Tuesday Coffee Muses – Week 2772

Ok, I know that everyone in NW North Carolina and SW Virginia are quite happy with the temperatures after this past winter…But (you knew there would be a but), what’s this with it being just a 2 degree difference in the forecast high in Houston and Floyd. That ain’t natural for this early in the year. They keep telling us we are in the above normal range here in Texas. What does that make these temperatures in the mountains?

Oh well, on with my mornings email stack…

I see that the story of the week just can’t stop being the AG fiasco…

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales’s senior counselor yesterday refused to testify in the Senate about her involvement in the firings of eight U.S. attorneys, invoking her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

So now the fun starts. The first fall guy is starting to talk, the second is taking the 5th, what a way to end a government career. She is ending her government career…isn’t she? Correct me if I’m wrong, she is a lawyer, right, she knows the implications of taking the 5th doesn’t she?

Source: Aide to Gonzales Won’t Testify – Washington Post

Don’t you just love this paragraph from Dana Milbank?/p>

It was another milepost in the shriveling of a presidency. What began as “with us or against us” now must share time with “wood chips or switch grass.” It was Bush’s sixth alternative-fuel event this year — and a seventh comes this morning when he inspects newfangled Postal Service vehicles.

You really have to think that gives the President warm fuzzies in the morning, or it would if he read the newspaper.

Source: Dana Milbank – Alternative Fuels Can’t Help a President Who’s Lost His Way – washingtonpost.com

Then there is this from E J Dionne…

But the president’s refusal to acknowledge that the country has fundamentally changed its mind on the war makes it impossible for him to work with Congress on a sensible approach to a withdrawal that will happen some day — with or without a constitutional showdown.

Source: E. J. Dionne Jr. – An Antiwar Tide on The Rise – washingtonpost.com

Are the wheels finally falling off this cart?

Enough about politics…I see the traffic spike from mahablog is still running high. Thanks for coming by, hope y’all find something to bring you back.

The morning commute is getting to be much more fun…They have now started rebuilding the bridge beside the office. What a mess…We now have a four lane road that always backed up during the rush hour shut down to two lanes for the next 3-4 months.

Observations From a Southern Commute…

An observation started to penetrate my thick skull last week. Because of this vague, nagging feeling I was missing something, I started this week a little more aware of my surroundings. It could be just coincidence, but you tell me what you’ve seen.

After Bush pushed the Iraq War down our throats I was decidedly cool on the way this country showed it’s patriotic fervor. I mean, come on magnetic ribbons on your SUV, get real, where exactly is that showing even symbolic patriotism? But you couldn’t get away from them. The majority of the vehicles on the road seemed to sport one or two or three. First they were yellow, then other colors started showing up. But over the last few weeks something has impinged upon my conscience, or rather, the absence of something has. It’s those magnetic ribbons, I can only recall one vehicle with those “ultra” symbols of patriotic zeal on the freeways of Houston. Is this symptomatic of the rest of the country? Is it just the roads I drive or has that Bush symbol of belief been finally put to rest.

on another note, I know every time I come across one of those old oval stickers from the Bush 04 campaign I speed up to get a look at the driver. I always wonder at what reasons there are behind a person still supporting George W after everything that has happened in this country since that election…How about you? What do you think today about showing Bush support stickers on your car? And what does it say about a person who has a Bush 04 sticker on a 2006 or later car?

Monday Morning Muse

Traffic Report

Seems like I got noticed yesterday. While I went about my normal Sunday business (including playing Grandpa for a while in the afternoon) I had two or three normal weeks of traffic hit this blog in an afternoon. And it all happened thanks to George Will.

So thank you Mr Will, your post on the anger of the left-“Anger Iis All The Rage“, well, it left me angry. My post in reply was spotted by The Mahablog. All I can say is thanks for the kind words and the referral. All traffic help is appreciated. Trust me when I say this, it wont be the last time I feel the need to blast back at George Will.

Weather

The uncommonly mild weather continues unabated across the south and up the east coast into the Blue Ridge Mountains. Looks like at this rate late July could rival our first vacation into North Carolina back in August 2003. As hot as that may be, it is nothing like the heat of a Texas summer. ‘Though I am beginning to worry when the temps in Boone keep coming within spittin’ distance of the temps in Houston in early March…

Well it’s time to hit the road…Ya’ll have a good day and a great week…

Stalking the Vegetannual | by Barbara Kingsolver | Orion Magazine March-April 2007

Fred First pointed a link at this article. Thanks Fred. The entire article is worth the read but I found the last paragraph very important…

Locally grown is a denomination whose meaning is incorruptible. Sparing the transportation fuel, packaging, and unhealthy additives is a compelling part of the story. But the plot goes beyond that. Local food is a handshake deal in a community gathering place. It involves farmers with first names, who show up at the market week after week. It involves consumers who remember that to be human is to belong to a food chain, wherever and whenever we find ourselves alive. It means remembering the truest of all truths: we are what we eat. Stepping slowly backward out of a fuel-driven industry of highly transported foods will alter more than a person’s grocery list. Such small, stepwise changes in personal habits aren’t trivial. Ultimately, they will add up to the story of who we were on this planet: what it took to keep us alive, what we left behind.

