Sunday 13 February 2011

aqua vītae, usquebaugh

or the 7-ball (pink) and the 8-ball (black).
(I'm standin' at the crossroad and I believe I'm sinkin' down.)
Up, Down, Appendices, Postscript.

The numbies are in charge!
Read it and weep.

Ontario Halts Approval of Offshore Wind Energy Projects Pending Review, February 11 2011, and Ontario scraps offshore wind power plans on the 12th.

How stupid is that? (more ...)

Isle Of JuraIsle Of JuraIn the picture you can see the cash drawer from the Martin Inn, the Ocean Falls Hotel, screwed to the wall and with a few keepsakes, and the very last bottle of Isle of Jura single malt.

Sometime in the 90's the distillery was sold to someone, or some 'thing' more likely, some corporation, and when I went to buy another bottle I noticed that the label had changed - and the whisky had changed too - to shite. Only useful as a rule-of-thumb now; good to sort out know-nothing pretentious twits without their catching on.

My son and I played hundreds of games of crib to see who was going to buy that last bottle; and when it was empty I kept it. You can see a tiny bit of something left in there if you look carefully - but it's not Jura. I broke a bottle of some other scotch later on one day, in a bag, and all I could do was pour what I could into the only empty bottle I could find - which was that one. But there's no more Jura. MacAllan's is ok, barely - I'm having one now - but it doesn't hold a candle to Jura - before the greed-heads trashed it.

Fuck your CC and your Crown Royal! :-)That's another good thing that came to me because of the gout. Even a small amount of blended whisky brings it on; single malt doesn't, even in (modest) quantity. Who could afford to be a single malt alcoholic? No, that's not it. I could have afforded it - single malt just doesn't take me that way at all.

Ballard StreetThere's a chip of Tyndall Stone from Doug Cardinal's 'Museum of Man' on the shelf there; a Peterborough Ontario cab driver's licence, a Fire Chief's badge, the end of a sperm whale's tooth; Quetzalcoatl on a belt buckle I had from a guy who came from Tuskaloosa Alabama via Vietnam and Mexico; my grandfather's meerschaum cigar-pipe with prancing horses carved on the back of it (in it's case) ... an abalone shell with still a bit of pink in it.

I was musing on perspective a few weeks ago. And then thinking about physical networks last week. This week I have been trying to get those networks into perspective. Wondering why they don't work? Rotten nodes get in there somehow I guess, the Bill McKibbens and Amy Goldmans with their egos and their brand names foremost; people get old, Noam Chomsky & David Suzuki; people get lost and fall away. Is that it?

I read Tsitsi Dangarembga's two novels recently: Nervous conditions from 1989, and The book of not from 2006. She seems to get lost. Seems to give up, get older; seems to disappear off the radar. Can't say really; maybe it's having a beautiful homeland like Zimbabwe; watching it get raped and ruined before your eyes.

Take two giant-steps back from the network of agape and it just vanishes altogether. Oh sure, the metaphor's still there; 1'armée des étoiles jetées dans le ciel. The stars are still in the sky, they certainly are and they are so beautiful, but they are no more than stars.

whatever it takesthe whole shittereeOmar Figueroa Turcios ... he's got blogs up the yin-yang: here, here, here, here, and here; wins prizes ... seems to have migrated to Facebook (?) I can't quite tell, won't go there.

I found an image of his last week. Born in 1968, in his 40's already, imagine!

The word this week is pé de cana. Hearkening back to 'feet of clay' a few weeks ago.

message in a bottleA man eating his dreams so he won't taste reality.When I was clearing brush up in Ocean Falls we would head out in the morning by boat. The boat had a hi-fi tapedeck and for several weeks it was wazizname ... Eric Clapton, the guitar player, with some album that didn't wear very well. I don't want to try hard enough to remember any specific tune - but it is coming back anyway ... Layla, but not the Derek and the Dominoes kind ... some acoustic shit, day after day; I got to hate Eric Clapton.

Back in the day there was another tune that fits in here somehow - Cream's cover of Crossroads ... 'save me if you please'.

Muhammed Muheisen PakistanMuhammed Muheisen PakistanMuhammed Muheisen PakistanNo more than stars, and ... no more than pink?

Everyone knows what the eight-ball is; and everyone knows what pink is ... eh? I'm not gonna say it - because there is so much little-boys-in-short-pants sniggering that goes on (among both men and women) and it irks me.

