Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Once again I find myself looking at way too many urgent things; both to write about here, and to do on the farm.  Winter really really has arrived; we've got 5 inches of snow, and the temperature dropped to -3°F last night (-20°C).

So, firewood probably being more urgent than theoretical discussions about Life, The Universe, and Everything, I'm going to just do a quickie here and try to get out and get in some fuel, before the snow gets deeper.  Back seems to be essentially functional, and not feeling fragile, usually a reliable indication.

I have two cartoons for you here, and hope I am not breaking any copyright laws.  These are from "Tom the Dancing Bug" by Reuben Bolling.

They are so exactly spot on as to be scary.  How is it our humorists have more solid understanding of economics than our economists?  Really?  Don't you think that should tell us something?

The first one here predated the announcement that the Federal Reserve Bank was going to start - buying US Treasury Bonds... to prop up the market- by a full week, I think.  (click on pic for full size, if it's working.)

And this second one is from this week, and illustrates what to me is an obvious truth; that "economics" is a religion; not a science.  Really- not kidding.

Just good stuff to chew on for a while.

Coming soon:  "The Walls of The Erlenmyer Flask", and "Why 30 years is not forever."


Update 12/3; just a little more quick fun; Stuart Carlson today.  Read the banner on the bottom...


Theresa said...

Wow. All I can say is, wow.

Glad your back is feeling better. Getting some snow here too, at last. We've got wood and a clean chimney, which is some comfort in these strange days.

WILDBLUESbysus said...

Artists pull together everything they see, hear, feel, and conclude into a single expression...thus very cool insightful cartoons.

Apparently economists can't.

Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Great cartoons. I found out economics was a religion over Thanksgiving, when I tried to have an innocent economics discussion with my neo-con brother. I figured it would be neutral, y'know, just casual observations about the economic situation in SE Michigan, which as the whole world knows, is Not Good. (We do not talk politics, he and I). Anyhoo. He was immediately enraged, and went on, at some length. I was genuinely puzzled, until later, when other family members gently pointed out the obvious to me--that his entire belief system rests upon faith in the "free" market. Who knew?


EJ said...

Read Why Credit Cards Matter So Much (http://sharonastyk.com/) for interesting financial news.

"Yesterday put the nail in the coffin of a move from recession (small “r”) to Depression (capital “D). Two pieces of news that were absolutely essential came out - and no, neither one was that we’ve been in a recession since last year, or that last week’s stock market rally was yet another sucker rally."

Greenpa said...

EJ - yeah, saw that early yesterday; tried to post a comment, but her program clogged up when I put URLs in it- here was my comment:

Yay. Exactly, Sharon - we’re right on the same page. You probably remember my attempt to get people out with pitchforks, a few weeks ago.

I’ve been intending a long post on it again- but am overwhelmed at the moment, so I’m delighted you tackled it.

A major reason to prevent the credit card companies from doing this is very simple- it can be the one last factor that pushes a family over the edge. The ability to spread payments out over time can be critical when income is irregular. Lots of folks struggling to hang on CAN - if their credit stays exactly as it is. They’re paying their bills. But the moronic “rating agencies” - those stellar institutions who have been wrong about everything for years now- rate them a risk, so they get cut. Bingo- bankruptcy. Helps no one.

Congress has some legislation in the works; not adequate, but something. In addition, Consumer’s Union has an initiative;
There’s a cute song video there, too.

knutty knitter said...

Been there done that. Got turned down for a small bridge finance once because I didn't fit the criteria. I'd been banking with them all my life with no problems ever! (And I do mean all - the account was opened by my father when I was born).

I moved banks.

P.S. That harness has been used by three generations now and was particularly useful for the eldest who was a prem baby and not strong - except in doing stupid things and falling over where he was a world beater. It was also a great handle for carrying short distances.

viv in nz

Pangolin said...

When Zimbabwe does this they call it "printing money." The Fed is pulling money out of vacuum and giving it to corporations who then "pay" their executive teams lottery-winnings incomes for failure. This is like paying builders millions to burn down houses under construction.

The US is a failed state. Until millions of people hit the streets to demand fair financial laws we're just burning resources.

Not Another Omnivore said...

p.s. I've given you an award http://notanotheromnivore.blogspot.com/2008/12/thank-you-for-blogging.html

Anonymous said...

Attending to Bernie Madoff swindle, confidence games, Ponzi schemes and other financial vehicles for funneling, accumulating and concentrating billions in unearned wealth into the hands of a tiny minority of people who comprise the top of the global economy.

There are many minions who "spread the word" of these schemes. Con men operate pyramid schemes. They assure "plausible deniability" and "legal cover" for all that is said and done.

Only a telling of the truth is forbidden in their speech and actions. That is the one and only thing that is forbidden. Do not break their vow of silence by telling what is true about their schemes {ie, the only games in town, so they say}, because the "houses of cards" out of which the modern Tower of Babel is constructed immediately is exposed. These pyramidal constructions can withstand any force except that which is presented by speaking out loudly and clearly regarding what is somehow true about the very nature of them. As soon as light of what is true was shed on Bernie's scheme, the house of cards he had constructed fell.

Bernard Madoff may be the first of my "Not So GREAT GREED GRAB Generation's" kingpins to find that his "house of cards" has collapsed; but I dare say, Bernie will not be the last. There are other kingpins and many too many minions ready, willing and able to play along in what looks like the greatest self-enrichment scam in human history.

Why not say that greed is not good? Why not assign value to personal honesty, accountability and transparency?

Steven Earl Salmony
AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population,
established 2001

D. Benton Smith said...

Here's a very useful 'credit card' replacement system' that my wife and I used quite successfully for almost 20 years, until we caved in to the ultra-convenience of plastic.

It is only slightly less convenient than credit cards, the main difference being that you can't use it on-line or over the telephone by simply rattling off those sixteen digit 'magical money' numbers and an expiration date.

Here's how it works:

1. Scrounge up an old fashion shoe box
2. Get a stack of small white envelopes that fit the box fairly snugly.
3. Name the item you want to buy or need to pay for (example: groceries, rent, savings, snowmobile, etc.) and write each item's name on its own single envelope.
4. As money is obtained, allocate the amounts that you think are sensible, into whatever envelopes that you wish.
5. Purchases can be made as soon as there is enough money in that item's envelope.
6. Revising allocations is as simple as moving money from one envelope to another.

A fringe benefit of the system is the solid visual display of where your money is going.

(It's probably a good idea not to leave the system out in plain sight.)