Poor Man’s Recession Bulletin
Your Choice for Usable Information
"To err is human, but it takes a politician to really screw things up." -- Old American Adage
In This Issue:
· Get growing early
· More uses for baking soda
· Bulldozing Detroit?
· Why are Americans angry?
· Nat’l Worker ID program making progress
It was, perhaps, because of his own understanding of natural law that Thomas Jefferson was heard to remark, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”
1957-The Good Old Days
Comments from yesteryear…
"I'll tell you one thing, if things keep going the way they are, its going to be impossible to buy a weeks groceries for $20.00."
(2) "Have you seen the new cars coming out next year? It won't be long when $5,000 will only buy a used one."
(3) "If cigarettes keep going up in price, I'm going to quit. A quarter a pack is ridiculous."
(4) "Did you hear the post office is thinking about charging a
dime just to mail a letter?"
Remember the time before cell phones? As a matter of fact, I recall the first mobile phone I ever saw, and to be honest with you, I didn’t think they were going to catch on, because only a small percentage of the population was strong enough to lift one. My first one was permanently attached to my car & my son thought it was cool to call ahead for a pizza! It had an aerial coming out of it that reminded me of the antenna on the patrol car on the old Andy Griffith Show.
The libertarian humorist P. J. O’Rourke says, "When you think of the good old days, think ‘dentistry
Household Tips n Tricks
Baking Soda and Baking Powder
· Home made baking powder (100-year-old recipe). Combine ¼ pound of tartaric acid, ¼ pound baking soda, 1 pint flour and sift six times. Place into airtight containers.
· Clean your produce with baking soda for safer food. Wash fruits & vegetables in a pot of cold water with 2-3 tablespoons of soda to remove impurities.
· Use baking soda as a yeast substitute by combining powdered vitamin C or citric acid and baking soda – mix equal parts. The dough you add it to won’t have to rise before baking.
· Reduce acidity in foods. If you’re sensitive to high acid foods like tomato sauces or coffee, lower the acidity by adding a pinch of baking soda while cooking; will also counteract the taste of vinegar if you’ve used too much.
· Make better baked beans without the ‘toot’ after affect by adding a pinch of baking soda to the beans while they’re cooking to reduce the gas.
· Clear a clogged drain (one of my proven favorites) by adding a cup of soda to the drain followed by a cup of hot vinegar (zap in the microwave). The drain will foam up instantly. If needed, repeat or in the case of a drain clogged with grease, add some table salt and follow up with boiling water; let sit overnight and rinse with hot tap water.
Here's a list of the 15 most fuel efficient cars from Consumer Reports: http://tinyurl.com/
ydlwvo9. And if those cars are too small, you can find out the estimated miles-per-gallon for all types of cars at http://www.fueleconomy.gov
Even if you don't buy a more fuel efficient car, you can find the lowest gasoline prices in any zip code at http://gasbuddy.com/ and http://gaspricewatch.com.
We all know the price of gasoline will go higher due to dwindling resources & higher demand in China and elsewhere. Too bad more employers don’t encourage telecommuting.
Predicting the end of oil has proven tricky and often controversial, but Kuwaiti scientists now say that global oil production will peak in 2014.
Their work represents an updated version of the famous Hubbert model, which correctly predicted in 1956 that U.S. oil reserves would peak within 20 years. Many researchers have since tried using the model to predict when worldwide oil production might peak.
Finding Lost Money the Government May be Holding…includes Canada
Cheap thrills department
Turn off the TV (studies show TV is helping to make our kids fatter) and play card or board games at homes…on a more serious note, use this tool to help with your family budget – go to: www.BankRate.com and search ‘budget spreadsheet’ to get their free budget tracker.
Snag a cheaper oil change! WHEN you get your oil change – not at how many miles but at what hour can save some cash. Taking you car in at the end of the day, closer to closing time can help you to avoid those annoying ‘upsells.’ Mechanics want to get home and won’t focus on expensive fix-ups.
Resources for Stockpiling and Disaster Preparation
Make Your Own Energy
Step-by-step guide reveals how to
make your own energy for 100$ or less.
