Friday, July 30, 2010

Busy Beaver Friday

It looks like I got the job, but I never count my chicken before they hatch. I've had a few false starts of late and never want to jix anything. More details later. Sorry that's a pretty cheap looking beaver I've posted. Will do better next week maybe.

Bank failures later.

Update: Everything goes to hell on Fridays. Thought I could get away from politics by being at work. How wrong I was. Long story. I'll explain in a later post.
Bank failures: In GA FLA WA and OR five in all. I'm noticing that all these banks are small local banks.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Watch out Randal you may be next

The city of Dallas, Texas is set to fire 500, mostly people in the library system.
There'll be no hiding in the back stacks of unread National Geographics. No more trying to look busy while checking the email. And we know you've figured out how to circumvent that iron fisted porn filter. Librarians know all the tricks. So what will it be? Religated to a street corner? Pssst! Hey buddy I'll teach you how to download porn to your Kindle for a price.
What's to become of all our warehouses of books? Sent to Afghanistan to be glued together as a new type of green housing project? Oh the shame of it all.

Got to run... later gator

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Off for another job interview wish me luck

In the mean time kitty must have missed Tuesday. Time flies when you have little to do.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Great Depression of the 21st century

History is repeating itself yet again. How easily we forget history but it just seems to come back to bite us in the rear and we never learn. Years and years ago our lawmakers put in place laws many of which were fashioned as the result of some catastrophic event. It was so that "this will never happen again". But somehow the event and laws gets lost and forgotten, down the rabbit hole of memories. We'll get rid of this law or that only to have a history replay.
Back in the early 80s our acting president Ronald Reagan didn't like a law or form of spending that he didn't want to cut. And who would he cut? That was easy. He cut those that could not fight back politically, the poor and disabled. He cut the community action programs that were the very safety nets of society. With a rapier pen he slashed the budgets of any program offering assistance to the least of us. This time it's different. Back then states still had some money tucked away for such rainy days. Not so today. Today we're seeing Reagan on steroids. Those wonderful tax cuts that Bush put in place for the wealthy are sucking money right out of the poor. Where else do you think it comes from? Their Robin Hood (in reverse) will only work for so long. Eventually big business will have such deep pockets and no customers. Customers will be sucked dry and trying to make it on the streets if they aren't there already.
They call this the Great Recession but I beg to differ. The percentages may be a bit different from the Great Depression but the effects are exactly the same. I'll bet that you can't walk more than two blocks without seeing at least one empty house or not know of somebody out of work. The last recession of the 80s was short lived lasting about a year to 18 months. This one has lasted over two and a half years and counting with no end in sight.
Massive cuts have been made in state budgets and yet there are still shortfalls. What's left to cut? The only thing left would be essential services. They're already starting to do that. Roads are being left unrepaired. Police departments are seeing staff cuts. Fire departments are consolidating personnel with other districts. We'll see more cities go unincorporated with no services. So everything will be passed off to the counties that are already under great strain. This will be a libertarian's delight until they're in need of those services and then it will be "where's the government?"
Stop to think where you'd be without your home. You could live in your car if it was paid for but good luck finding a place to park it at night where sleeping in cars is okay. You could do the tent city route if you don't mind moving every 90 days. Head for the hills? Sorry no camping permit kindly pack your stuff and vamose you can sleep here.
So the next time you see one of those cardboard carrying sign guys at the side of the road stop and consider it just might happen you.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The insanity continues

Hey, I want a job with the Taliban. You get paid by the U.S. military not to attack our supply lines and you get paid by the Pakistan spy service to attack U.S. troops. So I wonder who's paying more? I've got an idea. Let's train them all to be hedge fund managers and nobody gets killed outright. They could amass large sums of money with nothing more than a few keystrokes on a computer. But, the death comes to the people they fleece. A slow painful death by slowly eliminating grandma's retirement fund.

Five billion a month is being dumped into this 'war' and not much to show. I'd say it's more like a robbery only nobody sees it as that. "But if we don't fight them over there they'll be crawling all over the place over here" is the cry. I say bull! Anyone who's studied history knows that eventually there'll be differences, more than likely a civil war of sorts and then somebody will come out on top. But with all the corruption there it'll be more than likely that one of the gangs will land up the leader. Then it will be just a matter of what deal can be struck for the mineral riches.