Pink's the stuff that makes humanity.

A-and a perfect example of what a physical network looks like too eh?

... I'm sorry, I can't even try anymore to get to the point of all this. "We asked for signs, the signs were sent, the birth betrayed the marriage spent," laments our own Leonard Cohen.    ... I'm sorry. I'm about done here.

Read it and weep dear reader, be well.


Hena Akhterher mother Aklima AkhterHena Akhter was whipped to death - she didn't die right away, that came some days after the whipping. I only found the story because I was looking for pink ... as I was idly musing about the subtleties of fuschia, vermillion, magenta ... and then I went to see what could be in Aklima's gaze?

John LaforetAnd I had decided at first not to post pictures of John Laforet, one of the severely retarded knuckleheads behind Ontario's abandonment of wind power. But the colossal complacency evidenced in the first photograph I saw of him (right), and wondering about the decision of someone at The Star to publish it, and his quoted remarks (?) ... so I thought, well, if I am curious then maybe other people are curious too - what does a 'mover & shaker' in this realm look like?

The guy makes Dumb & Dumber look like rocket scientist Mensa candidates. Just consider this: "John Laforet, president of Wind Concerns Ontario, called the move 'excellent' but said the Liberals don’t care about the environment. 'If they cared for it they wouldn’t be allowing on land projects either,' Laforet said, adding he’s watched wind projects go up after forests have been blasted down."
DOH (!?¡)

John LaforetJohn LaforetJohn LaforetJohn LaforetJohn LaforetPaul Krugman is wringing his hands this morning in the NYT, he says, "How can voters be so ill informed? In their defense, bear in mind that they have jobs, children to raise, parents to take care of. They don’t have the time or the incentive to study the federal budget, let alone state budgets (which are by and large incomprehensible). So they rely on what they hear from seemingly authoritative figures."

I think he lets them off easy.

The OED tells us that a fugue is "A polyphonic composition constructed on one or more short subjects or themes, which are harmonized according to the laws of counterpoint, and introduced from time to time with various contrapuntal devices."

Then, a little farther down, it gives up "A fugue is a combination of amnesia and physical fright. The individual flees from his customary surroundings; what he is really trying to escape is his own fear."

That's more like it.


1. Ontario Halts Approval of Offshore Wind Energy Projects Pending Review, Ehren Goossens, February 11 2011.

2. Ontario scraps offshore wind power plans, Tanya Talaga, February 12 2011.

3. Another case filed, bdnews24, February 11 2011.

4. Eat The Future, Paul Krugman, February 13 2011.

Ontario Halts Approval of Offshore Wind Energy Projects Pending Review, Ehren Goossens, February 11 2011.

Ontario’s government said it suspended approval of offshore wind-power projects, citing concern that more research is needed on their effect on the environment.

The Canadian province has also stopped accepting applications for its renewable energy subsidy program, its government said today in a statement.

Ontario said there is only one offshore wind project in a freshwater lake in operation in the world, in Sweden, and that it would not approve any projects in Canadian lakes until more research is conducted.

By 2018, Ontario plans to add 10.7 gigawatts of renewable energy under its Long Term Energy Plan while eliminating coal- fired power generation by 2014.

Ontario scraps offshore wind power plans, Tanya Talaga, February 12 2011.

The provincial government has suddenly abandoned any plans to construct offshore wind projects.

Citing environmental concerns, the Liberals made the surprising announcement Friday that they have placed a moratorium on building wind power projects in freshwater lakes.

While there are currently no offshore wind projects anywhere in Ontario, the issue has been a political problem for the Liberals as the October election inches closer and seats in rural areas are up for grabs. Anti-wind activists living along the Scarborough Bluffs also vigorously oppose any plans to construct offshore wind farms in Lake Ontario.

Activist voices have dogged Premier Dalton McGuinty when he travels to rural communities where wind turbine projects have been installed or are planned.

They say the low-frequency noise from the turbines causes health problems such as nose bleeds and headaches.

The premier has argued the push for wind is needed as Ontario phases out coal-fired plants and the push is made toward a green energy economy.

A Liberal insider confided that officials scrambled to announce the climbdown shortly after noon Friday when they realized it would be buried by the news from Egypt.

On Saturday, a senior adviser to McGuinty, said the timing of the announcement was determined earlier and had nothing to do with events overseas.

