Sunday, May 31, 2009

Pardom my French

But ahhh shit. I just heard yesterday that the Brightwater project will be down for months. For those of you not from around here it's a large sewage treatment plant being built here with a tunnel (17 feet in diameter) discharge pipe 300+ feet below ground that goes from Woodinville, Wa out a mile into the Puget Sound. That's about six or seven miles. They've been working on it for a while now. The bore head has some type of damage so they had to shut down. I have a little understanding of boring having done core drills in various buildings here. There's only a few things that can go wrong in the process. Either the drill bit goes dull and you have to change it or the clutch gets screwed up and needs repaired or there's a power problem. Most of these problems in doing core drills can be fixed in less than a day. In doing a boring operation it's a different story. It probably took them a couple of weeks to set up the machine and now that it's in place it will take even longer to dismantle and have remanufactured. Even with doing simple core drills it takes 2/3 of the time just to do set up.
So how does this effect me directly? I do haz mat work, but I also happen to be in the same union as these tunnel rats and now 60 of them are out of work. Usually by this time of year the union hall is nearly empty of workers. All out on jobs. Not this year. There's been three to four hundred of us on the bench waiting for any scrap of work to come up. In fact in the last four weeks only five guys were called out on some short clean up jobs. Now there's 60 more on the list. But you would think that they would go to the back of the line which is usually the case. It doesn't always work that way. It also goes by certifications as well. If you have what an employer needs you get to go to the head of the line. It's happened to me a couple of times but not this year or last.
I've looked through every job board on the internet. The only things out there would take another four year degree and a half dozen years experience. Most of what's left are RN / LPNs, homecare worker, newspaper subscription sales, or table dancer. If I even considered healthcare I'd be like Dr. House. Sorry lady you're going to die get over it. Homecare worker? Nope, I have enough taking care of what I have. Subscriptions? Nope get my news from the internet thank you very much as does everyone else. Yep buy a subscription and get a free buggy whip or pet rock.
Table dancer? Nope too boney to give lap dances and besides I lost my rythm years ago.
So I keep thinking. What do people need? Food, clothing, and entertainment seem to top the list. Food? Costco has that one covered. Where else can you buy a years supply of popcorn for such a cheap price? Clothing? Nope the holes in the back of the underwear haven't joined yet to make for easy mooning. Sell the clothes in my closet? Nope they wouldn't even make good car wash rags. Entertainment? Sell dirty pictures of myself on the internet as rodent repellent. Use one of these in the basment and rats are sure to leave. Counting cars in the neighborhood to see who's been laid off lately. Or watching my car grow moss from having sat so long. Can't make any money doing that.
I can only hope that some day I'll be able to look back on this as some silly memory.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Who are "they"?

They say four out of five dentists recommend...
They say you can't go home again.
They say you can.
They say you can't.
They were the ones who caused the accident.
They are experts.
They lost.
They are losers.
They are the ones who will keep you safe.
They are the ones who failed.
They seem to know everything.
They don't know anything.
They were the ones who forgot to fix the problem.
They weren't even there at the time.
They set the fire.
They put the fire out.
They will have a winning season.
They lost their starter.
They will be starting college in the fall.
They graduated at the top of their class.
They are high school dropouts.
They did a great job.
They did a poor job.
They said they'd call back.
They didn't return our calls.

They are the ones we can blame when things go wrong. It was their fault blame them.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Summer beaver

Here's a hot one for you right off the intertubes.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The perfect trap

In watching the republicans sharpen their knives for the conformation of Supreme Court candidate Sotomayor it's wonderful watching them set up to shoot themselves in the foot. Let's go down the qualifications and see where they could hang their hats. Think of the whole process like a jury trial. The republicans representing the prosecution with the democrats acting as defense and the American voter acting as the jury sets the stage.

