The Watering Hole: November 5 – Then and Now


The Marshall Plan or the European Recovery Program (ERP) was the large-scale American program to aid Europe in which the United States (US) gave monetary support to help rebuild European economies after the end of WWII in order to combat the spread of Soviet communism.

The monies involved were $13 million in US aid (5% of US GDP, a drop in the bucket!) on top of $12 billion in American aid already spent in Europe up to that time.. The monies provided were eventually returned to the United States. In addition, Germany also repaid 16 billion marks of debts from the 1920s which had defaulted in the 1930s, but which Germany decided to repay to restore its reputation.

Former enemies as well as allies were recipients of this aid.

At that time, the US economy was, by far, the most powerful in the world.

During the Eisenhower(R?) administration the Interstate Highway System began as a military asset, but made it was available to every American.

This describes post-war America through the 1950s.

The United States put men on the moon in July 1969. The rescue of the crew in the Apollo 13 mission riveted the world in 1971. The rapid response to a potentially fatal outcome was diverted by United States’ can-do attitude and technological prowess.

The Space Shuttle was first launched in 1981, a heavy lift vehicle that has never been matched. It served for 30 years. It was used to assemble the International Space Station as well as deploy and repair the Hubble Space Telescope.

The collapse of the USSR between January 19, 1990 and December 31, 1991 left the United States as the sole major power on earth.


From then on, the United States has rested on its laurels. Tax revenues from corporations and the rich have been pared to the bone. The Iraqi invasion and occupation has depleted the national treasury simply because there were no “matching funds”. The nation was trying to drive a Lamborghini on a burger flipper’s salary. The solution was to slash entitlement and infrastructure programs which had served the nation very well since the mid 1930s.

Now China has been asked for assistance by European for assistance in support of the economic collapse resulting from weak economies in Greece, Italy and Spain. The US is in a position where it cannot help – the dollar is weak and US manufacturing is struggling at best! And China rebuffed the request until Europe gets its house in order.

Just this week, mainland China demonstrated a first step towards development of its own space station which when completed be truly international – available to all nations (There are nations denied access to the “International” Space Station.).

China is starting the development of naval airpower and stealth aircraft.

China is in the process of becoming a world power in solar energy conversion using either steam or silicon.

This is our Open Thread. Now how did we get into this fine kettle of fish?

97 thoughts on “The Watering Hole: November 5 – Then and Now

  1. Then: when we went anywhere by train, there were employees sitting in their cubicles selling us tickets to whereever we would go. Giving information and instruction and find someone to load your bicycle into the train, if need be.

    These people were fully employed, paid taxes, into unemployment insurance, into our health care system, social security. They had a job which gave their lives meaning and them the means to live.

    Today: when I go some of the remaining destinations by train there is a ticket machine in the hall of the small station. I load my bike into the special compartment and more often than not, there’s not even someone who collects my ticket. And I pay sevenfold for the privilege.

    The German train service was public service then, it is a profit center on the verge of privatisation now. The boss used to be a public servant in the topmost salary bracket. He would be making by todays standards some 150’000 EUR. Today the boss is in fact making 2.9million/ year.

    Now, lately, passengers were complaining about the lack of service and, btw, security. So this is what happened: Some of the millions of unemployed we’re picked to take part in a project. Loading bicycles onto trains, generally helping with the luggage. To get them off their lazy behinds, you know. They still get unemployement payments and a whopping 1EUR per hour, which is in turn partially deducted from their unemployment payment. They get, of course, the benefit of learning to cope in a work environment again and go about their daily lives in a more orderly fashion, on top of the 1EUR.

    These people are not employed, don’t pay income tax, nor into unemployment insurance, nor into our health care system, nor social security. They have no job which gives their lives meaning and them the means to live. They are told they are worth less than 1 EUR per hour.

    Mind the train system is not privatised yet, but has been set up like a private company. So what did it bring? Some 100’000 jobs lost, no service to speak of and a huge reduction in available destinations. But, boy, was this a windfall for the boss.

    One nice little effect, this decline of the train service is indirect subsidising the car makers, because, if you can’t get somewhere by train, you need to have a car.

    Then and Now.

