May 30, 2011 archive

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More Lies

This is why I no longer watch Talking Head Sundays.  Krugman opines

(E)ven I am surprised by this. When the gaping holes in the Ryan plan were revealed, I expected the Very Serious People to move on and find a new GOP daddy to idolize. Instead, however, they’ve mostly dug in, condemning anyone who points out that the plan is a piece of junk as being somehow out of bounds.

Steve Benen (whom Krugman hat tips) says

It’s exasperating, but it’s worth reemphasizing what too many establishment types simply refuse to understand: Democrats are telling the truth. Indeed, Dems are doing what the media is reluctant to do: offering an accurate assessment of the Republican plan for Medicare. If voters find the GOP proposal frightening, the problem is with the plan, not with Democrats’ rhetoric.

I’m at a loss to understand what, exactly, Ruth Marcus, David Brooks, and their cohorts would have Dems do. Congressional Republicans have a plan to end Medicare and replace it with a privatized voucher scheme. The proposal would not only help rewrite the social contract, it would also shift crushing costs onto the backs of seniors, freeing up money for tax breaks for the wealthy. The plan is needlessly cruel, and any serious evaluation of the GOP’s arithmetic shows that the policy is a fraud.

Which part of this description is false? None of it, but apparently, Democrats just aren’t supposed to mention any of this.

Why Are We Still In Afghanistan?

Cross Posted fromThe Stars Hollow Gazette

Osama bin Laden is dead. Now after 10 years why are we still Afghanistan? What our diplomats fail to recognize about tribal customs of the Afghan people gets an explanation from Rachel Maddow. The reason for the military to be in Afghanistan is dead, of that I am certain. Are we now getting closer to bringing our troops home?


Cannery Woe

Ralph Lauren, Shirt-Maker for the Mob


Three varsity polo players from Princeton, Harvard, and Yale have been detained by Mexican police on obviously bogus drug charges!

Edgar Valdés Villarreal (“La Barbie,” Princeton ’92), José Jorge Balderas Garza (“El JJ,” Yale ’98), and Marcos Carmona Hernández (“El Cabrito,” Harvard ’02) appear in this image from a video of their arraignment, and you can almost hear Ralph Lauren screaming in the background.

“Let my people go!”

Six In The Morning

Yemeni forces storm protest camp, killing 20

A medical volunteer says troops fired indiscriminately into a crowd.

By Iona Craig

Special to The Times

May 30, 2011, 1:08 a.m.

Reporting from Sana, Yemen- Yemeni security forces stormed a protest camp in a southern city early Monday morning, shooting indiscriminately, setting fire to the camp and killing at least 20 people, a medical volunteer said.

The city of Taiz has seen large anti-government protests calling for President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s ouster since early February.

Sadek Shugaa, a volunteer medic at the field hospital at the protest camp in Taiz, said he watched as snipers took up positions around the camp while other Yemeni forces used water cannons to clear the area early Monday.

Monday’s Headlines:

Germany pledges nuclear shutdown by 2022

Who cares in the Middle East what Obama says?

Japan PM to face confidence vote

Preaching peace, Zuma heads to Libya

Pump failure nearly brings No. 5 to a boil

Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning

Time for a break from poetry…in order to create some art.

Where’s your will to be weird?

— Jim Morrison

Basket 2

Late Night Karaoke

World economies as a function of energy use

There is nothing in this world that one cannot get more cheaply by using more oil to get it – whether by importing it, mechanizing its production, or using more energy to extract it.  This is not only true of industry, but of people as well: Americans moved to the suburbs because it was cheaper to drive farther than to work through the problems of urbanization, and one could get a larger house with a larger yard in the bargain. As long as it was cheaper to pay rent to Saudi Arabia for the oil, because that is what we are doing, than to pay rent to the government for a working city, people chose to pay rent to OPEC rather than taxes to the overnment. This ability of oil to be used in place of almost everything else, and not whether there is “enough” oil, is the special property that makes it the basic scarcity of the world economy.

                —  Stirling Newberry, American Thermidor

If you haven’t read it, American Thermidor (part 1, part 2, pdf) is well worth your time.  Personally, I think maybe Stirling goes too far in suggesting that the enoughness of oil is not its critical feature, but your mileage may vary.

Previously, I showed the linear relationship between global energy use and population growth, suggesting that a population crash is the predictable outcome of the coming decline in energy use following peak oil (year 2011), peak gas (year 2020), and peak coal (year 2030).


As if “We’re all gonna die!” weren’t bad enough, it gets worse:

We’re all gonna die flat-ass broke!

Pique the Geek 20110529: Curing Meat for Preservation

The process of curing meat (including fish, shellfish, and poultry) is an ancient process, the origins of it lost in antiquity.  The origin of our verb to cure comes from the Latin verb curare, meaning “to take care of”.  The word passed into Middle French as curer, and after the Norman conquest in 1066 into what became Middle English as curen.  Thus is shares its roots and ultimate meaning as the medical use, “to take care of”.

Real curing requires salt, but for several reasons salt alone is not the ideal curing agent.  In a truly cured meat (I shall continue to use that term to include the items in the first sentence), the salt content is high and the moisture level is low.  Remember, the primary purpose of curing is to prevent bacterial and fungal attack on the meat, but there are other factors at play as well.

Sunday Train: Why We Fight

Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence

“Why We Fight” is a common feature of propaganda in support of a war. Here, tonight, it is a double entendre. On tonight’s Sunday Train, in honor of Memorial Day tomorrow, with two wars launched in the past decade and still ongoing (though in one, “combat operations” by US forces have finished, so any fighting and dying is of the support and training type of fighting and dying), and another recently started up, what it means when we notice that “why we fight” has a simple answer: oil.

And also, politically, why we fight for Living Energy Independence, here on the Sunday Train.