Education - She graduated from high school valadictorian Cardinal Spellman High School
Her B.A. was from Princeton summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kapa the highest honors a student can get
Her law degree was from Yale where she was the editor of Yale Law Journal 1979

Career - Hired right out of law school as Assistant District Attorney New York County 1979
Entered private parctice 1984 doing intellectual property litigation
Appointed New York Mortgage Agency 1987 and Legal Defense Fund and Childbirth Connection
Nominated by George H.W. Bush for U.S. District Court Southern New York 1992
Nominated to the Court of Appeals her present position 1998

So what complaints are we hearing from the republicans? That she's a woman. Did they forget O'Connor and Ginsberg? That she's a Latino? And Alito isn't? That she's not smart enough (I almost choked when I heard that one) Maybe they could bother to look up summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kapa. I can hear it now. Isn't that Phi Beta Kapa that greek fraternity where they had wild keggers?
So in their brilliance and their insistance that they want to expand the republican party they will succeed in alienating women, Latinos and anyone with above average intelligence.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Am I missing something here?

GM tries to make a deal with the bondholders but the bondholders turn it down. Maybe I'm not following or understanding the bankruptcy laws. If GM goes to bankruptcy won't the bondholders be stuck with worthless paper? They were after all offered a 10% stake in the company which sounds far better than walking away with nothing. The workers were offered a 17.5% stake which they took. If you ask me the worker should have gotten a bigger piece because nothing turns a company around faster than workers who have a vested interest in making a profit for the company.
For GM to cut it's dealer base made no sense to me. The dealers were indepentant of GM so why would GM care? If a dealer wasn't doing well he'd go out of business anyway.
And what ever happened to Lee Iacoca the great savior of Chrysler?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Economy and inflation

Some on the right have been squawking that inflation would be rampant in a short while. That we'll be seeing inflation the likes of which have not been seen since pre WWII Germany. Nothing is further from the truth. It occurred to me that with the deleveraging of Wall Street, the losses in housing as well as the debt racked up by the past administration that almost no amount of spending will cause prices to go up any time soon. But to get a real picture of why there won't be inflation anytime soon I turn to a fellow blogger Invictus and his mentor Bondad. Invictus is like me in that he gives a general down to earth summary of what's going on in the economic world. Bondad is more focused on the technical charts and graphs but he too can give you a clear picture of what's happening in terms we mear mortals can understand. With that in mind Bondad goes a bit deeper into the process of money supply with a good and simple explanation:


We could be in for a double dip recession if things don't start turning around shortly but as I may have mentioned the Recovery Act doesn't even begin to kick in until July 1. After that we'll see how consumer spending goes. I think it will increase but not like it did in the past. This lag time I assume was to give banks enough time to clear out a bunch of debt from the books and get in a better position for growth. The savings rate which had been at historic lows is now increasing thereby helping to ease credit. Also there should be some pent up demand to replace things like worn out appliances and cars on their last legs that people have kept patched together waiting for better times.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day

Thinking about how the memories of fallen soldiers affects me directly. My brother did a tour in Vietnam but I don't count that in that he's still among the living. Not that it makes for any less an honor but I feel the day was meant to honor those who gave their lives in the service to the country. With that in mind I can only think of one young man who gave his life. It was such a long time ago I can hardly remember him. His name was Tom and he lived down the street from us. He had just completed basic as a pilot and was home on leave. He was from a very large family and I was there playing with one of the younger brothers. I must have looked like one of the clan because he picked me up like older brothers do and asked which one I was. It was an akward moment when I had to explain I was there playing with his younger brother. I never forgot that encounter. Tom was killed four years later in Vietnam. The city erected a memorial in his honor but to me it just doesn't seem like that's enough. How can you really honor someone who gave their life?
In looking for an image for this post I came across several images of "Happy Memorial Day" and I must say there isn't much to be happy about. We're celebrating the death of fallen soldiers and I feel that should be a somber occasion. Have a hot dog or a hamburger but remember what the day is really about.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Republicans can't live with them can't shoot em

Sarah Palin went skiing again!!???

