Thursday, March 29, 2007

Life is short. Play with your food.

Speedpainting with Ketchup and French Fries

Speedpainting with Chocolate and Spoon

drawing lessons

Monday, March 26, 2007

Grab a beer, pop some popcorn, it's 2 hours long.

The Collapse of Intelligent Design
Will the Next Monkey Trial be in Ohio?

found it at Red State Rabble

Some of my best friends have penises. And blogs.

In spite of being a [sometimes radical and militant] feminist, I like men. Really, I do [stop that snickering!]. Heck, I even fell in love with one once. Lived with him for quite a while too.

But the world, including blogotopia, has creeps and jerkfaces in it and damned if they don't all seem to be men.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Saturday, March 24, 2007

FDA: Fibbers and Dissemblers Administration

Uh oh. Cloned food animals really are different from ordinary food animals. Not that the FDA was going to tell you that.

I swear, it's enough to make you wonder if the Bush administration is so obsessed with controlling sex that not even farm animals can be allowed to indulge in it.

8099 warriors and their horses can't be wrong

thanks be to Echidne for pointing out some lovely photos of China, home of the terra cotta army

I was looking for something else

and found this:

Friday, March 23, 2007

South Carolina

Hey! That's me! Number 1090 and I voted NO.

South Carolina wants to force women to look at an ultrasound image of their own fetus before being allowed to have an abortion.

Opinions vary predictably: the female OB-Gyn is opposed to this bill, but the male OB-GYN seems to approve of it, and the male pastor doesn't condemn it very strongly.

If you can't stand the thought of reading the entire article [I couldn't], that's ok. Just go vote in the poll here. Not that I have a lot of faith in this one little poll being able to sway a significant number of votes in the South Carolina legislature, but it can't hurt to try.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Just for you, Keifus

The chemical engineers are going to save us!

New biofuels process promises to meet all U.S. transportation needs

And if the Chem E's can't save us, maybe the high school students can.

Stonehenge Reloaded

found it here

I've always wanted to go to New Zealand.

And I've never believed that carnard about "socialized medicine will lead to rationing."

  • Americans are The Healthiest People in the World.

    FACT: Citizens of 34 nations live longer than Americans.

  • The U.S. is the Best Place to Get Sick.

    FACT: The World Health Organization ranked the U.S. 37th in the world for health system performance. Countries like Australia and the United Kingdom rank above the U.S. Americans have lower odds of surviving colorectal cancer and childhood leukemia than Canadians who do have national health care. Americans also experience greater problems in coordination of care than the previously mentioned countries and New Zealand.

  • Covering All Americans Will Lead to Rationing.

    FACT: Same-day access to primary-care physicians in the U.S. (33%) is far less available than in the United Kingdom (41%), Australia (54%) and New Zealand (60%). Per capita spending for health care averaged $2,696 in countries without waiting lists and $5,267 in the U.S.

  • Global Competitiveness is Hampered in Comprehensive System.

    FACT: "Health care costs are not just a burden and barrier to care for individuals; they are taking a heavy toll on American businesses." The strain on employers in 2005 was staggering. "The average total premiums for an employer-based family plan was $9,979 in 2005 ..." Most of our competitors in the world markets finance their systems outside corporate taxes and employer mandates. Without Medicare for Everyone, the U.S. will continue to hemorrhage jobs.

  • We Cannot Afford to Cover All Americans.

    FACT: We already spend enough to have universal health care. "The truth is, we cannot afford to not reform the health system." We spend about 50% more than the next most expensive nation and nearly twice per person what the Canadians do. On May 1, 2006 Paul Krugman explained in Death by Insurance how incredibly wasteful the current system is. The doctor he referenced has two full-time staff members for billing, and two secretaries spend half their time collecting insurance information on the 301 different private plans they deal with. This type of waste is easily 20%. Also consider that 98% of Medicare funds are spent on medical care.

Please call your member of congress today

in my e-mail inbox, from Kucinich 2008:

Dear Friends,

Four years ago this week, in violation of international law, standing upon a mountain of lies, the United States went to war against the people of Iraq. Our nation now has the moral responsibility for the deaths of as many as 650,000 to one million innocent Iraqi civilians, for the destruction of Iraq, and the theft of billions of dollars in oil assets.

Those who told lies to take us into war should be held accountable under the U.S. Constitution and at the International Criminal Court.

Instead of true accountability on the war, this week Congress may give the President and Vice President more than $100 billion to keep the war going through the end of their term. More war, more civilian deaths, more U.S. soldiers killed or maimed. Less money for housing, for health care, for education, for seniors here at home as we borrow money from Beijing to keep the war going in Baghdad.

Instead of accountability, the appropriations bill will mandate the privatization of $6 trillion in Iraq oil assets, and it will provide money which can be used to attack Iran in an attempt to grab another $6 trillion in Iranian oil assets for the oil companies.

We must support the troops, stop the war, end the occupation, and support HR 1234.

Please call your member of congress today.

Thank you,

Dennis J Kucinich

Saturday, March 17, 2007

If we use ethanol to power all our cars ...

... will there be a shortage of corn starch?

Quick! Stock up on borax!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Whose oil is it, anyway?

Antonia Juhasz has written a New York Times Op/Ed piece, Whose Oil Is It, Anyway?, explaining the Iraq oil situation much better than I could. Normally I wouldn't c&p an entire article, but the NYT has an annoying habit of putting important stuff behind subscription firewalls and everybody should read this one.

