Saturday, June 30, 2007

Late Friday news dump

Again it looks like more rats leaving the Titantic as yet another upper Justice Department prosecutor Resigns
And the Supreme Court has come to its' senses by reviewing the Gitmo situation. Now if only they'd restore the fourth ammendment we could get back to being a constitutional democracy. And after Bush's immigration loss I'm sure the neocons wanted this story buried.

Friday, June 29, 2007

I must be crazy

A couple of thoughts came to me over the last two days. I normally don't talk much about my work because it's something you'd like to forget as soon as you can. I'm presently working in a very old section of a factory that uses some nasty chemicals. That section of the factory is being demolished so they have two cranes and a large track hoe with big steel jaws parked right at our entry. The noise is deafening. The place is beyond dirty with a six inch layer of soot covering everything. Dead pigions and poop are all over the place. The smell of the place is beyond discription. There are live steam lines (some leaking). All the metal steel supports are rusting. Rain water streams down the interior from the rotted roof. There's several inches of black water on the floor. And it's dark inside. This place would be make Steven King envious.
Once per week they test their emergency sirens in the event of a chemical release. When the time came for their test we heard nothing. The noise of the machinery drowned out any sound of a siren. And there I was two stories in the air squeezed between pipes of acid and who knows what tied off with a safety harness about two feet from water running down a column onto a hot steam pipe. Then that epiphany hit me. If something happened there was no way I'd get out of the place alive for it had taken me nearly fifteen minutes to get to this akward position.
Today I got to work most of the shift over a tank of sulfuric acid. Went to the store after work and you know how the clerk asks that "How are you doing today?" "Well, I said, at least I'm still alive."

Thursday, June 28, 2007

So Dick's not a part of the executive branch

Just love it when our leaders in congress gang up against injustice (sorry the links aren't working again so here's the scoop)

Panel pushes for files on spy program
White House, Cheney get subpoenas
By Charlie Savage, Globe Staff | June 28, 2007
WASHINGTON -- The Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday issued subpoenas to the Bush administration for documents related to its warrantless surveillance program, elevating a long-simmering dispute between Congress and the White House over classified national-security information into a possible constitutional showdown.

The Bush administration did not say yesterday whether it would comply with the subpoenas, which were addressed to the White House, the office of Vice President Dick Cheney, the National Security Council, and the Justice Department. White House spokesman Tony Fratto said the administration "will respond appropriately" to the committee's action, even as he condemned it.
"It's unfortunate that congressional Democrats continue to choose the route of confrontation," Fratto said.
However, only three of the nine Republicans on the committee voted against authorizing the subpoenas, which were approved by a 13-to-3 vote. The committee, under both Republican and Democratic leadership, has been seeking information about the program and questioning its legality since The New York Times revealed its existence in December 2005.
"Our attempts to obtain information through testimony of ad ministration witnesses have been met with a consistent pattern of evasion and misdirection," wrote Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy , Democrat of Vermont, in a letter accompanying the subpoenas. "There is no legitimate argument for withholding the requested materials from this committee. The administration cannot thwart the Congress's conduct of its constitutional duties with sweeping assertions of secrecy and privilege."
Congress gave administration officials until July 18 to comply with its demand for information. If the administration refuses , the committee and then full Senate would have to vote on whether to cite the officials for criminal contempt, which could lead to a lengthy battle over executive privilege and the constitutional separation of powers.
Since 1975, according to the Congressional Research Service, 10 senior executive branch officials have been cited for contempt for failing to produce subpoenaed documents. In all 10 instances, however, the executive branch worked out a deal that satisfied Congress before any criminal proceedings were initiated.
Specifically, the committee is seeking documents related to White House authorization and reauthorization of the warrantless surveillance program, internal memos analyzing whether the surveillance is legal, agreements with telecommunications companies that assisted in the spying, orders by a secret national-security court regarding the program, and papers concerning President Bush's decision to shut down an in-house Justice Department investigation related to the program.
The program dates to the weeks after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when Bush signed an order authorizing the military's National Security Agency to monitor Americans' international phone calls and e-mails without a judge's approval.
A 1978 statute makes it a felony to conduct such surveillance without a warrant, but the president's legal team secretly asserted that his wartime powers include an unwritten right to bypass such laws at his own discretion. Cheney and his counsel, David Addington , were the leading proponents of the program and the controversial legal theory supporting it, former administration lawyers have said.

