Grandpa “Doctom” Makes Another Move (Final?)

biloxi-lighthouse-stamp-25by Thomas Baldwin, Biloxi, MS

June 6, 2013

When I first thought of writing this  blog on this original blogging site I had considered the title:  “Is This  Doctom’s Last  Stand?” because nearly  all of my blogging in the  past 2  1/2 years has been primarily in the political/governmental area.  But  what I really wanted to do is to show some good friends and acquaintances the new  place in which I have chosen to live.  After one month, I can say it still looks very good and I’m beginning to adjust.  It’s  not easy when one is in his 70’s and never adjusted to those facts.  But my mind tells me I’m still young;  my body tells me otherwise!! And the physical strain from the last move proved that!

So this is going to be primarily a photographic blog with pictures that I  have taken here at Seashore Oaks Senior “Retirement” Center in Biloxi.  It is a complex of three multistory buildings of no more than six stories arranged on a beautiful location on the Mississippi Gulf  Coast.  Much of the property surrounding this area was destroyed in August 2005 by Hurricane Katrina when a 25 foot or so water surge came ashore.  It has taken several years to rebuild but it is coming back in full strength, hopefully not just to await another “Katrina”, the largest natural disaster in U.S.  history.

Just this past week, the property managers/owners (a wholly owned subsidiary of  Biloxi  Housing) added picnic  tables, benches, and grills to the  open grounds lined with oak trees. I’m quietly planning to demonstrate and instruct others on flying kites in this open area to practice before we go to the beach adjacent.  It truly is a nice location and could remind one of a vacation resort on the Gulf Coast, at much lower prices of course, because it has been HUD supported and rebuilt with Katrina recovery funds. 

So here is my  initial picture album.  I  may have a  closing remarks about how I plan to spend my time later.

This series  of photographs contain the following:

1.  A view from one of the swings  on the  property.  I call this my “On Golden  Pond” swing.

2. A  view from the pool area with the apartment building in which I reside on the fourth floor  in the background.

3.  Inside my apartment living room looking to the “office” area on the right.

4.  The open area where picnic tables, benches, etc. have just been placed. 

5.  A very unusual experience with the friendly “neighbors”.  A baby  Mockingbird who had fallen out of her nest decided to befriend me and get on top of  my head so she could get back in the nearby tree.  I decided to just let her have  her own way!  “Tweetie” had figured out on her own that the best chance  for her to get back  in the tree above her  was  to  get on top  of my head first!

6.  Closeup of  “Tweetie” on my head, a rather determined bird.

7.  The grounds at Seashore.

8.  Tweetie  on my shoulder ready to rise to the top of the bald spot on my head. The  “natives” are unusually friendly here.

9.  The four story  apartment building, originally designed as condominiums until the “recession” arrived.

Seashore Oaks Pictures--best 001Seashore Oaks view from pool Seashore Oaks Pictures--best 005 Seashore Oaks Pictures--best 006 Seashore Oaks Pictures--best 010 Seashore Oaks Pictures--best 009 Seashore Oaks Pictures--best 007 Seashore Oaks Pictures--best 008

Seashore Oaks Bldg. AApt. at Seashore Oaks 3

This  is a good location from which to do  some serious  thinking and writing and continue my work  on the internet.  I  will continue to write my two main blogs primarily oriented toward political and socioeconomic matters.  For those that haven’t seen them, here is where you can access them.  

http://proactvoice.wordpress.com/

http://proactvoice2.wordpress.com/

https://doctom2010.wordpress.com/

I’m also going to devote more time to assisting seniors and helping them adjust to the boredom that might be associated with aging.  It’s a common expression that I’ve already heard here.

Best wishes to all.  Please feel free to spread this blog to others on Facebook and other social media!

Tommy

Tom

Thomas

doctom

Grandpa Tom122812_0658_5.png

ALBERT EINSTEIN AS SEEN BY TOMMY BALDWIN IN 1955

Einstein, Tom and Local businesses 023

This blog represents a “term paper” that I wrote for an American History class in 1955, when I was a junior in high school in Ironton, MO!  The first few pages are shown but the document can be read in its entirety by clicking on the links after this brief introduction and available in either Word or PDF formats.  

