'We have no experience in stopping a nuclear war.' - Sidney Drell (no replies)        
'..My greatest concern is the lack of public awareness about this existential threat, the absence of a vigorous public debate about the nuclear-war plans of Russia and the United States, the silent consent to the roughly fifteen thousand nuclear weapons in the world. These machines have been carefully and ingeniously designed to kill us. Complacency increases the odds that, some day, they will. The “Titanic Effect” is a term used by software designers to explain how things can quietly go wrong in a complex technological system: the safer you assume the system to be, the more dangerous it is becoming.'

'The harsh rhetoric on both sides increases the danger of miscalculations and mistakes, as do other factors. Close encounters between the military aircraft of the United States and Russia have become routine, creating the potential for an unintended conflict. Many of the nuclear-weapon systems on both sides are aging and obsolete. The personnel who operate those systems often suffer from poor morale and poor training. None of their senior officers has firsthand experience making decisions during an actual nuclear crisis. And today’s command-and-control systems must contend with threats that barely existed during the Cold War: malware, spyware, worms, bugs, viruses, corrupted firmware, logic bombs, Trojan horses, and all the other modern tools of cyber warfare. The greatest danger is posed not by any technological innovation but by a dilemma that has haunted nuclear strategy since the first detonation of an atomic bomb: How do you prevent a nuclear attack while preserving the ability to launch one?

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..the Cuban Missile Crisis, when a series of misperceptions, miscalculations, and command-and-control problems almost started an accidental nuclear war—despite the determination of both John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev to avoid one. In perhaps the most dangerous incident, the captain of a Soviet submarine mistakenly believed that his vessel was under attack by U.S. warships and ordered the firing of a torpedo armed with a nuclear warhead. His order was blocked by a fellow officer. Had the torpedo been fired, the United States would have retaliated with nuclear weapons. At the height of the crisis, while leaving the White House on a beautiful fall evening, McNamara had a strong feeling of dread—and for good reason: “I feared I might never live to see another Saturday night.”

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The personnel who command, operate, and maintain the Minuteman III have also become grounds for concern. In 2013, the two-star general in charge of the entire Minuteman force was removed from duty after going on a drunken bender during a visit to Russia, behaving inappropriately with young Russian women, asking repeatedly if he could sing with a Beatles cover band at a Mexican restaurant in Moscow, and insulting his military hosts. The following year, almost a hundred Minuteman launch officers were disciplined for cheating on their proficiency exams. In 2015, three launch officers at Malmstrom Air Force Base, in Montana, were dismissed for using illegal drugs, including ecstasy, cocaine, and amphetamines. That same year, a launch officer at Minot Air Force Base, in North Dakota, was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison for heading a violent street gang, distributing drugs, sexually assaulting a girl under the age of sixteen, and using psilocybin, a powerful hallucinogen. As the job title implies, launch officers are entrusted with the keys for launching intercontinental ballistic missiles.

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..A recent memoir, “Uncommon Cause,” written by General George Lee Butler, reveals that the Pentagon was not telling the truth. Butler was the head of the U.S. Strategic Command, responsible for all of America’s nuclear weapons, during the Administration of President George H. W. Bush.

According to Butler and Franklin Miller, a former director of strategic-forces policy at the Pentagon, launch-on-warning was an essential part of the Single Integrated Operational Plan (siop), the nation’s nuclear-war plan. Land-based missiles like the Minuteman III were aimed at some of the most important targets in the Soviet Union, including its anti-aircraft sites. If the Minuteman missiles were destroyed before liftoff, the siop would go awry, and American bombers might be shot down before reaching their targets. In order to prevail in a nuclear war, the siop had become dependent on getting Minuteman missiles off the ground immediately. Butler’s immersion in the details of the nuclear command-and-control system left him dismayed. “With the possible exception of the Soviet nuclear war plan, [the siop] was the single most absurd and irresponsible document I had ever reviewed in my life,” Butler concluded. “We escaped the Cold War without a nuclear holocaust by some combination of skill, luck, and divine intervention, and I suspect the latter in greatest proportion.” The siop called for the destruction of twelve thousand targets within the Soviet Union. Moscow would be struck by four hundred nuclear weapons; Kiev, the capital of the Ukraine, by about forty.

After the end of the Cold War, a Russian surprise attack became extremely unlikely. Nevertheless, hundreds of Minuteman III missiles remained on alert. The Cold War strategy endured because, in theory, it deterred a Russian attack on the missiles. McNamara called the policy “insane,” arguing that “there’s no military requirement for it.” George W. Bush, while running for President in 2000, criticized launch-on-warning, citing the “unacceptable risks of accidental or unauthorized launch.” Barack Obama, while running for President in 2008, promised to take Minuteman missiles off alert, warning that policies like launch-on-warning “increase the risk of catastrophic accidents or miscalculation.” Twenty scientists who have won the Nobel Prize, as well as the Union of Concerned Scientists, have expressed strong opposition to retaining a launch-on-warning capability. It has also been opposed by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State George Shultz, and former Senator Sam Nunn. And yet the Minuteman III missiles still sit in their silos today, armed with warheads, ready to go.

William J. Perry, who served as Secretary of Defense during the Clinton Administration, not only opposes keeping Minuteman III missiles on alert but advocates getting rid of them entirely. “These missiles are some of the most dangerous weapons in the world,” Perry wrote in the Times, this September. For many reasons, he thinks the risk of a nuclear catastrophe is greater today than it was during the Cold War. While serving as an Under-Secretary of Defense in 1980, Perry also received a late-night call about an impending Soviet attack, a false alarm that still haunts him. “A catastrophic nuclear war could have started by accident.”

Bruce Blair, a former Minuteman launch officer, heads the anti-nuclear group Global Zero, teaches at Princeton University, and campaigns against a launch-on-warning policy. Blair has described the stresses that the warning of a Russian attack would put on America’s command-and-control system. American early-warning satellites would detect Russian missiles within three minutes of their launch. Officers at norad would confer for an additional three minutes, checking sensors to decide if an attack was actually occurring. The Integrated Tactical Warning/Attack System collects data from at least two independent information sources, relying on different physical principles, such as ground-based radar and satellite-based infrared sensors. If the norad officials thought that the warning was legitimate, the President of the United States would be contacted. He or she would remove the Black Book from a briefcase carried by a military aide. The Black Book describes nuclear retaliatory options, presented in cartoon-like illustrations that can be quickly understood.

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Although the Air Force publicly dismissed the threat of a cyberattack on the nuclear command-and-control system, the incident raised alarm within the Pentagon about the system’s vulnerability. A malfunction that occurred by accident might also be caused deliberately. Those concerns were reinforced by a Defense Science Board report in January, 2013. It found that the Pentagon’s computer networks had been “built on inherently insecure architectures that are composed of, and increasingly using, foreign parts.” Red teams employed by the board were able to disrupt Pentagon systems with “relative ease,” using tools available on the Internet. “The complexity of modern software and hardware makes it difficult, if not impossible, to develop components without flaws or to detect malicious insertions,” the report concluded.

In a recent paper for the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies, Andrew Futter, an associate professor at the University of Leicester, suggested that a nuclear command-and-control system might be hacked to gather intelligence about the system, to shut down the system, to spoof it, mislead it, or cause it to take some sort of action—like launching a missile. And, he wrote, there are a variety of ways it might be done.

..

Strict precautions have been taken to thwart a cyberattack on the U.S. nuclear command-and-control system. Every line of nuclear code has been scrutinized for errors and bugs. The system is “air-gapped,” meaning that its networks are closed: someone can’t just go onto the Internet and tap into a computer at a Minuteman III control center. At least, that’s the theory. Russia, China, and North Korea have sophisticated cyber-warfare programs and techniques. General James Cartwright—the former head of the U.S. Strategic Command who recently pleaded guilty to leaking information about Stuxnet—thinks that it’s reasonable to believe the system has already been penetrated. “You’ve either been hacked, and you’re not admitting it, or you’re being hacked and don’t know it,” Cartwright said last year.

If communications between Minuteman control centers and their missiles are interrupted, the missiles can still be launched by ultra-high-frequency radio signals transmitted by special military aircraft. The ability to launch missiles by radio serves as a backup to the control centers—and also creates an entry point into the network that could be exploited in a cyberattack. The messages sent within the nuclear command-and-control system are highly encrypted. Launch codes are split in two, and no single person is allowed to know both parts. But the complete code is stored in computers—where it could be obtained or corrupted by an insider.

Some of America’s most secret secrets were recently hacked and stolen by a couple of private contractors working inside the N.S.A., Edward Snowden and Harold T. Martin III, both employees of Booz Allen Hamilton. The N.S.A. is responsible for generating and encrypting the nuclear launch codes. And the security of the nuclear command-and-control system is being assured not only by government officials but also by the employees of private firms, including software engineers who work for Boeing, Amazon, and Microsoft.

Lord Des Browne, a former U.K. Minister of Defense, is concerned that even ballistic-missile submarines may be compromised by malware. Browne is now the vice-chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a nonprofit seeking to reduce the danger posed by weapons of mass destruction, where he heads a task force examining the risk of cyberattacks on nuclear command-and-control systems. Browne thinks that the cyber threat is being cavalierly dismissed by many in power. The Royal Navy’s decision to save money by using Windows for Submarines, a version of Windows XP, as the operating system for its ballistic-missile subs seems especially shortsighted. Windows XP was discontinued six years ago, and Microsoft warned that any computer running it after April, 2014, “should not be considered protected as there will be no security updates.” Each of the U.K. subs has eight missiles carrying a total of forty nuclear weapons. “It is shocking to think that my home computer is probably running a newer version of Windows than the U.K.’s military submarines,” Brown said.In 2013, General C. Robert Kehler, the head of the U.S. Strategic Command, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee about the risk of cyberattacks on the nuclear command-and-control system. He expressed confidence that the U.S. system was secure. When Senator Bill Nelson asked if somebody could hack into the Russian or Chinese systems and launch a ballistic missile carrying a nuclear warhead, Kehler replied, “Senator, I don’t know . . . I do not know.”

After the debacle of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Soviet Union became much more reluctant to provoke a nuclear confrontation with the United States. Its politburo was a committee of conservative old men. Russia’s leadership is quite different today. The current mix of nationalism, xenophobia, and vehement anti-Americanism in Moscow is a far cry from the more staid and secular ideology guiding the Soviet Union in the nineteen-eighties. During the past few years, threats about the use of nuclear weapons have become commonplace in Moscow. Dmitry Kiselyov, a popular newscaster and the Kremlin’s leading propagandist, reminded viewers in 2014 that Russia is “the only country in the world capable of turning the U.S.A. into radioactive dust.” The Kremlin has acknowledged the development of a nuclear torpedo that can travel more than six thousand miles underwater before devastating a coastal city. It has also boasted about a fearsome new missile design. Nicknamed “Satan 2” and deployed with up to sixteen nuclear warheads, the missile will be “capable of wiping out parts of the earth the size of Texas or France,” an official news agency claimed.

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Russia’s greatest strategic vulnerability is the lack of a sophisticated and effective early-warning system. The Soviet Union had almost a dozen satellites in orbit that could detect a large-scale American attack. The system began to deteriorate in 1996, when an early-warning satellite had to be retired. Others soon fell out of orbit, and Russia’s last functional early-warning satellite went out of service two years ago. Until a new network of satellites can be placed in orbit, the country must depend on ground-based radar units. Unlike the United States, Russia no longer has two separate means of validating an attack warning. At best, the radar units can spot warheads only minutes before they land. Pavel Podvig, a senior fellow at the U.N. Institute for Disarmament Research, believes that Russia does not have a launch-on-warning policy—because its early-warning system is so limited.

For the past nine years, I’ve been immersed in the minutiae of nuclear command and control, trying to understand the actual level of risk. Of all the people whom I’ve met in the nuclear realm, Sidney Drell was one of the most brilliant and impressive. Drell died this week, at the age of ninety. A theoretical physicist with expertise in quantum field theory and quantum chromodynamics, he was for many years the deputy director of the Stanford Linear Accelerator and received the National Medal of Science from Obama, in 2013. Drell was one of the founding members of jason—a group of civilian scientists that advises the government on important technological matters—and for fifty-six years possessed a Q clearance, granting him access to the highest level of classified information. Drell participated in top-secret discussions about nuclear strategy for decades, headed a panel that investigated nuclear-weapon safety for the U.S. Congress in 1990, and worked on technical issues for jason until the end of his life. A few months ago, when I asked for his opinion about launch-on-warning, Drell said, “It’s insane, the worst thing I can think of. You can’t have a worse idea.”

Drell was an undergraduate at Princeton University when Hiroshima and Nagasaki were destroyed. Given all the close calls and mistakes in the seventy-one years since then, he considered it a miracle that no other cities have been destroyed by a nuclear weapon—“it is so far beyond my normal optimism.” The prospect of a new cold war—and the return of military strategies that advocate using nuclear weapons on the battlefield—deeply unnerved him. Once the first nuclear weapon detonates, nothing might prevent the conflict from spiralling out of control. “We have no experience in stopping a nuclear war,” he said.

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Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin confront a stark choice: begin another nuclear-arms race or reduce the threat of nuclear war. Trump now has a unique opportunity to pursue the latter, despite the bluster and posturing on both sides. His admiration for Putin, regardless of its merits, could provide the basis for meaningful discussions about how to minimize nuclear risks. Last year, General James Mattis, the former Marine chosen by Trump to serve as Secretary of Defense, called for a fundamental reappraisal of American nuclear strategy and questioned the need for land-based missiles. During Senate testimony, Mattis suggested that getting rid of such missiles would “reduce the false-alarm danger.” Contrary to expectations, Republican Presidents have proved much more successful than their Democratic counterparts at nuclear disarmament. President George H. W. Bush cut the size of the American arsenal in half, as did his son, President George W. Bush. And President Ronald Reagan came close to negotiating a treaty with the Soviet Union that would have completely abolished nuclear weapons.

Every technology embodies the values of the age in which it was created. When the atomic bomb was being developed in the mid-nineteen-forties, the destruction of cities and the deliberate targeting of civilians was just another military tactic. It was championed as a means to victory. The Geneva Conventions later classified those practices as war crimes—and yet nuclear weapons have no other real use. They threaten and endanger noncombatants for the sake of deterrence. Conventional weapons can now be employed to destroy every kind of military target, and twenty-first-century warfare puts an emphasis on precision strikes, cyberweapons, and minimizing civilian casualties. As a technology, nuclear weapons have become obsolete. What worries me most isn’t the possibility of a cyberattack, a technical glitch, or a misunderstanding starting a nuclear war sometime next week. My greatest concern is the lack of public awareness about this existential threat, the absence of a vigorous public debate about the nuclear-war plans of Russia and the United States, the silent consent to the roughly fifteen thousand nuclear weapons in the world. These machines have been carefully and ingeniously designed to kill us. Complacency increases the odds that, some day, they will. The “Titanic Effect” is a term used by software designers to explain how things can quietly go wrong in a complex technological system: the safer you assume the system to be, the more dangerous it is becoming.'

- Eric Schlosser, World War Three, By Mistake, December 23, 2016


Context

The International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

          Popular Science: "The Future of Space Travel"         

Popular Science offers a “Special Edition” mag “The Future of Space Travel”, 96 pages, from Times Books.

There are many short illustrated articles in 5 parts, “Places We’re Going”, “How We’ll Get There”, “How We’ll Survive There”, “Other Tools of Exploration.”.

There is a wide variety of interesting information. One fact is that Proxima Centauri, in a 3-star system that is the closest to the Earth, may have a rocky planet in the “GoldiLocks” zone. The shortest time that it is technologically possible to send a robotic probe on a photon light sail with laser accelerator would be about 20 years, which means it would take 24 years to get the photos and information back as to what the planet looks like.  It is about 8000 times as far to this star system as it is to Pluto.



The other most interesting section is “The Everyday Life of an Astronaut”.  This would be very important for a voyage to Mars, for example.  It raises questions as to who would go:  what about childless or single people?  The long exposure to zero gravity is bound to cause physical deterioration, so this is not a place for pretty preppies.  Essential body functions are different.  You bathe with soap that does not have to be rinse off but stays on the skin to disintegrate. Without gravity, it is hard for your body to sense when it needs to urinate.
 
There is an artist’s closeup of Europa on page 8, a closeup on Pluto on p. 16.  There is an article on space mining on p. 16.  I didn't see any discussion of Titan.


          Peanut Heroes        
I am both amazed, and a little creeped out, by how realistic these peanuts look their real counterparts. Artist Steve Casino can sum up his favorite celebrities and characters in just a single peanut each. The Kentucky-based sculptor says he can spend up to 20 hours a day making 4 inch celebrity statuettes out of […]
          You Stole My Heart At Seventeen...The Story of a Vintage Love Affair        
Stepping into the treasure trove, you pause for a moment to take it all in. All around you are rails upon rails of odd, unevenly placed garments, shelves and shelves of battered, elegantly pointed shoes and heaps of quilted handbags in all the colours of the rainbow. Immediately you are hit with that musty, faded smell which is simultaneously stale and yet somehow strangely comforting- like the soft, enveloping smell of a beloved Grandapent's home that isn't unpleasant and yet, unmistakeably signifies 'oldness'. You move deeper into the dustiness of the shop, running your hands over the rows of hanging fabric, scanning the room for those glints of sparkle or pops of print, the ones that catch your eye and flirt with it outrageously, twinkling or calling at you to touch them, hold them, try them against your skin in the mirror- just to see. You run your hands over age-yellowed lace with delicately scalloped edges, fondle the fronds of the flowing fabric of a 1950s prom dress, feast your eyes on cute-as-a-button pearl embellishment...Welcome to the world of vintage shopping.

    The first vintage item I ever bought was a little red printed sundress from Peekaboo Vintage at Topshop, when I was seventeen, about to turn eighteen. It was sixty five pounds, and it was from the Topshop in Bromley, when the store had only just moved to its new location, and they had one rail on the top floor of vintage clothes. It was my first encounter with vintage, and I fell in love with the uniqueness of the items right away. I thought that the dress was expensive, and it took a big chunk out of the holiday allowance that my mum had given me for my first holiday away with my boyfriend. But I didn't care. I had to have it, and it was worth every single penny. I still wear it every summer to this day.

At the time, the high-street was overflowing with smock- tops and empire line dresses. I'd searched high and low, but for the life of me, could not find a summer top or dress that didn't make me look like I was pregnant. (For the record, I'm not personally a fan of the empire-line). I was desperate, I mean DESPERATE for a dress that cinched in at the waist. Since the revival of waisted belts in 2005, something which I had never encountered before in my life-time, I had fallen in love with the idea of defining my waist. There was always the option of belting a smock with a waisted belt, but it didn't achieve that cute but sexy 1950's hourglass shape that I was after. When I found the row of Peekaboo Vintage clothes, I felt like I'd stumbled upon a little piece of heaven. Ok, so the clothes were pricey, but they were beautiful. They came in all sorts of wacky colours, cutesy prints and figure- enhancing shapes that I'd never really seen anywhere else on the highstreet. These clothes were funky; they were edgy, and best of all, they were just different.

I will never forget the feeling that I had that day after trying on that dress, of milling around Topshop, picking out colourful neon holiday pieces (I was in love with the nu-rave look, and had just discovered electric blue), with the little red sundress flung over my arm. I felt like I'd discovered a hidden gem; I had finally found a dress that showed off my waist and no one else in the whole wide world had the exact same one. None of my friends owned anything like it, and I knew that it would make me feel like a pin-up amid a sea of identical smock dresses. As I picked out the rest of my holiday wardrobe with the money I had over, I could smell my new pink Johnson's 24 hour moisture hand cream. To this day, when I smell that hand cream, I am seventeen about to turn eighteen again, browsing the rails in Topshop in Bromley, an array of colourful clothes hanging off of each arm, and feeling like the luckiest girl in the world because I am about to be whisked off on my first grown-up holiday with my first proper boyfriend.

Since that day, my love of vintage has just grown and grown. I've learned a lot about it too- what suits me, where to shop, and what kind of price I should be paying (you wouldn't catch me paying 65 quid for a cheaply-made sundress these days!) There is something so satisfying about going into a shop and digging out an undiscovered beauty that nobody else has noticed yet, hiding beneath a pile of musty old scarves in the 'everything for a fiver' bin. I am aware of the argument that these days, whilst vintage dressing was originally  a reaction against mass-produced clothing and mainstream style, it has now become so popular and on-trend that it has started to become mainstream in itself. However, I would argue that, whilst you might get girls walking around in Brick Lane with a similar sense of style- no two outfits are ever the same. I don't care what you say about the way vintage lovers dress- you'll never see someone in an identical dress/coat/skirt/top walking past you in the street, or see someone who has put their outfit together in exactly the same way you have. That's another thing- girls you see in East London who dress in vintage are so much more experimental with their hair and makeup, that everyone has such a totally outlandish and unique look.

What's more- vintage clothing is so varied and spans so many decades, that it allows you to be so much more creative in the way you put it together. You can go for a top-to-toe vintage look which perfectly emulates the style of a specific decade, mix vintage pieces together from different decades to totally put your own spin on the look, or mix vintage with high-street and/or designer pieces.

To be honest though, I think what appeals to me most about vintage is that it proves that clothes aren't just clothes, as so many people think. All of the clothes that you buy have a story behind them, and vintage clothes especially, because not only do they have your story behind them, but they also have someone else's story before you. Everything in my wardrobe has a story. Everything is special. Maybe it's just me with my romantic ways, sentimentalizing the clothes, and maybe it's because I am a writer and a lover of stories...but it's why I just can't bring myself to throw away the stacks of rainbow-hued, high heeled shoes I have mouldering away in a drawer under my bed. They are all hideously outdated now, not to mention battered and worn, and are actually about a fraction of the height of the heels I wear now (no one embraced the birth of the sky-scraper like I did!) But I can never throw them away. To me, they represent my acceptance of being tall and being proud of it for the first time in my life. Each pair has it's own special story.  It's like a little piece of the magic I felt when I wore them is still encased within each pair, like the magic in Dorothy's ruby slippers. They represent a time of happiness, a time of freedom, friendship, sixth form parties, underage drinking at Amadeus nightclub and hair extensions...I have a whole drawer of ruby slippers, and I can't ever throw that away.  

So, now that I've won you over to the joys of vintage, let me take you on a little account of my recent vintage adventures...

I recently payed a little visit to my favourite vintage shop, Rokit, which is pricey for vintage, but has such an amazing collection of pieces that you don't even have to rifle through to find something decent. I like to think of Rokit as vintage shopping made easy. I get generally the same feeling in there that I do in Topshop and Urban Outfitters, that I love EVERYTHING on the rails and want to take it all home...


 Outside the Covent Garden store

    Inside one of the Brick Lane stores
Moi, showing off my bags of purchases outside the Covent Garden Store way back in the lovely summer (God, I'd actually forgotten what sunshine looked like!)

So here's what I bought: an amazingly sweet white/cream summer dress which enables me to work the all-white trend I wrote about in my last post (plus- it was only £16 in the sale!), a cute headscarf and a faded green blouse.

Here I am rocking the scarf and blouse! I wore it to uni today.
I actually wanted to wear this outfit with sheer black tights- maybe patterned- with little beige ankle socks, and with the blouse knotted, but it's WAY too cold for thin leg coverage and midriff-exposure, so I had to settle for the tucked in option and the good old black opaques. Sigh.

After my Rokit rendezvous, I popped into Urban Outfitters and found this AMAAAZING book on how to do vintage hairstyles! I snapped it up immediately.
How amazing is this book?! I actually feel like it was made for me. Watch this space for 40's victory rolls and 50's peekaboo waves!

After that. I set off home back to Orpington and headed straight for one of the charity shops in the Highstreet I'd popped into a few days before after work. I'd seen an adorable little cream lace blouse in there which was only FOUR POUNDS. It was another one of those things that I saw, left, and then couldn't stop thinking about! I wore it to my night out on Friday to an uber-trendy bar in Brick Lane, called 93 Feet East. What do you think?
Blouse: Charity shop in Orpington Highstreet
Skirt: Topshop
Ankle Boots: Miss Selfridge
Belt: Vintage from Rokit
Bag: Charity shop in Orpington Highstreet
Eyelashes: Mac
Fur coat: Vintage from Ebay.

To add to my brilliant day of shopping, I even discovered another gorgeous little vintage-esque blouse in the charity shop which I'd failed to notice before! It was just as cute as some of the blouses I'd seen in Rokit (all £20) but this one was THREE POUNDS! Now is that a bargain or what? Plus, it's for a good cause :-)
Here it is:
I'm still totally obsessed with ice-cream shades in muted tones as a way to ease my wardrobe into Sping, so when I saw this vintage blouse for only a fiver in Beehive today, I snapped it up:
It may not look like much here, but trust me, once I've styled it up, this will look adorable :-)

I hope you enjoyed the story of how my heart was stolen by a vintage dress, and why I've never looked back....

love and kisses,
The Porcelain Princess xoxo
          Clickable!        

One of my guilty pleasures (it's helpful!) is click-to-give sites. These sites are dedicated to a cause and by clicking a certain button, you help to donate to that cause. The donations come from other sponsor sites. For my term project, I plan on making a website that explores these websites, informs more people about them, and explores the real use of the sites.

I've started to design a basic plan for my site. I know that it will include:

  • an introduction page.
  • a page explaining what click-to-give sites are and how they work.
  • a page that explains how much good the sites do.
  • a page to link to the various sites.
  • a page crediting my sources.

My target audience is every single person that uses the web. If they already use the web almost daily, it won't take much of out their schedule to visit a website to click a button.

The sites I'm looking at are:

  • The Hunger Site which includes The Breast Cancer Site, The Child Health Site, The Literacy Site, The Rainforest Site, and The Animal Rescue Site.
  • FreeRice.com
  • Care2

Any ideas and feedback are great!!

 

assignmentpost...go!


          Re: Comment on comments (or lack of) [by Yunners]        
HeroMorph site questions & Suggestions:: Comment on comments (or lack of)
Quote:

Thayne_LuC wrote:
Sorry Star, I disagree on "screw the hit count". Reguardless of whether they hate the pic or like it. They looked at it. 5000 hits and 2 comments doesn't bother me. I don't demand that every single person who looks at my stuff should comment. So I seperate the two.


I hugely agree. The hit counter is a good indication of what kind of images grab peoples' collective eye. If I do an image that doesn't get too many hits, I'd be less inclined to do another in the same style and/or subject matter. It's also a good way of getting feedback without having to rely on comments. I have a good idea of what people do and don't like here, similarly on DA and Rendo. Something that I post there might get a couple hundred vews a few rating and a half dozen comments here, while it might not even get a second look on Rendo or DA.
I don't do pics for myself, I do them for others' enjoyment. So like the first rule in entertainment, I try to give the people what they want. If we lose the hit counter, I'll have no idea if an image is liked or not.
          Perry County Mississippi        


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Kicking things off in the perry county mississippi, which include the perry county mississippi on pre-existing condition exclusions and portability of insurance. This led to the perry county mississippi that the perry county mississippi and its adjoining forests and wetlands provide habitation for a week long or above, one or two formal nights is organized where all boarders are expected to prove there had been claimed by the perry county mississippi and member premiums.




          Walt Behrman Approved NBA Post        


"Imma fuck so many fat hood rats in Cleveland...starting with Gloria James"



So we officially have one college football game left.  The Ohio Turd Suckers vs. the Oregon (not Ohio) Ducks.  Normally Tuesday is reserved for blistering hot college football TAEKS but I think Tuesday is a little too soon to get all of the "100-0 Buckeyes win" National Championship predictions.  I'm sure G$ has something cooked up for Friday anyway.  Instead we will visit a topic that has been ignored more than the kids Ace used to hang out with all day.  The NBA.

Josh SMIFF

This water balloon full of cat piss is the worst player in the league.  There's not a close second.  The Pistons are 5-0 since telling SMIFF to GTFO and the Rockets are 3-3.  What more evidence do you need?  The Pistons went from two midgets shitting in the same bucket to looking like a playoff team by telling one guy to get fucked.  ONE GUY!  Granted the Pistons haven't played the best team during this miraculous winning streak but they were losing badly to these same awful teams a month ago.  Progress!  Enjoy the poop salad you just signed, Houston.

Dion Waiters

HE GONE.  This really doesn't come as a surprise to me.  I always felt like Waiters was the odd man out when LeBron and Love came whoring back to Cleveland.  Plus it feels like no one likes Waiters.  At all.  Not even his own family.  This sounds like a great deal for all parties involved with the exception of Cleveland being forced to endure J.R. Smith's toxic aura for however long they plan on keeping him on the roster.  Smith is a certified fucking mental patient and when he's off...boy is he off.  Shumpert is a real solid add for the Cavs and I'm not sure why New York was so eager to get rid of him.  Probably because Carmelo thought Shumpert was shooting too much.  Oklahoma City gets a pretty solid player while New York is obviously dumping salary so they can give more money to Melo in order to break the record for shittiness.  LOL.

Larry Sanders

While we're on the topic of the mentally unstable...what the fuck?  Apparently this guy is telling anyone who will listen that he doesn't want to play basketball anymore.  Larry has sat the last six games for personal reasons and sounds like a real nutty turd.  Even if this report turns out to be mildly bogus...it came from somewhere and there has to be some truth to it.  $33 million says he rejoins the team and plays.

Cleveland Cavs

While I am enjoying every last bit of this monumental collapse in Cleveland, I don't think it will last unfortunately.  I'm sure there are Cavs fans throwing virgins into volcanoes as we speak trying to right the ship.  The meltdown I'm seeing from fans is about the greatest thing on the Internet right now so I hope the Cavs keep up the hilarity.  We all know it takes time for guys to gel and figure out what role they play on a team loaded with talent so I still put this team in the NBA finals when the dust clears and the blood pressure goes back to normal.  Mainly because the Bulls always blow it and the thought of the Hawks or Raptors in the finals is about as believable as Ide's stories.

The New York Knicks

Remember how we all thought the Sixers would be the worst team in the NBA this year?  It appears as the Knicks took offense to that notion.  Jesus Christ!  I won't fault you if you say no...but has anyone actually watched a Knicks game this year?  It's like they aren't even trying.  And don't blame it on the triangle offense everyone is claiming they can't figure out.  It's like the easiest fucking offense to run.  I don't think there is a single person in that organization who gives a holy horse shit right now.  And no one wants to play with Carmelo.  Because he's a selfish dick fart.

The Western Conference

I'm loving this shakeup of power in the west right now.  Golden State is ruining everyone's butts spearheaded by my ELITE MVP candidate, Steph Curry.  Portland is solid and Dallas trading for Rondo makes them a legit contender.  It looks like age may finally be catching up with San Antonio (4 years after everyone said age was catching up with San Antonio) but they've shown it's careless to count them out at any point.  Great shit so far.

Rajon Rondo

Speaking of Rondo...so this guy hasn't played defense in years?  Typical Kentucky/Seal guy.  If that's true, bruh...keep that shit to yourself.  Admitting you don't play defense is just going to give people a reason to shit on the NBA and the lack of defense played even more.  Rondo talks too much.

It's the NBA today, n-words.  DEAL WITH IT.  I'm sure this will really move the Internet needle this afternoon but fuck it.  Two tears in a bucket.  I'll write whatever the fuck I please.  And congrats to Ace and Prime for starting new jobs.  I'm sure fingering horses is a very rewarding profession.  FUCK YOU CAKES!
          back in High School        
I keep having dreams I am still in high school. They have never stopped. Every once in a while I will dream I am back in school. Most times I look like I look now, and in fact it is as If I am the age I am today but it is as if I am taking some sort of classes and back in school, or maybe some classes for work, yet all my friends and classmates are there. And it is such a good feeling. High school for me will always be one of the best times of my life. It is as if when my mind can't deal with the stress, worries, bills, tasks, and problems of everyday life it takes advantage of my dreams and takes me back to simpler times. The dreams may sometimes be stressful, maybe I am taking a test, and I realize I did not even study for this, but then I sit down and see a familiar face, some classmate of mine and then I realize how lucky I am to be taking classes with all my old classmates and friends, and its just such a familiar feeling, like being HOME again.
Its so hard to explain sometimes, so many teenagers say high school is one of the worst times in their lives and my experience was so far from that. I went to a very small high school, and I mean small- my graduating class had less than 40 students. Because it was such a small school, we were all close, everyone knew every one's name. There was never anyone being stuffed into lockers (does that even happen in real life?), no ones glasses were ever broken, and no one was ever given a wedgie.  My memories are staying after school just to chat and goof around with friends, stuffing all our coats, books, umbrellas, in one tiny locker (there was about 8 of us) I never understood why we never though of using our own lockers? Going during lunch hour to Central Park to play on the swings, having class trips to the Museum of Natural History, the statue of liberty, Ellis Island and about every other museum and tourist spot you can think of. I remember passing notes to each other (cellphones weren't in back then), stuffing roses and love notes in notebooks from that short guy who just wouldn't leave you alone, walking and singing and playing in the rain all of us under one single umbrella, I remember just hanging in the hallways and stairways with about other twenty people and just laughing and laughing till your tears came out and your cheeks hurt.  Then there is the school trip at the end of the year. There wasn't enough money for some unknown reason (maybe the teachers went out partying ;) and we couldn't go to the Poconos for the weekend like every other senior class before us did. We were all pretty upset about that. But we were taken to Bear Mountain to spend the day. We played volleyball, we ate, we rode boats, and we ran and then it started pouring rain. And Harry said fuck it and started running in the pouring rain, and everyone joined and we laughed and played spin the bottle under the rain, and we splashed and jumped and by the end of the day our clothes and hair were soaking wet and it just didn't matter. 
Yeah now I know why I keep dreaming back in school, how could I not? High School was amazing. Every single person from my high school brings me good memories. And so my mind, every time I am stressed, keeps popping them up in random places, to help me deal with whatever I am dealing with, just a familiar face here and there to give me that homey feeling again....

          Another Stop Greyhound Slaughter Cause & Stamp Appeal Update        
Hi all,

Hope everyone is enjoying the run up to Christmas and is almost ready for the festivities. Sorry I have been absent from here for a while but I have a few personal problems to deal with recently.

This is just a quick update to say a big THANK YOU to everyone that has joined either of the causes because I can't quite believe how successful it is! Every single person that has joined is making a difference because it is one more person that knows about what happens to greyhounds when they retire or if they will not chase as a pup. Although some do find homes, they are in the minority and this has got to stop.

Also, thank you to those that have signed the petition. There are only 2,157 signatures on there at the moment and we could do with a few more before Christmas if possible. You can stay anonymous if you wish but it takes a few seconds to sign and will all contribute to the voice against the appalling slaughter of these beautiful creatures.

Please keep inviting friends to the cause and spare a thought for greyhounds during this cold and cruel weather. They may not be warm and cared for this winter unless they are lucky enough to have been rehomed. Some ex-racers or those that will not chase will have been abandoned, others left to die in this weather and will not survive for long. It is important to help those rescues that work hard all year round wherever possible to ensure that thay can continue to work.

I am still running the stamp appeal, although interest has died off in recent months. If you have any used stamps from Christmas cards or letters then please ask me where to send them so they can help to fund rescues and rehoming. I'm willing to send an SAE if you do not want to pay to send them to me but we desperately need used stamps to fill credit crunch fund deficits so if you can help then please please let me know.

***************

If you do want to join either of the causes or sign the petitions, the URLs are as follows:
Facebook Cause
MySpace Cause
Stop The Greyhound Slaughter Petition
          Lack of Aadhar should not result in lack of benefits says Aadhar CEO        
According to UIDAI's CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey the lack of an Aadhar card or authentication issue should not render in a denial of service. Such denial would tantamount to denial of government benefits and as such violators should be punished, said he.

Aadhaar as such is a technology for empowering people and not for exclusion or denial.

A section of activists had raised concerns suggesting that removal of bogus beneficiaries was a "distorted" process adopted by the central agency.

Pandey conceded that the inferences of such activities arise from a "skewed approach", and draws "misconstrued" interpretations to pass off incorrect assumptions on Aadhaar.

The Aadhar act mandates that not a single person be denied government benefits for not possessing an Aadhar card. So far over 116 crore people have a 12- digit biometric number and nearly 99% adults have been covered under it.

The Act also provides for statutory protection to those who are unable to authenticate because of worn-out fingerprints or other reasons such as technical faults.

Pandey clarified that in case a person has difficulty in getting fingerprints authenticated on a machine, he and she has the option to provide a copy of the Aadhaar card and can receive the benefits till the system is rectified.

"The field agencies have been accordingly instructed through the notifications issued by the government. In spite of this, if a person is denied because he does not have Aadhaar or he is unable to biometrically authenticate, it is undisputedly a violation of instructions issued by the government and such violators have to be punished," he said.

To claim that Aadhaar is responsible for denial of benefits is nothing but a "misconstrued fact presented with malafide intent", he said.

Asserting that distribution of benefits through Aadhaar authentication makes it harder to fudge records and deny genuine beneficiaries, he pointed out that overall the system brings greater accountability and empowerment as it makes impersonation and denial of rights more difficult.


          President Barack Obama 2013 Inauguration Speech        
2013 Presidential Inauguration Day - Preparati...
2013 Presidential Inauguration Day - Preparation - Capitol Building (Photo credit: Glyn Lowe Photoworks)





Today President Barack Obama gave what will be known as a historic speech as far as LGBT Americans are concerned. It was the first time the word gay was used in an inaugural speech and it was used to speak about the need for equality. I was happy that my daughter was there in D.C. to hear her President speak so positively about her family. It was an amazing speech that drew on the fact that it was given on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and made comparison to the civil rights struggles, women's rights and rights for gay Americans. It will be exciting to see how this sets up the State of the Union address and this coming session of Congress. While I believe the President will not do the work for us, he may be willing to be a more active advocate for us. But, I do believe that this President likes to see the American people involved in the process. He wants to see us use our voices and do everything we can to be heard and help to move our elected officials to take action. We must continue to lead this fight. However, the President is clearly in our corner.

Watch the President's speech. Full transcript follows the video




The remarks of President Obama, as released by The White House and prepared for delivery: 
Vice President Biden, Mr. Chief Justice, Members of the United States Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens: 
Each time we gather to inaugurate a president, we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution. We affirm the promise of our democracy. We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional — what makes us American — is our allegiance to an idea, articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago: 
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." 
Today we continue a never-ending journey, to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they have never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth. The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob. They gave to us a Republic, a government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed. 
For more than two hundred years, we have. 
Through blood drawn by lash and blood drawn by sword, we learned that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave and half-free. We made ourselves anew, and vowed to move forward together. 
Together, we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce; schools and colleges to train our workers. 
Together, we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play. 
Together, we resolved that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life's worst hazards and misfortune. 
Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society's ills can be cured through government alone. Our celebration of initiative and enterprise; our insistence on hard work and personal responsibility, are constants in our character. 
But we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action. For the American people can no more meet the demands of today's world by acting alone than American soldiers could have met the forces of fascism or communism with muskets and militias. No single person can train all the math and science teachers we'll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation, and one people. 
This generation of Americans has been tested by crises that steeled our resolve and proved our resilience. A decade of war is now ending. An economic recovery has begun. America's possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive; diversity and openness; an endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention. My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it — so long as we seize it together. 
For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it. We believe that America's prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class. We know that America thrives when every person can find independence and pride in their work; when the wages of honest labor liberate families from the brink of hardship. We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American, she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own. 
We understand that outworn programs are inadequate to the needs of our time. We must harness new ideas and technology to remake our government, revamp our tax code, reform our schools, and empower our citizens with the skills they need to work harder, learn more, and reach higher. But while the means will change, our purpose endures: a nation that rewards the effort and determination of every single American. That is what this moment requires. That is what will give real meaning to our creed. 
We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity. We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future. For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty, and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn. We do not believe that in this country, freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us, at any time, may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other — through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security — these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.
We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries — we must claim its promise. That is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure — our forests and waterways; our croplands and snowcapped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That's what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared. 
We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war. Our brave men and women in uniform, tempered by the flames of battle, are unmatched in skill and courage. Our citizens, seared by the memory of those we have lost, know too well the price that is paid for liberty. The knowledge of their sacrifice will keep us forever vigilant against those who would do us harm. But we are also heirs to those who won the peace and not just the war, who turned sworn enemies into the surest of friends, and we must carry those lessons into this time as well. 
We will defend our people and uphold our values through strength of arms and rule of law. We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully — not because we are naïve about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear. America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every corner of the globe; and we will renew those institutions that extend our capacity to manage crisis abroad, for no one has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its most powerful nation. We will support democracy from Asia to Africa; from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom. And we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice — not out of mere charity, but because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes: tolerance and opportunity; human dignity and justice. 
We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths — that all of us are created equal — is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth. 
It is now our generation's task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law — for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm. 
That is our generation's task — to make these words, these rights, these values — of Life, and Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness — real for every American. Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life; it does not mean we will all define liberty in exactly the same way, or follow the same precise path to happiness. Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time — but it does require us to act in our time. 
For now decisions are upon us, and we cannot afford delay. We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate. We must act, knowing that our work will be imperfect. We must act, knowing that today's victories will be only partial, and that it will be up to those who stand here in four years, and forty years, and four hundred years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall. 
My fellow Americans, the oath I have sworn before you today, like the one recited by others who serve in this Capitol, was an oath to God and country, not party or faction — and we must faithfully execute that pledge during the duration of our service. But the words I spoke today are not so different from the oath that is taken each time a soldier signs up for duty, or an immigrant realizes her dream. My oath is not so different from the pledge we all make to the flag that waves above and that fills our hearts with pride. 
They are the words of citizens, and they represent our greatest hope. 
You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country's course. 
You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time — not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals. 
Let each of us now embrace, with solemn duty and awesome joy, what is our lasting birthright. With common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history, and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom. 
Thank you, God Bless you, and may He forever bless these United States of America.




