Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for December, 2007


Posted by Charles II on December 31, 2007

Proof that heads of right-wing banana republics all attend the same language school to learn English (via SenderoDelPeje).

Posted in Busheviks, Just for fun | 2 Comments »

This All Sounds So Familiar

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 31, 2007

Nicole Belle over at Crooks and Liars points out how John Edwards scares the punditocracy so much that they can’t keep their storylines straight:

When asked by host George Stephanopoulos which of the presidential contenders “handled” the assassination of Benazir Bhutto the best (a strange question in and of itself) George Will did not focus on Huckabee’s lack of knowledge or Richardson’s demand that Musharraf step down, but rather on the fact that John Edwards made a phone call.

GS: (The Bhutto assassination) was a major event, at least for a day, on the campaign trail. It seemed to freeze the campaigns. Who handled it well; who didn’t?

GW: Opinions differ. I would love to have been a fly on the wall of President Musharraf’s office when the aide came in. The country’s in flames, the army’s in doubt and the guy comes in and says, “We have holding on the line a former one term senator from North Carolina, calling from Iowa.

Could Will be more dismissive and patronizing if he tried? Turns out, yes. Because as the discussion moved to the upcoming Iowa primary and whose message was resonating most, again, Edwards’ message of populism was brought up. David Brooks immediately pulls a Noonan and discounts how “tough” Edwards can be, and George Will then subverts the whole definition of populism to pull as many conservative scare tactics as possible. How many strawman fallacies can you count?

Nicole asks, “Why does George & Co. feel the need to dismiss Edwards? Could it be that in head-to-head match ups, Edwards is the candidate who fares the best?” Yeah, could be.

Remember, too, the last time that CelebCorps tried to pretend that a major Democratic presidential candidate was both an ineffectual weakling pansy AND an evilly potent tough-guy vampire.

Posted in 2008, Al Gore, John Edwards, media, Media machine, mediawhores, mythmaking, narcissism | 1 Comment »

Molecular cooking

Posted by Charles II on December 31, 2007

Michal Palti, Haaretz:

After working at that restaurant, [Daniel] Pekkar joined up with another chef, Ruben Trincado, who had earned three Michelin stars at his Mirador de Ulia restaurant, one of the most renowned in San Sebastian. Together they competed for the Spanish cooking championship, “and you’ll never guess what dish made us win,” says Pekkar. “We made an omelet.”

Well, not exactly, of course. Pekkar and Trincado won the Spanish cooking championship for a dish they called “The Golden Egg.”

“We took an organic egg yolk and cooked it for 41 minutes at 62 degrees Celsius [in a special device that maintains water at a fixed temperature; they did not touch the object being cooked, which is encased in a vacuum bag],” explains Pekkar. “We coated the yolk with a substance that looks like gold, but which is made of powdered seaweed, and we injected the yolk with corn carbohydrate to make it crispy. We served it with beef bouillon and truffles. The whole thing melts in your mouth and the texture adds to the specialness of this dish. An egg that is a surprise.”

The article never manages to explain the idea very directly, but the basic idea is that if chefs understood chemistry better, they could cook better. So, for example, Pekkar found a Japanese mushroom that has the right enzymes to break down complex carbohydrates from grape vines and convert them into alcohol. Why one would want, a priori, to make wine from the vine rather than the grape is unclear, but this is the sort of creativity that can get us out of our growing environmental crises by using resources more efficiently.

Posted in Just for fun | 3 Comments »

Good Things For The New Year

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 31, 2007


Here ‘s a little roundup of Good News:

Charlotte’s loving their new light-rail system as much as we in the Twin Cities love ours: In both places, ridership far exceeded initial projections and just keeps going up. (H/t to Atrios.) As Puppethead points out, once people realize that the anti-rail people’s conflating wait times for buses with that for rail, rail starts to get more popular:

First, trains run more regularly and consistently, so it’s easier to get a ride. How many people have waited at bus stops wondering if they’ve missed the bus for whatever reason? And secondly, trains have multiple entry/exit points, so the embarking and disembarking takes only a few seconds. Each bus stop takes much, much longer because of the choke point of getting on at the front.

— The following Good Thing is best told by Xan of Corrente:

Remember a few weeks back when Nezua Limon Zolagrafik-Jonez put up a post called Christmas for a Wounded Pretty Bird? The short: a women’s shelter on the Standing Rock Reservation in Dakota, which helps Native women who have suffered physical or sexual abuse, got some fundraising help from the Net to get a shelter up and running.

In October some bastard stole everything out of the place and burned it down.

So the word spread—Pretty Bird Woman House needed help. They figured it up and set a goal of $70,000, which would get them a new building, furnishings, a few month’s salary for everybody while waiting on more grant money, etc. It was a figure of impossible luxury and thought to be impossible.

Happy New Year, folks. They now have, according to AndyT over at dKos, raised nearly $80,000 with more still coming in.

So what good news do you have to share today?

Posted in Good Causes, Good Things | Comments Off on Good Things For The New Year

The Malinche’s curse

Posted by Charles II on December 30, 2007

(via SdP), Amparo Ochoa and Gabino Palomares sing La Maldición de Malinche. The lyrics are here. The Malinche was the daughter of a cacique who was used by the Spanish to effect their domination of Mexico. The curse of the Malinche is the graciousness of indigenous culture in welcoming foreign influence while denying basic social solidarity.

