Monday, December 31, 2018

End of Year Links and New Year's Resolutions

2018 was a pretty bad year, both for this blog and for the world.  2019 might be better, but I have my doubts.  Here are a bunch of links I've saved from the last part of the year:

My Dad's Friendship With Charles Barkley – NPR Only A Game.  This is a great read.

#CardCorner: 1958 Topps Wally Post - National Baseball Hall of Fame.  Local legend from St. Henry, Ohio.

Nebraska vs. Oklahoma State in an old-school battle in South Dakota? How did that happen? - Omaha World-Herald.  Here because of the gym.

The game of their lives was 25 years ago. They’re still replaying it in their minds. - Washington Post

How Christmas evolved from raucous carnival to domestic holiday - The Economist  

A Storm and a Strike Hit Blueberry Giant's Global Supply Plans – Bloomberg

TREADING WATER | Unfocused and underfunded, goal of cleaner water falters – Cedar Rapids Gazette

Uncertain fate awaits quirky Rochester landmark – Minnesota Public Radio

40 million Americans depend on the Colorado River. It’s drying up. - Grist

As oil and gas exports surge, West Texas becomes the world’s “extraction colony” - Texas Tribune

Oklahoma’s Future Rests in the Hands of Two Very Different Oil Billionaires - Bloomberg

Dr. Elon & Mr. Musk: Life Inside Tesla's Production Hell – Wired 

The Genius Neuroscientist Who Might Hold the Key to True AI – Wired

Bizarre ‘dark fluid’ with negative mass could dominate the universe – what my research suggests – The Conversation 

Indiana's 'broken arrow' — that time 5 nuclear bombs got caught fire – Indianapolis Star.  How we survived the Cold War I will never know.

Austin Rising - Louisville Courier-Journal.  A series on Austin, Indiana, where an HIV outbreak in 2015 linked to IV drug use shocked the Midwest.

Losing the Farm - Belt Magazine 

The Corruption of the Republican Party – George Packer

The Plot Against America – The Atlantic.  Paul Manafort

A college kid running for 13th Ward alderman gets a lesson in the Chicago Way – Chicago Tribune

The godfather of fake news – BBC

King of the Low Road – The Weekly Standard

These charts show how Democrats represent the growing modern economy – and how Republicans are left behind - CNBC 



Finally, for the resolutions.  One, I'm going to have to start exercising.  I am not looking forward to that.  Two, I'm going to have to take on a lot of maintenance projects this year.  Finally, I'm going to try to get back into regular blogging, with at least two posts a week.  We'll see how that goes.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Thanksgiving Mini-Links: Sports Traditions Edition

Here are a couple sports stories for your Turkey Day, and an Onion sweetener:

St. Dot’s vs. St. Bernie’s: A Drexel Hill football tradition spanning six decades - Philadelphia Inquirer

Doyel: Students will run for miles to maintain this Indiana basketball tradition - Indianapolis Star

How Turkey Trots Became a Thanksgiving Tradition - New York Times

Does Thanksgiving Glorify The Historical Slaughter Of The Detroit Lions - The Onion - I'm pretty sure grandpa will mention at some time during the day that the Lions used to play the Bears every year on Thanksgiving Day (not true-the Packers have a better claim for that).


Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The Day After

Wow.  I had gone into the election thinking that voters nationwide would have seen through Trump's lies and bigotry.  People in cities and suburbs did, but folks in rural areas just want to drink from the fire hose (with Steve King, how bigoted does one have to be to lose?).  In that respect, Trump was vindicated, so we can expect more of the same in the next two years.  In Ohio, Republicans cruised.  No incumbents in the state legislature lost.  Based on the Kansas and Wisconsin examples, the Republican party has to completely drive the state into the ground before they lose a statewide election.  I personally was hoping to avoid that, but I think that is what will happen.  For example, our next State Representative, like much of the rest of the legislature, wants to roll back Medicaid expansion.  The only reason the state expanded Medicaid was because John Kasich did it by executive action.  Now we have to depend on Mike DeWine and the health care lobby to keep it in place.  If it were to be rolled back, rural areas and the people who live there will suffer, and some places may lose hospitals.  I am sure we will get more useless tax cuts which strip resources from rural areas and put greater burdens on local populations, and more talk about rolling back regulations.  I doubt that much on the regulatory front will actually happen, but I expect you won't see DeWine pushing to deal with algae blooms in Grand Lake St. Mary's or Lake Erie, either.  Overall, rural areas will continue to decline, and they will continue to work to drag the rest of the country down with them. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Election Day Live Blog

6:03 AM:  Off to the polling place.  I'm making sure my ballot gets cast.  Don't worry, I won't be casting a single one for the Republican Party cult.

5:33 PM:  Just got home from work and feeding the cows.  Cracked a Troegs Scratch Series #342 Fest Lager.  It is pretty damn good.  I've got some work to do yet starting the grill and wood stove and feeding the calves.  I should be settled in around 6.  That's when the polls close in parts of Kentucky and Indiana (which are practically the same state).

6:01 PM:  Fire is taking off and the grill is warming up.  Polls are closed in most of Indiana.  As is always the case, I don't expect anything good to come out of Indiana.  Hopefully Joe Donnelly can eke out a win, but I am personally chalking the seat up as a loss to the GOP. Maybe I will be surprised.

6:18 PM:  Just heard an interview on NPR with a FreeDumb caucus member who was repeating Jim Jordan's talking points about doing what they promise, even if it is miserably stupid.  About the time I was wondering who it was, they said it was my useless Congressman, Warren Davidson. Fuck me.

6:44 PM:  The first two stories on Marketplace tonight were about Foxconn and Amazon HQ2.  One thing I would like to see come to an end are subsidy giveaways to multinational corporations.  Maybe a Scott Walker loss will make politicians think twice about making outrageously foolish deals.  Then again, lots of suckers think Donald Trump is some kind of expert negotiator.  Maybe they ought to read about his negotiating prowess for The Art of the Deal.

6:53 PM:  I wonder what the race will be the first one that news organizations call?  Maybe Vermont governor (a Republican)?

6:59 PM: Just started on a  Sam '76 out of the Sam Adams Winter Classics variety pack.

7:00 PM:  CNN called Bernie and Tim Kaine as winners.  How many times will we be told we are waiting on results from Lake County, Indiana (home of Gary)?  Interesting side note, Crown Point is the county seat of Lake County.

7:05 PM:  While we wait for results to come in, I emphasize enough how important it is that we see some results that indicate Trump's ridiculous minority and refugee scapegoating doesn't work.  I'm afraid we'll see a Senate result which will cause him to double down on the crazy for the next two years.  I'm not sure I could get through that with my sanity.

7:09 PM:  Polls in Ohio close in about 20 minutes.   Because of radical gerrymandering, we only have one (OH-12) or two (OH-1, which is doubtful) potential seat changes, barring a serious wave.  The statewide races should be very interesting, though.  I'm almost optimistic there.

7:15 PM:  Election night distraction.  Wes Goubeaux, I know you are looking forward to picking up some Reds 1939 merchandise:


7:21 PM: Also, this:

Good video

7:26 PM: No matter who wins, it may be a tough slog economically between today and the 2020 election



7:30 PM: Polls are closed in Ohio.

7:33 PM:  I would expect the race is called for the Ohio 80th House district.  Even though she really didn't campaign after the primary, I'm sure Jena Powell will win.  That is unfortunate, because she is a truly useless right-wing nut.  Her opponent, DJ Byrnes put together a couple of nice ads, but this district is ridiculously skewed to right-wing nutters.

7:39 PM:  Kent State vs. Buffalo is on ESPNU.

7:44 PM:  I can't believe college basketball is already here.

7:52 PM:  My county's results came in.  Powell beat Byrnes 68%-32%, while only repeating tripe about lowering taxes and cutting regulations that strangle business.  I hate how big of suckers rural voters are.

7:57 PM:  My county is so right-wing.  Jim Renacci won 57% of the vote even though his campaign was a joke.  

8:00 PM:   Luckily, the rest of the state appears to have elected Sherrod Brown.  Overall, Democrats seem to be doing well so far, nationally.

8:10 PM:  I still can't believe how big the rural/urban divide is.  Why do rural voters buy into the Republican bullshit about taxes when wealthier folks in cities and suburbs don't?

8:14 PM:  I would like to see a Democratic sweep of Governors' races in the Midwest.  It might be doable.

8:18 PM:  When I was signing the election register, I saw my sister's name listed as an active voter, even though she's been out of the state for almost 20 years.  She hadn't voted today.  I tried checking the Ohio Secretary of State's listing of registered voters.  I was there, but she wasn't.  All I could figure was that she was one of the voters who got purged in recent years for not voting, but maybe her name was restored because the ACLU won a suit against the Secretary of State for removing voters from the rolls.  Either that or my county is just incompetent, which is also likely.

8:24 PM:  Indiana is looking bad for Donnelly, and thus, for the United States.  Geez, I can't stand Hoosiers or Donald Trump.

8:34 PM:  Why do rural voters, who claim they don't like how their local economies are going, keep voting for Republicans who never, ever give them any help?  I just don't get it.

8:35 PM:  Well, I don't get it if I don't take into account bigotry.

8:36 PM:  I see the billionaire challenger in Illinois beat the nearly billionaire incumbent.  Unfortunately, Illinois residents will get four more years of dysfunction.  On the plus side, Rahner will probably be one of the few recent former governors of Illinois not to go to prison.

8:40 PM: Goddamn Florida.

8:42 PM:  If Democrats aren't working tomorrow to register voters for 2020, they are insane.  Donald Trump and his idiot base must lose.

8:44 PM:  In good news, felons may have voting rights restored in Florida.

8:48 PM:  Indiana is a shithole.  Braun and Pence win.

8:52 PM:  Things are not looking good for Democrats right now.

8:57 PM:  Going to have to speed up the beer consumption.

9:03 PM:  I still struggle so much with the idea that rural areas keep electing politicians who have no interest in helping out their constituents.  It is just like the Brexit abortion.  Rural voters are committing economic suicide electing conservatives.

9:11 PM:  Trump is going to be off the hook for the foreseeable future.  The United States is going to be screwed.

9:13 PM:  This is insane.  Who are all of these GOP voters, and why do they hate rationality?

9:17 PM:  County-by-county results do not show Ohio suburbs breaking for Democrats.

9:23 PM:  Donald Trump campaigned with an insane freakout about the caravan, and mountains of lies.  Why on earth do people support him?  Are they as big of assholes as he is?

9:29 PM:  CNN is currently building up Beto O'Rourke.  I dread watching his lead slip away, too, as it is one of the few bright spots on the map right now.

9:36 PM:  So far it looks like Republican voters in Ohio didn't find out who the GOP was pushing for state Supreme Court.  One bright spot for Democrats so far.

9:43 PM:  If Democrats don't find those 1.6 million felons in Florida and get them registered to vote, they do not deserve to be called a political party.

9:52 PM:  I understand why Ted Cruz is so unpopular, but how in the fuck can anybody like Donald Trump?

