Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday beaver is busy busy busy


News you can't use

Don't forget to check under you seat when riding a bus in Mexico you just might find a stoners stash or so Yanira Maldondo found out when police thought it was hers.

More tornadoes in the midwest. Nothing like adding insult to injury. Most of these happened east of the last big one that hit last week. Maybe they should build their houses underground from now on. Just saying.

Russia will not send missiles to Syria for months. Here's the way that will work. They'll build new missiles for themselves and sell the old stuff to the Syrians. That's how they roll. They did that in Libya selling Gadafy stuff they had left over from Afghanistan that would barely work. Wonder if they have any spare Scuds laying around.

Yep the world has gone mad. Another article states that Russia will sell Syria new fighter jets. Let me guess Assad will have to take out loans to pay for those jets so the people will effectively be buying their own death and passing it on to their children. That is if the kids manage to survive.

Some kid wins the National Spelling Bee. Hey kid you never heard of spell check? And who the hell uses a word like knaidel unless your at a Brooklyn deli.

China says it's looking forward to cyber talks with U.S. Just send us an email or better yet text us. They know how to tweet right?

Consumers feel pinch as income flat, spending off. Hey that's not what they just reported yesterday? Yesterday was all hearts and roses. What happened? Oh that's right everybody bought hedges late last night so now it's Armageddon. Those scum bag investment bankers. Speaking of which:

Bank fails later:
UPDARE: One bank failed this week in WI.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Hat tip to those who deserve it.


I don't know what this photo has to do with anything but I liked it. Er... licked it?

Amazing. Open the news today and any news about the war in Afghanistan or what we've left behind in Iraq and there's nothing nada zip zero news. But what's worse is nothing about the casualties. Nothing of our war dead. Not so much as a body count. And while the usual talking heads are away enjoying their barbeque and rookies take their place, well I'm here to correct that. Wars you see never have a preempted schedule they go on business as usual with maybe a minute of silence to remember the forgotten then it's back to dodging bullets and IEDs. And it looks like even google can't help you here and a wiki was not much better. 

Well here's the stats or at least what was reported.
Iraq     U.S. troops  - killed 4,487     wounded 32,226
Afghanistan     U.S. troops 2,226     wounded 23,500

Civilian deaths Iraq 103,160 - 113,728
              Afghanistan 12,500 - 14,700 

But you'll see no flag draped coffins and no crying widows cross the airwaves of this country today. That would put a damper on more important things like getting to the campground for the best spot or firing up the barbie to roast some burgers before the rains may come. And it's truly sad to think that none of those who gave it all will be remembered. Yes maybe their names will be carved in granite on some future memorial wall, but for the rest of us they're just numbers on an accounting sheet. And to all who made it back in relatively one piece and thirst to return because after all your buddies were depending on you, just remember, wars were there before you got there and they'll be here when you're long gone. You did the job you were sent to do so in my book it's over.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday beaver already? And other news you can't use


Bridge collapses in Washington state. 
Semi hits structural component and a large section ends up in the river below. Just happened to be one of those designs were if one component fails then they all do. The bridge was built in 1955 so it was reaching the end of it's lifespan.

War on terror redefined
We've had a war on poverty, a war on drugs a war on childhood obesity and now wars on a state of mind? How about a war on anxiety? Oh that's right they have pills for that. Never mind.

Orders for U.S. Durable Goods increase more than Forecast
(If you believe this I have a bridge to sell you)
In the second half of 2013, a faster expansion will probably give companies reason to spend more, supporting producers. Home construction is picking up, and automakers are boosting output.
The article goes on to state that had it not been for air plane orders the numbers would have been on the minus side.
(Now let's think for a minute. Who buys airplane? Wouldn't be governments now would it? Just remember that the next round of cuts to the poor. And you just know they want to ship these jobs overseas to China.)

