Thursday, September 30, 2010

A sad eureka moment

Just had one of those eureka moments. That would be about what's ahead if we don't get this country moving again. People think that we'll land up like a third world country. That's not far from the truth but it will be a slight deviation from that as I see it. As much as one side of the political spectrum would just love to scare you to death and say we need to pre-emptively bomb other nations it's not that simple. Their plan as sick as it may be is to use our military as the front men for the behind the scenes corporate wars that's going on. When we went into Afghanistan with our flags waving and our yellow support our troops bumper stickers made in China, it was not known about the vast mineral riches. Cheney himself was know to say "there's no good targets there". That should have been a tip off as to what was to follow. That was an indication of "the plan". For Cheney the plan was to find a country preferably with oil, bomb the poop out of it, make a ton of cash contracting to the troops (because that's part of what Haliburton does), then make another small fortune rebuilding the country and of course there's the oil fields. Just icing on one very large cake.
So what did we do? We invaded Iraq and blew the hell out of the place. But since there was no longer a banking system we had to send cash (hey didn't our parents tell us never to send cash?). And cash we sent, pallets of it to the tune of billions of dollars. Some $11 billion of it mysteriously growing legs and walking away. But what a cash cow Bush and Cheney created. With a no bid contract Haliburton could sub contract much of the work and charge what every they wanted. As an example where in the world could you have a load of military laundry done for $100 and have it come back nearly as dirty as when it was sent?

Where is this all heading? Unlike North Korea where in order to survive, it's a good idea to join the military, the U.S. is stuck with a bit of a problem. The baby boomers are about to retire so there's no large draft age population moving through the pipes. We've managed to automate much of the military with drones and we've outsourced many of the ground troops with mercinaries, but the fact remains we're running out of cannon fodder. That puts a crimp in the perpetual war plan. Yes I expect that we'll move into Pakistan and we may land up in Iran. The corporations benefitting from this will see none of the down side as the bill goes to the taxpayer. Remember we borrowed just to pay for our current wars. And unless a end can be brought it won't matter who resides in the White House over the next ten years taxes will need to go up and we already know where the brunt of that will fall because the rich create so many jobs you know. That is if youre a Wall Street boy or a Swiss banker.

Where will we be? Not in too good of shape I'm afraid. Congress just once again turned down a bill that would have stopped companies from shipping jobs over seas. Because after all peope around the world need jobs that pay 30 cents an hour and just how do you expect Mr. CEO to pay for his next McMansion in the Hamptons?

Where does this all leave us? I see something that's a cross between Clockwork Orange and Mad Max. The upper middle class living in RVs trying to find a parking spot and the rest living in tents trying to avoid authorities from rousting their camps. Funny how back in the 30s they let people camp on unused land. Not so today.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Blogging slackery

Not much to post about of late. Guess we get like that from time to time. Had my fill of Limpballs, Lohan, Palin and the Teabag crowd.

Dancing shrimp taken off the menu in Calif. Gee and I didn't know they had rhythm.

Border checkpoint to close at Whitetail, Montana. If you do a Google look you'll notice that it's in the middle of nowhere. Our side looks like an old gas station minus the pumps on a two lane road. The Canadian side looks the same. I'd bet they can't remember when the last time somebody passed through that area. It's miles and miles of miles and miles.

Google starting to play censor has a list of words that result in blank pages in instant search. You though granny was bad about a dirty mouth. I always thought there were only 7 words we couldn't use. Google has 2600 and they're adding to the list. Naughty Naughty
But far be it from Google to know that most 10 year olds have figured out exactly how to get around their little ploy. Pop into any public library and check the "kid friendly" computers. You just keep your hands on the keyboard where we can see em kids!

Monday, September 27, 2010

The other shoe is about to drop

This is a graph of the Alt-A loans. Those are loans just a bit better than subprime. These loans were from people who had good credit but had difficulty proving their income like a sales professional who's salary varied due to commissions or investment income. Banks don't want to refinance because in most cases the value of the asset (the house) is below its original value and the current economy doesn't help either.
The other part of the time bomb is the option adjustable mortgages. Home buyers took them out not looking past the teaser rates. Even though the mortgage rates are at an all time low they are due to go up in the next year or two. If they start to rise by next year which should be the case borrowers are in for a rude awakening at their next reset.

From Money
There was plenty more going on behind the scenes they didn't know about, either: that their broker was paid more to sell option ARMs than other mortgages; that their lender is allowed to claim the full monthly payment as revenue on its books even when borrowers choose to pay much less; that the loan's interest rates and up-front fees might not have been set by their bank but rather by a hedge fund; and that they'll soon be confronted with the choice of coughing up higher payments or coughing up their home. The option ARM is "like the neutron bomb," says George McCarthy, a housing economist at New York's Ford Foundation. "It's going to kill all the people but leave the houses standing."

