Sunday, March 29, 2009

Monsanto, Shell, Think Americans STUPID!

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Monsanto tries to kill home gardens:

I’ve been noticing an increasing uproar in the blogosphere and the agricultural news community about H.R. 875, the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009. Introduced by Democratic Representative Rosa DeLauro, a Congresswoman with indirect family ties to agricultural giant Monsanto, the bill drastically revamps and overhauls the food safety mechanisms by which the Federal government attempts to guarantee the purity and safety of the food Americans consume.

Although my default position is to be somewhat skeptical of these mass semi-panics, in this case there seems to be some meat to the complaints. Many of the elements of the bill as it stands seem to put the Federal government in a position of tremendous power over even the smallest of agricultural producers – literally, the gentleman next door growing a row of organic tomatoes – and requiring them to do business pretty much the way that the giant agricultural companies do business.

Shell oil is claiming their fuel has, tada, "Nitrogen!" Whoopido. In fourth grade you supposedly learn that 80% of the atmosphere is nitrogen. How about an explanation of just how an inert gas is used to improve performance? What compound are they adding to gasoline that wasn't already there in the first place, and exactly what is is doing, and does Shell have a patent? Or is just more marketing hype, like "our vacumn cleaner comes with a new invention, a "HOSE!" tada...

Thursday, March 05, 2009

If "El Rushbo" Has a Heart Attack, the Repubbys will be

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rudderless. There's no "there" there.

Commentary by Margaret Carlson

March 5 (Bloomberg) -- Rush is wrong.

There, I said it. It wasn’t so hard.

Not for me, anyway. If I were Katie Couric I wouldn’t be so foolish. Rush Limbaugh could feast for a week on a big network anchor like her. And if I were a Republican officeholder, forget it. Anyone who dares to quibble with Rush’s wish that President Barack Obama should fail has to publicly grovel, as did the new chairman of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele.

After remarking on CNN last weekend that Rush can be “ugly” and “incendiary,” Steele contritely said he didn’t mean to question the “leadership” of Rush, for whom he has “enormous respect.” He had just been a “bit inarticulate.”

Inarticulate is one thing El Rushbo isn’t. He fills the air for three hours a day, attracts more than 20 million listeners a week, by his count, and was a headliner at a convention of conservatives in Washington last weekend.

Dressed like Johnny Cash and bouncing up and down as he gave his “first ever address to the nation,” he generated excitement bordering on adoration. He certainly got more juice than Mitt Romney, who has tried hard to woo Rush’s audience and won the convention’s straw vote with 20 percent.

That doesn’t make Limbaugh king of his party, but it does make him a kingmaker, as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and President George W. Bush, who celebrated Rush’s birthday at the White House with a chocolate cake decorated with a microphone, would attest.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Verizon Wireless Internet Runs Poorly

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I am dependent on one tower. The tower located on Oregon House peak. It is less than 3.8 miles away, and it is a completely unobstructed line of sight. I can literally see the tower on a clear day without binoculars.

About once a week, often for hours at a time, the darn thing goes way, way slow, like between 20 and 30 when the minimum is supposed to be around 160, the average is around 300 to 500, and sometimes it really cranks at 1200. It never runs this slowly when I am in an urban area, same computer, same card, same Verizon. Out here, as DSL is becoming available, I've noticed that the top speeds have been improving, substantially.

But it is really annoying to write something like this post, never knowing if the connection will be fast enough when I'm done writing to actually deliver the post to the blogspot server.

Consistency does not seem to be a value held by Verizon, certainly not on the Oregon House Peak tower in California.