New site

Please visit http:\\GenesShorts.com

There is a new My2Bucks website called Gene’s Shorts.  It’s still in its infancy state and I will be filling it out with the fun widgets as time progresses. 

That doesn’t signal the end of My2Bucks.com as I do plan to post things here as well. 

http://My2Bucks.com               

http://GenesShorts.com

Eye on the Tropics –Danielle, Earl and more – Aug 26, 2010

We’ve been waiting for this – The 2010 Tropical season is heating up.  As the transition from the El Niño to La Niña winds down we expected the Atlantic hurricane season to pick up.  This was what all of the hurricane experts were predicting.

Currently there is 1 hurricane (Danielle), 1 Tropical Storm (Earl) and 2 others that are being closely watched.

Hurricane Danielle

As of:  11amLocation:  24.4° N, 55.9° W or approximately 770 miles Southeast of BermudaMaximum sustained winds: 105 mph or Category 2.  Gusting up to 120 mphMovement: NW 15 mphPressure:  28.64 inches or 970 mb

Hurricane Danielle is expected to turn more to the north by the weekend bringing the storm very close to Bermuda on Sunday.  Though the eye is expected to remain east of Bermuda, the island will be heavily impacted by this strong hurricane.  Danielle is expected to reach Category 3 intensity before the weekend. 

Hurricane Danielle forecast model
Hurricane Danielle Spaghetti model

Tropical Storm Earl

As of:  11amLocation:  14.9° N, 37.1° W or approximately or approximately 1735 miles east of the Northern Leeward IslandsMaximum sustained winds: 45 mph.  Gusting up to 55 mphMovement: W 17 mphPressure:  29.65 inches or 1004 mb

As with Danielle, Tropical Storm Earl is not forecast to be a threat to the U.S.  The same weakness that Hurricane Danielle found that has her turning toward Bermuda is expected to remain long enough for Earl to follow the similar path. 

Tropical Storm Earl forecast model
Tropical Storm Earl Spaghetti model

Also watching

There is a strong looking system just west of the coast of Africa that is expected to strengthen to storm status and a system brewing in the Gulf of Mexico.  One of these is expected to become Tropical Storm Fiona over the next few days.

New storm coming off coast of Africa – Tropical Storm Earl to the left
A mess in the Gulf of Mexico – Low pressure system could become tropical storm

Also, there are a series of storms currently crossing Africa that can be seen in the last picture from NOAA. (H/T to Joe Bastardi)

‘Parade’ of storms across Africa & Atlantic Ocean

Aging: The unavoidable conditions that scare me

Almost 30 years ago my grandfather passed away at 82 years old.  At the time, I was a college student around 20 years old.  After his passing, I took ownership of 3 items that belonged to him:  a windbreaker jacket that he had just purchased only a couple of months before, a religious item that I still cherish to this day and a type-written list which I found morbidly depressing.  For some reason, I had held onto this list – possibly because he kept it in his wallet.

Unfortunately, I misplaced this paper which was a list on why it sucked getting old.  It mostly talked about aches and pains and I found some sort of solace by holding onto the list and that he was no longer suffering from anything on the list.

Now I’m in my late 40’s fearing – not the aches and pains aspect of aging.  It’s too soon for that.  Nor am I worrying about the chronic hospital & doctor visits that seem to occur with the elderly.

No.  I’m more superficial than that – especially since I’m not yet eligible for AARP, though I will be before Obama’s first term is up.

Here is my list of things I fear about when it comes to aging – in no particular order:

Andy Rooney eye brows:

This seems to be a frightening condition that afflicts the old.  Somewhere along the line, old men stop trimming their eyebrows, have super-fast growing eyebrows or have scissor-resistant eyebrows.  In any case, old people have repulsively thick and long eyebrows which can be used to re-grow lost hair on their heads or used to trim lawns.

aging rooney 1

aging eyebrows 2

Man boobs

I really don’t need to clarify this, do I?   I am definitely not referring to obese men who have breasts along with their huge stomachs.  No, I’m referring to relatively thin men who have put on a couple of pounds – in the pectoral muscle area.  I used to think the Seinfeld gag of the Manzier or the Bro was hilarious but unrealistic.  Now I find it terrifying.

aging manboobs

aging manboobs2

Lack of color coordination

I recall laughing at the style of clothes my grandparents wore.   Lime green or lemon yellow pants, orange shirt with some pattern on it, knee high socks with a white belt and matching white shoes.

Then men my dad’s age started dressing in the same style.