Ben Bernanke tells everybody to buy stocks
The markets' reaction was to drop 93 points as of this writing. So much for the phrase "I'm from the government I'm here to help". Oh good I see oil is down which may mean lower gas prices in the coming weeks if they don't artificially pump it up again.

Bank fails later if I think about it.
UPDATE: No banks failed this week so carry on.

Monday, May 20, 2013

News you can't use and could probably care less about

(You realize Shakespeare's classics are now dead because of this technology)

So some Floridian played and won the mega ultra super power Lottery. 
Let me guess they're 87 years old living in a paid off condo near the beach and and no more need the money than a Wall Street banker. Isn't that how it usually works?

Obama urged to make economy bigger topic. 
Well not if the opposition has their way and so far it looks like the R.P. has gotten everything they wanted. They've called him every name in the book except the use of the "N" word and you just know they want to. And as for the economy they've all done just about everything except do the correct things to fix it. Cutting taxes to the bone won't get you there fellows. It only makes your bank accounts larger. And you're killing people in the process   So knock it off.

North Korea launches yet another missile into the ocean. 
As long as they're shooting blanks then who cares? Maybe we could get them to launch a bunch around July 4th and enjoy a free show.

MTA train crash investigation. 
Not too hard to figure out the possibilities there. A bad signal, a broken track, a system error or somebody didn't see a signal. 

Windows 8
From what I'm hearing folks are switching back to older versions after dealing with the pitfalls of the new operating system. Get a clue guys. If something isn't broken don't try and fix it. It never works out well. I recall the drum rolls for version 95 and when they went to boot the thing up it crashed. That should have told you something right there. Maybe we should start calling it Windows Hate.  

Three things keeping oil above $90 a barrel
No there's two things keeping it there and that's greed and speculation. All done with a click of a mouse or in most cases automatically via trading programs. You know that's a scary thing these automated systems. We now have cars that drive themselves. Planes that fly themselves and of course the oldest example the elevator. Push a button and the machine complete with an array of computers does the rest that is until there's a glitch. Then the outcome is usually worse than if a human had been in charge.

All is right with the world the bras are back on the ceiling at the Holler House Tavern in Milwaukee.
Deemed a fire hazard by the local city inspector the bras were taken down. The bars owner 87 year old Marcy Skowronski contacted her city alderman who in turn contacted the media. The city overturned the ban and Marcy can now rehang the bras that hundreds of women left there over the years. How did this all happen you might wonder. According to Skowronski "we all got bombed, all these girls. And just decided to take off our bras and hang them up one night in the 1960s"  And that's when the tradition started.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Friday beavers are sleeping

Not much going on of late. The circus in washington continues like a grade school class with the teacher gone. Good thing they don't have ink wells and pigtails. What better things do they have to do when nobody did their homework and the teacher forgot the lesson plan? And while our house slowly sinks into the quagmire of complacency the peonage™ is feed once again a steady diet of sex scandals and violence. And what better distraction than sex and violence simulcast through the star spangled flag waving military trial of nair-do-wells. Only I doubt this will be televised for your viewing pleasure.

A great love is to read the local police reports just to keep tabs on things. Aside from the usual fender benders there is a rise in suspicious (no follow up words). Be it a car, van or darkly clad fellow just walking the neighborhood Mrs Kravits won't hesitate to call 911 and as always by the time the cops show up nothing is to be found. Have we gotten that paranoid? Have we become so insulated because after all it's not our business to poke into other people's business? Was a time when you could ramble off the names of just about all your neighbors on the block and some on the next. Then there's rush hour traffic. Why do they call it rush hour when nobody's moving? (we'll leave that for another post) If only we could meet the other folks in the cars around us without the use of text messages or phone to ear we could warn others that the guy in the red suv just got fired and we better stay out of his way, he might do something stupid. But no we go about our days in an ever shrinking universe resigned to our own mental amusements. Read a book? Watch a show or surf the web and it's no different. Okay I know what you're thinking. Get out. Go fishing. Go rafting. Go hiking. See a show. Go dancing. All very well for those with income but not here. So that just leaves going for a walk if it isn't raining and the holes in the shoes aren't too big. But then again there's Mrs. Kravits ready to call the cops.

