January 3, 2008
"The agency that regulates the city's taxi industry has adopted a new fuel efficiency rule that will require all cabs purchased after October 1, 2008, to get at least 25 miles per gallon... New York City cabs purchased after October 1, 2008 [must] get at least 25 mpg. Those bought after the fall of 2009 will have to achieve 30 mpg."
As a big fan (and frequent ZipCar patron) of the 40-50mpg Toyota Prius, demanding 25 or even 30 miles per gallon from taxicabs seems a little silly. If NYC wants to mandate that we all take a trip back to the 90s, why not start with regulating huge flannel shirts and enormous white socks? But the real shocker in this CNN article comes later:
"Right now, a majority of the city's 13,000 cabs are Ford Crown Victorias. But the Crown Vic's V-8 engine currently gets around 14 mpg..."
Really? 14 miles per gallon? How embarrassing. With our fancy "green" office buildings and hordes of local farmers' markets, how did we let this one slip, NYC? It's like finding out that-after all that complaining you did-it is your OWN fart stinking up the living room. So come on TLC, quit strong-arming drivers into putting in GPS systems, and let's move on to implementing rules that actually matter.
Full article: Rule will force NYC taxis to go green
June 9, 2006
Any kind of vaccine to prevent any kind of cancer should be cause for unmitigated celebration. However, this article in the New York Times about a new vaccine for cervical cancer accurately gives us the complex picture of the sad state of medicine in the US at the moment.
Beyond the concerns of getting approved by the FDA and being safe enough to administer to 11 and 12 year old girls (the aim is to inoculate girls before they have sex, eliminating the risk of them contracting HPV, which later frequently turns into cervical cancer and kills 3,700 women a year in the US alone), there is the fact that Merck is charging $360 for the three-shot course. This puts the vaccination well out of the range of many uninsured families. There is talk of federal and state programs attempting to cover the cost for those who aren't able, but it seems that nobody quite has the funds. So, it becomes a triage of what vaccines the government will decide to fund, and which they choose to ignore.
"Increasingly, states are asked to make a Sophie's choice about which diseases they will allow children to be hospitalized or killed by," said Dr. Paul Offit, director of infectious diseases at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
My point being: just because we have some amazing technology, doesn't mean we aren't still assholes.
Full Article: U.S. Approves Use of Vaccine for Cervical Cancer
(Via NYT > National.)
Posted by MostlyForMe at 6:04 PM
December 16, 2005
"My resolution is a simple sense of Congress defending Christmas and its symbol and traditions" &mdashJo Ann Davis (R-VA)
Someone get this woman another white reindeer for her lawn.
Not to be outdone by Hallmark this 'Holiday' Season, the United States Congress voted on on a Resolution that expresses "the symbols and traditions of Christmas should be protected."
This isn't some crazy Rockwellian Christmas production where the United States has to protect Santa from being jailed, this is actual Congress, in the actual U.S. The same body that voted to invade a whole other country just voted to guard Christmas from us.
It passed. Of course it did. I can just hear the Republicans accusing Democrats of having voted against Christmas come the next elections.
Here's an excerpt:
...Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives—
(1) recognizes the importance of the symbols and traditions of Christmas;
(2) strongly disapproves of attempts to ban references to Christmas; and
(3) expresses support for the use of these symbols and traditions.
Though the bill has no actual meaning, purpose or power it does reinforce to the taxpayers that this country is committed to spending your money in ways you could never imagine.
Again, not even sure what actual forces are involved in this¹, but too bad this shit wasn't around when All Hallow's Eve got raped by those liberal-godless-heathen-P.C.-consumerist-holiday police.
Full Article: Download the Bill
(Via Our Very Own Congress)
Posted by MostlyForMe at 5:49 PM
October 11, 2005
"what looked like a chance to talk up new programs is fast becoming a scramble to save the old ones." &mdashLiberal Hopes Ebb in Post-Storm Poverty Debate - New York Times
The New York Times is running an article that talks about the political corpse humping taking place in the wake of Katrina. It seems that after wiping away those crocodile tears many politicians are trying to push forward their own self-serving agendas.
While most humans are decrying the negligence and lack of attention to the nation's poor (and notoriously apathetic voters) some politicians are seeing the devastation caused by Katrina as an opportunity to wipe them out entirely.
President Bush seems to be in some kind of twisted fit, signing break after break for reconstruction companies at the expense of the local workers, while the rest of the pack says "What Me Worry?" and guard their top tier tax cuts like they were the last thing keeping America from going ass first into the hands of the terrorists and gays.
The whole thing is a mess. It's political opportunism at its best and diabolical maneuvering at its worst. What a way to turn a national disaster into a national travesty.
Full Article: Liberal Hopes Ebb in Post-Storm Poverty Debate - New York Times
(Via New York Times)
Posted by MostlyForMe at 8:32 PM
October 7, 2005
- 1987— The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that public schools cannot teach creationism in science classes.
