Oklahoma is not OK: troubled food supplies ahead?

Plus: Love and music in a time of finite resources

vol. 1 issue 8

Greetings,

I just want to tell you paid subscribers how much I appreciate your support.

A LOT!!! As in, thiiiiiiisssss much! Mwah! That’s a kiss from me to you.

This is between you and me and not the rest of the readers, those who have not jumped up to full membership: I am still working on the branding. Since you were moved to become a member of the docu-mental community, I would like to ask your thoughts on something. Namely, what problem do you think docu-mental helps you solve?

My impetus in creating this publication was the thought if I could point out the five particular pain points I had identified for Americans trying to digest all the seemingly insane things being reported on in the news, and give some insight into how these five “states of mind” interfere with our ability to feel at ease, then I could help create what I was calling “herd immunity to anxiety and depression.”

But people were confused. They thought I was running a mental health publication, which I am not. Further confusing that is that my background is actually in mental health reporting, particularly psychiatry.

I have brought in some branding experts to help me, but they want to know what problem do I think I solve, and then who has that problem and so wants help solving it. My response is: any thinking American!

Which gets me nowhere but Eye-roll-ville with my branding team. And they tell me to ditch the “herd immunity” thing, which is really tough since I worked hard with a lawyer to get that under my legal control.

Meanwhile, my back of the cocktail napkin scribbles so far keep coming back to that I am trying to help people not let others with hidden or not-so-hidden agendas take over (or as I say, “colonize”) your minds. I am agnositc about my readers’ respective points of view, I just care that you all have one based on clear thinking. That’s why I spend so much time picking through the words people use. They matter!

I also am drawn to explaining complicated policy issues because those are the places where dirty dawgs can hide from you.

There are other publications that do this kind of thing, and do it well, so what is it about what I am doing that makes you want to part with your money and support me in particular?

Am I helping you decode? Map your mind so you can have a better state of mind?

I am confident docu-mental will be successful here and abroad, which is my aim; but you can help me make that happen sooner. Isn’t it always the case that others can see us more clearly than we can see ourselves?

Thanks and feel free to write me personally or leave comments on the page here.

Here’s my email: whitneyfishburn@gmail.com

Use and protect that with love.

Okay, now the latest docu-mentaled news...

Whitney


A soggy Oklahoma could spell trouble for our food supply

A week or so ago, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its latest nonfarm jobs numbers. Everybody got so excited! Unemployment is silly low, which of course is good, but it’s that “nonfarm” jobs thing that most of the media neglects to report.

And it’s the farms that aren’t doing so hot right now.

Oklahoma is one of several states in the Midwest and Southern region where extreme weather is preventing farmers from getting their crops into the ground. This report from the Department of Agriculture shows how far off normal percentages many states are in sowing their seeds. The states furthest behind typically have been the ones to experience the most extreme weather.

More abnormal weather is predicted for most regions, so we can’t anticipate that conditions for farmers will get any better this year.

Reading through all the most recent Federal Reserve agriculture sector regional reports in the “Beige Book”, I see another disturbing trend. The combined picture is that although some regions are doing fine enough, nationally, the sector’s financial health is generally weak. Where the weather isn’t beating farmers into submission, tariffs in our trade war with China are.

Meanwhile, the Fed is already reporting that perilous financial times are ahead for farmers in the Midwest: record high bankruptcies, and more applications for loans, and local lenders frowning as they see deteriorating credit, weak loan repayments, and less net spending.

What happens if our farmers go out of business? What happens if we can’t buy from other farmers overseas because they are retaliating against you? Aside from implications during the upcoming elections, the obvious answers are shortages and higher prices.

Transportation through the Midwest is also adversely impacted by all this kooky weather. That will drive up prices soon enough.

Meanwhile, there is a lot of fear and exhaustion in the heartland, according to a docu-mental reader in Tulsa. She was especially piqued when her home was surrounded by water, coworkers were left stranded on their own house-islands without access to food or water supplies, and medical care was nearly impossible to get such that a neighbor had to deliver her baby at home, and yet politicians in NY made the news for passing a law forbidding cat declawing.

I don’t have an immediate opinion on cat declawing. But I understand the sentiment that our lawmakers do not seem focused on what matters most.

The trade wars are getting meaner, as mean as the weather, and nerves are frayed. Oh, and one other thing: the bond markets are acting weird. We’ve been here before. It was called the Great Depression.

So, while it’s good that unemployment is low, there are other statistics to keep in mind. And while I don’t like hurting kitties, it might be more helpful if lawmakers went ahead and took their July recess to think about what really matters to their constituents, and maybe do a little research of their own so they can connect a few more dots. What pictures might emerge…? And what might they do to help prepare us for those pictures becoming realities?

Don’t panic. Just, you know, think about stuff. That’s usually a good place to start when things don’t seem normal…


The Jets and Sharks need to cool it

Image

Musicians and management are at it again. This time in Baltimore. I review classical music and opera for a local arts publication, and had this to say about the whole mess, which can be encapsulated as:

The heart of the conflict is access to limited resources. The fight is framed by the question of whether Marylanders feel a need to sponsor a regional orchestra – particularly one that keeps reminding us they are world class first, regional second; and whether more money would mean the orchestra can perform at a level that elevates them to world class and that this would be of more use to the region than if they were not “world class.”


Speaking of cats …

This cat food photo is from this website, in case you want seconds…

Thanks for reading!

Next week, a podcast with a psychiatrist on the ethics of diagnosing celebrities (including presidents) from afar, and whether a little more navel gazing would be more useful…

Happy Friday.