June 26, 2005

Um... Should bottled water have a list of ingredients?

According to the label, a bottle of DASANI™ water contains:


Word has it (though I've done no independent research) that The Coca~Cola Company is bottling New York City tap water. WTF?!

Posted by Tuning Spork at 07:49 PM | Comments (0)

June 24, 2005

This post is very hard to write

Hey, how come I haven't posted in several days?! Well, y'see, 'member about a year ago when I wrote about my left arm falling asleep and taking a while to wake up? No? Well, maybe I'll provide a link. Maybe.

Anywho, my right arm fell asleep last Saturday night. (I wrote a post called Saturday and intended to write a follow-up called Sunday, but it's too difficult to do right now. In fact, a LOT of things are difficult to do right now. I mean, try brushing your teeth with your left hand (or, if you're a lefty, you're right hand). And running a high-maintenance printing press with a nearly useless right arm is pretty darn challenging, lemme tell ya. (I am typing with my left index finger right now. This is taking a long time.)

What's wrong with me? Near as I can tell from googling like crazy is that it's a condition with a long Latin name which I don't recall right now. It's a neural numbness that can be brought on by a combination of several factors. In my case, it was nutritional deficiencies (why do I keep forgetting to eat?!) coupled with the 15 beers I drank at the Fairfield County Irish Festival and afterwards.

My right hand is gradually (but slowly) becoming more and more useful -- and I'm still taking the time to comment in others' posts here and there -- but I may be giving my own bloggery a rest for a few more days. Unless I have an idea for a kewl short post. (Believe you me I just can't write a short post about the New London eminent domain SCOTUS ruling, though Stephen's been doing a fine job!)

Take care, y'all. I should be back to blogging by mid-week or sooner, I hope. Don't ferget me, now! ;)

Posted by Tuning Spork at 11:11 PM | Comments (5)

June 21, 2005

And in other news...

This was posted as an exclusive over at Drudge yesterday but is no longer there. (Luckily I went to sleep with the page still on my monitor, heh.)


LIVE 8 founder Bob Geldof is determined to see his international concerts stay focused on the plight of Africa's poor -- and not fall into cliched Bush bashing and global warming rhetoric!

Geldof has ordered show organizers and producers to redouble all efforts to keep LIVE 8 performers "on message" during the July 2 event, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

"Please remember, absolutely no ranting and raving about Bush or Blair and the Iraq war, this is not why you have been invited to appear," Geldoff said to the manager of a top recording artist, who asked not to be identified. "We want to bring Mr. Bush in, not run him away."

[Geldof tells next week's TIME magazine how Bush "has actually done more than any American President for Africa ."]

Bob wants the message to be Africa and nothing else. Can't blame him, of course, but you just know that some of these artists are gonna mistake their musical talent for expertise in global politics and take the opportunity to presumptuously spout off from their soapbox about everything under the global warming sun.
"Bob wants no attention on global warming, or the war," the manager warns, "He is very determined, he does not want to lose control of the message... But we have the most unpopular American president since Nixon, soldiers are dying... you are going to see some righteous anger on stage."

...whether it's off-topic or not. @#$% concert trolls...
LIVE 8 will be a series of free international concerts with unprecedented star power.

Will Smith is host of a hip-hop-heavy show in Philly with 50 Cent and P Diddy headlining; Pink Floyd and the Sex Pistols will reunite in London on the same bill as U2, Coldplay, Keane, Madonna, Elton John, Mariah Carey, Sting and Paul McCartney. Concerts will also be held in Paris, Berlin and Rome.

BBC and AOL plan live broadcast and streaming worldwide.

But here's the cool part:
[FOOTNOTE: U2's Bono
has been attacked by his rock peers for associating with Bush and Blair. Fellow Irish star Sinead O'Connor
says, "I think you risk losing your credibility by going to a party at Downing Street. I would draw a line at drinking wine and eating cheese with the Prime Minister."]

Oh, Sinead, Sinead, Sinead. Will you ever grow up?

Bono talks to Bush and Blair because he actually has some credibility. Bob Geldoff and Bono understand what you've yet to learn; that in order to bring the house into order you have to go inside. Y'wanna be little Miss Rebel and shout from beyond the walls that's fine, stay there. But, Geldoff and Bono can do something that you'll never be able to do so long as you have that silly only-outsiders-have-credibility attitude: actually accomplish something.

Geldoff gets it. Bono gets it. Sinead? Honey? Shuddup.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 08:01 PM | Comments (2)

June 20, 2005


I survived another birthday and the 18th annual Fairfield County Irish Festival. And lemme tell ya, if you've never been to an Irish Festival the you're missing out on one helluva good time.

For years the festival was held on the grounds of Roger Ludlow High School in Fairfield, CT (next town to the west of Bridgeport). A few years ago it was held at Jennings Beach in Fairfield then, in the past two years, at Seaside Park in Bridgeport.
This year, however, it was held in the drop dead gorgeous densely wooded Indian Ledge Park in Trumbull (next town to the north of Bridgeport).

Through the woods winds a narrow paved road that leads a clearing that's a parking area. From there you walk to a vast open field (a well maintained great lawn, actually) where the numerous tents are set up. Performance-wise, there's the Pub Tent (second-tier Irish music bands), the Cultural Tent (readings, workshops and a game of Irish Jeopardy) and the Main Tent (headliner bands, a bagpipe band and, my favorite, the girls and guys of the Lanihan School of Irish Dance).

If you ever get a chance to see Irish dancers live, grab it! I've seen Riverdance on television and, as cool as that is, it just doesn't compare to seeing the dancers live. Especially when they're the little ones. They're so cute in their colorful little outfits and their smiley faces with their little legs flailing a mile a minute in unison!