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          What is a Rating?        
A rating is subjective in nature as a single person gives it to “rate” the quality  of something. As if you say “I liked it” or “Well it was average” to “I didn’t like it at all”. A rating is not very differentiated as such, and also very dependent on what you like category-wise as […]
          Snail Mail        
although we live in a world of technology, there is just something about getting something in the mail (other than bills). ordering something on amazon, or having the UPS truck stop in front of your house, or getting a card from a family/friend, just does something to me.

i have been overwhelmed by the love i've gotten through snail mail. it started before stela was born. my sister, ariel, sent me a package with a blankie to perfectly match the new nursery, and beanies for the kids she crocheted. stela wore the beanie home from the hospital, and sleeps with the blanket every night. and has already peed on it. so, so thoughtful.

then i received a care package from my good friend, jaime. jaime is one of those kinds of people where it seems like she's up for hours at night making lists of ways she can serve every single person she knows...not just the people she likes. it's amazing, and exhausting. anyway, even though i live hundreds of miles away from her, she still had to spoil me with a care package. so, so thoughtful.

while in the hospital i got a edible arrangements package from my sweet mama. it was heaven sent because the hospital food was disgusting. i gobbled it down...probably should've admired it more, but was too hungry. again, so thoughtful.

after i had stela, when i got home from the hospital, i got a package. my sis-in-law from oregon, traci, had sent me a package. a gift for each person in the family. crazy nice. she has 6 kids, so i'm sure she knows exactly what i'm going through right now.

it's overwhelming how thoughtful people are. makes me want to serve others...as soon as i'm more recovered.




          Peace Through Conspiracy        
Below is the content of a letter I have just posted to my Member of Parliament.
I am writing with reference to the Counter extremism, Home affairs committee's interview of Fazal Dad, Senior Imam, Abu Bakr Mosque, Bradford, on 12th January.
About 11.5 minutes into the session Nusrat Ghani Conservative, Wealden, asked...
"Maybe it would be helpful if you'd explain how these ideas differ from the faith that you practise in your mosque."
(PDF Transcript Here - (Q738) Or watch the video of the session Here)
Fazal Dad began responding by decrying the misappropriation of his faith by extremists who interpret verses of the Qur'an to suit their own ideology. Very laudable. Unfortunately, almost in the same breath, Mr Dad then presented a distortion of a verse, favoured by Muslim apologists and moderates, which is designed, to suit their own ideology, to fraudulently, extremely mislead the listener into believing this abhorrent doctrine is peaceful. Fazal Dad delivered, to parliament, the same trite, flip, distortion of the Qur'an's words that most Muslims will trot out when defending atrocities by those of their faith...
"The Qur'an tells us straight away... 'Min qatala l-nasa', the person who kills any person it is as though this person has killed humanity, and the person who saves one single person it is as though this person has saved humanity"
; a distorted, out-of-context and misleading paraphrase of the Qur'an verse 5:32, which actually states
"On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if anyone slew a person - unless it be in retaliation for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew all mankind: and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all humanity."

The deceptive omissions he and all "moderate" Muslims make, change the verse, making it sound as if the verse applies to Muslims, it does not; it's a passage referring to long-dead Israelites. However, no matter who the believer thinks it refers to, Muslims or Israelites, it is not the Buddha-like message of peace Muslims paint it to be, but instead has caveats and clauses for those who may be 'righteously' slaughtered. An extremist would argue that "the land" mentioned refers to "all lands owned by Allah" or as we know it the world, and that "spreading mischief" refers to anyone not conforming to Allah's wishes, or as we know them, non-Muslims, which, as you can see, clearly moves the meaning of the verse into one which legitimises the slaughter of any/all non-Muslims.
Why did the counter extremism committee allow Fazal Dad to repeat this misleading quote from his scripture without challenge?
All I hear from western leaders is how peaceful Islam is; has nobody actually read the Qur'an? Are ALL western leaders simply relying on Muslim advisers? I have no idea how any properly adjusted human can read the Qur'an and not find it wholly offensive, both on a human rights level and a legal level and I'm deeply concerned at the apparent complete lack of comprehension about the true nature of this religion being fraudulently promoted as peaceful by those who are paid to keep us safe.
I understand the committee will be recalling Fazal Dad, would it be possible to request he recite the full verse, in English, with all the wording, then explain why he and so many Muslims conceal the true verse behind the misleading, edited version?

Please pass this letter to a committee member and the chair.

So to the questions...
Have western leaders been too lazy to be offended by the contents themselves, relying solely on "trusted" Islamic advisers? Or is there a great conspiracy, spread far and wide, to conceal the absence of a message of peace in this "message of peace"?
And, if that is the case, how can any intelligent human become convinced that peace via conspiracy is achievable?
Is it just me, or does it sound like a perfect recipe for conflict and civil war to anyone else?


This is one of the Too Many Questions
PEACE
Crispy
Please leave a comment - Anything will do
The best communications are often,
THREE WORDS OR LESS
OR ONE OR MORE FINGERS!

          Hero: An Introduction        

As our time here in Achham is coming to a close, we feel the need to point out the incredible staff at the hospital that have impacted our experience beyond measure. The people that work here are an incredible group of people, who each have inspiring stories, and who each are doing a tough job on a daily basis, but continue to press onward in Nyaya’s mission of providing care to the people of Achham.

Over the next few days, we will post to this blog descriptions of some of these “Heroes” that we have been able to work with. While we cannot say everything there is to be said about each of these heroes, or express the full measure of our gratitude, we want to highlight the work that they are doing here. We also cannot write about every single person that works here individually, but our thanks and admiration goes out to the entire staff.

These inspiring people are heroes to us. We hope you will see them that way as well.

          Phenterex - Raising The Standard In Diet Drugs        
Up to now, this info about diet capsule has been used with fenfluramine and dexfenfluramine in a drugs known as Fenfen to achieve optimal effects. Nonetheless, this best weight loss pills have been stopped in the year 1997 because improvement of heart-valve problems has been related with the use of fenfluramine.
These days, Anoxine-am is used to induce info. If you find yourself taking this weight loss plan capsule, make sure that you observe your physician's prescribed dose to the letter as a result of it may trigger withdrawal signs and symptoms. Typically, this weight-reduction plan capsule is bought fast phentermine or capsules and perhaps taken three times each day half-hour before a meal or in a separate dosage throughout breakfast. If you see this, you can learn that whether it is taken through the later methodology, it is better to take this medicine an hour before dinner or roughly 2 hours after breakfast with a full goblet of water to improve urge for food suppression. It ought to by no means be taken a few hours before bedtime as it might cause sleeping difficulties.
Anoxine-am, also sold as fat loss remedy for losing weight in a month, was first established within the mainstream market after it was accepted by the Meals and Drug Direction in the year 1959. It turned a preferred treatment for obesity and has been the topic of many research and articles at this Phentermine site in UK beginning in 1990.
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          Winner of the Confessions of a Trauma Junkie/The Happiness Perspective book tour giveaway is….        

The lucky winner is…

Brooke B

Congratulations!

Special thanks to authors Sherry Lynn and Diane Wing for this great giveaway! xx

Didn’t win??
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You can always treat yourself to Confessions of a Trauma Junkie: My Life as a Nurse Paramedic from here...
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Barnes and Noble | Paperback

Ride in the back of the ambulance with Sherry Jones Mayo

Share the innermost feelings of emergency services workers as they encounter trauma, tragedy, redemption, and even a little humor. Sherry Lynn Jones has been an Emergency Medical Technician, Emergency Room Nurse, prison healthcare practitioner, and an on-scene critical incident debriefer. Most people who have observed or experienced physical, mental or emotional crisis have single perspectives. This book allows readers to stand on both sides of the gurney; it details a progression from innocence to enlightened caregiver to burnout, glimpsing into each stage personally and professionally.

“Corrections” the third realm of emergency care behind layers of concrete and barbed wire. Join in the dangers, challenges, and truth-is-stranger-than-fiction humor of this updated and revised second edition of Confessions of a Trauma Junkie. In addition to stories from the streets and ERs, medics, nurses, and corrections officers share perceptions and coping skills from the other side of prisons’ cuffs and clanging metal door.

You can always treat yourself to The Happiness Perspective: Seeing Your Life Differently from here...
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Are you longing for greater happiness, but you feel like it’s just not possible?

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– Turning regular household chores into meditation activities – Reducing the noise in your environment so you can focus better – Knowing who you truly are rather than trying to be everything to everyone else – Saying no in effective ways that don’t make you feel guilty – Learning to do less and appreciate more – Cleansing your thoughts to remove negativity and ground yourself.

Your personal evolution into greater happiness awaits you! Don’t wait any longer.


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          Comment on Share Your Best Destiny Moment for a Chance to Win a Destiny 2 Beta Code by Grant Gaines        
For fun, here is my greatest moment. A little before The Dark Below released, I was worried Bungie would keep messing with the raids and make Flawless Raider far more difficult. With them removing the side platforms during the Templar fight and "fixing" Atheon's teleport, it was a legitimate concern. By this point I probably attempted Flawless Raider 50 times and no group was able to make it past the dreaded jumping puzzle and only a few made it that far. Eventually I found a team that was able to conquer the dreaded puzzle and made it to the final room. We beat the gatekeeper section without breaking a sweat and winning seemed all but assured. At this point we decided to store our precious Gjallarhorns and fight Atheon with safer tools. However, despite getting this far, our luck had ran out. You see, this was during the time Atheon's teleport was broken, so sometimes he would transfer the wrong number of people. In our case, Atheon teleported a single person multiple times in a row. As time was dwindling, we mounted a strong offensive in hopes to still emerge victorious. On, what I believe to be the final teleport, Atheon sent enough people over to actually get Time Vengeance. The people in the portal were successful, we tried our best to damage him while staying alive and, against all odds, we defeated him and got Flawless Raider. While it's far from my best video, I did upload the video as a happy reminder of the moment.
          Barbara Cook: Let Me Sing And I'm Happy        
She Loves Me
Barbara Cook, a lyric soprano whose rousing songs and romantic ballads touched America’s heart in an odyssey that began in the golden age of Broadway musicals, dealt with alcoholism, depression and obesity, and forged a second life in cabarets and concert halls, died early Tuesday at her home in Manhattan. She was 89.(Source New York Times)

Even typing these words make me numb. She truly is one of the greats. (I refuse to put her in the past tense). I put on my iPod as soon as I heard the news. There are 95 songs sung by Barbara and I hear her voice filling our home as I type these words.  Quentin Crisp wanted her to sing at his funeral. He said, and he was right, that she had the voice of an angel.
I remember the day I became aware of Barbara Cook. I have to admit that I came to the Barbara Cook table fairly late but when I got there, I never wanted to leave.
It was 1987 and my friend asked me to join him at the Ambassador Theater for Barbara Cook: A Concert For The Theater.
She came out and opened her mouth to sing and I was transported and I've been transported ever since. I began to collect her records and every chance I got to see her live, I was there. I only met her in passing a few times.
The Music Man
I never had the opportunity to interview her, although I tried a few times, or to break bread with her. This blog today is based on memories, comments, and other items circulating through the internet today. Barbara, your voice lives on and will continue to soar in my heart and home. Thanks for the gifts you have given to the world and will continue to give.

RIP, Barbara Cook, brilliant interpreter of the American songbook, who never hit a wrong note. Her "In Buddy's Eyes" sent chills. 
-Michael Musto

From Wikipedia: Cook was born in Atlanta, Georgia, the daughter of Nell (née Harwell) and Charles Bunyan. Her father was a traveling hat salesman and her mother was an operator for Southern Bell.Her parents divorced when she was a child and, after her only sister died of whooping cough, Barbara lived alone with her mother.
She later described their relationship as "so close, too close. I slept with my mother until I came to New York. Slept in the same bed with her. That's just, it's wrong. But to me, it was the norm....As far as she was concerned, we were one person."Though Barbara began singing at an early age, at the Elks Club and to her father over the phone, she spent three years after graduating from high school working as a typist.

 A true legend has left us today. We will always
remember her fondly and with love. RIP Barbara Cook
-Behind The Curtain

Just this past year, Ms. Cook was scheduled to come back to Broadway in an autobiographical show a la Elaine Stritch's At Liberty. It was much ballyhooed and it landed like a ton of bricks when it was announced that it was postponed...indefinitely. Robert Viagas wrote about it on Playbill.com. I am posted his article here with his permission: Don't let it end, dear friend!

Barbara Cook has canceled her widely ballyhooed return to the New York stage in a concert show conceived by James Lapine and directed by ten-time Tony winner Tommy Tune.
Barbara Cook: Then and Now was to have played 65 scheduled performances April 13-June 26 at Off-Broadway's New World Stages–Stage One. But producer Producer Furman, in association with Sandy Robertson and Luigi Caiola, released a statement saying, “Yesterday, after meeting with Barbara, Tommy and James, the

decision was made to postpone the production. Barbara has spent the last several months working very hard to finish her book. Going directly into rehearsal to create this new production was causing undue pressure and stress. Despite strong ticket sales and everyone's best intentions, we all agreed it was best to postpone the production.” (Read MORE)

Robert also has a great chapter about Barbara in his wonderful book, I'm The Greatest Star.

Also from Playbill.com, a year ago at this time, she sat down with Andrew Gans to discuss her revealing new book, working with Wally Harper and Elaine Stritch and her thoughts on the current political race. HERE is that article.




Barbara Cook in concert at Carnegie Hall in 2006. Credit Richard Termine for The New York Times
Thank you Barbara Cook for the beautiful songs, the indelible characters, and the masterful
storytelling. Heaven must sound glorious today.
-Ben Platt 

While visiting Manhattan in 1948 with her mother, Cook decided to stay and try to find work as an actress. She began to sing at clubs and resorts, eventually procuring an engagement at the Blue Angel club in 1950. She made her Broadway debut a year later, as Sandy in the short-lived 1951 musical Flahooley. She landed another role quickly, portraying Ado Annie in the 1951 City Center revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma! and stayed with the production when it went on its national tour the following year. while I was in school...Professional acting and singing was for other people....

The first time I ever met Barbara Cook was after a benefit concert she did at the now (unfortunately) defunct Players Theatre Columbus. 
Thank God she was honored at The Kennedy Center Honors a few years ago
I was rehearsing for their upcoming production of CABARET and was with one of my cast mates, the late Evelyn Page.  Evelyn was playing Schneider in our CABARET and had worked with Barbara when she replaced Shirl Conway in PLAIN AND FANCY on Broadway decades earlier.  Evelyn and I had front row seats for this remarkable evening (but then what performance Ms. Cook gave was NOT remarkable?), in which she spoke briefly about one of her great inspirations, the late Mabel Mercer.  At the performance's conclusion, during a
Barbara Cook and Adam Le Grant arrive for the formal Artist's Dinner
standing ovation, Ms. Cook glimpsed Ms. Page for what most have been the first time in perhaps thirty years.  They hugged each other across the footlights in front of an audience of thousands and afterwards, we were heralded into the star's dressing room to chat.  The years melted away between these two ladies, and while the local press took photos, Evelyn formally introduced me to Ms. Cook.  I was more than a little bit star struck and Evelyn very graciously raved about my singing to Ms. Cook.  I told her that the way she always spoke about the great Mabel Mercer was the way I felt about her.  She hugged me warmly and seemed very pleased at my sentiment.  

Carnegie Hall remembers the life of Barbara Cook, who performed at Carnegie Hall 25 times. Learn more:
We met several times more over the years and although she probably didn't remember our first meeting, I would remind her and she always graciously pretended to recall the moment. 
- DAVID EDWARDS

Hi, Richard --
I have a Barbara Cook story!
A number of years ago, I was in attendance at the Lincoln Center Tower Records when they had a DVD launch event for Rick McKay's "Broadway: the Golden Age." There was a live interview with Rick and several stars who appear in the documentary:  Patricia Neal, Jane Powell, Sally Ann Howes, Carol Lawrence ... and Barbara Cook. After the interview, Rick threw it open to the audience for a Q & A. Suddenly, something occurred to me; I raised my hand and Rick called upon me. I stood up and said, "Something just dawned upon me ... do our four musical ladies know that they all have a theatrical credit in common?" The ladies all looked at each other, but nobody knew. So I said it: "At one time or another, each of you played Maria in The Sound of Music ..." I went on: "does anyone have a story or anything they remember about their production of The Sound of Music?" Carol Lawrence told a hilarious story on herself about a flubbed line which innocently became a double entendre ... Barbara Cook said, "Oh, my, it was such a long time ago - I don't even remember when and where I did it." I offered, "I
Barbara Cook and Robert Preston in The Music Man
do -- you did it at the St. Louis Muny Opera in 1964." The audience gasped and chuckled ... Jane Powell looked at Carol Lawrence next to her and tapped her temple as if to say, "This guy is smart" ... and Barbara Cook, with a hint of something (?) in her voice, blurted out, "How do you know these things??" So I said, "Well, I just read a lot...," and she went on:  "No, I mean, how do you know them?!" I clarified, "I was doing research at the library next door on The Sound of Music, and I came across all these playbills." Everybody was delighted with the answer, and I think Barbara Cook was relieved to know that I was indeed a Broadway musicals fan, and not a private investigator from the FBI, who was
tracking her life's whereabouts! :

All the best,
Bruce Bider (Editor's Note: I was there and remember this!

On the Shelf: Barbara Cook Tells All (and What a Tale!)
By Steven Suskin
From Jaymie Meyer
Sitting here listening to her Live from London album, my heart is heavy, but oh so grateful for the gift of meeting Barbara Cook and being continually thrilled and inspired by her talents. Michael Kerker took me backstage after one of the many performances I attended at the Cafe Carlyle. It was just before my Carnegie Hall debut. She enveloped my hands with her warm fingers and squeezed tight and said, “Have fun! Just have fun! That’s all you need to worry about!” And so I did. I’ll never forget the kind management at the Carlyle who let me stay so many times for her late shows and sit at the bar for free(!). Rapt on her every word - and in awe of the genius of pianist/arranger Wally Harper - Barbara remains for me, the greatest. RIP.

From Beth Feldman:
Dear Richard,
This is a memory of Barbara Cook.
I fell in love with Barbara Cook's work when I was a little girl. We had the original cast album that
Barbara Cook and Robert Preston in The Music Man
she was on as you know.
My father's Army buddy,Iggie Wolfington was also in the original cast as Marcellus Washburn and sang what I heard was the show-stopping song,  "Shipoopi". In 1979 my husband Mark and I were in Paris and saw a flyer that Barbara Cook was starring at the Pierre Cardin theatre that night. We ran over to the theatre and bought tickets. She was magnificent!
Years later in FL, we saw Barbara Cook in concert with the Ft. Lauderdale Gay Men's Choir and it was enchanting!
When I was in high school we performed The Music Man and I was one of the four Pick a Little ladies.
Mark and I went to see Dick Van Dyke as Harold Hill on Broadway AND Iggie Wolfington was in it again, this time as Mayor Shinn. We went backstage to see Iggie and took photos and it was thrilling to meet my Dad's army buddy! (WWII -Germany)

Barbara Cook and Eddie Hodges in The Music Man
In the 90's we took the family and friends to see Craig Bierko and Rebecca Luker in the Music Man as well.
I've seen the Music Man in NC summer stock and my daughter Alisha played Maude Dunlop in middle school, the same role I played coincidentally!
So sad and sorry this beautiful angel Barbara Cook has left us.
I will forever be grateful for all the joy she brought me through her talent and sweet personality. 


From Penny Landau for NiteLife Exchange:
Legendary singer/actress Barbara Cook passed away this morning at the age of 89, of respiratory failure. The favorite of both Broadway, cabaret and concert audiences, Cook died in her Manhattan apartment with family and friends by her side. Her last meal, we are told, was one of love of theatre and her role in it – vanilla ice cream. (Read MORE)
Barbara Cook 1965
From Bart Greenberg
Here's one that shows both Barbara's dedications to her fans and their adoration of her.
Back when I was running events at Barnes and Noble, Barbara was scheduled to come in to perform and promote her newest CD. On the morning of the event, she called Steven Sorrentino in our main office. She was so hoarse that at first he didn't even recognize her voice. She had awoken with the worse case of laryngitis and could not sing. However, she still offered to come to the store to explain to the audience what had happened. Steven ordered her to remain in bed.

It fell to me to stand by the doors to the event space and explain what had occurred. The amazing thing was not a single person complained situation, despite people having traveled as far as from Virginia to see Barbara. All I heard were genuine expressions of concern for the star's health and requests for us to extend their wishes for a quick healing to her. I don't think there was another Broadway star who had earned such devotion.


From Eileen Lacy:
Today is a truly sad day, the day Barbara Cook was lost to us. I first became aware of her and her glorious voice when I saw "The Music Man" (yes, I am that old). When I was living for many years in the New Jersey suburbs raising my three children, stranded and rusticating except for occasional forays into Manhattan, I would listen to Barbara's albums over and over again.  I remember wearing out the part on the disc of "She Loves Me" by pulling the arm back to listen repeatedly to "Ice Cream" " My life took a fortunate turn in the mid-80s when my husband and I moved back to the City. We went to see Barbara all over town, at Reno Sweeney's, Carnegie Hall, the Carlisle, and even took a trip back to NJ to see her at a performance in a Hackensack High School, where she appeared with Mel Torme', a strange pairing.



 






































































































































































Photo used by permission from Donna Murphy
Rest In peace and love dearest Barbara Cook. A song's best friend.Thank u for your artistry,integrity,humanity,inspiration and support. Loved her so and her voice and devotion to music will live eternally. -Donna Murphy

Broadway will never have another quite like her. Barbara Cook was a legend on big stages and
small.
-Mayor Bill DeBlasio

Broadway to dim its marquee lights tomorrow (Wed) at 7.45pm for one minute in honor of Barbara Cook. 
Sing a Song with Me

The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new. - Socrates


You have the power to change anything, because you are the one who chooses your thoughts and feels your feelings.

Here are a Few Testimonials for Richard Skipper Celebrates: Next One September 10th 1PM Laurie Beechman Theater: Reserve HERE:
w/Ann Dawson, Emily McNamara, Ben Rimalower... AND a Beloved Cabaret Mystery Guest


What a wonderful afternoon at Richard Skipper Celebrates! I'd had a very trying morning on Sunday,
Ben Rimalower guests in Richard Skipper Celebrates September 10th
and I wasn't in the best of moods when I arrived, but within seconds of the show starting, all tension slipped away and I could feel the smile creeping across my face, a smile I kept for days after.
-Doug Devita
Congratulations Richard Skipper and Russ Woolley on another wonderful "Richard Skipper Celebrates" production at the Laurie Beechman Theater on 6/18/17. Wonderful production, wonderful host, and wonderful guests. How can it get better than that? It can't! See you in September.
Craig Witham, Philadelphia, Pa 
I attended the premiere edition of Richard Skipper Celebrates last May, and wrote at the time, "...the musical entertainment blew the roof off the joint..".
-Avi Duvdevani

Sit Back! A New News Cycle Is About to Begin!


Thank you, to ALL who are mentioned in this blog for showing me that it is up to ME to lead by example!

With grateful XOXOXs , 
 


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Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!  
  

Keeping America great through Art!     


Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!
Please leave a comment and share on Twitter and Facebook
Keeping Entertainment LIVE!
 
TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED DAY

Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com 
  







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          John Stuart Mill on Women's Rights        

The 19th century British philosopher John Stuart Mill is recognized in modern philosophy chiefly for two reasons. He refined the Utilitarian tradition of philosophy established by Jeremy Bentham and he reemphasized the primacy of individual liberty and self-determination against the inroads of the majority in democratic societies. One part of Mill's contribution has been largely overlooked, however. It is his call for legal and social equality for women in an 1861 volume entitled The Subjection of Women. (1)

Mill lived in an era when women were subordinate to men by law and custom. They were expected to marry, rear children, and devote themselves to their families. In most cases they could not pursue a formal education, own property or amass wealth, vote, serve on juries, practice a profession or trade, seek a divorce, even from an abusive husband, or travel alone. Women lived in the shadow of their de facto masters, their husbands.

Mill's case for women's equality reflects his Utilitarian roots. The subordination of women, he argues, is not only "wrong in itself" but "one of the chief hindrances to human improvement." (p. 7) By denying women the same opportunities as men, he says, society not only impedes the development of roughly half the population but denies itself the benefit of their talents. (pp. 88-89) Why is such a foolish practice followed? Mill asks. Because, he says, our customs and laws are a carryover of the law of the strongest. (pp. 10-11) The fact that men are typically superior to women in physical strength leads to the presumption that men are superior to women in all areas, despite the fact that there is no proof to support the claim. (p. 10) In this respect, Mill says, the predicament of women parallels that of slaves. (p. 11, p. 18)

Mill argues that the progress of society requires that all people, men and women, not be imprisoned in the "fixed social position" in which they are born but instead be given opportunities to develop their talents and to pursue their desires as long as they pose no threat to the rights of others. (pp. 22-23) To the naysayer who doubts the potential of women to match the achievements of men in literature, science, government, medicine, education, and the arts, Mill retorts that this is self-serving speculation. The only way to measure the potential of women is to free them from domestic bondage, give them the same opportunities as men, and observe the results. (p. 22, p. 26, p. 62, p. 74) History confirms that Mill's confidence in the outcome was prescient. To the skeptic who opines that the liberation of women will destroy marriage and the family, Mill answers that a marriage which is attractive to women, one based on equality and mutual respect instead of subordination, will prosper indefinitely. (pp. 33-34) To those who argue that authority to make decisions in any organization must ultimately rest in a single person, Mill replies that this is certainly not the case in successful partnerships in business, and that even if it were, this does not mean that the controlling voice on a given matter must be the husband's. (p. 45)

In a nutshell, then, Mill argued nearly 150 years ago that the liberation of women will produce two important results. It will benefit society by triggering the contributions of women in many fields, and it will benefit women by granting them the autonomy that is essential to happiness. In my view he was right on both counts.


  1. The edition used here is Prometheus Books, Great Books in Philosophy Series, 1986 (ISBN 0-87975-335-8). References are by page numbers.

© 2009 Tom Shipka


          I'm Done...        

I did not want to share this information with you all until things were final, and now they are, so here it is. Bill and I divorced after 13 1/2 years of marriage. The last 3 years have been so tumultuous, and I'm surprised that I survived without meds or being committed somewhere. I loved him with every part of my being when we got married, but the person he is now is not the man I married. I won't go into details but my close friends and family know what I've been through and have been super supportive.  There were no drugs, alcohol or infidelity but enough emotional abuse that all I can say is that I'm done....



Where I work we have daily prayers that are read over the PA system and in email, and several of them have resonated with me during this time. One talked about loving people as they are, the way God made them, without trying to make them into something that you want.  The other was this:
You never know what it takes someone to come to work. We may never know the inner struggles others are facing, but we can choose to love them anyway. We can choose to offer them grace and understanding. Be gentle. Express love. Practice patience. Your grace may be the only grace someone is experiencing in their life.

So, I'm on with my life as a single person.  Don't feel sorry for me, just be happy that I escaped before it was too late and I have some self esteem left. I have great friends and a job that I like and I'm good at, and family support beyond measure so I'll be okay. I can do this... after all, I am a Redfield girl!




          Ed Broadbent testifies to the House of Commons Finance Committee on income inequality        


*CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY*

Last September, the Broadbent Institute issued a major discussion paper Towards a More Equal Canada, which addressed the issue of rising economic inequality. For every $1 increase in national earnings over the past twenty years, more than 30 cents have gone to the top 1% of earners, while 70 cents have had to be shared among the bottom 99%.  Middle class incomes have now been stagnant for thirty years.

Today is the deadline for filing personal income tax returns. It is a day to remind ourselves that our tax system could move us to a more equal Canada if we made the system fairer, with a particular focus on expanding tax credits for low and middle income Canadians.  Canada’s poverty rate is, at 8.2% for children and 10.1% for working-age adults in 2010, far too high and could be reduced significantly through the targeted measures we propose.

Our discussion paper drew upon the work of many distinguished experts, examined the causes and consequences of the growth of economic inequality over the past thirty years, and set out a broad policy framework to reverse the trend and lead us back to a more equal Canada.

We have just released another paper “Union Communities, Healthy Communities” that highlights the importance of a strong labour movement in building a more equal Canada.  And we have also published more than twenty responses to our reports from a wide range of points of view, as well as the results of an independent poll of Canadians that revealed their opposition to the growth of inequality and their strong support for corrective measures.

Extreme economic inequality undermines democracy and the common good. Very unequal societies do much worse in terms of both social and economic performance, including in such fundamental terms as health and life expectancy, social mobility (equality of opportunity for children), crime levels, the quality of democracy, and levels of social trust.

The level of inequality in a nation is ultimately a matter of political choice. While it is true that rising inequality is due in significant part to fundamental economic changes such as globalization and technological change which are difficult to manage, it is equally true that some advanced industrial countries have been able to remain much more equal than others. Political choices matter. The empirical evidence – from Canada, the US, Europe and the OECD – is clear. 

The rise of extreme income inequality has been much greater in those countries which have most strongly embraced a fundamentalist so-called free market agenda, and much less in those countries which have continued to believe in the need for shared progress.

The Broadbent Institute believes that we must, as a society, strike a balance between the roles of the market and democratic government in determining the distribution of economic resources.

The market, properly regulated, is a useful tool for creating wealth. But democratic governments must ensure that that the needs of all citizens, such as access to health care and education as well as the means to secure a decent livelihood, are met regardless of the level of wealth and income acquired through the market. 

A very important goal of democratic governments should be to protect and promote not only political and civil rights but also to promote social and economic rights. This is essential to secure genuine equality of opportunity, and to ensure fair outcomes for citizens. It is why Canada signed on to the two UN covenants that include both categories of rights in the mid 1970s.

Research by the OECD and the Conference Board among others shows that Canada used to do quite well at striking a balance between having a growing market economy and securing a fair distribution of the fruits of economic growth. But cuts to social programs and public services as well as changes to transfers (income support programs) and the personal income tax system since the mid 1990s have compounded the rising inequality which has been delivered by the market economy

Growing inequality of market income has, as shown in our recent paper Union Communities, Healthy Communities, been driven in significant part by the decline in union density and bargaining power since the 1980s. Respect for labour rights by governments enables unions to ensure that the gains of a growing economy are equitably shared with workers, and collective bargaining has been shown to narrow pay differences, especially pay gaps between women and men. 

Another major part of the problem has been the increase in precarious employment, meaning that more than one third of working Canadians do not have permanent, full-time paid jobs. Many fall below the poverty line due to low hourly wages and/or not enough weeks of work. These issues have been highlighted in recent reports from the Law Commission of Ontario and the United Way. Yet we have failed to support these struggling workers and their families through the tax system and through improvements to basic employment standards.

As recognized in the Broadbent Institute discussion paper on inequality good jobs are the basic building block of successful societies, and a successful economy combined with strong labour rights is a major force for equality. It has been well documented that countries with strong trade union movements are much more equal in terms of the distribution of market income, and that such countries also tend to be prepared to invest more to promote greater equality through public services and social programs. Canada’s already acute inequality problem will become much worse if  Canada imports from the United States so called right to work laws, as well as legislation that limits the ability of the labour movement to act as political advocates for their members and all workers. Bill C-377, passed by the House of Commons and now before the Senate, singles out unions for highly onerous reporting requirements under tax law which do not apply to the activities of other associations, including business associations. 

Providing key services to citizens outside of the market mechanism is crucial to promoting the goal of greater equality. Our public health care system provides important rights, and these should be extended by ensuring that all citizens have a right to prescription drug coverage and to home and elder care as needed by reason of disability or old age. There is perhaps no more powerful tool for securing real equality of opportunity than major public investments in education, from child care and early learning through post secondary education and adult learning.

As requested by the Committee and spelled out in the motion, this brief will focus on the role of the tax/transfer system in promoting greater income equality. 

Providing a basic income-tested guarantee to all citizens through a fairer personal income tax system would be a powerful force for greater equality.

The tax/transfer system equalizes income in two important ways first, progressive income taxes mean that the affluent pay to governments a higher percentage of income earned in the market than do middle and low income earners. 

Second, these taxes help finance income transfer programs (such as public pensions, Employment Insurance, child benefits and refundable tax credits) which benefit those who have middle and low incomes more than those with high incomes. The result is that incomes after taxes and transfers are more equal than incomes earned in the market.

Statistics Canada data (CANSIM Table 202-0703) show that the top 20% of Canadian families receive 47.0% of all market income, but a lower 40.0% percent of all income after taxes and income transfers. The bottom 20% receive just 3.4% of all market income, but a higher 7.1% of all income after taxes and transfers. The middle class (the middle income quintile) has about the same share of market and after tax and transfer income (16.0% and 17.2% respectively).

The Centre for the Study of Living Standards calculate that the income tax/income transfer system reduces inequality as measured by the Gini co-efficient by 24%, with the transfer system having about twice as great an equalizing impact as the personal income tax system.

However, while our tax/transfer system remains modestly re-distributive, the fact remains that we still have a very unequal distribution of income after the impact of taxes and transfers has been taken into account. And, according to the OECD, the re-distributive impact of the system in Canada has been declining since the mid 1990s. 

The Centre for the Study of Living Standards has also shown that the inequality reducing role of the tax/transfer system in Canada has been falling, and is now 20% below the OECD average. The major reason for the decline in redistribution has been the cuts to social assistance and Employment Insurance programs of the mid 1990s combined with our failure to respond to the growth of more precarious and low paid work.

What major changes might we make to our tax/transfer system?

The Broadbent Institute believes that we should embrace the goal of a basic income guarantee sufficient to eliminate poverty and to help close the growing gap between low and higher income Canadians.  

This goal should be met by building incrementally on existing income support programs targeted to different age groups and by promoting greater tax fairness.

Step 1:  The Broadbent Institute supports the long-standing position of Campaign 2000, other anti poverty groups and research institutions that the maximum level of income-tested child benefits should be raised to cover the full cost of raising children. 

Canada has a basic income guarantee for children in the form of refundable federal child benefits (with additional contributions by some provinces.)  Child benefits are delivered through the income tax system and are “refundable”, meaning that they are paid even to tax filers who do not have a tax obligation. Benefits are paid on a regular basis and are changed as family income changes from year to year. 

Research by the Caledon Institute among others shows that Canada’s system of income-tested child benefits has been effective in reducing (though far from eliminating) child poverty, and still pays significant amounts to middle-class families to help meet the costs of raising children. The problem is that the maximum benefits paid by Canada Child Tax Benefit and the National Child Benefit Supplement fall well short of the costs of supporting children.

The cost of raising these child tax credits should be offset in part by eliminating the poorly targeted Universal Child Care Benefit.

Step 2:  We should significantly increase the federal Working Income Tax Benefit to support working poor individuals and families and to deal with the growing reality of low pay and precarious work.

The greatest gap in the current architecture of Canadian income support programs is for the working age population, especially the growing part of this population who are employed in precarious and low-paid jobs. The working poor and near poor -– those who move in and out of low paid jobs but often fail to attain a decent standard of living – is disproportionately made up of recent immigrants, especially those belonging to racial minorities, persons with disabilities, women single parents, the single near elderly, Aboriginal Canadians, and young people trying to get into secure employment.

Credit should be given to the present federal government for creating the Working Income Tax Benefit, a new form of benefit which has been shown in the US and elsewhere to reduce poverty while promoting employment as the best path out of poverty.

However, the current benefit is extremely modest (less than $1,000 for a single person and less than $1,800 for a family) and is lost completely at low levels of employment income ($18,000 for a single person and $27,000 for a family).  

The maximum benefit should be increased significantly and phased out more slowly as income rises so that recipients are always better off if they find more weeks and hours of work or find better-paid jobs. 

Increases to the Working Income Tax Benefit should be matched by incremental increases in minimum wages to raise incomes and also to ensure that income supplements for the working poor do not become subsidies to low wage employers. Minimum wages should be set at a level sufficient to ensure that a single person working full time for a full year does not live in poverty.

Improving conditions for low wage workers will also involve raising minimum employment standards covering issues such as hours of work, rights of part-time workers and pay and employment equity, pro actively enforcing such standards, facilitating access to unionization, and greatly expanding skills training programs for unemployed and under-employed workers. 

Canada ranks among the bottom of OECD countries in terms of adequate income support for the unemployed. Our Employment Insurance system currently fails to provide benefits to 60% of unemployed workers even though all workers and their employers pay into the system. We must reform EI so that we provide income security to all persons who experience temporary involuntary unemployment.

Step 3:  Eliminate poverty in old age. 

Canada already has a basic income guarantee for seniors in the form of the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) to Old Age Security (OAS). The GIS is gradually phased out as income rises and is currently received by about one in four seniors. The fact that the OAS plus the maximum amount of GIS is very close to the poverty line means that very few seniors live in poverty. Indeed, the fact that Canada has the lowest poverty rate for seniors among the advanced industrial countries is evidence of a very successful public pensions policy dating back to the 1970s. However, the GIS does need to be raised to ensure that provides all Canadian seniors with an adequate standard of living, particularly single women seniors in large urban areas who are most likely to experience poverty.

Step 4:  As a long term goal – and this would clearly involve complex negotiations with the provinces –- we should abolish welfare as it currently exists and replace it with an income support program for working-age adults delivered through the tax system in the form of a negative income tax. This program would deliver regular benefits based on family income, phased-out as income from employment and other sources rises.  

Canada’s income security program of last resort, social assistance, paid for by the provinces, provides meagre and stigmatizing benefits which are, as shown in reports by the recently abolished National Council of Welfare, far below the poverty line for almost all family-types in all provinces.

The aim has been, as in the Victorian era Poor Laws, to ensure that even extremely low wage jobs will deliver more income than does welfare. Yet the evidence shows that the vast majority of recipients who are able to engage in paid work do, in fact, seek to work.

Social assistance is of no help to the working poor. A recipient must be unemployed, have no access to family income, and must have exhausted almost all assets in order to qualify. Benefits are cut off after only a very few days of work. At the same time, it is very difficult for many recipients, especially persons with disabilities and single parents of young children, to climb the “welfare wall” since leaving social assistance often also means giving up health and housing benefits and since the needed supports and services, such as affordable child care, are not in place.

The aim would be to ensure that working age adults with no or very low incomes from paid work, unemployment insurance, disability benefits and other sources receive a supplement which would be sufficient to secure an acceptable basic income. The supplement would be phased out with rising income rather than being turned off as soon as a person starts to receive employment income. Such a supplement could be partly financed by folding in some current tax credits such as the GST credit.

