Friday, May 30, 2008

"I can afford to drive any auto I want to..."

"I can afford to drive any auto I want to..." I would like to remind the rest of us that rich people get their money from the middle class and the poor. In every industry, the key to wealth includes:

1) Keep employee wages and benefits low. (Who grows the food you eat? When you eat a $50 meal out, how much of it goes to your server?---most areas have rules that keep server wages under $10 per hour INCLUDING EXPECTED TIPS--if you don't tip, the server may be working for nothing at all.)

2) Keep product costs down. (How many patches do we need for Vista? What toys have lead paint? How many Walmarts* are there in the world? Why is the Lug-Nut Rule* still the best way to drive? Why haven't we separated freeways between City Cars and Transports??? )

3) Substitute lower cost ingredients whenever possible. (Coke says, "real sugar is too expensive....corn sweetener is good enough...aspartame is even better....darn, we really miss cyclomates*!")

4) Shift the blame whenever possible...back to the victim is best! (Thousands of farmers in India* have committed suicide after crop failures left them horribly in debt due to Monsanto Bt seeds that didn't produce as claimed. Monsanto claims the farmers didn't plant the seeds correctly as directed on the bags, "in perfectly clear ENGLISH." Pork and Beef farmers in the US have been bankrupted when GM crops have caused sterility in livestock---guess what??? Those same GM crops are showing up in 90% of the white flour on the US market and 75% of the soy products on the US market. Monsanto and BASF both deny any changes in fertility rates but Monsanto gives a large discount on rBGH* to farmers that also buy GM corn or GM soy seeds.)

5) Hedge Funds are the best investment, some of these funds are returning 20-25% on investments when the middle class is lucky to get 2% on their savings--minimum buy in for a hedge fund is $500,000(in cash.) Hedge Funds are a gambling system that bets on the price of food tomorrow or next year...the more they bet...the more money the investors make...and the higher the prices go. If you want a scape-goat for high oil or food prices....blame the 50 Million Americans who own Mutual Funds....they are the ones that are driving the price of oil, wheat, corn, soy, and rice out of reason. Next year they will switch over to beef, pork, and dairy products....expect the price of those to skyrocket!

6) Long term risk is worth the short term profits. (Monsanto gave the world Agent Orange*, swearing that it was completely safe for Humans. In the early years, a spokesman for Monsanto actually ate a spoonful of Agent Orange during his sales pitch for the product to show how safe it was. --Ask your nearest Vietnam Vet about this....the Army showed films of this event to the crews that were spraying the chemical over Vietnam.--- Monsanto eventually paid a relatively small fine to Americans who suffered as a result of this but the Vietnamese never got a dime of compensation. Also, LOVE CANAL*, MONSANTO ROUNDUP ILLNESS*, GM FOOD ILLNESS, ROUNDUP READY COCAINE)

The list goes on and on....and I say that the more you rely on processed foods and chemicals, the more you put yourself and your family at the mercy of people who just don't care at all what might happen to you in the future. If you think this isn't the case...please Google "Revolving Door FDA" and then e-mail me your ideas that the government is really trying to help and protect us.

*Just Google it! The information is everywhere if you take the time to look!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Myth of the Population Bomb

I am reading a lot about population problems and how to slow down the growth of population but every story seems to point the finger at a certain group that is producing too many children. Boil down any story and they seem to be saying there are too many of the "wrong" kind of people....too many Indians, too many Chinese....too many Africans....too many Muslims...too many Catholics....too many (insert any group besides your own)...

That kind of Racist Thinking is not going to help solve the problem at all.

Look at the raw numbers...6.5 Billion people. Move each and every one of them to the State of Florida. Each person would have 292 square feet.

Move every person in the world to the US and we would each have 1/3 of an acre of land.

Number of people is nowhere close to being a problem. The problem is greed....the idea that some people deserve more than other people. When resources are averaged there is plenty for all and then some, but when resources are hoarded by the few elite then, there isn't enough left to support the rest.

