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Greg Lucas: All That Glitters…

Well, sometimes it is just oil. Greg Lucas examines Texas Governor Rick Perry's attacks on California.

By Brian Leubitz

Texas Governor Rick Perry has been running around the country talking up his "Texas miracle" of economic glory.  He has spent much of his time attacking California and trying to lure companies to move. Before they go, they may want to check not just the temperatures, which have been boiling, but also the air and water quality reports. Oh, and perhaps review the labor market in Texas.

In Capitol Weekly today, Lucas examines the "facts" that Perry is spewing. To put it mildly, there is another side of the story.  Perry is benefitting from smart progressive policies, like a limit foe home equity loans to 80% of value and a tax on every barrel of oil that comes out of the ground.  You know, the oil extraction tax that Repulicans have been fighting desperately when it is brought up here.

And then there is thet dirty side of the economic "boom" that Perry won't tell you about:

But Texas also leads the nation in dirtiest air, amount of toxic chemicals released into the water and hazardous waste generated, according to statistics from various sources compiled in Texas on the Brink, a publication of the Texas House of Representatives Legislative Study Group.

Texas also has the nation's highest percentage of minimum wage jobs and the lowest percentage of residents with a high school diploma in the country. Of adult Texans, nearly 32 percent are college graduates - almost 38 percent of Californians are.

Almost 30 percent of Texans are uninsured - more than 6 million persons of whom 60 percent are Hispanic.? Texas also has the highest percentage of uninsured children in the country.

In Texas, 17.2 percent of the population lives in poverty compared to 13.2 percent in California where the median income is $59,000 versus $48,000 in Texas.

I grew up in Texas, and I go back frequently.  There are some great things about Texas. Because of the foresight of early leaders in retaining mineral rights to the state, I received and excellent education at a great value. But the Tea Party extremists run rampant, and the environment is still seen as something for corporate plunder.

There are a lot of Republicans, and even a few Democrats, who think we should follow the Texas model.  But all that glitters, well, it isn't always gold.  Sometimes it is just a bunch of oil in the ground and the fog of dirty air and water.


Your Daily Wolcott

In the middle of this post, "...America's most beloved pterodactyl, Larry King."

I laughed.

Would have gone with "Rhamphorhynchus" myself, but that's just a quibble based on my desire to win a bet that I could use "Rhamphorhynchus" and "quibble" in the same sentence.


On the evolution of quackery [Respectful Insolence]

Once upon a time, there was quackery. It was the term used to refer to medical practices that were not supported by evidence and were ineffective and potentially harmful. Physicians understood that modalities such as homeopathy, reflexology, and various "energy healing" (i.e., faith healing) methodologies were based either on prescientific vitalism or on science that was at best incorrect or grossly distorted. More importantly, they weren't afraid to say so.

Quacks did not think this good.

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Inspiring Videos For Designers & Developers

Whether you’re a motion designer, front-end developer or economy student – you have to keep up with the times and constantly increase your knowledge and broaden your professional viewpoint. One of the best ways to do that is by watching videos from professionals and experts in your field. Videos don’t have to be strictly instructive. A good and gripping video can inspire you for the rest of the day. In this article you’ll find a compilation of 40 awesome, inspiring and valuable videos varying from entrepreneurship to web design and self-motivation which will help you to develop new skills, gain a bunch of inspiration and simply look at things from a different perspective.

Entrepreneur & Freelance

1. 2011/03 Mike Monteiro | F*ck You. Pay Me.

Mike Monteiro, design director, and co-founder of Mule Design Studio talks about clients refusing to pay for design work on San Francisco Creative Mornings.

2. 2010/01 Michael Bierut

Michael Bierut of Pentagram talks on January 2010 Creative Mornings. It’s a brand new talk on the subject of “Clients”.

3. 12 Hard-Won Lessons in Entrepreneurship

12 Hard-Won Lessons Learned from Serial Entrepreneur Clarence Wooten founder & CEO of CollectiveX.

4. Entrepreneurs can change the world – Grasshopper

See how Grasshopper can help your business grow.