As you can see the ARMs are due to adjust about mid 2011. So the Bush legacy continues. He was the one who wanted everybody to own a house whether they could afford one or not.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Don't know what to title this

Welcome to the Dark Ages of the new millennium where reason is cast to the wind and insanity is raised as the new paradigm. So many souls lost in the name of 'my' god because your god is the wrong one. Metatron laughs a hearty laugh at you. A little information can be a dangerous thing you know. We'll demuslimafi them they say. Round them all up and burn their mosques because isn't that what we did during the war years of the 40s? Night is day and day is night and I don't care what scientists say. Your plan is a scheme and mine is what 'real' Americans think.

Do as I say not as I do. Have you seen the latest leather bondage club? I think you can even get diapers there and powder too. Say your wife is getting old and boring? We'll send over a new intern she's fresh from Vassar I'm told and not your cum laude variety if you know what I mean. Or how about a new page? We've checked their ids and know the boys are over 18. Maybe a trip to South America is more up you alley. We'd set you up with a Brazilian hottie and you could visit the next Olympic games. We could call it part of a push for our new South American trade agreements. Don't they grow soy beans there and they sure have a lot of nice lumber along the Amazon river?

How oh how did I get from the Dark Ages to an Amazon rain forest? That's right I was prepping for that next holiday with pumpkin heads and scary masks. Election season. Not that we haven't seen a berage of ads since August. Makes me wonder just how far they'll take it. Will we be seeing fangs horns and maybe even a tail on their opponent? How much more dirt can be dug? And forget the truth. Libel and slander are so yesterday. Who needs vampires or werewolves when we have human brained mice to contend with. Just hope they don't wear their condoms because condoms spread AIDS you know. And as always no touching below the belt.

Going to make them sweat

Almost every day I get a call for some survey. This I know is not your basic run of the mill household poll to wonder if you use a certain brand fabric softener. I know their motives. Some of them are blatantly stupid when they ask whether I was aware that Obama was going to take away my guns. For the most part I refuse to take part in their silly waste of time and money because that is the only power I have left against them. They make me sweat wondering if the economy will ever turn around. Now it's my turn. I'll just make them sweat and have them wonder if I'll even bother to vote in November. This is an election year, everybody should be working but they're not. One side would have you believe that it's because the other didn't lower taxes and spent a lot of money. That's funny isn't that what got us into this mess in the first place?

Will I vote D or will I vote R or will I just sit on my thumbs? Let 'em all sweat they deserve it.

Almost forgot two more banks hit the skids this week FL and WA.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Migrant workers, the slaves of the 20th + 21st century

Hey it's caturday what'd you expect farm cat to be working.

In digging into the issue of migrant farm workers I find that they are treated worse than the slaves of the civil war era. How can that be you might ask? This is the 21st century. But according to historical documents based on interviews taken from the slaves themselves this appears to be true.

According to Genovese, slaves were fed, clothed, housed and provided medical care in a minimal manner. It was common for masters to pay slaves small bonuses at Christmas, and some slave owners permitted their slaves to keep earnings and gambling profits.

Today farm workers salaries average $7500 per year. That's not even enough to rent a place. Many sleep in tents or share a trailer packed in with several other coworkers because most farms don't provide shelter. A migrant worker works 60 to 80 hours with no overtime pay. In addition to long hours in the hot sun, most of their work is from April to November, workers are exposed to pesticides and herbicides. Imagine working crouched over even 10 hours a day six or seven days a week. And workers aren't covered by Labor and Industries laws. Is it any wonder that farm owners hire illegals and pay them even less than the going rates and who are they going to complain to anyway?

But the real kicker in all of this was when I heard the senator (rethuglican) complain that these workers get unemployment in his state. He said they can get up to $360 a week and that that was putting a drain on his state. I've got news for that senator at an average salary of $7500 that works out to less than $200 a week and unemployment only pays 80% of that. I'd like to see him try to live on that.

(A slight aside) A while back I was watching a documentary about where our tuna comes from and the working conditions of those people. I'm not talking about Deadliest Catch either where those Alaska fishermen haul in tons of fish and get a percentage of the catch. In asian waters its a different story. This is where all of your canned tuna comes from. It worked out to about $3 a day for the worker which was about enough to buy food for yourself, no shelter nothing else.

And what people fail to realize are the hidden costs when the worker must use the local hospital and can't pay the bill. But haven't we seen all this before with the way Wal Mart does business? So it makes you wonder what it would really cost to give a livable wage, an extra 5 or 10 cents a pound?

