Thursday, July 31, 2008

Negative Ads

Remember, people say they do not like negative ads. But negative ads are effective. Right now with his untruthful negative ads about Obama, McCain is portraying Obama as someone you do not want to vote for. So who will you vote for? You will vote for someone other than Obama.
This is developing into a tight Rovian campaign. Negative ads, negative books, purging of voter lists, and more "problems" with voting machines and vote counting. The issues will be seldom addressed and for those who said it couldn't happen once and then that it couldn't happen twice, I say third time could be the charm/same.
Obama is going to have to go negative with ads on McCain in a big way. For the sensibilities of Obama voters it should be outside organizations that do it. But Obama himself is going to have to say harsh things about McCain also.
Do you know that the McCain organization had critical ads of Obama ready to go, accusing him of using the troops for political purposes, if he did visit troops in the German military hospital. So it would be heads Obama loses or tails he loses.
McCain has hitched his wagon to the low-road express.

Remodeled Ring

A few weeks ago I noticed that one of the prongs had broken off of one of the diamonds on my engagement ring. When I went to the jewelers they also noticed that there were further cracks in the setting. So I got a new setting and got the emerald polished also. Good for thirty years at least.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Spent today with a contractor and solar guy visit and trying hard to draw up plans for the house remodel.
Tonight we went to the movie Mongol. Highly recommend this movie. The early life of Genghis Khan.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Military-Industrial Complex

Under Reagan we began the wholesale privatization of the military. Support for this was drummed up by horror stories of high prices paid for toilet seats and screwdrivers. If private industry just handled more tasks, the cost would come down. So Clinton continued this privatization with more and more tasks handed to private industry. But the best has been the Bush 2 administration. With no-bid contracts to corporations that support the administration using cost-added contracts the price of any military operation or item can really add up. We are actually paying hundreds maybe thousands of times what would be a fair price for goods and services and in many cases getting lousy goods and services. This is the joy of privatization or corporatization of our military. The Military-Industrial Complex: It's Much Later Than You Think

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Oil Shale

So, vast deposits. Oil shale must be the answer. Except for a small caveat.
America's "vast," "immense" deposits of shale have the energy density of a baked potato.

Longer new article here.

Who is to blame

Lots of people have had their hands out taking money from people via bad loans, bundling loans and selling them as A+ securities, paying lower tax rates than you and I do, forming multi-state mega banks that sell you non FDIC investments, and then getting bailed out with more of our money. Their names are legion and found in the thousands of new multi-millionaires and billionaires in our country. But who opened the door to this greed? Who changed banks from trusted institutions who were individually responsible for your loan and your savings to faceless institutions who have no responsibility for what they do and no regulations to mitigate their behavior? Have you heard the name Phil Gramm?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

My Pic for Obama VP

In the last month or so I decided Sen Jack Reed would be Obama's choice. Since he went to Iraq with Obama he has been getting a bit more press.
Update: Wrong so soon.

Bank Failures

So 2 more moderate sized banks go into FDIC receivership, on Friday afternoon so you will not notice. Estimates are that as many as 2200 banks will fail, far outstripping the assets of FDIC. To suppress the panic the FDIC will be backed up by the US Treasury. Is the US Treasury a magical pile of money that can keep regenerating itself? Or is there a bottom somewhere?

Update: How safe are you? Although FDIC insures your deposits up to 100K, if you have more than this in accounts with the same name in the same bank you will lose anything over 100K. Your bank is only required to have cash assets of the equivalent of 10% of what is in checking accounts and nothing of what is in savings accounts. Where is all the money? Out in bad loans, bad mortgages and crazy financial instruments too esoteric to understand but all OK in our current deregulated system.
Deregulation is the baby of good old Phil Gramm, who was in back of Enron and current crisis at UBS. He has written the economic policy of McCain and will certainly remain as a shadow adviser for more of the same. US Economy for the big bucks guys--suck until dry and then toss away.

Friday, July 25, 2008

More Girls

Indigenous peoples in the arctic who live on a native diet rich in large marine mammals are having many more girl babies. PCB's built up in the fat of these animals are building up in the women and are mimicking human hormones.

