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July 30, 2008

it’s bipartisan… quick, grab your wallet!

Many of you are no doubt confused by the enormous and complex 700-page  “Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008” signed into law this morning by President Bush.  But then, based on our inbox, many of you are also confused as to why Keira Knightly won’t return your phone calls even though you sent her those flowers on her birthday. And that was despite the court order!

Regardless, as a service to our readers, we present this helpful FAQ that we hope will serve as a primer in helping you understand this important piece of legislation:

Wow, this housing crisis sure is an expensive mess.  Congress must have really come down hard on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

They sure did!   Not only did Congress provide them with unlimited government backing no matter how badly they mismanage their businesses, but they really put the screws to them by expanding the size of the mortgages they can guarantee from $417,000 to $625,000.

Wait, that doesn’t sound like punishment.

Well, they established a whole new regulatory oversight agency too.

How is that different from the old regulatory scrutiny they were under?

New letterhead!

Well, at least those greedy incompetent CEOs who gave themselves multi-million dollar bonuses in the midst of crashing stockholder values and a widening housing crisis got what’s coming to them.

Welllll… No.  Not Really. They’re both still there. But the new oversight agency will review their bonuses in the future!

So, just to be clear, these companies are using my money for a massive bailout so they can continue to spend $200 million a year on Washington lobbyists so they can influence regulators to make sure they still get their big bonuses. Is that about right?

Did we mention the new letterhead?

What else is there?

Under the “HOPE for Homeowners” provision of the law, if you purchased a house bigger than you could afford, the government will help provide you with the kind of mortgage you would have gotten had you purchased something smaller.

What about those of us who were responsible and sacrificed and bought a smaller house with a mortgage we could already afford?

That would come under the “HOPE You Don’t Read This Bill Too Closely” provision.

What about the truly needy? Is there any help for them?

You bet! If you were already tossed out of your house, a fund has been set up to buy your house from the lenders.

How does that help the needy?

Banks are needy.

It looks like the President also signed the “Clean Boating Act of 2008” this morning.  This must be about making sure boats remain clean as they navigate our coastal waters?

Not exactly.  It makes permanent an exemption from environmental rules for recreational boaters.

Okay, even if there’s an argument for that, why call it the “Clean Boating Act of 2008” then?

Because calling it the “Graywater, Bilge Water, Weather Deck Runoff, Oil Separator Effluent Exemption Act of 2008” doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Oh, so what you’re saying is they called the housing bill, the “Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008” because…

…Right, because, “The Millionaire Corporate CEO Bailout and Irresponsible Home Buyer Enabler Act of 2008…”

…Doesn’t have the same ring to it.  Got it.


July 30, 2008 at 04:59 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 28, 2008

hey, over here. hey! okay, that’s it, where’s my flare gun…

John McCain spent much of last week complaining about the huge amounts of press coverage Barack Obama was receiving in contrast to his own paltry exposure.

At Planet Moron, we believe the more coverage a presidential candidate receives, the more material we have, so we offer the Senator the following suggestions for increasing media interest in his campaign:

Pour gasoline on yourself and threaten to light a match unless Katie Couric shows up with a film crew. And Natalie Portman. (Well, as long as you've already poured gasoline all over yourself...)

Mccainflash1_3 Get photographed stepping out of a limousine not wearing any underpants. 

One-up Obama and personally adopt the rest of the children in Bangladesh.

Get caught on tape speaking to a group of conservative donors in which you try to explain the behavior of journalists, “You go into the news rooms of the New York Times, and like a lot of big city newspapers the jobs are gone and nothing’s replaced them.  So it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to decaf iced lattes, Pilates classes or antipathy to people who have never done a semester in Europe, or anti-capitalist sentiment or anti-gun sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

Come out once again and forcefully declare your full support for the idea that border security must come before any deal can be worked out regarding current illegal immigrants.  But just to shake things up a bit, appear to be sincere this time.

And finally, announce that you are writing a tell-all book about the salacious goings on behind the scenes when you were a child actor on a popular comedy show in the ‘80s. 

Okay, the 1880’s.


July 28, 2008 at 12:17 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 27, 2008

things we learned about barack obama this past week

His whirlwind foreign tour that brought him to Jordan, Israel, Germany, France, Britain, Iraq and Afghanistan, finally put to rest the question as to where those seven extra states were that he thought he had visited.