We can dump billions, no make that hundreds of billions trying to build a nation that doesn't care one iota about being a nation while millions here would like just a fraction of that money to be able to get on with our lives and maybe think of retirement. But no the middle class is being sucked dry as Wall Street continues it's Las Vegas ways. The gains you've seen in the Dow are imaginary, pumped up by yet more derivative sales. Find the country most likely to fail and bet that it will. Don't bother to actually put capital back in the markets because that is such a suckers bet. Or tout that your investment company is community owned therefore safe from the Wall Street wolves.

Maybe we should just change the ramblings of Marie Antoinette from "Let them eat cake" to the Right's "Let them eat dirt". Not so much as scraps for those who actually did all the work in this country. A few more weeks of checks and yet more food bank Top Ramen may get you through the fall but what then? There is no plan that I can see unless somebody is keeping it well underwraps.

Don't worry about your drums falling over because they're empty or soon will be.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Somebody's up for some serious jail time

A whistle blower testified that over his repeated objections and complaints that the fire alarm system was silenced aboard the Deep Water Horizon rig. Included in rebuff was the captain of the rig. Wouldn't want to wake the other mucky mucks while everybody's burning to death now would we?

I wanted to cut and past the actual coast guard rules covering the operation of fire alarm systems aboard sea vessels but as usual the print came out so tiny you can't read it. In short all fire alarm systems are not to be silenced when in the normal operating mode.
I'm not that up on my fire codes but I have studied our local ordinances so I know that if you park in a fire lane it's a $30 fine. If you're parked there and the fire department shows up it goes to $300. Nothing in the law if somebody dies because you were too lazy to park it but I'm sure with the rig this is being investigated. Can you say negligent homicide?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Cute furry creature

Busy digging up yet more environmentally damaging actions from our boys in the energy industry. Just today 2 more people died in the pursuit of cheap energy. More details later along with the latest bank failures.

Update: A three-man crew, employed by a maintenance contractor, were working on oil tanks at the well in Indiana Township when the blast happened at 9:50 a.m., rocketing one of the tanks more than 70 yards into the woods, said Allegheny County Emergency Director Robert Full. Two of the workers were killed.
Last week 20 workers were injured 4 in critical condition with serious burns when a section of a coke plant exploded near Pittsburgh. Workers said that workers were trying to stop a leaking gas line when something ignited the gas.
This is all about process safety and cutting corners. Any type of hot work on a tank must be done with the tank inerted (filled with co2 or nitrogen). Any gas lines need to be shut down before repairs. But no they never listen to reason, skip the safety and get her done only they are the ones who get done.

Failed banks: There were seven banks this week that bit the dust from FL to Ore.

If you think BP is going to clean up every drop of oil

Prince William Sound

Think again.

Now I can't say that I have first hand knowledge of the Gulf spill but others who have investigated their actions can say first hand what this company is all about. One investigator Greg Palast has such knowledge. In his report of the Exxon Valdez spill which by the way BP had the major financial stake in ownership and spill response, Greg gives a real insight into just how sleezy this company really is.

From his investigative report:
Before the Exxon Valdez grounding, BP's Alyeska group (BP's oil response group) claimed it had these full-time oil spill response crews. Alyeska had hired Alaskan Natives, trained them to drop from helicopters into the freezing water and set boom in case of emergency. Alyeska also certified in writing that a containment barge with equipment was within five hours sailing of any point in the Prince William Sound. Alyeska also told the state and federal government it had plenty of boom and equipment cached on Bligh Island.

But it was all a lie. On that March night in 1989 when the Exxon Valdez hit Bligh Reef in the Prince William Sound, the BP group had, in fact, not a lick of boom there. And Alyeska had fired the Natives who had manned the full-time response teams, replacing them with phantom crews, lists of untrained employees with no idea how to control a spill. And that containment barge at the ready was, in fact, laid up in a drydock in Cordova, locked under ice, 12 hours away.

As a result, the oil from the Exxon Valdez, which could have and should have been contained around the ship, spread out in a sludge tide that wrecked 1,200 miles of shoreline.

And here we go again. Valdez goes Cajun.


