I don't know what ads Google will be placing here, and don't necessarily endorse them. Elizabeth Warren  - YES!    Mitt Romney - asshole!    Cheap money? Don't be gullible.

past years' ramblings

rants, quotes, politics, pictures

...
5 nov 2012
Mondays bluntcard
Mencken, on colleges and sports:
Mencken books gifCollege football would be much more interesting if the faculty played instead of the students, and even more interesting if the trustees played. There would be a great increase in broken arms, legs and necks, and simultaneously an appreciable diminution in the loss to humanity.

The honorary degree is a way of honoring a pompous ass. No honest person would accept a degree he hadn't worked for. Honorary degrees are suitable only for realtors, chiropractors and presidents of the United States.

 John Milton, in his famous "Tractate of Education," laid stress upon the need to purge the young of infantile and adolescent concerns and concentrate their attention upon the ideas and interests of maturity. Any adequate education, he argued, must so influence them that "they may dispose and scorn all their childish and ill-taught qualities to deal with manly and liberal exercises." It must be manifest that the over-accentuation of athletics in American colleges works powerfully against this transformation. It is impossible to think of games among young men and women save as reversions to an earlier stage of growth. A really intelligent educational policy would try to discourage the taste for them, just as it tries to discourage the taste for making mud-pies.

cuckoo clock“Fringe theories proliferate because the status of science is high and is something worthy of imitating,” Gordin writes. “They are a sign of health, not disease.” His optimism is convincing and appreciated. We need a good prognosis now more than ever. TNR review

Alice Gregory
The Pseudoscience Wars: Who Safeguards Science?
 Alice Gregory
October 15, 2012 | 12:00 am
 
The Pseudoscience Wars: Immanuel Velikovsky and the Birth of the Modern Fringe
by Michael D. Gordin

chain
In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican. - H. L. Mencken
chain
Rall - Obama sell-out

20 oct 2012
Among the other figures for whom Gere traces out Minoan connections and coincidences, the biographical material on Robert Graves is particularly striking. Graves, like Harrison, lamented the transition from matriarchy to patriarchy in his Minoan-themed best-seller of 1948, The White Goddess, but in this he was apparently influenced by the years he spent in erotic thrall to the unbalanced American poet Laura Riding, who magnificently declared herself a figure of destiny named "Finality." Graves threw himself out a third-story window on Finality’s behalf but survived to write Goodbye to All That.

hl
"Many people consider the things which government does for them as social progress, but they consider the things government does for others as socialism." - Earl Warren (1891 - 1974)
hr
ACDSee ico I finally had to say goodbye to a favorite image indexing & manipulation application, ACDSee. I'd used it for many years, with my Win98 and WinXP, but it (the version I paid for, long ago) just wouldn't run properly on Win&. I don't know about its innards, but it did what I wanted better than Picasa or Win7. In particular, it was easy to highlight many files and rename them with versatile templates. I hate Picasa's scrolling that won't stop - I'm not using a smartphone. ACDSee ico-1


If you play Microsoft CD's backwards, you hear satanic things, but that's nothing, because if you play them forwards, they install Windows.


snollygoster, n. 1. a mythical beast that preys on poultry and children; 2. A shrewd person not guided by principles, especially a politician.
Etymology - 19th century American English. possibly from Pennsylvania Dutch schnelle geeschter, from German schnell, quick + geist, spirit.

Romney economics: Feed our seed corn to the fattest pigs and trust them to poop out jobs. - DailyKos, 25 sep 2012
Felons for Romney

The real difficulty is with the vast wealth and power in the hands of the few and the unscrupulous who represent or control capital. Hundreds of laws of Congress and the state legislatures are in the interest of these men and against the interests of the workingmen. These need to be exposed and repealed. All laws on corporations, on taxation, on trusts, wills, descent, and the like, need examination and extensive change. This is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people no longer. It is a government of corporations, by corporations, and for corporations. -- How is this? - Rutherford Hayes, 11 March 1888

If the nutters actually believe their own rhetoric about abortion (and other issues), why aren't the lazy cowards doing something about it? Restrictive laws, protests, the occasional bombing and murder - pfft. No, I think they just enjoy their self-induced holier-than-thou martyr status.

22 sep 2012
This won't end well: Iranian Cult Is No Longer Officially a Terrorist Group
by Spencer Ackerman, Danger Room at Wired.com
MEK logoWashington’s favorite Iranian terrorist group has likely won. By a forthcoming edict of the State Department, you can now no longer call the Mujahideen-e Khalq — formerly Saddam Hussein’s proxies against the Iranian regime — a terrorist organization. Erasing its status as a cult is a different story.
“The delisting of the MEK, following a well-funded political lobby campaign, creates the dangerous impression that it is possible for terrorist organizations to buy their way off the [terrorism] list,” says Mila Johns of the University of Maryland’s National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism.
The MEK’s questionable practices extend beyond attacks on Iranian civilians. In a 2004 New York Times Magazine story, Elizabeth Rubin documented the group’s cult-like behavior. “Every morning and night, the kids, beginning as young as 1 and 2, had to stand before a poster of Massoud and Maryam, salute them and shout praises to them,” a former member told Rubin, referring to the “husband-and-wife cult” of leaders Massoud and Maryam Rajavi. Life in the MEK, Rubin reported, means enforced celibacy and public confessions of sexual desires. “Mujahedeen members have no access to newspapers or radio or television,” Rubin wrote, “other than what is fed them.” continues  MEK Wiki
And Massachusetts is not immune to greed/ fundy nuttery, but now the bad guys have a new beachhead here,  a for-profit christian college.
Ace of Clades

"Beneath the mysterious waters of the Sea of Japan, strange symbolic artworks have been spontaneously appearing — intricate mandalas, six feet in diameter, dot the sandy bottom. What could they mean?"  Pharyngula
puffer fish nest

20 sep 2012 Nicholas D. Kristof on Republican echo-chamber whiners and kooks
Kristof mentions a recent major Dartmouth poll, but his link doesn't work. However, it is here.  On foreign policy questions, Dem, Rep and Ind respondents basically agreed, though the direction of differences was easily predictable.
But: 
63% of Reps still believe Iraq had"weapons of mass destruction" at the time the US invaded, vs15% of Dems.

57% of Reps believe Pres. Obama is foreign-born, vs. 5% of Dems.

53% of Reps would not cut military, Social Security or Medicare, nor raise taxes on wealthy to reduce the budget deficit, vs. 14% of Dems, who strongly favor higher taxes on the wealthy (72%), and military cuts (46%).

Education levels are very similar, so that doesn't explain the Rep innumeracy and divorce from reality.
unicorn

Republican plan: Unicorns will fix the problems, and those awful liberals and brown people will vanish.




A message from Ronny and Nancy

camel needle cash
Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan." Exodus 22:22
 "Do not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits." Exodus 23:6

 "During the seventh year, let the land lie unplowed and unused. Then the poor among your people may get food from it, and the wild animals may eat what they leave. Do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove." Exodus 23:11

"The chance of rich man going to heaven is the chance that a camel can pass thru the eye of a needle." Matthew 19:16-30
It's your hell -
                            you burn in it

 19 sep 2012

A Conservative History of the United States, Jack Hitt, New Yorker
1775: New Hampshire starts the American Revolution: “What I love about New Hampshire… You’re the state where the shot was heard around the world.”—Michele Bachmann

George Will occasionally says something interesting:
“The great superstition of American politics concerns presidential power and during a presidential year that reaches an apogee and it becomes national narcissism: Anything that happens anywhere in the world, we caused or we could cure with a tweak of presidential rhetoric,” George Will, 16 sep 2012

AshleyMadison & Romney
South Boston billboard, briefly in place, about 17 sep 2012

Even David Brooks says Romney is clueless. NYT, 17 sep 2012
... "[The 47% freeloader] comment suggests a few things. First, it suggests that he really doesn’t know much about the country he inhabits. Who are these freeloaders? Is it the Iraq war veteran who goes to the V.A.? Is it the student getting a loan to go to college? Is it the retiree on Social Security or Medicare?
 It suggests that Romney doesn’t know much about the culture of America. Yes, the entitlement state has expanded, but America remains one of the hardest-working nations on earth. Americans work longer hours than just about anyone else. Americans believe in work more than almost any other people. Ninety-two percent say that hard work is the key to success, according to a 2009 Pew Research Survey.
 It says that Romney doesn’t know much about the political culture. ...
The people who receive the disproportionate share of government spending are not big-government lovers. They are Republicans. They are senior citizens. They are white men with high school degrees. As Bill Galston of the Brookings Institution has noted, the people who have benefited from the entitlements explosion are middle-class workers, more so than the dependent poor." ...

trickle down
online comments:
"We're not going to allow our campaign to be influenced by fact checkers." Romney staff, sep 2012
"Reality has a well-known liberal bias." - -- Stephen Colbert
Romney's campaign is so dead the Mormons are baptizing it. --  TheSailor, at RawStory [wishful thinking, unfortunately]

Mitt Romney is the only person in America who looked at the way this Congress is behaving and said, ‘I want the brains behind THAT operation.’  Former Democratic Congressman - Tom Perriello, Small Businesses Don't Build Levees, via DailyKos

Romney: The guy that laid off your father.
Ryan: The guy that thinks your father should starve because he couldn't keep a job.
by Liberal Protestant, at DailyKos, 21 sep 2012

If liberals really wanted to destroy America, they'd vote Republican. at TPM, 10 sep 2012

If I were a psychopath, I would join the republican party, and get in on the gravy train taking the Teabircher morons to the cleaners. - at CrooksandLiars, 17 sep 2012 [Hi there, Judson Phillips.]

Progressives are defined by who they want to help; Conservatives are defined by who they hate.

When Fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in excess body fat & carrying a misspelled sign.-  C&L sig line

Thtinfoil hate hater fallacy. "People hate me, therefore I must be right," is a very popular delusion among narcissists.

Fox News is to the truth as a flaming bag of dog shit is to a packed lunch. --MinistryOfTruth

If corporations are people, Mitt Romney is a serial killer. - Stephen Colbert

The GOP can't win on ideas. They can only win by lying, cheating, and stealing. So they do. - psnyder sig line, DailyKos

“For a Westerner to trash Western culture is like criticizing our nitrogen/oxygen atmosphere on the grounds that it sometimes gets windy, and besides, Jupiter’s is much prettier. You may not realize its advantages until you’re trying to breathe liquid methane.” - Neal Stephenson

Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them, and those who feel no need to control themselves. [conservatives and libertarians]

[Teabagger sect leader] Judson Phillips is a perfect example of how anyone with vapors for brains can become "famous" via Youtube or the internet.  Who was this guy years ago? just another nut screaming at the moldy cheese in his frig and claiming it was sending him signals from Alpha Centuri. RS, 20 jul 2012

On the Internet, nobody knows if you're a dog... but everybody knows if you're a jackass. at DailyKos, 18 jul 2012

A good citizen wants freedom with responsibility for the common good. A Randite wants freedom from responsibility, especially for the common good. - Nerd of Redhead, at Pharyngula, 17 jul 2012

Libertarianism is philosophy for sophmores, programmers and sociopaths.

Craig T. Nelson, teabagger moran

Libertarianism: it's Fascism with four extra syllables.
Libertarianism, like Fascism, is founded on the cult of the Nietzschean Übermensch who is so "excellent" that he can do anything he likes to anyone he pleases and only the weight of the society of incompetents prevents him from soaring to unimaginable heights.  Usually believed in by people whose main "excellences" are binge drinking and prolonged serial flatulence. Libertarianism is a great way for fools to pat themselves on the back and imagine themselves as the leaders of the future, only held back by a depraved liberalism that chokes initiative; also a great way for rich crooks (see: Koch brothers) to manipulate said fools while justifying their total lack of morality. The ultimate goal of Libertarianism, like Fascism, is the imposition of an élite ruling class who can exploit the masses of people without any limit on their power -- which is what the Libertarian calls "freedom". - David, at RawStory, 5 jul 2012


The right wing believes in "American exceptialism," a term derived from Alexis de Tocqueville's 2-volume Democracy in America (1835 and 1840).
Chris Rodda, at This Week in Christian Nationalism, notes that de Toqueville was not being complimentary, that he was describing an arrogance that Americans learned from our own propaganda. Tocqueville wrote that he did not know of any country where there was "less independence of mind, and true freedom of discussion, than in America." Wiki


duct-tape duck bullas duct-tape duck
                            cropped
duck tape


7 sep 2012
Clive McFarlane, T&GThe Telegram is our city newspaper, and serves the surrounding towns. It has had a right-wing slant for decades, despite being owned now by the NYT.  It does have some good columnists, though,  including Clive McFarlane. Today he wrote "Voters find uninvited guests at poll," about "observers" during the primary election yesterday. A pair of "observers," a Teabagger and her lawyer, was said to be harassing voters at a minority-heavy precinct in Worcester, and this was confirmed by city officials.  The Teabagger does not even live in town (and the lawyer is not identified.)
    So far there are well over 100 comments, a high number. Our local infestation of teabaggers parrots the party line about voter fraud, despite the lack of such fraud byvoters, and contrasting with the  massive suppression of voting rights by Republican legislatues in several states.
Jim Crow


New Orleans Levees Hold, and Outsiders Want In
 By JOHN SCHWARTZ and CAMPBELL ROBERTSON
Residents outside the ring of levees that protect New Orleans want the federal government to erect walls to protect them, too, especially after Hurricane Isaac caused the river to overflow.
How many of these people will vote for Republicans, "to get the government off their backs"? Lots of them.

cs

glass frog at Deskarati
glass frog, from Deskarati
Browsers: I use 4 browsers, because all have features the others don't (as far as I am willing or able to tinker with them.)

Opera has been my main browser for several years. It integrates mail, contact lists, notes, and one-click name/password pasting. It has always had mouse gestures that work well, and I can't stand using browsers that don't use them. It displays some pages badly, won't play some videos, won't work with some secure sites. It's download function often doesn't work. It's relatively easy to find and change settings (I like being able to turn cookies on and off). It has a "find in page" box as part of the tool bar, that I use all the time. The slide-bar for magnification is great.

Firefox seems to be the only browser that easily downloads Flash videos and folders of images from pages of thumbnails (using Download Helper plugin.) It's FireFTP plugin is simple, and there is nothing like it for Opera or Chrome. There are many plugins, most of which I don't use, but I use Mouse Gestures all the time, and DownLoadHelper. It asks to remember passwords, but doesn't seem to make them accessible next time.

SeaMonkey is similar to FireFox, but without most of the plugins. I mostly use it for the built-in HTML editor.

Chrome seems to be a standard for proper web page display, yet displays some text poorly. It's plugins are tightly integrated with Google. It's settings are obscure, as is the Bookmark list It also allows mouse gestures, though that doesn't work well.

I never use Chat with any of them. I use Vuze for torrent downloads. I never use IE, unless an application opens it.

4 sep 2012
The news says that the Dems have gone weak on climate change in their national platform, while of course the Rethugs continue to deny and mock. "Obama has reduced oil imports by 10%" but I assume that's mostly due to the weak economy. And the big energy extractors give all their bribes to the Rethugs and Blue Dogs.

Labor Day
I don't know whether this list is completely accurate, but it's interesting and important:
So as we take this three day holiday, let us not forget or take for granted that labor unions made it possible, as well as these other benefits:
Republicans kill jobs Weekends without work
 All breaks at work, including your lunch breaks
 Paid vacation
 Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
 Sick leave
 Social Security
 Minimum wage
 Civil Rights Act/Title VII - prohibits employer discrimination
 8-hour work day
 Overtime pay
 Child labor laws
 Occupational Safety & Health Act (OSHA)
 40-hour work week
 Workers’ compensation (workers’ comp)
 Unemployment insurance
 Pensions
 Workplace safety standards and regulations
 Employer health care insurance
 Collective bargaining rights for employees
 Wrongful termination laws
 Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)
 Whistleblower protection laws
 Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA) - prohibits employers from using a lie detector test on an employee
 Veteran's Employment and Training Services (VETS)
 Compensation increases and evaluations (i.e. raises)
 Sexual harassment laws
 Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
 Holiday pay
 Employer dental, life, and vision insurance
 Privacy rights
 Pregnancy and parental leave
 Military leave
 The right to strike
 Public education for children
 Equal Pay Acts of 1963 & 2011 - requires employers pay men and women equally for the same amount of work
 Laws ending sweatshops in the United States
from Crooksandliars

Small sample size, but milk from the supermarket has a longer fridge life than milk from Walgreens.
A family size tube of toothpaste lasts me about 10 months.
I updated Facebook for the first time in months.
The superstitious community is fascinated by a squabble among atheists.

Amusing: Suit to recover money for old Romney family debt
"William Jordan Flake and Miles P Romney “were patriarchs of adjoining Mormon communities in the high, cold, hard country of northern Arizona, a region known as Apache County”. Although both men ran into trouble with local communities over their “scandalous practice of polygamy”, Flake was a “deeply respected man”, according to Freeman. Romney, on the other hand, was described by one newspaper editor as “a mass of putrid pus and rotten goose pimples; a skunk, with the face of a baboon, the character of a louse, the breath of a buzzard and the record of a perjurer and common drunkard.”
US marshals were rounding up polygamists and arresting them at the time, and both men became targets and were eventually arrested. Flake posted bail of $1,000 for Romney, who had no money, Freeman writes in the Los Angeles Review of Books, and “now we come to the matter I’d like to bring up with Mitt”. Miles P Romney, she says, then fled to Mexico, where Mitt’s father George was born, while Flake served a six-month sentence for polygamy.
“The point is Miles P Romney never bothered to repay my great-grandfather Flake the thousand dollars he owed him for posting his bail. Since it’s never too late to make a situation right, and since Mitt Romney seems to have sufficient funds now to cover his ancestor’s old debt, I’d like to call upon him to do so,” writes Freeman."

2 sep 2012
WildglimpsesPatagonia from Wildglimpses
Short nature videos with wonderful shots in close-up and time-lapse.
5-petal 5-petal 5-petal 5-petal 5-petal


Romney Time Bane BainBain, Romney, extortion and tax evasion
Blood sucking parasites steal from the workers and government.
The Pirate
                      BayThe Pirate Bay founder arrested in Cambodia, while banksters walk free. Steal from the corporations = bad. Steal from everyone else = good.
vote
                        for Elizabeth Warren
colorsqiggle
1 sep 2012 Investigation of potential kayak route in Worcester, Mass.
map
The maps show water connections among a series of ponds, reservoirs and brooks on the west side of Worcester (coming from surrounding towns), gradually making their way to the Blackstone River. How far can they be kayaked? I began an exploration on foot, walking along Beaver Brook, and around Coes Reservoir and Coes Pond, which drain to Beaver Brook, then becomes Middle River further along in Worcester.
    The upper part of Beaver Brook is underground. Beaver Brook Parkway runs along its west side, from May St to Park Ave. The brook emerges at Maywood St, crosses under Park Ave and Beaver St, and merges with the short brook draining Coes Pond. As it emerges at Maywood St, it may not be boatable (late summer), but further along kayaking would be easy.  Access is a problem, with an overgrown steep bank on both sides and houses along the east side. Not scenic, either (I expect).
    Coes Reservoir runs NNW-SSE. It's a good sized lake, about 1/4 by 3/4 miles, mostly wooded on its eastern and northern sides, and with houses and Mill St along its western side. The dam is the southern side, and it drains to Coes Pond. There are 4 small wooded islands. According to the street map, water comes from "Williams Millpond," which on aerial photos is completely overgrown. Coes has a siltation problem as well. Boating would be easy on the reservoir. There are public beaches on the southeast at Culumbus Park (not explored), and on the southwest at Coes Pond Beach.
    The spillway to Coes Pond is a steep incline of rock and concrete, possibly walkable, but the stream is a trickle among large rocks. Access is not possible from Lakeside Ave, with a large locked fence. There is no public vehicle access to the dam. At his season very little water is exiting. Coes Pond is a shallow, weedy pond with another dam at its exit.  Access is possible along Coes St and from commercial lots at Coes St & Park Ave. I did not explore along Lakeside Ave, which runs along the other side. The stream draining into and out of Coes Pond is a trickle among large rocks. The stream goes under Park Ave and merges with Beaver Brook.
    Beaver Brook further down runs in a concrete gutter - to be explored further.
colorsqiggle

Top Gear tested

basic statistics

31 aug 2012
Police investigate massive maple syrup theft
ST-LOUIS-DE-BLANDFORD, Quebec (AP) — Police in Quebec were following the scent of something sweet — millions of dollars' worth of maple syrup missing from a large warehouse stocking over $30 million worth of the amber nectar.  (AP)
30 aug 2012
EPaul Ryan, serial liarven a Fox employee was aware that Paul Ryan is a serial liar:
... to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention to facts, Ryan’s speech was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech. On this measure, while it was  Romney who ran the Olympics, Ryan earned the gold.
    The good news is that the Romney-Ryan campaign has likely created dozens of new jobs among the legions of additional fact checkers that media outlets are rushing to hire to sift through the mountain of cow dung that flowed from Ryan’s mouth.  ... Sally Kohn
29 aug 2012   Paul Krugman on Romney/Ryan and the convention:
The GOP campaign is based on five main themes, three negative and two positive.
rethuglican liesNegative:

The claim that Obama denigrated businessmen, saying that they didn’t build their own firms — which isn’t true.

The claim that Obama has gutted Medicare to pay for the expansion of health insurance — which isn’t true.

The claim that Obama has eliminated the work requirement for welfare — which isn’t true.
Positive:

The claim that Ryan has a plan to balance the budget — which isn’t true.

The claim that Romney has a plan for economic recovery — which isn’t true. (The Economist: “The Romney Programme for Economic Recovery, Growth and Jobs” is like “Fifty Shades of Grey” without the sex).
It seems to me that there’s a pattern here, but I can’t quit figure it out. The editorial page has some ideas.

Taisiva Osipova28 aug 2012 Thinking of repressive Russian actions in particular, but the world in general: There are so many important things worthy of attention, yet in a big, big world many of them are "dog bites man," and nearly passed over.

Another one: Israel cleared over Gaza activist death
    "Israel was not at fault for the death of US activist Rachel Corrie, killed in Gaza by an Israeli army bulldozer in 2003, an Israeli court rules."
Nine years to reach a predetermined verdict.



You're So Bain
27 aug 2012
don't question warsAt The New York Times, Thom Shanker reports:
Weapons sales by the United States tripled in 2011 to a record high, driven by major arms sales to Persian Gulf allies concerned about Iran’s regional ambitions, according to a new study for Congress.
    Overseas weapons sales by the United States totaled $66.3 billion last year, or more than three-quarters of the global arms market, valued at $85.3 billion in 2011. Russia was a distant second, with $4.8 billion in deals.
    The American weapons sales total was an “extraordinary increase” over the $21.4 billion in deals for 2010, the study found, and was the largest single-year sales total in the history of United States arms exports. The previous high was in fiscal year 2009, when American weapons sales overseas totaled nearly $31 billion.
blobby star
Funny_or_Die: Ten Best Reasons to be a Missionary in France During the Vietnam War


blobby star
26 aug 2012
Obama still doesn't get it: Republicans Will Be Willing To Deal In My Second Term
    I may vote Green.
“Listen, here’s the thing about politics: It’s not an expression of your moral purity and your ethics and your probity and your fond dreams of some utopian future. Progressive people constantly fail to get this.” -- Tony Kushner
blobby blue-red
Romney Bain criminals"We offer a range of services that provide our clients with a one-stop shop for their outsource requirements."
— Modus Media, one of several firms that Bain Capital invested in that specialized in helping other companies move operations overseas

Romney economics: Feed our seed corn to the fattest pigs and trust them to poop out jobs.
blobby blue-red
“Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views, beyond the comprehension of the weak.” -- John Quincy Adams
blobby blue-red
“I really don’t know what you do about the ‘taxes is theft’ crowd, except possibly enter a gambling pool regarding just how long after their no-tax utopia comes true that their generally white, generally entitled, generally soft and pudgy asses are turned into thin strips of Objectivist Jerky by the sort of pitiless sociopath who is actually prepped and ready to live in the world that logically follows these people’s fondest desires.” -- John Scalzi
blobby blue-red
“I’m a fuzzy-headed warm-hearted liberal, and I think fuzzy-headed warm-hearted liberalism is an ideological stance that needs defending—if necessary, with a hob-nailed boot-kick to the bollocks of budding totalitarianism.” -- Charles Stross
blobby blue-red
“If there is no willingness to use force to defend civil society, it’s civil society that goes away, not force.” -- Teresa Nielsen Hayden
blobby blue-red
"The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." --  James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.
blobby blue-red
"There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning." — Warren Buffett
blobby blue-red
"I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors."--  Thomas Jefferson
blobby blue-red
“People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war, or before an election.” -- Otto von Bismarck
blobby blue-red
“Every organization appears to be headed by secret agents of its opponents.” -- Robert Conquest
blobby blue-red
"The fact that I have no remedy for all the sorrows of the world is no reason for my accepting yours. It simply supports the strong probability that yours is a fake." -- HL Mencken
blobby blue-red
25 aug 2012

Kayaked a couple miles of the Swift River in Belchertown with the Worcester Kayaking Meetup. I was late arriving due to relying on the usual shitty internet directions, complicated by lack of road signs, and forgetting that the group leader had posted better directions.  The put-in is on Cold Spring Rd in Belchertown. (I arrived via the Pike, but returned on Rte. 9, which is far more interesting.) They waited a while, but I had to catch up. The river here is flatwater, with a significant current at the north end. It's clear and rather cold, seems to go from a few inches deep to 10 ft.  The banks are completely wooded, except for the house plots. There is a mix of houses on the lower section, from shacks to nice houses, and some camping sites, and few on the upper section. The river is very popular with trout fishers, and I saw a good number of rainbow? trout. Also dozens of black ducks.
the old guy tries to get out of his little
                        kayak
magpie-Friesen

26 aug 2012 Michigan Police Shoot Homeless Man Over 46 Times
    This happened 1 July, but Saginaw officials have just released a video.

NYPD: Empire State Victims Hit by Police Gunfire
All nine people injured during a dramatic confrontation between police and a gunman outside the Empire State Building were wounded by gunfire from the two officers, police said Saturday, citing ballistics evidence.
skull line

An open letter to the peoplthey drink Kool-Aide who hate Obama more than they love America
I meet you all the time. You hate Obama. You hate gay people. You hate black people, immigrants, Muslims, labor unions, women who want the right to make choices concerning their bodies, you hate em all. You hate being called racist. You hate being called a bigot. Maybe if you talked about creating jobs more than you talk about why you hate gay people we wouldn't call you bigots. Maybe if you talked about black people without automatically assuming they are on food stamps while demanding their birth certificates we wouldn't call you racist. You hate socialism and social justice. You hate regulations and taxes and spending and the Government. You hate.
    You like war. You like torture. You like Jesus. I don't know how in the hell any of that is compatible, but no one ever accused you haters of being over-committed to ideological consistency. You like people who look like you or at least hate most of the things that you hate. You hate everything else.
...  
skull line


pubic hare

Deskarati and Kuriositas are wonderful. Deskarati's headings are Science, Technology, History, Arts, and Others. Kuriositas's headings are Animations, Architecture, Art, Fun, Places, Nature, Sciences, and Movies. I expect there are other sites rather like them, and I hope to find them. Suggestions welcome.

the old days

I've been refinishing a dresser, probably made in the 1920s or 1930s. It's made of red oak, with poplar drawer parts and a softwood back. Some fool painted it white, and it's been a bitch getting nearly all  the white out of the grain and crevices. The style is plain, Mission-like, and the construction is medium quality. more
  
20 aug 2012
I've been neglecting this since June, so I'll catch up a bit.
    For a long time, the most annoying sounds of summer have been lawnmowers and loud vehicles, especially motorcycles. Now I've got something new at the top of the list: leaf blowers. Their pointless use and intermittent roar annoys the hell out of me. A headline, not pursued, hints that Arlington, Mass. has banned the damned things, at least for summer use.

militarised police
                      in US


"Have you seen the hordes of "pro-life" domestic terrorist women lining up at fertility clinics to gestate the frozen "babies" and save them? Me neither." --  Rawstory comment, 22 aug 2012
blobby blue-red
"...The only really respectable Protestants are the Fundamentalists. Unfortunately, they are also palpable idiots..." -- HL Mencken
blobby blue-red

A few people in the media are finally paying attention to lying swine anti-historian David Barton. His latest book, The Jefferson Lies, was voted "the least credible history book in print" by the users of the History News Network website, so his right-wing religious publisher recalled all copies, and Glen Beck has taken it up. The nutosphrere of course sees him as a brave martyr. Barton's older lies

h1
“Conservatism discards Prescription, shrinks from Principle, disavows Progress; having rejected all respect for antiquity, it offers no redress for the present, and makes no preparation for the future.”  -- Benjamin Disraeli
h2

Dear Ann Romney: Get Off Your High Horse
Dear Ann Romney,
    I don't like your attitude very much. It seems very entitled and imperious. You say you have done everything legally required, and there will be no more tax returns. Not only do you say it, you say it with a snarl, as if those you're asking to vote for your husband are simply too stupid to understand what a tax return filed by a Very Wealthy Couple looks like. As if you're saying "we've given all you people need to know."
    Oh wait. You actually said that.
    Ma'am, you've released *one* return. ONE. If we're really lucky, we'll get to see the second one 15 days before the election, when it's too late to really understand how you and your husband run your finances. ...
sacul
Many people thought Bush was "the kind of guy you wanted to have a beer with". People are beginning to realize that Romney is "the kind of guy you want to pour a beer on".

sacul
Mitt BaneHow Romney's Getting Away With His "Pervasive" & "Reckless" Lying

sacul
“The poor have been rebels, but they have never been anarchists; they have more interest than anyone else in there being some decent government. The poor man really has a stake in the country. The rich man hasn’t; he can go away to New Guinea in a yacht. The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all. Aristocrats were always anarchists.” (G. K. Chesterton, The Man Who Was Thursday)

It's not fascism when WE do
                        it.

"Ironic, isn't it Smithers? This anonymous clan of slack-jawed troglodytes has cost me the election, and yet if I were to have them killed, I would be the one to go to jail. That's democracy for you." --Mr. Burns

The Day the Earth was Stupid
“Don’t worry,
                          we still have the people’s hearts and minds”
“Don’t worry, we still have the people’s hearts and minds”


  Pussy Riot 3Free speech heroines: Pussy Riot
    Three members of Russian punk band Pussy Riot have been jailed for two years after staging an anti-Vladimir Putin protest in a Moscow cathedral.
    Judge Marina Syrova convicted the women of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred, saying they had "crudely undermined social order".
    Judge Syrova said Maria Alyokhina, 24, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29, had offended the feelings of Orthodox believers and shown a "complete lack of respect".
    "Tolokonnikova, Alyokhina and Samutsevich committed hooliganism - in other words, a grave violation of public order," she said.
    Along with other members of their band, the women staged a flashmob-style performance of their song close to the altar in the cathedral on 21 February. BBC

Palin's curtains
Garrison Keillor:
"Having been called names, one looks back at one's own angry outbursts over the years, and I recall having once referred to Republicans as "hairy backed swamp developers, fundamentalist bullies, freelance racists, hobby cops, sweatshop tycoons, line jumpers, marsupial moms and  aluminum siding salesmen, misanthropic frat boys, ninja dittoheads, shrieking midgets, tax cheats, cheese merchants, cat stranglers, pill pushers, nihilists in golf pants, backed-up Baptists, the grand pooh-bahs of Percodan, mouth breathers, testosterone junkies and brownshirts in pinstripes." I look at those words now, and "cat stranglers" seems excessive to me."

Obama views


HMS Romney for
                        teabaggers
Romney: Tory to the core (Wikipedia)
HMS Romney was a 50-gun fourth rate of the Royal Navy. She served during the American War of Independence, and the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars in a career that spanned forty years.
    Launched in 1762, the Romney spent most of her early career in North American waters, serving on the Newfoundland station, often as the flagship of the commander-in-chief. The ship was involved in the tensions leading up to the American Revolution when she was sent to support the Boston commissioners enforcing the Townshend Acts in 1768. Her actions involved impressing local sailors, confiscating a vessel belonging to John Hancock and providing a refuge for the unpopular commissioners when rioting broke out. She remained in American waters for part of the ensuing war, but towards the end operated in European waters after the French entry to the conflict.
    While serving off North America, Romney achieved a degree of notoriety after being sent to Boston Harbour to support the commissioners, who had asked Hood for help in enforcing the Townshend Acts.[4] She arrived on 17 May 1768, but being short of men, Captain Corner began to impress seamen from the harbour. This was unpopular with the locals, who took to attacking the press gangs. Events escalated when the commissioners in the town ordered the seizure of the merchant vessel the Liberty, which belonged to John Hancock.[4] When sailors and marines from the Romney attempted to seize the vessel, mobs attacked them and then turned on the commissioners. Many of the officials took refuge aboard the Romney, before transferring to Castle William.[5] These incidents heightened tensions that would eventually lead to the Boston Massacre in 1770.[5]

New method of making
                        Macaroni in Boston
A New method of Macarony Making as practised at Boston in North America

"If the Republicans ever find out that Barack Obama favors respiration, we'll be a one-party system inside two minutes." - Alan Lewis
citric acid cycle
outragedLetter to my mediocre Congresscritter, 28 jul 2012:
Mr. McGovern,
  It's past time to begin the impeachment of Antonin Scalia. His selective and insane opinions on the Constitution, masquerading as "originalism," are an embarrassment and danger to us all. This weekend he has come out again for banning contraception, and for probably allowing protected ownership of hand-held anti-aircraft missiles (while banning axes.) This has got to stop.
(Also sent to Kerry and Brown.)

remembering Reagan
"When Fascism came to America, it was wrapped in excess body fat & carrying a misspelled sign."

Child sexual abuse in the world of Romney's top LDS donors
 By Susie Madrak, Crooksandliars
    Particularly the "World Wide Association of Specialty Schools" a gulag of abuse programs run by Robert Litchfield.

HL Mencken"The time must come inevitably when mankind shall surmount the imbecility of religion, as it has surmounted the imbecility of religion's ally, magic. It is impossible to imagine this world being really civilized so long as so much nonsense survives. In even its highest forms religion embraces concepts that run counter to all common sense. It can be defended only by making assumptions and adopting rules of logic that are never heard of in any other field of human thinking.
    Religion, of course, does make some men better, and perhaps even many men. There can be no doubt of it. But making them better by filling their poor heads with grotesque nonsense is an irrational and wasteful process, and the harm it does greatly outweighs the good. If men could be made better—or even only happier—by teaching them that two and two make five there would be plenty of fools to advocate that method, but it would remain anti-social none the less. If the theologians could only agree on their doctrines their unanimity might have some evidential value, just as the agreement of all politicians that the first duty of the citizen is to obey them and admire them has some evidential value. It may not be true, but it is at least undisputed by all save a small fraction of heretics, which is certainly something. Fortunately for common sense, the theologians are never able to agree. Even within the sects, and under the more rigid discipline, there is constant wrangling, as, for example, between the Jesuits and the Dominicans. Thus the cocksureness of one outfit is cancelled out by the ribald denial of all the rest, and rational men are able to consign the whole gang to statistics and the Devil."  --H L Mencken

Monoploy Man steals our moneyThe new robber barons: how taxpayers subsidize CEOs’ multimillion salaries
by Pratap Chatterjee, The Guardian
    A new report finds many top executives are taking home more than their corporations pay in taxes – at our expense
    Lanai, a tiny resort island in Hawaii, has 18 miles of secluded beaches, no traffic lights and a population of just over 3,000. This summer, Larry Ellison, the CEO of Oracle, a California-based software company, bought 98% of the island for a sum reported to exceed $500m.
    The Institute for Policy Studies, a Washington DC thinktank, says that a chunk of the money Ellison spent buying Lanai should have paid for elementary school teachers and clean energy jobs, instead of fulfilling the billionaire CEO’s vacation fantasies. That’s one conclusion of their new report, “The CEO Hands in Uncle Sam’s Pocket: How Our Tax Dollars Subsidize Exorbitant Executive Pay”, which points out that Oracle took advantage of a 1993 loophole in tax law to designate $76m of Ellison’s income as “performance-related pay”, which allowed him to avoid paying any taxes on the money.
    Dozens of US CEOs have cashed in on this major tax incentive at an estimated cost to US taxpayers of $9.7bn last year. Statistics provided by National Priorities Project suggest that the same amount of money could have paid for 142,625 elementary school teachers, or healthcare for 4.96 million low-income children.
...
    In 1980, the average US CEO was paid 42 times as much as the average worker when tax rates for the richest stood at 70%. Today, that ratio has widened to 380 times – exacerbated in part, no doubt, by the fact that CEOs are able to dramatically reduce their tax burdens by a reduction in top tax rates, as well as several new loopholes introduced in recent years.
...
Yet the money these CEOs makes shrinks into insignificance compared to the money that hedge fund managers make. Take Raymond Dalio, who was paid an astronomical $3bn in 2011. This titan of Wall Street had to pay just 15% in taxes because the money was considered “capital gains”, as opposed to the average citizen who would be required to pay 25% (in income tax). Cost to the taxpayer in 2011: $450m.
...

Where are the jobs, you greedy swine?
Language is a virus ThisModernWorld

Alexandria 2.0: One Millionaire’s Quest to Build the Biggest Library on Earth

Brewster Kahle founded the Internet Archive in 1996. He calls it Alexandria 2.0, and it includes the Wayback Machine and the Open Library. It makes available, for free, 200,000 e-books (and digitizes 1,000 more each day), 100,000 concert recordings, and some 700,000 films. So far Kahle has archived 500,000 books, with another 500,000 in process. {Actually, the article is really unclear on the numbers.]

simpleton,  fool. birdbrain, blockhead, bonehead, boob, buffoon, clod, clown, cretin, dimwit, dolt, dope, dunce, dunderhead, fathead, idiot, ignoramus, imbecile, jerk, lamebrain, lunkhead, moron, nitwit, numskull, oaf, stooge, teatard

I got into a silly argument with a PC crowd on Pharyngula about using the term "retarded." It's a term I essentially never use, myself, but it's a common insult. Someone posted a comment, using the nym "totallyretarded," and got jumped on. Pharyngula allows all sort of insults based on education and intelligence, but there is a loud clique that objects just to "retard" and "retarded." I pointed out that all sorts of synonyms are allowed, with some frequently used there, and that "retarded" is a relatively new euphemism for the older terms. One commenter, at least partially on my side, noted that while "retard" and "retarded" are schoolyard insults, the terms come from the euphemism "mentally retarded." At least one retard couldn't see that.

GOP worships Mammon

republican
                    insanity11 june 2012
News from the nutosphere: Romney adviser: Obama to blame for public sector job losses - Bay Buchanan
Daughter of war criminal says, "Et tu, Obama." - Liz Cheney
KKK more liberal than Georgia legislature- wants to join "Adopt a highway".
Virginia and North Carolina legislatures outlaw "climate change." - just the words, not the facts. But they'll be whining with both hands out for reconstruction money when reality sets in (but will certainly outlaw the term "reconstruction.)" Meanwhile the developers and their puppets will have moved on.

Haven't heard anything from the flag worshipers for a long time. So many hobby-horses, such short attention spans.

5 may 2008
Creating ignorant zombies: Hagee brainwashing, an excerpt from Matt Taibbi's book, The Great Derangement.

7 jun 2012
A Keen Observer
by Carlo Baldino
, Worcester Telegram & Gazette
DELUSIONAL OR NAIVE
   I don’t understand it. I just don’t understand it. I bought gas yesterday for $3.51 a gallon. Gas prices are down, and there’s not one word of praise coming from Republicans for President Obama’s role in reducing the cost of driving.
   When gas prices were up, they were screaming bloody murder that it was all his fault. He wouldn’t sign on to the Keystone Pipeline, and he wouldn’t go along with the idiotic Republican “drill, baby, drill” solution. Soon gas was going to cost $4 a gallon, and $5 a gallon by summer, and you’d see the American people throw Obama out of office in November so they’d get cheap gas for their roomy, comfortable, high-powered vehicles. Americans are entitled to drive in luxury without worrying about fuel costs. What is this, Europe? You want us to drive a small car with a manual transmission? That’s unpatriotic.
   Newt Gingrich promised $2.50 gasoline if he were elected, so just imagine what Willard Romney would do. He knows a lot about the car business, so it’s believable he’d be able to control gasoline prices. After all, he was willing to let GM and Chrysler go bankrupt. He criticized Obama for bailing the auto industry out, and then when it made a comeback he tried to take credit for it. I’m surprised he hasn’t taken credit for today’s lower gas prices, and for the killing of Osama Bin Laden. Wasn’t Romney responsible for landing a man on the moon, too? ...

passenger pigeonMay 18, 2012
Why Bambi Must Go
By Daniel Cristol, NYT op-ed contributor
 Williamsburg, Va.
     THIS month is the peak of spring bird migration, when New Yorkers flock to Central Park, craning their necks to catch a glimpse of refueling warblers.
     But the treetops hold fewer feathered gems each spring, to the point that a typical middle-aged bird-watcher now feels triumphant upon seeing a single bay-breasted or Canada warbler, two of the dozens of disappearing species common in our youth.
     Humanity’s assault on migratory birds includes a familiar litany of human-made perils — clearing of forests, predation by cats and poisoning by the toxic byproducts of agriculture and industry. But one of the biggest contributors to the decline in migratory bird populations has gone largely unnoticed: white-tailed deer. ...

The real reason that we can’t have the Ten Commandments in a courthouse: You cannot post “Thou shalt not steal,” “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” and “Thou shalt not lie” in a building full of lawyers, judges, and politicians. It creates a hostile work environment. -- George Carlin

Germany's police force: they fired just 85 bullets in all of 2011, and 49 were warning shots.


May 16, 2012
If it's responsible or science-based, the Republicans oppose it:
The Grand Old Party and the Sea, NYT
Atlantic halibut     Add fish and oceans to the long list of environmental issues that House Republicans do not much care about. Last week, the House voted to deny further financing to a federal program that helps regulate commercial fisheries and has been increasingly important to the recovery of several at-risk species. For good measure, it also killed financing for a worthy effort by the Obama administration to improve the health of America’s coastal waters.
    Figures released on Monday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed that six fish species — including haddock and summer flounder — had rebounded to sustainable levels over the past year. This good news is in part the result of a strategy called “catch shares,” under which regional fish councils set overall limits on the annual harvest and then apportion the catch among individual fishermen.
     Most commercial fishermen support this program, which was strongly backed by President George W. Bush.  ...

Some U.S. Fisheries Rebounding
Kieran Mulvaney, Discovery News, 17 may 2012
    Six U.S. fish populations were "rebuilt to healthy levels" in 2011, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In its annual report to Congress, NOAA stated that numbers of Bering Sea snow crab, Atlantic coast summer flounder, Gulf of Maine haddock, northern California coast Chinook salmon, Washington coast coho salmon, and Pacific coast widow rockfish were now at "optimum population levels", bringing the number of rebuilt U.S. marine fish populations this century to 27.
    In total, NOAA concluded that 36 of 258 populations that were assessed are subject to overfishing - i.e. being fished at too high a level. That's four fewer than in 2010. And 45 of 219 populations are already overfished, a decline of three from 2010 figures.
    NOAA's Galen Tromble told the Associated Press that the figures show "we're starting to see the results" of rebuilding plans begun 10-15 years ago.

sacred cod   However, the picture is far from universally rosy. Thirteen of the 45 overfished stocks are in the waters off New England, which is "defying the positive trends." A 2011 assessment of Gulf of Maine cod, which showed that "the linchpin stock of New England's inshore fleet not rebuilding quickly," was not peer-reviewed in time to be included in the report to Congress, but has resulted in a 22 percent reduction in the 2012 quota.
    Tromble argued that the New England situation reflected the fact that the fish stocks in that region have been heavily-fished, by both domestic and, for many years, foreign fisheries for a prolonged period relative to the rest of the country.
jebus is watching

stained glass line
wing nuts
Former Navy Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt, who founded lobbying group The Pray In Jesus Name Project, appeared on a progressive talk show this week to criticize President Barack Obama’s endorsement of same sex marriage … But somehow ended up promoting his theory that gay people unknowingly secrete invisible, evil creatures which find and possess certain animals, turning them gay as well.
stained glass line

13 may 2012. bisonApropos of nothing: Pemmican. Stuff I've heard about since my childhood interest in Indians, and then my teen years in Scouts, without knowing details. This is the storage form of meat used by some North American tribes, consisting of dried meat mixed with fat. (There are also fish versions.) It will keep for several years.  There are different alleged authentic recipes with adamant supporters, as if there was one recipe used by hundreds of tribes, over hundreds or thousands of years.
    The consensus recipe is a 1:1 mixture of finely ground/powdered dried lean meat and rendered hard fat. Dried berries are a part of most recipes,which others scorn.  Marrow fat is said to have been the favorite for taste, but tallow/suet seems to be the common fat. There are apparently no modern commercial producers of the real thing, perhaps because uncooked meat wouldn't pass government rules.
     Buffalo pemmican became a commercial item for the 18th-19th-century Canadian fur trade, and even a factor in fur company-settler-Metis trade wars. I wonder how the rendering could have been efficiently done before European metalware, and therefore whether pemmican was widely used before that. And the tribes were not huge buffalo hunters until they acquired horses...
I had planned to keep careful track of the process, but it stretched over some weeks, one piece at a time.
Beef suet sells for $1.29/lb at the supermarket  I diced/fragmented 2.4 lb (1.1 kg) of frozen suet to small pieces, which is easy.
Rendering: It was heated for 2-3 hrs at moderately low heat (with a small amount of water, which is said to inhibit sticking and help the initial melting.) I stirred from time to time. I stopped when the bubbling stopped (the water had boiled off) and all the tissue chunks seemed extracted. I didn't get the "crackling" pieces mentioned by others, but soggy bits instead, and suspect my rendering temperature was low. Result was a bit over 2 pints (1 liter) of honey colored clear oil, which hardens to off-white tallow.
   The meat was 2.4 lb (1.2 kg) of 87% lean hamburger. I put it through a hand-cranked meat grinder, but suspect this was pointless. It was dried by spreading on a cookie sheet and heating at 180-200 F several hours. It smelled like cooking meat, and the temp was likely higher than needed or desired. It dried to a rubbery lump stage. This was put into a food processor to turn into granular bits, and dried for an hour or 2 more, to be sure of drying. The result was 210 g of dried meat.
   I had intended to try 2 versions - one with blueberries, and one with salt and cayenne. I added 10g freeze-dried blueberries to 105g meat, and mixed in 4 oz (~120g) melted tallow. This was intended to be the 1:1 ratio of solid to tallow generally recommended, but there was clearly far more oil than needed to "just wet" the solids. It took all the rest of the meat granules to get to the "just wet" appearance specified. This was spread in a shallow tray.


To whom it applies:
frigid cow
2 may 2012

magpie Friesen

1 may 2012 Bird cams are soothing to watch. Cornell has this one of a great blue heron nest.
heron

"Science produces people who invent airplanes. Religion produces people who fly airplanes into buildings."

26 apr 2012   George Romney, socialist fellow traveler
... But that's not all George Romney did. As Rick Perlstein recalled of Mitt's dad, the Michigan Governor and American Motors magnate (who ironically also met with that infamous community organizer Saul Alinsky):
    As a CEO he would give back part of his salary and bonus to the company when he thought they were too high. He offered a pioneering profit-sharing plan to his employees. Most strikingly, asked about the idea that "rugged individualism" was the key to America's success, he snapped back, "It's nothing but a political banner to cover up greed."
C&L 26 apr

24 apr 2012   Insolvency, tax cuts, military spending and social security
Armando, at DailyKos

... It is as much a lie to say Social Security is "going bankrupt" or "insolvent" as it is to say the military is going bankrupt.
    It treats government finances like household finances. It is stupid for anyone who claims to favor progressive approaches to government to accept this frame. Worse, it is accepting lies.
    If the federal government does not want to slash Social Security benefits in 2033, assuming the Trust Fund runs out, then it does not have to. It can add funding from other sources. It can raise taxes. It can cut military spending. It can do any number of things.
    The ability of the federal government to not cut Social Security benefits is obvious to anyone. Any insinuation to the contrary is a lie. And a malicious lie in my view.
    Now, if Social Security is to be treated as a traditional pension fund, well then, let's be honest about THAT. But then let's also be honest about the deficits that tax cuts for the rich and military spending have caused. But no one talks about "bankruptcy" and "insolvency" when tax cuts and military spending are discussed. EVER.

24 apr 2012  Up is down: Reputed arsonist and car thief Darell Issa calls the Obama admin. ‘the most corrupt government in history,' although he is not in fact a member of the Obama administration. RawStory

drink the
                        Kool-AidThe Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform thinks that the Obama administration is “the most corrupt in history,” and he’s not afraid to say it.
    Speaking to Bloomberg on Tuesday, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) insisted that the president’s political appointees must be held accountable for their actions, citing the recent General Services Administration graft scandal and a failed solar power company, Solyndra, that the Obama administration had invested in.
    In spite of Issa’s allegations, he only cited two specific scandals. According to journalist Haynes Johnson, the “most corrupt” label actually belongs to the administration of President Ronald Reagan. Plagued by dozens of scandals like selling weapons to Iran, rigging federal grants, the savings and loan crisis and other assorted political skullduggery, it all ended with 138 officials having been investigated, indicted or convicted — the most of any U.S. presidency, ever.

23 apr 2012. So long, childhood tokens.
    One of my major childhood and adolescent activities was making models of ships, planes, spacecraft, and sometimes cars from model kits. I had dozens of them. In fact I still have a few, plastic-wrapped in boxes for decades, one my father started when I was very little, ones my son wasn't interested in, and a big model of the USS Constitution acquired with my house. But the old ones sat in the attic of my parents'' house, gradually getting fragile bits broken off as stuff got moved around now and then, for 40 years. Now that house is my brother's, and he's insulating the attic, and everything needs to get moved out. I was prepared to agonize over which favorite one or two to keep, as I moved box after box downstairs and outside. I pulled them out, and laid them on the grass. I still knew the names of most of the ships, and the aircraft types, and the spacecraft programs. But they were bedraggled, dusty, and I was bemused that I had once been so proud on the paint jobs. I took pictures, then into the dumpster they went.
model1

model2
I remember some others, though, which I didn't find. And I kept the Gemini astronauts.

21 apr 2012   Interesting. and good job, FBI: In Nov 2011, as the FBI realized that taking down a criminal  botnet would negatively affect half a million victims, it set up a server to continue their internet service for several months with it's security partner, DCWG.org. But now it's time for that to end, so there are newspaper stories on it, to warn people, to ask them to remove the botnet malware from their PCs.

Birds at the feeder: Mourning doves swallow black sunflower seeds whole, while the finches and sparrows crack them open and swallow just the kernel.

Across the UniverseI thought John Carter of Mars was pretty good. The cinematography was very well done, but the plot suffers from being 100-year-old pulp fiction. I don't know whether the motives of the bad guys are in the books, but they are absent in the movie. I think it should have been released as summer fodder.

And I rewatched Across the Universe (2007), a very good story set to Beatles music.

20 apr 2012
A Point of View: In defence of obscure words
Will Self, BBC
    The suspicion that mass media lead to a banal middlebrow culture is as old as the printing press - arguably even older, given that Plato thought that writing was itself an intolerable derogation of the poetry of the spoken word. But from the vantage of each successive wave crest of popularisation, the anxieties of preceding generations seem touchingly premature.
    Take the American cultural critic Dwight MacDonald, who coined the expression "midcult" to refer to those works which "pretend to respect the standards of high culture, while in fact (they) water them down and vulgarize them". MacDonald was writing at a time when Nabokov's Lolita was the fastest-selling novel in American history.

