by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

If there’s such a thing as a Secular Saint, then Bill Murray is that person.

Starting Five

When Pecker Picked A Pecker Pic 

The skinny: David Pecker, the head of AMI, which publishes The National Enquirer, came at Amazon founder Jeff Bezos with threats to publish his personal texts to his mistress, Lauren Sanchez, one of which included a phallic photo.

Bezos, instead of crying, “FAKE NUDES,” instead decided to expose the blackmail attempt (and he has emails to back him up).

If you were writing this as a novel, you’d give the villain a name like David Pecker, no? Although I guess one would argue that that’s also a good sobriquet for the dick pic dude.

Of course, that’s just scratching the surface. How did Pecker obtain these text messages (Bezos’ chief investigator, Gavin de Becker, is looking into whether a government agency was enjoined to assist)? Why did Pecker want Bezos’ newspaper, The Washington Post, to stop investigating the death of Jamal Khashoggi? This is like an entire season arc of Homeland or House Of Cards or maybe better yet, Veep or Silicon Valley.

It’s just getting started. Know that the president and Mr. Pecker have worked together in the past on a number of occasions.

2. “No Thank You, Mr. Pecker”

The title of Bezos’ expose was our headline above, which at first glance sounded to us like a  show-stopping number from a pornographic musical. Which got us to thinking: Has there ever been an explicitly pornographic musical (South Pacific?)? And that got us to thinking about titles for such a musical or some of its numbers. Here’s an incomplete list, with a little help from tweep @KurtRoedel:


“We’re In The Moneyshot”

“I’m Gonna Wash That ____ Right Outta My Hair”

“A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Scrotum”

“The Lion Schwing”

“The Book Of MoreMan”

There were more but we also know who some of our readers are (Does Seth MacFarlane ever have this problem?)

3. Rondo, Refreshing

There was a time when the Lakers at Celtics, no matter what the month, was the biggest game of the NBA season. The two met up last night in Boston and L.A. cured its No AD post-trade deadline blues in the best manner possible: former Celtic guard Rajon Rondo hit the game winner as time expired for a 129-128 Laker victory.

You may recall that LA lost by 42, the worst defeat of LeBron James’ career, at Indy two nights earlier. They trailed by as many as 18 in the second half last night.

By the way, does anyone else remember that before “Rondo” was an All-Star caliber point guard and Connect Four prodigy that it was a citrus soda?

Also by the way, Russell Westbrook, who has won two of the past three All-Star Game MVP awards, was the 16th overall player (18th, if you count the two captains) selected in last night’s All-Star Game draft. Guess some folks don’t like playing with Russ.


4. Are PayDay Loans The Next Subprime Mortgage Crisis?

This week the Trump administration is moving on deregulating the payday loan industray (legal loan-sharking) and you gotta wonder why. One clue: Corey Lewandowski is a paid lobbyist for said industry.

What are payday loans? They allow you to take out a loan, sometimes at an interest rate of as great as 400%, against your next paycheck. So basically if you want money fast you’re willing to pay for its immediacy by agreeing to an exorbitant premium on said loan and using your paycheck as collateral. Thus the death spiral begins, as you’re basically taxing your own paycheck.

(The MH Video Team recommends)

It’s a loser’s game, and there are a few questions: 1) Should the government be involved with protecting financially unsophisticated adults against themselves? 2) What is the state of the common wage in this country that allows more than 14,000 pay day loan centers (basically as ubiquitous as Starbucks) to operate? 3) What is the state of the middle- and lower-class consumer appetite that they cannot wisely manage their own money and instead spend themselves into chronic and inescapable debt? 4) Why would the government take the side of loan sharks over the common worker (oh, I think we know the answer to that one)?

The subprime mortgage crisis happened because the government regulatory committees didn’t do their due diligence in overseeing crap mortgage securities. The securities were crap because the mortgages were crap: people earning $40K per year were buying $500,000 home and being asked to put almost nothing down and then not needing to pay any interest for the first three years. When the mortgage finally started to kick their ass, it was assumed, they’d sell the home because homes are always an appreciable asset.

Until they weren’t. That’s called a bubble. The mortgage brokers knew they were selling customers a product they couldn’t afford but their job wasn’t to get the entire cost of the house, but only to sell the mortgage. The rest was the bank’s problem. And as long as Mortgage Lender A was going to do this dirty business, Mortgage Lender B felt obliged to remain competitive. But they all knew the house of cards was eventually going to crash. They just didn’t care; that was someone else’s mess.

