Thursday, April 30, 2009

Here is your political fix for the 100th Day of the Obama Admistration. I think he is doing a GREAT JOB, but you might not think so...

LOOKING BACK AT TODAY.President Obama said Chrysler's decision to merge with Italy's Fiat and file for bankruptcy would give the company "a new lease on life," and he assured its employees and communities depending on it that the company would continue to operate normally during the process.
In his daily briefing, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said a member of the advance team for Energy Secretary Chu went to Mexico and developed flu symptoms. He and three members of his family tested positive for type A influenza and that it's probable they have H1N1. Further testing is being done by the CDC, and all four sick individuals experienced only mild symptoms and all four have recovered.
There is a fascinating fact sheet that is making the rounds among folks with American auto industry interests. Clearly, someone at GM is not happy about the president's remarks last night regarding hybrids.
After directing most of their fire at the Obama administration on economy and government spending, congressional Republicans are now turning to national security -- in particular President Obama's decision to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay (a move a majority disagree with, according to our new NBC/WSJ poll).
On a conference call with reporters and bloggers, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor and Sen. John McCain announced the formation of a new effort to help the Republican Party take its message on the road and come up with new ideas for the future.
Time to do the 'My Bad': Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, appearing on MSNBC's Morning Joe this morning, said of Specter that Democrats may have "bitten off more on that bargain than they can chew on right now." He added later, "The conservatives he's railing against helped his behind in '04."
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton just spoke briefly at the Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on the budget supplemental about how the State Department is responding to swine flu, NBC's Courtney Kube reports.
MN SEN: The folks at the liberal group Americans United for Change say they're running a TV ad in Minnesota to put pressure on GOP. Gov. Tim Pawlenty to certify Al Franken (D) if he remains ahead of Norm Coleman (R) after the Minnesota Supreme Court considers the case.
First Read with NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd, every weekday on MSNBC-TV at 9 a.m. ET.
For more: The latest edition of First Read is available now at !

I got to come back to this one: Maps and Charts, etc.

FD: Lots of maps and charts about energy in USa.

Green Grid is not exactly a Smart Grid Concept....


In the article below you find this counterpoint:
Energy Secretary Steven Chu and some other policy makers have expressed doubts about the practicality of retrofitting hundreds of thousands of service stations to offer natural gas. Some environmental groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, have argued that natural gas is better used to replace coal for power generation, and that cars should run on electricity generated by the sun, wind and natural gas.

Why not invest in the improvements to our power grid?
Why not plug all power generation into the new, GREEN and SMART grid?
Why not plug all the cars and transport into the new, Green and Smart grid?

Do the upgrades to the current gas stations as you do the grid.
Put a power plug and meter along side the gas and desiel pumps.
Put the solar panels on the roofs and plug them into the green grid and pay the ower through the Smart Grid if (s)he produces more than they use in the house and barn, etc.

Sell the technology overseas and build it here... write, call and email your rep today!

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R- TX)
Senator John Cornyn (R- TX)
Representative Jeb Hensarling (R - 05)

for your Senator and Congressman:

U.S. Gas Field Production is Supported by President Obama and T. Boone Pickings as transition to Alternative renewable fuels...Future Blue States?

Click the following to access the sent link: - U.S. Gas Fields Go From Bust to Boom* This article will be available to non-subscribers of the Online Journal for up to seven days after it is e-mailed.

Get your EMAIL THIS Browser Button and use it to email content from any Web site. Click here for more information.

Huge new fields also have been found in Texas, Arkansas and Pennsylvania. One industry-backed study estimates the U.S. has more than 2,200 trillion cubic feet of gas waiting to be pumped, enough to satisfy nearly 100 years of current U.S. natural-gas demand.

The discoveries have spurred energy experts and policy makers to start looking to natural gas in their pursuit of a wide range of goals: easing the impact of energy-price spikes, reducing dependence on foreign oil, lowering "greenhouse gas" emissions and speeding the transition to renewable fuels.
A climate-change bill being pushed by President Barack Obama could boost reliance on natural gas. The bill, which could emerge from the House Energy and Commerce Committee in May, is expected to set aggressive targets for reducing emissions of carbon dioxide, the most prevalent man-made greenhouse gas.
Meeting such goals would require quickly moving away from coal-fired power plants, which account for substantial carbon emissions. President Obama wants the U.S. to rely more on renewable energy such as wind and solar power, but those technologies aren't ready to shoulder more than a fraction of the nation's energy burden. Advocates for natural gas argue that the fuel, which is cleaner than coal, would be a logical quick fix.

In addition, billionaire energy investor T. Boone Pickens has been touting natural gas as an alternative to gasoline and diesel for cars and trucks.

The dual message of energy security and environmental responsibility has helped Mr. Pickens win powerful allies, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and dozens of elected officials from both parties. A bipartisan bill providing tax incentives for natural-gas cars looks likely to pass this year.

Not everyone shares Mr. Pickens's enthusiasm for natural-gas vehicles. Major users of natural gas, such as utilities and chemicals companies, are concerned the plan would drive up prices -- an outcome that would benefit producers.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

We even put in a fish pond...

My students put in a garden one year at W.W. Samuell High School

What is Growing in the White House Garden? I asked myself....

Michelle Obama, aided by local school children, dug up a patch of the South Lawn to create the first vegetable garden at the White House since Eleanor Roosevelt’s Victory Garden, planted in the Second World War. The organic garden will provide fresh vegetables for the first family’s meals and for formal dinners but its most important role will be to educate children about eating fresh vegetables and fruit.
Taking pride of place in the White House’s 18 vegetable beds will be peppers, peas and spinach, berries and herbs, according to a report in The New York Times.

But there will be no beets - apparently the President does not like them.
Mrs Obama’s not-so-secret garden is a very public commitment to healthy eating. It’s a superb way of persuading more Americans to eat fresh fruit and vegetables at a time when life-style related illnesses and obesity have become quiet killers in US communities across the country.

Of the many varieties featured on the South Lawn -- one being the peppery, perfect arugula -- all are low calorie but make you feel full. (Eating a whole cup of shredded lettuce means you're ingesting just 5 calories!) Plus, the darker -leafed lettuces are high in vitamin A.
Blueberries, Raspberries, and Blackberries
If Michelle wants her girls to get excited about the garden, what's more fun than picking their very own berries? These three are loaded with antioxidants, which will keep one of the youngest first families in White House history looking the part -- antioxidants are known to stave off the effects of aging.
Mrs. Obama can improve her family's digestive health by having White House chefs, like assistant chef Sam Kass, the overseer of the garden, prepare the fresh peas planted in the garden. They pack 4 grams per half cup serving -- that's 20 percent of the recommended daily intake.
A side dish starring spinach yields an entire day's need of vitamin K, which builds strong bones. But if Sasha and Malia aren't so psyched about plain spinach, here's some good news: "Adding a little fat in the form of butter or cheese can increase the absorption of the nutrients from spinach," says Melinda Johnson, RD and National Spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.
Fennel is filled with potassium, which helps with fluid balance, says Johnson, making it the perfect antidote to a lot of fancy diplomatic dinners and four-course meals.
The first lady and her growing girls need vitamin A for sharp vision, healthy skin, and shiny hair. Carrots contain 620 micrograms per half cup serving, which exceeds the recommended daily allowance for girls ages 9 to 13 and falls just under what adult women need.
Kale's curly leaves provide a bit of protein in addition to tons of other nutrients, notes Johnson. That's an unusual added benefit for a veggie.
Parsley, thyme, cilantro, and other herbs found in the Obama garden help curb the need to add salt to food while cooking.
Although an interview with Oprah confirmed that she has no plans to add another baby to the Obama brood, the first lady would want to load up on broccoli if she ever changed her mind. It contains an essential nutrient for expectant moms: folate, which promotes healthy brain development in utero.

