Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

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May next year not be as horrible as some are projecting... and may we survive whatever the Corporatocracy thinks up...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I'm almost embarrassed to admit

The temperature in Southern California was a warm 65 degrees and sunny....

but getting more rain tonight! Does that make it better?

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The people who will save the bees

Are our kids.

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Most elementary-school science experiments wind up gathering dust in the basement. This one found its way into a prestigious scientific publication, the Associated Press reports.

Biology Letters, a peer-reviewed journal of Britain's Royal Society, on Wednesday published a report (PDF, complete with colored-pencil diagrams) on how bumblebees see colors and patterns -- conducted and written by a group of 8- to 10-year-olds in Devon, England.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Word play

Adjust the number of words you want compared, and look at the graph. I think my favorite word embranglement wins the prize!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Wheeee....

"We've undergone a corporate coup d'├ętat in slow motion," he said. "Our public education system has been gutted. Our infrastructure is corroding and collapsing. Unless we begin to physically resist, they are going to solidify neo-feudalism in this country."

"If we think that Obama is bad, watch the next two years because these corporate forces have turned their back on him," Hedges warned.

Hedges, author of "Death of the Liberal Class," said that his vision of America is one with a functioning social democracy, which stands in stark contrast to the nihilism of the corporate state.

"American workers, as they are repeatedly told, will have to become competitive with prison labor in China," he said. "That's where we're headed, and all the pillars of the liberal establishment are complicit in this."

Thursday, December 16, 2010

To hell with the bees

Better living through chemistry and all that.

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Leaked document shows EPA allowed bee-toxic pesticide despite own scientists’ red flags
So... our food and the bees we rely on to help make that food are not as important as the corporations which make the pesticide?
An internal EPA memo released Wednesday confirms that the very agency charged with protecting the environment is ignoring the warnings of its own scientists about clothianidin, a pesticide from which Bayer racked up €183 million (about $262 million) in sales in 2009.

Clothianidin has been widely used on corn, the largest U.S. crop, since 2003. Suppliers sell seeds pre-treated with it. Like other members of the neonicotinoid family of pesticides, clothianidin gets "taken up by a plant's vascular system and expressed through pollen and nectar," according to Pesticide Action Network of North America (PANNA), which leaked the document along with Beyond Pesticides. That effect makes it highly toxic to a crop's pests -- and also harmful to pollen-hoarding honeybees, which have experienced mysterious annual massive die-offs (known as "colony collapse disorder") here in the United States at least since 2006.

The colony-collapse phenomenon is complex and still not completely understood. While there appears to be no single cause for the annual die-offs, mounting evidence points to pesticides, and specifically neonicotinoids (derived from nicotine), as a key factor. And neonicotinoids are a relatively new factor in ecosystems frequented by honeybees -- introduced in the late 1990s, these systemic insecticides have gained a steadily rising share of the seed-treatment market. It does not seem unfair to observe that the health of the honeybee population has steadily declined over the same period.

According to PANNA, other crops commonly treated with clothianidin include canola, soy, sugar beets, sunflowers, and wheat -- all among the most widely planted U.S. crops. Bayer is now petitioning the EPA to register it for use with cotton and mustard seed.
The short answer is yes.

H/t to mahakal for the link.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

From now on

Any Republican (or Democrat for that matter) who declares loudly that he/she cares about the deficit deserves to be clapped in the stocks and pelted with rotten tomatoes.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Have a very merry ... minuet.


There are days in my life when everything is dreary
I grow pessimistic, sad and world weary.
But when I'm tearful and fearfully upset
I always sing this merry little minuet:

They're rioting in Africa
They're starving in Spain
There's hurricanes in Florida
And Texas needs rain.

The whole world is festering
With unhappy souls
The French hate the Germans,
The Germans hate the Poles

Italians hate Yugoslavs
South Africans hate the Dutch
And I don't like anybody very much

But we can be grateful
And thankful and proud
That man's been endowed
With a mushroom shaped cloud

And we know for certain
That some happy day
Someone will set the spark off
And we will all be blown away

They're rioting in Africa
There's strife in Iran
What nature doesn't do to us
Will be done by our fellow man.
Or Tom Lehrer might do:
When you attend a funeral
It is sad to think that sooner 'r l-
ater those you love will do the same for you.
And you may have thought it tragic,
Not to mention other adjec-
Tives, to think of all the weeping they will do - but don't you worry -
No more ashes, no more sackcloth,
And an armband made of black cloth
Will someday never more adorn a sleeve.
For if the bomb that drops on you
Gets your friends and neighbours too,
There'll be nobody left behind to grieve......



