Facebook IPO Aftermath: Smell Like a Man, Man. Friend Me.

May 19, 2012
Yesterday's Facebook IPO fell far short of its hyped expectations with underwriters spending most of the day defending the stock from falling below its IPO price of $38. Perhaps the lack of enthusiasm has something to do with its valuation of at least 100 times earnings. Or maybe because General Motors recently stopped advertising on Facebook because it wasn't getting the results it expected. Or that Goldman Sachs planned to sell large chunks of the their holdings in the IPO, making some potential investors suspicious that Wall Street insiders were up to their usual tricks of making a quick buck billion and then jumping ship. You THINK?

But I'm moderately confident all this criticism is short-sighted. Let's not forget about the immeasurable possibilities of 900 million users clicking on ads -- even if by accident it still counts. Or the brilliance of a business model that relies on not just its members connecting with family, friends, colleagues, and people they've never even met...but the communal responsibility we all share in watering someone's imaginary crops while they're out of town. Farms are people too, you know.

Regardless, it's clear Facebook will need some HALP going forward. And as always, I'm here to provide just that. Facebook, meet your new spokesperson

 
Facebook IPO and Old Spice spokesperson

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Lady Parts, Man Parts, and Lotsa Notes.

March 25, 2012
Because it just won't stop. You'd think that the graphic images and language in my last post would have put these issues to bed (pun intended). But no. The inexplicable controversy surrounding birth control and state mandated, yet medically unnecessary, 'transvaginal ultrasounds' (touted as "empowering" women to make better decisions) continues to march forward unabated -- with no end in sight. This time in Arizona. So let's up the ante and get started. The New York Times reports:
"The bill would allow ALL employers with religious and moral objections to birth control to refuse to provide coverage for that purpose through their health plans. Those employers would still have to provide coverage for contraception drugs for other medical reasons but could make women seeking reimbursements explain why they needed it."  [my emphasis] 
In other words, if women are seeking to use birth control to prevent pregnancy, any employer could deny that coverage. Which makes me develop facial tics. If, on the other hand, a woman is on birth control for any other reason (ovarian cancer prevention, PMS relief, clearer skin, etc), she would need to document her case and present it to her employer for possible approval. "Hi Boss, even though I'm in a committed relationship, I've never had a lustful thought in my life. I'm only using the pill to avoid having the emotions of Godzilla five days out of every month. Besides, I'm in sales, and we both know how prospective clients hate zits on adults. Is that ok with you?" Two words: AWK-ward. And humiliating. And it had better be downright unconstitutional. 

But here's the deal -- sans any and all political satire and hyperbole for once, I simply cannot reconcile why a Viagra prescription would ever be covered (and it currently is) for a single/divorced/widowed man without imposing the same exact "moral and religious objections" that women have been penalized (err, "empowered") with. Most religions prohibit masturbation and pre-marital sex, yes? Of course they do. And if anyone claims "medical reasons", I demand an excruciatingly detailed examination -- complete with anal probing, catheters, and psychological testing -- documenting why an unmarried man would ever have any use for an erection based on "moral and religious" grounds. There are none. And the moral outrage should have reached the stratosphere by now.
  

But things get more complicated when a man is married. Because we then need to make sure that any married man taking Viagra is using it solely for the purposes of procreation. And? Procreating with his own wife. As Rick Santorum reminds us, even for married couples, "contraception is not okay...it's a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be". Many religious institutions subscribe to this view as well. Sorry gentlemen, but Viagra certainly sounds a helluva lot like one of those "slut licenses" until it can be proven that non-lustful motivations are involved. But how?
 
Remember in grade school when you needed a note from your mom? For like everything? Yeah, kinda like that. Except a married man wouldn't need a note from his mom -- because, well that's kinda creepy -- but a note from his wife would substitute nicely. This isn't about government intrusion into our bedrooms and a blatant violation of privacy, it's all about "empowerment" that enables men to make better decisions by treating them like children: 
 

Note From Wife for Viagra


The New York Times concludes with:
"The current bill is supported by Catholic bishops and social conservatives as A WAY to promote religious freedom."  [my emphasis] 
Note to Catholic bishops: Not everyone is Catholic. Note to social conservatives: Not everyone is Evangelical. Notes to Catholics and Evangelicals on some conveniently overlooked facts: Jehovah's Witnesses don't believe in blood transfusions, Scientologists vehemently oppose psychiatry, Christian Science rejects medicine in favor of prayer, Shamanism eschews doctors, and -- wait for it --  there are still atheists and agnostics running amok who probably spent their public high school years stuffing Mormons into lockers. So when one "way" to promote religious freedom includes legislating your self-righteous and holier-than-thou "morals" to the exclusion of everyone else not in your congregation, expect many of us to balk. Because there are no words, other than these:  