Of course, there were plenty of food tents, too, and hundreds of people were picnicing on the great lawn between the tents and some carnival rides with their corned beef sammiches and other Irishy fare. But, you don't go to an Irish Festival for the food, you go to an ITALIAN Festival for the food. You to an Irish Festival for the MUSIC. Lawruh and I arrived at park around 3:15pm and, after perusing the huge bric-a-brc tent (neato Irish clothes, books, jewelry, etc) caught the first set of the local band The Highland Rovers. They took a break with a great local Irish drum and pipe band in awesome kilt outfits blared away. The Highland Rovers played another set (great traditional/modern mix!) followed by the Irish dancers.

After milling about for a while we met with my sister and two cousins. Then things got interesting. Not only did my two male cousins show up plastered, they both started hitting on Lawruh -- especially Don. Holy moly. I thought Lawruh might be getting annoyed, but she actually had a blast.

Then the excellent bamd The Elders took the stage and, by the end of their set, we were on the dance floor trying to mimic the Irish dancers. It ended up as a full-blown half-assed Irish mosh pit! (No actual moshing, though. There were lots of kids around.)

After some more hanging around and getting goofy the dancers did their second show. My sister and cousins had missed the first one, but Lawruh and I were more than happy to see them again. Then the main headliner, Black 47, would close out the evening. (Most of the performers would play on all three days of the festival, but Black 47 was there for Saturday only.) But since it was now 9:00pm and we were pretty much all out of money, we decided to head over the cousin Bri's house for some dinner and yakkety yak.

All he had in the house, pretty much, was some pasta and sauce and hot dogs and a bag of lettuce. Lawruh whipped up some homemade salad dressing and I made some spaghetti with sliced franks. We served it with some bread and butter and a weird fruit concoction. (I simply mixed a jar of apple sauce with two cut-up apples, a drained can of mandarin orange slices and a drained can of sliced peaches spiced with some cinnimon... served hot.) We ate by candle light.

After a few more beers and a few more hours and someincreasing poignant conversation, the time to call it a day had come. A splendid time was had by all.

Except for Don. He disappeared shortly after arriving at the house. But one of Bri's housemates filled the space quite nicely. Hey, guys, let's do it again soon. 'kay?!

Posted by Tuning Spork at 09:31 PM | Comments (0)

June 17, 2005

Home Late Again Again

Oy, these late nights. Well, I like that we're finally getting busy, but, sheesh! I stayed too late to catch the last bus home so bossman offered to give me a ride (he lives in the next town over), otherwise I'd've been camping on the shop floor tonight.

I was really looking forward to some homemade pizza last night. I picked up from fresh dough and some excellent pizza sauce (no time to make my own, of course). I already had the pepperoni and hot peppers, but, when I got home I realized that I was too low on cheese to make the pizza. Drat! I'll be making 'zah tomorrow night, though. Yum!

Other than that, I got nuthin'. Except for this photo of the lighthouse at Bridgeport Harbor.


Hmm. Can't think of a single song lyrics with the word "lighthouse" in it. Ah, well.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 12:36 AM | Comments (5)

June 14, 2005

Did a U.S. demolition team take down the WTC? Absolutely... not!

John Daly of UPI has an... er... interesting item for us. Seems that a former Bush economist is convinced that the U.S. gubmint blew up the World Trade Center towers.

Former chief economist for the Department of Labor during President George W. Bush's first term Morgan Reynolds comments that the official story about the collapse of the WTC is "bogus" and that it is more likely that a controlled demolition destroyed the Twin Towers and adjacent Building No. 7.

I guess Mohammad Atta and friends were either working for the CIA or they just happened to crash our planes into the WTC just as our guys were planning to fake a terrorist attack. Not sure if Reynolds thinks that the Pentagon's damage was also an inside job.

Why would Reynolds suggest that the towers collapsed from a "coordinated demolition"...?

[The] professor emeritus at Texas A&M University said, "If demolition destroyed three steel skyscrapers at the World Trade Center on 9/11, then the case for an 'inside job' and a government attack on America would be compelling." Reynolds commented from his Texas A&M office,

Yes, it would be compelling. Too bad that it was clearly the fact that jet fuel burning at 1600 degrees melted the thin steel gridwork at precisely the spots where the planes impacted. Oh, but that's right. al-Qaida was in cahoots with the demoltion team. That's how they knew where to strike the towers.

"It is hard to exaggerate the importance of a scientific debate over the cause of the collapse of the twin towers and building 7. If the official wisdom on the collapses is wrong, as I believe it is, then policy based on such erroneous engineering analysis is not likely to be correct either. The government's collapse theory is highly vulnerable on its own terms. Only professional demolition appears to account for the full range of facts associated with the collapse of the three buildings."

If this guys as expert in economics as he thinks he is in physics then I weep for Texas A&M.

Now, why would a UPI journalist like John Daly even take this rediculous rot seriously enough to write a story about it? I wondered that, too, until I read the opening line of his next item:

Two years after President George W. Bush proclaimed "mission accomplished" in Iraq,...

**sigh** First of all, and to re-state the bleedin' obvious, it was the crew of the USS Abraham Lincoln that put up a banner reading Mission Accomplished. It was about THEIR mission. It was ACCOMPLISHED. That's why they were heading HOME.

But, no-o-o-o-o-o. Because it was on a banner behind him as he gave a speech, it was President Bush who "said" "mission accomplished in Iraq". John Daly knows that his above sentence is a lie, he just doesn't wanna to tell YOU that he knows that because that would deprive him of one of his favorite premises -- that President Bush LIED.

The useless idiots will never admit that Bush never "said 'mission accomplished in Iraq'". They'd rather just keep lying and lying and lying in the hopes that the lie eventually becomes the "truth". Truely pitiful.

