Friday, February 29, 2008

Rev Payton

Pizza Toppings

pizza toppings.JPG, originally uploaded by cheflovesbeer.

Pizza toppings from my brothers new years eve party.

Libby at Newshoggers:
Do you think Russert will be demanding that McCain renounce, oh excuse me I mean reject because renounce isn't a word on Russert's vocabulary list, the endorsement? Of course not. Everybody in the elite Village knows, that hatemongering is okay as long as a white, Christian evangelist does it. It's not the hating part the 'serious' journalists object to, it's hating the wrong people.

Of course that doesn't explain why it's okay for Hagee to preach hate against the bulk of Americans who either support pro-choice and gay rights or happen to be Catholic. I guess the criteria really is, it's only objectionable to hate anything while being black.

Friday Bird Feeder Blogging

bird feeder 1.JPG, originally uploaded by cheflovesbeer.

Now some people do cat blogging, ferret blogging, basset hound blogging and who knows what else. So, why not?

Update: Orchid blogging.

Gary Hilton has been indicted in Florida.

A Florida grand jury indicted Gary Michael Hilton on Thursday on charges he killed a nurse and Sunday school teacher, beheading her as he did a young woman he met hiking in the North Georgia Mountains on New Year's Day, according to the Leon County, Fla., Sheriff's Office.

Sgt. Tony Drzewiecki of the Leon County Sheriff's Office in Tallahassee said a grand jury indicted Hilton on one count each of murder and kidnapping and two counts of grand theft. The indictment came less than a month after Hilton pleaded guilty to the murder of hiker Meredith Emerson in North Georgia.

The case against him in Florida is in the death of Cheryl Dunlap, 46, who disappeared Dec. 1. A hunter found Dunlap's decapitated body in Apalachicola National Forest near Tallahassee on Dec. 15. In the days between her disappearance and the discovery of her body, a masked person tried to use her ATM card on three separate occasions, another aspect of the case involving Dunlap that was similar to events in Emerson's abduction and death.

Florida prosecutors could not be reached Thursday evening, so it was not immediately known whether they planned to seek the death penalty against the 61-year-old transient.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Suck It Up!
Steve Benen on GW Bush and Fisa today.

This is actually quite helpful. First, Bush avoids the question, which makes sense given that he can’t answer it. Second, he goes on to repeat bogus talking points, such as his baseless insistence that the illegal surveillance “was legal,” effectively because he says so.

But I’m especially interested in the “suck it up” angle. Bush didn’t want to “put it that way,” but in effect, that’s what he believes, and he conceded as much this morning.

Consider the implications here. The Bush administration, with no legal authority, asked the telecoms to open up their data streams to the NSA. Intentionally or not, law-abiding Americans’ communications were subjected to illegal surveillance, in a scheme that preceded 9/11, and went on for years afterwards.

According to Bush, what are Americans entitled to in response? Absolutely nothing
The fourth amendment to the Constitution.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

And republicans are upset that they are not getting more donations from the telecoms.
I Know the Feeling
Joseph Romm over at the Gristmill.
The more I write about global warming, the more I realize I share some things in common with the doubters and deniers who populate the blogosphere and the conservative movement. Like them, I am dubious about the process used by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to write its reports. Like them, I am skeptical of the so-called consensus on climate science as reflected in the IPCC reports. Like them, I disagree with people who say "the science is settled." But that's where the agreement ends.

The science isn't settled -- it's unsettling, and getting more so every year as the scientific community learns more about the catastrophic consequences of uncontrolled greenhouse gas emissions.

The big difference I have with the doubters is that they believe the IPCC reports seriously overstate the impact of human emissions on the climate -- whereas the actual observed climate data clearly show they dramatically understate the impact.
Read the whole thing. And the Salon article too.
The Economy
Fester over at Newshoggers is discussing the economy. He comes to the same conclusion as most Americans.
People in the prime of their working life are getting screwed and they know it. They are getting screwed in the short term and they are getting screwed in the long term.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Pete Seeger, June Carter,& Johny Cash

Not Just For Guys
Peeing standing up

We May Need It
A seed vault has been opened in the Arctic in case of world wide agriculture failure.
[UPDATED, 8:30 a.m.] After several years of planning and digging, the world has its first secure, deep-frozen repository for backup supplies of seeds from hundreds of thousands of plant varieties that underpin agriculture. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault was built into a frigid mountainside in Norway’s northernmost archipelago, deep in the Arctic. It had its ceremonial opening Tuesday morning in the frigid gloom of the Arctic winter. [UPDATE: Many readers wondered about whether it was too close to sea level. But, as I learned in my three Arctic trips, things up there are way more spread out than they appear. The tunnel entrance is 130 meters, or about 400 feet, above sea level. So all can rest easy on that front.]

There are something like 1,400 seed banks around the world, guarding samples of crop plants ranging from alfalfa to yams. But, as I wrote last year, this agricultural archive is eroding under forces including war, storms, scant money or bad management, particularly in the world’s poorest or most turbulent places. A Fort Knox has been needed, many experts said. Now they have it.

Some advocates for strengthening the capacity of local communities to sustain their agricultural traditions and crop diversity on their own aren’t happy about this kind of centralized approach, though (more on this below).

No one questions the vulnerability of many of the world’s seed stores. Iraq’s bank of ancient wheat, barley and other crop strains in the town of Abu Ghraib — made infamous for other reasons — was looted during the war (mainly for the containers holding grain samples, not for the grain itself). An international rice repository in the Philippines was shredded by a typhoon.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Glenn Greenwald on CNN.
I know some people consider it hyperbole to compare the behavior of our establishment press corps to Pravda, and sometimes that is hyperbole. But if the Brezhnev-era Soviet Communist government were attempting to convince Russian citizens that they needed more domestic spying powers or greater benefits for government-allied corporations, and they wanted to use Pravda to achieve that end, what would be different? Be specific.