Western countries grab massive amounts of resources and use them up as fast as we can get them for useless and frivolous reasons. Gourmet PET FOOD? 5000 square foot homes??? 30 Billion dollar Diet and Fitness industry???

Even in Third World countries, 90% of the resources go to the elite leaving the poor to starve. The problem isn't the number of is that a few people use too much.

Just once I would like to see "Retro-active Abortion" suggested as a method of population control. Start with the dictators that use guns to hoard resources, follow up with the world's elite that waste the most and work our way down the list until everyone who is left has enough. Wiping out the top 1 Million Resource Pigs would make room for another 10 billion more earth friendly people.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Cheap and Healthy...Pass the Tofu!

Faux MorningStar Veggie Bites
aka Broccoli Cheddar Bites.

As a recently converted vegetarian, I am always on the look out for acceptable and tasty vegetarian products. I tried MorningStar Veggie Bites this week and my family liked them just fine. Glancing at the box gave me a start though! The 40+ ingredients listed read like a bag of Cheetos!

Broccoli Cheddar Bites.
14 ounces extra firm tofu/drain, mince and press out as much liquid as possible.
2 cups frozen broccoli/ thawed and minced
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese or cheddar soy.
1 teaspoon Johnny's Seasoning Salt(Increase to 2 tsp if you like a little more salt.)
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
3 eggs or egg replacement
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons of pure cane sugar (about 1/3 of what is in the original)

Mix together until well distributed. Add enough white or whole wheat flour to make a stiff batter-about 3/4 cup.

Form batter into ping pong sized balls, flatten slightly and coat each side with bread crumbs. Place patties on an oiled baking sheet so that they are not touching. Spray the tops of the patties with cooking spray. Pre-Bake for 5 minutes at 400 degrees.

Cool and freeze until needed. Makes about 32 patties. 3 patties=270 calories.

To use: Take out desired number and bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes until hot through and golden brown. Flip halfway through baking.

This is a good recipe to double or triple as most of the effort is in the first stage.

This recipe could be made using just about any combination of cooked veggie and cheese:

Portabella Mushroom, Red pepper and mozzarella
Corn & Smoked Swiss
Bell Pepper, Onion and Pepper Jack

Experiment and come back with your comments!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Gas Price Predictions-How bad can it get?

Oil hit $100 per bbl on Feb 20,2008. Many economists predict the price will rise to $200/bbl in less than 2 years. After looking at the trends for the last 3 months, I want to go on the record and predict $200/bbl on or before Jan 5th, 2009.

May 22,2008 $135
May 26th Dr. Robert Hirsch agrees with my prediction.
June 27, 2008 $140
July 1st, 2008 144.25 (Price is lagging behind my prediction at the point.)
July 6th, 2008 Russian Expert says $250 within an year.
July 22, 2008 A little dip in the market to 130.23...has brought gas prices down 1 cent!

I am basing this on oil's continued price gains, on average, $0.31 per day since Feb 20,2008. At that growth rate it will take 235 days for it to reach $200. This will raise the price of a gallon of gas to between $7.50 and $8.00 USD. The greatest price increases will come toward the end of the year as the Outgoing President and his cronies take all the profit they can squeeze out before the Newly Elected President can take over on Tuesday, January 20th,2009. (1)

Natural disasters and/or another American invasion of a foreign country could raise the price of oil even higher.

I predict the following Major Changes as a result of dramatically higher gas prices:

1) Reduction in the national speed limit from 70 mph to 50 mph or 55 mph. (1)

2) We will have a resurgence of interest in "Buy American" as people scramble to support American Made and American Grown products.

3) More people will grow a portion of their own food and more people will focus on locally grown food.
As of May 2008, farmer's market prices are leveling out with supermarket prices on fresh in-season vegetables-more people are buying local produce than ever before. (1)

4) Food Rioting around the world will increase exponentially as the gap between rich and poor widens.

