Thursday, May 31, 2012

Well, the garden pictures have been posted so on to other things.  Our internet and cable were solid yesterday--for the first time in a month.  We hope the new wire outside will, finally, take care of the problem.  We are still a bit frustrated that it took so long to accurately diagnose the problem.  And we definitely are not happy about the missed appointment that was never scheduled on their end, the failure to even record that call, and the snafu with the appointments and calls on Tuesday.  For now we will let things go as they are--but changing carriers is always an option.  I will keep ATT in mind, Kay.  Netflix might have the British public TV Wimsey stories.  I saw a couple on a PBS station some years back.  I still have the complete collection of the books including the three new ones written by Jill Walsh based on material Dorothy Sayers had generated before her death.  I highly recommend them.

And here is another entry in the on-going Repthuglican efforts to purge voting roles.  It is amazing how well those $#%$# manage to target women, elderly, minority and democrats.  NPR provides this account of the issue.

Isn't this just typical of the agribusiness mindset?  Their scientists have spent the last many decades and who knows how much money breeding tomatoes (and other veggies) for longer shelf life, transportability, and uniformity only to find that a significant part of their potential consumers are unhappy with the tasteless (and nutritionally deficient) product and now they have spent more buckets full of money to find the genes that govern flavor so they can develop genetically modified tomatoes to cure the problem they created in the first place.  Sounds oh so efficient and economical, doesn't it?

Just in case anyone still believes the Repthuglican bullshit that we are 'Number One' in health care, take this antidote.

The nanny strikes again.  I get really irritated with the politicians who push this issue to absurdity.  I don't mind the publicity given to the calorie content of various foods--especially fast foods and prepared foods.  We need that information.  I also applaud the move to make the sellers and manufacturers provide as much accurate information as possible on the labels or on site.  But I resent the notion that they can prohibit the sale of thing I might want to buy but they have decided, supposedly for my own good, I shouldn't have.

Another example of just how idiotic our economic system is: there is no state in which a 40 hour work week at minimum wage would allow a worker to afford a 2-bedroom apartment.  From my own experience it would be very difficult to even afford a 1-bedroom apartment.  And only if you didn't have a car payment, auto insurance, or health insurance payments.

Chris In Paris picked up on the FDA's rejection of the corn syrup lobby's attempt to get its product relabeled 'corn sugar.'  I hadn't expected the FDA to show some backbone in dealing with a deep pockets industry group but am delighted to be surprised.  Chris notes the irony of the group's history of touting its product as being a healthier alternative to white sugar.  (healthier only in terms of how many fewer but emptier calories)  But it is ironic in the industry's assumption that consumers can't translate from 'high fructose corn syrup' to 'corn sugar.'  If we don't want the one, why would we want it under the other name?

Once upon a time the Indiana legislature became the butt of jokes when they tried to legislate the value of pi at 3.  Now the North Carolina legislature can join the scientifically challenged club.
 Good Thursday morning on this last day of May. It is very cool this morning--only a bit over 50.  And cloudy.  With a bit of a breeze.  We haven't had any rain yet.  So I think it is time for some gardening pictures and update.  First up--one of the two spearmint plants from cuttings from the plant I bought last year.  Like all mints, these behave much like the weeds they once were.  I have already harvested two dehydrator trays of leaves earlier in the week.  They root so easily that taking cuttings may be the best way to get next year's plants.
 This is one of the new mints this year--orange mint.  I harvested one tray from this plant.  Another candidate for cuttings later in the season. I am looking forward to adding it to my hot tea over the winter.  Hmmmm--may do that with the iced tea this summer.
 I added savory to the herb line up this year.  Mom found some herbal/spice mixes that are good salt substitutes that call for savory.  She finished up the store bought stock so, when I found seedlings at our favorite farm market, I picked up two.  I haven't looked up the specifics on how hardy it is or if I can propagate by cuttings.  I find herbs are a bit difficult to start from seed.
 This is the view of the right side of the patio.  I have corn planted at the back, the three blueberries on the board between the two back containers, plus basil, sunflowers, patchouli, stevia, tansy, pyrethrum, love-in-a-mist, peppers, tomatoes, mints, roses, butter bush squash, beans, cucumbers, and vine peach in the various containers.
Here is a close up of my mini-roses.  I rescued two of the plants last year.  A friend saw them at a Walgreens store and thought they would make nice gifts on a Mother's day.  I got one just because she thought I would like it.  (I am not a mother.)  Mom let me take over hers.  As usual with stores like Walgreens, the plants were crammed into a small pot to make a nice but temporary show.  I trimmed them back, reduced the number of plants to the strongest from each pot, and transplanted them into larger pots.  They overwintered in a large container and this spring I put all three in one of the large pots I got at the end of last season.  I added another rose last year that has a heavenly scent.  The only scented mini-rose I have found so far.  Just love walking by it.

Sage and lemon verbena.
 Another new herb--variegated marjoram.  We visited one of the other farm seasonal farm markets earlier in the spring and found this item.  One of my few truly impulse buys.
 Second year for this rosemary.  It spent the winter indoors and I was not at all sure it would recover. It is not hardy in my zone and I think it didn't like the lower light levels inside over winter.  This year I am going to try using one of the daylight balanced fluorescent lights to provide more light for all of the inside plants.  But it is coming back nicely.
 This is one of the heirloom lettuces.  Isn't it pretty.
 Oregano--one of two.  The other (not shown) I started from seed.  Again, starting this herb from seed is difficult.  I didn't think I would get anything from the seeds I planted.  And one is not a very good sprouting yield.
Another pot of really pretty heirloom lettuce.
 The mini-greenhouse is still in operation.  That is where I will keep the lettuces and spinach going this year.  I did put a bit in the beds in odd spaces but the greenhouse seems a better place.
And this wild monster is my two-year-old German thyme.  I need to cut it back a bit.  But I got quite a bit of thyme last year so I probably won't harvest any this year.  It spent the winter in one of the big containers and I wasn't sure it had survived.  Clearly--it did.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Good Tuesday to all out there wherever you are.  The weather people say it will be cooler today--mid 80s instead of mid-90s.  The temperature on the patio hit 98F yesterday.  I soaked everything in the gardens really well in the morning so the plants are looking good.  I saw the beginnings of blossoms on the Butterbush squash.  I think I will have to transplant the marigolds I have sharing the pot with the squash.  They will soon be crowded.  I may have to move a couple of other plants also for the same reason.  The pyrethrum are sharing their pot with the vine peaches.  I will try to train them on the cage and see if that won't make them play nice with the pyrethrum.  I also need to harvest some more spearmint, lemon balm, and orange mint.  That I plan for tomorrow.

