I Got a Gift Card For Christmas

Saturday, December 27, 2008
I got a Gift Card for Christmas, and I'm looking for places to spend it on-line. Electronic money is new to me so it raises some questions about currency, banking and the economy in general.

Banks were the first to issue currency in America, then the Federal Government and now I don't know who is in control of currency. Money is supposed to be portable. Whether it's a gold coin or a paper bill. Certainly I can carry this plastic money with me, but is the money really in my pocket?

What happens if the electricity fails? I'm supposed to have some control over my money, control that I share with who-ever issued it. It seems that someone far far away has total control over my supposedly portable currency, and that brings me to the economic crisis that the world is facing.

Where did the money go? Who was controlling all that money that seems to have vanished? I'm not in control of my money, my elected officials obviously lost track of it somewhere along time ago and I doubt very seriously if anyone on Wall Street knows anymore than the rest of us...

I suspect there's a little room somewhere deep inside a computer complex, where several computer geeks are hiding, afraid to come out, and asking each other,
"Did you press the delete button? Are you sure we can't 'undelete' all that capital? You know, if anyone finds out, we're going to be in big big trouble ...ssshhh ...someone's coming..."
  
Americans have lost trillions of dollars to banks and businesses that refuse to disclose where they are putting the money. Maybe they put it all on a little plastic card, and are trying to get those geeks in the basement to put it back 'on-line' before anyone realizes what really happened.

I have this dreadful feeling that the situation is more like the Jesse James strategy ( he committed the first daylight bank-robbery in America ). He said,
"If you're going to rob a bank on one end of town, light a fire on the other end of town."

I'll be looking to spend my $50 plastic scrip today, as I have real doubts about it's durability in today's economy. 

Turn Out The Lights

Tuesday, December 23, 2008
I subscribe ( rss ) to whitehouse.gov, the official White House website for the Bush Administration. Soon, it will be time to turn out the lights, and shut down the site.

What will the last post be? Error 404? Redirect to change.gov? Or, will the last post hang in limbo as so may forgotten blogs, and failed business sites do?

Perhaps Barry will move in, and remodel the site. I've always admired the cool-blue theme of George's page, but I imagine Barry would want to 'change' things a little...

What's your thoughts?


The World is Watching - Obama

Friday, December 5, 2008
Throughout the recent Presidential Election in the US, I was continually amazed at the attention that the foreign press, and even foreign governments were showing in the race. When Obama won the election, it didn't seem like the attention diminished, it seems like it developed and grew.

Many have concluded that Obama's success was primarily the result of his focus on the inter-net as a tool to reach the young voters of America. In the process, Obama seems to have reached out and embraced a larger world. This 'inclusion' is a first, there has been no ascent to power witnessed by so many, from so far. 

Obama transformed his election team into a transition team, and his much heralded inter-net blog into a platform for change. It has been reported widely that the out-going President Bush provided support for the transition team by allowing nearly one hundred of his top administration leaders to work with Obama's staff to facilitate a smooth, seamless transition. A transition made easier still by the retention of several of Bush's team leaders.

Obama's Administration is taking form, and much to the surprise of the pundits and the press, he has selected many of his top administrators and Cabinet Members from the center/right wing of government. Obama's political talents have been compared to that of a fiddle player, that is he holds the instrument ( liberals that brought him to power ) in his left hand, and plays ( employs the skills of conservatives ) with his right hand.

What holds this team together? It's more than just the charisma of their new boss, it is a well thought out agenda. I'm wondering if the world is ready for such transparency in politics. But, if you're interested, here are a few links that detail Obama's policy agenda.
Let me know if you have any questions, I'll give my readers a year to wade through all this...stuff! 

Tracking the Mumbai Attacks

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mumbai on Twitter

The ongoing crisis in India has twitter going as fast as I've seen it in the few weeks I've been on Twitter.

Do Federal Programs Ever Work the Way We Think They Should?

I've been reading a lot about our Government bailing out the three major auto manufacturers lately. It looks like some program or another will eventually be developed.

Whether the Government does something in time to save the jobs of millions of auto workers remains to be seen. One thing for sure, the leaders of the auto industry are suffering scrutiny that I haven't seen in a long time. Using Lear Jets to beg for money raised a few eye-brows recently, and prompted several to change their public behavior. But will such scrutiny have any lasting, real effect on how the auto-elite run their businesses?

For decades I've watched Ralph Nader battle these fat-cats, and for years I've watched them fight back. The effort to lobby Congress for Legislation favorable to the auto industry is paid for out of money from auto sales. Simple enough, or is it?

Their are several major lawsuits against State and Federal Governments to set aside EPA and other regulations that auto makers don't like. Those law suits cost billions of dollars every year, and every year those lawyers are paid out of revenue from auto-sales. Simple enough, or is it?

My questions are; Are tax-payers going to fund a bail-out of these fat-cats that beg from Lear Jets? Are our dollars going to pay for the law-suits against the Government and the folks who are giving them their hard earned money? It sounds to me like a lot of lawyers are going to get a lot of money for a long time in a never ending cycle of....I'm looking for a word stronger than 'absurd', help me with this...

If we ( the people ) bail-out them ( the fat-cats and their lawyers ), we should require them to drop all lawsuits against us ( US ).

Report: Michael Jackson converts to Islam - UPI.com

Monday, November 24, 2008
Here we go again folks! Michael is now Mikaeel and the Peter Pan fantasy has replaced by Arabian Knights, or Ali Baba...
LOS ANGELES, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- Pop star Michael Jackson has converted to Islam at a ceremony in Los Angeles attended by Yousef Islam, the singer formerly known as Cat Stevens, sources say.
Link 


On the Job Accident

Friday, November 21, 2008
An accident has happened at the factory where I work.

It's Saturday morning, and as usual I'm up a few hours early to read the many news-papers that I subscribe to in my Google Reader. Most news is bad news, and most news is from distant and unfamiliar places about events that affect us indirectly. Not so this morning.

I'm reading this news-feed from the local newspaper about how a young man was severely injured. I had heard nothing of this when I left yesterday at 3pm, so I'm assuming it happened on either the second, or third shift. Being Saturday, most of my friends won't have heard this news when they arrive for work because the local Television news at this early hour is mostly farm and weather related.

This is not the first accident at hour plant, in fact there have been several severe accidents in the last few months. There have been explosions, and other events that should have drawn the attention of the media and Government. I read very little of these events in the news media. The equipment and the environment we work in is dangerous, and heavily regulated by State and Federal Agencies ( OSHA, etc ), and we have seen several inspections lately by these agencies.

On a normal Saturday schedule, we don't usually see much of Management at the Pasta Plant. I expect to see a lot of suits and ties today. This will be interesting to watch, as my shift supervisor is out for vacation and his assistant has been in charge for the last week.

I am debating whether to tell my wife about this news before I go to work. I don't want her to worry, but I don't want her to hear about from the local gossip mill while I'm gone either. For many years I drove a taxi, and she worried all that time. When I took this job, she seemed more secure. I hope this doesn't change things.

It changes things, a lot of things for a lot of people around here...

Here's what I read a few minutes ago. I hesitate to include the full article that I quote below, as it does include the name of my employer. If you click on the link, you will be directed to the full article as it appears in our local paper.
"...employee said he was suffering physical and emotional pain Friday after losing his right arm in a work accident at one of the company's Steeleville plants.

