Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Worries about Obama inauguration prayer http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081231/ap_on_go_pr_wh/rel_inauguration_prayer.
People, what is this crap about "cultural sensitivity" on the verge of going too far? The PC world entered the realm of Cultural Insensitivity ages ago. When you're all bent on getting your own agenda met, without considering the reason behind the proposed action or the words with which you disagree, existing, or considering why people believe or think other than you do, as though your way is the only right way, you're being a hypocrite.
I don't agree with Warren's stance on gay marriage. I have plenty of gay friends I think should be able to declare their intimate commitment the same way I am allowed with a man if I so desire. I've also read Warren's book The Purpose Driven Life, and found some of his points pretty lucid and reasonable: "Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less." "Real fellowship happens when people get honest about who they are and what is happening in their lives." "Every time you understand and affirm someone's feelings, you build fellowship." (Fellowship being defined as "experiencing life together.")
Check it out: We all live on this planet together. What's the sense of pointing out another's hypocricy without looking at our own part in the conflict? Obama "defended his choice, saying he wanted the event to reflect diverse views..." No, serious, the view that we can only have certain opinions and beliefs is only one view! Really! But craploads of people have differing opinions on what those views should be. What?
The world is full of hypocricy. My counselor yesterday (yeah, it's true, I am not completely pulled together in all areas of life and need a little help now and then), suggested that my disappointment with the way people conduct themselves, some deep-seated grief over the nature of the world in which we live, leads to my general mistrust of humanity, and occasionally the people closely surrounding me. That's a pretty miserable feeling, but there it is. I have my own idea of how we should act toward each other, but I don't go around telling people they can't have their own ideas; I just rail about what I perceive as general human retardedness here in my blog- and spend a ridiculous amount of crying and wondering if I'm doing enough to make things out there any better- my definition of "better." Eh, face it; I'm a hypocrite, too.
Don't give me any of that "religion is evil" shite either. Sure, there are plenty of people out there who interpret the Bible, the Qur'an, whatever sacred text, to their own liking, even atheists (who have their own sacred texts, "sacred" being defined by Webster as not only having to do with religion in the deity sense, but also "devoted exclusively to one service or use," and "entitled to reverence and respect.") But what's wrong with invoking Jesus Christ at an inaugural ceremony? It's not the only thing that will happen there, right? If you don't like to hear those words, "Jesus," "Christ," then close your ears for that part. It's no more a sign that the country is destined to go straight to hell because religion has been shoved into a secular event than four years ago when it happened. Obama was elected, not someone representing the radical self-righteous conservative Christians who live here. Or are you afraid of Jesus Christ because you can't find it in your own human heart to meet people where they are at, like he did, historically, according to certain accounts?
Even if the man didn't exist in real life, and even if he did and was just another human being who was able to spread a radical way of being in the world, because the timing and socio-political conditions were ready and he was uber-dedicated to his own beliefs, can a person deny that it's pretty much a universal value to want to accept others and get along at some level? What did you say, Mr. Obama? You would like to "reflect diverse views" at your inauguration? Is your intention to try to bring people together? Huh. What's that, "culturally sensitive" folks? You want to "reflect diverse views," as long as you agree with them?
OK, enough ranting on that subject. Let's look at the other stories that appeared on my homepage for the last day of the year:
Billionaire Blowups of 2008
"More than 300 of the 1,125 billionaires we tallied on our annual list last March have since lost at least $1 billion; several dozen lost more than $5 billion. The 10 richest from our 2008 rankings dropped some $150 billion of wealth, dragged down by steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal, estranged brothers Mukesh and Anil Ambani and property baron K.P. Singh, who together dropped $100 billion. America's 25 biggest billionaire losers of 2008 lost a combined $167 billion."
Don't ask these guys for money any time soon; they're practically flat broke, poor things:
Anil Ambani- $42 billion to $12 billion (This is what happens when family ties go to hell.)
Oleg Deripaska- $28 billion to <$10 billion (Once the world's richest man, he survived the gangster wars for this? How much is Putin worth now?) Anurag Dikshit (There's an unfortunate name; no wonder he's having trouble.)- $1.6 billion to $1 billion
Bjorgflur Gudmundsson- $1.1 billion to ZERO (Maybe he's the guy from Iceland who wrote Garrison Keillor on Prairie Home Companion saying, "Please send money.")
Luis Portillo- $1.2 billion to $15 million. !Esto mercado finca apesta!
Hey, how come the top 10 blowups aren't American? Don't worry; my close warm personal friend Bill Gates is still the richest man in the US, and the Wal-Mart Walton family is going strong.
"The rich haven't gotten richer--or poorer--this year. The price of admission to this, the 27th edition of The Forbes 400, is $1.3 billion for the second year in a row. The assembled net worth of America's wealthiest rose by $30 billion--only 2%--to $1.57 trillion.
