Friday, November 05, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
Monday, August 30, 2010
It will be an ugly scene, and it will be dangerous, too. The 1990s were a time of peace and prosperity; this is a time of neither. In particular, we’re still suffering the after-effects of the worst economic crisis since the 1930s, and we can’t afford to have a federal government paralyzed by an opposition with no interest in helping the president govern. But that’s what we’re likely to get.
If I were President Obama, I’d be doing all I could to head off this prospect, offering some major new initiatives on the economic front in particular, if only to shake up the political dynamic. But my guess is that the president will continue to play it safe, all the way into catastrophe.
It aint gonna be pretty, folks.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
I’m finding it hard to read about politics these days. I still don’t think people in the administration understand the magnitude of the catastrophe their excessive caution has created. I keep waiting for Obama to do something, something, to shake things up; but it never seems to happen.
Here’s what I wrote in February 2009. It’s pretty rich that now the usual suspects are accusing me of having shared the administration’s optimism. But that’s a trivial point; the important thing is that all signs are that the next few years will be a combination of economic stagnation and political witch-hunt.
This is going to be almost inconceivably ugly.
It is not hard for me to conceive of how ugly it will be. One political party is saying we will tank the economy for political gain. The other party wants to believe that they fixed the economy. Yet we have 10% unemployment. I do not see how we avoid 20%-30% unemployment in the next couple of years.
Friday, August 27, 2010
It is indeed difficult to believe that the country will so quickly return to power the same Republican Party -- in an even more warped and primitive form -- that virtually destroyed the U.S. over the last decade through a mix of extreme corruption, recklessness and lawlessness. But nothing is more foolish than underestimating the dangers that come from this potent mix of economic oppression and the aggressive fanning of racial and ethnic resentments.
The administration has less freedom of action, since it can’t get legislation past the Republican blockade. But it still has options. It can revamp its deeply unsuccessful attempt to aid troubled homeowners. It can use Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored lenders, to engineer mortgage refinancing that puts money in the hands of American families — yes, Republicans will howl, but they’re doing that anyway. It can finally get serious about confronting China over its currency manipulation: how many times do the Chinese have to promise to change their policies, then renege, before the administration decides that it’s time to act?
Which of these options should policy makers pursue? If I had my way, all of them.
He is a Nobel Prize winner.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
So where is this “media?” Two sources, and they are — no surprise here — the usual suspects. The first, of course, is Rush Limbaugh, who claims the largest radio audience in the land among the microphone demagogues, and his word is Biblical among Republicans. A few quick examples of the Limbaugh method:[....]
Climate-change denial is a special category all its own. Once on the fringe, dismissal of scientific consensus is now an ariticle of faith among leading Republicans, again taking their cue from Limbaugh and Fox.
It is nice to see that other people understand republicanism is a religion and you need faith to believe in it.
As with trust, faith involves a concept of future events or outcomes, and is used conversely for a belief "not resting on logical proof or material evidence.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
But social scientists have identified another major reason: Climate change has become an ideologically polarizing issue. It taps into deep personal identities and causes what Dan Kahan of Yale calls “protective cognition” — we judge things in part on whether we see ourselves as rugged individualists mastering nature or as members of interconnected societies who live in harmony with the environment. Powerful special interests like the coal and oil industries have learned how to halt movement on climate policy by exploiting the fear people feel when their identities are threatened.
To be a republican you have to believe some pretty crazy things.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
A closer look at its selection of items underscores the brilliance of Coulombe's limited-selection, high-turnover model. Take peanut butter. Trader Joe's sells 10 varieties. That might sound like a lot, but most supermarkets sell about 40 SKUs. For simplicity's sake, say both a typical supermarket and a Trader Joe's sell 40 jars a week. Trader Joe's would sell an average of four of each type, while the supermarket might sell only one. With the greater turnover on a smaller number of items, Trader Joe's can buy large quantities and secure deep discounts. And it makes the whole business — from stocking shelves to checking out customers — much simpler.
