Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy, Happy

Merry Christmas and Happy New Years. Be safe and happy.


Thursday, November 08, 2012

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Water, Water Everywhere 

Sacramento averages 280 gallons per person per day. I went to my bill and found I average almost 200 gallons per person per day during vegetable season. I need to install efficient vegetable garden irrigation.

If anyone has not read "Cadillac Desert", you need to. Keep in mind large banks like JP Morgan are now buying water rights. May come inot play some year soon with global warming.


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Toones That Impressed Me

Eric Clapton, Jerry Douglas and Doctor John

a new version of blues standard

and one more from Seattle

newer toone saturday!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Driving today from Bakersfield to Sacramento to meet my old boss (same as the old boss...) I was a little worried and this wonderful song came up on my cell phone/mp3 player. Right when the lyric "Thank the Lord" came up, a huge (I mean HUGE) rainbow filled the sky centered over 99N. I was not worried after that. 

All I can say about that meeting now is that I am tired of being referred to as an intellectual asset. Something always follows this inevitably.


Saturday, October 06, 2012

Saturday morning news thoughts--

I saw in the paper today that Sheldon Adelson gave away free money to right wing newspapers so that they could be published and distributed for free. Guess what that has done to the liberal newspapers in the country? If you think that might put them out of business because of a competitive disadvantage, you might be correct. Nail on the head, Alfredo!

Just think of that in terms of what is happening in America right now. Faux News ran at a loss for many years  under the largesse of the billionaire Rupert Murdoch. They stayed open and basically gave away their very conservative message-filled news as real news until they forced others to move to the right. This automatically legitimized their view point. Forty years ago, many of their editorial opinionsthat  would have been to the right of the then-discredited John Birch Society, who were still looking for the Knights Templar and their children, the Illuminati, are now espoused as main stream America beliefs.

Then we had the Citizen's United decision at the Supreme Court. Any amount of untraceable money can be given as free speech to political candidates (yes, it is more complicated than that, but it basically means if you curry favor, aka kiss ass and spread a particular gospel, you get money). If you oppose the free money (excuse me, free speech) you go home broke.

Let's see--who has more money, extremely successful capitalists or me (or you). So who gets to provide unlimited money (BUY) candidates and their opinions. Yes, that is how free speech is defined by the Supreme Court, the guys who are supposed to be all about the legal interpretation of justice in America. This kind of skews what is the paradigm of success in America. If you are to voice an opinion (free speech) and   be heard, you need to have money and buy mouthpieces, either a propaganda (news) network or a political candidate.

Sad. The marginal beliefs of a few loons can be mainstreamed over time if you have money.

Second thought--

Since the embargo by the US and EU on Chinese solar panels, their industry is starting to have issues. If you read up on this, it depends on who you believe. The Wall Street Journal states that loans from equity firms allows the Chinese solar panel industry to stay open and keep from folding under financial pressure. Another source states that there is a tremendous strain on the Chinese manufacturers and the state-funded loans they have received that may cause a large bubble to pop inn the Chinese economy. Maybe 50 Chinese manufacturers have already gone bankrupt. Dozens in the US. What this means is that prices are lower than ever to go solar. However, when you buy panels and get a warranty, are the panels you bought going to have  a manufacturer to warranty them? Will they be older technology? Will they be 19% efficient newer technology? It does mean research will slow as there is less profit to be had. Sadly. The same is happening to wind turbines. Basically, the price has been fixed by China, they overproduced and there is a glut on the market and many good people lose their jobs. This is supply side economics and trickle down at its worst. Those with deep pockets win as "the market stabilizes". Then, they set the rules and prices. If you don't believe me, see what happened to the sons and daughters of the Standard Oil dismemberment. How many oil companies are there now? When was the last time you saw a Sunoco station? Sohio? Standard?

Currently there are congressional investigations into unfair labor and financing packages against the Chinese in regards to the renewable energy industry. China knew they needed energy NOW. They funded factories for their energy needs. But, once they did this, their goods could be sold worldwide at a price that is cheaper than local industries can produce. This is what unbridled capitalism does. Makes bubbles and then they fold. This also makes the case for growth that is controlled by government tariffs, protecting local industry, JOBS, and the local (or national) economy.

