Monday, June 30, 2008

Sad To Hear
A hiker fell to her death in Utah.
BIG COTTONWOOD CANYON — The search for a 19-year-old woman ended tragically this morning with the discovery of her body.

Salt Lake County sheriff's deputies said Christina Taylor, of Herriman, died when she fell nearly 100 feet while hiking with a group of friends Sunday night. She was killed instantly.

My condolences to her friends and family.

Update: The hiker is misidentified in the above article. Most recent info here.

Christina Traylor, a sophomore studying microbiology at Colorado State University, lost her footing on a steep, rocky slope and fell about 200 feet, said Sgt. Travis Skinner of the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office.

Traylor fell in the area of Moss Ledge, a popular spot about 5 miles up the Big Cottonwood Canyon that leads to the Brighton and Solitude ski resorts, about 20 miles from Salt Lake City.

Life On The Trail
"Life on the trail is wonderful. You have no worries, just live day to day," he said. "Most all the people you meet are nice, especially the farther north you go, which sort of surprised me."

Way To Go Hawaii
Hawaii is requiring solar hot water heaters on new construction.
Given the current price of oil, and the fact that over 90% of its energy is imported from outside the island chain, it’s not surprising that Hawaii would want to take action to diversify its energy supply and reduce demand. To that end, with the signature of Governor Linda Lingle on Friday, Hawaii has become the first state in the US to mandate the installation of solar water heaters in new residential construction.

South Koreans are rioting to prevent US beef from entering their food supply.
SEOUL, June 30 (Reuters) - South Korean police said on Monday they have detained more than 100 people for violence at weekend rallies against a U.S. beef import deal, with tensions expected to rise this week when the product returns to stores.[...]
South Korea and U.S trade officials said about a week ago they had reworked a beef import deal first struck in April which sparked mass street protests, caused Lee's support rate to plummet and led to a crisis for his four-month-old government.

Last week, South Korea started processing the first batch of U.S. beef to enter the country under new quarantine rules designed to allay Korean fears of mad cow disease by limiting imports to beef from younger cattle and prohibiting risky parts.

Older cattle are considered more at risk of the disease.

How dangerous is our beef?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Fiscally Responsible
Steve Benen.
Second, embarrassing stories about McCain’s personal finances don’t exactly inspire confidence. It creates an interesting contrast — Barack Obama has no credit card debt and has set up college funds for his daughters; John McCain has a six-figure credit-card debt and hasn’t paid one of his property-tax bills. Which of these candidates sounds like the fiscally-responsible one?

More Melting
A nice visual of the melting of the polar ice cap. It shows how the thick ice is going away.
Hiker Missing
In Franconia Notch

A search for a Massachusetts man missing since Friday will resume today in the White Mountains.

About 40 people searched yesterday for Daniel Merriman, 49, of Needham, Mass., a frequent hiker in the Franconia Notch area. Fish and Game centered its search at Liberty Springs trailhead.

Update: His body was found this morning.
ish and Game Lt. Todd Bogardus said Merriman's body was discovered off that trail at 11 a.m. by a team from New England K-9 Search and Rescue.

My condolences to his friends and family.
Bud Boy
The sale of Anheuser Busch could spill over into the presidential election. Cindy McCain owns one of the largest Anheuser Busch Distributors in the nation.

Mrs McCain is secretive about her stake but experts estimate it to be worth at least $100m and her 2006 tax return - reluctantly made public last month - showed income of $6.1m. She declined to comment.

The Hensley fortune is in her name alone but Mr McCain benefits from the lavish lifestyle it supports, including homes in Arizona, Virginia and California and a private company jet.

There is a loop hole in McCain Feingold that allows him to use his wifes company's jet. The sugar mama express.

The couple married in 1980 shortly after Mr McCain divorced his first wife and settled in Phoenix. After leaving the navy he served briefly as vice-president of public relations for Hensley, helping him build the connections he needed to launch a career in politics. When a congressional seat fell vacant near Phoenix in 1982, Mrs McCain bought a house in the district to qualify him as a candidate and lent tens of thousands of dollars to his campaign. He won and has been in Congress ever since.

She bought him a house and a seat in congress. Sweet. Has he ever done anything on his own? His Daddy and Granddaddy were four star admirals. His class ranking at the Naval Academy has been scrubbed from wikipedia. It was if IIRC 894 out of 899. Yet, he got to fly jets. Crashing five in his career.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Crestone Needle

Crestone Needle, originally uploaded by stilinbeta.

A hiker fell and died near Crestone Needle Saturday morning in Colorado's Sangre de Cristo range. Not many details yet.

My condolences to her friends and family.

Update: Hiker identified as Linda M Pryor. More info here.

Santa Fe Trail

Lion King is hiking the Santa Fe Trail on his American Discovery Trail Trek.
Tax Free Coal
Activists want to end tax free financing of coal plants.

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Environmental activists and others are opening a new frontier in their fight against coal-fired power plants by questioning the use of tax-exempt bonds to help fund such projects.

New York City Comptroller William Thompson earlier this month called on the U.S. Treasury Department to investigate tax-free bond use in financing the plants. He cited the potential for expensive regulatory changes aimed at curbing greenhouse gases, the escalating cost of coal and subsequent risks to investors and taxpayers.

How about tax free bonds for solar and wind.

Friday, June 27, 2008

North Pole Ice Going, Going...

North Pole sign, originally uploaded by Andy Revkin.

There could be no ice at the North Pole this summer.

It seems unthinkable, but for the first time in human history, ice is on course to disappear entirely from the North Pole this year.

The disappearance of the Arctic sea ice, making it possible to reach the Pole sailing in a boat through open water, would be one of the most dramatic – and worrying – examples of the impact of global warming on the planet. Scientists say the ice at 90 degrees north may well have melted away by the summer.

"From the viewpoint of science, the North Pole is just another point on the globe, but symbolically it is hugely important. There is supposed to be ice at the North Pole, not open water," said Mark Serreze of the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Colorado.

It was not that long ago that scientists were predicting it would be gone by 2050. No, the deniers said. Last year the scientists said 2012 the ice could be gone. No, the deniers said. Now the scientists are saying it could all be gone this year. No, there was never ice at the North Pole.
Solar Cheaper Than Coal
Ron Beasley at Newshoggers has the details.
I was not a big fan of solar power until a heard about Nanosolar about six months ago. I reported on it here. Nanosolar has developed a process to print thin film solar cells instead of using the slow and expensive vacuum deposition process. As a result they can produce panels for solar installations that $2.00 a watt making it cheaper than $2.10 a watt plus fuel for a new coal fired plant. Check the above links for additional details.

