Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Just When You Think It Could Be Worse

You find out just how much worse.



I wasn't anticipating three layers of comp roofing over the wood shingles, rat bastards hid a layer with a trim board. Well that sucked, hmmm, all that rot? Not too nice that there are two layers of wood shingles where I expect one. Ooooh rat bastards. No you shouldn't see the ground through a roof and wood shouldn't be mush either. I got all the junk torn off, it makes a truly impressive pile, and replaced wood shigles with decking and roofed the dog in.

The house is a rental that is empty with a couch and chair and bed and I get to squat until I'm done. I've got a laptop and Milwaukee job radio for company. Bend is rank for getting around in and my truck gets a whole 8 mpg so I'm pretty much stuck. I went out to the back awning for a Camel a little while ago, it is raining steadily ... and pouring onto my debris pile. That's close to a thousand pounds of comp in bits and pieces and big chunks all mixed together and on top like a cherry a big bunch of wood shingles. The thing that is annoying (being polite) is that it is supposed to go below freezing and snow. If it does that I'm going to have a giant ice cube of crap with slippery stuff all around to try to load into a wheelbarrow and into a dumpster.

Sometimes I'm ever so glad I'm me. I get that mess cleaned up I get to go home. I wanna go home. Whine, snivel, piss, and moan.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hero Worship



Anything "Poppa" does is the best thing in the world. When this picture was taken, 17 months, almost every other word was "Bike." Three times a day he wanted to go see it and touch it and name parts. Big words for a tyke, things like handlebars and headlight and simpler stuff like frame and tank.

With riding season winding down I've been playing a bit of Xbox 360, games like Dragon Age, Oblivion, and Mass Effect 2. The first one for played to any extent was Dragon Age and thus the Xbox and games in general got named "Dragon" after the logo that flies across the screen and roars. He is pretty consistent about begging for "Dragons." It doesn't matter that Mass Effect 2 has none, it will do as "Dragon."

It is charming to be my grandson's hero and to the extent that time alows I return his affection and attention. At times I do have to go make a living or do something other than be the companion of a year and half boy. He doesn't seem to fuss about it, but his attention is more intense if I've been gone. I have to wonder how it will play out as he discovers that I'm really just a guy and not a demi-god. Well, I love him and that will have to do.

Something To Do - Fun To Be Had

So, I'm on my way to Bend, OR to tear off a couple layers of composition roofing and install the stuff on the trailer on the back of my truck. I do have to cross three mountain ranges to get there, 200 miles away and it has been snowing and icing and stuff like that. This is a 1978 Chevy K20 4x4 automatic with a 400 CID small block with a covered utility bed full of tools. Behind it is my car trailer/work trailer with 4400 pounds on it. Fortunately it has trailer brakes and the truck has studded snows on all four, and it has been in 4x low range and L1 on a couple down grades. In case you aren't getting it, this entire show weighs about 13,000 pounds and stomping on brakes ain't a smart thing to do, and neither is riding them.

Damn, I know how to have fun. Especially now that I'm in Bend and it has snowed and rained and frozen and been pretty ... shitty.



And then there was Street Vibrations in Reno, NV and as you may be able to tell, at the end of September there wasn't any snow...


The bike is mine but I didn't get to keep the pretty girls. The professional that was shooting the models has some more on page three.
You want to try to guess which was more fun? No prizes for getting it right.

You Wish You Were Me

Nice looking house, or will be when done, with a heck of a view sitting on the brow of a hill above town. It has aspects that makes it a bit of work to roof, but a nickle is a nickle and it is late in the season a week and a half to go to Thanksgiving.




Oh yes, it is late in the season and those "aspects" just got a lot larger. If you're having a problem figuring out the picture, that is part of my partially completed roof and yes, I'm roofing it while taking this shot.

I know how jealous everybody must be that I get to have all this fun and get paid for it too. It is a bit like trying to cut a brick with a butter knife to cut these shingles, this brand is about as bad as I've ever seen. Getting the wrinkles out of them (straight from the packaging) is a pain in the butt. First, of course, the snow has to be gotten off the roof. The only way I can think of to slow this job down more would be to break one of my limbs.

I've got a contract in a town 200 miles away to do as soon as I get off this thing, but I need a bit better weather. Jeeze.

***Update
I'm sitting in that town, the weather has sucked eggs but I'm closing in on getting it done.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Lessons Not Learned

What Democrats and Republicans have learned or not learned from this mid-term election is open to question. There is one thing that is for sure, Americans did not get what they wanted. The argument will now be about what it was that they didn't get.



I'm getting to listen to Dan Boren (D-OK) talk about how the Caucus needs to move to "the center." This is the kind of thing I'd expect from someone with seriously limited intellect and the news media in general. This is the kind of stupidity that reads getting blown out of the House as disdain for liberalism rather than fury over lack of accomplishment. This in the face of huge accomplishments.

You wouldn't know it from the polling. The Democrats own the Bankster Bailouts, Ds will raise your taxes - despite lowering them, health care death panels, failed socialism. Ask yourself why clear untruths are held valid by voters. It would seem that Democrats were really bad at letting voters know what they were trying to do, what they had done, and how it benefitted Amvericans. They were particularly bad at letting the GOP set the terms of the debate. You would think that with about 1/3 of the stimulus cost being tax cuts and voted against by the GOP that voters might think differently about who is on their side economically. Nope. Wall Street reform legislation was almost totally opposed by the GOP and yet ... anger at banks landed on Democrats.

I'll lay you a bet, the damn Democrats will attempt some move to the Right in response to their own ineptitude at communication.

Republicans And Governance

I don't know if voters last Tuesday were thinking about national outcomes, local politics, or just pissed off and it really doesn't matter in relation to governance. The reason it doesn't matter is that whatever voters wanted the result is an over 50 vote House Republican majority. It may matter later, but the result is what matters now. The House is Republican while the Senate and White House remain Democratic and the House is not Republican enough to over-ride a White House veto.

Nothing can get to the White House for signing that doesn't pass the Senate and to even be considered, as the Republicans demonstrated so willingly, there must be enough votes to defeat a filibuster. As far as legislation goes, the House Republicans are helpless without serious Democratic help. The House knows this even if the public doesn't really pay enough attention to understand it. The House Republicans are free to pass any kind of stupidity they choose without having to pay for it in the real world. This also means that they are pretty free to not pass anything that pleases them. That little piece should bring to mind the subject of the budget. That could mean real havoc.

The matter of the House taking up whatever investigations it pleases has concerned some. It is quite true that Committees could harass the White House with stupid pointless unfounded investigations. It is also true that a twenty four hour news cycle needs to be fed and the feeding opportunities presented by such are large. Here's the rub for some of the whackoes, there are other news outlets than FauxNews and they are capable of reporting the actual allegations made by someone like Issa about a President most Americans find personally likable. Public perception that pure mischief making is at work would have huge public relations costs. That might or might not dissuade some but outcomes rule, either dissuasion from game playing or public backlash over it. The media might play the game of false equivalence that such and such was investigated under BushCo ... but even stating the issues investigated will blow up stupidity in front of viewers. I really don't think I'm overestimating either media or the public. I really don't care if folks like Issa are stupid or not and I'm not real worried about a bit of White House harassment.

The real deal is that no matter what representations John Boehner may make about how they'll affect the direction of the nation, their options are seriously limited. Considering the limits and Boehner's knowledge of them, I'm real doubtful that he has any idea of doing anything more than shooting for political advantage and that may be more illusive than Boehner and other pundits seem to think. GOP blindness to its own public image weaknesses could lead them off a cliff.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Voted Today

I turned in my OR vote by mail ballot today. Sometimes I turn it in days after receiving it sometimes on Election Day - for no special reason. Voting here is easy to do and was easy choices this time. I won't talk about the loca races or initiatives but it was easy to vote for Sen Wyden (D) and even easier to vote agains Rep Greg Walden (R-OR02) and Dudley (R) for Gov. It isn't as though John Kitzhaber (D) former Gov and running for it again has shown a lot of interest in E OR but he's running against a know-nothing same old (R).

It's pretty much the same across the nation, but it looks as though stupid same old crap or crazy wing crap are the beneficiaries of vote against. Damn, I'd like to talk about how special Democrats have been these last two years, but that'd be ... well, difficult. It isn't as though they haven't gotten things done, but somehow they managed to do it while pissing off people on both sides and not even pleasing the so-called middle. You'd think that would require real effort.

