Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Good snowy Tuesday to you all.  We got about an inch of which not much is left.  However, since the official reporting site is O'Hara Airport where they got no measurable snow, 2012 now holds the record for longest stretch without measurable snow all by itself--281 days.  Now that we have snow I put up our winter wreath.

While shopping today we stopped in at the closest of our local Walgreens stores.  The clerk rang up our little order and asked if we had the 'rewards' card.  We said no and that we didn't want one where upon he told us that the store had gone to restricting their sales to their customers who signed up for the card. Mom was not pleased to say the last and told the young man bluntly that, if that were the case, we would shop elsewhere.  The 'conversation' went back and forth with Mom expressing her displeasure at being required to give out her information to get yet another card to simply take advantage of the sales.  But I got the impression that the young clerk simply didn't understanding her (and my objections).  He is used to a world in which that is the way things are and he didn't seem very concerned about the loss of privacy.  That scares me.  I am not at all comfortable with the amount of surveillance out there and how much information is floating around.


Good Wednesday, All.  Tuesday was actually quite sunny and we expect the same today.  And no more chance of snow till Saturday night into Sunday--maybe.

I am not surprised that the Sunday political talk shows didn't introduce the topic of defense cuts.  I think the question this Crooks & Liars is apt though I don't expect it to be answered.  Certainly not after our legislators passed  an appropriations bill which gives the Defense Department another $600+billion.

Another interesting post on Crooks & Liars on Superstorm Sandy.  An old saying comes to mind: the more things change, the more they stay the same.  I don't doubt that experts were sounding the alert about the possibilities of such a storm and its probable consequences.  Officials had similar warnings about the impact of a strong hurricane in New Orleans well before Katrina hit seven years ago.  I expect the same response--they will build back to the pre-storm level but no more.  I noted Mayor Bloomberg's citation of FEMA statistics indicating only a 1% chance of such a storm hitting New York so, of course, no one was prepared.  I also remember former Vice President Dick Cheney's argument for the expense we went to to prevent another 9/11--no matter how small the chance of a repeat we had to treat the possibility as though it were an absolute certainty.

I mentioned yesterday our experience at Walgreens.  For those of you who might think we are getting a bit paranoid take a look at this article I found by way of Naked Capitalism.  It occurs to me that we don't have to have national ID cards and travel permits as Germans did under the Nazis or Russians under the Soviets.  Over the last decade we got 'secure' ID drivers' licenses largely because the Federal government defrayed the costs for the states that balked.  The TSA has gradually expanded its reach and is trying to go even further using the same tactic.  I can easily see a time when everyone is tracked where ever they go.  Think about programs like Progressive Insurance's 'Snapshot' marketed to customers as a money saving choice for customers willing to have their driving tracked or AllState Insurance's invitation to drivers to prove how good they are behind the wheel to get reduced rates.  We are under surveillance from governments at all levels and from big business.  And it will only intensify.

The prices at one of our local gas stations surprised us.  Not the price though that was the lowest in some time.  Rather because of the contrast between the E85 (ethanol) and the regular gas.  The E85 was four cents per gallon more than the regular.  Remember when E85 was promoted as a cheaper alternative as well as a conservation measure?  I get the feeling that both those promises were illusions.

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