Tuesday, March 31, 2009
The Biology: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4898726.stm
The Wales Study: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7621608.stm
The Nurse: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/wales/7639798.stm
A large study is to examine near-death experiences in cardiac arrest patients.
Doctors at 25 UK and US hospitals will study 1,500 survivors to see if people with no heartbeat or brain activity can have "out of body" experiences.
Some people report seeing a tunnel or bright light, others recall looking down from the ceiling at medical staff.
The study, due to take three years and co-ordinated by Southampton University, will include placing on shelves images that could only be seen from above.
This is a mystery that we can now subject to scientific study
Dr Sam ParniaUniversity of Southampton
Towards the light
To test this, the researchers have set up special shelving in resuscitation areas. The shelves hold pictures - but they're visible only from the ceiling.
Dr Sam Parnia, who is heading the study, said: "If you can demonstrate that consciousness continues after the brain switches off, it allows for the possibility that the consciousness is a separate entity.
OK, Folks. If the High Court is going to punish Phillip Morris for selling Tobacco. Whom are we going to find to sell these legal marijuana joints?
from The Wall Street Journal
Altria Group's Philip Morris unit lost a final chance in the Supreme Court to overturn a $79.5 million punitive damages ruling against it from a case involving a smoker's death.
The high court dismissed the Philip Morris appeal without issuing an opinion, ending the third appeal the company had secured before the Supreme Court in its fight to reign in an award by an Oregon jury.
OK, so There are millions of regular pot smokers in America and millions more infrequent smokers. Smoking pot might be less dangerous and hazardous effects on society than legal drugs such as alcohol.
However, I have never gotten beyond the point where you are putting FIRE in your mouth and inhaling HOT GASES into your lungs. Cooking your lungs with anything must be dangerous.
Here is High Times's top 10 reasons that marijuana should be legal, part of its 420 Campaign legalization strategy.
10. Prohibition has failed to control the use and domestic production of marijuana. The government has tried to use criminal penalties to prevent marijuana use for over 75 years and yet: marijuana is now used by over 25 million people annually, cannabis is currently the largest cash crop in the United States, and marijuana is grown all over the planet. Claims that marijuana prohibition is a successful policy are ludicrous and unsupported by the facts, and the idea that marijuana will soon be eliminated from America and the rest of the world is a ridiculous fantasy.
9. Arrests for marijuana possession disproportionately affect blacks and Hispanics and reinforce the perception that law enforcement is biased and prejudiced against minorities. African-Americans account for approximately 13% of the population of the United States and about 13.5% of annual marijuana users, however, blacks also account for 26% of all marijuana arrests. Recent studies have demonstrated that blacks and Hispanics account for the majority of marijuana possession arrests in New York City, primarily for smoking marijuana in public view. Law enforcement has failed to demonstrate that marijuana laws can be enforced fairly without regard to race; far too often minorities are arrested for marijuana use while white/non-Hispanic Americans face a much lower risk of arrest.
8. A regulated, legal market in marijuana would reduce marijuana sales and use among teenagers, as well as reduce their exposure to other drugs in the illegal market. The illegality of marijuana makes it more valuable than if it were legal, providing opportunities for teenagers to make easy money selling it to their friends. If the excessive profits for marijuana sales were ended through legalization there would be less incentive for teens to sell it to one another. Teenage use of alcohol and tobacco remain serious public health problems even though those drugs are legal for adults, however, the availability of alcohol and tobacco is not made even more widespread by providing kids with economic incentives to sell either one to their friends and peers.
7. Legalized marijuana would reduce the flow of money from the American economy to international criminal gangs. Marijuana's illegality makes foreign cultivation and smuggling to the United States extremely profitable, sending billions of dollars overseas in an underground economy while diverting funds from productive economic development.
6. Marijuana's legalization would simplify the development of hemp as a valuable and diverse agricultural crop in the United States, including its development as a new bio-fuel to reduce carbon emissions. Canada and European countries have managed to support legal hemp cultivation without legalizing marijuana, but in the United States opposition to legal marijuana remains the biggest obstacle to development of industrial hemp as a valuable agricultural commodity. As US energy policy continues to embrace and promote the development of bio-fuels as an alternative to oil dependency and a way to reduce carbon emissions, it is all the more important to develop industrial hemp as a bio-fuel source - especially since use of hemp stalks as a fuel source will not increase demand and prices for food, such as corn. Legalization of marijuana will greatly simplify the regulatory burden on prospective hemp cultivation in the United States.
5. Prohibition is based on lies and disinformation. Justification of marijuana's illegality increasingly requires distortions and selective uses of the scientific record, causing harm to the credibility of teachers, law enforcement officials, and scientists throughout the country. The dangers of marijuana use have been exaggerated for almost a century and the modern scientific record does not support the reefer madness predictions of the past and present. Many claims of marijuana's danger are based on old 20th century prejudices that originated in a time when science was uncertain how marijuana produced its characteristic effects. Since the cannabinoid receptor system was discovered in the late 1980s these hysterical concerns about marijuana's dangerousness have not been confirmed with modern research. Everyone agrees that marijuana, or any other drug use such as alcohol or tobacco use, is not for children. Nonetheless, adults have demonstrated over the last several decades that marijuana can be used moderately without harmful impacts to the individual or society.
4. Marijuana is not a lethal drug and is safer than alcohol. It is established scientific fact that marijuana is not toxic to humans; marijuana overdoses are nearly impossible, and marijuana is not nearly as addictive as alcohol or tobacco. It is unfair and unjust to treat marijuana users more harshly under the law than the users of alcohol or tobacco.
