Friday, September 30, 2011

Good morning on this cool, windy and wet Friday.  We did get some sunshine yesterday and, after we got back from picking up Mom's new glasses, I got the blueberries put into their winter home.  I will sneak out between the rain drops today and put my milk jug cloches over them for the next couple of nights.  I also got the last of the peppers and tomatoes.  Now I need to clear out the spent stalks.  The wind howled all night and I was afraid I would have to chase down the plastic pots I have on the shelves of the mini-greenhouse.  But they stayed in place.  That is something else I have to do over the weekend--move all of them into the shed for the winter.

The mainstream media have featured the new debit card fees Bank Of America plans to start collecting prominently on their news shows.  For more information you can read about it here.  A few months ago Ariana Huffington pushed a movement urging pissed-off customers to move their money to more friendly local banks who might actually appreciated them.  What pisses me off (I already patronize a small local bank) is that we bailed out those bastards.

This is a possibility I sincerely hope doesn't come to pass.  And on the other end of the North American continent comes this story.

Wouldn't you love to land a job where you get a multi-million dollar sign on bonus, where you preside over a multi-million dollar loss for the company, and where you are fired after 11 months and leave with a multi-million dollar severance package?  Well, Leo Apotheker, lately of HP, got exactly that.  And he isn't alone.  Once, more years ago than I care to remember, I tutored a chemistry major who was having difficulty.  He complained, thankfully with good humor, that he worked harder in the history class than he did in any chemistry and simply couldn't get the material.  I remember thinking, but didn't say since the kid really was trying, that our old mantra that hard work leads to success should be amended to read that hard work that yields good results leads to success.  Now I have to throw the whole concept out.  Success is just a crap shoot: some of us have good luck but most of us would have no luck at all if it weren't for our bad luck.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Good Thursday morning, Everyone.  Still hoping for a bit of a dry period to get the blueberries in the ground.  If not today I will have to bring them inside until the weekend.  The weather people say we may get some frost in the 'outlying' areas.  That may or may not include us but I should get the tents on the containers I want to keep plants in over winter.  Our average first frost comes in mid-October.  The way our crazy weather is going it might be early.  Or it might not.

Well, this merely confirms what we knew all along--the prices we pay for food have gone up, for the most part.  We noticed when we bought milk and juice this week.

This report has made the rounds on the internet but hasn't been mentioned in the mainstream media--except perhaps in very forgettable in passing comments.  Question--with the median income somewhere in the mid-$40ks (depending on which estimate you find) and the premiums (for businesses) for a high deductible policy ($2500 deductible), what makes us think the costs can be shifted to individuals?  The $15k+ policy premium is one-third of that (pre tax) median income!!!  I love the intro paragraph--if the premium increases of the next 10 years follow the last 10 years--that price will double.  Does anyone really think that business will continue to absorb that kind of increase or that individual income will rise to the point where the employee can pay it?

I agree, Lois.  The amounts of money being thrown around in elections coupled with the amounts involved in lobbying is simply obscene.  Money comes in and facts, common sense, and common welfare go out.  The news this morning said that the Obama campaign may not make that goal but the lesser amounts are still mind boggling.  And I agree on the news.  For my sanity I don't watch as much any more.  I have several problems with the media as it stands.  It is way too superficial.  It panders to the perceived audience need for controversy. To generate controversy it looks for opposing positions no matter how inane that opposition might be.  And it has way too much fluff and repetition especially of that fluff.  At least I can delete or ignore much of that nonsense if I am reading printed or on-line copy.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Good morning to you all.  We have wet weather again today.  I wish we could send some of this down to Texas and other drought stricken areas.  We have had more than enough.  If I don't find a dry patch sometime today I think I will have to bring my blueberries in for the next couple until it clears up.

I have always admired Gloriana (a.k.a. Elizabeth I), Lois.  She inherited a nearly bankrupt country--thanks to her father's extravagance.  That extravagance included very expensive military adventures which gained very little.  By the time she died in 1603 she left a prosperous and wealthy country.

The local CBS news this morning covered a report (sorry, I forget by which organization) on ways Chicago could close its massive budget gap.  They included turning Lake Shore Drive into a toll road--described as a 'non-starter' by one of the interviewees--and a 1% income tax.  Emanuel ran on the notion that his administration would not raise taxes but how long he can keep that pledge is a big question. His education department is already planning to increase the property tax rates to the maximum allowed by state law. As I listened to that I thought about Herman Cain's proposal to reform taxes--his '9-9-9' plan.  He thinks restructuring the Federal tax code so that individual and corporate tax rates are each 9% with no deductions and adding a Federal sales tax of 9% would cure our fiscal ailments.  I don't know about anyone else but paying a sales tax of 15.25% sales tax (9% Federal + 6.25% state) doesn't sound like a great deal.  Or think about Chicago where the rate would be around 20% (9% Federal + 11% state/county/city).  That doesn't sound like such a great deal.  Worse the sales taxes hit the lowest income groups hardest.  And reducing the income tax on individuals to a flat 9% results in a massive stealthy tax cut for those at the top of our economic food chain while those at the bottom, who would lose more proportionately with the loss of the exemptions, would be slammed.  And the Repthuglicans are bitching about 'class warfare.'???

I have asked frequently over the last couple of years what would happen when a significant part of the population lost faith in our supposedly democratic government.  I say 'supposedly' because a democratic political system in which money rules is not democratic and that is what we have now.  Well this story gives some some indications which answers my (rhetorical) question.  I notice that the article concentrates on young voters and their disillusionment.  But I am 62 and I have become increasingly disillusioned for several reasons.  First, my choices are not really choices.  I feel somewhat like Harry Mud in the original Star Trek series when Spock tells him that the death sentence he fled left him with several choices--death by hanging, beheading, gas, etc.  Death is death; it is not a choice.  I am left with political choices that are not really choices--between Repthuglicans bought by the moneyed interests who don't care a damn about me and others like me except for how much they can squeeze out of me and Damnocrats who talk the talk but fail to walk the walk and are equally bought.  Second, there is the moral dilemma of participating in a rigged political system that makes morally repugnant decisions and covers itself in the righteousness of the 'consent of the governed.'  I find myself screaming more and more often:  I DID NOT CONSENT TO THIS!!!  And third, the democracy appears more frequently as a smoke and mirror game of manipulation.  Both parties claim that the majority of Americans supports their view/actions/positions but the positions are diametrically opposed. And the game has been one of pandering to some, demonizing others, and doing what ever will get you elected and destroying the chances of the other party doing anything constructive even if that means opposing sensible proposals you once supported.  I don't think democracy can remain democracy in anything but name when hypocrisy and manipulation rule the day.