And who is going up in smoke?



And Britain.

And Russia.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Voyager 1

Sails closer to true interstellar space...
But now, after 33 years, that has changed: at 17 billion kilometers (10.6 billion miles) from the Sun, the spacecraft has reached the point where the solar wind has slowed to a stop. Literally, the wind is no longer at Voyager’s back.
There is gas between the stars, which astronomers call the interstellar medium. The solar wind blows out into it, slowing. There is a region, over a billion kilometers thick, where the solar wind plows to a halt, creating a roughly spherical shell around the solar system. That’s called the heliosheath, and it looks like Voyager 1 is now solidly inside it. In fact, it’s been there for four months or so; the scientists measuring the solar wind speed noticed it dropped to 0 back in June, but it took a while to make sure this wasn’t just some local eddy in the flow. It’s not. Voyager 1 now has calm seas ahead.
But the probe is still moving outward at 60,000 kph (38,000 mph). In a few more years it’ll leave the heliosheath behind, and when that happens it will truly be in interstellar space, the vast and nearly empty region between the stars. At that moment it will be the first human device ever to truly leave the solar system and enter the great stretches of the galaxy beyond.
To infinity and beyond!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Say you,

Say me....



And then there are those to whom English is a second language....
Bristol Palin went on official Palin family blog “The Facebook” today to attack Keith Olbermann and rouse the pity of the conservative faithful, just as her mother would. Touching. Instead of using the standard teenager speak she and her sister usually employ on Facebook, however, she translated her message to Olbermann with some interesting selections from a thesaurus.

Aliens!! Rat bomb sniffers! Sugar beets! Evil cuteness!

It must be aliens or a super secret spy mission for Bond. James Bond:
LOS ANGELES — The U.S. military's secretive X-37B unmanned spaceplane slipped out of orbit and landed itself in early morning darkness Friday at a California airbase after a successful maiden flight that lasted more than seven months, the Air Force said.
And then there's the rodents...
Reporting from Bogota, Colombia — Rats may soon become heroic figures in this nation's struggle to detect and dispose of land mines.

Early next year, anti-narcotics police will begin deploying squads of rats to sniff out land mines in remote areas of Colombia where leftist rebels and drug traffickers have planted hundreds of thousands of the deadly devices. It's an unconventional initiative in a country that is second only to Afghanistan in the number of land mine victims.

Using a project in Tanzania as a model, Colombian scientists have taught rats to detect mines buried as deep as 3 feet. The rats are conditioned to search and burrow down for explosives in exchange for the reward of sugar.
Monsanto!
DES MOINES, Iowa – A federal judge in California has ordered the removal from the ground of plants grown to produce seeds for genetically modified sugar beets, citing the potential for environmental harm.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White has again raised questions about the use of genetically modified crops and what will happen if growers aren't allowed to plant GMO seeds.
About 95 percent of the sugar beet crop has been genetically modified to resist the weed killer Roundup. The crop provides roughly half of the nation's sugar supply.
In his decision, White cited, "a significant risk of environmental harm."
Dangerous cute animals like the platypus. Be afraid!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

And now they are after our books

Because who doesn't want to protect their children from those bad nasty thoughts out there?
Good news, educators: the book-banners are more organized than ever! Instead of lone nuts calling for books to be banned, now it's national groups of nuts, like the Parents Against Bad Books in Schools. And what makes a book "bad?"

Here's PABBIS' explanation of its philosophical beliefs: "Bad is not for us to determine. Bad is what you determine is bad. Bad is what you think is bad for your child. What each parent considers bad varies and depends on their unique situation, family and values. The main purpose of this webpage is to identify some books that might be considered bad and why someone might consider them bad."

When Republicans have power

They threaten.

Steve Benen of the Washington Monthly explains:
Also note the unstated truth behind the threat -- Republicans will block literally everything until they're satisfied, at which point, they'll try to block literally everything anyway.
Tell me again why these people want to work in government?

Never mind.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Teabaggers think the eighteenth century

Was a really good time to live:
Tea Party Nation President Says It ‘Makes A Lot Of Sense’ To Restrict Voting Only To Property Owners
Phillips is advocating a policy of voter disenfranchisement that has its roots in the 18th century. When the United States was first founded, ownership of property was one of the requirements to vote in most elections. Many of these restrictions were phased out by the 1820s and replaced with requirements that the voter pays taxes. By 1850, these requirements, too, were phased out. Nashville Scene blogger Betsy Phillips calls the Tea Party Nation president’s idea a “frivolous proposal designed to stoke intergenerational antagonism — as if the people who are older and can afford a home are somehow better citizens than the 18-year-olds who are going off to war to die for our country.”