Tip o'the tam to Drudge, btw, for linking to the items!


The following is a statement from Texas A&M University regarding recent news reports about the collapse of the World Trade Center on 9-11.

Dr. Morgan Reynolds is retired from Texas A&M University, but holds the title of Professor Emeritus-an honorary title bestowed upon select tenured faculty, who have retired with ten or more years of service. Additionally, contrary to some written reports, while some faculty emeriti are allocated office space at Texas A&M, Dr. Reynolds does not have an office on the Texas A&M campus. Any statements made by Dr. Reynolds are in his capacity as a private citizen and do not represent the views of Texas A&M University. Below is a statement released yesterday by Dr. Robert M. Gates, President of Texas A&M University:

"The American people know what they saw with their own eyes on September 11, 2001. To suggest any kind of government conspiracy in the events of that day goes beyond the pale.”

I no longer weep for Texas A&M. :)

Posted by Tuning Spork at 09:41 PM | Comments (3)

June 13, 2005

Bush = Hitler Nixon

Frank Rich takes us on an interesting journey through the land of conspiracy theory. Beginning with a lament over the media's slouched return to the "third-rate burglary" meme that Nixon wanted Watergate to be portrayed as, Frank goes on to compare Nixon White House era secrecy with Bush White House secrecy, eventually arguing that Bush is up to even more no-good than Nixon ever was.

After setting the scene where Bush & Co. are a cabal of media-intimidating, power-hungry information-control freaks, Frank begins offering the "evidence" and begins with this:

The July 2002 "Downing Street memo," the minutes of a meeting in which Tony Blair and his advisers learned of a White House effort to fix "the intelligence and facts" to justify the war in Iraq, was published by The London Sunday Times on May 1. Yet in the 19 daily Scott McClellan briefings that followed, the memo was the subject of only 2 out of the approximately 940 questions asked by the White House press corps, according to Eric Boehlert of Salon.

This is the kind of lapdog news media the Nixon White House cherished.

Firstly, it's my understanding that Prime Minister Blair was not present at the meeting. Secondly, the reason the "Downing Street memo" was never a huge story with the MSM is because even the MSM realize that there's no there there. (For more on this, Frank, check out Jim Robbins and then Kevin Alyward. And a tip o'the tam to Michelle Malkin for them links!)

The operative paragraph from Robbins' article is this:
The memo raises three issues dear to the hearts of President Bush's critics — the timing of the decision to go to war with Saddam, the WMD rationale, and the use (read: abuse) of intelligence to create the casus belli. One paragraph in the memo conveniently contains all three:
C [Richard Dearlove, Head of MI-6] reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.

The memo's text is a scribbling from the hand of foreign policy aide Matthew Rycroft. He was writing of his impressions of someone eles's impressions of someone else's impressions of the Bush policy from someone who'd never actually spoken with the President. Rycroft's musings are no more substantive or reliable as a window into the administrations thinking than the musings of Dan Rather or Ralph Nadir. They are impressions and have all the same clutter of subjectiveness as that which underlies my selective spelling of certain proper names.

[UPDATE] Sir George at the Rottweiler has a great smackdown of the "Downing Street Memo" and "Memo II" and, in the excellent comments thread, clarifies a major point that hadn't even occurred to me.

The Sunday Times, which ran the piece, didn't even highlight the phrase, and the people at the Sunday Times do know how Englishmen speak English. In their proper speech "fix" means to "set in order", "to arrange", "to place securely", "to make ready", "to determine with accuracy".

The left is going with a single definition of fix, "To influence the outcome or actions of by improper or unlawful means - to fix a jury."

If this was the meaning used, then why no questions? Indeed, if this was the meaning they accepted then it would also mean that they didn't think Iraq possessed WMD, which is refuted by the language in the second memo, where they clearly indicate Iraq's WMD might be used against a military invasion.


After still more blather about how the spirit of Chuck Colson lives on in the Bush White House, Frank imploys somewhat of a smear:

Such is the equivalently supine state of much of the news media today that Mr. Colson was repeatedly trotted out, without irony, to pass moral judgment on Mr. Felt - and not just on Fox News, the cable channel that is actually run by the former Nixon media maven, Roger Ailes.

Frank impunes Roger Ailes as a "former Nixon media maven", thereby implying that Ailes=Colson. This isn't honest opinion journalism, it's a neo-McCarthyism and Frank Rich knows it. You just can't construct an argument like this without knowing that you're tortured spin is intended to dizzy the reader into submission. Frank, come back to us, man.

But, no-o-o-o-o-o...

In the most recent example, all the president's men slimed and intimidated Newsweek by accusing it of being an accessory to 17 deaths for its errant Koran story; led by Scott McClellan, they said it was unthinkable that any American guard could be disrespectful of Islam's holy book

I don't think anyone called it "unthinkable", but if that's the word you need for your set-up...
These neo-Colsons easily drowned out Gen. Richard Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Afghanistan's president, Hamid Karzai, both of whom said that the riots that led to the 17 deaths were unrelated to Newsweek.

As I wrote here, General Myers was referring to an assessment by General Eikenberry. Myers was not offering it as his own assessment. The shouting of, and placards carried by, the protesters belie Eikenberry's and Karzai's assessment.

McClellan critiqued Newsweek's crappy journalism which led to riots in which 17 (or so) people frickin' died. This is not intimidation of a free press that's doing the good work. It's a scolding of the free press that's doing shoddy-ass work because it wants nothing more than to kill the President. Do you understand the difference, Frank? Well, do ya?! Answer me!
(Oh, right...)

