Saturday, January 09, 2010
Supply and Demand - the more quality craft items available the more affordable they are. Need hand towels? Where are you going to buy them and from whom and for what 'reasonable price' with what guarantee of quality and safety?
Nice. Can you purchase one a week? I can. In less than a full 'fiscal quarter' I'll have enough for ten years by crafts-persons in the USA. Home grown quality, home grown economy.
The 'culture' of high end collections of antiques or contemporary household belongings is not an extravagance. My family is Middle Class. We work for a living. But, when it comes to gift giving we seek 'quality' items and 'invest' in 'nice' items. We give expensive gifts of electronics, too. But, when people have most everything they want at my mother's age, it is the comfort of her surroundings that is most important.
The placemats I mentioned have been in her possession for over 15 years and look like new. They were a holiday gift from me a long time ago.
I received Amelia Earhart luggage for a graduation gift. It lasted me a long time. I still have the hard shell travel case. Granted it shows wear and I don't carry it on planes anymore, but, it is the quality of the items that are purchased that make life 'nice.'
It is those values that will drive the 'Art Culture' and seeking 'originals' to hang on the walls instead of cheap copies or owning number 557 out of 10,000 that has no real value. All those items we purchase for each other and sometimes for ourselves, their longevity saves money in the long view.
We aren't extravagant, we contemplate, plan and execute when we shop. Clear thinking. Clear ideas and 'time' with a plan in mind. We aren't trendy people, we are steadfast.
Think about it. Local artists, displaying in local shows and galleries, makes for a day of shopping that is 'thrilling' and not burdensome. Quality, not efficiency. Appreciation, not Box Stores.
It is a lot of fun.
California needs to increase its revenues. That isn't going to happen by rationing jobs and cutting services. That narrows the tax base.
One of the most supportive communities of the arts is Providence, Rhode Island. That needs to be a focus of every community in California. Craftsmen and women need to be able to product their goods and market them in street fairs. How the state derives tax from that probably lies with the 'enterprise' that sponsors the street fair. More than likely through the advertisers that particpate in these marketing tools.
The only way to 'tax' artists and craftspersons at these marketing events is to have a central area where patrons pay for items they purchased. In other words, there has to be a sophisticated central 'check out' which only adds to the cost of these marketing events. It can be done and probably should, but, at the end of these events the participants expect a check to take home as income and the bookkeeping would have to be submitted to the state with the taxes collected. The "Middle-Man Processes" can become very draconian and have to be kept in check, otherwise, there is no reason for craftspersons or artists to even participate.
The 'artist/craftsmen/woman economy' depends on being valued.
Example. Real story.
My mother has a 'cute' table cloth on this really neat antique table in her home. She uses that table in the kitchen for breakfast and lunch. Truly. My sister gave it to her and it is a beautiful wood crafted table and very sturdy. But, as to the table cloth. It is cute, it 'appears' to be hand made but it isn't.
I was recently having brunch with Mom and she stated to me, "Isn't this a nice table cloth?" I looked at it, the stitching was in larger tactile dynamics than the tartan plaid cloth, but, I said "No."
She didn't like the comment and asked me why I didn't like the tablecloth. I stated, "Mom, you have this great table right here in your kitchen. It is beautifully crafted and sincerely old. You love it as much as I do. You appreciate it as much as I do, so why put a cheap phoney look-a-like table cloth on it?"
I continued, "If you want to sincerely impress your friends and bring the esteem of your household up then please put a beautifully hand crafted table cloth in it and take the time to appreciate it everyday and launder it with care. Yes?"
She looked at me. Now, mind you all her children are adults and she doesn't give many parties for children anymore, except, the occassional birthday party for grandchildren so this is not an everyday concern. She also uses high end placemats from Spode I think at every place setting for she and Dad and visitors anyway. So she understands quality, likes quality and gravitates to it.
She stated it me, "Well, why don't you get me one?"
