Sunday, February 27, 2011

Nisqually quake 10 years later

Not quite fresh in my mind but I do remember where I was when it hit. We were doing a floor job in a residential in Tacoma. We had just set up a full containment and donned the moon suit and PAPR respirators and were about to rip out an asbestos kitchen floor when all of a sudden the whole house felt like somebody had lifted it up by 2 feet the dropped it. Then the shaking began. My coworker suggested I at least step in the doorway for protection. We peered out the load out flap to see the car in the driveway move forward and back about 5 feet per shake. This lasted for about twenty or thirty seconds. The supervisor hollered to hold tight until the shaking stopped. We finished the job and I drove the truck back to the shop. The trip back was eerie to say the least. There was almost no traffic on the road even at 4 o'clock in the afternoon the start of rush hour. Tuning the radio stations gave very little info as to the damage. But when I got back to the shop all the owners and estimators were rushing around. I said "what's going on"? They said they were busy rounding up work. Nothing like making hay while the sun shines or something like that at least for a haz mat company.

Yes we did get quite a few jobs from that quake and I think it was a bit of a wake up call to all the vulnerable buildings in the Puget Sound area. We dismantled the control tower at the airport, did numerous clean up jobs where asbestos fireproofing had fallen from structural beams and other various related jobs . I think with all the overtime it was more than enough to cover the cost of my new computer but working 14 hour days was no picnic.

There is a lot that can be done to lesson the damage. Nothing we can do will prevent all the destruction. Nature always wins in the end but we can make it survivable. A few thoughts on that:
1. Shut off your water there's 40 to 50 gallons of usable water in your hot water tank if it doesn't get contaminated.
2. Shut off the gas. It 's a simple valve near your meter. You turn it clockwise until it's indicator line is perpendicular to the pipe. Check it out before a disaster happens.
3. A good first aid kit is handy even without a disaster.
4. Don't try and use a charcoal grill indoors no matter how cold it is outside or with the windows open.
5. Assume that there will be no help for as long as five days after a quake. We saw that with New Orleans.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Almost forgot it's Friday

Hard to believe this week has passed but then again it was a short week workwise.

There really is no use for republicans in this country. They touted "death panels" with health care reform then proceeded to cut Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid. They have no use for the working men and women in this country. Must be the blinding light of the all mighty dollar for which most have never work for a day in their lives. Makes one wonder what would happen if a call to police or fire department went unanswered because it was eliminated. No teacher present when they dropped little Johnny off at school. Or maybe they wouldn't mind when the roads weren't plowed of snow or even maintained. That bridge they cross every day that was built in the 50s should stand for another 50 years without maintenance right? What do they think some magical elves come at night and perform these services?

Has any of their ilk landed up in jail for what they've done to this country? Only one or two from what I'm hearing and they were such low hanging fruit that a public defender fresh out of law school could have gained a conviction. No I think we're going to see a turning point here shortly. America is waking up to the fact that the robbers got off Scott free and are coming back for more loot. Only this time it's for YOUR loot or what little you have left. That in itself would be bad enough but they also want your dignity as well. We have become mere dogs to them but even dogs get a few scraps from the dinner table but not with them.

Carry on and keep your drums upright. Bank fails later.

Only one bank failed this week in Il.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

What a crock of bologna

Gas prices are at around $3.30 here and climbing but from what I'm hearing demand is down and supplies are rising. That seems to contradict the laws of supply and demand. But oh I forgot about the speculators who just can't resist messing with the market to make a buck. And we've seen their handy work in everything from beef cattle to toilet paper over the years. The original function of the futures market was to provide protection to farmers in the event of a bad season but now it's a different story. What was once an insurance for farmers has now become a casino game of hot potato. Buy and hold a contract until the very last minute then dump it and make huge profits and don't worry if the price goes down because you can always buy a hedge against that happening and you don't even need to pay for that hedge up front. Pretty slick game if you know how to play it. Sorry but I have to many scruples for that casino.

Sorry if posting is light I'm working 8 hrs and doing a 4 hr recert. Plus I'm a bit out of shape so these 13 hour days are killing me. Got to factor in at least an hour for travel you know.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

History repeating itself is it?

I think it's been well over two generations since the labor disputes of the last century. You'd think that what has been accomplished would be an ingrained part of America. Everybody passes by those posters at work but does anyone bother to read them. Much like the picture of dogs playing poker on the wall of a barber shop it's more like "oh yeah that thing". Brought to you as a requirement of the federal government but more importantly brought to you by the efforts of organized labor. Say what you will about skimming, kick backs and back room deals of the upper workings of the labor unions, I'd bet that type of stuff goes on all the time in corporate meetings with not a peep to the news media. Wouldn't want to downgrade the stock value now would they. But that little placard that's gotten bigger over the years was fought for literally with the blood sweat and tears of average Joes like you and me who were tired of working like indentured servants and wanted a piece of the pie.

