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Showing posts from May, 2010

Maria Muldaur

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A bit of a chestnut, but I never get tired of hearing Amos Garret's amazing riffs at the break.

What About Me?

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What Marvin Said

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What's Goin' On --Marvin Gaye

Natural Response

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Aliens

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Close encounters of the fungal kind?

This thing is growing near the tree line behind the house.

The Mosque At Ground Zero

There's a meltdown occurring because the community board in lower Manhattan has approved plans to build a good-sized Mosque/Muslim Community Ctr a couple of blocks away from the WTC site.

The Brain Free Zone (aka Fox News and other Wingnut Media) is going ape shit, yelling about "those insensitive bastards...; it's a slap in the face...; blah blah blah.

I only know two things about any of this:
Fear is the opposite of love, and forgiveness is the opposite of hate.

BTW: the proposed mosque is to replace one that's already within spittin' distance anyway.  If you're opposed to any mosque "on hallowed ground", then you need to have been a little more aware of what's been goin' on all along.

This non-troversy is typical reactionary bullshit and I'm callin' it for what it is.

The Deficit As Hangover

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From a post at The New Rupublic, Chait argues that Obama isn't wrong, he's just not right.

























Now, I think it's fine for a story to eschew "balance"when one side is making an unsupportable or hypocritical case. But Obama's case isn't wrong -- it really is true that the economic and budgetary problems we're facing were inherited from the previous administration. What's false is the Republican effort to imply that Obama caused the problems -- an argument that collapses upon the slightest empirical pressure. But somehow the standard here is not what's correct but what's polite, and it's impolite for Obama to blame Bush.

God Love The Onion

Wise Words

That's Entertainment

Yay, Germany - I think

The Germans decided to ban the practice of Naked Short Selling when it comes to European Gov't debt, and a lot of the snakes on streets named Fleet and Wall have their panties in a bunch because of it.

The way I understand it is that short selling is a necessary aspect of keeping the markets "honest" - or at least as honest as some of these assholes are willing to let it be.  But anyway, shorting is a time-honored device that lets me borrow shares of a company's stock, sell them at a price below current market value, and then buy them back when the market price goes down.  Usually, "shorting" is a bet that the market in general, or the price for that particular stock is heading down.  And it's a good thing to have because it can be a safety valve.  Properly applied, short selling can help prevent bubbles.  But if you do it on a big enough scale, you can actually force the price(s) down, and then shorting becomes just another means of manipulation and sp…

The Awesome Power Of Rationization

The Pro-Gunners all seem nice and reasonable when it comes to abiding by the law banning all guns in order to attend their convention. I have to assume not all Pro-Gunners feel the same as the people in this clip, but these few say they're just fine with the kind of gun control restrictions at their convention site that their organization went apeshit over when WashDC tried to ban handguns. And the irony is completely lost on them. The real kicker is the guy at the end. He actually says he's more worried that the Anti-Gunners might bring guns and make trouble; and so, in the interest of everybody's safety, disarming everybody is a good idea.

Religiosity

A Catholic nun and longtime administrator of St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix was reassigned in the wake of a decision to allow a pregnancy to be ended in order to save the life of a critically ill patient.

The decision also drew a sharp rebuke from Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, head of the Phoenix Diocese, who indicated the woman was “automatically excommunicated” because of the action.

Neither the hospital nor the bishop’s office would address whether the bishop had a direct role in her demotion. He does not have control of the hospital as a business but is the voice of moral authority over any Catholic institution operating in the diocese.

The actions involving the administrator, mostly taken within the past couple of weeks, followed a last-minute, life-or-death drama in late 2009. The patient had a rare and often fatal condition in which a pregnancy can cause the death of the mother.

Sister Margaret McBride, who had been vice president of mission integration at the …

Oil Spill

BP has resisted entreaties from scientists that they be allowed to use sophisticated instruments at the ocean floor that would give a far more accurate picture of how much oil is really gushing from the well.

"The answer is no to that," a BP spokesman, Tom Mueller, said on Saturday. "We're not going to take any extra efforts now to calculate flow there at this point. It's not relevant to the response effort, and it might even detract from the response effort."

