Monday, March 30, 2009
GM ex-CEO Wagoner is gone as part of the fall out from a government bail out. and Chrysler looks like it will enter a strategic alliance with FIAT. Obama even commented that management had to change, but in the endless succession of bail outs this is a major change, the CEO is gone. There was no room anymore for business as usual. Regardless of Congressman Dingle's influence. I am hoping that this marks the development of cojones for Geitner and TARP recipients will have to change their styles or be gone too. Considering that GM had to lose its CEO, Chrysler does not have to do that much. It is still a shock that this happened.
Imagine if you worked for Chrysler. 1) Bought by Benz. 2) Let go by Benz. 3) Bought by Cerebrus. 4) Working with Fiat?. From Benz to Fiat. wow! Let's face it. Chrysler had the Hemi and was relying on a hope that niche market big engine motorheads would lead the company back to profitability. Big cars and big engines have a higher profit margin per car sold than small cars. see Ford and GM marketing SUVs with the enthusiasm of revivalist preachers. Trouble is gas went ot $4 per gallon and people could not afford the gas for their hemis. Say it slowly so motorheads can enjoy their short-lived stiffies. hemi. When you have company that can only afford one strategy and it is out of step with the times and costs of $4/hour gas, you've got a problem.
Chrysler as we know it is gone. Can GM survive is the question?
Friday, March 27, 2009
No, I am not talking about the outside of a String Cheese Reunion show.
It's simple, really. Take too many drugs and it comes out your urine and feces. Take unnecessary drugs, the same. And guess what? It goes down the toilet and into the water. Wastewater plants are designed to remove some solids and process the organic demand and sometimes removes nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus), but pharmaceuticals, metals, not so much. So these come out in the discharge and in coastal areas this discharge is taken in by filter feeders (shellfish). Guess what is in their cellular mass. Great!
At least I ate my dosage of anti-depresseants at one of my favorite restaurants last night in Brentwood, CA in the Delta. Shutter's Brasserie. Yahoo! If you are ever in the area....worth the trip.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
from today's NY Times:
"Mr. Cuomo did not name the bonus recipients, but the numbers are eye-popping, given A.I.G.’s fragile state. The highest bonus was $6.4 million, and six other employees received more than $4 million, according to Mr. Cuomo. Fifteen other people received bonuses of more than $2 million, and 51 people received bonuses between $1 million and $2 million, Mr. Cuomo said. Eleven of those who received 'retention' bonuses of $1 million or more are no longer working at A.I.G., including one who received $4.6 million, he said."
Why in the hell don't I have the brain power to find a job where retention bonuses are paid in the millions of dollars and you are allowed to not work there to receive said retention bonus.
Doesn't retention bonus imply you are required to work there? I know economists speak a differnt variation of English, but...
These guys are like the obnoxious uncle you meet at family reunions.
I had to copy this post from Joe Sudbay at americablog.com--
"Wonder what is taking up the time of top officials at banks rescued with your tax dollars? You'd like to think they're all hunkered down trying to solve the crisis they created with help from George Bush and the GOP. According to Reuters, avoiding the salary caps is a top priority right now:
Anticipating restrictions on bonuses, officials at Citigroup Inc and Morgan Stanley are exploring ways to sidestep tough new federal caps on compensation, the Wall Street Journal said.
Executives at these banks and other financial institutions that received government aid are discussing increasing base salaries for some executives and other top-producing employees, the paper said, citing people familiar with the situation.
The discussions are at an early stage, partly because the government has not yet issued specific rules on the bonus payments that will be allowed at companies that received aid under the government's Troubled Asset Relief Program, the paper said.
Seriously, these people are tone deaf. They do not realize how hated they are in America right now. And, they aren't doing anything to ameliorate the situation. Instead, they're making it worse.
According to that same recent Congressional testimony, Citigroup got $45 billion in TARP funds while Morgan Stanley got $10 billion in TARP funds. Here's the video:
Citigroup has another big problem on its hands, as Think Progress asks "Did Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit lie to Congress about his compensation?" In that video above, Pandit told a Congressional committee, under oath, that his salary in 2008 was $1 million with no bonus. But, the actual total appears to be well over $10 million:
The $10.82 million in total compensation for 2008 consisted of $7.73 million in sign-on and retention awards, a $958,333 salary, $9.84 million of stock and option awards and $16,193 of other compensation.
