Good Wednesday to you all. Another cool and sunny day. Been productive outside. Yesterday I got two trays of basil and four of spearmint dried. I should harvest some orange mint and lavender blossoms sometime today. Right now I need a rest--I just washed down a patch of our wall outside that has been growing some green mold. Straight white vinegar did a really good job. All that is left are a couple of spots I couldn't reach. Then I washed down that half of the patio. All of my tomatoes are blooming well and I found a couple of little green Romas. I am watching the strawberries because they are blooming nicely and I have several berries forming. I think the plants are enjoying the cooler weather. On a not too pleasant note, the weather forecaster mentioned this morning that he expected the Chicago area to be declared in drought by tomorrow. We are way down, as I have mentioned before, on the rain. At least I don't have to water anything till tomorrow. The nice thing about container gardening is that you can apply the water in smaller amounts in smaller spaces.
It looks to be a campaign season pitting the clueless against the ignorant--at least that is what the news stories are portraying. The Romney people and their lackeys have claimed Obama is 'out of touch' because he dared to suggest that the 'private sector is fine' when every one knows that the recession is continuing. Obama's camp came back to 'clarify' the matter--the private sector is creating jobs (anemically) while the public sector is cutting left, right, and center. But let's not give Romney any marks for being any more cognizant of the realities of our economy. Take at look at this Huffington Post story concerning Romney on who pays for police, firefighters, and teachers. And how much money is involved.
There is an old saying about someone who 'can't win for losing.' I laughed when I saw this snippet from Reuters. I don't know how many times when gas prices were rising into the stratosphere I saw ecstatic reports of rising retail sales and wondered how much of that was due to gas prices rather than a real increase in commercial activity. Quite often as I remember.
Ezra Klein has a good Wonkbook piece today. Professional licensing comes up in our conversations regularly. Mom has considerable experience with the process as a retired LPN. The required exams, licensing, renewals of license, continuing education courses and other related costs (like overnight stays in Indianapolis because that was where the exams and many of the courses were held) took a large chunk out of her yearly income. That was to merely stay as an LPN an option which has been nearly phased out in this state. Now would-be nurses have to go through a two-year pre-nursing course, be accepted into the program, spend another 4 years getting the educational requirements, pass the exam just to enter the field. I can agree with Klein--there are some occupations for which one would definitely like to see licensing requirements. But is there any real rationale to them? And do they really guarantee knowledge and competence? I guess the answer is 'No' on both counts.
This piece raised my blood pressure a notch or two. We have been so badly screwed over by the various 'free'-trade agreements that I look at any new ones with a mixture of cynicism and extreme paranoia. This one, if it goes through, would basically provide foreign companies with a path to extraterritoriality--that is, they would have a way to become exempt from our financial, regulatory, and environmental laws. And it is being negotiated by an allegedly Democrat administration under an allegedly Democrat President. I think we are well and truly screwed who ever wins the election in the fall.