Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What a year


How to avoid fish breath. Don't forget to brush. You know what a dentist costs right now!


This is definitely one year I'd like to forget. I will say that I was smart enought to see the economic storm coming in late 07 and prepared accordingly paying off loans and the mortgage by September of last year. And while all the speculators were all smug trying to renovate and flip more houses, I was busy stashing cash. So I should be good for at least food, electricity and the like for a couple of months and hopfully until things turn around later in 09. But let me give you a little advice. Even when things turn around next summer it won't be a time to go out and splurge. If you're smart you will take that opportunity to get out from under the debt you racked up over the last few years and start saving for the next shoe to drop. Trust me I can see it coming. End of 09 will be bad as will part of 10.

What am I seeing right now? With jobs evaporating and those with jobs getting their hours cut back. I'm seeing kids move back home and people doubling up on their living arangements to help pay the rent/mortgage. A check of neighbors and I find that a lot of them are working only one or two days a week if at all. And this is only the start as I see it. I was at the unemployment office to listen to the rah rah speech by sombody who should have retired years ago. Gee can I have her job? She's been out of it for so long the movie Clueless comes to mind. There were the waves of unemployed that went through her office. First the real estate people then the mortgage bankers and brokers, construction workers were then followed by banking people. I'd expect aerospace to be coming sometime next year as airlines start cutting orders.

Here's a good one. Local city and county governments are having to borrow money from the Feds so that they can pay to demolish abandoned homes. That image from the Grapes of Wrath comes to mind. You know the one. The guy desperate for work gets hired by the bank to bulldoze houses.

I hear billionares are now becoming millionares. All I can say is AHHHHHH poor babys. Now they'll have to drink the domestic wine instead of imported.
I'm starting to get the real feel for where the economy is going just by listening to the financial gurus on the financial networks. Listen to what they say and expect just the reverse. They've taken their lead from our Chimp in Chief and you know that reality is just the reverse of what he says. They're touting stocks for the new year so you know that is not the place to put spare cash or retirement.

So I'd like to say Happy New Year to all but that would be a lie. It's not going to be a happy anything and worse is coming.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Laura needs her meds changed

Pickles thinks boy George has done a great job as president? Bill Engval has a sign for you Laura and it's spelled S-T-U-P-I-D.

Laura Bush actually thinks George has done a great job

Where to begin? Two never ending wars one based on lies. A stolen election hence you don't represent us. The robbing of the American treasury along with ignored constitution and making up your own rules. Get a clue woman! The entire world hates you and your husband. Herbert Hoover is starting to look like a saint compared to you two. The idiot king, Mr. Decider has packed the U.S. government with a bunch of idiot cronies who couldn't manage their way out of a closet without help.

So let's look at the facts Ms first lady:
1. Went to war on lies. (No WMDs)
2. More than 1/2 million Iraqis dead mainly women and children
3. A shreded U.S. constitution. (Pick an ammendment he's broken them all.)
4. Torture. (There's a real family value)
5. Katrina "response?" ( How many dead?)
6. Unregulated free markets work?
7. The economy is strong? (Worst since 1929)
8. Outed a CIA operative (isn't that treason?)
9. Middle East peace? (My ass)
10. The robbing of the U.S. Treasury (Bail out for Wall Street with no strings attached)
11. No bid contracts to Haliburton ( nothing like lining your friends pockets with our money)
12. Even your friends are criminals (Ken Lay, Bernie Madoff)
13. 9-11 Let's not forget that image of Chimpy reading My pet goat and continue reading while the twin towers were falling.

And even in the last days of this misadministration Boy George continues to screw things up. Cutting environmental laws so his corporate buddies can make even more money while poisoning children. If the historians write anything good about George W. then they must have been on some very powerful drugs because I can not find one single thing he has done that could even be considered positive for this nation. I hate him from the very depths of my soul and will do everything I can to make sure his rotten legacy is remembered for what it really was, the worst president in U.S. history.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Too much junk

Christmas came and went. With the usual stress and arguments this year was a bit different. With the relentless snow here I wasn't able to get out and face the usual greedy inconsiderate crowds that grace our mall parking lots. So buddy you can have that cherished spot near the front door with your brood of snotty nosed kids whining in the back seat as you try and manouver that tank of an SUV into a spot marked compact. Yeah you finally got it in there with your ass end sticking out blocking the drive, but what do you care?

Then there's the wonderful stuff (crap) all adorned with shiney red ribbons and the giant green and red christmas tree ornaments hung from the ceiling. Not to forget those blue and white snowflakes. If one of those hit you in the head they wouldn't have enough sutures for that injury. But back to the crap. Those wonderful must have items for just $19.99 marked down 50% that you know you still have somewhere collecting dust in the back storage. Or did you sell it at the garage sale last summer for a buck and a half? What home would be without at least one Chia pet or Clapper? Don't we have what's left of one sitting on the back deck growing moss and wasn't the Clapper taking up space in a kitchen drawer?

I think the main reason this christmas was such a downer is because between job loss and debt people have come to realize that we've hit the wall of material things. What home now doesn't have at least two TVs and a half dozen radios? Have you been in your back storage lately? I'll bet you have stuff there you forgot you had. Things you haven't seen since you moved into the place because you had no other place to put it. Yeah "I'll get to that later" or "I was saving that". I seriously believe that we have enought crap stored away that we could start another country and still have enought to fill a few wharehouses. We seem to be following in the footsteps of Japan who until recently was turning over their home appliances every two years. The recycled was headed to Russia to be sold to their growing economy. So here we sit on a very large pile of stuff.

I think I did pretty good this year. I didn't send out cards, only a few emails to relatives. Didn't bother to wrap presents except one that I used a couple of store bags and a recyled bow. I did need batteries for my remote because the ones I put in last year finally gave out. With not much to give as gifts I remembered that I had left a present in storage a while back and brought it out. That was my christmas.
So I guess the retailers would like to boil me in christmas pudding and drive a stake of holly through my heart for my christmas spirit this year, but I really don't care. Maybe it's time to get just a little more Scroogy (you know, before he saw the three ghosts) because we've reached the other extreme in our holiday traditions.

So let us start a new year with less stuff. It doesn't make us better. It doesn't really improve our lives and we really don't need it. Ah, I hear we can get rid of electronics and the like for free here this year. Time to clean out that storage next week.

A Happy Less Crappy New Year to all.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Coal Ash

Kingston Fossil Plant ash spill



Bottom map is of the extent of the Exxon Valez oil spill

The truth about the ash spill is finally coming out. The estimated size of the release now double the original estimate is probably even larger than reported. A few issues to consider in all of this. First off this is not a reportable spill because the ash waste was not classified as toxic. It is considered general waste even though it contains levels of arsenic, lead and other nasty stuff. According to the TVA there is no need for alarm because they have tested the water at the release site and it tests below EPA standards. Gee can we bottle this stuff and send it to Bush and company for their daily supply. Remember our Shrub in chief just a few weeks ago eased the drinking water standards for levels of toxic substances. I'm sure the EPA will be sure to enforce these standards unlike the other environmental laws that they have ignored during the Bush misadministration. I feel very sorry for the children that live in that area because the standards for lead exposures were very low and scientists world wide wanted to lower the levels even more. Lead even at very low levels cause developmental disorders, central nervous system damage and learning disabilities. This was the reason they took lead out of gasoline. We were quite simply poisoning our kids along with ourselves.

This spill is considered to be 40 times larger than the Exxon Valdez spill of twenty years ago and no, that issue is still not cleaned up even though Exxon slithered out from under the law suit with nothing more than a minor fine. There have been reports that the current spill will be cleaned up in a few months. Don't believe it. Heavy metals being heavy sink in any body of water therefore the river will be contaminated for quite some time. To try and dredge the river will only stir things up and make it worse. The other issue here is that since this is classified as general waste it won't be treated in the same manner as toxic waste. Had it been a listed hazardous waste then one foot of soil would be removed from the spill area and a foot of fresh soil would have replaced it.