Next: Plant Your Own Backyard Garden

Update: H1N1 Flu Kills one Child in Houston and closes two middle schools near me in Dallas

from The Wall Street Journal
The World Health Organization raised its flu alert level to 5, the second highest level, which indicates a pandemic is imminent.
Wednesday, the fast-moving swine flu spread to at least 10 U.S. states from coast to coast and swept deeper into Europe.
Follow the latest swine flu updates in our live

Let's not forget that President Bush had 45 days of Vacation in that first 100 days...
On Monday, George W Bush completes 100 days in office.
American affairs analyst Ben Wright examines his record.

George W Bush became president of the United States after losing the popular vote in a farcical election that will be forever remembered for its hanging, pregnant and dimpled chads.
When I was coming up, it was a dangerous world and we knew exactly who they were. It was us versus them. And it was clear who them was. Today, we're not so sure who they are, but we know they're there

However, at the 100 day mark President Bush has firmly stamped his mark both at home and abroad.

He has appointed an ideologically conservative cabinet, looks set to secure a vast tax cut and is pushing ahead with his education reforms and faith-based initiatives.
For someone who it was believed had minimal interest in the world outside the United States, President Bush has already spurned the international effort to reduce global warming, called off talks with North Korea about its missiles, bombed Iraq and expelled 50 Russian spies.
One of the most interesting changes since Bush arrived is his reshaping of the presidential image.
Bush is often portrayed as a right-wing cowboy
The tone of the White House is serious, conservative, buttoned-down and punctual. Even the films on Air Force One have been cleaned up.
An April CNN/Gallup Poll gave Mr Bush an approval rating of 62%, better than the 57% standing he had when elected.
It is probably too early to tell exactly where on the political spectrum the new president sits. The image portrayed abroad is usually that of right-wing cowboy president, sitting in the pocket of big business, itching to throw America's weight around.
There is some justification for this caricature.
But he has also been keen to foster bipartisan co-operation in Washington, has left in place a Clinton administration rule that would expand acres of wetlands across the United States, and ended a long running trade dispute over bananas with the European Union.
The direction is definitely to the right, but the bigger picture is more complicated.
The first three months have given important clues as to how a distinctive Bush foreign policy might evolve in the coming years.
The spy plane has been Bush's biggest foreign policy testIn his speech to the annual Radio and Television Correspondents Association dinner in March, President Bush outlined in a surreal, self-effacing way, his foreign policy vision: "When I was coming up, it was a dangerous world and we knew exactly who they were. It was us versus them. And it was clear who them was. Today, we're not so sure who they are, but we know they're there."
Unintentionally, his disarming humour actually produces a neat summary of the American dilemma.
The United States is the last superpower left, and needs to decide how best to both use and protect its power. The Summit of the Americas in Quebec, Mr Bush's early visit to Mexico and the firm support given to Taiwan indicate that the administration's foreign policy priorities may lie with Latin America and Asia rather that Russia and Europe.
Saddam Hussein continues to perplex the White HouseMr Bush's America also looks happy to go it alone and to critics, the nadir of the new president's early weeks was his March announcement, without consulting allies, that he was abandoning the Kyoto treaty to combat global warming because it was "not in the United States' economic best interest".
Greenpeace was quick to dub Bush the "toxic Texan".
The clear US commitment to some form of national missile defence system also fits this pattern of growing unilateralism. It is becoming increasingly apparent that US foreign policy is emerging from two competing camps in the new administration - the Pentagon and the State Department.
The clash between them means that deciphering the broad ideological direction of the administration's foreign policy is tricky.
Key areas to watch are Iraq, Taiwan, Russia, the Balkans and North Korea, areas where the competing agendas behind US foreign policy most clearly clash.
For a president who five months ago didn't know who the leader of Pakistan was, the first 100 days have been a sharp learning curve and a fast introduction to the responsibility of leading the United States.

#1 Reason that we need to invest in energy... so we can take their hands out of our pockets. #2 Is so we can export the technology and put them back..

"If you are going to be paying for wind, electric and solar energy equivalents that cost five or 10 times more than it costs to use oil, you are going to price yourself out of the market. You are going to lose whatever competitiveness you have in your products."..said Prince Turki al-Faisal

Saudi Arabia, a long-time U.S. ally that has suffered a significant image problem since it was revealed that 15 of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers hailed from the kingdom, is the world's largest oil exporter.

Last year, the U.S. imported from Saudi Arabia 1.5 million barrels of oil a day — more than 11 percent of total imports.

A friend sent me his minister's serman on Joy via the Internet....

UPDATE: H1N1 Swine Flu Out Break from Mexico

from The Wall Street Journal
The U.S. confirmed its first swine-flu death since the outbreak.
The CDC said a 23-month-old child in Texas has died from the virus.
The number of confirmed cases rose to 66 in the U.S., including five people in California and Texas being treated at hospitals. More evidence of the global spread of a deadly flu emerged Wednesday, as an eighth country confirmed the disease's presence.

This is still the best map I have found on this H1N1 outbreak... now worldwide:
Link: <,-110.390625&spn=17.176685,32.299805&z=5>

H1N1 Swine Flu
Video on improved map and H1N1 swine flu current and future evolution

Purple marker is confirmed or probable Pink marker is suspect Yellow marker is negative Fatal cases have no dot

192,734 views - Public
Created on Apr 21 - Updated 3 hours ago
By niman -

Another reason that I can not emmigrate to New Zealand...but maybe we need to consider tightening our immigration standards and lose our Jay Leno Fat.

A British nurse who weighed 134kg has been refused New Zealand residency because of her morbid obesity, despite the need for skilled nursing staff.

The 51-year-old, who was offered a job in a home and hospital for the elderly in a provincial city, met the qualifications for immigration under the skilled migrant category.But her body mass index of 55.2 was considered unacceptable by the immigration service who declined her application, despite nursing being on a long-term skill shortage list.Now the Residence Review Board has dismissed her appeal.

