Friday, September 28, 2012

A rumination on ruination (and Romneynation)

It is looking slightly less likely this week that Mitt Romney will be elected President than it did two weeks ago. Not less likely enough for any sense of comfort yet, but the polls are turning slowly toward President Obama as Romney continues to demonstrate what a lousy Presidential candidate he is.  Many of us liberals hoped and expected this would be the case, but I don't think we expected him to be this bad.  The debates will still be critical, but I doubt that they will change anything greatly unless there is a major revelation  or huge faux pas, like Obama showing what he really thinks of Romney by kicking him in the groin or something.

Despite this slightly optimistic prospect, I still ponder a forlorn future if somehow Mitt does win.  He would be a rubber stamp President, because he'd have no chance of re-election if he did something against the highly conservative thinkings of the Tea Party, personified by his running mate, Paul Ryan.  Because this group thinks so little of government and what it does, they would gut what it does well.  Recent projections show what the fiscal cliff would do to science budgets, and it is science that drives our health advances and the basic technological underpinnings that advance our increasingly technological society.  The Tea Party doesn't see that at all, they just lump "guvmint spindin" into one big pot.   And because they wave the U.S. flag so much, they think that any thing defense-related is sacrosanct (even  jets the DoD doesn't want).  And while they cut funding, they also pay lip service to the social conventions of their conservative brethren, and if in power would let them control society to an even greater level.

We are a highly divided country, that much is obvious.  It is the only reason that the Presidential race remains as close as it does. My greatest concern now is that if Obama is re-elected, the chagrined GOP will let the country go over the  fiscal cliff that they created, because all the bad stuff might be blamed on Obama, which would increase their chances of getting a GOP Prez four years from now.   In 2008 they vowed the day after the election to do everything in their power to make Obama a one-term  President.  I expect them to plan to do everything in their power to make it more likely that a GOP candidate will be elected in 2016, again starting the day after the  election, and letting the U.S. reach and go over the fiscal cliff would be Step One.

This would almost certainly cause a new recesssion, which they would blame on Obama.  Defense cuts would be blamed on Obama. Bridge collapses due to unfunded infrastructure repairs would be blamed on Obama.  Everything bad that might happen (oh yeah, increased taxes from letting the damned Bush tax cuts expire) would be blamed on Obama.

And so the country would face a bleak prospect at that point, with the GOP non-statesmans presiding over the disaster.  The terror of this possibility makes it seem unthinkable.  But they are so craven, so spiteful, and so devoted to their "cause" that I think it possible they will indeed do everything in their power to let it happen.

So we face ruination either way, Romneynation or not.  If I am surprised in  December, I will thank the lucky stars and the gods that have made it so.  And thus I will pray unceasingly and widely for a change in trajectory.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Charon is big! (compared to Pluto)

New images from Earth-based telescopes show Pluto and its big moon Charon together.

Sharpest ground-based images of Pluto and Charon

Charon truly is big compared to Pluto;  it has an approximate diameter of 1,207 km, while Pluto is 2,330 km.   Some astronomers don't call Pluto a dwarf planet, they call the Pluto system a dwarf double planet.

Rebound?? Did you say "Rebound"?

According to observations, goliath groupers are rebounding.  ANYTIME I hear that a fish stock or species is rebounding, I'm happy.

Not enough to fish for yet -- have to wait until 2015.

Divers flock to see rebound of Goliath grouper

They can get kinda big.   (These used to be called 'jewfish', but that's not exactly politically correct taxonomy anymore).

Sunday, September 23, 2012

If it wasn't for that

Lists of the "hottest" people in Congress are working from a fairly shallow pool. For one thing, they are constrained by the average age of people in Congress,  which tends toward the "middle" of middle age and older, and that category rarely lends itself to physically attractive hotness.  (What a drag it is getting old).

So when I looked at one of these lists and discovered South Dakota's Congresswoman Kristi Noem, I was a bit surprised.  She does fit the frame of hot, and this is with three children as well.  I wouldn't go so far as to put her in the MIL... category, but she's got some eye appeal.

Representative Kristi Noem, R-South Dakota

But the problem is... she's Republican.  Conservative Republican, of course, in the mold of Sarah Palin, with whom she is sometimes compared.  To get elected in the Red stateness of South Dakota, that's probably necessary.  And she has taken some rare surprising stands at odds with GOP dogma on energy, probably because she's from a subsidized farm state, but she's pro-life (i.e., against women's right to govern their own reproductive rights), and she appears to toe the line of the GOP view on the environment.