I won't make predictions about Election Day outcomes other than that whatever majorities (D)s have had will be much smaller. It was a bit tempting to just sit back and not vote to let crazy have its run and maybe finally teach this country a lesson. But no, that isn't in my nature - for some reason I keep believing (an emotional response) that people will get it, eventually without too much suffering. Thinking might easily lead me a different direction, so we'll let that go.

Announcing that this blog is probably done resulted in more comments on one article than a month's worth have gotten. I'm not that much concerned that a dozen or fifty or a thousand read this thing, but I don't like talking to myself. I have no idea if I'm just a crazy guy yelling or if people agree or not and can expand on my thoughts. This election has stirred a lot of things up and I'm not the only one around with feelings and thoughts on it and I'm curious. I'm always curious and some have stated that they'd have commented if they'd known it mattered. As a vanity project this thing can just go away and this is as good a post to say "Good-night."

Friday, October 29, 2010

"Chuck for" Done? Probably So

I was going to address Michael in comments, and moved it here once I saw the thing exploding in size.

We're contemporaries then. That being so, we've both watched the same slide right in this country. Bill Clinton was the best Republican President this country has had since Eisenhower. Now that this has resulted in what we've got today the voters propose to not only go back to the crew responsible, but go even nuttier.

Four years of Democratic dominance in Congress and two with the WH results in this? People who don't think enough was done haven't bothered to look at the historic GOP crap in the Senate much less the House nitwits. I have no reason to think the GOP will take the Senate, but consider the mess that exists with their minority now and add 6 years worth of more nut cases than now with the Democrats having more seats up in 2 years than the GOP.

I was pretty left in the 60's, and I don't mean anything near the center of the time. Over time I've moved rightward from there and the result of that drift on my part is to find myself defined as a part of the very left, yet. In respect to future outcomes I was probably more correct then, but realism intruded. It hasn't escaped my notice that the House has passed bills nor that the Senate Democratic Caucus contains forty some liberal or progressive members. I gave up a long time ago the idea that things aligning with my thinking would happen but it is nice that so many in Congress will at least glance in my direction. The outcome of that is something like the health care bill that passed GOP muster as an alternative to Hillarycare. The Democrats managed to do what the GOP proposed doing over a decade ago - huh? I'm not throwing rocks at Democrats, just pointing out the reality.

I'm beginning to view myself as the 'enabler' in an alcoholic family, always justifying while trying to swim upstream against futility. It doesn't seem reasonable to continue as one of the exceptions in the electorate who stays informed and takes an active part on behalf of candidates when the electorate is what it is. This doesn't really reflect the outlook of a decade of crap policies driven by nutcases, it is a matter of the continuation of St Ronnie's crap and that involves a lot more than a decade and it isn't just about Teabaggery. The teatards aren't something new, it is the same 27% that's been the guts of the GOP since at least Nixon so it isn't about them. It's about the other mid-20% who'll go their direction. It just plain and simple isn't about the nuts who have always been amongst us.

Short of the GOP actually taking the House or Senate I don't see any real significant outcomes nationally though governors will mean more in a census year. The legislative stranglehold of the Senate won't change and what the House does means squat in the face of that. There is a (D) President for at least another 2 years (who may understand now what "bipartisan" actually means). In the face of real evidence for many decades I've held on to the belief that what I've tried has a point, now I'm just tired and disgusted.

I was attracted to blogging because I saw it as a method of not only publishing alternative opinion and analysis but also having a public dialogue about that. This blog is pretty much a failure at that. Before my posting became sporadic readership of current posts had fallen to less than thirty per day and comments were virtually non-existent. With the only real feedback to my efforts being taking a look at Sitemeter, and that declining, bothering with this got a hell of a lot less interesting. It is also pretty obvious that I'm not very interesting to read anymore, I can bump a daily number by blogwhoring on something like Balloon Juice, but that doesn't carry over into readership. There are a few folks who've stuck around for a long time and I thank them.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ungovernable

In the previous post I wondered how it will be possible to govern this place with things like FauxNews taken seriously. That aspect is bad enough, and the prospect of GOP gains (any) this fall may seem to have serious outcomes like gridlock. That exaggerates a future that exists now. The House has passed a lot of bills and you may have noticed that only a few have made it through the Senate. What the House gets up to means next to nothing if it can't get past the Senate. It certainly is true that if the Senate balance shifts at all (it will) the room for compromise moves away from two or three GOPer Senators to enough that anything a Democrat can live with can't be done. (except maybe start a damn war) ((well, give the show to the wealthy and corporate))

Some of this is thanks to the Democrat's own inability to sell anything they do. Some of this is thanks to the theme of "having a Democratic majority" in Congress. This is true in the House but what the Senate's composition and rules mean is that no such thing ever actually existed. That means that bills got stupidly compromised to appeal to people who wouldn't vote for them if hell froze over and what the public got was a ration of shit involving the bills and the process; and Democrats got the blame.

The fact that the public is too stupid and self-involved to take time to understand what has been done and why it was done as it was really only means that we will get the government we collectively deserve. Yes, for the foreseeable future the government of this nation is going to really suck. Boys and girls, the House terms are only 2 years but lost Senate seats are worth six years and the existing GOP seats are pretty safe and a look at the replacement candidates ought to really scare any sane person.

The lack of posts on this blog reflects a growing feeling on my part that continued activism is meaningless in regard anything I'd want to accomplish. Not letting the GOP do what it wants for the next decade isn't much of a goal for me. Part of the problem is too many decades of me watching this shit and the give a damn button is about worn out. Oh, I'll vote against the GOP and in some cases, like Wyden and Merkley, vote for Democrats but I'm beginning to feel like "so what." As for posting anything on this blog, it's getting pretty doubtful and the couple readers will easily find something better to do with their time if this goes away. I feel pretty bad for some sizable chunks of our nation - that and a buck will get you a cup of coffee.

The Children At FauxNews

Maybe nobody who listens to FauxNews gives a damn, but a little clipping here will get you something different than what was said. This quote may not quite be what FauxNews bothered to show:
He said Republicans had driven the economy into a ditch and then stood by and criticized while Democrats pulled it out. Now that progress has been made, he said, "we can't have special interests sitting shotgun. We gotta have middle class families up in front. We don't mind the Republicans joining us. They can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back."




You don't suppose these stupid children bothered to actually watch an entire clip and would have caught the idea that the children get to ride in the back seat of the car and not drive? It really is funny to watch these clowns trying to cover the racism of themselves with made up racism from the Pres.

Their viewership, being what it is, will swallow their crap hook, line, and sinker. This kind of junk makes you wonder how the hell this place can be governed when a third of the electorate takes this as a source of news. The future is bleak.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Juan More Victim

Juan Williams was fired from NPR for making comments on Bill O'Reilly's shout fest on FauxNews. The gist of the complaint was Williams agreeing with BillO's assertion that Muslims attacked the US on 9/11 and stating that Muslim garb at airports scared him. There has been outrage, primarily from the Right.

I got home from playing designated driver and pool partner in time to catch the PDT issue of Morning Joe and hear Mika complain that this creates fear amongst journalists and Joe note the liberal bias of NPR. Joe might need to ask a liberal about that so-called bias, though it is surely left of Limbaugh and Beck and in his mind might on that basis qualify. Mika's complaint is a bit odd coming as it has from someone who certainly didn't complain about the firings of journalists who said controversial things about Israel, something that might also be considered as chilling but about a "socially approved" group.

It seems it is political correctness run rampant when Williams is fired but good policy to fire those critical of Israel in the same sort of manner. A couple of things need to be remembered in this context, Israel and by extension Jews form an important voting bloc and political economic interest while Muslims are important for oil and nothing as a voting bloc.

The Right and by extension the GOP has spent decades trying to fix fear as the politically correct attitude. If you do not engage in fear driven politics you are accused of "political correctness." If that seems a hypocritical attitude and are surprised you haven't been paying attention. You could take about any Confederate Party of Republicanism stance and find them immediately violating that tenet if the results don't match their ideology. I give you Oregon's Assisted Suicide Law and State's Rights as one particularly egregious example.

I frankly couldn't give a rat's patoot about Juan Williams as a political analyst. The few times I've given him any attention I did not come away feeling at all enlightened or improved. I got banal talking points dressed up as analysis. The fact that Williams stepped in a dog pile on BillO's shout fest is no surprise to me and why, working for Faux and intimately familiar with that mess, he would have expected any different results doesn't seem reasonable. I won't pollute this site nor offer link credit to FauxNews by putting up the segment but fairness demands viewing the entire 8 minute or so clip to judge Williams fairly.

