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Archive for the 'The Rich Are Different From You' Category

Stossel Park is Melting in the Dark

Posted by s.z. on December 1st, 2010

Author’s note: this post is dedicated to D Sidhe, in the hopes that she will draw Stossel as the appropriate parasite.

This week John Stossel shows us how the private sector is Making Parks Decent Again (for decent people only).

Yes, Stossel says that the way to fix “badly maintained” public parks is simple: give them, as tax-free gifts, to “entrepreneurs” who will run them as for-profit enterprises. That way, the public doesn’t have to fund them anymore, they are available for use by concession sellers, special event planners, local businesses, and real estate owners who want to sell park-front property to rich people. And, best of all, only the homeless people who play by the rules get in.

Here’s Stossel!

America is filled with parks that are filthy, dangerous and badly maintained. The governments in charge plead: We can’t help it. Our budgets have been slashed. We don’t have enough money!

Bryant Park, in midtown Manhattan, was once such an unsavory place. But now it’s nice. What changed? Dan Biederman essentially privatized the park.

With permission from frustrated officials who’d watch government repeatedly fail to clean up the park, Biederman raised private funds from “businesses around the park, real estate owners, concessions and events sponsorships. … (S)ince 1996, we have not asked the city government for a single dollar.”

Sounds good to me.

Of course it does. Stossel would think it sounded good to give the state of West Virginia to Donald Trump to use as a game preserve for rich guys who want to hunt the most dangerous game. (After all, many West Virginians are poor, and would probably welcome the chance to be hunted for money, if they had no better prospects. And anyway, the government hasn’t made a financial windfall off of the state, so it should be turned over to somebody who could make it a paying proposition.

But Shirley Kressel, a Boston journalist, doesn’t agree with the idea of giving Boston Common to Dan, the guy who now basically owns Bryant Park.

“(W)e don’t need … to teach our next generation of children that the only way they can get a public realm is as the charity ward of rich people and corporations,” she said. “We can afford our public realm. We’re entitled to it. We pay taxes, and that’s the government’s job.”

Silly journalist, haven’t you been paying attention to Stossel: NOTHING is the government’s job! Except to contract out for-profit wars and the American justice system! And anyway, you pay your taxes in order to allow corporations to make the world a better place for corporations, not to provide any personal benefit to you.

And when she objected that privatized parks won’t allow the homeless to use them, Dan said that this just isn’t so.

“The homeless people are welcomed into Bryant Park if they follow the rules. And those same 13 people are there almost every day. We know their names.”

And doesn’t sound that great! A park where 13 select homeless are allowed to visit, and everyone knows their names! And the rules are followed! And if they aren’t, well, Dan knows their names . . .

But let’s let Stossel give us the lesson to be learned from the shining example of Bryant Park:

Once again, the creative minds of the private sector invent solutions that never occur to government bureaucrats. If government would just get out of the way, entrepreneurship and innovation, stimulated by the profit motive, will make our lives better.

Yes, greedy bastards, stimulated by the profit motive, will make our lives better, if only we will welcome this brave new corporate world.

News You Can Use!

Posted by s.z. on July 13th, 2010

First up, a very important story from The Wall Street Journal about an issue which could greatly affect your personal finances, but only if you are really rich and have greedy heirs.

Too Rich to Live?

It has come to this: Congress, quite by accident, is incentivizing death.

Sarah Palin was right! Those Death Panels are getting kickbacks from the euthanasia-drug manufacturers.

When the Senate allowed the estate tax to lapse at the end of last year, it encouraged wealthy people near death’s door to stay alive until Jan. 1 so they could spare their heirs a 45% tax hit.

The Senate counts this as one of their greatest achievements of this decade.

Now the situation has reversed: If Congress doesn’t change the law soon—and many experts think it won’t—the estate tax will come roaring back in 2011.

And how does this effect you, the average Wo’C reader? Well, let’s let the WSJ do the math, because we are tired.

The math is ugly: On a $5 million estate, the tax consequence of dying a minute after midnight on Jan. 1, 2011 rather than two minutes earlier could be more than $2 million; on a $15 million estate, the difference could be about $8 million.

But on an estate of less than $1 million, the math is beautiful, in a natural, girl-next-door kind of way: NO ESTATE TAXES!!! Of course, you’ll still be dead, but at least you’ll have the joy of knowing that your heirs will be able to take that handcart trip to hell on all of your hard-earned assets.

Death or Taxes

That possibility presents a bizarre menu of options for wealthy older people—and their heirs.

Oh, just die! You know you want to.

Advisers say the estate-tax dilemma is especially awkward for heirs.

Yeah, just what is the etiquette for politely suggesting to Grandma that she go gently into that good night so that Bitsy can buy a new yacht?

“At least in December 2009, people wanted to keep their relatives alive,” says Ronald Aucutt, an estate-tax attorney with McGuire Woods in the Washington area. Now he and others are worried that heirs may be tempted to pull plugs on Dec. 31. Economists might call the taking of a life to reap a tax advantage a “perverse incentive.” District attorneys might call it homicide.