Speaking by telephone from Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Jeremy Stanley, 29, said he was surrounded by family members and friends in his hospital room. According to preliminary medical reports from Sparta Community Hospital, Stanley's arm was caught in a mixing bowl and got amputated at the elbow. He also suffered numerous cuts on his upper right arm..."
Link

I Want To Be A Bank

Saturday, November 15, 2008
If I were a bank, I could qualify myself for Capital Purchase Program for a few million bucks, and get billions of your bucks. Aren't you glad I'm not a bank?

I was browsing my rss feeds, when a news item caught my eye. It was about a well known Financial Institution who's value has jumped recently as the result of their intentions to buy a small bank in Florida. Check it out;
HARTFORD, Conn., Nov 14, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE: HIG) today announced that it has applied to the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) to become a savings and loan holding company and has applied to participate in the U.S. Treasury Department's Capital Purchase Program (CPP).
In conjunction with these applications, The Hartford has signed a merger agreement to acquire the parent company of Federal Trust Bank for approximately $10 million and will also provide an additional amount to recapitalize the bank. Federal Trust Bank, a federally chartered, FDIC-insured savings bank is owned by Federal Trust Corporation, a unitary thrift holding company headquartered in Sanford, Fla. The completion of this acquisition will satisfy a key eligibility requirement for participation in CPP.
"We are taking these actions as a strong and well-capitalized financial institution looking for maximum flexibility and stability," said Ramani Ayer, The Hartford's chairman and chief executive officer. "Securing capital at the terms available through the Capital Purchase Program could be a prudent course in this market environment and would allow us to further supplement our existing capital resources.
"The Hartford's purchase of Federal Trust Corporation is contingent on Treasury's approval of The Hartford's participation in the CPP, approval of the acquisition by the shareholders of Federal Trust Corporation, and the Office of Thrift Supervision's approval of The Hartford's application to become a savings and loan holding company. The Hartford estimates that it would be eligible for a capital purchase of between $1.1 billion and $3.4 billion under existing Treasury guidelines. The final amount of capital request will be determined following approval by Treasury...more  
So I'm asking all my contacts; "Do you know of any small Savings and Loan Companies ( they don't have to be very big ) that are in the need of 'rescue'? We could all get together, pool our cash and qualify for billions of taxpayer bucks! ! !

Or is that a crime....nevermind....sorry...I was just pondering the possibilties...

Washington Times - Whistleblower asked to reveal illegal FBI acts

Thursday, November 13, 2008
This could get interesting! Now that the election is over, and the Bail-out is in full swing and yesterday's news, bloggers and pundits are in search of scandle. This jus might be the main topic for the next few months in the blog-o-sphere.
The FBI has engaged in unlawful acts while carrying out a Bush administration intelligence-gathering program that allows surveillance of U.S. citizens without warrants, says an a well-known FBI whistleblower who has been asked to air his allegations to the Justice Department.

xxx

Obama Resigns!: Pics, Videos, Links, News

Link

Are We Ready to Impeach Obama?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Every President in living memory ( excepting Jimmy Carter ) has suffered the burden of a 'special prosecutor' investigating some aspect or another of their administration, and also the possibility of impeachment. Several have actually been impeached, and one has resigned directly as a result of zealous and thorough investigative reporting.

Barak Obama is sure to suffer the same indignity, so I've decided to get an early start at tracking any and all efforts by journalists, bloggers and pundits who will inevitably ply their talents in this modern form of black drama ( no pun intended ).

I will publish this post, ping it with Google's fine tool and then begin the search via Google Search. The tracking will be done automatically via Google's fine rss Reader. I will update this post with a link to those search results. They will be published by 'sharing' ( a Google Reader function, available to all Google Reader users ) in chronological order, most recent posts at the top.

To view the drama, simply click on this question;

Speak Now, or Forever Hold Your Peace

Monday, November 3, 2008
Vote. It's your voice in Government. 

If you don't vote, you have abdicated your proper power of speech in Government. You may feel disenfranchised, marginalized or side-lined and that your vote doesn't count. You may be right, but vote anyway.

If you don't express yourself at the polls, then whatever you say from now in is rendered mute, and irrelevant. This opportunity is like the moment just before a preacher pronounces two people man and wife;
"...Speak now, or forever hold your peace..."

A Note With My Pay-check

Saturday, November 1, 2008
I opened my the envelope, and found a rather long note included with my check. From the owner and CEO of the company that I work for, to all the employees, letting us all know how he felt about the up-coming elections. It was a long letter that promoted John McCain. I wasn't surprised that my boss was a Republican.

He made some good points, and I had to agree with most of what he wrote. I did notice that Obama's name wasn't mentioned at all. Not once.

Nor was any mention made of the Employee Free Choice Act ( EFCA ) made. For those that aren't aware, EFCA is making it's way across Capital Hill, and will most likely be on the new Presidents desk when he assumes office next year. This piece of Legislation would have a major impact on American Business, as well as Labor and for my boss not to even mention it seems rather odd. Unless he doesn't want to broadcast the news that he's about to lose a lot of control over his work-force.

I watched as about a hundred co-workers opened their envelopes, read the note and walked silently away. That's odd, I thought to myself. Not a word. I could see at least a dozen Obama t-shirts in the crowd, and no McCain shirts. You'd think there'd be some remark made about the note, and the owners political stand.

Several years ago I asked a coworker if there had ever been a union at the plant. He said there'd been a vote, but it had been voted down because unions would raise wages, kill the company and we'd all be out of a job. That sounded a little odd to me because I knew that it wasn't unions that shut all the mines down in this area, it was the EPA and a Republican President ( Ronald Reagan ). Odd, unless the guy asked was afraid to say anything else.

Many folks think that a secret ballot is one way to give a voice to those who are afraid of speaking out on things that seem 'a little odd'. And I agree that when the curtain is drawn on the booth your employer won't know how you vote, so you can vote in your interest instead of his. But is the path to the booth supposed to be a secret trail, hidden so that employees don't lose their jobs when the whisper about organizing or establishing a union?

EFCA will allow union organizers to move freely in the community, collecting signatures on applications for membership in a union. If the organizers get signatures of more than half the number of employees in a company, then the union is established without the permission, or even the involvement of the company.

There's more written into EFCA that will have even greater effects on our lives, and I find it very odd that nobody in the mainstream press, and very few pundits on the internet even mention it. Odd, unless they are afraid to speak... 




A New Voice; Caucasus

Thursday, October 23, 2008
I'd like to welcome a new voice to the internet; Caucasus News Media. Here is the first paragraph of their first post;
"...Starting this blog wan in my mind from the late spring, but projects just started and I was full of job. Now, when new media is started to develop and even global financial crisis (feeled here in Caucasus too) could not stop it - I am begining. The second issue, influence me - is the real increasing in the role of new media for civil society...more..."
Good luck Emin. You can read more about the author's activities at Global Voices Online.

