Thursday, July 29, 2010

Is any of this true??


1. No special bilingual programs in the schools.

2. All ballots will be in this nation's language.

3. All government business will be conducted in our language.

4. Non-residents will NOT have the right to vote no matter how long they are here.

5. Non-citizens will NEVER be able to hold political office.

6 Foreigners will not be a burden to the taxpayers. No welfare, no food stamps, no health care, or other government assistance programs. Any burden will be deported.

7. Foreigners can invest in this country, but it must be an amount at least equal to 40,000 times the daily minimum wage.

8. If foreigners come here and buy land... Options will be restricted. Certain parcels including waterfront property are reserved for citizens naturally born into this country.

9. Foreigners may have no protests; no demonstrations, no waving of a foreign flag, no political organizing, no bad-mouthing our president or his policies. These will lead to deportation.

10. If you do come to this country illegally, you will be actively hunted &, when caught, sent to jail until your deportation can be arranged. All assets will be taken from you.



If it's good enough for our neighbor country and people who we respect, maybe the U.S. should have the same laws.


Editor's Note: The above comment was posted on a thread regarding Arizona's newly enacted immigration laws.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Story The Media Missed

November 4, 2008 - around 11 a.m. or 12 p.m.

Conversation after a breaking news-story appeared on about the "New Black Panther Party" intimidating voters at the Fairmount St. voting precinct in Philadelphia.

A.A.(P.): "Hey (Name Redacted). Did you vote yet?

N.R.: "Yeah."

A.A.(P.): "Did you see this article about the New Black Panther Party?" [pointing to the computer screen]

N.R.: "No. But you don't have to worry about it though... They're only threatening Black People who might vote for John McCain."

Editor's Note: N.R. is an African-American and longtime Republican who did in fact vote for the McCain/Palin ticket at the Fairmount St. precinct.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Summer Sabbatical

A.A.(P.) Will Resume Publishing in August.


"Allan Smithee"

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Previous Selections - Free Library of Philadelphia

The PETA Pratical Guide to Animal Rights by Ingrid Newkirk (Forward by Bill Maher)
published 2009
St. Martin's Griffin Press (New York)

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Cleaning by Mary Findley & Linda Formichelli
published 2005
Penguin Group

Oil Painting For Dummies by Anita Giddings & Sherry Stone Clifton
published 2008
Wiley Publishing

Taliban (Militant Islam, Oil, & Fundamentalism in Central Asia) by Ahmed Rashid
published 2000
Yale University Press

all titles checked out from the Free Library of Philadelphia (Fishtown/Richmond Branches)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Mid July Reading (*)

Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Random House/Harcourt
Published 2001

The Laughing Sutra by Mark Salzman

Random House/Vintage Books
Published 1991

Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

Random House/Dial Press
Published 1963

On James Joyce's Ulysses

(Cliff Notes)
by Edward A Kopper, Jr.
Slippery Rock State College

(*) Checked out Fri., July 9th
Free Library of Philadelphia
Fishtown Branch

Friday, July 9, 2010


Note: YouTube Play is a collaboration between YouTube and the Guggenheim Museum to unearth and showcase the very best creative videos from around the world.

To have your work considered, simply post it on YouTube, and then submit it at A jury of experts will decide which works presented at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York on October 21, 2010 with simultaneous presentations at the Guggenheim museums in Berlin, Bilbao, and Venice.

The videos will be on view to the public from October 22 through 24 in New York and on the YouTube Play channel.

Submissions close July 31, 2010.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Penn State panel clears climatologist Michael Mann in e-mail case

By Faye Flam
Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writer

In a report that may help dispel the so-called Climategate scandal, a Pennsylvania State University panel Thursday fully cleared climatologist Michael Mann of professional-misconduct allegations.

The university launched an inquiry in November after hackers exposed more than 1,000 private e-mail messages sent between Mann and colleagues in England.

Critics of climate scientists said that statements in the e-mail messages exposed climate change as a hoax and revealed a deliberate cover-up. The stolen messages were touted in blogs and op-eds as reason to doubt the widely held view that the global climate has warmed substantially over the last century and that human-generated greenhouses gases play a role.

"I knew ultimately I'd be vindicated by a fair review of the facts," Mann said. "Now we can all hopefully get back to doing research."

This case is unusual in that the investigation was prompted by calls and e-mail from university alumni, state and local politicians, and others, according to a draft of the report. Usually, universities launch scientific fraud investigations only when specific charges are brought by a colleague.