Source: Stalking the Vegetannual | by Barbara Kingsolver | Orion Magazine March-April 2007

The View Out My Window

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As I sit this morning at the laptop this is the view out the window beside me. As you can see from the image, the predominate color has to be called Spring Green.

Looking around my yard you will still find the Pecan Trees and the Hackberry Trees leafless. Even the Redbud Tree in the front yard is now showing leaves and not the flowers of last week.

If the weather continues like this the Bluebonnets should be putting on a great show next weekend. If the weather holds I try to get some shots from the road to Austin.

Sunday Funnies – I don't think so!

I am reading my emails this morning and when I saw the title of George Will’s rant of the day, “Anger Is All The Rage”, I could see where it was going. But, I really found the final paragraphs classic Will…forgive the rant on a Sunday morning

The politics of disdain — e.g., Howard Dean’s judgment that Republicans are “brain dead” and “a lot of them never made an honest living in their lives” — derails politics by defining opponents as beyond the reach of reason. The anger directed at Bush today, like that directed at Clinton during his presidency, luxuriates in its own vehemence.

Today, many people preen about their anger as a badge of authenticity: I snarl, therefore I am. Such people make one’s blood boil.

I am sorry George Will, but I take pride in my anger at George W Bush. It predates his run at the White House by a good number of years. It isn’t partisan, I am an equal opportunity hater. My hate for George Bush goes back to the very first time I heard him insult my intelligence by trying to spin the past I knew into his own version of reality. As he has continued the spin, I have continued the hate. Call it a mutual dis-respect compact…I’ll quit hating the man the minute he shows me enough respect to quit lying to me.

So George Will, if you think I do this for show you’ve missed over a decade of the show, because that’s how long it has run…ever since Karl Rove spread his brand of political smear in Texas to get George W elected Governor. I found it hateful then and I find that same behavior hateful now. As the old saying goes…You reap what you sow. And if there has ever been a political party that deserves the harvest of it’s own sowing it is the Republican’s. Who but the Republican Party has run on issues that are nothing but hate…from gay marriage to flag burning, from school prayer to abortion the republican party of the past 15 years has done a memorable job of farming divisive, hateful issues. Let them continue to reap the harvest they have sown. Just don’t try to blame the liberals for the taste of the crop…

Source: George F. Will – Anger Is All The Rage – washingtonpost.com

Globalization – Another Point of View

I was reading email withe the NewsHour playing on the TV on Friday night when I heard an interview that captured my total attention.

Going Global
As part of his ongoing series of conversations about globalization, Paul Solman talks with Indian activist Vandana Shiva.

It was the comments of Vandana Shiva that just blew me away. I found myself agreeing with a lot of her arguments. If you have a bit of time the interview is worth the listen. Podcast

I now find myself looking for more info on her writings.

She appears to be well published in Resurgence Magazine. Here are some quotes from Issue 240…

Both ecology and economics have emerged from the same root: oikos, the Greek word for ‘household’. As long as economics was focused on the household, it recognized and respected its basis in natural resources, the limits of ecological renewal. It was focused on providing for basic human needs within these limits. Economics based on the household was women-centered.

There are also three levels of economy: nature’s economy, people’s sustenance economy, and the market economy. Nature’s economy is the foundation of all economies because it supports all life on Earth. In nature’s economy the currency is life and processes that maintain life. Money cannot measure nature’s health and wellbeing.

I have witnessed again and again that as people’s resources are commoditized and people’s economies are commercialized, money flow does increase in society, but it is mainly outflow from nature and people to commercial interests and corporations.

Source: Resurgence Magazine Issue 240: How Weaalth Creates Poverty

For more of her writings on Resurgence try this LINK

TGIF – 2771

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From the Thursday paper… Is it just me, are is this really just a “duh” moment.

WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday that it would bar outside medical experts with a financial interest in a manufacturer from voting on advisory panels assessing whether drugs or other products made by that company are safe and effective.

The proposed restrictions — which would also apply to experts with ties to competing companies — would significantly strengthen the FDA’s conflict-of-interest policy. One recent study suggests that more than one-fourth of FDA advisers may be prohibited from voting.

I mean…Really people, you just thought of this?

