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Archive for January 15th, 2008

Moooom! Mickey’s Messing With The Space-Time Continuum Again! Make Him Stop!

Posted by Phoenix Woman on January 15, 2008

Either Michael Brodkorb (aka the Mouth of Sauron for Ron Carey, Minnesota state GOP Chair) really does think that his farts today cause earthquakes that happened last week, or he’s not telling everything he knows about certain things.

I found out from Across the Great Divide that he’s been banging away again at Minnesota’s Secretary of State Mark Ritchie like Ken Starr going through Bill Clinton’s jockstraps. (Never mind that the last Republican-driven effort to trash Ritchie came up with nothing to show for it; they apparently figure that if they can keep flinging mud against him, some of it will unfairly stick to him and not to the people flinging it.) It’s pretty pitiful, too. Check this out from last week (again h/t AtGD), wherein he accuses Mark Ritchie of not having a user-friendly caucus-finding tool on the SoS website:

You’d practically need a map to find the information. From the Secretary of State’s homepage, you have to go to “About the Office,” and then to “News,” and then to “Publications,” and then scroll down under “Elections & Voting: Voter Information” to finally find a document called “Minnesota Precinct Caucuses.”

Except that, as Charlie of AtGD showed, it’s not arduous at all — unless you consider two clicks to access a PDF file “arduous”.

What makes this even more hacktackular is that this week, Ritchie’s office came out with a new-and-improved caucus-finding tool, one so easy even a Brodkorb can do it, to paraphrase the GEICO ad. As Ollie notes over at BSP, it got rave reviews, too, even from Republican activist Sara Janacek.

This tool was obviously in the works for months, well before Carey’s Mouth o’ Sauron opened his trap about it last week. And Brodkorb, who in addition to being joined at the hip to Ron Carey was the GOP’s chair in State District 25 and thus would presumably be in the loop when it came to knowing basic elections information, should have known about it well beforehand, as Ollie points out (emphases mine):

To paraphrase a famous phrase from history: Did MDE know about the precinct caucus finder project, and if so, when did he know about it?

I talked to the communications staff at the Secretary Of State’s office to find out when the political parties knew that January 15 was the launch date for this multi-partisan tool. He had to ask the staff in the elections and IT departments for specifics, but just got back to me with the answer.

Since the political parties (which were all working very co-operatively with the staff) had to put the data about the precinct caucus locations into similar file formats, all of them were told of the firm launch date by October or early November.

Should we assume that MDE was acting on his own when he wrote the January 3 post in which he slammed not only Ritchie, but also the staff at the Secretary of State’s office? Should we assume he knew nothing about the project?

Or maybe MDE did know about the coming launch, and personal animus compelled him to smear public employees who he knew to be working toward a specific project. Whatever the case, he does seem have an obsession with poisoning the waters in which Mark Ritchie–and his staff–swim.

Occam’s Razor sez that Ollie’s right on that last bit.

Posted in Minnesota, mythmaking, Occam's Razor, phony scandals, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, Silly Republicans, The smear industry | Comments Off on Moooom! Mickey’s Messing With The Space-Time Continuum Again! Make Him Stop!

Noted with pleasure: Greg Mitchell has a new book

Posted by Charles II on January 15, 2008

Thanks to Atrios, I learn about Greg Mitchell’s new website, and from the new website, about his new book, So Wrong for So Long. A foreword by Joe Galloway, a preface by Bruce Springsteen, and a liner promo by Bill Moyers. What else do you need to know, besides the price? 

The one downside: Greg Mitchell used Blogger for his website.

Posted in Good Things | Comments Off on Noted with pleasure: Greg Mitchell has a new book

I Hope The Folks At Salon and The Nation Have Good Guard Dogs

Posted by Phoenix Woman on January 15, 2008

They’re going to need them:

Anti-Castro Cuban exiles who have been linked to bombings and assassinations are living free in Miami. Does the U.S. government have a double standard when it comes to terror?

It sure does.

Posted in colonial wars, corruption, Cuba, terrorism, WTF? | 1 Comment »

Wow! Someone At GM Actually Has A Brain And Is Not Afraid To Use It!

