Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Apparel industry no longer a good fit in El Paso


Apparel industry no longer a
good fit in El Paso

San Antonio Express-News (Texas)
October 15, 2005, Saturday
By Meena Thiruvengadam

EL PASO -- Inside two windowless buildings on El Paso Street, a remnant of this city's former glory is hanging by a thread.
"We try to hold on to as much as we can, but little by little I've had to give up some of mybusiness here and send it to Mexico in order to survive," said Alfred Fernandez, owner andfounder of AMERI-TECH Distributors, a company that makes jeans sold under designer andstore brand labels.

El Paso was once considered the blue jeans capital of the world. In the 1980s, it cranked out anestimated 2 million pairs of America's favorite pants each week. But in the past decade,America's jeans manufacturing giants have moved elsewhere, and AMERI-TECH Distributorsis among only a handful of small-scale jeans makers that remain.On Oct. 7, VF Jeanswear, the maker of the Wrangler and Lee brands, became the last majorjeans manufacturer to leave the area. Laying off 395 workers, it shut down a manufacturingcenter in Fabens, 30 miles southeast of the city, and transferred the work to Costa Rica, whereit can be done more cheaply.
"Unfortunately, if you're going to be in the apparel business, you have a hard time producing inthe U.S.," said Sam Tucker, corporate vice president of human resources for VF Jeanswear."We held out for as long as we could." As recently as 1999, VF Jeanswear, with 4,500 workersat six area plants, was El Paso's largest private employer, a title once held by Levi Strauss &Co. Levi's had more than 4,600 employees working in its seven El Paso plants at its height.
At the time, Levi's also had 2,400 employees in San Antonio. But layoffs began in 1990, andby 2004 the company was no longer making jeans in San Antonio or anywhere else in thecountry.
"If you go into a mass merchant like Wal-Mart or Target, you can buy a pair of nice specialtyjeans for under $ 10," Tucker said. "In order to meet those prices, you can't make them here."
Today, nearly every one of the 450 million pairs of jeans sold in the United States is madeoutside its borders, with a single pair traveling through several countries as it's assembled forsale here. A pair of jeans that could be made for $ 6.67 in El Paso costs about $ 3 to make inCiudad Jurez, Mexico, and $ 1.50 in China.
Even China is facing competition from cheaper labor markets such as Indonesia and Russia."That is the problem with this type of manufacturing. It follows the low wages," said JesusCaas, an economic analyst with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas' El Paso branch.Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, North Carolina and even Mexico had thriving garmentmanufacturing sectors that have disappeared or are disappearing.
"You hope the economy outgrows those industries," said Lorenzo Reyes, interim CEO of
Upper Rio Grande at Work, an El Paso-area work force development commission. "But withus, layoffs were massive, and there was a lack of recognition that this was going to happen." Inthe 1970s, an estimated 40,000 people worked in El Paso blue jeans factories. By 1993, a yearbefore the North American Free Trade Agreement took effect, fewer than 24,000 El Pasoanswere working in all types of apparel manufacturing."As time progressed, NAFTA came into play and things really changed," Ameri-tech'sFernandez said. "All of our customers began going to Mexico for cheaper labor.The agreement erased limitations that once forced companies to manufacture at least part oftheir product in the United States and cleared the way for companies to send more of theirwork abroad to cheaper labor.
Today, fewer than 2,500 people work in all types of apparel manufacturing in El Paso,
according to the Texas Workforce Commission.
Many displaced workers, mostly Hispanic women between 35 and 55, received government aidor job retraining and English instruction, but program limitations, a lack of formal educationand language deficiencies have stunted their re-entry into the job market."The challenge is how to you find jobs for people who are unskilled and uneducated and onlyspeak Spanish," El Paso mayor John Cook said. "Unfortunately all the federal monies that weregiven to us for workforce training were squandered to teach people English instead of teachingthem job skills."
Even with a college degree and fluent English, moving from the blue jeans factories of El Pasoto other work is difficult.
Rosa Villa, who was laid off from a VF Jeanswear plant in El Paso in November, recently got abachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix.Nevertheless, "I haven't been able to find anything," she said. With her financial aid andunemployment benefits depleted, Villa is relying on the Women, Infants and Children programand food stamps to support herself and her three children.To make her electric payment, Rodriguez cut off her phone service last month, a moveparticularly heartbreaking to her teenaged daughter.
"I am very scared. I don't have any income," Villa said. "This month I was able to make mypayments, but next month I don't know what I'm going to do." Caas is sympathetic towardworkers such as Villa. Still, he insists El Paso overall is better off now than when apparelmanufacturing was a cornerstone of its economy.
Economists call it creative destruction. Apparel and textile factories are often the first factoriesin an area, and when they leave they free up resources for other, more advanced, higher-payingindustries to move in, Caas said."In the end, we the consumers benefit because we can go to Wal-Mart, Kmart or Target and get
things like a nice pair of shoes for $ 9.99, and we have more money to enjoy our lives," hesaid.
Although El Paso has lost 22,000 manufacturing jobs in the past decade, it has gained 48,000jobs in the service sector, Caas said.
Overall, the city now has about 25,000 more jobs than it did in 1995, and in August, El Paso
enjoyed higher job growth than any other city in the state.
"On average, these new jobs pay 30 to 40 percent more than jobs in apparel factories," Caas
said. "This is part of the natural evolution of economies." Expensive designer jeans have
helped AMERI-TECH Distributors survive that evolution.
The company has moved most of its blue jeans production to Torren, Mexico, but continues toproduce high-end jeans and pajamas in El Paso, also its distribution and administrationheadquarters.Torren has been a hub for blue jeans manufacturers for years, but before NAFTA, most of itsjeans stayed in Mexico. Now, AMERI-TECH's plant there produces more than 100 times as
many pairs of jeans per week for sale in the United States as its El Paso plant makes."You have to go along with change," Fernandez said. "Globalization is inevitable."
Incorporating premium fabrics and labor-intensive designs, the jeans Ameri-tech makes in ElPaso sell for $ 200 to $ 600 a pair, far more than Fernandez is willing to pay for a pair. But thisis one area in which his company has an edge over foreign manufacturers.Mexico, Central America and Asia may offer lower production costs, but the savings come atthe price of longer travel times that can keep companies from keeping pace with America'srapidly changing fashion tastes.The countries also can't produce jeans with the now rare "Made in the USA" label. "There's abig push from companies for the Made in the USA label," Fernandez said. "For some
companies it's a real selling point, but to give it to them, we have to do everything here." Andas long as that demand is there, 100 to 130 AMERI-TECH workers will continue cutting,sewing and adding finishing touches to America's favorite pants in what was once the bluejeans capital of the world.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The line-in-the-sand metaphor gets its power because it represents something that is absolutely true: Making a courageous decision with a high price.


In a draw of my old Scotish Dresser is a t-shirt that Deb go me many years ago.
On the front of it are the words:

"I regrete that I have but one life to give to Texas"
-- Tapley Holland

The fact is that Tapley Holland died at the Alamo.
My father did not think we were kin, and that is good enough for me.
...However, my family (counting both my mother and father relations) have been in Texas for now eight generations... dating back to before the Republic.
We are about as Native to Texas as any family can be.

My wife and her clan of relatives is EVEN MORE SO... Richey, Cox and Edwards ties her to the Austin 300 list (and there there are a couple of Hollands on it as she noted earlier this week... Tapley Holland's kin for sure.) As in Edwards Plateau for example. And, as she will bring up.. the first woman to be tried for murder in the Republic of Texas was a McAlister.

However... the facts tend to get in the way of the story.


The Legend....

Ballad Of The Alamo
by Marty Robbins


In the southern part of Texas, in the town of San Antone,
There's a fortress all in ruin that the weeds have overgrown.
You may look in vain for crosses and you'll never see a one,
But sometime between the setting and the rising of the sun,
You can hear a ghostly bugle as the men go marching by;
You can hear them as they answer to that roll call in the sky:

Colonel Travis, Davy Crockett and a hundred eighty more;
Captain Dickenson, Jim Bowie, present and accounted for.

Back in 1836, Houston said to Travis:

"Get some volunteers and go fortify the Alamo."
Well, the men came from Texas and from old Tennessee,
And they joined up with Travis just to fight for the right to be free.

Indian scouts with squirrel guns, men with muzzle loaders,
Stood together heel and toe to defend the Alamo.
"You may never see your loved ones," Travis told them that day.
"Those that want to can leave now, those who'll fight to the death, let 'em stay."

