New Poll: 80% of Americans would give up breathing if it helped corporations make more money

July 30, 2009

SOUTH CAROLINA - A stunning new poll by William K. Wolfrum & Associates shows that nearly 80 percent of all Americans would stop breathing right now if a major corporation gave that order.

The poll - which was based on looking into how Americans will gladly vote against their own self interests - made several other discoveries, including:

  • 78 percent of Americans would rather die a terrible death that leaves their families bankrupt than have the elite pay higher taxes for government health care.
  • 67 percent of Americans would saw off their left foot to have a Wal-Mart built next door to them;
  • 62 percent of Americans would shoot themselves in the head if it meant the richest Americans would receive a tax break, and;
  • 59 percent of Americans would rather see tax money given to banks, or used to kill Middle Easterners than have the same money used on health care in the U.S.
  • Noted sociologist Tim Johnson of Tupelo, Miss., said that the poll is in line with how many Americans feel.

    “In the U.S., it’s all about striving to be rich,” said Johnson. “And if you fail, you’re out. So better let the successful amongst us thrive than worry about the vast majority of Americans, who are abject failures at getting rich.”

    Republicans were quick to jump on the poll numbers.

    “Americans are selfless people. So selfless, they’ll always vote against their own interests,” said Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. “At the GOP, we’re aware of that and confident it will again lead us to power. The people have spoken, and they’ve told us they don’t want to be heard anymore. We can do that.”

    More than 1,000 people took the poll, though many refused to accept the free pencils given out to fill out the poll, claiming it was a “socialist act” and that they should be “punished for not having their own pencils.”


    No one expects a blogaround - Who are these guys?

    July 30, 2009

    None of the bloggers below have shown me their birth certificates. So whether you trust them or not is up to you.

  • ePluribus Media: Oh that Barack Obama. Looks like this time he’ll be using swine flu shots to commit genocide.
  • Boztopia: A personal look at why theU.S. desperately needs health care reform.
  • Eclectablog: The Birthers are right - here’s how it happened.
  • Konagod: Always willing to lend sell you an arm.
  • Cogitamus: An interesting discussion on where the U.S. stands today and where it may be going.
  • Rising Hegemon: Go wish John McCain a happy birthday.
  • -WKW

    For-profit medicine is a national sickness

    July 29, 2009

    When my Mom was diagnosed with leukemia, the one thing I didn’t need to worry about was the cost. My parents have long had good health insurance, and have long saved as much money as they could to prepare for the eventuality of illness. Prior to her death, my Mom received as good of treatment as she could have gotten to fight the insidious cancer that finally took her life.

    Still, even though my parents had a golden parachute of health insurance and savings, there were times they even had to scrimp - especially with some of the medicines prescribed to her running in the range of $2,000 per prescription. Then they’d either purchase half a prescription, or look for a cheaper alternative.

    I rest comfortably knowing that my Mom fought as hard as she could and received good medical care. At the cost of thousands of dollars out of their pockets, of course. This is what keeps me up at nights. Through my Mom’s entire ordeal, one line stuck in my mind - For-profit health care is a national illness.

    As health care has taken center stage in the national dialogue, that line continues to reverberate in my mind. My parents worked their whole lives, almost solely for the purpose to afford dying. And make no mistake about it, my parents are most definitely “haves” in a nation rapidly becoming easily defined as “haves” and “have nots.”

    While my Mom was living and I’d spend time with her at various hospitals, I got to hear many stories of people struggling with health care bills. Because everyone is in the same boat as my parents, but not so many have the financial wherewithal to come out of a massive medical situation without finding themselves in financial turmoil.

    As President Barack Obama’s health care plan has been revised, rewritten and demonized, it has become increasingly clear that the status quo will remain. Insurance companies will be repaid for their investments in trying to kill the bill, and will continue to profit wildly. Millions and millions of Americans will continue to either be uninsured or be under-insured.

    A health care reform bill will eventually be passed - Obama will make sure of that. But with insurance companies still in the mix, Americans will continue to work their entire lives to give away their nest eggs to them.

    Health care in the United States is still something that angers me. Is the U.S. so determined to be a pure capitalist society that the idea of taking away ill-gotten profits from insurance companies means we’ve become socialist? Why is Universal Health care considered such a crime against humanity in the U.S.? Are we all that proud of living in a nation where the health of an American citizen solely depends on profit margin?