Clean coal? No such animal. So what should be done? For starters classify all coal ash as a dangerous waste. Establish dryer units and process the waste into concrete on site to eliminate the need for large holding areas. We'll need a bunch of concrete when we start rebuilding the roads and bridges in this country when Barrack takes charge. We could use some of that concrete to line old mines to store toxic wastes and keep it out of the water supply.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A 7-11 Christmas



I know I posted this before so consider this a rerun. They sure are running a lot of them on TV these days. I thought I'd add this to my Christmas email because I'm not sending out cards. It's been so crappy here I haven't been out for nearly two weeks other than a walk to the nearest 7-11 for coffee. I cleaned off part of the drive. It was an inch of ice and three to four inches of compact snow and now I here we're going to get another 2" to 6" more. For joy for joy. The roads are mush on top of ice and non of the parking lots are were plowed or shoveled. Tried to go to the bank down the road yesterday only to find that they all went home early and it was closed. So if we get more than an inch or two it looks like I'll be doing the Xmas shopping at the 7-11. I wonder if they sell turkeys?

Monday, December 22, 2008

This isn't good news

Even after having their mortgages refied many are going into default again.

Just as you are about to climb out of the hole...

I'm just hoping we'll see a turn around in May or June of 09 but it won't be long lived as there's a lot of Alt A and option mortgages that will hit in late 09 and 10.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

There's work ahead

Scanning the news when I came across the following file about how much work is ready to go. All it needs is the financing from our federal government to get it going. As I read this it occurred to me how much money Shrub and the chickenhawks have wasted on the "war" in Iraq. While the rebuilding of our infrastructure will cost $73 billion for starters, the warmongers will have spent nearly $2 trillion. Imagine what we could have done with that amount of money rather than piss it away in a country that had nothing to do with 911.

There'll be work


In other news the temp is 14 here and it looks like nothing's moving outside. Just sitting around waiting for the next storm late this afternoon.

Update: It started snowing about 4pm and hasn't let up. We've had about 3 more inches and may get another 3 by morning at this rate. I don't think anyone will be going to work at this rate because none of the side roads are plowed and the main roads aren't looking to well either. Geez and there's another storm coming after this one. More tomorrow.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Brrrrrrrrrrrrrr

We didn't get much snow by most northern city standards but it just snowed all day yesterday making it nearly impossible to get ahead of plowing roads. To add insult to injury it hit the Seattle area just before morning rush hour. So I sat watching the ongoing bumper car demolition derby on TV. One road was so bad that everybody just left their cars and walked which of course added to the trouble (you can't plow with cars blocking the way). So it was a fun morning and afternoon. I went out for a while and shoveled the walkway and thought I had done a good job (Hey wasn't that the reason I moved here? You shouldn't have to shovel rain). Used to be in the old days it would snow for a day and a day or two later it would change to rain and be gone. Not this time around. Oddly enough this is part of global warming but that is best left to another post to explain.

All was going well for a snowy winter day now a winter night. Was getting all settled in my comfy chair to watch the Grinch when the power goes out. Okay where's the flashlights? Where's the crank radio and where's that number to the power company. A call to our local public utility reveals an automated message. There's spot power outages all over the county. So we sit and watch the main road. Within twenty minutes I spot the boom truck checking poles with his spot light. These guys here are great. Over the next hour or so I watch one truck then three then four trucks going up and down the road. When it takes that long it's usually a blown transformer and that will take some time. I knew it was time to close the shades and hit the sheets because it would be some time before this would be fixed. About five hours later I heard that wonderful thump and peered over to see the flashing 12:00 on the nightstand clock. I must give kudos to the guys on the powerlines. Would you go out in the middle of the night to freeze your butt off and one mistake and you get a new flaming hairdoo?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas present

I haven't been out to do any shopping yet. Might go this coming weekend but depending on the weather that might get put on hold. Really don't care this year as I don't need any more junk to clutter up the house. But it got me to thinking about Christmas of the past when it really mattered. Just thinking about what was the bestest present ever (that's how kids think you know). I can't remember the exact year or how old I was at the time but I remember this being parked by the tree with a bow and my name on it.




Now getting this for Christmas to a kid is like your first car as a late teen or early 20s. It ment freedom. Like a horse to a cowboy or a plane to a pilot it ment I could go almost anywhere and I did. I remember this bike well because I wasn't big enough to ride it . I had to grow into it. Think it was something like a 26 inch and my feet wouldn't reach the peddles but I didn't care. It was mine and it ment freedom. Just about every day and definitely on weekends I'd go crusin the neighborhoods or on long trips to the outer reaches of our town. With no gears and coaster brakes it was hell to peddle up hills but that was to be expected. I even rode it to school.

So all of this got me to wondering what was your favorite present?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Random news


Update:
A GOP jet fighter was seen over Wasilla just moments before Sarah Palin's church caught fire. The whereabouts of John McCain could not be determined over the last week and he has only said in a recent comment that he would not support Palin in her presidential run.


The egg on face award
goes to Felix Batista an American kidnapping expert who while in Mexico to give talks on kidnap prevention was himself kidnapped.

Bernie Madoff has made off with a large amount of money $50 billion from investors in a very large Ponzi scheme. Hmm does Ken Lay ring in your mind? You remember Enron. Madoff looks like Lay on steroids. Was the fox guarding the hen house on this one or is this just the good ole boy network?

How about a Bill Engval "sign" for this guy
An Anacortes auto dealer has hired back one of two employees who was convicted of embezzling $1.2 million from the dealership.

The owner of Frontier Ford, Ron Rennebohm, says Kevin Dean was good at his job as general manager and rehiring him is just a business decision.

The owner says the dealership has changed accounting practices since 2002 when Dean and the comptroller were accused of stealing from the company over a period of six years.

Ah Ron can I have you go and clean out the lions cage? They haven't biten anyone this week, honest.


More items later when I get the chance

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Maybe we could sign this guy for the Mariners


Muntadar al-Zeidi's misses Bush but his aim is getting better. The reporter threw two shoes at Bush a sign of great disrespect in Iraq. Nice job Bushy boy. You have to sneak into the country unannounced and slither over to the Green Zone. You call that victory? So much for changing your legacy.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Trying to get your head around the numbers

Just sitting here trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my life. If I stay in Haz Mat work I'll have to wait for at least another six months before anything brakes. I haven't seen any great educational opportunities that would lead to something good. The next big thing will be green renewable energy but there's no specifics being released at the present.

The current population of the U.S. is 305 million people. Of that number 153.1 million make up the work force. Of that number over 10.3 million are out of work. While doing a little research for my last post I looked up plant closures to have a look into the future. It doesn't look good in the short run. Here's a list of some of the layoffs. I'll try to list as many "chunks" of the situation below.

Number Type work State
40 electronics plant Pa.
275 Syracuse China N.Y.
390 electric motors MO
240 printing plant Al
300 steel plant Ill
800 poultry plant Ar
300 Cintas Ky
200+ KraftMaid Ut
600 Renfro SC

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are hundreds of small companies that are laying off 50 60 and 75 workers while other companies are closing for a week or two to save costs. Some of these companies will come back while others will never open again. Then there's the auto industry where some 13 million jobs are on the line. That's including the auto workers and all the parts and manufacturing companies tied with the big three. All that can be done at the moment is a short bridge loan to keep the companies afloat until Obama can bail out the rest of this country. And whatever sacrafices the workers make should be applied to the congress. We sign their pay checks why should they get out of this scott free? We've lost 4.7% of our income (buying power/equity) over the last year alone. Why should they be any different?

Update after watching the senate hearing:
I find it interesting that congress wouldn't put any restrictions on the money given to the banks and investment firms but they'll put massive limitations and concessions on auto workers. This is runs counter to what's needed and blaming line workers for having a decent wage and benefits while executives make thousands of times what an hourly worker makes is just absurd. So if you have a white collar you get a blank check but if you have a blue collar it's a different story.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Nothing like getting Scrooged before Christmas


I can understand that when economic times change that people get laid off but It's also my understanding that when you have a contract that the contract needs to be honored. Republic Window and Door was trying to do the right thing and notify and pay its workers 60 days before closing but Bank of America had other ideas. Bank of America rejected all of the company's plans to close the plant in accordance to Federal law. A timeline from Marketwatch:

10/16/08 a- Republic presents plan for "orderly" wind down including ceasing
manufacturing in January 2009. INFORMS BANK OF AMERICA OF POSSIBLE
WARN ACT NOTICE ISSUES AND VACATION PAY.
10/15/08 a- Informed Bank of America that Republic had a 10/24/08R buyer for
the existing Note for ±$3.0M, discount of $1.5M.
10/15/08 a- Offer rejected by Bank of America stating they believed they were
"over" collateralized.
10/15/08 a- Bank of America demands plans for "orderly" wind down Republic.
10/18/08 a- Bank of America rejects plan and demands a shorter wind down
period.
10/27/08 a- Republic responds with a new plan to cease operations January 2009.
10/29/08 a- Bank of America rejects plan.
11/25/08 a- Republic requests permission from Bank of America to issue
vacation pay to all employees.
11/26/08 a- Bank rejects Company request to make vacation pay.

