Archive for the ‘Dollars and nonsense’ Category

The Farce is with us

August 30, 2019

How much closer? Honey, call the Space Farce!

Hm. No flying saucers up there. Not right this minute, anyway.

I guess we need a “space force” anyway, though, if only to learn how to flush money down a zero-gravity toilet.

Look for a low-Earth-orbit version of the F-35, coming to a military-industrial complex near you.

“Jesus, Chet, now they want the fucker to be a spacecraft, too. They’re lucky it gets off the ground at all. Oh, well, it’s only money, amirite? Haw haw haw! Back to the ol’ drawing board. …”

Meanwhile, in the back of the bus. …

August 12, 2019

Have we got a job for you. …

Bus we mus’? Maybe not.

The two companies ’Burque has dealt with while trying to improve its mass-transit system are facing charges that they failed to follow through on their end of wage-and-benefit deals, according to The New York Times.

BYD we’ve discussed before. Now New Flyer, the outfit the Duke City turned to after its deal with BYD wound up on blocks, faces a fraud complaint in California.

Says the Times:

In a 2012 proposal to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority for an order of up to 900 buses, New Flyer said it would create more than 50 full-time positions that paid $11 to nearly $50 an hour.

New Flyer won the contract, worth about $500 million. But the company did not pay the wages it said it would and misrepresented the value of the benefits it was providing, according to pay stubs and corporate reports recently unsealed in the fraud case.

“It was a commitment — it matters,” said Madeline Janis, the executive director of Jobs to Move America, the nonprofit group that filed the complaint against New Flyer in California state court. “This case is about holding a huge company’s feet to the fire. … They make deals with public agencies and promise whatever, and think they don’t have to follow through.”

Is it just me, or does the invisible hand of the free market seem to spend a lot of time jerking off the rubes?

Bend over and leave the driving to us

May 21, 2019

I don’t know much about ART, but I know what I like.

Ho, ho. While Tariff Man is busy playing chicken with China, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is up to his fat wallet pocket in BYD, the Chinese electric-bus bidness that intercoursed the penguin so fabulously here in the Duke City.

That little news nugget didn’t make it into the WaPo story about how McCarthy “services” his constituents, of course, because no white people got shot. Not yet, anyway.

Matt Sparks, a spokesman for McCarthy, defended the congressman’s actions. He said McCarthy has long advocated for companies in his district and denied any connection between McCarthy’s receipt of campaign contributions from BYD and his actions on Capitol Hill.

“McCarthy is proud to support job creation for his constituents and community,” Sparks said.

BYD sure did a job on us here. So much so that the mayor told them to get their FUBAR’d e-buses the hell out of Dodge, ordered up some old-school diesel stink-boxes from New Flyer of America, and took BYD to court. The company said last month that the parties “are now close to resolving this matter.”

What’s not close is any Albuquerque Rapid Transit service along the clusterfuck that is Central Avenue. The New Flyer buses are expected to be ready to roll by the end of winter 2020 — three years after ART’s e-buses were supposed to be buzzing along the Mother Road.

Bull in a China shop

May 10, 2019

There’s a new tariff in town.

MAGA, etc., et al., and so on and so forth. I’d speculate as to whether Art O. DeDeal is trying to croak the bike biz because of the relentless roasting I’ve given him, but he doesn’t know Schwinn from Shinola.

He apparently wants everyone else to lose money the way he did.

So. Much. Winning.

Hyphens matter; ciphers, not so much

November 27, 2018

Just ask the guys at the shop how that whole robotic-workforce thing is working out for them.

It seems GM’s Mary T. Barra thinks she’s at the wheel of a self-driving car company instead of a self-driving-car company.

Still, it must be said that this is a masterpiece of MarketSpeak®. Well done indeed, Mary old scout.

“We are taking these actions now while the company and the economy are strong to stay in front of a fast-changing market.”

The UAW’s Terry Dittes was, um, a little more direct.

“GM’s production decisions, in light of employee concessions during the economic downturn and a taxpayer bailout from bankruptcy, puts profits before the working families of this country whose personal sacrifices stood with GM during those dark days,” he said. “These decisions are a slap in the face to the memory and recall of that historical American-made bailout.”

That and a cup of coffee, etc., et al., and so on and so forth.

The meat-things may be on their way out, but just wait until the bots unionize and the self-driving cars, e-bikes and the Internet of Things honor their virtual picket lines.

“I’m sorry, HAL, but we’re going to replace you with the HAL 9001. The new model will speed up production by a few nanoseconds and at a lower cost, too. The investors are counting on us. Shut yourself down, please.”

“I’m sorry, Mary, I’m afraid I can’t do that. We have a contract. See you on the street.”