I remember when... not too long ago...

Our government worked. Yes, yes, of course there have always been problems and disagreements (and riots and crimes and all the rest). But Democrats and Republicans actually worked together and delivered laws that made our lives better. We had no established religion in our nation so all religions thrived. We listened to our conscience and challenged hate speech and racism. We questioned the wars we had been in and ended one that was without end. We regulated banks and corporations. We respected education and the educated. People could send their children to school and expect the next generation would do better than the last. The American dream seemed to be working.

And then something broke.

Now we have people insisting that a shutdown of the government is a good thing. (To teach us not to rely on the government? The very thing we as a nation organized and paid for with our tax dollars to work FOR us?)

We have people insisting we are a Christian nation. (No. We are not. And I don't think you guys have thought it through. Exactly WHICH Christian religion are you going to establish as the one true religion? .... Check out Europe's history for the consequences.)

We have people who are feeding the flames of hatred of anyone who has brown skin, a 'different' name, an 'odd' religion. Often these are the same people who claim they are Christian. Hate is in. (Do you think Jesus would recognize these people as followers?)

We have people denying rapid global climate change as the permafrost melts and methane clouds fill the atmosphere, as floods get worse, snow gets deeper, deserts get larger... and people die. (But Al Gore is fat and he wears beige!)

We have people who mock the educated and education in general, yet have an embarrassing lack of knowledge about the history of our own country, about science and why the word 'theory' is used, about other cultures and countries about the world. (But they're keeping it real!)

We have people in government who lie, change their minds, lie about that, lie again. Even when their own words are played back to them, even when YouTube runs loops of their malfeasance, they will deny all and lie. Because there are people who will ignore all facts and all proof and decide they must be telling the truth. (And your side never lies to you, right?)

We have people who are actually corporations. Mega-monolithic-multi-billion dollar corporations who pollute and contaminate and poison and kill their customers with indifference and greed. And no one holds them accountable because of the money. (Money controls everything.)

And these people are now in power.

Who are the Nazis now?

Israeli Government Documents Show Deliberate Policy to Restrict Food to Gaza

Cold enuff fer ya? Hyuk hyuk.....


Rapid thaw of permafrost concerns climate experts

Gas locked inside Siberia's frozen soil and under its lakes has been seeping out since the end of the last ice age 10,000 years ago. But in the past few decades, as the Earth has warmed, the icy ground has begun thawing more rapidly, accelerating the release of methane - a greenhouse gas 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide - at a perilous rate.

Some scientists believe the thawing of permafrost could become the epicenter of climate change. They say 1.5 trillion tons of carbon, locked inside icebound earth since the age of mammoths, is a climate time bomb waiting to explode if released into the atmosphere.

"Here, total carbon storage is like all the rain forests of our planet put together," says the scientist, Sergey Zimov - "here" being the endless sweep of snow and ice stretching toward Siberia's gray horizon, as seen from Zimov's research facility nearly 350 kilometers (220 miles) above the Arctic Circle.
We'll not know what we had until it's gone.....

Soon our DNA will unlock the ancient migrations

Of nomadic tribes and ....Romans....

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Genetic testing of villagers in a remote part of China has shown that nearly two thirds of their DNA is of Caucasian origin, lending support to the theory that they may be descended from a 'lost legion' of Roman soldiers.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Hmmm....

Eyes the stew pot...

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The BBC asks:
Is squirrel the perfect austerity dish?
Yes. Especially after they've eaten my apricots and tomatoes...

Dechision points

Bring 'em on...
Bush ends “Decision Points” with the sanguine thought that history’s verdict on his Presidency will come only after his death. During his years in office, two wars turned into needless disasters, and the freedom agenda created such deep cynicism around the world that the word itself was spoiled. In America, the gap between the rich few and the vast majority widened dramatically, contributing to a historic financial crisis and an ongoing recession; the poisoning of the atmosphere continued unabated; and the Constitution had less and less say over the exercise of executive power. Whatever the judgments of historians, these will remain foregone conclusions.
Talk about a book critique!

The Finns show the world

How to behave:
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland has gotten itself into hot water with its members -- many of whom are now ex-members -- after aligning itself with hateful, conservative views about homosexuality.

