Friday Morning Open Thread

Hurricane Irene is all the talk today.

I'm traveling to Washington today to get a closer look. No blogging until tonight.

Open Thread.

< Thursday Morning Open Thread | Hurricane Irene Tracking >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Wow, I will be a millionaire (not in dollars) (5.00 / 6) (#2)
    by observed on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 07:40:56 AM EST
    I just got my contract in the email.
    The amount was higher than the top of my expectations. I have to answers to a few questions, but I expect I'll sign it by Monday.

    We're looking to get slammed by Irene (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by andgarden on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 07:47:01 AM EST
    I hope my windows hold up. Not much I can do about that.

    As an experienced hurricane person (5.00 / 5) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 08:02:12 AM EST
    The key thing is planning for no electricity for a few days.

    And getting plenty of water and ice.

    Unless you have a backup generator. In which case,  just the water and ice really.


    I've got a couple of cases of seltzer (none / 0) (#8)
    by andgarden on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 08:35:44 AM EST
    and one of those hand crank radios on the way.

    Other than that, I'm at the mercy of ConEd and mother nature. No BBQ in my building!

    I assume Manhattan itself won't be without power for too long.

    My hurricane experience amounts to being trapped in the Hamptons with my parents for Bob in 1991.


    Freezer (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 11:09:38 AM EST
    Chad Myers on CNN mentioned something I hadn't thought of, which is to turn your freezer to its coldest setting half a day or so before a storm that might cause a power outage so stuff freezes really solid and will take quite a while to thaw out.

    Also, at least a coupla gallons of plain drinking water because the stores will be cleaned out and you likely won't be able to get it if the outage goes on for a few days.

    Yes, fill the bathtub for toilet flushing, dish washing, person washing, etc.  Most of the time if you're not on your own well, the water shouldn't be interrupted because most municipal pumping stations have back-up generators, but it does sometimes happen.

    Last-- a little Sterno stove (costs $15 or so) so you can at least make hot water for coffee or soup or whatever.

    Other things I'm doing-- hard-boiling a bunch of eggs, cooking up some chicken, boiling some potatoes for potato salad.  Protein bars are OK if the alternative is starving, but I like real food a lot better!

    Also, if you buy coffee beans and grind your own, don't forget to grind up a pound or so before the power goes out!


    If/when you buy bottled water (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by scribe on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 12:43:33 PM EST
    the way to go is with the individual-serving pint size.  Get a case.  Then throw all of them into your freezer a good 12 hours (or as early as you can) in advance of the storm arriving.  You will then have a bunch of bottles of ice.

    You can then use that ice:
    (a) to keep the contents of a large chest-type cooler cold  (this is what I and friends do each summmer on fishing trips - it does wonders to chill the beer);
    (b) provide safe, ice-cold drinking water by drinking from one as it melts (when we have caught enough of a beer buzz to be able to ride it, we will change over to water);
    (c) whatever other uses you need ice for;
    (d) to refreeze an indefinite number of times, because the bottles will tolerate a lot of freeze-thaw cycles.

    Even if you just put them into your fridge, they will do a nice job of keeping fridge cold.

    You can also refill the bottles with water after you drank the water that came in them, then refreeze.  Save the cap and leave an inch or two air space at the top when you reseal.  Even if the water you use for this purpose is unsafe or of dubious safety as drinking water, the ice it will freeze into is just as cold as regular ice.  Just make sure to mark the bottles as non-potable.  And, again, you can refreeze them as many times as you want.   Just don't drink 'em if you're worried about their safety.


    Great advice! (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 01:57:28 PM EST
    Thanks very much.

    You'll need (none / 0) (#20)
    by jbindc on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 09:29:54 AM EST
    more than selzter. Get some regular water too.

    Unless it's for something other (none / 0) (#21)
    by andgarden on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 09:32:35 AM EST
    than drinking, I don't follow.

    Seems like seltzer ought to be just as good at keeping my hydrated when the power is out as when it's on.


    Well, I found I needed a lot of water (5.00 / 3) (#24)
    by Towanda on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 09:42:33 AM EST
    when losing power here -- for all the other sundry uses through the day, such as washing (face and more), brushing teeth, cooking, even flushing toilets in some places where I have lived (I'm not at all sure why some plumbing needs electricity).

    Yep (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by jbindc on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 09:54:31 AM EST
    Personal hygiene and seltzer don't work together.

    OK, understood (none / 0) (#29)
    by andgarden on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 10:07:09 AM EST
    Though if the water goes off for any period of time, well, that's worse than the power being out.

    Clean the bathtub (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by chrisvee on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 10:38:58 AM EST
    and then fill it up with water. You can use it for flushing/cleaning.

    Plain pure water is crucial (none / 0) (#32)
    by brodie on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 10:20:14 AM EST
    to have in an emergency.

    Q:  What food do you pick for survival if you can choose only one?  Googling not allowed.  My answer to follow.


