Saturday, January 31, 2009


Most of the Posh Nosh episodes are on You Tube – see the second link.,_Starboard_Home

Port Out, Starboard Home (or Port Outward, Starboard Home) is a phrase popularly believed to provide the etymology for the word posh. According to this belief, "Port Out" and "Starboard Home" were the most desirable cabin locations on ships traveling to and from British colonies in the Far East before the development of air conditioning, because they were shaded from the sun in both directions. However, extensive searching of shipping company records and tickets from that period has failed to reveal any evidence for explicit "Port Outbound, Starboard Home" reservations or other occurrences of the phrase.[1]
This popular but baseless etymology is illustrated by a song in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The song "Posh!" includes the lyrics:
"Whenever I'm bored I travel abroad but ever so properly
Port Out, Starboard Home, posh with a capital P-O-S-H, posh."
The true origin of the word posh is obscure. It appears in 1890 in the book A Dictionary of Slang, Jargon & Cant by Albert Barrère & Charles Godfrey Leland, but with a definition of "modern term for money, originally used for a halfpenny or small coin. From the gypsy pash or posh, a half." It also gives a final definition of "A Dandy.." in the entry. This publication, in two volumes, had only 675 copies printed by Ballanyne Press for subscribers. The first widely published use of the word was in the British satirical magazine Punch on 25 September 1918, although an earlier possible reference uses the word push.[1] It does occur earlier as the surname of a character in Diary of a Nobody, first serialised in 1888-89.

Friday, January 30, 2009

If you already have SIX kids, why have fetility treatment for MORE? And then, we start talking about "killing them" after conception...

The Los Angeles Times later carried an interview with a woman identified as the babies' grandmother, who said her daughter already had six young children and never expected the fertility treatment she had received would result in eight more babies.

She said that doctors had given her daughter the option of reducing the number of embryos, but she had declined. "What do you suggest she should have done? She refused to have them killed. That is a very painful thing," she said.

She added that her daughter expected a big challenge raising 14 children. The woman's husband is expected to return to Iraq where he works as a contractor, the LA Times reported.

FD: There is lots more to this coverage, but what is the point?

Are you still there?

I start teaching an Economics Class Next week... I remember the 1982 Recession very well.

Economy shrank at fastest clip since '82

WASHINGTON - The economy shrank at a 3.8 percent pace at the end of 2008, the worst showing in a quarter-century, as the deepening recession forced consumers and businesses to throttle back spending. The White House was bracing for bad news. On the eve of the report's release, press secretary Robert Gibbs thought the fourth-quarter results would be "fairly staggering." The report tallies gross domestic product, the value of all goods and services produced within the United States. It is considered the broadest barometer of the country's economic health.

"The report provided clear evidence of the economy's rapid deterioration as the housing, credit and financial crises — the worst since the 1930s — feed on each other. It's a vicious cycle that has proven difficult for Washington policymakers to break. ...

"The 3.8 percent annualized drop marked the weakest quarterly showing since a 6.4 percent annualized plunge in the first quarter of 1982, when the country was suffering through a severe recession. ...

"For all of 2008, the economy grew by just 1.3 percent. That was down from a 2 percent gain in 2007 and marked the slowest growth since the last recession in 2001. ...

"A massive pullback by consumers is expected to play a prominent role in the economy's worsening backslide. They are cutting back on spending as jobs disappear and major investments — homes, stocks, retirement accounts — tank in value. Businesses are retrenching, too, as profits shrivel and demand wanes from customers in the U.S. and overseas. ...

"A 7.1 percent annualized cutback in spending on "nondurables," such as food and clothing was the deepest since the end of 1950. ...

Americans newfound frugality was clearly visible. The savings rate rose to 2.9 percent in the fourth quarter. That was up from 1.2 percent in the third quarter and matched the rate in early 2002 when the country was still struggling to get back to full economic health after the 2001 recession.

Big cutbacks by homebuilders — reeling from the collapsed housing market — and other companies also figured into the fourth-quarter weakness. Homebuilders slashed spending at a 23.6 percent pace, even deeper than the 16 percent annualized cut in the prior three months.
Spending by businesses on equipment and software dropped at a whopping 27.8 percent annualized pace in the fourth quarter, the most since early 1958.

"The unemployment rate jumped to a 16-year high of 7.2 percent in December and could hit 10 percent or higher at the end of this year or early next year. A staggering 2.6 million jobs were lost last year, the most since 1945, though the labor force has grown significantly since then.

"Another 2 million or more jobs will vanish this year, economists predict. . .
This week alone, tens of thousands of new layoffs were announced by companies including Ford Motor Co., Eastman Kodak Co., Black & Decker Corp., Boeing Co., Pfizer Inc., Caterpillar Inc., Home Depot Inc. and Target Corp.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

DAY 95 - GOP is digging its heels in...

What the @#$% are we going to do now? They are going to blame us for all this @#$% that resulted from the last eight years ...
Far from rolling over, House Republican leaders are trying to win concessions from President Obama over the massive economic stimulus package and have proffered a bill of their own to put on the negotiating table.
The counter-package, which is separate from a substitute amendment already proposed by House Republicans, would shift focus entirely from spending to tax relief. Though a full House vote on the Democratic package is expected in a matter of hours and President Obama said he's confident it will pass, GOP lawmakers are hoping their proposal at least influences the final product.
In a brief session with reporters Wednesday, Republicans panned the $825 billion proposal under consideration as a "non-stimulus" bill chock full of gift-wrapped spending items.
"People are recognizing very quickly that's it's not one, stimulative, and two, it's full of all sorts of things that are sort of favorite political projects of the Democrat majority," said Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., chairman of the Republican Study Committee.
"If government spending was going to get us out of this mess, we'd have been out a long time ago, because that's all we've been doing," said Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio. "This is not going to work. That's why we've got a bill we think will work."
Their bill, called the Economic Recovery and Middle-Class Tax Relief Act of 2009, promises a host of tax-cutting measures. It includes a 5 percent "across the board" income tax cut; an increase in the child tax credit from $1,000 to $5,000; a freeze on capital gains and dividends tax rates at 15 percent; and a number of other measures targeted toward businesses.

Nice round up on Gizmos and Gagets ... More Harry Potter than SCIFI...

Click above for more details.... Obama Grant Funding Anyone?
Notice that these are not being developed here in the USA.

1. Super-visionThe briefcase-sized Prism 200 from UK firm Cambridge Consultants can detect people through brick walls by firing off pulses of ultra-wideband radar and listening for returning echoes.

2. Technology developed at the University of Tokyo makes people or objects transparent by projecting an appropriately scaled image of the scene behind onto a retroreflective surface.

