Coping: My Nine-Point Congressional Platform

I have to admit I am thinking about it because lately, I have come up with a number of simple solutions which really could set America back on a reasonable course into the future.  I’m thinking about founding the Uretopian Party.  I’d have two members, probably, but that’s not the point.  Education and discussion is.  Some of the highlights of Uretopia Party platform?

1.  Overthrow the Checkbook Coup;  End all campaign contributions from outside of a district where an election is held.  If a congressman represents the 8th district (or whatever) then all funds must come from residents inside the district.  Pass-through donations would be barred and lobbyist groups would be barred by law from offering money, in-kind contributions, or organizing “grass roots” movements.  An example is lining up nursing home residents to all vote one way, and so on.

This would make good state law, too.  Realistically, congress will never reform itself as long as the good times roll for them.

3.  Baseball rules for all office holders:  3-terms in any office, at any level, and you’re out.

4.  Real Healthcare Reform. Healthcare for everyone under identical terms or no enforcement at all.  Congressional staff isn’t a special class.

5.  End all immigration to the US.  We have enough people here now.  If we need more people, we oughta encourage more mating.  More breaks for parents. The more who come in, the harder the turnaround will be.  Plus with 41-million college grads, we have enough brains. On point: Psychology Today has an infographic this month that says 15% of taxi drivers have a college degree up from 1% in 1970.  And we need to import brainpower?  Hell no! (It’s a good mag with lots of useful information…)  What we lack are jobs for them to do which gets me to…

6.  Tax Robotic Manufacturing.  Tax all worker-eliminating robots and automated systems as though they were income generating workers.  Fund social programs, pay down the debt, and then let’s get on with building a Uretopian world.  (Details of this taxing robotics problem in Peoplenomics for subscribers tomorrow.

7.  Truth in Politics Law:  If a politician makes representations that they will vote in one direction, but then they get into office and do the exact damned opposite…they’d be removed from office immediately and a replacement special election held.

8.  Return to Sound Money:  We would restore “solid money” and phase in a conversion to a market basket of energy and precious metals.  No “continuing resolutions.”  If congress can’t get it’s shit together enough to pass a budget, fire them all for malfeasance and elect new members.  Budgets must be balanced and end all off-books accounting.  That has made the Treasury’s best efforts to report the “Public Debt to the Penny” effort an effing joke.

9.  Read all Bills First. We saw a travesty (and it keeps being renewed) in the Patriot Act.  As if this one (and healthcare) aren’t clear enough, try reading the Tax Code sometime!  Immediately remove any politician who hasn’t read every word of what’s being voted on.  We’d have an empty congress overnight.

I don’t know what has gotten into me.  I was sitting at the airport here in Palestine talking to one of our chapter officers about how easy it would be to “fix American” but we just don’t seem to have the will to do it.  What’s more, neither of the paid-for parties can do it either and the Tea Party was going in the right direction, but it was sometimes hijacked by the republicorp. 

The fellow I was test-preaching this to wandered off and didn’t leave me his wallet, so I may not really be cut out for politics.

Still,  we have an immediate need as a country for a new party and while the American Whig Party’s “Peace and Prosperity” sounds good, the word whiggery is just not fashionable.

If you find yourself with some spare time this weekend (with or without war breaking out) and you’d like to contribute to the really subversive cause of replacing the checkbook parties, thoughts are welcome, operators are standing by, this is a free call.

Warren’s WuJo, II

Follow up to this week’s story of the self-filling (with gasoline) power equipment.  If you remember, I asked about whether the source tank was down if the tools were refilled and now this gets interesting as Warren replies…

I didn’t notice the any change in the two gallon jug of gas for the mower.  When it gets low on gas, I put it in the trunk of the car and go re-fill it. Otherwise, I don’t pay much attention to it. However, now that I think about it, the last time I re-filled the gallon of gas/oil mix for the line trimmer, I noticed that it had lasted for a suspiciously long time. The only thing on my mind wrt to re-filling those gas cans is that I hate to make a special trip for the purpose. Even so, it does happen that I occasionally need to do so. I normally try to re-fill the cans when I fill the gas tank in the car.

otoh, if there were a ‘secret sauce’ or a ‘secret recipe,’ it wouldn’t be a ‘wujo event’, would it? It would be science. Then, Arthur C. Clarke’s Three Laws come to mind…

1.) When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.

2.) The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.