So, now I am on a quest to find the perfect table cloth for an antique table in my Mother's kitchen for her birthday at the end of January. It has to be hand crafted and it has to match perfectly with her well designed and wall papered kitchen decor. Not an easy task, but, one I relish and will enjoy. An adventure into 'shopping' that will probably result in the purchase of not just the perfect table cloth, that might have to be custom made, but, some 'real finds' along the way.
The point is the American Experience does not have to include expensive high end articles in every household. When artists and their abilities are valued above all else and Americans make investments into more than "Decorating Den" we will have a very valuable economy based in human labor that values our college educated talent.
I absolutely hate those felt paintings that end up collecting dust that won't come off and finally in the land fill.
California has many issues to succeed in re-establishing its tax base and expanding its economy. If I may? I believe all the the issues have to be resolved and can be resolved to the best interest of California.
Water is a huge issue within the borders of California. The endangered species are not up for auction. All are important and all have to be valued. What does have to occur is a since look at resolving the water issues in California on a regional basis. Let's face it, California makes up two thirds of the west coast of the USA. The east coast can't say that, now can they?
Southern California is nearly a desert and its agriculture in danger of being lost forever. Irrigating from distant lakes was always a huge mistake and that idea has to be discarded. The lakes north are just as much in peril as the southern agriculture itself.
What is also at stake in southern California is the nation's food supply as well as California's export business. That is no joke. The people of the state need to talk and talk seriously about these issues without polarizing into political entities that are simply undesirable for the quality of life of citizens. Republicans want to destroy nature and Democrats don't. That is not a question of economics, it is a question of values. Vastly different and that is how it should be viewed. The value system of California has always been cutting edge and in leadership of the country. That needs not be discarded either.
REGIONAL water issues need to be resolved through 'spending.' It is not an option. But, that means environmentalists need to look at the dynamics of the people of a region and come up with solutions. I am not talking about collecting 'dew' every morning either, although some of those techniques are interesting. I am talking about desalination plants and the infrastructure to operate them. Unpopular topic, but, this is the year 2010 heading into the 22nd century and we don't know how to operate desalination plants to benefit the people while preserving the environment? Like. What school did you go to?
Southern California is no different than any other region of the country in that its population will grow over time and there is simply no fresh water to be had. Lakes are drying up and we are still using the same old 'dried up' technologies that brought us the Powell Dam. Hello?
Desalination is not a 'short term solution' either. Populations grow, their demands for water grows and we have not kept up with the times. Ever hear of sea level rise? I thought so.
I am not condoning Human Induced Global Warming either. It is a profound problem that has to be solved, but, unless there is a vast freeze encompassing the majority of the planet there won't be a shortage of available coastal water either. Even if Earth ever reaches that capacity to freeze again, which it won't ever repeat because of population increases and the economics that go along with that, the 'history of the planet' has told us that the ocean trenches were all full of water and 'run off' from extended ice caps. So there is always a solution if people look for them.
But, as I said this is the year 2010 and the priorities of the future for our children requires insight to the way we live including our water sources and how we preserve the environment. If California is not capable of that insight and direction then we are all in trouble. I happen to believe they are.
Southern California has another profound problem and that is the rising 'salt table' of its 'irrigation agriculture.' Once that salt table reaches the level of plant roots it is all over for agricuture there. Then there won't be any more concerns about obtaining irrigation water ever again. So the agricultural community of SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA has to talk and talk a lot about solving a problem that will cost the USA a valuable food source and economy.
They are private land owners and wealthy folks. They can solve their own problems and they should. If subsidies are needed through federal financing instruments it isn't as through Former Secretary Butz didn't do exactly that. Don't get me wrong, I think high fructose corn syrup is deadly to the American diet, but, that again is another topic. I am talking about what the Secretary of Agriculture has done in the past to insure the country had a strong agricultural community. I did say 'Agricultural Community' which MEANS returning FOCUS to Small Family Farms. It is the small family farm that is most efficient and well run that insures the USA high quality farm products, NOT, Corporate America that wants to export every commodity to foreign markets for ethanol production thus creating the new OPEC.
