Money

How is This Even Legal?


Damn, life is so inconvenient:
Pam McGonigal, who began using Uber last year to ferry her 14-year-old daughter from dance class in Silver Spring, Md., back home to Chevy Chase when she got stuck at work in the District, said she had never considered a taxi for the job.

“I just have reservations about my pretty little girl going out and hailing a cab,” she said.
But Uber’s competitors question whether that trust is misplaced.
Dave Sutton, spokesman for the Rockville-based Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association, noted that officials in Los Angeles and San Francisco have questioned the company’s methods for screening drivers. He said unlike the taxi industry, Uber’s background checks don’t include fingerprinting. Uber officials said the company does not use fingerprinting as part of its background checks, but said they think the process they use is more comprehensive.

“Obviously, everybody loves their kids, but the idea of placing a young person with someone who hasn’t received a criminal background check is terrifying,” Sutton said. “We’re working to make sure that people understand that.”
Oh, yeah--that screening process for cab drivers is embedded in the psyche of the American consumer. Did that cab driver pass his background check, no one has ever asked, ever. Why not just admit you're a shill for the cab companies and Uber made you crap yourself for days at a time?

Some people love their kids more than other people love their kids, and Uber is proof of that? 

No, the proof of that is found in exactly how much of your life you are willing to surrender to the idea that the safe transportation of your children from one place to the other is kinda your own damn responsibility. We are now in an age where it's okay to outsource the schlepping of your offspring to someone who has a car and needs money. No judgment, please. Life is such a pain in the ass for busy people who want to live somewhere nice and do everything all of the time without thinking of the consequences.

They're your kids. You had them. They want to do activity stuff. You're busy. It's easier to put them in a car with a complete stranger and hope like hell everything works out for the best. Yay! No guilt necessary. Don't be a shamer. Be a sharer of space in a car. Get with the program, grampa. 

Jeebus.

Supplements Made From Nothing


Health supplements are made out of nothing?

And they don't benefit the health and well being of anyone?

What the hell?

You would think that, in a just society, the outright quackery and for-profit bullshit of supplement companies--Herbalife, I am staring right at you, you sons of bitches--would lead to regulation and common sense rules protecting consumers.

Guess again.

We need real reform for consumer protection in this country, and as long as we're stuck in the politics of stupid, we'll never get it. We have grown men leading state governments and men who hold elected office who are unafraid to tell us their expert opinions on how vaccines are dangerous, but we can't get anything done about snake oil salesmen who prey on consumers and sell them garbage.

An Ethics-Free Congress



You can tell the Republicans are in charge because ethics no longer matter. Michael Grimm was re-elected with a felony indictment hanging over his head and, thanks to a safely Gerrymandered district, he won his race going away.

And yes, there is a precedent here. William Jefferson was a corrupt Congressman from Louisiana who stuffed the money in his freezer and told everyone to go pound sand when they politely asked him to resign from Congress. You can read about that here and then do a comparison and contrast with how the GOP leadership has basically thrown their hands in the air over a convicted felon like Grimm. Reading that old story was like stepping into a time machine.

Ethics in Congress? Really? And people actually cared about that stuff? Wow.


The Russian Ruble is Collapsing


Couldn't have happened to a nicer kleptocracy:
The ruble tumbled the most since 1998, sliding past 60 for the first time, as traders tested Russia’s willingness to defend the currency amid an oil slump that’s pushing the economy toward recession.
The ruble weakened 9.1 percent to 64.0005 per dollar at 7:57 p.m. in Moscow, the steepest slide on a closing basis since the year Russia defaulted on local-currency debt. The 10-year government bond yield rose 23 basis points to 13.23 percent. Three-month implied volatility for the ruble climbed to a six-year high as the rout triggered the Bank of Russia to sell foreign exchange, according to BCS Financial Group and MDM Bank.
Traders are pressing the central bank to buy more rubles to limit a selloff that has wiped out 22 percent of the currency’s value this month. Oil’s slide toward $60 a barrel in London and sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine are undermining confidence in Russian assets as evidence mounts that the economy is entering a recession. Industrial output fell the most in more than a year in November, data showed today.

Everyone who bet on oil being expensive is losing money right now. And I think that this is largely driven by the fact that alternative forms of energy are making inroads and so there's a glut of oil on the world market. I don't want to be around (but I will be) when the major producers scale back--the price will shoot up, no doubt.

Is it time to get that electric car and invest in solar panels? It's always time to get the electric car and put solar panels everywhere.

The decision made by the Western nations (The U.S. and Europe) to put a shiv into the side of Russia's economy is paying off. The price for all of this has to be for Russia to give up two things: Eastern and Southern Ukraine and Edward Snowden.