Williams attempted to serve the dual masters of FauxNews and Muslim-bashing and still keep some credibility as being something other than a bigot. The results were predictable and stupid. To talk about fear engendered by Muslim dress in the face of the dress of any of the terrorists is ludicrous, sorry Juan - they wore typical middle America clothing. It seems pretty sad that someone as pants wetting as that was considered an asset at NPR - or hell, any place other than Faux or Clear Channel.

Anyone who claims to be entirely free of prejudice hasn't engaged in much honest introspection. Prejudice is an emotional response to another emotion, fear. Fear is one of those types of things that help keep humans alive. Being afraid to fall from a high place is rather important in general terms. Being afraid of a sabre tooth tiger isn't a bad thing for a species. That doesn't mean that reason and emotion coincide - as Williams purported response to "Muslim garb" exemplifies - it would be as reasonable to be afraid of the Sabre Tooth Tiger in a Museum of Natural History. Dress does not equal behavior, particularly dress of cultural import, I will give gang inspired dress a second look and then rationally analyze behavior. Droopy drawers don't equal a gun stuck in my face. I might think that such dress is a silly thing that I wouldn't wear, but it does not pose an immediate threat. This is where Williams went on air and publicly endorsed bigotted behavior. His employer didn't like it since they also engage in the business of airing public statements. CNN didn't like it when Rick Sanchez did it and neither did other employers. That's one of the things about blurting out emotional responses to situations that require rational thought, stupidity will out and an employer may just not care for it.

The Right will look out for Juan, no fear *** $2M Faux contract???

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

US Chamber Of Chinese Commerce

Go ahead Chamber and explain to me how the money in the same bank account doesn't pay for your GOP attack ads, or so what, any ads? Are these smart dollars that know where they came from and religiously (heh) stand apart from those other dollars?

I'm never surprised when business looks out for itself regardless of the consequences to others and I'm not real surprised when they lie. I guess I'm not surprised at all.

Funny how Commies are in DC and not in China in this iteration of "reality."

Suicide - Your Best Thinking Got You Here

I know something about suicide, once as a practicing alcoholic I tried it and failed and I've lost a son to it. I can't make a moral or value judgement on the subject, I have no right to do that and no ability to read minds. What I can tell you is that succeeding is final and partial failure may turn you into something worse than what you were dealing with. I can also tell you that the innocent suffer; those who would help and who do care have a piece of their life torn away from them.

If your goal is to make someone else suffer for your situation, then I have little I can say because I have no understanding of the value system that would lead to that. It seems to me to be the ultimate in selfishness. Now you may believe that no one gives a rat's patoot if you draw breath or not, but that is highly unlikely. It is much more probable that you simply can't see it thanks to your situation.

This gets to the title and it isn't some jokey thing or snark. It is quite literally the truth. If you're seriously contemplating suicide you've gotten there by giving your life some pretty serious consideration. In no way am I minimizing what has gotten you to the point of thinking taking your own life is a good choice. I will state that such a decision ought to be given a bit more thought than what has led you to that point. There is a very serious reason I propose this, your life at any given moment is a culmination of your best thinking and that thought process has led you to reach for a final solution to the difficulties you face. If your thinking is faulty there is no fixing it once it has been acted on.

I do not have much belief in the idea that people are persuaded to a course of action. I've pretty much noted that people do what they do for their own reasons, what you can do is offer new or different information for consideration that might lead to different outcomes. Those other people are looking at things from a different place and perspective and what they have to say might be of value to your decision process. The process of being you may be unique but it is made up of components that others have in common and have dealt with. No matter what your situation is, you are not alone. You are not because this world is so large and so complex that others will have shared experiences with you.

It may seem that absolute finality presents a real relief; there also may be real relief from other courses of action. I cannot tell you with any assurance that you will find that but you surely will not if you just end it all without experiencing the other courses. Regardless of current events, things change. That is the nature of reality; it is not static it is a process of events and thinking. All that is brought to a halt by suicide.

You may have noticed that there are no moral or ethical arguments being presented here. If I have any, they apply to me and that's the end of that. I can tell you that others do have to deal with the fact of suicide and that may be quite difficult to do with any success. Regardless of how you feel or think it is almost a certainty that there are those who care very deeply about you. I am not a professional or therapist and I'm not qualified to do much more than give a damn that someone doesn't waste their life by missing something helpful. That is why you need to talk to someone who doesn't reside in your own head, someone with different thinking. If I turn out to be full of hooey, nothing has been lost by trying what I'm suggesting and a great deal may be gained if I'm right.

Please, see what there is beyond your best thinking.

A Bored 24 Hour Media

Today I watched HLN do some self-analysis regarding hoaxes. They were worried about cynicism about tragedies and their attention to happenings. We were endlessly inundated with "balloon boy" stories and then "acid girl" stories and other such stories. "Too much?" they asked.

"Judas Priest, yes!" I say and no kidding, Michael Jackson is still dead. Meanwhile there is no time to cover the lies politicians tell or to unpack the convoluted inaccurate representations they make. No, there's plenty of time to go on and on about a dead pop singer or a kid who wasn't in a balloon and no time to do more than play stenographer to politicians.

A dead singer has some impact on society - there are those who care that there will be no more of that music, but in the reality of the world what happened with health care reform will matter much more. The "balloon boy" story had all the elements of low theater and not one iota of the impact of "Don't Ask Don't Tell."

I do not propose that the media ignore the profit potential of eyes on stories like "acid girl" but there is quite a range of response that doesn't include going crazy. Yeah, well good luck with that.

Respite From The Day - Link

I know the world today can put you into a state of complete ... ARRRGHHHHH!!!! ... and that is just how it is. Rather than poke those buttons this evening I'll offer respite:


Hyperbole And A Half

If you don't laugh, really hard, you need to see a doctor. So, after a hard slog through the political insanity of the day, go see Allie. If you forget to bookmark it, it is now on my blogroll. Really, you need this.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Fiction Experiment

The other night I had some time and an idea for a story. I stayed up pretty late putting together a couple character studies and one that developed into an episode which I'll present to you. I'm honestly too close to it at this point to do an edit or even tell if it's any good, so I'll just toss it out to you. Since it is about 2500 words I've put it on what started out as an "after the jump" site. I'll put a paragraph here to save you time if you think it stinks.

Fawn David made a deal with the devil or perhaps not that but a twisted fallen angel. There is no simple way to make the acquaintance of such a being, the route to an encounter with such an entity by needs be complex and unlikely – it might even involve a cardboard refrigerator box moving of its own accord and a heart too soft for its own sake. The box was twitching and rustling as Fawn rounded the corner into the alley that held the door to the staircase leading to the upper story of the unsuccessful appliance store housing her mean apartment. She had a gait that was not quite a waddle, a heavy set woman of a light chocolate color remarkable only for a smile that expressed sweetness to any on whom it was bestowed and soft eyes that could deny no injured creature they held in their gaze.


Feel free to comment here rather than there.

This will get you to Fawn

Teabaggery Newsflash - Sorta

Yes, I mock these people fairly often. They are quite possibly the most hypocritical political outfit in existance. Um, and gee - they are the GOP base and have been right along. If you've been in doubt, somehow, this outfit actually asked.

Well now, how the hell do you like that? They white, they're the X-tian Right, and they're homophobes. Do you remember the 22% who backed GeorgeII to the bitter end?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Really? Confederate Party of Republicanism

Some of you may think I'm being humorous with the post tag "Confederate Party of Republicanism" - I assure you I'm not looking very hard in that direction. I think
Dennis G over at Balloon Juice has it right.

Bozell Denounces O'Keefe - Oh Sure, Liar

Brent Bozell has just recently "denounced" James O'Keefe over his CNN stunt.

The MRC unequivocally denounces James O’Keefe for his attempted assault on CNN. It isn’t just childish and immature; it’s ugly, dishonest and filthy.
****
"Could the Citizen Journalist abuse the public trust?" I wrote in this piece that should run in the next few days. "Hypothetically, of course. Conservatives must all guard against this. Let there be scrutiny, by all means." And I repeat: there must be scrutiny.

Bottom line: We want nothing to do with O’Keefe or his dirty antics.

Well, OK.
I don't want to be a prick about assholes like Bozell but there also is this, that he posted to his Facebook page (sorry, not allowed to embed) bragging about ACORN and, yes, O'Keefe's dirty lies.

