Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

For those of you who ever wondered what the traditional song sung every new years eve means.
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne ?
For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And surely you’ll buy your pint cup !
And surely I’ll buy mine !
And we'll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine ;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since auld lang syne.
We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine† ;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.
And there’s a hand my trusty friend !
And give us a hand o’ thine !
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.

In a nut shell it's a toast to times past.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

I'd post more but...

I would post more but we're now facing some health care problems in the family. No not me or my imediate family but some relatives living out of state. As one member is in the hospital and the other has no access to the net, I've had to play researcher and go between in this situation. It's hard enough to understand the ins and outs of the healthcare system in your own state much less have to look up another states' laws and regulations.
Here's a brief summary of the situation. Let's say you have a job with no medical coverage and low pay. You get injured or ill. You need an operation to get back to work but it will take you six weeks to recover. You don't get unemployment because you weren't able to work enough hours. You go to a local hospital to be checked. They tell you the situation and give you a doctor's note stating you need the operation. So you go to the local assistance office only to be told you don't qualify because you make too much money even though you made less than 1/2 the poverty level. You are too young for medicare and too old for aid to dependent families.
I've considered telling this family member to move to Canada and I've looked into so many government web sites my eyes are bleary. Fortunately the member in the hospital is old enough to be covered under medicare and medicaid.

Pop over to Various Ecstasies for a general overview of this situation.

Snave says it best

Friday, December 28, 2007

A blog from Iran with potential

Every now and then I like to randomly surf thru the blogs by hitting the next blog link at the top left of the page. Sometimes you stumble on some interesting sites. Here's a blogger from Iran who's posting some interesting articles that don't make the MSM. Have a quick look. His English isn't that great but he's trying and the layout is interesting.


Proud winner of the Golden Monkeyfist Award

I'm overwelmed and modestly accept this award on behalf of my fellow bloggers. I'd like to thank my mother and father for this award, but then again they didn't write it and they are long gone anyway. I will cherish this award and again to all thank you.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A sad Christmas

I was surprised that this made international news and how soon.

A family in Carnation Wa

Wonderful news for those 65 or older

Screwed by Bush again

Looks like you just can't win with this administration. This pisses me because I just watched Michael Moore's Sicko last night.
The short story: Employers can now discriminate against workers who turn 65 giving younger workers more health benefits than older workers. Maybe we should apply these standards to government workers. Sorry senator you no longer get healthcare because you're too old.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

It's Christmas and kitty and I say hello. She is a handfull right now as unlike most cats this time of year she's in heat. Just my luck. But that's another story.

Christmas isn't really about Santa Claus, decorated trees, feasting on stuffed turkeys or roasted chestnuts. The reality is that Christ wasn't even born in December at all, but sometime in spring. This is known because as it says the shepards watched over their flocks by night. Simply they don't do this in winter. Whether you believe that Jesus was the son of God or not is your choice. But the important thing here is the message this man left behind. It was a message of love and hope. Even if you believe none of the other stuff you must agree with his message if you have the least bit of compassion. That is to feed the hungry, cloth the naked and house the homeless. To treat your neighbor as you would treat yourself. Who's your neighbor? That guy who cut you off on the freeway. The homeless vet looking for dinner. An elderly woman who lives down the street on a fixed income and has to eat pet food to make ends meet. The guy who just lost his job. Or the mother with children who got sick and doesn't know where to turn.
We only seem to dig up some compassion around Thanksgiving or Christmas time and forget everybody the other 50 weeks. It's time for a change as some very hard times are approaching. Call it Karma or reciprocity or whatever you want but I believe what goes around comes around so we better start putting out some good things. When you give don't give trash. You know, the stuff you were going to throw out anyway.
That was the real basics of christianity. Now you know what a gift Christ left. Himself and a great message.

Merry Christmas everybody.

Think I mentioned this before

I learned about this in one of my haz mat recert classes. The plastic bottles we buy that contain everything from water to pop that we consume leach plastics into their contents over a period of time. That is why bottles have an expiration date. Water does not "go bad" if it is stored in sealed glass or metal containers. As for myself I use filtered water. Not that I'm fearful of some local contamination (we have some of the best water in the nation) but because water is treated with chlorine and that is a known carcinogin.

A toast to your health

Saturday, December 22, 2007

This is just the beginning folks.

Fun times ahead

When I checked the mortgage crisis over the last few months I assumed that the beginning was in August. It normally takes a minimum of 6 months to do a forclosure. I know because there have been a few in my neighborhood in the last few years. So, when I saw this article I was surprised at the timing. I've also noticed that people from Ca. are moving here to the Northwest. I hate to tell them this, but our economy isn't any better. They may be lucky and find a niche position for technical jobs, but to find a transitional job until they get the job there after, well those type of jobs dried up in just the last two months. Our housing market is following California with the price of homes falling and rents climbing. The other problem with this is that there are still limited funds for financing and you can expect to be put under a microscope to get those loans. Don't expect to pick up a forclosure either as the speculators swoop down and snap them up like vultures.
The sad fact is that this is only the beginning. Let's see where we are in March or April when the next round of rate adjustments comes due. This is bringing back bad memories of the early 80's. Here's a brief accounting of what happened back then for those of you who were lucky enough not to have lived through it. We had massive inflation. Interest rates were around 18% or better then. Employers started cutting back jobs. People looking for work found nothing, not even the 'Mcjobs' in fast food and convience stores. With no work spending slowed and in turn employers cut back even more and the cycle continued. I don't remember what ended that recession only to say it took a very long time. It was not a fun time then but as they say "history repeats itself".
One last note to consider. All of the safety nets that had been in place in the 80's are now gone, wiped out by Reagoon and the Shrub in Chief. Might want to consider that used tent trailer and some other camping gear. It could come in handy soon.

Update: Here's an article that pretty much sums up what I said above. I'd like to add a side note to this. If the Feds lower interest rates, foreign investors who haven't already moved their money out of this country are sure to do so when rates drop making our problems worse.

Mortgage crisis

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Bowl games

I remember when I was a kid there used to be six or seven bowl games usually played at Thanksgiving and maybe one or two around New Years. Now there are (count em) 32 games between Dec 20 and Jan 7. As much as I like a good college rivalry and a good game after a quiet dinner, this is just getting rediculous. Teams I've paid no attention to during the regular season are suddenly cast on national TV to make an endless show of football lasting from noon till midnight. Even as a kid when I loved football more I thought it was getting to be a bit much. But then I stopped to think that with the writers' strike the networks have few options in this matter.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

This doesn't look good


The economic slowdown is starting to show its' face here in the Northwest. I don't have the figures on what the average rates of forclosures are for any given year, but I've seen a shift in project delays, postponments and cancellationsin construction in just the last month. I'm seeing holds or cancellations in projects that had been planned years ago. Add to this the spending necessary to repair the recent flood damage that will take money away from other building projects, well you get the idea.

This just made my day

Bushwacked again

Bush wants to change Haz mat reporting requirements.

Shrub strikes again. For over 15 years I've had to deal with nasty chemicals and as require by law made an accounting of what that chemical was and the amount disposed or recycled. All of this info is put on either a waste manifest or a RCRA sheet. It's a piece of paperwork no more than one or two pages that takes all of about five minutes to fill out. Most of the forms are just checking off boxes. The purpose of these forms is to show emergency responders and the public in general what chemicals and amounts are stored at a factory so that in the event of a fire or major spill they know what they're dealing with and can act accordingly. Sorry George this is not a burden on me or the company I work for and if it helps in an emergency then it was worth it.

Hope the video at the link still works. Via King 5 News

Monday, December 17, 2007

Here's some news we should all be fearful to hear.

Bush says the economy is sound

This from the man who said "Great job Brownie" and the rethuglicans who posted the sign "Mission accomplished"

If this clown says everything is okay then be worried. Be very worried.
Let's see, before Shrub took office the U.S. had a budget surplus. Now we're in the hole hundreds of billions and with the cost of war that will be in the trillions. Gas was aboout $1.50 a gallon now it's over $3.00. The costs of everything is going up except wages.

