May 10, 2009 archive

Post-Fire Post

(Cut and paste diary from comments-that-would-not-stop on dkos,, but begun here in a comment to my man on the spot, ta da

CatfishBlues, who said

May Gray

We’re in almost drizzle conditions, everything is moist but no run-off. That should really help the firefighters out today


I said

Just got a report from our house sitter.

Man, did we ever get lucky.  And it’s hard to know how much fire fighting had to do with it.  There was a lot of grass in the very large yard next door–it’s burned.  There is burning underneath the huge pine tree and a lot of trees are blackened.  We had just taken out loads and loads of dead material out of that pine and a lot of kindling from beneath the pine.  I’m quite certain that we would have had no chance if we hadn’t done that just last week.  The grass is burned right up to the house on the downwind side of the house.  She said that looks as though the firemen did a controlled burn there.  So, a lot of blackened trees, some of our plants right next to the house are completely gone, but no damage to the house.  I’m thinking most of the charring is more from the heat than the actual fire.

We picked up one tip which a fireman gave her as she was leaving.  He said to leave the lights on in your house in case they have to come back in the night or in heavy smoke, it helps them find the house and see what’s going on better in fighting fire.

So, that’s how the Jesusita Fire affected me.  There is going to be a lot of clean-up, and we’ll be doing some new planting near the house, but we’ll be able to sit on our patio and from there it’ll look as though nothing happened.

General news:  Still foggy, high humidity, calm air, low temperatures.  Fire is 40% contained and everyone can return home except those in the highest reaches.  The southern part of the fire–toward the ocean, must be contained.  And the evidently prevented its spilling over the ridge along Camino Cielo.  My guess is that the fighting is now on the east and west fronts, which are in residential areas.  They are estimating complete containment by Wednesday.

I can’t wait to hear the stories of all the firemen did in this blaze.  The number of houses still standing in the midst of burn areas is incredible.

Thanks to everyone for all the support of me and of everyone affected by the fire.  It’s really good to have a place to turn.

A Warm Heart-Felt Over-Flowing



Edger Needs A Little Help From His Friends

This is definitely not a good time to ask for donations for any reason.  Many have lost their jobs. And, if you’re one of the lucky ones with a job, it’s still hard to make ends meet despite long work schedules. Not to mention that even if you have a job, you may need to be frugal with your budget to try to save some money just in case you lose your job next week.

Difficult times indeed.  

The Bad News and the Worse News on Unemployment.

The April employment numbers are out. The Broad Based (U6) unemployment figures … the best measure of the “total people available to take on more work” … give, on the one hand, bad news, and on the other hand, worse news. This is, of course, treated as “good news”, because the expectation was that it would be on the one hand worse news and on the other hand catastrophic news.





2008 9.0% 8.9% 9.1% 9.2% 9.7% 9.9% 10.3% 10.9% 11.2% 12.0% 12.6% 13.5%
2009 13.9% 14.8% 15.6% 15.8%

This is not the “headline” rate, or U3, which takes everyone working any hours at all as “employed”, even if they want more work, and anyone who has not actively sought work in the last four weeks is dropped out altogether.

Instead, its the “broad” or “U6” rate, where those who express an interest in working who have looked for work in the past year are included, as well as those who are “involuntary part-time” employees. So the U6 series is the best measure of the “total people available to take on more work”.

Also note that BLS unemployment statistics are not determined by the numbers of people drawing unemployment … it includes a broad range of data sources, including an ongoing telephone survey.

In terms of changes in the “U6” unemployment rate, this is:

2008 -0.1% +0.2% +0.1% +0.5% +0.2% +0.4% +0.6% +0.3% +0.8% +0.6% +0.9%
2009 +0.4% +0.9% +0.8% +0.2%

The bad news is, of course broad based unemployment is still rising. The worse news is that it is more than halfway to the “depths of the Great Depression” benchmark of around 1 in 4 out of work.

Even more, the populace has been trained to accept as “normal” unemployment rates what would have been considered an economic emergency back in the 1960’s.

Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

Now with World, U.S. News, and Politics.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Pakistanis flee offensive as U.S. sees fresh resolve

By Junaid Khan and Paul Eckert, Reuters

1 hr 36 mins ago

KOTA, Pakistan/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Pakistan has been roused to fight the “existential threat” of a growing Islamist insurgency, the top U.S. commander for the Afghan-Pakistan war theater said on Sunday, as Islamabad intensified an offensive against Taliban militants.

Army General David Petraeus, head of U.S. Central Command, said Pakistan’s fierce campaign against the Taliban in the Swat valley was a sign its political leaders, people and military were united against the Islamist fighters.

“The actions of the Pakistani Taliban … seem to have galvanized all of Pakistan,” he told the “Fox News Sunday” program.

“They Frankly Own the Place”

Why does it seem that there in so much corruption in Washington, and why are people like Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner able to set WH policy and continue raiding the Treasury and robbing you blind? Why do the House and the Senate seem to bend over backwards kowtowing to Wall Street and Banking Industry fat cats?

“They Frankly Own the Place”

by Matt Renner, Editor and Washington reporter for Truthout.

   What happens when a powerful senator goes up against an industry which has received roughly four trillion dollars in taxpayer support to stave off complete collapse? The senator loses.

   Or at least that seems to be what happened last week when an amendment, which would have given bankruptcy judges the ability to adjust or “cram down” mortgages to help borrowers avoid foreclosure, was not able to garner the 60 votes needed to overcome a self-imposed invisible filibuster, which continues to haunt the Democrats in the Senate.

   A procedural step to cut off debate and move to vote on the amendment was defeated by a 45 to 51 vote on the floor of the Senate, with 12 Democrats crossing the isle to vote with a unified Republican Party.

   After the vote, Illinois Sen. Richard Durbin, the second highest ranking Democrat and author of the legislation, broke a taboo of the Senate with a charge of institution-wide corruption.

   “And the banks – hard to believe in a time when we’re facing a banking crisis that many of the banks created – are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they frankly own the place,” Durbin said.

Read the whole thing here…

13 Part Series Starts Monday

Amendment Number: S.Amdt. 1014  to S. 896  (Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009)

Statement of Purpose: To prevent mortgage foreclosures and preserve home values.

Democrats Voting NAY-

Baucus (D-MT)

Bennet (D-CO)

Byrd (D-WV)

Carper (D-DE)

Dorgan (D-ND)

Johnson (D-SD)

Landrieu (D-LA)

Lincoln (D-AR)

Nelson (D-NE)

Pryor (D-AR)

Specter (D-PA)

Tester (D-MT)

Cowards That Didn’t Vote:

Kennedy (D-MA) (Might Have been Undergoing Chemo At The Time, Gets A Pass)

Rockefeller (D-WV)…

I will be giving in-depth investigation into the campaign contributions and voting records of these Corporate Dems.  Minus Kennedy because he’s just having a rough time right now.

“The Senate Democrats Who Fucked 9 Million Americans” will be the title of this series.

This is my Mother’s Day present to you.

Sunday music retrospective: Experience

Jimi Hendrix

Are you Experienced?

The Wind Cries Mary

Mothers in the Shadows

Mother’s Day is usually not a big deal for me. I don’t have children and let’s just say that my mother and I have managed to put together the best superficial relationship that is possible, given what we have to work with.

But this Mother’s Day, I’m thinking of the thousands of mothers I’ve come to know over the years who are battling the odds, usually in the shadows, to do the best they can to heal broken lives (including their own).

Sunday music retrospective: Experience

Jimi Hendrix

Are you Experienced?

The Wind Cries Mary

Happy Mother’s Day

clip flowerI tease my mother by calling her Emily after Emily Gilmore both because overall my family reminds me very much of the Gilmores and because she’s never met a brand name she didn’t like whereas I’m perfectly content to buy generic.

I thank her among many things for a thorough grounding in the domestic and other arts.

Mom teaches first grade and is actually famous in a quiet sort of way.  The kind parents brag about and angle their kids for though she’s won national awards too.  Of course I owe everything I know about educating to her and among my own peers I’m considered an asskicking trainer.