For a New Zealand European, a BMI score of 25 is considered overweight, 30 obese and 40 morbidly obese.The woman, whose waist measured 131cm, wanted to emigrate with her crane driver husband and daughter, who has a degree, after holidaying in New Zealand in 2007.

Medical assessors said that the woman would probably cost the country $25,000 over four years in health treatment.She argued that she was physically fit, there was no history of cancer or chronic diseases in her family, and her weight did not stop her working more than 60 hours a week.A medical assessor said that apart from her morbid obesity, she was an otherwise "well lady" and could be reconsidered for immigration if she reduced her BMI to under 40.

The appeal board said that the woman scored relatively highly in the skilled migrant category.It concluded: "While the appellant is currently healthy, the severity of her obesity meant that two medical assessors found her to be of too great a potential risk to the New Zealand health system to determine that she had an acceptable standard of health."

Though the family would make a "sound" contribution to New Zealand, that did not weigh sufficiently for the board to decide that there were special circumstances in this case.-NZPA

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

OK. It is a joke about a stressed out woman... it could have been a man... it works both ways.

A man was being tailgated by a stressed out woman on a busy boulevard.

Suddenly, the light turned yellow, just in front of him. He did the right thing, stopping at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through the intersection.

The tailgating woman was furious and honked her horn, screaming in frustration, as she missed her chance to get through the intersection, dropping her cell phone and makeup.

As she was still in mid-rant, she heard a tap on her window and looked up into the face of a very serious police officer. The officer ordered her to exit her car with her hands up. He took her to the police station where she was searched, fingerprinted, photographed, and placed in a holding cell.

After a couple of hours, a policeman approached the cell and opened the door. She was escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting officer was waiting with her personal effects.

He said, 'I'm very sorry for this mistake. You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, flipping off the guy in front of you, and cussing a blue streak at him.' I noticed the 'What Would Jesus Do' bumper sticker, the 'Choose Life' license plate holder, the 'Follow Me to Sunday-School' bumper sticker, and the chrome-plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk;

naturally... I assumed you had stolen the car."

10 Things (more or less) that you should know about lichens....

10 Things You Should Know About Lichens
David J. Goerig and James A. Chatfield

...the lichens, gray, crisp, brittle, and crusted...deriving their food from certain kinds of small algae which they hold enslaved in their meshes. W. F. Gamong

It has been our observation during our years spent in education, diagnosing plant samples and insect specimens that come into Extension offices, that a number of us are a bit lost when it comes to organisms outside the �higher� plants and animals. This is especially true of the miniature worlds of bacteria, protists, and other less well-known organisms. What is a moss? And is �reindeer moss� a true moss? What are slime molds? Are fungi plants or animals? (Neither, actually). What about horsetails or club mosses or liverworts or water molds? We will not answer all of these questions in this article, but let�s start with 10 questions about a most unusual component of our natural world � lichens.
What Is a Lichen?
Thoreau once penned: �I find myself inspecting little granules as it were on the bark of trees � little shields or apothecia springing from a thallus � such is the mood of my mind � and I call it studying....� He was talking about lichens, a few examples of which have such exotic names as rock pimples, earth wrinkles, angel�s hair, freckle pelts, fog fingers, dragon�s funnel, tar-jelly, and old man�s beard.
What are lichens? They are a mutualistic symbiosis, or in the words of Irwin Brodo, Sylvia and Stephen Sharnoff, in their wonderful Lichens of North America, they are a �composite of a fungus and an organism capable of producing food by photosynthesis.� The usual symbionts are a member of the Ascomycetes or �sac fungi� in the Kingdom Fungi and a green alga in the Kingdom Protoctista or a cyanobacterium (formerly blue green alga) in the Kingdom Protista. The �apothecia� of which Thoreau speaks are a type of cup-like fruiting body common in the Ascomycete fungi. The �thallus� of which he speaks is �the vegetative body consisting of both algal and fungal components� (glossary entry from Lichens of North America).
The alga or the cyanobacterium (the photobionts) produce carbohydrates through photosynthesis which then serve as food for the fungus. The fungus, in its turn, provides a steady supply of moisture to the photobiont, provides a substrate helpful in providing the right amount of light to the photobiont, and protects this alga or cyanobacterium photobiont within the fungal tissues. There are many variations of this relationship, including the fact that sometimes club fungi, rather than sac fungi, and brown algae, instead of green algae, are involved. Bottom line, as the great lichenologist Trevor Goward once said: Lichens are a case of �fungi that have discovered agriculture.�
What Is Not A Lichen?
A lichen is not a true bryophyte, such as a moss or a liverwort (which are photosynthetic plants), though some of the common names of certain lichens, such as �reindeer moss,� fool people into confusing lichens with true mosses. So the velvety green moss that often grows on the side of trees, in lawns, and on other surfaces is completely different biologically from the lichen symbiosis. The sphagnum mosses used for peat in horticulture are true mosses � and not lichens. Bryophytes are green and leafy and often live in the same places as lichens, but they are plants, not the symbioses between fungi and algae (or cyanobacteria) that we call lichens.
What Do Lichens Look Like?
The thallus body, which in structure is mostly composed of the fungal symbiont, is the most recognizable part of a lichen. There are three or four basic lichen body types:
Lichens that produce leaf-like, two-dimensional, flattened, lobed thalli with upper and lower surfaces that grow in layers are known as foliose lichens.
Fruticose lichens grow erect or pendulous in three dimensions and have no distinguishable upper and lower surfaces.
Crustose lichens look somewhat like the name implies. They form a crust over their substrates, like rocks, trees, and sidewalks. The lower surface of crustose lichens attaches firmly to many surfaces and forms brightly colored patches of a thick, rough naturalized texture.
Squamulose lichens can be described as intermediate between foliose and crustose growth forms. Their shape is scale-like, and they attach by the lower surface like tiny shingles. We should note, however, that there are other intermediate types that include one or more characteristics of the previously mentioned growth forms.
Where Do Lichens Grow?
Lichens are located on every continent on planet Earth, including both the Arctic and Antarctic. They survive in all climates and altitudes. Specific lichens have their specific requirements, but in general they need three things � undisturbed surfaces, time, and clean air.
Lichens will make themselves at home on most any undisturbed surface commonly known as their substrate. Bark, wood, mosses, rock, soil, and peat are all natural substrates. Thalli will also establish itself on glass, metal, plastic, and cloth. Most lichens are restricted to certain types of substrate; lichens normally found on tree bark, for instance, are rarely found on rock, and vice versa.
Lichens established on stone in the landscape give the garden a mature look. Discovering a lichen growing on your tree is not a bad thing. In fact, it should be celebrated by giving you peace of mind knowing that the environment in your neighborhood is clean enough to support this amazing dual organism.
What Is the Ecological Role of Lichens?
Lichens are important partners in nature�s ecosystem and should be admired and studied when seen on landscape plants and hardscapes. They are an early colonizer that reestablishes life on rock and barren disturbed sites. Lichens play an important role in soil formation over much of the earth. As lichens colonize rocks, they trap dust, silt, and water.
Because of their association with cyanobacteria, lichens can provide themselves with nitrogen compounds. Lichens contribute to the nitrogen cycle by converting the nitrogen in the air into nitrates that contribute to their growth and development. Their ability to �fix� atmospheric nitrogen is beneficial to other plant life as well. When it rains, nitrogen is leached from both living and dead lichens and is available to plant life in the immediate areas. When lichens die, they contribute decayed organic matter to the area they inhabited, which enables mosses and seeds from vascular plants to begin developing among the pockets of new soil.
Animals utilize lichens in many inter-dependent ways. It is well documented that numerous animals use lichens for either food or shelter. Some 50 species of birds are known to regularly use fruticose-type lichen as their preferred nesting material. Small animals commonly use lichens to hide from natural predators through camouflage and direct cover.
What Are the Economic Benefits of Lichens?
Historically, lichens have had economic benefit. For many years, over different parts of the world, they have been a source of natural dyes for wool and fabric. These dyes were distinguished by the type of lichens used and the way the color was extracted. Lichen dyes are extracted by the boiling-water method or the fermentation method. Today, they are still used by local artisans as they demonstrate their crafts.
Some lichens have antibiotic properties that are valuable commercially. The genus Usnea is used in Europe in ointments and other commercial products and is said to aid healing in superficial wounds. Lichens have been used in such preparations as deodorants, laxatives, expectorants, tonics, and healing pastes throughout the years. Research with lichens around the world is suggesting these organisms hold promise in the fight against certain cancers and viral infections, including HIV.
In the ornamental horticulture profession, lichens are preserved in glycerine, painted different colors, and made available commercially to the floriculture industry for dried-flower decorative arrangements. These same materials are utilized by model railroad enthusiasts, architects, and others as miniature �plant� forms for their scale reproductions of new building concepts and old railroad towns.
Do Lichens Damage Plants?
We know that lichens occur when a sac fungus and a green or blue-green algae take a �lichen� to each other. One of the applied questions often asked is: Do lichens damage plants?
The short answer is no; lichens do not cause plant damage. The lichen symbiosis is not damaging bark in any direct ways. It does not rob bark of significant amounts of moisture. The fungal symbionts of the lichen do not parasitize living plant cells, and lichens do not appear to be associated with providing entranceways for pathogens into plant tissue. So why do so many people, including many horticulturists, think lichens damage plants? Perhaps it is because when branch decline occurs due to other factors, lichen growth sometimes proliferates. This is due to increased sunlight that penetrates to the bark which favors the algae that are photosynthesizing, resulting in enhanced growth. The lichens did not cause the branch decline, but rather, one of the effects of the plant decline was an increase in lichen growth.
If we really want to stretch things, perhaps we could come up with a few indirect or unusual examples of lichens negatively impacting plants. For example, where lichens are especially abundant on bark, their presence may obscure desirable ornamental features of certain plants, e.g., the beautiful bark features of crape myrtles in the South.
Another unusual example of indirect lichen effects is reported in Lichens of North America (Brodo, Sharnoff, and Sharnoff). In Canada, hemlock looper (Lambdina fiscellaria) is a serious forest pest. And guess what? This moth �lays its eggs almost exclusively on hair lichens such as Bryoria trichodes,� and so lichen is an important cog in this pest�s life cycle.
Finally, in states more southernly than Ohio, there is an unusual role of lichens in plant disease. There is an algal plant pathogen, Cephaleuros virescens, which causes scurfy leaf spots and fissured twig cankers on many plants, including magnolias and azaleas.
Jim Chatfield and Nancy Taylor have noted this disease occurring abundantly in North Carolina woodland and parkland areas. Well, guess what? In some cases, the Cephaleuros virescens alga teams up with a Strigula spp. fungus to develop a lichen symbiosis, causing leaf spots and twig cankers due to the algal activity.