Of course, the Bush has put a moratorium on new solar projects on BLM land. But only in the states that are best suited for solar production.

DENVER — Faced with a surge in the number of proposed solar power plants, the federal government has placed a moratorium on new solar projects on public land until it studies their environmental impact, which is expected to take about two years.[...]

But the decision to freeze new solar proposals temporarily, reached late last month, has caused widespread concern in the alternative-energy industry, as fledgling solar companies must wait to see if they can realize their hopes of harnessing power from swaths of sun-baked public land, just as the demand for viable alternative energy is accelerating.

“It doesn’t make any sense,” said Holly Gordon, vice president for legislative and regulatory affairs for Ausra, a solar thermal energy company in Palo Alto, Calif. “The Bureau of Land Management land has some of the best solar resources in the world. This could completely stunt the growth of the industry.”

Holly it makes perfect sense. The coal companies have been buying congress and the Bush for years. You must buy your own.

Gas Prices
Paul Krugman in the New York Times.

Somewhat surprisingly, Republicans have been at least as willing as Democrats to denounce evil speculators. But it turns out that conservative faith in free markets somehow evaporates when it comes to oil. For example, National Review has been publishing articles blaming speculators for high oil prices for years, ever since the price passed $50 a barrel.

And it was John McCain, not Barack Obama, who recently said this: “While a few reckless speculators are counting their paper profits, most Americans are coming up on the short end — using more and more of their hard-earned paychecks to buy gas.”

Why are politicians so eager to pin the blame for oil prices on speculators? Because it lets them believe that we don’t have to adapt to a world of expensive gas.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sad To Hear
Hiker found dead in Georgia.
BLAIRSVILLE - A coach at Union County High School was found dead Thursday morning on a hiking trail near Blairsville.

Union County Schools Superintendent Tommy Stephens said basketball and soccer coach Michael West went on a hike Wednesday night and never returned home.

Natural causes are expected cause of death.

My condolences to his friends and family.
New Bridge
A new bridge for Rausch Gap on the Appalachian Trail.

A temporary steel bridge 50 feet long and weighing 37,000 pounds was set in place across Rausch Creek in northern Lebanon County this morning to easy the way across the creek for cyclists on the Stony Valley Rail grade and hikers on the Appalachian Trail.

The old bridge, built in 1854 to carry trains across the creek, was closed late in March by the Pennsylvania Game Commission when its stone foundation was found to be badly eroded. The new bridge, supported by six-inch platforms on both sides, was placed directly above the old one.

A little late for the early hikers but not bad timing. It is the hight of thru-hiker season.

Update: Another article with more detail.
This is kind of a miracle in terms of how quickly this project got moved,” he said. “The bridge was closed in March, ... and here we are June 26. In terms of government, this is light-speed.”

Too Funny
Google directions from Sydney Australia to Los Angeles. Do not for get salt water purification pump for direction number six.
Via Crooks and Liars

Hiker Missing
This time in North Carolina.
Authorities are looking for a hiker who has been missing at Hanging Rock State Park since last night.
Park Superintendent Erik Nygard said the missing hiker is a 24-year-old male. He did not release his name or any other information about him.
Update: Found.
Danny Williams, 24, was expected to return home around 8 p.m. Wednesday. Around 11 p.m., his mother reported he hadn't arrived and a group of approximately 28 people started looking for him.

Park officials and crews from neighboring parks searched for 14 hours until they found Williams shortly before 10 a.m. this morning.

The Bird Man Of

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - A sharp increase in drugs and cellphones found inside a Brazilian prison mystified officials -- until guards spotted some distressed pigeons struggling to stay airborne.

Inmates at the prison in Marilia, Sao Paulo state had been training carrier pigeons to smuggle in goods using cell phone sized pouches on their backs, a low-tech but ingenious way of skipping the high-tech security that visitors faced.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Uh Oh!
An Outward Bound group got lost in the Sierras.

(06-25) 12:26 PDT SIERRA NATIONAL FOREST -- A search is under way for nine teenagers and two adult guides who are missing on an adventure trip in the Sierra south of Yosemite National Park, the Fresno County Sheriff's Department said today. Three of the missing people are from the Bay Area.

Four girls, including two 16-year-olds from East Palo Alto and Alameda, five teenage boys and two adult hikers, including a 30-year-old San Rafael man, failed to meet up with another adult guide in the Sierra National Forest as planned Sunday, said Deputy Christian Curtice, sheriff's spokesman.

Curtice declined to identify the missing hikers. He said the group is believed to have enough provisions to last at least until Friday.

Outward Bound groups are generally prepared and led by experienced people and should make it out fine.

Update: They have been found.
Billy Goat
A nice article about perpetual hiker Billy Goat.

Billy Goat has hiked more than 32,000 miles -- which would have taken him around the world and a third of the way again. He has walked across the South and the Southwest, the Northeast and the West. He has crossed the Rocky Mountains on four occasions, twice in each direction. He has conquered the so-called triple crown of American hiking -- the Appalachian, Continental Divide and Pacific Crest trails -- multiple times.

He has a wife, his third, and a home in Nevada. That is where George, the 69-year-old retired railroad worker, would live if Billy Goat cared to be George. Billy Goat lives more than 10 months of the year outdoors, drinking unfiltered water from streams, eating vacuum-sealed meals he prepares himself, sleeping under the stars without a tent. He carries what he needs in a backpack weighing less than 10 pounds.

"I'm not on vacation. I'm not out for a weekend," he said, settling in for the night under a fire-scarred tree next to a gurgling creek and surrounded by the rugged granite outcroppings of the Dome Land Wilderness. "This is where I live. When you do that, all the other trappings of life fade away."

Read it all. It has a nice video too.
Media Bias
Avedon on the media.
Because there is absolutely nothing a Republican can do, no matter how dishonest, incompetent, egregious, or downright evil, that will make our current press corps sound the alarm - but no attack on a Democrat is so scurrilous, so ridiculous, so dishonest, so outrageous, that it can be treated with the derision it deserves.

