Thursday, December 15, 2011

Rating Agency Wars: Moody's, Fitch, S&P Downgrade Each Other

Rating Agencies Wage Battles | Journal Exclusive

 In what has proven to be the most inane of inane moves to engulf the financial sector, Moody's Rating Agency pulled numbers on rival credit rating firm Fitch, downgrading the company's portfolio a full two points. Fitch Rating Agency immediately retaliated by downgrading S&P's rating two points.

 By mid-afternoon, the three agencies had literally hired out every available messenger, paralegal and girl Friday on call in Manhattan merely to run thousands of single page, signed affidavits to the 1st District Court of New York.

 It was time we figured out what was really going on. We thought we should hit Wall Street and ask the people who really knew the answers.

We asked the first black guy we could find.

"It guess it could be the Apocalypse", ventures Ronnie, somewhat hesitantly.
"Actually, no, now that I think about it, I don't agree with you. Not at all. I think this is probably a really good thing".

Enough said. We moved on.

"Well, fuck 'em", relied another, and I just flat gave up.

I decided to ask a guy in a suit.

Why is he laughing at me?

 UPDATE: S&P has signed a sworn affidavit from the Fourth Circuit Court of Manhattan, declaring it had rated itself and duly declared a AAA++ (full house) rating, establishing a category all in it's own, thereby negating all trumps from rival credit rating agencies across the board.

In a statement, S&P's press release simply read, "We win".

swen nips - reporting

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Manifesto To The Music Industry

The Music industry in recent years has been on a perlerious decline in sales, not just in the United States, but worldwide. Any number of reasons can be attributed to the loss of revenue, but losses are not as important as, say, getting the sales. What is needed to turn a limping dog into a bursting stallion cannot be found in a courtroom, nor can it be found by staying the course. Marketing music on a global scale has true potential, possibly a multibillion dollar program over the next five years, if managed correctly. But you can't feed your family what you don't take home. A new niche market must be created, one that will generate revenue and stand up to the Digital Age. The solution is marketing, plain and simple, and I'm going to tell you how to do it.

1) Create a Worldwide Music Organisation. And if you want to win over your European counterparts, you'll probably have to spell it just like that, too. Every label must commit every artist. Every song must have it's price.

2) Subscription-based streaming. For a fee, fans can download client-based software that allows you to create a playlist from any artist worldwide; fans can stream through a mobile device and play back on any FM band receiver. Software will also have a feature that will play similar songs or artists and chart leaders. Songs are available for impulse purchase though mobile devices or online. Device software will allow fans to build a mobile friendslist, enabling shared music network streaming. Streaming network may include only partial songs to friends or full songs if said friend subscribes as well. Subscribers, in theory, could pay $14.99 a month, but get $2.00 base discount for every friend referred, up to 3 friends, encouraging subscribers to get their monthly rate down. New subscribers may be entered in a monthly drawing for free local concert tickets for first year of subscription (more on that later).

3) Merge with Red Box; or team up with MPAA for kiosk locations. One can choose, pay and burn on the spot. The on-the-go purchase seems to be the going trend. If movie buffs can be found at McDonald's or Safeway, music fans can, too. Award frequent buyers with free track picks.

4) Karaoke DJ Jukeboxes. Sell propietors a wall-mounted DJ box all-in-one. This box accepts cash or credit cards and enables patrons to play tracks from any artist in the world; contains an interface for available karaoke songs to perform and contains inputs and outputs for duel microphones and sound systems; will record performances and burn for a fee. Patrons can also create and burn playlists. Generic input allows live artist to record and upload to a local licks music store or add to their webpage.

The Meat: Anyone who's ever sung an epic karaoke performance has wished that they had a copy of it. For a generous fee, one can simply press 'burn' and live that night every forever. The track writing allows the fan to list the vocalist's name, followed by artist and title. The beauty of this is that when Tony sings 'Brown Eyed Girl' from Van Morrison, editing the track title can easily remove the singers name, leaving artist name and title only. When Tony removes his name and uploads the track to the internet, these songs will flood search engines with karaoke versions. Getting yourself a pirated copy of said track will eventually become nearly impossible.
Met someone special that loves music as much as you do? Create a playlist together and burn it. Listen to your favorite tracks on the drive home or, if your lucky, over a bottle of wine when you get there. Whole-album purchases may include name entered in a drawing for free concert tickets.

5) Subscription-based Concert Ticket Outlet - For a monthly fee, subscribers may purchase tickets from reserved blocks not offered to the general public. Tickets are sold to subscriber at box office price and is virtually guaranteed in stock. This would appeal to concert-goers who stand little chance scoring those hot Garth Brooks tickets. Unsold tickets may be sold at discount on date or given away as promotion for other services.

6) Launch an online magazine that features regional listings for concerts. Subscribers to ticket outlet may receive magazine subscription for free, others may pay. Magazine content would include artist interviews, scoop music news, charts, and of course ads. Innovation is needed to kick the Rolling Stone. Magazine would be fully compatible with the upcoming ipad. Magazine may feature a chart purchase rate; anything say, in the top 10 charts subscriber may purchase for a discount.