With rising fuel and food prices and now governors wanting concessions just how do they expect anyone to survive? It's estimated that the average earning power over the last ten years dropped by $2000 for the working class. School teachers faced the unfunded mandates of the republican party. That began with Reagan and was followed up with Bush and his Every Child Left Behind Act. Universities are just about out of reach for all but the well off and now the assault continues on the middle class. The top one percent may tout how they built this country and it may be true that they provided the finance for much of what has been built but if you look at any building, bridge, park or monument it was constructed with the hands of labor. There were no Armani suits swinging hammers there.

It's time to take back our country and not in phony Teabagger terms either.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Climate change? There ain't no climate change

It's estimated that 50 million people will migrate to the North by 2020 to avoid starvation due to the change in climate. We're seeing the beginnings of it right now. Notice an influx of people from the African continent in your northern European country? We don't really notice it much in the U.S. because we have so many coming here for education. The last big migration I've noticed was with the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 90s. And of course there's always been an influx of Mexican and those from South America. The only problems with that are when immigration locates too many of them to one area straining a town's resources. If it's done right nobody really notices. I forget the exact numbers but in the late 70s and early 80s a whole bunch of folks from Southeast Asia came here but they were neatly spread out across the U.S. Now we'll face a rapidly growing number of people moving just to survive much like the potato famine in Ireland of the 1800s.
You'd think that we would have learned something in the last 200 years about human survival but I guess not. We tend to deny events until they become a disaster. The other day I was throwing out a bunch of furniture and clothing at work. The thought crossed my mind how people are literally starving in other countries while I was there throwing away a country piece by piece. The insanity of it all.
People tend to deny what's about to happen much like we take the weatherman with a grain of salt but based of all the scientific evidence we're in for some real changes. Never in the last few hundred years has anyone been able to circumnavigate the Northwest Passage. Countries are fighting to claim areas for oil drilling near the Arctic once totally covered in ice. And waterfront villages in Malaysia are now underwater. People can adapt to many things but when there's major shifts in climate and weather patterns on a large scale all the planning would be for naught. And if you thought the Gulf oil spill was a big deal you ain't seen nothing yet. But rather than a big quick event this will swallow us slowly like a snake with us barely realizing it.
But the real issue is what this will do to our food supplies. With weather patterns changing you can get drought in one area and monsoons in others. We saw a taste of it in Australia. This isn't about opinion it's about facts. I think I'd trust a few hundred scientists over a politician with an alterior motive any day.

Monday, February 21, 2011

BP oil spill revisited

Dead crab at ocean bottom Hat tip to University of Georgia

I see the Gulf of Mexico is now well polluted. As I said at the time of the posts of the oil spill that's what would happen. A couple of things happened with the oil. As I mentioned when oil is released in water it floats on the surface for a while. Then after a time it emulsifies and remains suspended between the surface and the bottom in a slimy column. Eventually it sinks to the bottom. The problem with the Gulf is that there was no way to collect that much oil in short order. The only option was to treat it with dispersant to prevent it from coming to shore and as we saw even that didn't work very well either. By my guesstimations there really isn't a way to prevent such an event from happening again. That is unless they start following extreme safety measures to prevent a spill in the first place. No more "good enough" write offs of procedures. And no more ignoring or turning off alarms. We've witnessed too many accidents of this type over the last five or ten years. All it takes is old equipment or improperly trained people to result in deaths. Process safety I believe will be the next big item that is if politics and greed don't get in the way.
In looking at the investigations of the CSB over the last five or ten years all events that resulted in death were the result of failures in process safety.

As for the critters in the Gulf, a lot of them at the bottom will die as a result of this spill. There are areas in the Gulf that have massive amounts of hydrates (hydrocarbon gasses locked in ice) that were the result of natural and oil leaks. They pose no great threat to wildlife at the bottom but what BP unleashed is another story. There isn't enough microbes there to do the job of breaking down the oil and even if there were it would make the oxygen levels unfit for aquatic life. At present we have no technology to deal with such a situation. There are no giant vacuums to do the clean up job and by the looks of it mother nature can't do it either.

So there's a problem that may take a generation to solve, separating the hydrogen from the carbon, sequestering the carbon in order to have usable hydrogen as a fuel source. Then there's the problem of just collecting the material a few miles deep in the ocean.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Nailing jello to the wall

In looking at food prices it's hard to tell exactly what will happen in the near future. I know that the oil speculators are playing the market because from what i'm hearing of late supplies are rising while demand is falling. Food being a perishable commodity is tied to the whims of the weather and it's also a necessity. But then there are the speculators who could care less about whether some village in Africa has enough grain to make it through the winter. They are only interested in increasing their portfolio. And with hedge funds their almost in a no lose situation. Buy an order of (pick your commodity ) then buy a hedge incase the crop fails. Either way they make money.

The reportage of our current state of food supply is harder to understand than a long form tax return. One article says that food prices in emerging markets will go up while another states that prices are stabilizing. And of course you have lying with statistics to contend with. In reading a few clumped headline links one will state that food prices are rising by 12% while another states that this week they fell by 2% over last week. So one wonders if the prices climbed by 10% this week or did they actually fall by 2%. Those who keep the stats sure are stinkers or is it those who control the news who spin it to make a buck. For the average consumer it's a matter of a trip to the grocery store to tell the real truth. The total at the cash register never lies.