The ignorance of the republicans just amazes me. Earlier this week they stopped the Gitmo prison from being closed because they were afraid of having detainees brought to U.S. soil. I guess that means we'll have to move all the generic rapists and serial murders we have locked up now to some type of Devils Island in a far away place.

And now we have one Sarah Palin. I can't think of a good analogy to demonstrate the lack of her mental capacity. I always thought the republican party was the conservative party who made the act of saving money into a near religion. But I guess for Palin and now many of the other republicans when the opportunity to use a little money in order to save a lot of money has now come up they'd rather stick of the don't spend any money and therefore save nothing. That's taking conservatism to the next level of stupid. What did she do you ask? Last year when energy prices were way up there ( Alaska has the highest in the nation anyway) Moosilini doled out $26 million to the people of Alaska to help pay their heating bills. A nice kind act in itself. But when the Recovery act came around she is turning down some $700 million to help Alaskans weatherize their homes and probably save a ton of money in the long run. Her objection was that this would force a change in the building codes which most major cities in the state complies with already. I guess Sarah's never hear of the concepts of waivers or the term grandfather unless it's a baseball player or the old guy who falls asleep at picnics. So I feel sorry for the people of Alaska who are stuck with suck an ignorant person. Remember her actions when oil prices climb back up there and there's no state money to help keep the heat on next winter.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Once again the republicans with no other solutions have dug into their bag to look for an issue any issue to promote their party. Slipped into the credit card bill in the house was a little section that permits guns in national parks. Unless you're afraid that Smokey the bear is going to eat you instead of telling you to extinguish that open campfire I see no real reason to take a gun to a national park. Don't get me wrong I'm not against guns but there is a time and a place for their use. I foresee only bad things coming from this legislation.

Now for another kicker. Texas is passing a law that would permit guns on campus. It really has nothing to do with safety when you stop to think of the possabilities. Considering that most people have varing degrees of expertise in the use of firearms this presents some unnerving situations. I'm an expert shot myself but I sure wouldn't want to face a Columbine situation on a college campus. The thought of one error in judgment far outweighs any safety gains. I'm sure you can picture future Texas headlines. Drunk student shoots up dorm. Despondent student shoots self. College is a place for learning not a place for worrying about being caught in a cross fire by a disgruntled student.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The background scoop

When some issue comes up in the news I always like to do a little background research to look at different perspectives and angles. So what is the motivational factors of the Taliban? They have said they are anti western and anti English. They seem to be adhering to a 12th century ideology in the 21st century but are they really? After reading a couple of Pakistani blogs I'm thinking that there are other motives going on here. A bit of info from one Pakistani blog called Let us build Pakistan:

Muslim Khan, the spokesman of Pakistani Taliban, has won unprecedented notoriety for justifying beheading, flogging, and digging up and hanging the dead. He has a personal stake in propagating the kind of education Muslims of the world must have. Or must not have. He has justified the bombing of schools on many pretexts, but one stands out: Muslims must not get “English” education. By which Muslim Khan means that any school which has anything to do with the English language must be demolished. The Taliban have so far demolished hundreds of schools in the name of cleansing education of the Western-infidel influence. Pakistan’s Islamo-fascist Urdu media has always given him a lot of coverage making him a national folk hero who has stood up to the United States and her Pakistani lackeys.

At long last, someone found out that Muslim Khan’s own son is a graduate student at the University of Peshawar and the medium of his education is English. When the question about his son was tossed to him, the great Muslim Khan was philosophical: “My son is disobedient!” The filed closed. No more questions please.

