This is an Open Thread
Good morning, TNB peeps! Happy New Year to you all.
Wow, what a year. It went by too fast.
Depending on what’s up for today, this post may be a short and or lacking. I’m in remodel mode and have until Thursday to finish up getting ready for the electrician on Friday. Whatever I miss today I will add in to Tuesday’s.
The deal with remodeling an 85+ year old house is you just never know what you are going to find as you start tearing out. As my dad used to say, whelp, you’ve started drinking the spittoon. Which never made sense, because why do you have to keep drinking, why wouldn’t you stop? And who the hell would drink from a spittoon? Yeah, I got nothing.
For some reason houses weren’t grounded back then, and for some other reason neither my dad nor mom in all the years they lived there found reason to get it done. We used to (morbidly) joke it was a fire waiting to happen, which wasn’t too far from the truth. Anyhoo, I’m drinking the spittoon and getting things up to code. YaY, me. 🥴
Here is a random fun fact for the day. On the alternate site (factba.se) for POTUS calendar/daily schedule, on their Tweeter feed they have this as their pinned tweet:
Biden finished up his weekend with a walk on the beach with the new puppers.
Omg, those ears. Nothing more ridiculous than a German Shephard’s ears as they grow into them in that first year.
After much fanfare and to-do I had to cut off because it would make the print too small to see it all, Biden arrived back in DC today approximately 9:45 am EST and will hold a virtual meet up with farmers and ranchers to talk about ‘boosting competition with meat-processing industry.’ (Press release statement below.)
Meanwhile, federal offices in the DC area have been closed today. Only things I can think, this is their “official” New Year’s Day holiday or, from other comments on this thread, they’re closing due to predicted 3-7 inch of snow in the area. 🤷♀️
From the White House Briefing Room today:
Joint Statement of the Leaders of the Five Nuclear-Weapon States on Preventing Nuclear War and Avoiding Arms Races
JANUARY 03, 2022
STATEMENTS AND RELEASES
The People’s Republic of China, the French Republic, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America consider the avoidance of war between Nuclear-Weapon States and the reduction of strategic risks as our foremost responsibilities.
We affirm that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. As nuclear use would have far-reaching consequences, we also affirm that nuclear weapons—for as long as they continue to exist—should serve defensive purposes, deter aggression, and prevent war. We believe strongly that the further spread of such weapons must be prevented.
We reaffirm the importance of addressing nuclear threats and emphasize the importance of preserving and complying with our bilateral and multilateral non-proliferation, disarmament, and arms control agreements and commitments. We remain committed to our Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) obligations, including our Article VI obligation “to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”
We each intend to maintain and further strengthen our national measures to prevent unauthorized or unintended use of nuclear weapons. We reiterate the validity of our previous statements on de-targeting, reaffirming that none of our nuclear weapons are targeted at each other or at any other State.
We underline our desire to work with all states to create a security environment more conducive to progress on disarmament with the ultimate goal of a world without nuclear weapons with undiminished security for all. We intend to continue seeking bilateral and multilateral diplomatic approaches to avoid military confrontations, strengthen stability and predictability, increase mutual understanding and confidence, and prevent an arms race that would benefit none and endanger all. We are resolved to pursue constructive dialogue with mutual respect and acknowledgment of each other’s security interests and concerns.
FACT SHEET: The Biden-Harris Action Plan for a Fairer, More Competitive, and More Resilient Meat and Poultry Supply Chain
JANUARY 03, 2022
STATEMENTS AND RELEASES
The following is a partial pull quote of the press release. For full content, see here.
In July, President Biden signed an Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy to create a fairer, more resilient, and more dynamic economy. Over the last few decades, we’ve seen too many industries become dominated by a handful of large companies that control most of the business and most of the opportunities—raising prices and decreasing options for American families, while also squeezing out small businesses and entrepreneurs.
The meat and poultry processing sector is a textbook example, with lack of competition hurting consumers, producers, and our economy.
Four large meat-packing companies control 85 percent of the beef market. In poultry, the top four processing firms control 54 percent of the market. And in pork, the top four processing firms control about 70 percent of the market. The meatpackers and processors buy from farmers and sell to retailers like grocery stores, making them a key bottleneck in the food supply chain.
When dominant middlemen control so much of the supply chain, they can increase their own profits at the expense of both farmers—who make less—and consumers—who pay more. Most farmers now have little or no choice of buyer for their product and little leverage to negotiate, causing their share of every dollar spent on food to decline. Fifty years ago, ranchers got over 60 cents of every dollar a consumer spent on beef, compared to about 39 cents today. Similarly, hog farmers got 40 to 60 cents on each dollar spent 50 years ago, down to about 19 cents today.
Even as farmers’ share of profits have dwindled, American consumers are paying more—with meat and poultry prices now the single largest contributor to the rising cost of food people consume at home.
And, when too few companies control such a large portion of the market, our food supply chains are susceptible to shocks. When COVID-19 or other disasters such as fires or cyberattacks shutter a plant, many ranchers have no other place to take their animals. Our overreliance on just a handful of giant processors leaves us all vulnerable, with any disruptions at these bottlenecks rippling throughout our food system.
Roundtable on Promoting Competition and Reducing Prices in the Meat Industry
Scheduled for 1/3/22, 12:30 PM
Looks like that is all I can grab for today, so that’s a wrap.
Everyone have a good day, I’ll see you in the comments later this afternoon/evening.
This is an Open Thread