January 27, 2008 archive

Video: How the Market REALLY Works

This is funny, and probably deadly accurate.

This is really part of Pluto’s bailiwick; I hope that worthy soul will come by and comment, perhaps on the $7B fraud in France.

Cooking with Jeffinalabama Volume 1.1… creation

A quick attempt to talk about non-recipe cooking.

I love non-recipe cooking. Creating something from nothing.

However, we rarely, if ever, create ‘something from nothing.’

Usually, theres some basis– either italian, chinese, haut, southerm, or otherwise,

today i was playing, results to follow.

Oliver Stone Channels Frank Capra For Bush Pic

Oliver Stone, the director of JFK and Nixon, is setting his sights on another president. He has begun work on a film chronicling the life and times of George W. Bush.

Bush the Movie

The Weapon of Young Gods #1: The Disagreeable Ones

When I was younger I was still insane. I know that now, but didn’t realize it then because I was afraid of everything and couldn’t think straight. The bad dreams began when I was ten, and within days became full-blown terrors that left me hopelessly overwhelmed by fear whenever I slept.

Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Indonesia’s ex-dictator Suharto dies

By ANTHONY DEUTSCH, Associated Press Writer

22 minutes ago

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Former Indonesian President Suharto, a Cold War ally of the United States whose brutal military regime killed hundreds of thousands of left-wing political opponents, died Sunday. He was 86.

Although he oversaw some of the worst bloodshed of the 20th century, Suharto is credited with developing the economy and will be buried with the highest state honors Monday at the family mausoleum.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and others from the country’s political elite prayed over his body. Yudhoyono declared a week of national mourning and called on Indonesians “to pay their last respects to one of Indonesia’s best sons.”

Interrobang ?!?……

Pictures Pictures Pictures!

I apologize for the delay in uploading pics.  I’m not used to the laptop yet and had to install some software to get it to work.  So without further ado:

Meet Rio!

And Laser!

He was being a little camera shy this morning.

Then There’s Jasper!

Kossaks helped me name him.

The House!

The Barn!

More pics of the land to come later in the week.

Be good and do it yourself!

Marrying Stranded Wind and Freight Rail Electrification

Welcome to the next in my (sporadic) Long Emergency series of essays.

This one is a real cheap rip-off essay, in which I simply rip out the short policy proposal wrapped up in a Daily Kos candidate diary, and present it without the candidate diary parts.

Here is a version of the national Wind Resource map:

It should, I hope, be clear that much of the best resource is in areas that do not have the highest electricity consumption. And at the same time, that is a lot of the terrain that the transcontinental freight rail must traverse to get where its going. And, at the same time, we desperately need to get the main freight rail trunk lines electrified, by hook or by crook. Ergo, I got a grossly oversimplified policy proposal to present.

  • The Federal Government invests in publicly owned infrastructure to electrify the main railroad
  • In return, the owners of the right of way cede use of the right of way above the part that they need to public use, together with access to the ground level right of way for support structures
  • That right of way is used to establish long distance High Voltage DC trunk lines to bring sustainable energy from the places that have it to places the need it
  • In areas where there is a commercial wind resource, the usage rights above those trunk lines are available to be leased out for wind farm operators, with the lease payments rolled back into the funding for the program

Some answers to some challenges to the proposal, after the fold.

Nurses: Who Are They?

The average age of an RN in 2004 was estimated to be 46 years. I will be 44 in May, so I am approaching that average. They also tend to be white (88%) and female (95%).

Although, this essay is not a discussion of the nursing shortage, there is one. That fact is often not a central one when we discuss the “health care crisis” in America, but it should be. According to surveys, all 50 states will be affected by the nursing shortage in varying degrees by the year 2015. By the year 2020, there will be a nursing shortage of approximately 340,000.

Clearly,  areas in which there could be recruitment would be among men and non-Caucasian women. The reasons for the shortage are vast and varied. My own theory is that years ago when my mother became an RN, there were few career choices for women. Now, women have a broader range of options and while nursing does pay well, there are other sectors that do as well and they don’t involve shifts, weekends and holidays. The older nurses and I like to joke at work that a) our retirement plan is death and b) we will be caring the hell out of our patients in the coming years as we totter into rooms in on walkers or zip in on electric scooters. It is amusing in an oh shit kind of way.

It wasn’t my dream to become a nurse, although when I was growing up, I was always asked if I was going to be a nurse “just like mom”, when I got older I found it insulting nobody could conceive of a different future for me. My mother did not subject me to that. She told me not to be a nurse. However, I found myself going to nursing school at age 29 after flopping around in the job market doing contract jobs I actually liked but so no future in and jobs I altered my resume to get because I needed to eat and pay rent. So, yes, I lied on my resume to get jobs, specifically eliminating some of my education and manufacturing some experience that nobody checked up on. I did not want to be super nurse, be an angel, save the world, or do anything heroic. I wanted a job and I did worry when I entered training that I wouldn’t actually like it or even be competent at it. Unlike many of the younger students, I knew what I was getting into and had already worked shifts at crap jobs, so the idea of working on a Saturday night was not a huge burden.

