Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Bloggus Interruptus

Credit Card Wrap

Heading to the midwest for a week with family. Posting will be sporadic for the rest of 2007.

I'll be using this site to guide me as I wrap presents:

Wrap Art

Lots of ideas for recycled wrap. I hate the waste of wrapping paper, and in years past have used the comics, newspapers, and brown paper bags as wrap.

We Love Lists

wikipedia: Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte painted by Georges-Pierre Seurat

Times (uk): The greatest art shows on Earth in 2008
If you are taking a winter break, there are a host of fine exhibitions around the world. Our correspondent picks her Top Ten

I'd like to get down to see this one, but it's only open for 3 more weeks:


Georges Seurat: The Drawings This show focuses entirely on the Neo-Impressionist Seurat’s breathtaking drawings, such as The Echo (1883), left, of which he left around 500 after his death at the age of 31. Seurat’s lightness of touch belies the complexity of his investigation of the relationship between darkness and light, which gives these delicate but dramatic works their singular luminosity. The Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd Street, New York (001 212 708 9400; www.moma.org ), until Jan 7 Also on: Foto: Modernity in Central Europe 1918-1945, Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue, New York (001 212 423 3500; www.guggenheim.org ), until Jan 13

Beckham Speaks

David Beckham interviewed by Michael Parkinson earlier this month:

Part 1:

Part 2:

hat tip to Who Ate All the Pies?


This time last season, fans at TD Banknorth Garden were chanting, "Fire Doc" because they felt Celtics coach Doc Rivers, above, wasn't getting enough out of a poorly assembled team. (AP)

One of the nice things about the revival of the Celtics (I take back all the s**t I said about you, Danny Ainge) is Doc Rivers finally getting the credit he deserves.

I've been a big fan of Doc's since the 1980 Boston Shootout (high school tournament), which my friend and I attended to get a look at this tall sophmore from Cambridge we'd been hearing a lot about. Whatever happened to that Patrick Ewing guy, anyway? But we walked out incredibly impressed by one Glenn Rivers, a senior on his way to Marquette, who dominated every game he played in and was named the tournament MVP.

Now that the Celtics have started the season a blistering 20-2, Doc is getting the kudos he deserves.

WaPo: The Doc Is In for Celtics
Rivers Perceived More Favorably With New Roster, 20-2 Start

If You Lived In Iowa: John Edwards

hat tip to TowleRoad

The True Cost of Ethanol

If he's for it, it's a bad idea.

The Bush Administration loves to tout ethanol as the next fuel to replace oil. But it is an environmental disaster, both because of the tremendous amount of energy that is expended to make it, and because of the environmental effects.

Boston Globe: US corn boom threatens sea life
Fertilizer runoff polluting Gulf

JEFFERSON, Iowa - Because of rising demand for ethanol, American farmers are growing more corn than at any time since the Depression. And sea life in the Gulf of Mexico is paying the price.
more stories like this

The nation's corn crop is fertilized with millions of pounds of nitrogen-based fertilizer. And when that nitrogen runs off fields in Corn Belt states, it makes its way to the Mississippi River and eventually pours into the Gulf, where it contributes to a growing "dead zone" - a 7,900-square-mile patch so depleted of oxygen that fish, crabs, and shrimp suffocate.

The dead zone was discovered in 1985 and has grown fairly steadily since then, forcing fishermen to venture farther and farther out to sea to find their catch. For decades, fertilizer has been considered the prime cause of the lifeless spot.

Bush & Cheney's Next Job

A rat sniffing for mines (top)

Telegraph (uk): Rats being used to sniff out land mines

Monday, December 17, 2007

LIE-berman Endorses Republican McCain

WaPo: Former Democrat Lieberman Endorses McCain

Joe Lieberman running against Democrat Ned Lamont, July 6, 2006:

I want Democrats to be back in the majority in Washington and elect a Democratic president in 2008.

Lying sack of shit. Harry Reid, lead. Strip LIEberman of his precious committee chairmanships. He is not a Democrat and is now actively supporting the opposition. What a schmuck.

The Mittwit: Tax-Dodging Corporate Thief

LATimes: Island tax havens factor into Romney's business success

-- While in private business, Mitt Romney utilized shell companies in two offshore tax havens to help eligible investors avoid paying U.S. taxes, federal and state records show.

Edwards Gets Endorsements

Newsweek: Cover Story

I'm still bitter about 2004. Bitter that John Kerry who spent a year proclaiming that he would make sure that every vote counted, turned tail and let the Republicans steal Ohio. He had millions in the bank and didn't stay and fight, just meekly accepted the rigged result. And I guess I blame Edwards for that some, too. He was on the ticket and he let us down too. I have more sympathy for John E. Just as that decision was being made, his wife Elizabeth was being diagnosed with breast cancer. He had other things on his plate. But I'm also bitter about the way Edwards laid down in his 2004 debate with Darth Cheney. He was just too nice.

And while he was in the Senate he voted for the Bush's bullshit war. (Was I the only American in 2002 standing at the kitchen sink at night yelling at the radio, THERE ARE NO WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION! THEY'RE LYING TO YOU! I don't think so.) Obama, on the other hand, while he wasn't in the Senate, gave a speech before the war calling it 'a dumb war'. Perfect. So, in sum, that's why I have been swayed from Edwards to Obama.

Obama has disappointed me recently. All this equivocation, talking about compromising with Republicans, attacking Paul Krugman, and adopting right wing talking points about Social Security. Right now based on rhetoric alone I should be voting for John Edwards. I completely agree with his take on corporate power. We need a president who realizes that he will have to FIGHT the Republicans and the media for every inch of ground as we take our country back from the Bush brink of disaster. You can't compromise when your opponent is using scorched earth tactics. You must fight just as hard as your opponent, and fight every battle.