3. Another "invisibility cloaks". The first functional cloak, in 2006, worked only for microwaves. But by last year a group at the University of California, Berkeley, constructed a material (pictured) that is able to bend – rather than reflect – visible light backwards. A cloak of the material could steer light around an object to make it truly invisible.

4. "Ultra Sonic Saw Bones" Much of our medicine still involves inflicting a fair amount of damage to the body – for example from surgery – en route to healing it. But new forms of ultrasound, already used to look into the body, could change that. Lawrence Crum at the University of Washington in Seattle has shown that high-intensity ultrasound can cauterise bleeding arteries. His company, Ultrasound Technology.

5. Gecko Foot Pads Engineers chasing the dream of scampering up walls like Spider-Man have turned to geckos for inspiration.This robot built by US research firm SRI International has feet coated with material with a structure of grippy microscopic hairs similar to that of the real gecko

6. The Power of You Portable gadgets have a big Achilles' heel – their batteries. But progress is being made towards having such devices harness the energy of their owners. This clear material generates current when bent or squeezed, thanks to the zinc-oxide nanowires grown onto it. Medical implants would also benefit from a reduced reliance on batteries.

7 and 8. They throw this one in because Science is always promising to give us... Jet packs and Jet cars...
A rocket belt like this one was featured in the James Bond movie Thunderball in 1965, but this and later models all suffer from the same problem: they can't carry enough fuel to fly for more than around 30 seconds.
My other car is a spaceshipVirgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo will be will be carried to an altitude of 15 kilometres by a purpose-built launch plane before detaching and firing its rocket to take its eight-passenger crew to 100 kilometres above Earth at the edge of space.

9. This one reminds me of the first time I saw a rat breathing under "water" ... one minor problem ... Breathe underwater Scuba divers have long envied fishes' ability to extract oxygen from water. In 2002, a diver spent 30 minutes in a swimming pool doing the same, thanks to an artificial gill built by Fuji Systems of Japan. It used silicon membranes that allowed oxygen, but not water, to pass into the device. Sadly the amount of oxygen it produces is barely enough to sustain a human. Unfortunately seawater just doesn't contain a lot of the precious gas we need to survive.

10. Babelfish that enables anyone to understand any language. Features translation software, IraqComm, used by US troops in Iraq, is perhaps the closest we have to that today.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

We keep over looking "home grown" terrorists ... why not make the War on Drugs and the War on Terrorism the same War?

Terror attack potentially three times more devastating than the Oklahoma City bombing has been averted, the RCMP alleged Saturday.
A counterterrorism sweep Friday resulted in the largest arrest ever made by the nation's anti-terrorism forces and raised, for the first time, the spectre of homegrown terrorists striking Canadians from within our borders.
RCMP Assistant Commissioner Mike McDonell announced the arrest of 12 Ontario men who were to appear in court later Saturday in Brampton, west of Toronto. The men ranged in age from 19 to 43, and are residents of Toronto, Mississauga and Kingston.
Five youths who cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act have also been arrested and charged.

Items are shown on display during a press conference in Toronto, Saturday. On Friday, June 2, 2006, members of the RCMP and partners of the Integrated National Security Enforcement Team arrested 12 individuals and charged them under Section 83 of the Criminal Code of Canada. The bag of fertilizer, top, was not seized during the raid and was there for display purposes only. (Aaron Harris/CP)

Commissioner McDonell alleged that the suspects were part of a homegrown terror cell intent on launching attacks against targets in Southern Ontario.
"This group presented a real and serious threat. They had the capacity and intent to carry out a terrorist attack," said RCMP Asst. Commissioner McDonell.
"Our investigation and arrests prevented the assembly of explosive devices and attacks being carried out. At all times, the focus of our investigation was the safety and protection of the public," he added.
Police have recovered three tonnes of ammonium nitrate fertilizer in the raids. Commissioner McDonell noted that this amount was three times the amount used by Timothy McVeigh to destroy the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995.
Ammonium nitrate/fuel oil mixtures have occasionally been used for improvised bombs, most infamously in the Oklahoma City bombing by Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols on April 19, 1995.
In a statement, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the arrests showed that Canadians are not immune to acts of terrorism.
"Today, Canada's security and intelligence measures worked. Canada's new government will pursue its efforts to ensure the national security of all Canadians," said Mr. Harper.
Media reports Saturday alleged that the suspects engaged in terror training camps north of Toronto. It was further alleged that the group was plotting to attack targets in Toronto, including the headquarters of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.
The RCMP says the sweep began Friday night in co-operation with an Integrated National Security Enforcement Team, or INSET. These arrests are the largest ever made since the inception of INSET.
Police say the Toronto Transit Commission — a public transit system that includes buses, subways and streetcars — was not among the targets.
Luc Portelance of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service said those arrested are Canadian residents from variety of backgrounds.
INSET teams are made up of members of the RCMP, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, federal agencies such as the Canada Border Services Agency and Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and provincial and municipal police services.
Scores of officers, many heavily armed, took the suspects into custody at a police station in Pickering, Ont., following the raids.
All entrances to the Brampton court house were blockaded by steel barriers and police cruisers and manned by teams of officers as officials waited for the suspects to arrive.
Spectators were scrutinized at a series of three command checkpoints by tactical officers carrying M16 assault rifles and MP5 submachine guns. Bomb-sniffing dogs were on hand. Anyone allowed inside the court was required to remove their shoes and demonstrate that any equipment they carried was what it appeared to be.
John Thomson, a security specialist with the MacKenzie Institute, a Toronto-based think-tank, said the explosives seized by police would fuel up to three "truck bombs."
"That's enough for a really, really big truck bomb. Probably two or three of them," said Mr. Thomson.
"So when the police said they weren't focussed on the subway I believe them — you really can't use a truck bomb on a subway station. But if you're trying to collapse a building, a truck bomb is perfect for it," he said.
Mr. Thomson said the list of possible targets for such terrorist measures is almost without limit in a large, urban centre like Toronto. But he added that terrorists usually pinpoint their targets before collecting their weapons.
"How many tall office towers are there in Toronto? Or hospitals? Or schools? Or government buildings?" he said.
"If they were acquiring explosives that means they probably already selected a target."
The RCMP's Commissioner McDonell said Western youths who have never set foot in Afghanistan can be "inspired" and radicalized by al-Qaeda in many ways.
"They can be inspired through the use of the Internet, though library, through books and through their own proselytizing to each other and recruiting and radicalizing individuals," he said.

I also noted a Letter to the Editor in the Panola Watchman this week...

Dear Editor:

Did I miss something?

I normally read the Panola Watchman online. In the January 21, 2009 edition, I and many others who read The Panola Watchman expected to see headlines, as in most other newspapers around the world about the makings of history and the United States of America electing a new president.This truly was a historic event. There has never been an African-American elected as president of the United States of America, but there was still a story to be told.

