Sunday, August 30, 2009

The final days of the gravy train.





It is ironic I got this shot today. When I started bitching about the firefighters, here and way back here, I never imagined the shit storm that was descending on government employees.

How could I know really? It's taken 5 years to gain access to government employee compensation. This is after a supreme court ruled that cities must release the information. Some cities are still holding out.

"More than two years after state Supreme Court Justice Ronald George authored a 7-0 ruling stating that the salaries of all government employees are public record, some local governments still refuse to quickly release data. Pinole in Contra Costa County balked at providing data on overtime and bonuses, releasing only gross pay. The city of Alameda took more than two months to release information on all of its 2008 employees and would not perform calculations to make the data easier for the public to understand. Albany refused to make similar calculations on overtime pay and bonuses."

Read more here from Inside Bay Area.

Which I urge everyone in California to read. It outlines the unconscionable abuses across the board in over time pay. With a ginormous amount of people spiking their salaries 150% with overtime pay. So for example, if your base salary was 100,000 - your take home could be 250,000! And, we'd pay you that for for as long as you live. You might even get a car allowance or bonus thrown in for good measure.

I honestly debated titling this post the 100 thousand dollar club.

They retire with salary plus 150% overtime and deluxe medical. Then they hire someone else for 100+ grand to take their spot. And what is so infuriating - is they could have hired a whole new staff member and still saved us money. Since they are pulling time and a half after all.They rob us all. They make business move out of the state due to the ridiculous tax burden.

No wonder I can run into a firefighter sporting a CLS Mercedes or a series 5 BMW or Volvo or Lexus with reasonable regularity. And the sad thing is - firefighters are only visible because of their license plates. Apparently the abuses are ridiculously rampant in all cities. These are the people who are going to keep health care costs down in a public run system?!

Look at this quote from the article.

"The data show wide discrepancies in pay and sometimes high salaries in government agencies, such as the Port of Oakland, where a semiskilled laborer grossed $123,450 in 2008, and in Newark, in southern Alameda County, where more than half of the 215 city employees were each paid more than $100,000 last year and the average gross pay was $109,027."

Half! Of the city of Newark made over 100k, when the average salary for that city is 80K.

Thank goodness someone had the balls to get this data from the government. I don't know how much traction it will get. Yet, I have seen some bubbling up this past week. At least one official in the East bay has "stepped down to spend more time with his family". Which is code for - you better leave. His pension close to 300k a year. I'll try to find the article.

I hadn't thought much about the whole thing except I'd started seeing more and more stories about it this last week. Then it was on the front page of the newspaper today. They even have a term for it. Pension jackpot.

Strangely when I first started talking about this I attributed the ridiculous pay to 9/11 fallout. However, I've been noticing the comments for these stories change dramatically. From Hero's to thieves.

There's even a website dedicated to the Pension Tsunami. You know, if you wanted to kill all feelings of hope that ever existed in your body.

Or you could read more outrageousness from presstelegram.com
It only gets more ridiculous.

"The dubious honor of collecting the state's highest pension belongs to former Vernon City Administrator Bruce Malkenhorst, who receives $499,675 per year - even though he is currently facing two counts of misappropriating public funds for allegedly taking $60,000 in city money for personal use."

"As grand juries throughout the state are investigating pension systems, former Assemblyman Keith Richman, president of CFFR, said these huge pensions are the result of a "corrupt pension system."

California, Richman said, is the only state in the nation that allows employees to use their highest year of salary - including unused vacation, vehicle allowances, bonuses and other compensation - in calculating their pensions."

Friday, August 28, 2009

Government run healthcare is a little like my renter.

I have to say - I've hated every moment of being a landlord. Well, okay - there has been a few months where he's paid on time. And things might not be as bad if it weren't for a little issue called - water.

When my roofer first moved in, he was suppose to pay all utilities. Of course he's rarely paid the water bill. Since he does keep the lawns up (I think) I mostly let it slide. Every once in a while I need to nudge him to quit using so much water. But generally it hasn't been too much of a problem. Until last month. My bill shot up to 200 bucks for the month. Which resulted in me calling him up and saying something like - are you out of your fucking mind!

Well, I didn't really say that. One, because I don't treat people that way. And two, because I might wind up with a problem worse than he is. So I bite the inside of my cheek raw and and tell him he is killing me with the water bill and to turn the sprinklers down. But what I really want to say is "are you out of your fucking mind"?

Since he is generally responsive - I move on with my life. Until this month. 185 bucks. I can't imagine how he is using that much effing water. It is a 1400sft house. Barely. My house is bigger and my water bill is only 40 bucks. I imagine he spends his days hanging out in the shower masturbating.

Now, since he doesn't see the bill, he can just wildly overuse water and not think anything of it, until I call and freak out.

What? Surely a pipe must be broken you say? Sure maybe. But, I bet you 20 bucks when I let him know I'll need to inspect the place - he'll start saving water pretty quickly.

