Thursday, September 5, 2013

Thursday--for real.

Yes, it really is Thursday.  Yesterday, for a bit (long enough to start off the blog with the wrong day), I thought it was Thursday.  Every now and then I forget which day it is.  Our daily routines don't vary much and, when we don't have special events or appointments, they are much the same.  I went back in later and corrected the post.  I have herbs to grind and stewed tomatoes to package for freezing today and some trimming on the tomatoes.

Yesterday we got a reminder that we aren't youngsters any more and that we aren't in the best physical condition.  Our park service has a lot of educational programs and we signed up for one that we thought would be on owls.  I expected that it was some kind of hike because the flyer touted it as an "outing" but turned out to be on geology.  (Evidently there was some kind of major mix-up because one of the other participants thought it would be an indoor class on owls and another thought it was supposed to be on ecology.)  Anyway, to cut to the chase, we dropped out after only about 20 minutes after getting half way up one of the hills.  We won't be signing up for any more of those but we will try to get back to taking walks through the neighborhood now that the weather is turning cooler.

Robert Samuelson at the Washington Post makes some very good points.  I have noticed a number of references to "war weariness" applied to either the British or the Americans or both or to the world in general.  Attributing wariness on the issue of Syria is a nice way to deflect any possible recognition that our strategy of using military means to solve all international conflicts isn't working and, probably. could never work.  But, with the dissolution of the Soviet Union a bit over two decades ago, we have wallowed in the supposed glory of being the only "superpower" or the "hyper-power."  Few explicitly recognized that the only measure by which we were "super" was military spending and military hardware.  I am not surprised, therefore, that the military became the weapon of choice in all our confrontations.  When all you have is a hammer, all your problems look like nails.  Samuelson is right.  Our problem isn't war weariness.  It is frustration.  We have lost more lives on the various battlefields than we did in the 9/11 attacks in the first place and those lives have gained us nothing.  We have wasted a whole lot of money and materiel and deferred the payment to sometime in the future.  I don't think I have to go on.

I said "wariness" above.  Dana Milbank's opinion piece illustrates why that word is appropriate.  The old saying is "Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me."  I have seen nothing that convinces me that our political leaders know what is really going on.  I have seen nothing that convinces me that we have something to gain by intervening on any side in Syria.

Last week, I think, the local news carried a story about a number of school districts opting out of the Federal School Lunch Program.  Because so many students were refusing to eat the food provided under the program and so much of it was winding up in the garbage, the schools were facing a large bill and getting nothing for it.  Gene Logsdon at The Contrary Farmer has some on target remarks about school lunches and the industrial food production system.

There are damned few points on which I agree with any religious leader but I would agree with Pope Francis on this one--as I think you would guess from what I said above.  The only problem: I don't think anyone is talking.

On top of the plague of pig carcasses earlier around Shanghai (I think--more than 20k), another river has a massive die-off of fish thanks to a discharge of ammonia from a chemical plant.

I do love sarcastic comments on the idiocy that goes on in Washington.

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