Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Tuesday--

We should have several cool days which I think my gardens and I know I will love. I hope I won't have to water as much. I saw blossoms on one of my sets of cucumber plants. I have to examine my peppers more thoroughly to find the developing peppers so I can keep an eye on them. The beans are also beginning to bloom so I have to watch for developing pods.

I have seen this story before and the link doesn't add much to the story. But I agree with the headline. The situation illustrates perfectly why I am against these "trade" treaties which are nothing more than gimmes to the big corporations. They are simply "I win and win big or I lose and win a little less." Heads I win, tails you lose. Total shit.

The Atlantic has a good analysis of our political system. "Chaos syndrome" sounds like an accurate diagnosis and it won't be cured easily or quickly. The author notes the rise in self-interested individualism in the process of how our politics became dysfunctional but I have to ask: what do you expect considering how long we have cultivated rampant, atomistic individualism in our society?

Monday, June 27, 2016

Sunday--

Well, I was planning to harvest some herbs after I finished watering everything and exterminating Japanese beetles but I saw dark clouds moving in and decided to leave the herbs for tomorrow. Good thing because we have a monsoon rain outside now not ten minutes after I came in. I hope I can get ahead of the beetles before they become more than minor pests. I have drowned about 25 between yesterday and today and stomped two more that fell on the cement. They seem to like a couple of the calibrachoa and black velvet petunias. I haven't found any sign on the nearby strawberries.

Monday--

Good morning on this first day of the last week of the first half of the year. As awkward as that sounds what it amounts to is an OMG this year is half over. We expect another hot day so I will do the minimum in the gardens. The rest of the week is expected to be much cooler so I will harvest herbs and do what ever else should be done then

Tom Englehardt put up this post by John Feffer that I think is right on the money explaining why we are seeing the rise of Euro-skeptic/nationalist movements (which culminated but might not end with Brexit) and the rise of Donald Trump, and why this year's election is not (contrary to the fevered vocalizations of some political pundits) the most important election of our lives. The next one (or two) might be real doozies.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Thursday--

The most severe weather passed us. We did have thunder last night but not much rain. I will have to see what the gardens look like when we have light outside. The weather people are reporting four confirmed tornadoes overnight in areas west of Chicago.

Nimue Brown has a nice piece this morning about our national smugness.

Friday--

Nice and sunny and somewhat cool this morning but the weather people predict highs in the 80s today. I need to check out the plants outside. I am sure we didn't get enough rain to matter all that much. I saw some areas I need to trim a bit before the plants get overgrown. Otherwise, not much work to do.

I do love Betty White. She is old enough she simply doesn't worry about those who might not like what she says, so she says what she thinks. I agree with this sentiment and thank the Archdruidess for posting it.

Saturday--

Supposed to be warm and sunny today with temps topping out around 90. The first of the lisianthus is blooming. It looks something like a rose which is nice since I can't grow roses out there. I tried but the cold during the winter will freeze my containers solid which roses don't like at all. The beans have also started blooming while the tomatoes and peppers are covered with flowers and some fruit forming with more to come. I really should take some pictures--I have been way too lazy in that area.

An interesting analysis of the political season which notes a few parallels with the situation in Europe. Contrary Perspective also has a good piece which makes points I have noted in conversations over the last months. Like that author have noted, with more than a note of cynicism, that our media had said nothing about the British vote until the unthinkable happened. Then all the commentary has been about the effects on the value of currencies and stocks. It pisses me that our media has become increasingly parochial in this supposedly globalizing world. What? did they think globalization only applied to economics? It occurs to me that Cameron violated a couple of rules taught to budding lawyers and which politicians perhaps should remember. First, never ask a question (or pose a referendum) you don't know the answer to. (Corollary: you never know the answer when an election is involved.) Second, never ask a question you don't want to know the answer to. I find it fascinating that Brexit is all over our news now--of course with slight attention to the underlying causes and overwhelming focus on what might happen to us. We are nothing if not self-centered.

I heard a bare snippet of this on the morning TV news--which hardly surprises since our faux news is totally unexplained or analyzed snippet. But I am reminded of a time I lived in Missouri and the referendum concerning riverboat gambling appeared so often it began to smell like a fish left out for three hot days. The evangelicals opposed it bitterly while others supported it with equal fervor. The supporters won the first round by about the same margin the Leave side won Brexit. The evangelicals came back and won the a second vote by about the same margin. Then the third vote went back the other way. Democracy is not "vote-vote-and-vote-again until your side wins." Nor is it stacking the deck so there is no way the vote can't go your way.

I have seen a number of articles and posts which posit the notion that older Britons screwed the younger ones by voting for Brexit. A good many noted that the young favored remaining in the EU by about the same margin that the older voters wanted to leave. Key: who didn't vote. This article basically makes it clear that the young voters basically screwed themselves because they didn't turn out to vote. One chart reveals that somewhere around 75% of voters older than 35 voted while only about 50% of those under 35 did. Then look at the chart of the age distribution for those voters.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Wednesday--

I am waiting for enough light to see outside. It is only a bit after 4:30am and still dark though the eastern side of the sky is getting a bit lighter. I don't think we got any rain yet. We are under flash flood warning but I don't expect that we will have any problems in our little corner here and we aren't planning on driving anywhere. The first pulse of rain/storm should come a bit after 7 if the weather people have their timing right.