Nothing beats home grown and after several disastrous at gardening in AZ, I’m looking forward to a real garden again!
Get Growing Early: 11 tips to get food growing long before spring.
From GRIT magazine, by Amy Grisak
After struggling through a winter of grocery store greens and frozen produce, I don’t want to wait until June to enjoy fresh vegetables. Just because there might be snow on the ground doesn’t mean planting has to wait for months.
From the ground up
The key to germination is to plant seed in soil that’s warmed to 65-75 degrees. But in the frozen North, how do you get that soil warm enough, early enough? One easy method is to spread clear plastic over the soil, burying the edges to keep it in place and lock in the heat. Even if daytime temperatures hover in the 40s, the sun’s energy can heat the soil beneath the plastic to a whopping 125 degrees. Keep the plastic in place until you’re ready to plant. If your early season garden plot is a raised bed, so much the better. Soil in a plastic covered, raised bed will warm faster.
When growing heat-loving crops such as melons, peppers and cucumbers, it’s especially important to pre-warm the soil. Transplanting these crops through black plastic, which will keep the weeds down and the soil temperature up, helps ensure success in the north.
When you don’t have a greenhouse
Many gardeners dream of a permanent greenhouse; they take up valuable space in the yard and can be expensive. But most of us can find an area for at least one cold frame. This structure can be a simple, bottomless wooden box built with an angled, window-like top to gather the sun’s energy. Many cold frames are painted dark green, black or brown to absorb solar heat.
A reasonable cold frame size is 3 by 4 feet, which is easy for one person to move, although permanent frames can be much larger. Just be sure you can reach the internal growing spaces without the need to climb inside.
For an extra-early jump on the season, you can position the cold frame over a bed of fresh horse manure, which produces heat as it composts. Be sure to place a sheet of perforated plastic over the manure and layer several inches of soil on top of it to keep the roots of the new plants from reaching the hot manure.
Water the young plants inside the cold frame lightly in the mornings when it’s dry. Moisture doesn’t evaporate as quickly in the cold frame as outdoors, and wet roots in cold conditions aren’t good for most garden plants.
Broccoli, kale, cabbage and cauliflower are ideal choices to transplant early, since their leaves can actually freeze for a short period of time and still recover. But don’t simply plant them out in the open and hope for the best.
Plastic tunnels and floating row covers are two invaluable tools to keep hardy garden vegetables happy. They create a warm microclimate, which protects transplants and seedlings from the cool and wet springtime weather. The frost protective blanket protects the plants to 25 degrees, while the plastic tunnels typically keep them safe above 28 degrees. For particularly cold nights, toss a blanket on top for additional protection.
Floating row covers, also known as garden quilts, are made from lightweight, polyester or polypropylene fabric that can be placed directly on top of the plants. But, for early spring use, I prefer to use a support system to keep the material off tender plants, such as tomatoes and squash.
Secure support hoops, whether made from wire or arched PVC pipes, by pushing them firmly into the ground roughly 2 1/2 feet apart. Since both plastic and other row-cover fabrics are light, it’s imperative to secure them with landscape pins or staples to prevent the wind from blowing them into the next county.
One drawback to covers is the need to remove the material to water the plants. This can be remedied by placing a drip hose alongside the plants before enclosing them. Later in the season, it’s best to remove the material during the day to allow pollinating insects to reach the blossoms.
The beauty of the floating row cover is it allows 85 percent of sunlight through and doesn’t tend to overheat. However, like a full-sized greenhouse, the plastic-covered field tunnels can overheat rapidly. Be sure to open up the ends by pinning them to the hoop with a clothes pin to allow proper ventilation.
Walls filled with water
Tomato-lovers take heart, with the invention of water-filled, plastic tipis impatient gardeners can plant their precious crop up to eight weeks before the last frost date. Water tipis, which absorb the sun’s rays during the day and gradually release the heat during the night, also work well for peppers, eggplant and other crops that thrive in warm temperatures. Look for the Wall-O-Water or Kozy-Coats brands.
