New York State Stuck on Stupid

Apparently Gov. Dave Paterson isn’t the only blind one running things up in Albany. According to Bloomberg, the New York Lottery is proposing to move its $1.3 billion prize fund into investments such as stocks, corporate bonds, real estate and hedge funds and out of the safety of U.S. Treasuries.

Wait, it gets even better. “New York would be the first state lottery among the 20 largest to shift to pension fund-style investments.” You know, because that’s working out oh so well as underfunded and overgenerous pensions across the country teeter on the brink, threatening to make things even worse for those of us who, unlike government employees, actually work for a living and suffer immediately for foolish financial transactions. (Do a search on Instapundit for pensions and you’ll get a raft of bad news.)

But I guess I shouldn’t expect more from New York State, which is probably only second to California in its inability or unwillingness to comprehend fiscal reality and where at the government is doing its damnedest to set up a plantation system in which it and its employees are the master’s family and the private sector is just the help. Of course, we also know how well California is doing as the state goes broke, businesses continue to flee the high taxes and ludicrous legislation imposed by the masters and the state gets set to release 58,000 prisoners onto the streets.

I have an even better idea. Why not go all in and put the MTA in charge of the lottery funds?

Better yet, considering the state of the stock market recently, why not just reinvest all the New York State Lottery in MegaMillions and Powerball tickets?

Update Welcome Instapundit readers. You know the drill. Look around, etc. Follow me on Twitter as well! @kenwheaton

How About an Obama v. Coburn Debate?

If Barack Obama wants to sell this stimulus package to an unwilling consumer, how about he make his point on TV via debate? Prime time. On all major networks.

Sure, he’s going to go on TV anyway and have a one-sided talk with at the American people, trying to scare the hell out of them, convince them that the money currently in their wallets will literally go up in flames if Congress doesn’t act now and pass a trillion-dollar wealth shift that violates at least two of his so-called campaign promises — no earmarks, no bills being passed without Americans having five days to view the thing. (Let’s also overlook the tax cheats appointed to cabinet positions, the lobbyists now scurrying around the White House and the complete inability to vet people.)

What we should have is Obama debate either a rabid House Republican — one of those guys who tried to stop the excrement-filled TARP bill from passing — or Sentator Tom Coburn from Oklahoma. That guy’s about as anti-pork as you can get. (McCain’s had his chance to not prove any of his points for the last two years, so let him rest.) The Democrats are whining that they’ve allowed the Republicans to “define” the argument. Well, this would be a chance to make the case to the American people without sounding like you’re whining about evil Republican tactics or, worse, sounding like you ARE taking one great leap forward to half-assed Socialism. We’ll overlook how much whining you do — even when you have the majority. (And while we’re overlooking things, we’ll also overlook the fact that George W. Bush’s ridiculous spending habits and the passage of TARP and auto bailouts–helped along by some Congressional Republicans–set the whole ball rolling.)

At any rate, Obama needs to convince people that this recession isn’t going to be over by the time the money in this bill–which does indeed look like 40 years of back-logged liberal pet programs–starts rolling out into the economy. Is that too much to ask when insisting that we give you a trillion dollars of our money. Hell, I’d like you to convince me that you realize that the trillion dollars actually comes from us and not from some magical government piggy bank that is replenished by fairies.

And if it is too unseemly for a President to debate a Senator or Representative, I get that. There is protocol. There is tradition. In that case, put Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi on the podium. In prime time on the three major broadcast networks (then again, this would be a killer ratings coup for CNN, FoxNews or MSNBC). Of course, that wouldn’t even be close to a fair fight.

UpdateWelcome Instapundit readers. Look around. Follow on twitter at @kenwheaton. And if you remember my name come January 2010, by my first novel, “First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival” from Kensington Books.

New York Times Hops on 25 Random Things Bandwagon

I told you 25 Random Things was lame, loser-ville and so 1999 (remember that chain email?). Now I have proof. If the Times is writing about it in its Fashion section, that means it’s about as cool as Australian rock-band Jet. The Times devoted over 1,200 words to this. All the news that fits, indeed.

One Random Fact about Ken: I’m a total hater.
One Random Fact about The New York Times: I hate it for ruining its real estate section.

The Curious Case of a Stupid Academy (updated)

Wow. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button gets nominated for Best Picture. If this wins, it’s Crash all over again — proof positive that Academy voters are drooling morons. To be clear, Benjamin Button was only mildly annoying — it wasn’t aggresively stupid and bad as Crash was, but it suffered from missing every opportunity to go deeper. And it certainly doesn’t strike me as best picture material. If you’re going to go with special-effects laden movie for the category, why not Dark Knight or Iron Man?