Bank fails later.
UPDATE: One bank failed this week in AZ.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Mayflower, Arkansas Exxon Tar Sands Oil Spill

You would think that five weeks would be enough time to put a dent in an oil spill even the size of the Mayflower spill and all the manpower and equipment thrown at it. Think again. 

Let me pick apart the photo above for you. (sorry the original photo was much larger) The absorbent pads they are using can suck up about a quart or two of material. There's far more oil than those pads could suck up and seeing how it rained just after this began the oil is now been washed down to the hard pan. Even taking off the top 12" of soil would not make a difference at this point. I've had to dig a minor spill down two feet to get to clean soil on one job and that was only a 50 gallon spill. Now let's look at the worker there. The idea of doing hazardous waste removal is to keep as much of the "product" off of your protective clothing. This guy looks like he's been swimming in it. Also note he's not wearing any respirator and doesn't appear to have shaved. Any good supervisor in the business would send him home or at least to shave and put on a respirator with chemical filters.

Now to the cover up. While Exxon and the state agencies have deemed this to be cleaned up the state Attorney General has another opinion after noting that air samples came back with high levels of the chemicals found in the oil. And even at safe levels the smell is still enough to make you sick. Think of a road that's just been freshly asphalted only in this case you can't drive past the smell to fresher air. Even tests inside homes had high levels. So where does Exxon get off saying this is safe? And there are the folks who have basically lost the use of their homes and will never return. Exxon attorneys have said that the company would buy some of the affected homes but to date no such offer has been made. Who after all would want to buy a house knowing that it could give you cancer at some later date. With no buyers other than Exxon and the home owners not wanting to return, they'll have to be torn down. Whether any one would want to rebuild there is highly questionable.

Basic procedures with this spill were never followed. There is an incident response plan book that all fire departments and emergency personnel use when dealing with any chemical spill. Minimally the standard operating procedure is to evacuate the area to a distance of 1/2 mile and keep that area closed to all but haz mat crews until an evaluation and clean up plan can be established. In the case of Mayflower even the elementary school less and 1/4 mile away remained open during the entire emergency and clean up operations. We watched for days as clean up workers set about to contain and blot up the tar sands oil with booms and absorbent pads and rolls so those children were in reality in the contamination zone with no protective equipment. All of this goes against all of the training a hazardous waste worker goes through. Primary lessons include protecting oneself (because after all what good is a dead worker) followed by protecting human life and finally the environment and property. With Mayflower it  was get it out of sight so that it could be out of mind as quickly as possible with a disregard for worker and public safety. And any smart lawyer is going to have a field day with the photos taken even by the company itself. They have in effect provided the rope to hang themselves legally speaking.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

You can't keep lying to me because I ain't buyin your lies no more

Sounds like the latest country hit right?

Media (make that lame stream media) picks up the latest right wing talking points who get theirs from Fox news who in turn has nothing better to do than to distort facts and make up the latest and greatest conspiracies that might make Alex Jones blush. Don't know the Jones guy? Don't waste your time looking you'd get more truth out of Mad Magazine or the Onion.

The lies along with just a tad of truth are ground up well chewed and regurgitated again and again until the sheeple are sick of hearing it. Then when this chewing gum has lost its' flavor they'll pluck it off the bedpost next week and give it one last go round. "Spin it to win it" must be the order of the day plastered across news room walls. And why not? It's how by dividing any group the battles are fought and won.

Take any issue and it can be neatly packaged and spun into the latest and greatest weapon all ready to be spoon fed to people either too stupid or too lazy to research the facts. And they actually get well paid for this.