Posted by Phoenix Woman on January 15, 2008

Check this out:

General Motors, eager to ensure a supply of fuel for the big fleet of flex-fuel ethanol-capable vehicles it is building, has joined the rush into alternative energy and invested in a company that intends to produce ethanol from crop wastes, wood chips, scrap plastic, rubber and even municipal garbage.

Rick Wagoner, G.M.’s chairman and chief executive, announced the investment on Sunday in a speech at the opening of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The company purchased an equity stake in Coskata, a start-up company in Warrenville, Ill., that plans to make ethanol without using corn. G.M. would not say how much it paid or how big a stake it took in the company.

Coskata plans to build a pilot-scale plant this year in Warrenville, William Roe, the president and chief executive of Coskata, said in a briefing with reporters last week. It has demonstrated all the phases of its technology but has not linked them together in an operating plant, he acknowledged.


Coskata is one of many companies, and far from the leader, in an emerging world of start-up firms that are making alternative fuels with a mix-and-match approach to existing technologies. In Coskata’s case it is a combination of gasification and bacterial action.

The first step is cooking the raw feedstock into synthesis gas, a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. That gas is cooled and fed to bacteria that consume it and excrete ethanol.

Coskata is not the only company pursuing the gas-to-bacteria-to-fuel route, but claims its process gives more ethanol per ton of raw material — 100 gallons — and uses less water, less than one gallon for each gallon of ethanol.

If it can be done economically, the Coskata process has three large advantages over corn-based ethanol, according to General Motors. First, it uses a cheaper feedstock that would not compete with food production. Second, the feedstock is available all over the country, a crucial point since ethanol cannot be shipped from the corn belt to areas of high gasoline demand in existing pipelines.

In addition, the process appears to require less electricity and natural gas, meaning that making it would not release as much carbon. The product would qualify for a federal tax exemption for ethanol.

Mr. Roe said that “at full production, Coskata ethanol should be 50 cents to $1 cheaper than gasoline at the pump,” and that the total production cost would be under $1 a gallon when the fuel begins flowing in 2010 or 2011. Mary Beth Stanek, G.M.’s director for energy and environment, said the process showed “near-term readiness” and that no scientific work was involved to commercialize it.

Things to take away from this piece:

1) The process described is far more water-efficient than that for corn-based or even celluosic ethanol production. Corn-based ethanol uses five to six gallons of water for every gallon of fuel produced; it’s helping to suck once-full aquifers dry in the Midwest. To be able to get a gallon of fuel for twenty pounds of rubbish and less than a gallon of water (which itself could come from waste water) would be wonderful in more ways than I can describe at present.

2) Our landfills suddenly start shrinking, or at least stop growing.

3) Our carbon footprint shrinks.

4) Our air gets a lot cleaner.

5): The stuff should be cheaper than what we’re paying now at the pump, which in itself would be a big boost to our economy.

6) Of course, GM is doing this to save itself and the notion of “two cars in every garage”, an aspiration that’s spread well beyond our borders. But the technology shown here has applications that go well beyond the gas tank. Think of being able to, for instance, switch from burning garbage for electricity to burning clean ethanol instead. This is something that can be used right now with minimal retooling of our infrastructure. At the very least, it can help tide us over until solar, wind and other renewable technologies grow to the point of shouldering our energy load, which is I’m sure what GM is thinking about. They’ll have to go electric sooner or later, but if they can use this to finance the transition (and shrink America’s landfills while they’re at it), it’s all good.

Posted in doing the right thing, economy, energy, environment, getting a clue, global warming, Good Things | 5 Comments »

Algiers, Afghanistan

Posted by Charles II on January 15, 2008

Declan Walsh, The Guardian:

Taliban militants stormed Kabul’s leading luxury hotel last night, killing seven people in a significant escalation of insurgent tactics against foreign civilians in Afghanistan.

Heckuva job, Bushie.

Posted in Afghanistan, terrorism | Comments Off on Algiers, Afghanistan

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