In the sand he drew a line with his army sabre,

Out of a hundred eighty five, not a soldier crossed the line.
With his banners a-dancin' in the dawn's golden light,
Santa Anna came prancin' on a horse that was black as the night.

He sent an officer to tell Travis to surrender.
Travis answered with a shell and a rousin' rebel yell.
Santa Anna turned scarlet: "Play Degüello," he roared.
"I will show them no quarter, everyone will be put to the sword."

One hundred and eighty five holdin' back five thousand.
Five days, six days, eight days, ten; Travis held and held again.
Then he sent for replacements for his wounded and lame,
But the troops that were comin' never came, never came, never came.

Twice he charged, then blew recall. On the fatal third time,
Santa Anna breached the wall and he killed them one and all.

Now the bugles are silent and there's rust on each sword,
And the small band of soldiers lie asleep in the arms of The Lord.

In the southern part of Texas, near the town of San Antone,
Like a statue on his Pinto rides a cowboy all alone.
And he sees the cattle grazin' where a century before,
Santa Anna's guns were blazin' and the cannons used to roar.
And his eyes turn sort of misty, and his heart begins to glow,
And he takes his hat off slowly to the men of Alamo.
To the thirteen days of glory at the seige of Alamo.

*180 Texians,including DavidCrockett, Jim Bowie and William B. Travis,died at the Battle ofthe Alamo,San Antonio,Texas. March 6,1836.

However, history might be different...

http://www.texasescapes.com/MikeCoxTexasTales/Line-in-the-Sand-Alamo-History.htm

Line in the Sand
by Mike Cox

By March 5, 1836, Col. William Barrett Travis had known for several days that his situation inside the old Spanish mission called the Alamo had become hopeless.

Several thousand soldiers under the command of Mexican Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna had Travis and some 189 other defenders surrounded.

The young Texas colonel - only 26 - was a lawyer, not a professional military man, but Travis knew enough history to understand that in a siege, the army on the outside usually prevails over the army on the inside.

So he gathered his fellow defenders that Saturday afternoon and gave them a speech.
"We must die," he began. "Our business is not to make a fruitless effort to save our lives, but to choose the manner of our death."


He saw three possibilities: Surrender and summary execution, trying to fight their way out only to be "butchered" by Mexican lancers or "remain in this fort…resist every assault, and to sell our lives as dearly as possible."



Then, with a flourish, Travis drew his sword and slowly marked a line in the dirt. "I now want every man who is determined to stay here and die with me to come across this line."

Young Tapley Holland made his decision quickly, proclaiming "I am ready to die for my country!" as he jumped over the line. It's hard to picture it as a stampede - the men knew they were voting to die - but all but two of them walked over the line. Co-commander Jim Bowie, lying sick on a cot, asked some of his men to carry him across. Only Louis Moses Rose, a French soldier of fortune, remained behind.

That night, Rose slipped out of the Alamo and managed to make it through the enemy lines. He ended up in Louisiana and supposedly lived until 1850.

Every Texan knows what happened the morning after Rose made his escape. In the predawn of March 6, Santa Anna's forces breached the walls and killed every Texas combatant.

No one disputes the outcome of the battle, but historians are still fighting over whether the sword story is true. Unfortunately for die-hard Texans, the current thinking is that it probably did not happen. On the other hand, so far as is known, anyone who could have vouched for the story died in the final assault that morning 170 years ago this March 6.

The dramatic tale did not appear in print until 1873, nearly 40 years after the battle. The man who wrote the story for the Texas Almanac - William Physick Zuber - later admitted that while he reconstructed major portions of Travis' speech, he included only one paragraph of fiction. Unfortunately, he did not say which paragraph that was.

Zuber might have been inspired by what happened in December 1835. Ben Milam, during the Texian siege of San Antonio de Bexar, did draw a line and urge his fellow revolutionaries to follow him in attacking the soldiers of Mexican Gen. Martin Perfecto de Cos.

"Who will follow old Ben Milam?" he asked.

The Texans won the battle but Milam lost his life in the effort.

But other than Zuber's telling of the tale, which he said he heard from his parents, who had given Rose shelter for a time after his escape from the Alamo, no documentation has been found to support it.

What is irrefutable is that the story of Travis drawing a line with his sword - be it truth or legend - gave Texas, America and eventually, the world, one of its most enduring metaphors.

Travis' line in the dirt - people did not start saying sand until the first President Bush used the term in 1990 before the first Gulf War - is a story equal to Homer or Shakespeare, as compelling as almost anything in the Bible or from the best Hollywood screen writer.

As J. Frank Dobie put it, "It is a line that not all the piety nor wit of research will ever blot out. It is a grand canyon cut into the bedrock of human emotions and historical impulses."

The line-in-the-sand metaphor gets its power because it represents something that is absolutely true: Making a courageous decision often comes with a high price.

On the upside, that courageous decision usually proves to be the right one, even if it takes years for people to appreciate it. Think Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation. It might cost your life or your office, but chances are, someday you will be remembered for doing the right thing by crossing that figurative line in the sand.


© Mike Cox

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

You might want to pick up the NEXT issue of Texas Monthly....




With the publication of his memoir and the groundbreaking of his library, George W. Bush is poised to get to work on his post-presidency. What comes next?

by Mark K. Updegrove

To see George W. Bush now, open-collared in a sports coat and slacks, sitting comfortably behind his desk in a sleek corner office, a view of downtown Dallas several miles in the distance, is to see a man who seems genuinely content with having left the White House behind. His office doesn’t look like that of a former president. Except for the enlarged photos of him with world leaders that line the halls and the framed shots of his famous family arranged neatly on a credenza, it could be the generic quarters of a C-suite executive at Citibank or Ernst & Young. Nothing particularly presidential is on display, no flag or seal, no intricately carved oak desk, no Frederic Remington sculptures. And that may be the point—Bush has moved on.

We hadn’t heard much from him since January 20, 2009, when boos from partisan members of the record-breaking crowd ...

Feature articles from the most recent two issues are available to magazine subscribers only.


http://www.texasmonthly.com/preview/2010-12-01/feature2



“Take the grips up to the attic.” That was Harry Truman’s response to a reporter who asked him, as he arrived back home in Independence, Missouri, after leaving the White House, what he intended to do first (“grips, ” for all you kids out there, used to be ...a common synonym for “suitcases”). Truman was a famously modest person, but his reply underscores the profound strangeness of leaving the Oval Office. There are few transitions more poignant than the one our outgoing presidents undergo—from the leader of the free world, most powerful human on earth, to private citizen in a matter of minutes.

But far more interesting than what a president does in the first few hours after leaving office is what he (or she— someday it’ll happen) decides to do with the rest of his life. George Washington, the first post-president, returned to Virginia, the state that has sent more presidents to the White House than any other, where he farmed tobacco, corn, and wheat for the rest of his days, with a brief interruption for military service. Thomas Jefferson built the University of Virginia. Ulysses Grant wrote a superb autobiography. Theodore Roosevelt went on safaris. Some have been more involved than others. Lyndon Johnson, burned by an unpopular war and unsure about his place in history, lived out his post-presidency in self-imposed exile on his ranch on the Pedernales River. William Howard Taft, on the other hand, went on to be the chief justice of the Supreme Court for nine years.

Since Truman put his grips away, modern former presidents have taken on a more engaged role. “In contrast to their predecessors, ‘formers’ are living longer, doing more, and {are} in a position to wield greater influence on U.S. policy,” writes Mark Updegrove, the director of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, in Austin, in his 2006 book, Second Acts: Presidential Lives and Legacies After the White House. “In effect, the post–White House years have become a new phase of presidential privilege.” More and more, formers are global brands unto themselves, capable of effecting great change on a variety of issues outside the political process.

The unofficial turning point for this more active stage in the post-presidency comprises two events: the publication of a presidential memoir and the groundbreaking of a presidential library. In November, George W. Bush, our newest post-president, did both, and to see what was coming next for the forty-third president, we sent Updegrove to Bush’s Dallas office for an interview. That Bush had agreed to the interview was news in and of itself. Though he’s recently made the rounds to promote his memoir, Decision Points, he has maintained a decidedly low profile since leaving office. But in this hour-long sit-down he was remarkably frank, ranging over a variety of topics, from his vision for the Bush Institute, at Southern Methodist University, to his relationship with his father to the motives behind his administration’s Africa policy.

