Thursday, May 31, 2012


Thanks Mittens Romney for providing some good laughs.  I mean it's not like the app concept was wordy & it was easy to miss the typo before putting it out there , online, for all the world to see.
The concept is THREE WORDS.  But even funnier, is big & bold as the print is.... no one caught the fact the word America is misspelled!  Amer-see-ya, or Amer-shoe-uh?
Either way, lets call the whole thing off!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A bird in the bush

For real! We were doing yardwork last weekend & I realized how much things had become overgrown.
I was clipping away with handclippers when a bird came out squawking angrily at me.
Whoah! This bird was pretty serious. Must be a nest. But she flew out the other end of the 7 foot expanse & I thought the nest was at that end.... only to discover the nest & baby birds were right where I was clipping!  We placed some large fir branches over the nest zone to protect the nest... and now it is off limits to being disturbed. Jeepers creepers! A whole basket of peepers!

I think they are Spotted Towhee's, but if anyone is an avid birder & can advise what kind of bird they are.... do tell. I combed through a bunch of songbird sites trying to identify the bird-- found more birds that it is NOT than an exact match!

The Momma chirps beautiful songs, like I have never heard before, when she is happy!

Baby bird photo of the birds in our yard. 
The photo below, resembling the Momma is a stock photo. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Occupy Graduation Movement

Kudos to those wonderful people of the Backbone Campaign. They love street theater & what better place to bring it-- your own College Commencement ceremony!
They are trying to bring awareness about student debt to the forefront, using "Creative Commencement" tactics.
 Congress just voted to double the student loan debt to 7% & the existing student loan debt just hit the $1,000,000,000,000 mark (that's one trillion).
Leave it to the 1%er GOP in Congress to decide now is a good time to shackle students with a double debt load, at a time when so many can't afford to go to college at all.
It's a known fact college grads make more money than High School grads & ultimately contribute more to the tax base in the long run.

That being said here are the supplies the Occupy Graduation movement have to offer:

The lovely "Hello MY DEBT IS" name sticker, shown above.

And the inflatable ball & chain debt shackle, one can personalize it by painting in white YOUR college loan debt

In America today, approximately two-thirds of all college students graduate with student loan debt.

In 2010, the average college graduate had accumulated approximately $25,000 in student loan debt by graduation day.
The total amount of student loan debt in the United States now exceeds the total amount of credit card debt in the United States.
 The cost of college textbooks has tripled over the past decade.
 The student loan default rate has nearly doubled since 2005.

 Only 55.3% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 were employed last year.  That was the lowest level that we have seen since World War II.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Editorial Rant

Romney should remember bullying

It’s not often that a political story jumps out at me during election season, but the Mitt Romney bullying story did. At an elite prep school, Romney cut off the hair of a fellow student while other classmates held the frightened, crying boy down.
One of the bullies said he still is haunted by the boy’s cries, who was described as “different and effeminate.” He added that he wishes he could forget the screams and the look of fear and could go back in time and stop it. He also said Romney in his youth went after people who were “different.”

Romney doesn’t deny his role in the incident, but he says he “doesn’t remember” it and regards it as a youthful prank. One man can’t forget, and another man can’t remember.
A President Romney would bring a whole new meaning to the term “bully pulpit.”


Honestly, bravo & well said. If Romney truly can't remember terrorizing a fellow student who screamed for help,people should forget Romney. 
Instead he hides behind the "I did stupid things in my youth". There is a world of difference between stupid & mean, hateful, prejudiced & inflicting physical forced chopping off of hair, to force a student to not be different. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Bailed out ~ Failed out ~ A close encounter

Some protest slogans really stick.
THEY GOT BAILED OUT WE GOT SOLD OUT- the cry of the Occupy Movement
is one of those slogans.

There is a "Bankster" fiasco hitting even closer to home. 

Interestingly, we received notice in the mail, that our Mortgage lender GMAC has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. (Ally owns ResCap, of which GMAC mortgage is a subsidiary).

For the record in 18 years, we have never once been late or short on the mortgage payments. 

Ally has paid back $5.5 billion to the U.S. Treasury since being rescued as part of the auto bailout, back when it was still known as General Motors Acceptance Corp., or GMAC. But the company still owes nearly $12 billion -- or two-thirds of the total loan.