Friday, September 24, 2010

The beaver of Friday

They say the republicans are taking the lead in the polls. I'm beginning to think that it's a ploy to get democrats off their butts to vote. Looking at the teabaggers blather on about stuff they know nothing about it only makes for a good circus show. We've heard terms like communist, socialist, and fascist thrown around. Would the moderates really hook themselves to an extremist ideology? Some may but I give credit to the voters for being just a bit smarter. Some like my own father a dyed in the wool republican might have been duped that is until the company he worked for for nearly 40 years kicked him to the curb then it dawned on him that what he believed in for so many years wasn't in his own best interest.
Sadly nothing will change until there is campaign finance reform. They tried just yesterday to get a little transparency. A bill to require disclosure in political ads was just voted down. So please note at the bottom of ads who is paying for them because you'll never find out just who the Star Spangled Patriots for Peace and Freedom and the American Way really are even if you go to their website but you can sure bet it's tied to some lobby group.

I'm waiting for Tina Fey to add Christine O'Donnell to her repertoire. That will make for good circus.

Bank fails later...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The plague on America

It's now even Halloween and we have zombies and plagues. And I was so hoping to save them for next month.
If you liked the Bush policies that got us into this mess then you'll just love the republican plan. In it are yet more tax cuts for the wealthy and business on top of making the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy permanent. Only problem with that drunken idea is that it was never paid for in the first place. So where would they come up with the funds to prevent yet more deficits? They refuse to cut military spending so that only leaves raiding social security and Medicare which isn't their's to begin with. They would undo the health care bill but do not say what their plan is to replace it. They want to privatize the VA. Imagine your son or daughter having to fight not one fight on the battle field but another to get the care he or she needs because for profits must, by their very nature, keep tabs on the bottom line and answer not to some government oversight agency but to shareholders. And we've seen how CEOs of the large medical companies have made out like bandits while their customers go with poor service or worse denied. They speak of death panels. Their ideas would give us death panels for all.

Funny how they say they support small business at a photo op then turn around and vote against a bill that supports small business on the very same day. They are against a bill that would close loopholes that make sending our jobs overseas and reward companies that keep them here.

Have a sick child and live in Texas? Too bad

One of the largest insurance companies in Texas is dumping child only policies. In short if you have a kid, live in Texas and he/she is under 19 and your employer doesn't cover the whole family then you're SOL.

Tough beans kids

Texas insurers United Healthcare, Aetna Inc. and Cigna Inc. are among the ones that will no longer offer policies just for individuals under 19.

Brought to you by the Texas Health Care for Kids Association

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


I would reincorporate many of the aspects of the Glass–Steagall Act. I would repeal the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act a republican debacle that got us into this mess in the first place. It was the Act that overturned Glass-Steagall that permitted banks, insurance companies, and investment houses to merge. So rather than make prudent investments as banks once did they were using your deposits like a front man for a two bit gambler. It's all come down to selling products and thereby making fees commissions and points. Then there was the rating agencies who were paid by the bank insurance and investment companies. If that's not a conflict of interest I don't know what is. Nothing like having your used car appraised by another used car salesman who works for the same dealer.

Congress keeps throwing more tax breaks at business. That's not the problem. That's working the problem from the top down when the problem starts at the bottom. There is a lack of demand. Why? Because unemployment is at near 10% and those that are working have had their hours cut due to that lack of demand. Those working are worried they'll be the next to hit the unemployment line so they are cutting back on their spending as well. I don't care if they call this a recession it's really a depression.

Who got bailed out in all this and what else needs to be done? There's Wall Street that really needs to be revamped. Where else can you bet that a company will fail when you have control over the operations and outcome of that company? It would be like me building a deck on your house, doing a shoddy job, then taking out an insurance policy against it's failure. I get paid for the deck then again when it fails. But you say the work was shoddy? That's not what my rating guy said and he wouldn't lie I pay him well. So I'd outlaw the hedge funds unless you owned the asset you're insuring.
Insurance companies have made out like bandits but they have one sticking point that they're trying their best to get rid of. That would be the requirement that 85% of their premiums must go to actual coverage. They have four years to raise rates to cover their profit margins. They'll easily dump the sickly by making premiums so high for them they'll have no choice but to go uncovered. Just a few years ago a doctor visit was about $40 it now averages $100 and the doctor isn't making that. He's now tied to a clinic or medical group because he's been locked in by the insurance companies. Either sign with us or have no payments from our insurance. Then there's the layers and layers of billing to add to the costs as well as administrative costs. Now I have to wonder exactly how the insurance companies and their lawyers are looking for ways around all this because you know they've thought of all this even before the ink was dry on the bill.
Then there's the drug companies. It used to be that part of the profits from the cheaper drugs went to keep the costs of the orphan drugs (uncommon ones for rare diseases) down and provide funds for research. Not so anymore. The orphan drugs cost enough to make you an orphan and just pray the doctor will provide you with a generic lest they drain your bank account just to stay alive. When drug companies primary purpose is for profit we their lab rats get to experience medications for problems we never knew we had and were never a problem until now. Do we really need a drug for twitchy legs or ingrown hairs especially when the side effects just might kill you? But that's okay because they have a drug to combat the side effects. Ask your doctor for details. Yeah right, ask the guy who's the paid pusher for the drug companies.
My opinion. Health care and drugs should not be for profit and too that end there is a loophole in the health care act that permits states to opt for a public option. My state has such a plan but at present it's as expensive as a COBRA. I can only hope that states can join together to bring costs down.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

