Friday Reacharound: Seeing the Light in Chasing Ice:
The Rude Pundit is an unabashed fan of the documentary Chasing Ice, in which acclaimed photographer and climate skeptic James Blalog sees with his own eyes and camera the disappearing ice on our planet and becomes a true climate change believer and activist.

Now, look what happened when a self-proclaimed Bill O'Reilly watcher saw the flick:


That could have been your mother right there. She honestly seems to have been shattered, realizing that she had been lied to for years. The guy who filmed this swears up and down that it's real.

This post could have been about the new reports about the melting of the ice in Greenland and Antarctica, which is happening at a rate far faster than nearly everyone had predicted. It could have been about how much faster the seas are rising. More than ever, the evidence is that we have reached the tipping point in the earth's climate, and we're just going to have to deal with the damage.

But it's Friday. So let us not end the week in despair. Let us rejoice for a moment that Bill O'Reilly seems to have lost a fan, a woman who had the rug pulled out from under her when the rhetorical scoffing of Fox "news" was beaten down by the stark reality of the images of the receding glaciers. Maybe she'll take others down that road of enlightenment with her.

Until, of course, inevitably, some right-winger comes up with the one little thing wrong with Chasing Ice and blows it up to discredit the entire film. Then your mom can merrily put her blinders back on.

(The Rude Pundit first saw this at Digby's joint.)
Family Research Council: Isn't Uganda Awesome?:
Sweet merciful Jesus dildo (no, really, that's a picture of a Jesus dildo, so, like, don't click on it at work, unless you work in a place that doesn't mind Jesus on a dildo or at a place that makes Jesus dildos, in which case, can the Rude Pundit get a discount?), the ultra-conservative, evangelical Family Research Council (motto: "We don't need a Jesus dildo 'cause his grace is up our asses already") has issued a new list o' targets for we members of the Super-Duper Prayer Team. Time to put on the knee pads and get ready to eat of his flesh. The Rude Pundit joined the Super-Duper Prayer Team some years ago under a nom de rude, and he receives his prayitus orders once a week through the magic of electronical mailings and intertubes.

And, oh, look, here's a generic prayer for more nutzoid Christianity in government: "Thank God for leaders who stand boldly for Jesus, understand the curse of sin, and know God and His blessing are a nation's greatest possession. May God raise up such leaders in America and every nation!" Who is this bold leader who boldly stand for bold Jesus? Would it be Barack Obama, who has talked about his Christianity and Christ's lessons for the nation? No, but you've got the skin color right.

The shining example of Christian blessingdom is the president of Uganda, motherfuckers. As the FRC's letter to the SDPT says, "Longtime President Yoweri Museveni observed Uganda's 50th anniversary of independence by publicly repenting of personal and national sin. 'I stand here on my own behalf and on behalf of my predecessors to repent...We ask for your forgiveness... We confess these sins, which have greatly hampered our national cohesion and delayed our political, social and economic transformation. We confess sins of idolatry and witchcraft...shedding innocent blood, sins of political hypocrisy, dishonesty, intrigue and betrayal...' After confessing many more sins, Museveni dedicated Uganda to the Lord." Yeah, suck on that, pussy liberals who think that Jesus is all about helping the poor and comforting the sick. In fact, suck on FRC President Tony Perkins' tweet about it. By the way, Museveni also said asked for forgiveness for "sins of sexual immorality, drunkenness and debauchery." One may wonder: what the fuck are you going to do in Uganda otherwise? Hunt for Joseph Kony?

Let us put aside for just one moment the bill that was introduced in the Ugandan parliament that would allow for gays and lesbians to be put to death. Museveni has said he doesn't support it. And the FRC has also stated that it is against it. Let us not forget, though, that the bill still exists and is going to be debated and voted on.

Instead, let's merely find it curious that we are supposed to pray for and admire a man who is a war criminal implicated in human trafficking, rules as a dictator (since 1986), is responsible for massacres in the Congo, created concentration camps for people in Northern Uganda who engaged in rebellion, and has anti-government protesters and his political opponents imprisoned and tortured. All of that is forgotten now because he gave a pretty speech?

The FRC says, "Bloodshed, violence and political unrest persisted for years after Idi Amin's demise. But Uganda began to recover after pastors began to unite in desperate prayer for their nation...Believers across Africa are praying for America, that God will send revival and awakening, our nation's only real hope."

You got that, right? America should be like Uganda, which is on its way to become paradise on earth thanks to prayer, not a bloodshed-ridden hellhole where you can be shot in the streets by government for the fuck of it. You may as well just get reamed by the Jesus dildo.

(Note: The Rude Pundit can't help but think about the musical The Book of Mormon when he hears about Uganda. We all need magic fuck frogs.)

Cigna insurance stocks performance 2013

Best Insurance Stocks today - Cigna insurance stocks performance 2013 : Health insurer Cigna Corp said that it expects 2013 earnings growth of 4 to 9 percent, below its average long-term forecasts as it confronts U.S. unemployment in the high-single digits, limited wage growth and a gradual rise in the use of medical services.

Cigna's outlook followed up on comments earlier this month from its executives about the "headwinds" expected in the coming year, as the company prepares for more aspects of U.S. healthcare reform to take hold.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010, includes a variety of changes and regulations that affect insurers, many of which will kick in by 2014.

Cigna President David Cordani said he does not expect the adoption of health exchanges among individuals and small companies in the next two years to hurt Cigna because it does not have a lot of those groups among its customers.

Chief Financial Officer Ralph Nicoletti told investors and analysts at a meeting on Friday that it expects total revenue will likely rise to a range of $31.5 billion to $32.5 billion next year. That is above analyst expectations of $29.3 billion revenue in 2013.

Revenue will grow across the company and its international business, which includes operations in Turkey and India, would increase the most at more than 20 percent.

Earnings per share will rise to a range of $5.80 to $6.25, excluding items, he said. Analysts were forecasting earnings of $6.32 per share ahead of the meeting. It was not immediately clear if those two figures were on the same basis.

 Cigna is in a strong position to see growth in its international and commercial healthcare coverage, according to BMO Capital, a financial services company that provides clients from businesses and government’s access to a wide variety of services and products. BMO believes that some of the most important parts of the health insurance providers business are also strengthening.

Furthermore, the company’s stock prices are also projected to increase, as analyst Dave Shove increased his 12-month anticipation for the price of the company’s stock from USD $60 to $65.

Earlier this month at its annual investor day presentation, Cigna Corp released their projections for 2013, with adjusted earnings of about USD $5.80 to $6.25 per share. These figures are lower and more conservative than average expectations from other analysts, which set expectations at about USD $6.33 on average, according to FactSet, a multinational financial data and software company.

Many reasons for the optimistic outlooks relate to Cigna’s strong portfolio of product offerings when compared to competitors. The company has a strong presence in the United States, which Shove says will remain a core aspect of the company’s focus. However, their overseas business is also growing through the sales of individual insurance and expatriate policies that offer coverage to people who live outside their home countries.

In addition to the company’s overseas potential, operating expenses overseas are also decreasing, making it easier for Cigna to continue expanding internationally.

Goldman Sachs analyst Matthew Borsch wrote in a research note that the company was conservative in its estimates for 2013. He also decreased his projection for a 12-month price target by USD $2 to $56 and Cigna’s forecast was also below Leerink Swann analyst, Jason Gurda’s estimate of $6.30 per share.

“We came away (from Friday’s presentation) increasingly confident in the company’s diversified growth drivers and ability to successfully navigate the industry changes that are scheduled to occur over the next couple years,” he wrote.

Positive results for Cigna then, 2013 will hopefully go as expected and offer promise to its policyholders in the new year.

Cigna stock prices prediction 2013
 : * Says sees 2013 adjusted EPS $5.80 to $6.25
* Says sees 2013 revs $31.5 billion to $32.5 billion
* Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S FY 2013 earnings per share view $6.32, revenue view $29.28 billion.