The German people are susceptible to charismatic figures and will readily flock to hear the object of their blind allegiance speak in massive displays of uncritical devotion. 
Who knew?

Obama is a member of the Senate Banking Committee!! But to be fair, nobody else knew Obama was a member of the Senate Banking Committee either.

The phrase, “people of Berlin, people of the world, this is our moment, this is our time,” is of such elevated rhetorical value and historical relevance that it will be remembered alongside, “Ich bin ein Berliner,” and “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”  Also, “We are the World.”

The Berlin Wall fell because the world stood “as one” and not because a decades long titanic struggle was waged between the forces of totalitarianism and democracy in a world riven and torn by regional conflict the ultimate success of which was due largely to the steadfast leadership of the United States through both Democratic and Republican administrations. (Boy, the historians sure got THAT one wrong!)

Barack Obama at times speaks at frequencies beyond the ability of the human ear to recognize. For example, while all we could hear from the Democratic You Tube debate is that he would be willing to meet with foreign leaders antagonistic to the United States without preconditions, in reality, as he pointed out last week , "I think that what I said in response was that I would at my time and choosing be willing to meet with any leader if I thought it would promote the national security interests of the United States of America... But what I also said was that there is a difference between meeting without preconditions and meeting without preparation." Don’t believe it?  Ask your dog.

Obama has “no idea what would have happened” in Iraq had we followed his strategy of applying “pressure” as opposed to applying 30,000 troops.

Okay, we kind of knew that last one.


July 27, 2008 at 02:19 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 25, 2008

fast science

Back in the olden days, scientific research was a long, drawn out process in which hypotheses were tested through careful experimentation which were then subject to critical examination by peers only after which the results could be published in respected journals and the information then acted upon.

But for Dr. Ronald B. Herberman, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, that just takes “too long.”

So instead of waiting for what might technically be called “actual results,” Dr. Herberman has gone forward and, based on information that does not yet exist, issued a warning that cell phone use causes brain cancer. However, not wanting to unnecessarily alarm people or get his name prominently featured in Google search results, he was careful to limit the warning to 3000 of his closest friends.

Right now you’re probably asking yourself, “Wait a minute, since when are you updating this blog again? We thought you’d been killed in ‘Nam. Or died of a drug overdose. Or, unable to face down a recording industry unprepared for your groundbreaking music, absconded with the masters and faked your own death in an automobile accident.  Or is that last one the plot from Eddie and The Cruisers?…”

Also, “Shouldn’t scientists base their conclusions on, you know, science?”

Sure, in an ideal world, that would be great. But who has time for that?  The kids have soccer practice, Mom has a conference call and the espresso machine just broke.  We’ve got fast food, fast home loans and fast pregnancy tests, why not fast science? It may not be that fine handcrafted high-quality science your grandparents remember with fondness, but we don’t care, we want our science NOW!

So Dr. Herberman helpfully provides simple precautions that include ten specific, detailed actions people can take to protect themselves from contracting brain cancer when using a cell phone. Assuming you can contract brain cancer using a cell phone.  And assuming that these actions will help prevent that.  And not make it worse. Or cause some other problem. Which we don’t really know.

We summarize his ten recommendations below:

1 – 10: Don’t use your cell phone.

Wow, now that was simple, wasn’t it?

While we here at Planet Moron appreciate Dr. Herberman’s concern for our welfare, we believe there are far greater, and better documented, threats to our health and well being.

We speak of course, of rampaging packs of man-eating bears.

And so we offer our own list of prudent and simple precautions to help you protect yourself from the possible adverse health effects that can result from prolonged exposure to rampaging packs of man-eating bears:

  1. Do not allow children to come into contact with rampaging packs of man-eating bears.  Their developing organs are the most likely to be sensitive to any possible effects of disembowelment.
  2. Try to keep the rampaging pack of man-eating bears as far from your body as possible.  The adverse effect of slashing claws drops dramatically with each one-foot increment of distance.
  3. Try to limit your exposure to wild packs of man-eating bears to only a few minutes at a time.  The biological effect of being repeatedly mauled is directly related to the duration of exposure.
  4. While being slashed by a rampaging pack of man-eating bears, switch sides regularly to spread out your exposure.
  5. And finally, avoid being attacked by a rampaging pack of man-eating bears in public places like riding a bus where you can passively expose others to the bears ravenous hunger for human flesh.

Alarmist?  Maybe.  But it’s always better to be safe than sensible.


July 25, 2008 at 07:52 AM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack