Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Hello to you all on what looks like a bright Wednesday though a bit on the cool side.  I need to water a whole lot of plants.  So far the new grow light is working very nicely.  All of those seedlings are growing nicely.  The peppers I thought were not going to sprout have sprouted nicely.  They had taken so long I was about to start new seeds.  I need to make some new paper pots so I can get some more seeds started.  I think those are working much better than the peat plugs.  I don't think I will use the peat plugs any more.

I found this blog on the Washington Post this morning.  I remember all of the official proclamations assuring everyone that the radiation from Fukushima would certainly not reach our territories.  That was at the same time monitors in Washington and Oregon were showing radiation spikes directly traceable to Fukushima and radiation tainted fish were showing up in our waters.  How can you tell if a politician is lying?  His/Her lips are moving.

I have a couple of thoughts about the Korean mess.  The first came this morning as the news readers noted China's concern over the brinksmanship.  They are afraid that the situation will escalate 'accidentally.'  I put that word in quotation marks because, as a character in a movie I like said, if a loaded gun discharges while you are threatening people with it, it is no accident if some one is shot.  The North Koreans are threatening people with a loaded gun and there are no accidents in the consequences.  The second thought involves some of the political pundits' comments that describe the North Korean actions as 'blackmail.'  There is only one effective way of dealing with international blackmail--change the terms of the interaction.  Right now we are trying to achieve an unattainable goal--limiting nuclear technology to those countries that have it now.  The key feature about technological genies is that once they are out of the bottle they don't go back into the bottle and no one can control where they go.  We have to find a way to live with that fact and the fact that people we don't much like or trust are going to get the technology.

This situation has appeared in a number of articles I have read for some time now.  Now the practice is increasing in Britain.  We were assured by our various pundits that the upsurge of temporary workers and workers hired 'on call' nothing to worry about because when good times (that were surely just around the corner) many of those workers would be hired permanently.  We were, and remain, skeptical.  I just saw a report on BBC that touts the 'improving' U.S. job market.  The only criterion by which the job market is improving is in the number of companies planning to hire more workers.  That doesn't mean they will actually hire more.  Or that the wages will improve.  Statistics I have seen elsewhere indicate that two-thirds or more of the jobs lost during the last several years paid well while sixty percent of the jobs created were low paying jobs.  This Alternet piece provides a tonic for irrational optimism on the jobs issue.  That does not indicate an improving job market.

I like reading the Contrary Farmer--he writes a lot of good sense.  Over the last couple of years I have read a number of stories about farmers converting a large amount of land to corn and soybean production and much of that in areas that require extensive irrigation to make bring in the crop.  Worse the aquifers that irrigate that land are dropping rapidly at the same time drought conditions continue.  The whole process reminds me of descriptions of the years just before and into the early years of the Great Depression and Dust Bowl.  Farm commodity prices fell leading farmers to convert more land to crops hoping to squeeze a small profit out of more acreage leading to lower prices.  And much of the expansion was fueled by loans.  And then the music stopped and everybody fell down.

Isn't this wonderfully craptastic!!!  When is oil not oil?  When it is from oil sands.  Which means that Exxon doesn't have to pay into the oil clean up trust fund.  By the way--the oil the Keystone XL pipeline is planned to carry--same thing.

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