Sunday, October 31, 2010

The last of my Halloween treats... witches


Three to be exact from Macbeth

1 WITCH. Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd.
2 WITCH. Thrice and once, the hedge-pig whin'd.
3 WITCH. Harpier cries:—'tis time! 'tis time!
1 WITCH. Round about the caldron go;
In the poison'd entrails throw.—
Toad, that under cold stone,
Days and nights has thirty-one;
Swelter'd venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i' the charmed pot!
ALL. Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
2 WITCH. Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg, and owlet's wing,—
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
ALL. Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
3 WITCH. Scale of dragon; tooth of wolf;
Witches' mummy; maw and gulf
Of the ravin'd salt-sea shark;
Root of hemlock digg'd i the dark;
Liver of blaspheming Jew;
Gall of goat, and slips of yew
Sliver'd in the moon's eclipse;
Nose of Turk, and Tartar's lips;
Finger of birth-strangled babe
Ditch-deliver'd by a drab,—
Make the gruel thick and slab:
Add thereto a tiger's chaudron,
For the ingrediants of our caldron.
ALL. Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
2 WITCH. Cool it with a baboon's blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.


Stay warm and have a Happy Halloween. And no Shaking your Spear Billy.
Get it Shake Spear. Oh never mind.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

In keeping with my theme


Run for your lives there's a terrorist under your bed! But it's too late to use this as some political football. We know if the rethugs were in power they'd be shoving it in your face how you'd better be very afraid and vote for them cause they'll protect you from those evil doers. But they can't because the system that's been put in place after 911 actually works. It's not perfect by any means but it does work. This is their third open try to get at us and they failed. The shoes and underpants didn't work. Their only success in this was tying up a whole bunch of security personnel which is really a good thing because it keeps them on their toes. What you don't see everyday are the number of suspicious packages and backpacks that get blown up by the bomb squad at airports. For a while when I worked there it was becoming quit common and barely made the news. And as for trying something funny at an American airport forget it. You can't scratch your ear without somebody seeing you and having you on tape.

A strange infestation descended on Washington DC today. A sea of humanity from all walks of life crowded the Capitol Mall and for a few short hours forgot the troubles of the day, No real agenda other than to celebrate a few of our common positive qualities. Some positive songs from groups like Roots, the OJs and the former Cat Stevens, an uplifting speech or two and awards for sanity in the face of adversity. Fear was put in it's place with the snark of Colbert. Jon Stewart restored reason with the cool logic as only he can.

One credit union went under on Friday. Union Credit Union of Spokane. It was the first credit union to go belly up in the state in 15 years.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Time for the Friday pussy


Need to be careful when searching for Halloween pussy pictures. Optimum word there being kitty and not pussy.

Strangely enough at one time the Japanese were buying our garbage. Now we're taking garbage from China. Hey guys keep your own damn garbage. Learn recycling like the U.S. and the Japanese.

Satan must be chortling in his comfy realm just look at our world. North and South Korea shooting at each other, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, oil spills, chemical spills, ministers calling for assassinations, senate candidates calling for armed insurrection, campaign leaders stomping on heads, police kicking and beating innocent people, racial slurs of all manner. It's as if the world were setting up for world war three. A movie producer wouldn't make this movie because he'd think nobody would believe it yet here it is happening before our very eyes in real life. Shootings and kidnappings and rapes and murders and it's funny how it's never happened here before or he was such a nice person never hurt anyone always kept to himself or she was an A student and everybody liked her. So it makes me wonder has Satan flung open the doors of Bedlam and let his minions run wild?

Now what did you just say to me you #%@$!!! ?

Filed under: Lack of a good idea for a Friday post (so what's it to you?!!!)
Bank fails later but who the hell cares unless it's your bank.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Continuing with my snarky trend...mummies


What Sara Palin or Christine O'Donnell will look like in a few years. At present they are in their zombie state controlled by their handlers at the RNC. They'd like you to believe that they are autonomous but that would not be the case. Mere shills for corporate America they feast on dollars hand fed like tanna leaves. Roaming the land looking for new converts from the uneducated and fearful they fool their prey into dressing in three corner hats and instill a nirvana of life just after 1776 that was in actuality a harder life than anything we could imagine today. Little do people remember that just getting water in that day and age involved humping two 40 lb. containers sometimes up hill. In short the era they wish to relive was no picnic. Yes we could go back to an era closely aligned to camping but they fail to realize that this would be no one week gig. No going back to the four bedroom with cable or dish in every room.
Someone once called them the "something for nothing crowd". How appropriate. They think that we can somehow magically educate our masses without an educational system for all. Not that it's doing well at present but it is a base for what we have. We have seen the bar lowered to a point where workers are unable to function at a basic level. And the result of our dumbed down system are the politicians like Palin and O'Donnell we see today and yet they'd want nothing more than the same or worse. If they don't want an education system or a safety net for grandma or health care for all then I just have to ask what they'd be willing to pay for. A nation doesn't function very well with a "I've got mine the hell with you" attitude. We've seen that in South America and several other places around the world. Would they really like living in a gated community with armed guard hoping their kids don't get kidnapped?
And what they fail to realize is that when they were growing up daddy had his medical coverage paid for by his company that covered the whole family. And there were no deductibles back then.
All the school field trips were paid for because our taxes paid for them just bring a brown bag lunch. So the time they long for was actually paid for by taxes yet they seemed to have forgotten that little fact.
They'll continue their mantra as long as the tanna cash keeps coming but once the luster wanes and people realize that sister Sara and Crissy have sold a fake dream they'll land up like a forgotten reality show roaming mummy of last season. They did their dance and it may have been an amusing distraction for about five minutes but now it's time to get down to the real business of the nation.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Voter Alert !