Busy day for me and my net went down before posting this this morning. The usual friday pussy is busy eating before she herself becomes someone's dinner. Bank fails later.

FEB 19 Update:
Four banks have hit the skids this week 2 in CA and 2 in GA.
All I can say is Wow I've been following these bank fails for quit awhile and this is looking a bit like the 1980s and the S&L mess. Just wondering when they'll be all consolidated into two or three big banks. And you thought there were monopoly laws to prevent that sort of thing. Now they hold your money for ransom as in "give us a monthly fee and we'll let you keep your money in our bank".

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Governor there's some people outside to see you

People seemed to have forgotten what things were like before the unions came to power. Ten to twelve hour work days were common and that's six days a week. If you got injured on the job then too bad. A replacement was easy to be had. Unemployment insurance was non existent. And let me list a few of the other benefits we take for granted.
Health insurance
Holidays off
An 8 hour work day
A 40 hour work week
Overtime pay
Workers compensation
Better wages for all

All of this was done with the help of unions in America and people had to fight for it both figuratively and literally. Don't believe me? Then just google 'Wobbly' it tells one of the many stories of union protests for better working conditions.

It seems apparent that Governor Walker is going ahead with stripping workers rights so to the folks of Wisconsin I think it's time to strip the governor of his position RECALL HIM!!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

This kind of irks me

GM workers are getting up to a $4,000 bonus.

No it isn't exactly this headline that tweaks my hot button. It's the reaction from the right who keep trying to spin the story to their favor. Let's hear the rest of the story as Paul Harvey used to say. Unlike AIG and Wall Street, GM received a loan to get them over these trying times. As part of the agreement they were required to get their financial house in order. To do so they had to make some drastic cuts to their workforce and methods. Support plants that made parts were cut (some shipped overseas) and hourly workers had to take a pay cut of up to 12%. New hires were making nearly half of what the veteran workers were making. All of this to bring the company back from the brink. These workers unlike the boys on Wall Street sacrificed a great deal to help a company survive. And unlike Wall Street who got money thrown at them with no strings attached were required to pay back this loan. And what did the whizzes on Wall Street do with their bail out? They threw a party and gave their top people billions in bonuses. Not bad for nearly bringing down the economy of not just the U.S. but of about half the industrialized world in the process.

So think of it this way. You take a large pay cut for nearly two years amounting to over double what you got back in a measly bonus. $4,000 might sound like a lot but not when you've lost more than that in shuffling bills around, the pay cut for two years, and if they don't negotiate a raise in the next contract to make up for what they've lost then they've gained nothing. Average autoworker makes around $40,000. Average Wall Streeter makes $360,000 plus guaranteed bonuses. The autoworker did nothing wrong and were punished for it. Wall Street did everything wrong and were rewarded for it. Orwell was right we've come to the point were right is wrong war is peace and I think you get the picture.

So what's next? Keep you eyes glued to food prices. With a drought in Russia a flood in Austrailia and crop fails in China this will be the next economic bubble. But what will really determine the out come will be... if you guessed speculators you get a gold star. Yep once again the Wall Street boys are fixing to muck things up again for the rest of us. But I'll save the rest of that for another post.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

And more budget cuts

While our congress continues to dump the debt on the backs of the lower middle class and the poor (anyone making less than $30,000 per year had their taxes raised) we haven't seen the end of this insanity. We now have evidence of the 'death panels' only they're not as one would expect by doctors and some government plan. The government will simply defund any program to assist the poor thereby creating a death sentence. It's kind of hard to survive when your heats been cut off and food stamps have all but been eliminated. And we thought Obama was on the side of the middle and lower classes. He can kiss his second term goodbye. When the choice is between arsenic and cyanide it's no choice at all.

That's my two cents for the day. Got to go and help pay for the tan man's next spray job.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Budget cuts

I always thought Obama was on the side of the middle class and the poor. How wrong I was. After giving a few scraps to the unemployed on that last big bill ( not to forget the giant tax cut for the wealthy) he presents a budget that basically puts all the burden on the poor and disabled. I know this for a fact. There are cuts to food stamps, cuts for heating to low income families and cuts to housing the poor. And you thought the republicans were bad? Barack has taken the republican agenda to a new level. Trying to out republican them are we? They meaning the republicans seem to think this is some type of game. By stealing from the poor to give to the rich will somehow make this country great. No what you'll have is what we just saw in Egypt only you must remember our Army personnel don't work a second job as they do there. It wouldn't surprise me if they started closing VA hospitals. How quickly they forgot the reason they passed an emergency bill to improve conditions at that VA hospital.
And you just watch as the stiff regulations on deepwater oil drilling are soon forgotten. No need for oversight when it would cost money to enforce.

Keep your eyes peeled on the federal funding for police and fire. Always a necessary thing until you actually have to pay for them. So keep slashing away at what you think are unnecessary budget items until you've ripped the very heart of this country and turned it into your very own little ATM. When food prices are high enough that only the well to do can afford it just remember what happened to Mr Mubarak and a few others like him. People will endure only so much before they demand change. The change that's now being offered is only help to the very wealthy. Trickle down I guess means the blood that's running down my chest from the knife you just stuck in it.