“You can take a shot at us for announcing it on a Friday, but the Egypt stuff is ... just false,” said the high-ranking official.

But Energy Minister Brad Duguid denied the move was politically motivated. He said it was done for environmental reasons.

“There isn’t a lot of science on freshwater offshore wind while there is tons of science on land wind farms,” Duguid told the Star.

Building offshore wind turbine projects in freshwater lakes is early in development and there are no projects in North America, he added.

There is one pilot project in Sweden at Lake Vanern and another has been proposed in Ohio.

“We need some time to review the science and we don’t have it today,” he said.

The Liberals will not back down on their land-based wind turbine projects, he added. “We have shown a lot of leadership on the energy file and we haven’t backed away one bit from tough decisions,” he said. “Our generation has to think of our responsibility here … to get out of coal, get cleaner air and provide a healthier future for our kids.”

Anti-wind activists called the reversal a victory.

John Laforet, president of Wind Concerns Ontario, called the move “excellent” but said the Liberals don’t care about the environment.

“If they cared for it they wouldn’t be allowing on land projects either,” Laforet said, adding he’s watched wind projects go up after forests have been blasted down.

“I think what they have realized is they have unleashed hell on themselves before an election and we aren’t going away,” he said. “One side of me feels vindicated in being a volunteer in this role … but at the same time I don’t believe for a second these guys care for the environment.”

Opposition critics called the announcement a spectacular policy backtrack.

The entire green energy act was founded on political science, not actual science, said Progressive Conservative energy critic John Yakabuski.

“This is a complete admission that these guys have a failed energy policy and never went through the proper planning in the first place,” said Yakabuski (Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke).

“Everything these people do is based on whether or not it will get them votes.”

Pausing wind turbine projects proves the government is making a laughingstock of itself, said NDP energy critic Peter Tabuns (Toronto-Danforth).

“It’s entirely possible this is a decision based entirely on saving a few seats,” Tabuns said.

“They flip-flopped on the Oakville gas plant and now there’s another big reversal from Brad Duguid,” Tabuns added of the energy minister, who cancelled plans to build the natural gas-powered electricity plant last October saying it was no longer needed. “They’re turning their backs on everything they’ve said.”

Offshore projects are merely a fraction of the government’s renewable energy plan, Duguid added.

So far, 1,530 feed-in-tariff applications for mostly wind and solar projects have been received by the government to date but less than five were for offshore wind projects, he said.

And only one offshore contract in Kingston with Windstream has been accepted out of the almost 1,300 approved contracts, Duguid said.

“That one project contract won’t be cancelled, it’ll be extended until the science is done,” Duguid said.

Jeff Garrah, CEO of the Kingston Economic Development Corporation, said he was “shocked and horrified” to find out that the offshore project in his area was suddenly on hold.

“We’ve worked with various offshore supporters for about a year,” he said, adding the overall loss is about 1,900 jobs in five years.

“This sends a distorted message to outside investors in Ontario when a company is offered a contract, Windstream, and the province reneges on it.”

Gideon Forman, the executive director of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, said the move is a bit of a setback but not a fatal blow for wind power.

“We don’t think it’ll fundamentally change anything,” he said. “We knew there was a five-kilometre setback with offshore projects but we didn’t think they’d scrap the whole thing. This seemed to come out of nowhere.”

What is important is the continued Liberal commitment to onshore wind projects and the phaseout of coal-fired plants, he added.

“The key thing for protecting human health for us is phasing out coal,” he said.

Another case filed, bdnews24, February 11 2011.

Shariatpur, Feb 11 (—Another case has been filed with the Naria Police Station here in connection with the Jan 31 death of fatwa (edict) victim Hena Akhter.

Eighteen people were made accused in the case filed on Friday evening by Aklima Akhter, the mother of the 14-year-old girl who died seven days after being administered 100 lashes on her 'endorsed' at a makeshift arbitration at Chamta village in Naria Upazila.

The victim was charged with having an illicit relationship with her married cousin Mahbub Hossain.

Naria police sub-inspector A K Azad told that the case was filed in line with Thursday's High Court order. The accused in both the cases are the same people, he added. Hena's father, Darbesh Khan, filed the first case on Feb 1.