3. Marijuana is too expensive for our justice system and should instead be taxed to support beneficial government programs. Law enforcement has more important responsibilities than arresting 750,000 individuals a year for marijuana possession, especially given the additional justice costs of disposing of each of these cases. Marijuana arrests make justice more expensive and less efficient in the United States, wasting jail space, clogging up court systems, and diverting time of police, attorneys, judges, and corrections officials away from violent crime, the sexual abuse of children, and terrorism. Furthermore, taxation of marijuana can provide needed and generous funding of many important criminal justice and social programs.
2. Marijuana use has positive attributes, such as its medical value and use as a recreational drug with relatively mild side effects. Many people use marijuana because they have made an informed decision that it is good for them, especially Americans suffering from a variety of serious ailments. Marijuana provides relief from pain, nausea, spasticity, and other symptoms for many individuals who have not been treated successfully with conventional medications. Many American adults prefer marijuana to the use of alcohol as a mild and moderate way to relax. Americans use marijuana because they choose to, and one of the reasons for that choice is their personal observation that the drug has a relatively low dependence liability and easy-to-manage side effects. Most marijuana users develop tolerance to many of marijuana's side effects, and those who do not, choose to stop using the drug. Marijuana use is the result of informed consent in which individuals have decided that the benefits of use outweigh the risks, especially since, for most Americans, the greatest risk of using marijuana is the relatively low risk of arrest.
1. Marijuana users are determined to stand up to the injustice of marijuana probation and accomplish legalization, no matter how long or what it takes to succeed. Despite the threat of arrests and a variety of other punishments and sanctions marijuana users have persisted in their support for legalization for over a generation. They refuse to give up their long quest for justice because they believe in the fundamental values of American society. Prohibition has failed to silence marijuana users despite its best attempts over the last generation. The issue of marijuana's legalization is a persistent issue that, like marijuana, will simply not go away. Marijuana will be legalized because marijuana users will continue to fight for it until they succeed.
This does not sound like any marijuana smoker I have ever met.
The Haggadah (Hebrew: הגדה) is a Jewish religious text that sets out the order of the Passover Seder. Haggadah, meaning "telling," is a fulfillment of the scriptural commandment to each Jew to "tell your son" about the Jewish liberation from slavery in Egypt, as described in the book of Exodus in the Torah. Sephardi and Oriental Jews also apply the term Haggadah to the service itself, as it constitutes the act of "telling your son".
Passover is the story of our freedom from the Egyptian slavery and our exalted rise as a nation to the pinnacle of human achievement. However, not all pain is inflicted by the lash of a taskmaster and not all chains are clamped on by jailers.This Haggadah also addresses those who suffer from the slavery of an oppressive environment or, even more difficult, the sort of obsessive behavior that plagues many or most lives.In this volume, one of our generation’s most eminent interpreters of the Torah’s teachings regarding self-control and self-improvement uncovers the path to personal liberation in the timeless story of the Exodus. Rabbi Twerski has an uncanny ability to know what troubles people and how to provide the balm for their hurt by combining the eternal wisdom of the Torah with the science of the mind.In this Haggadah, he takes each of us from the bondage of our personal”Egypts” to the promised land of self-fulfillment and joy in achieving our personal best.
Publisher: Artscroll, 1995
Bush, who called himself "the Decider," scored a multimillion-dollar book deal to write a dozen or so chapters on how he decided everything from quitting booze while in his 40s to starting two wars.
"My goal is to bring the reader inside the Oval Office for the most consequential moments of my personal and political life," Bush said in a statement yesterday issued by Crown Publishing. "I look forward to painting a vivid picture of the information I had, the principles I followed, and the decisions I made."
Tentatively titled "Decision Points," Bush has told friends he's determined to produce a readable volume instead of the often turgid and lengthy tomes by some of his predecessors.
"Rather than produce a long book nobody would read or take on everything at a surface level, he thought this approach would be a better service to history," an aide to the former President told the Daily News.
Bush decided to follow the advice of his father by not writing a conventional memoir. Ex-President George H.W. Bush's post-mortem also concentrated on explaining the major moments of his presidency, such as the decision to go to war with Iraq and the fall of the Soviet Union, rather than a point-by-point rehash of his White House years.
Friends say Bush also has an obvious longer-term motivation.
"He sees the book as the next draft of his legacy," said another Bush insider, "a way to shape and frame the argument for historians."
Bush has about 30,000 words already written. Chris Michel, Bush's last chief speechwriter, has the job of helping shape up the book, the source said.
Literati giggled at the idea of a hugely unpopular ex-President getting a fat advance to ruminate over his life and career. But Bush apparently got the last laugh, based on industry buzz that he'll get a $7 million payout.
"Sounds like a lot of money to me," said Washington book agent Diane Nine.
Still, Bush's book deal pales in comparison with the $15 million ex-President Bill Clinton was paid for his memoir, "My Life."
President Obama, meanwhile, will get another payday off his 1995 book "Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance." Just days before he was sworn in as President, Obama inked a deal to release an abridged edition of "Dreams" geared for young adult readers, according to an Obama source.
"He doesn't have to write a new book. ... The President will review the abridged edition and then sign off on it," the source said. "He gets $250,000, and the publisher gets $250,000."
Mr Biden coined the term "drugs czar" and has been an outspoken supporter of the "war on drugs" waged by the United States.
The New York Post and Radar online reported that lawyers representing the seller claimed that the footage was of Ashley Biden, 27, a social worker, at a party and initially wanted $2 million for the tape. They described the seller as a "friend" of Miss Biden.
Miss Biden is his youngest child. He has two sons from his first marriage. His first wife and their 18-month-old daughter Naomi were killed in a car crash in 1972.
"On the tape a man cuts up five lines of what is said to be cocaine," Radar online reported.
"The woman, who the seller says is Ashley, then jokes with the man that the lines aren't big enough.
"The man hands her a rolled-up dollar bill and she proceeds to walk a few steps to a table where the cocaine is cut. She pulls her hair back, bends down and snorts a line."
