30 Apr

There’s simply NO MONEY IN THE BUDGET!!!

Wisconsin is a tax hell, plain and simple. And if you live in the city of Milwaukee and actually hold a job and try to own a home, you are screwed even more.

So naturally it comes as a surprise (sarcasm!) that our politicians might be wasting money on unneeded trips (we call them boondoggles in the real world) yet telling us that they need to tax us more because there simply isn’t any money in the budget for anything!

Thank you, Milwaukee Alderman Joe Davis for wasting thousands of dollars of taxpayer money on your vacations.

Last year it was reported that Davis wasted over $15,600 on his taxpayer funded vacations over two years. The destinations of these trips included Las Vegas, Reno, St. Louis, New Haven, Charlotte, Wichita, and Washington DC (3 times). Read More

30 Apr

Overstock.com’s “Unusual” Financial Statements and Disclosures

Supporters of Patrick Byrne and Overstock.com (NASDAQ:OSTK) can’t seem to get over the fact that the company has never turned a profit and that it is being investigated by the SEC (despite false assertions in the most recent conference call that the SEC has resolved “all the issues” and has sprinkled holy water on the company) and that there are numerous “unusual” disclosures and elements in the financial statements.

I thought it would be fun to take a trip down memory lane regarding all these unusual, irregular, questionable, problematic, abnormal, odd items and see if a pattern emerges.

While under the watchful eye of the Sith Lord, I have generated quite a few blog posts regarding Patrick Bryne and Overstock.com. Isn’t it amazing how one, solitary public company can have situation after situation that indicates something is wrong with the financial data and disclosures? Read More

28 Apr

A Few Articles From AOL’s Personal Finance Blog, WalletPop

I’ve been writing quite a bit for WalletPop these days. I love that gig!

One bright spot on the horizon for air travelers? – A new configuration for seats in coach that gives the illusion of much more room, and more actual comfort for passengers.

Travel insurance would have paid off: A cautionary tale – Don’t blame the cruise ship for exercising caution with regard to your child’s health! Read More

28 Apr

About the SEC “sprinkling holy water” on Overstock.com

Wacky Patty ByrneLast week in the Overstock.com (NASDAQ:OSTK) earnings conference call, the company’s executives had the following to say about the SEC’s investigation of the company:

Patrick Byrne

So, is it fair to say that all these other issues that the knuckleheads keep on raising as issues, the SEC examiners, looked at and sprinkled holy water on?

David Chidester

Yeah, I mean they took a deep dive they do that every three years or so. And again they are very good to work with. It is not adversarial at all and we’ve got all the issues resolved and it’s nice to know that we could move forward.

Those statements by Patrick Byrne and David Chidester were a big no-no, for two main reasons. Read More

28 Apr

5 steps to driving your tax preparer crazy

I wrote this one for WalletPop as tax season was wrapping up, but I liked it so much that I’m reprinting it here!

The agony of doing taxes is just about over for another year. I have only five tax returns left to do, and all the extensions have been filed, so we’ve got plenty of time. I don’t do many tax returns anymore, and I’m thankful. I don’t think I have the patience to do a lot of them.

Hopefully your tax preparer has more patience than I do, but you can test the waters with these five simple ways to drive her or him crazy: Read More

26 Apr

The Pyramid Scheme Aspect of Primerica Financial Services

I ran across a blog that did a series examining Primerica Financial Services, a multi-level marketing company that purports to sell financial products. While the company does offer life insurance, investments, and other financial products, like a typical MLM… they’re really out there selling the opportunity. The name of the game is endless recruiting.

The Financial Blogger did several nice posts about the company, but this explanation of the pyramid scheme aspect of Primerica was exceptional: Read More

25 Apr

Video of Patrick Byrne discussing the Sith Lord’s fax machine at CNBC

I couldn’t make up stuff this good if I tried. Seriously. The things that Patrick Byrne, CEO of Overstock.com (NASDAQ:OSTK) says are a journalist’s dream. (Yes, if Byrne can think of himself as a journalist, so can I!) I reported the other day on his comments about the secret fax machine at CNBC. Here’s the video of the clown actually saying it. Skip ahead to 5:00 to get to the good stuff.

And when Liz Claman says she’s never seen such a fax machine, Byrne says “I have a good source on that.” I bet you do, Wacky Patty.

25 Apr

I came across my name on Amazon.com

This afternoon I was cruising Amazon.com, and found my name in the acknowledgments of a book. I HAD NO IDEA! It is so touching to be thanked in this way, by someone who is both a business associate and a friend.

Rebecca Ryan, the head of Next Generation Consulting, helps companies attract and retain young talent. Specifically, she’s an expert on Generation X (GenX) and Generation Y (Millenials) and helps management come to terms with the fact that it’s not the same business world as it used to be. Employees value many different things than they did 30 years ago, and the old ways of managing people won’t work anymore. Read More

25 Apr

Herbalife President: Well it’s ALMOST True….

Another top executive is caught lying about his credentials, but we’re supposed to think it’s no big deal. First it was Usana Health Sciences (NASDAQ:USNA) board member Denis Waitley lying about his college degrees. Then it was Usana CFO Gil Fuller lying about being a CPA. Then it was Usana exeuctive Timothy Wood lying about his college degree.

Now it’s the Herbalife (NYSE:HLF) president, Gregory Probert, lying about having an MBA from Cal State. But in typical multi-level marketing company (product-based pyramid scheme) fashion, you are urged to “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain,” in Wizard of Oz fashion.

As reported in today’s Wall Street Journal, the MBA degree was listed in at least 19 Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Probert’s excuse? Vanity. (No, we call that fraud, not vanity.) According to the article: Read More