New Trek footage

Trekkies like me are anxiously awaiting “Lost” guru J.J. Abrams’ take on Star Trek, due out in May of next year. Apparently, J.J. broke his own tight secrecy rules and showed some footage to an Ain’t It Cool writer. What do the uniforms look like? The sets? The article is here. WARNING, major spoilers.

Big Oil continues to laugh at you while you suffer

Seems like everything is falling apart. We can’t afford the gas to get to work. People are losing their homes. The job market is worsening. Food is the next necessity that will skyrocket in price.

But surprisingly, there are some areas of the country that are booming.

Like Houston. Sales of million-dollar luxury yachts, and other luxury items, are through the roof.

So, what does Houston have that the rest of us don’t?

Why, Big American Oil, of course! Big Oil is doing fantastically these days, with higher and higher profit margins, and their bandit CEO’s making out like, well, bandits.

Help with high gas prices

Another day, another new all-time high (adjusted and unadjusted for inflation!) for gas prices — the national average hit $4.10 a gallon Friday. Here in L.A., we’re averaging 4.59, but most places close to where I live are hovering around 4.70. That’s for regular, folks, not the premium scented stuff.

But if anything can be done to help bring the prices down, this is it:

Obama vows crackdown on energy speculators

Sen. Barack Obama on Sunday said as president he would strengthen government oversight of energy traders he blames in large part for the skyrocketing price of oil.

The Democratic candidate’s campaign singled out the so-called “Enron loophole” for allowing speculators to run up the cost of fuel by operating outside federal regulation. Oil closed near $135 a barrel on Friday — almost double the price a year ago.

“My plan fully closes the Enron loophole and restores commonsense regulation as part of my broader plan to ease the burden for struggling families today while investing in a better future,” Obama said in a campaign statement.

A little something for insurance companies

From the Youtube description:

Based on the true story of Patsy Bates, this TV ad is for anyone who has had their health insurance denied, dropped or delayed.

On the eve of a national day of protest against health insurance corporations (June 18, 2008), Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo joins a number of patients outside an insurance industry convention in San Francisco, to unveil a new television advertising campaign targeting the insurers and their denial of care.

The ad launches Thursday, June 19, as thousands of people pour into the streets of San Francisco outside the insurance convention, and in 19 other cities across the country, to protest the insurers and to advocate for guaranteed healthcare, such as HR 676 and SB 840, the federal and state bills for an improved and expanded “Medicare for All.”

To report your complaint, go to: http://www.protectingtheinsured.org/

Ad created and funded by:
California Nurses Association PAC
http://www.calnurses.org
Courage Campaign
http://www.couragecampaign.org

These people laugh at you while you starve

While you realize you’ve joined the millions of Americans who are living paycheck to paycheck, and with a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach you know that this month you won’t have enough to meet the rent, unless you give up car insurance, or medicine, or food, or gas to get to work, here’s some pleasant reading to make you feel better.

As the American economy slowed to a crawl and stockholders watched their money evaporate, CEO pay still chugged to yet more dizzying heights last year, an Associated Press analysis shows.

The AP review of compensation for the heads of companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index finds the median pay package added up to nearly $8.4 million. That’s a comfortable gain of about $280,000 from 2006.

The 3 1/2 percent pay increase for CEOs came even as the landscape for both workers and shareholders darkened considerably and the economy was choked by a housing market in free fall, layoffs and soaring prices for fuel and food.

At the top of the AP list: John Thain, who took the reins of Merrill Lynch on Dec. 1, 2007. His $83 million pay package was supercharged by a signing bonus and other enticements that lured him from the New York Stock Exchange to lead the investment bank as it was suffering its worst-ever losses.

Collectively, the 10 best-paid CEOs made more than half a billion dollars last year. Yet half the members of this stratospheric club were leading companies whose profits shrank dramatically.