Friday, March 09, 2012

Superior Mirages, And The Titanic

This passed by in office E-Mail today. Apparently the Smithsonian Magazine this month is discussing the Titanic disaster, analyzing the effect of a superior mirage as being among the factors contributing to the disaster (click on the image to get a better look).

As one co-worker wrote:
It's definitely interesting. I have never heard of this phenomenon, but it seems totally plausible. It also adds to just how unlucky that entire fateful trip was. I am actually wondering how iceberg collisions hadn't happened more often because the environmental factors were likely present on many winter days, year after year. I suppose the presence of icebergs would be the most variable factor. Technology would make this a non-issue for the past few decades, but before that, I would have thought there would be other stories.
I wrote back:
As a matter of pride (since both the ship's builder, Tom Andrews, and the ship's owner, Ismay, plus numerous guests, were on board), the command officers of the Titanic were attempting the fastest Atlantic crossing ever of a passenger ship. Part of that calculation was to keep to the north as much as possible, in order to minimize the distance traveled. It may be that they glided over that margin; that threshold that had kept previous ships safe.

Flight Attendant Flips

Cracking under the pressure:
As the Chicago Tribune reported, a Chicago-bound American Airlines flight was about to take off from Dallas-Fort Worth when a flight attendant commandeered the plane's intercom, ranting about the company's bankruptcy and predicting that the plane would crash.

Passengers told the Tribune that the woman was giving preflight instructions when she suddenly began speaking incoherently. She became more agitated, and passengers subdued her until Dallas police arrived. The flight attendant was screaming when she was eventually hauled off, witnesses said.

Life In The New Iraq

Not as forgiving as life in the old Iraq (h/t John):
At least 90 Iraqi teenagers with "emo" appearances have been stoned to death by religious extremists in Baghdad in the past month after an inflammatory interior ministry statement dubbed it "devil worshiping", activists said.

...Iraq's moral police was granted approval by the Ministry of Education to enter Baghdad schools and pinpoint students with such appearances, according to the interior ministry's statement.

The exact death toll remains unclear, but Hana al-Bayaty of Brussels Tribunal, an NGO dealing with Iraqi issues, said the current figure ranges "between 90 and 100."

...Colonel Mushtaq Taleb al-Mahemdawi said: "The Emo Phenomenon was discovered a while back by members of our force in Baghdad. A report has been made and given to the Ministry of Interior to receive an approval to carry on with the investigation and to know how to eliminate the phenomenon."

..."There are some cases of the spread of this phenomenon specifically among schools in Baghdad, but we are facing great difficulty in the lack of women on the force who would allow us to carry the investigation more accurately since the phenomenon is more popular among girls between the ages of 14 and 18."

"They wear strange, tight clothes that have pictures on them such as skulls and use stationary that are shaped as skulls. They also wear rings on their noses and tongues, and do other strange activities."

Good Omen At TNR

The utter collapse and degrading failure of The New Republic for the last fifteen years can only start by systematically breaking each and every finger of that damned hanger-on Martin Peretz. You've got to start somewhere, I suppose, and this is a beginning:
Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes is the new owner of the New Republic, the 98-year-old liberal magazine that, like many of its print brethren, has struggled financially in an increasinlgy online world.

The New York Times reports that Hughes, who left Facebook to serve as social media director for Barack Obama in 2008, bought a majority stake in the company in a deal announced Friday. The 28-year-old will assume the role of both publisher and editor-in-chief. Richard Just, the magazine's current editor, will remain in his position overseeing the editorial side of the publication, and former editor-in-chief Marty Peretz will serve on the advisory board.

"Breaking Bad" Is Casting Extras

For those of us who don't mind being the 'red shirts' of the series.

That's Right, Rush, Bitch-Slap The Advertisers

Make them think twice before signing on with your show:
The rift between Sleep Train Mattress Centers and Rush Limbaugh apparently became permanent today after Limbaugh reportedly turned aside the Sacramento retailer's attempt at a truce.

