Friday, December 30, 2011

The Sherriff Andy Taylor Effect

Crawling out of the pits of suffocating illness, this will probably be my last post for the year. Minus: Too tired to do any kind of comprehensive memorial. Plus: Too tired (even!) for my usual sociopolitical jeremiads.

Now I'm kinda late -a year late, and not a dollar to my name - to say hey to the Golden Anniversary of The Andy Griffith Show. But (who knows?) I may be the first to 'publish' a little-recognized phenomenon. A phenomenon I dearly love, honor and treasure. God bless the TAGS originators and the wonderful authors (and their characters, storylines and tone) inspired by The Andy Griffith Show.

That's right, it's a self-lucent gem of a sub-sub-sub-sub genre of fiction: Mystery/Detective > Cozy > Humorous > Rural: The great ensemble TV show Barney Miller took Mayberry spirit to an urban PD, and there were some semi-cozy TV series featuring rural law enforcers, fish in or out of their accustomed waters, but these were more children of Matt Dillon than of Andy Taylor.

AND ANDY TAYLOR BEGAT: Joan Hess's ARLY HANKS OF MAGGODY, M.C. Beaton's HAMISH MACBETH, Bill Crider's DAN RHODES, and Rhys Bowen's EVAN EVANS. There may be more. If there are, I want to find them! I hope this genre will go on and on, till Jesus comes back and rids existence of badguyness. If you haven't had the pleasure of this deceptively folksy and casual constabulary, detect your way to your local libraries and booksellers, and go for it!

Now, see here: ~'Myers Lake' WARNING: Innumerable visitors have been helplessly seized by the compulsion to whistle the TAGS 'Fishin' Hole' ditty.

Outrageously, there is no Wikipedia page for the great JOAN HESS. You might ought to try these: ... Y'all be sure to look into Ms. Hess's CLAIRE MALLOY series, too! (a.k.a. M.C. Beaton) (To their shame, Mr Crider is not on the Alvin, Texas, or Alvin Community College pages. What is it with towns and colleges ignoring their authors... Especially when most of us would probably never have heard of the places 'cept for their noble scribes?) (a.k.a. Rhys Bowen)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

TCM Remembers ~ Film Personalities Who Died in 2011

TCM does it classy, if not always completely.  Copyrighted, so use link -- or watch TCM pretty often before the end of the year.  R.I.P., y'all.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Naive About Bigotry

I didn't think someone as vehemently against aliens taking US Citizens' jobs, as pro-moratorium-on-ALL-except-worst-case-refugee-immigration, and as approving of some kinds of TSA-type 'profiling' as I* would be all that naive about remaining bigotry entrenched in this country.  Can even I be all that Left Coast multiculturalist? :

Item 1:  (BTW:  I am an old female used to be 20-30 lbs overweight [but carried it well:  Muscles & bazooms! now deflated/gone south] throughout adulthood but now 'the right weight' through the old-fashioned way: Poverty and illness.  I was never a chubby-chaser, except from the perverted POV of the 'can't be too thin' sticks-for-brains.)  Found out that there's an overwhelming prejudice against 'big'/'plus size'/portly men - or even lowfat big muscle-y guys!  Outside of erotic fat fetishism (& I didn't go there!) there is simply no recognition online that big (except tall stringbeans) men can be handsome.  BUT THEY SOOOOOOO CAN!!!  Image search fashion houses for plus sizes and such, and they'll still show you jackets made for planks.  Try 'handsome fat man' and the best you can get are affectionate pix of well-padded tomcats.  WTF?!  'Give me some men who are stout-hearted men...'  Have we already forgotten those 9/11 heroes, so often real-life grey and girthy (with 'too much' nose and 'too little' chin and unlovely skin...)?  I want to be able to see (fully and nicely dressed, in gentlemanly situations) you BHMs with 60-inch chests.  From 'pixel pundits' to rappers to athletes and opera stars, you're obviously out there.  Why in the name of Santy Claus can you not be recognized as nice-looking men????!!!

Item 2:  National coverage of Rick Perry's Iowa campaign ads saying what a Christian he is (fortunately for him, Iowa's not 'the Show Me State'!) as opposed to Obama's 'anti-religious agenda.'  It took me some time to figure out what that meant.  Couldn't fly on old settled stuff like school prayer and abortion, except for morons who don't realize what was (a) long settled (b) untouched by Bam (c) no FN business of the Prezdint anyhow.  Obviously wasn't the real Christian pacifist and/or progressive and/or populist view of BHO as a Trojan Horse for Goldman Sachs 'n' all.  Oh.  It's the GAAAAAAAY thing!  Even though Bam doesn't support gay marriage, and he footdragged on repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, he hasn't had his panties in a paranoid bunch over the fear and horror and supreme danger of some people doing what is elsewhere hailed as Socially Responsible Stuff - which they kept on doing, de facto, anyway - LEGITMATELY.  Oh!  CODE-SPEAK.  =}}gag{{= !!  What kinda 'New Testament' those people readin', anyway?       

*And yes, admittedly 'having kooties' toward so much that is the culture of China...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Further Adventures in MULTICULTURAL Alliances

Remember when Bush said, '- it won't be our kind of democracy...'?

Click here: Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan President, Pardons Imprisoned Rape Victim

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Thursday pardoned an Afghan woman serving a 12-year prison sentence for having sex out of wedlock after she was raped by a relative.

Karzai's office said in a statement that the woman and her attacker have agreed to marry. That would reverse an earlier decision by the 19-year-old woman, who had previously refused a judge's offer of freedom if she agreed to marry the rapist.

Her plight was highlighted in a documentary that the European Union blocked because it feared the women featured in the film would be in danger if it were shown.

More than 5,000 people recently signed a petition urging Karzai to release the woman. She had the man's child while in prison and raised her daughter behind bars, which is common among women imprisoned in Afghanistan.

A statement released by Karzai's office says that after hearing from judicial officials, the decision was made to forgive the rest of the sentence she received for having sex out of wedlock, a crime in Afghanistan. The presidential statement did not say when the woman was to be released or how much prison time had been pardoned.

The woman told The Associated Press in an interview last month that she had hoped that attention generated by the EU film might help her get released. With the film blocked, she said that she was losing hope and considering marrying her rapist as a way out. She said her attacker was pressuring her to stop giving interviews.

About half of the 300 to 400 women jailed in Afghanistan are imprisoned for so-called "moral crimes" such as sex outside marriage, or running away from their husbands, according to reports by the United Nations and research organizations. Fleeing husbands isn't considered a crime in Afghanistan.

The EU welcomed the woman's release.

"Her case has served to highlight the plight of Afghan women, who 10 years after the overthrow of the Taliban regime often continue to suffer in unimaginable conditions, deprived of even the most basic human rights," the European Union's Ambassador and Special Representative to Afghanistan, Vygaudas Usackas, said.

He said the EU hoped the same mercy would be extended to other women serving similar terms. Usackas said he planned to raise the issue of Afghan women's rights at an international conference on Afghanistan Dec. 5 in Bonn, Germany.

Some of the most severe restrictions women faced under the Taliban, like a ban on attending schools and having to have a male escort to venture outside the home, were done away with when the radical Islamic movement was driven from power in 2001. But Afghanistan remains a deeply conservative and male-dominated society, meaning women are still sold to husbands and rights enshrined in law are often ignored in practice.

'Commerials' vs. ATM Fees

Governments constrict, restrict, compel, commandeer, conscript and corrupt their citizens as 'the price of freedom'.  The medical industry extorts, experiments and tortures patients, expecting from them not only crippling and sometimes impossible fees, but thanks and reverence.  BANKS supposedly exist primarily to hold safe the money and valuables of those who use them, taking in exchange a chance to use this massed lucre to play it prudently in  low-risk, high-earning ventures, sharing profits with those whose money they hold.  But now they hold YOUR money hostage, gamble wildly with it, and make you pay ruthless ransom to release any of it back to you -and take the taxes you paid for the ostensible services of your government (even if they are foreign or super-national) to 'save' them as of unquestionably, untouchably vital to the world.

Click here: Clinton Townsend's ATM Fee Fix: Watch Ads Instead Of Paying Charge    

Thursday, December 1, 2011

B of A: Family Wrongly Booted From Home Returns To Wreckage

Click here: Family Wrongly Booted From Home Returns To Wreckage

AOL Real Estate By Teke Wiggin Posted Dec 1st 2011 10:20AM  ~~~Click on above to access other links within article.

Amid the avalanche of foreclosure proceedings unleashed by the housing crisis, thousands of families may have been illegally booted from their homes.

The story of the King family, recently reported by WLUK FOX 11, offers a nightmare scenario of the hardship a family may be forced to endure because of such practices.

The Kings returned this fall to their old home in the town of Clayton, Wis., to find it in utter ruin: The basement was flooded in eight feet of water, the walls covered with mold and the kitchen littered with mouse droppings.