Crooks & Liars posted this and it makes a lot of sense.  The Repthuglicans have touted two groups as the 'job creators' in their fevered rhetoric:  the rich/big business and 'small' business.  With big businesses sitting on a couple trillion and not hiring the 'job creation' title seems a bit hollow.  The NPR interview puts small business job creators into a cocked hat as well.  The points reflect my own observations of the small businesses I have been in any way involved with in the recent past.  The party store I worked at for the three years it was in existence started out with four full timers and the owner.  We full timers soon found ourselves working part time and at the end we had only two part-timers and the owner.  Throughout the life of the store the owner had eight employees.  Only one (me) was there the entire time.  Also the last employee hired came in at $1 less per hour than the original employees started.  And no benefits.  Unusual?  Not really.  I patronized two quilt shops one of which is still operating.  Both employees only one part time employee in addition to the owner.  When the one shop went out of business two people lost their jobs.  The law firm I worked for for about 18 months consisted of two lawyers (the owner of the firm who worked 3 days a week and another lawyer who worked one day), the head paralegal (married to the owner and working 3 days a week), and 7 paralegals/legal secretaries who all worked between 8 and 32 hours per week.  At the time I was let go the number of paralegals was down to 4 working 32 hours/week.  I think the owner has since retired meaning that all of the remaining jobs disappeared.  So between these four small businesses we are talking about 19 jobs of which only two still exist today.  Actually the point is reinforced by the Department of Labor's use of birth/death statistics (assumptions) when calculating the latest unemployment rate.  They assume that the number of new start-ups equals the number of failures and that the number of jobs between the two balances also.  These assumptions maybe very far off which is why so often the labor statistics are vastly different when the revisions come in a month or two later.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hello, again, Everyone.  Another rainy and cool morning.  Hopefully it will clear off and dry out a bit later.  That is what it did yesterday.  The blueberry plants arrived yesterday and I want to get them in the container.  At least the rain takes care of watering the remaining plants.

I don't know how anyone can see this as democratic.  The amounts of money involved in politics is nothing less than obscene.  It makes prostitution look positively wholesome.  And the Damnocrats are equally rapacious.  Obama's reelection campaign hopes to raise $1 billion or more for the campaign.

I just turned off the morning news in disgust--again!!  CBS (local and national) had repeated extended stories about last night's episode of Dancing With The Stars.  I am so sick of the network spending significant portions of the news broadcasts for four (and sometimes more) days on that fluff program.  I don't mind them showing it but I absolutely hate having the damn thing shoved down my throat.  But CNN was not any better giving a lot of space to an allegedly racist and sexist 'bake sale' by some damned Repthuglican Student organization on a California Campus.  They supposedly wanted to highlight the inequities of affirmative action.  What I wish is that some more liberal group would hold a competing bake sale using the same distribution of prices to demonstrate how they reflect the pay disparity among groups.  But why does it deserve three days of free publicity.

Casey Daily Dispatch has a piece today that reflects much of my way of thinking on our foreign policy.  High school fights weren't (and probably aren't) a Southern thing.  We had plenty in my day also.  And he is absolutely correct in his assessment--the escalation is inevitable and increasingly costly.  Unfortunately, our foreign policy resembles nothing so much as the testosterone over-loaded high school pissing matches.  Perhaps I shouldn't use that image since the girls were as bad as the boys.  However, the bottom line is that we have spent at least three times the value of the property destroyed and lost more of our own peoples' lives that were killed in the attack and aftermath.  And that is simply our own losses.  I wish someone would do a good cost benefit analysis on this and tell me how in the hell it was worth it.  And don't give me any of that crap about how much more secure we are now than then because it is simply crap and not a valid 'gain.'

Talk about a whole boat load of honest--try this one from Crooks & Liars.  I loved the concluding remarks the trader made in his interview with Forbes cited in the post.  He thought what he said was old news and everyone knew the truth of the situation.  Yeah, we do--really we do.  But too many of us just want to pretend that it "isn't so, Joe."  Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism has this to say on the matter.
Her last comment sent a bit of a chill up my spine.  Saying that Rastani presents a 'bland, reasonable face on predatory capitalism' reminded me of Hannah Arendt's description of Eichmann as the personification of the 'banality of evil.'

Monday, September 26, 2011

Good Monday morning to you all.  Yesterday was gloomy and wet.  Today is more of the same.  I didn't get anything done in the containers and won't unless we get some drying.  The forecast is for this same pattern into Wednesday.  Oh, well.  Didn't have much to say about what I found on-line.

I loved the scene in Elizabeth where Elizabeth I tells her councilors that she didn't "like wars.  Their outcomes are so uncertain."  She could have added that they are so expensive.  That is what we are finding out with the winding down of the Iraqi part of our so-badly-misnamed "Global War On Terror."  Take a look at this Huffington Post article to see what we are leaving behind--mostly because it will cost too much to ship it back to the U.S.

Good Morning America had a segment that just raised my blood pressure.  The reporter talked about the chaotic Repthuglican situation (with Herman Cain winning the straw poll) and Obama referring to the same in remarks at a campaign speech.  He cited the governor of a state on fire who denies climate change (Perry, in case you need a score card), one audience enthusiastically cheering the notion of someone being allowed to die for lack of health insurance, and another booing a gay soldier in Afghanistan for asking one of the candidates to clarify his stand on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."  What irritated me was the comment from the reporter that he had to note that 'only a few' members of the audience cheered or booed.  ONLY A FEW!!!  How about noting that no one, on the podium or in the audience, took those few to task.  There is an old saying that fits the bill here--silence gives approval.  I can only conclude that the rest of the audience approved of the sentiments, the candidates approved, and that the mainstream media approves.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Good morning, All.  Cool and overcast today but they say the rain should be slight during the day.  If so I should be able to get the last of my peppers in.  I packaged up seven pint baggies of the Zavory peppers,  four of the Marconi and a quart and half of the bell.  I also cleaned the remains of the tomato stalks out of a couple of the beds.  I found that the cardboard oatmeal containers worked just the way I hoped--like a degradable pot.  I hoped to provide a protected space for the tomato plant roots while directing them deeper into the container.  That worked perfectly.  And I think the cardboard also helped by absorbing water and slowly releasing it.  Certainly a technique to continue using.