A draft of the report released Thursday concluded that "the Investigatory Committee after careful review of all available evidence, determined that there is no substance to the allegations against Dr. Michael E. Mann, professor, Department of Meteorology, Pennsylvania State University."

Mann is best known for advancing the use of tree rings, ice cores, corals, and other indirect measures to reconstruct the global climate over the last millennium. His graphs tracing global temperature history have been dubbed the "hockey stick" because the temperatures appear to rise sharply during the last century.

click here for complete article by Faye Flam

Monday, July 5, 2010

+48 hours

Haven't had a cigarette since Friday evening.

So far so good.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Street

Tax Amnesty Is For Suckers

For supersmart finance guys, every debt is an opportunity for securitization.

By Michael Silverstein

I have this friend I'll call "Gerard." He's made a lot of money running with the Wall Street crowd over the years, and he's never reluctant to talk about his successes. He's also fond of bragging about how he's gotten out of paying his taxes, which struck me as kind of dumb until I realized that, for people like Gerard, all aspects of financial life are played according to a different set of rules.

My enlightenment came after I heard the city of Philadelphia was offering a tax amnesty. Since Gerard has lived here a long time and boasted that he never bothered paying the Business Privilege Tax - and since the city had threatened to come down on tax evaders who don't take advantage of the amnesty like a ton of cheesesteaks - I figured Gerard was in deep Cheez Whiz.

Foolish me.

"Your problem, Mike," he said over coffee and danish, smiling benignly as he chewed, "is you don't recognize opportunity when it comes along."

"How can owing a huge amount of back taxes be an opportunity?" I asked.

He laughed. "Nothing is expensive if someone else foots the bill. I got investors to pay this freight."

"That's crazy," I replied.

He laughed harder. "Yeah, like a fox. All I had to do was securitize the debt; turn it into a CDO - that's a collateralized debt obligation, for folks like yourself. I owed Philly taxes for a bunch of years. I packaged these yearly debts as a kind of bond, and I got a broker-dealer to peddle it for me."

I was astounded.

"What kind of securities dealer would peddle this?" I asked.

"One whose traders like their commissions," Gerard said. "The commission on this baby was very, very attractive. On top of that, it had a great rating."

"Not possible," I said.

He laughed still harder. "Who do you think pays for ratings? The people who buy financial instruments?" Gerard loved that word - instrument - because it made him feel like a heart surgeon when he used it, he once told me.

"The issuer of these instruments pays for the ratings," he continued. "I'm the issuer here - the client who has to be accommodated - and I was backed up by calls from traders wanting my deal's generous commission."

"All right," I said. "So you could sell it. But who would buy it?"

There was a twinkle in Gerard's eye now. "Reputable seller, good rating, and I threw in a generous coupon. It couldn't miss. You only get a pittance in coupon interest from government and top corporate debt these days, because the Fed is keeping national interest rates low to help pump up the economy. Searching for a decent return makes investors willing to buy almost anything.

"And of course," he added, "the first investors never get stuck on deals like this, even if they tank."

"Why not?" I asked, my head spinning.

"Because they swap the debt, Mike. What's wrong with you? Haven't you ever heard of swaps - where, for a fee, some party agrees to pay up if a debt instrument" - he sure loved that word - "defaults?"

"So these swappers are the ones who get stuck when you default - which, no offense, I expect you to?"

"Don't be silly, Mike. The swappers buy their own insurance for defaults. So it's passed along. That's the game all the big boys play."

I nodded. "So the last swapper holds the bag, right?"

Gerard stared in disbelief at my lack of financial sophistication. "The last swapper, Mike, is almost always a party that needs a tax loss from a default, so the savings are almost always larger than what that party has to pay to cover the defaulted debt.

"This country has a complicated tax system, in case you haven't noticed," he continued. "Profit, loss - it's all in the bookkeeping."

I finally understood. Even if Uncle Sam doesn't get hit directly, as with the AIG bailout, he gets hit indirectly with less tax revenue down the road. Sam's the one who ends up sitting on the floor in this game of financial musical chairs.

"But at least," I said to Gerard, "at least the city is going to get its money from your deal."

He looked at me with pity. "No, Mike. The proceeds of this deal, which I took the time and trouble to organize, all go to me. I plan to spend the money on an island I know where bill-collecting is a capital offense."

"Look, kid," Gerard added, "taxes are for dummies, and the markets only work for the people who know how to play them. And for that insight," he concluded, standing up to leave and offering one more important life lesson, "you're paying for breakfast."


Michael Silverstein is a Philadelphia writer who invented the preceding conversation.

He can be reached at

Published June 25th
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