When the hurricane crossed all those Haitians who are still living in tents 2.5 years later after donations of over a billion dollars from around the globe, you may be wondering where all the money went. You can go here and check on the charity of your choice and see what it (claims) did. The explanations are pretty generic and there is some controversy over this. I donated to Shelterbox which is not on this list, but also is not a charity that works for long term support but rather immediate disaster assistance. Here is another take on this.
The recent LIBOR scandal where Barclays manipulated the rates to borrow unsecured loans actually is now coming back to this country to bite institutional investors such as pension funds that may have used LIBOR based derivatives and lost money. Yes, this sounds complicated, but simply it means we still need greater regulation of banks. (And there should not be anything that is too big to fail in my opinion.)
Parents are now getting renters insurance for their college bound kids because they have so much expensive stuff that they bring to college. When I went to college we were not even allowed to bring a portable radio. Times have changed.
A Sirs Barbet Capito fitzpatricki is a new species that was found in Costa Rica this year, actually just this summer! It is a beautiful bird and amazes me that we can still find lovely new animals this high on the biology tree in my life time as we continue to remove rain forests and mountains to mine diminishing resources.
All grant and loan programs from State and Federal governments are socialistic in nature and the job of government (I feel in a democracy) is to provide a minimal social support floor for businesses and individuals. But it might surprise you to learn that the Energy Loan Program (designed to help businesses fund high risk research efforts for energy resources) was started in 2005 under a Republican Congress and the Solyndra business was number three on the list for funding (high priority) under the prior administration 5 days before Obama took office. High risk means high chance of failure and even some drug companies get this socialist help. Of course we heavily subsidize the oil and gas industry and have for decades. I hope they can soon turn a profit without our help.
No matter which president gets elected and which health plan is
instituted your health costs will go up. We are the huge demographic bubble of
aging boomers and everyone is going to be stuck with paying for all us old folks going through the health care system before we die,
unless they kick us to the curb and the rich are the only ones to get
comprehensive health care. Medicare will have to change.
Speaking of being old and penniless, Casanova at age 60 was forced to take a position as a librarian to Count Joseph Waldstein who lived in Bohemia in Castle Dux 60 miles north of Prague. This castle is now open for selected touring. Casanova's life, by the way, seems to have been much more complex than just adding up amorous conquests. And, irrationally, I have always thought there was something dark and sexy about librarians.
Remember those strawberry pots with hanging plants on patios and decks? Did you know that Singapore is starting a project which will construct 18 supertrees as high as 160 feet with trunks covered with vertical planters that will hold more than 162,000 plants of up to 200 species in a city park? Above these trunks will be enormous metal rod branches forming canopies to provide shade. Some rods will be fixed with solar panels to light them up at night. The highest tree will have a bistro offering a panoramic view of the gardens. I hope I can go see this someday.
I rented The Hunger Games the other day. I have read the trilogy and liked it well enough in spite of the tremendous violence. I couldn't help but wonder if conservatives and liberals would see this movie in very different lights, one seeing Sutherland as a Tea Party dude and the other seeing him as a socialist dictator in control of all the money.
I am Reading Operation Mincemeat by Ben Macintyre which is the true story of a very complicated British deception plan to fool the Germans during WWII and which worked. Movies and books have been produced on this true story but I am loving the "cast of characters" some of whom we all know that come to light in this version...such as Ian Fleming and that British guy, Leyland, of the cypress tree fame.
I am also Reading A Hope in the Unseen by Pulitzer Prize winning author Ron Suskind which is the story of inner city students and their families in Washington, DC struggling to find their place in society. It sounds depressing, but it is very well written with realistic characters. I have met some of these characters in my life and their version of pulling up by their bootstraps is a little different that we know..
On a related note, Princeton sociologist Sara S. McLanahan has shown, poverty is what hurts children, not the number or gender or age of parents.
And FINALLY, number 13, (drum roll please if you have gotten this far) back in 1988 it was called the greenhouse effect but the scientist who reported on it over 20 years ago says he would have changed his predictions with what he knows today. He says he would have made these predictions much more dire with the speed of global warming going much faster than he thought and with much more violent weather and extremes ahead. (Yeah one of those nerdy scientists that good-ole-boys love to make fun of.) I am terrified at how expensive insurance on everything from houses to crops is going to become as companies try to pay for these huge weather disasters. I am terrified about lots of other things about this as well, of course.
(I am on travel with my son and future DIL, so no future posting for a while.)