That I ended up in oncology and working with children was an accident. I like kids but not in a romantic, cutesy, mushy way. I have had them call me names, swing and make contact, tell me they hate me, had teenage boys ask for a younger prettier nurse, get spit at, bitten ect ect. When I was in staffing, I used to tell the older ones who called me a “bitch”, sometimes I am, now take your medication and if you can quit being a jerk off for five minutes, we can hang out and talk. When the younger kids told me they hated me I said I know you do, but I still like you. I have a particular approach that helps me when parents or kids are unpredictable and mean: compassion is a philosophy. Everybody deserves it even when we don’t feel like offering it, nothing and everything is personal, and this to shall pass. Now that I am a supervisor, I repeat “this to shall pass about a hundred times a night”. The other tactic my fellow supervisors and I use especially when we are already aware that it will be a challenging and unpleasant night is to say: even if it is a bad night we are gonna find some good in it. It works, when you deal with life and death and the unfairness of it all you really need a coherent philosophy to survive and avoid burnout. Most of my colleagues are Christians and I am not. I don’t make a public statement about it, but most of the ones I have worked with for a long time are aware of it.

McCain Doctrine in Iraq Unraveling

John McCain is riding high in the polls right now. As of right now, he seems to be on the inside track to win the Presidential nomination. He is one of the few candidates who is currently leading Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in the general election polls. And yet, it turns out that the McCain Doctrine on Iraq is now unraveling.

John McCain, whose campaign was left for dead last summer, was able to revive in part by portraying himself as a heroic figure who stood up and challenged the Bush administration on Iraq and called out Donald Rumsfeld. He was therefore able to attract Republican critics of the war that might otherwise have gone to Ron Paul; he was able to attract them by showing how the war was allegedly mismanaged. But McCain is now a ticking time bomb who is in danger of imploding. He hitched his wagons to the Petraeus Surge so that when there was more stability in Iraq, he could turn around and say that he was right all along. Already, Mitt Romney is drawing even with McCain in the polls in Florida.

John McCain’s political fortunes in this race rise or fall with the success or failure of the “surge.” And given the stories below, it seems that it has not addressed the ongoing violence in Iraq. People may argue at this point that there is a lot more stability in Iraq than there was several months ago. But the current relative stability in Iraq has nothing to do with the so-called “surge.” But it turns out that the current stability, which could unravel at any time, was a result of deals that were brokered by Northern Ireland and South African negotiators and 16 of the main Iraqi political factions. So, even if there was stability, John McCain cannot justifiably claim credit for it in the first place.

One Flight Down

Many of you might have already seen the video by Annie Leonard titled The Story of Stuff. If not, I highly recommend it (you can watch the whole thing at the link). She walks us through the extraction, production, distribution, consumption and disposal of stuff and what its doing to our world in a way that is both informative and engaging. But I’d like to focus on the stage of consumption.

The quote from Victor Lebow really grabbed me:

Our enormously productive economy…demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and using of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction, our ego satisfaction, in consumption…we need things consumed, burned up, replaced and discarded at an ever-accelerating rate.

Honest mistake, right? (Updated)

I think we can all agree that race baiting, whatever its origin in each individual case, is poisoning the well in the Democratic primary. It’s the issue that just won’t die; the one that needs a stake through its heart – ASAP, please.

Consider this quote from a TIME.com piece:

Obama’s impressive win meant all the more given the nature of politics in South Carolina, a state whose history is fraught with race and class. Some observers wondered if the state’s voters were becoming more racially polarized in the final days before the primary. That speculation was fueled by one late McClatchy/MSNBC survey that suggested Obama could expect to receive no more than 10% of the white vote, half of what the same poll had shown only a week before. But Obama instead won about a quarter of the white vote overall, and around half of young white voters, on his way to a commanding 55% of the total vote (Clinton finished second with roughly 27% and Edwards came in third with 18%). The excitement around Obama’s candidacy pushed turnout to record levels – a kind of surge, says Obama strategist Cornell Belcher, that “is something only Barack Obama is capable of bringing to the table.”

But that’s not the cute part.

The “cute part” was the title of the piece, which has been changed.

This link shows you a screenshot of the piece as originally titled.

In the current environment, you cannot tell me that that is an accident.

Well, you could tell me that….but I’d ask you what you were smoking.

Contact: letters@time.com

‘Cuz I’m gonna.

Enough of this crap.

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