It's interesting to note that nearly all of the the companies that are closing in the next few months are following the law. Notifying workers with 60 day notice and honoring their obligations. That's another issue. In searching for info on this post I was noticing the upcoming layoffs. I'd hold off on spending a lot this Christmas. Not to be a Scrooge but there's a bunch of companies that will close in January and February having given their 60 day notice and that's just the ones required. In looking at the closures 300 400 500 and 800 layoffs are what I saw. What surprised me was several food processing plants due to close. That will mean an increase in food prices.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Jobs Jobs Jobs and no jobs

So I was watching the news the other night and some big wig from the state Dept. of Unemployment was on saying that there are jobs to be had. So I took her advice and poped over to the web site to see if indeed there were any jobs. I typed in my info - classification, area of interest and location (in my case I'll take anything within 50 miles of here). I hit the search button and up poped 3 jobs. The only problem? Two of the jobs had been listed there for over a year and a half and the third was for something not even in the same field (plumber). One job had been filled earlier this year because I talked to the guy who got it at a recertification class. The only other job was for a temporary on call person at a local university. This at a time when they are going to slash state spending on higher education to make up a $6 billion shortfall.

I must say they sure haven't made it easy at the Unemployment office ( I refuse to use their term for it the Department of Employment Security ). There was a time when you could go there and look through job listing that employers had posted and at least get a feel for what was happening in the job market. Oh no, those wonderful republicans went and had the department privatized. Outsourced to some company of people who were probably out of work themselves and found the ultimate golden recession proof cow tit to suck.
It used to be that if you were out of work you could go there and find a direction if the particular industry was tanking. That's how I got into Haz Mat work in the first place. It was the dislocated worker program for out of work loggers and aerospace workers (I was neither but figured why not). It was simple back then. You found what they were looking for they gave you a list of trainers and you went and got trainning. Now there's no clue as to what the needs are and you have to hope that the training is state approved because they won't tell you up front.

Maybe I should just get a job handing out pink slips. Here you go everybody. Merry Christmas and by the way YOU"RE FIRED!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Friday beaver's back



Back by popular demand. Check out this tail

Friday, December 5, 2008

Job cuts 533K


This is a bit of a shock. I was watching the financial news last night. They had been predicting between 350 and 500K loss. And this is still only the beginning. There are a lot of companies who have scheduled lay offs for 09. Let me see if I have this correct. Construction was first to collapse. That started last December. Mortgage banking followed (in terms of jobs loss although they are tied to construction so about the same time). The financial sector came next. I think they are still bleeding jobs and will continue into next year. The Auto industry is very close to being a thing of the past. Pharmaceuticals and health care are scheduled to cut jobs in 09. With no or lowered demand I'm certain the airlines will be cutting back which of course will hit the airplane builders. And not to forget the farmers who got decked first with high fuel, feed and fertilizer costs then with lower prices for their crops when they went to sell. Did I forget anybody?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I've been tagged

I'd first like to say that this will be the last tag / meme or whatever you'd call it because I generally hate answering lists of questions. There that's #1
2. I hate cell phones. I don't own one and don't plan on buying one. I'm either at home at work or at the store. It's fairly easy to get ahold of me when I'm home which these days is most of the time.
3. I have a degree in writing but never could spell very well even with several large dictionaries. Otherwise I would have had a 4.0 average.
4. I was once a photographer and traveled all over the country. I'd still be doing that had it not been for the coming of age of digital photography and a decrease in vision. Studio cameras don't have auto focus.
5. I'm basically a night person but lately I've been getting some inspiration on waking.
6. I've come to like cats more than dogs. Cats usually keep quiet and don't bother you.
7. As I said in # 1 this will be the last meme I'll do. I prefer to remain a bit of an enigma.

No I won't tag anybody else because I consider this experience to be equal to a chain letter.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Me Me Me Me Me and the hell with you

Bill O'Reilley has tried to fire up the remaining wingnuts because our state governor has permitted one group to put up a sign expressing their views on the season. There's also a manger displayed at the capitol. Now before everybody gets their panties in a bunch our state allows any group to put up any display they like as long as they apply for a permit. It's all a matter of free speech. It's to permit everyone to have a voice not just a select few. We need to stop and consider that this country is made up of many religions and atheists and agnostics. Our laws were made to cover all people.

Solstice

Now a little background about Christmas. Christmas is suposed to be the celibration of the birth of Christ on December 25th. Only one problem, Jesus wasn't born in winter. He was born in spring. As noted in the following "The shepards watched over thier flocks by night". Shepards don't let their flocks graze in the fields during the winter they keep them housed or pened.

So whether you celebrate Christmas, Chanacha, Kawanza, Winter Solstice or not at all that is your right. It's suposed to be a free country let's keep it that way. So don't piss on the other guys parade it's the Christian thing to do you know.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

My first christmas tree



It was a long time ago. I think it was 81 with that recession well under way. I had been laid off and jobs to be found were very few, not even a help wanted sign at the local 7-11 or McDonalds. I had just bought my place a year earlier when mortgage rates were obscene but that's another story. With not much money and doing the food bank route I hatched a plan to have a christmas tree.
I knew the stores would close on Christmas eve around eight. I can't remember if we were at K-mart at the time or not. This was long before Wal-Mart had moved into the state and the 99 cent stores weren't around either. We fiddled around until after 8:00 then went cruising for a tree lot. I went about a half mile down the road spotted a sign Christmas Trees in big red letters. Perfect I thought, but even better the lot was totally dark with nobody around. Now before you think this was some great tree robbery this was an empty lot with about three leftover trees laying on the ground that nobody wanted. We found one 3 1/2 foot tree that was in nice shape tied it to the roof and off we went. Made home type decorations of paper cutouts and any odds and ends from the junk drawer. It was a fine Christmas that year.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

More reasons I hate Windoze

So the other day I was happily surfing the web as always and one of those rude pop up windows interupted what was a pleasant experience. It wasn't from a web page but the computer itself telling me that it had already done it's dirty deed and was ready to shut down my computer or ask if I wanted to restart? Like a thief coming into your house and rearranging your furniture and changing all of your settings. He now asks if he should turn out the lights or leave them on for you. How thoughtful. First you ransack my private space then you want to cover your tracks. Don't bother to ask if I want this wonderful upgrade which probably has even more bugs in it than the last piece of crap program you put in it. Just go ahead and rape me.
This has never been the case with a Mac. Apple gives a list of potential upgrades and a link to their site that explains what it is and what it does. I guess Microsoft couldn't be bothered with such minute details. Mac also asks for verification giving the user the option of checking to see if this actually came from Apple and not some hacker deep inside Russia. Luckily I do not keep any sensitive info on this machine because it would be like going out for the day and leaving your doors and windows open in New York.
Ballmer and the Windoze crew wonder why nobody wants Vista. They're even resorting to calling it Mojave. Yeah you buy this and you'll feel like you're in the Mojave. I've talked to a few people who tried using it and spent hours trying to get their favorite music software to work with no luck. My advice to them was to trash the system and go back to using an older operating system or better still throw the damn thing away and get a Mac. And just like the Apple ad Vista isn't being fixed they're just throwing more money at advertising trying to have us believe Windoze people are just regular Joe the Plumber types. Yeah frustrated Joe's. Maybe that's why we have all the road rage these days. They're just frustrated Windoze users.
So why is a Mac better than a Windoze machine you might ask? Because the Apple machine was built with the software exactly matching the machine. When the economy improves I'd like to take this machine down to Windoze central and smash it with a hammer then I'll stop by the Apple Store and get something that works.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

In keeping with the real U.S. Christmas

Deck the halls with boughs of holly,
195 guests at a hotel in Mumbai killed
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Tis the season to be jolly,
Grenade blast wounds 34 protesters in Bangkok
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Don we now our gay apparel,
U.S. military bases brace for surge in stress-related disorders
Fa la la, la la la, la la la.
Troll the ancient Yule tide carol,
Wal-Mart worker gets trampled to death
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

See the blazing Yule before us,
2 gunmen kill each other in shootout at Toys R Us in Palm Desert
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Strike the harp and join the chorus.
Robbery Suspected as Motive in Beating Death of Anchor
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Follow me in merry measure,
Rioting mobs kill 300 people in Nigeria
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
While I tell of Yule tide treasure,
3 killed when Amtrak train hits car
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Fast away the old year passes,
More families abandon holiday-travel tradition
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Hail the new, ye lads and lasses,
100,000 stranded in Thailand after airports shut
Fa la la la la, la la la la.


