Friday, November 28, 2008

Economics Perplexities

The ostensible reason for the big bailout is that Americans have a credit shortage. They can't buy a car, a house, a stereo, a computer, without credit. Businesses can't meet payroll without a loan. So, to "prime the pump", the US Government is "injecting liquidity into the banking system". Where did the USG get all this money? They borrowed it, of course. Huh? Where does a deficit-riddled USG get a loan? And doesn't this sound a bit circular?
In the old days, prosperity was linked to savings. Savings allowed new business ventures to start. Nobody says that anymore. Now prosperity is dependent on credit card shopping sprees. So if everything you own is financed, you don't own a whole hell of a lot, do you? Where lies the real road to prosperity?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Nothin' But Questions

The big bailout has me wondering. OK, so the U.S. Government is going to throw $700,000,000,000 (look at those zeros!) at some banks, insurance companies, car companies, brothels, and dog grooming businesses. Cool. The first problem, though, is that the USG is broke. No cash on hand and trillions in debt. (Strangely, no one has suggested bailing out the USG.) Solution: Fuckin' finance it! Where to borrow $700b? I doubt that even Gates and Buffett could come up with that kind of dough, so the USG will have to go to a bank. Not a hometown bank, the kind we cash our paychecks at, mind you, but a banker's bank, The Federal Reserve. The Fed is a huge, privately owned bank that doesn't accept deposits from individuals or businesses, but they easily have $700,000,000,000 to loan the USG and lots more to "member" banks. Where did they get that money? And why does the US Treasury print "Federal Reserve Notes"? Does the USG just give all this printed money to the Fed, no strings attached? Who decides how much freshly printed money is to be given?
Then comes the questions about individual responsibility. Should the USG bail out businesses that fail because of their own bad decisions? How about homeowners that borrow more than they can afford? And doesn't anyone in this Goddamn country have two nickels to rub together, besides Gates and Buffet? Whatever happened to "savings" and "planning"? Sigh.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Carpenter's Questions and Thoughts

Obama has said his first order of presidential business will be to tackle the economy. He has also pledged to withdraw most U.S. combat troops from Iraq within 16 months. Since the Iraq occupation(it's not a "war") is the single biggest cause of our trashed economy, shouldn't stopping this madness be first and foremost? Bringing the troops home immediately would be the easiest way to reduce government spending. Closing all foreign military bases would be a great next step.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, on election night said, ‘‘Tonight the American people have called for a new direction. They have called for change in America." I hate to break it to you, Nancy honey, but the American people have been bawling their heads off for "change" for over 4 years. You're new at this "representing the people" thing, aren't you?

‘‘So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder,'' Obama spoke thusly. What a glorious sight that will be, all the comrades pulling for the common cause. As a carpenter who has been hoisting his own ass up and down the road of life, I have only one thing to say, "Speak for yourself, dog brother!"

The Underground Mega-Complex

This picture of our home was taken by Mrs. UC while out walking with Ralph, our director of security.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Caesar's Palace Expansion Keeps Rockin'

An interesting synchronized pick. The two cranes move this enormous truss between them to get it close to the two columns it will sit on. Pictures by Roger Meadows.
Gracefully, the truss is swung between the cranes.
Then it's raised into place.

Sunday Morning Cartoons

















Sunday, September 21, 2008

Big Bird

This Heron hangs his hat in Nevada at the Avi Casino Golf Course, which is about 1/2 mile from the Colorado River. I tried to quietly walk up to him to snap a picture, but he spooked and took off. I've been driving past him every afternoon for about a month. I don't know if he's a permanent resident or just a tourist.
Mrs. UC took this picture with her zoom lens. He's about 300' away from us.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Structural Steel at Caesar's Palace

In this shot, both cranes are picking up this huge truss. The truss weighs 180,000 lbs.
Almost down.
Landed. Now the iron workers will fasten the truss to the column with bolts.
While one crane is still hooked up to the truss, the other crane swings in the connector beams.
This is the lovable bunch of fellows I work with. From left: Zach, Aaron, Leonard, Wes, Ronald, Jason, Cisco.