I do recall now that I think of it when I first got my 80 hour hazmat certification and was on loan to another company to do some oil and jet feul clean up talking to a worker who had gone to work on that spill. He gets a call about 1:00am gathers a suit case and is on the next flight to Alaska. He said it was a joke. He and a handful of other workers were there cleaning rocks with absorbent pads only to have them get recontaminated at the next high tide. The clean up crew also used high pressure steam to clean the rocks which killed any benificial bacteria that eats the oil. The 'beach' is mostly rocks and to this day some 21 years later you can go there pick up a rock and find oil on the underside.
The fishermen there didn't fair any better. After fighting for years the average compensation was around $5,000. These were guys who were used to making that much in a week from fishing.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Blue Gold the other half of the story

If it wasn't bad enough that corporations were buying up most of our drinking water to sell back us at a considerable mark up or the energy industry using our water for coal, oil and gas production, the gas companies are following the lead of BP in the way they rape our land and pollute our ground water. Seems all of the general methods used in drilling for natural gas are no better.
Flying under the radar while everyone's attention was focused on the Gulf another blowout was taking place in Pennsylvania.
See if this doesn't sound familiar:

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection officials moved quickly and methodically to investigate the blowout finding EOG Resources negligent in the operation of blow out prevention equipment and related training. The state fined the company and its sub-contractor a record $400,000 on July 13, 2010. The PADEP found that during the blowout, EOG operators did not contact 911 emergency services until more than 3 hours after the geyser of gas and produced water began along with failing to immediately report the blowout to the PADEP’s 24- hour emergency hotline.

A little backgroud. EOG Resources used to be (wait for it)... Enron! That wonderful company that ripped off everybody on the west coast by charging outragous rates pumping up their stock price while the CEO Ken Lay (may he rot in hell) and his minions sold off their shares in the company just before it tanked. I take this personnaly because our local utility bought power from them and I got a winter electric bill that was triple what it normally was with not so much as a thank you.
EOG while shelling out $400K as a fine is a slap on the wrist because the company made $2.4 billion in profits. This little blowout cost 16 families in that area the permanant use of their water supply. It's totally contaminated and unusable. This company has over 600 permits to do the same in other parts of the state. Total rig permits for the state is 3500. That's 3500 opportunities to screw up a whole lot of water and ruin even more families lives. If you caught the documentary 'Gasland' then you'll know how much damage these rigs can do.

The number one issue right now is jobs. People whine that if we prevent these companies from their further rape of the land then that will take jobs out of communities. I say bull. How about we work on solar, wind, tidal, geothermal and any other renewable sources at least until the next major source like fusion gets perfected in about 30 or forty years. Or should we just say the hell with it and totally pollute our water air and earth and just leave it for our kids and grand kids to figure out?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

We think we have it bad

Come to the crystal clear waters of the Yellow Sea and frolic in our newly formed oil bath. Our ancient chinese secret formula will exfoliate your skin down to the bone. Great for removing those long time pesky inperfections in your complexion. Also included is a hair oil treatment you'll never forget.

This is of course a worker being rescued from the sea when an oil pipline broke spilling 400,000 gallons into the Yellow Sea. From the description this type of oil is far more difficult to clean up than the oil we have on our shores. I believe it to be bunker oil which is about as thick as peanut butter and it doesn't look like the chinese were prepared for the clean up by the following statement:

"We don't have proper oil cleanup materials, so our workers are wearing rubber gloves and using chopsticks," an official with the Jinshitan Golden Beach Administration Committee told the Beijing Youth Daily newspaper in apparent exasperation.

Oh and do they bother to close their beaches and fishing? Of coure not, they just wait until the population figures it out that it's not smart to go swimming or fishing. When your sea bass dinner starts smelling like 40 weight it's time to switch to chicken.
Now I see why the republicans like the chinese so much... not many rules.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Blue Gold

We worry about our energy supply but there is an interrelated supply that needs our attention as well. Water will be the next source of contention. We've seen the droughts in Africa and water shortages in Georgia but nothing compared to what's about to happen on a larger scale.

