Wednesday, December 29, 2010

An Excuse For Conservative Insanity

I have always felt that the people I know that are hard rock conservative and/or 'jumped by Jesus' seem to be wired a little differently. While this study isn't carved in stone yet it makes 'gut sense' to me. I mean really, how else do you explain the insane behavior?
Political opinions are considered choices, and in Western democracies the right to choose one’s opinions — freedom of conscience — is considered sacrosanct.
But recent studies suggest that our brains and genes may be a major determining factor in the views we hold.
A study at University College London in the UK has found that conservatives’ brains have larger amygdalas than the brains of liberals. Amygdalas are responsible for fear and other “primitive” emotions. At the same time, conservatives’ brains were also found to have a smaller anterior cingulate — the part of the brain responsible for courage and optimism.
If the study is confirmed, it could give us the first medical explanation for why conservatives tend to be more receptive to threats of terrorism, for example, than liberals. And it may help to explain why conservatives like to plan based on the worst-case scenario, while liberals tend towards rosier outlooks.
“It is very significant because it does suggest there is something about political attitudes that are either encoded in our brain structure through our experience or that our brain structure in some way determines or results in our political attitudes,” Geraint Rees, the neurologist who carried out the study, told the media.
Rees, who heads up UCL’s Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, was originally asked half-jokingly to study the differences between liberal and conservative brains for an episode of BBC 4’s Today show that was hosted by actor Colin Firth. But, after studying 90 UCL students and two British parliamentarians, the neurologist was shocked to discover a clear correlation between the size of certain brain parts and political views.
He cautions that, because the study was carried out only on adults, there is no way to tell what came first — the brain differences or the political opinions.
But evidence is beginning to accumulate that figuring out a person’s political proclivities may soon be as simple as a brain scan — or a DNA test.
h/t Susie

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Actos Drug Ripoff

As many of you know I am a Type II diabetic. Because of that I take a couple of different drugs to help me control my glucose levels. When I lost my medical insurance I dropped one of the drugs, Actos, because it is so terribly expensive. I tried to control my glucose without it but gradually it has crept back up to to an average fasting level of between 140 and 160. Not acceptable. I decided last week that I am going to have to have it in spite of the cost so yesterday I filled a 30 day prescription for the tidy sum of $262.34. The quick math means that each pill costs me $8.74. If I lived in Canada I could get it for a third of that. This kind of blatant ripoff by the drug companies of Americans is really sickening. This one pill represents well over 50% of all my monthly drug costs. To put it into perspective...if I had to depend on the income from my part time job as my sole means of support this one drug would represent about a week's after tax pay and that just sucks.

Government Crime

I was reading about the Fulton Country (one of the metro Atlanta counties) paying lobbyists a couple of hundred grand to lobby the state house against splitting Fulton County and forming a new Milton county from the Northern burbs. Fulton County which includes the city of Atlanta gets the lion's share of its revenue from the wealthy northern part of the county and the wealthier northern cities want to split off and keep some of that money for their own use. Several new cities have been formed in the north in the last few years(Milton, John's Creek and Sandy Springs) but Fulton hasn't reduced it's budgets to reflect the reduced costs for services taken over by the new cities. I can see why Fulton wants to keep the money but at the same time I resent paying taxes which are being used against me. I would get a lot more from my taxes if I were to become part of a wealthy county like Milton. Just seems wrong to me to pay for lobbying against my best interests.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Yes, Virginia

Eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York’s Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history’s most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps.

I am 8 years old.
“Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
“Papa says, ‘If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.’
“Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?

VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Happy Christmas to All

It's Christmas morning and Atlanta is expecting its first 'white Christmas' in over 130 years. It's currently only 36F but the grounds is cold and we may actually see a bit of accumulation this afternoon. Let's hope it only does the grass and trees and not the streets since I have to be at work at 745a Sunday morning.

