tagged w/ maggie kortchmar
Since when do we listen to the GOP anymore?
Having just seen what President Barack Obama can do with 58 Democrats in the Senate, Republicans are more determined than ever to keep him from getting a 59th.
Especially if the 59th is Al Franken.
Franken, the former comedian, leads Republican Norm Coleman by 225 votes in a “Groundhog Day” of an election that dawned more than three months ago and shows no signs of ending soon.
Which is exactly how Senate Republicans want it. The National Republican Senatorial Committee held a ritzy fundraiser for Coleman in Washington this week, helping him raise the money he needs to keep his legal challenges alive through a trial and then a lengthy legal process if he loses.
How long should Coleman hold out?Since when do we listen to the GOP anymore?
Having just seen what President Barack... more
With pleasure Senator-elect.
Democrat Al Franken has started using the title “Senator-elect,” despite the fact that his contest with Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) has not yet been decided.
A Minnesota court is currently hearing Coleman’s challenge to the recount.
A press release sent out by his staff Monday announcing a series of town halls with local mayors reads: “Sen.-elect Franken held the first in a series of roundtable discussions with Minnesota Mayors today in St. Paul. Franken and metro-area mayors discussed the economic realities facing their cities, budget cuts, President Obama's measures for economic stimulus, and how to grow Minnesota’s economy.”
The Democratic mayor of St. Paul is also quoted in the release referring to Franken as the victor.
“Right now, Washington is debating matters of enormous consequence to Minnesota’s economy,” Mayor Chris Coleman says in the release. “Senator-elect Franken understands what our cities need to prosper and we’re ready for him to go to Washington to be a voice for us.”With pleasure Senator-elect.
Democrat Al Franken has started using the title... more
It is now clear that Senate Republicans have a strategy for maintaining their ability to stall -- or, at the least, dramatically alter -- Obama administration initiatives.
Individual GOP senators are paying big bucks to keep the Senate's 100th seat -- representing Minnesota -- vacant for as long as possible.
In effect, key Republicans such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are paying $10,000 a piece to maintain their power to obstruct Congress.
Consider it an investment in the short-term future.
The partisan divide in the Senate is currently 58 Democrats (56 party members and two independents who caucus with the Democrats, Connecticut's Joe Lieberman and Vermont's Bernie Sanders) versus 41 Republicans.
That 41 figure is perilously close to the number that Republicans need to threaten filibusters. It takes 60 seats to invoke cloture and force action on legislation and appointments in the tradition-bound Senate.
If Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor candidate Al Franken, who state officials determined weeks ago won the Senate seat by 225 votes, is seated it would be harder to block Senate deliberations. And with Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter -- a moderate, labor-friendly Republican who faces a tough reelection fight in a Democratic state next year showing a willingness to deal -- GOP Senate leaders well understand the vulnerability of their position.
So Republican senators are pouring money into the dead-end recount fight of former Senator Norm Coleman.
And the mis-steps just keep on coming. Yet, they truly believe they have a shot at getting the peoples respect back? Who is advising these guys? Jack the Ripper?It is now clear that Senate Republicans have a strategy for maintaining their ability... more
An extraordinary behind-the-scenes struggle is taking place between computer security groups around the world and the brazen author of a malicious software program called Conficker.
The program grabbed global attention when it began spreading late last year and quickly infected millions of computers with software code that is intended to lash together the infected machines it controls into a powerful computer known as a botnet.
Since then, the program’s author has repeatedly updated its software in a cat-and-mouse game being fought with an informal international alliance of computer security firms and a network governance group known as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. Members refer to the alliance as the Conficker Cabal.
The existence of the botnet has brought together some of the world’s best computer security experts to prevent potential damage. The spread of the malicious software is on a scale that matches the worst of past viruses and worms, like the I Love You virus. Last month, Microsoft announced a $250,000 reward for information leading to the capture of the Conficker author.
Botnets are used to send the vast majority of e-mail spam messages. Spam in turn is the basis for shady commercial promotions including schemes that frequently involve directing unwary users to Web sites that can plant malicious software, or malware, on computers.
Botnets can also be used to distribute other kinds of malware and generate attacks that can take commercial or government Web sites off-line.
One of the largest botnets tracked last year consisted of 1.5 million infected computers that were being used to automate the breaking of “captchas,” the squiggly letter tests that are used to force applicants for Web services to prove they are human.
