Sunday, February 5, 2012

Good morning.  We woke to heavy fog that is lifting now.  I hope, looking out at what look at the moment like clear skies, to see the sun today.  That storm that buried Colorado lost its steam out in Iowa somewhere so we got just a dusting of snow and some rain.  The weather people say our temperatures over the next week will be closer to normal.  I think I will go ahead and prepare the milk jug 'greenhouses' and winter sow some spinach.  I am in the process of going through all the seeds, left overs and new, to plan when I will start what.  My list looks absolutely too much for my containers but then some (like the cabbage and kale) will be started in the summer for late fall harvest.  I am still debating putting in a few potatoes and have some time to decide.  I noticed that the edges of my containers have started to thaw a bit.  The interiors are still frozen but the plants still look good below the dead foliage.

Welcome, Gina.  I am glad you came by.  I think Mark Twain is credited with the quip that 'history doesn't repeat but it does rhyme.'  He was totally right.

On the notion that we never learn, Lois, Robert Reich in his 2011 book Aftershock says that part of that comes from 'loss of generational memory.'  Few now remember the devastation of the Great Depression and those that remember World War II are getting fewer in number every year.  Those were times when Americans agreed, to a very large degree, that we were all in the soup together and we had to get out of it together.  This time a significant part of our society seems to have decided that everyone is on their own.  Also, each generation reassesses history in the light of the cultural and social values of its time.  I noticed the beginning of such a shift about fifteen years ago when I was a teaching assistant in a university history department.  I was assigned to work with a professor temporarily hired for the year who had decided that slavery had absolutely nothing to do with the coming of the Civil War and totally dropped it from the curriculum.  A friend, also assigned to work with this fellow, was totally outraged by this historical myopia and made sure her students were thoroughly informed on how intertwined slavery, politics, and economics were.  And, in case you wondered, the idiot also totally ignored aspects of northern labor history as well.  In other words, labor unions played no roll in U.S. history either.  The so-called titans of industry (Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Ford, et al.) however were thoroughly covered.

NPR featured this article on the Greek disaster.  There isn't any other way to describe their fiscal mess.  I noticed over the last week that hitches in the negotiations with employers and labor were stalling the long anticipated agreement on the next installment of bailout money the government needs.  Talk about a Catch-22.  Employers don't pay their employees but don't lay them off either.  That way they don't shell out the owed wages and avoid the severance pay they are legally obligated to pay workers they lay off.  And for those who are unemployed the government is having difficulty keeping up with the stipends they system promised.  And getting a new job in the current depressed economy--not likely.  I just love the Repthuglican argument that our 'overly generous' unemployment benefits encourages workers to stay out of the workforce and on their lazy butts.  It reminds me of the arguments slave holders in the Old South trotted out to justify their harsh treatment of African slaves.  The congenitally lazy and immoral slaves wouldn't work hard unless they felt the bite of the lash.  Well, obscene compensation for the our financial whiz kids and top CEOs really yielded good results for our economy, didn't it?

Talke about deja vu--this story seems to come back to life like a vampire in the dark of every winter.  If I were a head of state of any European country one of my top priorities would be finding a way to do without Russian gas.

It is interesting that al Jazeera asks the question most in American politics refuse to ask.  I saw one of the interviews with Buddy Romer, former Louisiana governor, which may be the one the author is citing.  He came out and stated directly that our system 'isn't broken. It's been bought.'


Gina said...

Oh, wow...I am really enjoying our writing! First ( and I'm a choir member, just so you know), I heard on a (albeit slanted) radio program a caller (nonetheless from my own state) say that if any one wants a better life for themselves they can do it. "Just pull yourself up by your bootstraps" he said. He went on and on about gov involvement in poverty and became more and more angry when the guest speaker explained that many of the lazy "winos" and "drug addicts" (the caller's labels) are returning vets or children. The guy claimed the church should be taking care of the poor and not the gov. I was so frustrated listening to the conversation (and this guy's obvious anger). Anyway, your statement about the soup and everyone on their own reminded me of this man's mentality.

And, the Greece situation has and is happening here as well. Some workers are kept on "standby" or "call", so are essentially employed, but receive nothing until work comes. An example are delivery drivers who work for miles or cases delivered. It's really a sad and scary affair for families who really are living paycheck to paycheck (I mean everything has gone up: utilities, food, insurance, fees, education expenses, taxes).

Sorry for this long comment. I am really digging your commentary and look forward to the next post! :)

Nicola said...

Mark Twain's quote is so true.

Greece is in a right mess