Monday, September 26, 2011

Candle-Both Ends

Working way too much and have managed to crowd my schedule to the point of insane. I have the day off but I had an appointment for a two hour workout first thing. Came home from that and started in on the bird houses I am donating to the Historical Society/Hembree Farm Flea Fling(yardsale). Got all six put  together and with Madam's help got three dressed up. Still a few more to decorate. Since this is a donation and all the funds go to the restoration of the farm I am suggesting they price these at $35. It's a lot of work...all rough cedar and the tin roofs are from "The Bricks" some of the first apartments in the country and they date from around 1900 (the tin shingles). The "fling" is this coming weekend and I need to get all finished but I am running out of time.  It's going to be a down to the wire thing.
Hey Duff: note the tea towel from the Five Sailed Windmill in Alford, Lincolnshire. I have some friends that have a B&B nearby and on our last visit got to tour the mill...Way cool! Speaking of Lincolnshire...I will pay for a proper sausage or meat pie from Lincolnshire. Probably the best butchers and sausage makers in England come from thereabouts.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Consider The Alternative

While I am not completely enthralled with the performance of President Obama I just have to keep reminding myself of the alternative. President McCain and VP Palin....enough said.

Let The Chickens Roost

More of the same:

House Republicans closed ranks just after midnight on Friday morning, and passed legislation to avert a government shutdown at the end of the month. The vote tally was 219-203.

But the bill received almost no Democratic support and faces an uncertain future in the U.S. Senate because Republicans have used the funding bill as a vehicle for disaster relief money, and insisted it be paid for by slashing funds for jobs programs Democrats support. Dems say the GOP legislation provides insufficient aid, and sets a dangerous precedent by requiring those funds to be offset with partisan budget cuts.

"The bill the House will vote on tonight is not an honest effort at compromise," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) in a statement anticipating its passage. "It fails to provide the relief that our fellow Americans need as they struggle to rebuild their lives in the wake of floods, wildfires and hurricanes, and it will be rejected by the Senate."

A livid Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) told reporters Thursday night "We're fed up with this...we're sick of it, we're tired of it."
I think it would be only fair if the all the cuts in relief funds come from the districts of Representatives who voted for the legislation.

Fall In More Ways Than One

Not only is today the first day of fall 2011 (0904 UTC) it also turns out that a great big thing the size of a school bus is going to fall out of the sky:
On Friday (Sept. 23), a dead NASA satellite the size of a school bus is expected to enter the atmosphere, break into pieces and rain down upon Earth. Though space agency officials don’t yet know where the chunks (some weighing as much as 300 pounds) will hit and haven’t narrowed down exactly where, they say the chances of the falling space debris striking a person are extremely small.
According to the story  the chunks won’t be falling on North America so we North Americans probably don't need to carry an umbrella today.:
According to Mark Matney, a scientist in the Orbital Debris Program Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, the odds that any of the 7 billion people on Earth will be struck by a piece of the soon-to-fall satellite is 1 in 3,200. “The odds that you will be hit … are 1 in several trillion,” Matney said. “So, quite low for any particular person.”
While, in addition to the first day of fall and the sky falling  we are also getting a pretty good fall out of the stock market.

Classy Folks-Again

The Teabagger/GOP audience once again showed what a class act they are last night by booing an American serviceman on active duty in Iraq because he is gay. I'm sure the audience was caught on film by someone and every one of the folks that booed should be identified and issued a rifle and a ticket to Baghdad. Just saying.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Getting There

I must say I am encouraged by the latest tack taken by the White House. Is the hope for a happy honeymoon with the insane GOP over finally? All indications are that the President has finally realized that no matter how much he bends it won't be enough for the Republicans whose only goal in life is to insure he is a one term president. Of course, regardless of how defiant the President is and how firm he is on standing his ground with respect to progressive issues the GOP ain't going to budge.

You do have to love the President's line from yesterday..."It's not class warfare. It's math."

Saturday, September 17, 2011

No Fun

In case you are up the garden at the end of summer is not nearly as much fun as planting it in the spring. I will admit, however, that the smell of rotting tomatoes brings back happy memories of helping my Dad and Granddad clean up the garden in the fall. There is no smell quite like it and no matter how diligent you are some tomatoes are going to go to the bad and fall or rot on the vine.
I've finished the tomatoes and all the wire cages are neatly stacked for next spring. The next task is to till where there are not remaining veges(really only peppers) and get ready to put most of the garden to bed for the winter. I did discover two more butternut squash today which means that we got over 3 bushels of squash from 5 plants. Been a really good year for butternut squash.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

GOP Fantasy

This is not a surprise. If you can add 2+2 and come up with 4 this is not magic.  Lo and behold austerity, it turns out, is contractionary. What the Hell!

