Friday, December 25, 2009
The problem with Jimmy Carter's analysis about Israel being an Apartheid state is that he is not able to take the same model and apply it to no other state in the region. They are far more religiously intolerant than anything that he and others can peg upon Israel.
They realize this and chose to focus upon Israel.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Dean urges defeat of emerging health care bill
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Do you all remember the company "WebVan"?
I do. I made one order from them while they were still in business.
They came to life through the magic of two resources - the Internet and Venture Capitalist Money.
They started off in one town. The idea was attractive and in the context of anything with a "dot com" after their name getting funding - they blew up large. They expanded to multiple cities while riding high on venture cash. Recall that during this time it was not about profitability it was all about grabbing marketshare in this new Internet commerce space before the next guy.
I give WebVan credit - they definitely created jobs and they were a positive mark on our GDP because they purchased a fleet of vans and a complex order management system in every city. This included a conveyor belt for sorting and massive warehouse space for food storage. Remember GDP does not care about the viability of a commercial enterprise it only measures the values of transactions within a given interval.
We all know that WebVan imploded. Unfortunately it was true that profits do matter.
TODAY'S WEBVAN ECONOMY
Today we have a similar effect except there are no classical "VC" or "angels" dropping money into the marketplace for startups. Instead we have the GOVERNMENT filling this role.
This notion was made clear to me yesterday as I listened to an employee of a state Department of Transportation on the radio. He told of all of the projects that are being funded. Many of these projects were shelved for years. They were either too expensive or failed the "cost/benefit" analysis. Bottom line when it was the state's money - they were more prudent.
Today we have Federal "Funny Money" flowing in and, as with WebVan - all bets are off. The game now is to spend the money as quickly as possible so that the employment situation and the GDP look good for the targeted interval.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Justice in America is saved!!! The ACLU has its disruptive capacity trimmed in this struggling economy. One day quasi-socialists will see how dependent upon capitalism they actually are.
NEW YORK - The American Civil Liberties Union has lost a quarter of its yearly donations after a major donor cut off $19 million in annual donations because of economic difficulties.
David Gelbaum, a wealthy California conservationist, said he was indefinitely stopping the donations that had made him the New York-based group's largest anonymous donor.
"For a number of years, your organization has received very substantial charitable contributions from me," Gelbaum said in a statement. "My investments in alternative, clean energy companies have placed me in a highly illiquid position as a result of the general credit crisis in the American and world financial systems."
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Sexting — sharing sexually explicit photos, videos and chat by cell phone or online — is fairly commonplace among young people, despite sometimes grim consequences for those who do it. More than a quarter of young people have been involved in sexting in some form, an Associated Press-MTV poll found.
That includes Sammy, a 16-year-old from the San Francisco Bay Area who asked that his last name not be used.
Sammy said he had shared naked pictures of himself with girlfriends. He also shared naked pictures of someone else that a friend had sent him.
What he didn't realize at the time was that young people across the country — in Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania — have faced charges, in some cases felony charges, for sending nude pictures.
"That's why I probably wouldn't do it again," Sammy said.
Yet, "I just don't see it as that big of a problem, personally."
That was the view of nearly half of those surveyed who have been involved in sexting. The other half said it's a serious problem — and did it anyway. Knowing there might be consequences hasn't stopped them.
"There's definitely the invincibility factor that young people feel," said Kathleen Bogle, a sociology professor at La Salle University in Philadelphia and author of the book "Hooking Up: Sex, Dating and Relationships on Campus."
"That's part of the reason why they have a high rate of car accidents and things like that, is they think, 'Oh, well, that will never happen to me,'" Bogle said.
Research shows teenage brains are not quite mature enough to make good decisions consistently. By the mid-teens, the brain's reward centers, the parts involved in emotional arousal, are well-developed, making teens more vulnerable to peer pressure.
But it is not until the early 20s that the brain's frontal cortex, where reasoning connects with emotion, enabling people to weigh consequences, has finished forming.
Beyond feeling invincible, young people also have a much different view of sexual photos that might be posted online, Bogle said. They don't think about the idea that those photos might wind up in the hands of potential employers or college admissions officers, she said.
"Sometimes they think of it as a joke; they have a laugh about it," Bogle said. "In some cases, it's seen as flirtation. They're thinking of it as something far less serious and aren't thinking of it as consequences down the road or who can get hold of this information. They're also not thinking about worst-case scenarios that parents might worry about."
Sexting doesn't stop with teenagers. Young adults are even more likely to have sexted; one-third of them said they had been involved in sexting, compared with about one-quarter of teenagers.
Thelma, a 25-year-old from Natchitoches, La., who didn't want her last name used, said she's been asked more than once to send naked pictures of herself to a man.
Friday, December 4, 2009
So people who worked in the intelligence community and leaked out actually classified information were "working in the service of their country".
However those who saw the fraud that was going on regarding the admissions of manipulation of data and critique in the climate debate, hacked into the servers and released the e-mails deserve to be punished as the information is swept under the rug?
Please Carlie - I hope you beat this woman.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Anti-WTO Proterests In Geneva Go Violent - Avoid The Negative Chracterizations Of "Tea Party" People
Note the differences in news coverage between these violent anti-WTO or World Bank protests as compared to this past summer's "Tea Party Protests". The larger threat to many in the news media come from the domestic protests that, despite their peaceful disposition, are a larger threat to the interests of those who tell the news. The negative portrayal was added to them by the media despite the fact that no cars were burned or windows broken. The only issue was that "toes were stepped upon".
(CNN) -- Violence erupted in the Swiss city of Geneva Saturday as a scheduled peaceful protest of a World Trade Organization conference turned violent and police had to use tear gas and rubber bullets.
Thirty-three arrests have been made and police were on the streets working to maintain order, authorities said. There was one minor injury reported: An 80-year-old woman in a walker suffered a head bruise when she fell during the tumult of the demonstrations.
The demonstration started around 2:30 p.m. (8:30 a.m. ET) and about 3,000 people turned up in the central part of town, Geneva police spokesman Patrick Puhl told CNN. World Trade Organization ministers will hold a conference next week.
"There were three groups who came seeking violence," Puhl said.
"The troublemakers quickly began attacking banks, hotels and shops, smashing windows and burning four cars, so we had to stop them using tear gas and rubber bullets," Puhl told CNN.
The general theme for discussion at the conference is "The WTO, the Multilateral Trading System and the Current Global Economic Environment."
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
GRANMONT, Haiti -- With its rich delta soil and a year-round growing season, Haiti's famous agricultural region seems capable of feeding the entire Caribbean.