Sing we joyous, all together,
Meltdown fallout: some parents rethink toy-buying
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Heedless of the wind and weather,
Torrential rain continues to lash southern Brazil
Flooding in Costa Rica
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Actual headlines from various news sources. Hat tip to Paul Simon for the concept.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The start of the christmas shopping season



If the kids wonder what happened to all their christmas presents just show them this photo. Sorry kids those evil republicans shot santa in the street and he won't be coming. Maybe next year when a replacement can be found.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving



With the current difficult times and not much to look forward to in the coming year I can still be thankful to have a roof over head and food in the cupboard. I know the worst is yet to come but I am hopeful that hard times will not last forever. I am thankful that we'll have a new president who understands the suffering of those at the bottom and will do his best to steer things in the right direction. I am thankful that there is hope for without hope then there is no need to continue. There are better times coming and when they do let's not forget those who have lost hope. Let's give them something to be thankful for so that they may regain hope.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A little help for those in financial trouble

Thought I'd give a little help for those that are starting over and don't want to make the same mistakes. I'm not exactly sure how it is now with the banking collapse but in the past if you filed bankruptcy you would immediately get offers for credit cards in the mail. Why you might ask would they do something like that? Simple, once you file bankruptcy you can not file again for at least seven years. It seems like a stupid thing on the part of the banks but they know they'll have you on the hook for a lot of money including interest and fees if they can get you back on the debt treadmill.
First things first - Pay yourself first. The bills will always be there no matter what you do. So when you get paid put 10% of your take home pay in savings. In a just a few years you'll be amazed at how much you've saved.
Credit cards - I only use credit cards when absolutely necessary when it's the only means of payment accepted or as a temporary means of payment when I know I can find a better loan through a bank or credit union. Have only one credit card. It's through a credit union but even there you need to do your homework. Not all cards are the same even with credit unions so read the fine print.
Autos - Never buy a new car. Once you drive that new car off the lot it's value drops from between 10 and 20%. Even if the terms of the car loan are outstanding you'll never get out of that car with the shirt on your back. With the internet it's so much easier to narrow down the search for a decent used car and check prices against the Kelly blue book. If you finance do so for no more than three years. You want to get the car paid off before it will need major repairs. Never have your car repaired at a dealer unless it needs a part that the local repair shop can't get. Never take those extended warrantees. They add a lot to the price of the car and they always seem to have an escape clause when it comes time for pay out. If the salesman says the bank won't finance unless you get the extended warrantee then it's time to stand up and walk out. When you buy a used car buy a copy of the repair manual. You may never do a repair on the car but it will tell of the problems that will come up later and you will soon know when the repair guy is feeding you a line. Yeah lady your exhaust bushings need replaced and I'll need a left handed monkey wrench to do the job.
Housing - Rule of thumb is never buy a place that's more than two and a half times your gross yearly income. Try to find the least expensive place in the best part of a city that fits your needs. I live in the cheapest place in a very upscale area. The advantage is better schools and services as well as cheaper property taxes. I like a fixed rate mortgage over an adjustable because there's a consistency in payments that are easier to deal with and the only fluctuations are from property taxes. It's always a good idea to add $50 to $100 to the monthly payment thereby shortening the term and saving thousands in interest over the life of the mortgage. Never borrow against the equity of a home unless you're putting that in upgrades to the home. In short always put money into things that increase in value not depreciate. I realize that housing is going down but eventually it will stabilize. You'd be amazed at the amount of loans taken on equity to buy boats cars and vacations. Keep those loans separate.


More info from an older post

I hope this helps Lisa.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Credit, lending, and other contributing bits to our financial mess

A lot of people think that a bunch of greedy people were the cause of our present financial situation. That it was all caused by those people living way beyond their means. Well not exactly. It was the result of those at the top our fearless leaders who threw out all of the principles our parents tried to teach us having gone through the Great Depression. Having gone through the longest economic expansions in U.S. history they at the top were deluded into thinking that the good times would roll on forever. They created a climate ripe for disaster and not just for their fellow greedy friends but for the rest of us as well.

When I bought my place the interest rates were through the roof but I knew that this was the only opportunity I would have to own property. Back then the process was rather simple by today's standards. But even before I began looking for a place to call home I looked at what I could afford. The general rule for decades was you could not spend more than 2 1/2 times your annual income. That was the rule of thumb. With that bit of knowledge tucked away I went out and found a place at just under 2 times my annual income. It was the best of the bunch in terms size and price and I figured that would give me some leeway in terms of fluctuations in income. Fast forward to the last ten years. I managed to stay in my place through some pretty tough economic times and was finally able to refinance to a good interest rate on a 15 year fixed. By paying just an extra $100 a month to the principle I was able to pay off the mortgage in 7 years. When I did the refi was when banks were offering up to 125% loans on homes with no upfront fees and all. What had happened? Those at the top had removed all the old rules that we had been living by for the last 80 years. The common sense rules that would tell you that a person in the middle class can not afford to go out and buy a million dollar property. They couldn't afford the taxes much less the monthly payment. But I saw people doing this. Even one coworker last year bought a place for (gulp) $999,000. I'm sure he's long gone from that place unless he has some secret drug lab hidden on the property.

Now we get to credit cards those wonderful nasty necessary evils. A few years back the card companies must have paid Bush a visit or at least made a sizable contribution to his campaign because the next thing you know the bankruptcy laws are changed so that now if you have a major medical bill or job loss and must file as bankrupt you're still on the hook for your credit card bill and I'm sure they'll tack on extra fees just to add insult to injury. And this has nothing to do with people living beyond their means. I've seen people who pay their bills on time and have great credit get screwed. What I noticed was that a few years ago the payment period went from 30 days to 25 then to 20 and some as little as 14. A few even have no grace period at all. Interest accrues once the bill is received. The credit card lawyers must sit around and chuckle when they come up with new terms. I've also noticed that card offers are just now starting to trickle out in the mail but I tell you you wouldn't go for the terms if you were on your death bed because they'd want possession of your corpse and the sheets you're laying on.

So who got us into this mess? Bush and his band of thieves looking out for his interests with the help of his band of frat brother lawyers. You might notice that Obama and company are focused on the real problems for the benefit of all Americans and not just a select few. You remember Bush's base the "haves and the have mores".

Friday, November 21, 2008

Watching the collapse

A couple more banks took the big flush this week. Not making the regular financial channels I'm guessing info is now being let out after the markets close on Friday in hopes nobody will notice and forget about it before the Monday open. The banks were Downey Financial and PFF Savings and Loan. Then there's the issue of Citibank. At 3.77 a share it's looking a lot like Washington Mutual did right before it gave up the ghost. Should we bail out Citi? I say hell no. If you or I ran a business and it went bankrupt we wouldn't expect the government to bail us out. The assets would be sold and the liabilities paid and the business shut.

I have an idea. Why not take the money for bail outs and just set up a government owned bank. With a fresh start and more regulations we could pick up a bunch of laid off bank people and put them back to work. That would be excluding the idiots at the executive level who should have been fired years ago.

In other news just as I predicted Boeing will be laying off workers. With no contract on the Air Force tanker deal Boeing will be laying off people in Kansas, Pennsylvania, and California. Washington state is okay for the moment but as the economy sinks I'm sure the airlines will be putting a hold on their orders. We're beginning to see competition among airlines as business is falling off even though fuel prices are falling.