In a new paper for the International Monetary Fund, Laurence Ball, Daniel Leigh and Prakash Loungani look at 173 episodes of fiscal austerity over the past 30 years—with the average deficit cut amounting to 1 percent of GDP. Their verdict? Austerity “lowers incomes in the short term, with wage-earners taking more of a hit than others; it also raises unemployment, particularly long-term unemployment.”

More specifically, an austerity program that curbs the deficit by 1 percent of GDP reduces real incomes by about 0.6 percent and raises unemployment by almost 0.5 percentage points. What’s more, the IMF notes, the losses are twice as big when the central bank can’t cut rates (a good description of the present.) Typically, income and employment don’t fully recover even five years after the austerity program is put in place.

There’s also a class dimension here: A deficit cut of that size tends to cause real wage income, where lower-income folks get their money, to shrink by 0.9 percent, whereas rents and profits, which higher-income folks depend on, decline by just 0.3 percent. And, as the chart on the right shows, profits tend to bounce back faster than wages.

Some austerity programs can be harsher than others. The IMF study notes that plans to reduce the deficit can be particularly brutal if central banks “do not or cannot blunt some of the pain through a monetary policy stimulus.” (In 1992, Italy and Finland took steps to rein in their deficits but mitigated the discomfort by depreciating their currencies and boosting exports.) Meanwhile, if multiple countries are all carrying out austerity at the same time, the overall pain is likely to be greater. This sums up the current debt crisis in the euro zone: Individual euro member states can’t depreciate their own currencies because they’re all on the euro; the European Central Bank isn’t providing much monetary stimulus; and the economically ailing countries are all dragging one another other down.
As Krugman says:
In the first half of last year a strange delusion swept much of the policy elite on both sides of the Atlantic — the belief that cutting spending in the face of high unemployment would actually create jobs. I went after this stuff early and hard (I suspect that the confidence fairy will be one of my lasting contributions to economic discourse); still, it’s good to have a steadily mounting weight of evidence about just how wrong that view was.The latest entry is a comprehensive review of past episodes of austerity by economists at the IMF, from which the figure above is taken. Yes, contractionary policy is contractionary. And as the authors point out, it’s probably even more contractionary than usual under current conditions...Unfortunately, austerity programs are now the rule everywhere; even if the new Obama plan became law, which it won’t, it would only slow the pace of fiscal consolidation in America, and there’s nothing like it even on the table elsewhere.
I actually don't know why I am posting this since pretty much everyone who stops by here has a brain but I thought it important.

Just Die

Former Florida Congressman Alan Grayson got heaps and heaps of grief when he stated that the GOP health care plan was to die quickly. Based on what was displayed at last night's CNN/Teaparty debate that is exactly what the plan is. They audience cheering when Blitzer said that if a young man needs extensive care and he had no insurance he should just die in response to Ryan's answer about health insurance. These are some sick and scary people.

Monday, September 12, 2011


I just realized, while I was standing in the garden center checking out bag after bottle of chemical fertilizer, poison, and herbicide, that I an a total hypocrite. Here I am an ardent organic gardener that successfully grows abundant gardens of vegetables and fruit without pesticide or chemical fertilizer and I daily sell the poisons to my 'neighbors'. Maybe I should consider joining the GOP?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

We Have Dogs

Minimonk dropped off her three dogs this morning whilst she and SIL observe their 20th wedding anniversary in Savannah... so we are with dogs. We've had treats and taken a tour of the manor and had a walk around the neighborhood. I've now Megan and Rudy begging for attention at my knee while Stewart is busy stalking the wildlife in the backyard. Megan is constantly looking for a pat or rub and she will walk up and insert her nose under your hand over and over until you have to tell here to go away. She would stand and be petted 24x7 if she could find someone to do it. I have to go to work at 1pm and Madam should be back from her travels by then so they can spend the afternoon watching TCM or something as the walk is out of the way. I am sure I will find at least one or two or even all three of them piled in the bed with Madam when I get home tonight at 11pm.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Happy Birthday to

Cookie Jill,
Star Trek (debuted in 1966 on NBC)
Bernie Sanders and a whole bunch of other people.