We have, again, had choppy internet and cable service with long periods without any at all.  Comcast called to confirm our appointment but, when Mom answered, the connection broke.  A few minutes later we got a robo-call informing us that the appointment had been cancelled.  Mom called back and complained that we were home, waiting for the call, and had in fact answered the call.  After a verbal tussle with the rep she got a new appointment for today.  But the window has only another 10 minutes to run; I am not hopeful they will make this one.  I wonder if the rep even made the appointment but rather just promised something to get the angry woman off the line.  We have already had another appointment promised but never noted.  We are getting very tired of this run-around.  They are about to lose both the internet and the cable accounts.

As you can guess, it is now Wednesday.  We finally got a Comcast tech out yesterday.  He thought the problem might be a failing cable outside so he laid a new wire.  We'll see.  His explanation made sense with what we had been experiencing.

The weather people say that our high temps today will only top out in the high 60s and will not get out of the 50 for the next two.  After the 90s this week we will enjoy the cool.  The weather reporter last night predicted rain over night tonight and tomorrow but with a little laugh that said he didn't really believe the forecast.  I hope he is wrong.  We do need the rain.

I have read about the Flame virus for about a week now.  I noticed yesterday that the mainstream media has finally taken notice.  I am not surprised that it might be a 'product of U.S.A.'  Its predecessors (Stuxnet and Duqu) were also suspected to have been created by U.S. cyber warriors.  Unfortunately, these things have a habit of rebounding on the creators.  As they say: what goes around, comes around. It also makes one very cynical about our claim to be the good guys, doesn't it.

MSN has a fascinating slide show titled 'Your House Used to Be What?'

As I read this piece I was reminded of a comment put in the mouth of a one of my favorite sleuths (Lord Peter Wimsey) in a favorite mystery (Gaudy Night): The first thing a principle does is kill people.  The guiding principle for so many of Europe's (and U.S.) economic/political powers is 'Austerity.'  For some time now I have read about people driven to suicide because of the privations caused by the financial crisis coupled with 'austerity.'  I wonder how far they will drive this perversion.

Margaret and Helen have some very apt comments on both the political situation and an economic conundrum.  Having just discovered a newly opened pint of half&half had gone bad long before the sell by date, I understand the frustration Helen expresses.  I definitely don't want to live in the United States of Repthuglicanism.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Good morning on this Memorial weekend Sunday.  I just put up Saturday's post.  Once again our internet connections were out from about 1pm yesterday.  I don't know when it came back because I shut down the modem and router just before 7pm.  We didn't even try the cable TV so I don't know how it was (or was not) working.  I am not sure what has been going on with it because Mom couldn't get into her on-line pharmacy and the bank site was very slow.  I hope things get straightened out soon.  It has been much too long as it is.

I don't have any gardening chores today.  And everything is doing very nicely.

Hello, again, on this very warm Memorial Day.  As you can see I didn't post yesterday.  We, again, lost our internet.  Mom called after we got home from my sister's cookout and we have an appointment for tomorrow.  We'll see.

The cookout was nice.  We got to see all the grand- and great-grandkids.  Unfortunately it was way too hot.  Most of the time I don't really feel any age--calendar or otherwise.  But, with the heat yesterday, I felt my calendar age plus 20.  The patio thermometer read 98 when we came home and the official temperature in Chicago was 97 last I heard; it may have gone up a degree after that.

I have almost finished the watering outside.  I watered everything well yesterday so all the plants are looking very good.  The spinach and lettuce I started last week are poking their little leaves above the soil.  I need to start some more Wednesday in the greenhouse.  I have been leaving the front flap open because it gets so hot so fast and the overnight temperatures are not anywhere near low enough to threaten the plants inside.  I also won't use the top shelf for anything except starting new lettuce and spinach.  I noticed  the lavender, orange mint, one of the spearmints and one of the lemon balms need to be harvested--probably Wednesday also.

Welcome back, Kay.  Glad you stopped by.  Having stopped by your blog I know life has become more lifelike for you.  Hope things settle down soon.  I don't know when, or if, I will try the bottle/pot towers.  I have just about all of the space I can cover already covered with containers.  I am thinking about odd corners I might be able to squeeze something else into, just for the heck of it.  You may be sure that when I try my version of the technique I will tell everyone how it works out.  I am so thoroughly disgusted with the non-news mainstream media that I have taken to ignoring them as much as possible.  He said/he said from the pundit drama queens doesn't cut it.  I was shocked yesterday as we drove over to Sister's.  I thought we have been dry but they already have browning lawns.  Our grass is just now browning at the edges.  The weather people say we might get some rain overnight but I won't hold my breath.  The weather reporter on TV this morning gave the prediction but wasn't hopeful that we would get more than hit-or-miss thunder storms.

Wise Father at ragingwisdom has some very appropriate thoughts about Memorial Day and the respect we ought to render to those who died in the service of this country.  I totally agree that the dead deserve our respect no matter what we think of the conflicts in which they died and the greatest respect we can show is to make sure that there are fewer of them to honor in the future and fewer 'wars of choice' to create them.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Good morning on this Memorial weekend Saturday.  Hope you all are planning something fun.  The skies are cloudy this morning but appear to be moving out.  If we got any rain, it wasn't much.  I have a new basil and a Mexican tarragon to plant.  We finished the dried basil we put up last fall so I planted more this season.  I also planted three stevia this year and hope to harvest enough to last through to next year when the new harvest comes in.  I ran out of stevia three months ago.  I also need to harvest some lettuce and spinach for our chef's salads for dinner today.

This story made the national news and happened only about half a mile from where we live.  We wondered, as we were doing some errands, what was happening when we saw three police cars, with flashers going, turn off Rt. 49 heading toward the north part of town.  Later we heard two helicopters flying over our part of town.  The Chicago station had reporter and helicopter on site and we readily recognized the area from the photos.  In fact, I once worked at a building only a couple away from the one the gunman was inside.

I don't often go on YouTube but this piece was worth the time.  I have read about 'bottle gardens' for some time.  I find it interesting as a gardener who is restricted to containers because all the space I have is covered in cement.

