Black Coffee: A Little Fun with Bono and the Banker Bullies

It’s time to sit back, relax and enjoy a little joe

Welcome to another rousing edition of Black Coffee, your off-beat weekly round-up of what’s been going on in the world of money and personal finance. Here’s what caught my attention over the past week…

I hope everybody had a great week.   It’s hard to believe we’re three weeks away from Christmas.   I mean, it seems like only two months ago when all the stores started putting up their holiday decorations.     On second thought, I guess it was.

Blogs I’ve Been Following This Week

Enemy of Debt – Final Results: No Restaurants Equal Big Savings.   I love Brad and his approach to debt.   We are both cut from the same cloth; we’re both big on personal responsibility and abhor owing money to anybody for anything.   I was impressed with his experiment to stop eating out last month — it yielded some very big savings.   So, not to be outdone, I’ve decided to just stop eating.   For two months.   I’ll keep ya posted on how that works out for me…

The Financial BloggerTFB 4th Anniversary – Who Wants to Win an iPad? Wow.   Four years of steady blogging — congratulations TFB!   Best of all, the Financial Blogger is giving away a free iPad (that’s iPad with an “a,” as opposed to an iPod with an “o”) and some cool other gifts too.   Now hop over to his site, send your best wishes and enter his give-away!       Who knows, you may just win an iPad — with an “a,” not an “o.”

Wisebread – 6 Simple Ways to Safeguard Against Bank Bullying.     What, you thought banks weren’t capable of bullying people?     Are you really that naive?   Please.   Banks are ruthless, folks.     Cold, heartless bastards, that’s what they are!     Surely I’m not the only kid who got their lunch money taken away under the threat of a fat lip by roving bands of rogue bankers.     Or am I?

Canadian Finance BlogSilly Mistakes Can Be Costly.     I’ll say — like walking to school alone in a neighborhood infested with marauding gangs of foul-mouthed filthy financiers.   Yes, I’ve got issues.

And Here’s Some Other Posts You Might Enjoy…

Kiplinger Last Minute Tax Savings for 2010

Personal Finance by the Book5 Ways to Stretch Your Christmas Budget.

Ironclad FinancesPlanning For Christmas Shopping

Green Panda Tree HouseImportant Fees That Come With a Mortgage — Are You Ready?

PT MoneyTips for Sticking to a Budget

Money Reasons Getting Paid for Aluminum Cans Update

Barbara Friedberg Personal FinanceAre You Wealthier Than You Think?

Budgeting in the Fun StuffTop 5 Songs About Personal Finances

Live RichlyStranger in His Own Land, Pt. 9

The Way-Back Machine: Past Posts Of Mine You May Have Missed

From December 2009:

Yes, Al Gore, There Is Such a Thing As Global Warming – My global-warming climate change parody of the famous “Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus” letter.

Credits and Debits

Debit: Don’t look now, but climate change global warming scientists zealots are now saying that, if we want to stave off ecological disaster, the world’s industrialized nations need to go back to draconian rationing similar to what was done during World War II.

Credit: The truth is, anthropogenic (i.e., man-caused) global warming climate change is a farce.

Credit: I’ve been saying for years that the main impetus behind this movement is actually a small group of anti-capitalists who misrepresent and/or distort climatological data in a back-door effort to try and institute their own twisted idea of a socialist utopia.     It’s true.

Debit: These are the same people who used 1200 limos and 140 private jets to attend last year’s Copenhagen climate summit.   I know.   As for the number of electric or hybrid vehicles the environmentalists ordered up to get to the summit?   Um, that would be five.   As in, er, well, five.

Debit: Meanwhile, another rabid environmentalist, Bono, is doing his part.   By the way, I’m not talking about the late Sonny Bono.   I’m talking about the self-absorbed dude from the rock band U2.   Anyway, U2’s 360 Degrees tour, running through 2011, requires six Boeing 747 jets and 55 tractor trailers — and that’s just for Bono’s ego.

Debit: This is the same guy whose band’s carbon footprint in 2009 was equivalent to the carbon created by a passenger plane traveling the 34 million miles from Earth to Mars.   Says Bono, “My prayer is that we become better in looking after our planet.”   Rest assured, when Bono says we, he really means you.

Credit: Last week, President Obama endorsed a two-year freeze on the salaries of federal employees as a sign that he is serious about reducing the annual trillion-dollar (yes, trillion) budget deficits he has run up since coming in to office.

Debit: Unfortunately, as the Washington Examiner deftly points out, the president “might as well be using a milk jug to bail out the Titanic; the freeze is estimated to save only about $5 billion in an annual federal budget of more than $3.5 trillion, including a $1.3 trillion deficit.

Debit: To put that in perspective, if your household income is $50,000 per year, that would be equivalent to you reducing your annual spending by $25.

Credit: The Examiner also noted in the same opinion piece that there are bolder proposals out there including a proposed across-the-board 10 percent federal pay cut by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, (R-Utah), and another proposal by Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colorado) calling for federal workers to be furloughed without pay for two weeks in 2011.

Credit: Meanwhile, Coffman and Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Arizona) are calling for — are you sitting down? — Congressional salary cuts of ten and five percent, respectively.
Credit: Even more drastic cuts are needed though to begin scaling back our monstrous federal government.   The president can start by abolishing the Departments of Labor, Education, Agriculture, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, and Health and Human Services — all of which do NOTHING to improve America’s, labor, agriculture, energy, housing, and health, respectively.

