Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Good Wednesday to everyone out there.  I have a whole bunch of tomatoes to stew today.  Far more than I thought I would have.  I also have one tomato plant that has no more tomatoes developing so I plan to remove it.  It may start blooming again but I don't know if any fruits would have the time to ripen.  The sunflowers are also done so they should come out.

For the most part I have been trying to ignore the campaigns.  Or at least the news on the campaigns.  That has degenerated into a tit-for-tat sound bites.  Every now and then one of the news shows actually discusses something of substance.  Last night one covered Romney's remarks on energy policy.  Being in coal country he, of course, hammered the notion that we have another 200 years worth of coal if only the Feds would get off the industry's back and let them give us unlimited energy.  Lie number one--those bastards won't give us anything.  I correct myself--they will give us polluted water, polluted air, and polluted land and more dead miners.  They will take the profits and leave us to clean up the mess and console the survivors.  If we demand 'clean' coal the cost will have to be absorbed somewhere along the line most likely somewhere between the mine and the final electric consumer.  Unless, of course, we want to scrap the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and a whole lot of other environmental legislation.  So that is Lie Number Two--it won't be cheap energy.  Lie Number Three--relying on coal won't make us energy independent.  Our transportation system runs on oil.  And transforming solid fuel (coal) to liquid of whatever kind won't be cheap either because resources and energy is required to make that transformation.  By the way, that 200 years worth of coal he cited--that depends on a number of factors.  One that we don't increase our current consumption.  Two that we really do have that much reserve in the ground.  And three--how easily accessible is that coal; or are we already through the easily mined supplies and going for the more difficult deposits (as we are with oil.)  Maha deals with this story also and does so very nicely--as usual.

Here is a pair of absolutely right on political cartoons found on NPR.
Randy Bish/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

I just had a thought as I read a teaser for an article about Obama's latest ad--the 'Get Real Mitt' ad.  According to the teaser the ad claims that Romney's policies would make it harder to pay for, among other things, college education.  On both sides of the fence there is no effort and, apparently, no desire to as more fundamental questions.  Whether they talk about education, energy, health care or anything else, they all assume that we should perpetuate the system we have (or had until recently.)  They don't ask if that system is at all sustainable or truly humane and productive.  Do we really need more college grads who can't find a job that will allow them to eat and pay off their student loan debt?  Do we really need an energy system that poisons our water, air and land?  Do we need a high-tech, massively expensive medical system that seems best designed to produce bankruptcies rather than cures?  Our society and economy seems to be seriously out of kilter and none of our political leaders are asking, let alone answering, the more important and more basic questions

As you all know if you have visited over the last couple of years you know that we have been thinking more about various what-ifs: what if we had a prolonged power outage or gas shortage or what ever.  I read a number of 'prepper' blogs because they give good information even if the suggestion can't really be applied to our situation.  However, I found this Washington Post article this morning that surprised me.  I have almost never seen a mainstream news outlet put out an article that suggests that power outages and other emergencies might be a part of our 'new normal.'  I was also surprised to read the suggestion that we have a 14 day stockpile of food, water and other supplies on hand.  Last I heard FEMA suggested 72 hours or three days.  Makes us wonder... .

We have heard about the problems the drought is posing for food prices.  Here is another impact to think about, power generation which accounts for nearly half of the water usage in this country.  CNBC is carrying an all day series on the drought and its effects.  Think the powers that be are getting worried?

I love the people at Crooks & Liars.  They so often say what I am thinking just more politely.  This assessment of Joe Biden's comments ending with 'they are going to put you all back in chains' says exactly what I thought.  We are in chains.  Chains wrought by the finance/insurance/medical industries (among others).  Unfettering Wall Street (and, by implication, the rest of big business) will simply tighten the chains we already wear.

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