- 1987 (few days later) — The book titled Biology and Creation changes its name to Of Pandas and People and also changes all references to Creationism to Intelligent Design.
"The early drafts of the book Of Pandas and People, were used as evidence to link the book to creationism, which it is illegal to teach in government-funded US schools." &mdashBook thrown at proponents of Intelligent Design
For those not in the know, here's the short and dirty of the Intelligent Design case going on in Dover right now.
Some parents are suing their school board for mandatory inclusion of Intelligent Design in their school's science curriculum. The text book which is offered as a source for all things Intelligent Design is called Of Pandas and People.
Here's where things get interesting in court. Intelligent Design proponents insist their ideas are not Creationism and they they simply offer an alternative explanation beyond Darwin's theory of evolution. We saw the following in court recently.
Forrest compared early drafts of Of Pandas and People to a later 1987 copy, and showed how in several instances the word “creationism” had been replaced by “intelligent design”, and “creationist” simply replaced by “intelligent design proponent”.
So here is a brief timeline for those that are still confused:
Come on...I mean, guys...
Posted by MostlyForMe at 9:38 PM
September 27, 2005
"This case is about free inquiry and education, not about a religious agenda." &mdashEvolution Lawsuit Opens in Pennsylvania - New York Times
Today was the beginning of the latest court battle concerning evolution being taught in public schools. Eleven parents from Dover, Pennsylvania are suing their school board for the inclusion of Intelligent Design (ID) as an alternative to Darwin's theory of evolution. Creationism, having been banned from being taught in public schools in 1987, should not be confused with ID.
there are natural systems that cannot be adequately explained in terms of undirected natural forces and that exhibit features which in any other circumstance we would attribute to intelligence. —William Dembski, Leading ID Proponent
Ok, well it can be a little bit confusing. Seeing as most ID supporters don't spell it out for you, the intelligent designer isn't Apple or even the Dutch, it's God (capital "G"). So in case you're confused, most of the time we're talking about God having planned out all this 'so called evolution' and whatnot because, really, it's too complicated for nature to suss out on its own.
So the major argument for teaching ID in schools is something like this: Hey, there are things about Darwin's theory we don't understand (yes, evolution based on Darwin's research is an actual scientific theory, not to be confused with Intelligent Design which is, in the scientific canon, on par with an email you got forwarded from your Mom), so why can't we fill in the gaps with an omnipotent being? Oh yeah? Prove to me He doesn't exist!
And so on and on it goes. This will probably go to the Supreme Court and I suspect, lose. I have no issue with alternate theories, myths, anecdotes, funny stories about the origin of our species. What I do take issue with is teaching poor/bad science in a science classroom. It still is a science class, and in that respect we should not allow children to be confused by ideas that hold no scientific value.
I remember learning about Lamarck's discredited theory of evolution and heredity in my biology class. Lamarck believed that generations of a species could inherit acquired traits, as such that if I chopped my arm off my child could be born with one arm. Yes I was taught it, and I was also taught it was rubbish. I don't even think Intelligent Design has earned the right to be taught as a poor hypothesis, let alone an alternative to Darwin's theory of evolution. Science does not deal in things that are not provable nor demonstrable. That's why humans invented philosophy.
Full Article: Evolution Lawsuit Opens in Pennsylvania - New York Times
(Via New York Times)
Posted by MostlyForMe at 7:24 PM
September 13, 2005
Fiction is engaging, and people love their movie stars. For better or for worse, you're going to get more eyeballs on a fictionalized version of the global oil industry than a New York Times article about it. In this case, I suspect it will be for the better. George Clooney (star & producer), Steven Soderbergh (producer) and Stephen Gaghan (screenwriter, credits include "Traffic") have something to tell us about the global oil industry, and they've chosen to do it in a film.
The movie is based on a book called "See No Evil: the True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism." It was written by Robert Baer, a 21-year veteran CIA case officer, and author of another book called "Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude." Clooney apparently plays Baer himself, as he discovers horrifying things about what he's been employed to do for the past 21 years.
Not having seen it (or read it), there's not much to say one way or the other. But let me state, for the record, that I have high hopes, friends. High hopes.
Posted by MostlyForMe at 1:38 PM
August 31, 2005
"Other religiously impelled abuses of scientific information, supported by conservatives, include claims that social science supports the effectiveness of abstinence education, that condoms aren't very good at preventing HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, that abortion increases the risk of breast cancer or mental illness in women, that adult stem cells have more research promise than embryonic ones or can even replace them for scientific purposes—the list goes on and on. But it is only half the story" &mdashThe Republican War on Science by Chris Mooney
I would just like to briefly point out this book I came across from a Wired Review.
To be clear, I haven't read the book (yet) but the title seemed so interesting and the cover design so gosh darn slick, well, I got very excited.