10:00 PM:  It looks like urban and suburban voters are going to carry Democrats across the line to gain control of the House, which is a very good thing.  However, rural results are so depressing that I'm chalking 2018 up as a loss.  Rural areas are going to suffer miserably in the future.

10:02 PM:  I see Kris Kobach is projected to lose.  Thank God.

10:04 PM:  Dem candidate wins Michigan, but Scott Walker is leading.  WTF is wrong with Wisconsin?

10:09 PM:  Warning to Ohio: Kansas has discovered how fucked up Republican governance is.  Are we going to have to follow them clear to the bottom before we get some goddamn sense?

10:18 PM: Ted Cruz wins.  Today sucks.

10:31 PM:  How in the fuck is Mike DeWine winning?  His campaign was godawful.

10:40 PM:  The rural/urban split keeps getting worse, and rural voters keep getting more and more wrong.  Brexit 2.0.

10:41 PM:  Republican plus third party vote is 55-45 in Ohio.  What the hell is going on?

10:59 PM:
Truth, and dominating in rural areas, but getting crushed outside of them.

11:02 PM:  Ohio really feels like Indiana tonight.

11:26 PM:  Right now, all I've got is the hope that Scott Walker loses.

11:29 PM: 
 I needed that laugh.

11:35 PM:  Oh, I also forgot about the possibility Steve King might lose.

12:01AM:  There are a lot of things going on tonight.  Somehow, Republicans swept all of the statewide executive offices.  Oddly, I didn't really see any campaign ads for state Supreme Court justices, and they lost both seats (it appears).  That is one tiny bright spot in a very depressing bunch of electoral result in Ohio.  Regionally, Indiana is horrible as always.  Michigan looks pretty good, as does Minnesota.  Iowa could go either way, but it looks to remain with a Republican governor, but they lost at least one Congressional seat.  If Scott Walker loses, I'll be smiling.  Nationally, our Constitutional dysfunction gets worse.  We have a popular vote loser sitting in the White House, while a minority of the population holds the Senate.  It also appears the Democrats crushed Republicans nationally in the House.  This will allow the Republicans to continue to stack the courts with lifetime appointments, giving them a generation of control of the only branch of government that can prevent Executive overreach.  Additionally, the rural/urban split worsened.  Nothing good will come of this.  I dread our political (and economic) future.

12:08 AM:  Also, racism won where it normally wins.  That saddens me.

12:12 AM:  Why in the fuck is that useless sack of shit Rick Santorum on CNN?

12:20 AM:  Would Rick Santorum please shut the fuck up? 

12:27 AM:  How does a complete dumbass like Rick Santorum dominate the debate on CNN?  Every other person at that table is smarter than him and has more useful stuff to say.  This is a perfect example of what is wrong with our political discourse.  I'm going over to Twitter and drinking until I have to go to sleep.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Election Eve Links

Tomorrow is the big day.  It is the chance, after two long years, to give Donald Trump, and the Republican Party which foisted him on us, a giant fuck you.  I'll be going in first thing in the morning to cast my straight-ticket Democratic ballot.  It might make a difference for U.S. Senator and the statewide positions, but it will be meaningless for Congress and State House and Senate.  But it will be cathartic.  It is already raining, so after work tomorrow, I'll get the animals fed, make supper, then crack my first beer and turn on the TV and start blogging the election results.  Please tune in, and feel free to comment.  In the time between now and then, here are a few stories for you to enjoy:

The Southernization of the Midwest - Benjamin Studabaker.  I've resisted GOP efforts to turn Ohio into Alabama for a long time.

Wisconsin's $4.1 Billion Foxconn Boondoggle - The Verge

Rural America’s Own Private Flint: Polluted Water Too Dangerous to Drink - New York Times

Trump the Revealer - The Big Picture.  Excellent post by Ritholtz.

The President's Lies - The Atlantic   

Something's Happening in Texas - The Atlantic 

Can the Republic Strike Back? - Andrew Sullivan

Vote against all Republicans.  Every single one. - Max Boot!?

What the 2018 Campaign Looks Like in Your Hometown - Bloomberg



Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Monsoon V, and sucking at blogging

First, a video:


Monsoon V (4K) from Mike Olbinski on Vimeo.


I realize I've really been sucking at the blogging. For this, I blame Trump. Sure, harvest has been taking up a decent amount of time, and we are still screwing around trying to get done. We've had some breakdowns, some elevator closings over the last couple of weekends, and a little bit of inclement weather, but we've got about 4-5 days left, and I'm not going to get too stressed out about that considering it's Halloween (this is probably a few run-on sentences, but I'd like to see it diagrammed nonetheless). Yes, the forecast does look like shit, but we are a lot better off than last fall. Mainly, it is that the dysfunction of the Trump presidency (I still cringe typing that phrase) is constantly in the news, but everywhere I turn there are people who not only don't think the Donald is a complete fuckup, they actually think he's doing a good job. While alone, I constantly think that Trump supporters are stupid or evil, and then I remember that they are my neighbors whom I otherwise respect.  The festering anger is challenging to handle.  Anyway, I'll give you a little warning-I'll be live/drunk blogging/tweeting the election next Tuesday if we aren't shelling corn that day.  The current forecast indicates I'll be drunkenly ranting come midnight Tuesday/Wednesday.


Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Making America Great



Awesome photo gallery at The Atlantic featuring photographs of Chicago's rail yards by Jack Delano.  Bonus points for the ones of the Illinois Central yard featuring the giant neon PBR sign.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

We're Going To Have A.......Winter

The main Farmer's Almanacs made the news in the last few days with their winter weather forecasts, and, like today's politics, they are on the far ends of the spectrum.  The Farmer's Almanac of Lewiston, Maine grabbed a bunch of headlines with their forecast of a very cold, snowy winter:


Meanwhile, my personal favorite, the Old Farmer's Almanac of Dublin, New Hampshire predicted a wet, warm winter:


If I had to make a wager on the weather (again), I would probably go with the warmer forecast.  With the climate starting to significantly warm, I think we will have a lot fewer cold winters.  However, when we do have one, like in 2014, it'll be a very cold one.  I'd keep my eye on the weather in California.  When they get dry winters, we typically get cold, snowy ones.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

A Christmas Story in Butter

The butter cow display at the 2018 Ohio State Fair honors "A Christmas Story:"


I like it, although I like all butter and butter sculptures.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Late July Links

I've been pretty lazy lately when it comes to the blog, but I've got quite a few rapidly aging links I need to use, so here you go:

Family spat leads to two town ball teams in little Milroy, Minn. - Minneapolis Star-Tribune.  I sure would have loved to have town ball around western Ohio when I was young.

The Family Ownership Dramas That Roil the NFL - Sports Illustrated.  As far as I saw, no mention of the Brown family, who beat the IRS.

How the Braves came to Buffalo – and why they left - Buffalo News.  This is a couple of years old, but has a lot of interesting historical deal about college basketball in Buffalo and the NBA as a minor professional league.

Lake surfers say polluted waves are making them sick—but they love it too much to stop – Chicago Reader

Sinking land, poisoned water: the dark side of California's mega farms- The Guardian

I Was Wrong About the Rural–Urban Divide - YES! Magazine.  It was previously noted on the blog that diary farmers were more likely to skew Democratic than other farmers in Wisconsin.

We Have No Idea How Bad the US Tick Problem IsWired  

Catastrophic drought threatens Iraq as major dams in surrounding countries cut off water to its great rivers – The Independent  

The Entire History of Steel – Popular Mechanics 

An ICE Raid Leaves an Iowa Town Divided Along Faith Lines – New York Times.  Evangelical Trumpians vs. Christians.

American History for Truthdiggers: Whose Revolution? (1775-1783) – Truthdig 

The fallacy of obviousness – Aeon 

How to get away with financial fraud  - The Guardian

As churches close, a way of life fades – Minneapolis Star-Tribune.  The declines in baptisms are horrific.




Friday, July 13, 2018

Monday, July 2, 2018

Start of July Links

I'm generally not the most optimistic person out there, but last week pretty much squeezed any hope for the future out of me, as far as politics goes.  Maybe this is the turning point where it becomes obvious how wrong I am to be negative, but I'd wager it isn't.  Anyway, I did find some interesting, if not necessarily positive stories for your reading pleasure:

A-Rod, Ken Griffey Jr. and the Greatest Home Run-Hitting Team in MLB History - Bleacher Report

What Makes a Team Great? - The Atlantic 

Weeds Are Winning in the War against Herbicide ResistanceScientific American  

As Carbon Dioxide Levels Rise, Major Crops Are Losing Nutrients – The Salt

Do We Treat Our Soil Like Dirt? - National Geographic.  Betteridge's Law violation.


These tiny little bugs are a harbinger of wetland health -- and they're disappearing - Minnesota Public Radio

How to Steal 50 Million Bees – Bloomberg  

The Tragic Roots of America’s Favorite Cherry – Atlas Obscura.  Sorry, Mel, it is about Bing cherries, not Rainier cherries.

Rising seas: 'Florida is about to be wiped off the map' – The Guardian.  I'm not sure that is a net loss.

The Grandfather of Alt-Science - FiveThirtyEight.  Hoo boy!

Bavaria: Affluent, Picturesque — and Angry - New York Times.  They call it the Texas of Germany, but I'd rather try my luck in Bavaria than the Lone Star State.

Anger in America – Project Syndicate.  This makes some very important points.

After the FallLondon Review of Books.  Another reminder of why people are angry.

One County Thrives. The Next One Over Struggles. Economists Take Note. - The Upshot

A Cleveland Revival Must Include ManufacturingAmerican Conservative.  I like the Cleveland focus, but I think the author has way too much faith in Trump and his tariffs.  Paying more for steel is going to drive out even more non-primary material manufacturing.  Just ask Harley.  They may be the first, but they surely won't be the last.

Best advice to U.S. dairy farmers? 'Sell out as fast as you can' - NBC News.  It is notable that the U.S. dairy farmers interviewed were envious of the Canadian supply management system that tries to maintain a large number of small dairies.  The chart below shows that the U.S. has gone the other way.


Sunday, June 17, 2018

Mid-June Links, Part II

More stories for you, as I avoid working in the heat:

This ex-Detroit football player is vowing to become a nun - Detroit Free Press

Ashes of an industry: A Pennsylvania tradition is dying, one baseball bat at a time - Philadelphia Inquirer

No more cathode ray tubes from China, says Trump Administration - Asia Times

Philadelphia Shipyard Struggles to Survive on Order Drought - Wall Street Journal.  Calling Donald Trump....

Billions in U.S. solar projects shelved after Trump panel tariff - Reuters.  I guess if your goal is to bail out coal, this is a win.  If your goal is to have a sane energy policy, this is idiotic.

When North Dakota Farmers Blew up Partisan Politics - Zocalo Public Square.  Nonpartisan League.  I knew North Dakota has a State Bank.  I didn't realize they have an elevator and flour mill.

The Failed State of Franklin - ThoughtCo

The bishop and the brothels – Wellcome Collection

Farm Bill Targets Food Stamps -- But Not Handouts to Well-Off Farmers – Governing.  For Republicans, that is a feature, not a bug.