There was no immediate response to the allegations from Mr Biden, his daughter or the White House.
The party was said to have taken place in Wilmington, Delaware and the lawyer said that Miss Biden's boyfriend was there and clearly identifiable on the tape.
Miss Biden was arrested in 2002 for shouting at a Chicago policeman who was trying to arrest a disorderly friend outside a nightclub.
She was also arrested in 1999 for marijuana possession while she was a university student in New Orleans. In both cases, charges were later dropped.
Yes, the Political Sports Season has started! Baseball and Politics and Now Recovery Amerikan Style!
*** A Little Caution For Pundits: Our gut tells us that a dead heat probably slightly favors the Dems, only because their turnout operation is probably better than the GOP's. Then again, a super low turnout favors the GOP because the most reliable voters in this district skew Republican. But for all of us who will no doubt over-interpret tonight's results, political analyst Charlie Cook gives some important advice in his CongressDaily column today: "Assuming that the margin in this upstate contest to fill the seat of newly-appointed Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is three or four points or less, my advice is to respond 'that's nice,' then yawn, and walk away. What is more important is if there is a uniform direction to several odd-year elections. If, for example, Republicans were to win tonight and knock off Gov. Jon Corzine in New Jersey in November, and pick up the open governor seat in Virginia, then it is fair to say that they will have exorcised the demons of 2006 and 2008." More Cook: "If Democrats hold NY-20 as well as New Jersey and Virginia, they can enter 2010 knowing that even if the wind isn't at their backs, there also isn't a headwind."
*** A Significant Day: No doubt we're all getting a bit numb to bailouts, emergency government action, and major announcements from this new president.
But don't let this numbness obscure the fact that yesterday might be one of the five- or ten-most significant moments when the history of the Obama presidency is written in either 2013 or 2017.
He didn't just fire any CEO; he fired the head of an American industrial icon.
And let's not forget the decision to make the White House the center of auto policy for this country. Some on the left are hitting Obama for not firing more CEOs, while the right is hitting him for looking like a nationalist or a government interventionist.
But it is also worth noting the critiques on this auto plan were somewhat muted. The reason: It was a very well-executed rollout.
In fact, it's in stark contrast of all the other bailout announcements that have taken place so far. Here's perhaps why: Every detail of this auto plan seemed to be communicated so well.
There's an auto task force (is there one for AIG?);
there's an auto czar (is there one for the banks?);
there werestrings attached to GM (are there strings for the banks?);
and there was the appointment of a disaster recovery czar (have we seen anything like that regarding, say, folks who have seen their 401ks disappear?).
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 athttp://www.FirstRead.MSNBC.com !
Before GM made a guest appearance, I thought this week's Episode of Obama White House was about the so called War on Drugs and what it has done to USa
He provides commentary on CNN's "The Situation Room" daily from 4 to 7 p.m. ET.
You can also visit Jack's Cafferty File blog.
Jack Cafferty says America's effort to prohibit illegal drugs doesn't work and should be rethought.
Here's something to think about:
How many police officers and sheriff's deputies are involved in investigating and solving crimes involving illegal drugs? And arresting and transporting and interrogating and jailing the suspects?
How many prosecutors and their staffs spend time prosecuting drug cases? How many defense lawyers spend their time defending drug suspects?
How many hours of courtroom time are devoted to drug trials? How many judges, bailiffs, courtroom security officers, stenographers, etc., spend their time on drug trials?
How many prison cells are filled with drug offenders? And how many corrections officers does it take to guard them? How much food do these convicts consume?
And when they get out, how many parole and probation officers does it take to supervise their release? And how many ex-offenders turn right around and do it again?
So how's this war on drugs going?
Someone described insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result each time. That's a perfect description of the war on drugs.
The United States is the largest illegal drug market in the world. Americans want their weed, crack, cocaine, heroin, whatever. And they're willing to pay big money to get it.
The drug suppliers are only too happy to oblige. The Mexican drug cartels now have operations in 230 American cities. That's 230 American cities!
And we're not just talking about border towns, but places such as Anchorage, Alaska; Boston, Massachusetts; Atlanta, Georgia; and Billings, Montana. They're everywhere. And they don't just bring drugs, but violence and crime as well -- lots of it at no extra charge.
They have been able to infiltrate those 230 cities because we have not bothered to secure our borders. In addition to illegal aliens who come here to work and avail themselves of our social programs, we have criminals from Mexico bringing drugs in, taking money and guns back, and recruiting American kids into their criminal enterprises while they're here.
What do you suppose the total price tag is for this failed war on drugs? One senior Harvard economist estimates we spend $44 billion a year fighting the war on drugs. He says if they were legal, governments would realize about $33 billion a year in tax revenue. Net swing of $77 billion. Could we use that money today for something else? You bet your ass we could. Plus the cartels would be out of business. Instantly. Goodbye crime and violence.
If drugs were legalized, we could empty out a lot of our prison cells. People will use this stuff whether it's legal or not.
Just like they do booze. And you could make the argument that in some cases alcohol is just as dangerous as some drugs. I know.
Like I said ... something to think about. It's time.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jack Cafferty: Don't Miss Cafferty: My battle with alcoholism The Cafferty File: Join the conversation Jack's new book: "Now or Never" In Depth: Commentaries
Monday, March 30, 2009
Russia's resources "are a God-given good that should be used effectively," he said in his first major interview with a foreign media outlet. "Somebody is always wanting to take them away."
Read excerpts from the interview with Mr. Sechin.
Yet, he supports "coordinating actions" with the cartel because of the shared interest in lifting prices. He said Moscow isn't in a position to mandate lower production, but Russian oil companies will curb output this year as falling prices cut into their ability to produce.
He figured that if oil slides back under $40 a barrel, Russian output this year could fall twice the amount the government now forecasts, or about 300,000 barrels a day. Russia, he added, wants to keep oil prices between $60 and $100 a barrel.
