Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Someone may need to use a thesaurus at the Chronicle.

Or as Inigo Montoya once said, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means"

So the headline over at SFGate tonight read:

Homicides plummet inexplicably in S.F.

The article which follows, written by Jaxsen Van Derbeken (usually pretty reliable in my opinion), then goes on to list a whole litany of contributing factors as to why the homicide rate dropped this year in San Francisco. This would include an expansion in the Homicide unit, which gave them more manpower to solve 70% of the homicides this year. Then there was the redeployment of the SFPD, putting more officers in the stations that have the high crime rates and the gang problems. Added to this was the SFPD's decision to aggressively target the various gangs that were the cause of alot of the homicides in San Francisco.

Seems like there are a lot of reasons why the rate is down. The question is whether the City of San Francisco is going to do what is necessary to keep the rate down.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Should have been a Muni employee


Yes, I know, lately I have been on an anti-MUNI kick but lets take a look at some things. Today, it was revealed that MUNI employees, as long as they work 2,080 hours in the year receive a bonus of $3,000.00. Based on the number of employees that earn this (about 65%), that works out $18 million.

This bonus, it must be noted, is not based on anything other than the number of total hours which an employee clocked in the year. No requirement that the hours be good. No requirement that something have been achieved during those hours. Its simple, work 2,080 hours, you get a bonus.

You know how many hours you work in a year if you work 50 weeks? That would be 2000. And how many vacation hours do they get? 2 weeks? That would be 80 hours.

By the way, last year MUNI operated at a $70 million deficit. With a little simple math, that means that the bonus system has caused at least 25% of the MUNI budget deficit.

And yet, I don't see anyone at the top of MUNI losing their job for creating a $ 70 million deficit. Nor do I see any hours being cut back for the workers. The only people I see being asked to sacrifice are the users of the system who see their fares go up and their service go down.

Next up, let's look at what MUNI employees make. The entry level, according to the article is: $29.19 per hour. In the course of a standard 50 week work year, assuming that they do 8 hours and no overtime: $58,380.00. Throw in vacation pay, because unlike many workers nowadays, they still get vacation pay, and that's more than $60,000.00 per year, plus an additional $225 per month for their benefits.

As a point of reference, many law firms in this area start their first year attorneys at small/medium-sized firms start somewhere between $57,000.00 and 90,000.00. Add in student loans from seven years of school, and it would have been better to skip education and get a job driving a bus, where standards seem to only be enforced when a rider finally catches you on their cell phone camera acting badly.

How any agency or business can pay bonuses when they are losing money is beyond me. It should be illegal for a municipal, state, or federal agency to issue bonuses when the agency itself is over budget. If a private business did it, they should be (not the employees) taxed prohibitively.

Enough of this rewarding people for just showing up. Showing up is not enough.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Let's See If I Get This Whole Thing About Muni Straight...

My fast pass is going up, again.

If I still want to be able to use it to ride BART, then it goes up even more.

MUNI has cut service, meaning even longer wait times.

Even with the recent fare increases, if I'm (or my wife, or my daughter are) attacked on MUNI, there is a better than even chance that a) the camera on the bus/street car won't be working well enough to get an image of the assailant and b) it is unlikely that the MUNI driver will bother to call the police about the incident.

So where is the part that says that MUNI will improve its service? Will they actually show up on time? Only 73% of the time, if the statistics are to be believed. Where I come from, that's a C-. (Although I'm sure if President Obama was in charge of MUNI he'd call it a solid B+).

A C- is not acceptable.

So why are all the cuts being made in ways that affect the people who are supposed to be served? I'm not hearing of any lay offs of administrative personnel. I'm not hearing about any ways that MUNI is acting to save on expenses, other than by sticking it to the citizens of San Francisco.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mrs. Angrybell Has A Theory

So my wife has a theory on how I get my clients. She is convinced that there is a website somewhere where all my clients go and discuss who to hire as a lawyer.

And we're not talking about Avvo.

First I should explain. Many of my clients have issues. These aren't your "difficult-because-they-are-demanding-types-client" issues.

I could only wish.

Rather, a large portion of my clients have been ... well..

Crazy is the polite way of saying it (although I think Mrs. Angrybell would describe more than a few of them as "bat-sh!t loony"). Complete with certifications that they are indeed.. well... crazy.

So Mrs. Angrybell has come up with a theory, especially in light of the fact that lately there has been an uptick in calls for my services from these .... crazy... potential clients. She believes that there is a website devoted to helping... crazy... folk find lawyers. Somehow, my name must be on there with a bullet.

At least, that is what Mrs. Angrybell thinks is the reason for why none of my clients seem to be ... well.. not crazy.

My mother would be so proud.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

After all... whats in a name?

Well if the name is Flynt, apparently its high class porn. Not just porn. It has to be porn that walks that fine line between "vanilla" and "making people uncomfortable".

At least that is what Larry Flynt said in testimony before a jury in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

What was this about? Larry Flynt is suing two of his nephews for trademark infringement. Interestingly, its not for misuing any of the Hustler marks. Instead, its for using their own name, Flynt, for their porn production company.

According to Larry Flynt, their porn just does not make the grade when compared with the porn turned out by Larry's Hustler. On the stand, Mr. Flynt was giving the fine points between trashy porn produced by his nephews, such as "Positive Exposure" and "Sex at Your Service", did not live up the high quality one would expect from Hustler. To prove his point, he compared them to images from "Mason's Sluts".

I'm sure that the 4 men and 4 women on the jury had fun with that explanation.

Now, according to what I have read, Mr. Flynt would have let his nephews go with the name, but for the fact that their films were so "passe". Mr. Flynt was proud to say "We're bringing elegance back to erotica."

Wow. Who knew?

In the end, the jury came out with a split verdict. On the trademark infringement claims, the jury found in favor of Larry Flynt. On the other counts, relating to invasion of privacy, the jury found for the nephews.

So beware the next time you think about slapping the name Flynt on any old piece of porn!.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Friday, December 04, 2009

They didn't cancel it, just moved it.

Apparently some people really, really love the A Charlie Brown Christmas. And who wouldn't. I'm Jewish and I think its one of the best holiday specials ever made.

But apparently, some people are a little... over enthusiastic. And woe betide the person who preempts their annual viewing tradition.

The mayor of Arlington, TN, is so incensed over the Charlie Brown Christmas being preempted, that he is accusing the President of doing it on purpose.

In fact, he went so far as to say "We sit the kids down to watch 'The Charlie Brown Christmas Special' and our muslim president is there, what a load.....try to convince me that wasn't done on purpose."

Ok, was that necessary? Almost surprised he didn't call President Obama a "our Jewish" president (Barak is Hebrew for lightning). Don't worry, The Charlie Brown Christmas Special is going to be broadcast next week and again on December 15.

And why would he call him a Muslim, when its well known that President Obama has been faithful Christian. Prior to becoming president, he regularly attended services with Reverend Wright. What more could a good Christian conservative want from him?

I mean, its not like the speech was that good (yes, I grade speeches hard.) or that bad (yeah, I give it about C, or in DWTS parlance, a 6). And the position he staked out seemed like the worst compromise possible (yes, let's send troops but lets not give them enough time to do anything constructive except as targets before we pull them out). But apparently he felt the need to cover himself politically that he had to talk to the American people by using an aircraft carrier the Corps of Cadets at West Point as his backdrop.

But let's not worry. Charlie Brown has been delayed. Charlie, Linus and the rest of the bunch will be on this year.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Georgina Blackwell

Imagine that you've gone through undergraduate and earned a degree. Then you've gone through legal training, and been admitted to the bar. You've done your scut work, gotten promoted to the point where you get to be in charge of cases for one of the largest builders in the country. In fact, some newspapers have said you are one of the top lawyers in the country.

And in walks someone with no training. Little formal education past secondary school. And they proceed to kick your ass.

It happens. And most recently, it happened in Royal High Courts Of Justice in London.

Just to make it worse, from the lawyer's perspective, the lawyer in question got beat by a beautician.

Georgina Blackwell's mother lives in a house in Essex. However, it stood in the way of a developer's project. Before Ms. Blackwell's mother could get a lawyer she could afford, the developer had her in court and got an order allowing them to demolish a good portion of her house for their project.

Not willing to let this happen, Ms. Blackwell tried to get a lawyer for her mother. However, they could not afford one. So Ms. Blackwell, who apparently had foregone a law career before to help support her mother, decided to take on the case herself. She drafted the case, argued it before the High Court, and won. The developer had to pay for the property (to the tune of £ 75,000) and had to give up the costs that they had won in the initial round of litigation (about £ 20,000), and pay Ms. Blackwell's legal costs.

As a result of the publicity, she has been offered a place at one of the Inns (the British version of law school). Her response: she's interested but "the idea of giving up work again and becoming a student is a bit scary, plus I’ll miss my old job and my lovely clients."


Sunday, November 29, 2009

That's Right, Let's Make The President Special

Ever known a wedding not to attract gate crashers? How about a corporate function with a few folks who've lost their name tags? Annoying, yes. Few bucks lost. Probably. Criminal?

Apparently, a couple decided that they would crash a state dinner at the White House. Why they did it, who knows. They might want to cash in on the fame for having pulled off an audacious gate crashing. They might just have been really big fans of President Obama, but since they don't write checks large enough to the Democratic Party, they weren't on the invite list.

Now, because all they did was shake hands with the president, engage in some chit chat with foreign dignataries, and probably eat drink at the public expense, people are calling for their heads. On the Sunday news shows, Democrat and Republican talking heads provided for your consumption all called for their prosecution, probably for trespass.

