Bridge of Costly Sighs

Thanks to this informative article by Chalres Piller at the Sacramento Bee, we learn that while CalTrans has been rewarding contractors building the Bay Bridge for their shoddy work, others have sued the same contractors and received refunds for defective work:


…This is a tale of two projects.

One – the $6.5 billion San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge – is the largest public works project in state history. (More specifically, its $2 billion suspension-span segment.) The other – the $1.8 billion Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Farm in the North Sea off Suffolk, England – is one of the world’s biggest wind-energy projects.


Both were built between 2008 and 2011 in the same Shanghai, China, factory complex. Each suffered from mistakes by inadequately trained Chinese welders. Thousands of welds in the towers for the 140 giant wind turbines cracked. Hundreds of welds in the Bay Bridge roadway cracked, too. Both were contracted and managed by Fluor Corp., an Irving, Texas-based construction firm – by itself for the wind farm, and in a joint venture with Corapolis, Pa.-based American Bridge Co. for the Bay Bridge.

Each required costly repairs. Who paid for the repairs and problems differed markedly.

After a dispute about who would pay for the problems, the wind farm partners won an arbitration judgment worth more than $400 million.

California officials did not get refunds. Feeling pressure to complete the long-delayed bridge, meant to endure a major quake, they paid more. They paid contractors $535 million extra, more than half of that to overcome delays and other problems related to welding. Then they lowered standards and approved a bridge riddled with cracks.

…. State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, outgoing chairman of the Transportation and Housing Committee, called state officials’ added payments, especially in light of their knowledge of the wind farm problems, “unbelievable.”

DeSaulnier, who was elected to Congress in November, said California officials “allowed themselves to be extorted – and didn’t do anything about it.”..

Read more about this outrage and the full story at the Sacramento Bee link here:

Christmas Lights to be Banned by the Gov’t!

Merry Christmas to all!

Enjoy those Holiday Lights and illuminated decorations while you can because the Grinchy Gov’t are trying to take them away.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) back in October 2014 formally proposed regulations to outlaw the Christmas lights.  WTF!!

Capital Christmas Tree

Why?? Oh Why?…  Because they are considered “dangerous”.

From the Washington Times: …

Federal regulators say “Bah, Humbug!” to Christmas lights

…In October they proposed new regulations to outlaw strings of bulbs, lighted lawn figures and similar items that would be declared as hazardous. The red tape deals with certifying wire sizes, fuses, and tensile strength of all “seasonal decorative lighting products.”

This includes Christmas tree lights, lighted wreaths, menorahs, outdoor strands, lawn figures of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, or Santa or Rudolph or Frosty the Snowman. Yes, Kwanzaa, too. CPSC is an equal opportunity Scrooge. The agency estimates that their proposed regulations will impact 100 million items per year with a market value of $500 million.

And this is because???

…“The safety commission says Christmas tree lights have killed 250 Americans over the past three decades.”…

The real reason perhaps is??…

…”CPSC would never admit it, but we’re free to speculate on the true motive: That this is part of the Obama administration’s effort to reduce our use of electricity, lest global warming set the Earth on fire.


250 deaths over 30 years.    Hmmm..  Priorities!!!…????   Those darn dangerous killer Christmas lights.  Let’s look at other dangers that need to be eradicated by our government: (Sarcasm = On)

Major Killer = The Toaster

It is estimated that over 700 people worldwide are killed each year as a result of toaster fires and electrocutions.

Next Up: bathtubs, buckets, bath seats, toilets, and landscaping features:   ….because…. according to the (CPSC) from 2006 to 2010, there were 684 incidents involving children younger than five-years-old. This figure includes 434 fatalities (an average of 87 per year), 233 injuries, and 17 incidents with no known injuries.

Still Looking for Harvey’s Anti-NRA Movie?…

Word on the street is that there is “not even a peep” about Harvey Weinstein’s promised anti-NRA film to star Meryl Streep.

Harvey Weinstein

From the “Word on the Streep” Blog that follows the activities of award winning actress Meryl Streep:

We’ve heard even less about The Senator’s Wife, a film Harvey Weinstein described as a “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington-like take down of the NRA.”  Since he revealed his plans to make this movie (starring Meryl) on the Howard Stern Show in January, not even a peep of its possibilities.  Were it to happen, it seems like the kind of film Harvey would want to market during a presidential election year.  In this case, 2016 would be a great one, especially since we’re likely to have a strong female contender in the running.

