Sunday, February 28, 2010

I feel the earth...move...under my feet

Man, this is already going to be known as the Year of the Quake (I can see Time's end of year special). Another month, another quake, this one even more powerful than the one in Haiti on Jan. 12th, but striking just off the coast of central Chile. The big difference here is that Chile is one of the richest countries in Latin America and has stricter building codes due to it's more recent history of quakes...ones the population can actually remember (1960) vs. 250 years for Haiti. They also had the resources to respond faster and so far the death toll is numbering in hundreds, not hundreds of thousands! I just watched the 1974 classic 'Earthquake' the other day which is weird too. I'm still wondering when a quake that strong strikes an area with now 14 million people in it because it's entirely possible. In the movie they talk about where to evacuate 4 million so 10 million people moved there in the past 30 years! Of course they may have been just talking about LA the city and not the metro, but you would think they'd be worried about the entire LA basin. Mother Nature will definitely be the hot topic in all end of year lists what with the earthquakes and unbelievable snow accumulations and storms that have covered the northern two thirds of the country especially the Midwest over to the Northeast. Even Dallas got a foot of snow, tying overall records, earlier this month. Here in Austin we finally got a good snow show last Tuesday but it was gone by the next day. El Nino is having a lot to do with the colder wetter winter season we've been having. All these morons are saying stuff like 'Where's Global Warming?' and 'Al Gore's an idiot' but no matter what we keep doing to the planet, El Nino and La Nina will continue to happen AND they may even be more enhanced BECAUSE of the warming of the earth. I love it when a bunch of couch meteorologists and climatologists suddenly spring out of the woodwork not to mention all the Republican senators who suddenly seem to be experts in these fields. Man has got to face that no matter how much we think we are in control of the earth, we are reminded daily that we are not. Nature is in control and we're just along for the ride.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Austin Joe

On a sunny clear blue February 18th, a fire broke out suddenly at a house about a mile from mine around 9:15 in the morning. 30 minutes later a small plane took off from the Georgetown Municipal Airport and headed due southwest. The light plane got lower and lower as it approached the Arboretum area just a few miles south of my house. It crossed the 183 freeway and slammed into the Echelon Building, which houses several federal offices including an IRS site. The plane was probably full of jet fuel because it impacted on the rocky landscaping just outside the first floor but the plane exploded into the first floor and caught the other seven stories on fire. People began running out of the building and an Iraqi vet that works at a glass place driving by at the time stopped and helped five people get out of the smoke filled second floor with a ladder from his truck. In the end 13 were injured, two seriously, and one federal employee did not make it. Since a national news story was going on Austin became the focus of the country for the day. The freeways slammed shut with traffic and on-lookers. The news websites lit up and of course everyone here at work started talking about it. Things took an even more strange turn when it was found out that he was deliberately hitting the IRS and that office because he had posted a 'manifesto' online that discussed his long painful history with the IRS. Brett got a hold of it on a specific website and sent it to the team then about 10 mins later we could no longer into the if it was shut down by the government. Still, I read the entire thing and had to admit that I agreed with most of his tirade. What he did to make his point was completely crazy but he wrote that people only seem to notice a body count (true!) and he felt like he had to do something dramatic to make the point. Lee Humphries said that he agreed with what he said too but now anyone who has that viewpoint might be looked at as complete cook like 'the guy that flew a plane into the office building' which I also agree with. Unfortunately for most of the issues he was railing against there is no easy solution and it may very well take some sort of 'revolution' to overturn the problems but some other crackpots may view this as the new standard to get their point across and in the divided us and them states of America this kind of crap may become more prevalent. I drove by the building on the way home and saw it from the ramp going from 183 to MoPac. Later that night, after seeing Rich and the Obits at Momo's I drove back by it again so that I could go slower and take a longer look. Luckily more people didn't die than could have.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Farthest Right

I've seen several stories this week about incumbent Republicans being challenged this year by folks even further to the right than the incumbent already is. In every story I see the same byline, the newcomer riding on the coattails of the public just hating whoever's in power right now, accusing the incumbent of not being liberal, but NOT CONSERVATIVE enough. Over and over I see them accusing the incumbent of voting with liberals as if trying to get things done and coming to the middle or compromising is a bad thing instead of acknowledging that that is how things have been done for the whole history of this country and why it's worked for the most part. In fact, the more the two sides got together the more things worked and more things got done. This is taking the us vs. them ethic to the extreme. What worries me is that in a year where it seems the general consensus among voters is to replace every single person currently in office and Dems are currently more in number, that we're going to get a complete flip flop back to Republicans in power. These new guys claim things like the 'tea party' groups aren't necessarily Republican, but they are DEFINITELY not Democrat or liberal so likely as not they will vote Republican or worse, something even further to the right than that. If that happens then the groundwork will be laid for something even worse happening in '12. Do I personally trust either side? Not really since our country SHOULD have more than just two parties to choose from, BUT I DON'T want a takeover by people that make even Cheney look like Ted Kennedy! At that point I would have to leave the country but why should I have to leave the place of my birth and let me make this perfectly clear...these kooks are NOT a majority of Americans, but they yell the loudest and keep the rest quiet. What I'll probably do instead if their little 'revolution' happens, is make damn sure I'm part of the next revolution that actually puts forth what the majority wants, and that's for the sides crap to end and for people to really work together to get things fixed for real and not just for now but for the future.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Land of Retards