And those kill-joy D.A.s are obviously Democrats. (Oh, and Law and Order: The Defunct Unit already did an ep about this very thing, scooping the WSJ by months.)

Estate planners and doctors caution against making life-and-death decisions based on money.

But the WSJ asks, what other criteria is there?

Mr. Aucutt, who has practiced estate-tax law for 35 years, expects to see “truly gruesome” cases toward the end of the year, given the huge difference between 2010 and 2011 rates.

Not to give anybody any ideas or anything, but a link to this WSJ story was on the same page:

Limbaugh Gets Mega Millions on Condo Sale

So, new fourth Mrs. Limbaugh, you might want to have your accountant explain to you how many more of those mega-millions you get to keep if Rush happens to die before the end of the year. You know, just for entertainment purposes. Oh, and if he met his demise in a “truly gruesome” way, you could write a book about it. Just saying.

Anyway, there are a lot more useful tips in the article, like moving your dying relatives to Switzerland, where doctor assisted suicide is legal — but I think that’s enough financial advice for now. I have to go feed kittens, but when I get back, we’ll have MORE news you can use, and which you should indeed use to plan the rest of your life.

Upper Class Twit Of The Year Competition

Posted by scott on July 11th, 2010

You may remember Roger Kimball, the New Criterion editor who also hangs his opera hat at Pajamas Media, where he offers a bracing splash of that effete snobbery and Perelmanesque wordplay so beloved by the angry, heavily armed, conspiracy-prone crackers who crowd the root cellars of the right blogosphere.  The last time we dropped in, he was flexing his rarefied lit-crit faculties by comparing President Obama to Emmanuel Goldstein from Orwell’s 1984, but Roger’s not one of those purblind Brahmins who fixates solely on Mrs. Astor’s 400, and today he adjusts his bow-tie, inhales a pinch of snuff, and delicately sneezes in the general direction of America’s caramel-colored servant class.

Further thoughts about immigration, ‘racism,’ and political correctness (a lesson in common sense)

Yesterday, I was cabbing up Park Avenue in New York.

There’s something strangely familiar about this sentence, and at first I wondered if Roger might be alluding to the early Dr. Seuss classic, And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street. But after pondering it for a moment or two, I realized he was actually quoting from a book written during Geisel’s later, more bitter period, The Scab In The Cab

Somewhere just north of Grand Central, I noticed a crowd of people with placards milling about on the sidewalk.  The word “Racism” figured prominently on the signs and I caught a snatch or two of oratory: “The message is,” said this urban Demosthenes, “if you’re an illegal alien, you’re not welcome.” Was this an ’enry ’iggins moment? Was the crowd going to ejaculate “By George, I think he’s got it”?

Or was it a thought experiment to determine what the Jeeves stories would have been like if Bertie Wooster was, as the French say, un dickhead formidable?

Not a chance. I was by now motoring past this cheery scene of citizens (but were they citizens?) exercising their Constitutionally protected right to make a public nuisance of themselves.

Were they indeed a restive knot of unlanded bolsheviks who savored of the tar brush, or were they simply ignes fatui of a type frequently summoned by a laggardly bean after a late night with the lads at the Drones Club?

But it was clear that the assembled multitude shared the speaker’s indignation at the fact that if you were in this country illegally you were not welcome.

Unless you were engaged by a gentleman farmer to harvest his crops, or perhaps employed by one of our larger purveyors of industrial foodstuffs to hose chicken blood into the open drains of a poultry slaughterhouse.  In which case — Bienvenue!

You and I, untrained in the higher hermeneutics of politically correct grievance mongering, might think that because someone was in the country illegally, therefore he would by definition be “unwelcome.”

There’s a reason the Welcome mat is traditionally laid  at the front doorstep, and not the tradesman’s entrance.

Q., that is to say, E.D.

F., that is to say, U.

The bit about being illegal veritably entails the bit about being unwelcome. Or so I would have thought.

Then a tawny fellow shoved a 10 pound bag of sphagnum moss into my arms and told me to pot my own damn Liebeszauber tea roses.

But that simplistic line of argumentation is apparently not to the taste of the many righteous souls, including Attorney General Eric Holder,  who have seized upon Arizona’s decision to protect its long border with Mexico and enforce the immigration laws. Most of us, I submit, would regard Arizona’s new law — a law, by the way, whose chief burden is to affirm that henceforth it will enforce the laws that already apply to immigration — most of us, I say,  would regard that law as a salutary exercise in that most uncommon virtue, common sense.

Roger makes a good point; although his tone does raise the question of whether state law also makes it illegal to impersonate Ernest Thesiger.

“To a new world of gods and monsters!  And overbred douchebags!”