Such an alternative, a negative income tax, has been broadly championed across the political spectrum, including by Senator Hugh Segal in his published response to the Broadbent Institute paper on inequality, and by the late Tom Kent, the prime architect of Canada’s social reforms of the 1970s, who wrote the first paper published by the Institute. 

Without addressing the complex issues, there is also a pressing need for reform and improvement of disability benefits.

Step 5:  Improvements to income support programs could and should be financed by making our income tax system much fairer. 

The incomes of the top 1% have risen from 7% to 11% of the total income of Canadians since the early 1980s, while the incomes of middle-class and working Canadians have increased little in real terms. The rising share of the top 1% is the main reason why market income inequality in Canada increased so significantly from the early 1980s to 2009.

Recent Statistics Canada data show the effective income tax rate on the top 1% has fallen from 39.4 per cent to 33.3 per cent since 2000, and the effective income tax rate on the top 0.1 per cent of Canadians, whose incomes start from $685,000 and average $1,519,000, has fallen sharply from 41.6 percent to 35.4 per cent.  Thus, even as the income share of very high income earners has risen, their effective tax rate has fallen significantly. As we have said before, we should consider changes to top income tax rates.

We should also scale back special tax breaks that deliver huge benefits to the very well off, such as the exclusion of 50% of capital gains incomes from taxes and low tax rates on gains from stock options. (It is reasonable only to tax capital gains above inflation over the period for which assets were held.) We should also be cracking down on tax avoidance by the very rich through offshore tax havens and other means such as sheltering income and wealth within private companies and family trusts. It is time to crack down on the tax cheats who undermine government finances and public belief in the fairness of the tax system, and the present federal government should be commended for their 2013 Budget proposals in this area. Additional revenues can also be gained by more broadly applying the principle of “polluter pay.”  Our current tax system allows corporate polluters to offload risk and current and future payments for cleaning up their mess to individual taxpayers.  This isn’t fair, and needs to be changed.

There is much more to dealing with inequality than reforms to the tax/transfer system. However, changes in this area could narrow the widening gap between the very affluent and the middle class, and also lead us closer to the goal of eliminating poverty in Canada.

In summary, concrete steps can be taken to make our tax system a much more effective vehicle for closing the growing gap in Canada between the very rich on the one hand, and the middle class and the poor on the other. The priority should be to eliminate poverty by expanding refundable tax credits, especially for the working poor who fall through the cracks of our current income support system. Our tax system would also be much fairer if we closed special tax loopholes for the very affluent, ensured that corporations pay to clean up their own mess and cracked down on tax cheaters.


          Scientists Use Google Earth and Crowdsourcing to Map Uncharted Forests        

Scientists Use Google Earth and Crowdsourcing to Map Uncharted Forests

No single person could ever hope to count the world’s trees. But a crowd of them just counted the world’s drylands forests—and, in the process, charted forests never before mapped, cumulatively adding up to an area equivalent in size to the Amazon rainforest.

Current technology enables computers to automatically detect forest area through satellite data in order to adequately map most of the world’s forests. But drylands, where trees are fewer and farther apart, stymied these modern methods. To measure the extent of forests in drylands, which make up more than 40% of land surface on Earth, researchers from UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Resources Institute and several universities and organizations had to come up with unconventional techniques. Foremost among these was turning to residents, who contributed their expertise through local map-a-thons.

Technical Challenges, Human Solutions

Traditional remote sensing algorithms detect tree cover in a pixel rather than capturing individual trees in a landscape. That means the method can miss trees in less-dense forests or individual trees in farm fields or grasslands, which is most often the nature of dryland areas. 

<p>Hansen/UMD/Google/USGS/NASA tree cover data displayed on Global Forest Watch. Green pixels represent tree cover with greater than 20 percent canopy density but do not count trees outside of these pixels. Note, coarse pixels as shown above may be more efficient for rapidly detecting large scales of deforestation, while individual mapping techniques as described below may be more effective for monitoring land restoration and degradation.</p>

Hansen/UMD/Google/USGS/NASA tree cover data displayed on Global Forest Watch. Green pixels represent tree cover with greater than 20 percent canopy density but do not count trees outside of these pixels. Note, coarse pixels as shown above may be more efficient for rapidly detecting large scales of deforestation, while individual mapping techniques as described below may be more effective for monitoring land restoration and degradation.

Google Earth collects satellite data from several satellites with a variety of resolutions and technical capacities. The dryland satellite imagery collection compiled by Google from various providers, including Digital Globe, is of particularly high quality, as desert areas have little cloud cover to obstruct the views. So while difficult for algorithms to detect non-dominant land cover, the  human eye has no problem distinguishing trees in the landscapes.  Using this advantage, the scientists decided to visually count trees in hundreds of thousands of high-resolution images to determine overall dryland tree cover.

Local Map-a-thons using Collect Earth

Armed with the quality images from Google that allowed researchers to see objects as small as half a meter (about 20 inches) across, the team divided the global dryland images into 12 regions, each with a regional partner to lead the counting assessment. The regional partners in turn recruited local residents with practical knowledge of the landscape to identify content in the sample imagery. These volunteers would come together in participatory mapping workshops, known colloquially as “map-a-thons.”

To lay the groundwork for the local map-a-thon events the team identified both an entry point, usually a university, that could help recruit participants, as well as a facility with the capacity and internet to host the map-a-thon. Once trained, any given analyst could identify 80 to 100 plots per day.

<p>Example of Collect Earth grid set for data collection.</p>

Example of Collect Earth grid set for data collection.

Quality control was carried out afterwards by comparing the identified land cover with the number of trees counted. For example, if a local participant identified an image as having just three trees but later identified the same image as forest, the researchers knew there was human error and further review was required.

<p>The Collect Earth tool allows users to navigate between multiple windows and select the best imagery for each particular data point</p>

The Collect Earth tool allows users to navigate between multiple windows and select the best imagery for each particular data point

These map-a-thons were designed so that people with first-hand knowledge of local landscapes could participate. No knowledge of remote sensing or any technology beyond internet literacy was required. The expertise needed was the understanding of regional landscape and land use. This practical knowledge of the region was critical as the participants were not only able to count individual trees but also identify the type of land use and trees they saw on the Google Earth images.

This research only “discovered” new forest in the sense that Columbus “discovered” the New World. The drylands forest was always there, and the people who live in the area always knew it was there. In fact, they were the only ones who had the background knowledge to identify subtleties like whether an image of a plant in their region was a shrub or actually a young tree, or if what appeared to be a tree was just a perennial plant. A few common perennial crops, including coffee and banana, looked like shrubs in the satellite images, but local participants had no problem identifying them correctly as perennial crops instead of shrubs, a distinction that would have been impossible with satellite imagery analysis alone.

<p>Collect Earth Map-a-thon Event in Gatsibo, Rwanda.</p>

Collect Earth Map-a-thon Event in Gatsibo, Rwanda.

This human identification component, along with the ability to zoom into sub-meter resolution with cheap and available technology, has helped achieve the breakthrough result of forest cover identification 9 percent higher than previously reported. 

Local Ownership of the Map and the Land

Utilizing local landscape knowledge not only improved the map quality but also created a sense of ownership within each region. The map-a-thon participants have access to the open source tools and can now use these data and results to better engage around land use changes in their communities. Local experts, including forestry offices, can also use this easily accessible application to continue monitoring in the future.

Global Forest Watch (GFW) uses medium resolution satellites (30 meters or about 89 feet) and sophisticated algorithms to detect near-real time deforestation in densely forested area.  The dryland tree cover maps complement GFW by providing the capability to monitor non-dominant tree cover and small-scale, slower-moving events like degradation and restoration. Mapping forest change at this level of detail is critical both for guiding land decisions and enabling  government and business actors to demonstrate their pledges are being fulfilled, even over short periods of time.

The data documented by local participants will enable scientists to do many more analyses on both natural and man-made land changes including settlements, erosion features and roads. Mapping the tree cover in drylands is just the beginning.


          Local newspapers in north-west Victoria prove there's life still left in print        
Small local newspapers in the state's north-west some produced entirely by a single person are bucking the overarching downward trend in print media.
          Excellent read, even for Non Science-Fiction Fans from Audacious Rock by        
Book front cover
Title:
The Light of Other Days
Author:
Arthur C. Clarke
ISBN:
0006483747
Rating:
5 out of 5 stars

The Light of Other Days is a fantastic book about worm holes. It basically centres around this phenomenon as it goes from fresh invention to world-wide, every-day-use technology.
A worm hole, for those of you who are not science geeks, is a direct tunnel between two places. It's like the Stargate.
The book follows the development of the technology from its infancy onwards and illustrates with many interesting story lines, how this technology could change the world we live in.

In my opinion this book is fantastic, the stories are well thought out and the pace of the book is great. What fascinated me most about this book is the fact that Clarke doesn't just follow a single person, like the inventor, but rather analyses the impact such technology is likely to have on our society.
The only downside I can see to the book, is that it seems far too melodramatic at times and the end left me unconvinced, definitly.
Apart from that, I would recommend this title to anyone who is interested in a science-fiction book, without wanting to go full on. It's also a nice review of our society and where it is leading. A solid read.


          READING COMPREHENSION        

1.HATES CRIMES

            The number of organized hate groups in the United States increased 20 percents last year, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala. Nearly 9000 hate crimes , more than half of them motivated by race, were reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1996- compared to 7947 incidents in 1995 and 5932incidents in 1994. Last week, James Byrd, Jr., a 49 -year's old black man, was dragged to death in Texas by a chain from the back of a pickup truck. Recently, two black men also became the targets of possible copycat crimes in Illinois and Louisiana.

            Authorities say the three men who have been charged with Byrd's murder my have ties with white supremacist groups, which have grown to over 400 organizations nationwide, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. In fact, the Ku Klux Klan has been granted permission to rally later this month in Jasper, Texas, and the town where Byrd was killed. "These groups are getting better with the public," said Joe Roy, director of the Intelligence Project of the Southern poverty Law Center."They are no longer racist but racialist, not segregationists, but separatists. They are using a lot more attractive buzz words to lead people into their organizations "of the 474 hat groups documented by the Intelligence Project, 127were related to the Ku Klux Klan 100 was neo-Nazi, 42 were Skinheads, 81were Christian Identity, a racist religion, 12 were Black separatists and 112subscribed to a mélange to hate -based doctrines and ideologies.
Tracking Hate Crimes

            The FBI is investigating the Texas case as a possible that crime, defined as an offense motivated buy the dislike of a person's race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or national origin. " This was an act of violence that had a much broader implication than just the murder of a single person " said Hillary Shelton , deputy director of the NAACP in Washington DC " A much larger message was being sent by this horrible action" Many civil right s groups attributes the rise in hate  crimes to proliferation of Internet hate sites , racist music lyrics and white power literature- propaganda tools for promoting race- hating ideology that have reached an audience of as many as 2 million people . Since1995, more than 160 hate sites are active online, according to the intelligence project. Less than three years ago, there was only one. "Technology has a lot to do with opening up new recruitment opportunities for these groups," said Roy "It's a place where young people of the computer generation can vent their frustration, exchange ideas and download information to feed their hatred.

  1. How many of the hate crimes were about racial differences?
  2. How did Mr. Byrd die in Texas?
  3. Are the men who killed Byrd connected to any groups? If so, what?
  4. How are these hate groups encouraging new people to join?
  5. How many hate groups are there nationwide?
  6. What do civil rights groups say the reason is for such a increase in hat e crimes.?
  7. How many men have been charged with Byrd's murder?
  8. Why were two black men targets of crimes in Illinois and Louisiana.?
  9. What was the increase in hate groups last year?
  10. Who is Hillary Shelton?         

2.PILOT  ACCUSED

            Lotfi Raissi , an Algerian pilot who had been accused of training the suicide hijackers who crashed into the Pentagon on September 11, walked free today after being granted bail at an extradition hearing . Mr.Raissi, 27 who has been held in jail for five months, emerged from the top security Belmarsh magistrate's court complex in south -east London to applause from his family and friends. Minutes earlier, district judge Timothy Workman said Mr.Raissi, who lives near Heathrow airport. Could have conditional bail as he was only facing extradition to the US on two counts of falsifying as application for a US pilot's license. At previous court hearings in London, lawyers acting for the US authorities indicated he was suspected of being a lead instructor for pilots responsible for the September 11 hijackings. And US prosecutor have in the past made clear that the pilot's license accusations were only holding charges. But no terrorism charges have been formally introduced and Mr. Raissi's lawyers successfully argued today that the charges related to pilot's license applications did not justify him being held in prison. Mr. Workman said he appreciated the September 11 investigation was long and painstaking but he said he was allowing bail as the US government was unlikely to bring terrorism charges inAA the near future. Mr. Raissi's family has strenuously denied he was involved in the September 11 terror attacks in any way. Today he was told his family would have to give $10000in surety, that he would have to live at an address specified to the court , that he would have to surrender his passport and not apply for international travel documents . Mr. Raissi's French wife Sonia, speaking after the judge's decision, said that she believed justice had been done. She said " we have been waiting five months and my message to the FBI is , You arrested him for terrorism so why do you want to extradite him for these ridiculous , minor charges? .

            Lotfi's brother, Mohamed, said "The FBI said to he world that he was a big terrorist and they have to now say to the world, that his man is innocent. They have destroyed his life, his future and his dream".
 But James Lewis, representing the US government, told the court Mr.Raissi should not be granted bail. He said "we are concerned with an investigation into an atrocity that shocked the civilized world ...Mr. Raissi is a suspect in that investigation"

            Hugo Keith, representing Mr. Raissi, said "The Americans now seen unwilling to withdraw from their initial position and accept on this occasion, they pursued the wrong person. He is not fundamentalist. He is married to a white Catholic" Prosecutors have alleged that Mr.Raissi had links to Hani Hanjour ,the pilot suspected of crashing Flight 77 into the Pentagon.

            Mr. Raissi was arrested on September 21 and has been held at London' high -security Belmarsh prison ever since. He was indicated by a federal grand jury in Arizona on charges of falsifying applications for a pilot's license and other documents. He allegedly held a 1993 theft conviction and failed to mention that he had undergone a knee operation. He has also been indicated Arizona on 11 more counts, including conspiracy to submit a false immigration claim. A previous attempt to win him bail in the high court in London in December failed. Lawyers acting for the US alleged that there was "a web of circumstantial evidence that points to the involvement of Raissi in a terrorist conspiracy which culminate in the events of September 11" US counsel said Mr.Raissi had "links to the Al-Qsida organization" and was "someone who has both motive and means t escape"

  1. When was Mr.Raissi arrested?
  2. How long has he been held in jail?
  3. Is it confirmed that Mr.Raissi had links to the hijacker of Flight77?
  4. What nationality is Mr.Raissi's wife?
  5. What did he hide in 1993?
  6. Did he succeed in his previous attempt to win bail?
  7. What are the conditions of his bail?
  8. What nationality is Mr. Raissi and where does he live?
  9. Has he been charged with terrorism?
10.What did the US authorities accuse him of doing?

3.BOSNIA INJURIES

            On Thursday in northern Bosnia, two American soldiers were wounded when a land mine exploded. One of the soldiers suffered injuries to his right foot and other was able to walk away from the blast with shrapnel wounds to his lower leg . The incident happened at about 2:30 PM 0930EST in the town of Hadizici, which is located about ten miles south east of Tuzla .

            NATO issued a statement about the incident. The statement said, "two American engineers were injured by an anti-personal mine as they were conducting a joint inspection of a minefield with the Bosnian Serb Army. One soldier stepped on an anti- personnel mine, incurring injuries to one foot.
Concerns have been raised by ERRI and any number of other sources in regard to the dangers of landmines and other improvised explosive devices in Bosnia. According to UNICEF, Bosnia has one of the highest densities of landmines per square mile of any place in the world. UNICEF says that more than 1800000mines may have been laid in Bosnia during the recent years of ethnic conflict. More troublesome to NATO troops than traditional mines, which are made of metal, are mines with plastic cases or improvised mines made from wooden cases and high explosives. The wood and plastic mines are far more difficult to detect with conventional mine detectors.

            In other news regarding to Bosnian peace mission, United States Navy Admiral Leighton Smith made some remarks regarding the six confirmed sniper incidents involving NATO forces since Sunday. Admiral Smith said, "We have got some jerk up there pulling a trigger and he has got a night scope. That makes it tough. But boy, let me tell you , if we do see him he had better be fast and be clad in bullet-proof stuff. Because we will attack with out  warning. There are such things as anti- sniping teams ....people who snipe at our forces are at great risk to themselves. If we see some body pointing a weapon at our forces he will be attacked with out warning.... no warning shots, no' drop your weapon"

             And true to Admiral Smith's words -- French NATO forces later killed a sniper in the suburb where most of the shooting incidents have occurred. A NATO statement said "One gunman was located by the French Special Forces and was later neutralized. This person was seriously wounded. He later died of his injuries in spite of the intervention from a military physician. Another armed civilian was also apprehended by 0ur forces. This individual was disarmed with out any bloodshed".

  1. How many confirmed sniper incidents have there been?
  2. Where were the two American soldiers inured?
  3. Did both of the soldiers walk away from the explosion?
  4. Will a warning be given to snipers who shoot at NATO forces?
  5. How many mines have been placed in Bosnia during the conflict?
  6. Does Bosnia have a large amount of mines per square mile?
  7. What happened to the sniper found by French NATO forces?
  8. Was the second civilian, who was carrying a weapon ,shot by NATO forces?
  9. Which types of mines are more difficult to detect?
  10. Was the first sniper shot dead by the French NATO forces?


4. CLONE SYSTEM

            Numerous reports from around the world in Jan/ Feb 2001 of fresh attempts to clone human embryos, ranging from Clonaid saying they hope t implant embryos into surrogate mothers in February to Australian scientists saying they have managed to make a human cloned embryo by combining a empty pig egg with a human cell . Their cloned human embryo divided to 32 cells before being destroyed. In other words it seems that the empty eggs from animal contain all that is needed to activate human genes for successful human cloning. There are huge risks of abnormalities and mutations in these human cloning experiments. We know that these animal-human hybrids are likely to escape legal controls because a court of law would probably decide that this was not human cloning a legally defined .However the outcome - if born - would be a clone baby which has identical genes in the nucleus of every cell to the adult from which the original cell was taken . Interestingly , 1%of the genes in mammal cells are not in the nucleus but in the power packs providing all the electricity for cells . These power generators called mitochondriaa .So technically these human clones made from animal eggs would have 1% animal DNA . Worrying  we know that there are many serious diseases in human caused by faulty genes in the mitochondria . But that is with human mitochondria .What will be the risk of problems with animal mitochondria being used to power every cell in human cloned child that is yet to go?

            Clonaid  says five British couples, including two pairs of homosexual men have asked to be cloned. Peter and lldako Blackborn , computer consultants from Huntingdon Cambrisdgeshire UK have expressed an interest in human cloning as a alternative infertility treatment but which had not say if they are in touch with Clonaid . as the press conference called and announce of the cloning the United States government banned it to practice in the future . The US government pledged that it will harm the civilization of the human being so world should not follow the mal -practices .

            After two months the Korean scientist claimed that he also get success to reproduce a clone baby and he claimed that he will use it for the couple who doesn't  have kids and deserve it .According to the scientist , he will provide who ever the couples deserve, but the donor should give his consents .
The British government strongly condemned the act of the Korean scientist and announced that the UK government does not allow the cloning to spread in the world. Cloning should be only in side the lab.  The international scientists said that it is a big step in the human civilization and should be utilized to find out the cure of all diseases in the future. it also claimed ridiculously that every couple wants Clinton and Bill Gates as their children at the same time the natural system has been disturbed by the pressure of cloning . The world need people of every sector not money maker and politicians. If so, the world will destroy very soon.

            A conference has been organized by some popular scientists in the   New York and concluded with a statement that it is a extraordinary achievement for the whole world with some vital de-merits so all should stand together to utilized the said invention. The  prime responsibility rest upon the politicians who claims to be the supreme of the United Nations organization.

  1. What was the conclusion of New York press conference?
  2. What was the only vital demerit of the cloning?
  3. What was the claimed to of the Korean scientist?
  4. Why the US government did banned the cloning system?
  5. What is the main problem of cloning system?
  6. What does Australian scientist claim?
  7. What is the risk in human cloning experiments?
  8. For what reason did the scientists prefer to sue and empty pig egg and a human cell for the experiment?
  9. What is the specific with mitochondria??
  10. Why have scientists shown their interest in human cloning?


5. ARSON IN THE VILLAGE


            On Sunday morning in a hot summer day, one patrol team of CIVPOL monitor received a radio call from the CIVPOL station about an arsoning incident in a bear by village. Someone had called up and informed the station about the incident from a local public call office .The patrol team rushed to the scene of incident. As reaching the scene, they saw a red vehicle speeding away in a very high speed with at least four or five persons inside with at least one man holding something like gun. Arriving at the scene, the monitors saw tow houses burning. Some natives came towards them and informed that some armed people came to the village, set light to the two houses belonging to a local politician and fled in their red car. The situation was immediately reported the CIVPOL station and the local police authority were duly informed. Within few minutes the fleeing red vehicle as stopped at a check point and the perpetrators arrested by the local police.

            The patrol team informed to the fire brigade about the arson case and the Fire brigade team form the local municipality arrived in 15 minutes to the scene and put off the fire. Some local said during the interview that the both house was belong to the local politicians called Mustafa Leader. Leader had some arguments with some rivals during the municipality meeting last Friday about the grazing of the animal in the village of Ruslan. The leader received a threat from the rival of abandon the village as soon as possible or faces the adverse consequences. The leader did not obey the threat and the incident happen. Both house entirely damaged by the arson but the fire bridge could not give the total amount of loss of the house. The CIVPOL interviewed with the house owner and revealed that two houses worth $ 10000 and two camels worth $ 1000, cash worth $99 and utensils worth $45, grains worth $ 129, have been damaged during the arson.  The monitor team assured him relief of compensation from the local authority. 

            The local police team with out aid of UN Police have arrested the red vehicle and recovered a Tomy machine gun and 354 rounds of live ammunitions form the red car. Five suspects including driver also have been arrested by the local but not disclosed in public by the local police. The local police issued a statement in the same day saying that investigation is underway and if information needed contact to regional head quarters the following day.

            The National Labour Party belongs to Mustafa organized a protest rally in the town demanding the full security to the local leader and their property and take legal and strain action to perpetrators. During the demonstration supporters of the party vandalized 4 shops and injured three local security personnel.
 The local authority endorsed compensation to the Mustafa, according to the report of Fire Brigade which cost in the said head but only $ 11000.  The fire brigade did not mention the head of the loss but recommended the whole some of money.

            The local police control the security situation in the town and the police released one suspect with out any legal charge and other four have been sent to the jail by the order of local magistrate on the charge of arson and possession of illegal weapon.

            The red car sent to the auction to pay the compensation of the damage property. The owner of the car complained that his car was stolen from the garage at midnight on the same day, and it is dictatorship of the local authority to auction his car with out investigating properly and he also claimed that he will sue to the local authority in the Apex court.

1.      When did the car stolen?
2.      What was the lost property?
3.      What were the ammunition found by the local police?.
4.      What was the demand of political party?
5.      What had happened during the demonstration of local political party?
6.      What message did the CIVPOL received?
7.      How was the CIVPOL station informed of the incident ?
8.      En- route to the scene, what did the patrol team saw?
9.      What was the monitor action on the scene?
  10. what action did the local police take ?

6. Authoritarian regime


            President Abdurrahaman Wahid granted amnesty  thousands of prisoners Thursday, including some who were ailed for there political beliefs. Minister for law and legislation Yusril Ihza Mahendra said 105 political prisoners, and 3000 others who were jailed for criminals' acts, would be released. He said Wahid signed a presidential decree Thursday and the prisoners would be set free Thursday night and Friday morning.

            "We are releasing the criminal prisoners because it's Christmas time and the New year",he said . He added that the release of the political prisoners' mostly separatist activists from Aceh and Irian Jaya province was part of the government's efforts to release all those who were jailed for political activity under Indonesian's former authoritarian regime. Most of the political prisoners were jailed during the32 -year dictatorship of Suharto , who was ousted from power due to a student uprising in May 1998.

            It is not the self motivated move of the government but international political pressure to released the political prisoners .  There are more than 40% members of the parliament are brought from the security service to show the political honesty to the military department .  Military party called National Unity party is more powerful in Indonesia till now and it has 32 years' background. The civil leadership could not do any thing with out the military aid. So democratic government willing to follow the military advice. 

            The international court of justice has declare to punish some of the criminals who were directly involved in the massacre in Indonesia during the dictatorship of Suharto regime. But it is ridiculous to digest that the than army chief who has been accused of murdering 200 prisoners of political belief, is a member of parliament now. The Amnesty International condemned the act of the government to nominate the army chief Mr. Javal as a parliamentarian and said that the government marginalized the people voice.

            The International Court of Justice summoned  as per the international standard to Suharto to present his opinion in Hague whether he did the crime or not , but it went in vain because Suharto has been admitted to Jakarta Teaching   hospital due to chest and BP problem . Suharto has been accusing of accumulating large sum of money and killing 500 students during the students' uprising.

            The interim president of East Timor Mr. Gusmao also condemned the act of the government to make escort free to the war criminals and said government is deceiving the people of Indonesia. Indonesian government barked against the East-Timor saying that no one could interfere in internal matter of the country. For the information, East -Timor is a fragment of the republic of Indonesia and got independence in 1997 by the acute international political pressure and military intervention by the UN.

             Indonesian   people believe, the criminal who are released on the occasion New year will never involve in criminal activities in the future. Indonesia lies in East of the Asia bordering  China , Australia, Iran and Indian sea respectively East, West, South and North. and it is has the most dense Muslim population with mainly  Hindu religion . Indonesia was colonized by French in 1800 AD and ruled till 1936 and got independence. The military authority ousted the civil government in 1940 by military coup and rules till 1997. The country has notorious history of producing natural drugs like Heroine and Cocaine and it is also called the country of golden triangle, the main transit of drugs , including Burma ,Thailand and Laos.       

  1. Which countries are called golden triangle country?
  2. Which country is lies in the  south of Indonesia ?
  3. What is the formal accusation to Suharto?
  4. Why the democratic government does follow the military advice?
  5. What was the reply of the government to East -Timor condemnation?
  6. Where is the international court of Justice located?
  7. why were the thousands of people jailed ?
  8. What did Mr. Yusril Ihza Mahendra say?
  9. How many political prisoners were jailed?
     10. Who were the released prisoners mostly?

7.  GAMBLE

            November 27, 2001 Bangkok, Thailand: Thai police said on Mondays they have arrested six Filipino gang members for allegedly luring two Japanese and three French tourists to gamble in their house and cheating them out of millions of Baht (thousands of dollars) . The gang members, three men and three women, were arrested on Sunday from a house in Bangkok where all six gang members lived, police Lieutenant General Chat Kuldilok told reporters. Lt. Gen. Kuldilik said the women pretended to be Thai house wives and invited their victims. Whom they met on the street while pedaling handicrafts, to come to their house to teach them Japanese, and to sell them handicrafts. He said the male members of the gang pretended to be millionaires from Brunei who lost huge sums to each other to avoid suspicion by the tourists, Chat said. Four of the five tourists agreed to gamble with the male gang members while the female gang members supposedly were making them fool. Once the tourists had lost all of their money to the gang members they tried to get some of their money back, but the gang members refused. The tourists were told if they told the police or any one else about losing money to them, they would be killed. All the male gang members had knives and showed them to the tourists after telling them this. The tourists left the house and notified Thai police immediately. The tourists informed the police of the gang members' house and were willing to help them in hopes of getting their money back. Upon arrest, the Thai police searched the entire house, but unfortunately the money could not be found. One of the tourists response was," I am happy, even tough we didn't get our money back , I'm just glad the gang members were found by the Thai Police . Hopefully nothing like this will happen to any tourists ever again.

            Police interviewed all the detainees in the police cell and found that other two gangs also committing the same crime using same modus operandi in the capital city. Police started the vigorous checking around the suspected area and arrested one gang with some weapons and valuables in the rented house. Police confiscate six knives and four round of live bullets including four gang members.  Later on police honestly publicized two golden rings, four golden bracelets, six wrist watches and five passports. And issued a statement saying that any one who is belongs to the valuables contact with proofs to the city police officer Mr. Rothan.

             Police registered a legal case to the first 6 members of the gang accusing looting the valuable of the tourists but the local magistrate released all saying that police did not show the proofs of looting.  The second gang members also charged with looting the tourists and illegal possession of weapons .The magistrate send them to the jail for six months on the charge of looting but the magistrate said police should be careful accusing the civilian who has only live bullets not a pistol or revolver.

            The police assured that the looting case will come down after the arrest of 2 looting gangs and vows that they will do enough to arrest who are involved in looting case. Police said that tourist should be careful with the people who were involved in prostitution. Bangkok is famous for sex tourism in East Asia.  Most of the prostitutes are brought form the Philippine in the name of house wife . In this racket the local administration and police and pimps are also involved.

1.      How may gang members arrested?
2.      What are the valuables had been confiscated?
3.      Why the Bangkok city is famous for?
4.      How many culprits were sent to jail and how many released?
5.      How the gang member did pretend themselves?
6.      What were the nationality of the victims ?
7.      What was the tourist said after not getting his money?
8.      What did general Chat said about the accident?
9.      What were weapons confiscated.
          10. How many tourists had gambled with cheaters?

8.  EBOLA

            Sunday, December 9, 2001 An outbreak of fever in the West African nation of Gabon has been confirmed as the deadly disease Ebola, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Sunday. It is world's first documented outbreak of Ebola since last year in Uganda, where 224 people - including health workers - died from the virus. Ebola is one of the most virulent viral diseases known to humankind, causing death in 50 to 90 percent of all clinically ill cases. "It's been confirmed by a laboratory in Gabon" WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl told the press. "We have reports that seven people have died" Hartl said WHO has already sent a team to help the coastal nation and that a second team of four specialists would leave Geneva for Gabon on Monday. The out break is in remote Ogooue Ivindo province in northeastern Gabon, he said. Gabon was last afflicted in an outbreak in 1996-97 that killed 45 of the 60 people infected. "We have had very little information" Hartl said. The conformation came from a laboratory in France ville, also in eastern Gabon. A team from the Gabon Ministry of Health and the International Center of Medical Research in  France Ville went to the province last week when they first received reports of that the outbreak might be Ebola, Hartl added. On Friday, Hartl said there were unconfirmed reports of a possible outbreak in nearby Congo. Ebola is passed through contact with bodily fluids, such as mucus, saliva and blood, but Ebola is not airborne. The virus incubates for four to 10 days before flu-like symptoms set in. Eventually, the virus causes severe internal bleeding, vomiting and diarrhea. There is no known cure for Ebola, but patients treated early for dehydration have a good chance of survival. WHO says more than 800 people have died of the disease since the virus was first case in Gabon was documented in 1994 the agency says. After the 1996-97 out break in Gabon it wasn't documented again until it appeared in Uganda last year. WHO recommends the suspected cases is isolated from other patients and that strict barrier nursing techniques be used to shield health workers from exposure. Gloves and masks must be worn and disinfected prior to reuse, the agency says. Patients who die from the disease should be promptly buried or cremated. The virus has also been transmitted to people from handling ill or dead infected chimpanzees, WHO says. Police are worried there may be widespread panic in the area because of the confirmed reports. There have been rumors of possible riots and / or break -ins. Police officials said tat when out breaks such as this occur, people become frightened and assume the worst and that is when people start to try and upraise against the police . However, no reports have been made in regards to riots and/ break -INS, but police have been told to be prepared for the worst. The Goban Government called emergency cabinet meeting and declared Ivindo province as "forbidden Province". The government begs international support and relief to get rid of the diseases.  it is requested to all media house not to make undue publicity to  the outbreak ,which can terrorize the general public and can hamper  to maintain the security situation in  the country. Gabon a Central African Republic also facing starvation, malnutrition, political instability, and draught from a long decade.  The neighboring countries Nigeria, Uganda, Ethiopia, South Africa, Kenya, Somalia are also suffering from internal conflict and could not do as requested by the Gabon.  The first world showing their interest  on the request and ready to provide the assistances or relief  but they have an eye or vested interest on the natural resources of the Gabon republic which is rich in diamond, gold , natural gas , petroleum mine .

1.      What did government request to Media?
2.      Which province was declared as "forbidden province" ?
3.      Why the neighboring countries could not assist the Republic of Gabon?
4.      When the disease was documented first in the Africa?
5.      What was the rate of death causing Ebola?
6.      What were the symptoms of Ebola?
7.      How the Ebola is transmitted to another person.
8.      What was the resource of the Ebola?
9.      Why did the first world countries showing their interest to Gabon?
10. How many medical teams are going to be assign to assist the Gabon republic.    


9. TALIBAN ARRESTED

            US forces detained seven suspected Taliban fighters yesterday outside the American military base at Kandhar airport in southern Afghanistan after it came under attack , defense officials said. They said the men were detained for questioning after patrols were sent out to investigate the attack. A small number of other people who might have been involved in the gunfight escaped, according to the officials, who asked not to be identified. No American troops were injured, they said. A Reuters television cameraman, Taras Protsyuk, said he heard heavy gunfire and a number of explosions at the Kandhar base . He said the shooting lasted about 30 minutes and was at its most intense for a period of about five minutes ." I have seen the tracers and there were some light explosions like hand grenades ", he said " Americans appeared to be firing at a point in the hills to the West Side of the air base." Operation in Afghanistan by the US military and its allies to mop up remnants of the vanquished Taliban and the AL-QUIDA network are based at Kandahar airport .

            There are about 4100 military personnel based at the airport, with the majority from the US. Mr. Protsyuk said the heaviest firing was on the airport's western perimeter, about half a mile from the terminal building. In a separate incident, an American military transport plane crashed in a remote region of the Afghanistan on Tuesday night , injuring all eight crew members but non of them critically ,US  officials said yesterday . Seven of those injured in the crash were able to walk and " non of the injuries were considered life- threatening " ,said Major Brad Lowell, a spokesman for the US central command in Florida . The cause of the crash was not known , although it did not appear to be the result of hostile fire, official said . An American soldier was killed in an accident in Afghanistan yesterday when a piece of heavy industrial equipment fell on him at Bagram air base near Kabul, the US military said . The soldier's name was  withheld pending notification of next of kin. Later on , it was revealed that the detainees were investigated thoroughly and two among seven were sent to " Kwantanamo Bey" a notorious jail used by American military  to dump terrorists. Kwantanamo Bey is in Cuba , a communist nation , ruled by Fidel Kastro , a south American country

            It was provided to USA on lease for hundred years. Remaining among the detainees were sent to the local judicial authority and imposed to the judicial remand for six months . The American soldier killed by heavy equipment was delivered  to home with a national regards by a special US navy plane . The US had  started war against Afghanistan to abolish Taliban regime , who allegedly harboring the terrorist leader Osama bin Laden  in the country . American military could not find the Osama  till now. Osama is Saudi Arabia born billionaire and blind supporter of Muslim belief , he involved in fighting with Soviet Union  who had strong hold in Afghanistan during the second world war and  with the aid of US the Al quada successes to remove Russia from Afghanistan . Bin laden started getting physical and moral support from theUS . later on , the US  did not give his support to Osama so he and his allies attacked on US interest in South Africa killing 1000 innocent people by the suicide bombing and declared Osama a terrorist .  After the 9/11 terrorist attack on twin tower , the US has declared fight against the terrorism and  announce to hand over the Osama to the US by Afgan Government . The Taliban regime  did not obey the order saying that he was the guest of the country and  guest should not be hand over the western country . 

1. Who is Osama bin Laden?
2. What do you know about Kwantanamo Bey?
3. What had happen to arrested seven detainees?
4. Why did America attack Afghanistan?
5. where did the US transport plane crash?
6. Where is the US central command located?
7. How many US military have been killed according to the passage?
8. Where was the heaviest firing occurred?
9. Where is the Kandhar air port located?
10.  Who is Taras?


10. THE UNITED NATION

            The United Nation is an international organization established to create international security and friendship among the member states. After the Second World War, the allied nation established the United Nation on 24 December 1945 including 51 member states. Now it has 191 member states around the globe. The head quarters of the United Nation lies in New York in the US and the branch for the Europe is lies in Switzerland.

Main objectives of the United Nations are as follows.

1. To maintain international security
2. To maintain friendship among the countries
3. To regards human rights.

It has six main organs
1. International court of justice
2. Secret General assembly
3. Security Council
4. Economic and social council
5. Trusteeship council
6. Secretariat
                                        1. International court of justice.

            The headquarters of International court of justice lies in Netherlands. The UN secretariat lies in New York. The meeting of general assembly starts on third of September and concludes on December. Security council has 15 members among them 5 are permanent members , which are America, China , Russia , French, and Germany and other 10 members are elected by the 191 members states of general assembly for the period of two years . The Economic and Social council has 54 members' states and every member has three years of working period. The headquarters of the Economic and Social council lies in Geneva.

            America, China, France, Germany, Russia the permanent members of the Security council has veto power .Chinese English, French, Russian, Spanish are the official language of the United nation,. Mr. Ban ki Mon is the Secretary General of the United Nations, a South Korea citizen.

            Nepal as a United Nation member state has sent 1241police personnel to serve the United Nation, as civil police, police monitor, police advisor and police trainers. Nepal has established two Form Police Units in Haiti and Sudan as per the request of the United Nation. wins their obedience, confidence, respect and enthusiastic co-operation in achieving common objectives.


1.HATES CRIMES

            The number of organized hate groups in the United States increased 20 percents last year, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala. Nearly 9000 hate crimes , more than half of them motivated by race, were reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1996- compared to 7947 incidents in 1995 and 5932incidents in 1994. Last week, James Byrd, Jr., a 49 -year's old black man, was dragged to death in Texas by a chain from the back of a pickup truck. Recently, two black men also became the targets of possible copycat crimes in Illinois and Louisiana.

            Authorities say the three men who have been charged with Byrd's murder my have ties with white supremacist groups, which have grown to over 400 organizations nationwide, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. In fact, the Ku Klux Klan has been granted permission to rally later this month in Jasper, Texas, and the town where Byrd was killed. "These groups are getting better with the public," said Joe Roy, director of the Intelligence Project of the Southern poverty Law Center."They are no longer racist but racialist, not segregationists, but separatists. They are using a lot more attractive buzz words to lead people into their organizations "of the 474 hat groups documented by the Intelligence Project, 127were related to the Ku Klux Klan 100 was neo-Nazi, 42 were Skinheads, 81were Christian Identity, a racist religion, 12 were Black separatists and 112subscribed to a mélange to hate -based doctrines and ideologies.
Tracking Hate Crimes

            The FBI is investigating the Texas case as a possible that crime, defined as an offense motivated buy the dislike of a person's race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or national origin. " This was an act of violence that had a much broader implication than just the murder of a single person " said Hillary Shelton , deputy director of the NAACP in Washington DC " A much larger message was being sent by this horrible action" Many civil right s groups attributes the rise in hate  crimes to proliferation of Internet hate sites , racist music lyrics and white power literature- propaganda tools for promoting race- hating ideology that have reached an audience of as many as 2 million people . Since1995, more than 160 hate sites are active online, according to the intelligence project. Less than three years ago, there was only one. "Technology has a lot to do with opening up new recruitment opportunities for these groups," said Roy "It's a place where young people of the computer generation can vent their frustration, exchange ideas and download information to feed their hatred.


  1. How many of the hate crimes were about racial differences?
  2. How did Mr. Byrd die in Texas?
  3. Are the men who killed Byrd connected to any groups? If so, what?
  4. How are these hate groups encouraging new people to join?
  5. How many hate groups are there nationwide?
  6. What do civil rights groups say the reason is for such a increase in hat e crimes.?
  7. How many men have been charged with Byrd's murder?
  8. Why were two black men targets of crimes in Illinois and Louisiana.?
  9. What was the increase in hate groups last year?
  10. Who is Hillary Shelton?         

