Thursday, November 26, 2009
2. I have a job. My company is contracting with a mall that is owned by a company in bankruptcy. I have to give thanks that the company has not gone under. I could easily be without a job in an economy that is not very well.
3. I have a roof over my head, am warm, have a reasonably sound mind and have food in my belly.
4. My best friend is still alive still battling cancer since 2001. It is starting tlook like the home stretch, but she is still alive and laughing.
5. My brother has a car and is still employed.
Things can be so much worse for there are others in so much worse situations than we are. I wish blessings to you and yours.
And tomorrow, we have out holiday dedicated to greed. Its called Black Friday because our stores finally make it into the black as far as their profitability. This is the day the retailers dread. Where shoppers charge the doors and the people that open the doors are scared. Last year a worker at Walmart was trampled to death at a store in New York when he opened the doors. This year, in order to avoid that, Walmart will remain open and start specials at 5 am at each department. Not sure what it will accomplish, besides depriving their workers from what in America is a traditional day of the family and no one is really supposed to work. Just another excuse for the cruel retail stores to exploit their workers for another day. While they may pay a little more than the usual minimum wages they pay, it still deprives families of their relatives being able to be with them.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Revealed: 50 oil tankers loitering off British coast as they lie in wait for fuel price hikes
More than 50 oil tankers are anchored off Britain - pieces in a game in which the only winners are market speculators.
The losers are the millions of British motorists paying over the odds for their petrol and diesel.
After yesterday's report in the Daily Mail on how several so-called 'oil shark' tankers were moored near the Devon coast, dozens more vessels were revealed to be loitering off-shore.
Some are carrying aircraft fuel or fuel for homes. Others are empty, waiting to be restocked before setting off around the globe.
But according to industry experts, a significant number are 'oil sharks' - tankers that have been cynically told to wait for crude prices to be driven up before they unload their cargo.
With values soaring on the international markets, fuel made from their oil is unlikely to appear on a petrol station forecourt any day soon.
Paul Watters of the AA said: 'Tankers are off the UK coast and also off the U.S. They are acting as storage tanks. As always, motorists are the victims in this. They are at the end of the food chain.'
How the Daily Mail broke the story yesterday
The Daily Mail has learnt that 54 tankers are anchored around the British Isles.
Six are off the Essex and Kent coasts, five are moored in Lyme Bay, while four are lurking next to the Isle of Wight.
But the biggest fleet - around 30 ships - lies around ten miles from Southwold, Suffolk in the only waters around the UK where ship-to-ship transfers of oil are allowed.
They come from as far afield as Malaysia, Liberia and Singapore - and include 1,000ft vessels capable of carrying more than 300,000tons of oil.
Locals in Suffolk watched with growing anger over the summer as more and more tankers dropped anchor.
Southwold mayor Susan Doy said: 'It is wrong that tankers should be left off our coast for reasons of profiteering. Ordinary people are left to suffer as petrol prices go up.'
Andrew Reid, of ship owners and managers Charles M Willie & Co, said the flotilla off the Devon coast, pictured in the Mail yesterday, was 'a drop in the ocean compared to the much bigger fleet full of crude oil off Suffolk'.
He added: 'They are all just waiting there for the price of crude oil to rise, enabling huge profits to be taken. If all this crude were to be delivered there would doubtless be a fall in the crude price and petrol prices.'
Waiting game: The Limerick Spirit off the Suffolk coast yesterday
Southwold Tory councillor Simon Tobin said: 'There have been ship-to-ship transfers of oil going on off the coast here for around 15 years. But there began to be a huge increase in the number of these tankers around seven months ago.
'We are massively concerned. These tankers are treating the coast like a car park while they wait for the right time to take their oil to shore. There is nothing to stop them staying here as long as they like. There might be a catastrophic oil spillage which could ruin our beautiful coastline.'
Small tankers bringing oil from Russia often use the spot to transfer their cargo to larger vessels. Others drop anchor there while waiting for business because it is cheaper than tying up in a port.
The price of a barrel of oil has risen from $40 to $80 over the last year. It is expected to soar even further over the next few months as the world eases its way out of recession and demand rises.
The supply of oil is strictly controlled by producers and owners - to ensure that prices remain as high as possible.
In the course of its journey from wells to the refineries, a barrel of oil may be bought and sold by different traders many times on the international markets.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
What our friends have done in Texas may finally expose the hipocracy of the anti- gay marriage crusade.
In Trying to Prevent Gay Marriage, Texas May Have Accidently Abolished it for Everyone
By Liz Langley, Liz Langley's Blog
Posted on November 18, 2009, Printed on November 19, 2009
When I was a kid in Catholic school, probably around 6th grade, I remember reading a short story about a little girl who studied the violin. The details are hazy but someone, I think her teacher, told her that another student was getting the gift of a new violin and that there were two to choose from but he didn't know which to pick. He asked the student to help him out by trying both and telling him which one was better.