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Zurich Insurance stock performance 2013

Best insurance stocks today - Zurich Insurance stock performance 2013 ; Zurich Insurance Group AG (ZURN), Switzerland’s biggest insurer, said it is making “good progress” to achieving targets for 2013 and expects to pay an “attractive” dividend.

The company, which is holding an investor day in Zurich, has cut costs by $200 million as it targets expense reductions in “mature markets” of $500 million by the end of next year, the insurer said today in an e-mailed statement.

Chief Executive Officer Martin Senn said he’s confident that Zurich Insurance’s cash flows and capital position will allow an “attractive and sustainable dividend.” The insurer may raise the dividend for 2012 to 17.50 francs ($18.85), according to data compiled by Bloomberg, after leaving the 2011 payout unchanged at an 11-year high of 17 francs a share.

The statement “should provide the market with reassurance on the high dividend paying capacity,” said Stefan Schuermann, a Zurich-based analyst with Vontobel Holding AG who has a hold rating on the stock.

The stock rose 1.8 percent to 234.90 francs as of 9:45 a.m. in Zurich trading, giving the company a market value of 34.8 billion francs. Zurich Insurance has increased 11 percent this year, lagging behind the Bloomberg Europe 500 Insurance Index (BEINSUR)’s 28 percent gain.

While the insurer is targeting a business operating profit after tax return on equity of 16 percent in the long term, Zurich Insurance reiterated today that in the current environment, a goal of 2 percentage points below that is more realistic.

Zurich Insurance reported a 62 percent decline in third- quarter profit earlier this month following a $550 million write-off at its German general insurance business.

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Best Insurance Stocks rating to Buy today

Best Insurance Stocks to Buy today : This week, nine Insurance stocks are improving their overall ratings on Portfolio Grader. Each of these stocks is rated an “A” (“strong buy”) or “B” overall (“buy”).

Universal Insurance Holdings (AMEX:UVE) is making headway this week, with the company’s rating improving to an A (“strong buy”) from a B (“buy”) last week. Universal Insurance is an insurance company that offers homeowners, property and casualty insurance products. In Portfolio Grader’s specific subcategories of Earnings Growth, Earnings Momentum, Earnings Revisions, Cash Flow, and Sales Growth, UVE also gets A’s. The stock’s trailing PE Ratio is 7.50.

Kansas City Life Insurance (NASDAQ:KCLI) is making progress this week as its rating of C (“hold”) from last week increases to a B (“buy”) rating this week. Kansas City Life Insurance offers a variety of individual life insurance and annuity policies, as well as group life insurance distributed primarily through numerous general agencies.

Horace Mann Educator (NYSE:HMN). The company’s rating climbs to A from the previous week’s B. Horace Mann Educators markets and underwrites personal lines of property and casualty insurance, retirement annuities, and life insurance. The stock currently has a trailing PE Ratio of 7.50.

Alleghany (NYSE:Y) improves from a C to a B rating this week. Alleghany engages in the property and casualty, and surety insurance business in the United States. The stock’s trailing PE Ratio is 4.80.

The rating of Selective Insurance Group (NASDAQ:SIGI) moves up this week, rising from a C to a B. Selective Insurance Group offers property and casualty insurance products and services the eastern and midwestern regions of the United States.

Fortegra Financial (NYSE:FRF) improves from a B to a A rating this week. Fortegra Financial offers insurance products and services to insurance companies, agents and brokers.

 Maiden Holdings (NASDAQ:MHLD). The company’s rating climbs to B from the previous week’s C. Maiden Holdings focuses on providing non-catastrophic, customized reinsurance products and services. The stock has a trailing PE Ratio of 8.80.

Global Indemnity (NASDAQ:GBLI) earns a B this week, jumping up from last week’s grade of C.

Safety Insurance Group (NASDAQ:SAFT) is seeing ratings go up from a C last week to a B this week. Safety Insurance Group is a provider of private passenger automobile insurance in Massachusetts. At present, the stock has a dividend yield of 2.4%

Universal Insurance Holdings stock rating strong buy

Universal Insurance Holdings stock rating strong buy : Universal Insurance Holdings (AMEX:UVE) is making headway this week, with the company’s rating improving to an A (“strong buy”) from a B (“buy”) last week. 

Universal Insurance is an insurance company that offers homeowners, property and casualty insurance products. In Portfolio Grader’s specific subcategories of Earnings Growth, Earnings Momentum, Earnings Revisions, Cash Flow, and Sales Growth, UVE also gets A’s. The stock’s trailing PE Ratio is 7.50.

Western & Southern Financial Group

Western & Southern Financial Group, also commonly referred to as Western & Southern, is a Cincinnati, Ohio-based diversified family of financial services companies with assets owned, managed and under care in excess of $52 billion as of March, 2011. It is one of the eight highest-rated life insurance groups in the world based on Standard & Poor's rating.

With heritage dating back to 1888, Western & Southern is a Fortune 500 company ranking at 482 as of 2012. Through its member companies, Western & Southern offers a variety of financial services such as life insurance, annuities, mutual funds and investment management. Western & Southern's member companies include The Western & Southern Life Insurance Co, Western-Southern Life Assurance Co, Columbus Life Insurance Co, Lafayette Life Insurance Co, IFS Financial Services, Fort Washington Investment Advisors, Eagle Realty Group, Integrity Life Insurance Co, and National Integrity Life Insurance Co.

Western & Southern's annual report is available at "Western Southern Annual Report". Western & Southern Financial Group. Retrieved 2011-05-20.

Western & Southern hosts the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament. This tennis event has contributed more than $5.5 million to charities in the Greater Cincinnati community.

Western & Southern played a key role in the development of the Great American Tower at Queen City Square project in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio.

Westfield Insurance

Westfield Insurance, the primary subsidiary of Westfield Group, is a multi-line provider of business property & liability insurance, personal lines insurance (including auto, homeowner's and specialty), agribusiness insurance, and surety bonds. Based in Westfield Center, Ohio, Westfield employs over 2,400 nationwide including 1,700 in their home office. Despite its rural location, it is the largest employer in rapidly-growing Medina County.

Westfield began as Ohio Farmers Insurance Company in 1848, when a group of farmers joined forces to insure their properties. In 2010, the company collected $1.4 billion in premiums. At the helm are Bob Joyce, Executive Chair of Westfield Group, Jim Clay, CEO of Westfield Group, and Ed Largent, President of Westfield Insurance.

Westfield's products are distributed through a network of more than 1,200 independent insurance agents, and now the company has grown to become one of the top 50 property-casualty insurers in the U.S. It is also one of the nation's top-ten providers of farm insurance.

In addition to providing insurance and financial services, Westfield owns the Westfield Group Country Club, a 36-hole championship golf course which hosted the Junior PGA Championship until 2007. Also on company grounds are the Blair Center (a convention center), Westfield Bank, and Westfield Inn, a newly-renovated private hotel. The Home Office, Country Club, Blair Center, Bank, and Inn are all situated in the heart of the small Village of Westfield Center. The Colonial & New England architecture of the company buildings lends a distinct appearance to the town square.

Westfield Insurance also sponsors seven televised High School Scholastic Competitions including the Brain Game, Academic Challenge, Hometown High-Q, In the Know, Quizbusters and BrainBusters.

White Mountains Insurance Group

White Mountains Insurance Group (NYSE: WTM) is a holding company with business interests in property and casualty insurance, and reinsurance. The group owns reinsurer Sirius and a 75% stake in specialty insurance carrier OneBeacon. It is based in Hanover, New Hampshire.