How did this happen?  Unless I can move in with one of my kids who will buy my clothing for me as well as dress me each day, I seem destined to become a fashion horror story.  Worse yet is the realization that I won’t even be aware that this has happened.

I am petrified of the day I wander into a Rack Room Shoes and stop at the white Dr Shoal’s thinking if they have it in a size 12.

Belt line to my man boobs

As a kid, we used to laugh that Fred Mertz had a belt line above his stomach and that Ricky Ricardo’s wasn’t much below that.  As an adult, I found out that Desi Arnaz was in his 30’s during the run of I Love Lucy which was quite comforting since this indicated that the freakishly high belt-line was a fashion trend of the times.  As a result, I wasn’t really bothered when I saw the elderly with their belts so high.

Of course, that ended when the next generation’s beltline began rising.

Initially, as we gain weight, it seems like the belt line sinks since we don’t want to admit that we need a larger belt size.  It works in conjunction with the deep breath we take when we close the pants 2 sizes too small.

Then somewhere along the line we opt for the above the gut belt.  I wonder how much of it is because we repeatedly tell the kids to raise their pants above their crotch.

Whatever the cause, I think I’ll have to accept that with each passing year – as a senior citizen – our belt line increases annually.  I just pray I can keep my belt below my elbows.

Turkey neck

This one scares me the most.  One day your neck looks fine, the next day there is a huge flap of skin dangling.  It doesn’t appear to have anything to do with weight gain or loss.  I see it on so many men and there is no way to hide it.  With every other affliction, there is something you can kind of do to cover it up but with turkey neck, all I can do is gobble.  I think surgery is the only hope and I’ve never heard of a turkey-necktomy.

I assume they can cut the flab, but then there is the scar running down the center of my neck.  I knew someone who had a face lift and because the way they pulled his face, he had to shave behind his ears.

McCain Lobbyist 2008

Ear hair / nose hair

I’m not talking about hair on the rims of the ears.  That is very common and people under 80 usually remove that.  I’m taking about the thick dark hair that grows from within the ears.  Why does the hair grow so dark when the hair on the hair, chest and back are gray or white?   If left untreated it becomes a train wreck.  I CAN’T TAKE MY EYES OFF OF THE EAR HAIR!

Aging earhair

Worse yet, the ears and nose continue to grow as we age.  Either that or our faces shrink.

I still have many years until I will encounter many of the above conditions.  My dad has reached a couple and he has me by a few decades – so I definitely still have time.  But that doesn’t prevent me from dwelling on the inevitable.

Jeff Greene with a double-digit lead in the polls? Is Florida insane?

Mr. Obvious says that voters are angry.  Some know why but most don’t.

Many believe that as long as the candidate currently holds an office in Washington, they should go.  It doesn’t matter if they’re replaced by the extremely rich (Jeff Greene-FL Senate), the horrible ex-CEO (Carly Fiorina CA Senate), the CEO whose company was involved in the largest Medicare Fraud case in United States history (Rick Scott FL Governor) or the candidate with incredibly divisive positions (Sharron Angle NV Senate).

Jeff Greene is rich.  Very, very rich.  He is on Forbes 400 list.  Nobody seems to care how he made his way on this list.

Greene essentially invested in the tanking of the housing market.  So as the subprime market fell and millions of Americans lost their homes, Greene found his investment increased by 1400% in 18 months for a nice little profit of $800 million.

There’s nothing illegal or unethical about that.  Just a little smarmy. 

He is a political outsider though in 1982 Greene ran for Congress in California as a Republican.  When Chris Matthews asked Greene if he had voted for Reagan in either 1980 or 1984, he responded that he could not recall.  That would be believable had he not run as a Republican during that mid-term election between each of Reagan’s elections.

In 2008, Sarah Palin and the rest of the Republicans started throwing out the name Bill Ayers at President Obama.  They said he ‘palled around with terrorists.’  It was debunked however the message still exists.  You look at who the candidate associates with and you can determine who they are.

I learned that lesson very young.  In my first professional job, I was told to cease talking to one of the employees in the department.  They were planning on moving her out and she wasn’t well liked.  If I was seen associating with her, I could expect the same fate.

Greene is friends with ‘Hollywood madam’ Heidi Fleiss, Lindsay Lohan and former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson.  In fact, Tyson was the best man at Greene’s wedding. 

During the 2000 and 2004 elections all we heard was we wanted to elect someone we felt we could have a beer with.  Palin was the mom next door.  Today we want the political outsider and we don’t care how rich they are. 

Some of these ‘outsiders’ will spend more of their personal finances on their elections this year than many of us will earn in our lifetimes.

