Happy 2013!

Its now 2013. 2012 was not a good year for many friends of mine. So welcome new year, and may it be a much better one than the previous one! 


Dia de los Muertos 2012

Here in Birmingham, you wouldn’t think that you would see any references to Dia de los Mertos, Day of the Dead. It is actually a fairly small but enthusiastically embraced festival here in town. A local gallery has been hosting/holding, as they call it  “A one-day festival of public art installation, performance & remembrance celebrating the ancient Hispanic memorial of lost loved ones.”

DH and I both have plenty of family member to remember today, this feast day of  the remembrance of all souls. As we go through day and into the new month and year, we carry those loved ones with us in our hearts and in our minds always.

The day has come, bankruptcy is upon us

I watched my twitter feed closely this afternoon. After being put off several months, the county commission finally made a decision on a course of action.

Its only been over three YEARS since they had the option. I blogged about this in August 2008. And millions of dollars have been spent in interest, millions of dollars have been spent in lawyers’ fees, and millions of dollars have been spent in receiver fees.

It sucks. Its not good for anyone. But the alternative is worse. The county has been functionally bankrupt for over 2 years. The loss of tax revenue, thank you very much you greedy, money grubbing pair of lawyers who were only in it for the fees you could get, has removed a third of the previous budget from the table. And JP Morgan, that sorry excuse for a financial institution, has given the county major contradictory signals when it came to trying to negotiate some sort of solution to refinancing the debt. It was willing to forgive Greece billions in its debt owed, but wants to make up any difference on the shoulders of Jefferson county residents. Then the court appointed receiver wants to do the bidding of his corporate overlord, JPMorgan, and hike the sewer rates that have already risen over 300% another 300%. He’s only being paid $500.00 per HOUR to come in and raise the sewer rates.

When the county commission met in September, they were trying in good faith to avoid bankruptcy, and Governor Bentley twisted the commissioner’s arms in executive session to keep them from declaring bankruptcy at that time. The governor said he would get the county’s legislative delegation to come to an agreement about how to help the county raise the money and meet the bond obligations. The local business leaders have been all pissed off cause its going to impact their ability to get a loan, but they’ve done nothing to actually work to create a solution.

Then the county’s legislative delegation refused to come to any compromise on an additional revenue stream for the county. The governor couldn’t get them to do it. They wouldn’t budge. As before, the county tried to work with the banks to come to some sort of equally agreeable decision for both parties. And, as before, the banks tried to get the county to agree to things they had no control over, and forgive less than they first offered. So the county finally pulled the trigger on bankruptcy.

Now the governor is hurt and mad that he was shown as the ineffectual leader that he is. And the sewer receiver is threatening bad things for the county and its residents because his master the bank has been told that it won’t get things that the commission can’t legally give it. This is going to affect municipal bonds all over the state, cause the banks are now going to go into reprisal mode.

Interesting times.

And its all for the want of a nice suit and some cashola. There are currently 5 previous county commissioners that have been convicted of felonies, four of them directly related to this sewer mess. The county is now screwed for avarice of some people and institutions.

A year ago I got word about NASA tweetup

At the end of the work day on Sept 1, 2010, I got an email from NASA HQ. I had been seeing some tweets from folks about the NASA tweetup, but was not expecting anything. I had signed up for the NASA tweetup, but honestly I sign up for contests and mostly don’t win, so I figured it was a another contest to try but not win.

My mind was officially blown. I opened up the email and it said “Congratulations, you have been selected.” I came very, very close to sitting on the floor at that point. I read through the email, and re-read it. I was in shock.

Now its a year later. I have met some really incredible folks in the year between. Thank you NASA.

And now I have been given the opportunity to attend another NASAtweetup, this time for the GRAIL mission. I’ll be heading down early next week with several other people in town to speak to the mission specialists and watch the Delta II with the satellites launch. Woohoo! I have truly become a space geek.

STS-135 Atlantis has a tentative launch date

Its official. Space Shuttle Atlantis has a NET launch date of July 8, 2011 at 11:40 AM EDT. And NASA will be hosting one last space shuttle launch tweetup. Registration for the tweetup opens on June 1 at 12:00PM EDT and ends on June 2 at
12:00PM EDT, provided Endeavor’s landing doesn’t cause a delay. Double check with NASA’s website tweetup page to verify this when as it gets closer to the time.

Its the last shuttle launch. Ever. And until we get a new vehicle made, it’ll be the last launch of people for the USA.