Benghazi, the IRS even a school shooting soon becomes a political tool used against those less informed and ignorant enough to believe the lies. Lie to me once shame on you. Lie to me twice shame on me. Cause after all if you keep telling the lies long enough somebody might start believing you. Sorry for quoting the likes of George Bush but we all know he got it bass ackwards. Benghazi was initially just as it happened for those who paid attention but I forgot the rampant ADD in this country. The IRS goes after any suspicious newly founded organization right or left. And sorry but armed guards don't belong in schools, that's what prisons are for.

Slowly ever so slowly there is a new media in the construct. It's technology isn't quite there yet but it's basic principles are well established. We shall see how this pans out as time passes. One thing is certain it's not going away any time soon. People thirst for the truth which is why main stream media is a dying corporate backed dinosaur. Package it anyway you like manure is still manure and we aren't buying it.

And now for a special public service announcement:

Right wing troll alert

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The pen is mightier than the sword

A cheap saturday night special may be able to take out a thug or two with five or six rounds ( After all who's that good of a shot these days?). Even a tank can only do so much damage. But with a pen monkeys in congress can pass legislation that can bring down entire countries, imagine that. With just a few pen strokes entire lives can be shattered. Extensive damage too, with food being snatched from babies mouths, grandma seeing her daily meal ended and people refused medical care all because some guys on the other side of the country wrote on a piece of paper. So not only can you maim and injure with a pen you can kill too. Cut off those cancer treatments and see how long the patient survives. All done with but a stroke of a pen. Thing you'd have better luck outside the club on a Saturday night of avoiding gunfire than what our congress is doing to us with a lowly pen.

You didn't expect to send your kids to college when with a stroke of the pen funding was cut, teachers laid off  and forget about getting a student loan. You'd need a degree just to get through the process only to find out that grants and scholarships are no longer there. Wiped out with a pen. Stab somebody and they will more than likely recover fairly quickly. Eliminate their safety nets and it's curtains for you pal. And this goes way beyond emotional disconnect. With a sword one must face their foe at close quarters. Even with a gun it requires aim and focus on the target. Slowly we have distanced ourselves. The pilot seeks out his target, drops his load and heads for home but even he must verify the kill. A drone jockey still must hone in on his prey all while watching from a world away. None of this is necessary when writing on a piece of paper. Yet entire towns can be wiped out with the signing of a document be it in DC or at some foreign accord. Usually done in the name of peace or the environment or some other lame euphemism. And no damage reports here while those at the top sit in their cushy offices thinking up the next round of torture.

What does congress care when their are lobbyists on both sides of an issue? So it's just a matter of who has the most money. No sweat off their balls when election season rolls around because by then the rubes will have forgotten. And then it will be kiss ass to their corporate masters all the while telling the peonage™ that it's their own fault that things are so messed up. If we just didn't have those greedy teachers and firemen things would be just fine. We'll save grandma by taking away her one hot meal a day (whilst they stuff grandma's meal money in their pockets). 

Like Lucy pulling the football away one more time we get told things will get better "if only". If only means yet more tax breaks for corporations. It means more lame trade agreements that lets corporations ship jobs overseas. It means more cuts to local governments and less jobs as the locals try and make up for the lost revenues and federal dollars. And you think you're safe with any job you may have? Think again. All done with the stroke of a pen.

Where's the jobs you promised Mr. Boner? Oh that's right they're in China helping to make you guys richer. So forget the guns, it's time to take away some pens before we're all living out of a dumpster.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Friday beaver and more useless news


Lieberman says the Boston bombing could have been prevented.
What did you have inside info Joe or maybe a crystal ball? Never trust a guy who's last name starts with Lie.

Another Bangladesh fire kills owner and seven others
Hoisted by ones own petard I believe is the expression. So much for cheap clothing that is until they find the next lowly country to do their slave bidding.

Harbinger Capital to pay SEC $18 million
Chump change when you consider the company is worth $9 billion and of course nobody will see the inside of a jail cell. But looking at their balance sheet they were bleeding money like a stuck pig. Rats leaving the ship? Oops mixing my metaphors here a bit.