2.PILOT  ACCUSED

            Lotfi Raissi , an Algerian pilot who had been accused of training the suicide hijackers who crashed into the Pentagon on September 11, walked free today after being granted bail at an extradition hearing . Mr.Raissi, 27 who has been held in jail for five months, emerged from the top security Belmarsh magistrate's court complex in south -east London to applause from his family and friends. Minutes earlier, district judge Timothy Workman said Mr.Raissi, who lives near Heathrow airport. Could have conditional bail as he was only facing extradition to the US on two counts of falsifying as application for a US pilot's license. At previous court hearings in London, lawyers acting for the US authorities indicated he was suspected of being a lead instructor for pilots responsible for the September 11 hijackings. And US prosecutor have in the past made clear that the pilot's license accusations were only holding charges. But no terrorism charges have been formally introduced and Mr. Raissi's lawyers successfully argued today that the charges related to pilot's license applications did not justify him being held in prison. Mr. Workman said he appreciated the September 11 investigation was long and painstaking but he said he was allowing bail as the US government was unlikely to bring terrorism charges inAA the near future. Mr. Raissi's family has strenuously denied he was involved in the September 11 terror attacks in any way. Today he was told his family would have to give $10000in surety, that he would have to live at an address specified to the court , that he would have to surrender his passport and not apply for international travel documents . Mr. Raissi's French wife Sonia, speaking after the judge's decision, said that she believed justice had been done. She said " we have been waiting five months and my message to the FBI is , You arrested him for terrorism so why do you want to extradite him for these ridiculous , minor charges? .

            Lotfi's brother, Mohamed, said "The FBI said to he world that he was a big terrorist and they have to now say to the world, that his man is innocent. They have destroyed his life, his future and his dream".
 But James Lewis, representing the US government, told the court Mr.Raissi should not be granted bail. He said "we are concerned with an investigation into an atrocity that shocked the civilized world ...Mr. Raissi is a suspect in that investigation"

            Hugo Keith, representing Mr. Raissi, said "The Americans now seen unwilling to withdraw from their initial position and accept on this occasion, they pursued the wrong person. He is not fundamentalist. He is married to a white Catholic" Prosecutors have alleged that Mr.Raissi had links to Hani Hanjour ,the pilot suspected of crashing Flight 77 into the Pentagon.

            Mr. Raissi was arrested on September 21 and has been held at London' high -security Belmarsh prison ever since. He was indicated by a federal grand jury in Arizona on charges of falsifying applications for a pilot's license and other documents. He allegedly held a 1993 theft conviction and failed to mention that he had undergone a knee operation. He has also been indicated Arizona on 11 more counts, including conspiracy to submit a false immigration claim. A previous attempt to win him bail in the high court in London in December failed. Lawyers acting for the US alleged that there was "a web of circumstantial evidence that points to the involvement of Raissi in a terrorist conspiracy which culminate in the events of September 11" US counsel said Mr.Raissi had "links to the Al-Qsida organization" and was "someone who has both motive and means t escape"

  1. When was Mr.Raissi arrested?
  2. How long has he been held in jail?
  3. Is it confirmed that Mr.Raissi had links to the hijacker of Flight77?
  4. What nationality is Mr.Raissi's wife?
  5. What did he hide in 1993?
  6. Did he succeed in his previous attempt to win bail?
  7. What are the conditions of his bail?
  8. What nationality is Mr. Raissi and where does he live?
  9. Has he been charged with terrorism?
10.What did the US authorities accuse him of doing?

3.BOSNIA INJURIES

            On Thursday in northern Bosnia, two American soldiers were wounded when a land mine exploded. One of the soldiers suffered injuries to his right foot and other was able to walk away from the blast with shrapnel wounds to his lower leg . The incident happened at about 2:30 PM 0930EST in the town of Hadizici, which is located about ten miles south east of Tuzla .

            NATO issued a statement about the incident. The statement said, "two American engineers were injured by an anti-personal mine as they were conducting a joint inspection of a minefield with the Bosnian Serb Army. One soldier stepped on an anti- personnel mine, incurring injuries to one foot.
Concerns have been raised by ERRI and any number of other sources in regard to the dangers of landmines and other improvised explosive devices in Bosnia. According to UNICEF, Bosnia has one of the highest densities of landmines per square mile of any place in the world. UNICEF says that more than 1800000mines may have been laid in Bosnia during the recent years of ethnic conflict. More troublesome to NATO troops than traditional mines, which are made of metal, are mines with plastic cases or improvised mines made from wooden cases and high explosives. The wood and plastic mines are far more difficult to detect with conventional mine detectors.

            In other news regarding to Bosnian peace mission, United States Navy Admiral Leighton Smith made some remarks regarding the six confirmed sniper incidents involving NATO forces since Sunday. Admiral Smith said, "We have got some jerk up there pulling a trigger and he has got a night scope. That makes it tough. But boy, let me tell you , if we do see him he had better be fast and be clad in bullet-proof stuff. Because we will attack with out  warning. There are such things as anti- sniping teams ....people who snipe at our forces are at great risk to themselves. If we see some body pointing a weapon at our forces he will be attacked with out warning.... no warning shots, no' drop your weapon"

             And true to Admiral Smith's words -- French NATO forces later killed a sniper in the suburb where most of the shooting incidents have occurred. A NATO statement said "One gunman was located by the French Special Forces and was later neutralized. This person was seriously wounded. He later died of his injuries in spite of the intervention from a military physician. Another armed civilian was also apprehended by 0ur forces. This individual was disarmed with out any bloodshed".

  1. How many confirmed sniper incidents have there been?
  2. Where were the two American soldiers inured?
  3. Did both of the soldiers walk away from the explosion?
  4. Will a warning be given to snipers who shoot at NATO forces?
  5. How many mines have been placed in Bosnia during the conflict?
  6. Does Bosnia have a large amount of mines per square mile?
  7. What happened to the sniper found by French NATO forces?
  8. Was the second civilian, who was carrying a weapon ,shot by NATO forces?
  9. Which types of mines are more difficult to detect?
  10. Was the first sniper shot dead by the French NATO forces?


4. CLONE SYSTEM

            Numerous reports from around the world in Jan/ Feb 2001 of fresh attempts to clone human embryos, ranging from Clonaid saying they hope t implant embryos into surrogate mothers in February to Australian scientists saying they have managed to make a human cloned embryo by combining a empty pig egg with a human cell . Their cloned human embryo divided to 32 cells before being destroyed. In other words it seems that the empty eggs from animal contain all that is needed to activate human genes for successful human cloning. There are huge risks of abnormalities and mutations in these human cloning experiments. We know that these animal-human hybrids are likely to escape legal controls because a court of law would probably decide that this was not human cloning a legally defined .However the outcome - if born - would be a clone baby which has identical genes in the nucleus of every cell to the adult from which the original cell was taken . Interestingly , 1%of the genes in mammal cells are not in the nucleus but in the power packs providing all the electricity for cells . These power generators called mitochondriaa .So technically these human clones made from animal eggs would have 1% animal DNA . Worrying  we know that there are many serious diseases in human caused by faulty genes in the mitochondria . But that is with human mitochondria .What will be the risk of problems with animal mitochondria being used to power every cell in human cloned child that is yet to go?

            Clonaid  says five British couples, including two pairs of homosexual men have asked to be cloned. Peter and lldako Blackborn , computer consultants from Huntingdon Cambrisdgeshire UK have expressed an interest in human cloning as a alternative infertility treatment but which had not say if they are in touch with Clonaid . as the press conference called and announce of the cloning the United States government banned it to practice in the future . The US government pledged that it will harm the civilization of the human being so world should not follow the mal -practices .

            After two months the Korean scientist claimed that he also get success to reproduce a clone baby and he claimed that he will use it for the couple who doesn't  have kids and deserve it .According to the scientist , he will provide who ever the couples deserve, but the donor should give his consents .
The British government strongly condemned the act of the Korean scientist and announced that the UK government does not allow the cloning to spread in the world. Cloning should be only in side the lab.  The international scientists said that it is a big step in the human civilization and should be utilized to find out the cure of all diseases in the future. it also claimed ridiculously that every couple wants Clinton and Bill Gates as their children at the same time the natural system has been disturbed by the pressure of cloning . The world need people of every sector not money maker and politicians. If so, the world will destroy very soon.

            A conference has been organized by some popular scientists in the   New York and concluded with a statement that it is a extraordinary achievement for the whole world with some vital de-merits so all should stand together to utilized the said invention. The  prime responsibility rest upon the politicians who claims to be the supreme of the United Nations organization.

  1. What was the conclusion of New York press conference?
  2. What was the only vital demerit of the cloning?
  3. What was the claimed to of the Korean scientist?
  4. Why the US government did banned the cloning system?
  5. What is the main problem of cloning system?
  6. What does Australian scientist claim?
  7. What is the risk in human cloning experiments?
  8. For what reason did the scientists prefer to sue and empty pig egg and a human cell for the experiment?
  9. What is the specific with mitochondria??
  10. Why have scientists shown their interest in human cloning?


5. ARSON IN THE VILLAGE

            On Sunday morning in a hot summer day, one patrol team of CIVPOL monitor received a radio call from the CIVPOL station about an arsoning incident in a bear by village. Someone had called up and informed the station about the incident from a local public call office .The patrol team rushed to the scene of incident. As reaching the scene, they saw a red vehicle speeding away in a very high speed with at least four or five persons inside with at least one man holding something like gun. Arriving at the scene, the monitors saw tow houses burning. Some natives came towards them and informed that some armed people came to the village, set light to the two houses belonging to a local politician and fled in their red car. The situation was immediately reported the CIVPOL station and the local police authority were duly informed. Within few minutes the fleeing red vehicle as stopped at a check point and the perpetrators arrested by the local police.

            The patrol team informed to the fire brigade about the arson case and the Fire brigade team form the local municipality arrived in 15 minutes to the scene and put off the fire. Some local said during the interview that the both house was belong to the local politicians called Mustafa Leader. Leader had some arguments with some rivals during the municipality meeting last Friday about the grazing of the animal in the village of Ruslan. The leader received a threat from the rival of abandon the village as soon as possible or faces the adverse consequences. The leader did not obey the threat and the incident happen. Both house entirely damaged by the arson but the fire bridge could not give the total amount of loss of the house. The CIVPOL interviewed with the house owner and revealed that two houses worth $ 10000 and two camels worth $ 1000, cash worth $99 and utensils worth $45, grains worth $ 129, have been damaged during the arson.  The monitor team assured him relief of compensation from the local authority. 

            The local police team with out aid of UN Police have arrested the red vehicle and recovered a Tomy machine gun and 354 rounds of live ammunitions form the red car. Five suspects including driver also have been arrested by the local but not disclosed in public by the local police. The local police issued a statement in the same day saying that investigation is underway and if information needed contact to regional head quarters the following day.

            The National Labour Party belongs to Mustafa organized a protest rally in the town demanding the full security to the local leader and their property and take legal and strain action to perpetrators. During the demonstration supporters of the party vandalized 4 shops and injured three local security personnel.
 The local authority endorsed compensation to the Mustafa, according to the report of Fire Brigade which cost in the said head but only $ 11000.  The fire brigade did not mention the head of the loss but recommended the whole some of money.

            The local police control the security situation in the town and the police released one suspect with out any legal charge and other four have been sent to the jail by the order of local magistrate on the charge of arson and possession of illegal weapon.

            The red car sent to the auction to pay the compensation of the damage property. The owner of the car complained that his car was stolen from the garage at midnight on the same day, and it is dictatorship of the local authority to auction his car with out investigating properly and he also claimed that he will sue to the local authority in the Apex court.

1.      When did the car stolen?
2.      What was the lost property?
3.      What were the ammunition found by the local police?.
4.      What was the demand of political party?
5.      What had happened during the demonstration of local political party?
6.      What message did the CIVPOL received?
7.      How was the CIVPOL station informed of the incident ?
8.      En- route to the scene, what did the patrol team saw?
9.      What was the monitor action on the scene?
  10. what action did the local police take ?
6. Authoritarian regime

            President Abdurrahaman Wahid granted amnesty  thousands of prisoners Thursday, including some who were ailed for there political beliefs. Minister for law and legislation Yusril Ihza Mahendra said 105 political prisoners, and 3000 others who were jailed for criminals' acts, would be released. He said Wahid signed a presidential decree Thursday and the prisoners would be set free Thursday night and Friday morning.

            "We are releasing the criminal prisoners because it's Christmas time and the New year",he said . He added that the release of the political prisoners' mostly separatist activists from Aceh and Irian Jaya province was part of the government's efforts to release all those who were jailed for political activity under Indonesian's former authoritarian regime. Most of the political prisoners were jailed during the32 -year dictatorship of Suharto , who was ousted from power due to a student uprising in May 1998.

            It is not the self motivated move of the government but international political pressure to released the political prisoners .  There are more than 40% members of the parliament are brought from the security service to show the political honesty to the military department .  Military party called National Unity party is more powerful in Indonesia till now and it has 32 years' background. The civil leadership could not do any thing with out the military aid. So democratic government willing to follow the military advice. 

            The international court of justice has declare to punish some of the criminals who were directly involved in the massacre in Indonesia during the dictatorship of Suharto regime. But it is ridiculous to digest that the than army chief who has been accused of murdering 200 prisoners of political belief, is a member of parliament now. The Amnesty International condemned the act of the government to nominate the army chief Mr. Javal as a parliamentarian and said that the government marginalized the people voice.

            The International Court of Justice summoned  as per the international standard to Suharto to present his opinion in Hague whether he did the crime or not , but it went in vain because Suharto has been admitted to Jakarta Teaching   hospital due to chest and BP problem . Suharto has been accusing of accumulating large sum of money and killing 500 students during the students' uprising.

            The interim president of East Timor Mr. Gusmao also condemned the act of the government to make escort free to the war criminals and said government is deceiving the people of Indonesia. Indonesian government barked against the East-Timor saying that no one could interfere in internal matter of the country. For the information, East -Timor is a fragment of the republic of Indonesia and got independence in 1997 by the acute international political pressure and military intervention by the UN.

             Indonesian   people believe, the criminal who are released on the occasion New year will never involve in criminal activities in the future. Indonesia lies in East of the Asia bordering  China , Australia, Iran and Indian sea respectively East, West, South and North. and it is has the most dense Muslim population with mainly  Hindu religion . Indonesia was colonized by French in 1800 AD and ruled till 1936 and got independence. The military authority ousted the civil government in 1940 by military coup and rules till 1997. The country has notorious history of producing natural drugs like Heroine and Cocaine and it is also called the country of golden triangle, the main transit of drugs , including Burma ,Thailand and Laos.       

  1. Which countries are called golden triangle country?
  2. Which country is lies in the  south of Indonesia ?
  3. What is the formal accusation to Suharto?
  4. Why the democratic government does follow the military advice?
  5. What was the reply of the government to East -Timor condemnation?
  6. Where is the international court of Justice located?
  7. why were the thousands of people jailed ?
  8. What did Mr. Yusril Ihza Mahendra say?
  9. How many political prisoners were jailed?
     10. Who were the released prisoners mostly?
7.  GAMBLE

            November 27, 2001 Bangkok, Thailand: Thai police said on Mondays they have arrested six Filipino gang members for allegedly luring two Japanese and three French tourists to gamble in their house and cheating them out of millions of Baht (thousands of dollars) . The gang members, three men and three women, were arrested on Sunday from a house in Bangkok where all six gang members lived, police Lieutenant General Chat Kuldilok told reporters. Lt. Gen. Kuldilik said the women pretended to be Thai house wives and invited their victims. Whom they met on the street while pedaling handicrafts, to come to their house to teach them Japanese, and to sell them handicrafts. He said the male members of the gang pretended to be millionaires from Brunei who lost huge sums to each other to avoid suspicion by the tourists, Chat said. Four of the five tourists agreed to gamble with the male gang members while the female gang members supposedly were making them fool. Once the tourists had lost all of their money to the gang members they tried to get some of their money back, but the gang members refused. The tourists were told if they told the police or any one else about losing money to them, they would be killed. All the male gang members had knives and showed them to the tourists after telling them this. The tourists left the house and notified Thai police immediately. The tourists informed the police of the gang members' house and were willing to help them in hopes of getting their money back. Upon arrest, the Thai police searched the entire house, but unfortunately the money could not be found. One of the tourists response was," I am happy, even tough we didn't get our money back , I'm just glad the gang members were found by the Thai Police . Hopefully nothing like this will happen to any tourists ever again.

            Police interviewed all the detainees in the police cell and found that other two gangs also committing the same crime using same modus operandi in the capital city. Police started the vigorous checking around the suspected area and arrested one gang with some weapons and valuables in the rented house. Police confiscate six knives and four round of live bullets including four gang members.  Later on police honestly publicized two golden rings, four golden bracelets, six wrist watches and five passports. And issued a statement saying that any one who is belongs to the valuables contact with proofs to the city police officer Mr. Rothan.

             Police registered a legal case to the first 6 members of the gang accusing looting the valuable of the tourists but the local magistrate released all saying that police did not show the proofs of looting.  The second gang members also charged with looting the tourists and illegal possession of weapons .The magistrate send them to the jail for six months on the charge of looting but the magistrate said police should be careful accusing the civilian who has only live bullets not a pistol or revolver.

            The police assured that the looting case will come down after the arrest of 2 looting gangs and vows that they will do enough to arrest who are involved in looting case. Police said that tourist should be careful with the people who were involved in prostitution. Bangkok is famous for sex tourism in East Asia.  Most of the prostitutes are brought form the Philippine in the name of house wife . In this racket the local administration and police and pimps are also involved.

1.      How may gang members arrested?
2.      What are the valuables had been confiscated?
3.      Why the Bangkok city is famous for?
4.      How many culprits were sent to jail and how many released?
5.      How the gang member did pretend themselves?
6.      What were the nationality of the victims ?
7.      What was the tourist said after not getting his money?
8.      What did general Chat said about the accident?
9.      What were weapons confiscated.
          10. How many tourists had gambled with cheaters?

8.  EBOLA

            Sunday, December 9, 2001 An outbreak of fever in the West African nation of Gabon has been confirmed as the deadly disease Ebola, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Sunday. It is world's first documented outbreak of Ebola since last year in Uganda, where 224 people - including health workers - died from the virus. Ebola is one of the most virulent viral diseases known to humankind, causing death in 50 to 90 percent of all clinically ill cases. "It's been confirmed by a laboratory in Gabon" WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl told the press. "We have reports that seven people have died" Hartl said WHO has already sent a team to help the coastal nation and that a second team of four specialists would leave Geneva for Gabon on Monday. The out break is in remote Ogooue Ivindo province in northeastern Gabon, he said. Gabon was last afflicted in an outbreak in 1996-97 that killed 45 of the 60 people infected. "We have had very little information" Hartl said. The conformation came from a laboratory in France ville, also in eastern Gabon. A team from the Gabon Ministry of Health and the International Center of Medical Research in  France Ville went to the province last week when they first received reports of that the outbreak might be Ebola, Hartl added. On Friday, Hartl said there were unconfirmed reports of a possible outbreak in nearby Congo. Ebola is passed through contact with bodily fluids, such as mucus, saliva and blood, but Ebola is not airborne. The virus incubates for four to 10 days before flu-like symptoms set in. Eventually, the virus causes severe internal bleeding, vomiting and diarrhea. There is no known cure for Ebola, but patients treated early for dehydration have a good chance of survival. WHO says more than 800 people have died of the disease since the virus was first case in Gabon was documented in 1994 the agency says. After the 1996-97 out break in Gabon it wasn't documented again until it appeared in Uganda last year. WHO recommends the suspected cases is isolated from other patients and that strict barrier nursing techniques be used to shield health workers from exposure. Gloves and masks must be worn and disinfected prior to reuse, the agency says. Patients who die from the disease should be promptly buried or cremated. The virus has also been transmitted to people from handling ill or dead infected chimpanzees, WHO says. Police are worried there may be widespread panic in the area because of the confirmed reports. There have been rumors of possible riots and / or break -ins. Police officials said tat when out breaks such as this occur, people become frightened and assume the worst and that is when people start to try and upraise against the police . However, no reports have been made in regards to riots and/ break -INS, but police have been told to be prepared for the worst. The Goban Government called emergency cabinet meeting and declared Ivindo province as "forbidden Province". The government begs international support and relief to get rid of the diseases.  it is requested to all media house not to make undue publicity to  the outbreak ,which can terrorize the general public and can hamper  to maintain the security situation in  the country. Gabon a Central African Republic also facing starvation, malnutrition, political instability, and draught from a long decade.  The neighboring countries Nigeria, Uganda, Ethiopia, South Africa, Kenya, Somalia are also suffering from internal conflict and could not do as requested by the Gabon.  The first world showing their interest  on the request and ready to provide the assistances or relief  but they have an eye or vested interest on the natural resources of the Gabon republic which is rich in diamond, gold , natural gas , petroleum mine .

1.      What did government request to Media?
2.      Which province was declared as "forbidden province" ?
3.      Why the neighboring countries could not assist the Republic of Gabon?
4.      When the disease was documented first in the Africa?
5.      What was the rate of death causing Ebola?
6.      What were the symptoms of Ebola?
7.      How the Ebola is transmitted to another person.
8.      What was the resource of the Ebola?
9.      Why did the first world countries showing their interest to Gabon?
10. How many medical teams are going to be assign to assist the Gabon republic.    


9. TALIBAN ARRESTED

            US forces detained seven suspected Taliban fighters yesterday outside the American military base at Kandhar airport in southern Afghanistan after it came under attack , defense officials said. They said the men were detained for questioning after patrols were sent out to investigate the attack. A small number of other people who might have been involved in the gunfight escaped, according to the officials, who asked not to be identified. No American troops were injured, they said. A Reuters television cameraman, Taras Protsyuk, said he heard heavy gunfire and a number of explosions at the Kandhar base . He said the shooting lasted about 30 minutes and was at its most intense for a period of about five minutes ." I have seen the tracers and there were some light explosions like hand grenades ", he said " Americans appeared to be firing at a point in the hills to the West Side of the air base." Operation in Afghanistan by the US military and its allies to mop up remnants of the vanquished Taliban and the AL-QUIDA network are based at Kandahar airport .

            There are about 4100 military personnel based at the airport, with the majority from the US. Mr. Protsyuk said the heaviest firing was on the airport's western perimeter, about half a mile from the terminal building. In a separate incident, an American military transport plane crashed in a remote region of the Afghanistan on Tuesday night , injuring all eight crew members but non of them critically ,US  officials said yesterday . Seven of those injured in the crash were able to walk and " non of the injuries were considered life- threatening " ,said Major Brad Lowell, a spokesman for the US central command in Florida . The cause of the crash was not known , although it did not appear to be the result of hostile fire, official said . An American soldier was killed in an accident in Afghanistan yesterday when a piece of heavy industrial equipment fell on him at Bagram air base near Kabul, the US military said . The soldier's name was  withheld pending notification of next of kin. Later on , it was revealed that the detainees were investigated thoroughly and two among seven were sent to " Kwantanamo Bey" a notorious jail used by American military  to dump terrorists. Kwantanamo Bey is in Cuba , a communist nation , ruled by Fidel Kastro , a south American country

            It was provided to USA on lease for hundred years. Remaining among the detainees were sent to the local judicial authority and imposed to the judicial remand for six months . The American soldier killed by heavy equipment was delivered  to home with a national regards by a special US navy plane . The US had  started war against Afghanistan to abolish Taliban regime , who allegedly harboring the terrorist leader Osama bin Laden  in the country . American military could not find the Osama  till now. Osama is Saudi Arabia born billionaire and blind supporter of Muslim belief , he involved in fighting with Soviet Union  who had strong hold in Afghanistan during the second world war and  with the aid of US the Al quada successes to remove Russia from Afghanistan . Bin laden started getting physical and moral support from theUS . later on , the US  did not give his support to Osama so he and his allies attacked on US interest in South Africa killing 1000 innocent people by the suicide bombing and declared Osama a terrorist .  After the 9/11 terrorist attack on twin tower , the US has declared fight against the terrorism and  announce to hand over the Osama to the US by Afgan Government . The Taliban regime  did not obey the order saying that he was the guest of the country and  guest should not be hand over the western country . 

1. Who is Osama bin Laden?
2. What do you know about Kwantanamo Bey?
3. What had happen to arrested seven detainees?
4. Why did America attack Afghanistan?
5. where did the US transport plane crash?
6. Where is the US central command located?
7. How many US military have been killed according to the passage?
8. Where was the heaviest firing occurred?
9. Where is the Kandhar air port located?
10.  Who is Taras?
  
10. THE UNITED NATION

            The United Nation is an international organization established to create international security and friendship among the member states. After the Second World War, the allied nation established the United Nation on 24 December 1945 including 51 member states. Now it has 191 member states around the globe. The head quarters of the United Nation lies in New York in the US and the branch for the Europe is lies in Switzerland.

Main objectives of the United Nations are as follows.

1. To maintain international security
2. To maintain friendship among the countries
3. To regards human rights.

It has six main organs
1. International court of justice
2. Secret General assembly
3. Security Council
4. Economic and social council
5. Trusteeship council
6. Secretariat
        
              1. International court of justice.

            The headquarters of International court of justice lies in Netherlands. The UN secretariat lies in New York. The meeting of general assembly starts on third of September and concludes on December. Security council has 15 members among them 5 are permanent members , which are America, China , Russia , French, and Germany and other 10 members are elected by the 191 members states of general assembly for the period of two years . The Economic and Social council has 54 members' states and every member has three years of working period. The headquarters of the Economic and Social council lies in Geneva.

            America, China, France, Germany, Russia the permanent members of the Security council has veto power .Chinese English, French, Russian, Spanish are the official language of the United nation,. Mr. Ban ki Mon is the Secretary General of the United Nations, a South Korea citizen.

            Nepal as a United Nation member state has sent 1241police personnel to serve the United Nation, as civil police, police monitor, police advisor and police trainers. Nepal has established two Form Police Units in Haiti and Sudan as per the request of the United Nation. wins their obedience, confidence, respect and enthusiastic co-operation in achieving common objectives.






1.HATES CRIMES

The number of organized hate groups in the United States increased 20 percents last year, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala. Nearly 9000 hate crimes , more than half of them motivated by race, were reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1996- compared to 7947 incidents in 1995 and 5932incidents in 1994. Last week, James Byrd, Jr., a 49 -year's old black man, was dragged to death in Texas by a chain from the back of a pickup truck. Recently, two black men also became the targets of possible copycat crimes in Illinois and Louisiana.
Authorities say the three men who have been charged with Byrd's murder my have ties with white supremacist groups, which have grown to over 400 organizations nationwide, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. In fact, the Ku Klux Klan has been granted permission to rally later this month in Jasper, Texas, and the town where Byrd was killed. "These groups are getting better with the public," said Joe Roy, director of the Intelligence Project of the Southern poverty Law Center."They are no longer racist but racialist, not segregationists, but separatists. They are using a lot more attractive buzz words to lead people into their organizations "of the 474 hat groups documented by the Intelligence Project, 127were related to the Ku Klux Klan 100 was neo-Nazi, 42 were Skinheads, 81were Christian Identity, a racist religion, 12 were Black separatists and 112subscribed to a mélange to hate -based doctrines and ideologies.
Tracking Hate Crimes
The FBI is investigating the Texas case as a possible that crime, defined as an offense motivated buy the dislike of a person's race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or national origin. " This was an act of violence that had a much broader implication than just the murder of a single person " said Hillary Shelton , deputy director of the NAACP in Washington DC " A much larger message was being sent by this horrible action" Many civil right s groups attributes the rise in hate  crimes to proliferation of Internet hate sites , racist music lyrics and white power literature- propaganda tools for promoting race- hating ideology that have reached an audience of as many as 2 million people . Since1995, more than 160 hate sites are active online, according to the intelligence project. Less than three years ago, there was only one. "Technology has a lot to do with opening up new recruitment opportunities for these groups," said Roy "It's a place where young people of the computer generation can vent their frustration, exchange ideas and download information to feed their hatred.





1.    How many of the hate crimes were about racial differences?
2.    How did Mr. Byrd die in Texas?
3.    Are the men who killed Byrd connected to any groups? If so, what?
4.    How are these hate groups encouraging new people to join?
5.    How many hate groups are there nationwide?
6.    What do civil rights groups say the reason is for such a increase in hat e crimes.?
7.    How many men have been charged with Byrd's murder?
8.    Why were two black men targets of crimes in Illinois and Louisiana.?
9.    What was the increase in hate groups last year?
10.    Who is Hillary Shelton?   


2.PILOT  ACCUSED

Lotfi Raissi , an Algerian pilot who had been accused of training the suicide hijackers who crashed into the Pentagon on September 11, walked free today after being granted bail at an extradition hearing . Mr.Raissi, 27 who has been held in jail for five months, emerged from the top security Belmarsh magistrate's court complex in south -east London to applause from his family and friends. Minutes earlier, district judge Timothy Workman said Mr.Raissi, who lives near Heathrow airport. Could have conditional bail as he was only facing extradition to the US on two counts of falsifying as application for a US pilot's license. At previous court hearings in London, lawyers acting for the US authorities indicated he was suspected of being a lead instructor for pilots responsible for the September 11 hijackings. And US prosecutor have in the past made clear that the pilot's license accusations were only holding charges. But no terrorism charges have been formally introduced and Mr. Raissi's lawyers successfully argued today that the charges related to pilot's license applications did not justify him being held in prison. Mr. Workman said he appreciated the September 11 investigation was long and painstaking but he said he was allowing bail as the US government was unlikely to bring terrorism charges inAA the near future. Mr. Raissi's family has strenuously denied he was involved in the September 11 terror attacks in any way. Today he was told his family would have to give $10000in surety, that he would have to live at an address specified to the court , that he would have to surrender his passport and not apply for international travel documents . Mr. Raissi's French wife Sonia, speaking after the judge's decision, said that she believed justice had been done. She said " we have been waiting five months and my message to the FBI is , You arrested him for terrorism so why do you want to extradite him for these ridiculous , minor charges? .
 Lotfi's brother, Mohamed, said "The FBI said to he world that he was a big terrorist and they have to now say to the world, that his man is innocent. They have destroyed his life, his future and his dream".
 But James Lewis, representing the US government, told the court Mr.Raissi should not be granted bail. He said "we are concerned with an investigation into an atrocity that shocked the civilized world ...Mr. Raissi is a suspect in that investigation"
Hugo Keith, representing Mr. Raissi, said "The Americans now seen unwilling to withdraw from their initial position and accept on this occasion, they pursued the wrong person. He is not fundamentalist. He is married to a white Catholic" Prosecutors have alleged that Mr.Raissi had links to Hani Hanjour ,the pilot suspected of crashing Flight 77 into the Pentagon.
Mr. Raissi was arrested on September 21 and has been held at London' high -security Belmarsh prison ever since. He was indicated by a federal grand jury in Arizona on charges of falsifying applications for a pilot's license and other documents. He allegedly held a 1993 theft conviction and failed to mention that he had undergone a knee operation. He has also been indicated Arizona on 11 more counts, including conspiracy to submit a false immigration claim. A previous attempt to win him bail in the high court in London in December failed. Lawyers acting for the US alleged that there was "a web of circumstantial evidence that points to the involvement of Raissi in a terrorist conspiracy which culminate in the events of September 11" US counsel said Mr.Raissi had "links to the Al-Qsida organization" and was "someone who has both motive and means t escape"
1.    When was Mr.Raissi arrested?
2.    How long has he been held in jail?
3.    Is it confirmed that Mr.Raissi had links to the hijacker of Flight77?
4.    What nationality is Mr.Raissi's wife?
5.    What did he hide in 1993?
6.    Did he succeed in his previous attempt to win bail?
7.    What are the conditions of his bail?
8.    What nationality is Mr. Raissi and where does he live?
9.    Has he been charged with terrorism?
10.What did the US authorities accuse him of doing?



3.BOSNIA INJURIES

On Thursday in northern Bosnia, two American soldiers were wounded when a land mine exploded. One of the soldiers suffered injuries to his right foot and other was able to walk away from the blast with shrapnel wounds to his lower leg . The incident happened at about 2:30 PM 0930EST in the town of Hadizici, which is located about ten miles south east of Tuzla .
NATO issued a statement about the incident. The statement said, "two American engineers were injured by an anti-personal mine as they were conducting a joint inspection of a minefield with the Bosnian Serb Army. One soldier stepped on an anti- personnel mine, incurring injuries to one foot.
Concerns have been raised by ERRI and any number of other sources in regard to the dangers of landmines and other improvised explosive devices in Bosnia. According to UNICEF, Bosnia has one of the highest densities of landmines per square mile of any place in the world. UNICEF says that more than 1800000mines may have been laid in Bosnia during the recent years of ethnic conflict. More troublesome to NATO troops than traditional mines, which are made of metal, are mines with plastic cases or improvised mines made from wooden cases and high explosives. The wood and plastic mines are far more difficult to detect with conventional mine detectors.
In other news regarding to Bosnian peace mission, United States Navy Admiral Leighton Smith made some remarks regarding the six confirmed sniper incidents involving NATO forces since Sunday. Admiral Smith said, "We have got some jerk up there pulling a trigger and he has got a night scope. That makes it tough. But boy, let me tell you , if we do see him he had better be fast and be clad in bullet-proof stuff. Because we will attack with out  warning. There are such things as anti- sniping teams ....people who snipe at our forces are at great risk to themselves. If we see some body pointing a weapon at our forces he will be attacked with out warning.... no warning shots, no' drop your weapon"
 And true to Admiral Smith's words -- French NATO forces later killed a sniper in the suburb where most of the shooting incidents have occurred. A NATO statement said "One gunman was located by the French Special Forces and was later neutralized. This person was seriously wounded. He later died of his injuries in spite of the intervention from a military physician. Another armed civilian was also apprehended by 0ur forces. This individual was disarmed with out any bloodshed".


1.    How many confirmed sniper incidents have there been?
2.    Where were the two American soldiers inured?
3.    Did both of the soldiers walk away from the explosion?
4.    Will a warning be given to snipers who shoot at NATO forces?
5.    How many mines have been placed in Bosnia during the conflict?
6.    Does Bosnia have a large amount of mines per square mile?
7.    What happened to the sniper found by French NATO forces?
8.    Was the second civilian, who was carrying a weapon ,shot by NATO forces?
9.    Which types of mines are more difficult to detect?
10.    Was the first sniper shot dead by the French NATO forces?


4.CLONE SYSTEM

Numerous reports from around the world in Jan/ Feb 2001 of fresh attempts to clone human embryos, ranging from Clonaid saying they hope t implant embryos into surrogate mothers in February to Australian scientists saying they have managed to make a human cloned embryo by combining a empty pig egg with a human cell . Their cloned human embryo divided to 32 cells before being destroyed. In other words it seems that the empty eggs from animal contain all that is needed to activate human genes for successful human cloning. There are huge risks of abnormalities and mutations in these human cloning experiments. We know that these animal-human hybrids are likely to escape legal controls because a court of law would probably decide that this was not human cloning a legally defined .However the outcome - if born - would be a clone baby which has identical genes in the nucleus of every cell to the adult from which the original cell was taken . Interestingly , 1%of the genes in mammal cells are not in the nucleus but in the power packs providing all the electricity for cells . These power generators called mitochondriaa .So technically these human clones made from animal eggs would have 1% animal DNA . Worrying  we know that there are many serious diseases in human caused by faulty genes in the mitochondria . But that is with human mitochondria .What will be the risk of problems with animal mitochondria being used to power every cell in human cloned child that is yet to go?
Clonaid  says five British couples, including two pairs of homosexual men have asked to be cloned. Peter and lldako Blackborn , computer consultants from Huntingdon Cambrisdgeshire UK have expressed an interest in human cloning as a alternative infertility treatment but which had not say if they are in touch with Clonaid .
as the press conference called and announce of the cloning the United States government banned it to practice in the future . The US government pledged that it will harm the civilization of the human being so world should not follow the mal -practices .
After two months the Korean scientist claimed that he also get success to reproduce a clone baby and he claimed that he will use it for the couple who doesn't  have kids and deserve it .According to the scientist , he will provide who ever the couples deserve, but the donor should give his consents .
The British government strongly condemned the act of the Korean scientist and announced that the UK government does not allow the cloning to spread in the world. Cloning should be only in side the lab.  The international scientists said that it is a big step in the human civilization and should be utilized to find out the cure of all diseases in the future. it also claimed ridiculously that every couple wants Clinton and Bill Gates as their children at the same time the natural system has been disturbed by the pressure of cloning . The world need people of every sector not money maker and politicians. If so, the world will destroy very soon.
A conference has been organized by some popular scientists in the   New York and concluded with a statement that it is a extraordinary achievement for the whole world with some vital de-merits so all should stand together to utilized the said invention. The  prime responsibility rest upon the politicians who claims to be the supreme of the United Nations organization.


1.    What was the conclusion of New York press conference?
2.    What was the only vital demerit of the cloning?
3.    What was the claimed to of the Korean scientist?
4.    Why the US government did banned the cloning system?
5.    What is the main problem of cloning system?
6.    What does Australian scientist claim?
7.    What is the risk in human cloning experiments?
8.    For what reason did the scientists prefer to sue and empty pig egg and a human cell for the experiment?
9.    What is the specific with mitochondria??
10.    Why have scientists shown their interest in human cloning?
5.    ARSON IN THE VILLAGE

On Sunday morning in a hot summer day, one patrol team of CIVPOL monitor received a radio call from the CIVPOL station about an arsoning incident in a bear by village. Someone had called up and informed the station about the incident from a local public call office .The patrol team rushed to the scene of incident. As reaching the scene, they saw a red vehicle speeding away in a very high speed with at least four or five persons inside with at least one man holding something like gun. Arriving at the scene, the monitors saw tow houses burning. Some natives came towards them and informed that some armed people came to the village, set light to the two houses belonging to a local politician and fled in their red car. The situation was immediately reported the CIVPOL station and the local police authority were duly informed. Within few minutes the fleeing red vehicle as stopped at a check point and the perpetrators arrested by the local police.
The patrol team informed to the fire brigade about the arson case and the Fire brigade team form the local municipality arrived in 15 minutes to the scene and put off the fire. Some local said during the interview that the both house was belong to the local politicians called Mustafa Leader. Leader had some arguments with some rivals during the municipality meeting last Friday about the grazing of the animal in the village of Ruslan. The leader received a threat from the rival of abandon the village as soon as possible or faces the adverse consequences. The leader did not obey the threat and the incident happen. Both house entirely damaged by the arson but the fire bridge could not give the total amount of loss of the house. The CIVPOL interviewed with the house owner and revealed that two houses worth $ 10000 and two camels worth $ 1000, cash worth $99 and utensils worth $45, grains worth $ 129, have been damaged during the arson.  The monitor team assured him relief of compensation from the local authority. 
 The local police team with out aid of UN Police have arrested the red vehicle and recovered a Tomy machine gun and 354 rounds of live ammunitions form the red car. Five suspects including driver also have been arrested by the local but not disclosed in public by the local police. The local police issued a statement in the same day saying that investigation is underway and if information needed contact to regional head quarters the following day.
The National Labour Party belongs to Mustafa organized a protest rally in the town demanding the full security to the local leader and their property and take legal and strain action to perpetrators. During the demonstration supporters of the party vandalized 4 shops and injured three local security personnel.
 The local authority endorsed compensation to the Mustafa, according to the report of Fire Brigade which cost in the said head but only $ 11000.  The fire brigade did not mention the head of the loss but recommended the whole some of money.
The local police control the security situation in the town and the police released one suspect with out any legal charge and other four have been sent to the jail by the order of local magistrate on the charge of arson and possession of illegal weapon.
 The red car sent to the auction to pay the compensation of the damage property. The owner of the car complained that his car was stolen from the garage at midnight on the same day, and it is dictatorship of the local authority to auction his car with out investigating properly and he also claimed that he will sue to the local authority in the Apex court.
1.    When did the car stolen?
2.    What was the lost property?
3.    What were the ammunition found by the local police?.
4.    What was the demand of political party?
5.    What had happened during the demonstration of local political party?
6.    What message did the CIVPOL received?
7.    How was the CIVPOL station informed of the incident ?
8.    En- route to the scene, what did the patrol team saw?
9.    What was the monitor action on the scene?
10. what action did the local police take ?