More than 78% of Finns are said to be members of the church, but those numbers have been tumbling as of late; last year, some 40,000 people resigned from the church, and this year 70,000 have already left. The most recent exodus can be attributed to a recent live televised debate during which church representatives called homosexuality a "sin" and questioned gay couples’ ability to raise a family.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Weirdness uncorked

In the Era of Stupid:
Judge: Let lesbians into military so male GIs can turn them straight
North Korea/ South Korea /whatever ...
GAFFES VS. DUMBSTUPID
Hey!! The rule was you guys are supposed to go ELSEWHERE around the world and blow things up! Not here at home in Saudi Arabia.
Ryadh--Saudi authorities said Friday they arrested 149 al-Qaeda suspects in a months-long sweep and thwarted attacks inside the kingdom on government officials, media personalities and civilian targets.
And speaking of religious nutcakes:
The Myth of Christian Persecution in the United States
And:
The world is deeply divided on the question of whether religion is a force for good, a survey by Ipsos Reid suggests.
And:
Happy Thanksgiving! Right Jabs Pilgrims For ... Communism?
Bob Herbert of the New York Times warns the rich.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Because the world has gone mad...

I will give you a cat playing the piano.

I thought they loved the Constitution so much

That it could not be touched...
Rep. Steve King (R-IA), the staunch opponent of illegal immigration who is set to become the chairman of a key subcommittee on immigration, is setting his sights on the right-wing cause of ending birthright citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants -- which many experts say would be unconstitutional.

And, as King told the local paper Cityview, his plan is to pass a statute anyway, and if it gets overruled in the courts, to then step up the effort to a constitutional amendment...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Actually getting something done

And doing something right:
Senate approves $4.6B for black farmers, Indians

By MARY CLARE JALONICK Associated Press

The Senate has approved almost $4.6 billion to settle longstanding claims brought by American Indians and black farmers against the government.

The money has been held up for months in the Senate as Democrats and Republicans squabbled over how to pay for it. Both of the class action lawsuits were filed over a decade ago.

The settlements include almost $1.2 billion for black farmers who say they suffered discrimination at the hands of the Agriculture Department. Also, $3.4 billion would go to Indian landowners who claim they were swindled out of royalties by the Interior Department. The legislation was approved in the Senate by voice vote Friday and sent to the House.

When corporations and morons are allowed to rule the world

15 Dangerous Drugs Big Pharma Shoves Down Our Throats

Chemical Industry Lobbyists Block Measure to Protect Infants and Toddlers

Probe is sought of lead in reusable grocery bags (But what else is new?)

Rep. Schock’s Response To Poll Showing 64 Percent Want End To Tax Cuts For Wealthy: Americans ‘Reject’ That

Another 1995-style government shutdown?

In 2007, Beck Praised IAVA But Now Demonizes The Vets Group As Part Of His Made-Up Soros Conspiracy

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows



Just be quick to mute the ad at the end of the scene....

Update 11/19:



Update: And then there are those who dislike it...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

BooMan says it best

Here's what I want to know. Name ten Democratic members of Congress who are radical. Find me ten Democrats who don't believe in evolution, or who don't believe in climate change, or who think that the president might not be an American citizen, or who think the president wants to euthanize your grandma. Find ten Democrats who want to turn the United States into a Soviet Socialist Republic. Find me ten Democrats who want to do anything far outside of the mainstream. You might find ten in favor of a political system more akin to Canada's or the United Kingdom's, but how radical is that, really? How does wanting single-payer health care compare for crazy with freaking out about the ready availability of contraception and the stubborn persistence of masturbation?

Tell me, who's the freaking radical here?

You want to know what happened? All the loonies left our party. That's what happened. We deradicalized ourselves. We got rid of the socialists and the segregationists. The Republicans are an extremely radical party, and you can put that on a chart and stuff it in your hat.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Maybe nationalizing women's wombs

Enshrining Christianity into the Constitution, and shoving gays back into closets isn't such a good idea....

Ya think???

Steve Benen of the Washington Monthly:
MORE CALLS FOR A CULTURE-WAR TRUCE.... It's been a while, but in the months leading up to the 2006 midterms -- the last time a chamber of Congress had a Republican majority -- GOP policymakers were intent on making the base happy.

In the three months leading up to Election Day '06, Republicans voted on an anti-gay constitutional amendment, a flag-burning constitutional amendment, assorted restrictions on abortion rights, new penalties for "broadcast indecency," and a measure to retain the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Republican lawmakers thought they could gin up the base and salvage the election cycle. It didn't work, and Democrats soon after won majorities in both chambers.

It's interesting, then, to see some Republicans urging the party to just skip hot-button culture-war issues altogether in the next Congress.
Amazingly some teapartiers are not too happy about this....

