Sunday, December 12, 2010

Metrodome Roof Collapse: Roof Maker Recommended Replacing It This Year

At 5 am CST Sunday December 13, 2010, the roof of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome collapsed due to high winds and up to 24 inches of snow that collected on it overnight. The damage to the roof caused the cancellation of several events, and one, the Vikings game against the New York Giants, to be moved to Detroit.

While the disaster took the public, and thanks to New Media, the World, by surprise, featuring a dramatic video of the action as it happened, a document that is the meeting notes from the
"Regular Meeting of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission" Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 9:30 a.m this blogger obtained online and is linked to here reveals that the roof was inspected in April of this year by Birdair, the roof maker.   Before I continue, here is that video:

In a report to the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, which manages and obtains financing for the Metrodome, Birdair explained that the roof should be replaced, and that while it's outer fabric "is performing well as compared to the original fabric specification," the inner membrane "has exceeded its service life of 20 years."

The stadium is 28 years old and the roof has collapsed four times over that period, including Sunday's disaster.

This part of the Commission report is particularly troubling:

Birdair also noted the inner liner is dirty and has some holes in it. Birdair recommends monitoring the areas with holes to avoid large tears from enlarging. Birdair rated the inner liner’s condition fair to poor. In addition, Birdair noted some minor areas on the outer membrane that needed repairing. Those areas have been repaired by staff.

What this means is, taken as a whole with both inner and outer membrane conditions, the roof was not in good condition, and had "large tears" that could enlarge.  Apparently, under the weight of a tremendous snowstorm, they did.  Moreover, it's not clear to what degree the condition was worsening in the time between the inspection in April and the roof collapse of Sunday.

Finally, Birdair recommended roof replacement, stating "As in the prior inspection report of five years ago, Birdair suggests the Commission consider planning for replacement of the roof fabric." In other words, the roof has been in a state where it needed to be replaced for at least five years, and the Commission was aware of it.

Birdair also attached an estimated cost to replace the roof at $12 million to $15 million, and said that it took five years to plan and implement a roof replacement.

With all of that, staff of the stadium believed the "roof continues to have serviceable life and will schedule testing again in another four years." Or, the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission was willing to just have the stadium operate with the roof in condition where it needed to have been replaced long ago.

Until Sunday's events, that is.  

Now, the stadium is arguably unsafe to be in, and even though work is underway to make the stadium ready for the planned ESPN Monday Night Football Game pitting the Vikings against the Chicago Bears, next week, given the events, will patrons want to watch the game under a roof that just collapsed the week before?

Stay tuned.

More Interracial Marriages in America Than Ever Before

The Pew Research Center reports that in 2008, 1 in 7 marriages, or 14.6 percent, were interracial or interethnic. Moreover, over one-third of those surveyed report that someone in their family is married to someone else outside their race.

That proves what this blogger has said before, that the American mainstream is diverse and to not approve of diversity is to fall outside the norm of what people think in The United States.

In other words, for all practical purposes, no one in their right minds cares about this stuff anymore. That's something to celebrate.

How to Pay for Unemployment Benefits: In One Easy Step!

So how do you pay for unemployment benefits in one easy step? The following is a guest post from Bud Meyers - graphics extraordinaire and founder of

[In fact Bud Meyers is responsible for the great graphics in this article here]

December 12, 2010 - Last year at this time the GOP had bitterly complained (as I did) that the Democrats were ramming Obama's healthcare plan down our throats. But now it's the GOP who wants to ram tax cuts for the rich down our throats! Both are equally costly to the deficit and it's the working-class Americans who will have to pay for it all, one way or another.

The "bosses" had generous increases in their incomes over the past 30 years. But had their "workers" also received an equally proportionate raise, there would be no deficit today. In fact, it would be just the opposite - we would have either an unbelievable and massive surplus, or at the VERY least, we'd have a perfectly balanced budget.

