Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Sure Miss

As  you probably know, George W. Bush’s  memoir, Decision Points, is due out in November 2010. Gawker is having fun with alternate cover photos as you can see with this one example(though some are not funny). Thanks to Grace at Scriptoids for pointing out this and more.

Even Worse

 It's even worse than thought:
The estimated amount of oil leaking from a sunken rig in the Gulf of Mexico has increased to as much as 5,000 barrels a day—five times more than what was originally believed, a Coast Guard official said. Rear Adm. Mary Landry told reporters late Wednesday that the increased estimate is based on analysis from the federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“This is not an exact science when you estimate the amount of oil,” Landry said, noting there are a lot of variables in calculating the rate of the spill.
“However, NOAA is telling me now that they prefer we use the 5,000 barrels [210,000 gallons] a day as an estimate of what has actually leaked from this well and will continue to leak until BP secures the source.”
If I am not mistaken the spill from the Exxon Valdez which released 10.8 million gallons was the worst so far. It too was in a ecologically sensitive area but if it takes weeks to seal this off, as they are guessing,  then we are looking at exceeding the disaster of the Exxon Valdez in less than a month. This is going to be a another tremendous catastrophe.

As I said in an earlier post,  this will have tremendous consequences for the wildlife, fishing, and tourist industries along the Gulf coast but of all of them the ecology of the region will suffer the most and will be devastated for decades. I don't think the average person realizes just how important the region is for the survival of a wide array of wildlife.  Most people probably visualize beaches covered in oil and concerned people with their bottles of Dawn cleaning up ducks and pelicans and while this will happen on some small scale  the complexity of the Gulf Coast and vast tidal wetlands will be impossible to protect and there is not even a remote chance of any but a small portion getting cleaned up. The big beaches will get repaired at a cost of millions and years worth of work but the thousands and thousands of miles of remote Gulf coast will be impacted for a century or more. Species like the brown pelican that just recently managed to make it off the endangered species list will be decimated.

If we see this play out as they are now predicting this will be a disaster of epic proportions which will cast a legacy of destruction and irrevocable harm over one of the most sensitive natural areas in the world. We may well see the extinction of dozens of species of birds, oysters, fish and other wildlife. Yet the powers that be want to double or triple the number of off shore drilling platforms which is pretty defines insane in my book.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Crickets from the Tea Party

Has anyone noticed the lack of outrage from the tea partiers over the police state now created in Arizona? For  a bunch of blowhards constantly wrangling about big government and intrusions on civil rights you would think that they would be a the forefront of outrage over this disastrous law. They can sure get worked up about all the make believe intrusions on their rights and other right wing fantasies ginned up by FAUX News, Limbaugh and Beck but they are surprisingly sanguine about the most disgusting piece of police state legislation the U.S. has seen in a long time.

All I can say is I am glad I have seen the Grand Canyon and most everything else Arizona has to offer because I won't even consider going somewhere in the U.S. where I have to carry my passport or birth certificate for fear of not being able to prove I am a legal resident.

This Spill Is Bad News

The situation in the Gulf with respect to the ongoing oil spill is getting worse by the day. It is threatening the coasts of at least 4 states. The news in the AJC this morning made a big deal out of the potential negative impact on the 'Redneck Riviera' along the Florida panhandle and Alabama Gulf Coast and really neglected the impact on the wildlife and sea life along the Gulf. This is prime habitat for dolphins and myriad sea birds not to mention the oysters and fisheries that thrive here. Just a small amount of crude washing over this area will be devastating to the natural habitat for hundreds if not thousands of species. The economic impact on tourism will be bad, granted, but the economic impact on all the people that depend on the Gulf and its waters will be impacted for years and years. We have already trashed the area where the Mississippi dumps into the Gulf with a huge dead zone due to agricultural and industrial run off. This oil spill will be devastating.

So far, word from the White House is that this horrible spill has not caused them to pause or rethink their calls for more offshore drilling. This was a state-of-the-art oill platform with supposedly every safeguard in place and yet here we are facing another event as tragic or even more so than the Exxon-Valdez. This event should be having all the 'drill baby drill' crowd running for cover. Let's hope some sense comes into play here.

Bigger Birdbath?

