The Watering Hole: July 28 – Lazy Day

1986 – NASA releases transcript from doomed Challenger, pilot Michael Smith could be heard saying, “Uh-oh!” as the spacecraft disintegrated. A bit more civil then what I would have said in the same situation!
1945 – Airplane crashes into the Empire State Building
1900 - Hamburger created by Louis Lassing in Connecticut
1866 – Metric system becomes a legal measurement system in U.S. Huh?

Repairing past sins – Floors – A Special for Med


I have been fixing other peoples problems for about 55 years. This includes everything from septic tanks to decks where the amateur installer overlooked the task of attaching same to house. Your problem is akin to several that I have seen over the years. Outdoor and porch problems used to fill my weekends. Here are my options which could well be wrong as I have not seen your situation.

Removing the plywood sub-floor would be the best way to start if it is nailed to joists or 2x2s. If this works, simply put down a new sub-floor. Check the joists for level if you do this. You can use one inch square shims cut from sheet vinyl (One can easily get a remnant or scrap piece from Home Depot or Lowes.) to place leveling pads about every foot along each joist.  Check between joists for level as well. Nail these with common carpet tacks. You should have a perfectly level surface on which to build a new floor on. Before nailing or screwing down the sub floor, glue a sheet of sheet plastic to its  bottom side. This will act as a moisture barrier. At this point, you will have a stable base for whatever finish you would want to apply. As a minimum, you should use ¾” B-C grade plywood; A-D will work just as well and is even better if you only plan to paint.

Scraping the sub-floor is the least expensive method. It also requires the most elbow grease. Use a scraper  to remove the bulk of the glue and carpet backing. For touch-up, a Surform tool is the cat’s meow. The Surform has an advantage as its blade is replaceable. Fill in any gouges (I use Epoxy paste (PC-7 is an example).) and then you are ready to apply your flooring. Befor actually laying down the new flooring, I would use an fungicide and a paint or stain from Behr, Thompsons or Cabots. The Cabot site is rich with suggestions for both the Do-It-Yourselfer as well as the professional, but I am not acting as an advocate for their products.

A final possibility is to use the vinyl shims, as above, to level and raise a new sub-floor over the old one. In this case, you can use ½ “ plywood as the maximum flex should be less than 1/32“.  Level as you would for the joists, but be sure to scrape any crap off where the shims are applied. The shims should be on 16-20” centers. Use the same vapor barrier technique as in the prior option. If this option is used, you run the risk of decay spreading from the original underlayment. A copper based fungicide (look in the garden center) should hold this at bay, but no guarantees. If you do this, keep kids and pets out of the area until the new underlayment is down. The vapor barrier should help with the fungus as well.

The Gates Saga Continues

According to a report on AP this morning, the woman, Lucia Whalen, who called 911 about a possible break-in at the Gates residence never stated the race of the suspects. Her attorney is Wendy Murphy.

“Murphy said Walen was 100 percent certain that she never said she saw two black men.”

Cambridge Police Commissioner expected “some version” of the 911 tapes to be released within the next few days.

However, according to the first officer on the scene, James Crowley,

“When I arrived at [__] Ware Street I radioed ECC and asked that they have the caller meet me at the front door to this residence. I was told that the caller was already outside. As I was getting this information, I climbed the porch stairs toward the front door. As I reached the door, a female voice called out to me. I turned and looked in the direction of the voice and observed a white female, later identified as Lucia Whalen.Whalen, who was standing on the sidewalk in front of the residence, held a wireless telephone in her hand and told me that is was she who called. She went on to tell me that she observed what appeared to be two black males with backpacks on the porch of [__] Ware Street.”

The police commissioner has already explained that the police report was a summary, and not based on the original call.

The suggestion floating around now is that Whalen called because of the race of the men involved. Her statement issued through her attorney is intended to refute that. However, even if she did not mention the race of the men in the 911 call, she apparently believed the men to be black. Either that, or the officer’s report is inaccurate.

So, why is this so important? Mainstream media thrives on controversy, and this is a high-profile case of what happens to African-Americans on a daily basis. The issue was addressed in the 1970 movie, “Watermellon Man.” Perhaps that movie can make the cable rounds. It is funny, enlightening, and, thanks to current events, highly relevant.

