January 26th, 2009


GOP Links Nomination to Torture Prosecutions

I found this appalling. It's bad enough to promote torture as an acceptable practice, and to protect people who practice it; but far worse to use that as a means of manipulating more moral people and the government's processes.

Ken Camp | GOP Links Nomination to Torture Prosecutions
Ken Camp, The Northwest Progressive Institute Advocate: "In an effort to derail the nomination of Attorney General-designate Eric Holder, it seems Senate Republicans are now resorting to extortion. They'll confirm Holder if he promises not to prosecute any Bush Administration officials for any involvement in acts of torture, according to Senator Sheldon Whitehouse(D-RI). Anyone familiar with the criminal justice system - especially those with experience as prosecutors or judges - should know that a prosecutor should make no determination about who to prosecute before he or she has all the facts, and particularly not in response to legislative pressure."

Craft Meme

I designed this meme mainly for crafty folks:

1) What crafts do you enjoy?
2) Do you craft in short bursts or long sessions?
3) Do you keep a cache of supplies you're likely to use, or do you buy exactly what you need for each project?
4) Do you make a list before going into a craft store?
5) Have you ever come out of a craft store having bought ONLY the things you planned to buy?
6) What are some of your favorite craft supplies?
7) What are some of your favorite craft tools?
8) Do you make craft projects for gifts, for sale, or for yourself?
9) Do your friends and family support and encourage your crafting?
10) Describe a really cool project you've made.

My Answers

1) Scrapbooking, beading, feathercrafts, sewing, and silk flower arranging are things I loop back to periodically. I've done embroidery and polymer clay sculpting but rarely have the time for those now.

2) More often long sessions than short. I tend to scrap poems in batches. I tend to use sewing as lapwork, working on it while I'm talking with people, and that can go for hours.

3) I keep a cache of craft supplies. Sometimes I can do a whole project without buying anything; more often, I just need a few extra things. When I shop, I usually buy what I need for a current project, and a few other items. If there's a sale, I will buy lots of bargain things that look usable.

4) If I'm shopping for a project, I always make a list unless I only need one or two items that I can remember easily. But I also kill time by browsing in a craft store, and then I don't have a list; I may or may not buy anything.

5) When I'm broke, yes.

6) Beads, scrapbook paper, and fabric. I'll buy those because they're so beautiful and variable, even if I don't have a project in mind.

7) I love patterned scrapbook scissors, because I work with paper more than photos. I also like hole punches and other cutout tools. For bead projects, I like my beading board because it makes design easier. And I'm outright collecting odd little sewing tools -- I have a metal hem press, a tracing stylus, an elephant tusk, a seam ripper, etc.

8) All three. Most of the scrapbooking is for gifts. The sewing is about half and half gifts and personal use. Once in a while I make things for sale -- sometimes people ask me to do stuff and offer to pay for it. That's a welcome boost to my income!

9) Generally, yes. Sometimes they really flip out over the scrapbook stuff, when I do an elaborate page. I've had total strangers flip out over the Renaissance garb I've made, because it's hand-sewn. I'm too lazy to use a machine. That's not a joke: I prefer sewing as lapwork, and it's a real nuisance for me to keep a machine running. I can use one, but it takes a lot of fiddling. So I actually finish garments faster by hand.

10) The Dragon Blanket and the +1 Spoon of Airy Assurance are described and pictured here.

Energy, Environment, and Activism

Here are some news articles and action opportunities relating to energy and the environment:

First Time Ever: Renewable Energy Accounts for Largest Share of Annual Increase in US Electrical Capacity
Some good news 'mongst all these ongoing recession woes: progress continues to be made on the alternative energy front. For the first time, renewable energy sources accounted for the biggest share in the increase of US's electrical capacity. This means that, thanks mostly to the burgeoning wind power industry, more renewable energy sources sprung up in 2007 than environmental ne'er do wells like coal-burning plants.

More Clean than Dirty Power Installed in 2007
For all we talk about solar and wind power, they still produce tiny amounts of the United States' (and the World's) electricity. But now we've finally got some numbers reflecting just how exciting renewables are. In 2007, the U.S. the majority of new power installed was wind power, and total production of coal-fired power actually shrunk!

Renewable energy enjoys vigorous growth, surpassing nonrenewable energy in the overall market. Coal power is even dropping! This demonstrates that companies can be green and competitive.

Economic Recovery Goes Green
In the next few days Congress is going to vote on the economic recovery package that everyone's been talking about for the last two months.
For the environment, the big question remains: Will Congress vote to create a stronger, more sustainable economy by investing in green jobs and a green economic recovery?
The answer: Not without your action this week. Click here to urge your member of Congress to support green jobs and a green economic recovery.

I'm a bit dubious of the new stimulus plan. Obviously the economy needs much help, and investing in infrastructure and green-collar jobs seems like a promising approach. But I'm not entirely convinced that all the money will be well spent, instead of disappearing into politicians' and CEOs' pockets. Previous stimulus projects have spent huge amounts of money with minimal effect -- the unemployment benefits relieved misery but didn't spur the economy. So, I'll just provide this action option, and let you folks decide whether you favor this stimulus package or not.

Petition to Protect the Verde River
According to U.S. Geological Survey reports, the first 24 miles of the Verde River, also referred to as the upper Verde, rely on springs originating from the Big Chino aquifer for at least 80 percent of the baseflow. Hydrologists predict that, in time, pumping water from the aquifer will reduce the Verde’s flow by an amount equal to the pumpage. If pumping exceeds the natural discharge from the aquifer to the Verde, baseflow from the Big Chino will cease. Without baseflow, a stream is a dry wash, flowing only during storm runoff.</font></font></p>

This action is a lot more solid. Outstripping water supplies is becoming a serious and widespread problem in America. It's important to avoid overuse of locally available water, because that can lead to an abrupt crash in water supply with devastating effects on residents, agriculture, and manufacturing. History demonstrates that human settlements near a large reliable water source are the most sustainable over the long term. We need to avoid overpopulating areas with a low water supply. Furthermore, the river system is vital to distributing both ongoing water flow and seasonal rises. Wreck the riparian and wetland zones, and it worsens natural disasters including floods, droughts, and wildfires -- all of which wreak material and economic havoc. Put simply: we need to live within our water budget. Please sign the petition to protect the Verde River.

Have you folks heard other news on these topics?

GaFilk Quilt

msminlr pointed me to this page showing previous Interfilk quilts made for GaFilk. This is so cool, I just had to share it with you-all.

I'm a big fan of quilting. My grandmother quilted. I've done a little of it myself, but the project scope tends to be bigger than ideal for me currently. I still cherish this part of history ... American history, women's history, world history really. There are even sites for documenting American and Australian quilts. Quilts are special.