I'm still in the Obama camp. I think his message of hope and change is powerful enough to win no matter what mud the Rethugs throw at him before November. (And I must admit my northern prejudice, I hate John Edwards's southern accent. It sounds dumb to my eastern ear.) I don't think my vote here in Massachusetts will matter. I think we'll have a nominee long before the Massachusetts primary on Super Tuesday, February 5th, 2008.

John Edwards picked up some important endorsements today. The first is outright: the Iowa first lady, Mari Culver, has endorsed him.

The second endorsement is implied. Paul Krugman eviscerates Obama and praises Edwards in his column today.

Over the last few days Mr. Obama and Mr. Edwards have been conducting a long-range argument over health care that gets right to this issue. And I have to say that Mr. Obama comes off looking, well, naïve.


[I]t’s actually Mr. Obama who’s being unrealistic here, believing that the insurance and drug industries — which are, in large part, the cause of our health care problems — will be willing to play a constructive role in health reform. The fact is that there’s no way to reduce the gross wastefulness of our health system without also reducing the profits of the industries that generate the waste.

As a result, drug and insurance companies — backed by the conservative movement as a whole — will be implacably opposed to any significant reforms. And what would Mr. Obama do then? “I’ll get on television and say Harry and Louise are lying,” he says. I’m sure the lobbyists are terrified.

As health care goes, so goes the rest of the progressive agenda. Anyone who thinks that the next president can achieve real change without bitter confrontation is living in a fantasy world.

Which brings me to a big worry about Mr. Obama: in an important sense, he has in effect become the anti-change candidate.

If I really had to vote on January 3rd in Iowa or on January 8th in New Hampshire, I'd have a hard time making up my mind. Edwards. Obama. Edwards. Obama. After reading Krugman, I lean Edwards.

'Carbon dioxide levels at 650,000-year high'

National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration

WSJ (republished in Denver Post): Carbon dioxide levels at 650,000-year high

For a half century, sensors atop Mauna Loa on the island of Hawaii have captured the world-wide signature of increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, due largely to burning coal, oil and natural gas. The carbon dioxide traps heat. For 50 years, these CO2 readings, known as the Keeling Curve, have been climbing steadily, setting and then breaking a new record every 12 months or so.

Global concentrations of CO2 in 2006, not surprisingly then, reached the highest level since the record-keeping began in 1958, the World Meteorological Organization recently announced in its annual greenhouse-gas bulletin. Based on samples from 40 countries, the level of carbon dioxide in the air reached 381.2 parts per million, up fractionally from 2005 — concentrations not seen in 650,000 years, scientists said.

This week, while diplomats from 180 countries argued over the cost of staving off predicted climate changes, the Mauna Loa readings started to approach even higher levels.

These annual measurements are the world's longest continuous record of CO2 concentrations and, plotted as data points in a rising arc, form one of the most important graphs in science.

By 1960, the data had provided the first clear evidence that carbon was accumulating in the atmosphere and implicated human activity. By inference, it also records how little has been done each year since to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. "It is one of the iconic records of human influence on the planet," said atmospheric chemist Pieter Tans at the federal Earth Systems Research Laboratory in Boulder. "When you look at it, it is shocking how overwhelming the human influence has been on the atmosphere. It is the scientific basis for the whole anxiety we have about climate change caused by human beings." Climate scientists call the graph the Keeling Curve in tribute to a skeptical atmospheric chemist named Charles D. Keeling, who first began monitoring the pure air at two of Earth's most remote locations — Mauna Loa and the South Pole — in 1958. Oil then sold for $3 a barrel, a new fuel-efficient Ford Edsel promised 12 miles to the gallon, and no one thought the carbon released by burning fossil fuels, making cement or clearing land could have a measurable effect on Earth's climate.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Farmed Salmon Killing Wild Salmon

Young salmon infested with sea lice. Adult salmon can generally live with the lice, but wild juveniles migrating out to sea are particularly vulnerable because they are small and thin-skinned.
Alexandra Morton - Salmon Coast Field Station

Remember this the next time you are tempted by that pasty pink stuff in the grocery case:

WaPo: Salmon Farming May Doom Wild Populations, Study Says

David Beckham's Right Foot

I watched Love Actually last night (one of my favorite movies) and laughed when Hugh Grant, playing the Prime Minister, described Britain as home of, among others, "David Beckham's right foot; David Beckham's left foot..."

Here's that famous foot in action (hat tip to 4 Eyed Keeper)

Impeach Rat Bastard Cheney

Darth Rat

Sign the petition here.


wikipedia: National infection rates for HIV. No data is available for the areas shown in white.

Birth control prevents the spread of HIV. Duh. In other news, the Pope is Catholic.

Fewer babies are born with HIV to mothers with access to birth control. Of course, our stupid fundie policies deny federal monies to groups that do this life-saving work, unless they do it the stupid way, abstinence education only. (See, Global Gag Rule)

WaPo: 'Best-Kept Secret' For HIV-Free Africa
Birth Control Better Than Drugs, Researchers Say

400 days until our long national nightmare is over and the Chimperor and his puppeteer leave the White House.

The Real Mitt Romney

"He took good jobs with benefits, and created low-wage, part-time, no-benefit jobs. That's what he was creating with his investments."

- Randy Johnson, Ampad worker, fired after Mitt Romney's Bain Capital took over his paper plant.

Which is why people like Romney are rich and people like Randy Johnson are struggling. Why no non-wealthy person should even consider voting for Romney or any other corporate Republican.

LATimes: To assess Romney, look beyond the bottom line