  2. As teapartiers pour into Daytona for their convention, the faint strains of a banjo being plucked in the background can be heard.

  3. “how did we get into this fine kettle of fish?”

    Within the question, the answer lies. Some 2 thousand years ago, the age of Aries passed and the age of Pisces began – the age of the Fish. The harbinger of this Age was its most influential spokesperson, now referred to as Jesus Christ. (recall the “miracles” of the few fish and loaves feeding the crowds; that his first disciples were fishermen, that he told them where to cast their nets, and they were then filled to bursting with fish)

    Now, the followers of Christ have worked the halls of power to gain power and influence over the world. Their mission is to destroy governmental social safety nets, to force the masses to turn to their Church for all their needs, thus gaining power over the masses.

    But we are entering the Age of Aquarius, the age of the Water Bearer. A new shift in the collective consciousness has begun. Just as Christianity was resisted with deadly force, so too will this shift be resisted.

    But, when we no longer fear death, no longer fear the extinction of our species, and embrace the evolution of our beings, we will no longer need to concentrate wealth and power into the hands of the few. The days of the Ruling Class are numbered, but they will use every means at their disposal to maintain in power for as long as possible.

    • Talk about robbing the cradle.
      Rest assured that China and other emerging world powers do not have this problem.
      Chinese children are learning english by the time they enter the first grade.
      They also do not have the problem of religious assholes dictating their science program either.
      Other countries understand that they need educated people to compete in the world economy.

    • Well then, isn’t that special. The cell door will close with their asses on the inside! Not to worry – being most christian princess and prince god will no doubt keep them safe.

  4. Super sunny and sweet here? What about everywhere else? Anybody see any cool wildlife lately? Raptor migration is still happening and there is lots on the coasts

    • Bald eagles are returning.
      Surf is full of weed and unfishable.
      Teapartiers are here for a convention.

      I can’t eat Bald Eagle and I won’t go near the tea tards so I’m out of luck

      • It may be a dork thing but you might consider looking at the diferent types of seaweeds that wash ashore and documenting them. It is cool just to know your local flora but more importantly there is evidences that marine macroalgae distribution is begining to shift and a historic data base would be useful

        • In my location it’s sargassum, rafts upon rafts of it.
          An offshore usually brings some but not like this
          Sargassum is a nursery for just about everything in the ocean and sea turtles live in and around the sargassum during their first few months.
          The fish and wildlife have been performing patrols and rescuing the hatchlings from the wads of weed stacking up on the beach.
          The fresh weed sure makes the ghost crabs happy.

      • They are as impressive as the Whites who have been giving us magnificent sky displays (until yesterday when the rains came).
        75 – 100 at a time in synchronicity — at times their flying formation is like watching B-52s sweeping across the sky!

    • I saw a coyote running down the middle of the street Thursday morning before dawn. And two quail were foraging for ants in my back yard yesterday.

      This the time of year that the javelinas come into the neighborhoods looking for pumpkins leftover from Halloween, but I haven’t seen any yet.

      Other than that, it’s just the wild cottontails that come into my yard for a tastey bit of grass.

  5. Awk-ward

    “While her husband votes Republican, Gloria Cain has voted in Democratic primaries and runoffs numerous times since 2000 — including the 2008 presidential primary that Barack Obama won with 66 percent of the vote, according to local voting records.”

    • That would be an awkward conflict of interest. To depend on the largess of a corrupt cult for your existence, and yet believe what Democrats believe in.

      Ah well, most women, who are charged with caring for others and settling disputes between siblings in as fair a way as possible, tend to gravitate towards the Democratic party. I don’t understand women who vote Republican.

  6. Clearly the Republicans in the Senate want Obama to be a one-termer, and to that end they have done everything in their power to stifle anything and everything Obama has proposed or tried, including his recent effort to get a jobs bill passed. More jobs would be bad news for Republicans, so they stick to their hollow rhetoric that they are the job creators and that Obama’s programs would not create jobs but would end up costing jobs (via proposed tax hikes on “job creators” among other things). So now, the Dems are pushing individual facets of Obama’s job package in the Senate, and the GOoPers have so far stymied each one of them, always based on their underlying premise that the proposals would not create jobs but would stifle job creation.

