Sunday, August 21, 2011

Good morning to you all. We finally got sun yesterday afternoon--after several hours of rain and clouds. It looks like we got some more rain overnight. I picked some tomatoes already this morning and I really, really should get back to doing more serious maintenance. I have let it go trying to get over the bronchitis. The mints are getting over grown again and the mums and marigolds need to be dead headed. Some of the peppers are also ripe.

I thought I caught a bit of a story on this issue but wasn't sure. It was there and then gone before my attention caught up with it. I wonder how common this arrangement is--where a major company farms out its personnel to one or more contractors with no clear idea of which is responsible for what. A few years ago Wal-Mart experienced something similar when they hired a custodial company charged with abusing their employees, violating their rights, and cheating them of their full pay. Wal-Mart then, like Hershey now, claimed 'plausible deniability.' It occurred to me as I read this that we have several conflicts of interests and expectations here. The students signed on to what was billed as a 'cultural' exchange program; what they got was long work hours with little cultural exchange. The staffing company merely looked for low cost workers and promised them what ever to get the positions filled. And, in the midst of a recession with stubbornly high unemployment, we have the State Department allowing in low wage student workers who under cut wages. That is a notion the students themselves expressed--they were hired for jobs local workers could do but for less money. And the fact that Hershey has eliminated a significant portion of their full time staff and plans more lay offs.

And for all of those who believe the hooey that we have the best medical system in the world there is this little item that should put a chink in your faith. Some news outlets have carried stories about the shortage of certain classes of medications for the last couple of years. Last night was one of the few times the mainstream broadcast media decided to cover it. Again, I see a number of contradictions here. I remember all too well the news stories about the government's efforts to interfere with Americans getting drugs from foreign suppliers--although I, among others didn't see what was so foreign about Canada. We were told that getting drugs from beyond our borders was risky because the drugs might be contaminated, adulterated, diluted, or just plain fake. Gee, that sounds about like the situation inside the U.S. Think about Bayer and other such recalls over the last couple of years. Now one of the reasons given for the shortage is that many of the scarce drugs are made overseas and are often contaminated somewhere along the supply line. Many of the drugs come from (surprise, surprise) China. And there is the problem all of the media sort of glides over without much comment or analysis--companies stop producing a drug because it is not profitable enough for them. Isn't capitalism wonderful!!

I managed to get the catnip and thyme off the fence after having a fight with the bean and cucumber vines. They were well entangled in the plants and on the holders. I put the thyme back up (after looking it over well) but in another place well away from the beans and melons. I cleaned out the catnip which was looking very ratty. It did bloom well and the bees loved it but it was time for it to retire. Had a devil of a time getting the root ball out of the container. It was totally packed. Luckily, this year, I got a new trowel based somewhat on the Japanese hori hori knife. It has a straight cutting edge on one side, a serrated cutting edge on the other, and a notched tip which makes it easy to cut tough stems at or below soil level. It cut the roots very nicely as I chopped up the ball. Right now--I am resting. That was exhausting.

From the party that specializes in hypocrisy comes this notion. I will say first off that I was never in favor of that so called employee payroll tax holiday. I saw it as a back door effort to defund Social Security and it did worsen the long term financial projections for the program. I also never believed that it would either help create jobs or increase in any meaningful way the ability of ordinary Americans to jump start the economy by going on a spending spree. I was incredibly disappointed (extreme understatement) that Obama thought purchasing this 'break' for ordinary employees was worth extending the Bush tax cuts which benefitted the wealthy above all. And I really, really, really resent Hensarling's quip that not all tax relief is equal for the purposes of stimulating the economy. First, the extensions of the Bush cuts did damned little for either stimulating the economy or for creating jobs. Second, it sounds just a bit too much like 'all animals are created equal, but some are more equal.' We know how that story ended.

1 comment:

Kay Dennison said...

The whole damned mess we call a country really upsets me.

I'm not sure what my next move should be but I do think I really need to explore some major changes.