Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Germanator
In 2004, I hiked the Pacific Crest Trail. One of the people I hiked with was Robert from Germany. He was an endless source of fun. He spoke English well. However, he did not know American slang.

We shared a hotel room, with several other people, at Warner Hot Springs down in Southern California. I bought some beer. I know, your shocked, that I would do such a thing. I handed the Germanator a beer. He clinked beer bottles with me.

Now, being a safety man, I looked at the bottles as they clinked. The Germanator was offended. He said in Germany when you bang a man you look him in the eye. Everyone in the room laughed out loud. The Germanator did not know that bang was a euphemism for sex. It would not be the last time slang got the better of him.
Ken Silverstein does some math after Rudy's demise.

Rudy spent $142.83 for every vote he received. And again, that is based on campaign spending only through December 31. The real number will go higher when 2008 spending figures are released.

All of this puts Rudy in a league with Phil Gramm and John Connally, two past lavishly financed GOP presidential flameouts (in 1996 and 1980, respectively). But Rudy’s crash was even more stunning. Gramm and Connally were both deemed to be serious contenders, but neither was ever anointed the decisive frontrunner like Rudy.

Farewell, Rudy. You won’t, it seems, be missed.

The most esteemed Juan Cole.
Bush signed a law forbidding him from spending money to make permanent bases in Iraq but at the same time issued a signing statement making clear he had no intention of paying any attention to that or several other provisions in the legislation. What do you call a leader unconstrained by his legislature? An absolute monarch. I thought we had a revolution to get rid of that sort of thing.

Soft Economy
It is not going well for the American worker.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of workers filing new claims for jobless aid surged last week to the highest since October 2005, and consumer spending softened at the end of last year, according to reports on Thursday that heightened worries about a possible recession.[...]

Separately, the Commerce Department said consumer spending edged up by 0.2 percent in December after a 1 percent gain in November, just enough to keep pace with inflation.

U.S. stock markets opened down sharply on economic concerns, while the value of the dollar dropped and prices for government debt rose as traders concluded the reading on the jobs market made further aggressive interest rate cuts from the Federal Reserve more likely.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Hiker Lost In Sierra Avalanche
Another hiker lost. This is one of the worst years for avalanches in years. Possibly, the worst ever. It will hopefully not reach the highest number of deaths. But in the number of different avalanches.
Morgan Cowles, 39, was one of two men hiking in the backcountry when the avalanche occurred, said Alex Picavet, a National Park Service spokesman. They were reported overdue, and on Tuesday searchers found Cowles at the bottom of a steep slope.

I do not know the highest number in one season but in 1910 a train was hit in Stevens Pass Washington killing 96. It was the nations worst death toll from an avalanche.

I heard from the weather channel the other night that 27 people had been killed in the US so far this season.
Update: is saying 27. It seems that it is not the highest year recently.
I was hoping Costco would win this case. They are a good company. they treat their employees and customers so well it upsets Wall Street.

A federal appeals court Tuesday dealt Costco Wholesale Corp. a setback on whether the warehouse club operator could lower prices of beer and wine for its customers.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the Washington State Liquor Control Board could prohibit discounts, ban central warehousing of beer and wine by retailers, require wholesale distributors to charge uniform prices to all retailers and require a 10 percent markup.

I do not like distributors. In Maryland, a brewery, vineyard or distillery can not sell directly to a bar or restaurant. They have to sell to a Distributor. Who marks up the price and sells it. I see no real need for this middle man. I guess Costco wanted to cut him out too.

Trust Us
Feingold on FISA.

As I say in my listening sessions, I take out my Blackberry and I say, "Do you folks realize that if you make a phone call or e-mail or do what I did yesterday, I received an e-mail from my daughter who's in England, that that is no longer private. That the government can suck up all your e-mails and all your phone calls whether it be to your son or daughter in Iraq or your child that's in their junior year abroad, or it's a reporter over there, and there's no court oversight of it at all. It's just 'trust us' by the administration." That's what's going on in this legislation.

From mcjoan at Daily Kos
Marijuana Vending Machines
California remains on the cutting edge of society. They have approved vending machines for preapproved medical patients with a prescription.

The specialized machine installed Monday at Herbal Nutrition Center - a medical-marijuana dispensary on La Cienega Boulevard - requires fingerprint identification as well as a special prepaid card.

"I wanted to take steps to benefit the industry," said Mehdizadeh, who owns two dispensaries. "We have legitimate patients that need us."

Mehdizadeh's machine is far from the standard potato-chip model. The black, armored box is bolted to the floor at the entrance to the dispensary.

It has a card swiper, a video camera that also takes a snapshot of any user and adds it to a database, and is protected by armed security guards.

Glenn Greenwald takes on the beltway journalists and bipartisanship.

But more importantly, "bipartisanship" is already rampant in Washington, not rare. And, in almost every significant case, what "bipartisanship" means in Washington is that enough Democrats join with all of the Republicans to endorse and enact into law Republican policies, with which most Democratic voters disagree. That's how so-called "bipartisanship" manifests in almost every case.

Many people, especially partisans, always believe that their own side is compromising too much and that the other side is always winning, so it's best to consult objective facts in order to know how "bipartisanship" works. Here are the vote breakdowns by party over the last couple years on the most significant and contentious pieces of legislation, particularly (though not only) in the area of national security.

In almost every case, the proposals that are enacted are ones favored by the White House and supported by all GOP lawmakers, and then Democrats split and enough of them join with Republicans to ensure that the GOP gets what it wants. That's "bipartisanhip" in Washington:

To support the new Bush-supported FISA law:

GOP - 48-0

Dems - 12-36

Glenn goes on to provide many more examples. You should read the whole thing.
Support Congressman Wexler
This is part of an e-mail from Robert Wexler

We need to finally act on the promises of the 2006 election and stop at nothing to bring our troops home from the Iraq. If we do not act Bush will install a permanent US presence in Iraq and John McCain's vision of a 100 year US occupation will become reality. (Click here to read my recent editorial on the Failure of the Bush Surge in Iraq.)

It is time that we faced up to our global responsibilities and begin to prevent global warming. In the richest nation on earth, it is long past time that we provide health insurance to every single American.

We must aggressively pursue impeachment hearings for Vice President Dick Cheney due to serious allegations of abuse of power including illegal wiretapping, torture, and deliberate lies to bring us to war. (Click here to see my recent speech on the floor of the House calling for impeachment hearings).