Minimonk is working today(we did our Christmas last weekend as a result) so we are not having a big deal around here. As forecast I did a pizza last night for the Christmas Eve dinner and with help from the latest Cook's magazine think I have finally mastered a proper pizza dough. I was doing most everything right except I was making the dough and pizza on the same day. This time I made the dough the day ahead and let it slowly ferment for 24 hours in the fridge. It made a huge difference in the texture and flavor. I also moved my baking stone to the top of the oven and cooked the pizza at 550F(the highest my oven will go). It turned out brilliant. If you like doing your own pizza at home from scratch let me know and I will share the process/recipe. It is actually terribly easy and the results are well worth the little effort. You can make a good pizzeria pizza at home and it will beat any of that frozen stuff hands down.

I mentioned we were having a movie marathon as well. Very disappointed in what we have seen so far. The Legend of the Guardians (the owl movie) put Madam to sleep. Serious Moonlight with Meg Ryan put me to sleep for most of it. Despicable Me was not worth the time but Madam liked the little 'minions'. Finally, The Kids are All Right with Annette Benning was a big disappointment as well. We still have Inception and Salt to watch today so maybe one of those will please.

Everyone enjoy your Christmas Day and if you are traveling please be careful. From the paper this morning it looks like a wicked day for air travel as Delta has canceled some 300 flights already and the snow is all over the Midwest and moving South. I think it is going to be a good day for a pot of Tuscan Bean Stew. That recipe from 2008 BTW is the most popular thing I have ever posted on the blog and still get a few hits a week from it. It is a worthy recipe though and I am glad everyone enjoyed it.

Happy Christmas

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Couple of Days Off

I have been working full days since last Sunday but now I am off until the day after Christmas...I try and catch up on the tubes after I finish dinner each night but invariably I find myself waking up sitting in front of the computer and not remembering reading anything and just stumble off to bed. From the look of Google reader I haven't read much as there are thousands of posts waiting. I'll try and get caught up with everybody over the next few days.

These max workweeks(32 hours) appear to be going away as I am only scheduled for 12 hours the second week of January. I will say that I am extremely glad I am not depending on this little bit of income for anything important like feeding a family or paying rent. Seeing as how I have never 'punched a clock' before this, it  is interesting and you really get a different perspective on what a lot of people face for most of their lives. How many hours am I going to get this week and next? What will I do if I only get 12 or 16 hours? How am I going to make it? Very different perspective even though you had an "intellectual idea" of what low income people face daily, it is not the same as seeing it first hand. Granted some of it is still 'intellectual' since I don't HAVE to work but it is no longer completely so.

Madam and I just went out and got a bunch of movies to take us through the holiday. Since we 'did' Christmas last weekend it won't be repeated again. Got a couple of new ones like Inception and Salt, as well as the owl movie and Despicable Me and another one or two. Hunker down and vegetate is the order of the day. Plenty of wine and snacks and crock pot BBQ chicken is bubbling away, albeit slowly. The menu for Christmas eve is currently a homemade pizza for which I must make the dough for tonight.

If my brain turns to mush from too much TV/movies/wine/snacks/pizza etc. and I don't get back here then everyone have a merry holiday and I hope Santa is very nice to you.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Power Night

Tuesday is a lunar eclipse. It will be visible from most of North America

Tuesday is also the Winter Solstice - the longest night.

Tuesday is the first night that a lunar eclipse has occurred on a Winter Solstice in 456 years.

For those of you not really attuned to the theory and practice of 'magick' then you should know that, according to people who should know, your personal power to effect change and do 'magick' is increased a thousand times while the moon is in eclipse since its power is blocked. The full moon and its effect goes without saying.

If you have need of some 'magick' in your life then tomorrow is your best chance in some 500 years to make it happen...Just saying.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Early Christmas

We are actually celebrating Christmas today since Minimonk has to work on the real day. I already have the pumpkin pie out of the oven and about to put the apple tart in. Mashed potatoes and soul food sweet potatoes(home grown) with either peas(home grown) or broccoli(home grown). Of course, fresh dinner rolls. (see previous post) We are also having our once a year treat of a Honey Baked Ham. Undoubtedly the best "city" ham there is. I actually prefer country ham but I am the only one so "city" ham it is. Oh, and deviled eggs.

