Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Good Morning on this wet Wednesday. We had rain overnight so I won't water anything right away. We had an interesting morning yesterday. Mom was preparing cheese stuffed poblanos(chillies rellenos) while I was preparing our first cayenne peppers for drying. As some of you may know, the first step in doing up the poblanos is to char the surface and let them steep in a paper bag until the skin separates after which you can scrape the skin off and remove the veins and seeds. It can be done on electric burner but it takes a bit of doing and the results are more than a bit uneven. And the charring creates fumes that can be intense. Meanwhile, I was cleaning the cayenne peppers and, even without heating, they added to the irritation. If I had a place to string the peppers to dry I would do it, but I don't. Also I planted the Cow's Horn variety which are about 9 inches long and two inches in diameter. Much too big to put in the dehydrator whole. Next year I may grow the standard variety instead. They would fit. We recently saw a segment on the History Channel devoted to peppers which showed workers preparing hot chillies for processing. They were wearing gas masks. We know why.

This New York Times story was the first one I found on HuffingtonPost this morning. I am not surprised. Last year, the Federal government came through with help to prevent layoffs and I asked then 'what about next year?' Well, now we know--another $10B so that school districts can hire back teachers. But now the districts are asking the same question I asked last year. The Chicago Board, according the news reports, does plan to rehire teachers but not as many as they fired and the Union has already announced plans to challenge which teachers the Board plans to rehire. The question I have now is 'how much longer can we kick this can down the road?'

This HuffingtonPost story should also be no surprise. Without Freddie and Fannie, and without cash sales there would have been no mortgage market during the first half of the year. Of course the big banks want the two GSEs to continue. How better to maintain their profits? So the big banks want to continue to create mortgages that will end up on someone else's books while their profits are assured. Capitalism is wonderful until it isn't.

HuffingtonPost also linked to this article in the Daily Beast which continues the theme from yesterday of who do you trust concerning the Gulf oil spill. The whole situation reminds me of the scenarios in Jaws and its various progeny--on the one hand you have people who are telling pubic officials or corporate suits that there is a deadly problem but those people in charge don't acknowledge the problem for various economic/political concerns. Problem here is that I strongly suspect we will continue to engage in a half-assed attack on the problem which will mitigate the damage to corporate bottom lines and political careers while stretching out the damage to everyone else.

This MSNBC story surprised us this morning. We used to buy a couple of the brands of eggs mentioned but last spring found that we much preferred a brand carried by one of our year-round farm markets which is locally produced. Mom likes the flavor much more and the price isn't that much more. Now we have another reason to stay with the more expensive eggs.

I also found this story on MSNBC which had me scratching my head. I saw stories on the national news, CNN and CNBC which claimed that their reporters had sent samples of Gulf sea food to independent lab for testing. The results claimed that they found no traces of oil 'hydrocarbons' or the chemical dispersants. But the story to which I linked above says that the FDA and NOAA are developing tests for the dispersants. They don't have reliable tests yet so what gives? How can they be sure the independent labs know what they are doing or how accurate their results are?

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