At current prices, he said oil companies are starved for vital capital to invest in new projects. "If companies don't have access to stable financial resources for the long term, that could lead to a shortage and to a sharp increase in prices for oil and oil products," he said. "That might not alarm consumers very much now because demand is falling, but when the recovery begins...this situation could develop."
Mr. Sechin called for a gradual but major overhaul of the international oil trade, adding tight regulation and longer-term supply contracts, eliminating "economically unjustified intermediaries" and reducing speculation.
Life After Death or Scientifically Explained Reality
There have been numbers of reported near death experiences that involved people seeing themselves out of their bodies while they were prone someplace. The usual recollection is during some medical procedure, usually following an accident, when the victim feels pain, then is instantly floating above looking at the situation and then sees a tunnel of Light...
Folks, I am looking for something I heard on the BBC about After Death Visions, when I came across this one....
Skeptic James Randi Remains
to Any Claims of the Paranormal
In-depth interview with Skeptic, James Randi, examines his conviction that all claims of telepathy, survival of consciousness and psi are unfounded. Del Mar, CA, September 18, 2007 – Join host Alex Tsakiris when he interviews noted Skeptic James Randi. During the 40-minute interview
Randi repeats his assertion that all claims of paranormal phenomena that don’t pass his million dollar test are suspect: “…why isn’t someone like Sheldrake coming after it? He stays away from it because, in my estimation, he knows full well that this business of being stared at, and/or the dog that know when its owner’s coming home will not pass any test. Now if it will pass the test I’ll give him the million dollars. I’ll give it to him in the middle of Piccadilly Circus naked.”
Mr. Randi also explains how his background as a magician gives him a unique perspective on how scientists can be deceived, or deceive themselves.
The interview is available for immediate free download at: www.skeptiko.com/index.php?id=37.
James Randi is a retired professional magician (“The Amazing Randi”), author, lecturer, amateur archaeologist/astronomer. He was a founding fellow of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP) and founder of the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF.org).
About Skeptiko Skeptiko is the first scientifically oriented Podcast exploring new research in controversial areas of science such as telepathy, psi, parapsychology, near-death-experience, reincarnation, and after-life encounters.
Each episode features open, honest debate on new scientific discoveries. The show includes interviews with top research scientists and their critics.
Contact:Alex Tsakiris, 858-952-1198 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org://www.skeptiko.com
By Senator Jim Webb
Publication Date: 03/29/2009
Inmates at a facility in California, a state that spent almost $10 billion on corrections last year. America's criminal justice system has deteriorated to the point that it is a national disgrace. Its irregularities and inequities cut against the notion that we are a society founded on fundamental fairness. Our failure to address this problem has caused the nation's prisons to burst their seams with massive overcrowding, even as our neighborhoods have become more dangerous. We are wasting billions of dollars and diminishing millions of lives. We need to fix the system. Doing so will require a major nationwide recalculation of who goes to prison and for how long and of how we address the long-term consequences of incarceration.
Twenty-five years ago, I went to Japan on assignment for PARADE to write a story on that country's prison system. In 1984, Japan had a population half the size of ours and was incarcerating 40,000 sentenced offenders, compared with 580,000 in the United States. As shocking as that disparity was, the difference between the countries now is even more astounding--and profoundly disturbing. Since then, Japan's prison population has not quite doubled to 71,000, while ours has quadrupled to 2.3 million.
The United States has by far the world's highest incarceration rate. With 5% of the world's population, our country now houses nearly 25% of the world's reported prisoners. We currently incarcerate 756 inmates per 100,000 residents, a rate nearly five times the average worldwide of 158 for every 100,000.
In addition, more than 5 million people who recently left jail remain under "correctional supervision," which includes parole, probation, and other community sanctions.
All told, about one in every 31 adults in the United States is in prison, in jail, or on supervised release.
This all comes at a very high price to taxpayers: Local, state, and federal spending on corrections adds up to about $68 billion a year.
READ THE WHOLE STORY if you didn't not see it.
Gandhi said that “You can judge a society by how it treats its weakest members”. 21st Century America has failed this test on many levels, but none so glaring as how it treats its prisoners.
There are some more shocking statistics:
The United States is the third largest country in the world, yet it has by far the greatest number of prisoners…not per capita number…TOTAL NUMBER!
According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, one in 31 U.S. adults are behind bars, on probation or parole.
China has four times the U.S. population, yet has just 1.6 prisoners compared to our 2.3 million.
One million prisoners are non-violent offenders.
90% of prisoners are male.
Blacks are five times more likely to be imprisoned than Whites, and Hispanics are twice as likely.
In New York, 80% of prisoners are indigent, which means they are forced to rely on public defenders, who are usually overworked.
The costs of staying out of prison are prohibitive even for the middle class, but they are insurmountable for the poor.
Violence within the prisons is rampant.
Nearly 70% of released prisoners will be arrested within three years.
The fact is our justice system is unjust. It favors the wealthy and the white. The most famous illustration is the discrepancy between crack cocaine and powder cocaine. Federal law mandates a five year minimum sentence for trafficking in 500 grams of powder cocaine, but only 5 grams of crack cocaine, which is cheaper and more often used by poor and minority users.
Prison isn’t designed to rehabilitate. American prisons are designed to punish. Non-violent prisoners learn violence, violent prisoners perfect it.
There is some hope. The Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons has released a study complete with a plan to help America’s prison system.
President Obama, unlike his predecessor, has acknowledged the problems and plans to at least attempt to fix them.
Due to budgetary constraints, some states are beginning to release non-violent offenders.
America has a long way to go before its prison system reflects the country we want to be, but hopefully these are some steps in the right direction.
