No cows were harmed very much

Back in the good old days milk and butter and cheese, not to mention meat, and stuff like that were good for you but now, it seems, not so much. Or maybe it's just not good for the guys who sell you the stuff to sell it to you all in one package when they can split it up and sell it to you twice (the butterfat that should have been on your oatmeal at breakfast winds up in your manufactured milk shake at lunch). But never mind all that.

I went to the grocery store today and came back with no-fat milk (the only thing I use milk for is to put it in my tea and as it turns out no-fat is actually good for that), no-fat yogurt (why? you might ask), butter (which is really not butter at all but sissy butter made almost entirely from Canola oil), and a package of Kraft Let's Just Pretend It's Cheese. Thin gruel indeed.

The only thing that saves the day when I go to the grocery store any more are those little chocolate-covered donuts that come in a roll at the check-out corner. Here's to you, chocolate-covered donuts, you are it!

Farmers' Market

Photo: Phil Compton


Oh, please

Embattled energy giant BP appears to be shuffling CEO Tony Hayward out of the spotlight a day after the British native roiled Congress with what critics called "evasive" testimony about the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill from a BP well.

BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg said that managing director Robert Dudley will take over Hayward's role in responding to the crisis...

link: Embattled BP Chief Tony Hayward Taking Back Seat in Gulf Oil Spill Response - ABC News

Evasive? When did this "Congress" get so wimpy, anyway? BP should hire that little Alberto guy, remember him? Little Alberto couldn't remember anything (they used to write his name on a note and pin it to the front of his shirt every morning) and I don't remember "Congress" getting so "roiled" about that.

Creeping socialism! Dude!

Congressman Joe Barton hasn't had many defenders since his apologized to the CEO of BP at a Congressional hearing on Thursday. But Fox Business Network host Stuart Varney believes the Texas Republican had a valid point in describing White House pressure for BP to establish a $20 billion escrow fund as a government "shakedown."...

"It bypasses the courts," Varney added. "Liability claims should go through the courts. This time they didn't."

Read the whole thing: Fox host defends congressman’s ’shakedown’ comment | Raw Story

Also, litigation! When's the last time you heard anybody at Fox actually being in favor of suing large corporations? Yes, Bunky, maybe they will spin themselves right into the ground. Just wait a little longer.

And I don't know about you but that phrase, "creeping socialism," makes me want to take a shower.

Would you loan money to these guys?

LONDON/HOUSTON (Reuters) – BP Plc was seeking $7 billion in loans from banks on Friday, trying to raise more cash as it struggled to plug its gushing Gulf of Mexico well and contain the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

link: BP aims to raise cash as it struggles to plug well - Yahoo! News

A meditation

I fired [General MacArthur] because he wouldn't respect the authority of the President. That's the answer to that. I didn't fire him because he was a dumb son of a bitch, although he was, but that's not against the law for generals. If it was, half to three-quarters of them would be in jail

- Harry S Truman


The good news is...

...the local vidstore is going out of business. OK, maybe not such good news for them. But for me, what it means is I don't have to carry their membership card around with me any more, which pleases my sense of neatness.

(My sense of neatness is selectively confined to only a few very small but vitally important activities such as renting DVDs which, true, I rarely did but when I did did, do, whatever, I had invariably forgotten it which is why I had to carry it, the card, around all the time and which, in turn, produced prodigious hahahas at the library when I confused it, the card, for that card, if you see what I mean.)

Some Texan: Dubya's Folly

Bush’s electronic $15 million per mile border fence still faulty after all these years

Read the story: Bush’s electronic $15 million per mile border fence still faulty after all these years | Raw Story

S. C. Gwynne writes in "Empire of the Summer Moon" that another Texan, Sam Houston, once said to a Comanche chief who complained about whites straying onto Comanche land:

“If I could build a wall from the Red River to the Rio Grande, so high that no Indian could scale it, the white people would go crazy trying to devise a means to get beyond it.”