5. Mint CEO Aaron Patzer on Startups

Mint CEO Aaron Patzer talks with entrepreneurs at a JuicePitcher event about the history of his startup.

6. Start & Grow a Healthy Business in a Recession

This is an educational video by Mike Michalowicz of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur. In this video you will learn why now (in a down economy) is the best time to start a new business, or to grow the one you already have.

7. Web 2.0 Expo NY: Gary Vaynerchuk – Building Personal Brand Within the Social Media Landscape

At the Web 2.0 Expo, entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk gives a shot in the arm to dreamers and up-and-comers who face self-doubt.


1. Sagres Preta Chocolate

Sagres is Portugal’s leading beer brand. This year, Sagres brewed a new product: Sagres Preta Chocolate, a chocolate flavored stout beer. Their agency’s creative team believed that if Sagres made a chocolate beer, the perfect way to launch it was also to create a website made of chocolate.

2. Resonance

Resonance is the vision of SR Partners; a collaborative project with over 30 independent visual and audio designers/studios. The aim was to explore the relationship between geometry and audio in unique ways.

3. Graphic Design: The Forgotten Web Standard – Slides in 3 Minutes

This short film was played as a part of Mike Kus talk at FOWD London 2009. It’s sped up footage of him designing slides for his talk.

4. Scott Thomas: Designing the Obama Campaign

Obama’s successful 2008 campaign marked the first time that branding and design played a pivotal role in a presidential bid. Design Director Scott Thomas talks about how it unfolded behind the scenes.

5. Erik Spiekermann – Putting Back the Face into Typeface

Typographer, graphic designer and businessman Erik Spiekermann has created timeless, influential and, yes, Meta-physical work over the past three decades. Listen to the design genius talk about new visual languages, design processes, the analogies of music and typography, and why we need better client culture in this latest video and you will easily realize why.

6. How to Be A Motion Designer and Get Paid

Speech given at MGFest 09 about how to get a job as a motion designer. The presentation focus on what things to learn, how to learn them and how to promote yourself.

7. Mind your step – reactions

Mind your step is a street illusion at Sergels torg in Stockholm between 7-12 June 2011. It is created by photographer Erik Johansson and this video summarizes the first three days.

8. The Third & The Seventh

A full-cg animated piece that tries to illustrate architecture art across a photographic point of view where main subjects are already-built spaces. Sometimes in an abstract way. Sometimes surreal.

9. MC Yogi – Vote For Hope

Vote For Hope” was written to encourage and inspire the hip hop generation—and everyone—to get involved, and contribute their time, energy, creativity, and other resources to be the change they want to see in the world.

10. Stuxnet: Anatomy of a Computer Virus

An infographic dissecting the nature and ramifications of Stuxnet, the first weapon made entirely out of code.


1. The Future of HTML5 by Bruce Lawson

Bruce Lawson gave this talk on HTML5 at FOWA London 2009

2. Jeremy Keith | The Design of HTML5 | Fronteers 2010

Find out how important good design principles are to any project, whether it’s a website, a content management system, or the very language that underpins the World Wide Web.

3. Google I/O 2011: Introduction to HTML5 Game Development

HTML5 provides the foundation for rich and interactive experiences. Learn the basics of building an HTML5 game and explore the related technologies.

4. Mike Taylor on HTML5

Mike Taylor speaks about HTML5 and JavaScript at the NC jQuery and JavaScript camp in Durham, NC.

5. Bruce Lawson from Opera: The HTML 5 Experiments

Bruce Lawson from Opera talks at O’Reilly’s OSCON 2009 conference about HTML 5.

6. HTML5 Canvas: The future of graphics on the Web – Rob Hawkes

Rob Hawkes talking at the Heart & Sole conference 28th January 2011, Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth.

7. Learn About HTML5 and the Future of the Web

In this first of the three videos, Brad Neuberg from Google explains why HTML5 matters – to consumers as well as developers.