CONTINUED IN BOTH A WORD AND PDF VERSION:

Einstein–original scanned document in Word

Einstein (3)–from original paper scanned to pdf



Mississippi allows Southern Co to continue building coal plant

 

Mississippi Allows Southern Co to Continue Building Coal Plant

Important reports from Reuters today on PSC Hearing)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/30/idUSL2E8ETCUG20120330

Fri Mar 30, 2012 1:02pm EDT

* Commission says delaying plant not in public interest

* Utility has spent more than $1.1 billion so far

* Opponents argued there abundant natural gas

March 30 (Reuters) – Mississippi utility regulators on Friday issued a temporary certificate to allow a unit of Southern Co to continue building an $2.8 billion coal-gasification power plant in the state despite a court ruling that overturned the existing certificate issued in 2010.

With only two days meeting notice and no discussion, the Mississippi Public Service Commission voted 2-1 to allow Southern Co’s smallest utility, Mississippi Power, to keep building the 582-megawatt integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) power plant in Kemper County, according to the commission order obtained by Reuters.

The order, supported by commissioner chairman Leonard Bentz and commissioner Lynn Posey, stated that the halting the project would lead to “unnecessary costs” that would cause substantial injury to the utility and its customers.

“The commission finds that avoiding unnecessary costs is in the public interest; and that allowing the Kemper Project to proceed at this stage serves the public interest,” the order states.

Commissioner Brandon Presley who has consistently opposed the Kemper project for its high price tag and untried technology called the action to issue a temporary certificate “squarely contrary to state law.”

In a dissenting opinion, Presley said the order “totally misinterprets” the state statute “to Mississippi Power’s advantage and to the detriment of MPC’s customers.”

“It’s an absolute bailout of Mississippi Power,” said Louie Miller, director of the Sierra Club in Mississippi which successfully challenged the Kemper certificate in state court.

Miller suggested that Mississippi Power customers would be better served if the plant were converted to run natural gas rather than lignite as gas prices have fallen dramatically since Kemper County was proposed several years ago.

According to state filings, Mississippi Power has spent more than $1.1 billion on the Kemper County IGCC plant so far. It is expected to begin producing power in 2014. The utility has less than 200,000 customers.

The Kemper certificate, issued by the PSC in May 2010, was thrown into doubt earlier this month when the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that the commission failed to show evidence that the plant would benefit the utility’s customers as required by state law. The court sent the case back to the PSC.

Mississippi Power did not immediately respond to a call for comment on Friday.

Kemper opponents, including independent power producers, said Mississippi Power could only justify customer savings by using a long-term, high-priced gas scenario that did not take into account the abundant supply of gas from shale-rock formations.

IGCC technology heats coal to convert it into a synthesis gas that is processed to remove numerous pollutants before being sent to a traditional combined-cycle power plant to produce electricity.

Kemper was designed to showcase a gasification technology developed by Southern Co to burn Mississippi lignite and had support from state economic development groups and then-Governor Haley Barbour.

______________________________________________________________________

Reuter’s Notes received via email by Louie Miller, MS Director, Sierra Club

16:39 30Mar12 RTRS-UPDATE 1-Mississippi allows Southern Co to keep building $2.8 bln coal plant

    * Utility says delay could cost $250 mln-$500 mln

   * Sierra Club appeals commission order late Friday

   * Dissenting commissioner says action contrary to state law

(Adds court appeal, comment)

   By Eileen O’Grady 

   March 30 (Reuters) – Mississippi utility regulators on Friday voted to allow a unit of Southern Co <SO.N> to continue building an $2.8 billion coal-gasification power plant in the state despite a court ruling that overturned the existing certificate issued two years ago.   

   With only two days meeting notice and no discussion, the Mississippi Public Service Commission (PSC) voted 2-1 to issue a temporary certificate so that Southern Co’s smallest utility, Mississippi Power, can keep building the 582-megawatt integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) power plant in Kemper County, according to the commission order.  

