Tracking the Mumbai Attacks

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mumbai on Twitter

The ongoing crisis in India has twitter going as fast as I've seen it in the few weeks I've been on Twitter.

Do Federal Programs Ever Work the Way We Think They Should?

I've been reading a lot about our Government bailing out the three major auto manufacturers lately. It looks like some program or another will eventually be developed.

Whether the Government does something in time to save the jobs of millions of auto workers remains to be seen. One thing for sure, the leaders of the auto industry are suffering scrutiny that I haven't seen in a long time. Using Lear Jets to beg for money raised a few eye-brows recently, and prompted several to change their public behavior. But will such scrutiny have any lasting, real effect on how the auto-elite run their businesses?

For decades I've watched Ralph Nader battle these fat-cats, and for years I've watched them fight back. The effort to lobby Congress for Legislation favorable to the auto industry is paid for out of money from auto sales. Simple enough, or is it?

Their are several major lawsuits against State and Federal Governments to set aside EPA and other regulations that auto makers don't like. Those law suits cost billions of dollars every year, and every year those lawyers are paid out of revenue from auto-sales. Simple enough, or is it?

My questions are; Are tax-payers going to fund a bail-out of these fat-cats that beg from Lear Jets? Are our dollars going to pay for the law-suits against the Government and the folks who are giving them their hard earned money? It sounds to me like a lot of lawyers are going to get a lot of money for a long time in a never ending cycle of....I'm looking for a word stronger than 'absurd', help me with this...

If we ( the people ) bail-out them ( the fat-cats and their lawyers ), we should require them to drop all lawsuits against us ( US ).

Report: Michael Jackson converts to Islam -

Monday, November 24, 2008
Here we go again folks! Michael is now Mikaeel and the Peter Pan fantasy has replaced by Arabian Knights, or Ali Baba...
LOS ANGELES, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- Pop star Michael Jackson has converted to Islam at a ceremony in Los Angeles attended by Yousef Islam, the singer formerly known as Cat Stevens, sources say.

On the Job Accident

Friday, November 21, 2008
An accident has happened at the factory where I work.

It's Saturday morning, and as usual I'm up a few hours early to read the many news-papers that I subscribe to in my Google Reader. Most news is bad news, and most news is from distant and unfamiliar places about events that affect us indirectly. Not so this morning.

I'm reading this news-feed from the local newspaper about how a young man was severely injured. I had heard nothing of this when I left yesterday at 3pm, so I'm assuming it happened on either the second, or third shift. Being Saturday, most of my friends won't have heard this news when they arrive for work because the local Television news at this early hour is mostly farm and weather related.

This is not the first accident at hour plant, in fact there have been several severe accidents in the last few months. There have been explosions, and other events that should have drawn the attention of the media and Government. I read very little of these events in the news media. The equipment and the environment we work in is dangerous, and heavily regulated by State and Federal Agencies ( OSHA, etc ), and we have seen several inspections lately by these agencies.

On a normal Saturday schedule, we don't usually see much of Management at the Pasta Plant. I expect to see a lot of suits and ties today. This will be interesting to watch, as my shift supervisor is out for vacation and his assistant has been in charge for the last week.

I am debating whether to tell my wife about this news before I go to work. I don't want her to worry, but I don't want her to hear about from the local gossip mill while I'm gone either. For many years I drove a taxi, and she worried all that time. When I took this job, she seemed more secure. I hope this doesn't change things.

It changes things, a lot of things for a lot of people around here...

Here's what I read a few minutes ago. I hesitate to include the full article that I quote below, as it does include the name of my employer. If you click on the link, you will be directed to the full article as it appears in our local paper.
"...employee said he was suffering physical and emotional pain Friday after losing his right arm in a work accident at one of the company's Steeleville plants.

Speaking by telephone from Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Jeremy Stanley, 29, said he was surrounded by family members and friends in his hospital room. According to preliminary medical reports from Sparta Community Hospital, Stanley's arm was caught in a mixing bowl and got amputated at the elbow. He also suffered numerous cuts on his upper right arm..."

I Want To Be A Bank

Saturday, November 15, 2008
If I were a bank, I could qualify myself for Capital Purchase Program for a few million bucks, and get billions of your bucks. Aren't you glad I'm not a bank?

