Showing posts from November, 2009

Lots to be Thankful For

And I mean lots!

In spite of the recession, wars and political malfeasance, the US (IMHO) is still a great country to live in and even the 'haters' who threaten to leave this country if X, Y or Z happens, never do. We have to put up fences and guard (except for the airport, I use that term loosely) our borders to keep people out.

So how can we be so FUBAR?

There are so many examples of dis-ingeniousness, that I had to pick just two for this special Thanksgiving edition of The-Asterisk. Food and Climate Change (nee, Global Warming.)

Food Insecurity. This is a term that is just getting its legs. No, it doesn't mean that tomatoes are dreading the frost or that carrots fear being yanked from the warm earth. It is a term to describe hunger, or the threat of hunger. If an individual is labeled food insecure, it is defined as being hungry or anticipating hunger within the past year. has well-written page that further defines this term. Don't get me wrong, I am sure there…

You can check out anytime you like...

...but you can never leave.

I just returned from a Don Henley concert. For those of you under 30 and don't know who he is (or if you are over 30 and clueless), Don Henley is a singer-songwriter and the predominant lead singer for The Eagles. It was a great night and the final stop on his autumn tour for 2009. The first song of the first encore was Hotel California. I have always liked that song and the lyric "you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave" has always stuck with me.

On the drive home, I was thinking of the music that was played tonight and that line kept coming back into my mind. I couldn't help thinking about Nancy's 1,980 pages and Harry's 2,082. And once we are into this abortion of a bill (I can call it that since both sides desperately want the government to pay for abortions, and this law will be the biggest one ever) it will be like Hotel California. We will never be able to leave.

As the Senate prepares its Saturday Night Sp…

Jobs, jobs, my Kingdom for jobs (with apologies to Steve...)

This whole jobs thing has been bothering me for quite a while. Is the US a manufacturing giant? Are we a consumer-driven self-licking ice cream cone? Are we the breadbasket of the world? What exactly are we????

This question was driven home recently when International Paper announced the closing of the Franklin, VA paper mill, forcing 1100 people to lose their jobs by early 2010. IP cites "Too much capacity in the paper manufacturing sector" as the reason for closing the plant, while they have busily been opening new plants around the world. Are they creating plants where they are going to be selling the product, thereby lowering both shipping costs as well as labor costs? Or are they just greedy? IP will not sell the plant to another paper manufacturer since they want to reduce capacity (read competition). They supposedly will be removing all of the mill machines from the plant to further dissuade any comers from making paper again (and likely shipping the machines overseas …