It seems there's a difference if you get your tit caught in a wringer right off the bat or the complicit media runs with your crap regarding denouncing.

*BTW, regarding silly phony voter registration forms: By law, once you've been handed a registration form you are required to turn it in, regardless of your assessment of it. The GOP is the one that has actually faced legal problems in this regard, several times.

Clowns, Clowns Everywhere And Nary A Brain To Think

With Democrats in general starting to close the gap in likely voters one could be forgiven for beginning to have some belief that the general intelligence of voters exceeds that of rocks. The fact that a low turn out Primary election resulted in candidates with extreme views by an infuriated discarded segment of the electorate isn't all that meaningful, the fact that such candidates can poll even somewhat close to mainstream candidates isn't encouraging to such a view of the breadth of intelligence. This is particularly true in the face of it being all of two years since the clowns wrecked the economic bus.

I have stated pretty clearly that the remaining Republicans after the '06 and '08 house cleaning are ... well, obstructionist clowns. This is what happens when close districts lose the moderates of a Party leaving a small minority in totally safe districts/states. Picture for yourself these people being joined by the likes of Sharon Angle and so far I haven't seen any evidence that the prospective newcomers are any less clownish than the incumbents.

There has been a fair amount of howling about how the 'base' won't come out because they're upset with Pres Obama over the lack of progressive elements to legislation. Other than a mere handful who think something about punishing Democrats I've seen no such evidence. Starting at the beginning, for this group to be upset would mean they're paying attention to politics, which would mean that they know who gets to take over and what it means - unlikely and not in evidence. Now if you were to broaden the idea of base out to those who ordinarily vote Democratic and include low information, low enthusiasm Democrats who don't pay much attention to more than day to day needs and the effects of the recession on their immediate lives - you can get to a serious problem for Democratic candidates. Independents, who say a pox on both your houses, are a real problem for Democrats in that they don't feel much of a reason to vote for either.

It seems that maybe the White House has gotten away from taking swipes at its own side and gotten to the point of saying why voting will count. It may be true that in the GOP talking badly about the President of your own side is bad form, but that isn't the way Democrats work. The President's own Party will yell at him ... and then vote for him and the Party. The ones who don't yell don't because they're not paying attention and/or think it won't matter that they do. They also are the ones who are easily discouraged into not voting.

I don't give enough of a damn about hit numbers to bash segments of the blogosphere to get defenders and pilers on going at it. I do give a damn about vote numbers and who gets elected. I do give a damn about the rightward drift of this country and the abandonment of large parts of our society and worse - the dehumanization of parts of our populace.

If you're thinking that the results of the past year are short of what you wanted - I'll agree, in spades. If you're thinking the Democrats and the President have failed to communicate with the public - I'll once again agree in spades. If you're thinking it doesn't matter who is in office - I'll call you a psychiatrist. If you're thinking any of this is the fault of Democratic left activists - well, I don't think much of your ability to analyze. If you'd like to look at the results being the outcome of the GOP voting nearly universally as a unanimous bloc to oppose any Democratic initiative - I'd listen.

Maybe you ought to contribute to our shared destiny by at least voting.

And I know perfectly well that if you're reading this you will regardless of my incitement.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Republicans At War?

Lately I've heard quite a bit of talk about the GOP being at war with itself thanks to the TEA Partier's successes in Primaries. It seems that people think that the GOP is two different ideas united under one banner, that what the TEA idjits think is different than what the GOP thinks. Excuse me while I laugh my ass off.

If there is any kind of warfare it is between amateurs and professionals. The problem isn't what the TEA Party candidates think, it is what they're willing to say in public. (well maybe not including O'Donnell's masturbation thing) The GOP has gotten by for years with not saying things out loud, but by using code words and other dog whistles to make their appeal. You certainly don't get far by scaring the snot out of old people with talk of ash canning their Social Security and Medicare, so you use code words.

The GOP knows that the only social programs or laws that you go after are the ones held important by those who'd never vote for you except out of extreme masochism. The amateurs don't get that, they're loose cannons that think their narrow circles represent most people and say things way too many people won't go for. If you think Karl Rove resents what O'Donnell thinks, you're not paying attention. He doesn't want to lose a seat they should have gotten regardless of whether Castle didn't match Rove's view point.

I'm real tired of the pretense that there are reasonable responsible Republicans. All it takes to disabuse oneself of that delusion is a look at the votes over the last two years. You'd think there actually was some socialist communistic Muslim conspiracy going on within the Democratic bills instead of lukewarm 80's Republican measures. Reasonable and responsible my ass - there's no war, they're all ... (I don't have a polite word).

Now I'm Sorry - Castle



So ... Mike, did you bother to complain previous to being the victim of their crap? Now that these rat bastards cost you a Primary you've got a complaint? I suppose you thought something other than this would be the result?

I have not the least sympathy for these folks when they get attacked from the Right with the same tactics that have been used against Democrats. These same "reasonable" Republicans have ridden on the backs of the very folks Castle is now angry about.

Karl Rove has now backtracked since the same bunch went after him for telling the truth.

Monday, September 13, 2010

So, If 9/11 Is Done For A Year...

Since September 11 is over and September 12 is in its waning minutes maybe we can talk about things related to it without competing with the festivities or sacredness or whatever the hell it is that seems to have happened to that date. About three thousand people died nine years ago, murdered by lunatics - and some other things seem to have died with them. What happened that day ought to have been tragedy enough and yet it has been magnified by other actors.

Somehow an entire religion has been become vilified in the minds of many thanks to the actions of a handful of its adherents. This is scarcely the first time such actions have been taken under the guise of religion and that includes other than Islam. The terrorist goal of creating social disorder is accomplished and some will try to profit politically and monetarily on that discord.

The reaction of the governing powers was predictable, increased police powers - in the face of a document deliberately designed to rein them in. How long term and practically serious the damage done continues is not known, but it shows no sign of retreating. Power surrendered to government is seldom returned and certainly not in the face of a large portion of willing populace.

The goal of inflicting economic pain has been abetted by the inclusion of a war of choice and a mismanaged one. Whatever natural outcomes of smashing those buildings and their occupants might foreseeably had on an economy unpaid wars in their name has had a huge multiplier effect.

Maybe the most unfortunate result of those deaths is the increase in jingoism. This involves uncritical support of government or political allies and the creation of enemies, both external and internal. This means that fallible political entities are treated as infallible and dissent or opposition as dangerous and deserving of repression and vitriol.

Things of stone or metal will be erected to honor or mourn the lost lives, the real monuments are much sadder - they are the harm we've done ourselves.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Maybe It's Time For GOP Winning

So the Democrats have managed to alienate huge chunks of the electorate, the loonytoons 28% were bound to be alienated since anything other than their particular brand is un-American but… The Democratic controlled Congress has managed to ape the Republicans of 30 years ago and that has had the predictable lack of effect on the issues and managed to knock enthusiasm in the head. In the process of playing at being old timey GOPers the Democrats also managed to not only not sell what they could do, they ran away from it and let the current GOPers set the argument in their terms.

That is about strategic and legislative failures, this isn’t about that. This is about polling that shows that generic GOP candidates beat generic Democrats. Whatever failures the Democrats have committed in the name of politics the polling is about more than that. It is about Americans’ perennial love affair with the GOP myth, the Reagan myth. You could be forgiven believing that thirty years of its failure would discredit the nonsense, but noooooo. I think it is time to hand the reins back to them, in a large way and let them have their heads.

I know that involves some real pain for a significant chunk of the population, the question is really how much difference is that compared to the ongoing GOP myth being reenacted repeatedly? Maybe a real demonstration of what happens when they have their way would clear the air. Maybe the infliction of enough pain would convince Americans that they didn’t need more. That’s the rub, maybe.

The years of GOP domination in Congress and then most of the W presidency leading to a rather serious disaster ought to have gotten the idea across. Sure there was the creeping debilitation of working America for a long time but I suppose Americans are like the frog in the pot of slowly heated water and could be allowed that one. The latest smash-up is a bit difficult to excuse on such a basis. This means that, well damn if the polls are correct, Americans are all set to repeat the experience.