8. Paul Irish on HTML5 Boilerplate

HTML5 Boilerplate is a “rock-solid default for HTML5 awesome.” In this video, Paul Irish, the man behind the project will show you how you can use HTML5 Boilerplate to get your projects up and running quickly while keeping best practices covered.

9. 11 More Things I Learned from the jQuery Source

As a follow-up to his popular presentation from the jQuery conference, Paul Irish continues with eleven more interesting notes and facts on jQuery.

10. Ryan Singer at Future of Web Apps, London 2010

In this talk, Ryan Singer walks through the steps of creating a web app including modeling, sketching, HTML, Photoshop explorations, and moving from static mockups to live running code.

11. History of the Internet

“History of the Internet” is an animated documentary explaining the inventions from time-sharing to filesharing, from Arpanet to Internet.


1. Digital Life: Today & Tomorrow

This video points out 15 keys facts and conclusions to know the future of the Internet in 2015.

2. Let It Grow: Raekwon (Part 1)

Growth is not for everyone. Neither is success. The SSHO (Student Hip-Hop Organization) decided to ask some of their favorite artists in hip hop culture, legends and up and corners alike, about their experiences with both.

3. Dream World

This documentary is about Jason Paul, a free runner that tries to find new ways in his daily life to fulfill his inner needs. On his journey to London he discovers that friendship and companion are essential values in life.

4. Dr. Tae — Building A New Culture Of Teaching And Learning

Are schools designed to help people learn? Are colleges and universities really institutions of higher education? Do students actually learn any science in science classes? Can skateboarding give us a better model for teaching and learning? Watch this video to find out.

5. Jon Kolko-Keynote: My Heart is in The Work

This talk will examine our ability to affect change at the intersection of experience, behavior, meaning, and culture, and will emphasize our responsibility to approach our work with philanthropic enthusiasm that would make Carnegie proud.

6. “This piece sucked me into the world of design” – Ron Arad Interview

Ron Arad talks about coming to London and how he made his name in the world of furniture design.

7. The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything

The element is the point at which natural talent meets personal passion. When people arrive at the element, they feel most themselves and most inspired and achieve at their highest levels. With a wry sense of humor, Ken Robinson looks at the conditions that enable us to find ourselves in the element and those that stifle that possibility.

8. Seth Godin at Gel 2006

Why are so many things broken? In this entertaining talk one of the favorites of Gel 2006 Seth Godin gives a tour of things poorly designed, the reasons why they are that way, and how to fix them.

9. Al Pacino’s Inspirational Speech

Al Pacino’s speech from the movie Any Given Sunday.

10. Steve Jobs Stanford Commencement Speech 2005

Steve Jobs delivering his commencement speech to the graduates of Stanford University in 2005. In it he talks about getting fired from Apple in 1985, life & death.

11. Dan Gilbert: Why are we happy? Why aren’t we happy?

Dan Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness, challenges the idea that well be miserable if we don’t get what we want. Our “psychological immune system” lets us feel truly happy even when things don’t go as planned.

12. Randy Pausch Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch gave his last lecture at the university Sept. 18, 2007, before a packed McConomy Auditorium.


Google Fiber puts boots on the ground, begins detail engineering in Kansas Cities

We've come a long way since Google first started taking about launching a fiber-based ISP -- from beta tests, to hopeful communities, to Topeka fools day, to selecting not one, but two Kansas Cities. Now, it's "boots on the ground," time according to the Google Fiber blog: detail engineering starts now. In the coming weeks, Kansas City residents (presumably on both sides of the Kansas / Missouri border) can expect to see El Goog's engineers measuring phone poles, gathering geographical data, and asking hard-hitting questions, like "What is your address?" All this footwork will help Google get a head start on building that sweet, ultra-high-speed gigabit network. Not the most glamorous bit of Google magic we've ever seen, but it's still exciting to hear that preliminary work has begun. Of course, it would be even more exciting if this were coming where we lived.