This is my love letter to those up there on Capital Hill who've lost sight of what it means to actually work for a living. To them I send a dead flower bouquet as a reminder of what they're doing to this country. Happy Valentine's Day? Forget it, you already ripped our hearts out and I don't mean that in a sentimental way.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

What have I been up to?

Busy all week. Just started a new job and now I get to see what the other half has been doing for the last several months (er make that years). It's a wonderful mix of insanity out there. Companies have cut back so much that it's nothing more than crisis management. Nothing is getting done very well. The focus seems to be on establishing more data than actual work. Everyone talks of lean management and processes all the while asking for yet more figures broken down into more categories. Is this a mere ploy to justify ones' position? I think so and if not then it's just a tactic to make it too difficult to be replaced. Harry used to keep those figures in his head until they let him go. Now what do we do? The report is due Monday and nobody knows the production breakdowns.

But the great joy in all of this for me is jumping in the car at the end of the day and not having to worry a single thing about such nonsense. For you see any job takes X amount of hours to do with X amount of people to do it no matter what job order number or classification you slap on it. All the yelling and threats of write ups in the world won't make it go any faster.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The pussy is stubborn

My statement on Mubarak: I guess when you're 82 it's hard to change your ways. My real surprise came when the military issued a statement backing the present regime. The names may have changed but the game is the same and that is to keep all the power and wealth in the hands of a few. They must have cut a deal with the regime and are unwilling to change as well. And why would the top brass want anything to change when they get a good chunk of the change in the process?
Something I heard last night put a little perspective on the situation. It took Tunisia nearly a month to rid themselves of their dictator. It will take a bit longer to oust Mubarak. He is fighting to protect his $70 billion. The world could step in and end this by simply freezing his assets. So until then it's the great game called the Mexican standoff. I think the people of Egypt have little to lose and everything to gain by continuing on with their protest.

That's my two cents.....
Bank fails later...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

This reminds me how I'd love to have the job of John Boehner. Where else can you make over $168,000 per year and all you have to do is tout some catch phrases.

"Tax cuts"
"Spending cuts"
"No abortions for anyone"
"Government too big"
"The American people have said"
"No regulations"
"Hell no!"

What a job. Spend most of your time either on the golf course or at a fundraiser for yourself. Must be hard to stay sober long enough to present a coherent sentence when the cameras are on but then you can always cry as a diversion. That'll throw them off track. Oops I forgot he doesn't want anymore cameras.

John has definitely forgotten what an honest days work really is. What important bills have the GOP accomplished in the first 35 days of taking power in the House? If you said absolutely nothing you win a gold star.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Hump day

I warned you posting would be light.

Details later.... maybe...

Monday, February 7, 2011

A cat funny

Cats have more smarts than us humans. Why else would we wait on them paw and foot.

Later gater....

The names were changed but the game is the same

Egypt and why everybody likes the military.

It is estimated that around a thousand families maintain control of vast areas of the economy. This business class sought to consolidate itself and protect its wealth through political office. The National Democratic party was their primary vehicle for doing so. This alliance of money and politics became flagrant in recent years when a number of businessmen became government ministers with portfolios that clearly overlapped with their private interests.

Mubarak presided over a process in which the national wealth passed into a few private hands while the majority of the population was impoverished, with 40% living below the poverty line of less than $2 a day, rising rates of unemployment, and job opportunities for the young blocked. In the last few months of 2010, Egyptians protested for an increase of the minimum monthly wage to less than $240, but the now departed Nazif government decreed that less than $100 was sufficient as a basic income. This, at a time when the prices of food staples and utilities tariffs increased at very high rates. Indeed, as one local economist asserted, every single commodity and service cost significantly more under the Nazif government – which is the government of business that ended progressive taxation and replaced it by a single unified income tax.

Additionally, public social services underwent masked privatisation, taking health and education beyond the reach of vast segments of the population. Many poor families were forced to give up the hope of educating children and had to send them to do menial work to contribute to the income of the household. There was little public investment in most services, and in infrastructure such as roads, water and sewerage. In the 2000s, Egypt witnessed numerous demonstrations by ordinary people across the country for the construction of overpass bridges on fast roads and for clean water in towns and villages.

The legitimate social and economic demands of the people were repressed and denied, and the regime used the police to control the population. Under emergency laws, the police acquired extensive powers and engaged in surveillance and monitoring of the population. Torture and abuse in police stations became routine. Police roadblocks and checks were part of the daily reality of Egyptians. Under the generalised corruption, the police engaged in extortion and offered their services to private interests.

This was part of an article by Swala Ismail in the Guardian. I couldn't have put it in better terms myself. But the truly scary part is that we're seeing the exact same scenario here in America. Just change Mubarak to Bush /Cheney. Morph the NDP into the republican party. And we all remember the no bid Haliburton contracts. We're not quite to the point of having to pay off our police but it's getting close. With towns cutting their police it's only a matter of time before low paid rent a cops will fill the void. Not that they don't have their place but would you really want them doing police work on a daily basis?
The call to privatize everything is just another ploy to skim more money to the top 1% of our country. To do so would put us in the exact same position as Egypt with almost no middle class. Their military is lucky enough to have a job although it's a rather unusual label considering that most of their work is making products rather than defending the country.