If CNN is Pravda then Fox is The Communist Party's news outlet. Remember, CNN will not stay loyal to the government, only to their conservative masters.
Update:via Matt Yglesias: Fox News Porn and perhaps the other networks are the same.
Say No To No Ethanol
The Krugman post below reminded me of this. From Edible Portland.

An audience of 600 people gathered at the Bagdad Theater in Portland on February 12th, in anticipation of Michael Pollan who was there to talk about his new book, In Defense of Food.

As we waited, Deborah Kane, Vice President of Ecotrust Food & Farms and publisher of Edible Portland, asked the crowd to help her prepare her introductory remarks for Michael's talk.

She wanted us to duplicate the exercise Michael had preformed so successfully in creating what has become the book's mantra:

Eat Food.
Not Too Much.
Mostly Plants.

In the spirit of this 2-word, 3-word, 2-word stanza, this is how the audience responded:

Grow corn
Just for food
Not cars

Read them all here.

Update: Burning food while people starve. Via Avedon. Word

Krugman Censored
Paul Krugman was censored.

I’m almost never censored at the Times. However, I was told that I couldn’t use the lede I originally wrote for my column following the 2007 State of the Union address, in which Bush made ethanol the centerpiece of his energy strategy: “Before the State of the Union address, there had been hints and hopes that President Bush would offer a serious plan to reduce our dependence on imported oil. Instead, however, he took refuge in alcohol.”

Well, anyway — the news on ethanol just keeps getting worse. Bad for the economy, bad for consumers, bad for the planet — what’s not to love?

Monday, February 25, 2008

National Parks
Kurt Repanshek at the National Parks Traveler looks into the remaining presidential and how they will treat the National Parks.

Where do the top three presidential candidates stand on the National Park Centennial Challenge? If omission is any indication, only one supports it.

Only Republican John McCain mentioned the challenge by name in answer to a question the National Parks Conservation Association posed to the candidates on park funding. The two Democrats in the contest, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, replied that they believe the National Park Service needs better funding, but didn't specifically refer to the Centennial Challenge as a way to get there.

Should we be surprised or disappointed? Probably not. After all, would you really expect two Democrats to endorse a Republican initiative during the heat of a presidential campaign? But in answering three questions posed by NPCA, the candidates at least cracked the door a bit on their thoughts about the national park system.

Read were they stand.
Huff And Puff

And blow your windmill down. Wind turbine are supposed to have a governor to keep this from happening. Via TreeHugger.
First Continental Divide Trail Yo-Yo
The San Fransisco Chronicle is reporting that Francis Tapon completed the first yo-yo of the Continental Divide Trail. I did not think this was possible. The long distance hiking community is pretty small and very gossipy. It is surprising that no one was talking about it at last years ALDHA gathering.
So, last year Tapon finished the Triple Crown of American hiking by completing the 2,800-mile Continental Divide Trail, which spans from southern New Mexico north to Glacier National Park. Just like Forrest Gump("I just felt like running."), when Tapon tagged the Canadian border on July 25, he simply turned around and went back. "I just felt like hiking," he said. When he arrived at the Mexican border in late October, Tapon had become the first ever to "yo-yo" the trail.

Visit his site with great pictures and slide shows.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Custom Energy Bars
The New York Times has an article about custom nutrition bars.

Ten years ago, Ms. Bise started making her own nutrition bars at home, using pure, mostly organic ingredients like soy-nut butters, nuts, granolas and dried fruits. Her son began making his own when he was around 18, and the two would swap recipes. Friends had asked them to customize the bars to individual tastes, and Mr. Flynn and Ms. Bise complied, sealing their creations in wax paper.

One night two years ago, they decided to start a business making bars to order for a wider market. Mr. Flynn was weeks from graduating from the University of Southern California with a degree in business administration.

Because neither mother nor son had experience in food service, Mr. Flynn took a job at a juice bar to see how the business worked. Then he wrote a computer program that allowed online customers to choose the base ingredients for their bars, as well as fruit, protein and vitamin infusions. They could even name the bar whatever they liked. The You Bar ( was born. [...]

“Learning to eat healthy and eat six meals a day is difficult for most people,” he said. “Supplements like nutrition bars have become a necessity because it’s quick and easy. But the wrong kind of bar can be counterproductive. Most of the ones available are just candy bars infused with protein — reverse liposuction.”

Now, I am not going to look up all the energy bars to compare the ingredients. I do sometimes eat Clif Bars. Clif bars have more carbs and calories in a similar size bar. The youbars have ingredients that are less refined. That would make Micheal Pollan* happy.

But given the price of youbars 12 for $40 plus $7.99 shipping and handling, I think I will get 48 Clif Bars from Amazon. Or you could see what Tom's wife charges for her hiking cookies.

*1. Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food: By concentrating on pre-modern foods, you avoid overprocessed products. Another way of putting it: Don't eat anything incapable of rotting.

Tengrain Presents
Tengrain is full of snarky goodness today. You should really click through. No really! I am serious. Chimpy is listening.
Breakfast In Bed

Lion King is in Iowa. Some kind person leaves him breakfast.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Senatorial Environmental Scorecard
Good news! The republicans running for the US Senate in 2008 have more than doubled their rating compared to the 03/04 senate from The League of Conservation Voters. It is up to 23.9% from 11.3%. Way to go! Here is a convenient list from Senate 2008 Guru.

