May 15th, 2010

#2072: I haven't even had breakfast!

I hope you appreciate how I suffer for you.

* * *

China is helping North Korea. Surprised? Didn't China help NK back in the war? C'mon.

Big communisms always help small communisms. The biggies will be antagonistic towards each other, but the biggies will always help the smallies. But it goes deeper than that:
...[T]he communist Chinese elite and the North Korean elite are partners, sometimes with others, in the business of smuggling weapons to the nastier parts of the world. Beijing doesn't want to be seen to have dirty hands. But it does want the money....
That's right. Remember the big Chinese Christmas present for Mugabe in Zimbabwe? The ship full of arms that no sane African port allowed to dock?

I have to wonder how much of Iran's missile technology has "made in China" written on it.

* * *

I have to ask the question: Why the hell are illegals even receiving social security benefits in the first place?

The key phrase is "...should they receive amnesty." In other words, if an illegal is allowed to apply for citizenship, he then becomes eligible to receive social security benefits.

Oh, and about the whole employment thing:
Then there are the human costs. Nearly 16 million Americans are out of work, and about 8 million jobs are held by illegal immigrants. By simply enforcing current immigration laws, we could create millions of job opportunities for American citizens and for legal immigrants who played by the rules and entered the U.S. the right way.

Instead, the Obama administration has all but abandoned work-site enforcement efforts. Administrative arrests are down 87%; criminal arrests of employees are down 83%; criminal arrests of employers are down 73%; the number of criminal indictments is down 86%; and the number of criminal convictions is down 83% since 2008.
* * *

Victor Davis Hanson talks about the European Union and the collapse of socialism.

* * *

US stocks go right back down because of worries over European debt.

Last week, over the course of several days, the Dow dropped some 600 points, then recovered some 400 points the day after the bailout fund was announced. But this past Friday it dropped about 162 points.

The article maintains that European economic woes won't be enough to halt the "recovery" of the US economy, but I doubt that. I mean, for one thing, there's no recovery. The "recovery" that the economists are talking about exists only on paper.

Second, if a down European economy will "hit certain sectors [of the US economy] hard" do these people really think it won't effect our economy?

* * *

This article on what's missing from the "recovery" uncritically accepts that the economy is no longer in dire straits. The six things the article cites are what drives an economic recovery; without them, there is no recovery.

Since the "recovery" is just the result of government fiddling with statistics to make the GDP look good, it's not surprising that these things are missing.

* * *

To make matters worse, the debt problem is still there.

* * *

Economic doom and gloom. *sigh* I would like to be optimistic about the economy; I really would. The US government is spending money it doesn't have and that's propping up GDP to make it appear as though we're in a recovery. But it's all smoke and mirrors; sooner or later the bill is going to come due. If China stops buying US treasuries--and there's reason to believe China will soon not have the money to do so--it's going to cause a cascade of failures across the board.

I'm not kidding or exaggerating when I liken the world economy to a circle of dominoes standing on end; if one of them falls, the others will go in short order, because everything is connected. You can't even rely on the American economy to withstand it, because one of the factors is the incredible record deficit spending of the Democrat regime.

If China stops buying US paper, interest rates shoot up, and the economy grinds to a halt amid inflation and unemployment. (Think 1970s but on steroids.)

And Greece is only one of several European nations which has overextended itself. What about the rest of the so-called "PIGS", Portugal, Spain, and Italy? What about the other countries which aren't as bad off but are heading that way?

What about Japan? Japan's in the same boat.

There is far too much debt out there, and there literally isn't enough money in the world to satisfy it. How long can the world economy whistle past the graveyard?

#2073: Well, that was a good day.

Here's the chore list from yesterday, updated:
plant tree DONE
dig pavers which have been there since 1966 out of sod DONE
finish HVAC control replacement & reinstall stereo DONE
tighten Escort spoiler (or find out why it's rattling and take measures to stop it) IN WORK
buy acorn nuts and install rear reflector strip NOT YET
re-arrange dash bulbs (ARGH!) DONE
go crazy what's that still doing here?
The campsis tree got planted, and Mom wanted these three paving stones dug out. We used to have three pavers at each end of the patio, set in the grass, but in the past ten years or so the sod has overwhelmed them and they were all but invisible. Mom pried the south three out a couple years ago; just this afternoon, at her behest, I dug out the north three.

Once I'd finished with the yard work I started in on the Escort. The bulb rearranging took about twenty minutes all told, since I knew what to do about the speedo cable this time. Then I stuck the HVAC control panel in, and it works, though I had an "oh shit" moment where the mode control cable didn't work--well, there's a clip it's supposed to fit into, which I forgot to fit it into, and once it was in there, everything worked.

I also checked the illumination bulbs in it, and it turned out that one was blown; so I took the good one from the old panel and used it to replace the blown bulb.

CD player: the CD player still won't play any CDs. I don't know what I can do about this other than replace the thing. I can hook my MP3 player up to it, though, so I'm not totally without tunes...and I don't use the car stereo all that much, anyway. I'm just not the kind of person who must always have music playing.

The spoiler is held on by two (count 'em, two) screws. You pull the third brake light out, and the screws are behind it. Then you give the ends of the spoiler a sharp upward blow with the edge of your hand, and it comes right off. There are two clips on either end which fit into sockets set in the sheetmetal, but they're friction fit.

That explains why it rattles: the foam rubber gaskets which go between spoiler and decklid are mostly gone, and the sockets don't hold the spoiler firmly enough to prevent rattles. If I can get my hand on some of the gasket material I can make new ones, put it back on, and have a rattle-free spoiler.

I took this opportunity, though, to clean under the spoiler. That hardened sap-dirt-adamantium stuff which doesn't mind mere water, even at high pressure, succumbs nicely to warm soapy water and a sponge. I brought the spoiler inside and washed it (and the 3rd brake light housing) in the sink; then took a small bucket of warm soapy water outside and proceeded to scrub the entire car. I'd intended just to do the part under the spoiler, but figured, WTF, I had the hose out and might as well go over the whole thing.

It's going to need at least one more good hand wash before I can put wax on, because there are still traces of that sap-dirt-admantium gunk all over the place. I don't know WTF that stuff is, but it clearly was spawned in some unknown and unholy pit of Hell, somewhere down in the bad area that Satan won't even visit without an armed escort.

Mom wanted to go out for dinner tonight, and our original plans involved going to Old Country Buffet. Halfway there, though, she said, "It's a shame that Benihana isn't close by."

I agreed, but then it occurred to me that Hamada of Japan and Tokyo Steak House (both Benihana-like restaurants) were in Orland Park. I told her...and we ended up going to Tokyo Steak House.

It cost a bit more (okay, a lot more) than Old Country Buffet, but it was such a good meal. I ate everything put in front of me; I'm stuffed. They serve Ramune there; I had a bottle. And I kept the bottle, because it's cool. ($3 for a 6 oz drink--you bet I kept the bottle.)

Once home from Tokyo Steak House, I checked the dash illumination of the Escort, and it all lit up, the way it's supposed to. Awesome.

All told, a good Saturday. I got some stuff done, and had a really good meal, and now I can't decide whether I want to play WoW or just go to bed.