June 11, 2011

Mission accomplished

Once upon a time, there was a lonely turkey whose mate was eaten by a predator. This situation required urgent action!

So it was off to the farm swap in Lucasville, Ohio, where you could find just about any creature you want for the right price.

Maybe even some you don't want.

While there, we found what may have been the only available female turkey, whose name appears to be Josephine.

The boy is happy now.

June 10, 2011

Head-banging sharks

Rock on, dude.

Every so often a news story surfaces that restores my faith, not in the world exactly, but in some small part of it. I was consoled to learn from the Spousal Unit about this story on NPR about the apparent musical preferences of sharks.

Now, if I got to write Nature's script, I would have given sharks a taste for hard rock and roll. It would just seem wrong for them to be fans of Donovan or Brianna or Yoko Ono.

This time, things seem to have worked out my way. According to the radio story,

...when Matt Waller, a charter boat operator in South Australia's Port Lincoln, played "Back in Black" and "You Shook Me All Night Long" by AC/DC underwater, he says the sharks become less aggressive. Some even rub their snouts against the caged speakers, which is adorable in a terrifying way.

"I guess the visual people expect is that of a shark with long hair kind of headbanging past the cage doing the air guitar," Waller says in an interview on All Things Considered. "But, of course, sharks don't actually have ears, and it's the frequency and vibration they're after."

If they turn out to like Alice Cooper as well, things will be just perfect on that front.

RULE BY CREDITORS. Here's Krugman's latest.

WANT MORE ECONOMIC GLOOM? Millions of Americans are likely to run out of unemployment benefits this year. And then there's talk of a double dip recession.

ON THE OTHER HAND, West Virginia's economy grew at four percent last year, the fifth highest rate in the nation.

HOT ENOUGH FOR YOU? Get used to it.

OUT OF WHERE? Here's an interesting update on research into human ancestors.


June 09, 2011

The new normal?

Here's an interesting--and ominous--statistic: more than 42 million people last year had to flee their homes because of natural disasters. This was more than twice as many as the year before. Climate change might have a thing or two to do with that.

The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre said the increase from 17 million displaced people in 2009 was mainly due to the impact of "mega-disasters" such as the massive floods in China and Pakistan and the earthquakes in Chile and Haiti.

It said more than 90 percent of the disaster displacements were caused by weather-related hazards such as floods and storms that were probably impacted by global warming, but it couldn't say to what extent.

It looks like 2011 is going to have some nasty numbers of its own. As this Newsweek article suggests, extreme weather is likely to be the new normal.


FIXING THE ECONOMY. Here are some ideas.

ANTI-WAR BIPARTISANSHIP? Maybe a little bit.


June 08, 2011

Highlighting an absurdity

I apologize for late posting today. Goat Rope Farm was without electricity overnight and into the morning after a storm yesterday.

In lieu of regular random rants, here are some pictures of the Rally for the Really Rich/Bake Sale for Medicare and Medicaid, which was held in Charleston WV yesterday evening.

In addition to the bake sale, we had some fat cats to highlight the absurdity of extending the Bush tax cuts while cutting vital programs for ordinary Americans.

It was probably the only chance some of us will have to see some people in tuxes.

There was a bit of street action.

Plus, we had great music provided by the Carpenter Ants.

Our "bake sale" netted $102 for Medicare and Medicaid. Presenting that princely sum to the government will probably be our next cheap publicity stunt.

June 07, 2011

10 candles for a bad idea

Today marks the 10th anniversary of, if not the Mother, then at least the Second Cousin of All Bad Ideas, to wit the Bush tax cuts. As deficit mania drives the political herd in Washington, people around the country are taking time today to state the obvious: it's time to end the cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

In El Cabrero's beloved state of West Virginia, some of us will be gathering at the Robert C. Byrd Federal Courthouse in Charleston at 5:00 pm today to hold a mock Rally for the Really Rich and Bake Sale for Medicare and Medicaid.

The Bush tax cuts were supposed to pay for themselves. That explains the huge surplus we don't have. They were supposed to promote economic growth and prosperity. That explains that the Great Recession didn't really happen--what a relief. And they were supposed to create jobs. That explains why the unemployment rate today is twice what it was when they were first enacted.

FOR MORE ON THAT, click here.

HAPPIEST LANDS. The US didn't make the list.


REMEMBER THE GOOD OLD DAYS when watching the Weather Channel was boring?


June 06, 2011

Double dipping

Lots of people have been talking about the disappointing job numbers released late last week. The private sector added only around 54,000 jobs, even while governments at various levels are laying people off.

Deficit mania, which has taken precedence over job creation, could well lead us back to a double dip recession. As many people have noted, something similar happened in 1937, when FDR cut back on public spending and wound up prolonging the Depression by several years.

THIS IS SWEET. Ayn Rand groupie Paul Ryan, would be executioner of Medicare, is getting some pushback from religious groups.

DESTROYING MEDICARE in order to "save" it.

MASSEYLAND. Ken Ward takes a hard look at Massey Energy's board of directors here.

MARCHING TO BLAIR. I hope nobody gets hurt this week.

WAXING ROMANTIC. Here's the latest edition of the Rev. Jim Lewis' Notes from Under the Fig Tree.

THE MAGIC NUMBER for friends may be 150.