And presidential candidates Clinton 73%, McCain 0%, Obama 67%.

From the always great Lee Stranahan.
Big In Japan

MEGA MAC, originally uploaded by cinefil_.

Yes, the Big Mac has gone mega. Four patties instead of just two. I can not believe that they do not have these in the good old US of A. Adam Kuban at A Hamburger Today points out Takeshi Fukuda's taking it one step beyond. Great pictures. The names for the super megas are here. If you must know.

It’s also got 754 calories, 45.9 grams of fat, 983 milligrams of sodium and 137 milligrams of cholesterol.


Snaky Switchbacks, originally uploaded by SusanAsh.

As every hiker knows switchbacks are the fastest way up a hill. A University Of Washington study has confirmed this.

A straight line may be the shortest distance between two points, but on a steep slope, a zigzagging path is the fastest way to go, a new study confirms.

On flat terrain, a straight line is typically still the best way to get from point A to point B. But climbing up a steep hill is a whole different ballgame; the mechanics and energy costs of walking up a hill alter the way we negotiate the landscape.

You would expect a similar process on any landscape, but when you have changes in elevation it makes things more complicated," said study author Marcos Llobera of the University of Washington. "There is a point, or critical slope, where it becomes metabolically too costly to go straight ahead, so people move at an angle, cutting into the slope. Eventually they need to go back toward the direction they were originally headed and this creates zigzags. The steeper the slope, the more important it is that you tackle it at the right angle."

Switchbacks are one of the things that make the Pacific Crest Trail a much easier trail than the Appalachian Trail. Trails with switchbacks tend to be more sustainable and have less erosion. The Appalachian Trail Consevancy is making an effort on some parts of the trail. It is a long and arduous project.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Shoe Laces

MT Greylock, originally uploaded by cheflovesbeer.

Tom Mangan over at Two-Heeled Drive points to this site. It shows different ways to lace your shoes. As you can see in this picture, I do not lace the bottom two eyelets of my left shoe. I do on my right shoe. Also, I use the heel slip technique on both shoes.

Alabama's Injustice
Scott Horton at Harpers has been following America's Legal Hell Hole. He has a short 60 minutes preview.
All of this suggests that in the Birmingham U.S. Attorney’s office, it’s not just the decisions to bring charges that may reveal political motivation, but also the decisions not to bring charges.[...]

Looks like some members of the legislature are slowly awakening to the true character of their U.S. attorney. Indeed, I was amused to find this phrase in a recent publication out of New Jersey, discussing their U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie, who gave a no-bid sweetheart contract to John Ashcroft and is not refusing to testify before Congress about it. The publication called Christie “one of the most ethically suspect U.S. attorneys–outside of Alabama.” There are still some areas in which the Heart of Dixie claims an undisputed first place.

Next Stimulus
Paul Krugman

If the next president is a Republican, he will be captive to the doctrine that tax cuts are the answer to all problems, and therefore won’t seek an effective response to the economy’s troubles.

And even if the next president is a Democrat, any serious stimulus plan would face intense, ideologically motivated opposition in Congress. Will the next president be prepared to fight for an effective plan? Or will we end up with a compromise like the one Congressional Democrats agreed to this year, legislation that assuages conservative objections at the cost of undermining the plan’s effectiveness?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

60 Minutes
Scott Horton says the Alabama Governor Siegleman's trail will be covered this Sunday. You should really watch it. It is truly the biggest scandal of the Bush administration.
Post Grad
blog readability test

Movie Reviews

Hawaii is trying to ban aspartame.

Dr. Green regrettably chose to set an absurdly high hurdle of wanting to hear from 400 physicians and scientists to counter the few letters he got from the Soft Beverage Association of Hawaii and the grocers, plus unwritten comments by a few lobbyists from Coca Cola, Ajinomoto (the Japanese manufacturer), Monsanto’s man in Honolulu, and then, the worst of all opponents, who should have been strongly supportive from the beginning, if she knew as much about aspartame as the average reader of

I refer to Department of Health Director, Dr. Chiyome Fukino, who based her “expert testimony” on an Ajinomoto paid for aspartame toxicology report from Toxicology magazine. The DOH Director missed the boat entirely ... .

Sen. Kalani English’s bill, Senate Bill 2506, remains Hawaii’s only hope to get rid of this poisonous food additive, whose approval was pushed through the FDA in 1981 by Searle CEO at that time, Donald Rumsfeld, one of the darkest deals in the FDA’s history.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Habitual Hiker
The trail name of Leonard Adkins. He is someone I have heard about over the years. I was a week or so behind him last year on the Appalachian Trail.
Profiled by Backpacker magazine, and referred to as “The Habitual Hiker,” Adkins returned home last November from the completion of his fifth complete hike of the 2,174-mile Appalachian Trail, which he, wife Laurie, and 14-year-old dog MacAfee of Knob began on February 28. He chronicled their adventures in a series of reports featured in The Fincastle Herald.

Leonard has walked more than 19,000 miles in North America, Europe and the Caribbean. Among others, his photographs and articles have appeared in Islands, Backpacker, and Caribbean Travel and Life. His travels have resulted in the publication of 15 books.

The Appalachian Trail: A Visitor’s Companion was presented the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation’s Lowell Thomas Journalism Award. Wildflowers of the Appalachian Trail won the National Outdoor Book Award, ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year, and a Virginia Literary Award nomination. He is currently the Roanoke Walks columnist for The Roanoker, and The Hike writer for Blue Ridge Country.[...]
Leonard’s presentations and books receive high acclaim. Poet Allen Ginsberg called it the “best program of its type that I’ve seen.”

