191 Talk about a slow news day!


Tom Garrett 3 years, 9 months ago

As you know, I search the latest news reports to find things we should talk about. I went out on the 28th of March and came up with zilch. Nada. Nothing.

Except this string of sausages:

• People are complaining that the feds are about to buy up a current 1.8 million tons of sugar.

• A Norwegian economist named Bharat Bhatta is arguing that airlines should charge passengers by the pound on a "pay as you weigh" program.

• Warwick, Rhode Island has dropped a case against a woman who was fined $15 for violating a noise ordinance after her pet cockatoo allegedly swore at her ex-husband's girlfriend.

• The University of Leicester and residents of York are arguing where Richard III should be reburied know that his remains have been found under a city council parking lot.

• The Arizona Senate is busy with a bill to stop universities from collecting student association fees from students because last year one of the student associations was active in getting Prop 204, which would have imposed an additional one-cent sales tax on us, defeated.

Having yawned my way through all that, I came across an article about a woman in England who had given birth to a 15 pound baby.

That, at least, had some value because it pointed out that when a baby is that big, and it gets stuck on its way out, its shoulder can cut off the flow in the umbilical cord, stopping the supply of oxygen to the poor kid, and causing death or brain damage. In this case, the baby's blood supply was cut off for an entire five minutes and the result was that he was only given a 10% chance of survival. However, the child is well but may have some learning disabilities.

Th-Th-Th-That's all folks!


Tom Garrett 3 years, 9 months ago

a. People have been asking, "What can the feds do with all that sugar?"

My suggestion? Tie Bloomberg on his back and stuff it in his yap.

b. About that Norwegian economist.

Which part of Norway is New Delhi in?

c. About the swearing cockatoo.

Isn't truth a defense in such matters?

d. As to Richard III.

Repave the parking lot and forget it. If he was one of the most hated kings to ever rule in England, why would you want to spoil the fun people can have driving over him?

And isn't he the one who said this? "A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!"

I'll give you a horse, Jack. And what comes with it. Just open wi-i-i-de. There's a good king. Say hello to George for me.

e. As to that change in what U of A can do.

I could think of some other laws about U of A that I'd like to see a lot more than that one. Leave em alone. They got it right for once.

f. As regards the poor kid. I don't see where he did anything wrong, so I hope he has a long and happy life. But as to a health care system that couldn't detect the size of a 15 pound baby before it became a problem in a labor room, I strongly suggest you support Obamacare so we can get something as good.

See? The news may be slow, but that doesn't mean we have to be.


frederick franz 3 years, 9 months ago


The news is kinda' slow here too. Here is an article from todays newspaper, The Grants Pass Daily Courier:

Magnolia marks spring's return to area

JEFF DUEWEL/Daily Courier

Spring flowers burst forth the past few weeks in Grants Pass, including magnolias on either side of Sixth Street -- this one at the Redwood Motel and one across the street at the historic Ahlf House, built around 1902.

The original owner of the huge blue Victorian home was J.H. Ahlf, a German immigrant who ran a butcher shop on G Street, said local historian Mike Oaks.

The fossil record indicates that magnolias date back millions of years.

They rely on beetles, which are ancient pollinators.


Tom Garrett 3 years, 9 months ago

Ancient pollinator. Huh! Sounds like a guy that lives around the corner who sits on the front porch with his eyes fixed on the female summer visitors as they drift by chattering. What a dreamer! It would kill him. Anyway, Fred, as regards

Oops! Sorry. Opened this string at 9 am, read the news from Grants Pass, and fell asleep.


Actually, though, I have a botanical question.

Back in Connecticut when I was a boy I used to love seeing the forsythia bushes bloom in the spring. I remember one wide swath of yellow trained on a trellis that lit up the whole neighborhood each year. But the two %$#@! forsythia bushes that I planted about 8 years ago, and which are huge now, NEVER bloom all at once. The blooms start at one side and then slowly creep across the bush, losing that beautiful sweep of yellow I expected. Anyone know anything about that?

And while I am displaying my horticulture ignorance (and I am Dead Serious**), how come the lilacs they sell up here have such puny flowers on them? And no scent; not that I can detect anyway. I know they are "mountain" lilacs because that's how they were labeled when I bought them. So what's the deal? Can't we get regular lilacs? The one that have huge, beautifully scented blooms?

**Actually, I am Tom Garrett; Dead Serious is an alias.


frederick franz 3 years, 9 months ago


I'm pretty ignorant about the blooming plants around here. The lilacs we have here didn't survive the recent rain storm. All of the blooms are on the ground. I'm hoping they will bloom again.

