Sunday, February 28, 2010
environmental news story sunday
tracking a rising tide of waste. wisconsin is churning out permits for industrial-scale farms to spread millions of gallons of manure on state fields but provides little oversight after that, inspecting them only once or twice every five years, a wisconsin state journal investigation has found. - madison wisconsin state journal
melamine: the toxic legacy. - dairy giant fonterra is not providing any direct compensation to chinese victims of the contaminated milk scandal despite a new study which shows many of the affected children have ongoing health problems. - auckland sunday star times
warm winters distress reindeer herders. warm winters in recent years have forced herders here in the far northern kola peninsula to delay for months the rounding up of their reindeer from the vast tundra -- at great economic cost. - afp
unpredictable weather patterns hurting farming. a study indicates that on-going extreme changes and variability in zambia’s climate could bring losses of more than us$4 billion in agricultural income in the next 10 years, driving hundreds of thousands into poverty and food insecurity. - ndola times of zambia
animal tagging dropped. facing opposition, the federal government has dropped a six-year effort to get farmers nationwide to tag and trace the movements of livestock. the system was launched by the usda in 2004 after a mad cow disease scare in canada. - lancaster intelligencer
oregon oyster farms recalls oysters, 8 sickened as newport wine & seafood festival starts. the beds have been closed by the department of agriculture as food safety specialists investigate the source of the outbreak. water samples will be taken this weekend to test for norovirus contamination. - portland oregonian
california farms to get more water from u.s., state. drought-stricken farmers in california were granted a measure of relief on friday when federal and state officials said they expected to supply them with significantly more water this year than last. - reuters
monterey county awash in pesticides. pesticides are not sustainable. pesticides and fumigants are made to kill. they're also made of petroleum. corporations and corporate farming companies are using scare tactics to resist any change that affects profits. - salinas californian
savor taste of locally grown food. the benefits of supporting a local food system are enormous. economically, it would create living wage jobs revitalizing poor communities. societal benefits would include improved health and access to healthier food as well as increased food safety - fresno bee
italian oil slick reaches key farm center of parma. sludge from an oil spill snaked down the po river on thursday to reach the province of parma, raising fears that the home of italy's famed prosciutto, parmesan cheese and other agricultural staples might be at risk of water contamination. - ap
greenpeace denounces un support for gm crops in mexico. the united nations’ food and agriculture organization is supporting the introduction of transgenic, or genetically modified, crops in Mexico and other developing nations, the greenpeace chapter in that country denounced - efe
pesticide regs clean valley's air. pesticide emissions that contribute to smog in california dropped significantly in 2008, the first year restrictions on agricultural fumigant applications specifically targeting air quality were in effect. - modesto bee
the future of fish farming? recirculating aquaculture systems, or ras, are closed-loop production systems that continuously filter and recycle water, enabling large-scale fish farming that requires a small amount of water and releases little or no pollution. - christian science monitor
republicans bash usda's climate research. research on the effects of global warming on farmers seen as a waste. - greenwire
heritage hogs. variety isn't just the spice of life. you could say it is life. and you can't have variety without lots and lots of genes. farmers have spent thousands of years developing livestock that do well in different conditions. - environment report
plow shares. the crop mob, a monthly word-of-mouth (and -web) event in which landless farmers and the agricurious descend on a farm for an afternoon, has taken its traveling work party to 15 small, sustainable farms. together, volunteers have contributed more than 2,000 person-hours, doing tasks like mulching, building greenhouses and pulling rocks out of fields. - nytimes
mad about my dear gaffney
Saturday, February 27, 2010
following leaders of mountains of shame....
looking for someone to blame.
take a wild friggin' guess as to whose side i'm on...
time to call the doggies off, tired of the shadowin'...
slide me to the side again... slapped in the face again.
i love this song. but it isn't for everyone.
sorry 'bout that...
another healthcare insurance issue
barb dill, a widow battling the system regarding her husband's suicide due to ptsd induced depression asks the question that we should all ask ourselves and our elected officials.
....some families of civilian contractors who have committed suicide have tried to battle for help through an outdated government system designed to provide health insurance and death benefits to civilian contractors injured or killed on the job.
under the system, required by a law known as the defense base act , defense firms must purchase workers’ compensation insurance for their employees in war zones. it is highly specialized and expensive insurance, dominated by the troubled giant aig and a handful of other companies. the cost of it is paid by taxpayers as part of the contract price.
but the law, which is designed to provide coverage for accidental death and injury, blocks payment of death benefits in the case of almost all suicides. cases linked to mental incapacity are the lone exception, judges have ruled.
a joint investigation last year by propublica, abc news and the los angeles times revealed that contract workers must frequently battle carriers for basic medical coverage. while congress has promised reforms, there has been no discussion of changing the law when it comes to suicides involving civilian defense workers.