I may be out for a while as things are getting busy around here. Posting and comments could be light. Keep it together for me would you.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Egyptian extreme renditions

And I'm not talking about "America the Beautiful" here.

It's truly amazing what you can find out here in cyberspace and it doesn't take a whole lot of digging either. Yes, I know there are the flakes who would try to have you believe that somehow Obama was responsible for JFKs' death, even though Barack was only two years old at the time.
I was wondering just how far back the events that lead up to the current uprisings went and what the U.S. roll in all of this played. I'd be almost certain that it goes back farther than this if you take some of the things done as far back as the 1950s into consideration but let's just focus on current events.
Digging through the archives I find:
On February 17, 2003, Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr (aka "Abu Omar") was kidnapped by the CIA in Milan (Italy). He was rendered to Cairo, Egypt and presumed tortured by local agents there.
If you look at Wikipedia articles on the subject you'll find a map by one Swiss investigator Dick Marty who worked for a human rights group looking into the matter. The map at the top however doesn't begin to show the extent process or all of the locations used. I found a better one :
But I have my suspicions that even this map is far from complete. There is the drop off point not mentioned in Romania and I'm sure there are others not mentioned. Just pick a country where we have a cordial relationship with a dictator and you can bet there's an Abu Ghraib styled interrogation complex complete with waterboards.

The current administration is in a bit of pickle as the saying goes and that's understandable. One the one hand they had no choice but to continue the programs done under the illegal Patriot Act. To do otherwise would have resulted in exposures to some very interesting legal situations both from U.S. and international law. On the other hand if Obama and Clinton were to come clean they would be admitting to the criminal acts of the last two decades. A conundrum of world order with no solution. And now they must face the facts. This might not have started on their watch but they are stuck with the problem.

And the $64,000 question: Do they continue to support Mubarak and his regime until his departure? We know that he is doing nothing more than rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic when he hand picks people for the transition. And here's one last thought on the matter. It's all about those with the power and money trying desperately to hang on to it. They're losing the power but want to keep the money. All the while they're trying to make it appear as if they are looking out for the best interests of the people. We see it over there and we see it here in our country.

UPDATE:The U.S. is sending a couple of marine platoons to Egypt

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Egypt more than just tourists

Prospecting around the internet last night, most often you find trash or at least less useful things, I found an article that sums up nicely the positions of Obama verses Bush.

For all his talk about freedom and democracy, Bush will be seen in the region as the president who set back democracy by mounting two wars of invasion, to impose his will. Obama, despite his limp response to the brutal Iranian crackdown on protesters in 2009, will be remembered as the American leader who went to Cairo University almost two years ago, to tell students: ''Each nation gives life to this [democratic] principle in its own way, grounded in the traditions of its own people … but I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn't steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. You must maintain your power through consent - not coercion,'' Obama told them.

Comparing the approach of the two presidents, Landis* is emphatic: ''Bush was wrong. He thought because the West was so much stronger, it could muscle the Muslim world into behaving as he wanted it to … The people of the Middle East have to find democracy in themselves - it can't be delivered from the barrel of a tank.''

*( Joshua Landis is the director of middle eastern studies at OU)
(Excerpt from an article by Paul McGeough)

The pro democracy demonstrators used Gandi type tactics and have been able to maintain their struggle. What does this tell me about my own knowledge of the middle east from current events? First that I'm woefully ignorant of modern Egyptian society and culture. To this I plead guilty. But I'm sure there are many who hold a stereotype or two of camel riding nomads still bartering from tents in the desert. I'd be almost certain that those camel riding sword swinging counter protesters were nothing more than props for the tourist trade looking for some money to feed their animals.
No, what we have here are a group of well educated unemployed looking for a future. They are organized and with no options left are determined to change things. And as we all know when any one of us is faced with such a challenge it's either fight or flight. The outcome will hinge on the military and who is running it. We may be seeing a split from Mubarak rule even though he unlike our president is not the commander in chief. Who among their military leaders will benefit from an open society? That would be my question of choice.
We will see how much resolve these people really have but judging from history it could be quit a bit. And considering this is about survival and not some ideology it could go on for a while.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Nothing up my sleeve

This is called the Bajimbi Bombay also called the "magician cat". The reason I bring up magic is that you'll want to turn your attention to congress and other news items as the worlds' attention is focused on the events in Egypt, the snow and cold in the east and cyclone in Australia. What better opportunity to sneak a bill through congress than when nobody's paying attention much like the slide of hand er paw from our friend here. You just know this feline is looking for trouble.

Not much news coming out of Cairo of late. The anti Mubarak group has taken a good beating of late with more clashes last night. Only difference is that not much of it made the news videos as that is now banned in the Square. The protesters must be getting fairly worn out by now as they move into day 10.
Reports came in yesterday that Obama was working with Egyptian officials to develop a plan for Mubaraks' exit. Only problem with that is that without removing the rest of the cabal then nothing can change. Much like changing the deck chairs on the Titanic. It also presents a power vacuum. No one really thought of the consequences if they get their wish and Mubarak and company leaves. Who steps up to the plate and fills the void when the country has experienced 30+ years of corruption? There is no written plan for progress or changes. Term limits might help but then what. What freedoms and changes do they really want?