I think I need a bigger birdbath. John Cole over at Balloon Juice has been trying to attract birds to his new digs with limited success. A water source is definitely a plus when trying to attract wildlife to your yard along with plenty of cover and food sources. Just make sure you size the water features appropriately.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Lost Weekend

I woke up with a bad tum tum on Saturday morning and it toasted my weekend. I can't point ant anything I might have eaten that caused it but I was pretty miserable all weekend. It was convenient that Mother Nature decided that Saturday was a good day to catch up on the rainfall for April. Judging from my remaining plant trays I would say we got over an inch or more of rain on Saturday. We were lucky to dodge the bad weather that Mississippi and Alabama suffered. We had some wind and lightning but nothing really bad.

Feeling much better today and actually ate something more than canned peaches and cottage cheese for dinner last night. Saturday all I ate was chicken broth and crackers.

I did venture down to the garden this morning and while it is way too wet to work in( I might pull a few weeds though), it did survive the storms and heavy rains pretty well. Actually, it is beginning to look like a garden. I took a picture this morning as you can see. Now if we can just get some normal spring temperatures for a few weeks maybe I will actually get some spring vegetables. The Chinese cabbages have all decided it's high summer and gone to seed so I need to replant something there.

So if you have been wondering where your beloved blogger has been lately....see the picture. As usual you can click on it for more detail.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Summer Memory

I've been over in the vacant lot next door cutting branches to use for supporting my next crop of peas. It's about the same size as my lot, a little over an acre, but in the years since Mrs. Mabry passed away and the they tore down the house the place has really overgrown with all manner of stuff. Lots of blackberry, poison oak,scrub pine, privet and magnolia. It is now a real struggle to navigate.

I came back in to change into shorts before I head to the garden and when I put my hands under the cold water to wash up I flashed on a memory from my childhood that I haven't thought about in years. I used to spend the bulk of my summers with my grandparents in the town where I was born. A little place right on the New River as it flows into West Virginia called Narrows, after the way in which the river has cut through the mountains and left only a narrow gap just big enough for the river, a railroad grade and a highway. Anyhow, one of the events of early summer was blackberry picking. My grandfather used to head 'up the creek' (Wolf Creek which joins the New River at Narrows) to pick blackberries along the roadside. It was exciting with the warnings of rattle snakes and bears but also trying with the thorns, poison ivy and oak and scrambling up the steep banks along the road without sliding back down through the 'stickers'. We would fill ice cream can after ice cream can (ice cream came from the local dairy in quart cans with a metal lid like a cookie tin in those days) and would wind up with gallons. Blackberry cobblers and blackberry preserves would be forthcoming. The final event of blackberry picking would be a stop at the Narrows park(The Boom*) along Wolf Creek to wash off the dirt, poison oak and ivy. After spending the better part of a day in the sun and struggling up and down the steep hills the water in the mountain stream was like ice. We would slip into the water downstream from the swimming hole and scrub down with Ivory soap and come out very blue in the lips from the frigid mountain water. It wasn't long before we would be having blackberry cobbler fresh from the oven to warm us up though.

I guess it was scrambling through the just blooming blackberries coupled with the cold water that triggered the memory and a good memory it we just have to wait for the blackberries.

* Many of the locals call the park "The Boom" because loggers used to float logs down to the Mill Pond, located a small distance from the park, to be cut into boards.  As the logs arrived at the pond, they banged against other logs already in the water, producing a loud boom.  The area where the park is was known for the volume of the "booms" created by the logs, thus calling it "The Boom".

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day and You

Happy Earth Day! It's a great day to go outside and enjoy a beautiful world. It is also a great day to recommit to doing your share to preserve what we have. It's a space ship and it is the only home we have. We depend on it for everything and we have nowhere else to go. Our beautiful planet has taken lots of abuse from us but still manages to to feed and clothe us. However time is running out and she is rapidly losing the ability to absorb the massive damage we are doing to her on a daily basis.

It is really not hard to make some changes in your life that will have a positive impact on our beautiful world. Just three little changes can make a big difference if we all rethink the way we go about our lives.

Here are three ways you can make a difference.

Stop using plastic in every way you can. 

