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