Not only is he the first African - American elected to the highest office in the land, but also American citizens were spread out for miles on the National Mall in Washington on January 20, 2009 as displayed by the tears of the people who were present and just being hopeful that there will indicate a change for America. Also, foreign countries were celebrating the election of our new president.

A man by the name of Barack Hussein Obama is now the President of the United States of America. He came in as an outsider in a nation of outsiders and he has turned this country upside down. His leadership should be a testament of American open-mindedness.As with the Democratic campaign the majority of our nation has come together to be united and get this country back to caring about its people and doing what is in the best interest of the people of this country.

Nearly 30 years ago when Ronald Reagan’s administration heralded in the onset of the conservative age by saying that “government is the problem”, President Obama is announcing the arrival of a new liberalism in his speech by declaring “The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works, whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, healthcare they can afford, a retirement that is dignified.”

Yes, people of Panola County who weekly read the Panola Watchman the election of President Barack Hussein Obama is newsworthy.

Paulette Gladney-Goree

It reminded me of the old Reader's Digest.. I give you the

Sheriff's Report by Panola County Sheriff Jack Ellett
I know that it’s been a while since I've written a Sheriffs Report. I guess after all the years, it just became difficult to think of a new subject each week. I will try to do a little better in the near future.Since we've just gone through a Presidential Election and swearing in ceremony, I thought it would be good to talk a little about a past President. It is amazing how things have changed in these past 50 to 60 years. Recent Presidents have made a lot of money on many things after leaving the Presidency and have lucrative retirement salaries as well as continued Secret Service protection, etc.Harry Truman, from Missouri, was a different kind of President. He probably made as many important decisions regarding our nation's history as any past President. However a measure of his greatness may rest on what he did after he left the White House.Historians have written the only asset he had when he died was the house he lived in, which was in Independence Missouri. On top of that, his wife inherited the house from her mother.When he retired from office in 1952, his income was a U.S. Army pension reported to have been $13,507.72 a year. Congress, noting that he was paying for his stamps and personally licking them, granted an 'allowance' and, later, a retroactive pension of $25,000 per year.After President Eisenhower was inaugurated, Harry and Bess drove home to Missouri by themselves. There were no Secret Service following them.When offered corporate positions at large salaries, he declined, stating "You don't want me. You want the office of the President, and that doesn't belong to me. It belongs to the American people and it's not for sale."Even later, on May 6, 1971, when Congress was preparing to award him the Medal of Honor on his 87th birthday, he refused to accept it, writing, 'I don't consider that I have done anything which should be the reason for any award, Congressional or otherwise."He never owned his own home and as president he paid for all of his own travel expenses and food.Modern politicians have found a new level of success in cashing in on the Presidency, resulting in untold wealth. Today, many in Congress also have found a way to become quite wealthy while enjoying the fruits of their offices.He went broke in the clothing business after WWI and was advised to take bankruptcy saying that the debts he owed were extended by those who trusted him to pay and he intended to pay. For years he sent a portion of his salary as judge and later U.S. Senator to payoff those debts which were finally paid in full.Had he taken bankruptcy he could probably have owned his own home as well as other comforts which he denied his family to pay his debts. I have a lasting respect for President Harry Truman.See you later, may God Bless, and I'll see you later.

Other Blogs. Other Moods. Other Things on my mind...

Just in case you have finished reading this one or want a change of view ... more opinion maybe.
Most of them are just a work in progress.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

DAY 97 - Dogs of War are still in the mountains of Pakistan on the hunt....

Barack Obama gave the go-ahead for his first military action yesterday, missile strikes against suspected militants in Pakistan which killed at least 18 people.
Four days after assuming the presidency, he was consulted by US commanders before they launched the two attacks. Although Obama has abandoned many of the "war on terror" policies of George Bush while he was president, he is not retreating from the hunt for Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaida leaders.

Friday, January 23, 2009

I have been reading other blogs... how about a snake story.

"I Should Be Dead" by Peter Jenkins

In the beginning, it was my every intention to keep this a secret since very few people knew about it. I am embarrassed to disclose something I have worked so hard to prevent. But the scars on my hand and arm are a sinister reminder of a mistake that nearly ended my life. I am further moved to tell my tale in light of a recent death in White County, Georgia of a man bitten by a timber rattlesnake Crotalus horridus - the same local that put me in the hospital August 12, 2007. For the sake of brevity and entertainment I will refrain from quoting my medical record and mind numbing stats.

Expletives flowed from my clenched teeth the likes of which haven't been uttered since my time in the Navy behind the backs of division officers and power hungry third class petty officers. Like still-frame images, I remember looking at my hand after feeling an unusual and slightly painful sensation. The sight of two holes oozing blood and urine colored venom sent my heart well into my throat where it prevented me from calling to my wife or my visiting friend, Blake. The angry, black timber rattlesnake hung out of the cage flicking its tongue rapidly and literally staring at me. I took the handle of my snake hook and gently pushed her back inside her enclosure and walked slowly and methodically toward my outdoor water spigot. I could already feel a numbing in my lips, head, and arms and each step I took got clumsier and clumsier. “I've been bit” I muttered calmly to Blake as I passed by him. He knew by my demeanor that I wasn't joking: I'd never joke about being bitten. READ THE REST AT THE LINK ABOVE

Thursday, January 22, 2009

UPDATE: yes there is a Camel Spider. Click on Animal of the Week for Details....

Day 98 - Gitmo, Nomo

President Barack Obama issued three executive orders Thursday to demonstrate a clean break from the Bush administration on the war on terror, including one requiring that the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay be closed within a year.
A second executive order formally bans torture by requiring that the Army field manual be used as the guide for terror interrogations. The order essentially ends the Bush administration's CIA program of enhanced interrogation methods.
A third executive order establishes an interagency task force to lead a systematic review of detention policies and procedures and a review of all individual cases.
The president also signed a memorandum delaying the trial of Ali al-Marri, a legal U.S. resident who has been contesting his detention for more than five years as an enemy combatant in a military brig without the government bringing any charges against him.

Once is not enough ... making him the 44 1/2 President...

Barack Obama has been sworn in as US president for the second time in two days, because one word was given out of order during Tuesday's ceremony.
The Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, John Roberts, administered the oath again at the White House.
The decision to repeat the oath was taken out of an abundance of caution, an official said.
But Mr Obama joked: "We decided it was so much fun...." before adding: "We're going to do it very slowly."
In contrast to the first oath-taking, Mr Obama did not swear on a Bible and his wife Michelle was not at his side.

Else where in today's Wall Street Journal...

