses the term "darkies".)  Soon, Mr. Bennett, whom Jonathan now describes as, “my mentor and very good friend,” was taking Jonathan’s calls. (Oh, god.  Very good friend?  I hate today's children...and I blame parents.)

“Jonathan was an extraordinary boy, very special,” Mr. Bennett said, in a phone interview. “He wowed my audience, he wowed me.  He’s very engaging and learned.  He’s got staying power.”

Last spring, as the presidential campaign was in full roar, Jonathan decided the term conservatism was so misused that he needed to write a book explaining it.  He received a computer from his maternal grandfather for his 13th birthday.  “In the Jewish culture in which my mom was raised, 13 is a big deal,” he said. “But since I’m a Jewish Christian, I don’t do a bar mitzvah.” (Decades ago, his mother became a Baptist.) (So...Jewish kids can't use a computer?  News to me.  Really.  Jan.  Editor.  They're a good thing.)

Although the family said they hired an editor (See, even they hired one.  You get them gratis!) to go over grammar, Jonathan, they said, wrote the book himself. “My mom would get tough,” Jonathan said. “She’d say, ‘If you don’t stop writing now and go outside and get some exercise, I won’t let you finish this book!’ ” (Yep.  Jan just wet herself over the unbearable cuteness of it all.)

The family said Jonathan paid to have the book published with his own savings, earned from writing and performing on a syndicated radio Bible show for children. (PLLLLEEEAAAASSSSEE!!!  YouTube, don't fail me now!)

His father made a spreadsheet of their contacts for publicity, and then Jonathan went to work, glad-handing.  He already had developed poise, as he put it, “during the 20 or 30 productions I was in during my acting career” — he’d performed in Christian Youth Theater plays and regional shows. (Oh, holy crap!  Jan drops 'experienced child actor' in the first two graphs and THIS is what she meant?

Jonathan apologetically described the book as a “first effort.”  The second edition, he said, will have less about Thomas Jefferson and more about Alexander Hamilton and James Monroe.  (I'm on the edge of my seat.)

But as Lisa De Pasquale, director of CPAC, noted, he is still a kid.

“He seems to at least have a historical perspective,” she said. “But at 13, there’s not a lot of life experience yet.  But as he attends more conferences, he’ll have more ammunition and education, and see that there are more than black and white viewpoints.”

Jonathan also sees room for improvement: “I have good voice inflection, that’s why I’m good on radio,” he said  “But on TV, I look too big because I move my hands around a lot.” (Or a terdball in training.  Six of one...)

He still has the zeal of a missionary. His voice rising to a wobbly squeak, he grabs any opening to press the cause.  “Barack Obama is the most left-wing president in my lifetime,” he said. (Ba-dum-bump)   

Mr. Krohn buried his face in his hands. “Oh, Jonathan,” he sighed.  (Two orgasms in one article for Jan?  Is this Christmas?)

Well, I watched it so now you must.  Drinking game.  Do a shot every time he says 'principles'.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