Local and state governments have attempted to allocate water rights, but their efforts have been piecemeal and often short-sighted. In the absence of a coherent policy for protecting water resources, supplies are depleted, and what is left becomes more and more polluted by industrial, agricultural, and biological waste products. In fact, the Great Plains is on the brink of a water crisis, a silent crisis that threatens the health of people, environments, and economies.

Here's a pie chart of how we use our water:

As you can see there is a definite interrelationship between water and the production of energy. Our power plants use massive amounts of water and yet with the ever growing demand due to population growth more power plants are due to be built. Then there's the large amounts used in the production of coal, gas and oil. To add insult to injury we're removing about 4% more water than is being replenished.
The planet is 3/4 water but less than about 1% is usable. Desalinization you say? That takes a large amount of energy which in turn takes a large amount of water.

(From a Dept. of Energy report)
Competition for fresh water is already limiting energy production. For example, Georgia Power lost a bid to draw water from the Chattahoochee River, the Environmental Protection Agency ordered a Massachusetts power plant to reduce its water withdrawals, Idaho has denied water rights requests for several power plants, Duke Power warned Charlotte, NC to reduce its water use, and a Pennsylvania nuclear power plant is planning to use wastewater from coal mines. Other utilities are warning of a power crunch if water availability is reduced.

I'm seeing large corporations buy up water rights and buying city water. They expect me to pay 100 times the rate for the same water I get out of my tap. The plastic bottle which can't be recycled back into bottles costs far more than the water inside. And here's another thing to consider, bottled water isn't checked for chemicals and bacteria but once per week while your water district checks tap water daily.

So you see why energy conservation is more important than ever right now. The more energy we use the more water will be needed to produce that energy and less water for personal use. Note when your paying the bills what's usually one of the smallest bills. Not for long if corporations have their way.

For a real eye opening documentary check out Blue Gold

A Bustedknuckle rant

Sorry but I must say the Ornery Bastard does a much better job at blowing off at seam than I ever could. I think his rants are enhanced with copious amounts of beer and Jack Danials. The reason I bring the whole subject up is that I went to the job boards this morning only to get time after time the following message: 'Sorry no jobs found".

The ruling party in Afghanistan live in multi million dollar compounds that we paid for and contune to finance. But actually most of them don't even live there. They rent out these walled and armed guarded villas and aren't even in the country. They don't want us to leave because they know this welfare for the rich will end.

Then there's the billions of dollars pumped into Iraq each month and we know most of it is being skimmed as our military gets charged $100 for a load of laundry. Only to find out that that load was washed in polluted water and needs to be cleaned again. Soldiers drinking and showering with water that's unfit for human consumption.

More bailouts for Wall Street in the form of limp rules that do nothing to change the game. No rule changes for oil, gas and mining companies. I wouldn't expect anything to change until after the midterm elections. Wouldn't want to piss off your donors now would we?

Insurance companies just had or will soon have buckets money thrown at them in the form of new patients or should I say premiums. I'm sure their lawyers are busy looking for all the loopholes in droping all but the most healthy.

All this money going out the door for the wealthy and well connected but nothing for actual jobs for our citizens. We're told we're lazy and we don't want to work. If that were true then what the hell do these guys think that we were doing the last twenty years, sitting on the couch eating bon bons? And I'd like to see one of these over the hill lizzard lipped nerds pick up a jack hammer and bust their ass. I'd bet they wouldn't make it 20 minutes. Yet they expect people that do to do it into their 70s.

Keep your drums upright or for all I care kick them over. It doesn't seem to matter to BP.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A better way

In thinking about the antiquated technology we're presently using on the oil in the Gulf I think it's beyond time to rethink and redesign oil spill tech. With spills getting ever larger and the means based in tech that's 40+ years old the time is overdue. Here's just a few ideas that come to mind that would move us forward.

This is a frame press. It's used to separate water from wastes by forcing it through membranes or filters. This is actually a small version. They can be as big as the size of a small house and can process quite a bit of liquids with filters as big as 50 sq. ft. With BP using massive quantities of dispersants there now is no choice but to use different methods. We know that when oil is treated as BP did then the oil becomes heavier than water making the usual separation methods ineffective. All of Kevin Costner's good work gone down the drain. Had they attacked this problem like a military operation from the beginning there would have been less problems but that would be hindsight and there's no time for that now. At present we can only deal with all the mistakes made and learn to deal with it.

