State Workers In Flint Got Water Coolers a Year Ago

February 4, 2016

State Workers In Flint Got Water Coolers a Year Ago

“Employees at the state office in Flint, Mich., have been drinking from coolers of purified water since last January — the same month that representatives from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality assured residents the water was safe to drink.”

— “State workers — but not residents — in Flint, Mich., have been getting purified water for more than a year,” Yanan Wang, Washington Post

More:

“Amid denials, state workers in Flint got clean water,”Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press

“Document: Snyder Admin Trucked In Clean Water for State Building in January 2015,” Sam Inglot, Progress Michigan

“Flint water crisis: Michigan made sure state employees had clean water 8 months before everyone else,” Libby Nelson, Vox

“Flint Mayor: Water Still Showing Lead Levels Beyond What Filters Can Remove,” Alissa Walker, Gizmodo

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Wheelchairs in the Snow

February 3, 2016

Wheelchairs in the Snow

“Wheelchair users say that in the aftermath of the Jan. 23 blizzard, they were an afterthought in snow cleanup efforts, as curb cuts remains buried in snow, bus stops blocked, and alleys impassable while road crews prioritized clearing the roads.

The responsibility under D.C. law to shovel curb cuts lies with the adjacent property owner, whether a homeowner, business, or public building. With large snow banks everywhere, an open curb usually is the only way a wheelchair user can get on or off the sidewalk. But even when curbs are shoveled after the initial snows, passing plows just cover them up again with mounds of snow.

‘The curb cut issues don’t get addressed in the strategic cleanup that the city does,’ said Ian Watlington, a disability rights worker and motorized wheelchair user. ‘All I am asking, and I think most people with disabilities are asking, is to be part of the strategic…conversation of, what are we going to do once that plow passes?’”

— “Wheelchair Users Say They Are Forgotten In Blizzard Cleanup Efforts,”  Martin Di Caro, WAMU News

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Amazon. Airborne!

February 2, 2016

Amazon. Airborne!

Press Release:

“Amazon Prime Air is a future service that will deliver packages up to five pounds in 30 minutes or less using small drones. Flying under 400 feet and weighing less than 55 pounds, Prime Air vehicles will take advantage of sophisticated ‘sense and avoid’ technology, as well as a high degree of automation, to safely operate beyond the line of sight to distances of 10 miles or more.”

What could possibly go wrong?

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Groundhog Day

February 2, 2016

Groundhog Day

It’s February 2nd, time to monitor Marmota monax and dream of winter’s end. Whether or not you believe in woodchuck weathermen, one thing is certain: you can’t have groundhogs if you want a backyard full of fresh garden veggies.

Groundhogs (aka woodchucks, whistlepigs, and marmots) are insecto-vegetarians and confirmed locavores. If you plan to plant this spring, harvest those hairy beasts now. Celebrate Groundhog Day with critter cuisine.

Serving suggestions:

Woodchuck au Vin

Canadian Fried Woodchuck

Groundhog Pie

Woodchuck Recipes from Michigan (Oriental Groundhog,Waco Groundhog in Sour Cream,Woodchuck Stew, Woodchuck Meat Loaf)

More groundhog lore and recipes here and here.

In his book Groundhog Day, Don Yoder reprints a classic groundhog recipe from Cooking with the Groundhog, published as a fundraiser by a hospital auxiliary in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, home of the “official” Groundhog’s Day Festival (there are more than a few others ). A Georgia groundhog is on Twitter.

Five years ago, whilst stalking the elusive picture book Geoffrey Groundhog Predicts the Weather, we espied an ad for the Range Kleen Preseasoned Cast Iron 10 Inch Fry Pan on the book’s Amazon.com page and cooked up today’s graphic. There’s obviously no “storybook ending” to this post if you’re a groundhog.

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Ted Cruz Vanquishes New York Values in Iowa

February 2, 2016

Ted Cruz Vanquishes New York Values in Iowa
In the Republican melee in Iowa yesterday, Holy Warrior Ted Cruz drew first blood, besting Plumed Knight Donald Trump, with Marco Rubio nipping at Mr. Trump’s rump. “New York values” didn’t play so well in farm country.

