Sunday, May 31, 2009

20% Unemployed

Update: In addition to being underemployed, the government would also like me to be underpaid as well. When are the Iranians nuking Washington and how much will I owe them?

Earlier this year one of our manufacturing operations went to unpaid Fridays and a few months later our other operation went the same way. The fact that both places have retained their staff is a testament to the horrid economy. Even with all that it's going to take maximum effort for the place I work for to break even this year so they've sentenced the corporate offices where I work to unpaid Fridays as well.

Currently, it's only set for the next two months with the expectation that business might pick up later in the year. Fortunately I can use my vacation days to lessen the damage to a 10% pay cut for the moment, but especially since there's no way business will pick up and may in fact get worse.

I know of a few other people in the same situation and stories like this back up the idea that the economy is taking something on the order of a 20% hit and that the GDP numbers of a 1.5% decrease a quarter being released by the government are just feel good wackery. The unemployment numbers (corrupted under Clinton) and the inflation numbers (which don't take such items as housing and fuel into account!) are already untrustworthy so it wouldn't surprise if the GDP number isn't as well, particularly if it's partially based off of the other two.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Burned With Desire

You could do worse than to play this song in the background while working (dance music alert!):

Monday, May 25, 2009

Backyard Somali Pirate

Got to love this story about a struggling school on the near west side of Cleveland:
For the Cleveland school, it may have been a case of pass or perish. In October, district Chief Executive Eugene Sanders threatened to simply shut down or replace the staff at Gallagher and nine other so-called "turnaround" elementary buildings if their marks don't improve by 2010.
More than 60 percent of Gallagher's about 800 students primarily speak languages other than English. About one in four is in special education. And many come from poverty, homelessness and other upheaval that teachers say eventually grinds youthful enthusiasm into despair.
[picture caption]Abukar Abukar, a Somali refugee, helps Adora Campis, who is involved with a program that helps homeless students in the Cleveland school district. Every Friday, the program distributes bags of food to 50 students who are homeless or on the brink.

Ahh dear reader, you have no idea how upset this makes me. WHY IN THE WORLD ARE WE IMPORTING HOMELESS SOMALIS WHO CANNOT FEED THEMSELVES INTO OUR COUNTRY!?!?! What group of idiots would bring that upon themselves?

Anyway, a school full of freshly imported Somali's and Hispanics that's failing? Paint me as shocked.
But is Gallagher truly a failure?
No, but it's existence is a failure of the worst sort.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Solvency Watch

First we have the already reported news about the massively negative draw that Medicare and Social Security are going to have on the budget very soon; something anyone with a calculator could have predicted several decades ago. I just wished to add that NPR (!) this morning pointed out that the only way the trust fund would work would be by borrowing a ton of cash or dramatically raising taxes. Their reporting is a start, though neither of their points will work long term since the plans draw way much than we could ever afford any way we approach it.

Second we have John Fund reporting on the budgetary mess in California. This is of interest to me since Ohio is like a mini-California in that they have a massive budget hole of their own. It looks like California is betting that the Feds will help plug their twenty billion dollar hole. As Mr. Fund pointed out though, Obama had earlier told California, who was trying to save money, that they couldn't cut the pay for some unionized employees or else they would forfeit the seven billion dollars that they used to plug holes earlier in the year. In this way, the Feds are turning the states into debtor slaves where no doubt the likes of Obama and Pelosi will write every budget in the country via regulation; and since their budgets will always call for deficits states will always need Federal cash.

The other side of this coin is that the whole scheme reeks of the parents telling their kids that they can charge all they want so long as they buy a couple meals a week from Uncle Chuck's restaurant. With the state's and localities free to rack up huge tabs secure in knowledge that Uncle Sugar is going to bail them out, the whole scheme turns into a game of chicken with the Feds hoping that the additional local debt doesn't bankrupt the country.

That brings up the third point: where will the Feds get their cash? Currently the Fed is exhausting all of their supply routes. With falling wages and failing employment, raising taxes will only carry them so far, and may even do more harm than good (from their perspective). They can continue attempting to print their way out, but people and other nations in particular will become (even more) leery of accepting greenbacks for their goods and services. We can continue to borrow, but for how long will other nations care to lend money to us when they're just going to get a stack of American Monopoly money in return? This would be the same money backed by the full faith and credit of Obama, his tax cheat treasury head, and a corrupt CONgress (among others).

However, much as the Feds are trying to do to the states, other parties are developing similar plans for our nation. Karl Denninger notes a BBC piece that points out that Japan's opposition party would rather buy U.S. debt backed by some other currency, namely the Yen. On first read I blew it off: there's no way our government would be so incompetent as to sell our nation out like that. Right? ......Right?

The more I thought about though, the more I became afraid that they would actually do it, that they would turn the United States into a Weimar Republic, not because of losing a war, but because of an unending addiction to government bloat. Mark my words, if something like the 'samurai bonds' (or as Karl Denninger calls them 'seppuku bonds') it will be game over. The day the U.S. issues foreign denominated debt, you should leave if you can, at least while you're money has worth. This isn't me being petty over some partisan difference, it's me being realistic about the fact that at that point our nation will be sold off in huge chunks and it will only exist in stasis in the vaults of overseas banks.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Of Puss Cats and Bunnies

Over the weekend our pet rabbit passed away from causes unknown.