Read the whole thing. She has a great set of examples.
Go Jon!
Montana Senator Jon Tester is trying to get to the bottom of a fishy land deal in Montana.

HELENA n U.S. Sen. Jon Tester asked congressional investigators Tuesday to examine closed-door road negotiations between the U.S. Forest Service and Plum Creek Timber Co.

The Montana Democrat also asked Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer to postpone making any changes to Plum Creek’s federal road easements until the investigation is complete.
“My hope is just to find out what the heck is going on,” Tester said [...]
For the past two years, Tester said, the company has been negotiating behind closed doors with federal officials to expand the uses allowed under its road easements, which previously dealt only with logging. The proposed new easements would give Plum Creek the right to drive across public land for commercial, industrial or residential development, and according to Tester and several western Montana officials, would open up numerous tracts of land to real estate development.

Plum Creek wants to get what they can before the Bush leaves office.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Lygon Stevens who was lost in a avalanche in January.
ALAMOSA — The body of a 20-year old Loveland woman missing since an avalanche in Jan. in the San Luis Valley’s Blanca massif area was recovered this afternoon by Alamosa County Search and Rescue personal using a cadaver dog, helicopter and spotters at a location above the avalanche debris field.

Once again, my condolences to her family and friends.
James River Foot Bridge

James River Foot Bridge, originally uploaded by studiofluid.

A young man died after diving off the Appalachian Trail's James River Foot Bridge.

SNOWDEN -- Travis Campbell Farren, 20, of Bedford County is believed to have drowned Sunday afternoon after diving from a footbridge that crosses the James River near the Amherst County-Bedford County line, said Maj. Ricky Gardner of the Bedford County Sheriff's Department.

The incident has raised questions about the use of the bridge for jumping, but several teens on the bridge said Monday they would still do it.

My condolences to his friends and family.

A picture of somebody jumping off the bridge.

Off Grid Refrigeration

This is cool! Pun Intended. Could be marketed in the US for emergency use.
Via Tree Hugger and Gristmill.
No Sense Of Humor
As I said on Saturday be careful when hiking naked.
The officer soon found a group of 10 men, wearing clothes, and determined they had been hiking naked, Turner said.

The officer learned that two of those men kept their clothes on as they walked in front of the group, warning people eight naked men were about to pass them on the path, Turner said.

No charges were filed, Turner said, because the officer did not catch them hiking naked.

However, the officer issued warnings to eight of the men for disorderly conduct, Turner said. Had they been caught in the act, they could have been charged with indecent exposure, which carries a maximum $500 fine for first-time offenders.

Turner could not confirm such an event exists, but said he has heard of an unofficially proclaimed National Nude Hiking Day. He said park police and officials do not promoted such behavior.

"We do not find any humor in this," Turner said. "It is a family atmosphere."

No doubt they would have thrown the book at them had children or a bicycle been present. Including making people register as sex offenders.

Missing Hiker
In Kentucky this time.
Kentucky State Police officers are searching for a Louisville hiker missing at the Red River Gorge Geological area in Central Kentucky.Police said Joseph Sanders, 37, hasn't been seen since last Sunday, WLKY NewsChannel 32 reported."Search and rescue has searched all the river, searched all the trails in this immediate area," said Kentucky State Police Sgt. Jim Bowling. "There are hundreds of acres here at Red River Gorge. We could search for 10 years and never cover every nook, cranny and crevice that's here."

Let hope he makes it out OK.

Update: Joseph Sanders' body was found today. No cause of death yet.

My condolences to his friends and family.
Obama Winning Beer Track
Eric Kleefeld from TPM Media
And despite the constant message in the primaries that Obama wouldn't be able to win "beer track" voters, the pollster's analysis has this: "Obama has a sizable lead among those voters earning less than $40,000 a year, with McCain well ahead among those who earn more than that annually."

Small World
But, I still would not want to paint it.
BERLIN (AFP) - A German camper who tried to buy a tent after his was stolen, stumbled upon the original on eBay along with information leading to the arrest of the thief, police said Monday.
They said the 45-year-old from the western city of Bochum spotted a picture of the tent that disappeared from his cellar a fortnight ago while trawling the Internet auction site Sunday.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Mount Shasta

Mount Shasta at Dusk, originally uploaded by Dan90266.

Two hikers are missing on Mount Shasta.

According to an SCSO press release, the call was lost before a transfer could be made to the Sheriff’s Department. Several attempts to call the number back were unsuccessful. At about 9:55 p.m. on Saturday, Frank Machado of North Carolina called the Sheriff’s Department to report that he had received a telephone call from his mother, Patricia Dolores Giamoni, 37 of Apex, North Carolina, telling him she and a friend, Salvador Cervantes Frias, age 41 of Tracy, California, had climbed Mount Shasta, high winds had come up and they needed help.

Machado was able to provide one-half of the GPS coordinate showing latitude only. The Sheriff’s Department had just completed another rescue on the mountain and started planning for the latest report of the two missing hikers in trouble, the release said. The car the missing hikers were driving was found parked at Bunny Flat on Mount Shasta.

Hopefully they will make it down OK.

Update: They have been found.

Salvador Frias, 41, of Millbrae, and his friend Patricia Dolores Giamoni, 37, of Apex, N.C., turned up at about 11:30 p.m. Monday at a forest products company in Weeds, about 10 miles from the 14,162-foot peak, a sheriff's dispatcher said.

The two were dehydrated but in relatively good condition, authorities said.

Good News!

Hiker Missing
In the San Bernardino's.
ANGELUS OAKS - Search crews are looking for a 28-year-old Los Angeles man who went missing Sunday during a day hike.

The unidentified man was last seen at 2 p.m. as he led six people down Vivian Creek Trail, authorities said.

"He decided to lead the group down but went at a much faster pace," said San Bernardino County sheriff's spokeswoman Arden Wiltshire.

Update: Found well but dehydrated.
ANGELUS OAKS - Missing hiker Raphael Thurber was found about 4 p.m. after search crews combed the San Bernardino National Forest for less than a day.

Tax Cut For McCain
Ezra Klein
McCain is running for president, during a war, despite a deficit, amidst a likely recession, on a plan that gives him and his incredibly rich family almost $400,000 in tax cuts. It's absurd.

