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Another Shakesville Problem

For the time being Shakesville is back at the “Old Place”. I can connect to the new place but the template is obviously broken, as if the style sheet is missing.

UPDATE: They are back home. 8:30PM – I spoke too soon.

July 23, 2007   Comments Off on Another Shakesville Problem


Mad Kane has come out with her first ever poll, and it’s on impeachment. Go and vote. If you’re in New York, Chicago, or Miami, vote often as is the custom.

I note it’s a WordPress plug-in so I could run polls, were I so inclined. Don’t worry, I’m not.

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July 23, 2007   6 Comments

Capitalism Is So Last Century

Melanie at Just a Bump in the Beltway wonders: Who Is Clogging the System?

She comments on an article describing the current high gasoline prices as being driven by accidents and mechanical breakdowns at refineries and some of the reasons there are so many problems.

What isn’t addressed is why there are so few refineries. The answer is simple – greed.

After all of those oil companies mergers the resultant companies began to eliminate all facilities that they deemed were redundant, which meant anything that wasn’t required to operate 24/7/365 to cover the current market demand. There were a lot of refineries shut down. There is no slack in the system which keeps the price of gas high, but, like just-in-time inventory control, makes no provision for problems or increased demand.

When asked about the problem the oil companies will give you a song-and-dance about eco-terrorists making it too difficult to build new refineries, rather than admitting that more refinery capacity would increase competition, and they have no intention of competing.

If you look around you will probably notice fewer and fewer gas stations, the brands disappearing dependent on the area in which you live. Too many gas stations increase competition and they are corporations, they aren’t interested in risk or competition. Capitalism is for the little people, not corporations.

July 23, 2007   Comments Off on Capitalism Is So Last Century

A New Book

My favorite Mideast expert, Dr. Juan Cole of Informed Comment has just received an advanced copy of his new book. Covering the beginning of the current cycle of outsiders invading the Muslim world, Napoleon’s Egypt: Invading the Middle East looks at a part of history that is little known.

As I remember covering the Napoleonic era in several different courses in high school and university, the Egyptian campaign rarely rated more than a paragraph when it was mentioned at all. Most of the information I received on the campaign was part of a discussion of the Rosetta Stone in a language class, and a discussion of compilers.

July 23, 2007   Comments Off on A New Book

It Isn’t Good For You Anyway

The Associated Press reports: Georgia plant shut in botulism probe.

Castleberry’s has a complete list of all the products: Expanded Voluntary Product Recall Information – 7/21/07.

The list includes all of their products as well as canned chili, hash, and beef stew that they make for others including most of the store brands in the South. It also includes Natural Balance canned dog food.

Botulism has only been confirmed in the chili sauce for hot dogs, but since it was in the plant, they are recalling all of the products from the plant.

July 23, 2007   Comments Off on It Isn’t Good For You Anyway

Not Just Yappy Nuisances

Because no one writes enough about them, and Andante of Collective Sigh has been really busy lately: Tiny Chihuahua Saves Life.

In Colorado a chihuahua took several strikes from a rattlesnake that was threatening a toddler. The child was not hurt, the dog survived, no mention of the fate of the snake.

I feel sure that my cats would have at least watched if I were being attacked.

July 23, 2007   7 Comments

The $100 Laptop

The BBC has a background piece on the $100 laptop, Factfile: XO laptop, that describes an excellent communications device for disasters. For about twice the price of receive-only crank radio, you could establish a network throughout an area with two-way communications, including visuals.

The “pull-string” power source is certainly interesting to those of us have been in area without power for extended periods.

They should offer to it the public for $200 so that every purchase pays for a free machine for the developing world, like US Indian reservations and our inner cities.

July 23, 2007   3 Comments