Thursday, April 7, 2011

Good morning, everyone. We had some sprinkles of rain yesterday but it cleared out and we had sun later in the afternoon. Right now all I see outside is fog. I managed to reach some of the containers I wanted to transplant the tomatoes and peppers. They are getting way too big for the little starter trays. I will do that later. Kuma got outside yesterday and promptly explored the top of the garbage tote and the top of the fence. Last summer I kept some of the medium pots on top until I had to open it or take it out to the curb. I will have to find those pots and put them out again.

Yesterday, for the third time in the last couple of weeks, I was so disgusted with the news that I put something else on. Of course, the major story concerned the possible (likely?) shut down of the Federal government but, as usual, all we got were dueling soundbites and inane commentary. The evening news wasn't much better. I was really irritated by the story about the effects which focused on military families. I do sympathize with people who are going to be devastated by an interruption in their income thanks to the bastards in Washington. I really do; but I wondered, given those were military families, who they voted for last November. I also wondered that with a couple of the civilians interviewed. If they voted for Tea Party or far right Repthuglicans, what did they think would happen? But I resent the fact that the Senators and Representatives, and the President will all get their pay uninterrupted while military personnel won't. I just love the story this morning which referred to the one-week continuing resolution bill proposed by the Repthuglicans. It would fund the Defense Department through the rest of the fiscal year and they are calling it a bill to secure military pay. They also want to cut 3 times the amount out of the budget that was done over the last several continuing resolutions and put in all of the policy points from the hard right. Don't you all just love blackmail? I just had a perverse thought--how many of the far right and Tea Party candidates actually ran on doing just what they are doing? One of the charges in disputes in Indiana and Wisconsin was that the candidates never campaigned on the issues they pursued, or soft soaped their positions. Not only do we have blackmail but we also have duplicity at a very basic level.

I found this AP story first thing and, as the contrary person I am, had a very contrary thought: whether a technology is 'green' or not depends very much on your definition of 'green.' Nuclear is 'green' only if you consider carbon emissions. Isn't it wonderful that the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant didn't emit any CO2? But what about the radioactive emissions? And how do you balance the 40 years of no carbon pollution against the unknown length of time the radiation will hang around?

I thought this was interesting. The first wave of a mountain of debris from the tsunami will wash up on Hawaii's shores later this year. And yes, I did say 'first' wave. Over the next few years some of the debris will go on to the west coast of the U.S. before bouncing back to Hawaii in about five years. What is left will wind up in that great Pacific garbage patch to decay over the next decades.

You are right, Kay. Those of us in the lower 90% of the economic ranking are s$#t-out-of-luck. The only thing we can do is try to figure out how to survive on what we are getting. I read a good deal in self-sufficiency or urban homesteading or other blogs that focus on the notions of using what you have effectively, reusing or repurposing what you have, and doing without the non-necessities you can't afford to pay cash for. Like you, I depend on my Social Security. And, since I am too young for Medicare and can't afford health insurance, I have to hope I don't develop a serious illness that breaks my budget. I wish I didn't have to depend on Social Security but two years of a fruitless job search during which I was denied unemployment have left me very sour on the job market. Worse for my psychological outlook was the realization that nearly all of the numerous jobs I applied for would pay for even a modest lifestyle. Too few hours (most were part-time) with too little pay per hour (minimum wage is not a living wage.) Telling me that I can either cut back my spending or find additional work doesn't cut much ice with me. Over the last six years (when my paid employment became far more chancy) we cut our food costs by half (even with the increase in food prices over the last couple of years). We count ourselves lucky that our landlords have not raised our rent in the 11 years we have been here for our two-bedroom townhouse. We combine our shopping errands so that we limit our driving and right now we spend between $35 and $45 per month on gas. We eliminated one car. And at two points in the last decade I had two jobs (at one point three) simultaneously. I bought a bit of financial ease with a nasty tole on my emotional and physical health. I don't have the stamina to do that again. I don't resent the upper 20% having plenty but I do resent the fact that too many of us in the lower 80% have too little.

Update--the fog has burned off and I have transplanted all of my peppers and tomatoes into larger containers--not outside. I noticed a couple of the peppers and tomatoes are a bit weak. If they don't make it I will buy seedlings locally.

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