I'm outta here, and off to look at the news from the Seattle RSS.


Tom Garrett 3 years, 9 months ago

Oh, for crying out loud!!!!!

I just went to an encyclopedia and looked it up. You know what? I think the things they've been selling around here as lilacs are a Chinese species.

They are NOT the "Syringa vulgaris, or Common Lilac" that we all grew up loving so much.

China. I might have known!!!!!

Do they do ANYTHING right over there?


frederick franz 3 years, 9 months ago


The plant grows wild in China, as it does here. I suppose it was initially imported to the U.S. along with other stuff which Americans keep on buying.

If "they do ANYTHING right over there" I hope that it will be to keep North Korea from making trouble.


Tom Garrett 3 years, 9 months ago

Don't worry, Fred. They won't. If they leaned on North Korea to quit making trouble they'd be losing their little buddy. If they went into North Korea and took over, which they would probably love doing, they'd run into trouble with Japan and Russia, something they don't want, and they would find themselves harnessed to an economy that has collapsed--the typical Communist problem: Too much money on army, secret police, etc, and not enough to feed, clothe, and house the people.

The dictator in North Korea is doing what he's doing because he's between the hard spot and the rock; he has no internal solutions for his problems. He has too many people and too few resources. He's trying to scare the world into giving him aid, which we will not do because it would juts perpetuate the problem.

The best solution for North Korea is a civil war that wipes out 1/3 of the people. After that, the economy could support the rest of them.

The worst solution is for us to bend, even slightly.


Bernice Winandy 3 years, 9 months ago

Well, now, if you want some real news how about reading about the Jodi Arias trial?

As far as North Korea is concerned, I wonder how far they would go if the western media stopped covering all of the propaganda? If North Korea stopped making the news with all of its threats, would it stop threatening?


Robbin Flowers 3 years, 9 months ago

Dear Tom, I hope I don't bore everyone to death, but I am just sick of all the legislative crap to prevent free market capitalism. So, lets look at that government sugar purchase and ask why would the government want to do this.

For decades, sugar beet and sugar cane farmers and processors have been the beneficiaries of a sugar program that stealthily drives up sugar costs—and, consequently, the cost of everything that has sugar in it. Over the past 30 years, the annual burden on U.S. consumers has averaged over $3 to $4 billion in higher food prices, per year.

  1. Let’s start with sugar prices. Over the past 30 years, the price for U.S. sugar has averaged 28.6 cents per pound, or more than twice the average world price of 14 cents. In 2011, the average U.S. sugar price of 56.22 cents per pound was 77 percent above the world price of less than 32 cents per pound.

  2. American consumers and businesses consumed 22.44 billion pounds of sugar last year and domestic producers supplied 15.76 billion pounds of that sugar.

  3. Due to quotas, Americans were only allowed to purchase 6.67 billion pounds of world sugar, or about 30 percent of the total sugar consumed. Domestic sugar producers are allowed to control roughly 70 percent of the sugar market every year through protectionist sugar trade policies that limit foreign competition.

  4. By forcing Americans to pay 56.22 cents for domestic sugar instead of 31.68 cents for the foreign markets, Americans paid an additional 24.54 cents per pound for the 15.76 billion pounds of American sugar in 2011. Those higher prices for domestic sugar translated to $3.86 billion in higher costs for American consumers and businesses last year.

Bottom Line: The cost of most trade protection is largely invisible and hard to calculate, but the cost of sugar protection is directly visible and measurable, because the USDA and the futures markets regularly report prices for both high-cost domestic sugar and low-cost world sugar. Like all trade protection, sugar tariffs exist to protect inefficient industry practices from more efficient practices, which efficiency, will only manifest with competition, and comes at the expense of the U.S. consumer and the American companies using sugar as an input. So, the sugar lobby lifted almost $4 billion from American consumers last year!

Is the government manipulation of sugar to get people to use more fake sugar substitutes? To get people to use less sugar? To drive up US food price production, so most people have no choice but to give all their US dollars (power) to China?


Tom Garrett 3 years, 9 months ago


This all started with Cuba. Cuba's primary means of obtaining foreign exchange was from her sugar crop. When Cuba went over to the Communist side we put in place laws that stopped Cuba from selling to us. They were a good thing at the time. We had to win the Cold War. The alternative was a hot war in which we all would have died. Now we're stuck with antique laws. Will we get rid of them? Should we? Beats me.

It's interesting that this also touches on globalization and the "global" economy. You know how I would make up my mind on this? Easy. How many Americans would be put out of work if we stopped sugar supports?

