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A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for September 14th, 2008

Alaskan women reject Palin

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Thanks to Liz for a link to this amazing post, which begins:

I attended the Welcome Home rally for Sarah Palin this morning.  Hooo.  It was an experience. About a thousand (maybe) hard-core Palin supporters showed up to hear her speak at the new Dena’ina Convention Center in downtown Anchorage.

After shaking it off with a good double shot of espresso, and a brisk walk back to my car, it was time to head to the Alaska Women Reject Palin rally.    It was to be held outside on the lawn in front of the Loussac Library in midtown Anchorage.  Home made signs were encouraged, and the idea was to make a statement that Sarah Palin does not speak for all Alaska women, or men.  I had no idea what to expect.

The rally was organized by a small group of women, talking over coffee.  It made me wonder what other things have started with small groups of women talking over coffee.  It’s probably an impressive list.  These women hatched the plan, printed up flyers, posted them around town, and sent notices to local media outlets.  One of those media outlets was KBYR radio, home of Eddie Burke, a long-time uber-conservative Anchorage talk show host.  Turns out that Eddie Burke not only announced the rally, but called the people who planned to attend the rally “a bunch of socialist baby-killing maggots”, and read the home phone numbers of the organizers aloud over the air, urging listeners to call and tell them what they thought.  The women, of course, received many nasty,  harassing and threatening messages.

So, as I jettisoned myself from the jaws of the ‘Drill Baby Drill’ crowd and toward the mystery rally at the library, I felt a bit apprehensive.  I’d been disappointed before by the turnout at other rallies.  Basically, in Anchorage, if you can get 25 people to show up at an event, it’s a success.  So, I thought to myself, if we can actually get 100 people there that aren’t sent by Eddie Burke, we’ll be doing good.  A real statement will have been made.  I confess, I still had a mental image of 15 demonstrators surrounded by hundreds of menacing “socialist baby-killing maggot” haters.

It’s a good thing I wasn’t tailgating when …

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Written by LeisureGuy

14 September 2008 at 1:37 pm

Posted in Election, GOP

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Palin: “20% of US energy comes from Alaska”

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John McCain said that, if Palin knows anything, she knows energy. So how much US energy does come from Alaska? 3.5%, not 20%. I think in this case she’s not lying, but rather simply making things up. It’s what people do when they’re ignorant and feel they must appear knowledgeable. More here.

Written by LeisureGuy

14 September 2008 at 12:18 pm

Posted in Election, GOP

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“Let’s destroy everything!”

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John Cole has an excellent post:

Having thoroughly debased the executive branch, the bureaucracy, the military, and the judiciary, Karl Rove Republicans are not yet finished:

This week, non-partisan fact-checking organizations like PolitiFact and FactCheck.org have called Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) out for lies in his attack ads against Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL). But on Fox News Sunday today, former Bush political adviser Karl Rove dismissed the organizations, claiming that “they’ve got their own biases built in there.” “You can’t trust the fact-check organizations,” said Rove.

There is no truth. All things are relative. The truth is a lie. All politicians lie, so why are you so worked up about the McCain campaign? You see how this works, don’t you?

And that is exactly what they want, because once they have destroyed every component of society that Americans trust, then they can simply do whatever they want. It has worked everywhere else they have tried it- intellectuals are dismissed scornfully as coastal elites, Universities dismissed as havens of bias.

There is no consensus on evolution- just different opinions. Sure, they say that McCain’s plan will be bad for the health of the nation, but those are just different opinions, and you are biased anyway. it is just your opinion that there are no WMD in Iraq. Who knows, they may have moved them all to Syria and we were right. Your anti-Bush bias is showing. Starting to see how this works, yet?

Facts are tricky and troubling things, and get in the way of the GOP machine. Might as well destroy the rest of our non-partisan fact-checkers, as well. We are all Michael Moore, now.