Which is pretty much how government health care will be run. People will use the services willy nilly until the government freaks out and puts the clamp down.

On another note - recently it was said by the government that real unemployment is something around 16%. I don't really feel you should be able to count part time employees. Unemployment is never really counted that way. However - my renter told me today he hasn't gotten a roofing job in three weeks. And, since he's a self employed contractor - he doesn't get to claim unemployment.

So who really knows what the real unemployment number is. Besides in the range of - not good.

P.S. never become a landlord if you hate being a nag. It's like tiny shards of glass - I mean confrontation all the time. And the thing is - since they are really your customer, you can't be shitty to them. Yet, they can be shitty to you all they want. You are after all, the greedy landlord.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Does this eggsack make my ass look fat?





Before pictures. I don't know how long it takes for her to start making an eggsack, but she definitely looks knocked up.

It's a good thing no one pays attention to this stuff.

Has anyone been paying attention to Honduras? I know you are all looking around going "who the f pays attention to Honduras".

Exactly!

So, every few days when a news report comes out about our goberment hassling them, I think - why are we still paying any attention to this matter? They don't produce anything we need. They are one of the poorest nations on earth. Why do we care!

Yet - week after week, we still fuck with them. Today, the Central American Bank is freezing credit to them. Which I believe is a division of the IMF. Since it's listed on the IMF site.

Which only makes sense since Hillary has vowed to take action against them. First we decided to not protect them via dropping military relations - now we are just trying to starve them out.

I suppose I'm the only one who finds it odd. You know, since I thought they were going to be busy creating jobs.

Wow.. it seems funnier in text. Creating jobs.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The hour is late - and the zombies are many. Pt2.

San Jose Zombie Crawl. Part 1 here.



This guy was really good and not with the group. I stumbled on him walking back to the car. That tiny dog was half the size of any of my bunnies. I asked why he didn't eat the dog. That only made him try to eat my brains. My batteries were acting up, and I didn't get the shots of him descending on me.







This was a panhandler. She might have been homeless - in the way people live with friends and such. At first the guy asked her if she wanted a cigarette. Then I stopped hearing what they were talking about. Clearly it looks like he was offering her brains.



Zombie dog.

The hour is late - and the zombies are many.

San Jose Zombie Crawl.









Zombie - or homeless?



Zombies holding up traffic.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

So much weirdness.

One thing is certain - you never know what you are going to get here at the snarkolepsy blog. To be honest, even I don't know, as most of this stuff is completely unplanned. You will have to excuse my crappy pictures. I didn't expect this to happen, and then I felt kinda creepy taking photos. I don't know why.



So anyway - I guess Jeff is a girl. And I guess I sort of mated her last night!?!



It was about the freakiest thing ever. I wasn't even completely sure of their sexes. Only what the Internet told me. And then because he was so much smaller than her(Jeff. No I'm not changing it's name) I thought he was food.

She took his head off and I thought that was the end of that. I knew they mated when that happened, but I thought they needed to be coupled at the time.

Um... turns out not. She eats his head, and his body finds a life of its own and actually sort of walks around on its own to find um.. the sweet spot? I don't know what to call it.

Ridiculously, since I didn't expect this insect to mate in complete captivity, I may now be stuck with an egg sack I have to coddle for a few months. I'm telling you, you can't make this crap up.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Weekend rundown.

It's been a ridiculously busy weekend. Went to a small toy faire. Saw Richard Hatch. No - not the one from survivor. I only spent about 10 minutes there. I don't know how they get these guys to fly in. I can't imagine what it must do to their egos. Because this thing was really small. And it wasn't new toys. It was old toys, and the place sort of smelled like a grannies house.





Then saw District 9. Which actually was quite good. It's so rare I go into a theater and not walk out bored. So, that was awesome.

There's a bunch of other stuff, but I'm too tired to talk about it right now.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Thursday, August 20, 2009

It's like we didn't learn anything from the recession.

OMG Readers - wall street has the most ginormous balls on the planet. Did you see the stock market today? Oh sure - the market going up makes everyone feel happy. I'd be lying if I didn't say it made me feel super happy too.

There seems to be an odd feeling of relief everywhere you go. Even with people I'm pretty sure don't have a dime in the market. It just makes everyone feel a sense of relief somehow when the market goes up.

Having said that - I've noticed an odd thing lately. People don't want to hear the truth that things are going to get worse. And they are. Really, I can't blame them. It is nice to have a break from the crushing stress. Still, you'd have to be an expert at lying to yourself if you don't believe the shit will hit the fan - I don't know.. soon.

The banks are not selling as many houses. A one month blip notwithstanding. The ones they do sell, they don't make as much money on. They aren't giving credit cards to as many people and have cut their limits. Or the cards completely. You can't go anywhere and not see several retail spaces on every block up for sale. So how are they doing so well praytell? That's right. Government money.

