Randy May Family in Hillsboro Oregon

November 10, 2012

Would you survive an Electrical Outage? Even a Small One?

I read the article below and then read the articles from Sandy, from Katrina and the like and think but for the grace of God, there go I. I only a little more prepared than many of these people were and less than some. Here is a great list of things that we can do to make it through first 3 to 5 days.

I would ad to this list, garbage bags as in many areas, the garbage service did not run for more than a week and garbage began to pile up. Also, since gasoline  is a commodity that gets hard to acquire quickly in most disasters. I am going to probably keep 10 GL on hand. In the communications department, make sure you have a way to charge cell phones without electricity and also add and emergency radio to be able to receive news and broadcast that does rely on electricity to operate. Batteries, solar or a hand crank generator are all good power sources. Some emergency radios can charge cell phones and the radio can be a source of entertainment as well!


10 Power Outage PREPAREDNESS Tips: Easy Things You Can Do Today!

This past August We had a hurricane and a small earthquake here in Virginia in about the same week. We were without power for over a week at my house, other people were longer.  Cooking, cleaning, among other things were quite a challenge for everyone.

Below are 10  things Either I learned I needed to do differently next time or that I promise you are the first to go after a huge weather event that you will NOT be able to find.The good news is  you can grab a few  this week to feel like you’ve gotten a jump start on being better prepared.

With Hurricane and Tornado season coming soon here on the East Coast, in Virginia we have an upcoming tax free weekend for preparedness supplies. Batteries, tents, you name it will be on sale and you don’t have to pay sales tax, so it’s the perfect opportunity to stock up on a few things.

1) Water: Many of you have stored water set aside, but you’d be shocked at how much we really use every day in our lives. a gallon per person per day is just the bare minimum for drinking and staying alive! It doesn’t count for dishes, laundry, bathing/hygiene/first aid, pets, etc.  Seriously stock pile water and store it under every bed in the house if you need to. Fill empty soda bottles, or buy the 5 gallon water containers from the store and slide them on their sides under the beds, couches, etc. (hey, the kids can’t cram their stuff under them when “cleaning” their rooms, when they have water bottles under them instead!)

2) Batteries.  I can assure you when you need them in an emergency, the D batteries as well as the C and 9 volts are impossible to find!  Batteries last longer if stored in the freezer. The perfect way to store them is in recycled plastic containers such as spice jars and crystal light drink containers!
Stock up while they are on sale, label some empty plastic containers and store in the door of your freezer.
You can never have enough of these.

Ways to recycle plastic containers

3)  Fuel: Cooking, driving, and generator’, and misc:
               Cooking: Stock up on several kinds of fuel for cooking. With Memorial Day around the corner, they will be on sale.  Pick up some propane either the little green coleman ones or a couple of big propane tanks (like fit on your gas grills: we have 3). Also stockpile charcoal, lighter fluid and matches, matches, matches! You can never have enough of these and your neighbors will be desparate, so plan on an extra bag or two to share with loved ones that weren’t prepared.  We have like 20 bags stored away that we picked up on sale.  Don’t forget the lighter fluid and matches!

             Driving & generators: I guarantee you, the first thing that people have problems with everytime we have an extended power outage due to extreme weather is gasoline. People drive everywhere looking for any open and working gas station and the lines are CRAZY!  Do yourself a favor. This week pick up some appropriate 5 gallon gasoline containers and fill them! I know gas is expensive, but you will really appriciate it when you can drive a little bit or fuel your generator without going all over the place.  You can use them for your lawn mower to rotate and freshen the supply, but get more than one and store them properly.

 Miscellaneous: If you have oil lamps stock up on clear lamp oil and grab some extra wicks. If you don’t have an oil lamp consider buying one or two.It helps to light up larger rooms like your family room in the evenings, when it’s too early to go to bed and your’ all hanging out together.  Also stock up on long burning emergency candles. ( During power outages, we keep one burning in the bathroom in a safe spot.  We have no window so it’s pitch dark,  for sure in the middle of the night, so you can see to use the bathroom.

4)Food: Add some canned dinners/proteins to your pantry:  Take a second look at the food in your pantry. During emergencies cans of food that can be heated and served are a really a huge stress reducer.
So many of us are avoiding those premade conveneince foods, but  in a week or more with no power you will come to appriciate the simplicity of opening a can of something for dinner or lunch.
So add some canned hash, chili, ravioli, stews, etc. to your pantry.  I recommend,  that you plan a day’s worth of emergency food and store them altogether in a gallon sized ziplock bag and label them and set them in your panty.

Also make sure to have powdered milk and canned gravy. Canned gravy sure can make a lot of dry ingredients like rice and potatoes taste a lot better! Don’t underestimate the power of canned gravy for  your mental health!

Cooking oil: During world war II cooking oil was in such demand that  you could trade a quart of it for a ton of other foods and supplies! Without it you are forced to boil just about everything. Store some cooking oils and shortening cans away. You will not regret it!

