Monday, February 2, 2009

Good Morning, Good Morning, Good Morning.  We had our first temps over 40 (just barely) yesterday.  But it is back into the 20s through Wednesday--unless the forecast changes.  You know what they say about weather here at the tip of Lake Michigan (and everywhere else I have lived).  Wait five minutes and it will change.

Passing through the MSNBC news page to get to my e-mail I saw the headline for this story.  Since executive compensation has been a sore spot in my psyche for at least the last 20 years, exacerbated by the latest round of excess, I couldn't resist reading and hoping it might be true.  I find it interesting that, while the financial institutions have been dragged by government pressure into trimming the excess, tech and other sector corporations are going voluntarily into programs to trim pay and establish, hopefully, reasonably criteria by which to judge executive performance.  I think it is especially interesting that one of the criteria they are looking at is long term sustainability instead of short term profits.  For at least the last thirty years the fixation has been on the next quarter not the next year or next five years.  I have wondered lately if the problem with business has been the shift away from true entrepreneurs, the people who build a business from scratch, to managers.  And they have done a very poor job of managing.

Totally Inept Balcony Gardner has a post updating the situation in Australia.  While we have had one of the 15 or 20 worst winters in history they have had an absolutely horrendous summer.  The story finally made our news media for a brief moment this last week.  I think it did so only because the heat has been joined by bush fires of the kind we expect each year in California and other points west.  Gardner indicates that one which destroyed some 20 homes was arson.  Again something we expect while hoping it won't happen this year. (found by way of The Oil Drum) has an interesting article this morning.  This is the second report I have read in the last month which describes a new 'land rush' by countries with a lot of cash but little fertile land to acquire the rights to farm land elsewhere.  Anyone remember the old saw that came out of the oil crises of the 1970s.  Irate drivers here responded to the rise in gas prices by telling the Saudis and others to 'eat their oil.'  They, evidently, have an answer.  I'm surprised it took them so long.  I wonder what the rallying cry will be when they still have the oil and will be able to eat off our land while cutting out our middlemen.

I found this site, which I immediately bookmarked.  I am always trying to find ways to reuse materials that we normally acquire because of what we have to purchase.  I am keeping the gallon milk jugs for a while to make hot caps, or cloches, for my early plants.  I also cut strips of some earlier ones to make stakes to identify my plants and to make inserts to stiffen some coasters I am in the process of constructing.  I came upon the site by way of 5 Minutes For Going Green who reminds us that recycling is the end of the process not the beginning.  Reducing and reusing should be first.

I heard about this inanity on the part of banks last night on the evening news.  I wonder if it will be a flash in the pan.  The New York Times cited an AP investigative report which said that major banks, including many which had received bailout from TARP, increased their requests for visas for foreign workers by a third over the previously even as they were laying off their U.S. employees in droves.  Thanks to Chris In Paris at Americablog for the link.

Loraine at Me and the Cat has a nice little Q & A tutorial on the true meaning of economic stimulus payments.  She also mentions the few businesses you can patronize that may still locally owned, operated and supplied if you choose carefully.

Archcrone at The Crone Speaks sums up my view of the legislative combat Republicans and their wanna-be Democratic allies have engaged in over the last couple of months (since the November election actually.)  It is purely and simply obstructionism.  Or as she says 

"I can’t help but voice my concern that republican obstructionism is based on continuing a failed Bush/Reagan economic policy of giving the rich more and screwing the poor. It is time for Dems to wake up and smell the coffee, and divorce themselves from this asinine idea of bipartisanship. "

Republicans and conservative Democrats don't want bi-partisanship.  They want to rule the roost by whatever means possible.  

Talking about weird weather here is a report from the BBC about the recent snow that paralyzed London.  Although the 20 centimeters cited in the story only amounts to a bit less that 8 inches, when you are not used to it that is a lot.  Even if you are used to it it can be a major pain.

If another story from the BBC is any indication, I would say that shoe throwing has become a new and popular form of protest.  This time the Chinese Prime Minister was the recipient of a shoe that fell well wide of its mark.

On that note I will say bye for now.


Lorraine said...

Well isn't this a nice note on which I can happily close my infernal machine....Stopped in at my blogpage and saw your incoming link....another bewildering feature of this beast called WordPress. I am still razzlefratzed with WordPress -- being something of an addled old crone I was used to the simplicity of WordPress is awesome. Hope I'll learn how to tame it some day!

It was very nice to meet you MaryC, catch you later!

Kay Dennison said...

I've become very much a supporter of local businesses. My mechanic is a mere 3 blocks from my house. My beauty salon is locally owened and operated. I buy about half my clothes from my friend Paula's resale shop. My grocery store is locally owned and may cost a couple pennies more but what the family who owns it gives back to the community -- charity and the arts -- is worth it. My computershop is a couple local guys who know their stuff and charge fair prices.

The list goes on but you get the picture.

Yeah, I'm becoming a locavore.