Ally will be putting up $150 million to help finance the bankruptcy and will also contribute $750 million in cash once the restructuring plan is approved, which ResCap hopes will happen by the fourth quarter.
Ally, which is 74% owned by the government, also said it will also make a stalking horse bid for up to $1.6 billion of ResCap-owned mortgages.
ResCap, which will continue operating through its Chapter 11 proceedings, said it will sell its mortgage origination and servicing businesses to Nationstar Mortgage.,0,56360.story

Anyway another case of they got bailed out & we will get sold out. It is not uncommon for mortgage companies to sell their mortgages to another company.... but this will be done under (their own) financial distress. 

How can a financial institution get loaned $17.5 billion & still screw up??

The letter we received was to the effect of "Yes your mortgage company is filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, but don't worry everything is just fine, and then in bold font it says:

"As such you must continue to make your scheduled mortgage payments on time and in full to the address listed on your monthly statement". 

So apparently they can screw up & be irresponsible by choice, but a person struggling to pay a mortgage WILL be punished. 

They got a $17 Billion dollar bailout & are filing for bankruptcy. 
I don't know about you, but the fact that the government owns 74% of this failing company brings no comfort. In the end that is just a huge liability that simply dumps the debt on the government which trickles down to "We the people take the loss". 
Chapter 11 bankruptcy is "restructuring", but let's face it, when is bankruptcy ever a good thing?? They are deep in debt & the article states " The filing will help Ally distance itself from litigation-laden ResCap". It does not state what kind of litigation it is "ladened" with, but I'm guessing funky foreclosures. In any case, they are in deep trouble & can dump it in the lap of the government who owns 74% of it. 
Perhaps they should consider a name change... I suggest this:
 to     all lies

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Too big.

Not only is it a fishy story, JP Morgan Chase losing $2 billion, but it is a big fish eating all the little fish story. 
A little Wiki history:
JPMorgan Chase is one of the Big Four banks of the United States with Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo. According to Bloomberg, as of October 2011 JPMorgan Chase surpassed Bank of America as the largest U.S. bank by assets. (Too big!). 
Hedge funds, investment banking, treasury & securities, credit cards, and 2 trillion in assets. 

Although they did not call themselves the "Occupy" movement back in the day, there were still angry citizens who blamed the banksters for being thieves.

September 16, 1920, a bomb exploded in front of the headquarters of J. P. Morgan Inc. at 23 Wall Street, injuring 400 and killing 38 

The following list shows the years of history of how JP 
Morgan Chase became the "big fish" of the banking world.

Chemical Bank of New York, (est. 1823) acquired the following:
Not a comprehensive list! 
• Citizens National Bank
(est. 1851, acq. 1920)
• Corn Exchange Bank
(est. 1852, acq. 1954)
• New York Trust Company
(acq. 1959)
• Chase Manhattan (merged 1955)
• Bank of Manhattan (est 1795)
• Hanover trust (est 1873)
• Chase National Bank (est 1877)
• J.P. Morgan & co (formerly Morgan Guaranty Trust) merged 1959
• Manufacturers Hanover (merged 1961)
• Manufacturers Trust co. (est 1905)
 Banc One (merged 1968)
•Texas Commerce Bank
(est. 1866, acq. 1986
• First Chicago (merged in 1995)
• J.P. Morgan Chase merged in 2000
• Bear Stearns (acq 2008)
• Washington Mutual (acq 2008)

In 2006, JPMorgan Chase purchased Collegiate Funding Services, a portfolio company of private equity firm Lightyear Capital, for $663 million. CFS was used as the foundation for the Chase Student Loans, previously known as Chase Education Finance.
In April 2006, JPMorgan Chase announced it would swap its corporate trust unit for The Bank of New York Co.'s retail and small business banking network. The swap valued The Bank of New York business at $3.1 billion and JPMorgan's trust unit at $2.8 billion and gave Chase access to 338 additional branches and 700,000 new customers in New York, New Jersey, and Indiana.
So you can see how a company this big, dealing in trillions, thinks a loss of $2 billion is not a big deal. 

When I say they tower over the banking world, I mean it quite literally. 

*FOOTNOTE: I am not proposing violence, just noted that historically, people have shown various degrees of discontent with banking institutions.

