Wednesday, April 28, 2010

making lemonade out of lemons

So, you've probably heard about the voter registration fraud, where folks thought they were signing petitions for pot legalization, and actually registered to vote as Republicans. Apparently, the petition-gatherers were paid something like $8 for each GOP voter they registered.

Authorities are proceeding to see if a crime has been committed (hint: yes), but I kinda think this is a good thing, and here's why.

1) Bad publicity for the GOP is always welcome, especially when it involves an issue (voter fraud) that they've always yelled about (think ACORN).

2) People who were taken in by the fraud are now technically eligible to vote in all Republican primaries, with, shall we say, some incentive to vote for the most outrageous, right-wing-nut candidates on the ballot. I know this is dangerous territory.

on a lighter note...

Can there be any doubt that Werner Herzog is one of the true geniuses of our time?

Watch, watch, and watch.

privatize the profits; socialize the risk

What better example of the above guiding principle of Corporatism than the oil spill in the Gulf?

Somehow, I don't think that the oil company is likely to reimburse the US Treasury for the Coast Guards costs in dealing with this.

Friday, April 23, 2010

no more excuses necessary!

I feel validated, and, this afternoon, will feel sleepy again.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

bartering for health care

You're probably aware of the Nevada candidate running against McCain, who says we should return to the barter system when negotiating with doctors.

Great idea - a couple of car washes for that office visit to get the anti-biotic prescription.

The system kinda breaks down, however, when you need to pay for the $5000,000 cancer treatment. Two words come to mind: indentured servant.

teaser headline of the day

Liberal Democrats predict election victory

Unfortunately, it's in Britain.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Just picked the first three 8" spears, culminating a year of preparation, uncertainty, and waiting. There are at least 10 more teeny ones currently coming up. It's gratifying.

Peas, onions, and potatoes are coming along nicely. I have 16 tomato seedlings still under grow-lights in the kitchen. Hoping to do the third rhubarb harvesting tomorow, in time to make a nice dessert for a dinner party tomorrow night.

Maybe there is hope, after all.

Monday, April 19, 2010

first they went after the Muslims...

I can't avoid the fear that, with the new willingness of the media to call the Big Bankers on their frauds and chicanery, that it won't be long before denunciations of 'Jewish bankers' are a lot more common and explicit at Tea Party rallies.

Of course, they will be unable to see the irony in saying that Obama = Hitler, and,by the way, he's in league with The Jews.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

my son, the philosopher

Ben is presenting a paper on 'Environmental Ethics' at a student philosophy conference, at Pacific University in Forest Grove this weekend.

There he is, in the schedule, in the 8:00-9:30 sessions:

    • L. Pippa Callanan (Portland State University), "Intrinsic Value for the Environmental Pragmatist"
    • Commentator: Jackie Burgett (Pacific University)
    • Ben Lavine (Portland State Univeristy), "On Weighting Humanity in Utilitarian Calculus"
    • Commentator: Bieu Bu Tran (University of Connecticut)

He's come a long way from his days working for 'Hot Dog On A Stick'. Maybe at his next presentation they'll spell 'university' correctly.

amazing discovery in back yard!

For the past few weeks, I've been poking around in our one-year-old asparagus bed (last year's big project), seeking in vain any evidence that the 13 crowns that emerged last year were still alive.

As recently as last weekend, there was still nothing.

Today, there are now 6 visible new asparagus stalks, one of which is over 4 inches long already!

I weeded around all of them - here's hoping that more emerge within the next few days.

Can we eat them yet, or are we supposed to wait until the third Spring? Must check.

Meanwhile: watch this for a combined chuckle/shudder.

Monday, April 12, 2010

probably just an isolated incident

Seen on Americablog today:

A furious transatlantic row has erupted over quotes that were attributed to a retired Italian bishop, which suggested that Jews were behind the current criticism of the Catholic church's record on tackling clerical sex abuse.

A website quoted Giacomo Babini, the emeritus bishop of Grosseto, as saying he believed a "Zionist attack" was behind the criticism, considering how "powerful and refined" the criticism is.

The comments, which have been denied by the bishop, follow a series of statements from Catholic churchmen alleging the existence of plots to weaken the church and Pope Benedict XVI.

Allegedly speaking to the Catholic website Pontifex, Babini, 81, was quoted as saying: "They do not want the church, they are its natural enemies. Deep down, historically speaking, the Jews are God killers."

Uh, oh.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

um, now can we agree, once and for all, that "We are a Christian nation" ain't so?

Heard this morning, as they announced that the last 4 miners were found dead, that normal mining operations will resume on Sunday.

Wasn't Easter just last week? How soon they forget.

Friday, April 09, 2010

follow up to krugman article

Yes, it was somewhat depressing, and the unfortunate sense that nobody in 'authority' (whatever that is) will really do anything meaningful to address the potential catastrophe, can be mitigated by some pleasant gallows humor.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

krugman explains it for you

Yes, it's long, but this NY Times piece is a must-read, if you want to understand why cap-and-trade may be the best solution after all, to forestall impending planetary doom.

Or, instead, you can just watch American Idol - your choice.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Bryce Canyon and the Civil War

Many years ago, as I drove the last few miles to Bryce Canyon, I noticed that I was beginning to see, along the road, minor examples of the amazing formations that fill the park.

Since then, I have often noticed that areas adjacent to major geologic formations frequently have lesser, less-perfectly-formed examples of those formations.

The obvious conclusion is that the forces and conditions that result in well-formed results operate on a continuum, and, on the fringes of the zone where the formations are perfect and distinct, it is often possible to see fragmentary examples of the upcoming recognizable formations.

I think that social phenomena work the same way. The emergence of the 60's Civil Rights movement was preceded by a number of harbinger events. World War II was preceded by the Japanese invasion of Manchuria and the German experiments with mass bombing/terror in Spain.

Looking at the many 'isolated' events where angry white-folks are beginning to act on their beliefs that insurrection against the Federal government and violence against its elected representatives is OK, are we seeing certain forces and conditions coalescing, in preparation for blossoming into the perfect forms of 'Civil War'?

Just asking.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

the WikiLeaks video

Very troubling. Has anyone heard if/how the Tea Partiers have reacted?

Will they cheer the noble Americans who took out the bastards, or will they decry the dehumanization, waste, and sheer horror of the images? I honestly don't know what side they'll come down on.

It is very disturbing, what is done in our name. Silence is, unfortunately, complicity.