7) Open worldwide online music store - Anything from anyone - for a price.

8) Launch free music-based online social network - MySpace and Facebook, look out! This network promotes artists to interact with their fans, providing blogs, scoop interviews and friendslist with free ticket drawings and merchandise directly from the artist. Registration may include free song gift cards. Live club performances recorded through DJ karaoke jukeboxes may be uploaded by artist with ease, and in turn, sold as mp3s. And again, the usual advertisement revenue.

9) Assign a dedicated think tank. Fire every think tank you have ever employed.

10) Disband RIAA. Integrate the better parts into worldwide music organisation. Quietly. And STOP suing.
Let's face it; RIAA, music's public face, has tarnished a product that's been around, literally, forever. There is no harm that can come to music; only it's representation. The Recording Association of America, with the green light from it's corporate leaders, has unknowingly and recklessly brought suit to many innocent music fans, children, working mothers and, more detrimental, have widened the chasm between themselves and Internet Users. In the beginning, peer-to-peer file sharing was a cult practice that slowly grew to include the casual internet user, thus producing lackluster music sales. The age had come where stealing music was at the stroke of a key. I won't lie and say copyright infringement lawsuits didn't deter piracy. But piracy will still happen and did, no question about it. What lawsuits have done was drive a permanent wedge between paid-for music and mainstream internet users. Many users vow never to pay for a track ever again. That kind of damage is hard to repair, which is why I like the idea of giving music away for free, that is if you subscribe or make a purchase. No harm in giving away something that is, in any case, a bunch of 1's and 0's.

Fan #1: Sings karaoke and purchases performance tracks; buys blank tracks to practice at home.

Fan #2: Subscribes to online magazine, ticket outlet; buys concert tickets; buys music online.

Fan #3; Subscribes to streaming network via wireless device; has friend network that expands service; buys music on impulse; becomes member of online social network.

Fan #4: Plays favorites at box locations; buys playlist CDs.

Fan #5: Soccer mom buys Johnny Cash playlist at Burger King for Grandma to listen to on the way to Seattle; the only way Junior will put up listening to The Cash for an hour is by buying him a Jonas Brothers playlist he can listen to for the following hour. Soccer mom buys Karen Carpenter's Greatest Hits CD to wrap up the trip and sooth her nerves.

Overhead: The music rights are owned. Renegotiate artist contracts for full compliance. The software can be written, the websites can be launched. The only real costs are the Jukeboxes and ink for the contracts.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Truth About Dogfighting: What They Wont Tell You

The public eye has glanced upon the sport of dogfighting and the sensationalism of a true fooball hero fallen. Michael Vick, who posted five mediocre seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, will soon be launching the first Cockroachfighting competition in a federal prison near you.

This could not have come at a worse time for the bloodsport. Kennels nationwide are scrambling as the media continues to spotlight this legitimate albiet illegal american pastime. Eddie Centers, owner of Dog Eat Dog Kennels, was forced to sell his stake before it bit him in the ass in form of a federal indictment.

"I don't know what this country is coming to", says Centers, "when you can't even fight a dog to near-death for the pleasure and enjoyment of sport". Centers adds that he, like Vick, had an investment "soley for the purpose of entertaining friends and a means to loan money as lavish gifts for gambling". He claims it's urban legend that dogfighting and gambling go hand in hand. Asked if he ever gambled on dogfighting, Centers responded, "Are you freaking nuts? I'd have to be an idiot to admit that to a blogger. I'm still under investigation, you know".

Gambling in sports has always been a sensitive subject, made popular by the case of Pete Rose, the monster who brought baseball to the pinnacle of shame. Is there no worse crime than one who bets on his own sport? Obviously not, for Rose was bound to be inducted into the Baseball Hall Of Fame but instead was banned for life from the sport for his lifestyle. By comparison, Michael Vick was merely suspended indefinatly, leaving the door open to a future in the Nation Football League after he serves an undetermined sentence in a yet to be determined butt-rape prison. This sends a clear message: Fighting puppies to death is not all that bad.

Owners of prize fighting dogs love their beasts very much, and is evident by the way they treat them. "I love my dog with a baseball bat", says Billy Bob Crotchton of New Orleans. "It shows, because she gets that special look in her eye when I break bones". Others dish out a little lovin' by strapping a female in a rape stand, like the one found on Vicks property. Perfectly fitting for a Bitch.

Recent national attention has a lockjaw on the sport and District Attorneys are chasing their tails with a taste for blood. They are clearly on the wrong path.

There is a deeper underlying secret, one that the American Dogfighting Assosiation does not want you to know, something so dark that even respectable law-abiding gambler's eveywhere are wondering whether they can come to terms with this development.

Doggie-Doping. That's right, you heard it here first, folks, the first of a series of special reports focusing on the use of performance-enhancing drugs used in dogfighting.