Chrysler said on Monday that it has reached an agreement on a global alliance with Italy's Fiat with the help of the U.S. Treasury.
My Mother loved cars... in fact her family used to date major events by what car they owned at the time. She picked my last two cars before she died.
- President Obama
FD: If you listen to the Car Guys on NPR's CAR TALK, you know that GM and what used to be American Motors were told the same thing by Click and Clack for years. http://www.cartalk.com/Radio/Show/
What Obama is saying is nothing new.
Pick up an anual review of cars from Consumser Reports: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars/
Serious, it simply caught up with them...and Ford is trying to turn it around without the handout.
Ford was the innovator for years.
That tradition is worth keeping.
*** Obama Takes The Wheel: Before he turns his attention to international affairs and the global economy later this week, President Obama today addresses the subject that has dominated his first 70 days in office: domestic affairs. At 11:00 am ET this morning, he delivers a speech from the White House on the U.S. auto industry. This speech, in which he'll announce additional aid for the industry, comes just after the White House ousted Rick Wagoner as CEO of GM. The reason: It was not happy with the restructing plans that GM and Chrysler submitted last month. In his remarks today, Obama will attach a number of strings to this new bailout money. GM and its new management team (led by GM veteran Fritz Henderson) get two more months to come up with a new restructuring plan, which Treasury officials believe needs to include the elimination of more GM brands. Chrysler, meanwhile, gets one more month to seal a deal that it's already been working on with Fiat. If it succeeds, the new company will get $6 billion from the government; if it fails, the government is likely to walk away.
*** The Executioner-In-Chief? It turns out that Wagoner is the fourth CEO the Obama administration has replaced. The others have been the heads of AIG, Fannie, Freddie, and (some claim) Citi. But Wagoner's dismissal -- which came as a surprise to industry insiders -- has left some liberal critics wondering why the Obama administration is demanding the head of GM's CEO, but not Bank of America's or Goldman's, etc. After the president's remarks on the auto industry this morning, he meets with Defense Secretary Gates (closed press), signs the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act into law (open press), and then heads over to Capitol Hill to meet with the House Democratic caucus (closed press).
*** Euro Trip 2: With President Obama tomorrow embarking on a trip to Europe and beyond -- which will take him to England, France, Germany the Czech Republic, and Turkey -- forgive us if we're experiencing a case of déjà vu. After all, more than eight months ago, during the summer of the general election, Obama took off on a similar and equally publicized trip. While the McCain campaign and GOP critics seized on a few of that trip's controversies (Landstuhl, the Berlin speech), it was an overall success. Why? Because the Obama campaign was able to sell the trip -- and the greeting it would receive -- as 1) an example of the type of change Obama would bring and 2) as evidence that the one-term senator could be seen by a majority of American voters as up to the task of president. Now, with European countries resisting calls for their own kind of economic stimulus and with them unwilling to provide additional troops to Afghanistan, the task for Obama is now take his popularity in Europe and turn that into actual results. There are concrete ways to measure the president's global influence, and they are coming very early in his term.
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 athttp://www.FirstRead.MSNBC.com !
FD: If GM goes through bankruptcy, then the unions take a major hit. That will make the GOP happy, and it might make Obama a one term president. However, a lot can happen in four years... it has only been 64 days!
The Obama administration used the threat of withholding more bailout money to force out GM Chief Executive Rick Wagoner and administer harsh medicine to Chrysler, marking one of the most dramatic government interventions in private industry since the economic crisis began last year.
The administration's auto team announced the departure of Mr. Wagoner on Sunday.
In a summary of its findings, the task force added that it doesn't believe Chrysler is viable as a stand-alone company, and suggested that the best chance for success for both GM and Chrysler "may well require utilizing the bankruptcy code in a quick and surgical way."
The move also indicates that the Treasury Department intends to wade more deeply than most observers expected into the affairs of the country's largest and oldest car company.
After over a month of analysis, the administration's auto task force determined that neither company had put forward viable plans to restructure and survive.
The verdict was gloomier for Chrysler. The government said it would provide Chrysler with capital for 30 days to cut a workable arrangement with Fiat SpA, the Italian auto maker that has a tentative alliance with Chrysler.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
The meteorite cracked into two as it rammed into the planet in the Far East of Russia. The image of Jesus Christ’s face can be seen on the split. The meteorite was dubbed Boguslavka, after the village where it had been found. The face of Jesus Christ on the meteorite is just the same as on the Shroud of Turin, the linen cloth bearing the image of a man who appears to have been physically traumatized in a manner consistent with crucifixion. It is kept in the royal chapel of the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin, Italy. It is believed by many to be the cloth placed on Jesus of Nazareth at the time of his burial.
The meteorite is now kept at the Moscow-based Geological Museum.
“The Boguslavka meteorite fell down in the Far East, 220 kilometers from Vladivostok. All the people in the village were watching the meteorite falling. One of the villagers even made a drawing of the remarkable phenomenon with water colors,” says Michael Nazarov, the head of the museum.
Russian scientists paid attention to the image of Jesus Christ on the meteorite only a short while ago. They were really surprised to find such an image. They at once recollected the Shroud of Turin, the greatest Christian relic. A face with a beard and moustache, a high forehead and a long nose is clearly seen on the iron meteorite.
“Boguslavka Meteorite has a unique large-granular structure and it is considered to be the most beautiful of all meteorites known to man,” says Michael Nazarov.
Click here to see more images of Boguslavka Meteorite: Narrative is in Russian.
Interesting how we are experiencing 100 year floods on several continents this Spring...Al, wake up, Al...
Weeks of heavy rains led to the dam burst on the outskirts of Jakarta, Indonesia, yesterday that killed scores of people. December to March is the rainy season in the region, when torrential rains often trigger disastrous floods; this week flooding also struck New Guinea, and five people were killed on the Philippine island of Mindanao.