But Haiti is a net importer of food, spending about $400 million last year on purchases from abroad. The World Food Programme runs child nutrition and "food for work" operations. And fields in the nation's breadbasket, Artibonite Department, have been periodically swamped by flash floods and mud washed by tropical downpours off barren hillsides.
Farmers in the Granmont agricultural area, just outside Gonaïves, the department capital, say their plight is being ignored by the government and relief agencies focusing on defending urban infrastructure from flooding and strong storms.
"Granmont is the only place now in Gonaïves where you can produce all the food for the town," said Wilson Adeclair, a leader of a local community organization. "This place needs to be protected."
Though Gonaïves -- which was slammed by three devastating hurricanes and a tropical storm last year -- is the focus of extensive engineering aimed at curbing catastrophic flooding, Adeclair and his group have insisted that available aid money also be used to protect Granmont and other farming areas. They got their wish: 200 men and women are now digging a 4-foot-deep trench between the city and farmland aimed at draining floodwaters and protecting crops.
Workers here voice frustration at what they see as a lack of focus by the government and U.N. officials on their region, which produces rice, potatoes, tomatoes, leafy greens, bananas, cassava, peas, corn, cereals, papayas and mangoes.
Phase one of the canal is nearly complete, and the workers say they are confident it will get the job done. But they fear storm infrastructure in the city could send more water to farming areas than they can handle. They are also worried they won't have enough money to take the channel all the way to the sea.
"We are the only ones who are fighting every time to make a kind of presentation about the importance of this place, and sometimes it's very, very difficult for us," Adeclair said.
Haiti was the scene of food riots last year as commodity prices rose to record highs and the cost of imports soared.
Experts say the riots were a consequence of the misguided policies of aid agencies, especially the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, which have for decades been telling Haiti to focus on exporting textiles and using the cash to purchase cheap food from the United States.
"Whenever they'd go to the World Bank and say, 'We need agriculture development spending,' they would say, 'No, that's not what we're doing,'" said Roger Thurow, co-author of the new book "Enough: Why the World's Poorest Starve in an Age of Plenty."
"It was under the whole Washington consensus 'food is cheap' policy that the word basically went out to Haiti," Thurow said in a recent interview. "So what happens in 2008? Prices of rice increase ... all of a sudden they can buy half as much rice, there's shortages in the country, the prices go up more, hunger follows, there's the riots, government falls."
'A long journey'
The 2008 storm season, when a tropical storm and three hurricanes slammed into the country over a period of four weeks, created a full-blown crisis as flooding and mudslides devastated crops. Hunger got so bad in some places that the poorest of the capital's slums literally resorted to eating dirt, in the form of baked clay "cookies."
In the aftermath of the storms, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and the International Fund for Agricultural Development organized a $10 million emergency distribution of seeds and plants to get farmers back to work as soon as possible.
After two harvests, the effort has yielded impressive results, FAO said, but that program is scheduled to end in January, and there is no word on whether it will be extended.
At last year's annual FAO meeting, national and international aid agencies vowed they would end their decades-long neglect of food production and prioritize building healthy agricultural industries in the developing world. But the residents of Gonaïves who depend on agriculture say they see no evidence of that new commitment.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Death row inmate hospitalized after apparent suicide attempt
- Leave Potentially Deadly Tools and Pills In The Cell For A Killer To Kill Himself?
- Encourage Fights between convicted killers so that he might be a homicide victim from another killer?
Death row inmate Timothy Woodrow Pruitt is in critical condition at a Spalding County hospital following an apparent botched suicide, a Georgia Department of Corrections spokeswoman confirmed Friday to the AJC.
Pruitt, 43, apparently tried to hang himself in his cell around 8 p.m. Thursday, said Georgia Department of Corrections spokeswoman Joan Heath. "Any time something like this occurs, we have an internal investigation, but right now we're treating it as a suicide attempt."
Details about Pruitt's condition were not made available Friday night. His attorney, reached by phone, declined comment. Pruitt has been on death row at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson since 1996, when he was sentenced for the rape and murder of a 10-year-old Lumpkin County girl.
The April, 1992 attack followed an argument with his ex-wife, who kicked an intoxicated Pruitt out of the couple's mobile home. He broke into the trailer next door, where he raped and murdered Wendy Nicole Vincent. Pruitt slit the little girl's throat so deeply it nearly severed her head. DNA and blood evidence linked Pruitt to Vincent's murder, though in a 2006 interview he continued to claim his innocence.
"The darkness and despair of death rows can swallow you up, destroy your spirit and will to live," Pruitt told the web site, www.deathrowspeaks.info/. "Contact with the outside world brings light into an otherwise dark world."
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
I can't take this rain any longer. I am going stir crazy.
The remnants of Tropical Storm Ida is pouring rain upon the entire southeast.
We have had 3 straight days of rainy weather.
As I exited my car and opened my back door to get my umbrella - my back became soaked. Despite my large umbrella my pants get soaked because the winds are blowing the rain.
Driving while the heavy volumes of water is on the ground is also hazardous. Even on recently upgraded and repaved sections of the Interstate there are puddles of water that cause your car's traction to be compromised. I can feel the steering wheel jolt upon hitting the puddle. I envisioned myself hydroplaning and then a truck behind me smashing into my car because it couldn't stop in time.
I feel bad for the people who were flooded out in September and now likely face more flooding.
In the places that I have gone it seems that there is far more rain now than back in September. Luckily there has not been as much flooding. So maybe its just that my perceptions of the quantity of rain is just wrong.
In Georgia we have "feast or famine". The 3 year drought has turned into a soaked, muddy mess - at least for now.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Venezuela rations water supplies
The water infrastructure in Venezuela has come into question. Where are the reservoirs that were needed to avert this situation?
Sunday, November 1, 2009
As Kia Motors attempts to raise its image as it improves its quality - so too is the Southeastern region of this nation. I am making note of both.
People don't realize that Honda and Toyota and Datsun (Nissan) and Sony where all once seen as "cheep Japanese products with inferior products" decades ago when they entered the American market. After much research and commitment toward achieving better ends - all of them are now known for their quality and connectedness with the demands of the American consumer. Both Kia (Westpoint Georgia) and Hyundia (Alabama plant) are doing the same with their billion dollar plants built in the South.
The South is rebranding itself just as well.
My legacy is in the South. My parents are from South Carolina. They both moved North where I was raised. I now live in Georgia, having returned back to the south where living is better - in my view.