What’s clear from this interview (“Bush 2.0”) is that Bush will be the most engaged post-president Texas has ever seen, though the bar for that, to be fair, is not very high. Johnson, whose post-presidency lasted only four years, never did emerge from his exile. And George H. W. Bush, though he’s put in a number of humanitarian appearances, has said that he didn’t intend to “save the world” after the White House. Bush 43, the only Texas president to serve two terms, insists that he wants to stay out of the press (unlike Theodore Roosevelt, who had a reporter posted full-time outside his Long Island home in case he thought of something to say), but he will likely remain active, playing a post-presidential role closer to Richard Nixon’s or Bill Clinton’s than to his father’s.

To which we say, bring it on.

Even worse, once lies begin to spread, they become more than rumors--they become permanent beliefs.

16 of the Dumbest Things Americans Believe -- And the Right-Wing Lies Behind Them

We’ve gone beyond Stephen Colbert's' truthiness' into a 'truth-be-damned' environment.

November 13, 2010


http://www.alternet.org/story/148826/16_of_the_dumbest_things_americans_believe_--_and_the_right-wing_lies_behind_them/?page=entire


Americans are often misinformed, occasionally downright dumb, and easily misled by juicy-sounding rumors. But while the right wing is taking full advantage of this reality, the Left worries that calling out lies is "rude."

Remember when Congressman Joe Wilson stood up during Obama’s State of the Union address and shouted “You lie”? He was chastised soundly by the pundit class. But mostly he drew heat for being impolite, and was compared to Kanye West and other famous interrupters.
Revisiting Wilson's foolish tirade underscores the state of our upside-down political world. Wilson shouted “you lie” in the face of truth, but President Obama is hesitant to speak up when he’s being slandered with bald, glaring untruths. The dark irony will continue as the Republicans take over the House this winter and the rumors and insinuations from extremist right-wing pundits keep circulating. It feels like no one with a loud enough megaphone has the courage to call a spade a spade, or more accurately a lie a lie.

We’ve gone far beyond Stephen Colbert’s “truthiness” into a more “truth-be-damned” environment; what Rick Perlstein described in the Daily Beast as a “mendocracy. As in, rule by liars.”

Here are some examples of recent ways we have made inroads in ignorance:
Polling data during and after last week’s midterm elections suggested that many Americans genuinely believe President Obama has raised their taxes -- even though the reality is that our president actually lowered them for most of us. This means that people trust pundits like Rush Limbaugh, a major force behind spreading that lie, over the numbers on their own tax returns.
Another recent phenomenon? Half of new Congressmen don’t believe in the reality of global warming. It’s not that they don’t just disagree on the source or the severity of the problem. They flat out don’t think the world is getting warmer--despite the evidence outside their windows.

The new Congress will probably try to restore millions of dollars of funding for scientifically inaccurate, largely disastrous abstinence-only curriculum in schools, many of which have been shown to spread lies like "condoms don't work" and "abortion causes cancer."
News outlets picked up a wildly inflated and completely outlandish claim from an Indian blog that Obama’s trip abroad cost $200 million a day--and listeners have swallowed it. (In this case, the White House flat-out denied it.)

The scary thing is, these kinds of rumors have a way of taking root in the popular consciousness. Just as the election season began heating up earlier this year, Newsweek published a list of “Dumb Things Americans Believe.” While some of them are garden-variety lunacy, a surprising number are lies that were fed to Americans by our leaders on the far-Right. This demonstrates that media-fed lies can easily become ingrained in the collective memory if they’re not countered quickly and surely. Newsweek’s list included the following 12 statistics taken from recent and semi-recent polls and surveys.

The first half are directly related to right-wing rumormongering.

Nearly one-fifth of Americans think Obama is a Muslim. Thanks, Fox news, for acting like this was a matter of opinion, not fact.

25 percent of Americans don’t believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution while less than 40 percent do. Consider the fact that several of our newly elected officials, specifically newly elected Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, share that belief.

Earlier this year, nearly 40 percent of Americans still believed the Sarah Palin-supported lie about "death panels" being included in health care reform.

As of just a few years ago, about half of Americans still suspected a connection between Saddam Hussein and the attacks of September 11, a lie that was reinforced by none other than Dick Cheney.

While a hefty amount of this demonstrable cluelessness gets better as the respondents get younger, all is not well in the below-30 demographic. A majority of “young Americans” cannot identify Iraq or Afghanistan--the places their peers are fighting and dying--on a map.

Two out of five Americans, despite the whole separation of church and state being a foundation of our democracy thing, think teachers should be able to lead prayer in classrooms. So it seems those right-wingers clamoring to tear down the wall between church and state aren’t the only ones who don’t know their constitutional principles.

Many Americans still believe in witchcraft, ESP and other supernatural phenomena. Does that explain why Christine O’Donnell was so quick to deny her “dabbling”?

Speaking of antiquated religious beliefs, about a decade ago, 20 percent of Americans still believed that the sun revolves around the earth. That's just sad, considering that even the Vatican has let Galileo off the hook for being right.

Only about half of Americans realize that Judaism is the oldest of the three monotheistic religions. Other examples of wild misunderstanding about religion and the separation of church and state can be found in this fall’s Pew survey on Americans’ religious knowledge.

This one made a huge splash when it appeared. In 2006 more Americans were able to name two of the “seven dwarves” than two of the Supreme Court justices. And that was before Kagan and Sotomayor showed up. To be fair, Happy and Sleepy are easy to remember.

More Americans can identify the Three Stooges than the three branches of government--you know, the ones who are jockeying over our welfare.

So what to do in a political and cultural landscape in which well-told lies have more validity than fact-based truth? Perlstein explained how this environment gets created by explaining what happened on Election Day this year:

“...by a two-to-one margin likely voters thought their taxes had gone up, when, for almost all of them, they had actually gone down. Republican politicians, and conservative commentators, told them Barack Obama was a tax-mad lunatic. They lied. The mainstream media did not do their job and correct them. The White House was too polite—"civil," just like Obama promised—to say much. So people believed the lie.”

We’ve entered a bizzarro world in which calling out lies is considered rude, says Perlstein, so liars are allowed to sit tight and dominate the discourse. This gels with Bill Maher’s critique of the Rally for Sanity, that calling for “balance for balance’s sake” ignores two important aspects of news reporting: facts and evidence.

Blaming Americans for being ignorant unwashed masses--or taking potshots at an education system that doesn’t teach critical thinking-- would be the easy answer to this conundrum.
But the reality is that if messaging has such a big effect on Americans, then messaging matters. Folks on our end have to counter the lies with well-told, unabashed unironic, truth-telling. And we have to demand that our media, and our politicians, call out the other side. As Perlstein notes, “When one side breaks the social contract, and the other side makes a virtue of never calling them out on it, the liar always wins. When it becomes 'uncivil' to call out liars, lying becomes free.”

Even worse, once lies begin to spread, they become more than rumors--they become permanent beliefs.

Sarah Seltzer is an associate editor at Alternet, an RH Reality Check staff writer and a freelance journalist based in New York City. Her work can be found at http://www.sarahmseltzer.com/.

Texas will now have three presidential libraries ...Library or Lie-Bury?





DALLAS—George W. Bush and 3,000 fans celebrated his return to the spotlight Tuesday during a ground-breaking ceremony at Southern Methodist University, where plans to build his presidential library have divided the campus.

Mr. Bush, who left office with low approval ratings and spent two years in relative seclusion, has recently worked to burnish his image, giving interviews to Oprah Winfrey and the Today Show's Matt Lauer to promote his book "Decision Points."

"Staying out of current affairs and politics does not mean staying out of policy," Mr. Bush said to the crowd gathered under a large white tent. "I strongly believe that the principles that guided our service in public office are the right principles to lead our country in the future."

Mr. Bush said a public policy institute attached to the library would promote those principles, as well as improve free markets, global health, political freedom and education.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney, who used a cane to climb to the dais, made a dig at the Obama administration, calling the presidential center "the only shovel-ready project in America," drawing laughs. The president's wife, Laura Bush, an SMU graduate, also attended, as did former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and ex-Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.

Meanwhile, at a nearby corner of the campus of Georgian-style brick buildings, dozens of protesters waved such signs as, "Impeach Bush" and "Library or Lie-Bury?"

"We're here to hold up a big mirror to him to show the world that we have not forgotten the wrongs he committed," said Gerry Fonseca, a Vietnam veteran who traveled from Eureka Springs, Ark. Mr. Fonseca said Mr. Bush should be held accountable for the Iraq invasion and for approving the use of waterboarding on prisoners, which Mr. Fonseca called war crimes.

Universities and cities often angle to be the site of presidential libraries—part of a national network of repositories to hold records of past presidencies. Besides their prestige, they draw scholars and visitors to museums often built alongside.