Fifteen members of Congress - including 4 Judiciary Committee members - have already joined my call to Chairman Conyers for impeachment hearings and more are joining each day: (Click here to see the letter I am sending to Congressman Conyers and the list of members who have joined as signatories.)

Bush Administration officials and cabinet members must answer questions - on the record - regarding illegal wiretapping, torture, and what I perceive as deliberate, knowing lies to the American people in an effort to bring us to war in Iraq.

Impeachment hearings are essential because the Administration has recklessly used claims of executive privilege to block key witnesses from testifying. Impeachment hearings could force the Administration to drop their executive privilege claims and we would then finally get the answers this nation deserves. We are making progress with over 216,000 Americans already registering their support at

We must rededicate ourselves to the core values of this nation and finally deliver to the American people the change they demanded when they stood up and voted for Democrats in 2006.

I value your support, and I am thankful for your patriotism.

Together, we can begin to restore the state of our Union.

With warm regards,

Congressman Robert Wexler

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

My Solio Review
I bought a Solio solar charger for my long distance hike last year. I hiked from Clark's Ferry Pennsylvania to Webster Cliffs in New Hampshire on the Appalachian Trail. It was a hike of about 640 miles. It was the only charger I used for the two months I was on the trail. The Solio was used to charge my ipod.

The Solio comes with multiple attachments. If you have more than one electronic device your only need the Solio to charge them. It can be used to charge you phone,mp3 player, and camera. Or whatever you carry with you.

The Solio can be plugged in. It should be plugged in to properly charge its battery, before it is used as a solar charger. I have met hikers that have not done this. They had trouble with the Solio because of not properly charging it. It comes with attachments for different countries and continents. Great for the traveler.

The battery is the best feature of the Solio. It allows you to charge your electronic device whenever you want as long as it has a charge. If it is night or has been cloudy, you can charge your device. My Solio holds about two charges for my ipod.

I made sure I left town with my ipod and Solio charged. It did not charge well on the back of my pack. The Appalachian Trail is a long green tunnel. I would find a sunny spot on my breaks. If I stopped early I would put it in the sun. I never ran out of juice. If you listen to your mp3 player all day, you might. It all depends on how much you use your toys. I believe it will work better on your pack out west.

Solio home.
Update: It weights with wall plug, attachments for ipod, and bag 9and 7/8 onces on my kitchen scale.

Crooks and Liars has the video of the Bushed segment from Countdown with Kieth Olbermann. It is the segment that Kieth talks about the ongoing Bush scandals, lest we forget.
Big Telecom Is Watching
AT&T apparently has enjoyed the profits from spying on you for the government, it has found a new source of revenue for spying. It is going to start opening all e-mails to look for copy right infringement. Here is Joel Johnson from Boing Boing on a AT$T show.

Of course this is not AT$T's tape because they stopped filming the show.
Of Thomas Ten Bears:
The American people are like baby birds waiting each night in front of their television sets for the corporate news bird to land in their living room and lovingly puke down their necks that day’s regurgitated news.

Jessica Gottlieb over at Celsias has an article about the solio solar charger. It reminds me of a hit piece sponsored by the coal nuclear power industry.

It is almost as if she had know idea what she was buying. She was stunned to find out it has attachments for other countries that the poor Gottlieb can not afford to got to. It clearly states these are part of what you get. Link. These are good features for people that travel. Great features for people that live in other countries.

I am going to assume Gottlieb bought the charger she linked to. It is simular to the one I own and use when I am backpacking. Here is what she says.

I mean it works, in that it does what it says it will do. It’ll charge your iPhone in about 6-8 hours, if you’re not using said iPhone during that time. By contrast the iPhone plugged into a cigarette lighter in the car charges in 25 minutes. The batteries will recharge in the Solio when it’s left in direct sunlight (again for 6-8 hours) so if you’re ready to take $70-$100 of electronics and leave it out in the elements you’ll be much happier, just make sure to avoid shade at all costs. If you plan to leave it in your kitchen window, prepare for disappointment.

It won’t charge in car windows and I don’t know why but I suspect it has something to do with tempered glass.

It is clear that Gottlieb loves the concept of solar power but does not understand how solar panels work. Solar panels have to be outside. How terribly inconvenient. Mine came with a suction cup so it could be hung outside a kitchen window.

You do not have to keep your electronic devise hooked up to the solio for 6-8 hours for it to charge. It has a battery. The battery when charged takes about 45 minutes to charge my ipod. The battery is the best feature of the solio. It holds a little more than two charges for my ipod.

I should mention that this is made to be outside in the elements. It is a solar panel and who ever heard of solar panels being installed inside. For some reason Gottlieb seems to think it is a bad idea to put it outside.

I am not saying that the solio is perfect. It works well as a solar charger. I suspect I appreciate it a bit more because there are no places to plug in when I am backpacking.

Update: I have found a pink Solio. It is the same one I have but with a different color. It is not the Solio that Gottlieb linked to.

Fisa Update
Avedon sees the problem clearly.
This is a good outcome, especially if Dems have the brains to use the kind of language Glenn does (yeah, hope springs eternal), but those Democrats weren't doing all this for the right reasons, and they'd still have voted against the ameliorating amendments and for the ugly bill, telecom immunity and all, if the Republicans hadn't decided to play politics with it. You will recall they played a similar game to get the impeachment motion passed just for political games because the Democratic leadership was trying so hard to kill it. So we have a situation where the Democratic leaders are trying to defeat what's right and what their constituents want, and the Republicans are trying to embarrass them by making them "lose" - or win, depending on how you look at it. It's all politics for the Republicans, and fear of politics for the Democrats. In case anyone missed it, the entire episode is completely and utterly stupid. We still have only a small handful of people who are doing the right thing for the right reasons.

Terror In SOTU
From Matt Yglesias.
"There has not been another attack on our soil since 9/11" -- anthrax! Anthrax! Oh well. For some reason that whole episode has been officially erased from the historical record or something.

But that was against a liberal newspaper and The Senate majority Leader A Democrat. So, they do not count. Nor does this right wing terrorism.

I predict that in the first year of the next democratic administration they will catch OBL and the anthrax killer.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Bush Guilty Of Political Terrorism
John Amato has the video of Senator Jay Rockefeller on the Senate floor.
Jay: Under the tortured logic of protecting America against terrorism, the WH has decided to exercise frankly its own form of political terrorism and has taken the FISA bill hostage.
It seems all the American terrorists are on the right.
Senate Stimulus
It appears that the senate wants to weigh in on the economic stimulus package. The House version Pilosi negotiated with the White House will only stimulate the most well off. Look at this graph to see who gets the money. If the idea is to stimulate the economy give money to the poor and hungry. They will buy food. This bill will give little economic stimulus. It will give tax breaks and let the republicans claim they did something.