Their ill-fated home had sat unoccupied for more than a year, after the family succumbed to pressure from Bank of America, who notified them that their home would be subject to foreclosure because they had missed a mortgage payment. The Kings, who have eight children, knew that they had actually made their payments but gave in to the bank in order to shelter their children from the rocky proceedings.

"We didn't want to further traumatize our children by having a sheriff show up," Christina King told WLUK.

Originally, in 2009, the family had applied for the Home Affordable Modification Program, an initiative launched by the Obama administration that allows qualified borrowers to receive interest rate reductions on their mortgages. The program, which was recently modified so that it could reach more beleaguered homeowners, would have provided significant relief to the Kings by reducing their rate from 10 percent to 4 percent.

But after a year of cooperating with the bank under the terms of the program, the Kings were informed that they had missed a payment during the program's trial period. Then a steady tide of foreclosure notices arrived, prompting the family to move into a rental property.

Fast forward by about a year, to when the family receives a notice from Bank of America.

"In a previous letter to you, we told you that ... you missed a Trial Period Plan Payment. However, this was incorrect," it reads, according to WLUK. The letter also reportedly informs the family that their mortgage actually was approved for HARP.

The Kings return home, perhaps thinking that their long streak of misfortune may finally have come to an end. Not so. They find a house that has fallen into such disrepair that a contractor estimates that the cost of fixing it exceeds its value.

"It's really awful, it's really awful what was done to us," King told WLUK.

Unfortunately, the story of the Kings is only one of many examples of families who have suffered unjustly at the hands of mortgage lenders.

The practice of "robosigning," which refers to a range of foreclosure paperwork abuses, has launched various probes around the country, including an investigation led by a broad coalition of state attorneys general which reportedly could end up costing banks upward of $20 billion in a settlement. Setting a precedent, Nevada recently filed criminal charges for robosigning by indicting two staffers at a mortgage company for directing employees to falsely notarize foreclosure documents and forge signatures.

And these proceedings have had a very real impact on homeowners. One homeowner in Pittsburgh had her home -- and her parrot -- mistakenly seized by Bank of America, while another family in Houston faced foreclosure simply because their property title wasn't properly transferred.

Victims of Robo-Signing: Fight the Machine!

Foreclosure Mill That Mocked Homeless Going Out of Business

Fed Cracks Down on Online Mortgage Scams As Probe Widens

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Click here: North Carolina Teen Charged In Student's Dragging Death

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. -- A 16-year-old high school student in North Carolina is being charged with murder in the dragging death of another teenager.

Elizabeth City deputies say the student assaulted James Edward Holley Jr., pushed him out of a car and then drove away with the 17-year-old Holley hanging on the outside of the car by a seat belt. The car eventually crashed into a ditch.

Sheriff Randy Cartwright says deputies received a call just before 5 p.m. Sunday about a traffic accident southwest of Elizabeth City, which is in the northeast part of the state.

Horrible but familiar.  These stories of carjacked people being pulled out of their vehicles while still entangled in their seat belts by barbarous robbers, who then take the driver's seat and peel out on a mad careen, mangling their victims, have been around a long time.  Ever since they came out with seatbelt laws - & kids' car seats, air bags, etc. - (and yes, I am obedient), I've wondered if anyone was keeping track of the stats in which people came to grief because they were trammeled by these 'protective restraints'. 

Police Brutality Atrocities on the March

Baby dies, but story has twin with the absolute hosing of absolutely docile, sitting-in-by-Constitutional-rights protesters at U.C. Davis with pepper spray.

Have you ever seen pepper spray used on Dog, the Bounty Hunter?  The Dog Team only use it in ultra-dangerous situations, and reluctantly, then, partly because the awful stuff mists about in actual necessary hands-on apprehension of violent fugitives.  It's hard for those tough guys (who hav such decency that they usually water-douse the 'skip's' eyes before their own) to bear even second hand capsicum vapor.

Keeping that in mind, the U.C. Davis toxic hosing is at least every bit as vicious and painful as the brutalities inflicted on 60s civil rights protestors.  I've been bruised, dog-bit and water-blasted.  Burning is worse.  And pepper spray burning is a minor sting compared to tazering, and  major volt-injury can mess you up very cruelly in a host of ways for the rest of your life. 

Click here: Pregnant Seattle protester miscarries after being kicked, pepper sprayed

The Raw Story

By David Edwards  Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A woman who was pepper sprayed during during a raid on Occupy Seattle last week is blaming police after she miscarried Sunday.

Jennifer Fox, 19, told The Stranger that she had been with the Occupy protests since they started in Westlake Park. She said she was homeless and three months pregnant, but felt the need to join activists during their march last Tuesday.

“I was standing in the middle of the crowd when the police started moving in,” Fox recalled. “I was screaming, ‘I am pregnant, I am pregnant. Let me through. I am trying to get out.’”

She claimed that police hit her in the stomach twice before pepper spraying her. One officer struck her with his foot and another pushed his bicycle into her. It wasn’t clear if either of those incidents were intentional.

“Right before I turned, both cops lifted their pepper spray and sprayed me. My eyes puffed up and my eyes swelled shut,” Fox said.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer photographer Joshua Trujillo snapped a picture of Fox in apparent agony as another activist carried her to an ambulance.

Seattle fire department spokesman Kyle Moore told The Washington Post that a 19-year-old pregnant woman was among those that were examined by paramedics.

While doctors at Harborview Medical Center didn’t see any problems at the time, things took a turn for the worst Sunday.

“Everything was going okay until yesterday, when I started getting sick, cramps started, and I felt like I was going to pass out,” she explained.

When Fox arrived at the hospital, doctors told her that the baby had no heartbeat.

“They diagnosed that I was having a miscarriage. They said the damage was from the kick and that the pepper spray got to it [the fetus], too,” she said.

“I was worried about it [when I joined the protests], but I didn’t know it would be this bad. I didn’t know that a cop would murder a baby that’s not born yet… I am trying to get lawyers.”

The Scoville heat chart indicates that U.S. grade pepper spray is ten times more painful than the blistering hot habanero pepper, according to Scientific American. While law enforcement officials regularly claim that the spray is safe, researchers at the University of North Carolina and Duke University found that it could “produce adverse cardiac, respiratory, and neurologic effects, including arrhythmias and sudden death.”

Fox News host Megyn Kelly calls pepper spray ‘a food product’
 'Better than ketchup, keep kids warm without heating schools' is what I expect these hellions to say next!.

Repubs Un-Zombot for National Security Debate

Click here: Tonight’s CNN Debate Winner « The Thompsonian Times

I wrote:)

Tonight's show was rather a wow. Almost didn't watch it, since they all had become little more than set pieces of wind-up talking points dolls who would 'stay the course' by ignoring the questions given them to mindlessly repeat slams and slogans that would get rises out of the more Pavlovian Tea Party and neocon audience members.

What broke the brain-freeze ice, I wonder? Was it some eminence gris, a cabal of AEI and Heritage Foundation intellectuals; the Ghost of Nixon Past? They were THINKING and shining tonight! They had JUICE! They understood questions and answered them pretty darn intelligently - one has to admit, even when one disagreed with them.

Were the 12 unconstitutional archons of the soopadoopa Debt Committee exercising their little grey cells as well, or did they stick fingers in ears and butts in cement (as so many expected)?

There's some hope here, even for a Marcy Kapture / Michael Moore fan like me. The candidates sounded like AMERICANS (ADULT Americans, too -not a lot of that around anymore!) Real debating that could usefully feed the Discussion instead of bullying, insatiable attempts to bend the Narrative to zombot partisan dogma.

Goodness, how those 'behind' stepped up - and often over the frontrunners. Bachmann amazed me: From glazed-eyed Stepford queen to sharp as a tack on MidEast strategy (and more!). How did THAT happen?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Domino Theory Resurrection

I wish our government would send a humanitarian mission to the San Gabriel Valley, the Monterey & Puente Hills, Cerritos, Glendale, etc. to free the army of Asian slaves... But that would be counterproductive to the grand progress made by the plutonomy for their model future:  You just might have to free the wageless workers from the mesoamericanos living in Xe-guarded moving van trailers working without protection on Gulf Coast toxic cleanups, to kidnapped Ukrainian 'human traffic' harlots, to media hopefuls carrot-and-sticked to working free for 'exposure', to 'wrong' religion -&/or ethnicity African little kids drudging like Cinderellas-sans-fairy-godmothers for abusive rich arms-&-porn foreign traders.

Click here: Obama: China Must Play By The Rules

CANBERRA, Australia — Signaling a determination to counter a rising China, President Barack Obama vowed Thursday to expand U.S. influence in the Asia-Pacific region and "project power and deter threats to peace" in that part of the world even as he reduces defense spending and winds down two wars.

"The United States is a Pacific power, and we are here to stay," he declared in a speech to the Australian Parliament, sending an unmistakable message to Beijing.

Obama's bullish speech came several hours after announcing he would send military aircraft and up to 2,500 Marines to northern Australia for a training hub to help allies and protect American interests across Asia. He declared the U.S. is not afraid of China, by far the biggest and most powerful country in the region.

