Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Eat your veggies. More of them.

It's another example of technical writers behaving badly, making the data into a pretty picture instead of presenting the actual numbers, but it illustrates the general trend I've found: nutrient values in our food have gone down as mechanization of agriculture has gone up. Never fear, I'm still looking for hard numbers for y'all.

from here


Barnard Elementary, Washington, D. C.
This image of an integrated classroom in the previously all white Barnard Elementary School in Washington, D.C., shows how the District's Board of Education attempted to act quickly to carry out the Supreme Court decision to integrate schools in the area. However, it did take longer for the junior and senior high schools to integrate.

Nearly seventy years ago, Kenneth B. Clark and Mamie Phipps Clark began studying the effects of racial prejudice on young children. Their research, and Professor Kenneth Clark's testimony, ultimately played a part in the Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education to end school segregation.

Since then, the Clark doll test has been used in all manner of research by a host of researchers. Among the newest and youngest of them is high school student Kiri Davis who put together this mini-documentary:

PSA: The Surge is working!

[peace is at hand]

Mission Accomplished!
[halliburton has been catapulted from the edge of bankruptcy...]

The NY Times won't tell it like it is, but Asia Times does.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Gratuitous Violence

[but first, some gratuitous cuteness, lifted in part from wtf is it now?!?]

My parents tell me that I started asking for a pony when I was about 4. For as long as anyone in the family, including me, can remember, my answer to the question "what do you want to be when you grow up?" was "a vet." And not just any vet, but veterinarian to the stars -- the Thoroughbreds of the Triple Crown [there's another industry you don't want to ask about]. Failing that, I'd settle for being the reincarnation of James Herriot, country vet extraordinaire.

Which is to say that I grew up finally [had a couple ponies along the way too] and went off to Ag School, where I lasted exactly one semester. The following link is a PETA video, so you already know it's going to be over the top, but I actually did see stuff like this, and learned -- in college -- how to do some of it. Got all As in it too. I was a vegetarian for years afterwards.

Anyways, this isn't the only reason I'm against factory farming, but it's one of them. You have been warned: turn down the sound on your speakers and don't click this link if there are kids in the room. Or squeamish adults.

Big Cat Rescue Videos

My apologies to all for whom the videos posted below do not work [and my apologies for that grammar].

Go to the Big Cat Rescue PodCats page, scroll down the list [on the left sidebar] to All Cats All The Time, and choose the videos from the dropdown list. The two videos I tried to embed in my post were "Bone Night" and "Pumpkin Time."

Again, I apologize for the lazy posting.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Life is short. Play with your food.

Mmmmm. Babyback ribs and pumpkin pie.
[might need to click the blue circles twice to play videos]

Online Videos by Veoh.com

Online Videos by Veoh.com

big cat rescue

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Monday, February 19, 2007

Finally! A scorecard!

from this blog: a diagram of the players in Iraq.

It's the oil law, stupid.

Iraq Oil Law

found it at Discourse.net

Horse Race 2008

I like Dennis Kucinich.

I like his passion on workers' rights, though I'm a bit fuzzy on his actual plans. The rest of the issues, though, sound like Santa Claus has finally answered my letters to the North Pole.

If this isn't your cup of tea, Discourse.net, in a sidebar on the left, has a list of links to most of the [potential] candidates' web sites. Check it out.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Happy New Year!

Check out the pigs of Clark Summit Farm and chew the right thing at The Ethicurean while you're at it.

Civil disobedience -- Eat your veggies!

This I did not know [and will have to read more about], but we've been restricting the planting of fruits and vegetables while we've been encouraging and promoting -- and paying good money for -- the production [and consumption] of high-fructose corn syrup.

I've been spouting this line for years, based entirely on anecdotal evidence [mine, from reading food labels in the grocery stores], but now I know I'm not the only one.

[more homework assignments]

I haven't spent enough time yet reading through the Environmental Working Group main website or the related Mulch blog [commentary on ag policy] to decide how much I agree with them [or not], but their farm subsidy database is excellent.

Farm Bill 2007 from the USDA

Some data sets from the USDA Economic Research Service

Apologies for the homework assignments, you don't have to read them, they're here more for my convenience than for any other reason. That and I didn't feel like tackling universal health care this week after all, since I don't have any of my own.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The cost of war ...

Today through April 8, 2007, if you're in New York City, you can see James Nachtwey's photos.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The insurance racket.

It pains me to say this, but it really is.

thanks, syd


This post is mostly [ok, entirely] an excuse to post this picture, but I really would like to see Sparky take on Landsburg on the subject of unforced errors in women's tennis. My money is on Sparky.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Piled higher and Deeper

Marcus R Ross, PhD

Ordinarily I find Slate to be just plain annoying [read: stupidity and sensationalism masquerading as reporting] on the subject of anything scientific, but just this one time I'm glad I read their article.

So, the $13 question today is: should a YECie be granted a PhD from a reputable secular institution in the field of -gasp!- paleontology?


If a person does the required work, and does it well, the degree should be granted. Plenty of young scientists do well in grad school, under the watchful guidance of experienced scientists, then go on to make fools of themselves once they get out in the real world. It's the responsibility of scientists and scientifically-literate citizens to keep an eagle eye on them and be ready to bash them for any slop in their scientific work.