I know it's everywhere but we all know it is bad. Americans alone dispose of 10.5 million tons of plastic garbage every year, and about 8% of the world's annual oil production is used toward the creation of plastic products.  That plastic soda or water bottle you so casually throw in the trash can hang around in a landfill for a thousand years. Even if you are a good citizen and recycle your plastic most of it is 'downcycled' and it doesn't really reduce the demand for new plastic. Not only does plastic use energy but thanks to our horrible plastic habits there are huge islands of plastic trash in both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans that are killing millions of sea creatures every year.  Each American uses about 190 pounds of plastic every year and you can imagine the change if we can eliminate a big chunk of that.

Eat more vegetables and a lot less meat.

According to the United Nations meat production is responsible for around 18% of global CO2 emissions. Estimates are that it takes 5,214 gallons of water to produce a single pound of beef and livestock waste pollutes mare than 27,000 miles of U.S. rivers according to the EPA. Individually, you can make a big difference if you just cut out a few meals of meat each week and huge change by going vegetarian. Even if you just try and buy grass fed beef and naturally raised chicken and pork you will put a big dent in the damage caused by industrial meat production.

Plant a garden and grow your own vegetables and/or buy locally produced vegetables and fruit.

The food sold in American supermarkets has to travel an average of 1,500 miles to get from the farm to your plate. Buying locally not only supports your local economy, but cuts out the massive amounts of energy used to store and transport the products across the world. Buy your food in season and forgo buying that fruit from New Zealand or Chile in the dead of winter. It can actually be a lot of fun and a challenge to grow your own or buy food from within 150 miles or so. I get a huge amount of fun and exercise from my vegetable garden and absolutely nothing beats vegetables and fruit you grow yourself. You don't have to have an acre of land to grow vegetable either. There are varieties of tomato, cucumber, squash, lettuce and other vegetables that grow perfectly well in containers on your porch or in a small bed in the backyard.

This Earth Day think about making some changes and now is the perfect time to start a summer vegetable plot. Even if you only put in a couple of tomato plants it will make a difference.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Little Rain

Rain off and on today so it is a day of rest. Trying to catch up on my reading (300 posts in the reader this morning). The rain is good though, as I was beginning to think I needed to set up a watering regimen.

So far the big news seems to be that Sarah Palin is still crazy and completely clueless about the thinking and intent of the Founding Fathers when it comes to the separation of church and state. Seems she wants us to be some kind of theocracy like Iran. Maybe she needs to read a little Heinlein.

Seems the airlines are winning the battle over whether it is safe to fly jet engines through volcanic ash clouds. NATO and Finland have both had damage to test flights and Boeing itself insists that your are crazy to try and fly jet aircraft through the stuff. This doesn't seem to matter to the airlines who are forcing the European governments to open up airspace. Germany seems seems to be holding the line. There is going to be hell to pay if one of these planes go down from acute engine failure by forcing the game. Let's hope not.

Goldman Sachs is even shittier than we all thought and to top it  off they've announce a new round of bonuses. Great timing guys.

Tom Tancredo thinks we ought to ship President Obama back to Kenya and some of the conservatives in Arizona want to repeal the 19th amendment.  The crazy keeps on coming.

I have been trying to figure out UK politics but so far all it seems now is that the Brits are going to get a government that 2/3's of them don't want.

The turkey I posted about a couple of days ago is now 'in residence'. She(?) has been outside every morning and appearing all through the day. Seems she has realized that there is water, shelter, and food. The birds drop a lot of sunflower seeds under the feeders which she seems to find tasty. She has also discovered that the humans sometimes throw out stale bread and it just lays on the ground ready to eat. Madam still insists I can't have chickens so I guess I am going to have to settle for a turkey.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Making Progress

It was just a few weeks ago that I was wringing my hands over how wet it was and that I would never get the garden in. I have been at it hard during this dry spell and much progress has been made. All the tomato, pepper, squash, and okra plants are in the ground. A bunch of other vege seeds are in as well. I get to slack off a bit now work at a slower pace but what is done looks nice and everything seems to be taking well to the transplanting. Seems strange to be watering now after so much rain.