Charles Hugh Smith always has very nicely targeted essays and this on on the 'Argument Industry' is a bull's eye.  We have remarked repeatedly here that the 'news' isn't news anymore.  It is gossip, titillation, and argument.  When the reporters cover problems the coverage is superficial and presented in a 'he said/he said' manner that leads no where.

I have seen several small articles about dry conditions such as described in this article from Bloomberg.  I have remarked a couple of times that I have had to water my gardens sooner and more often his year.  Even when we had rain it wasn't enough to do much good for very long.  This article in one of our local papers confirmed my suspicion that what I have seen in my little patch isn't an anomaly.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Good morning, Everyone, on a cooler Friday with the diminishing hope for rain.  We have a couple of errands to run a bit later so I am not sure how much of the internet I will get through.  And I don't know how much time we will actually get because of the intermittent outages we have been experiencing.  Yesterday we had no service between 12pm and 5.  Mom is still checking other service providers but that is a slog.  They have so many different conditions and limitations that reading their promos is almost as bad a reading a legal document.  If we got a coherent explanation of exactly why the service has been so crappy we wouldn't be so disgruntled.  Oh, well, on to something else.

I have seen a couple of other articles on weavings done with golden orb spider silk over the last year.

I read this on Alternet (linked by another blogger I read frequently).  There are times when we should be very skeptical about the 'benefits' of technology and we should always remember that the primary purpose of corporations is to separate us from our money (individually or collectively) NOW and hang the consequences down the line.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Good morning, everyone, on what is predicted to be a hot day.  The weather people say that we may hit 90F.  Thankfully, I don't have much to do outside beyond transplanting the lemon verbena and watering everything that may dry out.  I do need to harvest a bit of spinach for our chef salads this afternoon.  We still have a problem with our internet and cable TV.  The internet was out for more than 5 hours yesterday.  When Mom called Friday (the third time!!) the representative told her that the problem was with Comcast outside wires and they couldn't get it fixed for 48-72 hours.  Since their linemen didn't work weekends that meant sometime Tuesday or Wednesday.  Depending on what happens today they may get another call.

This is an interesting analysis of Mitt Romney's, to date, very fuzzy proposals for what he would do if elected.  I can think of a third reason why Romney won't get specific.  How can he be held accountable if he doesn't make specific proposals?  A vague promise is no promise at all.

Gene Logsdon has a few very wise comments on debt in modern society.  And on the similarities between so-called capitalism and so-called socialism.  The only disagreement between the two is who gets the rewards of the industrial system both have pushed to the limit and beyond.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Good Wednesday to you all.  As you can tell with the date stamp on my last post, we are still having problems with our cable and internet.  The internet service went off about 1pm yesterday and was still out when I turned off the unit about 5pm.  I don't know what has been the problem but I am more than a little frustrated.  Well, I did get some other things done:  six trays of lemon balm dried, roses and tomatoes trimmed, some additional supports put with the tomatoes.  And some stitching on the table cloth.

Today I need to harvest and dry the spearmint and I need to cultivate around some of the plants.  I should also mix some more soil/vermiculite and raise the levels in some of the pots.  And I need to start some more lettuce and spinach.  See how much I get done.

Most of the gardening is done--at least all I am going to get done today.  Unfortunately, we have been off line for the last four hours or so.  I so wish Comcast would get its crap together.  Mom is looking into other services.  We'll see what she finds.

Good Tuesday, Everyone.  Yesterday was pleasant--we actually had a full day of uninterrupted internet service.  First such day in more than a week.  We'll see what happens today.  The TV was also solid--also the first day in more than a week.  I have some routine garden chores planned but nothing major.  Everything is progressing well.  Looking forward to our own spinach tonight.  (Update:  I just filled a gallon baggie with fresh spinach.  Yipee!!!)  (Update: we have had two short outages on internet so far.  I harvested the spinach during the first and a bunch of lemon balm during the second which is now drying in the dehydrator.)

This BBC story is depressing.  As much as one-third of the anti-malaria drugs may be counterfeit.  And this story about fake electronics from China in American military planes is also.

We have seen more of the Post Office ads for their 'Every Door Direct Mail' program and we have noticed that almost everything we get is some form of advertising.  I include all of the little 'reports' from our elected representatives in the advertising column.  Now the mainstream media has taken notice.  We communicate with family by e-mail and cell phone.  We get, I would guess, fewer than 20 pieces of mail a year that isn't some form of advertising.  That is one reason why we aren't overly concerned about the proposals to cut delivery to five days a week.

Several decades ago Robert Heinlein created a wonderful curmudgeon named Lazarus Long (a.k.a., Woodrow Wilson Smith) to whom he attributed a wonderful aphorism: in a government of the people, by the people, and for the people--don't tell the people.  That is clearly advice our government has taken to heart as illustrated in this tomdispatch post this morning.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Good Monday, Everyone.  Blessedly cool today and we did get rain last night.  The rain was hard enough that I worried a bit about some of the smaller plants but everything came through nicely.  I won't have to water things today.  The temperatures are supposed to stay in the high 60s which makes it perfect weather to do some of the trimming on the tomatoes and roses I need to do.  Tomorrow morning I will pick a large bunch of spinach we will eat at dinner. Then I will need to start another set.  Later in the week, when the warm returns I will start picking the lettuce.  I also should transplant the lemon verbena and some pyrethrum.  The tansy and pyrethrum have been very difficult about sprouting but, if I can get a couple of good plants each, they are hardy and should survive well in the gardens over winter.

The broadcast news is useless--it is NATO and NATO demonstrations non-stop.  Thankfully, I have other sources for news and commentary.  One would think that the only dispute was a mild disagreement between Hollande of France and the rest of NATO over when French troops will withdraw (Hollande says by the end of this year; official withdrawal by the end of 2014.)  Here is a better discussion of Afghanistan courtesy of the BBC.  Although neither Pakistan nor Afghanistan are members of NATO, both countries dominate the discussions.  I just turned off Good Morning America in utter irritation.  Their teaser into the NATO story made it sound as though Chicago were under siege from violent protests.  That isn't the story we are getting from the Chicago outlets.  Actually, most of what we have seen has been tame compared with some of the G-8 and G-20 meetings in the recent past.  Perhaps the story itself was more measured but the teaser was definitely off the wall.

