What do you own? (or who owns you?)

ok- not a real post- just some random musings to try and get my butt into gear on a series of posts I’ve been kicking around.

So, a little background. I’m mid 40’s. Currently rent my home- but high likelihood we will buy it in the not too distant future. I have zero debt – or near enough (I usually pay off my one credit card in full 10 out of 12 months, more then 50% the other 2). I own outright my (old) truck. And am looking to buy a much newer used truck, outright, in the very near future. I was raised on the old addage of “neither a borrower nor a lender be”; though I’ll admit I do better with the former then the latter.

And I guess I was also raised with the idea that the only things you went into debt for where the home for your family. Possibly growing your business. And, worst case scenario, emergencies for your loved ones.

And I still have, just slightly below, “good” credit. Largely because I never played that game (in my late 20’s, setting up a bank account for the first time in 15+ years, I had a banker tell me to my face “you don’t exist”. (My reply: I’m standing right in front of you ******* )

And yet I have friends with stellar credit. Who have $30K-$100K in student loan debt. Who have cars owned by the bank. Who have insane credit card balances. Who, more then not, earn less a year then I do.

So I guess the thrust of my coming posts will be about the financial “reality” we have built in this country. Where taking on debt is “good” and forgoing it is “bad”- regardless of what it is for. A system where if you aren’t enriching the bankers- you are a bad person.

Posted in politics, society | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Alaska Gov. Wants to “Drill Baby Drill”…to Fund Dealing with Climate Change

The governor of Alaska wants to drill as much oil, as fast as he can, to raise money because the state desperately needs to deal with the devastating effects of climate change. He’s begging for the National Artic Wildlife Refuge to be opened to drilling.

Ummm. Yeah. I’m not really sure what to say other then WTF is up with Alaskas governors?!?!

Posted in climate change, common sense, environment | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Why magazines pi** me off…

Ok, I’ll admit it. I’m old. I still like a periodical (or newspaper, or book) in my hands. So yes, I still subscripe to print magazines.

But increasingly they are frustrating me. Because increasingly- when you subscribe- your tied into an automatic renewal. And a renewal at “the current price” at that.

So (hear this publishers), I have given up many magazine subscriptions as of late. And chosen not to subscribe to several more that I had let lapse in the bast, or that I had never subscribed to.

I am tired of this dishonest practice (which is not limited to magazines). They are trying to increase revenues by both counting on peoples forgetfullness…and by making it as hard as possible to actually unsuscribe.

So, A while back, I switched to subscribing via snail mail, if at all. Old fashioned checks/ money orders. Which no doubt drive up their costs/drive down their profits. So be it. I am tired of it being morally acceptable to take advantage of people for your own intersts. And towards that end- I am ending my work around. And ending ALL my subscriptions to periodicals and other services that use such dubious methods.

And I urge you all to take a look at your subscription based services in your life. And think about whether such policies are such a good idea. And I’d wager, some of you, will find you are paying for something you no longer really use- and will be until the credit card you have on file expires.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

This is an example of why so many hate the government

So I live in Sonoma County CA. And for years we’ve had a compost company (Sonoma Compost) that was affiliated with out central landfill. They produce some of the best compost I have seen in my life (and I’ve been involved in Organic agriculture and Organic Landscape Construction pretty much my whole adult life).

And they have been shut down by lawsuits invoking the clean water act. (more on that in a moment).

They made certified organic as well as certified biodynamic composts as well as bio-char. Removing hundreds of thousands of tons of green waste from the waste stream. From the green waste bins collected as part of curbside service to greenwaste from farms, vineyards, and landscape maintenance companies- as well as general residents.

And this is wine country. farm to table food country. And cannabis country. Indistries that rely on high quality organic compost to reduce water usage. To reduce fertilizer inputs. To improve the “terroir”

So- back to their shutdown. Some NIMBY neighbors whose real goal seems to be to reduce traffic/activity at the landfill site sued them for discharges into a creek. Because, when we have the really heavy rains in the winter- there would be nitrogen rich overflow to a small local creek. Never mind that the creek is also surrounded by dairy farms. And vineyards. Nor that during these events- the “pollution” is quickly flushed out to the ocean and dilluted- causing little if any harm.