To Tony Fratto I say " It's unfortunate that this administration has and continues to violate the Constitution of the United States." You people remind me more and more of the Sapranos every day. And if Cheney says he's not part of the executive then he has no executive privilege.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The day the music died (at least on the internet)

If this isn't totally anti business I don't know what is. The record companies have put the screws to internet radio. In effect making net radio pay the record companies all of their profits. Can you say Greedy?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Dedicated to Monkeyfister's rant

Their may be hope for the next generation yet. Seems some presidential scholars (high school kids) had a bit of a confrontation with the shrub in chief today. They handed Bush a letter signed by all 50 on the subject of Torture

Scholars urge Bush to ban use of torture

President Bush pauses during remarks on the" No Child Left Behind" reauthorization, Monday, June 25, 2007, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
WASHINGTON -- President Bush was presented with a letter Monday signed by 50 high school seniors in the Presidential Scholars program urging a halt to "violations of the human rights" of terror suspects held by the United States.

The White House said Bush had not expected the letter but took a moment to read it and talk with a young woman who handed it to him.

"The president enjoyed a visit with the students, accepted the letter and upon reading it let the student know that the United States does not torture and that we value human rights," deputy press secretary Dana Perino said.

The students had been invited to the East Room to hear the president speak about his effort to win congressional reauthorization of his education law known as No Child Left Behind.

The handwritten letter said the students "believe we have a responsibility to voice our convictions."

For some reason none of the links I've tried to use seem to work so here's the above story via AP

Sunday, June 24, 2007

This doesn't look good

(the big auto parts maker) is set to close or sell off all but 8 of it's 29 plants. We all knew this was coming earlier but it 's still not an easy pill to swallow. The thing that irritates me is the fact that hourly wage workers are having their wages cut by nearly $10 an hour while I'm sure the CEO's and the CFO's and the rest of management won't suffer one iota. The buy out that will cover 17000 workers doesn't look that great either. They'll get $105,000 over 3 years. I'm guessing that's a little over two years salary for how many years of work? The article doesn't mention if they can keep their medical.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Friday odds and ends

Just looking at a few news articles after a long and painful week.

First up new EPA regs on ozone levels. See if you can find the alterior motive behind the new standards Remember the guy who came up with these rules was hand picked by Bush. Did George make a mistake and actually pick somebody with credentials? Or is this some kind of rouse?

Speaking of standards We now have new fuel econemy standards for cars 35mpg by 2020. Now you might think that this would be an accomplishment except that we all know that the EPA fuel economy ratings for cars and trucks are inflated anyway. The EPA takes a car, truck or whatever and runs it empty at a constant speed of 45mph to get the numbers. Anybody out there under the age of 85 do that? The other aspects of the article deals with trying to actually fund alternative energy. You know that won't happen until the oil companies get a strangle hold on other sources of energy. If they could make us pay for sunlight they would. You know it.

Last article The goofy security surrounding Mitt Rommney. All I can say is Barney Fife actually had a badge.

More food recalls

Just when you thought it was safe to eat (let's see) beef, tomatoes, spinach, lettuce, pork, or fish, now there's onions

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Blog rating

My blog was rated PG and I was going to make it a page element but it didn't fit and I didn't like the way they did the rating. Also they had an ad that I did not want. So I think I'll do my own rating and post it myself. How's that for a signing statement?