Buckeye Institute Files State Rico Action Against ACORN - The Buckeye Institute

Tuesday, October 14, 2008
posted October 14, 2008

COLUMBUS - The Buckeye Institute, a Columbus-based think tank, today filed a state RICO action against the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) on behalf of two Warren County voters.� The action filed in Warren County Court of Common Pleas alleges ACORN has engaged in a pattern of corrupt activity that amounts to organized crime.� It seeks ACORN's dissolution as a legal entity, the revocation of any licenses in Ohio, and an injunction against fraudulent voter registration and other illegal activities.

Plaintiffs Jennifer Miller of Mason, Ohio and Kimberly Grant of Loveland, allege that ACORN's actions deprive them of the right to participate in an honest and effective elections process.� They allege fraudulent voter registrations submitted by ACORN dilute the votes of legally registered voters....Link

The "bailout" of the US financial sector - a knol by Knol Debates

Tuesday, October 7, 2008
There is a not too well known site provided by Google; Knol. It's been around for a while, and I've published a few, short 'knols' ( short for knowledge ). It hasn't had much success, as it is little advertised and not very flashy.

Knol is trying something new that may help boost the ratings of this little known project that I believe has a lot of potential. Knol is hosting the first in a series of debates.

Economists from the Cato Institute and the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) have offered opening arguments on what should come next now that the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act is law. If you'd like to get involved in the solution, rather than languish in the problem, I'd strongly suggest you read these opposing viewpoints presented by credible think-tanks that actually crave your comments and suggestions.

The Issue

" There's been a good deal of news lately. Major financial institutions are struggling to stay solvent. The stock market is a roller coaster, and the government has already intervened a number of times to try to stabilize the economy.  

This knol presents a debate on what actions should be taken to improve economic conditions now that the emergency economic stabilization act is law...more "
And while you're at knol, feel free to comment on my small contribution to the 'how-to-do-it' region of the blogo-sphere. I'm not sure if you have to register to comment, but what the heck, it's free....

Employee Free Choice Act

Monday, September 29, 2008
There is a major piece of Legislation working it's way through Congress, and the Senate. Backed by Senator Obama, and the AFL-CIO, it has the potential of changing the Economy every bit as much as the Bail-out ( Buy-in ). In fact, it may be one of the hidden motivations for the push to bail out so many businesses and banks.

This is a short video, made by one of the backers of the bill ( there are many ).


You can Google 'Employee Free Choice Act', or view my 'tagged' new-article list.

After the Gold Rush

Sunday, September 28, 2008
I was thinking about what a friend had said, I was hoping it was a lie. He was speaking of folks losing there homes, and there savings, and much more. I was wondering where that was happening?

I live in a neighborhood where most folks own there homes. We're buying ours from a guy, we have a 'contract for deed', which means we don't have to deal with a bank. No body seems to be moving out around here. Is there a delayed reaction to the current crisis?

Anyway, all this thinking reminded me of Neil Young ( go figure, he's not a prophet but he's a damn good poet ). So here's a video that features 'After The Gold Rush', one of my all time favorites. That's because I used to live in a big city that was hell bent on building houses for refugees from larger cities.

Folks would sell their homes in Sacramento, or the Bay Area and use that money to buy a similar home in Reno for less money, keeping the difference for a 'nest egg'. Some of those folks used there money to buy a better home, and passed on the 'nest egg'. The short story is; no one was building homes for the people in Reno, or Eugene, or Seattle. 

That was all during the Gold Rush, and that's over. 

This video uses images from a bygone day to symbolize the transient nature of progress and development. Not to mention Eminent Domain.


Walk around your neighborhood, and count how many people are moving out of their homes. I have one neighbor who may be doing that soon, but that's because of all his doctor bills, and not being able to work. It's not fun for him, but it's reallity ( reality ? ). Let me know if you know anyone who has suffered from the crisis on Wall Street.


Sunday Morning Coming Down

On this Sunday morning, I am wondering if many people are looking at Wall Street, and Congress with glee. I've read and heard much about the impending doom and demise of our Capitalist System, mostly from Closet Communists who have incorporated that day into their dogma. And it is Dogma.

Being Sunday morning, I'm reminded of another bunch who look to their calendars, and Holy Books with glee. I know of many who pray for the end of the world, and destruction of most of humanity, mostly from the Fundamentalist who do the same with Dogma as the Communists do. Both promote Dogma.

Don't think for a minute that Fundmentalist Religion and Communism are on opposite ends of a field. From where I stand, their both next to each other, on the other end of the pasture.

Directly to my right are Conservatives that value order and tradition, to the left are Liberals who seek to improve and build a better world. We look at those covorting gleefully, as dangerous lunatics that need to be kept at a distance ( but within view for safety's sake ).

I'm looking for a few Pragmatists on TV today, as I listen to pundets tear apart speaches and plans. I think it's going to work out for the better, because our Political System actually works when people are williing to compromise. That's the good news on this Sunday morning, people are willing to compromise.

The bad news; There's a ship in Somalia that has something very nasty on board. Several very large navies are circling that area looking for a solution to a problem that might be bigger than our troubled economy...pirates. 



Italian motorists demand return of fines after massive traffic lights scam - Times Online

Saturday, September 20, 2008
I've never been a fan of police departments that use cameras to ticket the owners of cars for traffic violations. They really don't contribute to traffic safety, and are in fact a form of taxation without representation. The video evidence is generally accepted as superior to eye-witness testimony, making it nearly impossible for the accused to defend themselves.

In Italy, very many people are hopping mad. An unholy alliance between technology and government has been raping their wallets and subverting their legal system. I can't believe that this problem is limited to Italy, and everyone should question whether their own Municipal Authorities aren't engaged in this new form of exploitation and corruption.

From Times Online
September 18, 2008
Italian police have uncovered a scam in which traffic lights in 30 towns throughout Italy were rigged to ensure that drivers were fined for failing to stop at red lights.Prosecutors in Milan said that the company that provided and maintained the traffic lights had manipulated them so that the amber signal lasted for only "a few seconds". This meant that motorists who thought that they had time to pass through the junction were inevitably fined for going through a red stop light.
Police said that 30 local councils were involved in the scheme, in collusion with the company that provided and maintained the lights...more
I read somewhere that fines are for people who do wrong, and taxes are for those who do right. I'll pay my taxes, but I demand some say in who is spending them on what. You may define revenues generated by traffic courts as fees, rather than taxes and you'd be correct if the folks that collect the money aren't lining their pockets with our money.

When the system that collects fees is corrupt, then that system is an illegal form of taxation. it is also a racket, and RICO laws should be enforced at the Federal level.

Besides the Constitutionality of all this, there's still the need for the police to be actively engaged with the general public. There mere presence on the streets and highways moderates traffic, and their absence ( as in cameras doing their work ) only increases risk on the streets. 

  

Saturday, August 9, 2008
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip -- Mahmoud Darwish, whose prose gave voice to the Palestinian experience of exile, occupation and infighting, died on Saturday in Houston. He was 67...more

As Easy as Falling of the Roof

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Something easy to listen too. As easy as falling of the roof.

Ginger Baker Trio - Ginger Baker Trio

Healing from Within: The Ever Increasing Need for Alternative Viewpoints in the Modern World.

Here's something interesting I found on the web today. It popped up in one of many Google Searchs that I subscribe to. It took a minute, but the picture finally registered in my mind. Do you recongnize the man? He' (in )famous in Europe, not really a celebraty but a real 'Person of Interest' as Authorities might label him.

