A meandering blog with no clear topic. You will find me talking about knitting, building, kids, social and economic issues, Alaska, and lots of other stuff.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I have to start this post by saying that my mom is one of my favorite people. And I don't really want to pick on her. But recent events have me thinking a lot about something she said recently. See, my mom and I get along pretty well. But we totally disagree on a lot of political and economic issues. My mom is a staunch republican, and I am independent, but lean towards the democrat view when it comes to economics. So my mom and I were talking the other day, and she was saying that she votes Republican because "they seem to take better care of my money. They don't try to give it away in welfare to people that are too lazy to work."

Well, no, I agree the Republicans don't give money to the average Joe. Or the poor Joe, who may be poor because he is lazy, or does drugs, or may be poor because he has limited abilities, or poor health, or something else completely outside of his control. Or poor Joe's kids, who are also poor through no fault of their own. But they sure as hell give it away. Who do they give it away to? Um, let's see.

  • Oil companies that make the biggest profits ever seen get huge welfare subsidy payments.

  • Banks that make stupid lending and investment decisions, lose BILLIONS of dollars, and still pay their worthless CEO's hundreds of millions of dollars per year, get huge welfare bailout funds (um, Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, maybe Lehman Brothers soon).

  • The Big Three automakers, who couldn't see high gas prices coming (I could see it coming, and I am not getting paid a gazillion dollars a year to pay attention to what direction the market is going) and now can't get loans at a "reasonable" interest rate, looks like they will be getting more billions of dollars in welfare low-interest, guarenteed loans from the government to retool their factories so they can stay in business. Never mind that an individual that made stupid decisions and blew their money can't get a loan at a "reasonable" interest rate either... it's common sense not to lend in that situation, but let's hand out money to the Big 3.

  • Airlines, who also didn't see the high gas prices coming, are getting huge welfare subsidy payments. They are going bankrupt anyway, one by one.

I could keep going. But individual people, who didn't see high gas prices coming, can't get any increase in the heating assistance program, even though heating costs, especially for those dependent on heating oil or propane have gone up astronomically. Individual people, who didn't see high food prices coming, and whose salaries don't keep up with inflation or the rising cost of medical care, can't get increases in medicaid coverage for their children. Soldiers who risk their lives everyday on the battle field, and too often these days sacrifice everything for their country get paid so poorly that their family back home scrapes by on food stamps.

My mom's beef is that helping these people comes out of her pocket, and that of every American lucky enough, smart enough, ambitious enough, whatever, to make enough money to pay taxes. But how much is bailing out Freddie Mac going to cost her, me, every other taxpayer? A hell of a lot more than funding a program to help people keep their homes warm. How much do we spend every year in subsidies to oil companies that make $40 billion in profits? More than what it would cost to pay a soldier enough to be able to provide for his family, or give him adequate healthcare if he is injured.

I just think that individual people and their families, matter a whole lot more than corporations. And I know that all these industries are important to our economy, but I think that if people have no safety net in hard times, then businesses should not either. It is much more tragic for a child to starve or freeze to death, than for a corporation to fail, no matter how large.

For me, the bottom line is that Republican care about big business, and making money. Democrats care about people. That's why I tend to agree with them on economic issues.

I'll get off my soapbox now.

Friday, September 5, 2008

nature's bounty

On Labor Day, we went hiking with some friends at Hatcher's Pass. While we were there, we decided to do some berry picking. The blueberries were plentiful. They are more tart than cultivated blueberries, but they are still delicious. We picked til we got tired of picking, then came home with close to a gallon of blueberries. We could have gotten lots more, but this wasn't a serious berry picking expedition, and our hands were getting cold, so we quit.

from my garden...

Yummy! These were picked off the raspberry bushes in my garden for the sole purpose of breakfast the other morning. They were absolutely delicious. It is things like this that make me glad to have a garden....