"shouldn't our government be responsible for the companies they hire?" dill said. "shouldn't our government take care of its own people, who are doing jobs our government, ultimately, wanted them to do?"
a whole lotta shakin' that went on
and still going on...holy mole. when you get "aftershocks" of 6.9....yikes.
a democrat showing some green spine
rep. tom perriello tells ‘spineless’ senate to get ‘its head out of its rear end’ and confront climate crisis - think progress
our hearts go out to chile
a massive 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck chile early saturday, shaking the capital of santiago for 90 seconds and sending tsunami warnings and advisories along much of the pacific basin. - nytimes
president michelle bachelet declared a "state of catastrophe" in affected areas and appealed for calm.
tsunami warnings have been issued for hawaii, australia, new zealand, central america and pacific island nations. - bbc
california warned its coastal cities to prepare for possible tsunami waves following a deadly magnitude-8.8 earthquake off the coast of chile. - latimeslivestream (in spanish)
a devastating earthquake struck chile early saturday, toppling homes, collapsing bridges and plunging trucks into the fractured earth. a tsunami set off by the magnitude-8.8 quake threatened every nation around the pacific ocean — roughly a quarter of the globe. - sfgate
one surprising reporter on the huge chilean earthquake this morning: former “american idol” contestant elliott yamin.
cnn noted this morning that yamin has “been tweeting like crazy.”
yamin, who had been performing in chile, was to do interviews with abc and nbc this morning. he wrote: “scariest nite/morn of my life!!…” - orlando sentinel
here's hoping that our hawaiian bloggy buddy linkmeister will be ok and stays "HI" and dry.
civil defense sirens were sounded at 6 a.m. to alert residents about the tsunami generated by an 8.8 magnitude earthquake off chile. the first waves are expected to reach hawaii at about 11 a.m. - honolulu star-bulletinit's a good time to ask yourself, do you have your earthquake preparedness kit at the ready?
hawaii woke residents with sirens, alerting them to the waves. a tsunami warning — the highest alert level — was issued earlier for the island chain. boats and people near the coast were being evacuated. hilo international airport, located along the coast, was closed. - sfgate
down the penrose lane
more @ penrose on politics!
Friday, February 26, 2010
congresscritter alan grayson was right
emergency rooms should be able to turn patients away to cut costs, minnesota gov. tim pawlenty (r-minn.) said last night - crooks and liars
for the record
from the more email links we never bothered clicking dept.
was bedeutet die "software, die sie downloaden können"?
schritt 1 - archiv downloaden und speichern auf ihrem computer.
schritt 2 - archiv entpacken.
schritt 3 - installieren und benutzen!
jensbruse, d33w-1991 ihren persönlichen code zu 30% rabatt auf alle produkte.
World's Stupidest Stories
Thursday, February 25, 2010
35 people died while obama debated the do-nothing republicans about health care in his fool's errand quest for bipartisanship.
35 counts of murder should be lodged against the president, the senate and the house for their lame approach to health care that makes insurance company profits first and foremost the concern of "health care reform".
our elected representatives are all murderers. they are scum. they should be spat upon for killing innocent americans whose only crime is they couldn't afford to pay wellpoint, aetna and blue cross.
(45,000 / 365 / 24) * 7 = 35
math is hard. death is harder.
what the f**k?
the state assembly passed a resolution thursday that would establish the first week of march as "cuss free week" throughout the state. if approved by the senate next week, the measure would take effect immediately.i suggest calling your "favorite" california politico (say, like, the governator?) and "voice" your objection over this waste of time and our ever evaporating moolah.
the resolution includes no enforcement mechanism and is simply meant to promote greater harmony and connectedness, said assemblyman anthony portantino,
a democrat from la canada flintridge and co-author of the measure.- sfgate
since i'm unemployed and have a bit of time
newt gingrich, who toyed with running for the wh in '96 and seriously engaged the idea of running in '08, but ultimately did not, said today, "'12 is different."
in an interview with national journal reporters and editors this morning, gingrich said he and his wife callista were "trying to organize our activities to be in a position to make a decision [about running for president] in february or march [of '11]...
if this mother of all hypocrites does decide to run for the white house, i might have to resurrect mockingbird's medley. there's just too much blog-fodder to pass up here -- that, and newt gingrich is a total f&%k.
take the godwin quiz!
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
for miss beverly (plastic) hill's sake
the officials from "miss california pageant" should just say "no" to promoting this hatemongerer in stilletos.
now, miss beverly hills 2010 lauren ashley, who will compete in the miss california pageant in november, has gone further. ashley told fox news that not only is she against same-sex marriage, but that she thinks it is divine law that gays should be put to death because “the bible is pretty black and white“ - think progressthe guilded city has "disowned" this homophobic bimbo (from pasadena).
$108 million and $0 taxes
michael hiltzik in the la times today
to everyone who claims that our wealthiest citizens pay more than their fair share of income taxes and we should cut them a break because they're the ones who, you know, create jobs in our economy, i have four words for you:(h/t seeing the forest and speak out california)
frank and jamie mccourt.
the mccourts, who own the los angeles dodgers (so she says; he says he's the owner and she's not), jointly pocketed income totaling $108 million from 2004 through 2009, according to documents jamie mccourt recently filed in the couple's divorce case in los angeles county superior court.
on that sum, they paid zero federal and state income tax. jamie suggests that some tax breaks will apply this year too.
the teabagger terrorist took action against the tax system being set up against the average little working guy. if we don't want any more teabagger terrorist actions, we really need to take a look at the tax system and stop the raping of the working class before it's too late.
los angeles should rename the team - the "tax dodgers."
gray lady down!
as you may know, our good buddy brad blog has been holding the nytimes' feet to the proverbial fire over their sloppy reporting on this story:
that, even though...
