Monday, June 29, 2009
I have a friend whose husband was a specialized engineer. You know the kind that don't actually build cities, but design them. Kurt passed up opportunities in the United States to take a position in the United Arab Emirates. He was to design a great city for a sheik who wished to leave it as a shinning edifice to the world and his greatness or some kind of glorious immortality story like that.
Well, Jenny and Kurt were excited to take the offer. It meant a great deal of money. Jenny was thrilled that is, until she realized that Kurt didn't want her to come with him at first. She had to wait for him to get things settled in Dubai. There was so much to buy. A whole household of furniture, a car and other things to support life. There was nothing for her to do but wait.
Kurt was not there very long before the bottom fell out of the world economy last year, as we all know and he lost his job. Jenny was disappointed. The both were. The giant cranes came to a stand still, as the city in the sand it seemed would not be finished. The Sheiks money had dried up like the dessert from which his city was to come from.
Then the orders came for Ex-pats, or non U.A.E. citizens to leave the country. If you didn't have a job, it was assumed you would not be able to secure another one to replace it. The thinking they were told was that well, "Ex-Pats just couldn't be absorbed into modern UAE Muslim society and were not really wanted."
The Dark Secret which is Dubai
Kurt had to abandon everything. There was no market for all his furniture. Stores at the once famous mall in Dubai were closing. Business was taking a beating. There was no commerce. Where there is no commerce, business and especially building comes to a screeching halt. Kurt could not even sell the household furniture he had purchased because there simply was no one with money to buy it. He was in debt. Not a pretty thing to be in the UAE. You see there are no bankruptcy courts to relieve the over-extended and umemployed in the UAE. Like the family in story in the above link, they were headed for trouble. Kurt was headed for prison. There remedy for not paying your debt.
This story ended well enough for Kurt and Jenny. Kurt's company booked him on a flight out of the country immediately. He said when he left the airport in Dubai, it was like a sea of abandoned cars. Everyone it seems was driving their cars to the airport and flying away.
Away from the glittering half built city in the sand. Away from the sheik and his dreams of immortality. Away from the debt and a prison sentence that awaited Kurt if he stayed.
Perhaps the sun is setting on the sheik, Dubai and the UAE...for the time being.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Oh Craig, you do give us the hilarity we need on the GOP. I saw Meet the Press this morning and wanted to vomit. The GOP mouthpiece was saying that if dear Mrs. Sanford, "Jenny" can just take him back. All will be right with the people of South Carolina. I am delighted she didn't show up at his "humiliation press conference."
Good For HER!
They sure did not want to answer the question on the legal implications of what the Governor did. He left his State without passing power over. He better resign from office. This does not look like a penitent man. He is a "Douche Bag", and if he doesn't resign as Governor. Be duly impeached.
For Those Who Can Stomach This Pathetic Man's Sorry Excuse
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Isn't this darling? It is a quick video of a hummingbird taking a bath. He seems to be enjoying his bath quite a bit. I must admit as an adult hummingbird, I do too!
What The E.P.A. Says
Economic Analyses EPA conducts climate economic analyses to estimate the economic and environmental effects of potential domestic climate change mitigation programs and strategies. Given the complexity of economic and environmental interactions underlying the climate change issue, no one model can address all of the questions surrounding a climate change economic analysis. To provide an accurate representation of potential climate change mitigation programs and strategies, EPA employs an array of modeling tools and data. For more information about the modeling tools used by EPA, please visit the Climate Economic Modeling page on their website. above. There is a whole host of P.D.F. files that you can download and read.
The bill contains the following key provisions:
•Requires electric utilities to meet 20% of their electricity demand through renewable energy sources and energy efficiency by 2020.
•Invests $190 billion in new clean energy technologies and energy efficiency, including energy efficiency and renewable energy ($90 billion in new investments by 2025), carbon capture and sequestration ($60 billion), electric and other advanced technology vehicles ($20 billion), and basic scientific research and development ($20 billion).
•Mandates new energy-saving standards for buildings, appliances, and industry.