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Classic Dinner Rolls

As everyone who regularly visits here knows I am a big fan of fresh bread. I lean towards heartier breads like whole wheat and rye and make sourdough whole wheat every week for our daily bread. There are times, however, when the bread should be delicate and slightly sweet and maybe a bit airy. A feast like Thanksgiving or Christmas calls for a classic dinner roll. Nothing complicated but full of yeasty flavor and the perfect vehicle for soaking up a bit of gravy. There is also a requirement that the rolls keep fairly well so that a proper leftover turkey or ham sandwich can be enjoyed the next day. This recipe is for the Classic Dinner Roll. Not fancy and not difficult to make. It also has the advantage of being a bread you can make the day before...even to the step of forming the rolls and refrigerating overnight and having them ready to bake just before dinner on feast day when other cooking chores require your time. There are thousands and thousands of recipes that are similar and usually the difference is in the eggs... Whole eggs, just the yolks or a combination. I like this recipe as the yolks bring additional fat and tenderness to the roll and leaving out the whites eliminates any chance of a 'rubbery' product. The other key to tenderness is not overworking the dough. This rendition is for a stand mixer like my big KitchenAid but you can do this by hand and if doing so you probably want to knead the dough no more than about 15 minutes...just until it springs back when punched with two fingers.

Make Ahead Old Fashioned Classic Dinner Rolls

18 oz. or 510 grams or about 4 cups of all-purpose flour(I use King Arthur A/P but any good unbleached flour will do
1 package or 2-1/4 tsp.  rapid-rise yeast (you can use regular active dry yeast but your rise time will be longer)
1/3 cup sugar ( I actually use barley malt syrup instead of sugar but sugar works fine)
1 1/2  tsp. Kosher salt
1 cup milk (whole milk works best but I usually only have 2% and its fine) There is also a version of this recipe that uses  evaporated milk,just use 1/2 cup of evap.milk and 1/2 cup of water.
4 oz. (8 Tbs.) unsalted butter ( plus a little more for the pan and hands) Yes, that is a whole stick of butter...I didn't say these were diet rolls.
3 large egg yolks

Add the flour, yeast, sugar and salt in the bowl of your mixer, with a whisk mix to combine.

Heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan, stirring gently until the butter melts, and it reaches 115F to 125F degrees(no real need for a thermometer should just feel warm and not hot). Pour the milk and butter mixture over the dry ingredients and add the 3 egg yolks. Using the dough hook, mix on low speed until everything just comes together and forms a shaggy mass. Turn off the mixer and let the dough rest for 15 minutes to allow the flour to absorb the moisture. Finally, on medium high speed, mix/knead for about 8 minutes. The dough should 'clean' the sides of the bowl when it is done.

Turn the dough out of the mixing bowl on to a very lighly floured surface and shape it into a ball. Lighly grease a large bowl(twice the size of your dough ball) with butter, and place the dough, seam side down inside. Cover with plastic wrap and set the bowl aside and let it rise until it doubles in size. This should take 45 minutes to an hour depending upon the temperature of the room, but the doubling is what is important. If you are using regular active dry yeast this will take maybe a half hour longer...maybe a little more.

Once your dough is doubled, dump it out on a clean surface like your kitchen counter. You shouldn't need to flour the surface as the dough is soft but not too sticky. If you have some sticking problems then use a little flour to help you along. Now gently deflate the dough by pressing it with the palms of your hands. I usually fold the dough over itself(the left third over the middle third and the right third over that). Using a dough blade or knife divide the dough into 16 equal pieces. With lightly buttered hands form each piece into a ball by stretching and pinching the bottom together. The goal is to get a smooth stretched suface on the top of the roll. It may take a couple of stretches and pinches to get the ball smooth and round.  Place them evenly on a roughly 9 x 13 inch lightly greased baking pan ( I use a jelly roll pan) with the seam side down.

Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until almost doubled, about 30 min. While the rolls are proofing heat your oven to 375°F making sure the rack is in the middle of the oven. Remove the plastic and bake the rolls until they’re browned, about 20 min. These are best served warm.

Feel free to brush the uncooked rolls with an egg wash (one egg beaten with a tablespoon of water) if you want glossy rolls.

Note: Like I said above, you can make  this recipe a day  in advance. Simply cover the rolls with plastic wrap right after shaping and place them in the chill chest.  The next day, about 3 hours before dinner,  remove the pan from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for 2 hours until the rolls warm and double, and then bake the rolls at 375 F.