To be sure, this mid-term can’t do the real job of educating the populace; there will still be Barack Obama who might not repeat the Clinton signing of GOP bills with bad outcomes. The real experience would have to await the 2012 Presidential election of a GOP nut like Palin. Politically I find the whole idea reprehensible, but I wonder if the culture and society wouldn’t benefit in the long term. That question surely rides on whether the country could recover from such an experiment in any reasonable form. Previously I’d have said that this place is pretty damn resilient and that no short term political movement could ruin it, I’m not real confident of that anymore and this anniversary of September 11, 2001 makes me shiver in that regard.
I’m not really advocating anything here, I suppose this is analogous to wondering out loud – what do you think?

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

A Church Just Because

Nothing of particular note about this picture, it was taken not too far from the ND/MT border in ND.
(click pic for full size)

This church is pretty much in the middle of nowhere, if memory serves the nearest town was about 20 miles. My guess is that its location has to do with horse and buggy travel.

On the western edge of the Fort Peck Reservation in MT there is a Spanish style church also in the middle of nowhere but I had no good opportunity to get a photo thanks to no shoulders and a gravel entrance drive up quite a steep hill - something that never works well with this bike and especially with luggage piled high. That one was all boarded up.

As I've noted, there isn't much out here in ND/MT so missing the chance to get a good photo is disappointing. US 2 is fairly narrow and high speed (70 mph) so the entire lack of shoulders in sections means fooling around parked on the road is damn bad idea.

I'm getting ready to pull out of Havre, MT this morning and I'm posting this while waiting for the temperature to warm. 55F is a bit cool on a bike at 70 mph and it also looks as though I'll be riding into ... rain. Yuck.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Motorcycle Musings On Myths

The thing about riding solo for a long distance on a motorcycle is that your mind has time for thinking about, well, stuff. There certainly is the little matter of keeping the scooter where it belongs and watching out for things that could interfere with your continued breathing but with experience that becomes somewhat automatic and doesn’t occupy your entire intellect. So the, in my case, questionable occupation becomes mulling over somewhat larger concepts than food and drink.

Since I was spending a whole lot of time riding across the plains of Montana and North Dakota I needed something to occupy my mind – there is a really large amount of not much out there. “Oh look, there’s a tree,” quickly loses its novelty. So I reflected on the folks I was meeting along the way, friendly open folks - that was amongst us white folks. There is a real strong current of that "descendants of the rugged individualist Old West" theme.

I certainly won't deny that it was hard dangerous work ranching and homesteading the Plains, but it also has generated a myth of stand on your own and keep the government out of the way in that spirit. This ignores some rather inconvenient facts in service to the charges of socialistic Obama-ism. No cowboys or homesteads would have happened without a way to get the products to market and that way was railroads. Rails got laid out here because the government handed out right of way parcels to the railroads on each side of the rails - serious parcels worth serious money because close to rails is valuable to own. Lots of land to sell for lots of money. Importing cheap labor also wasn't a problem.

There is the little matter of the land the ranches and homesteads were put on, very nearly free or free from the government in pursuit of settling the land. The largest purchaser of the products from the lands was the government - in great part to supply the Army. That Army was very busy subduing, moving, or slaughtering the indigenous people, different religion terrorists called American Indians. The descendants of the beneficiaries of serious socialism are real busy crying about socialism now in the name of their history (er myth).

I take nothing away from their ancestors, but the government had an end in mind and didn't care a bit about seriously subsidizing the people who were accomplishing that end. It continues today as ethanol is subsidized to add to gasoline so that 15% power and mileage can be lost in search of ... well I'm not sure what. The math is very troublesome.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Weather Maker

I left Ashland, MI in pretty nice weather, temps in mid-60s with a light breeze. About 20 miles from Superior, MI the wind began to pick up out of the NE and the temps began dropping with increasing humidity. Here's the reason why.

(click pic for full size)


This is the port of Superior and north is the port of Duluth, WI - on Lake Superior. The largest body of fresh water in the world is larger than many states and over 1000 feet deep and stays 45F year around. It doesn't effect weather, it virtually creates it.

I expected to get 40 miles inland west and get away from that but I ran into another weather system packing wind and a ways back from that edge, rain. Just a bit into ND I found that rain and spent about 4 hours in the rain suit cooking along at 75 mph. The difficulty is that the rain suit is essentially a sail and the helmet attempts to drag the head backward. Fairly reasonably, I'm tired and bedded down in Rugby, ND.

Upper Penninsula

Lake Michigan seen from the Upper Penninsula, there is a whole lot of water thare. It is quite sufficient to seriously affect the weather in its neighborhood.
(click pics for full size)

The Mackinaw Straits Bridge is impressive no matter what man made structure you've seen. It is also usually windy which makes motorcycles and the steel grate lane interesting.

Yes, it pays to remember that people were here. Lots of casinos around here.


This stuff was taken on the way to Michigan.

Friday, September 03, 2010

MIA

I've been lacking an internet connection and this is short term so no posts until I get somewhere to do so. Arrived in Charlevoix, MI about 6PM Monday safely.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Finally

(click pic for full size)

I'm real sure you can't tell the difference but Montana is behind me. I made it to Rugby ND and it was too cold for as tired as I was to go farther in the dark. This puts me about 200 miles from MN. 1541 miles traveled since Thur morning so I'm holding to my 500/day. I lost track of the mile markers the last few miles but I believe it is 650 road miles across Montana on US 2, a long ways and not real interesting riding. I've sure met a lot of real nice people on food and gas and rest up stops. That is one of the things about lightly traveled routes, the locals still like new folks that are friendly and interested in them and their locale.

I've had fun and the bike is a hit with those interested in such a thing.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Crossing The Rockies


At the top of the pass there is a monument to Pres TR.

Then there is the rest of Montana, most of it - a long damn ways. I'm posting from Havre, MO and worn out. Quite cold tonight for August.

Outside Bonners Ferry

Read the sign for yourself
(click pic for full size)



I didn't realize until I posted this that I'd gotten the Walmart truck I played tag with for 300 miles.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Getting On The Road

If you start with a bike like this there are some things you need to do to use it for a trip.
(Click pics for full size)



Harley makes a quick detach seat back and package tray. Oddly enough, the dealer had this in stock - nothing else, ever, you order before you need.



You can then create a mess like this.

Now the truly odd thing about the last picture taken outside High Desert Harley Davidson is the other bike owned by the pretty lady - it is the black and lime version of mine which pulled in as I was finishing loading after the 20K mile service. You will probably never see one of these except at a bike show and rarely then - there were 2500 made in one year only. A fair number will have been bagged and garaged as investments but even without that this is a tiny number and just being in the same place at the same time as one is really unlikely. We were both stunned and spent a few minutes "competing" with how much we love our bikes.


I got away from High Desert HD at about 1:30PM and headed north on ID 55 to US96. Temps were climbing toward an expected 103F which wasn't too bad as long as I was moving at around 60 mph. It was a nice ride until I ran into a storm front that was packing 40-50 mph winds filled with smoke and dust.
This crap took most of the fun right out of this ride. You will note the entire lack of a thing like a windshield. The winds were coming from the range of the right side, head on, and left. The cross winds were enough to get most bikes parked and as stable as this one is it required attention. At one point a head wind was sufficient to make the front end very light on the road, like losing traction... Yes, I slowed down.

I am in Sandpoint,ID about 40 miles from my junction with US 2 which I'll take east. I checked in about midnight (too late and too tired to think about camping) and the miles logged from Baker City show as 559 miles. I fell asleep within minutes of getting into the room. I woke back up awhile ago and showered and posted this, now I'm going back to sleep...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Major Harley Run

Assuming I can find connections I'll try to blog about this trip, which is from NE OR to Northern Michigan. My parents live in N MI and are 83 years old and also are in good health, physically and mentally - so far. I'm taking the Harley for the sake of the ride and to have something I like to get around on once there.

It's been hectic getting ready for this trip, especially since I made the decision early last week and departure is nailed down as Thursday the 26th for a couple reasons. One is that I need to go early enough to not have my construction season killed and another is that the bike is due for its 20K mile service which involves a 135 mile south and east ride to the nearest dealer and aims me mostly in the right direction and that appointment is for Thursday - today, and I'm there waiting.

It's been crazy getting ready since I had a roofing job scheduled and took Monday and Tuesday at 11 hours each and 1 1/2 hours Wednesday. Nothing in the line of business could get done the first two days so Wed was the day for that as well as trying to get squared around packing and loading. I live in PST and the dealer is in MST which means an additional clock hour to travel time. My appointment was for 8:30AM MST which meant leaving at 5AM PST to have time for delays and to unload the bike. I got the bike loaded and home from dinner and into bed at 11PM.