- former ma attorney general scott harshbarger, whose investigation [pdf] of the edited versions of the videos found no illegal conduct by acorn staff and observed that "at each and every" acorn office visited by o'keefe with his partner hannah giles (who was dressed as a "prostitute") he was "dressed like a college student - in slacks and a button down shirt," and;
- acorn has stated on the record, based on interviews with their employees, that [emphasis in original] "o'keefe was not wearing that absurd costume when he visited our offices," and;
- giles herself has now twice admitted on the record (once on video tape), that o'keefe never wore his 70's-era blaxploitation pimp costume in those offices, and;
- o'keefe and giles' benefactor, andrew breitbart, who published and promoted the videos (and misrepresented them himself in his own washington times column) also finally acknowledged the pimp outfit was only used as a marketing gimmick, and;
- while the times' scott shane first reported on september 15th of last year that o'keefe "visited acorn offices...dressed so outlandishly that he might have been playing in a risqué high school play" and, on september 18th, as traveling in "the gaudy guise of pimp and prostitute through various offices of acorn," and;
- the paper had reported similarly time after time since then (without noting the existence of harshbarger's report even once), and;
- even though i directly debunked several pieces of "evidence" that hoyt originally proffered for his original assessment that he "would not recommend a correction, based on the available evidence," and offered him much more corroborated evidence along with it, and;
- even though he acknowledges his original evidence was, indeed, inaccurate, and;
- even though congress voted to defund acorn just days after the new york times' first inaccurate report;
but of course by now, he has seen, or at least he has been sent, "conclusive evidence that the times was wrong." yet he has still declined to recommend any retractions by the "paper of record."
i am as utterly gobsmacked now as i was when times' senior editor of standards greg brock originally cited an appearance by james o'keefe wearing his pimp costume on fox "news," during which host steve doocy said the rightwing activist was "dressed exactly in the same outfit that he wore in these acorn offices up and down the eastern seaboard," as evidence to support their reporting.
clark hoyt may be reached here. be polite but firm.
great moments in religious philosophy
in response to scott brown's bipartisan vote on the jobs bill, a wingnut wrote on on rep. brown's twitter feed:
yeah, and one of you will deny me before the first duck crows.
got a new toy to play with...
now if i can just get the sumgun to work the way it's supposed to -- but anyway...
mad about gop stimulus hypocrisy
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
steve benen celebrates 7 years of blogging today!
who participated in blogroll amnesty day a bit late, and so we're a bit late in mentioning it!
also, say hello to she writes like she talks!
it doesn't get any funnier than the concept...but it doesn't need to...it's hilarious
curling: another country heard from (literally)
also of note: canada's cheryl bernard held onto the top seed in women's curling, to face switzerland in the semi-finals on thursday. tho we still don't find curling worth our time, we do fondly remember cheryl's work in wings.
and, credit where credit is due, o canada: moir and virtue's first place performance in ice dancing was a joy to behold. congrats, you canucks!
but, this being an american blog, and our being big fans of andrew lloyd weber's chef d'oeuvre, here's one last look at silver medalists meryl davis & charlie white dancing to phantom of the opera:
note: above is from the nationals held in spokane, wash, in january, not from last nite's award-winning performance (you can see that here, thx for not sharing, nbc!). but it's still a great routine. (note: mrs. skippy astutely pointed out that davis refrained from the hoary chestnut of wearing a phantom mask for the routine, a most wise decision, aesthetically.)
how crazy is crazy?
"you'd be an idiot not to notice the temperature change," he says.
he also thinks it could be caused partly by man's activity.
at home, he's going green by using energy-saving products.
"i'm willing to do anything but use the cfls," he says of compact fluorescent light bulbs. "i put them in once and couldn't stand the way they lit up the room"...
beck also has lots of friends on the other side of the political spectrum, he reveals in the usa weekend piece. he calls george clooney "a good, honest man." beck says the two of them had an extended conversation about the genocide in darfur.
"we came to an immediate, completely wholehearted agreement about the situation," beck says. "that is, to put aside the politics and give troops what they need to protect people over there. he's a good, honest man who believes passionately about doing something about it."
beck's personal publicist, matt hiltzik, is a democratic power player who helped get hillary rodham clinton elected to the u.s. senate, says the magazine report.
"and let me tell you about liz julis, the editor of my magazine, fusion," he says. "every year, i match charitable donations that my employees make. she ends up giving her money away to some hippie hemp farm somewhere, and she loves to rub it in that i'm writing a check for something like that. she's one of my favorite people because we hardly agree on anything, but we challenge each other."
this day in history
the x-tremely weird files
on the surface, the web page looks unassuming and unimaginative, w/no graphics or pictures, or even adjectives to let you know what kind of rabbit hole you are about to fall into. but as you read the seemingly innocuous case studies, you are taken into a world somewhere between the x-files and the twilight zone.
we'll let io9, the people responsible for our getting hooked on this weird web site, explain further:
there's the coffee vending machine that dispenses a cup of whatever you ask for, even if it has to reach out to other planets to do so. there's the woman with a full nazi german war bunker somehow contained within her nose. there's the red stone that lets you walk through mirrors into an abandoned world, as described in a genuinely unsettling series of accounts that i do not recommend reading late at night. there's the zombie virus from outer space.