The South is continuously maligned by some. They won't be happy until the South becomes liberal, just as their states are. Though their own states have the same problems in certain zipcodes and though the South has excellence in certain zipcodes, leftist operatives such as MSNBC's Rachel Maddow seek to tar and feather then entire South as backward. This is only because the South remains as the only remaining Republican stronghold in the nation. Thus they must be racist.
They would do well to explain the failures in the places where they dominate.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
I struggle to understand the reason why anyone would see a 7 year old girl walking home from school as a target.
Yes a mountain lion would view her in such a way. No civilized human being would do so.
Such a person with such thoughts should be treated as we would treat a rabid animal.
Monday, October 26, 2009
These were the words that I shouted upon hearing the news that the New Orleans Saints had come back and beaten Miami - after being blown out most of the game. (Well actually I did not say "Heck" but you get the picture.
Saints rally past Dolphins, stay unbeaten
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
I'm just doing my duty be reporting details of what is available.
I can imagine that these skills could come in handy.
If these women get trapped in a building that is on fire and they needed to exit rapidly on a fire escape - these athletic skills would come in handy.
None the less daddy's early investment in gymnastic lessons seems to have come in handy.
This year has been an amazing year as I constantly battled critters who sought to invade my house or eat all of the fruit from my trees.
Thus far I have fought against:
- Deer who eat my pears and my plants
- Crows who ate the pears that were too high up for the deer
- Squirrels who ate my few apples
- A Turtle who walked across my lawn and didn't appreciate me trying to take him back to the lake
- Ants who capitalized on my failure to put down seasonal ant control this year
- Big spiders who I had never seen before
- Yellow jackets that made their nest next to the flower pot at my front door
Add to this list - WASPS in my basement.
I mistakenly left the top window pane of one of my windows in the basement cracked by about an inch after cleaning them. This one oversight allowed a family of wasps to construct what was to be their winter-time home in my basement.
As I sat on my exercise bench, talking on the phone - I looked up and saw a nest inside of my house, on the window but hidden by the closed blinds that I have on the window.
Thank goodness for chemicals.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
CHICAGO — A hometown investor has offered the unions at the Chicago Sun-Times a take-it-or-leave-it proposal to buy the company in bankruptcy court, and the unions just might leave it — snuffing out what could be the best hope for survival of the city's oldest continuously published daily.
There's no line of eager buyers at the Sun-Times' door. And it seems unlikely parent company Sun-Times Media Group could do much to woo other investors in an era of free Internet news that has already seen the demise of other second newspapers in two-newspaper towns such as Seattle and Denver.
Businessman Jim Tyree's bid for the Sun-Times Media Group "seems to be the only game in town," said Michael Miner, a former Sun-Times staffer who covers local journalism for the Chicago Reader, a free weekly. If Tyree walks away, a Sun-Times lawyer has said, the company would have to consider liquidation.
Tyree, who grew up on Chicago's South Side and now heads Mesirow Financial, a financial services firm, leads a group that has offered to pay just $5 million in cash for the assets of the Sun-Times' parent company, which also runs more than 50 suburban publications. The investors also would assume about $22 million in liabilities to keep operating the company.
First, however, Tyree wants Sun-Times unions to agree to lock in 15 percent pay cuts that were originally intended to be temporary, among other concessions. Five Sun-Times unions have rejected the concessions, four have accepted them and seven have not yet voted, Sun-Times spokeswoman Tammy Chase said.
"The business is in trouble, it needs to transform itself . . . therefore the concessions are essential for it to survive," Tyree said in an interview.
Tyree also wants members of the Chicago Newspaper Guild to agree to flexible work rules. That proposal "guts our contract," complained Tom Thibeault, executive director of the Guild, which represents editorial workers at the Sun-Times newspapers. "We hold on to the front cover and the back cover — and everything else goes out the door."
A judge last week rejected Tyree's efforts to set Tuesday as a deadline for the unions to agree to the demands, suggesting that the parties should have until December to seal any agreement. But both Tyree and Sun-Times Media Group executives warn it's still a matter of weeks before time for a deal runs out.
The company doesn't have the cash to hold out until December, and each day without an agreement brings it closer to shutting down, jeopardizing more than 1,800 jobs, Jeremy Halbreich, the company's chairman, told employees in a recent memo.
"I know that it's as hard for each one of you to accept this fact as it is for me to put it in writing. But, it's true," he wrote.
Scott Cargill, an attorney for a committee of lower-tier, unsecured creditors, said Wednesday that the parties still were reviewing the sales terms. He said the creditors were concerned about the ongoing disputes derailing the company's future, "but it's really the company and the unions that are the parties at the negotiating table."
A message left with the company's chief creditor, Fifth Third Bank, was not returned.
The company's stockholders are already wiped out — Sun-Times shares trade for a fraction of a penny. At its peak in 2004, the company, then known as Hollinger International, had a market value of nearly $1.9 billion.
If the Sun-Times goes under, that would leave this city of 3 million with just one major daily, the Chicago Tribune, whose parent company is also operating under bankruptcy protection.
The Sun-Times has its roots in the Chicago Evening Journal, founded in 1844, though the present newspaper came about in 1948. That was when Marshall Field III, whose grandfather founded the Marshall Field's department store, combined his broadsheet Chicago Sun with the Chicago Times. Over the years the newspaper has been home to writers who gained national acclaim, including columnist Mike Royko, advice guru Ann Landers and movie critic Roger Ebert, who still writes for the Sun-Times.
The tabloid also played key roles in exposing corruption. In 1977, the Sun-Times went so far as to buy a bar to document how city inspectors demanded bribes.
Some analysts and former Sun-Times journalists trace some of the newspaper's financial problems to former owner Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corp. acquired it in 1984 and reversed its traditional liberal editorial stance, losing many top writers.
In 1993, Murdoch sold the Sun-Times to Hollinger, whose then-chief executive, Lord Conrad Black, was convicted in 2007 of siphoning millions of dollars from the Sun-Times and its other newspaper holdings.
For a while under Hollinger, the Sun-Times had a 10 percent to 12 percent operating profit margin, better than No. 2 newspapers in most cities. Hollinger's biggest move was to create the Sun-Times Media Group by buying up suburban and neighborhood newspapers. Some of those are profitable, and some analysts have envisioned the Sun-Times company shutting down the namesake newspaper and keeping the suburban ones.
Tyree, 51, is a lifelong Chicagoan who grew up in a working-class neighborhood. His father managed a gas station and his mother sold lingerie. Now he's chairman and chief executive of Mesirow, which had nearly $31 billion in assets under management as of June 30.
He dismisses the suggestion, widely circulated, that he's interested in the Sun-Times for sentimental reasons.