Wind vs Nuclear
Wind is kicking ass. From Tree Hugger.
Worldwatch Institute is reporting in a Vital Signs report that in 2007 new wind power installations outpaced new nuclear power plant construction by 10-to-1. Globally, the wind industry added 20,000 MW of new capacity last year, while the nuclear industry added less than 2,000 MW. Three new reactors in India, China, Romania accounted for this small amount of growth.

The report notes that though 34 reactors are under construction around the world—20 of which are in Asia, with China and India having 6 a piece—12 of these have been under construction for 20 years or more. Worldwatch reports that construction problems, engineering challenges and safety concerns are delaying many projects. Financial issues also are an issue: According to Moody’s credit rating agency, “many of the current expectations regarding new nuclear generation are overly ambitious” and costs for next-generation plants are higher than the usual $3,500 per kilowatt figure used by the industry.

George Carlin RIP
From the New York Times.
By 1972, when he released his second album, “FM & AM,” his star was again on the rise. The album, which won a Grammy Award as best comedy recording, combined older material on the “AM” side with bolder, more acerbic routines on the “FM” side. Among the more controversial cuts was a routine euphemistically entitled “Shoot,” in which Mr. Carlin explored the etymology and common usage of the popular idiom for excrement. The bit was part of the comic’s longer routine “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television,” which appeared on his third album “Class Clown,” also released in 1972.

“There are some words you can say part of the time. Most of the time ‘ass’ is all right on television,” Mr. Carlin noted in his introduction to the then controversial monologue. “You can say, well, ‘You’ve made a perfect ass of yourself tonight.’ You can use ass in a religious sense, if you happen to be the redeemer riding into town on one — perfectly all right.”

He will be missed.

Paul Krugman from the New York Times.

But here’s a question rarely asked, at least in Washington: Why should ever-increasing homeownership be a policy goal? How many people should own homes, anyway?

Listening to politicians, you’d think that every family should own its home — in fact, that you’re not a real American unless you’re a homeowner. “If you own something,” Mr. Bush once declared, “you have a vital stake in the future of our country.” Presumably, then, citizens who live in rented housing, and therefore lack that “vital stake,” can’t be properly patriotic. Bring back property qualifications for voting!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Boy Scout dies while hiking.
LAURELVILLE, Ohio — A Boy Scout has died while hiking in a state park with his troop.

Payden Sommers, 11, collapsed on a trail in Tar Hollow State Park on Saturday evening, 10TV’s Brittany Westbrook reported.

Sommers was with a group of scouts trying to earn a merit badge, but he became ill.

"During the hike he started making complaints that he was overheating," said Cpl. John Winfield of the Ross County Sheriff’s Office.

My condolences to his friends and family.

Update: Preliminary reports say heat exhaustion.
Food Porn
Lindsay at Majikthise on food porn.

The best food porn TV is Heston Blumenthal's In Search of Perfection. Blumenthal is the chef proprietor of the Fat Duck, a critically-acclaimed UK restaurant. In the TV series, he uses food science to adapt classic recipes for the home kitchen. Heston is inspired by Harold McGee's classic study of food science and cookery, On Food and Cooking. Blumenthal calls McGee's book his Bible.

Cook's Illustrated takes a similar, empirically-minded approach to adapting recipes for the home cook. If CI is softcore food porn, ISOP is hardcore fetish.

Read it all. Its good writing. Pictures here.

Sad To Hear
A hiker in South Dakota was found dead.
A Redfield man died Friday while hiking on the trail between Sylvan Lake Lodge and Harney Peak, apparently of a heart attack.
The 61-year-old man was found by other hikers shortly after noon Friday up the trail about a mile and a half from Sylvan Lake Lodge, according to Custer County Sheriff Rick Wheeler.

My condolences to his friends and family.
A Hundred Miles Of Mirrors
Ted Nace at Gristmill.
You probably already knew that, but did you know this? Just 100 square miles of CSP installations would supply 100 percent of the U.S. electric grid. That's being conservative: Ausra's chairman David Mills pegs the figure at 92 square miles. Put similar installations in Morocco for Europe and the Gobi desert for China and we have our golden opportunity -- our last chance -- of keeping those poles under ice and our cities above water.[...]

You wanna burn coal?
You melt the South Pole!
100 miles of mirrors or it won't be pretty.
Solar saves Miami and New York City!

I do not think we can save Miami. No matter how fast we move. Greenland is melting fast.
A New York Times Op/Ed
Americans eat as many bananas as apples and oranges combined, which is especially amazing when you consider that not so long ago, bananas were virtually unknown here. They became a staple only after the men who in the late 19th century founded the United Fruit Company (today’s Chiquita) figured out how to get bananas to American tables quickly — by clearing rainforest in Latin America, building railroads and communication networks and inventing refrigeration techniques to control ripening. The banana barons also marketed their product in ways that had never occurred to farmers or grocers before, by offering discount coupons, writing jingles and placing bananas in schoolbooks and on picture postcards. They even hired doctors to convince mothers that bananas were good for children.

It is an intersting look at a fruit that may be on its way out of the food supply.
Can You Smell That Smell?
A nice little article about the smell of the trail.

Of all the common traits of AT through hikers, one stands out.

The aroma.

When you sweat all day long and sometimes don't bathe for days, something funky is bound to happen.

And while the hikers themselves are usually unfazed by their own scent, some members of the general public can't say the same about a smell that can remain in the air, a car's seat cushion or a memory for a long, long time.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Top Ten Cooking Mistakes
From Keith Law. Just so you know I love salt. But this is a good list.
1. Salt. The food police have everyone running scared of good old sodium chloride, but it’s incredibly important from a culinary perspective as a flavor in and of itself and as a flavor enhancer. Salt intensifies other flavors in every dish by hitting the fifth taste known as umami; without salt, most foods will taste bland, flat, or even stale. Salting foods early in the process allows you to use less salt in total because you can often infuse your foods with salt by dissolving salt in the cooking liquid. Pasta water should always be heavily salted, and the cooking liquids for small grains like rice, barley, or quinoa should also have salt. Seasoning the exterior of meats helps prepare the surface for the Maillard reaction that occurs during the application of direct heat on a grill or on a stovetop pan, producing that brown crust that, for me, is the #1 argument against vegetarianism. I prefer kosher salt for most applications because it doesn’t dissolve too quickly and is easily pinched due to the coarse grain size, but I use table salt for baking because kosher salt will not integrate evenly in most doughs and batters.
Read them all. Via Kottke
Hike Naked Day
Today is the summer solstice. Appalachian Trail thru-hikers will be naked on the trail. Remember if you are going to hike naked, politely cover yourself when others are present. If you should be seen by a child, serious consequences may follow. Police in certain areas wait at trail heads to make sure hikers do not walk into towns naked. Have fun but be careful.
Is getting cheaper all the time.
A new type of solar energy collector concentrates the sun into a beam that could melt steel. Researchers say the device could revolutionize global energy production.

