Saturday, July 30, 2011

Tea Party Logic and the Common Person, FAIL!

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If the government needs to pay all its bills up front, then why not the average American? In particular:

"I think all houses should be paid for in full up front. None of this namby pamby mortgage stuff. That is not a balanced budget at all."

Does that make it clear how stupid the TeaSnotters are about the Giant Booger Ball they've bungled the budget into?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

New Target for the DEA, Cariboo Potatos

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Joanne Will British Columbia Canada October 29, 2009

Why was this tuber illegal? Photo: Jenn Pentland. In 1982, while searching for Cariboo seed, Jerry LeBourdais wrote to the Ministry of Agriculture and was told, "the variety Cariboo can no longer be sold under any name and cannot be grown as seed." The letter continued: "I suggest that you select and grow varieties that can be legally grown in Canada." The Cariboo isn't the only potato to have its own underground movement. Currently, momentum is building to save the Nooksak potato. The Makah Nation of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington has been gardening the Ozette potato -- named for a Makah community -- since at least 1791, the date when it is believed the potato was brought from South America by Spanish explorers. Likewise, Haida Nation growers raise a fingerling variety, the Haida potato, which may have been acquired by trade or travel even before the Haida met their first Europeans.

When Jerry LeBourdais learned that big agribusiness couldn't handle the Cariboo potato, he knew he'd found a variety that he wanted to support. The name didn't hurt either. If there was a potato out there named "Cariboo," it had a natural home on the back-to-the-land commune near Williams Lake that LeBourdais had founded. All he needed was some seed. It sounded simple enough. "Jerry wanted to get a hold of some, and asked me where," recalls John Ryser, a prize-winning seed potato farmer who lives south of Prince George. Ryser told him it wouldn't be easy, because the potato had been decertified for seed production in 1976. By the time LeBourdais came calling in 1983, the Cariboo spud had been banned for seven years and Ryser had given up growing the variety. "I kept the Cariboo going for years," says Ryser. "The big cheeses de-listed it because it would hang on to the vines." Government officials may prohibit varieties for reasons ranging from disease susceptibility to a tendency to snarl farm equipment; industrial potato farmers want plants that harvest easily with machinery. "Once a variety is de-listed, if you grow it, they'll cancel your seed grower's licence." But chance and luck launched a new chapter in the history of the Cariboo potato. During a spring meeting at the government experimental farm in Prince George in 1984, a visiting horticulturalist showed up with samples of all kinds of varieties, including Cariboo potatoes from the former Vancouver Research Station in Pemberton. "Before it was all done, I got four or five of his six Cariboo potatoes and gave them to Jerry," says Ryser. "Then Jerry got in hot water because he was bragging about it, and they started calling it the 'Outlaw Potato.'"

The Cariboo region is known today for beef and alfalfa, but a richer farming history stretches back to the gold rush of the early 1860s. Settlers began farming to feed the miners, who otherwise had to pay a premium for whatever fresh foods could survive being mule-hauled up the Cariboo wagon road. The Cariboo gained a reputation for quality potatoes, explains Denis Kirkham, a retired seed potato specialist who worked in B.C. for the federal Ministry of Agriculture for four decades. In the "heyday" years after World War Two, he says, there were 35 seed potato growers in a belt spanning from McCleese Lake, just north of Williams Lake, to Hixon, just south of Price George. Yet the Cariboo potato itself has roots about as far from gold-rush country as you can get without leaving Canada. The variety was first bred at the federal Potato Research Centre in Fredericton, New Brunswick, which each year sent seed potatoes out to be tested at a network of experimental farms nationwide. In 1963, one such variety did unusually well in central British Columbia's tough climate. Mike Van Adrichem, then a horticulturalist with the Prince George experimental farm, gave it the Cariboo name. It became popular just as small-scale farming in the region began to face its most challenging times. ...

It took a rebel to go up against the tide of history. Jerry LeBourdais, who died in 2004, came from a pioneer Cariboo family and was a lifelong social activist, leading a strike at the Burnaby refinery in his early years and later running several times for political office. Yet today, he might be most widely remembered as the Cariboo potato's greatest promoter. "They grow really well for the northern region," says Jerry's daughter Lorraine LeBourdais. "They're a beautiful white potato, almost yellow, with pink eyes. They have smooth skin, and they grow tall -- you can pick them out in a patch because they're half a foot taller than other varieties. They pull out and then fall off the vine easily, which is exactly what you want for hand harvesting, but they're a nuisance for commercial harvesting -- they tangle in the harvester," says Lorraine. Cariboo potatoes are also known as excellent keepers, with a good size, shape and texture for baking. ...