Joshua Keating posted this item on Foreign Policy.  I don't pay much attention to ads usually.  Just background noise.  It is interesting to see the dilapidated state of our infrastructure used to sell foreign cars.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Good morning to you all.  Again I had nothing much to say yesterday.  I think I am going to have to broaden my horizon a bit and find some new blogs.  My current list is heavy on politics and economics and I am very tired of the idiocy in both areas.  I must get off my ass and get some gardening done.  Burpees has shipped the blueberry plants and I need a space to put them.  I hope they do well here.  I may have to run out between the rain drops since occasional showers are forecast for today and the next couple.

As you can see, Lois, I agree with you on the issue of politics and the news.  The time spend bumming around was good for my soul.  With the gardening season winding down I will have to schedule more of those segments of me-time.

Rain, at Rainy Day Things, does a fine job again of expressing my frustrations and anger at what has become of this country.  I feel that I am slowly (or sometimes not so slowly) being written out of the American Citizenry.  If you don't make more that $100k a year somehow you are no longer a real American.  If you accepted the withdrawal of 4%+ (it has changed over time) of the money you make in return for a promise of a pittance from Social Security when you finally reach retirement age (which has also increased over time), you are a goddamn fool and parasite not a true American.  I could go on but I don't want to raise my blood pressure.

Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism has some very discerning comments on the Georgia Works program that President Obama has touted as part of his program to get people working again.  I have never cared much for the notion of unpaid or poorly paid internships.  They have always been touted as a route to employment for people wanting to get a foot in the door.  Evidently the statistics aren't as promising as the President thinks.  Also the amount he wants to give in 'incentives' for the states and companies participating makes each job a rather expensive and the workers gets very little of it.  The claim by some supporters that the program would keep workers 'tethered' to the job market who might otherwise drop out.  Serfdom did that nicely once upon a very barbaric time.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Good morning, again, to you all.  I think I will have to finish off the tomatoes and peppers fairly soon.  I was surprised yesterday to see yellowing leaves on two of the peppers and one has been dropping leaves. I checked the soil and it is moist so that isn't a problem.  The tomatoes are not ripening as quickly as the should.  But the shadow the house casts on the patio is now just about 2 ft below the top of the fence so no part of the patio gets anywhere near full sun.  The roses, mums, thyme and stevia are doing nicely still. The marigolds are beginning to look a bit ragged.  Have to look them over.  Not today, though.

Went out to the library and just bummed around a bit.  I haven't done that most of the summer.  With the garden winding down it is time to shift gears back toward needlework and reading something other than blogs and news.  Besides, the news isn't really news for the most part.  Two weeks, or so, ago I remarked that the trees were getting just that hint of change in the color--where the green gets a bit muddy as they begin to change.  Yesterday the change is clearly on the way.  Some of the really early trees have already lost their leaves while the big ones are showing their red and yellow.

And the political games continue.  If I were giving out an 'Ebenezer Scrooge' award the entire Tea Party would tie for first place.

And then there is the hypocrisy of the Repthuglicans on exhibit here.  The Administrations' so-called green initiatives kill jobs but they are lined up to get a piece of that job-killing pie.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Good morning, All.  Another cool morning.  At least we don't have any fog.  We may get some showers later.  I should get some peppers in.  Maybe later.  As you could see, I didn't have much to say yesterday. I think what passes for news proves the old adage--the more things change, the more they stay the same.  And what can I say about the idiocy that passes for politics, governance, and economics that I haven't said before.

Hi, Lois.  Glad you are still kicking.  Hadn't heard about the sale of the Broadmoor.  Not surprising since the story wouldn't get coverage here in the Midwest.  Looking forward to your e-mail.

It is about time that someone called the Repthuglicans on their 'class warfare' whine.  Unfortunately, the cat fight might as well be in a padded room in the beltway asylum because no one in the mainstream media have picked up on the noise.

And, of course, the games continue pitting one group against another.  I absolutely hate the game of attaching bits of legislation to unrelated bills to either get something unpalatable passed or to pass something that wouldn't get the votes on its own.

I am amazed at how quickly the question of safety in the nuclear industry has disappeared from the media radar screens.  You would think the possibility of evacuating a sizable part of Tokyo's population would be note worthy.  Evidently former Prime Minister Kan had to seriously consider the action under a 'worst case scenario.'

Monday, September 19, 2011

Good Monday morning to you all.  Cloudy, rainy, mid 60s.  It should clear up later today.  As you can tell, I didn't have much to say yesterday.  Let's see about today.

What I find significant about this story is that most of the Administration comments are attributed to an unnamed 'senior' official.  I don't hold out much hope for this.  The Repthuglicans insist that tax legislation (unless it involves cuts) be taken off the table.  They have already dismembered the so-called American Jobs Bill.  The gridlock will simply continue. (Update: Obama is on now saying the same thing--he will veto any bill that trims entitlements without increasing the tax burden on the wealthy.  Now let's see if he keeps that promise.  And, of course, the noise machine (see below) talking head counters with the notion that the top 5% of the economic population pays as much in taxes as the lower 95% and that nearly 50% pay nothing at all.  Others have shown how misleading these statistics are.  Remember the old saying--"lies, damned lies, and statistics.")

It is nice to see a mainstream news source dip a toe in the hypocrisy pool.  The only kind of entitlement the Repthuglican's approve of are those that benefit their paymasters most.  What the story fails to mention was the nearly quadrupling of the prices just before the plan went into effect.  At least that is what happened to Mom's prices.

Even if the major parties involved in this legal shit throwing contest are not typical of the animal production industry (and they very probably aren't) their histories are enough to make one very cautious about where one's eggs and meat come from.  I would have used the more usual term 'mud throwing' but this muck is much more ripe than mere mud.

Maha provides a bull's eye critique of the modern news media or Noise Machine as she calls it.  It is simply noise.  One reason why the noise machine has been turned off earlier and earlier in this household.  It is either annoying because I see all the crap and don't want more of it or it is mere fluff which I find incredibly boring.  I am seeing another example right now: the commentary on Obama's press conference introducing his new plan (the latest as they go by).  All taking the Repthugican positions and not a Damnocrat to be seen.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Good morning, Everyone.  It is already half way through September.  We should have sun today unlike yesterday.  And we may reach the low 70s.  I need to continue cleaning up and clearing out in the gardens.  I don't think I can remember a year when the weather people commented so often on how unusual the weather has been.  Latest comment--3 successive days with temperatures in the 60s.  Very odd for September.  We still haven't switched on the furnace but it may not be very long.  Kuma is very unhappy--way too cool to leave the patio door open even a little bit for him to go in and out at whim.