As for the auto industry I say we keep the workers and lay off the executives. I say we give a billion or two of that bail out money to companies like Tesla that are trying to make the new technology cars. There's a lot of great ideas out there but without the capital or production facilities they can't get off the ground. The "innovative" cars that GM and some of the others have come up with are overpriced garbage. I've looked at the tech specs on them and wouldn't give you two cents for one.

This guy just doesn't give up



Bush in a last ditch push to finish screwing up this nation has pushed for 53 regulation changes that are bad for the country. What did Bush ever do that was good for the country? In the changes are more oil drilling, lower standards for polution releases in our air and water just to name a few.

It wouldn't shock me if he doesn't strike a match to the white house when as he walks out the door.

Legacy of George W.

I can only hope that Obama undoes all of the signing statments and enacts more common sense rules when he takes office.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hold on to your wallets

Now companies want to underfund their pensions and you know what that will lead to... more companies defaulting on their obligations to their retirees. You heard it here first. So when you go to cash that retirement check at the beginning of the month and it bounces you'll know why.

What's left to rob?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

No soup for you

After reading this article about our wonderful Auto industry CEOs I wouldn't give them a plug nickel. All of them came to the meeting yesterday in their own private jets.

Greedy bastards

In other financial news the market took another dump today. Not that I really care at this point because I'm not in the market but I did hear a short time ago why it keeps going up a bit and then down by a bunch. It works like this (don't quote me though). People buy shorts which is a bet that the market or industry or company will go down in price. It's an attempt to cover downturns of a company something like insurance. So now we have people cashing in on their shorts. To add to this you have investors trying to find a bottom to the market. They are buying thinking that the bottom has been reached. Some stock prices are at historic lows but they could go lower or even bust leaving a trail of worthless paper. I had almost considered buying WaMu when it dropped to $2 to $3 a share. Glad I didn't as shares are now of TP value. I could have used it as Charmin in the bathroom. General feeling is that the market will continue to drop to the 7000 level and if it goes much lower than that then the whole economy will be at an end. Think of it this way. Right after 911 you could have rolled a bowling ball down the isle at any local mall and you wouldn't hit a customer.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Doctors hanging it up

A survey of doctors says that many are planning to give it up due to case load and paperwork. I remember when doctors made house calls but then that was back when you saw a doctor only when death might have been near. There was the trip to the doctor's office when Billy got the marble stuck in his ear but for the most part nobody went for flu or sniffles.

What's up Doc?

What happened between then and now? Insurance companies that used to be not for profit were given free reign. With hospitals it was the same. The focus is now not on patient care but the bottom line. How many more bodies can we move through the clinic with less overhead. We all know what happens when people are rushed. Mistakes are made. So my advice is to check closely the medications you get before taking them. They can be the wrong drug or the wrong dose. People do make mistakes.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Almost back to normal

After all the overload of politics and bad economic news of late Britney is back in the news. I'm guessing getting into trouble because I don't read that nonsense. Makes you wonder how her kids will land up but then again I really don't care.

Obama plans to put all of his speeches on the internet. I'm sure he won't get as many hits as the kitty diving into the box but I think it's good thing in terms of access now if we could just make it interactive democracy would take on new meaning. Speaking of the virtual world that's getting weirder by the day:

For those who can't handle First Life: A London woman has filed for divorce because she caught her husband's online "Second Life" avatar -- a computer-generated character -- cavorting on a sofa with another, sexier avatar. He's getting off easy. Word is his estranged wife has found a new love in the cyber- universe of "World of Warcraft," a Death Knight with a low opinion of cheating husbands.
I have an idea where this is all going in the future. With the right brain implants entire lives might be lived in some virtual world. I think that that would be just another step toward the extinction of the human race. Any more I think we're becoming virtual people. Our interactions are becoming a sum of text messages, ims, emails and posts. Our kids are overweight and have arteries of adults in their forties. I used to be a photographer many years back. Now you'd think I would have tons of photos of all the places I've been but after 8 or 9 hours of looking through a viewfinder I wanted to experience life first hand. It's a different experience that's for sure. This is what I was trying to get to in an earlier post about information and how we process it. You can read an article or post or even see a video but it's not the same as being in the same room. We miss the body language and subtle aspects that make up a person's personality. And people are never themselves when they know they are being filmed.

Friday, November 14, 2008

I just like to rub it in



The red areas on the map is what's left of the republican vote.

So the republicans are trying to figure out how to regain power. I've got an idea for you boys. Why don't you go out and get a real job? You could start at the bottom just like so many of the people you put out of work. You too could get low pay with no benefits. Oh you say you couldn't pay the mortgage on your house on that salary. Too bad tough luck boys suck it up and pull yourselves up by the bootstraps. You too can join Joe the homeless like so many others in this land because you sure don't deserve to be in a position of leadership. Oh and when you see Joe down at the burn barrel watch out because he'd like to beat the crap out of you for what you did to him.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

If this doesn't tick you off

Consumer advocacy groups sent a request to the treasury to have bank customers get a 40% reduction in their credit card debt in order to help clear up tight credit. The treasury department said no you can't do it.

Merry christmas fools

As you may recall prior to Bush and his band of thugs taking office (and I mean that literaly) if you got in trouble like having a medical emergency or job loss you could call the credit card company and get some kind of help. If you filed bankruptcy you could have your entire debt restructured or erased called debt forgiveness. Not any more. Not since Bush climed in bed with the credit card companies and changed that law. Just wonder how much Shrub sucked out of them to get that law passed.

Let me add that it's estimated that a lot of pepople are resorting to credit cards to make ends meet. I can only hope that Obama undoes everything this ass wipe did in the last eight years and I hope he does it all by executive order with no input from the rethuglicans.

Update: The credit card companies can change the rate and terms on your card even if you haven't missed a payment and have a good credit rating. Geez and I recall as a kid there were loan sharks. They would loan money at - shock! - 25%. That now sounds like a starting point for some of these blood suckers. Tony Saprano would be proud of these guys.
I recall when I was starting out having to use short term credit and cards to fill a few gaps with a rate of 19%. So what's going on now. Well since Shrub changed the rules you now have to pay all the credit card debt even if you go bankrupt with no money you still have to pay all the money back. Doesn't matter if you're on your death bed. So what are people doing? They're paying their credit cards first because they know that the house payment is expendable. They can walk away from the house but not the credit card.
What people don't seem to realize is how easy it is to get upside down in a loan. Unlike 30 or so years ago when credit rates were stable you could buy a car keep it for two years making payments then trade it for a new one and not lose on the deal.
Then there's housing. If you bought a home with a variable rate let's say because you didn't plan on living in an area for more than a few years you're screwed. And it doesn't matter if you bought too much house or not. With the home values dropping and the soft market you won't be able to stay when the rate changes and you won't be able to sell it when you owe way more than it's worth.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Odd thoughts

I was thinking about some odd things. I do that from time to time. I really love to ask questions that nobody seems to know the answer to. Like stumping the instructors in my recert classes. Things like why can you overwater your lawn in the summer but it can rain all winter long with no ill effects?
With that in mind I came to Einstien's E=MC2 which is to say energy equals matter times the speed of light squared. If that is true and we know it is then mathematically M=E divided by C 2 or matter equals energy divided the speed of light squared. So somewhere in the universe energy is being converted into matter. Sorry I never took physics in college so this is all just speculations and random thoughts.

Here's another more practical whiz bang idea and I later find out that a scientist in China is working on the idea. I was wondering if it would be possible to recycle energy. We have at any given time electromagnetic energy coursing through our homes in the form of radio and TV waves. I wondered if it would be possible to capture this energy to use for lighting and powering small appliances. The Chinese scientist is working on using this energy for micro circuits and switches. I believe his ultimate goal is to get enough power to recharge cell phones without a power source. What got me to thinking about this is the old crystal radios that had no power source. The only problem is that to get any large amount of energy requires a very large collector wire. We saw that when NASA used a two mile cable as an experiment to produce electricity in space except the cable broke.