...Limbaugh, through his spokesman Brian Glicklich, turned aside Sleep Train's attempts to resume advertising on the show.

"Unfortunately, your public comments were not well received by our audience, and did not accurately portray either Rush Limbaugh's character or the intent of his remarks. Thus, we regret to inform you that Rush will be unable to endorse Sleep Train in the Future."

When You Command Gloria Allred's Attention It's Like Commanding Mama Alien's Attention

So, I can't think of anyone better suited for Gloria's attention than our dear friend, Rush Limbaugh:
Allred cites Section 836.04 of Florida Statute, which says that "whoever speaks of and concerning any woman, married or unmarried, falsely and maliciously imputing to her a want of chastity, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree."

A picture from Virginia, as posted on Digby's site.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Basics Of West African Drumming

Tyehimba Kokayi is going to teach a six-week class in the Basics Of West African Drumming, featuring 'The Djembe', West African Dancing, and West African Song.

When: 2:30 - 4:00 p.m. Saturday afternoons
Where: Step One Dance Studio, 19th & T Streets, Sacramento
Dates: March 24 & 31; April 7, 14, 21, & 28.

This looks like a lot of fun! There is a limited number of drums, though, so you are encouraged to bring your own.

It's A Start!: 1:03 Of Silence!

Ferenc Szasz: The Birth of the Atomic Bomb (Part 1 of 7)

I'm so happy these Atomic Heritage folks have posted these seven videos on YouTube!

I took a year's worth of Dr. Szasz's American Political, Cultural, and Religious History class in 1979 at the University of New Mexico. Dr. Szasz thrilled at tracking down the many odd byways that people came to believe the things they did. Sometimes the byways were quite obscure, which made the pleasure of discovery all the greater.

In retrospect, of all the professors I took classes from in my many long years in school, Dr. Szasz was the best.

Here, Dr. Szasz discusses how Americans came to understand the quest for atomic power.

In Part 4, Dr. Szasz starts discussing Meteorology.

Buffalo Soldiers And Confederates In Socorro

John writes regarding a long-standing controversy in Socorro, NM:
The discovery of Confederate bones a few years ago has brought up some issues. I think the author of this article from Daily Kos has a valid point. If a monument is going to be built for Confederate soldiers it seems even more appropriate for a monument to also be built for the Buffalo Soldiers, many of whom lie in unmarked and forgotten graves in remote mountain locations.
I like accurate historical markers, with the proper weight given to each historical event. The neo-Confederates have a fetish about Southern history that is actually quite ahistorical, and thus inaccurate. Focusing on the Buffalo Soldiers threatens to make a similar mistake, but on the other side (although it’s important to note that, because of numbers, the neo-Confederate danger is real and present, whereas the Buffalo Soldier danger is almost-entirely hypothetical).

Maybe a Buffalo Soldier memorial at Ft. Craig, and a Confederate memorial in Socorro. Or whatever is the best approach to getting closest to the real history.

MoveOn Snark

Police: Kidnapped Staffer's "Please Help" Emails Went Completely Ignored

If I had had just a few more months, I would have noticed.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Australia, Land Of Extremes

Month-to-date rainfall there for March.

Public Land Fantasies, Courtesy Of The Hoover Institution

Not satisfied with wrecking the national and world economies, the folks at the Hoover Institution are now taking aim at federal land management policy in the American West:
Like other grand designs of the "progressive" era, public land policy has failed the test of time. Public lands have not been managed efficiently to maximize national benefits but instead in response to political pressures.

Past mismanagement has turned many national forests into flammable tinderboxes where intense crown fires reaching to the top of the trees — once a rarity — consume entire forests.

Rural Westerners receive significant financial benefits when the federal government pays for many of their local roads and conservation services and provides many high-paying local federal jobs. Increasingly, however, they are questioning the trade-offs involved.

...Professor Sally Fairfax of UC Berkeley observed that the creation of the national forests established "a relationship between the national government and the Western states that is usefully described as colonial." Little has changed, even as the federal system has become more and more dysfunctional.