 

Side Note:  I recently started my own business and have several full-time positions open. As for health care coverage? No worries, you will be fully covered with only a couple minor exceptions. Remember, none of this is discrimination, it's simply an expression of my religious freedom (as one "way"). You see, personally, I have a moral objection to preventing or treating prostate cancer. I just don't see the benefit since it doesn't affect me in any way. Oh, and circumcision? Not good since I'm a Gentile. So in the event you submit an application, I'd highly recommend finding your foreskin if it's been missing. Otherwise, a written explanation detailing circumcision circumstances that may have been out of your control will suffice. In fact, now that I think of it, I'll take that note from your mom after all. 

Next Up:  Empowering Women Through Chastity Belts: When Bayer Runs Out of Aspirin.




Stay tuned.

 
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Flute Toots and Personhood: Corporations are Zygotes.

February 18, 2012
Look, as absurd as it is, we already know 'Corporations are People'...my friend. Friend? As though we are going to be staying in touch, but I digress. Did you know corporations may soon be zygotes as well? I suspect not, so allow me to explain:

The 'Personhood Amendment' seeks to change state constitutions to define a "person" with the verbiage "from the moment of fertizilation". That is, zygotes (fertilized eggs) are people with full constitutional rights. Some of the unfortunate side-effects (bug or feature?) may include the ban of popular forms of birth control (the "pill", IUD, etc) since not all contraception will prevent an egg from being fertilized but rather prevent a zygote from attaching to the uterine wall in the first place. Technically, a homicide when taken to its logical conclusion. This includes IVF (in vitro fertilization) since a doctor could potentially be sued for malpractice in the event an embryo dies. 

Understand that 'personhood' wouldn't include exceptions in the case of rape or incest, as though that's some sort of "loophole" like taxes. My only questions are: would we be "entitled" to child support? Like the filthy rich who are "entitled" to a 15% tax rate compared to 28% for wage-earners? And what happens when you actually make abortion illegal? And what about men since it takes 'two to tango'; what's their penalty?

The 'Personhood Amendment' was placed on the ballot in Colorado twice, once in 2008 and again in 2010. Both times it was defeated by a 46 and 42 point margin respectively. Last year Mississippi (arguably the most conservative state in the nation) also voted on the initiative via referendum; it was defeated by a 16 point margin. Yet GOP-controlled Virginia lawmakers are positioned to approve this legislation in the coming days. Furthermore, every GOP presidential nominee strongly supports 'personhood', either by signing a pledge (Gingrich, Paul, Santorum) or through Romney's verbal "Absolutely". 

But hey, I look forward to some of  the more bizarre, but fun, consequences: unrestricted HOV lane access, defining corporations as zygotes using the transitive property (If corporations are people and people are zygotes, then corporations are zygotes), freezing my fertilized eggs and declaring them as ‘”dependents” on tax returns, and womb cameras to ensure that whatever birth control they would allow me to use didn’t prevent one of those “corporations” from attaching to the uterine wall. 

We have problems in this country, contraception just isn't one of them since 99% of people use or have had used birth control. It's called massive unemployment due to a lack of aggregate demand and the GOP needs to stop inspecting my uterus for the solution:  

 
GOP Jobs Strategy and Personhood


Remember, the GOP rallying cry when it comes to healthcare reform is that the government has "no role when it comes to a doctor and his/her patient". Apparently, EXCEPT when it comes to a woman and her doctor and a discussion involving her uterus. Or when health care should be motivated by profit. Because what could possibly go wrong with that formula? Fortunately though, using womb cameras and advanced zooming technology, made available only through our GOP "small" government, going forward we can determine the gender "entity" of whatever resides in a woman's own uterus in which she is incapable of making a rational decision:

Corporations are People and Personhood

But wait...'Corporations are People' have the backing of the Supreme Court thanks to Citizens United v. FEC. Sorry, but we can't wait that long to declare people corporations as zygotes. For once, think of the corporations during this time of record breaking profits for the luxury industry with tens of million wage-earners unemployed. How would YOU feel to be denied corporate reproductive guarantees as well? We don't need the Supreme Court, what we need are 'Flute Toots'. And since Batman is now unemployed and since he needs a credible superpower anyway, learn all about it here (jump to ~2:20 for the full impact): 
    



Now that we have THAT resolved for women, I will leave you with one final thought: when a man engages in...well, solitary "sexy time" as rare of an occasion as that may be, exactly what rights do "potential" people corporations zygotes have? Should we install cameras to monitor "unconstitutional" behavior for them as well? I'm looking at you Santorum...because have you ever? Not only have you, you weren't thinking about her when you didI'm not trying to be unduly graphic here, but when 'transvaginal ultrasounds' become mandatory for an abortion, written into legislation even though it's medically unnecessary, we need to have THIS conversation. Whether you have a womb or not.

Sorry potential zygotes, I didn't start THIS, but you have a constitutional right to know what's going on here. Not only that, but I'd be remiss if I left out half the population all the fun of being used as political ping-pong eggs balls. Besides, as they say, "you cannot make an omelet without breaking some eggs corporations" since "misery loves company eggs".

Read into any of THIS what you will (in fact, I'm begging you), but how long will it take for political satire to turn into reality? Because "people corporations who need people zygotes, are the luckiest people male gametes around". I could go on ad infinitum. Someone make it stop because it hurts when I pee. 
 
OR? When I am getting pissed ON...

Update: An astute reader lets me know:  I don't know if you care about the logical flaw on your transitive conclusion -- saying that "if corporations are people and zygotes are people, then corporations are zygotes" is equivalent to saying that "if men are people and women are people, then men are women."

My response? Indeed. He "gets" it, while conveniently ignoring flute toot logic. Carry on America. 
 
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Trickle-Down Economics, Rich Uncle Pennybags, the Debt Ceiling Debate, and You...in 15 minutes.

July 18, 2011
Have you ever known of a business owner to lay off employees because they couldn't pay their income taxes? Alternatively, have you ever known of a business owner to create jobs for people to sit around all day long and read the newspaper, drink free coffee, and loot the office supply room? (And I am not referring to politicians and pundits here). Yeah, neither have I. And I expect that to continue. 

Since I could spew ad-nauseam on this subject (and I will in a moment), let's jump start the conversation with a message from Rich Uncle Pennybags to save some time. My quick review:
 
Trickle Down Economics and Mr. Monopoly


Trickle Down Economics and Mr. Monopoly

The wealthiest among us are in a position to create jobs once that demand exists. But they in no way create that demand. That demand comes from consumers, specifically middle and working class families. Keyword being: working. Right now, only the government can guarantee job creation, specifically in infrastructure projects (mass transit is a huge bang for the buck here) and technology initiatives. And not bank -- no pun intended -- on a pinky swear, given that the wealthy (in this global economy) will always have other investment opportunities to weigh their supposed job creating options against: real estate, overseas investments, speculative activities, global philanthropic efforts, luxury items, and their mattress. None of which will create jobs here in the US, although high growth/low cost countries -- China, Brazil, India, to name a few -- very well may be sending thank you notes to our wealthy, patriotic, and job creating heroes. 
 
And don't get me wrong here. I fully expect people to maximize their return on investment. But until that maximum ROI becomes creating jobs here in the US, expect the wealthy to look elsewhere. And we can change that, but until then, we have to work within the current business and economic environment in which we exist. I don't expect the rich to take the high road here, since it's not their job. (I often wonder if the wealthy are even in sync with the GOP marching orders).  It must be the government to continue to stimulate the economy and create jobs. Which leads me to my next subject: the current debt ceiling debate and its August 2nd deadline.
 
Unbeknownst to many, increasing the debt ceiling is not taking on additional debt. This is money that has already been appropriated and approved BY Congress. The GOP approved increasing the debt ceiling under Dubya 7 separate times (once per year in office with exception of the first, since he was handed a surplus from Clinton). All without issue. It was also raised 18 times under Reagan -- who also raised taxes 11 separate times, ultimately undoing half the savings of the massive '81 tax cuts; the rest was funded by a tripling of the federal deficit, as evidenced by the multitude of debt ceiling increases. And raised only 4 times under Clinton -- who, to be fair, benefited favorably from the dot-com bubble. Still, this issue has generally been viewed as a routine political vote and not an economic one -- divided along party lines, with bipartisan support when necessary...until now.