It is owned by Jack Byrne who in 1985 was invited to run the troubled Fireman's Fund, then a subsidiary of American Express. Fireman's had incurred $356 million in pretax losses in 1983 and 1984. Byrne greatly improved Fireman's financial performance and initiated a public offering of some of Fireman's shares in 1985. The company was sold to Allianz AG in 1991. Byrne, meanwhile, retained the Fireman's holding company, which he later renamed White Mountains.

White Mountains Insurance Group, Ltd. (White Mountains or the Company) is a financial services holding company with primary business interests in property and casualty insurance and reinsurance. The Company's corporate headquarters and its registered office are located in Hamilton, Bermuda and its principal executive office is located in Hanover, New Hampshire.

The Company conducts its principal businesses through:
  • Sirius Group - global reinsurance.
  • OneBeacon - specialty insurance. OneBeacon's common shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "OB". White Mountains holds a 75% interest in OneBeacon as of 12/31/11.
  • White Mountains Advisors - investment management with $34 billion of assets under management as of 12/31/11.
White Mountains' common shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange and the Bermuda Stock Exchange under the symbol "WTM". Market capitalization as of December 31, 2011 was approximately $3.4 billion.
As of December 31, 2011, White Mountains reported total assets of $14.1 billion, adjusted shareholders equity of $4.1 billion, and Adjusted Book Value per Share of $542.

Insurance Stocks Strong Sell Now

Insurance Stocks Strong Sell Now :
The Real Benghazi Conspiracy: Why Did Conservatives Create a Scandal Where None Existed?:
So just to get this right:

1. In the wake of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice's first televised appearance, on September 16, shortly after the September 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi where she said that it seemed, from the intelligence on hand, that it might have been, in part, a spontaneous protest against an anti-Muslim video, conservatives, including the Siamese Senators, John McCain and Lindsey Graham, accused Rice of covering up the role of terrorists. The story went that she did so in order to avoid...something or other, who the fuck order to help the campaign of President Obama.

2. The attacks on Rice increased, all based on weak assertions of a cover-up, something that perhaps needed more investigation, if there was any evidence at all beyond some talking points that had some blacked-out information. Right-wing spoogebuckets jumped in, declaring it an impeachment-worthy debacle. GOP candidate Mitt Romney made the alleged cover-up of terrorist involvement an issue in the presidential campaign. America's angriest leprechaun, John McCain, was pretty much puffin' away on his wee pipe non-stop, calling into question Rice's intellect and her competence, vowing to block her if she was nominated to be Secretary of State when Hillary Clinton leaves.

3. When more information became available, especially after the election, that the CIA had, in fact, done the editing of the Benghazi talking points in order to protect U.S. interests and not tip off the people involved, conservatives then shifted their attention to whether or not the White House had conspired with the CIA to do so and Susan Rice now became less the evil minion of President Obama and more the willing dupe in the story. Always the barometer of outrage, John McCain kicked the dirt in dismay.

4. Now that Rice has spoken behind closed doors to senators, in a private meeting that everybody immediately knew every detail about, McCain, Graham, and Lieberman-with-smaller-tits Kelly Ayotte are all upset again, this time perhaps at the State Department, certainly still with Rice, although now for what was and wasn't done before and after the attacks than what Rice said on Sunday morning gab shows. Also, the President is a liar or something. Who the fuck knows?

So to summarize:
Based on the information they initially had, right-wingers, including elected officials, got angry at the U.N. ambassador. When they received more information, they changed their story. When they got more information, they changed their story again. Or perhaps it has just evolved as more facts are known.

Which, of course, would be just the fuck what happened in the Obama administration over the Benghazi situation. But if conservatives realize that, it would create a black hole-like void of dissonance. Heads would explode. Panic would reign in the streets. Megyn Kelly would assault Steve Doocy with a strap-on. Chaos, you know.

Or, really, they'd just act like they never said anything and move on to the next fake outrage.
Photos That Make the Rude Pundit Want to Smoke Charas While Downing a Six-Pack of Crown:

Here's something you need to know about the fire at the Tazreen Fashions factory in Ashulia, Bangladesh where over 110 workers died and more were injured: as you can see in the picture, it burned like hell on earth. Many of the bodies were burned so badly that they could not be identified. It is that Third World nation's Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, and, like that horrific event in American history, it was merely the worst of a string of fires at garment factories, places where Americans get their cheap clothing made cheaply (and where they get their expensive clothes made cheaply, too).

While the Bangladesh factories have attempted to eliminate child labor, young (mostly) women still end up toiling in the slave-like conditions. And those conditions can include locked doors, no fire exits or extinguishers or sprinklers, and strict rules on leaving one's station, all for 21 cents an hour, which is up from what it was in 2010, greedy bastards. An executive at the Tuba Group, which owns the factory, claimed, "We are the sufferers. We are the victims." And how could you not agree when the company grudgingly agreed to pay the families of victims $1230 each in compensation for their loss? After all, that's over $130,000 and Tazreen Fashions exports only $36 million in garments each year. Fun fact: the fire killed over 1/12th of Tazreen's workforce.

On Fox "news" show Some Goddamn Thing with Neil Cavuto yesterday, a Wall Street analyst, Charles "Fat Cunt" Payne, said that the workers were grateful they have jobs: "Don’t think that the people in Bangladesh who perished didn’t want or need those jobs, as well," which would qualify as the most callous thing said publicly about the fire if the execs at Tuba weren't such shit sacks. And one might want to hold off on presuming that the dead would have chosen their jobs over avoiding horrible fire or jumping doom.

Of course, Charles "Fat Cunt" Payne also said, "I know we like to victimize everyone in this country, particularly when it comes to for-profit motivation, which is being assaulted. But, you know, it is a tragedy but I think it is a stretch, an amazing stretch, to sort of try to pin this on Walmart but, of course, the unions in this country are desperate." Yes, we certainly wouldn't want to blame any companies that ordered from or used others to order from a deathtrap factory. We certainly wouldn't want to blame our own demand for cheap shit, no matter how it gets made. We certainly wouldn't want to blame the globe for the detriments of globalization.

"Fat Cunt" Payne brings up unions. Oh, about that. Yeah, seems that "One labor organizer, Aminul Islam, was brutally murdered in April, with Bangladesh’s security forces allegedly involved in the crime." Islam, who had been imprisoned and tortured for his labor activism, got Tommy Hilfiger's parent company to improve conditions in the factories it uses after the last factory fire, one that killed 29 workers.

As for this latest awful event, "Fat Cunt" Payne assures us, "It is tragic. I don’t think something like this will happen again." No, of course not. Only a union-loving, anti-capitalist tool who wants to hamstring the job creators would think that barely regulated factories would be owned by greedy motherfuckers who force poor people to work in unsafe conditions for pennies so they can squeeze out an extra couple of bucks. Only Marxists would call that "exploitation."
Grover Norquist Has Nothing to Fear from You Puny Republicans:
Stubble-faced dickwad of fiscal doom, Grover Norquist, a man who looks like he masturbates to videos of people putting firecrackers in the mouths of toads, should calm the fuck down. Every Republican talking smack about him now ain't gonna do jackshit about tax rates. Sure, Norquist has been stubbornly dogmatic that closing loopholes and capping deductions is akin to a black-helmeted IRS agent gutting Granny's cat and strangling her with its intestines. But if he'd slap that passive aggressive boner down, put away the semen encrusted list of potential primary opponents for Jeff Flake and Saxby Chambliss, and relax, he'd see that the seven (as of now) Republicans who have said they will violate Norquist's "We are never ever getting higher taxes" pledge are just playing games.

For instance, look at the brave and mighty stand that Tennessee's Bob Corker takes against what has been the raison d'etre for fiscal conservatives. In yesterday's Washington Post, Corker offers this profile in courage: "The [GOP's worthless smear of sputum] proposal includes pro-growth federal tax reform, which generates more static revenue — mostly from very high-income Americans — by capping federal deductions at $50,000 without raising tax rates." Remember when Mitt Romney couldn't name a definite number for where to limit deductions and he fumbled around with $17,000 or $25,000? That seems positively like wild and woolly bolshevik talk compared to this.

