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Posts from — November 2012

Friday Cat Blogging

A Repeat

Friday Cat Blogging

You don’t expect me to believe that?

[Editor: Property doesn't buy my excuse, but I have been extremely busy this week, and the cold weather has kept the cats hunkered down in their hiding places. The crew inside are not happy about the late meals.]

Friday Ark

November 30, 2012   9 Comments

While I’ve Been Working

The UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to approve Palestine as a “non-member observer state”, essentially the same status that Israel received in 1948. The US complained that the move would interfere with the non-existent peace talks between Israel and Palestine, while the Israeli ambassador basically said that all of the land was theirs.

The Egyptians have drafted their new constitution that will make no one but the Salafis happy, and with probably result in more street demonstrations. It is essentially the Mubarak constitution with a new paint job and more chrome.

Geithner presented the White House plan for a ‘Grand Bargain’ and left the meeting to avoid the wedgie the Republican brain trust was planning. The Republicans have no intention of doing anything about the ‘fiscal cliff’, because they are Republicans. They run for office to prove that government doesn’t work, so they aren’t going to do anything than might look like progress.

No bargain is a better outcome than Zero’s “Grand Bargain”. Nothing Congress does is good for more than two years. Not matter what they do today. the Congress that convenes in January can overrule it. Wait for the new Congress and do it right, with hearings and research.

November 29, 2012   Comments Off

Take Your Grand Bargain And Shove It.

First off, there was already a ‘grand bargain’ on Social Security and Medicare during the Reagan administration created by the Greenspan Commission, that ‘fixed the system for all time’ and people went along with it. There is a $2½ trillion dollar trust fund as a result. The only thing that the system needs is for people to have jobs.

If you enact programs that put people back to work, you have solved all of the major problems except the incredibly expensive Bush tax cuts.

Kenneth Quinnell, a paleo-blogger who ran the Florida Progressive Coalition, as well as many other projects, for years now works for the AFL-CIO as a writer. He sent a link to a page created by the union to counter all of the disinformation that is being pushed by politicians from both parties about the necessity of cutting the social safety net programs. It is a simple format in table form of the ‘Myth’ people are told and then the ‘Facts’ on the issue.

Putting people to work is the most effective way of dealing with the deficit.

November 28, 2012   Comments Off

I Read The News Today …

And to two stories caught my attention immediately.

The first was in the Local Puppy Trainer, County: In-House Construction Crew Will Save Money, as reports on the fact that public employees can do construction projects cheaper than the private sector.

The head of the water department points out that the county’s crew isn’t marking up the cost of materials, and they aren’t adding on a profit margin. He has been doing subversive things like bidding on county demolition contracts and submitting the lowest bid.

Privatization is not the path to efficient government; it is usually the path to corruption.

The second was on the CBS site: The ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Isn’t A Cliff At All. It was amazing, a major media outlet actually looking at what is going to happen and noticing that it isn’t ‘the end of the world as we know it’. I was totally amazed that anyone in the media was actually making a reality check on the conventional wisdom and hysteria.

November 27, 2012   Comments Off

A Major ‘Pixie’ Failure

CBS carried the story as: Utility worker pierced pipe before Massachusetts gas blast. It is only after you get into it that you discover that the painted lines and little flags were in the wrong place, which is why the pipe was pierce by the worker using a probe to check for a possible gas leak.

Fortunately people were immediately evacuated from the buildings in the area, so there were no fatalities, but the first responders at the scene who had stayed after completing the evacuation and the utility crews called in to repair the pipe were injured when the gas exploded.

Natural gas companies have been converting to plastic pipe which has important advantages over the steel and iron pipe that was used for years. One of the major drawbacks of plastic pipe is trying to locate it underground. The local gas company buries a wire with the pipe, and locates it by searching for a signal sent through the wire. It works well if the wire isn’t displaced from the pipe when they fill in the ditch. That happened in the yard of the first placed I lived when I moved back. Things got pretty exciting when my landlord put in an irrigation system and they discovered that the gas line was two feet away from the painted line. The wire was definitely under those lines – the gas company found it when they put in the new line.