There are limits to free trade. Just think about how many jobs Apple would have saved  in the US if they had not taken the manufacturing of iPhone 5s to China. That saves a whole 6 cents a units. Would you have purchased an iPhone5 for 50 cents more per unit? Would that have made a difference? Oh yes, Apple received a tax credit for dismantling a factory here in the US. Huh?

Maybe we need a government that is concerned about the good of its citizens instead of power and how much they can trade that power for.


Friday, October 05, 2012

Sunday, September 30, 2012

It's Alive!!!!!!

I know I write on my own blog, write on Facebook and other things, but today is a plug for an artisan jewelry shop on Etsy run by my wife. Good stuff. Please buy it so I can find half of my house again. I swear it grows and grows and grows. Beads, wire, vices (mechanical, not fun ones) and tools ending up everywhere and in larger and larger piles. I swear IT BREEDS. 

Check it out--
nice stuff at a reasonable price.

Here Come the Debates!

‎"The far-left magazine Mother Jones (possibly one of Fidel Castro's favorite publications) has put out another old video of Mitt Romney, in which he says Bain Capital 'was formed to invest in start-up companies and ongoing companies ... then harvest them at a significant profit.' Even though Mother Jones is appalled, that's what capitalism is! You grow companies, you make them more profitable, then if you're lucky you sell them for lots of money. Sometimes the free market is brutal, but it does provide vast opportunity for those willing to work hard and take chances." Bill O'Reilly

Is this true? Is all capitalism has to offer is profit to the highest manipulator? I hate to say, but without social controls, that is what capitalism on steroids is. Just like communism is at its worst a demotivating society where you get equally what is produced, whether you helped in that production or just slacked off. In fact, that is what makes this election cy
cle so interesting. and nerve wracking. Will it be capitalism on steroids where everyone wants and wishes to be at the top of the bubble? The system will never self-sustain without the system eating human lives, the bottom of the social economic structure provides the lives or fuel for this dystopian process. (Hey, sue me for bleak thoughts on a warm sunny, football Sunday.) A system where economic mobility is seriously limited to those who are members of the lucky sperm and egg club, except for a few innovators who have the guile for business as it is.

Or will it be a different environment where regulations for banks and criminal prosecutions for gambling with others money and environmental consciousness are part of the agenda. Where second-tier manufacturing has as much importance as banking? Where workers take pride in what they produce, not that they just produce profits?


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Music for a Date Night

An overlooked collaboration with Flaco and Ry Cooder.




Saturday, September 15, 2012

Not Enough Credit

a great album from Fillmore Records in 1969! Elvin Bishop's first solo album. and Rock My Soul featuring Jo Baker and Mickey Thomas.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Great Little Book

from Confessions of a Pagan Nun:

"I do not understand a man who does not want to know all that he can know. Why would anyone choose ignorance? If he chooses ignorance because he is lazy, then he is a fool, for the ignorant are put to hard labor digging and hauling stones for masters who tell they need no knowledge. If a man must labor from dawn to dusk to avoid a blow on the head to earn a cup of grain, he has no time to gain knowledge and remains a slave to his masters. I think, therefore, that it is a worthy vocation to free a man enough that he can learn who he is and what he is capable of...Teaching is a sacred art...The teacher the bard, the singer of tales is a freer of a man's minds and bodies...But he is also a danger to the masters if he insists on telling the truth. The truth will inevitably cause tremors in those who cling to power without honoring justice. (pp. 104-5)

I learned regret in the ruins...I regretted that ambition had ruled my heart instead of affection for my kin. And with the lessons of regret came the gratitude for having life still to move my lips and limbs, and to speak kind words to embrace those I might not see again on this sweet-smelling earth. I learned I cannot wait to love what is in my presence, for it or I may be well gone tomorrow. (p. 145)"                    Kate Hornsley, author

I had never heard of this book or author before, but this spring by chance I found myself in one of the best independent bookstores I know, The Tattered Cover, in Denver. Killing time while my wife searched for something, I remembered reading somewhere that Charles de Lint had a column if Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine, so since they have a great magazine section, I found F&SF and his column. He mentioned this book and another by Kate Hornsley as very good reads. So, I was off on a mission looking for her books there. Sadly, no luck. I went to the Gender Studies studies and in the Used section there I found nothing by John Stoltenberg (anyone who looks at men's studies should read his On Becoming a Man), but found Kate Hornsley's fiction there, used at a great price. Must have been fate. they are good!

