Wednesday, June 30, 2010

god Said It Was OK To Use The Crappy Sheetrock

Habitat for Humanity knew what it was doing. It's too bad, since HFH is generally a helpful organization, with the exception of the god stuff. Via Crooks & Liars.
The New Orleans chapter of the prominent non-profit continued using Chinese drywall in the Village and its other New Orleans projects throughout 2009 -- long after other builders stopped....

Wu Guanzhong, R.I.P.

Obit here.

Two Swallows

Two Swallow by Wu Guanzhong


White Poplar Woods

Extraordinary work.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Oh, Really

The "leaders" who just concluded the G20 backslapping did not learn one damn thing from the utter failure of austerity measures. & yet, led by the Canadian's Bu$hco, that is exactly what they proposed. So much for actually giving a shit about turning people's lives around. Oh, & don't get me started on the absolutely stupid initiative on maternal health. The fact that the largest financial contributor is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation says it all.  Here's a graphic of the GDP of the G20.  That's a lot of trillions of dollars, & they come up with about $5 per woman to improve maternal health.  Yeah, that'll work. Just shoot me know, or later if it suits you.

Oh, back to the Irish.
Nearly two years ago, an economic collapse forced Ireland to cut public spending and raise taxes, the type of austerity measures that financial markets are now pressing on most advanced industrial nations.

“When our public finance situation blew wide open, the dominant consideration was ensuring that there was international investor confidence in Ireland so we could continue to borrow,” said Alan Barrett, chief economist at the Economic and Social Research Institute of Ireland. “A lot of the argument was, ‘Let’s get this over with quickly.’ ”

Rather than being rewarded for its actions, though, Ireland is being penalized. Its downturn has certainly been sharper than if the government had spent more to keep people working. Lacking stimulus money, the Irish economy shrank 7.1 percent last year and remains in recession.

Joblessness in this country of 4.5 million is above 13 percent, and the ranks of the long-term unemployed — those out of work for a year or more — have more than doubled, to 5.3 percent.

Now, the Irish are being warned of more pain to come.

“The facts are that there is no easy way to cut deficits,” Prime Minister Brian Cowen said in an interview. “Those who claim there’s an easier way or a soft option — that’s not the real world.”

Despite its strenuous efforts, Ireland has been thrust into the same ignominious category as Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain. It now pays a hefty three percentage points more than Germany on its benchmark bonds, in part because investors fear that the austerity program, by retarding growth and so far failing to reduce borrowing, will make it harder for Dublin to pay its bills rather than easier.

Other European nations, including Britain and Germany, are following Ireland’s lead, arguing that the only way to restore growth is to convince investors and their own people that government borrowing will shrink.

The Group of 20 leaders set that in writing this weekend, vowing to make deficit reduction the top priority despite warnings from President Obama that too much austerity could choke a global recovery and warnings from a few economists about the possibility of a much sharper 1930s style downturn.
President Obama is right about this issue, but his domestic behavior towards the ReThugs & BlueDung Democrats has not inspired respect or fear in his fellow leaders. & these are the people that apparently rule the world. The world is in for some shit.

Worthless Pieces Of Non-Recyclable trash

Just awful people, just awful. It's hard to believe I share air space with these bastards. Thurgood Marshall was a great American, a great patriot, which is something the ReThug Kyl, among others, will never be.  Here's some advice for Kyl & his fellow ReThugs:

Monday, June 28, 2010

Impeach These Five Right Wing Ideologues

Thanks for nothing you assholes. Here is why the destruction of America began with Alzheimer Ronnie.
Justices John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor dissented. They said the Heller decision remained incorrect, and added that they would not have extended its protections to state and local laws even if it had been correctly decided.

“Although the court’s decision in this case might be seen as a mere adjunct to Heller,” Justice Stevens wrote, “the consequences could prove far more destructive — quite literally — to out nation’s communities and to our constitution.”

My emphasis.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Dept. Of DUH

Headline of the month/year/decade/century/millennium.

Scientific Expertise Lacking Among 'Doubters' of Climate Change, Says

 New Analysis

Dwight Armstrong, R.I.P.

Nothing about this in today's online version of the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel, go figure. This obit is from the NYT.