Hollywood and the media made a big proclamation earlier this year (January 2014) when Harvey Weinstein revealed that he is planning on a film called “The Seanator’s Wife” aimed at criticizing the National Rifle Association.  Meryl Streep has signed on to play the starring role.

“We’re going to take this issue head-on, and they’re going to wish they weren’t alive after I’m done with them,” he told Howard Stern. “It’s going to be like crash and burn.”

He continued: “I never want to have a gun. I don’t think we need guns in this country, and I hate it, and I think the NRA is a disaster area.”

Is Harvey Weinstein waiting until 2016 to release this film to try to influence the election?..

The Innocence of Government

I was wondering about the hypocrisy of the U.S. Government saying how important it is that SONY release its “Interview”  movie about the assassination of the current North Korean President  “as a matter of free speech” ; whilst remembering how the movie “The Innocence of Muslims” was condemned by U.S. Officials –  leading to the arrest of the director in America and essentially shutting down the film.

I discovered blogger Anne Althouse’s post about this and am re-posting it here.  Well said Anne.

Hillary Clinton calls the movie about Kim Jong-un “disgusting and reprehensible.”

“The United States government had absolutely nothing to do with this movie. We absolutely reject its content and message. To us — to me personally — this movie is disgusting and reprehensible. It appears to have a deeply cynical purpose — to denigrate a revered world leader and to provoke rage…”

“The United States government had absolutely nothing to do with this movie. We absolutely reject its content and message. To us — to me personally — this movie is disgusting and reprehensible. It appears to have a deeply cynical purpose — to denigrate a revered world leader and to provoke rage…”

Oh… wait… that was that “Innocence of Muslims” movie about Muhammad that some sleazy guy made. Is he still in jail? This Kim Jong-un movie is a different matter. Free speech! Free speech! How dare the North Koreans object to “the fiery, slow-motion assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, to the tune of Katy Perry’s ‘Firework'”!

We will make it less gory,” the [director Seth Rogen responded to Sony Pictures’ Amy Pascal who had some concerns]. “There are currently four burn marks on his face. We will take out three of them, leaving only one. We reduce the flaming hair by 50%.” In October, Rogen sent Pascal a follow-up message with the subject line “Kim Face Fix,” noting that “the entire secondary wave of head chunks” had been removed. A special-effects technician later weighed in with an update: “the goop from the head pop is darker, specifically to make it less flesh-like and more surreal.”

I’m all for free speech, myself. Even for corporations like Citizens United and Sony. But why is this movie deserving of high-level government support when “Innocence of Muslims” was treated like the garbage that — on an artistic/expressive level — it actually was? Let’s have some consistency! Do we love free speech and stand up to foreign bullies or don’t we? Pick one!
Remember, in 2012, the Obama Administration asked You Tube to take down the “anti Muslim video”…

U.N.’s Huge Conference Footprint

ThCarbon footprinte UN Climate Summit/Vacation in Lima, Peru; attended by un-elected delegates paid for by taxpayers… sets the record for it’s climate footprint.

.. The Lima conference is expected to have the biggest carbon footprint of any U.N. climate meeting measured to date

For electricity, the talks are relying exclusively on diesel generators.

Jorge Alvarez project coordinator for the U.N. Development Program, itemized the talks’ carbon footprint:

  • Construction, nearly 20 percent of the footprint.
  • Jet fuel burned by the estimated 11,000 delegates and observers who flew in from abroad. About 30 percent.
  • Local transportation. Organizers hired more than 300 buses since there are no public transit services to the venue. All burn fossil fuels. About 15-20 percent.
  • Electricity, solid waste treatment, water, paper, food, disposable plates and cups, keeping 40,000 police on high alert, create the balance.

Quite a climate party.

The Financial Climate Down Under

The Australian Federal Government has cut funding to the UN environment agency by over 80% ahead of International climate change summit in Peru.

From the Australian Broadcasting Corporation:

…The Federal Government has slashed funding to a key United Nations environment agency by more than 80 per cent, stunning environmental groups ahead of a global climate change summit in Peru.

Australia was due to contribute around $1.2 million this year, but has only offered $200,000.

Over the next four years Australia will scale back its funding by $4 million.