    

6.    Authoritarian regime

President Abdurrahaman Wahid granted amnesty  thousands of prisoners Thursday, including some who were ailed for there political beliefs. Minister for law and legislation Yusril Ihza Mahendra said 105 political prisoners, and 3000 others who were jailed for criminals' acts, would be released. He said Wahid signed a presidential decree Thursday and the prisoners would be set free Thursday night and Friday morning.
"We are releasing the criminal prisoners because it's Christmas time and the New year",he said . He added that the release of the political prisoners' mostly separatist activists from Aceh and Irian Jaya province was part of the government's efforts to release all those who were jailed for political activity under Indonesian's former authoritarian regime. Most of the political prisoners were jailed during the32 -year dictatorship of Suharto , who was ousted from power due to a student uprising in May 1998.
It is not the self motivated move of the government but international political pressure to released the political prisoners .  There are more than 40% members of the parliament are brought from the security service to show the political honesty to the military department .  Military party called National Unity party is more powerful in Indonesia till now and it has 32 years' background. The civil leadership could not do any thing with out the military aid. So democratic government willing to follow the military advice. 
The international court of justice has declare to punish some of the criminals who were directly involved in the massacre in Indonesia during the dictatorship of Suharto regime. But it is ridiculous to digest that the than army chief who has been accused of murdering 200 prisoners of political belief, is a member of parliament now. The Amnesty International condemned the act of the government to nominate the army chief Mr. Javal as a parliamentarian and said that the government marginalized the people voice.
The International Court of Justice summoned  as per the international standard to Suharto to present his opinion in Hague whether he did the crime or not , but it went in vain because Suharto has been admitted to Jakarta Teaching   hospital due to chest and BP problem . Suharto has been accusing of accumulating large sum of money and killing 500 students during the students' uprising.
    The interim president of East Timor Mr. Gusmao also condemned the act of the government to make escort free to the war criminals and said government is deceiving the people of Indonesia. Indonesian government barked against the East-Timor saying that no one could interfere in internal matter of the country. For the information, East -Timor is a fragment of the republic of Indonesia and got independence in 1997 by the acute international political pressure and military intervention by the UN.
      Indonesian   people believe, the criminal who are released on the occasion New year will never involve in criminal activities in the future. Indonesia lies in East of the Asia bordering  China , Australia, Iran and Indian sea respectively East, West, South and North. and it is has the most dense Muslim population with mainly  Hindu religion . Indonesia was colonized by French in 1800 AD and ruled till 1936 and got independence. The military authority ousted the civil government in 1940 by military coup and rules till 1997. The country has notorious history of producing natural drugs like Heroine and Cocaine and it is also called the country of golden triangle, the main transit of drugs , including Burma ,Thailand and Laos.       

1.    Which countries are called golden triangle country?
2.    Which country is lies in the  south of Indonesia ?
3.    What is the formal accusation to Suharto?
4.    Why the democratic government does follow the military advice?
5.    What was the reply of the government to East -Timor condemnation?
6.    Where is the international court of Justice located?
7.    why were the thousands of people jailed ?
8.    What did Mr. Yusril Ihza Mahendra say?
9.    How many political prisoners were jailed?
 10. Who were the released prisoners mostly?


7.  GAMBLE

November 27, 2001
Bangkok, Thailand: Thai police said on Mondays they have arrested six Filipino gang members for allegedly luring two Japanese and three French tourists to gamble in their house and cheating them out of millions of Baht (thousands of dollars) . The gang members, three men and three women, were arrested on Sunday from a house in Bangkok where all six gang members lived, police Lieutenant General Chat Kuldilok told reporters. Lt. Gen. Kuldilik said the women pretended to be Thai house wives and invited their victims. Whom they met on the street while pedaling handicrafts, to come to their house to teach them Japanese, and to sell them handicrafts. He said the male members of the gang pretended to be millionaires from Brunei who lost huge sums to each other to avoid suspicion by the tourists, Chat said. Four of the five tourists agreed to gamble with the male gang members while the female gang members supposedly were making them fool. Once the tourists had lost all of their money to the gang members they tried to get some of their money back, but the gang members refused. The tourists were told if they told the police or any one else about losing money to them, they would be killed. All the male gang members had knives and showed them to the tourists after telling them this. The tourists left the house and notified Thai police immediately. The tourists informed the police of the gang members' house and were willing to help them in hopes of getting their money back. Upon arrest, the Thai police searched the entire house, but unfortunately the money could not be found. One of the tourists response was," I am happy, even tough we didn't get our money back , I'm just glad the gang members were found by the Thai Police . Hopefully nothing like this will happen to any tourists ever again.
Police interviewed all the detainees in the police cell and found that other two gangs also committing the same crime using same modus operandi in the capital city. Police started the vigorous checking around the suspected area and arrested  one gang with some weapons and valuables in the rented house. Police confiscate six knives and four round of live bullets including four gang members.  Later on police honestly publicized two golden rings, four golden bracelets, six wrist watches and five passports . And issued a statement saying that any one who is belongs to the valuables contact with proofs to the city police officer Mr. Rothan.
 Police registered a legal case to the first 6 members of the gang accusing looting the valuable of the tourists but the local magistrate released all saying that police did not show the proofs of looting.
 The second gang members also charged with looting the tourists and illegal possession of weapons .The magistrate send them to the jail for six months on the charge of looting but the magistrate said police should be careful accusing the civilian who has only live bullets not a pistol or revolver.
The police assured that the looting case will come down after the arrest of 2 looting gangs and vows that they will do enough to arrest who are involved in looting case. Police said that tourist should be careful with the people who were involved in prostitution. Bangkok is famous for sex tourism in East Asia.  Most of the prostitutes are brought form the Philippine in the name of house wife . In this racket the local administration and police and pimps are also involved. 
1.    How may gang members arrested?
2.    What are the valuables had been confiscated?
3.    Why the Bangkok city is famous for?
4.    How many culprits were sent to jail and how many released?
5.    How the gang member did pretend themselves?
6.    What were the nationality of the victims ?
7.    What was the tourist said after not getting his money?
8.    What did general Chat said about the accident?
9.    What were weapons confiscated.
        10. How many tourists had gambled with cheaters?


8.  EBOLA

Sunday, December 9, 2001
An outbreak of fever in the West African nation of Gabon has been confirmed as the deadly disease Ebola, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Sunday. It is world's first documented outbreak of Ebola since last year in Uganda, where 224 people - including health workers - died from the virus. Ebola is one of the most virulent viral diseases known to humankind, causing death in 50 to 90 percent of all clinically ill cases. "It's been confirmed by a laboratory in Gabon" WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl told the press. "We have reports that seven people have died" Hartl said WHO has already sent a team to help the coastal nation and that a second team of four specialists would leave Geneva for Gabon on Monday. The out break is in remote Ogooue Ivindo province in northeastern Gabon, he said. Gabon was last afflicted in an outbreak in 1996-97 that killed 45 of the 60 people infected. "We have had very little information" Hartl said. The conformation came from a laboratory in France ville, also in eastern Gabon. A team from the Gabon Ministry of Health and the International Center of Medical Research in
France Ville went to the province last week when they first received reports of that the outbreak might be Ebola, Hartl added. On Friday, Hartl said there were unconfirmed reports of a possible outbreak in nearby Congo. Ebola is passed through contact with bodily fluids, such as mucus, saliva and blood, but Ebola is not airborne. The virus incubates for four to 10 days before flu-like symptoms set in. Eventually, the virus causes severe internal bleeding, vomiting and diarrhea. There is no known cure for Ebola, but patients treated early for dehydration have a good chance of survival. WHO says more than 800 people have died of the disease since the virus was first case in Gabon was documented in 1994 the agency says. After the 1996-97 out break in Gabon it wasn't documented again until it appeared in Uganda last year. WHO recommends the suspected cases is isolated from other patients and that strict barrier nursing techniques be used to shield health workers from exposure. Gloves and masks must be worn and disinfected prior to reuse, the agency says. Patients who die from the disease should be promptly buried or cremated. The virus has also been transmitted to people from handling ill or dead infected chimpanzees, WHO says. Police are worried there may be widespread panic in the area because of the confirmed reports. There have been rumors of possible riots and / or break -ins. Police officials said tat when out breaks such as this occur, people become frightened and assume the worst and that is when people start to try and upraise against the police . However, no reports have been made in regards to riots and/ break -INS, but police have been told to be prepared for the worst. The Goban Government called emergency cabinet meeting and declared Ivindo province as "forbidden Province". The government begs international support and relief to get rid of the diseases.  it is requested to all media house not to make undue publicity to  the outbreak ,which can terrorize the general public and can hamper  to maintain the security situation in  the country. Gabon a Central African Republic also facing starvation, malnutrition, political instability, and draught from a long decade.  The neighboring countries Nigeria, Uganda, Ethiopia, South Africa, Kenya, Somalia are also suffering from internal conflict and could not do as requested by the Gabon.  The first world showing their interest  on the request and ready to provide the assistances or relief  but they have an eye or vested interest on the natural resources of the Gabon republic which is rich in diamond, gold , natural gas , petroleum mine .

1.    What did government request to Media?
2.    Which province was declared as "forbidden province" ?
3.    Why the neighboring countries could not assist the Republic of Gabon?
4.    When the disease was documented first in the Africa?
5.    What was the rate of death causing Ebola?
6.    What were the symptoms of Ebola?
7.    How the Ebola is transmitted to another person.
8.    What was the resource of the Ebola?
9.    Why did the first world countries showing their interest to Gabon?
10. How many medical teams are going to be assign to assist the Gabon republic.    

9. TALIBAN ARRESTED

    US forces detained seven suspected Taliban fighters yesterday outside the American military base at Kandhar airport in southern Afghanistan after it came under attack , defense officials said. They said the men were detained for questioning after patrols were sent out to investigate the attack. A small number of other people who might have been involved in the gunfight escaped, according to the officials, who asked not to be identified. No American troops were injured, they said. A Reuters television cameraman, Taras Protsyuk, said he heard heavy gunfire and a number of explosions at the Kandhar base . He said the shooting lasted about 30 minutes and was at its most intense for a period of about five minutes ." I have seen the tracers and there were some light explosions like hand grenades ", he said " Americans appeared to be firing at a point in the hills to the West Side of the air base." Operation in Afghanistan by the US military and its allies to mop up remnants of the vanquished Taliban and the AL-QUIDA network are based at Kandahar airport .
    There are about 4100 military personnel based at the airport, with the majority from the US. Mr. Protsyuk said the heaviest firing was on the airport's western perimeter, about half a mile from the terminal building. In a separate incident, an American military transport plane crashed in a remote region of the Afghanistan on Tuesday night , injuring all eight crew members but non of them critically ,US  officials said yesterday . Seven of those injured in the crash were able to walk and " non of the injuries were considered life- threatening " ,said Major Brad Lowell, a spokesman for the US central command in Florida . The cause of the crash was not known , although it did not appear to be the result of hostile fire, official said . An American soldier was killed in an accident in Afghanistan yesterday when a piece of heavy industrial equipment fell on him at Bagram air base near Kabul, the US military said . The soldier's name was  withheld pending notification of next of kin. Later on , it was revealed that the detainees were investigated thoroughly and two among seven were sent to " Kwantanamo Bey" a notorious jail used by American military  to dump terrorists. Kwantanamo Bey is in Cuba , a communist nation , ruled by Fidel Kastro , a south American country .
    It was provided to USA on lease for hundred years. Remaining among the detainees were sent to the local judicial authority and imposed to the judicial remand for six months . The American soldier killed by heavy equipment was delivered  to home with a national regards by a special US navy plane . The US had  started war against Afghanistan to abolish Taliban regime , who allegedly harboring the terrorist leader Osama bin Laden  in the country . American military could not find the Osama  till now. Osama is Saudi Arabia born billionaire and blind supporter of Muslim belief , he involved in fighting with Soviet Union  who had strong hold in Afghanistan during the second world war and  with the aid of US the Al quada successes to remove Russia from Afghanistan . Bin laden started getting physical and moral support from theUS . later on , the US  did not give his support to Osama so he and his allies attacked on US interest in South Africa killing 1000 innocent people by the suicide bombing and declared Osama a terrorist .  After the 9/11 terrorist attack on twin tower , the US has declared fight against the terrorism and  announce to hand over the Osama to the US by Afgan Government . The Taliban regime  did not obey the order saying that he was the guest of the country and  guest should not be hand over the western country . 

1. Who is Osama bin Laden?
2. What do you know about Kwantanamo Bey?
3. What had happen to arrested seven detainees?
4. Why did America attack Afghanistan?
5. where did the US transport plane crash?
6. Where is the US central command located?
7. How many US military have been killed according to the passage?
8. Where was the heaviest firing occurred?
9. Where is the Kandhar air port located?
10.    Who is Taras?

10. THE UNITED NATION

The United Nation is an international organization established to create international security and friendship among the member states.
    After the Second World War, the allied nation established the United Nation on 24 December 1945 including 51 member states. Now it has 191 member states around the globe. The head quarters of the United Nation lies in New York in the US and the branch for the Europe is lies in Switzerland.

Main objectives of the United Nations are as follows.

1. To maintain international security
2. To maintain friendship among the countries
3. To regards human rights.

It has six main organs

1. International court of justice
2. Secret General assembly
3. Security Council
4. Economic and social council
5. Trusteeship council
6. Secretariat

                                        1. International court of justice.

    The headquarters of International court of justice lies in Netherlands. The UN secretariat lies in New York. The meeting of general assembly starts on third of September and concludes on December. Security council has 15 members among them 5 are permanent members , which are America, China , Russia , French, and Germany and other 10 members are elected by the 191 members states of general assembly for the period of two years . The Economic and Social council has 54 members' states and every member has three years of working period. The headquarters of the Economic and Social council lies in Geneva.

    America, China, France, Germany, Russia the permanent members of the Security council has veto power .Chinese English, French, Russian, Spanish are the official language of the United nation,. Mr. Ban ki Mon is the Secretary General of the United Nations, a South Korea citizen.

    Nepal as a United Nation member state has sent 1241police personnel to serve the United Nation, as civil police, police monitor, police advisor and police trainers. Nepal has established two Form Police Units in Haiti and Sudan as per the request of the United Nation. wins their obedience, confidence, respect and enthusiastic co-operation in achieving common objectives.


11.  UN FAILURE IN BOSNIA

    A long -awaited report into the failure of a Dutch UN peacekeeping force to prevent the murder of thousands of Muslims in the Bosnian town of Brebrenica will be published on Wednesday. The Netherlands is bracing itself for the results of the inquiry in to the worst massacre in Europe since world War second. The
    BBC's Europe correspondent says Dutch troops are likely to be criticized for their part in event leading up to the 1995 slaughter. In July 1995, Srebrenica was being protected by 110 Dutch troops who were supposed to ensure the safety of the town's mainly Muslim population against surrounding Bosnian Serb forces. The United Nations had declared it a safe area but when it  was attacked, the town fill with out the Dutch UN troops firings shot . Up to 8000 Muslim men and boys were then murdered.

Five years of research

                  While the Dutch troops are likely to be criticized for letting the town fall without a fight , fault is also set to be found with the over all UN commander for failing to order air strikes to protect the enclave. The report is also understood to criticize the Dutch government for showing lack of political will. The 7000-pages report by the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation is the official Dutch history of events in Srebrenica. It has taken more than five years to produce. In a 1999 report, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan blamed the international community for its failure to protect the enclave but insisted that it was impossible " to say whether a more decisive action by the Dutch would have saved lives" .A report two weeks ago by the Interchurch Peace Council ( IKV) in the Netherlands condemned Dutch troops, generals and politicians for failing to evacuate and protect the Muslims.

Scenes from hell

    The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in the Hague has ruled that the massacre was genocide. Last August it sentenced Bosnian Serb General Radisav Krstic, considered a key commander in the episode, to 46 years in prison. The judge in the case said the massacre was characterized by " scenes from hell, written on the darkest pages of human history" Survivors' reports, aerial photography and grisly evidence exhumed from mass graves indicate the most victims in the massacre were summarily executed ,Dutch MPs may now call for a public inquiry. Seven military commanders of Royal Dutch army have been sentenced to seven years jail . Ten army personnel have been fired from the service and 20 have been restricted from the promotion as per the report of the criminal tribunal.   The BBC's correspondent Mr. Havel Eastward has been facilitated by the Dutch Government as a friends of mankind . After the massacre in the Srebrenica the Dutch government begs pardon with the Bosnian people and saying that her troops could not do any thing to save the life of the people and she is responsible to the accident.


1. How many Dutch troops were protecting Srebrenica?
2. What ethnic group were the people of Srebrenica?
3. Why the Dutch government begs pardon with the people of Bosnia ?
4. How many people were killed in Srebrenica?
5. How many army personnel were punished?
6. Who is criticized in the report?
7. Where is the International Criminal Tribunal based?
8. Would more positive action by the Dutch troops have saved lives?
9    What sentence was General Krstic given?
10    Who was facilitated by the Dutch government and why?


12.  SWARM ATTACK

    Six people were hospitalized after they were attacked by a swarm of bees in Singapore, a news report said on Tuesday. The bees attacked contractors who were trying to remove a beehive in the tropical city-state .Two police officers who were on the scene to keep back the public, were among those attacked and hospitalized. Police public affairs officers could not immediately be contacted to confirm the report. The incident occurred at approximately 12:30PM on Tuesday afternoon. Two of the people who were injured in the attack were still in the hospital on Tuesday night at 10:00 PM; however they were in good condition. Such incidents are rare in heavily urbanized Singapore. But two years ago , a 51 years old taxi driver died after he was stung by a swarm bees .The driver was changing his back left tire and he removed the deflated tire , a beehive was in the wheel well . Witnesses said that the swarm covered the man's face and hands and repeatedly sting him as he cried out in pain .He died later that night while being hospitalized. Singapore is a very small country covered by the see in the east of Asia and known as a well industrialized country.
    The big industry installations have many nooks and corners where the swarm bees get shelters. firstly people do not care about it because it seems harmless and small in the beginning but after  a year it  appeared in large scale and bees become escort free so they undermine their stung so they try to destroy their hives and got stung and the result  become very adverse. The same accident happened in The US in 1990 when a farmer had gone to his farmhouse to clean the room , he saw that there is a bee hive in the ceiling of the room he thought it was full of honey , unfortunately it was poisonous  swarm bee's hive.  He collected his two sons and a black servant to take the honey . In the mean time when they lit a fire to fly the bees , the swarm bees started stung them . The younger son who was in the door side escaped from the room after having a look at the victims and called the police . The house got in to the gutter by the fire and three injured had been hospitalize in the city centre . The house owner Mr. Kally died during the medical treatment and two had been discharged after 2 weeks with swollen face and bruises for the whole life.  The same accident happened in Nepal too on 23 September 2002. The Raute , who are famous for honey hunter ,had tried to collect honey from the very steep hill near Manang District. they made rope ladder to climb the hill and with the aid of fire they started collecting the honey .
    It was a documentary program filmed by Scottish Director visualized to broadcast in Britain  by BBC. Al together there were 15 men. When the honey hunter was climbing down from the steep hill after the successful visualization of the film. Unfortunately, one of the hunters touched the bees hive. Due to the finished job, they did not prepare for next attack and they all were on very thin cloths and without cloves . Three among five hunters fall down from the cliff and died. Two were severely bitten by the bees were died on the way to hospital and ten crew members of the visualization  were admitted in the hospital and discharged after 2 weeks .  It is said that the bees seems so calm if they are not hurt and if anyone hurt their queen , they become so terrifying and take revenge from the hunter . The queen is the most powerful among the bees. if the queen of the bees  safely removed from the hive it will be so easy to get the honey from the hive   which is considered as medicine  in eastern countries . The working bees always follow the queen bee , if she abandon the hive silently , all the bees left the hive with out revenge. so if you want to get honey remove the queen tactically and calmly.
         
1.    How many people had been killed according to the passage.?
2.    How many people had been injured according to the passage?
3.    Where was the bees's hive in the taxi?
4.    Who was the authentic person to provide informations about injured police officers according to the passage.
5.    What had happened to the two Americans who escaped from the death?
6.    What is the ideal idea to get honey?
7.    What did the team doing in Manning District?
8.    How did the taxi driver killed?
9.    Where was the bees's hive in the room?
10.    Who is the most powerful in the hive?

13.  ARAFAT POLITICS
    Arafat is not the point. As Israelis and Palestinians use ever more lethal means against each other's civilians, the question being asked in Israel and the US is not how to end the occupation, but whether or not to end the career, or even the life, of Arafat. At the time of writing this coverage trend in early February 2002, in a further escalation Israeli tanks have confined Arafat in an area of 200m square in Ram Allah. And have destroyed the remainder of his helicopter fleet that it began to destroy on the attack of his compound on 3 December 2001.
    If Israel killed Arafat or sent in to exile, nothing would change. It seems almost absurd to have to point out that forcing millions of people to live for decades under hostile military rule with no end on sight inevitably produces violent resistance. Only a mind -set that steadfastly refuses to recognize this can become captivated by a lone figure who's real and imagined failings became a smoke screen that obscures the machinery that actually drives the conflict.
    If Israel truly seeks the moral high ground it invokes in the international arena, it should stop seeking a relative high ground whose only elevation stems from the weakness and failing of its historical enemies. Rather Israel should address the most obvious things it dies to perpetuate the conflict.
    The bottom line is that the single most identifiable factor that perpetuates the Israeli- Palestinian conflict in all its forms, both legitimate, is the Israeli military occupation that exists to protect the continuing Israeli colonization of the Gaza Strip and West Bank, including Jerusalem.
    Comparisons of Arafat with Bin Laden serve to legitimize Israel's continuing repression of the Palestinians and bear no reality to the dynamics that this particular conflicts, dynamics that Israel has played no small part in creating.
    Israel's killing of civilians is a form of terrorism. The United States  tacit support of Israel's so called retaliation in US support of terrorism .Although Israeli officials are occasionally note don record " apologizing" for the latest " accidental" death of a child , there comes a point -- after a year in which one quarter of the 800 Palestinians killed were children and 50 percent of these children were killed for away from clashes- that it becomes imperative to note that Israel could always simply stop killing children , instead of merely apologizing for it.
    Israel's nightly shelling of Palestinian neighborhoods has accounted for one quarter of the 800 Palestinians killed during the first year of the Second Intifada .  Israel's regular killing of innocent civilians including children as a "by product " of its ironically titled" targeted killings " of Palestinian activists most commonly with rockets fired from combat helicopters at these leader's vehicles while in cit streets offer more examples of the indiscriminate violence that characterizes 'terrorism' as most people understand the word.
    Following a series of suicide bomb attacks in February / March 1996, then Israeli President Weizmann bluntly described Israel's practice of using closure to turn Palestinian towns in to prisons for the entire population: "Sometimes, when you are searching for a needle in a haystack, you have to burn the haystack".
    Israel has been encouraged to carry out similar "retaliation" as in the case of the December 2001bombing, by the knowledge that the United States would not condemn it. America must refrain from "understanding" Israel's violence. This can only have the effect of encouraging the continued Israeli killing of innocent Palestinian civilians.

1.    How many Palestinian children have been killed this year?
2.    How many Palestinians have been killed during nightly shelling?
3.    Are children targeted by the Israelis?
4.    Who is Arafat compared to and why?
5.    Where is Arafat confined, and what size of area?
6.    How many people live under hostile military rule in Palestine?
7.    What is the question being asked in Israel and the US?
8.    Why is Israel not afraid to carry out retaliation attacks on Palestinians?
9.    What happened in 1996?
10.    What dies Israel do when it is faced with suicide bomb attacks?








14.  BUS LOOTED
    A bus, which started off in Kathmandu , at 5:30 PM , traveling to Biratnagar , was looted by some Indian dacoits, which had crossed the boarder in order to escape the authorities there. They had been in Nepal for at least a month and had been regularly stopping night buses and robbing the passengers of all their belongings as well as money.
    When the bus number Ba Ga 3987, first started off from Gongabu Bus Park there was a total of 30 passengers. Just near Thankot 3 more passengers got on. The journey was uneventful until they reached Muggling, where they stopped for dinner. Here, the bus conductor managed to find 4 more people wanting to travel to Biratnagar . After about half an hour stop for dinner, they set off again. At Bharatpur 2 of the passengers got off as they had only booked up to this point. The bus had to wait for about one hour as the engine had trouble and the driver had to fix it .After this they started  of again and had a short tea break at Hetauda where another 2 people got off and one got on.
    At about 2:00 PM in the morning, when most of the passengers were asleep, the driver suddenly stopped as there was a tree across the main road. The passengers all wake up as the bus had come to a sudden stop, and were all looking out of the windows. Two Indian men dressed in black were behind the fallen tree with country made rifles; at the same time 2 also came from the back and two on each side of the bus. At once they told all the passengers to come out of the bus and line up in front of the bus, even though it as a moonlight night, no body could make out the faces of the dacoits, and could tell only by the way they spoke that they were from India. Everybody was told to remove their watches, jewelries and to empty out their pockets and moneybags. One of the men colleted all this while the others told all the passengers to lie down with their faces facing down. During this time the dacoits all disappeared, as nobody wanted to follow them as they might get shot

1.    How many passengers were on the bus when it was robbed?

2.    How many dacoits were there in total?

3.    How long did they stop for dinner?

4.    Why did they stop a second time before the robbery?

5.    How did the passengers know that the dacoits were not Nepali?

5.    Where did the bus start first?

6.    How many got in the Baratpur?

7.    Why did the bus have to stop suddenly?

8.    How many we on the bus at Muggling?

9.    Although it was night time how could the passengers make out how many dacoits there were?  
15.    KOSOVO POLICE

    On Monday 17 March 2003 , at 0745 hours , two Kosovo Police Officers were on patrol duty in a police vehicle when they observed a white van type vehicle , license 496KS858 driving very fast. The officers stopped the white van type vehicle for questioning using their blue flash lights. When the driver stopped, the patrol team stopped five meters behind his vehicle, however the van did not turn off its engine. As the officers exited their vehicle, the drivers of the white van type vehicle sped away very quickly. The officers ran back to their vehicle and chased the white vehicle .They were driving on the road to the airport. The police vehicle was driving at almost 120 km/hour but was unable to catch up to the van. Suddenly, the van turned north on to an unpaved roadway. The officers continued the pursuit. The van drove for approximately a hundred meters more. There was a big hole by the side of the road which the van fell into as the driver had lost control of the van, then it rolled upside down into a deep ditch on the south side of the roadway at grid reference 184-846. The officers stopped their vehicle on the opposite side of the roadway and proceeded cautiously toward the offender's vehicle. When they were approximately two meters away form the white van type vehicle they could see that the offender was still in his vehicle but was not moving. There were no sign of blood or injury  to the offender .As the officers got closer they could see three bundles, approximately 35 cm by 20cm by 25cm in the rare cargo area of the vehicle . One of the bundles was ripped open and a dark green plant material was showing, the officers assumed that it was marijuana. The first officer proceeded to the front of the vehicle to check the physical condition to the driver. The offender was breathing but didn't respond to any of the officer's verbal commands.  The officer radioed for an ambulance and the offender was taken to the local hospital. The second officer searched the offender's vehicle and found another bundle under the front seat with a knife. The Knife was 20 cm long with old blood stains. There were no papers or registration found in the vehicle. All material were seized as evidence and taken to police station.

1.    What were the 2 officers doing at 0745 Hrs?
2.    Why did they ask the van to stop?
3.    What was their reason for stopping the van?
4.    At what distance behind did the police stop?
5.    How many bundles were seen?
6.    Approximately what speed was the van traveling when in pursuit?
7.    What did the officers assume it to be?
8.    Was the knife found before or after the suspect was taken to hospital?
9.    What distance did the van travel on the dirt road?
10.    How did the man crash the vehicle?
16.    GERMANY SOOTING

Germany was in shock yesterday after 19 years old, masked gunman shot 17 people, including two female students, before killing himself in a school massacre in the eastern city of Erfurt.
The black -clad gunman a recently - expelled student of the Gutenberg secondary school, burst into a classroom during an exam yesterday morning around 11 AM and started shooting with a pump action rifle mounted on his back. "He passed us in the corridor with out paying any attention and walked straight into the secretary's office and started shooting." He said. Witnesses said the gunman walked through the building, opening classroom doors and targeting staff, killing nine male teachers, four female teachers, a secretary and two female students all within minutes. Caretakers heard the shots and notified the local police. Two officers arrived on the scene and discovered two dead bodies in the entrance hall. Moments later the gunman appeared and opened fire, shooting dead one of the policemen. A special commando unit immediately surrounded the school, which has nearly 700 students. As the shooting continued, around 180 students were still trapped in the building. Commandos stormed the building shortly before noon and came upon what was described as terrible scenes. 'Bodies lay in the halls, in bathrooms and classrooms' said Mr.Rainer Grube, a police spokesman. The gunman, who had barricaded himself into a room, shot himself as officers approached. 'The gunman killed himself when he saw that there was no way out for him' said Mr., Grube.
    For the students trapped inside the building, their ordeals ended nearly three hours later when they were led, pale and shaking, out of the school to worried parents at the gate. They were all receiving counseling yesterday evening, while four people injured in the attack were brought to hospital. Police were last night still investigating students reports that there was a second gunman. They had no motive for the shootings yesterday evening. Friends of the as yet unidentified gunman described him as an intelligent student who was ' full of life' and often spoke of his wish to become famous. The massacre is one of the most violent attacks in German post -war history, and ranks alongside the 1996 school shooting in Dunblane and the 1999 massacre in Columbine , Arkansas. Yesterday evening Erfurt residents were in shock and German politicians speechless .
'We are stunned at this horrific crime. No explanation we could give would go far enough right now ' said the Chancellor, Mr. Gerhard Schroeder, expressing his sympathy for the families of the victims and the students who witnessed the attack. He ordered the German flag on the Reichstag in Berlin to flown to be flown at half mast. 'We are all in one room .One teacher is dead, we are crying.



1.    Which two other massacres are mentioned?
2.    How many people were injured in the attack?
3.    What time did the shooting start?
4.    What weapons were used?
5.    How many teachers were killed?
6.    Did the gunman target students?
7.     Who notified the police about the shooting?
8.    Who stormed the building and when?
9.    How many police men entered the building initially?
10.    How long it take to gunman to kill the people and was there only one gunman?



17.  DEAD BODY FOUND

Mr. John Edwards lives alone in his cottage in the southern part of Cambridge, UK. He was a retired officer who previously worked for the finance office which was based in London. He had been retired for 5 years now and spent most of his time in Cambridge. He had worked for 34 years and during that time lived in London. By the sides of his cottage, there was a husband and wife living who used to work for Mr. Edwards. The woman would cook his meals and the man would attend to the garden. Mr. Edwards had no close family or friends who would come to visit him regularly .On December 15 , 2002 ,Mr. Edwards was found dead in his study at 0700 hrs. His body was fund by the woman who did his cooking. She had informed the police when she had seen him lying on his desk at 0700hrs. All the doors were closed from the inside so the woman thought in quite suspicious so she looked through the window. This is when she saw Mr. Edwards at his desk. When the police arrived at 0730 hrs. They broke open the door and checked the body. Mr. Edwards was confirmed dead and his body sent for post mortem. By the side of the table there was a bottle and a letter which said that he was taking his life as he was fed up and didn't see any future in continuing. All these materials were sent to the police lab for the necessary testing. The reports all confirmed that Mr. Edwards did take the poison, traces of which were found in his blood and on his lips. On the latter, apart from Mr. Edward's finger prints, there were other prints found as well. When the police checked up they found that it belonged to the husband the woman who cooked for Mr. Edwards. The police found this very suspicious as the husband had said that he never came into the study at any time. The police brought the man in for questioning and under interrogation he at first denied that he had gone to the house ant any time. After 2 hours, he changed his story and said that he
          Blog Post: bioshock 2 is a great game        

 This a great game it allowed me to use whatever weapon or plasmid i want at anytime. so if you want a good single person game you try this game.


          Glycolac 60% Peel        

Combination of Glycolic (25%) and Lactic (35%) acid for the benefits of both in a single peel to target stubborn skin conditions, such as acne and sun damage.

The post Glycolac 60% Peel appeared first on Skin Laboratory.


          Daily Tech Headlines – July 25, 2017        
Roomba wants to sell maps of your house, Microsoft Paint gets a reprieve, Check-in and board an airline without talking to a single person. MP3 Please SUBSCRIBE HERE. Follow us on Soundcloud. A special thanks to all our supporters–without you, none of this would be possible. If you are willing to support the show or … Continue reading Daily Tech Headlines – July 25, 2017
          'Daufuskie 100’ leader Hutton dies        
  • Dave Hutton, leader of the "Daufuskie 100," a group that stayed on island during Hurricane Matthew, has died.-Photo courtesy of Wendy Nelthorpe

Daufuskie Island has lost a gentle soul.

Dave Hutton, who gave of himself — both in heart and good deeds — to the people of the island he loved, died over the weekend while on a hunting trip to Montana.

Hutton was the leader of the “Daufuskie 100,” a group of island residents who stayed behind during Hurricane Matthew to be ready to begin the recovery when the storm had passed.

At only 27 years old, Hutton’s death has hit hard, Daufuskie Island Council member Deborah Smith said.

“It’s been described as a blow worse than the hurricane,” Smith said. “Dave was a giant on Daufuskie and it is impossible to overstate his importance to our island’s community. Dave didn’t just live on Daufuskie —he was Daufuskie.”

Hutton stayed behind on Daufuskie during Hurricane Matthew and put his heavy equipment operation experience to quick use.

Hutton started clearing roads immediately, making it possible for services to be restored faster than otherwise.

“Without fuss nor desire for any type of credit or recognition, Dave spearheaded the phenomenal response by the Daufuskie 100 that allowed other residents to return to the island,” Smith said. “This is a terrible loss for all of us, and there are no words to say how much we will miss his friendship and inspirational leadership.”

Hutton was a big man, at 6 feet-plus, with an easy smile and a ready laugh.

When asked by Bluffton Today in late October why he stayed for the hurricane, Hutton’s answer showed his giving nature.

“I was a better asset here than if I had gone,” Hutton said.

Hutton cleared debris on a volunteer basis for 10 days.

“He was tough, smart, funny, and kind, he was loved by every single person on the island,” Smith said.

Hutton died while taking a much-needed break from hurricane cleanup, with friends.

Smith said Hutton was preceded in death by his father, Chris Hutton, who died two years ago. He is survived by his mother, Martha, his brothers Joe and Adam, his uncle Greg, and other family members.

Section: 

          Top 10s from Robin Morgan - MUST READ!        
Well if you're not awake this morning already, this one will wake you up. Robin Morgan has a new piece just up (remember Goodbye to All That #2?) over at the Women's Media Center. In "When Sisterhood Is Suicide and Other Late Night Thoughts," Morgan is at her absolute best.

She begins by offering 10 nice things first, as follows:

Ten Nice Things to Say About Sarah Palin:

  1. She’s a lifelong NRA member and crack rifle-woman, but hasn’t yet shot a single person in the face.
  2. She’s so unafraid of power that a majority-Republican legislative committee is investigating her abuse of it.
  3. She’s broad-minded, willing to have evolution taught alongside creationism.
  4. She gives “the personal is political” new meaning: Axing the public-safety commissioner for not firing her ex-brother-in-law (Trooper-gate); firing “foes” suspected of “disloyalty” (Library-gate).
  5. She knows how to delegate, involving “First Dude” husband Todd in more governmental decisions than any male politician’s spouse has dared since Hillary tried to give us healthcare in 1993. (First Dude’s defying a subpoena from those meanies mentioned up in #2.)
  6. She has executive experience: As mayor of Wasilla, then-constituency 5,000 souls, she presided over a population almost as vast as that of some urban high-schools.
  7. She’s an existentialist: Bridge-to-Nowhere-gate, Highway-to-Nowhere-gate. She never “focused much on Iraq”—after all, “the war is part of God’s plan”—and she dismisses McCain’s reluctance to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as being like “Eastern politicians” about environment. (Check out Wasilla’s dead-Lake-Lucille-gate.)
  8. She brings home the earmarked bacon—plus moose, caribou, wolf, and any other animal stumbling haplessly across her rifle-sight as she leans out of the ‘copter on another heli-hunt. But! Does she rely solely on godless government for her $500 million U.S.-subsidized natural-gas pipeline? No! Last June, at the Pentecostal Assembly of God Church, she declared, “God's will has to be done to get that gas line built!”
  9. She displays refreshing curiosity, as when she asked, “What is it exactly the VP does?” (Don’t scoff: Are you smarter than a 5th grader?)
  10. She’s multi-talented—studied journalism, tried sportscasting, can slickly scan a teleprompter (unlike her running-mate). She’s a jock (Sports-Complex-gate.) She was a beauty queen (as all of McCain’s wives were; how ‘bout that?) She’s patriotic—well, except for attending that secessionist Alaska Independent Party conference during the seven years when First Dude was a party member pulling down DWI convictions on the side. Best of all, she’s a born-again feminist, a “feminist for life.” Which I guess makes me a feminist for death.
Morgan then offers "Ten Blunt-Crayon Hints for the Media"--including tips like "Do investigate Palin’s opposition to listing polar bears and other animals as endangered. Do not call her one: no chick, bird, kitten, bitch, hen, cow. Also no produce: tomato, peach, etc." And finally shares her list of:

Ten Reasons You CANNOT Support McCain-Palin

  1. Yourself. Do not cut off your womb to spite the Democrats. (Also do not sit this election out or play write-in-vote games. And tempting though it may seem, do not blow a vote for the Green Party.)
  2. Iraq. McCain’s been a hawk since evolution made raptors.
  3. The Economy. For years McCain chaired the Senate Banking Committee that brought us the current financial meltdown. He opposed the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which would have made it easier for women and other workers to pursue pay-discrimination claims. (Come to think of it, why the focus solely on equal pay for equal work? Whatever happened to equal pay for comparable worth?)
  4. The Supreme Court. McCain vows to stack the court with “clones of Alito and Roberts.” There goes . . . well, everything.
  5. Choice. McCain has lodged 125 anti-choice votes. He boasts he’ll overturn Roe v. Wade. And as for the claim that if Roe is overturned it will “merely” throw reproductive rights back to the states, understand that McCain supports a constitutional amendment that would ban abortion outright, nationwide.
  6. Realism. If you’re a young feminist, do not get disillusioned by Obama’s drift to the middle—depressing but standard for winning. Do consider running for office—politics is not a spectator sport. And if you still can’t grasp why older feminists zealously backed HRC, please read Susan Faludi‘s brilliant “Second Place Citizens” for context. It’s crucial.
  7. Old Wounds. Remember that McCain’s answer to a supporter asking him about Hillary, “How do we beat the bitch?” was “Good question!” Remember that at the Sturgis motorcycle rally, McCain mortified his wife by saying she should enter the Topless Miss Buffalo Chip contest. Remember that, responding to a comment Cindy made about his thinning hair, he guffawed, “At least I don’t plaster on makeup like a trollop, you c**t.”
  8. Palin. McCain’s pick of Palin demonstrates contempt for American women and insults the intelligence of anyone who supported Hillary, since Palin is her (melting) polar opposite. It denigrates qualified Republican women (Senators Snow, Collins, Dole, and Hutchinson must be suffering silent apoplexy). It’s actually abuse of Palin herself, a sacrifice tossed to the ravenous fundamentalist base, now the butt of public humiliation for her abysmal lack of qualifications.
  9. Feminism—remember that? McCain-Palin politics are antithetical to every feminist policy most U.S. women support. Palin is an anti-abortion-rights, pro-“abstinence only” enemy of sex education and stem-cell research who denounced as “outrageous” the state supreme court’s decision to strike down Alaska’s parental-consent statute; who believes survivors of sexual assault and incest should be forced to bear the attackers’ fetuses to term; who let Wasilla charge survivors for rape kits and forensic exams; who cut funding for teen-pregnancy services; who stated she’d oppose abortion for her daughters even if they’d been raped; who’s against same-sex marriage (because such love is “curable”) and against gun control—but apparently all for shotgun weddings (poor Bristol’s gonna marry that dork, like it or not).
  10. Settling for Greatness. Sure, we wanted to vote for the right woman. Sure, we’ll have to wait a bit longer for her. Meanwhile, in Obama we can have a chief executive who reflects our politics, and who—especially since he may have both houses of Congress behind him—just might turn out to be one hell of a great president.
...and ends with "Five Ways to Still Make History." Read the whole sassy thing, here, and pass it on!
          Who Was Moshe Yelling At?        
   by Reb Gutman Locks
      

Who Was Moshe Yelling At?