More rats leave the ship

Quick post. More resignations at the white house? More rats leaving the ship

Monday, June 18, 2007

Busy week

Won't be posting much this week as work should be a busy one with much travel and plenty of items to accomplish. Tune in on the weekend to see how things are going. Oh yes, a belated happy fathers day to all you dads out there.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Late Friday news dump

Rats leaving the ship
Another Justice Department figure (head) has called it quits.
The Clintons unlike the Bush family are devoiding themselves of investments that may pose a conflict of interest. (Dump your oil stocks George, George, and Dick).
And finally the Homeland Security funding bill looks like it may be DOA as I'm almost certain it's stuffed with pork. (But it's only pork if it's "Democrat" pork.)

Help stop the war

For some reason I can't seem to get the one million blogs for peace to connect to my web page. I'll see if I can't at least get a logo on here somewhere on the page.

Food Safety

More bad beef

Another 82000 lbs. of beef was recalled here in our state. Luckily it didn't make it to anyone's dinner table as the beef had been sold to wholesalers in the region and was pulled before it made it to retail outlets. Now I realize we don't live in a perfect world and nothing is 100% safe, but I was just wondering what exactly are acceptable levels of bacteria?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

My new web pet

Just thought I'd add a little interesting item to this blog. Missy the pet on the right side named after my guard kitty. I do like cats they're independent thinkers.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

More on solutions

A while back I posted about some solutions to Americas problems. The first dealt with politicians and our political system. Now I'd like to take a wack at health care.
When Ron (the slasher) took office in the early eighties he deregulated and privatized the health care industries. Something that should not have been done. Prior to his mighty pen strokes insurance companies and hospitals were non profit. Medical care was still pricey but within reach of most Americans. A trip to the emergency room was not going to bankrupt you and the poor got service even in private hospitals. We now have a system that provides service only to those that can afford it even with insurance coverage. See if this sounds familiar, you have insurance but you can't afford to use it. (Been there done that.) What does this mean? It means that your income is below the average for your area (city or state) your deductible (the amount you must pay before the insurance kicks in) is so high it would destroy your budget, so in essence you have no insurance. There used to be programs to help financially if you were poor or even lower middle class. Those days are long gone. The coffers for grants or assistance have been eliminated or are dry.

Some ideas
1. Re-regulate the insurance companies make them non profit.
2. Make at least one hospital in a city non profit.
3. Eliminate the layers of administration.
4. Insurance companies should not dictate medical procedures. If they have questions on a medicine or treatment it should be decided by a board of doctors not some bean counters.
5. Small neighborhood clinics should be federally subsidized to prevent larger medical emergencies.
6. Eliminate separate malpractice insurance. Make one fund covering all doctors nationwide. There should be enough in that fund to cover any situation and substantially lower the premiums for all doctors.
7. Drugs - Why is it that you can buy the exact same drugs made here in the U.S. in Canada or Mexico for less than what they're sold for here? It used to be that drug companies added a mark up on their common drugs to pay for research and development and orphan drugs. Eliminate drug advertising. Most people don't need the pills advertised and there are usually generics that will do just as well.
8. Exercise - From K to 12 schools should have phys ed twice per week and encourage sports. I've never seen so many heart attacks in high schools and colleges. Maybe a tax on junk food is in order.
9. Roll back the tax cuts for the wealthy. Most CEOs make four to five hundred times what workers make.
10. Set up a healthcare plan exactly like the one congress has. I'd say that's fair. Why should they have a good system when 47 million have no medical.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Beef recall

Looks like they underestimated the amount of e coli tainted ground beef. United Foods is recalling 5.7 million pounds of the tainted beef. If you have any with the product code est 1241 and a date up to Jan 2008 get rid of it. This story hasn't made the Yahoo or Google news yet. I found it here: Bad beef

Sad thing is that I have a pack of it in my freezer and thought I was safe as the initial date was April. Mine said November.
Anything safe to eat anymore?

Friday, June 8, 2007


The gift that keeps on giving. Seems another rethuglican is set for a stint in the slammer for tax evasion and lying to congress.
Another one bits the dust
Department of the Interior aide Italia Federici (no it's not an Italian soccer team)
Thanks to Rachel Maddow of Air America for this one. Just love her nack for obscure items that don't make main stream media. Keep em coming.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Can we up the percentage on this?

