Monday, April 21, 2014

Hope you are enjoying Easter Sunday.  Ours is sunny and will be nicely warm.

Well, General Mills has backtracked on its forced arbitration policy.  I linked to it a story on that a couple of days ago.  Anyone who even "liked" the company on Facebook, downloaded a coupon, or entered a sweepstake contest.  According to Al Jazeera America said the company has taken the language off its website and claims it never (and would not in the future) enforce it.  The reporters also noted how widespread sweeping force arbitration clause are and are becoming.

Good Monday after Easter to you all.  We spent yesterday with my brother's family and had a very pleasant visit.  We are always amazed at how big the youngest generation are growing.

A bit of garden cleaning up today.  The oregano I had hopes for earlier has given up the ghost.  I will replace it along with the sage.  I already have a lemon thyme waiting to find its place in the gardens as soon as the weather warms a bit more.  Still haven't seen anything from my hibiscus but I doubt that the soil temperature is all that warm yet.  It is getting more sun so we'll see what happens.  I am keeping empty milk jugs to cut for hot caps along with some of the vinegar jars.  I didn't use them last year but this year just might be a bit different.

For a long time now the news media has trumpeted new drugs with breath-taking price tags.  And for nearly as long I have wondered when someone would seriously question those costs--besides the patients who need the drugs but don't have the income to pay for them without assistance or politicians who give half hearted protests.  Evidently others are also questioning the drug companies' pricing policies.  It makes no sense to me that they price their drugs on the American market so much higher than on other industrial nations' markets.  Except that they can and profits are the holy grail of modern business.

I may actually get to see my foxglove bloom this year.  I cleared the dead plants but when I pulled the foxglove I found nice healthy roots and a bit of new growth that had been hidden by dead leaves.  I quickly stuck it back in the ground.  I hope that works.

I have been busy in the gardens already (as you can tell from the above comments.)  I cut back the six inches of stalks I left on the tansy last fall and found some nice green shoots.  Also cut back the dead foliage on the pyrethrum.  I don't think that really cold (about 30F) night a few days ago hurt it seriously.  I (gently) dug up one of the hyssop and found some healthy roots so it stays for now.  Hopefully, green will soon follow.  I am digging out the strawberries I had put in the large containers pots and all.  Saw the first bumble bee and decided to put up the hummingbird feeder now rather than wait for May 1 as I had planned.  I don't mind feeding them and the feeder will be up when the hummers arrive.  We saw our first goldfinches in summer plumage.  Definitely a needed splash of color after the winter we have had.

I saw this story on our morning TV news cast and I wondered:  if the manufacturers have to label for allergens and other constituents why don't they have to label for GMO ingredients?  Consumers might be a bit surprised to find that avoiding GMO is as difficult as avoiding high fructose corn syrup.  But then the products containing HFCS are labeled.

But--another thought on the food recalls.  I keep seeing stories about how much food American consumers waste each year--as much as one-quarter of all food purchased goes in the trash.  But then think about how much food is recalled.  In addition to the hot dogs in the above story another 27k pounds of chicken were also recalled also for misbranding and undeclared allergens.  I haven't linked to the stories because my point is more general than any one recall (of which there have been 40+ this year.)  But this kind of waste is built into our industrial food manufacturing system.  It is part of the cost of doing business.

Found this on the Agonist today.  Rather underscores my concerns about nuclear energy--storing the waste is problematic.  Yeah, the site for the low-level waste was a mistake and the site is very likely to flood.  But there is an old phrase about "the best laid plans of mice and men."  I guess those near the site ought to be happy it isn't high-level waste.

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