The author goes on to tell of Pakistanis who have moved to other countries only to drop much of their strict ways yet speak out against fellow Pakistanis living in that country for not following strict Islamic laws in a true hypocritical manner. It's as if Pakistan wants to be more secular but the religious right in that country lays down their extremist moral code. We saw what happens when the extremist religious right in this country have their way. You get a cult like following like we saw in Texas with women walking around like something out of Little house on the Prairie. Or worse you get a group who are ignorant of the facts of scripture and choose to interperet the bible they way they see fit to bolster their cause. Sorry guys God didn't tell you to go to a foreign country and bomb the hell out of them. If you used that defense in a courtroom you'd be pulling a long stretch in a federal pen. And who would Jesus torture? The worst thing he did was kick over some tables outside a temple while protesting hypocrisy.

If the moderates on both sides of the Atlantic don't take a firm hold of the reigns then the bloodshed will continue for quite some time. So you see when the extremists took charge and I refer to both sides of the ocean it became the perfect groundwork for a perfect war and I use the word war in a general sense.

It appears to me that the extremists on both sides of the Atlantic are using their religious positions not to further some cause but to line their pockets and grab power and fame. Whether Muslim, Christian, or Jew it doesn't matter the end result and focus is the same. For them do as I say not as I do comes into play now more than ever. If you have doubts or confusion about any given news item always look for a route cause. It's there but you just might have to dig for it.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The No Party is at it again

With health care being one of Obama's top priorities the party of No is holding meetings to derail the process. Why can't these guys get a clue and for once do the right thing for a change? America if fed up with having to worry about healthcare. Why can't they realize that most Americans are just one medical emergency away from total financial disaster. And with an aging population those on fixed incomes are watching what little they have be sucked down the corporate rabbit hole. I feel sorry for anyone on medicare who has to take a variety of drugs. You get most of your scripts paid for up to a certain dollar amount then nothing is covered until you've shelled out an amount to cover all the costs (the doughnut hole). And considering most retirement funds took a beating by Wall Street last year if your not on generic meds you're screwed.

Now just add a No before the following five items and you get what the No Party is all about. If there isn't a profit in it for them it's not worth talking about. Interesting to note that this is the way healthcare used to be before the No Party got their hands on things.


The choice of a public health insurance plan is crucial to real health care reform. But right now, it's being smeared by conservatives and insurance-industry front groups. Here's what you really need to know:

1. Choice, choice, choice. If the public health insurance option passes, Americans will be able to choose between their current insurance and a high-quality, government-run plan similar to Medicare. If you like your current care, you can keep it. If you don't—or don't have any—you can get the public insurance plan.2

2. It will be high-quality coverage with a choice of doctors. Government-run plans have a track record of innovating to improve quality, because they're not just focused on short-term profits. And if you choose the public plan, you'll still get to choose your doctor and hospital.3

3. We'll all save a bunch of money. The public health insurance option won't have to spend money on things like CEO bonuses, shareholder dividends, or excessive advertising, so it'll cost a lot less. Plus, the private plans will have to lower their rates and provide better value to compete, so people who keep their current insurance will save, too.4

4. It will always be there for you and your family. A for-profit insurer can close, move out of the area, or just kick you off their insurance rolls. The public health insurance option will always be available to provide you with the health security you need.5

5. And it's a key part of universal health care. No longer will sick people or folks in rural communities, or low-income Americans be forced to go without coverage. The public health insurance plan will be available and accessible to everyone. And for those struggling to make ends meet, the premiums will be subsidized by the government.6

via Move On. org

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Random Sunday

It amazes me how corporate executives who were the cause of our financial melt down make out like bandits while workers are getting screwed. Yes even while execs at AIG are busy selling off the company assets they are still getting bonuses and mulit figure incomes as I write this. If a worker were to cost the company a few thousand dollar loss they would be out on their ear with a pink slip on the next payday. And with all this restructuring you think the executives will be making any less? Nope they will still be making several thousand times what an average line worker was making.