the central conceit of the scp foundation is that it's your basic shadowy multinational organization dedicated to the study and containment of all things paranormal. to that end, the stories take the form of case studies, incident reports, and lists of precautions, written in a clinical, detached tone that's impressively consistent. (in reality, the "foundation" seems to have begun life as a series of posts on 4chan, though by now it's got a culture and register all its own.)
it would be easy for a site like this to descend quickly into grim, top-this humorlessness, but fortunately that's not the case. a lot of the stories have a healthy sense of whimsy (see scp-131, the affectionate, catlike "eye pods"), and the foundation researchers are usually depicted as a prankish, haphazardly principled lot, in what might be a sly comment on the real-life bureaucrats who make the decisions that shape our world.
a good place to start is the secure facilities page, where you'll find brief descriptions of the sites and task forces at the foundation's disposal. these are expertly written to rev the imagination. (sample entry: "mobile task force rho-5, aka 'stitch in time': assigned to scp-276 for the purpose of repairing temporal anomalies. currently somewhere in the victorian period.") after that, you are encouraged to dip into the full index, picking up the site vocabulary ("euclid," "keter," "o5-x," "[redacted]") as you go.
as it is a wiki site, everyone is encouraged to write their own reports about preternatural phenomena, but apparently http://scp-wiki.wikidot.com/guide-to-newbies. we assume that if you submit a substandard report, not only will it be edited or completely deleted, so might you be.
and probably by something really creepy.
Monday, February 22, 2010
Getting back to the current Olympic competition, I was very disappointed by the way the US men's and women's teams performed. They're all from Minnesota, you see, and I was looking forward to cheering the home town folks in the medal matches. John Schuster on the men's side played very poorly, and I turned off the match against China tonight when he stunk up things in the, I think it was, fifth end and allowed a two-point end to get away by failing to make a not particularly difficult shot. It wasn't easy, but it wasn't the hardest shot in the world. Don't get me wrong; I appreciate Schuster's abilities, but he had a very bad Olympics. That can happen to the best athletes at any time, but this was a very bad time for it to happen to John because the curler who throws fourths is more important in curling than the runner who runs the anchor leg of a relay race.
I'll be trying out the game some time in the future, though I can't say exactly when. I have a lot of things going on at work and I need to heal up from a recent surgery (thank goodness I am fortunate enough to have health insurance...and a terrific surgical team...and thank goodness for nurses, who are genuine heroes in my book).
Curling is a great sport and I am looking forward to getting out on the sheets and sliding a few stones around, just to test it out. I hope I can meet some of the US men's or women's team members at the St Paul Curling Center, or one of the other curling centers here in Minnesota, and get some autographs. I'd also like to tell them my idea about working things out with a physicist at the U. They'll tell me that you can't slide rocks based on numbers, but if you can make the problem digital, I think it can help some people (not all) to visualize the shots, and if you can visualize it, you can make it.
anthem double cross
california's insurance regulator said monday his office has found more than 700 violations by the state's largest for-profit health insurer, including late payment of claims, giving misleading information to consumers and failing to cooperate with regulators.
anthem blue cross faces a maximum $10,000 penalty for each violation, insurance commissioner steve poizner said. his office said the violations occurred between 2006 and 2009.- sfgate
again...where is sarah palin and her outrage
oh, yeah...that's right...it was made by a fellow rethug so it's o.k.
on thursday, virginia state delegate bob marshall (r) spoke at a press conference against state funding for planned parenthood. he blasted the organization for supporting a women’s right to choose, saying that god punishes women who have had abortions by giving them disabled children - think progress
another queen song bites the dust
we are the champions
let's talk entitlements
carpinteria is a lovely little city on the pacific just south of santa barbara, boasting such features as a city-owned coastal preserve and one of the four remaining seal rookeries in southern california.
just about the last place you'd expect to become the target of a hostile corporate takeover.
the corporation is venoco inc., an independent oil company with revenue of more than half a billion dollars a year, which currently owns an oil storage facility in carpinteria. one would get weary painting big oil companies as soulless monsters, if venoco didn't make it so easy.
this denver-based firm is spending lavishly to pass a ballot initiative specifically exempting itself from the city's industrial development and environmental rules. - latimes
where is sarah palin's outrage
where is sarah palin's outrage that there are republicans want to be death panels for those like her son, trig?
sgt. klayton thomas looked every bit the poster boy marine as he strode into a military hospital last september to get his back checked.
he taught karate and earned his abs in the gym. he had survived a 2007 deployment
to iraq, even thrived during his prolonged stay in the middle of the then-treacherous sunni triangle. he rarely drank. he didn't smoke. life seemed perfect on this mid-september thursday, if only his back would stop aching. the 25-year-old columbus, neb., native thought he had wrenched it playing soccer. three months and 10 days later, he died in hospice care.
this much is known: thomas succumbed to an unstoppable lung cancer that crushed his vertebrae, blitzed his bones and invaded his brain, dumbfounding doctors who had spent their entire careers treating the disease.
his death leaves a medical mystery, one similar to those posed by hundreds of other american military personnel battling exotic cancers or struggling with rare respiratory problems.
this mystery begins in the unlikeliest of places: iraqi “burn pits” — large, primitive landfills where contractors set trash aflame, causing ever-present black smoke to drift over dozens of u.s. military bases.