Under no circumstances should we be applying religious tests to a person's fitness for study at a secular and publicly-funded university. In any subject.

addendum 2-15-2007: Just in case you were wondering, yes I do believe that this is an attempt to legitimize "creation research" in the eyes of the gullible.

Camouflaged as Christians

I've lived among religious fundamentalists armed with guns and ideology for so long now that I hadn't even realized they were newsworthy. I'm glad that other people are keeping an eye on them so I don't have to.

found it here

Monday, February 12, 2007

House calls.

The doctors in France make house calls.

France. The people talk funny, the food is fabulous, the climate is heavenly, the hospitals are clean, the doctors make house calls, taxes are higher, people live two years longer on average than they do here, and the country spends about half what we do, per capita, on health care.

The government [yes, your tax dollars at work] pays about 85%, the individual [or their private insurance] pays the rest. Don't know about you, but I could live with 15% co-pay.

At least now I don't have to move to Finland. I thought Finland was looking pretty good in the World Health Care Sweepstakes, till I got to France. And France is next door to Italy, geographically and in desireability of their health care system.

Details later in the week.


That's what you used to do. Put pen to paper and let the ink and the words flow. Letters to the editor. Letters to Congress. Letters to the President even, though I think this particular one might not listen.

I'd begun to think it was a lost avenue of communication here in the digital age, but I could be wrong. People are writing to their Senators and Representatives. Or at least they're thinking about it.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Just in case you hadn't noticed ...

my new favorite blog: Objective - Justice

Lt. Watada update: Mistrial.

I was just a kid, but back in the bad old days [if I remember rightly], Conscientious Objectors refused to go to war. Period. Lt. Watada has said [again, if I remember rightly] that he's willing to go to war, just not this war, the one in Iraq, the one the Army wants to send him to. So, I don't know if this qualifies him to be called a CO, but it's close enough to suit me.

Meanwhile, his court-martial has been declared a mistrial, the judge has set a tentative date for retrial, and his attorney is planning to appeal that on the grounds of double jeopardy. [details]

from Objective - Justice

A little light refreshment.

Or not. I have to admit, it sounds like there might be more to this story than we're told here. Still . . .

The all-new and improved DWI -- Driving Without Intoxication.

from Objective - Justice

This one hurts me.

I'm all for freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of religion, freedom from police harassment, freedom from religion. As one who has lived most of forty-something years trying to avoid being saved by the bible-thumpers, I value this last one highly.

It looks like it may be another case of school officials not knowing what to do about a mostly harmless situation [i know! let's call the police!] but I think I might be on their side this time. Ouch.

from Objective - Justice

I double-dog dare you!

Back when I was a 10-year-old child, of average-to-middling mischieviosity, in the Texas school system, the worst thing they did to you was make you stay in at recess and write sentences on the board. Ask me how I know this.

Nowadays, you get arrested and sent to court.

I have questions.

  • Why are we arresting children?

  • Do we really need teachers who can't control 10-year-olds?

  • Why aren't we training police officers to refuse to arrest children?

  • Why are we prosecuting children for momentary fits of mischief?

  • A school official actually set off the alarm. Why are all the adults in this case getting away with blaming a child?

from Objective - Justice

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Damn. I'd like to move up to that tax bracket.

From the Bushs' 2005 tax return:

gross income . . . $ 738,880
taxes paid . . . . . . . 187,768

That's an effective tax rate of about 25%, which seems fair. The rich ought to pay higher taxes than you and me. The rich ought to pay more than I do, at any rate.

From the Cheneys' 2005 tax return:

gross income . . . $ 8,824,762
taxes paid . . . . . . . . . 529,636

That's an effective tax rate of 6%.

Hunh?! My effective tax rate was almost twice that. Time to bring back those old tax brackets. I'm thinking the years 1936-1941 look good. An 80% marginal tax rate on anything over $5 million would transfer another $3-ish million from the Cheney coffers to the Federal coffers.

Bonus question: Did you notice who checked the yes-I-want-$3-of-my-money-to-go-to-the-Presidential-Election-Campaign-fund boxes?

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Reason enough

I'd happily pay higher taxes for results like that.
[from yes! magazine]

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Friday, February 02, 2007

Newsflash: Men don't like to wear condoms.

Women have to take birth control pills; men don't. Girls have to get shots for HPV; boys don't.

I'm all for women taking steps to protect themselves, but making it into a law?! And while I like the idea of Women in Government banding together to get things done, in, around, behind, or in spite of, the good-ol-boy network that all too often pervades government, I'm horrified that they seem to be pushing this.

If we're only going to force one sex to get shots, why can't it be the other one? They're the ones who are going to be infecting the women of tomorrow. Let them take the responsibility. Well, ok, maybe both sexes can get the shots.

Still, I'm opposed to making anti-cancer vaccinations required by law, no matter how benign the intent. Required vaccinations ought to be limited to those diseases that are highly communicable and that a whole crowd of people can quickly catch just by being in the same room for only a few minutes or hours with one sick person.

And requiring vaccinations against one specific cancer? How many cancers are there now, that we know of? I dunno, I think the allegations that Merck may have been lobbying a little too hard for these laws might be valid.

Thursday, February 01, 2007