With the bike loaded the garage looked to be a difficult operation so I parked it on my front walk just outside the porch door with the light on and the inside door open - so my dog could lay up on the enclosed porch. He's a 150# Great White Pyrenees and an excellent alarm and guardian. Well, pretty much so. At 2AM I was awakened by very large barks so I put on some pants and went to take a look. Nothing in sight anywhere, just a diesel truck blocks away; and me wide awake. Very wide awake. I gave up at 3:30 and got up and drank some coffee and rode figuring to kill some time with breakfast. So here I am at High Desert Harley Davidson with a grand total of maybe 3 hours sleep after a very hectic day at the start of a 2500 road mile each way trip. I thought about beating the dog with something large and heavy but he was doing what he sees as his job.

I'll put up pictures as I move along and post whatever seems to interest me and hopefully, you.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Responsible Politics - Oh Sure... Scare 'Em Works

You'd think a nation with a basic document nearly universally nationally revered could manage to act in something like a reasonable manner regarding it. The basic law of this nation is the Constitution and its Amendments, the Declaration of Independence may pertain to its foundation but no other document pertains. First in order of the Amendments is the one that says that there will be freedom of religion in this nation. First.

There are a lot of quibbles about how much influence religion should have in governing, but there is not a bit of wiggle room regarding people's freedom to practice religion. Zoning laws cover matters like parking and traffic for any and all religions - there are not exceptions for a brand name.

I understand that the GOP loves it some wedge issues and frequently Democrats manage to not deal that. This one that the GOP has latched onto is irresponsible at the very least, and potentially quite dangerous. The fact that the dumbasses involved cannot separate religion from actions is quite telling and that they want to do something about a religion rather than actions is even more telling. Political advantage is small reason to muck around in the basic law of the nation and that they will play at it means that something is fundamentally wrong with such a group.

It seems that the Christians involved can't manage to wrap their heads around the idea that a religion that preaches peace can have followers who preach and practice violence. That's just a bit of a queer view point for them to hold. Distant and recent history are littered with examples of Christians (of some sort) doing serious violence. Not doing that in some minor manner, nasty murderous stuff done under the banner of their supposedly peaceful religion to those perceived to deserve it. Reason would get someone to a different result, but then reason isn't supposed to have anything to do with pumping such an issue. Fear is what is appealed to and that worked just fine for GWB; didn't it?

Basing a political party's future on fear rather than policies makes for real nasty politics. If you're willing to wear the brand of such people there isn't much I can say to you in a polite manner. This crap is the behavior of assholes and if you support such people that really does make you an asshole. If you don't like being insulted in such a manner then separate yourself from that kind of activity - don't bother complaining to me because I don't give a damn about your feelings in this. Confederate Party of Republicanism; well I guess so...*

* Their enablers in the other Party don't get any respect from me, either.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tina Fey And Sitting VP Palin - WTF?

Dylan Ratigan just got done making the assertion that if not for Tina Fey we might be talking about sitting VP Palin. Yes, Tina Fey was funny as hell as candidate Palin and to be sure some of her routines bled over onto Palin. This idea of Ratigan's seems to be that a large voting demographic took Fey seriously and that the clips of her counter posed with clips of Palin didn't show Palin to be ignorant and extreme - in fact not in comedy.



Sure, the Right would like to scapegoat anyone other than their favorite for her failure and they'd certainly like to ignore the failure of McPOW to connect with much of anyone. I don't mean to minimize the number who voted McCain/Palin, I'm talking about enthusiasm for McCain in general and the narrow appeal of the Palinesque approach. I'm curious as to whether this is a view held by that 27% that seems to always be around and around the damned bend or if Ratigan is repeating something more generally held. I'm pretty comfortable with the idea that he just repeated RW talking points, but these folks aren't my speciality.

Islamic Center In NY

I ought to be surprised by the inflamed rhetoric surrounding the establishment of an Islamic Community Center four blocks from the World Trade Center site - ought to be. While I am ashamed of it, I am not the least surprised. I understand that some the families of those killed might get into an uproar, even that is an emotional response rather than a reasoned one. What I do not understand, in terms of patriotism, is the GOP response.

There certainly is a political strategic point in targeting Muslims, they represent about 0.8% of the population of the US, a vanishingly small voter block to offend with a much larger payoff with the block offended by ... well, I'd say a Muslim center close to '9/11' but more realistically offended by Islam, period. There is also something to be said about people who would beat the race and religion division drum in the name of electoral numbers.

Despite the illusions presented by casual views of history, this nation has never been monolithic in its view of race and religion and national origin. There is virtually no group that has not been victim to prejudices generated in the name of those categories. It is one of the easiest buttons to push, it is called most properly xenophobia - fear of the other. Some of the very groups shouting the loudest about this Center were at one time generally despised and feared on the same basis. I won't go through a list of the calumnies propagated against various groups, that would be simply offensive, if you're unaware Google is your friend.

The First Amendment is in place for a reason and playing politics around that is damned dangerous to what is supposed to be a major tenet of the basic law of the USA. I don't care what a person's view of a religion or race or national group is, our basic law says they are allowed to exist unmolested in this nation. What any other nation does about this kind of thing has not spit to do with us. There is the danger of physical violence and more broadly there is damage done to our social structure and possibly our legal structure - not to mention international relations. If the GOP thinks this will stay narrowly focused, I believe they are seriously mistaken.

To be sure, I have a low opinion of the GOP to start with, but this simply convinces me that they are pretty much cretins.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Border Security Whack-a-mole Continues

So a $600M bi-partisan bill passes to increase law enforcement on the Mexican border and... I suppose that there is a criminal element that is violent and uses that border to create wealth for themselves who really ought to be discouraged. Primarily that involves drugs and that isn't really what drives the illegal immigration furor.

People crossing the border in search of jobs is what it is really about. People are pretty smart about things like fences, they figure out ways to get around that. If the number of illegal aliens in this country is something like 20M, you can be real sure that drugs and other criminal activities isn't what needs addressed. The job picture is what needs addressed. Enforcement of the pissant employment laws is virtually non-existent, employers know that the chance of getting caught out is tiny and the fines small enough to cover with their illegal hire profits.

SS numbers really should be fairly easy to track, verify, and catch contradictions. Dead people and 80 year olds don't work construction. People seldom live in two places simultaneously, that might not be a disqualifier but it should hang a flag. Employment is the magnet and employers are the problem. Lacking real dis-incentives to do so, many will put profits ahead of the law and the well-being of the nation. This country cannot afford to have an illegal serf class socially and workers cannot afford to have labor devalued by cheating.

If I were to try to discourage employers I'd hang a first violation fine of Davis-Bacon wage for a year for each illegal employee, second time fine and jail, third time fine, jail, confiscation of the offending business. That would include an out for having verified the number/employee and notification of denied prospective employees and a corrective method for false negatives. I won't address the idea of guest worker programs, the impacts and methodology are beyond my knowledge level and time at this point.

Now you can judge for yourselves whether the GOP has any real interest in something that would address the problem or they're simply interested in pumping race and the interests of wealth. The one variable all businesses can most easily address in profit pursuit is labor, most other costs are very nearly equal for all. Labor is the smallest single cost in most enterprises that involve a product, but it is the most easily modified in this environment.

There are all kinds of other issues involved in some kind of comprehensive immigration reform that I have neither the time nor interest in dealing with. Issues like amnesty begin to vanish if the magnet itself is addressed and what to do with long term illegal residents really ought to be reasonably dealt with in a humane manner. St Ronnie's amnesty failed badly because no other issues were dealt with - a mistake we ought not repeat.

Monday, July 26, 2010

You Think I Don't Know How To Have Fun?

Maybe you think all I do is ride a Harley and play at politics, not quite. My little operation is named CHBIII Enterprises Inc and its business is construction contracting - in this case roofing. This is a turn of the century house with wood shingles under composition shingles, in some cases a lot of them - like 5 layers in places. You could call this work considering that it is 26 feet of ladder from the ground to the first jack plank and these architectural shingles are 3 bundle square packaging and a bundle weighs in at just under 90 pounds. Yes, packed up on my shoulder to the 10 pitch roof (40 degrees) and it is summer, temps from mid-80s to mid-90s.