Crash, of course, was much worse — a case where the voters were so easily impressed by supposedly deep themes that they awarded Best Picture to one of the worst films I’ve ever seen, a film so bad that I think someone finally “succeeded” with that 100-chimps-with-100-typewriters experiment. Actually I guess I’m insulting the chimps by comparing them to Paul Haggis.

Be sure to check out The Curious Case of Forrest Gump.

About That Sophisticated New York Electorate

After eight years of whining and bitching that George W. Bush is “using fear” to manipulate the masses, New Yorkers scared shitless about their real estate prices and stock portfolios are told by Michael “Hugo Chavez” Bloomberg that if they don’t do away with term limits (“Just this one time. Promise.”), they’ll face even MORE finanical ruin. Scared, they happily grant him his wish.

And now, after an election cycle of crapping all over the mush-mouthed and anti-intellectual Sarah Palin for being too inexperienced (and unable to speak a coherent sentence to the media), will gladly allow Caroline “Um, You Know” Kennedy to become their U.S. Senator.  I don’t like the knuckle-headed strain of the Republican party Sarah Palin came to represent, but she was elected to two offices and took on the established corrupt political dynasty in Alaska. Caroline Kennedy, on the other hand, hasn’t even run for PTA and IS the latest generation of an established corrupt political dynasty. But, hey, god forbid we embarrass her or anything.

Next time a New Yorker starts blabbing about the rubes out in the sticks, it might be fun to remind them that they’re the ones living in a banana republic.

Have You No Sense of Shame Mr. Congressman?

I think we all know the answer to that question. While you build toys for your kids out pine cones and paper clips; while two out of the five people you know are now applying for positions as Walmart greeters because they’ve lost their jobs (and with an eye toward the sweet release of death by trampling); while taxpayer dollars are being doled out to Wall Street firms and union-ruined auto companies, Congress gave itself a pay raise. Guess with that average salary of $160,000-plus it’s just hard to make ends meet.

Kanye West Needs His Mama

Many times you’ll see newly rich folk, athletes and celebrities hanging around with the people they came up with. Some times, this crew is a scraggly-ass, disreputable lot who put you in mind of those embarrassing cousins who have three cars up on blocks in the front yard and storm into political discussions after a 12-pack of Natural Light to set everyone straight on foreign policy (“Kill ’em all and let God do the sorting.”) Many times we wonder, “Why?”

Why? Because such people keep your head on straight, remind you of where you come from and, even though they’ll constantly “borrow” money from a well-off relative, they’ll also tell that relative if he’s got a booger on his face or if he looks like a jackass in those skinny jeans.

Kanye West apparently has no such people in his life anymore.

Continue reading “Kanye West Needs His Mama”

Izzy Stevens should be shot

I’m not embarrassed to admit that I started watching Grey’s Anatomy when it first came out. After all, I was a huge fan of “Party of Five” and “The O.C.” (first season). I am embarrassed to admit that I haven’t stopped watching Grey’s. I can take comfort in partially blaming it on my wife, who insists on me watching along with her, even if it looks more and more like my outrage will mean the death of her Macbook. This week’s episode jumped about sixteen sharks.

It’s bad enough I have to watch the ultra cute Lexipedia debase herself with an outrageous plot line. But Izzy Stevens just has to go. At some point she passed Meredith Grey as the most annoying character on the show. Now, she’s just a constant nuisance, a whiny, petulant insane shrew. They should have performed a botched appendectomy on her … and left it botched.

Let this be a lesson to actors. You talk shit about the writers in public and you’ll find the high point of your character arc is ghost sex with a guy written out of the show two seasons ago.

Me to Second-Lifers: Drop dead

Hey, remember when we were given the list of Top Ten Reasons Brands Don’t Get Second Life? I sure do. I tried to explain that “not wanting it” and “not getting it” are two entirely different things. And the typical Web 3.5 (or whatever) boosters rushed into the breach to tell me how wrong I was. Even as the actual numbers were already slipping, they were telling me (in comments on this post) that “in 5 years, Gartner predicts 80% of people will have a Second Life of some sort.” How’d that work out for ya?

Wrap the MTA

For those living in New York, it should come as no surprise that just a year or so after declaring it had a surplus, the MTA is declaring a shortfall so severe that it will have to cut entire subway and bus lines while raising fares. This only confirms my suspicion that the Metropolitan Transit Authority allows a room full of monkeys pounding on random-number generators to determine the yearly budget.

No worries. I’ve got a solution.