*** Update: This.

Written by LeisureGuy

14 September 2008 at 12:13 pm

Posted in Daily life, Election, GOP

Palin as mayor: very like Bush, it seems

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The Washington Post has a good (lengthy) article on Palin’s tenure as mayor—when she really didn’t have many responsibilities and hired an administrator to deal with those. Article begins:

On Sept. 24, 2001, Mayor Sarah Palin and the City Council held their first meeting after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The council condemned the attacks and approved a $5,000 gift to a disaster relief fund. Palin said she would try to obtain materials from both attack sites to include in the town’s “Honor Garden.”

And then the council and mayor returned to their normal business: approving funds to upgrade the public well, issuing a restaurant permit and taking up a measure forbidding residents from operating bed-and-breakfasts in their homes. After a lively debate, the bed-and-breakfast measure lost, 4 to 1.

Since joining the Republican ticket, Palin has faced questions about whether she is qualified to be vice president or, if necessary, president. In response, the first-term Alaska governor and Sen. John McCain point to the executive qualifications she acquired as Wasilla mayor, a six-year stint from 1996 to 2002 that represents the bulk of her political experience.

Palin says her time as mayor taught her how to be a leader and grounded her in the real needs of voters, and her tenure revealed some of the qualities she would later display as governor: a striving ambition, a willingness to cut loose those perceived as disloyal and a populist brand of social and pro-growth conservatism.

But a visit to this former mining supply post 40 miles north of Anchorage shows the extent to which Palin’s mayoralty was also defined by what it did not include. The universe of the mayor of Wasilla is sharply circumscribed even by the standards of small towns, which limited Palin’s exposure to issues such as health care, social services, the environment and education.

Firefighting and schools, two of the main elements of local governance, are handled by the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, the regional government for a huge swath of central Alaska. The state has jurisdiction over social services and environmental regulations such as stormwater management for building projects.

With so many government services in the state subsidized by oil revenue, and with no need to provide for local schools, Wasilla has also made do with a very low property tax rate — cut altogether by Palin’s successor — sparing it from the tax battles that localities elsewhere must deal with. Instead, the city collects a 2 percent sales tax, the bulk of which is paid by people who live outside town and shop at its big-box stores.

The mayor oversees a police department created three years before Palin took office; the public works department; the parks and recreation department; a planning office; a library; and a small history museum. Council meetings are in the low-ceilinged basement of the town hall, a former school, and often the only residents who show up to testify are two gadflies. When Palin was mayor, the population was just 5,500.

Palin limited her duties further by hiring a deputy administrator to handle much of the town’s day-to-day management. Her top achievement as mayor was the construction of an ice rink, a project that landed in the courts and cost the city more than expected. …

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Written by LeisureGuy

14 September 2008 at 11:35 am

Posted in Election, GOP, Government

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USDA: another fail

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No, not the fail of forbidding packing companies to test more cows for BSE. This one is a requirement to spray raw almonds with a carcinogen. No kidding. Treehugger:

Fifteen almond growers and nut handlers filed a suit against the USDA over a legally mandated treatment of California-grown raw almonds. They growers hope to repeal the mandate. A year ago, the USDA issued a requirement that raw almonds be steam treated or sprayed with propylene oxide (a carcinogen recognized by the EPA) before making their way onto the market. More on the health and market implications of the almond pasteurization requirement below the fold.

US Grown Organic Almonds Disappearing

The USDA’s almond pasteurization mandate came after two salmonella breakouts from the crop in the last decade. While the USDA could not find the overall reason for the outbreaks, they did trace one outbreak back to an almond “factory farm” growing the crop on over 9,000 acres.

Instead of only requiring the pasteurization and safer practices at large scale almond farms, the USDA mandates small-scale and family do so as well. As a result, the organic and raw almond business in the States has more or less disappeared. Now only 1% of organic almonds are grown in the US. People looking to buy organic, raw almonds now must buy nuts from abroad or are buying nuts labeled “raw” despite being processed by heat or the fumigant.

The lawsuit contends that the USDA has overstepped their boundaries as a regulatory system whose authority is limited to dirt and mold on, and appearance of almonds. They are also required to gauge public input on a mandate like the one they imposed in 2007, an action they failed to take.