And Sonoma Compost tried to do right. Building larger retention ponds. Pumping and hauling from them as needed. Begging the county to let them take less green waste in the months when this presented problems. While this was a for profit company, it was a small one- and one deeply rooted in environtalism.

But instead of trying to make things right- the county supervisors decided to sell the operations of the landfill (which itself had past legal problems) to a for profit AZ based company. Who promptly refused to support the compost company. (and who I am sure I will be writing about their activiities in a few months- because they are jacking rates and turning the landfill into a dump- cutting every corner they can to make profits).

So now- all our green waste is being trucked ~60 miles or so. Tens of thousands of tons being transported by diesel.  And of course- now our regions farms and vineyards have to likewise haul in compost.

A supposed lawsuit over environmental issues causing far, far more harm then it prevents.

So I think this is a good example of why people are frustrated with government. With corporations. and with society. Because we had the courts and the EPA rule on very narrow and strict interpretations of “the law” without taking into account the bigger picture. And we had local government punt on the very real problems caused by the society they are supposed to govern, and handing things over to a for profit company- one who immediateley raised rates for all of us while, from what I have seen, cutting corners right and left. And of course, citizens- not in my back yard, wanting to raise their property values by removing the industry thats presence gave them cheap land in the first place.

Posted in climate change, common sense, environment | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

A GOP “Debate”? Or a SNL Skit?

I *tried* to watch the Republican debate last night. I really, really did. But I only made it 30 minutes or so before I had to turn away…and check back in on it thoughout the night.

I couldn’t help feeling I was watching a Saturday Night Live skit- hell, even half the field, especially Trump, Christie, Cruz, Bush, andPaul looked more like charachters then candidates. And thee old SNL tag line “The not ready for prime time players” kept reverberating through my head”, as it seemed the perfect tagline for the field of candidates.

And I am still undecided whether CNN did an appalingly bad job with this debate, or did a truly sublime job of recognizing what they had to work with, and showcasing the circus.

And I must wonder if the rest of the world was laughing? Or shaking in fear or disgust?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Depressing News of the Week- Rupert Murdoch buys National Geographic

Yes, you heard that right- Climate Changer denier extraoridinaire and long the purveyor of Faux News (conservative propaganda) through countless media formats has purchased a 73% share of National Geographic- the oldest and most instantly recognizable science based magazine in the world.

I’ll admit- I need to do some more research (the coverage of this has been lacking) to see what exactly this means in terms of whether the non-profit Nat Geo foundation is now a for profit, and what, if anything this will mean for the millions in grants doled out to scientists by the Nat Geo Foundation.

Regardless- I am figuring out how to cancel my subscription this weekend.

This should be major news IMHO- as this is potentially giving one very wealthy and conservative (and anti-science) man control over THE major source of exposure to scientific issues- especially of children, in our nation.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Is Trump *actually* running for president?

I’m kind of surprised I haven’t seen anyone else discuss this. Because I’m not 100% convinced “The Donald” is *actually* running for president.

Let’s be clear- if he IS running for president- he’s either:

a) lost his mind over the past years   or

b) taken politics to the extreme- choosing to pander to an underserved base of seething frustration and hate in this nation.

Which brings to my point. Many of the Donalds positions seem at odds with what they were in the past (he has for example, not that long ago, supported both “dreamers” and Clinton, as well as supporting a substantial, one time tax on the wealthy.) So his current persona and campaign feels deeply at odds with past versions of the Donald.

So I do question- is this just an elaborate play by one of the vainest men in America for the ultimate reality show? (all the better [for him] if he does pull it off and The White House becomes the ultimage stage. Far fetched? Maybe. Though with what I have seen of Trump over the years, and more importantly, heard from friends in the upper echelon of the NY social circuit (read: well heeled and heavily connected artist or fixer types… and drug suppliers to the elite I’ll admit)


Posted in Uncategorized | 12 Comments