   The Sierra Club, which successfully challenged the Kemper IGCC project, immediately filed an appeal at the Mississippi Supreme Court to block the certificate.  

    The PSC order, supported by commissioner chairman Leonard Bentz and commissioner Lynn Posey, stated that the halting the project would lead to “unnecessary costs” that would cause substantial injury to the utility and its customers.    

    According to a state filing, Mississippi Power said interrupting construction at the Kemper site could cost between $250 million and $500 million. 

   “Any delays to this project would mean significant costs to our customers,” said Jeff Shepard, Mississippi Power spokesman in a release. “Today’s ruling means we can continue building a sound energy future for our customers.” 

    The Kemper certificate, issued by the PSC in May 2010, was thrown into doubt earlier this month when the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that the commission failed to show evidence that the plant would benefit the utility’s customers as required by state law. The court sent the case back to the PSC. [ID:nL2E8EGETM]    

   Commissioner Brandon Presley who has consistently opposed the Kemper project for its high price tag and untried technology called Friday’s action to issue a temporary certificate “squarely contrary to state law.”    

    In his dissent, Presley said the order “totally misinterprets” the state statute “to Mississippi Power’s advantage and to the detriment of MPC’s customers.”  

   “There is no way allowing construction to continue at Kemper is a temporary act,” Presley told Reuters. “Nobody with any sense would argue that. It’s not what the law says.”  

   Bentz who represents most Mississippi Power customers in the southeast corner of the state, declined to comment through a spokeswoman while Posey, who represents Kemper County in central Mississippi, could not be reached late Friday. 

   “It’s an absolute bailout of Mississippi Power,” said Louie Miller, director of the Sierra Club in Mississippi.  

   In its appeal filed after Friday’s meeting, the Sierra Club asked the Supreme Court to rule that “Mississippi Power is not exempt from the law, and the Public Service Commission does not have the authority to bypass state law, according to a statement.   

   Miller suggested that Mississippi Power customers would be better served if Mississippi Power converted the plant to run natural gas rather than lignite as gas prices have fallen dramatically since Kemper County was proposed several years ago. 

   According to state filings, Mississippi Power has spent more than $1.1 billion on the Kemper County IGCC plant and has committed to contracts valued at $1.5 billion. It is expected to begin producing power in 2014. The utility has less than 200,000 customers.   

   Kemper opponents, including independent power producers, said Mississippi Power could only justify customer savings by using a natural gas scenario that projected gas prices would rise from $11 per million British thermal units in 2014 to $22 per mmBtu in 2050.  

   U.S. gas prices are the lowest in a decade due to booming output from shale-rock formations.  [ID:nL2E8EU3JT] 

   IGCC technology heats coal to convert it into a synthesis gas that is processed to remove numerous pollutants before being sent to a traditional combined-cycle power plant to produce electricity.   

   Kemper was designed to showcase a gasification technology developed by another Southern Co subsidiary to burn Mississippi lignite and had support from state economic development groups and then-Governor Haley Barbour. 

 

(Reporting By Eileen O’Grady; Editing by Bob Burgdorfer and David Gregorio)  ((eileen.ogrady@thomsonreuters.com)(+1 713 210 8522)(Reuters Messaging:eileen.ogrady.reuters.come@reuters.net))

Keywords: UTILITIES SOUTHERN/KEMPER 

 

For Related News, Double Click on one of these codes:[E] [ELN] [O] [U] [NAW] [OIL] [PSC] [RNP] [DNP] [PCO] [PEN] [PCU] [COM] [UTIL] [ENR] [ELG] [NGS] [GASPWR] [COA] [ELEU] [FIN] [US] [CMPNY] [ENER] [FINS] [AMERS] [NRG] [PWR] [LEN] [RTRS] [SO.N]