Plant the seedling in the pre-warmed soil and cover with an inverted 5-gallon bucket. Place the tipi around the bucket and use the garden hose to fill each cylinder to within a few inches of the top. Pull up the bucket, and the tipi will close upon itself, creating a temperate environment for the plant to protect it from cold, wind, rain and even snowstorms. I’ve had late-season blizzards shock the rest of the garden, while my tomatoes pulled through with flying colors.
As the plants progress, prop open the enclosures with stakes or wooden crochet rings to allow the plant to grow through the top. The tipis can be removed once there is no risk of frost, or they may be left on through the summer.
The next best option to solar umbrellas is to use a gardening bell, or cloche, to protect individual plants. Originally, cloches were made of bell-shaped glass. They offer a pretty, classic look to the early spring garden, but they’re expensive and fragile. Instead, many gardeners opt to use translucent plastic jugs or waxed-paper caps (also called hot caps).
To use the jugs, simply cut off the bottom and push it over the planted seedling. Remove the lid to provide ventilation, and keep the jugs on the plants until they outgrow them. Unless there is drip irrigation running along the plants, each jug should be removed for watering instead of dousing the plants through the opening.
Planting as early as possible is a challenge, but the rewards far exceed the effort. By utilizing a few, or all, of these techniques, it’s possible to enjoy those first tomatoes or peppers weeks before your neighbors.
Excerpted from GRIT magazine, Celebrating rural America since 1882. Read the full story at www.Grit.com or call 866-624-9388 to subscribe. Copyright 2009 by Ogden Publications Inc.
IRS Outlines Additional Steps to Assist Unemployed Taxpayers and Others
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today announced several additional steps it is taking this tax season to help people having difficulties meeting their tax obligations because of unemployment or other financial problems.
The steps –– an expansion of efforts that began more than a year ago –– include additional flexibility on offers in compromise for struggling taxpayers, a series of Saturday “open houses” offering taxpayers extra opportunities to work out tax problems face to face with the IRS, special outreach with partner groups to unemployed taxpayers and the availability of more information on a special section of the IRS Web site.
“Times are tough for many people, and the IRS wants to do everything it can to help people who have lost their job or face financial strain,” IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said. “We continue to make adjustments to key programs and expand ways for people to get help. We’re doing everything we can to help ease the burden on struggling taxpayers.”
New Flexibility for Offers in Compromise
For some taxpayers, an offer in compromise –– an agreement between a taxpayer and the IRS that settles the taxpayer’s debt for less than the full amount owed –– continues to be a viable option. IRS employees will now have additional flexibility when considering offers in compromise from taxpayers facing economic troubles, including the recently unemployed. More at: http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=220001,00.html
Why Americans are so angry
Heather Gass always felt she had to suppress her conservative views, living as she did in the liberal San Francisco Bay area. A year ago that all changed.
CNBC financial reporter Rick Santelli had just blasted the Obama administration's plan to help homeowners facing foreclosure, and called for a "tea party" protest in Chicago. The idea caught fire around the country, and soon Ms. Gass, a 40-something real estate agent, was organizing weekly street-corner demonstrations in her hometown of Orinda, Calif.
Her focus was fiscal discipline, aimed not just at the $75 billion mortgage bailout but also the administration's $787 billion stimulus package and President Obama's budget. She remembers her first signs well: "Stop printing money" and "China owns us." By Congress's summer recess, when opposition to Mr. Obama's healthcare plan burst forth, she had 100 people protesting on street corners, she says.
How will it end? Only two scenarios are possible:
· Washington will slash spending to the bone (and raise taxes till), sinking our economy into a depression. Or ...
· Washington will DESTROY the value of our money.
Are we burning down the house financially in this country?
"If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner." –HL Mencken
"It's Time For Revolution." 15 Reasons
So says Professor Bill Quigley - a law professor at Loyola University in New Orleans and legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights.
In an article published Sunday by CommonDreams.org, he offered 15 reasons why, starting with "It is time for a revolution.
"Government does not work for regular people. It appears to work quite well for big corporations, banks, insurance companies, military contractors, lobbyists, and for the rich and powerful. But it does not work for people.