"It's absolutely a business objective — to make profits," he said. "But we aren't planning on making profits for quite some time because the paper has to be turned around, its Web sites have to be turned around. A significant amount of capital expenditures need to be made to do that, and a significant amount of restructuring."
Sun-Times Media filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March, citing $479 million in assets and $801 million in debt.
One problem is simply falling ad revenue, which has plagued many newspapers. For the six months ending March 31, average daily circulation at the Sun-Times remained flat from a year before at 312,000. Ten years ago, average daily circulation was around 470,000.
But the Sun-Times also owes as much as $608 million in back taxes and penalties related to Black's financial dealings. According to court documents, back taxes would remain with the old company following the asset sale to Tyree's investment group. The Internal Revenue Service sometimes has priority over other creditors, but it still could wind up with just pennies on the dollar.
Tyree said that if he does take over the Sun-Times, he doesn't foresee additional job cuts — beyond the more than 400 jobs already shed since late last year through layoffs and attrition. He said money would be spent on improving content, but he declined to provide details.
Given the low price for the company, Edward Atorino, a media analyst with Benchmark Co., doesn't rule out that sentimental factors or hunger for influence could lead other investors to step forward later, even if the Tyree deal collapses.
"If you're a real rich guy and you bought the Sun-Times and could subsidize it forever, you'd get a voice in Chicago," Atorino said. "You can yell at the governor, you can yell at the president. And if you're very rich and it costs you a few million bucks, who cares?"
Potential bidders have until Monday afternoon to submit any competing purchase proposals. If there are any, an auction would take place in Chicago next Wednesday.
AP Business Writer Anick Jesdanun in New York contributed to this report.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Charlie Sheen is at the top of the scripted TV heap, according to TV Guide.
The mag reported that the "Two and a Half Men" star takes home $875,000 an episode for his role as Charlie Harper on the CBS sitcom.
Last year, "Sopranos" star James Gandolfini led the pack with a whopping $1 million an episode for the final season of the HBO mob drama.
Among the rest of TV's highest paid men in 2009 are "24" star Keifer Sutherland ($550,000 an episode), "House" doctor Hugh Laurie ($400,000) and Christopher Meloni of "Law & Order: SVU" ($400,000).
Lower down on the list were such stars as "30 Rock's" Alec Baldwin ($300,000), "Grey's Anatomy's" McDreamy, Patrick Dempsey ($250,000) and "Mad Men" main man Jon Hamm, who earns $75,000 per episode - just above "Gossip Girl" star Chace Crawford ($50,000).
On the ladies' side, Christopher Meloni's "Law & Order: SVU" counterpart brings home top dollar - along with a quartet of successful "Housewives."
Mariska Hargitay earns $400,000 an episode for her role as Detective Olivia Benson on NBC's "SVU," tying her with four "Desperate Housewives" stars - Eva Longoria Parker, Teri Hatcher, Marica Cross and Felicity Huffman.
TV's other highest-paid women include "30 Rock" creator Tina Fey ($300,000) and "The Closer's" Kyra Sedgwick ($275,000).
However, actors aren't the only ones in TV land with serious paychecks. Among the stars of late night, CBS' David Letterman earns $32 million a year, outdistancing the salary of any actor - and also his NBC competitors, Jay Leno ($30 million) and Conan O'Brien ($14 million). And a number of newscasters are also top earners, led by Katie Couric at $15 million a year and Matt Lauer at $13 million.
And in the world of reality, generally bargain rates compared to scripted television, some stars still earn paychecks to write home about. Ryan Seacrest earns $15 million a year for his "American Idol" hosting duties, while reality stars such as former couple Jon and Kate Gosselin take home $75,000 an episode for TLC's "Jon & Kate Plus 8." No word yet if that number may shift in November, when the show relaunches as a Jon-free "Kate Plus 8."
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Young strippers from Cheetah win court case
Now I'm just saying.........these young girls deserve the right to be able to pay for their college tuition and books. This stuff can be very expensive.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Sorry I don't buy it.
ESPECIALLY with a boy.
As a father there is too much of a need to instill discipline and respect into a son for someone to rationally remove spaking off of the table as a method for discipline.
FRIDAY, Sept. 25 (HealthDay News) -- The bad news is that youngsters who are spanked might lose IQ points.
The good news is that it appears that children's IQs are on the rise -- and at least one expert believes that part of the reason why is that corporal punishment is falling out of favor in the United States and elsewhere.
That's the view of discipline and domestic violence expert Murray Straus, a professor of sociology and co-director of the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire. Straus was scheduled to present the findings from recent research on spanking on Friday at the International Conference on Violence, Abuse and Trauma in San Diego.
The results of a survey of more than 17,000 university students from 32 countries "show that the higher the percent of parents who used corporal punishment, the lower the national average IQ," Straus wrote in his presentation.
In looking at spanking just in the United States, Straus and a fellow researcher reviewed data on IQ scores from 806 children between 2 and 4 years old and another 704 kids aged 5 to 9.
When their IQs were tested again four years later, children in the younger group who were not spanked scored five points higher, on average, than did children who had been spanked. In the group of older children, spanking resulted in an average loss of 2.8 points.
"How often parents spanked made a difference," Straus said in a news release from the university. "The more spanking, the slower the development of the child's mental ability. But even small amounts of spanking made a difference."
Dr. Rahil Briggs, a child psychologist with the Children's Hospital at Montefiore in New York City, said she believes that "discipline should be an opportunity to teach your child something."
"If you spank, you teach your child that hitting is the way to deal with a situation," she said. "But if you use other methods of discipline, you can begin teaching your child higher-level cognitive skills, self-control, cause-and-effect and logical thinking."
Briggs said that previous research has clearly shown that when children are in negative stressful situations, it can actually change the architecture of their brains and impair certain neural processes.
Dr. Stephen Ajl, a child abuse pediatrician, director of pediatric ambulatory care at the Brooklyn Hospital Center and medical director of the Jane Barker Brooklyn Children's Advocacy Center in New York City, said that "spanking and other forms of corporal punishment mean that someone has lost control, and if that goes on on a chronic basis, it may affect some part of children's psychological well-being."
And though some people believe that they can use spanking as a form of punishment without losing control, Briggs said that's very difficult to do all the time.
"When you're physical with your child, you open that floodgate, and the likelihood that it could veer into where you don't have as much control increases," Briggs said. "Plus, if you're just spanking, you haven't taught your child anything."
Straus's presentation at the violence conference was also to include findings from the study of university students, done by researchers in 32 countries. It found that in nations with decreasing use of corporal punishment, the countries' average IQ scores rose.
