Monday, September 29, 2008

Short and Sweet!

It is amazing to see this. Wow!
It is amazing to see this! Wow!

It is amazing to see this! Wow!

nothing more needs to be said, does it?


nothing more needs to be said, does it? really presidential.


nothing more needs to be said, does it?


nothing more needs to be said, does it?


Saturday, September 27, 2008

I Want This Job!!!!@!!!!

Anyone who has ever read my ramblings knows, I want a job where I can make umpteen million for taking a company to the ground. Rather than write what I read in the paper today, here is Chris from Americablog.

Kinda like being a failed CEO of Merrill Lynch ($161 million O'Neal and 9-months-for-$200 million Thain) or Citi ($40 million for Chuck Prince) or Bear Stearns (James Cayne for $61 million) or Countrywide (Angelo Mozilo for $110 million) or Lehman Brothers ($2.5 BILLION bonus fund after failing) or AIG (Maurice Greenberg selling $1 BILLION in AIG stock after the bailout). The latest prime example of Washington Mutual (WaMu) CEO who worked a whopping THREE WEEKS who is entitled to $18 million. Since when did being a failure become a recipe for financial success in America? This is what the Republicans have done to our system that used to reward hard work and success but now only rewards failures at the top. Some kind of message we're sending to everyone.
Washington Mutual Chief Executive Alan Fishman could walk away with more than $18 million in salary, bonuses and severance after less than three weeks on the job, according to the terms of his employment agreement.

But will Fishman follow the lead of another troubled financial firm and turn his severance package down?

JPMorgan Chase (JPM, Fortune 500) grabbed up the banking assets of WaMu on Thursday after federal regulators seized the company, making it the largest bank failure in history.

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said in a conference call with reporters Friday that no decisions have been made about the fates of WaMu senior executives.

Back again, I normally rather do my own research, but as I was compiling links, I found this.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Class, Today's Assignment Is...

I am just thinking that this bail out may determine the direction of the next Presidency. So I am attaching a letter I have written for my Senators and Congresswoman anyone can copy, crib off of or whatever. The links above are the contact your Senator and Representatives.

Have fun.

September 25, 2008

It is very apparent that the manner in which we, as a country, handle the current economic crisis will determine the ability of the next President to govern our country. If there is too high of a debt, there will be no flexibility in the manner in which he or she will be able to make long-term policy decisions based upon need and not economics.

I feel that there does need to be a bailout package, but the bailout package needs specific provisions. They are:

1) Give a specific amount of money for a quick fix. This may be $100,000,000,000 or $150,000,000,000. This can be reapplied for by the Executive Branch through the Treasury Department and approved by Congress. I would hope this amount may be enough to keep the economy moving until the next president can start to make policy determinations and place specific limits into a coherent long-term economic plan.

2) Give aggrieved homeowners who may be facing foreclosure a hearing with a judge to see if their home loan can be restructured, or perhaps their property revalued to keep it off of the foreclosure lists. Then let banks show the revalued assets so that some may be written off as “goodwill”. This may lower the actual property values as they are reassessed, but should keep the properties off of foreclosure lists, where the property will really plummet. It will also lower the desperation of those who are in this condition and increase consumer confidence.

3) Place limits on the salary and bonuses of CEOs that may be involved in the bailout. Also, place limitations on the amount of dividends that financial institutions may pay out to their shareholders unless they hit specific agreed-upon benchmarks. It is partially their responsibility that the economy has been so overvalued in the first place. Prospective homeowners could not have purchased homes unless some one said they had enough credit to buy them. Due diligence really is a function of the investor.

Thank you for your time and service in these difficult situations.



Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Something Stinks

Website worth

and here is what Sarkozy said today--

"Those responsible for the crisis that has swept global financial markets should be punished, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said overnight in his first reaction to the latest bout of economic turmoil.

In an acceptance speech at an award ceremony attended by U.S. and French business leaders, Sarkozy called for the "truth" on the crisis to be uncovered.

'Today, millions of people across the world fear for their savings, for their apartment, for the funds they have put in banks. It is our duty to give them clear answers,' he said.