Lone Star Rising - Fortune.  Fracking in the Permian Basin.  The avoidance of Peak Oil means we will probably drill until the climate is completely wrecked.  It might be a good think I don't have kids.

T. Boone Pickens on Selling the Ranch - Texas Monthly

The preventable tragedy of D’ashon Morris – Dallas Morning News.  Think of this when you hear Republicans say they are pro-life.

How Anna Delvey Tricked New York's Party People - The Cut

These Harvard Kids Got The Lesson of Their Lives in the Heartland - New York Post.  A noble effort, but I don't know how much can be gleaned by these junkets.

The Strange Case of the Missing Joyce Scholar – New York Times.  The line between genius and madness is often blurry.

America’s Largest Private Company Reboots a 153-Year-Old Strategy – Bloomberg


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Mid-June Links, Part I

That's right, I'm not dead yet.  I was just busy side dressing corn, baling hay, going to graduation parties, working at the town festival, celebrating my birthday and generally sitting around.  Here are a bunch of stories to try to make it up to you, with more to come tomorrow (or maybe the next few days):

Why Canadian milk infuriates Donald Trump - The Guardian.  After years of getting crushed, Canada's system probably sounds pretty appealing to U.S. dairymen.

Crisis on the High Plains: The Loss of America's Largest Aquifer - The Ogallala - University of  Denver Water Law Review.  U.S. agriculture creates so many of its own problems. 

Plants repeatedly got rid of their ability to obtain their own nitrogen - Ars Technica

New tariffs spark fears in WNY: 'It makes me a lot less competitive' - Buffalo News

A Senior White House Official Defines the Trump Doctrine: ‘We’re America, Bitch’ - The Atlantic.  I'm sure that'll work out well for us.

Trump’s Got a Crazy New Plan to Save the Dying Coal Industry - Mother Jones.  There is never a shortage of terrible ideas in this administration.

Emails show cooperation among EPA, climate-change deniers - AP.  Also, corruption.

‘He Pretty Much Gave In to Whatever They Asked For’ - Politico.  Our Negotiator-in-Chief.  You have to read about The Art of the Deal and The Apprentice.

Catholic sister's retirement marks end of Sisters of Charity affiliation with Sacred Heart - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  There is a lot of this going on.

Trump’s Right-Hand Troll - The Atlantic. America's most famous Duke alum.

America’s Boxcar Pool Has a Leak in CSX - Wall Street Journal

The Engines of the Largest Container Ships in the World, and Challenges their Manufacturers Face - Wolf Street.  You have to click through to see the crankshaft photo.

What Unites and Divides Urban, Suburban and Rural Communities - Pew Research Center

US rivers drawn to show average annual flow - Map Porn (via Lynn Sosnoskie)



Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Mid Week Mini-Links - May 2018 Edition

I had a little difficulty finding many good stories, but I've got some:

Stronach Group COO Tim Ritvo sees grim future for Preakness at Pimlico - Baltimore Sun.  This makes me sad.

Choking On Our Harvest: Threats Loom Over Global Food Trade – Bloomberg.  A lot of good graphics.

Big Ag turns to peas to meet soaring global protein demand – Reuters

Editorial: U.S. House embarrassed itself with its mishandling of the farm bill - Omaha World-Herald.  The GOP owns this train wreck.  They had plenty of money for corporate tax cuts, but they just can't resist kicking the poor while shoveling out piles of money to farmers and rural residents.

For Future Health Policies, Trump Administration Adds a Rural Focus - Governing.  Maybe the Ohio GOP shouldn't be pushing to roll back Medicaid expansion.  I think the lack of Medicaid expansion (along with ending reimbursement for unpaid care linked to the expected expansion), as opposed to excessive regulation, led to rural hospital closures.

Gambling Ruling May Make USDA Reports More Exciting - Progressive Farmer 

The Last Days of the Blue-Blood Harvest - The Atlantic 

Meeting Resistance – Science

Public Demands Investigation of Why F.B.I. Infiltrators in Trump Campaign Failed to Prevent Him from Being Elected – Borowitz Report

Scott Pruitt’s approach to pollution control will make the air dirtier and Americans less healthy - The Conversation


Thursday, May 17, 2018

Mid-May Late Week Links

More good reads for you:

Gov. John Kasich wants to crack down on phosphorus runoff that feeds Lake Erie algal blooms – Cleveland Plain Dealer.  This isn't going to magically go away.

Warming Planet Could Mean Bigger Corn Crops for American Farmers – Bloomberg.  Just what we need-more corn.

California is turning farms into carbon-sucking factories – Grist.  Farmers might be in for fighting climate change if it means more sweet, sweet government handouts.

Warming Waters Push Fish To Cooler Climes, Out Of Some Fishermen's Reach – The Salt

NASA Satellites Reveal Major Shifts in Global Freshwater – NASA.gov

Louisiana Wants To Use The Muddy Mississippi To Build Up Its Coast – NPR

The 9.9 Percent Is the New American Aristocracy - The Atlantic

The Untold Story of Robert Mueller's Time in Combat - Wired.  Who would you rather your children turn out like: Robert Mueller or Donald Trump?  If you said Trump, I sure hope you don't have kids.

Sulfur Dioxide Damages Lungs, and Scott Pruitt Is Letting More of It in Our AirMother Jones  It is ridiculous that existing plants sometimes never have had to meet most environmental regulations.

Too Big To Fine, Too Small To Fight BackTexas Observer.  Sometimes it seems when Republicans are in charge they really work to make government the enemy.

Which Poor People Shouldn’t Have to Work for Aid? – The Upshot.  I'll give you one guess.  More on Michigan's plan for letting rural poor folks stay on Medicaid without meeting work requirements. 