"Rising prices of oil and art paved the way for 31 new members and eight returnees, while volatile stock and housing markets forced 33 plutocrats from our rankings."
Whoa, FFM, did you see that? Art! This is it: your chance!
Hooray! Here's to next year, without all these crappy overused words:
green, carbon footprint, maverick, first dude, and MAIN STREET.
Banned words list offers no 'bailout' to offenders
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
Winter is the king of showmen,
Turning tree stumps into snow men
And houses into birthday cakes
And spreading sugar over lakes.
Smooth and clean and frosty white,
The world looks good enough to bite.
That's the season to be young,
Catching snowflakes on your tongue.
Snow is snowy when it's snowing;
I'm sorry it's slushy when it's going
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Fred Pearce, writing in the Yale Environment 360 online magazine, offers a greener interpretation of the fast-moving Chinese economy, countering the frequent gloom-and-doom assessments. What caught my eye in the article was how waste had become a much sought after commodity at the heart of the China boom.
China is so desperate for raw materials to keep its industrial revolution going that it finds uses for almost any waste it can get its hands on: plastic packaging, the metal in old computers and other electronic goods. Just as the country used to run its agriculture on “night soil” (a handy euphemism for human feces), now it runs its industry on as much trash as it can get its hands on.
He tells the story of China’s “Queen of Trash,” Cheung Yan.
Ten years ago, when China stopped logging its own natural forests to prevent a recurrence of big floods, she anticipated a paper shortage. She went to the U.S. and drove around in an old pick-up begging municipal garbage dumps to sell her their waste paper. She was so successful that today her company, Nine Dragons, ships more than 6 million ton of waste paper a year into China, which she recycles into boxes for electronics goods that will be taking the next container ship back to Europe and North America.
Nine Dragons has now become the world’s largest packaging company and the Queen of Trash is “reportedly mainland China’s richest person — and possibly the richest self-made woman on the planet.”
Talk about cash from trash. What this highlights is the intrinsic value embedded in the waste stream - a value mined out of necessity and shortages. “…The very problems that China is finding in obtaining raw materials for its manufacturing plants is already pushing it into taking a world lead in waste recycling,” he writes. So what value is wasting away in the industrialized world that one might see with a China perspective?
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
By Associated Press Monday, December 22, 2008 -
HENDERSON, Texas - Sgt. 1st Class Patrick Henderson, a strapping Iraq combat veteran, spent the last, miserable months of his life as an Army recruiter, cold-calling dozens of people a day from his strip-mall office and sitting in strangers’ living rooms, trying to sign up their sons and daughters for an unpopular war.
He put in 13-hour days, six days a week, often encountering abuse from young people or their parents. When he and other recruiters would gripe about the pressure to meet their quotas, their superiors would say that they ought to be grateful they were not in Iraq, according to his widow.
Less than a year into the job, Henderson - afflicted by flashbacks and sleeplessness after his tour of battle in Iraq - went into his backyard shed, slid the chain lock in place and hanged himself with a dog chain.
He became, at age 35, the fourth member of the Army’s Houston Recruiting Battalion to commit suicide in the past three years - something Henderson’s widow and others blame on the psychological scars of combat, combined with the pressure-cooker job of trying to sell the war.
“Over there in Iraq, you’re doing this high-intensive job you are recognized for. Then, you come back here, and one month you’re a hero, one month you’re a loser because you didn’t put anyone in,” said Staff Sgt. Amanda Henderson, herself an Iraq veteran and a former recruiter in the battalion.
The Army has 38 recruiting battalions in the United States. Patrick Henderson’s is the only one to report more than one suicide in the past six years.
The Army began an investigation after being prodded by Amanda Henderson and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas).
The all-volunteer military is under heavy pressure to sign up recruits and retain soldiers while it wages two wars.
Douglas Smith, a spokesman for the Army Recruiting Command, said, “I don’t have an answer to why these suicides in Houston Recruiting Battalion occurred, but perhaps the investigation that is under way may shed some light on that question.”
Monday, December 22, 2008
Where'd the Bailout Money Go? $350 billion later, banks won't say how they're spending it.WASHINGTON (AP) — Think you could borrow money from a bank without saying what you were going to do with it? Well, apparently when banks borrow from you they don't feel the same need to say how the money is spent.
After receiving billions in aid from U.S. taxpayers, the nation's largest banks say they can't track exactly how they're spending it. Some won't even talk about it.
"We're choosing not to disclose that," said Kevin Heine, spokesman for Bank of New York Mellon, which received about $3 billion.
Thomas Kelly, a spokesman for JPMorgan Chase, which received $25 billion in emergency bailout money, said that while some of the money was lent, some was not, and the bank has not given any accounting of exactly how the money is being used.
"We have not disclosed that to the public. We're declining to," Kelly said.
The Associated Press contacted 21 banks that received at least $1 billion in government money and asked four questions: How much has been spent? What was it spent on? How much is being held in savings, and what's the plan for the rest?
