Saturday, April 16, 2005

Bush Boos

Unable to vet 46,000 people as decidedly pro-Bush, and therefore allow them access to listen to the President in public, the fans at the Washington Nationals inaugural game on Thursday gave the most accurate public reception the President has had in five years when he threw the first pitch. Cheers and some boos. How refreshing to hear the honesty. Where's that mandate again?


Anonymous balloon pirate said...

(Completely off-topic, but sometimes I just have to rant. BP)

Let's pretend, for a minute, that the current regime decides that it is their Moral Christian Duty to reinstate prohibition in this country.

"That's it," they say, "no more booze. Alcohol is a drug, and we can't have it ruining the lives of honest, hardworking American citizens any more."

Well, as a guy who likes to tip back a frosty Canadian Ale every now and again, I would find that law disappointing, to say the least. But, on the other hand, the old Balloon Pirate is experiencing first-hand the horrors of drug and alcohol addiction. I have a loved one who is an alcoholic. I saw it nearly destroy her, and it nearly destroyed me too. So, although I would STILL find such a decision ill-conceived and unacceptable, I could at least understand the reasoning behind it.

But what if, after prohibition was reinstated, you had to meet far stricter federal requirements before being allowed to seek treatment for your addiction? What if there was a draconian screening process you had to pass before being allowed to attend an AA meeting? Furthermore, what if, after banning the consumption of alcohol, THE PRODUCTION OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES WAS STILL ALLOWED? Not only that, but what if they let Anheuser-Busch to pull up beer trucks to the doorways of Alcoholics Anonymous, and let them stand there with plastic cups in their hands, saying things like, "I'm so glad you're on the road to recovery. Here, celebrate your newfound sobriety with a Budweiser and a list of places you can go to sample our fine products."

Well, that's what's going on with the bankruptcy bill. One of the things this bill will do is make it far harder for people who are drowning in debt to seek relief from those debts. However, nothing in this bill or any other piece of legislation currently given serious consideration does anything about predatory credit-card companies. Those fine corporations are still free to inundate us with 'pre-approved' offers, many of which have usurious rates.

In fact, PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN AWARDED DEBT RELIEF VIA CHAPTER 7 ARE BEING ACTIVELY PURSUED BY CREDIT CARD COMPANIES! (In case you're not familiar with Chapter 7 filings, you are relieved from your debt in exchange for giving up nearly everything except the clothes you're wearing and the fillings in your teeth. You no longer have debt, but you also no longer have a pot to piss in.)

From the Washington Post: "I tell my clients they will be inundated with offers," said North Carolina attorney T. Bentley Leonard. The reason is simple, he said: This group of consumers is a very attractive market to lenders because their debts have been wiped out and new debt cannot be forgiven for another six years.

"One day they owe $50,000, the next day, nothing. What better person to lend money to?" Leonard said.

That's certainly the pitch of one database firm, NewLeadsUSA, which sells lists of bankrupt consumers and businesses from publicly available data. "Opportunity knocks after life's hard knocks," the NewLeads Web site says. "Bankruptcy means a new financial life for many businesses and consumers. Be among the first to reach this unique and lucrative market."
("Bankrupt and Swamped With Credit Offers" Caroline E. Meyer, April 15, 2005, p.A1)

Fucking brilliant.

So what does the new and improved bankruptcy bill do about this? Nothing--except increase the time limit from debt protection to EIGHT years. In other words, the new bill gives predatory credit card companies an additional two years to bleed their clients dry.

Phil--If you were writing a story where the antagonists were this diabolical, would it be rejected as being too far-fetched? Yet here they are, not only doing this, but trumpeting this bill as 'Good for America!'

Here's another quote from a credit-card fuckstick in the same story: "A lot of people who come out of bankruptcy are actually pretty good credit risks" (Alan Elias, spokesman for Providian Financial Corp.)

Well, bullshit.

In case you didn't already know, I was granted debt relief through Chapter 13 bankruptcy in 2001. It was a combination of things that brought me to that point, many of which were out of my direct control: a changing economy, job loss, and, yes, the alcoholism of a loved one. I must admit, however, that some of the fault was due to bad financial choices on my part--specifically, misuse and overuse of credit cards. Fortunately (and I know just how ironic that choice of word is), my filing happened before this new law will be passed.

When the revolution is televised, I would apply for a credit card just so I could buy one pay-per-view event: the steel-cage match pitting credit-card company managers vs. their 'good credit risks'


9:29 PM, April 17, 2005  
Blogger Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

More excellent BP facts, I must say the fact he got booed is hard to find on many 'news' sources.

7:50 AM, April 18, 2005  
Anonymous Balloon Pirate said...

It's mentioned in passing in a story about the first pitch Watching CNN's highlights, you could hear both the boos and the cheers on the nat sound track, although it went without comment. ESPN, who i swear pay their anchors by the wisecrack, made a 'mandate' remark that came of as fairly ironic. I didn't watch Fox sports, so I don't know how they used the footage.


9:02 AM, April 18, 2005  
Blogger Philip Morton said...

Daniel, the boos were barely mentioned across the board. Took me a lot of reading to find an article that did and that's the one linked. That's our liberal media for you. Complicit image-loving bastards.

1:12 AM, April 19, 2005  
Blogger Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

*shakes head*

2:55 PM, April 19, 2005  

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