November 26, 2012   11 Comments

Shopping Wasn’t A Problem

Normally I avoid stores during this period to avoid the rowdy crowds, but they weren’t around this year.

I picked up some things I needed to finish this rehab and a quick stop by the supermarket, and neither were any busier than normal for a Sunday. More importantly is that I went passed Malwort and their parking lot was definitely not more crowded than any end of the month Sunday.

There may have been some people lining up for the start of the ‘Black Friday sales’, but once they were done, in about two hours, so was the buying.

The stores are not stocked for a big Christmas season. The Christmas stuff came out earlier than ever, even before Halloween, but there wasn’t that much of it. The aisles aren’t blocked with excess stuff, the way they once were.

Unemployment may be dropping, but the people who are finally finding jobs, have a lot of debt to pay off, and that has more priority than spending a lot of money on gifts. The local paper covered the early shoppers, and found that the people in the stores are more interested in buying clothes on sale, the basics, than expensive gifts for their family.

November 25, 2012   2 Comments

Thoughts On The Weekend

In comments Jim Bales suggested I have a look at Stonekettle Station, a blog by a retired Navy CWO in Alaska.

His latest post was about bigotry, and it lays out the problem of the bigots who get upset about being called bigots.

I thought of the article on CBS that deals with a segment on 60 Minutes about early child development studies at Yale, that seem to show that children understand the concept of ‘fairness’ almost at birth, i.e. it isn’t learned, it’s part of the ‘basic package’.

That should surprise no one as there have been studies going back over a decade showing that other members of the order Primates also have a developed sense of fairness. This article, Fairness & Equity Concepts Have Deep Primate Roots, covers some of the earlier research.

Two things come to mind: 1) Bigotry is learned, not inmate, and 2) Not only are humans born without ‘original sin’, but they all start out innocent. People who discriminate against anyone else aren’t simply evil, they are unnatural.

This tends to support Badtux’s claim that many wingnuts are ‘lizard people’.

November 24, 2012   6 Comments

Happy NODWISH™

Evergreen Yes, it’s the time of year when the Sun dies and must be re-born through an elaborate ceremony that involves some form or type of sacrifice, such as finding gifts for people you can’t stand and smiling brightly as you receive yet another gift based on an urban legend that you actually like truly stomach-wrenching color combinations.

Of course there was a time when the Solstice sacrifices were more visceral and the evergreen was covered in things that pleased only ravens and such, but we have put all that behind us by opting for the possibility of electrocuting one another and causing chaos on the power grid.

What a brilliant idea: moving a large supply of pre-kindling soaked with highly flammable resins into your house, loading it down with petrochemical-based ornaments, lacing it with heat-producing electrical devices, and surrounding the base with cardboard boxes and tissue paper. You just can’t have a traditional celebration without a proto-bonfire in your living room.

I do think that followers of Mithras might want to curtail their typical birthday service in light of Mad-Cow Disease, but global warming will certainly make the services in the oak wood in traditional druidic robes more comfortable.

When you put up your stocking on the mantel and put out the turnips for Gouger, Rooter, Tusker, and Snouter as well as the pork pie and sherry for the Hogfather, you can rest assured the Sun will come up, because it just slipped around back to return the lager it rented.

Enjoy! You have nothing to fear, except that sniveling little creep with the camera/phone at the office party or the eggnog that was put out rather early causing you to suspect that the bits on top aren’t nutmeg. [The pictures probably won't appear on the 'Net and the brandy will surely take care of the salmonella.]

A Calendar of Coming Events

[Read more →]

November 23, 2012   21 Comments

Friday Cat Blogging

Far Horizon

Friday Cat Blogging

Hmmm….

[Editor: I have no idea what the Hermit is focusing on, but it caused the momentary freeze that provided the picture.]

Friday Ark

November 23, 2012   11 Comments

JFK

It was afternoon and I was on my way to a chemistry class. I had stopped for a drink of water when the news came over the speakers in the classrooms.

For those who weren’t alive at the time: remember what you felt on September 11, 2001 for a taste of November 22, 1963. It was a massive change for the worldview of my generation and it marked the beginning of a period of disruption and decline in the civility of American society. Arthur had died and Camelot fell.