Also~ The Wall Street Journal said the $2 billion dollar loss may just be the tip of the iceberg.
"The nation's largest bank has said publicly that its losses on the trades have surpassed $2 billion, and people familiar with the matter have said they could over time reach $5 billion.
The company is holding derivative wagers with a face value of roughly $100 billion in a derivative index tracking the health of corporate debt, according to a person familiar with the bank's trading.
J.P. Morgan's situation is complicated by the fact that it controls a big percentage of the outstanding trades on the index. According to data from IntercontinentalExchange Inc., which operates a clearinghouse for credit derivatives, positions on the index amount to about $785 billion. That figure doesn't reflect all trading activity in the index because many derivative trades aren't put through a clearinghouse.

                                                                                   CARTOON BELOW: WE CAN FIGURE OUT                                                                                                                                     ~                                                                                                                  WHERE THIS IS GOING. 

The CEO, Dimon (or is that demon?) sez:
The bank has said that "this strategy was poorly designed and executed, and we caught the mistake late. We'll say it again—it was sloppy, stupid and shouldn't have happened."

My comment: $2 billion dollars worth of stupid- that's a whole lot of stupid-- but wait! There's more!

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which oversees the J.P. Morgan unit that made the trades, says it has roughly 70 people monitoring the bank's trading activities. But the outsize bet failed to raise alarms at the regulator as of late April, just weeks before the firm revealed its $2 billion trading loss.

The actual J.P. Morgan guy bears a striking resemblance to the Monopoly Money Man...

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Socially Insecure

The Government Social Security web site now has your SSI statement online-- they can no longer afford to mail them to you! That's a "statement" in & of itself.
So click here, to get there.

You have to answer questions & set up passwords, but low & behold you can learn that if you wait until
approved retirement age - which is now "66 years old pus 8 months" (What???), what your monthly benefit will be. And if you wait to retire until age 70 ( work till you're dead?) & if you choose "early" retirement @ age 62.

Good to know.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Motherhood, not all it's cracked up to be...

Great Advice:

Motherhood is the hardest job you'll ever love, and maybe hate!
Whatever life throws at you, you signed up for it & you are in it for the long run. 
I loved so much of it.. not so much the "miracle of birth"- I did the birthing at home with a Midwife @ home w/o drugs & it was intense. But then you have this miniature human that is a blank canvas. 
You spend the first few years learning what Waaaa means.. diaper, burp, hungry, bored???
As soon as you figure them out, they change on you. 
I thoroughly enjoyed the Teddy Bear picnics, the wonderful art (the blue turkey, because your school did not dictate only brown, yellow & red crayons could be used for turkey art!). 
I loved watching them grow & see the world through new eyes & how very different each child is. I have the yin & yang of children.... so very different, hard to believe they grew up under the same roof. 
We survived chicken pox, whooping cough, even did the Heimlich maneuver on the youngest, when he choked on an egg roll at a restaurant.  I gave him life & saved his life!
We endured tantrums, the adolescent years, and even sought help when we felt we were in it over our heads in the teen years.  We rearranged our lives to accommodate theirs, and always put the kids first. 
I had a very close relationship with my Mother. Not to say we did not have our run ins & blow outs. but the prevailing items were love and respect. No matter what cam down, we could eventually come back to the table to work things out.  My Mom was a great communicator & was a down to earth person. She did not play games & was open & honest. 
She passed away in October 2011, so this is the first Mother's day without her. 
Even though I know she is in a better place, I miss her so much. 
So while you have your Mom on this earth, take the time to tell her you love & appreciate her. 
Mom's do so much, and a lot of it is thankless. 
Celebrate her & be grateful while she's here. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Going backwards

What the hell is happening in this country?
N. Carolina is the new "Hate State", putting a constitutional ban on gay/same sex marriage.
Equal rights is the Civil Rights issue of the 21st century in the U. S.
This is exactly why I dislike the State by State approach for this civil rights/equality issue.
If they did this for Slavery & the Civil Rights movement, we'd still have plantations with slaves, and white only drinking fountains & bus seating. All the other countries in the graphic below honor people's rights to choose whomever they want to marry.  I really hate the idea that in the USA, a couple's marriage, (and all the legal rights that go with it) will not be valid, simply by crossing a State line.

To add insult to injury, the Senate just pulled the rug out from under those taking student loans.  Once again the republicans fought for not taxing the rich, and would rather fund lower interest rate student loans by taking money from the Health care reform act funds. How do these people sleep at night?

