Friday, December 16, 2011

Good morning, everyone.  The temperatures are back to seasonally cool.  In the mid 30s today.  I hope we will see the sun today.  I thought we might yesterday but the sun just teased us before disappearing behind the clouds.

I saw an interesting poll yesterday after I posted which I recalled this morning.  Mom and I were listening to the news reports which--again--featured the stand off in Washington that could shut down the Federal government. (I caught a snippet of a story indicating the idiots may have reached a compromise.)  We basically came to the conclusion--yet again--that this situation will be resolved in three ways: if either party gains supermajorities in both houses, if either party gains the presidency and a supermajority in the senate with a simple majority in the house, or if everything goes totally to hell.  Why did all this bring that poll to mind.  Well, it asked the old question about whether voters thought we should thoroughly clean house and vote all the bums out.  I have seen similar polls in the past and have always noted that, while people are dissatisfied with the bums in general, people like their own bum.  The poll cited yesterday asked the further question--what about your own representative and senator?  The results show an increasing dissatisfaction over the past year with even the voters own bum.  If that trend continues we might see a lot of change in the makeup of the legislature.  I can only hope.  (Note:  just found this bit on the Political Wire with links.)

Joseph Stiglitz has written an interesting article in Vanity Fair that draws some parallels between the Great Depression and, as he calls it, our Long Slump.  His thesis is a variation on a theme I read some time ago that tries to explain the origins of the Depression.  He looks at the underlying weakness in the economy as the weakness of the agricultural sector.  He makes a good argument.  And the parallels between the shifts in our current job market with those of the Depression are also intriguing.

I have been seeing stories about the bankruptcy of Jefferson County, Alabama (Birmingham) for some time.  It is a nasty brew of public corruption and corporate greed that has blown up to monumental proportions--the largest municipal bankruptcy in our history.  This piece from the BBC (go figure--why don't we get these stories from our mainstream media?) puts a human face on the consequences especially for the low income citizens.  Imagine being in a position where renting a port-a-potty, paying for someone to remove the waste, and buying barrels of water is cheaper than paying the sewage/water rates imposed by the local government.

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