...military contractors burned nearly every bit of waste from military bases — trash that included plastics, batteries, old weapons, ruined machinery and a fuel known to cause cancer, according to government and independent reports.
they burned because military leaders originally saw the pits as temporary, a congressman thinks, the simplest way to dispose of trash before troops quickly exited iraq. but as the war continued, they burned because it saved money, according to subsequent lawsuits, allowing u.s. contractors to avoid having to install costly incinerators. - omaha world herald
"the military needs to step up and address this problem," said john wilson of the advocacy group disabled american veterans, which maintains a registry of more than 500 veterans with disorders they blame on burn pits. the fumes emanating from the pits, he warned, could become the agent orange of the current war zone.time to ask of our congresscrittes the "burning questions" why is this practice being continued and when will it stop?
items burned in the pits have included medical waste, plastics, computer parts, oil, lubricants, paint, tires and foam cups, according to soldiers and contractors. some say amputated body parts from iraqi patients were burned in balad, site of a large u.s. military hospital - latimes
Sunday, February 21, 2010
environmental news stories sunday
but, without further adieu, stories you probably didn't hear from the corporate infotainment industry.
'tiger by the tail?' - wyoming's energy ambitions might force legislators to contemplate something that goes against their current fiscal instincts: increasing regulatory budgets. some question whether the state environmental agency is equipped to handle the growing workload. - casper star tribune
new consumer product safety commission chief charges ahead with ambitious agenda. - the new head of consumer product safety in the united states has quickly put american and foreign toymakers, crib manufacturers and producers of other goods on notice that there's a new sheriff in town - mcclatchy
county farmers digging in. - during the past decade, farmers have been thrown into an international debate. they must decide between genetically modified seeds and traditional seeds- state college centre daily times
authors attempt 'death by rubber duck.' - inspired by morgan spurlock's fast-food gluttony in the movie super size me, two environmental activists from canada devised their own experiment. - all things considered
ex-industry insider goes extra mile to fight vt. yankee. - when paul blanch heard that the vermont legislature would take one more day of testimony before voting on the future of its nuclear power plant, the west hartford, conn., resident jumped into his car and drove to the green mountain state. - barre montpelier times argus
honda makes a big drive into solar power. - for now, soltec remains a small part of the car giant’s business. honda insists, however, that it is an important part of its plan to cut the amount of carbon dioxide that is generated from its cars. - london times
officials wary of agricultural terrorism. - in the past decade, safeguarding food and agriculture from both foreign and domestic terrorism has become a point of emphasis for the u.s. department of agriculture, which has dealt with food safety since its establishment in 1862.- sioux falls argus leader
toxic fume fire to 'burn for months.' - the largest fire in the history of the new providence landfill site is expected to continue burning for months perpetuating fears toxic smoke will choke the island.- nassau tribune
texan warns new york county about gas drilling. - the mayor of a map-speck texas town warned sullivan county that noise, air pollution and heavy traffic will overrun the catskills if smart regulations are not implemented before natural gas drilling starts- middle town times herald record
florida legislators consider lifting ban on offshore drilling. - by now, the arguments are well rehearsed. offshore oil drilling is either a dangerous gamble with florida's beach-driven tourism industry, or a potential job creation and tax windfall.- mcclatchy
this is not to take anything away from the summer atheletes, of course; michael phelps deserves his medals (and his bong, ioho), carl lewis is amazing, and we're sorry jackie joyner kersey got busted for drug use.
but watching people run around in a circle is not very exciting to us, compared to watching people slide down a mountain at 65 mph. so we were incredibly happy to see lindsey vonn get her gold in the downhill (but we admit we kind of laughed when she was unable to hide her resentment at getting a bronze in the g-force). we were sorry shani davis only got silver.
we were appalled that the poor georgian luger lost his life in a practice run on the day the olympics opened; even more appalled that the official word was that it was his fault, and not the track design, even tho the olympic staff re-built the offending wall that the poor man flew over.
tho we are americans, we wonder if the russian evengi plushenko wasn't robbed of the gold that evan lysacek won by a hair. but we, along w/the whole world, know there was no doubt that the russian ice dancing pair oksana domina and maxim shabalin simply dominated the rink in the first round.
and what can be said about shaun white, except that he looks and sounds like carrot top in his prime? and we don't know about you, but snowboard cross is our new favorite sport.
so, to sum up: running and jumping in sand on a track? waving a ribbon around on the gym floor? diving? meh.
but anything that gets people going 90 mph in freezing cold weather gets our blood boiling.
however, before you summer afficianados starting writing those nasty snarky emails to us, we will admit: curling neutralizes every single thing we've said.
curling has got to be the stupidest, most pointless, lamest sport ever invented, and we're counting dwarf-tossing and dungeons and dragons, too.
the pace is excruciatingly slow; if it were any slower, the participants would freeze to the ice themselves.
and what's with the two folks running in front of the big rock with little brooms, smoothing the ice? how unfair is that, compared to every other friggin' sport in the games, where the players have to take the ice and snow as it is?
can you imagine how better the ice dancers would be if they had their own personal human zambonis clearing the way?
