Showing posts from 2011

Bury Power and Telco Lines!

I Say It Again... BURY THEM!
OK, I said it before.  But here a very nice piece noting that in Connecticut, every big storm that cuts the power for long, expensive, uncomfortable periods of time reflects prior identical problems.  Check it out here
Point is, we could end this madness of 19th Century power distribution.  Huge savings in money and inconvenience.
Put the returning vets on the case!


Feb 2  (what? 2008?
Bury Them! UnderGrounding

So how much did that Kentucky ice storm cost?

Millions of people without power, plus of course, their factories, shops, offices, banks, government installations, plus the call-up of the whole Kentucky National Guard... on and on, the costs skyrocketed.

Main problem? Power lines. Wires on top of poles, the way we have distributed electricity since the first days of the telegraph set the standard. Power line wires run by and through trees. They not only collect unsupportable ice weight during bad ice storms, but the trees arou…

Evolution, Evolution, Evolution

EVERYTHING Is Explained by Evolution

...At least everything human.  And I actually think pretty much everything that's alive, including plants, "germs," bugs and irresistible puppies are all fully explainable by evolution.

I've bought into the idea that if a human trait - even a weird one - is around today, it was survival-positive at some point in our evolution, thus became part of what the human race is.  For instance schizophrenia, not a trait you might consider all that valuable these days.  But back there in deep pre-history, the schizos probably were very effective shamans, and a tribe with a really wild shaman had survival advantages.  You can write the scenario as well as I can.  

Could'a Been Us

In one of my fav magazines NewScientist writer Kate Raviliousput together a fine piece (07 November 2011) expanding on current thinking on this "EVERYTHING Is Explained by Evolution" bit.  She summarizes (and adds to) the work of archaeologist Penny Spikin…

BIG Water Moving

No More Floods; No More Droughts
(Future) Historical fiction (Revisited)
As our Congress messes around doing absolutely nothing about improving America's infrastructure, I can't resist pulling up my RBI (Really Big Idea) from 2003.  Put on your "government could really work" rose-colored glasses and read this.

May 2020    The Mississippi River is approaching flood stage in Illinois, Indiana and Missouri.  The Corps of Engineers monitors the levees and dikes with the giant web of depth gauges and flow meters.  The U.S. Weather Bureau is predicting major rainstorms in several of the watersheds.  Supercomputers are crunching trillions of numbers and putting options in clear graphical displays in front of Corps decision makers.  
The top Corps engineer picks up the Red Phone and calls the White House.  Connections are made and the Secretary of the Interior, the Vice President and The Woman Herself come online and listen to the report. “It’s an easy one, ladies and gentlemen,” …

Big Government, Little Government

More Thrill of Getting Published.
The whole warped argument about our national debt must be seen in a different light if we are ever going to see the light. I took a modest whack at it in this piece, printed in The Mountain View Telegraph, one of our weeklies hereabouts.
(Unreadable, but cute, no?)
Here 'tis, readable:
What Are Your Government Wants?

Thursday, 21 July 2011 09:09Willis Duff
Tijeras resident
The word "government" has been mutated by some into "monster," a conniving enormity out to "get in your way." Perhaps it's because the combination of local, state and federal government is just too big for us to see clearly, like fleas have trouble seeing the dog. So it must be a monster.In truth, government is a huge nonprofit whose purpose is to keep our civilization functioning the way we want it to.In the U.S., the government works for you. You are the client. "You" are all of us citizens. We-the-p…

Ruled By The Right

"Message Control" a Super Weapon of the Right
Americans aren't nuts. We actually know what the important stuff is, even though we are bludgeoned with talking points - all carefully orchestrated by the Selfish Rich (see the next post below).
Proof that we are not crazy? Try this:

Now you know I'm a survey maven, no? This is well designed, well executed public opinion polling. There is a very high probability that it represents how Americans actually think. But would you guess that from what Congress is up to? No, not Congress, the crazed Right Wing Nuts in Congress and the corporate media that echos their brain farts. Our agenda is being set by a small minority of well-organized loudmouths riding an ideological broomstick.
JOBS and THE HEALTH OF OUR ECONOMY are the real issues. The current madness of Slash Slash Slash into the humanitarian side of government spending, and Give Give Give to the richest is, well... madness!
Even Genuine Conservative David Brooks take…

"Think Tank" Corrupters

They Own Your Mind

You think your are thinking straight? Probably not. Because THEY have control of your mind...daDUM!!!

I've been telling anyone who will listen about the "right wing think tank threat," but this fine lady says it best.

