liveonearth: (pyramid eye)
"If I seem unduly clear to you,
you must have misunderstood
what I said."

--Alan Greenspan,
quoted in Reason.com
liveonearth: (Witch_reads_by_fire)
There is no poverty so great
as that of the prosperous,
no wrechedness so dismal
as affluence.
Wealth is poison.
There is no misery to compare
with that which exists
where technology has been
a total success.

--Thomas Merton, Catholic monk
liveonearth: (Homer Simpson "D'oh!")
You can’t escape that much of what we do in medicine doesn’t make patients better. We work in a system that is driven by perverse incentives: we get paid more for doing more to patients. It’s got to stop.
--Dr Steve Nissen
liveonearth: (moon)
Of course the corporations with an interest in keeping Americans in the dark (and unconcerned) about what is going on spent 3x (or more) on very slick and convincing media to get that result. But we the people are not completely ignorant or apathetic. So we vote with our dollars. I have cut out several items from my regular shopping list, and am finding good alternatives. Being flexible gives us power. Our ability to BOYCOTT companies that resist labeling laws makes it possible for influence the market. Teach your family about this, and you increase your influence.

Quite a few of the manufacturers that oppose labeling GMOs also make items that are labeled “organic”. GMO food ingredients are mostly grains grown by large scale agricultural businesses that use millions of tons of herbicides and pesticides. "Organic" foods are supposed to be free of GMO ingredients. We can reduce our intake of toxic pesticides and herbicides by eating "organic" foods, however if these GMO supporters have brands labeled organic, we need to pick and choose in order to hit them in their pocketbooks the way we want to.

I just knew that "o" organics (at safeway) wasn't a brand I wanted to buy. I am disappointed to stop buying Larabars (I was in on that when it was still a small company). There are a few others that I would sometimes buy, so this list has influenced my grocery expenditures. I hope it does too.

A few brands and products to avoid: • PepsiCo: Naked Juice, Tostito's Organic, Tropicana Organic • Kraft: Boca Burgers and Back to Nature • Safeway:"O" Organics • Coca-Cola: Honest Tea, Odwalla • General Mills: Muir Glen, Cascadian Farm, Larabar (I’ve switched to Kind bars) • Con-Agra: Orville Redenbacher's Organic, Hunt's Organic, Lightlife, Alexia • Kellogg's: Kashi, Bear Naked, Morningstar Farms, Gardenburger • Smuckers: R.W. Knudsen, Santa Cruz Organic • Unilever: Ben & Jerry's • Dean Foods: Horizon, Silk, White Wave.

If you see something in that short list that you buy every time you go to the grocery store, maybe it is time to do a little research and figure out an alternative that suits you.
liveonearth: (elephant on trampoline)
I think everybody
should get rich and famous
and do everything they ever dreamed of
so they can see
that it's not the answer.

--Jim Carrey as quoted in Forbes.com

Mastermind

Dec. 30th, 2013 09:35 am
liveonearth: (moon)
I am participating in a mastermind group.
The purpose is to reprogram our thinking (conscious and subconscious) regarding money.
L defines "paradigm" as a set of habits that is like the elephant you are riding.
Draws the distinction between conscious and unconscious mind.
Linking sense of smell to feelings and deep memories..
"Money can't talk, but it can hear, call it and it will come."
Carry a $100 (or several) in your wallet, not to spend, just to have.
Homework: read chapters 1 and 2
Do the exercises suggested in the chapters
Create a list of expenses for how I'd like to live
Life insurance

It ain't what you don't know
that gets you into trouble.
It's what you know for sure
that just ain't so.
--Mark Twain
liveonearth: (moon)
Today on MoveOn they're soliciting for signatures on a petition to make Walmart pay its workers better. Moveon says it's an outrage that Wallyworld employees have to use public services for healthcare because can't afford better. What isn't mentioned is that they spent what they had on vehicles and fuel, guns, alcohol and cigarettes, mobile phones and flatscreens. And a roof over their head.

Minimum wage is law. No company can hire you over the table for anything less. Walmart can pay minimum wage and if people apply for and accept that job, they have made a deal with that company. If they don't like it, they can quit, get another job. If there isn't another job, they can start their own business, or be useful to a family business or take care of an aging elder. They can run for office, start a protest, try and change the minimum wage. There is no shame in doing these things. The shame is in doing nothing. I just don't know how far from nothing this petition is. Having a grievance is not the same as having a solution.

When the economy contracts, families get closer. The resources that we do have get shared with those we care about. The death rate went down in the Great Depression, perhaps for this reason.