No, no. We have waited far too long for the Chevy Volt and I won't see corporate farms turn ethanol into the savior of the American Roadway. It is the wrong direction for the country and that needs to be trashed at the 'get go.' Ethanol is a 'stop gap' and nothing more. From recent commercials I noticed hydrogen technology where water is the only exhaust at the tailpipe is coming into fashion. Its about time.
In every state in the USA, small family farms should be returned to the hands of citizens with tax incentives to facilitate them. We need a 'cutting edge' Secretary of Agriculture with a 'heart' for these folks, including the Organic Farmers that turn out an excellent product to consumers. We also need a stronger FDA to insure standards of production of all products are high quality, worth the money and doesn't burden our health care system.
Quality of life in the USA means we have a government that sees the future clearly and reaches for it while administrating policy to attain it.
And that is another thing.
We have already tried the Republican ideology of 'no tax' to Americans, reduction in government infrastructure and it has resulted in American deaths due to lack of 'agency oversight.' It used to work in the USA. It has to work again. If we as a nation state we demand quality health care for all it means we believe in the 'non-political' infrastructure that will uphold those values. Americans have to realize there is a price on everything in life, including a government infrastructure that protects us from corporate greed and inefficiency. Where there is no governance of corporate America, there is exploitation of the consumer, degradation of quality of life and ultimately 'The Third Worlding' of the USA. I don't think so.
No American elected official wants a draconian government and there are times when cuts in taxes are prudent, like when we have a surplus, but, to realize a national debt that is sky rocketing in order to 'return' effective oversight to our quality of life' is an issue, brings taxes and does not eliminate them. If the American electorate is going to elect people that don't care about them they are gambling with their own lives. Volunteers and 'thousand points of light' is not what I call 'security,' either national or otherwise. Volunteers are nice, but, they ain't all that.Americans have to come to terms with "The Two Americas." They are real. There is Corporate America and there is Middle Class America. I doubt sincerely there will ever be a good relationship between them again. The Middle Class in this country has been kicked around too much and it needs to take a direction to secure its economy away from collapse ever again. To place that much faith in Corporate America again has proven a huge folly time and time again.
Being 'Too Big To Fail' is an American Dream that needs to be put to rest forever. It is a Republican ideology and strategy to insure personal wealth of about 1 to 2 percent of Americans. No more.
But, to only focus on California is to realize it is a solution for us all and that is why so much of what can work for that state will work for the rest of the USA.
Entrepreneurs is the new American Dream. Middle Class folks with talent and the ability to work that talent into Small Businesses is attainable and an ideology that works for the values of our society. Personal gratification of growing a small business has been an intricate fabric to our value system and it works. The Small Business Administration is a magnificent organization and provides all kinds of support to that end. It is necessary and it is the right path for the USA. Taxes are a part of a business reality. That is part of the small business infrastructure and is part of operating costs. Just that simple. If one cannot pay their taxes then there is something wrong with the business operation in the first place. Crying poverty is not an option. Our government infrastructure is important and when we don't 'attend to it' the collapse of 2008 is a result. No oversight, no enforcement and weak laws and weak infrastructure kills our economy and does not grow it. It is why California cannot cut services and attempt to hold the federal government hostage to a different outcome. That is simply outrageous and not a solution.
Where Corporate America touches the American Fabric there has to be unions that are reactive to 'the pay scale' of stockholders. It is the unions reality and they cannot simply demand higher wages and benefits to satisfy members, they have to become an asset to the employers by producing products that are valuable while supplying quality of life to their members. Unions have to place reasonable corporate profits to stockholders in their agenda as much as companies have to deliver profits. That doesn't mean indulging CEOs and Corporate Executives with exorbitant bonuses and wages. The 'ideology' that they have to compete is hideous. The USA turns out many, many young people capable of leading in management roles that see their earnings as important and not draconian to corporate well being. I find the entire 'rant' about high bonuses and wages simply offensive and stupid. Who needs it?