After six years of the Bush White House running the FDA, they have finally decided there may be an image problem. Come on, how many of you can relate to the phrase “like putting the fox to guarding the hen house”? Like almost every other branch of the Federal Government this administration has appointed industry proponents to oversee industry oversight. They have relaxed the rules and regulations or at very least the enforcement of the rules and regulations. Is there any wonder that the American People have lost confidence?

Source: FDA will bar experts with financial conflicts | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle

It’s time to check the mail…I’ll be back if anything is interesting…enough.

Well, I see spring has returned with a vengeance to the Blue Ridge Mountains. The forecasted highs are in the 70’s all the way up into Virginia. Ray says Boone may see a record high temperature for this day busted. The old high is 71, should be easy enough to break. Looks like our trip the end of July may be a bit warmer than usual. I sure am glad we are staying up high on the mountain. I am not even gonna talk about the weather here, suffice it to say we should see 80 today. Didn’t someone say this was the first week of Spring?

This piece from the Washington Post pretty much explains what I see as the major problem with the Bush Administration…

The Bush political operatives have become the people the Republicans once warned the country against — a club of insiders who seem to think that they’re better than other folks. They are so contemptuous of government and the public servants who populate it that they have been unable to govern effectively. They are a smug, inward-looking elite that thinks it knows who the good guys are by the political labels they wear.

This contempt has been evident in many of the administration’s failures.

From Iraq to Katrina with numerous other fiascoes in between. We will probably never know how much they have screwed up our government, but we will know this…It will be a long time before it’s right again.

Source: David Ignatius – An Inside-the-Bushies Mentality – washingtonpost.com

A Photo Just ’cause

What happened to Spring?

Walked out the front door this morning an the warm, heavy, still air reminded me more of early summer than of spring. I am sure there are a lot of folks who would love the weather we are having already this spring (my wife included), but it is just reminding me that this past winter has been the warmest since we began to keep weather records. I am not comfortable when the temperature hits the 80’s the humidity hits the 90% range and the wind doesn’t blow…Not comfortable at all. I guess if the scientists are right though I better learn to cope.

I received the first volume of the Highroad Guides I ordered, the “Highroad Guide To The North Carolina Mountains” by Lynda McDaniel. I started reading it last evening after running my blogroll. The was a paragraph in the preface that I would like to share…

“Not until the town of Hickory do we catch sight of these mountains. Just around a curve in the road, they suddenly reshape the horizon and, for a moment, make our breath catch. They are beautiful, majestic, glorious, and for the lucky ones, home. Magically, once they are in sight, we seem to coast toward them, even though the journey courses uphill the rest of the way.”

That passage brings back my first journey into these mountains I have come to love. I like to think it’s just my ancestral memory pulling me home, but chances are it’s those unfulfilled dreams of my young adulthood wanting to be recaptured and lived out.

I grew up a geology nut and a rockhound in a part of the country that has neither. As I walk the highroads of the North Carolina Mountains, all of these childhood curiosities come back to me…What is that flower? That rock? That tree looks like a pecan, is it a hickory? Every step bring new questions. The easiest way to recapture a portion of your youth is to remove yourself from the familiar.

One of the things that drives my family to distraction when we vacation in these mountains is my constant driving to explore. I want to “know” the area, drive the backroads, see the old farms, smell the woods along the creeks, stand on the tops of the balds. I have a need to hold all of these mountains in my mind. To feel the aged glory of the oldest geology in the US. That is what keeps me returning, even on a short trip in the middle of the work day via the virtual reality of Google Earth. The pull of the squiggly lines on the topographical map, the need to stand and let the eye caress the reality represented in the mapmakers art. The unfamiliar wildlife mixed with the familiar, the unfamiliar flora, all of these things call me back…Call me home.

Email calls…

From the Washington news yeaterday…

“One of the leading scientific experts said the consensus supporting this view on global warming is as strong as anything in science — with the possible exception of gravity.”
Al Gore at Senate Hearings on Global Warming

Barbara Damrosch has a new column out that raises hope for the future of the family farm.`

But a significant number of farmers are now getting back in by remaining small — even tiny. In his book “MetroFarm,” radio host Michael Olson details the growing phenomenon of cities ringed with mini-farms, sustained by the proximity of specialty markets. It’s an industry made up of many small niches, in which anything that sets a product apart from the uniformity of big-store fare is sought after and fetches a higher price. Your corner of the market might be an ethnic specialty such as Asian greens. It might be crops that chefs love, such as celeriac and mache. It might be artisanal cheese or fresh eggs with bright-orange, stand-up yolks. It might be cold-weather crops, seasonally grown. Or it might just be the freshness and flavor of food grown closer to home and with more care. The experience of shopping is often part of the product, too. A family or community atmosphere adds value to what’s for sale.

Source: ‘Bumpkins’ Grow Their Own Bliss – The Washington Post