Oh, and Corker wants you to know that average Joes and Janes are gonna have to ante up their share, too, by dicking over federal workers: "It mandates common-sense reforms to the federal workforce, which will help bring its compensation in line with private-sector benefits, and implements a chained consumer price index across the government, a more accurate indicator of inflation." Or, you know, it cuts their benefits and future wages so that people who work for the federal government can be treated like dogshit just like the proles in the private sector.

Then Corker wants to kick Granny right in the twat: "It also includes comprehensive Medicare reform that keeps in place fee-for-service Medicare without capping growth, competing side by side with private options that seniors can choose instead if they wish." Add to that "gradual age increases within Medicare and Social Security; the introduction of means testing; [and] increasing premiums ever so slightly for those making more than $50,000 a year in retirement." Motherfucker's got $50,000 on the brain. It must have been how much Corker paid that mule owner in Chattanooga for not giving away how often and how vigorously the senator balls a hot little molly named Bessie. By the way, hiking rates on people making more than 50 grand seems like, you know, a tax on the working and middle class elderly. But, shhhh. Don't tell Grover. (Oh, wait, that's not a "tax hike." But cutting the deduction on private jets or something? Totally communist.)

The terms of the fiscal cliff debate for Republicans are that the only way they'll raise revenue is through the same magical deduction-cappin' and loophole-closin' that Romney/Ryan lost on. Every Republican supposedly standing up to Norquist has said so. The Senate's most pissed-off Munchkin, John McCain, said as much on one of the goddamn Sunday shows: "I would be very much opposed to raising tax rates, but I do believe we can close a lot of loopholes." And what are those loopholes? Why, "charitable giving" and "home loan mortgage" deductions. Or, you know, ones that'll make sure that plenty of middle class households pay, too.

And, since John McCain and Lindsey Graham are like a circular human centipede, eating the same shit in an endless loop, Graham, sounding like the prettiest boy in Scarlett O'Hara drag, opined, "I will not raise tax rates to do it. I will cap deductions." He took the slightly less obscene stand of putting the cap at the "$30,000, $40,000 range," thus demonstrating once again that Republicans only pretend they have a plan.

All of them, Tom Coburn, the vile Chambliss, the viler Peter King, are pretending they are willing to be brave; all of them are children, pissing themselves.

As for Norquist, that smug cockknob is doing what he always does: relishing the attention that he gets for holding the nation's finances hostage, laughing off the defections because he knows that, no matter what, he will have perpetrated one of the great ideological con jobs in modern history, a scam that was blessed back in the day by the great and terrible Reagan.

(Note: The Rude Pundit could have punched Norquist in his fat face a few years ago. They were standing together in a hotel lobby in Austin. The Rude Pundit restrained himself. Not enough liquor, not enough people to bail him out. Opportunities are fleeting in this life.)
Late Post Today:
Doctor Psycho has some convoluted goddamn plot that needs stopping. Something, something, absorbing superpowers, whatever. But WW needs the invisible jet gassed up.

Back later with more ephemeral rudeness.
A Brief Defense of Lindsey Stone, Facebook Idiot:
The Rude Pundit's not gonna post the picture of fucktard Lindsey Stone taking a stupid picture in front of the Tomb of the Unknowns. Actually, the photo itself, of the aforementioned fucktard acting like she was yelling and actually flipping the bird in front of a sign that reads, "Silence and Respect," is not that fucktarded; it's kind of mildly funny in an "I think I'm so clever and ironic when really I'm just an obnoxious asshole" sort of way, like an old Adam Sandler movie. Indeed, if that photo was done by Cartman in an episode of South Park, everyone would have been praising how daring those Parker and Stone fellas are. What's fucktarded is posting it on Facebook and being so much of a fucktard that you believe everyone will get your oh-so-rebellious challenge to authoritah joke. Hopefully, Stone has changed her privacy settings and booted a few "friends."

But getting fired over it because an internet mob thought you suck, even though you're good at your job, as Stone and a coworker were, even though they apologized (even though they shouldn't have had to because fuck you if you're offended)? That's bullshit, and if the ACLU isn't on this like stink on a rotting turkey carcass, then it's pretty much given up finding the "civil liberties" in one's online postings. If Stone had masturbated with the femur of the Unknown Corpse, then we'd've had something to talk about, something other, than, you know, freedom of expression. But this photo wasn't even meant to be made widely public, unlike others who have posted racist screeds on YouTube or anything Ann Coulter writes.

There's something miserable about a nation that will come together in virtual umbrage over a 30-year old acting like a fool until said fool's life is completely tossed in the shitter, but that same nation will allow certain Wall Street executives to go on with their cushy lives, thinking that the real and actual (not perceived) harm they did is not worth their time or Facebook clicking. Another current example? Whatever you think about David Petraeus's politics, the man should not have had to resign from the CIA just because he and an adult woman made the adult decision to have an affair.

You want a life-lesson on how vulnerable you are? Check out the stalkeriffic profile page someone set up to disparage Stone, which examines every public account Stone has/had. Read the right-wing attacks on her. Perhaps the problem is not actually the victimless stupidity that the stupid will do, but the scrambling of others trying to scream louder than the next person, hoping that someone will pay attention to them for pointing out the stupidity.

The presumption of privacy is gone, daddy, gone, unless you lock yourself away from every bit of technology that's out there. We need to figure out how the freedom that privacy once granted us can be translated to this new world so that we are able to dismiss the truly harmless acts of idiots and move on to the shit that's actually important.
A Thanksgiving Poem from the Conquered:
"Praise Song to Stone: For My Father" by Qwo-Li Driskill, who is Cherokee.

Praise sternum
cracked like mica after
truck's impact

Praise teeth in
lower jaw sheared clean as
marble rushing
down his throat

Praise ghosts watching from
behind granite graves across
the street at the Rosebud Cemetery

Praise body arched like
sandstone illuminated by
headlights as it flashes through air
before landing on the other side

Praise dust that surges
as he hits earth
scatters like crows and disappears
quick as the car's driver
into the pre-dawn

Praise the crack of vertebrae as it slips
like a fault line
the schism of spine that cleaves
like feldspar
Flecks of shale that glint like witness
embedded in his side

Praise the cleavage of ribs
jagged as a saw
as they pierce through lung tissue

Praise the lungs

Praise the ghost who leans over his
body gentle as breeze through muslin curtain
shouts through gurgle of jugular Go away. This graveyard is full.
Praise the dead

Praise blood
slow as lava
beating from skull
onto the road's shoulder
Praise gravel
warm and full as
a mosquito

Praise the blood

Praise the quartz crystal
in the man's cell phone
who stopped his car
dialed 9-1-1
covered my father with a blanket

Praise the diamond
the size of a tear
on the wedding band of
the doctor who declared
He might live
even after the machines
confessed there was no brain activity

Praise mercy

Praise the heart of red jasper
that stopped beating
and beat again
that stopped beating
and beat again
inside the helicopter
as it buzzed over the valley

Praise diamond edge
of the scalpel as it
slices skin like silk
to fit bone back inside
right arm

Praise the bone
Praise the arm

Praise the ghosts of children
who played hopscotch
on the beige tiles of intensive care room
who laughed because of impossibility

And praise the living
Praise the living
Praise the living

This marvel of bone
revelation of marrow
awe of skin that knits
itself back together

Praise this miracle of the quick and the dead

APA Insurance

APA Insurance - A New Dimension in Insurance

APA Insurance was formed in 2003 following the merger of Apollo and Pan-Africa General divisions to form the largest insurer in East and Central Africa - APA Insurance LimitedIn the six years APA Insurance has been in business, we have seen our turnover grow sixfold to 3.6 billion in year 2009. APA Insurance is known for its innovativeness having been the first insurance company in Kenya to undertake HIV/AIDS cover. We believe in providing affordable insurance for all Kenyans. This is achieved through our tailor-made solutions which are crafted in consultation with our clients.