(Click pics for full size)

I generally avoid some sorts of practices, if I roof over an existing composition roof I remove the preceding roof's hip and ridge shingles and I do not wrap field shingles over hips and only one side over a ridge. The "roofers" who went after this thing not only put on too many layers of comp, they wrapped over the hips and went over the preceding hip shingles - the result was well over 3 inches of shingle and a forest of nails.


The above picture is from the only small roof section with only 2 layers of composition over the wood shingles. There are two methods of dealing with a wood shingle roof, one is to take off all shingles and put OSB or plywood over the skip sheeting (wood shingles were applied over planks spaced a couple inches apart) or if the wood shingles are in fair shape and the customer doesn't feel a need for a smooth roof to go over the wood shingles. Going over wood shingles with 3 tabs created an obviously lumpy roof and the tabs sealing down was somewhat questionable, architects have performed well for me over the last 20 years in this application. So you understand, redecking very nearly doubles the cost of the roof for a fairly minor improvement in performance.



I thought I'd managed to get the cell camera level to give you a feeing for being up high on something steep, not such a good job of that. You'll just have to tip your computer until the trees in the background are upright.

It is a fact of life that construction contractors are considered rip-offs by a large percentage of consumers and that those engaged in manual labor are over-paid ignoramouses. Next time somebody comes up with that kind of crap feel free to ask if they'd do this for any amount of money if they even began to have the physique to do it. I'd bet not, and I've heard from enough people who've tried simple projects that they'd never ever do it again. This has been hard filthy work and I'm not complaining about that - I bid the job, after all - but I do get pretty tired of people acting as though only their level of education qualifies them for decent income.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Dear Mr President & Assorted Democrats - They Lie

I'm not sure how to break this to you: the Right lies. Yes, Rupert Murdoch's crap-tastic propaganda Faux News network lies, repeats the lies, and then blames you if you fall for it. They start with the assumption that Liberalism is guilty of some crime against America and uncritically repeat any such accusation. The Right view themselves as at war with a somehow evil foe and any means is justified.

It would seem that that the lies propagated about Van Jones, burying his actual problem, would have given you a clue. No, a perfectly useful organizantion like Acorn gets destroyed because you fall for concept that accusation is fact - you do understand that video can be used to lie? Then comes Shirley Sherrod making a speach before a reputable organization like NAACP and you assume racism because a Right-wing blogger with zero goddam credibility feeds his shit to Fox. In the face of the reputations of the conflicting organizations you buy into the demonstrably crappy ones?

This isn't an example of an exercise where compromise will serve the interests of the nation - they are at war with you and your destruction is the aim. There isn't a middle ground in that, their lies won't cease because you're partially wrecked. Surely some of you watched the health care "debate" and their actions. You know what was proposed or in the Bill and you know what they had to say about it. And you keep letting them set the dialogue?

I know you expect Democrats to get out and work for you in the upcoming elections and you'd like to be touted and defended. What exactly are we to say? Do you expect us to point out the lies that you fall for and thus justify and encourage? You may not want to be at war with your fellow citizens, but they do want to and you'd best get used to the idea. You are allowed to call people who lie, liars.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Weigel, WaPo, And General Stupidity

Just to be up front about my sentiments regular readers will know that I've long ceased to link the WaPo for anything other than mockery. My anger with that publication goes back quite a ways, Judith Miller damn near tearing it but I kept hoping - and being disappointed until last year I just gave the hell up and I don't even remember the straw that broke the back.

Dave Weigel gave some interesting reporting in the WaPo on "The Right" and I had occasion to read him from time to time thanks to other links (I'd quit on the WaPo before he was hired). I was actually impressed and evidently so was the Right - emails from "journolist" were published and they weren't flattering of some. His private opinions weren't acceptable so he resigned (take "resigned" as you will). The WaPo's ombudsman was concerned about the appearance of lack of objectivity regarding who was being covered (as if that's been a concern where the "left" is concerned, much less factuality).

Now I don't have a clue what Weigel thought he could do within the confines of "journolist", maybe he actually thought private meant private in that collection of people. Personalities being what they are, you'd think he'd have known better. Founder Ezra Klein has now junked it as a result of this crap. I'm not privy to the membership of the list, but I have noticed that cretinism isn't missing in that profession. Noting the cretinism of some on the Right is always a fairly dangerous practice since they hit back just as hard (and dishonestly or disreputably) as they can. Weigel had been covering that mess for awhile and it seems he ought to have been aware of that propensity - especially since what he got into trouble for was pointing at it.

I give a damn about making enemies in that camp, there isn't a thing they can do to me, but both the WaPo and Weigel engaged in stupidity of the really general sort. Weigel for trusting a listserve and the WaPo for not being aware that anybody covering the Right from something other than a cretin point of view was going to note cretinism on the Right. Apparently to the WaPo all view points are equal...

"All The President's Men" my ass.

House Cleaning

The sidebar just got a lot shorter with the removal of useless "apps" and the sad trimming of the blog list. There have been a lot of fatalities over the last year. I don't know if Facebook and Twitter are part of that or if the lack of BushCo to kick around or just weariness is responsible. What is left are active and interesting voices - with the single exception of "Jon Swift" which is kept as an exemplar and a memorial.

Posting here has become sporadic at best and along with that a shrinking readership. I'm not sure which came first -chicken/egg thing - but it sure isn't as much of a driver to write for just a few. I keep vaccilating on whether to get motivated and write a lot of content and see what happens or just let go of this thing, indecision isn't a good quality in production. Well, I continue to vaccilate, so we'll see.

The hell of it is that I added some good tools to my blogging arsenal right before I got ... whatever it is that ails this blog...

Idiotological Slaves

Ideology is a fine thing as long as it doesn't get confused about its place in regards to reality, when it does it becomes idiotology. The US Senate had a bill before it - several times - to, among other things, extend unemployment benefits that are expiring. It seems that there is a little matter of the Federal deficit and the bit about encouraging lay-abouts to go get a job rather than subsidizing their ... laziness.

The rather nasty contrast between wealthy Senators (you know of a blue collar income one?) and the recipients of unemployment checks might clue you into my general regard for these cretins (sure, who are the cretins he speaks of?). I suppose there'd be some kind of justification for the "market approach" if there were jobs out there. Employers are not going begging for employees who are laying around licking their nuts on the taxpayer dime.

The Federal deficit is a result of spending out pacing tax and fee income - it isn't rocket science. It costs money to extend unemployment benefits - the taxes paid for unemployment insurance aren't sufficient to deal with this kind of extended unemployment. There is a little matter that the Confederate Party of Republicanism and Plutocracy won't deal with and that is what happens to those benefits after they're issued. Unemployment checks don't offer a life of luxury and savings, they get spent on directly sustaining products and rents or mortgages. Somebody makes and distributes those products or depends on payments of obligations and those are taxable - they are government income and they are jobs which is something different than unemployment to come without those consumers spending. Adding to the roles of the unemployed and foreclosed properties is not a recipe for recovery.

This is a case of the interests of business and of workers coinciding and the GOP standing pretty much alone as assholes. There is even talk of the GOP gaining seats in November. I just can't talk myself into the proposition that America deserves even more of their asshattery and needs some real suffering as a lesson. I don't care whether it is left or right, idiotology isn't the way to go.

The World Is My Oyster

I'm 14 months old and visiting my Grandma and Grandpa's house. Grandpa is a construction guy and he never seems to do things half-way. Grandma went out and bought a plastic swing with nylon rope hangers about three feet long which Grandpa thought posed a bit of a problem considering the best place to hang my swing. Grandpa got some galvanized chain you could pull a truck with and added another three feet and wound up with something he could swing on - if he'd fit.

***Click on pics for full size***

Grandpa is a pretty interesting guy so I like to keep an eye on him, even if he isn't pushing me. He's got that camera thing going on again.

A minute ago I had my sippy cup with juice in it, I don't have it now because it is great fun to watch it fall and Grandpa pick it up. It's really cool to grab it from his hand when I swing up to him.


The camera thing is pretty nice but cameras don't run all the time and they seem to miss the moment, that little space of time that happens when the camera isn't doing the picture taking. I really like my swing but Grandpa makes Grandma crazy with it. He'll pull me head high and let go while Grandma shrieks, "Not so high!" Grandpa just laughs since I'm wearing a seatbelt and I couldn't even manage to get out of the swing on my own much less fall out. I love to go high, and what that camera missed is the wind blowing my hair up and my mouth open to catch that breeze. Grandpa will pull me way up and let go and then sit down and watch me until the swing slows down. I like it all but the best is going high and fast so I kick my legs until he comes and gets me going again. Sometimes he'll stand and push me and I like that best because I keep going high.

