Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Good Wednesday, Everyone.  We have had sporadic thunder and lightening and a bit of rain.  They say it will be hit-or-miss rain all day.  Most of my gardening yesterday involved picking up plants and soil from the garden shops.  I got all of my herbs--stevia, chamomile. lavender, basil, lemon thyme, and rosemary.  I have stevia seedlings in the little greenhouse but it is somewhat slow growing.  I picked up a pot of five or six well grown plants in addition to those I started.  I bought two new lavender because the one in the garden has shown no sign of recovering from the winter.  I will probably buy more plants through out the year.  What I haven't found is a rose.  I don't want any more miniatures and I do want one that smells like a rose and is hardy to zone 4.  I sniffed at every rose in both garden centers and not a bit of scent in any of them.  Those in my catalogs are hardy to zone 5 (in which I live) but I want something a bit hardier and very few have any description of the scent.  Oh, well, I guess I will punt and put in some other plants where I want to put the rose.

Well, everyone is second-guessing Angelina Jolie's decision to have a double mastectomy to prevent possible breast cancer.  She carries the BRCA1 gene which is linked to increased probability of contracting breast cancer and her mother died young of uterine cancer.  So, to provide peace of mind for her and her family she decided on surgery.  Her choice.  Every woman makes her own choice for her own reason.  I have no idea if I have that gene.  I rather doubt it since none of my female relatives have died of cancer.  If I were diagnosed with the gene I would be a wait-and-see girl.  The gene has been known for a relatively short time so I want to see what the stats in ten or so years on how many women who opt for wait and watch actually contract cancer.  And what the costs of each program (wait-and-see vs. prophylactic mastectomy) actually are.  What I find disturbing is that the discussion moved very quickly from Jolie, who is a public figure, to whether women, as a generalized group,   should make that decision at all.  I find it fascinating that women's health, especially anything related to female reproductive health, suddenly becomes a big story while nothing similar happens with issues of men's health.  Stories about  prostate cancer aren't covered in nearly as much detail or for as long.

Evidently the medical experts are fighting amongst themselves over the recommendations for how much salt people should get each day.  One group has recommended as little as 1500 mg.  Scientists with the Institute of Medicine have examined studies on which that recommendation was based and found all of them flawed to various degrees.  They conclude that while there is sufficient evidence to maintain the current recommendation (less that 2300mg per day) there is no good evidence to recommend the lower limit.  In case you wondered 1tsp of salt contains 10600mg so the more generous limit constitutes about one-quarter of a teaspoon.  We follow these stories because Mom is on blood pressure medication.  We have three general rules to cover these issues: little salt added in cooking and none on the dinner table, as few canned or processed foods, and as much fresh, locally grown foods as possible.

One of the news casts we watched last night made note of this de-leveraging of the middle class households.  We were amused by the enthusiastic claim the reporter made that soon the middle class will be able to acquire new debt and the economy would take off.  Debt was a major factor contributing to the Great Recession and these bozos want us to go back into debt???  The logic escapes me.  Another point which this article makes and the news last night also made is that student loans are one class of "consumer" debt that has increased.  Well, DUH!!!  Students are coming out of college with large debts than ever--debts they can't discharge in bankruptcy.  If they have any kind of a job at all they are making payments and, unless they landed a very well-paying job, they are making payments that don't cover interest much less reduce principal.  That shortfall will be rolled over increasing the debt.  So, between new graduates starting to repay the loans and those older payers rolling over their shortages, only an obtuse idiot would be surprised at the increase.

If we wonder what all that debt support, a new story from the Chronicle of Higher Education featured at Alternet gives us some indication.  I won't bore you with my profanity on the subject.

I don't necessarily believe everything I read in any media but this item is believable.  I notice that very few people are named in this article.  But given the sense of entitlement I have seen in all too many well-heeled idiots--it is entirely possible.  But I will pass on its truthfulness but it is 'truthy'.

Coming soon to a court room near you--SON OF ROBO-SIGNING!!!  Having taken homes across the country, the banksters are now coming for everything else.  And using the same techniques that worked so well in the foreclosure debacle.  A further bit of proof of the death of 'rule by law.'

Don't you just love "free" markets?  I am sure the Dutch do.  I bet they especially love the part about the company making a profit of 5M euros more over what they would have if they shipped the product to Dutch stores.

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