It seems he is taking his outsider status too far.  In fact, he apparently is trying to come off as bipartisan.  While speaking to a Sarasota media forum recently Greene said, “Whether I was a Republican or Democrat, who cares?”

Really?  Democrats do?  And so do Republicans. 

Worse still is that if Greene defeats Kendrick Meek in the Democratic Primary this month, he is going to after Governor Charlie Crist’s lack of party affiliation.

Salon wrote a great piece this week on the type of boss Greene is.  Read the story here:  Jeff Greene is a nightmare boss

Apparently he’s spoiled, abusive and cheap but the worst thing I found out about Greene was a story mentioned in Salon that kind of was brushed over.

A deckhand on Greene’s 145-foot yacht was injured.  Greene lied to the insurance company by telling them that deckhand Harlan Hoffman did not work on his yacht.

It took 8 months and legal action to resolve the case and get Hoffman’s bill’s paid.

Insurance fraud is when someone lies to the insurance company in order to get them to pay the bills when they shouldn’t have.  What is it called when you lie to the insurance company so they won’t pay the bills in order to keep your rates down?

Greene’s former personal chef, James Battles, sued him last year alleging that Greene ‘demanded round-the-clock attention and would berate and humiliate Battles when he sought reimbursement for food paid for out of his own pocket.’

‘Battles said Greene fired him after he was hospitalized for exhaustion before one of Greene’s parties.  The settlement is confidential and Greene declined to discuss the case.

Another example of what we might expect from Greene: During the 2000’s, Greene owned more than 8,000 properties.  He threatened to get a city council aide fired who was advocating on behalf of one of Greene’s tenants who complained about the heat and water problems.  When threatened to escalate the issue to then Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, Greene responded “Ha, ha, ha.  I know Rocky personally.  He and his wife were married in my house.  I’ll see to it that this council aide will be fired.”

Hollywood director, Richie Cunningham and Opie wouldn’t vote for Greene.  During the 1990’s, Ron Howard rented a luxury home owned by Greene when the house was flooded from a leaky roof.  [Read story here]

“If you look at the record and the outcome, he committed fraud and that’s why it was so expensive for him.  With what I know about Jeff Greene as a tenant, I certainly wouldn’t vote for him, and I wouldn’t relish the idea of him being in the Senate.” – Howard, who won a $616,000 judgment from Greene, said during an interview with the Washington Post.

What is also surprising is that with only a couple of weeks to go until the Florida primary, very little is known about Greene yet he is up by double digits in the polls.  The other problem is that most people still know very little about Kendrick Meek as a result Greene and his aggressive advertising campaign is making him a more familiar name.

I’ve seen countless ads and received a number of mailers from Greene.  I am still waiting for Meek to show up.

You can be sure that if the Democrats elect Greene as their nominee, Governor Charlie Crist (I) and Marco Rubio (R-Teabagger) will not let Greene off the hook so easily.  In fact, they will probably make Greene appear to be a spoiled rich man with a bad temper and no understanding of politics who today has decided he wants to be a senator. 

I suspect that Democrats will run from Greene as they learn more about him and wouldn’t be surprised if Obama endorsed Crist in return of Crist’s supporting the Stimulus Package. 

 

Examining Charlie Crist’s record – what we don’t see in the media

Regardless of which side of the political aisle you reside we can all agree on one thing – the media has gotten lazy and have failed in their jobs. 

In an effort to reduce costs and be the first to publish or air a story, they have accepted a single source as fact without verifying the source or seeking a second validating source.  They also use Twitter to get quotes. 

We see the laziness in the media with the coverage of the 2010 Florida Senate race.  They publish attacks from Kendrick Meek against Charlie Crist on positions dating back to his recent stand against offshore drilling.  Marco Rubio’s attacks date back to Crist’s infamous hug with President Obama after Governor Crist introduced Obama to a Florida crowd where the president spoke of the stimulus package.

Rubio cites that Crist is really a Democrat while Meek argues that Crist is really Conservative.  Both agree that it is a show designed for November.

There are numerous areas where the media fails here.

First and foremost, they ignore Crist’s record as governor for the full 3½ years he has been in office.  They also ignore his time as Florida Attorney General.  His record speaks for itself and we will delve into it shortly.

They also let Meek and Rubio’s comments lay there unchallenged.  For example, they stop with the attack on Crist’s support of the stimulus package ignoring the benefits that have come from it.  Many people drive every day, as I do, through highway construction sites that have received stimulus dollars but it goes generally ignored by the media.

Read more about Florida Recovery.