Not only is the organic almond business further marginalized with the regulation, consumers are also frustrated with the USDA’s move: “For those of us who are interested in eating fresh and wholesome food the USDA’s plan, to protect the largest corporate agribusinesses against liability, amounts to the adulteration of our food supply,” said Jill Richardson, a consumer activist and blogger, quoted by The Cornucopia Institute.

Via: The Cornucopia Institute and the AP

Written by LeisureGuy

14 September 2008 at 11:11 am

Angler promises to be interesting

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I already placed a hold on the copy that’s on order at the Pacific Grove Public Library. Here’s an article based on the book:

A burst of ferocity stunned the room into silence. No other word for it: The vice president’s attorney was shouting.

“The president doesn’t want this! [1] You are not going to see the opinions. You are out . . . of . . . your . . . lane!”

Five government lawyers had gathered around a small conference table in the Justice Department command center. Four were expected. David S. Addington, counsel to Vice President Cheney, got wind of the meeting and invited himself.

If Addington smelled revolt, he was not far wrong. Unwelcome questions about warrantless domestic surveillance had begun to find their voice.

Cheney and his counsel would struggle for months to quash the legal insurgency. By the time President Bush became aware of it, his No. 2 had stoked dissent into flat-out rebellion. The president would face a dilemma, and the presidency itself a historic test. Cheney would come close to leading them off a cliff, man and office both [2].

On this second Monday in December 2003, Addington’s targets were a pair of would-be auditors from the National Security Agency. He had displeasure to spare for their Justice Department hosts.

Perfect example, right here. A couple of NSA bureaucrats breeze in and ask for the most sensitive documents in the building. And Justice wants to tell them, Help yourselves? This was going to be a very short meeting.

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Written by LeisureGuy

14 September 2008 at 10:58 am

Smoky barbecue in your apartment kitchen

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Good article by Jill Santopietro at the NY Times, which includes the following recipe—but note what she writes in the article: “Before my first smoke-off, I made sure to open the windows, turn on a fan and remove the battery from the smoke detector.”

Apple City World-Champion Baby-Back Ribs

For the Magic Dust rub:

2 tablespoons smoked Spanish paprika
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground mustard
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne

For the ribs:

2 (2-to-3-pound) racks baby-back ribs
Vegetable oil
2 tablespoons apple-wood dust or chips (see note)
1 cup apple cider or juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the barbecue sauce:

1 cup ketchup
2 1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1 1/2 cup apple cider or juice
1 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 1/4 cup Worcestershire or soy sauce
2 teaspoons mustard
3 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 1/3 cup cooked bacon, minced
1 1/3 cup finely grated peeled apple
1 1/3 cup finely grated onion.

1. Make the rub by combining all ingredients in a small bowl. Several hours or 30 minutes before cooking, cut the ribs in half, brush with oil and sprinkle about 6 tablespoons of the Magic Dust on all sides.

2. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Place a stove-top smoker or homemade smoker (see note) on a burner. Place the wood chips on the bottom of the smoker, toward the center. Cover with the drip pan. Set the grate over the drip pan and place the ribs on the rack, cutting them as needed to fit in one layer. Cover with a lid or foil, making sure there is at least 1 inch between the lid and the ribs. Set the heat to high. When smoke appears, lower the heat to medium-high and smoke for 35 minutes.

3. Make the barbecue sauce: combine all the ingredients except the apple and onion in a medium pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the apple and onion, reduce the heat and simmer uncovered, stirring often, until slightly thickened, 15 to 20 minutes. The sauce will keep for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

4. Line a large-rimmed baking sheet with heavy foil. Add the cider, 1 cup of water and the salt. Set a rack over the pan. Transfer the ribs to the rack. Cook in the oven until the meat shrinks away from the ends and comes easily off the bone, about 1 1/2 hours. Brush the ribs on all sides with the sauce and cook for 15 minutes more. Serve with sauce on the side. Serves 4 to 6. Recipe adapted from “Peace, Love and Barbecue,” by Mike Mills and Amy Mills Tunnicliffe.

NOTE: Camerons stove-top smokers and ground wood chips can be purchased at many cooking stores or at cameronscookware.com. To make a smoker, line the inside of a large wok with heavy foil. Place the wood chips in the wok. Make a drip pan by placing a heavy piece of foil over both the chips and the bottom of the wok. (Make sure it doesn’t rise up the sides.) Set a 10-to-11-inch round baking rack over the drip pan. Use another piece of heavy foil as a lid.