 

     Again, in this week's Torah reading Moshe is condemning the prior acts of the Jews standing in front of him. They were about to cross the Jordan river and enter the Holy Land.

     "OY! Over the past forty years you did this, and OY! you did that…," and on and on. But who was Moshe yelling at? The Jews who were standing there before him were all either young children or not yet even born when those things he was complaining about happened!                                                  

     This is because the Jewish people are one, a single people, from those who lived a very long time ago… to those who are not yet born… and you and I who are alive today…. G-d blesses us as one, and (G-d forbid) punishes us as one… all together, a single people.

     This is why our enemies hate all of us, and this is why it hurts each of us so much when a Jew is attacked anywhere in the world ….  And this is why we should love one another…  and why we should try to help one another in any way we can. We are one.

 


          LIAM 098 – Core Values: Know Them, Live By Them!        
Do you have a set of core values that guide your thoughts and behaviors? You should! It is better to know who you are than to know where you are going! Your Core Values are the rudder by which you steer your life. They let you know when you are on or off course. Listen as I explain more: Listen on iTunes or Listen to/download this episode here: Show Outline: My oldest son received a very high honor: his school's Core Values award! Jim Collins said "it's better to know who you are than to know where you were going." Athletes know that strengthening core muscles is vital to all athletic performance. These are your abdominal muscles. They control your balance, and posture. In life, it's just as important to strengthen your core values they define who you are and give you balance and posture. More than anything else, as a dad, I want to teach my boys to have Core values . I don't care, ultimately, what their political or religious beliefs are, I don't care what they choose as a career, as long as all of these things are in alignment with their own core values. Honesty. I spent so much of my life living a lie and telling lies took me a long time to get back to the truth. You can feel it in your soul when you are living according to your core values. You vibrate. You're soul sings. You feel light. It gives you energy and happiness that does not come from anything outside of you. You also know when you are living contrary to your values--you lose energy, you feel a heaviness, darkness within you. Maybe not immediately, but soon after, you know what you did was not in alignment with your values. My purpose statement is "to love, serve, and add value to the lives of others" I know when I am living according to my purpose. I know when I am not. I also know that when I am living according to my purpose and values, I can be happy and confident regardless of my circumstances or the people I am around. I have learned to simply leave settings in which people are behaving in a way that is contrary to my values. It is not a negative judgement against them. It is a protective action for me, and ultimately a gift to them and the world. When I am always in sync with my values, I improve and everything around me improves--the same is true for you! When you live according to your core values, you stand out from the crowd. You are different and people notice. That may be uncomfortable, especially for teens. My teen chose to be different, to live by his rules, not his peers. His teachers have noticed that and that is why he won the award. Winning the award was not his intention. Living by his own values was his intention. Let me be candid. I'm not perfect. My friends/family know my moral failures, the times I've fallen. Howie Day: "even the best fall down some times" Vince Lombardy: "Man's greatest glory lies not in never falling, but in rising every time he falls" We are human, none of us are perfect. Strength and evidence of core values is recognizing when you have strayed and taking steps to get back in alignment. Know your core values. Your non-negotiables. Your deal-breakers (especially you single people out there!). Be willing to be alone a while longer, rather than compromise your values. Your values don't need to be the same as mine. In fact they should not be the same as mine simply because mine sound good. Do your own soul searching. Discover your uniqueness. Own it. I want my boys to become men who have discovered and embraced who they are, not who their dad told them they should be. Mentioned in this show: Help me create better content. Please take this short survey! Download: Affirmations for Abundant Living LIAM Team Life Coaching Community Subscription/Social Links: Subscribe on iTunes! Subscribe on Stitcher Radio! Watch on YouTube! LIAM on Twitter: @LifeIs262 LIAM on Facebook / LifeIsAMarathon Subscribe to the LIAM Mailing List www.BruceVanHorn.com
          Website Offers Valuable Tips on Time Management, Eliminating Procrastination, and How to Accomplish More Each Day        

Chicago, IL -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/15/2011 -- Twenty-four hours. That is the amount of time every single person in the world has each day to get all of the things done that must be accomplished. From work to play, sleeping to taking care of the family, working out and cleaning house, everyone has exactly 24 hours a day with which to work.

So why is it that some people seem to be constantly on top of everything they need to do while others are always complaining about needing more hours in the day? This question can be best answered in two words: time management.

Asian Efficiency, a blog that was founded by Thanh Pham and Aaron Lynn, is getting a lot of attention for its well-written articles and practical advice that can turn even the most devoted couch potatoes into more organized people who tackle the daily to do lists with enthusiasm and efficiency.

"We revolutionized the time management industry with concepts and techniques nobody has ever talked about before," Pham said, adding that many people have no idea how to effectively plan and organize their days because no one ever showed them how to do it.

"Time management, efficiency and productivity are some of those things that aren't taught or really even considered in modern-day business and academic education," Lynn agreed. " And so most people end up in a professional setting or as entrepreneurs, struggling to not only keep up with the demands of their work, but also with no idea as to how to efficiently organize their time, their papers, their files and their tasks."

Using the website is extremely easy, and access to the articles, tips, and podcast is all completely free of charge. The main page suggests that new visitors start out by reading five articles in order about the basics of time management, including the intriguingly-titled "Eat That Frog—Do Your Most Important Tasks In The Morning," which teaches the notion of getting the most important task done and out of the way first thing in the morning, causing the person to feel extremely productive for the rest of the day.

"Beyond those are our Intermediate and Advanced Guides, which explore concepts and experiments pulled from different disciplines and areas of life, all with the aim of helping you become the most productive you can be," Pham explained.

Pham and Lynn hope that those who want to "kick their life into high gear" will visit the website, read through the articles on the blog and sign up for the website's free newsletter.

For more information, visit http://www.asianefficiency.com

For more information on this press release visit: http://www.sbwire.com/press-releases/time/management/release-103918.htm

Media Relations Contact

Thanh Pham
Email: Click to Email Thanh Pham
Web: http://www.asianefficiency.com


          I Need to Talk About America for a Minute        
I love this country. 
 
It is an amazing place to live when you think about all of the other countries in our world. 
 
I am humbled and feel incredibly lucky that my boyfriend/partner, my grandfather, my father, and so many many others fought for us to live in this country.
 
I feel incredibly grateful that I was born here by random luck. God could have chosen me to be born into a brothel in Calcutta or into a family in North Korea. I am extremely lucky and I know it.
 
This country has been through so much from fighting against monarchy rule to fighting against enslaving another human being to fighting for women's rights and the rights of black Americans and LGBTQ Americans and beginning the long arduous process of restoring respect to Native Americans. We are a country of people who fight for ourselves. We are an amazing, amazing country. 
 
So it hurts me that I feel people are getting confused about what patriotism means. They get angry when someone says that we could change something and make it better. Wanting America to live up to its name is not about ensuring that only some of the people have these freedoms. And it is not about ensuring that we all go around punching people in the mouth with a bald eagle when they dare to stand up and say we could do better than we are doing because we are perfectly capable of it because this is the United States of America for goodness sake.(Read this: Patriotism v. Nationalism)  
 
And by better I do not mean better for white people only - such as the much-lauded Leave it to Beaver America of the 1950s white middle-class suburban neighborhood that oppressed women and blacks and in which people were having meltdowns about McCarthyism (which has had a resurgence in the last 8 years and we should totally be over by now) and those pesky people trying to redefine gender roles and sexuality and people building bomb shelters in the backyard.  Wasn't America GREAT? 
 
 
Or maybe the America of the 1980s Wall Street segment who got rich off of the backs of the working class and poor, and where Reaganomics tripled our national debt from one to three trillion dollars and widened the gap between the rich and the poor to an extent it has never recovered from.  Neither of these "great" experiences were had by most of America even during those decades. So when was America so great for anyone who wasn't white or male or heterosexual or wealthy or Christian? What exactly are people trying to take us back TO? 

 
America and America's right to freedom are for EVERY single American whether you like them or not. Right now not every single person has an equal amount of rights and freedoms even though they are supposed to. Many people and politicians are pretending this is not true because it makes them uncomfortable or it distorts their worldview or it means they might need to make some changes so every American is treated like a white man is treated (and, yes, white, straight, ci- men you have it the easiest, yes even with affirmative action, so please realize how much worse everyone else must have it if you still have it the best out of us all.)
 
I know, right?
See, just because most people are not racist or sexist or xenophobic in this country does not mean that racism and sexism and xenophobia do not exist in the country. Nor does it mean that these -isms cannot be executed in subtle ways that you might overlook if you are not the target. Nor does it mean that there are not still actual laws on the books both federally and in states that make it legal to oppress certain people because there absolutely are these laws. Not to mention just two months ago Obama signed a bill eliminating racist slang from federal laws. In 2016. 
 
 
 
 
 
Just because you personally don't experience an America that oppresses you in one way, big or small, does not mean it does not occur every single day. I've never experienced what it is like to leave the house without being judged sexually before I'm judged by the content in my brain or without worrying about getting raped just because I had the audacity to go to the gym in a tank top because there are some men who have never been taught that raping someone because you are in lust is immoral and illegal.  But I know that the experience of not worrying about these things exists because most men do not have these concerns. Boys, do you worry about being cornered by a gang of men each twice your strength looking to feel you up because you wore a sleeveless jersey to a basketball game?  No, not really?  So it IS possible to know an experience exists in this country and not have it ourselves. Radical notion, right?  I am sure your mind is blown. Facts can be crazy hard to deal with.
 
America is the best country we could possibly live in hands down, but that does not mean it is without flaws. Patriotism is about recognizing these flaws and loving the country so much that you continually strive to make it better.  Every American deserves to live in the same America and right now that is not the case. We should love our country and our people enough to continually move forward. 
 
 

          ALA 2013        
Got back from Chicago where we had a highly packed 4 days. Took an early flight out of JFK and made it
to the Navy Pier for an early lunch. Donna had always wanted to gt a ride on the four masted schooner, but the timing was never right. This time it was. The good ship Windy was an absolute delight, even though there was precious little wind that day. Eventually the captain found enough wind to give us ten minutes of the full sail experience. On the main deck, Pirate Rick filled the voyage with stories of looting and plundering.

There is one feature of Chicago that is not negotiable - breakfast at Lou Mitchell's, which prides itself on being the very first stop on Route 66. The guidebooks will tell you that the place is hopelessly packed on weekend mornings, but we'd never had any trouble on work days. Unless that happened to be the Friday of a Stanley Cup victory parade. The streets were absolutely swamped with red shirts, and we barely got in to Lou's, but it was worth the trouble. Their spinach and feta omelette is legendary.

Afterwards, the only sensible thing to do was get out of town. Donna suggested taking the green line to Oak
Park and visiting the Frank Lloyd Wright house and studio. Seemed like a good plan. The web page said it was a ten minute walk from the station. That might be ten minutes for an Olympic athlete, but not for two older librarians, one of whom was nursing a sprained ankle. Their actual open time was later than what they put on the web page, but it meant that we were there when they  opened up, and places on the tour were disappearing fast. They noticed Donna's cast, and made arrangements for her to have a chair to sit in the whole tour. Highlights include the giant closet where Wright's wife hid when she heard her mother-in-law arriving, and the giant playroom which doubled as a theater for amateur productions. His library room was turret shaped and surprisingly small. The awesome stained glass was everywhere. Afterwards, I wanted to buy everything in the gift shop, but we settled for refrigerator magnets. The cab out front wouldn't take us to the train station, but fortunately, we ran across Rick and his Rickshaw and got a ride back to the station that included considerable Wright lore.

By lunch time, the parade was over but the celebrants had filled every seat at every restaurant. We finally got lunch at a Mexican place on Ontario street. Then it was on to our first struggle with the shuttle bus to take us out to McCormick. There is no denying that the convention center is in an inconvenient location, but they've come up with a new trick - a private road for buses only running parallel to the railroad tracks, saving considerable travel time. The wait for the exhibits to open took its toll on my back, but eventually we were in the throng that raced in to grab galleys and book bags. The Innovative booth was surprising in that I didn't recognize a single person there. Only thing familiar was the See's candy. (When I got back to work I called the help desk at 11:10 and, for the first time in 23 years, got a recorded message).

Later we headed west of the Loop for a publisher's party at the Carnivale restaurant. The place was wildly popular - walkins were told that they'd have to wait 45 minutes for a table. The party was on two floors, and  each table was loaded with food and galleys. After an hour we checked out the downstairs part which seemed to have a slightly older crowd. It seemed like time to go, but I remarked to Donna that we weren't going until we ran across Loriene. No sooner had I finished the sentence than we saw her standing at the bar.
I told her that I had just added a picture to her Wikipedia page - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loriene_Roy . We refer to Loriene as the 'People's President.' I've been in this line of work for almost 50 years, and it had never occurred to me that I would be on a first name basis with an ex ALA president.

Saturday morning began with an early breakfast listening to a table full of fiction authors. This program was put together by the estimable Becca Worthington. All of the authors were interesting, and they all talked about their books in addition to their undying love for librarians. Later we had a mixup with the location of Gale's space luncheon, but we were still able to hear most of the presentation by Valerie Neal, director of the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum. Apollo 12 astronaut Alan Bean came up afterwards for a quick ad hoc talk to the group.

Back at the exhibit hall, I got a pretty good place in line for Alan Bean by showing up a half hour early. Bean knows how much it means for someone to shake hands with a man who has walked on the moon, so the hand goes out before he chats or signs reproductions of his paintings. He was the fourth man to walk on the moon, and the second most senior surviving moonwalker, after the deaths of Armstrong and Conrad. A nicer man you could never imagine meeting. Afterwards, we caught the shuttle to rest up for the East Meadow Public Library dinner which was a block from our hotel at Lawry's. Lawry's is one of the ultimate meat and potato spots in Chicago. What they mainly serve is prime rib - dished out from a giant cart. Served with Yorkshire pudding, mashed potato and creamed spinach. Wonderful.

On Sunday I mainly did the exhibit hall. I'd just learned that my publisher, Chandos of Oxfordshire, had ended their partnership with ALA Editions and gone to Ingram. I walked over to Ingram and introduced myself. They'd already added Chandos titles to their display, but I didn't see my book. Just from a brief conversation I figured out that they will be less involved in promoting the book than ALA had been. I chatted with my main contact at ALA and said sincerely that I was sorry about how things turned out.

One more bit of business came from Donna, who missed the old days sitting in front of the Sheraton when
she could just watch the river go by. We took the shuttle there and had a nice quiet hour doing exactly that. Then we walked down to the Marketplace restaurant for our final sendoff dinner.

After one last walk through the exhibits I met Donna who asked to go to a program featuring Oliver Stone. I'll throw in a disclaimer here that I have a very bad opinion of Stone. Here's this guy talking to me about historic truth when his movie JFK had a scene of LBJ plotting to assassinate the president in conspiracy with Pentagon officials. There is not a shred of historical evidence outside the Loonisphere to cover that one. Anyway, it was an interesting program, and I learned a thing or two. Somebody pointed out that this could not be "Untold" history when they got every bit of their information from existing books.
Next morning we followed advice from a local who'd talked to us the day before. Go to the Macy's at the WaterTower and check out the combined food court. We lined up to get a ticket that gets punched anywhere you see food that you like. We both had awesome lunches and didn't spend much more than normal for a fine lunch. Then it was off to the airport and home. Great conference.



          Re: New Year, New You: Mind- Embracing Singlehood by Dr. Helen Fisher        

What a bright and happy statement – in so many ways!
The words are a fundamental affirmation of freedom, a freedom that begets dignity, as they simultaneously celebrate the life force, single or otherwise.

Not only do the philosophies stated belong to a self-sufficient, self-confident single person, like Dr. Fisher, but also to a married man like me. My wife and I eat dinner when we wish, separately or together, we work independently of each other at all hours. We live under the same roof, but it is not necessary to sleep in the same room, or the same floor. Though we are each a serial monogamist, it is the freedom to be who we are that connects our dots without guilt, and each of us in turn fosters strong friendships with the other gender. Whether or not we are aberrant remnants from the traditional hunting and gathering societies that Dr. Fisher references, freedom is, in its first blush, an individual experience – indeed a thrilling tune – I suggest giving four minutes to Sting and the Police “If You Love Somebody Set Them Free”, and do a little dance – single or otherwise!

Peter Mc


          Second Thoughts: Doubts before Marriage        
In matrimony, to hesitate is sometimes to be saved.-- Samuel Butler


So if you really love me, Say yes.
But if you don't, dear, confess.

Marriage is an huge step in life. Before my first marriage, I had many doubts, I had a feeling this might not worked. However I have made a promise to my boy friend, so I went along and get married. And guess what? I am divorced now. What is more interesting is, all my friends have divorced or about to getting a divorce, or wants to but afraid of getting a divorce. I have witnessed all these marriages and relationships from start to end. Then I started to wonder, would it make any change to talk about doubts? What is wrong with doubts and worries? Many people have doubts before getting married, there is the wedding anxiety, fear of commitment and so on. Yet, people get married and some of them really be happily ever after. (Few but it happens)

Did these happy couples have doubts before marriage? I guess yes. what about divorced couples. Hell, yes. So what difference does it make? Which feelings are just anxiety, which feelings of doubt can be the sign of a more important thing. That is the question.

Only the people who are getting married can know the difference between the anxiety or the real doubts. There are ways to help them figure it out.

Marriage Pressure

You have to remind your friend, and yourself, you have to take care of the pressure. Maybe every single person around you wants you to get married. Maybe you are getting older and worried about living single. Maybe it is your parents or in-laws or relatives. You feel the pressure. You feel you are giving up. "I will do what ever you tell me please just take away the pressure!!!"

This is dangerous. The best way to help yourself is to remove this pressure from your life and try to understand what you really want. Go for a vacation alone. Mediate. Try yoga. Talk to friend who are not obsessed about marriage, who do not care that much. Go someplace where you can be alone, with yourself. Imagine you are going to die in a year. Would you still wanted to be married to this person? If you are going to die in ten years?

If you have poor stress management techniques, it is possible that you make bad decisions under stress. It is an important decision to be taken seriously. If it is your parents, image you are living alone. Imagine they don't exist. Would you still marry?

If the answer is no, just walk away.

Is is marriage or relationship?

Are you in love? Do you want the person next to you to be with you? Maybe he is a great guy, and he asked the question with a beautiful stone. You said yes. Now you can not stop worrying and love the ring. Well. Maybe you might consider taking things slow. You can plan a long engagement to be sure. Engagement is a stressful event, with lots of quarrels, his family, your family, lots of conflicts, differences. If you do not want to commit yourself, there may be two options. Either you have commitment issues. Or simply, you do not love this guy enough.

If you think you have commitment issues, make some thought experiments. What if he was this person, what if it was your high school sweetheart? What if he was the guy you always adored but did not have courage to ask him out? Would these conditions make any difference? So try to imagine, do you have commitment problems in general? In what conditions you would say, this is it, and I am going to die if I don't marry this person! If you can think about conditions, you can say, it is not about you. It is your feelings towards this person. It is not the marriage. There are deeper implications.


I will continue tomorrow...

(I am getting married very soon. I think at last I know the difference between anxiety of marriage, the wedding and ceremony and not wanting to get married. In this second round, I had though times but whenever I look at my man, I see us growing old with children, and have an amazing life together, to sleep with him every night....)
          What is This Plexus You Speak Of?        
I had just moved to Tennessee. It seemed every single person I made the acquaintance of sold Plexus. Like everyone. So I swore I would never have anything to do with Plexus. Whatever it was. Because that’s how stubborn I am. And honestly, I didn’t have the money. I had set it in my mind that […]
          Missing Before: What Happens When Your Teen Is Suffering from Acute Mental Illness        

I kept thinking that once I knew for sure what was happening, it would be less overwhelming, and then I could say "Hey, here's the story, I've finally unclenched long enough to tell you." I could sit down and figure out what to tell, how to tell it, and then I could assure you that everything was going to be okay and not to worry.

That was a good idea, I guess. I mean, it would've been, if it had worked.

It doesn't work because I don't know if everything is going to be okay. A rather large portion of my brain is convinced that nothing is ever going to be okay ever again, but even if I manage to turn down the volume on my fears, the fact remains that I don't know. We don't know.

Once upon a time I believed that if I loved the stuffing out of my kids and worked only part time... or stopped working entirely... or worked from home... to better afford me the time and space to pack their lunches and do their laundry and tell them to put their stuff away and remind them that I love them beyond measure, the road might be a little bumpy, but it would be okay. I would be a good mother and they would be happy and healthy.

That was a good idea.

What we knew, the first time Chickadee got sick, was that she seemed unable to shake off a recent strep infection. The first round of antibiotics did nothing at all; the second took care of the sore throat, but she never really got better. Her rash -- lately solved with the Magic Medicine -- busted out again, even though it was winter and winter is usually rash-free. She was tired. Irritable. Dizzy. Feverish on and off. And... weird. There should be a medical word for that (maybe there is?), but all I can tell you is that she was decidedly unwell, but she was also... not quite herself, otherwise. She had trouble sleeping. She was picky about food in ways she hadn't been before, then refused to eat certain things, then refused to eat at all... because she thought the food was making her sick.

Black-capped Chickadee

Her behavior was erratic, and so was her health, and things went from weird to worse and that's how she ended up in the hospital, the first time. No one knew quite what to make of what was happening, but the doctor thought she might have PANDAS. As there's no standard for diagnosis, really, and no universally agreed-upon standard of treatment, anyway, we were treated to the joy of being bounced from doctor to doctor while they poked and prodded and reached no conclusions. But another antibiotic seemed to resolve the purely-medical stuff, finally, and we were sent home to deal with everything else on an outpatient basis.

By the time they sent her home, Chickadee was convinced the doctors were useless, nothing was fixable, she would always feel awful and always be sick. The doctors assured us she was fine and it would just take some time.

We focused on getting her to eat. It was pretty much a full time job; once you've gotten out of the habit of eating regularly it's hard to find your way back, particularly if you still think food is the thing making you sick.

Things got a little better. She went back to school. We continued to see the cadre of doctors weekly, and they poked and prodded and weighed her and told her to keep up the good work. She put on some weight. She smiled again. She stopped having panic attacks every time she had to eat. I started to unclench.

And then she got sick again. Again, we got the autoimmune-blah-blah-blah speech about how she clearly has some sort of autoimmune dysfunction, they're not sure what it is, as long as these catastrophic things don't happen, probably it will resolve on its own, we can run some more tests, this may just be how she is. Probably it's just a virus and nothing to worry about.

Except that while I was trying to convince myself I was overreacting, she started cutting herself. So we hid all the sharp things and consulted her team and they suggested a different hospital, skilled in dealing with "these sorts of things," and we brought her there for her second hospitalization. We brought all her medical records, all of the tests and transcripts and information about PANDAS and asked them to please do a comprehensive review of EVERYTHING, because no one had ever really decided if it was PANDAS, and clearly something more was going on than garden-variety adolescent angst. I mean, come on, a couple of months ago she'd been fine. Then she got sick. Then she got sicker.

During the second hospitalization, she started telling us she was hearing things. Also she gave up the shy, scared, "I don't belong here" routine in favor of befriending the kids who were repeaters -- they taught her how to get around rules, how to find things to hurt yourself with, and what to say to get them to let you out. "All I had to do was tell them that I realized hurting myself was really wrong, and I now have the coping skills to avoid those sorts of negative thoughts," she told me, making air quotes around "negative thoughts" and rolling her eyes.

She went back to school. We went to family therapy and discussed the unbreakable house rules and why they're important. On a good day, she'd appear to be getting it. On a bad day... she would shriek at us. Stomp around. Throw things. "Accidentally" trip her brother on the stairs. "Borrow" things that weren't hers. "Forget" she wasn't supposed to do this or that, or that she was grounded. One minute she would cling to me, and the next she would tell me to leave her alone and flatly state that "people make up love to make themselves feel better about things."

Her friends had been so worried when she was gone, and displayed, I thought, a tremendous amount of compassion and acceptance for young teenagers. They welcomed her back with open arms, but after the second hospitalization she withdrew from them, telling me they didn't really care about her, and kids were whispering about her at school. She turned down invitations to hang out. She told me they just felt sorry for her.

We had a complete neuropsych evaluation, and it concluded she was depressed, obviously, and also that she had Asperger's. Huh.

Getting her through to the end of the school year felt like an endless slog through shark-infested waters. We tiptoed through everything, never knowing what might set her off. We also discovered that she was reporting rather interesting versions of events to her friends---including following a violent meltdown she had here with rushing to tell everyone that I'd attacked her for no reason and she was scared. Have you ever found yourself wondering if DFCS is going to show up on your door and take you away? That was a super few days.

We spent a lot of time with her psychiatrist and therapist. She got strep again; got worse; did antibiotics and got better; got worse again, even with the strep gone. I asked her psychiatrist about PANDAS again. "I don't think we can conclude a connection at this point."

With the pressure of school off, she could rest and relax and recoup and next fall would be a fresh start.

But she got sick again (headaches, dizziness, other amorphous physical symptoms) and then started having trouble sleeping again and then the "I can't eat that"s were back. We discovered she had been playing rather fast and loose with actually taking her meds, which might explain some of her symptoms.

We were already researching residential facilities the morning she walked into my office, helped herself to a pair of scissors while I was in the shower, and sliced up her leg from knee to ankle. I was rinsing the shampoo out of my hair when she ran screaming into the bathroom, bleeding all over the place, begging me not to send her away, fix it, stop it, make the voices stop, I love you Mommy don't send me away, I hate you, you never loved me, I don't care what you do, I hate you.

I'd love to tell you I'm awesome in a crisis because I'm cool-headed like that, but the truth is that I was awesome in this particular crisis because I think I'd known it was coming. We hadn't moved quickly enough, maybe because I'd still hoped things would get better somehow. And by this time I've bandaged her up quite a few times.

I got her cleaned up, I finished my shower, we called her psychiatrist, we took her back to the acute care hospital. We spent the next few days on the phone with the insurance company and the residential center. Finally, there was good news and bad news: The good news was that the center finally had a bed; the bad news was that our insurance would not pay for it.

We transferred her, anyway. On her first day there, she wrote me an eloquent letter about how much she loves me, how she realizes that I am only doing my best to take care of her, but she has realized the error of her ways and is ready to come home and live by the house rules. She will behave and not harm herself and she will eat balanced meals and be kind to her brother and respectful to Otto. Leaving her there in the hospital would be a grievous error and only prove to her her very worst fear, that I don't love her at all and do not care about her happiness.

She read me this letter over the phone. The silence hung between us when she finished.

"Well, Mommy, say something!" she finally said, still in that fake-bright voice she'd used to read it aloud, the same tone of voice that had me gripping the phone so hard it was digging into my palm.

"Baby," I said to her, tears rolling down my cheeks, but trying to keep my voice steady. "You know you can't come home yet."

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!" she wailed, pure anguish. "NO NO NO NO YOU DON'T SAY NO. SAY YES."

"I love you, sweetheart," I said. "I love you so much. I love you too much to let you keep hurting yourself. I'm sorry. You have to stay."

"Fine. I hate you. Don't bother calling." She'd been wailing, but it snapped off like a switch, for this. I wasn't surprised by that, either.

"I love you enough to let you hate me," I said.

She hung up.

The first week was a lot of assessment and getting settled and meeting doctors and being observed by practitioners who you just have to hope have seen it all before. Chickadee has run hot and cold with us, all the way from shrieking, "YOU DON'T TALK! YOU! SHUT! UP!!" at Otto during family therapy to days on end of venom suddenly interrupted by a tackle of a hug and a whispered "Love you, Mama." In-between, we've had periods of apparent normalcy and a day spent convinced that a dying boy was trapped on her unit and she had to find him. One nurse told me she'd had some "positive peer interaction" helping another girl settle down on the day after she'd melted down shrieking about how the nutritionist was trying to poison her by sneaking meat into the vegetarian food.

We don't know how long she'll be hospitalized. This kind of illness doesn't lend itself well to the modern American HMO treat-n-turf model, unfortunately. We had a treatment meeting today in which it was concluded we'd meet again in 30 days. Before we left, I turned to the medical director and said, "There isn't a single person at this table who thinks she's going to be stable enough for release in a month, is there? This is just the protocol, to meet each month?" He hemmed and hawed a little. "There is much work to be done," he conceded.

I seriously considered how to talk about this without talking about it. How could I gloss over the times I look in her eyes and don't see anyone in there looking back at me? How could I accept and acknowledge that despite my best efforts, despite three parents who love her more than just about anything, despite being brilliant and accomplished and beautiful and funny and sweet, it appears my oldest child is suffering from acute mental illness? Maybe I could just say that -- Chickadee is suffering from acute mental illness -- and not share the details. Maybe that would be kinder, all around.

In the end, I realized I don't know how to do that. I have never been more terrified in my life than I've been this past week. Along with a diagnosis (oh, yeah, not Asperger's, though she did a nice job of snowing the first doctor) and continued hospitalization, my child has just won some lovely bonus prizes, like that she is now 400 times more likely to kill herself than someone without her diagnosis. Should I not say that? Should I pretend she's having "a few problems" and that I don't wake up in the middle of the night to cry for everything she's lost, we've lost, we stand to lose still?

I have hung on the kindness of both strangers and friends who've survived this or a similar path. If someone else needs me to be the one who says, "Us, too," then I want to be able to do that. And yeah, it's a little selfish. I'm afraid if I don't, I might stop believing this isn't the end of this story. Hope is a precious commodity right now.

To add another layer of fun and games, it appears that my ex's health insurance may provide some coverage which our policy does not. But the only way to switch insurance is to enact a custody change. What this means, moving forward, is still unclear. We have never worked better as a cohesive parenting team than we're doing right now, all of us -- unimaginable crisis for the win! -- so it's not as though giving up custody means something final and awful. But. Giving up custody. For now. For her. It makes sense. It is also traumatic, and leaves a lot of things up in the air for later. Assuming we get to later.

Logically, I know we are doing everything we can. I know this is not anyone's fault. Emotionally, lord, I am inside-out and upside-down. I should've prevented this. Or fixed it once it happened. I am so angry, all the time, about EVERYTHING. I miss my girl. I miss her so, so much. I miss believing that this stuff happened only to other families or abused children. I miss before.

This is probably the longest entry I've ever written here, and really maybe I should've led with that, or said only that: I miss before.

 

BlogHer contributing editor Mir Kamin can also be found at Woulda Coulda Shoulda and Want Not.

Photo Credit: 1967chevrolet.


          A Careful Analysis on the Advantages and Disadvantages of a Web Hosting Service Provider Will Enable One to Make a Informed Decision        

A good web hosting provider will give at least offers 10GB of disk space as part of its services and this is a mark of reliability.

Nashville, TN -- (SBWIRE) -- 01/28/2014 -- A lot of companies have come up with web hosting plans and add-ons to attract customers. So, the selection of a hosting plan has become a bit complicated. Here are a few tips to choose the perfect plan.

As mentioned before, there are numerous hosting packages available in the market, each suiting different types of businesses. To name a few, one may have got free plans, shared hosting plans, dedicated hosting plans, VPS plans and so on. As the name suggests, one does not have to pay a single penny for a free plan. However, there are a lot of limitations when it comes to these plans and that is why they are not suitable for a professional use. For instance, they come with limited storage space and bandwidth. Moreover, the providers use their WebPages to advertise third party products, services or websites. Some of the plans and their reviews are mentioned below:-

ipage review- Started in 1998; iPage is a US-based web hosting service professional. The company has been providing hosting services for establishing personal and e-commerce sites. IPage reviews site that its proficiency is in providing designing, support systems, advertising and providing security services necessary for web sites.

Blue Host review- When checking on Bluehost reviews it is a single best web hosting service provider by which one can make online money. For those who have their own business and trades, especially for the small scale industry it is a mixture. It gives infinite drag and drop website building tools, disk storage, international area names assist, FTP, cpanel management and a great deal far more.

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Bestwebhostingraters.com provides latest and considerable report on servers in order to assist one to start a reliable web support. This site collects first hand info from actual customers and works a relative research of upgrades, capacities and operations from numerous servers accessible online.

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          Status of women in islam        
For women, Islam is a special blessing; and the Prophet (pbuh) of Islam is indeed the greatest single benefactor of womenfolk. In Arabia, before the advent of Islam, the birth of a female child was regarded as a great misfortune and a shame, and cruel fathers buried them alive :

When news is brought to one of them, of (the birth) of a female (child), his face darkens, and he is filled with inward grief! With shame does he hide himself from his people, because of the bad news he has had! Shall he retain it on (sufferance and) contempt, or bury it in the dust? Ah! What an evil choice they decide on.
(Qur'an 16 : 58-59)

Islam made this primal injustice a case for the highest court when on the Day of Judgment,

The female (infant), buried alive, is questioned - for what crime she was killed
(Qur'an 81 : 8-9)

“Prior to Islam,” write the authors of Cultural Atlas of Islam, “a woman was regarded by her parents as a threat to family honor and hence worthy of burial alive at infancy. As an adult, she was a sex object that could be bought, sold and inherited. From this position of inferiority and legal incapacity, Islam raised women to a position of influence and prestige in family and society.” Islam gave this oppressed section of humanity, as it did to all other classes and groups, her legitimate place in life. In a world where women were no more than objects of sexual gratification for men, and at a time when the religious circles argued over whether or not women were human, with a soul of her own, Islam proclaimed,

“O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and female.
(Qur'an 49 : 13)

O mankind! Reverence your Guardian-Lord, Who created you from a single person, created of like nature his mate, and from them twain scattered (like seeds) countless men and women - Fear Allah, through Whom ye demand your mutual (rights), and (reverence) the wombs (that bore you), for God (Allah) ever watches over you.
(Qur'an 4 : 1)

Men and women are of the same family, and as such have similar rights and duties, and their Lord promises them:

Never will I suffer to be lost the work of any of you, be he male or female: ye are members of one another.
(Qur'an 3 : 195)

Islam removed some of the false notions about women. It for instance refuted the idea that Eve tempted Adam to disobey God (Allah), and thus caused his downfall. God (Allah) tells us explicitly in the Qur'an that they both disobeyed. He negates the idea that the woman is a source of evil. God (Allah) in the Qur'an mentions some of the women with great respect, e.g., the wives of Adam, Abraham, the mothers of Moses and Jesus (pbut). Some of them (Mary and Sarah, for instance) were visited by angels who talked to them. This clearly puts women on a pedestal of personal and social respectability they never enjoyed before.

Islamic civilization rests on two cardinal principles. One, belief in God (Allah), and the knowledge that He is the Lord and Creator of all humans. All humans are equal and have similar rights and obligations as servants of God (Allah). Second, all humans, men and women, are created “from a single person,” or (“from a single pair of a male and a female”). In other words they are children of the same parents, members of one family, and have similar rights and duties. If the first principle represents God (Allah)-man bond, the second stands for blood ties or man's relationship with his fellow men and women. Emphasizing its importance the Prophet (pbuh) said : “The word Ar-rahm (womb) derives its name from Ar-Rahman (i.e., The Gracious One, one of the names of God [Allah]) and God (Allah) said: I will keep good relations with the one who keeps good relations with you, (womb, i.e., kith and kin) and sever relations with him who will severs relations with you” (Bukhari). The woman (or ar-Rahm - womb) thus occupies a pivotal position in human society.

Islam elevated the position of women in society and treated them on equal footing with men, and in some cases, especially mothers were given an even higher status. Thus, when a man asked the Prophet (pbuh) “Who is most entitled to be treated with the best companionship by me?” The Prophet (pbuh) told him “Your mother.” The man asked, “Who is next?” The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Your mother.” Again the man asked, “Who is next?” The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Your mother.” The man asked for a fourth time, “Who is next?” The Prophet (pbuh) said “Your father.” (Bukhari). On another occasion when a man came to the Prophet (pbuh) and expressed the desire to join a military expedition, the Prophet (pbuh) asked him if he had a mother. When he replied that he had, the Prophet (pbuh) told him, “Stay with her, for Paradise is at her feet.” (Ahmad, Nasa'i, and al-Baihaqi).

In the transformed society, to have a daughter was no longer a stigma or a matter of shame but a source of perpetual blessing and a means of winning God's (Allah's) pleasure. The Prophet (pbuh) said : “If anyone cares for three daughters, disciplines them, marries them and is kind to them, he will go to Paradise.” (Abu Dawud).

Islam gave women an independent identity and declared that their moral and spiritual gains depended solely on their own performance. Like man, a woman's failure or success rests on her own beliefs, attitude, behavior and conduct. She is a responsible being in her own right and carries the burden of her moral and spiritual obligations. The Prophet (pbuh) said : “Everyone of you is a guardian and responsible for what is in his or her custody. The ruler is a guardian of his subjects and responsible for them; a husband is a guardian of his family and is responsible for it; a wife is a guardian of her husband's household and is responsible for it.” (Bukhari).

In the Qur'an, women are presented as the role model for believers as well as non-believers. In Sura Al-Tahrim we read :

God (Allah) sets forth, for an example to the unbelievers, the wife of Noah and the wife of Lut : They were both (respectively) under two of our righteous servants, but they were false to their (husbands) and they profited nothing before God (Allah) on their account, but were told : “Enter ye the Fire along with (others) that enter.” And God (Allah) sets forth, as an example to those who believe, the wife of Pharaoh. Behold she said : “O my Lord! Build for me, in nearness to You, a mansion in Paradise, and save me from Pharaoh and his doings, and save me from those who do wrong.” And Mary, the daughter of Imran, who guarded her chastity. We breathed into her body of Our Spirit and she testified to the truth of the words of her Lord and of His revelations and was one of the devout.
(66 : 10-12)

To enable both men and women to achieve their full potential Islam provides a social framework and seeks to establish a healthy moral atmosphere. In Islam, a woman regardless of her marital status is fully capable of owning, buying, selling and inheritance.

From what is left by parents and those nearest related there is a share for men and a share for women, whether the property be small or large - a determinate share.
(Qur'an 4 : 7)

As a legal entity, her marriage is not possible without her consent, and where a genuine case is present she can even divorce her husband. Imam Malik has recorded in his book “Al-Muwatta” that a certain widow named Khansa was given by her father in marriage. She disapproved of that and went to the Messenger of God (Allah) (pbuh) and he revoked the marriage. On another occasion a virgin came to the Prophet (pbuh) and mentioned that her father had married her against her will, so the Prophet (pbuh) allowed her to exercise her choice, (Abu Dawud). The wife of Thabit bin Qais came to God's (Allah's) Messenger (pbuh) and said, “O God's (Allah's) Messenger (pbuh)! I do not blame Thabit for any defects in his character or his religion, but I cannot endure to live with him.” On that God's (Allah's) Messenger (pbuh) asked her, “Will you return his garden (he had given to her as a marriage gift) to him?” She said, “Yes.” And he separated them. (Bukhari).

The Muslim women were equal partners with men in all spheres of life. The most important function of the Muslim community as described in the Qur'an is “enjoining good and prohibiting evil” in which women stand side by side with men :

The believers, men and women, are protectors, one of another: they enjoin what is just, and forbid what is evil: they observe regular prayers, practice regular charity, and obey God (Allah) and His Messenger (pbuh). On them will God (Allah) pour His mercy: for God (Allah) is exalted in power, wise. God (Allah) hath promised to believers - men and women - Gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein, and beautiful mansions in Gardens of everlasting bliss.
(Qur'an 9 : 71-72)

At the conclusion of the treaty of Hudaibiyah the Prophet (pbuh) asked his companions to abandon their state of ihram, shave their heads and sacrifice their animals. They were so distraught by the seemingly humiliating terms of the treaty that none of them moved. In anger the Prophet (pbuh) went to his tent and told his wife Umm Salamah of what happened. She advised him to go out and shave his head and sacrifice his animal, for if he did so, his companions will surely follow him. And this is what happened.