Due to the expected large voter turn out a special day has been added to the normal election day of November 2. In order to expedite the vote counting process all voters voting with the Democratic party will now be required to have their votes in on November 2. All voters voting with the Republican party will now be casting their votes on November 3. Independent voters wishing to cast their ballots favoring one of these two parties should cast their vote on November 2 for the Democrats or on November 3 for the Republicans.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The monster after the election


Republicans have said what they'll do after the elections if they win...Nothing! They would pass no legislation and shut down our government. Think about that for a minute folks. It would mean no social security checks sent out, no unemployment and no medicare or medicaid payments. You want to talk about a depression that would surely do it. They've basically done nothing the last year and a half except block legislation and call everybody else names. Nice work if you can get it. Get paid for sitting on your butt heckling any ideas. Submit a four page budget that's nothing more than more tax cuts for the wealthy. If we needed a professional heckler I'm sure we could get Don Rickles much cheaper. So like our friend in the photo we'll have walking trees with a smart ass attitude. Imagine hiring a contractor like that who did no work and told you you didn't know what you were talking about when you told him the problem and suggested some solutions? You'd put the Trump moves on him faster than stink on ....
Why do they hate America? Is the lust for money and power that great? Were they so crushed when we voted them out because they didn't stand for American values of fairness and opportunity? Sorry guys none of us are for preemptive wars no matter what you think. You take fringe issues and try to turn us against ourselves. You've used the fear card so often it has no meaning or punch anymore.
Sorry guys but this is one tree I'm not going to hug.

In other news I've noticed that many of the bloggers in my side bar seemed to have fallen off the earth. It may be that they are ill or have other pressing family matters. For that I wish them the best. It seems odd though that so many would just fall off the radar in just the last week. Again I wish them well. Drop us a line when you get the chance.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The new republican party


Watching Nosferatu last night I had thought the movie had been lost for good. Many of the old time flicks we enjoyed as kids are now gone because prior to the late 1950s films were produced on a highly flammable celluloid material. The colors would fade and the film stock would disintegrate unless kept under ideal conditions. Many projection booths were lined with asbestos and each theater had to have other fire safety measures in place as well. Even the wiring in most theaters had asbestos insulation.
But in watching the old creepy vampire last night I see where they got all the ideas for the movie Dracula. And who doesn't think of that movie without thinking of Bela Lugosi. Bela was quite an actor but the reason he was perfect for the part was that he had played it on stage for many years before making the movie. You really should go read his bio written by his son. Quite an interesting fellow.

The republicans being the mouthpieces for corporate America like Renfro are only helping to suck the life blood from us all. Their tax cuts will be nothing more than slashes on our throats with the spoils going to the well off vampires. Renfro may get the flies and spiders but his master gets to suck the victim dry. We see that now with empty bank accounts and homes that once was the middle class. And it does make me wonder just when the villagers will rise up and drive a stake through the heart of the old blood sucker and put an end to this horror show.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Halloween fun


Humans battle zombies on Univ of Wash campus

Getting closer to that time of year. This year however with the news being what it is we don't need much to scare us. The headlines are scary enough.
Let me see there's:
Zombies
Ghouls
Vampires
Werewolves
Mummys
Witches
So many incarnations of the dead and so little time. Always fun to play with concepts when there's not much else to do. Random thoughts...
If a female mummy had offspring would she be a mommy mummy?
Oops I forgot this is about zombies.
There are three recipes for the drink 'zombie'. Once in college a gal owed me three drinks for helping her write a paper. I don't recall what each of the recipes are because about half way through the third I turned into a zombie.

There's the Tea Party Zombies. I'm sure if their leaders told them to cut off their own leg they'd do it. M.U.S.T. p.r.e.s.e.r.v.e. tax cuts for the wealthy. M.U.S.T. p.r.i.v.a.t.i.z.e. social security.

A thought from the 1940s is coming through the ouija board. Who do. Who do? Yes who do. Who do dat voodoo dat you do so well? Don't know what made me think of that. Ah yes following brain patterns what little I have left. Started with Haiti thinking of zombies then voodoo zombies and even Caribbean zombies and voodoo and what rhymes with voodoo? You do. Who do?

I now have a job coach who thought I might like to take a job as an armed security guard. That in itself is a scary thought. I get up in the middle of the night to do the bathroom thing you know the zombie walk, and have enough trouble hitting the bowl and the coach wants me armed? Sorry I didn't take any Viagra today so it'd be assault with a dead weapon.
Oh the silly recesses of my brain and I don't even drink.

Zombie here zombies there zombies everywhere. Rob Zombie. Flaming zombies. Zombies in the military. Civilian zombies. Government zombies.

Wait a minute Wait a minute. Do I smell something burning? Is that a house fire or a tanker crash? Could it be? Is it?


Mmmmmmmmm H.U.M.A.N.S.!!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Angry pussy


I'm Baaack!

The friday pussy is back in the driver's seat at least until spring when the beavers will make their return.

