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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Even Koch-Funded Push Poll Shows Majority Support For Wind Tax Credits

From The Green Miles
The American Energy Alliance, a virtual subsidiary of Koch Industries, has a new energy push-poll out today. Not only are the questions rigged, the sample is skewed – while only 26% of US population is age 55 or older, 45% of poll respondents are 55 or older. Asked the most pressing issue facing America, this group’s #3 answer is “President Obama.” (???)

But one question contains a revealing result for the strength and bipartisan depth of support for government incentives for wind energy. Keep in mind that by this point in the poll, respondents have already been falsely primed to think tax credits mostly benefit foreign companies and don’t work:

9. Companies that generate electricity using wind power get a tax credit from the federal government which is paid for by taxpayers. In general, do you think that is a good thing or a bad thing?

51 Good thing
37 Bad thing
12 Don’t know/refused
The poll then comically keeps pushing respondents further and further against wind (well what if a turbine fell on your dog, would you support wind tax credits then?), but the poll's damage to the Koch's message is done. It's more proof that, as Joan Walsh wrote for Salon this week, Democrats should fear the Koch machine's money but not its message.
crossposted at The Green Miles

What Julie Forced Me To Buy

My chum Rick's wife Julie is a dangerous woman.

How so? We were passing a Brattleboro art/craft gallery that I positively adore despite an odd experience with the owner when Julie stopped in her tracks, transfixed by a beautiful, complex strand of beads sitting in the window.

"This necklace is YOU, Donna," she says.

I don't often wear 'em but it was stunning. We were headed into the joint anyway so, would it really hurt to give the dazzling string of colorful bijoux a closer look?

Um...yes. I was able resist the siren song of the necklace BUT not the bracelet's call.

These are made by Mayan women in Guatemala, each is one of a kind and breathtaking. Resistance was futile.

Did Julie stop there with her drawing me into opening-my-purse ways? Nope.

We ALMOST passed a book shop -- truthfully, I need NO encouragement to enter a livre emporium. None. I swear, I can't walk by the store's doors without being sucked in as though some powerful tractor beam  has a lock on me. Can't blame Julie for that part.

What I can fault her for is showing me this book: Super Smutty Sign Language by Kristin Hensen.

Wanna know how to sign "Go fuck yourself," "Bitch, please," "Dumb Ass," or the ever popular phrase "Don't eat the dead lesbians -- they're forbidden?" THIS is your book! A lot of the phrases are completely over my past middle aged warped mind. I'm just not all hip, with it and down with what the cool kids are swearing about these days.

Ah well. I can study up now.

So then, what did I learn on my walk about town with Rick and Julie? She's a terrible influence on me. Yes, poor, sweet, painfully frugal and ALWAYS grown up and mature me has been led down a profligate, bawdy path.

Must remember to send a thank you note.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Oh Look -- I'm Not Home!

and Away
Right this very minute, I'm in Brattleboro with the lovely and talented duo, Rick and Julie.

Rick and I went to high school lo these 5,862,543 and a half years ago. We were in, yes, marching band together. He on tenor sax and me on flute. We were dorks. Stunningly gorgeous, witty as all fuck BUT, nonetheless, rocking the dorkitudeness con brio.

What can I say.

Rick just leaned in and proposed that we were not, in point of fact, dorks. Frankly, at the time, I didn't think so either. It is with the vast swath of passing time, distance, seeing those damned uniforms and remembering the execrable march tunes we played that brings me to my oh-so-solemn //snark// conclusion.

OK OK, there's also the fact that I despised the bully-boy, militaristically stiff and artificially rousing marches we had to play. Yes, there's indeed some not insignificant beauty to Stars and Stripes and I recall being real keen on the band's theme song, Cherokee but, well, I'll just stop right there.

To get back to the point of the post...I'm in Vermont with friends I last saw back when I had hearing and lived in Boston, not Valhalla. Yup, been about a zillion eons or so. They're up this way for a relative's wedding and, happily, are spending time with yurs truly.

We'll bop around my fav little Vermont art mecca and head back to Valhalla tomorrow where we'll have a dinner party (or dinnah pahty as we like to term it) with Steve and Elaine. It'll be like a high school reunion but, sadly, we'll be missing Jenny who couldn't fly in from Arizona for the evening.


Update From Tux Central

Rocco on my former, now his, studio chair
Coco on HER blanket
 So, here we are at two weeks and some change and Rocco's still mostly a basement studio dweller. During the night though, he's been known to make scouting runs to the upper floors.

How can we tell?

Eh, one morning there was not-Coco poop in our bathtub. I wanted to commend him for using the loo BUT he missed the can by about five feet. Perhaps this is just his way of saying "All bathrooms belong to me!"

