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