Sorry George the economy isn't sound and this is only the beginning. Cranking up the money presses is not going to do anything to bail us out of this one. It will only make things worse.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Oh Boy!
First there were killer bees and now there are Rambo rats. Japanese scientists have sucessfully removed the fear genes in mice. Just what we need. You head to the kitchen for a midnight snack to be faced by a fuzzy faced New Yorker. What are you lookin at? What no Brie?!

The Shrub plan for health care. Make em pay for their own medical costs. Let's see $19 a week works out to nearly $1000 per year that covers $1100 worth of coverage. Oh and something they don't tell you. If you don't use it you lose it. This looks like a great deal if you are an insurance company. You get $1000 and only have to pay out $100 and if you can deny the claim it's all yours.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Winter storms and FEMA help

Photos via Everett Herald

Crumbs for the peasants
We had a rather bad winter storm here in the Northwest in the last two weeks. It snowed then rained and rained and rained. I've lived here for a while and I'm used to a bit of rain, but this storm was something I've never seen. It rained almost constantly for nearly 24 hours straight. People who have lived here longer than I said it was the worse storm they had ever seen. Several hundred people lost their houses and the news images looked like a repeat of Katrina. Interstate 5 the main north and south link was closed for nearly a week. So what did our wonderful (Great job Brownie) FEMA do? They said maybe they'd be out in a couple of days to look at things.
Now compare this situation to the ice storm in the midwest. The ice storm hits Sunday and Monday and Shrub declares relief Tuesday. Wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that Washington state is a BLUE STATE! Would it?

Update: Nothing to see here George it's just water. A little water never hurt anybody right?

Monday, December 10, 2007

The GOP convention of 08

This should be interesting

The GOP convention next year will not have restrictions on protest areas as in the recent past. No " free" speech areas with fences and razor wire this time around. So break out the popcorn for this one. Protesters will be in ear shot and within sight of the convention center.

Sorry for the lack of posts of late. In the process of a remodel and had a relative in the hospital in serious condition. When it rains it pours as the expression goes. Oh well I will survive.

Friday, December 7, 2007

December 7th

I'm no fan of war never have been, but on a particular day in December in a bay filled with U.S. war ships an unaware military was caught off guard. Many ships and men were lost that day. The images of the event has been shown from every angle and from both sides. It is sad to think back to that time and the few vets left who were there that day. Pearl Harbor started a world war for America, but let's not forget the underlying causes or as they used to say 'the big picture'. The U.S. was about to bring sanctions on Japan and stop the flow of oil to that country. The Japanese with no natural resources and few options moved to take over oil fields in southern Asia. After much debate the Japanese decided to attack Pearl Harbor in an effort to prevent the U.S from stopping their push to the oil in Asia.
I shouldn't be surprised that after 66 years the reasons for war have not changed. Greed, protectionism, national pride and preemtive strikes are still happening yet the players have changed seats like musical chairs. Any nation with great powers that isn't 'us' is considered evil. But the real tragedy in all this are the men and women who have sacrificed their lives for a system and an ideology with little consideration to the root problems of the world. If we don't stop and focus on the real problems and causes of war then we will have learned nothing from history.
A soldier who makes a mistake on the battlefield looses his life. A politicial who makes a mistake gets a lobby position. I know life isn't fair. My honor and respect goes to the soldier.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Fuel standards

There's a bill to soon to be vetoed by Bush to raise the fuel economy standards for cars to 35 miles per gallon. While I salute the efforts to become more efficient and lower our dependence on foreign oil I wonder if this is realistic. With Americans becoming more obese than any time and cars becoming smaller and smaller it will be just a matter of time before you won't order a car from the dealer you'll be fitted for one. Add to this the fact that we carry everything from golf clubs to heavy work tools in the trunk. It's become a second garage closet because we have no other place to store these items and you never know when you'll need that carburator you pulled from that 82 Merc you sold ten years ago even though it needs rebuilt and they don't make the parts for it any more. Any one wonder why you don't get anywhere near the EPA milage that was on the sticker when you bought it? Aside from the fact that the EPA tests cars with no one inside at a constant 45 mph. They ought to drop in about four Green Bay Packer defensive linemen, a couple of iron workers tool boxes and let a 16 year old who's just got his license drive it on a Friday night.
To really meet higher standards we need to get rid of the gigantic SUVs (how many of them have you seen running with only the driver?) Return to the station wagon if you have six kids and change the standards to something realistic. It'll take a combination of new technology and a change of infrastructure to solve this. I see cars in the near future made like racecars with carbon fibre structures and bodies made from memory steel or sprayed on plastics. Hybred, fuel cell and all electric cars may become commonplace and hopefully soon. If we can shift from burning oil products to fuel cell, solar or wind power or geothermal or any combination of these then I think there is hope for the future.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Bush is just an international bully

Once again Shrub is ignoring the facts and going along with his own dry drunk mentality. George, Iran does not have WMDs.

If chickens had lips they could whistle

Monday, December 3, 2007

Is someone playing with the internet?

I did my usual morning scan of the news websites and came upon the following:

APReutersAFPNPRCongressional QuarterlyBloombergRasmussen ReportsMy Sources
Poll: Clinton strong, Iowa raises doubt AP - 40 minutes ago
Poll: Clinton, Obama close in Iowa AP - 2 hours, 11 minutes ago
Poll: Clinton leads in South Carolina AP - 2 hours, 13 minutes ago
Clinton leads Obama, Edwards in NH AP - 2 hours, 12 minutes ago
Romney to give Mormon speech AP - 1 hour, 43 minutes ago
» All Politics from AP
All of the above via Yahoo news.

It looks to me like someone is playing the google bomb with the yahoo AP news feed. I'll try to update this later if I find more.

UPDATE: AP seems to play favorites every other day, but I think the rethugs are still pushing for Hillary. Note that Faux Noise has put her as the winner in all reporting.

Here's today's look from Yahoo News

Poll: GOP race in early states unsettled AP - 1 hour, 36 minutes ago
Poll: Romney, Huckabee even in Iowa AP - 1 hour, 35 minutes ago
Poll: Romney maintains lead in NH AP - 1 hour, 35 minutes ago
Poll: GOP presidential race tied in SC AP - 1 hour, 34 minutes ago

Saturday, December 1, 2007

A rosey picture of Iraq

This may sound good on the face of it unless you are one of the 700+ dead or their family member.
Rosey stats from Iraq

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Putting lipstick on a pig.

The writer of this article would have you believe that black is white and Bush is the greatest president ever. I think not.

Moe Larry and Curly


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Hidden inflation

In the same vein as Andy Rooney I'm seeing a sneeky route of inflation coming into our stores. Andy did a piece a few years back about how companies not wanting to raise prices merely cut the quantity of the product. Have you noticed it? The one pound can of (fill in the product) is now 15 ozs. The once 16 oz. package went to 15.3 then to 14. The 12 oz. package went to 9.5. The type of packaging has changed as well. At one time milk came only in glass bottles delivered by truck in the early morning hours. Then came the wax paper cartons that were not good as imperfections would cause a 'leaker'. Not a good thing to have on your breakfast table. Oh, and they were not easy to open. Then came the plastic jugs. Easy to open easy to pour but only one drawback, they don't keep the milk fresh for very long and with energy costs going up a gallon will far out pace gas.
Another thing I've noticed is where things are made. Just noticed a lot of candy bars are now made in South America. I don't have a problem with products being made out of the country, but these companys have made their reputations as American institutions. It's fine if they'd export products here that were native to their culture. But, shipping jobs overseas creates fewer consumers here.
It will be interesting to see what happens in a few years when the Chineese become the major comsumers of the world. Maybe the jobs will come home to roust.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Economy heading South?

It looks like our economic situation is starting to unravel. Wall Street is down over 200 more points today. I'd look for a small up tick in the next day or two followed by an even bigger downward spiral. Amazingly the fed has been dumping money into the system at a rate I've never seen. The presses are cranking out cash like never before. Hyperinflation is just around the corner. As I've mentioned before the real effects from housing won't be felt until March or April of 08 when the poop hits the fan, so hold on to your wallets, rough times are comming.