•Reduces carbon emissions from major U.S. sources by 17% by 2020 and over 80% by 2050 compared to 2005 levels. Complementary measures in the legislation, such as investments in preventing tropical deforestation, will achieve significant additional reductions in carbon emissions.
•Protects consumers from energy price increases. According to recent analyses from the Congressional Budget Office and the Environmental Protection Agency, the legislation will cost each household less than 50 cents per day in 2020 (not including energy efficiency savings).
What The Republicans Say
Friday, June 26, 2009
OH REALLY DEPARTMENT
President Obama told Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Friday to clean up his act before demanding apologies from the U.S. for ripping the strong-arm treatment of election protestors.
Ahuh, and wipe that smirk of your face you petrified Persian piece of camel poop, I might add!
"I don't take Mr. Ahmadinejad's comments seriously, about apologies," Obama said at a White House news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
"I would suggest that Mr. Ahmadinejad think carefully about the obligations he owes to his own people," Obama said.
"He might want to consider looking at the families of those who have been beaten or shot or detained," added Obama, whose concerns about the validity of Iran's elections and complaints about the crackdown on protesters has rattled Ahmadinejad.
Make sure you apologize to Neda and her family and the countless others you beat, mutilated and killed.
But Oh no, in Tehran, a hard-line cleric called for the execution of "rioters" to end the unrest.
That will go over big the next time they want to protest as I suspect they will do it the old fashion way and start with the clerics.
"I want the judiciary to punish leading rioters firmly and without showing any mercy to teach everyone a lesson," Ahmad Khatami told worshipers at Tehran University.
Someone in Iran, please kick this man's arse.
Iran's top legislative body, the Guardian Council, also said it had found no major violations in the presidential election that gave about two-thirds of the vote to Ahmadinejad. Which we all know is a statistical joke. A huge lie.
The bloody suppression of protests after the disputed June 12 elections exposed the authoritarian nature of the Islamic regime, Obama said.
"We see it and we condemn it," Obama said.
"And I spit on it....and turn on the blendaaa" I say.
Enjoy, there is quite a bit of pagentry and flourish with this. Have a wonderful Friday and a great weekend.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
I serve in many ways, and for many organizations and it has made all the difference in the world to me.
I second The First Lady and call you to serve in anyway you can.
Our Country will be richer for it.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Republicans Demand Stronger Iran Response
Republicans intensified their criticism of President Barack Obama's handling of his first major test of international leadership, saying Sunday that he has been too cautious in response to Iran's post election upheaval.
First off it is his second. North Korea was his first.
How about he is protecting our long range interests. People are writing article after article about a "Free Democratic Iran."
I like fairy tales too. But let's be realistic here.
PLEASE. I think I am going to vomit. Does anyone remember the Iranian Revolution in 1979?. When hostages where taken at the American Embassy for a year? The man they were disposing was the Shah of Iran, a U.S. Puppet, well known for making his money off the poverty of his countrymen.
Flashback - Quick History Lesson
On April 1, after a landslide victory in a national referendum in which only one choice was offered (Islamic Republic: Yes or Yes), Ayatollah Khomeini declared an Islamic republic with a new Constitution reflecting his ideals of Islamic government. Ayatollah Khomeini became supreme spiritual leader of Iran. Subsequently many demonstrations were held in protest to the new rules, like extreme regulations on women's code of dress. On November 4: Iranian Islamic Students stormed the US embassy, taking 66 people, the majority Americans, as hostages. 14 were released before the end of November.
The people who protested like they are doing now were shot. Sound familiar?Then in roll the Ayatollahs and other goons, like the man who was running against Ahmadinejad?
Musavi was as Prime Minister from 1981 to 1989, Mousavi oversaw social austerity measures imposed to finance the Iran-Iraq war. At the time, he was a proponent of normalizing relations with the US and recognizing Arab regimes. In the lead-up to the American Iran-Contra scandal in the late 1980s, as the US and Israel sold weapons to Iran, Mousavi organized arms purchases from Israel and oversaw the repression of opposition to the negotiations with US officials on weapons. He was the go to man if someone step out of line.