5) Ice: Besides fuel, the next thing to disappear like in a matter of seconds at every store in town after a disaster is ice. If at all possible store some bags of ice in a deep freeze. If you don’t have a large separate freezer, try to store a few gallon sized freezer bags with extra ice and also identify the closest convenience store to you and keep some reserved cash on hand to run as quickly as you can to get some. It will help keep your food in your fridge or in my husbands case his diabetic insulin cold.

6) Non electric gadgets: Hand crank can openers, hand crank rechargers for phones (as well as car chargers for phones) and hand crank flashlights and radios, even duct tape to seal windows. along with a tarp, to duct tape and close off rooms  can help retain heat in the winter. Since we lost power in August in the south, the heat and humidity was awful! Being too hot makes you sooooo cranky!!!!!  Especially if you don’t have a generator, invest now in a few battery operated fans. In the camping section of the store their should be some that are small but stand alone so you can set them by your bed, etc. Also a heat source such as a propane heater  for winter, may be on clearance now that winter’s over. Seriously buy them this week. The peace of mind is priceless.

7)Communication With Family:  Prepare an emergency message command center out of state if possible.  When an earthquake hit (yes it was minor, thankfully) local cell phone towers were so jammed with calls that no one could reach their loved ones to check on each other. I couldn’t reach my husband or my youngest child in high school.  I found it much easier to reach my two oldest children who lived across the country.Often times long distance calls work better than local ones during an emergency.   So, decide on a common friend or family member, preferably out of state that can be your message relay center. Program that number into  your children, spouses, parents, etc phones.( put them on the schools emergency contact list on the child’s records)  whom everyone has the number to and can leave a message on how they are and where they are.

8) Umm…T.P… It’s miserable to run out!
More precious than gold maybe in an extended emergency is toilet paper. You could  not possibly store too much of this (or fuel, water ,or food).  You may need to share some with neighbors. Oh, and stash some extra feminine supplies, diapers, wipes, etc. specifically put these in a closet for an emergency.

9)  Misc. Necessities: Hygiene: tooth paste,  soaps, etc.,deodorant,  hand sanitizer. Grab some extra’s nothing makes you feel more human than feeling clean.
Other: Cash! When power outages hit for an extended period you can’t run to the bank or ATM’S! For heaven’s sake even though times are tight, next time the store clerk asks you if you need extra cash when you use your card, say yes and tuck a twenty dollar bill away for emergencies.  Start a small fund  no matter how small. Even a dollar a week is better than no cash at all when you need it! Do it!

10) Fun Activities The longest week of my teenagers life was without any electricty for his entertainment. Pick up some, games: Like uno cards, battleship,etc, books (especially ones that take you to another place like fantasy, mystery, etc.), simple crafts (playdoh etc) and put them away, so they are new and fun during an extended power outtage.


November 9, 2012

Obama Spin Doctor on Bail Out

Filed under: Automotive,Chrysler,Dodge,Fiat,Politics — rmay4 @ 1:01 am
Tags: , , , , ,

I am not saying the bail out was wrong. There was definitely some good to be realized but at least be honest and do not politicize it. Bush was going to do it as well. The handling is Chrysler’s bail out went much better than Government Motors!!!

Obama finding what’s good for GM not so good for taxpayers Keith Naughton and Mark Clothier Automotive News | November 8, 2012 – 12:20 pm EST

DETROIT (Bloomberg) — The General Motors bailout played an important role in the re-election of President Barack Obama, who stumped on the issue in Midwestern swing states.

Now comes the hard part: unloading the government’s stake, probably at a big loss.

GM received $51 billion from the U.S. Treasury in 2009. Taxpayers have recouped $24 billion and still own 32 percent of the company. The problem is that GM shares are trading at less than half the price the government said it needs to break even.

Selling the shares was politically precarious before the election because that would have locked in a loss — $14 billion at yesterday’s closing price. Now that the election is over, cutting the stake could be good for GM’s image and its stock.

The question is how and when. With GM suffering as much as $1.8 billion in losses in Europe this year and Chinese economic growth slowing while the U.S. accelerates gradually, prospects are dim for a doubled stock price.

“They can’t wait for the shares to turn a profit because they know it’s not going to happen,” Phillip Swagel, assistant Treasury secretary for economic policy under President George W. Bush, said in an interview. “They will wait a reasonable time period after the election, as people focus on the fiscal cliff and tax reform. Then they’ll start to sell off the shares.”

Obama is unlikely to sell all 500 million shares at one time, as Republican candidate Mitt Romney had suggested he might, Swagel said. That will reassure investors concerned that GM’s largest shareholder would batter the stock with a share dump.

Likely seller

“You have one shareholder who is a likely seller and owns a third of the stock,” said Matthew Stover, an auto analyst with Guggenheim Securities in Boston. “Investors see that and think, ‘Look out below!”‘

Rather, Treasury will probably engage in a measured sell-down over time, much like it has in exiting ownership in banks and insurer American International Group Inc., which received taxpayer rescues from the Troubled Asset Relief Program that also funded GM’s bailout.

