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Saturday, February 20, 2010

What Americans Want, DIY WindPower, Commentary

The Poor Man’s Bulletin
Your choice for usable information

It has been my experience that folks
Who have no vices have very few virtues.

--Abraham Lincoln

This Issue
· What Americans Want
· Build your own Wind Power
· State of the states & political news roundup
· $10 a gallon fuel prices?

There should be little doubt by now that our world faces a fossil fuel crunch (see story below) and higher fuel prices mean higher prices for everything. Since the Arab Oil Embargo of the 1970s one would think our ‘leaders’ would have pushed for energy independence…not so!

Wind power, for instance, is emerging as a centerpiece for the new economy. It’s abundant, low cost and widely available. Yet, I see many communities fight against wind turbine farms (it don’t look pretty).

Below you will find additional resources for creating an off-the-grid community.

Free – 3-Part video series on building your own Wind Power Generator

Find state and local incentives for installing solar & installers

American Solar Energy Society – Learn about the new technologies available

Learn about the new thin-film laminate products for your home

Turn your roof into a solar hot water system

Suggested Reading:

Feeding the Fire: the lost history & Uncertain Future of Mankind’s Energy Addiction
By Mark Eberhart Harmony Books 2007

Uses for Sour & Regular Milk

We don’t drink much milk in our household and inevitably, it goes sour before it is used up. I freeze the left over milk and use it in many ways including adding it to pancake batter and other baking recipes. Once cooked, you can’t tell the difference. Here are several ways to use milk.

· Make frozen fish taste like it was freshly caught. Place the fish in a bath of milk until it thaws.
· Polish silverware in sour milk. Soak the silver in milk for 30-minutes to loosen the tarnish, wash in warm soapy water and buff.
· Soothe sunburn and insect bites by making a milk paste for relief. Mix one part powdered milk with two parts and water, add a pinch of salt and dab it on the bite or burn. Enzymes will neutralize the bite.
· Clean patent leather by dabbing on a little milk. Let dry and then buff
· Use leftover milk containers to make ice blocks – leave room at the top for expansion.

I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government
And report the facts. –Will Rogers


Note: I seldom include recipes, but these sound pretty good & I do enjoy cooking!

Eat Well, Spend Less

From Natural Home, by Deborah Huso

Trimming your grocery bills doesn’t have to mean giving up healthful eating. “It’s a myth that healthy food cannot be cooked on a budget,” said Ross Dobson, author of Casual Entertaining (Ryland Peters and Small, 2009). “Try your local farmer’s market. Locally grown organic produce will not be as expensive as you think.”

The hardest part of eating well on a budget is planning, said American Dietetic Association spokesperson Marisa Moore. She suggests several key strategies: Shop for produce in season when it’s cheapest; buy less expensive, organic grocery-store brand staples such as cereals and rice; and make extra of freezable meals such as soup or casseroles so you use them later.

Stock nutritious, economical standbys including rice and pasta, frozen vegetables, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, and dried herbs and spices, said Anne Sheasby, author of Mediterranean: The Low-Fat No-Fat Cookbook (Southwater, 2009).

Canned or dried beans are a nutritious, low-cost staple. Beans cost only about 50 cents (or less) per half-cup serving, and they’re loaded with fiber and potassium, said Jessie Price, deputy food editor for Eating Well magazine. Eggs are another highly nutritious option. “A large egg costs 23 cents,” Price said, “and they have lots of protein as well as lutein for eye health.” Other low-cost items that pack a strong nutritional punch include bananas, potatoes, yogurt and even lean ground beef. Adding a whole grain such as bulgur reduces calories, fat and expense while increasing fiber.

“When it comes to fresh food like meat, dairy and vegetables, buy in relatively small quantities on a weekly basis and bolster your meals with cheaper staples,” Dobson said. Stick to easy-to-prepare, budget-friendly basics such as pasta and rice and enhance them by adding flavorful, health-enhancing ingredients such as in-season produce, herbs and roasted root vegetables.

The biggest way to save money is to make sure you use all the food you buy. Prepare as much as possible in advance so you don’t waste food that spoils before you turn it into meals. Cut up fruits and vegetables the day you purchase them so they’re ready to eat or cook with. Most importantly, Moore says, stick to your grocery list. Don’t engage in impulse buys, especially if they’re not good for you.