    All I can say is that I know there is someone driving a new car, paid for by my Mom’s suffering. And that others are living in big houses with obscene bank accounts, all paid for by the sick and dying. It is obscene and inhuman.

    For-Profit medicine is a national sickness in the United States. And for this, there is only one cure - single-payer. And thanks to politicians on both sides of the aisle doing their masters’ bidding, that’s not something you’ll see come out of Obama’s health care reform.

    Single-payer. It is the only cure for this health care sickness. But it will never come to the U.S. as long as the few that are in charge - with pockets adequately lined - would rather the nation stays sick.


    For Patrick Byrne and, the real story is in the financial reports

    July 29, 2009 CEO Patrick Byrne has had a busy week, attacking messengers and filing reports. As should always be the case with Byrne and Overstock, the real news goes on top - Overstock’s financial reporting.

    At Overstock’s Q2 conference call, former “Crazy Eddie” fraudster and current whistleblower Sam Antar came at Byrne with some tough questions, which were not answered by Byrne, who instead mocked and taunted Antar. In an epic post titled “How to Issue Phony Financial Reports and Mislead Investors – and Patrick M. Byrne Style,” Antar lays out the financial shenanigans going on at’s history is littered with a consistent pattern of false and misleading financial disclosures and lies by management about the company’s financial performance and compliance with securities laws

    Since, its inception in 1999, is has yet to produce a financial report that has not at least initially violated GAAP and SEC disclosure rules. In fact, certain financial reports from 2003 to 2005 were restated twice to correct accounting errors.

    From December 2000 to March 2002, Patrick Byrne lied about’s financial performance in a series of interviews on national television and in various publications prior to the company’s initial public offering in March 2002. Patrick Byrne deceptively used pro forma non-GAAP “gross value merchandise value sales” (instead of the lower GAAP commission revenue) to hype the company’s top-line performance in order to falsely claim that was profitable, when it never was profitable (Details here).

    Antar’s story is well-detailed and brings up numerous questions about Questions Byrne refuses to answer. Gary Weiss - who has long followed Byrne and has the character defamation to prove it - wrote about Byrne’s successful attack on Antar:

    But the SEC doesn’t have to expand the rules to curb this kind of behavior. This isn’t Byrne hiring yet another Judd Bagley to intimidate critics. It is him, acting as CEO, doing it openly on a conference call, for the express and undisguised purpose of boosting the price of his stock by curbing serious analysis and questioning.

    And boost it did. Share prices jumped 12% yesterday, climbing from 12.27 to 13.78, based on Byrne’s uncontradicted hype and intimidation of a critic.

    He accomplished that by giving a graduate level course in issuer retaliation. The only question is, will the SEC learn anything from it, and act?

    What the SEC does or doesn’t do in regard with remains to be seen. But what has been seen this week is bloggers on the left and right realizing that Patrick Byrne is not what he seems.

    It started June 17, as Daily Kos Diarist Tom Sykes wrote “Bloggers Need to Steer Clear of Phony ‘Populist’ Patrick Byrne.”

    Today Byrne’s latest con game is to run a website called “Deep Capture” to push his agenda and gain legitimacy for vouchers, union-busting and his other causes. This is a publicity vehicle for Byrne, according to Byrne himself, quoting the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. Byrne had applied for SABEW membership, and he got the following response: “In SABEW’s view, not all business blogs qualify as news publications just as all writing and editing doesn’t qualify as journalism. From its standpoint your activities and those of DeepCapture seem closer to corporate public relations, and SABEW isn’t open to PR professionals _ or of course to retail business executives.”

    Of course, Sykes then detailed how Byrne and sidekick Judd Bagley then tried to hack into his computer using spyware - which Weiss also wrote about.

    Byrne handled all this in typical fashion - ignoring any and all issues and attacking Sykes, accusing him of being a sockpuppet and other things. And now the issue has created a Diary war between DKo’s diarist Andrewtna - who bases everything on reports from the Byrne Web site Deep Capture - and Sykes. For his part, Sykes has continued researching Byrne and Overstock.

    From the far left, we move to the far right, as Red State’s mustango wrote a post titled “Patrick M. Byrne, Will You Please Go Away Now!”

