Thanks, Lois, on the green thumb compliment. I agree that African violets can be very temperamental. I had no luck with them before I lived in Missouri and I didn't have much after I moved to Indiana. Nothing I did made them happy. I finally gave up.
For anyone who wants to see what a governmental shut down would look like we may get a preview by watching Minnesota. What we seem to have at all levels of government these days is a MAD strategy (mutually assured destruction, for those who don't remember the Cold War). The problem with that is what would happen if one side decides that destruction is acceptable so long as the other side goes too. They could do what Illinois is studying--sell advertising space on their license plates. I hope, if they put the plan into action, they give the individual drivers the right to choose which logos they would have on their plates. There are some companies I think are so reprehensible I would not want to support them in any way.
The mainstream news media has carried reports on just how much all those 'fees' make for the airlines. This USA Today story gives the bare bones of it. This is eerily familiar. I remember similar stories about the banks. Any industry that relies on fees only tangentially related to the service it is selling is unhealthy. I was going to say that no likes to be nickeled and dimed but the fees are so much more than nickels and dimes that the phrase is a terrible understatement.
The copper thefts continue. And the thieves are getting incredibly brazen. And the consequences are increasingly inconvenient for a lot of people--other than the thieves themselves, of course.
It seems that pensions are being targeted in places other than where Repthuglican wingnuts have gained control of state governments. Teachers in the UK have authorized a one-day strike over proposed changes to their pension arrangements. One of the two unions involved has never before, in its 127 year history, voted for a strike. Hungary will post a debt of only 77% of GDP (as opposed to a projected debt of 81%) thanks largely to a transfer of 97% of private pensions (with their assets) to the state system. So the pension surpluses will mask the real size of the debt just like Social Security does over here.
Natural News had this surprising story this morning. Do you know what is in your commercially produced bread? I checked this out and evidently it is real. It isn't as bad as the 'pink goo' and the meat 'glue' but if you like to know what is in your food and where it comes from--it is just another consideration.