Big Sugar

I really like this Palm Beach Post columnist’s work. Here’s a good one from today’s Post:

Yes, the folks addicted to Big Sugar are considering whether to tell poor folks in the state that it’s not fair for government to support their sugar habits.

It turns out Florida is just trying to copy Minnesota.

I’ll bet the pythons keep the varmint populations in the sugar cane fields down.

For once Frank Wanner …

…is partially right:

“There aren’t any simple, magic-bullet solutions. This has got to be something we dedicate ourselves to; it’s an ongoing process,” he said. “It’s a little difficult to improve student achievement when class sizes are rising at an alarming rate. We have teachers who normally have 30 kids in a class who now have classes with 40 and 50 kids. That makes it harder. At the same time, some of our politicians are not doing anything to fund education. For some of them, it’s always, ‘Blame the teacher.’ Well, it’s more difficult than that.”

Whose fault is this? (I ask rhetorically)

In Duluth’s case it ain’t all the fault of the pols.

A call to arms

I referred to Unity08 a couple posts ago. Rooting around for the column on my panic attack I saw that I’d also written about that short lived meteor. The column ends with this stunning call to arms:

So, Republicans and Democrats, go ahead and nominate your boot licking, extremist fawning, candidates and see how many votes they get. And all you weak-kneed, wishy-washies – stand up and be counted! Your nation needs you as never before.

Its shockingly grandiose and rather funny. And its still very appropos:

Word Search of the Day

Once again, the word isn’t here in the blog. Neither is the antonym of introvert.

Both are personality traits that I’ve given a lot of thought to over the years. What prompted me to look it up was this Time Magazine article.

I was surprised to see the last couple Times sitting on my Father-in-law’s coffee table when I dropped by. He extolled the purchase of the subscription. I suspect his hearing makes it a little hard to pick up all the data points when he watches FOX News. That he bought TIME generally regarded as a bastion of liberalism was interesting. I don’t think he looks on either FOX or TIME as being liberal or conservative tools but just news sources.

The article has some sister stories about politicians as well as a twenty point questionnaire to determine which trait its readers exhibit. It lists Romney and Obama as natural introverts and Gingrich as an extrovert. Of course, neither of these introverts are so closeted that it has prevented them from reaching for the highest office of the land. The fact is that all of us are some combination of the two. I consider myself more of an Introvert and yet even as a kid I imagined myself as a comedian which involves a stage and an audience, hallmarks of extroversion. Of course, on the other side I remember my first recurring fear – having my swimming suit fall off at a public swimming pool. If that’s not an introvert’s nightmare I don’t know what is.

I only once lost my swim trunks so to speak. It came unexpectedly in Ninth grade when I had a panic attack giving a book report. I was preoccupied for the next year making sure it never happened again. I was so traumatized by the event that I asked for my Dad’s advice and even followed it. I joined the debate team and stayed there even when my gymnastic’s coach gave me an ultimatum to choose between his sport or the talky stuff. I chose the latter.

That’s enough on this subject. Since I didn’t have an old post with the word in it I decided to take the occasion to gab a little with my fingers. That’s a pretty introverted thing to do.

Jupiter nears the Moon

I heard on the news today that Jupiter is moving near conjunction with the Moon today. Since I’m in Jupiter, Florida at the moment that has inspired many bad puns. Its true. Look out the window tonight and Jupiter lies about the width of ten moons away from our satellite. I’m sure Newt is looking at it and imagining the grandiose specter of his moon base.

The landing is about 4 minutes in.

We saw the Scorsese movie “Hugo”. Its about 20 minutes too long. The part about Georges Melie’s is, however, very pleasing.

Nothing new to report from Florida

If your a political nut you already know that Mitt is outspending Newt 5 to 1. I thought the ratio improved a little today for Newt on the news shows. He’s probably hoping an even steven barage will keep him close. He’s claimed on TV, and I’ve read a post confirming it on Sullivan, that the polls are tightening. It might have been bad luck for Mitt that a couple days ago he had a 14 point lead. I figured at the time that he was gaining steam. Instead he may be falling back to Earth. He should win but apparently the oddsmakers figure that Newt will keep after Mitt out of sheer orneriness and ego. Mitt won’t be helped by having the ads in Florida make their way to the other 50 states.

Putting Newt’s picture by a grinning President Obama may turn out to have been a mistake. Newt’s partisans might start putting Mitt’s mug on their next ads with a smiling Obama.

I’m hoping to miss most of the last day’s worth of ads. We’re heading down to the Everglades to fight alligators. They seem pretty tame by comparison.

Close to breaking my personal best

An interesting phenomenon is going on. I’m very close to having more different visitors to my blog this month than I have had since shortly after I first began blogging. That was the year I set Lincolndemocrat up to run as an Independent candidate for Congress for my second attempt at the office. I caught a little wave of Internet interest by announcing that I would run for the “Unity” party. Someone set up a Wiki page for me and a few folks from around the country checked out my blog. It was small scale but it was a national audience of eccentrics and I managed to get on the Statewide broadcast of Almanac with my foes Congressman Oberstar and ex-Senator Rod Grams.