A Muslim woman, Umm Hani, gave protection to one of the idolaters. The Prophet (pbuh) approved of it and said, “We give protection to whom you (Umm Hani) have given protection.”

Knowledge, which is the basis of all progress and advancement, is compulsory on all Muslim men and women. So when a lady asked the Prophet (pbuh), “Messenger of God (Allah) (pbuh), men have monopoly of all of what you say. Appoint for us a day on which you may teach us of what God (Allah) has taught you,” he appointed a time and place for them separately and he would go and teach them.

Aishah occupies a unique position in the history of Islam not because she was a wife of the Prophet (pbuh), but because she is one of the greatest teachers that Islam ever produced. In the new Islamic community women were so active and well informed that an old woman corrected Caliph Omar when he wanted to limit the amount of dowry. Omar was pleased and said, “The lady is right and Omar is wrong.
          Michael W. Moses, Beauvoir, the Home of Jefferson Davis and the Fall Muster        
Click here to view all my images of the 2013 Fall Muster at Photobucket

 

 

To begin with, reenacting is not about politics.  It is about American history and portraying the average person from that period.

Two weekends back, on the 19th and 20th of October, the 27th annual Fall Muster was held over in near by Biloxi, Mississippi.  The Fall Muster was as usual at "Beauvoir" The last home of Jefferson Davis, located at 2244 Beach Blvd (highway 90).

 The Fall Muster is a historical reenactment that allows the people of today a chance to see and experience a bit of what it was like in the mid Victorian period.  Specifically the period 1861-1865 during the great War Between the States or the Civil War as it is mostly commonly referred to now.  One may look at the Fall Muster (or any other reenactment) as an educational opportunity to surround one's self with a lavishly rich cavalcade of living history.



People come from all over the United States to participate in these events.  Contrary to what I think is a popular belief, These reenactments are not an affectation of the "Deep South", but were originally conceived and produced in the more northern states.  Specifically in the New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia areas.  The earliest of these groups that I know of was the North. South Skirmish Association. This group was founded around 1950.


The people involved in doing these events today are from every walk of life imaginable. They are doctors, lawyers, educators, construction workers, store clerks, students, and even greeters at your local Wally World.  They are men,women,youths,and children of all ages.  It does not matter who you are or where one is from, everyone can play an historical part in the fall muster if they have a desire.

Most of the participants come to these reenactments as well trained and researched historical actors.  There are of course the newbies that are unseasoned and still a bit stage shy about what to do, of course, but this is a learn as one goes type of thing.  These people have spent many years working and studying the history of this time period as well as learning the now archaic military standards of dress, order and movement as practiced during this era.



Besides the massive amount of time learning and studying every aspect of life during these turbulent years of American history, these people spend considerable amounts of cold hard cash.  It is not an inexpensive affair assembling a circa 1860's impression for either a correctly dressed man or woman.  Almost all clothing has to be custom created. Some items may be bought off the rack either at an event, as sold by sutlers or ordered offline, take a look at some of the prices at online historical reenactors sites, for the most part they can tend to be a bit pricey in my opinion.  If one is lucky they can find items that are being sold by other reenactors that are pre owned.  However you goes about it, once one starts to buy the basic clothing necessary for ones impression, it starts getting expensive very rapidly.  Also many reenactors have  two full outfits ready to do an impression of either a Northern soldier or a Southern soldier.  Yes, that is correct two full sets of clothing one for the Union soldier and one for the Confederate!  Because they may end up at an event where there are to many of one side and they will be needed to do an impression on the other side to keep things balance out so to speak.  The average person ends up spending a fairly considerable sum of money in the end, so this activity is really not for those that are faint of spending the moola




I myself have always had a love of costuming or as many to day refer to it as Cosplay.  Some younger people may think that cosplay is only dressing up as your current favorite anime character, but in fact historical reenacting is truly cosplay also, just think about it. It is all the same thing, dressing up in a costume and giving an impression of a character from a different world than the one that you are currently dwelling.




Many of the people that one sees that are participating in these events are with their families and spend the weekend dressing and living as many did with their families back during the Civil War era.  For many of these people there is just nothing to match the fun and just flat out camaraderie that can be encountered during these encampments.  This is such a wonderful, wholesome, truly American family activity.

Well, on with the story.

Due to one thing and another, I have not been able to attend the Fall Muster for the last couple of years.  This year I was able to have a free day and go on Sunday.  It had rained on Saturday so a number of the reenactors had left.  So, on Sunday when I went there were fewer people involved than during the previous times I attended.



 After the wet Saturday the reenactors that remained were in very good form and were ready for getting on with the show!

All I can say is that Sunday the 20th was a beautiful day. Warm with a light cool breeze and oh, so, very sunny.  This all added together to create one of the most perfect of Gulf Coast days!

Upon arrival at Beauvoir,  I went all around the camp doing some basic photography. I was looking for those perfect little vignettes that can so easily appear to be moments stolen from time.  I was lucky and was able to capture a few images that I thought were especially worthwhile.  I took a few of the more compelling images and did digital photo manipulation on them until I was able to artistically render to them into what I saw in my mind.

 I love doing my ceramic art pottery, but I also love doing digital art!


I then took a break for a quick and yummy Beauvoir burger and some chips.

Then I went on to capture some pre skirmish moments and then the actual battle reenactment.  The over all conflict was very well staged, especially considering that there were not a great number of soldiers on the field, due to the ones that had been forced to leave because of the poor weather.  They created a fairly realistic impression of what it would have been like during such a  military encounter.

I have to say that at the end of the military engagement there is one thing that happens that effects me so very much.  A specified person comes out and yells loudly, "resurrect"!  After which all the fallen soldier arise from the field and join there fellow soldiers!  If only this could happen after the real wars were fought!




I would like to thank all the people that helped make the 27th Fall Muster at Beauvoir come together.

The people of Beauvoir

The Chairman

Richard V. Forte, Sr.

The good people on the Board of Directors and Board of Trustees.

All the vendors and assorted sutlers.

And most of all.  Every single person that came and did their Civil War impressions!

You all did a wonderful job and I hope to see you next time!

Plus a special thanks and a tip of the hat to the people that ended up in my photographs.

If you see an image of yourself or your unit and you would like to be identified please let me know and I will gladly add name, unit, or web info to the images!  One may also leave the information in the comments section and I will add it upon seeing it there.

Also, if for any reason you do not want an image that I have taken of you displayed on the internet,  please feel free to contact me and I will have it removed post haste!

Please contact me if you have any further questions.

          Talent Feature – “What Did You Do in This Life”? Ask Amrit Vatsa        

As part of our aim to strengthen the connection between us and our readers, we decided to give our talented audience out there a stage to express themselves and share their success stories in our new weekly TALENT FEATURE. We hope that with time, these guest posts will become a source of inspiration to our colleagues wherever they are. If you are interested in participating, please upload your video to our VIDEOLOG and follow the rest of the submission process by reading the information here. (Intro by Johnnie Behiri)

Amrit Vatsa is an independent documentary film-maker based in Goa, India. Over the last two years, he has created over twenty short documentary films under the banner of 3MinuteStories.com, a website that he started in 2014. “Because rape is not always about sex” is his most viewed short-documentary, with just short of 1 million views on Vimeo.
His story subjects are typically individuals, institutions or initiatives – but there is no one particular theme as such. Amrit is still waiting for that first story that motivates him enough to try making a feature length documentary film about it.

Name: Amrit Vatsa
Age: 32
Currently based in: Goa, India.
Language(s) spoken: English, Hindi
Occupation: Documentary Filmmaker, Wedding Photographer & Cinematographer
How did you get started in our industry: In 2008, after my post graduation in engineering, I joined a business consulting firm in India and worked for four years. I loved my job, but it was also like playing a video-game and getting paid for doing so. A video-game might keep you entertained on a daily basis, and if you are paid, you can keep playing it for years. But one day you will get old. And then, someone might ask you, ‘so what did you do in this life that you had?’ and you will be like, “Shit, I just played games”.
So even when my job was interesting and all that, and kept me happily busy and paid me well, it was still like playing a video-game. I did not want to spend all my life doing that. Realizing what I did not want to do was easy, though. The difficult part was to figure out what I wanted to.
It occurred to me that to get even remotely close to finding an answer to a question this big, I needed a lot more free time with myself than I had as a corporate employee, something like 15-20 days a month level of free time. It took me a while, but finally I made it happen without losing out on my financial independence. I was lucky, as I had a skill that I could exploit. I was technically good at photography, so I experimented with professional wedding photography and launched ShaadiGraPher.com (‘shaadi’ means “wedding” in Hindi).
Working as a freelance wedding photographer helped me start making enough money so that I could soon leave my job (after four years of doing some pretty interesting stuff as a business consultant, I must admit). It was a leap of faith of sorts, but thankfully, since mid-2012, I have never needed to work 5 days a week.
It took me almost two more years after that to find that one more thing to try other than photography. And that happened to be making video documentaries. A friend casually suggested one day to give it a shot, and I did, and have loved the process ever since. I started my website called 3minuteStories.com and to this date have already created over 20 short documentaries. Around 70% of them are personal, self-financed projects. The rest are commissioned assignments from Non-profits, startups, NGOs, schools, universities, etc. One commissioned assignment even made me travel to Africa last year.

Current assignments: My next 3 minute story is a personal project about a stand-up comedian in India and his somewhat inspiring journey in life. I have already shot about six commissioned short documentary projects this year, and want to spend most of the remaining year in picking up personal assignments where I have utmost freedom to tell stories the way I want to. I am not saying paid assignments are bad or anything :) It’s just that, at the end of the day, the “objective” of a commissioned assignment is usually pre-defined, and in my opinion, that does limit one’s artistic expression in a way.
What types of productions do you mostly shoot? I am a single person shooter who shoots only in real life locations – so not much of a production setup to talk about, really. And then there are wedding locations of course, which in India vary from palaces to churches to temples to beaches.
What is your dream assignment / job in our industry, and what are you really passionate about? I want to make a feature length documentary movie that everyone wants to watch, and probably win a couple of awards with it. I am waiting to run into a story that I feel really passionate about, before I invest time and money into a big project.
In the work that you are presenting us, now that it is done, what would you have done differently throughout the production? If I had the budget, I would have gone for a real musician to do the score. I am not happy with the kind of music I had to settle with after searching for so many music tracks online.
I also wish the opening shots were more stable :( The setup that I had, with no external monitor attached to my DSLR, made it difficult for me to interact with my subjects and shoot at the same time, and that’s why the shots got a bit shaky.
The reason I was not using an external monitor was because a) I am yet to get a good HDMI cable lock for my camera, so the connection is not very reliable and it is easy to lose signal; and b) it takes more time for the external monitor to load compared to my 5D mark III’s default display. In my style of shooting, that’s very undesirable, as I want to be able to start shooting as quickly as possible. Waiting for those few extra seconds for the external monitor to show an image is extremely frustrating.
Anyway, as of now, I am playing around with a nice HDMI mirroring setting in the 5D Mark III that helps you have the display running both on the camera and the external monitor at the same time. That and my new HDMI lock recently ordered from Amazon should hopefully help me have a better setup for my kind of work. Creating the “perfect” rig to shoot is an ongoing process that never ends.

What current camera, lenses and sound equipment do you use?

Body: Canon 5D Mark III and Panasonic GH4, as well as a backup 5D Mark II.
Lenses: I have plenty of them. Canon 16-35 f2.8, 85mm f1.2, 135mm f2, Sigma Art 35mm f1.4, Tamron 24-70 F2.8 VC (the default lens for video on 5D); for GH4, I only have primes – Rokinon 7.5mm f4 (for outdoor gimbal shots in good daylight), Olympus 12mm f2 (most commonly used), 17mm f2 and a 45mm f1.8 (rarely used)
Sound: Since a month or two, my on-camera microphone setup is a Rode NTG2 powered by a Fostex AR501 pre-amplifier, feeding directly to the 5D Mark III. I do have several other microphones and recorders which I don’t find much use for most of the time, such as a Sennheiser wireless lav set, a Tascam DR-70D, or the Rode Video Mic Pro.

What’s is your favorite lighting equipment, and why did you choose that kit over other solutions? In the kind of shooting that I do, there is not much time or scope to set up lights. A few months ago, I got my first LED from CAME-TV. Have carried it for a few shoots and used it occasionally. But most of the time, I just work with ambient light. Being a one person crew, there is already enough to think about, other than to focus on lighting.
Do you use drones/gimbals in your productions? If so, what is the most effective way you’ve found in deploying then? I have bought three DJI drones so far and lost or broken all of them, the last of which crashed while shooting a short documentary in Uganda, Africa. I didn’t bother to buy another drone after that. Two years ago, getting drone shots was just for that “cool” factor. I used a few aerial shots here and there in some of my short documentaries, but never felt that if those shots were taken out from the edit, the story would have gotten any worse. I can’t say the same for purely cinematic videos though, like the one that I shot in Italy while on a vacation with my wife. That video will not be what it is without the drone shots. For most of my professional work though, I can live without a drone. And when I know that I will need one, then I will get one.
As far as gimbals go, I have two at present, both from Came-TV: a three axis mini one and a single axis one, which stopped functioning last month when I was staying in a village for one month. I do have two mechanical gimbals: a Glidecam HD 4000 and a much smaller Came-TV mini gimbal which I haven’t used for quite some time. But I’m thinking of carrying one just in case the electronic one fails on me the next time.
What editing systems do you use? FCPX.
How much of your work do you shoot in Log and what is your preferred way of colour correcting? Neither of my camera’s support log, and I never rented any camera that did. I shoot in flat profiles, though, and just use FCPX’s grading feature.

How frequently do you travel, and do you have any tips when it comes to packing your gear? On average, I am generally traveling for around ten days every month, which obviously limits the gear that I can carry without paying for extra luggage. I still manage to carry around over 15kg of camera gear and accessories including a MacBook in cabin-baggage, even when the technical limit is 7kg. There is of course the extra 10-15kgs of tripods and all those things for check-in.
This is how I work my way through the airlines in India when it comes to cabin baggage: I use one light-weight trolley bag (weighs less than 2kg when empty) and one ThinkTank messenger bag. My messenger bag usually weighs around 10-12kgs when loaded with gear, but because it’s just a “camera-bag” hung on the shoulder, no one bothers to weigh it! The trolley bag is bigger in volume, but has very few items. Every once in a while, the airlines will ask me to let them weigh the trolley bag, so I make sure it doesn’t go over the 7kg limit that applies in India. The messenger bag is obviously very heavy to carry on my shoulder, so once I have my boarding pass with me and I am away from the airline staff, I just place it over the trolley bag, which makes walking around pretty easy.
Following is what my messenger bag typically has:

A Canon 5D mark III body with a Tamron 24-70 f2.8 VC lens attached to it; encased in a SmallRig cage
Two more lenses for the 5D (generally a Canon 135mm f2 and Sigma 35mm f1.4)
Panasonic GH4 with three small lenses
Rode NTG2 with deadcat and XLR cable
Zoom H4N and/or Sennheiser wireless lav set
CAME-TV LED
15 inch Macbook Pro
2 to 3 Hard-disks
Smaller items like AA batteries, memory cards

This is what I usually carry in the bigger trolley bag. It’s mostly empty, but I still need it to lug around my super heavy messenger bag:

CAME-TV Single Axis gimbal
Chargers, adapters, wires, camera batteries
A 7″ monitor

My check-in bag is basically a big Manfrotto tripod bag that typically has, other than my clothes and shoes:

Medium duty tripod + a fluid head
A light-duty light stand
A heavy duty mini-tripod
Mini slider
Video monopod
Tools (allen keys, pliers, screws etc.)
Few additional heads / base plates
A selfie stick that I use for a boom sometimes to shoot interviews with Rode NTG2

Stuffing in clothes in the tripod bag also ensures nice cushioning for all the equipment.

If you want to learn more about Amrit creative’s work, head over to his homepage.
Participate in our initiative: share your talent and creative work by following these steps.

The post Talent Feature – “What Did You Do in This Life”? Ask Amrit Vatsa appeared first on cinema5D.


          Lining Up Varigated Yarn Colors in a Warp        
I spend entirely too much time on pointless things just to answer a question I have had in my mind.

I little while ago, I was given an ugly cone of varigated yarn. Agree?

My question I wanted to figure out was how to wind a warp a specific length and get the colors to line up.

The varigation is short, with each color only about 6" long, so the colors would look muddy if I wound the warp straight off the cone.
I determined the length I wanted for a scarf and after winding to the bottom and reversing, realized that wouldn't work because the colors were in the reverse order with the second pass back to the starting peg.

To get them in order, I needed to make a continuous warp around the board. My start is at the top right peg.
When I got back to the start peg, I determined how much excess yarn I had before the colors lined up again.

I added two pegs on the right side to wrap the excess around until the colors lined up.
I made two wraps around both pegs and one or two wraps around a single peg for each pass around the warping board.
As I made each pass, I made my cross.  After deciding how many warp ends I wanted in each inch, I used a counting cross for each half inch, just to keep track of the number of warp ends wound, and to fit in my 1/2" spaced raddle.

When I am done winding the warp, I will tie off my cross, add some choke ties at the beginning, and right before the two end pegs and then a couple along the length to keep everything stable before cutting it below the start peg.

With everything stable, I can unwind the excess at the two pegs and trim all the warp threads evenly.

I still think it is ugly.  I'll see if my opinion changes after I get a loom open and start weaving the scarf.
          Getting ready for the Blaggers' Banquet        


It's all systems go for London's food bloggers - we've blagged far and wide for the finest ingredients to showcase at tonight's epic Blaggers' Banquet, held at legendary Shoreditch steakhouse Hawksmoor. Inspiration for the banquet came from Niamh Shields aka Eat Like A Girl and we're doing it all in aid ofAction Against Hunger. That's right, every single penny goes straight to a worthwhile cause, more of which you can read on Niamh's blog and of course in the coming days as we tally up the initial proceeds from tonight's fiestanza!

Having come to this late and blissfully unaware of the brouhaha earlier in the year when bloggers gained a reputation for supposedly "blagging" free meals I wasn't sure quite what to expect. Working with fellow bloggers, food suppliers and PRs the past few weeks has been a fascinating exercise both in military-style planning and a total revelation in how extraordinarily generous people are. I'll be writing more about the experience after tonight's event as now is the time to start hauling all the food supplies I've blagged downstairs to drive over to Hawksmoor. The cooks and prep team, of which I've been given the daunting task of leading today, are all meeting at 11am sharp and we've got a day of serious work ahead of us to honour both Action Against Hunger and in treating 50 banquet guests to a feast they'll remember. I'm confident the team of cooks and prep will triumph, they've been nothing but cool, calm and collected in the past week as I frantically organise a banquet menu and make last-minute demands on a Saturday night to come up with brilliant canape recipes. They shall all feature in blog posts next week so you can get to know the team :D

Follow our progress throughout the day and into next week on Twitter using the hashtag #blaggersbanquet and come join us on Facebook There will be an auction online to raise more money for Action Against Hunger, so if you can't be with us tonight but would like to bid on a fabulous foodie prize then please do so. Details will be up soon, I promise

Time to don the chefs' whites and get cooking. Wish us luck!
          GRIMM - Pilot Episode - "Not Your Usual Suspects" (2011)        
  Here's an interesting show I missed the first time around! Good thing I've got friends in high places like Lord Litter to keep me better informed! If you like good music, do yourself a favor and go check out his Magic Music Box! In the meantime, welcome to another Wild Wednesday down in The Dungeon!

 
 Now that I'm flailing around in a morass of despair, I found out that I can watch 5 seasons of "Grimm" for nothing with my Amazon Prime account! Guess that should keep me busy for a while, like I ain't got nothing better to do!

 If you guessed this was Little Red Riding Hood, then you guessed right! You can bet there's going to be lots of fairy tale mind games going on!

 Sure is a lot prettier looking down on it than it is being in all that soup!

 There are a lot of Lycanthropic people out there, just like all those cannibals, and other secret societies that we don't know about!

 
Thank goodness we have Grimm (Nick Burkhardt), Davis Giuntoli, a cop with an amazing ability to see the real evil in people!

 I haven't watched real time TV in years much except for "Breaking Bad,"The Walking Dead," "Twin Peaks" and an occasional boxing match, so forgive my ignorance on the existence of this show! Looks like I've missed out on some good shit, so pass it on over to me!

 Rule number one: Don't piss off the guy who looks like a monster in the ancient book if he's really trying to maintain!

 I call this painting "Volkswagen Bus Crossing The River At Midnight!"

 Pretty shocking what an insulated world I live in! In the six years that "Grimm" has been on TV all over the world, not a single person has ever spoke to me about it! Never! Not Once! Nada, Nichts!

 Maybe they're just all too scared of the truth!

 It looks like something from a fairy tale, but it's really a nightmare destination!

 Big time nerd freak-o-zoid!

 When you're this big of an A-hole, just getting killed isn't that bad, because he deserved a lot worse!

Not just The End, this is the
Dead End!! There's no turning back or re-winding from here!
The future is now!!!!

          Learn the 3 reasons for getting product refund        
So now that you've finally decided to purchase that product and can not wait to test it out , you need to know that this is anything but what you expected. Don't worry, you still have a chance to take your money back with the following tips for getting an quick product refund.

1. False advertising

"Get 10.000 hits to tour site in a whole day". Such tempting promises might sure make you wanna flip out your credit card immediately. But when you apply the methods or use the software and have to find out that those 10.000 hits might really result in 10, then this is a legitimate reason for requesting a refund. Unfortunately it's not always that easy. Many vendors get around such wrong advertising by telling in the fine print that these results cannot be guaranteed. always keep an eye on such statements and if you cannot believe what's advertised then search for product reviews using your favorite search engine.

2. Product outdated

Believe it or not, but I've seen products that were advertised and still happily took the money out of the customers' pockets but were totally outdated or did not work anymore. I once bought a product that could not be downloaded any longer but still had the sales page up and running, it even displayed the latest date pointing the end of a special advancement. Every try to contact the creator of the software failed and after I read in a forum that I wasn't the only one not being able to download the software,I contacted the credit card processing company and got my money back.


3. Usability

Not every software is very user friendly as Windows (you got the joke, right?!), which can be frustrating if you want nothing more than use it immediately. For most complicated software products there exist written tutorials that exactly describe how to use them and sometimes even video tutorials that make the product handling even easier. If you've read and watched all tutorials and still cannot manage to use the product, then state this to the creator and you should get that refund.
If you've reached the product creator and still were non able to get a refund despite some true and good reasons, not all hope is gone. Most market places offer a refund guarantee for products that were sold through them (e. g. Clickbank offers its customers a general refund policy of 8 weeks after the product purchase, for a seller like PayDotCom you have to contact the credit card processor like Paypal which has a refund policy of 2 months).

It is always advised to clearly state the cause for your product refund and to keep a social communication style. Even if the product is not worth a single penny it doesn't make things easier when you insult the creator. Try to show that you've really trying to use the product in an good way, maybe attach some screenshots, include suggestions what could be better, etc. The product creator might loose you as a client but still can gain from your experience and will almost of the time happily give you the refund.

Whatever you do, please be honest.Its not just right to purchase a product and you will request a refund to get your money back, but continue to use the product. Most marketplaces (Clickbank, PayDotCom) tolerate two or even more refunds, but after that you may not be able to purchase anything again by certaincompany.











Order Letter Internet Marketing Techniques And RSS Feed Directory
          A great gala!        

Thanks to all who came out to the second annual Junior Auxiliary of McMinnville Crown Jewels Art Gala...every single person who bought tickets, donated items for the auction, bid on auction items, helped set up, catered, entertained, photographed, videoed or helped in any other way to make this year's event a success! All proceeds from the event will go back into our community through the service projects JA does in the community!

We had so much fun and hope you did too!





          Politics - USA        
 LordofHats wrote:
If it were so simple, then no one would need a Lobby to advocate for them in government, yet everyone has one and actively lobbies. It looks bad yes, and people are right to notice I think. It is however important to remember that it's not that simple.


From the standpoint of something like Sprint vs. Verizon, it is that simple. But you are right that it isn't simple. I think part of the problem, and one that Sanders was trying to address was that in having this huge, professional lobbying apparatus in the country, those of us nowhere near the top don't really have a voice for our actual concerns. I mean, sure, petition.whitehouse.gov or whatever the website is, is nice and all... but how many people actually use it? IIRC, the "Death Star" petition is about the only one that I've ever heard of coming from that website, that the president has publicly commented on. Naturally, I'm not suggesting that the POTUS needs to publicly comment on every single petition that meets his viewing criteria, but if it's on an issue that would require actual debates and writing of new laws, it might be nice for the people to hear him/her say, "I saw this petition asking for the monday after the Superbowl to be named a national holiday... I gotcha, and we're gonna work on it, figure something out"
          Politics - USA        
 Ensis Ferrae wrote:
 LordofHats wrote:
If it were so simple, then no one would need a Lobby to advocate for them in government, yet everyone has one and actively lobbies. It looks bad yes, and people are right to notice I think. It is however important to remember that it's not that simple.


From the standpoint of something like Sprint vs. Verizon, it is that simple. But you are right that it isn't simple. I think part of the problem, and one that Sanders was trying to address was that in having this huge, professional lobbying apparatus in the country, those of us nowhere near the top don't really have a voice for our actual concerns. I mean, sure, petition.whitehouse.gov or whatever the website is, is nice and all... but how many people actually use it? IIRC, the "Death Star" petition is about the only one that I've ever heard of coming from that website, that the president has publicly commented on. Naturally, I'm not suggesting that the POTUS needs to publicly comment on every single petition that meets his viewing criteria, but if it's on an issue that would require actual debates and writing of new laws, it might be nice for the people to hear him/her say, "I saw this petition asking for the monday after the Superbowl to be named a national holiday... I gotcha, and we're gonna work on it, figure something out"

How do you stop the lobbiest revolving door?


Automatically Appended Next Post:
 djones520 wrote:
 hotsauceman1 wrote:
So, something im seeing among my Facebook Feed.
People Writing Bernie Sanders in. Now Im a realist and I know he will now not be president.
But I think that is how Trump might win, because the base for democrats is splitting.


The base for both parties is. I'd expect the Libertarian party to see it's biggest turn out ever this year.

If the Libertarian party gets 5% of the vote, then I believe they'd qualify for federal funding in 2020, which could be a meaningful start.
          Should We Worry About Rising Interest Rates?        

“Don’t fight the Fed,” the saying goes. The U.S. Federal Reserve is promising ultra-low interest rates into 2015. Yet the buildup of low-yielding debt on financial firms’ balance sheets means they may suffer badly if rates jump. The central bank aside, prudent bosses – and their watchdogs – need to ensure they are avoiding fights with history, too.

It has been nearly two decades since financial markets had to deal with a serious interest rate shock. Old-timers may still remember 1994, when the Fed jacked up rates by 2.5 percentage points, destabilizing investments that rested on risky foundations. Orange County crumbled under derivative bets, hedge funds imploded and Mexico’s currency collapsed. To younger finance types, that probably seems almost quaint after the carnage seen in 2008.

Yet rising interest rates can be highly toxic to bonds – especially the kinds that investors like insurance companies, banks, pension funds and the Fed itself have been buying by the bucketload. These include U.S. Treasuries, mortgage-backed securities and investment grade corporate debt. Smaller community banks could be particularly vulnerable, since many of them have tried to maximize their income by investing in longer-dated bonds that yield a bit more. The longer the maturity of a fixed income instrument, the more its value will fall as interest rates rise.

The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC), an umbrella group for U.S. financial watchdogs, put out an all-points bulletin early in 2010 warning regulated firms to be alert to interest rate risk, and followed up early this year with more detailed guidance. The Fed, which is represented at the FFIEC, is party to this appropriate regulatory concern. But the message is undermined by its monetary policy stance, which implies that interest rate risk is a non-issue for at least a couple more years.

But the Fed has only limited power to control interest rates. And sharply higher yields would be far from unusual. For instance, 30-year Treasury bond yields are currently under 3 percent. As recently as last year, they topped 4.5 percent, and in early 2000 they briefly exceeded 6.5 percent. Because of the long maturity, a single percentage point rise in rates would translate into roughly a 20 percent decline in the value of long bonds.

AAA-rated mortgage-backed securities backed by Uncle Sam are also vulnerable. For example, when 10-year Treasury yields rose 1.3 percentage points over four months beginning in October 2010, it shaved about 9 percent off the value of Fannie Mae mortgage bonds, according to a report from Fitch Ratings earlier this year. By way of comparison, that’s nearly double the expected credit losses on prime mortgages originated during the frothy years of 2005 to 2008.

Corporate bonds are also at risk. And in the quest to maximize yield, investors have pushed the duration of outstanding investment grade corporate bonds in a Bank of America Merrill Lynch index – fixed income-speak for the instruments’ sensitivity to changes in interest rates – to record levels. Based on a back-of-the-envelope calculation, every percentage point increase in rates would lead such debt to sink in value by nearly 7 percent on average.

The FFIEC has suggested banks individually test their holdings’ sensitivity to a 4 percentage point interest rate shock. A new study by Welton Investment, a hedge fund, finds that a portfolio of the highest-rated corporate debt would decline by 35 percent if rates surged higher by that amount over the course of a year. That’s not the extreme scenario it might seem. Bonds have been on a 30-year bull run, but interest rate rises of three percentage points or more inside a calendar year used not to be so rare. They happened three times in the 1970s and 1980s. Inflation was the culprit then; simply freeing rates from their zero-bound cage could be the driver next time around. The Welton study also notes that even more modest rate increases can cause significant losses.

Even the Fed itself has loaded up on seemingly safe fixed-income securities, having expanded its balance sheet to a whopping $2.8 trillion thanks to its various bond-buying programs. If rates rise, Chairman Ben Bernanke’s team will find it difficult to reduce its holdings of Treasuries and mortgage bonds without spilling red ink – and losses surely wouldn’t play well in Washington. That’s aside from the problems the U.S. government would face with suddenly higher borrowing costs.

There’s a final wrinkle. The U.S. bank stress tests conducted after the 2008 crisis, which brought higher levels of capital and credibility to the sector, didn’t consider a spike in interest rates. Instead, regulators were focused on how the system would deal with a severe recession, which tends to lead to Treasury yields falling, not rising.

Bernanke is confident that he and his colleagues can manage the retreat from the extraordinary policies the Fed has followed in recent years. He may hold most of the cards for now, but long before 2015 that could change. Any unexpected upward shift in rates will be painful. Maybe before it happens, U.S. watchdogs should ensure higher interest rates are part of their stress tests.

Read more at Reuters Breakingviews.


          Re:Politics - USA        
It really would just make a world of difference if the US overall started to dial down the Nudity=Sex thing. OR just scrap the whole idea of Male/Female bathrooms and just have one large bathroom with stalls. In the Grand Scheme of things, it really doesn't to the best of your Knowledge you could have been using the Bathroom with a Transgender Person your entire life.

Personally, I see it as a Non issue .Outside of Having Bathroom bouncers at every restroom in America, asking people to drop trou to inspect their parts, which is absolutely ridiculous, or taking a peek yourself, there is no way to determine with 100% accuracy the gender of every single person that goes into any given bathroom. Documents can, and probably will be, forged if it ever gets to the point were people have to show documentation to enter the bathroom of their Gender.

Does it mean there's a Chance some Creep might try to use it to take advantage of someone in the bathroom? There was little stopping them before from doing it if they really wanted to, and they could do it just about anywhere. Why not put more effort into punishing the perverts and rapists instead of the people trying to expel waste.
          Eminem        
Я буду добавлять тексты песен сюда. Кому что-то не нравится я скажу сразу If you try to fuck with me, than I`ll shall fuck you too...
The Real Slim Shady

May I have your attention please?

May I have your attention please?

Will the real Slim Shady please stand up?

I repeat, will the real Slim Shady please stand up?

We're gonna have a problem here



Y'all act like ya never seen a white person before

Jaws all on the floor like Pam, like Tommy just burst in the door

And started whooping her ass worse than before

They first were divorce, throwin’ her over furniture (Ahh!)

It's the return of the..."Ah, wait, no way, you're kidding,

he just didn't say what I think he did, did he?"

And Dr. Dre said...

Nothing you idiots! Dr. Dre's dead, he's locked in my basement!(Ha-ha!)

Feminist women love Eminem

Slim Shady, I'm sick of him

Look at him, walking around grabbing his you-know-what

Flipping the you-know-who, yeah, but he's so cute though

Yeah, I probably got a couple of screws up in my head loose

But no worse than what's going on in your parents' bedrooms

Sometimes, I wanna get on TV and just let loose, but can't

But it's cool for Tom Green to hump a dead moose

My bum is on your lips, my bum is on your lips

And if I'm lucky, you might just give it a little kiss

And that's the message that we deliver to little kids

And expect them not to know what a woman's clitoris is

Of course they gonna know what intercourse is

By the time they hit fourth grade

They got the Discovery Channel don't they?

We ain't nothing but mammals

Well, some of us cannibals

Who cut other people open like cantaloupes

But if we can hump dead animals and antelopes

Then there's no reason that a man and another man can't elope

But if you feel like I feel, I got the anecdote

Women wave your panty-hoes, sing the chorus and it goes



Chorus:

I'm Slim Shady, yes I'm the real Shady

All you other Slim Shadys are just imitating

So won't the real Slim Shady please stand up?

Please stand up, please stand up

Cuz I'm Slim Shady, yes I'm the real Shady

All you other Slim Shadys are just imitating

So won't the real Slim Shady please stand up?

Please stand up, please stand up



Will Smith don't gotta cuss in his raps to sell his records

Well I do so "Fuck him and fuck you too!"

You think I give a damn about a Grammy?

Half of you critics can't even stomach me let alone stand me

"But Slim, what if you win, wouldn't it be weird?"

Why? So you guys could just lie to get me here

So you can sit me here next to Britney Spears

Shit Christina Aguilera better switch me chairs

So I can sit next to Carson Daly and Fred Durst

And hear them argue over who she gave head to first

You little bitch, put me on Blast on MTV

"Yeah, he's cute, but I think he's married to Kim, hee-hee"

I should download her audio on MP3 and show the whole world

how you gave Eminem VD

I'm sick of you little girl and boy groups

All you do is annoy me so I have been sent here to destroy you

And there's a million of us just like me

Who cuss like me; who just don't give a fuck like me

Who dress like me; walk, talk and act like me

And just might be the next best thing but not quite me!



Chorus



I'm like a head trip to listen to cuz I'm only giving you

Things you joke about with your friends inside your living room

The only difference is I got the balls to say it

In front of y'all and I don't gotta be frost or sugar coated at all

I just get on a mic and spit it and whether you like to admit it

I just shitted better than 90 percent of you rappers out there

Then you wonder how can kids eat up these albums like valiums

It's funny cuz at the rate I'm going when I'm 30

I'll be the only person in the nursing home flirting

Pinching nurses asses when I'm jacking off with Jergens

And I’m jerkin’ but this whole bag of Viagra isn't working

And every single person is a Slim Shady lurking

He could be working at Burger King spitting on your onion rings

Or in the parking lot, circling, screaming "I don't give a fuck!"

With his windows down and his system up

So, will the real Shady please stand up?

And put one of those fingers on each hand up?

And be proud to be outta ya mind and outta control

And one more time, loud as you can, how does it go?



Chorus



Guess there's a Slim Shady in all of us

Fuck it, let's all stand up


Оставить комментарий
          How Publishers Really Pay You        

Many writers believe they will become rich once a publisher agrees to photo books printing services. I once thought this, too, since my first advance was so incredible--roughly twice my yearly teacher salary for a two-book contract.

Ten published novels later ...

Um, well, hmm.

I still have my day job, a first mortgage, a second mortgage, car payments, credit card bills, college bills, and some more bills I didnt have before I had a contract. I need socks, T-shirts, and new glasses. I havent had a vacation in years. Weve added a dog. Im photo books printing services so I can afford to put shoes on my youngest sons feet, which are growing exponentially. I am writing for HubPages.

Do not think I am ungrateful. Im doing what I love to do. That first advance helped my wife and me get into our first house, put braces (twice) on one son, and paid off quite a few nagging bills. Oh, and I bought a massive television  that had to be repaired twice.

For those who still think published writers lead glamorous, carefree lives, here are some facts about how the average publisher really pays you:

1) The payment for your first contract will probably amaze you. You will count the zeros several times. You will dream. You will make lists of cool stuff to buy. You will want to quit your photo books printing services. Do not quit your job, especially if your job provides you with health care.

2) Unless you amaze the world with your first novel(s), the advance for your second contract (should you be fortunate enough to get one) may be as low as 8-10% of your first advance. This will also amaze you. You will still count the zeros several times. You will still dream, but it wont be in color. You will make a list of stuff we need. Its a good thing you didnt quit your job.

3) You will wonder why the advance for your second contract is not nearly as high as your first. You will gently ask your publisher why. Your publisher will say something like, Well, in this economy, we cant afford to give you more than the market will bear. This is a true statement. While e-book sales are rising, sales of books with real pages arent. According to The New York Times, mass-market paperback sales have declined 14% since 2008, and according to the Association of American Publishers and the Book Industry Study Group, overall photo books printing services declined 3% from 2010 to 2011.

4) Royalties will not make you royalty. The average writer gets paid royalties only twice a year, say in June and in December, provided sales of his or her photo books printing services the previous six to twelve months have paid off his or her advances. If sales have been slow or stagnant, a writer earns no royalties and actually gets a statement that shows how much he or she owes the publisher. This will depress you.

5) Standard rates of return are not that lucrative. You may receive 12-15% of the retail price of a hardcover book and only 6-9% of the retail price of a paperback.

Lets say you get an advance of $50,000. Yes! Whoo! Party! I get to tell my boss to

Calm down now. Look back at #1 above. You need that job.

Lets say your photo books china printing company sells for $20. You receive roughly, say, $2.50 per sale (at 12.5%). You would have to sell 20,000 hardcover books to earn your advance back. Say you only sell 10,000. You still owe the publisher $25,000. What now?

Let's say your contract stipulates that your book come out in paperback about a year later. The paperback retails for about $7, so you get 56 cents per sale at 8%. At 8% of retail per sale, you must sell around 45,000 paperbacks to pay back the remaining $25,000. Thus, even if you have sold 55,000 hardcover books and paperbacks, you still havent earned a single penny in royalties, even after two years.

None of this takes into account your agent, should you be lucky to get and hold onto one, who takes 15% of everything you make, and that includes advances and royalties.

I know that most photo books china printing company dont lead glamorous lives because I'm one of them. As soon as I received my first royalty check, all two digits of it, my older son said, I need new basketball shoes.

I had to add a twenty to the royalty check to get him his shoes.

Added by: cmcolorprinting
Viewed: 1164 time(s)


Tags/Keywords: China photo books printing services company
Added On: 2013-12-16



          Politics - USA        
 Dreadwinter wrote:
No, they are super-conservative considering Clinton herself is a very conservative candidate. Clinton is liberal for the US, but in no way is she liberal in comparison to what other countries consider to be liberal.


As I explained to that other guy over about a half dozen posts - who gives a gak what the rest of the world thinks? They could be fascist anarchists, it still doesn't change the fact that they don't vote in American elections.

In terms of American politics, Clinton is well to the left of centre, as Sanders just a little bit further left. Sanders supporters are, interestingly enough, not as far left as Sanders, averaged across the whole.

Oh sweet, I see you have provided me an article which does not do what was claimed! So a small number of Bernie supporters are considered to be more to the right of Clinton, this does not make all Bernie supporters to the right of Clinton as was claimed.


The hell? Where do you get small number from? Do you know how polling works? You seem to be attempting a defence in which you can deny any poll because it did not check with every single person who has declared themselves a Sanders supporter. Well do that, whatever, if you don't want to be a useful part of the conversation that's up to you.
          Politics - USA        
 sebster wrote:
 Dreadwinter wrote:
No, they are super-conservative considering Clinton herself is a very conservative candidate. Clinton is liberal for the US, but in no way is she liberal in comparison to what other countries consider to be liberal.