It's the economy stupid

SW at Oh!pinion got me to thinking as to just how we can get our wonderful congress to start listening to us and not some corporate lobbyist. We know that with an election looming they are in great need to fill their campaign coffers. Corporations banks and investment houses are flush with cash and are now shoveling it at our elected reps to make sure the game isn't changed. America is at present to the point of producing nearly nothing. What is still produced here won't be for long if corporate leaders have their way. As large a nation as we are we can not afford to be a mere service run nation. Even selling Wall Street paper overseas can be done with the click of a mouse now. What to do? Here's the crux of SW's post and after I'll give my two cents:

People are trying to figure out what happened to our economy and how do we improve our economy. . . . you have to get back to policies that really encourage manufacturing in America and making things in America.”

— Pete Brodnitz, Democratic pollster,
in an Associated Press story,
Sept. 18, 2010

My take-
As those at the top seem to have all the wealth and power it would be silly to try and start some type of armed revolution. The right would love nothing more than keep the game as it is with big profits going to their backers and in return to them. I guess that's their idea of "trickle down" economics. The left is just as guilty. While they talk a good game you'll notice that all the bills passed of late have been watered down and have very little effect on us. That's because they too must rely on corporate backers to run campaigns and stay in office.
With nobody really listening to us and I don't mean Teabaggers who are really backed secretly by corporate lobby groups, it would seem obvious to change the game. As in the movie Trading Places what's the best way to get back at a rich person? Make him poor of course. But how could we do that? We don't have the knowledge of a Wall Street broker or the $40,000 they used to dupe the Duke brothers. But we do have money in banks and retirement funds in IRA's. But you say they'd kill us with fees and penalties if we cashed out. Stop to consider that if things keep going the way they are then that 401k or IRA just might become worthless anyway. Many of the 99ers are having to do this anyway. And this plan could work. When banks were faced with credit regulations they immediately raised their rates my own included. But it was funny how they back peddled when the union informed them that it's members would be changing banks. Congress, the bankers and Wall Street have held us hostage, now it's our turn and think about it not a shot fired or a drop of blood lost.
This is the only strength we have left. Let the right wingers distract you with homophobia and witch hunts while the real problems of this country go unaddressed. They're sucking the life blood out of this country and we're letting the get away with it. Just the threat may get some action.

Update and some ideas in a leter post.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sunny Jim plant fire

I remember the roofers were right on our butts. I had been called in as an extra body to get ahead of them. The building was an old flat roof warehouse. We ripped off the old crumbling black tar with a layer of insulation under it. The roofers were so close we could feel the heat from their propane torches. Not a good thing when your wearing a paper suit, rubber boots and respirators. The idea was to have us rip the roof and have the roofers install new material right to our edge so if it rained there wouldn't be much leakage. We told the roofers to back off so we could get ahead and by the end of the day we had the roof ripped. Underneath was old heavy tongue and groove wood. Always reminded me of being on an old wooden boat deck. This was Feb 19, 1997. The next day the roofers torch caught the building on fire. That fire destroyed the then much noticed Sunny Jim sign and a good part of the warehouse. I laugh in that sick sad way like when you're reminded of a lot of work gone for not.
From a Seattle Times article in 1997:
Before the fire began, workers were repairing dry rot on the roof of the Transportation Department's building, said Jun Quan, associate architect for Seattle's executive services department. He said he believed the fire was started by the torches the crews used.

Believed it was started by torches? I know it was. They almost caught us on fire.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Hey this isn't Cleveland ya know

Just as a special gift I'll send the Sea Pigs a little dessert. Just a reminder as to why teams loose. 17 nothing at the half!
And below was a little ditty that I tried to figure out how to post yesterday but darn if html isn't harder than ancient Greek to understand.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

It's Caturday


Just thinking about the Bush tax cut debockle. Here we are being held captive over partisan politics. Republicans with a gun to our heads wanting to protect their benefactors. They'd rather this country slide into a depression than turn things around.

I have an idea. Let's let all the tax cuts expire. After all when you figure exactly what the middle class got out of the deal in the first place it wasn't that much. As I recall my taxes went down by around $1200. That works out to around $24 a week. I'd gladly trade that for the rest of a pay check rather than wondering how I'll make it in the next few months. And for the side that keeps screaming about budget defecits this would provide much needed income to pay down the national debt. Because as we all know you can't pay off a bill with no income.