Money down the drain

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I'm back!

As I said in an earlier post my computer was giving out. Well yesterday it did. The power source gave out and left me in the dark internet speaking. The biggest hastle is that I now have a ton of stuff on a hard drive that needs recovered. Luckily I went to my local Apple store and they will transfer all the info to my new computer at no charge, but it'll take two days. No biggy because I figure it would take me two months to try and do it myself. I wasn't planning to buy a new machine until later next year but oh well. They even threw in a printer scanner copier at no charge as well. Merry Christmas to me.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

via jupiterimages

Thinking about what to be thankful for this year there isn't a whole lot. We've had many of our constitutional rights taken away. A president who thinks he's a king and has spent our economy to a looming depression, but in keeping with the season I'll forgo any more negative issues right now. I will say that I'm thankful for having a roof over head food on the table and clothes on my back. I don't have to worry about being blown up when going to market or a band of government forces come to burn my village and run me off at least not yet. Looking at the holiday spreads, a thought comes to mind, the last good meal a prisoner has before the execution. Sure hope I'm wrong on that. I guess after 6 years I've become a pessimist. At any rate like a sailor on leave let us enjoy the moment while it lasts. To all... peace...

Impeachment maybe

I've been out of the loop lately with work and home matters but did manage to come upon this news item: New John Dean
On further investigation it looks like MSM as well as the publishers are trying to quell this story as usual. I just hope Scott lets more details come out in the weeks to follow. And a note to Pelosi "wake up and smell the roses" not much is going to be accomplished until the critters are removed from the now dry swamp.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

This just isn't right

Sea Tac airport in order to be "politically correct" has changed their "holiday decorations" in order not offend anyone.

They went from This:

To This?

And yes the bottom photo (although a model of the actual 'thing') is uglier in real life. Lit with changing megenta and blue lights the displays are depressing. That's my opinion anyway. What do you think? Did the Grinch come early this year and not have a change of heart?

Friday, November 16, 2007

I was glad to see this

Student protesters Via seattle times

This is a good sign that our young people are starting to wake up and realize what's going on around them. Or maybe they think there may be a draft in the near future. At any rate this is where your retirement went if you wanted to know. Sucking the life blood out of America at hundreds of billions of dollars each year.

On the economy

I've never claimed to be a financial wizard. I haven't done poorly, but Warren Buffet or Bill Gates I'm not. With that in mind I give my take on the current economy. There's an underlying factor in the back of my mind that never seems to come out to the forefront of the financial news. Not to sound goulish but the financial health of this nation is like Terry Schivo. It's dead only it hasn't accepted the fact. With a national debt greater than all of the budgets under all of the presidents combined, America is on a course for one of the greatest economic depressions ever seen in modern times. We as a nation are beyond bankrupt and it doesn't take a genious to figure that a depression is soon to come. I truely wish I was wrong, but we've seen events leading up to this over the course of history. Massive debt, hyperinflation, and financial insturments based on promises or non existent values were precursors to hard economic times. I'm seeing the carnival atmosphere on wall street with pundits touting how great our economy (patient) is doing, but did sombody forget that the doctor has declared the patient dead or maybe they don't want to admit the obvious? It's said that the band played on the deck of the Titantic as it was sinking.
Looking at the financial markets is almost humerous if it weren't so tragic. We see money pulled from stocks put in gold one day only to see it move to bonds and treasuries the next. The problem is will be no real value in any of these in the coming months or years ahead. The losses are already there only hidden in a delayed reports that will eventually see the light of day. We're just beginning to see the sub primes, naked shorts, ODC's, and Level 3's and the effect they have on our economic health. I only wish I were the boy who screamed wolf, but what is going on in the background in the financial and political world is not good. It's like giving a teenager a credit card with no spending limit and denying the bill when it comes. Well our bill is coming.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sure hope this is true.

Let's see the decider in chief veto this one.

War funding bill

And the truth about the actual cost comes out.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

S F Oil Spill

Oil spills and Lawyers

This article just irritates the hell out of me. A little background. On Wed. Nov 7 around 8:30 a cargo ship ran into the Bay bridge in San Fransisco. 58000 gallons of bunker fuel were spilled. I've worked with bunker oil in the past and I must say it's not one of my favorite hazardous materials to deal with. Bunker oil is a thick heavy oil that's used as fuel for the ships engines. They use it because it's cheap and it's the bottom of the barrel when oil is processed. Unlike the nice clean oil you put in your car bunker oil smells bad and when you get on your hands and clothing it doesn't come off easily. Even still it's not to be feared and requires little training to be delt with properly. My first oil spill involved about fifteen minutes of training while we loaded the equipment (oil pads, booms and sweeps) necessary for the clean up. The really important issue was getting there asap. Bunker oil will float on water for a while but after a time it sinks to the bottom. It's said that for any given spill the most that can be recovered is about 10 to 15%. The rest sinks or spreads out contaminating the beaches and of course the wildlife.
It would have been easy to have a clean up plan where volunteers could have worked in teams under the direction of an environmental company and haz mat workers. But now 5 days later the damage is far greater than it should have been. It will take decades for the bay to repair itself from the damage done. One method is to use an oil eating bacteria, but as it is referred to in the business as 'spray and pray', well you get the idea.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A great charity idea

My friend and fellow blogger Monkeyfister came upon this really great charity site (just wonder where he finds this stuff).

Free Rice

It works as follows: You provide the definitions to words (multiple choice) and for each correct answer 10 grains of rice are given to a United Nations food program. To date enough rice has been donated to feed 50,000 people and the site has only been around since Oct 7 of this year!
So go feed your brain and at the same time help feed the world.

War Protest

I've been trying to add this to the sidebar all night. Starting to wonder if the rethuglicans haven't infiltrated eblogger and found a way to block this.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Hedge funds

I've always had a problem understanding hedge funds. Not that it's important to me as I don't invest in stocks, but I like to follow the general direction of the markets as it usually gives an indication of my work or lack there of. Here's a layman's guide to understanding this complex imvestment.
Hedge funds
The reason these are very important at this time is because much of the bad debt is neatly hidden in the deep levels of these funds and shortly they will be revealed for what they are "bad debt". Overheard a customer at the bread store mentioned to be aware of the economy in the next three months and now I know why. A company holding such bad paper hides it in an account called Level 3. They are legally required to report on this account after the first of the year. So hold on to your hats folks cause some of this Level 3 amounts to more than what a company is worth. Go read and decide for yourself if we aren't headed for hard times ahead.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Safe toys for Christmas

Austrailia just had a recall of toys made in China. The toys when ingested would metabolize into the date rape drug GHB and has made several children sick enough to be hospitalized. I'm not about to make any jokes on this as Leno might. While looking for alternatives to this expanding problem I came across:
Safe toys

Not only are these toys made to higher U.S. standards, they're made in the U.S. and you get a bonus of getting bonds when you buy them. Not to sound like an ad my only real concern here is not poisioning our children.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Bush flaps his gums

Free Trade?

Listening to Bush babble on about free trade and how it will give us higher paying jobs this morning makes me want to ... The iceing on the cake was when he mentioned about following the rule of law. That's when I turned him off.

Most of the jobs went first to Mexico and then to China so Ross Perot was half right. On farm trade it seems nobody wins. Our farmers can't make it so they ask for subsities then they in turn dump produce on Mexico so Mexican farmers can't make a living. And you wonder why there's a drug problem coming from Mexico.

In other news Dennis Kucinich finally stood up and said what most Americans have wanted for some time, the impeachment of Cheney. I had hopes until I read that he and Pelosi backed down shortly afterward. They stated that they had other priorities like health care. (Yea like Bush is going to let anything you come up with get past his veto pen) Don't they realize that they have to get rid of the clowns before anything real gets done or are they just a part of this crime family, distant cousins maybe?