It is why the real strength of our economy, including that of California, has to be local. The more needs that are met with local talent and entrepreneurs the better. That includes growing banks that will work for local economies, including Real Estate Economies. If Mega-investment banks want to shun Middle American and Small Business and simply hand out high interest rate credit cards, then they are in for a wake up call. Local economies need relief from being pulled in all directions, except, productive ones. We don't need the assets of the world to establish banks that serve a community, we need regional assets in competent hands. We haven't witnessed competent Corporate American CEOs in I don't know when.
The other issue California faces is energy and transportation and there is new legislation that should help with that. The trend in the USA is to build a better energy infrastructure that benefits the future of our children while insuring they have a world to live in. That is not an option. Transportation has to include individual transportation but also mass transit. I like riding the train. I have always enjoyed it and buses handle what trains cannot. Elevated high speed magnet rail has my focus for a long time, that won't change. It provides jobs and reasonable cost to movement around a region and potentially the country. We are building a smarter grid.
So, California needs to continue to focus on a strategy that works for its people, including the return of function of its agricultural sector in the south. It is a huge drag on government income and exports. The Southern California agriculture adds to the State's GDP and solutions have to be found. The biggest hurdle is water and attacking the increasing salt level. They are huge issues and the state shows it. There are not simply and cheap solutions and the people of California need to look at solutions and follow a path to success. If replacing the agriculture is an option then that might be something that is viable as well.
The people have to find solutions for their economies. It is the only method of security for this country and the only method that will work in the long view. Building a New America costs money, there is no getting around it. 'Going back' is simply a 'feel good feeling' and will result in another collapse and more neglect. I just don't see it. The people of the USA are suffering from the neglect of reality and now even today they want to discard it for economic 'feel good' retreat. This is the tough part. Making up for decades of neglect to 'change' is difficult, it is about time the people of the USA rose to the occasion.
But, the esteem of these families are maintained through compassion. The children are required to attend school. They are also allowed time off from school when their family responsibilities require them to help earn money for their survival.
The families are held responsible for the return of their children to school to further their education, otherwise the children are removed from those families. The families are held responsible for any violence within the household. In the USA we call it domestic violence. It isn't allowed. Children often learn what they live.
California has an excellent model for intervention with these communities. I know the state government is crying poverty itself, but, so is every other state in the nation. It needs to increase revenues and not by cutting services. But, that is another topic entirely.
The point is the USA is a leader in the global community and it needs to assist other nations with solutions to problems that used to plague the USA. This 'recovery' of the youth of Islam is not as difficult as it might seem. It is what is 'allowed' by the government and the 'benevolence' of that government while enforcing its laws and social values of morality defined in decency.
Let's play the popularity game. You are now the Superstar on "Who gets all the virgins?" Talk about morons.
Undated ID picture obtained by AFP on 7 Jan 2010 shows Jordanian Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, who was said to be triple agent
Step right up, you could be the next brainwashed Jihadi to play the game !
THIS could go on forever. It will wipe out American and NATO soldiers and destroy an entire generation of Muslim brain trust, because that can result in a form of National Security.
If the entire community of Muslim parents continue to allow their children to be brainwashed into extremist violence that is exactly what will happen and eventually the West will win out and there won't be anymore leaders of Islamic countries that will be capable of leading their nations into peace and prosperity. Once a sovereign country is over taken by extremists as Pakistan nearly was the war changes immediately from a ground war to one of superiority and it will all be over for everyone.
A winnable war with any Islamic country has to begin with peace and understanding, otherwise, the national security of the USA and NATO turns into a genocidal regime.
Now, I want to know what directive the USA State Department is making to correct the path of these young men? The families are devastated when they get word their young men have turned to a recruitment of violence.
Most sovereign nations have militaries, perhaps these young men need to spend mandatory time in military service to understand exactly what it takes to secure their sovereignty and be a productive member of their society.