Given everything else we've learned about the ineptitude of our top bankers, it's possible Pandit doesn't know the difference between one million and almost eleven million. Possible, but not likely. "
Okay, enough of this crap!!!! Quit trying to pretend like you give a shit about America or anything else. Just like AIG needing to keep people around because they understand the financial derivatives market so well they almost took them to bankruptcy, like maybe after driving the car off the cliff and having your brother fix the car for you, you shouldn't figure out how to take his money to buy you another car, too. You've already proven you can't drive and are lucky to be alive. Just go away.
The words nationalize keep coming back to my little forebrain. Nationalize, Nationalize, nationalize. Make these bastards understand they owe allegiance to a country. They are not masters of the universe, but actually do have a responsibility to the greater good over and beyond themselves!!!
I knew a man once who won a Dick Cheney award for business man of the year (honest, had to go to Washington and rent a tux and everything). He gutted his company and then asked for a golden parachute after doing things I can't talk about. The gall of these people.
Friday, March 13, 2009
Yes, normally it cars, water news and toones. Or laughing uproariously as Jon Stewart cleans the clock of Jim Cramer.
But two nights ago I was walking through my house with Keith Olbermann on in the background and I heard him mention to Howard Feinman executive death squads that report to Dick Cheney. I stopped in mid stride and tried to breath. Here, in America, death squads? WTF? The following are last nights reports as more details and analysis came out.
I look at this and cringe. The implications are monstrous. Granted, not as many people disappeared as did during Pinochet's reign of terror. And I am not naive enough to believe the US did not overthrow a duly-elected democratic government in Iran (hmm, I wonder why they are mad at us) and Chile. Yes, we did. And we should do better and NEVER do anything like this again. The talk is now that there may have been ten targets out there in foreign countries.
And the CIA was operating in the United States. On its own citizens.
Okay, maybe I am little crazy and suspicious, but it sounds to me like the last administration took advantage of a disaster in order to grab MORE power. Warrantless wiretaps on citizens soon followed 9/11. Okay, it actually preceded it. So thye were a paranoid group, to say the least. And records of who they were wiretapping still remains a mystery. Not being a generally trusting soul, I ma guessing that is one way the 2004 Presidential race was run. The republicans seemed one step ahead because they were stealing information. No question in my mind. The "Decider Commandeer Guy" was too much a buffoon who appointed similar true believers and idiots to most posts. Cheney was shrewd behind-the-scenes manipulator. Ashcroft ran away because he knew who he would have to prosecute. Hence, Alberto the Clown.
But then I start thinking about things that happened in the US. Ken Lay states he will testify to save his ass in his prosecution and damned if he does not commit suicide. The DC Madam states emphatically that if she is ever found dead, it will not be suicide. Then she is found dead from suicide. Paul Wellstone dies in a plane crash. Ted Kennedy was to be on that plane, but something came up. Mike O'Connell was going to testify on what happened to the White House emails and why the Ohio election control was given by the Ohio State Election official to the same server that runs the Republican Party servers in Tennessee (oh yes, the fix was definitely in in 2004.) Oops, he died in a plane crash. Too much coincidence. It's like talking to a teenager and seeing the same pattern over and over again. You they did something, but don't have the time and wherewithal to prove it. You know it is there.
Do we need a Truth Commission. Oh My God YES!!!! and no immunity. as a constitutional lawyer stated recently, the US was a dictatorship for seven years and few knew it.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
I came across quite a few good articles today on water that I would like to share with you. The first is the formation of a committee to study water and energy. Great news!!! Outside Loveland, CO there is Flatiron Reservoir and Pinewood Reservoir where they pump water uphill at night during low energy demand and let it flow back down the pipes during demand hours, giving a net demand. This is very unusual in water storage and energy production practice. But getting water places (for example, that water comes from the other side of the Rockies and is transported via tunel under Rocky Mountain National Park) and treating wastes costs a ton. Almost all water treatment costs are electricity. Wastewater treatment costs are the same, giving impetus to cogeneration by anaerobic digestion. That is where raw waste solids are anaerobically decomposed in a digester and the gasses run generators lower the power demand of the waste treatment facility. The waste solids are then normally used for fertilizer that is distributed, Millorganite from Milwaukee is a commercially known brand.