These are nice generous rolls and you can still have a nice sized roll by making 24 rolls instead of 16. (Hint: Instead of first dividing the dough in half, divide it into thirds and then half the pieces three more times.)

This recipe doubles well but double is about all my KitchenAid will handle in a single batch. I sometimes use 750 grams of flour and adjust the rest of the ingredients accordingly (increase by 50%)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

American Woman

When I  read this I immediately thought of the 70's rock song by the Canadian band "Guess Who".
From the beginning of his detention, Manning has been held in intensive solitary confinement. For 23 out of 24 hours every day—for seven straight months and counting—he sits completely alone in his cell. Even inside his cell, his activities are heavily restricted; he’s barred even from exercising and is under constant surveillance to enforce those restrictions. For reasons that appear completely punitive, he’s being denied many of the most basic attributes of civilized imprisonment, including even a pillow or sheets for his bed (he is not and never has been on suicide watch). For the one hour per day when he is freed from this isolation, he is barred from accessing any news or current events programs. Lt. Villiard protested that the conditions are not “like jail movies where someone gets thrown into the hole,” but confirmed that he is in solitary confinement, entirely alone in his cell except for the one hour per day he is taken out. In sum, Manning has been subjected for many months without pause to inhumane, personality-erasing, soul-destroying, insanity-inducing conditions of isolation similar to those perfected at America’s Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado: all without so much as having been convicted of anything. And as is true of many prisoners subjected to warped treatment of this sort, the brig’s medical personnel now administer regular doses of anti-depressants to Manning to prevent his brain from snapping from the effects of this isolation.
Just by itself, the type of prolonged solitary confinement to which Manning has been subjected for many months is widely viewed around the world as highly injurious, inhumane, punitive, and arguably even a form of torture. In his widely praised March, 2009 New Yorker article—entitled “Is Long-Term Solitary Confinement Torture?”—the surgeon and journalist Atul Gawande assembled expert opinion and personal anecdotes to demonstrate that, as he put it, “all human beings experience isolation as torture.” By itself, prolonged solitary confinement routinely destroys a person’s mind and drives them into insanity. A March, 2010 article in The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law explains that “solitary confinement is recognized as difficult to withstand; indeed, psychological stressors such as isolation can be as clinically distressing as physical torture.”
There is absolutely insane and it makes me ashamed that my country has turned into such a brutal and repressive regime and that it can inflict such treatment on someone that has not been convicted of any crime and was actually(from all evidence) doing what he thought was in the best interest of the U.S. 

I guess what really bothers me the most is that this will not be picked up of the MSM and even though it is likely that the President knows about this nothing will be done. What is even more disturbing is that this is probably happening to others in this home of the free and the land of the brave. Stalin, Pol Pot,  and Idi Amin would be so proud.

You should read the whole article by Greenwald at Salon

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Not Warm Blooded Enough

I'm normally pretty warm blooded and am not really that to sensitive to cold. Last night and today has made me drag out the long underwear. It was 12F this morning and on my way home from work last night it was 22 with 25 mile an hour winds. I head off to the job again at noon today and I will be better insulated. This is about 30 degrees below normal for us and it is brutal. Most everything outdoors is suffering and even the normally cold hardy plants are burnt from the cold. And yes, it set a new record for cold for the date. Tomorrow it is supposed to warm a bit but the warming will bring precipitation. Not nice.

The Lost Middleclass

I thought the following paragraph was a minor jewel when it comes to explaining the political weirdness right now. It's from Peter Goodman at Huffpo
Was it not just a couple of weeks ago that The Conversation was all about the supposed five-alarm emergency of the federal budget deficit and the hellish consequences that surely awaited the continuation of profligate spending? Never mind. The political establishment decided to tack another $900 billion on the federal tab to stave off an apparently more dire crisis: the prospect that tax cuts lavished on people wealthy enough to worry about mooring charges might soon expire.
the rest of the article is worth reading as well.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Even Colder