However, the bottom line is the few-and-far-between exception rather than the almost universal rule that lichens most definitely do not damage plants.

Are Lichens Good Eating?

Well, caribou, and their European cousins, Rudolph and the rest of his reindeer friends, certainly think so. They have a rumen digestive system and the bacterial flora to properly digest the complex carbohydrates that lichens have in rich abundance. Overgrazing of lichens can even result in periods of starvation and population crashes for herds. In some cases more than 90% of winter food for caribou is derived from lichens. Many species of deer, mountain goats, flying squirrels, and voles also use lichens as an important food.
In some cases, western North American wildlife managers fell trees to deliberately make arboreal lichens more accessible for winter food. Finally, there are many mites, springtails, and other smaller fauna that consider lichens as food substrates.
As for humans, lichens have several disadvantages. It is tough for us to digest the complex carbohydrates, and a few lichen species are even poisonous. So �extreme cuisine� afficionados need to follow the usual precautions familiarized by the old saying that �there are old mushroom hunters � and bold mushroom hunters � but no old, bold mushroom hunters.� Lichens are not mushrooms, but we trust that you get the point. However, there are some reports of native cultures eating certain species of lichens in times of famine.
Sometimes lichens are made palatable by going to great extreme, from adding wild onions and saskatoon berries in barbecue pits to the ages-old trick of adding them to sugar, raisins, and apples (just about everything tastes good with these additives). There is even the practice of arctic populations mixing partially predigested lichens from caribou stomachs with raw fish eggs to make what is called �stomach ice cream.� We will pass on that one. And yes, certain lichens have also been used on occasion as laxatives.
Finally, lichen history includes use for various value-enhanced beverages, from a bitter flavoring for beer in Siberian monasteries to fermented corn beverages in Mexico to a source of sugar for Swedish brandy distillers. All in all, though, using lichens as a food source is pretty limited, except for animals and their role in the food web.
How Are Lichens Named?
The Chinese philosopher Krishtalka said that �the beginning of wisdom is calling things by their right name.� One way to indicate the right name of an organism is to use the universal language for a species, namely the Latin binomial name, specified according to the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature. But what about lichens?
Lichens are dual organisms, composed of two species living together in a mutually beneficial symbiosis. One species in the lichen symbiosis is a fungus, which provides a substrate and helps with mineral and water management, and the other species is an alga or a cyanobacterium (the photobiont), which uses water and carbon dioxide and the energy of sunlight to photosynthesize and produce food for the dual organism.
So what could the Latin binomial of a lichen be? Are the Latin binomials for lichens given as both the fungal and photobiont binomials? No. As it turns out, by convention of the Botanical Code of Nomenclature, lichen names are simply given as the Latin binomial of the fungal component of the dual lichen organism. This seems somewhat inelegant, but since the recognizable form of the lichen is the fungal component, the Latin name of the lichen is simply given as the Latin name of the fungus in the symbiosis.
So, when the Cladonia cristatella sac fungus gets together with the green alga Trebouxia erici to form a lichen, the official Latin name of the lichen is simply Cladonia cristatella. So, now you know. Having gotten that little detail out of the way, let�s face it � the real fun with lichens comes with their common names. Though common names can cause confusion because of local variations, there are some wonderfully evocative lichen names.