GM auditors raise the specter of Chapter 11
DETROIT – General Motors Corp.'s auditors have raised "substantial doubt" about the troubled automaker's ability to continue operations, and the company said it may have to seek bankruptcy protection if it can't execute a huge restructuring plan.
The automaker revealed the concerns Thursday in an annual report filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
"The corporation's recurring losses from operations, stockholders' deficit, and inability to generate sufficient cash flow to meet its obligations and sustain its operations raise substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern," auditors for the accounting firm Deloitte & Touche LLP wrote in the report. (in coporate to non bullshit normal translation: We're going broke!)
GM also disclosed Thursday that Chief Executive Rick Wagoner received a pay package worth $14.9 million in 2008, although $11.9 million of his compensation was in stock and options whose value plummeted to $682,000 as GM's share price sank. (Oh, so he only gets 4 some million? Poor guy. Fuck off!)
GM shares, which lost 87 percent of their value in 2008, fell 38 cents or 17.2 percent to $1.82 in afternoon trading Thursday. (Nothing wrong here..)
The automaker has received $13.4 billion in federal loans as it tries to survive the worst auto sales climate in 27 years. It is seeking a total of $30 billion from the government. During the past three years it has piled up $82 billion in losses, including $30.9 billion in 2008. (Yet the guy at the wheel gets 4 million bones..gee, I can't see why people don't trust Wall Street)
The company faces a March 31 deadline to have signed agreements of concessions from debtholders and the United Auto Workers union to show the government it can become viable again. (Now be a good boy or we'll cut you off....OH, how can I stay mad at you! Look at that punam) On Feb. 17 it submitted the restructuring plan to the Treasury Department that includes laying off 47,000 workers worldwide by the end of the year and closing five more U.S. factories. (Seems like a water tight plan..As long as the CEO still gets his 4 million though)
GM said in its filing that its future depends on successfully executing the plan.
"If we fail to do so for any reason, we would not be able to continue as a going concern and could potentially be forced to seek relief through a filing under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code," the Detroit-based automaker said in the annual report. (Translation: We're broke unless Uncle Sucker gives us a loan)
GM, the report said, is highly dependent on auto sales volume, which dropped rapidly last year. (Gee, really?)"There is no assurance that the global automobile market will recover or that it will not suffer a significant further downturn," the company wrote. (While theres no undo cause for alarm there's certainly no room for complacency)
But Harlan Platt, a professor at Northeastern University in Boston who teaches about corporate turnarounds, said the auditors' concerns don't mean GM is headed for a bankruptcy filing. The auditors, he said, are merely stating what the world has known for months.
"A company which has borrowed $13.4 billion and has asked for billions more around the world is obviously in trouble," he said. (He's a professor y'know?)
Platt said the union concessions and debt restructuring laid out in the government loan terms, plus GM's own restructuring steps that include shedding unprofitable brands, will make the company healthy again once auto sales recover from current low levels.
"I think the government has forced the hands of everybody," Platt said. "In 18 months to 24 months, I anticipate they will be profitable, in the black — a mean and lean competitor that will be world-class." (WOW)
U.S. auto sales in February dropped to the lowest level since December 1981. Last year, automakers sold 13.2 million vehicles in the U.S., about 3 million less than the 16.1 million sold in 2007. Analysts and auto company executives are predicting sales of just over 10 million this year.
GM said in a statement that the auditor's opinion would not affect its restructuring plan.
"Once global automotive sales recover and GM's restructuring actions generate the anticipated savings and benefits, the company is expected to again be able to fund its own operating requirements," the statement said. (Translation: Once we get bailed out by the government we have no intention of paying it back)
GM has said it wants to avoid bankruptcy protection because it would scare off customers. (I don't know about you but I'd have no trouble with getting financing from a company that filed for bankruptcy..what's the problem?) Car buyers, the company has said, would be reluctant to buy from an automaker in Chapter 11 due to fears that it wouldn't be around long enough to honor warranties or make replacement parts. (Oh)
GM, in its viability plan submitted to the Treasury last month, said it explored three bankruptcy scenarios, all of which would cost the government more than $40 billion. (pffft!)
Chief Operating Officer Fritz Henderson said at the time that the government would be the only place the company could get financing for a Chapter 11 reorganization, because the credit markets are frozen. (I had to kiss the loan officer's pecker when I wanted a car loan!)The worst-case bankruptcy scenario would cost the government $100 billion, Henderson said, because revenue would severely drop due to a lack of sales.
GM warned last month that its auditors may raise the "going concern" doubts, and industry analysts said auditors' statements may trigger clauses in some of GM's loans, placing them in default.
But the company said in its filing that it has received waivers of the clauses for its $4.5 billion secured revolving credit facility, a $1.5 billion term loan and a $125 million secured credit facility. (That's fair)
"Consequently, we are not in default of our covenants," (of course not! None of us would with that deal)the report said. "If we conclude that there is substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern for the year ending Dec. 31, 2009, we will have to seek similar amendments or waivers at that time." (Translation: If this doesn't work we're fucked.)
GM spokeswoman Julie Gibson said there is no clause in the terms of the government loans that places them in default if the auditors raise doubts about GM's ability to keep operating. (Once again, nothing unfair at all.)