He goes on to point out that last year "over 2.8 million people lost their homes to foreclosure or bank repossessions – nearly 8000 each day (while) the government bailed out Bank of America, Citigroup, AIG, Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the auto industry and enacted the troubled asset (TARP) program with $1.7 trillion of our money.
"Wall Street then awarded itself over $20 billion in bonuses in 2009 alone, an average bonus (on top of pay) of $123,000."
He says with 17 million people currently jobless (and the figure is likely much higher) there are millions more only able to find part-time work…(Wonder what took him so long – I’ve been saying –since the 80s- we don’t need another election; we need another revolution! Get the rest of the story at:
Your Papers Please…Coming soon…Nat’l Worker Id – Already in place in China & Mexico
Dr. Katherine Albrecht is the director of CASPIAN (Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering), an organization she founded in 1999 to advocate free-market, consumer-based solutions to the problem of retail privacy invasion.
Katherine is widely recognized as one of the world's leading experts on consumer privacy. She regularly speaks on the consumer privacy and civil liberties impacts of new technologies, with an emphasis on RFID and retail issues. She has testified on RFID technology before the Federal Trade Commission, state legislatures, the European Commission, and the Federal Reserve Bank, and she has given over a thousand television, radio and print interviews to news outlets all over the world. Her efforts have been featured on CNN, NPR, the CBS Evening News, Business Week, and the London Times, to name just a few.
WHY ADVOCATES AND LAWMAKERS ARE CONCERNED ABOUT INVOLUNTARY MICROCHIPPING
If you do not believe the threat of involuntary microchipping is real, please take a moment to read over the following disquieting developments. Taken together, they reveal a focused effort to promote human microchipping. The time to nip this trend in the bud is now. http://www.antichips.com/is-the-threat-real.htm
The Poor Man reported on this development several times last year. My take is the government will use national healthcare to force Americans to carry a universal national ID card complete with biometric chips…soon, you may not be able to get healthcare, work or even buy groceries without one. In China, agents can scan you from 60 feet away; much like the hidden chip in US currency which can be scanned at airports. Recently, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) got caught using frequent shopper cards from food chains to “see if customers purchased tainted meat products,”…of course, done without anyone’s knowledge.
Visit Dr. Albrecht’s site below (she’s easy on the eyes guys).
Detroit wants to save itself by shrinking…and the reason I mention this
DETROIT – Detroit, the very symbol of American industrial might for most of the 20th century, is drawing up a radical renewal plan that calls for turning large swaths of this now-blighted, rusted-out city back into the fields and farmland that existed before the automobile.
Operating on a scale never before attempted in this country, the city would demolish houses in some of the most desolate sections of Detroit and move residents into stronger neighborhoods. Roughly a quarter of the 139-square-mile city could go from urban to semi-rural.
Near downtown, fruit trees and vegetable farms would replace neighborhoods that are an eerie landscape of empty buildings and vacant lots. Suburban commuters heading into the city center might pass through what looks like the countryside to get there. Surviving neighborhoods in the birthplace of the auto industry would become pockets in expanses of green.
Our pipe dream…
It’s been our goal to acquire 5-15 acres of farmland and turn it into a teaching farm. Our plan includes hiring those who know how to build wind turbines, solar panels, small animal livestock, gardening and the like and film them as works in progress and then share those DVDs with others.
As our country evolves (some might say ‘devolves) into city-states and the push for green living and renewable energy becomes our mandate, this idea seems more important than ever as most folks haven’t a clue about DIY self-sufficiency. Even the IRS (you have to call them and run your idea past them before they’ll send you the necessary forms for requesting non-profit status) thought our idea had a lot of merit.
All of this requires capital and since we’re not incorporated as a non-profit, grants for such an undertaking are non-existent. We estimate it will cost us $3500 just to file the various state and federal paperwork, legal fees and so on in order to qualify for grants. Then there would be the cost of acquiring the land and materials necessary to for the projects and there would be costs for getting the experts here to construct the projects, filming and editing and duplication. Any suggestions?
The first St. Patrick’s Day parade in the US took place in NYC in 1762…it’s now the largest in the world! Happy St. Patty’s Day.
Yours for better living,
Bruce “The Poor Man”