High praise. High praise indeed. His web site is here.
Peak Food?
I know about peak oil but peak food? Via, my fellow illeist the Wege.
No president in modern history has dropped below 20%. Not Nixon, during impeachment hearings. Not Carter, when GHW Bush was conspiring with the Iranians to keep Americans hostage in Tehran.
Full Moon

Full Moon, originally uploaded by aga18.

Full Moon

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A Boy Scout fell to his death in Yosemite National Park.

YOSEMITE — The Stanislaus County coroner's office has identified the 12-year-old Boy Scout from Modesto who died in Yosemite National Park after he wandered from his group Saturday.

Luis Alberto Ramirez died while hiking near Upper Yosemite Fall above Columbia Point, according to the coroner's office. Stanislaus County handles coroner's cases for Mariposa County.

My condolences to his family and friends.

To Josh Marshal and the gang at his Talking Points Media Empire. They won the George Polk award for media excellence. Here is Scott Horton at Harpers.

The George Polk awards remember a great CBS correspondent who died covering the Greek Civil War. They are, alongside the Pulitzer Prize, a recognition for the profession’s high achievers. Today Talking Points Memo, the team web effort led by Joshua Micah Marshall, has received a Polk Award for its coverage of the U.S. Attorneys Scandal. The award is well warranted, and TPM’s work on this front has been invaluable.

Of course, the Mukasey Justice Department recognized TPM in a different way. It declared the internet publisher persona non grata. That may be an equally significant badge of honor.

For most of the nation’s broadcast and print media, the announcements of a stream of resignations by U.S. attorneys across the country were not significant news. They were seen as routine personnel transitions. Marshall and his group are among the handful of people who quickly detected a pattern in the news and worked hard to bring the facts to the forefront. Notwithstanding a torrent of lies jushing from the Justice Department and the White House, they succeeded in laying bare a plan involving Attorney General Gonzales, White House Counsel Harriet Miers, and the President’s key political advisor, Karl Rove. Not coincidentally, all three have since left the Bush Administration. But the White House and Justice Department’s stonewalling continues. Indeed, it seems to get more melodramatic every week, as last week’s contretemps in the House showed.

Hikers Alex Obert and Steven McCay have been found and are fine. Also, Benjamin Davis thanks his rescuers.
Poverty Is Poison
Paul Krugman discusses poverty.

L. B. J. declared his “War on Poverty” 44 years ago. Contrary to cynical legend, there actually was a large reduction in poverty over the next few years, especially among children, who saw their poverty rate fall from 23 percent in 1963 to 14 percent in 1969.

But progress stalled thereafter: American politics shifted to the right, attention shifted from the suffering of the poor to the alleged abuses of welfare queens driving Cadillacs, and the fight against poverty was largely abandoned.

In 2006, 17.4 percent of children in America lived below the poverty line, substantially more than in 1969. And even this measure probably understates the true depth of many children’s misery.

Monday, February 18, 2008

There are more hikers missing in the White Mountains this time near Crawford Notch.
Fish and Game Department officials said Alex Obert, 30, and Steven McCay, 29, both of Arlington, Va., were planning to hike Presidential Traverse and exit at the Highland Center at the top of Crawford Notch on Sunday afternoon.[...]
The men are believed to be well equipped with good hiking experience.

Lets hope and pray they make it out like Benjamin Davis.

Katahdin, Andi, Dad, Tom, originally uploaded by cheflovesbeer.

There was a time I hiked barefoot. Heck, now I do not walk to the bathroom in the middle of the night without foot wear. My feet did not hurt back then. Now, they do. Go figure. The knees still hurt.

I ran into this blog barefoot hiker's journal. It reminded me of those years.

I have run into a fair number of barefoot hikers over the years. That is how I ended up hiking barefoot. Some have stuck out more than others. In 2006, I met a hiker named Tyvek. In 2001, there were the Barefoot Sisters. Who were very memorable.

I never actually met the Barefoot sisters on the trail. I was always a day or two behind them, saw their footprints for months. I met them the day after I summited Katahdin. They were the talk of the trail in 01.
Hike For Homeless Vets
Two Iraq war veterans are going to hike the Appalachian Trail to raise awareness and money for homeless veterans.
JAY - After a four-year commitment with the Army's 82nd Airborne Division that included a 15-month tour in Iraq, a North Jay man and his Army buddy will head to Georgia next month on another mission.

Only this time, former Sgts. Jarad Greeley, 25, and Marshall Berry, 28, of New Hampshire, will be raising awareness and resources for the nation's homeless veterans by through-hiking more than 2,000 miles of the Appalachian Trail to Maine in four to five months.

"This may seem like a long hike, but put into perspective with the number of homeless veterans that we are trying to help, (it) seems minor," Greeley said Friday afternoon at his home off Route 4 in North Jay.

I spent July, August, September, and part of October on the Appalachian Trail in 2006 and 2007. I did not see one Iraq veteran on the trail in 06. I did meet two helicopter pilots that had been shot down in Iraq. One was the brother of a ride from the trail. Another, I met at the Doyle hotel in Duncannon PA. In 07, I saw six or eight. I guess more are leaving the service. Some stats and contact info for those who want to help.
o help the nation's homeless veterans through the Appalachian Trail journey of Jarad Greeley of North Jay and Marshall Berry of New Hampshire, write to: The Homeless Veterans, P.O. Box 27, Jay, ME 04239, call 207-897-0900, or call Palmer Hebert of VFW Post No. 2335 in Jay at 897-2859.