And all the social programs (such as Social Security, Medicare, and UI benefits) would all be 100% paid for (and even with a growing population base and many more retirees). We'd also have an infrastructure that needed no repairs at all. Because all along those workers (with their higher incomes) would have been paying more in income taxes.

And maybe there wouldn't have been all the fuss about the cost of Obama-Care. But the "bosses" gave themselves massive raises while wages for the "workers" remained almost stagnant, and didn't even keep up with the cost-of-living index. The rich got richer, the poor got poorer - the people had less to spend, the economy went into decline, the country fell. History repeats itself. It's the same old story, but our government leaders have either never learned, or were complicit with this mass re-distribution of wealth to the richest people in this country.

And it's still happening today, right now, at this very moment.

On Fox and Friends this morning Alisyn Camerota emphasized that some working-class Americans will get a tax cut of up to $1,000 a year if we kept the tax rate as it is, and extended the "Bush Tax Cuts" for everyone. ($1,000 a year = $19.23 a week).

First of all, nobody is getting any tax cut - we'd get a tax increase if "the Bush tax cuts" are allowed to expire at the end of the year - everybody's taxes will just go back to the previous tax rate. And some working-class Americans might see a little less in their pay checks.

And EVERYBODY in the media is ignorantly reporting that unemployment benefits are being "extended", and averaging working Americans believe this - but it seems it's ONLY the jobless that knows this to be patently untrue...only the funding for the present UI program is being "extended".

The GOP is trying to scare all of us poor working-class people by threatening us with an income tax Armageddon and a total collapse of the economy if all the tax rates aren't kept as they are, thus "extending the Bush tax cuts" for everyone is necessary for the survival of the American people and of the nation.

The GOP is saying that if you only raise taxes on the wealthiest 2% (i.e. the investment bankers at Goldman Sachs and AIG, or the CEOs of Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft), no jobs will be created and America's "weak" economy will go into a double-dip recession. But they had these tax cuts for ten years, yet instead they laid off people and out-sourced jobs until we had 15 million unemployed Americans. Just who are these supposed "job creators"?

The GOP complains that extending the funding for current unemployment benefits for 13 months (for those who still qualify) will only add to the deficit, as if extending tax relief for the wealthiest 2% for 24 more months (and denying the U.S. Treasury this additional funding) doesn't affect the deficit at all!

The GOP lies and claims this will affect all small business owners, when an alternative proposal was only to tax personal income a mere 4% above $1,000,000 a year. The average small business owner's personal income averaged less that $250,000 a year as of 2007, and business taxes are separate - as are corporate earnings. Business expenses such as expansion and inventories are not directly related to personal income taxes (And instead of the big corporate CEOs getting a 20% raise next year, they might only get a 15% raise. Boo-hoo!)

The GOP wants to convince you that allowing capital gains taxes to remain at 15% instead of going to 20% for the wealthiest 2% is good for America, but it's mostly the big corporations and stock traders who benefit from this. The "bone" that they threw at working-class Americans was to allow them a one-time exemption when they sell their principal place of residence without paying any capital gains taxes. The blackmail they use is your 401k plans and pension funds that rely on the value of stock prices. Big real estate tycoons like Donald Trump and big bankers and CEOs get most of the breaks with deferments, stock options, and other accounting tricks that most average working Americans don't enjoy. (And instead of big corporate CEOs paying 15% in taxes on their stock options, they may have to pay 20%. Boo-hoo again!)

The GOP thinks that it's fair and patriotic to allow the average working-class worker to pay an additional $19.23 a week in incomes taxes if those that are earning over $19,230 a week are taxed an additional 4% over that amount. And also, that 2 million Americans who still qualify for federal unemployment benefits should be cut off if the wealthy don't get what they want (hence, the term "hostage"). And the GOP won't even consider feeding 5.5 million Americans who have already exhausted all their unemployment benefits. For the GOP, that's a non-starter.