The prototype is a 12-foot-wide mirrored dish was made from a lightweight frame of thin, inexpensive aluminum tubing and strips of mirror. It concentrates sunlight by a factor of 1,000 to produce steam.

"This is actually the most efficient solar collector in existence," said Doug Wood, an inventor based in Washington state who patented key parts of the dish's design - the rights to which he has signed over to a team of students at MIT.[...]

Ahrens and his teammates have started a company, RawSolar, to hopefully mass produce the dishes. They could be set up in huge arrays to provide steam for industrial processing, or for heating or cooling buildings, as well as to hook up to steam turbines and generate electricity, according to an MIT statement. Once in mass production, such arrays should pay for themselves within two years or so with the energy they produce, the students figure.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Victoria's Secret Rescue Gear
I know a lady that wears Victoria's Secret under garments when she hikes. They are polyester and cheaper than stuff made for the outdoors. Or so she says. Backpacker's Ted Alvarez is reporting that....
Maybe we should consider adding Victoria's Secret to the Ten Essentials: A 24-year-old American hiker lost in the Bavarian Alps for over 70 hours alerted search crews to her plight by attaching her bra to a timber transport cable.

Read it all. Its pretty good.
Liver, Fava Beans and a Nice Chianti
Ed at the slow cook has the recipe. His last graph made me giggle.
The favas had already been blanched and shelled. I finished cooking them until tender in a skillet with butter. Season with a bit of salt. Serve on a hot plate, pouring some of the glaze over the liver. Pour a glass of Chianti and give a toast to Anthony Hopkins.

Roan Mountain

hiking Roan Mountain, originally uploaded by oryngo.

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is going to use goats to help keep the balds in the Roan Highlands clear. Its a Baa-tany Project

Angora Goats To Graze On Roan Mountain

Two eternal mysteries surround Roan Mountain like a thick morning mist.
First, why are the balds bald? And second, should the forest service exert any particularly strenuous efforts to keep the balds bald?
Theories bordering on legend – and occasionally crossing that border – suggest that prehistoric mastodons and mammoths roamed the mountain and grazed voraciously. When they became extinct, bison and elk took over.
It has also been suggested that a lightning strike or series of strikes may have sparked a fire or two. And of course, no mountain legend is complete without the devil walking across the landscape wreaking havoc in his footsteps.
Whatever their origin, Roan’s grassy balds – Round Bald, Jane Bald, Grassy Ridge and Hump Mountain – are actually fields on the densely forested mountain that give Appalachian Trail hikers short stretches in the sun with some nice long-range views.
They are also unique ecosystems with an intriguing assortment of rare plants and insects. Therefore, the forest service has elected to preserve them, or at least try to, against the forest’s encroachment. A third question then becomes how to go about it.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

He Said It First

Not safe for work. Highly offensive word repeated. I did literally laugh out loud. Spread it around.
More Bizarre
A sixth foot has washed a shore.
All six of the feet - five rights and a left - have been found since August 2007 in the Strait of Georgia, which is sheltered from the Pacific Ocean by Vancouver Island, or nearby in the mouth of the Fraser River.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The two missing Denali hikers found.
The two backpackers, reported missing after they failed to return from an overnight hike in Alaska's Denali National Park, contacted one of the hiker's family members this morning, but search and rescue teams have not yet picked up the pair.
Abby Flantz and Erica Nelson have been found, alive and well," Kris Fister, a spokeswoman for the park, announced in a news release around 10 a.m. local time. "The families are here, and the young women will shortly be reunited with them."

Fister later issued a second news release in which she pulled back from the original announcement. Nelson's mother, who had arrived at Denali to assist in the search, received a phone call at 9:15 a.m. from her daughter, who reported that both women were "uninjured and healthy."

Update: The Park Service account of the rescue.(June 19, 2008)
Abby Flantz and Erica Nelson were grinning from ear to ear as they disembarked from a helicopter at the Denali Park airstrip yesterday afternoon and walked into the waiting arms of their anxious families. They were spotted on Wednesday afternoon from the park’s plane in an area outside the park about 15 miles north of the point where they began their hike and eight miles west of the Parks Highway. After the reunion, they were assessed by park medics for any medical issues, then interviewed by search managers to get a thorough understanding of where they had gone and what they had done during their six day ordeal.
Jeffery Klein discussing John McCain's unreleased navy records.
Some of the unreleased pages in McCain's Navy file may not reflect well upon his qualifications for the presidency. From day one in the Navy, McCain screwed-up again and again, only to be forgiven because his father and grandfather were four-star admirals. McCain's sense of entitlement to privileged treatment bears an eerie resemblance to George W. Bush's.
Organic Pays
A new study from England on organic farming.
Researchers from the University of Guelph followed farms that converted from conventional to organic dairy farming over five years to see if it really is viable and better for farmers; the answer appears to be yes. However the study notes that organic farms are more labour intensive and there is a lot of paperwork involved.

Milk production falls immediately, down 10.6%. (It would probably drop more in the USA where they allow bovine growth hormone) . However, chemical costs for fertilizers and antibiotics are wiped out, and veterinary costs are cut in half, saving almost $2,000 per cow.

Also, organic milk sells for 25% more than conventional milk, almost completely balancing it out.

In the Star: Ann Slater, a market farmer near St. Marys and president of the Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario, says soils continue to improve even after the transition is complete, and farmers get better at running their farms.

War Crimes
From McClatchy
It was largely the work of five White House, Pentagon and Justice Department lawyers who, following the orders of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, reinterpreted or tossed out the U.S. and international laws that govern the treatment of prisoners in wartime, according to former U.S. defense and Bush administration officials.

The Supreme Court now has struck down many of their legal interpretations. It ruled last Thursday that preventing detainees from challenging their detention in federal courts was unconstitutional.