Perhaps this is what is behind the AIG loss of oversight?An extraordinary behind-the-scenes struggle is taking place between computer security... more
California corrections officials released an updated prison photograph of Charles Manson on Wednesday, showing the balding and graying 74-year-old, complete with his iconic forehead swastika.
A new photo of Charles Manson shows his graying beard and his legendary swastika tattooed into his forehead.
A new photo of Charles Manson shows his graying beard and his legendary swastika tattooed into his forehead.
The picture was taken as part of a regular update of inmate images at the California State Prison in Corcoran, about 150 miles northwest of Los Angeles, where Manson is serving a life term.
The release of the picture comes ahead of the 40th anniversary of the "Manson family" killings in August 1969.
Manson and four others -- Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, Charles "Tex" Watson and Leslie Van Houten -- were convicted of murder and other charges in connection with a two-night rampage that left pregnant actress Sharon Tate and seven others dead.
Van Houten, who was 19 at the time of the killings, was convicted in the murders of Leno LaBianca, a wealthy grocery store owner, and his wife, Rosemary. Van Houten was accused of stabbing Rosemary LaBianca 14 to 16 times in the back.
Van Houten was also convicted of conspiracy in Tate's death and four others at the actress' Beverly Hills home. The baby, which was ripped from Tate's womb, died. Manson, Atkins and Krenwinkel were convicted for those murders.
All members of the "Manson family" have been up for parole multiple times over the past four decades, but it has never been granted.
Atkins, who has been declared terminally ill, was denied a compassionate release from prison in July 2008. Atkins is believed to have been one of the people who stabbed Tate and scrawled the word "pig" in blood on the door of the home the actress shared with director Roman Polanski.
In May 2008, authorities dug for bodies at the Inyo County, California, ranch where Manson and his followers once lived, after police learned that testing had indicated human remains might be buried there. According to authorities, nothing was found
I hear Cheney requested to be cell mate to Charlie. Birds of a feather.California corrections officials released an updated prison photograph of Charles... more
All three of President Obama’s top economic advisers were on message when they appeared Sunday on separate television talk shows. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, they said, had concluded, based on lawyers’ advice, that he could not stop the $165 million in bonuses that the American International Group was even then doling out to hundreds of employees.
But when Mr. Geithner and other officials met at the White House that night, the president’s political advisers — who had agreed to the day’s message — decided the growing outcry left Mr. Obama no choice but to publicly second-guess his Treasury secretary.
The next morning on camera, the president said he had directed Mr. Geithner to find a legal way “to block these bonuses and make the American taxpayers whole.”
Thus began perhaps the worst week in a string of bad weeks for the Treasury secretary. The mixed messages on A.I.G. gave further ammunition to critics who had begun questioning Mr. Geithner’s credibility as the administration’s point man on the economy, an essential commodity if he is to help restore consumer confidence.
Fair or not, questions about why Mr. Geithner did not know sooner about the A.I.G. bonuses and act to stop them threaten to overwhelm his achievements and undermine Mr. Obama’s overall economic agenda. Edward M. Liddy, chief executive of A.I.G., told Congress on Wednesday that he generally deals with Fed officials, figuring they would keep Treasury informed.
The controversy comes as Mr. Geithner is about to announce details of the restructured bank rescue program, and it clouds prospects for more rescue funds that the administration is all but certain to need.
What a mess, but who REALLY is to blame? Bush left us in such a mess, oversights like this will continue to happen in all areas to one degree or another. I believe the law protected these exec's bonus's and to not dole them out left the Gov. open to lawsuits, and even more taxpayer money wasted. Enough blame to be passed around, too much to ever know if one man could have prevented it. But let's remember-there is a good chance these bonuses will not be paid out in full.All three of President Obama’s top economic advisers were on message when they... more
Canadian researchers say they have discovered the smallest known North American dinosaur, a carnivore that roamed areas of the continent 75 million years ago and weighed less than most modern-day house cats.
Researchers say Hesperonychus, whose name means "western claw," was about 1.6 feet tall.
Researchers say Hesperonychus, whose name means "western claw," was about 1.6 feet tall.