The 'A Whaler' was a good idea had it been readily available from the get go and dispersants not been used. But let's take some old technology twist it around a bit and see if we can't come up with better ideas. With some modifications I think the giant skimmer ship might be promising. I'd retrofit it with six large booms that could be extended out 40 or 50 feet off the port and starboard sides of the ship. At the end of each boom would be a floating collection box with a sweep and vacuum. A camera mounted at the end of each would help find the ribbons of oil. A couple of snorkels with camera could suck up a good bit of the undersea plumes.

I'm sure there are plenty of other good ideas out there just waiting to be perfected.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Underwater Friday beaver

Here's a Friday beaver hoping that the Gulf gets cleaned up soon as he's tired of seeing his saltwater friends dying down there. "If you humans are so smart why don't you have this oil cleaned up yet?" "And you call me a dumb animal."

Bank disasters later. Until then keep em upright.

Six more banks hit the skids this week 2 in SC 3 in FL and 1 in MI.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bits and pieces

Hat tip to Tengrain for the Cheney pic.

Dick Cheney gets a heart pump. You just know how those republicans just "love" socialized medicine as long as it's only for them. What the articles on Cheney's surgery fail to mention is that the pump is an impeller hooked directly to the heart meaning that he now has no heartbeat. Like the zombie he is they just might not be able to tell if he's dead or alive should he be in a dead sleep (pun intended). My guess is that he's not long for this world. Sorry Dick I never did save any of that asbestos I removed so you could make a hereafter suit out of it.

BP goes with the on again off again and on again testing of the shut off. Hey morons! Why didn't you leave the collection pipes in place while you jacked off trying to figure out whether you were going to go ahead with this operation? Now there'll be another couple million gallons of oil in the Gulf.

I see the cops in New Orleans that shot people trying to escape Hurricane Katrina will be headed to jail. Maybe there is just a little justice left in this country.

Again this connection is running as slow as molasses so until next time...

Keep your drums upright.

Monday, July 12, 2010

BP just doesn't learn

While everybody's focus has been on the Gulf oil gusher MSM missed another example of BP's brash greed and ignoring safety when our Alaska pipeline sprung a leak dumping 100,000 gallons on the environment. The pipeline is co-owned by BP although it does not have BP's name on it.

On Tuesday, Pump Station 9, at Delta Junction on the 800-mile pipeline, busted. Thousands of barrels began spewing an explosive cocktail of hydrocarbons after "procedures weren't properly implemented" by BP operators, say state inspectors. "Procedures weren't properly implemented" is, it seems, BP's company motto.

In digging into this story I find that anyone who worked for BP was encouraged to gloss over any safety measures and anyone bringing up safety violations was given a nice bonus then transfered to another BP facility in another part of the country on the condition they not speak of the violations. If that was not acceptable to the whistle blower the company would investigate the employee's background in an effort to smear their credibility or find any dirt that could be used against them. Nothing like bribery and blackmail as a business model.

The issue with BP is process safety. Something they have ignored time and time again. This is the third incident starting with the Texas City refinery fire in 2005 that killed 15 workers.

If BP designed cars!

I had a bit more to this post but this connection is running as slow as dial up tonight.

Keep your drums upright.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Poor Paul

The German cephalopod who's only crime it was to pick all of the outcomes of the World Cup soccer matches. He did okay as long as he picked the Germans but I guess the Germans just can't handle the truth when he picked Spain over the Fatherland. Poor Paul, his only crime was being right and now his fans would like to see him fried in butter.

Wonder if he's any good with Lottery numbers?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

New Orleans honors BP with

How's that BP PR campaign working out for you Dudley?

Friday beaver drags her tail into saturday

Busy tearing the bathroom sink apart. First it started to leak somewhere then got plugged. Pulled the p trap and snaked out a hairball big enough to kill a cat. Had another replacement sink only to discover that some dumbass worker in china had put an oval sink in the box marked round. Oh well, I sealed any place the leaks could occur and will put the whole thing back together today. But of all the jobs around the house I hate plumbing the most. Seems every time I get something back together it leaks or a part is always the wrong size.

