Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Antidote du Jour

With apologies to Yves Smith.

Milo and Otis were two kitties who showed up at the dumpster outside the SPCA. They had the notched ears of feral kitties who've been neutered but, given that the dumpster was outside the SPCA, the staff took up feeding them. Then during our cold snap, the staff decided to bring them in from the cold. The bros took to indoor life and they were put up for adoption as a couple. It's hard to find homes for adult cats, and finding homes for bonded adults can be really difficult. But it being the holiday season, they managed to find a home that would take both of them in. I hope that Milo and Otis, having eaten breakfast, are having their morning naps on their new humans' bed.

Monday, December 28, 2009

I Told You So

I'm not surprised that Obama managed to do little more than George W would have on health care and climate change. Republicans and Democrats share so many assumptions that it only matters at the margins which of them is in power. What's most interesting is that the last two years should have demonstrated why so many of those beliefs are so entirely silly. But nooo, they just keep shoveling resources to the screw-ups and hoping that those of us who are not of the Tea Party persuasion will just retreat to our living rooms with a cup of tea and a long Russian novel. "J, where's my copy of War and Peace?"

The Winter Solstice was celebrated appropriately at our house. On December 21, at exactly 9:47 AM (PST), I went into the living room and turned the Solstice Tree topper from the moon to the sun. We've purchased a new Solstice Tree, a Colorado blue spruce, which should grow slowly over the next few years, thus remaining an appropriate size for our house. I got tired of cut trees, as the trees must have been cut down in October and so were fire hazards by mid-December.

Emma and Dash continued their Solstice tradition of knocking ornaments off the tree--usually two or three every night. It appears that Emma was the primary culprit, rising at some time around 2:30 AM, heading out to the tree, and making her selections for the night. She had successfully blamed Dash for the tree carnage, but I caught her at it one night. She didn't even try to deny it, sitting proudly before the floored ornament.

This week I really will be working on my other blog. I promised to have it finished by Christmas, but have been inordinately lazy lately.

Oh, I came across a really good book, thanks to Doug Henwood's Left Business Observer. It's Our Lot, by Alyssa Katz. At a couple of points, it's irritating, as when she asserts that houses have doubled in size over the last x number of years. As any number of people have pointed
out, that's because new houses are built exclusively for the move-up market and entry-level buyers purchase the older, smaller houses. In fact, the space people actually live in has increased by one room--not a major change. And of course, in discussing her former status as a tenant, she describes the rental building (converted to empty condominium units) as inhabited by proper creative class types, as though those folks are deserving of greater protection than, say, retail clerks and janitors. But it's generally a GREAT book and, in the last chapter, she nails it:

"...If the government doesn't act to prop up home prices, a collapse and resulting foreclosures will claim millions more victims and their neighborhoods. But if officials do successfully intervene to keep prices high--and so far, that is exactly what has happened--the cycle of extreme debt continues and deepens. The unprecedentedly high price of real estate consigns future generations to the same trap, huffing on a treadmill of debt..."

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It's Cooold

Sacramento is having an unusual cold snap. Lows have been in the mid-20s for a couple of days now, and the high hasn't made it to 50 degrees. Hibiscus has been turning black, bougainvillea shriveling, and even the mandarin orange crop may be decimated. People in colder parts of the country are laughing at us, but we're not used to the cold. We're used to chilly nights (in the high 30s), but we're not used to having the wear coats at mid-day.

There was measurable snow in the foothills. My friend A and her husband drove up to take pictures. You can see the video here. Play it full screen to see the flurries.

Let It Fail

I seldom hope for a Republican victory on any issue, but the health care reform package that's being developed just ain't worth the trouble. It doesn't cut costs one cent, increases the power and influence of the insurance companies, won't insure most of the uninsured at a price they can afford, and just leaves things largely as they are until rising prices for drugs, doctors and medical procedures bankrupt the country.

My particular favorite was the "agreement" made by Big Pharma to reduce drug prices by some $80 million. Then they immediately raised drug prices so that the $80 billion is less than the money they'll get from the increased prices. Way to go, Democrats!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Birthday Greetings

The great J, who cooks my meals, lifts heavy objects, digs up and moves plants over six inches after planting them the wrong place because I told him to etc. was 61 yesterday. Happy Birthday, Old Guy.