China immediately questioned the U.S. move and said it deserved further scrutiny.

Emphasizing that a U.S. presence in the Asia-Pacific region is a top priority of his administration, Obama stressed that any reductions in U.S. defense spending will not come at the expense of that goal.

"Let there be no doubt: in the Asia Pacific in the 21st century, the United States of America is all in," he said.

For Obama, Asia represents both a security challenge and an economic opportunity. Speaking in broad geopolitical terms, the president asserted: "With most of the world's nuclear powers and some half of humanity, Asia will largely define whether the century ahead will be marked by conflict or cooperation, needless suffering or human progress."

Virtually everything Obama is doing on his nine-day trip across the Asia-Pacific region has a Chinese subtext, underscoring a relationship that is at once cooperative and marked by tensions over currency, human rights and military might.

China's military spending has increased threefold since the 1990s to about $160 billion last year, and its military recently tested a new stealth jet fighter and launched its first aircraft carrier. A congressional advisory panel on Wednesday urged the White House and Congress to look more closely at China's military expansion and pressed for a tougher stance against what it called anticompetitive Chinese trade policies.

The expanded basing agreement with Australia is just one of several initiatives Obama has taken that is likely to set Beijing on edge at a tricky time. The U.S. is China's second largest trading partner, and the economies are deeply intertwined. Chinese leaders don't want the economy disrupted when global growth is shaky and they are preparing to transfer power to a new leadership next year.

Over the weekend while playing host to Chinese President Hu Jintao and other Pacific rim leaders at a summit in Hawaii, Obama said the U.S. would join a new regional free trade group that so far has excluded China. That added an economic dimension to what some Chinese commentators have called a new U.S. containment policy that features reinvigorated defense ties with nations along China's perimeter, from traditional allies Japan and the Philippines to former enemy Vietnam, all of whom are anxious about growing Chinese power.

China was immediately leery of the prospect of an expanded U.S. military presence in Australia. Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said there should be discussion as to whether the plan was in line with the common interests of the international community.

Responding to questions at a news conference Wednesday with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Obama sought to downplay tension between the world powers. "The notion that we fear China is mistaken," he said.

Obama avoided a confrontational tone with China in his speech to the Australian parliament, praising Beijing as a partner in reducing tensions on the Korean Peninsula and preventing proliferation.

"We'll seek more opportunities for cooperation with Beijing, including greater communication between our militaries to promote understanding and avoid miscalculation," he said.

In a note of caution, however, he added: "We will do this, even as continue to speak candidly with Beijing about the importance of upholding international norms and respecting the universal human rights of the Chinese people."

With military bases and tens of thousands of troops in Japan and South Korea, the United States has maintained a significant military presence in Asia for decades. Australia lies about 5,500 miles south of China, and its northern shores would give the U.S. easier access to the South China Sea, a vital commercial route.

The plan outlined by Obama will allow the United States to keep a sustained force on Australian bases and position equipment and supplies there, giving the U.S. ability to train with allies in the region and respond more quickly to humanitarian or other crises. U.S. officials said the pact was not an attempt to create a permanent American military presence in Australia.

About 250 U.S. Marines will begin a rotation in northern Australia starting next year, with a full force of 2,500 military personnel staffing up over the next several years. The United States will bear the cost of the deployment and the troops will be shifted from other deployments around the world. Having ruled out military reductions in Asia and the Pacific, the Obama administration has three main areas where it could cut troop strength: Europe, the Middle East and the U.S.

All U.S. troops are being withdrawn from Iraq by the end of this year, and a drawdown in Afghanistan is underway. But the Pentagon has said recently that the U.S. will maintain a major presence in the greater Middle East as a hedge against Iranian aggression and influence. A more likely area for troop reductions is Europe, although no decisions have been announced.

The debate over defense budgets is just one aspect of a broader political fight over fixing the nation's debt problem during a presidential election season. Already, the Pentagon is facing $450 billion in cuts over ten years, as part of a budget deal approved last summer. And if a special congressional committee can't agree on $1.2 trillion in more long-term cuts or Congress rejects its plan, then cuts of $1.2 trillion kick in, with half coming from defense.

Australia's Gillard said, "We are a region that is growing economically. But stability is important for economic growth, too." She said that "our alliance has been a bedrock of stability in our region."

Obama's visit is intended to show the tightness of that relationship and he hailed the long ties between the United States and Australia, two nations far away that have spilled blood together

"From the trenches of the First World War to the mountains of Afghanistan_Aussies and Americans have stood together, fought together and given their lives together in every single major conflict of the past hundred years. Every single one," he said.

Obama had a packed day-and-a-half in Australia, his first trip here as president after canceling two previous tries. After addressing Parliament, Obama was flying to the northern city of Darwin, where some of the Marines deploying to Australia next year will be based.
Associated Press writers Erica Werner and Rod McGuirk in Canberra and Robert Burns in Washington contributed to this report.

Civilization Jettisoned: Libraries Junked, But...   <   load to get other links.
By Lucas Kavner

Library Budget Cuts Threaten Community Services Across Country

This is part of our new ongoing series, Libraries in Crisis. To read more about the series, click here.

At the Gilpin County Public Library in Colorado, which serves a community of less than 6,000 people, a sign on the roadside advertises "Free coffee, internet, notary, phone, smiles, restrooms and ideas" to all who enter.

Indeed, all libraries, with their familiar rows of bookshelves and busy, helpful librarians, have remained reliably stable, as ubiquitous in towns throughout the U.S as the local firehouse or the post office. But it is perhaps this familiarity that makes the American library as an institution more vulnerable than ever, and has many wondering: What is in store for its future?

These days, the library's very existence is a question mark, and they face some of the steepest budget cuts in history. According to a Harris/Reader's Digest Poll from late 2010, nearly 40 percent of American mayors plan to reduce hours, shed employees or make other cutbacks in the coming months, while many county libraries have already eliminated branches entirely.

The South Branch Library in Evanston, Illinois, had been open since 1917. One Evanston resident, Barbara Lewis, told Patch that she had originally moved to the neighborhood only so she could walk to her local library. It closed last February.

In Dearborn, Michigan, one of four library branches was forced to close in September; an administrative librarian there said he didn't really believe it would close until it was actually happening. In Fenton-High Ridge, Missouri, they've lost 33 percent of library staff to attrition over the past five years, and a "self-checkout" system was recently put into place to control costs.

"Our interest income has also deteriorated, and that used to give us a bit of a cushion," said Pam Klipsch, the director of Missouri's Jefferson County Library system, which includes the Fenton-High Ridge branches. "We've been very hard hit by this whole recession, and we've had to cut back and cut back and cut back, so when staff leave us now, they just don't get replaced."

In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently proposed a budget that would eliminate "268 currently vacant positions and lay off about 284 employees" from the library system. He was met by hundreds of protesters of all ages, including a group of fist-pumping pre-schoolers. The resulting "Save Chicago Public Libraries and Librarian Jobs" Facebook group now boasts over 2,000 members, but as of today the cuts are still looming.

In Detroit, public library officials, union members and commissioners have deadlocked in a battle over whether to close four of Detroit's 23 public library branches. Though Detroit's Public Library Commissioner, Russell Bellant, supports the closures, administrators and union officials are hanging on for dear life, hoping to save their libraries and the hundreds of jobs they stand to lose.

Though 91 percent of those surveyed for the same Harris Poll said that their local library "improves the quality of life" in their community, the institution remains under attack across the country and worldwide.

Who exactly is to blame, the communities or the libraries themselves? And what will be lost if the library fades into obsolescence?


Maureen Sullivan, president-elect of the American Library Association (ALA), the oldest and largest library nonprofit in the world, said people don't realize how essential their local public library is until it's too late. When it comes to making budget decisions -- "Should we cut funds from the police department or the library?" -- local lawmakers are putting the library at the bottom of the totem poll, and state governments are not stepping in to save them.

"I hear people on a regular basis talking about how the library is the most trusted organization in the community and it being such a public good," Sullivan said. "But many people in our communities have simply taken the library for granted."

Marcia Warner, president of the Public Library Association, a division of the ALA, added that many citizens only start paying attention when libraries begin "cutting branches or cutting hours." Then suddenly they become aware of the problem.

"But it's too late then," Warner said.

Klipsch, the Jefferson County Library system director, thinks a lot of people are confused about how libraries are actually funded, and that's part of a larger issue. "We get people who think all the books are donated by publishers and all the staff are volunteers," she said, laughing a little at the idea. "They have no idea we have to buy books and pay staff, and that librarians don't just sit around all day and occasionally put books back on a shelf."

But the library is serving multiple roles, especially during hard times. For those who cannot afford to sit at a coffee shop and buy a "four-dollar latte" to use their computer on somebody else's Wi-Fi, Warner says, the library provides "the whole shebang": a quiet location to work in private, a staff member willing to answer in-depth questions (about everything from applying for unemployment benefits to where one might learn more about beekeeping), and a meeting place for the community, not to mention those free film and book rentals and an increasingly long list of e-book and digital reading options.

