Sunday, February 22, 2009

Here's your shovel.

Billmon, again, gives us an idea of what needs to be done to get us out of this mess. Essentially, it mirrors Paul Krugman and Nouriel Roubini in saying that somebody needs to spend big bucks to stop this global tailspin. That somebody is the U. S. Government.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The big shitpile

oh shit  busted!!!!
Billmon over at DailyKos explains why we're in the mess we're in. When conservatives are allowed to set policy, we all take it in the shorts.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy birthday, big guys

Today is the 200th birthday of both Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln. I wonder what they would think of today?

Darwin would probably be amazed at the advances in biology and medicine that have been made as a result of his writings, but dismayed at the number of people who still refuse to see the elegant truth he revealed.

Lincoln would probably be heartened by the advancement in justice he set in motion that has resulted in an African-American to be enthusiastically elected to, and currently hold, his old office. He would probably be dismayed at the deterioration of his party, now the home of delusion and corruption.

Well, good on ya, fellas. I'll hoist a beer in your honor.

Friday, February 6, 2009

From cold to hot: more cool palaeo stuff.

You've heard about the Ice Ages. Ten thousand to a million years ago. Glaciers, mammoths, Raquel Welch in a fur bikini. Pshh. Big deal. A few big glaciers and what did we get out of it? Igloos? Let's go back to the real ice age. The Cryogenian period. 850-630 million years ago. The Earth got so cold that it might have frozen completely over. A global hockey rink.

As cold as it was on the surface, things were happening underneath. A new paper announces the discovery of the oldest animals yet, sponges that date back 635 million years. Fossil imprints weren't actually found, rather there were deposits of steroids (Barry Bonds was alive back then?) in the rock left behind from the sponges' tissue. It appears that all that cold may have had a hand in changing the chemistry of the oceans, introducing  more oxygen in the system, allowing single-cell organisms, who had already been around for a couple billion years, the energy to evolve into complex multicellular organisms.

Credit: Copyright Jason Bourque, University of Florida

I can't feel my toes. Let's put our shorts on and hop in the time machine to the Paleocene epoch, 65.5-55.8 million years ago, right after that big rock plowed into the Yucatan and finished the dinosaurs off. After the evolutionary party that was the Mesozoic, the earth had had about enough of thunder lizards and wanted peace and quiet while it slept off its hangover. The mammals, which had evolved while trying not to get stepped on by dinosaurs, now had the run of the place. The world was like a kid's TV show, populated by small, furry creatures. That's what I always thought, anyway.

Like anything else, just as you think it's safe.... For one thing, it was hot as fuck, smoggy from forest fires and muggy. Little mammals still had to watch out, because there were snakes 45 feet long that could swallow something as big as a cow. Stalking the underbrush were sebecosuchans; big, fast crocodiles that could run like hell. Nervous and sweaty, our ancestors in the Paleocene didn't have the post-dinosaurian kumbaya that I thought.

A few other recent goodies: New evidence that proto-whales with feet still gave birth on land, a revelation on the origin of claws in arthropods, and our ancestors had jaws of steel.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Now it's personal

My boss had to cut everybody's hours at work. We're all taking one unpaid day off per week in the hope of avoiding layoffs. While there is no shortage of work to do around the house and I'll have more time to do it, a 20% pay cut hurts. Especially with a California mortgage. This economy hasn't hit bottom yet, so my pay might still get cut again, maybe by 100%.

Lee J and I have done our part all these years. Our mortgage is one we could afford, with 20% down and a fixed rate. We don't have any other debt except for a modest amount on the credit card. I put my 15% into retirement savings every single pay period and Lee J went back to school and begun a new career. The Republicans took a surplus of hundreds of billions of dollars and squandered it into a trillion dollar hole. All they can say is "more tax cuts" while arrogant executives spend our bailout money on cruises and manicures. Overpaid and unregulated Masters Of The Universe showed they had no idea what they're doing and were rewarded anyway.

President Obama, members of Congress, here's my take on the stimulus. Right now, I'm not gonna spend a dime unless it's necessary. No going out, no purchasing of gadgets, toys, treats, goodies or anything. A tax cut won't mean a damn thing. If I can't be reasonably sure I'm still going to have a job, any tax savings will go into the bank, or to the aforesaid mortgage. I'm not helping the overall situation this way, but I've got my own ass to worry about. Democrats, we donated money, worked the phones and pounded the pavement for you. Do your part. Shut the Republicans up and do this right.