Oreck vacuum is in bankruptcy
Sorry Dave your vacuums could suck everything except money I guess. Maybe Mitt's old company could buy you out and carve up the carcass that is if there's anything left on the bone. $30 million isn't a grand prize in those kinds of deals. Wouldn't even cover the CEOs bonus these days.

Bank fails later
UPDATE: Two more banks hit the skids this week one in GA and one in NC.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Bologna or is it baloney and other useless news

Air Force sidelines 17 nuclear missile officers
For a military career it was like being sent to the foreign legion to serve out your remaining days a guarantee you'd never see another promotion. This was more like an outfit standing watch over a rusty cannon. And what exactly did they do after they watched the paint dry? Anybody remember where we left those launch keys?

Chris Christie as president?
He's too heavy to do the gyrations necessary to make it through the primaries. And let's face it once they remove those lap bands it's back to a diet of Krispy Kreme and diet coke.

Police swoop in on suspects of a Belgian diamond heist
(Didn't know their police had wings.) But comparing this to the housing meltdown it proves once again that the pen is mightier than the sword er gun. What's $50 million in diamonds compared to the billions stolen with derivatives?

McDonald's sales slip
But of course it's because Crisco had to stop eating there (see above article).

Increase in sexual assault in the military
Seem to recall we didn't have this problem when the military had separate branches for men and women.  

Bank of Korea cuts interest rates
Humm student loans double but the big banks cut their rates to each other. Oh that sounds fair. This is sounding more and more like that sound when you give the guitar string tension knob too many turns.

Okay guess I get the lame award not much to write about. 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Privatization and why it's a bad idea


We've been brainwashed into thinking our public servants are somehow stealing from us. That somehow they didn't earn the small salaries they receive. Not talking about those who make the decisions. They after all are above the laws they make.
But the lowly office worker and the public grounds keeper is somehow labeled a scrounger sucking of the tit of the government cow. They are labeled the enemy of the tax payer something to be loathed at all costs. What's forgotten is that such services are necessary for a functioning society. The "profit" lies in the fact that what they do benefits us all to one degree or other.

So the concept of profit here is just one of greed. To turn the entire system into a capitalists' wet dream would do little in the long run for society as a whole. We have after all watched as incomes of the top 1% climb to the stratosphere while the average guys wages fell flat. And that's not to mention the benefit take-a- ways of health care and retirement.  So realistically those in the middle and bottom saw their wages fall, eaten up by co-pays and matching dollars in 401k s. That is if they even had those benefits to begin with. No the private sector relies heavily on subsidized tax payer funded health care to enrich it's bottom line. Just ask any front line Walmart worker. If that weren't bad enough we all fund their food stamps as well so where's the low prices coming from really?

Those at the bottom are not going to go away anytime soon and things won't get better until those at the top realize that hey maybe you just might need some folks around to empty the garbage and fix the roads because we know you aren't going to do the job. And forget their scare tactic of "death panels", with the sequester they've already pulled the plug on grandma and snatched the food from her plate before she could object.

No greater evil has been hoisted on the American public than the sequester. It gave cover to the dysfunctional congress as a sort of plausible deniability with no one to blame except the other side. They had a gun but thought no one was stupid enough to actually use it. So it's no meals on wheels for you grandma, the senator just must get to his vacation spot before his reservation at the plush resort expires. Got to work on the tan you know.

As for privatizing everything it doesn't work. Especially when the motivating factor is producing a profit for those who don't necessarily have an interest in the product or service. But on the flip side of the argument, non profits have no real incentive to save money when funds come from the public coffers. They go by a set budget and any savings goes back to the taxpayer so they'll make every effort to spend the last penny of what they've been allocated. That said they are still cheaper in the long run in most cases. Look no farther than health care to see what damage privatizing the system can do. It was once all non profit and affordable but with the rise of HMOs in the 70s the system quickly started to price itself to being unaffordable.  And had wages kept pace for the majority this discussion would not have been necessary.  