Seems some Dutch students have come up with powdered alcohol. Just wondering if we could up the percentages on this and run a car with it.
Another Dutch solution

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Diplomacy at the end of a gun

Shrub to Putin "Trust us on a missile defense program." Yea like I'd trust a guy who's started preemtive wars and has lied so much he'd embarrass Pinocheo. I'm sure once Russia sees the missiles being built in Europe they'll be aiming their nukes at Europe. Shrub pissing off one nation at a time.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Saw an article from Monkeyfister's site about problems at a Russian radioactive storage facility (if you could call it that)
Russia's radioactive problem

The vast amount of radioactive waste that is the legacy of Russia's nuclear-powered submarines has been known to be a looming environmental disaster - now it can be far worse.
This got me to thinking about our own legacy at Hanford. When I first started doing haz mat work the engineers and lawyers were trying to figure out the best method for dealing with leaking tanks of contaminated water that could eventually leak into the Columbia River a main water source for the state. The cost for the study was over $10 billion dollars and it's taken nearly 15 years to get anything started. Here's where we are right now:
America's radioactive problem
Now the Dutch who I consider far advanced in their dealing with radioactive waste are somewhat uncertain about what to do with the problem, but their attitude in dealing with the problem seems to be on the right track. One that such wastes need to be dealt with a cradle to grave infrastructure and two that these wastes need to be permenently retrievable. One must consider what could happen 1000 years from now when these wastes are still dangerous. Will their location be forgotten? Will there be documentation be maintained? A real problem for sure.
One last thought - There is no "clean up" of radioactive waste. The best we can do is contain it away from the environment.

Drum roll please.

This site has now passed the 1000 mark. Thanks for anybody stopping by and checking out my random thoughts rants and environmental news.

Just spent the last few hours watching a live webcast of Snave's ( Various Extasies) group Standard Deviation down in LaGrande, Oregon. Hey Stranger maybe you could try something like that. It was a good small town gig.

Friday, June 1, 2007

First pet food now toothpaste?

Just when you thought it was safe to buy products from China...
The chemical mentioned in the article jarred a memory. When I first took my 80 hour Haz Mat course the instructor handed out a paper about the ingredients in generic ice cream. I saved that paper and show it to people along with my own experiences that I'll tell you later.
Here's the scoop (pun intended)

Diethyl Glucol - Cheap chemical used as an emulsifier instead of eggs. Glucol is the same chemical used in antifreeze and paint remover.
Piperanol - used in place of vanilla. This chemical is used to kill lice!
Aldehyde C17 - flavor in cherry ice cream. Inflammable liquid also used in aniline dyes, plastic, or rubber.
Ethyl Acetate - gives pinapple flavor. Also cleaner for leather and textiles. Its' vapors have been known to cause chronic lung liver & heart damage.
Butyraldehyde - nut flavor in ice cream. Ingredient in rubber cement.
Amyl Acetate - banana flavor. Oil paint solvent
Benzyl Acetate - strawberry flavor It's a nitrate solvent

Now doesn't make you just want to go out and buy the cheapest brand of ice cream you can find.

I worked in a plant doing Haz Mat work that produced vanillian (artificial vanilla). The chemicals used there can also be found in a refinery that produces gasoline.

Can you say hipocracy?

I just loved this photo via AP/yahoo

Not to sound insensetive to the plight of these people but...
Bush Condemns Irans detention of Americans
Let me see how many are there at Gitmo? If wikipedia is correct then...
Most of the detainees still at Guantanamo are not scheduled for trial. As of November 2006, according to, out of 775 detainees who have been brought to Guantanamo, approximately 340 have been released, leaving 435 detainees. Of those 435, 110 have been labeled as ready for release. Of the other 325, only "more than 70" will face trial, the Pentagon says. That leaves about 250 who may be held indefinitely.