Swapping selection for value turns out not to be much of a tradeoff. Customers may think they want variety, but in reality too many options can lead to shopping paralysis. "People are worried they'll regret the choice they made," says Barry Schwartz, a Swarthmore professor and author of The Paradox of Choice. "People don't want to feel they made a mistake." Studies have found that buyers enjoy purchases more if they know the pool of options isn't quite so large. Trader Joe's organic creamy unsalted peanut butter will be more satisfying if there are only nine other peanut butters a shopper might have purchased instead of 39. Having a wide selection may help get customers in the store, but it won't increase the chances they'll buy. (It also explains why so often people are on their cellphones at the supermarket asking their significant other which detergent to get.) "It takes them out of the purchasing process and puts them into a decision-making process," explains Stew Leonard Jr., CEO of grocer Stew Leonard's, which also subscribes to the "less is more" mantra.
Customers accept that Trader Joe's has only two kinds of pudding or one kind of polenta because they trust that those few items will be very good. "If they're going to get behind only one jar of Greek olives, then they're sure as heck going to make sure it's the most fabulous jar of Greek olives they can find for the price," explains one former employee. To ferret out those wow items, Trader Joe's has four top buyers, called product developers, do some serious globetrotting. A former senior executive told me that Trader Joe's biggest R&D expense is travel for those product-finding missions. Trade shows that feature the flavor of the moment "are for rookies," a former buyer said. Trader Joe's doesn't pick up on trends — it sets them.
Monday, August 23, 2010
We need to pinch pennies these days. Don’t you know we have a budget deficit? For months that has been the word from Republicans and conservative Democrats, who have rejected every suggestion that we do more to avoid deep cuts in public services and help the ailing economy.
But these same politicians are eager to cut checks averaging $3 million each to the richest 120,000 people in the country.
What — you haven’t heard about this proposal? Actually, you have: I’m talking about demands that we make all of the Bush tax cuts, not just those for the middle class, permanent.
Friday, August 20, 2010
As I look at what passes for responsible economic policy these days, there’s an analogy that keeps passing through my mind. I know it’s over the top, but here it is anyway: the policy elite — central bankers, finance ministers, politicians who pose as defenders of fiscal virtue — are acting like the priests of some ancient cult, demanding that we engage in human sacrifices to appease the anger of invisible gods.
It is something I have been thinking about for a while. You have to believe so many things that have no basis in fact to be a republican.
Saturday, August 07, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Tuesday, July 06, 2010
In the 77 days since oil from the ruptured Deepwater Horizon began to gush into the Gulf of Mexico, BP has skimmed or burned about 60 percent of the amount it promised regulators it could remove in a single day.
Last week, I interviewed Mother Jones' Mac McClelland, who has been covering the BP oil spill in the Gulf since the first day it happened. She detailed how local police and federal officials work with BP to harass, impede, interrogate and even detain journalists who are covering the impact of the spill and the clean-up efforts. She documented one incident which was particularly chilling of an activist who -- after being told by a local police officer to stop filming a BP facility because "BP didn't want him filming" -- was then pulled over after he left by that officer so he could be interrogated by a BP security official. McClelland also described how BP has virtually bought entire Police Departments which now do its bidding: "One parish has 57 extra shifts per week that they are devoting entirely to, basically, BP security detail, and BP is paying the sheriff's office."
We have become a police state working to help foreign corporations. Corporations are not citizens. They should not have the rights of citizens.
Saturday, July 03, 2010
They described scenes of devastation in the town of Sange, where houses were burned and bodies littered the streets. Some people died while trying to steal fuel leaking from the tanker, but most were killed at home or watching World Cup soccer in cinemas.
Many of the bodies were charred beyond recognition.
United Nations helicopters began airlifting injured people to hospital, while Congo's army, which lost a number of men in the blast, has sent soldiers in to help with the rescue.
"Our latest numbers are 230 dead and 196 injured," Madnodje Mounoubai, a spokesman for the U.N. mission, said. Congo's government also gave the same number of dead.
Marcellin Cisambo, governor of South Kivu province, where the incident took place, said the blast occurred when the fuel truck overturned, leaked fuel and then later exploded.
It was not immediately clear what caused the initial accident or later blast, but local people said the truck, which was part of a convoy, stopped when the road seemed to crumble, toppling the vehicle and spilling fuel. Fire then erupted.
