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Friday, Oct 24th

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Using Strategic air power to protect precious bodily fluids

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New unemployment claims dropped by another 10,000 last week to 316,000, approaching pre Bush Crash numbers. California accounted for almost half of the decline suggesting that Conservative claims that the 7th largest economy in the world is in rapid decline since the Democrats took complete control of the state's government might be 'overstated'.

 

Wall Street banks are throwing a fit because the Federal Reserve is considering the elimination of the 0.25% interest that they have been paying banks on cash reserves that banks keep on deposit with the Fed. It doesn't sound like much except that these reserves total $2.4t. They only started doing this as part of the bank bailout and Wall Street has become accustomed to this $60b subsidy, it's almost half of their annual bonus pay. Banks didn't used to keep much cash on deposit but were encouraged to start doing this in case of further losses from the Bush crash. The Fed thinks that with the economy actually working again that maybe banks should start making loans with this money instead.

 

The possibility of peace with Iran has been putting further downward pressure on oil prices despite the Obama Administration's assurances that Iran wouldn't be allowed to pump more oil and natural gas any time soon.

 

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Vultures, Twinkies, and the Way of Nature

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It's possible to chew on things longer than is good for you.  At some point, those bones of contention getting all that Gnawing Attention start redirecting activity back upon the chewer.  It's been that way, and for some time now, on Twinkies.

The way I've been worrying around Twinkies in the back of my mind for the last 12 months, you'd think it was some sort of national emergency or imperative that I'd somehow, inexplicably, been put in charge of.  Although I'm not in charge of anything much these days, I have to say in the same breath that I'm not sure that this isn't some sort of national emergency at that.

This mental hand-wringing may only appear to be about Twinkies, but it's also about vultures (human and bird), and about Nature -- the ways of our cutthroat economic system, the nature and expression of human greed, and the nature of a general failure by the public to Pay Attention to Facts and Warning Signs.

If you felt a burst of psychic energy and clairvoyance, you could also add in there my being preoccupied something fierce about An Ongoing Desire to Act Against Our Own Best Interests as Individuals, and you wouldn't be wrong.

See, the system is rigged, and I've been trying to come up with a way to un-rig it.  But, like punch-drunk prizefighters who have been hammered and blasted for too many rounds without a break, we're on the ropes, all of us, gasping, while the referees are on their mobiles, Twittering, Tweeting, Facebooking, FacePlanting, following each other around and around, in tighter and more incestuous circles, stalkers and stalkees...

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Touch of Evil

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In the Spring of 1996, at 7 o’clock one morning, I arrived at a breakfast meeting of the movers and shakers in the addiction field. I immediately made my way to the coffee bar. I’m not functional at 7 o’clock in the morning and part of this meeting was my presentation about how to use The Internet to promote addiction awareness as well as their treatment centers. I quickly downed my first cup of thin, hotel coffee and looked around the room. There were about twenty men in the group, all white, all somewhere in their sixties, all seemingly affluent, all freshly showered and shaved, all wearing good suits, and all had been to a barber shop recently. Well … I too was a white guy and had taken a shower at stupid o’clock in the morning … but that’s all we had in common.

I poured a refill and wandered over where everyone was laughing and telling jokes. I was all set to pretend to smile over tame jokes lifted from the Reader’s Digest. Y’know … the not-funny “safe” humor Bob Hope peddled for the last 30 years of his career. But I was wrong. They weren’t telling those kind of jokes. They were telling “Hillary” jokes. I’m not against bad taste or dark humor but it has to be funny. These weren’t. They were just mean, vicious, and obscene. They could have just eliminated the joke-telling altogether and simply told one another “I Hate Women” or “I Hate Hillary Clinton.”

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Fries with that? Or, do we hang together?

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There has long been a debate about how slaves were treated in colonial America.  Records kept by slave holders suggested that they were grossly underfed. Archaeological digs however suggest that the 'masters' provisions were only a supplement to what slaves could grow for themselves, or harvest from the wild. But those were different times, land was plentiful, extensive gardens presented no problem, game and wilderness plantlife were plentiful.