TODAY more than three-quarters of the world’s oil is owned and controlled by governments. It wasn’t always this way.

Until about 35 years ago, the world’s oil was largely in the hands of seven corporations based in the United States and Europe. Those seven have since merged into four: ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell and BP. They are among the world’s largest and most powerful financial empires. But ever since they lost their exclusive control of the oil to the governments, the companies have been trying to get it back.

Iraq’s oil reserves — thought to be the second largest in the world — have always been high on the corporate wish list. In 1998, Kenneth Derr, then chief executive of Chevron, told a San Francisco audience, “Iraq possesses huge reserves of oil and gas — reserves I’d love Chevron to have access to.”

A new oil law set to go before the Iraqi Parliament this month would, if passed, go a long way toward helping the oil companies achieve their goal. The Iraq hydrocarbon law would take the majority of Iraq’s oil out of the exclusive hands of the Iraqi government and open it to international oil companies for a generation or more.

In March 2001, the National Energy Policy Development Group (better known as Vice President Dick Cheney’s energy task force), which included executives of America’s largest energy companies, recommended that the United States government support initiatives by Middle Eastern countries “to open up areas of their energy sectors to foreign investment.” One invasion and a great deal of political engineering by the Bush administration later, this is exactly what the proposed Iraq oil law would achieve. It does so to the benefit of the companies, but to the great detriment of Iraq’s economy, democracy and sovereignty.

Since the invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration has been aggressive in shepherding the oil law toward passage. It is one of the president’s benchmarks for the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, a fact that Mr. Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Gen. William Casey, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and other administration officials are publicly emphasizing with increasing urgency.

The administration has highlighted the law’s revenue sharing plan, under which the central government would distribute oil revenues throughout the nation on a per capita basis. But the benefits of this excellent proposal are radically undercut by the law’s many other provisions — these allow much (if not most) of Iraq’s oil revenues to flow out of the country and into the pockets of international oil companies.

The law would transform Iraq’s oil industry from a nationalized model closed to American oil companies except for limited (although highly lucrative) marketing contracts, into a commercial industry, all-but-privatized, that is fully open to all international oil companies.

The Iraq National Oil Company would have exclusive control of just 17 of Iraq’s 80 known oil fields, leaving two-thirds of known — and all of its as yet undiscovered — fields open to foreign control.

The foreign companies would not have to invest their earnings in the Iraqi economy, partner with Iraqi companies, hire Iraqi workers or share new technologies. They could even ride out Iraq’s current “instability” by signing contracts now, while the Iraqi government is at its weakest, and then wait at least two years before even setting foot in the country. The vast majority of Iraq’s oil would then be left underground for at least two years rather than being used for the country’s economic development.

The international oil companies could also be offered some of the most corporate-friendly contracts in the world, including what are called production sharing agreements. These agreements are the oil industry’s preferred model, but are roundly rejected by all the top oil producing countries in the Middle East because they grant long-term contracts (20 to 35 years in the case of Iraq’s draft law) and greater control, ownership and profits to the companies than other models. In fact, they are used for only approximately 12 percent of the world’s oil.

Iraq’s neighbors Iran, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia maintain nationalized oil systems and have outlawed foreign control over oil development. They all hire international oil companies as contractors to provide specific services as needed, for a limited duration, and without giving the foreign company any direct interest in the oil produced.

Iraqis may very well choose to use the expertise and experience of international oil companies. They are most likely to do so in a manner that best serves their own needs if they are freed from the tremendous external pressure being exercised by the Bush administration, the oil corporations — and the presence of 140,000 members of the American military.

Iraq’s five trade union federations, representing hundreds of thousands of workers, released a statement opposing the law and rejecting “the handing of control over oil to foreign companies, which would undermine the sovereignty of the state and the dignity of the Iraqi people.” They ask for more time, less pressure and a chance at the democracy they have been promised.

Antonia Juhasz, an analyst with Oil Change International, a watchdog group, is the author of “The Bush Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time.”

Monday, March 05, 2007

Tree blogging.

Apologies for pulling something of a bait-and-switch but this isn't really a blog post about trees.

Instead, a young woman in Darfur [El Fasher, Sudan, to be more precise] hand writes an indie newspaper and posts it on a tree, where approximately 100 people a day stop and read it, or at least peruse the headlines. All of the tools of the internet at my fingertips, and her reach is greater is mine. I love it.

For the past 10 years, Awatif Ahmed Isshag has handwritten monthly dispatches and commentary about life in El Fasher and hung them on a short, wiry tree that scatters shade along the yellow-sand lane by her house.

For the past four years, the dispatches have included items about the conflict in Darfur that appear to represent the only independent local reporting about the fighting in a region where most media hew to the official government line.


Isshag's sister originally started the newspaper on the tree, writing articles about El Fasher but with an emphasis on women's rights. When she died in 1998, Isshag took over. She was 15.

Looks like the citizens of El Fasher have about as much trust in their MSM as I do in ours. Long live the indie media!

Update: The above link no longer works. Try this one.

Women carry water at Abushouk camp near El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur state.
Photo: Reuters

Friday, March 02, 2007

Did you need another reason?

Why shouldn't we have for-profit health care? Because for-profiteers are all robber barons [or robber baron wannabes] who only care about the health of their bank accounts and stock portfolios. But, hey, don't listen to me.

Investor-owned hospitals are profit maximizers, not cost minimizers.