I have seen some fantastic stories of metal thefts in Europe over the last several months.  Here is one from Britain.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Good Sunday to you all.  I have already finished most of the gardening I had planned today.  The temperatures have reached well into the 80s in the shade on the patio.  Considerably more in the sun.  We actually put the air conditioning on yesterday.  I get the feeling that we are in for a hot summer.  I soaked all of my gardens well this morning.  We have not had much rain this spring so it looks like things will be dry as well as hot.  The weather people predict a cold front with possible rain but the prediction for this area gives us only 2-tenths of an inch.  At least the temperatures will fall back a bit.

I decided that three of my plants should be moved and/or put into larger pots.  The mums outgrew the pot I had them in and they were spreading so that they interfered with plants nearby.  The spearmint on the fence had become pot bound--seriously pot bound.  And, to make room for the mums, I had to move the basil.  But they are all in their new homes now.  Tomorrow I have some trimming to do and I need to raise the soil level in a couple of the pots.

Welcome to Anonymous and thank you for your comments.  I really like Sharon Astyk's posts.  Your comments on the new stadium in Minnesota for which the legislators voted public support resembles repeated stories I have read.  The Ricketts family who owns the Chicago Cubs has been trying to get the city to pay a significant part of the renovation costs for their stadium.  They figured they could shift their own money to upgrading and developing other properties in the area which would improve their bottom line while the city would take a hit on the stadium costs.  Mayor Emanuel rejected the original proposal and insists the Ricketts invest more of their own money.  They had almost gotten an agreement when the news media leaked a battle plan the superpac they fund wanted to push that would resurrect the Jeremiah Wright and other such issues against Obama in the fall.  Suddenly Emanuel (a friend and ally of Obama's) isn't taking their calls any more.  I really get tired of all of these 'free market capitalist' boosters who try every way they can to privatize the profits while shifting the risks and costs off onto the pubic sector (read 'taxpayers').  Unfortunately for our public life, all too many of our politicians think that our public services (parks, schools, utilities) would be better shifted to profit making companies.

Sorry no links today.  I had an absolutely awful time with both my internet connection and with Google.  If one worked the other didn't. GRRRRRRRR!!!!!!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Good morning, everyone.  The frustrations I described in my last post--posted this morning because of the computer and cable problems--continued yesterday.  We had a repairman from Comcast came out and worked on the wiring.  When he left things were working--for all of half an hour.  TV reception was totally messed up from 10 am till around 8 pm.  We had no computer from for most of that time.  I hope we will get something like normal service today.  Mom called and got another appointment for the afternoon--we thought.  When the time came and went she called again only to be told 1) something was wrong with the outside lines somewhere (which no one bothered to mention when Mom called for the second appointment) and 2) they had no record of that second call.  Since the problem is with the lines we may have major interruptions for the next three or four days.  Damn!!!!!  We'll see how things go.

I did get my sunflowers, variegated marjoram, and marigold transplanted.  And got most things watered as well.  The weather from South Bend said that we are almost an inch light on rainfall for this month and almost three inches low for the year to date.  I can certainly feel that.  My second planting of corn is beginning to peak through the soil.  I need to interplant some more beans with the corn soon.  And start new plantings of radishes, lettuce, and beets.  Things appear to be progressing very nicely.

Robert Reich, as usual, doesn't sugar coat his assessment of the labor market, the conditions new grads will encounter entering that market, or in the implications for all of us.

I saw a brief segment on one of the news programs (not American--one of the foreign shows) that German Chancellor Angela Merkel has suggested that the Greeks include in their election next month a referendum on the question of whether the Greek voters want to either reject austerity or stay in the European Union.  This Deutche Welle article gives more details.  Since she didn't want either the Greek voters or the Irish voters or the English voters to reject or approve austerity measures I find it very interesting she now wants a referendum.  Even more interesting is the either or structure of the question which rather limits the options.  Reminds me of a cartoon commentary on the matter I saw this morning.  It shows a despondent Greek man with a bottle of ouzo staring at the table with a knife labeled 'austerity' and a pistol labeled 'exit the Euro.'  Says it very well I think--suicide by knife (austerity) or by gun (leaving the Euro.)
Good morning, all.  Yesterday was frustrating.  Not in the gardens--they are fine.  Rather we had an irritating problem with the cable and computer that has continued for the last week and a half.  The TV reception suddenly started breaking up and/or would suddenly wink in and out.  At the same time the computer service would suddenly quit.  Both services are with Comcast.  The company is supposed to send out someone to look into the matter but I am not all that encouraged by that.  The representatives we talked to seemed more interested in selling us some kind of wiring insurance.  They made the appointment reluctantly with the warning that if they didn't find anything wrong with their stuff we would be charged for the visit.  We are just about fed up.  This is the second time this year we have had interruptions for more that a week.  And they came out last year on the same problem.  I don't know what is wrong but after several years of very good service things have changed.  We are nearly ready to seriously explore other service providers.

This story doesn't really surprise me over all--just in some of the details.  I wonder what kind of arguments the dentist or office manager used to persuade a parent to have a 4-year-olds tooth crowned.  A 4-year-old??? I followed this link to even more horrifying details.  That four-year-old was treated without parental consent and at school.  I have commented before that there are some areas which are simply not compatible with 'capitalism.'  Medicine, dentistry, and most government functions are among them.  The drive for profits can actually lead to less than efficient and satisfactory services.  Someone gets the profits but most involved get the shaft.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Good day to you all on this sunny Thursday.  The temperature was only in the low 40s last night and only 40F when we woke this morning.  The weather people predict mid 70s for today and 80s for the next four days.  The gardens are beginning to look like my usual jungle.  But I already have to water more.  We haven't had any rain yet this month in my area.  What looked like a good chance a couple of days ago passed us by with no more than a couple of lightning flashes and rumbles of thunder.  Our next chance for rain comes Sunday.  I have a few seedlings to put in and a few seeds to plant directly in the beds but nothing much to do.