To her credit, though, she expressed frustration that the dysfunctional Congress didn't pass a farm bill, which is mainly the fault of the GOP anyway. 

A sonnet for September

"It's So Simple"

Supreme, desired, acclaimed, revered, unique
in each of separate lives, yet common, shared --
so similar that we perceive and seek
to shout of its vitality when bared
as whole as we can be, so full revealed
that sheer transparency exposes less
than in those moments we impart.  Our field
of core reality in pure compress-
ion, physical expression of our joy
to be accepted, welcomed as we gush
our pleasure into her;  we are not coy
as revelation and emotion rush
together - and she thanks us with the flow
within her, our delight a naked glow.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

More notes on the election in Virginia (and Florida)

I see Virginia as key, indicating the direction of the nation, which is why I keep looking at it.  Here's news on the Senate race:

Senate polls:  Democrats gaining (HuffPost)

"And in Virginia, one of the most consistently close races in the country, five of seven polls conducted since the Democratic convention have shown Democrat Tim Kaine leading, with margins varying between 1 and 8 percentage points."

Why?  Virginia is a cross-section:  rural, mountainous, and urban, with African-American strongholds, conservative white people strongholds, conservative Christian strongholds, liberal Democratic suburbs, conservative Republican suburbs; just about everything.  If not just Obama but Kaine are nudging ahead, that means that the little things are pushing the Democrats ahead.  A few more women are perceiving the dangers that Republicans pose to their rights and freedoms;  intelligent suburbanites are seeing how tissue paper thin the Republican tickets positions are.  And it could be enough.

Here's Obama vs. Romney in Virginia from the Huffington Post.  The Fox News poll, September 16-18, has Obama 49%, Romney 42%.   The polls keep edging him ahead beyond the margin-of-error.

I sure hope so.

Also from Florida:
"In Florida eight of nine new polls conducted in early September show Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) leading Republican challenger Rep. Connie Mack. The HuffPost Pollster chart currently gives Nelson a 7 percentage point lead (46.7 to 39.4 percent) roughly double the margins favoring the Democrat earlier in the year."

That's a good wind blowing, too.  (Obama vs. Romney in Florida -- also a lead just outside the margin of error).

The historical virtue of the Web

A few posts ago I made a small verbal joke about Erin Heatherton and Joey Heatherton, the former a current Victoria's Secret model and Leo DiCaprio's girl of the moment, and the latter a sexpot actress / singer (a really good one) who was a variety show favorite.  Joey did Bob Hope, Dean Martin, Johnny Carson, many others, with a little girl voice, usually playing a curvaceous ingenue seemingly unaware of her magnetic mesmerization of men.

Here's an example of her singing:  "Someone to Watch Over Me".  It doesn't have the go-go dancing she was also famous for -- and she was a great dancer, too.  

The Web allows us glimpses of past history like this -- even clips back to when Joey Heatherton was a teenager.  Even a decade ago we couldn't find what we can find now.  Which is pretty amazing.

Which brings me to the real subject of this post -- Joey Heatherton's appearance in Playboy.  Well, I heard about it, but I missed the issue (slightly before my eligibility to see the mags).  And thus for years and years and years I thought that I had missed seeing the lovely Miss Heatherton, who I had found entertaining and mesmerizing, see above -- unveiled.  (Or as in the case of some of these pictures, partially veiled.) 

And then, after my mention of her, I realized that the pictures from her appearance of Playboy were likely to be on the Web.  Actually, I realized that her pictures from Playboy were undoubtedly on the Web.

So I looked for them.  And so I found them.  And suffice it to say, she was curvaceous and lovely, with, without mincing words, fabulous breasts.   My imagination couldn't make her (or them) better than they were.

So thank you, Web.  For giving us a chance to revisit history, in all its forms.

(Now, if you think I'm going to put some of those pictures here, nope.  I've been relatively circumspect about that which I actually provide here.  But I will provide a link (definitely needing care when clicking on it), and the advice that searching for "Joey Heatherton" + nude + Playboy will provide everything that I found.  And I also found out she made a topless appearance in a movie with Richard Burton, too.  Quick research indicated that the movie wasn't too great.  But she was topless. )

Favorite black-and-white

Favorite color

I'm also going to mention that a couple of these pictures revealed she had pubic hair (most girls do, you know).  I eventually am going to write my tribute to the lost beauty of pubic hair.  But I need a lot of time to compose it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

And still this guy is going to vote for Romney

"I believe the mainstream conservative still believes in these things. But when Romney divides the world into makers and takers and presumes that our ability to pay federal income tax is a measure of which group we belong to, he sends a different message. He implicitly tells average Americans that their quiet work doesn’t “make” America unless they are entrepreneurs who make enough money. Worse, he tells them that their lives aren’t even dignified, that they are “takers” who are unable to exercise personal responsibility over their lives."