The Senate is thinking about extending the unemployment benefits 13 weeks or in states with 6% unemployment 26 weeks. This is a good idea. They will buy food pay rent keep the economy going. Food stamps would help.

I would like to highlight these graphs from Robert Greenstein.
  • Of all tax and spending stimulus options that CBO examined, the only two that it found would have a large “bang-for-the-buck” as effective stimulus and act fast to boost the economy are the unemployment insurance and food stamp provisions. Both could start injecting more consumer purchasing power into the economy within one to two months. The planned tax rebate checks, in contrast, are not likely to be sent out until June.
  • found that for each dollar spent on extended UI benefits, $1.64 in increased economic activity would be generated. For each dollar in increased food stamp benefits, $1.73 in new economic activity would be generated. No other options rated as high.
  • In contrast, found that for each dollar in “accelerated depreciation” — the main business tax cut in the package — only 27 cents of increased economic activity would be generated. CBO and a Federal Reserve study in 2006 found that the business tax cuts adopted in the last recession, which closely resemble those in the current package, had only modest stimulative effects. Despite this evidence, the package apparently contains at least $50 billion in business tax cuts while excluding unemployment insurance — the single measure most focused on the people hardest hit by the downturn — and food stamps.
The democratic party has ideas that will stimulate the economy. Republicans want tax breaks that are ineffective. Who do you want to handle the economy. Republicans are wining that the democrats better not delay their give away to the wealthy.

"I don't think the Senate is going to want to derail this program," Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Bush's pointman on the deal, told CNN on Sunday. "And I don't think the American people are going to be anything but impatient if we don't enact this bipartisan agreement quickly."

But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has said the Senate would consider adding to that plan, including extending unemployment benefits, boosting home heating subsidies, raising food stamp benefits and approving money for public works projects.

Bush and the republicans are going to whine about anything that will help the American people,because they hate them, you see.

I have always thought that the way to enforce illegal immigration was with the employers. They have a lot more to loose than a broke laborer. If you stop the jobs you stop the immigration. This should be obvious to everyone.

Lou Dobbs signature issue is immigration. He will talk about it for days on end. Offer any crackpot solution possible. No fringe wingnut to fringe. Because he is a good republican tool he will not talk about getting rid of the jobs. Why? Republicans want the illegal immigrants here. It does two important things. It gets the base all fired up about scary brown people and depresses wages for working people.

Arizona has enacted a tough employer based law. Guess what, the illegals are going.

Krugman would like the democratic candidates to talk issues.
It’s starting to feel a bit like 1992 again. A Bush is in the White House, the economy is a mess, and there’s a candidate who, in the view of a number of observers, is running on a message of hope, of moving past partisan differences, that resembles Bill Clinton’s campaign 16 years ago.[...]
What the Democrats should do is get back to talking about issues — a focus on issues has been the great contribution of John Edwards to this campaign — and about who is best prepared to push their agenda forward. Otherwise, even if a Democrat wins the general election, it will be 1992 all over again. And that would be a bad thing.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sunday Condiment Blogging
Matt Yglesias Points out this excellent essay about ketchup. That is must reading for people that love food. It goes beyond ketchup. If you want to look at pictures of condiment packages, and you know you do, here and here. If you want to buy just one packet of mayo try here.
Stimulation Two
Tengrain presents the Bush tax cut stimulation plan. It is dummied down enough that even the media could understand what is going on. Not that the media will explain it to the people. Really click through. It is worth it.
A Walk In The Woods
The Bill Bryson book, A Walk In The Woods, has caused more controversy on the Appalachian Trail than any other book. It is now going to be made into a movie with Robert Redford playing the Bryson character. Many a hiker would argue about this book. Reading the book and hiking the trail are optional for most hikers with an opinion. In 2001, three years after the book came out, it was the talk of the trail. things have calmed since then.
2001, the year I thru-hiked, the trail felt crowded. In no small part because of this book. The White Blaze community is all ready speculating about the crowds to come. I think they are right there will be a few big years after the movie.
The Story Of Stuff

Good stuff. Click here for whole movie and resources.
Media Borders On Mental illness
Congressional Quarterly's Craig Crawford said that here is Media Matters.
During the January 26 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe, Congressional Quarterly columnist Craig Crawford responded to host Joe Scarborough's assertion that former President Bill Clinton is "divisive" by stating, "I really think the evidence-free bias against the Clintons in the media borders on mental illness." Crawford went on to state, "I mean, we've gotten into a situation where if you try to be fair to the Clintons, if you try to be objective, if you try to say, 'Well, where's the evidence of racism in the Clinton campaign?' you're accused of being a naïve shill for the Clintons." He later added: "I really think it's a problem."

Saturday, January 26, 2008

$400 Beer
Yes, someone is charging $400 for a beer. Beer drinkers know better. Unlike wine drinkers that are too busy posing as knowledgeable.

The product, costing 357 times more than Carlsberg's main Danish lager brand, has been developed to challenge luxury wines in the gourmet restaurant market and capitalize on rising individual wealth. Denmark, a country of 5.4 million, has 16 billionaires, according to a list published this month by Berlingske Nyhedsmagasin magazine. The number of billionaires worldwide rose 21 percent last year to 946, Forbes magazine said.

"We can feel that there's an increasing market for this type of product, as some of our customers order extremely expensive wines without blinking an eye," Lau Richter, restaurant chief at Noma, said by phone.

Carlsberg has produced 600 bottles of the 10.5 percent proof beer, each four-fifths of a pint. Another version costing just a bit more will be introduced next year and again in 2010, the company said.

I ain't buying it.

Glenn has a good round up of FISA, and where we stand.

Regardless of the ultimate outcome of the FISA and telecom immunity conflict, there is something quite unique about how things have proceeded that I think is worth noting. Telecom immunity and warrantless eavesdropping powers are exactly the types of issues that normally generate very little controversy or debate. Identically, the bill advocated by Dick Cheney, Jay Rockefeller and Mitch McConnell is the type of bill that is normally passed, quickly and quietly, by Congress without any trouble. That isn't happening this time, and it's worth looking at why that is.

