Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Merry Christmas from your Republican Congress

Did you hear what the Right Wing Nuts (RWNs) did to the Christmas Tree Farmers? You've heard of "Got Milk" and "Cotton, the fabric of our lives"? And "Beef, it's what's for dinner"? Well, the Christmas tree farmers of America tried to do the same voluntary deal(about 90% of them favored it)through the USDA; there are about 50 of these programs currently, not one of which has been seen as controversial in any way. But a RWN "think tank" (oxymoronic?), and elements of the Republican Congress decided to use the issue as a cudgel and brand the program as a "Tax on Christmas by the Obama Administration". Lots of misinformation and outright lies (paid for in ads by the RWNs). End of program. Obama successfully wounded, but the Tree Farmers? Completely screwed by the RWNs, bastions of support for the free market, capitalism, small business, and the true meaning of Christmas. Merry Christmas, Tree Farmers.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Oh! These most important first few primaries!

Oh my! Oh my! I hear the pundits talk about the political landscape. And most explicitly, the up coming primary season; they talk about the important momentum following the early contests... Please indulge me as I laugh so hard that milk come out of my nose.
We are supposed to consider the results of the Iowa Caucus [Caustic?] Where less than 0.3 % of the voters in the United States of America "voted" (the definition of "voting" being attending a tent carnival where your are given free food and entertainment) for Michelle Bachmann, and it was almost 200 votes more than those folks who "chose" Ron Paul? And then, the media declaim that Rick Perry was the "winner" because he garnered almost 02 % of the "votes" that Bachmann and Paul got combined??? Ah, but I digress.
Next we're supposed to pay attention to Nevada (a beautiful state, I love to visit it). But please! At the risk of being considered to be an "*IST " of some kind of other... I'll say that Nevada is the state of miners, ranchers, casinos, gamblers, and whores. Most definitely the exact demographic of the American dream (all you folks from Nevada, feel free to flame me early and often. Ah! but what is a primary campaign if it's not an opportunity to spout unfounded generalizations about folks you don't agree with?)
Then there's New Hampshire, another beautiful state; one that has a total population equal to about half that of the City of Saint Louis (you know where that is right)? And their opinions are really, really relevant to the future leadership of the federal government and appointments to the Supreme Court and all the wars we're fighting around the globe? Right? Yes, they are, but how much? How much?
Then there's South Carolina... I won't waste my time or yours repeating my opinion of the relevance of the opinions of the people of South Carolina about anything; see:


So here we are, trying to choose an opponent to run against Barack Obama (and please give me credit for wanting an opponent to Barack Obama in the next election). I've heard some folks talk about a "permanent republican majority" but I really do believe in a two party system.
But the system of choosing that opponent seems to be just a little nuts. If a better mix of the American demographic was represented, if a larger portion of the population got into the process a little earlier; it might be OK. As it is, it's crazy. If we allow a few zealots from the Bible Belt, organizers from Sin City, a tiny group of folks from one tiny state, and then, the really, really, out of touch fundamentalists from South Carolina (please don't miss my explanation of THEIR relevance) to define the all important "momentum" of that all important leg up of that process... Well, then we've really got a stupid system.

Garbage in, garbage out. A Priori Errors are impossible to correct later on....

Sunday, October 16, 2011

An Economic Recovery Plan

Several times in the last three years a large percentage of the "money" in the stock market has disappeared pretty much overnight. When I say "money" I mean that definition of money that comes from the 2000 year old adage: "Everything is worth what it's purchaser will pay for it." Publilius Syrus, first century BC. Every cent (every one of which is a number written on a piece of paper or some 001110001011's stored in a computer file) invested in the stock market is that kind of money. It has no intrinsic value of it's own; it's only as valuable as you can convince someone it is... IF and when they buy it. The money that the brokers "earn" comes from moving these numbers around and keeping a little (or sometimes a lot) of the numbers for themselves (then they sell it, quick). The numbers go up and down, up and down.
A bubble pops, some mega crook gets exposed, the 100 year old Emperor of Japan dies of natural causes, a mega speculator gets out of the market suddenly; there can be many causes. Recently, we had the idiots in the Tea Party trying to get the U.S. Government to default on it's debt... But I've always said that if someone on the floor of the NYSE just yelled, "The president's been shot!" loudly enough, you could watch the big board spiral down. Is this a great system or what?
A few years ago I got lucky. I bought something with real money a week before the 2008 crash. I might have bought some stock with that money but instead I bought solar panels for my roof. Guess what? They're still up there, 100% as good as they were the day I bought them. The market lost 40% of it's "value" over the next few weeks.
Take your money out of the market now and buy something durable that the bastards can't turn into a valueless piece of paper tomorrow. If everyone with $25K in the market bought an American car tomorrow, the economy would boom and half of the overpaid, under regulated, and under taxed money moving stock brokers would have to get a real job. Maybe even making cars.