Google Fiber puts boots on the ground, begins detail engineering in Kansas Cities originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 28 Jul 2011 02:59:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Here We Go Again

Here We Go Again
by David Atkins ("thereisnospoon")

Conservative PACs are attacking Democrats for hurting Medicare again:

The conservative American Action Network is launching a large-scale mail and newspaper ad campaign, targeting a long list of House districts to shore up Republicans on the issue of Medicare.

The campaign, which includes both mail pieces and newspaper ads, charges Democrats with attempting to “balance the budget on the backs of seniors” with a proposal to amend Medicare Part D.

All told, the AAN message offensive will cost about a million dollars, according to officials with the group, and also includes some web advertising. That’s a significant investment in the Medicare debate, which Democrats have dominated so far this year.

The issue has to do with forcing drug manufacturers to pay Medicaid-style rebates for drugs needed by those covered by both Medicaid and Medicare Part D, making yet another needed good government fix to the massive fuckup that was George W. Bush's signature budget-busting healthcare item.

Keep in mind that the context for the debt ceiling hostage negotiation is the desperate need for Republicans to distract and take the stench away from their deeply unpopular vote for the Ryan budget. They need to dirty the water on this issue as much as possible, particularly since seniors are their key voting demographic, and because their success in 2010 was largely predicated on lying to seniors that the Affordable Care Act would end Medicare as we know it. The Affordable Care Act was a deeply flawed bill that did a lot of things wrong, but hurting Medicare was not one of them. Nor will Waxman's bill that is currently being attacked hurt Medicare, either.

But that's not going to stop conservative groups from lying about it, because they know they stand a good chance of losing the House if Dems can make a strong counterattack on protecting Medicare. The GOP already had a casualty of the Ryan budget earlier this year in New York's 26th district.

The GOP urgently needs Dems to take votes to cut Medicare so that they can negate the issue of their arrogant vote on the Ryan budget heading into 2012.

Good thing, then, that the White House has been pushing for cuts to...Medicare. Makes sense. That should work out fabulously.


Kristol Blue Persuasion

The World's Best Blogger is mad, dammit!

Bill Kristol's Mindset

Every now and again, the mask slips and we see what the neocon scion really cares about. Fiscal responsibility? Debt reduction? This was a man who barely mentioned the debt or spending under the fiscally ruinous Bush-Cheney years, and mocked those who did. And the reason is simple: this is a writer concerned solely about partisanship and power...

They can't even bother to disguise their rank cynicism and partisan tribalism any more. Their core objective in this Congress: what Mitch McConnell said.

Translation: How much nicer everything was back when Kristol would at least put on a wig and some Sinatra before I gave him his Brotherhood of St. Reagan reacharounds.



by David Atkins ("thereisnospoon")

Ladies and gentlemen, the centrism cult in action, courtesy of Dana Milbank at Fred Hiatt's rag:

The time has come in the debt-limit fight for all Americans to declare their loyalties: Are you with the bank robbers, or are you with the dirty old men?

This unpalatable choice is as good a way as any to frame the debate in these last days before the default deadline.
On one side are House Republican leaders who, facing a rebellion of Tea Party conservatives, appealed for party unity by screening for members a clip of the 2010 film “The Town,” in which Ben Affleck’s bank-robber character tells the Jeremy Renner character: “I need your help. I can’t tell you what it is, you can never ask me about it later, and we’re gonna hurt some people.” Renner replies: “Whose car we takin’?” The clip ended before the shooting and beatings that followed.

On the other side are House Democratic leaders, who had to decide how to handle Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.), accused of making unwanted sexual advances toward a teenage girl (he claims it was consensual). Wu, who previously attracted attention by sending staff members photos of himself in a tiger costume,had no choice but to resign. But leaders accepted his plan to stay on the job for the debt standoff, thereby giving them one more vote against Speaker John Boehner’s debt plan.

It’s hard to decide which wins the craven crown: Exhorting colleagues by playing for them a call to criminal violence? Or trying to thwart the opposition by tolerating a 56-year-old colleague accused of forcing himself on a friend’s daughter?