By the Numbers

Numbers regarding the proposed environmental Cap and Trade bill sponsored by John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.):

83 The percentage reduction of greenhouse emissions in America by 2100 as a result of punitive taxes imposed on the economy by Cap and Trade.

0.077 The reduction in global temperatures, in degrees Fahrenheit by 2050.

0.2 The reduction in global temperatures, in degrees Fahrenheit by 2100.

3 million According to the conservative Heritage Foundation, the estimated number of job losses in America’s manufacturing sector by 2029.

$5 trillion According to the Heritage Foundation, the amount of money that will be transferred from the private sector to the government in the first 20 years of Cap and Trade.   This represents a net destruction of 4.8 trillion of GDP over that same period.

1.1 The projected reduction in the overall rise in the world’s sea level by 2010, in centimeters.   In other words, it’s insignificant.

Other Useless News

Hey, I’m getting hungry.   This not-eating thing may be harder than I thought.

In other news, here are the Top 25 referring blogs during the month of November…

1. The Simple Dollar
2. MSN: Smart Spending
3. Time Magazine: It’s Your Money
4. Kiplinger
5. Get Rich Slowly
6. The Globe and Mail
7. Wisebread
8. JoeTaxpayer
9. Mint
10. Green Panda Tree House
11. Frugal Dad
12. Money Help for Christians
13. LifeHacker
14. Political Calculations
15. Swagbucks
16. Wealth Pilgrim
17. Canadian Finance Blog
18. Simply Forties
19. Oblivious Investor
20. The Millionaire Nurse Blog
21. Hope to Prosper
22. Monevator
23. Everyday Tips and Thoughts
24. Frugal Hacks
25. Budgeting In the Fun Stuff

Thank you to everyone who refers their readers to this little ol’ blog!   I really really really really really really really appreciate it!   :-)

Here’s a friendly reminder for ya: if you happen to enjoy what you’re reading – or not – please make sure you follow me on Twitter. And, if you’ll be so kind, don’t forget to subscribe to my RSS feed too! :-)

Letters, I Get Letters

SlickRick384 wrote in to say:

“Is that a booger I see in the photo on your About page?

Absolutely not!   I even zoomed in on the photo in question and I still didn’t see one.   Well, that is unless you’re referring to the Honeybee.     She can definitely be a booger sometimes.

If you have a question you’d like to ask, or a comment you’d like to make regarding some of my irritating opinions, please feel free to drop me an e-mail at:

I’ll feature the most interesting question or comment I get each week here on Black Coffee — assuming I get one, that is.

If you’re lucky enough to be the only question in the mailbag I’ll highlight your letter, whether it’s interesting or not. 😉

Carnival News

This week I had articles featured at the following carnivals:

Carnival of Personal Finance @ Realm of Prosperity

I’m Len Penzo and I approved this message.


  1. 1


    Hi Len, Thanks so much for including my “are you wealthier than you think ” article today. Congrats on your Kiplingers and CBS Moneywatch honors! You deserve them.

  2. 2


    Thanks for another enthralling roundup. My favorite quote: “The president can start by abolishing the Departments of Labor, Education, Agriculture, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, and Health and Human Services – all of which do NOTHING to improve America’s, labor, agriculture, energy, housing, and health, respectively.”

    Would you consider running for President?

  3. 3


    EOD had a really great experiment, but I’m glad you raised the bar on him! Perhaps if I get the courage, I won’t eat at all for 3 months…

    Thanks for the mention, and the laughs :)…

  4. 4


    @Barb: Stop it, Barb, you’re making me blush. :-)
    @Joe: Maybe I’ll announce my candidacy for president if you agree to be my running mate! Although I really need to focus on taking care of California first — it’s in big big trouble. This place is $40B in debt and we (well, not me) just elected a Big Government governor who got us in the mess we’re now in with policies he instituted when he was governor 30 years ago.
    @MR: Don’t tell Brad but, after I finished this piece, I went downstairs and made myself a sandwich.

  5. 5


    Hi Len, thanks for linking to me this week! I agree that the (anthroprogenic) global warming thing is a farce. How do these scientists explain why Greenland was much warmer in the Middle Ages? There were no cars then.

    I also like you calling out the hypocrisy. Many people are shocked to find that Bush is the one with the energy efficient ranch, while Gore’s place uses a huge amount of electricity.

    Another part of the cap and trade scam is that Goldman Sachs has positioned itself to profit greatly from the trading of carbon credits. Of course, this will also gut the economy as you point out.

  6. 6


    Milton Friedman: “Take 3 random letters from the alphabet. Arrange them in any order. You’ve just created the acronym for a department of the federal government that we can almost certainly do without.”

  7. 7


    I’m all about renewable energy, electric cars and reducing carbon emissions. But, this farce called Global Warming (aka Climate Change in the winter), has to stop. Science shouldn’t be distorted for political, activist or monetary purposes and I’m glad more scientists have had the guts to stand up and call this out as a scam. Even if they lose their grants, it’s the right thing to do for humanity.

    Bono, Al Gore and most of the other GW activists are huge energy pigs and they should be ashamed at the amount of resources they consume. To hear Al Gore claim that he is carbon neutral when he lives in a 20,000 square foot mansion and flies around on a private jet is a the highest form of hypocracy.

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