Yes, funding unemployment benefits does raise the cost of the deficit, and as the GOP as been bitterly complaining about, this MUST be paid for. I agree. So by NOT extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2%, the added income to the U.S. Treasury will ensure that not one dime will be added to the deficit for unemployment benefits - for those who lost their jobs through no fault of their own (BUT instead, for the fault of the wealthiest 2% in this country).

The current "compromise" isn't a compromise at all, it's another give-away to the wealthy - a continuation of the disparity of wealth between the haves and have-nots - a continuation of the massive re-distribution of wealth to the richest people in this country. Has anyone else but me noticed the Republican's giddy and upbeat demeanor since Obama had announced his proposal at his press conferences? It was as though they were in Las Vegas and had just hit a jackpot on a slot machine..."compromise" my ass!

How do we pay for unemployment benefits in one easy step? Easy!

All we'd have to do is just let the tax breaks for JUST the wealthiest 2% expire. Nothing is added to the deficit and no working-class Americans will have to pay any additional income taxes. Who knows, maybe even the 99ers might be able to get some relief and another chance at survival too....instead of ending up being either homeless or dead.

And another added benefit for the average working-class American: With the additional income from the wealthiest 2% (who haven't been creating jobs) Social Security and Medicare will also be saved, so the GOP won't need to raise your retirement age to 80 - essentially forcing you to work until the day you drop dead!

If the tax breaks for the rich are allowed to expire for those making over $1 million a year, then the next time you receive an unemployment check, you need not feel guilty or ashamed. You can look your friends, your family, and the GOP right in their eyes and tell them:

I leave you with the following food for thought - also from Bud Meyers:

The Make-Believe "Obama Compromise" The GOP only offered 13 months of continued funding for UI benefits (for those who still qualify) in exchange for 24 months of tax cuts for the very rich. (As an aside: Why not 13 months for them and for 13 months for us - - - to be equal and fair?)

The Dilemma Nothing was ever mentioned about the 5.5 million 99ers and "exhaustees". (Even though eventually everyone will have been incrementally swept under the carpet and soon forgotten.

The Cost $30 billion IS ADDED to the deficit to fund UI benefits (for varying lengths of time for 2 million people) over the next 13 months + another 150 billion in tax breaks that's NOT ADDED to the treasury to help pay down the deficit for the next two years = $180 billion more in debt.

The Solution If we just stopped extending tax cuts for the rich for only 2 years we would have the difference of $150 billion for UI benefits for the next 13 months AND enough to help the 99er and "exhaustees" (until the rich create jobs)

And doing all this WITHOUT ADDING ONE PENNY to the deficit!

So, why aren't we doing this?

****GREAT Question Bud and VERY WELL SAID as usual.......

Unemployed Alexandra Jarrin’s “Letters to Bernie Sanders” Campaign Makes National News

Unemployed Alexandra Jarrin’s “Letters to Bernie Sanders” Campaign made National News via CNN on Friday, as Senator Sanders spoke for nearly 9 hours on the floor of the Senate to stall passage of the Tax compromise bill. [Better known to the 99ers as the Obama “Bend Over”]

IMPORTANT NOTE: We love our President but we are disgusted that he caved-in to the very rich at the expense of millions of hurting Americans - left with no hope. The idea that the tax cuts for the rich, if continued another 2 years will create over a million jobs is ludicrous at best and the reality of the past 10 years, undoubtably destroys the credibility of such claims.

Unemployed and homeless, Alexandra Jarrin is asking 99ers, concerned Americans and all those who have also lost their job and exhausted all weeks of federal and state benefits -- to write to Senator Sanders, tell him their stories and thank the Senator for standing up to help the non-wealthy in America. The email address is:

Ms. Jarrin is part of a hard-luck group of jobless Americans whose members have taken to calling themselves “99ers,” because they have exhausted the maximum 99 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits that they can claim. Ms, Jarrin was the topic of a New York Times article back in August 2010.