The 1,375 distinct individuals that visited the blog that April was the most I’ve had stop by in any single month since that time. As of this morning I was at 1325 distinct individuals. I presume that unlike six years ago most of my current visitors live in the actual Congressional District. Also they visit my blog much more regularly. I get ten times the traffic I got six years ago so my viewers are loyal. Also since the Red Plan that used too lure folks to my blog is almost ancient history there must be other items that bring folks back.

I’m not sure that today and tomorrow I’ll manage an average of 25 new visitors but I will probably come close. It will be kind of fun to hit a new peak. If I don’t do it this month……well, we have a few more months of my teasing posts about the book and a run for Congress to break that old record. I’ll try to keep my readers on their toes.

Oh, and 1,000 regulars out of a voting population of 175,00 or so isn’t half bad. And remember, my audience is coming to me on their own steam. I’m not having to email out copious messages like the one I got today from another candidate promising to tell everyone how his life story made him a perfect fit to be our Congressmen. Gag me with a spoon!

If you would like to make sure I don’t get endorsed…

…by the DFL as the Congressional Convention nears you will want to begin at next Tuesday’s precinct caucus. This site will tell you where you caucus.

You will have to make sure your name is put in nomination for the next levels of conventions especially the Congressional Caucus.

If by chance you actually would like to have the opportunity to support me at that level I would recommend your not making a big deal of it. I’m not everybody’s cup of tea an no one discriminates against folks who say they are uncommitted.

Of course, I may only try to win the primary or, I suppose, not bother at all. It will depend on how my books coming. Its not coming along at all while I’m spending time with family in Florida……Although I had a very useful day flying out here from Minnesota. I’m all caught up on the first three years of Wendell Anderson’s gubernatorial administration.

What brings “altruism” to mind

My eclectic Buddy doesn’t only goad me by sending links like this one today showing that Mitt Romney is ahead of Obama. He recently sent me the email with some serious evidence undermining the human causation of global warming – not mind you global warming itself.

I didn’t read it for a week. I’ve been busy. When he sent it again, presumably because I didn’t reply with a biting critique I promised to give it a look. That resulted in a couple emails. My Buddy has also been fencing with others and he mentioned E.O.Wilson the eminent scientist who pioneered the once heretical science of “sociobiology.”

I wrote my Buddy back explaining that I was aware of Wilson and mentioned that he had studied ants. I also mentioned that he had founded sociobiology much to the “consternation” of other scientists and then recently abandoned much of his thinking. That was a surprise and my Buddy asked about it. I looked at a Wikipedia page which did not seem to mention Wilson’s change of heart then did a more general google search. That brought me to this old Discover Magazine article.

I’m too preoccupied enjoying Florida’s mild weather and the Republican backbiting to give this much thought at the moment but here’s a bit of a toss off on the subject. Continue reading

Word Search of the Day

Don’t bother looking at it today. Altruism. Other than this post you won’t find that I’ve previously used the word in the blog before.

I’ve found a lot of other words that have been similarly slighted. I thought some future Word Search I might include a list of abandoned vocabulary.

This cold water poured on Global Warming…

…is not the product of climate deniers. No doubt they will soon trumpet it, however.

My Buddy sent this to me and it is very interesting.

“Nature is about to carry out a very interesting experiment,” he said. “Ten or 15 years from now, we will be able to determine much better whether the warming of the late 20th Century really was caused by man-made CO2, or by natural variability.”

Meanwhile, since the end of last year, world temperatures have fallen by more than half a degree, as the cold “La Nina” effect has re-emerged in the South Pacific.

If it should turn out over the next couple decades to be borne out it doesn’t necessarily undermine the theory that the release of carbon by humans has caused/is causing warming. It makes me wonder if humans are incredibly lucky and are about to be given a reprieve in our search for alternate forms of energy.

God knows the Chinese aren’t about to give up burning coal any time soon. Not if their leaders want to avoid another revolution.

And the GOP doesn’t want to regulate Wall Street.

The Recession was not just a mistake:

What I thought was most interesting about Michael Lewis’s book, “The Big Short,” was that there is, to this day, a view about the whole pathology of collateralised debt obligations (CDOs), these highly complex, packaged mortgage securities, as well as the credit default swaps, the insurance contracts written on those securities, that Wall Street created them and they simply got out of hand. They didn’t anticipate it would be hard to value them, how they would be misused, and so forth. What Michael Lewis points out very forcefully is that they were deliberately created by Wall Street banks in order to produce non-transparent securities that could not be adequately evaluated by the rating agencies, which then could be sold to less sophisticated investors, who would buy the idea that this junk debt actually had triple A ratings. So what this book does quite brilliantly is show that there was actually a high degree of intentionality in creating the crisis.