Quick Roast Chicken and Root Vegetables
Serves 4

1 pound turnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 pound baby potatoes, quartered
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram
(or 1 teaspoon dried)
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground
pepper, divided
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 (12 ounces each) bone-in chicken breasts, halved crosswise
1 large shallot, chopped
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons red- or white-wine vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
2. Toss turnips, potatoes, 1 tablespoon oil, marjoram, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together in a medium bowl. Spread in an even layer on a large baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, place flour in a shallow dish. Transfer 2 teaspoons flour to a bowl and whisk in broth; set aside. Season chicken with remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour, shaking off excess.
4. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken, skin-side up, and cook until well browned on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
5. After vegetables have roasted for 15
minutes, stir and place one piece of chicken, skin-side down, in each corner of the baking sheet. Return to oven and roast about 20 minutes more.
6. When chicken and vegetables have about 10 minutes left, return skillet to medium heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Whisk reserved broth mixture again, add to pan and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by about half, about 8 minutes. Stir in mustard and vinegar. Serve chicken and vegetables with sauce.

Roasted Bell Pepper and Walnut Dip
Serves 6 to 8

To make dip

3 large red bell peppers
1 slice day-old sourdough bread, cut into small pieces
2/3 cup walnut halves, coarsely chopped
½ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon sun-dried tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons olive oil

To season, garnish and serve
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil to drizzle
Chopped pistachios
Toasted flatbread, roughly torn

1. Cook bell peppers one at a time by skewering on a fork and holding directly over a gas flame for 10 to 15 minutes, or until skin is blackened all over. Alternatively, put them on a baking sheet and roast in an oven preheated to 425 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to bowl and cover with kitchen towel until cool enough to handle.
2. Remove skin and seeds from peppers, and tear flesh into pieces. (Don’t rinse, as this will remove the smoky flavor.)
3. Put pepper flesh and all other dip ingredients in a food processor and process to a coarse paste. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and transfer to a bowl. Cover and chill for at least 8 hours.
4. To serve, bring dip to room temperature and transfer to a shallow bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with chopped pistachios. Serve with torn toasted flatbreads. The dip will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for 4 to 5 days.

Excerpted from Natural Home, a national magazine that provides practical ideas, inspiring examples and expert opinions about healthy, ecologically sound, beautiful homes. To read more articles from Natural Home, please visit or call 800-340-5846 to subscribe. Copyright 2009 by Ogden Publications Inc.

The government of the United States is not,
In any sense, founded on the Christian Religion.
--George Washington

US debt will keep growing even with recovery…Congress is killing our country.

WASHINGTON – It’s bad enough that Greece’s debt problems have rattled global financial markets. In the world’s largest economic and military power, there’s a far more serious debt dilemma.

For the U.S., the crushing weight of its debt threatens to overwhelm everything the federal government does, even in the short-term, best-case financial scenario — a full recovery and a return to prerecession employment levels.

The government already has made so many promises to so many expanding “mandatory” programs. Just keeping these commitments, without major changes in taxing and spending, will lead to deficits that cannot be sustained.

The U.S. debt crisis also raises the question of how long the world’s leading power can remain its largest borrower…

New Poll Shows what Americans want.
The Peterson foundation commissioned a rigorous national poll by Hart Research Associates and Public Opinion Strategies in late March 2009. We wanted to see whether the recent hard times had made people more likely to accept reforms. And the answer was yes.

Above all, Americans told us that they want to get the economy back on track. But their second priority for the Obama administration was somewhat surprising. They wanted the president and the Congress to address our escalating deficits and debt levels. A cynic might suggest that it’s easy to endorse fiscal responsibility – as long as the money to pay for it doesn’t come out of your own pocket. Bill Clinton succeeded with the help of a strong economy; in the 1990s, we didn’t feel that the government was picking our pockets. In the 2010s, our weak economy could work for Obama: We have seen what irresponsible spending can lead to, and it’s scary.

Cracks are continuing to appear in our government’s financial foundation. In the fall of 2009, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which insures our bank deposits, revealed that it faced serious cash-flow challenges. So did the Transportation Department’s Highway Trust Fund. And the Social Security Administration disclosed that the retirement and survivors insurance program was expected to pay out more than it took in during 2010-11.



Secession: A Solution to the Washington Debt Threat

Frédéric Bastiat must have been looking toward the future of the United States today when he said, “When plunder has become a way of life for a group of people living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it, and a moral code that glorifies it.”