"The US main stream media is owned by maybe half a dozen large corporations. They all rely on advertising revenue from other large corporations for their existence. This means that these corporate advertisers control the message."You're not telling me anything I haven't known for years, but that's only part of it. Along with corporate interests there is a huge infrastructure of "think tanks" set up by wealthy family trusts -- the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Scaife foundations, the John M. Olin, Joseph Coors, Charles Koch, etc., foundations -- that actually generate fake data to feed to news media to keep people confused. This is in collusion with Big Oil, Big Pharma, and other monied i…

Mass Extinction Underway


Things that happen in slo-mo are invisible to most of us. Life is short, and events that take several lifetimes just disappear in the noise of day-to-day living. The BIG slo-mo elephant on the beach is climate change.
So what could be bigger? How about another MASS EXTINCTION as a result of climate change? There is yet another huge, fully credible, completely frightening report just out (on 20 June) warning of this looming nightmare, already underway, in our precious oceans and seas.
Here are just the headlines of this report :

Human actions have resulted in warming and acidification of the oceans and are now causing increased hypoxia.

The speeds of many negative changes to the ocean are near to or are tracking the worst-case scenarios from IPCC and other predictions. Some are as predicted, but many are faster than anticipated, and many are still accelerating.

The magnitude of the cumulative impacts on the ocean is greater than previously understood.
Timelines for…

The Bottom Line

Can't Put It Clearer Than This

Study: $2 trillion needed for U.S. infrastructure.

“Infrastructure should be part of the larger conversation about ‘what do you want government to do and how do you want to pay for it?’ ” said Jay Zukerman of Ernst & Young, which conducted the institute’s study.

Great piece. And oh how I agree! And how I answer the last part of the question.

Read the whole thing here.

Goodbye Mom

My Mother's Obituary
Jimmie Jenkins Duff Jimmie Duff , 101 years old, died of natural causes April 16, 2011 in Albuquerque, NM. Born Nov 9, 1909 in Petrolia, Tx. to Maggie Mae and Jacob Spencer Jenkins and raised by her grandmother Amanda Duval and uncle Earl Duval. She married Willis P. Duff in Sherman Tx. in 1932. Their home was in Bonham from 1945 through 1995. Memorial services will be held at the First Presbyterian Church in Bonham Saturday, May 21st at 11 AM. Jimmie Duff, beloved mother, grand and great grandmother was in many ways a pioneer. She was driving at 9. At Austin College in Sherman she was on the basketball team, long before women’s basketball was common. She was a member of the first women’s organization of any kind at AC, Kappa Gamma Chi. She was an early entrepreneur; she and Willis bought and ran a restaurant, The Gem CafĂ© in Bonham, right after WW II. As a social worker during the ‘60s for the State of Texas, she was an early reformer of private nursing ho…

Why Can't We Talk About TAXING THE RICH?

The Most Successful (and Destructive) Propaganda Campaign Ever

   Have you noticed? In our budget discussions we-the-people are like a one-legged man.... ...Trying to dance with a huge, two-legged woman. Half the equipment we need for movement is missing. Simply gone. Our dancing partner has more equipment than she needs. There could be four horses under that tent of a dress. Guess who leads?

And one after another of us, including really smart people amid the dummies, don't seem to notice the situation. The "one legged man" - the middle class and poorer folks seeking a solution for our ailing national, state and local government budgets - is in a dance with absolute apocalypse. A strong, fair, intelligent, problem-solving dance (discussion) is necessary for us to have any hope of avoiding this apocalypse.

So who is our dance partner? Not that good old foursome, Conquest, War, Famine and Death. So who? How about Oligarchs and their Lobbyists, Propagandists, an…

Unfunded and Underfunded, Three Obscenities

Sort of Makes Me Sick
Something is wrong here.
"Public Employee Pension Funds Underfunded by $1.5 Trillion"
When a state government negotiates pensions for state workers, then fails to fund them... that's, let's see... Lying (to the future pensioners), Irresponsible (to taxpayers), Damaging (to the economy) and Stupid (beyond belief).

That's obscene in my book.
Of course corporations have been making the same obscene decisions as well. It just seems stupider when it is our state legislators and executives doing it.
Why don't we hear some specifics, like which legislators and governors did it? Why aren't they the object of our scorn? Why aren't they held accountable?
But no, the public worker unions - who negotiated in good faith, and assumed the other side would act in good faith - get the blame. Who's side would you say the "corporate media" is on?
Reporting a big story and leaving out the actual facts is also lying, irresponsible, d…

Ezra Klein and Me

Great Minds, etc.I love it when someone I admire and respect agrees with me.Today, Mr. Klein, The Washington Post’s wunderkind (he’s 26!) highlighted four NY Times pieces that I just happen to think are super.He did it in his “Wonkbook” newsletter. (It’s free and good every day!)

1. Paul Krugman’s “Eat the Future” about how the Republican budget slashes are “unserious and inhumane” and kind of dumb in that they hardly touch the deficit while they crush actual people (Don’t forget, they slash NPR & PBS too).
2. Steven Pearlstein’s “It's Make-or-Break Time for Manufacturing” about how government can help (hear that, Repubs?), but it’s also up to the multi-national corporations to stop the cancerous loss of manufacturing in America.
3. Felix Salmon’s “Wall Street’s Dead End” about how the market is no longer doing what it’s supposed to do, let all Americans share in the success of American companies.I’ve groused about this …