    Byrne has, how shall I put this, some very severe personality flaws. Thin-skinned, vindictive, ego-driven — he kind of reminds me of the current occupant of the Oval Office in a way, except that he lacks the latter’s ability to maintain his composure in public. Still, he’s close enough that I think he’d fit right into the party of Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank — but alas, he is a full-blooded conservative from that reddest of the red states, Utah.

    The big problem with Byrne (and I don’t count this against his being a conservative because this is something that transcends political viewpoints) is that he is a big supporter of the First Amendment, except when it’s his own ox being gored by that pesky freedom of speech thing. Unable to satisfactorily answer the criticisms leveled against his business practices, he sadly falls back on the time-dishonored practice of attacking the messenger, defaming or otherwise attempting to ruin those who speak out against him publicly, and for those who choose to air their criticisms anonymously, he has been known to go to some rather drastic lengths to uncover their identities and then go after them.

    Basically, it’s been a busy week for Patrick Byrne, and he now has a few more people to attack. I’ve done my share of reporting on Byrne in the past, and am among those perplexed that the CEO of a publicly traded company spends so much time trolling the Internet to attack any that question him.

    But that’s neither here nor there. Because the real story is right there at the top of this post.


    One-Liner: Remembering the Dow Jones

    July 28, 2009

    Remember the good old days, about six months back, when the Dow Jones was the most important economic indicator on the planet for every news organization? Not so much anymore.


    Sarah Palin announces plan to run for Governor of Alaska in 2010

    July 28, 2009

    WASILLA - In a surprise announcement from a diner in this small Alaskan town, former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin announced her plans to run for the position again in 2010.

    “You know that I don’t do things like normal folk,” said Palin, dressed in fishing gear, a hunting cap, and a t-shirt that read “No. 1 Grandma!”

    Palin continued, “I think the make-believe media are hating the troops, and I won’t stand for that. That is why I announce my decision to campaign for the position of Governor of the great state of Alaska.”

    Palin, who resigned as Alaskan Governor yesterday, said she felt like she had the experience to run the state.

    “I’m not just some politician in a suit,” said Palin. “I’m here, right now in the real world. And in 24 hours I’ve seen that I’m again needed again by America and Alaska again.”

    Current Alaskan Governor Sean Parnell was quick to endorse Palin against himself.

    “There is no question that I will run for this office in 2010,” said Parnell. “And I should lose badly to the great Alaskan and American leader, Sarah Palin.”

    While the majority of political pundits have thus far reacted to Palin’s announcement with stunned silence, Bill Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard,” called it a cunning tactical move.

    “This is just brilliant by Palin,” said Kristol.”Dear Christ, she’s hot.”

    During her 2-hour, 32-minute speech, Palin repeatedly ripped into the U.S. media, called Barack Obama’s economic plans “The most Fascistly communisty thing this side of Eek,” and called Alaskan singer Jewel a “snaggle-toothed whore” for no apparent reason.

    “If you are against me, you are against the U.S. troops because my son is a troop,” said Palin, who twice stopped speaking to gut a salmon. “I said I’m not a quitter and my comeback will prove that I’m a maverick, you betcha.”

    Palin added that she will begin campaigning immediately, but campaign exclusively from the continental U.S.

    “How’s that for mavericky?” said Palin, who also sported a crucifix the size of a regulation softball around her neck. “I’m here always for the people of Alaska. My task is greater, and I was given divine direction that the best place to do this was as an absentee governor.

    “Wow, I feel like I caught a 200-pound halibut here, this is great, being back in front of my people,” added Palin, who for a 22-minute stretch spoke in tongues. “So love Jesus, love the troops, vote Palin.”


    William Shatner sings Sarah Palin’s quitting speech

    July 28, 2009

    Because all the cool kids are posting this. And because during these troubled times, what the world truly needs is William Shatner pwning Sarah Palin.


    Obama Family’s “Really, I Was Born in Hawaii” Variety Show gets mixed reviews

    July 28, 2009

    HOLLYWOOD - Aiming to squelch rumors that he was not born in the United States and therefore not eligible to hold his current office, President Barack Obama and his family took to the stage last night at the Schubert Theater. The Obama Family’s “Really, I Was Born in Hawaii” Variety Show, was also broadcast live across the nation on NBC.

    The show once again showed the magic of the Obama family, as the President, First Lady Michelle, and children Sasha and Malia showcased their singing, dancing and comedic skills. The President opened up the show with one of his patented monologues.

