Friday, January 4, 2019

January 2

Bill Schneider at NBC is right on with his commentary on the federal government shutdown: it is amazing how "normal" the tactic has become. And how callous some of us have become to the effects the shutdown has on ordinary Americans. The man-baby in the White House simply dismisses any concern for furloughed workers because either (he claims) they are mostly Democrats (and hence, I guess, not deserving of sympathy) or they (with no evidence) support his actions.

January 3

As a sign of how right Schneider's thoughts are (see above) about the shutdown the fact that the "negotiations" yesterday produced no movement at all is that there has been very little coverage in the media. I put the word in quotes because, with #45, there is no such thing as negotiation. There is simply bluster, threats, bullying, and broken agreements. It is interesting to see how impotent he is when all of his tactics fail to produce his desired result. I won't bother linking because what little coverage there is isn't very informative. As I read this piece at the Political Wire I had to ask, in answer to Pelosi's question of how many times must they say no, since when has the man-baby every understood the word. Certainly never when he was groping a woman he wanted to grope, and never in any of his business "deals."

January 4

Have a good laugh with this one. Nice bit of satire.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year!!! 💕

I hope 2019 will be better than 2018 though on some levels I don't expect that hope to be fulfilled. Politically the new year begins much as the last one did. In spite of the election we have a Senate even more Repthuglican Republican than last year. I struck that because I hope that some of the new faces in the Senate will be far less thuggish and far more moderate than those they replaced and far more interested in negotiating. One hopeful sign is that the House is dominated by Democrats. But then we still have that narcissist man-baby in the White House. On a sour note the government is shut down. I have a friend who is a government employee on furlough--for the third time in a year. Man-baby and his enablers seem to be one trick ponies. What pisses me off is they aren't going without paychecks. That is partly a Constitutional issue but Congress should pass a law in the next session which would mandate a freeze of Congressional pay during any future shutdowns. It wouldn't take effect until 2021 but better late than never.

Economically, on our individual levels here, we are on doing OK. For the rest of the economy I am not so sure. I hear a bit about more store closings and more workers out of jobs. The man-baby just signed an executive order rescinding the meager increase federal employees were supposed to get this year pleading the poverty of the federal government. The government is too poor to give workers a minuscule raise but can come up with $5billion for that totally useless bit of (his)ego massage on the southern border??? Excuse me but I almost lost my breakfast writing that.

Internationally, I have to wonder if we have any allies left and, if we do, why man-baby hasn't alienated them yet. Oh, I just remembered: Israel and Saudi Arabia. They haven't been alienated because he gives Netanyahu everything he wants and refused to call out the Saudi government and crown prince on the Khashoggi murder.

It is time to get serious about the gardens. I should get my seed order(s) sent in by next week. I don't intend to buy much. Instead I will be looking at what is available locally in flowers and herbs. Those will be my focus this year. Tomatoes and peppers are out because they simply haven't done well over the last three or four years. We have had more days each year over 90 (or so it seems in my memory) and my space concentrates heat so that the temperature there even on a 85F day will top out above 95. They don't set blossoms well and don't produce well if they don't. The space is too limited to devote any of it to something that doesn't produce either beauty or utility for us.

Last year was a good year for needlework: two crochet blankets, a lap afghan, a couple of sets of embroidered pillow cases, a couple of new table scarves embroidered and with crochet lace, several doilies. This year I have a new scrap buster afghan started, a cross-stitch tablecloth progressing well, a crochet table cloth that needs only one more row of motifs and the edging to be finished. I found my tatting shuttles and needles so I can start relearning what little of tatting I knew and then go from there. The needlework is a nice way to unwind and, unlike the busyness in our nation's capital, I actually have something to show for it.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Friday December 7

Nothing much going on. The weather is much the same though we should get more sun which is always nice.

I finally found my tatting needles. You know the frustration of knowing you have something and you simply can't find it. I found my shuttles sometime ago and put them in a spot where I can get at them. The What-not Room has been reorganized so I can actually be able to find most things. I still haven't tackled the closet. That may remain a project for the new year. I actually started looking for a new set of tatting needles but couldn't find any anywhere locally and most of my usual on-line needlework outlets no longer carried them. Ah, well, that is behind me. Now I can relearn the little tatting I learned once upon a time.

So the social scientists are finally getting on to this phenomenon: households composed of very old parents and their old children. I wonder what notions the not-old-at-all researchers will find to tell us-who-are-old about our own lives.

THIS is supposedly the best advice a former general in charge of our forces in Afghanistan had for our current Secretary of State--and it is pathetic. What we need is a modern Walter Cronkite to tell the American people that this is a lost cause. Unfortunately, in this age of corporate media, we don't have one.

The real mark of time's passage: when there is no one left who remembers living through an event. That time is quickly coming for the WWII generation. And this comes just after the funeral of the last WWII veteran to serve as president: George H.W. Bush--age 95.

I crochet and have since I was a teenager. I found this Interweave article on the history of the art fascinating. I was one who thought it was older than it is.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Thursday December 5

Cold and overcast with a chance of both snow showers and sun over the day. The seed catalogs are coming in and soon I need to make some choices of what to get and where. I have seen some spectacular flowers in those catalogs that have arrived--far more than I have room for. The rosemary cuttings I took about a week ago are still looking good--no wilting or shriveling or other wise giving up the ghost.