He is accused of sanctioning genocide in the former Yugoslav republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Recognize him now?

The following is copied and pasted directly from his web page, dragandabic.com. I spent a while checking the site out, and it's got to be a fake. A check at ip-address.domaintools.com/ gives some interesting details.

------------------------

Dr. Dragan Dabic Healing from Within: The Ever Increasing Need for Alternative Viewpoints in the Modern World.

Welcome to the Official Web Site of Dr. Dragan Dabic (SRPSKI/SERBIAN)

The expression "alternative medicine", as used in the West today, takes into the consideration any healing practice "that does not fall within the realm of conventional medicine". As such they could include chiropractice, herbalism, Yoga, traditional Chinese medicine, different Indian practices, naturopathy, meditation, bioenergy, massage, hypnosis, homeopathy and diet-based therapies, in addition to other alternative practices. Holistic approach is not a method or a treatment, rather, it is an everyday philosophy of how life should be lived. Holistic health and fitness viewpoints place emphasis on reaching and maintaining good health as requiring more than just taking care of the various singular components that make up the human body. It points out that emotional and spiritual well-being is the key for not only happy, but also healthy life. The goal is a wellness that encompasses the entire person, rather than just the lack of physical pain or disease. As such this approach is in stark contrast to traditional medicine which focuses on treating symptoms without attempting to examine anything else.

Dr. Dragan "David" Dabic was born some six decades ago in a small Serbian village of Kovaci, near Kraljevo. As a young boy he liked to explore nearby forests and mountains, spending a lot of time on Kopaonik mountain where he tended to pick the omnipresent, natural and potent medicinal herbs that grew at those green pastures. As a young man he moved to Belgrade, and then on to Moscow where he graduated with a Doctor of Medicine degree (spec. in Psychiatry) at the Moscow State University (Lomonosov). After Russia, Dr. Dabic travelled around India and Japan, after which he settled in China where he specialized in alternative medicine, with a special emphasis on the mind-body control, meditation, Yoga, spiritual cleansing, as well as Chinese herbs. In mid-1990s Dr. Dabic returned back to mother Serbia for good, and ever since then emerged as one of the most prominent experts in the field of alternative medicine, bioenergy, and macrobiotic diet in the whole of the Balkans, and is frequent contributor to the regional alternative health magazines, and guest expert with numerous TV appearances and on many public forums, seminars and symposiums (Belgrade, Novi Sad, Pancevo, Sombor, Smederevo, Kikinda...) dedicated to these issues and topics.

Dr. Dragan Dabic currently resides on Yuri Gagarin street in New Belgrade, but for public forum invitations, television appearances or private consultations he can be reached directly at the following contact:

healingwounds @ dragandabic . com

"The Stone-Age Did Not End For The Lack Of Stones"

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sometimes someone says something so tightly wrapped, so direct, but yet somehow enigmatic...it sticks in your mind.

Study: Global warming may spark more kidney stones

Monday, July 14, 2008

Houston Cronicle
July 14, 2008, 4:54PM

Dallas scientists find the risk may rise by at least 30% if the climate change indeed occurs
By ERIC BERGER

The next time you feel a sharp, cramping pain in your lower abdomen, spare a thought for your personal carbon footprint. That's the message from Dallas scientists who predict that as the planet warms during the coming century people will sweat more, not drink enough water to compensate, and therefore develop more kidney stones...more

Let me guess, Government causes global warming by subsidizing ethanol, Antarctica melts, I get a stomach cramp so I sue the Government for surgery! That's crazy! Will the Medicare buy it? After all, Acts of God aren't covered, how about Acts of Congress?

I'm going to check the fine print in my policy....

Seven Pillars of Wisdom

Friday, July 4, 2008
Somethings never change, and are thus added to a very short list we know as, 'Wisdom'.

CHAPTER I

Some of the evil of my tale may have been inherent in our circumstances. For years we lived anyhow with one another in the naked desert, under the indifferent heaven. By day the hot sun fermented us; and we were dizzied by the beating wind. At night we were stained by dew, and shamed into pettiness by the innumerable silences of stars. We were a self-centred army without parade or gesture, devoted to freedom, the second of man’s creeds, a purpose so ravenous that it devoured all our strength, a hope so transcendent that our earlier ambitions faded in its glare.

As time went by our need to fight for the ideal increased to an unquestioning possession, riding with spur and rein over our doubts. Willy-nilly it became a faith. We had sold ourselves into its slavery, manacled ourselves together in its chain-gang, bowed ourselves to serve its holiness with all our good and ill content. The mentality of ordinary human slaves is terrible—they have lost the world—and we had surrendered, not body alone, but soul to the overmastering greed of victory. By our own act we were drained of morality, of volition, of responsibility, like dead leaves in the wind...Seven Pillars of Wisdom - T. E. Lawrence

Zooming Around the Alps In a Homemade Wing Suit

Landon-IcarusandDaedalusI suppose many of us have dreamed of flying ( like a bird, not a plane ). A man in Switzerland is showing the world that it can be done!

I would be an Seagull I suppose, soaring above the shore by day, and resting the side of a cliff by night. Eating, sleeping, searching for a soul-mate to share my sky!

From Jonathan Livingston Seagull;

"Seagulls, as you know, never falter, never stall. To stall in the air is for them disgrace and it is dishonor."


Zooming Around the Alps In a Homemade Wing Suit
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, July 4, 2008; Page A10

CRANS-PRES-CELIGNY, Switzerland -- Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's . . . Fusion Man!

"...It's always been my dream, to fly like a bird," Rossy said in an interview at his home in this Swiss village overlooking Lake Geneva. "And I don't want to do it just for myself, but to show mankind how to do it..."

A former fighter pilot in the Swiss air force who now flies commercial aircraft for Swiss airlines, Rossy has been scheming for a decade about possible ways to transform himself into a bird, albeit a mechanical one.

Washington Post - Video

Let the Games Begin!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Thousands of years ago Caesar looked out on the Roman Circus as some of his loyal subjects set their pawns for battle, while others watched eagerly from their choice seats. So it is today in Iraq, as Citizens of the Empire vie for their leader's attention. Who rules a modern Empire today, and wields the power of a modern Caesar?

With a classic 'thumbs up' He bestowed his blessing on the victorious and sealed the fate of their opponents. A silent gesture, high above and far removed from the bloody floor of the arena, often determined the fate of entire nations. Spoils of War often went to the victor, and generous commissions to those blessed by Caesars hand. Who's fate will Caesar's fickle finger favor today?

Keep in mind that all serve at the pleasure of Caesar...

Iraq Seeking Help to Develop Oil
BBC This is not a video player, but if you click on this image, you will be redirected to the source page at BBC.
Monday,
30 June 2008 11:08 UK

Iraq has begun the process of opening up its oil industry to foreign investment in an effort to boost output of the country's key income earner.