Picked a bunch of Zavory and False Alarm peppers.  They are already cleaned, split and frozen.  I still have a red bell to get ready for the freezer.

This story on Huffington Post seems to describe our current problems rather well.  Can we really say we are a super-power any more.  I think we may have dropped out of the first tier of nations and maybe the second as well.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Good morning to you all at the beginning of another chilly day.  All I did yesterday in the gardens was dead head one of the marigolds.  The wind was gusty and very cold even through the sweater.   I may not do anything today.  Right now we have clouds with a possibility of a shower or two.  I noticed that the peppers and the very few tomatoes are ripening much more slowly with the cooler temps.

We just watched a segment on CNN's American Morning dealing with the notion that small business is being smothered under bureaucratic regulations.  Boehner has made this claim often demanding that the 'job-killing' regulations be cut back.  The report focused on a California body shop and its dance through regulatory paperwork and inspections.  What we noticed was that most of the agencies regulating that business were state or local.  Changing the Federal regulations would not do much to alleviate the business owner's problems.  And Mom wondered when the reporter noted that the business was fined $800 because of a minor problem with the paperwork not for an actual violation whether the fine was more to raise revenue than to enforce the law.  We have seen this frequently with increases in parking fines, traffic fines and other such measures.  But I think the hosts for the show had a very good question that was in no way answered in the segment:  is there is any evidence that easing regulations and paperwork will actually lead to new jobs?  This is the same argument trotted out in the tax debate: reduce taxes on businesses and they will hire more people.  "Jobs" (in the abstract) occupies the same position in our national economic debate that terrorism does in our security debates.  It is brought out to justify any position and once it is introduced no one examines the position any further.  Certainly no one questions the fundamental assumptions that less tax or regulation leads to more jobs or that more spending on any and all security measures result in more security.

Krugman has a good op-ed piece in the NYT today.  It occurred to me as I read it that the 'Free to Die' society so enthusiastically proposed by the fringe Repthuglicans who control so much of the debate on that end of the political spectrum is the companion to the '(On Your) Ownership Society' espoused by GW Bush.  Robert Reich has another take on the problem.

Found Matt Taibbi's comments on that so-called rogue trader who has just cost UBS some $2 billion by way of Jesse's Cafe Americain.  I can't say it any better.  Our financial system is simply one big casino.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Good morning, Everyone.  Only 48 F this morning and some areas west of us dipped into the 30s. We saw fog on our upstairs windows this morning.  It won't be much longer and we will have to close up and put the plastic up.  Mom put on a sweatshirt and I put on long-sleeve turtleneck this morning.  The high may reach 60 but not much more.  We had some rain yesterday so I didn't do any work in the containers.  I did trim and water the lemon verbena, rosemary, and the mint slips.  They seem to be doing very nicely. Hope that continues.

The idiocy has continued in politics and economics so I haven't had much to say.  I might have to learn a couple of new languages so I have a new set of swear words to use.  My current vocabulary has been so over used.

Our evening news last night carried a segment on this phenomenon.  We have used coupons on occasion but we so seldom see coupons for what we buy that couponing, extreme or otherwise, simply isn't worth the effort.  Mom has even looked over several of the on-line coupon sites but found nothing worthy while.

So Wal-Mart has decided to be nice to women.  After years of fighting gender discrimination suits they have decided that maybe they should change their ways.  I, for one, will wait to see what happens--if anything.

And this one should be filed in the 'deja vu all over again' folder.

CNN just mentioned (in passing) that banks are filing more foreclosures 'following the robo-signing scandal.'  'FOLLOWING??!!'  I yelled.  'Following' implies that the scandal is over and it isn't.  The banks are still trying to negotiate what amounts to immunity for their past crimes.  And several state attorneys-general have filed objections to the settlement as proposed and pushed by Iowa's AG.

This blog post has some really cute pictures.  Take a look at the 'Community Vehicular Reclamation' project photo.

Crooks & Liars put up this post with a clip from Stephen Colbert's show.  He suggests that the Grim Reaper is the logical running mate for any Repthuglican Presidential candidate.  Actually, I think Death ought to hold out for the top spot.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Good morning to you all on this chilly Wednesday.  The forecast cold front is coming through and should be affecting us till the weekend.  High temps are supposed to stick in the 60s for that long with possible lows in the 40s and possible 30s in some areas.  I cleaned out three of the tomatoes yesterday and started moving the containers around to more efficiently use the limited space.  I have some new large pots for next season--not as large as the 30 gal tubs but two are a bit bigger than the 5 gal buckets.  Looking over the big tubs I think they have another, maybe, two or three years before I will have to replace them.  I had read that plastic pots can deteriorate over time with exposure to the elements.  Mine are definitely showing that--some of the edges are getting brittle.  I cannot move them again without seriously damaging them.

The spaghetti was very good, Lois.  I remarked to Mom that I was surprised by how little acidic taste our home grown tomatoes had.  And when I made the sauce I didn't follow my usual practice and add a bit of sugar to cut that acid.  We are cooking up a big pot of ham and beans for tonight along with cornbread.  The cooler weather is making us think more of soups and cassaroles instead of salads and warm weather fare.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Hello, again.  I have some tomato plants I should pull today.  Sunday I did get the beans harvested and pulled.  Froze five meals worth out of four vines.  Not bad.  That is in addition to three meals harvested and frozen earlier and one that we ate fresh.  Most of the gardening blogs I read report their harvest in pounds or pints.  My gardens are much smaller so my production is smaller.  We will be using one of the packages of tomato sauce I did up a week or so ago for spaghetti sauce today.  Looking forward to that.

So the news are saying that the American hikers convicted of spying in Iran may be released on $500k 'bail' IF Ahmadinajad can deliver.  I put that bail in quotes because it is really ransom.

I have already turned off the morning news.  They are heavily covering the so-called 'debate' among the Repthuglican hopefuls.  These little circuses are coming way too frequently and are totally un-enlightening.  They say nothing new.  And it is five months before the first of the real contests--the primaries and caucuses.  Frankly, our political process has become a wasteful and expensive irritation.