Friday, July 02, 2010
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Monday, June 21, 2010
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
Update: It appears that this was from a conservative operation trying to make the congressman look bad and it did. I should have noticed that the kids faces are obscured. It is also not known whether they asked if he blew goats with Micky Kaus first. Or asked if he had sex with dogs and Rick Santorum, who always prays after dog sex. His priests say it is OK as long as they are male puppies.
Still the congressman should have handled the situation better.
Update: Glenn is of course right. He should be arrested. The Congressman. He also has a link to a unedited second camera. He comes across as an asshole. As for the earlier speculation it is out there and it would be irresponsible not to speculate.
Tuesday, June 08, 2010
Well, it might not be the best place to go looking for nuance. But what about people who do have more nuanced views on food? What do you think about all these inquiries into the ethics of eating—Michael Pollan's work, for instance, or Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals? You've been rather vicious toward vegetarians in the past.
Pollan is hunting big game, in the sense that he's wrestling with big issues. I think he's discussing them in a way that allows for honest disagreement. He's not an absolutist. I think he's a very valuable addition to the discussion. Safran Foer, while I liked the book, I disagree completely with it. I don't understand how we can acknowledge the importance of the human dimension of turkey dinner yet forgo it anyway. I guess it's just a question of priorities.
Thursday, June 03, 2010
I have never heard of the Bay Area Ridge Trail but it looks just gorgeous. Mercury News has a nice piece about the trail.
The plan is ambitious: a 550-mile-long trail for hikers, horse riders and bicyclists, complete with campsites, scenic vistas, mountain ranges and forests. It's still unknown to many of the Bay Area's 7 million residents. But the Bay Area Ridge Trail, begun as a far-off dream by a few parks lovers more than 20 years ago, is slowly taking shape. The project aims to connect and preserve a vast corridor of wildness in one of America's most populous regions, from the Wine Country to Silicon Valley, from the East Bay hills to the ridgelines of the Santa Cruz Mountains — a 21st-century Pacific Crest Trail for urban residents who spend so much of their lives in traffic and in front of computers
The plan is ambitious: a 550-mile-long trail for hikers, horse riders and bicyclists, complete with campsites, scenic vistas, mountain ranges and forests.
It's still unknown to many of the Bay Area's 7 million residents.
But the Bay Area Ridge Trail, begun as a far-off dream by a few parks lovers more than 20 years ago, is slowly taking shape.
The project aims to connect and preserve a vast corridor of wildness in one of America's most populous regions, from the Wine Country to Silicon Valley, from the East Bay hills to the ridgelines of the Santa Cruz Mountains — a 21st-century Pacific Crest Trail for urban residents who spend so much of their lives in traffic and in front of computers
Tuesday, June 01, 2010
The NY/NJ Trail Conference has finished the Appalachian Trail section of their Bear Mountain Project. Yea and thank you!
A good thing about Bear Mountain is that millions of people can get to it. A bad thing is that millions of people can get to it. So over the years, the trails have been rebuilt and relocated many times. By the 1990s, it was clear that the Bear Mountain section of the trail, used by a half-million people a year, needed to be rebuilt again. The solution, drawn up primarily by Mr. Walsh and another trail designer, Peter Jensen, was an impossibly ambitious series of steps and walkways supported by native stone.
It would last, one hoped, forever. It would keep neophytes on the trail instead of bounding out into the woods. It would work for urban hikers showing up in tennis shoes and flip-flops, as well as for serious long-haul hikers. And it would be a challenge to build.
That section has always had too much pressure.
Monday, May 31, 2010
The Irish humanitarian aid ship Rachel Corrie was attacked along with five other ships in the flotilla. The Rachel Corrie was named after American activist Rachel Corrie who was killed by Israeli Defense Forces as she tried to protect a Palestinian home.
We need to stop supporting the Israeli government. The Israeli blockade of the Gaza strip is a war crime. It needs to end.
Update: I am not sure witch ships were attacked Juan Cole is reporting it was the Turkish ship Marmara. His post is worth reading.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Saturday, May 29, 2010
A Swiss rambler, 47, struck a blow for freedom yesterday when he went to court to uphold his right to roam the Alps in his birthday suit.
A court in the canton of Appenzell — famous for its cheese and stunning vistas — found itself in the glare of the world’s media as it heard the rambler’s appeal against a fine for baring all on the peaks.
