Friday, March 2, 2012

Good first Friday in March, Everyone.  Yes, I did write March.  The weather people have taken to calling Fridays "Fickle Friday" because the weather over the last few weeks has changed from warm and sunny to cloudy and blustery.  And today is no break from the pattern.  We may be clipped by thunderstorms changing to snow but most of that should go north and the the severe thunderstorms should, again, go south.  But the higher than normal temperatures appear to be thawing my containers.  I saw wet patches under my large containers on an otherwise dry patio.

I have read a couple of stories about a British village that has a 'free' garden set up.  It isn't localized but rather uses what ever space is available around public buildings or medians or even private lawns.  This takes that idea a good bit farther.  I rather like the idea.  I noticed the concern expressed near the end about people who might harvest more than their fair share.  However, the English town found they had no problem with that.  Maybe once the citizens of Seattle got used to having a 'food forest' where they could harvest fresh fruits and vegetables they would not be as gluttonous as feared.  I wonder if they would actually be able to recognize the fruits and veggies without those being on a labeled can or plastic bags.

Point taken, Kay, and I amend my comment: BofA is still acting badly.  David Trainer at Market Watch has an interesting assessment of BofA.  He lists four symptoms of an ailing financial institution and claims BofA has shown all of them over the last year.  The last--squeezing its customers--they have tried more than once.

Oh, Yeah, WiseFather.  BofA does need another smack.  I noticed on an economics news segment last night that the reporter softened the BofA action a bit by noting that many of the big banks are changing their rules to eliminate free checking and add fees.  The practice then becomes a 'new normal' implying that we all should just suck it up and get with the program.  I think that is ridiculous.  Take your money to a bank that treats its depositors with respect.  And, after my bankruptcy almost a decade ago, I swore off credit cards.  I have a debit card that I use and I watch it carefully.  I love my little local bank but I don't care to subsidize it with overdraft fees.  By the way, welcome and hope you come back.

Karoli at Crooks & Liars expresses perfectly my thoughts as I read that article about the poor, beleaguered Wall Street types who find their bonuses have been severely reduced.  I agree with the point made late in the commentary that these guys actually earned received enough compensation to have saved a good portion of it for this mild drizzle much if not for a truly rainy day.  A little less than a decade ago I lost a job because my boss had to downsize his staff.  I got another quickly enough but the  reduced wages and the limited hours I was scheduled resulted in a 75% loss of income--and I never earned anything near what those boys got.  Five months later I added another job with what looked like a promising retail venture and in hopes that I would move into a full time position.  Well, the venture lasted three years during which I never attained full time.  Throughout I only got back to 50% of my former earnings and that only when I actually had three part time jobs.  Cutting back to cheap salmon is not privation.  Putting your kids in public school is not privation.  Not being able to move into a larger (overpriced) brownstone is not privation.  Losing your home because you can't pay the mortgage or rent because you lost your job and have run through your savings--that is privation.  Not being able to provide enough food to last your family a full month--that is privation.  To fight with your boss trying to get your hours consolidated so you work your 30 hours in five days rather than six so you an save on the gas--that is economic pain.

I have said often here that I am a 'medical minimalist.'  I don't mean I am anti-medicine; I think it is over emphasized and over used.  And I don't think it has really made us any healthier over all. This New York Times editorial reinforces my attitude.  I will see a doctor when something is wrong--not before.

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