    Brings to mind a question: IF their goal is to unseat Obama in 2012 (and we all know that’s their only goal, item one on their wish list), then wouldn’t it just make all sorts of sense to let Obama have his way with his job creating program(s), continue to “destroy” the US economy with socialistic stimulus nonsense, and thereby make his defeat in 2012 all the simpler? I mean, hey, if his proposal are so silly and so anti-job creation, why not help pass them and thereby PROVE it?

  7. Peeps; Black-necked Stilts; Peregrines; White-tailed Kites; American Kestrel – menacing a juvenile Golden Eagle.
    Black-crowned Sparrows.

    End of last week: the dance of the Dragonflies as they migrated through the local NWR (mostly Blue Dashers).

    Coastal: Monarch butterflies out in droves – they were taking advantage of the cloudless, warm day!
    The Humpback Whales decided to take Sunday afternoon off: we walked for miles without seeing one. They had and have been plentiful migrating through the Pacific – close to shore (close than a mile).

    Back to the Bay Lands: I’ve yet to see the Yellow-billed Loon – it’d been hanging out for about two weeks but my timing was off. In today’s report:

    The loon was floating motionlessly along the shore of the strip. A
    Great Egret and some Am White Pelicans did not make it move. The white neck
    band and spots were visible but the head was not. Perhaps it’s just pining
    for the fjords. Don’t ask.

    I’ll be on the look out for The Red-throated Pipit that’s been hanging with some Americans.

    • I can’t see how anyone could object to the fact that if I believe that, that I pray for them to have salvation,” Williams told the Louisville Courier-Journal. “I don’t see how that could offend anyone.

      Arrogant s.o.b.

  8. I finally ID’d that tiny little bird of prey that has been perching nearby.
    It’s an American Kestrel.
    Very cool.
    I couldn’t imagine a bird if prey being so tiny.

      • Kestrels are feisty. Single or pair will let a juvenile Golden Eagles or Peregrines flying where it doesn’t want them or sitting in a power tower the Kestrel has deemed their territory.
        Dive bombing; wing nipping .
        Oh, they’ll go after a White-tailed Kite if it’s hover hunting in a spot the Kestrel has just declared its territory.
        Feisty little buggers! Beautiful but take no guff!

    • Until I started reading these, I didn’t not realize that Liberals are all homosexuals who dream only of anal sex with a Black man, specifically a Black man named Obama. I’m still trying to determine whether wingnuts are simply obsessed with homoerotica or if the letters at Daily Kos are self-selecting for wingnuts obsessed with homoerotica.

      All these years I thought I was obsessed with vaginas. Who knew?

    • The one that tickled me was by Ty, a “highschool student in AP government” who wanted to use his “conservative values” as basis to explain what the “war on women” is really not about. His thesis is a simple one (as expected). It reads:

      If you, ladies, are willing to engage in sex, then you, ladies, have a responsibility to care for a child if one is born.

      He goes downhill from there, greasing his skids with this ‘thought’ on the way down:

      . . . most of democrats are against the death penalty right? So, let’s see, you’re perfectly fine with LETTING CRIMANALS LIVE but a child who is INNOCENT you are fine with killing.

      After noting “that sperm come from males”, he hammers home his point:

      If you don’t want to take a chance of getting pregnant, then dont have sex, especially unprotected. Like i said before there are plenty of preventative measures. This is not a war against woman, not at all. Stop mudslinging, this is exactly why the country is like it is.

      I can’t even come up with a comment other than a quick two worder: scary scary.

  9. So I’ve been having fun with my PC. Earlier this week (on a sick day) I picked up some malware that kept displaying a myriad of warnings about all the drive failures and other crap that had to be FIXED right now. Fixed, of course, by giving them my credit card information and “buying” their solution. This one was particularly heinous because it also hid most of my desktop icons and pretty much everything on my c:\ drive. It also blocked the XP system restore. Somehow I was allowed to download a Malware blocking program (which I subsequently bought) that took a very long time to run a cleaning operation and didn’t completely succeed. I sent an email to tech support and received a response in less than 30 minutes!