The man, unnamed to protect his privacy, had refused to pay a SwFr100 (£60) fine after he was caught walking in nothing more than his boots. His case is seen as a landmark for nudist rights across Europe.
In this country they wuld probably charge you as a sex offender.
Friday, May 28, 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Artisanal food Is helping the economy in Hardwick VT.
Fermentation is our friend. Vanilla beans need to be fermented to gain it's wonderful aroma. Fruit vinegars. Wines of Argentina come of age. Texas is the fifth largest producer of wine in the US. Quick name the four states that produce more. Jill makes sauerkraut.
Marion Nestle has a good round up of articles discussing the problems of small meat producers.
Haitian farmers vow to burn Monsanto's Genetically modified seeds.
Grocery stores segregated by peoples weight. Not fatties at Whole Foods.
Bone Marrow Pizza.
Anthony Bordain calls the Tea Partiers, "a lot of marginal, very angry white people." With video.
Monday, May 24, 2010
California farmers are donating to AR's Blanche Lincoln. They know who butters their bread.
Good news for small farm producers in New York. They are got a mobile slaughter house.
Research is being done with African rice to increase yields. Most breeding modifications have been done with Asian rice. African rice yields only about 40% of Asian rice. None too soon, I say.
Why does asparagus make make your .... well you know.
From the Pentagon: how to make a brownie in 26 pages.
Who knew cherry blossoms were edible?
Oil Slick cake. Thanks BP.
If some scientists, who say BP and the U.S. Coast Guard are underestimating how much oil is leaking now, are right, the current gusher could easily eclipse the demise of Ixtoc I in the Bay of Campeche. By their count, instead of the 210,000 gallons leaking per day, it's more like 4 million.
``Everybody keeps saying the spill in the Gulf is unprecedented,'' said geologist John Amos, president and founder of SkyTruth, a nonprofit that investigates environmental issues using satellite images. ``That is such bull----t. We had perfect precedence.''
THE IXTOC I
When the Ixtoc I burst into flames on June, 3, 1979, Wes Tunnell and other researchers had to figure out how long it would take the current to carry the oil, in one form or another, 600 miles to south Texas.
``We projected that it would reach the Texas coast in about two months. It exactly did,'' he said. By August, ``it coated the Texas beaches in a ribbon of oil 30 to 50 feet in width from Rio Grande to Port Aransas.''
Sunday, May 23, 2010
For those saddened by the scenes of thick oil washing into Louisiana's coastal wetlands a month after the BP oil disaster began, experts on oil spills and the coastal ecosystem have some advice: Get used to it.
The crews mopping up oil on beaches and marsh shorelines this week are fighting just the first of what will probably be a series of rolling skirmishes that will last for months, if not years -- even after the runaway well is finally capped. In fact, the untold millions of gallons of oil already fouling the Gulf off the Louisiana coast could stay in the area for at least a decade, and on the sea floor for more than 100 years.
Friday, May 21, 2010
McClatchy is reporting that it may be 19 times larger than has been reported.
The latest glimpse of video footage of the oil spill deep under the Gulf of Mexico indicates that around 95,000 barrels, or 4 million gallons, a day of crude oil may be spewing from the leaking wellhead, 19 times the previous estimate, an engineering professor told Congress Wednesday.
Now lets get out our handy NPR oil gusher calculator.
If you adjust the leak meter to 4 million you will find that as of Thursday morning BP has leaked 129 million gallons and counting or more than ten Exxon Valdez spills.
The Appalachian Trail Museum at Pine Grove State Forest(PA} has reassembled this shelter in the museum.
The resurrection of the Earl Shaffer Shelter is nearing its completion inside the soon-to-open Appalachian Trail Museum at Pine Grove Furnace State Park.
The three-sided log structure, which sheltered Appalachian Trail hikers atop Peters Mountain for over 40 years before it was dismantled two years ago, will be a centerpiece exhibit in the museum, set to open on June 5 in conjunction with National Trails Day.The over 50 pieces of the last remaining hiker shelter built by Earl Shaffer, the York-area native who in 1948 became the first man to complete the entire Appalachian Trail in one hike
I spent the night in this shelter in my 2001 thru-hike.