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Items filtered by date: Monday, 29 May 2017
Tuesday, 30 May 2017 17:30

Softwood Cuttings

Mother's Day, Memorial Day, Father's Day, graduations, reunions and weddings are times to remember. One way people remember others is to give gifts. Trees can make very long-lasting gifts. Ones that have historical significance for the giver and recipient are even more special.
For instance, President Andrew Jackson planted a Southern magnolia in the south lawn of the White House in remembrance of his wife, who had died a few months before his inauguration. The tree came from a cutting of a tree at their Hermitage plantation in Tennessee. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan gave his retiring chief of staff, Howard Baker, a cutting from the Jackson magnolia. In May 1995, Baker planted a cutting from his tree at the Hermitage, which is now a museum.
If you have an old $20 bill, look to the left of the White House portico and you will see the large Southern magnolia tree. The Jackson magnolia at the White House is still growing despite being hit by an airplane, at Baker's residence in Tennessee and at the Hermitage Plantation. The single tree is growing in three locations because of cloning. If you start with a piece of a branch, known as a cutting, and take care of it so that it grows its own roots, you will have two individually separate yet genetically identical trees.
Many trees and shrubs have been grown this way for centuries. It is not hard. You just have to be a little patient. Most of our landscape trees and shrubs can be reproduced with softwood cuttings. Look at any tree branch and you will notice that the end of the branch that has leaves growing directly on it is a different color than the section of branch growing closer to the tree trunk. The older sections of the branch are known as hardwood cuttings. The softwood cuttings still have the ability to grow roots. In many trees and shrubs, hardwood has lost this ability.
Prune the softwood cutting about 6 inches to 1 foot long. When pruning, always leave a bud at the end of the branch so the branch can continue to grow. On many cuttings, the section of stem between buds will not grow, so it should be cut off. The leaves should be removed from the bottom third up to one-half of the cutting. The stem should then be stuck into sand, perlite, vermiculite or peat moss. Keep the cuttings in a shady location with lots of humidity and moisture for several months.
Professionals use a greenhouse with automatic misters. We can improvise with a milk jug cut in half. The bottom is filled with sand; the cuttings are placed in; and the top is set back on. It can be held in place with a dowel running out the top and a clothespin to hold it on. The pros also use rooting hormones that are often available in garden centers or catalogs. The hormones do increase the percentage of cuttings that will root and the amount of roots the cuttings get.
The more cuttings you take the better your chance that some will root. The longer you wait (as long as they are not dead) the more likely some will root. Some tree cuttings will have lots of roots in only a month, and others will need all summer and fall to get enough roots to survive on their own.
Jeff Rugg
Published in Outdoor
Who is the real threat to the national security?
Is it President Trump who shared with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov the intelligence that ISIS was developing laptop bombs to put aboard airliners?
Or is it The Washington Post that ferreted out and published this code-word intelligence, and splashed the details on its front page, alerting the world, and ISIS, to what we knew.
President Trump has the authority to declassify security secrets. And in sharing that intel with the Russians, who have had airliners taken down by bombs, he was trying to restore a relationship. 
On fighting Islamist terror, we and the Russians agree.
Five years ago, Russia alerted us that Tamerlan Tsarnaev had become a violent radical Islamist. That was a year and a half before Tsarnaev carried out the Boston Marathon bombing.
But upon what authority did The Washington Post reveal code-word intelligence secrets? Where in the Constitution or U.S. law did the Post get the right to reveal state secrets every U.S. citizen is duty bound to protect?
The source of this top secret laptop-bomb leak that the Post published had to be someone in the intel community who was violating an oath that he had sworn to protect U.S. secrets, and committing a felony by leaking that secret. 
Those who leaked this to hurt Trump, and those who published this in the belief it would hurt Trump, sees themselves as the "Resistance" -- like the French Resistance to Vichy in World War II. 
And they seemingly see themselves as above the laws that bind the rest of us. 
"Can Donald Trump Be Trusted With State Secrets?" asked the headline on the editorial in The New York Times.
One wonders: Are these people oblivious to their own past?
In 1971, The New York Times published a hoard of secret documents from the Kennedy-Johnson years on Vietnam. Editors spent months arranging them to convince the public it had been lied into a war that the Times itself had supported, but had turned against.
Purpose of publication: Damage and discredit the war effort, now that Richard Nixon was commander in chief. This was tantamount to treason in wartime.
When Nixon went to the Supreme Court to halt publication of the Pentagon Papers until we could review them to ensure that sources and methods were not being compromised, the White House was castigated for failing to understand the First Amendment. 
And for colluding with the thieves that stole them, and for publishing the secret documents, the Times won a Pulitzer.