The New York Times has an interesting series of graphs illustrating the economic history of the last 40 years.  Key points: 1) until the 1970s productivity translated into better worker compensation, 2) government policy between 1930 and 1980 curbed the growth of income and wealth among the wealthiest part of the population and redirected it toward the lower economic classes, 3) after 1970, families maintained a middle class status first because women entered the work force in large numbers and then later by debt as government policies swung to favor the wealthy.  I will let you draw your own conclusions about what these trends mean for most of us.

The Red Tape Chronicles has a new entry in the series on the unusual ways Americans are trying to get through the economic downturn.  Last week they covered the dumpster diving dad.  Today the present the lawyer getting by working in a topless bar.

I've just noticed something interesting.  Although all of the news networks are carrying snippets from the faux debate last night none of them are carrying the sound bite that most of the bloggers I read have picked up on--the tea baggers cheering when Blitzer asked Paul if someone without health insurance should simply be left to die.  NOT A ONE--so far.  This self-righteous, pitiless, and callous dismissal of anyone less well off than themselves as not even worthy of existing.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Good morning, Everyone.  We turned off broadcast TV by 8 am yesterday.  Too much 9/11 coverage and too many 9/11 based movies and documentaries.  I really am not into perpetual mourning and that seems to be the current fashion--has been for ten years.  Now that the tenth anniversary can we please move beyond it?  Unfortunately, from this morning's 'news' maybe not.  Anyone else get a feeling that this focus on a ten year old tragedy reveals a very unhealthy collective psyche?

Nothing worth commenting on.  See y'all tomorrow.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Good morning, all.  We have fog this morning--the thickest we have seen in a good, long while.  The forecast predicts some sun, some possible rain and below average temps.  Tomorrow,  the weather people say, we will have sun all day.  I think the garden will wait till then so lets see if I find anything worth commenting on.

With all of the run up to the 9/11 memorials this has been lost in the limbo of mainstream media.  The worsening relations between post-Mubarak Egypt and Israel does not bode well and one wonders how and to what extent we might get sucked in.

I have seen stories (though I haven't read many of them) concerning the massive recall of turkey produced by Cargill earlier this year.  The USDA has been pilloried because their investigators found the drug-resistant strain of salmonella at least four times in the last year and yet did not recall the meat.  This article explains why and it indicates a gap in legislation that should be closed.  It also shows exactly why self-regulation does not work in a for profit industry.  Cargill did not voluntarily recall their product even found the USDA inspectors found the salmonella in their plant--as long as no one got sick or died why jeopardize profits?  Perhaps the law ought to be changed so that whenever a bacterial strain becomes drug resistant it is defined as an adulterant.  And then insist that the USDA is sufficiently funded to do its job.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Good morning, everyone, on this rainy Friday.  We are getting some backwash from Lee.  Thankfully, nothing like they have had in Pennsylvania and other points east.  But unless Mom wants a tomato I am not going out.  We have a nice one that is ripe and close to the door.  But we will probably leave it till tomorrow.  At least I won't have to water anything outside.  I got the tomato sauce finished and in the freezer yesterday--two quart freezer bags worth.  I also ground up the spearmint, stevia, and basil.  I am about ready to put the dehydrator away for the season.

I did watch the President's address last night.  The news segment this morning says that America is divided three ways on the proposals: Damnocrats agree enthusiastically, Repthuglicans disagree vigorously, and then a large group think it won't help much either because it won't be enacted or it really doesn't address the root problems.  I am firmly in the latter camp.  The plan to use tax credits to reward companies for hiring veterans and the long term unemployed are nice but will any measure be included to prevent companies from firing with one hand while hiring to qualify for the credits with the other?  That has happened before.  Also will the final measure, if it even gets that far, include anything to prevent companies firing workers hired under the program once they no longer qualify the company for credits?  The mention of teachers was nice but, I think, too little too late.  The stimulus contained similar measures but I watched as cities and states took the money and fired anyway--worried about what the economy would look like when the federal money ran out.  And this school year has already started so it is a wash for those teachers already laid off.  The proposals to extend the 'tax holiday' on payroll taxes?  Well, are they proposing somewhere to recoup those for Social Security and Medicare?  Oh, I guess not since Obama also proposes trimming Medicare.  Incentives for refinancing mortgages at our historically low interest rates?  I sincerely doubt that many will qualify.  Consider the fact that the last proposals to do just that but too many who needed the help couldn't qualify.  They had lost their jobs, or their current mortgages were underwater, or their income couldn't meed new demands, or....fill in your own favorite disqualification.  Did anyone else hear the low level chorus of boos during the speech?  Or was I imagining it?

Another thought just came to mind--the plan hopes to spur a new wave of consumption but putting some additional money in people's pockets.  But, after three years of 'de-leveraging,' will people really begin to buy with the same enthusiasm as before the crash?  I wonder how many of us have found out how much we can really do without.  A consumer economy requires consumers and we are finding out what happens when consumers cannot consume.

This MSNBC article discusses a point that hit me watching the speech--paying for the jobs plan depends on a lot of uncertain actions happening on schedule.  The Super Committee he doesn't control must vote on where to cut the budget (in other words: what we don't do in order to pay for this bill) and future law makers who aren't bound by the promises he or the Super Committee makes have to keep to the plan.  We have already seen how that goes given how much of the last budget was cut after the fact in the wrangling over the last year.

I guess Sarah and Michelle aren't the only Repthuglicans who skipped history class.  Found this Rick Perry quote at the Political Wire.  I had heard part of it on the broadcast news but they decided the last sentence wasn't news worthy.
"The science is not settled on this. The idea that we would put Americans' economy at jeopardy based on scientific theory that's not settled yet to me is just nonsense. Just because you have a group of scientists who stood up and said here is the fact. Galileo got outvoted for a spell." 
Last I knew Galileo was right.  So, Rick, which side do you think is the modern Galileo?  And the notion that he 'got outvoted for a spell' is just a little ridiculous.  But then all too many of our politicians seem to have the notion that facts are somehow subject to the outcome of a vote.

Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism has a good post on the economy and the unrealistic expectations of our supposed economic experts.  See especially her discussion of the changes in the labor market that are being totally ignored in any discussion of our financial crises.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Good morning, All.  Cool again and cloudy.  The weather people say we may get rain.  I will wait till this afternoon and decide then if I need to water anything.  Nothing much planned that absolutely has to be done today.  Some time this morning I will run the tomatoes I stewed up yesterday through the blender to make a smooth sauce and then freeze it.  We should get three pint freezer bags out of the batch.  I saw a bunch of peppers that I can take and freeze.  Things are definitely winding down.  Again someone (or Someone) flipped a switch and suddenly we went from high summer to early fall.  Most of the news anchors have been groaning over the change.  They much preferred the warmer weather.