And for those of you out there who think that corporate America is broke, think again. I've witnesses the exact same things happen in past recessions. The economy goes down but companies are still operating. They cut back personnel but the cash flow doesn't stop. When their coffers are overflowing they have no choice but to start spending again lest they risk having to pay more taxes on their bounty. It's all a matter of balance. The bubble Bush created could not last forever. And speaking of bubbles if you have any gold laying around you might want to get rid of it in the coming months. Is $1200 an oz. really a realistic price?

Friday, September 17, 2010

The usual Friday beaver

In keeping with the friday beaver theme it occurred to me that the reason so many on the right are angry and ranting wild machinations is that they are sexually frustrated. It all makes perfect sense if you look at it closely. No sex outside of marriage,no sex before marriage, no self sex, and just how many head aches can a women have? They might as well live in a monastery except that we know that behind closed doors it's another story. With a nice expense account or corporate buddies with jets what's to stop a fellow from a jaunt to South America? Too far to go you say? How's about a nice intern or sexy campaign worker will do in a fix. Oh but why stop there when there are far more kinky things to delve into? A night out at a lesbian bondage club with the boys won't hurt anybody but don't forget to finish your speech on family values for the Rotary Club breakfast tomorrow.

So for all the flustered uptight boys from the "No Party" this wet beaver is for you. You just keep your hands where we can see em.

Update: Almost forgot bank fails 6 more this week 3 in GA 1 each in NJ,OH,and WI.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Jobs Jobs Jobs and No Jobs

The unemployment figures came out and new claims for unemployment were down but overall the number is still at 9.6%. That's according to the Labor Dept. I realize that the other issue is that it's difficult to keep track of a running average but there's another figure that's not reported. That would be the number of people who've run out of unemployment (the 99ers) that aren't counted. What, we've become non people all of a sudden?

The true tragedy in those latter uncounted numbers is what's happening to them. Through no fault of their own they were cut from the payroll. Some may have been empire builders spending beyond their means but I suspect most were just going about their lives with no clue as to what was about to happen. When housing collapsed it took with it mortgage banking and construction. Unless you bought your place many years ago you soon found yourself upside down with your mortgage. With no job and relying on unemployment you find 2/3 of the checks going to a house payment. You're stuck. You can't sell your house to pay off the mortgage and you can't afford to live there much longer.
I'm sure many of these people walked away from their homes and are now either renting or living with relatives or worse. But with the end of unemployment there's an even larger problem. The 99ers are draining their savings to survive. They are also cashing out their retirement plans. What's left of their retirement plans after the Wall Street melt down is being slowly used up. That's not going to last very long considering the average IRA is around $45,000.

Today the figures for poverty came out and it's not good. Forty three million people in poverty is the highest in 51 years. As incomes decline and more fall into the 99er class I'm sure the poverty numbers will rise.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What a lying sack of poop

Here's a guy who when investigated by our congressional committee either couldn't remember or said he had nothing to do with the process, sang like a canary in front of some British grillers. Maybe next time we have an ongoing investigation we should just hire the Brits. They seem to get better results than we ever could.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bushwacked yet again

For all those who say Bush didn't give us a gift that keeps on giving, in other words a crappy situation that will take many more years to fix, haven't been paying attention to anything.


That wonderful agency that's supposed to look out for us in the event of floods, tornadoes and hurricanes is slow to respond to a flood that occurred in June of 2008. A year and a half later the people of southern Indiana are still waiting for help. In all fairness Indiana is a red state so you'd think that as a parting gift Bush would have funded FEMA. But that would not be the case. Houses in the flood planes are governed by state and local plans and are funded with the help of FEMA. A few of the homes have been bought out and occupants have moved to safer ground but many more are left to fend for themselves only hoping that FEMA will get to them.