I noticed the Huffington Post story this morning that the $2billion loss for JP Morgan has ballooned to $3billion and there is every indication the loss might go higher.  I recalled the old saying popularly attributed to Everett Dirksen "A billion here, a billion there and pretty soon you are talking about real money.'  He may or may not have said it but it seems apt.  I have seen two varieties of opinion on the losses and on the demand for Congressional hearings and Federal investigations.  The first dismisses the event because the loss is minuscule compared to the profits JP Morgan generates.  Though true it is fascinating to hear  a couple of billion dollars being dismissed as trivial.  Unnerving but fascinating.  The other opinion supports the call for hearings and investigations not because the loss itself is so bad but because of 'what might have been'--if it had been bad enough to cause the government to initiate a new bailout.  One of the idiotic talking heads was incensed that the government would investigate JP Morgan when he thought the government's own out-of-balance balance sheets needed scrutiny.  I guess he forgot how much of the deficit came because the government bailed out the banks--not all of which have paid back the 'loans.'

I noticed last night the news story concerning the new, reduced levels defining lead poisoning in children. The Huffington Post story this morning adds some details--five times more children now at risk while the money allotted for prevention of childhood lead poisoning in the Federal budget proposals have been cut drastically.  I was somewhat curious about how long we have used lead in paint and how long we have known about the dangers of lead.  I found this article at Toxipedia.  The first sentence of the section on lead in paint surprised me.  I would never have thought that lead would impart a sweetness to the paint that kids really liked.  Mom recalled babies teething on the rails of the cribs when she was young.  What didn't surprise me was how long it took the U.S. to act after the evidence of lead's detrimental effects became generally known.

We saw a brief mention of this story on the evening news within the last couple of days.  It is absolutely incomprehensible to me (far more incomprehensible that the $3billion loss at JP Morgan) that the cost for 'health care' for a family has been estimated at $20k for this year.  But we noticed a couple of things here that caused a bit of discussion.  This figure is not for actual medical treatment.  It is for health insurance.  We started discussing just how much we actually spend on medical treatment each year.  For me the calculation is fairly easy--less than $500.  This year has been expensive but for dental not medical which most insurance plans don't cover.  The next most expensive year was the year I was treated for a really nasty stomach bug--$200 for one antibiotic, one nausea prescription and 2 office visits.  Mom's calculations are complicated because she has Medicare and a very good health plan thanks to her late husband's long employment at U.S. Steel.  Also she needs several medications daily for ongoing conditions and has at least 2 appointments with two doctors each year each requiring extensive blood tests.  But even so I doubt her normal yearly expenditures equal the $20k estimated in the article.  It wouldn't even reach the $8K that is the employee's portion much less the $12K of the employer's part.  I saw an article recently (sorry, I don't remember where) which said it would be far more sensible (economically speaking) for older Americans to buy catastrophic health coverage (if they can afford it) rather than buy the regular health care insurance.  What is currently peddled to us as health insurance is really a scam and most of the proposals for fixing the problem are really just insurance for industry profits.

Barbara Ehrenreich posted an interesting piece on tomdispatch this morning.  Her account of the fleecing of the poor by both public and private entities is sickening.

This cartoon I found on Direct ezine expresses the case perfectly.  They give us haircuts to support their obscene profits and incomes.

Or this cartoon:

Both express the situation perfectly.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Good Wednesday to you all.  The hoped for rain didn't materialize last night.  Blast!!  I can tell from the gardens that we have had a dry year so far.  I took all of the plants on the fence down and soaked them really well.  Thankfully the driest of them are very drought tolerant. I transplanted the lemon balm into a larger planter.  I was shocked at how root bound the plants were.  The patio is already acting like an oven.  It was uncomfortably warm all afternoon.  I am keeping a closer eye on the greenhouse because the temperature can rise very quickly in there.

I do love it when a good fact checker takes on the candidates (of either party) and their over the top claims.  Here is one that skewers Romney.  Unfortunately, our politicians have followed the old adage to lie big and lie often and amped it up to a whole new level of prevarication.

As the first line of this article says--this isn't the kind of 'stimulus' we would expect the Federal stimulus to be applied to.

Hi, Kay.  I hadn't seen your graphic yet.  I will be headed to your blog in a bit.  I remember a bit of a furor on BBC and other sites because of whichever politician it was who said that Murdock was morally unfit to lead a major company.  Once upon a time broadcast licenses could be denied in this country for such a finding.  I don't know if that still holds.  And yes, indeed, Greece has gotten crazier and will get more so.  Unfortunately, I think the hope in Europe that the crisis will end with Greece is, to put it mildly, irrational.  I still think they are simply buying time to create a 'soft' landing in their economy.  I think soft is off the table.  What is left--for them and for us--is hanging between hard and harder.  I liked Baileys also but I won't be imbibing it any time soon.  As you say, I much prefer to support ethical companies.

Oh, this will be fun to watch.  I doubt it will go anywhere but I am glad to see it and hope it shakes things up.  The piece didn't give any info on the legal theory behind the suit.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Good day, again, Everyone.  Supposed to be sunny and warm through most of the day but with possible thunderstorms this evening and tonight.  I have a bit of work planned in the gardens today.  Two types of peppers, both savory, the patchouli need transplanting, and the lemon balm definitely needs a new home.  Glad your irises are doing well, Kay.  Hopefully, some of our nice weather goes your way.

Well, the case of the News Corp phone hacking is finally moving into the criminal arena for the executives.  Good!  Now I hope they get the Murdocks in criminal court also.

I have noticed for some time now that many of Europe's leaders love democracy until 'the people' don't vote the way they want.  The Greek president has suggested that the three dominant parties (thanks to the last election) agree on another 'technocratic' government.  Translation--he wants someone who isn't responsible to the voters to enact more 'austerity' measures so the government can continue to get the dribbles of money that allows certain creditors to be paid.  That means more unemployment, lower revenues and a greater likelihood that future debt targets won't be met leading to further demands for more austerity amid finger pointing recriminations for the 'Greek failure.'  I am glad the left wing parties have rejected the proposal.  You either have democracy or you don't.

The Greeks will have a new election in mid-June.  The suggestion of a technocratic government fell flat so, instead, a care-taker government will take care of things until the new elections.

I love these two cartoons on NPR this morning.  Says it all.

I have drank Guiness on rare occasions but I don't think I will in the future--for the same reason I don't drink Coors: the company wouldn't recognize morals if they were bitten in the posterior by them.  Just when I think I can't possibly come across a more arrogant, stupid, asinine bit of corporate misbehavior a new example comes to light.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Good Morning.  Hope you all had a very pleasant Mothers' Day.  We did.  The clouds finally moved off, the temperature rose, and the sun was really nice.  I took mom to dinner at out favorite Mexican restaurant.  Good food, good prices and wonderful people.  The skies are clear and sunny today.  The weather people forecast temperatures in the mid 70s to 80 for the next week and no overnight lows below mid 50s.  Our favorite farm market/garden center called over the weekend to tell me the savory has come in so we will take a ride over there today as we do our weekly grocery shopping.