According to the most recent Public Library Funding and Technology Access Study (PLFTAS), libraries and librarians provide essential services that are found scarcely anywhere else, especially to citizens who are struggling economically. Seventy percent of libraries indicated that their Internet services increased in 2010, and 65 percent report that they provide the only source of free public access to computers in their community. Eighty-one percent of Americans who have been "economically impacted" by the recession have a library card today, as supposed to 68 percent of Americans who have not been affected, according to a 2010 study from the Online Computer Library Center.

In Jefferson County, a new program eliminates overdue book fines in exchange for canned food donations. "We forgive the fines, and then provide cans to local food pantries," said library director Klipsch. "We have people who come in, they're literally living in their cars. We give them a safe place to park. It's going on three years and things are not getting any better."

Not only are libraries being used more than ever before, in more ways than ever, but modern librarians have also lengthened their reach, spanning the range of technological and social changes that have taken place in their field over the past ten years.


Erin Schreiner, who recently received her Masters in Library Science from Long Island University, with a concentration in rare books and special collections, doesn't think the general public realizes what services are provided by their local libraries these days. She believes that if more people were aware of these services, they might visit their local library more often.

When a friend of Schreiner's was looking to research some of her long-lost Jewish relatives in Calcutta, she started the same way most of us would, with a simple Google search, but she came up empty. Schreiner suggested that her friend head to the New York Public library, home to one of the most expansive Judaica collections in the world. There, she could consult a specialist trained in genealogical queries.

"My friend was like, 'I could just go do that? It's free?'" Schreiner remembers. "People don't realize that their library is this incredible provider of specific information. We shouldn't have to remind them."

The modern librarian is a social networking guru as well as a research specialist. Like many of us, they've grown up with Google and Wikipedia and every blog and online journal in existence, so they know how to navigate the online world, while also providing the services the library has always offered.

"Certain [librarians] used to be able to sit in a room and catalogue books and never have to interact with the public," said Schreiner. "But now if you're working in a library, you're expected to collaborate and be a part of a living organism, to help real people. There's a lot of focus now on the personal side of librarianship and helping people in a more specialized way."

Marilyn Johnson, author of "This Book is Overdue!," wrote that the modern librarian is indeed technologically savvy but also respects a patron's privacy -- and that distinction is important. "A profession dedicated to privacy in charge of our public computers? That's brilliant," she wrote in the LA Times last year. "[Librarians] represent the best civic value out there, an army of resourceful workers that can help us compete in the world."

Still, no matter how successful libraries are at serving their current purpose, it doesn't seem to matter, and they remain at risk. The country's largest circulating library, in Queens, N.Y., was named the best system in the U.S. by Library Journal in 2009, Johnson pointed out, yet its budget was due to shrink by a third. Since most libraries receive the majority of their funding from local and state governments, they remain at the mercy of a struggling economy and are looking at many other options.


What can libraries do?

Warner of the Public Library Association admitted that all local services are being threatened -- libraries aren't unique in that regard -- but library directors need to "toot their own horn" a bit more than they have been. She suggested that leaders step up in the community and let their voices be heard, embracing the library's essential role as a "community convener."

While most libraries are still funded locally, and others, like the Jefferson County Library system in Missouri, are levied by the voting public (if the value of appraised property goes up, the library "rolls back the levy" to compensate), Warner also recommends that libraries establish private foundations to offset budget cuts. ALA president-elect Sullivan points to these nonprofits as positive examples, and the ALA itself has received many generous donations from the Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation, among others. A Rhode Island library received a $10,000 donation from Alec Baldwin after he read an article in the New York Times about its potential demise, and other volunteers have stepped in to keep libraries running.

Klipsch, director of the Jefferson County system, recently set up a private foundation so her branches could receive outside funding, but these things take time to initiate and get going, she said, and it could be a while before libraries reap the benefits of these funds.

"We're working on it, but in the meantime, we can't pretend that the cuts aren't affecting us. We have to be really up front, and we're trying to be. But everybody around here is hurting, so we need to take all the steps we can."

Indeed, libraries have the potential to be leaders at the forefront of this Age of Information, in addition to serving as community centers and book lenders and places where one can sit and spend a quiet afternoon. But without the necessary technological and staff-related improvements -- and the funds to implement them -- libraries, especially those in rural and suburban areas, will languish.

Can they survive this current economy, with so much -- and so many lawmakers -- against them?

"This country is where it is today because of our heritage -- and the library has had a whole range of cultural and educational effects," Sullivan said. But if funding continues to decrease, "we really have to think about what the lasting ramifications will be."

Sez I: Totally and desperately on board with saving libraries -and BOOKS, too, but there's something huuuuuuuuuge that needs to be budget-cut:  Totally wasteful, massively costly, unneeded 'makeovers' - like H&G Network's renovs, these are also usually less functional / user-friendly / safe, and are really UGLY.  But the important thing for the politician-Cof C bunch (local, and, in Californicatia, by-the-rules-of-the-State-giving-back-revenues-they-commandeered-from-the-locals) is that they (1) get to give pain to the people (taxpayers) who actually use and work in and most need the libraries, and (b) make a big killin' in gimme-aggrandizement land by giving the job -and a place with them on the big bronze glory-be-to-we entry plaque - to their favorite crony contractors... So often foreigners employing foreigners, legal or (our business-friendly community will of course give you and all your relatives amnesty, and will never be so un-multicultural as to question if you might be a multigenrational debt-slave back in the Old Country, with your employer taking all you have and making you crib with other slaves in your 'job-creator's garage/basement/warehouse/whorehouse, etc.) otherwiseAmnestia!  Your opportunity (and debt to us!) Work hard for us, become a citizen:  If you promise to vote for us, you won't have to go back 'home' and eat rats and bamboo.  Then your citizen kids can be just like ours, with no jobs available outside of crime and cannon fodder.

That's the way it is, now (and has been for decades):  But those revenues could have been and could be used for genuine public and environmental services and improvements.  Wotta concept!    

Republican Debates:Hottest Reality?

Colleen O'Connor at the La Jolla Patch wrote:

Opinion: Why Republican Debates are the Hottest Reality TV Shows Around

The recession, unemployment and the mere fact that the Republican presidential candidates are standup thinkers—are reasons you need to watch the debates.

Who knew?

The Republican Presidential Primary debates are so popular that news outlets are scrambling to add even more, according to The New York Times.

Thus far, there have been eleven televised debates—with ten more scheduled. This doesn’t count the Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich sit-downs, or the serialized radio and TV interviews with each candidate. The settings have ranged from sedate round table Q&As to live-audience booing and applause.

Every corporate or educational sponsor knows that the fastest way to improve your brand is to hitch it to a rising star—be it pop, literary, or political—and a big, television audience.

Thus, college campuses, presidential libraries, network studios, newspapers, and even social networking sites are keen to sponsor the GOP debates. For whatever reason, the GOP debates have proven popular.

Thus far, they have produced surprisingly large audiences, some fun news cycles, and, dare I say it, democracy as reality TV.

The latest CNBC “all economics forum” produced the best results yet. Some actual information, some humor, some human and serious push-back moments, and a huge audience share for the cable news network—3.3 million viewers.

CNBC trumped the other cable news channels. Omitting the networks’ Olympic coverage and the O.J. Simpson civil trial, the debate garnered the networks’ highest ratings since 1997, according to the NYT's Media Decoder blog.

The first GOP debate, sponsored by Fox News, understandably, has drawn the largest audience thus far—6.1 million.

But it is the strength of the repeat viewership of these nearly two dozen debates that has many asking “WHY?”

Several answers appear obvious.

No matter one’s political persuasion, these debates make for great television. Someone goes off script. The audience chimes in with boos or applause. The moderators take the hit—because the only group less popular than politicians is the press. And what results is, yes, democracy as reality TV.

Furthermore, the Republican candidates have gone from small-minded attacks against each other (CNN) and armchair brotherhood talks (Gingrich and Cain) to serious, standup thinking. They have “upped their game” from hairstyles, tie colors and put-downs to some intelligent, consequential thinking.

More seriously, the debates occur at a time when the country is lurching for leadership. Increasing unemployment, never-ending wars, fear, and uncertainty make for highly motivated “study-up” time. Viewers and voters want to choose wisely.

In addition, the split in the Republican Party between moderate vs. Tea Party, and cultural vs. economic purity, is compelling—and imbued with great and genuine passion. The differences between the Republicans and the Democrats is even broader and, arguably, even more passionate.

The history of these American divides is long, contentious and serious. The original rift and failure—the Articles of Confederation—almost caused us to become 13 nations instead of one. That issue, as today, remains states’ rights vs. a centralized government.

Who has or should have the ultimate authority? The founding fathers simply finessed the problem when they drafted the U.S. Constitution. Resultant generations did the same—compromise—even as the country expanded from east to west coast, from Canada to Mexico. Compromise always won over disunion—until the 1860s.