 For Relevant Price Information, Double Click on one of these codes:<SO.N>

 Friday, 30 March 2012 16:39:12RTRS [nL2E8EUAHQ] {EN}ENDS

Eileen O’Grady
Houston Correspondent

Thomson Reuters

Office: 713 210 8522
Mobile:  281 691 4100

eileen.ogrady@thomsonreuters.com
thomsonreuters.com


This email was sent to you by Thomson Reuters, the global news and information company. Any views expressed in this message are those of the individual sender, except where the sender specifically states them to be the views of Thomson Reuters

Louie Miller

State Director

Sierra Club Mississippi

601-624-3503 (mobile)

louie.miller@sierraclub.org

 

 

 

 

OBAMANOMICS IS HERE!! HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM

Senator McConnell claimed on CNN-Sunday December 19, that the bill was 76% Republican, 12% Democratic and the rest could be argued.  That’s about 80/20, exactly what Ronald Reagan said it would take to be a Republican.  Interesting, huh?

Does anyone remember the calls from astronauts in space when they perceived that they had a serious problem?  Their calls were very calmly:  “Houston we have a problem.”  Now Americans in the space outside of Washington don’t know who you call.  Is it Ghostbusters?

The events we witnessed in passing the Tax Cut Bill were really inconceivable to anyone with a degree of common sense.   The President set the stage by “negotiating” with John Boehner and Mitch McConnell,  those Republicans he labeled as holding him hostage, to agree to a tax cut for millionaires in exchange for obtaining payments for the unemployed through unemployment insurance.  That was the beginning of this episode. Once they had an agreement it was sent to Congress for consideration.

Congress took this proposal and worked it to completion.  The result was a bill that the President declared “mission accomplished”, the bill was signed and the glorification of compromise and bipartisanship was declared.  Everyone was supposed to receive a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Washington.

No matter how one looks at this he/she can make some or all of the following obervations and perhaps have some of the following questions answered:

1.  This place called Washington is a “Cuckoo’s Nest”.  Maybe we need to call Jack Nicolson to tell us what to do.

2.  Explain to us how a continuation of Reaganomics (Voodoo, trickle down, supply side) is going to get us out of this mess by continuing the Bush economic policies which brought us to our knees.

3.  Explain to us how acceptance of a cut in payroll tax (social security contributions) is going to strengthen the social security system.

4.  Tell us what is in this bill to solve the unemployment problem we have when this is simply a continuation of what we have been doing for the past ten years.  The Bush years were the worst on public record for creating jobs.

5.  Tell us what this is going to do for us about the deficit/debt problem which the Republicans have been screaming about and have been quite quite willing to contribute additional debt. This bill will increase the debt immediately starting in January.

6.  Tell us how this “plan” is going to change the incredible wealth/income inequalities that have been going on for the past 30 years.

7.  Tell us why corporations are not going to see this as an excellent opportunity to invest in foreign nations instead of here and tell us why banks are not going to see this nation as a bad investment.

Nope, I don’t see this as a good “deal” of the President buying this used car.  It costs us at least 850 billion dollars and we’re going to borrow it from the Chinese.  Frankly, I don’t want the President negotiating anything else for me in the future.  And apparently there are a lot of progressives and Democrats that feel the same way.  The President tried to put lipstick on this Republican pig and make it look better, but that pig is sitting there with a big smile on its face and a big red R in the middle of its forehead.

But the torch has finally passed clearly from Bush to Obama.  It is flaming out of control as we now enter an era of Obamanomics. As Robert Reich discusses in his excellent article in the link below it is basically a continuation of what we have had, with the eight year exception of the period that President Clinton gave us.  The deficits are now President Obama’s, the unemployment is his, and  the responsibility for the economy is his.  In other words the buck stops right on his desk and he has alienated much of his base.

May I also add that the responsibility for the Afghanistan war is his as he has decided to increase the size of that war and spend more than 2 billion dollars a week  there.

So how do I feel about this?  I’m extremely disappointed and almost depressed.  I had great hopes that there would be some significant change in 2008.  I bought into, hook line an sinker, the theme of the campaign.  But now when I hear the question from an obnoxious Sarah Palin who asks:  “How’s that hopey, changey thing working out”? ; I will respond by saying:  Not worth a shit!

