Supply Chain for Future Garage Sales Disrupted

Although this came out a couple weeks ago, it is appropriate for today.  Apparently rising food and gas prices, stagnant incomes, and unemployment are threatening the very American way of life.  This could potentially disrupt production in China and disrupt the supply chain for future garage sales. (emphasis mine)

Consumers Say Recession Changed Way They Blow Paycheck On Crap

WASHINGTON—A survey released Monday by the U.S. Department of Commerce found the nation’s weakened economy has drastically changed the way consumers blow their paychecks on useless crap.

The report suggests the lingering recession has forced Americans to make tough choices when it comes to pissing away their earnings, as millions struggle to find new, and often challenging, ways to be completely irresponsible with their finances.”The sad truth is we have to keep track of every single penny if we want to be able to spend money on shit we don’t even remotely need,” said Nebraska resident Dennis Schmeltzer, 42. “What am I supposed to do? I’ve got three kids. This family buys a lot of dumb crap, and suddenly we don’t have so much wiggle room when it comes to wasting our money like assholes.””On the one hand, it kills me to go another month without winged-skull seat covers for our Suburban, but on the other, I can’t bear the thought of my kids opening the kitchen cupboard and finding only three or four different kinds of Doritos,” Schmeltzer added. “But right now we just can’t have both. It’s a nightmare.” 

The economy’s sluggish recovery appears to have altered consumer overspending habits in a manner not seen for decades. Sixty-three percent of survey respondents said they were “significantly more reluctant” to squander their income on massaging bath pillows, prepackaged apple slices, motion-activated candy dispensers, devices that make it easier to crack eggs, and just about anything with a fucking Ed Hardy design plastered on it. Another 18 percent said they decided not to buy any more trampolines for at least six months.

With fuel prices rising and the cost of food at an all-time high, experts have said Americans have far less cash to recklessly fritter away. However, many have reportedly managed to continue splurging on stupid shit by finding ways to make their wasted dollars go further.

read more at the source

Public Safety Alert

From Crooked Timber, today, April 1, 2011:

Public safety alert

by Michael Bérubé on April 1, 2011

Washington, DC – The National Governors Association has announced a voluntary product safety recall of sixteen governors, due to a structural design problem that could pose an immediate safety risk to consumers.

“We didn’t know, when we made these governors available to the public, how truly dangerous they were,” said an NGA representative who requested anonymity because he feared swift and remorseless retaliation from one of the defective governors.  “In most cases, they seemed like fully functioning human beings.  But now it appears that many of them avoided routine safety checks or managed to buy off safety regulators.”

In Pennsylvania, defective governor Tom Corbett has recently barred safety inspectors from issuing citations of his office for safety violations, following on his Department of Environmental Protection’s unprecedented demand that environmental inspectors in Pennsylvania stop issuing violations against natural gas drillers without prior approval from the DEP.  In Wisconsin, defective governor Scott Walker has issued demands for the email records of everyone who has typed the words Scott Walker, recall, collective bargaining, AFSCME, WEAC, rally, union, Alberta Darling, Randy Hopper, Dan Kapanke, Rob Cowles, Scott Fitzgerald, Sheila Harsdorf, Luther Olsen, Glenn Grothman, Mary Lazich, Jeff Fitzgerald, Marty Beil, Mary Bell, Rachel Maddow, or fruit bats since January 1 of this year.  And in Florida, defective governor Rick Scott has eliminated an anti-fraud database that would track the fraudulent dealings of defective governor Rick Scott, following on his attempt to kill an anti-fraud database that would track the fraudulent distribution of addictive prescription drugs in Florida.

“These guys are clearly a menace to society,” said consumer watchdogs Albert and Allen Hughes.

But according to the National Governors Association, the problem has spread beyond the initial “bad batch” of gubernatorial products recently purchased by unwary consumers.  “It’s not just the new crop, almost all of whom contain toxic and potentially lethal levels of wingnuttery,” said an industry spokesman.  “It’s a public hazard of almost epic proportions.  You’ve got governors like Bobby Jindal making fun of early-detection systems for natural disasters.  You’ve got Jan Brewer’s crew looking for anyone who speaks with a funny accent.  You’ve got Haley Barbour reminiscing fondly about the white-supremacist Citizens Councils.  So it’s not just a question of a few bad eggs like Alabama’s Robert Bentley refusing to acknowledge non-Christians as his ‘brothers and sisters.’  It’s grounds for a total recall.”

Even some conservative voters have begun to express “buyer’s remorse.”  “I liked this brand of governor because they yell at teachers, so I bought a whole case of ‘em,” said Roger Waters, an unemployed man from upstate.  “I hated the way teachers were always telling me to read and think and stop hitting people and stuff.  But then I find out that they’re killing train lines and cutting off my unemployment checks.  I asked one of them about creating jobs, and he said something about seceding from the federal government.  I asked another one about all the crumbling bridges and tunnels in the state and he said ‘abortion abortion abortion abortion.’  I don’t get it.”