'Who is responsible for this disaster? May those who are responsible be punished and held accountable," he said hours before he was due to give a speech to the U.N. General Assembly.' "

I agree. We need to find a cause, place blame, devise laws to stop it from happening again and all that. Not just write a blank check. If the administration had this plan sitting around in case, one wonders what in case was. In case of losing election, let's fuck the American people. If this is a real emergency then let's approve what we need today and then next week and then the week after.

This is from the administration that told us Iraq had suitcase nukes. Don't piss on my head and say it the economy trickling down on me.

and who gets the assets, who gets to keep their jobs? Mr. I-loaned-way-more-money-than-we-have
? or Mr. I-lied-about how-much-my-assets-are-worth. Isn't that fraud well above felony charges? just kind of wondering. where does mismanagement stop and criminal fraud start? honestly.

McCain yesterday was talking about not placing blame or finding causes, but making sure this never happens again. well, another notch in the proof of dementia belt is scored as logically, unless you know the cause and place blame, you can't prevent it from happening again. Mr. Keating Five should know something about fraud, but then appointed Phil Gramm as his adviser. Mr. Gramm opened the door for commodity speculation that was close to the S&L scandal. Connect the dots, Johnny Boy and I don't mean your liver spots.

Fraud was perpetrated on the world population and specifically the American people and right now we need to prevent people walking away like Neil Bush. Where are these tough law and order dudes now? worst economic crime in years.

could it be that people are trying to get this money appropriated because this election can't be fixed like the last two? Otherwise, why not put fingers in the dike until after the election and let the transition teams handle it. This stinks worse than the selling job of the war in Iraq.

Same Old Song

This from today's Washington Post:

"They have distorted the science to such an extent that they can justify not regulating" the chemical, said Robert Zoeller, a University of Massachusetts professor who specializes in thyroid hormone and brain development and has a copy of the EPA proposal. "Infants and children will continue to be damaged, and that damage is significant."

Let me get this straight. The EPA is forced to change their proposed attempt at regulating a carcinogen because the Bush Administration has redacted some of the scientific statements in an attempt to make the cancer risk seem lower. Have we ever heard of the administration pushing around the EPA before? Isn't that why a basic conservative, Ms. Whitman, finally quit.

And why--because the military has actually spilled percholate (aka rocket fuel) into many aquifers in the United States and no one wants to pay for the clean up costs. This is a chemical that will migrate in an aquifer. It will spread contamination and does cost money to treat. But in the best Defense Department tradition (see fires at Rocky Flats in Colorado), it is not responsible. Yup, that plutonium, grew legs and walked. and we all know plutonium can just appear in FT. Collins, 60 mile north of Rocky Flats. Nope, no fires, never got airborne.

Percholate never leaked from rocket silos. Never got in the ground water.

What it comes down to is that the Defense Department is and has always been granted freedom to do whatever the hell it wants and dispose of waste however it can and then maybe later after enough public outcry kind of clean up. This includes accidental spills, too. I am not saying that they are just mean and cruel bastards with no regard for public health and intentionally pollute. Accidental things happen, but the Defense Department does not deal well with that either. It will fight cleaning up percholate, because finding rocket fuel in ground water may give you an idea where ICBM silos were hidden. Just follow the trail of percholate as it wanders through basins and aquifers and you may find where our national defense was at one time. Some rocket fuel manufacturers and some storage areas have contaminated groundwater and percholate is expensive to clean up. Some of the clean up levels cannot even begin to touch the proposed EPA level of 1 microgram per liter, or 1 part per billion (one drop per billion drops or one drop per 132,100 gallons--one person uses about 100 gallons per day so one drop per 3.5 years of your water consumption, including laundry and irrigation). Gives you an idea of how expensive this may be and why the military is pushing clean up into never never land. They may be hoping for a new treatment technique discovery.

If the next administration is a public service administration there will be such a backlog of everything and such a large debt, it will be incredibly difficult to deal with such expensive matters as percholate treatment of water. As citizens, it is just another thing we will be stuck with and all we can say is this is the worst administration ever.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Hey, Why Not?