I plan to respond, however, by moving on with some positive suggestions about our future.

Please see this article by Robert Reich recently posted to place this blog in the proper context:

http://robertreich.org/post/2337421398

Dr. Tom Baldwin, Biloxi, MS  12/18/2010

OBAMA’S USED CAR: ONLY 900 BILLION!

Most of you will recall that in the most recent campaign the President compared the economic recovery with removing a car which had wrecked in a ditch.  He described how difficult it was to remove and indicated that he was not going to let the Republicans drive again; they had to ride in the back seat. Has anyone ever wondered  what  happened to that car after the election?  I have and now I think I know.  It’s for sale or lease!

Before the election it wasn’t worth much and probably could have been bought for salvage–maybe $100–but there were no buyers as the election proved.  But now the American people are being asked to pay $900 billion dollars for the privilege of driving it.

Now it turns out that the President assumed responsibility for a car with four flat tires, an engine that wouldn’t start, and no gasoline.  The tires have been barely inflated, a little gasoline was added and the car is now sputtering.  The Republicans, having had a very good election, decided that they now want him to pay $900 billion (payable in 2 annual payments) for the car to allow him to drive  it on a two year lease.  How in the world could he say no? This is the only car he has to drive. He’s now asking us to pay the lease charges.

Get the “picture” everyone? It’s the only car we have.  Maybe we should seek alternate transportation?  How about a plane, train or another  donkey?  Personally, I’ve never been very keen on riding an elephant.

Now let’s examine some of the details of this “deal” that the Republicans are “willing” to make and the President wants us to accept.  The costs of this 900 billion can be met by loans from China, Saudi Arabia and several other countries at very good interest rates.  Obama will let the big banks hold the money for us at no interest and some of it can be loaned to us from the banks charging up to 20% or more interest.   We can pay that back over several years.   We can even give big chunks of it (at least 140 billion) to our wealthiest Americans to spend as they like.  We are “permitted” to use up to about 60 billion to aid unemployed workers, give about 120 billion to all Americans to reduce their social security payments.  Obviously we’ll have some other “flexibilities” including tax credits for college tuition and for those of us who die and have estates over 5 million dollars our survivors will get a big break on their inheritance taxes!  But we can’t give $250 to seniors in lieu of a cost of living increase.

Now what the hell is the matter with you “progressives”?  This is the best “deal” Mitch McConnell and John Boehner would accept. Are you just a bunch of malcontents?  Everyone has been asking him to be “bipartisan” and the Republicans are ecstatic with this “deal”.  Hasn’t there been peace in politics?  For goodness sakes, look at all he’s done for us.  And to compare this with the public option for healthcare insurance?  Shame, shame, shame on us.

I must admit I’m mad as hell.  But I’d like to offer something constructive.  As a former professor of physics and management and a consultant to leaders in the corporate sector, I’d like to recommmend the President study some negotiation skills, conflict resolution skills, and then problem solving skills.  That could be done within a month with his mental abilities.  Although I’d happily serve as his mentor,  perhaps he can get some help from Harvard instead.  For example, I recommend the little book, “Getting to Yes, Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In”.  That was written at Harvard, by Fisher and Ury in about 1981.  But I’m sure he can also find many other references of value;  I’m probably going to send him my old, worn copy.  This same recommendation also applies to these other skills above.  In the meantime, he might practice these skills with new negotiations on this old car.  But he needs to know that capitulation, acquiescence, or playing lose-win are not the only choices for outcomes!  He also needs to look up the word “compromise” in this context.

Since the deficit will be increased nearly a trillion dollars with this “deal”, it should not be surprising that deficit reduction will now be an even larger priority.  I will soon have some specific recommendations (demands!) that we should make to do that! And they will include, “Keep your damn hands off our social security, medicare and healthcare” and add a public option now! It will also demand that this criminal distribution of wealth to the richest Americans stop NOW!