The establishment media has virtually ignored these matters from the beginning. Most establishment-serving pundits who have paid any attention -- the David Ignatiuses and Joe Kleins and Fred Hiatts -- have done so by advocating, as usual, the Establishment position: retroactive immunity and warrantless eavesdropping powers are the right thing to do. Although there is no citizen-constituency whatsoever crying out for telecom immunity or new warrantless eavesdropping powers, the forces behind those provisions are the ones which typically dictate what Congress does: namely, the largest corporations and their lobbyists, who have been working, as always, in the dark to ensure that the law they want is enacted.

That's typically the way Washington works -- the most significant laws are seamlessly enacted with little real debate or attention, driven by corporations and lobbyists working in secret with Senators, cheered on by the Serious media pundits, with bipartisan pools of lawmakers silently and obediently on board. And once those forces line up behind any measure, it is normally almost impossible to stop it -- not just stop it, but even disrupt it at all. That's the insulated Beltway parlor, virtually impervious to outside influences, least of all the opinions of the citizen-rabble.

Atrios cuts through the bs again.
FDA Still Not On Your Side
The FDA is downplaying the risks associated with cloned animals. Remember this is the agency that allows drug makers to speed drugs to market before the drug trial reports are released.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The 600 cloned animals in the United States most likely have not produced offspring whose products have entered the food supply, an official with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Thursday, as the agency downplayed the long-term impact cloning will have on the food supply.

Hopefully, the animals will have to be marked as such. My confidence is not high. Yes, some senators are making noise but they will probably change their minds. A campaign contribution here a campaign contribution there.

Democratic lawmakers, Sen. Barbara Mikulski and Rep. Rosa DeLauro, have introduced legislation that would require a label on products from cloned animals or their offspring. Some state lawmakers also have introduced similar legislation.

"If cloned food is safe, let it onto the market, but give consumers the information they need to avoid these products if they choose to," said Mikulski.

It would be nice if these law makers also sought labeling for hormone tainted milk at the same time.

Chris Dodd

This is why we fight

Friday, January 25, 2008

For those interested in the FISA battle. Here are some links and commentary. My take is Bush wants telecom immunity to cover the thousands of high crimes and misdemeanors that he has admitted too. Harry Reid worked hard to cover Bush's high crimes and misdemeanors. The republicans had to rub his nose in it and he is now pissed.
  1. Glenn Greenwald
  2. Tim Tagaris
  3. Christy Hardin Smith
  4. John Amato on Harry Reid
  5. John Amato on Mitch McConnell
And Jane Hamsher's commentary:

The Democrats were ready to give George Bush everything that he wanted on FISA. They used Senate procedure to tank the Judiciary bill, paving the way for the Intelligence Committee bill (negotiated by Jay Rockefeller and the White House) with retroactive immunity for the telecoms. They were all lined up to vote for it save for a few meaningless tweaks; Dodd was going to filibuster but eventually that would end and Bush would get everything he wanted.

The Republicans decided that wasn't enough. They decided they would filibuster the "meaningless tweaks" just to humiliate the Democrats even further, then filed for cloture on the Intelligence Committee bill and scheduled the vote right before the State of the Union address. The Democrats either swallow the Intel bill whole or George Bush gets up there on Monday night and screams about how the Democrats are letting the terrorists win.

The Democrats are now lined up to block cloture on the very bill they were ready to pass yesterday. George Bush will publicly humiliate them for it in the SOTU, and with the Protect America Act ready to sunset on Friday February 1st, the Democrats will either find a way to extend it for another 30 days or give the Republicans everything they want anyway out of fear of being called soft on terrah.

Ah bipartisanship.

And Justice For...
No one apparently. Scott Horton over at Harpers has a great article on what happened to the Justice Department under Bush.

Has the Bush Justice Department used the criminal justice system to punish its political adversaries all across the country? As the countdown begins to the end of the Bush Administration, abuse of the criminal justice system is finally coming into focus.

Within the Justice Department itself, the Office of Professional Responsibility and the Inspector General are conducting a joint investigation into the case of the “Gonzales Eight,” namely the firing of eight U.S. attorneys on December 7, 2006. Preliminary inquiries by Congress produced the resignation in disgrace of most of the senior leadership of the Justice Department, including Attorney General Gonzales. Now ee hear that Alberto Gonzales has “lawyered up” — for good reason. The internal probe will, I am told, demonstrate a stunning pattern of management of political prosecutions out of the White House. Karl Rove himself figures at the center of the process. And George W. Bush will put in more than a couple of key appearances in the process before this drama has been played out. The internal probe has already assembled explosive evidence of precisely this sort of abuse in its examination of the dismissal of New Mexico U.S. Attorney David Iglesias. And the inquiry has barely begun to address the parallel facts in Phoenix, San Diego, Seattle, Las Vegas and Little Rock. I will be discussing all of this in much greater detail in a feature article which will appear in a couple of weeks. Stay tuned.

It is a great article a must read.

Edwards On The Move
John Edwards is gaining on Hilary in South Carolina. He is challenging her for second place.
Looks Like A Lemon
Krugman discusses the Bush plan to give money to the well off. Some have been calling it a stimulus package.
House Democrats and the White House have reached an agreement on an economic stimulus plan. Unfortunately, the plan — which essentially consists of nothing but tax cuts and gives most of those tax cuts to people in fairly good financial shape — looks like a lemon.

Republicans with there conservative ideology can not help the American people. It is not what they do.
The words of Franklin Delano Roosevelt come to mind: “We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals; we know now that it is bad economics.”

Read it all.
A Leader
John Edwards is doing what he can to save the constitution.

Senator Edwards sent the following email to supporters this afternoon.

When it comes to protecting the rule of law, words are not enough. We need action.

It's wrong for your government to spy on you. That's why I'm asking you to join me today in calling on Senate Democrats to filibuster revisions to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that would give "retroactive immunity" to the giant telecom companies for their role in aiding George W. Bush's illegal eavesdropping on American citizens.

The Senate is debating this issue right now -- which is why we must act right now. You can find your Senators' phone numbers here or call the Senate Switchboard at 1-(202)-224-3121.

Granting retroactive immunity is wrong. It will let corporate law-breakers off the hook. It will hamstring efforts to learn the truth about Bush's illegal spying program. And it will flip on its head a core principle that has guided our nation since our founding: the belief that no one, no matter how well connected or what office they hold, is above the law.

But in Washington today, the telecom lobbyists have launched a full-court press for retroactive immunity. George Bush and Dick Cheney are doing everything in their power to ensure it passes. And too many Senate Democrats are ready to give the lobbyists and the Bush administration exactly what they want.