...A rational public lands policy more suited to current and future needs would put the nationally important lands into a newly reorganized federal environmental protection system. Ordinary recreational lands would be managed at the state and local level, perhaps by transferring them to local counties. What better steward of a local recreation area than the people who live in the area?
Where to start with this blundering, misguided torpedo? I tried a letter to the editor:
Describing current federal land management practices, Nelson uses the term 'colonial' in a perjorative sense, but that IS the reality! Population density is thin. The land is managed from afar. It wouldn't matter whether the feds or localities managed the lands. The lands wouldn't be managed by people who actually live on those specific parcels. But there are good colonial services and bad colonial services, and Nelson would have us throw away the consistent management we have come to expect for no good reason.

Take fire management, for example. The biggest problem is managing undergrowth, particularly on the urban/forest interface, where firebugs and accident-prone people are common. There is no good way to slash profitless undergrowth economically, even though people try compromises by allowing timber harvesting too. Local management couldn't properly do the job without plundering the forest in the process, but federal management can deploy greater resources (taken from those distant coastal cities where the colonists live), and do a better job without having to turn a profit. What advantage local management?

Or take range land management. Nelson's accusation is that the feds currently favor narrow special interests at the expense of the greater good. Do you seriously think that would improve with local management? Really? Where would the accountability be?
There isn't enough time in the day to describe all the horrors in these plans. The more-in-depth article is here.

It's important to recognize that many of these western lands are of little economic use, or (in the case of the Taylor lands) sometimes no economic use at all. However they are managed, these lands will always be an administrative burden. That is fate. Trying to squeeze lots and lots of money out of them too risks environmental destruction. Stop that fantasy in its tracks!

First Clear Rain Signal In A Long While

Midweek, next week.

Some Indications The Weather Will Be More-Disturbed Next Week

Maybe a touch of rain, but who knows with this ultra-dry winter?

Rio Rancho Schadenfreude

Photo by Rick Scibelli Jr. for The New York Times.

This article is from last May, but I'm glad someone wrote about it. Building that Santa Ana Star Center was madness - utter madness - and just another example (like we need another example) of headlong real estate development run amok. But that's why God created Rio Rancho anyway: as an unusually-spectacular example of mental corruption and the evils of real estate development. And it's no surprise that that Mayor Jim Owen, the Napoleon Bonaparte of the Southwest, with his mad plans to make Rio Rancho among the largest cities in the world - as big as LA - expanding all the way to Mt. Taylor, and beyond, was in the thick of this fiasco:
RIO RANCHO, N.M. — The plan sounded great during the real estate boom: build a midsize arena, stuff it with sports, music acts and monster trucks and create a centerpiece for the new city center being developed on a dusty mesa here, 20 miles north of downtown Albuquerque.

But trouble started almost from the day the doors of Santa Ana Star Center opened in 2006. Global Entertainment, the company hired to build and manage the arena, failed to book enough events, and the minor league hockey team it recruited folded. Attendance was light because of high ticket prices and the arena’s remote location. Unrealistic sales targets and high turnover among the arena’s staff added to the problems.

The arena, which Global Entertainment said would be profitable in a year, has lost so much money that Rio Rancho has had to spend millions of dollars each year to keep it afloat. The city fired Global Entertainment in 2009 and sued it to recoup hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid bills.

A new arena manager has brought in more business, but the losses have continued to mount, eating into the city’s already tight budget and pushing lawmakers to eliminate jobs and cut costs, including asking police officers to buy their own practice ammunition.

“If you look at the numbers that Global Entertainment presented to us, it was really, really questionable then, let alone during a recession,” said James C. Jimenez, the city manager in Rio Rancho, who was hired after the arena foundered. “If we didn’t have to allocate the money for debt service, our employees would have had raises and our budget would be in a better position.”