‘Blue Wave’ Has Been a Trickle Outside Largest Cities - The Daily Yonder.  Yes, rural areas are responsible for Trump.

Trump vs. “The Deep State”The New Yorker.  More like Trump vs. competent governance.

A Wildfire Likely Spawned a Severe Thunderstorm in Texas – DAMWeather


Sunday, May 13, 2018

End of Planting Links

We had a number of setbacks that ate up a few perfectly fine days, but the weather was extremely cooperative, and everything is in the ground.  While we were working on it, I came across some stories I thought were interesting:

Who is basketball's GOAT - Lebron James or Michael Jordan - Boston Globe and Cavaliers are surviving in the playoffs despite the dilemma of LeBron James' rest - ESPN.  I'm extremely biased, but I think Lebron would be the best teammate to play alongside.

The Big Ten’s Big Business - Slate.  "Amateur."  What a crock.

The Art of Icon Writing - Baltimore Sun

Why We've Been Fighting About Milk for 10,000 Years - Time

Maple Syrup Cartel Has a Plan to Cover Shortfall - Bloomberg.  I can't get enough of the maple syrup cartel and their strategic maple syrup reserve.

The Colonel In The Kitchen: A Surprising History Of Sous Vide - The Salt

Alan Turing’s chemistry hypothesis turned into a desalination filter - Ars Technica

How the 50-mm Lens Became ‘Normal’ - The Atlantic 

The water war that will decide the fate of 1 in 8 Americans – Grist.  People who move to the desert southwest are insane.

Tech Envisions the Ultimate Start-Up: An Entire City – The Upshot.  Umm, no thanks.  I'm not sure how Beta versions of cities would work.

Kansas' Medicaid Data Is So Bad, Analysts Can't Even Tell If It's Working - Governing.  Kansas is pretty much Republican "governance" in its purest form.

Nonprofit Liberty University's "lucrative enterprise" - Marketplace.  Gaming regulations targeting for-profit colleges.

Trump is no longer the worst person in government - George Will.  On Mike Pence. Let's not get crazy, George.  Both suck in tremendously different ways.

Donald Trump declares trade war on China - Financial Times.  This will probably hit farmers hard.


Saturday, May 5, 2018

Derby Day Links

More stories squeezed around planting, fixing the planter and working at the town job:

 Eating Dirt on Kentucky Derby Day - Bloomberg

The Gambler Who Cracked the Horse-Racing Code - Bloomberg

These Stories Of Horse Racing Gamblers Will Get You Psyched For The Kentucky Derby - Bloomberg.  It's a podcast, but as you can see, Bloomberg is all-in on the Derby.

Local Dallas Sportscaster Goes Viral For His 'Unplugged' Commentary - All Things Considered.  The part about his racist dad saying the one black family he knows is good and different from all the blacks he doesn't know is pure Midwestern bigotry.  I don't know if I could count how many times I've heard that. Sometimes it includes a statement that that black person or family agrees with that person about other blacks.

The innovation turning desert sand into farmland - BBC

Minnesota experiment upends notions about how plants will offset rising CO2 - Minn Post

On The Hunt For The Elusive Morel Mushroom In Ohio's Appalachian Country  - The Salt

Here's why Michigan Medicaid work requirements will kill people - Detroit Free Press.  Exemptions for rural counties, but not for poor urban areas.  That's the Republican party for you.

How Criminals Steal $37 Billion a Year from America’s Elderly - Bloomberg.  I would like to know what countries' GDP are smaller than the total economic activity generated in the US by crime and fraud.  I would guess it is the size of a medium-sized developed nation

Paul Ryan Just Got Trounced By a Priest - Charles Pierce and Ryan reverses, will keep House chaplain in place - Politico.  As if I needed to add anti-Catholic bigotry to my reasons to hate the GOP.  I did enjoy that more than one political commentator said that the moral of the story is that you don't fuck with a Jesuit (or The Society-God bless Catholic culture).

A Pruitt Aide's Attack on Zinke Angers the White House - The Atlantic.  So the cabinet secretary I hate the most had an underling try to undermine the cabinet secretary I hate the second-most.  That seems about like what I'd expect from the Trump administration.  Even they can understand who the assholes are.

This Map Shows Every State's Biggest Export - How Much (via Ritholtz).  Not too hard to figure out where Poet is based.


Wednesday, May 2, 2018

On Farming

It was about 9:15 this evening when it really hit me.  We had just finished planting the corn on our first farm, and I was walking from the north field back to my truck about a quarter mile away.  It was approaching the end of the gloaming, and in the general stillness the slightest wisp of breeze would kick up a tiny chill.  It would pass, and then I would feel the warmth of the soil radiating the stored solar energy of a beautiful May Day. That happened four or five times as I made that 5 minute walk. It was a good day.

It didn't start that way.  If you talked to me as late as 2:30, I would have had a tale of woe and frustration that stretched days as we'd managed to get 10 acres planted while neighbors seeded hundreds.  I was trying to repair yesterday's breakdown, and had just discovered that the part I ordered and that dad picked up this morning was the wrong one, and wouldn't work on our machine.  At that point, I was looking for a quick fix and dad, while expressing that immediate retirement was looking pretty attractive, said that we had waited this long, we might as well wait a couple more hours while he went to get the right part and do it right.

"Good enough never is."  That is the sales slogan at my town job, which also happens to be our family business.  It is a potent motto, but from this jaded engineer and farmer's perspective, good enough is good enough.  Dad left to get the part, and I went to work on my quick fix.  From my perspective, we could do the proper fix tomorrow when it was forecast to rain (although that may get pushed back to Thursday [and dad is right, we need to fix it correctly when we can, which I will try to do in the early morning]).  Within a half-hour we were up and running, and with minor slowdowns, were able to complete what we could reasonably expect to get done in what was left of the day. 