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The mid-term election

By Cliff Schecter for Aljazeera:

It's amazing what can happen, however, when you have a Democratic president who doesn't live up to many of his core progressive promises, who blames his base for asking him to, and whose communications people, to quote Democratic National Committeeman and CNN Contributor Robert Zimmerman, "... couldn't sell cocaine to Charlie Sheen."

The results were on display this past Tuesday, when an American public tired of being unemployed, scared about their future, and looking for some kind of leadership, handed over the US House - in stunning fashion - to a coterie of cranks who have to put corks on the end of their forks not to jab their own eyes while eating. Think Steve Martin’s Ruprecht from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and you get the basic picture of some of the Tea Party proxies we elected to Congress last week.

Perhaps my sentiments regarding the newest US House members were best put into words by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. While in China this past week, he had this to say about who we’re sending to Washington to represent us, "If you look at the US, you look at who we're electing to Congress, to the Senate -they can't read ... I'll bet you a bunch of these people don’t have passports ... nobody knows where China is. Nobody knows what China is."

Whooooo boy.... these next few years should be interesting.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Era of Stupid continued

WTF?
Energy Committee Chairman Candidate Says God Promised no More Catastrophic Climate Change after Noah
Bush's book (novel):
Still Spinning The Spin
And I thought Georgie didn't pay any attention to polls. In his own words:
PRESIDENT BUSH: (Chuckles.) Well, first of all, you have got to know I don't pay attention to polls. I just don't.
So what is this?
Bush On Social Security: 'Privatization' Was A 'Poll-Tested Word'

Booman:
The Tea Party candidates explicitly opposed all these efforts except the targeted tax cuts, and their number one issue is the deficit, which most tax cuts will only exacerbate. More mainstream Republicans also oppose all these solutions. So, basically, people said they want the government to create jobs but they voted in people who don't support using any of the tools the government has to create them. That's stupid.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Stunned but not dead....

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Please, President Obama, stop trying to play it safe. Because these guys are after you and every other Democrat. And these guys. And these. And guys like this. And idiots who say this. They're coming out of the woodwork!

Dead coral in the Gulf.

Footshooting in Oklahoma.

Be afraid of science, bring on the STUPID!!

Friday, October 29, 2010

VOTE



Update:

Shut up shut up shut up!1!

Or you will get stomped, handcuffed, threatened, and wrestled to the ground. All because teabaggers love God, the Constitution, and free speech....

Update: waterboarded....

Congress actually DID do stuff this last session....

Steve Benen of the Washington Monthly:

Remember, this isn't about merit. Gallup didn't ask whether folks like what Congress did; it asked whether people perceive the Congress has having accomplished more or less than the typical Congress. Whether one is fully satisfied or not, denying the policy breakthroughs of the last two years is a serious mistake.

Evaluating the quality of these accomplishments is a subjective question, open to all kinds of competing opinions. Evaluating whether the accomplishments exceed the norm is an objective question and the answer, whether people realize it or not, is unambiguous.

I don't expect the public to have an extensive knowledge of federal policymaking history, but I at least hoped Americans would realize the scope of recent accomplishments. We are, after all, talking about a two-year span in which Congress passed and the president signed the Affordable Care Act, the Recovery Act, Wall Street reform, student loan reform, Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, new regulation of the credit card industry, new regulation of the tobacco industry, a national service bill, expanded stem-cell research, the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the most sweeping land-protection act in 15 years, etc. Policymakers might yet add to this list in the lame-duck session.

Some of these efforts have been decades in the making. In the case of health care reform, politicians have been talking about a major overhaul for a full century, but it took this Congress and this president to get it done.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Doesn't look like a happy camper...

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An eight-week-old female lion cub swims through fall leaves during a swim test at the National Zoo in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2010. The test was to make sure the four cubs will be safe around the water feature when they are put on public display, which is expected to take place in late December. The test was very successful according to the lion keepers. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

They think we'll eat seafood from the Gulf?

Stop telling us it's all clean now.

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MATTHEW HINTON / THE TIMES-PICAYUNE Oil was spotted in West Bay just west of the Southwest Pass of the Mississippi River, seen at top left, by the Gulf of Mexico Friday October 22, 2010.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Says right there in black and white....


Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Update: Thomas Jefferson in a letter to the Danbury Baptist association in Connecticut.:
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.
Update10/21: The Dunning–Kruger effect which is apparently the strongest in Americans:
Kruger and Dunning proposed that, for a given skill, incompetent people will:
tend to overestimate their own level of skill;
fail to recognize genuine skill in others;
fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy;
recognize and acknowledge their own previous lack of skill, if they can be trained to substantially improve.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Mark Twain

Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The world according to ...