The can-of-worms lichens (Conotroma urceolatum) is the fungal and lichen Latin binomial, so named for the long segmented spores of the fungus. How about these: powder-tipped antler lichen; black-eye lichen; bloody heart lichen; cowpie lichen; elf-ear lichen; five-o-clock shadow lichen; hairball lichen; naked kidney lichen; tattered rag lichen; and blackened toadskin lichen.
And after that motley crew, a number of lichens have foodie names, such as candy lichen, rock licorice lichen, and chocolate chip lichen. No mas.
Where Can I Learn More About Lichens?
Finding information on lichens is simple enough. Start by asking your children if you can see their science class book. It should be in there.

Numerous informational tidbits can be found online. A few of the web sites that caught our attention include:www.lichen.com

But if you really want to touch bases with the big leagues of lichenology, check out:
Lichens of North America, by Brodo, Sharnoff, and Sharnoff. It is a 795-page masterpiece of truly magnificent photography and information, including both accessible general information and details for the lichen afficionado.
�Sharing the stillness of the unimpassioned rock, they share also its endurance; and while the winds of departing spring scatter the white hawthorn blossoms like drifted snow, and summer dims on the parched meadow the dripping of its cowslip-gold � far above, among the mountains the silver lichen-spots rest, star-like, on the stone.�� John Ruskin
David J. Goerig, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County; and James A. Chatfield, Ohio State University Extension Center at Wooster, Horticulture and Crop Science.
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DMN, switching its position on the Sheriff?

Sheriff courtesy patrols lauded for their work
Recently, David Payne, a retired Dallas police lieutenant who I've known for quite some time, emailed me a letter that he sent to the Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez lauding the efforts of her department's courtesy patrols.
Here's the letter:
"On April 11, 2009 I was traveling west on I-30 at the I-75 and I-45 exit near downtown Dallas when I had a flat tire on my front left. I had very little space to pull over and being on the freeway side of the car, I was in great danger of being struck and killed by passing cars speeding by. I was, to put it mildly, in a life or death situation.
Within 5-10 minutes, two Dallas County Courtesy Patrol Officers arrived to assist. By that time, I had the flat tire off and my wife was there to rush to Discount Tire to get it replaced before closing at 5:00 p.m. I advised the two officers I would like for them to come back as soon as I got the tire replaced as my jack was not big enough to get the car high enough to get a new tire back on. They provided me a phone number to call and told me to call them when I was on my way back and they would return and assist.

Here's another thing swine flu has done...

it has stepped on the 100-day stories.

Many news organizations are still doing them; they just aren't getting the same prominence. (And why should they if a pandemic is possible?) Speaking of the possibility of a pandemic, we're about at that moment when the administration's response will start getting judged by the media. We've already seen some early "How's Napolitano doing?" stories, as we noted yesterday. Is there a more thankless job than Homeland Security secretary, the ultimate if-you-are-in-the-headlines-the-news-is-bad job? Right now, the administration is walking the line between being overly cautious and not causing panic. They seem to be striking the right balance. Of course, the minute someone dies -- or the minute the outbreak gets bigger exponentially, if it does -- then questions about when or if to close the border will kick in, as will questions about whether American airports should be screening for passengers with fevers. Meanwhile, folks should realize that Mexico City is truly in a panic. According to some reports from locals, the streets are empty; the trust in the government is at (or near) an all-time low; and folks are flooding health-care clinics and hospitals. This is a city of 20 million people brought to a grinding halt. And don't think the economic devastation Mexico will experience the rest of this year won't have consequences on our economy.
*** Polls Galore: Still, the 100-day stories go on. Right before that milestone tomorrow, there are two new national polls out that find President Obama enjoying broad support from the public.
Per the New York Times/CBS survey, his approval rating is 68%, compared with Bush's 56% at this juncture. And a CNN/Opinion Research poll has Obama's approval at 63%, but it also shows that approval of his policies is somewhat lower (57%). Our own NBC/WSJ poll will be released tonight beginning at 6:30 pm ET on NBC Nightly News, as well as on Will it show similar support for Obama? How does the public view his legislative priorities? Who is Barack Obama -- a liberal or a moderate? How popular (or unpopular) are Republicans right now? And how does the public view the debate over those controversial interrogation practices? Be sure to tune in -- or click on -- for the answers.
First Read with NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd, every weekday on MSNBC-TV at 9 a.m. ET.
For more: The latest edition of First Read is available now at !

Switching Party? GOP Defections?

from The Wall Street Journal
Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania intends to switch parties and become a Democrat. The switch puts Democrats closer to 60-vote control in the U.S. Senate.

Darn...was that fleeting enough?

from The Wall Street Journal
The Supreme Court gave tentative approval to government regulation of the use of even a single curse word on live television. But the court, in a 5-4 decision Tuesday, is refusing to passjudgment on whether the Federal Communications Commission's "fleeting expletives" policy is in line with First Amendmentguarantees of free speech. The justices say a federal appeals courtshould weigh the constitutionality of the policy.
The decision throws out a ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Courtof Appeals in New York. The appeals court had found in favor of aFox Television-led challenge to the policy.

This story started out HOT and went COLD in just two days....just like another victim of Swine Flu.....

Archaeologist Felipe Solis, 65, met Mr Obama, on April 16, three days after the virus emerged.
The White House said last night Mr Obama had been tested and was not in danger.
The US president said the spread of the disease was a cause for concern “but not a cause for alarm”.

Obama Didn't Get Sick on Mexico Trip

In the midst of dealing with the widening swine flu outbreak, the White House struggled Monday to convince the world -- and in particular the media -- that the president had not been infected.
Speculation had exploded after foreign newspapers reported that the president's tour guide at a Mexico City museum on April 16 had died from flulike symptoms the next day. (He did die -- but not of swine flu, it turns out, or on April 17.)

In his daily briefing to reporters, press secretary Robert Gibbs became exasperated after saying over and over again that Obama was not infected, not even sick.

"I just, again -- boy, I'm glad I'm not a public health spokesman," Gibbs said. "Let me just do this one more time. The doctors have informed me, based on my personal curiosity, knowing of yours, that the president's health was never in any danger; that he has not exhibited any symptoms; neither has anybody traveling with him; neither has any of the press that traveled with him, that I'm aware of, exhibited any symptoms that would cause some reason for concern."

Monday, April 27, 2009

We have a local election coming up that has CRAZY working on the ballot, favoring the City Building a Convention Hotel...

So it's vote YES on 1, to vote "no" on the hotel.

And vote NO on 2, to vote"yes" to requiring taxpayer vote before the city can do it again.

How convoluted!

How political!

