Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Howdy to all on this, for now, sunny Wednesday.  Low today was around 40 and we expect a high around 70.  After today we go back to the 50s and 60s.  I did get the sage, oregano, and orange mint transplanted.  I think I will move my tomato seedlings into the greenhouse; perhaps some of the others as well.  While I work out on the patio I will try to remember to take some pictures.  The greenhouse is doing very nicely with the temperatures inside between 5 and 20 degrees above the outside temperature.

I wonder if we will see the same angst over India's planned long-range missile test that we saw over North Korea's failed missile test/satellite launch.  At least the Indian government is being very clear about what it is doing.  I rather expect that Pakistan will also start testing new long-range missiles.  That is normally the way these things go.

It is nice that the NATO ministers are planning for when the troops leave Afghanistan but I really wish the money would leave as well.  If Afghanistan's 'government' can't support its security I don't see why we should foot the bill.  The $3billion thrown out there could be better spent here.  Or not spent at all and applied to the deficit.

Oh, how I wish this vote were binding on Citi.  I also wish the compensation for all of the bank CEOs was tied to performance.  Right now,  it doesn't matter if the bank does well; the CEO will get massive pay and bonuses.

This is an intriguing article that highlights a serious flaw in society--the nearly unquestioned authority of credentials or other pieces of paper that indicate a degree of learning and expertise.  Though the author details her own experience in obtaining a certification as a forensic consultant, the situation can be replicated across all disciplines.  On the one hand you have a certifying organization which is simply a mechanism for generating the most money with the least effort.  On the other you have people who want an advantage in a tight job market with the least investment of time, effort or money.  And then you have employers whose HR departments rely on computerized scanning of resumes to weed out rather than to evaluate prospective employees.  The whole system is wasteful and fraudulent.

I have seen a couple of other stories on the topic of  convictions based on seriously flawed forensics evidence from the FBI labs.

Well, gas prices have moderated a bit--as we saw at the gas stations we passed Monday on our errands. According to this article we are adjusting to $4/gal gas even if our politicians aren't.  The Repthuglicans insist that Obama is to blame--as though he has some magical powers that give him control over oil prices or production.  And the Damnocrats insist that 'speculators' are to blame.  The talking heads on CNBC had a field day yesterday with the President's challenge to Congress to get tough on the speculators.  A couple were brave enough to try to distinguish speculation from normal investing behavior--not very successfully.  Perhaps that is why the traders on the floor took great umbrage at the Obama's remarks because those poor misunderstood guys can't be held responsible for what the big bad market does.  The best discussion, however, was on the Nightly Business Report on our PBS station.  The guest didn't really come much nearer to defining where the line should be drawn between normal investment speculation (trying to divine where the market would go to maximize investment profits) and manipulation (trying to make the market go in your desired direction) but he gave presented some of other factors that influence price far more than alleged speculators: the on-again-off-again tensions with Iran, the tensions and uprisings in North Africa and Middle East, on going rebellions in places like Nigeria, the conflict between the Sudans, and growing demand from developing countries.  The only factor the guest expert didn't mention were the plateau in production over the last eight years and the fact that the estimated volume of new oil discoveries aren't coming close to making up for the decline in production from established fields.

Mark Morford shreds a so-called 'micro-trend' I saw on the news yesterday--the female idiots who are paying some doctors to insert nasal feeding tubes so they can lose up to 20 pounds in ten days.  I have a standard description for such idiocy--more money than brains.  Morford also takes a good whack at Pizza Hut's new hot dog stuffed crust pizza.  For my part I prefer to savor my dietary sins singly and fully.

Smart Money at the Wall Street Journal has a nice little article on fake foods that anyone might find in the supermarket and buy without realizing they aren't getting what they thought.  I have heard of several of these scams--the low price fish marketed as high price varieties, the honey, the olive oil.  We noticed that all of the juices we buy are advertised as 'orange-pineapple,' 'orange-pineapple-banana,' or 'orange-peach-mango' but the second juice mentioned on the label is apple juice. We still buy them but at least we know what is in the juice to the extent anyone can. We also learned to check the amount of actual juice because many of the products are as little as 10% juice.  Those we don't buy.  We resent paying juice prices for water.

I found this Al Jazeera article by way of Undernews.  My only question: why do we have to read this in Al Jazeera and not in our own media?

1 comment:

Kay Dennison said...

You have -- as usual -- made a lot of excellent points here on our policies abroad. And I'm horrified on the idiots who keep making fatty food fattier -- like we don't have an obesity problem in this country.

I have given up paying attention to gas prices. I barely leave the house these days unless I have somewhere I really need to go. Miss Ruby gets great mileage and I'm only using about a quarter of a tank of gas a month these days.
And given recent events, I won't be making the usual trek up north in June.

I'm supposed to eat healthier but it's really outrageously expensive these days.

I'm getting so tired of Election 2012 that I can hardly muster any outrage and am putting off my pledge to work for Obama until I feel better.

I'm glad you're enjoying Undernews -- Sam really puts out some great stuff.