APA Insurance Ltd, incorporated in 2003, commenced its operation on 1st January 2004. Born from the merger of general businesses of Apollo Insurance Company Ltd and Pan Africa General Insurance Company Ltd, APA Insurance Ltd carries a wealth of eighty years combined experience from the parent organisations.

APA Insurance underwrites Health, Marine, Aviation and other General Insurance risks. The Company has long established re-insurance relationships with major international re insurers and has the capacity to underwrite large risks.

APA Insurance has shown exceptional growth since 2004, the first year of operation. In the quest to be the largest underwriter of general insurance in the region APA Insurance (Uganda) opened in January 2009. - Reliance Insurance Co Ltd  is the  associate company in Tanzania.

APA Insurance has grown to be the industry leader with a turnover of +3B as at 31st December, 2008.

APA is now the biggest insurance company in Kenya.

APA Insurance is well placed to provide expert and professional services to all its clients and proving to be A New Dimension in Insurance.
Photos of Things That the Rude Pundit Is Thankful For (Romney Edition):

The Rude Pundit doesn't give a happy monkey fuck about who changed what talking points on Benghazi. Anyone who cares about Susan Rice and whether or not her appearance on a talk show was deceptive is a worthless cog in the GOP propaganda machine. Ditto the Petraeus-fucking "scandal."

But when he sees that picture up there of Mitt Romney, hair finally disheveled, looking for all the world like Ward Cleaver after taking an axe to his annoying goddman kids? That shit is like smoking opium while getting blown on a mountain top. The only way it could be better is if pumping gas was now Romney's job.

The Benghazi talking points memo is the poultice the right has made to cover the melted flesh where they got burned so badly. But it doesn't matter. The election has already left behind scar tissue.
Other Questions for Marco Rubio After His GQ Interview (Based on His Favorite Rap Songs):
Florida Senator Marco Rubio was interviewed by GQ magazine because, at this point in our pointless politics, why the fuck not? Much mock has already been made about Rubio's inability to state that the earth might be older than the bible says it is. "I'm not a scientist, man," Rubio squirms. Yeah, neither is the Rude Pundit, but he's read a goddamn science article or two. "It's one of the great mysteries"? No. It's 4.5 billion years old. But "billions" would have been acceptable in the Saganesque sense.

Of course, the interview was all about 2016, for fuck's sake, and there went Rubio, trying to assure the nutzoid evangelicals that, no, really, all that book learnin' Rubio got at the University of Florida didn't block the ol' time religion (Catholicism, in Rubio's case) from making him call "bullshit" on "science."

The interview itself goes from Rubio's discomfort with reality to his spouting of GOP talking points to defending those who don't think gays should be allowed to marry to calling Jim DeMint his "best friend" besides his wife. No, really. How pathetic do you have to be to say that?

It reaches a nadir, though, when Rubio starts talking about his love of hip-hop, something about which he throws down much knowledge about. That's all fine and dandy. But it left the Rude Pundit with a few questions for the Senator:

1. In one of your favorite rap songs, "Straight Outta Compton" by N.W.A., Eazy-E says, "So what about the bitch who got shot? Fuck her!/ You think I give a damn about a bitch? I ain't a sucker!" Do you believe this is a succinct description of Republican policies towards women?

2. You cite Tupac Shakur's "Killuminati" as another favorite, a song rapped from 2Pac's Makaveli persona. 2Pac flows, "Visions of over-packed prisons, fiends and niggas thug livin/ Pressures and three strikes, I hope they don't test us." How do you square 2Pac's obvious displeasure with prison overcrowding and mandatory sentencing with your own ties to corporations who profit from those very things?

3. The last favorite you list is "Lose Yourself" by Eminem, one of the most popular rap songs ever recorded. Towards the end, Em lays down, "All the pain inside amplified by the/ Fact that I can't get by with my nine to/ Five and I can't provide the right type of/ Life for my family, cause man, these God damn/ Food stamps don't buy diapers." What kinds of programs would you propose so that young men with full-time jobs, like the song's narrator, can have the financial means to support their families?

4. Finally, Senator, you say in GQ, "People forget how dominant Public Enemy became in the mid 80s. No one talks about how transformative they were." Considering all the votes you've cast that directly contradict everything that Public Enemy ever rapped about, why hasn't Chuck D punched you in the balls?

Note to Progressives: Bobby Jindal Is Still a Skeevy Bastard:
Oh, how we dance a merry jig now that Republicans are feeding on themselves (see the rat speech in Skyfall for obligatory Maureen Dowd-esque pop culture reference). How we squeed in delight when engorged tick Chris Christie decided to praise President Obama and put the final nail in the pretty-much-sealed coffin of a 2012 GOP presidency. And now how we clap our hands like inmates at Bedlam awaiting gruel as we see Louisiana Governor Bobby "Holy Shit, That Adam's Apple Is Huge" Jindal spanking his own party for its enormous fucking up of the recent election.

Suddenly, after dissing Mitt Romney's "gifts" tirade, Jindal is still acting oh-so-reasonable, criticizing Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock: "We also don't need to be saying stupid things. Look, we had candidates in Indiana and Missouri that said offensive things that not only hurt themselves and lost us two Senate seats but also hurt the Republican Party across the board." It takes a brave man to stand up to a pair of Midwestern also-rans who said dickish things about rape.

Even on abortion, Jindal said, "We don't need to demonize those that disagree with us. We need to respect the fact that others have come to different conclusions based on their own sincerely held beliefs." And what could show that respect more than signing one of the most restrictive anti-abortion laws in the nation, as he did in June, saying, "It is incumbent upon us to protect the weakest and most vulnerable among us, and these new laws will protect innocent human life"? No, you wouldn't want to demonize people by implying that they want to harm weak, vulnerable, innocent humans.

Remember: once you've fucked your mother, you are always a motherfucker. Bobby "Born 'Piyush'" Jindal is a motherfucker of monstrous appetites, a hunger to fuck mothers that extends all the way from Baton Rouge to 2016.

Jindal has been such a bag of cocks to lawmakers of both parties in Louisiana that they're pretty much ready to tell him to shove his agenda up his skinny ass. He had the House Speaker, who is a blind Jindal follower, remove to Republicans from the Appropriations Committee so he could get his way on which insurance company would get the contract to run the health insurance for most government employees. This is Jindal's way: "During the legislative session, Rep. Harold Ritchie, D-Bogalusa, was removed as vice-chairman of the House Insurance Committee after voting against a tax rebate for scholarships to private schools that had been backed by the administration. Jim Morris, R-Oil City, opposed the governor's budget and other proposals and was dropped as vice-chairman of the House Natural Resources and Environment Committee after the session." Legal? Sure. Motherfuckery? Beyond doubt.

And this is not to mention that he is fucking over the people of the state by not participating in the expansion of Medicaid or the establishment of the health insurance exchanges that are part of the Affordable Care Act. That's in a state with up to 20% of its population uninsured and "high rates of diabetes, obesity and some cancers." Obamacare would cut the number of uninsured in the state in half. The health commissioner of New Orleans said, "The federal government has committed to finance 93% of the expansion coverage for the first decade. We can either act, and pay pennies now or abstain and pay dollars later."

Well, no shit that Louisiana is gonna do it later. Yeah, Jindal's willing to go out and say when losers in his party say stupid shit. But action speaks louder, man. And Jindal's actions are those of another loyal apparatchik, placing party and party demands above nation and, most especially, his state.
Late Post Today:
Perry White is shouting something about deadlines. Goddamnit, where is Jimmy Olsen with the pictures?