The forecast for Atlanta is to see 20F tomorrow night and the low teens for Monday night. Ouch, very unusual to have this cold of weather until after the New Year. I will lose the winter garden for sure with this hard freeze. The only thing to do is to harvest what I can of the turnips and broccoli and try and preserve it somehow. None of the cabbage is big enough to do anything with. I'll have to do it all today since I work tomorrow, Monday and Tuesday. Still have to finish the insulation in the garage as well plus get my car from the shop...the darn hood wouldn't open(broken cable) and I discovered this after I left the door ajar overnight and it ran down the battery. It's under warranty but still a pain. I also have to go to Tractor Supply and get a replacement heater for the greenhouse since the one little 1500W heater won't be able to protect it if it gets into the teens. Going to be a busy Saturday.

Holy Thorn Tree

Some low life scum cut down the Holy Thorn Tree at Glastonbury in Western England. What a senseless act of vandalism. The tree is known as the place that marks Joseph of Arimathea's arrival in Britian after the crucifiction of Christ. While the tree may recover and there are, in fact, other thorn trees nearby this one had special significance. This is not a good way to start the day.

Update: Madam reminded me of the deal with someone putting poison on the Treaty Oak in Austin, TX. What goes through someone's mind when they due such patently stupid things?

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Gone By 2025

Don't Read This
It describes why the U.S. will be a has been empire by 2025. Not a very uplifting article and in a lot of ways very depressing.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

It Looks So Easy

Something I have been meaning to do for years has come to fruition today. I went to Home Depot and bought enough insulation to do the ceiling of my garage. I added a foot or two of insulation to the attic last year(I had it done) but I decided I could do the garage myself. The pink panther people have this nice R30 insulation all wrapped on plastic that is nice to work with but getting in place is  a lot harder that it would appear. I got a third of the area done this afternoon but it was a tough slog. I'll try and finish it up tomorrow.
Once I get it all done I am hoping that the tile floor in my bathroom won't be quite so frigid on these cold mornings not to mention keeping the bedrooms above the garage a little toastier. If you have some areas that need a little more insulation now is a good time to get it done as the tax credits for such stuff expire the first of the year. It also doesn't hurt that Home Depot has it all on sale right now.  40 cents or less per square foot.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

RIP, Elizabeth Edwards

Dead at 61. A fine lady who faced a lot of undeserved tribulation in her life. The world is a lesser place without her.

Update: According to CNN the planned protest of the funeral by the cretins from the Westboro Baptist Church fizzled. The five idiots who did show up should have been run out of town on a rail.

Cold Georgia

I haven't been down to the garden yet today to see if the broccoli, cabbage and turnips survived the cold snap. Been working from dark to dark for the last four days and it has gotten colder each night. My greenhouse manage to hold to 39F last night but I fear for the outside stuff. We saw the low 20's last night so I am probably out my fall veges...we'll see.

With the cold such as it is and me in cooking withdrawal I feel the need for something warm and hearty so I am on my way to Whole Paycheck to get some local beef for a stew. I also bought all the stuff for "Chex Mix" last week and I'll probably do that this afternoon as well. We call it "nuts and bolts" here and I make mine a little spicier than the traditional blend. I also add a bunch more nuts and leave out the little toasted bagel thingys and just use the little pretzels. Madam and I also prefer the Wheat Chex to the other Chex so I double up on those. In other words my "nuts and bolts" is nothing like the original. It's not the Xmas holidays without a big batch of "nuts and bolts" around. Minimonk is coming Thursday to bring me a horse trailer full of leaves so I'll have a big bag of mix to share with her. She loves the stuff as much as I do.

Off to market and then to cooking.

Let Them Expire

I hate taxes as much as the next guy but I think it is wrong to extend the Bush cuts. We can't afford it, especially extending the cuts for folks with incomes over $250,000. Yeah, the extension of unemployment benefits would be nice for those affected but the reality is that some six million of us or more have already exhausted the maximum of 99 weeks and this agreement doesn't add another tier. It is going to hurt a lot of people but maybe it will also wake them up and figure out who actually cares whether they suffer or not the Dems or the GOP.
So my vote is to allow all the tax cuts to expire and then reintroduce cuts for the middle class next year and dare the GOP to vote against them.