Texas will have three presidential libraries, the most of any U.S. state. Texas A&M houses the George Bush PTexas will now residential Library and Museum, and the University of Texas at Austin is home to the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library & Museum.

Still, the Bush Center, which has been in the works for almost a decade, has sparked controversy here in the past. While university officials welcomed the presidential library and the archive of materials, some professors complained that the university's independence would be threatened by the Bush Institute, fearing that it would be too partisan in its research.

Officials at his center say they will make all documents from the presidency, which include more than 200 million emails, available so that scholars and historians can reach their own conclusions.

"I'm only hoping that it does provide in as unbiased a way as possible an opportunity for our students to learn the truth about the eight years of his presidency," said Rick Halperin, head of the Embrey Human Rights Program at SMU.

Sidney Milkis, a presidential scholar at the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs, said strong disagreements over Mr. Bush's legacy make sense, because the impact of his most important policy decisions, such as the war in Iraq and the bail-out of the banking sector, are still unknowns.

"As time passes, we'll have a clearer idea about the consequences of those two policies and that's what's going to settle President Bush's place in history," Mr. Milkis said.

A few former residents of the Center's 23-acre site on the edge of campus complained about being forced out to make space for the complex, and people who live close to the project continue to voice concerns about traffic, parking and safety.

The center, a $137 million, three-story 226,565 square-foot building covered in Texas limestone and solar panels, is scheduled to be finished by 2013. The understated, contemporary building, which Mrs. Bush has said is meant to be a showcase but not a monument to her husband's presidency, was designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects. It will include a 67-foot-high tower capped with glass to be called Freedom Hall

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.



Famous Quote from His Speech •Man in The Arena
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What this election will mean for USa....




Obama had the mot juste last Wednesday for what had just befallen him and his party: a “shellacking.” The President’s choice of word was one syllable (and one “g”) longer than his predecessor’s summary after a parallel midterm debacle. But, then, Obama’s shellacking was several syllables worse than the “thumpin’ ” that George W. Bush and the Republicans took in 2006. That year, President Bush’s party lost thirty seats in the House of Representatives; this year, President Obama’s lost more than twice as many.

It was a historic defeat. The Democrats retained their Senate majority, now much reduced, only by the grace of the Tea Party, which, in Colorado, Delaware, and Nevada, saddled Republicans with nominees so weighted with extremism and general bizarreness that they sank beneath the wave so many others rode. Come January, for only the second time in eight decades and the first in more than six, the House will have fewer than two hundred Democrats in it. And because Democrats also lost eleven governorships and control of nineteen state legislative chambers, the decennial festival of gerrymandering will put their congressional starting line for 2012 at least twenty seats farther back.

In 2008, a little more than fifty-three per cent of the electorate opted for Democratic candidates for the House; in 2010, a little less than fifty-three per cent opted for Republicans. But, if the mirror-image division was essentially equivalent, the electorates were not. The one that dealt Democrats the blow this year was dramatically smaller than the one that put them in office. In 2008, when a hundred and thirty million people cast votes in the Presidential election, a hundred and twenty million took the trouble to vote for a representative in Congress. In 2010, seventy-five million did so—forty-five million fewer, a huge drop-off. The members of this year’s truncated electorate were also whiter, markedly older, and more habitually Republican: if the franchise had been limited to them two years ago, last week’s exit polls suggest, John McCain would be President today.

With the votes tallied, the spin began: a procession of confident assertions about what “the American people”—meaning, in practical terms, the slice of the scaled-down midterm electorate that went one way in 2008 and the other in 2010—were “trying to say.” According to Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, “The message of Tuesday’s election was that the American people want both political parties to work together.” Mitch McConnell, the Republicans’ leader in the Senate, seemed to embrace the togetherness angle, but with fateful caveats. “The American people want us to put aside the left-wing wish list and work together,” he said. But, echoing his pre-election remark that “the single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term President,” he also said, “If our primary legislative goals are to repeal and replace the health-spending bill, to end the bailouts, cut spending, and shrink the size and scope of government, the only way to do all these things is to put someone in the White House who won’t veto any of these things.”

As for “the American people” themselves, it seems clear enough that their rejection of the Democrats was, above all, an expression of angry anxiety about the ongoing economic firestorm. Though ignited and fanned by an out-of-control financial industry and its (mostly) conservative political and intellectual enablers, the fire has burned hottest since the 2008 Democratic sweep. By the time the flames reached their height, the arsonists had slunk off, and only the firemen were left for people to take out their ire on. The result is a kind of political cognitive dissonance. Frightened by joblessness, “the American people” rewarded the party that not only opposed the stimulus but also blocked the extension of unemployment benefits. Alarmed by a ballooning national debt, they rewarded the party that not only transformed budget surpluses into budget deficits but also proposes to inflate the debt by hundreds of billions with a permanent tax cut for the least needy two per cent. Frustrated by what they see as inaction, they rewarded the party that not only fought every effort to mitigate the crisis but also forced the watering down of whatever it couldn’t block.

Part of the Democrats’ political problem is that their defense, confusingly, depends on counterfactuals (without the actions they took in the face of fierce Republican opposition, the great slump would have metastasized into a Great Depression), deferred gratification (the health-care law’s benefits do not kick in fully until 2014), and counterintuitive propositions (the same hard times that force ordinary citizens to spend less money oblige the government—whose income, like theirs, is falling—to spend more).

Another part of the problem, it must be said, is public ignorance.

An illuminating Bloomberg poll, taken the week before the election, found that some two-thirds of likely voters believed that, under Obama and the Democrats, middle-class taxes have gone up, the economy has shrunk, and the billions lent to banks under the Troubled Asset Relief Program are gone, never to be recovered. One might add to that list the public’s apparent conviction that illegal immigration is skyrocketing and that the health-care law will drive the deficit higher. Reality tells a different story. For ninety-five per cent of us, taxes are actually lower, cut by around four hundred dollars a year for individuals and twice that for families. (The stimulus provided other tax cuts for people of modest means, including a break for college tuition.) The economy has been growing, however feebly, for five straight quarters. Most of the TARP loans have been repaid and the rest soon will be, plus a modest profit for the Treasury. And the number of illegal immigrants fell by close to a million last year, thanks in part to more energetic border enforcement. The health-care law, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says, will bring the deficit down.

But why don’t “the American people” know these things? Could it be because the President and his party did not try, or try hard enough, to tell them? Obama’s still loyal supporters—his “base”—are, most of them, disappointed and depressed. This year, more Democratic candidates seemed to apologize for the health-care law—notwithstanding its imperfections, their party’s greatest accomplishment in generations, the fulfillment of a century-long dream—than to proclaim it. Compromise, timidity, and the ugliness of the legislative process—not all of it unavoidable—have exacted a steep toll. Even Obama’s temperament has become a political liability. In 2008, his calm was a synergistic counterpoint to the joyous excitement of the throngs that packed his rallies. In the tidy, quiet isolation of the White House, his serene rationality has felt to many like detachment, even indifference. For him and for the country, the next two years look awfully bleak. Capitol Hill will be like Hamburger Hill, a noisy wasteland of sanguinary stalemate. There will be no more transformative legislation; it will be all Obama can do simply to protect health-care reform from sabotage. The economy, like the climate, will be left to fend for itself. And the world will watch, wonder, and worry.



Read more http://www.newyorker.com/talk/comment/2010/11/15/101115taco_talk_hertzberg#ixzz15S4OnNFj

German ingenuity... off the Website "There I fixed it."

Repairing a wheel using gas and a lighter from MechanicsHubdotCom on Vimeo.

My Neighbor is in Parade Magazine this week...


W. Bush with parents George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush in 1955. [Photo by Polaris]

The Best of Friends
By President George W. Bush


Harry Truman, one of my predecessors, is often quoted as saying, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” But while the 33rd president and I are said to have much in common, we diverge on this topic. Now that I’m retired, people ask me for advice, and I tell everyone: Make friends, keep them, and learn from them your entire life.

When I was young, my mother had a doormat that said, “Friends make the world go round.” Although clichéd, the phrase captured how my parents lived. They made friends at every stage of their lives and always found time for them.

The commitment was mutual. When I was 6, my younger sister, Robin, was diagnosed with leukemia. The disease was essentially incurable, but hoping for a miracle, my parents took her from our home in Midland, Tex., to New York City for treatment. One of my earliest memories is of staying at their friends’ houses in Texas whenever they went to the East Coast. When Robin passed away, I was too young to comprehend the wrenching pain my parents felt, but I saw how their friends gave them solace during a time of grief. It was a lesson I’ve always remembered.