    “As you know, my middle name was given to me by someone who had no idea I would run for President,” said Obama, who had a copy of his birth certificate pinned to his chest the entire show. “And that middle name was given to me in Hawaii. Where I was born. Really.”

    Other highlights included Michelle Obama entertaining the masses with her juggling act. The First Lady was able to keep three oranges, two chainsaws, and two copies of her husband’s birth certificate.

    “I’ve been practicing this for a while,” said Michelle Obama, mid-performance. “This should prove that my husband was born in Hawaii. Seriously.”

    During a poignant segment of the show, the President sat down with his two daughters to explain top them the promise of America.

    “Kids, I love you and I’m so happy that you have been born in a free country and can be anything you want,” said Barack Obama, a single tear falling down his cheek. “And remember Grandma? How we used to visit her in Hawaii? That’s because I was born there. It’s right here on the birth certificate.”

    The shows climactic segment came when Obama and Family, state authorities from Hawaii, and 1,200 other friends and relatives all went on stage and swore on Holy Bibles that Barack Obama, was, in fact, born in Hawaii.

    The show drew high ratings for NBC, and network executives are hoping to shoot more specials to use as a Fall replacement show. Obama advisor David Plouffe said the variety showcased Obama’s many skills.

    “People aren’t aware that Barack and his family are wonderful entertainers who want change in this nation. They are not the status quo. And Barack was born in Hawaii, really,” said Plouffe.

    Still, some media experts are not convinced.

    “Until we see the birth certificate, it’s all for not,” said CNN’s Lou Dobbs. “I’m still not entirely convinced.”


    Yes, Sportswriters, a battered woman today does matter less than a dog

    July 28, 2009

    When Michael Vick was busted for animal cruelty in running a dog-fighting ring, just about everyone was appalled. For many veteran sportswriters, however, the Vick situation became a teaching moment. Why was a man who trained dogs to rip each other apart being so demonized, when bigger issues such as violence against women were being ignored?

    “This is in no way meant to diminish Vick’s crime, but it seems fair to wonder why there’s a conspicuous lack of outrage when we hear about athletes torturing women,” wrote Barry Rozner. “And whether a battered woman today matters less than a dog.”

    Ironically, now that Vick has served his time and looks to regain his status as an NFL player, there is another story out there that threatens a popular NFL quarterback. But this is a story that has been hidden from the media as much as possible, courtesy of ESPN.

    Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers has been accused of rape in a civil suit. The two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback has strongly denied the allegations.

    “Her false and vicious accusations are an attack on my family and on me. I am going to fight to protect my family and my reputation,” said Roethlisberger.

    Roethlisberger deserves to clear his name and should be considered innocent unless proven guilty. But his accuser has every right to have her story heard, fair or false. ESPN, however, has made the editorial decision to treat this whole incident as if it just didn’t happen.

    “At this point, we are not reporting the allegations against Ben Roethlisberger because no criminal complaint has been filed. As far as we know, this is a civil lawsuit that Roethlisberger has yet to address publicly,” announced ESPN.

    This is what we in the business call selective ethics. Because ESPN gladly reported civil lawsuits being filed against the likes of Randy Moss. With Roethlisberger - who has worked with ESPN/ABC on a reality show with Shaquille O’Neal - the gloves are on, and his reputation is to be protected.

    As for the woman who filed the suit? The reaction to her has been typical of the sports media world. Currently, her name and photos of her have been published, and the typical sports story on the issue focuses on Roethlisberger’s denials and how the suit will affect his career and marketability.

    It’s almost assured that we’ll learn more about the incident that took place in Nevada. Or, more information about the incident will come out. Whether you learn about that information is anyone’s guess.

    Because despite the righteous posturing of several sportswriters over the Vick affair, the song remains the same. When it comes to male athletes and allegations of sexual abuse, the woman’s side of the story is for the dogs.


    Bloggerz can has journalisms?

    July 28, 2009

    Connie Schultz of the Cleveland Plain Dealer has seen the future, and it pisses her off.

    Certainly, we are concerned about job stability. But veteran journalists are equally troubled by the online threat to standards we hold dear.

    If anyone had told me five years ago that newspapers would allow anonymous comments and that we would have to respond to them, I would have invited them to come for a walk with me to the land of grown-ups. Now, I regularly address authors of online comments by their made-up names and pretend this doesn’t feel like junior high school all over again.