US and European firms will be asked to provide technical expertise to increase production by half a million barrels...more

Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP are heavily favored by oracles, auguries and pundits of the realm. ( My money is on Exxon, given their popularity with the Senate )

Hold your horses Rob!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

It's one thing to make us feel guilty enough about our prosperity to crack open our wallets and donate to a noble cause such as feeding the hungry people around the world. And lobbying our Government to get tax-dollars for organizations that serve these noble purposes can be a good thing too. But when you call us thieves, I take offense and question your motives as well as your methods. Oxfam bio-fuel policy adviser Rob Bailey said this today in an article published by the BBC;

"Rich countries... are making climate change worse, not better, they are stealing crops and land away from food production, and they are destroying millions of livelihoods in the process."

Stealing crops? Just who does he think owns those crops, and the fields that they are grown in? As a Christian, I do feel obligated to respond to the needs of others as well as I am able, but who's calling who a thief? It sounds to me like Rob thinks one mans property should belong to another man regardless of how much blood, sweat, and tears the actual owner has invested.

I've been reading a lot lately about the food vs fuel controversy, and the Food Summit recently held in Rome. I've kept a short list of relevant articles, tagging them as they are published on my Google rss feed reader. If you've been following the story, I'm sure you are aware of several major Natural Disasters, and Wars that have Great Effect on the price of food and fuel.

I understand that a free market system can be cruel, and that much could be done to improve the way food is produced and distributed around the world. But from what I've read and heard, food production efficiency and the range of distribution has increased vastly over what it was a century ago, and in fact is better now than it has ever been.

I've tried hard to be unbiased, and to tag articles that represent differing viewpoints, opinions and agendas. But some of the ass-hats that attended stretch the envelope of credulity. Case in point;

Statements like the one above make my butt crave barbed wire! This guy isn't soliciting for donations, he's inciting riots in the very areas he claims to be so concerned about. Incendiary remarks like this serve no good purpose...that's just the way I feel.

Until now, I've held Oxfam in the highest regard, and I hope this one man doesn't speak for the entire organization.

U.S. May Free Up More Land for Corn Crops

Friday, June 20, 2008

New York Times
By David Streitfeld
Published: June 21, 2008

CHICAGO — Signs are growing that the government may allow farmers to plant crops on millions of acres of conservation land, while a chorus of voices is also pleading with Washington to cut requirements for ethanol production.

Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa and one of Capitol Hill’s main voices on farm policy, on Friday urged the Agriculture Department to release tens of thousands of farmers from contracts under which they had promised to set aside huge tracts as natural habitat...more

Wallace's opinion;

This is extraordinary news, but I'm not really surprised. I've been following the crisis in the global food supply since I read Peter Casier's article 'The Global Food Crisis: A Perfect Storm'. Peter works for the UN, out of Rome and was one of the first bloggers to bring the issue to the world, preceding the World Food Summit recently convened in Rome. I made a list of related articles from around the blogo-sphere as they were published, and as the story developed I began to notice an obvious politicalization of the issue. I refer to that development as Political Hay ( As in; make hay, while the sun shines. By the way, these links are informative but I put them here primarily for corroboration ).

I knew hysteria had reached it's peak, when I read 'Obese blamed for the worlds ills' on the BBC Health page. Everybody and there brother was capitalizing on the tragic situation. From Africa to Iran, from Brazil to Burma, everybody except President Bush that is.

But now I see what a Lame Duck can do with a little patience. He can hand every corporate farm in the nation a fat bonus at the expense of land management, wet-land habitats, game reserves and the governments largest conservation program. These corporations have already been paid to leave the land fallow, and now those contracts may be waved. Do people understand that much of the corporate land that's been flooded is insured? That's two payoffs.

Now these corporations have a chance to plant a crop for a third payout from a highly ( and artificially ) inflated market.

Does anyone remember James Watt? He was Reagan's Secretary of the Interior that was forced to resign, after he did so much for so few. He made hay for Reagan's cronies, and it looks like Senator Charles E. Grassley, is trying to do the same for our current Republican President.

As for removing the requirement to plant a percentage dedicated to ethanol, what a crock. Do we really think that these corporate farms are going to pass up fourth payout at today's fuel prices?

p.s. I focused on corporate farms, because family farms receive only a fraction of the benefits, and have the least political clout. But just watch the news in the next few weeks, it will be mom and pop interviews that give a friendly face to the political hay making. What a crock

French Police Arrest Serial Garden Gnome Thief

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Few people are aware of the GGLF ( Garden Gnome Liberation Front ), and most of them speak French so fewer yet pay attention. But mark my words, justice will catch up to this shadowy threat to civilization! When I first read these headlines, I was sure the authorities were about to close in on these lawn terrorists. However, as I read on, I found that these heineous acts were most likely committed by one person ( no doubt a copy-cat ).

Not to fear, I'll keep the world posted on any progress in the battle against the GGLF.

Spiegel - Online - International
06/12/2008

Police in Bretagne have arrested a 53-year-old man suspected of the thefts of 170 garden gnomes. However, it is proving difficult to return the gnomes to their real owners -- the thief painted them different colors, making identification tricky.

When garden gnomes go missing in France, most are tempted to blame the shadowy Garden Gnome Liberation Front. The group has been linked to the disappearance of dozens of miniature garden residents over the years.

Not this time, however. Some 170 gnomes and other ornaments have been stolen in the north-western region of Bretagne recently. And it appears to be the work of a serial garden gnome thief acting on his own...more

McDonald's pulls tomatoes from sandwiches

Monday, June 9, 2008

Mon Jun 9, 2008 12:59pm EDT

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - McDonald's Corp said on Monday it has temporarily stopped serving sliced tomatoes on its sandwiches in the United States as health officials work to pinpoint the source of a salmonella outbreak.

"This is a precautionary measure only. McDonald's has not experienced any related issues to date," the company said in a statement...more

Related News;

Salmonella outbreak may dent bacon demand
05 Jun 2008

Food-borne outbreak should prompt reform: lawmaker
05 Jun 2008

U.S. probing Salmonella outbreak in 9 states
03 Jun 2008

Objectivity vs Sensitivity

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

For the last few months, I've been toying with the idea of on-line journalism. As I followed breaking news from around the world I read many stories about suffering and hardship. The NEWS is most often bad news, so how can a reporter maintain his professional objectivity, while witnessing horrible events like the flooding in Burma, or the earthquake in China where tens of thousands of people have died, and many more are still suffering?

On a local level, I'm facing what looks to be a dilemma.

Last week, a very close friend, and co-worker ( actually he's my supervisor, and neighbor ) pulled me aside and asked, "Would you come over to my house tonight, I need someone to talk to, something bad has happened." So Bob, his Mother, and I talked about the sudden death of his son. We talked all night.

Bob's major frustration was the seeming lack of concern for justice, and what seemed to be the will-ful ignorance of the police and press. As we talked, we three concluded that both parties needed to be prodded, forced if necessary to move on this man's request for information, justice, and closure. Hours of phone calls had the desired effect. The following is the first media report of the incident other than the simple traffic accident report.

Family: Why no charges: Officials have 'a lot of work' in accident that killed infant
By Adam Testa, The Southern
Wednesday, June 4, 2008 9:50 AM CDT

MURPHYSBORO - The death of an infant ejected from a car during a single-vehicle crash on Memorial Day has the paternal family questioning why no charges have been filed yet against the driver.

Seven-month-old Noe Agapito suffered fatal injuries when a vehicle driven by his mother, Yuridia Agapito, 26, of Carbondale lost control of her vehicle while driving westbound on Illinois 13 in Murphysboro, according to a press release from the Murphysboro Police Department last week.