At the time, my brother Jeb was just a baby. I felt like an only child for a few years, so I spent my days playing baseball and riding bikes with Mike Proctor, Robert McCleskey, and Joe O’N eill. Nearly 60 years later, they are still among my closest friends.


Click here to enter to win a signed copy of the president’s new memoir, Decision Points!


When I was in seventh grade, my family moved to Houston; two years later, I left the state to attend Phillips Academy in Massachusetts. The transition was extremely challenging, but I made it through those years in large part because of the friends I made. At boarding school and later in college at Yale, I was captivated by the diversity of people I met, like Muhammad Saleh, a Palestinian Muslim who became a successful businessman; Don Etra, a devout Jew who is now a distinguished lawyer; and Roland Betts, a Long Island native, my partner in owning the Texas Rangers and now an entertainment-industry leader. These friends all opened my eyes to new ways of looking at the world.



The future president (in cap) with brothers Neil and Jeb and a friend in 1959.


Quite often, a conversation with a friend has changed the course of my life. It was a Yale classmate, Mike Brooks, who suggested I apply to business school. Two Midland friends, Don Evans and Don Jones, invited me to the Bible study that helped rekindle my faith. And my childhood pal Joe O’Neill invited me to a barbecue where he introduced me to Laura Welch. She was beautiful, intelligent, and warm—and three months later we were married.

People often ask Laura and me how we’ve managed to maintain our friendships. There’s no magic formula—you just stay in touch. I’ve always made it a priority to call, write, or see friends when I have time. During my presidency, I took great joy in welcoming my old pals to Camp David and the White House. Men I’d known since Little League would gaze around the majestic setting of the Oval Office and whisper, “I can’t believe I’m here.” Inevitably, they’d look at me and say, “I can’t believe you’re here!”

When I was president, I depended on my lifelong acquaintances to help me maintain perspective. Sometimes an evening of laughter and memories was just what I needed to lift my spirits and clear my mind. Other times, I’d turn to old friends for candid advice—I knew that they had no agenda other than assisting me.

On Jan. 20, 2009, Laura and I flew home to Texas after President Barack Obama’s inauguration. More than a dozen friends shared that final ride with us. A large crowd had assembled in Midland’s town square to welcome us home, and I was so deeply moved to see the faces of people from my childhood, the oil business, and my days as governor. As I said that day: “They were friends before politics; they were friends during politics; they’ll be my friends after politics.” My friends have truly been one of the greatest gifts of my life.

It’s been said you can judge a person by the friends he keeps—and if that’s true, then I’m a fortunate man indeed

Monday, November 15, 2010

Live, Hairy Crabs anyone? How about from a vending machine for a snack on the way home?

The scary thing is, these kinds of rumors have a way of taking root in the popular consciousness.



http://www.alternet.org/story/148826/16_of_the_dumbest_things_americans_believe_--_and_the_right-wing_lies_behind_them/?page=entire

By Sarah Seltzer

16 of the Dumbest Things Americans Believe -- And the Right-Wing Lies Behind Them


We’ve gone beyond Stephen Colbert's' truthiness' into a 'truth-be-damned' environment.

Americans are often misinformed, occasionally downright dumb, and easily misled by juicy-sounding rumors. But while the right wing is taking full advantage of this reality, the Left worries that calling out lies is "rude."

Remember when Congressman Joe Wilson stood up during Obama’s State of the Union address and shouted “You lie”? He was chastised soundly by the pundit class. But mostly he drew heat for being impolite, and was compared to Kanye West and other famous interrupters.

Revisiting Wilson's foolish tirade underscores the state of our upside-down political world. Wilson shouted “you lie” in the face of truth, but President Obama is hesitant to speak up when he’s being slandered with bald, glaring untruths. The dark irony will continue as the Republicans take over the House this winter and the rumors and insinuations from extremist right-wing pundits keep circulating.

It feels like no one with a loud enough megaphone has the courage to call a spade a spade, or more accurately a lie a lie.

We’ve gone far beyond Stephen Colbert’s “truthiness” into a more “truth-be-damned” environment; what Rick Perlstein described in the Daily Beast as a “mendocracy. As in, rule by liars.”

Here are some examples of recent ways we have made inroads in ignorance:

•Polling data during and after last week’s midterm elections suggested that many Americans genuinely believe President Obama has raised their taxes -- even though the reality is that our president actually lowered them for most of us. This means that people trust pundits like Rush Limbaugh, a major force behind spreading that lie, over the numbers on their own tax returns.

•Another recent phenomenon? Half of new Congressmen don’t believe in the reality of global warming. It’s not that they don’t just disagree on the source or the severity of the problem. They flat out don’t think the world is getting warmer--despite the evidence outside their windows.

•The new Congress will probably try to restore millions of dollars of funding for scientifically inaccurate, largely disastrous abstinence-only curriculum in schools, many of which have been shown to spread lies like "condoms don't work" and "abortion causes cancer."

•News outlets picked up a wildly inflated and completely outlandish claim from an Indian blog that Obama’s trip abroad cost $200 million a day--and listeners have swallowed it. (In this case, the White House flat-out denied it.)

The scary thing is, these kinds of rumors have a way of taking root in the popular consciousness.

Just as the election season began heating up earlier this year, Newsweek published a list of “Dumb Things Americans Believe.” While some of them are garden-variety lunacy, a surprising number are lies that were fed to Americans by our leaders on the far-Right. This demonstrates that media-fed lies can easily become ingrained in the collective memory if they’re not countered quickly and surely. Newsweek’s list included the following 12 statistics taken from recent and semi-recent polls and surveys. The first half are directly related to right-wing rumormongering.

•Nearly one-fifth of Americans think Obama is a Muslim.
Thanks, Fox news, for acting like this was a matter of opinion, not fact.

•25 percent of Americans don’t believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution while less than 40 percent do. Consider the fact that several of our newly elected officials, specifically newly elected Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, share that belief.

•Earlier this year, nearly 40 percent of Americans still believed the Sarah Palin-supported lie about "death panels" being included in health care reform.

•As of just a few years ago, about half of Americans still suspected a connection between Saddam Hussein and the attacks of September 11, a lie that was reinforced by none other than Dick Cheney.

•While a hefty amount of this demonstrable cluelessness gets better as the respondents get younger, all is not well in the below-30 demographic. A majority of “young Americans” cannot identify Iraq or Afghanistan--the places their peers are fighting and dying--on a map.

•Two out of five Americans, despite the whole separation of church and state being a foundation of our democracy thing, think teachers should be able to lead prayer in classrooms. So it seems those right-wingers clamoring to tear down the wall between church and state aren’t the only ones who don’t know their constitutional principles.

•Many Americans still believe in witchcraft, ESP and other supernatural phenomena. Does that explain why Christine O’Donnell was so quick to deny her “dabbling”?

•Speaking of antiquated religious beliefs, about a decade ago, 20 percent of Americans still believed that the sun revolves around the earth. That's just sad, considering that even the Vatican has let Galileo off the hook for being right.

•Only about half of Americans realize that Judaism is the oldest of the three monotheistic religions. Other examples of wild misunderstanding about religion and the separation of church and state can be found in this fall’s Pew survey on Americans’ religious knowledge.

•This one made a huge splash when it appeared. In 2006 more Americans were able to name two of the “seven dwarves” than two of the Supreme Court justices. And that was before Kagan and Sotomayor showed up. To be fair, Happy and Sleepy are easy to remember.

•More Americans can identify the Three Stooges than the three branches of government--you know, the ones who are jockeying over our welfare.

So what to do in a political and cultural landscape in which well-told lies have more validity than fact-based truth?

Perlstein explained how this environment gets created by explaining what happened on Election Day this year:

“...by a two-to-one margin likely voters thought their taxes had gone up, when, for almost all of them, they had actually gone down. Republican politicians, and conservative commentators, told them Barack Obama was a tax-mad lunatic. They lied. The mainstream media did not do their job and correct them. The White House was too polite—"civil," just like Obama promised—to say much. So people believed the lie.”

We’ve entered a bizzarro world in which calling out lies is considered rude, says Perlstein, so liars are allowed to sit tight and dominate the discourse. This gels with Bill Maher’s critique of the Rally for Sanity, that calling for “balance for balance’s sake” ignores two important aspects of news reporting: facts and evidence.

Blaming Americans for being ignorant unwashed masses--or taking potshots at an education system that doesn’t teach critical thinking-- would be the easy answer to this conundrum.