Prosecuting them? For real? I mean, don't we have bigger things to talk about? Like, perhaps what we are doing about Health Care? Iran and nuclear weapons? or perhaps unemployment?

Presidential security, in my opinion, is over done these days. We've taken to treating the President like he is somehow irreplaceable. Quite frankly, very few president's in our history have been irreplaceable (in my opinion the list has 2 names on it: Washington and Lincoln).

But, we're going to keep doing this. And the Michaele and Tareq Salahi will probably be prosecuted.

Because that makes so much sense. To arrest and prosecute two people for wanting to meet a celebrity. Ridiculous.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Are People Seriously Stupid When It Comes to the "Elderly"?

Ok, let's start off with one thing. I think the elderly are overly-coddled in this country. I think they get too many special perks. And I really, really don't like the AARP.

I think if you really want to help the elderly, you do it early. You make sure that kids get educated. You make sure that you create the right environment for jobs to be created. You give incentives for people to save.

Yes, I do believe that there should be some assistance, but I think it is wrong for the elderly to think that they are entitled to assistance simply because they are elderly. I love my grandparents, but I still question the wisdom in the government doling out Social Security benefits to them every month given how successful they were during their working years.

I think that if there are any benefits paid out to the elderly, simply because they are "elderly", then there should be a means test. Yes, I know it gets into the whole "Well I paid into social security for 50 years with my taxes" argument. I really don't care. We have already said in this country that its ok to subsidize people because they don't earn as much or can't find a job. I do not think its ok to simply to subsidize their incomes because of their age.

And, in case people have not noticed, people are living longer these days. Back when Social Security was first rolled out, life expectency was about 62 years. For men it was actually about 58. Meaning that most of the people would die before or just after they started to be elligible to collect their benefits. However, we, in our infinite wisdom, have failed to take into account this fact and still give out the benefits as if people were going to live for the same number of years as they would back in the 1930s. Currently, life expectancy is about 75 years.

Apparently, though, this is not enough. Apparently, someone wants to do away with taxes for people over the age of 55. This little bit of insanity is brought to you be Lee W. Olsen. Not content to ending income tax for people over 55 (and quite frankly 55 is just middle age these days, not elderly), he wants to do away with property tax and any other sort of tax on people over 55.

So let's see if this makes sense. Let's make schools so unaffordable that if you are able to secure the funding, you will end up paying off debt for the next two or three decades. Let's also decrease the tax pool, putting an even greater proportion of the tax burden on one group of people. Then, lets also demand that this group of people pay for the subsidization of the elderly.

I guess in a way it does make sense. By the time you hit 55, you'll be broke, or been bankrupted by the whole thing so you'll need to have a subsidy to tide you over.

Yeah, I know, this is really cutting into my street cred with my progressive friends. I look at it as if you live in this country, and in this state, you have to kick in your fair share. What that share is, that is another question. But I see no reason to simply exempt a group because of their age.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dancing With The Stars Finals Reveal Show

So let's start off with this: Samantha Harris is hated no more by the hair department, but she is hated by the wardrobe people. She is a painfully thin woman who has been clothed in a way to make it look like she has no waist and weighs about the same as me. And my BMI is not in the good zone.

Final dances:

Kelly's final Viennese waltz was great. She had a little hesitation right near the end that kept it from being perfect. But marked improvement. If it was a regular round, I could see 9/9/10.

Mya and Dmitri did a jive. Now here's the thing. That jive was much better than their open.

Donny drew the final slow of the night. He and Kym made a second try at the Argentine Tango. Here's hoping that there will be no wardrobe malfunction this time. And to make sure, they cut down on the amount of clothing on Kym. Everything except the end move was good. What is it with everyone this week? Get to the finals and forget to finish?

And the judges rewarded Donny over Mya. How weird. I had it down Donny 1st, Mya 2nd, Kelly 3rd. And they agreed. Whats up with that?

As we're watching the reveal, it looks like Donny is actually nervous and Mya thinks she has it in the bag. Either that or she knows something rest of us don't.

Congrats to Donny and Kym (its been long over due for you Ms. Johnson).

Monday, November 23, 2009

Finals Madness (DWTS Finals Recap)

I guess since its the final, they gave Samantha Harris a break and let her look good. Either that or someone got fired.

Mrs. Angrybell wants to know what Carrie Ann wearing. "It looks like it has little balls on it."

Kelly draws the lousy spot of going first. Always makes it harder when you become the meter/yard stick. Doing the Argentine Tango. This looks better than the last time she tired this. Mrs. Angrybell thinks she looks quite nice in the outfit. Little stumble, but looking good over all. Thank goodness there is no lift police, I am liking this dance. She is completely in character in this dance, not showing her nervousness. As Mrs. Angrybell says "you can't tell its Kelly this time in the dance." Wasn't flawless, but should be good enough to keep her close enough. Bruno was a little over critical. That 8 was ... not right. What should have been a 27 became a 26.

Mya and Dmitri followed this up. Can someone please explain the eyeblack? Angrybabybelle's Lil'Gramma wants Dmitri to put a shirt on (she phoned us to say that this). Alright, now I understand the eyeblack, but in the Paso? Really? Dmitri, please, go to the gym. Little stumbles right afte rthey came off the risers. Something went wrong with the hand holds there, I am not sure what. Mrs. Angrybell doesn't get this, "She's dressed like a dominatrix, he's dressed like a refugee from Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band playing football on Sunday." I was not blown away by this, so I'm wondering about the judge's effusiveness. Sounds like a perfect score, even though I think it was not fluid all the time. I almost feel like the fix is in. Sure enough, a perfect score.

Donny and Kym come limping in. Why limping? He's had two bad weeks in a row. He's been looking tired. Let's be clear, the only thing that got him to the finals is his fan base. Danny and Kym decided on the Cha cha cha. The beinging is a bit uneven with the between the legs bits. Too much shoulder action, not enough hip action. I think he feels like he is back in the seventies and not on a ballroom competition. Now the hips have come out. He is such a performer. Mrs. Angrybell just had flashbakcs to her father dancing when he and Kym were doing the last few combinations. It was nice, mostly clean, but I wouldn't call it perfect. Mrs. Angrybell thinks there is a bit a crush going on there from Bruno. The nines were right on.

Too bad it looks like the fix is in for Mya, at least with the judges.

Now there is the Mega Mix challenge. So its formation, identical dances. This will be interesting. Mya is a half beat behind everyone. Now she is more than a beat behind them all. Kelly then gets off beat. Now they are all back on the same page. And Kelly looks nervous as she falls behind. The jive is hurting Kelly. But then Mya had problems.

Ok so what does that mean? Mya was off beat in the smooth. But when it shifted to the jive, it was Kelly who fell behind. Donny and Kym on the other hand looked like they were the most consistent. I really think that the judges blew the call on this one. I could see Kelly cominging third. She had trouble on the jive. However, Donny and Kym did the best overall and should have been rewarded for it. Yet, the judges seem to have decided that Mya should win.

Next up: Freestyle time.

Kelly and Louie go first. They drew a good song: I Will Survive. Mrs. Angrybell;'s thought on seeing the outfit" She looks like a space age Rocky." Little of time when she gos in open. Oops, there goes the fall. And then the nice cover by Louis. Nice spin at the end. Lacked a wow factor. This was one fo the first times that Louis has choreographed harder than she could perform, which is unlike him. He pushes to the edge, but usually knows exactly where their line is. Mrs. Angrybell agrees with Carrie Ann. When she talked, I heard the Charlie Brown teacher. Straight 8s is harsh, but she did fall.

My and Dmitri with their "historic" open dance. They say they want to make history. What I am seeing so far is fairly safe, even with the first lift. It almost looks like he is showcasing himself, not her. This is reminding me of the Stacey Keibler open dances from a few seasons ago. Where was the wow? This was like a second rate routine from Hairspray. And then Carrie Ann agrees with me. And Len, plus he says what I forgot to say. We waited for something to happen, but nothing did. Dmitri just left the door wide open for Donny and Kym. Make no mistake. Mya did her part. Dmitri ... just ... I'm not sure what to call it. It's a blown save that's for sure. The straight nines were right, especially since they gave Kelly the 8s.

Donny and Kym with a chance to send this to extra innings. Kym wants to go for Broadway. This might work, because Donny can perform that, better Mya. Hell, Donny's been on Broadway before. Little off time with each other. It was fun. Low on the wow factor. Little rough in a few places. But he made it look better than Dmitri's Hairspray routine. Surprise, surprise, Bruno loved it. Well, I am a little surprised that they got a perfect score. Then again, the other two routines had more problems.

Alright. So who to vote for? My view is this: Donny. Pains me t0 say it in a way. But he should win based on tonight.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Did We Suddenly Go Back To 1969?

Is Nixon in the White House again? Then again, I guess it was only a matter of time before the UC Berkely students decided to take over something. This time its Wheeler Hall. How many times does this make it that Wheeler Hall has been taken over by students and is this now a record for a school building most often lost to protestors?

So what are they protesting? Darfur? Nope. Arab terrorism? Nope. American Imperialism? Nope.

They're protesting having to pay for their education.

Horror beyond belief I know.

Reminds me though of a funny story. Back in the 1960s, I forget which year, the students at the University of Cambridge decided that the Americans and French were having too much fun with their sit-ins and takeovers of school buildings to protest Vietnam and the rest of the social ills. So the student revolutionaries decided that they would take over Senate House. They figured by grabbing Senate House, which is where the University is headquartered, that they would bring the University to a halt.