Knocked off early today as we have to go see Mini Monk in her belly dancing show. Madam has her all made up and she looks the part. I haven't seen any serious belly dancing since I was dragging my dumbfounded 20 year old carcass around the many cabarets in the Middle East. Quite an eye opener for a small town Southern boy and yes I bought my fair share of 'drinks' for the ladies. I had a real thing going for an Egyptian dancer at the Miami cabaret in Nicosia until the embassy security officer informed me that she worked for the KGB and maybe I should steer clear but Sophie was a very fine dancer and very friendly. Anyhow, off to the 'rain locker' to get cleaned up for the show.

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Good Lesson By Harry Potter's Mother

On paying taxes, by J.K. Rowling:
The fact remains that the first time I ever met my recently retired accountant, he put it to me point-blank: would I organise my money around my life, or my life around my money? If the latter, it was time to relocate to Ireland, Monaco, or possibly Belize.
I chose to remain a domiciled taxpayer for a couple of reasons. The main one was that I wanted my children to grow up where I grew up, to have proper roots in a culture as old and magnificent as Britain’s; to be citizens, with everything that implies, of a real country, not free-floating ex-pats, living in the limbo of some tax haven and associating only with the children of similarly greedy tax exiles.
A second reason, however, was that I am indebted to the British welfare state; the very one that Mr Cameron would like to replace with charity handouts. When my life hit rock bottom, that safety net, threadbare though it had become under John Major’s Government, was there to break the fall. I cannot help feeling, therefore, that it would have been contemptible to scarper for the West Indies at the first sniff of a seven-figure royalty cheque. This, if you like, is my notion of patriotism.
h/t Kevin Drum at Mother Jones

Great Whale Pictures

Follow this link to see some great pictures of sperm whales interacting with humans off the coast of Dominica in the Caribbean. What a thrill it would be to swim with them. 

h/t to Chris at Americablog

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Cut The Overhead and WIn the Game

Kevin Drum at Mother Earth highlights something that ought to make most everyone just a little irritated, especially considering that 2/3 of the bastards paid absolutely nothing in income taxes last year. Something is very, very wrong.

Fortune magazine reports on corporate revenue:
Last year, Fortune 500 sales fell 8.7% to $9.8 trillion, the largest percentage decline since 1983.
And yet profits soared:
For 2009, the Fortune 500 lifted earnings 335%, to $391 billion, a $301 billion jump that's the second largest in the list's 56-year history....The 500's profits virtually returned to normal after years of extremes — bubbles in 2006 and 2007, collapse in 2008 — despite a feeble overall recovery that's far from normal.
I am not sure this has ever happened before. How can corporate profits triple during a recession while sales fell 8.7%?  How do you increase profits when sales fall? You cut overhead.  "In 2009, the Fortune 500 shed 821,000 jobs, the biggest loss in its history — almost 3.2% of its payroll."  It sure seems to me that the only people suffering due to the 'recession' are workers. The fat cats on Wall Street are doing great and spending those multi-million dollar bonuses. The corporations are making huge profits. The only people having any worries, losing their homes and dying without health insurance are us plebes.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Talking Turkey

I promised a picture of the wild turkey that showed up yesterday. She(I think) wandered all around and didn't seem at all concerned that I followed her around with the camera. She was just on the other side of my fence in the vacant lot next door rummaging around in the forsythia and not more than 12 feet away. She then jumped up on a log and posed for this shot. I had the 55-200mm VR lens on but could have taken this with the 18-55mm she was so close. We've seen her before but never this close. There are many a time I have tried to get shots of wild turkeys from 100's of yards away but they always disappear when they spot you. She seemed as curious about Madam and me as we were about her. Anyhow, here is the best of the 60 or so pics I got of her as she meandered the property. It is always amazing to see this kind of wildlife living in an urban area like metro Atlanta.

Note: you can click on the image to 'embiggen'.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Still Alive

Yes I am still alive. Been gardening along with Madam. I measure and she plants. Lots of progress but still a lot more to do.

On the positive side...I didn't run out today and get a KFC Double Down. I didn't think of Sarah Palin even once today until I sat down at the PC this evening.

A wild turkey came to visit us in the garden today. I guess she was wondering what all the hubbub was about. Pictures soon.