Those findings are plausible and make some sense, Briggs said, but she added that it's difficult to tease out all the other factors that could play a role in IQ scores -- including poverty and parental education.
Ajl recommended that parents think about how they want to discipline they're children before they're faced with a situation. And, he said, a pediatrician can help parents come up with more effective ways to discipline their children.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi delivered a lengthy, rambling address Wednesday in his first appearance before the United Nations, slamming both the U.N. Security Council and the United States.
Translation: Libyan Leader Moammar Gadhafi Is Auditioning as a guest host for the Rachel Maddow show.
- Anti Afghan War
- Anti Iraq War
- Anti Israel
Sunday, September 20, 2009
I believe this to be a true observation.
I have been exposed to women who have allergies and/or who are sickly in nature. This disposition does have a significant impact upon the relationship and, I could imagine, the intimate and sexual interactions with that person.
Someone with a constantly stuffy nose or sinus infections would generally be miserable. That would definitely carry over to the relationship.
(CNN) -- Sneezing and wheezing may stamp out those flames of desire. A new study reveals that allergies could be getting in the way of amorous activities.
In a study, allergy sufferers reported more problems with sleep and sexual activity than other groups.
In a study, allergy sufferers reported more problems with sleep and sexual activity than other groups.
"If you can't breathe, and your nose is running, and your eyes are itchy, and you're sneezing, and you feel awful and you feel tired, you don't feel very sexy," said Dr. Michael S. Benninger, chairman of the Head and Neck Institute at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio and a lead author of a recent study.
In the study published in the latest edition of Allergy and Asthma Proceedings, 83 percent of people with allergic rhinitis reported that their condition affected sexual activities.
When a person with allergic rhinitis breathes in an allergen such as pollen or dust, he or she can get symptoms such as itching, swelling and sniffling.
"When we look at how people interpret the disability of allergies, they show people who can't go to a park or can't appreciate their kid's ball games," Benninger said. But sexual activities also affect quality of life, he said.
"We're hoping this would stimulate people to start looking beyond the typical symptoms of allergic disease and looking at the impact of how people live," said Benninger. "It's really not your nasal congestion that's the issue. It's really how your nasal congestion impacts how you function. It's looking at the quality of life."
In the study, Benninger and a co-author compared answers from more than 700 people consisting of allergy sufferers, people who have similar symptoms but do not have the condition, and a control group.
Compared to the other two groups, allergy sufferers described more discomfort related to sleep, fatigue and sexual activity. Only 3 percent of people said their allergies never affected sleep.
"Almost all allergy sufferers feel it impacts their sleep," Benninger said. "If you can't breathe, you're not going to sleep well."
Twenty-seven percent reported that allergies almost never affected their sexual activity and 38.8 percent said it sometimes affected it. Another 17 percent answered that it always or almost always had an effect.
The study did not ask patients the reason why their allergies affected their sex life.
"It can be speculated that the chronic obstruction, runny nose, sneezing and decreased smell may all result in impacting the satisfaction of sexual activity," researchers wrote in the study. "Even the simple act of kissing may be altered by these symptoms. Many people may not feel 'sexy' or may actually be embarrassed by their symptoms so that they would avoid intimate contact."
About 17 percent of those with allergies said their condition never affected sexual activity.
"The number of people who said this did not affect them was quite, quite small -- indicating that this is a problem that's out there," said Dr. Clifford Bassett, a medical director at Allergy and Asthma Care of New York, who was not involved in the research. "They're not talking about it with their practitioners. And their practitioners are probably not asking about it."
Bassett said the way allergies affect people's sex lives has not been examined very closely.
"I do hear anecdotally from time to time patients saying, 'I don't feel very sexy or attractive because my nose is running. There's an itch in my nose. My face is itchy. I'm stuffy. I can't breathe. I can't do exercise whether it's lovemaking or anything else that affects me,' " he said.
This could be a hidden and more widespread problem, said Bassett, who plans to ask how allergies affect sexual activities in patient questionnaires.
"The bottom line: It's a high number of people in this study that indicated this was a problem," Bassett said. "I think we need to do a better job discussing this with patients."
Benninger recommended patients find out what they are allergic to, so they can avoid the irritants. For example, a person allergic to pollen should close the window in his or her bedroom to keep the allergen out, he suggested.
"If you're allergic to cats and let's assume that the bedroom is the most frequent place for intimacy and your cat lays on the pillow, and then you go in at night, and you're now sneezing -- that kind of kills it," he said. "There are things people can do to control their environments."
Over-the-counter and prescription medications are available to treat allergies. Allergy sufferers whose sex lives have been affected should avoid sedating antihistamines, which could make a person sleepy, or oral decongestants, which can make a person feel anxious, Benninger said.
"The most important thing is allergies should not be a factor that impacts intimacy and sexual activity," he said
Friday, September 18, 2009
Europe overtakes N. America as wealthiest region
Europe replaced North America as the world’s richest region last year as measured by assets under management, a survey by the Boston Consulting Group said.
North America, defined as the U.S. and Canada, had $29.3 trillion in assets under management, compared with $32.7 trillion in Europe in 2008, according to the survey released Tuesday by the Boston-based firm. The U.S. remains the wealthiest country at $27.1 trillion and has the highest number of millionaires - almost 4 million. Japan’s global wealth is No. 2 with $13.5 trillion and more than 1 million millionaire households.
Global wealth dropped for the first time since the survey started in 2001 as assets under management decreased 11.7 percent to $92.4 trillion last year from $104.7 trillion a year earlier. The credit crisis sent stock indexes to their worst annual losses since the Great Depression and slashed the value of real-estate holdings, hedge-fund and private-equity investments in 2008. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index dropped 38 percent last year, the steepest annual decline since 1937.
“For the last few years, the industry was blessed with very substantial growth, markets kept rising and people kept getting richer and pumping more money to wealth managers,” said Monish Kumar, a partner and managing director in the firm’s New York office. “That era came to a crashing halt in 2008.”
The biggest drop occurred in North America, where wealth plunged 22 percent, according to the survey. The second-biggest decline was Japan, where wealth fell almost 8 percent in local currencies. Latin America, defined by the survey as Mexico, South America and Central America, was the only region where wealth grew, by 3 percent.
Expecting a slow recovery:
Wealth is expected to begin a “slow recovery” in 2010, according to the survey. Assets under management will grow at an average annual rate of 3.8 percent from the end of 2008 through 2013 to $111.5 trillion.
“We believe wealth will come back, but we remain conservative,” said Peter Damisch, a partner and managing director in Boston Consulting Group’s Zurich office. “Before 2013, we won’t get back to 2007 levels.”