DailyTechMicrosoft To Cut 5000 Jobs; F2Q Net Falls >MSFT

Wall Street Journal - 35 minutes agoMicrosoft Corp. (MSFT) said Thursday it will cut 5000 jobs over the next 18 months in the software giant's first-ever significant round of layoffs as the company reported a worse-than-expected 11% drop in fiscal second-quarter earnings and pulled its

... meanwhile back in Texas...

Dallas, Fort Worth and other Texas school districts will share nearly 7 million dollar in grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The money should help more high school students go to college.

6.7 million dollars from the Gates Foundations and others will fund research to improve teacher and student performance. The Texas High School Project, run out of Dallas, will get some of the money. In turn, it'll work with DISD and some other big city districts in a pilot project.It's designed to speed up educational research in urban high schools. Faster access to rapidly changing information is the goal. The payoff's designed to help more high school students stay on track for college. The announcement's expected later this morning at DISD's W.T. White high school.

... and out in San Diego...

The global effort to eradicate polio, which began more than two decades ago and has suffered repeated setbacks, will receive an additional $635 million in an effort to finish the job over the next five years.
The money will be used to intensify vaccination campaigns in northern India and northern Nigeria, the two regions that account for more than 80 percent of the remaining cases of the paralyzing infection. In addition to those two countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only others where "wild" polio virus still circulates.
Providing the new infusion of cash are Rotary International, the service organization that first proposed the eradication of polio and has raised $825 million toward the goal; the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; and the governments of Germany and Britain.
About $6.17 billion has been spent so far on the eradication effort. The United States has contributed $1.4 billion over the years and is the biggest single donor.
"If we don't do this, we will lose all the investment we have made in the past," Gates said yesterday at a Rotary conference in San Diego.

It seems appropriate for Karl Rove to have the last word on the Bush W. Presidency....

Its call sign has always been Air Force One.

But on Tuesday, it was Special Air Mission 28000, as former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura returned home to Texas on a plane full of family, friends, former staff and memories of eight years in the White House.

The former president and his wife thanked each passenger, showing the thoughtfulness and grace so characteristic of this wonderful American family.

A video tribute produced warm laughter and inevitable tears. There was no bitterness, but rather a sense of gratitude -- gratitude for the opportunity to serve, for able and loyal colleagues, and above all for our country and its people.

Yet, as Mr. Bush left Washington, in a last angry frenzy his critics again distorted his record, maligned his character and repeated untruths about his years in the Oval Office. Nothing they wrote or said changes the essential facts.

Bush was right about it when it mattered most.

To start with, Mr. Bush was right about Iraq. The world is safer without Saddam Hussein in power. And the former president was right to change strategy and surge more U.S. troops.

A legion of critics (including President Barack Obama) claimed it couldn't work. They were wrong. Iraq is now on the mend, the war is on the path to victory, al Qaeda has been dealt a humiliating defeat, and a democracy in the heart of the Arab world is emerging. The success of Mr. Bush's surge made it possible for President Obama to warn terrorists on Tuesday "you cannot outlast us."
Mr. Bush was right to establish a doctrine that holds those who harbor, train and support terrorists as responsible as the terrorists themselves. He was right to take the war on terror abroad instead of waiting until dangers fully materialize here at home. He was right to strengthen the military and intelligence and to create the new tools to monitor the communications of terrorists, freeze their assets, foil their plots, and kill and capture their operators.
These tough decisions -- which became unpopular in certain quarters only when memories of 9/11 began to fade -- kept America safe for seven years and made it possible for Mr. Obama to tell the terrorists on Tuesday "we will defeat you."
Mr. Bush was right to be a unilateralist when it came to combating AIDS in Africa. While world leaders dithered, his President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief initiative brought lifesaving antiretroviral drugs to millions of Africans.
At home, Mr. Bush cut income taxes for every American who pays taxes. He also cut taxes on capital, investment and savings. The result was 52 months of growth and the strongest economy of any developed country.

Mr. Bush was right to match tax cuts with spending restraint. This is a source of dispute, especially among conservatives, but the record is there to see. Bill Clinton's last budget increased domestic nonsecurity discretionary spending by 16%. Mr. Bush cut that to 6.2% growth in his first budget, 5.5% in his second, 4.3% in his third, 2.2% in his fourth, and then below inflation, on average, since. That isn't the sum total of the fiscal record, of course -- but it's a key part of it.
He was right to have modernized Medicare with prescription drug benefits provided through competition, not delivered by government. The program is costing 40% less than projected because market forces dominate and people -- not government -- are making the decisions.
Mr. Bush was right to pass No Child Left Behind (NCLB), requiring states to set up tough accountability systems that measure every child's progress at school. As a result, reading and math scores have risen more in the last five years since NCLB than in the prior 28 years.
He was right to stand for a culture of life. And he was right to appoint conservative judges who strictly interpret the Constitution.And Mr. Bush, a man of core decency and integrity, was right not to reply in kind when Democratic leaders called him a liar and a loser. The price of trying to change the tone in Washington was to be often pummeled by lesser men.
Few presidents had as many challenges arise during their eight years, had as many tough calls to make in such a partisan-charged environment, or had to act in the face of such hostile media and elite opinion.
On board Special Air Mission 28000, I remembered the picture I carried in my pocket on my first Air Force One flight eight years ago. It was an old black-and-white snapshot with scalloped edges. It showed Lyndon Johnson in the Cabinet Room, head in hand, weeping over a Vietnam casualty report. George Christian, LBJ's press secretary, gave it to me as a reminder that the job could break anyone, no matter how big and tough.
But despite facing challenges and crises few others have, the job did not break George W. Bush. Though older and grayer, his brows more furrowed, he is the same man he was, a person of integrity who did what he believed was right. And he exits knowing he summoned all of his energy and talents to defend America and advance its ideals at home and abroad. He didn't get everything right -- no president does -- but he got the most important things right. And that is enough.
Mr. Rove is the former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush.
About Karl Rove
Karl Rove served as Senior Advisor to President George W. Bush from 2000–2007 and Deputy Chief of Staff from 2004–2007. At the White House he oversaw the Offices of Strategic Initiatives, Political Affairs, Public Liaison, and Intergovernmental Affairs and was Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy, coordinating the White House policy making process.
Before Karl became known as "The Architect" of President Bush's 2000 and 2004 campaigns, he was president of Karl Rove + Company, an Austin-based public affairs firm that worked for Republican candidates, nonpartisan causes, and nonprofit groups. His clients included over 75 Republican U.S. Senate, Congressional and gubernatorial candidates in 24 states, as well as the Moderate Party of Sweden.
Karl writes a weekly op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, is a Newsweek columnist and is now writing a book to be published by Simon & Schuster. Email the author at or visit him on the web at

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Oh. My. it has an orbital of approximately seven years...

