Friday, January 13, 2012

Good morning, Everyone.  Well, we finally got our first significant snow of the season.  And it brings much lower temperatures with it.  I wish I had the power to put the snow where I would like it, Nicola.  Unfortunately, something or someone (take your pick and name your poison) has considerably more power than I do.  But we were just remarking yesterday, in the wake of the tornadoes in South Carolina, the winter heatwave in California and flooding in Houston, that we don't seem to have our seasons any more.  Tornadoes no longer appear in the spring.  Fire season extends throughout the year.  But to finally get something seasonal makes me feel better and we don't have to go anywhere for the next four days.  During the winter we make sure that we have at least a week's worth of food and necessaries plus a few days.  And substitutes in case the perishables do run out.

The teaser headline on this article ("Winking denial?") seems to reflect a consensus among the news media and bloggers.  I couldn't give you a statistical tally but I get the strong impression that the denials expressed by Secretary of State Clinton have been taken with something more than a pinch of salt.  And the facetious quote from the Israeli general that there seems to have been a rash of suicides among the Iranian nuclear scientists adds to the skeptical reception the denials have received.

Our morning news had a segment on this study this morning.  At least the BBC account more accurately notes that the risk they found involved 'processed' meats.  Our news reader finally mentioned that as a throw-away comment while the trailer on screen harped on the risk from sausage and bacon.  However, the two accounts had one interesting difference:  our local news expert (an M.D.) put the chances into more understandable form.  The BBC report talked about a huge percentage increase in possible incidences of pancreatic cancer with increased consumption.  Sounds horrible to talk about a 30% increase (or something like that).  The local expert said that the actual potential for any individual is about 1.5% which rises to (wait for it!!!)---1.7%.  We found that rather amusing because we only eat bacon or sausage (maybe) 3 or 4 times a month and we either make our own sausage from home ground pork or we buy it from our local meat market which seasons its own onsite ground pork.  Either way--no nitrites.  And our bacon is a brand that smokes it without nitrites.  Either way we don't care to forego the pleasure of bacon or sausage to remove such a small possibility of pancreatic cancer.

This Red Tape article amused me a bit this morning.  I love how the results skewered the agist prejudices so thoroughly.  So grandma and grandpa puttering around the internet aren't the most likely marks for internet scammers.  One factor that no one mentioned in the equation determining who might fall victim to the various scams is experience, unless skepticism is related to experience.  All of the scams I have read about are simply the internet versions of old scams that ran through the phone lines or the mails not long ago.  Thanks to the internet these vermin can reach more people in a shorter time but that is the only difference.  Older people have probably already fallen for the get rich quick schemes, the fake charities, the worthless free gifts to get the 'fantastic' offer and have learned skepticism from the experience.

Gardening has been a growing trend for the last several years--since the financial melt down.  It in't often that a financial page takes note given our highly urbanized society.  Marketwatch has today taken note.  I checked out Gardener's Supply, the site featured in the story, and they have a lot of interesting items.

A year ago the financial pundits were eagerly awaiting the '50 States Attorneys General' agreement to settle the robo-signing scandal.  Then the New York Attorney General Schneiderman balked because the agreement would grant a very large blanket immunity to the financial institutions and short-circuit any state fraud investigations/prosecutions.  Gradually he was joined by a handful of other AGs and now evidently 14 of them are meeting to discuss how to handle investigations and possible prosecutions.  This little item from firedoglake provides the story and some of the background.  And Yves Smith, who has covered this story at Naked Capitalism since it began, has this take here.  My own take on this mess: fraud is fraud and is a crime.  To give the fraudsters a pass because they claim they are too big and systemically valuable to be forced to obey the law or to penalize for their crimes is simply to abandon any idea of a legal/justice system.

1 comment:

Nicola said...

Good to see that you are enjoying the BBC. Have you noticed that when you watch their TV that there are no commercial breaks. BBC Four have some good documentaries and wildlife programmes.