Saturday, February 20, 2010
mad about obama and voltaire
Friday, February 19, 2010
chairman governor dr. dean's brother is in town
maybe i'll just run for some sort of office one of these days.
politics, the media, everything
come on, join the party. dress to kill.
life imitates art, and art imitates blogs
fault line, by barry eisler, showed good, pulpy spy-vs.-spy promise in the early pages: a lawyer who specialized in computer software patents has a client, who is murdered on the first page (hell, in the first sentence! always a good sign when a book starts out fast and violent). the lawyer is subsequently attacked himself, so he contacts his estranged brother, who is a black ops/military spy, for help.
so far, so good. but why we mention it to you, our dear readers, is that we began to notice some not-so-subtle hints that the author, barry eisler, must be a big fan of blogtopia, and yes, we coined that phrase. so much so, that he actually used names of bloggers as character names in his tome.
the afore-mentioned first sentence should have been a dead (pun intended) give away:
however, a bit later in the early chapters, one of the characters muses about blogs:
we weren't even totally convinced that these mentions were something more than coincidence when we came across this familiar name on the very next page:
still, we said, the names "josh" and "marshall" aren't all that uncommon...and mr. eisler didn't call that minor character josh michah marshall, after all.
but then, the girl who lost her virginity to josh, dumped him on the very next page, and you'll never guess the name of her next boyfriend:
or so we told ourselves, until a few pages later, when the mystery led to the death of a manager in the us patent office who was working on paperwork for hilzoy's invention. when the lawyer called the patent office to find out about his friend, his call was re-directed:
but, we soon decided that it was a benign reference to all the good which blogtopia (y!wctp!) has done, because yet a few more pages later, the lawyer and the ex-virgin insist on spilling the beans about the whole mystery. and do they want to go to the mainstream press? no, of course not. she lurvs the blogs! and by name, as well:
"of course," alex said. "sourceforge, or slashdot - "
"not just the tech sites," sarah said." "we could written to every political blog out there - talking points memo, unclaimed territory, no comment, balloon juice, hullabaloo, the daily dish, firedoglake. we could have documented the people who were killed, the break-in at your house - "
strangely enough, he's probably right.
now, we don't know if every single one of these bloggers have secretly signed away the rights to their names to mr. eisler for his book. we tend to think not, but, as we said above, this is probably more a tip of the hat to the work the bloggers have done, rather than under-handed identity theft.
we haven't finished the book yet. it is a rather good yarn, w/intense emotional rivalry between the two brothers (they lost a sister early in their lives, and all the familial floatsam and jetsam you could imagine appears therewith), and the spy/procedural, set in san francisco, is pretty exciting. we'd recommend mr. eisler's work to any fan of the genre.
however, if we find later in the book a police detective called sgt. skippy the bush kangaroo, eisler will be hearing from our lawyers!
addendum: our good friend batocchio sends us word that mr. eisler is indeed a big fan of blogtopia and yes, we coined that phrase:
answer: more than fair. it was a pleasure for me to name so many characters after bloggers i admire, and to make blogs key to the characters’ hopes for defeating the conspiracy plotting to kill them. in making bloggers and blogs central, and, by implication, making the mainstream media moribund and irrelevant, i think fault line reflects reality–while, i hope, nudging reality along.
discussions of the rise of the blogosphere and the decline of the “mainstream media” tend to center on the logistics of shipping paper or the expense of broadcast and other such costs of traditional media. and while these are all relevant factors, how often does the msm consider whether part of their business woes might be a reflection of the quality of the underlying product? is it possible the blogosphere’s growth is attributable at least in part to a growing sense among the public that by and large, the msm acts either as a government press organ or as a gossip rag?
i just figured out an embedding trick. i've long wondered how others could embed two or more yootoob clips in the same post -- i could only do one at a time. for now, one clip is all i want. but... now i know.
heh heh heh...
Thursday, February 18, 2010
"hello" dalai...well hello dalai.....
barack obama expressed "strong support" for the tibetan way of life when he saw the dalai lama at the white house today, a meeting that risks further damaging us-china relations. - the guardian
goldman sachs and the banksters hate america
....the bottom line is that banks like goldman have learned absolutely nothing from the global economic meltdown. in fact, they're back conniving and playing speculative long shots in force — only this time with the full financial support of the u.s. government. in the process, they're rapidly re-creating the conditions for another crash, with the same actors once again playing the same crazy games of financial chicken with the same toxic assets as before. - rollingstone.com
yet another reason texas
nearly a third of texans believe humans and dinosaurs roamed the earth at the same time, and more than half disagree with the theory that humans developed from earlier species of animals, according to the university of texas/texas tribune poll. - texastribune.com
mad about senator bayh, buh bye!