We Knew This

On Hardball Scott McClellan admits that the White House would send talking points to Fox News. He did not seem to get that this is illegal. In the US there is not supposed to be media that, like Pravda, just gives you the government's point of view. This is called propaganda. It would have been different if the commentators had said according to the White House "Obama being greeted like a rock star should be a red flag." But Fox uses these talking points without attribution.
We already knew that government agencies would send out programs to be used like regular news segments unattributed and that the White House paid reporters. This is just the last straw.


Daniel Ellsberg in a podcast today reminded us of Langston Hughes great poem the first lines of which are:
Let America be America again. Let it be the dream it used to be.

C Span # 1

Watching the "impeachment hearings" one of the "expert" witnesses, Stephen Presser, professor of legal history and jurisprudence at Northwestern, stated that unless high crimes and misdemeanors were in the context of putting personal concerns above concerns for country they were not impeachable. Ipso facto Clinton's actions in attempting to hide personal matters was impeachable. Subverting the constitution is not personal, therefore not impeachable. All this said with a grin! Wowsa!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Fair No Too Much to Hope for

Presumptuous and even cocky (code for uppity N*****) the words for Obama's trip from much of the MSM. Too bad. I at least thought they would begin to be fair. But No. Too much to hope for. examples on Hullabaloo


Two hundred thousand wave American flags and listen to great Obama speech in Berlin.

The walls between the countries with the most and those with the least cannot stand. The walls between races and tribes; natives and immigrants; Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

McCain Bitter

After a long love affair with the media, where he would be greeted with treats:
McCain's moderators, the AP's Ron Fournier and Liz Sidoti, greeted McCain with a box of Dunkin' Donuts. "We spend quite a bit of time with you on the back of the Straight Talk Express asking you questions, and what we've decided to do today was invite everyone else along on the ride," Sidoti explained. "We even brought you your favorite treat."

McCain opened the offering. "Oh, yes, with sprinkles!" he said.

Sidoti passed him a cup. "A little coffee with a little cream and a little sugar,"
she said.

and felt free to intimate that reporters better be nice to get good seats on the new straight talk express plane:
McCain senior aide Mark Salter quipped this morning that "only the good reporters" would get to sit in the specially-configured section for interviews. "You'll have to earn it," he said.
and after much of Obama's coverage had been incessant pounding on fist bumps and pastors and after McCain had made a huge point that Obama had not been to Iraq recently, now that Obama has gone to Iraq and gotten much good press, McCain is very angry and accuses the press of being in love with Obama, when prior to his visit coming off well the press had endlessly speculated that he would have a huge gaffe on the trip.

McCain has previously called the national media "his base" and is feeling a little cheated upon.

Meanwhile, the press covers up for McCain(as usual)as he frequently refers to Czechoslovakia and gets the dates and sequence of events wrong on the surge.

But now that McCain has thrown the MSM under the Straight Talk Express, he is going to get a little more even-handed coverage and will discover that the media can bite back.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

We Are Worth Less or Worthless, Whatever

EPA has lowered the value placed on a human life--20% from 5 years ago. Why? So that the value calculated for health and safety issues such as toxics and global worming can be lessened. They really wanted to lower the life value of us oldsters. "Who cares they are just near death anyway." Thanks a lot, Bush.

Turning Blue

See the country turn blue on Pollster

Vanity Fair Cover Shelved

Vanity Fair had this cover in the works but has shelved it now with the outcry over the New Yorker cover.

Army Photo Released

Army releases this photo of Obama and Petreaus in a helicopter over Baghdad.

Monday, July 21, 2008

ATT Confusion

The story of a pretty red Samsung.
When we were in Europe this winter I had son Jon unlock this phone with codes found on the internet so I could use a Belgacom Pay and Go card for local calls in Belgium. I put the ATT sim card in my eyeglass case and made arrangements with ATT for what I thought was a sort of minimal fee to keep the phone number.
In May I went to Radio Shack and spent 1 1/2 hours getting the phone reactivated and returned (I thought) to the previous calling plan (500 minutes and rollover). Surprise, Surprise. They kept the calling plan that I had been given when the phone was unlocked--a minimal fee and a charge of 45 cents per minute for usage.
I did not notice until I got a note this month indicating a problem with my calling plan. Translate that to mean large charges.
So things are straightened out now. I have a new (old) calling plan and they did take off the per minute charges for the bill I will not even get until after July 25th. I told them I suppose that is better than the civil or criminal penalties they might have faced for eavesdropping on all our phone calls.
Trapped in the corporate system.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Social Security Hypocrisy

I think it is the height of hypocrisy to condemn Social Security and suggest that privatization (which would destroy the system) would help it and choose to take Social Security yourself as McCain does. If he does not need it, he should not take it.

