Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Think about it. think of the $$$$billions spent on this wasted effort every year. Think about what else could be done with that money. And without a war on drugs, the price of drugs will plummet. Cartels will self destruct. We would no longer lead the world in incarcerations. Productive lives could be reclaimed. Sounds good to me.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
A recent Rasmussen Reports telephone finds that just 41 percent "now believe it is possible for the United States to win the nearly nine-year-old war in Afghanistan."
I will ask the questions again. The same old questions. How could you possibly know that you won? Will someone surrender? How stupid can we be?
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
And what would happen to the author of a blog piece that made mention of a so-called 'terrorist' group? Even if the piece advised the group to change their ways? It sounds like arrest would be imminent. The evils inherent within the Patriot Act and an 'activist' Supreme Court are showing themselves. Goodbye freedom!
Monday, June 21, 2010
Saturday, June 19, 2010
In my opinion, Joe Lieberman just became the latest 'poster child' for mandatory Senate retirement at age 65.
*I know that Lieberman is officially an 'Independent', but if you believe that, you probably believe that he has a good idea with this bill.
Friday, June 18, 2010
I have spent my early morning time wandering the internet. While doing that, I changed the price on our Zillow 'Make Me Sell' page to correspond with the realtors listing price for the house. According to the Zillow records, we've had a 185 page views since the last report, a month ago. The bad news is the fact that we've had thousands of page views since we put the house on the market via Zillow but we haven't had a nibble. None. Zip. Zero. That's the same number of offers we've had with our analog realtor during the past three months. The only good news is the fact that we didn't have to answer a doorbell every time someone wanted to look at the house.
Okay, I was wrong; there is more good news via Zillow. The value of our house is trending upward. Zillow doesn't tell me how much 'upward' it is trending. It might only be a dollar, but any move in that direction is good. Especially after looking at the handy dandy little Zillow graphs that show us, in great detail, how much we've lost in equity value since we bought the house. Sob!
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Yes, folks...these Republican Bozo's were 'elected'. Which tells us an awful lot about the electorate.
"Unions train workers, enforce safety regs and protect whistle blowers. How much difference would a union workforce have made in the decisions and actions that led up to the current crisis?"
Oh, that's right...it would have cost money to have an all union workforce. Instead it cost lives. And so much more...
I couldn't sleep and so I'm musing while exploring the long list of blogs I read…and speaking of things I knew but didn't like to acknowledge…I read about a study that was made of people and their beliefs. When given a so-called 'fact', most people will accept it without any further study if falls within their belief system. As long as that 'fact' doesn't cause any ripples in their cerebral cortex, it will be accepted; no questions asked. Their belief system has evolved over the years and they are usually quite content with how well it works. You might think of it as a large and very strong safe. With the right combination it opens and the fact is placed within. Any fact that doesn't fit that belief system stays outside.
And if you show up with a 'fact' that threatens the validity of the one within the safe, an alarm goes off and the safe is checked to make certain that the door is securely locked. No one ever hauls out the other fact so that they might be compared to determine which is true. No, it's an assault as far as they are concerned. Code Red!
Now let's suppose you bring along some experts, complete with charts and photographs, to validate this new fact. The safe will remain closed. You might as well send the experts home. At this point, it makes no difference as to whether or not the fact inside the safe is true. To acknowledge that they are wrong becomes impossible.
Okay, I'm being simplistic. But, unfortunately, there are simple and far too basic human emotions in play here and that is what makes it so frustrating. This refusal to evaluate facts happens to the brightest as well as the dullards within society. And it is so dangerous! We recently had a President that operated this way and we may have another. Wouldn't you think that with the maturity needed to become a leader, that they would be open to new ideas and (gasp!) new facts?
I'm not being specific here. I'm not pointing to any one person or any one fact. I'm just marveling that after all of these thousands of years upon this planet, we are still afraid of 'facts'. We even seem to be proud of our ignorance of new facts. Why haven't we evolved? And will this flaw, this refusal to evaluate facts, be our downfall?
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Something we should remember while we are trashing BP (yes, they deserve it) is the fact that they are not a British petroleum company at all. You may remember that they absorbed Mobil Oil which was not an American petroleum company. Together, they are a multinational oil company and they are owned by stockholders. Stockholders from all around the world. They have no allegiance to Great Britain. Nor does Texaco owe any allegiance to the US of A. Or to the Great State of Texas. If they thought they could get away with it, all of the petroleum giants would move their corporate offices to Switzerland…or the Marshall Islands.