They run that country like a Islamic Republic, which it is. Do you honestly think they are going to step aside for a democratic process that so far isn't going over real well in the Arab world?
Stop and think about it.
So enter Senator Lindsey Graham R-S.C. who said, "The president of the United States is supposed to lead the free world, not follow it," In reference to President Obama, he added, "He's been timid and passive more than I would like."
Oh Shut Up!
How about more careful and guarded. Until we know exactly who is on top in Iran, why put our foot in our mouths? I realize this was business as usually for President Bush. But face it people, the Republican party is out of power. They are just pandering to all the people who are idealizing about a democratic Iran. Forget about it.
The Republican party is in denial. They lost the election. My advice?
In an interview released Sunday, Obama argued: "The last thing that I want to do is to have the United States be a foil for those forces inside Iran who would love nothing better than to make this an argument about the United States. We shouldn't be playing into that."
I agree with the President.
He told Pakistan's Dawn newspaper, in an interview published Sunday, that the United States has no way of knowing whether the disputed Iranian election 10 days ago was fair or not. Iranians should be able to peacefully protest the results in any case, Obama said.
For crying out loud. What are we expected to do? Invade? Let's watch a see here a bit. We have to deal with who ever ends up on top.
By the way for you dreamers of a "Democracy in Iran." Please remember that Ahmadinejad's opponent is none other than one of the original boys from the Iranian Revolution. He held Iran like a vise grip for 10 years. His human rights record is pretty dismal?
So, I know a great many of you want change NOW. But look at the choices. Let's give this hotmess a little time to settle down first.
Cause in reality, we don't have a choice. So wake up and smell the humus.
It was a hot July day back in 1972, my life was about to change in ways I had no comprehension of. July the 8th has never been a good day since that day. The day I lost my Father to a sudden heart attack.
I remember his last words to me as they are etched forever in my heart and mind. This is how a heart breaks. Father's Day, and just about every day since hasn't been much easier. All I can say now, is wow.
The loss of this human in my young life of almost 12, was momentous. So today, I like many other children and adults went to the cemetery to spend a few moments with one of the most important people in any child's life, their Dads.
The cemetery flower store was closed, which is very rare. So I offered some of my flowers to two other adults, whose faces said what my heart was feeling. Also, every man I saw being a Dad today, I took the time to give all the best my heart could send in saying a 'Happy Father's Day', to them. Funny, I got a lot of hugs I wasn't expecting today. Proof positive, you can still play the love foreward that your Dad gave you, even if he no longer walks in this world.
With aching heart
God bless you Daddy,
I miss you so.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
The name is derived from the Latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still), because at the solstices, the Sun stands still in declination; that is, the apparent movement of the Sun's path north or south comes to a stop before reversing direction.
Northern Hemisphere summers solstice begins on June 21, 2009 at 1:45 A.M. EDT
UK on June 21, 2009 at 5:45 UT
Sol + stice derives from a combination of Latin words meaning "sun" + "to stand still." As the days lengthen, the sun rises higher and higher until it seems to stand still in the sky.
As a major celestial event, the Summer Solstice results in the longest day and the shortest night of the year. The Northern Hemisphere celebrates in June, but the people on the Southern half of the earth have their longest summer day in December.
Awed by the great power of the sun, civilizations in the northern areas have for centuries celebrated the first dayo of summer otherwise known as the Summer Solstice, Midsummer (see Shakespeare), St. John's Day, or the Wiccan Litha.
The Celts & Slavs celebrated the first day of summer with dancing & bonfires to help increase the sun's energy. The Chinese marked the day by honoring Li, the Chinese Goddess of Light.
Perhaps the most enduring modern ties with Summer Solstice were the Druids' celebration of the day as the "wedding of Heaven and Earth", resulting in the present day belief of a "lucky" wedding in June.
Today, the day is still celebrated around the world - most notably in England at Stonehenge and Avebury, where thousands gather to welcome the sunrise on the Summer Solstice.
Pagan spirit gatherings or festivals are also common in June, when groups assemble to light a sacred fire, and stay up all night to welcome the dawn.