By the Numbers

America's homeless veterans

400,000: Approximate amount of estimated homeless veterans in America, or 23 percent of the nation's homeless population

89: Percentage who received an honorable discharge

67: Percentage who served three or more years

47: Percentage who served during the Vietnam era

46: Percentage who are age 45 or older

17: Percentage who are post-Vietnam veterans

15: Percentage who are pre-Vietnam veterans

Source: National Coalition for Homeless Veterans

Too Little Too Late
The USDA and the FDA under republicans protect and support corporate profits. Not the food supply or American people.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A California meatpacker accused of animal cruelty is making the largest U.S. meat recall on record -- 143 million lbs, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Sunday.

Most of the meat, raw and frozen beef products, probably has already been consumed, said USDA officials at a briefing. Some 37 million lbs were bought for school lunches and other federal nutrition programs. USDA said there was only a minor risk of illness from eating the beef.

Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Co voluntarily recalled all of its beef produced since February 1, 2006. USDA said Hallmark violated rules against the slaughter of "downer cattle" -- that is, animals too ill to walk.

"This is the largest beef recall in the history of the United States, unfortunately," said Agriculture Undersecretary Richard Raymond.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

We Are Ruled By Corn

Micheal Pollan Talks about permaculture and the future of farming. It is quite an uplifting speech.Via Tree Hugger.
Old School
I remember when nascar used to race stock cars. That era is over now. They race something called the car of tomorrow. The NYT has a good article with great pictures.

This year’s 500, the 50th running of the race and the season opener for the Sprint Cup series, is the first of a new era in which a single car shape will be used by all teams at all races. The generic body, not related to any “stock” model in showrooms, was designed specifically for Nascar competition.

Called the Car of Tomorrow, its phase-in began last year in a program Nascar instituted to improve safety and reduce costs, admirable goals indeed. But its arrival also signals the probable end of fan loyalty to favorite cars; the battle front will be entirely under the hood, with the V-8 racing engines becoming the main difference among them. To tell a Fusion from an Impala or a Charger from a Camry, fans will have to read the lettering on the fenders.

It wasn’t always this way.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Good News
Benjamin Davis has been rescued!

A New Hampshire Army National Guard helicopter crew performed a daring operation to rescue a 28-year-old Boston man who got lost on Mount Lafayette yesterday, authorities said.

Lt. Todd Bogardus of New Hampshire Fish and Game said Benjamin Davis was safely plucked off the mountain around 5:30 p.m., after the hovering Black Hawk helicopter had lowered one Guardsman to the ground by cable to reach him. The team member then helped Davis into a rescue seat, and the two were hoisted into the helicopter.

Aw Shoot
Another hiker is missing near Franconia Notch. He was going to hike the same loop as Laurance Fredrickson and James Osbourne. Unlike Fredrickson and Osbourne, Benjamin Davis planned to spend the night. Lets hope he makes it out just fine.
Fish and Game officials say Davis is equipped for cold weather and has a tent and sleeping bag with him. An Army National Guard helicopter is assisting in the search, which is hampered by wind and blowing snow.

Who Controls the Machines
I do not know who made the voting machines in New York City. This is disturbing. Who counts the votes is more important than who votes.
In the Harlem district, for instance, where the primary night returns suggested a 141 to 0 sweep by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, the vote now stands at 261 to 136. In an even more heavily black district in Brooklyn — where the vote on primary night was recorded as 118 to 0 for Mrs. Clinton — she now barely leads, 118 to 116.

From the NYT. via Matt Yglesias.
Charm City's Finest

Ah, Baltimore's police force at work. It is good to see the police harasiing teenagers. It is not like they have anything better to do in Baltimore.
Every election there is some political adviser claiming some group is going to swing the election. You know soccer moms, nascar dads, or yuppies. Jon Swift has found the true swing group.
But this election is not going to be decided by RAMs or any of these other groups that pollsters and political consultants like to re-invent every election cycle. This election is going to be decided by the same people who decide every election. I call them Scared High-strung Easily-manipulated Egocentric Pinheads or SHEEP. SHEEP are flaky not particularly bright voters who make up their minds at the last minute and vote instinctively for whichever candidate promises them the most and frightens them the least. They are people like Betty Bukowsky, 49, who lives in Dinkytown, Minn., who told me, "There's a Presidential election this year?"

Friday, February 15, 2008

I am hoping the Democratic Party will not cave in the next couple of hours. It seems that they have adjourned so there will be no telecom immunity. Glenn Greenwald provides the analysis as always.

The issue is not "intelligence gaps." Rather, as McConnell candidly admits, the "real issue" is "liability protection for the private sector." To take them at their word, George Bush and Mike McConnell are putting the nation at risk in order to ensure that AT&T and Verizon do not have to be held accountable in a court of law for having broken the law. Think about how twisted and corrupt that calculus is.

One other vital point: The claim that telecoms will cease to cooperate without retroactive immunity is deeply dishonest on multiple levels, but the dishonesty is most easily understood when one realizes that, under the law, telecoms are required to cooperate with legal requests from the government. They don't have the option to "refuse." Without amnesty, telecoms will be reluctant in the future to break the law again, which we should want. But there is no risk that they will refuse requests to cooperate with legal surveillance, particularly since they are legally obligated to cooperate in those circumstances. The claim the telcoms will cease to cooperate with surveillance requests is pure fear-mongering, and is purely dishonest.

Special Comment

Keith Olbermann's special comment 2/14/08. He is on fire. Transcript at Crooks and Liars.
Horse Shoe Tournament

Lion King finds a horse shoe tournament in Hennepin IL.