So the next visit of "Apophis -- The Killer Astroid" will be around April 15, 2015. Death and Taxes...

I will keep you posted, but I would pay my taxes just in case.
It won't be a real threat until we have confirmation on it's fly by in 2029.

"Apophis -- The Killer Astroid."

German schoolboy, 13, corrects NASA's asteroid figures
Apr 15, 2008
BERLIN (AFP) — A 13-year-old German schoolboy corrected NASA's estimates on the chances of an asteroid colliding with Earth, a German newspaper reported Tuesday, after spotting the boffins had miscalculated.
Nico Marquardt used telescopic findings from the Institute of Astrophysics in Potsdam (AIP) to calculate that there was a 1 in 450 chance that the Apophis asteroid will collide with Earth, the Potsdamer Neuerster Nachrichten reported.
NASA had previously estimated the chances at only 1 in 45,000 but told its sister organisation, the European Space Agency (ESA), that the young whizzkid had got it right.
The schoolboy took into consideration the risk of Apophis running into one or more of the 40,000 satellites orbiting Earth during its path close to the planet on April 13 2029.
Those satellites travel at 3.07 kilometres a second (1.9 miles), at up to 35,880 kilometres above earth -- and the Apophis asteroid will pass by earth at a distance of 32,500 kilometres.
If the asteroid strikes a satellite in 2029, that will change its trajectory making it hit earth on its next orbit in 2036.
Both NASA and Marquardt agree that if the asteroid does collide with earth, it will create a ball of iron and iridium 320 metres (1049 feet) wide and weighing 200 billion tonnes, which will crash into the Atlantic Ocean.
The shockwaves from that would create huge tsunami waves, destroying both coastlines and inland areas, whilst creating a thick cloud of dust that would darken the skies indefinitely.
The 13-year old made his discovery as part of a regional science competition for which he submitted a project entitled: "Apophis -- The Killer Astroid."

Asteroid 2004 MN4

Radar Observations Refine the Future Motion of Asteroid 2004 MN4

Paul Chodas, Steve Chesley, Jon Giorgini and Don YeomansNASA's Near Earth Object Program Office February 3, 2005
Radar observations taken at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico on January 27, 29, and 30 have significantly improved our estimate for the orbit of asteroid 2004 MN4 and changed the circumstances of the Earth close approach in 2029.

On April 13, 2029, the predicted trajectory now passes within 5.7 Earth radii (36,350 km or 22,600 miles) of the Earth's center - just below the altitude of geosynchronous Earth satellites. However, an Earth collision in 2029 is still ruled out.

The asteroid's motion subsequent to the 2029 Earth close approach is very sensitive to the circumstances of the close approach itself and a number of future Earth close approaches will be monitored as additional observations are received. However, our current risk analysis for 2004 MN4 indicates that no subsequent Earth encounters in the 21st century are of concern.
In the accompanying diagrams, the most likely trajectory of asteroid 2004 MN4 is shown as a blue line that passes near the Earth on 13 April 2029. The second of the two figures is an enlarged view of the Earth close approach circumstances.

Since the asteroid's position in space is not perfectly known at that time, the white dots at right angles to the blue line are possible alternate positions of the asteroid. Neither the nominal position of the asteroid, nor any of its possible alternative positions, touches the Earth, effectively ruling out an Earth impact in 2029.

Based on albedo contraints by Andrew Rivkin and Richard Binzel (MIT), the diameter of the object is about 320 meters. At the time of the closest approach, the asteroid will be a naked eye object (3.3 mag.) traveling rapidly (42 degrees per hour!) through the constellation of Cancer.

On average, one would expect a similarly close Earth approach by an asteroid of this size only every 1300 years or so.

DAY 99

Celebration over, Obama plunges into workday one
By JENNIFER LOVEN – 54 minutes ago
WASHINGTON (AP) — On his first full day in office, President Barack Obama summoned economic advisers and top military officials to the White House on Wednesday in quick steps toward delivering the change he promised as a candidate.
A prayer breakfast and open house at the presidential mansion were also on the schedule of the 44th president, taking office on a promise to fix the battered economy and withdraw U.S. troops from the unpopular war in Iraq on a 16-month timetable.
Obama's first White House meetings as president meshed with quickened efforts in Congress to add top Cabinet officials to the roster of those confirmed on Tuesday and to advance the economic stimulus measure that is a top priority of his administration.
Treasury Secretary-designate Tim Geithner was called before the Senate Finance Committee for a confirmation hearing certain to touch on his disclosure that he had only belatedly paid personal taxes owed earlier in the decade.
Separately, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., awaited confirmation as secretary of state. Republicans had refused to permit her confirmation on Tuesday when several other Cabinet officials were approved.
A new poll underscored the sense of anticipation that accompanied Obama into office.
The Associated Press-Knowledge Networks survey found that by a 3-1 margin, people feel more optimistic about the country's future now that Obama has been inaugurated, including 30 percent of Republicans.
"Tonight, we celebrate. Tomorrow, the work begins," Obama said Tuesday night at the Commander in Chief Ball, one of 10 official black-tie celebrations that kept him and his wife Michelle up late into the night.
The meeting with economic advisers was called at a time when 11 million Americans are out of work and millions more feel the loss of savings and face the prospect of foreclosures on their homes.
Last week, Congress cleared the way for use of a second, $350 billion installment of financial-industry bailout money, a pre-inaugural victory for Obama.
Democratic leaders hope to have the $825 billion economic stimulus measure to his desk by mid-February.
"Fortunately, we've seen Congress immediately start working on the economic recovery package, getting that passed and putting people back to work," Obama said in an ABC News interview. "That's going to be the thing we'll be most focused on."
The war in Iraq that he has promised to end featured prominently in Obama's first day as well.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, were among those called in for the meeting as the new president assumed the role of commander in chief.
In his inaugural address on Tuesday, Obama said his goal was to "responsibly leave Iraq to its people and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan."
The two unfinished wars are twinned for Obama. He has promised to bring U.S. combat troops out of Iraq within 16 months of taking office, as long as doing so wouldn't endanger either the Americans left behind for training and terrorism-fighting nor the security gains in Iraq. And he has said he would use that drawdown to bolster the U.S. presence in Afghanistan, where U.S.-backed fighters are losing ground against a resurgent Taliban.
Among the possibilities for the first day was the naming of a Middle East envoy, critical at a time of renewed hostilities between Israelis and the Palestinians; an order closing the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a move that will take considerable time to execute and comes on the heels of a suspension of war crimes trials there pending a review; prohibiting — in most cases — the harsh interrogation techniques for suspected terrorists that have damaged the U.S. image around the globe; overturning the so-called Mexico City policy that forbids U.S. funding for family planning programs that offer abortion, and lifting President George W. Bush's limit on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.
Within hours of Obama' taking the oath of office on Tuesday, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel ordered all federal agencies to put the brakes on any pending regulations that the Bush administration sought to push through in its final days.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Still looking, but this is an interesting blog ...

