I did see something interesting this morning on our local news. Farmers in China have had an epidemic of exploding watermelons. It seems they overused fertilizers and other agricultural chemicals in an attempt to make more money. The only part of the story that surprised me was the exploding part. That farmers (anywhere) would succumb to the old notion 'if a little is good, more is better and a lot is best.' And the temptation to get bigger produce to market earlier is endemic, however you can do it.
As I said above, there isn't much new in the news--just new revelations about the same old themes. So a government audit of the five largest mortgage firms in the country reveals a pattern of rampant fraud on the government. These companies (and those they took over with government help) engaged in wholesale fraud on borrowers. Why should the government be any different? The only question is how much of that fraud will they get away with. They are trying real hard arguing that they are so important in our economy that we should over look their predatory behavior.
I am a bit bemused by a juxtaposition on the news over the last couple of days by the story of the head of the IMF in a US jail accused of attempted rape of a hotel chambermaid, Arnold Schwarzenegger revealed to be the father of child with a long time family employee a decade ago, and the question on a CNN viewer poll of whether the sexual misconduct of public figures should be held against them. As usual, the question is rather broad and indiscriminate. A politician who runs on a theme of 'family values' who cheats on his wife? Hell, yes!! An international banker who tried to force sex on an unwilling woman? Most definitely!! A ten-year-old affair discovered after the politician has left office? Maybe. Maybe not.
However, the e-mails CNN received on the issue show an interesting gap. On the one hand, one group sees the 'private' moral decisions or honesty in private dealings as an indicator of the honesty and morality of the public person in his/her public dealings. On the other hand, another group thinks that there should be a wall between public and private lives and decisions. An interesting problem.