Please join me in calling on every Senate Democrat to do everything in their power -- including joining Senator Dodd's efforts to filibuster this legislation -- to stop retroactive immunity and stand up for the rule of law. The Constitution should not be for sale at any price.

Thank you for taking action.

John Edwards
January 24, 2008

It would be nice if senators Clinton and Obama showed some leadership on the issue. They have actual positions of leadership. It would go a long way to help senator Dodd if they led. They seem more interested in telling how they will lead, than actually leading. It is shameful.

Update: Clinton and Obama do not want to lead now. Shameful. From Jane Hamsher:

Neither of the Democratic Senators currently running for President will commit to be in the Senate for the vote on Monday (I've contacted both campaigns -- the Obama campaign says he'll be in DC but aren't sure of his schedule, and the Clinton campaign hasn't responded.)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

From McClatchy.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement has held Warziniack for weeks in an Arizona detention facility with the aim of deporting him to a country he's never seen. His jailers shrugged off Warziniack's claims that he was an American citizen, even though they could have retrieved his Minnesota birth certificate in minutes and even though a Colorado court had concluded that he was a U.S. citizen a year before it shipped him to Arizona.[...]
"The burden of proof is on the individual to show they're legally entitled to be in the United States," said ICE spokeswoman Kice.

Under Bush no more innocent until proven guilty. Hat tip Atrios.
No Stimulus
You can blame the Bush administration, whose hostility to helping those in need is now getting in the way of good economic policy. But I’m also disappointed with the Democratic leadership, for not standing up more forcefully.

The Dems need spine.

Big Pharma
Over at Freakonomics they have a good discussion about big pharma going on. Read the whole thing. It is worth it. A small teaser.

Generic Augmentin (875mg #20)
$31.10 (Costco)
$65.59 (CVS, Houston)
$75.59 (CVS, L.A.)
$69.99 (Walgreens, Houston)
$84.99 (Walgreens, N.Y.)
$89.99 (Walgreens, L.A.)

Generic Zocor (40mg #90)
$11.66 (Costco)
$164.99 (CVS, Houston)
$180.99 (CVS, L.A.)
$194.19 (Walgreens, Houston)
$221.89 (Walgreens, N.Y.)
$194.19 (Walgreens, L.A.)

When I show these prices to my patients, their reaction is always the same: “How can they do this?” The answer, of course, is: “Because they can.”

Yes, because they can. That sums up conservative economics quite well.
The Circus

Lion King finds a circus museum in this episode of his trek across America.
Do Not Tase the Snake
The rangers in the everglades respond to a man with a python in his engine compartment.
On Tuesday, January 15th, visitor Ron DeLong stopped his car on the main park road in order to watch a crawling, six-foot-long, exotic Burmese python. As DeLong stepped out of his Ford Explorer, the python began crawling underneath the vehicle and into its engine compartment. DeLong attempted to grab the python with the curved end of his walking cane, but was unable to stop it. After several failed attempts to remove the snake, DeLong decided to drive 15 miles to the main entrance station for assistance. When ranger Willie Lopez, wildlife biologist Skip Snow, biologist’s assistant Alex Wolf and firefighter Henry Delvalle checked the Explorer, they found its hood open, with only the tail end of the python visible – the rest of the snake was coiled around various parts of the engine and undercarriage. Several attempts were made to pull it out through the top of the engine, but failed because the snake tightened its hold on the car. The four responders then discussed their options. Snow reported that there had been several published articles about the successful use of tasers to loosen the tight grip of constricting snakes, so that was tried. Unfortunately, it resulted in the python contracting and excreting bodily fluids all over the responders. They then decided to disassemble parts of the Explorer’s undercarriage in order to get to the python’s head, which was then covered with duct tape. The snake’s head and body were uncoiled and maneuvered through the engine compartment, then pulled out the top of the engine. Since Burmese pythons are exotic, prolific and aggressive, the snake was euthanized and taken to a lab to be studied. DeLong’s car was then put back together. [Submitted by Willie Lopez, Pine Island District Ranger]

I can tell you when a snake releases body fluids as a defense mechanism it is nasty.
Got Nukes?
Nuclear power plants need lots of water to cool down their reactors. Another reason why nuclear power is bad. It requires billions of dollars in federal funding for expensive energy that does not work in a drought. We need solar and wind now.

LAKE NORMAN, N.C. -- Nuclear reactors across the South could be forced to throttle back or shut down temporarily this year because drought is drying up the rivers and lakes that supply power plants with the cooling water they need to operate.

Utility officials say these shutdowns probably wouldn't result in blackouts. But they could lead to higher electricity bills. Last summer, there was one brief, drought-related shutdown at a reactor in Alabama.

Water is the nuclear industry's Achilles' heel," said Jim Warren, executive director of N.C. Waste Awareness and Reduction Network, an environmental group critical of nuclear power. "This is becoming a crisis."

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Four days trapped in the wilderness under a four wheeler.
After four nights of constant harassment by wolves and coyotes, which he kept at bay by blowing a whistle, he began to accept that he might not be found before the cold, malnourishment or animals claimed his life.

Because of his medical training, Hildebrand knew that people start losing heat quickly from their upper body. He took a beaver carcass and used it to keep his body warm, with another as a makeshift windbreak and pillow. He tied orange surveyors' tape around his wrist and threw it at different angles to make an X shape so if anyone flew over the area, they would see him.

"It was time to get ready for survival mode," Hildebrand said. "I ate a lot of dirt to get a little moisture." By the second evening, he was so hungry he started to pick at the beaver bones. "I tried to eat pieces of that, but it made me sick."

His salvation came in the form of a hiker and his dog from Pinchers Creek who happened to walk past the accident scene.

Sometimes a rotting beaver carcass can be a life saver.

Crooks and Liars has been posting the video of Kieth Olbermann's Bushed segment.
Reid Still A Republican Tool
We must defeat the amnesty for law breaking provision. I do not support amnesty for law breakers. Do you? From Glenn Greenwald:

Harry Reid -- who has (a) done more than any other individual to ensure that Bush's demands for telecom immunity and warrantless eavesdropping powers will be met in full and (b) allowed the Republicans all year to block virtually every bill without having to bother to actually filibuster -- went to the Senate floor yesterday and, with the scripted assistance of Mitch McConnell and Pat Leahy, warned Chris Dodd, Russ Feingold and others that they would be selfishly wreaking havoc on the schedules of their fellow Senators (making them work over the weekend, ruining their planned "retreat," and even preventing them from going to Davos!) if they bothered everyone with their annoying, pointless little filibuster.