    I would think something along the lines (none / 0) (#34)
    by andgarden on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 10:27:19 AM EST
    of a high protein meal bar (i.e., the stuff that usually gets sold to dieters).

    yes, that is always my plan too (none / 0) (#35)
    by ruffian on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 10:29:36 AM EST
    I stock up on things that don't need to be cooked at all. Eliminates the need for grills, etc. I do the same when camping.

    I hate to cook under the best of conditions, much less in the wild.


    High protein or energy bars (none / 0) (#39)
    by brodie on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 10:41:19 AM EST
    is probably not a bad choice, though nowadays there are a million options in that category last I saw in the health food store, and likely some of those contain way too much sugar and fluff for taste and preserving, so the nutritional value may actually be low.

    peanut butter? unless you are allergic (none / 0) (#36)
    by ruffian on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 10:31:18 AM EST
    Peanut butter also a good pick (none / 0) (#42)
    by brodie on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 10:58:54 AM EST
    source of protein and keeps for a long while without refrigeration.

    My pick:  raw honey.  Preferably of the dark buckwheat type and taken from local hives (extra immunity-building opportunity for body).  Raw honey provides more life-sustaining ingredients in terms of proteins, vitamins, minerals and enzymes than any other single food -- plus it contains water.

    Also good especially in emergency situations for its skin and wound healing antibacterial properties.  Keeps on shelf for a very long time too.

    Raw, unheated and unpasteurized honey is what we go with here chez Brodie.


    Bleh (5.00 / 2) (#44)
    by andgarden on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 11:01:40 AM EST
    I like sweet things of basically all kinds, but plain honey is on my short list of food items that I find unpalatable. If sugar could spoil, honey is what I imagine it would taste like.

    In the immortal words of that great American (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by brodie on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 11:32:26 AM EST
    troubadour-poet Rick Nelson:  Ya can't please everyone so ya got to please yourself.

    La ta da ta


    And, what did they feed ... (5.00 / 1) (#93)
    by Robot Porter on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 05:17:43 PM EST
    you growing up to corrupt your palette that much?  Because, basically, honey should appeal to anything with a central nervous system.

    And honey is a nice compliment to peanut butter.  


    Well put, 'Bot (5.00 / 2) (#96)
    by brodie on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 07:50:56 PM EST
    You'd have thought I'd recommended raw vinegar or castor oil.  Honey I might have figured would be a fairly uncontroversial rec.  Official Food of the Gods and all that.  But no such luck at tough-crowd TL -

    Dates are a good choice, too. (none / 0) (#48)
    by scribe on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 11:13:31 AM EST
    Just plain dates.

    Robot demands ... (5.00 / 2) (#94)
    by Robot Porter on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 05:19:54 PM EST
    all his dates be stunning.  Plain dates are for a different crowd.



    I did not even think of that. (none / 0) (#56)
    by vml68 on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 11:47:23 AM EST
    I have two bottles in the cupboard. How long will it keep me alive... :-)

    Interesting! I always have honey on hand (none / 0) (#60)
    by ruffian on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 11:53:28 AM EST
    to use instead of sugar whenever possible. Not raw though, so I will get some of that. How long does it keep?

    Honey keeps forever. (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by Anne on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 12:42:41 PM EST
    Seriously - honey has been found in the pyramids.

    It can crystallize if temps get too low, but warming it dissolves the crystals quickly.

    One thing you never want to do, though, is give honey to a child under the age of 1; unlike older children and adults, the infant's diggestive system cannot handle/process botulinum spores, that, once in their system, can produce botulinim toxin, which can be fatal.


    Or, raw honey lasts forever -- (none / 0) (#75)
    by brodie on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 01:21:59 PM EST
    if your house is in the shape of a pyramid.  ;-)

    Seriously, it is probably as close to a Forever Food as there is.

    And when you mention the pyramids and ancient Egypt and honey, you remind me of another use for honey they had thousands of years ago -- one of several ingredients they used in a mixture for contraceptive purposes.  That and I think they were using it for cosmetic/skin healing purposes as well.

    Amazing some of the things they knew back then ... trial and error? ... or did someone tell them?  


    My husband used to keep bees, and we (none / 0) (#80)
    by Anne on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 02:18:57 PM EST
    still have gallons of the stuff, lol.  It's not just tasty in one's tea, but also good for burns, and it makes a great facial - it's moisturizing and soothing.  My husband will also muddle it with mint, and add bourbon, for a version of a mint julep.  I like it in lemonade, actually, also with a touch of mint.

    It's very versatile stuff.

    One thing about raw honey that people don't expect is that it doesn't taste anything like the stuff you buy in the store; people I have given it to can't believe how different it tastes.  Our honey is fairly dark, too, which throws people off a bit, and there's a complexity of flavor that puts store-bought, refined honey to shame...