Inter Dietary Relationships
Who knew it could be a problem worthy of the New York Times? It did contain this gem.
No-holds-barred carnivores, for example, may share the view of Anthony Bourdain, who wrote in his book “Kitchen Confidential” that “vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter faction, the vegans ... are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit.”

Thursday, February 14, 2008

More Diet Soda
Via Avedon at the Sideshow, we find out about a new study on aspartame. That stuff is nasty. It is made from phenylalanine, aspartic acid, and methanol. The study was done by someone that wanted to convince their family to stop drinking diet pepsi.
Canadian Drugs
Are not, oh wait, these are Chinese drugs. Well they must be safe. I mean, It is not like China would allow date rape drugs in children's toys, Oh wait, or lead paint in children's toys, oh wait. Why exactly is it ok to bring drugs from china but not Canada?

WASHINGTON — A Chinese factory that has not been inspected by the Food and Drug Administration is the source for the active ingredient of a critical blood-thinning drug whose production was suspended this week after 350 patients reported ill effects from it.

At least four people died after being given the drug, heparin.

An F.D.A. spokeswoman, Heidi Robello, said Wednesday that the agency was making plans to inspect the Chinese factory as well as a finishing plant in New Jersey “as soon as possible.”

She said that “it was yet to be determined” if the Chinese plant was the source of the problem that led to the spike in reports of problems with the drug’s use.

Electric Shirt
It does not produce as much energy as the knee brace but it is light. Using nano technology scientists have made a shirt that can produce electricity.

"The fiber-based nanogenerator would be a simple and economical way to harvest energy from the physical movement," Zhong Lin Wang of the Georgia Institute of Technology, who led the study, said in a statement.

The nanogenerator takes advantage of the semiconductive properties of zinc oxide nanowires -- tiny wires 1,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair -- embedded into the fabric. The wires are formed into pairs of microscopic brush-like structures, shaped like a baby-bottle brush.

One of the fibers in each pair is coated with gold and serves as an electrode. As the bristles brush together through a person's body movement, the wires convert the mechanical motion into electricity.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Mt. Lafayette

longwaydown, originally uploaded by Ben Kimball.

This was taken on January 21 of this year. Here is a nice article about Fredrickson and Osborne who were rescued near here on Monday.

Update: Good news Osborne's condition has been upgraded.

Vegan Strip Club

I am not sure there is a big market for vegan food in strip clubs. This has to be classy they "put their meat on the pole not on the plate." Via Tree Hugger.
End Of Civilization
Lake Mead and lake Powell could be empty in 13 years. No civilization can live without water. That is not to say Las Vegas is civilized.
Lake Mead, the vast reservoir for the Colorado River water that sustains the fast-growing cities of Phoenix and Las Vegas, could lose water faster than previously thought and run dry within 13 years, according to a new study by scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

The lake, located in Nevada and Arizona, has a 50 percent chance of becoming unusable by 2021, the scientists say, if the demand for water remains unchanged and if human-induced climate change follows climate scientists’ moderate forecasts, resulting in a reduction in average river flows.

Demand for Colorado River water already slightly exceeds the average annual supply when high levels of evaporation are taken into account, the researchers, Tim P. Barnett and David W. Pierce, point out. Despite an abundant snowfall in Colorado this year, scientists project that snowpacks and their runoffs will continue to dwindle. If they do, the system for delivering water across the Southwest would become increasingly unstable.

Maybe the housing bubble will slow things down. The speed of it seems to have caught the scientists off guard.

"We were stunned at the magnitude of the problem and how fast it is coming at us," notes Tim Barnett, a research physicist at Scripps who led the effort. By "dry," the team means that water levels fall so low behind the Hoover and Glenn Canyon Dams that the water fails to reach the gravity-fed intakes that guide it through turbines or out through spillways. In addition, the report estimates that the lakes stand a 50 percent chance of falling to the lowest levels required to generate electricity by 2017.

Last week, Dr. Barnett published additional work in the journal Science attributing 60 percent of the reduction in snowpack, rising temperatures, and reduced river flows over the past 50 years to global warming.

The latest work "not only shows that climate change is a real problem. It also shows it has direct implications for humans – and not just in the third world," says Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute in Oakland, Calif. The institute focuses on links between sustainable development and global security issues. "Even without climate change, we're taking too much water from the Colorado. So it's no surprise that if we continue to take too much, the reservoirs will go dry."

Perhaps the civilizations will go the way of the Anasazi. The Anasazi are the people that built the pueblos at Mesa Verdi National Park.

Franconia Notch Rescue
More on yesterdays rescue in the white mountains.

The search teams that found two men atop a mountain in Franconia Notch had spent nearly six hours breaking trail to the summit, making their way through darkness, deep snow and howling winds.

Above treeline and near the 4,800-foot summit of Little Haystack, the seven-man rescue team found Laurence Frederickson, 55, of South Sutton and James Osborne, 36, of Manchester at about 7:30 p.m.

"They were right on the trail," said Fish and Game Lt. James Goss.

Conditions were difficult throughout the afternoon for the two-dozen searchers who made their way up two trails that were likely taken by Osborne and Frederickson.

But searchers caught a break, when after sunset, the freezing fog lifted and enabled a National Guard helicopter to land atop Little Haystack and bring the two men off the mountain.

There is more to the article.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Franconia Notch

IMG_4769.JPG, originally uploaded by abbybatchelder.

This was taken on the 8th of February this year.