I was browsing my rss feeds, when a news item caught my eye. It was about a well known Financial Institution who's value has jumped recently as the result of their intentions to buy a small bank in Florida. Check it out;
HARTFORD, Conn., Nov 14, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE: HIG) today announced that it has applied to the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) to become a savings and loan holding company and has applied to participate in the U.S. Treasury Department's Capital Purchase Program (CPP).
In conjunction with these applications, The Hartford has signed a merger agreement to acquire the parent company of Federal Trust Bank for approximately $10 million and will also provide an additional amount to recapitalize the bank. Federal Trust Bank, a federally chartered, FDIC-insured savings bank is owned by Federal Trust Corporation, a unitary thrift holding company headquartered in Sanford, Fla. The completion of this acquisition will satisfy a key eligibility requirement for participation in CPP.
"We are taking these actions as a strong and well-capitalized financial institution looking for maximum flexibility and stability," said Ramani Ayer, The Hartford's chairman and chief executive officer. "Securing capital at the terms available through the Capital Purchase Program could be a prudent course in this market environment and would allow us to further supplement our existing capital resources.
"The Hartford's purchase of Federal Trust Corporation is contingent on Treasury's approval of The Hartford's participation in the CPP, approval of the acquisition by the shareholders of Federal Trust Corporation, and the Office of Thrift Supervision's approval of The Hartford's application to become a savings and loan holding company. The Hartford estimates that it would be eligible for a capital purchase of between $1.1 billion and $3.4 billion under existing Treasury guidelines. The final amount of capital request will be determined following approval by Treasury...more  
So I'm asking all my contacts; "Do you know of any small Savings and Loan Companies ( they don't have to be very big ) that are in the need of 'rescue'? We could all get together, pool our cash and qualify for billions of taxpayer bucks! ! !

Or is that a crime....nevermind....sorry...I was just pondering the possibilties...

Washington Times - Whistleblower asked to reveal illegal FBI acts

Thursday, November 13, 2008
This could get interesting! Now that the election is over, and the Bail-out is in full swing and yesterday's news, bloggers and pundits are in search of scandle. This jus might be the main topic for the next few months in the blog-o-sphere.
The FBI has engaged in unlawful acts while carrying out a Bush administration intelligence-gathering program that allows surveillance of U.S. citizens without warrants, says an a well-known FBI whistleblower who has been asked to air his allegations to the Justice Department.


Obama Resigns!: Pics, Videos, Links, News


Are We Ready to Impeach Obama?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Every President in living memory ( excepting Jimmy Carter ) has suffered the burden of a 'special prosecutor' investigating some aspect or another of their administration, and also the possibility of impeachment. Several have actually been impeached, and one has resigned directly as a result of zealous and thorough investigative reporting.

Barak Obama is sure to suffer the same indignity, so I've decided to get an early start at tracking any and all efforts by journalists, bloggers and pundits who will inevitably ply their talents in this modern form of black drama ( no pun intended ).

I will publish this post, ping it with Google's fine tool and then begin the search via Google Search. The tracking will be done automatically via Google's fine rss Reader. I will update this post with a link to those search results. They will be published by 'sharing' ( a Google Reader function, available to all Google Reader users ) in chronological order, most recent posts at the top.

To view the drama, simply click on this question;

Speak Now, or Forever Hold Your Peace

Monday, November 3, 2008
Vote. It's your voice in Government. 

If you don't vote, you have abdicated your proper power of speech in Government. You may feel disenfranchised, marginalized or side-lined and that your vote doesn't count. You may be right, but vote anyway.

If you don't express yourself at the polls, then whatever you say from now in is rendered mute, and irrelevant. This opportunity is like the moment just before a preacher pronounces two people man and wife;
"...Speak now, or forever hold your peace..."

A Note With My Pay-check

Saturday, November 1, 2008
I opened my the envelope, and found a rather long note included with my check. From the owner and CEO of the company that I work for, to all the employees, letting us all know how he felt about the up-coming elections. It was a long letter that promoted John McCain. I wasn't surprised that my boss was a Republican.

He made some good points, and I had to agree with most of what he wrote. I did notice that Obama's name wasn't mentioned at all. Not once.

Nor was any mention made of the Employee Free Choice Act ( EFCA ) made. For those that aren't aware, EFCA is making it's way across Capital Hill, and will most likely be on the new Presidents desk when he assumes office next year. This piece of Legislation would have a major impact on American Business, as well as Labor and for my boss not to even mention it seems rather odd. Unless he doesn't want to broadcast the news that he's about to lose a lot of control over his work-force.

I watched as about a hundred co-workers opened their envelopes, read the note and walked silently away. That's odd, I thought to myself. Not a word. I could see at least a dozen Obama t-shirts in the crowd, and no McCain shirts. You'd think there'd be some remark made about the note, and the owners political stand.

Several years ago I asked a coworker if there had ever been a union at the plant. He said there'd been a vote, but it had been voted down because unions would raise wages, kill the company and we'd all be out of a job. That sounded a little odd to me because I knew that it wasn't unions that shut all the mines down in this area, it was the EPA and a Republican President ( Ronald Reagan ). Odd, unless the guy asked was afraid to say anything else.

Many folks think that a secret ballot is one way to give a voice to those who are afraid of speaking out on things that seem 'a little odd'. And I agree that when the curtain is drawn on the booth your employer won't know how you vote, so you can vote in your interest instead of his. But is the path to the booth supposed to be a secret trail, hidden so that employees don't lose their jobs when the whisper about organizing or establishing a union?

EFCA will allow union organizers to move freely in the community, collecting signatures on applications for membership in a union. If the organizers get signatures of more than half the number of employees in a company, then the union is established without the permission, or even the involvement of the company.

There's more written into EFCA that will have even greater effects on our lives, and I find it very odd that nobody in the mainstream press, and very few pundits on the internet even mention it. Odd, unless they are afraid to speak...