Find them yourselves and read them. yahoo!


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Friday Morning Toe Tapper

Oh, but is only Thursday. damn. Well, have a good day anyway!


Just wow


Friday, August 24, 2012

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Because the Bible tells me so
An 18-year-old gay man from Texas allegedly slain by a high-school classmate who believed his friend was making advances toward him; a 31-year-old transgender woman from Pennsylvania found dead with a pillowcase around her head; and a 24-year-old lesbian from Florida purportedly killed by her girlfriend’s father, who disapproved of the relationship. Murders, maybe, but--
FRC leader Perkins says, there is another factor that leads kids to kill themselves.
"These young people who identify as gay or lesbian, we know from the social science that they have a higher propensity to depression or suicide because of that internal conflict."
Homosexuality is "abnormal," he says, and kids know it, which leads them to despair. That's why he wants to confront gay activism in public schools. For example, his group supports the Day of Truth, when Christian high schoolers make their case that homosexuality is a sin.
"The Islamists and the homosexuals work out of the same playbook. They knew that if what they do and what they subscribe to is scrutinized, people will turn away from it, so what they want to do is they want to marginalize and eventually silence anyone who challenges their ideology and their agenda."
So FRC is not a hate group because they are church-oriented and believe in the words of Christ. Somehow the translation of the Bible I read left all this crap off the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes.

I wonder if judgment of a chosen lifestyle (after all, they choose to do that) adds to the pressure, social uncertainty and the depression. I mean who would feel pressure when fellow homosexuals are KILLED as they try to live their lives?

My Head is Getting Wet, It Must Finally Be Trickling Down! Uh, Why is it Yellow?

Aside from the fact that the tax regulations are rigged because people richer than me can afford their own lobbyists to write their own loopholes, what is surprising to me is:
"Actually, the world's wealthiest people have now stashed $21 trillion to $32 trillion in offshore tax havens, according to a recent estimate by the London-based Tax Justice Network in a report written by a former chief economist for McKinsey & Co."

Hard for that money to trickle down when it is stuck offshore and in order to spend it here, there would have to be taxes paid. Keep in mind that if they higher estimate is correct, that is almost twice the National Debt we are struggling as country to understand how to pay.

Hmm, the country's debt keeps getting bigger, and the upper 0.1% have taken more than that out of the country. and they get tax breaks to keep taking more money out of the country and the country needs revenue to pay the debts. I wonder how that works? Gee, I wonder when that money will come home?

Move along now, nothing to see here.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Random Thoughts on a Tragic Day
I have many friends and work acquaintances in Texas and inevitably after a few rounds of whatever we are drinking the talk come back to my openly far left stance of gun control. The discussions almost always start off by someone stating that if we all had guns and knew how to use them there would be a level playing field.

Let's look at the details that we know from last night in Aurora. The gunman entered and had on a bulletproof vest and gas mask and was fairly heavily armed. Using the logic stated in the first paragraph, we would all need that type of protection and armament, as well as shooting lessons in order to protect ourselves on a level playing field. The killer could have been taken out by a head shot, which we all could have done in a crowded theater where everyone was panicking. And we can all get gas masks for when we go out in public, along with bulletproof vests.

Somehow this is not the world I wanted to leave for my children and grandchildren--a dystopian world racked with violence, weird weather patterns, scarcity of water, food and clean air. A world where the government of one of the leading nations in the free world can be bought by unlimited funding of advertizing, where greed and power games are not only accepted, but are the fuel for dreams (thanks, Ayn Rand for your socially responsible vision that has inspired many).

There is deep sickness in the soul of America right now and it is growing like a cancer and I am distraught. I know all the spiritual principles--let love radiate, blah, blah, blah. I can even enjoy a good meditation and chant session. I can bless things. But my heart is heavy with the violence and disregard for others that seems to be in the hearts of the American public. I wish I knew a fast solution because every now and then I feel like a little bit of my heart is stolen, crushed and eaten.