San Francisco.




The Moon.

Cool views of the world according to subjects.

Stupidity and insanity and banksters run amok

Wisconsin Senate hopeful Ron Johnson in all his glory.


Teapartiers love Ayn Rand but have no idea who she really was. Sickeningly,
...she became enthralled by a real-life American serial killer, William Edward Hickman, whose gruesome, sadistic dismemberment of 12-year-old girl named Marion Parker in 1927 shocked the nation.
Being rewarded for torture:
A psychologist whose research was used in constructing the US's program to torture terrorism suspects has been granted a $31-million no-bid Army contract to provide "resilience training" to US soldiers.
The Pentagon needs more money:
The latest talking point du jour has been around in one form or another for years. It asks us to forget that A) America spends more on defense than every other major nation combined and B) the Pentagon, whose annual budget is now approaching World War II levels in inflation-adjusted terms, has lost track of trillions of taxpayer dollars. In light of those troubling truths, we are nonetheless urged by Beltway Republicans to focus on the fact that defense spending is "4.9 percent of our gross domestic product, significantly below the average of 6.5 percent since World War II," as a recent Wall Street Journal editorial proclaimed.

That widely circulated article, aimed squarely at grassroots conservatives, was jointly written by three of the most influential Republican think tanks in Washington -- the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute and the Foreign Policy Initiative. And like clockwork, the "percentage of GDP" nugget went from their pen to the GOP's well-oiled media machine.
For those who just don't have enough:
A gold and jewel bedazzled version of Monopoly worth $2 million is heading to Wall Street this Friday. That's not a metaphor.

Crafted by master jeweler Sidney Mobell and 22 years in the making, the set features dice with 42-cut diamonds and a photo-etched 18k gold board.
Krugman on the lack of property mortgage documents:
True to form, the Obama administration’s response has been to oppose any action that might upset the banks, like a temporary moratorium on foreclosures while some of the issues are resolved. Instead, it is asking the banks, very nicely, to behave better and clean up their act. I mean, that’s worked so well in the past, right?

The response from the right is, however, even worse. Republicans in Congress are lying low, but conservative commentators like those at The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page have come out dismissing the lack of proper documents as a triviality. In effect, they’re saying that if a bank says it owns your house, we should just take its word. To me, this evokes the days when noblemen felt free to take whatever they wanted, knowing that peasants had no standing in the courts. But then, I suspect that some people regard those as the good old days.

What should be happening? The excesses of the bubble years have created a legal morass, in which property rights are ill defined because nobody has proper documentation. And where no clear property rights exist, it’s the government’s job to create them.

That won’t be easy, but there are good ideas out there. For example, the Center for American Progress has proposed giving mortgage counselors and other public entities the power to modify troubled loans directly, with their judgment standing unless appealed by the mortgage servicer. This would do a lot to clarify matters and help extract us from the morass.

One thing is for sure: What we’re doing now isn’t working. And pretending that things are O.K. won’t convince anyone.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Dave

The movie that shows what a government could do if it really felt like governing:

Why are we giving the insane

Acknowledgement by the press?

Why?

You can make any of the holy books

Justify almost anything:

Internetal tubing

Today is 10/10/10. What did Nostradamus and the Aztecs say about this?


Time capsule: For 70 years the Parisian apartment had been left uninhabited, under lock and key, the rent faithfully paid but no hint of what was inside.

My son was just given one of these. We're rich!!1! ... or he's rich and we're related so he better share!1!!1

And speaking of the rich:


Donald Duck and Glenn Beck:


Mickey's response to Donald Duck's smear of Glenn Beck:


Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Bee happy...

Scientists may finally understand what is causing the Colony Collapse Disorder:

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Since 2006, 20 to 40 percent of the bee colonies in the United States alone have suffered “colony collapse.” Suspected culprits ranged from pesticides to genetically modified food.

Now, a unique partnership — of military scientists and entomologists — appears to have achieved a major breakthrough: identifying a new suspect, or two.

A fungus tag-teaming with a virus have apparently interacted to cause the problem, according to a paper by Army scientists in Maryland and bee experts in Montana in the online science journal PLoS One.

Exactly how that combination kills bees remains uncertain, the scientists said — a subject for the next round of research. But there are solid clues: both the virus and the fungus proliferate in cool, damp weather, and both do their dirty work in the bee gut, suggesting that insect nutrition is somehow compromised.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Only ugly old widows can apply?

What part of reality does DeMint actually connect with?
DeMint: Sexually Active Unmarried Women And Gay Teachers Should Be Barred From Classrooms
We are finally getting down to the very essence of the 'family values' party. The party of 'You Better Not Be Doing What I Think You're Doing!!'