But, now, we have this atrocious twist of fate:

Then came the pièce de résistance of Nixon mimicry: a Pentagon report certifying desecrations of the Koran by American guards was released two weeks after the Newsweek imbroglio, at 7:15 p.m. on a Friday, to assure it would miss the evening newscasts and be buried in the Memorial Day weekend's little-read papers.

Frank is, of course refering to this, which includes the important details of this "abuse":

Of the 13 alleged incidents, five were substantiated, he said. Four were by guards and one was by an interrogator. Hood said the five cases "could be broadly defined as mishandling" of the holy book, but he refused to discuss details.

In three of the five cases, the mishandling appears to have been deliberate. In the other two, it apparently was accidental.

"But it appears here some American military officers may have touched the Quran when they are not supposed to because non-believers are not supposed to touch the Quran. Early on there were not clear procedures."

So, like, the "abuse" was not that Americans had "mishandled" the Qu'ran, but that they'd dared to actually handle it at all. This is abuse? Frank Rich wants you to think it is. Why? Because he wants to destroy a "religious" man, President Bush, even if he has to defend religious fanatic Islamists' decrees that the Holy Qu'ran never be so much as touched by Frank himself in order to do so.

Do you disagree, Frank? Do you have an alternate explanation for you're silly sophistry?
But it gets better...

Though Nixon aspired to punish public broadcasting by cutting its funding, he never imagined that his apparatchiks [<--a Russian word refering to those who did the Soviet-era Kremlin's bidding.--TS] could seize the top executive positions at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Nor did he come up with the brilliant ideas of putting journalists covertly on the administration payroll

A reference to Armstrong Williams who said he took the money, but only because he believed in the No Child Left Program in the first place...
and of hiring an outside P.R. firm (Ketchum) to codify an enemies list by ranking news organizations and individual reporters on the basis of how favorably they cover a specific administration policy (No Child Left Behind).

Kethum created some ads and took a poll on their effectiveness. Pretty run of the mill stuff is y'ask me...
President Bush has even succeeded in emasculating the post-Watergate reform that was supposed to help curb Nixonian secrecy, the Presidential Records Act of 1978.

A Washington Post article on that can be found here What Bush wants to do is to protect sensitive information for an indefinate amout of time, but it's definately not without checks and balances.

Here's the complaint in a nut shell (from the above link):

A former president would then review them and tell the archivist whether they should be withheld or made public. The incumbent president or a designee would then look at them to see if he or she agrees with the ex-president's decision. Unless both agree they should be made public, the records will remain secret unless "a final court order" should require disclosure.

"Absent compelling circumstances," the incumbent president will concur in the former president's privilege decision, the draft order states. But if the incumbent president does not agree on a former president's decision to grant access, "the incumbent president may independently order the archivist to withhold privileged records."

The order would work "like a one-way ratchet," said Scott Nelson, an attorney for the Public Citizen Litigation Group. "If the former president says the records are privileged, they will remain secret even if the sitting president disagrees. If the sitting president says they should be privileged, they remain secret even if the former president disagrees."

Jimmy Carter can decide if something in his presidential record archives oughta be allowed to be made public. All this new rule does is allow the sitting president to evaluate the former president's judgement. There are security concerns that the sitting president is focused on that a former president is not aware of. The sitting president has a better understanding, right now, of what's still sensitive information and what's not so sensitive information, than a former president does. (Ouch, bad grammer, sorry!) But still, I'd never accept the rule to be indefinate. Maybe an additional ten years or so...

Anywho, Frank yammered on longer than I wished he had...

The journalists who do note the resonances of now with then rarely get to connect those dots on the news media's center stage of television. You are more likely to hear instead of how Watergate inspired too much "gotcha" journalism. That's a rather absurd premise given that no "gotcha" journalist got the goods on the biggest story of our time: the false intimations of incipient mushroom clouds peddled by American officials to sell a war that now threatens to match the unpopularity and marathon length of Vietnam.

J'ever get the feeling that some people just pray for another Vietnam? J'ever get the feeling that some people seek to minimize the perceived threat right down to the point that "there is nothing to worry about, please return to your desks"? J'ever wonder if partisan politics might acually kill several million people?

Yeah? Then it's interesting that Frank invoked the word "apparatchiks". He could have said "henchmen" or "loyalists ", but he didn't. No, Bush's opperatives are, of course, mindlless automotons acting out of blindlest instinct or a threat of death. There are no people in Chimpworld, only Bushie-zombies!

Frank Rich concludes...

Only once during the Deep Throat rollout did I see a palpable, if perhaps unconscious, effort to link the White House of 1972 with that of 2005. It occurred at the start, when ABC News, with the first comprehensive report on Vanity Fair's scoop, interrupted President Bush's post-Memorial Day Rose Garden news conference to break the story.

Suddenly the image of the current president blathering on about how hunky-dory everything is in Iraq was usurped by repeated showings of the scene in which the newly resigned Nixon walked across the adjacent White House lawn to the helicopter that would carry him into exile.

But in the days that followed, Nixon and his history and the long shadows they cast largely vanished from the TV screen. In their place were constant nostalgic replays of young Redford and flinty Holbrook. Follow the bait-and-switch.

Wow. I'll leave you, dear reader, to make of that what you will. It's late and I'm tired.

In the meantime, may I offer some Viking Kittens?

Posted by Tuning Spork at 07:27 AM | Comments (1)

June 11, 2005

And in local news...

How NOT to write a front page story.

No doubt most of the blogosphere missed this little story as it seems to have appeared only in the dead tree version of the Connecticut Post. This item, by local reporter Rob Varnon, appeared on the front page.

