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Sunday, July 31, 2011

basement, radio, and garages

made a road trip Saturday to Big Orange for 40 sheets of mold-resistant drywall, 34 studs, sundries and stuff.  that's for the west half of the basement... Shawn is doing finish work on the drywall on the east side.

got home, the garage door won't open... goes up 6 inches and goes back down.  started walking around after I tried to assist the opener and we got it open 8 inches, then down.  one of the widowmaker springs is broken.  turns out on closer inspection that when it broke, the lift cables despooled and wrapped around the spring axle.

since the door is solid scuzwood and bubbling anyway, good excuse to start asking about door sales.  turns out it was second to last day of a sale at the Nard, plus the start of an 11% rebate week.  so rented a second truck for the day, and brought home a door and opener.

the door has been propped open for the afternoon with a stud, and after some light wiring downstairs, what-ho! -- lightning in the north.  so badgered Shawn upstairs and we shut the door.  mostly.  the east side hung up 4 inches from a snagged cable... I had seen and been able to pull the west side cable.

so... took off bolts, got the crowbar, and pried off the bottom door roller/support.  dropped with a bang.  got 1.6 inches of rain that night.

eek! -- just noticed I'm bleeding.  bending a steel chassis.  I won a HW-101 transciever on eBay, and got a transformer and choke pullout.  I' ve been trying to get a hot-water for several weeks, since the CX-7a power supply is a true challenge similar to passing a national debt ceiling bill.  this afternoon, put the air on the the shed, and have built 3 perfboards to constitute the power supply (ordered caps earlier this week.)  get the chassis formed, cleaned up, and primed/painted, and when the oddball 11-pin octal connectors show up, can finish the PS and feeder cable.

then I can start checking out the HW.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

it ain't over yet in Lesser Mississippi

just because we got a budget doesn't mean the shit stopped stinking.

came out today that a statewide water quality standard is now on pause, because of a little mystery line in one of the bills that calls for a new one.

and there isn't one highway contractor working on state projects yet.  last week it was reported that another little gotcha showed up in the Transportation bill... which basically held contractors to the original contract "finish by" date... which is impossible, they'd been shut down 4 weeks.  so you need overtime to finish, right?

except the gotcha says OT money is not coming from the state, nohow.

so none of the roadwork has been restarted, and the contractors are pissed off.  big GOP contributors.

tens of thousands of workers still idled because of meddling crap that was not supposed to be meddled with under the budget agreement the GOP reached with the governor.

what a bunch of backstabbing liars, they even attack the hands that feed them.

it's not just the Pee Tarty anarchists, it's the whole sordid crew.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

welcome to flood central. in today's news...

a railroad bridge washed out over placid little Rice Creek overnight, dumping 17 cars and 2 locomotives of a 106-car BN train.  this also tore up the track and bridge used by the Northstar passenger rail.  and dumped diesel fuel into Rice Creek, headed for the Mississippi.  engineer and brakeman/conductor injured, no further data in the prints.

I-35w was drowned out between I-694 and state 96, road closed.  traffic from the south end to the roofer's local 96 building in Blaine for leafletting today was up to an hour late.

at Chez Swschrad, we have had 4.4 inches in the past 24 hours.  1.6 Friday, and the rest overnight.  plenty of drowned side roads around Blaine.  our neck of the woods, just standing water in the rain gardens.  the basement remains dry :-D  it all soaked into our sandy soil here.

it is presently sort of nice in the shade in the backyard, as long as you don't move and have a little breeze on you.  soon as those conditions change, it's nasty.  we could get more rain, and we have extreme heat index warnings in the forecast through Wednesday, with the mid to upper 90s as temps through all next week.  Broadcast Weather blog says the heat index will be worse here than in Dubai.

one of our Pee Tarty representatives took his folder and went home from budget-writing bill talks yesterday when his so-called "reforms" were called out of bounds by the administration. we're not out of the woods yet on this state shutdown stuff.  the Norquist Gang still thinks, to use the telling quote of the master, they can "cut the size of government until it is small enough to strangle in the bathtub."

That's how you tell a true patriot and humanitarian, sure enough.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

14 days and we finally have a conceptual framework for a budget in MN

which allows a news conference and live coverage.  win-win-win!  they were going to celebrate with some toasts, but the package store was out of MGD.

basics:  the relevant of the GOP's June 30th final offer was taken... $700 million bonding against future tobacco lawsuit revenue, and screwing the schools one more time with a "$700 million deferment."  last 1.4 billion deferment of aid payments has not, of course, been paid out.  it will be paid out when pigs fly.  oh, and the GOP has to push and pass a $500 million construction bonding bill, which is probably the $500 billion in projects the governor last proposed end of April to try and get something, anything, to put people to work.

