From Pine View Farm

May, 2010 archive

I Have a New Cell Phone 0

A warranty replacement.

Read the whole story at Geekazine.


Warmer Pastures 0

Patrick Lockerby at Scientific Blogging takes on global warming deniers. A nugget:

This is the age of rapid public access to satellite images. If you want to know what is happening to the Arctic ice you can see for yourself. There are some people who don’t want you to look. They want you to read their drivel instead, and go away believing that the Arctic ice isn’t really melting, or if it is then that is nothing unusual. On Saturday, May 01, 2010, Paul Driessen wrote a piece of blatant propaganda called “(Desperately) Looking for Arctic warming”. It was “co-authored by scientist Willie Soon”.


The article has been multiply published, . . . . Scientists are usually content to publish once and then let the media pick it up – or not. Propagandists, however, need to disseminate their BS themselves, since no discriminating journalist would take them seriously. I call the article blatant propaganda because that is what it is.

Follow the link to see him deconstruct the article misrepresentation by misrepresentation.


Spill Here, Spill Now, Of the Worst Importance Dept. 0


In his memo to Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, Michaels (assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health–ed.) said his agency has witnessed numerous problems at several work sites and staging areas through the Gulf Coast region.

“The organizational systems that BP currently has in place, particularly those related to worker safety and health training, protective equipment, and site monitoring, are not adequate for the current situation or the projected increase in clean-up operations,” Michaels said in the memo.

“I want to stress that these are not isolated problems,” he continued. “They appear to be indicative of a general systemic failure on BP’s part, to ensure the safety and health of those responding to this disaster.”

Michaels added that BP “has also not been forthcoming with basic, but critical, safety and health information on injuries and exposures.”

Every railroad in the US has a set General Rules of Conduct. Early on in them, often the first one, begins with

Safety is of the first importance in the discharge of duty . . .

Andy Borowitz has more:

In a new video that is light on his usual threats but heavy on admiration, Osama bin Laden admits that he is “professionally envious” of oil giant BP’s massive oil spill, saying that it puts his efforts to create destruction and chaos to shame.

“There are times in an evildoer’s life when one has to stand back and admire a job well done,” Mr. bin Laden says in the video. “BP, you blow me away.”

Borowitz via John Cole.


Sugar Highs 0

The world’s leading supplier of the anti-diabetes drug insulin is withdrawing a state-of-the-art medication from Greece.

Novo Nordisk, a Danish company, objects to a government decree ordering a 25% price cut in all medicines.

A campaign group has condemned the move as “brutal capitalist blackmail”.

More than 50,000 Greeks with diabetes use Novo Nordisk’s product, which is injected via an easy-to-use fountain pen-like device.

I cannot see any virtue with forcing a company to sell something below cost, just as I can’t see any virtue in a company’s jacking up a price of life-saving medicines to astronaut levels just because it can.

My friend is diabetic and takes two types of insulin using insulin pens: long-term slow release, twice a day and short-term quick acting, after meals and for unexpected highs. (These are from Lilly, not from Novo-Nordisk.)

A five-pack of refills for each retails for about 250 USD at her drug store. Each five pack lasts her about five weeks (individual consumption varies with individual needs.) That’s about 5,000 USD a year, before insurance.

50,000 Greeks times 5,000 USD equals about 250,000,000 USD.

Maybe Goldman Sachs can help Greece figure this out, just as they helped Greece into this mess.

Heck, maybe Goldman Sachs should just pay for the damned insulin. Sort of a penance, as it were.

They can afford it.

In April (2009–ed.), Goldman said it would set aside half of its £1.2bn first-quarter profit to reward staff, much of it in bonuses. It is believed to have paid 973 bankers $1m or more last year, while this year’s payouts are on track to be the highest for most of the bank’s 28,000 staff, including about 5,400 in London.


Dog Star 0

My Lab, the one with the heart of gold and the head of lead, was a great watch dog.

He would have watched.

Spurs, a male German Shepherd, is being hailed a hero after taking a bullet to save his owner’s life.


Stray Question 0

Why are right-wingers so obsessed with sex?


Once Bitten, Twice Shy 0

To quote the FIresign Theatre, “Yes, the future is a lot like having bees live in your head.”

Bumblebees’ distinctive bright yellow and black stripes may not be what keeps them safe from their enemies, scientists say.

A UK study has shown that other aspects of bees’ behaviour may matter more than the classic bee colour to keep predators away.

This could be the way bumblebees fly or perhaps the buzzing sound they make, say the scientists.

The results of the study were published in the Journal of Zoology.

Scientists have long believed that once flying predators get stung by a bee, they remember their experience and in the future rely strongly on colour cues to identify their prey.

I once had a bumblebee chase me from the barn to the back door of the house after I accidently stepped on it. Vindictive little bug(gers).


The Natural World Naturally 0

The BBC:

A court in Switzerland has upheld the appeal of a man who was fined for rambling naked.

The court in Trogen ruled that the naked hiking did not amount to “indecent behaviour”.


The case was the first since the eastern Swiss canton of Appenzell allowed naked hikers to be fined.


Dustbiters 0

Three in one, or one in three, or something. In any event, masters of the universe no more no more.