So, let's keep the wonderful citizens of Great Britain out of this trashing mania. They don't deserve it. The majority stockholders of BP do deserve it. And who are they?
I keep a journal and most mornings I'm eager to fill that journal with things I've learned. But not lately. I'm tired. I spent the past few hours reading about the monumental oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. And I'm tired of posturing by pundits and politicians of the Right wing stripe. Do they ever say anything worthwhile? Anything that might help the situation? Of course not…I remember from back in the days when the construction world was my life, assigning blame for any mishap was always priority number one. Things have not changed a bit since those days.
But, on a slightly different note, I did learn some interesting things this morning; such as the fact that most drilling rigs are licensed and treated as vessels because maritime law is much more lenient. There's a whole lot more information here…
Oil companies routinely categorize offshore oil rigs as ships in order to be covered by permissive rules and regulations accorded by certain nations. Oil rigs are routinely registered as ships overseas.
The laws of the Marshall Islands regulate BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig. The oil rig is registered as a Marshall Islands-flagged ship.
The laws of the Marshall Islands regulate BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig. The oil rig is registered as a Marshall Islands-flagged ship.
The answer is simple: By being a Marshall Islands-flagged vessel, the Deepwater Horizon rig is subject to the safety laws and inspection standards of the Marshall Islands. Maritime treaties allow the United States to simply recognize BP's compliance with Marshall Islands' standards as adequate.
Some facts about the Deepwater Horizon oil rig:
- Almost the size of an aircraft carrier, the rig was built by Hyundai Heavy Industries in Ulsan, South Korea.
- The rig was operated by a TransOcean, a former US company who relocated to Zug Switzerland to evade US tax laws.
- The Deepwater Horizon oil rig was registered by Transocean as an ocean ship/vessel with the Marshall Islands and is a Marshall Islands-flagged vessel. Its "port of registry" is Majuro, Marshall Islands. I'll bet you a nickel that the Deepwater Horizon "ship" has never been to Majuro.
- BP leases the ocean area from the US government and the Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service manages the lease of US sovereign waters and seabeds.
- BP leases the Deepwater Horizon oil rig from the Swiss company TransOcean.
- In 2008, BP Exploration leased Deepwater Horizon from Transocean. In October 2009, the contract was extended until 2013. The lease contract was worth $544 million, a rate of $496,800 per day.
- According to US laws, BP is the responsible party for the gulf coast oil gusher.
Do you know where the Marshall Islands are? Unless you're my age or older, I doubt that you have even heard of them.
Friday, June 11, 2010
We were enjoying our usual Friday morning coffee and a treat at the Cafe Ricci, our current favorite coffee house, when I began to read this story. It's written by one of my favorite local authors, Jaime O'Neill and so I was assured that it would be a good read. And it was...except for the fact that the subject matter had me feeling nauseated in no time at all. Some of his examples of 'hate speech' by local residents were enough to make me wonder what and who had spawned these people. Truly.
Mr. O'Neill references the McCarthy era and I was present during those times and although I was young (born in 1940) I was hoping that we would never see that kind of evil paranoia again, but now it looks like those days were a cakewalk. And it all comes from the 'conservative' mindset; as hatred always does.
"Huffington Post noted that along with the official statement from the US Chamber of Commerce that the American Taxpayer should help in paying for the BP oil leak, the House Minority Leader John Boehner cosigns this call for collective responsibility."
And the reasoning is? Well, it's the Amurican Way of course!
Thursday, June 10, 2010
I'm going to guess…Meg and Carly will win their respective elections in the Fall. Why? Because they have enough money to do it. Their own money. The Senate seat and the Governor's chair have For Sale signs on them as usual and these two have what it takes. Money. Not much else is needed. Carly was let go from her last big job. Canned. Fired. The Big pink Slip! So that gives her what kind of credentials? And Meg, who has confirmed through the Primary process that she doesn't know a thing about the job she covets, wants to win the job just like they do on EBay; with the highest bid.
Californians still astound me and I am one. They are enamored by celebrity and in fact, favor celebrity over brains by a margin of 10 to 1. That's why we have had brainless celebrities as Governor's and Senator's in the past. You would think that we would have learned…but you would be wrong.