To do so, Reid announced that, unlike for the multiple filibusters from Republican colleagues, he would actually force Dodd and company to engage in a real filibuster. This is what Reid said:

[I]f people think they are going to talk this to death, we are going to be in here all night. This is not something we are going to have a silent filibuster on. If someone wants to filibuster this bill, they are going to do it in the openness of the Senate.
That is what Democrats have been urging Reid to do to the filibustering Republicans all year -- in order to dramatize their obstructionism -- but he has refused to make them actually filibuster anything, generously agreeing instead that every bill requires 60 votes. Instead, he reserves such punishment only for the members of his own caucus trying to take a stand for the rule of law and the Constitution, those who are trying finally to bring some accountability to this administration.

As I noted in my post yesterday, Reid had the audacity to send his spokesman, Jim Manley, to falsely claim to the New York Times that "Senator Reid intends to do everything he can to strip immunity from the bill" -- even though the exact opposite is true. Reid is engaged in at least as much maneuvering to ensure that Bush and Cheney get what they want here as McConnell would be willing to do if he were the Majority Leader.

Read it all.

Truth In Advertising

Liar Liar
George Bush and his evil henchman should be impeached, convicted, imprisoned, and then sent to the Hague for trail for war crimes. The Center for Public Integrity has documented the atrocities.

President George W. Bush and seven of his administration's top officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, made at least 935 false statements in the two years following September 11, 2001, about the national security threat posed by Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Nearly five years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, an exhaustive examination of the record shows that the statements were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses.

On at least 532 separate occasions (in speeches, briefings, interviews, testimony, and the like), Bush and these three key officials, along with Secretary of State Colin Powell, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, and White House press secretaries Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan, stated unequivocally that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (or was trying to produce or obtain them), links to Al Qaeda, or both. This concerted effort was the underpinning of the Bush administration's case for war.

It is now beyond dispute that Iraq did not possess any weapons of mass destruction or have meaningful ties to Al Qaeda. This was the conclusion of numerous bipartisan government investigations, including those by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (2004 and 2006), the 9/11 Commission, and the multinational Iraq Survey Group, whose "Duelfer Report" established that Saddam Hussein had terminated Iraq's nuclear program in 1991 and made little effort to restart it.

It is not surprising that this report was done by non profit reporting agencies. The for profit media is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Bush/republican crime organization.

Hiker Found
The hiker listed as missing in the San Bernardino mountains has been found.

Nathan Freund, 28, was able to give searchers his coordinates thanks to a GPS locating device he carried with him on a hike that began Sunday, said Arden Wiltshire, a spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.

"Glad to be off the mountain," Freund said after being brought to a command post.

He thanked the rescuers who were "brave enough and risked their own lives to come and get me."

The Sheriff's Department said Freund was uninjured and did not require any medical attention despite spending two nights at an altitude of nearly 9,000 feet at the top of Big Horn Peak.

Perhaps, McCain is not the man to get us out of our economic problems.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Another Hiker Lost In the San Bernardinos
He has called for rescue and is expected to make it out.

Nathan Freund, 27, of Camarillo used his cellphone at 8:30 a.m. to call the Mount Baldy fire station and tell search coordinators that he was OK and warm, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department said.

Freund activated a GPS personal locating device which a helicopter crew detected, but the helicopter couldn't do the rescue because of heavy fog and ice conditions, said sheriff's spokeswoman Arden Wiltshire.

The hiker's location was in the Big Horn Peak area, Wiltshire said.

It was expected to take a ground team four to five hours to hike to Freund's location to lead him out.

The Sheriff's Department said Freund, an experienced hiker, set out Sunday with necessary supplies and equipment to spend the night. He planned to return from the mountains sometime Monday but a change in the weather left him disoriented.

Winter Camping
The real deal. I think Callipidder had some fun.
By evening the temperature dropped steeply and we sat around in our kitchen sharing stories, food, and hot drinks. At about 9 pm, when my thermometer read about 15 degrees, I decided it was time for bed and crawled into my cozy -20 degree sleeping bag. I had a great night of sleep, like usual. I sleep better in a tent in the mountains than I do in my own bed at home.

Click on the picture for pictures. I like this one. Via Two- Heel Drive.

Misty full moon (Ruka, Kuusamo, Finland, Nordic countries, Europe)

Full Moon

What Reagan Did
That's Avedon's title to a piece I should have linked to yesterday. Which was Reagan Bashing Day. I like to think it fits in well today too.

So there you have it: A Democratic president offered up the potential for the development of an entire new industry open to all takers; a Republican president quashed the program in its crib and shored-up big corporates instead, and also failed to sign on to internet development; another Democratic president allows his Vice President to continue to promote a program he'd been pushing for years when he was still in the Senate, and all sorts of entrepreneurship exploded. Then we get the Bush2 years where even going to work in the morning is so risky that anyone who isn't already a multibillionaire is afraid to move, let alone take the risks of starting up a new business.

The Republicans really have never had anything to offer us. They come to us with sunny faces and promise to be great, it's morning in America and all that, but what they actually do is offer us Can't-Do America, the world where we can't have universal healthcare, can't keep funding Social Security, can't educate our children, can't have clean air and water, can't hope for a more tolerant and peaceful future.

Jimmy Carter offered us a future that would free us from the wars for oil and pollution that have wracked us ever since. He was offering us even more than most people knew, because that would also free us from the control of the people who are now running the whole world - some very nasty people, many of whom currently occupy our White House. And how did the media (even then, pretty conservative) respond? They labelled it his "malaise" speech, although he did not use the word. He actually was giving us a (literally) sunnier future than any conservative ever has, and he was derided for it.

Stimulate This
If Bush is so determined to stimulate the economy, why not try something bold. A new type of energy grid with all renewable energy. Here is what the Germans have done.
Would Tax Rebates Work?
My feeling is no. They may boost the economy a small amount. I am willing to bet that Bush want to take the money out of the social security trust fund, not the general fund. The Christian Science Monitor has an article that says maybe. If everyone spends the money. Most of the money will go to paying bills and to savings is my guess. The last time Bush gave a tax rebate less than 25% was spent. Not a good record for Bush.

If Bush really wanted to stimulate the economy he could create well paying jobs. That is not something republicans like to do. The National Parks have as much as 4.9billion dollars in deferred maintenance backlog. Release some money and jobs are created, now.