Romney's drift from the true heart of conservatism

The author of the piece is from the American Enteprise Institute, and can't bring himself to vote for the better man, the better candidate, and the better President -- the current one, Barack Obama.

Obama leading in Virginia

Virginia has been called a swing state in a lot of the Electoral College projections.  And it's been close.  But it looks like my neighbors in the Old Dominion, despite the so-called "leadership" of caveman Bob McDonnell, Coochie Cuccinelli, and trying-again George Allen, are swinging in the right direction, with the Post poll putting Obama up by 8%, and the Quinnipiac poll having him up by 4%.   (The Q poll also has the Prez up by 6% in Wisconsin, also good news.  Especially making Romney/Ryan have to fight for Paulie's home state.)

Post Poll:  Obama up by 8 points in Virginia

"The Post poll highlights the fact that the president is benefiting from strong support among women. Obama leads among female voters 58 percent to 39 percent; men divide 50 percent for Romney and 44 percent for Obama. Compared with 2008 exit polls, Obama is running somewhat worse among men this year but is doing better among women, who made up a majority of the Virginia electorate four years ago and are likely to do so again this year."

You go, girls. 

Who needs the catalog (except to buy this stuff)

The Daily Mail provides brief exposure of several of the Victoria's Secret models (Kerr, Kroes, Swanepoel, Heatherton, Prinsloo) doing what they do best.  I guess Lima and Ambrosio weren't back in shape for the shoots, but I bet they'll be on the Angel runway in December.

Models in Victoria's Secret

Top shots:   Kerr in her PJs (no joke, the other pictures are sexy as only she can be, but she's the prettiest in the PJs);  Erin in black (but I'd like to see her face);   Swanepoel in the purple knickers (WoW);  I think they have Erin in a purple padded bra that they claim is Swanepoel;  Lais Ribeiro has an incredibly long torso;  and Doutzen Kroes in the blue starry sky number looks luscious (she had a baby?).  See below for that one.

OMG! Shakira's with child

Shakira has revealed that she's pregnant.  Wonderful news. Lucky father.  Both for having the baby and making the baby.  Given what she's capable of vertical on stage dancing, well... the mind boggles.

Shakira reveals she's pregnant

And she hasn't taken a sexy picture yet

Andie McDowell is beautiful.  (And I wouldn't mind having a date with her.) Her former husband Paul Qualley was a good-looking guy.  Now, not always when two gifted genotypes get linked sexually does the offspring turn out beautiful and good-looking (or both), but in the case of Rainey Qualley, her older daughter, it most definitely did.   She has a younger daughter that is also pretty, but Rainey is a flat-out knockout.

She's also been Miss Golden Globes (and there isn't another thing I could possibly say about that which isn't already said), and both girls have done fashion modeling.   And that's the thing, it's fashion.  Rainey has yet to go for the sexy ingenue photoshoot, i.e., the type that I look to Maxim to accomplish.  She's due.

And we're waiting.

She looks quite fine on the cover with her mother.

 And this sampling shows that she has great promise, but she's still coltish. See the pictures bigger by clicking on them, of course.

Have you seen the new Hobbit trailer?

Article from about the new trailer for The Hobbit.  I still hope that Jackson and the studio go back on their plan to make this a trilogy.  Nonetheless, I'm ready and waiting for another epic journey.

New trailer for The Hobbit:  An Unexpected Journey

Good to see Gollum again, too.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Something to get one's hands on

It's no secret that the slender and slinky Victoria's Secret models have fine, shapely posteriors. Those of us in the regularly citizenry of the global can only look but not touch, but we can think about a wonderfully tactile encounter with such physical stunningness.

(I like all parts of a woman but a truly appreciate a great derriere.)

Two examples from Candice Swanepoel:

And one from Erin Heatherton:

Two goals - mutually exclusive

Due to the ongoing fears of the Japanese people due to the Fukushima reactor catastrophe, the government is now promising the people that they will work to phase out nuclear power generation in the country by 2039.   Unfortunately, Japan has a technologically sophisticated populace that likes its electronics, and even though they have a low population growth, they still have  a big population.  And the populace has evinced concern over climate change.   As I have opined many times before, phasing out nuclear doesn't work with the goal of realistic making a dent in the climate change trajectory.