Bank failures: Four more took a dive - two in Md. 1 in NY and 1 in OK. I suspect you'll see more in the coming months as the Alt-A loans come due. Those were the adjustable rate mortgages who's rates jump after so many years. They're all scheduled to come due in the fall.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

About how I feel this morning

After two years on the bench I finally went into the game last night. There's something to be said for high pain tolerence. Jackhammering concrete in an elevator shaft a little bit bigger than a closet has kicked my... well you get the picture. The clowns on the other side of the aisle think that people who do construction type work can keep doing it until their in their 70s? Ain't going to happen. There was a time just a few years ago when I could run circles around kids in their 20s (the gameboy generation). Not anymore. I need to find something a bit less physical.

Keep your drums upright

Monday, July 5, 2010

Left over mixed nuts

Gulf oil spill or do we call it a gusher?
There are numberous silly reports that the last ditch effort to contain this runaway well would be for the military to set off a nuke at the well head. That's not going to happen for several reasons. I may have mentioned the first a while back. When setting off a nuclear device underwater or underground like they did in the 1950s the force of the blast creates a bubble. In the underground tests the land rose up then slammed down so hard it created a creator. The sea floor in the well area is made of mud and sand. Setting off a device would cause the sea floor to glassify for about a few seconds then the force of the bubble would shatter that glass layer. End result would be that the shale below the mud and sand could fracture even more making the flow worse and possibly radio active. Remember there's a mile of water that would be slamming down on it. Each gallon weighing 8 pounds more or less.

Evacuation plan
And now the tin foil hat crowd thinks that there is a secret plan to move 50 million people from the gulf coast region and house them in detention camps in FEMA trailers in Missouri and elsewhere. Once again these nut jobs haven't done their homework. There is a plan that's been in the works for what to do in the event of another large hurricane like Katrina. Exactly what do you do with even a couple of million people or even a couple hundred thousand people for that matter when there is that much destruction? We saw what happened with Katrina. It could happen in other places as well with a flood or earthquake. I think that's why they call it "emergency management".

Gold what not to invest in
Seems everywhere you turn there an ad to buy gold. Gold that safe place to invest. Gold is going higher every day. Gold coins, gold bars, gold futures, gold jewlery, buy gold, sell your gold.
I say bunk!
I saw the exact same thing happen in the late 1970s and early 80s. Gold prior to that time was fixed at $35 an oz. It went as high as just under $900 an oz. And back then you couldn't own gold other than gold coins. Remember we went off the gold standard which backed our currency until it was discovered that Russia had a large stash and was about to flood the market. And of course our government wanted to make currency fluctuate enabling us to print money. That's a good and a bad story but I won't go into that now. Just like the housing bubble the gold prices have gone up and up but really. Stop for a moment and think. Is gold really worth what they say it is? In the 80s a two bedroom apartment in downtown Tokyo went for $2 million. That figure has since fallen to a more realistic level. We always think that our stuff is more valuable than it really is but the truth is it's only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it and if by some chance that gold rush fever takes hold then the price climbs creating the next bubble. Those unlucky enough not to notice get crushed when the sell off begins.
So like the kitty I think I'll just forgo the ride and keep my feet on the ground.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independence Day

Every year it's the same routine. But this year is different. A list of the usual happenings on this day:

Kids start shooting of firecrackers a day or two in advance.
A parade with military band in the morning.
Some community celebration with games flags and bunting. Not to forget the pie eating contest.
Fire trucks on display and sometimes a firemens hose battle.
Family gatherings with hot dogs, hamburgers, chips and potatoe salad.
There's the firework injuries with full ERs. Who doesn't know of somebody who didn't hurt by one as a kid.
Lost dogs and cats who ran away as the noise fest started.
At least one house is set on fire from a stray rocket.

As I said this year is different:
Many fireworks displays were cancelled for lack of money. The one in Seattle almost didn't happen because the corporate sponsors pulled out. This after they got a bailout from the government and gave out hefty bonuses. It wasn't until local small businesses got together and with the help of small private donations the show will go on.
Many community celebrations were cancelled.
There's been almost no fireworks being set off by kids in the area. I heard some about a week ago. Today is silent.
In years past people would talk about their work and families at gatherings. This year it will be who's working and how long you've been out of work. Who's still managing to keep their kids in school. Who's been sick and how they'll pay for it.
It's cold here high of 64 and there's a chance of rain. Kind of punctuates the entire mood here.