Friday, May 3, 2013

Friday beaver overslept - WMDs aren't what they seem

How many is in mass?

Six rebel soldiers were said to have been killed with the use of a sarin gas shell fired at them in Homs. That breaking news may have a initial gut reaction of a growing fear that things could get out of hand. But really, how much more out of hand could things get when on average 100 people per day have been killed with conventional weapons? Does it really matter how a population is slaughtered, maimed or injured? It's all a matter of context. If 100 people were gunned down at a mall would that not be mass destruction? And exactly what constitutes the term "mass"? In this case it's six soldiers. A large rocket or bomb dropped could do as much or more damage as can a tank or even a large calibre machine gun. And yet they are never considered weapons of mass destruction even though they could easily fit the definition.

It's doubtful that such chemical weapons will be used in the future in Syria. They aren't effective in an urban setting and then there's the risk of killing your own supporters in the process. In some areas just a few blocks separate the two sides.

How about a slow death?
A larger weapon and far more deadly is what corporations are doing to both us and the planet. With the advent of the industrial revolution companies have been dumping their toxic wastes into rivers and streams and on the ground at the back of the plant since the whole thing began. And don't think it doesn't still go on today. Out of sight out of mind has been the order of the day for generations. BP is a case in point. The number of lies hoisted on the world would make Pinnochio blush. They lied right from the beginning. First about the amount coming from the well at Deep Water Horizon then about who was responsible for their cheapskate ways. If that wasn't enough they lied about the health effects from the Corexit™ they used to try and hide their crime. Clean up workers were not only not told of the health effects they were denied protective equipment even when they asked for it. Respirators come in handy when you have a plane flying overhead spraying you with the stuff. The company providing MSDS sheets that lists health effects and protective measures was told to stop sending them even though that is a requirement when selling hazardous chemicals. For workers it's called "the right to know law". This was no simple household chemical either. The information came in a binder with  61 pages. I've dealt with quite a few chemicals in my time but the most I've seen are 5 to 10 pages of documentation for any chemical. People exposed to such chemicals as Corexit™ can take years to die a slow painful death. 

Now if you really want to take about mass destruction look no farther than the financial instruments they're still selling but that's another issue altogether. In the mean time...

Bank fails later.
UPDATE: No bank fails this week so enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Quantitative easing (right into our graves)


Now there's a BS term. It simply means that money is created out of thin air and pumped into the economy or more accurately put into bank coffers. It doesn't create jobs. They could cut the costs of borrowing to zero and it won't make for people racing to a bank to take out a loan they don't need. The boys on capital hill have been no help either with their sequester scam. Here's a better idea give them two months to come up with a budget (and a realistic one not like the baloney ones they have been passing) or they have to take a gun they so cherish and shoot themselves in the head. That would make for some interesting eleventh hour negotiations. I'd love to see that Mexican stand off.

Realistically they have just about ruined two generations in just ten years. By pumping more money into the banks will result in inflation. We're already seeing that in many of our goods and services along with increases in local taxes from lack of revenue. Student loan interest is set to double for those who can still afford to stay in school. Schools have increased tuition by as much as 30% to cover their cut backs in funding. Seniors will soon be hit with a cut to their pensions as earning from portfolios drop (tied to interest rates). And that's aside from the cuts coming from the sequester. Good luck finding a doctor who'll take Medicare.

The right wing continues its' drum beat for yet another war egging Obama to go into Syria, but let's face it their real goal is Iran. They of course will never admit how they'd pay for such excursions unless it's stealing from the baby's piggy bank because there isn't much left to rob. 

So be prepared for a hot summer. If you think the Seattle May Day altercation was violent just wait till the house of cards comes crashing down. It shouldn't be long now with the stock market at astronomical levels and no real reason it should be there. Let us not forget another debt limit fight coming along with european debts that can't be paid. Yep a financial lock up is set to happen. It's just a matter of time.