I want to add my 2 mortgages to this mortgage mess. If we can pay millions in bonuses as we bail out failed CEO policy, can my mortgages be bought out by the federal government so I can retire and do reiki full time?

how do I get in line? Also, I would like a $1,000,000 bonus for stupid life decisions.

hey, when you are talking $1,000,000,000,000, it would only be .0001%. No one would notice. Less than the guy got for running Home Depot nowhere. 98% cheap at half the cost. see, I could be a republican.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Now What?, with a side of guilt

guess I did understand some of the world and US market banking crisis. But here is a great explanation. and don't be embarrassed if your eyes glaze over and you have to reread things.

So what it seems we are doing with the bailout is paying for everyone's duplicitous profits along the way. makes me feel good about life, knowing my great-great grand children will be paying for someone else's champagne on expense account bought at the turn of the 21st century. and they will never be able to retire. you know, I can take responsibility for my share of it. Did I become a political activist when I was told Reagan's trickle-down economics was not really someone pissing on my head, or when NAFTA and CAFTA took more jobs offshore or when the S&L scandal rocked the US (and Neil Bush walked away with Billions) or when ... No, I chose to live separated from the world in a commune. I did not believe the system could be saved. I did not think that it would all my kidlets and grand kidlets their lives to pay for choices.

Maybe the bailout should have consequences for those who stole the money. but how. I pose this question now, because how do we get back stolen money, or at least a portion of it. There needs to be some justice. If Clinton had pursued some of the wrongs of the previous administration, looking for justice in the name of country unity, there could not have been the atrocities of the current group of scheming power addicts, who are given rule by the oil companies.


Friday, September 19, 2008

Why Am I So Suspicious?

The economic meltdown happened before the election. about 40 days before the election. maybe McCain can get over the Republican failure. Or is this the last big money grab by the invisible ruling class because they knew they will lose control before the election. Might as well grab all the money we can and stick the normal Americans and move our accounts offshore before the election type of grab. because we know we are going to lose the election, grab the money and run! like any mere average mortal could track the trillion dollar recovery money and who ultimately benefits.

what are the chances?

there already is telecom immunity, if any market immunity things start floating around either branch of the legislative bodies, I will know I am right.

This Morning's Pre-Work Ramblings

1) Didn't credit card companies, with the help of Congress, pass a very restrictive and punitive bankruptcy bill a few years ago? I you look at the link, you see who was compassionate then. and how was the reformer. If this is McCain's style of reform, he is a mean old bastard. "Get off of my lawn" doesn't encompass his lack of compassion. Part of that bill was YOU HAD TO PAY BACK YOUR DEBTS. Now as a taxpayer, we bail out banks and credit companies and executives walk out with bonuses, in a few cases having the taxpayers pay their taxes (Their hiring packages were for the employer to pay their taxes, so...) I have some credit card debts, do you think the taxpayers will bail me out? I mean, don't you want to pay my bills? or you? or maybe you? We don't even have a say in bailing out firms who have shown the limits of free market capitalism. Thanks, Phil Gramm. I am very glad my Social Security money never got put into Lehman Brothers. Oh yes, who was for that? Could it be McCain? Heck, I was transferred and I still own my old house (a money-losing proposition, for sure) because the market is flooded with foreclosures. It would only be another $230,000 into a $1-2,000,000,000,000 debt we just were given. Remember, that money went into someone's pocket. It just didn't fade away. and I am sure the lower and middle classes did not get to see it.

2) Interesting article from the LA Times. It appears as though not only are conservative and liberal brains wired very differently. It seems as though one of the primary difference is the way we respond to fear. Conservatives are three times more fearful than liberals. Could it be the flexing of muscle and military might is a glorified adrenaline rush flight or fight response? I am betting it is in many cases. Great for the head of a military branch, or better yet a platoon leader, but for a federal government... That actually should lower my emotional response to many conservatives, but then there are those who are just motivated by lust for power and kingdoms. and a unitary executive. These guys are really creepy...

3) After hearing Caribou Barbie's response about oil being a fungible commodity and the goobledeegook that followed, I was reminded of another beauty queen.

have a good Friday. Music later.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Integrity and Honest and Judgment Matter

One thing I have always wondered--what good can come out of the economic meltdown?