...And although larger cities often have more wherewithal to absorb these kinds of long-term obligations, bedroom communities like Rio Rancho (population 87,000) have less leeway because they have smaller budgets.

So the towns are not just stuck with buyer’s remorse, but also growing financial headaches.

This, of course, was not anticipated when plans for Santa Ana Star Center were taking shape almost a decade ago. Rio Rancho was flush because of a boom in home building, a growing Intel chip factory and several new call centers. But because the city had too few stores, residents shopped in Albuquerque, leaving their retail dollars there, a problem in a state where sales taxes account for a large part of municipal revenue.

So Jim Owen, the mayor of Rio Rancho at the time, conceived of a new city center in a distant part of town away from Albuquerque. It would be anchored by city hall and the arena and would include new stores that would generate sales tax revenue that would be kept in the city.

Yet the city center, with its windswept views of the Sandia Mountains, remains mostly a concept. Other than city hall and the arena, there are only a few buildings for offices and for the University of New Mexico West campus and Central New Mexico Community College. Coyotes routinely run through the parking lots.

The collapse of the real estate market undoubtedly helped stall the development. But Owen also blames his successor and developers for undoing his work. The arena, he said, remains a good idea in the context of the larger development.

“The arena was one piece to get the city center going,” he said. “We knew it was difficult to start with, and we knew we would subsidize it for a while. But a hundred years from now, people will look back and say, ‘Gee, this was planned.’ ”

...The arena was a money loser from the beginning. It lost $241,000 in its first nine months, ending in mid-2007, and millions of dollars since. Rio Rancho expects to pay $3.6 million this year to keep the arena running and to pay for its bonds, money that was supposed to be covered by profits from the arena.

The arena now consumes nearly 7 percent of the city’s $53.8 million budget, and workers have been furloughed, spending on parks has been curtailed and a reserve fund has been drawn down. In January, Jimenez, the city manager, asked for an additional $550,000 for arena upkeep and repairs, including refinishing the basketball court and buying new glass for the hockey rink.

The city is also suing Global Entertainment to recoup more than $300,000 that it claims the company owes dozens of local businesses that provided services at the arena. Gary Williams, who owns a video-production company in Albuquerque named in the suit, said he was owed $6,000 for work he did at hockey games.

“I gave up after a year of trying,” Williams said of his attempts to be paid. “I turned around and paid all my employees out of my pocket. It’s a live-and-learn experience.”

Depressed GOP Turnout Trend, So Far

James Bond Theme - By Hovering Robots

Artillery In The Mobile Home Park

Events are still unclear:
A US man accidentally killed his 38-year-old girlfriend with a homemade cannon when the contraption went off and fired a projectile into their mobile home, police said.

...Fox, who had been drinking, was “freaking out” when emergency responders arrived at the scene in Potrero, near the Mexican border in southern California.

The couple’s young daughter and three other adults were not injured when the cannon went off for an unknown reason in the early hours, said local homicide detective David Martinez.

...Doctors took Fox to hospital in San Diego for treatment for leg injuries he suffered when the makeshift mortar went off. He was then arrested on suspicion of detonating an explosive device in a manner resulting in death.

Initially the incident was reported as an accident, but Martinez said Fox’s motives were unclear, telling reporters it was “too early to say it was accidental.”

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Lynette's Albuquerque - Lobo's Basketball

I invoke the spirit of my homie, Abuelita!

Former Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez makes a cameo too.

Baseball In Orbit

Not Yankee Stadium, but you work with what you got:
Now, Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa has accomplished what so many only children on Earth have unsuccessfully attempted: playing baseball by himself. In this video, shot aboard the ISS during missions 28 and 29, the JAXA astronaut throws a few pitches, hits them with a tiny bat, and even manages to get himself out.

The Relentless Expansion Of Las Vegas

Relentless, until the recent crash.

