We owe it all

…to six inches of topsoil and the fact that it rains.

  I have PC software that makes any image into a puzzle, and I enjoy putting them together in idle moments. One photo I’m particularly fond of depicts the ruins of what was once an elaborate castle perched on the side of a mountain in France. Another favorite puzzle is the Western Wall in Jerusalem, with blocks of stone weighing up to 30 tons. It boggles my mind to contemplate the sheer physical effort required to build these structures, the power of men and animals dedicated to such work; the logistics of supplying the workers who quarried the stones, those who transported them, those who put them in place, the men and women patiently cultivating the food that sustained them. And it is with a sense of unease that I contemplate the power wielded by those in command, those who could order the building of castle, temple and Great Wall, of skyscrapers, cities and empires. Continue reading

Plutocracy In Action

The Spectator interviews Michael Lewis on the 2008 financial crisis.
01/23/2016

      The author of The Big Short weighs in:

“Not nearly enough has been done — the regulatory response has been totally inadequate. The big banks have blocked serious reforms, meddling in the process so incentives haven’t changed enough to attack the heart of the problem — which is why it could happen again.”

“We still have the same short-term-oriented compensation, the same big bonuses at year-end…”

“I’ve never gotten over the feeling when I learnt Goldman Sachs had designed securities that would fail, so they could then short them.”

“The 1997 repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act was part of the problem [] but it goes back even before that. The earlier transformation of investment banks into public corporations was a big mistake — with bankers using shareholders’ money to bet, rather than their own.”

“It isn’t just the big campaign contributions. Anyone at the table talking about financial reform is a potential hire and likely to end up working in the financial sector for huge sums, so they get captured.”

More To Life Than Bacon – Stuffed Peppers

Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers

1 large red pepper, 1 large yellow pepper
(Serves 2 – adjust as needed)
  Green peppers less sweet, then yellow, red sweetest. You choose.
3 oz Couscous
1 oz toasted pine nuts
Handful of black olives, roughly chopped.
 Green olives or capers if you prefer
   I detest olives. And capers. I use cocktail onions or diced chorizo.
      If I want to spice it up a bit, I use diced jalepeno 😀
13/4 oz feta cheese
13/4 oz semi-dried tomatoes, snipped
 or handful of cherry tomatoes quartered.
2 tbsp shredded basil.
Continue reading