Another has to do with climate change and water in the western states. Believe me, if the rain and snow patterns continue to change in the West, or in the Rockies, Vegas and LA, to say the least of the people in Mexico to whom the US had to guarantee clean water too will be hurting. Yes, The US had to build a plant to desalinate what little flow of the Colorado Rover made it to Mexico. In CA, there have been extreme issues with salmon spawns because of the change in rainfall patterns. and there have been pelican deaths aplenty this year in CA. The following article details many aquatic bird deaths and ties it to global warming.
There is a viscious cycle that has started. It takes a lot of energy to pump water to the deserts of the arid west, making them livable. This includes a geographic area from Arizona, to Vegas to LA. It costs a lot to produce the energy that produces 90% of the world's almonds and over 50% of the US vegetable and fruit crop. Just think of energy required to pump water from Sacramento to San Diego to grow avocados. The annual diversion of water in the California Aqueduct alone is 2.6 million acre feet. An acre foot is roughly 326,000 gallons and a gallon of water weighs 8.34 pounds, or 8.5 trillion pounds of water. I am really tired, but given a rise of about 4000 feet, and 68% combined motor and electrical efficiency giving you a demand of 1.8 million killowatts, if the water were only pumped once on that journey. It is not and there are two other canals that almost as big. The power usage is at least 8 times that amount, just for pumping. And as fresh water grows more scarce, desalinization looks good, but almost all its costs are electrical. It is very, very expensive. It is far cheaper to treat raw poop to drinking water and far less energy intensive. As long as we rely on fossil fuels to produce energy and it takes enrgy to move water and increased CO2 production leads to more warming, we are in very viscious cycle. Just to keep up the lifestyle we have grown accustomed to requires renewable and nonpolluting energy.
Mr. Cheery couldn't get this narrative the way he wanted because he was too tired, so good night and pleasant dreams.
I have been worried about racist attacks since the Denver convention when a couple of racist meth heads were picked up with the well-thought out plan of Kill Obama and a couple of rifles. No scouting, no hotel rooms with a view. None of that. Just some Aryan meth heads. Now this.
Why do racists hate America?
Monday, March 09, 2009
I was kind of pleased that CA is thinking of legalizing marijuana and taxing it. Get rid of debt, lower the criminal element and kick a whole bunch of dudes out of prison. State's rights in action. Then I see this. and wonder about state's rights. maybe I should just be wondering about the rights of dumb-asses.
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
Hey Moogs, Would You Buy That for a Quarter?!
NEW YORK (CBS) ― Bernie Madoff is accused of fleecing his clients out of billions, but he said Monday he shouldn't be forced into the poorhouse.
His lawyers are arguing that Madoff should be entitled to keep the $7 million apartment he's currently being held in while under house arrest and $62 million, including $45 million in municipal bonds.
Court papers filed on Monday state that Madoff and his lawyer say the Manhattan penthouse and the millions held in accounts of Madoff's wife, Ruth, are not subject to seizure.The court papers say Madoff claims the apartment and the money are unrelated to a $50 billion fraud Madoff has been accused of carrying out.
Yes, this is money he made honestly. He says it so it must be true. The $50 billion? He must have blown on fast women and cars. Yet another case of how stupid do you think we are.
If he only bought his house in Florida, it would have been untouchable.
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
From The Complete Social History of LSD...
This quotation concerns the internal testing of LSD on CIA agents and the unexpected results.
"...there were times when CIA agents found themselves propelled into a visionary world and they were deeply moved by the experience. One MK-ULTRA agent wept in front of his colleagues at the end of his first trip. 'I didn't want to leave it,' he explained. 'I felt I would where I wouldn't be able to hold on to this kind of beauty.' His colleagues assumed he was having a bad trip and wrote a report stating the drug had made him psychotic."(p. 30, Lee and Shlain)
Here a man has what for him was a mystical experience. He saw beauty in the world. Later, he admits to feeling oneness with the universe so he is labeled psychotic. GRRRR. What kind of small minded pissant ( I am being polite here!) Religion may have been defined as the opiate of the masses and spiritualism and New Age pursuits as hoaxes. Meditation as a means of sleeping wakefully. Sweat lodges as a means of purification and altered perception are pure evil. yeah, sure.