Forty years ago, the Post also won a Pulitzer -- for Watergate. 
The indispensable source of its stories was FBI Deputy Director Mark Felt, who repeatedly violated his oath and broke the law by leaking the contents of confidential FBI interviews and grand jury testimony. 
Felt, "Deep Throat," was a serial felon. He could have spent 10 years in a federal penitentiary had his identity been revealed. But to protect him from being prosecuted and sent to prison, and to protect themselves from the public knowing their scoops were handed to them by a corrupt FBI agent, the Post kept Felt's identity secret for 30 years. Yet, their motto is "Democracy Dies in Darkness."
Which brings us to the point.
he adversary press asserts in its actions a right to collude with and shelter disloyal and dishonorable officials who violate our laws by leaking secrets that they are sworn to protect. 
Why do these officials become criminals, and why do the mainstream media protect them? 
Because this seedy bargain is the best way to advance their common interests. 
The media get the stolen goods to damage Trump. Anti-Trump officials get their egos massaged, their agendas advanced and their identities protected. 
This is the corrupt bargain the Beltway press has on offer.
For the media, bringing down Trump is also good for business. TV ratings of anti-Trump media are soaring. The "failing New York Times" has seen a surge in circulation. The Pulitzers are beckoning.
And bringing down a president is exhilarating. As Ben Bradlee reportedly said during the Iran-Contra scandal that was wounding President Reagan, "We haven't had this much fun since Watergate."
When Nixon was brought down, North Vietnam launched a spring offensive that overran the South, and led to concentration camps and mass executions of our allies, South Vietnamese boat people perishing by the thousands in the South China Sea, and a holocaust in Cambodia.
When Trump gets home from his trip, he should direct Justice to establish an office inside the FBI to investigate all illegal leaks since his election and all security leaks that are de facto felonies, and name a special prosecutor to head up the investigation.
Then he should order that prosecutor to determine if any Trump associates, picked up by normal security surveillance, were unmasked, and had their names and conversations spread through the intel community, on the orders of Susan Rice and Barack Obama, to seed the bureaucracy to sabotage the Trump presidency before it began.
Patrick J. Buchanan
Published in National
Alcohol or physical abuses in college fraternity initiation rituals are finally getting the treatment they deserve from prosecutors around the country: as criminal cases. Prosecutors on May 5 filed criminal charges against 18 Penn State students in the death of a 19-year-old sophomore who drank excessively and suffered severe internal injuries during a fraternity hazing.
Members of the fraternity watched him collapse and left him for hours on the floor, even walking over his body instead of calling for help. The victim died of traumatic brain injury and a ruptured spleen.
Closer to home, 22 fraternity members at Northern Illinois University were convicted of misdemeanors in a hazing-related death in 2015. 
The criminal justice system's harder line is long overdue. Colleges and universities have traditionally used campus security and private disciplinary hearings to keep such problems in-house and out of the headlines. That left students unaccountable for their crimes, put other students at risk and apparently provided minimal deterrent value in curbing outrageous behavior. Faculty-student disciplinary committees are not trained in criminal law and not competent to judge guilt or innocence.
The changing attitude during the past decade comes on the heels of congressional studies and reports from respected organizations about high incidences of sexual misconduct, psychological trauma and serious injuries accompanying fraternity hazing and drunken escapades. Attorneys have changed the landscape, too, willing to take on wealthy fraternities.
A generation or two ago, hazing was accepted as part of the fraternity and sorority experience. Authorities looked the other way at initiation rituals that involved excessive drinking, and resulting deaths or allegations of sexual assault were often labeled accidents or misunderstandings. Today, there are growing calls for the fraternity system to be disbanded altogether as universities question the net contribution they make to campus life.
Civil lawsuits that are open for public scrutiny reveal chilling details about fraternity activities. Those lawsuits are partly responsible for forcing administrators to stop relying on internal disciplinary procedures as a deterrent. Parents, too, are coming forward more often to demand justice for their children, unafraid of the consequences and willing to expose perpetrators as criminals. An excellent example was last week's decision by Washington University student Katy Hutson, with her parents' backing, to come forward in the student newspaper with rape allegations.
On the positive side, fraternities can create leaders, foster lifelong friendships and provide excellent networking opportunities. University of Kentucky professor of communications Alan DeSantis notes in his 2007 book about fraternities and sororities that 85 percent of U.S. Supreme Court justices since 1910 were fraternity members, and 18 of the nation's presidents belonged to frats. 
Fraternity alumni who want to remain proud of their associations should work alongside administrators, prosecutors, lawyers and families to clean up the organizations. Repeatedly tragic results only reinforce fraternities' image as big contributors to the college boozing culture.
Published in National

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