Monday, July 16, 2012

When Is Thievery Illegal?
Yikes! I read this and get sickened by Bain's ability to pay $60,000,000 in dividends on a firm that has a cash flow of $4.7M. Even if the profit margin were 30%, that means they only made $1.4M. So your investment dividend is 40 times higher than your profit. That would be like me bringing home after taxes 25 cents and getting a bonus of $10. Who would pay that? You don't have the money. Bonuses are paid on PROFIT. In the case of Dade, Bain (Romney's firm) made $100,000,000 in management fees annually and the debt increased to over $1,000,000,000. Who the hell takes that much money when there is no profit--no real substance there??!!

And even worse, who loans them money that many times over the actual cash flow and asset level. Homeowners did not even do things this bad, as a general rule when they refinanced homes in the 1990s to make improvements or even just take vacations, because in many cases the value of the property (the asset) appreciated. What Bain was doing was the same scheme, but then they left and in many cases the taxpayers had to bail out workers and pensions because they took the money.

an honest question--just because they got out before bankruptcy, probably because they could see it coming, doesn't that still make it thievery?

Friday, June 29, 2012

At Least They Admit It
From Texas GOP 2012 platform--

Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.

So now they admit they are opposing critical thinking? huh? It explains a lot, doesn't it?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Again, Get Off My Lawn!
Yes, there will never be jobs created if we go to Green Standards. We all know this. Think of all the cancer surgeons that might be put out of work.

Same old crap we always get about how changing the world will absolutely destroy things as we know them. Go to alternative energy, ruin the coal industry, blah, blah, blah.

What they really mean is that this will challenge our wealth.
 And nothing ever good happens when you challenge the coal industry.


Move Along, Nothing to See Here
What could go wrong with this? People never make mistakes.

Please notice that this practice has caused earthquakes in the past. How much different is this from fracking, where the goal is to break shale layers to free the gas. It is done by a liquid, which actually can lubricate broken rock. I mean what could go wrong?

Move along, nothing to see here.
All Hail Scientific Detachment!

You have to love the detachment of scientists. There is a huge disparity in their models that propose to show the size of the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. One will end being more accurate, adjustments , made, blah, blah, blah.
How about all the dead animals? I am guessing they are not too detached about this. We know the cause and solutions--too much fertilizer, bad agribusiness practices, leaking septic systems and discharge limitations on wastewater plants that are too lenient. Rather than have the will to deal with that, we argue over who is more accurate. Kind of like fiddling while Rome burns.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Today in Water News
who would have ever thought that all the water rights could be sold and claimed, forgetting about aquatic habitat in Somalia, err, Texas. Yes, Libertarian paradise.
and in this article, the cover photo sez enough. Nothing like having a trash playground IN THE OCEAN!
This one is not surprising. Wells are a source of water in many communities, especially rural communities. and as everyone who had ever worked at lake Rest knows, septic systems never fail and leak into source waters. Actually, this problem is prevalent everywhere. In CO, you cannot build even a well water system now without a 4 log removal of pathogens, normally meaning chlorination. Europe uses other chemicals then chlorine. Yet, when I moved to CA, I was amazed that so many communities with rivers and abundant water sources used wells with out any disinfectant. Nebraska too. Cheaper is not always better and while I dislike chlorine, it sure beats Norwalk virus or cholera. What is surprising is governments stating proper public health preventative care is too expensive. Really.
and for X File fans. or this.

Sleep tight and dream of superbugs and invasive species.


Sunday, June 03, 2012

An Election Cycle and an Apology to my Children!

So here we go--

into the election cycle where we will hear all about debt and the failing economy and why you need to ruin the country like a business. I wonder how much stuff like this will be covered in the media--

"Honeywell used offshore subsidiaries and tax loopholes to pay a negative tax rate between 2008 and 2010, according to the report.

The company reported $5 billion in domestic profits and received $1.75 billion in federal tax subsidies, making its effective tax rate negative 0.7 percent the group reported, citing 2010 10-K reports for the company."

With the advent of "Corporations are people" why wouldn't Honeywell invest $1B (yes, billion with a B) to get their guy elected in one election knowing he will be beholden to them, increase the tax loopholes, so they can make more than $2B annually in loopholes. What part of how wrong Citizens United is don't we understand at this point. I was recently in Ohio and there are so many anti-Sherrod Brown ads running already you would think it was the last week of the election. Unless everyone gets the same say, rights are not equal. Can I run the same amount of ads asking Dick Cheney be tried as a war criminal or that BP executives be tried for the deaths of the men on the platform in the gulf? No.