Hi, Kay.  Yeah, I did have a productive day.  I usually do even if I often don't get everything I planned on doing done.  I read a little article a bit ago (not sure where or who wrote it) where the author noted that jobs may be scarce but there is always work.  I was never one of those people who thought that if they retired or for some other reason had to live without a job to go to they would shrivel up and die.  I could and always did find some work for my hands and mind.  I am amazed sometimes remembering how little money I made in most of the jobs I held and how much less satisfaction I got out of them.  Right now I can think with a great deal of satisfaction and pleasure of the plants I raised, the food I have harvested and preserved, and how much I will enjoy the fruits of my labor over the winter.  I haven't had a job for about four years now but I have engaged in satisfying work.

I did not watch the Repthuglican 'debate' last night.  From what I have heard so far I didn't miss anything. No new ideas and plenty of attacks.  I am debating about watching Obama tonight.  So far the leaks indicate more of nothing new.  These boys (and girls) of which ever party remind me of the heavily armed macho men in science fiction films who keep firing away with guns that have already failed to stop the monster.  They have nothing else in their arsenal so they simply keep blazing away hoping to get lucky with their brains clearly in neutral.

Red Tape Chronicles posted this article this morning.  I have read and seen stories for the last several years about 'freegans' and others who live by dumpster diving.  What amazes me about this kind of story isn't so much the ingenuity of the dumpster diver but the waste of our industrial food system.  The industrial system of production is hardwired to over produce.  But wasting food--that is simply criminal.

I found this rather superficial story on MSNBC.  All the authors have done is put some new numbers on the phenomenon of over priced American medicine.  To suggest that we pay more for medical care because we have become used to paying a lot for the services is just a little ridiculous.  That is not an explanation.  I notice that they don't mention that many (if not most) doctors come out of medical school with a $500k+ debt in addition to their diploma.  Nor the fact that medicine is dominated by high tech toys that simply beg to be used, and used, and used whether they are really helpful in any given situation or not.  I will let you fill in what ever other contributory factors you would like.

As you all probably have figured out I enjoy reading about the odd techniques people use in their gardens.  Here is one interesting way to make a self-watering living wall out of 2 liter soda bottles.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Good morning to you all on this chilly morning.  I have a very unhappy kitty because it is much too cool to leave the door open for him to go in and out at will.  The temperature is at 50 F right now and until it gets up to 65 F that door stays closed.  I got three meals worth of green beans yesterday along with a couple of tomatoes and peppers.  All are in the freezer except the tomatoes which will be in sauce later today.  I took out the ginger mint.  Like the spearmint it was totally root bound.  The roots surrounded the entire outer edge like a second basket or pot.  I decided against taking cuttings.  I saw an orange mint at my favorite farmer's market/garden store late in the season and the smell was wonderful.  I will try it next year.  I have a few plants that I need to take out--like the early tomatoes they have pretty well run their course.  The season is definitely winding down and my gardens are jungles no longer.

I saw yesterday that Romney has released his 59 point plan to 'create jobs.'  My first reaction, admittedly superficial, was similar to the one that critics leveled against Woodrow Wilson when he proposed his "14 Points" to end WWI:  God only had 10.  I will make two points that aren't so superficial.  First, most of his focus was on business on the premise, not proven but assumed, that cutting taxes and regulations on business will translate directly in jobs.  Second, it was heavy on non-sensical slams on Obama.  That pay phone analogy was crap.  Especially given that Romney's answers are just as firmly mired in antiquated ideology as he claims Obama's are.

I saw something about this a few days ago but didn't stop to read it.  I am not surprised that Del Monte would sue on this matter.  I remember the Taco Bell (and other fast food outlets) that were hit with an e. coli outbreak a couple of years ago.  Officials pointed at lettuce, then tomatoes, and finally peppers; but, in the end, they couldn't definitively pin point the ultimate cause.  By then numerous farmers had taken big hits as they had to plow under fields of ripe vegetables.  And think about the sprouts that caused those salmonella deaths in Germany last spring.  Officials think the ultimate source were seeds from Egypt contaminated before they were even sprouted.  But Spanish veggie growers were devastated when their crops were blamed initially.  I don't know where the negotiations for compensation went but the costs were already phenomenal and the issue wasn't over at that time.  And this is a complex problem because, even if the contaminated vegetable can be identified, who is ultimately responsible is a big question.  I remember an episode of contaminated spinach three or four years ago where the source was actually run-off from a feedlot neighboring the farm that grew the spinach.  The growers had no idea of what went on and, therefore, no one else up the supply chain knew either.  This is the major problem we have not acknowledged in our food system where items we consume come from farms very far away (perhaps, as in the Del Monte case, in other countries) and pass through numerous corporate hands along the way.  And in a world where the bottom line is the only real concern for most companies, how does one handle the monetary loss that is inevitable in a system that may not be able to identify the source of contamination or apportion blame?

And then there is this complication.  We just got the new food safety law passed to great fanfare (by the Damnocrats at least).  If we want a food safety program it has to be funded but the only kind of safety that seems to get unquestioning monetary support in this society is safety from terrorism, however the hell that is defined.  But, as with the health care overhaul, this program is getting starved of the money to do the job defined in the law.  This sets up a lovely circular confirmation of the Repthuglican wing nut philosophy.  Government can't really do anything adequately.  Therefore why waste money on it.  And when government can't do the job without money it simply proves that government can't do anything adequately.  There is another question we should be asking and we should be asking it not only in the matter of food safety but in the matter of public safety from terrorism:  what level of security do we want and can we achieve that level at a price are willing to pay?

Crooks & Liars has this post this morning which I suggest should be sent on to Mitt Romney and President Obama.  For use when Rick Perry starts touting his 'Texas Miracle.'

Susie Madrak does a nice job of calling crap crap.  Whether it is Repthuglican crap or Damnocrat crap it is still crap.