If you or someone you know or love is working at a pay day loan center, you (or they) are complicit. Sorry. Much like the mortgage lender folks, you have to know that abetting the eventual bankruptcy of tens of thousands of Americans who, yes, are too stupid or too desperate to manage their money, is going to crash the system. Are you your brother’s keeper? No, you don’t have to be. But you don’t have to be the serpent in the garden, either. That’s a choice you make.

Either way, payday loans are an evil biz that exploit the working poor and desperate. But don’t worry, very poor or very rich people: when the system crashes, and it will, the financial burden will be placed on the middle class. It always is.

5. Super Bowl MVP

Let’s end the week on a note of altruism and looking out for those of us who are less fortunate. Weird: Before Sunday’s Super Bowl I actually wondered, What if the NFL were to give away like an entire section (or more) of Super Bowl tickets to the homeless, or to disadvantaged children, etc? I mean, what a tremendous look that would be for them and they certainly could afford it?

And I don’t mean nosebleed seats. I’m talking prime seats where the TV cameras could spot these fans. Why wouldn’t you want to do that? And of course the answer is that these billionaire owners didn’t become billionaires by not being greedy.

Music 101

Looking At The Sun


In the autumn of 1993, I covered the SEC for Sports Illustrated out of a Birmingham base. And I drove everywhere. Never flew…to Baton Rouge …Lexington …Fayetteville …Columbia…even Gainesville. That was the best way to find hidden Dixie delights, particularly backwoods eateries. Of course, such an odyssey demanded good car tunes, and the first six tracks of Matthew Sweet’s Girlfriend album were constantly being played as I rolled through Meridian, Sylacauga and various Decaturs. Good times.

Remote Patrol

Abducted In Plain Sight


Bravo, Netflix. You’ve figured out (thanks to Making A Murderer?) that America is obsessed with true crime, the creepier the better. Serial killers rock our world (Ted Bundy Tapes), as do bizarre and unsolved murders (Evil Genius) and then of course, there’s the sexual terrorization of women. That’s your trifecta.

This is the true story of Jan Broberg Felt, who while growing up in Pocatello, Idaho, was twice kidnapped as a young teen—by her neighbor. Broberg Felt has since grown up to be a working actress in Hollywood.

6 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. I agree with you of course about the heinous incomprehensibly legal Payday “loan”sharking & why shouldn’t the fed govt be involved in protecting….adults against themselves. We have laws for SEATBELTS don’t we? And against drunk driving, etc. I do query how it’s eventual “crash” will impact the middle class &/or those who don’t partake of the services. In the housing crisis, the crash affected ALL who owned houses (well most, some states were barely affected), not just those ignorant enough to buy too much house with too little income & from there, it affected the entire economy, etc. How would the failure of this grotesque “business” hurt most Americans? I’m seriously asking, not trying to be snarky.

    I enjoyed the NBA All-Start Draft last night : fun, funny, fodder for immediate tweeting. And NBA fans should be thankful Mr Grumpy (Durant) was not a Captain; he could singlehandedly make it less fun than a visit to the dentist. Oh, “grow up!” 🙂

    • Susie B.

      As for you “giving them only $1,000 a month” is equal to killing them off statement. So you want me to pay $12,000 a year for an elderly person’s health care and that’s still not enough? Not to mention they or their families could pay on top of that. So, let’s say $2,000 per month. That’s $24K per year. I’d much, much, MUCH rather use that money to pay for someone’s college education, or to give a few teacher’s raises.

      Allocation of assets, Susie B. It’s all about wise allocation of assets.

      As to your payday loan question, that’s a good one. I haven’t gamed it all the way out but it feels as if telling someone not to itch a rash. The more they itch, the worse the rash gets, the more it spreads. Eventually other parts of the body are going to pay the price. You fall behind enough on your payday loan payments, you’re going to miss other payments. And then systemic failure occurs.

  2. Payday loans exist, in part, because big banks no longer give loans to the working poor (like George Bailey) or the lower middle class. The Community Reinvestment Act is ignored or just given lip-service. Thus, folks in a money crunch have no alternative but to use legal loan sharks to get the car fixed or the rent paid, etc. Many states restrict rolling over the loans (because the borrower gets in deeper and deeper) but enforcement is spotty and difficult.

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