Another Study, Another Reason to Drink Red Wine – washingtonpost.com

 In the last month we’ve been given two reasons to drink red wine. First it was the resveratrol which was keeping overweight, out of shape mice young now it’s procyanidins…

In the latest research, Roger Corder of Queen Mary’s School of Medicine in London and colleagues analyzed various components of red wine. They found that substances called procyanidins appeared to have the most potent beneficial effect on the cells that enable arteries to power the heart.

Moreover, the researchers discovered that levels of procyanidins were highest in red wines produced in southwestern France, where French men tend to live the longest, according to a report in today’s issue of the journal Nature.

Just for the record the article also mentioned dark chocolate, apples and cranberries as suppliers of procyanidins. Looks like a menu made for the holidays…I would like to know more about the diet of these men from southwestern France though.

Source: Another Study, Another Reason to Drink Red Wine – washingtonpost.com

Wednesday Morning Emails

The first thing up in my email que was the Washington Post this morning. The first headline that caught my eye was a story about the Freshman Senator from Virginia.

In Following His Own Script, Webb May Test Senate’s Limits – washingtonpost.com

At a recent White House reception for freshman members of Congress, Virginia’s newest senator tried to avoid President Bush. Democrat James Webb declined to stand in a presidential receiving line or to have his picture taken with the man he had often criticized on the stump this fall. But it wasn’t long before Bush found him.

“How’s your boy?” Bush asked, referring to Webb’s son, a Marine serving in Iraq.

“I’d like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President,” Webb responded, echoing a campaign theme.

“That’s not what I asked you,” Bush said. “How’s your boy?”

“That’s between me and my boy, Mr. President,” Webb said coldly, ending the conversation on the State Floor of the East Wing of the White House.

Source: In Following His Own Script, Webb May Test Senate’s Limits – washingtonpost.com

It’s good to see someone who isn’t taken in by George W Bush’s good ole boy charm for a change.

Then there is this story…

Five Years After Enron, Firms Seek Weaker Rules – washingtonpost.com

Business interests, seizing on concerns that a law passed in the wake of the Enron scandal has overreached, are advancing a broad agenda to limit government oversight of private industry, including making it tougher for investors to sue companies and auditors for fraud.

A group that has drawn support from Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. plans to issue a report tomorrow that argues that the United States may be losing its preeminent position in global capital markets to foreign stock exchanges because of costly regulations and nettlesome private lawsuits.

Source: Five Years After Enron, Firms Seek Weaker Rules – washingtonpost.com

As someone who lived through the Enron debacle and had family and friends affected by it, I don’t see how anyone can say that the legislature overstepped. As far as I am concerned, any time that corporations are complaining about regulations, you have probably not gone far enough.

From the weather email (My-Cast Weather Center) I see the Blue Ridges are have at least a few more mild days. We on the other hand are starting out at 68 and humid and heading up for the upper 70’s before a front blows through tomorrow sometime. They are saying we should have freezing temps by the weekend…You really have to love Texas weather. At least part of the time you do.

News from the Vault…New Concert On-line

Visit the Concert Vault Bruce Springsteen

Winterland; San Francisco, CA
12/15/1978

# of Tracks: 30 Total Time: 165:04

Two weeks before Bill Graham closed the doors of Winterland forever, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band played a powerhouse set that ran for close to three hours.

They also announced a new concert from Joan Baez:

Kezar Stadium; San Francisco, CA
03/23/1975

# of Tracks: 10 Total Time: 30:33

Go have a listen…These concerts are all really great…

It’s time to hit the road and I’ve still got mail…so

Have a photo from last week…garden-at-rest

Garden at rest…

In Class Warfare, Guess Which Class Is Winning – New York Times

Thanks to Jason at kottke.org 

Put simply, the rich pay a lot of taxes as a total percentage of taxes collected, but they don’t pay a lot of taxes as a percentage of what they can afford to pay, or as a percentage of what the government needs to close the deficit gap.

Mr. Buffett compiled a data sheet of the men and women who work in his office. He had each of them make a fraction; the numerator was how much they paid in federal income tax and in payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare, and the denominator was their taxable income. The people in his office were mostly secretaries and clerks, though not all.

It turned out that Mr. Buffett, with immense income from dividends and capital gains, paid far, far less as a fraction of his income than the secretaries or the clerks or anyone else in his office. Further, in conversation it came up that Mr. Buffett doesn’t use any tax planning at all. He just pays as the Internal Revenue Code requires. “How can this be fair?” he asked of how little he pays relative to his employees. “How can this be right?”

Even though I agreed with him, I warned that whenever someone tried to raise the issue, he or she was accused of fomenting class warfare.