But this is only one of the legacies that George W. left us. Now many would have you believe that this falls squarely on Obama's shoulders but you'd be wrong. When Obama took office this nation was loosing 700,000 jobs per month. We had some 1.3 trillion dollars in spending that was unpaid for. Two of the three major car companies were bankrupt. And we were in the middle of two wars one of which was unnecessary. This was all on the surface though. What you didn't see were all the programs that had their funding cut. While the boy king did start the Department of Homeland Security one of the largest agencies in U.S. history it turned out to be one of the biggest money wasters in U.S. history as well. Funds were going to cities that had no use for chemical protective suits or high tech communications gear. All the while New York City still has no integrated communications system. Then there was the expenditures for some fancy furniture and artwork for DHS offices.
The departments Bush cut included the FDA, Interior Department, CDC, EPA as well as the Justice and Treasury Departments. He neatly undid Clinton's act that would have put 100,000 police officers on the street. If you look at the federal budget back in the Bush years you'd be amazed at how much was cut. There was the unfunded mandates that started with Reagan and peaked with Bush and his 'No child left behind' which was costly to school districts across the land. It required performance tests for students. Funny how one of the Bush clan just happened to be in the educational testing business that went from a couple of million to over a billion dollars.
So is it any wonder we have refineries blowing up, coal mine explosions, oil rigs fires and massive spills and an infrastructure that will not last much longer? There was a time when we didn't have to worry about getting food poisoning or if our water was safe to drink. Obama is doing what he can but when the other side of the aisle either blocks or votes against everything he's proposed to fix our nations' problems it's no wonder things are going slowly. What people forget is that Obama admitted that it would take quite some time to fix the mess, at least two terms in office maybe longer. If the republicans had their way there would be no Social Security (they think it's a government hand out). Medicare would be privatized so that the insurance companies could make yet more money and deny expensive coverage to those who could least afford it. There would no longer be public schools if they had their way and only a fraction could afford the price with profits before product making it unaffordable. Even now they wanted to dump teachers when they voted against funding.

To be Bushwacked we need to remember their mantra "I've got mine the hell with you you're on your own".

This is a fish kill at the mouth of the Mississippi another reminder of what Bush has left behind.

Fish kills are fairly common along the Gulf Coast, particularly during the summer in the area near the mouth of the Mississippi, the site of this kill. The area is rife with dead zones -- stretches where sudden oxygen depletion can cause widespread death. But those kills tend to be limited to a single species of fish, rather than the broad sort of die-off involved in this kill.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Cold war again?

I thought we ended all this with the collapse of the Soviet Union back in 89. It's looking like I was wrong. Silly me to think that nations would lay down their arms and turn to more pressing problems like keeping people feed and housed.

Arms race round two

The U.S. is about to sell the Suadi government 84 F-15 fighter jets at a cost of $60 billion. Now on whom do you suppose the Saudis would want to use those jets? In digging around I find that Iran had orders to Russia for a nice fleet of their 250 SU-30s which is comparable to the F-15 back in 2008. There is also rumors that Iran may buy some more 'goodies' from China but no proof as yet.

This is all disheartening news. You know as well as I do when a boy gets a BB gun or his first shot gun what the first thing he wants to do with it. First it will be practice in the desert then when he's had enough practice he'll head for the bullys or at least the ones he thinks are bullys. Problem is Mom, Sis and the baby land up getting shot in the process.

So now we take the fight to the corporate level as in who makes the better aircraft? Mine's bigger better and faster than yours and it can kill a billion zillion in the process.

Robin Williams was right when he said "If we can't f*ck it then we kill it".

Sunday, September 12, 2010


John Feal first responder fighting for 911 workers

This is an issue that hits close to home with me. Having spent 20 years in haz mat I knew what was happening and going to happen with the responders and workers at ground zero. While the rest of the nation was in shock over the initial attack (as was I) I soon realized what was about to happen to all the workers at the site would be worse. I remember discussing this with fellow bloggers back then. They were unaware of all the chemical exposures that had been unleashed when the towers went down. I had a general idea of what had happened but not until we studied this event in later recertification classes did I know the full extent of the exposures. I knew for example that this was not just a matter of washing off the dust and going about business as usual. What was in that dust included from what I knew at the time (some of my coworkers had worked on the buildings) that there was asbestos,lead,mercury,silica,and jet fuel. This event was nothing like anything that has happened in American history not just in terms of the size of the destruction but the response. But much like many responses for which we are unprepared this too was an organizational nightmare. No one knew who was in charge and for the most part no one was in charge. This was a fire scene, a crime scene and a superfund site all rolled into one. It wasn't until four years after the event that money was released and five years before even the most basics of communications and chain of command training had been developed. I have two of those small books in my haz mat library.

But this post is about the health effects of the ground zero workers and what congress has done to help. The workers who had breathed a toxic soup of chemicals soon developed illnesses, illnesses that doctors had never seen. Sloan Kettering hospital set up an entire department to deal just for the 911 workers. Workers who were once vibrant and healthy were now barely able to walk. To add insult to injury no one wanted to pay out their work related claims. Workers had to fight not just to survive but with government agencies, insurance companies and lawyers.

Here's the real kick in the teeth from our elected officials or should I say a few obstructionists. The 'No Party' strikes again.

The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which failed to pass in the House this past July, would provide free health care and compensation payments to 9/11 rescue and recovery workers who fell ill after working in the trade center ruins.

This bill was turned down last summer as well. And three guesses which political party voted against it both times? I'm going to try and find the names of those in congress who voted against this and post them. I hope you'll take a minute to email that congressmen and ask him or her why?