Fried Food vs Diet Soda
It seems the fried food is less bad. Yesterday, I linked to this article about diet soda and Metabolic syndrome. Via, I find that the more diet soda you drink the more overweight you are likely to be. Check this out from a curious girl.

A different study found that for each can of diet soda consumed each day, a person’s risk of obesity went up 41%. For regular soda drinkers, the risk of becoming overweight or obese was:

  • 26% for up to 1/2 can each day
  • 30.4% for 1/2 to 1 can each day
  • 32.8% for 1 to 2 cans each day
  • 47.2% for more than 2 cans each day.

For diet soda drinkers, the risk of becoming overweight or obese was:

  • 36.5% for up to 1/2 can each day
  • 37.5% for 1/2 to 1 can each day
  • 54.5% for 1 to 2 cans each day
  • 57.1% for more than 2 cans each day.

However, correlation does not imply causation. No study concludes that diet soda causes metabolic syndrome. Yet.

Writers Win
There are reports that the Writers Guild of America has won there strike against the huge TV and motion picture companies. The Carpet Bagger has a guest blogger and Guild member Thomas Cleaver, to discuss the strike.

And one of my favorite Utah Phillips songs. There Is Power In The Union

Physics Of NASCAR
The New York Times has an article about the physics of NASCAR.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — When Junior Johnson entered the Daytona 500 in 1960, he’d already achieved fame in two careers — first as a moonshiner who kept outrunning federal agents, then by applying those skills to win stock-car races.

Now he was ready for a new career as an “intuitive physicist,” a term borrowed from Diandra Leslie-Pelecky, who teaches nonintuitive physics at the University of Nebraska.

Johnson was stuck driving an old Chevrolet that was slower than the Pontiacs at Daytona that year. But in practice he discovered that he could keep up with a Pontiac if he stayed close to its rear bumper. He suspected, as he put it, that “the air was creating a situation, a slipstream type of thing.”

Just in time for this years Daytona 500.

White Mountains
As an Appalachian Trail hiker you are constantly told about the dangers of the White Mountains. I can not imagine going up them in the winter. But two hikers did this weekend, unfortunately one died and the other fighting for his life.

FRANCONIA NOTCH, N.H.—One of the missing hikers found in frigid Franconia Notch (New Hampshire) has died and the second is fighting for his life.

more stories like this

Fish and Game said 55-year-old Laurence Fredrickson of South Sutton was pronounced dead on arrival at Littleton Regional Hospital Monday night. Thirty-six-year-old James Osborne of Manchester is reported in critical condition.

My condolences to the family and friends of Laurence Fredrickson. Lets pray James Osborne makes it through.

Monday, February 11, 2008


No you cant
Go John Go!
It seems Bush has pissed off John Conyers enough that he is considering impeachment hearings. Nicolle Belle at Crooks and Liars.

On Thursday, Chairman John Conyers’ House Judiciary Committee held a hearing at which Attorney General Michael Mukasey said that he would not investigate torture (video) or warrantless spying (video), he would not enforce contempt citations (video), and he would treat Justice Department opinions as providing immunity for crimes (report).

None of this was new, but perhaps it touched something in Conyers that had not been touched before. Following the hearing, he and two staffers met for an hour and 15 minutes with two members of Code Pink to discuss impeachment.

If you want to contact him to push him in the right direction.

Let’s push Conyers over the edge by flooding his office with phone calls, faxes, and Emails on Monday and Tuesday. Let him know that only impeachment hearings

1-will make it on TV,
2-will force compliance with subpoenas by eliminating “executive privilege”,
3-will hold brazen criminals accountable, and
4-will convince voters that Democrats care about the Constitution.
Call 202-225-5126
Fax 202-225-0072

It Is Best To Have Principles

But most of all, progressives should realize that Nixonland is not the country we want to be. Racism, misogyny and character assassination are all ways of distracting voters from the issues, and people who care about the issues have a shared interest in making the politics of hatred unacceptable.

One of the most hopeful moments of this presidential campaign came last month, when a number of Jewish leaders signed a letter condemning the smear campaign claiming that Mr. Obama was a secret Muslim. It’s a good guess that some of those leaders would prefer that Mr. Obama not become president; nonetheless, they understood that there are principles that matter more than short-term political advantage.

I’d like to see more moments like that, perhaps starting with strong assurances from both Democratic candidates that they respect their opponents and would support them in the general election.

Obama Beats Clinton
For a Grammy. It was Obama's second Grammy in the spoken word category. He also beat Jimmy Carter and Maya Angelou.

Obama on Sunday won the spoken word Grammy for the audiobook version of his blockbuster tome "The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream." It marked his second statuette, following a win in 2006 for "Dreams From My Father," an audiobook for a memoir first published in 1995.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Corruption In Alabama
The US Attorney's office in Alabama has lost its bearings. Scott Horton at Harper's has been Documenting the atrocities.

If we had to pick one state in the nation where these evil tendencies are most obviously on display, then certainly it is Alabama, home to the nation’s highest profile and most abusive political prosecution. A major television network will shortly be exposing a number of lurid details surrounding the Siegelman case which point to corruption inside of the Justice Department. I have formed the view that the corruption on the prosecutorial side of the ledger greatly outweighs the corruption charged against the defendants in the Siegelman matter. The corruption inside of the Justice Department is exhibited on several different levels:

• The politicization of the U.S. attorney’s office
• The process of “targeting” political victims
• The corrupt manipulation of evidence
• The process of working to secure convictions through collaboration with “friendly” media

Also, Scott on what makes a prosecution political.