“There’s class warfare, all right,” Mr. Buffett said, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

I’ve listened to Ben Stein on more times than I can remember. This is the first time I can remember agreeing with him. The above story is his opening, treat yourself and go read the rest at the New York Times…

Source: In Class Warfare, Guess Which Class Is Winning – New York Times

The Writer's Almanac from American Public Media

Garrison picked a good example of Horace’s writings. I find it a prayer I could also recite on a daily basis…

On this day in 8 B.C., the Roman poet Horace died (books by this author). He hated the chaos of Rome, and when his patron gave him a farm in the Italian countryside, he wrote,

“I prayed for this: a modest swatch of land
where I could garden, an ever-flowing spring
close by, and a small patch of woods above
the house. The gods gave all I asked and more.
I pray for nothing more, but
that these blessings last my life’s full term.”

Source: The Writer’s Almanac from American Public Media

Loose Leaf Notes: November Porch Vacation

Colleen does it again…She takes me to where I need to be on this the day before I return to the grind. She starts it thus…

A good book. A lounge chair. The sun makes freckles on my bared skin. A single fat fly buzzes by like a fighter pilot that doesn’t know the war is over. This one doesn’t know it isn’t summer. A clumsy yellow hornet goes down, crashes into my arm. I flick it off while sipping every color of the rainbow reflected off my cobalt blue mug.

Follow the link to see how she ended it…

Source: Loose Leaf Notes: November Porch Vacation

The Lighter Way to Enjoy Culture Shock

I have been reading a new blog. Kelly Harmon is a Peace Corps Volunteer in Moldova. I love the way she looks at life and the slightly twisted way she writes. If you have a minute or two go have a look at what she has posted since moving to Moldova. Her perspective on the joy’s of the back to the land movement seems to have an added depth now that she has some experience with 13th century living conditions…

– To All Hippies: I know having a farm and living off the land is the ultimate hippie reverie, I have had similar fantasies of self sufficiency. But no more do I have that aspiration; now that I have had a little taste of farm work and being partially self sustaining, I realize that is totally a pipedream. Farm work is hard, farm work is age you long before your years hard. So to all those hippies dreaming of getting a farm up in West Virginia and not having to live your life by anyone else’s lead, I hate to urinate in your breakfast cereal, but forget it.

Another of her posts deals with indoor plumbing…

I never realized how much of a luxury a fully functional toilet was until it was gone.
Now I see that the toilet seat is not a necessity, however, it makes toilet time much more pleasant. I must admit nothing wakes you up in the morning like the cold porcelain against the back of your thighs; better than a shot of espresso.

A bit of synchronicity in all of this is…I was reading Kelly’s blog to my wife yesterday and one of the segments on this mornings “Sunday Morning Show” was about Moldova.

Source: The Lighter Way to Enjoy Culture Shock

An Inconvenient Case for Supreme Court – WSJ.com

Since they selected him to run the country it’s only fitting that they figure out what to do with him when he doesn’t. Time for a little accountability on the part of some black robed non-members of the electoral college? 

WASHINGTON — Things are bound to heat up at the Supreme Court Wednesday, when justices weigh whether the Clean Air Act requires the Bush administration to do something about global warming.

In the late 1990s, the Clinton administration determined that greenhouse gasses — such as auto emissions, which contribute to global climate change — fell under the Environmental Protection Agency’s jurisdiction. Challenged by then-Rep. Tom DeLay (R., Texas) at a 1998 congressional hearing, the EPA produced a legal opinion concluding that carbon dioxide could be regulated if the agency determined it contributed to “adverse effects on public health, welfare or the environment.”

You have to love it when Tom Delay is mentioned. The new scapegoat of everything politically incorrect in America today. Where were all of these “journalists” when Tommy was ruining the country?

But even if greenhouse gases were pollutants and Congress had authorized the EPA to regulate them, the agency said it had no obligation to act. It cited “uncertainty” over the way global warming worked and the best way to remedy it, particularly in light of diplomatic disputes over the Kyoto Protocol and other international approaches to the problem.

Isn’t this the famous Bush environmental policy. Raise false claims of “uncertainty”, hire hack scientists if you have to, and then since there is “uncertainty” put off acting until such time as someone else is in charge. We can only hope the court will decide that in reality they are the “deciders” not Mr. Bush.

Source: An Inconvenient Case for Supreme Court – WSJ.com

ASIA GRACE by Kevin Kelly

One of the nice things about the internet is the way you stumble upon the…the unexpected gem. One of the news feeds that I have been subscribed to for a few weeks is Cool Tools by Kevin Kelly. This morning while things were slow I was going through the archives at Cool Tools and decided to find out more about the site and Kevin. That led to the link for Asia Grace below. What an amazing site…photos and photos…If cultures from the other side of the world intrigue you go check out the site. Be prepared though to watch time run away from you. You wont realize how long you are mesmerized by the images…

Link to ASIA GRACE by Kevin Kelly