Police have so far arrested six people, including prime accused Mahbub Hossain and one of the arbitrators and local union council member Idris Ali Sheikh. Mahbub was arrested at Hemayetpur in Savar, Dhaka on Wednesday and taken on a 5-day police remand the following day. Idris was attested from the High Court (HC) premises on Thursday after he had appeared before a HC bench following a court order. The same bench asked the police to file another case in connection with the killing.

Police presented Idris before a local court and appealed for his seven-day remand, but the court fixed Saturday for hearing. He was sent to jail. The four others were arrested on Feb 2.

Eat The Future, Paul Krugman, February 13 2011.

On Friday, House Republicans unveiled their proposal for immediate cuts in federal spending. Uncharacteristically, they failed to accompany the release with a catchy slogan. So I’d like to propose one: Eat the Future.

I’ll explain in a minute. First, let’s talk about the dilemma the G.O.P. faces.

Republican leaders like to claim that the midterms gave them a mandate for sharp cuts in government spending. Some of us believe that the elections were less about spending than they were about persistent high unemployment, but whatever. The key point to understand is that while many voters say that they want lower spending, press the issue a bit further and it turns out that they only want to cut spending on other people.

That’s the lesson from a new survey by the Pew Research Center, in which Americans were asked whether they favored higher or lower spending in a variety of areas. It turns out that they want more, not less, spending on most things, including education and Medicare. They’re evenly divided about spending on aid to the unemployed and — surprise — defense.

The only thing they clearly want to cut is foreign aid, which most Americans believe, wrongly, accounts for a large share of the federal budget.

Pew also asked people how they would like to see states close their budget deficits. Do they favor cuts in either education or health care, the main expenses states face? No. Do they favor tax increases? No. The only deficit-reduction measure with significant support was cuts in public-employee pensions — and even there the public was evenly divided.

The moral is clear. Republicans don’t have a mandate to cut spending; they have a mandate to repeal the laws of arithmetic.

How can voters be so ill informed? In their defense, bear in mind that they have jobs, children to raise, parents to take care of. They don’t have the time or the incentive to study the federal budget, let alone state budgets (which are by and large incomprehensible). So they rely on what they hear from seemingly authoritative figures.

And what they’ve been hearing ever since Ronald Reagan is that their hard-earned dollars are going to waste, paying for vast armies of useless bureaucrats (payroll is only 5 percent of federal spending) and welfare queens driving Cadillacs. How can we expect voters to appreciate fiscal reality when politicians consistently misrepresent that reality?

Which brings me back to the Republican dilemma. The new House majority promised to deliver $100 billion in spending cuts — and its members face the prospect of Tea Party primary challenges if they fail to deliver big cuts. Yet the public opposes cuts in programs it likes — and it likes almost everything. What’s a politician to do?

The answer, once you think about it, is obvious: sacrifice the future. Focus the cuts on programs whose benefits aren’t immediate; basically, eat America’s seed corn. There will be a huge price to pay, eventually — but for now, you can keep the base happy.

If you didn’t understand that logic, you might be puzzled by many items in the House G.O.P. proposal. Why cut a billion dollars from a highly successful program that provides supplemental nutrition to pregnant mothers, infants, and young children? Why cut $648 million from nuclear nonproliferation activities? (One terrorist nuke, assembled from stray ex-Soviet fissile material, can ruin your whole day.) Why cut $578 million from the I.R.S. enforcement budget? (Letting tax cheats run wild doesn’t exactly serve the cause of deficit reduction.)

Once you understand the imperatives Republicans face, however, it all makes sense. By slashing future-oriented programs, they can deliver the instant spending cuts Tea Partiers demand, without imposing too much immediate pain on voters. And as for the future costs — a population damaged by childhood malnutrition, an increased chance of terrorist attacks, a revenue system undermined by widespread tax evasion — well, tomorrow is another day.

In a better world, politicians would talk to voters as if they were adults. They would explain that discretionary spending has little to do with the long-run imbalance between spending and revenues. They would then explain that solving that long-run problem requires two main things: reining in health-care costs and, realistically, increasing taxes to pay for the programs that Americans really want.

But Republican leaders can’t do that, of course: they refuse to admit that taxes ever need to rise, and they spent much of the last two years screaming “death panels!” in response to even the most modest, sensible efforts to ensure that Medicare dollars are well spent.

And so they had to produce something like Friday’s proposal, a plan that would save remarkably little money but would do a remarkably large amount of harm.


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