The quintet of lawyers, who called themselves the “War Council," drafted legal opinions that circumvented the military's code of justice, the federal court system and America's international treaties in order to prevent anyone — from soldiers on the ground to the president — from being held accountable for activities that at other times have been considered war crimes.

Via Atrios

And way to go Donna Edwards. I am Amazed that Edwards is the first black woman to be elected to congress from Maryland.

Donna Edwards became the state's first black woman to be elected to Congress after easily defeating Republican Peter James Tuesday night in a special election for the vacant 4th District seat.

With 74 percent of the precincts reporting by 10 p.m., Edwards had captured 79 percent of the vote.

Edwards, an activist and lawyer, will serve out the remainder of former Rep. Albert R. Wynn's term. Wynn, who lost to Edwards in the February primary, left office May 31 to join a powerful lobbying group, leading to Tuesday night's election. She will serve the rest of the year.

"It really didn't hit us about the element of history, but what it says is that we're ready for change and for people who represent all of us," said Edwards, 49.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Full Moon!

When is the solstice?


Coming to a politician near you.
Reverse Ace
Why is McCain considered a hero?

Navy pilot John Sidney McCain III should have never been allowed to graduate from the U.S. Navy flight school. He was a below average student and a lousy pilot. Had his father and grandfather not been famous four star U.S. Navy admirals, McCain III would have never been allowed in the cockpit of a military aircraft.

His father John S. "Junior" McCain was commander of U.S. forces in Europe later becoming commander of American forces in Vietnam while McCain III was being held prisoner of war. McCain III's grandfather John S. McCain, Sr. commanded naval aviation at the Battle of Okinawa in 1945.

During his relative short stunt on flight status, McCain III lost five U.S. Navy aircraft, four in accidents and one in combat.

I understand that he was in a prison camp. I understand that he was tortured. But what is heroic about being shot down and tortured? It must have been a terrible hardship to be in the prison. Did he do something to save his fellow prisoners? Exhibit some kind of great leadership? Where are his fellow prisoners? John Kerry was able to produce people he served with in combat. Where are McCain's buddies from the Hanoi Hilton? What medals did he win?
More Tomatoes
Ed from The Slow Cook.
A bleak tableau started to look like a Mel Brooks farce as the head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration sat before Congress and refused to say what it might take to devise a system that could put disease-free tomatoes on America's dinner tables. Tomatoes tainted with salmonella forced groceries and restaurants everywhere to pull them from the food chain, but the federal government it turns out has no way to trace where they came from.

Lawmakers simply cannot wrap their heads around the idea that the industrial food system they've been promoting lo these many years has run off the rails.

Hiker Missing
This time in the San Gabriel Mountains.
SAN GABRIEL MOUNTAINS - Sheriff's search and rescue teams plan to continue looking today for a 46-year-old hiker who has been missing since Sunday in the Angeles National Forest.

The experienced hiker from Hacienda Heights drove with another man to Heaton Flat, an area near Prairie Forks Road east of Highway 39 and west of Mount Baldy this weekend. Their wives called Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies about 3 a.m. Sunday when the men didn't return, said sheriff's Lt. Roxanna Hart.

Searchers found the San Diego man Monday afternoon, but could not find the other hiker.

Update: From Comments
Wang Zvo-Zhong, 46, of Hacienda Heights was found dead about 6 a.m., said Los Angeles County sheriff's Lt. Craig Boyett.

My condolences to his friends and family. It has been hard for me to find any information on this tragedy.

Monday, June 16, 2008

If McCain and Obama Were Food
Matt Yglesias points to this Serious Eats post with some pretty funny answers.

Mine would be
  1. Obama: Romain salad with burp less cucumbers, sweet red peppers and dressing on the side.
  2. McCain: Dried navy beans and salt cod.
McCain Vs McCain

McCain does not know how to use a computer. That should disqualify him from the presidency. He does not know what Google is. He does not understand we do know how to use Google. No word yet if he knows what YouTube is.
From Paul Krugman at the New York Times.

Mr. McCain now promises to make those tax cuts permanent — and proposes further cuts that are, if anything, tilted even more toward the wealthy. And how is the loss of revenue to be made up? Mr. McCain hasn’t offered a realistic answer.

You can explain though not excuse Mr. McCain’s behavior by his need to shore up relations with the Republican base, which suspects him of being a closet moderate. But he’s not the only one seemingly trapped by the Bush fiscal legacy.

Barack Obama’s tax plan is more responsible than Mr. McCain’s: relative to current policy, the Tax Policy Center estimates, the Obama plan would raise revenue by $700 billion over the next decade, compared with a $600 billion loss for Mr. McCain.

The Obama plan is also far more progressive, sharply reducing after-tax incomes for the richest 1 percent of Americans while raising incomes for the bottom 80 percent.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Savage River

Savage River, originally uploaded by hoodwinks.

Two hikers are missing in the Savage river section of Denali National Park.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- The National Park Service has launched a search for two women missing on what was supposed to be a short backpacking trip in Denali National Park.

Abby Flantz, 25, of Gaylord, Minn., and Erica Nelson, 23, of Las Vegas, were last seen Thursday at the Savage River check station. The women had picked up a wilderness permit earlier that day and planned to return Friday.

They were reported overdue Saturday when they did not report to work at the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge, a hotel outside the park.

A search Sunday was suspended for the evening and the Park Service planned to resume Monday.

Searchers focused on the Savage River drainage north of the Denali Park Road. Park officials said that was route the women likely would have taken to reach the Mount Healy wilderness unit, the area for which they had a permit.

Hopefully they just got to the wrong side of the drainage and are waiting for the river to go down.

Update: Rangers are asking for help (Monday June 16, 2008)from anyone who was in the area.

As part of the investigation supporting the search effort, search managers would like to speak with anyone who was hiking in the Savage River drainage between Thursday, June 12th, and Sunday, June 15th. Anyone who may have information to share is asked to call 907-683-9648. [Submitted by Kris Fister, Public Affairs Officer]

Prescription Drugs Kill
Prescription drugs kill far more people than illegal drugs.

The Florida report analyzed 168,900 deaths statewide. Cocaine, heroin and all methamphetamines caused 989 deaths, it found, while legal opioids — strong painkillers in brand-name drugs like Vicodin and OxyContin — caused 2,328.

