3.29.2015

Whatever it is, we're against it

Northeast, despite highest gas costs, resists more pipelines

"And these are folks who pay a lot to stay warm in the winter and keep the lights on in summer. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, New Englanders paid $14.52 per thousand cubic feet of gas in 2014, compared to $10.94 for the rest of the nation. ISO-New England, which operates the region's power grid, said in its 2015 Regional Electricity Outlook that natural gas availability is 'one of the most serious challenges' the region faces as more coal and oil units go offline."

We understand

The secret history of caffeine: Starbucks science and the back story of everyone’s favorite morning habit - Salon.com

"If I can’t drink my bowl of coffee three times daily, then in my torment I will shrivel up like a piece of roasted goat! — Johann Sebastian Bach and Christian Friedrich Henrici, Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht, aka the Coffee Cantata (c. 1734)"

But which gets more votes?

Republicans debate whether to cut or borrow to boost military spending - LA Times

"Even though military spending has gone down a bit in recent years, it still takes up more than half of the discretionary spending in the federal budget. By contrast, the much maligned food stamp program gets just a sliver of the 1% of discretionary spending that goes for agriculture and food programs."

Publicly owned electric utility powers Nebraska (wait, what?)

Who We Are

"NPA members help improve Nebraska’s quality of life by keeping electricity prices as low as possible. We budget conservatively and manage our expenses carefully. Because Nebraska’s publicly owned utilities don’t include a profit margin in their electricity prices, their prices are lower than utilities that are not publicly owned. That helps families and businesses stretch their dollars. All Nebraskans benefit from Nebraska being a public power state! …

"Nebraska’s utilities also contribute to the good life in our state by paying in-lieu-of taxes and other fees exceeding $30 million per year. These funds support Nebraska’s schools, roads, parks and community needs."

3.28.2015

I'm boycotting nature

I am not going outdoors until it warms up. Which will probably be tomorrow, when it should at least get out of the 30s, which is good enough. So it's likely to be a short boycott, but still. It's the thought that counts.


Saving the climate, apparently, involves living in the dark

Watch as People Across the Globe Switch Off Their Lights for Earth Hour | TIME

Plus, it's snowing

This is wearing a little thin.

Wait! Maybe a kiss is NOT just a kiss

Are your kids getting high with Burt’s Bees lip balm? | Vital Signs

"A Nashville television station recently reported that teens are rubbing Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm on their eyelids. The lip balm contains peppermint oil, which reportedly causes tingling and burning that ‘creates a sensation of being drunk or high,’ the report stated. This new ‘trend,’ for those in the know, is called beezin’ (minus the obviously lame g)."

3.27.2015

The war that's over isn't

The Pentagon Will Fund an Army That Steals Food, Hates Women and Can’t Pay Its Soldiers — War Is Boring — Medium

"American taxpayers will spend $4 billion on Afghanistan’s soldiers in 2015. It’s likely that Kabul will need that level of funding for years to come. Corrupt and incompetent, the Afghan government can’t afford to pay its security forces."

Imagine our relief

De Beers’ diamonds profits soar despite global economic woes

Make 'em sweat

Exclusive: Upset by Warren, U.S. banks debate halting some campaign donations | Reuters

"Representatives from Citigroup, JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America, have met to discuss ways to urge Democrats, including Warren and Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, to soften their party's tone toward Wall Street, sources familiar with the discussions said this week."

I saw a woman…

…standing on the sidewalk in front of her house energetically poking the snow with a long stick. Maybe that will make it go away.


Maybe we should hire an art director

Nearly 40 Percent of Millennials Think Random Hook-Ups Are Morally Wrong, Says a New Study by the Public Religion Research Institute — The Atlantic

 

Lead

New Yorker covers are reliably brilliant…

New Yorker cover mocks Hillary Clinton's email controversy with emojis - Yahoo Singapore Finance

"'Seriously, how does anyone understand anything that's written with only letters?' Blitt asked. 'I feel sorry for the alphabet. I'm waiting for the first original novel to be composed solely with emoticons. Oh, and Hillary Clinton.'"

…and this week’s totally cracks me up.

New Yorker cover mocks Hillary 89dffa36c82b7e3a24de313476dd84e6

If there ever was a reason to go back to bed, this is unquestionably it

Charles Krauthammer: Early odds in GOP sweepstakes - NY Daily News

"With Ted Cruz announcing and Rand Paul and Marco Rubio soon to follow, it’s time to start handicapping the horses and making enemies."