The number of millionaire households globally fell to 9 million from 11 million, with North America and Europe both experiencing decreases in the number of millionaire households by 22 percent, according to the report. The results are similar to a survey released in June by Capgemini and Merrill Lynch that found the number of millionaires slipped 15 percent to 8.6 million.
Singapore has the highest concentration of millionaires with 8.5 percent of the nation’s households having more than $1 million in assets under management, the report said.
The amount of offshore wealth declined to $6.7 trillion last year from $7.3 trillion in 2007 as regulators pressured countries such as Switzerland to cut down on bank secrecy
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Death Row Inmate Given One Week Reprieve After Execution Administrators Can't Find His Vein
Broom, 52, was convicted of murdering a 14-year-old girl in Cleveland in 1984, according to a death clemency report.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
This is actually my late dog's sister.
I had to put my dog down in the spring.
Though he was an otherwise healthy dog - a "mass" over his eye got got perpetually infected. His scratching at it made it progressively worse.
After shopping around and knocking the would be $1,200 operation down to about $750 - when the mass grew back after about 6 months - I realized that this was the end of our friendship together. At some point it did not make sense to keep operating on this reoccurring situation.
Now I have to jog down the country road all by myself.
This is a second dog owned by a friend of the family
Saturday, September 5, 2009
I understand why Social Security is capped. Your monthly payment is determined as a factor of what you have contributed. If you live longer than the actuarial averages - the money you receive over and above what you have paid in over your lifetime is a net loss for the system. Thus to tax all of the earnings of a multi-millionaire means that the government would have to pay this person back at this higher rate. (Note: That is unless they choose to screw the person and cap the payouts. A very likely occurrence).
With the 401K program this point makes no sense. The only reason for the cap must be due to tax issues. If the government allows too much money to be shoveled away as pre-tax funds - this is a grand loophole for people to receive tax benefits in the long run and thus net losses of revenue. Clearly this cap is for the benefit of the government, not the individual retirement planner.
You've probably heard it over and over again: contribute up to the maximum amount in your 401(k) plan to improve your chances of a comfortable retirement.
That's the advice of many financial experts, who say it's the best way to get back the money the stock market collapse drained from your account.
However, the maximum contribution is established by using a formula tied to the third quarter Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers. That's normally not a concern for investors because inflation has steadily increased. What's potentially troubling is that the CPI-U figure for this year, to be released on Oct. 15, is expected to be lower than a year earlier.
The CPI-U measures the average change in the prices of goods and services including food, clothing, shelter, fuel, drugs and other day-to-day items bought by U.S. urban consumers. It is released by the U.S. Department of Labor.
The CPI-U jumped more than 5 percent in the third quarter of 2008 compared with the same period a year earlier, which bumped up the contribution limit for this year. But, since March 2009 the index has come in below the corresponding 2008 value. It's anticipated that this year's third quarter will be lower than the 2008 figure. That means for the first time ever, the Internal Revenue Service is faced with the likelihood that the maximum contribution level — now at $16,500 — will be lower than the year before. If current assumptions are correct, the CPI-U number will lower the amount you can contribute to your 401(k) in 2010 to $16,000.
That's not a huge problem, really, because only about 10 percent of workers contributing to a 401(k) pay in the maximum allowed.
The issue is that a lower contribution level is contradictory to the "save more, not less" message the industry has been telling people since last year's economic collapse.
"I would say that it definitely sends the wrong message at time when people are trying to recover from what's happened in the financial markets in the last 12 months," said Luke Vandermillen, vice president of retirement and investor services at Principal Financial Group Inc., a leading 401(k) provider.
About $2.7 trillion was lost in 401(k) and individual retirement accounts between September 2007 and May of 2009, says the Urban Institute, a Washington-based independent research group.
Investment advisers say the best way to regain some of that lost value is to continue to contribute and keep money in the stock market to take advantage of gains that are bound to come with economic recovery. Historically, the S&P 500 returns about 9.7 percent annually.
"At the same time we're telling people that it's critical that they're saving for retirement, and it's critical over the course of their careers that they incrementally increase their savings, if that limit goes down, it's somehow sending a message that it's OK to cut back," said Lisa Alkon, a retirement practice principal at business consultant Towers Perrin.
Since it's never happened before, it's unclear how the IRS will react if the CPI-U figures result in lowering the contribution limit, said Bill McClain, a senior consultant for human resources and business adviser Mercer LLC.
"It's a gray area and we don't know how the IRS will respond," he said. "Since we've never been in the position before where the formula has resulted in a lower limit."
The IRS released only a brief written statement that said it is aware of the issue.
"We are reviewing the relevant law," spokesman Robert Marvin said.
The law, part of the Internal Revenue Code, specifies that the retirement contribution limits are regulated by a cost of living adjustment tied to the CPI-U.
Some consultants believe congressional action is required to keep the limit from falling.
A spokesman for the House Committee on Education and Labor, which oversees legislation regarding retirement issues, declined to comment and a spokeswoman for the Ways and Means Committee, which handles revenue issues, did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
‘My whole family’s dead,’ accused killer told cops after trailer park massacre
I am more disappointed than surprised at this one.
The guy must have done this during a drug crazed rampage.
To have these people murdered via a blunt instrument (ie: a bat - this is not confirmed as the weapon) by a person that they know shows a heightened sense of depravity.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
Survey: Hotlanta is a 'sexually satisfied' place
Perhaps city leaders should adopt Marvin Gaye’s libidinous anthem “Let’s Get it On” as Atlanta’s next theme song.
According to a recent survey, Hotlanta ranks as the nation’s most sexually satisfied metropolis (and second most sexually active, behind Houston).
Commissioned by Trojan condoms, the non-scientific study of 1,000 adults from the U.S.’ 10 most populated cities also found that Atlantans are almost always in the mood.
“Atlanta doesn’t wait for the weekend,” for sex, said Kim Berndt, research director for Strategy One, which conducted the online survey of adults 18-and-over. “That’s one of the [findings] that make Atlanta unique.”
Overall, 73 percent of Atlantans surveyed said they are satisfied with their sex lives. And no city gets more, ahem, bang for the buck, though Berndt said quantity and quality aren’t mutually exclusive when it comes to pleasure.
“We found the more often people have sex, the more satisfied they tended to be,” she said.
So which city’s residents are the least active? Would you believe San Francisco, (former) headquarters of the free love movement?
“If sexual quality of life is higher in Atlanta it may be due to the boomerang effect of southern reticence,” said Atlanta-based columnist and author Michael Alvear, host of HBO’s “The Sex Inspectors.”