More corporate greed and environmental damagee
The world according to Monsanto

Monsanto has been developing genetically altered corn for a while now. They say their intent is to design a corn that is resistant to draught and insects. Since they have a patent on the modified corn they can charge farmers royalties for growing. Now for the kicker. Since corn cross pollinates with other native varieties it's slowly becoming Monsanto corn. There are several varieties of organic corn that have been grown in rural Mexico for centuries that don't require fertilizers or weed killers. Mexico had bannned genetically altered corn but this was after they had planted some 40% of their corn bought from Monsanto. The Monsanto corn requires fertilizers and Roundup their preferred weed killer. Farmers who plant Monsanto corn must pay the company royalties in addition to the fertilizer and Roundup. This is simply corporate greed at its very worst. Genetically engineering plants is not as easy as it might appear. It's not as if they were taking genes from one corn plant and attatching it to another or as has been done in the past cross pollinating different varieties of corn. What they are doing is adding things like genes from animals (pigs to be exact) to get their outcomes. And the results aren't too promising. We are now the lab rats for their experiments. No body knows the long term effects from eating this corn for a long periods of time and yet we were not given a choice in the matter. It was profits before all else.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Undoing Bush

Here's some good news. The Hudson river is now being dredged to remove PCBs and other nasty stuff dumped there by GE. A quick background. When Bush got in one of the things he did was to no longer fund Superfund. That was a fund set up to help clean up our nations toxic waste dumps. What these fools ( and I'm referring to the pro business republicans)did was to cut funding for the EPA and let Superfund run out of money. What they don't seem to realize is that anything toxic you dump into the environment will come back to haunt you. It may not be today or tomorrow but eventually you'll be drinking poison. Even Nixon realized that. He was the one who set up the EPA and Superfund after the Love Canal.

Dredging the mess

I'm also glad that one of the first things Obama did when he took office was to undo the rules on arsenic levels in water that Bush had loosened.

I call B.S.

The GOP is now backing the CIA concerning the Pelosi issue. And just like their true nature these guys will throw you under a bus when it suits their needs. Wasn't it Bush who said the CIA did such a bad job of various investigations and wasn't that the reason Tennant left as CIA head? I guess now that it suits the republican agenda they'll pull the CIA from under the bus, dust them off and hold them up. Once the truth be known a swift kick in the ass and back under the bus they'll go.

The bums rush

The Taleban in Pakistan

I had done a brief study of Afghanistan and then Pakistan to get a feel for what's going on in that part of the world. From the CIA world factbook I see that Pakistan is just a slight step above a third world country. They may have a large army and nuclear weapons but that's about all. With an average anual income of $2600 I don't think you could call them well off economically. Literacy rate is 49.9% and they have water and food borne illness due to lack of potable water. Not a pretty picture even without the Taleban. But let's back up a bit to the 1980s. That was when the Afghans were fighting the Soviet Union. With our assistance and training they were able to frustrate the Russians who finally gave up and left. The U.S. did what it always does in a country with limited government (remember this was a country made up of loose knit tribes and puppet government). We picked the strongest faction and put it in place as the government and that was the Taleban. When the Taleban refused to turn over Osama Bin Ladin the U.S. stepped in and drove them out of the major towns and with the help of the Northern Alliance ( a loose group of tribes from the northern part of the country) drove them to the mountains of the far eastern part of the country. As we persued into the mountains they chose to head to Pakistan. That was perfect for them in that Pakistan isn't letting us persue them past the Afghan borders.
Now for the real kicker. We've been sending drones into Pakistan to do surveilence and target Taleban fighters. We've had several occasions of targeting and firing on the Taleban. The problem? The Taleban travel with local kids (6 and 7 year olds) who will carry their guns and pick up shell casings. The colateral damage to the kids is quite bad. How do they get these kids to follow them around? First the kids are facinated with guns. What young boy wouldn't want the chance to carry an AK 47. So where's mom and dad you might ask? Well the economy is so bad there that parents give their kids to be trained at a madrosa where they are fed and given a Taleban education complete with suicide instructions.