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Hesperonychus elizabethae, a 4.4-pound (2-kilogram) creature with razor-like claws, ran through the swamps and forests of southeastern Alberta, Canada, during the late Cretaceous period, the researchers said.
The diminutive dinosaur likely hunted insects, small mammals and other prey, perhaps even baby dinosaurs, said Nick Longrich, a paleontology research associate in the University of Calgary's Department of Biological Sciences.
"It's basically a predator of small things," Longrich said.
Longrich co-wrote a paper on the dinosaur with University of Alberta paleontologist Philip Currie. The paper appeared in Monday's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The researchers said the clawed dinosaur was slight, ran on two legs and had dagger-like teeth. It had an enlarged sickle-shaped claw on its second toe, the researchers said.
Although fossilized remains of Hesperonychus were collected in 1982, they remained unstudied until Longrich came across them in the University of Alberta's collection in 2007, the university said. Because of their size, some of the fossilized parts had been thought to be from juveniles.
Longrich said he suspected the claws had come from another, smaller adult species, but said finding a fossilized pelvis in which the hip bones were fused -- which happens only once an animal is fully grown -- convinced him.
"The claws were kind of a bread-crumb trail that we followed along," until finding the well-preserved pelvis, Longrich said.Canadian researchers say they have discovered the smallest known North American... more
AIG gets slapped by ALL talk show hosts. Want to take a swing?
According to a study by the Department of Energy, the paper industry is the fourth biggest producer of carbon dioxide among manufacturers. And few organizations move paper like the United States Post Office — which delivers more than 212 billion pieces of mail every year, or about 8,000 letters per second.
The E.P.A., meanwhile, estimates that of the nearly 6 million tons of standard mail generated nationwide in 2007, less than half — or about 40 percent — was recycled.
In response, the U.S.P.S. — which has received accolades from the E.P.A. for its waste reduction efforts — has installed more than 4,000 recycling stations near P.O. boxes to encourage people to recycle what they don’t want, like advertising mail.
It’s a persistent concern for environmental groups like ForestEthics. According to a report released by the nonprofit, mail advertisements create 51.5 million metric tons of greenhouse gases each year — equivalent to the emissions generated by heating about 13 million homes during the winter, or mowing more than 20 billion lawns.
“It is hard to imagine waste more unnecessary than the 100 billion pieces of junk mail Americans receive each year,” said Dr. James Hansen, NASA’s top climate specialist, in conjunction with the report.
Indeed, roughly 44 percent of junk mail goes to landfills unopened, according to the anti-waste service 41pounds.org — its name derived from the estimated amount of junk mail received by the average adult each year. (The nonprofit promises to halt up to 95 percent of junk mail from being delivered to consumers who sign up. Cost for five years: $41, a portion of which goes to environmental organizations.)
I mean, we got a man on the moon for chrissakes, cant we take care of this?According to a study by the Department of Energy, the paper industry is the fourth... more
An audio recording ostensibly by al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden calls Israel's recent offensive in Gaza a "holocaust."
Osama bin Laden, in an undated photo, apparently taped a message calling Israel's Gaza offensive a holocaust.
Arabic-language news network Al-Jazeera aired the message Saturday but could not verify whether it was from bin Laden. The network did not say how it obtained the recording.
Israel launched a military offensive in Gaza on December 27 to stop Hamas rocket strikes on southern Israel. The air and land campaign ended January 18 and left about 1,300 Palestinians dead. Thirteen Israelis died.
"The Gaza holocaust is an historic event and a tragic turning point. The road of returning Al-Aqsa needs righteous leadership," the message said, referring to the Jerusalem mosque regarded as the third-holiest place in Islam. Al Qaeda says it wants to liberate the mosque from Israeli control.
The message says it's "clear" some Arab leaders have "conspired" with what it calls the "Zionist-crusader alliance" against the Palestinians in Gaza. (Jihadists refer to Christians as crusaders.)
"They (the Arab leaders) are the ones that America describes as the moderate leaders in our world," the message says.
The speaker urges Muslims to help insurgents "liberate" Iraq "so they can defeat the greatest ally to the Zionists," a reference to the United States.
Then, the fighters should move on to Jordan to "liberate all of Palestine from the sea to the river" from Israel.
When talking about Palestine, the speaker is referring to the region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River that includes the Jewish state of Israel and the Palestinian lands of the West Bank and Gaza.