There's a fairly simple rule about Project Management and Problem Solving that applies universally.  It goes like this: If you don't appreciate the full scope of the task, you are almost certain to fail.
2 probabilities - BP knows it's worse than they're saying it is publicly; and they're gambling that the bulk of the oil will stay below the surface, which gives them some plausible deniability. 
I guess I worry that the "anti-oilers" are seen as overstating the problem. If t…

Solution Of The Month part 2

Conflation

As always, nothing happens all by itself.  Everything happens in some kind of context; concomitantly;  in conjunction with...etc.  So the oil flood south of New Orleans comes at a time when the dead zone (also just south of NO - and the 2nd largest in the world) is gearing up for the summer season as the Mississippi dumps a jillion tons of animal waste, lawn care chemicals, farm fertilizers, parking lot runoff, and partially treated human shit into the Gulf of Mexico.

From discovery.com

From mindfully.org

I guess we can hope that this disaster contains the usual 30% sawdust-as-dramatic-filler-material that our Press Poodles love to pimp to us.  Or maybe we shouldn't hope for that at all.  What if the media types tell us it's gonna be huge, and then it isn't so huge, and then we get the feeling that this isn't as bad as it actually is?  We can all go back to pretending that we're not driving ourselves over the cliff.

A Fitting Tribute to Ken Cuccinelli

The Coochster is taking lots of heat.

Listen to the mp3, and follow along with the lyrics below.

As published in Richmond Times Dispatch (by Bart Hinkle 5-7-2010)

I am the very model of a mad Attorney General,
My politics are paleoconservative and visceral --
I'll sue the pants off Democrats and wreck their plans historical
With writs and briefs that I'll compose, tendentious and rhetorical . . . .
I'll stop environmentalists from regulating greenhouse gas
By proving carbon dioxide does not have an atomic mass --
That solar-radiative forcing's nothing but a liberal plot
And dendroclimatology is superstitious tommyrot.
I'll prove the EPA is overrun with Commie militants
Who haven't shown a single lick of scientific diligence --
In short, in matters legal, ecological, and federal
I am the very model of a mad Attorney General.

I'll stop the federales, too, from passing mandates medical --
Our Founding Fathers would have found them utterly heretical:
There's…

Today's Quote

Something politicians might wanna consider.

Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving wordy evidence of the fact. -George Eliot

Fallout

We haven't heard much about it lately, but apparently there's still some effort to get back at the US for our high-handed approach to "fighting terrorism" during the Bush administration.

From Harper's Mag online.

I use the term "get back at" because I think these attempts are more about grandstanding for public consumption than they're about justice and substance.  That said tho', the Spanish seem to have a real bug up their butts about it.  And it wouldn't exactly hurt my feelings if somebody from Bush's team took a fall.

I think it's more than a little interesting that not one of the former Bush officials has ever gone out of the country to do any kind of victory lap anywhere but Saudi Arabia.

On Conspiracy Theories

There was a thread over at The Agonist today, trying to make some sense of the recent Flash Crash.  One of the commenters asked the author to "dumb it down a bit" because he didn't understand all of the jargon. The author then provided what I consider the best insight on conspiracy theories I've heard so far.
Paraphrasing: You see why there is constant demand for alternative conspiracy theories. People at least have to understand the terminology. A conspiracy theory would be more credible to me if it contained concepts which a layman couldn't understand; but they never do; because the theory has to survive in a story telling market.
Brilliant.


Ten Years Of Hell

Whether or not you believe it, I'm not always looking for dark clouds that surround the silver linings.  There has been some decent economic news of late and I really do wanna be up and enthused, but I'm not going to be sucked in by the happy talk that managers and bureaucrats throw at us every other day.

The Credit/Debt Monster is still on the loose, and the bail out schemes for Wall Street and Greece (and the rest of the EU), plus the Stimulus Package (the 2nd half of which hasn't even started yet) are still way too recent for anybody with any sense or credibility to make a good assessment.  So we're operating on the assumption that "we're on the right track" and "things will be back to normal soon".  Where have we heard that before?

Here's a little ditty from Rupert Street Journal from last month that passes on to us exactly what the Gov't told the "reporter".  But there's a gimmick the lenders use when reporting  problem…

Wastefulness

Ya wanna know what Government Waste really looks like?

Here it is.

The wrangling over Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's investigation of a climate scientist continues...

After indicating last week that it would comply with a subpoena sent by the AG, demanding documents relating to the work of former University of Virginia climate scientist Michael Mann, the university is now equivocating. "Our intention is to comply but we are looking at some options," a UVA spokeswoman told theWashington Post yesterday.