Dooley, The Lost Sheltie, Is Found

Boy, that countryside near Battle Mountain is a tough, tough, tough, tough place to go it alone!:
The Dec. 27 single-vehicle accident on Interstate 80 near Battle Mountain, about 225 miles east of Reno, sent Bagley and her 55-year-old husband, Brad Vom Baur, to the hospital in critical condition. Their other sheltie, Delaney, was killed in the wreck. Dooley ran away and vanished.

Bagley, 48, suffered a concussion, broken ribs, a shattered wrist and two punctured lungs. As soon as she mustered up enough strength, she turned her attention to a search for her dog in the sprawling sage-covered plains and hills of northeastern Nevada.

...More than three weeks later, Bagley's spirits were buoyed after a woman reported spotting "a Lassie-type" dog near the accident scene. A subsequent search joined by Bagley turned up nothing, but a railroad crew spotted a dog matching the same description in mid-February in the same area about 15 miles east of Battle Mountain.

Further searches netted a positive identification of Dooley but frustration as well because the skittish dog kept fleeing from Bagley and other searchers. Finally, Shannon Sustacha of Lamoille, who was on horseback, and a Bagley friend driving a Jeep cornered Dooley only five miles from the crash scene. The friend managed to nab the sheltie and put him in the Jeep.

An ecstatic, tearful Bagley arrived at the scene a short time later.

"Barbara got next to us and said three times, `You think he'll remember me?'" Sustacha said. "When Barbara opened the door and looked at him, she said, `My beautiful boy, my beautiful boy, you're home.' Oh, boy, all of us cried. I knew his adventure in Nevada was over. I also knew he and Barbara could start healing together."

...During his ordeal, Dooley's weight dropped from 44 pounds to 20 pounds. He was once spotted devouring a dead coyote along the roadway. A long bird bone was pulled from his throat by a veterinarian.

Slut Flowchart

Pocket Lint Is Changing Antarctica

Almost like Noah's Ark:
Scientists painstakingly sorted through the pocket fluff and candy wrappers collected, and found more than 2,800 seeds — on average, about 9.5 seeds per tourist, far more for scientists. The team also identified what family the inchoate plants belonged to in nearly 90 percent of the seeds collected.

Chown said that not only was it surprising just how many seeds were making it to Antarctica, but that "so many of them are from cold climate areas such as the sub-Antarctic and Arctic," making it far more likely they'll be able to establish themselves on the Antarctic continent.

Indeed, he said, perhaps the most surprising thing the research revealed is that an alien plant — Poa annua, an annual grass common across the United States and one often treated as a weed — has already invaded the Antarctic Peninsula, the long finger of land that points toward South America.

By Forcing Austerity, Greek Default Is Assured

This Perils-of-Pauline melodrama will end as it only can, in default. Forced austerity destroys whatever ability Greece has left to adjust within the current arrangement. People might as well adjust to the new reality now:
Greek private creditors have until Thursday night to say whether they will participate in a bond swap that is part of a bailout and restructuring deal to help it manage its finances and meet a debt repayment on March 20.

Investors will lose almost three-quarters of the value of their debt in the exchange. Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos told Reuters on Monday it was the best deal they would get and those who did not sign up would still be forced to take losses.

..."It is difficult to add all these contingent liabilities up with any degree of precision, although it is hard to see how they would not exceed 1 trillion euros."

If Greece misses the March 20 payment without a deal in place, this would be seen as a disorderly default and could be taken as a sign that politicians have lost control of the euro. Investors might then target other weak euro zone countries.

Spain and Italy might require 350 billion euros in outside support to contain the fallout, the IIF said, while the cost of helping Ireland and Portugal could total 380 billion euros over five years.

If the deal fell apart, the European Central Bank would suffer substantial losses because its estimated 177 billion euros exposure to Greece is over 200 percent of its capital base, the IIF said.

The bank lobby group, which helped negotiate the swap on behalf of creditors, also said bank recapitalization costs could easily hit 160 billion euros if no swap is agreed.

It could threaten the euro and would be a catastrophe for Greek living standards.

"Social strains (in Greece) would intensify as the economy reeled and unemployment surged from an elevated level already in excess of 20 percent," the report said.