WOW. That school is close to where I teach... but both the A&M and the UTD campuses are between us. Aggies know about swine.

Richardson school shuts down for swine flu
06:17 PM CDT on Monday, April 27, 2009
By SHERRY JACOBSON and TAWNELL D. HOBBS / The Dallas Morning News
A Richardson elementary school was closed today after a student tested positive for swine flu. At least two other students at Canyon Creek Elementary School are suspected of having contracted the virus, school officials said. READ THE REST OF THE STORY AT
1976: President Gerald Ford orders a nationwide vaccination program to prevent a swine-flu epidemic.

Ford was acting on the advice of medical experts, who believed they were dealing with a virus potentially as deadly as the one that caused the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic.

The virus surfaced in February at Fort Dix, New Jersey, where 19-year-old Pvt. David Lewis told his drill instructor that he felt tired and weak, although not sick enough to skip a training hike. Lewis was dead with 24 hours.

The autopsy revealed that Lewis had been killed by "swine flu," an influenza virus originating in pigs. By then several other soldiers had been hospitalized with symptoms. Government doctors became alarmed when they discovered that at least 500 soldiers on the base were infected without becoming ill.

YouTube Ballywood and zany videos....

The original Firecracker posting:

Now I get this one:


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Man, Dog, and now Cow...PIG next?

Scientists Unravel Genome of Cow
Signs of Human Intervention Seen

» Links to this article

By David BrownWashington Post Staff Writer Friday, April 24, 2009
The genomes of man and dog have been joined in the scientific barnyard by the genome of the cow, an animal that walked beside them on the march to modern civilization.
A team of hundreds of scientists working in more than a dozen countries yesterday published the entire DNA message -- the genome -- of an 8-year-old female Hereford living at an experimental farm in Montana.
Hidden in her roughly 22,000 genes are hints of how natural selection sculpted the bovine body and personality over the past 60 million years, and how man greatly enhanced the job over the past 10,000.

"There are two types of cattle -- taurine, which have no humps and predominate in Europe, Africa, the Americas and much of Asia; and indicine, which have humps and are in South Asia and East Africa.

Both lineages descended from aurochs, a much larger and more aggressive species. Indicine breeds have much greater genetic diversity than taurine breeds, evidence that they were developed from a larger number of "founder" animals.

Cows have a large number of genes devoted to big-gun, nonspecific defenses called "innate immunity," probably reflecting the fact that the animals rely on a huge variety of bacteria and other organisms to digest the roughage they eat".

FD: My father broke it down into good cows and crazy cows.

Friday, April 24, 2009

How many people are there on the earth today?


6.8 Billion... today.

How about when you were born?


Water shortages are a growing problem, but not for the reasons most people think

Two global trends have added to the pressure on water. Both are likely to accelerate over coming decades.

"The first is demography. Over the past 50 years, as the world’s population rose from 3 billion to 6.5 billion, water use roughly trebled. On current estimates, the population is likely to rise by a further 2 billion by 2025 and by 3 billion by 2050. Demand for water will rise accordingly.
Or rather, by more. Possibly a lot more. It is not the absolute number of people that makes the biggest difference to water use but changing habits and diet. Diet matters more than any single factor because agriculture is the modern Agasthya, the mythical Indian giant who drank the seas dry. Farmers use about three-quarters of the world’s water; industry uses less than a fifth and domestic or municipal use accounts for a mere tenth.

Different foods require radically different amounts of water. To grow a kilogram of wheat requires around 1,000 litres. But it takes as much as 15,000 litres of water to produce a kilo of beef. The meaty diet of Americans and Europeans requires around 5,000 litres of water a day to produce. The vegetarian diets of Africa and Asia use about 2,000 litres a day (for comparison, Westerners use just 100-250 litres a day in drinking and washing).

So the shift from vegetarian diets to meaty ones—which contributed to the food-price rise of 2007-08—has big implications for water, too. In 1985 Chinese people ate, on average, 20kg of meat; this year, they will eat around 50kg. This difference translates into 390km3 (1km3 is 1 trillion litres) of water—almost as much as total water use in Europe."

FD: This is a great article on the topic of water use or abuse today.

Water Boarding is Torture... our military subjects could always say STOP.

"Cheney's defense of her father is both sickening and laughable. She claims that the techniques used couldn't be torture because we tested them on our own people "and we don't torture our own people." She again and again claims torture was effective without giving a single shred of evidence. Norah, quite rightly, takes her to task, and the interview gets very heated."
The Daily Kos

FD: In a training situation, you know what is being done. You can say STOP and it will STOP. She wants to be water boarded to prove her point...I say let her try it.

To just watch her interview without the blog:

The Last Amerikan Auto Maker makes a Last Stand...have you driven a Ford lately?

from The Wall Street Journal
Ford Motor reported a quarterly net loss of $1.4 billion as sales slumped, but its results were better than expected. Cash burn slowed and the auto maker reiterated it does not plan to seek a bridge loan from the U.S. government. CEO Mulally said the company made "strong progress" on its transformation plan in the quarter amid an "extremely difficult business environment."

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Bully Pulpit Master...

First 100 Days of Obama... boy that went by quickly....looks like we are still a divided USa...what 29% is too high for interest?

FIRST THOUGHTS.*** First 100 Days Mania: While today is technically Obama's 94th day in office, that hasn't stopped the political world from starting its "First 100 Days" retrospectives of his presidency.
David Broder today has a column that mostly praises Obama's start ("What he has shown .is a mastery of the art of managing the presidency"). So does Time's Joe Klein, per Politico ("Obama's start has been the most impressive of any President since F.D.R.") On the other hand, we'll most likely hear a much different assessment from House Minority Leader John Boehner, who at 10:45 am ET will discuss Obama's first 100 days. Meanwhile, the DNC has a new Web video criticizing the Republicans' start to the Obama presidency, calling them "100 Days of No." And AFSCME and Americans United begin running a TV ad on cable tomorrow that makes a similar argument about the GOP. Of course, there's a justification for everyone doing their 100-days analyses a bit early: For all intents and purposes, Obama's presidency seemed to start A LOT earlier than Jan. 20, right?, and

*** I Feel Good, I Knew That I Would: Also in advance of Obama's first 100 days as president, a brand-new AP/GfK poll shows that for the first time in years, more Americans believe the country is headed in the right direction (48%) than those who think it's on the wrong track (44%). The AP says the finding is "a sign that Barack Obama has used the first 100 days of his presidency to lift the public's mood and inspire hopes for a brighter future." More: "Not since January 2004, shortly after the capture of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, has an AP survey found more 'right direction' than 'wrong direction' respondents." The AP poll is consistent with what we've seen in our own survey: Before he took office, the NBC/WSJ poll showed that just 26% thought the country was on the right track, but that number jumped 15 points (to 41%) in the poll that was released last month. Also in the new AP poll, 64% approve of Obama's job; twice as many say he's living up to his promises than not; and seven in 10 say it's reasonable to expect that it will take longer than a year to see the effect of his economic policies. It's no wonder House Minority Whip Eric Cantor continues to try to duck directly attacking the president and instead is turning his fire on congressional Democrats, namely, Speaker Nancy Pelosi.,1,2235221.story