    Raw honey (none / 0) (#84)
    by Zorba on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 02:53:15 PM EST
    makes an excellent mead, too.  We got a bunch years ago from a local bee-keeper, and Mr. Z made mead with a lot of it.

    How could I forget that? My husband (5.00 / 0) (#87)
    by Anne on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 03:24:01 PM EST
    made some of that, too!  It was good, in small doses - it could easily kick your a$$ if you weren't careful.

    We may even have a bottle or two around somewhere...


    If you lose power, (none / 0) (#88)
    by Zorba on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 03:27:03 PM EST
    you could have a small glass over candlelight.  ;-)

    Hmmm..... (none / 0) (#89)
    by jbindc on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 03:27:58 PM EST
    Power out?  Sounds like a perfect time for, um, a little romance....?

    Darn near forever I understand (none / 0) (#69)
    by brodie on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 12:42:31 PM EST
    if you keep it in a sealed (glass) container and away from high heat and humidity.

    For me (none / 0) (#79)
    by chrisvee on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 02:18:29 PM EST
    peanut butter.  Won't work for those with allergies, of course.

    We are all electric at my house, and (5.00 / 3) (#30)
    by Anne on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 10:14:27 AM EST
    also on a well, so when there's no power, there's no water, either.

    We will make sure we have water - probably rain water we collect off the rood - to flush toilets, plus gallon jugs of "safe" water for other things - washing faces, brushing teeth, making coffee, keeping pets hydrated, mixing with the bourbon, lol.

    I think power outages are going to be the biggest problem, because with the likelihood of so many people being without it, it's going to take some time to get it all restored.


    We have a well, too (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by Zorba on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 11:48:00 AM EST
    So no power, no water.  We always keep jugs full of good water.  For flushing, we have a nearby stream- we fill buckets with stream water for flushing.  We do have a generator to keep our refrigerator and freezer going.  And wood stoves, a grill, two smokers, and a propane cooker if we do want to cook.  Lots of candles and oil lamps, too.  (Did I mention that we get lots of power outages up here?  So we have to be prepared.  Although this time, we're far enough inland that it looks like we'll probably luck out.  Not good for the people on or near the coasts, though.)  I sincerely hope that everyone in the danger zone comes through this with no injuries and minimal damage to property.

    The Republic Of Zorba is getting (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by vml68 on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 11:50:16 AM EST
    more appealing by the day!

    can I ask a rookie question... (none / 0) (#61)
    by ruffian on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 11:54:56 AM EST
    I see it emtnioned all the time that you can have water on hand for flushing. How exactly do yo do that? Pour it into the tank?

    Just pour it quickly (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by Zorba on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 11:58:25 AM EST
    into the commode from a few feet above.  Whatever is in the commode goes right down.  To conserve your flushing water, though, heed the old phrase "If it's yellow, let it mellow, if it's brown, flush it down."  (Sorry about that!)  You don't need to flush after every pee.

    thanks! good to know! (none / 0) (#64)
    by ruffian on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 11:59:53 AM EST
    Flushing (none / 0) (#72)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 12:44:32 PM EST
    into the commode from a few feet above.  Whatever is in the commode goes right down.  To conserve your flushing water, though, heed the old phrase "If it's yellow, let it mellow, if it's brown, flush it down."  (Sorry about that!)  You don't need to flush after every pee.

    Pour it in the back and it will flush normally.

    When we had our hurricane... I live on the 6th floor, so for like a week I had to go to the pool, and hike it up 10 sets of dark stairs with a 5 gallon bucket every time someone needed to go.  The emergency lights in the stairs went out in a day.

    And Zorba is the exception, the girlies I was with needed far more... work then my friend from Wisconsin who got trapped here.  My bathroom doesn't have a window, so any business in there was done by candle light, flashlights didn't work.  It got flushed after every use.  


    True, but (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by Zorba on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 01:16:07 PM EST
    we have a bunch of books and magazines (bathroom reading material) on top of the tank (what can I say- we call it the Porcelain Library), and we never feel like moving them to open the tank and pour the water in there.  Just as easy to pour it into the commode.  And we have a window in the bathroom, so no problem letting the yellow (ahem) "mellow."  If it's not raining or too cold when the electricity is out, everyone just goes out back to pee, anyway (no neighbors nearby), including me.  

    As long as the woman (none / 0) (#73)
    by MO Blue on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 01:12:14 PM EST
    do not put the toilet paper in the toilet after peeing there shouldn't be a reason not to follow Zorba's rule or at least flush less often.

    How very (none / 0) (#76)
    by sj on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 01:42:06 PM EST
    Dominican Republic of you :)  It's definitely an approach to consider...

    Didn't know that was something (none / 0) (#78)
    by MO Blue on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 01:59:40 PM EST
    they do in the Dominican Republic. To me it was just a common sense approach to take when confronted with using limited resources (i.e. water). Also if you are being skimpy on the water when flushing, with this approach there would be less likelihood of clogging up the plumbing.