Winter still refuses to go away across much of Europe and North America, with a nasty chill today driven on cold northerly winds. But skiers continue to enjoy superb conditions as fresh snows fell over most of the Alps last week, and Scottish ski resorts are also enjoying a late season. And in Utah and Colorado a big storm dropped even larger snowfalls.
Snow was less welcome in Wyoming and the Dakotas, though, when a blizzard dumped wet snow up to 60cm (2ft) thick and freezing rain on winds reaching 130km/h (80mph). As the snows melted, floodwaters surged across the flat landscape of North Dakota, made worse by chunks of ice the size of small cars, which had to be blown up with explosives to prevent bursts of floodwater. In the town of Fargo the Red River reached a record high, 12.5m (41ft) above normal, and millions of sandbags have been piled up to keep the floods at bay, although the river continues to rise.
Wild weather also hit other parts of the US, with severe thunderstorms across the southeast, tornados striking Mississippi, wildfires raging in Arizona and most of Texas in chronic drought.
But spring has been exceptionally warm in Japan, where the cherry blossom came into bloom last Saturday, a week earlier than average, a trend that is expected to increase as temperatures rise in the future.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Huh? I teach in an Orthodox Jewish Boys School. Evolution is a theory. G-D created the earth and man, I simply show them how it was done...
So the vote was made, the standards were set, and now the dust is settling. And what do we see?
I see Texas being the laughing stock on a world stage, finally replacing the Kansas fiasco from the 1990s.
First, a brief intro: this last week, after months of discussion, the Texas State Board of Education voted on the science standards, the baseline scientific knowledge students going through school should know. They vary across grade level, of course, and while there are national standards, states set their own. In general, they use experts in both science and education to advise them, and many states simply adopt or adapt the national standards (I have some experience here– for six years I developed educational activities based on NASA science, and did lot of work with educators and the standards).
States should have this right. The problem is, school boards can easily get packed with creationists. And that’s where we get back to Texas.
Ignoring or even outright denouncing the advice of experts, creationists have been trying in any way they can to attack evolution in the standards. The latest gambit has been what’s called a "strengths and weaknesses" clause in the standards, which sounds reasonable on the surface: when learning scientific theories, students should understand both where the theory is firm and where it needs work.
The problem, of course, is that creationists are using this as a wedge to lie about evolution. And yes, I mean lie: they hammer away with old, outdated, and easily-disproven ideas in an attempt to make evolution look weak. But let’s be clear: evolutionary ideas are the very basis of modern biology, and are as solid a fact as gravity is. If you think otherwise, you are wrong. This is not just a theory. It’s fact.
The good news from Texas is that the "strengths and weaknesses" clause did not pass the vote. The sad news is that science and reason did not prevail because they are right and the creationists had a change of heart: it didn’t pass because the vote was a tie, 7-7, and it needed a majority to win. So basically, the creationists lost by forfeit.
After that, the news sinks rapidly. The far-right Republicans on the Board were not finished. They put in language to weaken the Big Bang theory, saying that there are different estimates for the age of the Universe. You can try to be coy and say this is also strictly true, but again that’s a cheat and a lie. The woman who proposed this is obviously a young-Earth creationist, and when she says "different ages", she means 6000 years. This belief in a young Earth, is, simply, dead wrong. We know the Universe is 13.7 billion years old, and the Earth, while younger than that, is still 4.55 or so billion years old itself. This is not some random guess, this is rock-solid (literally) science, confirmed independently from such diverse scientific fields as astronomy, physics, chemistry, anthropology, archaeology… and even the study of how languages change over time shows the humanity is older than 6000 years.
These same people on the Board added language to the standards to weaken teaching about global warming. Don McLeroy, who is a creationist and also the Chairman of the BoE, said that climate change is "hooey". They also attack the science on the complexity of the cell, and the initial genesis of life (called abiogeneisis; life from non-life). These are all standard creationist tactics.
With all this, I’m surprised they didn’t add standards about how the tooth fairy is real, the Alamo siege was won using prayer, and Hitler and Darwin were secretly married in New Hampshire by a crocoduck.
Do I sound unhappy? Yeah, damn straight I am. These creationists are trying to destroy science in Texas. And they’re succeeding. They are imposing their narrow religious and ideological views on reality, and it’s the schoolchildren in the state who will suffer.
And they’re not alone. Think you’re safe from creationist nonsense because you live in Vermont, or Illinois, or Oregon? Think again. Texas is so big and has so many students in it that they have a huge amount of leverage on the textbook industry. This means that the creationists will put their weaselly language into the textbooks, and those will get sold all over the country.
A couple of months ago I took a look at my daughter’s Earth Science book, and it has a decent chapter about evolution in it, hitting all the right notes: descent with modification, common ancestors, the fossil record, and so on. But how long will that last? I wouldn’t be at all surprised if her next textbook says that scientists disagree about evolution (they don’t disagree at all that it happens, just on some details of how it happens), that some people disagree that the Universe is billions of years old, and that the environment is just hunky-dory, so let’s go drill some more, mmmmkay?
It seems incredible that here we are, in the 21st century, and a group of less than a dozen religious zealots has the kind of power to affect millions of children across the country, but there you have it. One problem with a democracy — and it’s a doozy — is that it’s possible to game the system, and give far too much power to people who are far too unqualified for it.
And it’s brought us here.
Now, the good news: it’s not entirely too late. If you live in some other state, find out who is on your school board [Edited to add: go here for that information]. Find out when they hold meetings, and find out when they adopt their standards. And if it’s soon, or even if it’s not for a while yet, make your voice heard. And even better, when elections come up for the board, find out where the candidates stand. Ask them point blank: do you think evolution is true? Do you think creationism is true? How would you vote on science standards for our state?
Don’t be shy. I did this right after moving to Boulder, and found out what was what. Don’t assume someone else will do it for you!