Energy efficiency popular with public, not Congress

Maybe the 6 percent of Americans who think "it's a bad idea" to mandate better gas mileage for automobiles are all U.S. senators, because the rest of the nation appears to like the idea.
Ninety-three percent of the respondents to a survey think requiring the auto industry to make cars that get better gas mileage is a good idea.

I may have only taken one journalism class in my lifetime, but I had writing the first sentence (who, what, where, when) down pat. So, first off, Varnon's second sentence should have been the first, and his snarky first sentence should have been on the op-ed page.

The Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, which did the national survey, blasted Congress on Thursday for being out of touch with Americans.

Varnon gives no details about how the Yalies "blasted" Congress. Was it in a press release? Was it at a press conference? Was it in testimony before Congress? Who knows. And if 93% of Americans want Congress to ban the hideous ugly and not funny Marmaduke and Rugrats from the comics page, I suppose they'd be "out of touch" with Americans for not doing something that would violate the Fist Amendment.

The survey's authors said the Senate's Energy Committee in May scrapped an amendment to the national energy bill that would have increased fuel-efficiency standars for sport-utility vehicles and minivans to the same 27.5 miles per gallon required for cars.

OK, let's get something clear. The way to increase a vehicles mileage per gallon is to make the vehicle lighter. As long as you have clean and properly guaged sparkplugs -- and nothing's out of whack and causing a "drag" on the vehicle -- gasoline can't get much more efficient than it already is and always was.

Making the SUVs lighter will only change what is attractive about SUVs in the first place. That they are heavy duty and have a metal chasis, not fiberglass. Requiring by law that an SUV be altered to go from getting 15 to 27.5 miles per gallon woud simply turn them into cars. And you can't safely tow an RV trailer up or down a hill with a Toyota; you need a heavy truck. If you want to get 35 miles to the gallon then by a 4-cylinder Ford Taurus. How an SUV can do what it can do is precisely what causes it to get only 15 mpg.

Require an SUV to get 30 mpg? You might as well require it to climb an 85 degree incline. T'ain't gonna hap'n.

The CFE [Connecticut Fund for the Envirnment] said the Connecticut Clean Cars Incentive Program was enacted this session to create consumer incentives to buy vehicles that get good gas mileage and produce less pollution. The legislature will vote on the incentive plan in 2006.

There are no clues in the article just as to what any of these "consumer incentives" are. But, in my observations, it usually means that our overlords are planning to punish our freedom to make "wrong" choices. But what if they wanna simply reward "right" choices? Read on:

At the local level, New Haven's Board of Aldermen recently approved a plan to allow New Haven residents who own high-mileage hybrid automoblies to park in the city for free. The policy is expected to be in force July 4.

I consider that little policy to be unConstitutional. Charging or not charging city residents parking fees based on the make and model of the vehicle they're parking? Ho. Ly. Krap.

Dan Esty, a professor and director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy,

Shouldn't that be the "Yale Center for THE STUDY OF Environmental Law and Policy?" Since when was academia a center legislative policy making?

said Congress is not representing the views of the vast majority of AMericans as it shapes energy policy.
He said the 6 percent against fuel-efficiency mandates most likely objected to the government forcing the changes.

Or maybe they object to the de facto banning entire classes of highly useful vehicles...

But what's most amaxing, he said, is that as adverse as many Americans are to forcing companies like these, 93 percent want it done.

Notice the absence of quotation marks. (Sorry. That's just my inner frustrated journalist talking.)

93% of Americans want it done because they actually believe that it CAN be done. If you someone if they'd like their SUV to get 35 miles to the gallon, of course they'll say "YES!". But, ask them if they want the gubmint to ban SUVs and minivans, they'll say "NO!". But that's exactly what it comes down to and that fact is nowhere to be found in this article.

Let's see what else is missing...

The survey also found that 92 percent pf AMericans say dependence on foreign oil is a serious problem.
The survey of 1,000 U.S. residents over the age of 18 included a proportionate number of Republicans and Democrats. [Which leaves out about half the population. -- TS] But what was almost shocking to Esty was that there was little difference in how Democrats and Republicans viewed these problems, despite the political animosity that's welled up over the past decade.

Some people are just dumb, I guess. This Dan Esty fella is shocked -- shocked I tells ya(!) -- that people vote for their pocketbook/wallet. "Democrats and Republicans BOTH wanna save money and be less 'dependent' on foreign oil? I'm shocked! And saddened!"

But here's the thing. If we cut our, oh say, Saudi oil imports by 50% tomorrow, the Saudi's would simply cut production by 50% and raise the price accordingly. The market price is not not NOT simply a due to how much oil is in demand, but also of how much oil is supplied. The Saudis can increase and decrease production in order to get their price. Period.

Lookee here: We could end our "dependence" on foreign oil. But, since we're importing no oil from other countries, we'll have to stop exporting our own oil to still other countries. That's an isolationist policy and we'd have to give up a lot of neato things.

F'rinstance, we'll sell oil to China and in return we'll buy rubber beach clogs that cost us 99 cents. If those clogs were made in the U.S. they'd prolly cost about 5 or 6 bucks. But, we get el cheapo crap from China and China buys our oil. If we buy no more oil from Saudi Arabia then they'll stop buying our... our... our whatever the hell they buy from us. It's called "foreign trade" and it's a lot bigger than just frickin' oy'ul.

Oil is the second-most efficient energy resource we've found, and that's why we're "dependent" on it. Solar energy is an efficient energy source for tomatos and cucumbers, but it's not an efficient energy source for motor vehicles. Solar, natural gas, hydro-electric and even biomass are viable sources of energy, but they are suitable only as a suppliment, not as replacement for petroleum.

