mm020: Clipjoint 1

MUDGE’s Musings

Once again, my always busy professional life has been coupled with a surprisingly busy social calendar, and it’s been way too long since our last visit.

What I offer is another clip job. These are stories that have intrigued me over the past several days. How about you?

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I guess my secret is out — I sporadically read, and always enjoy when I do, Daily Kos. A story about Fred Thompson last Saturday caught my eye:

Mitt Romney has already out-raised his opponents by fulfilling the one true requirement of a Republican candidate — looking presidential. But Romney is going to have to surrender his prom king crown to the guy who has been literally acting the part for decades.

Fred Thompson has been a general in the Army, an admiral in the Navy, senator, White House chief of staff, head of the FBI, and president three times (hey, doesn’t that make him ineligible?). And before all those, he played another role: attorney. Yes, Thompson really is both a lawyer and a Hollywood movie star — the two things Republicans always claim to hate, until they start drooling over any example of either willing to tack an “R” after their name. But though he’s made a career of playing a character whose name might as well be “Tough Butfair,” there’s one part of Thompson’s act that’s never quite held up to scrutiny.

Thompson launched his political career as a “pro-choice moderate” in a contest against a conservative Democrat (a Democrat who found out that it was hard to achieve statewide name recognition when running against a guy who was on TV 24/7). Thompson was able to pass himself off as a down-home boy, driving around the state in a pickup truck, while every television station in the state did his work for him. But once elected, though he continued to use the “moderate” script on the air, Thompson’s voting record in the Senate showed a very different tone to his performance. He scored a lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union of 86 percent — one point shy of little Ricky Santorum. Only a handful of Senators (Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms among them) proved to be more more dedicated to pushing the hard right agenda.

It’s disappointing how often such superficial attributes as an acting career is sufficient to propel otherwise undistinguished people to what seems to be serious consideration by his party.

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Digg introduced me to The Sushi FAQ, everything I’ve ever wanted to know about sushi. I have a personal sushi story that I may share sometime, but not today. Meanwhile, take a look at the site.

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Monday, another of my regular (I try, anyway) reads, Slate, introduced their take on the Microsoft Surface:

At the Wall Street Journal’s D: All Things Digital conference last week, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer formally introduced the table, now dubbed Microsoft Surface. Ballmer described the table as “a totally new way of interacting with and experiencing technology.” He’s right, although that’s no guarantee it will catch on. Today’s most-advanced personal computers still use the old-school mouse (invented by Douglas Engelbart in the 1960s) and QWERTY keyboard (a layout invented by Christopher Sholes in the mid-1800s). Pretty much every attempt to supplant or supplement these venerable devices has gone absolutely nowhere. Still, I’m convinced that the surface-computing interface is a keeper.

Considering we still poke around with keyboards and mice as if it were 1984 the future can’t get here soon enough!

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The NY Times was especially entertaining today:

BENSON, Minn. — For anyone curious about what thousands of tons of turkey litter looks like, piled high into an indoor olfactory-assaulting mountain of manure, this old railroad stop on the extreme edge of alternative energy production is the place to be.

Thanks to the abundance of local droppings, Benson is home to a new $200 million power plant that burns turkey litter to produce electricity. For the last few weeks now, since before generating operations began in mid-May, turkey waste has poured in from nearby farms by the truckload, filling a fuel hall several stories high.

The power plant is a novelty on the prairie, the first in the country to burn animal litter (manure mixed with farm-animal bedding like wood chips). And it sits at the intersection of two national obsessions: an appetite for lean meat and a demand for alternative fuels.

But it has also put Benson, a town of 3,376 some three hours west of Minneapolis, on the map in another way: as a target of environmental advocates who question the earth-friendliness of the operation.

I suppose it’s better to burn turkey shit to create electricity than throw it into a landfill, but turkey droppings are not going to solve anyone’s energy needs, anywhere.

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I find that I still have several fascinating stories left to share. Let’s try for tomorrow, shall we?

It’s it for now.

Thanks,
–MUDGE

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One Response to mm020: Clipjoint 1

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