The Watering Hole: July 27 – The 1st Commercial Jet Flies

Just 60 years ago on this date, the first commercial jet passenger plane made its first test flight. The de Havilland Comet was the world’s first commercial jet to enter service which it did in May, 1952. The original design of the aircraft featured punched rivet holes and smaller rivets with glued seams in its fuselage in order to conserve weight while still maintaining strength in the overall structure. This design survived over 30,000  wing load and depressurization cycles  in the test phase.
Continue reading

Birthers and the 2nd Amendment

Look, now, how the stage is being set for armed insurrection:

* Gun sales have hit record highs since Obama was elected. Those that lead the Neo-Con movement have proclaimed that Obama wants to take away their guns.

* Mainstream media has given voice to those who decry everything Obama does as Socialist, and equate his administration with the Nazis.

* The “birth certificate” issue is re-raised, questioning Obama’s legitimacy to hold the office of President of the United States.

The stage is set for one or more fanatics, who, in the firm belief that they are acting in the best interest of the United States of America, to attempt to assassinate the President.

Now, throw in the latest “race” controversy surrounding the arrest of a highly respected black professor and the fuse is lit.

Let’s face it, millions of people firmly believe that Obama is not the lawful President of the United States. Odds are, some of them are crazy enough to want to take the law into their own hands.

And now we learn that there are racists even within the Department of Homeland Security. Bigotry and intolerance will not go down without a fight. And with mainstream media stoking the fires for its own perverse profits, a peaceful outcome is the least likely scenario.

Thom Hartmann talks “taxes”


The Great Tax Con Job by Thom Hartmann

Republicans are using the T-word – taxes – to attack the Obama healthcare program. It’s a strategy based in a lie.

A very small niche of America’s uber-wealthy have pulled off what may well be the biggest con job in the history of our republic, and they did it in a startlingly brief 30 or so years. True, they spent over three billion dollars to make it happen, but the reward to them was in the hundreds of billions – and will continue to be…

Read this entire article.

Thom Hartmann discusses ‘taxes’ better than anyone I have heard or read. He always makes perfect sense.

After you read this,  go out and buy yourself a copy of his book “Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class — And What We Can Do About It..

NOT Like a Good Neighbor…

On July 16th, 2009, Professor Henry Gates was arrested for “disorderly conduct” on his property in front of his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. While others focus on the uproar that has ensued since President Obama, in his recent press conference on healthcare, made his unfortunate comments on this episode, my questions revolve around what started it in the first place: the call to the police that a suspected crime was taking place.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr

Henry Louis Gates, Jr (Rick Friedman/Black Star)

So, let’s start there: A female neighbor called the police to report a suspected break-in. According to the police report, the woman stated that “she saw a man wedging his shoulder into the front door as to pry the door open.”

According to the Boston Globe, Gates, returning from a trip to China, was driven to his home in the middle of the day. He had luggage with him. His door wouldn’t open, so he set down his luggage and asked for the driver’s help. The driver, also black, lends his assistance, but the door still will not budge. According to Gates’ lawyer, Charles Ogletree, Gates then went around to the back door, got in with his key and Continue reading

And that’s not the way it is

CommonDreams, by Frank Rich

Who exactly was the competition in the race to be the most trusted man in America? Lyndon Johnson? Richard Nixon?

Not to take anything away from Walter Cronkite, but he beat out Henry Kissinger by only four percentage points when a 1974 Roper poll asked Americans whom they most respected. The

successive blows of Vietnam and Watergate during the Cronkite ’60s and ’70s shattered the nation’s faith in most of its institutions, public and private, and toppled many of the men who led them. Such was the dearth of trustworthy figures who survived that an unindicted official in a disgraced White House could make the cut.

In death, “the most trusted man in America” has been embalmed in that most comforting of American sweeteners – nostalgia – to the point where his finest, and most discomforting, achievements are being sanitized or forgotten. We’ve heard much sentimental rumination on the bygone heyday of the “mainstream media,” on the cultural fractionalization inflicted by the Internet, and on the lack of any man who could replicate the undisputed moral authority of Uncle Walter. (Women still need not apply, apparently.) But the reason to celebrate Cronkite has little to do with any of this and least of all to do with his avuncular television persona.