69 tomato plants are in the ground, mulched with composted manure and ready to rock. We started on the peppers but I think the total will be more like 40. Only a dozen eggplant in but Madam is the only aubergine lover in this family so it should be plenty.

I've bummed my right knee somehow so I am limping about and not nearly as effective in the garden as I should be. I rethought my plan to have tomatoes at 3 foot between rows and changed to 5 feet. This required massive amounts of raking and moving dirt which is where I think the knee went south. I just remembered how hard it was to pick tomatoes when the rows didn't allow any walking space and decided to combine every two rows into one. Big job but it looks nice.

The Dow made an impressive rise today...just imagine what it would be like if Obama wasn't so bad for the economy.

It's nine thirty and I am dust and am struggling to keep my eyes open. Day after day of fresh air and hard work seem to make getting a good night's sleep very easy. It think I will join Madam in the sack. She is so tired she turned off 'Dancing with the Stars'! I hear a gentle snore which I will soon augment with mine.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

It's Spring, Let the Planting Begin

Gorgeous weekend in store. I've checked the weather forecast for the next week and I think it is a go for planting. Granted I already have cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, beets, onions, leeks, garlic, potatoes and spinach in but now it is time to get serious. More peas, beets, spinach, beans, and other things are going in the ground this weekend and if I get to it the tomatoes will start going in. It is still a wee bit early and the cool nights will keep them from taking off for a few more weeks but they will be able to get a foothold. Off to the garden so everyone is on their own. If it's nice in your part of the world get out and play in the dirt.

Friday, April 09, 2010

As If There Was Any Doubt

Glenn Beck was profiled in Forbes:
"I could give a flying crap about the political process." Making money, on the other hand, is to be taken very seriously, and controversy is its own coinage. "We're an entertainment company," Beck says.
Does this surprise anyone with a brain?

H/T Mustang Bobby at BBWW

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Over My Shoulder

As I have mentioned I have been spending all my time in the garden. Tilling, raking, laying out rows and beds. All is pretty much finished now and all ready for putting plants and seeds in the ground. As I worked furiously yesterday to finish up the rows before the rain I couldn't help but think, as always, of my late father. He loved to garden and had all of us boys and Mom out in the early spring laying out the rows. Being an engineer he was a stickler for precision. Accurate measurements and arrow straight rows. Perfect spacing for every variety.

In later years, after the MS had pretty much confined him to the wheelchair, he still insisted on a garden but was dependent on us boys and Mom to do all the work. I can still see him now...rolling back and forth using his accurate eye to chide us all on an uneven row or tomato plant not quite in line with the rest. Lots of strings and stakes to insure that everything was square and 'Bristol fashion'. There was even the exercise of  insuring all of the tomato stakes were pounded into the ground exactly true and at the same depth...the goal being to look down the row and see only the first stake.

There I was yesterday, carefully measuring and stringing lines back and forth across the garden. Marking the starting and ending points of each row with garden lime so that I and the TroyBilt could guide ourselves across the garden and produce a razor straight row and starting over when a root or rock caused us to deviate from the planned course. Hours and hours of backbreaking work but with the satisfaction of being able to look across a perfectly laid out garden with geometric precision and not a wandering line anywhere.

Plants, of course, don't care if they are in a straight row. The tomato plants don't care if they are not precisely spaced. A couple of inches here and there mean nothing as long as they have enough sun and space for their roots. To some it might seem silly, applying tape measure and strings and all to something like a a vegetable garden but it matters to me and what's more I know Dad is watching and would approve. Like every spring for the last fifty years or more I have made endless trips back and forth across the garden making seemingly minor corrections to this or that. It started as a chore, commanded and enforced by someone else but now it is my charge to insure perfection and I won't lay down that charge lightly, aching back and exhaustion are no excuse. I even considered doing it all at night so I could use my laser level to align the rows but decided that if strings and stakes and tape measures had done the job so well for so many years I shouldn't mess with tradition.


A little rain today so gardening outdoors is on hold. I finished all the garden prep. All the rows are done and everything is ready for planting which I would be doing today if the weather permitted. I still have squash, cucumber and other seeds to get started so I will be spending my time in the basement today. Probably a good thing since I have a tendency to go all out and don't know when to stop and catch a breath.