5) Worldwide GM crop failures due to the reduction in availability and high cost of petroleum based fertilizers, on which GM crops are heavily dependent. (1) (2) (3)

6) Materials previously considered "garbage" will become valuable enough to incite theft and crime. (1) (2) (3) (6) Used Oil (4) (5) And, previously safe public works & art will be stolen and trashed. Bronze Grave Markers John Wadden's Art Catalytic Converters will disappear with amazing efficiency. (1)

7) SUV's will become unsaleable as people scramble to buy smaller more fuel efficient transport. (1) (2)

8) Many companies and governments will switch to 4 day work weeks. (1) This will be good for companies and workers. Companies will be able to save about 20% on energy operating costs, and workers will save 20% on their work related fuel and food costs.

I will come back and update this post as new information becomes available.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Food Buyer Beware....THEY Know How We Shop!

Some weird things are going on lately with food prices, at least at Safeway! I am making out my weekly shopping list and I have come across some interesting discrepancies.

I always shop the sales and one thing I like about Safeway is that you can shop online and get groceries delivered without being tempted to buy every thing in the store. I can just shop from my list and only my list. even lets you sort similar items by price to get the best deal.

So here I am looking at different grocery options and I find my first new discrepancy. Powdered milk has long been a staple in the Frugal Kitchen so imagine my surprise at $17.69 for a box of store brand powdered milk (44 cents per pint) verses store brand 2% at $2.99 (37 cents per pint)! How is that possible? Powdered milk has never, in my memory, been more expensive than fresh milk! We use about 1 gallon of milk per day so that is $204 per year difference! I just noticed this today and since I have ordered the store brand powdered without thinking I wonder how much this has cost me in the last year? $204 extra on my grocery bill for buying what has always been the cheapest product until now?? When did this change actually happen?

My interest is peaked and I look at other "cheap" staples.

Rice and beans are the cheapest in the largest bags right? Wrong! Pearl barley, yellow split peas and small white beans are the cheapest in 1 pound bags. Pinto beans are the cheapest(84 cents per pound) in the 10 pound bag compared to 95 cents per pound in a 20 pound bag. Rice is cheaper in 20 pound bags(46 cents per pound) than 25 pound bags (55 cents per pound). The cheapest package of rice at Safeway is $1.25 for a 1 pound bag...nearly 3 times higher than the 20 pound bag. Even a 2 pound bag is dramatically cheaper at 1.99($1 per pound)

Frozen veggies are cheaper than canned or fresh right?
Wrong again! Frozen corn is $1.30 per pound while canned corn is $0.63 per pound. Fresh corn is 5/$1.00 or about 80 cents a pound. Canned peas are 63 cents per pound, frozen peas are $1.30 per pound. Canned spinach is $1.51 per pound, fresh is $1.79 and frozen is $2.50. Again, I have been fooled by the old Frugal Wisdom.

Tuna is cheap? Not any more! Canned salmon is, on average, 10 cents per pound cheaper than tuna.

Has Safeway finally found our weakness in our sheer aversion to comparing prices on our own? 99% of all Frugal Living sites will repeat the old "Powdered/Frozen/Big Bags" as the way to get the cheapest foods and now Safeway has found a way to cash in on it by raising the prices on the styles and package sizes that automatically attract the Frugal Shoppers!

Sadly, I noticed that in nearly all basic food groups the food marketed to African Americans, Hispanics and Asians were almost always higher in price than the same product in universal packaging.

Safeway/Vons Canned Spinach - 14 Oz $1.32
Sylvia's Southern Style Spinach Greens - 14.5 Oz $2.45

O Organic Black Beans - 15 Oz 99 cents
S&W Mexican Style Black Beans (Hispanic Food Aisle)- 15 Oz $1.49

Fiesta Garbanzo Beans-(Hispanic Foods Aisle) 16 Oz $1.79
O Organic Garbanzo Beans - (canned veggie aisle) 16 Oz $1.09

Goya Dry Chick Peas (Eastern Foods aisle) 16 Oz $2.69
Fiesta Dry Garbanzo Beans (Hispanic Foods Aisle) 16 Oz $1.76
Safeway/Vons Garbanzo Beans -(Pasta aisle) 16 Oz $1.13