Only one problem with that theory. The University of Cambridge works on a federal type system that has been analogized as being very similar to Switzerland's. Yes, its one university. No, its actually many different entities. Yes, the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor are in charge of the university. No, the member colleges don't have to actually adhere to anything. Its weird, wacky, and fun.

What it all meant was that a bunch of student revolutionaries grabbed the Senate House, and inconvenienced almost no one. According to a professor who was a student at the time, you had to really be aware that it even happened at all.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Google's Latest

So I started hearing about it yesterday. And quite frankly, I dismissed it as not being that big. However, now that I'm looking at it, I have to say I'm sort of blown away.

And yes, this is a geeky thing.

So what am I talking about? Google has gone and added legal opinions to its Google Scholar options. Now, big firms, and even not so big ones, usually spend an exoritant amount of money on Westlaw or Lexis. And for good reason. Westlaw and Lexis do give a good product. They also include a number legal treatises.

However, for smaller firms and solos, the cost is pretty high. Especially when you don't need it that much. At the times I really need the information, I tend to go to the law library (yes, its a hassel and yes, its ludditey) but its more cost-effective (barely) than paying what Westlaw and Lexis demand.

On the other hand, there are a lot of times when I just need a case or two. And there has been a few other sites that give you the cases. However, their search engines are well... kinda sub par. And their version of sherphardizing is, well, lousy.

But from my little test this morning, Google seems to have improved on all that.

Now I just wonder how long its going to last before they start charging for it.

The downside to this is that more people will think they can be their own lawyer now. And yes, it is true what they say about someone who is their own lawyer. They do have a fool for a client.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What the hell just happened here? (DWTS Reveal)

The audience, in its infinite wisdom has spoken. The smoking hot model, who has proven that for Dancing With The Stars she can dance, home short of the finals. In her place, the mental daughter of the Prince of Darkness has been voted into the finals next week.


Ok, let's get something straight. Since week 1, I have been a Kelly Osbourne fan. However, as she admits, her own worst enemy is herself. Also, while she has been very good for the show's competition, Joanna Krupa was the better dancer.

I know this is the nature of the show, especially because of the way scoring works. But to send home Joanna in favor of Kelly... when perhaps it should have been Donny who went home.

I have to wonder what Louis thinks of all this. He's had better performing partners in the past who were as good or better dancers, who were not nearly as mentally self-destructive. And he did not make to the finals with any of them.

All I can say is th Kelly has been given a gift by the fans. Now she owes us to not meltdown and turn in the kind of dance we've seen her give us, albeit in brief flashes, throughout the season.

With Joanna out of the way, I find it hard to believe that Mya won't win it all. Donny is leaking oil, and if wasn't for all of Utah voting for him (hey, it is the core of his fanbase!), he probably does not make it into the finals. The real question is whether Dmitri is going to follow the Cheryl example of Save A Horse Ride A Cowboy, of if he is going to do a Cheryl What a Feeling type routine. One is a vanity routine. The other wins competitions.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Semi Finals Madness (DWTS)

Its triple routine night on Dancing with The Stars. And I have to say, unlike some seasons past, America has actually voted the way it should have, as opposed to voting for the popular person. Makes watching this so much nicer. :)

Donny Osmond and Kym drew lead-off duties tonight. First dance tonight for them is the Tango. This must be interesting for the nice Mormon boy from Utah. He has to make everyone uncomfortable? Mrs. ANgrybell wants to knwo what is up with the gold lame jakcet. Footwork is a little sloppy right now. And the song is not helping them. Had a little trouble with the walks. But nice overall. Problem is, its not enough at this stage. And the look on Donny's face says he knows it. Followed by his scream of anguish. With all the problems, they should be happy with the 21.

Joanna Krupa and Derek Hough followed that routine up with a waltz. Alright, they got a better song than Donny did. And she is executing well so far. Nice posture. She is dancing a bit on her toes instead of going back through the heel. It had rise and fall, but not quite right. Crowd loved it, shocker. The 27 was right, it was a good but not perfect routine.

The Princess of Darkness and Louie Van Amstel were up next. Let's see if Kelly Osbourne can hold it together. Her brain is literally her own worst enemy. She has rumba first. Best outfit she's had all season. Good song, but I never considered it a rumba. Little problme getting that hip action going, but she is getting nice quicks and slows. Mrs. Angrybell thinks that Kelly is an every woman (she is a daughter, she has issues, she is not rail thin but not grossly fat. Basically someone people can identify with). Now that is gutsy, a solo. Stumble at the end. Dangerous end. Tricks were nice, but some basic stuff was missing (i.e. lack of hip action). Should be an 8. Carrie Ann was brought to tears. Shocker. Len lends some perspective. Bruno had some interesting things to say, pariticularly when he questioned if she was familiar with eroticism. The 24 was dead on.

Mya and Dmitri. So here is the question, will Dmitri become the anchor or the albatross for her. Mrs. Angrybell thinks Mya is trying to channel Edyta with the leg warmers. Dancing the Waltz for their first routine. Nice dip. She is also up on her toes a bit. But she is throwing in some heel leads. But this looks great. It looks like she is floating. I didn't like that open bit in the waltz. It was like Dmitri was trying to give her a solo in the waltz, which is not appropriate for that dance. She had a bit of an issue in the last combination. Mrs. Angrybell thinks that the lift police might be out. The 28 is a good score. I'm still confused with Carrie Ann's comment about them not being connected.

Donny and Kym are doing a smaba as their second dance. He has more hip action than Kelly did in her ruymba. He is having too much fun out there. Fairly flexible for an old guy. I think he has been waiting to do this since he made his first fumble earlier tonight. This looks clean and it looks like he is right on with everything. Only a slight fumble at the end. Mrs. Angrybell thinks it was OK. 26 was ok as a score. Too bad that Carrie Ann wasn't watching.

Joanna and Derek chose Cha Cha Cha. Again not a good song. Mrs. Angrybell is just happy that Derek is wearing a shirt. Nice hip action. Take that back on the hips, its not consistent. Mrs. Angrybell thinks she is a little sloppy, not finishing her moves. To her, tis the difference between her and Mya. Again, nice but missing something. The 27 was a little generous.

Kelly and Louie doing the jive. Good song but dress is interesting. She had a little hic hup but then did the turns without a hitch. Who is this girl in Kelly's place? She is not always crsip but she is holding it together better than she usually does. Sumble but a recovery. Wow. Louie was just pushing her to the edge with that. Other weeks, with the little hiccups would have resulted in a meltdown. I give it a 9. Too many little problems to get a 10. But it was nice. 27. Mrs. Angrybell tormented me with her control of the tivo remote on that one.

Mya and Dmitri chose to do a Salsa. Why did we have to see Dmitir's chest? Good song for this. It was good. The problem was... it was underwhelming. Not a question of performance. It was the choreography that was lacking. They're going to give it 10s. I would have given it 9s.

So now we come to the knock-out dance. Third time the charm?

Donny and Kym went Jive. Good song. Mrs. Angrybell thought it was ok. For me, it made up for the first one. Mrs. Angrybell thought that the costumes looked like Poison Ivy going to the prom. 27. Not enough for what Donny needs.

Joana and Derek chose the salsa. Thank you Derek for not taking your shirt off. This salsa was better than Mya's. It was fun, flirty, and crisp. They got robbed with those 9s.

Kelly and Louie cha cha chaed out for the their knock out dance. This is a risk, especially since she did well in the first week wit h this. Good song. The skirt is helping to hide her hip movement. Footwork spot on. Did well with it. Mrs. Angrybell loves that Mrs. Osbourne is always in the front row. 27s.

Mya and Dmitri also chose the cha cha cha. Not a great song choice. What else is there to criticize? Mrs. Angrybell has decided that Mya deserves to win. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I agree with Carrie Ann. The 10s were a little too much. Mrs. Angrybell thinks they are trying to tip everyone in favor of Mya.

Alright, the weak gazelle of the week is Donny. He is sputtering right now trying to keep up with the multiple dances. He is a great showman, but this week his technique fell apart. I think, in addition to be physically tired, he might be cracking a little under the stress.

On the other hand, Kelly rose to the challenge. She was not perfect, but when things could have gone wrong, she danced on. I was impressed.

As it stands right now, Mya should win. Dmitri is the only thing standing in her way. Is he up to choreographing a free style. Joanna has hung in there. Right now, she needs Mya to stumble and to remember to finish her moves.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

And he was surprised by our response?

You may remember that I mentioned that my wife and I had put an offer in on the house here in San Francisco. And you might also remember, how the "lovely"person who would put the place up for sale countered our reasonable offer by increasing his price by approximately 25%.

Because apparently he thought that it was an automatic given that any property in San Francisco must be sold for over asking.

So we told him, after making one counter, to pound sand. At least, that was the polite translation I allowed my broker to make.

After all that, we passed by the place over the weekend. We noticed that there was an open house. We did not go in.

Apparently, his cunning plan of finding someone to get into a bidding war with us failed. No one apparently so much as made a low ball offer on the place.

So what is he to do? Well, apparently his plan was put into effect yesterday, this "lovely" person came back with what he called a great offer. His listed price (as opposed to his desired price) plus we get to pay all of the transfer fees.

Now, let's step back a moment and consider comparables for the neighborhood in question. The median $/square foot is about $657. Let's consider the condition of the house for a second. The front stairway which needs serious work (as in the report came back saying it needed $10,000 in work soon or it was liable to collapse in some places), a kitchen in which only one of the main appliances was working, a basement which can best be described as a haven for things that go bump in the night without the possibility of doing anything usable other than storing boxes and a car (seriously, the ceiling in the basement is 7 feet max, except for a lane where you can park a car which would be about 9 feet, basically making anything installed down there other than a work bench being in violation of building codes), and house which needs foundation work. And for this, he wants to get in the range of $670/sq ft.