Back later with more bizarro rudeness.
Friday Reacharound: Electing Obama Might Save Us From Asteroid Collision Doom:
So here's an issue that didn't get much play during the endless election cycle: Which candidate would save the earth from the dust and fire-filled doom of an asteroid collision? Science writer Ian O'Neill, a name that couldn't be more Irish if it whacked you in the nuts with a shilelagh, thinks that the United States chose the path of doom-aversion by re-electing Barack Obama.

See, one little-discussed project that President Obama supports is a manned flight to an asteroid. Yes, yes, just like in Armaggedon, but probably with significantly less Liv Tyler. O'Neill thinks that Republicans would have just concentrated on going to the moon again, like, you know, Newt Gingrich talked about. The asteroid mission won't happen until 2025, at least. But Obama is backing it because no one wants to get a face full of asteroid rock. Says O'Neill, "Not only would astronauts be able to carry out invaluable science, critical docking/landing techniques in the microgravity environment may help NASA develop a plan for confronting an asteroid on a collision course with Earth." NASA is all about getting all up in an asteroid's shit right now, manned and unmanned.

Oh, by the way, former conservative demigod, now regular ol' House member Paul Ryan voted against NASA's funding the last two times it came up. And his great and grand budget cut the agency even further, despite paying lip service to outrage over Obama's move away from doing a moon landing rerun and the end of the space shuttle program.

It turns out we didn't just dodge a bullet by sending the GOP tools back to the woodshed, but we might end up dodging an earth-destroying space rock.
Republicans Are Some Sour Grape-Sucking Sons of Bitches:
The Rude Pundit has done a little bit of research here as part of his massive duties as CEO and CFO and executive secretary of this here bit of bloggery. And he could not find a single example of a Democrat who lost an election saying that the problem was that too many white people voted. In fact, he could not find a single example of a Democrat blaming too much voting. Mostly, Democrats blame not enough voting because, rightly or wrongly, conventional political wisdom says high turnout favors Democrats.

So when former savior of conservatism, Paul Ryan, whined that "The surprise was some of the turnout, some of the turnout especially in urban areas," it was a lament that way too many people made it to the polls, despite the best efforts of the GOP to get them to stay home. Another way of putting it: "Damn, we thought the Negroes were too busy playing with their Obamaphones to be bothered."

Of course, others are more blunt, like moustachioed spoogesack and Maine GOP Chair Charlie Webster, who suspects foul play because nearly a peck of blacks showed up to vote in Maine and "nobody in town knows anyone who’s black." Umm, the black population of Maine is about 1%, roughly 15,700 people, some of them too young to vote, no doubt. Obama won the state by over 100,000 votes. So the answer to this conundrum is that Charlie Webster can go fuck himself.

By the way, Maine? Not generally known as an "urban" state.

Yesterday was a banner day for Republican presidential losers in general. Finally free to let his dick flag fly, rich fuck Mitt Romney was on a call with his financial backers, aka "other rich fucks," when he said, ""The president's campaign, if you will, focused on giving targeted groups a big gift." What were these gifts? Were they a reduction of the capital gains tax? Were they a promise that taxes would not be raised on income over $250,000 a year? 'Cause those are some shiny, expensive presents.

No, the gifts were more mundane (and this is quoted in length so that you can get the full effect of the breathtaking, elitist assholery the nation rejected): "Free contraceptives were very big with young, college-aged women. And then, finally, Obamacare also made a difference for them, because as you know, anybody now 26 years of age and younger was now going to be part of their parents’ plan, and that was a big gift to young people...You can imagine for somebody making $25,000 or $30,000 or $35,000 a year, being told you’re now going to get free health care, particularly if you don’t have it, getting free health care worth, what, $10,000 per family, in perpetuity — I mean, this is huge. Likewise with Hispanic voters, free health care was a big plus. But in addition with regards to Hispanic voters, the amnesty for children of illegals, the so-called Dream Act kids, was a huge plus for that voting group.”

You got that? Health care for poor people is a "gift." In most other countries, it's called a "right." Anything that smacks of compassion and support for the less fortunate, the little people without trust funds and massive pensions, is merely a giveaway, a treat, a shiny bauble, not a life-transforming program that a responsible government might provide. We didn't just dodge a bullet by denying the presidency to this preening ass, this mock Thurston Howell, we dodged a fucking missile.

Man, Thanksgiving is gonna suck at the Romney household this year.

But this look at angry, confused Republicans would be incomplete without mentioning that John McCain, who nurses a grudge like it's his demon baby sucking blood from his saggy tits, lashed out at the President and UN Ambassador Susan Rice over the right's latest conspiracy, Banghazigate or whatever the fuck they're calling it in the impeachment documents they're no doubt prepping. Yes, the angriest leprechaun ever stomped and whooped about "incompetence" and possible cover-up, bringing along the Senate's Blanche DuBois, Lindsey Graham. The President, for his part, said at his press conference yesterday, more or less, "Bring it, McFuckface and Bitch Boy Graham."

Goddamn, Republicans do not know how to lose. You are going to hear Petraeus and Benghazi endlessly now because they'll figure it's the only way to derail Obama again. At least until 2014.

(Note: It is suspected that Bob Dole grumpily asked for more pudding yesterday. He blamed Bill Clinton for it not having enough raisins.)

Farmers Insurance Group

Farmers Insurance Group (informally Farmers) is an American insurance and financial services company headquartered in Los Angeles, California and a wholly owned subsidiary of Zurich Insurance Group. It provides home, auto, commercial and life insurance and other financial services throughout the United States.

Farmers is the third-largest provider of both private passenger auto and homeowners insurance in the U.S., servicing over 10 million households with more than 20 million individual policies. It has around 24,000 employees and 50,000 exclusive and independent agents.

  • The Farmers Exchanges, headquartered in Los Angeles, CA, are three reciprocal insurers or inter-insurance exchanges (Farmers Insurance Exchange, Fire Insurance Exchange and Truck Insurance Exchange) owned by their policyholders. The Farmers Exchanges, directly or through their subsidiaries and affiliates, offer homeowners insurance, auto insurance, commercial insurance, and financial services throughout the United States. Farmers Group, Inc. (dba Farmers Underwriters Association) and its subsidiaries, Truck Underwriters Association and Fire Underwriters Association, provide certain non-claims administrative services for the Farmers Exchanges as their attorneys-in-fact. The Farmers Exchanges do not hold an ownership interest in Farmers Group, Inc., and neither Farmers Group, Inc. nor its ultimate parent, Zurich Financial Services Ltd., a Swiss company, holds an ownership interest in any of the Farmers Exchanges.
  • The Foremost Insurance Group, headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is a group of companies that primarily insure specialty products such as mobile homes, motor homes, travel trailers and specialty dwellings, motorcycles, off-road vehicles, boats and personal watercraft. It was founded in 1952 and was acquired by the Farmers Exchanges in March 2000. The Foremost companies are subsidiaries of the Farmers Exchanges.
  • The Bristol West Insurance Group became a part of Farmers in July 2007. In 1973, it began providing private passenger auto insurance to residents in Florida and now provides liability and physical damage insurance - focusing exclusively on private passenger vehicles - across the United States. The Bristol West companies are subsidiaries of the Farmers Exchanges.
  • 21st Century Insurance, headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware, became a part of Farmers in July 2009. Using the internet and direct response marketing channels, 21st Century markets personal auto insurance to consumers throughout the United States. The 21st Century Insurance companies are subsidiaries of the Farmers Exchanges.
  • Farmers New World Life Insurance Company started as Catholic Life Insurance Company in Spokane, Washington in 1910. Later that year it was renamed New World Life Insurance Company. In 1953, it was acquired by Farmers Group, Inc. In 1954, its name was changed to the current Farmers New World Life Insurance Company. Farmers New World Life Insurance Company is now based in the Seattle suburb of Mercer Island, Washington. It offers flexible universal life insurance, traditional term life insurance, whole life insurance and annuities. Farmers New World Life Insurance Company is a subsidiary of Farmers Group, Inc.
  • Farmers Financial Solutions, LLC. was created by the Farmers Exchanges in 2000 to provide financial products to customers.
Farmers' products and services include:
  • auto insurance;
  • home insurance, including homeowners, condominium and renters insurance, mobile and manufactured home insurance, specialty home insurance, including landlord and rental properties, seasonal homes, and vacation homes, and flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program;
  • motorcycle insurance;
  • life insurance, including term, whole and universal life insurance;
  • recreational insurance, such as insurance for boats, ATVs, RVs, and travel trailers;
  • business insurance for small and medium sized businesses, such as liability and property insurance, commercial auto and workers compensation insurance for apartment and commercial property owners, artisan contractors, condominium homeowner associations, offices, religious organizations, educational and non-profit organizations, and other businesses in the light manufacturing, service, restaurant, retail, wholesale, and auto service & repair industries; and
  • financial services and products, such as mutual funds and variable annuities.

