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Hard Times

CNN has a piece on something that has been going on for years: In rural Alaska villages, families struggle to survive

… In many stores, two pounds of cheese costs between $15 and $18, milk costs $10 a gallon, a five-pound bag of apples costs $15, and a dozen eggs costs $22 — more than double the price in the area just two years ago.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, asked the Bureau of Indian Affairs to step in and help the towns most in need.

“I find it ironic, tragically ironic, that it takes an economic downturn in the rest of the country for this Congress to consider an economic stimulus for Indian Country,” she said during a Senate Committee on Indian Affairs economic stimulus hearing.

I find it immensely hypocritical for Lisa Murkowski to complain about a lack of stimulus for “Indian Country” when she voted today not to end the debate on the stimulus package in the Senate, and voted to remove stimulus funds for the states from that bill. Exactly how much help does she think these people will get from tax cuts? She is one of the people in “this Congress” who are blocking assistance to Native Alaskans and the rest of country.

February 9, 2009   2 Comments

What Is In A Name?

More than I have long expected, based on this rising political star in Israel.

The BBC profiles an ever more powerful whacko: “Avigdor Lieberman, leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu party, has emerged as one of Israel’s most controversial politicians.”

This guy, a former Modovan night club bouncer, will probably get a ministerial post in the next Israeli government.

Voting takes place on Tuesday to decide which minority party of right wing crazies gets to block any possibility of peace in the Middle East.

February 9, 2009   Comments Off on What Is In A Name?

I Get Mail

I’m sorry, but the guy from Frankfurt who is attempting to phish for Amazon account information really needs to do more research. All real Amazon mail starts with a recommendation that you buy something. If Amazon was in charge of the tsunami alert system they would recommend that you download a copy of Treading Water for Dummies to your Kindle, before they mentioned that a 30-foot wall of water would arrive in the next 15 minutes. More and better research is required.

For the group in Kansas that sent me a piece of literature suggesting that the Earth doesn’t actually move in an orbit around the Sun, and that this is just a “scientific theory” that ignores ancient writings and witnesses, I would suggest a couple of high school geometry classes as a starting point, because you aren’t nearly ready for a physics course. Putting them in print with color and graphics doesn’t make your concepts any less wrong. Really, go have a lie down and take your medication on a regular schedule.

February 9, 2009   5 Comments

The Burning Continues

The latest figures are 166 confirmed dead, and 740 homes destroyed with a more than a dozen fires still raging.

The wind is expected to increase which will spread the fires by sending embers airborne over fire lines. The fires are fueled by pines and eucalyptus which are both resinous and often “explode” in fires. Experienced campers often carry pine heartwood to start campfires because it lights readily and burns hot enough to dry out damp wood.

If you look at the pictures you will see brick structures with metal roofs gutted, as the fire was hot enough to ignite the roof trusses under the corrugated panels. Structures built that way would have been highly resistant to a fire threat in normal conditions, but the continuing drought and extremely high temperatures in the South, which is not normally the hottest area of the continent, dried out the timbers and made them vulnerable.

Authorities expect the death toll will be over 200, with hundreds of seriously injured people filling area hospitals.

Links:
ABC Main Bushfire Page with an updated map at the bottom
Wikipedia’s 2009 Victorian bushfires page that is constantly updated.

February 9, 2009   10 Comments