Drugs with benzodiazepine, mainly depressants like Valium and Xanax, led to 743 deaths. Alcohol was the most commonly occurring drug, appearing in the bodies of 4,179 of the dead and judged the cause of death of 466 — fewer than cocaine (843) but more than methamphetamine (25) and marijuana (0).

The study did not include non recreational legally prescribed pills. Or the discrepancy would be higher.

Update Libby's opinion.

As an aside, it's useful to note that at 4,179 incidences, "alcohol was the most commonly occurring drug" found in bodies of the dead, although listed as the sole cause of death in only 466, but marijuana remains the only so-called dangerous drug which has not been attributed as a cause of a single fatality in 5,000 years. Yet in 2007 there were 44,640 Americans imprisoned at the state and federal level solely for offenses related to this natural herb. There's no count on the numbers held in local and county jails.

America's real drug problem is its addiction to prohibition. It hasn't worked in the last 40 and more years and it won't ever work. For a fraction of the billions we spend on failed policies that rely on eradication, interdiction and incarceration, we could invest in treatment facilities that would actually solve the problems of addiction and abuse, which are the only real dangers of drug use and allow responsible substance consumers to live in peace and productivity. [h/t Tits McGee]

The Desert Portion
Katherine "Moon Pie" Becksvoort from Chattanooga is Going through the desert portion of the Pacific Crest Trail.
Walking through the desert is really all about the race for water and the race for shade. After leaving the Mexico border and learning the hard way that hiking at high noon in the desert is not a good idea, I’m strategizing my daily schedule for the 10 by 10 policy ... which means 10 miles by 10 a.m.

That sets things up well for the rest of the day, with an afternoon siesta in the shade around lunchtime. It’s necessary to do about 20-mile days, on average, to get through the desert before the hot summer days really settle in and the water sources dry up, as well as giving a hiker enough time to cover the 700 miles of desert before Kennedy Meadows, the official entry point into the Sierras.

If a hiker gets there too early, then the snows haven’t melted enough to cross through the high mountain passes at 14,000 feet. And if a hiker is too late, the water sources in the desert are too far apart to be passable. Needless to say, this makes for a tricky window of six weeks or so to plan your hiking time between the desert and the Sierras.

She writes well. Read it all. First installment here.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Interesting Accommodations
Craig who is walking across Japan found a place to sleep on his trek.
None of the stores I asked in knew of any and everyone suggested the same place when I said I’d take a camp site. It was where I had planned on heading when I started this morning and it is were I am now. But it’s not what I expected. The baseball field is in use, quite loudly, so I retreated into the forest and found some flat ground next to an interesting shrine. You’ll have to see the photo because I’m not describing it. Certainly an amusing end to a very trying day.

It is much funnier if you click the link.

Birth Control

Remember republicans are not only against abortion but are opposed to birth control.
Monday Is Free Float Day

LOUISVILLE, Ky.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A&W restaurants is treating Americans to a sweet deal on Monday, June 16 a free root beer float and no purchase is necessary.

With gas prices at all time highs, 30 percent higher than a year ago, and grocery food prices increasing by double digits, A&W thought it was high time to provide Americans some sweet relief.

"We want to give people a great start to their summer and a little economic relief by treating America to one of their favorite sweets, the A&W Root Beer Float," said Ben Butler, President, A&W Restaurants. The free A&W Root Beer Float treat will be available at the national restaurant's nearly 700 stores. To learn more about A&W Restaurants visit

Americas Favorite Float

The A&W Original Float is made with A&W Root Beer and topped off with proprietary A&W soft serve. A&W Root Beer is the world's number one selling root beer. It is mixed fresh and sold at hundreds of A&W restaurants. To this day, the formula of this favorite root beer made from a unique blend of 13 ingredients including roots, bark, herbs and naturally sweet sugar cane, remains a proprietary secret. It is caffeine free.

Friday, June 13, 2008

How Does Salmonella Get In Your Tomato?
Gourmet Magazine has an article on the subject. Their conclusion.

The CSPI is far less sanguine. Since 2006, that consumer advocacy group has been urging the FDA to require that all farms that feed the public adhere to written food-safety plans.

Good luck. The FDA has consistently shown that it is more interested in protecting the interests of the agriculture industry than the health of American consumers. Note the confusing, back-assward way it issued its warning, listing 16 states and countries whose tomatoes were considered safe to eat, but omitting regions that were possibly unsafe. I’ll make the warning a little more consumer friendly: Avoid red round, plum, and Roma tomatoes (though those sold attached to the vine are okay) from Florida (unless they have a certificate from the state department of agriculture) and Mexico.

The current system, says the CSPI, is ineffective. “All consumers can do is cross their fingers and hope.”

Via Slashfood.

Update: From Slate.
the Food and Drug Administration, which is charged with regulating produce, might inspect a vegetable packing facility once a year, and the number of inspections is shrinking. In 1972, the FDA inspected 50,000 farms and plants. By 2006, that number had dwindled to 10,000. Meanwhile, having increasingly centralized packing plants means that crops from a single contaminated field can mingle with clean produce and be shipped across a wider swath of the country than ever before.

Deregulating themselves out of business.
Green Beer
No, not the stuff with food coloring. Meredith Melnick at Eat, Drink Better has an article about the most sustainable breweries. I am glad to see my beloved Sierra Nevada on the list.
4. Sierra Nevada Brewing Company (Distribution: U.S.)
Sierra Nevada uses fuel cell technology to power their brewing and has won California’s highest award for waste reduction. In 2006, their website says, they diverted 97% of their total waste from landfills through a combination of waste reduction and creative recycling. Sierra Nevada also recovers both steam heat and carbon dioxide for reuse in the facility. Like the other eco-minded breweries, Sierra Nevada treats and reclaims its wastewater and sends its spent mash to local farms.

Bad Cow Disease
Or how the republicans ruined the food supply.
It started with ideology. Hard-core American conservatives have long idealized the Gilded Age, regarding everything that followed — not just the New Deal, but even the Progressive Era — as a great diversion from the true path of capitalism.

Thus, when Grover Norquist, the anti-tax advocate, was asked about his ultimate goal, he replied that he wanted a restoration of the way America was “up until Teddy Roosevelt, when the socialists took over. The income tax, the death tax, regulation, all that.”