California already has the space dedicated to a high speed rail between Sacramento and LA. Lets build that.If the money is not used to create jobs do not spend it.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Hiker In Arizona Found Dead
Hiker Stefan Nikolia was reported missing yesterday. His body was found today.

A search was initiated by the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office, Coconino County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Unit, and the Arizona Department of Public Safety Air Rescue Unit. Coconino County Search and Rescue trackers located tracks leading from F.S. Rd 237 into Pumphouse Wash. Nikolai’s camera was located in Pumphouse wash and additional tracks were located headed up canyon. Trackers continued to track until they located his body approximately one half mile south of F.S. 237, at 3:23 a.m. January 21, 2008.

Cause of death is pending investigation by the Coconino County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Killing Predators
With rising numbers of predators in the west, there are more calls for killing the animals. Mostly mountain lions and wolves.

While there is no direct connection, collectively these issues reflect the tension between rural Westerners involved in ranching, farming, and logging, and those in growing urban and recreational areas where people are more likely to have a friendlier attitude toward wildlife. In all cases, wild species' need for adequate habitat is competing against human interests.

Tuesday was to have been the deadline for public comment on a proposal before the EPA to outlaw the use of sodium cyanide and sodium fluoroacetate to kill wild animals that prey on sheep and cattle. But at the request of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the deadline was extended to March 5.

Sodium fluoroacetate typically is used in "livestock protection collars" strapped onto the heads of grazing animals. When the predator, usually a coyote, tries to bite the stock animal it gets a mouthful of poison instead. Sodium cyanide is used in a device known as the "M-44 ejector" baited on the ground to attract coyotes, foxes, or wild dogs preying on livestock or poultry.

Earlier this month, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D) of Oregon introduced legislation outlawing the production and use of the two poisons, which the EPA classifies as having "acute toxicity." Mr. DeFazio points out that the two chemicals have killed growing numbers of dogs and other pets as well as "nontarget" wild animals including some endangered species.

Some type of predator control may be necessary I do not like adding indiscriminate poisons to the environment.

Update: It seems Finland is having a problem with wolves. At least no one there wants to release poison into the environment.

Finland, which joined the European Union in 1995, came under criticism that its hunting practices did not mesh with European habitat directives. So in 2001, the Finnish government tightened its hunting laws to meet European Union standards. Finnish law now states that every kill must be covered by a permit and restricts the number of permits to about 10 percent of a particular predator’s known numbers.

Seven years later, the populations of wolves, lynxes, brown bears and wolverines in Finland have grown substantially, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in Helsinki. In this area, the number of wolves has roughly tripled since 1996, and attacks on reindeer herds have increased more than threefold in the past 10 years.

The level of anger about the hunting restrictions is high here. In one telling example, Stavros Dimas, the European environment commissioner who insisted on the hunting crackdown to protect the endangered predators, received a bullet in his mailbox from an irate hunter.

In the US they would have shot near the game warden or some other terrorist threat.

Martin Luther King Jr

I have a dream.
Juan Cole has a great article about MLK and modern warfare. I want to high light Reagan's failure.
As for Reagan's Jihad in Afghanistan, it clearly was a world-historical blunder. Had the communists stayed in power in Afghanistan, their regime would probably have just evolved after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 into a Kazakhstan-style state. Not a democracy, but stable enough and with schooling for all and an investment in development.

Instead, Reagan and his Saudi and Pakistani allies funneled the lion's share of their covert war aid to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the most radical of the Mujahidin leaders. They forced the Soviet Union out, and destroyed the Afghanistan communists, but the ultimate result was a) the rise of al-Qaeda and b) the rise of the Taliban.

Reagan won the Afghanistan war, but it was a Pyrrhic victory that came around to bite the US on the posterior on September 11.

So you have to ask whether any of these wars -- Vietnam, Nicaragua, or Afghanistan-- should have been fought. Either we lost, or the victory was temporary, or we contributed to a blowback that hit our society on 9/11.

Reagonomics Do Not Work

And like Reaganomics — but more quickly — Bushonomics has ended in grief. The public mood today is as grim as it was in 1992. Wages are lagging behind inflation. Employment growth in the Bush years has been pathetic compared with job creation in the Clinton era. Even if we don’t have a formal recession — and the odds now are that we will — the optimism of the 1990s has evaporated.

This is, in short, a time when progressives ought to be driving home the idea that the right’s ideas don’t work, and never have.

It’s not just a matter of what happens in the next election. Mr. Clinton won his elections, but — as Mr. Obama correctly pointed out — he didn’t change America’s trajectory the way Reagan did. Why?

Well, I’d say that the great failure of the Clinton administration — more important even than its failure to achieve health care reform, though the two failures were closely related — was the fact that it didn’t change the narrative, a fact demonstrated by the way Republicans are still claiming to be the next Ronald Reagan.

Now progressives have been granted a second chance to argue that Reaganism is fundamentally wrong: once again, the vast majority of Americans think that the country is on the wrong track. But they won’t be able to make that argument if their political leaders, whatever they meant to convey, seem to be saying that Reagan had it right.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

It is ashame that there is no mention of Edgar Allan Poe in this weekends Baltimore Sun. The Associated Press covered the Poe toaster. Every January 19th a man places half a bottle of cognac and three roses on Poe's grave. It has always been a mystery who does it. It would have been Poe's 199th birthday.
Chemin de St. Jacques de Compostelle
The Way of Saint James. I saw this article about a brother and sister that spent ten days hiking the Way. It is one of the three largest Christian pilgrimages. The others being Rome and Jerusalem. There are many routes from all over Europe.(map) The most famous for modern day travelers is from Le Puy(near Lyon) to Campostella de Santiago(good journal with pics). It is about five hundred miles.

I think it would be a fun place to hike. It is definitely on the to do list.
Got Stimulus
Bob Herbert discuses the children running the show in the republican White House.

They’ve made a hash of a war that never should have been launched. They can’t find bin Laden. They’ve been shocked by the subprime debacle. They’re lost in a maze on health care.

Now, like children who have eaten too much sugar, they are frantically trying to figure out how to put a few dollars into the hands of working people to stimulate an enfeebled economy.

They should stop, take a deep breath and acknowledge the obvious: the way to put money into the hands of working people is to make sure they have access to good jobs at good wages. That has long been known, but it hasn’t been the policy in this country for many years.

He also talks about how we are not making money but loosing money over time.

The peak income year for the bottom 90 percent of Americans was way back in 1973 — when the average income per taxpayer (adjusted for inflation) was $33,001. That is nearly $4,000 higher than the average in 2005.