*** What's In Your Wallet? At 1:05 pm ET, President Obama will meet with representatives from 14 credit card companies. According to sources, among those companies will be American Express, Bank of America, Citi, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, Capital One, Visa, and MasterCard. Reuters also reports that Discover, HSBC, and US Bancorp will be at the meeting. Attending the meeting from the White House's end: Obama, Larry Summers, Valerie Jarrett (who organized the meeting), and maybe Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. Interestingly, according to his schedule, Biden (who hails from the credit card-friendly state of Delaware) won't be attending. Obama's meeting with these companies is Populist Politics 101. There is absolutely no downside to lecturing these guys. As one GOP credit card lobbyist tells Politico, "If you are the chairman of Citibank, you don't want your card guy going in there, because you know, having been there, that the companies will get the s-- beat out of them by the president and Summers."

First Read with NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd, every weekday on MSNBC-TV at 9 a.m. ET.
For more: The latest edition of First Read is available now at !

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Just in Case you missed this piece about the Founder of Earth Day - Ira Einhorn ... Old how those 70's Heros!

Environmentalist Loved Planet, Murdered Girlfriend

Today is Earth Day, a holiday created to honor the planet and to raise the consciousness of man’s effect on the environment. Philadelphia has a very strong tie to this day. One of its native sons, Ira Einhorn, was a co-founder of the environmentalist jubilee.

But Mr. Einhorn has another line on his resume. In addition to being a environmental guru, he is the Unicorn Killer.

While a student at the University of Pennsylvania, Mr. Einhorn dated a Bryn Mawr College graduate by the name of Holly Maddux. When the affair ended in 1977, Mr. Einhorn went into a jealous rage and murdered her. He concealed his crime for 18 months by stuffing Ms. Maddux’s body in a trunk that he kept in his apartment. The foul odor of the decomposing corpse coming from Mr. Einhorn’s Powelton Village apartment caused neighbors to complain. In 1979, police found the trunk stored in a closet in Mr. Einhorn’s apartment.Ira Einhorn, member of the counterculture pantheon, one of the founders of the environmentalist movement, icon of the liberal intelligentsia, was charged with murder. But it was not just a simple murder, it was a gruesome case of domestic violence.

At the bail hearing, Mr. Einhorn was praised by a contingent of luminaries — all testifying to his character. There were Ivy League professors, an Episcopalian minister and corporate executives who worked with Mr. Einhorn raising funds. They all stated under oath that he was a man of the greatest integrity. Arlen Specter, currently Pennsylvania’s senior United States Senator, was Mr. Einhorn’s attorney. He managed to get the bail set at the unheard of amount of $40,000 for the suspected murderer. Only 10 percent was needed to free him. Barbara Bronfman, heiress to the Seagram liquor fortune, paid it.

Proclaiming his innocence, Mr. Einhorn told all that he was framed. He said it was the CIA or the FBI who committed the murder and they were trying to frame him for it because of his political activities.

Some will note that another notorious Philadelphia murderer, Mumia Abu Jamal, used this defense a few years later. Like Mumia, Mr. Einhorn had no shortage of leftist followers.
Mr. Einhorn skipped bail and left Philadelphia in 1981. More than a decade passed when the DA's office tried Mr. Einhorn in absentia after being unable to locate him. He was convicted in 1993.
Several years after the absentia conviction, in 1997, Mr. Einhorn was located. He was living in France with a new girlfriend — a Swedish woman. The District Attorney’s office in Philadelphia immediately asked to have him extradited. However, the humane French refused to extradite Mr. Einhorn. French officals cited the use of capital punishment in Pennsylvania and the conviction in absentia as reasons for their refusal.
Mr. Einhorn was able to convince the French courts not to extradite him until he received the promise of a new trial. A Pennsylvania legislator, Dan O’Brien, introduced a bill in the Pennsylvania General Assembly that allowed granting Mr. Einhorn a new trial, if he asked for it, and if the French extradited him. The bill did not vacate the original verdict.
When France began extradition, Mr. Einhorn’s representatives requested the European Court of Human Rights to review the case. The request was denied.
He was extradited to Pennsylvania in July 2001. He was tried, convicted and sentenced to life in prison October 17, 2002.
But there is a little mentioned irony about the Einhorn saga.
Ira Einhorn was arrested for murder March 28, 1979, the day the Three Mile Island nuclear plant accident occurred. Ira Einhorn, environmentalist, was charged with murder during the same period as one of the greatest environmental accidents in United States history.
But the real irony is that more people died in the apartment of Ira Einhorn, co-founder of Earth Day than at Three Mile Island.
The environmentalist killed more people than the so-called environmental disaster.

MORE on this topic:

Happy Earth Day!

Wiki cleaned it up a bit for the day:
Earth Day, celebrated in the US on April 22, is a day designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's environment. It was founded by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in in 1970 and is celebrated in many countries every year. This date is Spring in the Northern Hemisphere and Autumn in the Southern Hemisphere.
The United Nations celebrates an Earth Day each year on the March equinox, which is often March 20, a tradition which was founded by peace activist John McConnell in 1969.


Einhorn was active in ecological groups and was an icon of the counterculture, anti-establishment and anti-war movements of the 1960s and 1970s. At one time, he was a friend and contemporary of Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman. He also claimed to have been instrumental in creating Earth Day in 1970, and during the first Earth Day event, which was televised globally, Ira Einhorn was on stage as master of ceremonies, although other event organizers dispute his account.[1] He was known to some of his friends as "the Unicorn" because the name Einhorn (a German-Jewish name) means "unicorn".

Let's not leave on that note today... how about this image instead:

Today is Earth Day...

Someone sent me a fable for our biology class is studying plants this week.