Consider the fact that the houses which have gotten 670/sq ft and above have all been in markedly better condition.

Ummm... does that make sense to anyone? I mean, I suppose if I had money to waste, it would be the perfect deal.

So we countered low. Why? Because with $20,000 in repairs to the foundation and the steps (not to mention a roof which is on the edge of needing to be replaced... oops forgot to mention that), with an addition 3 to 7 grand in appliances for the kitchen (you sort of need a refrigerator and the cabinetry would look really funny without a dishwasher, plus the stove looked to be about ready to die), you come in with a bill of being $25,000 - $30,000. And thats not including redoing the floors to get rid of the carpet which looks like it belongs in a crack house (thankfully there are hardwood floors underneath, even tho their condition is questionable since this "lovely" person has zero pride of ownership in his property, being content to let it run down over the past 20 years).

I mean suddenly, we're talking a lot of money. Money we would not have to put into another house in better condition.

Add into that Mrs. Angrybell's goodwill was used up by the "lovely" person's actions during the first go round and you have a situation where any offer is going to be low. Also, remember, we had moved on at this point. We were not intending on making another offer.

However, add into this mix, our real estate broker was saying that we should accept his terms. I almost fired him on the spot. Can anyone give me a good reason not to? I mean, we are in a position where we don't have to move right this minute. We also have a situation where we are the only people who are willing to make any sort of a bid on the property. So why should we meet his price? Especially in light of the fact he has been such a "lovely" person to deal with so far?

We will be needing a new real estate agent in the near future. One who actually wants to work for us instead of himself.


So we came in low. At about $637.50/sq ft.

The "lovely" person was apparently offended by that and has informed us that he will no longer try to sell to us.

I'm so broken hearted. Of course, its going to tickle me to see the sign for the open house every time we go near there.

Yes, someone will buy it. Some idiot is out there who will pay this "lovely" person's asking price. And all I can say is that person is a sucker.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dancing With The Stars - Sabrina Edition

So I'm watching the reveal show tonight and was struck by something. Sabrina has not been doing ballroom like the rest of the season. Yet she walked onto the dance floor and did the best paso doble routine that has been done all season.

Joanna and Mya should take note of how good she is and thank their lucky stars that they are not having to compete against her.

Monday, November 09, 2009

I think that Vampires have officially lost their coolness

Alright, let me make this clear. I am not a fan of vampires, except as a target to be killed. I subscribed to the whole Xander theory of dealing with vampires: stakes to the heart.

But usually, you have to give the pointy, bitey ones. They used to have style. Dracula was elegant and suave. When Angel was evil, he was dangerous. He also drove a cool car. And who can forget Spike's car. It was a big, sexy muscle car (sure the blacked out windows was not great but you know).

However, now, ten years later, we have Twilight. And the whole Twilight thing generally makes me sick. Its so saccharine... but I digress. But it seems that in addition to all that, they've decided to fully emasculate the vampire.


Have you not seen those ridiculous Twiglight ads asking what Edward is driving. In case you haven't, apparently, he forgone living the high life, and is instead driving a nice, sensible, and eminently safe Volvo.

Ugh. And to think they used to be so formidable.

After a week off, the Madness is back (DWTS Recap)

Five couples left. A couple of them fighting the flu (including apparently Karina Smirnoff).

The Samantha Harris hair report: hair department likes her this week. Maybe she slippped them a fifty or three.

Mya and Dmitri pulled leadoff duty with their quickstep. Len doesn't like gimmicks. Dmitri loves gimmicks. Mya is falling for Dmitri's nonsense. This could backfire. Nice outfit. Did they miss a hand hold at the beginning? It looked awkward. They were a little off in the kicks and flicks. Nice, she's doing heel leads, not just dancing on her toes. She is dancing a little away from him, which she hasn't done lately. Posture seems to be pretty good. Fairly un-gimmicky. I guess they are saving those for their second dance. A 29, pretty good on the scoring, but I don't think it was perfect.

Aaron and Karina followed that up with a foxtrot. Too bad that Aaron comes across as a whiner. Stop saying you haven't shown what you can do. Just do it already. Too bad she was sick this week. I'm not wild about the outfit, but they got a good song for this. Wow, there were a few heel leads in there, but he is fighting to do it. The side by side spins did not look so good. The longer this goes on, the less confident he is with his steps and causing him to dance on his toes more than leading with his heels and its making this look a little off. If I hadn't watched the intro bit, I'd have thought that it was Aaron who was sick this week. Bruno was right, the flow was not there. And when all else fails, Carrie Ann finds a lift to criticize. The dance was an 8, but the lift police had to find something wrong. 23.

Joanna and Derek were in the three spot dancing the quickstep. She is not flowing, they are a little off. Mrs. Angrybell thinks that her boob almost come out? (She also suggests a bra, I'm saying maybe some double stick tape.) They are off time. She is trying so hard, but they are just not on each other. Her footwork is not going well and she is trying to cover it but its not working too well. Plust they are not flowing from move to move. Len was dead on, again. I have no idea what Carrie Anne was trying to say, I think she was speaking in English. Bruno is a bit more diplomatic. I think this could be a 7. The 23 was kinda generous.

Kelly and Louis drew their first ballroom dance, foxtrot. Mrs. Angrybell thinks her dogs are adorable and wants one. She seems more at ease doing this dance than she has in the last few weeks. Her frame needs to be just a bit tigheter. You cna tell she is enjoying herself. Mrs. Angrybell wants to play poker against her. Nice dip and spin, or vice versa, but you know what I am talking about. That was great. That may have been her best dance in the last few weeks, if not of this season. Len picked up on the fact that she was dancing mostly on her toes. 25, good score.

Donny and Kym were the tail end charlies of the ballroom, dancing the Viennese Waltz. Kym has a better outfit this week (or as Mrs. Angrybell says "not a band-aid and a g-string"). Too bad this song is kinda lame. This looks much better than the Joanna and Derek's routine. There is some nice light and shade going on in this. Nice open, they are in synch. He is on his toes too much, and Len's been wathcing that tonight. I love Len's comment, "too arty farty". The scores were fair, 26.

Now for round two. And an intermezzo with the pros. And then the preview from the judges. I know Len's British... but that tie and shirt combo is ... wow... something else.

Mya is way too happy to do a 70s themed samba. Oh my G-d... Dmitri with the porn star stash. Wow. Mrs. Angrybell wonders if Dmitri has raided her father closet for that shirt. Alright, I know this is supposed to be 70s themed, but I almost get the feeling I am watching hustle routine for the first half. Alright, they loved it. Mrs. Angrybell loved it. I was like... eh. It was good, but it just didn't do it for me. The way that they are talking, I think we will see the first 10s of the season. 30. First of the season.

Aaron and Karina had to follow up the perfect score with the 90s Samba. Nie opening move. Two princes, definitely 90s song. He is enjoying himself on this one. Feels very sharp, but maybe not enough bounce. And where did those leg warmers come from? That is 80s. Nice and on step in the side by side. I liked this one better than Mya's. For all that, they earned a 27. I think they got hosed on that call.

Future Joanna and Derek showed up to do a Paso Doble. The costumes were ... interesting. Mrs. Angrybell wonders when future meant freakshow. Starts off good. Those spins in hold were very nice. Very strong, despite being saddled with a crap song and having to wear those outfits. This should have been the silver bullet in their heart. It was theme that required a lot of gimmicks, but you have to get Len to like it. And they did. And Carrie Ann goes and ruins it. That should have been straight 10s. Instead, its a 29.

Kelly and Louis drew a 60s theme for the jive. Mrs Angrybell likes the outfits. I like the song. Dancing with the doll is a little much. Thanks for throwing it away. She is having a little trouble in open, as usual. The kicks and flicks are not quite right. Segueing in to the sixties moves, she looks good. Little flat, not as bouncy as it should be. She looks a little unsure out there. Mrs. Angrybell thinks she looks lost at times. So they got a 26.

Donny and Kym doing an 80s style. Is it wrong to say that Donny has more skin pigment than Michael Jackson did? Oops, I just did. Nice Donny, characterize it as Adam Ant. Nice, get the cape work out of the way early. Good song for this. Mrs. Angrybell is frightened by the outfit. His posture is off just a little at times. Oh no, more cape-work. They are in sync on the open. Mrs. Angrybell is stunned by it all (Right Round, Michael Jakcson, Madonna, and the windmachine!) I think Donny loses a little steam on these longer routines. He misses a step, his changes arent as good. He looks timre at the end. Overall, still very good. Love the Len, "Cross between Adam Ant and Adam Carolla". The 24 was ... not right.

Alright, this one pains me. Aaron and Donny both have 50 total points. But really, it looks like this a three tie at the bottom between Aaron, Donny, and Kelly. Donny consistently delivers a better overall routine, I think this week the judges were sending a message about his footwork. Kelly has these frustrating flashes of brilliance and then her fears get in the way. Aaron has been working hard all the way through. So to me, the choice is between sending one of these three home.

Let's get it straight, Joanna and Mya should be coming back next week. They've danced consistently well enough and they deserve your votes. So the question is, who gets the short end of the stick.

To me, its all in who had the less weaker of the two dances. I think that Donny and Kym's dance didn't get the points it should have from the judge. Aaron's first dance was uneven. Kelly's second dance was the same. Whichever you think is the stronger of those two, thats the person who stays.