Friday, November 2, 2007

Environmental items


A quick lesson in lead - It is more dangerous for children to be exposed to lead then adults as their bodys are still growing and more importantly there is at present no treatment for children with lead poisoning. There is what is called background levels present in all of us. Since lead was used in the past in such things as paint and gasoline for a very long time it is still present in old buildings and houses and in soils by the side of roads. It is also present in our blood at very low levels because of these exposures. An average of 6 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood seems to be a norm. A microgram is equal to one grain of sugar. It had been thought that children could handle up to 10 micrograms with no ill effects and that has been a standard for some time. There are now some doubts about that 10 microgram figure.
So how to protect the young ones from lead? If you live in an older home (pre 1980's) you can assume that there is lead paint on the walls. You can also assume that the wallls have been painted since, but if the paint chips or peels there is a danger. Keep kids away from paint that's peeling if you are not sure. A simple text kit is a pen that will turn red or pink when touched to a lead painted object. It is just a rough guide and samples should be sent to a lab. Ask your local health dept. for more info on this as laws differ in dealing with this.

I'll discuss chromium and silica exposures in later entries.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Your tax dollars at waste

I just love finding articles like this. Where your tax dollars have been stolen in the money hole called Iraq. And Shrub wants still more money for his illegal business deal.


More Random things

Is this malady spreading of what? First the Mayor of Spokane then Larry Craig and now this clown REPUBLICAN Rep. Richard Curtis a Wa. state legislator gets caught having sex with some guy he picked up at a sex shop. Anybody out there come up with a nice catch phrase for this? Interestingly the GOP asked him to leave office. Sounds like the GOP should stand for the Gay Old Party eh.

Oil is now at $96 per barrel. How much longer will it be before janitors, field workers and other unskilled workers won't be able to afford the gas to get to work?

Speaking of work I just did a recertification class. The instructors always like to show some gruesome safety films. I hate to watch them because someone always gets killed (and these are for real) but then it reminds me not to become complacent about what I do. It's real easy when you've done this type of work as long as I have.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Random items

Boy starts California fires while playing with matches.
This is a sad day for everyone in California and a sader day still for the boy who will have to live with what he did for the rest of his life. I also feel bad for the parents. Imagine your kid doing something like that. What could you do for punishment? How could you face your neighbors?

Karen Hughes
These people are psychopathically delusional. She actually thinks she did a great job of diplomacy for our country. Not...

Adolf I mean George wants to rule this country himself without Congress or the Justice Dept. by administrative order. That's different than executive order or signing statements. Any constitutional scholars out there like to give us some insight on this?
Now that's a Halloween scare for you. Too bad it's for real.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

War protest 6th year

I'm glad to see that protesters have increased in numbers from years past and a little more media attention was given to the protest. But then our wonderful elected leaders are still not listening and from the sounds of it there's no great plan and little mention of bringing the troops home anytime soon by any political party. So what have we gained? A whole lot of people had a walk in the park and may be hoarse on Monday. Come on people we can do better than that. Let's be creative. Unless we can fill D.C. with a half a million and clog the streets there or come up with better ideas nothing's going to change. We need to find out exactly why the Democrats will not stand up and lead and let them know that if they don't start soon they'll see someone else holding their office after the next election.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The reason middle east peace talks won't work.

hatip to AP for photo
hatip to Watertiger for format

Friday, October 26, 2007

An early Merry Christmas from George

Oil $92 a barrel

It's expected to go to $100 a barrel shortly. Thanks George and a screw you New Year to you.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

More bad management

Browsing the news I see more and more examples of bad management and blunders of this misadmenistration. If George W. were your son (thank God he's not) would you hand over your wallet or credit cards to him? Our government can't account for $1.6 billion for the training of Iraqi police. See: Dyna Corp
It may take 3 to 5 years to find out where the money went? Maybe we should just send a couple of sharp I.R.S. agents over there and I'm sure there'll be an accounting in a few months not years. And what a waste of resources anyway. There was a point just after our invasion where the Iraqis could have trained police and rebuilt their own country. All of that has been lost because Iraq has suffered the greatest brain drain of any country I can imagine. In short the best have left. And yet George wants to keep pumping more money into a loosing proposition. Have any of you had a used car that just didn't work out? You know what I'm talking about. That car with a great body, nice interior, plenty of bells and whistles but the one with a bad engine. You think you can fix it but every time you take it to the mechanic he tells you something else is wrong. There is a point at which you must dump it and move on.
One point six billion dollars. That would just about cover the damage from the fires in Southern California or cover a whole bunch of uninsured children. And imagine what we could have done with the hundreds of billions already wasted. We could have rebuilt our own country.

Monday, October 22, 2007

I may be out for a while

Looks like my trusty puter is starting to give up the ghost. It's been crashing of it's own accord even after many system checks and repairs. Even this message may not make it to you as blogger is telling me that something is wrong. Wonder if the NSA has caught on to us and is preventing our revolutionary idea of taking back this country from getting out. If so (he said donning his tin foil hat) then I'll copy it and take it to another 'puter' for broadcast. You can't keep the truth down and the lies and the bs will be reveiled. I'm a great fan of Thomas Payne and the rest of the revolutionarys and not the phonys in the White House.

Update: looks like it was an innertube thing and not the computer neighbors were having problems too.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Random green ideas

Lights out America

Heard this blurb on local news last night. A grassroots movement to reduce green house gas by turning the lights off in your house for one hour from 8 to 9pm on a Saturday. I like the idea so much I think I'll try it on a monthly basis. Just installed some high pressure sodium floodlights here last weekend that will cut the outdoor power bill by 2/3. They are expensive but will pay for themselves in about a year. Don't forget to switch to CFLs when you can. Some utility cos. are giving them away. Here you can get them for $1 each.

Here's another interesting bit of research about what to do with asbestos waste. There's a company up here that's developed a process to recycle the stuff. Even though it's not economical to do it in this country (it takes massive amounts of energy). It would be a good idea for a country like Japan that has no place for landfills to take this type of waste. I never thought asbestos could be made inert by exposing it to heat but this company has figured out a way. When it's all 'cooked' it turns into something like pea gravel that can be used in roads.
ARI Technologies

Water water everywhere around here and it looks like Atlanta is dying of thirst. I only wish there was a way we could send them some of our liquid sunshine. Would a national water pipeline sound crazy? Or would that just be a pipe dream (pun intended)? I am considering putting in some rain barrels for the summer months here. Our water prices are expected to go up 15% next year.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Let's try again


Not to give up (thank goodness our forefathers didn't) there's a new push to stop the war with protests next Saturday October 27th. Yes and I'm still waiting for the unions to get involved in all of this. A note to all the union leaders out there. Do you people remember the story about boiling the frog? It goes like this if you've forgotten. If you take a frog and try to throw him in a pot of boiling water he'll quickly jump out and run away. If you carefully place the frog in a pot of slightly warm water and very very slowly turn up the heat. The frog feeling comfy in his froggy hot tub doesn't realize what's happening, then after a while the frog is boiled. Do you get the comparison between what this administration is doing to our rights and hard fought benefits. We need to get together and start chipping away at the source of our losses. As I see it in another 5 or 10 years we'll only be getting a paycheck if our jobs haven't been outsourced. So what do we do? What we've done for nearly 100 years now... Organize, protest and strike. You may be out there delivering the goods that support this war but eventually the bill is going to come due and remember Bush and Co. financed this war on borrowed money. Simply put what happens when you can't pay your mortgage or car or truck payment? On a national level that's called a depression and it won't be a pretty picture as nearly all of the safety nets have been cut first by Reagan and what was left by George W. Don't believe me? Get injured, get sick, fall behind on some payments and see who's out there to help. It won't be George W or any of his minions. I could give you facts and statistics until I'm blue in the face but you won't believe me unless something happens in your life. I've already been through this many years ago and I really don't want to go through it again but I believe it's going to happen very soon.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Wild weather same old politics

Strange net connection last night. A bit breezy out here. Tried to post but my computer kept crashing by itself even after a system check. Can only pin it on power fluctuations. Yea everythings on surge protection but that doesn't protect against power drops.