NOT ACCEPTED was the last-minute insertion of the GOP of the Wisconsin Agenda... take away teachers' bargaining rights, take away prevailing wage for construction, take away 15% of state jobs permanently, fully defund any medical outfit that ever did an abortion,... same old crap that just punishes and stigmatizes folks who deserve better.

it's not a good compromise, but assuming this does not blow up in the next day or two as the details are worked out, it's better than keeping Lesser Mississippi shut down, and having more bar-and-grills, more tourist stops, more 3rd-tier business dependent on state and construction collapse.  the toll is probably over 40,000 jobs so far from a two week shutdown.

Cheryl and I were in the crowd tonight in Blaine questioning (and occasionally the crowd haranguing)  the 51A state rep.  the 54 state senator did not attend, was invited, has committed to a meeting in 10 days.  much was said of the structure of the budget, and much made of the "we only have 34 billion in the checkbook" argument, basically with constituents saying "if that's all ya got with the bills coming in, around our household, we'd get another job for more money."

unsaid, and I didn't get a round to say it in, is that if you think you got structural budget problems NOW, just wait.  in 10-15 years, 60 percent of the US will be retired.  it's a little higher expected in Minnesota.  no way you're going to push all the extra costs that entails onto property taxes; if you just plain cut and smile away, it's going to be a Death Squad (tm) signing those bills.

the "important conversation" the GOP wants is going to have to include the fact that expenses will double or triple with the doubling and tripling of the non-workforce in their rocking chairs, on medical assistance/Medi/Obamacare, needing many more services.

and here in Lesser Mississippi, it's the older generation that is armed up veterans.

food for thought out there in political magic-land.

tax the rich.  that's all ya got left.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

12 days and counting

one thing about those Pee Tarters... when they're bought, they STAY bought.

so we need to find some folks who haven't signed The Pledge to agree that the 98 percent are just as important as the 2 percent who are millionnaires.

the search continues.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

7 days makes one weak

7 days since the GoOPers derailed budget talks and the state of Lesser Mississippi shut down.

for 4 weeks the wife and I have been spending one night a week on the Twin Cities Union Federation phone banks, turning out labor and supporters for district meetings with recalcitrant GOP representatives.  in 4 weeks, I have only had three "go away" responses.  that's on calling several hundred people.

the "magic" of "no new taxes" has no Horcruxes left to lull the gullible, the folks who don't know the difference between rising property taxes cities and counties have to charge for the unfunded mandates the state has pushed on them... the taxes that are driving the poor and elderly out of their homes... and the proposed state income taxes Governor Dayton wants on the millionnaires only.

now that 50,000 and counting friends and neighbors are laid off due to GOP intransigence, enough that everybody knows someone with a tenuous future, and 16 million dollars a day are lost forever to Lesser Mississippi in lost sales, receipts, and paid unemployment, it's obvious to all but a few in delusion that there's more to state government than a bunch of slackers sleeping in their comfy chairs.

unfortunately, the deluded include enough members of the legislature that we can't get anything going.

the press now appears to be finding enough folks who have principle and morals that a cross-the-aisle solution may be worked out.  I hope the Mondale/Carlson compromise committee proposals to balance the budget kick the laggards into the aisle.


in other news, the second Federal lawsuit against the Reich of Wisconsin against the unilateral tearing up of bargained labor contracts has been filed.  basically, what Herr Wilson and his ilk have done is unconstitutionally splitting a common class of workers into two parts, over and over.  that's denial of equal rights.

denial of equal rights lawsuits are just about undefensible.  even with the Roberts court.


the little guy gets trampled... unless he bonds with hundreds more, then they flip the bulldozer trying to crush them.  I will trust Union Family.

Friday, July 1, 2011

stealing from myself, in the style of Keillor...

It's a hot day here in Lesser Mississippi; where the fish are on layoff, the legislature is on the take, and everybody says they're above reproach. down in front of Ralph's Pretty Bankrupt Grocery, all the out of work citizens are throwing loose chunks of blacktop at a passing Bentley, on its way to the privately-owned lakes.