Florida Governor Charlie Crist

The media also allows Meek and Rubio to spew their rhetoric with regards to Crist’s changing position for campaigning.  Of course, all candidates alter their position to put themselves in the best political light with the voters.  That’s why you need to look at the way candidates work while in office.

Of course Rubio does not want the light to shine on him as his record is horrible.  This will be further addressed in a later article.

Examining Crist’s record:

Home Foreclosures:

In March 2008 – while George W Bush was still president (in other words: pre-hug), Crist created and accepted the recommendations of a HOPE (Home Ownership Promotes the Economy) Task Force which addressed specific strategies to address foreclosures affecting Florida’s families.  [Read the recommendations]

Health Care:

Even before the Healthcare debate took to the Federal Government during the Obama administration, Florida, under Governor Crist, had already established the Cover Florida Health Care Access Program to help those without health insurance get quality affordable healthcare coverage. 

Early Voting:

Seeing the state-wide long lines, Governor Crist extended the hours for early voting in Florida ensuring that everyone who wanted to vote in the 2008 November General Election got to vote.  This was in direct opposition to the Republican Party who wanted to minimize the hours as the speculation is that the more people that can vote, the more that Obama would have benefited.  – Obama went on to win Florida.

Environment:

Crist was against off-shore oil drilling both before his failed attempt to become John McCain’s Republican running mate in 2008 and now.  He called for a July 2010 special session of the Florida Congress to address getting a Constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would permanently ban offshore oil drilling off the coast of Florida.  The Republican led Congress, in a fit of immaturity, adjourned both houses in less than two hours.

Crist also supports the Everglades restoration. 

Gambling:

Crist struck a deal with the Seminole Indians on a casino deal that so angered Rubio and Conservatives that they took him to court over the decision. 

More background:  There was a timeframe established by the federal government, with which Florida was able to negotiate with the Seminoles for revenue on casino earnings.  Once the deadline passed, the state of Florida would have wound up with zero.  The Florida legislature clearly had no intention of striking a deal and once Crist took the initiative by signing a deal that would generate billions of dollars for Florida over a 25-year period Rubio and the Republican legislature became offended and went on to file a lawsuit which the legislature won. 

Though Crist lost that case, he invariably won the war because this bought the legislature time and pressured them to work out a deal with the Seminoles.

Education:

Crist vetoed the GOP supported teacher pay and tenure bill known as SB-6 in April.  This garnered Crist much needed teacher and union support at the same time solidifying his fate with the far right.  This is another example of Crist doing what is best for Floridians.

Corporate rate hikes:

Crist stood up to State Farm after they requested a 47% rate hike. 

“State farm has been charging some of the highest rates in our state for a long time.  They haven’t been very friendly to our people and if they want to leave the state goodbye.” – Charlie Crist

He also called the Florida Power & Light’s proposed $1.3 billion rate hike ‘excessive.’  As Florida Attorney General, Crist got FPL to freeze its electricity rate.

As Florida Attorney General:

America’s Most Wanted host John Walsh publicly had filed the paperwork for Crist’s gubernatorial candidacy as a result of his work with the Center for Missing and Exploited Children. 

Crist stood against the Republican Party’s position with regards to the Terri Schiavo case.  If you remember that case, Fox News turned her life support battle into a public circus and the far right fringe used Schiavo as a political football.  Even President Bush ended his vacation early to sign a bill attempting to extend her life support.  Crist’s position was that government should not get involved in these types of cases.

As Governor he vetoed a measure that would have required women to pay for an ultrasound prior to getting an abortion.

Obviously, a little research will bring back even more cases where Crist has legislated in the best interests of Floridians not necessarily in the best interests of Charlie Crist’s political career. 

Much of what you read here is no longer being covered by the media. 

How long ago was it when Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek was being identified as ‘the likely Democratic nominee’?  Out of the blue came ‘billionaire’ Jeff Greene.  How many people can name another candidate? 

Unfortunately, the media will not provide us with enough information to make a smart choice in November.  In fact, they may try to steer us in a direction that will inevitably be bad for Florida.  That is why we owe it to ourselves to research and read as much as we can about the candidates. 

Study their actual records, not just how they campaign.  Once you examine Crist’s political career and compare it to Rubio’s – it becomes a no-brainer.  And the Meek – Greene primary should be nowhere near this close.  Just examine how Greene made his billions.  Same with Rick ‘Medicare Fraud Champion’ Scott in the Republican primary for Florida Governor.  That should eliminate both from contention.

November is 4 months away.  We have plenty of time to educate Floridians.

Gene

Marco Rubio – Costing taxpayers – Increasing personal income

Florida cannot afford Marco Rubio.  A couple of Google searches supported that.