Another night, The Amazing Bob came downstairs, in the tiny wee hours for some reason, and there was our brave boy, sitting in the window, handsome as good old Richard III, checkin' out the nightlife.

Coco seems pretty chill, just curious, now — this despite the fact that, I do believe Rocco's snarfing some of the food we leave out overnight for her. We're finding empty bowls most mornings and the kitten rarely, pre-Rocco, ate all her Fancy Feast. Rocco has his own midnight snack food but...em...he's a hungry boy and our girl just isn't a big eater so if it's OK with her it's fine by me.

There've been no kibble battles or any other sorts of brawls as far as I can tell and, boyhowdy, if our girl was peeved she would surely, absolutely let him know it!

Things are strangely peaceful.

I'll take it!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Bill Koch's Anti-Cape Wind Group Distances Itself from Itself

From The Green Miles
 To no one's surprise, Bill Koch's "Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound" front group for billionaires who hate looking at distant windmills has pledged to continue fighting Cape Wind despite the fact that the project is now committed to creating up to 1,000 jobs in New Bedford.

The statement from Audra Parker, the Alliance's top lobbyist, calls Cape Wind a "project already struggling under the weight of lawsuits". Audra doesn't say, but those lawsuits have either been filed by the Alliance directly or by partners like the town of Barnstable, which has taken at least $400,000 in Alliance money to pay lawyers. Why isn't the Alliance taking credit for its own lawsuits?

I've worked for or volunteered with several non-profits and at all of them, if we filed a lawsuit that slowed or stopped something we opposed, we'd be desperately trying to take credit for it. We'd have spent months or years rallying grassroots supporters behind our cause and we'd be thrilled to deliver them a win.

The Alliance is doing the exact opposite because it has no grassroots. It's pure Astroturf, using Bill Koch's green to buy the appearance of public support and hoping you can't smell the plastic.
crossposted at The Green Miles

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Monopoly Rules

The card I DON'T want
Whelp, I made it. No major push-the-panic-button freak outs in the tube and I’m done, with brain MRIs, for the year. There’ll be another for my liver some time in the next few months but this one was the biggie.

Mind you, those two shots of Jamie with the Lorazapam chaser surely smoothed the ride.

Still and all, there was a point where the monster panic beast hit. Of a sudden, I was certain that the techs had gone home for the night and I was stranded in the tube. Did I mention alarm, confusion and radical horror? Yeah well, I was able to figuratively step back from my frenzy and give it a good sane once over. I snapped out of it and put my head back in chill central.


I get the results from Doc Plotkin on Tuesday. I’m not expecting any Go To MGH, Go Directly To The OR, Do Not Pass Go, yada yada yada but, eh, who knows.

This is how I went through my 30s — ten years of some amalgamation of chilled out peace and freedom and, at the same time, stone fear. Every six months I’d tense up like mad. The tumors WERE growing at a consistent pace but my luck held — growth wasn’t enough to risk surgery. 

My 40s were a whole 'nother ball of earwax.

So, I’m making grand attempts at remaining calm and mostly succeeding. IF those sneaky bastid acoustic neuromas and my extra added meningiomas (living both in my head and on my spine — opportunistic fuckers that they are) have gotten fat and happy on me since we lasted check on ‘em — if they’ve partied their way up to Sumo-esque dimensions — we’ll deal with it.

I’m not alone. I’ve got The Amazing Bob, Jen, Oni, Helen and Celeste here, to say nothing of Coco and Rocco.
What I want

Friday, September 12, 2014

Mellow Babe

It’s MRI Day. At noon today I’ll be suited up in those ever so stylish johnnies. The nurses will be injecting Easter Egg dyes (swear that’s what they’ve told me it is!) and other crap in my veins. I’ll be strapped down to a thin bench and rolled into a torpedo tube which’ll take, undoubtedly, embarrassing shots of my nekkid brain which’ll end up on the web somewhere insuring that I never get a job with NASA or something. I’ve already said a zillion and one half bits about my rather prodigious, overgrown claustrophobia.

Today though I’m going to be all chilled out. I’m going to defy my inner Woody Allen and mellow the fuck out.
 You know, I don't think I could take a mellow evening because I - I don't respond well to mellow. You know what I mean? I have a tendency to - if I get too mellow, I - I ripen and then rot, you know.
I’ll try not to rot. Wouldn’t want the techs to have to clean that up.

The Grand Mellowing began last night actually.

I allowed myself a shot of the primo Jamisons that my pal Greg gave me for my birthday. I’m trying to make that beautiful elixir last but yesterday evening was the perfect time to break it open.