P.S. By the way, it’s going to be interesting to see how other countries, especially China,  react to this great “deal” the President has “negotiated” with Republicans.  I bet they have some used cars, too!

Dr. Tom Baldwin, Biloxi, MS, 12/08/2010

MUTUAL ASSURED DESTRUCTION (MAD): INSANITY IN D.C.

WARNING:  This blog (article) may be injurious to the mental conditions of Republicans ( and Blue Dog Democrats), Tea Party members and Plutocrats.  The author assumes no responsibility for increases in sanity of these groups!

During the Cold War we were kept “safe” by insuring that we could kill more in the Soviet Union than they could of us by having more nuclear weapons.  Fortunately, we did’t have to prove that.

In the current environment, we were told that the Republicans and the Tea Party would save us from the deficit and unemployment by electing them to office.  Once elected they have stated their opposition to allowing tax cuts for the rich to expire, that they probably couldn’t do anything else about jobs, that they didn’t care about deficits except for making sure unemployment benefits were “paid for”, and the fact that Bush’s record for creating jobs was the worst in decades.  Bush’s record was the creation of about 1 million jobs in eight years compared to Clinton’s record of about 23 million.

The Republican Party is not only insane (stupidity is too weak a word) and is lying to us, but they think the rest of us are insane and stupid too!  I’m beginning to be concerned about the Democratic Party and President Obama.

Now the evidence is getting stronger that we will continue on the same destructive path for at least two years and it will undoubtedly get worse.  Remember the definition of insanity:  “Continuing to do the same things and expecting different results.”  Republican “leaders” refuse to tell us why the Bush tax cuts for the rich will suddenly start to increase or create jobs when the opposite was true for nearly 10 years.  And “we” seem to be willing to allow them to get away with this.

Look at the graph below.  It shows the current situation with the deficit and the projections for the near future.  It has little or nothing to do with Social Security and Medicare over the next ten years.  Instead our “wise men” in Washington want us to be concerned and excited with what will happen decades into the future.  Most of us won’t be alive and our children and grandchildren will all be living in poverty as the rich become hideously rich as is already the case today.  One percent of Americans now control about 25% of the wealth and the top 10% control half the wealth.  Even Warren Buffet, the third richest man in the world, is “begging” for the government to force him to pay more taxes and increase taxes for the wealthy.  (Click on the graphs to enlarge and make clearer.)

In the graph above you will clearly see that the largest contributions to the deficit are coming from the Bush Tax Cuts, the economic downturn (recession) and the two wars (defense spending).  What this means quite clearly is that if these are reduced then the only place to make serious cuts is with domestic programs.  Does anyone want to speculate what this means for Americans–all of us??

In this next graph below, I show a graphic of how the plans by Democrats and those by Republicans differ to retain the Bush Tax Cuts for all.  In other words, the tax cuts for the richest individuals exceed those of about two average family incomes.  Does anyone care to speculate how much this increases the wealth of the top 2% or more even in a few years?  This is what we have been doing for 10 years.

Are we angry yet?  Try the graphic below I presented in an earlier blog.  This is a representation of the large concentration of wealth in the top brackets over the last three decades.  The trends started to worse for us near the beginning of the Reagan administration with Reaganomics otherwise known as Voodoo, trickle down and supply side economics.  The Republicans cannot stop telling us enough how their brand of economics has been so good for us.  Don’t you feel it?


So if you are a progressive what are you going to do about it?  Write a letter to your Congressman?  Wring your hands?  Drop out?  Cry? If we are not angry and fed up enough with all the lying, deceit, cowardness, etc. going on in Washington yet, and are ready to vote with our feet and our bodies to stop this insanity soon, then we will only have unpaved streets to march on.  This is where we are headed folks.  The suggestion of  “civil dialogue” with the Tea Party made by the Founder and other leaders of the Coffee Party is one of the most absurd suggestions I have ever heard. These economic issues affect all Americans and even some of the rich recognize it.  It’s time to talk about and plan civil disobedience before it becomes uncivilized.

Dr. Tom Baldwin

Biloxi, MS     12/6/2010