A Dog's Eye View of Hot Summer Nights, 7/27/2011

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Hopeful Agnosticism Explained.

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Let's not forget us Hopeful Agnostics, the world's simplest explanation of existence after the body's molecules all agree to disagree and go their separate ways.

After death, 3 possibilities:



or better.

2 out of three is not bad odds, and there is no reliable information available to weigh any possibility any higher than any other.

Friday, July 22, 2011

CABPRO, Nuts and Bolts, and Never Taught Business/Legal Acumen

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I will confess to being addicted to the B&C nuts and bolts aisle. For the specialty items on the wall, they beat out Home Depot every time. I used a more convenient Fox Hardware in Marysville the other day, until I noticed Wonderboard at $19.95 a sheet when it was at $7.95 in HD.

I think kids in high school need a special course that covers what owners of businesses like B&C pass on down to their kids, about the art of doing business. Let’s start with automotive businesses where the journeymen make at most $30/hour when the bossman charges $90/hour. Then move on to the business that is “always broke, no money for higher salaries, don’t pay myself nuthin more than I pay you” but the owner’s equity in the building and inventory increases every month.

This stuff is well hid for the self interests of those who own those businesses, and will never be taught in schools, much as the lawyers in the legislatures will never tax the legal settlements earned by using the court systems, for the support of those systems. Guess who gains the most when the courtrooms are full and a lawyer has 5 clients cooling their heels at the same time, while he collect $180/hour from each of them? Lawyers as a class have no interest in speedy and well funded court systems. No wonder they control the legislatures, as an occupation, more than any other group. There ought to be a law eliminating such one-sidedness, occupationally, in the legislatures.

Lawyers, however, are as dependent on the court system for income as the truckers who pay gasoline taxes for the building and maintenance of the interstates and roads. Nobody complains about “double taxation” there, now do they? But every lawyer I’ve talked to about this, goes for that gun immediately.


Tuesday, July 05, 2011

What Passes for Journalism these Days...

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From a commenter at, on the Kahn rape case:


10:22 AM on July 5, 2011

Notice that the writer leaves this at He-said/She-said, and makes no effort whatsoever to evaluate the claims of either side of the story, as if they both have equal weight, and there's nothing else that's knowable.

At most, they will ask one side what the other side thinks and call it debate.

This is what the media calls balance, and it's used to prolong the product shelf-life of a story that could be ended by actual investigative reporting.

By not settling the argument, the so-called controversy survives another day to generate future ad revenue, instead of being settled.

From bogus WMD to the false red-blue dichotomy, the media is selling fake controversy and lazy sensationalism instead of objective reporting and rational analysis, because getting to the bottom of the story ends the story, and readers, viewers, listeners turn to other things.
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Monday, July 04, 2011

Grass Valley Fourth of July Parade Fotos, 2011

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Here is a quick peek at more sets to come. Click on the set, then click on "details, then click on the pictures you wish to see, to make them bigger still. Please let me know where you repost them, thanks, Doug

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Competition for Emgold, from the Ocean

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Mr Kato estimated that rare earths contained in the deposits amounted to 80 to 100 billion tonnes.

The US Geological Survey has estimated that global reserves are just 110 million tonnes, found mainly in China, Russia and other former Soviet countries, and the United States.

China's apparent monopoly of rare earth production enabled it to restrain supply last year during a territorial dispute with Japan.

Japan has since sought new sources of the rare earth minerals.

The Malaysian government is considering whether to allow the construction of an Australian-financed project to mine rare earths, in the face of local opposition focused on the fear of radioactive waste.

The number of firms seeking licences to dig through the Pacific Ocean floor is growing rapidly.

The listed mining company Nautilus has the first licence to mine the floor of the Bismarck and Solomon oceans around Papua New Guinea.

It will be recovering what is called seafloor massive sulphide, for its copper and gold content.

The prospect of deep sea mining for precious metals - and the damage that could do to marine ecosystems - is worrying environmentalists.