Posted in history, immigration, Mexico | 2 Comments »

Somebody Check The AP’s Collective Temperature

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 30, 2007

They’ve just been caught picking on Mitt Romney.  Don’t they know that lying is only newsworthy when a Democrat does it to hide an old affair?

Posted in 2008, Mitt Romney, Republicans, Republicans acting badly | 4 Comments »

Gilliard On Colonial Wars, Then And Now

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 30, 2007

The late Steve Gilliard’s devastating series of posts on the bloody, unproductive, democracy-destroying and deeply racist and bigoted nature of colonial wars (including our current one in Iraq) should be recommended reading in all high schools.  Until they are, you’ll just have to settle for seeing them here.

Posted in abuse of power, colonial wars, historians, history, Iraq war, madness of King George | 3 Comments »

WaPo opens new front in war against Murtha

Posted by Charles II on December 29, 2007

What would you call it if Salk and Sabin were declared to be wastrels and failures if people didn’t take their polio vaccines?

Well, on a lesser scale, that’s what the Robert O’Harrow Jr. of The Washington Dopes… er, Post… has succeeded in doing.  Headlined “Millions in Earmarks Produce Little of Use,” we automatically know that the National Defense Center for Environmental Excellence must be a boondoggle because it was founded using those dreaded earmarks.  

Not only that, we know they must be wicked because the spokesman for the group that manages the Center, Concurrent, defended its “non-profit status, saying ‘we perform scientific research and development.’ “We don’t claim to be a charity,” she said. “We’re not the United Way.” But legally it’s listed as a charitable organization!  Almost like the all the other organizations that do medical and scientific research but don’t deliver three hots and a cot! 

A careless reading of the story would lead one to believe that this is a story about wasteful pork.  But if one reads the story, it’s very clear that the work the Center arranges to be done is vitally necessary. Unfortunately, in the classic throw-it-over-the-wall engineering problem, the Pentagon fails to implement the ideas and products the Center develops.

Why? Presumably because they, not irrationally, view their mission as blowing things up and killing people, not doing so in an environmentally friendly fashion. So, the problem is not wasteful pork, but a hidebound Pentagon.

Whether this organizational model is optimal for getting the research done is one question, separate from the question of how to get the Pentagon to expand its mission. I suspect one could squeeze more bang for the buck by getting Battelle out of Concurrent. Nor is it exactly unlikely that Murtha arranged this project for his district to enhance the probabilities of his re-election.

There is, however, no evidence produced by the Washington Post that this is wasteful pork and so one can only conclude that they structured the article this way to attack Murtha.

Anyone got an in with CJR or E&P? This seems like a journalistic outrage to me.

(Story via t/o)

Posted in Democrat-bashing, Media machine, mediawhores | 1 Comment »

Attack Of The Stupids

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 29, 2007

I see that the “let’s use the death of Benazir Bhutto as an excuse to see all Muslims as subhuman” folks have started to arrive on cue in various places online.

As coathangrrr says, compare the death tolls of Islam versus The West over the last hundred years; nobody on the Muslim side comes close to (the decidedly non-Muslim) Uncle Adolf.

For example:

Let’s say you choose to count the secular Ba’athist Saddam as a full-blown Osama-style Islamofascist — which is wrong as Saddam, as did and do all the other Middle Eastern dictators we’ve propped up, hated and feared Osama and his Caliphate dreams — and thus count all the people he’s killed, even those killed in the course of the Iran-Iraq War (which Reagan and Cheney and Rummy encouraged, by the way, just as they turned a blind eye when Saddam was “gassing his own people”, i.e. the Iraqi Kurds). Saddam’s death toll, using the highest estimates known, those of Human Rights Watch, was 290,000 over the quarter-century he was in power (and there are indications that HRW inflated this figure). Meanwhile, over a million people have died in the last four years as a direct result of Bush’s invading and occupying Iraq.

I’m actually being nice to The (Non-Islamic) West here: I’m not counting the regimes of China under (the secular Communist) Mao and Stalin’s (secular Communist) Soviet Union, which together may well have offed far more people than Hitler, if you go by the highest estimates (but which are, to be sure, themselves subject to debate at the very least).

Posted in anti-Muslim, Bush, Bush Family Evil Empire, BushCo malfeasance, Iran, Iraq war, Osama bin Laden, Pakistan, Ronald Reagan, totalitarianism, wrong way to go about it | 3 Comments »

Who was Benazir Bhutto?

Posted by Charles II on December 28, 2007

Benazir Bhutto as a young girl, from


Politicians are often the blank slates on which we project our own madness.  A recent article by the New York Times Company was so filled with resentment against Benazir Bhutto that I feel compelled to protest. The piece, which can still be read in the IHT, was a very personal attack against Bhutto as a woman and a Muslim. 

The worst instance was the choice of the phrase “the dance of the seven veils” to characterize Bhutto’s management of Pakistani political matters. The Dance of the Seven Veils is a well-known metaphor for sexual seduction, being associated with the dance Salome performed for Herod to get him to agree to murder John the Baptist.

It is worth recalling at this point that the Bhutto family has not been the murderer but, like the Kennedy family, the victim of murderous attack after attack. So, the peculiar metaphor of the Dance of the Seven Veils is not only Orientalist and misogynistic– with a whiff even of necrophilia– but it in effect criminalizes Bhutto as a murderer. Given the political context, of accusations by her opponents that Bhutto staged the first suicide attack against her, this looks very much like cleverly written hate-speech.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Media machine, mediawhores, Pakistan | 21 Comments »

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