“Meaning, what is not spoken of is acted on. San Francisco may have planted the flag on sexual expression but Atlanta’s making it wave.”
While geography might portend more puritanical sexual mores, Atlanta has a history of randy behavior. In the 1970s, Playboy magazine dubbed Cobb County’s Riverbend Apartments “ground zero” of the sexual revolution. And no less an authority than Mick Jagger, who lived in Atlanta briefly while filming the forgettable 1992 flick “Freejack,” opined that the city’s strip clubs were the best he’s visited.
Credit the eye candy.
“We’re the China of beauty,” said Alvear, who blogs about sex at Urge and Merge.
“There’s a lot of physically attractive people living here.”
And Atlanta, as the South’s flagship city, tends to attract a younger, more liberated demographic.
“Atlanta’s a magnet,” said Alvear, adding, “We’re the sex capital of the U.S.”
Now there’s a slogan for a city that’s had its fair share.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Former state employee says he doesn't think the money will change him
COLUMBIA, S.C. - A retired South Carolina state employee who spent two bucks on the lottery last week is the winner of a $260 million Powerball jackpot.
Solomon Jackson Jr., of Columbia, refused Tuesday to say much about himself or his plans, including whether he will take his winnings annually over three decades or in a $129 million lump sum.
Jackson did reveal he was an assistant supervisor for the state Revenue Department who retired in 2000. He said he is married but would not say how many children he has.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
The City Council is considering a program to let the Police Department sell confiscated guns to licensed dealers. Sales could net $10,000 a year.
This is an interesting issue in which there are "truths" on both sides of the debate.
Those who have an anti-gun spirit would be inclined to say that the Police are injecting negative agent back into their community - in theory - re-enabling the criminal element to cycle through the system once again - gun in hand.
To those, like me, with a pro-gun spirit would argue that the ownership of a legally obtained gun is little different than if an automobile or mink coat that was ceased by the police were re-marketed to the general public.
I do concede that if a gun was a part of a murder and then was put back on the street after the thug was brought to justice - it might be problematic. Who's to say that this same gun had not been used in other crimes and then upon a ballistics test done after the fact on this new murder case - that offending gun proves to be the weapon which was used. This is an issue.
I would ask that the Colorado Springs PD proceed very cautiously on this one. Only sell guns that are antique or which have been certified, to the best of the department's knowledge to never have been used in the commission of a shooting crime.
As long as the distribution channel is via licensed gun dealers - I am made more comfortable as these dealers are regulated.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Aug. 19 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. must address the massive amounts of “monetary medicine” that have been pumped into the financial system and now pose threats to the world’s largest economy and its currency, billionaire Warren Buffett said.
The “gusher of federal money” has rescued the financial system and the U.S. economy is now on a slow path to recovery, Buffett wrote in a New York Times commentary yesterday. While he applauds measures adopted by the Federal Reserve and officials from the Bush and Obama administrations, Buffett says the U.S. is fiscally in “uncharted territory.”
The government is trying to spark business and consumer spending through a $787 billion stimulus plan spanning tax cuts and infrastructure projects, while the Treasury and the Fed have spent billions more on separate programs to rescue financial institutions and resuscitate the banking system. The U.S. budget deficit is forecast to reach a record $1.841 trillion in the year that ends Sept. 30.
“Enormous dosages of monetary medicine continue to be administered and, before long, we will need to deal with their side effects,” Buffett, 78, said. “For now, most of those effects are invisible and could indeed remain latent for a long time. Still, their threat may be as ominous as that posed by the financial crisis itself.”
The “greenback emissions” will swell the deficit to 13 percent of gross domestic product this fiscal year, while net debt will increase to 56 percent of GDP, Buffett said.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Venezuela assembly cements socialist changes
Opposition doesn't hold any seats, few lawmakers break ranks with Chavez
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Cubans experiencing hard times because of dismal economic conditions have one more thing to worry about - toilet paper supplies.
With a better health care system than what the United States has (if you listen to Michael Moore that is) - you'd think that the island paradise of Cuba would have known that "toilet paper is more important than free health care."
Friday, August 7, 2009
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Saturday, August 1, 2009
This jury award is preposterous.
$22,500 per song.
These are mere bits on a computer hard drive yet this is seen akin to a "capital offense".
This does not represent the proportionality of the crime. Instead it shows the power of the Music and Entertainment industry in their ability to twist the arms of our legislators.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Yesterday my family started our vacation journey with a flight down to Florida. I decided that I was going to travel on "serious vacation mode". I chose to not bring any casual shoes. I only had a pair of sneakers for walking and another pair of sneakers for my morning jog. I took the black rubber sole shoes out of my bag and left them in the closet.
I had on a sports jersey and some shorts and sneakers for traveling.
As soon as my wife saw me she asked "What do you have on? You look like you are about to cut the back yard.".
I then asked her "We are getting on an airplane. Who do I need to impress?"
She said "You are presenting yourself in public to ME".
We get to the airport and attempt to check in at the Airtran automatic check-in station. The machine says "Please See A Ticket Counter Agent".
They had not assigned us any seats because there were no seats that were grouped together. We'd have to go to the gate for our seat assignment.
My wife went to the gate agent to obtain our seats. She took our receipts and told us she would call us up later. My wife and son then went to get some food.
Our names were called and I went up to the counter. The lady then saw what I had on and then shook her head. She then informed me that she had us all booked in a FIRST CLASS UPGRADE but.........I was not allowed to wear sneakers and a t-shirt in FIRST CLASS!!! She would have to move me alone back to coach.
By that time my wife was standing behind me listening to this. This is all that I needed. Ammunition for my wife to say "I told you so".
My goal of having at least 3 free "Vodka and Cranberry Juice" drinks had faded away right before my eyes.
Thankfully the rest of the plane was jam packed solid. The lady let me board in first class.
The gate agent stated as she scanned my ticket "You had better listen to the woman the next time".
Interestingly enough there was another guy in first class with a sports cap, shorts and sneakers on even though he had a shirt with a collar on.
I have learned my lesson about dressing appropriately to be ready for being promoted upward in social class.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
I Wanted To Be A Big Time CEO, Instead My Life Turned Out Where I Had To Settle For My Face On A Truck
Here's the setup: I am driving up the interstate and then I see this van pull onto the interstate from the on-ramp.
I look and I see this guy's face on the side of the truck.
I think to myself "I bet you everything that this guys is also driving this truck."
I pulled up beside him and, sure enough it was him.