On politics nothing seems to change. Screw the poor and middle class and give to the rich, but then I believe in a type of karma. What goes around comes around maybe not now but in the near future. Look at Afganistan. We supported who for so many years when they were fighting the Soviet Union only to kick them to the curb when the Soviets left? That was a war of principles because Afganistan had/has no major resources to exploit. And now who has returned to bite us in the rear. Once they were freedom fighters now they are terrorists. It's all about labels and a power grab. Is this much different than labeling the Jews as evil ones prior to WWII only this time the labeled ones have guns and are fighting back. The senseless waste of human life for political ideologies.

There is a call for more work stoppages. I haven't checked into it yet but I believe it's scheduled for Nov 2 and the 6th by the truckers. Have to do some more digging on this. Just heard a mention on Air America by a caller on this. Tune in later for more on this. Got to run now work calls.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

What's wrong with this picture

In looking at the business news today I noted that those on Social Security will get a 2.3% increase starting in January. I then came upon an article that said the inflation rate for the year is at 3.6%. I realize that the increases for SS payments are based on the previous year, but with energy and food prices rising as much as they are I'd hate to be a retiree right now.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Ground beef safety

I guess it will be a while before I eat any hamburgers. I was fooled into thinking that if I bought the more expensive "natural" beef patties that there would somehow be a greater level of safety or more care in the preperation of the meat. How wrong I was. The first recall was for Morans. I had been buying them for several years now because they have no additives like growth hormones and the like. You can actually notice the difference between an all natural and regular meats. I try to limit the amount of red meat I eat in any given month but I still like a good steak and my favorite prime rib from time to time. Now I'm forced to find another solution to the ground beef problem. I'm wondering if there's something like a beef wash that could be used prior to grinding. And I'm considering buying a grinder and buying full beef cuts. I think that is what my mother did many years ago. She'd buy round steak when it was cheap and have it ground. Sure made for a fresh hamburger.
At any rate I'd be suspecious of any ground beef that was really cheap from Wally world or any other discount outlet. And here's the latest:
Ground beef reall

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Leadership update

As I said this past week I was on a difficult job with a Bush type leader. Here's the outcome. The 'leader' not being able to handle the job whined to upper management and was transferred to another job. I landed up finishing the job by myself with a different supervisor. It seems that this will be the way of Bush to dump the mess on someone else. He's just waiting until his term ends because he's already raped us financially, destroyed the constitution, and made us the most hated nation on earth. There's your legacy Mr. Bush.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Here's some sobering news...

The number of home forclosures is nearly double over the same time last September. For more dissapointing facts...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


The last few days have been insane for me. Monday was up nearly 23 hours trying to get a job done that's one of those 'got to get it done' jobs or the poop will hit the fan. All might have gone well had it not been for the supervisor who is less than able to follow a process that I've been doing for well over 15 years now. I can now have a little feeling for those under Bush. Imagine working for someone who's easily distracted and constantly changing direction both his and yours. You are well aware of the basics of what needs to be done, but Mr. confusion in chief keeps changing direction from one second to the next. Needless to say the job didn't get done on time (not even close) because of the wasted time redoing things three and four times. All because someone doesn't know how to lead. I came very close to picking up my tools and walking out. Now I can appreciate those who are fleeing this misadministration. Wonder if you asked them for an honest reason they left they wouldn't say something like "this guy is such a moron he could manage his way out of a closet without help."
There I've said my rant for the week now you can return to blogging.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

New blog

This isn't really a new blog, but I believe it deserves some attention. Joe of 'Cupojoe' that's a blog and a radio show, has been in the trenches of the left for some time now. He's tried to expose the hypocricys of the right for a few years and could use a few words of encouragement. I know I hit overload from time to time with the outragous antics of this misadministration.
H.O.R.N. (head on radio network) where Joe works like many of the progressive radio stations is looking for advertisers. I'm sure this is a fairly cheap way of advertising and I'd really like to hear something other than public service announcments on progressive talk radio. So to the advertisers I say: Your customers are out here waiting. Jump in and show us your stuff.


Sunday, September 30, 2007

Keep spreading the word

I've been trying to add this to the sidebar for a couple of days now with no luck. For some reason blogger won't let me do it.

Surviving Bushville Part 2

Another installment in surviving Bushville.
Depending on how soon the economy will collapse and it's just a matter of time. If you don't believe it. Remember the economy goes in cycles as it has for hundreds - make that thousands of years. The problem now is that this chimp in chief has spent more than all of the U.S. presidents combined.
As you can't realistically go out buy a solar array and disconnect from the power grid you can do things to cut your energy, food and other bills to survive the coming hard times. Many of these you may know about already and some not.

1. Heating - clean or replace furnace filters and have it checked for proper operation. Even electric wall units need cleaning. Turn off the power to them and vacuum any dust accumulations. Close off any unused rooms. Set the thermostat to 65 degrees. If you use oil for heating buy it now before prices go up. If you can get an averaged price ( price set based on adding up a yearly total and dividing by 12) go for it. Check with the gas/heating oil companies for these programs. I did hear of one program where you could buy at a fixed rate if you agreed to purchase a large amount on contract but I don't remember where that was. Sorry you'll have to do some research on that one.
2. Water heater - unless you have a newer self cleaning model you'll need to purge several gallons of water from the bottom of the tank. There's a spigot at the bottom of the unit. Hook a garden hose to it and drain about 5 gallons into a sink or drain. Careful this is hot water. This gets rid of any sludge or scale that settles in the bottom of the tank. Set the heating elements to 120 degrees (most new models are already set to this). There's usually two side panels to remove. Oh, but don't forget to turn off the power before doing that. Gentle pull the insulation to the side exposing the thermostats. Set them and reverse the procedure. You may want to buy a timer for the heater if you only use hot water at specific times each day. Check with the hardware store about proper installation.
3. Lighting - When in doubt turn it off. Used to be that florescent lights used more energy at start up than if you left them on for five minutes. No more. The energy surge is minimal now so turn them off. Many compact bulbs CFL's are now on sale and some electric companies offer rebates. A 15 watt CFL bulb puts out as much light as a 60 watt incandescent. Check the package for the right usage.
4.Insulate and calk - If you don't live in an apartment or condo you can insulate your attic. It will cost a bit of money but with rising energy costs it will pay for itself quickly. Check with the local hardware about R values and installation. Fiberglass can get itchy. Calk around windows and doors. A 1/4 inch crack can equal a large amount of heat loss when you calculate the whole area of the crack. Check for air leakage around electric outlets on the outside walls. You can buy cheap gaskets that fit the outlets.
5. Food - Many areas have farmers markets this time of year. You can usually buy fresh locally grown produce, jams, nuts and many other items there. Many times you can make the seller a deal if it's late in the day. They don't want to have to pack up a lot of products to cart it back to the farm. If you've done a garage sale you know what I'm talking about. You'll be supporting local farmers and helping the earth at the same time. I'll get into more about food saving later. I'll entitle that one "How I ate during the Reagan recession with no money."

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Looks like the UAW strike is over

There is a tenative agreement with the UAW today. Few details were given but it looks like they got some type of job security offer and a new program for health care called a VEBA. I'm always suspicious when they throw something new at us and I think there may be a few glitches in this system.
Any teachers or state workers under this plan out there like to comment about its' pros and cons?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Random thoughts

I haven't posted much lately because I had a bit of an accident at work and didn't fair well with the medication. I'm still trying to get the word out about Shut it Down which is time consuming. I also try to post a comment on blogs that link to that site, a personnal thank you note if you will. I still feel that bloggers and the internet is the greatest power of the 21st century. I believe We can actually make a difference.

Ahmadinajad had his say on 60 minutes and at Columbia. I did like his summary of Bush, but like all politicians he skated around the issues as I had expected he would. One thing to remember. He is not in charge of the military in Iran.

UAW is on strike. My heart goes out to them and their families. Management realizing that sales are down will encourage a strike to lower supplys. I think most Americans have been disappointed in the quality and styling of cars made here. I don't think that's the workers fault it's in the engineering and design departments that need a swift kick.