In his last purported audio message in January, bin Laden called for a jihad, or holy war, to stop Israel's military campaign in Gaza.
Isn't he dead yet?An audio recording ostensibly by al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden calls Israel's... more
Describing the government’s failure to inspect 95 percent of food-processing plants as “a hazard to the public health,” President Obama promised Saturday to bolster and reorganize the nation’s fractured food-safety system.
“In the end, food safety is something I take seriously, not just as your president, but as a parent,” Mr. Obama said in his weekly radio address.
A bipartisan chorus of powerful lawmakers in Congress has already promised to enact fundamental changes in the nation’s food-protection system. In his address, Mr. Obama made clear that he not only supports that legislative effort but may push to expand it.
A dozen federal agencies share responsibility for ensuring the safety of the nation’s food supply, a fractured oversight system that critics and government investigators have for years said needed major reforms.
A fierce debate has erupted on Capitol Hill in recent months about whether to bolster food oversight at the Food and Drug Administration or assign those responsibilities to a separate agency that would eventually absorb the food oversight duties of the other 11 agencies, including the Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service. Advocates on both sides of the issue have speculated for weeks about which approach the administration would support.
Those calling for a united food agency were heartened last month when Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said that a combined agency would make sense and that the massive recall of products made with tainted peanuts “is a grand opportunity for us to take a step back and rethink our approach.” These advocates also point out that the White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, has a basement apartment in the home of Representative Rosa DeLauro, a Connecticut Democrat who advocates putting the food functions at the F.D.A. into an independent agency.Describing the government’s failure to inspect 95 percent of food-processing... more
- A Pakistani television station, which has been critical of the government, has been shut down in locations across the country, according to the station's managing director.
Pakistan's Information Minister Sherry Rehman resigned Saturday to protest media restrictions.
Government officials have instructed cable operators to remove GEO-TV from the airwaves or push it farther down in the channel order, Azhar Abbas said Saturday.
The channel signal has been blocked in certain areas, but other cable operators are still carrying it. The channel is functioning and broadcasting in some areas in Pakistan.
The reported media shutdown comes as thousands of demonstrators and lawyers were headed to Islamabad for a four-day "Long March" to demand that the government immediately restore judges the previous president had ousted.
Demonstrators also plan a massive sit-in at the parliament building Monday.
After sweeping into power in parliamentary elections last year, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) promised to reinstate the judges within 30 days of taking office. The deadline came and went.
GEO-TV, which is known to have an anti-establishment stance, has criticized the PPP-led government in recent weeks. The station has aired numerous reports on the recent lawyers' movement.- A Pakistani television station, which has been critical of the government, has been... more
Rosalio Reta sits at a table inside a Laredo Police Department interrogation room. A detective, sitting across the table, asks him how it all started.
Gabriel Cardona, who shows his tattooed eyelids, worked as a hit man for a Mexican cartel.
Reta, in Spanish street slang, describes his initiation as an assassin, at the age of 13, for the Mexican Gulf Cartel, one of the country's two major drug gangs.
"I thought I was Superman. I loved doing it, killing that first person," Reta says on the videotape obtained by CNN. "They tried to take the gun away, but it was like taking candy from kid."
Rosalio Reta and his friend, Gabriel Cardona, were members of a three-person cell of American teenagers working as cartel hit men in the United States, according to prosecutors. The third was arrested by Mexican authorities and stabbed to death in prison there three days later.
In interviews with CNN, Laredo police detectives and prosecutors told how Cardona and Reta were recruited by the cartel to be assassins after they began hitting the cantinas and clubs just across the border.Rosalio Reta sits at a table inside a Laredo Police Department interrogation room. A... more
At least 33 people were killed and 20 wounded in a suicide car bombing targeting a national reconciliation conference in Baghdad, an Interior Ministry official told CNN.
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has urged sheikhs of the nation's tribes to join his government.
The attack -- which occurred outside the municipal building of Abu Ghraib in western Baghdad -- also wounded 46 others, the official said.
Another Interior Ministry official told CNN the attack occurred when people gathered outside as the conference in the building ended.
Tribal leaders from the Abu Ghraib area were attending the meeting, the latest such conference between officials from the Shiite-led government and Sunni Arab tribal leaders.
Iraqi soldiers were among the casualties, the official said.