Children of the Taleban

The Pakistan government just permitted the region to be under Shria Law which is a violation of the Pakistan constitution in order to get some type of peace. That was on the condition that the Taleban move out of the cities in the north. They didn't and that's when the Pakistan army moved in. At present some 700,000 people have fled the area. The army is permitting more people to flee during the day so they won't get wiped out in the fighting.

Another problem - The Pakistan army has no experience fighting this type of war. Their last big battle resulted in an entire town being leveled with all the civilians and Taleban killed. The Taleban now have a greater presents in the western and northern part of the country and are recruiting more young men with each bombing.

What's the solution to this fine mess left by Goeorge W? At this point I really don't know. There was a chance to change things before they moved into Swat in Pakistan. At that time their numbers were far less and they didn't have the blessings of the Pakistan government to take up residence. We're starting to look like the Soviets of the 1980s. Just two days ago a suicide bomber at a U.S. base in Khost (Afghanistan on Pakistan border) killed nine afghan workers.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Found a new blog/news site

Fresh from the bowels of the creative mind of one Carlos Watson The Stimulist offers some inspiring and fresh angles to todays news. The target audience is the very young voting block who doesn't bother with stoggy newspapers or the slant of the nightly news. This audience gets most of it's news on the run from laptop or cell phone. I know what you're thinking. This must be some Campbells' soup of news condensed to the point of some text message with abreviations that only a preteen could decipher. But no. It's a series of short grabbing paragraphs that lead to articles with an abundance of well researched links. Carlos just may be on to something here by defining a new method that upstages the likes of Google or Yahoo News.

Sometimes the news gets too depressing

Hard to write latley with all the bad news. I keep seeing the evidence of our wonderful Bush depression with a weekly trip to the store passing all the closed shops along the way. I see more carpet and furniture stores with boarded up windows on this last weekend trip. Stores that had been there for over twenty years gone.

Afghanistan and Pakistan - I see undersupplied troops with no real mission unless just staying alive long enough to make it through a duty tour and hoping you don't get extended can be called a mission. I think Bin Ladin will die of old age before we catch him and the rest of the team will be well hidden in the mountains. To think we could bring democracy to that country was very wishful thinking.

Iraq - Soldier shoots several of his fellow soldiers. Gee and they thought people doing two tours of duty in Vietnam were nuts. This guy did three. Everyone has their breaking point. And now we're starting to see the return of suicide bombers. Let's see with 25+% unemployment it should be easy to get followers. You think we should just leave and let them rebuild the country rather than killing us or themselves?

GM and Chrystler set to close dealerships - That would throw over 150,000 out of work. That's a good way to eliminate pesky paperwork just get rid of all your customers.

Bank robberies - Saw more robberies in the last week than I care to remember. Now the robbers are bringing their kids along. What is this? Bring your kid to work month? Give little Billy some paper and pen and he can make out the note in the car before Daddy pops in for a quick withdrawl. Sorry Mr. Robber the bank doesn't have any money. They lost it in subprime mortgages and hedge funds. The money they got from taxpayers went to executive bonuses and junkets.

Healthcare - There's now 60 million without it and climbing. By the time they decide on how to fix the problem it will be much worse. With all the layoffs you know they'll have to cut medicare and medicade along with social security.

Schools - They've closed a bunch of schools to try and save money. Now they're laying off teachers. Why not just rent out Safeco field and hold classes there.