The housing market continues to implode go over to Monkeyfister's site to catch some good housing articles. Thing that scares me about that is that the Puget Sound region is the last to go into a recession and the last to get out. Remember all of the remaining safety nets have been cut thanks to the chimp in chief.

Friday, September 21, 2007



I remember the lies we were handed during the Vietnam war of the statistics about the casualties of the war. Each week Friday to be exact we were told that 15 or 20 U.S. soldiers were killed while the enemy lost two to three thousand. After several years of war it dawned on me that if there figures were true then our boys in uniform would have wiped out the entire North Vietnamese army and then some. Having talked to my brother who did a tour over there about this, he explained that it was customary for soldiers to add a few numbers to their figures when giving reports. It now appears that our military is doing just the opposite of the Iraqi casualties. I hear only those people shot in the back are counted in the figures.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The rethuglicans support the troops... yea right

A bill before the congress was to permit our troops to have as much time off as they had in combat. The vote 56 to 44 failed because the rethuglicans filibustered it. I just love how main puke media fails to give the rest of the story. Why do the rethuglicans hate the troops? I'll let you decide.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Is nothing safe?

China is at it again.

Bad medicine
Shrub must just love these guys. The'll do anything for a buck and they don't care who they kill in the process. Unless of course somebody gets caught.

Friday, September 14, 2007

New blog

Not really a new blog, but new to me. I was delighted to be added to the blogroll of Left of Centrist and I'll do the same as soon as I can remember how to do it. Man I'm getting rusty.

More lies

The white house is reporting that the "mission" in Iraq is not open ended and that troops will be gradually sent home.
A large load of bull
If that were true why has the U.S. built one of the worlds largest embassys and planning to build military bases along the Iran border? Sure sounds like their planning to stay to me.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A stay for U.S. truckers

The U.S. senate has blocked funding for a year long test that would have permitted trucks from Mexico to travel America's highways.

Brief victory for U.S. truckers

We'll see what the next move is by the republicans to get this through.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Get the word out

A few fellow bloggers and myself have started a grass roots movement to try and change the course of this country. We've written to our elected officials to try bring about change and have been ignored. If you would take some time out of your busy lives to spread the word of a nationwide work stoppage on Oct. 17,2007 (that was the day the solidarity movement in Poland was outlawed) we believe that those elected officials would start listening. It's worked for the Teamsters and the Longshoreman in the past and I know that if we can get their support on this then things will change. For more info go to our new web site: Shut it down

Friday, September 7, 2007

What would Friday be without...

It's beginning to look like more beaver shots than posts of late. Sorry but the work schedule has been hectic and we've been trying to get all of the outside work on our place done before the rainny season starts again ( like when does it ever stop around here in the Northwest ).

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Last word on Larry Craig

As Craig would like a Mulligan for his actions in an airport restroom, he might want to rethink the possible outcome. I understand some of the charges were dropped because he pleaded guilty. If that plea were changed and he be retried then the original charges could be reinstated. Minnesota has some interesting laws against peeping toms with a fine of up to $5000 and two years in jail. Oops!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


Two republican congressmen have passed away. One on Tuesday and another one today.
Jennifer Dunn
Paul Gillmor

A possible solution

graphic by Monkeyfister

It seems that our pleas for an end to the Iraq war, universal health care, and trying to stop the permitting of Mexican truckers free reign of our nations highways has fallen on deaf ears. So what can we do? We can organize and start a nationwide work stoppage. It seems to work in other countries of the "free" world. It would require first the support of the Longshoremen's union and the Teamsters union and any other unions that would want to give support. Any others would be more than welcome to join the protest. No riots in the street. No civil disobedience. Just don't go to work. Call in sick if you must, but just don't be there.
Another suggestion was to turn on all of your lights on a given day as a protest. I don't like that one. I would suggest turning off all your lights thereby lowering your electric bill and depriving the government of the taxes that go with it. This would be quite fitting as the corpratocracy that has taken charge of this country see only dollar signs so let's hit em where it hurts... the wallet. Combine this with a don't buy anything day and I think we can actually get some attention.
What do you think? If you like it and think it's a good idea leave a comment and pass this post on. Maybe just maybe it might make it to the A list bloggers and the mainstream media and catch on. Also the need to pick a date. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Labor Day

As I was too busy yesterday trying to catch up on some work around my place to post. I stopped by one of my favorite blogs to read a fine article about Labor Day. Pop over and check it out Monkeyfister

Sunday, September 2, 2007

They should put this woman in charge at disasters

The feds want to require federal ID CARDS
for disaster sites. As this is part of what I do for a living let me give you a little insight into the situation. After 911 our wonderful government promised to provide funding for training to the many workers like myself who actually deal with dangerous situations on a daily basis. Did we see that money? Not for nearly 5 years after the event. Is there a training program in place yet? Sort of. There is one 16 hour course in dealing with disaster site preparedness. The problem. Almost all of these workers belong to unions and as we all know Shrub hates unions. Hence no money and no training program. The other issue in all of this is who is in charge when a disaster happens? The WTC was not only a disaster area but a crime scene as well. Needless to say there was much infighting as to who was in charge. Who would you pick? The city police? Fire department? FBI? Mayor? Or god forbid homeland security??? The other issue in all of this is the problem of communications. Each agency has its' own type of communications and own terminology and nothing has changed to this day.
Now if somebody had some smarts rather than political butt kissing there wouldn't be a need for id cards. You'd simply sign up at a support zone and tell the person in charge your qualifications, sign in, pick up any safety gear and instructions and be directed to where you are needed. If somebody is dumb enough to go into a disaster zone without training they can be picked out quite easily. And I've even seen people with training freeze up and have to be sent home.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Larry Craig

So the rethuglicans are all waiting to see what the voter reactions are on this issue. I don't know about you, but if somebody accused me of something I didn't do I'd be angry and fighting tooth and nail over it. You can lose your wallet or lose some keys or almost anything and get it back, but a reputation is something that can never be restored once it's lost. To say you didn't have the time to defend your reputation or just didn't bother says something about your character. All of this happened when Congress was in recess so, yes I'd say he had the time. From what I've read even the gay comunnity finds his actions embarrasing. To shrub it off as some misunderstood communications is also a load of bull. You know guys. When you go into a restroom the unwritten rules we all know. You are there for the job at hand and nothing else. You watch your personnal space and avoid eye contact that might be misunderstood. No trite talking unless it's to inform someone there's no soap or paper towels or a stall is broken. I might understand if he had a "wide" stance and accidentally moved a foot too close but hand gestures? And he can't pass it off as a joke as he didn't know the guy in the stall next to him.
In short I'd say his political career is over. We'll see what the Idaho voters think. Haven't read any comments from them yet.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Bye Bye Gonzo

Another one bites the dust !!! hey hey

What can you say about this? I'm happily speechless.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Almost forgot

Surviving Hard Times

via Chris Roush/UNC

I promised Monkeyfister I'd do a post about surviving hard times this past week. Sorry but this may be a very long post as I wish to share with you some financial tips that I've picked up over the years. I hope they help somebody out there.