    If you have a private well (none / 0) (#99)
    by cal1942 on Sat Aug 27, 2011 at 02:04:49 AM EST
    loss of power will mean pump can't run.  Hence no water available to flush.

    The bathtub filled with water to facilitate flushing is a great idea.

    No one mentioned battery backup sump pump.  If rainfall is very heavy and power is lost basement could be flooded.


    You will need to wash (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 10:24:42 AM EST
    particularly if you lose AC.  We the bathtubs with water, and then you can flush your toilet too by pouring water in it.

    Good thing that you desided (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by MO Blue on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 11:32:02 AM EST
    not to go into disaster preparedness or we could be saying "Hecka of job, andgarden" after you showed up with only cases of seltzer. ;o) {multiple smiley faces}

    I'm going seltzer only when it's clear and (none / 0) (#54)
    by brodie on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 11:40:55 AM EST
    Official that we've reached The End of this long human journey on Earth and then only as a mixer for my best Scotch or whatever Rachel Maddow recommends to mix it with.  Otherwise I stay completely clear of all carbonated drinks --too taxing on the digestive system and teeth enamel.

    A little song, a little dance (5.00 / 2) (#63)
    by ruffian on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 11:58:50 AM EST
    a lttle seltzer down your pants.

    To quote Chuckles The Clown

    Sorry, I coldn't resist....too many uses of the word seltzer in this thread...


    If you don't have any oil lamps (none / 0) (#66)
    by nycstray on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 12:26:51 PM EST
    you may want to pick up one or 2. Or a battery operated camping lantern. I have one that lights a room pretty well. I wouldn't count on the electric coming back up as quick as normal since you don't know how/why it gets knocked out (they may need a couple days to pump out water or something). They also make decent battery operated fans :) Do you have a fire escape out a window? Small grills work fine on those. If you have a gas stove, you may be ok though. Also, make sure you have a hand can opener.

    After the NorCal earthquake, my power came on first vs my friends. Everyone brought their meats over to my place and we had a continuous bbq for several days. I was also the shower spot.

    Oh, one other thing, text people vs calling on your cell. Saw that tip on the news when they were talking about your earthquake. Apparently it doesn't jam the cell lines like calling does.

    Good luck and here's hoping it's just an interesting experience :)


    If (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by CoralGables on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 08:33:12 AM EST
    you have a BBQ grill, it will help you cook those items in your freezer that are thawing out should the electricity be gone for a few days.

    BTD has the standards with extra ice, and fill some containers with water in advance just in case you get a boil notice. Also, batteries for flashlights to read or to get around in the dark. (candles are nice but far more dangerous)

    And expect hot muggy weather to follow its passing where that ice comes in handy keeping your drinks cool. No electricity does have one societal benefit..you will meet all your neighbors sitting outside at night drinking those hopefully still chilled beverages of choice.


    Same worries here (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by chrisvee on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 10:34:41 AM EST
    re: windows and garage door.  I've prepared as best I can for power outage but I fear the wind.  I'm about 100 or so miles from the coast and if current forecast holds, will be west of the eye.  I think rain, flooding, power outage, and downed trees will be our big problems.

    Last hurricane that had an impact on me was Agnes in 1972. I've been lucky.


    Tape the windows (5.00 / 2) (#49)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 11:13:55 AM EST
    criss-cross with packing tape so if they break, they won't shatter all over the place.  Also close curtains, windowshades, venetian blinds, whatever, for the same reason.

    Move electronics, like computer, well away from the windows.

    Also, anything outside smaller and lighter than an automobile needs to come inside something so it doesn't get picked up and thrown against the house-- lawn furniture, trash barrels, even bird feeders can become unguided missiles in a big wind storm.

    If you have a car, move it out from under any trees, if possible.

    Good luck!


    Thank you! (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by chrisvee on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 02:21:34 PM EST
    The latest forecast gives me some hope that winds will be less severe in my area than originally forecast.  Of course, that just means someone else is suffering. :-(

    The storm surge and freshwater flooding is another matter...


    This morning the only thing I was worried about (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by vml68 on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 11:33:22 AM EST
    was the windows holding up and/or the electricity going out.
    Now it looks like I have to be ready to evacuate. Hoboken residents are already being told to leave and the decision for JC residents to evacuate is going to be made at noon tomorrow.
    Not sure where we are supposed to go, a few miles inland or all the way to Pennsylvania?

    Who knows? (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by andgarden on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 11:35:36 AM EST
    Probably too late to catch a flight to . . . LA?

    I wouldn't mind a weekend trip but (5.00 / 2) (#55)
    by vml68 on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 11:44:30 AM EST
    unless I can take the dogs too, it is not an option.
    Honestly, even though we are right on the water I feel pretty safe in our quite sturdy building. I can see flooding being an issue for the garages on the lower levels.