So to the Michele Bachmann and tea party supporters who refuse to raise the debt ceiling under any circumstances, with the exception of those that may exist within 
Hello Kitty Online? You are irresponsible, and quite frankly, acting like jackholes. All under the guise of "principles". You are not making a "tough love" decision by voting against a debt ceiling increase. You are purposely tanking the US economy, and highly likely the global economy along with it.

Again, the real challenge here is to change the current system while working within it...and that does not include
cutting spending by 44% overnight and "prioritizing" payments to make up for the shortfall. Crashing the global economy is not courageous, especially when it's to score a political point. Tea Party: 1 Rest of World: 0. You win. Now what? Other than to stake claim to a "titanium spine":
 


It pains me to link to a Fox video, and while I don't agree with the specifics of Bill O'Reilly's argument (and absolutely nothing Bachmann says), even he agrees: we need to raise the debt ceiling or the American people are going to get hurt. Understand that our entire economy drives off the risk-free rate of US Treasuries -- your car loan, your mortgage, your credit card, your student loan, and the price of the shovel you are going need to dig yourself out of the mess you intentionally created.
 
Markets are fueled by the "confidence and expectation" that the US will always make good on its obligations. All of them. As it has done, without exception, over the last 235 years. It's called risk-free for a reason and not the pick-and-choose rate. Which I promise will come with a substantial premium. Yet you think that honoring the interest on our debt alone will maintain our current credit rating while defaulting on any of our other commitments, regardless of how "wasteful" you may think they are? Forget all sacred entitlements (Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, military pay) for the moment, but what about: the US Postal Service, the FAA, the FBI, the TSA (like 'em or not), or the CIA? Unemployment benefits, food stamps...in this economy? All overnight? Anyone? Anyone??

The global credit and financial markets are going to view that otherwise. Big-time. And even if you don't subscribe to this reality, make your own, and have fun "prioritizing"
here. Keep in mind that Americans are going to take serious issue with paying interest payments to foreign governments over the commitment it's made to its own people. You know, as a "priority" to avoid default. Good luck with that.

Oh, and that austere and financially "responsible" Paul Ryan budget plan you are all so gaga about and unanimously back? Yeah, that one. Just so you know, that plan would require an increase in the debt ceiling as well...to the tune of just slightly under $2 trillion (does that number look at all familiar?) to cover the government's bills through 2012. But you already know that. The hypocrisy and shortsightedness is so deep, I could swim in it. Make the deal that is currently on the table to raise the debt ceiling, which includes significant spending cuts offset by a much smaller portion being funded by a slight percentage increase in taxes for the filthy rich. Who, by the way, are doing better than ever in an economic environment that requires "shared sacrifice" yet continue to receive the lowest effective income tax rate in the last five decades.
 
Back in-the-day (like one year ago), this would have been a GOP victory. But in today's political arena the GOP won't allow itself to compromise on anything since it's all about making Barack Obama a
"one-term president". At any expense. And that's what really worries me. Because we can't have that. Also, if you are a part of a current presidential campaign (and not just thinking about it)? Fine. Talk about what you will do once elected, and not what you will do to sabotage the current administration. 
  
As for me? I say tax the rich or close existing loopholes, as well as implement the proposed spending cuts...and save a yacht while we're at it. Because that in and of itself is not what is going to keep this economy afloat. Pun intended. But since the GOP (backed by tea party pressures) can't seem to exist for more than five business days into the future based on extreme partisan "principles", I can only hope that your 15 minutes are finally up. 
 
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Same-Sex Marriage Now Legal in NY: An In-depth, Detailed, and Comprehensive Analysis (Or Not).

June 25, 2011


Same-Sex Marriage Becomes Legal

Ok, on a serious note, remind me again how you measure a year? That answer is: 5 hundred 25 thousand 6 hundred minutes -- the same way everyone does...regardless of race, creed, or color. And now your sexual orientation. Need I remind you that "organizations" such as Westboro Baptist Church are more protected (per the U.S. Constitution) than the gay community? First Amendment rights and all. Fine, I get that. But, at the end of any given day, we all sit in the same lifeboat, and we need to support those that promote love over hate. Our Constitution says we can. It's our choice, so let's continue to make it happen:



And spread that LOVE NYC!




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