But the reality is that if messaging has such a big effect on Americans, then messaging matters. Folks on our end have to counter the lies with well-told, unabashed unironic, truth-telling. And we have to demand that our media, and our politicians, call out the other side. As Perlstein notes, “When one side breaks the social contract, and the other side makes a virtue of never calling them out on it, the liar always wins. When it becomes 'uncivil' to call out liars, lying becomes free.”

Even worse, once lies begin to spread, they become more than rumors--they become permanent beliefs.

Sarah Seltzer is an associate editor at Alternet, an RH Reality Check staff writer and a freelance journalist based in New York City. Her work can be found at http://www.sarahmseltzer.com/.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Grant had a great Memoir ... as I remember.

My Neighbor might have fudge a bit in this Memoir...




“Plagiarize! Plagiarize! Remember why God gave you eyes!”—Tom Lehrer (mathematician and satirist).

"Stealing from one source is plagiarism, but stealing from many is called research." -- Mark Twain

"Plagiarism, n. A literary coincidence compounded of a discreditable priority and an honorable subsequence." The Devil's Dictionary (Ambrose Bierce)


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/12/george-bush-book-decision-points_n_782731.html#s180908

When Crown Publishing inked a deal with George W. Bush for his memoirs, the publisher knew it wasn't getting Faulkner. But the book, at least, promises "gripping, never-before-heard detail" about the former president's key decisions, offering to bring readers "aboard Air Force One on 9/11, in the hours after America's most devastating attack since Pearl Harbor; at the head of the table in the Situation Room in the moments before launching the war in Iraq," and other undisclosed and weighty locations.

Crown also got a mash-up of worn-out anecdotes from previously published memoirs written by his subordinates, from which Bush lifts quotes word for word, passing them off as his own recollections. He took equal license in lifting from nonfiction books about his presidency or newspaper or magazine articles from the time. Far from shedding light on how the president approached the crucial "decision points" of his presidency, the clip jobs illuminate something shallower and less surprising about Bush's character: He's too lazy to write his own memoir.

Bush, on his book tour, makes much of the fact that he largely wrote the book himself, guffawing that critics who suspected he didn't know how to read are now getting a comeuppance. Not only does Bush know how to read, it turns out, he knows how to Google, too. Or his assistant does. Bush notes in his acknowledgments that "[m]uch of the research for this book was conducted by the brilliant and tireless Peter Rough. Peter spent the past 18 months digging through archives, searching the internet[s], and sifting through reams of paper." Bush also collaborated on the book with his former speechwriter, Christopher Michel.

Many of Bush's literary misdemeanors exemplify pedestrian sloth, but others are higher crimes against the craft of memoir. In one prime instance, Bush relates a poignant meeting between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and a Tajik warlord on Karzai's Inauguration Day. It's the kind of scene that offers a glimpse of a hopeful future for the beleaguered nation. Witnessing such an exchange could color a president's outlook, could explain perhaps Bush's more optimistic outlook and give insight into his future decisions. Except Bush didn't witness it. Because, as he himself writes later in the book, he wasn't at Karzai's inauguration.



READ MORE ABOVE...CONCLUDING


A Crown official rejected the suggestion that Bush had done anything inappropriate, suggesting that the similarities speak to its inherent accuracy. The editor of Bush's book wasn't immediately able to comment.

But if you already bought Bush's book thinking you were getting only his own thoughts, you haven't entirely wasted your money. Finding lifted passages in Bush's book is like an Easter egg hunt. Look for passages with a number of quotes back to back and then slap the passage into Google Books or plagiarism detection software you might have access to. The slideshow ABOVE shows what HuffPost has found so far. If you find any more, send the passage to ryan@huffingtonpost.com and we'll verify it and add it to the list.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010

O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, go away";


Tommy by Rudyard Kipling

I went into a public-'ouse to get a pint o'beer,
The publican 'e up an' sez, "We serve no red-coats here."
The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:

O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, go away";
But it's ``Thank you, Mister Atkins,'' when the band begins to play,
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it's ``Thank you, Mr. Atkins,'' when the band begins to play.

I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-'alls,
But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls!

For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, wait outside";
But it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide,
The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide,
O it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide.

Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap;
An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.

Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy how's yer soul?"
But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll,
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll.

We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints:
Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;

While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, fall be'ind,"
But it's "Please to walk in front, sir," when there's trouble in the wind,
There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,
O it's "Please to walk in front, sir," when there's trouble in the wind.

You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires an' all:
We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.

For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is country," when the guns begin to shoot;
An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
But Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool - you bet that Tommy sees!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Want to try for chamomile tea parties this time ?




Saw this in passing posted on one of the news stories today.

The Republican party has broken many PROMISES.

We conservatives completely missed the boat during the eight years of the George W. Bush 'Reign of Error' spending spree. The Republican party oversaw a two and a half times larger increase in goob-mint than when 'Bubba' Clinton was president.



The Republican administration gave airline companies a 17 billion dollar taxpayer gift in 2001 and there was No Tea Party.


The Republicans doubled the size of the Department of Education. - No Tea Party.


The Republicans mandated ethanol subsidies. - No Tea Party.


The Republicans increased pork barrel spending from 3000 to 14,000 annual projects. - No Tea Party.


The Republicans added another entitlement spending program. - No Tea Party.


The Republicans embarked on a potential 100 year social engineering project in Iraq. - No Tea Party.


George W. Bush announced in a 'State of the Union' address, about five years ago, that "It's America's responsibility to bring peace, freedom and democracy to the world." The entire Republican House and Senate caucus's stood and applauded enthusiastically. Nation building and social engineering in far-away places is an expansion of government. - No Tea Party.


In the fall of 2008, the Republican administration gave AIG an 85 billion dollar taxpayer financed 'teat suck' before TARP was even passed. - No Tea Party.
In the fall of 2008, the Republican administration needed 700 billion 'quick and clean' as just a start to bail out Wall Street. - No Tea Party.
In December of 2008, the Republican administration gave the auto companies 18 billion of the taxpayer monies....guess what? - No Tea Party.


Now, after an eight year slumber through the Republican socialist agenda are we conservatives going to be tricked into supporting Republican sponsored Tea Parties?

I think not!

Mom used to mail me newspapwer clippings of news ... that she thought I needed to be aware of in what I was doing in Life.

Mom used to mail me newspaper clippings of news that she thought related to what I was doing or how I was living at whatever time I was in my life... I have that habit of scanning the news and "clipping" the bits that seem to "flicker" with importance like she did... I loved reading her clippings, but not many people want a flood of these things on their HOME/NEWS FB pages or their email boxes... Mom felt that potable water was the next sarce resource in the world --- I think she is right.

Note: The human can live 3 minutes without air. 3 days without water. 3 weeks without food.

We are going to see MORE water problems, NOT LESS in our future.
Here is where we could innovate, design, make, and sell something the world needs... right here in the USA.

You can SEE in Haiti...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Thanks for the Kindle for my Birthday, Mrs. Holland!


"I hope I'm judged a success. But I'm gonna be dead, Matt, when they finally figure it out. And I'm comfortable knowing that I gave it my all...



"I have written a book," said President George W. Bush, at a trade conference in Chicago, Ill. last month. He joked, "This will come as quite a shock to some. They didn't think I could read, much less write."

Details from Decision Points began to leak in the weeks leading up to its November 9 scheduled release. From reflections on some of the most intense controversies his administration faced, to concerns over former Vice President Dick Cheney coming off to the public as "Darth Vadar," new insights continue to emerge as Bush conducts interviews about the book.

"I have zero desire, just so you know, to be in the limelight," explained the former White House leader last month. "I'm going to emerge then submerge."

In a one-on-one interview with NBC News host Matt Lauer this week, Bush spoke about his legacy.

"I hope I'm judged a success. But I'm gonna be dead, Matt, when they finally figure it out," he explained. "And I'm comfortable knowing that I gave it my all, that I love America and I know it was an honor to serve."

While the time Bush spends in the public eye may be short-lived, there's no shortage in details from Decision Points to keep buzz alive about the former president.


Here's a rundown on some of the most intriguing revelations:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/09/decision-points-george-w-bush-book_n_780122.html#s176791

Monday, November 8, 2010

There is no such thing as a free lunch or Cancer Treatment ...




Read the rest of the story :
Federal officials are conducting an unusual review to determine whether the government should pay for an expensive new vaccine for treating prostate cancer, rekindling debate over whether some therapies are too costly.

My father contended that our medical technology (our ability to cure illness or disease or physical disability) would always exceed our ability to pay for it.


