Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Good morning to you all.  The weather people say we should have another nice day before the temps drop again and the rain returns.  The kids (small and not so small) had a nice evening for Trick-or-Treating.  We didn't have all that many come by but the number changes year-to-year.  This is largely a rental area so turn over is also variable.  I think we are among the longest term tenants here.  Most move on rather quickly as they find a house to buy or find a job elsewhere and move on.

We haven't had a killing frost yet so the plants I left in the containers still look nice and green with the mums and roses blooming yet.  Next year I definitely have to put in more cold hardy plants for a late, cool weather garden.  We had blueberry/buttermilk pancakes for supper last night using some of the blueberries we froze.  Oh, I do hope my plants produce next year.

Well, it doesn't take much to get the markets upset, or to call into question the so-called solution Merkel and Sarkozy thought they had hammered out last week (the latest as these things go.)  The New York Times has a piece on the new mov by Greek Prime Minister Papandreou to hold a referendum on the austerity measures and that latest rescue plan.  I can well imagine that Papandreou might like some broader support for what he has agreed to on behalf of the Greek people.  I also wondered if it might be a safety valve measure.  Something like what happened in Ireland when the election results threw out the government that had 'negotiated' the deal to save the banks and the party that had ruled for most of the last century.  But they made sure that the incoming government would be unable to undo any of the measures they took.  The people got to vote but couldn't affect the arrangements already in place.  I notice that the NYT piece raises a possibility that has only been whispered in the blogs: Greece might default and leave the European Union.  I get the feeling in all of the political and economic unrest that political leaders are all for democracy so long as the demos (the people) do as they are told.

And then there is the latest entry in the big company going bust amid whiffs of possible fraud.  And another CEO with a supposedly sterling reputation and links to Goldman Sachs.  What really puzzles me is that at the same time we have a circus parade of ineffectual CEOs, some of whom are still raking in mind-boggling compensations and bonuses, at the same time we have two Republican candidates for President who are trying to sell the electorate on the notion that businessmen, by their very nature, are best suited to run the country.  Think of what kind of shape we would be in if we really did have one of those idiots running the country like it were a business.  Now that is a scary thought on this day after Halloween. I don't know about you all but I still have a hard time getting my mind around the notion of 'hundreds of millions of dollars' being 'missing' from any company's accounts.

To reinforce that last thought, consider poor Herman Cain and the charges of sexual harassment.  Perhaps the most ineffectual effort to explain away the charge came this morning when Cain, with some difficulty, tried to recall an encounter with one of the two women.  He said he made a gesture, but never touched the woman, while commenting that she was as tall as Cain's wife.  My question--why was her height even a topic for conversation when they were supposed to be at work?

The news media carried a string of stories on the '7 billionth person' added to our population which came sometime yesterday.  The U.N. had a series of celebration focusing on several babies around the world since it would have been impossible to determine which, in fact, was number 7 billion.  The Daily Beast has a nice article on the milestone and its implications for the future.  A couple of the factoids that interested me include the notion that soon India will replace China as the world's most populous state and that the world's population will, likely, exceed 8 billion by the time the babies born yesterday reach 14.

Lawrence Wechsler has an interesting post on Tomdispatch this morning.  One of the factors listed in the Daily Beast article which will determine whether the teeming millions on this planet, now and in the future will live a decent life is whether government will be conducted honestly and without corruption.  And the U.S. may not be all that great a model for corruption free government.  Which leads me to Kay's comment on yesterday's blog.  The Ugandan example Wechsler cited is rather crude corruption perpetrated most obviously on the lowest levels, the cab driver and the local cop.  We don't have a lot of that type of corruption over here.  But at higher levels the apparatus of government is bought and sold repeatedly and glossed over with pious statements about the 'good of the people.'  I agree Kay that the 1% have bought the government and the 99% have gotten shafted.  But I disagree when you say your life isn't important and so you are working for the children who are the future.  Your life, my life, my mother's life, my siblings' lives are all important and if we can't expect our political representative to keep promises made to our generation how in the world can we expect them to keep the promises made to future generations?  That is the biggest corruption of all!

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