The book, as I understand it, tells the sad tale of how politics, religion and money all play a role in Republicans bending science to support their agendas. Not that Republicans are the only ones guilty, but dang, they sure do have a lot of money to do some wacky things.
So, that's about it. I can't say more until I've read it, as it might be some raving, nonsensical disaster. That being said, it looks like an interesting item that might provide some background and context for the *ahem* evolving *ahem* debates concerning Intelligent Design.
Posted by MostlyForMe at 7:53 PM
August 24, 2005
"I said our special forces could take him out. Take him out could be a number of things including kidnapping" &mdash I AM BATSHIT INSANE (quoted from Reuters.com)
Whew...Thank Pat's god!
Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Coalition, host of the 700 Club and a guy who is decidedly more pro Bush than a bored suburban dad with a topiary fetish, is tired of all this pussy footing around with other countries leaders, as quoted from his recent 700 Club broadcast:
We don't need another $200bn war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator.
After basically calling for the assassination of the current (elected) Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, Pat Robertson cleared things up a bit by making sure people understood that 'taking him out' could mean anything. Pat then intimated that only a higher power, such as God or Karl Rove, actually had the jurisdiction to kill people.
Asked to respond to the statement the White House's U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld replied "our department doesn't do that kind of thing," which resulted in one member of the White House staff snorting and accidentally spitting his gum out onto the press core.
For those who like to connect dots, or just do some critical thinking, a reminder that Venezuela is the fourth largest oil supplier to the states, and Chavez ain't too happy with the old U.S. and is generally spooked about that thing we shall refer as the "don't do that kind of thing"-thing. Chavez has also offered to sell discounted fuel directly to impoverished areas of the U.S., bypassing American oil companies. That makes Exxon cry.
Chavez's response to the whole Pat Robertson situation?
"I don't know who that person is" - Pres. Chavez
Full Article: U.S. evangelist backs off Chavez assassination call
Posted by MostlyForMe at 6:01 PM
August 19, 2005
- image courtesy The Sun
Everybody run! It's catching! First it was unbridled greed leading to war in the middle east, then squashing domestic religious leaders in the name of the "War on Terror," and now it's secret extended vacations! What did George Bush pass along to Tony Blair on his visits? Did they share a straw? Did they make out? Is there a cure?
About three weeks ago, it turns out - before Mr. Blair went on vacation in early August - David Hill, his director of communications, wrote to the nation's editors asking them not to divulge the prime minister's vacation whereabouts on security grounds after the July bombings, a spokeswoman at 10 Downing Street confirmed today. The editors agreed. - NY Times
It's all just shady. It's shady, and The Cheeky Monkey doesn't like it.
Posted by MostlyForMe at 3:37 PM
August 18, 2005
"The feeling that I get back here, looking in the eyes of real people, where I knew where they were two years ago or a year ago -- they've changed..." —Sen. Chuck Hagel, Reuters.com
There's a quiet whisper going through the heartlands of America. A whisper, that turned into a roar, threatens to tear wheat fields and Walmarts asunder.
"Boy, eoirl sure is gettin' 'spensive these days"
Reuters is reporting that in Nebraska some Bush-ites may be experiencing buyer's remorse. Nebraska, a state that went more red than an Irish girl on a sunny day last election seems to be feeling the bite from high gas prices. Apparently the combination of $3 per gallon gasoline and the added burden of having to haul around all those "Support Our Troops" magnets on their cars is making some Nebraskans say "WTF?"
"Why are we there in the first place?" is one elderly woman's brain-boggler. Is the country slowly starting to wipe the fairy dust out of its eyes? Probably not, but it looks like Joe Average is starting to actually feel some of the ripples, just a slight tingle, the faintest baby's breath of the actual war raging halfway across the world. And Joe Average don't like it none at all.
We need to get the country focused again. Back on track. The War on Terrorism may be the Struggle Against Extremism now, but hell, there's still money to be made people! Look for a NASCAR event to be closed due to 'terrorist' activity in the near future.
Posted by MostlyForMe at 4:59 PM
August 17, 2005
"Warren Smith, the publisher of an evangelical Christian newspaper in Charlotte, N.C., compares the movie 'Jesus' to the jawbone of an ass."
The New York Times has an interesting little story about a group called the Jesus Video Project America that is distributing (spamming) America with a free DVD of a movie chronicling the life and times of everyone's favorite martyr. A movie for which no other title could do save Jesus: A Man, a Corndog and a Dream (later shortened to just Jesus).
Yes, Jesus has returned, and on DVD no less. Apparently the group shotgun-blasts this DVD all over town hoping that the locals realize high definition Jesus love is for real this time. Unlike that No-Money-Down-Real-Estate-Jesus horse doodie that came in the mail last week. The Devil is a clever fellow...
Putting Jesus in Every Mailbox - (Via: New York Times)
Posted by MostlyForMe at 1:32 AM