18 apr 2012  Religious discrimination by Romney's cronies.

Lizard-brained partner of murderous kleptocrats does logic:
“Yeah,” Robertson agreed. “Is it guilt? Do we think that we have sinned and therefore we have destroyed our planet and therefore we’re going to get it in the neck?”
“Just keep in mind that Mars, and say, ‘How many SUVs, how many oil refineries are there on Mars?’ And yet, it’s the relationship to the sun that is effecting the climate on Mars,” he concluded.

Romney is a parasite, not a vultureMitt Romney, American Parasite
The Presidential candidate's years at Bain represent everything you hate about capitalism
 Pete Kotz, Seattle Weekly
..."Romney is not a vulture capitalist, as Rick Perry says, since vultures eat dead carcasses," notes Josh Kosman, who's written about the private equity business for 15 years. He's "more of a parasitic capitalist, since he destroys profitable businesses." ...

    In January, The Wall Street Journal did its best to piece together Romney's track record, reviewing 77 investments made under his direction. It turned out that nearly one in three of the companies experienced severe financial trouble. One in five wound up in bankruptcy.
    The more telling figure: Of Romney's 10 biggest moneymakers, he ultimately destroyed four of them, leaving bankruptcy judges to clean up the mess. ...

More on Lyme Disease and testing.

The almost-state of Franklin, 1784-1788. Failed secession from North Carolina.

13 apr 2012
chickenhawkActually, Nooners has a point. John Wayne is the perfect embodiment of the Republican Party.  C&L 4-13-2012
The problem, of course, is that John Wayne was a drunk, a drug addict, a serial womanizer, an abusive husband -- and most importantly -- a draft-dodging chickenhawk. While other actors of his generation volunteered to fight in World War II, Wayne stayed stateside to make movies and get rich playing dress up soldier. Years later, this same man who chose not to fight in the war against fascism said that those opposed to the Vietnam War should be shot. There may not be a more perfect embodiment of a man who spouts right-wing "virtues" while actually leading a life exactly in opposition to those virtues.
  Truthdig article

12 apr 2012  Cannibalize the Future
Paul Krugman, NYT
   One general rule of modern politics is that the people who talk most about future generations — who go around solemnly declaring that we’re burdening our children with debt — are, in practice, the people most eager to sacrifice our future for short-term political gain. You can see that principle at work in the House Republican budget, which starts with dire warnings about the evils of deficits, then calls for tax cuts that would make the deficit even bigger, offset only by the claim to have a secret plan to make up for the revenue losses somehow or other.
   And you can see it in the actions of Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, who talks loudly about acting responsibly but may actually be the least responsible governor the state has ever had.

6 apr 2012  Climate change is a moral issue, on par with slavery. Jim Hansen, NASA climate scientist, from Rawstory
earth
                            skilletAverting the worst consequences of human-induced climate change is a “great moral issue” on a par with slavery, according to the leading Nasa climate scientist Prof Jim Hansen.

He argues that storing up expensive and destructive consequences for society in future is an “injustice of one generation to others”.


Hansen, ...
awarded the prestigious Edinburgh Medal [on 10 apr 2012] for his contribution to science, [called] in his acceptance speech for a worldwide tax on all carbon emissions.

In his lecture, Hansen argue[d] that the challenge facing future generations from climate change is so urgent that a flat-rate global tax is needed to force immediate cuts in fossil fuel use. Ahead of receiving the award – which has previously been given to Sir David Attenborough, the ecologist James Lovelock, and the economist Amartya Sen – Hansen told the Guardian that the latest climate models had shown the planet was on the brink of an emergency. He said humanity faces repeated natural disasters from extreme weather events which would affect large areas of the planet.


“The situation we’re creating for young people and future generations is that we’re handing them a climate system which is potentially out of their control,” he said. “We’re in an emergency: you can see what’s on the horizon over the next few decades with the effects it will have on ecosystems, sea level and species extinction.”


Now 70, Hansen is regarded as one of the most influential figures in climate science; the creator of one of the first global climate models, his pioneering role in warning about global warming is frequently cited by climate campaigners such as former US vice president Al Gore and in earlier science prizes, including the $1m Dan David prize. He has been arrested more than once for his role in protests against coal energy.


Hansen argue[d] in his lecture that current generations have an over-riding moral duty to their children and grandchildren to take immediate action. Describing this as an issue of inter-generational justice on a par with ending slavery, Hansen said: “Our parents didn’t know that they were causing a problem for future generations but we can only pretend we don’t know because the science is now crystal clear.


The one-millionth photo at ISS
ISS millionth photo

Remembering Project Gemini - The Atlantic, 2012 - 41 big photos
spacewalk, Edward White, Gemini, 3 jun
                        1965
first American spacewalk, Edward White, 3 jun 1965

State Liquor, 370 Park Ave., Worcester - Seedy, with  Limbaugh bloviating on the TV. Ick.

TThomas Hardy Alehomas Hardy Ale still tastes like rancid treacle. Good thing it comes in small bottles.

Opa Opa IPA is drinkable, but has an unpleasant spoiled note. I like Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA, Wachusett IPA, Harpoon IPA.

Are the "New Black Panthers" a fraud by Fox or other wingers?

From TED: SmartBird, a herring-gull shaped robot that flies by flapping its wings.
And Festo's SmartInversion, "a helium-filled flying object that moves through the air by turning inside-out." Neat trick, assuming it's real; horrible video.

I was mentioning the little remote controlled helicopter robots to someone who said there are much bigger ones, and wouldn't it be interesting to equip them with paint guns and patrol Wall Street for banksters.

My bank is United Bank, based in Springfield Ma. It sent one of those notices we always dread or ignore, about changing terms of service.  But no! This was an nice enhancement, saying United will refund up to $10 in ATM fees per statement cycle. I like my bank.

Rep. Paul Ryan's teabagger budget passed the House last week. Paul Krugman commented on it in the NYT.  I liked a response by Northsider:
Here's more food for thought: If it's really true that there are $700 billion in annual "loopholes" worth closing, that means there are $700 billion in tax increases for somebody. Maybe somebody like you. Surely, not for the 1% and the corporations who call the shots in the radical right wing Republican Party. So, Mr. Ryan, if you are serious about this and not just making stuff up, please specify your $700 billion in annual tax increases.

g16d


Sad Panda (Team 190) upsets the Monkeys


Robot basketball at Florida Atlantic University, with Team 190  briefly shown at sec 19-24

Observations from the political call center:
Moat of us, I think,  really do like to talk with you. We calmly accept it, but we know you are probably lying when you say you are "just going going out the door," "on another line,"  "expecting an important call," "waiting for your taxes" or "too busy." You often deny your identity. You may or may not have  money to donate. You may or may not be out of work. You may or may not have just sent the client a check last week. If you're "at work" or "at a meeting," why did you answer the phone?

Maybe those are the white lies that lubricate social interactions, as you make excuses for avoiding social responsibility, evade unexpected solicitors, or feel overwhelmed by pleading from so many causes.

The auto-dialer will keep on making calls, day after day, until someone picks up, speaks to us, and says yes, no or "take me off the call list." You have to specifically say. "Take me off the call list," and it only applies to that client organization's list. We are not allowed to leave phone messages, so if you screen your calls, you're going to get upset at the calls without messages. The auto-dialer could display a company or client identity, instead of a blocked number, but the company and clients prefer not to, for reasons unknown to us callers. Yet some phones do display the company, and some seem to display the number.

It is a small minority of people who contribute to political campaigns, and you get put on lists as possible supporters, so we aren't cold-calling. We know you are being deluged with phone calls, emails and real mail - it would make our job much easier if you were not. It's our job to persuade you of the urgency of our cause, and why this cause is a little more important than that one. It's only April, and people are already experiencing donor fatigue. But there is another group of potential donors that claims it wants to wait until the election is closer. I wish we had a response code for that, at least to test that population by following up.

We can legally call from 8:30 AM to 9:00 PM, local time.  So the computers (or supervisors) know when to open and close  time zones. It works pretty well, but we get a few people taking their phone numbers as they move, from New York to California, for example; they are usually gracious at being woken at 7 AM. Seems to be only Californians who are furious at being woken at 9 or 10 AM. I don't usually work Sundays, but when I have, there are people upset at being called (although it was their decision to answer a blocked call.)

I looked for a call center image to accompany this text, but nearly all are of pretty, smiling young women. All in all, that's not us. We are male and female, very varied in age, ethnicity, body art and education. No one could look at us and then make even mediocre predictions on the top callers.
blue star
I was intrigued by a paragraph in Wired on the abundance of lanternfish, and went to Wiki:

Lanternfishes are small mesopelagic fish of the large family Myctophidae. One of two families in the order Myctophiformes, the Myctophidae are represented by 246 species in 33 genera, and are found in oceans worldwide. They are aptly named after their conspicuous use of bioluminescence. Their sister family, the Neoscopelidae, are much fewer in number but superficially very similar; at least one neoscopelid shares the common name 'lanternfish': the large-scaled lantern fish, Neoscopelus macrolepidotus.

Sampling via deep trawling indicates that lanternfish account for as much as 65% of all deep sea fish biomass. Indeed, lanternfish are among the most widely distributed, populous, and diverse of all vertebrates, playing an important ecological role as prey for larger organisms. With an estimated global biomass of 550 - 660 million metric tonnes, several times the entire world fisheries catch, lanternfish also account for much of the biomass responsible for the deep scattering layer of the world's oceans.
Myctophum_punctatum

blue star
"The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller
blue star
22 mar 2012  DailyKos
hemp leaf40 Years Ago Today: Teh Stupid Came to Stay.
On March 22, 1972 the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse, chaired by former Pennsylvania governor Raymond P. Shafer, recommended that Congress amend federal law so that the use and possession of cannabis would no longer be a criminal offense. State legislatures, the commission added, should do likewise.
“[T]he criminal law is too harsh a tool to apply to personal possession even in the effort to discourage use,”concluded the 13-member commission, which included nine hand-picked appointees of then-president Richard Nixon, “It implies an overwhelming indictment of the behavior which we believe is not appropriate. The actual and potential harm of use of the drug is not great enough to justify intrusion by the criminal law into private behavior, a step which our society takes only with the greatest reluctance.
“… Therefore, the Commission recommends ... [that the] possession of marijuana for personal use no longer be an offense, [and that the] casual distribution of small amounts of marihuana for no remuneration, or insignificant remuneration, no longer be an offense.”