The problem with oil is that it's a finite source -- ther's only so much much of it. Even though we tend to keep finding new and bigger reserves here and there, it's still a finite resource. There wont be as much oil in the ground in 10 years, and less in 50 years, and still less in 200 years. Relying on oil as an energy source is not a long-term strategy. But, like I said, it's only the second-most efficient energy resource.

With soldiers fighting in Iraq and unrest in other parts of the petroleum-rich Middle East, Esty said Americans realize that they are locked into the struggles of that region because of oil dependence.
"It looks to me that the public has some pretty strong views on the need for a non-oil energy strategy," he said.

Since any "non-oil energy strategy" that I suspect Esty would endorse couldn't run a locomotive from one side of Nebraska to the other, I expect that he will offer no suggestions as to what a preferred "non-oil" energy resource might be.

The survey found that gas mileage improvement was the most popular way to kick the oil habit. But building more solar power facilities and wind-turbine farms was attractive to more than 87 percent of respondents.

Which just shows to go ya that most people don't understand the agenda being the sneaky questions they'r being asked. Solar panels? Windmills? Shall we fire up the old whaling vessels so's we have enough oil for candlelight on them calm and cloudy days and nights?

But this just makes my day. Notice how, in this next paragraph, the word "foreign" is missing:

Esty said the popularity of reducing dependence is common sense, because oil-based and fossil-fuel products increase pollution -- and everyone likes to breathe.
"It seems liike common sense, but what plays out in Washington is nothing near it," he said.
[End of article -- TS.]

What's playing out in Washington is probably more sensical than wishing for things that don't exist.

I said that petroleum is the second-most efficient energy source. No matter how many as of yet untapped reserves we can find, petroleum is still, and always, only a temporary source of energy. In a thousand years it will be a long forgotten memory.

Whether we wanna preserve a status quo or explore more than our own filthy corner of the galaxy, we need to think further ahead than the next election cycle. Are we destined to reach the next star or are we destined to settle for this one? If the future is now then let's see the correct future, not an idealistic wishing-might-make-it-so future.

The only inexaustible energy source is nuclear energy. That's not an argument, that's a fact.

The problem is that's it's pretty tricky for us right now. But, I promise, it wont always be.

Imagine the first critic of fire. "OUCH!" he cried because was new to him and he didn't quite know yet what to make of it. But, eventually, we learned the rules how to work with fire.

Chernobyl will never happen again. I say that with confidence only because I know that, after Chernobyl, nobody wants to make that one dumb mistake ever again. Maybe I'm whistling past the graveyard, but I do think that, after thousands of years of history, if humanity is going to be around and grow(!)0 after another thousand years then we have to face the fact that nuclear energy is the only only only way we're ever gonna get there.

Some want us to go back to picking weeds and "living off the land". Remember that from the early '70s? But we're going frther than that. Of "getting back to nature" is all we're destined for then we're just running backwards. Our future isn't here, it's out there! Accepting what we are is easy. Dreaming of what we can be is... easy, too!

If oil has to go then so does everything we know. We'll be the little house on the prairie in an idyllic quest for the truth that we deny ourselves. Heaven-on-the-range and no more. We've made our choice.?

Not yet.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 08:39 PM | Comments (0)

June 09, 2005

Just Checkin' In

Nope, not dead. Just getting home late the last few days. (Sure would be nice if the bus drivers knew the schedule, y'know?)

Anywho, so as not to be a total waste of a mouse click three days in a row, I'll give you a joke I read somewhere.

A doctor, a school teacher and the head of a large HMO die. When met at the pearly gates by St. Peter he asks the Doctor "What did you do on Earth?"

The doctor replied, "I healed the sick and if they could not pay I would do it for free." St. Peter stepped aside and said, "You may enter in peace."

St. Peter then asked the school teacher what she had done on Earth. She replied, "I taught educationally challenged children." St. Peter then told her, "You may enter the Kingdom. Please pass in peace.'

St. Peter asked the third man, "What did you do on Earth?" The man hung his head shamefully and replied, "I ran a large HMO." St. Peter replied, "You may enter in peace. But, you can only stay fer 3 days."

Posted by Tuning Spork at 11:42 PM | Comments (0)

June 06, 2005

Damn. Just damn.

So anyway, my mother bought me a crockpot as an earlier birthday present so's I can save a little money on food by preparing large batches and taking them to work for lunch. I finally tried it out yesterday.

I spent the afternoon searching for good crockpot recipes online, then went out to get some ingredients that I needed.

I made a big batch of chicken cacciatore. 2 1/2 pounds of breast meat in a sauce made of 1 can of stewed tomatoes, a can of condensed tomato soup, some water, a chopped onion, minced garlic, a dash of corn syrup, and seasoned with oregano, basil, cilantro, rosemary, salt and pepper. I may have even added some cayenne powder.

I set the crockpot on Low and started it up at around 6pm. I wanted to go at least 8 or 9 hours, but that meant that it'd be ready at around 3am. So, I decided to just let it go the few extra hours and turn it off in the morning. A few hours into the cooking time and itwas smellin' gooooood.

I got up and went downstairs. The crockpot was Un. Plugged. And. Turned. Off. My housemate, Chris, must have thought I'd mistakenly left it on all night, turned it off before going to bed, and left it sitting on the kitchen counter to rot.


I was so steamed I just stormed out the door and headed for the bus stop. Thing is, I had less than ten bucks to my name and that has to last a few days. I had no money for lunch.

I got home at around quarter to eight, starving, and openned up a can of Chef Boyardi ravioli. I ate about half of it and couldn't stomach any more.

Then I went upstairs and knocked on Chris' door.

"Yeah...?" he said. I openned the door and looked at him for a second.

"You do know that a crockpot is a slow-cooker, right?" He just shrugged his shoulders and shook his head. "I was making chicken cacciatore, enough for lunch and dinner for two days. I had 2 1/2 pounds of chicken in there. $12 worth of food is ruined and I have nothing substantial to eat. This was supposed to save me money, not waste it."