Monday, September 26, 2011

It's really very simple

Then: In the year 0030, Jesus told us a few things about brotherhood and charity. Since then those in power have been reinterpreting God's words. In 1850, God made me white and made you black, that's why you're my slave, he must have wanted it that way. In 1900: God made me a man and made you a woman, that's why I can vote and you can't, He must want it that way. In 1980; God made me heterosexual and He made some other people homosexual.  While He was at it He made the majority straight men in Congress restrict marriage to themselves, He must want it that way.

Now: God made me rich and made you poor, he must want it that way.

How very convenient for me.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Some business models work better than others

There are some new innovative businesses out there but there are also lots of mature ones too. There are several ways to run businesses that can't grow, the ones that you wouldn't want to reinvest funds in the company. You can put company profits into stock dividends and CEO salaries, or you can put profits into employee benefits and salaries. Which one works best for the good old USA? Trickle down or trickle up? Then I happened to see my Amerigas Propane delivery guy on the street the other day. I waved him down and we had a little chat. I told him that I had recently learned that my new neighbors, who had moved in three years ago, had been contacted by his company and been told that since they were such good customers that they were entitled to a significant reduction in their gas bill, from $4.99 down to $ 3.49 per gallon, about 30% less. I mentioned to him that my wife and I have been paying the same $4.99 per gallon assiduously on time for the last 25 years. I didn't even ask him if he was aware of this situation, but I did ask him to do something for me. I asked him to go back to his office and ask his boss if this was company policy, and if the boss was OK with the situation. I suggested that if the boss said it was OK with him, then maybe all the delivery guys who work there might start looking for new jobs. I said that in this economy, some businesses were going to make it and some weren't. I opined that the companies that didn't screw their very best long term and loyal customers were likely to be the ones that will be around a few years down the road. I was pleasant and friendly the whole time and we parted as friends. Then I happened to see the Dish Network installation guy across the street.... Hey!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Simply Wonderful

Michelle Bachmann says she has always believed in small federal government (even when she was an IRS lawyer) but as President Bachmann she promises to wave her wand and bring back $ 2 a gallon gas. Now THAT'S gas. Forget the fact that the last time gas was that low, the BUSH recession had the US economy in free fall. That means businesses weren't burning up the highways with deliveries, people couldn't afford vacation travel, and demand for gas was at an all time low.
Even pulling out all the stops, all the predictions of the possible increase in gas and oil production in and by the USA are in the ½ million barrels a day range. The world is using about a HUNDRED million barrels a day. So DRILL BABY DRILL (Sarah! Sarah!). It wouldn't make any difference in gas prices (especially since OPEC would reduce THEIR production to keep prices high). Oh, if only things were as simple as the so-called "populist" Tea Party folks say they are.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Why I'm not going back to South Carolina