Bank fails later
Update:Three banks hit the skids 2 in GA and 1 in IL
No major surprises to report so if they did slid in something under the radar they did a good job of it.
Most of the discussions in congress today were about Egypt. No bills passed that I could see. They are talking about changing the tax codes. The republicans want a value added tax which would in effect eliminate most of the tax for corporations while the rest of us would pay more. How predictable.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Egypt protest day ....

To my fellow blogger Pygalgia who at least has a rudimentary understanding of Arabic here is the original link in Arabic:
Friday Lunch Club

Watching the rioting in Cairo last night was an unusual sight. But something struck me as odd. As the crowd of protesters rushed back and forth at each other chanting and throwing molotov cocktails at each other the damage appeared minimal. Nobody was setting buildings on fire. No body in the crowd appeared to have guns except the military and even they weren't firing directly at anyone. As the over night fighting continued into the wee hours until the sun came up this looked more like a school yard fight than a national riot. Yes I realize that several people were killed and many more were injured but this could easily have been a slaughter. For a supposed angry mob the protesters were quite civil in all this as was the military.

More later...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Just try and stop the truth from getting out

Here's a few tweets from the demonstrators on the ground. Not a great situation.

f you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor." (Desmund ...

Government-sanctioned mass lynch underway in Tahrir Square. #jan25 #Egypt

Mubarak people are throwing molotov cocktails on the egyptian museum and setting it on fire.

This was "the government plan" based on a memo issued last thursday from the Ministry of the Interior. It reads as follows (sorry for the translation but I think you can get the idea):

Topic: Plan to address the mass demonstrations

الاستراتيجيات Strategies

1- السماح بالمظاهرات بالمرور في شوارع مدن وقرى الجمهورية وذلك اعتبارا من تاريخ . 1 - Allow to pass demonstrations in the streets of cities and villages of the state as of the date. وعدم اعتراض مسيرتهم وتوخي الحذر الشديد في اطلاق النار الحي والرصاص المطاطي والقنابل المسيلة للدموع الابامر من المختص يذلك حسب جدول الاختصاص المدون لديكم. And non-objection to their careers and to exercise extreme caution in live fire, rubber bullets and tear gas Alabamr Ivlk of competent jurisdiction according to the table you have a blogger.

2- توظيف عدد من البلطجية والدفع لهم بمبالغ مجزية والاجتماع بهم في دورهم وفي مواقع التجمعات وعلى انفراد من قبل العناصر المصرح لها بذلك دون وجود صفة رسمية بذلك وتوضيح خطة الانتشار حسب الجدول المرفق للموقع المعنون بـ 1 وابلاغهم بوقت التحرك وخطة اشاعة الفوضى التدرجية المذكورة في البيان ، 2 - employ a number of thugs and pay them amounts rewarding and meet with them in their role in the sites gatherings and in private by the elements authorized to do so without an official status, it and surrounding the deployment plan according to the attached table of the site entitled to 1 and tell them the time of the move and plan to create chaos scalability mentioned in the statement ,

3- مراقبة افراد التنظيمات والاحزاب والتنسيق مع المطابع ودور النشر واجهزة الاتصالات وفرض سجل كامل بالرسائل والمكالامات الصادرة والواردة وتوضيح فحواها بتقرير مباشر حال تلقيكم المعلومات. 3 - Control members of organizations and parties, and coordination with the printing presses and publishing houses and communication devices and the imposition of a complete record of messages and incoming and outgoing Almkalamat and clarify the content of the report of the direct case Tgaykm information.

4- سيتم قطع وسائل الاتصالات (موبايل - انترنت) اعتبارا من الساعة السادسة صباحا من يوم الجمعة الموافق 28/1/12011 مع الابقاء بالخدمات الارضية لذلك يجب على جميع المكلفين من ضباط وافراد استخدام اجهزة الاتصالات اللاسلكية اليدوية والتاكد انها في وضع التشفير. 4 - will be cut off means of communication (Mobile - Internet) As of six o'clock am on Friday, 28/1/12011 with services to keep the ground so it must to all holders of the officers and members of the use of wireless communications devices, manual and make sure it is in the development of encryption.

5- خطة نشر افراد الشرطة ورجال المباحث والعناصر الامنية بالزي المدني وحسب المرفق المعنون بـ2. 5 - the planned deployment of police and detectives and the security forces in civilian clothes, according to the annex, entitled B-2.

6- حصر مسيرة المظاهرات يوم الجمعة الموافق 28/1/2011 في الميادين العامة والرئيسية وقطع المظاهرات في حال وصولها الى مناطق التحذير حسب الخريطة المرفقة المعنونة بـ3. 6 - Inventory march demonstrations on Friday, 28/01/2011 in public squares and major parts in the event of demonstrations and access to the areas of warning, according to the attached map entitled by 3.

