Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for October, 2010

The Solar Roadways People Need To Look Into This

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 31, 2010

One of the biggest holdups in implementing the Solar Roadways vision has been the lack of a glass or other transparent substance strong enough to stand up to the constant abuse delivered by car and truck traffic, yet cheap enough to use on a large scale.

Shell’s Floraphalte may be just what they need, at least for the initial plan to do parking lots first:

Shell Floraphalte represents the next generation of clear binder for the production of high performance coloured asphalts, manufactured using plant based renewable ingredients.

Use it to bind glass chunks, use that as the top layer for the road panels, install in parking lots of big-box stores or fast-food chains. Since parking lots don’t see quite the abuse that interstates do, this is an excellent transitional solution that would allow the Brusaws to get their product out and bring in the cash needed to work on getting a cheap yet interstate-worthy substance for the long haul.

Posted in solar | Tagged: , | Comments Off on The Solar Roadways People Need To Look Into This

Now I REALLY Want Scott McAdams To Win

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 30, 2010

Seems some Alaska Republicans have been mocking Scott’s weight. Here’s his response:

Posted in 2010 | Tagged: , | Comments Off on Now I REALLY Want Scott McAdams To Win

GOP-Friendly Groups Refining Techniques To Scare Youth And Poor Away From The Voting Booths

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 29, 2010

Jeff Rosenberg reports the following:

Minnesota Majority, the group that is organizing gangs of thugs to intimidate voters on election day, is trying to turn our very polling places into partisan battlefields.

The law in Minnesota is simple: It says that no campaigning is allowed in the polling place. Voters must be allowed to exercise their right to vote peacefully, without being beset by partisans. The right to peace and privacy while voting is a fundamental part of our right to vote.

Now MN Majority and the North Star Tea Party “Patriots” are suing Hennepin and Ramsey counties for the “right” to outfit their voter-intimidation thugs with Tea Party logos and campaign slogans.

These groups are part of the umbrella far-right group “Election Integrity Watch”, and they’re trying to push to wear Tea Party slogans that aren’t even close to being disguised as non-partisan; the lawsuit won’t get very far in court, but that’s not its point. Its point is to be part of the climate of fear and intimidation that the Republicans are trying to create in order to keep younger and poorer voters from voting.

If anyone sees any instances of suspected voter intimidation, particularly in and around college campuses and low-income neighborhoods where voter-intimidation groups want to scare poor and twentysomething voters into thinking that it’s illegal for them to vote, call 1-866-OUR-VOTE and report it to the non-partisan Election Protection people:

Posted in 2010, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer, rightwing moral cripples, voting rights | Tagged: | Comments Off on GOP-Friendly Groups Refining Techniques To Scare Youth And Poor Away From The Voting Booths

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted by MEC on October 29, 2010

Posted in Alexander the Great, Friday Cat Blogging | 3 Comments »

Algae-Powered Vehicles, Courtesy Of The Navy

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 28, 2010

In a time when the only sacred cow in government is the Pentagon, the U.S. Navy leads the way in showing that algae-based biofuels can and do work quite well:

Swishing around in the vessel’s fuel tank is a 50-50 mix of algae-based biofuel and diesel that powers high-performance vessels in a way the military says is indistinguishable from conventional fuels.

The new boat is part of the Navy’s goal to boost its use of alternative energy, such as biofuels and nuclear power, to half of its total consumption by the year 2020. Only about 16 percent of the Navy’s energy currently comes from nuclear power, and the rest from fossil fuels such as oil. The service consumes about 80,000 barrels of oil a day to fuel all of its vessels.

Right now, since it’s a new technology, the algae fuel is expensive. But with the Navy’s backing that’s going to change, and rapidly. I expect that this is going to be made cheap enough for commercial jets within the next decade, if not the next five years.

