Acme Tool Co. is not especially vulnerable to the current economic climate, supported as we are by a repair industry, and repair being a fact in a cynic’s life and not just a realtor’s dream of an ever-exploding house value. But the collapse of unbounded optimism is sucking quite a lot down the drain with Click Here to continue reading.
Monthly Archives: February 2009
EPA to regulate the dust that farmers kick up
Nothing says summer in Iowa like a cloud of dust behind a combine.
But what may be a fact of life for farmers is a cause for concern to federal regulators, who are refusing to exempt growers from new environmental regulations.
It’s left some farmers feeling bemused and more than a little frustrated.
“It’s such a non-commonsense idea that you can keep dust within a property line when the wind blows,” said Sen. Charles Grassley, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee who still farms in northeast Iowa.
Under rules imposed in 2006, rural areas would be kept to the same standards as urban areas for what the Environmental Protection Agency calls “coarse particulate matter” in the air.
The American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Pork Producers Council had petitioned the government to provide an exemption to farmers. They argued that evidence of harm caused by dust in rural areas hasn’t been determined.
But the U.S. District Court of Appeals in Washington ruled Tuesday that the EPA had already provided the evidence necessary to determine farm dust “likely is not safe.”
You might as well give up on being a law abiding person because everything is against the law.
The Things They Study
In what must be the ultimate exercise in navel-gazing, an Austrian scientist has solved the mystery of belly button fluff.
I don’t think the resolution to this “mystery” will shock anyone.
I found a neat video on Dark Roasted Blend of a Golden Eagle preying on goats. The video tends to start half way, so rewind it to the beginning. Look at the legs on that sucker!
Even more impressive to me was a related video of mongolians hunting “wolves”. Not such a cakewalk:
Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures
Just when you thought there is nothing that can surprise you anymore in this country, comes this. LNT’s “DegpunktÃ„Â” reports that Valmiera state prison had four special guards dogs shot as part of the “economy regime”. Apparently, the guards couldn’t bring themselves to do that so they called in an outsider and gave him a gun. I wonder if that’s the kind of measures that Mr Slakteris, the minister of finance, meant when he famously told the Bloomberg TV that “we will be …taupÃ„Â«gi [economical].”
Ryanair’s chief executive caused howls of protest today when he suggested that the airline may charge passengers Ã‚Â£1 to use its toilets.
The S&P 500 closed at 735 or so. The low in 1997 was 737.01.
Note: the S&P 500 was at 744 when Greenspan spoke of “irrational exuberance”!
I would think that this would just be a gimmick. Except that I have read about highly trained Delta Operators being used as pack mules because there was no other good way to get supplies into rough terrain.
Facts To Scare You
One of the enduring mysteries of the last month has been how fourth quarter GDP could have been falling faster in Europe than in the United States. Now we have an answer: our first GDP estimates were way too optimistic. The revised estimates now put the annualized rate of decline in the fourth quarter at 6.2%, rather than the 3.8% initially predicted. That’s roughly in line with the decline in Europe and the UK, though Japan still has a commanding lead in the race to the bottom.
It’s pretty much impossible to get one’s head around the sheer enormity of the numbers in Barack Obama’s first budget. But it’s important to try, and one anonymous commenter has a very good point: the entire federal budget, as submitted by President Clinton in 1996 through 1999, was smaller than the budget deficit that Obama is proposing for next year.
And how about subprime companies? European corporations are deeply in hock, with $801 billion in corporate debt maturing this year-nearly one-third more than in the U.S. Some, such as Munich-based chipmaker Qimonda and Swedish automaker Saab, say they are insolvent.
In Case You Are Keeping Track
According to the 2009 budget Barack Obama is sending to congress today, the United States will have a $1.75 trillion deficit this year. The figure represents 12.3 percent of estimated gross domestic product, double the previous post-war record of 6 percent in 1983, and the highest level since the deficit totaled 21.5 percent of GDP in 1945, at the end of World War II. It seems the numbers are about to start getting let out of the bag, and it will be interesting to see how the markets react.
A Scale Model of Herod's Temple
Alec Garrard, 78, has dedicated a massive 33,000 hours to constructing the ancient Herod’s Temple, which measures a whopping 20ft by 12ft.
The pensioner has hand-baked and painted every clay brick and tile and even sculpted 4,000 tiny human figures to populate the courtyards.
Historical experts believe the model is the best representation in the world of what the Jewish temple actually looked like and it has attracted thousands of visitors from all over the globe.
You can see a slide show that shows what the model looks like here. It is worth a look.