At his inauguration John Kennedy made the point: “If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.”

The colors of my world will never be as bright as they were on November 21, 1963.

This century has been a nadir in American life. Hopefully we can recapture some of the greatness America once represented, but that requires leadership, and we don’t have any.

November 22, 2012   Comments Off

Happy Thanksgiving

TurkeyMy grandfather raised turkeys on his farm. My Dad knew turkeys and I learned something about them while visiting the farm. Every time a turkey dies the aggregate IQ of the animal kingdom rises and the level of evil falls. Earthworms will understand quantum mechanics before turkeys figure out the laws of motion.

Hopefully this link to the WKRP Turkey Drop will survive the day.

It is much funnier that it’s recent competition featuring the former governor of Alaska.

I would note that wild turkeys can fly, but people who imbibe massive quantities of Wild Turkey can’t, no matter what they tell you.

Have a nice Thanksgiving, even if it doesn’t involve the death of a turkey.

November 22, 2012   13 Comments

The Joy Of For-Profit Utilities

Last week the ‘rainbow pixies’ showed up in the neighborhood, which is the first sign that life is about to get inconvenient. They wander across everyone’s front yard planting little flags and painting lines on the ground: yellow for gas, blue for water, orange for sewer, and green for telephone cables. They say this is to prevent people who are going to dig in the right-of-way from damaging the buried utility lines, but it is really so they know who to call when they break something.

Early this morning they started digging while I completed my morning routine. Long about 10 my Mother called on her cell phone to say her landline phone was dead. Remembering the activity, I checked my phone, which was also ‘unresponsive with pupils dilated’ [You can't say dead in a police report because that is an 'expert opinion' that officers are not qualified to make.] The DSL was also ‘pining for the fjords’. A quick check at the corner, and there was Bubba and his backhoe with a bucket full of little green flags with a cable hanging from its teeth.

Fool that I am, I assumed that The Phone Company might be interested, so I called the repair number and followed the menu tree until there was a choice to report damage to TPC property. I was in error, as I was only allowed to report problems with my individual telephone line.

They eventually sent a crew to patch things up today, but they told me that the soonest they could respond to my problem was on Friday because of the holiday. I assume that someone called on the private utility-to-utility line to report the ‘accidental damage’.

The guy with the backhoe was a contractor, as are almost all of the local utility service people these days, and they work as fast as possible to make up in quantity what they should be paid for quality.

November 21, 2012   11 Comments

Blogiversary™

Like it says on the sidebar, I started putting my opinion out there for people to criticize eight years ago, after annoying other people on their blogs.

I missed the cut as a paleo-blogger because I didn’t start until after the disaster of the 2004 election. My anger over the stupidity of the US electorate in re-electing the Shrubbery needed a release and this was it.

Things were a lot more collegial back then, as there were almost no “professional” bloggers, and a blog roll was manageable, but you can’t live in the past or people will assume you’re senile [if you have gray hair] or a Republican [if that "past" never existed].

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of those who stop by, as it helps me maintain the belief that I’m not talking to myself [although cell phones and pets can serve that purpose].

November 21, 2012   22 Comments

About That Cease Fire

The bombs are still falling and the rockets still flying tonight despite rumors of s cease fire deal all day.

Moon of Alabama covers the basic Ceasefire Conditions And Interests and touches on meaning of the assassination of Hamas military wing leader Ahmed al-Jaabari.

The Agonist was wondering earlier if Netanyahu had targeted al-Jaabari to preclude the possibility of a more permanent truce that was being negotiated in Egypt prior to the Israeli air assault.

The US is out of the loop in this situation because we refuse to talk to Hamas. Hamas won the election and is the majority in the Palestinian parliament. If you don’t talk to them, you aren’t in the process. Talking to Abbas is a waste of time. His term has expired, but the Israelis have prevented a new election, so he still is the nominal head of the Palestinian Authority. He lacks the power to make a deal of any kind. The US is participating in kabuki, not a real attempt to broker peace.

November 20, 2012   Comments Off