Summer Solstice Fun Facts
Pagans called the Midsummer moon the "Honey Moon" for the mead made from fermented honey that was part of wedding ceremonies performed at the Summer Solstice.
Ancient Pagans celebrated Midsummer with bonfires, when couples would leap through the flames, believing their crops would grow as high as the couples were able to jump.
Midsummer was thought to be a time of magic, when evil spirits were said to appear. To thwart them, Pagans often wore protective garlands of herbs and flowers. One of the most powerful of them was a plant called 'chase-devil', which is known today as St. John's Wort and still used by modern herbalists as a mood stabilizer.
Friday, June 19, 2009
High Courts Bad Decision
The Supreme Court said Thursday that a convicted rapist has no constitutional right to test biological evidence used at his trial in Alaska years earlier, leaving it to the states to decide when prisoners get access to genetic evidence that might prove their innocence.
In a 5-4 vote, with the conservative justices in the majority, the court said it would not second-guess states or force them routinely to look again at criminal convictions.
William Osborne, convicted in a brutal assault on a prostitute in Alaska 16 years ago, sued for the right to test the contents of a blue condom the victim says was used by her attacker. A federal appeals court said he had a right to conduct the test.
Alaska is one of only three states without a law that gives convicts access to genetic evidence. The others are Massachusetts and Oklahoma.
Testing so far has led to the exoneration of 240 people who had been found guilty of murder, rape and other violent crimes, according to the Innocence Project, which works to free people who were wrongly convicted.
But Chief Justice John Roberts, in his majority opinion, said the states have moved quickly to grapple with the challenges and opportunities presented by advances in genetic testing.
"To suddenly constitutionalize this area would short-circuit what looks to be a prompt and considered legislative response," Roberts said.
Okay, then we know what has to be done.
But that won't help Mr. Osbourne. The fact that all states do it but three have said something here people.
Alaska, Oklahoma and Massachusetts, get it on the books!
The chief justice said that new technology that was not available at trial should not throw fairly won convictions into doubt. "The dilemma is how to harness DNA's power to prove innocence without unnecessarily overthrowing the established system of criminal justice," he said.
If an innocent man or women is put in prison for a crime they did not convict, it is not fairly won.
Dissenting liberal justices and advocates for prisoners who seek genetic testing complained that the court is penalizing a small group of inmates who lack access to a simple test that would conclusively show their innocence, or reaffirm their guilt.
"The fact that nearly all the states have now recognized some postconviction right to DNA evidence makes it more, not less, appropriate to recognize a limited federal right to such evidence in cases where litigants are unfairly barred from obtaining relief in state court," Justice John Paul Stevens said.
Peter Neufeld, a co-founder of The Innocence Project who argued Osborne's case at the Supreme Court, said the ruling probably would not affect the vast majority of inmates seeking DNA testing.
Why? Because of the three states not smart enough to have it on their books, yet.
I agree with the lower courts decision, and I adamantly disagree with the high court decision, especially in light of new laws being passed around the country allowing the state to obtain a DNA sample from all persons only 'accused' of a felony crime, not upon their conviction. It is my opinion that Chief Justice Roberts did not want to make this a 'constitutional right', but rather have the states all write it into their laws.
The chief justice said 'that new technology that was not available at trial should not throw fairly won convictions into doubt.' and that "The dilemma is how to harness DNA's power to prove innocence without necessarily overthrowing the established system of criminal justice," is misguided, if not unconscionable.
'Fairly won', he says? How many people are set free from the retesting of DNA? He doesn't want to turn the system on it's ear, which maybe it should be. We have innocent people wrongly accused and convicted behind bars in the United States. There is nothing fair about that.
If as you reported Osborne's lawyer passed up any DNA testing at the time of his trial, fearing it could conclusively link him to the crime is grounds for appeal. He can and should be held to a standard of competency and get this case at the very least set for re trail. Mr. Osborne has a case for not have adequate competent counsel because of his attorney's decision to not perform further testing when it was available to him at the time of his first trial.
Justice was not done. I am incredibly dissapointed, and usually my voice is heard for victims. Here, I have to break and say otherwise. Too many people are set free with the advancement of DNA.