This story is so retarded it hurts...oh wait, I better not type that since I may have the Palin goon squad hunt me down. A few weeks back a story revealed that Obama's top advisor, Ram Emanuell, used the term 'fuckin' retards' to describe some liberals that were bitching about some Obama policies they didn't like. Palin saw the story and immediately put out a statement on Facebook saying that he should resign or be fired by Obama for his insensivity (she has a child with Down's Syndrome). First I laughed since I figured she probably felt the same way about liberals and this just looked like someone trying to get someone else fired quickly. Personally, I use the term all the time but I'm not saying someone has Down's Syndrome no more than when I used to say everyone was fag this or fag that back in the early 80's and meant they were homosexuals. Both can be nasty terms if used the wrong way, but when I use them they are really being used as if I was just saying someone's an asshole and not really specific, just not using the word asshole. Still, if she were so offended by this word then how come not long after when she was asked about Rush Limbaugh's constant use of the word actually defended him saying he was using it satirically but Emanuell was not? This is complete and utter bullshit. If she really hates the word then she should not want to hear it from anyone and if she doesn't care if Limbaugh says it then shouldn't say shit about Emanuell saying it. Unfortunately no one corners her in that way and puts it in that context. Nice going 'news' networks.


That's just one of the terms being used by the 'news' networks in regards to the biggest snow totals in history for places like Washington DC, Baltimore and Philly after two huge storms dumped 4 feet on them over the past couple of weeks. Yesterday, 10 inches fell in the Dallas area (and I'm very jealous) which was the most since I was 11 back in '78 living up there. Of course, along with these amazing weather events comes the completely non-scientific idiotic morons on Fox and radio saying 'Where's global warming now?' and calling Gore an idiot. If they'd even seen 'An Inconvenient Truth' they'd know that we've been hitting 'hottest year on record' over and over for over a decade now and one big snow winter does not change the overall trend. These weekend meteorologist seem to know all about climate. Heck, even the most retarded of these guys had to have seen and promptly made fun of 'The Day After Tomorrow'...but apparently don't remember what happened in that movie because it was a whole 3 years ago! Someone on Facebook was bitching about the cold December we had here in Austin and was saying that Gore was an idiot and I wrote 'It's funny how quickly we forget the record setting 68 days at or above 100 degrees just a few months ago!'. I didn't get a response on that one because there's really none to give. This really goes back to my post earlier this week talking about everyone living in the present.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

American Dream a Lie

The one good thing about the housing bubble bursting and the last few years may be that politicians can no longer use home ownership as a symbol of the American dream. What we've learned is that not everyone can own a home so the American dream is not for everyone. Even more though is that it used to be a goal to attain because ownership meant 'not throwing money down the drain' with a rental. Well guess what sports fans? That's a big line of horseshit now. Right now I'm in the process of trying to sell our old house and boy are we pouring money down the drain just to get rid of it AND today we checked with the homeowner's insurance company to see if they'd cover the $8500 it will take to repair the foundation and OF COURSE THEY WON'T! I mean why else would we pay these assholes money over the years? They cover earthquakes and landslides - TWO THINGS THAT NEVER HAPPEN HERE! Just like they don't cover storm and flood damage on the coast, they want to make sure that you pay them money and they never have to give it back at some point! That's their fucking goal, while a woken up America's goal should be to not buy a fucking house and just rent it. Then you never have to worry about rising property taxes apart from how much your rent goes up, homeowner's insurance that doesn't cover anything, and all the other things that suck money out of your wallet. Heck, if you live in an apartment you don't even have to buy a lawnmower or pay someone to do your lawn! FUCK IT! FUCK THE AMERICAN DREAM...unless I can become a politican or inherit a company it's not really going to happen for me or 95% of the rest of Americans.