1. Put 10% of your take home pay in savings before you pay any bills. I know that sounds hard, but the bills will always be there. Once you get in the habit it gets easier and you'll see a change in your attitude as time goes by. Once that savings gets to $2000 or $3000 move it to an investment like a mutual fund. If you aren't sure or don't like the idea of keeping track of a fund at least move it to a higher paying CD.
2. Make a list of all the money you spend in a month. You only need to do this once to show you where you're bleeding money. Once you see where the money is going it's time to change habits. If you go for the morning latte at $2 to $4 (that's $40 to $80 per month that's $480 to $960 per year) consider buying an espresso machine and making them yourself.
3. Never buy a new car. Once you drive that new car off the dealer lot it's worth 10 to 20% less than what you just paid for it. Shop for car financing first. See what you qualify for before going car shopping. If you don't have the income for a newer used car loan (most banks won't finance anything older than 4 years) you can get a personal loan. Yes the rates will be higher than a car loan, but if you can make that loan for 24 or (no more than) 36 months you'll come out ahead. If you follow #1. above like I did you can get a secured loan against the CD and if you pay that loan off in 10 months like I did just recently you'll basically be making money on the loan. Yes there are those that say you are borrowing your own money, but as I see it you're making the money you have work for you. And as an added bonus you will be increasing your credit score as well.
4. Credit cards are for emergencies. I only use a card if they don't take checks and I don't have enough cash. Then when I get home I send a check to cover it to the credit card company. Check card companies for rates but don't apply for more than one. Inquiries can lower your credit score so check the web for rates and terms. The best ones I've found are at credit unions, but even there the rates vary. Get a fixed rate card and check the grace period. Some cards now have no grace period even though they say they do. What? you say. On some cards by the time you get the bill and send in the payment (even on the same day) the grace period has expired. Pretty rotten business practices if you ask me.
I never sign up for a card from offers in the mail. If you look at the bottom or back of the application for "terms" you'll see interest rates of 20, 25 and even nearly 30%. Watch out for teaser rate cards. You know the ones that start out at 1.5% for 6 months. After 6 months what is the real APR (anual percentage rate). You can save these applications and keep them by the fireplace to start next winters fire.
5. Make a list of your loans (minus any mortgage) from the highest amount to the lowest and from the highest interest rate to the lowest. Start with the highest interest rate and the smallest amount. Pay an additional amount on that bill first. Even $25 or $50 paid more per month can help lower your debt. Once that bill is paid move to the next bill and add what you had been paying to that bill. When you get through the list add those amounts as extra principle payments to your mortgage.
Mortgage $1000 (not counted yet)
Loan - used car $5000 $198 per month 15%
Loan - personnel $4000 $ 150 per month 14%
Credit card A $3000 $ 32 per month (mainly interest) 12%
Credit card B $2500 $ 22 per month (mainly interest) 10%

By adding a payment of just $25 to Credit card B's payment each month you will pay that card off in less than half the time. When card B is paid for add that $47 payment to card A's payment and it will be paid off in 1/3 the time. If as you go through this process and you find a personal loan at a lower rate than card B and can add card A then go for it, but watch our for things like teaser rates, hidden fees, and variable rates on such loans (read the fine print). I go for a fixed rate even if the % is a bit higher because you never know which way the rates are headed and if they go down you can always find another loan at a lower rate. A word of caution here. Don't go chasing after the lowest rate and switching your credit cards or loans on a frequent basis. By doing so you'll destroy your credit score. Credit agencies take note of how many times in a year you have applied for a loan or card and this adversely affects your score.

Update: If this post turns out to be sucessful I'll make it a it a regular feature called Surviving Bushville. What do you think? Feel free to add any of your own tips for surviving bad economic times.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Iraq spin

I'm beginning to see a trend or a "tactic" if you will about how this misadministration is presenting the war. One general or expert comes out saying that it's time to go. Then, the next thing you know another pundent comes out saying that we should stay. As these back and forth presentations continue it appears to me that by using this technique you wear the concern down. This is a technique used by defense attorneys in murder trials. If you keep repeating the details of a gruesome murder long enough you desensitize the listener to the actual facts. It's a rather sick way of continuing the deaths of American soldiers in a war for oil that a majority of Americans are against. As the laws governing the oil in Iraq have not been ratified you can be sure the war will continue and the neoCons don't care about democracy one iota as long as they can get their hands on the money.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Great job Maliki

Time to throw Maliki under the bus
As Shrub realizes that the puppet he's installed in Iraq is not working out...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tagging and 8 things about me

Let's see he said taking a deep mental breath.
1. I'm not much of a people person even though I was once a pro photographer.
2. I like gardening although what I don't know about it would fill volumes.
3. I like chemistry but never took it in high school or college. Learned what I know about it from reading books on photo chemistry and environmental.
4. I read alot but have no time to read a complete novel.
5. I could trade pants with Monkeyfister although I don't know if our styles are the same. I fit in small confined spaces.
6. I detest dishonest people. That's why I hate Shrub.
7. I have no fear of danger. Situations are all a matter of education, training and being alert.
8. I don't think I'll ever retire, only find a less physical occupation.

Okay that's a few things about me. Let me see who I can put under the microscope.

Various Ecstasies Snave
Bu$hmeriKa 2 Chuck
dependable renegade Watertiger

Busy week

As I mentioned before I'm working long hours and have to commute through Seattle. Looks like the construction crew on I-5 deserves some kudos. They are 5 days ahead of schedule and with a $100,000 bonus per day for finishing ahead of schedule. I don't see any of them leaning on their shovels. Great work guys. Now if only the weather will hold out you should be getting bonuses.

Hope to get to a post later this week about surviving hard times that I promised Monkeyfister I'd post, but it's getting rather long. Should be ready Friday or Saturday at the latest. Got to run. Catch you later...

Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday beaver shot

Gee Py you've got me started on a weird tradition. Wonder how long the boobies and beavers can hold out?

Politics and money

I just got a call from the Democratic party tonight asking for a $100 donation. I have a message for them. I'll be more than happy to give them $100 or even more when they get off their lazy asses, get us out of Iraq and impeach Bush, Cheney and the rest of the thieves that have taken over this country. Try doing what we elected you to do, then we'll talk donations.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

More Iran BS

They (neoCONS) are hyping the Iranians are terrorists B.S. again. Don't believe it. They may send a few bucks in that direction, but why would they take sides with the oposition in Iraq? They the neothugs only want to destabalize the middle east to keep oil prices high and line their pockets. They don't care who dies in the process. Use for republicans? I have none.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Bubble boy

Mr. dilusional isn't in touch with reality. I wonder if he ever was for that matter. Let's look at some of the fundamentals to see where we are at present. Unemployment is higher now than it was just a few years ago. Gas prices are nearly a dollar more per gallon than when he first took office. If the economy is so great why is nearly every major country in the world pumping buckets of money into the financial markets to keep them propped up? Then there's the Iraq war sucking the life blood out of America to the tune of over a trillion dollars. Then there is housing.
There are a couple of factors here that just amaze me. Adjustable rate loans which should only be used when interest rates have peaked and are headed down. Let's see. In the last eight years or so the rates were at rock bottom between 5 1/2 and 7 percent. More than likely less (rate) than your parents paid for their house (adjusted for inflation). Anyone dumb enough to think that the rates would go down from those rates should be renting.
Then there's the issues of unscrupulous lending practices. One is to inflate the appraisal on a house. That gives the seller more money and the lender higher fees. A seller pays an appraiser a couple of hundred dollars extra to have the house value listed at 25K over what it's worth and the buyer gets stuck with negative equity. The other fly in the ointment are banks that don't verify income but merely have the borrower sign some papers without checking the actual sources. If this wasn't a receipe for disaster... Then there is the factor of the flippers who helped inflate the market to levels never see before. It's gotten so bad out here in the west that people are flipping condos even before they are built.
All of this and many other issues will have to be dealt with by the grown ups who take office next.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

American roulette

It's pretty scary when you go to the grocery store and have to wonder if the food you buy will either make you ill or worse kill you. I actually asked the produce guy when buying corn if it came from China ( I kid you not). It was on sale for a rediculously low price. Well for those of you out there who like oysters, you'd better check where they came from cause there's some bad ones out there.