I told you before that I need to have a hidden camera where I can take pictures of people without them getting mad and trying to "kick my azz". Thus I had to settle for just the pictures of his truck.r>
He also had a few stickers of some locksmith association. I bet that this guy is so focused on his job that he has been the president of the "National Professional Locksmith's Association" for the past 3 terms. (I just made that name up)
I am not mad at the guy.
I would take 10 of these guys that are afflicted with a bunch of self-agrandizement than I would 10 street thugs who are breaking out the locks from steering columns before they steal your car.
Saturday, July 4, 2009
As much as some American progressives sell us upon the wonders of "Multiple Tax Payer Paid Health Care" I always find it interesting how things are going in Canada and the UK - their normal references.
A few years ago judges in Canada ruled that people in the country are allowed to seek private health care, outside of the government system.
Now we see that the authorities in the UK - where private citizens are paid money from the government for their transporation costs to the hospital - have now decided that cancer patients are able to seek private care.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
I have to admit an obsession of mine. When ever I travel I try to go to a local grocery store and purchase fruit to eat for the night rather than eating some fattening meal at a local restaurant. I also check for the availability of two items that I used to have access to when I was growing up in Philadelphia:
- Herr's Barbque Potato Chips
- Kraft Seven Seas CREAMY Italian Dressing
Several years ago Kraft either purchased the "Seven Seas" company or consolidated the brand underneath their own brand. Either way my favorite bottled dressing got harder to come by, especially after I moved down South.
Here is how the engagement goes - first I get my fruits. Then the salad dressing isle is usually the next isle or the isle after. Either they don't sell the "Seven Seas" brand at all OR I see a bottle that looks deceivingly like the Creamy Italian style dressing. When I get up close - 9 times out of 10 in the South - it is this "Green Goddess" style and not the Creamy Italian.
When I do find the Creamy Italian - I usually purchase 3 bottles and put them in my suitcase for the flight home.
I have NEVER gone to someone's house and they had "Green Goddess" dressing as a selection.
Wait a minute! Amazon now sells the Creamy Italian version in a 6 pack. Problem might be solved.
The Bolivarian Brain Drain:
Hugo Chavez and his allies are tightening their grips, forcing the intelligentsia to leave in droves
For just a moment, in the early days of his presidency, Venezuela's Hugo Chávez looked almost like a healer. "Let's ask for God's help to accept our differences and come together in dialogue," he famously implored his conflicted compatriots in 2002. Instead what Venezuelans got was an avenger. The government is seizing privately owned companies and farms. Labor unions have been crushed. Political opponents are routinely harassed or else prosecuted by chavista controlled courts. And now after a decade of the so-called Bolivarian revolution, tens of thousands of disillusioned Venezuelan professionals have had enough. Artists, lawyers, physicians, managers and engineers are leaving the country by droves, while those already abroad are scrapping plans to return. The wealthiest among them are buying condos in Miami and Panama City. Cashiered oil engineers are working rigs in the North Sea and sifting the tar sands of western Canada. Those of European descent have applied for passports from their native lands. Academic scholarships are lifeboats. An estimated million Venezuelans have moved abroad in the decade since Chávez took power.
This exodus is splitting families and interrupting careers, but also sabotaging the country's future. Just as nations across the developing world are managing to lure their scattered expatriates back home to fuel recovering economies and join vibrant democracies, the outrush of Venezuelan brainpower is gutting universities and thinktanks, crippling industries and hastening the economic disarray that threatens to destroy one of the richest countries in the hemisphere. Forget minerals, oil and natural gas; the biggest export of the Bolivarian revolution is talent.
The Bolivarian diaspora is a reversal of fortune on a massive scale. Through most of the last century, Venezuela was a haven for immigrants fleeing Old World repression and intolerance. Refugees from totalitarianism and religious intolerance in Spain, Italy and Germany and Eastern Europe flocked to this country nestled between the Caribbean and the Andean cordillera and helped forge one of the most vibrant societies in the New World. Like most developing nations, the country was split between the burgeoning poor and an encastled elite. But in the 1970s and 1980s, Venezuelans were the envy of Latin America. Oil rich, educated, with a solid democratic tradition, they lived a tier above the chronically unstable societies in the region. "We had a relatively rich country that offered opportunities, with no insecurity. No one thought about leaving," says Diego Arria, a former Venezuelan ambassador to the United Nations, who lives in New York. "Now we have rampant crime, a repressive political system that borders on apartheid, and reverse migration. Venezuela is now a country of emigrants."
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Caught Him Red Handed Eating My Nectarine Tree!!
I am an animal lover.
My house is in a suburban area that still has its share of wild animals left to frolic around. I even have cows about 5 minutes away from where I sit right now.
I have a wide clearing toward the rear of my property that is adjacent to a patch of unclaimed land. This land connects my subdivision to the one next door and then onward to undeveloped land. My property is the transit point for many deer seeking to chomp on some grass.
Each year I get to watch the next generation of deer born and then grow. They start off with little spots, then they get a solid, light brown coat and then they turn an ugly gray in time for the winter.
When they get older, however, they acquire a taste for MY fruit trees and flowers.
I caught this one adult female munching on my nectarine and apple trees. This joker was eating off BRANCHES at a time!!
Then you have squirrels that climb from the large oak tree over to my tall pear trees and go to work all day, eating the small pear fruit that is on the tree now. By the time that they are done - I have little left for my own consumption.
Maybe I need to restock my freezer with venison and squirrel meat?
Saturday, June 13, 2009
All week long there has been some funky smell in my house.
I smelled it. My wife smelled it. My kids smelled.
Of course - My wife complained about it and asked me to find out what it was!!
My dog is gone so her usual suspect could not be blamed for the smell.
I thought that it was the trash bag that I had taken out of the kitchen and some liquid dripped upon the floor as I took it out. I had my daughter mop the floor.
No luck at finding the source.
Then as I was in my basement I recalled that last weekend I had taken some ribs and chicken out of the deep freezer and put them into my basement fridge so I could do a barbque during the week.
I went to go check on the condition of this meat that was sitting in the fridge for one week. Indeed the chicken went bad but the ribs were good. I only smelled a slight smell from this pack of chicken and thus it could not be the source of the smell.
On the way out of the utility room I saw something that almost made me cry!!
I LEFT THE FREAKING DEEP FREEZER DOOR CRACKED OPEN!!! The smell that I was smelling was about $150 worth of chicken, beef, turkey burgers and former bags of ice decaying at room temperature.
My wife said that it smelled like a dead animal and wondered if there was a mouse in the house somewhere.
Turns out that it WAS A DEAD ANIMAL!!
I just went to Sam's Club 2 weeks ago and stocked up on my meats.
Now I just want to kick myself.