How would you feel if you wagered your daughters entire college fund on a favorite in the fifth with 4-1 odds, only to lose it to a shabby, weak looking Parson Russell Terrier who resembles nothing more than a bait dog?

Execution of ill-performing dogs has been a focal point in the Michael Vick case. Sadly, this is misinformation. The fact is, these dogs actually won said fights. But after conclusive results by the FIFA, the sanctioning body of the anti-doping arm of Dogfighting, it was determined in each case that the animal had been in violation of league doping policies and must be put down via shotgun. This creates precedence and should be a hallmark of future penalties in other sports, such as Tour de France. What bicyclist would chance a prohibited blood transfusion faced with death penalty? Denmark cyclist Michael Rasmussen would likely be a little more forthcoming with information, one would think.

As one can clearly see, organizers of dogfighting are in fact in their right mind, contrary to popular belief. "The integrity of the sport is in jeapordy", says one source, who declined to be named for this story because he, too, is under federal investigation. "It's completely unethical, and cuts to the very heart of the bond between the fight and the wager. How can a bookie justify breaking the legs of a client who had a sure bet"?

This debacle also raises questions about inductions into the Dogfighting Hall Of Fame, as well as career statistics and record holders. Who is to say that Rover is the true World Champion of all time if it was discovered in his last fight that he tested positive for souped-up Puppy Chow? How can a purebreed look himself in the mirror and say he he had not damaged the integrity of the sport? How can an American Pitbull Terrier sleep at night without kicking in throes of a doggie dream?

These are of course rhetorical questions, and we may never know the answers, because dogs can't talk.

What this sport needs most is a new sponsor, one to replace the leadership role that was lost with the conviction of Michael Vick. Someone with stature and loads of NFL money.

This writer suggests the perfect canidate. Would the real Terrell Owens please step forward and slap down some duckets.

Sure, we can keep a secret.

[As published by Greg Brunty 2007]

The Truth About Dogfighting Part 2: What The Sport Has Become

Michael Vick, convicted felon, dog fighting ringleader and semi-popular, mediocre NFL quarterback has made news once again.

After a season as backup quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles in which starter Donovan McNabb carried the team to a divisional playoff, Vick was asked what the odds were of winning a championship, and if by chance they were to win, what proceeds he was expected to earn from sports bookies he was known to associate with through dog fighting rings.

"Who the fuck are you", he was quoted as asking, followed quickly by demanding,"And how in the fuck did a blogger get into the god damn locker room? Security"!

This was a response from someone who clearly had something to hide.

With credential in hand (a laptop) and hat with a piece of paper reading 'PRESS' tucked into the band, our online reporter sought other sources to confirm a new theory: How traditional dog fighting and betting has morphed into an acceptable, if not legal, arm or sports wagering.

Eddie Centers, former owner of Dog Eat Dog Kennels, was asked how the sport has transformed following the 2006 spotlight of dog fighting and subsequent conviction of Michael Vick. "I thought congress issued you a subpeona for blog misuse, slander and defamation", he retorted.

It seems our source had turned on us.

A New wave of sports betting, now under the new genre, "Puppy Petting", has emerged, much to the distaste of bookies and bloodlusters alike.

"I don't know what that sport has come to", Salias Guerrra, lead 'numbers' guy for D.D.D, Inc was quoted as saying, "But the numbers don't lie. People still wager. The spectator pool still grows, admissions are up".

He refers, of course, to the disgusting sport of Puppy Petting.

Dogs that Don't Die is the new and prime de-facto numbers agency who book wagers on how many vicious doberman, pit bull and ferocious datsuns any competitor can 'pet' on the head without getting a hand chewed off. Competitors range from former
convicted felons sentenced to community service to former football quarterback convicts that have served time in Federal butt-rape penitentiaries nationwide.

Michael was quoted as saying, "Yeah, I lost a digit to a particularly nasty chihuahua. They had to pump her stomach for my ring finger - put it on ice like real fast, ya know? Doc sewed it back on, but it still don't work right".

When asked to confirm details, Michael stated, "Man, do I look like I've ever thrown a football? I ain't tellin' you my last name is Vick just for your stupid blog".

Enough said.

Kandy, an Alaskan Husky purebred who went 9-1 in the 2009 PP Championship, lost in the final round when convicted pedophile Jack 'Fast Hands' Black, moved in for the final kill shot.

"I just reached in and touched her, real quick like", stated Black, who, for this interview, was behind glass for breaking his parole conditions for 'where' he pet the dog in the winning move.

Kandy, when asked if she considered the action an assault, was in no talking mood, mainly because dogs can't talk.

PPNURI, the Puppy Petting National Unified Regionals, International, released the following statement:

"As it stands, PPINURI will continue to support the Federal Bureau of Prisons by supplying fresh convict meat to mistreated and otherwise hungry vicious animals for sport and wagering".

Your Season is over, Mike. Come down and pet a puppy.

[published 2010 by Greg Brunty] []