A prime example of how people don't want to hear about the bad news coming our way is Peter Schiff. Don't tune me out yet. I'm not really a follower. Though I have been completely fascinated at how the analysts are making him out to be a nutter. A lot of stuff he says is actually correct. And so many people are freaking out about inflation, I can't even believe these analysts aren't shitting their pants about it.

22 states have depleted their unemployment funds and are now borrowing from the government. 22!

Just before congress went on vacation in July they provided 40 billion to shore up jobless benefits. Every week I hear about another states unemployment fund going broke. Today it was Florida. I believe last week it was Texas. California already owes 2.6 billion to the government for unemployment because our fund is depleted.

By the end of the year, 30 states are to have reported unemployment fund depletion's. I hear a rumor that welfare if turning people down because they are out of money. 34 million people on foods stamps ya'all. If all those people collected the average benefit of 133 bucks per month - it would be about 4.5 billion. Right?

Did you know you can collect 900 bucks a week in unemployment benefits in Massachusetts? The state by state rundown is here.

So, why wouldn't people be freaking out about inflation? It would be completely not sane - to not have a great deal of fear about inflation right about now.

And! Doesn't it freak anyone out that large companies like Deere and Co, are reporting they will barely make a break even quarter?

Yet, I guess the recession is over. We can all go home now. Ooooh wait. Some people can't go home. That's right.

Small - but something.

Did you know mantis's can make this loud scraping noise?

Me neither!

I suppose it's something along the lines of what a cricket does, but on a much grander scale. Because Jeff started doing this last night, and freaked the bunnies completely out. They started stamping and wouldn't settle down until we moved him into another room and closed the door. The bunnies are pretty good bugler alarms. It was a sound they'd never heard before, and it made them super unhappy.

We also suspect Jeff is a girl now. If you were curious or anything.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Maybe I should brush up.



Next week - there is a zombie walk. Mr S. has been trying to convince me to go in character. I'm mostly in it for the photo's. And to hold signs that say "The dead walk. Don't go north.". I mean, someone needs to warn them. Right?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Bad Ass cars - stuff you can't afford edition. Pt2.

Yes, Dear Readers - I know you are bored. But, these are some of the most expensive cars on the planet. And really....most likely you will never ever see them on the road.

I mean, who is going to drive a 1.5 million dollar Bugatti? That is something you fly around and show off to people.

I wish I would have gotten a better picture of the stainless steel one - but Arnold blew my mojo. I was standing there talking to a guy about my camera when I heard all these whispers. "Is that the Governor? They said". And then he was right in front of me. It was the most random thing ever.





Infinity concept car.



Bertone Mantide.



Lotus Evora.



Fisker Karma.



Bugatti.



Lincoln Mercury concept car.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Bad Ass cars - stuff you can't afford edition.



Devon GTX.



Aston Martin.



Morgan LifeCar.



Spyker C8 Spyder.



Rolls Royce.



Oh yes - that is Jay Leno. In case you were wondering.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Look who I got ya'll.



I'm such a douche. Arnold pisses me off so much - yet I got so excited when he turned up where I was. I didn't even know he'd be there. Hey, you don't get celebrities that often here. I can get excited if I catch one.

Even if they piss me off.

I'd tell you all about it, but I just had the most savage commute from Monterey. Pre-recession style traffic. Almost 3 hours of it.

I've had some pretty bad commutes to Monterey, but I've never, ever seen anything like this. No accidents. Nothing.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Saturday.

Mr S. and I were up in Napa today. We set out to catch a tea party.

I'm not a devoted follower of these things. I will go take pictures of them. However, I did want to catch this one. This week I'd noticed the tea party folks were telling their people to start wearing red t-shirts.

I'd seen it on the Napa tea party site, and I'd seen another tea party where a large segment of the people were wearing red t-shirts. Which honestly freaked me out. Is it not lost on them that red is the universal color of socialism. All the socialist protests have tons of people in red t-shirts. Isn't that what a lot of them are protesting against? How is this lost on them? It just seemed odd and ironic. You'd think they would have chosen a different color.

At any rate, we got out late. Even though I'd read the permit went until 12, they must have bailed early and I missed them. We did stumble on a car show.



I swear to you - this car had lambo doors. By the time I got back to take a shot of it, the people were gone. So you just have to take my word for it. L.A.M.B.O. doors ya'll.







Bad ass VW paint job? I don't know. Sounds weird to say.



Look how tiny! It was the best thing ever to get that tiny child in the shot. To show how low the car was.





The weird roof caught my eye. Then I saw it was a Kaiser. Which I'd never heard of.





Random.





I guess VW microbusses are the new "it" retro car.

That old familiar face.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The new economy.

Today was the first day I'd seen this pop up. Normally the "sign guys" were advertising condos or homes. If it was just one of them, it might not have struck me. But, we stopped at the second place.

Mr S. went in to get me a 7-up. I was reviewing picks I'd just taken.

When he gets back to the car, the first thing he says to me is - that was odd.

What - I say.

Mr S. replies - the only thing the checkout guy said to me was "what, you don't drink"?



 
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