Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Seasonably warm Tuesday.

Yesterday was, indeed, busy.  We did our usual grocery shopping but had a bunch of other errands to run.  Mom needed a new power cord for her computer.  I wanted another bundle of the ends and pieces of lumber we found at Menards in the spring to put under some of my five gallon buckets to help them drain and prevent them from freezing to the cement.  We also went to the larger of the health foods store in town to see if we could find loose green tea.  We have been using the usual tea bags but a while ago I started emptying the bags and using the tea loose.  We found it and were amazed at the difference in the cost.  The tea we had been using came in boxes of bags with a total weight just under two ounces.  We saw them yesterday for a sale price of $2.99.  We paid $12.99 for 16 oz.  B-I-I-G difference!!!!  We had a surprise because a new Mexican grocery opened up in the neighboring space run by the family that owns our favorite Mexican restaurant.  We visited there for a bit after buying our tea.

After all of that we were wiped out and just loafed the rest of the day.  I did water everything in the gardens but not much else there.

I collected a bowl full of tomatoes.  Our first batch of stewed tomatoes may be from excess cherry and slicers.  I saw three of the Super Sauce and one of the Amish paste have started (barely) to turn red.

John Mauldin has an excellent post this morning on the phenomenon of of big financial companies going into court to agree to pay huge fines to settle law suits for various fraud and other illegalities while "neither admitting nor denying" wrong-doing.  I had one question when I read the list of multi-humdred million (and in one case multi-billion) dollar settlements: how much of their profits did those settlements represent.  And I agree with Judge Rakoff:  either the SEC had a case or it didn't.  Either the company was guilty of a crime or it wasn't.  And I also agree with a couple of bloggers I read regularly: I will believe a corporation is a person when Texas executes one.

In the same vein.  Another case of a company, this time in for-profit education, agrees to a fine to settle a law suit alleging fraud while admitting neither guilt nor wrong-doing.  In talking about this trend here, I diagnosed the problem as one where the only moral standards our business, political, or financial actors recognize is financial profit.  Right is now defined by how much you can keep of your ill-gotten gains.  And this is another reason why I think the current way of funding higher education should be ended.  No more loans shackling students into debt slavery.  That is simply another form of corporate welfare.  And what is sad is that the students will pay double: pay back the loans and pay the taxes that support the guarantees the government give the companies providing the loans (or the government agencies that provide the loans).  Worse they can't even get out from under the burden through bankruptcy.

This Atlantic article should provide some balance to the notion our news media presents continuously that the basic problem in Egypt is a radical Muslim Brotherhood that won't play nicely.  It seems that every conflict in any Islamic country is defined as a contest between secularists and fundamentalists of one stripe or another.  Does anyone remember reports of a horrendous drought that hit most of Syria about three years ago?  No?  Well, our news media didn't mention it.  I remember it because my news sources aren't as dedicated to fluff.

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