    Ey vey (5.00 / 5) (#5)
    by CST on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 08:29:43 AM EST
    so my grandmother has decided not to come to Boston this weekend.  Because 20 years ago, when she was in her 60s, and my grandfather was still alive, they were "just fine" during Hurricaine Bob.

    So she will be sticking it out, alone, on an island in the Atlantic, in her mid 80s, and she doesn't even know how to use the grill...  My mother is trying to talk her through getting her cell phone charged and teaching her how to use it so at least we will maybe be able to get in touch.

    The worst part is, she's not even on a real island, with real services.  She's on an island off the real island, that you have to take another boat to get to, and has one store that sells used car parts and enough milk and eggs for one person to last 3 days.  Forget about a hospital or police or anything like that.  But she went over to her 90 something friend's house the other day for coctails and they are all sticking it out...

    For some reason this makes me want to throw up my hands and say "kids today!".  Only she's 60 years older than me.

    Hope your grandmother (5.00 / 5) (#11)
    by MO Blue on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 08:48:20 AM EST
    rides out the storm without any ill effects other than driving her family half out of their minds with worry.

    If it is a close knit community, I am willing to bet that they will work together to fire up the grill etc. if they only lose power etc. So here's hoping that they all make it through "just fine" as grandma expects.  


    thanks (5.00 / 3) (#26)
    by CST on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 09:52:33 AM EST
    I think part of it is fond memories of potluck dinners every night with all the neighbors after Bob hit.  And one of her neighbors is coming over today to make sure her "prep" is sufficient, that she has enough water, etc... She did manage to take in all the porch furniture by herself, so she'll probably be alright.  The good thing is, it's not on the beach, and the whole first floor is a basement/shed area so in the event of flooding the main part of the house should be fine.

    It does looks like Boston is gonna miss the eye of the storm now that it's trending west, but the "east side" tends to be the windy side, so we're watching the trees closely.  Our plan right now is a sleepover in the living room, since our bedrooms are all on the top floor and there are a number of old trees around that are on their last legs.  That, and lots of bottled water.

    Honestly, if everything works out okay, this could be kind of fun.  While we may not be used to hurricaines in particular, we're very used to bad weather, it's not like the earth is moving below us or anything.  It can't be much worse than 3 feet of snow and a blizzard... right?


    Keep us posted! (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by ruffian on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 09:10:38 AM EST
    Great story - I have a mental image of the Island of Hardy New Englanders.

    Here's hoping Irene is kind.


    And made me think (none / 0) (#22)
    by CoralGables on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 09:32:53 AM EST
    of the Gloucester Fisherman

    I have a soft spot for all those that choose to hunker down (as long as rising water isn't an issue)


    Good idea (5.00 / 7) (#9)
    by MO Blue on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 08:36:55 AM EST
    Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) is calling on President Obama to stop fixating on the deficit and begin focusing on jobs instead. "I don't think he's exercising the leadership that's necessary right now to move us in the direction that I think we ought to be moving in," Harkin said of Obama.

    Harkin, a Democrat, said that the president instead should push to raise revenue to invest in schools, highways, bridges and water and sewer systems -- which the Iowa senator believes is the best way to create jobs.

    "We can put people to work, we rebuild the physical infrastructure for the next century, and then when that wheel starts going, the private sector that's sitting on about $2 trillion right now will start investing again because people will be able to buy what they make," Harkin told The Des Moines Register's editorial board. link

    h/t Think Progress

    Harkin made so many good points that it is impossible to post them all. Take time to read it all.

    Gee (none / 0) (#100)
    by cal1942 on Sat Aug 27, 2011 at 02:13:29 AM EST
    actual good sense.

    Another great idea (5.00 / 6) (#12)
    by MO Blue on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 08:57:32 AM EST
    which probably means it is dead in the water.

    Today, Sanders announced that he will introduce legislation that would strengthen Social Security without cutting benefits to any of its beneficiaries. Sanders' legislation would eliminate the income cap that currently exists in the payroll tax that does not tax income above $106,800:

    To keep Social Security strong for another 75 years, Sanders' legislation would apply the same payroll tax already paid by more than nine out of 10 Americans to those with incomes over $250,000 a year. [...] Under Sanders' legislation, Social Security benefits would be untouched. The system would be fully funded by making the wealthiest Americans pay the same payroll tax already assessed on those with incomes up to $106,800 a year. Think Progress

    As Sanders often points out, prior to implementing Social Security, 50 percent of seniors lived in poverty. Not a good idea to go back to the so called "good old days."

    Don't be silly (5.00 / 3) (#13)
    by sj on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 09:08:12 AM EST
    How can Social Security be gutted if we properly fund it?  Oh wait, it's well funded right now.

    It's just a partridge ready to be plucked, isn't it?


    Yes, the powers that be (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by MO Blue on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 09:16:50 AM EST
    are salivating over using those funds to enrich themselves.

    yes, indeed (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by sj on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 09:28:17 AM EST
    And some people still persist in believing that the danger to SS is a by-product of Obama's milquetoast ways.  When it is clearly the goal, not a by-product.  And he has been relentless in pursuing that goal.  