Cotton with one of her puss cat buddies

Rabbits don't have quite the depth of character of a cat or dog. Cotton made up for this fact by being a 'grumpy bunny'. The only time she let people pet her was when she was out of food and she had more than enough attitude to charge any forty pound pooches that began sniffing her a little too enthusiastically. Cotton was an exception, yet owning a rabbit educated me to the fact that a rabbit has no real natural defenses and that rabbits in general exist as fresh meat stores for a planet of predators (and bizarrely, rabbits seem resigned to that fact). Mrs. Sandmich was very upset at Cotton's passing, but I was happy that we were able to give her rabbit a good home and a long life (for a rabbit). When we picked a baby Cotton up from her litter around nine years ago her mother was already pregnant with another litter; I tend to doubt that many of Cotton's brothers and sisters had it as nice as her.


One of my last memories (that I retain) from living at my parents was my mom acquiring a Siamese kitten. From what I recall, my mom had a soft spot for the naughty cats from the movie Lady and the Tramp and she had mentioned several times that she'd like to get a Siamese cat. Still, I was mildly surprised when I got back from my factory job at around 11:30 at night back in 1991 to find a pretty kitty exploring his new digs.

Unlike my cats who mob visitors so that they can get attention, 'New Moon' was strictly a mama's boy. If my mom wasn't out and about, he was missing and if my mom's bedroom door was closed at five in the morning he would cry until he was let in. My mom took great care of him and fed him food that's so good that my cats won't touch it. It sucks to lose such a dear pet, but eighteen years? A lot of people don't get to live that long; a great run for a great cat.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Cute Baby Alert!

Many, many congrats to my sister and brother-in-law for making me an uncle again with the birth of their daughter Cecilia!

The world just got a little bit better

With this announcement I realized that more than a year ago I failed to note the birth of the Kais (yes, it's plural). My only excuse is that I.....didn't want to misspell anyone's name and I forgot to do the posts. I guess the affected parties will need to have some more babies so that I can make up for this oversight!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Believe the Lie

From here:
Social Security's challenges have been exacerbated by the recession. Still, the fund is expected to continue paying full benefits for almost 30 years while funding about 75% of benefits thereafter.
I thought that after all these years that our esteemed members of the press would have learned that THERE IS NO SOCIAL SECURITY OR MEDICARE TRUST FUND! None. Nada. Zero.

We only have a few short years before both of these plans begin to be a major drain on the Federal budget. At that time, we'll find out just how long they can pay 'full benefits', and I'll guarantee you it's substantially less than 30 years (probably not even 30 months).

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Importing Evil

I've been unable to really muster much outrage about that Dafur place. It just seems to be a stretch of desert being fought over by competing savages. I guess though that it's all the rage in the elite circles, to the point that they're importing the losing set of savages into our country (thx Drudge):
As police were arresting Jimmy Odong, 19, of Portland and recovering the stolen merchandise, a group of about 15 to 30 people gathered, with about 10 of them becoming aggressive toward police, officers said.

A number of other officers were dispatched to the area, which is alongside the Kennedy Park housing development. Members of the gathering group, some of whom are Sudanese, like Odong, and some who are from other African countries, began calling the officers names, including "killers" and "murderers," in apparent reference to the police shooting of a Sudanese immigrant, David Okot, last month.
So the Feds decided that ruining California with ridiculous immigrations policies wasn't enough, they have to go and ruin places like Maine? By any measure these groups of people that they're bringing in from hell holes like Somalia and Sudan are people that any right thinking nation would pay to keep out. Everyone in the gathering group should have been boxed up and sent back to what passes for their country origin since they obviously like the code conduct much better there.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009


Beyond the fact that the administration is running roughshod over the law to get these ill devised plans done for the American car manufacturers, what kind of quality can we expect from companies that are union/government owned?* I guess it gives new meaning to the term "Department of Motor Vehicles".

*I asked my boss and he said an electric powered Yugo
**Post title stolen from NVbob over at MarketWatch

Monday, May 04, 2009

Going Green

Also eating up my time at the moment is our attempt to get a garden into the ground this year.

Mrs. Sandmich turns the last of the soil.

We'd grown stuff before. There's our pear and quince tree on the right and several years ago we grew tomatoes up toward the wood fence. The tomatoes grew well, but we didn't put any time into it and the plants were soon overgrown with weeds and had rotting, broken tomatoes that we never picked off. I guess I couldn't get up for picking tomatoes when I could go down to the grocery store and pick them up for $2 a pound, and maybe less if they're on special. For that reason this year we figured if we were going to put time into growing stuff that in addition to tomatoes we would grow more obscure stuff like leeks, shallots, eggplant, and okra, stuff that can be more pricey if it can be found at all (in decent, non-shipped-5,000 miles condition).

Yes, yes, part of my motivation has to do with all the economic horror stories I've read that will probably not come to pass. It's an overreaction, but a healthy one I figure.