I can't get on board with political efforts to increase "jobs" because what "jobs" means is working for large corporations which will strike the best deal they can get for everything including manpower. It's the game, and winning for the 1% means never having to worry about a job. The worker never wins. The worker is a cog in a machine that cares nothing about him and will replace him the moment he begins to crack. The safety net may ease his passage a bit, but it is easy to get caught in.

To be trapped in the safety net is to lose your self respect, to become depressed, to want to die. This may be why so many white American men commit suicide. Middle-aged white guys commit suicide more than anybody else. Perhaps the veterans are driving that statistic.
liveonearth: (moon)
http://www.ted.com/talks/jon_ronson_strange_answers_to_the_psychopath_test.html

He speaks to the fact that all of us have some characteristics that are present on the diagnostic checklists for mental illness, and that we exist on a continuum. He has written a book with the subtitle "A Journey Through the Madness Industry".
liveonearth: (business dance)
You make a living
by what you earn;
you make a life
by what you give.

--Winston Churchill
liveonearth: (dancing calvin & Hobbes)
Philanthropist (n.) - Someone who spends his own money to advance his version of Utopia.
Socialist (n.) - Someone who spends your money to advance his version of Utopia.

--unknown
liveonearth: (moon)
Twenty eight percent (28%) of US households are now just one person living alone. This is the most ever. These singles are the biggest spenders, contributing 1.9 trillion to "the economy" each year. (According to The Week 2/10/12 which is in turn quoting Fortune magazine)

And another factoid from the same source: the number of US prisoners age 65 and over has increased 63% between 2007 and 2010. I guess we're keeping them put away so long that now they need more medical care, and it's becoming an issue. The total number of prisoners has been flat for that same period.
liveonearth: (Default)
In its “downside scenario,” the fund said that a continued rise in European government borrowing rates and a worsening of problems with the region’s banks would push the world into recession.

“The current environment...provides fertile ground for self-perpetuating pessimism,” the fund wrote.


Their calculations predict the global downward trend in spite of the booming economies of China and India. Want to move there? I don't.

SOURCE
http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/imf-report-global-economy-to-hit-mild-recession/2012/01/24/gIQAWR6SNQ_story.html?wpisrc=al_comboNE_b
liveonearth: (pyramid eye)
On 11/1 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that the Medicare reimbursement for physicians would be cut by 27.4% in 2012---instead of the 29.5% that was previously planned. Doctors that get by on federal payment for seeing older folks are SOL. Older folks are likely to be in a pickle too, as fewer docs will stick with them, given the hoop jumping required to get paid diddley in the first place. As a naturopath I won't qualify for medicare payment in the first place, so I have limited sympathy for those physicians who consider this cut to be akin to a death sentence. The medscape article suggests that nearly 13% of family physician practices may have to close due to the decrease in financial viability. There is another way for us to take care of our elders. We just haven't found it yet.
liveonearth: (critter)
http://www.ted.com/talks/richard_wilkinson.html

This is the latest Ted Talk to cross my viewscreen.  It's Richard Wilkinson, speaking about the differences between societies with wide vs narrow differences between the highest and lowest income groups.  The finding is intuitive, but the specific data that he pulls together, and the way he makes sense of it, is very interesting.  At the end of brings it all together with some science about stress.  According to him, the stressors that cause the greatest increase in cortisol are "social evaluative threats" to one's esteem or status.  In other words, "people are sensitive to being looked down on".  In societies where there is greater equality, there is less stress, hence explaining the increased longevity, health and peace that is seen in those societies.  Of course, the US rates only second to Singapore in his scaling of wealth disparity, with Japan and Sweden at the other end of the scale.  Anyway, it's worth seeing for yourself, if you have the 15 minutes.

liveonearth: (pyramid eye)
OK, so everybody's talking about it. I'm no tax expert, but I hear the liberals saying that it's "ludicrous" and worse. The assertion is that it shifts the tax burden from the rich to the poor and middle class. While this might be true if all you consider is the rate that we are SUPPOSED to pay, I have my doubts about its ultimate truth. The reason for my doubts: the more people make, the more they invest in ways of avoiding taxation. Loopholes. Shelters. Dodges of every kind. Since I'm planning on starting up a new business soon, I've been studying up on such things. There are lots of ways that business can take advantage of the tax structure to pay far less than the rate that is supposedly being paid. The upside of the flat tax idea: simplicity makes it much harder to hide all the places where you get away with not paying. Exemptions. Expense accounts. Fancy accounting. The appeal of simplicity is that perhaps, just maybe, the result might be the opposite of what the liberal media is spewing right now. The proof is yet to come on either side. Certainly the system we have now is messy.

Anybody out there have something more than talking points to spew about this?

QotD: Hope

Sep. 19th, 2011 09:22 am
liveonearth: (DaVinci Man)
He who has health,
has hope;
he who has hope,
has everything.

--Thomas Carlysle

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