150 years ago some South Carolinians felt so strongly about their own freedoms, that they started the Civil War in order to maintain the right to own some other human beings. That freedom loving spirit is alive today among those South Carolinians that feel free to dictate to others whether or not they can drink a beer (a belief that is heartily indorsed by the Taliban). Restricting the sale of alcohol in their counties (by local states' rights), they are ensuring that those teens and young adults that don't have the Jesus given good sense to comply with the rules, will drive the maximum distance on curvy mountain roads to a county that does sell beer. Say what you will about the Taliban; they have at least dispensed with the plastic statue of Mohammed on the dash board of their cars (look it up, Crackers). So at least the last thing that their "soon to be dead children" see isn't a symbol of the selfish beliefs of all the people that feel free to make decisions for everybody else.
I've thought a bit about my freedoms. I know that I am free to never spend a single penny more in the state of South Carolina; that's my plan. When I bought a news paper there (hey, there'd been an earthquake back home!), I made a point of sharing this plan with the clerk at the store. I was polite and civil and I even said that I knew that it wasn't their fault (even though it may have been), but that I thought that their elected officials were hypocritical idiots. The clerk agreed, for what that is worth.
Oh yeah. Joe Wilson and Mark Stanford: two, fine, honest, civil, and upstanding Christian men chosen by the voters of South Carolina (Joe's been reelected). Did I mention the Civil War thing?

Saturday, August 6, 2011


On August 4, 2011, gold closed at about $1650 per ounce. That's about 22% in six months. This likely reflects the level of confidence so many folks have in our House of Representatives. Unfortunately for us little investors, the really big investors and Governments don't have to pay that 15% charge every time they buy or sell something (nor the tax on transactions), so they're in a position to push the price up and down to their advantage.

The financial pundits are always making fun of the "cash under the mattress" people. Burying stuff in your back yard ala Erskin Caldwell may seem dumb; right up until you pick up the paper and see that your NYSE stocks have lost thirty percent of their "value" in a week, and then they lose another 20 % over the next month or so... Don't we wish we had had our money in gold in September 2008? (When it was about $700.)

We need to remember that those same pundits called "no money down, no principal paid the first year loans" for super over priced houses SECURITIES! (House prices propped up by Greenspan's super low interest rates). "Hey! I can afford to pay for more house than I can use for more money than I have because the Government has interest rates WAY below the inflation rate! And I get to deduct the payments from my taxes! And the house will double in value in three years.*" And the real estate people obliged by hawking the "no risk" investment potential of houses and there were TWO TV shows about "flipping houses" for big bucks.) Now let's bundle the loans and sell them to other banks! Oh Boy!

SECURITIES! Secured by what? A promise to pay made by someone who is spending 130% (average American family debt) of their income on restaurant meals, cars, and vacations? (Also "secured" by a home "equity" loan. Equity that only exists and only on paper because the real estate sales people SAID the house would sell for big bucks because *see above*). SO, does anyone ever ask just exactly where the big bucks sales commissions for Realtors come from? Or where the two billion dollars came from that the Sandler couple walked off with just prior to the implosion of their World Savings Bank? Their bank was so Ponzied with fake "securities" that it brought down Wachovia, the purchaser.

The worst thing in the world that can happen to you is for a realtor to tell you that your house is worth twice what you thought it was IF YOU AREN'T PLANNING ON MOVING! And maybe even if you are, because you have to live somewhere and you'll have to buy another house that's probably over priced by the realtors. "Everything is worth what someone will pay for it." said Publilius Syrus about 2100 years ago. But that is only true if there is money out there. How much money disappeared in the fall of 2008? Everything is worthless in dollar terms right up untill it's sold. A house is two things; an investment and a place to live, don't confuse the two.

We give lip service to the fact that everything comes from somewhere and you don't get something for nothing, but if you're just buying and selling things, houses, and companies, you're not creating anything, you're just moving money around so fast you get to keep some of it (Ayn Rand). Now, just where did all those "profits" come from? It's too complicated, say the pundits, you wouldn't understand.
Back in the 17th century there was a bubble for tulip bulbs in Holland. You could buy two or three houses with the right kind of tulip bulb because the bulb was GOING TO BE WORTH SO MUCH MORE TOMORROW! Forever and ever.
I'm still reading that the housing industry isn't back to "normal". Normal like what was going on in Las Vegas in 2006? I wouldn't live there if you gave me a mansion.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Your Republican Congressman made a wish.... it came true

If you live in a district that is "served" by a Republican representative, call your bank and tell them that you intend to withdraw all your money today or on Monday. Maybe your banker, or the FDIC (where do you think that they get their "insurance" money?) can get somebody's attention.
The Republicans are starting a run on the banks! Did you see the billionaires "voicing" their concerns? There's nothing like a few Billionaires to apply a little real pressure... Ah, but pressure to whom to do what?
When the Republican party was the minority, they did a great job of "wagging the dog". Now they've got a new Tea Party tail that's wagging them pretty good. Be careful of what you wish for, invent, or use as a weapon. These things don't stay in only your own pocket for very long. So the Republicans are pretending that they CAN'T move the Tea Party, so Obama has to move? How many Tea Party members are Democrats?