7- التاكد من تسليح افراد العناصر المدنية بالزي المدني بعصا خشبية وهراوات حديدية صغيرة الحجم (يدوية) لاستخدامها في القبض على العناصر الرئيسية المتواجدة في المظاهرة دون اظهار لاي عنف. 7 - make sure to arm members of the civilian elements in civilian clothes with a wooden stick and sticks, iron small-scale (manual) for use in the arrest of the main elements present in the demonstration, without showing any violence.

8- اطلاق الرصاص المطاطي والقنابل المسيلة للدموع دون استخدام الرصاص الحي والتنبيه بذلك الا في الضرورة القصوى. 8 - firing rubber bullets and tear gas without the use of live bullets and warning that only in extreme necessity.

9- اظهار عجز جزئي اعتبار من الساعة الرابعة عصر يوم الجمعة المذكورة لقوات الشرطة لاظهار تفوق المظاهرات والسماح بتغلغل عناصر البند 2 لاحداث فوضى محدودة اثناء المظاهرة وحسب الخطة المتفق معهم بذلك. 9 - show partial disability as of four o'clock Friday afternoon the police mentioned to show superiority demonstrations and allow the infiltration of elements of item 2 to cause chaos during the demonstration and limited according to the plan agreed with them to do so.

10- الانسحاب التام لقوات الشرطة والامن المركزي ولاراد تنظيم المرور والحراسات وجميع فئات الضباط والافراد المختصين لحماية المواقع الحكومية والشركات والمؤسسات مع ارتداء الزي المدني والتواجد بجانب الطرقات وحول الاشجار والانخراط بين خطوط المنظمين للمظاهرات وبين مواقف السيارات دون التدخل في اي ظواهر سلبية ودون الكشف عن الهويات الخاصة بهم وعدم التدخل في الشارع حتى يتم ابلاغكم بذلك. 10 - a full withdrawal of police and security forces of the Central and wanted to organize the traffic and the guard and all categories of officers and individuals to protect government sites, businesses and institutions with the wearing of civilian attire and presence beside roads, around trees and engagement between the lines of the organizers of the demonstrations and the parking without interfering in any negative phenomena, and without revealing the identities their non-interference in the street until you tell you so.

11- افراغ مراكز الشرطة من الاسلحة والذخائر والمسجونين ونقلهم الى السجن المركزي ووضعهم تحت حراسة مشددة وادخال افراد الامن الخاص والعناصر الامنية الى السجون بدلا منهم وعناصر الاحياء وافراد المتابعة والبحث الجنائي والمتعاونين من المخبرين. 11 - empty police stations of weapons, ammunition and prisoners and transferred to the central prison and placed under heavy guard and the introduction of private security personnel and security elements to jail instead of them and the elements of the living and the members of the follow-up and criminal investigators, and collaborators from informants.

12- بث الاشاعات عبر جميع وسائل الاعلام بوجود اعمال سلب ونهب وذلك بالاتصال من قبل العناصر النسائية على جميع وسائل الاعلام المختلفة مع سماع قوي لحالات الهلع والبكاء وحسب خطة بث الاشاعات المرفقة لكم. 12 - broadcast the rumors through all the media, the existence of acts of looting and by contacting the elements of women at all different media with hearing the cases of strong panic and cry and plan according to broadcast rumors attached to you.

13- بث رسائل مباشرة عبر افراد او رسائل غير مباشرة بتوزيع منشورات لوسائل الاعلام الخارجية فقط خاصة المتواجدة بالقرب من الاحداث بوجود اعمال نهب وسلب وتكسير لبنوك ومحال تجارية ومراكز شرطة تزامنا مع خطة انتشار البلطجية بالبند 2 وذلك لبث حالة من الهلع والرعب لدى الشارع العام ووجود مطالبة اهلية وشعبية لتواجد رجال الجيش والامن العام وعامة الشعب بالتواجد في هذه المواقع. 13 - broadcast messages directly from individuals or indirect messages distributed leaflets to the media only external private located near the events, the existence of acts of looting and breaking of the banks and shops and police stations to coincide with the deployment plan thugs item 2, in order to broadcast a state of panic and terror in the street and the existence of a claim civil and popularity of the presence of the military, public security and public presence in these locations.

14- اصدار تلميحات مباشرة وغير مباشرة عبر اجهزة الاعلام الداخلي والخارجي بتشكيل لجان حماية شعبية داخل الاحياء وذلك لتوجيه افراد المظاهرة الى التوجة الى مواقعهم دون فرض القوة من قبل الجيش. 14 - Tips to issue directly and indirectly through the media of internal and external committees formed to protect the popular neighborhoods in order to guide members of the demonstration to go to their sites without the imposition of force by the army.

15- ارسال اشاعات مغلوطة وكاذبة عبر جميع الوسائل لمحطات الاعلام الخارجي فقط ويتم تصحيحها من قبل محطات الاعلام المحلي وذلك لكسب الثقة من قبل العامة لصرف الانظار عن هذه المحطات وتشويه سمعتها في جميع الاتصالات الوارده الى محطات الاعلام المحلي. 15 - send false rumors and false information through all means of media stations outside only be corrected by the local media stations in order to gain the confidence of the public to divert attention from these stations and discredit all incoming connections to the local media stations.