For me, I think Aaron's time has come and he should go home.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Tim Lincecum, You Idiot

You idiot!!

Here the ace pitcher a major-league baseball team, the reigning Cy Young winner, in-line for endorsement deals and major contracts. Not little contracts with just six euros after them, but potentially a contract that would make Barry Zito look like a pauper.

So you can't be bothered, do not drive while smelling of marijuana and carry your car?!!

You idiot.

Not to mention the fact a lot of people look up to you. I mean you project a skater Stoner looke when your on the mound, with shaggy hair and a goofy grin, did you really have to confirm that in all our minds?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

I don't think he gets how this works

Now, admittedly, the housing market in San Francisco is out of whack. It's always been expensive, but in the last ten years its been just down right insane. Mrs. Angrybell and I have been continually shocked, stunned and amazed at the stuff people put on the market at outrageous prices.

For example, the house in the Outer Sunset where, hand to G-d, there were holes in the ceiling and a bathtub laid across the hallway downstairs, some unidentifiable substance on the floors and the walls of the upstairs bedrooms. I'm not even going to try and describe the kitchen. Let's put it this way, I've seen tenenments owned by slumlords which had kitchens which were hygenically superior, not to mention functional. And they wanted $800,000.00 for the property.

During the course of all this, I have come to some conclusions. Before I started looking for a home this time around, I was convinced, based on my experience, that there was no profession lower, lazier, and most like locust than social workers. I've worked with a lot of them. I do not have to take my shoes off to count how many I think were actually worth their salaries, or my time to deal with them.

Then I met San Francisco area realtors. I'm not sure what they do these days. In San Franicisco, virtually everything is on multi-listing service (more on that later). Now, its not very accurate, but its accurate enough to give you the price that the various houses are listed at as well their address. In the old days, the multi-listing, or so it has been explained to me, is somethign that was hidden and used only by the professionals.

At the open houses, most times the agents know almost nothing beyond the number of bedrooms and bathrooms that are on the property. Ask them a question about things like, when was the roof done, what kind of heat, or if there is hardwood under the carpet, and the answer I usually get is "I don't know." Occasionally, they'll know if there are hardwood floors.

Lately, especially in houses in the Sunset, the open houses I am going are in a condition that would not pass my inspection for cleanliness, much less Mrs. Angrybell's. My grandmother would have had a coniption fit. I mean seriously, how hard is it to get the broken bathtub out of the hallway before the open house starts? In most cases, the person is looking at asking for more than half a million dollars. Would it kill them to do a litty tyding?

Now, let's go back to the MLS. In theory, it should be a good thing. The only problem is, it seems as if no one seems to be bothered to be accurate. I truly believe that among realtor agents in San Francisco, truth is something that they unnacustomed to. Yes, I know they are supposed to advertise the good aspects of the property, but I am sure that there are ways of doing that without outright lies.

Lies? Pretty strong word. Possibly even actionable. Then again, I'm not sure how else to describe some of the malarky that is posted on the MLS. For example, there is a house in the Sunset. It is listed in the $800K as a 3 bedroom and 2 bath. Of course, what they are doing is counting the "finished" basement room as a bedroom, and a semi-function bathroom that you can use if you are willing to brave the spiders and darkness. Neither of them, if you press the agent representing the seller are legal (meaning the work was done without permits). And this is not the only one.

If the agents were honest, properties like this would be advertised as what they are: 2 bedrooms and 1 bath. Its simple, if there is no permit, then it is not legal. If it is not legal, then when you buy the place, and should you ever need to have work done with a permit and an inspectors shows up, then you could get tagged. Yes, DBI has a lot other things to do, but they're not above tagging things if they see it.

By the way, I'd like to know why out City Attorney, current or past, has never investigated this. It would seem like this is a fraud being perpetrated. It also serves to bolster the prices of properties, becaues the agents tell people "Oh its a 3 and 2, you should bid high for it."

Fracking malarky.

So back to those I to the locusts, I mean agents. Not only do they decieve people willfully with their advertisements, they also can't be bothered to get good pictures up on the MLS. They can't bebothered to fill oout the basic information much of the time. How hard is it to get the estimated square footage? I mean really, would it take you away from sipping lattes and doing... what do they do again? ... to pull out a tape measure and get the information?

And the buyer's agents... well they seem as useless as the seller agents. I've worked with a fair number. Simple things like getting comparables out of them is like pulling teeth. To make it worse, they don't seem to know how to do it right. When I worked with an agent back east, I asked for comps on a property and he produced comparable pieces of property (as in the comparable stats were based on properties with the same/similar floor plan, same number of bedrooms and bathrooms, roughly the same square footage and usually in the same neighborhood or close to the neighborhood). When I ask here, I get comps for a Sunset property or a Westwood Park property that include sales in Presidio Heights.

Then there is my favorite part. They only show the most expensive properties they can find. I've gone through a number of agents for the simple fact that after three tries, they cannot or will not show properties to me that are in the price range I've specified. (Remember, I've also been looking on the MLS so I know that price range is good and I'm not being unreasonable for the type of property I am looking for).

So that brings us to the title. Not only are the agents useless, people have bought into this mindset. Such as the person I am dealing with now. Their house has been on the property for a long time. In San Francisco, properties move fairly quickly. This one has been for almost a football season (regular not inclusing post-season). That's a long time in San Francisco. The place is a bit of a mess. Most of the appliances do not work. There is disgusting carpets (I think they had a pet. Pet probably died to get away from this place because they would not keep it up. Or maybe because they took as good a care of the pet as they did the house.) The house also has a significant amount of damage that will need to be done. The number has 4 zeroes attached to it. However, it is in a good location. Not a perfect one, but close enough to being very good.

Since the property has not moved in a long time, they have dropped their price. This sort of indicates that no one has been willing to pay this person price. The last price drop brought the property into our range.

So we think... let's take a look at it. So we do. And we run the numbers. And figure that we could do it. So we put in an offer for a little less than the asking price. Not a lot less, but a little less because lets face it, there is a major job that needs to be done and will require permits to be done. For the sake of this, we'll use round numbers which are clearly fake, but will be in proprtion. Our offer was at 89,000. The list was at 99,000 (with the original list at 125,000). We expected a counter.

We got a counter.

Their counter?


Huh? They set their price at 99,000, after the market told them that no one would buy the property at a higher level. From what we know, there is no one else bidding on the property.

I hope this nimrod likes his dump. Because no one is buying it.

Bottom line: I hate buying a house.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Where was the madness this week? (Or, why I missed getting up a review of DWTS)

Ok, so I'm sorry. I had to work. I finally got to watch it tonight. And this is my take on it: its gotten too close to call now.

Two weeks ago, I was saying Michael Irvin needed to go home. Then I have to eat those words. His last two performances, plus group dance, makes it look like something in him decided he did not want to go home. And then the viewers went and let him down. Whats up with that?

The sad thing is that Mark Dascassos had a terrible week. On the up side, he didn't have to have Lacey Schwimmer. On the bad side, she didn't quit on him soon enough. And then she managed to show up for the dance off tonight. More on that below.

The one thing that is holding Mya back from being on top each and every week: her partner. Yes, I understand that Dmitri has won something big. However, he continually does routines that he likes, as opposed to what the competition wants to see.

Now the dance off with Mark and Lacey. Good song for the Cha Cha. He has those hips moving. Don't do the flips unless you aren't going to almost fall. Good routine. Too much on the flair. I can't wait to see Len's reaction. What is up with Len's shirt? It must have affected him, because there was nary a mention of flips and it not being a proper cha cha cha.

Part two of the dance off was Aaron and Karina doing another jive. Risky since they just got their best score off of the jive. Nice to see that it was all new choreography. Nice. All I have to say about that.

The judges made the right call. Aaron and Karina's dance was blistering. The problem is, Aaron whines. And he has a small fan base. No one who danced that well should have been in the bottom three. That was just a disgrace.

The bottom three should have been Michael, Kelly, and Mark. Against those two, Mark probably had a better chance at surviving, even against a resurgent Michael Irvin.

So where does this leave us with favorites? The overall favorite has to Mya (even with the anchor weighing her down). The male favorite is now Donny Osmond. Mya has the edge. She is fitter and she seems to pick up dances. Donny has the better choreographer, but in the last two weeks, he is starting show his age. He looks winded, especially on the up tempo dances where he looses steam towards the end.

As far as potential long shots, you have to watch out for Joanna Krupa. Not quite the dancer that Mya is, that woman is incredible competitive and is trying to make herself Mya's superior. Aaron would be a threat, but it seems clear that he has a very, very small fan base. Unless he wins over more viewers, he is going to have to get used to doing the dance-off.

So who do I think is going home next? If Aaron can stop whining and keep being as good as he was these past two weeks, its going to be Kelly. She's the weakest link remaining. The odd thing is, she is not the weakest dancer. She is the weakest mentally in this competition. She always seems to be a thought away from making it all go wrong on the dance floor, when she should be just going with Louis' lead. In my opinion, if she holds it together and dances as we have seen in those flashes of gracefulness a few weeks ago, she should outlast Aaron.

One last thought... could this be the weakest bunch so far? No one has pulled off a perfect performance yet and we are down to the final five.

Oh well, at least no more Lacey Schwimmer.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Now that's what I call chutzpah

Don't you hate it when there is a good story, but you can't tell it? This is one of those situations.

Let's put it this way, once upon a time I had a client. This client was for referred to me by [classified agency]. I worked for this client. I did very good work in concert with another attorney for this client. We got this client more than they could hope for given the situation that they were in when they were referred to me and this other attorney.