That is what I love about grain farming.  When you decide to try something that might not be ideal, you don't have to answer to anyone except family and maybe the banker.  Also, unlike almost every other job, there is a definite start and finish to crop production.  Sure, we are barely a sixteenth of the way to completing our seeding labor, but we got most of that done in less than seven hours from our lowest point at 2:30 to that moment where I felt the last remnants of the sun's work escaping to the atmosphere in the beautiful transition from day to night.  Few other jobs blend that physical feeling of accomplishment with the opportunity to experience nature in all its wonder and beauty.  I got to feel the warmth of the May sun, watch that sun set, and watch the moon rise.  And I got to feel the subtle shift of our work from frustration to success.

As I type this, this good day passes into the next one.  I am looking at an early start to a day that may bring rain, will definitely bring a careful balance of labor between the town job and the one that is done more for love than money, and may bring more frustration. But I am looking forward to another feeling of accomplishment as this new day fades into the next one. 

Sunday, April 29, 2018

End of April Weekend Links

I was finally ready to start planting this afternoon, and wouldn't you know it, we had a technology malfunction and I didn't get a single seed in the ground.  I did find these stories over the last few days, though:

The history of the song "Louie Louie" - Marketplace.  An important FBI investigation.

EU agrees total ban on bee-harming pesticides - Guardian

Rural Lands At Risk As Ranchers Prepare For Retirement - The Salt

Rural Kansas is dying. I drove 1,800 miles to find out why - The New Food Economy.  It goes a little over the top, but brings up some brutal statistics.

Rural Teachers Working Second Jobs, Struggling To Make Ends Meet – CBS Denver

The last man who knew everything – The Week

A High Schooler Has Upended a Fundamental Chemistry Theory - Inverse

Did Math Kill God?The New Republic 

There Are Holes In Elon Musk's Plans To Tunnel Through L.A. With Boring Co. - Forbes

The Myth That Markets Get Prices Right Won’t Die – Bloomberg.  Goddamn vampire theory. Pound a wooden stake in its heart.

Life on the Oil Frontier - Longreads

Annual Figures Show Slight Rise in Rural Jobs, But Gap With Metro Widens – Daily Yonder


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Now That's Big

Last of April Mid-Week Links

More stories for you:

The Mobster Who Bought His Son a Hockey TeamThe Atlantic.  This is as good as it sounds.

ESPN Fawns Over The Intelligence Of Trevor Bauer, Who Is A Big Dumb Asshole - Deadspin.  I really have no opinion about Trevor Bauer, but this made me laugh, and the twitter exchange is amazing.

Yangxiang aims high with sows on many floors – Pig Progress.  I have no idea if this is true, but if it is, it sounds like a horror show.

Remembering the ‘Spooky Wisdom’ of Our Agrarian Past – The American Conservative.  I still don't think the phase of the moon has anything to do with setting fence posts.

Bosch Says It's Made a Breakthrough That Can Save Diesel Engines – Bloomberg

The Key to Everything - New York Review of Books

The Renegade SheriffsThe New Yorker

Church of the Donald – Politico and Maybe It’s Time to Admit That The “Grotesque Caricature” of White Evangelicals is the Reality - Religion Dispatches.  These bother me more than most things Donald. 

Why Trump Gets Away With Lying – Bloomberg.  This makes an important point.  I have a hard time talking about Trump without saying, "dumbfuck" or "suckers," but that isn't going to sway any of his supporters, and probably will just make them dig in their heels deeper.  That's a challenging situation that requires more of me (and is one of the reasons I haven't written much about Trump).

Mick Mulvaney Says the Quiet Part Out LoudThe Atlantic.  Yeah, draining the swamp.  

The Reinvention of America – James Fallows.  He's more optimistic than I am, but that is a good thing (honestly, it is often hard to be more pessimistic than me).

This animal kills more people in a day than sharks do in a century – Gatesnotes.  Trump is far from alone when it comes to freaking out about sharks.


Sunday, April 22, 2018

Chart of the Day - Earth Day Edition

We are screwed:


Late April Weekend Links

More stories for your perusal:

The Man Who Brought Down Lance ArmstrongThe Atlantic  

Iowa's minor league baseball teams team up to help repair the vandalized Field of Dreams infield - Des Moines Register

Local Courts Lift Arkansas Weedkiller Ban, Creating Chaos - The Salt.  Chaos seems to be standard for agriculture right now...

Exclusive: U.S. sorghum armada U-turns at sea after China tariffs - Reuters

The Maraschino Mogul’s Secret LifeThe New Yorker 

OLPC’s $100 laptop was going to change the world — then it all went wrong - The Verge

Canary in the Coal Pond - Propublica
 
Engineers Are Leaving Trump’s America for the Canadian Dream – Bloomberg.  MAGA is effectively MAWA.  No greatness about it.

Palantir Knows Everything About You – Bloomberg

Ranked: The Best and Worst State Economies - Visual Capitalist.  If there is a correlation between tax rate and ranking, it appears to be a positive correlation.


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Not-Quite-Time-To-Plant Links

This weather is pretty frustrating, but eventually we will be hitting the fields.  Until them, here are some things to read:

What Hurricane Maria Didn’t Wreck: Puerto Rican Baseball – New York Times

In North Carolina, Hog Waste Is Becoming A Streamlined Fuel Source – The Salt

Scientists Want to Replace Pesticides With Bacteria – Bloomberg 

The Megafire Burning in Oklahoma - The Atlantic 

Climate Boundary Shifting East Due to Global Warming – Drovers Magazine (h/t the old boss)

Climate change: A farmer’s call to action - Indiana Prairie Farmer

Why New York City Stopped Building Subways – City Lab

San Francisco’s Big Seismic Gamble – New York Times

The Quest for the Next Billion-Dollar Color – Bloomberg. A much more interesting article on pigments than you would expect. 