The electric company maintenance went very well. I was able to watch as they replaced some aging connections on the nearest pole. They did however do something puzzling. In order to extend the life of some of the cables they shot this silicon goop into the cable bundles. I thought that kind of odd. They said that by doing this they could extend the life of the cable by 20 years. That may be great but what about the rest of the components which are already over 30 years old? I think about such details. I'll leave you to make up your own jokes about cable augmentation.

And now the angry part. I'm getting 3 to 5 calls a night from pollsters wanting my opinion. Once or twice would have been fine but 5 times in one night is pushing my angry. On the last call I told them to screw off I'm not taking anymore polls. And many of the questions in these polls are just stupid or loaded. In one poll I was asked and I kid you not "When Barrack Obama comes to take your guns away..." at which point I slammed the phone on him.
So let me have your help on this. I'm sure there are some wonderful and creative ways to turn this into a fun experience and turn the tables on these clowns. They are after all just wasting their donors money in an attempt to justify a campaign expense. Would you really change your position because some clown called you in the middle of dinner to ask a bunch of loaded questions? I thought not. And now we're down to little more than mud slinging the opponent which would be amusing if it would only last as long as a Three Stooges pie fight.

DADT - As much as everybody would love to have an executive order signed eliminating this, the military is not prepared to deal with everything that comes with the territory. We're not talking about one or two office workers who everyone knows is gay. This involves people living 24/7 in close quarters. I don't think the military has a code of conduct to deal with all the foreseeable problems that could arise. And let me tell you they deal with a lot of situations that never make the news with the current system. Sorry but I'd hate to be a drill sergeant when this takes effect.

We can give $60 billion to the Saudis and another $2 billion to the Pakistanis while people are going homeless and without healthcare here in the U.S. Maybe we should just completely privatize our military. When Exxon calls up wanting protection for their oil fields we send them a bill with a mark up. And when companies ship jobs over seas I think the rest of the company should go with them. Bang you're no longer an American company. I'm sure a CEO would just love to live in a foreign city with streets lined with sweatshops.

I could go on but I'm just not that riled up today.

Bank fails later
Late UPDATE seven banks hit the skids mostly in the south. FL GA MO IL KS.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Offline tomorrow


The power company left a note the other day telling me they'll be working on the lines in our neighborhood tomorrow meaning I won't be on line for most of the day. Glad to see some of all that loot I send their way every other month go to a good cause. Knowing the way they work here our power should be back on well within their time frame. They do a good job most every time when the lines go haywire and they're made to come out in the nastiest weather. On more than one occasion they've had power back on within the hour of a call. Also glad they'll be replacing some aging infrastructure.

Just hope I haven't jinxed this job.

Work until you drop dead


So now Britain is following France's lead in raising the retirement age. As this might look great from a bean counters' perspective of "saving the system" in reality it won't. The money saved on this scheme will only be lost in two ways. First there are many professions that actually require physical labor. Labor that puts a strain on ones body. I can personally attest to that. To assume that someone in their late 60s could continue swinging a sledge hammer or wield a 90 lb. jack hammer is just silly. But raising the age of retirement presents a two fold problem. You'll have workers who are unemployable and employers unwilling to hire them. The worker will not be able to attain retirement age and if you've known anyone in these professions they're lucky to make it to their early 60s before becoming worn out or disabled. So while the bean counters think that workers that age would still be adding taxes to the federal coffers to support the system, these workers would in fact be taking from the system. They'd be too young to retire, too old to seek retraining (what employer would want to hire somebody in their 60s and nearing retirement?) and probably starting to develop health problems that come with age. They would become a drag on society and the health care system. I'm seeing a lot of this right now with the retirement age at an average of 66. Pop down to the unemployment office and I'd bet most of the people in line are over 50. And these people are slowly running out of unemployment.

To those who somehow think that the money in the Social Security fund is tax payer dollars I have some news for them. It was my money that was put in there for me when I retire. It's not some "entitlement" program that's doled out by the goodness of Uncle Sam. So just keep your grubby republican hands off it!

So I guess the newest mantra for them is hurry up and die so we don't have to pay your retirement or health care.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Amuse and confuse


I haven't read 'the Art of War' but I do know a couple of concepts from the book. And judging by what's going on politically these days somebody's using similar tactics to try and win back congress. We know that the powers behind the scenes are sure looking for ways to get their puppets back on stage. I sometimes wonder what the plan is should plan A fail. They sure have main stream media well controlled. Every day I'm hearing of a poll that keeps telling me the democrats are behind. If there's a lack of interest from our side I believe it has more to do with the fact that we can not afford to turn out for rallies. There's a lot of us out of work and would rather spend it on necessities than trucking off to a rah rah session just to make somebody feel good. I'm sure once all is tallied up the costs of this dog and pony show will be near $1 billion maybe more. Imagine what could be done with even half that much money.

But back to the Art of War. I may be wrong but I think the first tactic was to confuse the enemy. Send out a diversion or smoke screen. Then there's the misinformation. Seems the other side has been doing that even before they lost power. There was the WMDs that Saddam never had. Watch out there'll be a terrorist under your bed if you don't do everything I say. But now we come to an even bigger part of the theater of the absurd. It's called let's take the constitution and twist it to fit our needs. After all they no longer teach civics in school and most people are to lazy these days to look it up. I'm sure the clowns are still looking for a reference to Jesus in there. Wasn't there an amendment making him the commander in chief? And now we get the new Alaska clown with his goon squads. Seems he skipped the first amendment part about free press.

