Here we go again . . . .

March 10th, 2011

Link: http://www.cepr.net/index.php/beat-the-press/

Time for the band to start playing "Drill Baby Drill" again. Let gas prices go up, and we hear "Drill Baby Drill" as reliably as we hear "The Chicken Dance" at weddings.

At least everyone knows "The Chicken Dance" is stupid. Aside from 60-year old white men who dream of Sarah Palin in leather pants, I cannot understand why the stupid of "Drill Baby Drill" isn't obvious. You'd have to have the IQ of a paint chip to miss it.

According to Dean Baker at Beat the Press (with some edits):

The amount of additional oil that can be drilled from the Gulf is only around 0.2 percent of world supply. It would take roughly 10 years to get up to this level of production. Using normal elasticity assumptions, this would imply a reduction in the price of oil of around 0.5 percent. That would mean that if we completely opened the Gulf for drilling, it would save about 30 cents off the cost of filling a pick-up in 2021.

BTW, I can't recall the last time I heard an environmentalist on my radio.

What Wisconsin and Colorado Have In Common

February 22nd, 2011

Link: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/the-best-protest-signs-at-the-wisconsin-capitol?s=mobile

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Colorado's new motto?

Photos of lots of Wisconsin protest signs. I laughed at this one.

Nobody Here But Us Chickens (And The Car)

February 22nd, 2011

Link: http://www.semcoop.com/book/v/9781594484841

From Green Metropolis by David Owen:

City dwellers who fantasize about living in the country usually picture themselves hiking, kayaking, gathering eggs from their own chickens, and engaging in other robust outdoor activities, but what you actually do when you move out of the city is move into a car . . . .

With minimal or no public transit and everything miles apart, car trips consume a lot of time.

More from Colorado's Clown Squad

February 22nd, 2011

Link: http://www.denverpost.com/politics/ci_17389062

I post this only because so many Colorado Democrats suffer from the fantasy that Bennet and Udall are good guys representing liberal interests.

These credulous Democrats excuse bad votes because Udall and/or Bennet were "forced" to compromise with Republicans. That's just bullshit. A delusion.

Compromise means meeting someone partway with the expectation of receiving something good. It is a deal. You give something up because you want to get something.

Simply pandering to nitwits is not compromising. It is just bad policy. Not understanding the issues is not compromise either. It's just idiocy. And actively supporting bad things isn't compromise. It's just, well, doing bad things.

Udall votes for more off-shore drilling. What did he get in return? Nothing. Udall and Bennet vote for guns in National Parks. The return? Nada. As you know, I could go on.

Here's the latest example of Bennet and Udall pursuing a pandering, idiotic, and/or bad policy: Austerity on the backs of the poor during a severe recession with a high unemployment rate. This is not compromise. This is what they want.

From the Denver Post:

Democratic Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet said Monday that President Barack Obama's 2012 budget does not go far enough in cutting spending.

. . .

Both Udall and Bennet think the president's fiscal commission recommendations released last year should be taken to the Senate floor for a vote, even though neither senator likes every aspect of the 57-page plan that includes unpopular cuts to entitlement programs and defense spending.

"Although the president takes steps to rein in spending and reduce the deficit, the budget we pass should contain a comprehensive approach that builds upon the work of the Fiscal Commission," Bennet said.

Clowns. Destructive clowns.

Reagan (D) v. Nutjob (R)? It's a Sucker's Game.

February 17th, 2011

How many times have I heard "He sucks but you can't vote for the Republican! He's a nutjob!" or something like that? And I generally went along.

Things started to change for me when we kicked off the invasion of Iraq with rousing, bipartisan cheers. In the next election, I could not bring myself to vote for anyone, Democrat or Republican, who supported the mass killing of innocent people. My doubts about the mental wattage of anyone who would support such an idiotic foreign policy gaffe also helped.

Not cheering the killing of innocent civilians became a line I just refused to cross. If immoral, moronic people were to be elected it would be without my support. My residence and citizenship made me more complicit than I could endure. I had no wish to compound my guilt with an affirmative action.

Now I'm starting to wonder whether I should simply stop voting altogether.

The Democrats seem to have become more enthusiastic worshippers at the "no tax" altar than Ronald Reagan ever was. We've already seen Obama trade poverty programs for tax cuts and adopt the austerity mantra. I will be shocked if Obama doesn't end up signing a law cutting social security. (Want to bet on that?)

Perhaps most painful is that my friend John Hickenlooper, now Governor of Colorado, has just proposed cutting school funding yet again. That's despite a statewide referendum that voters passed so school funding would increase annually.

So what happens if progressives stop voting and let the lunatics take complete charge? Maybe the backlash to the total idiocy would support real change.

I don't think so, but voting for Democrats doesn't seem to have worked.

Love, Doves, Govs, And Paris

February 17th, 2011

Link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/series/jamesfentonspoetrymasterclass

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Image by Sarcasmo. Some rights reserved.

James Fenton, a poet, writes about a peril of love that I hadn't considered:

?Love? is so short of perfect rhymes that convention allows half-rhymes like ?move?. The alternative is a plague of doves, or a kind of poem in which the poet addresses his adored both as ?love? and as ?guv??a perfectly decent solution once, but only once, in a while.

The excerpt is from one of the essays Fenton wrote for the Guardian about poetry. The series is called "James' Fenton's poetry Master Class".

I leave the poetry writing to Gerty; poetry reading is my department. Nonetheless, I found the essays enlightening and entertaining.

So much for love, doves, and govs, here's Paris:

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Gerty Says Happy Valentine's Day

February 14th, 2011

Gerty says that I should write a blog and call it "36 years." That would be the 36 years from Reagan's election to the end of Obama's second term.

Gerty says that's my personal arc from "this sucks, and I'm going to change it" to "this still sucks, and there's not a darn thing I'm able to do about it because no one gives a shit about anything except their next 'major purchase' and tax cuts, so let's go drink beers in Thailand."

Gerty says "Thirty six years is a conservative estimate, but if we drink enough beers in Thailand we won't care about anything either even if the world gets suckier."

Gerty also says "Come to bed, and I'll read you my Valentine's Day poem. Or, you can read it to me."

Gerty keeps things in perspective.

Catlin on Lance's High Testosterone Tests

February 10th, 2011

Link: http://thecatlinperspective.wordpress.com/2011/01/27/don-catlin-m-d-responds-to-sports-illustrated-story-by-selena-roberts-david-epstein-on-lance-armstrong/

The most damning part of the recent Sports Illustrated article on Lance and doping (article summary) is the news of unexplained high T/E readings in three of Armstrong's urine samples between 1991 and 1998. Those three samples tested at ratios of 9.0, 7.6, and 6.5. According the SI article, before 2005, any ratio above 6 was considered abnormal. Since 2005, ratios over 4.0 are considered abnormal.

Don Catlin, whose lab reported the high T/E readings, has responded to several parts of the article.

As to the abnormally high T/E ratios found in three of Armstrong's samples, Catlin doesn't explain those results but attempts to put them in perspective.

Catlin says that two of them are not so high that failing to find similarly high results in the B samples would not be "unexpected." He says it's less likely for the sample that showed the highest reading:

It was not an unexpected occurrence to have samples with screen T/E ratios between 6.0 and 7.5 not confirm. It would be less likely, however, that a sample that screens at 9.0 does not confirm.

Not exactly a ringing defense. "Not unexpected" is much different than "happened routinely enough that it was probably an error." And, Catlin's view of the 9.0 reading seems even more jaundiced.

Even with the added context, the results provide more support for the conclusion that "Lance doped" than the conclusion that "he never touched the stuff."

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