What part of level playing field (in theory) is really part of the American Dream, or are we all supposed to be cynical, selfish and amoral in our pursuit of happiness.

I was going to write today apologizing to my children that we have not left the country in better shape for them. Yes, rivers don't burn anymore and water is safe to drink. There are some endangered species actually making comebacks. Sexual orientation is less of a issue in some geographical areas. You can actually date and marry people outside of your racial and ethnic backgrounds now in most areas of the country. The N word is not used in polite conversation. But, the country has moved so far to the right that Reagan and Nixon would be Democrats now. If the next election goes to Romney, the Supreme Court will be stacked and can overturn laws, making any gains of the past 50 years immaterial. As it is, education and the chance to further yourself are barely affordable. An example, $10,000 in student loans gets my daughter a $10-12/hour job with no benefits. What's the benefit here?

And people don't think their votes count. sad. It is the dearest right we have as American citizens, followed by paying taxes to pay for roads, education, etc. No one likes to pay money, but I would rather pay more and know that there is a social safety net and that anyone's children will not have to mortgage their future to pay for an education. I can sleep at night them knowing I did my part as a CITIZEN of this country.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Different Ways to Feel Sacred

How do you mount your deities? How do you give proper reverence? With what sort of wild astonishment do you bow and breathe? I don't really believe in churches, in guilt and shame and forsaking your identity to some scowling judge, in staring up at a horrific image of a bloody body nailed to a stick, full of sin and shame, taught that I can never actually attain sacredness. Why such horror and fear? Why not just dance? 

But to attempt a wild, drunken, conscious, devout seeking-out of the sacred in all things in all moments? To destroy illusion and defeat ignorance? Full of consciousness in every breath, smile, song, handshake, lick, suck, touch, word, column, eyeblink, cocktail, dreamstate, marriage, divorce, wound, ecstasy, trauma, death? That I can do. Or rather, that I can strive for, breathe toward, wink at. After all, the gods, they just love to wink back.

from Mark Morford, SF Gate


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dinner With No Lights

Glow in the dark sushi!!!!! what fun.

How to Make a Desert

Here is one you won't find on many newstands. and here is how it works. The earth has little pockets where underground lakes and rivers exist, or there are large sections of porous sand that are filled with water. It gets there from rainfall and is gently filtered by the many layers of dirt, topsoil, sang, gravel and minerals. It produces fresh water. When you deplete an aquifer, often the weight of the earth collapses causing a sinkhole to where the water should be or subsidence, where the layers of gravel, etc. compressed and the water will never fill those regions again--forever limiting the water there. When you dry out farmland it is game over! welcome dust bowl.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Meg Whitman, Job Creator

Gotta love when she sez she was a proven job creator. Once again, the way to balance the bottom line is to cut payroll. Her excuse was they have no new products and are losing market share. One of the previous CEOs cut R&D so they had no new products.make crappy stuff and your market share drops, so fire people. However, I notice execs NEVER give back their salaries, but get "Golden Parachutes" that ALWAYS equal many hourly workers. 

A good read, but speaks to the frustration of the 99%.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

It's Almost Memorial Day

I see today that gas prices are going up again. It happens every year at this time. It must be that the viscosity of oil under the earth gets thicker around now causing higher pumping prices. Otherwise you might think there is price-setting and collusion. markets regulate themselves so that couldn't be.


Friday, May 11, 2012

They Can't Be Serious

Yes, it is time for my normal morning cheeriness. okay, it is Friday and I enjoy sarcasm. The attached article is a longer read, but outlines the attempt by conservative think tanks to smear wind energy as dirty energy. Certainly not as effective as petrochemicals. Oh yes, this program is being paid for by oil companies (imagine that) and includes the normal suspects (ALEC, to change zoning and clean energy bills). and then you have the head of NASA stating if the tar sands project gets off the ground in full (remember that pipeline to Houston over the Ogalala aquifer) it is end game for climate change. Hmmm, science sez one thing, the oil industry another. Who to believe? Kind of reminds me of the tobacco industry stating that cigarettes weren't harmful.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Living Wage