 The criminal law is "too harsh a tool". Eloquently worded, don't you think?

However the very harsh tool, Richard Nixon, on his own, apparently, decided that this was the wrong answer and chucked the Shafer Commission Report into the trash and made "reefer madness" - marijuana prohibition and all the propaganda that goes with it - Republican Gospel.
Amsterdam

22 mar 2012  Spring weather is here, the windows are partly open, and the dicks with loud motorcycles are roaring back and forth, preening assholiness.

My large bird feeder is divided in two, and this winter I've been filling both sides with black oil sunflower seed. The house sparrows love it, and there have been 30 at once, on the feeder and the shelf below. House finches also come, in pairs and small groups, and wb nuthatches fly in to poke around, usually grab a single seed and fly off again. Occasional downy woodpeckers  do the same. The sparrow have emptied the feeder in 5 days, sometimes, and they get to be boring, so I was interested in attracting other birds. One recommendation, perhaps from Audubon, was to use striped sunflower seed, which are larger and tougher than the black oil seed. The sparrows definitely prefer the oil seed: I filled one side with oil seed and the other with  striped seed. The oil seed was gone in about 6 days, and after3 weeks, the striped seed is only half gone. House finches are most common now, with only the striped seed left. I get occasional bluejays, mourning doves, downys. sparrows. A titmouse was feeding 2 days ago. I put the thistle feeder out for the season, and have seen a couple of house finches at it.
    How much do small prey distinguish among threats? Do the small birds at my feeder know which large birds  overhead are threats? There are small groups of crows, ring-billed gulls, turkey vultures, and Canada geese flying around and passing by pretty often, and sometimes a red-tail hawk. Do the potential prey know that only the hawk is really dangerous?

20 mar 2012   Heart of Darkness, on the war in Afghanistan
Maureen Dowd, NYT
The epitaph of our Sisyphean decade of two agonizing wars was written last year by then-Secretary of Defense Bob Gates: “Any future defense secretary who advises the president to send a big American land army into Asia, or into the Middle East or Africa, should have his head examined.”

police brutality18 mar 2012
Police state thuggery in New York and St Louis.

I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half. -- Jay Gould (1836-1892)


Murder seems to be legal in Florida, at least if the victim is black and the shooter not, and there are no eye-witnesses. Trayvon Martin was murdered by George Zimmerman, on 26 feb 2012 in Sanford Fla.
colsq
9 mar 2012 James Randi, America, the Beautiful (And Nutty): A Skeptic’s Lament

And so I begin my work here at Wired Opinion with a direct, firm, personal statement of my own convictions, derived from 60+ years of close association with dedicated scientists and the responsible media:
wizardThose very popular mythical beasties — ESP, psychokinesis, prophecy, etc. — don’t exist.
Homeopathy is a dangerous farce.
Faith-healing is a deadly joke.
Perpetual motion is a juvenile dream.
Uri Geller is a 4-trick magician.
The dead don’t talk to anyone.
Religion is an ancient notion we need to get over.

There!
colsq
15 mar 2012  I was just introduced to TED Talks, "Ideas worth spreading."

And then was Martin Luther, referring to Copernicus:
"There is talk of a new astrologer who wants to prove that the earth moves and goes around instead of the sky, the sun, the moon, just as if somebody were moving in a carriage or ship might hold that he was sitting still and at rest while the earth and the trees walked and moved. But that is how things are nowadays: when a man wishes to be clever he must . . . invent something special, and the way he does it must needs be the best! The fool wants to turn the whole art of astronomy upside-down. However, as Holy Scripture tells us, so did Joshua bid the sun to stand still and not the earth."
Russell's teapot
Russell's teapot
bd
gop
                            zombie

"Romney will win the nod this year because he ran the least awful campaign. "Least awful" is the standard you use for buying kitchen utensils at a dollar store, not for nominating the figurehead of a major political party. " Pandagon, 2 mar 2012
GOPosaur
gop
                            zombie

  2 mar 2012   For several days the targeted sari adGoogle ads I see are largely for companies selling expensive saris, etc. I can't imagine what sites I've been at to trigger that. Well, at least they aren't those annoying, animated "weird trick" scam ads.


 If I were religious, I'd say, "Rot in Hell, Breitbart." But good riddance, anyway.

The recent Faux outrage over a description of Catholic ritual reminds me:
Papal Conspiracy ExposedThe Papal Conspiracy Exposed. Rev Edward Beecher. 1854. Boston: Stearns & Co.
A bit of sectarian vitriol, condemning the Romanist system as anti-American, anti-Biblical, bloody, intolerant and totalitarian.

29 feb 2012   Goodbye, First Amendment: ‘Trespass Bill’ will make protest illegal
   Just when you thought the government couldn’t ruin the First Amendment any further: The House of Representatives approved a bill on Monday that outlaws protests in instances where some government officials are nearby, whether or not you even know it.
   The US House of Representatives voted 388-to-3 in favor of H.R. 347 late Monday, a bill which is being dubbed the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011. In the bill, Congress officially makes it illegal to trespass on the grounds of the White House, which, on the surface, seems not just harmless and necessary, but somewhat shocking that such a rule isn’t already on the books. The wording in the bill, however, extends to allow the government to go after much more than tourists that transverse the wrought iron White House fence.
   Under the act, the government is also given the power to bring charges against Americans engaged in political protest anywhere in the country. ...
land
                    of the free
bst

 The meaning of religious freedom, I fear, is sometimes greatly misapprehended. It is taken to be a sort of immunity, not merely from governmental control but also from public opinion. A dunderhead gets himself a long-tailed coat, rises behind the sacred desk, and emits such bilge as would gag a Hottentot. Is it to pass unchallenged? If so, then what we have is not religious freedom at all, but the most intolerable and outrageous variety of religious despotism. Any fool, once he is admitted to holy orders, becomes infallible. Any half-wit, by the simple device of ascribing his delusions to revelation, takes on an authority that is denied to all the rest of us. - HL Mencken

bst


bst


26 feb 2012  Too Big to Fail: An Executive Suite True-Life Tale
By Sam Pizzigati at OurFuture.org
  If a blunder you committed cost your employer $4 million, how long would you stay employed? In America today, a CEO can cost his company $4 billion and still collect both a paycheck and a bonus.
  People in America get fired all the time. Break too many plates as a dishwasher, lose too many games as a coach, miss too many deadlines as a reporter, you’re going to be history.
  Consider Randall Stephenson, the chief exec at telecom giant AT&T. Stephenson had a bad year in 2011. A really bad year. His decisions cost AT&T over $4 billion. What price did Stephenson pay for this debacle? Last week we learned that price — and much more about the dysfunction that defines us.
assets did Stephenson's T-Mobile fiasco cost AT&T? Try this analogy.
  Imagine a terribly disgruntled AT&T employee out to inflict as much damage on the company as he possible could.
  This troubled employee picks up a sledgehammer and walks up and down the aisles of an AT&T mobile phone warehouse, smashing one $100 phone box after another. He can smash 10 boxes a minute, 600 an hour. After an eight-hour day, he has inflicted $480,000 worth of destruction.
  How long would this destructive demon have to keep that sledgehammer swinging to do as much damage to AT&T's bottom line as CEO Randall Stephenson's $4.2 billion T-Mobile merger break-up? Another 8,749 days.
  The disgruntled employee in this parable, needless to say, would be fired — and spend no small amount of time in prison. The actual penalty on Stephenson? Did he lose his job for costing AT&T all those billions?
  Not even close. Stephenson, AT&T corporate filings revealed Tuesday, didn’t even lose his bonus. AT&T paid the CEO, for his 2011 executive labors, $1.6 million in base salary, $3.8 million in cash bonus “incentive award,” $12.7 million in stock compensation, and enough other goodies to value his total pay at $22 million.
 Interesting penalty. Stephenson saw his pay drop less than 9 percent for an executive performance that dropped AT&T annual earnings by 52 percent.
bbb
In 1907, there were upwards of 12,000 independent telephone companies in the US.  - Bell history

How Ma Bell Shelved the Future for 60 Years - Gizmodo
   Bell Labs invented the telephone answering machine with magnetic tape  in the early 1930s, but suppressed it for inane business reasons.

bst

28 feb 2012  Texas TeaBagger Doctor Indicted in Largest Medicare Fraud in History Kos  USAToday LATimes
A Dallas-area physician has been arrested and indicted for allegedly bilking Medicare of more than $350 million for bogus health care services.
  The federal indictment charges that Dr. Jacques Roy of Rockwall, Texas, had also created a fake identity and sent money offshore with intentions to flee the country.
  The indictment charges that Roy, who owned Medistat Group Associates in DeSoto, Texas, "engaged in a staggering and long-running fraud scheme," billing Medicare for more than $350 million and Medicaid for more than $24 million on behalf of 11,000 purported beneficiaries.
  Roy's office manager as well as five owners of home health agencis were also indicted in the alleged scheme that federal law enforcement officials called the largest healthcare fraud case in the nation's history, the Chicago Tribune reports.
  Under the alleged fraud scheme, the doctor and his office manager in DeSoto, Texas, Teri Sivils, who was also charged, allegedly sent healthcare “recruiters” door-to-door asking residents to sign forms that contained the doctor’s electronic signature and stated that he had seen the residents professionally for medical services he never provided.
  They also allegedly dispatched more “recruiters” to a homeless shelter in Dallas, paying $50 to every street person they coaxed from a nearby parking lot and signed him up on the bogus forms.

edl


you are
                            all wrongGive the church a place in the Constitution, let her touch once more the sword of power, and the priceless fruit of all ages will turn to ashes on the lips of men.  [Ingersoll's Works, Vol. 1, p. 203]

edl

My situation - well, the personal situation is okay, considering. The ex is her usual self, and probably won't improve. The kids are fine. I'm working, making phone calls for Democratic and progressive political and environmental organizations. Never thought I'd be talking for a living, but here I am. There's some pressure to get results (donations), but there are reasonable guidelines and good ethics. The location is close, the schedule flexible, the pay poor.
so it has
                        come to this
26 feb 2012  “Allen West from south Florida, a Republican, said he was outraged this week because it cost him $70 to fill his car. He drives a Hummer. Newt Gingrich said the American people have a right to demand $2.50 gas. They have a right to demand to lobsters grow on trees. I mean, this is economic nonsense.” - George Will
tree lobsters with light sabers
gp
"I'll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one" - Bill Moyers on Colbert
gp
“Ron Paul… you know, I heard somebody say he was like insecticide - 98 percent of it’s inert gases, but it’s the two percent that’s left that will kill you."  from TPM
gp
22 feb 2012 Shrimp's Carbon Footprint Is 10 Times Greater Than Beef's
—By Tom Philpott, Mother Jones
... It turns out, not surprisingly, that plates mounded with cheap shrimp float on a veritable sea of ecological and social trouble. In his excellent 2008 book Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood, the Canadian journalist Taras Grescoe took a hard look at the Asian operations that supply our shrimp. His conclusion: "The simple fact is, if you're eating cheap shrimp today, it almost certainly comes from a turbid, pesticide- and antibiotic-filled, virus-laden pond in the tropical climes of one of the world's poorest nations."
"J. Boone Kaufman, University of Oregon, calls the shrimp-farming style that prevails in Asia "the equivalent of slash-and-burn agriculture," because farm operators typically "only last for 5 years or so before the buildup of sludge in the ponds and the acid sulfate soil renders them unfit for shrimp," he told Science."
    more at Wired

25 feb 2012 Social situation maps at Rural Assistance Center - state by state maps of many health and education statistics
uninsured, small
health insurance coverage, 2006

Geography of government benefits  interactive maps from NYT
Wikipedia, Crime in the US
    Poor, undereducated, superstitious, violent areas (ie, Red States) suck money from the rest of us.