"When combined with the strong likelihood that a disorderly Greek default would lead to the hurried exit of Greece from the euro area, this financial shock to the ECB could raise significant stability issues about the monetary union."

Alaskan Profile In Courage

Weather vane tries to react fast enough to the howling gales of the Far North regarding last week's Blunt Amendment:
Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski told an Anchorage Daily News editorial writer over the weekend that she voted for the amendment in order to make a statement about religious freedom. But now, after facing backlash from the moderate voters who put her in office, she wishes she would have broken with her party's leaders and voted with Democrats against the effort.

When asked if, given a do-over, she'd support the amendment a second time, Murkowski told her hometown paper that she wouldn't. "I have never had a vote I’ve taken where I have felt that I let down more people that believed in me," she said.

...As the Daily News points out in the editorial, it's hard to see how Murkowski, a Catholic who presents herself as pro-choice and as a supporter of contraception coverage, could have missed the broader context of the Blunt Amendment when making her vote.

Isolating Rush

Rush's efforts to stem the advertiser stampede with a modified, limited hangout (that doesn't mentioned non-birth-control medical uses of birth control pills at all) doesn't seem to be going very well:
So why did this not work for Rush Limbaugh, who took back the words "slut" and "prostitute" when talking about Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown law student who testified about the importance of contraception coverage through insurance? Limbaugh apologized on Saturday, but here it is Tuesday, and sponsors are still dropping him and the outrage continues.

Part of the reason is that Limbaugh didn't actually apologize. As Fluke herself noted on The View, he only regretted the words he used, not the concepts that those words conveyed, namely that she and every other woman in the country (roughly 99 percent of American women) who has used contraception are immoral, irresponsible people who need to learn to practice celibacy if we don't want to get pregnant and/or be obliged to give Rush Limbaugh sex tapes to masturbate to.

...Another problem for Limbaugh is he has no credibility. Even Don Imus—Don Imus!—denounced Limbaugh specifically by calling him an "insincere pig." ... Limbaugh even tried to put the blame on liberals for his three day rampage against Fluke and all women who use sexual health services... Saying what you mean should be a point of honor. Since Limbaugh's continued argument is that he was right that women who use contraception are bad people, and that the only question here is "two words," this really just makes it all worse. Cowards hide behind euphemism, Rush. Why not just say it if you mean it?

The final reason the outrage won't die down is that this is about more than Limbaugh. As Roy Edroso chronicled at the Village Voice, the right wing media has largely picked up Limbaugh's claims about Fluke and therefore about all women who use sexual health services.... Until the argument that women who use health insurance for sexual health services are bad people is retracted, anyone who has a scrap of common sense left is going to be furious.
Rush is so popular among conservatives that he can probably survive just fine without any advertisers at all. There is so much money floating around rich, conservative circles that his show could be supported entirely by various PACs and foundations:
At least one advertiser stepped forward Monday to acknowledge increasing its ad spending on the Limbaugh program. A spokesman for Winning Our Future, a "super PAC" backing former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's presidential bid, said the group purchased more airtime.
But a Rush that isn't dependent on advertisers and their concerns would mean a Rush completely untethered from the rest of the universe: a kind of out-of-control Right-Wing Zeppelin crashing into skyscrapers and causing no end of mayhem. He would be completely free, and indeed would feel a compulsion to, say whatever he wants, whenever he wants, on any subject. Which just guarantees even more outrage in the future. But he would also be isolated. Quarantine is the first step to curing an infection. But right now the infection is still raging, and leading Rush to poison the GOP brand:
This is what makes the context of Limbaugh’s attack on Fluke so damaging for Republicans. It’s not just that he said something awful about a 30-year-old woman who hadn’t said anything about him. It’s that he did so by way of amplifying the GOP’s message on contraception. Republicans had been taking pains to claim their objections to the Obama administration’s mandate that women be able to obtain birth coverage through their health insurance plans were all about protecting religious liberty — that they weren’t on some puritanical crusade. With his unparalleled platform, Limbaugh has made a mockery of that idea, and he’s put a particularly nasty face on the GOP’s posturing.

