Friday, March 14, 2008

The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict

The title about says it all. Winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Economics, Joseph E. Stiglitz of Columbia University is the author of Making Globalization Work and Globalization and Its Discontents. Linda J. Bilmes, a professor of public finance at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, is a former assistant secretary for management and budget in the U.S. Department of Commerce tally the true cost of this war and how it's been hidden from the American public.

In this interview Bilmes does an excellent job in detailing exactly how much this war has--and will--cost U.S. Taxpayers and details the inner workings of the federal financial systems and the efforts of the administration (and Congress) to keep the true cost of the war from being totaled.

Most devastating is the inability of wounded troops to qualify for and receive promised health care, a national disgrace, because of bureaucratic infighting and lack of budget.

A particularly good interview with Linda Blimes by WHYY's Marty Moss-Coane on Radio Times:
listen to podcast here (right click the link to download this mp3 to your computer).

Monday, March 10, 2008

Natural Pest Control

A natural pepper spray to deter animals and, it is reported, two-spotted spider mites and other insects.

  1. puree two chile peppers (the hotter, the better) & some water in a blender
  2. strain out solids
  3. add water to make 1 gallon
Mix 1/4 cup of concentrate per gallon of fresh water in a sprayer. Add one tablespoon of liquid soap to help spray stick to your plants.

From Organic Gardening magazine, 2007, v. 54, No. 6

Friday, March 7, 2008

The Virtues of Native Plants

Podcasts Worth Hearing

I heard Dr. Douglas Tallamy speak at this month's meeting of the Butterfly Society, held at the Norfolk Botanical Center, and found his message and his presentation quite compelling. In fact, Doug has changed my entire emphasis in gardening: only native plants from this day forward. Even a single home garden here on the East Coast Flyway can make a really big difference for both birds and butterflys.

I have since found a WHYY Radio Times interview with Dr. Tallamy available as an mp3 download (right click and save to your desktop or mp3 player Listen Here ).

I also bought an autographed copy of his book Bringing Nature Home, how Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens, which is fascinating.

Dr. Tallamy is currently Professor and Chair of the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware, where he has written more than 65 research articles and has taught insect taxonomy, behavioral ecology, and other subjects. Chief among his research goals is to better understand the many ways insects interact with plants and how such interactions determine the diversity of animal communities.