Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Good Tuesday, everyone.  We have clouds and rain today.  Not much, therefore, to do in the gardens.  We do have our errands to run.  Let's see what I find on the 'net.

I saw this story on the news last night.  I wondered, with my usual skepticism, on what criteria the study would be comparing 'organic' to non-organic foods.  The headlines give the impression that scientists have 'proven' that there is no difference between them and certainly none that justifies the extra cost of organics.  My skepticism was well justified.  The study indicates that there is no difference between organic and non-organic when simple nutrition is considered.  They provide the same level of nutrients.  However, I have to question that.  I have seen reports that the vegetable varieties most commonly planted commercially today, selected for a number of traits none of which involved nutritional value, don't provide the same level of nutrients that older varieties provided.  I noticed the picture with the article showed an heirloom tomato in a Whole Foods store.  I suspect that the heirloom varieties would definitely show a higher level of nutrients as well as a much better flavor (also a trait not high on the selection list for commercial varieties.)  But the stories did indicate, well buried in the body of the report, that organics usually beat non-organically grown foods with respect to lower levels of pesticides and antibiotics consumers receive.  Also, this study was a 'study of studies.'  Not a new research protocol that attempted to get fresh data.  A key sentence comes about mid-way in the text and notes that many researchers did not specify exactly what defined 'organic'  for their particular research.  For us, this 'news' isn't news.  We try to buy local foods that have the least possible amounts of herbicides, pesticides, and antibiotics (or other drugs) as possible.  And we try to eliminate as many GMO products as possible.

Heather at Crooks&Liars picks up on some interesting comments from Dean Baker on the Repthuglican theme of 'are you better off now than you were four years ago.'  He is absolutely right that the question is basically meaningless.  Obama came in after the Wall Street Meltdown, after the auto industry had been put on the critical list, after Lehman Bros. imploded and AIG revealed itself to be a major threat to the entire world's financial system, and after housing took its spectacular nose dive. That happened during Bush II's tenure and did anyone else notice who wasn't at the RNC convention? And if those lazy reporters want to ask me if I am better off now than four years ago,  they probably wouldn't publish my answer.  Yes!! I am better off. But not for anything either Bush or Obama has done.  Two and a half years ago, after two years unemployed without any benefits, I went on Social Security.  That almost doubled our household income.  We went from barely scraping by and wondering what else we could cut to a bit comfortable.  And, in case any one has forgotten, the program was established during FDR's presidency and it is people like Ryan who want to 'reform' it out of existence.  And I don't really believe they won't change it for those of use who already are receiving it.  And I would rather vote for the fireman than for the party of the arsonist.

This piece by Ian Welsh, from Naked Capitalism, contains some very astute observations about the state of the economy.  Translation (though one isn't needed): we're all pretty----screwed.

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