Written by LeisureGuy

14 September 2008 at 10:44 am

Posted in Daily life, Food, Recipes

USDA a big fail in school lunch program

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From Treehugger:

We’ve reported about the lack of nutrition in school meal programs before, and a new study backs us up. The study, by California Food Policy Advocates (CFPA) and Samuels & Associates (S&A), gives the USDA’s child nutrition commodity program a failing grade.

The USDA program aims to “support American agricultural producers by providing cash reimbursements for meals served in schools and other child nutrition institutions.” And while this may be good for commodity farmers, the program study, which focuses on California, finds that the way the program is implemented may not be so good for school kids.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture currently provides school districts with more than 180 different commodity food items per year valued at approximately $1 billion, which makes the commodity program the largest single source of foods for schools. The nutritional quality of the foods ordered by schools through the commodity program, however, is particularly alarming. While commodity foods comprise only 20 percent of the school meal, they set the tone for the entire meal. For instance, many meals are planned around the high-fat foods ordered through the commodities program, turning them into pizza, chicken nuggets and other processed foods.

The study goes on to recommend solutions to help children receiving food from the program benefit from the food offered.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans should be reflected in School Meal Initiative Standards, and schools should have to meet them. Efforts to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables and decrease the amount of meats and processed foods purchased for school meals would contribute to providing students with much healthier foods.

Full Federal Child Nutrition Commodity Program Nutritional Quality Report (pdf)

Written by LeisureGuy

14 September 2008 at 10:37 am

Interesting take on Chrome

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BusinessWeek‘s Stephen Wildstrom has an interesting take on the true purpose of Chrome, Google’s new browser:

In an uncharacteristic burst of modesty, Google co-founder Sergey Brin says we should think of the company’s new Chrome Web browser simply as a worthy challenger to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, Mozilla’s Firefox, and Apple’s Safari. “What we want is a diverse and vibrant ecosystem,” Brin said at the Sept. 2 Chrome launch. “We want several browsers that are viable and substantial choices.”

Don’t believe it for a second. Although the first version of Chrome has a half-finished feel and runs only on Windows, a close look at its features and underlying design reveals a far more dramatic goal. Chrome aims to take on not just Internet Explorer’s 75% share of the browser market but Windows’ dominance of the desktop itself.

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Written by LeisureGuy

14 September 2008 at 10:31 am

Truly dishonest

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Okay, it’s now clear that Palin is a deliberate liar. Josh Marshall:

As many reporters noticed, Gov. Palin dropped her “Bridge to Nowhere” lie from her stump speech during her trip to Alaska last week, presumably because too many locals knew about her actual role as a major supporter of the project. So I’d been wondering whether the line would return once she returned to the lower 48. Sure enough, today in Carson City, Nevada, she’s back at it.

Written by LeisureGuy

14 September 2008 at 10:18 am

Posted in Election, GOP

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The press is finding out about Palin

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Very interesting article in the NY Times today, which begins:

Gov. Sarah Palin lives by the maxim that all politics is local, not to mention personal.

So when there was a vacancy at the top of the State Division of Agriculture, she appointed a high school classmate, Franci Havemeister, to the $95,000-a-year directorship. A former real estate agent, Ms. Havemeister cited her childhood love of cows as a qualification for running the roughly $2 million agency.

Ms. Havemeister was one of at least five schoolmates Ms. Palin hired, often at salaries far exceeding their private sector wages.

When Ms. Palin had to cut her first state budget, she avoided the legion of frustrated legislators and mayors. Instead, she huddled with her budget director and her husband, Todd, an oil field worker who is not a state employee, and vetoed millions of dollars of legislative projects.

And four months ago, a Wasilla blogger, Sherry Whitstine, who chronicles the governor’s career with an astringent eye, answered her phone to hear an assistant to the governor on the line, she said.

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Written by LeisureGuy

14 September 2008 at 10:01 am

Posted in Election, GOP

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