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The Week in WTF

1. Goober-natorial, WTF?

Pat Quinn (D-Dense) and challenger Wild Bill Brady (R-Freakin' Nuts) have been debating over the governorship that one of them will hold in another month.

Depressed by the choice? Yeah, us, too. WTF is thinking about moving to Canada, buying plaid shirts and changing our name to Bruce.

WTF Bruce? Has a nice ring to it.

Quinn calls Brady "heartless" for his proposed social services cuts; Brady calls Quinn brainless because, well, let's not belabor the painfully obvious. All we need is the Cowardly Lion and a babe in sparkly red heels. We've already cast Judy Baar Topinka for Margaret Hamilton's Witch of the West role.

Blago is the flying monkey.

2. Margaret Matthews, WTF?

Margaret Matthews, 68, was tormented by two teen punks and eventually shot one. Good going, Margaret! We think there's an Eagle Scout badge for that.

WTF commends her because, as opposed to the lousy marksmanship shown by most gangstas, she still seems capable of hitting what she shoots at. Or the target at which she shoots. Gangstas usually kill the wrong person.

Maybe WTF can suggest this trade-in opportunity to gangstas. Avoid shooting anybody while you're a young punk and, when you hit 62, we issue your first monthly retirement check and a free shot at someone you don't like. We'll even give you the gun and a spare bullet. If the Republicans win next month, we'll have to advance the age to 69.

Actually, we think that turning Social Security age should entitle the card holder to one, free annual punk capping. Shoot a punk, win a prize. Sort of like Bradbury's carnie from hell in Something Wicked This Way Comes.

As Sun-Times intellectual wordmeister Stella Foster offers in this hard-hitting and trenchant assessment: "And it is time for parents and their rowdy offspring to be held more accountable for their actions. Yeah, I said it!" Who says she writes mindless drivel? Who? WTF wants to know.

3. Conrad Black, WTF?

Finally an appellate judge asks the relevant question of local media mogul (downhill version) Conrad Black, who is trying to wriggle away from the last three years of his sentence: Why do we care that the "honest services" version of fraud has been diluted by the U.S. Supreme Court? Aren't you just an old-fashioned crook?

Judge Richard Posner made Black's lawyers "bristle" with that analysis this week.

Bristling lawyers are best served with fire-toasted peppers and a piquant tartar sauce. It's a standard menu item at the WTF Bar & Grill.

4. Banks, WTF?

Do you know how banks work when no one is watching? Yeah, us neither. But WTF, you'd have to be an actually terrible bank manager to lose money with the breaks that banks give themselves.

Like this.

These Chicago banks borrowed millions during the TARP national near-meltdown. The going rate for taxpayer-paid salvation was 7.7 percent interest, which seems a little high but remember these are pretty lousy banks. But a new interpretation allows the banks to refinance the loans at 3.1 percent from a different federal agency. A doubleheader bailout? WTF

A loan at 7 per is a burden for a bank. But a fast-moving bank might even make a profit on TARP loans at 3.1 percent.


The manipulation champion pip in our neighborhood area is Discover Financial, a credit card company that got bailed out because it changed its self-definition to bank holding company. WTF, It Really Pays To Discover.

Go to your bank Monday morning and ask for the same deal. We'll sure they help you out, fellow WTFers.

5. McDonald's, WTF?

McDonald's, which makes about a billion buckaroos in profit per quarter, is hinting it will cut health insurance for its burger flippers because insurance companies need more than a 15 percent slice of the premium to make ends meet.

McDonald's doesn't even pay for it. The burger flippers do.

Big companies often adopt an inverse proportion rule to truth. Thus, the more McDonald's denies it, the more is seems inevitable. The Macsters also can prove a Big Mac and fries are good for you. Yes, they are. We wouldn't lie. And 10 Big Macs are 10 times as good for you as one is. It's math.

Let's reprise the facts. Insurance companies don't actually deliver health care. They just make money from it.

Their basic principle is that if they have to play fair, they can't make a buck. Which tells you something about the preposterous oddness of the entire structure.

Tell WTF again why a single-payer health plan without health insurance companies in the middle draining plasma is a bad idea?


David Rutter is the former publisher/editor of the Lake County News-Sun, a Sun-Times Media property.


Comments welcome.


See also:
* An excerpt from Rutter's Olga's War


Posted on October 1, 2010

MUSIC - Britney's IUD.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - Climate Deniers' 4 Top Scare Tactics.
SPORTS - The McEnroes In Antarctica.

BOOKS - Foxconned.


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