Friday, June 25, 2010

I'm Back

& not like Arnold, thank goodness. I'm back from my second week long trip to the U.P. of Michigan. This time I went with a couple of bikers, of the recumbent & road bicycle persuasion. We camped at a few places, saw some cool views, & ate pretty well at the campsites. I've got to go to town this a.m. to get some chick grower, so pics will follow. Later, gators.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Amur Tiger Time

Really cute version. This little guy already has that "thing" about him. What great creatures.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Catfood Commission

I sort of overlooked this whole "fix Social Security by dying at work after eating a catfood lunch" commission. & morons like Simpson will not view the increase in longevity as an opportunity for people to have a really good, long, happy retirement. No, he sees it as an opportunity to make people work until their seventies, 70s, old as dirt, but that's OK because Alan Simpson has really great health care, a really great pension & doesn't give a shit about all of us "lesser people." This is not the country I envisioned when I was 18. & I suppose I'm part of the reason things are so fucked up.

Here's the transcript. If you want to read the comments click the -commission- link above.

ALAN SIMPSON: We’re really working on solvency… the key is solvency

ALEX LAWSON: What about adequacy? Are you focusing on adequacy as well?

SIMPSON: Where do you come up with all the crap you come up with?

SIMPSON: We’re trying to take care of the lesser people in society and do that in a way without getting into all the flash words you love dig up, like cutting Social Security, which is bullshit. We’re not cutting anything, we’re trying to make it solvent.

SIMPSON: It’ll go broke in the year 2037.

LAWSON: What do you mean by ‘broke’? Do you mean the surplus will go out and then it will only be able to pay 75% of its benefits?

SIMPSON: Just listen, will you listen to me instead of babbling? In the year 2037, instead of getting 100% of your check, you are going to get about 75% of your check. That’s if you touch nothing. If you like that, fine. You’ll be picking with the chickens yourself when you’re 65.

So we want to take care, we’re not cutting, we’re not balancing the budget on the backs of senior citizens. That’s bullshit. So you’ve got that one down. So as long as you’ve got those two things down, you can’t play with anymore, that we’re not balancing the budget of the United States on the backs of poor old seniors and we’re not cutting anything, we’re stabilizing the system.

LAWSON: Thanks for being so frank. My question is: raising the retirement age, is actually an across-the-board benefit cut?

SIMPSON: There are 15 different options being discussed in here today, and why nail one of them…[inaudible]…if you would like to get one of them that pisses your people off.

LAWSON: Alice Rivlin was just on CNBC saying that that was one of the favorite methods.

SIMPSON: There are 15 of them in there. All of them have to do with stabilizing the system, which we are told is insolvent, it’s paying out more then it’s taking in.

LAWSON: Right now?


LAWSON: But what about the $180 billion in surplus that it brings in every year?

SIMPSON: There is no surplus in there. It’s a bunch of IOUs.

LAWSON: That’s what I wanted to actually get at.

SIMPSON: Listen. Listen. It’s 2.5 trillion bucks in IOUs which have been used to build the interstate highway system and all of the things people have enjoyed since it has been setup.

LAWSON: Two wars, tax cuts for the wealthy.

SIMPSON: Whatever, whatever. You pick your crap and I’ll pick the real stuff. It has to do with the highway system, it was to run America. And those are IOUs in there. And now there is not enough coming in every month. You’re paying in every month for me. I appreciate that, I really do.

LAWSON: Which is how the system was setup, that the current generation funds the retirees.

SIMPSON: When I was your age there were 16 people paying into the system and 1 taking out and today there are 3 people paying into the system and 1 taking out.

LAWSON: But isn’t that the good news.

SIMPSON: And in 15 years there will be 2 people paying in, what’s good news about that?

LAWSON: Didn’t they plan for that, which is why they’ve been…

SIMPSON: Of course not because they thought … the retirement … they that you would die at 57 and that’s why they set the date at 65. If you can’t get through this stuff, then why do you spread this crap. The thing was setup when the life expectancy was 57 years and that’s why they set 65 as the retirement date. Now the life expectancy is 78, whatever it is, and so we have to adjust that and make it work for the future people like you in the United States.

LAWSON: But here’s one question on that, and thanks again for being so frank, life expectancy is not equally distributed across the income spectrum.

SIMPSON: That’s true. We know that.

LAWSON: The life expectancy gains is actually this 5.5 years difference between the wealthiest…[inaudible]…and the…

SIMPSON: We know that, we talk about that. We talk about everything you know. But if you just want to use flash words…

LAWSON: No flash words. I just wanted to zero in on a few things and you’ve hit most of them. The worthless IOUs.