This is all just the diversion part of the plan. There's diversion, misinformation, and for them the best part pissing off your adversary. What easier way to irritate someone with an intellect than throwing ignorance at them? And this has a double effect. Not only is it irritating to someone with a brain but the uneducated masses will eat it up. They will believe a lie much easier when it's thrown at them by some hot babe or handsome hunk as long as he/she can speak in simple talk with diagrams on a chalk board. Like the sheeple they are they'll parrot what they've heard without once fact checking and repeat it to their neighboring sheeple. This is how we got our death panels of last summer.

So the powers have the clowns working hard. The misinformation is being pumped out (by their ads you'd think the democrats were responsible for the Holocaust). They've blamed all of the Bush failings on the democrats from the massive debt he racked up to the unemployment situation. What's next? What have those well to do billionaires behind the scenes been planning next? I'm sure they have a back up plan when most of their clowns don't make it into office. Was this just some ploy to move to a super majority for the democrats so that they could have complete control of congress. We know they'll play both sides of the aisle if they can gain control. I can see it now. I see them chuckling to their republican buddies. Watch this as I make my newly conquered democrat clowns dance to my music.

Call me paranoid call me a fool but we've seen weirder things in the past few years and this is after all a fight for power. Now bring in the clowns we need some more laughs.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Environmental news

The EPA has put a temporary halt to the uses of coal ash for recycling. In the past such waste has been used in making such things as concrete, road underlayments and even as a traction aid during winter months. This was the reason Chinese drywall had such problems. They had mixed their fly ash with the drywall causing it to out gas sulfur dioxide when it became damp.
Now you would think that this would be a welcome report from the "liberal" media but you'd be wrong. In fact corporate controlled media has chastised the EPA for using their web site that promoted recycling of such mine wastes and coal ash. Even though this has been policy for many years under the Bush administration. That is until the ash retention pond gave way contaminating several miles of Tenn. riverfront homes. Someone had the idea of testing the ash for what it contained. How they didn't know this stuff wasn't toxic is a real question as it's been know for years that slag contained high levels of arsenic and heavy metals.
You'd also think that the EPA could merely issue a statement saying that they had errored but they are now stuck between a rock and a hard place. Industry wanting that cheap material will be sending their lobbyists to D.C. to reset policy. Environmental groups will be doing the same to try and stop any going back to the good old Bush days.

At present there is a 60 day moratorium until all public comment can be heard. What to do and where do I stand on the issue having worked with such nasties the last 20 years? Knowing what I do there needs to be limited use of it's recycling. I realize that many of the chemicals we use in manufacturing are dangerous and toxic but necessary for a final product. It's a difficult matter to protect both workers and the public from these chemicals and wastes. It's also a problem of shear volume as much of our electricity comes from burning coal. To continue to add such toxins to concrete and other products raises the risk of biting us in the butt now and years down the road. They could lower the amounts (percentages) of waste used below acceptable exposure limits to rid some of the waste. And I still think putting it back in empty mines is a viable option if it's done properly. However with new mining techniques such as rock wall and striping mountain tops doesn't lend itself to that means of disposal.

I expect not much will change in the short term but in the long run we'll have to deal with the problem in unique ways with new technologies and changes to worker protections. I expect you'll be seeing more workers wearing respirators in the future as the effects of concrete dusts, welding fumes and other construction and process pollution show up in retiring workers. We are after all mere guinea pigs of corporate America.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The rest of the CRE story - Tranche warfare

That's tranche warfare but it might as well be trench warfare. SW brought up the idea that the big whigs holding on to newly developed commercial real estate could make out like bandits once the economy turns around. Unfortunately that may not be the case. You see while on a residential level the banks and mortgage companies were selling subprimes like peanuts at a baseball game, commercial banks had a few tricks up their sleeve as well. I'm no whiz at the inner workings of this high level finance but this fellow who tracks such things seems to know what's going on. I have no reason to doubt him. From Mark Marasciullo:

What's a tranche? With the emergence of CMBS (commercial mortgage backed securities) many lenders originated loans and then bifurcated the loan into an A note (senior tranche) and B note (junior tranche). In some instances there was even mezzanine debt subordinate to the B note and in various cases the B note was split into multiple strips (i.e. B1, B2, B3 and so on), all of which are tranches. Typically the A note was sold to a trust, which was then securitized in the form of CMBS. I just looked at a deal where the A note holder is completely trapped, the inter-creditor agreement between the A note and B note holders stipulates that the A note may only sell its position to a party in the existing capital structure. In other words, the B note holder has the position senior to it (i.e. the A note) cornered, and will dictate the outcome for the asset. In cycles past the lender and borrower fought it out when the market corrected itself, this time the various lenders are warring amongst themselves.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/tranche-warfare-commercial-real-estate-2010-10#ixzz12csWiK41

So as you can see the big boys were doing much the same as the home loan boys. Only the numbers for those residential loans look like chump change compared to the CRE mess. I leave you with this chart as an example.


