Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for March 23rd, 2008

Let them eat rats

Posted by Charles II on March 23, 2008

There are food shortages worldwide. But this tale, by BBC’s Mark Dummett, got my attention:

Sangram, a rat catcher in the remote Bangladeshi village of Theihkyong, has never been busier and nor has his work been as important as it is now.

That is because the fields surrounding the village have been stripped by an invading army of rodents, which villagers say crossed over the nearby border with India three months ago.

It has become more than a job. Sangram now needs the rats to keep his family members alive.

They eat two bowls of smoked rat a day, accompanied by the wild roots he finds in the forest.

“My wife, my five children and I normally eat rice, but the rats have destroyed everything,” the grim-faced Sangram said.

“All we have left are the rats and these wild potatoes.” 

125,000 people in Bangladesh’s hill country are about to get cut off from the rest of the world due to the monsoon floods. Due to a 50-year cycle, an enormous crop of bamboo seeds has nurtured an equally enormous harvest of rats. The rats have eaten all the rice, so there’s nothing to eat but rats.

Might be time to make a contribution?    

Posted in global food crisis, global warming | Comments Off on Let them eat rats

The Projection Room

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 23, 2008


Glenn Greenwald noticed the strangely twisted racist efforts by a favored Instapundit blogging ally, “Instapunk”, to project his own racism onto black people.

David Neiwert picked up on similar efforts by Pat Buchanan, Bridget Johnson, and Rush Limbaugh:

What you’ll notice in all this, of course, is that all these folks really aren’t concerned about black people at all. They’re talking to white people, and basically reinforcing the stereotypical view that there’s just something wrong with those black people. Why else can’t they see that conservatism is really about their greater good?

Folks like Limbaugh and Buchanan and Bridget Johnson like to complain that when blacks vote for liberals en masse, they’re engaging in “identity politics”. As always, they forget that “identity politics” in America was in fact created, and deeply institutionalized, by white people.

And there’s no small irony when the efforts of the historical victims of identity politics to break down those institutions are denounced as merely members of a racial identity group defending their own narrow interests. That’s what we call the “projection strategy.”

As always, this means that Republicans are giving us a warning about their own upcoming strategy. So when they begin accusing Democrats of indulging racism, we can be quite certain that the forthcoming election season will be nothing less than a full-on onslaught of Republican racism — excused, of course, by the claim that “they do it too.”

Yupper. These people project so much they should have “Bell and Howell” stenciled on their foreheads.

Posted in 2008, Barack Obama, mythmaking, neo-Nazis, projection, race in America, racism, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer, rights, rightwing moral cripples, Rush Limbaugh, Silly Republicans | 8 Comments »

Fog Versus Facts

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 23, 2008

If you accept the premise of this article, you’d have to think that Venezuela’s on the verge of collapse due to allegedly dropping light-oil output.

But if you see the hard facts set out in this article (showing Nigeria purchasing Venezuelan heavy crude) or this one (discussing the Venezuelan victory over Exxon), or this oldie from over a year ago (back when oil was still under $60 a barrel most of the time), you’ll see that Venezuela’s oil industry is doing better than the first article would have you believe.

Posted in Chavez, economy, energy, environment, Oil, propaganda, Venezuela | 1 Comment »

Personally I’d Go With Biofuels Instead, But That’s Just Me

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 23, 2008

The U.S. Air Force needs a high-performance fuel for its jets, but it also wants to get said fuel domestically. What to do?

Their idea: Convert coal to oil fuel. Not everyone is thrilled:

The Air Force wants to build at its Malmstrom base in central Montana the first piece of what it hopes will be a nationwide network of facilities that would convert domestic coal into cleaner-burning synthetic fuel.Air Force officials said the plants could help neutralize a national security threat by tapping into the country’s abundant coal reserves. And by offering itself as a partner in the Malmstrom plant, the Air Force hopes to prod Wall Street investors — nervous over coal’s role in climate change — to sink money into similar plants nationwide.

“We’re going to be burning fossil fuels for a long time, and there’s three times as much coal in the ground as there are oil reserves,” said Air Force Assistant Secretary William Anderson. “Guess what? We’re going to burn coal.”

Tempering that vision, analysts say, is the astronomical cost of coal-to-liquids plants. Their high price tag, up to $5 billion apiece, would be hard to justify if oil prices were to drop. In addition, coal has drawn wide opposition on Capitol Hill, where some leading lawmakers reject claims it can be transformed into a clean fuel. Without emissions controls, experts say coal-to-liquids plants could churn out double the greenhouse gases as oil.

“We don’t want new sources of energy that are going to make the greenhouse gas problem even worse,” House Oversight Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., said in a recent interview.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in climate change, energy, environment, Oil, Pentagon | 13 Comments »

This Cracks Me Up

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 23, 2008

PZ Myers went with his family and a few guests to see the anti-evolution movie Expelled — and was himself expelled!

But that’s not the funniest thing.

Seems that he was the only member of his group — who all used their real names to reserve their tickets, by the way (they had to in order to get tickets) — who was expelled from Expelled. Which is interesting, considering that one of his guests was none other than Richard Dawkins.  (PZ has more, including the debunking of a couple slanders against him.)

Posted in creationism, education, eedjits, Fundies, science and medicine, WTF? | Comments Off on This Cracks Me Up

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