It took a civil war and over 600,000 Americans dead to resolve the question in favor of the central government, but the fight—and the debate—remains. That is why the GOP debates are so fascinating. All the changes that the victorious Union forced on the Confederacy are under attack—albeit updated. The Federal Reserve, the states’ rights to decide about health care, education, vaccines, illegal immigration, border security, the environment, aid to the poor, etc.

And the conflicts have taken on more urgency, as the states feel their economies buckle under increased federal mandates—often unaccompanied by any additional funds.

Thus far, no one in American can complain that they are unrepresented. The Democrats have President Obama and the Republicans have a whole smorgasbord of candidates from whom to choose.

Everyone should watch and cheer the GOP primary debates as they represent the “loyal opposition” side of democracy: i.e., the right to dissent, disagree and demand change.

And, everyone should watch and cheer the GOP vs. Democrats general election debates.

Just saying. Time to “study up.”


And I replied (redundant* to this blog, but... )

'No one's unrepresented'??? Obama's a Trojan Horse. AIG bankrolled him. He does essentially everything the neocons want and gets away with it because the Far Unbalanced Network zombots are pushbuttoned to mewl what a lefty radical he is. I don't understand this pandemic of blind idiocy. Before drugs and mass psychological programming had taken over society, the Soviets countered our scorn of totalitarian one-party government by saying we has a one-and-a-half party system. Now it's so much less! All a big FAKE (more obviously than those masking-tape-and-plastic-wrap Kumtag Desert 'mysterious structures') - and we're buying it when we have no money left and 'employers' who only offer no-wage jobs. Daft as his pronouncements sometimes get, Gore Vidal is right in saying we have only one party, the BANK Party.

Who represents pacifists? No one. Who represents those who want an economy based on the production and fair exchange of actual useful goods instead of stock market gambling and money manipulation? No one. What politicians truly in power are TRULY against: Petrochemical and nuke dependence? NAFTA/our goods being made /jobs taken by foreigners? The juggernaut fascism of eminent domain, 'private mandates', the military-industrial complex and other forms of pouring both our rights and tax money into the hands of private contractors? Marketing obscenity, waste, greed and brutality? Lobbies /the buying of pols and 'legal outcomes'? Etc. Who's really for what 'right to life', 'right to privacy' and protection of the helpless/voiceless, 'the family' and the environment ought all to really imply? NO ONE. They're played as hot buttons and hot potatoes -and as stupidly as possible- to bemuse voters by politicians and pundits who NEVER WANT THESE PROBLEMS SOLVED, only money thrown at them and rights surrendered to them.

* Then, I watched the Republican debates until it was obvious they were redundant - and I have only so much taste for comedies of horror.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Afghanistan's Untapped Mineral Riches

My only comment is oblique, this time:  I remember an insider-type saying the real reason for WWI (and a lot of events since) was jockeying for dominance of the unparalleled mineral riches of the Dead Sea.  Maybe kinda Larouche or 'a-albionics' conspiracy-theory-generated.  Anyway, the alleged reason for 'The Great Game' jockeying over Afghanistan has always been that that land - which looks so all-mineral that one would think the natives must eat dust and rocks and snow because what else is there!? - is the key/pass from Central Asia to the sea.  But maybe those (true-life, usually, really, quite scientific) types who provided the models for Rudyard Kipling, Jules Verne, Talbot Mundy, John Buchan, etc. to spin wild & woolly spy adventures really discerned the rocks of desire long ago...
Click here: Riches in the Midst of War - Marketing, News, and Educational Communications

By Dr. E. Kirsten Peters < Real name of Quaker ~ Elizabeth Elliot Series author Irene Allen.  That's a mystery series built on deep Christian discipleship and conscience shown by the elderly reluctant-non-pro-detective heroine.  The last book was in 1998; unfortunately none since.  This last, Quaker Indictment, used fiction to dramatize the hideous your-tax-dollars-at-work industry of mass murder and multi-millenial plutonium toxicity from Washington State's Hanford plant.  The name Irene Allen is on the 'Net mostly as a litigant name '...vs. the United States', in regard to Nevada nuclear tests.   Hmm.  She wrote: 

Some geologists are heroes.

That was the thought that came to my mind when I read of what Afghan geologists had done during the long and difficult time the Taliban had run their country.

Even without real hope they might ever do geology again, but with fears about what might happen at any time to the reports of previous geological mapping work, the Afghan geologists took the records home to preserve them. When the dust of the American invasion had settled and the Afghan government had been restored, the local geologists brought back the reports.

The records were the starting point for the effort in recent years to explore Afghanistan for mineral resources using fully modern methods. The results have astonished geologists because the riches of the war-torn country are so great.

As the New York Times reported this summer, many geologists now working in Afghanistan feel they are “in the midst of one of the great discoveries of their careers.”

From estimates of what’s under the ground, both at depth and near the surface, Afghanistan may contain nearly $1 trillion worth of minerals. Along the Pashtun area in the south there is gold; in western Afghanistan there is apparently abundant lithium; and elsewhere there are major deposits of copper, iron, cobalt and rare metals like niobium.

As a student, I studied mineral resources intensively. The richest of those here in the U.S. were mined out in the 1800s and early 1900s. There is a cycle in such matters, and the richest deposits are – at least generally – the first discovered and mined. But Afghanistan stands today where the U.S. did long ago, so it’s no surprise that Afghan mineral wealth is likely quite high.

But a $1 trillion bonanza is greater than this geologist would have guessed.

In short, it looks like there is enough mineral wealth in Afghanistan it could alter both the war and the way of life in the impoverished nation where the gross domestic product is only about $12 billion. If investment materializes to exploit the mineral wealth, jobs in mining could employ many men currently involved in the war, U.S. officials speculate.

“There is stunning potential here,” Gen. David H. Petraeus said to the New York Times. “There are a lot of ifs, of course, but I think the potential is hugely significant.”

The ore was discovered because the U.S. Geological Survey and some others went to work in 2006 using modern methods of exploration throughout the country. In the old days, geologists used to travel by Jeep (or even on foot and horseback) to outcrops. The accepted technique was to knock off pieces of rock with a hammer and inspect what you had in your hand. The approach still works, but it’s obviously labor intensive and slow.

If you want to rapidly explore a whole country these days, the way to do it is by air. So the Americans flew over Afghanistan with sophisticated gravity measurement devices. The results were highly encouraging. In 2007, the geologists again flew over the country, this time with devices that offer three-dimensional information about mineral concentrations.

The results were “astonishing” to the geologists who saw the data. The story even recently merited a piece in the prestigious journal Science, so impressive is the tale of mineral exploration and discovery.

There seems little doubt that Afghanistan is sitting on wealth that could dwarf the opium trade and what money reaches the war torn country from outside aid. But it remains to be seen how the wealth from the Earth is exploited and used.

Afghanistan is not a developed country with infrastructure or environmental controls. Mining can ruin countryside and destroy water resources if it’s unregulated. And, to complicate matters, the government in the country has had trouble with corruption. Indeed, last year the minister of mines stood accused of accepting a $30 million bribe in connection with giving rights to China to develop a copper mine. (The good news is that the official is no longer in office.)

But still, the challenges of wealth rather than chronic poverty could be a fine change of pace of a nation in need of some good news.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Salute, Curmugeon!,0,5496226.story

By Dennis McLellan Los Angeles Times Staff Writer 9:50 a.m. CDT, November 5, 2011
Copyright © 2011, Los Angeles Times

Too long to copy, but a good'n.

Ayn Rand's Satanic Thelemicism Suffusing the Tea Party?