You are not required to take Social Security payments. It is a form of social insurance, providing an income in old age for those who need it. Yes, we all pay into it. But we also pay fire insurance on our homes and for the most part we never collect anything on that! I do not plan on taking Social Security until I am about 70, since I do not feel I will need it until then.

Mom felt somewhat bad about taking Social Security, since she was a double dipper with California Teacher's Retirement and Social Security. Often at Christmas she would give my sister and me a large check to spend. She said she considered it to be from her Social Security. She later put the money she saved from her Social Security in an investment fund to benefit the two of us.

McCain does not need Social Security and does not seem to understand that he could refuse the benefit.

McCain is already a double dipper with a military retirement and Social Security. He will also collect retirement from the Senate, making him a triple dipper with a 6 million dollar spouse.

Of course other government workers including postal workers are not allowed to collect Social Security even if they would otherwise have qualified.

It would help Social Security a bit if it were means tested. If you really don't need it, you should not be able to collect it. I would put the break fairly high, at about 100K for a couple. Then it would become more the social insurance program it was meant to be. No rich people collecting Social Security.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Bike Ride With Frank

Look at the name of the store where Frank and Bill stopped for a beer on the ride!!

Oregon Country Fair

Camping was cheek to jowl. Tents and cars eventually filled the area where I stood to take this pic.
William tries to stake out a bit of privacy space.
The fair is an extravaganza of art and costume.

Look at the dragonfly on top of the mushroom seat.
The green tree stilt man was amazing.

Everyone was having fun.

Many of these art works are permanent parts of the fair grounds.
Thalia (former kindergarten teacher at Sawyers Bar) and her son Josh. Thalia has a booth here where she sells her weaving.
The haute trash fashion show

The fair had dance, acrobats, music, circus acts and spoken word about everything from spiritualism to the energy crisis. The Oregon Country Fair

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Consumer Price Index

I find figures for 4.0% increase through May excluding food and fuel. Add in food and fuel and you get around 9%.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Domestic Spying

Were you aware that GW and Friends began planning the domestic spying program with the telecoms as soon as he was elected and implemented it early in 2001. I didn't know this.
Were you aware that when Qwest refused to participate in the program and turn over customer records because their lawyers told them it was illegal, GW and Friends reneged on promised contracts causing the company to tank later in the year. I didn't know this.
Were you aware that GW and Friends got the justice department to prosecute the CEO of Quest for insider trading after he sold stock options that were due to expire early in 2001, because he continued to speak positively about the prospects of the company before it tanked because of the reneged contracts. He was unable to present any of this information about the contracts and domestic spying at his trial because it was suppressed as classified information. I didn't know this.
I think what we all don't know about this administration is mind boggling.

Friday, July 4, 2008

White People

Really funny blog about white people. Stuff White People Like
Article in Salon

Jobs down the drain

Doing a bit of my own statistic gathering.

economists estimate that the nation needs to add roughly 150,000 jobs a month just to keep up with population growth

150,000 x 12 = 1,800,000 per year

From US Bureau of Labor Statistics

2000 non farm jobs 131,785,000

2007 non farm jobs 137,623,000

jobs increase 5,838,000

1,800,000 x 7 = 12,600,000 would have been needed

actual job loss for 2008; 400,000 first 6 months
predicted for next 6 months; 400,000

So for full 8 years of Bush;
12,600,000 – 5,838,000 – 800,000 = 7,562,000 job shortfall

And of course many/most of the new jobs were in the service sector, paying less than the manufacturing jobs they replaced.

But income increased? Only in the sense that when a hedge fund manager walks into a bar the average income of the people in the bar increases.

Why aren't the unemployment statistics higher?
1. people have given up
2. if they have run out of unemployment benefits, they are also not counted.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Where oh where did the money go?

Washington Post reports that there is a 10 year backlog of whistle blower fraud cases against companies that have bilked the government out of billions of our money. The Bush Justice Department is dragging their heels on investigations as the waste is bad press.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Has a Starbucks in your area closed? I was in the SaveMart yesterday waiting for a prescription at the in-store pharmacy and decided to get an espresso. The in-store Starbucks was closed with a sign that said we are exploring other coffee alternatives! Half price sale on the company stock and more.