Katy, Texas

What a great name for a town in Texas. Katy, Maine would sound nice too, but there is no Katy, Maine.

Truck stop on I-10 in Katy, Texas.

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Clean shaven

Monday I will be delivering a load to a chemical plant that requires drivers to be clean shaven. I asked another driver why they might have this rule. He said that it was necessary in the event of a plant emergency which would require gas masks. I considered refusing this load so I wouldn’t have to lose my facial hair but because it was a 1,000 mile trip to Texas I bit the bullet and shaved off my beard and mustache.

Polyextremophile

Tardigrades (meaning “slow walker”) are polyextremophiles meaning they can survive under extreme environmental conditions. According to Wikipedia they “can survive tempuratures close to absolute zero, temperatures as high as 151° C (303° F), 1,000 times more radiation than any other animal, nearly a decade without water, and even the vacuum of space.” They have been found living in hot springs, the Himalayas, under layers of solid ice, and in ocean sediment. The largest tardigrades can be as long as 1.5 mm.

Chicago Tribune endorses Barack Obama

Obama 08

Obama 08

I usually vote for the Republican or Libertarian candidate for president, but this year I will be voting for Barack Obama. One reason is I’m really curious to see if having an African-American President will affect the racial dynamics in the U.S. But I will also be voting for Obama because the Republicans at the Federal level have lost my support due to the fiasco in Iraq, the warrantless wiretapping, the initiative to build a wall along the Mexico border, the Valerie Plame scandal, the controversy over the dismissal of U.S. attorneys, etc. The Chicago Tribune wrote about why they are endorsing Obama this year. The have never before endorsed a Democratic presidential candidate.

An excerpt from their October 17, 2008 article.

The Republican Party, the party of limited government, has lost its way. The government ran a $237 billion surplus in 2000, the year before Bush took office — and recorded a $455 billion deficit in 2008. The Republicans lost control of the U.S. House and Senate in 2006 because, as we said at the time, they gave the nation rampant spending and Capitol Hill corruption. They abandoned their principles. They paid the price.

We might have counted on John McCain to correct his party’s course. We like McCain. We endorsed him in the Republican primary in Illinois. In part because of his persuasion and resolve, the U.S. stands to win an unconditional victory in Iraq.

It is, though, hard to figure John McCain these days. He argued that President Bush’s tax cuts were fiscally irresponsible, but he now supports them. He promises a balanced budget by the end of his first term, but his tax cut plan would add an estimated $4.2 trillion in debt over 10 years. He has responded to the economic crisis with an angry, populist message and a misguided, $300 billion proposal to buy up bad mortgages.

McCain failed in his most important executive decision. Give him credit for choosing a female running mate–but he passed up any number of supremely qualified Republican women who could have served. Having called Obama not ready to lead, McCain chose Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. His campaign has tried to stage-manage Palin’s exposure to the public. But it’s clear she is not prepared to step in at a moment’s notice and serve as president. McCain put his campaign before his country.

[Update: I also forgot to mention the detainees being held in Guantanamo Detention Camp in Cuba and George Bush’s position on torture.]