Evidently, it works both ways.

New tricks you can not teach old dogs

WASHINGTON — Congressional Democrats are pushing hard for legislation to rein in the power of special interests by requiring more disclosure of their roles in paying for campaign advertising — but as they struggle to find the votes they need to pass it they are carving out loopholes for, yes, special interests.

link: Loopholes Grow in Bill to Offset Ruling on Campaigns - NYTimes.com

New, fireproof Jesus for Cincinnati

The 62-foot-tall “King of Kings” statue was struck by lightning, then burned during a storm Monday....

Bishop [that would be Darlene Bishop, co-pastor of the Solid Rock Church just off I75 north of Cincinnati] says the church intends to build a bigger, better, fireproof Jesus likeness by year’s end.

link: Protesters: Jesus statue a 'graven image' | cincinnati.com | Cincinnati.Com

Buckle up

Suddenly, creating jobs is out, inflicting pain is in. Condemning deficits and refusing to help a still-struggling economy has become the new fashion everywhere, including the United States, where 52 senators voted against extending aid to the unemployed despite the highest rate of long-term joblessness since the 1930s.

Read more from Krugman: Op-Ed Columnist - That ’30s Feeling - NYTimes.com



House Republican leadership threatened to strip Rep. Joe Barton's seniority on the Energy and Commerce Committee if the Texas Republican didn't immediately retract an apology he had issued to BP earlier on Thursday, a GOP leadership aide told HuffPost.

link: GOP Leaders Threatened To Strip Barton's Seniority For BP Apology

The worst environmental disaster, and other nonsense

Already, this oil spill is the worst environmental disaster America has ever faced. And unlike an earthquake or a hurricane, it’s not a single event that does its damage in a matter of minutes or days. The millions of gallons of oil that have spilled into the Gulf of Mexico are more like an epidemic, one that we will be fighting for months and even years.

(Obama, speaking from the Oval Office the other day, as well as most of the press.)

The worst environmental disaster involving oil, the Gulf of Mexico, and BP, maybe, but beyond that you're getting into flammable water here (see 1969, Cleveland). As followers of this blog's book list will know, exactly 100 years ago this August there was a fire in the Northwest that burned down a forest the size of Connecticut (but located, much more sensibly, in Washington, Idaho, and Montana) and later became the subject of a book by Timothy Egan entitled "Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire That Saved America." Although, as it happened in just a few days, it may not rise to epidemicness in Obama's formulation, it laid down a pall of smoke clear across the northern tier and rained soot on New York City.

(Which reminds me of a New Yorker cartoon from the 1960's in which a New Yorkerishly frumpy couple sits having dinner on one of those tiny balconies attached to Manhattan high rise apartment buildings and one says to the other, "Hurry up and finish your soup, dear, before it gets dirty.")

And then, of course, there was the Dust Bowl, also chronicled by Egan in "The Worst Hard Time," an epidemic if ever there was one and, like the BP disaster, at least in part manmade, the consequences of which extended for a generation and beyond.

Which is to say, among other things, that more people should read more books, and also that the aftermath of BP's oil disaster is still beyond the grasp of imagination, and $20 billion is likely to be only a modest down payment on the cost.

We were beginning to give up hope...

BP CEO Tony Hayward says he's 'devastated' by BP oil spill

link: BP CEO Tony Hayward says he's 'devastated' by BP oil spill - CSMonitor.com

...but finally (and just in time, we might say) the focus group results are in.



On Monday night in Ohio, a 62-foot-tall statue of Jesus got hit by lightning and burned to the ground. (The adult bookstore across the street was unscathed.) Less than 12 hours later, Gen. David Petraeus — who is not God, although certain members of Congress have been known to worship at his altar — semifainted at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

Then Bravo announced that the White House gate-crashers were getting a TV show. Al and Tipper remained in Splitsville. And the oil kept on spilling....

