Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Mitchella Repens!

Merry Christmas!

I found this on the forest floor today. My best identification is Partridge berry (Mitchella Repens). It's supposed to be edible, but not tasty, so I didn't try it, but it did remind me of the season.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

When Good Democracy Goes Silly

Voting is such a joke. Well, it must have seemed that way, for some people as they made their way to the Minnesota polls. I've watched a little of the Minnesota Canvas Review Board webcast at, and in the space of a few minutes some crazy ballots came up, reflecting our dear Minnesotans' sense of humor.

The first one thought it would be fun to change the name of candidate Franken, to Frankenstein, but I bet they didn't expect their mischief to appear on state-wide TV! [ Especially since they spelled it wrong. ] The Coleman campaign advocate was brazen enough to suppose that the voter was voting for someone else named Frankenstin, and definitely not candidate Franken!

The second ballot voted legitimately for Senate, but on lower level offices, our voter clearly subscribes to Flying Spaghetti Monsterism. All hail to His Noodly Appendage!

I'm glad for my Minnesota brethrens' senses of humor, but perhaps the voting booth is not the place to express it.

Update: Here's one more. I for one welcome our new Lizard People overlords.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tomato Legacy

Well, today I finally finished the last of my summer garden tomatoes. The last bunch was picked green before the frost right before Thanksgiving, and they slowly ripened over the past few weeks. Most of those last ones were small cherry-like tomatoes, and not so tasty, but a few were great! I had a grand total of 70 tomatoes from three plants. I will definitely try this again next year.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Multiplier Effect - some results

My previous post, "Multiplier Effect," outlined the economic impact of various possible stimulus packages. On the top of the list -- those stimuli that provide the greatest productivity improvement per dollar spent -- were capital infrastructure improvements.

President-elect Obama's new plans include:
Save one million jobs through immediate investments to rebuild America's roads and bridges and repair our schools: The Obama-Biden emergency plan would make $25 billion immediately available in a Jobs and Growth Fund to help ensure that in-progress and fast-tracked infrastructure projects are not sidelined, and to ensure that schools can meet their energy costs and undertake key repairs starting this fall.
Create a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will address the infrastructure challenge by creating a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank to expand and enhance, not supplant, existing federal transportation investments.

It sounds promising, but of course the devil is in the details. As this Washington Post article points out, many of the actual projects will be more maintenance-type activities, rather than huge monorail systems. But if the goal is to improve the job situation at the same time as improving national infrastructure, these types of projects will certainly help. The big risk, when spending large amounts of money quickly, is of fraud, theft and corruption. In that case, the money will still have a stimulative effect -- even the thief spends his swag -- but the national will not get the full benefit.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

"A goodbye kiss from the Iraqi People"

From the BBC, Shoes thrown at Bush on Iraq trip (click link for video):
A surprise visit by US President George Bush to Iraq has been overshadowed by an incident in which two shoes were thrown at him during a news conference.
In the middle of the news conference with Mr Maliki, a reporter stood up and shouted "this is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, dog," before hurtling his shoes at Mr Bush, narrowly missing him.

Around the world, American leaders are now welcomed with open arms and bare feet! Who knew that in Iraq, it was a sign of endearment to play doggy-fetch with your slippers?