* This editorial cartoon could use some updating. Make the "tuition hike" much larger, and add an anvil falling above the student's head titled "unemployment". We are going to have a whole lot of College grads working minimum wage jobs, and either default on student loans, or taking much longer (paying more), to pay off the debt. 

Subsidized Stafford loans are for low- and middle-income students. The higher rates, will affect students taking out new loans starting July 1.
The Education Department estimates 7.4 million students will borrow $31.6 billion in such loans in the year beginning July 1, averaging $4,226 for each student.
These loans generally are paid off over a decade or more after graduation. Allowing interest rates to double would cost the typical student about $1,000 over the life of the loan, the administration says.
The Senate is bringing the student loan rate backwards to that of 5 years ago, in the GW Bush era. 

The student loan default rate has nearly doubled since 2005.
 Approximately 14 percent of all students that graduate with student loan debt end up defaulting within 3 years of making their first student loan payment.
According to the Student Loan Debt Clock, total student loan debt in the United States will surpass the 1 trillion dollar mark in early 2012.
 The total amount of student loan debt in the United States now exceeds the total amount of credit card debt in the United States.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Saturday, May 5, 2012

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's.....



Learn what makes a big full moon a true 'supermoon' in this infographic.
Source All about our solar system, outer space and exploration

Thursday, May 3, 2012

More War!

That is when progress will be made, when action will be taken.

We'll end the war in 2014.
Or so says our Nobel Peace Prize winning president.

Operation Enduring Bullshit Freedom.

"On 22 June 2011, President Obama announced that 10,000 U.S. troops would be withdrawn by the end of 2011. An additional 23,000 troops will leave the country by the summer of 2012. After the withdrawal of 10,000 U.S. troops, 80,000 are left participating in the war. The War in Afghanistan is the United States' longest running major war longer than either the Iraq War or the Vietnam War (1964–1973), provided one considers the start of the Vietnam War the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in 1964, and its end 27 January 1973 as the day when the Paris Peace accords were signed.
In April 2012 an agreement between Afghanistan and the United States of America was reached which places night raids under Afghan control and increases the chances that the US and Afghanistan will strike a strategic partnership that would keep American troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014. 
The United States and its NATO allies finalized agreements on 18 April 2012 to wind down the war in Afghanistan by formalizing three commitments: to gradually move the Afghans into a lead combat role; to keep some international troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014, and to pay billions of dollars a year to help support the Afghan security forces.

Ask me if I am sick to the gills of extended wars. 
You betcha!
Because where I live, they can't fund a Medical Examiner. 
The jail does not have enough money to keep criminals behind bars. 
They are trying to auction off the Animal Shelter to the highest bidder. 
Six schools shut down. 
I sound like a broken record, but connect the dots people!
We don't have money for essential services because we are spending billions on wars. 

The United States has been at war in Afghanistan for 3,860 days. Troops arrived on Oct. 7, 2001, less than a month after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.
1,834 Americans Killed
In the eleven years that American troops have been fighting in Afghanistan 1,834 have been killed. The most deadly year to date was 2010, when 492 Americans died.
During the first four months of 2012, 87 members of the U.S. military have lost their lives in Afghanistan. A total of 367 Americans have died in the war-torn country in the year since Osama bin Laden was killed.
15,786 Americans Wounded
Nearly 16,000 U.S. troops have been wounded in action since the Afghanistan war began in 2001.
From the time Osama bin Laden was killed one year ago through the end of March 2012, 4,341 members of the American military have been wounded.
88,000 Troops
There are currently 88,000 U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan. That's down from the peak troop level of about 100,000 who were stationed there in March of 2011. Troop strength is expected to shrink to 68,000 by the end of September and by the end of 2014, most U.S. troops are expect to be out of the country.
About 40,000 additional troops from America's allies, such as Britain, are also stationed in Afghanistan.
11,864 Civilians Killed
According to the United Nations, nearly 12,000 Afghan citizens have been killed between 2007 -- when the UN began reporting such statistics -- and 2011.
$443 billion
The war in Afghanistan has cost the United States $443 billion from 2001 through 2011, according to the Congressional Research Office.
According to a Pew Trusts report, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have contributed more to growth in U.S. debt than any other policy since 2001 except the Bush tax cuts and in the increased interest from legislative changes.