3.26.2015

Picturing the city

Weegee’s New York - Associated Press Interactive

"A new book of photos by the legendary New York photographer shows the industrialized, pre-gentrified city of the mid-20th century."

Smile when you say "underappreciated," pardner

This Chef Is Rethinking One of America's Most Underappreciated Foods

"Ravi Kapur loves Spam. Obviously. Who doesn't? But the Hawaiian-born chef of the Liholiho Yacht Club in San Francisco has brought his admiration for the iconic, imperishable canned delicacy to a higher plane. "

Hoosier

Indiana Gov. Pence Signs Anti-Gay Religious Freedom Bill Into Law

"Pence said signing the bill into law makes sure that 'religious liberty' is completely protected in the state."

And I don't even want to know what he thinks about formal policy

Ted Cruz's Foreign Policy Advisor Calls For War With Iran | ThinkProgress

"John Bolton, the former U.N. ambassador and informal foreign policy advisor to presidential candidate Ted Cruz, is advocating for the bombing of Iran."

Where would Congress be without hot air?

Marco Rubio and Rand Paul Said Congress Shouldn't Act on Climate Change—But 5 Republicans Disagreed - NationalJournal.com

"The two senators, both likely contenders for the 2016 presidential race were voting against an amendment offered up by Vermont independent Bernie Sanders. Democrats have repeatedly offered up such amendments—which in the current Senate have no chance of passing—in order to highlight Republicans' positions on climate change, betting it will repel swing voters."

Like us or else

Negative Yelp, Angie’s List reviews prompt dog obedience business to sue - The Washington Post

"Lawsuits over negative reviews have risen in recent years with the popularity of sites such as Yelp, Angie’s List and TripAdvisor that allow users to rate and provide feedback on businesses."

(I don’t know what the First Amendment has to say about Yelp, which is one of the many good reason’s I’m not a judge.)

"Lucrative" is the key word here

Welcome to the world of the $6 bus ride to work, $7 juice not included - The Washington Post

"If you were to look around any city and try to identify a problem in need of lucrative new solutions that emerging technology might provide, the dreaded commute is an obvious one."

Hey, maybe it's space gas

Purported sighting of UFO near Nevada's Area 51 | Sun-Times National

"There are a few inconsistencies in the video as well. For one, the purported UFO isn’t concealed by any tarps or covering. Second, take a look at the gas prices. One appears to show $4.15 per gallon and another $4.25."

So much for what the little Tucker knows

City Hall aide rips ‘Daily Caller’ boss for insulting email - NY Daily News

"He also said that ‘outside of New York City adults generally write polite, cheerful emails to one another, even when asking for corrections.’"

3.25.2015

Every minute counts…but not for much

XKCD

You mean, there's some means left?

Clinton Email Probe Means Political Tightrope for House GOP - NationalJournal.com

"The panel wants to avoid the appearance that it is attacking Clinton by any means possible."

Has Putin been hitting that glass cleaner again?

Russian Economic Crisis Forces Some Drinkers To Turn To Cleaning Products, Medical Alcohol

"Don't go to college," some guy says

This 21-Year-Old Is Trying to Become a Major Player in Conservative Politics - NationalJournal.com

"Since launching Turning Point, Kirk has written op-eds for The Washington Times and Breitbart, appeared frequently on Fox News and CNBC, built a network of thousands of student activists around the country, and been entrusted with, he says, at least $1 million by donors enthralled by his conservative promise. His backers swear he's the future of conservative politics—and he's only just old enough to drink."

If you learn too much you might get, you know, confused.

The answer is, get back off fast

This scale I have, the kind where you stand on it and it tells you how much you weigh, the longer I stand on it the higher it goes. WTF? I’m not gaining weight just standing there, am I? I don’t think so. It’s broken or something. I don’t know.

Get on it and then get right back off. Fast.

How did we get away with growing up (not to mention being parents)?

“Help! My boys were stopped three times by police for being outside unsupervised” - Salon.com

"Several months ago, youngest son (age 6) was accosted by an officer for riding his bicycle on the sidewalk in front of our house (our block is three houses wide — he was riding from one end of the block to the other). The officer told my husband, who was home at the time, that our son wasn’t allowed to play on the sidewalk ‘without supervision.’ He had apparently received a call from a ‘concerned citizen’ who had seen him riding."