So what was our thanks? The threat of a malpractice suit. To this day I'm still not sure what the malpractice would've been, but this client was threatening me with a malpractice suit.

Today I got a phone call. It was the same client, the one who would threaten me with a malpractice suit, asking if I would be happy to represent him in another action.

Talk about chutzpah!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Schadenfreude - Is It Really Wrong?

Because right now, I'm really doing schadenfreude kick.


Because Frank Lembi is having more than a little trouble. The owner of CitiApartments is not having the best of years. Not only are the banks taking over some of his buildings, the city continuing its case against his company for the way it treats the tenants of the buildings, and a new set of lawsuits has been filed because apparently CitiApartments has been failing to return rent deposits (what could be called: stealing).

By the way, I think it should be pointed out that the name CitiApartments apparently is no more. CitiAparmtents has now morphed itself into FirstApartments. Not content to have one new name, they apparently have another name: Urban Pioneer Properties.

Its a new name, but its the same company. Same management.

But now, in addition to all and having to change the letterhead, Mr. Lembi is facing possible criminal charges.

Apparently Mr. Lembi has written a couple of bad checks. The total of those bad checks? $298,500. To a casino.

A court in Nevada has apparently issued a warrant for his arrest. Darn shame it happened to such a nice guy.

Too bad this isn't 40 years ago when the mob still ran the casinos. Then justice might have been more fun in this case.

Alright, enough of the schadenfreude.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Doubel Elimination Madness.. That's Right Its Dancing With The Stars Time

The winnowing begins this week. As Mrs. Angrybell says, "Its about time."

So Mya and Dmitri drew the jitterbug as the lead off dance this week, and Mya seems pissed she fell from the top spot. What did she expect with Dmitri? Really what was the deal with the rboom thing? Too much with the dusting. Len is going to hate that, not going to help withthe goal beign 30. Finally they get into the dance. Nice side by sides. She looks a little flat sometimes in teh dance. Maybe its because she is in her socks. Nice flip, but sMya wasnt' quite on coming out fo it. Mrs. Angrybell is just bored by this dance. I'm underwhelmed as well. I was expecting more, but it wasn't choreographed that way. Shocking, Len hated the opening, and he was right. Good grief, even Carrie Ann is agreeing with the Angrybells, is the end pretty darn nigh? For all that, they get 24? Score inflation mode is turned on this week.

Alright, I must confess, after the first week, I would have thought that MJH would be closer to be going home. However, she's been getting better over the last few weeks. She and Mark drew the waltz this week. I love Shirley Ballas! She reminds me of Grandma Angrybell. Something happened when they went high and tight on the shot, so all I can say is MJH's face screamed mistake. She just does not look comfortable doing this dance. Wow, nice splits from MJH. Mrs. Angrybell thinks she looks stiff and unsure on her feet. She is missing the heel lead on this. Mrs. Angrybell calls "el stinko". I didn't think it was good, but it wasn't the worst thing I've seen in a waltz. And Bruno picked up on it. For the comments that they gave, the 20 was awfully high. Yup, we have score inflation in overdrive tonight.

Now comes the couple that has me the most conflicted. I like Mark, but I can't stand Lacey. Lacey is perhaps the weakest, in my opinion, of the professionals this season. This week they have the jitterbug. Good song. You knwo I can't remember the songs of the last two dances. Lacey;s outfit is kinda of... safe and not in a good way. Mark looks like he is ahving fun. Nice little flip there. Len may not like this so much. At least this dance is much more fun. Mrs. Angrybell thinks this one is a 180 from the Mya routine, lets stand in one place. Too much of that silly lift thing. oops had a little mistkae towards the end with a bad hand grab that lead people to go "where am I suppose to be going". Its not perfect, but it was better than Mya's. Let's see where score inflation takes this one. I think this is a couple of 8s and a 9. They went 26.

Aaron and Karina followed this with the waltz. Aaron needs to cowboy up and stop whining. Mrs. Angrybell thinks he is the Lance Basss of this season, except he hasn't accepted his gray side. This is not a good song (Once, Twice, Three Times a Lady... ugh). Yes, it works well for the waltz, but its a bummer song. However, He looks much more confiident than MJH. However, Mrs. Angrybell does not like velvet jackets. Also, he is having trouble with heel leads through most of the dance. That is affecting the rise and fall. That will hurt him. Len was right about his frame and his posture. Not sure its his best dance. A 25? That's a little too high for that dance.

Anna and Michael Irvin arrived on the backs of the fans to do the waltz. . I'd like to say this now: STOP IT! They do not deserve to be here. Mien Gott there was a heel lead! And Mrs. Angrybell loves to see the feathers flying. Little stumble there, but he is getting some rise and fall off the heel leads he manages occasionally, but its a little uneven. I hate to say this, but this isn't bad. Anna put together a good routine for him. Mrs. Angrybell thinks Anna did this one, she put together a routine that showed off his good side and kept him from being too stiff. What scale is Bruno judging this on? And the lift police is back. Thanks Carrie Ann for focusing on that. Len, once again, is right. Bruno and Carrie Ann are missing the boat on this one. Which pisses me off, because it means that I'll have to listen to more football metaphors from Irvin again next week. 20? Is the fix in here?

Kelly and Louie drew the jitterbug, coming off her sprained ankle. Its amazing how wracked with fear she is. Fun song. Louie is keeping it nice and simple which is helping her, but I like how its getting harder, so tot speak, as it goes. the problem is that there is not a lto of bounce, which may have to do with the ankle problem. SO it ends up being restrained, and at times as if she is walkign through the dnace. This is not ending up good for her. A 20? This would be ok, except they gave the same score to Irvin. Oy.

So its the Dancing Hobbit and Chelsea. Louie Vito is another that I think needs to go home. So tis teh jitterbug. And they drew a good song. But too mch of the opening nonesense. Just get on the Boogie Woogie Choo Choo Train. Alright, its a bit uneven. There are times he looks like he is on the music and is dancing, and there are times I'm wathcing and it looks like he is just walking through it and a little off. This dance looked fun but uneven. Mrs. Angrybell thinks he is not strong enough to be doing these lifts because it looks like he is just barely able to lift Chelsea. Once again, I'm in agreement with Len. Ahh, its nice to see Carrie Ann back to her speaking totally out of her hat. If she took pharmaceuticals, it would be like watching the Gina Gershon character on the episode of Psych with American Duos. Score was, in my opinion, generous. He did drop his partner twice.

Joanna Krupa and Derek waltzed in after this. I'm not Ms. Krupa's biggest supporter, but you gotta give it to her, she does take this seriously. It would look better if she didnt have a look of fear on her face. But Derek seems to be leading her nice, and she is doing the rise and fall well. The frame is a little off, but not too bad. This flows nicely. She did not look comfortable with this dance. The 26 was fair for that dance.

Donny and Kym drew the jitterbug. Donny looks tired and looks like he's been losing a lot of weight in all this. Starts off nice, but it looked there was a little hesitation right before the first choo choo. Loosk fun, looks bouncy. There are some timing problems. He is a little hunched over in this but not too bad. He looks like he is having fun. Looked good. Of the jitterbugs we saw tonight, this fell in the middle. Louie's was the weakest of the men. Mark's was the strongest. This one looked just a little off. A 24 is fair.

Now we have the group mambo tapout thingy. Normally, I'm not in favor of Irvin, but I like his battle plan. Four minutes of mambo. What will happen? Let's go to the Tivo. This does not favor Donny, since he jsut came off the jitterbug. Nice song. The problem with this is that its hard to get alook at whats going on because the camera is focusing on one coupel. Michael and Anna go first. Louie should go next. And he does. Kelly might be going next, though it could also be MJH who looks like she is losing steam. And it is MJH. I really wish they would show more of Donny and Kym, it looks interesting. Kelly finally goes down. I think Mark and Mya are into their loop now. And Mark goes down.I think Derek is getting way into this dance. And with the floor open, Aaron and Karina stayin the corner. And then Donny goes out. Interesting. And then Donny and Derek start to dance. Together. That was weird. Aaron and Karin finally succumb. I think Joanna should take the top spot. Mya and Dmitri have been on what looks like a loop. And Mya goes down. Leaving Joanna and Derek in the top spot. Derek really is a ham.

Joanna Krupa must be exhausted. But damn if she isn't competitive.

Mrs. Angrybell thinks that the Melissa Joan Hart and Louie Vito should go home.

I think the same thing. Michael Irvin did just enough to live to dance another day.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

In Case Anyone Was Worried

If anyone was worried about where to find those "special" pilates instructors, those joyful endings to your massages, have no fear. Craigslist will still be allowed to have an Adult Services section of ads.

A federal court judge dismissed a suit against Craigslist file by Cook County, Chicago. The judge found that some of the services offered were, or could be, legal. What's more, the court found that there might even be some First Amendment protections for the advertisements.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Not that anyone actually listens to Israel's defense

But this is a guy who knows a thing or two about fighting around civillians...and terrorists.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

So My Judgement Has Been Called Into Question

One of my visitors left a comment taking issue with my critique of the dance done by Donny and Kym last night on Dancing with the stars. They said it was perfect. Here is what an Argentine tango looks like when it is damn near perfect (at least for Dancing with The Stars).

Now here is Donny and Kym's dance from last night.

There is a difference. Everyone is, of course, entitled to their opinion.

So Maybe I'm A Little Angry

But you might have guessed that from the email.

