Wet and cloudy today but at least we don't have the weather that has hit Mississippi with tornadoes (knock on wood). I remarked (for the hundredth time over the last few years ) that we don't have a tornado season any more. Nor do we have a fire season. And the winters aren't really winter any more. I don't think we have had more than two or three days with enough to shovel and I only shoveled the patio path to the gate once. Otherwise I let the divine intervention theory take care of it--God(s) put it there, they could make it go away. In a couple of days they did.
Odd thoughts that came to me as I read various stories over the week:
1) In one of the article the author claimed that banking is "the most subsidized industry" in the economy. Since the 1930s the banks pay into the FDIC which ensures deposits below the (now) $250K per individual account. The savings and loan crisis of the 1980s the federal government stepped in to soften the blow for depositors in those institutions many of which were not covered by the FDIC. I worked with a woman who had her money in a savings and loan, and she was in a constant state of anxiety trying to make rent, utilities and other basic expenses until she did get some of her money back as the industry was reorganized. She is the kind of person I think of when the experts start talking about bailouts and other banking supports. Some industries are and should be regulated as public utilities but most are hybrids with the government backstopping them against fiscal mismanagement. After the savings and loan debacle I decided that I would only use banks that were insured by FDIC. Over the last 20 years events world wide (the meltdown of banks on Crete, the collapse of Lehman and that bailout of other at risk banks) has made me realize that the FDIC might not be enough to really protect the little guys from the "mistakes" of the people who run our financial system. A lot of retirees and small depositors were crippled when the banks on Crete melted down but the Russian oligarchs and the wealthy managed to get most of their holdings out before the crisis system shut down. But then you have to ask: what in our society and economy isn't subsidized? A recent study claimed that far more government largess goes to the upper tiers of the economy than to the lower levels. I would guess that if the subsidies ever stop the economy will stop.
2) Another series of pieces covered the nauseous ad the Michigan Republican Party put out comparing the gun safety laws the legislature voted in were simply a prelude to (and equivalent to) the Holocaust. Lovely bit of advertising that. But that is a trend over the last 150 years or so. The perennial ads that used to be ubiquitous every Christmas but haven't appeared as much for the last few urging us to "put Christ back into Xmas" used to make me laugh. The argument was lost when Christmas became a commercial holiday. Social historians writing about the counter culture of the late 1960s and 1970s claimed that once the movement was commercialized and you could buy love beads and Nehru jackets in every store the movement died. Christmas was severed from its roots; the counter culture was also neutered as a criticism of the larger society. The process of erasing the historical meaning of "Holocaust" is progressing. Now it has become a trope which can be dusted off and applied to any thing someone or some group wants to vilify whether there is any real parallel or not.
3) There was a lot of "pearl clutching" over the possibility (I would say certainty) that China is mining TikTok for information on Americans. I am not on TikTok (or on Snapchat or most other social media). I am on Facebook but only because it is the easiest way to keep up with some friends and family. Even so I get all kinds of adds for things I have looked up on Google. If I buy an e-book from Barnes&Noble or Amazon, I suddenly find my Facebook feed inundated or my e-mail loaded with ads for more books. I don't mind those so much as some of the other ads for items (often of a sexual nature) that clog my in box. I am quite sure China (and Russia, Iran, India, England, and....) are mining our internet for information but so is every company/service provider world wide.
4) A couple of shows featured a new book tracing how the John Birch Society ideology, which I remember from the 1950s, has infiltrated the modern Republican Party. I am not going to buy or read it. My first thought was "what was old is new again." I have read enough history to realize that each generation puts new lipstick on old ideological pigs.
5) Evidently England is having difficulty getting the "salad vegetables" (lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers etc.) which they normally import at this time of the year from Southern Spain and Morocco. Spain suffered devastating hail storms and Morocco had an early heat wave. And Southern California cropland is so inundated by the repeated atmospheric rivers that they don't expect to be able to put in crops til the fall and guess where a large percentage of our vegetables are grown? One of the major stories on the news right now is another cycle of tornadoes that have devastated parts of Mississippi. Looking at the pictures I remembered pictures I saw of the aftermath of the 1908 Tunguska event or of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I remarked that the old notions of "seasons" (fire seasons, thunderstorm season, tornado season, hurricane season) is no longer meaningful.