    Makes way too much sense (5.00 / 3) (#25)
    by ruffian on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 09:42:39 AM EST
    which means you are right, they will never do it.

    Wouldn't it make more sense (none / 0) (#18)
    by CoralGables on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 09:22:27 AM EST
    to not leave the hole in the middle between $106,800 and $250,000.

    While not knowing the exact math of the added cushion from raising it, keeping the rate lowered as it is right now (4.2% vs 6.2%), while eliminating the cap completely, would appear to make the most sense by helping those at the lower end, and also those pushing up against the current cap by causing no increase in dollars contributed (compared to the 2010 6.2% rate) until passing the $158,000 mark in individual earnings.


    Other than to stave off cuts to benefits, (5.00 / 5) (#65)
    by MO Blue on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 12:11:20 PM EST
    I'm not a big fan of raising the cap NOW. If given my drudders, I would wait until closer to 2037 and see how much we actually need to pay benefits.

    The reason under normal circumstances I would not be a big fan of raising the cap now is because the additional amount collected would just go into the general funds and be spent on welfare for corporations, additional tax cuts to the rich and to fund wars.

    Not sure that the idea to reduce payments for the lower 98% is a good idea either. I think that the more you change SS to give it the appearance of a welfare program, the more you put the program at risk.  

    As stated, I only prefer the idea of raising the cap now to cutting benefits.  


    Yes, me too. To me it is a better alternative (none / 0) (#92)
    by ruffian on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 04:50:14 PM EST
    if they are hell bent on doing something now, despite the fact that there is no need.

    Really I wish they would take the approach of getting it out of the general fund and into Al Gore's lockbox.


    Point of information (5.00 / 1) (#95)
    by caseyOR on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 05:20:04 PM EST
    Social Security is not in the general fund. The SS trust fund is invested in the highest level of interest bearing Treasuries. Those monies are not part of the general pool of tax dollars. They are separate.

    Now, you could make the argument that SS trust fund dollars should not be invested in Treasuries since idiots and liars keep insisting that Treasuries, at least as far as SS is concerned, are just worthless IOUs. The question then becomes where do you put the SS  dollars that keep pouring in every week from payroll deductions?

    Certainly don't want to put it in the stock market. Nobody makes a mattress big enough to stuff the money in. It is a whole lot of money.

    One option might be keep the monies in Treasuries, which is required by law currently, and amend that law to require that SS always be paid first, that the trust fund go to the top of the list of U.S. creditors, above China and Saudi Arabia and all the Wall Street firms and very wealthy people who have socked away their money in Treasuries.  The law could also exempt SS Treasury holdings from being held hostage by debt ceiling nonsense by mandating that SS monies cannot be defaulted on.

    I doubt Congress would ever put the American people ahead of the rich and the powerful, though.


    Good luck everybody (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by lilburro on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 09:20:03 AM EST
    Ready to ride it out in the coastal Carolinas (Wilmington, NC).  I don't think it will be that bad but we'll see.  Fortunately Wilmington is not on the beach - the beach residents are being asked to leave.

    Wow (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by sj on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 10:54:18 AM EST
    Just experienced my first earthquake and heading into my first hurricane.  Looking for a map to see if Baltimore can be considered "coastal"...

    Oh, I do believe it is coastal! (none / 0) (#45)
    by ruffian on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 11:03:47 AM EST
    Good luck with your travels!

    or maybe not...I always forget Delaware! (none / 0) (#46)
    by ruffian on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 11:06:59 AM EST
    Irene is one more reason (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by scribe on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 09:20:14 AM EST
    I'm glad I don't live in/around NYC.

    It's not the devastation that might happen.  It's the citified knuckleheads who don't have a clue on how to deal, then make a spectacle of themselves when Mother Nature comes knocking.

    That, and I don't have to listen to Mayor Bloomberg's annoying, whiny voice.

    NYers are a hardy lot! (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by Robot Porter on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 03:39:36 PM EST
    In other places I've lived everything shuts down with a little snow.

    In NYC, if there's a blizzard, and you have a 9AM meeting, you're still expected to be there at 9AM.

    Of course, the media trots out the atypical.  That's their job.  Man bites dog and all.  But most real NYers handle this stuff with aplomb.

    Though I'm with you on Bloomberg's voice.


    Hurricane advice: move the (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by oculus on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 09:42:25 AM EST
    piano away from the windows. Then tape the windows. This is whar I was told b/4 hurricane was headed for Norfolk but wiped out Brownsville instead.

    Tape (none / 0) (#27)
    by CoralGables on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 09:53:43 AM EST
    is an old wives' tale.

    If it makes you fell better go for it, but if the window shatters it just means flying shards attached to tape rather than flying shards without tape.

    And those that don't remove the tape immediately are stuck with unsightly "X marks the spot" on their windows for a long time.


