I don’t suppose it’s much of a revelation for me to acknowledge that blogging is a learn-as-you-go routine for me. I’m gratified that many individuals have found useful information and conversation here. It’s especially gratifying to know that so much of the benefit people realize comes from the experiences and knowledge that readers have been kind enough to share.

Because blogging is still a relatively new endeavor, there aren’t a lot of hard-and-fast rules. So I’ve come to trust my instinct in much of what I do here.

My decision to require registration was more instinctive than anything else. I sensed that an increasing number of discussions were being impeded by personal insults and inappropriate off-subject comments. I sensed that registration might help restore more of a sense of responsibility, and thereby civility–in the spirit of the guidelines David Kendall’s comment links to (“There can be no ongoing discourse without some degree of moderation…”)

The registration definitely wasn’t intended as a way to impose tight rules or give me a way to monitor people more closely, as Don Neeper suggests. I leave such matters to our bureaucrats. In fact, I’ve suggested to a few people who wrote me to complain about the registration that they consider signing on with phony names. The idea here is hopefully develop more of a sense of “ownership” of comments that goes with a consistent identity, whether true or false. I think everyone appreciates comments like those from people like Hugh Betcha and milk farmer, and I hope they’ll continue.

There’s nothing set in stone about the registration process. I’m open to changing it, or getting rid of it, as time goes on. But I would like to give it a reasonable trial.


What happens when a country goes bankrupt? For an early clue, there’s a terrifying story from Bloomberg about rapidly developing food shortages in Iceland. It seems that the country’s currency has become nearly worthless in global markets, so overseas wholesalers won’t sell to Iceland’s retailers without payment in something other than the Icelandic currency (though a loan from Russia may tide the country over for a while).

What do you do if you are a citizen of Iceland? It seems as if you’ll need to either be growing some of your own food and/or be prepared to spend a huge percentage of your earnings on food and other essentials. If you want to travel abroad, you’ll need to have access to foreign currency or, even better, to gold.

Which brings me to another subject. I’ve been seeing recurring postings about shortages of gold coins and bullion in the U.S. and around the world. No one seems to be able to explain why–the price of gold has actually been pretty level over the last couple months–other than the fact that increasing numbers of Americans and others don’t want to be caught in the same position as those in Iceland.

If we’ve learned anything over the past couple of years it is this: If the government doesn’t want us to have access to some particular item, it’s probably because the product has lots of benefits that are helpful for ordinary people, but not necessarily for corporate interests. That’s why the “paradigm shift” Linda Diane Feldt describes in her comment on my previous post is well under way.