    The so-called citizen journalism of most blogs is an affront to those of us who believe reporting and attribution must precede publication.

    Sorry Connie, but when reporter Chuck Todd is telling the world that the U.S. has no business conducting internal war crimes investigations and Dan Balz of the Washington Post can’t get through a health care column without using two unnamed sources, the incredible nobility of the mainstream media can perhaps be missed.

    The mainstream media is suffering because they have consistently done a piss-poor job for years. “Citizen journalists” didn’t enter the fray and destroy the ethics of “real” journalists. “Citizen journalism” came as a result of the mainstream media’s failures and lack of ethics.

    Put it this way, only Major League Baseball players that are doing poorly are threatened by minor league players. And currently, mainstream media players are being consistently shown up by their citizen journalist counterparts and have every reason to feel threatened.


    Sarah Palin: Winging it

    July 27, 2009

    Sarah Palin is no longer the Governor of Alaska and it’s all the fault of the non-troops loving media and Obama is taking your guns away. Or something like that.

    Anyway, Palin is officially off Alaska’s dime and will pursue a more lucrative lifestyle. She is gone, but under no circumstances will she allow herself to be forgotten. And here’s hoping she stays out front in her glorious fight to do whatever she’s doing in God’s name. Because, like it or not, she has plenty of devoted followers. She represents quite a few Americans.

    Personally and honestly, I hope that Palin begins a new party. A party solely devoted to those who feel the U.S. isn’t Old Testament enough. It would be a strong party out of the gate, and make it much easier to keep track of the whack jobs. But, seriously, I’ll take a third or fourth party from wherever it’s offered.

    Of course, in her statement to the press, Palin spokesperson Meg Stapleton gave us some room to contemplate:

    On Monday, “we’ll sit down and say, ‘OK, here are your options. How do you now want to effect that positive change for Alaska from outside the role as governor?’” Stapleton said.

    Yes, apparently Palin is winging it. I can hardly wait until 2012.


    One-Liner: Alaska’s cool again

    July 27, 2009

    Suddenly, I feel much better telling people long, boring stories about my days in Alaska.


    What are you looking at?

    July 24, 2009

    You looking at me? Or not? If not, sorry for the accusatory tone.


    Birthers inducted into Conspiracy Nutbag Hall of Fame

    July 23, 2009

    For those who had tired of 9/11 conspiricists or “Truthers” calling us ignorant and screaming the steel can’t melt, the Birthers have been a breath of fresh air. So for that, and a multitude of other reasons, we here at William K. Wolfrum Chronicles are proud to announce that the Birther movement has earned its spot in the Conspiricist Nutbag Hall of Fame.

    Birthers believe that President Barack Obama was born in Kenya and that his Presidency is illegal and that there is a huge conspiracy at work that has been ongoing since Obama was born. Despite the fact that Obama has shown his birth certificate and the State of Hawaii has verified his birth in Hawaii, Birthers steadfastly believe it’s all crap and have been on the prowl for little more than a year, making it the third-fastest growing conspiracy.

    “This is just fantastic,” said one Birther. “The stolen kingdom of Barack Hussein Obama will crumble!”

    Still, most experts claim that - like other conspiracies - the Birther movement requires many leaps of logic and will likely soon be crushed by the weight of the logical fallacies it has created.

    Nonetheless, Birthers join an honored group in the Conspiracy Nutbag Hall of Fame. Earlier inductees include:

    The Fire Brigade: A group that refused to believe in the existence of fire (on record as the fastest-resolved conspiracy);

    Truthers: The greatest conspiracy of the modern era, despite the fact that its members are annoying as hell. Many still believe that 9/11 was a zionist conspiracy, the U.S. murdered everyone on Flight 92, shot missiles into the Pentagon and blew up the WTCs. This is a conspiracy with legs.

    Dowsers: These people walk around with sticks that they say they can use to find water underground.

    Scientology: Xenu, baby.

    Representatives of the Birther movement have said they will continue to believe that Obama was born in Kenya, regardless of what brook is presented.

    “We all know that everyone in the 1960s was looking for a black leader,” said the Birther Leader. “Wiz, bang, boom, Obama’s President. Our case is clear.”


    One-Liner: Need some Juice

    July 23, 2009

    During these hard times, this country needs an O.J. scandal more than ever. Maybe he can break out.


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