Thursday, December 3, 2009

SAR #9338

Will the poor Americans ever challenge globalization's assumptions?

Time and Place: Overnight, North Korea revalues currency, 100 to 1, destroying personal savings and throwing panic into the citizenry. This is not the first time such a devaluation has happened, and it is not the last place it will happen.

I See You! In the last year, eight million Sprint customers were tracked by Big Brother via the GPS tracking ability built into Sprint phones.

Chickens Coming Home to Roost: Jobs losses continue and barring miracles or severe social unrest, the future looks grim. Unemployment will above 10% - and that may become the “new normal.” Layoffs are coming to an end, but hiring won't resume until the consumer is back in the stores, buying and running up credit debt – and that's not in sight yet either. Unemployment benefit costs are making giant holes in state budgets - 19 states are borrowing billions from the federal government, while 9 more are deep in the red. Most Americans don't want a WPA-type program, they want protection from unfair labor competition. Why are there no protections against “dumping” labor as there are for such things as dumping tires? Why doesn't fair trade include protections for US workers in the form of tariffs equal to the stolen wages in a product?

Garage Sale: Fannie and Freddie are planning a garage sale to get rid of about $250 billion in non-performing mortgages. Prices as marked, make an offer.

DOA: The FHA wants to require higher down payments, charge more for its mortgage insurance, limit seller 'concessions', and raise credit score requirements. In that each of these will whittle away at house sales, these proposals have a lot in common with snowballs in front of the fireplace.

Strong Minds/Strong Bodies: A study of over a million Swedish men shows that those with good physical fitness (not strength, fitness) had higher IQ scores than the unfit. Further research showed that environmental factors and not genes explained the link between IQ and fitness.

Buck Up: It is human nature to hope for the best and shut out uncomfortable truths, such as that the world is heading for several disasters at once. We may know what's in store for us, but we won't believe it.

Hollow Pledge: Mexico has pledged to reduce its CO2 emissions 50% by 2050. This would be more laudable if it were not probable that its CO2 emissions will drop abruptly when it ceases to be an oil exporter in a couple of years and its economy comes apart.

Up in Smoke: A trillion dollars in commercial real estate value has disappeared since 2007. Just as houses slipped underwater, so too commercial real estate. What's an empty mall going for these days?

Plastics: US credit-card delinquencies rose again in October, and Fitch Ratings expects charge-off rates to continue rising “a result of the persistent weakness in the labor markets.”

Porn O'Graph: When's the rent come due?


mistah charley, ph.d. said...

1)A. On the "sound mind in a sound body" issue, as the article you linked to stated, cardiovascular fitness has been definitively shown to be linked to better cognitive functioning in older people, not just the young. The brain is a part of the physical body, and so physical exercise and nutrition are important to it - but since networks of brain cells are the substrate of our emotional and intellectual functioning, other kinds of "nutrition and exercise" are relevant as well. Norman Doidge's book The Brain That Changes Itself is relevant here.

B. Your retina is composed of nerve cells which are a very important input to your brain. In the past few weeks my spouse's sister has been diagnosed with macular degeneration. We had known for a while that her mother had this, but the news about her sister means the cold breath of the prospect of visual deterioration is now breathing directly on missus charley's neck. In reading up on the etiology I found that that cardiovascular fitness and one's weight-in-relation-to-height are some of the potentially modifiable risk factors. Also: protect your eyes from ultraviolet and blue light; get particular eye-necessary nutrients; avoid high glycemic-index foods.

2)Re climate change head-in-the-sandism as a form of Ernest Becker's "denial of death" - perhaps the most egregious example is Rush Limbaugh, who says he doesn't believe in global warming because he believes in God.

May the Creative Forces of the Universe have mercy on his soul, if any.

CKMichaelson said...

As a sighted survivor of 5 eye surgeries including a 90% detached retina, I most emphatically endorse mista charley's eye care concerns. Too late is too late,

Anonymous said...

RE: Up in Smoke:

I don't know about malls but, in Detroit an empty football arena goes for about 500K


Anonymous said...

RE: Up in Smoke:

I don't know about malls but, in Detroit an empty football arena goes for about 500K


Anonymous said...

I See You!

Yes, indeed, Idiot Gumshoe, I do see you watching me!

Inquiring minds might ask:

1. Who would deal with SPRINT (or any other telecom) if your whereabouts can be tracked?
2. How many cops and others have access to this "service"? How restricted is its use? ("Hey, Joey, look up that bitch, my ex-wife....")
3. How much of the Crash is due to the fact that even the Finance Perps know they are bugged and cannot do "deals" by phone any more? ("Lloyd, I will meet you in the Secure Room.") As the US Economy becomes more and more criminalized, economic activity is restricted by surveillance.
4. Would even the Dumbest of Criminals use a SPRINT Phone? Thus, the whole purpose of the "service" is defeated.

mistah charley, ph.d. said...

1. I haven't been paying close attention to the surveillance society, in which phones with GPS and video cameras in every public place are bringing into existence the phrase from1984 "Big Brother is Watching You" (see also Panopticon). But yesterday's news had a taste of this - a U.S. Senator's daughter was carjacked. The police used OnStar to locate the car very quickly and apprehend the carjackers. I'm glad they got them. On the other hand, I'm less happy about the implication: if you are in a vehicle with OnStar, the authorities can locate you at their convenience. If you have reason to want to be secure in your person and effects, not only should you avoid [some?] cell phones, but also many automobiles.

2. Thanks, CKMichaelson, for your emphatic endorsement of my eye care concerns. I'd like to be more clear about the brain care issue. I am proud of my poetry[] but sometimes prose is more appropriate. Rather than "nutrition and exercise" in quotes, let me spell it out just a bit further.

In addition to those factors that promote cardiovascular fitness throughout the entire body, which are good for the brain because the brain is part of the body, the brain needs:

a)Its own kind of exercise, of the intellectual and emotional sort - because "use it or lose it" is true of nerve cells and networks as well as muscles and bones. Use "neuroplasticity" as a search word for more discussion of this.

b)"Nutrition" of the emotional sort includes affection - friendship - we could even use a four-letter word here - both receiving and giving it.

c)Another kind of metaphorical nutrition is the cognitive structures we develop that we use to understand the world - both those that we receive in their explicitly elaborated form from those who surround us, and those that we figure out (sometimes, alas, in a warped way) on the basis of our own lived experiences.

See my comment at December 1, 2009 05:43 PM at

So, to sum it up briefly and alliteratively, for a healthy brain/mind we need healthy food and frolicking, friendship, and philosophy.