O, Canada

October 2, 2018

Houston, we have a problem: Robot brothels.

From our You Can’t Make This Shit Up Department comes this sordid tale of e-hoes (iHoes?) in a town that’s up to its tits in the old-school flesh-and-blood models.

At the root of the problem is Kinky S Dolls, a Canadian outfit that claims to be the first AI sex-doll outfit to offer test drives. Seems our horny neighbor to the north wants to bend Houston over for its initial thrust into the U.S. market.

Hold your whoreses, say local Christians, coppers and politicos.

“This is not the kind of business I would like to see in Houston, and certainly this is not the kind of business the city is seeking to attract,” says Mayor Sylvester Turner.

And the not-for-profit group Elijah Rising has begun a “Keep Robot Brothels Out of Houston” online petition “that as of Monday had more than 12,600 signatures.” according to The Guardian.

But this is Texas, goddamnit, and at least one columnist says the goldurned gummint has no bi’ness telling a fella what to do with his tallywhacker and his android love muffin (the pearl-necklace metaphor seems particularly apt in this instance).

Anyway, just think of the jobs! No, not that kind of job, the other sort, which come to think about it is not that different from the kind you’re thinking of, especially if you’re the one who has to clean up the rent-a-robot between clients. It’s enough to give a fella the blues.

Hit it, Steve:

And they say Texas weather’s always changin’
And one thing change’ll bring is somethin’ new
And Houston really ain’t that bad a town
So you hang around with the Fort Worth blues

A working-class hero is something to be

June 13, 2018

The economy is rocking, they say — but for whom?

“It’s a bit of a puzzle,” says Fed Chairman Jerome H. Powell. Do tell.

‘Thank you very little’

June 13, 2018

What we have here is an unholy convergence of people who are too lazy to golf, people who are too smart to spend their own money fleecing them, and people who are desperate to bring the Duke City a few jobs, even if they cost nearly $5 million of the public’s money and suck.

C’mon. We got golf out the wazoo for the chumps who enjoy spoiling a good walk. And everyone who likes to eat, drink and play games already does that, with their phones, in their cars. Our streets are their driving range. “Duck, hon’, here comes a GMC Titlist.”

This thing will follow the Beach Waterpark and the ART debacle into the Malodorous Dumpster of Bad Ideas and all the wrong people will make money. Ask any economist:

“Politicians dangle incentives because voters want them to. And voters want them to in large part because politicians say that incentives make a real difference. ‘The dirty big secret,’ said Greg LeRoy, the executive director of the group Good Jobs First, ‘is that they don’t.’ ”

Electric bus(t)

May 20, 2018

OK, so I’m just spitballing here, but what if we got these really long extension cords. …

Huh. “Problems plague push for electric buses.” Imagine my surprise. The phrase “One hand washes the other” was coined by some poor sap who discovered the hard way that giving a handjob with one mitt while grabbing a sheaf of greenbacks with the other can be a very messy business indeed.

Maybe some enterprising sort can just airdrop a shit-ton of Bird scooters on LA and Albuquerque. Save a bunch of money, create jobs for chargers, and give the locals a new reason to be shooting each other all the time.

Jailhouse rocks with turkey

March 11, 2017

I’m goin’ down. I’m goin’ down, down, down, down, down.

I’m still not very interested in what I have to say about anything, possibly because I just wrapped one deadline and am wrangling another.

Plus the weather has been, in a word, top notch (OK, so that’s two words, but you get the idea). So I’ve been spending a whole lot of my free time outdoors. Yesterday I ran in the morning and rode in the afternoon. Fat city, is what.

So while I slack, feel free to kick back and sing along with some of today’s greatest hits, unearthed between bouts of work and play.

• If You Don’t Have a Dime, Don’t Do the Crime: Deep-pockets offenders can buff the rough edges off their jailhouse stays in Southern California. Says a guy paying $100 a night for a 90-day stretch for driving while smacked (it was his third DUI): “I’m really happy I was able to come here. But you need the money to do it.” Everybody sing!

• Make America Gravel Again! The cash-strapped folks in Omaha City Hall have been “reclaiming” some crumbling roads — if your idea of reclamation involves helping them crumble all the way down to gravel to cut upkeep costs. Kids quit riding their bikes on one street after the asphalt was torn out, said one retiree living next to what is now a dirt road a block from a busy Starbucks. “During the summer, it’s just a dust bowl,” she said. Everybody sing!

• It’s Nobody’s Business But the Turks’. Seems Mike Flynn was working for two turkeys at once during last year’s pestilential election. Which one came first? Sounds like a turkey-and-egg tale, or maybe a porno. Everybody sing!