When I did not find my way into medicine, he told me that the field was changing and that I probably had not missed anything really important. He did not like those changes much. Third Party Billing was the bane of his later years... and it vexes us today. And he saw a dangerous trend in medicine towards TOO MUCH TECHNOLOGY... so I went off in that direction with that trend towards too much technology.

To me it is real simple. Tax me, then spend that tax money for our common good.

One of my common goods would be reasonable medical care for all our citizens... and let the really wealthy live as long as they can afford. Let insurance companies "pay for cancer treatments" and let you and me pay for that coverage À la carte.


Pro bono publico ( latin for "for the public good" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pro_bono) like Dad did when the patient really could not pay him for the visit. He would not get paid... "write it off" is sometimes used to rexpress this practice in business... as against our taxes... a lost against income.

À la carte (French language phrase meaning "according to the menu", and used in restaurant terminology as:A reference to a menu of items priced and ordered separately, in contrast to a table d'hôte, at which a menu with limited or no choice is served at a fixed price... as in the phrase "There is no such thing as a free lunch..." Robert A. Heinlein.

Since Google is celebrating the Discovery of X-Rays... when did you see your first x-rays? Was it your toes?




Shoe Fitting X-Ray Device

In the late 1940's and early 1950's, the shoe-fitting x-ray unit was a common shoe store sales promotion device and nearly all stores had one. It was estimated that there were 10,000 of these devices in use. This particular shoe-fitting x-ray unit was produced by the dominant company in the field, the Adrian X-Ray Company of Milwaukee WI, now defunct. Brooks Stevens, a noted industrial designer whose works included the the Milwaukee Road Olympian and an Oscar Meyer Wienermobile, designed this machine.

The primary component of a shoe-fitting x-ray unit was the fluoroscope which consisted essentially of an x-ray tube mounted near the floor and wholly or partially enclosed in a shielded box and a fluorescent screen. The x-rays penetrated the shoes and feet and then struck the fluorescent light. This resulted in an image of the feet within the shoes. The fluorescent image was reflected to three viewing ports at the top of the cabinet, where the customer, the salesperson, and a third person (your mother?) could view the image at the same time.

The radiation hazards associated with shoe fitting x-ray units were recognized as early as 1950. The machines were often out of adjustment and were constructed so radiation leaked into the surrounding area.

By 1970, shoe fitting x-ray units had been banned in 33 states including Minnesota and strict regulation in the remaining 17 states made their operation impractical. Believe it or not, this particular shoe-fitting x-ray unit was found in 1981 in a department store in Madison, West Virginia. It was still being used in the store's shoe department! When it was pointed out to the store managers that it was against West Virginia law to operate a shoe-fitting x-ray unit, they donated it to the The U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

On permanent loan from the U. S. FDA, the power supply is disconnected on this shoe-fitting x-ray unit. Photos by B. Gaukel and J.J. Gaukel.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Some little bug is going to find you someday...




http://www.life.illinois.edu/ibhonors/LinkedMusic/SomeLittleBug.html


In these days of indigestion, it is often times a question
Of what to eat, and what to leave alone
Every microbe and bacillus has a different way to kill us
And in time they all will claim you for their own.

For there are germs of every kind in every food that you can find
In the market or upon the bill of fare
Drinking water's just as risky as the so-called deadly whisky
And its often a mistake to breathe the air.

Some little bug is going to find you someday
Some little bug will creep behind you someday
Then he'll call to his bug friends
And your troubles they will end
Some little bug is going to find you someday.
Well that lovely green cucumber has most everybody's number
And the sweet corn has a system all its own
That radish looks nutritious but its behavior is quite vicious
And a doctor will be coming to your home

Eating lobster cooked or plain is only flirting with ptomaine
And an oyster often has a lot to say
Those clams they put in chowder make the angels sing the louder
For they know that they'll be with you right away.

Some little bug is going to find you someday
Some little bug will creep behind you someday
Then he'll call to his bug friends
And your troubles they will end
Some little bug is going to find you someday.
When cold storage vaults I visit, I can only say what is it
Makes poor mortals fill their systems with that stuff
At breakfast prunes are dandy if a stomach pump is handy
And a doctor can be summoned soon enough.

Eat that plate of fine pig's knuckles and the gravestone cutter chuckles
And the grave digger makes a mark upon his cuff
Eat that lovely red bologna and you'll wear a wood kimono
As your relatives start packing up your stuff.

Some little bug is going to find you someday
Some little bug will creep behind you someday
Eat that spicy bowl of chili
On your breast they'll plant a lily
Some little bug is going to find you someday.
Those crazy foods they mix, they'll float you 'cross the River Styx
And send stardust climbing up the milky way
And those meals they serve in courses need a hearse and two black horses
So before the meal some people always pray.

Grapes breed appendicitis and their juice leads to gastritis
So there's only death to greet you either way
Fried liver's nice but mind, your friends will follow close behind you
And the newspapers will have nice things to say.

Some little bug is going to find you someday
Some little bug will creep behind you someday
Eat that juicy sliced pineapple
And the sextant does the chapel
Some little bug is going to find you someday.

[This seems to have been recorded for the first time in 1915 by Roy Atwell who later was the voice of Doc in Disney's Snow White. This link, to a music archive site, also allows you to play the original recording. The Mud Cat music source says it dates back to the 1890s. Your webmaster first learned it when it was the theme song for "Those Amazing Insects" on WEFT-FM (Champaign), a three minute entomology (not microbiology) program in the 1980s writen by then-Assistant Professor May Berenbaum of the University of Illlinois.]

Look at this Graphic from the OLD 2000 Census Data... what does it suggest our elected representatives need to be doing for USa?


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Fred Dallas in New Zealand with a much leaner Tasmanian Tiger...does she not look hungry to you?


The American Wild West according to William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody ....






http://www.pbs.org/weta/thewest/people/a_c/buffalobill.htm

Tasmanian Tiger or Thylacine and the last known living and largest carnivorous marsupial...long live the Opossum!


There are many mysteries surrounding the Thylacine, or Thylacinus cynocephalus to use its correct name, that remain to this day. Commonly known as the Tasmanian Tiger, it is the only member of the Thylacinidae family to exist within historical times. The Thylacine was a carnivorous mammal with very unusual physical features. One early European who observed the Tasmanian Tiger referred to it as "a kangaroo masquerading as a wolf" and saying it had the head and teeth of a wolf, the stripes of a tiger, the tail of a kangaroo and the backward-opening pouch of an opossum.

The Thylacine was in fact a strange looking animal. Looking somewhat like a large dog, but with a stiff and pointing tail that gradually tapered from the body. It ranged in colour from a greyish brown through to yellowish brown with 12 to 20 dark brown to black stripes running from the tip of the tail to almost the shoulder. It also sported faint white markings around the mouth, ears and eyes. The female had a rear opening pouch. The Thylacine was digitigrade, meaning it walked on its toes, giving it a stiff and awkward gait.

While the Tasmanian Tiger derived its name from its appearance and habitat it did, at one time, inhabit the Australian mainland and New Guinea. It is commonly believed the competition by the Indigenous population as well as the introduction of the Dingo led to its demise from the main lands, with Tasmania providing a safe haven.

Unfortunately European settlers, blaming the Thylacine for large sheep losses, hunted them to the point extinction. In the early 1840s private bounties began to be taken out on the Thylacine, by the early 1860s their habitat had been almost entirely restricted to the mountanous and remote parts of the island. Over 2000 Thylacines were killed for a government bounty between 1888 and 1909.


By 1905 the Thylacine population had decreased dramatically and by 1915 sightings were rare. The last know wild animal shot was on 30 May 1930, and the last captive animal died at Hobart Zoo on September 7, 1936. In 1936 legal protective status was gained but by then the wild population were at critical numbers. In 1966 a wildlife reserve was established in the Thylacines last known habitat but no solid proof of their continued existence had been seen.

Sightings are still recorded to this day. In 1953 a rabbit trapper caught what he claimed was a Tasmanian Tiger, its hide was later taken by Flora and Fauna Services. In 1970, a timber getter, his father, brother and a friend, all witnessed an animal they described as a Thylacine. In 1980, a women travelling with her two children stated she saw a Thylacine approximately 10 meters away from her around her chicken coop. Again in 1981, 1982, 1988 and 1989 clear sightings were recorded by four separate couples while traveling or walking through bush areas in Tasmania. One of the observers involved said of the animal: "it had a whip like tail and had stripes on it. It looked like a dog but it sure was no dog". All of these sightings occurred within close proximity in location and time in the north eastern Tasmania adjacent to the Panama Forest.