During the 10-year period that included Rubio’s roles as Florida House Majority Leader and Speaker of the House, he saw his income more than quadruple.

In 1999, Rubio reported his earnings at $99,000.  In 2008, it was up to $414,000.

Much of Rubio’s earnings during this period was work for multiple law firms including Broad & Cassel, ‘a well-connect statewide firm that had done millions of dollars of legal work for the Florida House.’

Between 2002 and 2005, Broad & Cassel billed Florida taxpayers $4.5 MILLION for legal work.  An audit of the firm’s work was conducted but never released.  Just remember, Florida’s congress is overwhelmingly controlled by the Republicans – about 67% of the Florida House and Senate.  Rubio is a Republican.

The question is – what did Rubio really do for these law firms?   It does seem interesting that Rubio received money from companies that billed the very state that Rubio represented.  Broad & Cassel billed Florida an average of more than one million dollars per year for four years.

Asked if he would have been hired by Broad & Cassel had he not been Speaker of the House Rubio responded, “It’s hard to tell with a hypothetical.  I certainly would have worked somewhere.  I had made a career of working at big firms up until last year when I went out on my own.”

True, but would he have been compensated $1.2 million for 4 years?

During his time at Broad & Cassel, Rubio “said he reviewed zoning applications, but he never appeared before a board or a commission on a land use matter.”

During Rubio’s final year as Speaker, he ‘secured a special line item in the budget that gave Jackson Memorial Hospital an additional $20 million in 2008.  Several months later, Jackson hired Rubio as a consultant under a $96,000 a year contract.”

Since leaving state government, Rubio received lucrative deals with:

  • Miami Children’s Hospital paying him $102,000.
  • Florida International University – $69,000
  • Univision – as an on-air commentator for $8,000.

What I found most interesting was the last paragraph in the I-Team investigation

Despite his income, Rubio’s net worth is surprisingly low. In 2008 he listed his net worth at just $8,300. A self described fiscal conservative, Rubio is carrying almost a million in debt — including two mortgages on his current home and more than $100,000 in student loans. 

Rubio’s annual salary bump also is interesting considering he had stopped payments on a Tallahassee home which was heading into foreclosure.  Rubio claimed that he stopped paying on the home during a dispute with the bank.  He has since caught up with the payments once news for the pending foreclosure became public.

Rubio is also currently under a federal IRS investigation over the potential misuse of Republican Party credit cards for personal expenses. 

At the very least, it appears that Rubio has benefitted as a result of his time in public service at a very high cost to taxpayers but clearly he has difficulty managing his personal finances.

Can we really afford to send Marco Rubio to Washington?

Sources: 

Politifact – Charlie Crist’s first TV ad focuses on Marco Rubio’s money

I-Team: Scrutinizing Marco Rubio’s Finances

Standing Against Israel – Strange Bedfellows indeed

If there seems to be a single issue that rallies the Teabaggers, Liberals, bigots and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad it is their stance on Israel.

On-line friends (Twitter and bloggers) have surprised me with the speed with which they pounced on the ‘big, bad Israel’ position.  I expected it from the Ahmadinejad’s of the world as well as the anti-Semites.  But Progressives who claim to be hate-free and open-minded?

Even before the first video hit YouTube, I found many liberal friends chastise Israel for attacking the poor Flotilla with nothing but humanitarian aid and love for the desperate Palestinians in Gaza.

With the same conviction that we mocked when Republicans blindly supported a president and the lies that led us into 2 wars, many liberals charged that Israel was guilty without ever hearing a single fact.

I even read comments where people said that they will never be convinced that Israel could be justified in Flotilla-gate.   Wow.  And they call themselves liberal.

They quickly dismiss any comments and evidence coming out of Israel and denounce anyone who supports them.  Just as quickly, they post stories linking to anything promoting the Flotilla (or anti-Israel) cause without seeking supporting evidence.

They post every country that gives dollars, arms or aid to Israel but ignore which organizations support the Palestinians in Gaza and Hamas.  [Hint: you may want to read about IHH and their ties to Hamas]

Just who agrees with my liberal friends who stand united against Israel?

Let’s start with former grand wizard of the KKK and possible US presidential candidate – David Duke.

Link to David Duke post 

Duke’s post has an interesting choice of photos:  A slew of sheets with eyes cut out – just like those worn by the KKK.  Above the Klansmen is the word – Kohanim (Jewish high priests).  Duke clearly is equating the Jewish supremacy with his White supremacy.  Fascinating if not also hypocritical – and laughable.

[Read full story]