Last year’s tube time wasn’t so bad and I owe that all to Doc McKenna who gave me this trick — don’t start taking the calm me down pills (lorazapam) a half hour pre-tubing. Start a day or two before. One at night before bedtime, one in the afternoon of the following day, another at night, on the morning of the MRI and then one a half hour before entry.

The idea is to head off all the anxiety and neuroses before it has the chance to wrap it self around me like some Giger-esque panic beast.

On top of my semi magic pills and that Irish Panacea Potion, I’ll be doing the deep breathing waltz — focusing on my intake and exhale. And I will have my very creative mind wander far — miles and worlds away.

Jen Oni and I are reading Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter’s Long Earth Series.
The book explores the theme of how humanity might develop when freed from resource constraints: one example Pratchett has cited is that wars result from lack of land – what would happen if no shortage of land (or gold or oil or food) existed?[8]
The 'Long Earth' is a (possibly infinite) series of parallel worlds that are similar to Earth, which can be reached by using an inexpensive device called a "Stepper". The "close" worlds are almost identical to 'our' Earth (referred to as "Datum Earth"), others differ in greater and greater details, but all share one similarity: on none are there, or have there ever been, Homo sapiens - although the same cannot be said for earlier hominid species, especially Homo habilis.
The book deals primarily with the journeys of Joshua Valienté (a natural 'Stepper') and Lobsang, who claims to be a Tibetan motorcycle repairman reincarnated as an Artificial intelligence.
So yeah, while entubed, breathing deeply, I’ll be focusing my mind on other things. What would I find and how would I live on Pratchett/Baxter’s millionth world from our own? Will there be cats or cat-like wonders. Will there be indoor plumbing and TEMPUR-Cloud Luxe mattresses? Will there be Italian Roast coffee shot through with just a hint of french vanilla? Can I trike the Long Earth?

I believe I’ll let my mind explore my Hebridean Bike Sojourn dreams. It looks like, if I start on the Isle of Skye, I’ll have loads of options. There’s the relatively short ride of seven miles around Loch Langaig and the Quirang  . Then there’s the 36.53 mile run from Portree to the Kyle of Lochalsh. Hmmm, those seem like a fine start.

That ought to keep my mind busy while the tube’s taking intimate snaps of the insides of my rather interesting brain.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Green Karma Redux

When I first moved to Boston, I couldn’t afford to buy meat so my veggie motivation was primarily economic. As finances improved I began eating meat again but it just didn’t feel right.

The turning point for me, quitting the four leggeds anyway, was when I started traveling in rural Scotland. Having to get out of the car to shoo these giant cows out of the road so I could get by, well, convinced me.  Once I’d had a convo with Bessy, Floyd, Penelope and Bruce — you know, to ask them if they wouldn’t mind moving off the A850 so’s I could squeak by — I just couldn’t imagine dining on their brethren.

And then there were SO many beautiful sheep! I couldn’t square my mad love for lamb chops with these gorgeous babies.

Chicken and Turkey were next. Did you know? Chickens can be quite beautiful. I was shocked. Turkeys are no slouches in the looks department either. When we lived in East Cambridge I would occasionally see wild ones on the MIT campus. Really! These giant, stunning boids would swoop down, landing ever so lightly in a patch of grass. I’d just stand there goggling over their magnificent, free handsomeness.

The no fish thing, for me, is recent but the seeds were sown, so to speak, years ago at that dinner party in Italy.

So that’s me. Mostly I’m of the “eating animals? eeeuuwww!” school that Hillel mentioned but, as age has hit me like a giant hod of bricks screaming down on me at 90mph, being a vegetarian is also about health crap. You know — the low fat/high fiber dance.

I asked my cousin Della’s young (18 year old) daughter, Maya, why she’s become a vegetarian.
I was first introduced to the concept of vegetarianism when I watched The Simpson’s episode ‘Lisa The Vegetarian’ at around the age of 14. Watching this young girl feel so haunted by the concept of eating an animal made me question whether I really wanted to be eating my mother’s mouthwatering Italian meatballs.

Looking back, it was difficult for me to understand why all animals were not treated equally, with some worth less just because they taste better.

When I started being vegetarian it was a phase — I unfortunately favored the cuisine versus the animal’s fair treatment. After a brief return to meat, I tried again. I questioned why people eat some animals and not others. It became an obvious choice to not eat meat. To let them live their lives.

What I love most about that Simpson’s episode is that when Paul McCartney (and Linda) decided to guest star on the show, they actually requested that Lisa stay vegetarian for the rest of the series resulting in a permanent change for a character who will forever remain ageless.

Although I won’t be infinitely young I do see myself being a vegetarian for a very, very long time. 
“let them live their lives” — coolness.