In 2005, two German tourists set off a media frenzy when they reported seeing, and photographing, a Tasmanian Tiger. The media quickly entered into the debate of whether the Thylacine was still living out there somewhere. The Bulletin even went as far as to offer an Aus$1.25 million dollar reward for the capture of a "live, uninjured specimen'. Another company chipped in further Aus$1.75 million. Bringing the total to $3 million Australian dollars (Both of these offers have since expired). It even prompted the director of the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Bill Bleathman, to propose the museum and magazine embark on a joint program of long-term research to investigate the many sightings reported to the museum.

While no firm proof has been received to date confirming that the Thylacine does still exist, many believe it is only a matter of time until this will be found. Their natural habitat is slowly becoming smaller as we encroach on the isolated areas of Tasmania through logging, farmland and residential areas. Only time will tell if, in fact, the Thylacine has been lurking out there the whole time.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Lewis Black on everything including his new book...Black Christmas.

If you are a Democrat feeling a little Blue today... take heart!




Obama Will Triumph -- So Will America
By Frank Schaeffer

Before he'd served even one year President Obama lost the support
of the easily distracted left and engendered the white hot rage of
the hate-filled right. But some of us, from all walks of life and
ideological backgrounds -- including this white, straight, 57-year-
old, former religious right wing agitator, now progressive writer
and (given my background as the son of a famous evangelical leader)
this unlikely Obama supporter -- are sticking with our President.
Why?-- because he is succeeding.

We faithful Obama supporters still trust our initial impression of
him as a great, good and uniquely qualified man to lead us.

Obama's steady supporters will be proved right. Obama's critics
will be remembered as easily panicked and prematurely discouraged
at best and shriveled hate mongers at worst.

The Context of the Obama Presidency

Not since the days of the rise of fascism in Europe , the Second
World War and the Depression has any president faced more
adversity. Not since the Civil War has any president led a more
bitterly divided country. Not since the introduction of racial
integration has any president faced a more consistently short-
sighted and willfully ignorant opposition - from both the right
and left.

As the President's poll numbers have fallen so has his support from
some on the left that were hailing him as a Messiah not long ago;
all those lefty websites and commentators that were falling all
over themselves on behalf of our first black president during the
2008 election.

The left's lack of faith has become a self-fulfilling "prophecy"--
snipe at the President and then watch the poll numbers fall and
then pretend you didn't have anything to do with it!

Here is what Obama faced when he took office-- none of which was
his fault:

# An ideologically divided country to the point that America was
really two countries

# Two wars; one that was mishandled from the start, the other that
was unnecessary and immoral

# The worst economic crisis since the depression

# America 's standing in the world at the lowest point in history

# A country that had been misled into accepting the use of torture
of prisoners of war

# A health care system in free fall

# An educational system in free fall

# A global environmental crisis of history-altering proportions
(about which the Bush administration and the Republicans had done
nothing)

# An impasse between culture warriors from the right and left

# A huge financial deficit inherited from the terminally
irresponsible Bush administration.

And those were only some of the problems sitting on the
President's desk!

"Help" from the Right?

What did the Republicans and the religious right, libertarians and
half-baked conspiracy theorists -- that is what the Republicans
were reduced to by the time Obama took office -- do to "help" our
new president (and our country) succeed? They claimed that he
wasn't a real American, didn't have an American birth certificate,
wasn't born here, was secretly a Muslim, was white-hating "racist",
was secretly a communist, was actually the Anti-Christ, (!) and was
a reincarnation of Hitler and wanted "death panels" to kill the
elderly!

They not-so-subtly called for his assassination through the not-so-
subtle use of vile signs held at their rallies and even a bumper
sticker quoting Psalm 109:8. They organized "tea parties" to sound
off against imagined insults and all government in general and
gathered to howl at the moon. They were led by insurance industry
lobbyists and deranged (but well financed) "commentators" from
Glenn Beck to Rush Limbaugh.

The utterly discredited Roman Catholic bishops teamed up with the
utterly discredited evangelical leaders to denounce a president who
was trying to actually do something about the poor, the
environment, to diminish the number of abortions through
compassionate programs to help women and to care for the sick! And
in Congress the Republican leadership only knew one word: "No!"

In other words the reactionary white, rube, uneducated, crazy
American far right,combined with the educated but obtuse
neoconservative war mongers, religious right shills for big
business, libertarian Fed Reserve-hating gold bug, gun-loving
crazies, child-molesting acquiescent "bishops", frontier loons and
evangelical gay-hating flakes found one thing to briefly unite
them: their desire to stop an uppity black man from succeeding at
all costs!

"Help" from the Left?

What did the left do to help their newly elected president? Some of
them excoriated the President because they disagreed with the bad
choices he was being forced to make regarding a war in Afghanistan
that he'd inherited from the worst president in modern history!

Others stood up and bravely proclaimed that the President's
economic policies had "failed" before the President even instituted
them! Others said that since all gay rights battles had not been
fully won within virtually minutes of the President taking office,
they'd been "betrayed"! (Never mind that Obama's vocal support to
the gay community is stronger than any other president's has been.
Never mind that he signed a new hate crimes law!)

Those that had stood in transfixed legions weeping with beatific
emotion on election night turned into an angry mob saying how
"disappointed" they were that they'd not all immediately been
translated to heaven the moment Obama stepped into the White House!
Where was the "change"? Contrary to their expectations they were
still mere mortals!

And the legion of young new supporters was too busy texting to pay
attention for longer than a nanosecond. "Governing"?! What the hell
does that word, uh, like mean?"

The President's critics left and right all had one thing in common:
impatience laced with little-to-no sense of history (let alone
reality) thrown in for good measure. Then of course there were the
white, snide know-it-all commentators/talking heads who just
couldn't imagine that maybe, just maybe they weren't as smart as
they thought they were and certainly not as smart as their
president. He hadn't consulted them, had he? So he must be wrong!

The Obama critics' ideological ideas defined their idea of reality
rather than reality defining their ideas-say, about what is
possible in one year in office after the hand that the President
had been dealt by fate, or to be exact by the American idiot nation
that voted Bush into office. twice!

Meanwhile back in the reality-based community - in just 12 short
months -- President Obama:

#Continued to draw down the misbegotten war in Iraq
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

#Thoughtfully and decisively picked the best of several bad choices
regarding the war in Afghanistan
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

#Gave a major precedent-setting speech supporting gay rights
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

#Restored America 's image around the globe
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

#Banned torture of American prisoners
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

#Stopped the free fall of the American economy
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

#Put the USA squarely back in the bilateral international community
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

#Put the USA squarely into the middle of the international effort
to halt global warming
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

#Stood up for educational reform
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

#Won a Nobel peace prize
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

#Moved the trial of terrorists back into the American judicial
system of checks and balances
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

#Did what had to be done to start the slow, torturous and almost
impossible process of health care reform that 7 presidents had
failed to even begin
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

#Responded to hatred from the right and left with measured good
humor and patience
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

#Stopped the free fall of job losses
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

#Showed immense personal courage in the face of an armed and
dangerous far right opposition that included the sort of disgusting
people that show up at public meetings carrying loaded weapons and
carrying Timothy McVeigh-inspired signs about the "blood of
tyrants" needing to "water the tree of liberty".
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

#Showed that he could not only make the tough military choices but
explain and defend them brilliantly
(But that wasn't good enough for his critics)

Other than those "disappointing" accomplishments -- IN ONE YEAR --
President Obama "failed"! Other than that he didn't "live up to
expectations"!

Who actually has failed...

...are the Americans that can't see the beginning of a miracle of
national rebirth right under their jaded noses. Who failed are the
smart ass ideologues of the left and right who began rooting for
this President to fail so that they could be proved right in their
dire and morbid predictions. Who failed are the movers and shakers
behind our obscenely dumb news cycles that have turned "news" into
just more stupid entertainment for an entertainment-besotted
infantile country.

Here's the good news: President Obama is succeeding without the
help of his lefty "supporters" or hate-filled Republican detractors!

The Future Looks Good

After Obama has served two full terms, (and he will), after his
wisdom in moving deliberately and cautiously with great subtlety on
all fronts -- with a canny and calculating eye to the possible
succeeds, (it will), after the economy is booming and new industries
are burgeoning, (they will be), after the doomsayers are all proved
not just wrong but silly: let the record show that not all
Americans were panicked into thinking the sky was falling.

Just because we didn't get everything we wanted in the first short
and fraught year Obama was in office not all of us gave up. Some of
us stayed the course. And we will be proved right.

PS. if you agree that Obama is shaping up to be a great president,
please pass this on and hang in there! Pass it on anyway to ensure
that his "report card" gets the attention it deserves.