It's gonna be a long, long year

Ted Cruz: I stopped liking rock music after 9/11 - Salon.com

"Cruz didn’t specify what he didn’t like about how rock responded to the attacks, which the founder of the university where he launched his campaign blamed on ’the pagans and the abortionists and the feminists and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way — all of them who have tried to secularize America.’"

Who, us?

Boehner ‘baffled’ by reports that Israel spied on Iran nuke talks | New York Post

"‘There’s no such thing that Israel spies on the Americans,’ Yaalon said."

It seems we woke up in some strange alternate universe this morning.

Good headline, though

Cuomo is quacking up | New York Post

"A poll had found that New Yorkers don’t like his proposals, with two-thirds opposing key elements and giving him his lowest approval rating yet."

3.24.2015

Agricultural anarchy

There's a squirrel on top of neighbors' chicken coop and the chickens, well, there're up near the house pecking at a place where the snow has melted enough to reveal what looks suspiciously like planet earth. The snow is high enough around the chickens' fence that they can just walk over, I guess. There are only two chickens left– one of them got knocked off by the winter.

I don't know what the squirrel's story is.
Seen in the Woods
iPhone photo: Phil Compton

3.23.2015

Sand gets in our teeth

Sand is everywhere. It's blowing around in the streets and the sidewalks. It's on the driveways, on the steps, the kitchen floor. It's public sand.

The Department of Public Works spreads it on the streets all winter and keeps a big pile handy for anybody who wants some for their sidewalks or driveways or just to carry around in their cars or trucks. All you need is a bucket to haul some home for yourself.

Pretty soon, now that winter's over, they'll come around with a big machine to sweep it up again.

Where other people have "infrastructure," we have public works. Public works is something people do together—build it, take care of it, share it, and keep it. Infrastructure is something you lease to Taiwan.

Public works is better. Not just the sand, but all of it belongs to us.

But how would we ever really know?

Hillary Clinton's emails: her reaction to Benghazi attacks - CBS News

"Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's emails show her concern about the fallout from the 2012 U.S. consulate attack in Benghazi, Libya, but the emails Congress has do not suggest that she told American forces responding to the attack to stand down or that she participated in a cover-up about the Obama administration's response, the New York Times reports."

How can you possibly not love this stuff?

The label on the Kraft cheese slices package says CONTAINS: MILK.

IMG 1897

Who knew?

... Fighting the traffic in young girls; or, War on the white slave trade; a complete and detailed account of the shameless traffic in young girls .. : Bell, Ernest Albert, 1865- : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive

Screen Shot 2015 03 23 at 10 51 35 AM

W00t! Better thee than me

15 inches of snow in Midwest. Last blast of winter?

"PRAIRIE DU CHIEN, Wis. (AP) — Spring came crashing down on winter weary residents in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa with more than a foot of new snow in some areas."

Second best idea all day

Bacon hotdogs. No kidding. 

I woke up this morning dreaming of a cheeseburger. I don’t even remember the last time I had one. So when I went to the grocery store I had that on my mind, but it’s Monday morning and the meat guys alway start slow. They were still setting things out, and no ground beef to be seen.

So I wandered on down to the end of the bin, or cooler, or whatever you call that place where they put the meat, and that’s when I saw…bacon hotdogs.

Guess what’s for lunch.

Whoa, for a minute there I thought they were talking about 2016

Disturbed Man Tries to Get Into White House - The New Yorker

Oh wait. They are.

And he* called April the cruelest month

Snow begins falling ahead of Monday morning commute | Chicago

"A winter weather advisory is in effect until noon for the entire Chicago area, according to the National Weather Service. The snow is expected to continue falling until about 11 a.m. leave between 2 and 5 inches on the ground."

That’s Chicago. Here it may not snow, but we’re not likely to break 30, thermometerwise. March is not far behind.

*Pop quiz: Who’s he?

The end of civilization

Cruz becomes first major candidate to jump into 2016 race

"'I am running for president and I hope to earn your support,' the tea party favorite said in a Twitter message posted just after midnight on Monday."

On the other hand, maybe next year the pols could have their debates on Twitter: That might actually be an improvement.