The late Milton Friedman agreed, calling for the abolition of the Food and Drug Administration. It was unnecessary, he argued: private companies would avoid taking risks with public health to safeguard their reputations and to avoid damaging class-action lawsuits. (Friedman, unlike almost every other conservative I can think of, viewed lawyers as the guardians of free-market capitalism.)[...]

The moral of this story is that failure to regulate effectively isn’t just bad for consumers, it’s bad for business.

And in the case of food, what we need to do now — for the sake of both our health and our export markets — is to go back to the way it was after Teddy Roosevelt, when the Socialists took over. It’s time to get back to the business of ensuring that American food is safe.

Read it all. Its a good one.

H2O Power
Japanese scientists claim they can run a car on water.

TOKYO (Reuters Life!) - Tired of petrol prices rising daily at the pump? A Japanese company has invented an electric-powered, and environmentally friendly, car that it says runs solely on water.

Genepax unveiled the car in the western city of Osaka on Thursday, saying that a liter (2.1 pints) of any kind of water -- rain, river or sea -- was all you needed to get the engine going for about an hour at a speed of 80 km (50 miles).

"The car will continue to run as long as you have a bottle of water to top up from time to time," Genepax CEO Kiyoshi Hirasawa told local broadcaster TV Tokyo.

"It does not require you to build up an infrastructure to recharge your batteries, which is usually the case for most electric cars," he added.

Once the water is poured into the tank at the back of the car, the a generator breaks it down and uses it to create electrical power, TV Tokyo said.

Sounds good to me. Will it make it to market?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Another hiker died. This time in Rocky Mountains National Park.
A 70-year-old man died near Alberta Falls on Thursday after a physician and emergency medical technician crews performed artificial breathing on him for nearly an hour and a half.

The man, who was not identified in a release from the National Park Service, did not fall from the side of the mountain.

At 11:05 a.m. a visitor in the park called the park service to say the man, hiking with his wife about 1 1/2 miles from the Glacier Gorge Trailhead, was unconscious and breathing, but he stopped breathing shortly after the first report.

My condolences to his friends and family.

Sad To Hear
A hiker was found dead in the Catskill mountains in New York.
A hiking trip in the Catskills turns deadly for one man.

State Police and recovery crews spent much of Thursday afternoon on the scene in Tannersville, clearing a little before 5:00.

A 911 call brought crews to the Roaring Kill trailhead of the Indian Head Plateau Mountain Wilderness Area in Greene County.

A group of female hikers was up on the trail when they discovered the body of a man.

It's believed the man may have been there at least overnight.[...]

As of airtime, State Police had not released the man's identity yet.

People on the scene say it appears he was in his 50s and that he may have suffered a heart attack.

My condolences to his friends and family.
Update: The hiker has been Identified.
Police identified the man as Terry R. Finger, 59, of Columbia, Mo. His body was discovered near a wooded area in rough terrain off the Pecoy trail, about 3 miles from Roaringkill Road.

Why I'm Voting Republican

Via Warren Terra at Blue Girl, Red State
I'm Melting

A video of the polar ice shelf. It still has ice on the Greenland side. When the sheet is gone, Greenland's ice sheet will melt much faster. Notice how the ice shelf gets away from land it never really goes back. Just as a reminder there is enough water to raise the level of the ocean 22 feet. It may be green again in my life time.
Via TreeHugger.
The Boston Globe has a good op/ed on the presidential candidates and their policies.
McCain's record and recent proposals raise real questions about his commitment to the bold measures we need to combat global warming.

If McCain's version of straight talk on the environment means missing key votes for clean low-carbon energy, then we have a lot to worry about. Twice, in December and February, when the Senate failed by one vote to extend key production tax incentives for wind and solar power, McCain not only didn't vote but said subsequently he would have opposed these measures. Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential candidate, voted for them.

Read it all.
Via Matt Yglesias.

Lion King is walking through Arkansas.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Beer Quote of The Day
"They who drink beer will think beer."
-Washington Irving
Solar Trees
When I saw a solar trees link, I thought of these ascetically pleasing street lights. But these solar trees are cool too. Solar panels over parking lots. The idea is so simple, I should have thought about it. I can see this being a big deal especially in the south west where they put covers like these over parking lots now, without the solar panels.

From the Jetson Green blog
As you can see above and below, Envision Solar plans to make parking lots into beautiful power plants with their Solar Groves and Solar Trees. Envision Solar takes the hassle out of designing structures for solar with their turn-key solutions. Although the company is working on a next generation design for the Solar Tree, the current iteration includes 64 Kyocera solar modules laid out in total measuring 30' x 40'. The panels sit at a five degree angle and provide shading for six vehicles, too. Envision Solar has found success installing these parking canopies near commercial buildings and retail parking lots because the energy can be sold to businesses through power purchase agreements.

Brain Food
I think a lot of people in the wilderness make bad decisions because they are hungry and tired. I have seen it on both the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails. From Slashfood.
This article in the Telegraph Online explains the tests that researchers put subjects to in order to get the results. Serotonin is a chemical the brain produces to make us feel good, but it is dependent on tryptophan (an amino acid we can only get through ingesting food). Turns out that you need to eat to make serotonin, so the best advice is to eat before you need to make big decisions.

Serotonin is also linked to cranky and aggressive behavior. If you have low serotonin levels, you'll probably be a little cranky. That means you should also eat if you need to stay in a good mood. I'm sure no one is suggesting that you gorge yourself constantly, but if you feel hungry then eating something could help. It would at least help prevent any afternoon office fights.

No Clue

He clearly does not understand Iraq. The Iraqi's will kill US troops as long as they are there Period.
Update: Steve Benen from the Carpet Bagger Report.
In fact, everything about McCain’s bizarre worldview is misguided. First, as recently as Monday, McCain reiterated his support for an indefinite war in Iraq. Coupled with this morning’s remarks, McCain believes the U.S. presence in Iraq has no end in sight, and bringing the troops home is “not too important.”

Second, his repeated comparisons to Germany, Japan, and Korea are not just foolish, they’re bordering on absurd. The more McCain makes the argument, the dumber it sounds. (Indeed, McCain himself has said his own comparison doesn’t apply well to Iraq.)

And third, there’s the pesky detail of the growing number of Iraqi officials who used to support a long-term U.S. security presence, but who are now ready to see Americans leave.