The recalled governors are Haley Barbour (Mississippi), Robert Bentley (Alabama), Jan Brewer (Arizona), Sam Brownback (Kansas), Chris Christie (New Jersey), Tom Corbett (Pennsylvania), Mitch Daniels (Indiana), Nathan Deal (Georgia), Dennis Daugaard (South Dakota), Nikki Haley (South Carolina), Bobby Jindal (Lousiana), John Kasich (Ohio), Rick Perry (Texas), Rick Scott (Florida), Rick Snyder (Michigan), and Scott Walker (Wisconsin).  Jerry Brown (California) and Andrew Cuomo (New York) are also being monitored for public safety violations, though consumer advocates warn that their potential replacement governors may give off deadly noxious fumes.  “Don’t forget what happened last time we issued a recall in one of those places,” said Anthony Kiedis of the Institute for Advanced Californication.  “They wound up with some guy who went through nightclubs and malls shooting people.  Even when they tried to blow up his oil truck and crush him in a drill press, they couldn’t get rid of him.  So you take your chances.”

The National Governors Association has issued a warning that continued prolonged exposure to defective governors may cause severe corrosion of public works and irreparable damage to the social fabric.  If your body politic comes into contact with any of the recalled governors, wash thoroughly with soap and water to prevent toxic effects such as rashes, burns, abrasions, lacerations, boils, and excessive bleeding.  Reported side effects include loss of workplace protections, civil liberties, reproductive rights, drinkable water, health coverage, pensions, hair, memory, and eyesight.


Second Casualty of War

It’s  been said often that the “first casualty when war comes is truth”.  If so, then surely the second casualty of war is the English language.  The Pentagon, White House and State Dept have long butchered plain language and favored the use of euphemisms.  We long ago learned that it’s not really civilians that get killed, it’s “collateral damage is incurred”.

Now with President Obama’s and NATO’s attempts to spend money blowing things up in Libya so that we can’t spend the money at home where it might create jobs, the same people are falling over themselves to invent new terms to describe what’s happening.  We must, it seems, at all costs avoid using the words “war” or “attack”.  The terms they’ve used though are about as muddy and unclear as our objectives in Libya.

For the full effect, I recommend watching the March 29, 2011 episode of the Daily Show With Jon Stewart.  The segment is the first one and it’s long but worth it.  You can find it at the link – warning, link plays audio and commercials automatically.

Two good ones are Sarah Palin referring to the Libyan operations as a “squirmish”.  This is bettered by an official assertion by an Admiral that it’s really a “kinetic military action” *

The best, though, is Stewart’s suggestion that instead of a “turd sandwich” as one analyst called it, we refer to it as “Bread-Based Feces Containment Operation”.  Yes, a BBFCO.  We are too civilized to attack and go to war.  We do BBFCO’s.

* I’m astounded the Admiral could say it repeatedly with a straight face.  What’s Kinetic Military Action mean?  Have we ever fought a war that wasn’t “kinetic”, where we just stood still?  Is it possible to have a Kinetic Military Inaction?


General Electric Is A Welfare Queen

Ronald Reagan introduced the nation in 1976 to the concept and existence of welfare queens, private citizens that pay no taxes but manipulate the system to obtain large amounts of government money.  Sometimes welfare queens have very profitable but socially destructive businesses on the side and make even more profits.  If that’s true, then General Electric is a welfare queen. Most of their businesses depend on government funding such as military expenditures, medicare expenditures, or nuclear powerplants.  But they pay nothing, zip, zilch, nada in taxes.  But they get to keep large profits.  Do they use those profits to create U.S. jobs? Nope. When you’ve got pipeline to the inside of the government, it’s very profitable.  As I’ve said before, it’s good to advise the king.

From Political Irony:

© Jeff Danziger

General Electric had profits of over $14 billion in 2010 and yet paid no taxes. In fact, they received a tax benefit of $3.2 billion. Now that’s corporate welfare! How does GE do it? By hiring former treasury officials to work in their tax department, and by aggressive lobbying to get tax laws changed to their favor.

Fifty or so years ago, 30% of all federal revenue came from corporations. Now it is only 6.6% — far less than individuals pay. In fact, a majority of large corporations don’t pay any taxes at all. And yet Republicans still want to cut corporate taxes even more.


Museum of the Middle Class?

The Onion was trying to be funny when they published this article back in 2004. I’m not so sure it’s so absurd any more. Maybe we could use a “museum of the middle class”.

SCHAUMBURG, IL—The Museum of the Middle Class, featuring historical and anthropological exhibits addressing the socioeconomic category that once existed between the upper and lower classes, opened to the public Monday.

“The splendid and intriguing middle class may be gone, but it will never be forgotten,” said Harold Greeley, curator of the exhibit titled “Where The Streets Had Trees’ Names.” “From their weekend barbecues at homes with backyards to their outdated belief in social mobility, the middle class will forever be remembered as an important part of American history.”

Museum guests expressed delight over the traditions and peculiarities of the middle class, a group once so prevalent that entire TV networks were programmed to satisfy its hunger for sitcoms. …

Read the whole article at The Onion.