How sick a shithead must the person be to judge that as psychotic while he justifies his experiments and the invasion of Vietnam (substitute Iraq if you would like) as normal and great achievements. I definitely would never want to be normal if that type of judgment and achievement are normal. It is twisted. It is perverse!!!! If I ever felt a relaxed and continuous oneness with the universe, don't label me as psychotic. What more could you want? Universal love and creation. Can't have that, need killing and death. Move on nothing to see here.
I wonder when it may ever dawn on many of these overachievers that they are partaking in a death cult the likes of which this world has never seen. Yes, the Funky Western Civilization is a death cult (aside from a dance hit), where the foundations are the ground bones and dried blood of those sacrificed to build power structures. And how many think they are really spiritual? Sad, how spiritual oneness is condemned as psychotic.
"Greg Sargeant over at The Plum Line has gotten his hands on a memo Bill Kristol wrote to his party in 1993, urging them to oppose Bill Clinton's health care plan because - well - it might work. And then all the newly healthy people might like government and see that it could actually do something good for them. Ben Smith summarizes the long memo:
The memo warns that a successful Clinton plan could badly damage the GOP by improving Americans' relationship with government, and makes the case for total, uncompromising opposition based on what would become the "Harry and Louise" campaign, focused on the damage the changes could do to citizens' relationships with their doctors.The only way that the plan would improve America's relationship with government would be if it worked. Think about that. The GOP ultimately opposed major legislation that would have benefited every American because the legislation might have actually worked. You don't just see parallels to today's Republican party, they're doing exactly the same thing. The GOP is terrified that Obama agenda, from the stimulus plan to health care reform, might actually work. Then Americans would see that - surprise - government can work for the people. And where would we be then, if our government actually started making a positive difference in our lives? Better to vote Republican and ensure that never happens."
Isn't it nice to know people actually get their rocks off by staying in power, damned the consequences to others. Is Bill Kristol and American? or something else?
I'll get back to water issues tomorrow morning.
Monday, March 02, 2009
My wife got to see the big canals for the first time last weekend as we drove to scenic Bakersfield (home of the Drillers, honest, that is the high school nickname and has more to do with oil than teen age hormonal pursuits). The canals have more flow than most rivers on the Front Range of Colorado. Yes, they pull more water out of a delta system than CO relies for life. I am not naive enough not to realize that Boulder, Ft. Collins, Greeley et al could exist oin their present form without taking water from the western slope and bringing it through the Rockies (there is one hell of tunnel under Rocky Mountain National Park from Grand Lake to Estes Park) to bring water to the front range.
We wil be having a fresh water crisis in America soon if global weather patterns continue to change. Just last year, Georgia tried to move its State line just a little north into Tennessee to grab river water as Atalata was going dry. Then they tried to divert Great Lake water through the Misssissippi drainage to Georgia. Israel tried to buy water from the Great Lakes to ship to Israel (they use immense baggies to ship fresh water over the ocean. google it, honest).The Aral Sea in Russia has been drained for cotton farming. This has led to health problems as the desert has grown with sea levels dropping, and the resultant dust storms have caused numerous health problems. Fishing boats there are so far out of the sea, they cannot be salvaged. That is how fast it has dropped.
Now turning sewage into drinking water is a big issue. You have to find water somewhere. This is not really a bad idea, and is much cheaper than turning salt water into fresh. Reverse osmosis is just an expensive process usiing lots of electricity to pump water through semi-permeable membranes using high pressure pumps. Now water laws in many states will have to catch up to this practice. In CO, I think that you may own water rights, but it is expected that you will return at least 85% of the water in your area back to streams, after first turning into drinking water and then processing the sewage. CA has no such laws.
There will be the problems of pollution if this is to become a common process (and it will, believe me--it is one of the reasons I really love my field, the alchemy of turning shit into clean water is really, really cool.) Coomon pollutants such as ammonia and phosphorus are tightly regulated in some states. CA is at least twenty years behind the curve because they believe in the economic benefit of communities and that the solution to pollution is dilution, the old engineers' chant. In other words, they will force higher treatment because it costs too much. And their water law would allow Sacramento to sell its treated sewage to the highest bidder, whether it leaves the Sacramento drainage or not. Time is short right now, but the Scaramento Bee has a great article on this today. I don't have time to find the link.
In fact, work is calling so I will continue this later...