Typical. They get the elevator and we get the shaft

Remember when the urgent rush to bailout the banks and investment houses had to be done in days or the end times would result. When it was finalized the object was to get the subprime loans off the books so that banks could continue to function and a quick infusion of cash to keep the markets moving. Well forget it. Ain't gona happen. Rather than do the right think the rethuglicans and Bushco are going to steal the rest of the money meant for main street. Rather than try and clear the underwater loans from the books and there by help the average working person Paulson and the rest of the Sapranos are going to buy bank shares. Why wouldn't that work you might ask? What would a drunkin sailor on leave do if somebody handed him a wallet full of money? You got it. He'd go out and spend it on more booze and women. Hmmm AIG comes to mind when I think about that. Nothing like a oh what should we call it? Retreat? Victory party? Blow out? Oh that's right it's a genuine business meeting complete with bubbly and spa.

Another major theft

So what do you think the banks will do with the latest cash infusion? My money's on them going out and buying other banks. Any other guesses?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Depression

Depression - Economics. a period during which business, employment, and stock-market values decline severely or remain at a very low level of activity.

Oil is down to $59 a barrel that would be good news but it's not. It's an indication that demand is gone. Same holds true with commodities, retail and manufacturing. The only things I see going up today at least are railroads and shorts (not the ones you wear). GM reported that they have $2 billion left to burn through and at that rate will be finished by January.
Watching the financial channel it looks like the pom poms are all worn out leaving a trail of streamers on the floor.

Then there's the mortgage bailout. Sounds like a good starting point until you consider the pending layoffs in just about every sector. As we remember 70% of GDP is from consumer spending. The latest "plan" is to lower the interest rate on mortgages by nearly half and possibly extending the mortgage from 30 years to 40. So in essence what they are asking is to let a home buyer be in debt the rest of their life and there's no guarantee once these people get this bailout they won't get laid off and default anyway. If there's no stimulus to create jobs then this may be all for nought.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Why I use a Mac


I was reading one of my favorite blogs an article about the trials and tribulations of getting service for a Windoze machine, the monitor and router to be exact. Poor gal spent ten hours on the phone with customer no service to eeeks India. Hope that was an 800 number. The Indians (dot not feather) told her to pack it up and send it to them with enough cash to cover new ones and they'd "fix it". Geez I though robbery was against the law. Hope all goes well with that but I digress.

When I first used a computer it was at a local school. This was back when Steve Jobs had provided schools with a bunch of Macs so naturally it was a Mac. A couple of years later I was looking to buy a computer. Not really knowing that much I started looking for a Mac but which one? I must have looked at five or six different models but not knowing hard drives from RAM it wasn't easy. One salesman on seeing my interest directed me to a windows machine saying this is hundreds of dollars cheaper than the Mac. Well now I know why. I finally found a really good deal on a Mac and bought it. I later found out that this wasn't just a good deal it was a great deal. A coworker had bought a PC about the same time and we compared what we both got in the deal. He got a computer, monitor, keyboard and mouse with just the system installed. I got the computer,monitor, keyboard, mouse, printer, router, system and about 12 programs along with one year free internet and a year subscription to a Mac Magazine, a ream of printer paper and discounts on ink. The price was about $300 less than the PC.

Now the coupe de gras- I've been using a Windoze machine for the last few weeks just to see the difference. Where to start?

Windoze machine
1. Crashes on a regular basis
2. Keep sending messages that something is wrong with the system. Even though there isn't
3. Sends messages to update programs that I don't use.
4. You need to defrag the machine on a regular basis. Are computers phychotic?
5. Don't try running more than one program at a time it either slows the whole process or crashes the machine.
6. It's almost impossible to do a restart without problems.
7. Won't recognize hardware even though it's there.
8. With hardware disconnected keeps telling me there is no drivers or found new software for the hardware that isn't there.
9. Keep saying there problems with the browser.
10. Maybe I should take my own advice with this machine which was as follows:

a. Unplug computer
b. Open window
c. Pick up computer
d Throw computer from window or
e. Drop computer on Bill Gate's lawn
F Buy another Mac I already have the newest desktop but somebody's pigging it.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Blog award


Fellow blogger sent me the above award. I take it with mixed feelings because the award is for being part of blogging and bringing friendship closer through blogging. That seems rather redundant to me because that's why people blog. To get their ideas out there and see who holds similar ideas or just needs some moral support. I am beginning to think that blogging is changing the very way we think. On the one hand it brings people at very great distance closer together in a form, but on the other hand it's changing the very way we deal with information and I don't think it's in a good way. Our information gathering on the web has become so fragmented that readers are becoming deficient in gaining the full story or the entire experience. If we reduce our experiences to bits and pieces or 10 second sound bites there a serious danger of psychological ramifications. We will see what happens with the outcome of the next generation.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

What did Bill Cosby once say?...

There's always worse. Expect food prices to go up by 7 to 9% next year. Farmers will be trying to make up for rising prices of fuel, feed and fertilizer. Between the lay offs and foreclosures we now have increases in food. And if that wasn't bad enough expect power rates to go up as energy prices go back up. I guess it's time to plant that deck veggy garden. I tried starts inside with grow lights one year without much success.

Higher food costs

The scary thought in all of this is that if farmers can't make money because of costs they may be forced to cut back and increase prices more. You may recall the shortages in rice a few months back. Prices in Asia went to 80 cents or more per pound while the prices here were higher. We then saw prices here drop here as we imported large amounts. A drought anywhere around the globe could make things nasty.

Here's a few thoughts

Just thinking about how to get out of the current economic mess. We have three major auto companies on the ropes. The lay offs facing this industry looks as bad as the steel mills of the late 70s and into the 80s. We are to the point of importing massive quantities of oil each year thereby sending billions over seas. This oil will not last forever and it's destroying our environment. We are sitting on one of the largest natural gas reserves in the world far bigger than the oil in the middle east. To change from using gasoline to natural gas would be fairly cheap in terms of converting cars and changing distribution. That would create quite a few jobs in building new models converting old gas burners as well as natural gas production. This would be a temporary bridge to renewable technology and with fuel cell technology could lower green house gases in the process. If we can convince other countries to buy efficient well made cars that run on natural gas from us then we can easily sell the natural gas to them and have hundreds of billion coming back into this country. If the natural gas production and sales could be nationalized it would provide an income to finance healthcare, education and rather than build McMansions like Dubai that nobody could afford we could lower or eliminate taxes for everyone. Imagine having no national debt. This would give us the much needed time to develop other renewable energy technologies. This could cost in the hundreds of billion dollars but considering the pay back would be worth it. We just threw 700 billion down a black hole and we probably won't see a nickel back from that bail out.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

History is made!

I was sitting there watching the results. Obama had 207 to McCains 142 then the big flash on the screen Barack Obama our 44th president. Now to take a deep breath roll up your sleeves and get down to the business of fixing this country. And I know this will take the effort of each and every one of us.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

First they ripped up the constitution now this

Drug companies want total immunity from any liability in the event they produce drugs that harm patients. I guess now we have to become doctors in order to get medical treatment because if this passes muster in the Supreme Court your on your own if your hurt by a drug.

Take this pill but if you die from it don't blame me

Once again this is about unregulating an industry so that they can make bigger profits only this time instead of loosing a house you could land up loosing your life. This crap must stop. We saw what it did to banking.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

This doesn't look good

Gordon Brown (you remember the head of British government) took a little trip down to the Gulf to beg the oil rich countries to loosen up on their wallets and get help with the bail out. Hey didn't they dump all that oil money into building castles of their own and won't they be facing the same mortgage melt down that the rest of us are experiencing? I'm sure they didn't pay cash up front for all those McMansions off the coast of Dubai.

Hey buddy can you spare a few hundred billion?

Friday, October 31, 2008

A Halloween trick from Bush

George W. never fails to amaze me how stupid he is. In a final push to finish off our once fine country, Georgie wasn't satisfied with ruining our financial system with deregulation he now appears to be setting us up for a scorched earth policy. In the final months of his failed presidency he's pushing for the deregulation of our environmental laws. We saw what a wonderful job he did to our banking and stock markets. Some 90 laws and regulations are being pushed to make our air dirtier our water less drinkable and of course this will mean more $$$ for big business. I can only hope now that the Democrats gain a supermajority that's fillibuster proof and that they can march lock step for the benefit of all Americans. If we poison the planet where will we live?

