Saturday, January 29, 2011

Saturday Sampler

-        Swiss banker Rudolph Elmer, former chief of the office of the Julius Baer Bank in the Cayman Islands, is facing charges for disclosing confidential offshore client information.  Elmer also provided two discs containing information on 2,000 clients to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who said he will spend a few weeks reviewing the information before deciding to whether to release the confidential information.  Funny, I don’t hear the same outcry from commentators about this possible disclosure compared to his previous release of US cables.  Illegal is illegal, though I guess fat cat tax avoiding multimillionaires shouldn’t expect much sympathy.
-        Holy Morgan Spurlock.  I think Taco Bell’s decision to pull its advertising from MTV’s Skins won’t have much of an impact on the company’s real PR problem.  Last week a class action suit was filed claiming the fast food company falsely advertised its product, labeled "seasoned beef.", when in reality it uses a meat mixture with binders and extenders that don't meet requirements to be called beef.  Drop the chalupa.
-        The U.S. has abandoned its plans to deploy a virtual fence along the border with Mexico. The $1 billion Boeing run project was designed to pull together video cameras, radar, sensors and other technologies to catch illegal immigrants and smugglers trying to cross the border.  On the other side of the border Mexican officials confiscated a medieval-style catapult used to hurl bales of marijuana across the border.  We waste $1Billion on a high tech disaster, while the drug smugglers use about $50 worth of Home Depot materials to circumvent our Maginot Line.  Brilliant.
-        Just read that Craig T. Nelson turned the offer to play Jay Pritchett on Modern Family because he was insulted by the pay offered.  Hard to see anybody but Ed O’Neill in that role now.  While Nelson did receive higher salary for his role in soon-to-be cancelled NBC’s Parenthood, he also traded sidling up next to the super sexy Sofia Vergara for being the estranged husband of Bonnie Bedilia.  Can you say lose-lose.
-        Marriott announced it will be eliminating its skin flicks from its in room entertainment offering.  The Mormon faith Marriott family may be trying to establish itself as a family values hotel chain.  The good news, it is one less thing to skeeve, now can we win the bedbug battle?
-        In a widely under-reported news story, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the START Treaty on January 28th.  Yes the same START Treaty that Jon Kyl and his GOP cronies tried to kill in December.
-        George Soros would be proud.  It seems some enterprising Vietnamese have found a nice arbitrage opportunity by crossing the border into Cambodia and withdrawing dollars and then returning to Vietnam and selling the greenbacks for Vietnamese dongs at the 5% premium black market rate.  In a childish way I also think it’s funny that the Vietnamese currency is the dong; “Dong, where is Grandpa’s automobile?”
-        Watching 2004’s Garden State.  Natalie Portman was great in that film also.

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