    Two other programs to download and run, which create log files to send my Helper. Today I downloaded and ran ComboFix, which took two hours or more. And subsequently discovered a virus that redirected me from any search result links to a website with all sorts of crap to “buy.” Downloaded and ran yet another program (this one quite fast) and that appears to have solved that problem.

    And the computer is running faster. Almost as fast as the response time on tech support — same guy on Tuesday and Wednesday and today. Lovely way to spend the day, especially since it’s cold and wet outside. Even Ralph doesn’t seem to mind staying in except for certain necessary functions.

    • Heh! I just picked up a new computer that has Windows 7 installed. It’s the first time I’ve used Windows of any description in years. I fired up IE just long enough to download Firefox and then ran Firefox just long enough to download the latest version of PC Linux OS which installed in less than an hour. I have been toying with the idea of playing around with the Windows and maybe picking up a joystick for a flight simulator but, when I read tales of malware, I figure that I can live without the hassle. I have really learned to enjoy using an operating system that no one bothers trying to attack and can be replaced in an hour or so on the rare occasion that a software update creates a problem with the hardware.

    • Every day that MSNBC fails to terminate his employment makes me dislike them a little more. The guy should not be welcomed and tolerated in any company more liberal than a Klan rally. The fact that he is treated as an honored elder statesman is just disgusting.

      • I agree, pete.

        Racists like Buchanan should not be tolerated on any level. They have the right to think anything they want to think, but they do not have to be allowed a highly paid platform from which to spew their hatred.

        • I am a huge supporter of the First Amendment, and I am also a huge supporter of not letting racists like Pat Buchanan have a forum on national cable television to spew their racism. There is no contradiction in that. By supporting the First Amendment, I am supporting Buchanan’s right to say these things as a private citizen without interference from the government. But NBC/MSNBC is not the government, and I support their right to refuse to let people like Uncle Pat speak over their channels.

          What we have to do is let the networks know that if we ever see Pat Buchanan on the air, we will change the channel and watch someone else until he goes away. And who knows? We might like what we’re watching so much that we forget to go back to MSNBC. And that’s the risk they’ll have to take every time they let Uncle Pat on the airwaves.

      • Some of the cops are psychotic.

        For the longest time during the march – police kept their distance and it was, for the greater part, peaceful.

        They have a tendency to over – react on some things and ‘ignore’ others. Vandalism was perpetrated my a small group of
        anarchist – yet the police kept their distance…

    • What is more goading then the actual beating with a baton is that the person on the short end of the stick, veteran or not, was denied medical treatment after obviously displaying serious injuries. That is barbaric.

      The beating could be dismissed as emotions of the moment (Not saying that law enforcement officers should leave their emotions at check once they are enforcing the law.)

      This brings to mind the events that occurred in Tiananmen Square more then anything else.

  10. ahh, the Clown Fest is over. I thought it started at 6p (PDT) seems it started at 5p.
    Over at 6.30p.
    I pulled up C-SPAN just in time to see the two bozos smiling at each other and shaking hands.

  11. I realize it’s too early for Christmas – these students put in great effort for a wonderful outcome (the feeling of accomplishment glows on their faces)

    from last year:

    Hallelujah Chorus -Kuinerrarmiut Elitnaurviat 5th Grade – Quinhagak, Alaska

      • Ladies and gentlemen we have winner – stop calling in – we have a winner!

        (I neither watched nor listened. Going to look for a transcript)

        • Via TPM

          Though in truth, it did not bear any resemblance to the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858 — either in terms of format, or in terms of any major disagreement on the big issues of the day.

          Here’s Palin “Herb”

          “The nit-pickingness of the media,” Cain said, explaining that he had known “I would have to work hard, I knew I would have to study hard,” but that he was not fully prepared for the media onslaught — especially as it occurs when a candidate rises in the polls.

  12. Well, it was a game that lived up to the hype, even though Alabama didn’t win. LSU won with a field goal in overtime 9-6. Now the season comes down to the LSU – Arkansas game. If LSU wins, there’s no controversy. If Arkansas wins, then we have a case where three teams could have one conference loss, and Arkansas has beaten LSU, who has beaten Alabama, who has beaten Arkansas…Who plays in the SEC Championship then? 😀

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