June 10, 2011
The garden grows – in spite of unusual heat and an absence of rain for the last week that speaks of July weather in June. The peas and spinach have given up, but with watering a couple of times a week, the other vegetables seem to be hanging in there quite admirably, so far. I’ve talked a lot about my garden the last couple of months, but I think it’s because, despite the fact that I read a lot during the week, I haven’t a clue what is going on in the wider world and, so, don’t wish to make a fool of myself by pretending that I do.
Oh, I know that the stock market fell again for the sixth straight week ending up below 12,000 for the first time in … well, a while now. And I think I remember reading that it’s in the longest downward spiral since before the great recession began? That job creation this last month was a sour joke, manufacturing numbers were down and only the banks, with their still hidden trillions in bad assets, seem to be doing well. I know that the European Union is in a debt crisis, something involving PIIGS that are not of the pork chop and bacon kind. And that it’s having its own kind of blowback against our teeter-totter economy.
That the Arab Spring, which is now turning into the Arab summer, has put a lot of pressure on those oil supplies we need to keep the economy growing (such as it is, or isn’t). That the effort by NATO to unseat Mr. Kaddafi, so the revolution in his country of Libya could proceed apace, is not going well at all – which not only uses more of that oil that is under pressure, but prevents the 1.5 million bpd that Libya used to produce from being produced. That just this week, in fact, OPEC decided it could not or would not increase oil production to meet that gap – except for Saudi Arabia, which says it will up production by 500,000 bpd, much of which will probably not go on the world market, but instead be used at home to keep its own restive population from revolting as the season for air conditioning arrives there.
That getting out of the oil-guzzling wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are not all that we had hoped for and Mr.Gates is ticked off at NATO because, as I understand it anyway, they are not doing their fair share to save our bacon (not the pigs kind, but the PIIGS kind … I think.)
That despite all the happy talk from the industry this week, about how trillions and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas buried beneath our feet will be our salvation, it won’t – for oh so many reasons – according to those who don’t profit from the notion, but do know both the strengths and weaknesses of natural gas as an energy source.
That Japan, the world’s third largest economy is in recession and facing a nuclear crisis that just won’t stop from the effects of the earthquake and tsunami back in March. That China, the world’s second (or is it first, now) largest economy is beginning to slow its economy – deliberately, we’re told, though I’m not sure why – which means they may increase their divestment of our debt at a time when our fearless leaders are still haggling over what price the American people may be willing to pay in lost services in exchange for raising our debt limit another trillion-plus dollars.
That everywhere, all at once, by earthquakes, floods, fires, tornadoes and drought, Mother Nature has stepped up her campaign of death by a thousand cuts against humanity in retribution for our forgetting that it’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.
And last, but by no means least, that Congressional Representative, Mr. Weiner is in deep doggie-do for showing his BVD-clad, um, wiener across twitter and may or may not resign his seat. Not as earth shattering as most of the news, but that it’s considered the newsworthy scandal this week in light of the bigger goings-on in the world, does speak to the state of the Union (and possibly the world) about as well as any of the previous news items.
What I don’t know, without further confirmation from the next few weeks of news perusal, is whether this is the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end of Life As We Know It. I do think, in either case, the best course of action for the present is to continue to prepare for the worst and power down in every way I can while puttering in the garden.