New York Times:  Japan sets policy to phase out nuclear power plants by the 2040

And Mark Lynas, a better and far more well-known writer than I'll ever be, makes this same point.

The Guardian UK: Without nuclear, the battle against global warming is as good as lost

 An excerpted section:

"Japan is already backing away from its own climate change targets. As a participant in the UN climate negotiations last year, I watched this happen. Under the 2009 Copenhagen accord, Japan pledged to reduce CO2 emissions by 25% by 2020. The plan was to increase nuclear to half of national electricity in order to facilitate the carbon cuts, supported by an increase in renewables to 20% by 2030. To reach the same targets without nuclear is impossible:  wind and solar combined meet barely 1% of electricity production today in Japan, and there is no way they can be deployed at sufficient scale to meet the gap. So the climate targets will be dropped, as Japan re-carbonises its economy.

It is nothing short of insane that politicians around the world, under pressure from populations subjected to decades of anti-nuclear fearmongering by people who call themselves greens, are raising our collective risk of catastrophic climate change in order to eliminate the safest power source ever invented."
As a nuclear power advocate and employee of the industry, and someone who is rightly concerned about climate change, his statements are logical and hard to argue against.  With nuclear in the mix, until there is a fantastical breakthrough like controlled fusion, we still have a chance to slow down the global warming train. Without nuclear -- we do not have a chance.  At all.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Sears visually admits that women have nipples

It used to be it was easy to spot nipples in sheer lingerie photographs in retail catalogs (Victoria's Secret catalogs used to be a happy hunting ground in this regard).  But recently, with the exception of American Apparel, nipples have largely disappeared in most lingerie situations where they would normally be lovely and obvious.   But apparently someone missed with the airbrush at Sears.

Fifty Shades of Sears? Retail giant's nipple slip-up just months after American Family Association slams 'sexually-explicit products'

Minor warning:  if you go to the Daily Mail article linked above, the picture of the lingerie-clad model clearly owning a nipple will be available. 

(And she's cute.)


Romney tries to divert attention from likelihood he will lie in debates

 Romney predicts Obama will lie in debates

This is a set up, and the media should call it like it is.  By 'predicting' that Obama will lie in debates, when Romney accuses Obama of lying during the debate, then some people will remember that Mitt made this prediction, and his accusation will have more credibility -- EVEN IF IT ISN"T TRUE.

There has been numerous clear documentation of how Romney and Ryan lie -- Ryan even lied about his best marathon time.  Fact checkers have nailed Republicans for lying much more than Democrats repeatedly this campaign.  So why should we think that suddenly flip-flopping serial liar Romney, who has switched more positions than a porn actress trying to get a bonus, will suddenly become a paragon of honesty?  

One other aspect of this is that if Obama brings up an actual Romney position switch, then Romney can now cleverly say something to the effect of "You know I predicted you would lie about my record, and I think you just did," sounding aggrieved, not actually denying with that statement that he did switch positions, and making Obama look untruthful -- EVEN IF WHAT OBAMA SAID WAS ACCURATE.

So clever Mr. Romney has laid some groundwork for the debate here.  And it isn't fair.  But it's hard to counter.

please, please, please be true

 Mitt Romney lags in swing state polls, according to the Washington Post article about the polls:

Quote from the article:
“This is an electorate that pretty much is now all about, from the campaign standpoint,  mobilization. Persuasion is going to take a second seat right now,” said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, in an interview with NBC News.  “This is about getting your base out, not about appealing to a shrinking middle.”

So all that money that Mitt Romney's campaign and the GOP PACs are going to spend between now and November?   Unlikely to make much of a difference. 

How would I phrase the climate change question?

Al Gore's Climate Reality Project has an online petition drive to get the moderator of the first Presidential debate, Jim Lehrer, a question about climate change.   This made me think about how I would phrase the question.

Here's what I came up with:

"Governor Romney, President Obama:  with the vast majority of the world's credible climate scientists indicating that climate change is a real and worsening threat to the people of the world, and also clearly indicating that human activities, notably fossil fuel energy generation, are the primary cause of current climate change trends - which both of you have acknowledged as correct -  and with current events such as the shrinking Arctic ice cap and an increasing number of extreme weather-related disasters linked to climate change - what will you do to address the threat the climate change poses for the national and world  economy, security, and natural environment?"
That oughta get an interesting response from the candidates.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

First came Joey, now comes Erin

Obscure reference to a 70's sexpot noted. 

Erin Heatherton models Victoria's Secret swimwear

Murray wins the U.S. Open, and I get another prediction right

He made me wait, and wait, and wait... and wait some more... but Andy Murray finally came through for my 2012 prediction.