CNN unfortunately misstated that Alexandra Jarrin, a former client relations director is one of 1.5 million Americans who are expected to max out on their unemployment benefits this year. Fact is that at least 4 million and likely well over 5 million Americans have exhausted their UI benefits already in 2010 - but like the real unemployment rate - no government agency is willing to be honest about the numbers.

"I will hand deliver the letters every day until this is over," Jarrin wrote in an e-mail to 99ers earlier this week. "Whether I have one letter or thousands of letters, I will take them to the local office of Bernie Sanders and show him and his staff that we are standing up and asking him to speak up for all of us."

For Jarrin, the campaign is personal. She lost her job in 2008. She lost her unemployment benefits in March, now she is homeless and sleeping on her friend's couch.

"We just need jobs," said Jarrin. "And we need help until we get jobs." Jarrin says she's applied to "well over 3,000 places." (although CNN reported that incorrectly as only 1,000)

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has vowed to delay passage of the proposed tax cut deal between the White House and Congressional Republicans. While the proposal would extend benefits for 13 months for those currently receiving unemployment insurance, it does nothing for those who have already run out of benefits.

"This recession was caused by the greed and recklessness and illegal behavior on Wall Street. How can I get by on one house? I need five houses, 10 houses. I need three jet planes to take me all over the world.
The immediate cause of this crisis is... it just gets me sick thinking about it, and that is what the crooks on Wall Street have done to the American people," said Sanders in his lengthly speech on the Senate floor, Friday.

Jarrin told CNN the number of letters she has received continues to grow. "I'm not going to stop as long as they come in," said Jarrin. "I'm going to print them out and take them up there."

Alexandra has continued to be a leader in the 99er movement, even though she herself has been homeless since July. Anyone and everyone who has not yet done so is urged to send your story or plea/demand for help for the UI exhaustees to be included in this so called Deal with the Devil.

Email and please spread the word.

[Please use the donation button below to help Paladinette KEEP FIGHTING for the 99ers! Thank you.]

LSU Pizza Girl Reportedly Kicked Off Campus

The college woman now called "The LSU Pizza Girl" and who went off on LSU commissary staff over a Papa John's Pizza she asserted should be made a certain way, has been kicked off campus according to a posting on the forum for the website.

If you haven't seen the now famous video, you have to, before anything else makes sense. Here it is:

The video description tells the rest of the story:

She thought they were making her pizza wrong so she went nuts. She told them the cheese goes on before the meat, but they told her she was wrong. They offered to make it how ever she wanted it, and even offered to let her make the pizza herself. Her pizza was already coming OUT of the oven by the time she flips out.

She throws a sandwich, and two bags of chips at James

Then after he throws the chips back at her, she pulls out her phone, and says "I'm calling the police"

A poster named "Afreaux" (not the person's real name) explained that he or she actually met the LSU Pizza Girl, and learned she was kicked off campus:

Was waiting in line at the LSU post office, when she turned around and started talking to me.

She asked if I knew who she was, I smiled and said yes. She told me that she is now banned from living on campus Spring semester, so she was trying to change her mail arrangement since she won't be getting mail at the campus post office.

I asked her if she was going to drop out next semester, she wasn't sure. She said that Anderson Cooper was the straw that broke the camel's back. Now everyone sees her as a villain, and James as a hero. She then asked the postal worker if she knew who she was.

I wished her luck, and she held the post office door open, still talking about Anderson Cooper to no one in particular.

Without going into detail, one of the workers there said that everyone dreads seeing her in line. I then told the worker what to search for on Youtube to find the pizza girl video.
Apparently the woman was kicked off LSU campus, not just for the Pizza incident, but other episodes too.  The LSU Pizza Girl's now so famous, she has a listing in Urban Dictionary.  

In a way, this event may have been the best thing to happen for her.  Now that it's recognized that she does have some kind of mental / emotional problem, she can get the help she needs.

The Lord works in strange ways.