Maybe you're too old to really get this without doing it so I'll try to explain. My Grandpa loves me and tries to keep me happy like today. I've got my sippy cup with good juice in it to drink and I'm swinging high and fast while Grandpa watches me. The wind is in my face and it's a beautiful warm morning. I make faces and Grandpa laughs and so do I. Yep, the world is my oyster. (I'm not sure why that means what it means - and neither is my Grandpa)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Ending Secret Holds?

Freshman Senator Claire McCaskill (MS-D) has made a bid to end secret holds in the US Senate. This practice allows any single Senator to secretly stop business from happening, just one whether in minority or majority. There is something a tad odd:

The thing about the practice, though, is that you won't find it written down anywhere.

"I don't think the word even appears," said Senate Historian Donald Ritchie. "It's obviously a very powerful instrument used by every senator. It gives them a lot of influence over the administration and gives them individual clout."

Since I'm no Parliamentarian I can't make too much of this but that it is abused in secret isn't a real secret. I suppose one question for Senators is whether the body is of any real use to American politics or simply an impediment?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The GOP Tells The Truth ?

You can find out who the The Republican Study Committee is but you won't be terribly surprised to find out that Rep Joe Barton (TX-R)is a member especially in light of this statement made under their banner:
“BP’s reported willingness to go along with the White House’s new fund suggests that the Obama Administration is hard at work exerting its brand of Chicago-style shakedown politics. These actions are emblematic of a politicization of our economy that has been borne out of this Administration’s drive for greater power and control. It is the same mentality that believes an economic crisis or an environmental disaster is the best opportunity to pursue a failed liberal agenda. The American people know much better.”

That would be about 100 Representatives of the GOP persuasion having their say about how BP is a victim before member Barton stepped in the dog-poo. Now Rep Boehner (OH-R) may have spanked Barton and some other GOPers may have yelled about it, but with a membership of around 100 that makes it ... well ... The GOP in the House.

Don't misunderstand me, the Democratic Congress-people are plenty cozy with big business. I have to do business and I like to actually make money at it so I'm not inclined to smash businesses but there is a difference between doing business and buying it. The fact, though, is that the GOP is downright plutocratic in agenda and this what it is about. These idjits actually told the truth about themselves and leadership isn't happy.

Candidate Rand Paul isn't in hot water (or wasn't) with GOP leadership for his beliefs, look under the GOP dog whistles, as much as he is in trouble for stating them. The GOP doesn't talk about illegal immigrants as an exploited working serfdom, they talk about them as low-life invaders carefully avoiding talking about employers - understand that this isn't racism, per se, as much as it classism. The interests of wealth must at all costs be protected from the grubby working masses. These people are running for re-election, think about that and the fact that they will mostly be elected. Go ahead, and then wonder why this country is a mess and these people claim government is bad.

Lying Liars And The Lies They Tell

Joe Barton now:
What Barton Said a Few Hours Later The New York Times reports on Barton's mid-day clarification: "I want the record to be absolutely clear that I believe BP is responsible for this accident, should be held responsible and should in every way possible make good on the consequences that have resulted from this accident. If anything I’ve said this morning was misconstrued from that I want to apologize for that misconstruction."

Joe Barton then:
I'm speaking now totally for myself. I'm not speaking for the Republican Party, I'm not speaking for anybody in the House of Representatives but myself. But I'm ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday. I think it is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation could be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown--in this case, a $20 billion shakedown--with the attorney general of the United States, who is legitimately conducting a criminal investigation, and has every right to do so to protect the interests of the American people, participating in what amounts to a $20 billion slush fund that's unprecedented in our nation's history, that's got no legal standing, and which sets, I think, a terrible precedent for the future ... There is no question that BP is liable for the damages. But we have a due process system where we go through hearings, in some cases court cases, litigation, and determine what those damages are and when those damages should be paid. So I'm only speaking for myself, I'm not speaking for anybody else, but I apologize. I do not want to live in a country where any time a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong, he's subjected to some sort of political pressure that is again, in my words, amounts to a shakedown. So I apologize.

Shakedown?

Rep Barton (TX-R) seems to think that an escrow account for BP damages amounts to a shakedown by ... President Obama. He didn't do more than apologize to BP for it, no ideas presented in contrast or such - he's just sorry. Maybe he figures the results from the Exxon Valdez spill are fine - you know two decades of wait. What is it about Texas; something in the water or what? It didn't take Rep Orangeman ... er Rep Boehner (OH-R) to start backing up, but there is the Republican Study Group in the House calling it a "Chicago-style shakedown" and Rep Michelle Bachman (MN-R) naming it a redistribution-of-wealth fund."

Rep Boehner knows political poison when he hears it (sometimes) but these folks wear that (R) and have put themselves on record, however much they try to put it in reverse. It isn't as though people haven't started parsing BP words in statements to fling poo at them and while that's silly it isn't a Congressman. Getting in an uproar because their Chairman, with enough accent to make English something other than his first language, used the phrase "small people" is just piling on. The meaning is clear if not artful and a bit different than saying "peons."

Republicans have made Democrats a gift, running against Barton, et al, or not. In fact, over the young Obama Administration's life they've handed all kinds of ammunition to Democrats and I'll be rather disappointed if they don't drag the whole bunch through their self-generated mud.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Random Observations

TPM finds Sharron Angle being rather ... um ... strange:
If this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies and saying my goodness what can we do to turn this country around? I'll tell you the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out.

The juxtaposition of words makes the meaning seem have to do with shooting Harry. Not a good political statement, maybe?

So BP shares have lost half their value, some $9 Billion? Woof. Somebodies can't be happy.

Rep Steve King (R-IA) is the gift that keeps on giving:
"The president has demonstrated that he has a default mechanism in him that breaks down . . . on the side that favors the black person,"

Way to go Steve, that sure will add something substantive to the discussion of ... well:
"looks like Eric Holder said that white people in America are cowards, when it comes to race."

In the light that Holder referenced Americans rather than whites you'd have to suppose that what we're all about here is The Confederate Party of Republicanism. One step a bit too far for CO GOP Rep candidate Cory Gardner who cancelled an appearance with King, though you do have to wonder how this one got them there. Too blatant, not quite dog whistle enough?

It seems to be news that Afghanistan sits on a trillion dollars worth of minerals, even though it was discussed back in 2007. So what does this mean? That the Afghanistan War will pay for itself like Iraq did or that the Taliban has even more reason to fight on or ... what? I no longer know what to think about Afghanistan, what made sense 8 years ago was 8 years ago, now?

Good grief, rightwing Red State is upset with the NRA. It seems they're pissed that the NRA has gotten itself an exception from the political disclosure law being considered in Congress and that they gave a good grade to (D) Strickland versus a horrid one for (R) Kasich in Ohio. It seems Red State is a bit confused about the NRA's mission, the 2nd A, and how conservative it actually behaves outside that - in essence you have to be a major disappointment as a (R) to not be favored over a (D).

The President speaks from the Oval Office ... you can be sure that little said will be left to say what it said - it will be parsed to a fare-thee-well. Nothing will be enough or "correct" enough. All kinds of left and right have united to kick the Administration around rather than the Senate which has let energy legislation stall. The mess at MMS is a BushCo mess, one that this Administration hasn't addressed fully, until maybe now. I've listened to a pretty good speach with some specifics and one that will leave a bunch of talking heads carping. Ah well.

Monday, June 14, 2010

And You Thought The Health Care Bill Fight Was Done?

Anybody who thought the fight over the health care reform bill was going to boil down to specious law suits forgot about things like nominations. Dr Donald Berwick has been nominated to be the head of the agency that runs Medicare and Medicaid. That has prompted the usual suspects to creatively edit statements to get something scary.

McClatchy takes note of one rather egregious one:
Critics have pointed to this Berwick comment about rationing: "The decision is not whether or not we will ration care. The decision is whether we will ration care with our eyes open."

However, they generally leave off the last sentence of the quote: "And right now, we are doing it blindly."

Such ... creativity ... lets hacks like Robert Moffit, a health policy expert at the conservative Heritage Foundation, say things like:
"We've got a problem with the health care system, but it's hard to believe that Americans would put up with an explicit rationing system that's become notorious in Great Britain."

One thing you can generally be sure of with the Confederate Party of Republicanism and their allies is that something like truth is quite optional where ever political gain might be made.