Her vehicle skidded across the median into oncoming traffic and then overturned, police said. At some point during the rollover, Noe was ejected from the vehicle, and the press release noted he was not properly secured in a car seat. Noe died Thursday from injuries sustained in the accident.

Police Chief Jeff Bock said it "would be my belief" that Agapito does not have a valid driver's license. Kathy McCrary, Noe's paternal grandmother, said her family informed police that Agapito does not have proper credentials to live in the United States.

"I can't verify that this is true, but that's being looked into," Bock said.

While no official charges have been issued, Bock said everything had been prepared by Tuesday to send to State's Attorney Mike Wepsiec to ensure all appropriate charges are filed.

"There's a lot of work to be done," he said.

The loss of her grandson and the way the situation has been handled by all parties involved has left McCrary "frustrated and devastated," and her family members are not the only ones feeling sorrow.

"This blindsided everybody because the injuries did not seem that severe," Bock said, noting that neither police nor paramedics thought Noe's injuries were life-threatening.

Agapito and her passenger, 18-year-old Roberto Garcia, received minor injuries in the crash.

adam.testa@thesouthern.com / 351-5031

I may be a little too close to the story to be objective. I'm posting this here ( and cross posting to my other page ) for several reasons. First, these events have been on my mind a lot this last week, and I thought you all deserved an explanation for my perhaps odd attitude lately. But more important, I need feedback.

There are several issues involved, other than the natural grief, and suffering of the families. Did this article in the local paper raise any issues with you all? I would mention immigration as an issue. Cultural barriers, and culture shock is another. The story mentions the infant's grandmother, and that brings up family rights issues. And then there is deportation, and citizenship. Child safety, and child restraints...I could go on and on, but I wonder what my contacts think about this news article, as I've presented it.

Personally, I agree with Bob, and think someone should do some jail time. But that's the problem I started this post out with. I am very close, and emotionally involved with the story. Although my lack of objectivity won't stop me from pushing this local story as far as it will go, I just can't see how real journalists do it. Report tragedies without bias, and retain their humanity.

It seemed to me that the reporter did as well as he could, with the information available. But, I wonder if there would have ever been a story, if Bob hadn't pushed the issue.

Thanks for reading. If this post makes you all too uncomfortable to comment, I'll understand.

Wallace.

Bad Moon Rising

Monday, June 2, 2008


I'd like to share the sentiments of Frontra NorteSur, who wrote among other things in Newspaper Tree , her disappointment that CCR could not perform this song;


I see the bad moon rising.
I see trouble on the way.
I see earthquakes and lightnin.
I see bad times today.

Don’t go around tonight,
Well, it’s bound to take your life.
There’s a bad moon on the rise…

( lyrics from Credence Clearwater Revival ).

The full article gives in words an image of a city on the edge. A city on the border of two great nations, and on the brink of collapse under the weight of corruption, violence and fear .

Bad Moon Rising: The Crisis in Ciudad Juarez


By last weekend, what began as a public safety crisis earlier this year had evolved into a broader political-economic one as well. Stirred in with the narco war are rising street crime and kidnappings for ransom, all of which creates a generalized sense of insecurity. Talk is emerging of a “Nuevo Laredo Effect.”

Both the U.S. House and Senate have passed bills that provide funds for Mexico's war on drugs. Many are worried that the money will used to by the military to establish a puppet state at the expense of Mexican Sovereignty.

The 'trouble on the way' may be a counter-insurgency war provoked by U.S. corporations who see Mexico as a source of cheap labor. With the U.S. public attention focused on the War in Iraq, and the Presidential Election, many are uninformed about the efforts of SSP and North American Inland Ports Network.

The people of Juarez know full well the impact of money and power, they just don't understand how so many soldiers on the streets can fail to catch the bad guys, and protect the people.

German farmers deploy the milk weapon

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

This is a story that I found on my my Google Reader. Published on Foreign Policy - Passport, and inserted into this blog with my Windows Live Writer, this story is important to me for it's content, as well as it's dubious status as my first effort using a new blogging technique.

I spent much of my youth on a farm in the American mid-west and I maintain a close relationship with my family that still lives and works on that farm. Through the years, much effort was made by my Grandfather to establish 'Collective Bargaining' in American Agri-business. Resistance to these efforts frustrated that man his whole life, and I have spent decades trying to understand those forces at work in this nation.

Read this article, and ask yourself; Is this information, or propaganda? Education, or Indoctrination? Does it appeal to your mind, or your emotions? Farmers world-wide have encountered publicity of this type, that always portrays the farmer as insensitive, and rarely mentions the total lack of control that farmers have over the market.

German farmers deploy the milk weapon

Johannes Simon/Getty Images

HOFSTETTEN, GERMANY - MAY 27: Farmer Jakob Moesl (C) blocks the access to his farm with a empty milk tank and a placard reading 'Stop milk delivery!!! For a fair price' on May 27, 2008 in Hofstetten near Landsberg am Lech, Germany.

Germany's dairy farmers are furious. Many have them have stopped shipping milk to factories because they want 43 eurocents a liter, rather than the 28 to 34 cents they get now. But there's a problem: What to do with all the milk they are still producing? The cows don't go on strike just because the farmers do.

According to Deutsche Welle, "the unsold milk is being fed to calves or dumped in farm-waste tanks."

It's a shame when so many people around the world are struggling to buy food, but Romuald Schaber, who heads an association of some 30,000 dairy farmers, says the boycott is the only tool in the farmers' arsenal:

All we can do now is use our milk as a weapon.... Milk is might, and we have the milk."

The Pentagon's 'Information Dominance' Program

Saturday, May 24, 2008

House Passes Amendment Calling for an Investigation of the Pentagon’s “Information Dominance” Program


Last month, the New York Times published an article outlining how the Pentagon set up private briefings for a network of “military experts,” who often held financial stakes dependent on continued Pentagon access, in order to achieve “information dominance” in the American media. As Chairman Skelton stated in April, “it all comes down to [...]

It all comes down to 'Propaganda'.

On April 20, 2008 the New York Times published Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon’s Hidden Hand. After the Times successfully sued the Defense Department to gain access to 8,000 pages of e-mail messages, transcripts and records, DAVID BARSTOW discovered the new term for propagandists; “message force multipliers”. And the major news sources totally ignored the most important story since the 'Pentagon Papers'.

On May 8, 2008 Politico published 'Deafening' silence on analyst story, and credited bloggers for keeping the story alive.

“We are in a time when stories can have a second life,” said Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism. A few years ago, if a story did not generate attention after a week, it could be considered dead, said Rosenstiel, who cited the instance of how bloggers revived the U.S. attorney firings story.

Rosenstiel’s organization tracked the mainstream media for a week after the Times story and found that out of approximately 1,300 news stories, only two touched on the Pentagon analysts scoop — both airing on PBS’s “NewsHour.”

Representative DeLauro says, "...you have betrayed the public trust..." as she spoke to the House;

Rep. DeLauro:“This is propaganda, it is a military and industrial complex in which military analysts, many who have ties with the contractors making money off of the war and parroting DOD talking points on the air to mislead the American public and the TV networks did nothing to prevent it. And I would just tell my colleagues that if you voted for the DOD Appropriations Bill last year, you voted to prohibit this. You’ve done it since 2002. Donald Rumsfeld met with these guys 18 times, told them what to say, and then, my friends, DOD hired a company to track their remarks on the TV networks.”

