Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Hello, All.  Snowy this morning.  Kuma cried so piteously I let him out.  He came back in with a sprinkling of large, wet flakes all over him.  He hasn't wanted back out since.  I don't expect it to stick around because all of the highs for the next week are in the high 30s to high 40s.  I guess Nature had to remind us that it is still winter.

Consider yourself patted, Kay.  Over the last few years I have gone more toward small projects.  I have several large afghans completed and all but two given away.  I have also done a several large tablecloths back when I had a large table.  Those have also been given away since.  But small projects are easier to handle.  Holding yards of cloth or crocheted blanket is very hard on my hands and arms now-a-days.  Hope your girls enjoy the baskets.  For Christmas you might try hand made stockings for them to hang.

I have seen a number of articles trumpeting the notion that the U.S. (at least for the last couple of months) has become an 'energy exporter.'  They all announced the end of 'peak oil.'  Supposedly, the Canadian tar sands, the Marcellus shale, and the Bakken were the answer to our energy needs for the indefinite future.  But this article illuminates one of the problems I see with that boosterism:  what do you do with the waste water.  But the problems don't end there.  I have seen articles describing flammable water coming out of peoples taps in the areas bordering the Marcellus shale areas.  But the Canadian tar sands and Bakken require large amounts of water in an area where water is a scarce resource.  Over last summer during that severe drought (which still hasn't broken in parts of the Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico) I read stories about the effort of oil companies to expand tracking operations because of the demands that would place on already extremely strained water resources.  I remember the slogans from the 1970s when OPEC declared their oil embargo:  'let them eat their oil.'  We can't drink oil and we can't irrigate fields with oil.  The oil and gas may be there but can we get it at a price we can afford without depleting an even more essential resource?

Well, the Eurozone finance ministers have voted to approve a new loan for Greece.  In spite of the euphoria in the stock markets I noticed that the deal isn't fully done yet.  The vote comes with more onerous conditions on Greece that the Greek government must approve.  The German and Dutch parliaments have to vote on the package.  This loan will only cover the bonds that mature next month.  Will the Greek government be able to make future bond payments (even though the holders of Greek debt are supposed to take a big loss) considering that their economy contracted 7% over the last quarter of last year?  The new measures demanded will only make their economy contract even further.  And I find something repugnant in the notion that somehow payments foreign bond holders will take precedence over the government services the Greek people need.  Gavin Hewitt makes a suggestion in his analysis of the situation that has occurred to me:  the new money is simply to buy time for the other countries and their banks to shore up their positions so that a default will cause less pain--for them, not the Greeks.

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