I was reading about some recent poll (I hate polls!) where the respondents indicated that they were very dissatisfied with the government's response to the BP oil spill. It makes for minor headline news because it is, as most polls are, completely inaccurate. Those responding to the poll have no idea as to what the government's response has been or what the government can legally do. The respondents only have the 'talking heads' view of the disaster, which is geared to the level of 4th graders.
I have even heard that the government should have taken over the capping of the well. And they would do that with what kind of experts? Does the government have a team of deep water oil well disaster experts? I didn't think so. The Army, Navy or the Marine's? Nope, they don't know how to do this kind of work either. So, the government would have to hire the same people that are currently working to curtail the flow of oil.
Let's leave polls out of the discussion when it comes to disasters. Those polled have only one thing; an opinion – and everyone has one of those. Who cares? Let facts guide the decisions on how to respond to disasters.
Friday, June 4, 2010
I really shouldn't read half of the stuff I see on the internet. Stuff like this. I need to focus on pretty things. Soothing things. Humorous things. I need to learn to ignore human nature. I need to live in a vacuum!
&*!*&$%#...perhaps Arizona and South Carolina could combine forces and create their own nation...somewhere else! Somewhere north of Alaska.
What is it about South Carolina politics? Is it something in the water they drink?
I shouldn't be this cruel, but in this case I will be. There is no way that this SC politician will ever be accused of adultery...unlike others in that poor, abused, state government.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Another day is going by slowly. We will be meeting at 3 PM this afternoon to pick a new manager for the Senior Thrift Store. We, being the Glenn County Seniors board members. And we have 7 people applying for a 20 hour a week job, no benefits and paying slightly above minimum wage. I mean slightly above. This is a position that we would have had a hard time filling four or five years ago. Sad.
And then I read some of my favorite blogs and they are filled with despair as some are losing their jobs and their homes. Sad.
Why do we persist in calling this a recession? I said at the beginning that it was a Depression and I maintain that it still is. When we look back at this time, in ten years, we will have to call it what it was; a Depression.
And for those elders who are making it through these times, a lot of them are okay simply because of the era that they were born into. Luck. A blessing. These elders had a chance for employment with union firms that paid a living wage. They had pensions and 401(k) plans. Health care plans that included dental and vision. And being born half a dozen years later made all the difference in the world as the Republicans grew government into the monster it is today. A monster that has destroyed our economy. Six years one way or the other; it doesn't seem right , does it?
This has been weighing heavily on me. Odd that the Israeli propaganda machine got going before the bodies grew cold. With all the charges and counter-charges, it will take an international court to decide this. The fact that the Israeli forces jammed normal communication channels before the attack is one strike against them. What didn't they want communicated? An SOS? Luckily, they couldn't jam the satellite feed and so the video got out. And I wonder how many rockets they found in the cargo? They don't say. And now the Israeli forces are saying that it doesn't matter when one of their targets is in international waters. What?
In any confrontation with power, those with the power always do their best to destroy any evidence. Cell phones and cameras are always confiscated. What don't they want seen?
I have been reading a lot of comment and the one that I thought was best was found in the NYT yesterday morning, a column by Amos Oz.
I have always been unhappy with the Balfour Declaration and the Palestine Mandate. What right did Britain have to do such a thing? Power gave them the right, but not a moral right. In 1948, the Zionists created the State of Israel without asking all of its inhabitants. War ensued. And it won't end until Israel gives Palestinians the right to a homeland. Part of the one they stole would probably be okay.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Preliminary figures indicate that, as a whole, law enforcement agencies throughout the Nation reported a decrease of
But...popular opinion and politicians think crime is on the rise! In fact, 75% of Americans believe the opposite. In fact, I would bet that they would still believe that crime has risen even if an F.B.I. agent came to their door and told them the truth.
ps...crime has decreased in Phoenix as well. Sorry about that Governor Brewer.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Will we ever 'get it' and decide to do something about our dependence on oil? We can't shut down these oil platforms (close to 4,000) until we do. We can get mad and demand that the oil companies shut them down but it won't happen until we stop using the products that come from them. Simple economics.
I knew about this guy when he was selling cigarettes for a living. He was an idiot then and remained so until his death. I just don't get it; republicans had a chance to immortalize a real hero, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and instead they picked this doofus. And his lies survive...weird.