I am hoping that this will kick start the Obama campaign and get him in to the Presidency. Truth be told, he was not my guy, but a necessary breath of fresh air over John "Keating Five" McSame. Honesty, integrity and good judgment count. Really. You would think that the stench of Neil Bush would have prevented any other Bush from being elected. Yes, the billion dollar bail outs continue. Seems like the free market really has no consequences to the leaders of industry. When a company looses billions it has to go somewhere and it seems as though much of the losses are going into the compensation package of business leaders. I have stated before that I want a job where I can run a company into the ground and then collect millions for doing it. Kind of like demolition derby with people's hopes, dreams, aspirations and lives at stake instead of '67 Chevy wagons and for more money. I wonder how they can sleep at night? I used to stay awake when I had 20 employees to make sure we had a good compliance record and higher prices, trying to market quality. Or if we had a problem, how to solve it and rather than write up and fire employees, try to train them. I still had to fire people and I hated it. I can't think of week, until I changed jobs where I slept more than 40 hours per week.

One item of note is Chevrolet if coming out with the Chevy Volt. A plug-in electric car option. The price is probably $5000 higher than a competitive market will sell easily. But, there are idiots out there like me who, when I lived in Colorado, paid the premium for wind power. By the end of my stay in Colorado, after seven years of doing it, that came out cheaper than regular electricity. Long live New Belgium Brewing, not only for their good beers, but all their power purchases are wind power and all waste is 100% recycled. Drink beer, help the planet. hee.

Finally, in today's Sacramento Bee comes a story that switching to renewable energy actually saves the consumer money every year. In CA, it is about $400-500. It will open up markets and is the best defense we have against having our energy consumption testicles gripped by foreign oil markets. Gee, you think if we quit pissing money into foreign markets the dollar may be stronger, more money would stay in the country and in terms of national defense, we might be less at the mercy of those who would steer our foreign policy so we can stay addicted to oil.

Would we be in this shape toady if Carter's plan towards renewables had not been completely stopped by St. Reagan?

until later,


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Free Market is FUN!!!

This one takes the cake. Let a mine put untreated water into the river and then let the town pay for the clean up. Great plan. So good that the mining firm, Exelon, is looking for more mine wastes to dump into the river. and we all know that mine wastes are consistent and will only have iron and manganese. They would never have cyanide or acid mine wastes or any of the other fun things dump into the river. Nobody might forget and dump waste oil, or acid or anything, because mines never use chemicals. And mining companies are basically honest. Look at the way they take care of their workers.

Want to buy a bridge? or beach front property in Florida? or a garden paradise in Nevada?

More Poo

This can happen. Your water, if you are in a city, or what is defined as a community water system by the EPA, is tested at specific points for bacteriological contamination. A community of 10,000 is sampled 10 times per month at selected sites. Let's say a contractor crosses a sewage line to a drinking water line and the system uses lots of chlorine. And let's say the sample point is about one mile from where the poo water mixes in with the drinking water. The chlorine may disinfect the water one that one mile journey. But let's say you live one-quarter mile (a little more than one-half a kilometer) away from the mixed lines. They may not be disinfected there. Ow.

This brings up a complaint about my field. I really like sewage treatment. Making almost drinking water out of sewage to me is an accomplishment. and fun--even if it gives me a somewhat twisted sense of humor. This field has one of the highest hazard rates of any field tracked by OSHA. When you enter the field you are normally sick within the first three weeks, until you build up enough antibodies as you come in contact with every disease that is infecting your community. One in every ten workers (it is down from one in every three about twenty years ago) has a parasitic organism in their lower intestinal tract. (I go through routine cleanses with wormwood and other such things annually, just to be sure.) You have very real possibility of blood-borne contamination from sharps (cleaning bar screens and fixing sewer lines puts you near used hypodermic needles, razors, broken glass, etc.) or from just getting splashed. I am experienced and still every now and then get a face full of goo. Ask my wife, my eye has turned red and swollen on more than one occasion from an inadvertent splash. Lord help you if you are a mouth breather. If you fall into an A-Basin, you normally drown and if not, the infections kill you.