Actually, I was watching jay Leno and this one got mentioned and I need to research it more...

Asteroid might kill us in 2036
I was just watching ABC news internet tv and saw an interesting piece called "Last Days on Earth", talking about how the destruction of life on Earth might come about. They said that in 2004, NASA discovered an asteroid on a near collision course with the Earth. They called the asteroid Apothesis or Apotheosis, not sure exactly which spelling is correct (probably Apotheosis based on its definition).

They said that NASA calculated that on April 13th, 2029 (a Friday, don't you love the irony?) this asteroid will come close enough to the Earth to dip below our communication satellites. They said it should not impact the Earth in 2029. However, 7 years later, 2036, again on April 13th, the asteroid will swing back, much closer this time, and could very possibly hit the Earth destroying most of the life on Earth. Anything that would survive the initial impact would most likely die due to the debris from the asteroid blocking out the sun and polluting the atmosphere.

What will the NEXT 100 Days Bring USa?

Interesting study of "social norms" ... Stiff Up Lip!

Polite Poms 'had no chance on Titanic'

By SHANNON MOLLOY - Brisbane Times Tuesday, 20 January 2009
American passengers on the Titanic managed to get off the sinking cruise liner in time because they pushed their way into lifeboats, while their fellow British passengers politely queued, a Brisbane researcher has found.
Queensland University of Technology behavioural economist David Savage studied four maritime disasters of the 20th century to determine how people reacted in situations of life and death.
Using the key concepts of economics, being scarcity and self-interest, Mr Savage examined whether people reverted to a "survival of the fittest" mentality when faced with possible death.
"It seems that on the Titanic the social norm of 'women and children first' was followed, as proportionally more women than men and almost all the children on board survived," he said.
Lifeboat spaces on the Titanic were scarce but Mr Savage said something made some passengers stand back and allow others to take their places.
"This life and death situation is treated as a 'one-shot game' because those who let others onto lifeboats knowing they faced certain death acted out of something other than self-interest."
However the study also suggests some British passengers gave up their spots because the Americans did not understand ideals of common courtesy.
Mr Savage believes queuing etiquette may not have been as strong among the line-jumping Yankees as it was with Britons.
While those in first class were closer to the lifeboat deck and secured spaces faster than those in lower classes, the research also indicates preferential treatment and inside knowledge about the crisis.
"We expect that first class passengers had higher bargaining power (but also) better access to information about the imminent danger, which may have increased survival rates," he said.
The results of the study indicate a strong support for the theory that social norms and altruisms remain relevant during a disaster.
Mr Savage is also analysing data from the sinking of the cruise liner Lusitania in 1915 by a German U-boat off the coast of Ireland, the 1956 sinking of luxury ship Andera Doria and the loss of the Estonia passenger ferry in 1994.

Today is THE DAY, what does your calendar say?

When asked about Obama's speech, the 43rd President said,
"It was awesome!"
This is a transcript of his prepared speech.

In his speech Tuesday, President Obama said America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors.

I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often, the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land -- a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time.

But know this, America: They will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the fainthearted -- for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things -- some celebrated, but more often men and women obscure in their labor -- who have carried us up the long, rugged path toward prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again, these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished.

But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions -- that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act -- not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions -- who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them -- that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works -- whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified.

Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account -- to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day -- because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control -- and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart -- not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.

Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: Know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort -- even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet.

We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West: Know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.
To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds.

And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment -- a moment that will define a generation -- it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies.

It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends -- hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism -- these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths.

What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility -- a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world; duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence -- the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed -- why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent Mall, and why a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

"Let it be told to the future world ... that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive... that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it]."

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words.

With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come.

Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested, we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back, nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Email about how to make a life of crime a whole lot easier

A couple of weeks ago a friend told me that someone
she knew had their car broken into while they were at a football match.

Their car was parked on the green which was adjacent to the football
stadium and specially allotted to football fans. Things stolen from the
car included a garage door remote control, some money and a GPS which
had been prominently mounted on the dashboard.

When the victims got home, they found that their house had been
ransacked and just about everything worth anything had been

The thieves had used the GPS to guide them to the house. They
then used the garage remote control to open the garage door
and gain entry to the house. The thieves knew the owners were at the
football game, they knew what time the game was scheduled to finish
and so they knew how much time they had to clean out the house. It
would appear that they had brought a truck to empty the house of its

Mobile Phone
I never thought of this.......
This lady has now changed her habit of how she lists her names
on her mobile phone after her handbag was stolen. Her
handbag, which contained her cell phone, credit card, wallet...etc.
..was stolen.

20 minutes later when she called her hubby, from a pay phone
telling him what had happened, hubby says 'I received
your text asking about our Pin number and I've replied a little while

When they rushed down to the bank, the bank staff
told them all the money was already withdrawn. The thief had
actually used the stolen cell phone to text 'hubby' in the
contact list and got hold of the pin number. Within 20
minutes he had withdrawn all the money from their bank account.

Moral of the lesson:
Do not disclose the relationship between you and the people in
your contact list. Avoid using names like Home, Honey,Hubby,
Sweetheart, Dad, Mom, etc.... And very importantly, when
sensitive info is being asked through texts, CONF IRM by calling back.
Also, when you're being text by friends or family to meet them somewhere, be
sure to call back to confirm that the message came from them. If you
don't reach them, be very careful about going places to meet family
and friends who text you.

I never thought about THAT! As of now, I no longer
have 'home' listed on my cell phone.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Do not make me come back there...

What's in the photo?

1. It’s a Tusken Raider on a break from Star Wars
2. It’s Mars’ version of Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid
3. It’s —England ace Wayne Rooney once famously pictured lumbering out of the sea
4. It’s boozy DCI Gene Hunt from telly’s Life on Mars — and he’s searching for a Mars bar
5. It’s a rock, stoopid!

There is no proof (yet) that there is Life on Mars.

Photos and Methane this week, but if you read the fine print on the reports of methane...

" . . . More research is needed to determine whether the methane came from biological or geological sources."

