Sunday, March 30, 2008
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Monday, March 24, 2008
Sunday, March 23, 2008
I got a very nice suprise today while working on my chicken tractor. When I opened the top there lay 6 duck eggs in one of the nesting box. I started on this chicken tractor a few weeks ago and haven't done much on it for a while. I left the gate door open during that time and looks like the ducks found a good place to lay. I bought 2 duck chicks last summer (Male and Female) and was told they were related and would not breed. So I guess the female just got to the age to start laying. I'm sure the eggs are not fretilized so we will be enjoying them in a batch of brownies this evening. Had planned on more chickens for the chicken tractor but I guess mother nature has other plans and we all know it's not nice to fool with mother nature. I guess now it's a duck tractor.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Well the GreenHouse is finished finally. And yes for under $10.00. Just to recap for my readers, lumber was Scavenged from a neighbor that replaced his porch, The door I found over the bank on the road past my house and the 2 rolls of plastic I purchased for around $6 and a box of staples. Not too bad for under 10 bucks. The Greenhouse is 8' x 16' and I placed wood chips inside for the floor and outside also for much and to keep it nice and dry and clean. In the picture from the inside you can see my dog Smokey Bear roaming around outside.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
WASHINGTON - The FBI improperly used national security letters in 2006 to obtain personal data on Americans during terror and spy investigations, Director Robert Mueller said Wednesday. Mueller told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the privacy breach by FBI agents and lawyers occurred a year before the bureau enacted sweeping new reforms to prevent future lapses.
Details on the abuses will be outlined in the coming days in a report by the Justice Department's inspector general.
The report is a follow-up to an audit by the inspector general a year ago that found the FBI demanded personal data on people from banks, telephone and Internet providers and credit bureaus without official authorization and in non-emergency circumstances between 2003 and 2005.Mueller, noting senators' concerns about Americans' civil and privacy rights, said the new report "will identify issues similar to those in the report issued last March." The similarities, he said, are because the time period of the two studies "predates the reforms we now have in place."
He added: "We are committed to ensuring that we not only get this right, but maintain the vital trust of the American people."
Mueller offered no additional details. Several other Justice Department and FBI officials familiar with this year's findings have said privately the upcoming report will show the letters were wrongly used at a similar rate as during the previous three years.
In contrast to the outrage by Congress and civil liberties groups after last year's report was issued, Mueller's disclosure drew no initial criticism from senators at Wednesday's hearing.
Speaking before the FBI chief, Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., urged Mueller to be more vigilant in correcting what he called "widespread illegal and improper use of national security letters."
"Everybody wants to stop terrorists. But we also, though, as Americans, we believe in our privacy rights and we want those protected," Leahy said. "There has to be a better chain of command for this. You cannot just have an FBI agent who decides he'd like to obtain Americans' records, bank records or anything else and do it just because they want to."
National security letters are administrative subpoenas that can be issued under the USA Patriot Act in terror and spy investigations.
Monday, March 3, 2008
The price of oil gushed to a record high Monday, spreading dangerously to factories, groceries,
gas stations and every citizen's pocketbook.
Builders are building less, the government reported. Manufacturers are cutting back, another report said. General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. said they would cut second-quarter production.
The galloping energy prices are doubly painful as the nation teeters on the edge of recession: High energy costs push companies to charge shoppers higher prices, then those consumers and businesses cut back in turn, dumping more cold water on the economy.
"It's like throwing sands in the wheels of the economy," said Brian Bethune, economist at Global Insight. "Things slow down. There is more friction and there is more complaining."
Oil prices marched past $103 a barrel on Monday, the latest in a recent string of record-high oil prices, before settling at $102.45.
The steep run-up in oil and other energy prices "hits deeper and deeper into the consumers' ability to spend. With a lot of households stretched by high food prices as well, it creates real problems," said Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors.
Reports Monday showed factories feeling the sting of soaring costs for oil as well as other raw materials -- pushing production costs higher even as some have to cope with fallout from a sour housing market that has sapped demand for their products.
Manufacturers in February logged their weakest performance in nearly five years, the Institute for Supply Management said. Industries that suffered declines included makers of furniture, textiles, machinery and chemical products.
Construction spending plunged by 1.7 percent in January, the biggest decline in 14 years, the government said. Cutbacks covered a wide range, from home building to hotels to highways.
Unsure what to make of it all, Wall Street ended the day narrowly mixed. The Dow Jones industrials dropped 7 points.
The average price of a gallon of gasoline stood at $3.165 Monday, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service. The Energy Department expects gas prices to peak at a record level near $3.40 this spring, and some analysts predict pump prices could rise to nearly $4 a gallon when the busy summer driving season arrives.
It's not much better in the air. Airplane fares climbed 0.8 percent in January.
Diesel prices, used to transport the vast majority of the nation's goods, are also soaring. Diesel prices hit another new record of $3.674 a gallon Monday.
"Bulky items -- milk, soda pop, eggs, cheese, fruits and vegetables -- probably will have higher transportation costs to bring those items to stores," Bethune said. "How much of that is passed along to customers depends. In terms of overall costs of products, it might not be huge. It could be a few cents. But overall it will add up."
Food prices are rising but it's hard to divine exactly how much of that increase can be traced to higher energy prices. Food prices rose 0.7 percent in January, reflecting more expensive fruits, vegetables, poultry, pork and dairy products, according to the Labor Department's consumer price index.
With the overall economy slowing, profit-squeezed businesses are having to make difficult decisions: How high can they raise prices? What costs can they cut, including workers?
Employers did cut jobs in January, marking the first nationwide loss in more than four years. Although new-job creation is thought to have improved somewhat in February, the nation's unemployment rate is expected to bump up to 5 percent. The government releases those new figures on Friday. The jobless rate averaged 4.6 percent last year and could climb to as high as 5.3 percent this year, according to the Federal Reserve.
High energy prices, the housing bust and a credit crisis are feeding fears that the country is heading into a recession or is in one already.
The economy skidded to a near halt in the final three months of last year, growing at pace of just 0.6 percent. Many economists think growth in the January-to-March quarter could be even worse -- around a 0.4 percent pace -- and an increasing number think the economy is actually shrinking now.