This story is not going away, and will have a great influence on the up-coming Presidential Election. While the major news sources are focused on which candidate mis-spoke, which church they attend, and what pin they wear in their lapel bloggers will continue to expose would-be tyrants.

At some point, hopefully before the election, bloggers will bring 'America the Empire' to the front of public debate. A Democracy does not not need to practice propaganda, and the news-media in a Republic is not afraid to publish the truth.

I am a proud citizen of the Empire, and as such despise hypocrisy.

St. Louis - Gateway to the west

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

800px-St. Louis on the Mississippi Jefferson National Expansion - Daniel Schwen - GNU Free Documentation license

The arch of St. Louis, Gate-way to the west. A most appropriate symbol for the American Empire.

The Mississippi, a modern Rubicon. The die was cast many years ago, while Europe's Aristocracy pondered their belly-buttons. From these wharfs a flotilla was launched against rebellion. From this city, a ribbon of rails was laid to connect the seas, and establish dominion over a continent. Through this portal commerce bloomed in a Capitalistic Eden.

The seat of power is here, in the Heart-land of America. Those pioneers knew full well geography, their position in world affairs, as well as Providence. Dominion is, and always has been the objective.

Don't be fooled, by the slender profile of the arch, it is concrete wrapped in steel. Flexible strength to weather any storm, any tremor of the ground and even lightning from heaven. It is Pride incarnate.

Let Europe and Asia know the truth, they will be split up the middle, and sold as salvage. There treasures will pass under this arch as tribute, and their posterity will be pilgrims in it's shadow ( a small fee will be acceptable ) if they persist in their folly.

For too long, the Empire has been slandered, and assaulted. When the election is done ( and no other election has been so widely and eagerly witnessed ) sovereignty and law will join hands with dignity and justice under this monument dedicated to a great people.

Three score and three years of peace have been enjoyed in St. Louis, as well as all the Capital Cities of Europe as direct result of Manifest Destiny. Don't give credit to any other. Thank God for your Liberty, and fear the Empire for if you descend again into the hell of war the only peace you will know will be a long rest with your ancestors.

Today, the President of the United States of America is touring a war torn world. This may very well be an opportunity to negotiate a lasting peace. He, like his father is a son of pioneers. He means what he says, and he says what he means. Like the Gate-way Arch in St. Louis, he is concrete, wrapped in steel. Flexible, strong, and proud.

Consider this post a challenge, and show me your leader. Is he a winner? Is he honorable? Has he brought you peace, or prosperity? Show me your Gate-way City. I want to see your arch.

A WELL-KNOWN MOUNTAIN

Monday, May 5, 2008


On May 2, 2008, I spent the evening at a friend's place, on the 10th floor of a well-known building on a well-known street which was named after a well-known artist of this well-known nation of which this is the little-known capital city. Of course, well-known or little-known depends on where you live, and where you were born, and who you are, and what you do, and what are your interests, etc. Why am I writing this?

In the distance stands one of the most well-known mountains of all times: Mount Ararat. Next to it, to the left, is Little Ararat. To the far left, there is where Iran begins.

I didn't retouch the picture in any way, so what you see in that picture is very much what you would have seen, had you been standing on that balcony, early in the evening, on May 2, 2008. It was too late to see the swallows ; the birds are usually flying there, numerous, and noisy, and happy.



FREEDOM SQUARE, MAY 2


Two months after the bloody events of March 1st, 2008, in Yerevan, Armenia, the men in blue are still occupying the so-called Freedom Square which I have always called La Place de l'Opera, because that's really what it is.

There one can rent a bicycle or a little electric vehicule for their child, for a short time... The place used to be alive with city folks of all ages, but now it's just a sad desert of asphalt. In the picture (which isn't great, but it shows what it shows) the Opera building stands in the background.




Who's to Say What's Right or Wrong? - By Richar Sharvey

Monday, April 28, 2008
In my my meandering path through this vast cyber-world, I occassionally find a gem. Richard Sharvey (1981, 1986)contributed to my intellectual wealth, by writing this essay. The man built a down-to-earth foundation for his lofty ventures into the upper firmament.

He answers the question, "Who's to Say What's Right or Wrong?" with; "People Who Have Ph.D.s in Philosophy, That's Who..."

This is a short read, and well worth the effort.

----

"...Who's to say what's right or wrong?" The whining tone with which this question is usually asked seems to suggest that there is only one possible answer: "nobody." And this then suggests that there just are no such things as right and wrong at all--that the words "right" and "wrong" are merely grunts like "mmmm" or "echh" with which English-speaking human animals express personal subjective approval and disapproval, caused by custom, habit, and cultural bias that are purely conventional and have no basis in reason. (cp. "Who's to say whether fat men are more attractive than skinny ones?") This rhetorical interpretation of the question, as containing its own answer of "nobody," may just amount to the following unsound argument (using the (a) and (b) from above):

(b) is true
(b) is inconsistent with
(a)therefore, (a) is false.

...more..."

GRANT OFFER OF $500,000USD

Thursday, April 17, 2008

DO NOT BELIEVE A WORD OF THIS ENTRY. IT IS A SCAM. I WILL LEAVE IT POSTED. I DO NOT BELIEVE A WORD OF IT, AND NEITHER SHOULD YOU.

Fondazion De Vittorio,
ITALY
.

http://www.fondazionedivittorio.it

Attention:Recipient,

The Foundazion di Vittorio, would like to notify you that you have been chosen by the board of trustees as one of the final 10 recipients of a Grant/Donation cash aid of USD$500,000.00 (five hundred thousa nd United States Dollars) for your own personal education, and business development . The Fondazione Di Vittorio, established 1977 by the Multi-Million groups and now supported by United Nations Organization (UNO) and the European Union (EU),is conceived with the objective of human growth, educational, and community development thereby uplifting th e standard of living of people.

You are required to contact our office annex in MADRID SPAIN for the processing of your grant/donation cash aid as this will ensure efficiency in our services, meanwhile you will be given your donation pin number/payment-release-order-form, which you will use in collecting the funds. Please endeavor to quote your Qualification numbers (S-222-6747, C-900-56) in all discussions.

CONTACT DETAILS BELOW:
=================== ========================
Fondazion Di Vittor io ESPANOLA
CONTACT NAME: DR. Charle s Melvis
E-MAIL CONTACT: fondiziones@aim.com
ITALY.



All information is strictly confidential and will only be used for the purpose to which it is been requested in order to avoid unwarranted taking advantage of this programme by non-participant or unofficial personnel.


Finally, all funds should be claimed by their respective beneficiaries, no later than 15 days after notification.
On behalf of the Board kindly, accept our warmest congratulations.
Regards.
Mr. Andrea Gianfagna
(Foundation officer



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Who Owns Yerevan?

Monday, April 7, 2008
Published in March, '07, by Vahan Ishkhanyan, an interesting observation;
"In reality, and in ways that matter most to average citizens and especially to small business owners, the city { Yerevan } belongs to organized, sometimes criminalized, clans – “akhperutyuns”, or brotherhoods, that assert their power through their position or connections."