Four seasons in One minute? Spring is on its way!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Wyeth’s art helped to put Chadds Ford on the map
Saturday, January 17, 2009 4:18 AM EST
By John Chambless Special to the Chadds Ford Times

Andrew Wyeth was born in 1917, in the home of his parents in Chadds Ford. He died Jan. 16, in his own bed, barely a mile away.In those intervening 91 years, he produced a body of work unique in the history of art. Spending a lifetime walking the roads and fields of Chadds Ford and the coastline of Maine, he created a world that can only be called “Wyeth-esque.”He worked fiercely, continually, always with a sketchbook in his hands. The trees, flowers and streams of Chadds Ford were depicted again and again, but always with a mysterious shadow over them. Some critics called Wyeth’s art superficial, but they didn’t know the depth of emotion behind every brushstroke.His works are not easily understood, although they are often easy to appreciate. His beautiful tempera surfaces, the microscopic detail in his pencil sketches, the drama of his watercolors — all hint at something just out of reach. That was Wyeth’s magic. His works are not so much about what we see, but what we don’t see.
For those who know how to read the works, their air of quiet menace, solitude and wildness are unforgettable. Far more than pretty landscapes and portraits, his works express both his love of nature and his awe of its power. They show his intense involvement with his portrait subjects, but also his clinical, unforgiving eye.Educated at home in the early 1920s, Wyeth studied with his father, N.C. Wyeth, beginning at the age of 16. In the studio situated above the family’s brick home on a hill in Chadds Ford, Andrew learned the basics of drawing and painting under the stern but loving instruction of his father.His first one-man show, at Macbeth Gallery in New York City, was a sellout. He was 20. The successes never stopped coming. He showed new paintings at the Brandywine River Museum in 2008.David Michaelis, author of the 1998 book “N.C. Wyeth: A Biography,” said in a 2000 interview that the Wyeths were “a family of not one, but probably three or four, true masters of American painting. They have produced tens of thousands of works; nearly all of them created in two places — Maine and Chadds Ford. And none of them imitative of other artists.“Andrew Wyeth has managed to stay fresh and original ... As a group of painters, they have restored place and nature to the center of the artist’s life,” Michaelis said. “That’s really their contribution to the century.”For many years, Andrew and his sister Ann were the only remaining family members who had experienced life in the creative hothouse of the Wyeth home. Ann went on to become an acclaimed composer and pianist, as well as a watercolor artist. She married painter John McCoy and lived in Chadds Ford. She died at the age of 90 in 2005.In a 2000 interview, she said of her brother’s work, “God knows everybody tries to paint like Andy. Which is too bad, because most (of their paintings) are dead. They miss the point someplace — the mood of the picture. I won’t mention any names. They paint things very closely, but that’s not the point.”Andrew’s son, James — known to friends and strangers alike as Jamie — is a world-renowned painter in his own right. He never knew N.C. But his close association with his father has given him rare insight into his working methods.In a 2000 interview, Jamie said, “the best contribution that we as a family have made is to be completely involved in our work, recording our experiences and the people in the country around us. We’re sort of a family of recorders. That, to me, is interesting. I think some of the best art is produced when it’s not meant to be art. I just try to record my feelings and emotions, but there’s no grand plan.“I think the fact that we’ve worked in the Chadds Ford and Maine areas gives (the work) a universality,” he said. “In an age when everything is so accessible and we’re bombarded with so much information, it’s unique and interesting to kind of limit yourself to one area.“Painting is next to breathing in the Wyeth family,” he said. “Having been very close to my father, I’ve seen the image created around him. He works night and day, does not sit back on his laurels. When he’s working, it’s a total contrast to what people think. He’s a wild man. He drops sketches on the floor, steps on them, moves on to another one. Amazing.”It can be hard to separate Andrew Wyeth from the places he painted. His life was so tied up in Chadds Ford that he seems to be everywhere at once.The faded scar of a train track on Ring Road marks the place where N.C. Wyeth was killed in 1945, along with his grandson, when a train hit their car. It’s within sight of the Kuerner farm, where Andrew devoted decades to sketching and painting every inch of the white farmhouse and outbuildings. He painted most of the “Helga” series there as well. The works — begun in 1971 and kept secret until 1985 — caused a media firestorm when they were revealed. The home of his model, Helga Testorf, is nearby. The majestic hill topped with a few skeletal trees, captured in many of Andrew’s paintings, overlooks the valley.It’s a place you can visit on tours sponsored by the Brandywine River Museum, along with the Wyeth family home. But seeing the places only skims the surface. Wyeth devoted his life to knowing them intimately. He became part of the lives of the Kuerners, and the Olson family in Maine, and Helga, and countless others.In published interviews, Andrew Wyeth has said, “I think one’s art goes as far and as deep as one’s love goes. I see no reason for painting but that. If I have anything to offer, it is my emotional contact with the place where I live and the people I do.“If somehow I can, before I leave this earth, combine my absolutely mad freedom and excitement with truth, then I will have done something.”

Trodden Weed by Andrew Wyeth

Nick And Jamie by Andrew Wyeth

Master Bedroom by Andrew Wyeth... I was lucky to see his work in the Brandywine PA museum years ago....

Friday, January 16, 2009

Learn something new every day....

It has been confirmed that dogs actually do see color, but many fewer colors than normal humans do. Instead of seeing the rainbow as violet, blue, blue-green, green, yellow, orange and red, dogs would see it as dark blue, light blue, gray, light yellow, darker yellow (sort of brown), and very dark gray. In other words, dogs see the colors of the world as basically yellow, blue and gray. They see the colors green, yellow and orange as yellowish, and they see violet and blue as blue. Blue-green is seen as a gray. You can see what the spectrum looks like to people and dogs above.

Dogs do see colors, but they are color-blind and don't see the same colors you and I do.

Email this week about my dog theme...

If you can start the day without caffeine,
If you can get going without pep pills,
If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,
If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it,
If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time,
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
If you can resist treating a rich friend better than a poor friend,
If you can conquer tension withou t medical help,
If you can relax without liquor,
If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,

...Then You Are Probably The Family Dog!

Just another email item this week....

To the long list of reasons you should be glad you're not an ant, add this: You'd have to forget about having sex.