A Little Strange
It is not important how the people vote. It is important to count the votes. However, the saying goes. In Washington last night the GOP count sat at 17% for hours before they started counting again. then the GOP started, then stopped at 87%. I thought for a while Ron Paul was going to beat McCain before they slowed the counting.
Update: Huckabee has lawyered up.
Really Long Distance Hiking
Daren Wendell Plans to walk around the world. A hike of some 18,000 miles.
Wendell begins his journey in March, hiking the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail, then hopping the Atlantic to pick up his trek in Europe. He will traverse southern Europe and hike his way through China, making the Great Wall part of the adventure. Into Siberia, bounding over the Bering Sea, wandering through Alaska, Wendell will finish out the final 2,075 miles walking west to east, eventually landing back at the start of the Appalachian Trail in northern Georgia.

He has a web site complete with blog so you know I will read that. I wish him the best of luck.
Mix 11 languages, 18,000 miles, 7 years, 3 continents, 17 times zones, 14 countries, 36 million steps, one man, a backpack and a dream and you get The Earth Expedition. A mans dream to walk the worlds continents on nothing but two feet. Since 2006 Daren Wendell has been planning, saving, reading, researching, and training for The Earth Expedition; a dream that he have committed many years to accomplish. “I am drawn to challenge and what people say I cannot do. I’m attracted to risk; I’m attracted to the unexpected, attracted to new people, new languages, new cultures, and new places. People always ask me the question Why? I guess I should have a pretty good answer for this question considering I will be answering it for the next 8 years of my life. There are many reasons why:

Diet Soda Bad
The New York Times is reporting that drinking just one can of diet soda a day is bad for you.
Researchers have found a correlation between drinking diet soda and metabolic syndrome — the collection of risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes that include abdominal obesity, high cholesterol and blood glucose levels, and elevated blood pressure.

If you want to drink something with no sugar and no fat try regular soda. No seriously! Read the label. Major soda brands(coke, pepsi, Mt. lightning, Dr Thunder, etc.) do not have sugar or fat. I am not saying that high fructose corn syrup is good. I am saying that just because something does not have fat or sugar means it is good.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

I do not remember this from around new years.
Alabama woman whose body was found outside her locked SUV in a parking near a hiking trail died of hypothermia after being unable to reach her keys inside.The body of Sandra Ordner, 47, of Daphne, Alabama, Ala., was found on Jan. 31 hours after she had phoned home to tell her husband she was going hiking.

Why did she not try to break in?

She was found next to the passenger side and smudges could be seen on windows of her Land Rover. No rocks or sticks were found near the SUV that would indicate an attempt at breaking the window. Rain began to fall at 6 and later fell below freezing.

What happened between 9:00 am phone call and 6:00 pm rain? It was only a two mile hiking loop.

Canadian Health Care
Some myths busted by Sara Robinson.

I'm both a health-care-card-carrying Canadian resident and an uninsured American citizen who regularly sees doctors on both sides of the border. As such, I'm in a unique position to address the pros and cons of both systems first-hand. If we're going to have this conversation, it would be great if we could start out (for once) with actual facts, instead of ideological posturing, wishful thinking, hearsay, and random guessing about how things get done up here.

To that end, here's the first of a two-part series aimed at busting the common myths Americans routinely tell each other about Canadian health care. When the right-wing hysterics drag out these hoary old bogeymen, this time, we need to be armed and ready to blast them into straw. Because, mostly, straw is all they're made of.

Read it all.

We need to get the word out that biofuels are not the solution. What happened was the gas companies saw a lot of government welfare, then bribed congress(in campaign contributions) to keep the welfare going. There is an exception to this. If you make your biofuels from used cooking oil. It is taking a waste product and reusing it. From the NYT.
Together the two studies offer sweeping conclusions: It does not matter if it is rain forest or scrubland that is cleared, the greenhouse gas contribution is significant. More important, they discovered that, taken globally, the production of almost all biofuels resulted, directly or indirectly, intentionally or not, in new lands being cleared, either for food or fuel.

Plus it raises the price of beer.
Scientists have invented a knee brace that generates electricity when you walk. If it is light enough you will see these on long distance hikers. Hikers are carryind cell phones, mp3 players, cameras, and who knows what other devices in the future.

"It generates a fairly substantial amount of power compared to previous devices and it does so in a way that doesn't affect the user very much," Kuo said in a telephone interview.

"You could easily power 10 cell phones at once. There are some low power computers that you could power. You could imagine devices like GPS locaters, satellite phones," he said.

With a device placed on each leg, volunteers walking on treadmills generated about 5 watts of electricity walking at a leisurely 2.2 mph (3.5 kph). Each of the devices weighs about 3.5 pounds (1.6 kg), which Kuo said was still too unwieldy.

"Even though we've demonstrated this new way to generate power, we don't mean to say this is a usable product at this time. The principal limitations are that our prototype is pretty heavy and bulky," Kuo said, adding that he thinks it can be made smaller and more practical.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Jimmy Johnson
Nascar champion Jimmy Johnson visited the Oval Office. Steve Benen has the details and great commentary.
* And finally, Jimmie Johnson, a NASCAR driver, got a chance to meet the president at the White House recently, but thought the Oval Office was just for show. “[Y]ou can tell that’s not the office he really works in,” Johnson said. “It’s way too clean. There isn’t a paper on the desk. There isn’t a computer on the desk. And I’d really like to see his spot. Obviously there are things that are done in that office, but I want to see the spot. I want to see how messy this man is or how organized this man is, you know?” I wonder if Johnson considered the notion that maybe the president doesn’t actually have a place where he does actual work?


Just so you do not forget all of Bush's scandals. Via Hoffmania