SIMPSON: Use honesty.

LAWSON: I am. I’m being honest.

SIMPSON: No, no you’re not.

LAWSON: The worthless IOUs that actually goes back to 1936.

SIMPSON: They’re not worthless, there are IOUs in there.

LAWSON: Backed by the full faith and government, full faith and …..

SIMPSON: You’ve got it, full faith and credit.

LAWSON: Full faith and credit.

SIMPSON: That’s absolutely true.

LAWSON: There we go. They’re bonds just like any other bonds. That the government has to pay back.

SIMPSON: That’s right. But there are not people involved. It is the government and the government.

LAWSON: Well, it’s actually the government and the citizens, right? The government doesn’t actually own the bonds, it’s the government owing…

SIMPSON: Let me say things in a way so your fans will understand this, so you can go and be a hero. There is not enough in the system by the month to pay in, to pay out what comes in. In other words, there is more going out, than coming in. That happened 3 or 4 weeks ago.

So, what do they do? They go to that trust fund and say, ‘We need the IOUs out of it.’ And they say, ‘You can have them, but you have to pay for them.’ So you’re taking a double hit on your own government. Makes no sense. The government goes and says, ‘Hey, here’s that 2.5 trillion IOUs, now we need some money out of that system because we haven’t got enough to pay this month.’ And they say, ‘Great.’ So the government gets a double hit.

LAWSON: Thanks so much Senator. We obviously have a very different understanding of the system.

SIMPSON: Yes we do. But we are all involved in one thing, not secrecy.

LAWSON: No, I understand that. But in my understanding from actually looking at the 1983 commission, they actually started prefunding the retirement of the baby boom by building up that huge surplus.

SIMPSON: They never knew there was a baby boom in ’83.

LAWSON: But actually they knew there was going to be demographic issues when the set up Social Security, so they actually predicted…

SIMPSON: They never dreamed that the life expectancy from 57 years of age to 78 or 75 or whatever. Who would dream that? No one. They just died. People worked. Social Security was never a retirement. It was setup to take care of poor guys in the Depression who lost their butts, who were digging ditches, and it was to give them 43% of their wages…when they got out…and that’s what it was. It was never a retirement. It was an income supplement.

LAWSON: Well it’s actually an income insurance, right? It’s a wage insurance program to replace lost wages due to death, disability and old-age. But, it’s definitely an insurance program meaning that the people own the insurance, right, their giving money in, in expectation that it’s their money to come out.

SIMPSON: That’s right. And they’re going to get their money. But right now, to get their money, which has all been used and consists of Treasury Bills, the government has to go and get it out of there and pay it and say, ‘Here’s some money for you.’ So you don’t diminish the 2.5 trillion bucks. So it’s got your government putting up money, which increases the deficit to get this money out to go to the beneficiary.

LAWSON: But that’s not Social Security that’s increasing the deficit, because it’s still bringing in more money than goes out.

SIMPSON: The government of the United States has to take separate money out of some stack to get the IOUs out of Social Security, that’s a double hit and that increases the deficit.
LAWSON: But what I’m telling you is Social Security is separate though, from the general budget, right? It’s totally in the green.

SIMPSON: But it wasn’t. Just four weeks ago, there wasn’t as much coming in as going out.

LAWSON: Except you’re not calculating the interest paid on the bonds, because, if you do include that, it’s still in the green this year.

SIMPSON: Well you can go through all the sophistry of babbling that you want to.

LAWSON: It’s not sophistry. It’s just what the SSA says. So I’m just going on the numbers.

SIMPSON: You need to read the report of the Social Security Administration, the one that was given to us. Have you got a copy?

LAWSON: I’d love a copy.

SIMPSON: I’ll get you that. In fact, I’ll have a guy give that to you. You need to have that. And it’s good for you.

LAWSON: That would be fantastic. Thanks so much Senator.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hey, Y'all. It Looks As If We Won One

Last week, I think, I emailed several acquaintances & asked them to sign a petition asking Barney Frank to televise his committee's deliberations on a reform bill for Wall Street. Well, you can go - HERE to watch the House committee work on the bill. With all of us watching, those who want to remain cozy with Wall Street, may actually do the right thing & enact some true reform(s). Thanks.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Don't Die

Another example of how goofed up our pain killing regimens are in this country. If a person has cardiac disease, knee pain, lower back pain, shoulder pain (that would be me), the problem is pain killers that work & don't contribute to dying by heart failure. We have become stupidly paranoid about opiates, the class of drugs that can actually rid a person of pain.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Sad Legacy Of Absolutely Zero Planning, Zero Imagination, Zero Responsibility

Jay B has it right.
I was JUST sitting at Casamento’s less than two months ago, enjoying an oyster loaf, a couple dozen more raw oysters, Abita and good conversation with friends. Suddenly, that experience has transformed from a standing date when I’m in town, to a wistful, nostalgic memory of a time that will never return.