I noted when I tweeted the above that I hadn't seen the 54 shot rally in the first set tiebreak, and hoped it would be online soon.   Well, it was.

The 54-shot rally in the 1st set tiebreak
(only got the last 45 shots, though ;-)

The whole thing:

With Nadal likely to always face physical struggles, given the way he plays, and Federer very, very slowly dropping from his unbelievable level of excellence, I think we're going to see some really fine battles in the Slam events next year.  Now that he's won one Slam, can Murray achieve the ultimate victory for an Englishman/Scotsman - a win at Wimbledon?   He proved he can win at Centre Court when he won the Olympics.  So he's got the game.  He just needs the opportunity again.

Notable football mark

I'm not a big fan of football - but I do keep track of it.  So I'm happy when my hometown Ravens (actually my hometown team was the Colts, but the Ravens play in my hometown now) do well.  And I always admire athletic excellence.  So I thought it worth noting (as did others) when Ed Reed intercepted a pass in the regular season's first game and returned it for a touchdown, and set a mark for yards gained after interceptions, that it was a pretty remarkable achievement.

Certainly the fact that NFL offenses pass much more than they used to was and is a factor, but you still have to catch the ball and then run with it after you catch it.  Reed as done both, frequently, and well.

Ed Reed's pick six return, and return yards mark

I wrote this before the attack in Libya

We have known for a long time, and the political map bears this out, that Romney has to run the table to get the Electoral College votes to win.   And currently, and this is VERY CURRENT (meaning that events could make it change*), there are no trends pushing him in that direction. 

What is certain and key and obvious now is that massive television ad campaigns will waste a lot of money, because there are so few voters who have yet to make up their minds or who would possibly change their minds.  So the key now, huge debate gaffes notwithstanding, is the mechanics of the election and voting:  getting the voters to the polls, counting votes correctly, avoiding voter suppression tactics (I don't think the national campaigns would condone or do anything like that, but 'motivated individuals' might take it upon themselves), counting absentee ballots, and the influence of local races, like the Senate campaign in Missouri and the effect of Akin's comments nationwide. 

Thus, I dare hope, given what we know right now.  But I don't dare hope too much.   One thing I think true;  if Virginia swings more strongly to Obama, that would be a bellwether sign.

* like the attacks in Libya

The AL East in September

The remaining series for the three American League East teams in September:

Orioles: Rays, A's, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Red Sox. 

Yankees:  Red Sox, Rays, Blue Jays, A's, Twins, Blue Jays. 

Rays: Orioles, Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Red Sox, White Sox.

Yankees have easiest schedule left, then the Orioles, then the Rays. Red Sox series with all three will figure prominently.

Darn this is fun.  Like driving your car on the edge of a cliffside road fun.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

I knew eventually she'd do this

Post superb weight loss, the now quite-hot Jennifer Hudson would be expected to be proud of her physical transformation.  She showed it off a bit in the video for "No One Gonna Love You".   And now she's tweeted a shot of how good she looks in her undies.  

She still needs to do a full-on lingerie glamor photoshoot.  But she's getting there.

Jennifer Hudson shows off toned body in sexy lingerie twitpic

Who's telling the truth??

And the answer to that question is... Democrats.  It's unlikely to be Republicans, and it's certainly not the Lyin' Twosome, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.

Democrats' truth vs. GOP lies

Two really good extended quotes from this article:

A. "There are other examples the fact checkers have looked at but the point is, while Republicans were widely condemned by fact checkers for the blatant lies repeated throughout their convention, Democrats were barely slapped on the wrist by fact checkers. This is not because the media has a bias toward Democrats but because, apparently, Democrats have a bias toward telling the truth."

and the concluding paragraph:

B.  "It may also be that Democrats don’t lie because they don’t have to. The Obama campaign has a good and compelling record on which to run and an opposing party whose extremist agenda for America is so frightening that it requires no embellishment. In other words, perhaps Democrats told the truth at their convention because the truth favors the Democrats."

And remember that I've mentioned previously the focus group results which indicated that real people DON'T BELIEVE that Romney/Ryan could actually support and push for the extreme positions that they are  running on.

Scary times, people.  Scary times.

If the Republicans hadn't been playing politics with American jobs...

Jared Bernstein, writing in the HuffingtonPost Business Blog:

August Jobs Report - First Impressions

 "It's a tough reality in that far too many Americans remain un- and underemployed but it's also a reality in which things are improving. Not fast enough... and today's report suggests even slower improvement than earlier in the recovery. But anyone who says they're getting worse, as Rep. Paul Ryan did earlier this week,
is simply misrepresenting the facts."