Click here: Ayn Rand’s Atheists are Crashing the Tea Party

FrumForum November 4th, 2011 at 2:45 pm by Gary Weiss ( info on his forthcoming book Ayn Rand Nation: The Hidden Struggle for America's Soul ):
Commenter hisgirlfriday //  wrote, on Nov 4, 2011 at 5:00 pm, first quoting commenter zephae:

~~~~~' is downright wrong (and offensive) to claim that you can’t have morality, strong families, and a sense of social responsibility without a belief in the Judeo-Christian religion. In fact, I don’t see what good the abdication of responsibility at the center of Christianity does for society at large. In fact, atheism says absolutely nothing on any of the issues you raised, which isn’t surprising for a self-contained intellectual position.'~~~~~

I agree with you that you do not have to subscribe to the Judeo-Christian religion (Or Islam because that is an Abrahamic faith as well) to have morality, strong families or a sense of social responsibility.

Outside of the religious doctrine though, there is such a thing as Judeo-Christian values that emphasize honoring your parents, parents providing for their children, and neighbors treating each other as they would want to be treated. It is these values (and I am not even claiming Judeo-Christians have a monopoly on these values but merely refer to them as Judeo-Christian because that’s how they manifested in Western civilization) that provide the prosperity, peace and stability that make democratic republican civilization possible.

However, I don’t think Ayn Rand has been accurately characterized by her opponents by simply lumping her in with atheists who may or may not be hostile to Judeo-Christian values. Rand would be more correctly characterized instead as an antiChristian or a Satanist. Rather than “do unto others as you’d have them do unto you,” Rand espouses the philosophy of “do what thou wilt.” Rather than preach self-sacrifice for the greater community in connection with the past sacrifices of the People of Israel or Jesus on the cross, Rand preaches that sacrifice itself is immoral.

If Rand worships anything beside herself, it is Moloch, the golden calf that provides immediate gratification to its selfish followers willing to sacrifice their (or their nation’s) children’s future rather than sacrifice anything themselves.

Those who care deeply about Judeo-Christian values are put in something of an impossible place by our current political alignment in this country. Pro-life Republicans obviously see the Democrats as the Moloch worshippers with the abortion issue as just the latest form of child sacrifice to rear its ugly head in human history. Social justice-seeking Democrats meanwhile see the Republican Party as the worse Moloch worshippers for being more concerned about selfishly gathering up tax cuts and lavish benefits for themselves now with no concern for the sacrifice their children are making to pay for it in terms of a massive amount of national debt, military service in endless wars and the lack of adequate education, economic opportunity, healthcare, and environmental stewardship.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Giant Asteroid Coming Close This Coming Tuesday

Satanist-infested rocketry nuts at Devil's Gate - a.k.a the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, tell us there's no chance it'll harm us this time at least, so why not trust them/NASA as we've trusted them with Not Putting Their Research to Bad Use Like Weapons, safe disposal of rocket fuel and such, and using our tax dollars for maximum humanitarian needs with maximum economic efficiency.  Don't we all want to be trusting souls?  Especially with people who use sliderules and do math in their heads and can speak with such self-assurance as to declare absolutes about vast moving astronomical objects in future events?

Ever hear of Chaos Theory?  If you don't believe it now... If you live longer, you will

I'm not worried.  Worry has no good use except in the very short term to prompt some practical strategies regarding the thing in question.  If a big-ass asteroid hits our planet (or even moon), or throws things awry on them onnaconna gravitatonal pull or cosmic rays or sompin... Well, if we survive, we'll probably soon wish we hadn't.  NOTHIN WE CAN DO ABOUT IT (forget those sci-fis wherein we're saved by rocketry; that's a cometload of BS hitting the oscellator of reality.)  As the guy who managed to get his innocent 'best friend' sent to jail for his own crimes explained, 'What can I say, Judge Judy: SHIT HAPPENS!'       

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Even the Teeps Can't Qwell Pol's Pet Pork Projects

Go to ( archives of the sadly moribund of late) & especially
and get the MASSIVELY SUCKING YOUR TAX DOLLARS to pay for a destructive and wildly hypocritical white-elephant unneeded project - WHILE THE WHITTIER NARROWS DAM ITSELF IS FALLING APART AND NOTHING IS BEING DONE ABOUT THAT - lowdown on what the 'Discovery Center' is all about - including the board's decision to head the project with a professional contractor whose proven record as dirty crony appointed politician includes another really expensive failure of another 'discovery center'.  Don't think the talk of private funding now includes returning the vast fortune you paid for or will better protect your public spaces.

And have you sadly noted how many things around your community are being 'renovated and improved' by old revenue-alloted decisions or new 'Stimulus' money that didn't need fixing, while the things that need fixing are still going unfixed?  Is the school or city hall or athletic field getting a cosmetic makeover while the cracks in the bridges are widening and the walkways are hedged with  filthy debris and broken glass?  Are the libraries and police services getting new gadget$ while laying off workers and cutting pensions and operating hours?

Cherchez les CRONIES! 

San Gabriel River Discovery Center sheds lawsuit, begins fundraising for Whittier Narrows center

By Steve Scauzillo, Staff Writer Posted: 10/28/2011 04:16:37 PM PDT
SOUTH EL MONTE - The San Gabriel River Discovery Center board last week settled a lawsuit brought by an opposition group, paving the way for a major fundraising campaign and possible construction of the nature center by late 2012.

By settling with the Friends of the Whittier Narrows Natural Area, the joint-powers board overseeing the proposed $22 million, 14,000-square-foot nature and water museum at Whittier Narrows Recreation Area was able to finalize the project's environmental impact report, according to the San Gabriel River Discovery Center Authority.

The opposition group agreed to drop an appeal of its lawsuit, which claimed the environmental report was insufficient. That petition was initially dismissed by a Superior Court judge in March. The Discovery Center Authority in turn agreed to waive recovery of about $10,142 in court costs, authority officials said.

The agreement did not change the environmental report or the plans for the project, said sources close to the project.

"One reason we decided not to pursue the suit was why spend more of our dollars when we don't think (the project) will go anywhere?" said Jim Odling, leader of the Friends group, which sent out a press release saying the project is "on its deathbed."

"There is public opposition to it, and they can't raise the money," Odling said Tuesday.

However, the authority board, made up of water and park officials, said the project is moving into a
new fundraising phase and is far from over.

The authority so far has $9.8 million for the project, but it still needs another $12 million before the education center can be built, said Jane Beesley, the interim executive officer of the San Gabriel River Discovery Center Authority..

"In order to move forward to the next step, it needs an infusion of cash," Beesley said.

The authority board last week transferred about $98,000 from its budget to a newly created San Gabriel River Discovery Center Foundation, a private, nonprofit organization as defined by the federal tax code, Beesley said.

The foundation then hired NPO Solutions, a Studio City-based consultant, to form a fundraising board and ramp up a massive campaign. The foundation is paying NPO $80,000, Beesley said. NPO Solutions lists several Pasadena-area clients on its website, including the Pasadena Symphony, Sequoyah School and Pacific Clinics.

The foundation will be soliciting cash from corporations, private foundations and individuals interested in education, water and environmental issues.

"They (the Friends group) may think they've killed the project. But the project is not dead. It will be moving forward," Beesley said Tuesday.

The project absorbed a huge blow this spring when the State Parks Department denied the authority's application for a $7 million grant.

Last year, the Gabrielino Band of Mission Indians came out in opposition to the project.

Opponents want to preserve the 2,000-square-foot nature center on the site, at 1000 N. Durfee Ave. They say the Discovery Center is too large, would destroy local habitat, and would become a monument to water districts and other governmental bureaucracies.

Odling's group took a new tack, asking the authority last week if it will agree to renovate the nature center.

Storm: Death, Destruction, Misery, Millions Without Power - AGAIN

Click here: Northeast Snowstorm Leaves Millions Without Power

Because, for more than a century of obvious need ignored, of valuing war and irresponsible slapdash profiteering over lives, safety, beauty, rights of ownership and sheer common sense, we still have an exposed power grid, now the obivious and supremely ideal target of seriously inimical human forces as well as that of an increasingly roiling, hostile meteorology.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Two Great 'Occupy Wall Street' Signs

Ironically found in a pro-corporate-rights neoconjob article at Frum Forum:



And, seen scrawled on rough bark of someone's tree in my neck o' the asphalt:

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Margin Call-ing at the Crater's Rim

Superb review with political-angle relevance as usual from Telly Davidson:

Here's a great quote from commentor Graychin:
'The highest-paid people in America don’t create value. They only trade the value that others create – like Monopoly deeds.'

US Wants Drinking Water from Mexico - Like, Really!

More blind madness based on 'forgetting' that FREE ENERGY - tidal, wind, sun, methane and other biofuels, and the wasted, unrecycled heat and motion of urban/highway busy-ness is in immeasurably vast abundance and availability all over the places mentioned.  The head of the Gulf of California / Sea of Cortez, where the depleted Colorado River trinkles to the ocean, is one of the greatest natural places in the world for tidal power, far better than Biscay and Fundy where the tides have electric-powered ever-growing cities effectively for around a century.  And forgetting that salt and other natural sea water matter and particulates are valuable, salable commodities.

When will we stop FUKUSHIMAing ourselves - why do the Powers That Be / Princes of the World who rule in a manner that says we can't wipe ourselves out fast enough, but we must try, only delaying if the methods thereto can maximize power and lucre to to those insatiable bloodsuckers - and get real with using

We know about the Club of Rome -scratch their 'humanitarian' veneer and find that 'humane' for them means anything that reduces the Excess Population, and the pseudo-ecologists (pseudo-animal rightsists, etc.) who want all humans and any life 'compromised' / modified by humans:  Domestic animals, horticultural species, any wild flora & fauna who have adjusted to or thrived or been endangered - reduced to (ahem, some humans' notion of a not-good-enough gene pool - by human activity.  These are the Let It Burn-ers, the Fire and Death worshippers, the sick, sick souls who cannot imagine a peace that is not the barren rock and lifeless water of post-Ragnarok-without hope.  We know about them; we know they are often in very high places; positions of rule.  The other side of the coin of these most bleak Robinson Jeffers-style romantics are the Black Metal raving lunatics rioting to cast themselves into the depths of 'the Satanic Paradise'.  These drive each other on, misery after misery, exulting in the triumphs of cynicism proved by every act of theirs that makes things worse.  The greater mystery is of those who seem to want - to think they can get - a good outcome by supporting cruel wasteful polluters.