ACE Limited

ACE Limited (NYSE: ACE) is the parent company of the ACE Group, a global provider of insurance products covering property and casualty, accident and health, reinsurance, travel, creditor, and life insurance. It also operates in the Lloyd's insurance market in London. It offers services including process management, unusual hazards identification and expected loss calculations, and engineering services.

Based in Bermuda and Switzerland, ACE trades on the NYSE. Its core operating insurance companies are rated "AA-" (Very Strong) for financial strength by Standard & Poor's and "A+" by A. M. Best. Moody's rates the U.S. companies "A2" and the unsecured loan notes "A3". In 2010, the group controlled $83.4 billion in assets and received more than $19.5 billion of gross written premiums.

Clients of the ACE Group consist of multinational corporations and local businesses, insurers seeking reinsurance coverage, and individuals purchasing insurance policies.


ACE Limited was established in 1985, funded by a group of 34 individuals seeking difficult to obtain excess liability and directors and officers insurance coverage. That year, ACE and its Bermuda subsidiary, incorporated in the Cayman Islands and headquartered in Hamilton, Bermuda, wrote its first insurance policy with John Cox as its President and CEO. In 1987 the company assumed management of Corporate Officers & Directors Assurance Limited (CODA), expanding ACE Bermuda's product line.

Walter Scott became Chairman, President, and CEO of ACE in 1990 and saw the company listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1993. Brian Duperreault succeeded Scott in 1994 as Chairman, President & CEO and worked for the next ten years as ACE went through a series of acquisitions and a diversification process that brought the ACE Group of Companies global status. One of the multiple acquisitions made during this time was the global property and casualty business of Cigna Corporation, which was purchased for $3.45 billion in 1999. 

In 2004 Evan G. Greenberg became President and CEO of ACE Ltd.[6] In 2004 ACE was also investigated by NY Attorney General Elliot Spitzer for participating in a bid rigging and price fixing scheme with insurance broker Marsh & McLennan.

In April 2008, ACE purchased the accident and health insurance provider Combined Insurance Company of America (founded by W. Clement Stone in 1919) from Aon Corporation for $2.56 billion.

Also in 2008, ACE relocated from the Cayman Islands to Zürich, Switzerland. Evan Greenberg described the move as a “natural progression” that would provide ACE with a “better strategic flexibility…and a solid legal and regulatory environment…”The re-domestication was completed in July that year.

In 2010 the ACE company ESIS Inc. was hired by BP to process claims made by the victims of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

In 2010, ACE Limited purchased Rain and Hail, LLC for $1.1 billion. Rain and Hail Insurance Service, headquartered in Johnston, Iowa, is an industry leader in crop insurance in the United States.

In 2011, ACE Limited purchased agribusiness insurer Penn Millers, Mexican Surety Lines Company Fianzas Monterrey , Asuransi Jaya Proteksi in Indonesia,and Mexican Personal Lines Insurer ABA Seguros.

Swiss Life

The Swiss Life Group is the largest life insurance company of Switzerland. The firm is headquartered is in Zurich. The Swiss Life Group has 7,500 employees and had assets under management of approximately CHF 133 billion in 2010.

Foundation and growth
Conrad Widmer established Schweizerische Rentenanstalt in 1857 as the first life insurance company in Switzerland. Alfred Escher was integrally involved in the development of the cooperative. The goal of the company was to provide Swiss families a sufficiently solid foundation by providing insurance against the uncertainties of life. In 1866 Widmer obtained a license in Prussia. A year later, the annuity establishment had business operations in Hamburg and Bremen. The German branch split from the company. All of the policies were hand written in Zurich. Beginning in 1894, the establishment was one of the first insurance institutions to offer occupational insurance. Between 1866 and 1987, Rentenanstalt expanded to Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Spain, Luxembourg, and Italy. In 1988 it took over La Suisse insurance company in Lausanne.

Going corporate
In 1997 under the management of Martin Lopez, Rentenanstalt changed from a cooperative into a publicly traded company. In 1998 Rentenstalt/Swiss Life shares debuted on the SMI index. SwissLife then advanced on a expansionary strategy acquiring Livit, Banca del Gottardo, the Lloyd Continental and UTO Albis in 1999, Schweizerische Treuhandgesellschaft in 2000, a takeover of the real estate properties of Oscar Weber Holding AG in 2001. Finally in 2002, new acquisitions ceased as the company looked to restructure as many felt it was too big.

Swiss Life offers for both individuals and corporations policies a variety of policies including disability insurance, accident insurance as well as annuity insurance and life insurance.
Quickie: Conservatives Who Haven't Lost Their Fucking Minds (Part 1):
The Rude Pundit has no love for globular God-fluffer, Red State blogger, and CNN contributor (no, really, still) Erick "Erick" Erickson. Indeed, on a spectrum between "asshat" and "motherfucker," Erickson would be nestled comfortably in the "dickwad" section. But you gotta give props where props should be given. There's serial killers who are probably awesome janitors. It doesn't make the crimes forgivable, but, goddamn, that's one clean floor.

Yesterday, Erickson declared, "Barack Obama won. He won by turning out the most people in a well run campaign. In other words, he won fair and square." And he called out right-wingers who have gone especially nutzoid: "Too many people have spent the past four years obsessed with birth certificates. Now they are obsessed with voter fraud conspiracies, talk of secession, and supposed election changing news stories if only we had known." Those are Erickson's italics. In other words, just shut the fuck up and get on with the work of fighting Obama on the political minefield.

Disagree with the man's politics (and his frighteningly bulbous chin), but at least he's not flailing at phantoms here.

(Note: The Rude Pundit may be back later with Obama press conference goodness.)
They've Lost Their Fucking Minds Again (Limbaugh Edition):
Think of radio host Rush Limbaugh at this point as an old, wounded walrus, lying half on the rocks of an Alaskan island, half in the water, bellowing sadly into the Arctic night, waiting to be finished off by either a polar bear or a killer whale, its blubber being enough to keep other beasts warm for the entire approaching winter.

While other Republicans and conservatives are doing some real soul-searching in the wake of the 2012 election, Limbaugh is reaching under his gut to touch his tiny prick to get it up one more time and jack off on the airwaves of America. Listen, children, oh, yes, listen to the harrowing yowls of anguish and denial, listen, please, once more, to the fading cries of the dying walrus:

"When Democrats lose elections, do they ever say, 'You know what? We may have to give up this gay marriage position of ours and sort of abandon that. We may need to stand up for traditional marriage.' Do the Democrats ever say that when they lose elections? No. After the Democrats lose elections, do they ever say, 'You know, I think we've got to abandon this effort to shut down Second Amendment. We're gonna have to understand it. We're really out of touch. We're alienating our voters who love guns. We're gonna have to become big advocates of the Second Amendment'? Do Democrats ever say that when they lose elections? Do the Democrats, after they lose elections, all run to the media and start agonizing over where they're going wrong?"