I have been mostly absent from the 'tubes' for the last couple of days but on spinning through the Google reader this morning it doesn't seem like the world has changed much. Caribou Barbie is still making an ass of herself but seemingly thrilling tea baggers wherever she goes. Frightening! Tiger is at Augusta amid new revelations that even his female teen neighbors got a tickle with his putter. Obama just made the world a little bit safer with a new START treaty. Jobless claims are up again this week putting a little dark note on all the  news that "happy days are here again". Pretty much same old same old.

Happy Birthday to the 'M' of MandT. Even though we have never met in person I consider both great friends and 'karmic' buddies.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Bread Break

I remembered that I had bread to bake this morning so tilling is interrupted for a bit. Just checking the news while the loaves are in the oven. The West Va. Mine disaster is even worse now that it appears the Massey Energy folks had 57 safety violations at this mine just last month. We should see some criminal actions against the company over this if the world has any fairness left in it.

Roughly 400,000 lucky souls are going to lose their unemployment benefits today thanks to the GOP and especially Tom Coburn of OK. What a dick head! I'll bet none of the GOP senators are having any trouble over their spring break buying food or paying the rent or mortgage.

Ding! Breads done. Smells good too! Now back to the garden.

It's Still Full Out Gardening

Still full out gardening here at Chez Fallenmonk. All the tomatoes and peppers were transplanted into bigger pots yesterday. Today we till some more and try and get the rows set up for further planting. That's why it is so quiet around here. Supposed to set a record high today of 85. Pretty warm for the first week of April. There was a frost this time last year when Madam and I were headed to Augusta for a day at the Masters. The cabbage and broccoli aren't too happy with the warm weather and my pak choi(Chinese cabbage) is trying to bloom of all things and believe it or not I may have to water a bit. Very strange.

Tragedy in West Virginia at another Massey mine. These disasters really hit close to home since I come from a coal mining family. Our thoughts are with the families, some of which lost multiple members in the explosion. Let's hope this time somebody gets tough with the Massey folks. The last big coal mine murder in W.Va in 2006 happened in one of their mines as well. Bastards!

Off to the garden once again with promises to Madam to carry water and my phone. It should rain on Thursday and allow me a day of rest. Meanwhile you guys play nice.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Gardened Out

Three straight long days in the garden has me completely 'cream crackered'. Everything I was planning to get done is done. We dodged any rain yesterday so I am on schedule to have everything ready for big planting in the middle of the month. I'm going to have to re-pot all the tomatoes. They have outgrown their starting pots and won't be able to wait two weeks. That's for tomorrow though. It is time for some grape derived anesthetic and dinner. Tomorrow is another day.

I hope everyone that was expecting a visit from the Easter bunny was happy this morning. The Christians at the Assembly of God next door were all turned out in their finery this morning and I happily waved to them whilst in my dirty gym shorts and crusty tea shirt. I did wait to mow the lawn until after 1pm which I thought was mighty nice of me.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Second Hit

Have you ever had to delete someone from your contacts list because they were dead? It is so final and I think actually somewhat as bad as the initial loss. It's like having to reconcile the the initial loss all over again. It made me very sad and just a little bit guilty. Just sayin'.

Yeah, I know you can avoid reality by just not deleting them but imagine your shock when eventually someone else gets that number and accidentally calls you and you see your friend's name on the screen. Not a good thing.

Gardening Day!

Finally the garden is dry enough to work and I have loads of work to do. Till it all. Plant leeks, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. Get the beds ready for peppers and tomatoes and if I can, get the beds ready for the rest of the spring garden. Still two weeks before that last frost date here in North Georgia so I won't be putting anything tender in. Even though it has been in the 70's for the last couple of days (actually hit 81 yesterday and is expected again today) the ground is still too cool for tomatoes and peppers. They will just sit there until the ground warms enough so you don't gain anything by planting them too early. Still waiting for my potato starts from Parks but I called and they are shipping today.

In short, I will be scarce for a couple days whilst I play in the dirt. There is a chance of rain tomorrow(20%) so I may be thwarted but I am feeling lucky. If I don't see you before the weekend and if you celebrate it...have a nice Easter and don't eat too many chocolate bunnies.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Progress In Afghanistan

Who says we aren't making progress in Afghanistan?
Long the world's largest producer of opium, the raw ingredient of heroin, Afghanistan has now become the top supplier of cannabis, with large-scale cultivation in half of its provinces, the United Nations said on Wednesday.
I guess it's something.