“Fighting Preacher” Mike Huckabee has withdrawn from the field of battle, and Doctor Ben Carson is missing in action after looking for a laudromat. The surviving GOP combatants move their conflict east to New Hampshire next week.

More:

“Cruz Says ‘New York Values’ Attack Led To Victory Over Trump In Iowa,” Sara Jerde, TPM Livewire

“Cruz Victory Gives Hope To Despised People Everywhere,” Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker

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Iowa Matters. For a Day. Every 4 Years.

February 1, 2016

Iowa Matters. For a Day. Every 4 Years.

Tonight in Iowa, citizens will gather in hundreds of little groups to determine which Presidential candidate they would prefer as a drinking buddy (note: Trump doesn’t drink). The Iowa Caucus process has not changed much over the years except for the inclusion of computers, womenfolk, and voters with dark complexions (if the latter can be found in Iowa).

The caucus process is simple: At 7 PM Central Time, adult Iowa citizens show up at the church basement, roller rink, farmhouse, or pork-packing plant designated as the local caucus site by state Republican and Democratic parties. Republican attendees display their GOP tattoos at the door; those without them must get marked-up before Monday night. Candidate adherents rant, threaten, and cajole. For Republicans, secret balloting follows, then local caucus hosts have their grandchildren use laptop computers to enter the voting results, which are transmitted through the cloud to Iowa GOP Central Command, located in an empty grain elevator at an undisclosed location in Sioux County.

Iowa Democrats use a different system. At every local caucus they huddle in groups backing each candidate. Any group with less than 15 members is deemed “non-viable” and dissolved, and its members scatter to back other candidates. When the music stops the biggest group wins, but only the jammers can score. Caucus hosts enter results into a Microsoft program; after it freezes up, they re-boot their laptops and re-enter the data, which is collated in the cloud and certified at Iowa Democratic Party HQ, i.e. a Starbucks in the East Village neighborhood of Des Moines (free WiFi!).

After precinct caucuses finally end, winners of each party caucus are confirmed and announced, runners-up are crowned Miss Popularity, and losers and their surrogates begin the arduous spin cycle. In November the names of the caucus winners are put on the Iowa ballot  and voters elect someone else as President.

God Bless America.

More:

“How The Iowa Democratic Caucus Works, Featuring Legos,” Taylor Dobbs and Angela Evancie, Vermont Public Radio

“Why do the Iowa caucuses matter? Because everyone thinks they do.”Andrew Prokop, Vox

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Image by Mike Licht (who knows those are Okies). Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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No habrá nadie en el mundo

January 31, 2016

“No habrá nadie en el mundo (There will be no one in this world),” written by Javier Limón, performed by Buika. The composer is the guitarist. Concha Buika grew up on the Spanish island of Majorca, and lives in Miami when not on tour. Her parents are from Equatorial Guinea.

“There will be no one in this world able to cure
the wound left by your pride.
I can’t understand how you hurt me now
after having given me so much love.”

Buika official website

More:

“Concha Buika: the outspoken queen of flamenco fusion,” Etan Smallman, The Guardian

“A Singer From Everywhere Arrives Here,” Larry Rohter, New York Times
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Give Me One More Chance

January 31, 2016

“Give Me One More Chance,” written by Doug Brown, performed by Wilmer & the Dukes. The lead singer is sax-playing Wilmer Alexander Jr. Doug Brown was the band’s guitarist. Great Western New York R&B show band of the Sixties, popular at area colleges and clubs.

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Parachute

January 30, 2016

“Parachute,” written and performed by Ingrid Michaelson.

Ingrid Michaelson website.

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Highway Patrol

January 30, 2016

“Highway Patrol,” written by Red Simpson, performed by Junior Brown in 1993. Video directed by Roger Pistole. That strat/steel “Guit-Steel” guitar was designed by Mr. Brown and Michael Stevens.

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