...The specific threat to Republicans involves a very specific type of voter: The unmarried woman. ... Single women tend to be receptive to Democratic candidates, and hostile to Republicans and their culture war politics. As Greg Sargent noted, there is already some evidence that the contraception debate is pushing single women who had defected from the Obama camp back into his fold. The Limbaugh drama could accelerate this trend.
Isolating Rush is an important goal, and I'm hoping that's what results from this particular controversy.

DMTC Mentioned On SFGate

"Sail On, Titanik!" (Mazatlan harbor, late 2010)

Kate sends this:
Following up on a news story about Titanic commemorative events: Bob Hirschfeld received a flyer for a 100th anniversary cruise aboard the Azamara cruise ship Journey. The trip doesn't include an iceberg but does feature historians' lectures. Nonetheless, sales may be slow. The website says a $4,900-a-person interior cabin reservation is on sale for $999 a person.

But that's not all: The Davis Musical Theatre Company has sent word of auditions for "Titanic, the Musical," to be performed in conjunction with the anniversary. Along with the announcement was a lengthy synopsis of the plot, but by now you know the drill: It leaves, it floats, it hits, glub glub.

Before the performance on April 14, the date of the tragedy, a re-creation of the 11-course meal served on the ship will be served. I'm not sure if this work includes choreography for the deck chairs.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Using Tornado Victims As Political Guinea Pigs

A terrible decision by Ohio Governor John Kasich:
Ohio Governor John Kasich on Saturday rejected an offer of federal aid for his tornado-stricken state that could have amounted to millions of dollars in payments and loans. Neighboring Kentucky and Indiana have already expressed their gratitude for the aid and have welcomed the arrival of FEMA teams for an initial evaluation of damage.

“I believe that we can handle this,” Kasich told Clermont County storm victims who had taken shelter in a local high school.

Clermont County officials did not share Kasich’s confidence. County Commissioner Bob Proud suggested that the state could probably handle the cleanup but that federal aid might be needed to provide temporary housing for residents who have lost their homes.

And Why Do We Despise This Maggot So Much?

Watch the video!

But at the same time, don't get distracted. Focus on the use of birth control pills for purposes other than birth control. Doctors need to have these uses covered by health insurance in order to better treat their patients.

And what do we call people who would deny these treatments? Sadists!

After The Storm

I had several errands to do in the evening - do killer aerobics, follow up with a visit to Dairy Queen, go to the pharmacy - so I wasn't where the action was when it was happening. I got reports though (Capitol Alert):
California Highway Patrol spokeswoman Fran Clader said it is too early to say if and when any arrests will be made as a result of the sit-in. The Capitol typically closes to the public at 6 p.m., though Clader was unable to immediately confirm whether the doors will close at that time today.

"We have a responsibility to protect citizens and a right to free speech and to peacefully assemble, but we also have a responsibility to protect citizens and their property from being damaged from acts of illegal conduct," she said.
California Highway Patrol officers have begun arresting protesters inside the Capitol after a day of demonstrations.

Left: The news trucks mostly delayed their departure until after they did their 10 p.m. news standups.

By the time I returned to the Capitol grounds (about 8:40 p.m.), most people had moved on. There were still lots of cops clustered in every dark parking lot near the Capitol, but they were beginning to put their riot gear into the trunks of their cars, and slowly departing.

Walking onto the Capitol grounds, I encountered a group of Occupy protesters trying to transport signs, pizza boxes and empty bottled-water flats from the grounds. "Let's find a dumpster for this," one leader said. "It will help with our image." I helped move some of the debris, and even found a dumpster in a nearby alley.

Afterwards, I wandered across the Capitol grounds. There were so few people left on the grounds I was able to briefly hold the illusion that I was the only person left at the Capitol. And that inane helicopter was still circling the Capitol grounds (and still squandering vast resources by doing so).