I could go on and on but I won't. Need to post this before a scheduled outage at 2:00 AM

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Not much for "Mothers Day"

I think I celebrate holidays more out of tradition than anything else. Anymore it doesn't make much sense. We do what we do because we have chosen to do it. We are tied to our primal instincts. I think we're more tied to our bioligical make up than we'd care to admit. There's a hormonal drive to reproduce weather man or woman. On a base level women are the child bearers and nurturers. Men are the providers and protectors. At least that's the way it's supposed to work. Does either job raise one parent above the other? And what about the children raised by a grandparent or aunt or the children in foster care? What about them?
No I'm more apt to show my respect for another by the actions I do on a daily basis. I bought you your favorite ice cream. I did the dishes even the ones with baked on greese. I rented that movie you wanted to see for such a long time. I helped your relatives out of a jam. Because if you add it all up it comes out to something far greater than buying some cheezy card or being stupid enough to buy mom a new vacuum cleaner.
But the greatest gift a child can give a parent is for them to be happy and sucessful. Nothing gives mom more pleasure than to say my son/daughter is happy as a (fill in the blank) because she knows that she had a big part in what they became.

Teach your children well moms...

Friday, May 8, 2009

Libby Montana update

The case against the executives of R.W. Grace has concluded. The execs got off scott free.

Charges against two executives were dropped during the trial at the request of prosecutors. The jury then acquitted Henry Eschenbach, Jack Wolter and Robert Bettacchi.

I can only hope that these executives have been well exposed to asbestos and die of the same death they brought on their workers. Mesotheleoma is a very slow and painful death by suffication. There is no cure so all the money they made killing others won't help them.

If you think about it pop over to the Libby Montana web site before Memorial Day and send your condolences. I'll get a link up later. They hold a memorial to all who died from asbestos exposures.

UPDATE: There is a memorial page that gives the history of the story but nothing for comments. If you go down to the second page of the table of contents you'll see what Bush and the republicans think of regular Americans.

Libby Tragedy

Thursday, May 7, 2009

This one slipped under my radar

I was watching Dr Chan of the WHO the other day give a rundown on the swine flu. It was the usual don't run for the hills cyoa don't panic the general population type of presentation. I almost fell asleep listening because I've heard and read so many of those types of presentations. But one thing slightly peaked my interest. She said that this virus could go away for a while and come back in a mutated form and be much worse than the initial outbreak. Now I'm thinking it would be some stronger form of the same virus that combination of swine, bird and human. Then I came upon what their real concern was about in all this:

The genetic building blocks of the swine flu virus come from pigs, humans and birds. Scientists believe that the virus mutated into its present version in pigs which may have been exposed to an avian version of the flu, which then mutated into its present form. Disease experts are especially concerned that the ability to mutate seen so far in the virus could eventually see it combine with the human immunodeficiency virus, which causes AIDS.

We were lucky with the last outbreak of bird flu which is about 82% fatal. The bird flu was rather difficult to spread from bird to human then human to human. That is no longer the case. With the possibility of swine flu combining with HIV there is also the thought of it joining with other nasty viruses like ebola, marburg or other hemoragic virus. Even though that might be highly unlikely due to the locations where the latter viruses are found it may just be something to consider. With ebola there is no treatment or cure and it's always fatal. How would we deal with such combinations? There would be quarintines and like Mexico did the shutting down of entire cities. This could be much like the black plague that wiped out 2/3 the population of Europe with trucks and haz mat crews traveling the streets to bag and pick up the dead. Scary thoughts for sure.

Going Galt

Going Glib

I hear that there's a new trend sweeping the innertubes and it's going galt. Well never being one to follow trends I've decided to go Glib. In honor of one P. Paulson I give you the republican understanding of supply and demand.

When the demand is high and the supply is low prices go up.

When demand is low and the supply is low prices go up.

When demand is low and the supply is high prices go up.

When the demand is high and the supply is high prices go up.

And in conclusion their definition of supply side economics is when large sums of money moves from the bottom 99% to the top 1%.

Trickle down economics is defined by all monies moving from the Buffets to the Gates and sometimes being stolen by the Madoffs in the process.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

What is this guy doing?