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
with all these women skiers tumbling on the slopes
there are some
i give love.
the only real surprise here...
virginia gov. robert f. mcdonnell has signed an executive order barring discrimination in the state workforce on grounds that include race, sex, religion and age, but not sexual orientation.
the order, which mcdonnell (r) signed feb. 5, cements federal law, which prohibits discrimination on those grounds.
it also follows mcdonnell's long-standing position on the issue of legal protections based on sexual orientation. mcdonnell had criticized his two democratic predecessors for including language about it in their similar executive orders, arguing they overstepped their executive authority by extending protections to gay employees not envisioned by the general assembly...
of course mcdonnell would make that argument. he's been a diehard right-wing theocrat for decades. discriminating against gays is pretty much all the religious right still has to hold onto from a political standpoint -- the rest of their stone-headed agenda flew away into the sky with george w. bush a little over a year ago.
but am i mad at bob mcdonnell? not quite. you can't reach people like him. the best you can do is avoid them whenever possible. i'm more ticked off at the dem candidate creigh deeds for running a lousy campaign, and at the virginian democratic "base" that stayed home on the day mcdonnell was elected. deeds wasn't exactly a friend of the lgbt community. but the alternative was mcdonnell -- and there was a small chance that the alternative could have been avoided, had the voter turnout been higher.
so thanks a million, "base." you too, mr. deeds. if you dem jackasses are prone to wondering why you hardly seem to get anywhere with your stated goals, well, there's just one example...
the interstate commerce clause
a lobby group that includes bp and shell in its membership has launched a legal challenge against low-carbon legislation in california that in effect rules out the use of oil from canadian tar sands. the action by the national petrochemical & refiners association (npra) comes amid growing political, investor and consumer pressure on US oil companies not to participate in the carbon-intensive tar sands of alberta.
a npra statement said the legislation was unlawful for a number of reasons, including the imposition of "undue and unconstitutional burdens on interstate commerce". - the guardian
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
happy mardi gras!
because the california governor's office
level the playing field.
you can help level the playing field in 2010 against billionaire meg whitman’s cash campaign. california shouldn’t be for sale to the highest bidder on ebay. so join us and help stop big business billionaire meg whitman before the clock runs out. - leveltheplayingfield2010.com
let's send a foodie to the senate
tamyra d'ippolito, a cafe owner who has been seeking the democratic nomination for the senate seat currently held by evan bayh, just told tpmdc that she does have the minimum number of ballot-petition signatures need to get on the ballot for the democratic primary.- talkingpointsmemo
d’ippolito told me she is the first woman to ever run for the us senate in indiana. her impression from working on prior campaigns and from this one is that indiana political culture is a “tight old boys school, it borders on sexism.” in a state where the population is 52% women, d’ippolito says “in the future, we women of indiana are not going to tolerate” the chummy, insider culture. - fdl
tamyra...you go, girl!
dick is daring us
“i was a big supporter of waterboarding,” cheney said in an appearance on abc’s this week on sunday. he went on to explain that justice department lawyers had been instructed to write legal opinions to cover the use of this and other torture techniques after the white house had settled on them.
section 2340A of the federal criminal code makes it an offense to torture or to conspire to torture. violators are subject to jail terms or to death in appropriate cases, as where death results from the application of torture techniques. prosecutors have argued that a criminal investigation into torture undertaken with the direction of the bush white house would raise complex legal issues, and proof would be difficult. but what about cases in which an instigator openly and notoriously brags about his role in torture? - harpers
all impressed and half undressed...
oh, but the prestige and the glory...
Monday, February 15, 2010
our redwoods are in trouble
the california coast has seen fewer foggy days in the last century, threatening the health of the region’s majestic redwood trees.if you have not done so, may i suggest going and hugging a tree in the majestic silence of muir woods...before it's too late.
over the last century, new research suggests the average daily fog has decreased more than three hours, causing the coast redwoods to lose more water in the dry summer season, leaving them more susceptible to drought.
“redwoods are an iconic species and we all love them, but I think it’s important to note that lots and lots of species depend on fog,” said climate scientist phil duffy of climate central in palo alto, california, who was not involved in the study. “so if you really do increase or decrease the fog, then that will have effects on whole entire ecosystems in these coastal hills.” - wired science
even more reason the fed
the us federal reserve is sitting on significant paper losses on the real estate assets it acquired in the bear stearns rescue, with much of the red ink coming from debt used to back some of the most high-profile buy-out deals of the bubble years.
among the debts weighing on the central bank’s portfolio are those used in financing the acquisitions of hilton hotels, which is being restructured, and hotel operator extended stay, which is in bankruptcy, people familiar with the matter say- financial times.
...u.s. officials are looking to foreign government funds again. the federal reserve is scheduled at the end of march to halt its purchases of mortgage-backed securities, a move that could drive up the low interest rates that have helped the housing market show new signs of life. the fed is gambling that private investors will step in to buy the securities, helping to keep rates from spiking. senior officials in the obama administration and at the fed say they are counting in part on foreigners to keep the housing market funded - wapo
rip doug fieger
fieger formed the knack in los angeles 1978, and the group quickly became a staple of sunset strip rock clubs. a year later he co-wrote and sang lead vocals on "my sharona."
fieger said the song, with its pounding drums and exuberant vocals, was inspired by a girlfriend of four years.
"i had never met a girl like her — ever," he told the associated press in a 1994 interview. "she induced madness. she was a very powerful presence. she had an insouciance that wouldn't quit. she was very self-assured. ... she also had an overpowering scent, and it drove me crazy."