(Snark alert!) What a wonderful way to honor the heroes, the men and women who died and are dying who were just doing their jobs on 911. Thank you so much senators and congressmen for all you haven't done for us.

Friday, September 10, 2010

As promised the Friday Beaver

Double header today if you missed the post below.

Bank fails later...

Only one bank failed this week in FL.

Gasline explosion in San Fran destroys 53 homes 6 dead

Death toll rises as 200 firefighters battle blazes, scores injured.


Now that should get some innertube traffic for this little site. But let's turn this slightly political as I always do. Does this give you a clue that maybe, just maybe we should be rebuilding our infrastructure instead of wasting billions trying to rebuild another country that basically hates us anyway? Don't get me wrong I'm all for charity when it's necessary but what will the end result be after we've made our mark in the middle east? Do we really think we can impose our brand of democracy on peoples who've never know it? I think not.
The other side of the aisle blathers about spending and debt. I'd just love to have even 1/2 of what they spent over the 8 Bush years, all of which was not paid for with offsetting taxes. Imagine what a trillion dollars could do to the economy if it were invested in the right places. But no their plan is to freeze everything and cut taxes even more. Can you say "depression"? And as far as the Bush tax cuts I don't really care if they keep them or eliminate them on the middle class or not because what difference does it make when you don't have a job anyway? And those cuts only amounted to about $300 to $600 as I recall. We blow more than that on lattes in a year in this country.

I could go on and on. Beaver shots and bank failures later.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Pastor disaster

(Not into this group but the 4th track is Pastor of Disaster)
I wasn't going to do a post on this other than the mention in the last post but what the hell. This is at the moment the latest version of a religious balloon boy. What do you bet he makes a deal with Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck to do a road tour?

But what's the expression? A little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing. Let me see. WWJD Mr. Jones? Did Jesus burn the Torah? No. And what's that parable about the "good Samaritan"? And I guess you never got the the story of the "wheat amongst tares". But then that's just off the top of my head from a guy who hasn't picked up the book in many years.
Maybe Mr. Jones who's said he's only read a part of the Quran should spend a little more time reading the book he follows. Then again I guess Jesus doesn't fit into his definition of salvation for you see Jesus surrounded himself with murders, thieves and prostitutes.

He'll get his 15 minutes of fame but we can only wonder at what price. With balloon boy nobody was injured. In Jones' case it may be a different story.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sounding like the 1930s and 40s

In the 1930s the country was in the grips of the Great Depression. There's so many similarities to what's happening today. Much like then people bought on speculation. Back then it was leverage in the stock market. People borrowed to play the market. Today it's a double wammy. Not only did investment houses buy and sell stocks they didn't own (naked shorts) but investors borrowed far more than their houses were worth because hey values would go up forever so you couldn't loose or so they thought. But the great game of musical chairs had to come to an end. Those who saw this coming grabbled their cake and ran.
Some other ugly things are happening just like they did back in the 30s and 40s. Banks are failing, homes are in forclosure,no jobs and small groups of people are being blamed for economic woes. Back then Mexicans were rounded up and sent south of the border. Japanese were rounded up and put in internment camps. Then there were the book burnings in Germany. We're seeing the very same things today. Today the French are rounding up the Roma and kicking them out of their country all while trying to help an Iranian woman from being stoned to death. The U.S. is deporting more Mexicans than during 8 years of Bush. "Christian" groups want to burn books. Forclosures will continue until houses are bulldozed. This time the drought is happening in Russia instead of the dust bowl of the midwest. That makes me wonder how our water supply is doing in the great plains. It's been a fairly dry hot year. And now we need to think of our food supply on a global scale because we only produce 25% of what we consume.
It may not be quite as bad as the 1930s but it's getting there. People are running out of safety nets. Unemployment is gone for 1.7 million. Food banks are starting to ration what they have left in their pantrys and any help from local governments was slashed a long time ago. You might be able to catch a free health clinic should it make it's way to your part of the country (thanks to Ed Shultz). Everyone I've talked to from shop owners to a local dentist and the barber have all said the same thing, their business is down and they don't know if they'll make it.
How does it all end? Will there be another blood lust world war and the whole thing ends with a ticker tape parade down 5th Ave? Or will the earth end up a chared cinder? It does make you wonder.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Labor Day

There's over 5 million of us out here in the labor force who aren't working. That 9.6% figure is a load of bull because as anyone on this side the unemployment picture can tell you once your unemployment checks stop you're no longer counted as being unemployed. Excuse me? Does this mean I've become a non person? According to republicans we're no longer Americans. Sorry guys but I still have a place to live and I still vote. But then again if that's how they feel maybe I should just apply as citizen of another industrialized nation. Let us all see what other countries have to offer. I hear some European countries give you 6 weeks vacation, a 37 hour work week, real retirement, real health care and they're still kicking our butts economically.