Wasn't it so nice to see Rick Perry forego the round-table set up by DeMint in South Carolina Monday?  He was so concerned about his fellow Texans in jeopardy from those fires that he simply had to go home and comfort them.   T'would have been nice if he had shown that concern when he was cutting subsidies to local volunteer fire departments.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Good morning on this really cool but sunny Tuesday.  We did not get out of the 60s F yesterday and, thanks to a brisk wind all day, I did nothing much in the gardens.  I am waiting for the temperatures outside to rise from the 45 F we got over night. Interesting change--during the summer I rushed to get things done before the temperatures rose to uncomfortable (unhealthy) levels now I wait until it gets warm enough.  I will have to water everything today but, with the drop in temperatures, may not have to water tomorrow.

I am desperately trying to ignore all of the political bullshit.  I am one of the majority in the latest polls who is very disgusted, disillusioned, disappointed, and pissed off with all sides in this fracking mess we call a political system.  And I am not looking to the next election to make things better.  I fully expect it to get worse and I am not looking forward to it.  Once upon a time we had statesmen--now now political pissants.

If it sounds like I am pessimistic I am.  Take a look at this article from Huffington Post and then tell me who has any proposals that will make any dent in the unemployment mess.  Why do Repthuglicans think reducing corporate tax rates will encourage companies to hire more workers when they are making very tidy profits with their drastically reduced work forces now and are sitting on mountains of cash?  Reducing the taxes corporations pay is simply corporate welfare not a jobs bill.  And Obama's notion of paying companies a 'bounty' for hiring new workers?  The last time that happened the companies fired with one hand and hired with the other and the government foots a nice part of the bill.

And I would say that the idiocy shown concern dealing with the employment morass is not the only thing to be pessimistic about.  I have been asking for the last couple of years (since the end of Bush's first term) what would happen when a significant portion of our people lose their faith and trust in the political institutions.  That question might be answered with hard reality sometime in the not distant future.  To that you can add another question that has occupied the back burner of my mind for the last few years: how do you deal with a person or group of people who are so self-righteously sure of their position that they are willing to use a 'nuclear option' to 'win'--even though winning means destroying themselves as well.  Is there much difference between a 'terrorist' who gains the makings of a dirty bomb and a means to deliver it and our Repthuglicans who seem to believe that defeating Obama is worth destroying the economic and social fabric of the country?  If there is a difference there isn't much of a distinction.

Food Freedom posted this article on toxic effects from genetically modified corn and soybeans.  I have seen articles for a couple of years now about the unfortunate side effects of Bt cotton in India where farmers fed the stalks after harvest to their livestock and watched the animals die.  I am not surprised to see laboratory results confirming the anecdotal reports.  And I have wondered where all that Round-up applied to fields of 'Round-up ready' went.  I guess this gives us an idea.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Good morning, everyone.  Didn't have much to say yesterday.  The clouds and rain finally moved out about mid day.  Soon enough that I got out and cleaned out two of the tomatoes that were pretty well spent.  I also got the German thyme cut back and transplanted into one of the beds.  I have noticed a few gardening blogs posting about overwintering plants in containers.  Most say that if the plant is hardy in your growing zone it should do fine in the containers.  I'll find out.  We expect very cool temperatures most of this coming week--today we might not even see the 70s.  I don't mind the cooler temps.  I rather like most seasons--except winter.  I really don't like snow.

Well, if the Postmaster General is right, we might not have a national postal service by winter.  If he is depending on Congress to extend the Postal Service a life line--I wouldn't hold my breath.  The system has several problems: the shift to e-mail, rising costs for fuel, and a political system which demands it pay its own way as though it were a for-profit corporation but then micro-manages on issues like rate increases and service levels.  I notice the article I linked to focuses much blame on labor contracts with no-lay-off clauses.  So we have another (quasi-)public union taking the brunt of the blame.

I agree, Kay, and, for me, the concerns are even more immediate than grandkids (I don't have).  If those idiots in Washington succeed in changing Social Security and Medicare eligibility rules, like extending the age to 67 or 70, any time in the next couple of years my youngest brother and sister will be forced to work longer and will receive less.  They are just that long under 55 which is the usual cut off for such changes.  For the younger generation (the nieces, nephews, and grandnieces and grandnephews) I am afraid that they will have to redefine the 'good life.'  What I defined as 'good' when I was their age I doubt is really attainable--simply not enough resources to consume on that heroic as scale any more.  I would like to see everyone able to find rewarding work that adequately supports a comfortable life, get an adequate education, have needed medical (including dental and vision) care, and have enough leisure to enjoy family and friends.  But as long as we rely on crony and predatory capitalism we will never get it.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Good morning to you all on this Memorial Day weekend Saturday.  The weather people extended the 90 degree weather through today with probably showers and thunderstorms for the afternoon.  I watered everything and checked all the plants but will postpone the more extensive work till tomorrow.   So lets see what irritates or intrigues me today.

Oh my, how things have changed.   Raucous and abusive town hall meetings were find when it tea party/Repthuglicans challenging Damnocrats over the Obama health care reform legislation.  Now the shoe is on the other foot and they are Repthuglicans are finding the fit a bit tight.  I see two problems here.  First is the current climate in media and politics which fosters abusive confrontation over intelligent conversation and denigration of those holding opposing opinions.  Second,  this is one lazy crop of politicians who really don't want to engage in a conversation where they have to lucidly and coherently explain their positions.  Instead they want to spew out the tired old verbal sewage as though it was God's word received from on high.  No thought required; not even complete, dramatically correct sentences.

I hear you, Kay.  I wouldn't mind joining you and I am not too worried about bears.  Unless their habitat is so degraded that they aren't finding enough food--which might be the case.  I have often fantasized about finding a nice cabin in the woods and retiring there with a large stock of seeds and some hand tools.   Given the insanity in our allegedly civilized world, it isn't such an 'out in left field' fantasy.

You have been reading my mind, Lois.  See above.

Here is an article you might like.  I don't always agree with Natural News but a lot of what appears there is right on the money.  Daniel Boorstin wrote a little book several years ago that I have but have never been able to get very far into.  I keep my copy of The Image because the few first pages introduce a concept that is very relevant for our culture over the last 30 or more years: the manufacture of 'faux news' and misleading images.  In other words--counterfeiting.