The field cannot attract new workers. Can't imagine why after my description last paragraph. Most of us with skills are over 50. I mean look at all the fringe benefits. all the corn you can eat. and the pay is way less than a good salesman or an auto mechanic. and we all have experienced how easy it is to pick up chicks when you smell like a manly cesspit. The biggest issue is pay. A master treatment operator in Texas gets $14.50/hour, in CA $28/hour. Not much when you have the health of a community in your hands.

Three Posts in One


The above line sounds much better when Van Morrison sings it then it does in print. The linked article makes you wonder about swimming on Irish beaches, or fishing in their streams. I know our firm actually almost went into a contract with Ireland on their waste water plants until we found out they had no or very low effluent standards and therefore did not want to pay for good treatment.

So here is what that article means. Ireland has few secondary treatment facilities. That is technospeak (yes, even turd herders have their own language). Primary treatment means raw sewage comes in and has a settling chamber and/or a bar screen to remove solids in sewage. You know, poop, toilet paper, credit cards, rings, false teeth, prophylactics (if you're lucky--I know it sounds silly but we used to have bets on manual bar creens, yes, you clean the gunk off with a rake, on the colors of prophylactics. Bright orange, striped, psychedelic, white. Some suburbs must have had a lime green rubber factory in town. Okay, doing this job gives you a twisted sense of humor. We in the field know this. I won't go into nicknames of common waste products, but I will say prophylactics somehow inflate like balloons in aeration basins and unlike the fear caused by the leech creature under the foam in the X-Files episode, it gets rather comedic to see orange and other brightly colored almost-balloons floating, but I digress). Primary treatment is settling solids, maybe some chlorine for disinfection, maybe not and discharge. Solids then get landfilled, compossted or spread on farmer's fields for grain crops only. In the States, there are few primary plants anymore. Anchorage and maybe San Diego come to mind.

Normally, there is secondary treatment where lagoons hold the solids and nature's processes (grow algae, oxygenate that way) help lower Biochemical Oxygen Demand and ammonia. There are advanced secondary treatment methods where blowers provide extra oxygen where ammonia is converted to nitrate, which is less toxic. There is even more advanced treatment where you force starve the bugs (bacterial floc) and they actually then take up extra phosphorus and the nitrate converts to nitrogen gas and oxygen. The bugs use the O2 for food and nitrogen gas goes to the air. The phosphorus stays in the bug-bodies and are disposed of in compost or again used for fertilizer. The effluent is generally clean and disinfected.

So what is in Ireland is a bunch of primary treatment. It beats cesspits, but not by much. Yuck!

Combined Sewer Systems

Sorry, but it seems as though today is a bad sewage pun day. There was an article in a trade journal last Friday that caught my eye. Most people don't realize that many older wastewater systems have what are called combined collection systems. That means the storm sewer flows into the sanitary sewer. In the west where there is newer construction, for example Denver and Tucson, most sewerage systems are separated and storm drains go directly to creeks and rivers. In the Midwest and the East the storm sewers go to the wastewater plant. Why is this an issue? Let's say it takes 3 days to adequately treat sewage. You have tankage for 4 days. You get a big rain and your normal flow of 2 Million gallons per day (MGD) goes to 3 or 4 MGD. Remember you have tankage for 8 million gallons. So at three million gallons per day means you are short tankage for treatment after 2.3 days of higher flows. Most plants do not have one or two days extra tankage. They may have one-half day if you are lucky, if not right at maximum tankage. I have seen big rain events take flows of what is normally a 1 MGD plant to 10 MGD. The untreated sewage then just goes right through the plant and out into the rivers and lakes. and if you are in a built up area it costs a lot more to separate the lines. I don't know what Chicago is like, but after seeing all the rain they had, you have to hope they have separated sewerage systems. Cleveland has many combined sewer systems so if they get heavy rain, Lake Erie may take a hit. Heavy rain in Iowa goes to the Mississippi, washing out wastewater plants on the way.