[Put more simply, Ryan is lying ... again.]

Furthermore, a weak report like this is a potent reminder that the president  proposed the American Jobs Act -- a set of measures to offset the weak labor demand that has been so hard to shake in this economy-over a year ago. I viewed that proposal as an insurance policy against precisely this type of slowing  in the job market. But Congressional Republicans blocked the measure and refused to purchase that insurance."

So, as we've noted previously, the Republicans in Congress had one goal starting the day after his inauguration -- make him a one-term President.  And if that meant keeping Americans out of work, that's what they did.

This is the group that would be calling the shots if Mitt Romney gets elected POTUS.  As Denzel Washington said in Crimson Tide -- "God help us all."

Thursday, September 6, 2012

I wondered what it looked like

NASA fixes electrical connections on the International Space Station with a toothbrush and an improved brush.  Impressive.

"Two spacewalking astronauts successfully replaced a vital power unit on the International Space Station today (Sept. 5), defeating a stubborn bolt that originally delayed the fix with the help of some improvised tools made of spare parts and a toothbrush. ...

The spacewalkers used improvised cleaning tools and a pressurized can of nitrogen gas to clean out the metal shavings from the bolt receptacles."

Wrote this to the Washington Post about Mitt's climate change switch

Wrote this to the WashPost, in reply to Michael Gerson's PostPartisan blog post, "Is Romney Warming Up to Global Warming?"

"We can only hope that anything that Romney does that's a step away from a Tea Party position will convince more Tea Party voters that don't really want to vote for him that they shouldn't vote for him. This was a real nice little Etch-a-Sketch move by the Romster. In fact, some "green" Republicans (who are few) actually gave him campaign contributions hoping this is exactly the path he'd take. 

From Politico's "Green backers bet on Romney flip-flop":  
"Rob Sisson, president of the Republicans for Environmental Protection, said he’s scraping together personal funds to write a check to the Romney campaign after getting a chance to meet him for the first time last month during a town hall campaign stop in Kalamazoo, Mich.

“I think his record as governor was pretty good as far as Republicans go,” said Sisson, who also gave $1,000 last June to Jon Huntsman’s campaign. “I really get the sense from him and the folks around him with whom I’ve spoken that as president he’d really look at each situation, gather the data and really make a decision that’s best for the country.”

“If that goes against the grain of how he’s campaigning now, so be it,” Sisson added. “He’s going to be driven by data and facts and not emotions and getting pushed into one corner by one faction of the party.”

The thing is, he has a running mate that wants to do far more and far worse. 

From Nature:
"In selecting Ryan as his running mate, Romney has shifted his campaign towards those in his party who support limiting the government’s reach. For example, even among his Republican colleagues in the House, Ryan stands out in his opposition to environmental regulation. According to the League of Conservation Voters, an environmental-advocacy group based in Washington DC, Ryan was among the 16 of 242 House Republicans who voted against almost all of the environmental actions that the league considered priorities in 2011. In addition to opposing funding for the listing of plants and animals under the Endangered Species Act and Obama’s push for the development of alternative-energy technologies, Ryan, through his budget plan, takes aim at the Environmental Protection Agency for its measures to regulate carbon emissions." 

Plus Ryan's budget would cut science funding across the board, especially basic research, that kind of speculative research that might lead to major breakthroughs. Private sector R&D is too conservative with the company's bucks."

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Arctic sea ice still melting

Even while Anthony Watts was trying to be hopeful, the Arctic sea ice continues to melt away.

Let's face it, this isn't a competition.  Watts and those he regularly misleads are wrong about climate change.  And while they can try to find any number of excuses to negate, nullify, neutralize, or minimize the impact of this bad news on their community, there's no denying (even though they try) that a) this is a major signal, and b) it's majorly bad news. 

The really bad news is that it will take a concerted effort of will from the world's major countries, starting about exactly right now, to start doing things that will make an impact that will slow down this accelerating decay.  The ice is telling us to get our act together.  I wonder if those in power will heed the silent scream.

Arctic sea ice falls below 4 million square kilometers

Size is not a barrier to love

Elisha Cuthbert got engaged to professional NHL hockey player Dion Phaneuf a couple of days ago.  This is one of those couples that has a bit of a size difference.  As has been noted frequently, Canadian Elisha has a thing for hockey players - she dated a couple before Dion.  Apparently she found the right one.

All the details:  Elisha Cuthbert engaged to Dion Phaneuf'

I think Dion scored with this one.  