You'd also have to forget about even trying. Sneak off for a little insectile assignation and the other members of the colony would know immediately — and attack you for it. Entomologists have long known this was the practice in the ant world, but what they didn't know is the forensic science that allows the community to uncover the crime. Now, thanks to a study in the current issue of Cell Biology, they do.
Ant colonies have good reason to be abstemious places. When you're trying to hold together so complex a society without — let's face it — a lot of brainpower, you want a population made up of the fittest individuals you can get. A queen that has the genetic mettle to crank out lots of good eggs that produce lots of good babies doesn't need any competition from other, lesser females setting up a nest nearby. Even the queen herself is not allowed to fool with the gene pool once it's been set. She mates only once in her life and stores all the sperm she'll ever need for the thousands of eggs she'll produce. (See pictures of the insect world.)
The rules, of course, don't prevent the other ants in the colony — which spend their lives tending eggs, gathering food and digging tunnels — from feeling a little randy now and then (never mind the fact that they're all, genetically speaking, brothers and sisters). But not only are those who give into the procreative urge pounced on, those who are even considering it are often restrained before they can try. The tip-off, as with so many other things in the animal world, appears to be smell.
Earlier studies had shown that a queen that senses potential competition from another fertile female will chemically mark the pretender; that female will then be attacked by lower-ranking females. Biologists Jürgen Liebig and Adrian Smith of Arizona State University suspected that something similar might go on even without the queen's intervention and believed the answer might lie in scent chemicals called cuticular hydrocarbons.
Ants that are capable of reproducing naturally emit hydrocarbon-based odors, and the eggs they produce smell the same way. Ants that can't reproduce emit no such odor. Liebig and Smith produced a synthetic hydrocarbon in the lab that had the same olfactory properties as the natural one, then plucked a few innocent ants from a nest and dabbed the chemical on them. When they were returned to the colony, they were promptly attacked — never mind that they had essentially been framed.
The sexual environment does sometimes loosen up in ant colonies. While the place may never become a Caligulan free-for-all, collective breeding will resume if the queen dies or is experimentally removed — but only until a new queen establishes herself and the reproductive lockdown resumes.
We complex critters might be glad to be part of a species that's free of such Draconian sexual rules, but Liebig doesn't think it's wise to get above ourselves. All manner of lawsuits, divorces and blood feuds can erupt over people breeding when — or with whom — they oughtn't. Often, the methods used to expose the cheaters aren't terribly different from those of the ants: more than one philanderer, after all, has been exposed by a whiff of the wrong perfume on his clothes when he came home. "The idea that social harmony is dependent on strict systems to prevent and punish cheating seems to apply to most successful societies," Liebig explained in a comment released with his paper. Regardless of the genome, in matters of sex, nature still appears to prefer us not to stray.

Email about the new Draft Proposal. Does that count toward putting people to work?

Rangel to reintroduce military draft measure
Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) likely will introduce his controversial legislation to reinstate the draft again this year, but he will wait until after the economic stimulus package is passed.Asked if he plans to introduce the legislation again in 2009, Rangel last week said, “Probably … yes. I don’t want to do anything this early to distract from the issue of the economic stimulus.”

Rangel’s military draft bill did create a distraction for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) soon after Democrats won control of Congress after the 2006 election.In the wake of that historic victory, Pelosi said publicly that she did not support the draft and that the Democratic leadership would not back Rangel’s legislation. She also said Rangel’s legislation was not about reinstating the draft but was instead “a way to make a point” about social inequality.

But Rangel told The Hill that he recently heard talk about rewarding mandatory service with two years of college credit.“That doesn’t make sense,” he said. “People shouldn’t have to join the military to get an education.”A decorated Korean War veteran and a member of the Out of Iraq Caucus, Rangel argues that the burden of fighting wars falls disproportionately on low-income people and that cost should be borne more broadly.

If a draft had been in place in 2002 when members were making the decision on whether to support the war in Iraq, Rangel has said, Congress never would have approved the war resolution, because the pressure from constituents would have been too great.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

With Bush We had FEAR, With Obama We have HOPE.

Divided by Fear. United by Hope.

President Bush used his farewell address Thursday to stress that the nation has not suffered a major terrorist attack since Sept. 11, 2001. But the threat remains, he said, and will be President-elect Barack Obama's biggest challenge.

"Our enemies are patient and determined to strike again. America did nothing to seek or deserve this conflict. But we have been given solemn responsibilities, and we must meet them. We must resist complacency. We must keep our resolve. And we must never let down our guard," Bush said in a nationally televised address from the White House.

Speaking to about 200 guests in the East Room, Bush extended best wishes to Obama and his family. The election of the nation's first African-American president, he said, "reflects the enduring promise of our land" and is "a moment of hope and pride for our whole nation."
"I have followed my conscience and done what I thought was right. You may not agree with some tough decisions I have made. But I hope you can agree that I was willing to make the tough decisions."

The two-term president acknowledged experiencing setbacks but also listed accomplishments, including creation of a Department of Homeland Security, new counterterrorism surveillance laws, the No Child Left Behind education bill, prescription drug assistance, and adding conservative justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court.

He lamented the financial crisis and said "we took decisive measures" to prop up struggling credit markets. "The toll would be far worse if we had not acted."
Presidents have delivered farewell addresses since the time of George Washington. Bush decided to give his in front of a White House audience that included current and former aides and Americans he has met during his time in office.
"As the years passed, most Americans were able to return to life much as it had been before 9/11," Bush said. "But I never did."

Among the guests: Bob Beckwith, the retired New York City firefighter who stood atop a burned-out fire engine with Bush as the president addressed 9/11 rescue workers three days after attack. Education and faith-based volunteers, injured troops and other survivors of 9/11 also attended Bush's farewell speech.
Kathleen Hall Jamieson, co-author of Presidents Creating The Presidency: Deeds Done in Words, said that like his predecessors, Bush is "trying to set the criteria by which the presidency will be judged."

Two farewell addresses in particular have stood the test of time, she said. One of them is the first, delivered by Washington in 1796. He warned the new nation to be careful about entangling political alliances with other nations.
President Dwight Eisenhower's farewell in early 1961 also contained a warning, this one against "the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex."

Bush had offered a preview of his speech earlier in the day at the State Department. He cited a proposal for a separate Palestinian state, stronger ties to Asia and efforts to fight AIDS in Africa.
At the White House, Bush — whose approval ratings were less than 30% for much of his second term — expressed regrets. "There are things I would do differently if given the chance," he said, though he did not specify. He said he always acted in the best interests of the nation.

"I have followed my conscience," Bush said, "and done what I thought was right."
FD: you can watch Bush's major farewell speeches at this BBC link: I liked the Press Conference the best...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Beware the Virtual IRS Agents in the Video Game!

When you buy that hot outfit for your Second Life avatar, you don't have to pay tax on it, and neither does the person selling it to you. That may change, however, now that virtual economies are on the IRS' radar...

"The Internal Revenue Service should start taxing the fledgling virtual economy in Second Life, World of Warcraft, and other virtual worlds according to Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson. In her annual report published on the IRS website, Olsen said that there are still a number of issues that the IRS should "proactively address" before they get out of control.
And now that it's on the IRS' radar, it's likely only a matter of time before Uncle Sam tries to figure out some way to get a cut of your gold. "

What I found out last week, a number of virtual worlds involve the trade of real money for various virtual products and services inside of the game.

wherever people are spending money, someone is making it. Entrepreneurs are making fat cash off the sale of virtual land, clothing, sex toys, and everything in between in Second Life and other games, and now Olson wants the IRS to go after them.