mm376: H.M.D. 2008

May 11, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

dreamstime_4975229

As I write this, it’s mid-afternoon on Sunday, May 11, 2008, Mother’s Day in the U.S.

I believe that the important mothers in my life know what they mean to me, and how I feel about them:

My own mother, failing rapidly, but with her chin up, due to her illness. Her family wonders whether there’s even one more Mother’s Day in her.

My dear mother-in-law, about to be 87 years old, mostly healthy and ever very precious to us.

My lovely Mrs. MUDGE, who certainly deserved better than me, but loves me anyway, who raised three great children.

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mm273: Yes we can

February 2, 2008

MUDGE’S Musings

No endorsement implied.

But, what effective campaigning!

Roadkill Refugee on our blogroll blogroll2 brought this video to our attention, and it’s a winner, no matter what your political persuasion.

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mm272: What the devil time is it anyway?

February 1, 2008

MUDGE’S Musings

Does anybody really know what time it is? Does anybody really care?

[MUDGE is not especially a popular music fan in the conventional definition, but there are things that stick. Brass and woodwinds stick. And, after all, Chicago is home.]

In more and more parts of the world, time, specifically time zones, have become a political football.

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mm271: The automobile post – diesel / electric

January 31, 2008

MUDGE’S Musings

Don’t spend much time reading Forbes any more. Guess I’ve given up the dream: to be a capitalist.

My dear grandmother gave me a gift subscription when I was 21 years old. Found it interesting and aspirational, then. The politics made little impression (and maybe in the early 70s were less obstreperous).

But, it was really business news I hungered for, rather than investment advice (I was investing in my domicile and groceries at the time). For advice on decisions made in my favorite field of battle, the business world, Business Week became my regular read, and has continued to be for more than 30 years.

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mm270: Health trilogy

January 30, 2008

MUDGE’S Musings

As yr (justifiably) humble svt trudges around this excessive winter in his oh-so-elegant cam-boot (complete with exposed sock — wow! is it cold!), nursing his partially torn Achilles and worrying that his odd appliance-forced gait is causing new compensatory aches and pains in his lower back, health is very much on his mind.

And as a charter member of the Boomer cohort, one would expect no less. And since we are such a huge demographic, health news, never in short supply, can now be, appropriate to the season, officially classified as a blizzard.

A blizzard of health related news. This nanocorner of the ‘Sphere© proudly brings you its all-health news SASB©.

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mm269: Water – accept no substitutes!

January 29, 2008

MUDGE’S Musings

Water remains high up in U.S. consciousness. Ongoing shortages were a hot topic here two weeks ago.

The other day we pointed toward a picture story highlighting the opening of a new sewage to tap water facility in Southern California.

Turns out that this wasn’t this nanocorner of the ‘Sphere©‘s first cut at the story. Two months ago we riffed extensively on this new facility.

Eileen Zimmerman has a detailed analysis that appeared at Slate.com recently; worth checking out.

Today, we look at water supplies for Southern California from a northern (California) perspective.

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mm268: Sometimes it’s personal

January 28, 2008

MUDGE’S Musings

Yr (justifiably) humble svt has been practicing this hobby? trade? avocation? for nearly nine months. Early on, I was exposed to the Prime Directive of Blogging: Thou Shalt Blog Daily!

Okay, started (seriously) 07-May-2007… tonight it’s 28-January-2008… timeanddate.com (as discussed previously) … 266 days … this is mm268 (and there have been some WCW’s and decimals) and WordPress.com tells me that I’ve produced 293 posts up to now: I have met the Prime Directive of Blogging. 293 posts in 266 days. Whew!

With some difficulty. Take this week, for example. And by week, I’m referring to the past seven days, actually just the past six will do.

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mm267: XO: A missionary position

January 27, 2008

l-hc

MUDGE’S Musings

olpc7926

Interest continues in the One Laptop Per Child initiative. As faithful reader recalls, this nanocorner of the ‘Sphere©‘s interest in the subject continues, also. Here’s where we’ve been:

One Laptop Per Child @ L-HC

mm088: Meet the XO
mm089: Amateur mapmaking…
mm099: A $99 Desktop…
mm149: India’s take…
mm153: By a Laptop, Get one…
mm162: Laptop with a Mission
mm170: Technology and Ed …
mm179: OLPC for India after all?
mm189: OLPC cranks up!
mm203: OLPC: News; discouraging word
mm212: Cheap computing…
mm219: OLPC — Harvard speaks
mm232: Li’l green laptops a hit in Peru
mm247: OLPC — reviews are coming in
mm249: OLPC – News, and a review

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mm265: It’s a Bush administration; the wealthy get wealthier while the poor suck hind tit

January 25, 2008

MUDGE’S Musings

The number crunchers are beginning to weigh in on the administration’s latest economic stimulus plan.