Remember Pearl Harbor

Don't forget it's Pearl Harbor Day. Take a moment to remember the brave soldiers and sailors who made the ultimate sacrifice that day. My late father was there and was fortunate to have escaped with just minor injuries. Regardless of whether you feel it was a setup to get us into the war or whatever a lot of brave people died or were injured that day. My flag is flying.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Long Weekend

BTW I am working the PT job Friday through Monday so it will be quieter than usual around here.

Great Political System We've Got

Yesterday the Senate voted 53-36 in favor of the President’s tax cut plan, which, to any rational person, would make it seem like the President won.

Wrong... in America, this means that the 36% of the Senate who voted against the tax cut plan win, trumping the majority view point in the Senate as well as a clear majority in the House, the President, and the majority will of the American people. Now that is a political system.

Isn't it nice that we can make sure that nothing interferes with the plutocracy?

Thursday, December 02, 2010

An Opportunity for Sanity

It looks like outgoing Madame Speaker had one more trick up her sleeve:
This afternoon, House Democrats will hold an up or down vote on vote on President Obama’s plan to extend tax cuts to income below $250,000, and they’ve figured out a way to prevent the Republicans from pulling procedural tricks that might sink it—a straight vote on whether or not wealthy people deserve an additional tax break.
[....]Dems once believed they were faced with two mixed options for holding this vote. The first was to hold an up-or-down vote under the normal rules. But that would give Republicans the opportunity to introduce what’s known as a motion to recommit—a procedural right of the minority that would have allowed them to tack an extension of tax cuts for high-income earners on to the legislation.
The second option—suspending the rules—would have foreclosed on that right, but would have required a two-thirds majority of the House for passage: 290 votes, an impossible hurdle.
But Democrats figured out a way to avoid this. They’re attaching their tax cut plan as an amendment to a separate bill [the Airport and Airway Extension Act, to wit]. That legislation already passed the House, and has just been returned from the Senate. The rules say it can’t be recommitted. So the GOP’s hands are tied.

h/t Balloon Juice

Not LGM's But Very Interesting Just The Same

via Gizmodo

At their conference today, NASA scientist Felisa Wolfe Simon will announce that they have found a bacteria whose DNA is completely alien to what we know today. Instead of using phosphorus, the bacteria uses arsenic. All life on Earth is made of six components: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur. Every being, from the smallest amoeba to the largest whale, share the same life stream. Our DNA blocks are all the same.
But not this one. This one is completely different. Discovered in the poisonous Mono Lake, California, this bacteria is made of arsenic, something that was thought to be completely impossible. While she and other scientists theorized that this could be possible, this is the first discovery. The implications of this discovery are enormous to our understanding of life itself and the possibility of finding beings in other planets that don't have to be like planet Earth.

Europe Gets Winter Early

Got a photo from my friends in Eyam in Derbyshire, England. I'm just guessing bit it looks like at least 18 inches of snow on their patio and they say they are snowed in. From what I can see from the news, all of Europe is getting hit hard even Edinburgh airport and London's Gatwick airport are closed. People are even dying from exposure in parts of Europe. My friends were laughing that they had rented an apartment in Portugal for all of February in hopes of missing the worst of winter but were still smacked.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Hold The Football Charlie Brown-- Just One More Time

The day after the President sat down with the GOP leadership and everybody came out of the meeting back slapping and ass kissing and promising to make nice the GOP publishes a letter to Harry Reid stating that...

 their intention is  to hold the chamber hostage until the tax policy debate is resolved.
"[W]e write to inform you that we will not agree to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to any legislative item until the Senate has acted to fund the government and we have prevented the tax increase that is currently awaiting all American taxpayers. With little time left in this Congressional session, legislative scheduling should be focused on these critical priorities. While there are other items that might ultimately be worthy of the Senate's attention, we cannot agree to prioritize any matters above the critical issues of funding the government and preventing a job-killing tax hike."
You know, of course, that Republicans will block everything until they're satisfied that the wealthy are aren't going to suffer any tax increase, regardless of the impact on other priorities and then they'll try to block  everything else anyway. The are going to screw America and Obama regardless.