    From Experience (5.00 / 2) (#67)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 12:32:43 PM EST
    Like BTD said, you won't have electricity, so nothing will be open including gas stations.

    1. Fill up everything you can with water, including your bathtub.  Then if you loose water you can use that to pour into the back of your toilet, then it will flush normally.

    2. Treat your fridge like a cooler.  Get rid of everything that will spoil except the stuff you can eat in a couple days.  It will all go bad before you get electricity.  Fill every Tupperware container with water and freeze it, those blocks will take days to thaw and will keep food so long as you keep the fridge door shut.

    3. Make sure you car(s) are full of gas.  They make great sources of AC, AM radio listening, and cell phone chargers.  So make sure you can charge your phone with a cigarette lighter.

    4. Get tons of booze because the first day or two after is a party, everyone grilling all their freezer meat, drinking beverages that are cold, and making mixers.  But once those run out, you will need something to help you and your fiends cope with each other.  Warm beer, warm booze, and junk food with 100% humidity and no showers will get real old on around the 3rd day.

    5. Make sure you have plenty of grill fuel.  It's the one thing we did find before.  Near the end we were grilling frozen (thawed) pizza's and steaming frozen veggies in tin foil.

    6.  Get a gun for protection.  A city with no lights is a damn scary place, especially when 9/11 gets overwhelmed and people are running low on goods and patients.  You feel extremely isolated without communication.  We were told to stay home after dark, but watching the cops drive by in complete darkness with their search lights on is unnerving.  I don't like guns, but in this case, I am really glad I borrowed one.

    For the record, I live in downtown Houston, and nothing happened in my neighborhood right next to the ghetto.   Less crime happened then if the hurricane had not came.  But you are cut off from the world, no TV, no internet, no data on the phone, and the AM radio was a really bad source.  Either is was the mayor did great, the city is like Atlantis or the mayor or the GD devil and the city looks like Gomorrah.

    Our neighborhood was hit lightly, some trees down, so we assumed the rest of the city wasn't too bad. Then we headed out on like day 4 to a friends parents house maybe 20 miles out.  It was insane, tons of damage.  My point is you are cut off with only a handful of AM windbags with agendas giving you their version of events.  So trying to decipher reality is not easy if you aren't familiar with those clowns.

    We lost data, but never lost phone service.

    LED flashlights lasted the entire event, whereas regular bulbs went out w/i a day.

    I live in a concrete building so I turned down the AC as low as it would go, which helped to keep it cool.

    A music source is almost a must.  I have a boom box for my iPhone that made it the entire time.  Put the iPhone being a power hungry monster has to be charge in my truck frequently.

    After... the first places to open were bars, which was awesome because after being stuck for days with the same people you want to get out and find out what happened.  Good place to find out what stores have gas/water and if your like me, all your friends will be there.

    Slowly but surely people started getting water and electricity back.  Cable, which at the time for me meant internet as well took a couple weeks.  Even where I lived in a big condo complex, my friends on the other side had electricity, which on the 6th floor meant water too.  It was a patch work of of friends and stores for the basics.  When work opened, I was glad to go back into great AC, the internet, and a clean bathroom.

    The city water got contained from the storm surge.  I think we lost water for two days, but it took a month before it was declared safe to drink.  And water in the stores was a treat, not reliably available for a week.

    Living in hurricane country (5.00 / 2) (#68)
    by KeysDan on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 12:38:20 PM EST
    I can attest that it is wise to error on the side of caution. While the windstorm, itself, can be a great concern, often the real worry is the surge and flooding.  So, high ground is important. The advice given by all the commenters is excellent, the ice and water are essential, including bathtub water. And, have "picnic" food on hand (e.g. tuna, peanut butter, bread). Flash lights, batteries and battery/hand crank radios.  Probably pull the plug on computers, just to be sure. The aftermath is rough with even hotter temperatures and no a.c--and open windows may bring mosquitos.

     Our problem is the one expressed by some, to evacuate or not to evacuate.  In 2004 we experienced four hurricanes in about as many weeks (Dennis, Katrina, Rita and Wilma), and stayed for all except Wilma.  But, it is both dicey and a dilemma: travel a two-lane highway of many bridges and even more low spots for 150 miles only to get to other hurricane country (e.g. for Andrew, the Keys evacuation site was Homestead, the Keys were spared and Homestead was devastated.)  Some old-timer Conchs never evacuate, having remained safe in place, and, of course, the cost of evacuation is beyond many. The non-pet friendly hotels make exceptions and accept pets.  The T.V. does not help to calm but to generate hysteria (just what is not needed), so take that into consideration.  For places like NYC, the subways should not be taken (although the city will probably close them); the Carolinas are more accustomed to windstorms, but there are always kids having fun on the beaches unaware of the rip tides and other quickly emerging dangers from the alluring seas.   Best to all.  