"my sharona," an unapologetically anthemic rock song, emerged during disco's heyday and held the no. 1 spot on the billboard pop chart for six weeks, becoming an fm radio standard.
john amato, of c&l, happened to have worked w/doug for a bit. he tells us:
i'm sure there will be more details released on the band's website so if you are a fan---tune in.
he will be sorely, sorely missed. my heart goes out to his family.
farewell, my friend.
rest in peace, doug fieger.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
r. i. p., dick francis
dick francis, the prolific bestselling author and former professional jockey, has died aged 89, his family announced today.
best known for his thrillers set in the racing world – he was the author of 42 novels – francis was also one of the most successful postwar national hunt jockeys.
the winner of more than 350 races, he was champion jockey in 1953/54 and rode for the queen and the queen mother.
on the racetrack francis was best known for riding the queen mother's horse, devon loch when it fell just short of the winning line in the 1956 grand national. to "do a devon loch" is still synonymous with losing a race from an unassailable position. - the times
god speed, richard. thanks for the spills and chills of your life and livelihood. there will not be another quite like you, of that i am "dead cert."
environmental news story sunday
weed killer in the crosshairs. - in recent years, questions have surfaced about atrazine’s safety, especially after monitoring programs picked up the chemical in drinking water and lab studies demonstrated the pollutant’s ability to emasculate - if not deform - amphibians and fish. - science news
bernalillo’s water treatment system dumps sludge into drinking water. - a year after the town of bernalillo spent at least $4.9 million to equip its two active wells with new arsenic filtration systems designed by bernalillo-based ars-usa, residents started complaining about a white residue in their tap water. - new mexico independent
manchin to epa: leave our coal ash alone. - gov. joe manchin has thrown in with the coal operators and power companies who oppose any move by the u.s. environmental protection agency to declare toxic ash from coal-fired power plants to be a hazardous waste - charleston gazette
keep food and farms safe: ban use of sludge. - sludge stinks. it's been one of my soapbox issues since 1994, when i wrote about a greenwich township farmer who was forced to give up his plan to apply sewage sludge to two fields. Scary words appeared in my research. pathogens. carcinogens. heavy metals. - reading eagle
do what it takes to get arsenic out of the water. - here we are, a decade after epa's new arsenic standard was set and four years after the deadline to take action, and we still have thousands of east valley residents at risk. - palm springs desert sun
tritium: vermont's nuclear nightmare. - what happens next will be defined by fierce grassroots activism crashing into a flood of corporate money in support of a rickety old reactor being operated with increasing recklessness. - pacific free press
spent ammo's harm to environment is debated. - lead in paint, gasoline and drinking water is prohibited as dangerous for health and the environment. but tons of lead from ammunition can accumulate on the ground over years. no federal law addresses lead containment at outdoor shooting ranges - nashville tennessean
feinstein water plan puts boxer in a bind in central valley. - sen. dianne feinstein has just complicated sen. barbara boxer's search for san joaquin valley voters. by announcing plans to override scientists and boost irrigation deliveries, feinstein gratified valley farmers and the region's farm-friendly lawmakers - fresno bee
water-gulping companies' risk disclosures run dry: report. - most publicly traded companies that depend on water do not adequately disclose their financial risks to droughts and future regulations, even as water scarcity problems mount, according to a report released on thursday. - reuters
report: 38 per cent of land faces desertification. - over a third of the world's land could be turned into desert, according to a new report published in the international journal of life cycle assessment that warns increased rates of desertification could have a huge impact on global food and water supplies - london business green
bark beetles' song could save forests. - researchers at northern arizona university think they may have found an environmentally safe and readily available weapon against the tree-eating armies of bark beetles. - phoenix arizona republic
n.j. environmental groups accuse gov. christie of 'raiding' funds for clean air, water. - state environmental groups today accused gov. chris christie of attacking the environment by "raiding" the state’s clean energy fund, the highlands council budget and other coffers dedicated to clean air and water protections. - newark star ledger
marine base's ex-residents – many ill – only now learning of toxic water. - some estimates are that over a 30-year period, as many as 1 million people were exposed to well water that contained trichloroethylene, tetrachloroethylene, benzene and vinyl chloride. - mcclatchy
washington's snowstorms, brought to you by global warming. - can you sit in a snowstorm and imagine a warming world? if you're a senator, can you come back to work and pass a bill that blunts the pace of climate change? if the answer is no, then we're really in a world of trouble. - wapo
microsoft co-founder gates tackling climate change. - microsoft co-founder bill gates has broken from philanthropic work fighting poverty and disease to take on another threat to the world's poor -- climate change. - afp
pollution creating acid oceans. - the world's oceans are becoming acidic at a faster rate than at any time in the last 65 million years, threatening marine life and food supplies across the globe, according to a new study - london daily telegraph
algae to solve the pentagon's jet fuel problem. - a cheap, low-carbon fuel would not only help the us military, the nation's single largest consumer of energy, to wean itself off its oil addiction, but would also hold the promise of low-carbon driving and flying for all - london guardian
olympics 2012 site may be built on top of radioactive waste. - the entire 2012 olympics site has been built on top of a thin plastic sheet less than 3 feet beneath the surface to separate the soil from the ground below that could be heavily contaminated with asbestos and radioactive materials - london daily express