I fear the federal government will plunder much of our private wealth, retirement plans and personal savings through hyperinflation, financial controls and confiscatory tax rates all in the name of protecting the public from a future debt crisis unless the states can secede from the Union and the crushing Washington debt load. Get the rest of the story:

News Flash
In an interview on MSNBC this morning, newly retiring Sen. Evan Bayh declared the American political system "dysfunctional," riddled with "brain-dead partisanship" and permanent campaigning. Flatly denying any possibility that he'd seek the presidency or any other higher office, Bayh argued that the American people needed to deliver a "shock" to Congress by voting incumbents out in mass and replacing them with people interested in reforming the process and governing for the good of the people, rather than deep-pocketed special-interest groups. (NOTE: we placed an entire section on our site devoted to this idea…get rid of these self serving politicians)!

Little Brother is as bad as Big Brother…
According to the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), state spending grew from $945.3 billion in 2000 to more than $1.5 trillion 2008, almost a 58.7 percent increased during what can be termed the boom years, where revenues were generally rising. Despite the economic downturn in 2007, spending still grew by about $100 billion in 2008.

In fact, in the past 3 years, the states' troubles have only increased due to declining revenue and an unwillingness to make necessary cuts. According to, state budget shortfalls totaled $113.2 billion for FY 2009, and then rose to $142.6 billion in FY 2010. With the number now alarmingly rising to $180 billion for FY 2011, it is time for the federal government to send a message to states: it is time to cut state operations back to levels justified by revenue.

Now it’s time for Americans to waste tons of hours on income taxes
There's a better way. Steve Forbes based two unsuccessful Presidential campaigns in 1996 and 2000 on the concept of a single-rate flat tax with few deductions, while Rep. John Linder of Georgia has spent the past decade introducing a consumption-based solution dubbed the FairTax to each new session of Congress.

While both methods are long on merits and could easily be adjusted to rates assuring sufficient funds for necessary government programs, there's one element missing from these alternatives which prevents them from getting traction inside the Beltway or in any state capital.

America's complex tax code allows Washington to control behavior through reward or punishment. In his recent State of the Union address, President Obama noted, "We cut taxes. We cut taxes for 95 percent of working families…We cut taxes for first-time homebuyers. We cut taxes for parents trying to care for their children. We cut taxes for 8 million Americans paying for college."

Few would argue our income tax plan is insanity at its best and despite Congress being told it is illegal according to our Constitution (by the Supreme Court in the 1890s) these pirates forced an amendment on us while foisting the Federal Reserve scheme on the American public…go figure as to why we’re now in trouble?!


The Saudi Oil Cupboard is nearly bare…maybe half of what they claim!
The U.S. and China both have a growing problem with the price of oil and with the unstable countries they have to buy it from. Meanwhile, the U.S. and China both have HUGE reserves of coal.

Add in Australia and Canada and you've got four countries that you could call the OPEC of coal. They own just about all the coal there is.
For thousands of years coal was used sparingly. It was used in ancient China to smelt bronze and the Romans used it for heating. In the 1300s, the Hopi Indians used it for cooking, heating, and to fire pottery.

Coal use has fallen out of favor due to ‘acid rain’ but current technology eliminates that problem (and others).

The U.S. alone has 254 billion tons of proven coal reserves, or about 25% of the world total. Compare that to Saudi Arabia, with 24% of the world's oil (if you believe it). Coal could be the next primary source of fossil fuel in this country…if we fail to exploit this resource, we could be headed for $150 a barrel oil prices…this would mean $10 a gallon pump prices. Not a good thing for the economy or us poor folk!

Our massive coal reserves might prove a good thing as the rumor mill has it that China will no longer purchase dollar denominated stocks EXCEPT those guaranteed by our government…

The US Needs to Create an Energy-Industrial Complex
I know many environmentalists dislike the use of nuclear power plants. However, I see that France has done well with them. I also know our Navy has 80+ ship-based nuclear reactors and 5,400 reactor years of accident-free experience. Our military/government/corporate complex has a tendency to look at everything with short-term eyes…what we need is to apply the same thinking we had during the cold war (as in we spent a lot of money in research to deter communism) to our national energy problem!

The right to be left alone is indeed
The beginning of all freedom. –Justice William Douglas

That’s it for this week.
Feel free to share this with your friends.

Yours for better living,
Bruce “The Poor Man”

Res ipsa loquitur (The Facts Speak for Themselves).

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