No treats only tricks

Watch out if this guy shows up at your door tonight



Hide your candy, lock up your wallet, have the kids hide in the closet, sic the dog on him and if all else fails hold up your "I voted for Obama" sign.

Friday Beaver a wet one this time



Joe the Homeless stopped by last night to say FU to all those CEOs. I'm with you on that one Joe. Rob a company and walk away with millions. Rob a bank for a few grand and get sent up for a long prison term. Who says the pen isn't mightier than the gun?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Some random things

You've heard all the hoopla about Joe the Plumber. Well we on the other side have an answer to him it's Joe the Homeless and he now has his own blog.

Meet Joe

The outright lies of Sarah Palin:

Mrs. I'm against socialism

$14 billion in one quarter is just not enough profit for Exxon Mobile so Mc$ain wants to give them $4 billion more. Yeah John that'll create more jobs for the bean counters maybe.

GDP is at -0.3% for the 3rd quarter and I wouldn't expect much of an uptick for the 4th quarter. 09 is looking like it will be a very bad year unless there is a very large bail out for main street. 70% of our economy is run by consumer spending and it is now at a 28 year low.

Governors of six states want the treasury to bail out the automakers. Hey why don't you ask Bush for the money back on the tax breaks he gave to companies that bought SUVs a few years ago.

Japan has just come out with a $275 billion bailout for their people on main street. Looks like they are taking care of their own unlike Bush/McCain.

More items later

Update:
I just heard that the banks that were bailed out with OUR money are planning to give their execs an average $625,000 bonus for this years wonderful performance (snark intended). I've got some news for them. Next month I'm pulling all of my money out of one of their "failed" banks and moving it to a credit union.
The response from congress about this " We thought they'd do the right thing".

Some cats for Obama




Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A little trivia

I'll bet you didn't know who these people are.

Gloria La Riva
Eugene Puryear
James Harris
Alyson Kennedy
Cynthia McKinney
Rosa Clemente

Give up? Answers in the comments

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

In keeping with an ongoing theme

I see the stock market it up by 889 today. Before you get out the bubbly and start singing "happy days are here again" remember this is only the start of something bad. All of the lay offs haven't happened. Retailers are not expecting hiring increases for the holidays and the foreclosures and resets are no where near begun. As I said in yesterdays post this is merely an opportunity for savvy investors to dump their bad paper. And the word from the white house is " lend damn it lend". The only problem is to who? Who wants to borrow when they're up to their eyeballs in debt, afraid of job loss and struggling to make the mortgage? Even with gas prices coming down the cost is still high and food prices are climbing.

We now have McCain calling for the head of Ted Stevens. Humm wasn't Ted one of Palin's best buds up there in Mooseland?
Then we have our local issues with a certain candidate for governor. Seems Republican Dino Rossi was directing campaign funds his way from a building industry association. This wouldn't have come up had it not been for some documents with his signature on it as being the main man in charge of directing funds. Rossi denies all of this but everything that's come out of his mouth has been proven a lie by document or video during his debate with his opponent. I just wonder if any charges can be filed when it comes out that he used over $6 million in illegal campaign funds.

I can only wonder what other surprises are in store in the next 7 days. A resignation, another sex scandal, a candidate dies of natural causes or heart attack? Only time will tell. So keep your eyes peeled but ignore the negative ads they're getting boring anyway.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Looking through the archives

I recall moving some funds awhile back to a safer place but couldn't remember exactly when until I read an old post. It was way back in October of 2006 that I saw the beginnings of the current mess we're experiencing. The easy way to do this is to check the financial gurus and look at a general consensus of what they think. You'll always have those guys that are touting that things are great and you should buy buy buy. General consensus says otherwise. This is going to be a down economy for a year to 18 months. That is because we went to high to fast and the debt that's been racked up is still not been addressed. You may or may not know that not one nickel of that $700 billion has been spent. It's only promised with no real plan in place for it's implementation.

Feb 2007

That promise of big bucks was enough to make the markets rise enough so that those who were stuck with shorts could dump them before the toilet flushed and they'd be stuck with worthless paper. It worked and while the MSM gurus were telling everybody to hang on and wait out the storm, the guys with the shorts were making a killing. An estimated $2 trillion dollars was sucked out of the market and retirement savings when this happened. Sadly there will be more foreclosures, lay offs, and market losses in the coming year. Then there'll be the issue of inflation but I won't go there just yet.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Bush depression


Depressions are well, depressing. I don't make this stuff up folks I just report it as it comes in. The speculators were kind enough not to let us see $200 a barrel oil, but we're just at the beginning of the economic mess. Our dear leader Mr. "I never saw a free unregulated market I didn't like" and his cronies have really done a number on us. And even now the rally cry from the right is cut taxes for the rich it will create more jobs. Well I'm here to tell you that will not work. It didn't work for Raygun and it truely won't work now. As I've said before inbalances are the cause of all problems, but our present situation is mulit - fold. With the lack of regulation (Thank you Mr. Bush and friends) greed went rampant ignoring the facts and fundamentals of the markets. Now the piper must be paid and the bill is a heafty one. In just one year the market has dropped 6000 points and we're just at the start of the nightmare. The scarey part is yet to come. We saw how well the bail out of wall street is working. That only got them partially liquid. There's still a ton of bad paper out there with little to no value that's been spread world wide. So what's next you ask?

Corporations having losses will lay off workers which in turn will create more losses as nobody buys and the cycle will continue. But that's not the really scarey part. You might want to hide your eyes for this. As farmers don't make enough money for their crops (remember commodities have dropped like a stone over the last few months) they'll be unable to pay their bills. Unfortunately this time around Willie Nelson won't be able to Farm Aid them out of it because the middle class is strapped for cash and loosing their homes as well. Fewer farms equals less food and higher prices (you recall supply and demand). But the real victims in the grand scheme of this will be people in other countries surviving on $2.50 a day and countries like Mexico where the average is $5 a day.

Starvation

It's estimated that some 8 million people died during the years following 1929.

How do we get out of this mess? We only have two options. Either we let the whole thing collapse and start over. I doubt that will happen as the rich will do anything to protect what they have or we start some major aid programs like FDR and rebuild this nation. I'd say start with farming and work our way from there. You can't work on an empty stomach.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Nothing like shooting yourself in both feet



A little foot in mouth problem Michele?

The tactic of divide and conquer has worked for thousands of years with great results. The only problem? It doesn't work when you're trying to run for office and trying to get everybody on board to your way of thinking. To ramble on about how one group is somehow worst than another will sneak up on you and bite you... well you know. That's exactly what's happened in case of Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann who went on a rant calling some "anti American". Does this woman have a clue as to how to win friends and influence people? Oops I was tempted to throw in a blonde joke there but that wouldn't be right. The result of Ms. Bachmann's blathering was her opponent raising over $1 million in just a few days. Too late now Michele the damage has been done no muligans here. The us against them mentality is slowly loosing favor even though it's being used on a grand scale in state and local elections. While we're on the subject of elections let me add some important information here.
Diebold is at it again. Remember those wonderful voting machines that could easily be hacked in the last two elections. In spite of spending millions to try and fix the problem the machines in W.Va are registering votes for McCain when the Obama button is touched. When challenged about the vote voters were told too bad the vote is in the machine and there's no way to check it.
If I've said this once this election season I'll say it a million times or more, ask for a paper ballot! It is your right. And if there is any doubt about the outcome of the election demand a hand recount. With all the BS the republicans and their cronies have given us the last eight years it's time to stand up and put and end to it. They stole two elections already. Let's not let them steal a third.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The mess we're in