Can one really be surprised that the stimulus mainly impacts those who need it least?

Paul Krugman had the following observations in the NYTimes, and on his blog:

Stimulus Gone Bad

By PAUL KRUGMAN | Published: January 25, 2008

House Democrats and the White House have reached an agreement on an economic stimulus plan. Unfortunately, the plan — which essentially consists of nothing but tax cuts and gives most of those tax cuts to people in fairly good financial shape — looks like a lemon.

Specifically, the Democrats appear to have buckled in the face of the Bush administration’s ideological rigidity, dropping demands for provisions that would have helped those most in need. And those happen to be the same provisions that might actually have made the stimulus plan effective.

In his related blog (linked to in the Times, and full of a series of useful comments on the stimulus plan) he reproduces the chart that the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center created after analysis:

rebateshare

Predictable:the top 40% of income earners would get 58% of the proceeds. It’s just so typically wrong-headed. We’re headed toward rough seas; let’s take the motors off the lower-deck lifeboats, so that the upper deck lifeboats have two!

And the Democratic leaders in Congress, as has been typical for them since they assumed majority status after the 2006 elections, caved. No stomach for a fight, Ms. Pelosi? If not, you certainly are in the wrong place at the wrong time!

Krugman points out that getting money to people who really need it “does double duty: it alleviates hardship, and also pumps up consumer spending.”

The result: a program that isn’t helpful where most needed, and fails in its goal as an economic stimulus.

[Please click the link below for the complete article -- but then please come on back!]

Stimulus Gone Bad – New York Times

You needn’t be a card-carrying curmudgeon to be disgusted.

I just love the FDR quote, at a time when spats-wearing plutocrats were desperately clinging to their customary piracy – er, business – as usual:

“We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals; we know now that it is bad economics.”

When will it end, you ask? timeanddate.com tells us: 360 days, 15 hours: Noon Eastern Standard Time, Tuesday, 20-January-2009.

It’s it for now. Thanks,

–MUDGE

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mm264: FDA: Cloned animals okay to join the food chain

January 24, 2008

MUDGE’S Musings

52329_2ce671303e

Robert Brooks/Creative Commons licensed.

This nanocorner of the ‘Sphere© considers itself a friend to science, and a natural enemy of those who deny it.

In that vein we have discussed the topic of genetically modified foodstuffs a number of times in this space.

Battle Over Genetically Modified Foods

mm236: G.M. wine
mm233: Corn in the news
mm223: Pigs, bees, fish
mm198: GM foods – wrongheaded opposition
mm109: Too much of a good thing

But an editorial writer in NYTimes this week tackles the issue of cloned animals in the food chain, science that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration blessed last week, and makes some scientific sense.

nytimes

Closing the Barn Door After the Cows Have Gotten Out

By VERLYN KLINKENBORG | Published: January 23, 2008

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration cleared the way for the eventual sale of meat and dairy products from cloned animals, saying, in effect, that consumers face no health risks from them. The next day, the Department of Agriculture asked farmers to keep their cloned animals off the market until consumers have time to get over their anticloning prejudice. That is one prejudice I plan to hold on to. I will not be eating cloned meat.

The reason has nothing to do with my personal health or safety. I think the clearest way to understand the problem with cloning is to consider a broader question: Who benefits from it? Proponents will say that the consumer does, because we will get higher quality, more consistent foods from cloned animals. But the real beneficiaries are the nation’s large meatpacking companies — the kind that would like it best if chickens grew in the shape of nuggets. Anyone who really cares about food — its different tastes, textures and delights — is more interested in diversity than uniformity.

A felicitous turn of phrase: … “meatpacking companies – the kind that would like it best if chickens grew in the shape of nuggets.” Wow! Wish I could write like that!

Species diversity is a good thing, and cloning is its enemy.

[Please click the link below for the complete article -- but then please come on back!]

Closing the Barn Door After the Cows Have Gotten Out – New York Times

The writer’s point is that seeds can be banked (and hurrah! for those heirloom tomatoes that seem to be landing in farmers markets and upscale food stores), but we apparently haven’t decided that “animal seeds,” i.e, their genetic material, are possible to harvest and save.

Heirloom prime rib, anyone?

It’s it for now. Thanks,

–MUDGE

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