Bisphenol A is used in countless consumer products including food and beverage containers, kitchen appliances, electronics, and packaging.
A study released this week by researchers at the University of Cincinnati says that exposure to bisphenol A may increase heart disease in women.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is the chemical building block of polycarbonate plastics and is used in countless consumer products including food and beverage containers, kitchen appliances, electronics, and packaging and is used to make resins that line food and drink cans.
Research by Scott Belcher and colleagues in the university's department of pharmacology and cell biophysics has found that environmentally available levels of BPA -- a synthetic chemical known to mimic the behavior of estrogen -- can disrupt normal heart muscle function and prompt arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat.
Great. I am so looking forward to this conversation with my cardiologist.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Watch An Amazing Flash Video Here of the SR-71 Blackbird
I have always loved airplanes, ever since I was a little girl. This is an awesome bird wothy of it's prestige and reputation.
This is the SR-71, It is a retired plane now. But it was what kept us safe during the cold war.
It will be interesting to see just how far this goes, without legislation in each state to accompany it. It is one step of many to come.
The Specter of Salem: Remembering the Witch Trials in Nineteenth-Century America, by Gretchen A Adams.
It all started in 1692, when two girls (ages 9 and 11) began to experience fits, out of which three local women were accused of witchcraft.
Many began to believe that a conspiracy of witches was attacking the colony and the investigations accelerated. Before the end, 200 people were accused and 19 were hung. One fellow, Giles Corey, was pressed to death with stones. Others died in prison, while some fled the colony.
The Specter of Salem examines the cultural memory of these events. As Adams writes in the introduction, “this is not a book about the history of Salem witchcraft, but a book about what American political culture has made of Salem witchcraft.”
People are familiar with the modern use of the term “witch hunt”, and we know what it refers to, but we have mostly forgotten how this metaphor has been used throughout the country’s history.
The long-lasting effects of the Salem witch trials are fascinating to read about. Different groups throughout history have seized Salem’s legacy as a convenient way to denounce their enemies. Southern politicians used it as an example of Northern brutality. Trying to show the consequences of religious “fanaticism”, others tried to use it against Mormons.
The majority of the book focuses on how Salem was invoked from the American Revolution to the end of the nineteenth century. A small section at the end explains the metaphor’s use in more modern times. This includes terrorism, McCarthyism, the Scopes Monkey Trial, and Clinton’s Impeachment case. Which makes on thing about the fear mongering and hysteria caused by many during the Bush Administration.
Overall, Adams does an excellent job of making you think about how a nation is shaped by cultural memories. Also how these memories seem to give rise to new form of 'Witch Trials.' This book re-awakens perspective for the reader.
I recommend this book highly.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Take A Stand. Don't Support Hate Speech of Any Kind!
Out of the woodwork to a place near you.
LOS ANGELES (AFP) - - Five clones of a search and rescue dog which helped locate people trapped in the rubble of the 9/11 attacks were formally presented to their ancestor's former handler.
James Symington, a former Canadian police officer, choked back tears as he formally took possession of the five descendants of his beloved German shepherd named Trakr, who died in April.
Symington was presented with Trakr's offspring after winning a competition organized by California firm BioArts International -- the "Golden Clone Giveaway" -- to find the world's most "cloneworthy" dog.
Symington said he hopes the puppies -- Trust, Valor, Prodigy, Solace and Deja Vu -- will go on to follow in Trakr's footsteps.
"We're here to celebrate that Trakr's legacy lives on in these five beautiful puppies," he told reporters. "If they have the same attributes Trakr did, then hopefully they'll develop into world class search and rescue dogs."
Symington and Trakr arrived at the site of the World Trade Center collapse, commonly referred to as Ground Zero, on September 12, 2001 and were one of the first K9 search and rescue teams on the scene.
After working nearly non-stop for 48 hours, Trakr located the last human survivor found in the rubble of the twin towers. "Trakr was an extraordinary search and rescue dog. His work at Ground Zero was the culmination of his career," Symington said.