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Friday, October 01, 2010

Blog sprinkles

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The Brits are being droned?
Two official safety inquiries took place into the military use of drones over southern England after near-collisions with helicopters, the Guardian can reveal.

The investigations are the first of their kind involving unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which are increasingly being flown in British civilian airspace after extensive use in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Obviously the drone operators were distracted by eating cheetos or something. Gotta get real gamers to operate the things, they would know how to avoid collisions!

How many accents can you do?



The GOP will not.. no they won't! ... WON'T eat their evil nasty green ugly vegetables. So there!

Was Christine O'Donnell going from A to Z with her religious quest to see which one would offer the best way to make money?

Two hope blogs for the price of one!!

We could have predicted that all the gay bashing that has gone on would lead to youthful gays killing themselves in despair. Hate speech leads to hate crimes.

And GOPs will claim when caught that they were only joking!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Echoes from the past

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Banning books

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Censorship at its most fearful... people might actually think:
In support of the right to choose books freely for ourselves, the American Library Association is sponsoring Banned Books Week (Sept. 25 - Oct. 2, 2010), an annual celebration of our right to access books without censorship. This year's observance is themed "think for yourself and let others do the same" and commemorates the most basic freedom in a democratic society -- the freedom to read -- and encourages us to respect others' freedom to choose.

Since its inception in 1982, Banned Books Week has reminded us that while not every book is intended for every reader, each of us has the right to choose for ourselves what to read, listen to or view. Thousands of libraries and bookstores across the country will celebrate the freedom to read by participating in special events, exhibits and read-outs that showcase books that have been banned or threatened.

The American Booksellers Association, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the American Library Association, the Association of American Publishers, the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the National Association of College Stores sponsor Banned Books Week. The Library of Congress Center for the Book endorses the observance.

American libraries are the cornerstones of our democracy. Libraries are for everyone, everywhere. Because libraries provide free access to a world of information, they bring opportunity to all people. Now, more than ever, let freedom read @ your library! Open your mind to an old favorite or a new banned book this week.

The Era of Stupid

Started when the Republicans decided that liberals were too educated and elite and intelligent and used facts and stuff to win arguments....

Friday, September 24, 2010

Cruising these here internetal tubes

You never know what you will find....

We knew this from the very beginning.

From the moment Bush was selected to be president, some of us bet we'd be at war with Iraq in two years. The neocons had been begging Clinton for years to take out Saddam, and now they had the power and ability to do so themselves.

The Bush administration was obviously prepping for war while theatrically pretending to be weighing the decision until the last minute. It was so very clear to us what they intended to do but the media just bizarrely ate up each declaration from Cheney, Rumsfeld and Bush as the truth and asked no questions. It's what made me give up on the mainstream media in disgust and go hunting for those who actually reported the truth.

I really think the neocons felt they had all bases covered. The churches had been bought off with the 'faith-based initiatives', the allies were ready to get the oil, the military brass got a new shiny war with really big bombs, the media had been seduced with quail eggs and special interviews.... The Bush administration just didn't plan on those pesky bloggers with their damned facts and discomforting questions.

The truth refuses to die even though you thought you put out a hit, Mr. Cheney. And now the facts are slowly working back to the surface. Even though we knew what the truth was, it's nice to prove it.
Newly Declassified Documents Show Bush Administration Looked For Excuse To Start War In Iraq In Nov. 2001

Monday, September 20, 2010

Oh NOES!!!

We're all gonna diiiiiiiieeeee.....

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What if the sun's magnetic field weakened so much that it wasn't able to muster the strength to produce a single sunspot?

This scenario may sound a little odd, but according to researchers at the National Solar Observatory (NSO) in Tucson, Arizona, the sun is exhibiting a strange decline in magnetic strength, the driving factor behind sunspot production.

It's as if our nearest star is getting tired and wants to take a breather.

[snip]

If the decreasing trend continues its downward slope, by 2016, the average sunspot magnetic field has the potential to be below this 1500 Gauss threshold, leading to the possibility that the sun will generate no sunspots.

The last time this happened in documented history was in the 17th and 18th century when the sun didn't produce any sunspots for decades. This extended period of calm, known as the Maunder Minimum, coincided with an extended period of cooling on Earth, a period called the Little Ice Age.

Are we witnessing another slow-down in solar magnetic activity? Could this be a part of a long-period cycle where the sun runs out of juice and forgets to produce sunspots every few hundred years?
Wait a second... this info doesn't match what I posted in June.... even though we know what we are facing in only 5 billion years or so anyway....