 It can be hard, sometimes, not to believe in the sci-fi cliche of inimical alien life-forms out to utterly change our poor planet and its natives into things annihilated or drastically re-made as hopeless slaves to themselves.  So hard to think that our own can be that bad.       

Click here: US Looks to Mexico for More Water

Fox News Latino

Western states have long relied on the drought-prone Colorado River for water to fill drinking glasses, flush toilets and sprinkle lawns. But now it's looking south of the border to fill up on water.

Mexico may start sending water north as four major U.S. water districts help plan one of two huge desalination plant proposals in Playas de Rosarito, about 15 miles south of San Diego. Combined, they would produce 150 million gallons a day, enough to supply more than 300,000 homes on both sides of the border.

The plants are one strategy by both countries to wean themselves off of the Colorado River, which flows 1,450 miles from the Rocky Mountains to the Sea of Cortez. Decades of friction over the Colorado, in fact, are said to be a hurdle to current desalination negotiations.

The proposed plants have also sparked concerns that American water interests looking to Mexico are simply trying to dodge U.S. environmental reviews and legal challenges.

Desalination plants can blight coastal landscapes, sucking in and killing fish eggs and larvae. They require massive amounts of electricity and dump millions of gallons of brine back into the ocean that can, if not properly disposed, also be harmful to fish.

But desalination has helped quench demand in Australia, Saudi Arabia and other countries lacking fresh water.

Dozens of proposals are on the drawing board in the United States to address water scarcity but the only big project to recently win regulators' blessings would produce 50 million gallons a day in Carlsbad, near San Diego. A smaller plant was approved last year in Monterey, some 110 miles south of San Francisco.

Mexico is a relative newcomer to desalination. Its largest plant supplies 5 million gallons a day in the Baja California resort town of Cabo San Lucas, with a smattering of tiny ones on the Baja peninsula. Skeptics already question the two proposed plants in Playas de Rosarito — known as Rosarito Beach to American expatriates and visiting college spring-breakers.

"It raises all kinds of red flags," said Joe Geever, California policy coordinator for the Surfrider Foundation, an environmentalist group that has fought the Carlsbad plant for years in court, saying it will kill marine life and require too much electricity.

Water agencies that supply much of Southern California, Phoenix, Las Vegas and Tijuana, Mexico, are pursuing the plant that would produce 50 million gallons a day in Rosarito near an existing electricity plant. They commissioned a study last year that found no fatal flaws and ordered another one that will include a cost estimate, with an eye toward starting operations in three to five years.

Potential disagreements between the two countries include how the new water stores will be used.

The U.S. agencies want to consider helping pay for the plant and letting Mexico keep the water for booming areas of Tijuana and Rosarito. In exchange, Mexico would surrender some of its allotment from the Colorado River, sparing the cost of laying pipes from the plant to California.

Mexico would never give up water from the Colorado, which feeds seven western U.S. states and northwest Mexico, said Jose Gutierrez, assistant director for binational affairs at Mexico's National Water Commission. Mexico's rights are enshrined in a 1944 treaty.

"The treaty carries great significance in our country. We have to protect it fiercely," Gutierrez said.

Rick Van Schoik, director of Arizona State University's North American Center for Transborder Studies, said laying a pipeline across the border would be too costly.

"It's expensive enough to desalinate. I just don't see how it calculates out," he said.

The other big plant proposal joins Consolidated Water Co., a Cayman Islands company, with Mexican investors. Their proposal would send much of its 100 million gallons a day from Rosarito to the United States via a new pipeline, with operations beginning in 2014.

Mexico isn't likely to approve both plants, said Gutierrez, whose government is sponsoring the 50-million-gallon-a-day plant with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the San Diego County Water Authority, the Central Arizona Water Conservation District and the Southern Nevada Water Authority.

A key question is whether Mexico will allow water first used at the neighboring electric plant to be desalinated — a giant potential savings. California recently adopted rules that prohibit the state's electric plants from sucking in vast amounts of seawater to cool their machinery.

The Carlsbad plant illustrates how difficult it can be to build a plant in California. Poseidon Resources Corp., based in Stamford, Conn., has survived about a decade of legal challenges and regulatory review.

The company, which plans to begin major construction when it secures financing, was required to restore 66 acres of wetlands and take other measures to offset carbon emission from the electricity it consumes.

The San Diego County Water Authority is also considering a plant at Southern California's Camp Pendleton that would produce up to 150 million gallons a day. Poseidon wants to build one in Huntington Beach, near Los Angeles, that would churn out 50 million gallons a day. Those ideas face significant challenges.

"The planets will never be in alignment like they were in Carlsbad," said Tom Pankrantz, editor of Water Desalination Report. "They had the right project, at the right place, at the right time."

The San Diego agency wants to get 10 percent of the region's water from desalination by 2020 as a way to lessen its dependence on the Colorado River, which is connected by aqueduct about 200 miles away. Tijuana also wants to rely less on the river, a priority that gained urgency after a 2010 earthquake knocked out its aqueduct for about three weeks.

The U.S. and Mexico can save money by joining forces, achieving economies of scale, said Halla Razak, the San Diego agency's Colorado River program manager. At least half of the plant's water would stay in Mexico, she said.

"Mexico is the entity that is driving the project, even more than the United States," she said.

U.S. and Mexican officials say they expect the new plants will adhere to the same standards as California, including water quality, but that Mexico's regulators may act faster and shield sponsors from legal challenges.

"The Mexicans will ask all the same questions that we ask here, but it's not endless lawsuits," said Mark Watton, general manager of Otay Water District, which would buy about 20 million gallons a day from Consolidated's Mexico plant for its San Diego-area customers. "You get an answer quicker."

Based on reporting by The Associated Press.

Sorry About the Link Misdirections

For long while, I couldn't get any links to load via the my blog toolbar um, LINK link, except the URL to my own blog.  I thought maybe the magic sprites of the unfathomable mysteries of electronic communication would re-translate the links to their proper venues.  As usual in the 'Net world, Blogger offers almost no useful help or instruction.  Anyhow, it now seems to work right if one has the HTTP type URL link.  Not going to try to go back & correct, but hope things will make more sense in the future.  (Yeah, right, we know about 'those hopey changey things'! ) 

Right Back to the Worst of the Right 'Round a Century Ago

Click here: Robert Reich: The Rise of the Regressive Right and the Reawakening of America

A fundamental war has been waged in this nation since its founding, between progressive forces pushing us forward and regressive forces pulling us backward.

We are going to battle once again.

Progressives believe in openness, equal opportunity, and tolerance. Progressives assume we're all in it together: We all benefit from public investments in schools and health care and infrastructure. And we all do better with strong safety nets, reasonable constraints on Wall Street and big business, and a truly progressive tax system. Progressives worry when the rich and privileged become powerful enough to undermine democracy.

Regressives take the opposite positions.

Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and the other tribunes of today's Republican right aren't really conservatives. Their goal isn't to conserve what we have. It's to take us backwards.

They'd like to return to the 1920s -- before Social Security, unemployment insurance, labor laws, the minimum wage, Medicare and Medicaid, worker safety laws, the Environmental Protection Act, the Glass-Steagall Act, the Securities and Exchange Act, and the Voting Rights Act.

In the 1920s Wall Street was unfettered, the rich grew far richer and everyone else went deep into debt, and the nation closed its doors to immigrants.

Rather than conserve the economy, these regressives want to resurrect the classical economics of the 1920s -- the view that economic downturns are best addressed by doing nothing until the "rot" is purged out of the system (as Andrew Mellon, Herbert Hoover's Treasury Secretary, so decorously put it).

In truth, if they had their way we'd be back in the late nineteenth century -- before the federal income tax, antitrust laws, the Pure Food and Drug Act, and the Federal Reserve. A time when robber barons -- railroad, financial, and oil titans -- ran the country. A time of wrenching squalor for the many and mind-numbing wealth for the few.

Listen carefully to today's Republican right and you hear the same Social Darwinism Americans were fed more than a century ago to justify the brazen inequality of the Gilded Age: Survival of the fittest. Don't help the poor or unemployed or anyone who's fallen on bad times, they say, because this only encourages laziness. America will be strong only if we reward the rich and punish the needy.

The regressive right has slowly consolidated power over the last three decades as income and wealth have concentrated at the top. In the late 1970s the richest 1 percent of Americans received 9 percent of total income and held 18 percent of the nation's wealth; by 2007, they had more than 23 percent of total income and 35 percent of America's wealth. CEOs of the 1970s were paid 40 times the average worker's wage; now CEOs receive 300 times the typical workers' wage.

This concentration of income and wealth has generated the political heft to deregulate Wall Street and halve top tax rates. It has bankrolled the so-called Tea Party movement, and captured the House of Representatives and many state governments. Through a sequence of presidential appointments it has also overtaken the Supreme Court.

Scalia, Alito, Thomas, and Roberts (and, all too often, Kennedy) claim they're conservative jurists. But they're judicial activists bent on overturning 75 years of jurisprudence by resurrecting states' rights, treating the 2nd Amendment as if America still relied on local militias, narrowing the Commerce Clause, and calling money speech and corporations people.

Yet the great arc of American history reveals an unmistakable pattern. Whenever privilege and power conspire to pull us backward, the nation eventually rallies and moves forward. Sometimes it takes an economic shock like the bursting of a giant speculative bubble; sometimes we just reach a tipping point where the frustrations of average Americans turn into action.