Just a quick one as I on my way to work. Saw in the paper yesterday that someone had the audacity to think of raising the State minimum wage wage from $8.00 per hour to $8.14 and make it rise with inflation. Of course, the response to this was JOB KILLER!!!!!!! My gosh, if a lower paid worker gets $0.14/hour, then those higher up will demand it too. Huh? The example given was wait staff and cooks. Why, according to the critic, with minimum wage and tips, waiter staff make over $30/hour. That extra $300 annually (2080 work hours annually times $0.14/hour), will break every struggling small business. What a crock of crap!!! No benefits, no sick days and no vacations for service industry as a general rule (I am sure wait staff are all in hedge funds). And if paying your employees the extra $300 annually kills your business, your business plan sucks. Its okay for gas to go from $2.50/gallon to over $4.00/gallon and not raise employee wages.

The argument really needs to be a LIVING WAGE, not what is a minimum wage. A living wage with benefits. Have people forgotten what it is like to work for less than $10/hour and try to hold your life and soul together. In the book "Nickel and Dimed", the author could not even complete that task. What ever happened to compassion in this country? Sorry to break this to you Randians, greed is not good. and profits are necessary, we know that. But how often does business school ask how much needs to be made and how much goes to the common good?


How Much Profit and Why?

I saw yesterday Apple made $11.6B in profits from $35.2B in revenue. That is roughly about a 33% profit margin. Not bad if you can get it. A good profit for a water utility is around 12%. They sold around 30,000,000 iPhones last quarter for 1/2 of their profit. Just last year it was revealed that moving their iPhone manufacturing to China made them an extra $0.06 per phone or something like that. I can't find the number now. Let's use 0.50 per iPhone for discussion's sake. Let's see subtract $15,000,000 from $11,600,000 and you still make a boatload of money. If you round to three significant figures, the profit does not even change!!!!!! and how many American jobs has that lost? and in China the workers have to work 12-16 hour days and there have been deaths on the assembly line. For shame, Apple.

All numbers used in the were found in the newspaper or by use of the Google. What is the list price of an iPhone anyway when the margin is $167 per phone? Is list around $400 or so? and the free one you get you pay for in monthly service fees over the life of the contract.


Vaklav Havel Would Be Proud

Vaklav Havel Would Be Proud

What century, yes, you read that right, what century does this dude live in?

Vaklav Havel would be proud. snicker, snicker.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Random Thoughts on a Wednesday--

Oh, shock and horror. The Secret Service, Green Berets, etc. saw hookers while in Cartajena. The horror of amoral behavior. Yeah, sure. Do you think we are saps? These guys are the toughest, the brightest, the most macho and are adrenaline junkies. Do you think they just drink muscle milk and go to the gym in their off hours? C'mon. They couldn't even keep male prostitutes out of the White House during the Christian Bush administration. I am sure he was not just visiting Karl Melman the whole time. It couldn't have been that the Bush administration was closeted sado-masochists who like, oh never mind.

The point is these guys drink and carouse on their time off. Prostitution is legal there. Do you think these guys were causing grievous security harm by seeing hookers? Like the Russian, the cartel (pick the enemy) had actually infiltrated every brothel with plants so when the Security detail came to town, they had agents everywhere. Just to entice secret service into serious mistakes.

No, the real issue is not the immorality of visiting prostitutes, or the bogus security issues. It is the culture that approves of this behavior by covertly allowing this to be expensed. Do you think your tax dollars didn't buy many prostitutes along the way. Are you naive? While you can barely make your bills, guys are getting their rocks off on your dollar. Do you think hammers really cost $50, or toilet seats cost $250. No, the fees for EXPENSES (prostitutes dinners and drinks, maybe some cars, Snap On Tool Kits, etc.) run those costs for basic services up.


Friday, April 06, 2012

Friday Toones

I have been remiss in posting toones lately. So for today, some toe tappers.


One of my favorite and amusing things is that when a judge rules in favor of the right wing, they are Constitutionalists. When a judge rules in favor of a progressive cause, they are activists. Heads were erupting when Obama talked about activist right wing judges doing social engineering.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Guys Who Wear Dresses Advising Men???