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Pretty much what I've been thinking (actually, knowing)

Sally Kohn, writing in Salon, writes a lot of things I've been thinking lately.  I hope to put more of my thoughts into text soon.  But basically I keep thinking -- why did the GOP have to nominate this empty suit?  He truly is the last one standing, and he had the money to keep going when others more appealing to the base that he's appeasing couldn't keep up (like Santorum).  And if he does get elected, malleable Mitt is exactly what the Tea Party ordered -- a rubber stamp for Boehner, Cantor, and McConnell, and their cohorts.  

We as a country do not need that slowly unfolding disaster.

Mitt Romney, Tea Party Puppet

"With a few exceptions, Romney didn’t pepper his speech with the flagrant lies and smears against President Obama that have typified the Republican campaign.  In fact, Romney basically implied that he would have backed the president’s agenda — as European-influenced as Romney has alleged it to be — if it had worked.  But, oh darn, it didn’t.  So vote for me.  A pitch that might work with voters who have never heard about Romney’s plans to turn Medicare into a costly voucher system, Ryan’s legislation to narrow the legal definition of rape, or the campaign’s pledge to further cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires even if it increases the deficit — let alone Ryan and the Tea Party’s grand plan to basically get rid of all government except the military and national parks."

Vesta Tour - good music, too

As Dawn departs Vesta for Ceres, the nice folks at NASA have provided a labeled tour of the mini-planet.  And the music by S. Elgner accompanies it well.

Vesta tour - good music, too

Following the LuLo

I follow Michael Buble's wife and Ultimo super lingerie model (and also a singer and actress)  Luisana Lopilato on Twitter, and she promised today to start tweeting more (I think - she tweets everything in Spanish, so I have to use Google Translate). 

It's so hard to resist the temptation to tweet back to her, "Sooo - what are you wearing?"


Monday, September 3, 2012

Ovechkin's girlfriend named one of the best new WAGs of 2012

I will get back to this, but Washingon Capitals star Alex Ovechkin's tennis-talented girlfriend, Maria Kirilenko, was named in this Bleacher Report article as one of the "best new WAGs" (that's Wives And Girlfriends, for you uninformed folks) of the year 2012.

After watching Kirilenko and Petrova just handle the Williams sisters and escort them to the exits in the women's U.S. Open doubles, I decided to find out if this nomination of Kirilenko was merited.  I had heard of her in passing but hadn't really paid a lot of attention (most of my attention in tennis being paid recently to the back-in-form-except-when-she's-playing-Serena Maria Sharapova) until now.   So, I did some research...

... and I'll report the results shortly.  Feel free to do your own research, it's quite rewarding.

Bad environmental news closer to home

The Susquehanna River is the largest source of water and nutrients (usually too much  of the latter) to the Chesapeake Bay.  And it would also be the largest source of sediments were it not for dams, most notably the Conowingo, that slow the flow before it flows into the Bay.  So, when the flow slows, the mud gets dropped on the bottom of the reservoirs.  Continuously.   And the problem is, the mud storage limits of the reservoirs are being reached.  To take care of this requires a lot of dredging, and then carrying the dredged mud somewhere else where it can get dumped.  (No, I don't know where that would be).  The problem with this situation is -- it costs money to do.  And as you might guess, governmental money to do this important and vital task to help keep the nation's most famous and largest estuary from becoming a muddy eutrophied swamp (eventually) is in short supply.

This is another thing that government is good for that we don't pay enough taxes to get done right.

Increased Sediment and Nutrients Delivered to Bay as Susquehanna Reservoirs Near Sediment Capacity

"The findings of this USGS study increase the urgency of identifying and implementing effective management options for addressing the filling reservoirs," said Bruce Michael, director, Resource Assessment Service for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. "The Lower Susquehanna River Watershed Assessment study, a 3-year partnership of federal, state, private sector, and non-governmental organizations, is developing potential management options for extending the sediment-holding capacity of the reservoirs. The USGS information is critical for guiding the strategies undertaken by the Chesapeake Bay Program to assure that the actions taken in the watershed will serve to meet restoration goals."

A simple hero

I read this article with interest about a TV meteorologist in South Carolina, Jim DeMint's home state, who doesn't flinch about telling his viewership about the reality of climate change.  And according to the article, rather than face the angry onslaught of unblinking and unthinking apostles of the Church of Morano and Watts, the viewers actually appreciate his honesty, candor, and truthfulness about this important subject.  (And mayst I add that South Carolina gets an appreciable amount of its electricity from nuclear power.  All of which makes me admire them a bit more, despite the fact that the SC electorate is likely to give their Electoral College votes to proven liar and known Christian heretic, Mormon Presidential candidate Mitt Romney.    (I'm just telling it like it is, folks.  Mormonism is heretical according to standard Christian doctrine in several different ways, and I'm not even a highly conservative Christian, but it's obvious to me.  Amazing how a Christian country like the USA might be close to electing a heretic as President.  Especially a Republican pseudo-conservative heretic!  But I digress.)