Didn't see anything much to comment on.  But I think I will post this anyway so you all know I am still alive.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Good morning, everyone.  We may get rain today.  The skies are overcast but the temperature is just above 60F.  Otherwise I don't have much to do outside.  Once the plants are in the containers they just need some intermittent tending (trimming and weeding) until harvest.  I still have a few spaces beyond the ones I have reserved for the remaining peppers and the savory (when/if I find it).  Sounds like a good day to loaf.

Grist posted this picture and article about an absolutely beautiful variety of corn.

The Agonist asks 'when is a deal not a deal?'  When it was the agreement both parties signed on in the Budget Control Act.  I remarked that the Repthuglicans would fight like hell to get the agreed on cuts to the defense budget cancelled and, though I didn't say it at the time, it was also likely that the Damnocrats would do the same on the social spending side.  Both have proven my cynicism for me.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Good morning to everyone.  It is cool again (40F) but sunny.  I got the impatiens planted in their planter, started some more vine peaches (the first batch are struggling) and more cucumbers, planted some love-in-a-mist, sank the pot of tansy in one of the large containers and put a hot cap on it, trimmed the rosemary and lavender a bit and watered everything.  I am thinking of sinking the pots of peppers and sunflowers into their places in the containers.  We'll see.  I also need to harvest some of the spinach because we are going to have spinach/mushroom/cheese omelets for supper tonight.  The roses are blooming prolifically.  I still need to fertilize.  I had to open the greenhouse--the temperature inside was already over 90F.

On to the internet.  Does this seem like deja vu to you?  It certainly does to me.  Too-big-to-fail is still failing and the banksters have learned nothing from the melt down of 2008-9.  Except that Uncle Sugar-daddy bail them out.

I love Bernie Sanders.  We are not at 'capitalist' country.  While touting the supposed virtues of capitalism, which they have never exercised themselves, most of our big industries and companies are viable only as long as they can feed at the public trough.  I don't expect the End Polluter Welfare Act to go anywhere--the industry has bought too many legislators--but I am glad two introduced it.  I would like to see them reintroduce every time some Repthuglican proposes saving money by cutting 'entitlements' and other such spending.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Good morning to you all on this very cool (40F) but sunny Thursday.  I brought the patchouli in on the off chance that we would get the frost predicted.  The roofs were well frosted but all of the plants outside are fine.  I got five trays of lemon balm that filled a jar when dried.  That was only one plant.  I will harvest from the other later--after the temperature rises a good bit.  I found a little green tomato on the Cherokee purple.  All of the transplant tomatoes have blossoms.  I have some flower seeds I plant to start in vinegar jug pots sunk into the beds where I intend to leave them for the season.  And I need to transplant my last stevia.  I put in three this year so I can harvest enough to last through to next year.  I may try to over winter one of them along with the tender herbs.  I have a spot I can set up one of our TV tables with one of the daylight balanced lamps to provide extra light.  We'll see how that works.

I will have to check out that site, Kay.  I haven't been a fan of Richard Lugar's but the hard right shift of the Repthuglican Party has made him seem almost moderate of late.  Having now checked out rude pundit I think you are absolutely right as is he on Lugar and the whole political morass.  I am glad your irises are coming up and look to bloom well.  I have discovered that some flowers need to be seeded in the fall to sprout and bloom in the spring.  They need the cold to 'activate' them.  My poppies are that way which is why I got such a pitiful stand last year.  I plan to start them in the garden late this fall or early winter for next spring.  I have an unfortunate habit of sticking a seed in the ground to see what happens.  Then I go looking for information on why what I thought would happen didn't.  Pictures will be posted in the next couple of days.  I just saw a couple of the corn plants popping up.  Yeah!!!

As I noted yesterday, I have a lot of reasons for not liking the notion of expanded reliance on nuclear energy.  This article from Reuters provides another.  Britain wants to expand their nuclear facilities but they have been told that they can only do so if the government is willing to 'absorb' the spiraling costs of construction--a process that will 'allow' private investors to come in.  The nuclear industry is famous for failing to meet construction deadlines and for massive cost overruns.  The analysts cited in the story claim that without the government (read: taxpayers) taking on the construction costs the companies will not be commercially viable (read: able to provide affordable power and make a profit.)  If the private companies can't build these plants and make a profit they should get out.  If the governments want nuclear power but private companies can't do the job, the government should do it and run the companies themselves.  If governments need to contract with private construction companies to get the plants built the contracts should penalize the companies for failing to meet time requirements and cost overruns.  No government should agree to a so-called 'private-public partnership' in which the costs are borne by the public while the profits are grabbed by the private.  That is not a partnership.  It is corporate socialism.

And in another case of 'corporate socialism,' how stupid can local officials get?  We started out something like 30 years ago with infrastructure improvements and tax abatements to lure business and industry and now they have upped the ante.  I have long considered these bribes which would have been illegal if the it were public officials accepting the payments but since it is private companies it is excused.  But as history has shown bribes have a way of getting larger over time.

I feel soooooo sorry for the poor American millionaires and their foreign banks.  They won't have as many ways to hide their income from the tax-man--just like the rest of us who don't have foreign bank accounts.

Michael Klare has a new post on tom dispatch this morning.  Klare deals with oil and international politics and that is the primary focus of his piece.  However, as I read along, I noticed something that Englehardt points out in his intro:  how little of the 'incidents' (or what ever you want to call them) appear in the mainstream news.  I remember sometime ago the tensions between Argentina and Britain over the Falklands (Las Malvinas, to the Argentines) were mentioned but only because Argentina protested which ever prince was their with his military unit.  I also remember a couple of mentions of the tensions between Israel and Egypt over the gas pipeline but no explanation.  But I guess our  scant information on international affairs is ok since the news media gives us such wonderful detail of who got booted from Dancing With The Stars.  (Sarcasm alert!!!).