BioArts International, which says it offers the world's first commercial dog cloning service, partnered with South Korea's SooAm Biotech Research Foundation to clone Trakr under the direction of scientist Hwang Woo-Suk.
BioArts International chief executive Lou Hawthorne said canine cloning would remain beyond the reach of ordinary pet lovers, with cloned dogs costing an average 144,000 dollars each.
Hawthorne defended the right of people to clone their dogs instead of obtaining new pets from rescue shelters. But said that 99% of people should still adopt from a shelter.
"But can we agree though that one percent of the time if you have a one in a million dog and you have the money to pay for it, you should be able to go to either a breeder or a cloner?"
Symington said that one member of his new litter -- Trust -- was an exact replica of Trakr.
"The physical similarities are uncanny, He's the spitting image of the Trakr that I first met in 1995. He has exactly the same markings, the way he moves, everything. Very alert, very intelligent and intuitive."
"I respect that cloning's not for everyone. But there are few dogs that are born with extraordinary abilities and Trakr was one of those dogs," he said.
"I look forward to the day that these puppies can follow in Trakr's footsteps and play an important role in other rescues, like Trakr did."
Cloud rays (or Crepuscular rays) are one of the most sought-after sky phenomenon. They are the shadows or light rays produced by the sun trying to shine around or through the clouds. There are many different variations of rays. Some appear as the sun sinks low beneath the clouds on the horizon, projecting alternating rays of sunlight and shadows from cumulus cloud edges, streaming toward you and on over your head.
Picture by Christine McClintock Another type of ray occurs when cumulus clouds are gliding overhead, illuminated from above, allowing intermittent shafts of sunlight or light beams through. Sometimes these are through trees or above mountains or around things, like the trees above. This is what people usually associate with the glory of heaven, as the rays are streaming down from the heavens.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Horror crash: Faith Cook and her horse Nagor De La Roche took a spectacular fall at the Bramham Horse Trials this past weekend. For rider Faith Cook it was a heart-stopping moment. Her horse Nagor de la Roche didn't look too pleased either.
The animal, who appears in this amazing picture is said to have achieved the perfect nose-stand, and came out of it slightly the better of the two, escaping with bruising.
Miss Cook, from Oxfordshire, was taken to the hospital with neck and back injuries.
A spokesman at Leeds General Infirmary said it was too early to say whether Miss Cook would make a full recovery.
She was competing in the under-25 section of the Bramham International Horse Trials at Bramham Park, Wetherby, West Yorkshire, when Nagor de la Roche mistimed his approach to a fence and went flying.
As a rider myself...I cringe at this picture. I hope she makes a full recovery.
Monday, June 15, 2009
Images of Street Art in Tehran are screaming for change. Sometimes the best presents you receive are the ones that show you people are not alone in fighting for what is right. Weapons of this battle?
Feet. Minds. Paint. Words.
If you wander through the streets of Tehran, you may encounter some of these images. Look at each of these pictures closely.
Another thing you will notice if you wander around the streets of Tehran, is a country whose population is primarily under the age of 35. The beards who ran the Islamic Revolution had an 'issue with condoms' around 1979. And since nobody could go out and have a drink and a dance to bide their evenings, young couples took up more amorous pursuits. The result is a country with a young population. A population with ever increasing female university students. A country with people who know how to dodge firewalls. A people imbued with a passion for self-expression and a rich artistic tradition.
This picture above says volumes about the state of women in Iran.
President Ahmadinejad's picture has been defaced here. This also speaks volumes. What does it say about the state of the election in Iran? That there are problems. It was not handled well, and voter fraud is absolutely apparent.
China's Terracotta Warriors
The number of tourists to Shaanxi in Northwest China has increased steadily in the past 23 years since terracotta figurines were first discovered. Examples of such figurines have been displayed on five continents, thus arousing keen interest in the terracotta warriors. A report in the United Evening News of Singapore said that all leaders from other countries who visit Beijing find it a great pleasure to go to Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi Province, and see the terrocotta warriors. What is the reason for the Qin figurines to enjoy such great popularity? Watch this video and then travel back in the past of the link above. It is amazing.