What I would like to know is, how the hell the real estate agents in this town have any self-respect left. Seriously, I have either bought or helped buy property in different parts of the state and country. I have worked with some good real estate agents. But by and large, my experience with San Francisco real estate agents has uniformly been bad.

To start with, do any of them actually listen to their clients? I realize that all of them are on commission. I realize that they make more money the more I and Mrs. Angrybell spend. But when we tell them that X is our limit, why is it that they all start with houses that are at least half million more than what we can or are willing to spend on a property.

Is it that all the real estate agents are under the impression that everyone has the ability to get 2 million dollar mortgages? Or if we can, to actually be able to afford them?

Then we get to what they actually do. Other than managing to fill out form wrong three times every time we make an offer, I'm still trying to figure it out. Most of what they traditionally do has been taken over by the internet. The San Francisco MLS seems to have every listing that is out there. At least, I have yet to be surprised with a listing by any agent that I've worked with to date.

None of them seem to have any idea of what makes a comparable. When I ask for them, I am deluged with every building in the entire city that has an equivalent number of bedrooms. Does not really matter that the city has multiple neighborhoods. From what it looks like, the only thing that I have not seen a comparable on to a mid-Sunset house is something in either North Beach or Hunters Point.

Do they even see the houses before I do? No. That's because, conveniently, brokers tours are Tuesdays. That would be after the house has first had its open house.

So let's see. The house buyer finds the house. Sees it first. And then gets next to nothing as far as guidance when it comes to making an offer. I'm sorry, thats not entirely accurate. The guidance when it comes to making an offer, in my experience, is always to bid higher. Never at the asking price. Never below the asking price (even when the place is a dump with black mold on every wall, floors that have been damaged to the point that they will have to be ripped up, and materials that are more likely than not asbestos tiles that are flaking - which if you want mesothelioma is a good thing.) Its as if there is collusion going on. Of course, I can't say that there is, because I don't have proof. But the way that they structure the bidding process makes its very interesting. Its as if they have an agreement that they will always turn everything into an auction in this town.

In addition to that, they all participate in what I would characterize as deceptive practices. Too many of the listings I've seen show the number of bedrooms as being higher than they have permits for. That's nice, because insurance companies do not exactly love unpermitted rooms. And too many of the ones I've seen have "bedrooms" that are unpermitted garage conversions that wouldn't last a second if a DBI inspector ever saw them.

That's another thing. Why isn't DBI enforcing the code? I mean the advertisements for the houses practically flaunt that they are doing illegal, unpermitted work on homes in San Francisco. And yet it does not appear that they are citing any of them. Even though the legalization process would bring in revenue for the city. Does not look like the San Francisco City Attorney is doing anything about it either. I guess he is more focused on other things.

Yeah maybe this is just sour grapes. But what I see is making me angry. I see agents just collecting a check for doing jack diddle nothing. Yes, when they sell a house they do some work. Although from what I've seen in my dealings with them on that end in this city, its not much better. A little, but not much.

Of course, they are aided in all this by a bunch of really stupid buyers. I mean, yes, people need homes. But why is it everyone is happy to pay such ridiculous prices. To take on mortgages that put them right at the edge of federal guidelines.

This whole system has learned, it seems, absolutely nothing from the housing bubble of last year.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Madness Continues... (DWTS Recap)

Let's start off with this. What they hell did they do to poor Samantha Harris' hair? I mean, does someone in hair and makeup hate her so much that they would do that to her? It's like the revenge of the 80's big hair. Mrs. Angrybell called it a crime against a curling iron.

Also, the other question this week is whether Maksim will be the downfall of Joana Krupa. Derek's out with the flu. Maksim is a great dancer. His problem is he peacock in the worst sense when it comes to showcasing himself over his partners.

Natalie and Alec drew the honors of leading off this week, dancing the paso doble. American woman is the song, which is why she is in that particular outfit. The problem is, this is not a great song for this. She looked pretty good in the begining. but its lacking something and I cannot put my finger on it. And then she gets off just a little when they got in the corner away from the judges. Then it got almost robotic. I'm not sure that Alec made the best use of what he had there. Carrie Ann, of course, calls anything she can a lift. What a crock. Len and Bruno had some good points. The 22 was fair. The dance had problems.

Aaron and Karina Argentine tangoed next. I love the line from Karina about her being a "cold blooded bitch". Nice song. Works well with the costumes. He is not being aggressive enough in some of his steps I thnk. But he has the look down inhis face. The more it goes, the better he is getting. That kneel at the end was a little weird, but otehrwise, I think he did a good job. Mrs. Angrybell said "Poor little thing, he looks afraid, he's been abused by the judges." Nice to see some strokes from the judge as opposed to all the whacks he's been taking. Even Len had some nice things to say. I'd say it was a 9. The judges gave him 8s. Good improvement for him.

Anna and Michael followed that up with the paso. Have to say, Anna looks good with the dark hair. Great song. Face looks determined, but his feet arent hitting like I think they should. Good posture. Now he's stepping like he should. Not the best cape work on DWTS but pretty good. I like how he flung her away. Thankfully, while the comments were over the top, the scores were right on.

Mya and Dmitri drew the Argentine tango. Not a song (so sorry by Jem)I would think was a tango. Mya is just impressive to watch. Not much else to say. Its just a damn shame that she has Dmitri as her partner. I have no idea what Carrie Ann was talking about with the lack of emotional connection. Was she watching the same dance? The 27 was right on.

Lacey and Mark Dascassos pulled on some weird costumes for the paso doble. Let's see if Lacey's gamble paid off? Mrs. Angrybell says "Holy Sh*t, she looks like Nelix from Voyager! Where's Captain Janeway?"This starts off looking light years better than Michale's. He has the look, his steps look forceful. That was an impressive move that he did. Little flip thing. Wow. Then Lacey comes back and they finsih the dance. The costumes.... were just ridiculous. That color didn't suit him. Carrie Ann was right, he hit the power and didn't make it looks it was forced. What's going on? I'm agreeing with Carrie Ann? Yikes! Alright the scores were the best of the night so far for a paso, but Bruno went and screwed it up with an 8. Still the 26 was pretty good.

Donny and Kym were up next with the Argentine tango. Let's see how the father of five does with this. First thign, he needs to stop looking down in teh beinging. Kym looks like she is wearing a lamp shade and a bead spread. They drew a good song. Some of Donny's steps don't look like they are hitting right, as in I think some are going toe lead when they should be heel. But then he starts to pull it together. Nice kicks and flicks. I liked it, but there was something missing from it that I cannot put my finger on. I love how Donny plays off Bruno. They took each other there. Anyways, at least they did not kiss tonight. Thankfully, Len resisted the urge to pull out the 10 paddle, giving them a 29. It was a good dance, it was just missing that last little bit.

Chelsea and Louie Vito danced the argentine tango after that. Mrs. Angrybell wants to wash Louie's hair. They've brought out props, that sometimes backfires. It starts off looking like she is trying to hide Louie on the chair. Which in that dress, is not a bad idea for Chelsea. This dance almost looks like it suits Louie. He has the right look on his face and he is moving somewhat like he should. Could possibly be Louie's best dance. What the hell? Len liked the prop? Usually its the kiss of death. But they are all catching on that he is stepping, not dancing. 23 was a nice score.

Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Sabrina the Cheetah Girls' ex-boy friend danced the Argentine tango. Lot of that tonight. Apparently Mark, apparently, was sick this week. It was interesting listening to Anna talk about Melissa Joan Hart's chances. She is stepping this dance. At least at the start. And she is pulling away a little bit. Thought it might have to do with Marks' red spats. There is a lack of fluidity when it should be there (yes I know this dance has a lot fo staccato in it, but when she does the kneels against him, they look staccato and thats not how its supposed to go). And then she got tangled up in the kicks and that threw her a bit. Fortunately, she tangos on. Surprisingly flexible. The score of 23 was fair. This routine had a number of flaws.

Kelly and Louis Van Amstel were up next. I love her reaction to when she realized she was the cape and not a bull. Dancing to Crazy Train. Now I understand Louis eye makeup. She looks a little off but she's passing it off ok. Keeping in character and now back in with Louis. She got a little lost going through that series of underarm turns. Lost a little of the intensity but then it starts to come back as the song hits the end. Uneven dance. Good. But not great. I liked it better than Natalie's. The way things have gone tonight, it should be 8s. And it was 24.

Joanna and Maksim were dancing the Argentine tango. Apparently Derek's topless foray got him the flu. Referring to Maksim as the savior? Has she watched the show before? Thankfully, Maksim will be keeping his shirt on. Whatever Lola wants, nice choice of song. There was a little trip there, and it wasn't by the amateur, btu the pro. Mrs Angrybell wants to know if that was a mistake or intended. I think it was an accident. Most of that routine was great. Somehow Maksim restrained his natural impulse to show himself off and let her look really good. I love how she put the blame where it belonged: with Maksim. He stumbled. The 8s were unfair. I think that dance was as good as Mya's wth the exception of the stumble.

Then there was the group hustle. The outfits for this were just scary.

Alright, this is a bit of surprise to me. Natalie is as vulnerable as Michael. This is weird. In past seasons, the deeper into the competition it gets, the more likely that one of the atheletes has improved. Natalie has not really improved that much. She has had some marginal improvements but she is still being held back a bit. And then there was her performance in the group hustle. She seemed like she just wanted to eb doing someothign other than competing there. Michael Irvin on the other hand is just hanging on for dear life there. For some reason teh fans keep bring him back.

Now the other person who should be vulnerable based solely on his score is Louie Vito. The only problem is that this week, he turned in a decent performance. So I'm not sure he should be going home.

