Funny Business with Jane Wells

Call Of Shame—Vote Now

Call of Shame

As much as I considered submitting only one nomination—the Heene family—I decided that they shouldn't stand alone. In fact, I'm a pretty lousy parent myself sometimes. So here's a broader look at this week's shameful activity as it relates to money. Vote for your favorite at the bottom.


Let's hope the attention around Falcon Heene has crested. I was as obsessed as anyone with the story yesterday, Tweeting away about developments. The story just got weirder as the day progressed. Turns out the family had appeared not once, but twice, on ABC's "Wife Swap", where it was clear the kids have never benefited from an open palm making contact with a rear end. Their rap videos are on YouTube. Obviously, this is a family that likes to make money being in the limelight, but that doesn't necessarily mean this was a publicity stunt. However, what is shameful is that even before Falcon was found safe, others were already trying to capitalize on the saga. "Go Falcon" T-shirtsimmediately went on sale. Funny now. Not funny if the kid had ended up dead.


Speaking of parenting, TLC, owned by Discovery Communications, is suing Jon Gosselin for breach of contract. Even as the network has dropped Gosselin's name from the show he's starred in for two years with his now estranged wife and eight kids, a contract is a contract. Gosselin allegedly broke the contract's exclusivity by appearing on other programs for pay, and he may have given away show secrets. Here's my question—does someone turn into a jerk overnight? Did no one see this coming?


And speaking of couples in trouble, Frank and Jamie McCourt announced they've separated...THE VERY WEEK THE DODGERS TAKE ON THE PHILLIES TO WIN A SHOT AT THE WORLD SERIES. They couldn't wait? I mean, their massive investment is about to pay off! The McCourts bought the Dodgers in 2004 for $430 million. Well, at least Frank McCourt did. This is where things are starting to get ugly. The Los Angeles Times reportsthat while the couple has not filed for divorce, they're already disagreeing over who actually owns the team. McCourt says he does, Mrs. McCourt says they both do. According to the Times' Bill Plaschke, both McCourts were in their box at Dodger Stadium last night...with their attorneys. Oh, by the way, the Dodgers lost. Thanks.


You and I helped finance $787 billion to stimulate the U.S. economy. For that we've gotten 30,000 jobs. That's $26,233,333 per job. I want that job. Actually, the federal report says the job listings cover only a small portion of the total package-about $16 billion awarded to contractors, who've actually spent about $2 billion. Fair enough. So... eight months after passing the stimulus bill, we only have proof of $2 billion being spent, to create thousands of jobs.


There will be no cost of living increase for Social Security recipients this year. That's because prices aren't going up. They've actually gone down. Nevertheless, the President wants to give tens of millions of senior citizens, veterans, people with disabilities and retired railroad workers (what?) $250 cash to make it up to them. That's nice. Except if prices are going down, why do taxpayers have to cough up more money to retirees who actually have more spending power now than they did a year ago?


As dire as the U.S. economy has been, at least the feds can print money. You can't do that in California, though give us time, we'll think of a way. In a year where the red ink has threatened to sink the state into the Pacific, now we learn that CalPERS, the nation's largest public employee pension fund, wasn't minding the store. The fund is investigating an estimated $50 million in fees it paid over a five year period to a former board member who had the arduous task of recommending investments for CalPERS-including investments which performed poorly.  Now because of the fund's shortfall, local governments (i.e., taxpayers) will be forced to make up the difference in pension contributions this year.

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