Why do even give any credence to what the Catholic Church has to say about human sexuality anymore. Haven't they proven themselves untrustworthy by now?


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Inconsistent Politicians
So here we have a Republican House of Representatives passing a bill that completely stomps on States' rights and rolls back the Endangered Species Act so farmers in the central valley of CA can get more water from over 400 miles away.

Yow. and people refuse to read "Cadillac Desert." sad.
And then this, where the delta of one river is destroyed so folks in San Diego can get their water while indigenous people's lose their life style and whale breeding grounds are destroyed. and this, where farmer's practices are ruining all groundwater.

Word of warning--banks are starting to buy water to use it as a commodity and really are planning on selling that once oil gets out of the way. (boy, am I mister cheery today.)



Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Two Americas

Life is hard when you don't get bonuses.

but then there is this.

Guess what, the man in the first story really has no sense of how hard it is to have to feed your children on opposite days. Quit whining, asshole!!!!!!!!!!



Sunday, February 26, 2012

Democracy for Sale

This is really a good read, as is the Ari Berman article that is cited. What amazed me is that 18 families basically funded the defeat of the inheritance tax (oh, remember all the horror stories of how the death tax and how it would destroy family farms.) I am betting this is what the people power in Wisconsin is fighting and that John Nickle's new book would be a great read for templates on how to organize and stop corporate money. At least they got recalls, even if the populists only ousted one senator. It really slowed the process.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Government Fiddles While The Economy Burns
It takes a whistle blower to find this. and she only did it for the reward. Don't we have government investigators who are supposed to do this? So they party while my home is devalued. Great. And they wonder why we despise their business practices and probably dislike them too.
What is amazing is that CitiGroup needs a charter to stay in business. Why does the government renew their charter instead of disbanding them? This was standard practice--having businesses renew their charter or license to exist every five years or so until the late 1800s. And governments (state and federal) could pull licenses for criminal activities whenever they damned well pleased.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Budget Thoughts on a Sunday

After reading this article in the paper today, I started thinking. (no wisecracks) According to the US gov revenue website, revenue has increased since 2000 by $.3T. The percentage of GDP that is government revenue has dropped almost 5%. The GDP has risen almost $5T. That’s a lot of cash. If the percentage of revenue were the same from 2000 to 2010, an extra $700B would be in the federal government revenue figures. The “Bush tax cuts” definitely hurt the country. I mean, I would love to look at my budget and say I am projecting to have a surplus, so I will take the next ten years off and then see where I am. How stupid was that decision!!!! You should have at least looked at it annually to see if you could afford it.

That said, defense spending has doubled since 9/11. OW! Social safety net spending has doubled as a percentage of budget since 2000. Some of this is because revenues as a percentage of GDP has decreased. Much of it is because the housing bubble has caused a larger percentage of people to need the social safety net. Some of it is because people are not thinking clearly (how many million big screen TVs were bought for Super Bowl Sunday on credit, or as my daughter said yesterday someone in a homeless program was wondering how to purchase $200 Versace sunglasses, we routinely purchase $3 coffee) People want Stuff now. Medical costs are expanding exponentially (this means non-linear as a percentage of income, but more than that). As a country, we continue to allow jobs to go overseas. We continue to drain our monetary pool for foreign energy (and energy firms, oil companies pay little to no taxes) and we buy our stuff from across the seas. Our money just goes elsewhere, rather than staying here. Or it does not go out for product. Money is a symbol of something made. I dare you to tell me what was made in a hedge fund, or a leveraged purchase, or derivative trading, or betting against futures. The bank bailout cost millions of people their homes through default, but someone got to pocket that money. Soon, we will be paying for WATER just like we pay for gas now, as multinationals are getting into the water business now as a means of getting ready for the coming water shortage.

As a country this can’t continue. The debt just keeps getting higher. But what is the solution? Do I want to be the one to cut back? And give more back? These are not jingoistic questions with easy solutions. What gets cut? who gives back? Who gets taxed more? Who gives up what? Social security is an easy fix. Pay on the first $250000 you make instead of the first $105000. I have no easy solutions, but as country we need to understand the problem in detail. I found it telling in the article that states that get more money from the federal government than they pay into the kitty want government handouts cut and those states who pay more into the kitty are fine with higher tax rates and more government spending.