AGW Denial Fallout

Climate Change resistance seems to be all about a political agenda that intends to create inaction.  "Conservatives" and Repubs (mostly) are always blocking movement toward anything they think disrupts the status quo (ie: threatens their positions of power).  There may be some legitimate reasons for it - eg: the economic disruptions of moving away from oil will likely be pretty major, and the trouble we can't predict is always what hurts the most.

While I can understand the reasoning, I dislike intensely the conflict that arises from the way people go about trying to put their policies into effect. The tactic is to paint the AGW proponents as being in service of a Leftist Political slant intent on destroying capitalism, which is of course always portrayed as being "the very essence of all things American".

"Lefties" often do the same kind of painting, but right now, I think the view from "The Left" is more accurate.  My assessment of the ebb…

Solution Of The Month part 1

Make Up Your Mind

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Ten Years After

I'd Love To Change The World

Changes

So I was listening to Tony Blankley today on KCRW's Left Right and Center (via truthdig.com).  The topic swings around to BP's oil spill in the gulf and the other commentators are bitchin' about how awful it is, and Blankley says (I'm paraphrasing), "hey, it's bad, but if we don't drill for oil here, we'll have to ship it in, and there're more spills with shipping than with drilling, and we'll be sending more of our money to foreigners - so just think how much worse it'll be if we DON'T keep drilling..."  And I just flashed on something - these guys are always using that specious bullshit argument about some totally unprovable hypothetical that sounds really scary and all too often closes the debate.  We have to stop going along with that shit.

First, we can challenge these guys on the simple fact that they're often so totally assbackwards on their predictions.

Secondly, because our imagination is unlimited, we can conjure up a…

Calling Names

Some teabaggers are upset because they say the term "teabagger" is insensitive and insulting.  Cluster Fox ran a longish segment with Monica and Megyn rippin' Obama for using the term.

At first blush: tough shit, girls.  Get a helmet. Nobody likes it and nobody should do it, but y'know, if you're gonna bitch about being called names...fuck it. Never mind.

Moron Arizona

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Meanwhile, get a load of some of these polling results:

                  Fer    Agin   Ain't Sure
All               53      36         11

Dems           12      79          9
Repubs        89       7           4
Indies          46      28         26

White          63      26         11
Hispanic       15      76          9
Black            8       80        12

Ever get the feeling that white people really shouldn't be in charge of this joint?
If we ever get a chance at reworking the school system, I think the first thing is to make Civics a part of the core curriculum.

Confluence

I love it when aspects of different and unrelated stories or events come together and link up to illustrate a point.

First, there's the problem with Arizona's (SB 1070) Papers Please law.  Opponents hate it for a variety of (I think) good reasons, but mainly because it turns Hispanics into 2nd Class citizens by reinforcing our silly notion that while profiling is kind of unpleasant; and we certainly wouldn't want it done to us; we need to make some exceptions because after all, we're practically under attack here, and really - if you look at all those illegals, the thing that stands out is that almost all of 'em are brown...

Second, months ago, an Afghani civilian who was supposed to be "on our side" attacked and killed a group of US Military and CIA, killing a bunch of them.  This was a big surprise because while the guy was suspected of being a double agent, they didn't expect him to go all Jihadi because he was in his 30's, he was married, he h…

And The Horse You Rode In On

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Homeopathy Sendup

More Bubbles

And the hits just keep rollin'. What level of disaster will it take to get us to understand some things?


Ten Years Of Hell

Plutocracy: government by the wealthy

Plutonomy: a term that combines plutocracy and economy, refers to an economy in which growth is confined to people at the very top of the wealth pyramid. The term was coined by investment and marketing advisers to characterize the U.S. economy, as an ostensible guide to framing profitable investment and marketing strategies. Critics assert that this usage is one of the many indicators of the moral corruption of the system.

Plutonomy stands at the opposite end of the continuum from economic democracy, a system in which every person has an ownership stake in the means of production on which their livelihood depends. Economic democracy is an essential foundation of political democracy. Plutonomy and political democracy are mutually exclusive, as the current U.S. experience demonstrates so clearly.

This sounds a little "too left" for me, but it also seems there's a pretty strong sentiment in favor of it right now. 
Economic Justice is somet…

Another Day, Another Spill

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From Reddit by way of HuffPo:

Breaking News: Large air spill at wind farm!  No threats reported.  Some claim to enjoy the breeze.


















Wouldn't it be nice.

Today In Pictures

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Lacrosse Backstop

As usual, the project looks pretty easy and cheap, and then costs a lot more and takes a lot longer than I figured.  At least we get to do something together.