So, I suggest that you call your banker and say that you'll be pulling ALL of your money out of all of your accounts; ask if getting it all in CASH today or Monday will be a problem. If enough of us do this, the bankers will be talking to the FDIC and the FDIC will be talking to the President, and I would hope, HE will be talking to American People, some of whom are not rich Republicans. AND, we hope that the not rich Republicans and all the rest of us will be talking to the Republican Congress, and the REAL Republican Congress will be talking to the Tea Party faction, sternly.

During one of the 17 times that the Debt Ceiling was raised under Ronald Reagan, he said:

"The full consequences of a default — or even the serious prospect of default — by the United States are impossible to predict and awesome to contemplate. Denigration of the full faith and credit of the United States would have substantial effects on the domestic financial markets and the value of the dollar in exchange markets. The Nation can ill afford to allow such a result. The risks, the costs, the disruptions, and the incalculable damage lead me to but one conclusion: the Senate must pass this legislation before the Congress adjourns."

Can we shame or scare the Republicans into doing what the "Gipper" would do? Or do we just cause a run on the banks? Who knows; I've got all MY money out.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Republican

Dear Mrs. and Mrs. Republican:
The National Debt Ceiling Was Raised 8 times Under George W. Bush. Where were all the Republicans the whole time the debt skyrocketed? The National debt climbed from about 7.5 trillion to about 12 trillion dollars. The money that could have balanced the budget was spent by George "W." Bush and Dick "Halliburton" Cheney on bombing Iraqis (none of whom had done anything to hurt the USA, as the WMD's were shown to be a hoax) and tax cuts for billionaires. Now we're trying to build roads and pay American teachers, firemen, policemen, and librarians. We've got thousands of badly maimed soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan too. Suddenly, these people and our aging population of retirees are the budget busters and have to be thrown under the bus.
The debt ceiling was raised 17 times when The God, Ronald Reagan was president. Then President Reagan said:

"The full consequences of a default — or even the serious prospect of default — by the United States are impossible to predict and awesome to contemplate. Denigration of the full faith and credit of the United States would have substantial effects on the domestic financial markets and the value of the dollar in exchange markets. The Nation can ill afford to allow such a result. The risks, the costs, the disruptions, and the incalculable damage lead me to but one conclusion: the Senate must pass this legislation before the Congress adjourns."

Now it's all different. Suddenly Republicans are adamant against raising the debt limit; you say it will ruin this country. President Obama has to negotiate with you.
Do you think that no one remembers? Do you think that no one is paying attention? Can you spell hypocrite?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

An Appalachian Experiment

2:00 PM June 2, 2011:
Oh boy! An experiment! As I was straightening up and digging in the compost/mulch pile under the black plastic, I came across three snakes and three lizards. As two of the lizards ran for it, I gently tossed the two ring neck snakes into the bushes; you see, the third snake was a slightly pissed off copperhead coiled in the mulch. And, after all these years, I actually got bitten by her. Boy she was feisty, only 16 inches long (that was part of the problem; it was difficult to grab her behind the head, there was so little "neck" there). OK, I had on gloves and I used a stick to subdue her thrashing, but she was able to reach around and nick me on the back of my hand where the glove was only cloth. It felt like a mild bee sting so I just went on and caught her and walked her out into the woods an eight of a mile or so where she'd be safe. Then I took off my glove, and damn if she hadn't nailed me right in that big vein on the back of my hand! So I did a lot of sucking and spitting (got out lots of blood) and then I went in and put some peroxide on the fang wound. Wow, let's see what happens next!