None of the banks provided specific answers.
"We're not providing dollar-in, dollar-out tracking," said Barry Koling, a spokesman for Atlanta, Ga.-based SunTrust Banks Inc., which got $3.5 billion in taxpayer dollars.
Some banks said they simply didn't know where the money was going.
Continue at: http://www.newsday.com/news/politics/wire/sns-ap-meltdown-secrets,0,2429990.story?page=1
I almost wish I'd made enough money to owe taxes this year so I could refuse to file.
IRS: Where is your check? You owe taxes.
Me: Oh, I choose not to tell you what I am doing with that money, but I will let you know I have decided not to send a check to you. If I hang onto it, I know where it will go when the time comes.
Friday, December 19, 2008
There are 800 million things going on in the world that are making me anxious, and I can't even keep track because Scutabaga is taking his third- and this better be FINAL, Acer!- trip to Texas, so here: Merry Christmas.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Free men "apparently shackled and hooded" by our government for a 20 hour plane trip back to Bosnia, after being held at Guantanamo for 7 years. for what reason...? The men released have good reason to be happy to be home; we America, have every reason to be ashamed.
Last night on the TV news, the FFM and I heard Bush say about the Shoe Man in Iraq, that these kinds of things can happen in a free country. We pretty much looked at each other and said in unison, "I guess we don't live in a free country."
Monday, December 15, 2008
Loophole in bailout provision leaves enforcement in doubt"?! That's crap. Let's not let "may prove toothless" become "are toothless," huh?
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Last night, having had a day fraught with a fundamental problem with humanity- obviously- I skipped the party, so bObrObb and The Queen brought the party to my door, with drunken singing by the whole crowd. I'm cured. Thanks.
The Cubes of Memory
Llanes (Asturias, Spain)
One of the most recognisable features of Llanes is ‘Los Cubos de Memoria.’ ('The cubes of memory') They were created by Basque artist Augustín Ibarrola on the large reinforced cubes that arrived in the 1930’s to act as a breakwater and the blocks protected the harbour from fierce winter storms. It has been described as one of the major works of public art and within it there are elements of the history of the town, the region and the artist himself. ‘The Cubes of Memory’ represents the seafaring tradition and the hunting of whales; it refers to nature with a riot of flowers, also symbolic of all the floral festivals of Llanes; there are examples of fruit on the cubes, apples and citrus fruits, which were the main agricultural and export products in the nineteenth century and makes links between man and his history and invite the observer to get to know the land here.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Leave the toilet seat up, some British doctors now say. The reason: a rising trend for heavy wooden and ornamental toilet seats to fall down onto the penises of unsuspecting (and just potty-trained) toddlers.
Dr. Joe Philip and his colleagues of Leighton Hospital, Crewe, in England detail such penis-crush injuries in the December issue of the journal BJU International. The team reports on four boys between the ages of 2 and 4 who were admitted to hospitals with injuries serious enough to require an overnight stay.
The doctors say the injuries have implications for holiday travel and at-home toilet safety for parents with male toddlers.
"As Christmas approaches many families will be visiting relatives and friends and their recently toilet-trained toddlers will be keen to show how grown-up they are by going to the toilet on their own," Philip said. "It is important that parents check out the toilet seats in advance, not to mention the ones they have in their own homes, and accompany their children if necessary."
The team found that all four toddlers had been potty trained and were using the toilet on their own when the incidents occurred. Each had lifted the toilet seat, which fell back down and crushed his penis. Three of the toddlers showed a build-up of fluid in the foreskin, but they were still able to urinate. The fourth had so-called glandular tenderness.
Luckily, the doctors say, the toddlers showed no injuries to the urethra (the tube in the penis that carries urine out) and no bleeding. All four toddlers were able to leave the hospital the next day.
To keep toddlers safe during their journey in the bathroom, the doctors suggest the following tips:
Parents should consider using toilet seats that fall slowly and with reduced momentum, which would reduce the risk and degree of injury.
Heavier toilet seats could be banned in houses with male infants.
Households with male infants should consider leaving the toilet seat up after use, even though it contradicts the social norm of putting it down.
Parents could educate their toddlers to hold the toilet seat up with one hand while urinating. During such a feat, parents should keep an eye on toddlers until the toddler can do this by himself.
"As any parent knows, toilet training can be a difficult time with any toddler," Philip said. "We are concerned that the growing trend of heavy toilet seats poses a risk not only to their health, but to their confidence."
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Secret Santa World, http://secretsantaworld.net/
Bank of America will phase out financing for companies that practice mountaintop removal coal mining, a destructive and controversial method of coal extraction, according to a statement from the banking giant. The policy comes the day after the Environmental Protection Agency — at the behest of the Bush administration — approved a rule that will make it easier for coal companies to dump waste from mountaintop removal mining operations into streams and valleys.
For the rest of the story, go to: http://news.mongabay.com/2008/1204-coal.html