If you think this guy is putting up markers to honor the war dead in Iraq or Afghanistan you'd be wrong. He's putting up markers to honor the people that R.W. Grace Corp. killed by exposing them to asbestos. In the small town of Libby, Montana population 2000 some 225 people have died from asbestos exposures. As asbestos can take up to 30 years to kill you I'm sure we'll see more deaths in the future. Libby Montana

But a little background as to why I really hate George W. Bush and the rest of his thugs the republican party. When the news of Libby broke several years ago the EPA was all set to move this little town to a high place on the superfund list. Everything was set and clean up of the town had started. Then George W. stepped in and signed an executive order stating that there was no danger to the population of Libby. Six top EPA officials upon reading this executive order threatened to resign. Bush backed down and overturned the order and the legal case against R.W. Grace continued as did the clean up. The closing arguments of one of the trials is set for today as the case goes to the jury. This is one of those cases where all the money in the world won't make much difference when you know the odds of your survival are very slim. For executives to be so stupid and greedy as to put not only an entire towns life at risk but their own as well is beyond imagination. The asbestos dust was everywhere in that town. It was used as loose attic insulation. The company would offer mine tailings for free rather than pay to have it removed.
I recall seeing the film of one executive testifying about what they did as if it was no big deal. I was later told he died about a year later from the very asbestos from which he made his money. A Bush supporter I'm sure.
Every year on Memorial day the town holds a memorial for the people who lost their lives to R.W. Grace

Monday, May 4, 2009

Not so fast boys Time to pay up

Obama wants to have companies that have offshore accounts to start paying up. Now to all those out there who think that this is some kind of tax increase on business think again. A person making $50,000 pays a tax rate of 25%. A corporation making $500,000 has a tax rate of 35% but with the little loophole of having a PO box in the Cayman Islands or other tax haven and someone there to forward mail back to corporate headquarters the corporation pays no taxes. Corporations say they pay taxes to the foreign government while telling the foreign government that they pay the U.S. taxes. The end result is that the individual taxpayer pays thousands while the corporation pays nothing. This will be interesting when they start auditing the books and checking the declared taxes corporations say they pay.
It's estimated that $21 billion is lost from this corporate tax evasion. Here's an idea let's have the IRS audit their books for the last 7 years and make them pay the same penalties and interest that they charge the little guy. Then maybe we'd see that CEO pay and bonuses start to look realistic.

I see the stock market went up by a couple hundred points today. I have a theory about that. It isn't because the economy has bottomed out. It's because the short sellers are looking for a good time to dump their positions. There's no way corporate profits are going to go up anytime soon if Chrysler is basically finished and GM is not far behind. That's over 200K workers out with no prospects. Think what that will do for consumer demand. There's so many companies calling it quits or cutting back I can't count the empty store spaces any more. The only places with even half full parking lots are the food stores and even shoppers there are buying less.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Cram down? Not so fast

Most people out there have a sense of fair play and when we see our neighbors in trouble wouldn't think twice about helping out. The current legislation to help homeowners facing foreclosure is a very sticky situation. Senator Dick Durbin wanted to put an ammendment to permit judges to change the valuations of mortgaged property as well as the interest rates on those mortgages. This is called "Cram Down". While this sounds like the fair thing to do considering our present economic situation nobody considered the other side of the equation here. That would be that money for mortgages comes from investments and where do those investments come from? A whole bunch comes from retirement and pension funds invested long term providing monthly checks to grandma and grandpa along with a lot of other retirees. Could you imagine the banks having to send a letter to grandma telling her that because mortgages had to be restructured and the interest rates lowered that her monthly pension check will now have to be less as well? You could just imagine the uproar.

Cram Down

So what's the solution. My guess if this works out even close to fair would be that homeowners can get a new mortgage yet the terms may be gradually changed. The banks will have to write off more of their losses and bondholders will have to take a bit of a bite and tax payers will need to wait for any return. Everyone will just have to give a little. The alternative? Foreclose on all the bad loans. Demo the house. Tell the investor he's lost. Close the bank and watch as the entire economy hits rock bottom.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The spring beaver is out and about

After a nice bath the beaver needs a towel.