I just had an odd thought connecting the stories about the attempt to restrict guns, assault style weapons particularly, in the wake of the Orlando murders and some of the medical stories I have read over the last year, especially those dealing with high blood pressure/heart attack where doctors advocate expanding the pool of people who should be on statins. In each case we can't readily identify people who might "at risk," at risk of developing heart failure or at risk of going off the deep end and killing a bunch of people. So advocates recommend using a meat ax instead of a scalpel. Most patients won't develop the physical ailments that statins might help and most people who have or can get access to guns won't use them on fellow human beings. It reminds me of a scene in an old Charlie Chan movie where Charlie is running out of time to identify a murderer and one of the characters noted that ancient Chinese emperors didn't have that problem. Charlie replies that the emperor would indeed solve the problem quickly and efficiently. Given ten people of whom one was guilty he would simply order ten heads chopped off. We have entered an era where we are guilty until proven innocent and where accusation equals guilt.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Tuesday--

Welcome to the first full day of summer. The solstice was yesterday. The temperature topped 90 by a degree or two and it should do the same today. Thunder storms may be coming in later today and sporadically through tomorrow which, we hope will be cooler. Gardening right now consists of gathering herbs for drying, watering and pruning a bit here and there to keep the tomatoes under control. The beans look like they are beginning to flower.

I said a couple of days ago that if Paul Ryan agreed to allow a vote on the gun control bills the Democrats filibustered to get to the floor, it was because he was sure they wouldn't pass. The benefit on the Republican side was they could bask in a (marginal) aura of being democratic and allowing other opinions to be heard while being assured their constituents (the NRA) wouldn't get their noses out of joint. The benefit to the Democrats: a pyrrhic victory that gives the illusion they are actually doing something. Smoke and mirrors. Well, the House voted down all of the bills. My cynicism was well justified.

I read this and expressed my opinion in some very bad language. My take: they simply couldn't allow a girl to win in a typically male competition.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Saturday--

Watered everything today. That is going to be an everyday activity from now on. We just aren't getting anywhere near enough rain. At the end of last gardening season I got three sets of hoop frames for the gardens. I finally got to use them this year but I find I can make better use of them if I don't use them the way they were intended. I will have to take pictures soon to illustrate what I am doing with them. I think some of the beans are trying to bloom and the tomatoes and peppers look like they will yield very well this year, if nothing untoward happens. The herb drying season is about to get into high gear also.

I didn't see much I really wanted to comment on so I will leave this until tomorrow.

Sunday--

The weather people say it will be another hot and sunny day. I will have to get out early and water everything and fill the bird feeders.

Monday--

Another 90* yesterday and warm overnight. The heat makes you feel like a wrung out dishrag. I got everything watered outside and even snipped a few dead blossoms off some of the plants as well as running the claw cultivator over some patches of weeds trying to establish themselves. But the heat built too fast to do much else. Update: the temps outside reached 90 a couple of hours ago. We gave up and put the air on.

Yves Smith had this post this morning. It lays out a good case against toll roads and the so-called private/public partnerships. All those terms mean is that the private investors have built in guarantees of profit while the public is assured of shouldering all the risks.

I have never seen this before although it may have happened. An airline turned back to its origin in Texas because of temperatures in Phoenix. The article says it is illegal for airplanes to operate once the temperature reaches 120* because of the adverse effects on the plane's systems. The temperature at the time was 117*.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Thursday--

We actually ran the air conditioning yesterday. The humidity was stifling which was a worse problem than the heat alone. It should be cooler today and dry. We'll see.

I saw this story sketchily presented on the morning news broadcast. I had a couple of thoughts on it. First, the Repthuglican agreement to consider and vote on the Damnocrat gun control measures doesn't mean much if a 2/3 majority is required to pass it. Allowing a vote you are sure will fail looks a lot more democratic than refusing to vote at all--which is what they are doing with Presidential nominees. Second, as far as the bills themselves go they constitute another shredding of American legal rights. The "no-fly list" and the "terrorist watch list" are both sick jokes. People who have done nothing wrong get on them for any number of reasons (names mistyped, similar sounding names, etc.) and can never get off. Their right to travel is cancelled with no judicial process or review and now our politicians think being listed on such a list should cancel one's right to legally own fire arms a right supposedly protected by the constitution. I don't know how many reporters have reported that the Orlando murderer was "under investigation" wondering how he could possibly have been allowed to legally buy his guns. They don't seem to understand that "under investigation" does not mean "arrested" which does not mean "indicted" which does not mean "convicted." We have become such cowardly wusses that we don't seem to mind the erosion of our rights. Or are we such idiots that we think the abrogation of such rights only applies to "those people" and will still be available when we might need them? The only good thing about the Damnocrats' action is that they did get up on their hind legs and make a stand.

Friday--

What a whiplash pair of days we had. Wednesday was hot and humid. The temperature topped out in the low 90s. Yesterday didn't get out of the 60s. Today we should be back in the 80s with plenty of sunshine. Just some general puttering and maintenance in the gardens today. Everything is doing nicely.

Nimue Brown has an interesting and thought provoking post this morning: Contemplating Violence. Everyone seems at a loss trying to understand the motives of people like the Orlando Murderer, or the Church Murderer who is going on trial soon. A good many are trying to see what "signs" they missed (or that the FBI or other agencies missed). I wonder if they, like Nimue in the event she describes, simply didn't understand what they were seeing. And in an era of diminished expectations and failed dreams finding scapegoats is very easy.