She also insisted we learn to perform routine self maintenance, little things like laundry and ironing, machine and hand mending. basic cooking.  Of course she always indulged us with trips to museums and zoos, made sure we got library cards, did the usual bus driver thing to swim practice, had this huge second career as a Brownie/Girl Scout Leader for my sister.

At one point when I was old enough for it to make an impression she took her Masters of Fine Arts in Art of all things, so I know a little Art History with Far Eastern.  I understand how to bang out a copper pot and make silver rings because she took me to class once or twice.  She liked stained glass so much that she and dad made several pieces (you use a soldering iron and can cut yourself pretty bad so it’s a macho thing too).  They also did silk screening which taught me a lot about layout and graphic arts.

But she always liked fabric arts and in addition to a framed three dimensional piece in the living room, there are Afghans and rugs and scarves and pot holders and wash cloths and hats and quilts and dolls.

And the training kits and manuals for her mentorship programs, and the adaptations and costumes for the annual first and fifth grade play.  Did I mention she plays 3 instruments, though mostly piano?

She touch types too.

So to Emily, a woman of accomplishment and refinement, Happy Mother’s Day.

Docudharma Times Sunday May 10

Bill O’Reilly Don’t Know

Much About History

Don’t Know Much

About Anything

Sunday’s Headlines:

She’s Israeli, he’s an Arab. War has made them like mother and son

For Christian enclave in Jordan, tribal lands are sacred

Revealed: cruel fate of miners who found perfect blue diamond

No place for excuses as Jacob Zuma takes power

Papi Silvio ‘to fix up’ teen model as MP

Thousands rally to mark one month of Georgia protests

Karzai in move to share power with warlord wanted by US

Sri Lankan shelling ‘kills 257’

Global warming’s toll: Glacier in Bolivia is gone

Taliban-Style Justice Stirs Growing Anger

Sharia Being Perverted, Pakistanis Say

By Pamela Constable

Washington Post Foreign Service

Sunday, May 10, 2009

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, May 9 — When black-turbaned Taliban fighters demanded in January that Islamic sharia law be imposed in Pakistan’s Swat Valley, few alarm bells went off in this Muslim nation of about 170 million.

Sharia, after all, is the legal framework that guides the lives of all Muslims.

Officials said people in Swat were fed up with the slow and corrupt state courts, scholars said the sharia system would bring swift justice, and commentators said critics in the West had no right to interfere.

Today, with hundreds of thousands of people fleeing Swat and Pakistani troops launching an offensive to drive out the Taliban forces, the pendulum of public opinion has swung dramatically.

Iran court hears reporter appeal

A court in Iran is hearing an appeal from jailed US-Iranian reporter Roxana Saberi, two days earlier than originally expected.


Ms Saberi’s lawyer said it was not clear when a ruling would be announced, but that he was optimistic that the 32-year-old would be acquitted.

Ms Saberi was convicted of spying for the US – a charge she denied.

The case sparked international concern and US President Barack Obama has appealed on her behalf.

Appeal process

Unlike her original trial, the legal process this time has been arranged to appear fair and open, says the BBC’s Jon Leyne in Tehran.

While Sunday’s hearing is still not open to the public, Ms Saberi’s appeal is being heard before a panel of three judges, and representatives of the Iranian Bar Association are being allowed to attend.

Her lawyer has also been given plenty of notice.


For Victims of Recession, Patchwork State Aid



Published: May 9, 2009

WASHINGTON – As millions of people seek government aid, many for the first time, they are finding it dispensed American style: through a jumble of disconnected programs that reach some and reject others, often for reasons of geography or chance rather than differences in need.

Health care, housing, food stamps and cash – each forms a separate bureaucratic world, and their dictates often collide. State differences make the patchwork more pronounced, and random foibles can intervene, like a computer debacle in Colorado that made it harder to get food stamps and Medicaid.

The result is a hit-or-miss system of relief, never designed to grapple with the pain of a recession so sudden and deep. Aid seekers often find the rules opaque and arbitrary. And officials often struggle to make policy through a system so complex and Balkanized.

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