I think I've figured out now why Sarah Palin is even being considered a possible candidate for President in 2012. The Republicans have been completely defeated from '06 to '08 and they are desperate and there's no Ronald Reagans waiting in the wings. The teabag phenom actually started as a tea 'party' put on Ron Paul and friends back in '07 but no one reported it and it wasn't consdired a 'movement' but now that the desperate Neocons have taken over it's suddenly a big deal and these same assholes don't even like Ron Paul and have people looking at knocking him out of his seat in Texas! Palin supposedly endorsed Ron's son running in Kentucky but that's all window dressing. With someone like Palin as their new poster child, it shows just how desperate their party is. They claim their against both major parties but that's bullshit that anyone can see through and she did just run for the VP nom for Republicans did she not? Nope, no Reagans here. Reagan not only finished his first term as governor of California but finished a few more terms whereas she did not. Is there even another Reagan out there to be had? If there was they'd be all over him or her like white on rice but there's not so they're having to polish this Alaskan turd as much as they can. I'm torn as to wanting Obama to go up against her in '12. On the one hand, it seems like an idiot like her would be easily defeated and would be a plus for Dems, but then I see that W got elected twice. It's hard to say who's a bigger retard, but even he finished his first governor's term and he's willing to be a puppet whereas she doesn't seem to like having to answer to others, which could be her eventual downfall. Apparently she's already talking to people in Washington about a possible run, so if she does run and let's say has Rick Perry, our illustrious governor, as her running mate and they win in Nov, 2012, then the apocalypse will come a month earlier than the end of the Mayan calendar.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Money Pit

It was almost four years ago that Jena, Leslie and I decided instead of adding rooms to our house on Deerbrook that we'd look for a new house. Because we had just paid off our last credit card and were literally rolling in money AND the housing bubble was at it's most inflated, we had 'luck' in finding a behemoth 6 bedroom house in Round Rock with a view for only $197K. We thought it was the most amazing house ever with plenty of rooms for all of our hobbies and junk and it seemed to be in good shape for a ten year old residence. One thing we didn't think to check was the foundation. The hills of western Austin are mostly hard rock and the houses on them are basically attached to the rock so they don't move, but the area east of 35 is the same crappy waxy blackland soil that you find in Dallas, a soil that expands and contracts with the heat and cold, wet and dry but at least in Dallas it's flat. This house was on a hillside with an amazing view for Round Rock especially at night. Well, the cursed manor (so called after everyone has moved out or is trying and all the problems that have come up over the years). First there was problems with toilets, then dying trees, the yard fence, doors not closing or opening, and finally the floor cracking. I agreed with the divorce decree to help Jena sell the house and at first it looked good because the seller's market has slowly come back to Austin after the housing disaster of the last two years. She got the house inspected and it didn't seem bad at first, but then she finally got the foundation looked at. They said the whole front and southeastern end of the house is sliding down the fucking hill! It's not a matter of replacing some tiles in the house, but relevelling the entire house and doing a lot of damage in the process including possibly busting the sewer line or the main water line! We wanted to put it on the market March 1 but now if we get this done, the repair won't start till then and we're looking at another month not to mention having to get the lines checked after. She asked the realtor if we could make getting the foundation fixed as part of the agreement and she said that there's no way we could sell the house as is. We might be able to ask for $203K for it if we get it fixed at least then if we have to lowball around $190K we could still pay back the $8500! it will take to get the foundation fixed! This whole thing makes me want to run away to the mountains and never come back...or just slit my wrist. I really hate this. It's not bad enough that I had to get divorced and lose everything except my friends and job, but now this. I don't know how we're going to pay for this shit. I do know that I'm thinking of never trying to own a house again. They used to say you were 'throwing your money away' on rent, but it doesn't seem that way anymore. Just another bullshit American dream trying to be sold to someone.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Obama and Republicans

I had been getting pretty distraught at how things were going for Dems during January and the country in general then Obama decided to finally get some balls again and take charge as his first State of the Union Address came up. In the address he got onto Repubs for apparently not wanting to get anything done in government, but he also got onto Dems for running to the hills whenever anyone said they had problems. He also hit the Supreme Court for their shitty decision from the week before regarding Corporations donations to elections and influence. As he spoke about it, Justice Alito actually shook his head and mouthed 'That's not true'! WTF?! The SC is supposed to sit there and not give any impression one way or the other no matter what, but now that that asshole called Obama a liar last year during a speech to Congress I guess this is the way we're going. The day after the speech he went to a conference with nothing but Repubs and made sure on air that everyone saw him take questions and answer very honestly and blunt. He really showed some guts doing that and got me feeling the best I have in a while about the process. Then he and the military leadership called for a final ending of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' and started to try and fulfill one of his campaign promises. The debate got into Congress and of course the Senators speaking immediately against it were from Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi. This weekend was some sort of Tea Party Convention, in Tennessee of course, with Sarah Palin as the keynote speaker and she was calling for a new American Revolution. Here's what I don't get. If ANYthing like this had happened when Bush was President, they would have been labeled as traitors to America, anti-patriots trying to destroy this country. But NOW it's okay to do what they are doing. Hell, these very same people would be leading the charge of anti-patriotism. It's all fucking bullshit.