Saturday, January 8, 2011

Good morning, everyone. C-c-c-c-old this morning. The thermometer registered 12 degrees when I first looked at it and then promptly lost another couple before we finished our morning coffee. Luckily we only got a couple of fluffy inches of snow which we should be able to sweep off the patio and car without much trouble. Yesterday the landscaping service our landlord hires sent workmen around to clear the snow--with leaf blowers!!! I am very glad that I don't have to drive in this very much.

Yeah, Kay and Lois. I am looking forward to taking and posting more pictures this year. I have a number of exotic plants going into the garden this year, besides the ground cherry. And, as usual, there will be some surprises. I decided at the last minute not to order a particular variety of pepper. Instead I will see what the garden centers have. And I discovered that I no longer have any of a particular variety of tomato seed and so I have spaces for a couple of fairly large plants but no idea of what will go in them. Ah, surprises!!
I agree with you, Kay. Being old, poor, and/or disabled seems to be a mortal sin in this country although this story from HuffingtonPost makes me believe that the notion transcends the U.S. With stories like this I have to wonder if anything much works any more. Our so-called 'compassionate' conservatives tell us that government can't do anything much right except squander and all activities should be moved to the private sphere. But what can private charity do when promises of donations (by governments especially) are reneged upon? People forget that one of the reasons that government stepped into so many areas that had previously been the responsibility of private organizations (particularly charities) was that the economic catastrophe was too big and their resources too small to deal with the need. It seems to me, as I think I have said before, that Thomas Hobbs description of man's condition in nature (a war of all against all) can be easily applied to our modern industrial society. Any attempt at a collective, social response to problems is met with the disparaging cry of 'Socialism!!!' And, yet, without a collective effort many of our most cherished achievements would never have come about.

The news on unemployment seemed good this week--until you look beneath what the mainstream media presents. Another HuffingtonPost gives you some indication of what I mean. Unemployment dropping from 9.8% to 9.3% (I think that is what the reports said) sounds good until you notice that, very simply, a large number of people have dropped out of the 'official' labor market. The story I linked to also gives you some idea of how uneven any 'improvement' in the economy really is. Wall Street is doing wonderfully well. Major banks and corporations are sitting on trillions of dollars (yes that was a 't'). Economists gush about the uptick in temporary, part-time, or private contracting work as a sign that, surely, companies are going to have to start hiring again. Yes, the fact that only a little over 100k jobs were created when the economy needs to create 300k+/month for the next 5 years to get us back to pre 2007 levels of employment. The old saying says that 'every little bit helps' but you can starve to death on little bits that collectively don't add up to enough calories to sustain life. It just takes you a little longer.

The ghost of the BP Gulf of Mexico disaster simply won't go away. I am absolutely amazed that the Federal agencies involved have no plan for cleaning up the environment eight months after the initial explosion. What ever happened to the notion of contingency planning? This was certainly not out of the realm of imagination. I can understand (though not condone) BP's slipshod and ridiculously inadequate plans for dealing with such a disaster--after all where is the profit in planning for a contingency you are absolutely convinced will never happen? But the profit motive should not have entered into the calculations of the Coast Guard, the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Agency, or the Environmental Protection Agency.

1 comment:

Kay Dennison said...

It's all nuts and I think I'm in burnout!