Send me one if you find it.
Re: Tapley Holland at the Alamo
Posted by: Deb Holland (ID *****7593)
Date: April 20, 2004 at 16:03:55
In Reply to: Re: Tapley Holland at the Alamo by LARRY HOLLAND of 252
I have a fairly good history of the branch of the Holland family (including Tapley) who came to Texas with Col. Austin if anyone still needs it.
The quote, "Let me give my life for Texas" -- Tapley Holland -- is carved into the wall of the Alamo in San Antonio, and the legend says that he was the first to cross Col. Travis's famous line in the sand.
Which, of course, meant that the unmarried Tapley died with no descendants -- but hie brothers and sisters were prolific, and there are many places in Texas named for the family.
While writing about Monsters vs Aliens, I came across some new websites you might find interesting....
More here than just 3D venus fly traps...
How (the classic version) 3D glasses Work
Best explaination of where the technology and science came from...
Aliens vs. Monsters - If you remember Mars Attacks! or any of the SF of the 50s and 60s and most of the really great (or bad) alien films..
You have already seen this movie!
Friday, March 27, 2009
Are you getting the same impression about how Mexico and Latin America feel about USa , white, blue eyed people? Or just President Bush?
In Mexico, Clinton says U.S. shares blame for drug war
By LAURENCE ILIFF / The Dallas Morning News email@example.com
MEXICO CITY – Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton accepted shared responsibility Wednesday for the drug violence convulsing Mexico, saying that traffickers "are motivated by the demand for illegal drugs in the United States and are armed by the transfer of weapons from the United States."
Brazil president blames white people for crisis
By Jonathan Wheatley in São Paulo
Brazil's President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva yesterday blamed the global economic crisis on "white people with blue eyes" and said it was wrong that black and indigenous people should pay for white people's mistakes, writes Jonathan Wheatley .
Speaking in Brasília at a joint press conference with Gordon Brown, the UK prime minister, Mr Lula da Silva told reporters: "This crisis was caused by the irrational behaviour of white people with blue eyes, who before the crisis appeared to know everything and now demonstrate that they know nothing."
He added: "I do not know any black or indigenous bankers so I can only say [it is wrong] that this part of mankind which is victimised more than any other should pay for the crisis."
Nope. It is NOT the SAME Red River flowing down here in Texas, I wondered what might be in store for US....
By PATRICK CONDON and DAN SEWELL Associated Press Writers
AP Photo/BRIAN PETERSON
Watch Related Video
Thousands Flee Fargo Ahead of Rising Floodwaters
FARGO, N.D. (AP) -- Thousands of shivering, tired residents got out while they could and others prayed that miles of sandbagged levees would hold Friday as the surging Red River threatened to unleash the biggest flood North Dakota's largest city has ever seen.
The agonizing decision to stay or go came as the final hours ticked down before an expected crest Sunday, when the ice-laden river could climb as high as 43 feet, nearly 3 feet higher than the record set 112 years ago. The city got a one-day reprieve Friday night when the National Weather Service pushed its crest projection back from Saturday to Sunday afternoon, saying frigid temperatures had slowed the river's rise. While the weather service targeted the crest near 42 feet, it said feet 43 is still a possibility.
"It's to the point now where I think we've done everything we can," said resident Dave Davis, whose neighborhood was filled with backhoes and tractors building an earthen levee. "The only thing now is divine intervention."
The next part of the message was just as interesting and involved a $20 bill...pull one out and see if you can do this trick..
This bit of stuff came in an email tonight. Fasinating that Obama's Presidency has renewed interest in Lincoln and Kennedy stuff...
Abraham Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846. John F. Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946.
Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860. John F. Kennedy was elected President in 1960.
Both were particularly concerned with civil rights.
Both Presidents were shot on a Friday. Both Presidents were shot in the head
Now it gets really weird.
Lincoln 's secretary was named Kennedy.. Kennedy's Secretary was named Lincoln .
Both were assassinated by Southerners. Both were succeeded by Southerners named Johnson.
Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln, was born in 1808. Lyndon Johnson, who succeeded Kennedy, was born in 1908.
Both assassins were known by their three names.
Now hang on to your seat.
Lincoln was shot at the theater named 'Ford'.
Lincoln was shot in a theater and his assassin ran and hid in a warehouse.
Booth and Oswald were assassinated before their trials.
I have gotten LOTS OF HINTS about improving things for yourself without spending more or JUST WAYS TO SAVE Money. Here is a sampling...
Take your bananas apart when you get home from the store.
If you leave them connected at the stem they ripen faster. (Not tested... but it will stop us from buying the little banana hangers...)
Store your opened chunks of cheese in aluminum foil.
It will stay fresh much longer and not mold! (OK. Deb was right. I was wrong!)
Peppers with three bumps on the bottom are sweeter and for eating. (We must be talking about Bell Peppers... I can't or won't eat them any more...)
Peppers with four bumps on the bottom are firmer and better for cooking.
Add a teaspoon of water when frying ground beef. (Tried it. It works. Steam cleaning...)
It will help pull the grease away from the meat while cooking.
To really make scrambled eggs or omelets rich add a couple of spoonfuls of sour cream, cream cheese, or heavy cream in and then beat them up. (I have always used whole milk, so this should work...)
For a cool brownie treat, make brownies as directed. Melt Andes mints in double broiler and pour over warm brownies. Let set for a wonderful minty frosting.
Add garlic immediately to a recipe if you want a light taste of garlic and at the end of the recipe if your want a stronger taste of garlic. (use bigger chucks or whole cloves for less bit and more favor... mincing makes the garlic favor stronger and hotter..)
Leftover Snickers bars from Halloween make a delicious dessert. Simply chop them up with the food chopper. Peel, core and slice a few apples. Place them in a baking dish and sprinkle the chopped candy bars over the apples. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Serve alone or with vanilla ice cream. Yummmmm!