One of the Occupy protesters had T-Shirts to offer for donations. I got one. The Guy Fawkes mask on the front of the T-Shirt confused me: I tended to associate it more with Anonymous than with Occupy.

She explained this mask comes from the movie "V is For Vendetta" and is also used by Occupy folks, for those occasions when they need to go anonymous. (The Occupy movement is still fairly-new, and I haven't caught up with its historical intricacies). "The ink is vegan," she said. I smiled at that!

[UPDATE: The Sac Bee article on the protest.]

Sheryl Crow - Maybe Angels

Nobody does Americana better than Sheryl Crow, but what makes this song attractive (in addition to the string section) is that she mentions good ol' Roswell, NM!

At The State Capitol, Everyone Is... Waiting

With the constant reminder posed by the circling helicopter (which has been circling ALL DAY LONG - a huge waste of aviation fuel) I headed down to the State Capitol to see what, if anything, was going on with respect to today's Occupy demonstration.

Some folks were making some brave noises, but the numbers were small. At one point, someone chanted 'the whole world is watching', but that sentiment was misplaced: actually the whole world wasn't watching.

At 3:15 p.m., there were about 300 people on the west steps of the Capitol (about 100 of them law enforcement personnel of various sorts). This is a small number, but there had been rumors that things would pick up towards sunset, as the Capitol became 'Occupied'.

Watchful, expectant people, but little activity at this time.

A flying wing of bicycle cops.

DMTC - "Damn Yankees" - Second Weekend

As Stage Manager, I don't have much time for pictures, but I managed to get a few from the wings anyway.

DMTC YPT - "Willy Wonka" Opened This Weekend

Fun show, with Milan W. as Willy Wonka! Excellent performances from Cassidy, Anthony, Matthew, and William, but I particularly liked Cedric H. as Augustus and Lily L. as Veruca Salt. Scott Griffith's directorial debut! And don't forget Utsav on keyboard!

More-Efficient Shopping On The Internet Is Helping Limit Driving

Despite increasing gas prices, traffic jams have re-emerged lately in the Sacramento area - they are a very-sensitive indicator of economic health - but still, to the extent delivery truck travel replaces automobile travel, it's better for the environment:

Plus, a chart that displays real retail and food service sales in red, and the same thing with e-commerce sales stripped out in blue:

Rush Is Just Trying To Change The Subject

Ever since Rush deliberately escalated this whole controversy, he's had just one goal in mind: change the subject.

Birth control pills are used by doctors for a number of medical purposes besides birth control. That's among the purposes Sandra Fluke wanted to bring up on Capitol Hill (but was denied) regarding why medical insurance should cover birth control pills regardless of an employer's or school's objections on moral grounds. (And needless to mention, she never discussed her own private life in any of this).

But that was before carbuncle-on-the-butt Fatso started squealing.

We need to keep to the subject. That way, she wins:
“Talk about a double standard,” Limbaugh said on air Monday, according to Dylan Stableford. “Rappers can say anything they want about women [and] it’s called art. And they win awards.”

The line is strikingly similar to what Imus’s attempt to deflect the blame for his comments. From a 2007 AP report:
Fighting in vain to keep his job, radio host Don Imus said that rappers routinely “defame and demean black women” and call them “worse names than I ever did.”
It’s worth noting here that Imus has emerged as one of Limbaugh’s toughest critics following the Fluke incident. On his new Fox Business Network show Monday, Imus called Limbaugh’s apology “lame” and urged him to apologize to Fluke in person, a step Imus ultimately took with members of the Rutgers team.

“He’s an insincere pig,” Imus said.

Nothing Limbaugh says is likely to silence his critics. Democrats and progressives already dismissed his statement of apology from the weekend, and Fluke herself on Monday dismissed his apology.

At The Lawyer's Office

E.: ... in summary, I haven't received any support since 2008!

H.: (A look at the documents, then to me, a sidelong smile with many possible interpretations.)