16- بث الاشاعات القوية عبر جميع وسائل الاعلام المحلي والخارجي بوجود فوضى عارمة وهروب المساجين وتحديد اعداد وهمية كبيرة وكذلك مسجلي الخطر وانهم شوهدوا داخل الاحياء السكنية. 16 - strong rumors broadcast across all media, local and external existence of chaos and escape of prisoners and determining the number and big fake registrants, as well as the danger and they were seen within the residential areas.

17- مطالبة جميع الشعب عبر جميع وسائل الاعلام بتشكيل لجان شعبية تسهر ليلا نهارا لحماية الاحياء وتكوين المطالبات من قبل اصوات نسائية من عناصر الامن حسب ما تم الاتفاق عليه في الجتماع السابق معكم. 17 - claims all the people across all media and the formation of popular committees watches day and night to protect the living and the composition of the claims by the voices of women members of the security as agreed in the meeting with you earlier.

18- متابعة الوضع ميدانيا من قبل العناصر الامنية المدنية والرفع لنا باعداد المتظاهرين التقريبي ومعرفة مواقعهم لارسال مجموعة بند 2 الى احيائهم حتى يتم امتصاصهم وافراغ المساحات من المتظاهرين. 18 - Follow-up situation on the ground by the security forces of civil and uploaded to us the approximate numbers of demonstrators and knowledge of their group to send item 2 to their neighborhoods until you absorb them and empty spaces of the demonstrators.

19- اتصالات مكثفة ومكالمات وتواجد شخصي لدى جميع وسائل الاعلام يظهر تحسن ملحوظ بعد تواجد اللجان الشعبية لحماية الاحياء والمجمعات السكنية والتجارية. 19 - extensive contacts and personal calls and the presence of all the media shows a marked improvement after a presence of the People's Committees for the protection of neighborhoods and residential and commercial complexes.

20- البدء باظهار التلاحم مع القيادة تدريجيا وذلك باظهار بعد الشعارات في الوقت المحدد وحسب ما يتم ابلاغكم به. 20 - start to show solidarity with the leadership gradually after that show logos on time and according to what is to inform you of it.

As you can see this was all planned well in advance and for Lame Stream Media to say that this administration was caught off guard is nonsense. If I can dig up this information in a matter of an hour or two then I'm sure our intelligence agencies can do it even faster. Unless of course that was their (intelligence agencies) plan all along to stop the toppling of governments in the middle east. That's just my guess.

More as I dig later...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Dominos King Tut style

I thought from first look that Algeria was going to be the next target of unrest in the middle east. I didn't do quite enough research on that. Seems their leader was smart enough to head off another revolt with his actions.

Protesters complained about food prices but also about a lack of housing and jobs as well as corrupt local officials.

The government responded by cutting the cost of some foodstuffs by half and by making huge purchases of wheat on the international market in what appeared to be an attempt to avoid bread shortages that could rekindle unrest.

Belkhadem said oil and gas revenues -- energy exports earned nearly $60 billion in 2010 -- are being shared out among the population, partly through a plan to spend $286 billion over five years on infrastructure, hospitals, schools and housing.

"It is unfair to say that Algeria is rich and its people poor", he said. "Health and education are free in Algeria."

"We created 550,000 jobs in 2010. I know that we should do more, but I must say that few countries in the world could create half a million jobs per year," he said.

Again I repeat from a previous post. What is our government doing about our own economic situation? Are they worried about the welfare of the average person here? In his STOU speech Obama is going right along with the opposition party in freezing wages and calling for cuts in domestic programs. All the while when prices for things like gas and food are going up. But I forgot those things aren't counted in the gross domestic product balance sheets. Exactly why is a puzzle. All is going well if you don't count that 800lb. gorilla in your living room trashing the place and eating you out of house and home.

I always thought Jordan was a bit more stable. It seemed like the country where everyone fled when things got tough at home. I guess I was wrong. Maybe the influx of refugees has finally taken its' toll. And now we'll see the closing of borders because we can't have those pesky furriners coming in to pillage the place taking our jobs and eating all our food. Interesting to note that King Abdulla is trying to head off an uprising by sacking his PM. We'll see how this action is accepted in the next few days as the protests in Egypt continue.

And now I'm hearing Syria is gearing up for protests.

Tax cuts work well in a thriving economy. They're like hitting the nitro button in a dragster. Not so much when the economy is doing poorly. They must be made up for somewhere on the balance sheet and that usually falls on the poor. So what are these fools in government going to do? They're going to cut taxes which they've already done if you're lucky enough to have a pay check these days. But they chopped a couple of precent from social security withholding. That will truly keep the system going. One of the main reasons retirement programs fail in this country is because they're underfunded. Companies that were supposed to be making contributions to their plans as promised are instead using the money to bolster their balance sheets. The can is kicked down the road until the road ends. Retirees are left with nothing. Anymore having a company retirement plan is much like playing the lottery. Maybe it will be there and maybe it won't. There is time to fix this problem (about 26 years) but not if our government isn't willing to actually fund it.