This is about heroic Jim Gandy, who tells it like it is on climate during his weather forecasts.  As the article says:

"Later in the day, we learned from Ed Maibach, director of the Center for Climate Change Communication (4C), that the positive impact of Gandy’s reports is not just anecdotal. Maibach’s team surveyed the Columbia, S.C., media market before and after Gandy launched “Climate Matters,” asking questions about climate change to viewers of Gandy’s station, and comparing them with responses from viewers who tuned in to other stations. 4C’s hypotheses heading in to the experiment were borne out. Viewers of Gandy’s station learned more about climate change than viewers of other local newscasts. Furthermore, the more viewers watched Gandy’s program, the more informed they were about climate change and the science behind it. So, to review: More effective climate communication leads to greater public understanding, with some personal gratitude heaped on top. In Columbia, S.C."
Good for you, Jim Gandy.

Heroic weatherman talks climate in a red state - and viewer thank him for it

It's September, do you know where your wild card team is?

Wow.  Labor Day.  Thanks to the Tampa Bay Rays, the Baltimore Orioles are only one (1) game behind the New York Yankees for the AL East lead.

No matter how it ends, this is an amazing, unlikely season already.  By rights they'll make at least the one-game playoff.  They might not.  But it's going to be a nailbiter every day now.

Some new (to me) Frank Cho news

Frank Cho, local Maryland comic artist/illustrator, who has an EXTRAordinary ability to draw shapely women clothed and unclothed, has a blog I just discovered.   And by discovering it I also discovered that there's a Comic-Con in Baltimore next weekend.   It's a long haul (I'm not going to be in Baltimore on Friday), but maybe a I can swing a road trip.  It's fun to see the costumes, and maybe there will be some movie trailers.  Cho is offering a pencil portrait.

There are some nice things on the blog (like this onedon't be clickin' if you don't likely shapely buttocks on wimmen).  As I said awhile ago when writing about Dejah Thoris, I'm a fan of Cho's work.

And I'd really, really like to meet Brandy.  Never did find out for sure if the model for Brandy was November 1998 Playmate Tiffany Taylor.  But she'd have been a nice choice for the job.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

This is not surprising, either

Even though his speech was pedestrian and uninformative, Mitt Romney showed that his flippy-floppy conversion from knowledgeable about climate change to clueless about climate change (taking his cues from the clueless Tea Party end of the Republican party who get their climate cues from skeptics like Morano and Watts) is just about complete.  He mocked any idea that he might actually help future generations deal with the environment and the consequences of climate change, one of which is rapidly melting in the Arctic Ocean as I write this.  But no, Mitt thinks that he can take better care of the average American family by dumping more tax-free money on his rich brethren, and also by burning more fossil fuels rather than investing in clean alternatives, particularly the one that interests me the most, nuclear energy.

Number one he should know better (and of course he used to, but not anymore).  Number two he should realize that the toxic environmental legacy we are leaving to our children -- yes, I said "we", I'm not blameless in this -- is bad for the economy, too, because as climate change and its related consequences escalate in magnitude, the costs of addressing the damage go up very, very rapidly.

Perhaps it seems obvious that if you care about your family's future, you must also care about the planet your children will inhabit.  Yet critics argue that concept was lost on the audience at the Republican National Convention Thursday night, as they cheered GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney as he declared: "President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans," pausing for the audience to laugh at the absurdity, "and to heal the planet. My promise ... is to help you and your family."

What would help us most, Mitt, is for you to advocate a reasonable platform of actual cuts (including defense) couple with revenue increases. But you won't, so your cluelessness on climate change is reflected in your unconcern for my family and its future.  Thanks so much.

Mitt Romney slams Obama on climate change

Meanwhile, back at Opportunity

While the new kid on the planet, the Curiosity rover, gets all the attention (like a baby just learning to walk), older brother Opportunity is feeling neglected, and just doing what it's' supposed to do, which is keep exploring (and looking for clay minerals, too).

Opportunity Drives, and Images Rock Outcrop

Opportunity Exceeds 35 Kilometers of Driving

This is one mission that has been worth every penny spent on it.