No one has claimed responsibility for the strike, but in the past, such gatherings have been targeted by al Qaeda in Iraq, the anti-American Sunni Arab militant group.
The blast follows another huge attack on Sunday, when a man wearing an explosives-laden vest drove a motorcycle rigged with bombs into a group of police recruits in eastern Baghdad. That attack killed 30 people and wounded 61 others.
Most of the victims of Sunday's strike were police officers and recruits who had gathered outside a police academy on Palestine Street. The same academy was targeted on December 1 in a double bombing that killed 16 and wounded 46.
It didn't work here, nor will it work in Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc. etc. America: Get Out.At least 33 people were killed and 20 wounded in a suicide car bombing targeting a... more
— Rarely have so few people had so little time to prop up so many pillars of the economy as those in the Treasury Department under Timothy F. Geithner. Yet, the GOP continue to call for his head because he is not moving fast enough. And yet in the same breath, today, the GOP will come out to say the Obama administration has taken on too many issues at once. Which one is it fellas?
Timothy F. Geithner reviewing his notes before his testimony to the Senate Finance Committee last week.
In the six weeks since Mr. Geithner took over as Treasury secretary, he and a skeleton crew of unofficial senior advisers have been racing to make decisions that will shape the future of the banking, insurance, housing and automobile industries.
But even as he maintains a frenetic pace — unveiling plans, testifying before Congress and negotiating new bailouts with the likes of Citigroup, General Motors and the American International Group — there are signs that events are getting ahead of him.
Administration officials say they are postponing their plan to produce a detailed road map for overhauling the nation’s financial regulatory system by April, in time for the Group of 20 meeting in London. Though officials say they will still develop basic principles in time for the meeting, the plan will not include much detail.
Treasury officials are also still scrambling to decide details of their plan to buy up as much as $1 trillion in toxic assets from the nation’s banks, one month after being widely criticized for presenting a plan that lacked any specifics on how it would work.
Analysts say it is far too early to know if Mr. Geithner and his team will be effective. But some worry that political and financial constraints have made them reluctant to grapple with the full magnitude of the crisis.
Many financial experts estimate that the nation’s banks are holding as much as $2 trillion in troubled assets, most of it tied to mortgages. By contrast, the Treasury has less than $300 billion left in the financial rescue plan that Congress reluctantly approved last year.
To avoid asking Congress for more money, Mr. Geithner has been trying to stretch government money by working with private investors, the Federal Reserve and government-controlled companies like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage giants. But that has introduced other tough policy issues, many of which remain unresolved
More http://tinyurl.com/bvkjcl— Rarely have so few people had so little time to prop up so many pillars of the... more
Two combat brigades that had been scheduled to return to Iraq this year will not be replaced, the United States military announced Sunday, signaling a first step in President Obama’s plan to end combat operations there by 2010.
In addition, the last 4,000 British troops in Iraq are now due to leave by September.
United States military commanders had signaled last week that their troops would not be replaced, reducing American forces by 12,000 and the number of brigades to 12 from 14. The United States will also hand off 74 facilities and areas under its control to the Iraqis by the end of March, The Associated Press reported.
There are currently about 142,000 American troops in Iraq, where security conditions have improved significantly over the previous year. “The time and conditions are right for Coalition forces to reduce thenumber of troops in Iraq," General Ray Odierno, the commander in Iraq, said in a statement.
But before the announcement, at least one suicide bomber blew himself up Sunday morning near the police academy in Baghdad. According to Iraq’s Interior Ministry, 28 people were killed, including five policemen, and 57 were injured, some of thTwo combat brigades that had been scheduled to return to Iraq this year will not be... more
I knew two years ago this race between Franken and Coleman was almost as crucial as the race for the White House. Now what?
Suddenly, Al Franken represents more than just an empty seat in the Senate chamber.
Franken could have been the critical 60th vote on the stalled $410 billion omnibus Thursday night. He’d be a likely yes on President Barack Obama’s ambitious budget. A Sen. Al Franken would be reliable Democratic vote on health care, tax increases on the rich, global warming legislation and virtually any other issue in which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid finds himself hunting for a couple Republican votes.