Decades-Old Graph Problem Yields to Amateur Mathematician - Quanta

Tensions grow between conservation, commerce in Ohio’s state forests – Columbus Dispatch

The Warrior at the Mall - New York Times (h/t Kaye)

Ryan Zinke’s Great American Fire SaleThe New Yorker.  The only guy in Trump's cabinet who can give Scott Pruitt a run for his money as chief asshole.              

Everyone Wants To Go Home During Extra Innings — Maybe Even The Umps - FiveThirtyEight 


Sunday, April 15, 2018

Traditional Tax Day Links

Here are the latest stories for you:

James Harden Isn't Playing AroundGQ 

As dairy crisis crushes farmers, Wisconsin's rural identity in jeopardy - Dairy farmers have been getting pummeled.  I feel awful for them.

Republican Farm Bill Calls On Many SNAP Recipients To Work Or Go To School - The Salt.  Subsidies for me, but not for thee. 

Texas is making billions from oil and gas drilling, but counties say rural roads are being destroyed - Texas Tribune

Be Good or Be Gone: The Legend of McSorley’s Old Ale House - Modern Drunkard.  I've never been to McSorley's.  I will need to go the next time I'm in New York.

How a Defense of Christianity Revolutionized Brain Science - Nautilus  

Does Tech Need Silicon Valley? - California Sunday Magazine  

Two Decades of War Have Eroded the Morale of America’s Troops – The Atlantic.  This is a must-read.  My position has always been that the best way to honor our troops is to not send them to be maimed or killed in pointless, unwinnable wars.

A Saudi Prince’s Quest to Remake the Middle East - The New Yorker.  The man's PR just isn't good enough to cover for what he's really up to.

Michael Cohen and the End Stage of the Trump Presidency - The New Yorker.  I don't know, almost 46% of the voters in 2016 voted for the obviously crooked businessman, I'm not sure why even more evidence that he's a crook is going to convince them they've been conned. 

Trump’s Company Is Suing Towns Across the Country to Get Breaks on Taxes — “Trump, Inc.” Podcast – ProPublica.  See above for why voters won't change their opinions on this asshole. 

Is It the Spending or the Taxes? Mostly the Spending, But ... – Justin Fox.  In honor of Paul Ryan's (aka Bizarro Robin Hood) retirement from robbing from the poor to give to the rich.

Amid Trade Feud, Recycling Is in Danger of Landing on Trash Pile – Wall Street Journal  

Where Blue-Collar America Is Strongest - FiveThirtyEight.  This map reflects the best farm economy in a generation.  We've seen the peak, and it is going to be worse going forward. 


Thursday, April 12, 2018

Mid-April Midweek Links

I managed to find a few decent stories in the midst of all the crap out there:

The one baseball's been waiting for – ESPN.  This dude is fascinating.

The Team With the Three-Man Rotation – Wall Street Journal

White Sox, Rays play in front of reported crowd of 974 – MSN News.  From one of the biggest baseball-haters I know.

The Wonder Protein That Makes Cheese So Stretchy - The Atlantic 

In the Battle for the American West, the Cowboys Are Losing – Wall Street Journal

Giant genitals were the downfall of some ancient crustaceansNature. Uh oh.

Ocean circulation is changing, and we need to know why - Nature 

Lovely Weather We’re Having … Now Who Will Save Us? - Belt Magazine.  I just came across Belt Magazine, but they have some terrific articles that are right in my wheel house.

More Mississippi bridges added to list; counties get 24 hours to begin closures – Mississippi Today.  The Republican Party wants to make the rest of the country just like Mississippi.

Why the U.S. Targeted This Russian Oligarch – Bloomberg.  I realy think Trump missed his calling as a mobster.

Due Process - Lapham’s Quarterly.  Very interesting.  I personally see the regulatory state as a necessary part of modern life, but find everything else to be dead-on.

Data Visualization and Cholera: An Unexpected Connection - Visual Capitalist



Sunday, April 8, 2018

Early April Weekend Links

Here are a few stories from the last few days:

Playing for Pop - San Antonio Express-News

The Broncos’ Futures program saved football in Denver Public Schools. But an even bigger impact of the feeder teams might still be seen- Denver Post

“The Clock Is Ticking”: Inside the Worst U.S. Maritime Disaster in Decades – Vanity Fair.  I highly recommend this article.

So 2 Goats Were Stuck On A Beam Under A Bridge ... - Goats and Soda

Iowa producers say ethanol limits would be 'war' on rural U.S. - Des Moines Register 

The Great Lakes Are Filling Up With Giant Green Blobs - Mother Jones  

AP sources: EPA chief spent millions on security and travel - Associated Press.  Scott Pruitt is an asshat.

Humankind’s Most Important Material - The Atlantic 

How Congress Used the Post Office to Unite the Nation – Bloomberg 

The Future of America's Economy Looks a Lot Like Elkhart, Indiana - Wall Street Journal.  People are crazy, and this boom will end in tears.

Have we reached peak English in the world? - The Guardian and Brits are in denial about their diminishing importance – Handelsblatt

A Betrayal - ProPublica.  This is an awful mess.

There's no good reason to stop felons from voting - George Will (?!)

How One Man Got Rich Selling Machine Guns – Bloomberg.  Another terrible investment idea.