Thursday, December 15, 2011

Good Thursday to all of you.  We had rain, and more rain, and more rain yesterday.  I think we still have some misty precipitation because Kuma was slightly wet when he came back in this morning.  I didn't mind letting the little monster out since the temp was around 50.  It won't stay there.  The weather people say the temperature will fall over the course of the day.  We have had the third wettest year on record with two weeks left and may easily move into the second place.  Hell of a note, isn't it.  We have one of the wettest years on record while Texas et al. have the driest.  I saw a couple of headlines yesterday trumpeting the recent rain as '2 inches of drought.'  The implication is that the drought down there is broken.  Maybe--Maybe not.  Let's see what happens over the next few months.  The last couple of years here have been schizophrenic:  wet early and late but extremely dry in between.

I saw this on the TV news this morning.  They didn't exactly say it as the headline for the article does.  The news readers gave the raw numbers of how many Americans were poor or near poor.  The comments passed quickly and without comment but I blinked for a moment and then remarked to Mom that I thought the numbers meant that nearly half of our population falls into those two categories.  Well, my quick, dirty, and without morning coffee (which was still brewing) turns out to be accurate.  But what do the numbers say about the state of our society when they don't even rate a comment??  One item in the story really pisses me off--the quote from that Heritage Foundation asshole to the effect that if you have a good sized house and a wide-screen TV you are somehow not poor.  I am sure a large number of people have a lot of things from more prosperous times.  People may have a good sized house with a good sized mortgage from a time when they had a good job but now the house is in foreclosure and the job has disappeared.  A person may have any number of things from a time when they brought in $50k or more a year but now they only earn $15K or less.  Poverty in this economy is more a matter of how much money you bring in each year not how much stuff you have.

I think you are right, Lois.  Manufacturers do think we are stupid.  But then I don't remember all that many food poisoning outbreaks when I was a kid, when our food industry wasn't dominated by a few large factory processes with a nation wide reach, and we didn't worry much about what whether the product was as advertised on the label.  However, the food producers found over time that they could increase sales by increasing the amounts of salt and sweeteners in their foods.  When the Federal government increased import duties on foreign sugar the food industry scrambled for other sweeteners to replace expensive sugar and found high fructose corn syrup.  So over the last three decades as we have become more and more obese the food industry has pushed foods that exacerbate that problem and covered the change with deceptive lables.  I won't even go into how other aspects of our modern life (sedentary work and leisure, long commutes, lack of sleep) adds to that.  It is all cumulative.

It is so nice this 'job creator' may create more jobs.  I just wish I was confident his workers would survive their employment.

Andrew Nikoforuk has an interesting summary of an EPA report on the contamination of groundwater due to hydraulic fracturing outside a small Wyoming town.  I would say that it puts the entire industry argument about the longevity and safety of fracking.

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