click on image to enlarge

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Foreclosure 2.0


Having dug through the subprime mortgage mess, something at the back of my mind gave me that nagging feeling like an itch you can't reach. Some 288 thousand homes were foreclosed on in the third quarter of this year. There's an investigation about robo signing of foreclosure documents and possible fraud charges but that is not what was bugging me. While driving in Seattle early last year I noticed several empty lots once filled with buildings and gas stations and the like now fenced and idle. At the end of one block was one of those land use signs announcing condos coming in early fall 2009. When I passed this area early this summer nothing had been built. That got me to wondering about the state of commercial properties and their foreclosure status. I scanned the net for any news. Nothing. I knew a down town Las Vegas project had been stopped but knowing that commercial real estate can require a two year lead time I also knew there was big trouble brewing in commercial real estate.
Thanks to an article from fellow blogger Oso I find that the other shoe is about to drop. This will be far larger than the subprime mess and coincide with several other residential type mortgages about to blow up over the next two or three years that should be interesting or should I say horrifying.
Here's the crux of the situation concerning commercial real estate CRE.
# There is approximately $3.5 trillion of debt financing these commercial properties.
# Approximately $1.4 trillion of this debt comes due between now and 2014.
# The delinquency rate for all commercial backed securities exceeded 9% for the 1st time in history last month and has more than doubled in the last 12 months.
# Non-performing loans are close to 16%, up from below 1% in 2007.

As you can see the big boys have this problem well hidden from the general public. It's taken me a year to find any information on the subject even after numerous Google searches. If the subprime mess was the 800lb. gorilla in the room then the CRE mess is Godzilla waiting to devour the whole house. And neither of these problems has been properly addressed.

This well could be your Halloween trick because it sure isn't any treat. Have I scared you enough yet? Let me throw one more freight at you before I sign off. If you have been following the stock and commodity prices the last few months you'll note that the Dow has regained much of the ground it lost since 2007. You would think that was a good thing but it's not. It hasn't gone up this high for a rational reason. Not that it acted in a rational manner in the past. But the underlying factors of our economy aren't there. Consumer spending and confidence the main drivers of our economy are still at an all time low. I fear that with the high speed computer trading that's now in place, one hiccup and the whole thing could come crashing down. We did see a preview this past spring and these little monsters have no regard for anything with flesh and blood.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday pussy



Interesting to note that there were no bank fails last week But are things getting better? Not exactly. OSO from Mad Mike's America has lead me to my next posting. Let's just call it the 'other shoe that's about to drop'. Or I could call it 'Pay no attention to the elephant in the room'. Stay tuned. And thanks for the link OSO.

Bank Fails: Three more hit the skids one in KS and two in MO.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Foreclosure


A simple word that means so much today. I've been trying to wrap my brain around the complexities of the issue. Much has been written on the subject of late but there is a much more sinister motivation even now that issue has become a drag on the economy. Banks, those one time bastions of stability have become about as trusting as your local used car salesman. At this point the salesman may have more credibility. But I was wondering if after such a meltdown whether or how the banks were fairing. After all they posted handsome profits and this year are rewarding their corporate overlords with record bonuses.

Backing up a bit to 2005 the first inklings of cracks in the system started showing up. If you watched the TV ads at the time you didn't need to be an Einstein to figure something was starting to go awry. There was 125% mortgages, no interest, no money down loans that would make a loan shark blush. Everybody was getting into real estate. Fix a house and flip it for big bucks fast. And in mortgage banking soon even pizza delivery guys were processing loans. It was the tone or attitude that kept the good times rolling. Don't have the income to afford a mortgage? No problem. They'd just fudge the numbers and count your deposits to the Christmas saving club as income. Anything to close the loan and make the commission and fees.

Then the bubble started deflating and housing prices started dropping. Many loans were adjustable. When they adjusted the buyer no longer could afford payments. Did the banks lose? Nope. They cranked up the foreclosure machine and took back the asset again creating fees. The Fed seeing a lack of faith in the system threw money at the problem. Did the banks really need all that loot? Again Nope. Simply put if there is a difference between what is owed and the value of the asset then the bank can add that to the bill. The buyer even though he's walked away from the house can still be on the hook for the difference. It's called a deficiency judgment. Plus the banks get to add all the fees and legal expenses. Sounds pretty profitable to me.

But when the poop was hitting the fan how were the banks able to show a profit to their shareholders? That was simple too. They slid their garbage loans into a 501c. That's a tax exempt fund that need not show up on a quarterly report and is not counted on the profit loss sheets. Pretty sneaky eh?

But I forgot to mention a few other revenue streams for the banks at the time. They took a bunch of those subprime loans and sold them to investors as MBSs (mortgage backed securities) and REITS (real estate investment trusts). They also sold insurance to cover losses. The only problem there was that there wasn't enough money in the pool to cover many losses, it was underfunded.

So the banks are laughing all the way to the bank so to speak.
They made money on the initial mortgage.
Made money selling MBS
Made money selling insurance
Make money servicing loans
Got free money from government
Are making money from foreclosures
Saw their stock shares go up

It does get a bit more complicated than this but I thought you might like a thumbnail sketch.

Mixed hash


Funny how when you're looking for an image what pops up. About half of what came up looked like BC bud although never having imbibed in that particular brand how could one know it was from BC? But then getting off track a bit.

Another 400K+ unemployment claims last week. Will it end with the November elections? Hope so. For all they've done to us I'd like to shove a bunch of republicans out the congerssional door and have them live in a cardboard box for a while. Then should I see them on the street I could tell them what bums they are. How does it feel to be on the receiving end of your lack of legislation senator?

