Failed Bank and Subprime Mess Brine Pickles

So the Federal Reserve worked feverishly over the weekend to save Fannie and Freddie and take over Indy, or as the WSJ reports in Treasury and Fed Pledge Aid For Ailing Mortgage Giants this morning: The Fed "maneuvering, attempted to shore up confidence in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by announcing a plan that placed the federal government firmly behind the battered mortgage giants."

Such a pickle.

Obviously, we need something to distract us while we watch the machinations and see the stock market's reactions after the ordinary citizens have had the weekend to mull over the news of the FED's late Friday take over of the thrift IndyMac. Today, the small investors may sit tight, buy more or they may rush the markets and pull retirement funds out of their 401s, SEPs, and IRAs. Early notice has the market bouncing miraculously back. So in the meantime, here's a brine pickle recipe -- usually made in a "crock" -- thus suitably apt for the times.

As part of my household's private Fed Protection Plan, we've been cutting expenses for several years now -- and two years ago, we enlarged our vegetable garden considerably. We've been making fruit butters and freezer tomato sauce, salsa, and billiard balls. This year we are adding brine pickling.

    1 part sea salt to 10 parts water
    (We used 1/2 cup salt dissolved in 5 cups water)
    1/8 -1/4 cup vinegar
    chili pepper
    clove garlic

    If you don't have the classic pickle crock, any wide mouthed glass or ceramic or crockery jar will do. We used as you can tell from photograph, a glass canister.

    Roughly 2 lbs to 10 cups brine.

    According to Euell Gibbons, any crisp vegetable will do -- cucumbers, green tomatoes, onions, cauliflower etc.

As the photo at the top attests, we made our brine, put the dill in the bottom in the jar, and then added eight 4" to 5" cucumbers, some dill in the bottom, a few slices of onion and three cloves of garlic.

We poured the brine over it all.

KEY The vegetables must be kept below the surface of the brine at all times. So the trick according to all the recipes we consulted is to weigh them down with a plate or other heavy object (rocks on the plate is Euell's suggestion) that keeps the vegetables from floating to the top.

We ad libbed and stuck a glass custard cup in the opening and threw in the mortar pestle for weight. The water creeps up around the sides of the cup, but is so far keeping the pickles submerged.

BACK AT THE RANCH- er, Farm: The Wall Street Journal told us this weekend that Saudis are buying farmland... Foreign Farm Investors Spark a Fear

Emerging nations are trying to cash in on the global food crisis by getting big importers of crops to effectively lease their farmlands -- a new trend that is already sparking complaints from farmers in some countries who are concerned about their own food supplies.

The latest example: a plan by the Indonesian government to develop a Connecticut-sized farming tract on the remote province of Papua to grow rice, sugar cane and soybeans. Promoters of the project have met with Saudi investors in the hopes of receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in return for dedicating part of the crops ...

BRINE FOLLOWUP: The recipes all tell us to skim the surface of the brine for the scum that occurs as part of the natural curing process (wish handling the scum who brought the sub-prime mess could be eliminated as easily). The recipes also warn to continue adding brine to keep the vegetables completely covered. After a couple of weeks one can wash the pickles off in a cold water bath and can them if so desired, or simply keep the brine going, adding vegetables and brine as needed.

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For some reason I cannot get this out of my mind re these two companies. Most companies would have a RIF (reduction in force) and then a reorganization to streamline and become lean and mean. I believe we must insist. Bloated salaries are now unacceptable........they have to get real fast.

that our Fed Protection Plan is an attempt to secure ourselves against the Federal Reserves intervention in our economic status.

Also... hat tip to Fiore over on Buzzflash Reuters reports that many more banks are primed (sorry, couldn't resist the pun) to fail. More banks may fail after IndyMac: analysts

More than 300 banks could fail in the next three years, said RBC Capital Markets analyst Gerard Cassidy, who had in February estimated no more than 150.

Banks face pressure as credit losses once concentrated in subprime mortgages spread to other home loans and debt once-thought safe. This has also led to investor worries about the stability of mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; IndyMac is not related to either.

Another by Fiore suggests that small towns are putting into place their own versions of protect us from those who supposedly protect us: Small towns get creative as fuel costs bite

In Scotch Plains, New Jersey, police are doing more cruising on bikes, while elsewhere across America, small towns are taking unusual measures to rein in rising costs.

One Connecticut town plans to put century-old dams back to work generating electricity, while other communities are telling workers to turn off their vehicles when stopped instead of letting them idle.

According to Bloomberg, there go our taxdollars to line the pockets of those who rake in millions for their unique ability to not be able to manage their cash. Fannie Plan a `Disaster' to Rogers; Goldman Says Sell (Update3)

Taxpayers will be saddled with debt if Congress approves U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's request for the authority to buy unlimited stakes in and lend to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Rogers said in a Bloomberg Television interview. Rogers is betting that Fannie Mae shares will keep tumbling.


``I don't know where these guys get the audacity to take our money, taxpayer money, and buy stock in Fannie Mae,'' Rogers, 65, said in an interview from Singapore. ``So we're going to bail out everybody else in the world. And it ruins the Federal Reserve's balance sheet and it makes the dollar more vulnerable and it increases inflation.''

In a volatile session, the stocks posted both double-digit gains and losses over the span of only a couple of hours.

There it is in 25 words or less, showing how to make real money at the craps table, which is the current mindset in the "market". Bah.

The two companies put $3 billion on the block this morning, sold out with no problems, as they will with the $5 billion debt sale on Wednesday. 'Course by that time the fast flying fickle fingers of falsity will have enriched profit-takers even further.

Team action going on to prop things up?

We should front page the talc brigade -- somehow this day seems right.

Course there is that sewage plant in San Francisco that they are thinking of naming for President Bush, though according to Think Progress, some don't think that is fair to the sewage plant.