Monday, June 07, 2010

With Journalism Like This

It's no wonder America has a health care problem. Talk about blaming the victims of a broken system. & it doesn't really matter whether or not the current "reform" will have a positive impact on the total health care debacle, at least these 30 million people may live healthier lives.
Stories of emergency rooms pushed to capacity and wait times at physicians' offices have become legendary. Now the passage of healthcare reform — potentially funneling 30 million new people into an already-packed system — has some groups warning that the nation will soon see a shortage of doctors.
& of course, the poor doctors are the real victims. Look, if this country gave a rat's ass, medical school would not be goddamned expensive, so class oriented - it would be, gasp, free, or something close to free. In fact, if this country was serious about health care, all education would be free or something close to free, just to repeat myself. We are going in the wrong direction, of course, with K-12 education becoming something that we pay for outside of the taxes we pay. Families are expected to pay, sometimes pay a lot of money, for their children to participate in activities that are important to a supposedly free public education. The ReThuglicans are a long way toward drowning public education in this country. & we have let them do it, in fact, we are helping them do it. It's too bad, it's too scary, it's too destructive, it's too....

My emphasis.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Friday Morning Horror Show

This bird is trying to stay alive, it will die. We, as a country, have done nothing since the Exxon Valdez to become less oil dependent. In 1989, the year of the Valdez spill, we, the U.S., were using 17,325,000 barrels of oil per day. In 2006, we were using 20,687,000 barrels a day. In 2007, the latest data I can discover, the U.S. consumed 20,680,000 barrels a day. It keeps going up & up. We have learned zero. Alternative energies, while available to the public, are outlandishly expensive. The government, on every level, does little to nothing to encourage the use of these non-oil energy sources. For instance, the average cost for installing a complete solar powered electric system in a U.S. home, a normal sized home, is between $40,000 to $52,000 - nice chunks of change. In Wisco at the present time, you can receive a 30% tax credit for the installed price of a solar electric system. Even at the cheapest average price, $40,000, remember, you need to have the system installed & paid for, you will reduce your taxes by a sum of $12,000. This is not much of an encouragement to switch, particularly with the initial cost being so high. Again, the wealthier citizens of this country will benefit, the middle class becomes smaller & smaller. One of the reasons for this, in my opinion, is the intense lobbying electric utilities & electric coops do to keep the normal person priced out of just about any alternative energy usage. My local coop, for instance, has no incentives to help people get off the grid. Their idea of a program is that if I install any sort of alternative energy device, they must pay me for any extra energy I produce, of course, this is a state law, so Bayfield Electric's lack of imagination is evident. By the way, the brown pelican will still die.

Fucking ReThuglicans

It's always just a joke when the racism breaks through. This is what Nixon/Reagan planted, & we, as a country, culture, society, have been sent backwards. Talk about fearing for the country. Screw you Glen Beck & Jake Knotts. I think I'll just refer to Knotts as a knothead? Maybe just a fathead? Judge for yourself.

Interesting Read

Go read it.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Peter Orlovsky, R.I.P.

Obit here. He joins his love, Allen Ginsberg. Peter Orlovsky is on the left, Allen Ginsberg on the right.

Israeli Murders

I haven't commented on the premeditated murders by Israeli commandos during the recent attempt to break Israel's seige of the Gaza Strip. I guess I thought it would be pointless to say anything. Even the discovery of an American citizen, albeit, one who has lived in Turkey for much of his life, doesn't change much for me. I certainly believe that Israel has a right to exist, but I clearly don't think it has a right to murder whenever it feels like it. There is a lot to criticize in the actions of the Israeli government in regards to how it views its "national security," criticism that is over met with accusations of anti-antisemitism, but it is time for the world, the United States, to put an end to Israel's special status as a country that can do whatever it wants without consequence.

Amur Tiger Time

amur tiger in the snow

amur tiger in the snow

amur tiger in the snow

amur tiger and 3 cubs