Caribou Barbie Wins the Game

What ex Alaska governor left her state with the highest debt to GDP ratio of any other...I'll give you one guess but here is a hint. She preaches in speech after speech about the U.S. debt and against big government and wasteful government spending. Oh! And she's a big liar.

You Win! It's Sarah 'Show Me the Money' Palin who quit her job as governor leaving  Alaska with its debt equal to 70% of its GDP. So here is the deal. If you believe her BS about debt, wasteful spending and all the rest of her railing against the government then you are a fool and if you are a 'tea bagger' who thinks she is America's salvation you are even a bigger fool. She is a con artist of the first magnitude and in it only for the money.
New Hampshire and Colorado attempted to use program-specific pots of state money to plug holes in their general treasuries; Connecticut wrote its own accounting rules; Hawaii reduced the length of its school week; and California made its businesses pay their 2010 taxes earlier to make the budget appear more balanced than it is. But one thing every state is doing, including Alaska, is camouflaging its debts by not releasing how much its state employee pension funds will owe — or how far behind it is on its contributions to said pension funds.

Less than a year after then-Gov. Sarah Palin (R-Alaska) quit the government to pursue other projects, Alaska leads the way in its debt-to-GDP ratio when its unfunded pension obligations are taken into account, followed by Rhode Island, New Mexico, Ohio and Mississippi. And although Alaska’s ratio is far lower than Greece’s, it does give the state a debt-to-GDP ratio similar to that of Jordan and Palin’s favorite health care resource, Canada, and a higher ratio than Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, India, the Philippines or Uruguay.

No Drilling Baby

I can't say I'm pleased to hear President Obama encourage additional offshore drilling. It does nothing to reduce our dependency on oil and poses serious risks to the environment. If he is doing this in hopes of getting GOP support for his energy bill, his timing is very suspect and he should have at least waited until debate starts on the bill in the Senate. I am not alone in thinking this is a bad idea and you can read a swath of reaction over at EnviroKnow compliments of  Josh Nelson. Remind me again who we elected.

Big Bucks Against The Truth About Global Warming

This is not really a surprise.  I thought I was paying attention but this obscure company, Koch Industries, has spent over $73 million to help fund the deniers and this is the first I have heard of them. I should have been following my own advice and been following the money. This just shows what a well funded and concerted effort there is to stifle the conservation and alternative energy effort. These guys are playing for keeps in more ways than one.
Greenpeace says that Koch Industries donated nearly $48m (£31.8m) to climate opposition groups between 1997-2008. From 2005-2008, it donated $25m to groups opposed to climate change, nearly three times as much as other  higher-profile companies during that time such as oil company Exxon Mobil. Koch also spent $5.7m on political campaigns and $37m on direct lobbying to support fossil fuels.

In a hard-hitting report, which appears to confirm environmentalists' suspicions that there is a well-funded opposition to the science of climate change, Greenpeace accuses the funded groups of "spreading inaccurate and misleading information" about climate science and clean energy companies.

"The company's network of lobbyists, former executives and organisations has created a forceful stream of misinformation that Koch-funded entities produce and disseminate. The propaganda is then replicated, repackaged and echoed many times throughout the Koch-funded web of political front groups and think tanks," said Greenpeace.

Obviously A Year Older

I spent the day yesterday in Gainesville tilling up Mini Monk's lawn. It took about 6 hours plus the 1 hour commute each way. I came home and had a bowl of soup and a couple of glasses of wine and went to bed. I was thoroughly bushed. I don't remember being that tired in a long time...must be something to do with being 60. I still have to till my garden this weekend and I hope I didn't use all my spit yesterday. I'll take today off and maybe I will back to full fiddle tomorrow. This is the first extended dry spell we have had in weeks and weeks I really have to get all the tilling done before the rain comes back next week. I've got a lot of seedlings that need to be in the ground right now and it will be time to put in the tomatoes and peppers in two weeks. Of course, all the rest of the garden needs to be planted over the next couple of weeks as well.