So what exactly happened over the last 30 or 40 years that got us into this position? I'm slowly putting together all the facts. There was a time when a dad could go out and get a job that paid to support his family and sometimes those families were quit large. You remember the catholic family down the street that had six or seven kids and they didn't look like they were starving. Families used to take vacations every year and even if they didn't go to some place fancy at least there was time off to be together. If you got hurt dad's company insurance would cover all of the costs. There were no deductibles back then. And even if for some reason you had to go to the emergency room with no insurance it wouldn't break you. I recall once getting a cut at work and hitting the ER. The final cost was $50 for five stitches. That was before I knew about workers comp. Try doing that today you'd be lucky to get out of there with less than a $1000 bill.
But what else happened between then and now that made things so bad. There was a point in the late 70s where too much money was chasing too few goods as I recall. Inflation was rampant or so they said. At least wages were going up to keep pace with rising prices. Then Reagan stepped in to stomp on the economic brakes. We saw that he was no fan of the working class when he went after the air traffic controllers. The president who got elected with the help of labor turned around and spit on them. He cut all the safety nets and created loopholes in the tax structure for those at the top then raised taxes on everybody else. The he proceeded to spend secretly on one of the most wasteful defense programs this nation has ever seen. You remember it as "star wars". A program whose concept has not been realized some 30 years later after spending billions and questionable science. There was also the unfunded mandates. Federal requirements that were handed down to state, local governments and school districts with no money to incorporate them.
With the middle class being punched in the gut economically there was no choice but to have mom go to work, but with that came more expenses that weighed on the family budget. The cost of another car, insurance, gas etc along with rising home prices forced families to borrow just to stay afloat. It wasn't a matter of trying to live within one means. That is impossible now with downsizing cut hours and lay offs.
But the coup de grace was NAFTA and the tax cuts for the wealthy. Once well paying jobs went first to Mexico then to China. You can barely find a product with the made in USA label in any store now. Did the wealthy spend on American products creating that proposed 'trickle down' economics? Nope they tucked that windfall into yet another hedge fund or Swiss account. To add insult to injury when those hedge funds went bust it was the middle class who bailed them out. Were they appreciative of that? About as greatfull as a cheap uncle when they gave themselves huge bonuses and still couldn't back away from the gaming table.
A happy labor day indeed. As soon as those at the top get off our backs, cough up and pay their fair share and some type of jobs bill gets passed maybe there'll be a future.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Jan Brewer takes questions from the press

Need I say more?

Bank failures later

Update: No fails this week

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Don't go to Arizona

Or you could land up like this. According to governor Jan Brewer the state has experienced decpitations that she ties to the mass influx of illegals. And we all know she wouldn't lie, would she?

Now where did I put my chain mail ascot? They just might make it up here.

My ram is dying

No not that ram.

This ram

The little laptop is slowly giving up the ghost so while the resident computer expert is busy and I get to use the good puter for a minute or two. The lapdog is about 15 years old and moderately slow on a good day. It used to do videos okay but now I don't bother much as it's like running dial up. Do they still even have dial up? I remember those days. Click on a photo link and go to the bathroom and maybe the shot would be half downloaded.

So needless to say posts may be limited to early morning and late at night. Or when "the chair" is not occupied.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

It isn't me

As much as I hold the environment with high regard I'd never take over an office building to get a point across. For anyone doing research you'll find that his web site is busy but I managed to snatch a bit from an archive of one of his 2008 protests. SavethePlanetProtest by James J. Lee As follows:

The Discovery Channel produces a lot of shows about saving the planet that all have one thing in common: They don’t work. Why don’t they have REAL shows about SAVING THE PLANET? Have you ever noticed the crap they have on their network about just about everything else but that? They glorify fishermen who are overfishing the planet, they glorify Weapons of Mass Destruction. They highlight shows about people who build pollution machines and other environmentally harmful practices. What’s next? Whaling the Planet with Modern Whalers??? These guys have been very sneaky and deceptive as to their contribution to the planetary problems. Just look at their ‘new’ show about saving the planet, “Planet Green,” to me, it’s just another show about more PRODUCTS to make MONEY, not about actual solutions. We can’t let them get away with doing it anymore. Join me in the PROTEST AGAINST THE DISCOVERY NETWORK to get them to start broadcasting real shows that actually work to save the planet. But not just a show about THEM TELLING US WHAT LIGHTBULB TO USE, but shows where solutions are brought to the new shows from people all over with good ideas. This will be a democratic process searching for those with good ideas. Inventiveness has got us into this mess, and now inventiveness can get us out. Not necessarily with more products, but maybe by just being allowed to live a different way.

More later...

Update: The police shot and killed him about 15 minutes after I posted this. Nothing to see here move along.