Ah, the third lizard. She was a broad head skink and I'm pretty sure that the copperhead had just nailed her too. That was one dead, limp, lizard. I felt really bad about that. I hate to waste a perfectly good dead lizard as much as the next guy, and the copperhead missed a good meal and wasted some hard earned venom too. At this point I wasn't in the mood to take the skink out to the snake and try to entice her to eat it; call me a wimp.

3:15 PM: Well pooh! Not much of an experiment at all (unless you like negative results). I've been out digging in the hot sun (making dirt) for the last hour and nothing. My hand looks the same (a little edema near the fang entry point - probably from me sucking and breaking capillaries).

4:15 PM: "...and gets into the bloodstream and causes hemolytic destruction of...." That was the radio when I turned it on, not me. I'm still here exactly the same as before, the bite site is like a moderate hornet/wasp sting, no worse; I don't expect annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

Friday, May 20, 2011

An Ode to Old Tools

I have some quality tools; but only a few, my allegiance is to my old, ode tools. Rehandling an old shovel blade (most often with the original handle - that's where they break most often) is far harder the second or third time around. You would think that as the handle gets shorter and shorter, (and as you age and your strength gets lesser and lesser) that this would ensure that breakage would be unlikely. After all, the torque on the shorter handle applied by you, a weak old fart weakening as the torquerer, would be a wash. You'd break before the handle. But your confidence in that stronger handle encourages you to stupidly pry even harder. Leverage will win out over aged ash.
I recently rehandled a shovel blade that years ago I had troubled to weld the rolled steel gap where the wood meets the metal. After all, I obsessively make each repair better than the last, and the razing of the old, to rebuild the new/old is harder each time. The ashen wood so heated was hardened like iron and very well rerepaired, steamed, jammed, pounded, and glued into the old curved cylinder of the shovel blade. And I pride myself that I was able to use another old tool that I had broken by prying on it. It was now a resharpened chisel which had less than a two inch blade. And pry as I might, I couldn't break it again. Still, I ended up having to burn the old wood out of the blade in my wood stove, and of course, plunge it into water to temper it again. Ash to ashes.
A friend once told me that a very rich man might have many shovels, that way, though old he might be, he could leave each shovel where last he used it and would never have to carry one from place to place. I have 10 shovels (some with very short handles). I am a rich man indeed.

Friday, April 29, 2011

THAT explains it!

You've heard of the theory of an infinite number of universes, many almost exactly like this one? You know, with you and me and everything, except in some of these universes strange things happen like your toast levitates, or a T-Rex appears in the NY subway.

This explains Donald Trump.

We're in one of those universes.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Corporate Big Brother's propaganda against your Elected Government

Sometimes you just have to react. I just saw a right wing propaganistic commercial on THE fucking WEATHER CHANNEL (TfWC)! The problem is that TfWC is a wholly owned subsidiary of THE DISH NETWORK (TDN). These "free market" guys own and control the content of their programing (and stifle any competition from rivals - see the irony?); so presumably, they control the content of their ads too. So why the commercial against people in the USA that support fair tax rates for all (including the very very rich who don't pay taxes at all), fair spending by the government for essential services, and fair compensation for the things we need (as opposed to the multimillion$ for the things, like football players and teen idols, that we apparently just want very badly)? Why is all this wasteful spending defined as things we need for our homes and children, jobs and country, and not the trillions of dollars spent protecting Dick Chenney's oil interests in the middle east? For what we've spent in the last 7 years in Iraq and Afghanistan (after those first ten days "cleaning up" that little government problem they had), we could be energy independant of Middle Eastern Oil.

Wait! We don't have enough money for roads, bridges, teachers, firemen, police and libraries? Wait! We're spending hundreds of billions of dollar$ in Iraq, Afghani$tan, and now Libya? Oh SHIT! these things couldn't possibly be related could they? But your DISH NETWORK and their WEATHER CHANNEL need to spend their time (time is money) on a futuristic 2034 (1984?) Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) propaganda piece positing a Chinese lecture about how the USA spent it's borrowed money on public employees?