Karl Rove meets Inigo
                      Montoya
Karl Rove meets Inigo Montoya

related:  The Superiority Complex of Vaccination Foes

By Amanda Marcotte, Slate, 13 feb 2012

harpoon-r
18 feb 2012: breitbart; a festering boil on the anus of public discourse. (from Alec Baldwin, via RS)

13 feb 2012: romney: to defecate in terror. (via Rawstory)
harpoon-l
15 feb 2012 Leaked docs: Heartland Institute think tank pays climate contrarians very well
Heartland
                        hookersBy John Timmer
The scientific findings relevant to climate change generally appear in journals that the public will never look at. Instead, the public battle over the science and its policy implications often boils down to a battle between scientific societies like the AAAS and National Academies of Science and think tanks like the Cato Institute and Heartland Institute, which contest the scientific consensus. The Heartland has even set up a contrarian counterpart to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, called the NIPCC (for "nongovernmental" and "international," naturally).

 Yesterday, a series of documents that allegedly originated form the Heartland were leaked to a prominent climate blog. The documents reveal that most of the funding for its climate activities come from a small range of very generous donors, and that big plans are afoot for 2012. If the Heartland has its way, it will fund the launch of a new website by meteorologist and climate skeptic Anthony Watts, and prepare a school curriculum intended to keep teachers from addressing climate science.
Bottom line: the polluters are paying their whores well.

13 feb 2012 Lowering reich-wing standards, week by week:
"We are not auditioning for fearless leader. We don't need a president to tell us in what direction to go. We know what direction to go...We just need a president to sign this stuff. We don't need someone to think it up or design it...Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen..." — Grover Norquist at CPAC
bb


"Ignorance may be bliss. It's just a pity that it doesn't cause sterility too." newscat

vv 

12 feb 2012. Rep. Steve King and the scary lightbulbs of scary doom
by Hunter, at DailyKos
Rep. Steve King hates energy-efficient lightbulbs. He hates them the way other people might hate cockroaches, or malaria. He hates them exactly as much as he hates communism. It's a powerful kind of hate. A powerful, head-scratching, dumb as a post kind of hate.
[Blaming Nancy Pelosi ...]
Every good conservative story has to reference Nancy Pelosi. This is a given. Nancy Pelosi is the personification of everything conservatives loathe in government. Why? I have no idea. Couldn't begin to tell you. According to them, however, she is 10 times more liberal than Ted Kennedy, as cruel as the worst Disney villain, and more evil than Cthulhu. You know those spooky campfire stories about people getting lost in the woods and murdered one by one? When conservatives tell the story, Nancy Pelosi is the killer. Even as we speak, Reps. Steve and Peter King (no relation) are introducing a bill mandating that whenever any conservative mentions Nancy Pelosi, they must do so in a sinister voice, and in a dark room, and hold a flashlight under their chin. ...

10 feb 2012. I'm adding Google trackers to many pages, and testing their ads on a few major pages.

10 feb 2012 -- Some things never change

Tom Paxton -
                    Ramblin' BoyDAILY NEWS
    (Tom Paxton, Ramblin' Boy, 1964)

Civil rights leaders are a pain in the neck
Can't hold a candle to Chang Kai Shek
How do I know? I read it in the Daily News
Ban the bombers are afraid of a fight
Peace hurts business and that ain't right
How do I know? I read it in the Daily News

  Daily News, daily blues
  Pick up a copy any time you choose
  Seven little pennies in the newsboy's hand
  And you ride right along to never, never land

We got to bomb Castro, got to bomb him flat
He's too damn successful and we can't risk that
How do I know? I read it in the Daily News
There's millions of commies in the freedom fight
Yelling for Lenin and civil rights
How do I know? I read it in the Daily News

Seems like the whole damn world's gone wrong
Saint Joe McCarthy is dead and gone
How do I know? I read it in the Daily News
Don't try to make me change my mind with facts
To hell with the graduated income tax
How do I know? I read it in the Daily News

John Paul Getty is just plain folks
The UN charter is a cruel hoax
How do I know? I read it in the Daily News
J. Edgar Hoover is the man of the hour
All he needs is just a little more power
How do I know? I read it in the Daily News

    Copyright Cherry Lane Music Publishing Co., Inc.

    Youtube - Raymond Crooke version  (not bad, but he's no Tom Paxton)


Captain Samuel Eddy CRUD Emporium:Pop Rocks Pop Rock was named, and learned to play CRUD, but not very well.


5 feb 2012.

I screwed up the formatting of last year's page, and hadn't gotten around to getting a new template until now. But I have been saving some material.
    Meanwhile, I finally got TNG working for the genealogy files, Still needs a lot of format tweaking, though. Mentioning TNG -- software that relies on its users to solve its problems or explain its nuances is poorly supported software. I can't slog thru thousands of badly indexed  "user community" questions to potentially find what I need. The developer should at least frequently review them, and consolidate them in a real manual.
SuperBowl Sunday, I'm told. As if I could escape notice of another Silly Season. I generally hope the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Bruins lose, so I don't have to put up with the hyperbolic worship of some rich guys' laundry for weeks.

wave
The Democrats are the lesser evil and that has to count for something. Good and evil aren't binary states. All of us are both good and evil. Being less evil is the trajectory of morality. -- DailyKos commentwave
A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself. -- Joseph Pulitzerwave
Richie
                  Rich launders moneyWillard sings his anthem:

    O beautiful for Cayman Isles
     For dividends from Bain
     And Swiss accounts sealed good and tight
     And carried interest gains

    America! America!
     God shed His wealth on me
     And fed my soul with tax loopholes
     For me and my trustee.

    Hey immigrants! Get off my lawn!
     I'm running, for Pete's sake.
     I'll wager you ten thousand bucks
     Then let you all eat cake!
        -- DailyKos 2 feb 2012


It should be part of our intellectual, Enlightenment culture that every idea — atheist or religious — should be open to argument and criticism, with no exceptions. And if your culture demands obedience to dogma, violent reprisals to criticism, and murder of any opponent of your views, then I’m going to recognize the fundamental conflict between your views and the goals of a civilized, forward-thinking society, and dismiss your culture as an enemy of reason, and oppose you by committing our version of your hateful acts: by promoting the health, welfare, and education of your children, and mocking the stupidity of your beliefs. -- PZ Myers, Pharyngula, 2 feb 2012


NPR piece on the definition and characteristics of introversion. 1 feb 2012. I score high, of course.

        It's not that I'm an introvert. It's just that I'm silently plotting a way to kill you all to stop your incessant CHATTERING DRIVEL...

     *deep breath*

    Has anyone seen my coffee mug?

         -- Fark comment


Teddy
                  RooseveltTeddy Roosevelt vs. the plutocrats:
A heavy progressive tax upon a very large fortune is in no way such a tax upon thrift or industry as a like would be on a small fortune. No advantage comes either to the country as a whole or to the individuals inheriting the money by permitting the transmission in their entirety of the enormous fortunes which would be affected by such a tax; and as an incident to its function of revenue raising, such a tax would help to preserve a measurable equality of opportunity for the people of the generations growing to manhood.


Payday loan criminals, by National Public Action, via CrooksAndLiars
dollarsA report published by National Public Action this month has even more devastating details of the effects of this type of predatory lending, and link payday lenders to big banks' profits:
Payday lenders take at the very least $3.4 billion from our communities every year in fees alone. This figure represents some $3.1 billion in wealth stripped from desperate borrowers -money that could have gone to buy needed groceries or school supplies- to pump up the payday lenders' fat bottom lines.
Nationwide, revenues for the major payday loan companies (Advance America, EZ Corp, First Cash Financial, Dollar Financial, Cash America, QC Holdings) have risen to their highest level - $1.48 Billion per year- more than before the financial crisis.
Big banks like Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, and US Bank finance approximately 42% of the entire payday loan industry, providing the industry the capital for usurious and predatory loans.

never forget

26 jan 2012 DailyKos. Scrutiny of Willard's tax records revealed three million dollars in a forgotten account, which he dismissed as trivial.

Richie
                  Rich"Trivial? A three million dollar error is trivial, now? Good God, if I accidentally discovered that my bank account had three million more dollars than I thought it did, that wouldn't be trivial, that would would be an occurrence of the caliber of discovering sentient Pop Tarts." -- comment

flourish

"Unlimited growth is the ideology of a cancer cell." -- Edward Abbey


Dr. No12 jan 2012. James Bond villains blamed for nuclear's bad image
By Sean Coughlan, BBC News education correspondent
 
The evil villains in James Bond movies are being blamed for casting a long-lasting shadow over the image of nuclear power, says the president of the Royal Society of Chemistry. Prof David Phillips says that Dr No, with his personal nuclear reactor, helped to create a "remorselessly grim" reputation for atomic energy. Prof Phillips was speaking ahead of the 50th anniversary of the movie. The chemistry organisation says it wants a "renaissance" in nuclear power.
Prof Phillips says the popularity of the Dr No movie from 1962 created an enduringly negative image of nuclear power - as something dangerous that could be wielded by megalomaniacs with aspirations to world domination.


The evil Dr No was foiled by James Bond: Sean Connery and Ursula Andress in the 1962 movie



The whole religious complexion of the modern world is due to the absence from Jerusalem of a Lunatic Asylum. -- Havelock Ellis


David at Marine Specialties

wall st vs wall st
jump,
                  you fuckers