There are times when I'd like to share something with you but my Voice in the Garden site does not seem the appropriate place, thus, this blog.

There are experiences, thoughts, views... and for anyone lurking/waiting to pounce (as has occurred on several occasions), please do not attempt to turn what I post into a political statement. This is NOT a political site, but IS about occurrences, reality, and personal opinion concerning what I see in the world around me and my family. There are many excellent writers whose works "speak" to me, and I shall include some of them. At times it may be
something I think you would enjoy or simply whatever ails you (me).

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Banks Find Extra Money to Hire Lobbyists

By Andrew Dunn, McClatchy/Tribune news

November 29, 2011


— The money banks spend on lobbying is on pace to reach a record high again this year as the industry battles to weaken or repeal hundreds of rules being crafted by federal regulators...

Spending on lobbyists

These figures from the Senate lobbying disclosure website highlight the top four lobbying organizations, plus Bank of America, which is seventh. Figures for 2011 include the first three quarters only.

American Bankers Association

•2010: $6,040,000

•2011: $6,690,000

Wells Fargo & Co.

•2010: $3,260,000

•2011: $5,890,000

JPMorgan Chase & Co.

•2010: $5,770,000

•2011: $5,800,000

Citigroup Inc.

•2010: $4,120,000

•2011: $3,800,000

Bank of America Corp.

•2010: $2,720,000

•2011: $2,210,000

Friday, November 25, 2011

2009: Caribou Decimated 2011: Caribou Found

Associated Press, October 6, 2009:

ON THE PORCUPINE RIVER TUNDRA, Yukon Territory — Here on the endlessly rolling and tussocky terrain of northwest Canada, where man has hunted caribou since the Stone Age, the vast antlered herds are fast growing thin. And it's not just here.

Across the tundra 1,000 miles to the east, Canada's Beverly herd, numbering more than 200,000 a decade ago, can barely be found today.

Halfway around the world in Siberia, the biggest aggregation of these migratory animals, of the dun-colored herds whose sweep across the Arctic's white canvas is one of nature's matchless wonders, has shrunk by hundreds of thousands in a few short years.

From wildlife spectacle to wildlife mystery, the decline of the caribou — called reindeer in the Eurasian Arctic — has biologists searching for clues, and finding them.

They believe the insidious impact of climate change, its tipping of natural balances and disruption of feeding habits, is decimating a species that has long numbered in the millions and supported human life in Earth's most inhuman climate.

Due to mankind’s global warming, they are gone!

The Canadian Press, Nov. 20, 2011:

Scientists Find "Lost" Caribou In Saskatchewan

A vast herd of northern caribou that scientists feared had vanished from the face of the Earth has been found, safe and sound -- pretty much where aboriginal elders said it would be all along...

Can you imagine, caribou move.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Retail, Count Us Out

I don't know about you, but we are fed up and have been for more years than I can remember with the commercialization of Christmas. Aisles beginning to be filled with Christmas stuff at the end of August?! Give me a break, will ya? Do merchants not understand that more and more people are turned off by this display of gaudy commercialism. Who is to blame? We are, by allowing ourselves to be seduced. How did we travel from the gift of Christianity to the gift of commercialism?

Several years ago someone told me their child had so many gifts under the tree, that half way through unwrapping, he went off to another room. Do we equate love to the number of presents we put under the tree? Do we feel guilty if we don't shower gifts upon our loved ones? Are we so addicted to shopping, buying.. that that is the only thing that gives us gratification?

One headline last week indicated that some stores were not going to wait until midnight on Black Friday (day after Thanksgiving), but rather open doors at 10 pm Thanksgiving Day. People lining up at the doors, trampling others in order to be one of the first of 50 to buy another cheap electronic made overseas, is an ugly picture.

What I remember about Christmas when we were very young, was that one gift was all we got_and Mother could not afford that. But, we always had a stocking, an old gray wool stocking that was stuffed with an orange, apple, some nuts, a few candy canes... and in the bottom a few coins.

The better expression of love and gift giving in our opinion is what you give of yourself: a gift of your time, a special dinner prepared for someone, help at a soup kitchen, handcrafted items, foods we have canned, .... something from the heart.

Years ago we told our children (adults) to not buy us gifts, and that if they wanted to make something for us, we would be happy to accept it. At our age, what do we really need. Our goal is to get rid of things and lighten our burden. Look around and ask what more could I possibly need.

We have a message for retailers: once again, you can count us out.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Euro-Area Government Gross Debt As % of GDP

Source: Staring into the abyss

The euro crisis might wake Europe up. But more likely, argues Edward Carr, it will lead to compromise and decline.