Not an apology, really, and thanks so much to people who kept posting in my absence; that's heartening. When Baltimore blew up, I figured I had better hop back in, because there aren't many bloggers [lambert blushes modestly] who have the background that I do in live-blogging complicated and fast-moving events of resistance, non-violent or not. For good or ill, Baltimore de-escalated, and so I didn't keep on with it (here). But then, I had also said I'd start blogging about my garden when there was a garden to blog about, and now there is. Read more about Belated explanation for winter silence
Planting the vegetables (hence the need to sheet mulch (hence the need to bring in more soil)) is about three weeks away, so in the meantime I struggle to find enough that's flowered or leafed out. Ditto, apparently, the pollinators, since something big just buzzed round my head! Anyhow:
A pansy with a wilted companion in the "front area," this time not at dusk.
Today I saw a kid walking down the sidewalk with his two parents, and he made them stop at the rock garden, and they seemed to be explaining things to him. So my garden is already fulfilling its social function! This is exactly what I want people to do. And next week, something will have changed, and so they will stop again. Read more about In the garden: The awkward age
(I need to think of a more sonorous, resonant name for the "front area"....)
So, where all was bare earth two weeks ago or so, we still have bare earth, but with a humongous invasion of King Solomon's Seal -- honestly, it's poking up everywhere, and who knew? -- along with violets and (in the back) a basil patch. Out of view to the right, Black-Eyed Susans; I'm transplanting isolated clumps to other sunny spots. And the pansies I bought at the coffee shop [looks round], but they don't have any more today!
And I got my first compliment from a random pedestrian today; but perhaps they see me working and just want to be nice.... Read more about In the garden: The rock garden in the front area
When we developed the 12-Point Platform, we packed as much as possible into each point. Just so I don't forget -- and so you may remind me -- I'm going to flesh out each of the points; sometimes with full-fledged talking points, more often with scribbled notes to come back to, and sometimes with scraps prefiguring future polemic (I'm writing because Democratic regular Deblasio is coming out with some points of his own, and of course they will be pathetically inadequate, so it's worth lining up our ducks to be able to point that out.
The 12-Point Platform
These are in rough order of implementation. That is, let's get more money in workers' pockets, save their lives with single payer (such a no-brainer, given Canadian success), and brush back the rich before settling in for more radical reforms. Read more about Bullet points (and notes) for the 12-Point Platform
We lost our hardware store last year, and so the pleasant ritual of buying the day's flats and beautifying the front garden was not possible. This year, however, something new: The same greenhouse that supplied the hardware store is now bring flats to the local coffee shop. So I bought some, yesterday and today. Read more about In the garden: Pansies at dusk
Or violet, as the case may be. This is the very first flowering of the year. One notices the pretty little flowers, but without knowing that violets are tenacious and invasive. Which is why we love them! One of my tasks in the early spring is to move clumps of violets from where they sprang up to where I would like them to be. They never fail. Read more about In the garden: Am I blue
Here's the clover in the front yard (below the little white fence) The sprouts were hard to see a couple of days ago. After yesterday -- 77°F -- they're easy to see!
Above the white fence are the wildflowers. They too were heavily sown, but they will sprout and flower continuously through the season. So there are fewer to see now. Read more about In the garden: One hot day makes a difference
This is the time of year when it's hard to spot the green in the vast expanse of brown (at least in my patch, because I don't rake the leaves in the fall, preferring them to rot, have abolished my lawn, and don't load up anything not lawn with bags of bark mulch from the "landscape" -- ugh, what an inappropriate word -- people at the first sign of spring).
So what I end up with is brown bare earth, brown rotting leaves, and brown/beige/dirty white disintegrating sheet mulch from the previous year. As you can see! Read more about In the garden: Spotting the growth
OK, spring is here. Because look! I've got an entire forsythia bush with four (4) blossoms on it! (To be fair, this is in the sunniest spot.) Come on!
And then there's the clover seed: Read more about In the garden: Come ON!
The Marshall Project, an excellent site on what we are pleased to call criminal justice, has a great interview with The Wire's David Simon on current events in Baltimore. These vivid paragraphs on Martin O'Malley ("Marty") caught my eye:
The second thing Marty did, in order to be governor, involves the stats themselves. In the beginning, under Norris, he did get a better brand of police work and we can credit a legitimate 12 to 15 percent decline in homicides. Again, that was a restoration of an investigative deterrent in the early years of that administration. But it wasn’t enough to declare a Baltimore Miracle, by any means.
What can you do? You can’t artificially lower the murder rate – how do you hide the bodies when it’s the state health department that controls the medical examiner’s office? But the other felony categories? Robbery, aggravated assault, rape? Christ, what they did with that stuff was jaw-dropping.
So they cooked the books.
Oh yeah. If you hit somebody with a bullet, that had to count. If they went to the hospital with a bullet in them, it probably had to count as an aggravated assault. But if someone just took a gun out and emptied the clip and didn't hit anything or they didn't know if you hit anything, suddenly that was a common assault or even an unfounded report. Armed robberies became larcenies if you only had a victim’s description of a gun, but not a recovered weapon. And it only gets worse as some district commanders began to curry favor with the mayoral aides who were sitting on the Comstat data. In the Southwest District, a victim would try to make an armed robbery complaint, saying , ‘I just got robbed, somebody pointed a gun at me,’ and what they would do is tell him, well, okay, we can take the report but the first thing we have to do is run you through the computer to see if there's any paper on you. Wait, you're doing a warrant check on me before I can report a robbery? Oh yeah, we gotta know who you are before we take a complaint. You and everyone you’re living with? What’s your address again? You still want to report that robbery?
They cooked their own books in remarkable ways. Guns disappeared from reports and armed robberies became larcenies. Deadly weapons were omitted from reports and aggravated assaults became common assaults. The Baltimore Sun did a fine job looking into the dramatic drop in rapes in the city. Turned out that regardless of how insistent the victims were that they had been raped, the incidents were being quietly unfounded. That tip of the iceberg was reported, but the rest of it, no. And yet there were many veteran commanders and supervisors who were disgusted, who would privately complain about what was happening. If you weren’t a journalist obliged to quote sources and instead, say, someone writing a fictional television drama, they’d share a beer and let you fill cocktail napkins with all the ways in which felonies disappeared in those years. Read more about Ratios and the rational
A few months ago, Drupal revealed a horrible bug, which at Corrente made itself visible by people (or bots) being able to set up new accounts and log in without my approving them. The same bug also enabled people (or bots) of ill intent to actually corrupt or destroy the server itself. So far as I know, no actual damage was ever done, but the bug was scary enough that I took the site down, fixed the bug, and had the ISP roll the server back to the point in time where the bug actually appeared.
Now, fallout from that bug is that I turned off the New Accounts function -- and have not been able to turn it back on, for reasons I don't understand! In the near future, I'll upgrade the site again, and I'm hoping this glitch goes away then.
So, if you want a new account, here's the work-around: Read more about Getting a new account workaround