Rebecca Gordon on on life at "Trump speed." We stopped viewing and listening to TV news, for the most part, some time ago. We do watch the weather report but most of the rest is fluff or Trump. Neither of which is of much use to us.

John Feffer at Foreign Policy In Focus has a good assessment of #45's performance at the G20. Not good.

This sounds all too familiar.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Wednesday December 5

We have a winter sort-of wonderland. We still have quite a bit of snow from the lake-effect snowfall yesterday and, overnight, some freezing rain and drizzle which makes things slippery. Thankfully we aren't going anywhere, I think. Plans have a habit of changing around here.

No mail today because of the funeral of GHW Bush. We saw most of the arrival ceremony Monday because we couldn't really avoid it--it cancelled the last half of Jeopardy. At one point Mom asked "how long they were going to draw the whole thing out?" She also asked if other deceased presidents had as much pomp involved in their funerals. I think it is a further proof that we have an empire (though, evidently, one on the decline) and empires have emperors. We simply call ours "presidents" and pretend that we have a real choice of who will occupy the throne.

An interesting notion: walking backwards into the future. Our culture seems to devalue the past and we don't really learn from it. Politicians of the 1930s put legislation in place to control banks and the big financial interests which the politicians of the 1990s dismantled which paved the way for the crisis of 2008 from which many have not yet recovered. We have quietly forgotten the Korean conflict and Vietnam--and learned nothing from either. I haven't even heard or read of anyone on the "lessons" of Vietnam for about 20 years now. Obama spent a lot of time exhorting us to not dwell on how we got into the financial mess but to just move forward. We are bogged down in Afghanistan (and Iraq and Syria and parts of Africa) and simply shrug when a military officer tells Congress that we have a stalemate but can't pull out because our (putative) allies can't defend themselves.

This is a long article reviewing The Curse of Bigness by Tim Wu. It makes a number of interesting points to chew on.

I got to this article at the Telegraph by checking a story on a prepper blog. I have read about the Chinese "social credit" system for the last few years so this isn't really a surprise. I just didn't expect it so soon. How long, I wonder, before we see the same here?

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Tuesday December 4

We had lake effect snow over night--a couple of inches on top of the slushy mix of last evening. We may get more depending on how the winds off Lake Michigan set up. The city trucks have been out plowing but the teams from our landlord haven't shown up yet.

Found this item a bit earlier this morning. By the time the idiots at the top of the political food chain realize what is going on those at the bottom will have figured out how to adjust. Too many interests higher up are too invested in the status quo to recognize when that status quo is failing.

Ben Fountain writing at tomdispatch has some interesting facts about the 2018 election.

I wonder sometimes what it is about the term "unsustainable" these guys don't understand. Or the word "stalemate." If we are at a stalemate and the situation is unsustainable why are we wasting more money, materiel and lives on it? And the notion that getting out now would leave the "country" unable to defend itself is problematic since the conflict is between different Afghan forces. Who represents the country? And I would question if, what ever side they think is the "country" can't protect itself now, what makes our military think delaying our departure with more losses of our money, our people and our materiel would make it more able to defend itself.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Monday December 3

Not terribly cold right now though we have had bouts of snow which hasn't lasted long. The skies are gray with a few times the sun tried to peek out. We did go out for a bit because Mom wanted some stamps with a Christmas theme for the cards she had ready to mail. I wanted some embroidery thread and some new cross-stitch magazines.

One of my favorite gardening bloggers, Carolee at herbalblessings, noted that November was somewhat colder and wetter than usual where she is and that, as she has gotten older, she doesn't much like gardening in inclement weather. That was something I noted over the summer when the heat forced me to curtail my gardening. Some days I was lucky to get an hour or two of time in the gardens. I don't do late or very early season gardening because the gardens on the patio are too cold and various schemes to provide protection don't really work all that well for containers. They lose heat too easily. Instead I garden vicariously by reading bloggers like Carolee.

I got another reminder of age recently. I tried to start a counted cross-stitch pattern on 14-count aida cloth and totally messed up the counts. Twice!!! I simply couldn't see where I had gone wrong. I think though part of the problem is the fabric itself. I had set squares into an intended quilt top and then washed the whole piece after the piecing. I always do that for a quilted piece before I put the sandwich together to finish. I didn't have problems with earlier motifs I did but this time nothing seemed to work right. I am going to try some of the unwashed aida cloth for another piece and if I have more difficulty I guess I will have to switch to an 11- or 12-count fabric. My mother gave up needlework ten years ago because her eyes gave her fits. I don't want to do that.

Forecasting Intelligence has a good post that as he remarks has gone unreported by the mainstream media and largely ignored by the political classes. So far the demographic data I have seen show Africa as the only major area where fertility rates are still high. Most other areas of the globe have rates barely above replacement or, in some cases, below. The only reason the U.S. population hasn't begun to shrink is immigration, much of which our politicians are busily trying to block.