3.) Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

So, imo, the ‘wujo’ is probably just science that we don’t, as yet, understand.

I don’t loose too much sleep trying to understand WuJo…I’m working on understand women (impossible) and politicians (easy:  it’s all about money & power).  With whatever wetware processor clicks are left over I worry about Wujo, shop projects, and sourdough….though not always in that order…

The Sourdough Doctor

Oh, sure, you thought this was a website about “urbansurvival” and “cheating old man Poverty” and such.  But this morning I’m please to introduce our latest specialty:  Marvelous sourdough.  Earlier this week I was whining about my starter not  starting  just using.  But this morning, I sit before you in yeasty triumph:  My sourdough smells unbelievably good!

But a million thanks to readers who have sent in an amazing collection of Sourdough information…like this from Mary:

Hi George
I came across this tonight and thought it might lend some insight — the descriptions and pictures are helpful too.  Suggestions are something to think about:  kind/brand of flour, water (no chlorine), ideal temperature and consistencies at various stages . . . and pictures.  Oh, and one picture of what failure looks like.  Hope you get there…

Reader Alan skirted the idea we may be too far from the ocean for good sourdough:

I got some sourdough starter from the Bay Area a few year ago when living in Houston. I used the starter, organic flour (non-GMO) and 1/4 cup of sugar and it took off in a few days. Had to keep feeding it more flour and sugar weekly.

Reader Libby went even further, offering an idiot-proof approach which appealed to me for obvious reasons…

You might try this for “starters”

1 pk active dry yeast

1/2 cup warm water ( 110-115 degrees)

2 cups flour

2 cups water

1 tablespoon sugar

Soften yeast in 1/2 cup warm water.

After about 5 minutes add the rest of the stuff. Cover with cheesecloth, let stand at room temp until bubbly, 5 to 10 days, stirring 2 to 3 times a day.

(Fermentation time depends on room temp; a warmer room will hasten it) Store starter, covered, in the refrigerator. To use, bring to room temp.

To keep your starter going:

After using some starter, stir 3/4 cup

flour, 3/4 cup water, and 1 teaspoon

sugar into the remaining starter. Cover

with cheesecloth; let stand at room temp. until bubbly, at least one day.

Refrigerate for later use. If not used within 10 days, stir in 1 teaspoon of sugar. Keep adding sugar every 10 days.

It’s just like taking care of children;

if you neglect this, it will turn rotten (Think pink and slimey) Throw it out and start over, if you run across this.

But, yes you have to feed it and take care of it. The older the starter, the better it gets. Had one last for a couple of years.

Happy Baking!


Well, except, my sourdough starter hasn’t called asking for money yet, so it’s not quite like children, but if yours were this way, you should have called 30-years ago when a trade would have made sense!  Libby also then added this PS:

(Loaves of bread will last about 30 minutes when they come out of the oven; you will eat it that fast. Stromboli’s are unbelievable made with this dough.

1 pk yeast

1 1/2 cups warm water

5 1/2 to 6 cups flour

1 cup Sourdough Starter

2 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Soften yeast in water , add 2 1/2 cups flour, the starter, sugar and salt.

Stir the baking soda into 2 1/2 cups

of flour, stir into the flour/yeast mixture.

Knead in as much of the remaining flour that you can, continue kneading

5-7 minutes until smooth and elastic.

Place in a greased bowl (BIG), cover and let rise until doubled (1-1 1/2 hrs) Punch down and divide in half.

Cover and let the dough rest for 10 minutes, then shape it how you want.

Bake loaves of bread at 400 for 35- 40 minutes.

You’re on your own on pancakes/ flapjacks……

As for sources of starters, reader Lex suggested:

I tried this and had success. Not as sour as I like but still good.

From what I’ve read, you can adjust the sourness of sourdough by slightly starving it.  As you do this (then feed) the yeast to lactobacillus ratio changes to another level, and then you go…more sour.

Kansas City Mike thinks my start starter was too runny:


Credit Where Due

I often mention my friends up at The Chronicle Project which has been retranslating the Bible based on the group’s discovery of an embedded “error correction” scheme in ancient Hebraic language.  When I talked to Chris Tyreman about this and that earlier this week, he suggested simply dropping in a grape and that should light things off.  Then he followed up with this troubleshooting note:

It’s too hot.  lol

Didn’t dawn on me until I just read the article.  That’s why wine must be around 75 – 80 degrees to ferment proper.