Bad Oysters

And I sorry to report that these oysters come from my state.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Friday night beaver shot

Long week

It's been a busy week for me and I'm not looking forward to the next three weeks as I-5 near Seattle will be cut down by two then three lanes. and at the end of August there will only be one lane northbound for several days as construction crews replace the expansion joints. Just a wonderful time to be on the job from hell south of Seattle. I'm considering taking the last week in August off but this is the time of year for making the most of our money. That is unless there's a terror event at which point we'll all be sent to class they promised to give back in spring of 2002. On that subject let me tell you a little known secret. There are only about 1200 workers who are trained to deal with an event in this country. That may sound like a lot until you consider that's for the entire nation and getting those people across country if air traffic were grounded would be a nightmare. Would we be able to handle it if we had the training, equipment, and transportation? You betcha. But, alas the rethuglicans have no love for this land, so in such an event your on your own.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The money hole

Our Infrastructure
is slowly falling apart as the money to rebuild it and for health care and education is being shipped by the ton to Iraq and then into the hands of the likes of Haliburton if it isn't first stolen by Iraqi/Bush puppets. This country should stand up and be outraged. Our future has been squandered like a drunken sailor on his first leave. (Sorry Navy couldn't think of a better example). The Dems have cowtowed to Shrub and his minions and if they continue we should find it in our hearts to show them the door next election. I think a third party is definitely in order for this situation. A party that will actually uphold the constitution and do what is in the best interest of ALL Americans.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Cheap v. Quality

I've been pondering all the jobs that I've done over the last 18 plus years and I've come to the conclusion that this current job I'm on is most likely the most dangerous one yet. I have bruses and cuts and sore muscles which is pare for the course, but like going into a snake pit you just wonder when you'll really get bit. I can only take solace in the fact that workers some 80 years ago actually took great pride in putting up a building that, by todays standards, was overbuilt. It seems that back then they spared no expense in terms of labor or materials to build a quality product. Today it's all about the bottom line. Can we use one less bolt or less manpower and shave the expense to make more profit to look like heros to the stockholders? The problem with this new idology is that like making lemonade for a profit, you can only squeeze the lemon so much then you get into the bitter peel and the lemonade is no good.
The other issue in all of this is maintenance. As old as this structure is most of it's parts are still intact because workers maintained it, repairing worn parts when necessary. That idology seems to have gone by the wayside as well. If it's worn out we throw it away tear it down and build a new cheaper model only to have to replace the new model in 20 years instead of 50. And in the budget for what we build is there money for maintenance? At the beginning maybe, but as money becomes tight what's the first item to be cut from the budget? You can run your car for a long time without doing an oil change, but then the engine siezes and what do you have? You have one expensive bill or the cost of another car.
We are obsessed with "new" and it doesn't matter if "new" is better. We're also obsessed with appearance. "We need to get rid of this or that because it looks outdated. It's old, antiquated or retro.
Will we see more bridges and buildings going down? Without question. Will the rethuglicans do anything about it? Oh yes, they'll promise millions of dollars that will be stolen by their criminal contractor friends if those dollars even make it that far.
Remember Katrina. Need I say more?

I'm late with this.

Not to be outdone by Py a belated Friday beaver shot.
Credit to the nature photographer who did the last beaver shot (sorry I forgot).

Thursday, August 2, 2007

More bad fish

When to the store a few weeks back looking for some fresh tuna. They had a nice display in the bucher block with nice tuna that looked fresh. On the small card under the fish was imported from Vietnam. I passed and I'm glad I did after reading:
Cat fish

More stonewalling

Under the cover of the bridge collapse in Minnesota the White House gave Rove a get out of congressional investigation free card. My question: When will congress declare this a criminal investigation and start issuing contempt of congress orders and arrest warrents against these thugs? Does this nation have to resort to an armed revolt to get anything done?

Link via Think Progress

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Washington state has common sense

Impeachment for Gonzo
In a very brief piece of legislation congressman Jay Inslee Wa. State will introduce a bill calling for the impeachment investigation of Roberto Gonzales.
I didn't see this anywhere in the main stream (trickle) media. Heard it on Air America yesterday.

Thank you Jay

Monday, July 30, 2007

More on Ted Stevens

The FBI and the IRS has issued a search warrent and is confiscating records from Ted Stevens home. It appears that an Alaska company payed for the renovation of Ted's home adding an entire floor.
Hat tip to Rachael Maddow

Update: Note to Ted if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it's more than likely a duck.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Gonzo gets a Mulligan?

When you pull the trigger, drop a bomb or lie and get caught, you don't get a do over. This isn't about a misunderstanding about what was said or what took place and to make a correction or clarification as to that misunderstanding. This is about lies under oath. Gonzo stated one thing in his statements in February and said just the opposite just recently. All of those who were present at the meeting stated it was about the illegal NSA spying program and all the spin in the world is not going to change that.
Gonzo lies

Saturday, July 28, 2007

My take

This may be anecdotal but I see a trend at least in my profession that is quite disturbing. It used to be that a large job would require between 20 to 30 people to complete. Such a job would take two to three months and sometimes require two shifts. On very rare occasions there would be a shortage of workers because there were too many jobs happening all at once. These days large jobs are done with 10 to 15 people and supervisors are lucky if everybody shows up for any given shift. Also jobs run four to six weeks.
Then there are the safety issues and environmental laws. When you are told to do a job a certain way even though you know it does not conform to standard safety practices. Then of course there is the bending of environmental rules. Granted there are some rules that actually go beyond the relm of common sense for no other reason than to cover ones one rear legally speaking. There is now an attitude of " whatever you can get away with" and we all know where that example has been set.
Management isn't what it used to be either. There is now the attitude of " get the job done" even if there are no supplies or the right tools to do the job.
I can only hope that the political climate shifts, environmental and safety laws are enforced and management can actually get back to manageing effectively.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

If your really want the inside scoop

Here's a really great and quick shot of the daily scoops from the left. Check out
Go left tv

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Not much to blog

I haven't been in much of a mood to blog lately. I'm still on that ugly job I mentioned last month under "I must be crazy". Another thought came to me about this job. We use an air system we call type C. It involves using a compressor with air filters and air lines strung all over the place like blue spaghetti. The compressor can't be left outside the building due to carbon monoxide from the other trucks, forklifts etc that are nearby. So the powers that be (the supervisor) had it put on the inside of the building near our containment. Only problem there is that if there were a chemical release from the factory and we couldn't hear the alarm those chemicals could easily make it into the air we are breathing. With that in mind, should you not hear from me for say more that a week then check the Seattle Times for my untimely death.
To end on a positive note. It looks like Ted Stevens you know that republican senator from Alaska who wanted the multimillion dollar bridge to nowhere is now being investigated on bribery charges by the FBI.
Thanks to Rachael Maddow for this bit of good news.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

1 in 4 New Yorkers are full of it.

If you live in New York City and you eat a lot of fish then there's a good chance you have high mercury levels
Now in all honesty every time I do a haz mat job involving a chemical I haven't dealt with in a while, I have to hit the books and bone up on the health effects and the protective measures. While the amounts of mercury may seem tiny the effects can be severe as they approach established exposure limits. Common sense tells you to eat fish once or twice per month or (if you really love fish) change the type of fish you eat.
The effects of long term exposures can quite extreme. Hat makers of the 1800's dipped their fingertips in meucury to shape beaver skin hats popular at that time. With the brain damage mercury did there came the term "Mad as a Hatter". And that as Paul Harvey would say is the rest of the story.

Monday, July 23, 2007

More on "screw the children"

Shrub may have his hands full if he vetos the child health care program.

Via the La Times:

WASHINGTON — As they tell the story in Texas, when George W. Bush was governor, he fought hard to put austere limits on a new federal-state plan to provide health insurance for children of low-wage workers in the state. Outmaneuvered by Democrats, he corralled the program's chief sponsor on the statehouse floor and conceded defeat, saying, "You crammed it down our throats."

Now, almost 10 years later, President Bush is threatening to veto federal legislation that would renew the same partnership — the State Children's Health Insurance Program — and expand it to cover more of the nation's nearly 9 million uninsured children.

If he follows through on that threat, Bush could face a first in his presidency: a veto override.

The bill is considered Washington's most important legislation this year on health coverage.

And Bush's fellow Republicans are worried that Democrats may do more than back the president into a corner — they could use his opposition to tar GOP incumbents in next year's elections.

If the House and Senate approve the bill and Bush vetoes it, some Republicans say, there is a good chance that many in his own party would join with Democrats in overriding him.

Let's see. Bush is for a private healthcare system determined by the marketplace. And where does Shrub get money for all those expensive campaigns and other cronies? Wouldn't be the healthcare and drug companies that he so nicely feathered their nests would it? Sure he gives a damn about children as long as they're embryos or he can use them for a photo op.