On one side, an entire caucus watching a film about violent thieves going to "hurt some people" for inspiration. On the other, a political party with one Congressman involved in a sex scandal, temporarily holding off a resignation while we deal with an important vote (trumped up) fiscal crisis.

Milbank gets a two-fer here: claim that Democrats, who are overwhelmingly favored by women at the ballot box and passed the Ledbetter Act in the face of conservative opposition, are somehow the party of dirty old man misogynists, and claim that a sex scandal involving one Congressman that may or may not rise to the level of criminal activity is somehow on a par with an entire political party holding America hostage and fetishizing criminal violence while promising to "hurt some people."

Of course, Milbank is considered one of the "liberal" columnists at the Post.

The American press establishment isn't just dead weight in failing to expose the corporate takeover of the country's politics and the sheer lunacy of its right-wing flank. As with the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq, it is playing an actively complicit, damaging role in our democracy. The entire industry might as well shrivel up and die for all the good it does in informing the public.


They’re Not All Wall St. Tools

They're Not All Wall St. Tools
by David Atkins ("thereisnsopoon")

In case you were wondering about that zombie death cult thing:

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said today that some members of his own caucus who are refusing to agree to a compromise debt ceiling deal are hoping to unleash “chaos” and thus force the White House and Senate Democrats to make bigger concessions than they’re already offering. As many as 40 House Republicans, especially Tea Party members and freshmen, have demanded nothing short of changing the Constitution to include a balanced budget amendment before they would vote to raise debt ceiling, even though that has zero chance before the U.S. faces potential default on Aug. 2.

Speaking on conservative radio host Laura Ingraham’s show this morning, Boehner agreed that failing to raise the limit before the deadline would be devastating, and said the “chaos” plan won’t work when asked by Ingraham what’s motivating the recalcitrant Republicans:

BOEHNER: Well, first they want more. And my goodness, I want more too. And secondly, a lot of them believe that if we get past August the second and we have enough chaos, we could force the Senate and the White House to accept a balanced budget amendment. I’m not sure that that — I don’t think that that strategy works. Because I think the closer we get to August the second, frankly, the less leverage we have vis a vis our colleagues in the Senate and the White House.

These folks aren't in the business of doing Wall Street's bidding. They're in the business of bringing the system down to create their own new order, no different from a Maoist or Leninist revolutionary on the other side of the aisle. It's a market fundamentalist cult. They are a sizable and growing minority of the Republican caucus, and the ones who don't toe their line are terrified their heads will be the next to fall before the Tea Party guillotine.

Digby wondered earlier whether the Tea Party were more political construct or real grassroots movement. I guess the best answer is that it doesn't really matter. The Tea Party has always been fear-based mobilization of the ignorant on whatever issue Rove, DeMint, Limbaugh, the Kochs, etc. wanted it to be about. It doesn't have to be grassroots movement for rank and file Republicans to fear a primary challenge if they step at all out of line.

As much as there has been "good cop, bad cop" bipartisanship played over austerity (and there has been), there can be no doubt that the GOP is transforming from a corporatist entity slowly hollowing out America's middle class, to a truly malignant revolutionary entity.

Meanwhile, the pundit class continues to whistle past the graveyard and act as though this is all partisan politics as usual. One would think that David Brooks and George Will would know enough history to realize that when revolution hits, people like them are usually the first ones to be culled, both politically and physically.


The Origin of Wine [Greg Laden’s Blog]

ResearchBlogging.orgWith Julia spending the summer and most of the fall in The Republic of Georgia, I've been thinking about various political and historical aspects of that country, and one of the things that is claimed to be true is that wine was first invented there. Recently, someone asked me (always ask the archaeologist esoteric stuff like this) where wine was first invented. And, recently, we scored some Concord Grapes, which are native to North America (presumably thanks to some bird a long time ago) as opposed to most grapes, and which provide the roots for most (nearly all?) wine grape stock. And, a paper on the genetics of wine came out recently and has been staring at me for a few weeks now. All these things together made me want to update my current knowledge of the origin of wine.

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