Amplified Failure

The thing that is really somewhat tragic about President Obama's performance so far is that we are at a time where greatness was needed. We are faced with an insane group of people that want to take the country back into the 19th century. Obama promised us greatness and change. He promised to end the Bush tax cuts, stop the free trade agreements, and take away all the tax breaks for companies that moved our jobs overseas. Nothing has happened and we should have seen the clues that nothing was going to happen early on when it was apparent that he was going to surround himself with Wall Street folks and not folks that represented the middle class or labor.
We're were/are at a cusp that will determine the future of this country and to a large degree the world. We are looking at the huge impact of climate change, and unprecedented challenge for most of the world's economies and finally a disparity in wealth in this country that is nearly at the revolutionary point. This is the time we need greatness and fearlessness and thus Obama's failure to rise to the times is thus greater in comparison to the need and the opportunity in less challenging times. Now that the 2012 campaign season is officially underway the President and his handlers are going to try and make us forget our disappointment and renew our faith that Obama is the instrument we need. The tragedy is that, looking at the GOP challengers to date, Obama, despite his faults and failings, is still the best we have been offered.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Day of Reckoning

Since I am taking my Labor Day morning off to catch up on my reading I though I would share another worthwhile article. This one from John Lanchester in the London Review of Books discussing the current state of the Euro and the the global economy. It isn't pretty.

Meeting the Crazy

An excellent article by a disillusioned career GOP staffer that is worth the read. It is a clear and concise explanation of where we are at politically in this country. The sooner we all admit that practically all of our political and economic problems are caused by the fact that one party has gone completely insane the sooner we may be able to recover. Honestly, I don’t see how it’s going to be possible to have an intelligent discussion of American politics without accepting disturbing reality.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Butternut Squash Soup

Decided I had better use some of the mountain of butternut squash in the basement. I had a bumper crop of extremely large squash and despite the dry weather there are more to come. Cut up the squash into chunks and roasted it for an hour a 350F and then separated it from the skin. I did season the squash with salt and pepper plus a teaspoon or so of ground cumin. An onion and a bit of garlic sauteed in olive oil and butter plus a box of chicken stock, a little thyme and a couple of bay leaves and simmered for a bit and we have soup. I ran the hand blender through it and added a cup of Greek yogurt....very nice. Toasted ciabatta with olive oil and we had a nice dinner.

Last Weekend of Summer

How's the last weekend of summer going for ya? We're are supposed to be getting rain from Lee for the next couple of days and that should  put a kink the number of tube steaks consumed. Me...I gotta work tomorrow(but it is time and a half). Got in a workout this morning and then some more garden cleanup. I used 6 foot metal fence stakes to hold up the trellis for the cukes and today was the effort to get them out of the ground. They are meant to stay in. Brute force didn't work even with a 8 foot lever so I had to soak the ground with a hose before I could lever them out. A couple of times the 2x4 lever threatened to break even with the soaking and it did fail on the last stake. Next will be the 70 or so tomato cages....big job.

Nothing much else here at FM manor...I don't have to work until 1pm tomorrow so I will at least get a bit of holiday and it really shouldn't be too busy. I guess now I have to go figure out what to fix for dinner. Night before last was just about the last of the fresh tomatoes as a pizza.and last night was German with brats, homegrown potatoes boiled and served with lots of Irish butter and home canned apple sauce. I'm kinda in the mood for pasta and that may make the last of the tomatoes go away. There are actually a few tomatoes still on the vines but the drought and heat have not done them any favors however they won't go to waste.

I hope everyone is having a good time on the official last days of summer.

Friday, September 02, 2011

The GOP Is Winning

In their never ending campaign to make the American economy as miserable as possible before the 2012 election, which will give them a shot at the presidency, the GOP won another battle today. This lousy jobs report is going to hurt and the markets have already responded with the DOW down a couple of hundred points at the bell. Bummer! While their efforts are as transparent as glass the electorate will wind up blaming Obama for the lousy economy and while we teeter on the brink of another recession I'm sure the PTB within the GOP are figuring out the best way to push us over the edge.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

I'm Moving

...To another star system where there are more than 24 hours in a day. I can't get everything done in a mere 24 hours especially since I have added two hours of gym time to any day off or any day where I work the evenings. Did manage to get some garden clean up done today but it was not much. By the time I got back from the gym and had a bite of lunch the temperature was pushing 90F with the humidity right up there so I fragged after a couple of hours in the garden. The older I get the more I need a full 8 hours of sleep so I definitely need to find somewhere that allows another 6 or so hours per day.

I think I have solved one problem though. I was having problems making it from breakfast to lunch without my blood sugar crashing down to dangerous levels. If you are not familiar with hypoglycemia it usually manifests with the shakes, dizziness and excess sweating and no matter what I had for breakfast the blood sugar would crash to 50 or so sometime around ten. This was especially bad if I did a morning workout that included any cardio. It wasn't only after the workout and it happened several times at work so I decided to drop Actos from the meds(this is the $260 a month one) and I haven't had the problem of extremely low sugar since. I'll keep monitoring closely but I think the added exercise has made this one drug unnecessary which is good news.