Rush’s Impotence Just Makes Him More Attractive to Elderly Women Who Hate Sex

Posted by s.z. on June 29th, 2006

Via RushLimbaugh.com Home, here’s Canada’s answer to Peggy Noonan, Crazy Judi McLeod, with ”Being Rush Limbaugh“:

The whole world, it seems is into Viagra.

The romantic days of Rudolph Valentino and his dark eyes to swoon for are ghosts of the past. The days of being old at 40 have come to stay.

I guess what Judi is trying to say is that things were better in her day (the 1920s), because back then, men had the decency to die young, and so they never needed impotency drugs.

With everybody on Viagra, who wants to kiss and tell?

Tittering tattletales at international airports, when they catch radio giant Rush Limbaugh, that’s who.

Caught with “Cialis Levitra” in his luggage on the way back from the Dominican Republic at Palm Beach International Airport, held for three hours but never charged, Mr. Rush got rushed into the news by smarmy little guys who get to take their Viagra secrets all the way to the grave.

Yes, anybody who said anything about Rush’s latest violation of the state’s drug laws is small, smarmy, and a secret user of Viagra. It’s the old “It takes one to know one” law.

As Radio’s number one personality, Rush didn’t think to hide his Viagra pills in an aspirin tin, like his detractors surely would have done.

I personally hide my Viagra in my maid’s Oxycontin tin, because I believe no one would think of looking there.

But Judi is right about one thing: as “Radio’s” biggest “personality,” Rush thought he was above the law — and it’s a sad commentary on modern society that he was wrong about this.

An icon of the right, lefties would be gunning for the great Rush everywhere, even when he was in back-from-vacation relax mode.

It’s wrong, WRONG of lefties to gun for the great Rush when he was in back-from-the-sex-tour-post-coital relax mode.

For the tell-it-all enemy, Rush is big game.

It’s not as if a Hillary Clinton or a Nancy Pelosi could sneak his diary off a bedside table, where Rush only keeps copies of the Bible and books like Help! Mom! There’s a Liberal Under My Bed! And Rush doesn’t wear a toupee.

Judi has documentary evidence that Hillary and Nancy have tried many a time to sneak Rush’s diary off his bedside table, but were foiled by the fact that Rush is functionally illiterate, and doesn’t have any hair.

They wouldn’t dare to make fun of his hearing problems. That would be too politically incorrect.

Opiate-induced hearing loss is one of the PC-movement’s most sacred of cows.

Straight as the proverbial arrow, and rumoured to be even something of a womanizer, there’s not much gossip in the romantic department about Rush Limbaugh, no blue dress stuff.

Here’s my best translation of the above: “Sure, Rush may be a dirty, old horndog, but at least he’s not gay, like Bill Clinton, who used to wear Monica’s blue dress when she wasn’t looking.”

Skeletons in Rushes’ closet don’t get to hang in the back with the musty clothes; they’re dragged out to dance happy jigs on the blogosphere.

If airport authorities had clocked any other Romeo with Viagra in their luggage, there would be no news to leak.

But Rush Limbaugh is “that capitalist pig Rush Limbaugh”.

Yes, the news media hate Rush because he’s a capitalist, and therefore one of their sworn enemies.

Judi, Judi, Judi, you ignorant slutt. Did you miss the part where the blogosphere was calling him not a capitalist pig, but “that drug-addicted hypocrite, Rush Limbaugh”?  The Internet works even in Canada, Judy.

So the guy who coined the term “FemiNazis” would be open game for politically correct malcontents.

Lefties and their running dogs would go to most any length to embarrass Limbaugh. How many of their heroes smile at you from behind their latest dose of Botox?

Botox prescribed for somebody else’s face, even!!!

So Rush Limbaugh had a bottle of Viagra apparently prescribed to someone else in his socks and bvds.

The drugs were hidden in his briefs and socks?  How does Judi know this detail?

(But yeah, so what if the drug was prescribed for somebody else? It’s not like we should expect a womanizing straight arrow like Rush to get his own sex drugs.)

He later joked on his popular radio show that the pills came from the Clinton Library and he was told they were blue M&Ms.

It’s funny because Bill Clinton was caught will illegal Viagra in his possession ALL THE TIME!

Meanwhile, we don’t know what Viagra’s done for Rush Limbaugh, but we do know what Rush has done for Viagra. Now that Rush has been caught with it, Viagra sales are bound to soar.

Because all women want Rush, and all men want to be like him (sweaty, pudgy, impotent, and unappealing). Like I said before (in a post that the forces of capitalism made me delete), Rush IS the prototypical Viagra user, and no doubt Pfizer will soon be paying him several million a year to endorse their product.

There goes Rush Limbaugh, a capitalist even when coming off vacation.

It really was nice of him to spare a thought for the pharmaceutical industry at a time like that, even though their product apparently didn’t work all that well for him, since he was returning with 29 pills. Buy hey, the working girls of the Dominican Republic probably thanked him for his support of capitalism too, even if he couldn’t seal the deal.