Look at the Progressive reforms between 1900 and 1916; the New Deal of the 1930s; the Civil Rights struggle of the 1950s and 1960s; the widening opportunities for women, minorities, people with disabilities, and gays; and the environmental reforms of the 1970s.

In each of these eras, regressive forces reignited the progressive ideals on which America is built. The result was fundamental reform.

Perhaps this is what's beginning to happen again across America.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

MISSION CREEP: Is It Inevitable?

Should there be a Constitutional amendment limiting federal MISSION CREEP in... Military intervention abroad, at home (installations, investigations, flyovers, takeovers of anything including disaster relief, and that planet-sized Godzilla in the room, the Military-Industrial Complex); ports 'n' borders*. in declared and undeclared acts of war...In paramilitary wars like the War On Drugs**, in metaphorical wars like the War On Poverty and the War On Cancer, and on all sorts of other things that were originally mandated within certain parameters and even time limits but even-if-you-think-they're-mosty-for-the-good,-can-we-use-the-term-metastacized??

*Ports 'n' borders is where I think they should be...

**Click here: Mexico: Marines Seize Marijuana, Kill Drug Cartel Members
Now, these are Mexican Marines, in a country wherein the national military forces have acually spent most of their history in policing their own fellow-citizens with pretty much the willful freedom of an 'occupying' alien conqueror army (thus eliciting all those attempts at revolution), but, considering what they'e up against - narcotraficante warlords, really, with burgeoning cells and agents all over our own USA - it has already become un grito de mas norteamericanos, from racist-paranoid militia types to antiwar lefties and libertarians, that we ought to bring our troops home and go General Pershing on our perimeters to sew up the 'haemorrhaging borders' from continuing to cause bloodshed all over the land.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

STRESS> The Reaper

Click here: Top Cause Of Workplace Sickness Dubbed 'Black Death Of 21st Century' - Careers Articles

By Claire Gordon

It's been dubbed the "21st century equivalent of the Black Death." In the U.K., it's the most common reason employees take long-term sick leave. It costs American companies $300 billion a year. In Japan, it's a fatal epidemic.

It's stress.Stress has beaten out stroke, heart attack, cancer and back problems as the main reason British workers take four or more weeks away from the job, according to a new report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. The Japan Ministry of Labor began publishing official statistics on "Karoshi" (death from overwork) in 1987, but the first case was documented in 1969, when a worker dropped dead of a stroke. He was 29.

The symptoms of stress are similar to those of someone in withdrawal from an addictive drug: finding it difficult to focus; losing your sense of humor; irritability; and shortened temper. Stress can also lead to under- and overeating, as well as smoking and drinking to excess. And in its most extreme forms it can result in stomach and bowel problems, heart disease and stroke.

"Cortisol, the hormone that the body releases under stress, is the strongest immunosuppressant known," write evolutionary biology researchers Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá. When Sheldon Cohen studied the sleep habits of 153 healthy men and women and then exposed them to the virus that causes the common cold, he found that individuals who slept less than seven hours per night were three times as likely to get sick.

Human beings haven't evolved to cope with the levels of work in modern society, they claim. For a healthy and long life, people should model themselves on our hunter-gatherer ancestors.

"If you hunt or gather just enough low-fat food to forestall serious hunger pangs," they write, "and spend the rest of your time in low-stress activities, such as telling stories by the fire, taking extended hammock-embraced naps, and playing with children, you'd be engaged in the optimal lifestyle for human longevity."

Unfortunately, that kind of lifestyle isn't particularly practical today, and increasingly less so. In what Mother Jones magazine dubs the "The Great Speedup" middle-income and professional Americans have been working more and more hours since the late 1970s. In that same time period, a full-time American male worker has seen his real wages decline.

The definition of speedup is "an employer's demand for accelerated output without increased pay." It used to be a household word, but today it's so normal it's hardly acknowledged.

The recession has only piled on the stress. And not just for millions of laid-off workers, but for the ones lucky enough to keep their jobs too. While economic production recovered to near-recession levels months ago, Mother Jones notes, the employment rate has not. Not hardly, and particularly not in the U.S. That lost productivity has been made up by those still clinging to their posts.

In the U.K. report, stress was a more common affliction at companies that had announced redundancies.

America is also notoriously frugal in its vacation time. We're one of only five countries in the world without legally mandated paid vacation time, and over a quarter of American workers don't receive any. We're one of only six countries without paid maternity leave (the others are Papua New Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Samoa, and Swaziland). We're one of only handful of countries in the world that doesn't guarantee any paid sick days. When 46 percent of Americans have to skip work from sickness, they lose the day's wages, and risk being fired.

Americans work more than most people in the world, 122 hours more a year than the British, and nearly 10 weeks more than Germans. And the U.S. economy has swelled, thanks to this labor, doubling in size over the last 30 years.

"We're not sharing in these productivity gains," says John de Graaf, the national coordinator for Take Back Your Time, an advocacy group pushing for paid vacation time and other worker protections, and the author of the forthcoming book "What's the Economy for Anyway?."

And the extra work has taken a toll on America's health. A 2007 study by Emory University's school of public health found that Americans 50 years or older were more likely to suffer from cancer, diabetes and heart disease than Europeans at the same age. "We have more chronic diseases in old age," says de Graaf. "And those are very expensive diseases."

To really battle stress, de Graaf believes we need to reduce our country's vast disparities in wealth. "Taming inequality is the most important thing. The top one percent is garnering nearly a quarter of all the income in this country. It's outrageous, really."

"There's no silver bullet here," he admits, but he believes increasing the minimum wage would be one powerful way to reduce the psychological burden on many Americans. Giving workers greater control over their hours would also go far. A law passed in Netherlands in 2000 allows employees to request a reduction in their hours, from five days to four, for example. Their wages are cut proportionately and their benefits pro-rated, but the employer must grant the request, unless it's at an intolerable financial cost to the company.

Such a bill would likely get strangled on arrival in America's political system. Not only does the lack of universal health care make such a law immensely more complicated, but America's political attitudes are in general more hostile to mandates on business.

De Graaf helped Rep. Alan Grayson draft his "Paid Vacation Act" back in 2009, which would, if successful, have required companies with more than 100 employees to offer one week of paid vacation time.

"We were attacked for that as if we were advocating the end of human civilization," says De Graaf. The bill found only five Democratic co-sponsors.

A few companies these days seem to understand the importance of workers' health and well-being to productivity and profits. Zappos, Patagonia, and a handful of other firms offer flexible policies to balance work and life, and have become sought-after destinations for young talent.

But this doesn't necessarily represent a tidal change.

"This is going to take rules," says de Graaf. "It's going to take legislation. We need regulations. A football game doesn't work if one team can go in wearing brass knuckles."

It used to be the oft-repeated dream of economists and philosophers that productivity could reach a point where human beings would only need to a work a few hours a day, and still provide for all their needs.

More than 200 years ago Benjamin Franklin wrote: "If every Man and Woman would work for four Hours each Day on something useful, that Labour would produce sufficient to procure all the Necessities and Comforts of Life, Want and Misery would be banished out of the World, and the rest of the 24 hours might be Leisure and Pleasure."

Since Franklin's day, efficiency has increased mightily, but the 20-hour work week is too ludicrous an idea to pass the lips of any mainstream politician.

In an interview in last month's Businessweek, Mitt Romney said "the primary role of the government is to encourage the innovation and risk-taking and entrepreneurship of the American people."

"That would come as news to Thomas Jefferson," says de Graaf. "He said on a number of occasions that the only purpose of government was to increase the happiness of its citizens.

Luke 21:26  'Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth...'  Luke 21:34  'But take heed to yourselves and be on your guard, lest your hearts be overburdened and depressed (weighed down) with the giddiness and headache and nausea of self-indulgence, drunkenness, and worldly worries and cares pertaining to [the business of] this life, and [lest] that day come upon you suddenly like a trap or a noose...'
James 2:1 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.

2 For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;

3 And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:

4 Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?

5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?

6 But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?

7 Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?

8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:

9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.

10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

11 For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.

12 So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.

13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.

James 5:1 Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.

2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten.

3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.

4 Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.

5 Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.

6 Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.

7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.

8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.

9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.

10 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.

11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

12 But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.

13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.

14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:

15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.

18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.

19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;

20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.