The middle of the pack is who you would expect. There is Aaron Carter and Melissa Joan Hart. They're performances have been kind of bland. They have moments of doing well, but at the end of the day, neither has really shown that they are deserving of being in the final.

The ones who have a shot at the mirror ball trophy, in my opinion are: Mark Dascassos, Donny Osmond, Mya, and Joanna Krupa (yeah, I'm surprised to be writing that). The dark horse at this point: Kelly Osbourne.

This is a crazy season.

Friday, October 16, 2009

From Mrs. Angrybell to the Hon. Sofie Allsopp

At the request of Mrs. Angrybell, a plea is being made to Sofie Allsopp. Sofie, please, please, go back to your old style. The new one makes you look like some demented Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. Did some focus group tell you that this look (seen below)

is not a good one? Mrs. Angrybell begs you to give up on the Dorothy-esque hairstyle and go back to your previous one. It looked so much better. And also that red that you've started to use for your lipstick makes you look like a mortician got to you. It does not fit your coloring. Your old style, with the pink color and gloss, made your lips look lovely.

Can someone please tell this guy it is 2009, not 1967?

It was reported today that there is a justice of the peace by the name of Keith Bardwell in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana. He has been the justice of peace in the parish for about 2.5 years.

Now for those who don't know, a justice of a peace is a type of judge. It used to be the justices of peace (or JPs) would handle a lot of the smaller matters (traffic fines, small claims cases etc) while bigger matters would go to the municipal or superior courts. This has been changing, with some states no longer having JPs. In Louisiana, they are still used and are a part of the Louisiana judicial system. They also have the ability to marry people.

Well, Mr. Bardwell is a JP. He will marry all the people he is legally allowed to marry, except for one class. He will not marry, or issue a marriage license, to interracial couples.

He says its for the good of their unborn children. Yes, that is his reason. Even though he says he is not racist. Mr. Bardwell insists he treats everyone the same, just that he does not think it is right for a black person to marry a white person. Says he believes that those marriages never work.

So nice for a government official to decide what is right in a person's private life. Isn't it?

Has this person never heard of a case calling Loving v. Virginia?

Yes, one of the couples he has denied a marriage license to is trying to get the Department of Justice to sue. I wonder, whats the likelihood of that happening now that the Attorney General has called Americans cowards for not dealing with the question of race?

At least the school board down there must be breathing a sigh of relief. They've already been seven times.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Health Care Reform Is Coming... But Should We Let It?

Ok, let's start with a couple of basics. Health care in America is a bit screwed up right now. We pay a lot. We get alot. But we pay alot. And in having to pay a lot, there are a lot of people who do not have health care covered.

And this is bad. Because if they cannot pay for health care, then we have sick people. Sick people go to the county ER instead of their own physician. The county hospital then has to hope to be reimbursed for all the work that gets done, or to try and recover the money from the person (who is probably too well off to be covered by a government program but not well off enough to afford health insurance). If they can't get paid, then the hospital loses money, has to lay off doctors and nurses and other people do not get treatment.

Sure that is over simplifying things, but its a fair description of the problem.

Then there are the solutions that are proposed. Some say its all the fault of the greedy insurance companies. If it was not for their overriding need to make a profit, then costs would be manageable. The insurance industry lashes back by blaming the lawyers. If it wasn't for the lawyers filing all those "frivolous" medical malpractice suits, then things would not cost so much. Some people say its the doctors fault for charging so much. The doctors point out that they have to because, well, hey, they've got bills to pay and medical malpractice premiums to boot.

And then George Bush opens his mouth about the problem and says:

But back to the actual problem.

Today, there was a vote in the Senate. Specifically, it was a vote in the Senate Finance Committee on what has become known as the Baucus Bill. Actually, its called "America’s Healthy Future Act of 2009". The bill is the Democrats answer to the problem. (As a side note, I want to know why, after 8 years in opposition, it took them until September to actually get a bill together?)

Senator Baucus has stated that this proposal is the solution for our problems. He states that the plan will pay for itself. He states that the plan will lower costs and not add to the federal deficit, and that it will encourage competition in the market place.

A lot of hardcore left wingers are not happy with this plan. They see the only solution as being single-payer health care. Now there are advantages to this idea. However, there are perils. And significant costs. Remember, nothing is for free. If we make it another entitlement, then its going to be reflected in our taxes. And once that money gets purposed and set into the federal code, its may never be changed. Don't think so? Remember, we are still paying an emergency tax on our telephone usage. The emergency that the tax was meant to fund? That would be the Spanish-American War, which happened in 1898.

Anyways, the Baucus plan. The Baucus plan has some features that are really good. However, ti also has some really bad things that almost amount to a poison pill.

The good:
Healthcare cooperatives. The Baucus bill will provide that member owned insurance cooperatives can be formed. These will be non-profits which will compete with the insurance companies, hopefully being able to provide comparable services in order to bring the cost down.

The not so good:
Individual mandates. If you do not have healthcare, you will be subject to a fine. Great. So now in addition to being required to have all sorts of other required things (driver's license, car insurance, etc), we will now how have to show proof of insurance. I can see how soon someone will propose a national ID card as cost-cutting means, since it will contain all this information about us that we are required to have anyways. There is also the idea that there might be criminal penalties involved. Sorry, every so often, I get a little paranoid about Big Brother.

Subsidy for those who are deemed to be too poor to afford insurance. Under the Baucus plan, anyone who falls under certain guidelines (an income that it under three times the Federal poverty level) will have access to subsidized plans. Apparently, this means that families of four making less than $661,150 per year will have their health care subsidized. It should probably be noted that the median income for a family of four in the U.S. is about $70,354. In California, the median is $
74,801. To me, that seems like an awful lot of people who are going to be getting subsidized health care. Sounds very expensive.

The pre-existing conditions provisions, as I read them, are good and bad. The good part is that those with pre-existing conditions will be able to get coverage. The bad is that it seems to segregate them into a special risk pool. Combined with the individual mandate, this could make things difficult.

The absurd:
According to the Baucus plan, illegal aliens will not be able to participate in this program. That's going to be interesting to enforce, especially in light of the Supreme Court's prior rulings on the subject of what happens when there is a program that the illegal alien would be otherwise entitled.

The bad:
Now some of you may remember that during the election, Senator McCain had a health care reform proposal. (Yes, he had one. Actually fairly fleshed out instead of President Obama's "I'd like to see ...") was to tax health care benefits for employer provided health care plans. Currently, they are not taxed, even though they are a benefit (something that IRS likes to call "income", and income is taxable). Under the McCain plan, the tax was balanced by an equal tax write-off for paying for a personal health care plan. Ideally, under Senator McCain's plan, you would have a net zero effect. At least, that was how it was explained to me.

The problem with Senator McCain's plan was that it did nothing to deal with the issue of pre-existing conditions. As it stands right now, if you have a preexisting condition, it damned near impossible to get individual coverage. Believe me. I have tried (and my "condition" was resolved over 10 years ago. Yet despite the fact that it is resolved, as in will never come back, I still get rejected by insurance companies when I try to buy individual insurance.).

Well now with the Baucus plan, we see that so-called "Cadillac" plans will be taxed. Let's take a step back and look at the absurdity of calling it a "Cadillac". How many people under the age of, say, 55, look at the Cadillac as the pinacle of luxury autos anymore?

Now a Cadillac plan, under the Baucus plan it is defined in Title VI "Excise Tax on High Cost Insurance", is defined as any plan that goes over $8,000 per year per person or $21,000 per year for a family. The tax would be 35 percent on anything over that. That's a pretty heft tax, one that the Senate committee is hoping will bring in a whopping $215 billion.

To me, this seems a little on the insane side of things. It is actually penalizing people for getting good health care plans. It also has no corresponding reward, other than not being taxed, for getting mediocre ones.

There is also the argument that the excise tax is going to become an AMT. The AMT, or Alternative Minimum Tax, was a tax originally designed to correct a loophole in the law which allowed extraordinarily wealthy people to escape paying income tax. In the beginning, it worked fine. However, with neglect, it has become a tax that is becoming increasingly burdensome on people are not extraordinarily wealthy, and are in fact, really just upper middle class.

In the same way, as the cost of the low end Baucus plan packages rise, middle class income families could find themselves on the receiving end of the excise tax. Seems like there is a flaw in the plan.

Then there is the idea that Medicare will come down, and that those savings will be used to fund the plan. That seems, to me, the least likely since it requires that an entitlement be cut.

Bottom line is this: this is an expensive plan. It requires that the health care exchanges get up and running in order to keep the consumer costs down. If they don't, and instead end up as not for profits, then there is not going to be any real savings in all of this. I am really uncomfortable with taxing people for getting good health care plans. I'm also a little upset with how many people we will end up subsidizing.

Then again, its not like the Republican party has offered anything other than "let the market run free" and "its all the lawyers fault".

At the bottom of it all, this bill is clearly a compromise. It is going to cost a lot of money. Under the Congressional Budget Office's scoring, which is a precise rule driven evaluation, thinks that the bill will help to reduce the federal deficit and cut the number of uninsured. However, others have criticized the CBO's numbers because of what they are not allowed to consider when doing the report on the bill. First, there is the problem that the bill will put the onus on the states to come up with some of the money. This in turn could lead to higher state taxes. It allows President Obama to keep his word not to personally raise taxes, instead leaving that bit to the legislatures of the states. Second, there is no accounting for the actual administrative cost of the plan. Third, there is little thought as to what the cost will be once people actually have health insurance, as in how much will the subsidies need to be increased in order to keep pace with a potential upswing in medical procedures.