Limbaugh went on like that yesterday, asking if Democrats ever think they need to cut taxes when they lose, or if Democrats ever think about toning down their "rhetoric," or, horror of horrors, "Do Democrats, when they are losing elections, ever blame their media?"

The only way to unpack all that 300 pounds of bullshit shoved into a hundred pound bag is to say: "Umm, Rush? You were around in the 1980s. Sure, sure, there's been a whole lot of drugs and one or two too many marriages since then, but you are familiar with the Reagan Revolution, no?"

Ah, precious children, the Democratic Party did once believe in what we called "gun control," which included a ban on handguns. It did once believe in abortion with few restrictions. It did believe in higher taxes for all. It believed in all those liberal monsters that Limbaugh wants you to think it still believes in.

But, oh, you must listen: in the wake of the Reagan ass-kicking, Democrats did reassess everything. And it went right. It watered down gun control to merely be that people shouldn't be able to own a few high-powered, military-grade automatic weapons. It accepted that abortion rights would be highly regulated, sometimes even going along with ludicrous and onerous laws. And taxes? Democrats voted to cut taxes again and again. And then, in 1994, after the Gingrich ascendancy, Democrats went even further to the right. Look it up. Look up Bill Clinton's triangulation on issues like "welfare reform." It all pissed off we true-blue liberals, this endless moderation, this ludicrous amount of compromise of principle until the principles themselves changed. However, to say that, on any level, that Democrats never questioned their beliefs in the wake of an election loss is just another lie of the endless series of lies told about us. It's as big a lie to themselves as declaring that Romney would win.

This is going to be one strain of Republican reaction: don't abandon the program - it is good and right - just sell it better. That's like saying that you didn't get syphilis because you like to bang whores without a condom, but because you chose the wrong whorehouse. Oh, hey, let's try fucking across the street and see how that works out. Not only does it not occur to you to use protection, but you can't see that perhaps you shouldn't be banging whores at all.

Here is the message you need again and again: it is what you believe. And it is how you relate to the world. Democrats went right in the 1980s and 1990s. Republicans went further right to differentiate themselves, so far that they went out the door.

And now a few conservatives are saying, "Perhaps we've gone too far." And a fat, decrepit bastard whose ability to pay alimony depends on whipping up more and more hatred is demanding that the reflection end before it begins.

Enjoy the war, GOP. You've earned it.

In Brief: Note to Red State America: It Gets Better:
In an article so darkly hilarious that it seems like it belongs at The Onion, Eli Saslow at the Washington Post chronicles the fin de siecle thinking of the poor souls in "Red America" who are facing the crossroads between nihilistic despair and smiley Jesus love when it comes to the reelection of Barack Obama.

Beth Cox of the Hendersonville, Tennessee (motto: "Where the Racists from Nashville Sleep Peacefully White") Romney campaign headquarters headed to the office on Wednesday. Writes Saslow, "Her calendar read 'Victory Day!!' and she had planned to celebrate in the office by hosting a dance party and selling Romney souvenirs. But instead she was packing those souvenirs into boxes, which would be donated to a charity that sent clothes to South America. Instead a moving company was en route to close down the office in the next 48 hours, and her friends were calling every few minutes to see how she was doing." Let's not even talk about her campaign credit card.

Sounding like the orphan who missed dinner gruel, Cox is unsure of what is happening to America: "She had devoted her life to causes she believed were at the heart of her faith and at the core of her Republican Party. She counseled young married families at church, spoke about right to life in area schools and became a stay-at-home mom with two daughters.

"Now, in a single election night, parts of her country had legalized marijuana, approved gay marriage and resoundingly reelected a president who she worried would 'accelerate our decline.'"

To her credit, Cox doesn't have blinders to the problems the GOP has, with women and non-whites. But it cuts more deeply: "There was the America of increased secularism that legalized marijuana. And there was her America, where her two teenage daughters are not allowed to read Harry Potter or Twilight, and where one of them wrote in a school paper: 'God is the center and the main foundation of my family.'" And don't get them started on the gays.

Oh, sweet Ms. Cox with your sweet Cox-man husband and Cox-ette daughers, whatever will you and, indeed, all of Red America do if we do not become filthy Sodom and devilish Gomorrah over the next four years? What then? What if those states that passed gay marriage do not become AIDS-filled cesspools of degradation? What if they thrive, along with those that legalized marijuana use, which is a plant created, as you should believe, by God?

Yes, yes, what if uninsured men and women in Hendersonville are able to get covered under the Affordable Care Act? Will they tear the "Obamanation" bumper sticker off their pick-ups when they realize that they don't have to wait until the broken finger is gangrene to see a doctor? And what will you do, sensitive, intelligent Beth Cox, if things do get better, if the unemployment rate goes down, if freedom isn't taken away, if you and Mr. Cox get to keep your guns, if higher tax rates for the rich don't wreck your middle class life, if Muslims aren't allowed to force your daughters into veils, if a sane immigration policy doesn't fill the streets of your so very white town with dirty Mexican drug thugs? What if you're just wrong, Beth Cox and all of the Red State Americans staring into an abyss that you created with your own rhetoric, with your own hopes that the abyss would be there so you can say, as we plunge in, see? See? What if you're plain wrong?

Will you say it got better? Will you acknowledge it? Or will you merely come up with excuses and cling to your fading America, the red that is bleeding out now?
Late Post Today:
Certainly, Lex Luthor is at work attempting to manipulate the seasons here so that we cycle through all of them in few days. The Rude Pundit will investigate.

Back later with more corrosive rudeness.

5 things to remember while looking for auto insurance leads

Are you a dealer looking for leads? Are you looking for potential clients who can help you save your sinking business? Are you in search of authentic car insurance leads? If yes, then brace up for the competition and to come up with unconventional ideas to sell yourself. Getting a lead is not very hard and an experienced dealer will certainly, somehow, extract information about a potential client. But it is really difficult to convince the potential client to buy your products or services. Particularly, in the field of insurance, people are very finicky and do a lot of research before buying a policy. You have to be really smart with your strategies and even manipulative, to an extent, in sweet-talking the person into buying from you. 

So, if you are looking to generate and convert auto insurance leads, then here are a few things you must keep in mind:

i.                     Be the early bird: Once you have got hold of the information (say, contact details) about a prospective client, then do not waste even an hour. Make a call and try to explain to the person all about your business and the features and benefits you are offering. Again, you have to be very tactful since people generally hate tele-callers. Make sure to appoint someone who is skilled in his conversational skills and can easily slip into a friendly chatting mode with unknown people and unfriendly clients. The important thing is to be an early bird. Since the market is flooded with competition, you are going to face a harrowing time from your rivals. Make sure to make the call before they do!

ii.                   Make an appointment for a personal discussion: No sane person likes to make a decision about insurance and financing affairs merely on the phone. It is vital that you win his trust and confidence by arranging a personal rendezvous wherein you can furnish him with documents that will authenticate all your claims and the presence of your office. You cannot expect to get car insurance or auto finance leads converted unless you have won the person’s trust.

iii.                  Provide information about various offers: After you have bagged a few car insurance leads, you have got to ensure that you don’t let go of them. Once you have discussed the features of a certain policy and the person doesn’t show enough interest, you must bring up a fresh policy of a fresh company with different terms & conditions. It is vital to make the customer aware that you can fulfill all his requirements.

iv.                 Keeping in touch: Even if the client has expressed his wish to buy a policy from you, say, in the upcoming weeks, he may change is mind or may get a better offer from some other agent. To ensure the success of your auto insurance leads and auto finance leads, you must stay in constant touch with the person through emails, telephones, letters and texts.

v.                   Be ready to alter your plan: If needed, you must be ready to offer a special discount or a special benefit if you find that your rival may bag the deal.

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