Friday, July 15, 2011

Good morning to you all. We have a few clouds at the moment--6:30 am. The only gardening I plan on today is to trim the lemon verbena and rosemary and dry the clippings. I have always loved the scent of lemon verbena. Just brushing against some of the herbs (spearmint, lemon balm, rosemary, and basil especially) releases the aromas. Walking through the gardens is a delight. Unfortunately, after Sunday that activity will be severely limited. We are expecting 90s with heat indices well into the 100s. Neither Mom nor I can tolerate the heat as we used to. We already planned our meals for next week--salads dominate.

I woke up to the hopeful news that the Minnesota politicians had reached an agreement on their budget impasse. The TV news said that the Damnocrat governor and Repthuglican controlled legislature have agreed on no new taxes and no state employee layoffs. The latest segment added that the State will delay payments to local schools and will raise bonds to turn future tobacco tax revenues into present cash. This Huffington Post story says much the same. I have a problem with the description of the deal as recounted by HuffPo: the description of the agreement as raising 'new revenues.' This doesn't raise any new revenues. It delays payments that would be going to schools and converting it to other expenditures. Nothing new here and it says nothing about how the local school districts will make up the lost money. I am not assuming that it will ever be made up by the state. And raising bonds on future tobacco money? To use an old agricultural phrase that hasn't been heard much since we became an urban country, they are 'eating their seed corn.' This is simply a combination of robbing Peter to pay Paul and kicking the can down the road.

Thomas Friedman, in this NY Times op-ed piece, makes a very good point: neither of the ideology driven solutions from our two major parties will work in the current economic climate. He points out that the half dozen fastest growing companies (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) in the fastest growing sector of the economy (Silicone Valley, high tech) are not creating the number of jobs that one would expect from multi-billion dollar companies. Although they and other big companies are hiring they aren't hiring in large numbers and they are highly selective in who they hire. The tax cuts favored by Republicans won't change the situation and will only sit on the company books until used to either pay shareholder dividends, buy back stock, or acquire other companies. Bottom line--few jobs. The stimulus favored by Democrats will not create many jobs either. Why should a company expand and hire new workers when they see no increase in the demand for their products. And much of the stimulus actually went to the too-big-to-fail banks which simply have sat on it while some small businesses complain that they can't get loans. Somebody really needs to think outside the box here.

Given the heat that is coming our way and others have experience for the last while, this is an interesting article. Warnings of excessive heat danger aimed at 'the elderly' are often ignored by that target audience because they don't consider themselves 'elderly.' Perhaps then it is time to strip out the designations and simply advise all people to take precautions in the heat. About 15 years ago I was hit with heat exhaustion while at the Kansas City Renaissance fair. I thought I had been careful by taking it easy, drinking fluids, keeping in the shade. Luckily help was available and in an hour I was feeling much better than the death warmed over I had felt. I was only in my late 40s then. I take heat warnings (and all other potentially life threatening weather warnings) very, very seriously. I ignore who they say the warning is for.

1 comment:

Kay Dennison said...

I have a harder time with cold than I do with heat. I have four ceiling fans in my place and they make a big difference. And the big tree on the west side of the house help a lot, too!