Queen Elizabeth has canceled a planned Christmas party at Buckingham Palace. Tight economy you know. Must save up for the prince's wedding gift. You know what a Bently costs these days? But come on guys even we got rid of the red carpet and the throng of trumpeters tooting 'Hail to the chief'.

To be a first officer a pilot must now have 1500 flight hours. Hummm? I need 4000 hours to be a lead man on a haz mat job. And the airlines are complaining that that's too much time. That they'll be forced to pay for more experienced pilots. Ah, isn't that the way it usually works?

I'm sure the joy of the mine rescue will be short lived as the book deals get signed, the talk shows are booked and the next reality drivel is hatched. Then there'll be the scandals and law suits and all the other nick nackery that goes with such events. Let me tell you the hardest part for the miners was the first 17 days when they weren't sure if they'd get out. Once they were known to be alive and had access to food and water it was down hill from there.

I'll need a new remote for the TV after this election season. Or at least a new mute button. I've seen less mud on a construction site in the middle of rainy season. Hit the mute button again would you? It's another attack ad.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hope


For just a couple of hours last night it seemed the world set aside it's differences and focused it's attention on 33 men trapped deep below the earth. It was like a breath of fresh air from all the news of conflict around the world. On rare occasions people do flock together to do some common good but not often enough in this day and age. If only we could copy this effort and spread it around there would be hope after all.

Some 5000 news organizations around the world covered this event. All eyes were on a small town in Chile. Even those nations we tend to label as none caring were there watching waiting and hoping. If only we could set aside our differences on a more regular basis. If only.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Bubbles


(H/T S. Walsh)

Not much news going on at the moment but I did stumble on investors or should we say speculators wanting to corner the market on potash. Seeing as how real estate investments have been completely raped and gold is beyond anyone's pocketbook, I'm guessing that the wolves of wall street are looking for their next meal. Pump it and dump it while the other areas like our infrastructure crumble before our very eyes. Climb in bed with a foreign investor and while he isn't looking grab all he's got. Not enough bubbles and the compressor isn't big enough. Bubble bubble toil and all we get is the trouble.

To stop and think in the most simplistic terms, now would actually be a great time to rebuild. There's actually a ton of cash out there in spite of what's said and the interest rates have never been lower. What would that do? Or a better question, what would it do if we just called a time out and stopped the economy? The collapse would continue. No spending? No tax revenues. Lower tax income resulting in yet more spending cuts. And the cycle would continue until even those at the top would need to produce funny numbers at the next shareholders meeting. No one expected the length or extent of this depression. Yes I used the D word. Because while some continue with life as usual they know in the back of their mind that they could be next. Don't think about taking a vacation because when you get back that cheap fill in just might have your job. Do you play that game of chicken at work? You know it. It's called who's going to be seen as the last to leave work. Always want to wave to the boss as he's leaving and let him know you'll be there late but not to worry about overtime you'll work something out with him later. Comp time I believe they call it.

All I can hope for at this time is for one last bubble. That would be the unemployment bubble. And for me it can't break soon enough.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Hungarian justice


I do like how some of the European countries deal with environmental issues.

Director Zoltan Bakonyi being held on suspicion of public endangerment causing multiple deaths and environmental damage.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban told parliament that the government wanted to take over MAL Rt., the Hungarian Aluminum Production and Trade Company, because the safe restart of production at the alumina plant was needed to save the jobs of thousands of workers.

Orban said his administration was also freezing the company's assets to ensure that funds were available to compensate for the damages caused by the disaster.

No taxpayer bailouts there.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

More scary than...



What ever happened to the days of working all day partying all night grabing a couple of hours sleep then doing it again because we thought it was such fun? Even a few years ago I could make it through a long shift and still maintain the energy for a home project or two. Must I resign myself to looking like this dude? Or worse sitting in a wheel chair in some nursing home mouth draped open staring into space. I guess there are zombies amongst us. Not to worry they're harmless unless you give them the remote.

And what was the cause of all this you might ask?






And like a grave digger I managed to dig a hole four feet down and about three feet across exposing our broken water main. At which point the old bod said "knock that stuff off or I'm really going to hurt you". There was a time when said body would recoup over night. No so with this ole bod. So at that point I called in reinforcments, a back hoe and a couple of workers half my age. Wouldn't want to land up like the photo above now would I? But then seeing as how the vision is going I just might look like that and not know it.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

This is no hungarian rhapsody


As I had mentioned from a previous post the ph of the spill was measured at between 9 and 10 on the scale. That was a bit premature reporting. Come to find out that measurements came in at 13.5. Lye is at 13 on the ph scale. And the extent of the spill is listed as 184 million gallons not the 1 or 2 as originally reported. Does this sound familiar? There is now fear that the walls of the resevoir may not hold and a second spill may happen. The company is reported as offering $174,000 for clean up costs but admits no wrong doing. Again haven't we been here before? And knowing European justice somebody will get the chair for this screw up unlike here where they get a bonus when things go south.
Hungarian town evacuated
The sad fact in all this is that many of the heavy metals in this slurry could be reprocessed, collected and sold for a profit. It's done that way in Canada with great sucess.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday beaver perhaps not

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The beavers are busy finishing up their dams for the winter so I thought I bring out the winter pussies who'll be filling in until spring with the beavers' return. One needs to be very careful when searching for pussie images even with safe search turned on. But lest we forget those other furry aquatic creatures that make such nice felt hats.....