After playing both the girl knew that the first violin was far and away the superior intstrument, but knowing she would soon be in a competition with the other student she said the second, lower-quality violin was better and that that one should be the gift.
The gift turned out to be for her. She ended up getting the bum deal she was trying to give someone else.
The nuns didn't use the word "karma" but that's what the story was about. Do unto others. Etcetera. You seldom see morality plays as swiftly and compactly played out in real life but when you do it's delicious.
And there may such an instance in store for Texas where, in trying to deprive some people of marriage ... the state may have abolished it for everyone.
A Texas lawyer and candidate for attorney general, Barbara Ann Radnofsky, has found a little screw-up in the legal wording of some 2005 anti-equality legislation that passed overwhelmingly in the state. Here's the skinny from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
The amendment, approved by the Texas Legislature and overwhelmingly ratified by Texas voters, declares that "marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman." But the trouble-making phrase, as Radnofsky sees it, is Subsection B, which declares: "This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage."
Radnofsky says the wording "eliminates marriage in Texas."
It may be waved away as a piffling error made by lawyers who are too highly paid to make such mistakes but I hope it stirs up a hornets nest of problems and that the people who voted for such childish, no-I-won't-share end up with their "sacred" unions treat as null-and-void, exactly as they'd like to do unto others.
Maybe we can get the girl in the story to play them the world's tiniest violin.
� 2009 Liz Langley's Blog All rights reserved.
View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/bloggers/http://liz-langley.blogspot.com//144056/
Monday, November 16, 2009
Hypocrisy Watch: RNC Insurance Plan Has Covered Abortions for 18 Years
By Steve Benen, Washington Monthly
Posted on November 13, 2009, Printed on November 16, 2009
RNC SUBSIDIZES ABORTIONS FOR 18 YEARS -- AND COUNTING.... The debate over financing of abortions -- the basis for the offensive Stupak amendment -- is all about money being fungible. Amy Sullivan explained the problem nicely recently: "The problem, they say, is that if any insurance plan that covers abortion is allowed to participate in a public exchange, then premiums paid to that plan in the form of taxpayer-funded subsidies help support that abortion coverage even if individual abortion procedures are paid for out of a separate pool of privately-paid premium dollars."
But applying this argument can prove problematic. Focus on the Family, for example, one of the nation's largest religious right organizations and a fierce opponent of abortion rights, has health insurance for its employees through a company that covers "abortion services." The far-right outfit, by its own standards, indirectly subsidizes abortions.
Apparently, the Republican National Committee has the same problem. Politico reported yesterday afternoon that the RNC -- whose platform calls abortion "a fundamental assault on innocent human life" -- gets insurance through Cigna with a plan that covers elective abortion.
The Republicans' health care package has been in place since 1991 -- thanks, Lee Atwater -- meaning that, by the party's own argument, it has been indirectly subsidizing abortions for 18 years.
Complicating matters, Politico found that Cigna offers customers the opportunity to opt out of abortion coverage -- "and the RNC did not choose to opt out."
The Republican National Committee, not surprisingly, scrambled. By last night, it resolved the issue. Sort of.
The Republican National Committee will no longer offer employees an insurance plan that covers abortion after POLITICO reported Thursday that the anti-abortion RNC's policy has covered the procedure since 1991.
"Money from our loyal donors should not be used for this purpose," Chairman Michael Steele said in a statement. "I don't know why this policy existed in the past, but it will not exist under my administration. Consider this issue settled."
Steele has told the committee's director of administration to opt out of coverage for elective abortion in the policy it uses from Cigna.
But does that actually "settle" the matter? The new RNC policy, apparently, is to have insurance through Cigna, opting out of abortion coverage. But let's not lose sight of the original fungibility problem -- the RNC is taking Republican money and giving it to an insurance company through premiums. That company will then use its pool of money to pay for abortion services, not for RNC employees, but for other customers.
In other words, the Republican National Committee will still indirectly subsidize abortions, every time it writes a check to Cigna.
And if the RNC disagrees with this reasoning, and believes the issue is "settled," then the party has rejected the reasoning of the Stupak amendment at a fundamental level.
Steve Benen is "blogger in chief" of the popular Washington Monthly online blog, Political Animal. His background includes publishing The Carpetbagger Report, and writing for a variety of publications, including Talking Points Memo, The American Prospect, the Huffington Post, and The Guardian. He has also appeared on NPR's "Talk of the Nation," MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show," Air America Radio's "Sam Seder Show," and XM Radio's "POTUS '08."