The Seed
A successful business man was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over his business. Instead of choosing one of his Directors or his children, he decided to do something different. He called all the young executives in his company together.
He said, "It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO.. I have decided to choose one of you."
The young executives were shocked, but the boss continued. "I am going to give each one of you a SEED today - one very special SEED. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO.
One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly, told his wife the story. She helped him get a pot, soil, fertilizer, and he planted the seed. Everyday, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow.
Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing.
By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn't have a plant and he felt like a failure.
Six months went by - still there was nothing in Jim's pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Jim didn't say anything to his colleagues, however. He just kept watering and fertilizing the soil. He so wanted the seed to grow.
A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company brought their plants to the CEO for inspection.
Jim told his wife that he wasn't going to take an empty pot. But she asked him to be honest about what happened.
Jim felt sick to his stomach. It was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right.
He took his empty pot to the board room. When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives.
They were beautiful - in all shapes and sizes. Jim put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed, a few even felt sorry for him!
When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives.
Jim just tried to hide in the back. "My, what great plants, trees, and flowers you have grown," said the CEO. "As promised, today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!"
Then, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered the Financial Director to bring him to the front.
Jim was terrified. He thought, "The CEO knows I'm a failure, because my seed didn't grow. Maybe he will have me fired!"
When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed.
Jim told him the story.
The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at Jim, and then announced to the young executives, "Behold your next Chief Executive Officer! His name is Jim!" Jim couldn't believe it. Jim couldn't even grow his seed.
How could he be the new CEO?" the others asked in amazement.
The CEO explained, "One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead - it was not possible for them to grow.
All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you.
Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it.
Therefore, he is the one who will be the new Chief Executive Officer!"
If you plant honesty, you will reap trust.
If you plant goodness, you will reap friends.
If you plant humility, you will reap greatness.
If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment.
If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective.
If you plant hard work, you will reap success.
If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation.
If you plant faith, you will reap a harvest.
So, be careful what you plant now;it will determine what you will reap later
Americans should heed these words!

UPDate: Nasa's Cassini spacecraft

FD: It might be Earth Day, but how about a look at Saturn's Rings and its Moon Titan's Seas of Methane...

These stunning images of Saturn taken by Nasa's Cassini spacecraft show the ringed planet, its moons and rings in the most incredible detail yet.
Extraordinary glimpses of the planet's atmosphere and surfaces add to our expanding understanding of the sixth planet in the solar system, as the Equinox mission approaches its second year.
The images show the incredible differences within the Saturn system. In one image, serene-looking rings are elegantly stacked up around its equator, making a striking contrast to the cratered appearance of its plethora of moons.


Nasa's Official Mission Website:

Apple doing very well but not in computers...

from The Wall Street Journal
Apple's profit rose 15% on strong sales of its iPhone and iPod devices, even as the company reported a slight drop in Macintosh computer sales.

EBay's net income fell 22% amid a slump in online sales. Gross merchandise volume, or the total value of goods sold on its Web sites, fell 16%.

FD: I can't say that this surprises me much.

All my students and grand children and children own Apple ipods.

One of my economics students calculated that Apple's gross profit before operating and sales costs on JUST the 3G iPhone line in 2008 was
$3,560,000,000 not a big number, but I still impressed with $3.56 Billion.

EBay?? Have you tried to mail a package at your local post office for Ebay... all the bomb scares and postage rate increases. You have to present the package face to face with your postal clerk to mail it and then pay twice as much to sent it. Where is the profit in that?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

OK. I found this in my email box. I have decided that it was being circulated (sp) by one of the Banana Growers Groups....

Never put your banana in the refrigerator!

After reading this, you'll never look at a banana in the same way again.

Bananas contain three natural sugars - sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fiber. A banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy.

Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for a Strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the number one fruit with the world's leading athletes.

But energy isn't the only way a banana can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.

Depression: According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.

PMS: Forget the pills - eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.

Anemia: High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin In the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.

Blood Pressure: This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US-FDA has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

Brain Power: 200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school in England were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.

Constipation: High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.

Hangovers: One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.

Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.

Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar Levels up and avoid morning sickness.

Mosquito bites: Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected Area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.

Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.

Overweight? Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at Work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and chips. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most Obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report Concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to Control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate Foods every two hours to keep levels steady.

Ulcers: The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit That can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases. It Also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by Coating the lining of the stomach.

Temperature control: Many other cultures see bananas as a "cooling" fruit that can lower Both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand , for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure Their baby is born with a cool temperature.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Bananas can help SAD su fferers because they contain the Natural mood enhancer tryptophan.

Smoking &Tobacco Use: Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking. The B6, B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.

Stress: Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be rebalanced with the he lp of a high-potassium banana snack.

Strokes: According to research in The New England Journal of Medicine, eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%!

Warts: Those keen on natural alternatives swear that if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of banana skin and place it on the wart, w ith the yellow side out. Carefully hold the skin in place with a plaster or surgical tape!

So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around So maybe its time to change that well-known phrase so that we say, "A banana a day keeps the doctor away!"


PS: Bananas must be the reason monkeys are so happy all the time! I will add one here; want a quick shine on our shoes?? Take the INSIDE of the banana skin, and rub directly on the shoe... polish with dry cloth.

Isn't it an AMAZING fruit?!!!

Just the NBC Political Take on today....


FD: I was driving back from taking the granddaughter to school this morning, listening to talk radio. It seems that Obama's request for only a
total cut back of $100 million left a bitter taste in the mouth of some. I loved the comment (not yet checked) that amount represents only 18 seconds of federal government spending. We have really distorted any sense that numbers used to have for me...

*** Cheney Strikes Back, Again: The political back-and-forth over the Obama administration's release of those interrogation memos now seems like something out of a "24" episode.

Conservatives argue that the interrogations, including waterboarding, made the country safer. Some Democrats, on the other hand, want to prosecute the authors of those memos. And a former controversial vice president -- Dick Cheney -- who previously has contended that the current administration has made the country less safe, now says he has asked the CIA to declassify interrogation memos that apparently show successful results from the interrogation techniques. Indeed, in his interview last night on FOX, Cheney not only called for those memos to be declassified, he blasted Obama for "cozying up" to Hugo Chavez ("I think it's not helpful. I think it sort of sets the wrong standard"), and for what he said was Obama apologizing "profusely" overseas for America's past actions ("The world outside there . will be quick to take advantage of a situation if they think they're dealing with a weak president or one who is not going to stand up and aggressively defend America's interests"). Wow, did a former vice president just suggest that a sitting American president is weak? Is there a precedent to this in modern American history?

*** Firing Up Both Bases: Politically, as we've said before, Democrats are probably more than happy for Cheney to be back in the news as the defender of the Bush administration.

As one GOP strategist tells the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza, Cheney "is a face of the past. A face of conflict and too polarizing. So, not a good face of the party." In fact, a December 2008 NBC/WSJ poll showed Cheney with a fav/unfav rating of 21%-58%. But this entire Cheney vs. Obama debate on interrogation, fires up both bases -- and thus makes for perfect cable chatter. Yet what are people in the middle thinking? The answer to that question will tell you the short-term winner of this debate. One other question we have: Does Cheney actually have the ability to declassify CIA memos?

*** Obama's Project "Dave": Republicans yesterday had a field day with Obama's request for his cabinet secretaries to cut $100 million from their budgets.

As the Republicans pointed out, that request amounted to just .0025% of Obama's budget. "Budget analysts promptly burst out laughing," the New York Times writes. "A reporter declared at the White House briefing that the initiative would become fodder for late-night talk show hosts." (Couldn't have Obama had asked each department to cut $100 million, pushing the total request above $1 billion?) But as Republicans laugh at Obama's paltry request, the DNC fires back with a Web video showing GOP leaders supporting increased spending during Bush's presidency.

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