 

Today we live in a much more dystopian landscape. While today's slave might be called a 'sales associate' or 'your server', he or she must still try to find enough to eat. This sage advice comes from the McDonald's 'employee only access' website: "...to keep from feeling hungry, break up your available food into small portions and spread them out." Ronald McDonald doesn't even bother to have a canned food drive for his employees like the pne that  starving workers at Walmart get.

 

Mickey D's does have a number of tips for how its employees can get government assistance,with no mention of the fact that a business that profits billions should at least be able to feed its slaves. In fact, McDonald's could double its wages and only add 17 cents to a Dollar Menu item. At this pay scale McDonald's employees could afford to eat and have disposable income to stimulate the rest of the economy.

 

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Hot new trend: Home-Made Straitjackets

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A clear theme has emerged in news magazines during the last few years and keeps getting stronger all the time, especially in the last few weeks:  The country is conducting its business on the basis of how much Crazy we can scrape together at any given time.

This is very bad news for the country but somewhat more acceptable news for me personally because, for a second there, I thought it was just me.

See, some time ago my own life slipped on a Canvas Camisole it has still not figured out how to shed.  It will take some time to undo this thing.  I am no Houdini.  Even a right-off-the-rack straitjacket offers me a tight fit -- and tight fits.

(Sidebar:  Perhaps this is where the expression, "dire straits" comes from.  I mean, I can see where dire situations might drive people into dire-straitjackets.  In any case, whether steely-eyed and sober, or barking-mad Looney Tunes, high as a weather balloon, I highly recommend the music of Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits, jacket or no.)

For examples, you needn't look any further than the ongoing budget madness in the seat of our national government -- a seat I would relish paddling and/or kicking in a burst of absent self-restraint.

I defy anyone to use the words "sane" and "rational" to accurately describe the proceedings on Capitol Hill, a site that could really use a vast influx of canvas camisoles.  First, there was the slack-jawed disconnect of repeated attempts by our representatives to kill off a plan that only wanted to bring a scant, introductory level of medical wellness to their constituents.

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Mystery in the Mega-mart

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A man in a restaurant says, “Hey waiter, what’s this fish doing in my strawberries?”

The waiter replies, ”Genes from the arctic flounder are spliced into strawberries because the fish lives in water where other fish freeze to death. But the arctic flounder has unique genes that allow it to produce a sort of anti-freeze so it survives. These genes are put into strawberries to make them resistant to cold. Bon a petit.”

The man thinks for a moment and says, “Give me the soup that has the fly in it.”

But seriously folks …

Unlike Rand Paul I have no problem being upfront with the fact that I’m about to cut and paste like crazy from Wikipedia.

“Genetic modification involves the mutation, insertion, or deletion of genes. When genes are inserted, they usually come from a different species, which is a form of horizontal gene transfer. However, other methods exploit natural forms of gene transfer, such as the ability of Agrobacterium to transfer genetic material to plants, or the ability of lentiviruses to transfer genes to animal cells.”

Now let’s look up Agrobacterium.

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Best to Wear a Hat

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New unemployment claims fell again last week and are starting approach the levels we saw just before the Tea Party Sedition movement knocked a sizable hole in the economy. There were 28,000 Federal civilian employees drawing unemployment benefits last week which was 50,000 fewer than the week before. This adds to the $24b tab for the pointless government shutdown.

 

Federal employees will get back pay for their time off, plus the hourly employees will be getting overtime pay to catch up their work. Government contractors will doubtless be demanding compensation for the snafu conditions that occurred during our brief return to the Articles of Confederation when the Federal Government was basically voluntary.

 

The GDP grew at a 2.8% rate during the 3rd quarter, which is quite respectable for the Neo-Reagan Era. In the old days of the New Deal that level of growth would have been considered slow. However 0.8 points were attributed to inventory build up in anticipation of growth in the 4th quarter, and could cause a major pull back if that growth isn't realized.

 

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