And slowly sneaking up on us is that season of scare that holiday of fright... election season. Hey didn't I use that bit in another post? Gad isn't getting old just fun. Any more projects like what I'm doing now and I'll be ready for a crypt. I'll expain the pain and torture in a later post It's not close enough to the witching hour to scare you that much.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

And we thought the Gulf spill was bad. Today's menu special Hungarian Sludge



For those of you who have long forgotten your high school chemistry.

Ph levels in the Marcal river in Hungary are at 9 to 10 on the scale. It's killed all the fish and response workers were unable to stop it from reaching the Danube. So what now you might ask? Well there's good news and bad news. Hungary is in it's rainy season. That will help to dilute the chemicals but it will also help them to flow even faster.
It was reported that this spill is larger than the Deep Water Horizon spill but I find that hard to believe. It was after all just one reservoir. Maybe in terms of property damage this would be worse.
To try and fix this problem is going to be an engineering nightmare. What they would need to do is dump large amounts of vinegar into the river upstream from the Danube while workers try to build some type of containment. Not knowing the terrain in that area it's hard to say if that could even be done. Unlike Deep Water the ph could be neutralized but then there the long term effects of the heavy metals. Is this yet another "perfect storm"? As I see it it's just one more example of profits over safety. I understand that this pool of toxic sludge has been there since Soviet days and was inspected just two weeks ago. At this point I see no alternative other than to declare the area what we would call a Superfund site, relocate the population and build a containment system, but I know they won't. They'll white wash the buildings clean up the streets and people will continue to live there like some lab rats in a sick experiment. We saw this in Libby, Montana. We saw it at ground zero and we're seeing it in the Gulf. Now it's Europe's turn. When will we learn?

Short post I have a bunch of things to do today and tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Nobel prize and nanotechnology

I see three eggheads won the Nobel prize for finding a new way to link carbon atoms. What they were referring to was the production of nanotechnology. The thought occurred to me some of the ramifications of this technology. I've dealt with many chemicals over the years but my reference point in terms of size is asbestos. An asbestos fiber is 3 microns. This is why your vacuum with HEPA filter can catch particles down to that size. It's 99.97% efficient. Nano material is far smaller than that. That little fact had me wondering about how to deal with such a material. As a worker how would you protect yourself when the filters on your respirator only filter to certain level far above what is being breathed. To give you a perspective the molecules that make up your DNA are at 2 nanometers. The carbon nano materials are at 1/20th of that. You see the problem there? First we have no way to protect workers from exposures to these materials other than totally sealed systems. But then there's the effects on human DNA and the environment. While we think of all the neat whiz bang products we could make from this technology we fail to see this long term.

We are already seeing just a few of the nasty effects of the use of these materials:

Some of the recently developed nanoparticle products may have unintended consequences. Researchers have discovered that silver nanoparticles used in socks only to reduce foot odor are being released in the wash with possible negative consequences. Silver nanoparticles, which are bacteriostatic, may then destroy beneficial bacteria which are important for breaking down organic matter in waste treatment plants or farms.

A study at the University of Rochester found that when rats breathed in nanoparticles, the particles settled in the brain and lungs, which led to significant increases in biomarkers for inflammation and stress response. A study in China indicated that nanoparticles induce skin aging through oxidative stress in hairless mice.

A two-year study at UCLA's School of Public Health found lab mice consuming nano-titanium dioxide showed DNA and chromosome damage to a degree "linked to all the big killers of man, namely cancer, heart disease, neurological disease and aging".


From personal experience the odor eating socks present problems later when the magic wears off and foot infections follow. Sun screens are another area to watch. You could protect yourself from the sun only to land up altering your DNA later. You could read the labels but better to keep abreast of what's going on from independent sources. Those TV ads wouldn't lie now would they?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I've done some spills in my life but not one like this


Toxic spill in Hungary
At least two people have been killed after the dam of a sludge reservoir at a big alumina factory in western Hungary burst, flooding parts of three villages.

The accident occurred at the Ajkai Timfoldgyar Zrt plant, owned by MAL Zrt. No one was immediately available at the company to comment.

Gyorgy Bakos, a county disaster-control spokesman, said about 600,000-700,000 cubic metres of sludge had spilled from the reservoir.


That works out to about 35 million cubic feet of material and it's caustic! I can only imagine having to try and clean up an entire town. The largest clean up I ever did was 4 acres of toxic material at a boat repair and maintenance yard contaminated with PCBs.

And a little inside info from somebody's who's been there. They're wearing the wrong protection. The pressure wash hoses and their boots will start to melt in a couple of hours or sooner depending on the ph of the spilled material.

Gee now I'm not feeling too hungry right now.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Mixed nuts and other news

Companies flush with cash but aren't hiring. So what are they doing with all that loot? Buying other companies which results in the layoffs of yet more workers. Who needs two of everything when they can all be replaced with temps? Can't quit afford buying out your competitor? Then just buy back your shares to raise your stock price. That'll look good at the next annual shareholders' meeting.

Tesoro gets fined 2.4 million dollars for the fire that killed workers. The cheap Texas company bought the refinery located at Anacortes,Wa. from Shell in 2005 didn't bother to inspect the equipment they purchased or do regular inspections. They were sited with 39 willful violations that resulted in the fine. $2.4 million may sound like a lot of money until you consider Tesoro makes over $28 billion per year.

