Thursday, February 10, 2011

Good morning, everyone. Hopefully, this is the last day of extremely frigid temperatures. I have to get our last bag of cat litter out of the car. We find that is the best place to store it until needed. It doesn't take up any of our limited space inside the house and it is a nice bit of ballast for the car in these snowy times. But I don't need it right now so it will stay where it is until temps warm up tomorrow. Our patio thermometer showed -5 this morning. The morning news said the wind chills were -17 degrees. Much too cold for this old girl to go out barring a life-or-death emergency.

Anyone who thinks we can easily shift much of our energy needs away from oil should carefully consider this story. The materials involved in the production of nuclear fuel are toxic at several levels but one of the first costs the company wants to cut are those involving employee safety and health. And this isn't the only problem. Enter 'nuclear waste and groundwater contamination' into your search engine and see what you find. I even saw one story which claims the there has been detectable contamination near a French nuclear plant and they are considered the most advanced and safest systems now operating. And one which cited a study predicting contamination of the local aquifer if the Yucca Mountain site ever gets operational. Nuclear energy presents potentially devastating problems from mining to refining to fuel processing to transportation to final storage of the waste. And none of those problems have been solved.

This MSNBC story falls into the 'finally somebody is connecting some dots' category. I have seen three stories about weather and food price increases over the last 2 days on mainstream sources. Two of them mention the drought in China which is devastating the winter wheat crop there. I have been reading about that for the last month on the internet. This morning the news report noted that corn reserves are at a 15 year low.

And then there is this MSNBC story which intrigued me given this story on HuffingtonPost. On the one hand, more people need home heating assistance because of the sour economy and severe weather while, on the other hand, the Obama Administration and some of our budget cutting hawks want to cut the funding because prices of oil are below the 2008 level. That seems to be the fashion these days: deciding who you will kick to the curb or push under the bus in the name of fiscal responsibility.

I am no great fan of the insurance industry. More often than not in recent years they seem to be using any excuse to raise rates and deny payouts. So when I saw the headline on this story I was skeptical (to put it mildly). However, it is a very good story on the vagaries of trying to prepare for potential disaster in a world suffering weather events outside anyone's experience. There is an old saying about generals preparing to fight the last war rather than the next one and something similar seems to be going on here--we prepare for the disasters we expect and are blind sided by the unexpected, which seems to be happening more frequently of late.

According to Crooks and Liars those freshman Republican legislators who refused their government health insurance are getting an eye-opening experience of dealing with the 'open market' for coverage. Poor things!!! (sarcasm alert)

1 comment:

Looking to the Stars said...

Stay warm. Our weather has been nice the last couple of days.

I've noticed that prices are higher at regular supermarkets then at our health food store. It use to be the other way around, very strange.

take care