The local PBS station aired an interesting program last night: The Botany of Desire. Michael Pollen was the primary narrator and guided the viewer along the journey of development of four plants and their relationship to man over time. He tried to present it from the plants' point of view with their development as active strategies to ensure their own continued survival. I think he could have done without that particular narrative slant. But on the whole it was an interesting program that focused on apples, tulips, marijuana, and potatoes. I already knew most of what he brought up but there were a few surprises. I didn't realize that up and down history of apples and their connection to the temperance movement. Most apples grown in the 19th century were used to produce hard cider because the fruit was bitter and not edible. Every now and then a sport produced a sweet apple and those were propagated by grafting because growing apple trees from seeds is genetic roulette--the trees grown may or may not (probably won't) resemble the parent plant. If you get a chance see the film. It is well worth the time.
Interesting comment you had on LBJ, Lois. However, it isn't surprising. A lot of people have noticed that in certain respects the differences between the Repthuglicans and Damnocrats are more a matter of degree than substance. Both are very pro business. Until recently the pro labor stance of most Damnocrats masked their business links. Now, however, that so many have decided that social programs and social justice are negotiable but the advantages for big business, especially the military suppliers and the finance sector, are not, that bias is clearly visible. Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised. The rise of broad based democratic governments began during the 18th century with the rise of a large middle class outside the traditional social/political structure that came out of the Middle Ages. This commercial and urban class had no real place in the tradition that divided society into 'those who fight, those who pray, and those who work.' But their financial and commercial power demanded they be included in the political power structure. The history of the intervening three centuries has been the history of including more and more people into that middle class--into the exercise of political power. The history of the last thirty years has been the collapse of that middle class and the usurpation of political power by the concentrated financial power of large companies and trans-national corporations. Mitt Romney took a bit of flack when he claimed that 'corporations are people.' Actually, he wasn't wrong--corporations are persons in a legal sense. The question of course is how they exercise political power.
I agree, Kay. I love Russ' blog also. He is such an unabashed liberal, as am I.