I have more but I need to head over to Mad Mikes and check out my latest post. Nothing like having your name in lights.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Ghoulish kitty break


Stepping away from politics for a moment a humorous kitty interlude. It is after all the start of the fall witching season when zombies rise the air chills and Christmas decorations will soon adorn the malls. Mall? Mall? What's a mall haven't been in one for more than a year?

Okay I lied after I found this related ghoulish image. But it fits the season don't you think?


Was out yesterday fixing a women's leaky roof. Sad situation. She's basically bankrupt after having an accident. The only reason she'll be able to stay in here home is because the court system is so backed up it may take a few years to get to her case. What a job. She had two "professional" roofers out and they said the fixed the problem. I looked at it and found about 10 things they did wrong. Sad that people get ripped off that way. Not that I'm a roofer but I've torn off so many I know when a job was done wrong. Did what I could. It's hard to really do a good job when others have messed things up so bad. She couldn't afford to replace the roof which at this point needs done. Will check back after it rains to see if it worked okay.

Shut out

And I'm not speaking of a baseball game either. Today there is a march on Washington. In browsing all the major news orgnizations I find nothing nada zip. Google News nothing. Yahoo News zip. CNN nothing there. New York Times no again. It was like looking for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. But wait a minute this was an event that was actually taking place. Thought I'd do a little search for a live DOT camera and at least see a throng of buses lined up along a DC street. No such luck. Maybe five or six buses some of which looked like generic commuter variety. A Google news search came up with a total of two very short blurbs about the event barely two sentences. So this is how the majority gets treated. Wear a three cornered hat with hanging tea bags and you make all three networks and cable news. Try and have a serious dialogue and you land up erased from the news cycle altogether. I did stumble on one live feed from the Nation but the quality of feed had much to be desired.

So I guess like me we get relegated to the backroads of the internet. The far left, moderates and even the moderates from the right have been locked out of the discussion. What the Main Stream Media fails to realize is that we were the ones protesting in the 60s and 70s. We were called radicals back then but we make up the bulk of the population now. Go ahead pander to the fringe right and see where that will get you. We're turning you off in droves because you no longer come close to anything resembling objectivity. Not a day goes by that the news doesn't put a slam or jab at the left or even moderates. To watch morning news shows is to watch a republican love feast and that's even on supposed "liberal" MSNBC. Cspan gives us nothing but republicans. The rhetoric has gone so far right that they'd consider their one time hero Ronnie a socialist.

You can try this link but i make no promises: One Nation March
It's should be good until 2pm pacific time.

Almost forgot two more banks are out 1 in FL and 1 in Wa.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Mad and evil


You ever get the feeling the world is going mad? North Korea sinks a South Korean ship. Israel ignoring calls to stop building settlements. The IRA resurfacing and calling for action. Ecuadorian police going on a rampage. Teabaggers calling for armed force. Cops getting gunned down in a coffee shop. Police beating innocent people on city streets. Gang bangers openly shooting people at random. Rude clerks. Stressed out workers. Angry pundits. Politicians calling people stupid and lazy. Corporations ignoring their obligations. And the blatant lying. Then there's the E.V.I.L. the evil Mexicans and the evil Muslims and the evil Russians and the evil North Koreans and the evil Iraqis and the evil Afghans and the evil Taliban and the evil Iranians and the evil oil executives and the evil auto companies and the evil unions and the evil liberals and the evil neocons and the evil socialists and on and on and on. It's now to the point that even those within a group don't fit the bill. If you not one of us then you must be one of them and that makes you evil.

Never before have I seen such vile remarks thrown at a president with total disregard for the office. He was a Kenyan, a Marxist, a socialist, a communist, a Nazi, a fascist, with photos of witch doctors, Hitler, and the Joker evil was spewed on the streets of the capitol. They called him everything but the N word and I'm sure they were using that under their breath. Why? Because he was trying as best he could to solve the nations problems with what he had. A royal mess handed to him even before he set foot in the White House. What were the alternatives? Let the banks fail and watch as everyones checking, saving and retirement vanished because FDIC would not have had the funds to cover that big a loss. Or watch as our auto industry swirled the toilet bowl taking with it much of what's left of the steel industry. And considering the population growth the size of the problem would have made 1929 look like a picnic. But I have to ask why. Why when we've faced such a situation in the past would want to keep doing the things that created the problem in the first place. I don't know about you but when something doesn't work for me after I've tried it once or twice I stop and try a different approach. A square bolt is not going to fit in a round hole no matter how hard you try. The solution however is counter- intuitive. Cutting spending will only make matters worse. With spending cuts comes lay offs which results in less tax revenues which results in more budget shortfalls or has no one figured that out?
But the evil continues and the hate speech ramps up and more will die. It's us against them but if somebody would stop for just a sec and consider that we are them and they are us. We're really no different than them in the grand scheme of things. We all eat sleep and do all the things that humans do and we're just looking for a way to survive. All the anger and fist shaking and name calling is not going to change a single thing.

So while you're browsing the web this weekend you might want to have a gander at Jon Steward's march on Washington. Yeah I know it sounds like just another bout of screaming and extremist rabble and I know Jon is just a comic but sometimes just sometimes you can learn a few things from the truth of humor. And right now we could all use a good laugh.

Rally to Restore Sanity