Don't you just love how the news media has to mine even bad news for something positive.  This morning the anchors cited the very nasty jobs report--no net jobs created last month and significant   downward revisions for June and July--ending with the good news that, since January, the economy had created  200k new manufacturing jobs and another couple hundred thousand  health care jobs.  That sounds great except for one thing--we need just about that number of jobs each month to just keep up with the new people first entering the job market.  Reminds me of another book that has a good bit of relevance now-a-days: Barbara Ehrenreich's Bright Sided.  She was talking about the prevalence in this culture of insisting on maintaining a nauseating apply attitude no matter how unpleasant our situation might be.  Oh, Irene just washed away your home with a lifetime's accumulation of goods--be happy; it was just things and you're alive.  Smile.  Frankly, I get very tired of all that insistence on looking at the so-called bright side.  Sometimes we really do need to acknowledge the bad before we move on.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Good Friday morning to you all.  We expect highs in the 90s again with heat index readings in the low 100s.  We have already closed up and turned on the air.  I will go out in a bit and water everything but all serious work in the gardens will wait until tomorrow and later.  I checked everything.  The roses are happy in the large containers; they are blooming well.  The verbena and rosemary are putting out new growth, as I noted yesterday.

Have you seen the latest news reports on those whole body scanners?  They, according to a German study, cannot tell the difference between body sweat or the pleats in pants and explosives.  After the billions of dollars spent in the panic over security we find we have a very unreliable system that fails to live up to the promise.  And what about the almost hysterical ramp up to the 10th anniversary of 9/11?  This is the 'home of the brave?'

Get ready for FAA rumble--round 2!!  How anyone can call this governing I have no idea.

It seems that the big banks have more problems than just the 50 state attorneys general and the renegade AGs who aren't willing to go along with white washing the criminal fraud the banks and mortgage services engaged (and are engaging?) in.  Now the Federal Housing Finance Agency is getting into the act suing to recover some of the billions Fanny and Freddy lost because of the debacle.  The recent trend has been to privatize profits while transferring the losses to the public (read: taxpayers).  Maybe we will see a bit of a reversal of that.

I am watching the CNN report this morning and they just reported the August jobs report: no non-farm jobs created.  HuffingtonPost has this story just released.  What I found really depressing--the economic pundits predict that we won't see any improvement in the employment numbers until.....2017.

I always like to read about techniques other people use in their gardens (container or otherwise).  Often they can meet one of my needs or increase my efficiency.  If they don't apply now they might in the futures.  SurvivalMom has an interesting post this morning describing techniques she used while living in Kenya and Botswana where they had to deal with water scarcity/unreliability and heat.  I really liked the suggestion for 'thread watering' and have filed the info away for any time we might have water restrictions here.  We came close a couple of times.  Her description of the container gardens in Botswana is very intriguing.

I was just read this to Mom.  She said the Obama is cornered.  Yeah, but---the man simply won't fight for anything.  And I wish someone would stand up to the Repthuglicans and their business masters and demand that they tell us how in the hell economic growth will do us any good if we can't breath the air, drink the water or eat the food grown in contaminated soil and watered with poisoned water.  I remember reading, a good many years ago, a story about the mountain peak in New Mexico named for Kit Carson.  The reporter asked a local native American if they resented having a nearby peak named for a white man who had so actively slaughtered Indians.  He said hell, no.  Carson was always up front and they knew he was no friend.  Naming that peak for him was at least more honest than naming it for some other white man who pretended to be a friend while stabbing them in the back.  Right now that is how I feel about Obama and the Repthuglicans.  The Repthuglicans are no friends to ordinary Americans but at least they are marginally honest.  Obama says he understands but he is singing out of the Repthuglican hymnal.

With all of the 'remembrances' of 9/11 coming up here is a look back over the '9/11 decade' that is informative and disturbing.  For those who have the stomach for it, here is a link to Frank Rich's New York Magazine piece.  It is brutal and uncompromising--and right on the money.

This is an interesting little article given the increasing appearance of antibiotic resistant (often to multiple antibiotics) bacteria.  The genes for resistance have existed in bacteria for at least 30k years.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Good morning, again, everyone.  We expect highs in the 90s with heat index about 100--so we are inside today.  I just finished watering everything and dead heading the marigolds.  Everything else can wait until Saturday when the temps cool down again.  The green beans I harvested yesterday were very good at supper.  I had planned to do up the tomato sauce but I think it can wait, also.

Glad you are back and able to comment, Lois.  After reading your comment I noticed that blogger had changed things and I am trying the new format out.  I rather like what I see so far.

The news this morning noted another aftershock in Virginia--one of more than 20 since the 5.8 quake.  My goodness, ya think God might be sending Eric Cantor a message?  After all, why should Crazy Shelley be the only one to interpret the will of God?  My interpretation makes as much sense as hers.

I don't know about anyone else but I am getting mightily sick of the psychotic dance in Washington.  The President's people talk to the Speaker of the House's people about scheduling a joint session of Congress on Wednesday night and the Speaker raises no objections--until the letter requesting the session arrives.  Then--OH, MY GOD we can't do that--we have the Repthuglican debate at the same time.  And then Boehner proposes Thursday night--opening night of football.  Let me see if this makes any sense.  We have a 'debate' among candidates to be the candidate for an election that is still 15 months away.  The first primaries are still 5 months away.  And of course we can't miss opening night of football--how utterly unAmerican!!  I haven't heard anything in the various leaks of aspects of what Obama will propose that is in any way new and I don't expect the package to pass given the climate in Washington today.  Nor do I see that anything the politicians can do will really help the jobs situation even if it did pass.  But, once upon a time, we would have given the PRESIDENT a respectful hearing.

I have seen this a couple of times over the last couple of days.  Frankly, I think a situation where a CEO of a company is paid more than the company pays in Federal taxes is disgraceful.  I wonder how much some of those companies got in tax breaks.  I won't say anything about the obscenity of paying a CEO 325 times what you pay your average worker.

This is hardly surprising unless you are a Repthuglican who thinks the market fairly prices in CEO pay (you have to pay for talent!!) but somehow the public employees have blackmailed the political powers into overpaying them for the little talent they have.  Right after Walker's union busting bill was rammed through public employees started bailing rather than take the financial hit.  Now more are doing so.  Maybe they thought public employees would suck it up for the good of all (but themselves) or that they couldn't do basic math.

Thanks to Chris In Paris at AmericaBlog for this bit of S&P obscenity.  It rather scotches the argument some had put forward that S&P downgraded the U.S. credit to bolster their own reputation for failing to properly rate the sub-prime mortgage instruments that helped sink the economy three years ago.  If they cared so much for their reputation why give a AAA rating to another bunch of bundled sub-prime mortgages?