Okay, it is diluted, but remember it is a drinking water source for someone downstream. In this year of elections, also know that most infrastructure repair estimates nationally are for roads and bridges and do not take into account water and sewer systems. Towns, cities and counties have to take the expense hit. The expense mentioned in the article is not an uncommon cost.

More Combined Sewer Systems

Over the weekend, I mentioned the problems with combined sewer systems and what could happen if a large rainfall occurs. Here is one such occurrence. Someone had asked (and I am grateful for questions because it means that people actually read some of these things) if consumers and environmentalists are rallying around these necessary repairs or if this is even an action item. Sadly, replacing combined sewers with separate storm and sanitary sewers is so far down the infrastructure repair list, it is not even an issue. Many small and large communities can barely make the financial commitment to make wastewater plants meet tighter specifications which come out with almost every plant permit renewal (5 year cycle). The funding is almost unavailable to upgrade sewerage systems.

The first article in my last post about Keokuk, IA stated it would take maybe 17 years to upgrade the sewer system. That is a long time and a very expensive process. One would hope that City planners can at least make new development have separate systems and then as areas are redesigned and upgraded with new roads, power lines, etc. then be made current at that time, but that requires long-term planning. I hate to sound cynical, but even local political cycles require reelection and if rates and costs go up too much, you won't get reelected. Most residents are not really proud of a brand sewage collection line, as opposed to a park. You see a park and ooh an ahh over it and the trees and flowers and wildlife. But a sewer line, big deal.

so much for the optimism and trusting human nature report for the day.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

First Rant o' the Day

In today's paper--

People in Yuba County, CA are looking for the McCain economic plan to get them out of their recession. This the kind of thing you can't make up. McCain's two chief economic advisors have helped grease the skids into this recession. Yes, I know Bill Clinton helped deregulate the markets and in one sense this collapse is the free market at work. More on this later. But Phil Gramm helped by getting energy deregulated (remember Enron and how Enron bled CA of its budget surplus) and also by sponsoring legislation that allowed mortgages to be traded like securities even if they were bad mortgages. The other, Douglas Holtz-Eakins, is writing:

“It’s arithmetic.” Federal revenue today is 18.8 percent of GDP and federal spending is 20 percent. Holtz-Eakin observes that “the pressure are there” to lift spending [on entitlement programs, mostly] and taxes to 23 or 24 percent of GDP by around 2020, and to as much as 27 percent if health costs remain out of control.

Of course, this is in his book that will come out after the election. Imagine that. So nice to know that his beliefs are being subsumed by a lying campaign to make sure power is grabbed. Integrity in actions. nice. God, I hate being cynical and sarcastic, but sometimes the truth hurts too much to see trampled.

What this article in the Sacramento Bee proved to me is that The Conservative Noise Machine, led by talk radio, has defined the debate in peoples' brains. They don't hear opposing views, so this is all they are familiar with. Sacramento recently had a progressive talk radio station that went by the wayside (bad management). So all you hear here is Rush, Hannity, Michael Medved, Michael "hand grenade up their butts" Reagan (good thing he didn't talk about nappy-headed whores, he may have lost his job!!!), Larry "hard-hitting interviews" King and Glenn Beck. I know there are others, but I avoid them like the plague--the doofus in Cincinnati for one. In fact, I went and bought an internet radio so I don't have to just listen to streams all day long. I am well aware not everyone can afford that and are stuck with their local cable TV news. (I was just in Houston and they had the choice of Bloomberg, CNN and Fox on local cable. When Bloomberg is the farthest left coverage, your dialogue is very one-sided!!!!!!) Many people I have talked to have identified Obama as a Muslim, a Jew or a radical Black Supremacist Christian. or an amalgam of all three, yes that is right-a black supremacist muslim christian jew--the worst kind. that is all they hear, don't go to and therefore that it the meme in their heads. All they know is talking points.

Me, I am still wondering why St. Reagan isn't in jail for arms for money for contra aid and drug deals. why isn't Ollie North in jail or executed as a national traitor, let alone as a tv commentator and news dude (how discredited do you have to be for your reputation to go in the shitter); let alone rely on him a good source for Afghanistan news?

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Why is this even an issue? I am glad this was cleared up by experts.