� 2009 Washington Monthly All rights reserved.
View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/bloggers/http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/143936/
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
It was only a matter of time before this happened:
Torture of Loan Agents Charged in Calif. Foreclosure Crisis
Couple With Home in Foreclosure Accused of Beating, Robbing Two Lenders
Oct. 28, 2009
California's burgeoning foreclosure crisis turned violent after angry homeowners allegedly attacked and tortured two loan agents who they believed had reneged on a promise to help save their home, authorities said.
A California couple and three accomplices were charged in the case. They are accused of beating and torturing the two loan-modification agents, whom they believe defrauded them and did nothing to help them keep their home in a Los Angeles suburb from going into foreclosure, prosecutors said.
Daniel Weston and Mary Ann Parmelee and their accomplices allegedly lured loan agents Lamond Dean and Gustavo Canez into a Glendale home last week. There they held the pair for hours, robbed them, threatened them with a firearm and beat them with "wooden knuckles," according to prosecutors.
Weston and Parmelee live in home under foreclosure in La Canada-Flintridge and "allegedly sought loan modification assistance from the victims but believed that nothing was being done and wanted their money back," said Shiara Davila-Morales, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney.
The five defendants intended to "cause cruel and extreme pain and suffering for the purpose of revenge, extortion, persuasion and for a sadistic purpose, inflict great bodily injury," according to court documents.
One of the two men escaped their alleged captors and alerted police on Oct. 20. Both men were taken to the hospital and later released.
Parmelee, 52, along with Mario Soloman Gonzales, 47, and Marissa Parker, 49, were arraigned last week and face two counts each of torture, false imprisonment by violence and second-degree robbery.
According to authorities those three watched as Weston, 52, and Gustavo Canez, 36, allegedly beat and robbed them.
"Weston and Canez allegedly carried out the attack in the presence of the other defendants. The victims also were allegedly robbed of their loan paperwork and personal belongings," said Davila-Morales in a statement.
Those men were arraigned Monday and face the same charges plus additional weapons charges, according to the felony complaint filed in court.
Friday, November 6, 2009
At the good old days when I worked at a warehouse and then later loaded and unloaded aircraft for a living. I have had many accidents with forklifts but none as bad as the one above, (well one ALMOST as bad, but we'll get to that). I once drove a standup forklift into a garage door too small for it. Thank God I wasn't driving too fast or else I would have been toast. Then I had a forklift go through a rotten floor in a trailer. That wasn't a good thing.
But the most joyful mistake I ever made with a forklift was one shining evening in Louisville, KY. A DC-3 had just landed with priority cargo for the Ford Assembly Plant on the other side of the airport. The priority cargo was 6 barrels of differential fluid strapped to two pallets. The airport police stopped by to admire the venerable DC-3. I offloaded the pallets with no problem, one at a time because I didn't want the extra long forks to go through the aircraft. After offloading them, I did a standard trick. Since the forks were long enough to take both the pallets I proceeded to push them both together. I forgot all together that I had tilted the forks up to get at the pallets when they were on the aircraft. Needless to say, disaster ensued. The aforementioned forks punctured one of the barrels on the second pallet. Right in front of the airport police too! Then came the show.
See, this stuff is considered hazardous material due to its environmental impact. So a call was made to the Airport Fire station. I expected just a truck with some absorb-all sand to some out. Oh no, I wasn't going to get off that easy. The whole brigade came out! Lights and sirens galore. You'd think I crashed an airplane on the tarmac. And the real punch line was that this was in full view of the departing and landing flights. A Southwest 737 taxied by, loaded with incredulous passengers wondering what fool caused this disaster!
Meanwhile I had to call the boss about this little incident and the plant is screaming for their priority cargo. Oh the joy of air freight!
We got the barrel upright on the other end before it all ran out, but what spilled on the ground had to be cleaned up. We dumped several bags of absorb-all on it, then shoveled the result into a barrel. I had to sign a statement that this material would be disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner. (As far as I know, the barrel is still sitting in the airport cargo bay my company rented in Louisville waiting to be disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner).
The freight was delivered, the plant didn't shut down, and they even accepted the punctured barrel with no comment. So I guess all ended up being happy with the world.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Upon passing said test, the persons name is placed into a pool whereupon, at two year intervals, names are drawn in a lottery of sorts. The "lottery" winners are then shuttled to Washington and will serve as citizen legislators for a period of two years. No one can enter the lottery after he has served and is suitably compensated for his time at the rates we pay other representatives. Each congressional district will send 2 representatives, a man and a woman each to the new Congress.
In this way we keep Congress fresh. The people's voice is heard. The common man gets an idea of service to his country. All citizens of this country would be required to participate in the lottery. No slackers.
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