Reheat Pizza : Heat up leftover pizza in a nonstick skillet on top of the stove, set heat to med-low and heat till warm. This keeps the crust crispy. No soggy micro pizza. I saw this on the cooking channel and it really works.
Easy Deviled Eggs : Put cooked egg yolks in a zip lock bag. Seal, mash until they are all broken up. Add remainder of ingredients, reseal, keep mashing it up mixing thoroughly, cut the tip of the baggy, squeeze mixture into egg. Just throw bag away when done easy clean up.
This one I am planning to try out this summer... practice makes perfect.
Expanding Frosting When you buy a container of cake frosting from the store, whip it with your mixer for a few minutes. You can double it in size. You get to frost more cake/cupcakes with the same amount. You also eat less sugar and calories per serving.
Reheating refrigerated bread To warm biscuits, pancakes, or muffins that were refrigerated, place them in a microwave with a cup of water. The increased moisture will keep the food moist and help it reheat faster. ( I have started to freeze bread when the brand I like goes on sale...but I have found no problem just setting it out the night before... but this might useful tip.)
Newspaper weeds away When you start putting in your plants, work the nutrients in your soil. Wet newspapers, put layers around the plants overlapping as you go cover with mulch and forget about weeds. Weeds will get through some gardening plastic they will not get through wet newspapers. (Ok. But who is reading a newspaper... oh, wait... I am getting the Panola Watchman three times a week! Great idea for this Spring!)
Use a wet cotton ball or Q-tip to pick up the small shards of glass you can't see easily.
(I think that one is mentioned in the 56 Q-tips posting I did this week....)
No More Mosquitoes Place a dryer sheet in your pocket. It will keep the mosquitoes away.
(I suggest you check the yard and turn over and dump out water collections... there are more breeding spots around the house when you start looking for them.)
Squirrel Away! To keep squirrels from eating your plants, sprinkle your plants with cayenne pepper. The cayenne pepper doesn't hurt the plant and the squirrels won't come near it. (Does this one work with dogs?)
Flexible vacuum To get something out of a heat register or under the fridge add an empty paper towel roll or empty gift wrap roll to your vacuum. It can be bent or flattened to get in narrow openings. (Sounds good. My vacuum gave up the ghost recently... got a brand to recommend to me: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Measuring Cups Before you pour sticky substances into a measuring cup, fill with hot water. Dump out the hot water, but don't dry cup. Next, add your ingredient, such as peanut butter, and watch how easily it comes right out.
Foggy Windshield? Hate foggy windshields? Buy a chalkboard eraser and keep it in the glove box of your car. When the windows fog, rub with the eraser! Works better than a cloth! (They are cheap at the hobby lobby stores... saw them today!)
Reopening envelope If you seal an envelope and then realize you forgot to include something inside, just place your sealed envelope in the freezer for an hour or two. Viola! It unseals easily.
Conditioner Use your hair conditioner to shave your legs. It's cheaper than shaving cream and leaves your legs really smooth. It's also a great way to use up the conditioner you bought but didn't like when you tried it in your hair.
Goodbye Fruit Flies To get rid of pesky fruit flies, take a small glass, fill it 1/2 with Apple Cider Vinegar and 2 drops of dishwashing liquid; mix well. You will find those flies drawn to the cup and gone forever! (Tried it. It works. Beer in a cup in the garden draws and drowns slugs in the same manner...)
Get Rid of Ants Put small piles of cornmeal where you see ants. They eat it, take it 'home,' can't digest it so it kills them. It may take a week or so, especially if it rains, but it works and you don't have the worry about pets or small children being harmed! (I keep hearing this and "self rising flour" baiting... I still use boric acid or diatonaceous earth...)
Indoor Ant Control Supplies: 1 tbsp. boric acid 1 tbsp. mint jelly or peanut butter 1 cracker Small cardboard box Instructions: Mix the boric acid and mint jelly; spread mixture on a cracker. Punch pinholes in a cardboard box; place cracker inside. Place box in an area where ants cause problems, but away from children and pets. Note: The mint jelly (sugar or sweet ants) or peanut butter(fat or grease ants) lures the ants in and the boric acid kills them. Indoor and Outdoor Ant Control Supplies: Diatomaceous earth Instructions: Dust food-grade diatomaceous earth along the ant’s pathways. Note: The white powder will cut through their exoskeleton and they will dehydrate and die. And it is NOT for kids and pets since it does the same thing to lung tissue...
And there was this email note as well... cleaning all your filters with soap and water and a nylon brush is always a good idea.
INFO ABOUT CLOTHES DRYERS
The heating unit went out on my dryer! The gentleman that fixes things around the house for us told us that he wanted to show us something and he went over to the dryer and pulled out the lint filter. It was clean. (I always clean the lint from the filter after every load clothes..) He told us that he wanted to show us something; he took the filter over to the sink and ran hot water over it. The lint filter is made of a mesh material ... I'm sure you know what your dryer's lint filter looks like. Well ...the hot water just sat on top of the mesh!
It didn't go through it at all! He told us that the dryer sheets cause a film over that mesh; that's what burns out the heating unit. You can't SEE the film, but it's there. It's what is in the dryer sheets to make your clothes soft and static free .... that nice fragrance too. You know how they can feel waxy when you take them out of the box ... well this stuff builds up on your clothes and on your lint screen. This is also what causes dryer units to potentially burn your house down with it! He said the best way to keep your dryer working for a very long time (and to keep your electric bill lower) is to take that filter out and wash it with hot soapy water and an old toothbrush (or other brush) at least every six months. He said that makes the life of the dryer at least twice as long! How about that!?! Learn something new everyday! I certainly didn't know dryer sheets would do that. So, I thought I'd share!