    Oligarchs are getting bolder and bolder (5.00 / 0) (#86)
    by sj on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 03:00:39 PM EST
    Notice how they don't give themselves any responsibility for the health of the nation.

    I'm Cool With Corps Staying Out of... (5.00 / 2) (#91)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 04:08:18 PM EST
    ... politics, if only the Koch brothers & comrades would join this pledge, we might actually get the will of the people running the country, instead of the will of the wealthy.

    But it is so nice to see a DB CEO using other people's money to make some lamb brain political statement.

    Corporations were the best invention of the rich since looting in medieval times.  They allow aholes to do things under the guise of stockholder interest without liability.  Create a position that pays millions to do things you are too yellow to do, then if it blows up, fire that man, make sure his parachute is large enough he won't cry foul, and bring in another to resume the mission.  They also keep financial liability very limited, even if you gas a bunch of people in India, they can only go after the limited partners contributions which is usually 1% of the corps net worth.

    You have a man making more than a human should ever make, basing decisions on profit above all, and if they are 'lucky', the corporate structure will be so diluted and complicated, you can evade taxes and hide losses because no one, even their regulators understand how it is all put together.

    Then make sure you offer a tiny smidgen of ownership to the public.  They will cream themselves when their share earns 10% in a year, and feel like they are part of the team.  And who want to put a leash on something they partly own.

    And now apparently this abstract taxpayer, the corporation, that only exists in theory is able to make unfettered political donations.  Which of course are determined by the clown the wealthy put in the drivers seat.  


    Notice This (none / 0) (#101)
    by cal1942 on Sat Aug 27, 2011 at 02:26:38 AM EST
    Ratings agencies have since downgraded the U.S. credit rating.

    Agencies, plural?

    Only S&P.

    Can't any "journalist" get this straight?


    Underwear Bomber (none / 0) (#1)
    by jbindc on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 07:35:30 AM EST
    Says he should be judged by Islamic law and not US law.


    Detroit-- Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the "underwear bomber" accused of trying to blow up an airliner over Metro Detroit on Christmas Day 2009, asked a judge Thursday to free him from prison, arguing he should be judged by the Quran, not U.S. laws.

    The handwritten request, in which Abdulmutallab claims he is being "unjustly detained," injected religion into arguably the most high-profile criminal terror case in the United States since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

    Legal and cultural experts called Abdulmutallab's request fruitless, with one labeling it a "sideshow antic," though it served as the latest curveball by a Nigerian suspect whose own legal adviser questioned the man's ability to stand trial while serving as his own lawyer.

    "If he was in the land of Saudi Arabia or Iran and he attempted the same act, I don't think he would be making that request, because his punishment may be more strict," said Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council of American-Islamic Relations. "He really needs to be quiet with these sideshow antics. He is going to get his wish by the Quran, by God, when he does. He will be judged by the American court right now."

    Not (5.00 / 4) (#10)
    by lentinel on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 08:37:30 AM EST
    a good move.

    The Quran has very specific punishments detailed for the misuse of underwear.


    ROTFL! (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 10:58:26 AM EST
    Astronomers find planet made of diamonds (none / 0) (#31)
    by Dadler on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 10:14:42 AM EST
    Pretty neat find (none / 0) (#58)
    by brodie on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 11:49:24 AM EST
    I'm still fascinated by what they're still discovering here on Earth -- like a few years back those giant crystal caves in Mexico.  I still think we inhabit the most diverse and interesting planet this side of the Pleides.  Too bad we're so heck bent on ruining it.

    - 9,500,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 carets (none / 0) (#98)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 09:58:05 PM EST
    NCAA College Football Scoreboard Update (none / 0) (#43)
    by CoralGables on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 11:01:35 AM EST
    Eight University of Miami players suspended.
    Arrest warrants issued for two players from LSU.

    Also stock up on crackers, (none / 0) (#82)
    by oldpro on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 02:28:05 PM EST
    canned sardines (!) and mustard along with chips (salted), salsa and tortillas and bagels.  And don't forget cheese and jam.

    Jerky also (none / 0) (#83)
    by nycstray on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 02:43:08 PM EST
    You just made me think of backpacking. Trail mix and jerky keeps ya going.

    Yes! Jeez...I have jerky in the cupboard! (none / 0) (#97)
    by oldpro on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 08:37:51 PM EST
    Dried fruits are great, too, and nuts!...and soy milk not needing refrigeration...

    Why those who enforce the rules (none / 0) (#85)
    by jbindc on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 02:57:50 PM EST
    Sometimes deserve a break

    A$$hole people.

    During and after Saturday's [pre-season] game [between the Oakland Raiders and SF 49'ers], more than 50 people needed medical attention, including one man who was beaten unconscious in a restroom and two men who were shot in the parking lot. Police and team officials said they expected a safer environment this Saturday when the 49ers play Houston at Candlestick, but they said a general lack of respect for authority might have contributed to last weekend's mayhem.

    Gosh - imagine if some people actually didn't behave like animals!