Posted in energy, environment | 2 Comments »

What Catholic Voters Really Think (Hint: It’s Not What The Vatican, Or Republicans, Say They Do)

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 27, 2010

On the occasion of the Republican Party of Minnesota’s titanic efforts in trying to smear Betty McCollum and a DFL pamphlet praising the work of local Catholics in aiding the poor (a smear that one of its disseminators, David Strom, was forced to retract), I thought I would pass this on to all of you:

— Sexually active Catholic women 18 and older are just as likely (98%) to have used some form of contraception banned by the Vatican as women in the general population (99%). (National Survey of Family Growth, 2008)

— Catholics (69%) are just about as likely as non-Catholics to support medical research using embryonic stem cells left over from in-vitro fertilization procedures: Protestants (74%), other Christians (66%) and the overall population (72%) have broadly similar views. (Harris Interactive, 2010)

— When Catholic voters considered healthcare reform in 2009, and were asked about access to abortion, they supported health insurance coverage for abortion in many circumstances: when a pregnancy poses a threat to the life of a woman (84%); when a pregnancy is due to rape or incest (76%); when a pregnancy poses long-term health risks for a woman (73%); when test results show a fetus has a severe, abnormal condition (66%); and whenever a women and her doctor decide it is appropriate (50%). (Belden Russonello & Stewart, 2009)

— Only 14% of Catholics in the US agree with the Vatican’s position that abortion should be illegal (Belden Russonello & Stewart, 2009) and a poll released by the bishops themselves in late 2008 showed just 11% of US adults support the bishops’ preferred option: a complete ban on abortion.

— Only eight percent of Catholics believe that the views of the US bishops are “very important” in deciding for whom to vote. Seventy-three percent of Catholics believe they do not have a religious obligation to vote on issues the way their bishop recommends and 69% of Catholic voters do not believe they have a religious obligation to vote against candidates who support legal abortion. (Belden Russonello & Stewart, 2008)

— The vast majority of Catholics (92%) rate the economy as very important; almost as many (91%) say jobs are their top issue in the coming election. These numbers are nearly identical among all major religious groups and the overall population (90% for the economy and 88% for jobs).

— Social issues, abortion included, are much farther down the list with fewer than half of Catholics and Americans (both 43%) rating abortion as “very important” during this election cycle. (Pew 2010 Annual Religion and Public Life Survey)

Just thought you should know.

Posted in 2010, abortion | Tagged: | 37 Comments »

Solar Roadways: Inching Closer To Saving Us

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 26, 2010

The Solar Roadways people are inching ever closer to saving our keisters:

On Thursday, GE (GE) announced that Solar Roadways was the top community vote-getter in the company’s $200 million Ecomagination challenge. Although the winners won’t be formally announced until next month, Solar Roadways received the most votes among the community and was awarded a $50,000 prize.


As the electric car passes over the [solar-powered] road, it receives a charge from the road itself. One method for the power transfer involves induction, in which a magnet under the car would draw power as it travels over the road. Additionally, Brusaw’s prototype involves embedding LED lights into the road for navigation or safety signals.

The DoT’s impressed enough that it’s encouraged Solar Roadways to apply for a $750,000 grant on top of the $100,000 one the DoT gave them last year. They’re also urging the Brusaws to start with parking lots first, and to work with businesses such as McDonald’s and various big-box stores to retrofit their parking lots so people can charge their cars while they shop or eat.

Another thing that’s occurred to me: The big holdup here is developing a glass that can withstand 18-wheelers, frost heaves, and vandals. But that’s not insurmountable — and it’ll be a far easier nut to crack than fusion power’s proved to be. Plus, once that’s solved, whoever owns the patent on that super-glass is going to give Bill Gates a run for his money in the Richer-than-God department, as that glass will have potential uses far beyond solar roadways.

Posted in automobiles, energy, environment, Good Causes, Good Things, saving the earth, solar | 1 Comment »

Erik Paulsen: So Dishonest, He Makes Michele Bachmann Look Good In Comparison

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 25, 2010

Despite his really crappy re-elect numbers from earlier this year, the conventional wisdom has been that Erik Paulsen’s heavily favored to hold his congressional seat in Minnesota’s Third Congressional District. He’s got boatloads more dough than his Democratic opponent, to the point where he can run TV ads at will while Meffert must content himself with internet ads.