More dust, more biters:


How I Spent My Afternoon 0

Installing and bringing a network drive on line (30 minutes), then blogging about it at Geekazine (the rest of the afternoon).


Why It’s Always Enemies at the Gate 0

For wingnuts, it’s never policy, it’s always Apocalypse Now.

That is because they need to whip up fear so persons don’t think.

Fear is the enemy of thought; thought is the enemy of wingnuttery.


Have Cake, Eat It Too, Rand Paul Dept. 3

Persons who call themselve “Libertarians say that they believe in the Constitution (indeed, they speak of it almost as if it were inerrant), except, of course, when they don’t.

On the same topic, the Atlanta Journal Constitution recalls a pamphlet from the 1964 Goldwater campaign:


Did you know that Lyndon Johnson’s Civil Rights Bill can get you fired from your job and give it to a person of another race? No matter what ability you have to do your job … or how much seniority you have on your job … you can lose your job because of Johnson’s Civil Rights Bill. This is your last chance. Vote to put an end to racial favoritism…vote to protect your job…your family…your home.


This is your last chance to save your freedom to run your own business as you choose!

Color, of course, has nothing to do with it.


Like They’re Going To Order Sarsparilla 0

There’s a reason bar owners oppose this kind of bill. They spend a lot of time around folks who are liquored up.

Guns in bars legislation is locked, loaded and ready to go once again. Yesterday, the state senate voted to override (Tennessee–ed.) Governor Phil Bredesen’s veto of a bill to allow handgun carry permit holders to bring weapons into bars and restaurants that serve alcohol.

Meanwhile, in Delaware,

A lawsuit funded by the National Rifle Association was filed Thursday in Delaware Chancery Court seeking to lift the Wilmington Housing Authority’s ban on residents’ possessing firearms.

These folks won’t be satisfied until every town is like this one.


Too Many Garbage Cans 0

Republicans screwed up government so bad that I cannot blame the current administration for failing to fix everything at once. Depressed and saddened, yes. Angry at the government, no.

There are so many garbage cans to carry to the curb and only so many pairs of hands to carry them.

Dick Polman is not so charitable as I.

All told, MMS had fostered “a culture of substance abuse and promiscuity” – all this, at a time when MMS regulators, in three reviews, repeatedly minimized the prospects for an environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Actually, it was worse than that. Under federal law, offshore oil drillers are supposed to map out strategies for reducing their environmental impact – but MMS, during that three-year period, waived the federal rules for Gulf of Mexico projects roughly 750 times.

Let us note that the years covered in these reports – 2005 to 2007 – happened to coincide with the second term of the Bush administration. This should hardly come as a shock. Hewing to its conservative principles, the regime was infamous for the ways in which it demonstrated contempt for governance, and the MMS behavior was contempt on steroids. Fittingly, the guy who directed the MMS Gulf of Mexico office was awarded with a big promotion in 2007.

But it’s a waste of time to heap full blame on the Bush team, because those people didn’t know any better. It was hardwired in their DNA to celebrate the presumed glories of unrestrained market freedom; in the party’s ’08 parlance, “Drill, Baby, Drill.” The Obama administration, on the other hand, was supposed to be different. The new brooms were brought to town for the express purpose of erasing the Bush stench and reestablishing the principle that responsible governance is actually a good thing.

MMS=Make Mine Spillage.


U. Va. Finds a Spine 0

It submits its petition to void Attorney General Cuccinelli’s global warming attempt to intimidate those with whom he disagrees subpoena.

In Thursday’s court filing, the university argues that Cuccinelli submitted a vague demand that fails to specify what alleged acts of fraud he is investigating and that exceeds his authority under the law.

“Investigating the merits of a university researcher’s methodology, results and conclusions (on climate change or any topic) goes far beyond the Attorney General’s limited statutory power,” the 10-page petition reads.

Anti-fraud laws, it adds, don’t “authorize the Attorney General to engage in scientific debate or advance the Commonwealth’s positions in unrelated litigation about federal environmental policy and regulation,” an apparent allusion to Cuccinelli’s separate legal challenge of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s position on the harmful e ffects of greenhouse gases.

It should be fun to follow this through the courts.


This Is Creepy on Many Levels 0



The state health department is investigating 10 cases of mercury exposure linked to a homemade “skin lightening” cream imported from Mexico.



Art Linkletter, from the Quotemaster. Growing up in the olden days, we watched Art Linkletter’s House Party almost every afternoon.

The four stages of man are infancy, childhood, adolescence, and obsolescence.

Sign up to get your own quotes.


Radio Roulette 0

My land line number must be close to that of some local radio station.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a voicemail from a lady expressing the hope that she was “caller number three.”

Tonight I got a voicemail from a lady who “wanted to go on the air about this ticket” and expressing surprise at encountering an answering machine.

And persons wonder why I don’t answer the phone.


Wait for It 0

Steve M.:

. . . I’d say it’s going to take about an hour and a half for the right-wing talking points to change from While the Gulf is being destroyed, hapless Obama is ceding power to BP!!! to See? The government did nothing and private industry got the spill under control! Just goes to show — you can’t trust big government to do anything right!!!


Judgment Calls 0

Fact checkers needed:

The Republican Party, taking Virginia from being just one of fifty states to national laughing stock in four short months.

Via the Richmonder.