Defending Becky Quick against liars

CNBC’s Becky Quick has come in for some criticism for being unprepared during Wednesday’s debate. To refresh your memory, here’s what happened during an exchange with Donald Trump:

QUICK: You had talked a little bit about Marco Rubio. I think you called him “Mark Zuckerberg’s personal senator” because he was in favor of the H1B.

TRUMP: I never said that. I never said that.

….QUICK: My apologies. I’m sorry.

In fact, Trump had said that in his own immigration plan. Why didn’t Quick know this?

I think we all know what happened here. Someone on Quick’s staff prepared some notes that included the quote, but didn’t specify where it came from. So when Trump denied saying it, Quick was stuck.

…The real problem is that Quick was unprepared for bald-faced lying. She expected Trump to spin or tap dance or try to explain away what he said. She didn’t expect him to just flatly deny ever saying it. That’s the only circumstance that would require her to know exactly where the quote came from.

This was a real epidemic on Wednesday night.,,They can just baldly lie. Trump did it. Rubio did it. Carson did it. Fiorina did it. They know that time is short and they probably won’t get called on it. The worst that will happen is that fact checkers will correct them in the morning, but only a tiny fraction of the viewing audience will ever see it…

…Modern candidates understand that they don’t need to bother with spin and exaggeration any more. They can just lie, and etiquette limits how much debate moderators can push back. I don’t think debate etiquette is going to change, so this probably means that moderators are going to have to learn to ask questions a little differently. We live in a new era.

I wouldn’t say modern candidates – I would say mostly rightwing candidates. They’re accustomed to lying about damned near everything. They have to in order to sustain the pretense of value in ideology which as a fundamental rule rejects science, history and economics. This is what passes for conservatism in the years of Imperial America in global decline.

As it stands at the time of posting this – the Republican candidates are preparing to meet to end even the pretense of debate, leading questions. Three moderators from a conservative business network are considered too combative for the Republican softball team. Journalism be damned. Even in the age of news-as-entertainment.

The Tea Party is advancing their putsch, simply taking over the Republican Party. Bought and paid for by the Koch Brothers and scumbags like Dick Armey, they needn’t rely on beerhall drunks and déclassé unemployed workers — churchgoers with guns will do the job for them.

Twig towers and wattle fences – it’s time to prepare for next spring

Pruning season is here, which means that many of us will quickly accumulate a small mountain of superfluous sticks. At my house, many pruned branches are given a second life as woven wattle fences, plant supports, and twig towers for growing vines in containers. If you’ve itched to make natural structures for your garden, pruning season is the best time to try.

Expect to be successful, because you will be practicing a building art used in tree-rich terrains around the world for more than 6,000 years. Today, exercising your creative muscles by weaving wood into fences, trellises or other plant supports will result in beautiful, functional items for your garden that are free for the making.

Hardwood trees produce stiff wood that is difficult to bend, but small, straight pieces of any wood can be used for posts…For the horizontals I used the longest sprouts saved from apple pruning.

Indeed, it has been my experience that as long as the sprouts or whips are only one year old, even maple makes a good wood for weaving when used fresh. The peas in a planter…were supported by hoops and stakes provided by a maple stump that produced a flush of sprouts every year. Rather than curse them, I put them to good use…

Willows used for basket-making (Salix purpurea and other Salix species) are quite pliable after the osiers (long, slender sticks) have been soaked in water for a few hours. I grow a few basketry willows myself, and they have proven to be very low-care plants that produce an abundance of rods and osiers for making twig towers…If you have plenty of material, willow sculpture is a possibility for ambitious weavers of wood.

One of the best things about willow is that you can harvest, sort and store the branches in a dry place, so they are ready to use in any season. A long soak in water is required to restore their pliability, but having a store of willow on hand makes it possible to craft natural garden structures in any season of the year…

But why not start small? Put a few small sticks to work as wickets to protect plants from accidental injury. Tie together pruned grape vines to make a rustic wreath. Next thing you know, you will be making one-of-a-kind natural structures for your garden that work as good as they look.

RTFA for Barbara Pleasant’s suggestions of projects within the capability of beginners. Frankly, I’m inspired. Living alongside the bosque of the Santa Fe River we have sufficient materials at hand to build a replacement for the Empire State Building — of willow twigs. 🙂

Thanks, Ursarodinia

Autumn 2015 — from around the world

Bosque Apache New-Mexico
Click to enlargeFlickr/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico

Throw on a scarf and grab your cider; it’s time to embark on a far-reaching fall foliage tour. From Scotland to Russia, Canada to Iceland, and (of course) the United States’ New England region, here are some of the most lush shots of fall 2015 we have come across.

Click through to some lovely photos – and a video explanation of the colors of autumn.