Robert Reich sums up the problem with the current political silly season: too much focus on bedrooms and too little on boardrooms.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Good Wednesday to you all.  Sunny this morning but cool--only in the mid 50s.  I was a bit worried about the patchouli I left in the greenhouse but it looks fine, so far.  I will let things warm up before I do anything more outside.  I need to harvest some of the lemon balm and dry it.  I got the dehydrator out and put where it belongs for the season.  I got the rest of my corn planted, the last of the tomatoes and the stevia in place.  I almost forgot--the first strawberry of the season was fully ripe yesterday and I split it with Mom.  Absolutely delicious!!  Looking forward to more.  I want to get a few more seeds put in here and there, transplant the impatiens into their pot, and throw a bit of fertilizer in various places.

Well, Dick Lugar lost his bid to be the Republican candidate for the Senate.  Mom wondered if we shouldn't have voted in this primary.  Unfortunately, we didn't see much of a choice this time.  If we went in as Republicans it was between Lugar and a Tea Party backed Repthuglican neither of whom we would vote for in the Fall.  Mourdock, the Teapublican, will now face off against Joe Donnelly in November.  He has been in the House of Representatives but we know very little about him.  We have noticed how little we have heard about the primaries--it seems that our elections get less and less attention from our alleged news media.  The same goes for the city races.  Our local papers were folded into two centralized organizations that pretend to cover the entire northwest Indiana area--meaning they give passing mention to the issues of each county or city/town but no complete coverage of any.  The traditional notion of an 'informed citizen/voter' requires two things--information and the education sufficient to understand the information.  It seems to me that we are failing on both counts these days.

Evidently utilities companies in a number of states are facing consumer backlashes against their efforts to push so-called 'smart meters' on their customers.  I find this whole issue offensive on a couple of counts.  Many of these companies want to pass the costs onto the customers while pocketing the savings they are drooling over.  That is entirely a win for the company and a loss for the customers.  And if you would rather not foot the bill for the smart meter they want to be allowed to charge you for the privilege.  Another win for them and loss for us.  But I also wonder about the security for these systems.  I noticed that the mainstream media finally carried a story I have seen on-line for over a week:  hackers trying to get into the computer systems regulating the natural gas pipelines.  What a wonderful way to throw a small wrench into the works simply by corrupting the data so that customers are sent outrageous bills.

I was curious when I saw the title of this article by Christine Todd Whitman.  I am no fan of hers since her usual position is the hard line Republican 'Business uber alles' variety.  I am somewhat sympathetic to the notion that we shouldn't be totally reliant on natural gas--or any other energy source.  However, her solution is not really a solution.  She wants more nuclear.  Nuclear has a couple of problems for me.  First, the problem of the waste is one that I can't see an effective solution to--unless we want to go to the expense and trouble of sending it into the sun by rocket.  And then we had better hope nothing happens on lift off to create an inadvertent 'dirty' bomb.  Yucca Mountain? you say.  Do you really want waste hanging around farther into the future than the Crusades were in the past?  Or the fall of the Roman Empire?  Or the construction of the Pyramids?  And even if we could construct absolutely safe nuclear plant (a practical impossibility) how could we ensure that something external to the plant won't render all of our safety measures null and void?  For anyone stupid enough to think such a thing I have one thought for you: Fukushima Dai-ichi.  And for anyone idiotic enough to think such a system can be safeguarded against human incompetence, idiocy, or folly I have another thought for you: Chernobyl.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Good Tuesday morning, all.  A bit of fog but it should burn off soon.  The sky is clear right now.  The containers should dry out and I will get some more planting done.  I also need to get the hose out so I can wash down the patio.  Everything outside looks pretty good--even the plants that looked somewhat beaten down yesterday by the rain that fell over Sunday night.

The first story I found this morning struck me in a raw nerve this morning.  Over the weekend I read a couple of stories about cyberattacks on the computer systems used to control natural gas pipelines.  That has been a recurring them for the last year or so.  Some utility, bank, or government agency somewhere in the country (or another country) subjected to attack by difficult-to-identify hackers.  But that isn't the nerve the story hit.  What irritates me is the notion that private companies seem to have that the government (a.k.a., the taxpayer) should pick up the tab for what should be their business expense.  One of the basic tenants of capitalism is that businesses take the risk and either suffer the loss or pocket the profits.  The modern 'capitalist' instead pushes the risk for the losses off on society and pockets the profits.  Guarding their systems against hacking should be a part of their business plan the expense of which they should bear.  This is nothing short of 'corporate welfare.'  If we can't afford schools, roads and bridges, medicare, or Social Security, we certainly can't afford paying for private companies' cyber security.  And, if these facilities are so important that we as a society should pay for their computer upgrades they are too important to leave in private hands.

Most commercials are just background noise for us.  On a rare occasion one amuses us and we take a closer look.  We just saw a new one this week that is cute.  A young woman and an old woman are eating breakfast at a fast food place and the young one stirs her oatmeal noting that it has blueberries and walnuts in it.  The old woman loos at it with what looks like disapproval and says that in her day oatmeal had 'only two things in it: oats and meal.'  Then she whips out her smart phone, takes a picture, and exclaims "I have to blog about this!"  The old girl wasn't as far behind the times as we thought.  Funny thing--I don't remember which fast food chain was being advertised.

I am sorry the workers will lose their jobs but I am not at all sorry for the company.  'Pink slime' (a.k.a. in the company propaganda as 'finely textured lean beef') will no longer be produced at three plants.

I didn't know this months was Older Americans Month until I saw Ronni's Time Goes By post.  Another essentially meaningless commemorative.  And cheap too--much cheaper than making sure Social Security promises are kept or providing affordable and secure public transport, or adequate housing is available.  A couple of old adages come to mind--talk is cheap and promises are worth their weight in gold.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Good day to you all on this rainy Monday.  We had thunder, lightning, and intermittently heavy rain all night.  Some of my plants have been beaten down.  Hopefully, they will bounce back.  It looks like I will be doing inside things today.  Before the rain moved in yesterday I got two more tomatoes transplanted and the last two containers dug up and the pearlite mixed in.  They are ready for planting when everything dries out.  Well, I did say that we needed the rain.

The elections in Greece and France have shaken up the political and financial worlds.  The new French leader wants to renegotiate the so-called 'fiscal responsibility treaty' to include provisions for growth.  So far, that has gone over like the proverbial lead balloon with the Germans who have insisted on austerity.  The Greek election drastically reduced the power of the two major parties which together control about 30% of the seats in parliament.  The leader of the party which took second place in the polling has already refused to enter into any government which plans to reaffirm the austerity measures and demands that the bailout deals be renegotiated.  This will be interesting.  Of course, Germany and the EU are insisting that Greece adhere to the austerity agreements.

