Monthly Archive for September, 2008

Larry Kovaks, P.I.

I just finished creating a website for Larry Kovaks, P.I., Barcelona’s Premier Tourist Detective. I embedded a google map on the index page that has thumbtacks on the actual locations of his solved crimes. If you click on those you can read a short description of the story and get a link to it.

Most importantly, there is a new Kovaks Street Scam Forum with literally hundreds of true scam stories dating as far back as 1996. The great majority of these were taken off the original Barcelona Street Scam page by Terry Jones, and are now living on the new forum.

Stop by and check it out!

Larry Kovaks, P.I.

Kovaks Street Scam Forums

McCain is a diva

This column by Huffington Post writer Bob Cesca is excellent:

What’s next, McCain? Suspending the election?

So what will a McCain administration economic policy look like? From the lack of foresight and leadership we’ve witnessed so far, we can assume that McCain might choose a new economic policy totally at random, depending on how saucy he feels from minute to minute. “I’ll have a muffin with my Egg Beaters, and replace Bernanke with that hooplehead who weedwacks the knoll.” Two minutes later… “Hey Phil, we don’t need the Nasdaq anymore. Kill it.” Two minutes later… “My God! What have I done! Quickly — nationalize the paintball industry! Go!”

One thing is for sure. Expecting a workable solution to this economic meltdown from a man as knee-jerk, dishonest and incomprehensible as John McCain would be an exercise in national self-destruction. He doesn’t have anything real to say, and what he does say, he can’t sell. He simply can’t do the gig. A vote for McCain-Palin is absolutely a vote for the end of America as we know it.

Seriously, I am wondering if this guy has any idea of what he is doing. He’s like a child throwing a temper tantrum. I’m taking my ball home and now no one can play! My friends!

I always thought nothing could be worse than Bush Jr., but here you have it. McCain is a diva whose gut decisions aren’t the sign of a political maverick, but of someone who is desperately trying to stay in the spotlight. It’s time to start playing fairly, McDiva.

This whole election is a joke. McCain is worse, much worse than anything I could have imagined, and that’s without even considering the bible-thumping mountain momma he picked for a running mate. My own poor mom called me the other day and said she had a terrible nightmare that McCain had won the election. It looks like it is already starting. Just imagine what a McCain/Palin presidency would be like. Totally fucking insane. No accountability. Erratic gut decisions. More deregulation. More extremist war policies. More pandering to the neocons. More Rove. More religious right influence. Creationism. I’m getting ill just typing this out. My country will have not one shred of credibility left.

The United States of France

Now that we have to bail out the champions of an unfettered free market, it’s time to reflect on how we got there. This is a nice satirical piece by Bill Satorito:

This is the state of our great republic: We’ve nationalized the financial system, taking control from Wall Street bankers we no longer trust. We’re about to quasi-nationalize the Detroit auto companies via massive loans because they’re a source of American pride, and too many jobs — and votes — are at stake. Our Social Security system is going broke as we head for a future in which too many retirees will be supported by too few workers. How long before we have national health care? Put it all together, and the America that emerges is a cartoonish version of the country most despised by red-meat red-state patriots: France. Only with worse food.

Link to the article in Time.

(Thanks Mark)

“Remixed” Vicky Cristina Barcelona Poster

I went to Friday’s showing of Vicky Cristina Barcelona and was inspired to make a more appropriate poster for this lousy movie. Woody man, what’s up?

Click on it for full-screen magnificence

Quien roba a un ladrón …

A Spanish activist by the name of Enric Duran has defrauded banks throughout Spain and Europe of more than 492,000 euros, and he has published a 20-page manifesto explaining that it was to show the fallacies of the system. It has purportedly been distributed throughout Catalunya, and is downloadable from his website, Crisi. (The only pdf version I could find was in Catalan, but the website is in English and Spanish too.) Now he’s on the lam.

In an interview via Skype with EFE – the Spanish-language AP – he says it started out as personal loans to remodel his house and to buy a car, but then he realized that by setting up fake companies in the fashionable audiovisual sector, he was able to obtain far more – with loans of up to 39,000 euros from 39 different banks. “I stole 492,00 euros from those who steal most from us in order to denounce them and construct alternative societies.”

One of the advantages of asking for loans for a company was that “the debt doesn’t appear in your personal financial records, so you can increase the amount you owe and go undetected by the the debt information system of the Bank of Spain.”

My question is why are they calling him “Robin Hood”? I think it’s cool that he bucked the system, but it would have been cooler if he actually did something besides make a 20-page manifesto. Like actually distribute the money or invest in a socially beneficial project.

According to La Vanguardia, Enric says he is not going to return the money. So until he does, or really does distribute it in some way, I will refrain from calling him “Robin Hood”. This whole thing reminds me in some way of the subprime mortgage crisis in the US. It was also started by fraudulent loans, and, as far as I can make out, the prime culprit in it all was basic human greed – from the people giving the fraudulent loans to the people taking them knowing full well they would never be able to pay them back. The problem is now we have to bail them all out. Enric does prove a point about the need for better regulation, but his credentials as a “Robin Hood” don’t quite stand up to the whopping 492,000 euro bill for his 20-page manifesto against banks.

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“Quien roba a un ladrón tiene cien años de perdón.”
He who robs a thief is pardoned for one hundred years.
A Spanish aphorism

The 10 most decadent dictators

The Times has another great Top 10 List.  This time it’s the most decadent dictators, and topping the list is dear leader Kim Jong-il:

1. Kim Jong-il, “Dear Leader” of North Korea since 1994. The son of the communist state’s “Great Leader”, Kim Jong-il has super-expensive tastes, with 17 palaces and collections of hundreds of cars and about 20,000 video tapes. On one state visit to Russia, he reportedly had live lobsters airlifted daily to his armoured private train. He is believed to spend around $650,000 a year on Hennessy VSOP cognac and maintains an entourage of young lovelies known as the “Pleasure Brigade”

Nader in a panda suit

Ralph muses on the unenthusiastic media coverage of his campaign this year, and wonders if dressing in a panda suit would garner him more media attention. He’s damn right it would.

One thing thing you can say about him is he definitely has cojones. If he dresses up in a panda suit and crashes the debates I might, just might, be tempted to vote for him – again.