What matters about Cronkite is that he knew when to stop being reassuring Uncle Walter and to challenge those who betrayed his audience’s trust. He had the guts to confront not only those in power but his own bosses. Given the American press’s catastrophe of our own day – its failure to unmask and often even to question the White House propaganda campaign that plunged us into Iraq – these attributes are as timely as ever.

That’s why the past week’s debate about whether there could ever again be a father-figure anchor with Cronkite’s everyman looks and sonorous delivery is an escapist parlor game. What matters is content, not style. The real question is this: How many of those with similarly exalted perches in the news media today – and those perches, however diminished, still do exist in the multichannel digital age – will speak truth to power when the country is on the line? This journalistic responsibility cannot be outsourced to Comedy Central and Jon Stewart.

Moving as it may be to repeatedly watch Cronkite’s famous on-camera reactions to J.F.K.’s death and the astronauts’ moon landing, those replays aren’t the story. It’s a given that an anchor might mist up during a national tragedy and cheer a national triumph. The real test is how a journalist responds when people in high places are doing low deeds out of camera view and getting away with it. Vietnam and Watergate, not Kennedy and Neil Armstrong, are what made Cronkite Cronkite.

Read the rest of this awesome article here.

Eliot Spitzer: The Federal Reserve is a Ponzi Scheme

The Raw Story

The Federal Reserve — the quasi-autonomous body that controls the US’s money supply — is a “Ponzi scheme” that created “bubble after bubble” in the US economy and needs to

be held accountable for its actions, says Eliot Spitzer, the former governor and attorney-general of New York.

In a wide-ranging discussion of the bank bailouts on MSNBC’s Morning Meeting, host Dylan Ratigan described the process by which the Federal Reserve exchanged $13.9 trillion of bad bank debt for cash that it gave to the struggling banks.

Spitzer — who built a reputation as “the Sheriff of Wall Street” for his zealous prosecutions of corporate crime as New York’s attorney-general and then resigned as the state’s governor over revelations he had paid for prostitutes — seemed to agree with Ratigan that the bank bailout amounts to “America’s greatest theft and cover-up ever.”

Advocating in favor of a House bill to audit the Federal Reserve, Spitzer said: “The Federal Reserve has benefited for decades from the notion that it is quasi-autonomous, it’s supposed to be independent. Let me tell you a dirty secret: The Fed has done an absolutely disastrous job since [former Fed Chairman] Paul Volcker left.

“The reality is the Fed has blown it. Time and time again, they blew it. Bubble after bubble, they failed to understand what they were doing to the economy.

“The most poignant example for me is the AIG bailout, where they gave tens of billions of dollars that went right through — conduit payments — to the investment banks that are now solvent. We [taxpayers] didn’t get stock in those banks, they didn’t ask what was going on — this begs and cries out for hard, tough examination.

“You look at the governing structure of the New York [Federal Reserve], it was run by the very banks that got the money. This is a Ponzi scheme, an inside job. It is outrageous, it is time for Congress to say enough of this. And to give them more power now is crazy.

“The Fed needs to be examined carefully.”

I must differ with Mr Spitzer on one point.  I doubt the Fed “failed to understand what they were doing to the economy,” I think they knew exactly what they were doing — looting this country’s treasury.

Other than that, I agree completely.  The Federal Reserve needs an independent audit ASAP.  Do I have any illusions that it will happen?  Not many.

Be careful, Mr Spitzer…

Women & minorities need not apply

…a photograph of [Jayne] Draycott’s deceased teen-aged daughter, tragically killed in a car wreck in 2006, that Draycott kept in her fire department locker was mockingly destroyed. The word “die” had been written across Draycott’s face, and “dead” across her late teen-aged daughter’s face in the photo. (See local ABC coverage of the incident here.)

And [Paula] Keyes, who is an African-American woman, found racial and sexist slurs – both the “N” word and the “B” word — when she showed up to work at the Bush Intercontinental Airport-area Fire Station 54.  (Source)

All cartoons are posted with the artists’ express permission to TPZoo.
Nick AndersonHouston Chronicle Editorial Cartoonist and Animation Artist.
For Nick’s animations, visit Nick Anderson: Animation Archives.
For Nick’s cartoons, visit Nick Anderson.