Read more: Op-Ed Columnist - The Boring Speech Policy - NYTimes.com

And another thing: Buttons keep falling off my shirts. Two buttons, two shirts, two days. That can not be good

I hate sewing buttons on. Well, it's not the buttons so much, it's sticking the thread in the needle, but it's pretty much all the same thing. Anyway, my button replacement plan is pretty much like BP's gusher stopping plan: Just sit around and see if maybe they'll fix themselves. Doesn't work much better, either.



Oil is not the only emergency

Publishers and booksellers are in a rush to find more Nordic noir to follow Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy...

Read more: A Scandinavian Trilogy Sets Publishers Seeking More - NYTimes.com

...so, like, if you're suffering withdrawal pangs after finishing "Hornet's Nest" you can hope that maybe some relief is on the way. (The article, in fact, mentions several promising possibilities.)

Are we in the midst of a boom bubble?

BP says millions of feet of boom have been deployed since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in April.

link: The Boom In Boom: Will Oil Spill Defenses Hold? : NPR

Well, at least a boom boom.

The question is, how are they going to get rid of that stuff? It's gonna take one heckuva toxic waste dump.

Or maybe they can just rinse it off in the Gulf to get all the oil off and then...oh, wait.

A little research challenge

The one answer I will not settle for is the idea that this challenge is somehow too big and too difficult to meet. You know, the same thing was said about our ability to produce enough planes and tanks in World War II.

link: Remarks by the President to the Nation on the BP Oil Spill | The White House

Who can find me a citation? It's entirely possible somebody thought we couldn't make enough planes and tanks in WWII - I've just never run across it, is all.

Of course I would never imagine somebody would just make something like that up.

Let's hope it was all just a lie

The difference between the new estimate [of oil gushing into the Gulf], 60,000 barrels of oil a day, and BP's original claim of 5,000 barrels a day is just another example of the systemic corporate deceit that has characterized this immense catastrophe

See more: Robert Scheer: Rape and Spillage

The other possibility, of course, is that it's actually got that much worse.

I'm thinking I'd rather have the lies.

Greener: What Obama Should have said

For those who, for whatever reason, continue to say that BP cannot afford to absorb the cost of their own deceptive mischief - here are the facts: BP's annual income, its gross revenue, exceeds $160,000,000,000. In the three months just prior to this crisis, BP's 1st Quarter 2010 revenue was $73,007,000,000 - an increase of almost 55% over the previous year 2009. In that year, 2009, while most of us suffered through the hardest economic times in memory, BP had an average quarterly Gross Profit Margin of 23.36%. Last year alone BP reported a profit of more than $20,000,000,000.

See more: Richard Greener: What Obama Should Have Said: Two Truths And Three Actions


Condiment crimes

Boise police say they nabbed a woman Sunday who they believed has caused thousands of dollars in damage to library books and other items by pouring liquids, including corn syrup and ketchup, into a drop box at the Ada County Library on Victory Road. Police say the vandalism has occurred on more than 10 occasions since May of last year.

See more: 74-year-old Boise woman arrested on suspicion of damaging library books with mayonnaise, liquids | Local News | Idaho Statesman


Jesus statue destroyed by act of God

MONROE - Church leaders are vowing to rebuild the massive, 6-story-high Jesus Christ statue that burned to the ground after it was struck by lightning late Monday....

The only thing visible this morning is the charred frame of the structure.

link: Lightning, fire destroy 'Touchdown Jesus' statue on I-75 in front of Solid Rock Church | cincinnati.com | Cincinnati.Com

"You can't make this stuff up," notes our Midwest bureau chief.



...the news was just too gloomy to contemplate so I spent time catching up on errands, laundry, groceries, and reading an outstanding new book called "Empire of the Summer Moon," by S. C. Gwynne (an excerpt here), a truly excellent work of American/military history about the collision of white settlers (read Texans) and Commanches on the Great Plains in the mid-19th Century. This one will surely be on the official YAME book list before too long.