Lisa’s multi-grain wholemeal no-knead bread

Easy to make and with no kneading

No knead whole grain bread

Lisa is one of my lovely daughters. She’s also a great cook. This recipe is hers, tweaked just a little by One Wild Kiwi. It was inspired by Busy People’s Bread from Annabel Langbein‘s outstanding TV series and book, The Free Range Cook.

Annabel’s recipe’s great, but it uses too much yeast and for my money Lisa’s is even better.

For the many Kiwis–especially deprived expats–who love Vogel’s bread but not the price, this is the answer. I think this bread’s better than Vogels and other commercial whole grain loaves: it’s even healthier, it’s about 10% of the price and it’s easy to make.

Ingredients for 2 1400g loaves

Continue reading “Lisa’s multi-grain wholemeal no-knead bread”

How the 1% are cleaning out the rest of us: Part 2

Talk about hoisting yourself by your own petard!

Trickle down theory seems to have struck a roadblock
The graphs at the bottom of this post are from the New York Times. They’re self explanatory. What isn’t clear is how the movers and shakers of the world can be so bloody stupid. The figures are for the USA but it all applies here in New Zealand and throughout most of the world.

At the top of the graphic you can see that for the last 30 years wages have pretty much stayed the same relative to inflation for 82% of the workforce. The top 18% however, have creamed it. (The top 1% and even more avaricious 0.1% have really creamed it; we’ll get to them at another time.) As a result, in order to be able to buy all the flash cars, flat screen TVs, the ever more fancy houses, and the iPads  that media advertising bombards we peasants with, we’ve been borrowing up to our ears. Hence the current mess, and a situation where the people doing the lending are almost as deep in it as the borrowers.

Almost, but not quite. In some cases, not at all. (Continued below the graphic).

dummy line break

how the 1% are screwing the rest of us

Monumental stupidity from the top

What is mind-bogglingly and infuriatingly stupid about all this is that–as you can see from the second graph–it’s all happened before and it was perfectly clear that it was going to happen again. Not only that, it happened in the previous century (the 1800s) as well! More than once!

Sheesh.

Here’s how it works–or not

Continue reading “How the 1% are cleaning out the rest of us: Part 2”

How the 1% are cleaning out the rest of us: Part I

Occupy Wall Street posterThe Occupy Wall Street movement seems to be gaining momentum and there are people with a good track record of predictions—Dr Ravi Batra for instance—who believe that the time has come for such a movement to change the world. The non-productive money manipulators have broken the free market capitalist model and I’m hoping that pay-back time is nigh.

Where I part company with the Occupy Wall Street folk is that I don’t believe capitalism is the problem. Capitalism works well when adequately contained. It’s the failure of governments to regulate it that’s the problem.

Here is one of the ways the fat cats are creaming the system and destroying the world’s economy for the rest of us.

“Window Dressing”

The money managers borrow short term and use the loans to finance big risks without their shareholders’ knowledge. Then, prior to balance sheet publication, they sell the most toxic of those investments and pay back those borrowings. With luck, they make a killing on the dodgy assets without getting caught. The managers’ bonuses are earned on short-term gains, so their interests are not in line with the interests of their clients who want medium to long term gains on their investments.

The deceptive practice of some mutual funds, in which recently weak stocks are sold and recently strong stocks are bought just before the fund’s holdings are made public, in order to give the appearance that they’ve been holding good stocks all along.

The deceptive practice of using accounting tricks to make a company’s balance sheet and income statement appear better than they really are.
Investorwords.com

From The Wall Street JournalIt doesn’t always pay off as MF Global Holdings may discover very soon. The Wall Street Journal found such activity among “primary dealers,” major banks and securities firms that trade directly with the Federal Reserve are borrowing big during the financial quarter to invest in short-term high-risk investments to maximise their bonuses.When the end of the quarter looms they temporarily reduce borrowings by substantial amounts to hide their dodgy dealings.
Furthermore, the Journal reported in 2010: WSJ uncovered this dodgy practice at MF Global Holdings Ltd, who are filing for bankruptcy protection.

A Journal analysis of financial data from 18 large banks known as primary dealers showed that as a group, they have consistently lowered debt at the end of each of the past six quarters, reducing it on average by 42% from quarterly peaks.

Wall Street Journal 2011

Unfortunately the gambling hasn’t paid off this time:

From Reuters:

Call it the mother of all margin calls: Up to 50,000 former customers of bankrupt broker MF Global must find some $1 billion in additional collateral almost overnight, or be forced out of their trades.

Next: How the 1% are cleaning out the rest of us: Part 2