Again he just shrugged and said, "I just thought you forgot to turn it off."

"Yeah, I know. I'm gonna cook a pork roast later. It's gonna go all night 'cause I need something to eat tomorrow, okay?" He just nodded.

How does someone not know what a @#$% crockpot is? Yeesh. Now I'm off to open up a can of pineapple slices. Damn...

Posted by Tuning Spork at 10:04 PM | Comments (5)

June 05, 2005

Today in History

I got nothin' today, so I think I'll give y'all a brief round-up on what's happened on some other June 5ths!

Ronald Reagan died one year ago today.

In terms of birthdays, though, today is the birthday of John Couch Adams (1819), co-discoverer of the planet Neptune. Also born on this date: PBS host and commentator Bill Moyers (1934), and Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa (1878). Spanish poet and dramatist Fredrico Lorca and American cowby Hoppalong Cassidy were both born on this date in 1898. Also, musicians Waylon Jennings (1937) and Kenny G (1956) are having some cake.

On June 5th, 1849, Denmark became a constitutional monarchy. Then on June 5th, 1953, Denmark adopted a new constitution and, today, Danes are celebrating Constitution Day.

Richard Speck was sentenced to death in 1967 but escaped the execution when the Illinois Supreme Court decided that capital punishment oughta be outlawed. He died in 1991 of a heart attack.
On year after that sentencing, June 5th, 1968, Robert Kennedy was shot by Sirhan Sirhan in Los Angeles. He died the next day.

In World War II news, this is the anniversary of the beginning of the Battle of France (1940), and when the US, UK, USSR and France (for some reason) declare supreme authority over Germany (1945). Secretary of State George Marshall outlines the Marshall Plan (1947).

On June 5th, 1984, Indian Prime Minister Indira Ghandi ordered attacks on the Golden Temple -- the holiest Sikh site. She was assassiniated October 31st by two of her own bodyguards who were Sikh.

It was on this date in 1981 that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported a "pneumonia affecting gays".
It would come to be called AIDS.

'Twas on the 5th day of June in 1661 that Isaac Newton was admitted as a student to Trinity College at Cambridge, and, putting some laws of mechanics to good use, it was June 5th, 1783 that Joseph Jaques Montgolfer made the first public balloon flight.

In 1794, the US Congress made it illegal for a US citizen to serve in any foreign armed forces, and in 1917, the World War I draft begins eventually conscripting over 10 million American men to go and help solve Europe's little problem.

June 5th, 1956 was the day that the US Supreme Court ruled that the racial segregation on Montgomery, Alabama's city buses was unConstitutional while four score earlier, on June 5th, 1876, bananas becoame popular in the US at the Centennial Expo in Philidekphia. Mmmm, bananas.

In entertainment news, this is the 41st anniversary of the release of "I Can't Help Thinking About Me" by Davy Jones and the King Bees. The band broke up shortly afterward, but Jones went on to a successful career -- once he changed his name to David Bowie.

Today also marks the day that Ada Lovelace, the 1st computer programmer, meets Charles Babbage, the "father of modern computing", in 1833. Fittingly, on this date in 1977 the first personal computer, the Apple II, debuts. Mmmmmm, apples.

And what's going on around the world today? Well, it's Labour Day in the Bahamas, Thanksgiving Day in Colombia and Teacher's Day in Massachussetts. And, I wrote above, Constitution Day in Denmark.

So, there ya have it, folks. Another day, another lame post. ;)

Posted by Tuning Spork at 07:18 PM | Comments (0)

June 04, 2005

Tagged... again!

Susie tagged me with this last week. I ignored forgot about it during Memorial Day weekend. Now Debbye has tagged me with the same meme! I guess I'll just keep getting tagged with it until I finally post some answers, so he-e-e-e-re we go...

Number of books I own: I have no idea. Most of them are still in boxes from when I moved three years ago. But, remembering my overflowing bookcases, I'll guesstimate I have more than 500 but less than 1,000. Most of them were bought at tag sales, flea markets and the annual four-day Southport Booksale.

Last book I bought: Hmmm, it's been a while. In fact, I'm not sure I've bought a single book in the last three years except for a Goldmine Price Guide to Collectible Record Albums.

Last book I read: I rarely read a book cover to cover unless it's something I borrowed from the library. I use my books mainly for reference. The last book I refered to (besides the dictionary) was Fred Emery's Watergate. This was a couple of days ago, just after W.Mark Felt announced that he was Deep Throat.
The last book I read cover-to-cover was probably Fair Ball by Bob Costas.

Books that mean a lot to me:
1. Case Closed by Gerald Posner. It was the book I always wanted to write if I'd had the time and money to spend on the research.

2. The Psychopathic God by Robert L. G. White. A fascinating examination of Adolph Hitler. Much more readable (and shorter) than Will Shirer's excellent Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, and focuses on Hitler's personality, not just his actions.

3. Consciousness Explained by Daniel Dennett. Simply brilliant and the writing and argument styles suck you right in.

4. Einstein's Relativity by Max Born. This is a math-heavy, must-have reference for anyone who wants to explore relativity theory. Most books you'll find about relativity/gravity/quantum theories concentrate on getting points across through anecdotal analogies that keep the reader from understanding the underlying source of the knowledge they the books are trying to impart. Max Born, on the other hand, went right to the guts of the theory and allows you to explore it yourself, not just take the author's word for it. Like I said: lots of useful mathematics.

5. The God Particle by Leon Lederman. It's not like one of the books that I just criticized above, this is a fun read and Leon doesn't pretend to know everything. Richard Feynman's books are great, too, because he tells you what is known (or generally accepted) and, also, what isn't known. In other words: they're educational, not pedantic.