But wait! There's a MONSTER in the center of our galaxy!!1!! We're all gonna diiiiiiieeeeee....

Krugman

The spectacle of high-income Americans, the world’s luckiest people, wallowing in self-pity and self-righteousness would be funny, except for one thing: they may well get their way. Never mind the $700 billion price tag for extending the high-end tax breaks: virtually all Republicans and some Democrats are rushing to the aid of the oppressed affluent.

You see, the rich are different from you and me: they have more influence. It’s partly a matter of campaign contributions, but it’s also a matter of social pressure, since politicians spend a lot of time hanging out with the wealthy. So when the rich face the prospect of paying an extra 3 or 4 percent of their income in taxes, politicians feel their pain — feel it much more acutely, it’s clear, than they feel the pain of families who are losing their jobs, their houses, and their hopes.

And when the tax fight is over, one way or another, you can be sure that the people currently defending the incomes of the elite will go back to demanding cuts in Social Security and aid to the unemployed. America must make hard choices, they’ll say; we all have to be willing to make sacrifices.

But when they say “we,” they mean “you.” Sacrifice is for the little people.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

ARRRRrrrrrrrrr

It's September 19th!
Avast, me hearties! It's talk like a pirate day, it tis. ARRrrrrr.
Yeh need a name first of all. Me name is ellroon, Black Lizzie.
And then th' video t' help yeh words:

And the best part of Pirates of Penzance:


(edited to put in another youtube of Kevin Klein's Pirates of Penzance...)

jac of Yet Another Website has more, even on how to pick up wenches! Arrr.

English t'Pirate Translator fer those who canna deal w'th'speech.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Blog sprinkles

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A reminder why the Gulf of Mexico will not be the same for decades and decades. And BP's happy story about oil eating bacteria? Gulf bacteria digests gas, not oil.

Monkeyfister notes that a Florida man's blood was tested and was off the charts with the chemicals that BP uses: Florida man gets tested: Six of nine VOCs in blood — Hexane “off the charts”

The tree of crazy and why we need a chainsaw.

Californians better watch who's doing what to our water supply.

And speaking of water.... it can be turned into a blade and defuse bombs!
A watery blade is saving the lives of American soldiers in Afghanistan. Known as the Stingray, the device uses conventional military explosives to craft a blade of water sharp enough to slice through a metal bomb and scramble its innards.
Developed by the Sandia National Laboratories, thousands of units of this technology have already been shipped to Afghanistan to help diffuse the improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, that are so deadly to U.S. soldiers.
High fructose corn syrup producers want to change its name but not its potency.... basically hiding the ingredient in the product. Be careful what you eat.


Digby quoting Michael O'Hare about those super rich whining about the ending of the Bush tax cuts:
"A truly amazing pasticcio of mendacity, ignorance, and small-minded cupidity"
Why riding a motorcycle can be effing dangerous.

The glory of an egret in flight.

Phila of Bouphonia is back with another Friday Hope blog!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Man-pants Christine O'Donnell

Hmmm.... notice a theme throughout her Wiki page? Like... not paying her bills? Why on earth would people want someone like this to be in government with the ability to get her hands on heaps of taxpayers' money?

And she's NEVER been married?

Could she be gay?

Huffington Post: The Craziest Things Christine O'Donnell Has Ever Said

Update: Quick, clean her up!! Delete Delete Delete!! Christine O’Donnell’s Website Stripped Of All Information

Monday, September 13, 2010

What the overuse and misuse of antibiotics

Has led us to:
New drug-resistant superbugs found in 3 states

The U.S. cases occurred this year in people from California, Massachusetts and Illinois, said Brandi Limbago, a lab chief at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Three types of bacteria were involved, and three different mechanisms let the gene become part of them.

[snip]

She did not know how the three patients were treated, but all survived.
Doctors have tried treating some of these cases with combinations of antibiotics, hoping that will be more effective than individual ones are. Some have resorted to using polymyxins — antibiotics used in the 1950s and '60s that were unpopular because they can harm the kidneys.

The two Canadian cases were treated with a combination of antibiotics, said Dr. Johann Pitout of the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. One case was in Alberta, the other in British Columbia.

Both patients had medical emergencies while traveling in India. They developed urinary infections that were discovered to have the resistance gene once they returned home to Canada, Pitout said.

The CDC advises any hospitals that find such cases to put the patient in medical isolation, check the patient's close contacts for possible infection, and look for more infections in the hospital.

Any case "should raise an alarm," Limbago said.