Vahan gives presents a more realistic image of the Yerevan, the capital city of Armenia than do all the media. The official press would have you believe Yerevan is a model city, the bloggers agenda is primarily dissent, and sometimes revolutionary. And the poets of Armenia ( as elsewhere ) are so dark, and moody one would think the sun never shines on Yerevan.

Sociologist Harutyunyan is quoted;

“An early capitalist-feudal system has emerged in Armenia,” says sociologist Harutyunyan. “The country did not outlive other eras. A slave has become a slave owner. No other model works. The layers that remained in people’s sub-consciousness woke up and at once they restored the feudal order.”

A reader might think the author is speaking of New York, as he describes the of crime and politics into the web of deceit we call 'Government'.

RIVER

Monday, March 24, 2008

Every time I sat by a river
my life was changed.

Is it because there are few rivers left
or because I don't usually sit anywhere,
but on a chair?

River.
River.
River.

I know of rivers of blood.

::: ::: :::

[Picture: Food by reading_is_dangerous]

Blessing of the Bikes

Sunday, March 23, 2008
Every spring, near Alto Pass IL, people gather for a blessing of their bikes. This photo was taken by a friend last April. Some find it odd, that bikers seek a blessing. I think it's marvelous, and a testimony of an inclusive love, that comes from God Himself.

The Bald Knob Cross stands on a bare hill in Southern IL. On Easter Sunday it stands above a multi-denominational celebration of the Ressurection of Christ. In years past, the bald knob was used by river pirates to spy on flat-boats that travelled the Ohio River, that is visible from the bald knob.

I hope to get more photos this spring, and I will add them to this post.

Khor Virap Monastary - Mt. Ararat

Khor Virap ("Խոր Վիրապ" in Armenia, meaning deep dungeon) monastery.
( This Photo is large! If you click on Photo, your computer may crash! )

Armenian Empire

Armenia

TER-PETROSYAN WITNESSED [06:39 pm] 01 March, 2008

Friday, March 21, 2008
I stayed in the Square for 2 hours until 8.35 a.m.. I set down smoked, drank water, no one approached me again. Later Sarkisov came up to me and said that I should leave; I repeated I would leave if they carried out my demands.


( As reported by A1+, in a related report Levon Ter-Petrosyan recalls the events of March 1 )

Levon Ter-Petrosyan remained in the Liberty Square long, and today under the home arrest he conducted a press conference and many international journalists participated in it. The RA First President tells about the incident in detail.

“At 6 a.m. I was waken up and told that special troops from Parakar and Davitashen were moving in our direction, but they were not armed. I talked to the people. We did not think that something would take place. To secure us in case of emergency we turned on the microphones to be able to communicate with people. The troops were observed at about 6.30-40 a.m.. They made a circle in the neighboring streets and arrived in the Square. The troops came in rows from the right and left and stood in front of the people. I told the people not to complain or attack on the troops; I asked them to be patient and not to talk with them. I asked them to wait until we found out what the police wanted from us. This was my last word. The rows of the troops moved forward and began beating the people. I saw two things - truncheons and sparkling electric shocks. You could see the blue sparkles all the time, nothing else, no guns, no gun-shells, no gas, no tear gas, no cars pouring water. The mentioned two weapons were used for protection. People were resisting them, but they were beaten severely. Some times later the officers of the president’s security service headed by Grisha Sarkisov appeared on the platform. My bodyguards were protecting me, but they represented the mentioned department and they obeyed Grisha Sarkisov. My bodyguards were protecting me, only Grisha Sarkisov’s men were able to evacuate them from the platform. Then Grish Sarkisov and someone else hold my arms and descended from the platform, then my men surrounded me and I said I would not leave the Square, I said they were free to arrest me, since I would leave only in handcuffs. I asked them to appeal to the General Prosecutor Aghvan Hovsepyan, let him give sanctions if they considered that it was an illegal rally and I had organized it. No one else is responsibility for the rally and only in that case I would leave the Square. Everything happened within 10-15 minutes, the Square was emptied swiftly, you could not see anyone in the Square, but the policemen. The troops surrounded the territory of the Opera, then they began ruining the equipments on the platform, tents and began looking for some things, some cudgels, I saw how they spread the cudgels and recorded it. They had operators with them who were recording it. I stayed in the Square for 2 hours until 8.35 a.m.. I set down smoked, drank water, no one approached me again. Later Sarkisov came up to me and said that I should leave; I repeated I would leave if they carried out my demands. He came and left several times, maybe they were consulting, then the police rows came, moved my bodyguards away and demanded me to follow them, but I resisted again, then they held my arms made me get onto the car, and brought me home, later I found out that they had locked my both gates.

Then I sent the head of my bodyguards to find out whether I was under home arrest or not. They said that I was not under home arrest I simply had no right to leave the house and no one had the right to come to my place. Some of my friends tried to come to my place; they did not allow them in. This is the whole story. I have tried to contact with my friends, I managed to talk to 4-5 of my people. Many people were injured, I saw how a young man was beaten, he ran in the wrong direction. 7-8 policemen beat him with truncheons, if my guards did not save him, he would probably be dead’.

Levon Ter-Petrosyan also informed that police did not warn them anything. “If only they had warned, maybe the crowd would disperse, but they did not say anything”.

A grandmother and her four grandchildren set themselves on fire

Friday, March 14, 2008
Photo and text from russianspy.org


A grandmother and her four grandchildren set themselves on fire outside the Presidential Residence in Yerevan, in an act related to the murder of a relative, ArmeniaNow reported today.

The five victims were taken to hospital. None of the injuries is believed to be life-threatening. Gyulizar Avdalyan, the grandmother is in worst condition, with burns over 15 percent of her body.

The children, ranging in age from 11-15 were burned mostly on their wrists and faces.

Liberty Square, March 1,2008.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008
These photos were posted on; http://hnazarian.blogspot.com/

Photos taken shortly after the police attacked the protesters.



Listening is risky

Before I learned to think properly, I learned to speak. Sometime later I learned to listen. Somewhere along the line, I learned to read ( I've heard that reading is dangerous ). I am just now learning to write ( and that is not without some risk ).

And that is why ambiguity is so wonderful! Can you 'square' a thought?


    WE are the people
    we ARE the people
    we are THE people
    we are the PEOPLE


I count six disctinct messages in the words above,

    six thoughts,
    six ways to say them,
    six ways to hear them,
    six ways to read them.
    six ways to write them.
    six ways to be the people.


I'm looking for a seventh, got any new ideas?

Goats for Progress

Sunday, March 9, 2008
If you use a dial-up connection you will probably not be able to view this video.



How many goats does it take bring a nation into the twenty-first century?

r_i_d

Thursday, March 6, 2008
hello Wally,

Thank you for your messages.
That's very generous of you.

I surely cannot talk. I'm already borderline here,
and things could very quickly change to the extreme worst.

It's probably to late for Armenia already.
The US wants Moscow to let them do whatever they want with Kosovo,
and that probably means Washington won't ask anything from Moscow who
controls what's happening here in Armenia.
This is just a rough approximation.

I'll tell you more when I can. It should be a warning to Americans themselves--
You'll see.

Your friend,
S.