In the USA, Nancy Regan ran a campaign to protect the youth of the country from drug addiction. The First Ladies of every Islamic country with young men at risk for recruitment into extremism needs to run a 'youth campaign' where one simply says, "NO, to extremism and YES to worship with their families."
It would seem as through the 'allowance' of extremism is as much a 'freedom of religion' in Islam as it is in the USA. The DIFFERENCE is that in the USA religions are not allowed to advocate death as a tool to salvation. The USA has a long history of securing its internal sovereignty from such extremism. The people of the USA don't necessarily like it either, all one has to do is look at Waco and realize a lot of people were unhappy about what occurred there. No religious extremist in the USA is going to last very long to develop 'people' as a weapon of treason.
The nations of Islam, no matter their geo-political locations have to have a standard for religious content within their societies or they are doomed to fail. None of these young men should have died. It is a failure of the leadership of their nations that have succumbed to the violence and 'jazz' of al Qaeda and networks like them.
There is word of commonality in any language and that is decency. What al Qaeda and others have done is removed that word from religious content and introduced 'self righteous' in its place. As a result the brain trust and promise of every Islamic country is now risked to 'carry on' violence to a doomed end for its societies.
Where the odds are against sovereign nations to bring about effective change because of impoverishment and social dynamics of survival, it has to be reversed. Actions taken against such groups has to be well done and complete where governments are out numbered by citizens indoctrinated into hatred by their own needs.
Reducing the violence in such societies is paramount and pastoral. Media of violence needs to be interrupted and the USA needs to work on that as well.
Did I ever tell you how much I love Angora goats? You know I had a 4-H project once...
This is so completely ridiculous. The Pantie Bomber states there was 20 more like him. There is a lot more. I doubt there is only 20.
Click title to entry and make the bomb yourself, for a fee I suppose. It is probably an al Qaeda site. Organic substances like PETN aren't difficult to make with a minor lab and minimal knowledge. (Maybe FOX will develop a competing site for profits. Murdoch isn't above anything for a buck.)
I just love the way there is no analysis on the actual intelligence of the 'enemy' in a so called war that was supposed to be launched on September 11, 2001. The USA trained the hijackers of September 11, 2001. The USA trained them. No one else. The hijackers of September 11, 2001 were trained in the USA, not Saudi Arabia, not Yemen, not Afghanistan, and certain not Saddam Hussein's Iraq as it did not even have its own weapons, but, they were all trained in the good ole' USA. NOW. Protect your country.
Spend billions though. Spend billions on media services that scare the living hell out of people without real 'actionable intelligence.' Go ahead, enjoy fright night all year long. When does the next flight leave for Amsterdam, by the way?
For a Western society to ever believe their airliners aren't vulnerable is complete arrogance. The real issue here is how did a 'nice Muslim boy' grow up to grossly disappoint his family and nation? Answer that one for a change.
And if this is the result of al Qaeda training, including the Shoe Bomber, something tells me they don't know what they are doing and receive less sophisticated training than a USA GI does in nine weeks. Nine weeks and then they wonder why they end up with PTSD. A USA soldier hardly makes it out of civilian clothes to pick up a gun and kill people in nine weeks and the USA military doesn't then understand why they succumb to PTSD and die. Amazing.
The West needs to come to terms with the atrocities of the USA when it wrongfully invaded Iraq. Afghanistan is understandable by most decent people, but, Iraq? A lot of people died for an oil war and until that is contended with in a real way in the World Courts the Civilized world of The West will pay for it over and over again.
By Frank James
The alleged bomber of a Christmas Day Northwest Airlines flight, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury in Detroit
The six-count indictment includes the charge of "attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction." Northwest Flight 253 carried 289 passengers and crew.
The 23-year old Nigerian was also charged with a count of "attempted murder within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the U.S." with a third charge being the "willful attempt to destroy and wreck and aircraft within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the U.S."
Abdulmutallab faces life in prison if convicted...