Just thinking about a way out of the current financial situation. They've thrown a small ton of money at the banks to try and prop them up. This seems to have only prevented more runs on banks. We've seen investors move a lot of money from stocks to bonds and cds. If you didn't do that last year or at least this past spring then you missed the boat it's too late now. They still aren't even beginning to undue the mortgage mess. I'm only now seeing banks start to offer refinancing but from what I hear people with good credit are being turned down. And of course we now have the late night get rich quick in real estate gurus crawling out from every rock. Then there's the "we can get your debt erased" scams out there.
Okay I did a little research. On refinancing go to your bank and see if they will make you a deal. If they can't help try a credit union. If the credit union can't help you're probably out of luck. If you're facing bankruptcy go find a lawyer who deals with that. It will save you many headaches in the long run. I was also looking at the prices of foreclosures. The prices aren't pennies on the dollar like some would have you believe. The cheapest one I could find was listed to go for a minimum bid of $65K and you'd only need to put a couple of hundred thousand to get it up to livable.
It's interesting to note that back in the eighties a two bedroom apartment in downtown Tokyo went for $2 million. After their bubble burst it took about ten years to get back to realistic prices. As I see it we have a very small window to really change things before other factors start to kick in that will make the present situation look like a party. That would be the Ponzi scheme called Social Security for one and Medicare.
So what to do? A New New Deal to start rebuilding the infrastructure, fix healthcare, retirement and changes in education. A large push for renewable energy would do wonders for the bottom line and the pay off would be fairly short. I realize this will cost in the tens of trillions of dollars but consider the alternative. And for those who say this is socialist and all that, I say who cares? The results would be the same no matter what name you put on it and it would benefit everybody. Remember when we had one phone company and it actually worked quite well and it was cheap too?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Yahoo

Yahoo it appears has shot themselves in both feet. In an attempt to jazz up their site and make it more like a dashboard they totally botched it. If you're lucky enough to even have their front page load without that annoying can not contact the server message you can click on the news link and wait and wait. When the page finally comes up you'll notice that the photos didn't load and the information is spread across the screen. I've tried this on both Mac and Windows machines with the same results. What was once easy to scan article headlines have been spread out and the numbers cut. Going to the feedback at the bottom of the page it was reported that more than 10,000 complaints have been filed. If I didn't know better I'd say Yahoo was trying to poison themselves to avoid a Microsoft take over. All I know is they better get busy and fix things or they won't have any revenue stream.

Friday beaver delayed their getting ready for winter you know



Not much to post lately. The election here is turning into a three ring circus with back to back to back campaign ads. There's so much mud being flung here we could hold dirt bike races on the main highways. Our governor is being blamed for everything from the national budget to dead puppies in the road. Her challenger however has done some not so nice things in the past like lowering unemployment benefits that didn't even make it into the ads. This as$%#@ wants to lower the minimum wage. He said so in the debate and now says he never said it. Sorry Dino you're a lying thieving cheating piece of %#$@ .
So here we sit like expectant parents waiting for the rebirth of democracy while our country goes up in flames. And out of the ashes will emerge a new nation. I expect a cross between capitalism and socialism to rise out of this mess. For those of you who don't like the idea I'm sure Harmid Karzi would more than welcome you to help him start a new country with slave wages and an opressive theocracy. You'll just have to convert them when you get there. Think of the opportunities. You could corner the market on concrete and opium production.

So like they say in the south y'all have a good day now.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

McCain thinks he won



Intrade numbers

Obama 83.9

McCain 16.3

Intrade numbers are shares in the candidates that are bought and sold on an open market. Want to check the latest?

Intrade

Sorry John it's over. Wake up and have Cindy take you home.

Layoffs

I was looking at the employment picture last night and I have to say it's not looking good. Between housing and spending that is cutting into state and city revenues I'm seeing layoffs of 20, 30 and up to 190 at the city and state level. With corporations it's far worse. Auto plants shutting, airlines cutting back and of course construction that was the first to evaporate jobs months ago. The only bright spot was energy but with the lack of demand it is slipping as well. Mining another bright area is slipping as commodity prices fell.
Around here (Washington state) things aren't looking too well either. Usually the washington economy is the last in on a recession and the last out. Factors changed this time around. Boeing went on strike which affected the local economy. It's estimated that at least two jobs here are tied to each Boeing worker. Starbucks located here has been laying off and closing stores although I can't understand their business model as we have something like six of their stands or stores in a two mile stretch of road. That's on top of five or six other brands of latte stands.
So what's going to happen. There's no way this is going to turn around any time soon. As companies face lowered earnings they will continue their layoffs which in turn will lower spending and as we know 70% of our economy is made up of consumer spending. Expect even more layoffs next year and companies and banks to go under. What about the BIG bailout you say? That didn't put dent in the fundamentals of the problem. Look for big mergers as companies try to survive. We will need a new New Deal to get us out of this mess and it will be far more costly than what FDR came up with but consider the alternative. It will be a great opportunity to fix many of the problems facing this nation. An infrastructure that's fallen apart just look at our bridges, roads and power supply systems to get an idea.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

McCain - Wrong again


To call John McCain a maverick is about as far from the truth as one can get. For those who compare him to Bush here's proof positive John is following exactly in Georgie's foot steps. McCain wants to cut the rates on retirement withdrawls that would affect mainly about 3% of seniors. He wants to give capital gains cuts. Hmmm anybody seen any gains lately? McCain is back to the trickle down policys of Reagan combined with the corporate welfare of Bush. This is the same trickle down policy Reagan tried in the early 80s. The going joke then was that money trickled down from the Gettys to the Rockefellers. In todays terms that would be from the Gates to the Buffets. I see no difference in what Reagan did then to what McCain wants to do now. It's just more money to the rich and it didn't work then and it won't work now. So let's send John back to the retirement home in Arizona give him some warm milk and put him to bed. It's time to rebuild this country we don't need any more of these failed ideas.

McCain's economic plan

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hold on a minute

Before you pop the cork on that bottle of Dom stop to remember that the fundamentals have not changed one iota. We're still in debt up to our eyeballs and nothing has changed other than world leaders pulling out the credit card and saying help yourself. I've said it once and I'll keep saying it until somebody starts listening " you can not borrow your way out of debt".
Like a teenager in debt who's finally hit the magic drinking age goes out with his first credit card forgets his debts and spends like there's no tomorrow. Then that statement comes and with bleary eyes and a screaming headache Jr. opens the bill and realizes he'll have to work thirty years or more to pay this back if he's lucky.
I've heard nothing of the details on the international bail out other than nations will buy shares of banks and try to back deposits. Sounds like they're just trying to cover their own asses on this. Nothing in the bail out says anything about the bad debt or mortgages both here or abroad. Sadly in the long run we'll just have to eat it. Like a hundred bucks you lent to the drunk teenager just kiss it goodbye.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Friday news dump 10/10/08



A lot of stuff going on trying to go unnoticed at the end of the week. Helicopter Ben is dumping money into the economy like we were Haliburton in Iraq. While corporations are praying we spend money we don't have this holiday season, uncle Ben has been trying to grease the wheels of the banking sector. His rally cry "Lend damn it lend!!" Had the wall street swat team not stepped in at the end of trading Friday the market would have been down 1000 points at the end of trading. Geez do these guys ever run out of money? Banks seem to be playing a big game of musical chairs only some of the chairs are wired with C4.

John McCain has to back peddle after working his followers into such a frenzy that they shout "Kill Obama". Wonderful and civilized base you've got there John. Now the secret service has to work overtime. Can we send you the bill?

Caribou Barbie gets caught in her lies so what does she do? Issues a statement saying it's all lies. Sorry babe this was a bipartisan panel of the legislature that came to the conclusion. Gee you really must have pissed off your own party on this one. Oh that's right you do all those "mavericky" things I forgot.

GM is in talks to take over Chrysler. You know what that means? More lay offs and an even larger company to bail out later. How are those electric cars that nobody will be able to afford coming along? Anybody seen Lee?

Anybody want to buy a country real cheap? I hear Iceland's for sale. And at the rate America is going we can change our name to the United Socialist States of America. That's got a ring to it USSA like it USSA to be a capitalist country. Welcome to the new era comrade. Gee weren't commies blackballed? What a difference 50 years makes. Hey maybe we could get this socialism thing right. Naaah that's just wishful thinking.

N Korea is now being taken off the axis of evil list and the US will be talking to them. What happened to "we don't negotiate or talk to terrrrists"? My guess. They now have enough nukes to do some serious damage to this country so we better get friendly with them.

Oh darn I missed my Friday beaver spot. There's a beaver shortage out there you know. Save the beavers and the boobies too. Which leads me to:

Last but not least our government is now officially spying on all citizens, intercepting all phone calls. So be careful what you say. They especially love those sexy phone calls. So if you want an instant audience just talk dirty. Hey quit listening in ya perverts!