It can be higher if you’re making bread and want a quicky yeast. Also explains why Alaska makes good griddle cakes.

My mom used to make this stuff called monster dough and it was kept in the fridge or it went nuts.  Doubled every day.

The main things wrong with my start turned out to be:

    • You don’t really need to have 85 degrees.  Outside, it was getting up into the low 90s and that was likely just too hot.
    • Second problem was my start (1/2 & 1/2 water flour) was too runny.  Adding a tablespoon of flour (and Chris’ magic grape as a good yeast to kick things off) was exactly what was needed.
    • Turns out the best starter texture would be about like pudding consistency.  Once you get past pudding, the stuff actually starts to rise in your proofing jar, which is not what you want.

    Wow!  Did it ever work!  It’s almost like a perfume smell (yeah, if you can imagine what a fruity eau du sweat sock would smell like…sweet, fruity, twinge of alcohol, and a breath of sour). More pleasant than a sweat sock, however.

    Within 48-hours the grape start was going great guns, was bubbling like crazy, and had increased in volume by almost 30%.  All that remained was to take a couple of tablespoons from that start and dump in into the slow-poke and thicken the mixture to more pudding-like from warmed up milkshake consistency.

    This morning the big start is bubbling and frothing, so it will rest in the fridge overnight and tomorrow morning after Peoplenomics is published, I’ll eat my first batch of genuine home-made sourdough.  Might even be enough for Elaine and Panama, too, although the recipe only makes three dozen 5” flapjacks.

    I reckon a dozen each, with a couple of eggs over over easy on the side with a half-pound of crisp apple-smoked bacon, two cups of coffee with a handful of dark chocolate for dessert.  And a baby aspirin, lol.  So armed, I’ll be ready for anything – mostly a nap – which is my usual response to carbbing out.

    Subscriber Feedback

    Wednesday’s Peoplenomics this week took another (and closer) look at Peak Oil, which has been slid to the back burner.  But I though this note from subscriber Don was worth passing along as we continue to debate whether Peak Oil is really here:

    Good morning George!

    Enjoy your & Elaine’s adventures/mis-adventures as well as your economic observations. It’s really nice your bil is around to give you another

    opinion, free I’m sure! In your today you missed a couple of things. Back in the early 80’s I sold oil field drilling and servicing rigs in the mid-west. The oilfield collapsed not long after as oil prices plunged. It was no longer feasible to maintain low output wells known as “stripper wells”. These wells produced less than 10 bbls of oil a day, and were soon plugged with cement and abandoned. Imagine 10 bbls a day, every day, for years, at todays prices! Anyway, in OK alone there were literally THOUSANDS of these wells. I have no idea how many were plugged across the country. Point being, we shut in a hell of a lot of oil, oil that’s still there.

    Also, can’t believe you don’t look at Abiotic oil seriously, the Russians sure as hell do! I think they now produce more oil than the Middle East don’t they?

    Just as you analyzed the Syria mess, do the same with “peak oil”. Who benefits from the high prices? It’s global warming all over George. Think about it!

    Don in NE OK

    Intelligent comments, for sure.  But we have run those numbers and basically, a 10-barrel per day well (42 gallons to the barrel, not 55 BTW) the numbers don’t wash.  The tanker rigs, power, land leases for surface rights, labor, all that, really stops around 10-bbl per day.  Big tankers get 3-miles per gallon and have to buy retail refined product, so if it’s 100-miles round trip to dump oil, and $50K per year for a driver, well, you know the rest,  the profit on 10 bbls per day just isn’t there..  Calculation of break-even points is a bear.

    The other point – on abiotic oil – is that yes, the production may be there, but the replenishment rates are nowhere near fast enough to keep oil going indefinitely.  Depletion is real because we can wait around for a 3-thousand year abiotic refill.

    Dumb Friday Joke

    Oldie but goody:

    I was visiting my daughter last night when I asked if I could borrow a newspaper.
    “This is the 21st century,” she said. “We don’t waste money on
    newspapers. Here, use my iPad.”
    I can tell you this. That fly never knew what hit him.

    An apple a day keeps the flies away…

    More Monday morning and likely the odd post over the weekend, too.

    Yes, I will get up Monday and write another action-lacked column, despite requests otherwise.

    Write when you break even, want to give away money, or find a foolproof two-minute path to enlightenment.  Time’s up.