With the 50th anniversary of the assassination of JFK less than two weeks away, it occurs to me that the next seven or so years are going to be filled with significant 50th anniversaries. Significant to my age bracket anyway – if you were born in the 80’s or 90’s or later (and why aren’t you doing your homework instead of reading this?) all these anniversaries have as much importance as poking yourself in the eye with a sharp stick.
Just imagine…. The 50th anniversary celebrations for The Beatles alone is a marketing wet dream:
First Ed Sullivan Show
First Gold Record
First US concert
Release of Sgt Pepper
Hard Day’s Night
and on and on and on. Not to mention The Stones, the entire British invasion…
We’re going to relive the 60’s through a consumerist eye: more political assassinations (Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X), Woodstock, The first moon landing. The number 50 will become a constant cultural icon – like Bart Simpson or Donald Trump’s hair. And it will all be linked to car and mattress sales. Just imagine the wealth of Franklin Mint commemorative coins that could be sold. Tie-dye will make an even stronger comeback than it already has (get on it Limey!). Somebody will have to put a TV extravaganza together, celebrating the birth of all those wacky, iconic 60’s shows.
There’s also something oddly disquieting about that fact I’ll turn 60 while we celebrate the 60’s. ::::::shivers::::: Let’s not go there.
Between the Grammy huckstering and all the Pontiff pontification, you may have missed this little item – the US and Mexico have cut a trade deal where the price of imported tomatoes will double, and the case of some speciality tomatoes like cherries, the price will soar higher. The official line is that this will “avert a trade war by halting the re-instigation of anti-dumping investigations.”
Fine. What it means is that Obama’s Commerce Department has yet again stuck it to the middle class with higher food costs at the expense of making a very very important voting block in Florida of wealthy tomato growers very happy. And rich.
To quote (either the New York Times or Wall Street Journal – so this comes from both sides of the spin fence):
The Cato Institute’s Daniel Ikenson estimates that winter tomato prices could rise from 41% to 168%, and summer prices 47% to 176%. Specialty tomatoes, such as grape, cherry or heirloom varieties, will see the biggest increases.
In essence, the US has agreed to let Mexico increase the minimum price they charge for tomatoes, called the “price floor”. I don’t know why it’s called that. I’m sure some accounting MBA thought it up in order to make it sound important. It’s a minimum price.
Another little sideline – Mexico employes about 350,000 workers in the tomato industry. I’m sure a few of those folk will be seeing pink slips now that quantity is no longer the issue.
Here is the solution proposed by one blog commenter from California:
How about we all( Mexican And US growers) stop growing so many tomatoes. Let a market be a real market and we wont have to worry minimums.
And from an article in Forbes:
Not only will consumers pay more for foreign and domestically grown tomatoes at the grocery store and for salads and hamburgers at restaurants, but the new price-floor terms provide a strong indication that the specter of uncertainty associated with antidumping administration provides the necessary leverage to induce foreign producers into pricing schemes indistinguishable from collusion and price-fixing.
Get those tomatoes planted early this year….
Through record company (EMI) incompetence and greed, one of the best albums of the 90’s, Between the 1 & the 9, by Patti Rothberg was mostly overlooked. She’s still plugging away, but she is a prime example of what happens to true talent when deemed “not commercial enough” but the music industry (empty) suits. Morons.
Treat Me Like Dirt
“The United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC) is currently developing a centrifuge plant in Piketon, Ohio as the culmination of an R&D program. Estimated project costs have now increased from $1.7 billion in 2007 to $5 billion in 2012. To date, the company has invested a total of $1.95 billion in the project and expects to invest another $2.8 billion to fully fund project development.”
This plant will be used to enrich uranium to be used at nuclear energy plants.
“In December 2009, Moody’s Investor Service downgraded its ratings for USEC to junk grade status citing “expectations of weak credit metrics over the next several years, increased competition and liquidity risks.” Further, since 2002 USEC has received four consecutive credit downgrades and is now in danger of losing its stock listing in the New York Stock exchange.”
“Currently, USEC is awaiting Congressional approval of up to $150 million in research, development and demonstration funds which were requested in the President’s FY2013 budget and are now being considered in the highway bill, energy and water appropriations bill, and National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).”
and even more stunning….
USEC is in line for a possible $2 BILLION loan, from the Department of Energy’s Loan Guarantee program.
So..a company with deep and long-standing financial troubles is waiting to get “bailed out” with your money. and my money.
I think we need a massive sign hung from the Capitol Dome that flashes in blinding neon green and white letters…”The Money Store”
on a fun note….with the addition of The Who’s I Can See For Miles, I have hit 1500 songs in my iTunes library.
All appearances of subtlety have faded away. No more sneaking up in small steps, no more slight degrees of inflicted pain. All that is gone. Gas prices jumped ten cents overnight. Ten cents. I want some oil company flunkee to show me how their production costs jumped, overnight, to such a degree that a ten-cent increase in the final product is justified. That person will have a tough time convincing me that it’s not based solely on keeping their obscene profit percentage afloat. I understand the whole gas futures thing, and even though I think that is bogus as well, this goes beyond that. I hear them laughing all the way to their chauffeur driven, company subsidized Hummers.
If you have not heard about this, you probably will. It seems a lifeguard in florida was fired after saving a drowning man. The lifeguard was alerted that a man was having trouble in the water outside of the area the lifeguard company – Jeff Ellis and Associates – was liable to protect, so the guard broke “a company policy” to go save the man’s life. Once the man was whisked off to the hospital, the guard filed a report, as they have to do, and was immediately dismissed. The company claims it was a liability issue. So here, once again, we have lawyers and insurance companies dictating, not only company policy, but – literally – who should live and who should die. Thank god the lifeguard used his BRAIN and COMMON SENSE rather than listening to his management morons. A college kid in a minimum wage job acting with more brains and courage than the overpaid idiots he
works worked for…