Okay, now it's time to tag some more suckers bloggers! I think this meme has been around a while because most of my regular mid-to-lower-ecosystem reads have already answered it. So, I'm going to go for some big fishies. I'm tagging Emperor Darth Misha, Kim DuToit, Bill Whittle, FrankJ, Michelle Malkin and, of course, Evil Glenn! Let's see if any of 'em actually respond. I hope someone does, 'cause this is one huge amount of pingage!
(I'd tag the Blue-Eyed Infidel, but she doesn't read her email. :()

UPDATE: One more tag: bbrother of Winter Songs. Let's have it, "Big I"! :)
(And go read him and leave some comments, peeps! He's stopped posting again... :()

Posted by Tuning Spork at 05:17 PM | Comments (4)

June 03, 2005

This Date In History


Sixteen years ago today hundreds of students protesting for democracy were slaughtered in Tianenman Square, Beijing, China.

Just a few days earlier I was in Chinatown in New York City. I was there with my ex- to visit an excellent glass-blowing facility there so she could get a little work done. (She was such an ahtist.)

I wasn't sure what the commotion was about, so I asked a passer-by "What's going on?!" "Democracy in China!" he smiled back. "It's finally coming!" Little did he know what would follow just a couple of days later.

Oh. Also on this date in history: In the bicentennial year of 1976, the U.S. was presented, by the U.K., with the oldest known copy of the Magna Carta.

There is still much work to be done, Friends. Sic semoer tyrannus.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 10:00 PM | Comments (0)

June 01, 2005

Why? Because he Felt like it!

I grabbed my copy of Fred Emery's Watergate and went to the index. There I found four references to Mark Felt.

One is a passing reference to when Chuck Colson called him to find out what he knew about the would-be assassin of George Wallace, Arthur Bremer, on May 15th, 1972.

Also, for fear that Bremer might turn out to be a "right wing wacko", Colson called Felt to plant an idea in his head. "I told him we had heard rumors that there were political motivations [to the shooting], to wit: Bremer had ties with Kennedy or McGovern political operatives, that obviously there could be a conspiracy," Colson once recalled.
Then Colson called Howard Hunt to see about planting leftist literature into Bremer's apartment, only find out later that the apartment had been sealed by the FBI.

The second mention of Mark Felt in Watergate concerns Director L Patrick Gray's lolligagging on FBI interviews of certain suspects for fear that the FBI may have stumbled onto a CIA operation. Felt insisted that the interviews go forward unless the CIA put into writing it's national security concerns. Gray relented.

The remaing two mentions of Mark Felt are interesting. They're about Nixon's strong suspicion that Felt was the man who'd leaked to Time magazine about Kissinger's wire taps of certain "newsmen and government officials". The "Kissinger taps" were begun by J Edgar Hoover (following the Pentagon Papers leak and others) in order to discover who the leakers were and, apparantly, were perfectly legal. Even if Mark Felt disagreed with some of the future phone taps, he was second in command of the FBI that was carrying out the monitoring and had a duty not to become a leaker himself. This happened well before the Watergate arrests. 'Nuff said.

According to All The President's Men it was on Sunday, June 19th, 1972, two days after the Watergate arrests, that Deep Throat confirmed to Bob Woodward that Howard Hunt was involved. (Felt would have known this because he had access to the address book that was found on one of the burglars.) I'll bet that this was not the first time that Felt and Woodward had spoken. Felt, #2 man at the FBI and in possession of the most sensitive information and personal files was, I fear, as leaky as a colander.

The last mention of Deep Throat in All The President's Men is from a November '73 meeting -- following the revelation that there existed tapes of Nixon's conversations in the Oval Office -- about which Woodward writes: "Deep Throat's message was short and simple: one or more of the tapes contained deliberate erasures."

The gaps were made public at the Watergate hearings on the day before Thanksgiving. Very few had that knowledge before it was made public. Fred Buzherdt (Nixon's council) and Alexander Haig were among them. How did Mark Felt know? The tapes were in the possession of the White House. It could have been that Haig or Buzherdt entrusted Felt with this information before they had to go public with it, only to have Felt turn around and leak it to Woodward.

The thing is, though, that no one could say definitively that the erasure was deliberate (if it was -- and it probably was) except the person who did it. Certainly not Mark Felt, who could not possibly have heard the tape up to that point.

W Mark Felt, btw, did prison time for authorizing illegal break-ins in the late '60s of the Weather Underground. He was pardoned by President Reagan in 1981.

Today many consider him a hero. They would be, I suspect, most people -- especially Democrats and Nixon-haters. Others consider him a traitor and criminal. They would be far right and, especially, Nixon loyalists.

Me? Today I consider W Mark Felt derelict in his duty. With security clearance comes a responsibility to honor it. No matter what you think of the secret information you have at your beck and call, you have a duty to your office and the discretion that's expected of you.

Standards, people. We have security clearances and background checks for a reason. If someone feels that they're bound to expose, anonymously, that entrusted information when they think it's better to do so than not, then s/he'll expose that information any ol' time they feel like it. If Felt isn't a traitor to his country, he's certainly a traitor to the Bureau that gave him his position, deciding, one fateful day, to serve under him.

My last beef is with Bob Woodward. Bob, you gave us all a bum steer! You told us that all of Deep Throat's information was "reliable a first hand". Clearly much of it came from testimony (official FBI or personal) of witnesses. This is not first hand knowledge! You threw me and all the other Throat-hunters off the scent! Damyoo!!! **shakes fist**

Posted by Tuning Spork at 10:13 PM | Comments (2)
Site Meter