It’s incredible but true: 90 percent of the population missed out on the income gains during that long period.

This is why there are so many illegal aliens. We use to pay Americans a living wage. Now the companies find who ever is cheapest and grind them into the ground.

New Peak Oil
The use of vegetable oils for biodiesil and the new prosperity in China. t is driving up the price. It is causing the poor in the developing countries to go hungry. The NYT has a great article about the growing cost of oil.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Guess Which Drug Is Legal
Mark Morford has a great piece up at the SFGate. It covers all the truth about the government and their evil relationship with the pharmaceutical companies to keep us down. The finish:

Maybe it really is just that simple, just that odious. One drug, nasty and of hugely questionable value, essentially designed to numb your body and mock your spirit and shut you down like a land mine shuts down a cat, is legal. Another drug, relatively safe, enormously effective in how it opens you up like a flower and pours white hot life straight down your throat and helps you feel God without forcing you to kneel before, well, anything at all, is violently illegal. And thus doth the brutal irony of the capitalist machine floweth over once again.

It is, you could say, just another tale of the tense, vicious battle ever raging between the government/corporations/church, all of whom seek to control and profit by murdering any notion you may have that you might be far more powerful, divinely connected, empathetic than you imagine, and the humane, common-sensical universe of peaceful reality. Do you know that fight? Do you ever sense that common sense is losing? I have a suggestion for something you might want to try.

Really read the whole thing.

Paper Airplanes

Paper airplanes, originally uploaded by Derringdos.

I remember making air planes from this book as a kid. I never in my wildest imagination thought some one would try to fly a paper airplane from space back to earth. It seems that the University Of Tokyo and The Japan Origami Airplane Association have teamed up to send a paper air plane from the space station.

Economic Stimulus
Tengrain provides the proper analysis.
Vanishing Of The Bees
Colony collapse disorder(CCD) is becoming a serious concern among beekeepers, researchers, and farmers. The bees are leaving the colony and not returning. They are just gone. There is no known cause for CCD. According to the USDA Agriculture Research Service action plan there are four possible causes:
(1) new or reemerging pathogens, (2) new bee pests or parasites, (3) environmental and/or nutritional stress, or (4) pesticides. Research will focus on determining which of these factors are contributing causes of CCD, either individually or in combination.

Bees are needed to help pollinate many fruits and vegetables. The large factory farms in southern California can not support a wild bee population because of mono culture. Bees are trucked in from all over the country to pollinate these farms. It is estimated that commercial beekeepers help pollinate over 15 billion dollars worth of fruits and vegetables.

Video home page and links.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Georgia Frontiere RIP
The woman Carroll Rosenbloom sold the Colts for died. She was 80. She married Rosenbloom, her sixth husband in 1966. One month after he divorced his first wife of 25 years. It would not be her last marriage.

The former Mrs Rosenbloom wanted to move back to Los Angeles, So when the Rams became available Carroll Rosenbloom made an unpresidented team swap. The Irsay's became owners of the Colts and slunk out of town under cover of darkness taking the Colts with them.

Mrs Rosenbloom after her husband's questionable drowning, fired his son, who had been groomed to take over his team. It was not the first husband to die while married to her.

She would later move the Rams out of Los Angeles breaking the fans hearts.
Chef Is Going Hybrid
Chef has found the hybrid of his dreams. Sure it only goes 13 miles per hour. Sure it can only go 15 miles on a charge. But it holds 24 cans of beer plus ice. How can you go wrong with that? The Cruzin Cooler is the only way to go.

Got Milk With Hormones
PA came to its senses today. It will allow milk to be labeled hormone free, as long as, it states their is nothing wrong with the hormone additives. Here is Shira at unbossed.

Today we got good news. The Monsanto astroturf scheme to take away the rights of the citizens of Pennsylvania to know how their milk was produced lost . . . mostly. The Department of Agriculture issued a notice removing the gag rule, but with lots of caveats.

But more important than the milk labeling is what this this battle says about democracy and how fragile it is.

While the citizens of the Keystone State were caught up in the holidays, its status as a democracy hung in the balance. What may seem to be a trivial issue - what a milk label says - was the battleground. Here's what you may have missed.

Pennsylvanians discovered that their department of agriculture is a wholly owned subsidiary of Monsanto.[...]

If they are so proud of Posilac, then nothing is stopping the producers who use it from putting on their labels: Milk from cows injected with Posilac / rBST. But you don't see this honest "presence" label.

Why not?

Because they know that they will lose customers. So the true "absence labelers" are those who use Posilac and try to hide it by not revealing its use.

Chris Mathews Apologizes
Well he does a little but not really. The Carpet Bagger has the goods.
Update: Josh at TPM
Update 2: Hecate may have said it best.
Green Teen Enriching Summer
My Brothers summer camp has a press release.
Green + Teen = Enriching Summer

    NEWPORT, Pa., Jan. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- A PEDA (Pennsylvania Energy
Development Authority) Grant has been awarded to Longacre Farm in Newport,
resulting in the recent installation of a bank of 30 solar panels, mounted
on a high field on this 225-acre organic farm in central Pennsylvania. This
summer, 72 teenagers who come to live at Longacre will help measure the
kilowatt-hours saved by this 30-foot-long solar array.

"The addition of these solar panels continues the green energy
initiatives teenagers have been involved in for the past 10 years here,"
says Susan Smith, the director of Longacre Leadership Program. "Teens can
grow and eat organic vegetables, set up a water harvesting system, create
habitat for threatened species, brew biodiesel, make and use compost, teach
environmental classes to local children, and more."

All this while having an enriching summer camp experience with peers on
a central Pennsylvania farm.

Longacre Leadership Program offers a unique opportunity for youth ages
12 to 18 to "go green," and gain valuable hands-on experience with this
rapidly growing international movement. For over 30 years, Longacre Farm
has been in the forefront of environmental stewardship. Students walk away
from their summer experiences with fresh awareness, new understanding of
the world's ecological balance, and green alternatives to implement back at
home and in their classrooms.

Longacre Leadership is a broad-based experiential educational program
in central PA. The 72 teenaged participants are given daily activity
choices, including community service, green construction, organic
gardening, farming, sustainable initiatives, horseback riding, rock
climbing, biking, caving, swimming, white water rafting, children's
theatre, arts and crafts. There is a strong community emphasis with
communications workshops and much individual responsibility and growth.

Susan Smith/Jon Jensen
5306 Middle Ridge Road
Newport, PA 17074
fax 717.567.3955

(photos on request)
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