With the Minnesota Senate seat in limbo for the foreseeable future, it means Reid will have to turn back to diplomacy at a time when partisan tensions are hardening and Republicans are newly unified on Capitol Hill. Moderate Democrats who opposed the omnibus are also beginning to look wobbly on spending measures, magnifying the absence of what would be a reliably liberal vote from Franken.
And adding to Franken's significance is the likelihood that moderate Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) could be tougher to win over as a swing vote, as he now seems certain to face a serious primary challenge from the right next year and thus less likely to vote with Democrats.I knew two years ago this race between Franken and Coleman was almost as crucial as... more
And sometimes it just takes a princess to do a mans "work"
original article: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090209/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_saudi_women_driving_2
The wife of one of Saudi Arabia’s richest men says she is ready to get behind the wheel as soon as the ban on women drivers is lifted.
Princess Amira al-Taweel, who is married to global tycoon Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, told the Saudi daily Al-Watan that she already drives when she travels abroad.
'Certainly I'm ready to drive a car,' said Amira, whose husband is a nephew of Saudi King Abdallah and is ranked as the world's 13th-richest person by Forbes magazine.
Women in Saudi Arabia are currently banned from driving because of the risk of creating 'sinful temptation'
Women in Saudi Arabia are currently banned from driving because of the risk of creating 'sinful temptation'
'I have an international driver's license, and I drive a car in all the countries I travel to.'
Women in Saudi Arabia have not been permitted to drive since the establishment of the state in 1932, but the government is set to lift its ban and issue a decree by the end of the year.
However if the ban is lifted, there are likely to be hurdles such as obtaining licences and insurance which must also be overcome.
Princess al-Taweel said: 'I prefer driving a car with my sister or friend next to me instead of being with a driver who is not (related to me).’
The prohibition forces families to hire live-in drivers, and those who cannot afford the $300-$400 a month for a driver must rely on male relatives to drive them to work, school, shopping or the doctor.
But change will be difficult in this ultraconservative society, where many believe that women at the wheel create situations for sinful temptation.
They argue that women drivers will be free to leave home alone, will unduly expose their eyes while driving and will interact with male strangers, such as traffic police and mechanics.And sometimes it just takes a princess to do a mans "work"
The man described as the chief torturer for the Khmer Rouge, the notorious leadership of Cambodia which oversaw the slaughter of nearly two million people, has gone on trial.
Kaing Guek Eav, known as Duch, appeared in front of a UN-backed tribunal in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, on Tuesday accused of murder, rape, torture and other crimes against humanity.
Duch, 66, a born-again Christian and former maths teacher, headed the S-21 prison, the largest Khmer Rouge interrogation facility, where at least 14,000 men, women and children were tortured.
Hundreds of victims, including saffron-robed Buddhist monks who were persecuted during the 1975-79 Khmer Rouge era, packed the public gallery, with some of them voicing anger and others expressing relief at the sight of Duch being in the dock.
"This is the day we have waited for for 30 years," said Vann Nath, 63, one of a handful of survivors from S-21 where "enemies of the revolution" were tortured and killed as part of what became known as Cambodia's "Killing Fields".
Shielded by a bullet-proof screen, Duch did not speak throughout the court's opening session to hear initial proceedings.
His appearance marked the start of the first-ever war crimes trial of a Khmer Rouge leader, 30 years after the fall of the regime. He faces life imprisonment if convicted.The man described as the chief torturer for the Khmer Rouge, the notorious leadership... more
Now here is a silver lining in the cloud we seem to find ourselves in these days. So chin up, sharpen the tools and get to planting!
"Americans are turning in increasing numbers to their back yards to save money, with leading US seed merchants reporting a dramatic surge in early sales of carrots, tomato and pepper plant seeds.
George Ball, chairman of W. Atlee Burpee, which sells directly to gardeners and via retailers such as Home Depot, told the Financial Times that sales of vegetable seeds had grown 20-30 per cent this year.
The increase, he said, follows a similar jump in sales last year, and compares with previous annual growth levels of about 12 per cent.
Mr Ball said belt-tightening and economic concerns were the dominant factors driving demand, which had been stimulated last year by the high cost of petrol, and food safety concerns, following a scare over contaminated store-bought salad greens.
"Not only has demand not returned to normal but it has wildly increased," he said of the company's latest sales numbers. "It is just like a bonanza."Now here is a silver lining in the cloud we seem to find ourselves in these days. So... more