Just what is that cat drinking? It's tempting but I'll pass because I know how he'll feel tomorrow.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The friday independence beaver

I picked this beaver because he looks like he's playing a fife in keeping with the holiday. And on that note I came upon a blog post that's sure star spangled banner writing but just not in the way you'd expect. A welcome back to D-cup who's seemed to have stepped back up on her political soap box and throw her two cents into the discussion of the teabag crowd.

A cherry bomb for your barbecue

And that got me to thinking. Exactly where did our country go? I remember as a kid seeing my dad every night coming through the door at six. No weird shifts or changes in his work schedule and there was always time for a two week vacation. Sometimes we'd stay home but most times it was to the beach or mountains with a history lesson thrown in. We always had health care thanks to the company so the stitches were no problem.
It wasn't until recently that it dawned on me what had happened. During the 1940s the world had bombed the crap out of itself and there was not much left. The U.S.being left unscathed was the go to guy for all the goods and life we all enjoyed as kids. We made all the TVs radios and cars for the world. And with TVs you could see all those goods that you could get. Soon needs turned into wants and you were nobody unless you had the latest (fill in the blank). Something happened somewhere along the way. Sometime in the last 20 or 30 years things slowly started to give out. We watched as our steel mills were boxed up and shipped to Korea. The lie was that this was old technology and that they'd be building a new less polluting plant. But that never happened. What did happen was nearly all the mills closed left to rot while companies set up shop in Asia and South America and anywhere else they could find cheap labor. Slowly the rest of manufacturing followed with clothing, cars and lately appliances moving overseas. Then there was the in sourcing. Foreign car companies moved here to the cheap labor southern states paying far less than northern counterparts and taking the profits out of the country. Local governments gave these companies sweetheart tax breaks to get the business doing little for the support of services. Building a school ball field or two doesn't make up for what was lost.

So Happy Birthday America or at least what's left of it.

Update: Surprise surprise there were no bank failures this week unless the reporting agency took off early for the 4th.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Why do republicans want to kill grandma and the unemployed?

Unable to deliver more stimulus spending for President Barack Obama, Democrats in Congress had hoped to at least restore the jobless benefits. Obama has urged lawmakers to spend about $50 billion to help states pay for Medicaid programs and to avoid teacher layoffs, but Democrats in Congress have been unable to come up with the votes.

And why weren't they able to get the votes? Because every last republican voted against every bill that would have funded Medicaid and extended jobless benefits. A similar fight happened back in the 1930s but I guess back then people had a bit more empathy. Back then the wealthy were willing to kick in to help the country recover agreeing to tax hikes that got the country back on track. But back then I guess you could pay your doctor bill with a couple of chickens. Not so today where the costs keep going up. Remember there was the rush to jack up prices before any health care reform came into play and even after that bill passed the bean counters were able to squeeze in yet more increases.

At present there are 6 people for every job being offered and contrary to what they would have you believe many of the jobs are technical requiring either a degree or several years experience in a field. The McDonald's jobs went a long time ago, about a year and a half ago if memory serves correct. But if you ask a republican you'd think there was plenty of fry clerk jobs. Hell even all the fast food places are lowering their prices to get business.

Republicans seem to think that a person can go out and get a minimum wage job when people have a mortgage and car payment. Or maybe we could just move back in with our parents who died twenty or thirty years ago. Maybe that's their plan, to allow us to take up residence next to mom and dad at the family plot. Change the rules on cemeteries and let them stack the outcome of the Bush depression. Cremation is cheaper but I don't think we could afford the gas.

If they had their way republicans would eliminate Medicare and Medicaid, scrap Social Security and as we can see by them we're just unemployed lazy dogs. I'd love for them to be run out of office and have to get a "real" job and no going to their lobbying buddies for help. I'd love to see the look on the faces when they typed into the job search and those wonderful words spring up on their screen "sorry no jobs found".

Their plan? Lower taxes yet again for those at the top and privatize everything else thereby moving all that money to the top. Can't have a service of any kind without some executive making a multi seven figure salary now can we?

So just wrap me in a lawn sized Hefty bag and cart me out to the curb. When is pickup day?