So why is he running as if he’s thirty points behind?

First of all, he keeps attacking Jim Meffert by name. A foundational rule of political advertising is that you don’t mention your opponent unless he’s gaining on you, or is ahead of you; if you’re as far ahead of Meffert as you’re thought to be, you pretend the guy doesn’t exist and concentrate on doing nice fluffy ads to burnish your favorable ratings numbers. Yet almost all of Paulsen’s have had Jim Meffert’s name in them, usually as the focus of unbelievably heated attacks.

Speaking of those attacks: They’re unbelievably bad ones, too. “Bad” as in inaccurate, wrong, and so stupid as to be laughable. It takes a lot to tick off WCCO’s Pat Kessler sufficiently to make him openly mock you on air, yet Paulsen’s infamous “Meffert’s gonna get ya granny” ad succeeded in doing just that (h/t Tild at Open Salon):

Paulsen Ad: “Jim Meffert, don’t cut my Medicare!”
Kessler: “Yeah, and don’t touch my rocket ship to Pluto either! That’s how far-out false the claims of this ad are.”

It’s not just Kessler that thinks Paulsen’s ads are a a big bunch of stink-eye. His ads essentially fail MPR’s Poligraph test, whereas Meffert’s internet ads do much better, and even Hubbard-owned KSTP, notorious for being the Republican station in town well before FOX News arrived, gave Paulsen’s Medicare-scare ad a “D” in their “Truth Test”.

But now, he may just have topped himself. In his latest ad, he cites a January 12, 2010 article from from Joe Bodell of the Minnesota Progressive Project — except, as Mr. Bodell points out, Paulsen, erm, misrepresents the contents of that article, having his ad claim that the January MPP piece states that Meffert, who backs cap-and-trade, is for an “energy tax” when in fact the words “energy tax”, or anything like them, are not to be found therein:

“Even if one accepts that Paulsen and his GOP leadership generally call the cap-and-trade proposal an “energy tax”, the citation is still completely false because those words never once appeared on MPP, let alone on the date cited by the attack ad.”

Bodell’s investigating the logistics of a cease-and-desist order against Paulsen. In any event, this may be one ad that Paulsen regrets running, as it looks like his history of bullshit artistry is about to catch up with him.

Posted in 2010, Minnesota, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer | 1 Comment »

Belated Congratulations, Mr. Kimball!

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 25, 2010

I got so busy doing other things that I missed this until today:

McLeod County Chronicle endorses Hal Kimball in SD 18 Open

Good for you!

Posted in Democrats, Minnesota | Comments Off on Belated Congratulations, Mr. Kimball!

Guess What? There’s A 95% Chance That President Obama Cut Your Taxes.

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 25, 2010

Remember the tax cut he and the Democrats in Congress pushed through for the 95% of us that aren’t rich?

The NYT’s Michael Cooper does, and is reminding people of it:

What if a president cut Americans’ income taxes by $116 billion and nobody noticed?


In a New York Times/CBS News Poll last month, fewer than one in 10 respondents knew that the Obama administration had lowered taxes for most Americans. Half of those polled said they thought that their taxes had stayed the same, a third thought that their taxes had gone up, and about a tenth said they did not know. As Thom Tillis, a Republican state representative, put it as the dinner wound down here, “This was the tax cut that fell in the woods — nobody heard it.”

Of course, the news media didn’t exactly give it the fawning 24/7 coverage it gives to Jersey Shore cast members or the Tea Party, so it’s not that surprising it fell — or was pushed — into the memory hole.

By the way, Obama cut the deficit, too.

Posted in 2010, Democrats, President Obama, taxes | Comments Off on Guess What? There’s A 95% Chance That President Obama Cut Your Taxes.