Who the fuck paid for this shit?

AHHHHH! It was you and me who paid for it because TWC is a wholly owned subsidiary of TDN! They only run commercials for the money; they don't need to run commercials, they bill YOU for their services, but HEY! If someone (CAGW) will pay them even more money to do so, why not? Their CEO gets to keep that money (and likely not pay any tax on it).

Does any of this make sense? The only part that does to me is the fact that TWC sucks. I've been waiting for years for the Free Market to offer me a weather channel that doesn't show me "old weather" during a tornado alert, or have the talking heads stand in front of the map for the few seconds when it's showing some substantive information, or tell me how to chalk my house or plant an herb garden six times a day.... But I digress.

This ad/commercial was egregious. It made fun of anyone who isn't a social darwinistic millionaire, and what's that all about? What the fuck are they selling? Where can I sign up to buy or boycott? The Dish Network sends me what they want. They charge me what they want. Why do they have to mess with my head about right wing slanted social issues?
I really can't wrap my head around what it was about, except that it was about money that somebody paid them.

It looks like if I were a trillionare and I chose to, I could try to reinstate anything I want, maybe child labor, or slavery, or child sex slavery; I'd just have to pay the buck$ to make it happen. Lord knows, Congress is for sale and the sUPREME cOURT is looking out for the guy$ with money (corporations are "people"; they just have lots more money that you people). And apparently, time on "your" fucking Weather Channel is for sale as well.

That's the real message of the Free Market and the Free Enterprise System: the guys with the most money are free to buy the rules that they like... and they rule the rest of us. WHATAWORLD.

Monday, March 21, 2011


The other night when I came home and learned that "we" had invaded Libya, I ranted (my poor wife). I couldn't really believe it. I ranted because sometimes it's impossible for me to express my dismay thoughtfully; especially when my government has become too stupid to believe. Especially with respect to my gOVERNMENT's response to Libya.
It is hard for me to fathom the belief in the concept of the "United States of American" (a peace loving nation) which now, is involved in THREE Middle Eastern Wars. All of them against Muslim countries (Jerry Falwell is so happy in Heaven), and at least two out of three of them, countries with lots of OIL (Dick Cheney is so happy where ever oil billionaires hang out). Maybe, if we hadn't STARTED two out of three (and some might argue that it's three out of three) of these wars... AND maybe if any of these wars were against any of our geographically nearby neighbors (who might conceivably have actually transgressed against us in any substantive way)..... Just maybe, one or two of these three wars might be justified on some insane level. But really, think about it; probably not even then. There really aren't any good wars anymore.
I've always said; If it's fossil fuels YOU (spelled U SA) want; we should invade Canada and Mexico. Both countries have plenty of fossil fuel energy resources. And we can take those countries easy (I believe that we already have). Those countries are NOT 9,000 to 12,000 miles away. I could WALK to the border of Mexico and/or Canada and shoot as many people as I want to with a hand gun (if I so chose). Compare that to flying a C 137 halfway around the world just to get there; before you get to shoot at somebody. We have spent more than a trillion dollars in the Bush/Cheney/Oil War in Iraq and what do we have to show for it? Libya, apparently. Not counting 5,000 dead American service people, 50, 000 more of our veterans who are now missing some numbers of arms, legs, eyes, faces and other (personally) important body parts. And not to mention (but I will) tens of thousands of not quite sanely functioning human minds and psyches that can and will integrate into a non war society.

I'm at a loss. I thought that I wanted to live out my life in these western Virginian scruffy Appalachian mountains. But I'm beginning to wonder if that isn't really a viable plan for me. My gOVERNMENT seems to be insane. It is embarked on a path to WAR WITHOUT END. It is apparently the official USA Government policy. How many other countries have been at war against non neighboring countries in your life time? There seems to be a downside to being the "only global super power". It's the only power that can't be at peace. The USA is the most war like country in history.

If you think that you will ever see your country not at war, if you think that your children will ever see their country at peace; if you think that your grandchildren will ever see this country not at war; then you are deluded.

I am thinking about moving to.... GOD! I DON'T KNOW WHERE I MIGHT GO!