Until we get 100% employment we just may be stuck with some things that we do. And even after we return to 100% employment, it will be better to pay a little more for some things than we have to--if it is a way to support 100% employment. And I say that as far as money is concerned, by which I mean that the taxes paid in by employed workers, as opposed to the unemployment benefits and welfare paid to the unemployed, is the bottom line in all this. ALL Americans should be employed. Everyone should earn his own way.

It's a puzzle, isn't it? The bottom line is to stop wasting money on things like Special Ed classes (only where they are not truly needed) and Head Start for 3 and 4 year olds(which has been proven not to work, and in fact to cause mental problems), make things here, pay the extra needed, and gain the money spent back in the form of lower taxes.

It could be done if we could just elect humans to Congress instead of greedy apes.

Maybe PIerre Boulle was right when he named his book back in 1963?

What do you say? You think he was?


Robbin Flowers 3 years, 9 months ago

Tom, the issue isn't 100% employment, that is not possible as long as we support jobs over seas. The problems is having good employment, fair employment, available to those who want to work. The hardest working people I know are the working poor. "How many Americans would be put out of work if we stopped sugar supports?" NONE. Is the answer. The sugar industry, like most industries are Monopolistic in nature, so the only one making good money is the Corporation Top. There is no competition, so the employees get low wages, ect. The government tariffs, subsides to big oil (so its cheaper to ship,) and the laws in place to prevent competition are all completely manipulated to the US TAX PAYING CITIZEN disadvantage. I want to grow sugar cane but it is illegal for me to import plants. So, it's ok for some people in Az to grow weed but not sugar cane! (Do not know who PIerre Boulle is, will have to look him up.)


Pat Randall 3 years, 9 months ago

I don't know if it is still there but there was a big sugar plant south of Chandler and sugar beets were grown and processed there for many years. Arizona farmers grew just about anything we needed for many years, then the subdividers took over and planted houses. The best potatoes I ever ate were grown in Queen Creek. Corn, pecan groves, citrus, lettuce and feed for animals at the feed lots and for the ranchers.
Now it is almost all gone.


Tom Garrett 3 years, 9 months ago

"The problems is having good employment, fair employment, available to those who want to work."

That IS 100% employment. I didn't mean that 100% of the people should work. :-)

PIerre Boulle wrote the book "Planet of the Apes."

Oddly enough, because i once lived right next to a large sugar cane field I happen to know something about sugar cane. For one thing, it's one of the most natural candies in the world. Give a kid a foot long section of cane and you'll see one happy kid all day. The import of sugar cane stock is currently controlled (as is the import of many plants) because of a plant disease found in some regions which would endanger our own plants if import was allowed, but if you want to grow sugar cane, here you go. Just click on this link. It's for Amazon, which will sell you what you need at a very low price. You can buy root stock if you want, which is a lot faster.


Pat, I agree with you. When I first saw the valley in 1958 it was nothing BUT orchards and farnland. There was nothing north of Thomas except farmland and open range. And when Lolly and I finally got here in 1983 we used to go to Queen Creek and enjoy the pick-it-yourself days on some of the farms. Plus which, you could buy fresh citrus fruit on almost any corner. When I planted the property for a brand new house I bought in Phoenix you better believe I put in oranges, grapefruit et al. Back in Texas we had a water oak, two pines, a Chinese tallow tree, a pear tree, a pecan tree, and a fig tree out back. Here we have four apples, plus the pines and junipers. It's one reason we bought the place.

As for the feed lots. I'll pass on those unless they're kept WAY out of the city. I'm sure you know why.



Robbin Flowers 3 years, 9 months ago

Tom, I can get that plant on Amazon or Ebay, and I bet that I could get the weed seed off the internet, too, but it wouldn't be legal for me do so, that is the point. I doubt that I would be prosecuted for growing sugar cane, but, then and there, you never know.


Pat Randall 3 years, 9 months ago

Tom, The feed lots were in the valley long before all the subdivisions. On S. Higley road there was a very large one. Then houses started being built and the cattle were moved. Did they not smell before the houses were built? Tovere feed lot on East Washington in Phoenix was there before I was born and you know how old I am. I couldn't believe it when it was torn apart.

It is like the airport here in Payson. People buy houses around it or in the flight pattern then complain about the noise. I have heard the most complaints about the helicopters. I think they have a great sound. I know when one comes in or leaves they have usually taken a very sick person to a hospital in the valley to save thier lives. My husband, daughter and grandson have all been taken out for medical care in one. I think my grandson has been taken three times.


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