I find this article interesting because the prevalence of asthma and allergies has been a topic of discussion here often enough over the last few years.  I remember having allergies when I was a kid but, after a few years of getting shots or taking pills, I spent the summer on my grandparents' farm without the medication because the medical jackass we had refused to give me a prescription to cover that time.  Lo and behold, I was just fine without it.  Haven't taken it since.  As Mom and I have watched the health news over the last few years, we have often wondered if our collective focus in this society on not just cleanliness but antiseptic conditions hasn't resulted in the rise in allergy and asthma.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Good Sunday morning, Everyone.  Yesterday was one of those strange days when I started out with good intentions and didn't follow through with anything.  It was a beautiful day and, out here, the temperature went up to about 80F.  See what happens today.  Mom already took the plastic off one of the windows.  Later I will do the other one.  I didn't see anything on the internet that was worth a mention.  Let's see what I find today.

We decided, on the spur of the moment, to do our grocery shopping today.  The weather is lovely and clear but tomorrow we have a good chance of rain and thundershowers.  Since we had to get eggs at our favorite all year farm market/garden center I went looking for savory.  They didn't have any but I found a patchouli plant and yielded to temptation.  They will call me when the savory comes in.

Well, nothing much to comment on so I'll see you tomorrow.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Good morning on this variable Saturday.  We had a bit of weak sun a bit earlier and now it is overcast.  The temperature is warm enough that I can leave the patio door open so Kuma can go in and out as he wishes.  He has been a very happy cat over the last few days.  He has spent the most of the days basking in the sun.  I didn't do much in the gardens yesterday.  Did transplant some lettuce because I simply couldn't resist getting my hands dirty.  If it stays clear and dry I hope to get the rest of my gardens planted.  Two notes for next year: do not plant anything before March 15 and start all seeds in vermiculite or pearlite.

Hope the rain does your plants a lot of good, Kay.  April here was rather dry with our rain total at, maybe, half of normal.  We sympathize with the medical.  Mom's doctors have been trying to get her thyroid and blood pressure under control.  They have no idea why the thyroid (which had been nicely controlled for over a year) suddenly got out of whack.  The thyroid, of course, has affected her blood pressure so she has another medication and her GP has now ordered new blood work to check her iron and red blood cells.  If it isn't one thing its another.

Not much to comment on in the news.  See y'all tomorrow.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Good morning to you all on this wet Friday.  We had rain overnight but thankfully none of the extremes that other areas got.  Hopefully the clouds will move out and the gardens will dry out.  I got my vine peach, lemon squash, a couple of tomatoes, the marigolds, pyrethrum, tansy, and marjoram transplanted into the gardens.  Most of the time I spent arranging and re-arranging the pots.  I told Mom to remind me that I am not to acquire any more pots.  I still have to start the poppies, love-in-a-mist and a couple of other flowers.  I will post some new pictures soon.

Kay (Kay's Thinking Cap) and Rain (Rainy Day Thoughts) both posted the link to Steven King's piece at the Daily Beast.  I debated linking but decided I would.  It deserves wide circulation.  His comment on 'responsibility'  and the notion that all of us need to shoulder the responsibility of paying for our collective endeavors--like education, infrastructure, security, pollution control and remediation.  A good many years ago I remember stories about the tussle between Joan Baez and the IRS when she refused to pay the part of her taxes that went to paying for Viet Nam.  I respected her opposition to the war and I respected her willingness to take the consequences for her protest.  But I also recognized that it was some what irresponsible.  Whether we liked it or not, the war was (as, much to my sorrow, are our operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and other places) a collective effort to which our elected leaders (stupid though they may have been at the time) committed us.  Once upon a much longer time ago some one was asked about paying taxes to a hated government and he asked whose image was on the coin.  "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and unto God that which is God's.'  But that notion isn't very popular in a world where economics has become nearly synonymous with religion.

I saw this item and simply couldn't pass without a comment.  So dear Mitt thinks that our economy should be churning out 500k jobs a month instead of the paltry 120k or so the horrible Obama policies have managed.  I couldn't remember a single month that matched his notion of what should be happening.  I have seen the stats presented in commentary on his claims--only 16 months since 1939 when such stratospheric heights were reached and none of them under Bush, Jr.  And only 3 months (by my count) in the last 11 years when the economy created more than 300k.  Mom's comment when I read her this?  He is full of hot air and pulling figures out of his ass.  My retort?  Yeah, he farts more than we do and from the wrong end.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Good morning, All.  Clear skies and very mild temps so far this morning.  The weather people didn't predict any rain till late tonight.  Yesterday was productive after the fog finally cleared out.  The temperature did reach 80F but it was nice to have the doors open to the breeze.  I got the Cherokee purple, Mr. Stripey, the beans, Butterbush squash, and vine peach transplanted into the gardens.  I am still trying to find a good way to pack all my pots into the small space I have.  Today I need to get some more plants transplanted, and the corn and some other seeds planted.

For the cute animal story of the day check this one out.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Good Wednesday morning, Everyone.  As Kay (Kay's Thinking Cap) has often said: life intruded.  Between rain for the last two days, a necessary trip to change the oil in the car and get its spring 'checkup,' and a dental appointment, I haven't had much to say.  We started the morning with a thick fog but mild temps.  I don't know if I will get any transplanting done because the weather people say we have a good chance for rain and, maybe, thunderstorms.  We'll see.

Spanish energy companies have had a rough couple of weeks.  Argentina's government took over the majority position one Spanish company had in the Argentine national oil company.  Now, according to this BBC story, Bolivia is expropriating the interest a Spanish electric company has it its power system.  The reasons sound very familiar--the failure of the foreign company to invest in upgrading the systems.

We are all used to stories of technological break throughs inspired by science fiction stories but the BBC describes one based on Harry Potter.

I love this item.  One would think that when nearly 1 million people in California sign a petition to put a measure on the ballot to require genetically modified ingredients to be labeled the companies would think they probably should do it voluntarily.  But don't hold your breath--they think they are victims of an anti-commercial, anti-science fringe.

Every now and then I find something that just boggles my very cynical mind.  I think this would definitely qualify as 'grand' theft.