GM’s $51 billion was part of the government’s $79.7 billion 2009 rescue of GM, Chrysler Group LLC and lender Ally Financial Inc.

“Treasury has done a very good job of disposing of shares of TARP banks and that provides a pretty good road map,” said Swagel, now a professor of economics at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy. “Treasury has taken some losses on the TARP shares on individual banks. But they said the best thing for us to do is to sell these off and get the banks back into fully private hands.”

‘Own Timetable’

GM spokesman Jim Cain declined to speculate on the government’s plans.

“Nothing has changed from our perspective,” Cain said. “Treasury will act on its own timetable.”

Timothy Massad, the Treasury Department’s assistant secretary for financial stability, said in an e-mailed statement: “Going forward, as with all our investments, we’ll continue to balance exiting as soon practicable and maximizing value for taxpayers.”

GM has the liquidity it needs to buy back government shares after securing an $11 billion revolving credit line on Nov. 5, Brian Johnson, a Chicago-based analyst with Barclays Plc, wrote in a note that day. If Obama were to announce an AIG-style wind-down of the government stake in GM, it could help both sides, Johnson said.

‘Government Motors’

“Announcement of a sell-down plan, combined with a coordinated share-repurchase plan by GM could actually boost the stock,” Johnson wrote. “Announcement of such a plan would help the Treasury’s cause, as the stock could see a boost from investors appreciating the signal that the Treasury overhang is coming to an end.”

If GM were to buy back 40 percent of Treasury’s holdings for as much as $5.6 billion, that would add 12 percent to the value of the remaining shares, according to Johnson.

The “Government Motors” tag that dogged GM throughout the presidential campaign is depressing its share price and has hamstrung the company, said Jim Kee, president of South Texas Money Management in San Antonio, which bought 500,000 GM shares in February, expecting a 30 percent to 50 percent gain as the economy recovers.

“GM has still got the dead weight of government involvement limiting their flexibility,” Kee said.

Half step

Even chopping the government’s ownership stake in half might move the share price up, Stover said.

“If they get it to 15 percent or below, I think people will stop talking about it as much,” Stover said. “One of the reasons the stock price has come up recently is people are looking at it and saying, ‘Europe is bottoming and it looks like the U.S. Treasury is going to do something.”‘

Obama may want to wait to start selling until the Detroit auto show in January, when GM plans to display a redesigned version of the Chevrolet Silverado pickup, its top-selling model. That news could move shares in the direction of GM’s November 2010 initial public offering price of $33.

GM shares closed at $25.03 on Wednesday.

“Housing data points continue to improve and pickup demand is increasing,” said Peter Nesvold, an analyst with Jefferies & Co. “GM has brand new product in that category for the first time in five years and the appetite for shares is actually pretty strong.”

Strong Fort

Other than its European losses, the news on GM is mostly good. The new revolving line gives the automaker $43 billion in gross liquidity, strengthening what CEO Dan Akerson calls “our fortress balance sheet.”

GM’s third-quarter earnings last week beat estimates by 55 percent and automotive profit excluding Europe rose 4.3 percent to $2.63 billion, before interest and taxes, as it commanded higher prices for its models and expanded in emerging markets in Asia and South America.

“As we’ve said before, we believe the company’s made real progress, but we don’t think that the market has given the company as much credit as it might,” said the Treasury Department’s Massad.

Frank Brosens, a founder of Taconic Capital Advisors, agrees.

“This stock still trades like the old GM,” Brosens said Wednesday at the “Invest for Kids” conference in Chicago to benefit youth charities. “The stock can triple from here.”

Brosens said the government “would like nothing better” than to get out of GM stock. Taconic owns 9.03 million shares, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Brosens said he expects the government will sell its stake in the next six months to a year. GM may buy 200 million to 300 million shares from the government, he said.

Million jobs

To Obama, the most important outcome of the bailout is that GM and Chrysler are healthy and hiring. Without government assistance, “we would have lost a million jobs,” the president said in the Oct. 16 presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.

The controversy of using taxpayer dollars to save individual companies is unlikely to ever go away, said Swagel, who helped start the auto bailout as part of the Bush administration. Eliminating government ownership of GM, though, will go a long way toward closing the book on that intervention, he said.

“The administration has spun the bailout into a success story, so they’re not going to suddenly admit, ‘oh, no, now we’ve lost money,”‘ said Swagel, who contends labor unions received preferential treatment in GM’s bankruptcy. “Everyone understands they’ve lost money, but, in their mind, they’ve saved all these jobs.”

President Obama, pictured driving a Chevy Volt during a June 2010 event in Detroit, is unlikely to tell the U.S. Treasury to sell all 500 million GM shares at one time, experts say.

Photo credit: Reuters   PRINTED FROM: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20121108/OEM/121109875&template=printart

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