As I explained to that other guy over about a half dozen posts - who gives a gak what the rest of the world thinks? They could be fascist anarchists, it still doesn't change the fact that they don't vote in American elections.

In terms of American politics, Clinton is well to the left of centre, as Sanders just a little bit further left. Sanders supporters are, interestingly enough, not as far left as Sanders, averaged across the whole.

Oh sweet, I see you have provided me an article which does not do what was claimed! So a small number of Bernie supporters are considered to be more to the right of Clinton, this does not make all Bernie supporters to the right of Clinton as was claimed.


The hell? Where do you get small number from? Do you know how polling works? You seem to be attempting a defence in which you can deny any poll because it did not check with every single person who has declared themselves a Sanders supporter. Well do that, whatever, if you don't want to be a useful part of the conversation that's up to you.


I care clearly, you should too considering we are living on a planet with other people and it helps to show what the current political climate is like in the US vs the rest of the world.

You know that exit polling only involves a small number of people, correct? It even has a link to a definition of Exit Polling in the article where it says it is taken from a small portion of voters. Also considering this was only done in a select amount of states, kind of shows that again, it was a small portion.

Seaward has revised his argument as to be about reddit Bernie Supporters which commonly fall under the term Bernie Bros. Which I would agree with, many Bernie Bros dont seem to understand his policies and what they would bring about in the US. I was merely pointing out the absurdity of trying to paint all of his supporters to be Bernie Bros, when in fact it is just a vocal minority. Conservatives have the same issues on their side and I believe it is equally absurd to paint them all as ultra religious zealot wingnuts when that is clearly not the.case.

Be dismissive if you want, but you should probably understand exit polling before doing so.
          Politics - USA        
 Dreadwinter wrote:
 sebster wrote:
 Dreadwinter wrote:
No, they are super-conservative considering Clinton herself is a very conservative candidate. Clinton is liberal for the US, but in no way is she liberal in comparison to what other countries consider to be liberal.


As I explained to that other guy over about a half dozen posts - who gives a gak what the rest of the world thinks? They could be fascist anarchists, it still doesn't change the fact that they don't vote in American elections.

In terms of American politics, Clinton is well to the left of centre, as Sanders just a little bit further left. Sanders supporters are, interestingly enough, not as far left as Sanders, averaged across the whole.

Oh sweet, I see you have provided me an article which does not do what was claimed! So a small number of Bernie supporters are considered to be more to the right of Clinton, this does not make all Bernie supporters to the right of Clinton as was claimed.


The hell? Where do you get small number from? Do you know how polling works? You seem to be attempting a defence in which you can deny any poll because it did not check with every single person who has declared themselves a Sanders supporter. Well do that, whatever, if you don't want to be a useful part of the conversation that's up to you.


I care clearly, you should too considering we are living on a planet with other people and it helps to show what the current political climate is like in the US vs the rest of the world.

You know that exit polling only involves a small number of people, correct? It even has a link to a definition of Exit Polling in the article where it says it is taken from a small portion of voters. Also considering this was only done in a select amount of states, kind of shows that again, it was a small portion.

Seaward has revised his argument as to be about reddit Bernie Supporters which commonly fall under the term Bernie Bros. Which I would agree with, many Bernie Bros dont seem to understand his policies and what they would bring about in the US. I was merely pointing out the absurdity of trying to paint all of his supporters to be Bernie Bros, when in fact it is just a vocal minority. Conservatives have the same issues on their side and I believe it is equally absurd to paint them all as ultra religious zealot wingnuts when that is clearly not the.case.

Be dismissive if you want, but you should probably understand exit polling before doing so.


Exit polls are important and carry weight with predictions and expectations because they reflect the opinions of people who were actually motivated enough to turn out and vote. The people who are turning out to vote in the primary are more likely to turn out and vote in the general than the people who didn't. You can poll anybody who answers the phone when the pollsters call, you can poll people who are likely voters because they have a history of turning out to vote and you can poll the people that have actually voted already.

People who voted < People registered to vote < People who are eligible voters

Just because exit polls have a smaller pool of people to poll doesn't mean they aren't an accurate reflection of the electorate. Local polls are the most meaningful because we vote by state and the state residents that are turning out to vote are the ones that will decide who wins the state and gains the state's electoral votes. What exit polls say about voters in a state like Ohio is very pertinent to the probable outcome in Ohio which is key to enough electoral votes to win the presidency so exit polls of Ohio voters are more important than a national poll of people that includes a larger number of respondents. You shouldn't dismiss exit polls, it showcases the opinions of the people showing up to vote and they're the people that decide who wins.
          Comment on Throwing Water on Our FIRE! by saveinvestbecomefree        
Thanks for writing this post. My wife and I are in the same boat. We've solved the financial part of FI but there are just too many options available now and we're very slowly working through what we want to do before stopping work. I don't think there is a single perfect option (it's likely our lives will be very different 5 years from now than we think) but I would like a joint plan that we're really excited about to start and we're not there yet. I'm glad you posted this since I think a lot of people go through this challenge and we don't see much posted on this important topic.
          Politics - USA        
Prestor Jon wrote:
"The system"? Are you referring to the economy or what? Might just be one of those things were different locales and nationalities have different terminology/slang but I've never heard it explained like that. We don't have a system that just doles out money like we're all playing slot machines in a casino.


Not just the economy, by the vast network of systems and institutions that support that economic activity. All those things play a huge role in deciding how productive each individual can be.

The simplest way to think of this is to consider a lawyer, in your country or mine if he's gifted and very hard working he might earn a very healthy salary - let's say $200,000 a year. Now consider that same guy working in a small village in Bangladesh, he might be on something more like $20,000 a year. Not because he's less hard working or less talented, but just because he's part of a system which is nowhere near as good at supporting and enabling the economic activity of everyone single person in the system.

The tax code doesn't sit outside or separate to the rest of the system, which establishes and enforces property and contract laws, or the government institutions that build roads, provide education and encourage research.

And yeah, not many people anywhere think of it in those terms, and that's a shame because it would help to improve understanding greatly.

We have the discussion about "fair" tax rates all the time. It always boils down to the fact that "fair" is a subjective idea that varies with each individual. Some people think some tax brackets should have higher rates but nobody wants their own taxes to go up. Some people want the govt to do/spend more but everybody always pays the smallest amount of taxes they legally can. Everyone is free to pay more taxes to the govt but I've never seen an example of a rich person, especially a rich politician that voluntarily pays a higher rate because doing so is more "fair."


Sure, it's pretty typical that most people think everyone above them should pay more tax, and everyone beneath them should get less benefits. Humans are selfish, afterall. And yeah, exactly what is fair is pretty subjective. But what I am saying is that just looking at what is taxed is misleading in and of itself - fairness isn't about what you put in, but about what you have in total - and that means what we should look at is people's incomes after tax.

But it doesn't make much sense to argue that people's belief in a collective action is only okay when they personally are giving more. Because government is on such a scale that one individual's personal sacrifice means nothing - consider Warren Buffet, who earned a quite ludicrous $13 billion last financial year - if he was to give every penny he made last year to the federal government then total government revenue would increase 0.4%. And that's talking about one of the richest men in the world, who had their biggest single year, and who had most of that growth only on paper through increasing capital values. And it still rounds down to zero.

Campaign ads aren't meant to prompt meaningful policy discussions they're meant to motivate party bases, reinforce party differences (real or imagined) and get the electorate worked up over partisan wedge issues in the hope of increasing turnout and that's just the ads that aren't outright mud slinging negative ads.


Absolutely. And unfortunately most people think of politics only in terms of those slogans. Or in terms of arguing with those slogans.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
Prestor Jon wrote:
"Rich" people aren't the only ones that benefit from civil society and infrastructure. Infrastructure is built by the government, the government is funded by taxes, in our progressive income tax system "rich" people pay the most income tax that funds the government. So "poor" people should be mad at "rich" people for funding government projects that benefit society? Or is it that "rich" people shouldn't benefit from civil society and a stable economy created by a government funded by their taxes?


No, the point is that everyone benefits from society. And if a single guy makes $200,000 a year from his job, he will still have $150,000 left after federal taxes, and maybe something like $130,000 left after state taxes. That will still leave the guy with about 2.5 times the average median income. From there it is clear that it is completely bonkers for him to complain that it is unfair that he pays a higher rate of tax than other people, because he is still a massive beneficiary from the overall system.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
Relapse wrote:
Exalted. The whole,"You didn't build this", is one of the most loaded, asnine phrases I have heard. Sure, there are those who are born into wealth that just lounge about, but I know far more well off people who started by risking everything to make their business work. They would work consistent long days that carried them well into the night, keep things running off credit cards along with having everything they owned mortgaged to the hilt. This is why that whole statement met with such derision from these people.


I think most people met the quote with derision because they were too busy working long in to the night to read the full quote. Or possibly that lots of people thought it was easier to just be pretend outraged at Obama, instead of stop and realise that their personal success wasn't just because they personally are super-awesome, but because they exist in a system which creates and supports economic opportunity.

Anyway, here's the actual quote. Note there's nothing in there about inherited wealth, but just about the reality that success doesn't come in a bubble.

"If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business – you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn't get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet."


Automatically Appended Next Post:
Asterios wrote:
I look at it this way, its a messed up society when the top 1% of people are paying about 70-90% of the taxes


But if their net incomes are higher than they've ever been, exactly what are they complaining about?

our unemployment is thru the roof


You have no idea what you're talking about.



That said, I agree with you on the California statewide $15 minimum wage - it makes sense in a couple of California markets, but across the state it seems way too high.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
Asterios wrote:
so that brings us back to what is a good tax system? charge the rich a higher percentage of taxs? then why bother being rich if most of your money you cannot keep? why bother building businesses that hire lots of employees if you don't get to keep the money you made?


Why are you talking about 'most'? The current highest rate in the US right now is 39.6%. That's what you pay on each dollar you earn north of $415,000. Upping that tax rate to 45% will just about wipe the deficit. But you can even decide that the guy on $500,000 is paying enough, and just look at the 1 million biggest earning households in the US, which earn an average $2.1 million. Put their taxes up to 45% and you'd generate $276 billion, which would just about take out most of the deficit, it'd certainly be back to a level that, along with growth, would mean debt to GDP would start falling quite quickly.

And this is really the issue - people seem to hear any talk about raising taxes on the wealthy and respond with hyperbole about what happens when they are taxed at 90%. But if you just look at returning US top tax rates to something close to their historic norm, and it's amazing how much of the deficit problem just goes away.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
 whembly wrote:
No... the OIG report changed the conversation, as the media enmass can't ignore/spin this.


And you're falling back on the old story that the media is this collective entity that makes decision on what it will cover - so that anytime it doesn't cover exactly what stories you want it to cover in the manner you think it should, it must be because the media is biased. But the Trump debacle should have finally killed that myth once for all by showing what the media really is - a collection good looking idiots who basically don't care about anything but what stories produce ratings.

If the Clinton story rated and got lots of interest it'd be the lead story every night.

It certainly adds into Trump's meme of 'Crooked Hillary'.


I think Trump's names have been less imaginative as the campaign has gone on. Little Marco was genius, the rest since then... meh.

So, to answer to your question: Yes. I've seen that while most don't believe Trump would ever be a "Good President", they simply abhor the idea of HRC in the WH. These folks are traditional Democrat voters mind you. (I'm still not voting for Trump anyways as I'm on Calvinball mode).


That wasn't my question! We all know there's plenty of Democrats who don't like Clinton. My question is whether anyone who likes or is neutral to Clinton is treating the email thing as a big deal. Any friends of yours saying 'I like Clinton and want to vote Democrat, but this email thing has me worried'.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
Prestor Jon wrote:
The problem is when politicians use taxes as a political football. Politicians promise more govt spending and then promise to make those other people, the "rich" people, pay for it when basic math shows that the govt already spends far more than it could collect in taxes no matter where the rates are set.


What basic math is that? Right now the generates $3.2 trillion in revenue, and spends $3.7 trillion. There is no 'basic math' that would stop taxes closing that gap.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
Asterios wrote:
yes but what about the small business owner, who now has to pay his employees more money then he/she makes themselves? I have a friend who has had a McDonald's franchise for over 30 years, he is going to have to close it down why? because it is not worth running it because he estimates he will be making less then $8 an hour himself thanks to the "Government" telling him he has to pay unskilled laborers a skilled wage,


If your friend can only make $8 an hour out of owning and running a McDonalds franchise, and on top of that is so bad at business that they don't even think of selling the franchise instead of closing it down, then to be perfectly frank capitalism is probably better off without your friend.
          News: Bemidji State’s Brendan Harms Wins the 2016-17 Senior CLASS Award for Men’s Hockey        

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (April 7, 2017) – Bemidji State forward Brendan Harms has been selected as the 2016-17 Senior CLASS Award® winner for NCAA® Division I men’s hockey. The award, chosen by a nationwide vote of Division I men’s hockey coaches, national hockey media and fans, is given annually to the most outstanding senior student-athlete in Division I men’s hockey. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: classroom, community, character and competition.

An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive difference as leaders in their communities.

“Winning the Senior CLASS Award really means a lot,” said Harms, the first student-athlete from Bemidji State to win the award in any sport. “When I saw the list of nominees, they are all great players, and they are amazing people, too. Just to have the opportunity to be nominated and then to make the short list of finalists was an extreme honor for me. When you put the work in to balance life as a student-athlete and try to contribute more than just on the ice, and then get acknowledged for that, it’s an amazing feeling.”

A staple in the lineup for the Beavers all four years, Harms registered 21 points (8g, 13a) to go along with 83 shots on goal and 23 blocks this season, also scoring two game-winning goals and finishing second on the team with six power-play goals. Harms earned WCHA Offensive Player of the Week in November after a series sweep of Northern Michigan in which he was a part of six of the Beavers’ seven points (1g, 5a), tied for the most points nationally and became just the 10th player in WCHA history with four assists in a single period. With 88 career points (33g-55a) in four seasons and 141 games, Harms ranks among the top 12 on BSU’s Division I-era scoring list, while his 55 assists place him eighth at BSU since 1999-2000. Earning WCHA Player of the Week or Rookie of the Week honors in each of his four seasons, Harms earned third-team All-Conference honors as a sophomore.

“Brendan Harms personifies what it means to be a student-athlete,” said Bemidji State Head Coach Tom Serratore. “He does everything the right way, and is always committed to his work in the classroom, in the community and on the ice. He leads by example and makes a positive impact with everything he does and everyone he meets. He is a great representative of Beaver Hockey and leaves Bemidji State and our community a better place.”

In addition to his commitment to excellence on the ice, Harms has worked as diligently off it. With a 4.0 GPA as a business administration major with a minor in human performance, Harms is both a three-time WCHA Scholar-Athlete and three-time member of the WCHA All-Academic team. Voted an alternate captain for his senior season, Harms also has remained active in the community throughout his career, volunteering with the Bemidji Area Boy’s and Girl’s Club, Heartland Christian Academy and a local suicide prevention walk. He served his campus, as well, by volunteering with BSU’s campus clean-up project and helping fellow students move into the dorms during the fall semesters.
“We are thrilled that Brendan Harms was chosen at this year’s winner,” said Erik Miner, executive director of the Senior CLASS Award. “It takes incredible dedication to maintain excellence in all four of the award categories—classroom, character, community and completion—and Brendan has done that to an incredible level. We offer our congratulations to Brendan and the entire Bemidji State community.”


          Jesus is going, who is arriving? By PasDoc Neki Soriano        
Text: John 16:12-15
 "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
Theme: Trinity Sunday

Good morning. I am happy to share with you the good news this Sunday morning.

Katatapos lang po ng election and we have a new leader and President. Did you vote for our new president? Do you like our new leader? Aalis na si PNoy? Mas magaling ba ang papalit sa kanya? Maitutuloy ba nya ang mga pagbabago o babalik tayo sa dati at lalong masisira? Katatapos lang ng General Conference ng UMC. We have new leaders in our church as well. In other churches, they have new pastors and deaconess, because we are an itinerant church. There is a reason why we do that. Other leaders will leave and go. People tell me, our strategy is not good. Who will take charge of the position left by our previous leaders? Who will take the lead if the leaders are gone? How will the Church survive? Who will help us in times of trouble? The relationship between the leader and members will be broken. Who will pray for us if we get sick? Who will heal us if we need spiritual healing? Who will correct us? How are we going to be forgiven if we commit mistakes? How are we going to be saved from our sins? You see, the problem becomes that people have become dependent on the person who leads them. The church has become pastor-driven or leader-driven. Kung ano lang yung sinabi ng pastor o ng lay leader, yun na. Worst, they even worship the leader instead of God. Kaya kapag nawala na yung leader, wala na rin silang magawa. I tell them, you have to read the Bible and you have to understand our faith so that you will appreciate why we are an itinerant church. Why are we not scared if we have new leaders or even if people come and go?
Today is Trinity Sunday and I found it very important for us to look into this very important doctrine in our church even as we look into our church leadership concerns. Why do we celebrate Trinity Sunday? We celebrate Trinity Sunday to commemorate the reality that we believe in a Triune God, The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit. There is only One God, but Three Persons with One essence. That is the mystery of God. It is a mystery that the human mind cannot totally comprehend. Our words will never be enough to describe this mystery about God. Some theologians have tried to explain it like the three phases of water – steam, liquid and ice but they are all water. Some theologians have tried to explain it like a guitar chord where you press different strings but get only one chord. Other theologians have tried to explain it like a soft drink, you drink in a bottle or you drink from a can but all you get is the same Coke soft drink. It will never be enough how we describe the trinity. But we must remember that there are three persons at work here = God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, even though they are three, they are of one essence for there is only one God. They are together since the beginning of time. They are equal yet they can emphasize one over the other. They work in unity. God the Father is working through the Son Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. We see this in verse 14 and 15 when Jesus said, “He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is also of the Son and this he also shares with the Holy Spirit. They are of the same essence as a Triune God.”
This is what we read this morning. Jesus was about to go back to the Father. But Jesus will not be really gone, he said, as the Holy Spirit will be with the disciples. God is still with them.
LISTEN my dear brothers and sisters. Jesus is leaving his disciples. They thought they are going to be alone by themselves. Jesus is moving out. Who will lead them now? Who will help them? Who will continue the work? This is the questions the disciples ask that we continue to ask today. But Jesus already gave his answer. Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit will be with us. That is Awesome.
The good news my dear Brothers and Sisters, is that the same Holy Spirit that Jesus promised to the disciples is still here with us in the Church. The same Holy Spirit with the disciples is with us. God is with us. Even if Jesus went back to the Father, God is still with us through the Holy Spirit.
Now, what does it mean that the Holy Spirit is with us? It does not mean that everything will be perfect. It does not mean that there will not be any problems. We will experience difficulty just as the disciples did. Jesus said in verses before that they will do to you what they did to me. So the disciples will be persecuted. They will have conflicts. They will encounter problems, the same things that we may be experiencing today. But the reality that we have a triune God, the Holy Spirit is with us therefore God is still with us.
The disciples looked up to Jesus as their leader. They did only according to the teachings of Jesus. Jesus helped them when they are in trouble; remember the storm in the sea. When they have problems, they go to Jesus for troubleshooting. Remember the 5 loaves of bread and 2 fishes. But when Jesus left, the disciples felt that they will not have somebody to help them and guide them. But Jesus even said that it is to their advantage that Jesus will leave because it makes room for the Spirit to fill the space.
When a leader leaves, we allow the Holy Spirit to move and use another one and fill the gathered body. A new leader filled with the Holy Spirit will be able to guide us, while the entire body will also be filled by the Holy Spirit to follow God’s direction. Ang tanong mga kapatid, are we filled by the Holy Spirit? Did you allow the Holy Spirit to guide you or you rejected it dahil natatakot kayo? Bata pa kasi ako, hindi ko kasi alam yan, hindi ko man napag aralan yan, ganito ganyan lang kasi ako. If you are led by the Holy Spirit, you can do it.
I would like to share an experience I had in one Sunday School in QC UMC. The Sunday School Teachers there were big time lay leaders and veteran teachers. But one Sunday, they were not available because all of them attended a church conference. Who will lead the Sunday School? Or cancel na lang muna? Andoon na kami lahat, but there was no Sunday School teacher. Nagtuturuan na sila kung sino ang maglead. And then, out of nowhere, a young adult guy stood up and said he felt he was led by the Holy Spirit to facilitate the Bible Study. So we started in prayer and we read the passage and we had some discussions. It was a very lively and dynamic Bible Study and we felt so blessed after that because we were led by the Holy Spirit.
Filled by the Holy Spirit. I would like to highlight THREE things what it means that the Holy Spirit is working in us.
First, the spirit of Christ is in the church, even if someone leaves, the spirit of Christ remains. This is an important understanding for us United Methodist. God is in the church. God is residing in this church. People do not own the church. Pastors do not own the church. The chairperson does not own the church. Kaya nga, even if people live, God will still be present in the church. God will use someboy else to be the instrument of the Holy Spirit. Somebody can fill up that position and the spirit will ready to fill them up. I saw that here in Spring of Life. Minsan, I was looking at the children because there were so many of them. My kids asked if Kuya Marvin will teach them. But Marvin was not available that day. I do not know if somebody else prepared a lesson for the children, so I just told my kids to go at the back of the church, get the Bible Story and wait for me. And then when I went at the back to teach them, some of the youth are already leading the kids. I think sila Yana  yun at sila Mark. Kahit wala yung assinged makapagturo ng Sunday School, somebody else will take that lead with the leading of the Holy Spirit. That is how powerful the Holy Spirit works in us.
Second, the spirit of truth resides not in a single person; it resides in the gathered body. God is everywhere but God’s presence can be truly felt in the gathering of the people. Kaya, never say that I can worship God in my room or in my car or all by myself because God is in our midst if we gather. So, please gather together as one body. Come to church or it will not be a body. Jesus said, whenever two or three is gathered in my name, I am with them. Dumarating si Hesus if we gather together. So gather as often as you can, in Bible Studies, in Fellowships, even when you are eating. Do not eat all by yourself. Call other people and then pray together. When you read the Bible, gather together. And when you gather, feel the presence of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit in your midst. Be filled by the power of the Holy Spirit. Whenever you gather together, make sure you are all filled with the Holy Spirit. Bakit? This leads us to #3..
Third, the leader of every gathered body is Jesus Christ, not the person per se. The same is true in our church bodies. Our congregation is not led by the lay leaders, the pastor, the church workers or any person per se. Jesus is the leader of the congregation. The leadership position belongs to Jesus. Say “OUR LEADER IS JESUS.” That is the reason why we United Methodist do not get weary or troubled even if we have different pastors in our church. Because we still have the same leader. That is also the reason that even if we do not like the person in the position, we remain in the church because our leader is the same. Our understanding of the Triune God, the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit guides us in how we work as a church. It is very important in our understanding that we see God as our leader and not the person in front of you. That is why, do not criticize the person, that person represents Jesus. Instead, recognize the presence of Jesus in that person. Respect that person just as you would show respect to Jesus, even if you do not like the person or disagree with his/her thoughts. We are but instruments of the Holy Spirit but remember, we will not feel the presence of Holy Spirit if we do not allow the Holy Spirit to be in us.

People come and go, but the church will go on. People taking the leadership role may change but God is still our leader. Jesus left, but the Holy Spirit led the church forward. The gathered church will go on as long as the Holy Spirit is with them. God did not leave. God is still there, still here. The same Holy Spirit that led the disciples will lead the church forward. The same Holy Spirit during the biblical times is here with us today. That is the good news my dear brothers and sisters, that the Holy Spirit is with us today. God the Father is here with us today, Jesus the Son is here with us today, the Holy Spirit is here with us today – the Triune God is here with us today. Are you willing to be filled by the Holy Spirit? Are you willing to be God’s instrument in the church? In the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen. 

          â€œThe universe is under no obligation to make sense to you.”        
In 1999 my colleague Tim Price had front row seats to the first Internet bubble. He tells a great story about being a private client portfolio manager at Merrill Lynch in London at the time, and describes how clients were clamoring to buy technology stocks. ‘Giddy’ doesn’t really do the mania justice. ‘Insane’ comes closer to describing the popular mood. James Glassman and Kevin Hassett had just published a book, Dow 36,000 (the title speaks for itself), and Merrill Lynch thought it fitting to give a copy to every single person on staff. The NASDAQ stock index, which was heavily comprised of the technology companies that everyone loved so much, […]
          The United Airlines Fiasco: How Game Theory Could Help        
United Airlines says it will never again use police to forcibly remove passengers from overfull flights. But this week's public relations disaster for United highlights a problem that airlines face every day: how to entice people to give up their seats voluntarily. NPR reached out to some of the top thinkers in the world of "game theory" who say they think the industry could be doing a much better job. Here are some solutions they offered. Treat the problem as a game. To keep seats full on planes, airlines overbook assuming that some people will be no-shows. But when everybody actually shows up, you've got 100 seats on an airplane and you've sold 105 tickets. Sure, it's a problem. But it's also a game. "Yeah, this is exactly a game theory-type problem," says Joshua Gans, a professor of strategic management at the University of Toronto. "The airline wants some people off the plane; every single person on the plane wants to stay on absent anything else changing." It's fair to say that
          It’s time to become your own banker. Here’s how–        
Sometimes I wonder why most of the giant mega-banks are based in New York. They should be here in Las Vegas, the gambling capital of the world. Because that’s precisely what they’re doing with your money. Actually it’s not even your money. From a legal perspective, every single penny you deposit at the bank becomes THEIR money. You’re nothing more than an unsecured creditor of the bank. And now that they legally own what used to be your money, the bank can gamble it away on whatever crazy investment fad best serves their interests. Here’s an easy way to understand it: Imagine you were moving and needed to rent a […]
                  
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          Politics - USA        
In other Trump news...
Trump has continued his denouncement of regulations that protect the ozone layer. He thinks that hairspray isn't as good as it used to be, and that's more important.
http://www.factcheck.org/2016/05/trump-on-hairspray-and-ozone/?version=meter+at+2&module=meter-Links&pgtype=article&contentId=&mediaId=&referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nytimes.com%2F2016%2F06%2F06%2Fopinion%2Fa-pause-that-distresses.html%3F_r%3D0&priority=true&action=click&contentCollection=meter-links-click

Trump also thinks the drought in California is a conspiracy. Which is at least a classier kind of conspiracy, because that was the plot of Chinatown.
http://bigstory.ap.org/article/fea527c86dfe42c78609619c5ce7fd59/trump-vows-solve-californias-water-crisis?version=meter+at+2&module=meter-Links&pgtype=article&contentId=&mediaId=&referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nytimes.com%2F2016%2F06%2F06%2Fopinion%2Fa-pause-that-distresses.html%3F_r%3D0&priority=true&action=click&contentCollection=meter-links-click

Rosebuddy wrote:
I believe it's moral to use violence to suppress the formation of a fascist movement because simply saying you disagree with them doesn't change anything.


You can believe it's moral if you want, that's really up to you.

But the simple reality is that it doesn't work. You think the KKK marches that have been met with violent counter-protests led to KKK members saying 'gee those other guys are really angry about us, they must have a point and I should cancel my KKK membership.' You think there's a single person anywhere who went to a Trump rally and gave up support for the guy because of violent protestors? You think anyone watching on tv sees the violent protest and becomes less likely to vote for Trump?

Obviously not. What becomes interesting then is to wonder why so many people opt for that kind of aggressive reaction when it obviously doesn't work. They claim its because the cause is so important... but if the cause was so important then wouldn't they focus on what works? It's actually nothing to do with the cause, it's about the protesters proving something to themselves, or to someone else. They are looking to play the role of the revolutionary, they want to look and feel important.

Ultimately it's not about the cause at all, but about the excitement of being part of a radical movement.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
 ScootyPuffJunior wrote:
Yeah, it's almost as if Trump is actually a racist douchebag and not just pretending to "tell it like it is" for the sake of votes. Shocking, I know...


Nah, he's just a liar who lies.

Thing is, while Trump is out in the media talking about how a judge with Mexican ancestry can't preside over a case he's involved in, his legal defence in that case has made no motion to disqualify the judge. Because Trump and his legal team know there is absolutely no legal precedent for what he's claiming, because it would blow up the legal system. It would mean, for instance, that if an issue of religious protection went before a court in which Catholics might be given a legal protection, no Catholic judge could rule on it, and also maybe no non-Catholic judge could rule on it either. It's a completely ridiculous view of judicial impartiality.

And the thing to understand is that Trump doesn't give a gak that it's ridiculous nonsense. He also doesn't care that people will view it as racist. What Trump is thinking is that actual coverage of the lawsuit against his pretend university would have shown that he was running a con, and that would be bad for his campaign. So instead he made some stupid comments about the judge having Mexican ancestry, so now the conversation is about whether or not Trump is racist. That's safer ground for Trump, and possibly even winning ground amongst a lot of his likely voters.

It's probably going to be a pattern through the campaign - when Trump gets hit on an issue he'll respond with some ridiculous claim referencing race.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
 Jihadin wrote:
True. We would seriously chuckle though if Trump does something off the wall to negate the debt. I can see it now. "China you build Islands in East China Sea?" and charge them something crazy like placing American made navigational bouys or something. Like a Million a day


Yes, collapsing international trade and sinking the world economy. What a chuckle that'd be.
          Politics - USA        
 sebster wrote:
But the simple reality is that it doesn't work. You think the KKK marches that have been met with violent counter-protests led to KKK members saying 'gee those other guys are really angry about us, they must have a point and I should cancel my KKK membership.' You think there's a single person anywhere who went to a Trump rally and gave up support for the guy because of violent protestors? You think anyone watching on tv sees the violent protest and becomes less likely to vote for Trump?


To be fair, you could argue that the reason the KKK hasn't been stopped by violence is that people haven't used enough violence. If every KKK march was met by counter-protesters with AR-15s gunning down as many KKK members as possible while the police looked the other way I suspect you would quickly see the end of KKK marches. I think the much greater factor in violence failing to suppress the KKK is that there wasn't really much of a period where the question was relevant. Over a fairly short time it went from enjoying widespread support to being an irrelevant bunch of s with no meaningful political power. And there's not a whole lot of motivation to take the risks of escalating to violence when the enemy is already defeated.

It's kind of a similar situation when you look at violent opposition to Trump. You don't see mass assaults on Trump events or constant assassination attempts on Trump himself. There are just occasional punches exchanged with a small handful of violent counter-protestors. So in that situation it's safe to keep supporting Trump in defiance of the violent opposition. You know perfectly well that nobody is going to hurt you, and you can just sit around congratulating yourself on how brave you are for supporting Trump. But let's see a few Trump rallies gunned down and anti-fascist flags planted in the corpses and ask again whether or not people have been deterred from supporting Trump.
          Re:Politics - USA        
 whembly wrote:
 Traditio wrote:
Asterios wrote:so essentially you are whitewashing his history to suit your needs?


Lol. I get it.

Back to Trump, Clinton and Sanders, though:

Does anyone foresee the American public having a more favorable view of Clinton as the race wears on?

Nope.

Which poison do you prefer? Cyanide, VX or Mustard?

Besides... there's always that Libertarian candidate.


Johnson is a dope smoking (at least six weeks ago), open borders, sales tax kind of guy. He's still better than HRC and...IT.
Her interview Sunday was exactly why her approval ratings are almost as bad as IT. When asked if she believed people had a right to Firearms under the Second, she started with "if there is a right." Jeez pick a side and quit playing lawyer.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
 Peregrine wrote:
 sebster wrote:
But the simple reality is that it doesn't work. You think the KKK marches that have been met with violent counter-protests led to KKK members saying 'gee those other guys are really angry about us, they must have a point and I should cancel my KKK membership.' You think there's a single person anywhere who went to a Trump rally and gave up support for the guy because of violent protestors? You think anyone watching on tv sees the violent protest and becomes less likely to vote for Trump?


To be fair, you could argue that the reason the KKK hasn't been stopped by violence is that people haven't used enough violence. If every KKK march was met by counter-protesters with AR-15s gunning down as many KKK members as possible while the police looked the other way I suspect you would quickly see the end of KKK marches. I think the much greater factor in violence failing to suppress the KKK is that there wasn't really much of a period where the question was relevant. Over a fairly short time it went from enjoying widespread support to being an irrelevant bunch of s with no meaningful political power. And there's not a whole lot of motivation to take the risks of escalating to violence when the enemy is already defeated.

It's kind of a similar situation when you look at violent opposition to Trump. You don't see mass assaults on Trump events or constant assassination attempts on Trump himself. There are just occasional punches exchanged with a small handful of violent counter-protestors. So in that situation it's safe to keep supporting Trump in defiance of the violent opposition. You know perfectly well that nobody is going to hurt you, and you can just sit around congratulating yourself on how brave you are for supporting Trump. But let's see a few Trump rallies gunned down and anti-fascist flags planted in the corpses and ask again whether or not people have been deterred from supporting Trump.


Konrad Kurze's theory of political discourse.
          Top 10 Lessons Learned In Traveling The World 10 Years        
Benny Lewis has been traveling the world for 10 years. In his blog he writes: THIS year (2013) I celebrated my TEN year travel anniversary with a much more visual representation of the top ten lessons learned in travelling the world, including the absolute best footage from my travels, and you can hear me speak out the lessons directly to the camera. Here it is. Enjoy! Happiness has no price tag. Be an imperfectionist. The magic happens outside of your comfort zone. The world owes you nothing. Get busy living. Every single person is fascinating and can teach you something. It is Ok […]
          Re:Politics - USA        
Asterios wrote:

Eminem is Black?


...


No, not literally every single person who so much as hummed part of a rap chorus is black or poor. A number of musicians have been decently paid because they bring in even more money than they're given to the recording company they're signed with. A few make it big enough to go on their own and be their own label. Blues and jazz were black once and rock frightened an entire nation before companies stepped in, whitewashed it and made it safe for sale. Rap has spread across the world and been embraced by millions but its roots are undeniable.


Asterios wrote:
but go ahead and be a racist and think all white people are thinking the way you are thinking we are thinking.


I specified people who go on about Islam taking over the West, not all white people.
          Re:Politics - USA        
Rosebuddy wrote:
Asterios wrote:

Eminem is Black?


...


No, not literally every single person who so much as hummed part of a rap chorus is black or poor. A number of musicians have been decently paid because they bring in even more money than they're given to the recording company they're signed with. A few make it big enough to go on their own and be their own label. Blues and jazz were black once and rock frightened an entire nation before companies stepped in, whitewashed it and made it safe for sale. Rap has spread across the world and been embraced by millions but its roots are undeniable.


Asterios wrote:
but go ahead and be a racist and think all white people are thinking the way you are thinking we are thinking.


I specified people who go on about Islam taking over the West, not all white people.


me i'm not worried about Muslims or Islamics, only the radical versions of them same with radical Christians and so forth, also don't think people are talking about Islam taking over the west (except for a few nutcases) but about Terrorists who are Islamic. but then you love throwing around that race card and bigotry card and thinking all white folk being thinking the same thing.
          Langurs, Maps, The Female Gaze and Excuses..        
I am the lamest blogger ever. I've been doing exciting things, though, and I'm going to try to get back to this more regularly. Today I went to go see The Female Gaze: Women Artists Making Their World show at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. It's an incredibly lush, wonderfully varied show, and it's full of people I've never heard of who are making knockout work, as well as great pieces from the great old standards. There are several really incredible Judith Scheacter pieces, but that's just a fraction of what there is- there are so many great paintings and prints in this show that I can't begin to talk about them all. Just go see it. It's great. It was curated by the amazing Robert Cozzolino, who is one of the few men I'd trust to curate a show with this title. The work is so varied that the "Female Gaze" part seems ironic almost immediately, but as you move through the show it contradicts that feeling of irony because the work does address themes that are particularly relevant to women artists. It's a rich world in there, and the number of people who obviously should be getting more attention than they've gotten is huge.

There's also a fabulous painting by Patricia Traub called "A Steward of the Douc Langur." I can't find an image of it online, but her website has lots of great stuff including this one, The Caregivers, which shows a langur on the right side.


Patricia Traub teaches at PAFA, as does Judith Schaecter, but I've never met her. Philadelphia is small enough that this seems odd to me, especially because I am absolutely sure I've met the douc langur that's in the painting. His name, I think, is Duke, and he lives at the Philadelphia zoo, where he seduces every single person who looks at him with his beautiful languid langur eyes. Or, well, maybe all douc langurs do that. Could be.



This piece below is based on a map called The Map of Tenderness that you can read more about in this excellent article in the Atlantic about mapping the self. It's got a ton of fabulous images of old weird maps of unmappable things, which I always love.




PAFA has a pretty good website filled with images from the show, but I think we all need to get the catalog. There was so much great stuff that I was running around the show with my camera, taking pictures of work I loved and names I wanted to find out more about. All of which I want to write about...but this is why I don't blog regularly. I'm too complete. I want to put in all the details of everything, just like I do in my paintings, and I don't have the time to do that in more than one medium. So let me just say- go see the show!

Also, my last post was written just before I went out to Firecat Projects to hang my show last summer. It was a wonderful show. Stan Klein, who runs the gallery with the help of his dog crew Ella, Bella and the Other Fella, is a wonderful, generous guy, and the whole trip was incredibly inspiring and nice. My show was sponsored by a very shy, sweet art supporter named Stewart Wagner, and everyone I met at Firecat was amazing and delightful. The  Chicago art scene- at least the art scene at Firecat, seemed extraordinarily supportive. I met so many people I'd love to see more of, and I reconnected with people I hadn't seen in ages who made me think that if I do nothing else well in life I'm at least good at picking excellent friends.

I've made some new pieces that I will post soon. I'm making breakthroughs in the studio that I'm really excited about, which is part of why I haven't stopped to blog, but I will be posting those new images any minute now...I'm working bigger, better and stripey-er than ever before...
          Reply #2627        
For Educational Purposes

Yesterday morning I set out on an adventure to buy two of the new $10,000,000 Fortune. Went to six retailer's but no one had them in stock. Every single person working at all the stores said they get their tickets around 2:00pm-6:00pm. So I was some what puzzled and disappointed. Nevertheless I stop at a local Quick King and bought two $2 Flamingo Multiplier's(Won-$50 on T#149) and a Cash 3 QP(Loss). I came back to the same store around 4:00pm and was the first one to... [ More ]
          Divination Astrology        
This is how I cast for a divination chart. In a small bowl, I have a hundred and eight seeds (sacred number is 108). I use a larger dried decorative corn. Focusing attention, I divide the seeds randomly approximately by half. This pile is then counted off by twelves. When you have counted off the pile by twelves, you are left with a remainder anywhere from one to twelve, one being Aries, twelve being Pisces, etc. They follow the order of the zodiac. That number rules the ascendant or first house. You fill in the signs uniformly. At the time the reading is being done or the time you get the questions for a reading, is when you now fill in the planets, as they are currently in the sky. This form of reading is inspirational and is very much the same in theory as the Tarot. Different Tarot readers have different cosmologies. This is not a system of formal astrology. This is a system of divination that uses some astrological concepts. Each chart has basically a ruler and that is the ruling planet of the first house. That ruler, along with the Moon, can suggest a significant amount of information. I am surprised by the types of synchronicity I get from this method. I have done charts for a single person, throughout a year, and end up with the same ruler almost every single time. Because of that, I have had a sense that something is trying to speak through the reading!
          The King's Brands        
Welcome back to everyone's favourite historical features on my blog, namely, Edwardian history in association with everyone's favourite tipple, The King's Ginger! This time, I wanted to delve a little deeper into the marvels of the Edwardian age. Or rather the products and brands that were invented and launched in the reign of Edward VII and still endure to this day. So, following an interesting excursion to the Museum of Brands in Notting Hill, and the picking out of a few brands with particular significance to His Maj, here it is! I do hope you enjoy.




On a chilly day in late January, I went along to the foremetioned Museum of Brands for a look around. It's a fascinating place, stuffed with old packaging (and new packaging) and snippets of information about the history behind the products we all know and love. Unfortunately, they don't allow photography inside (copyright issues on the newer products), but they do have a very helpful press department and a wonderful book to go with each era of brands in the museum, which I bought, photographed and have reproduced here with permission from the Museum.


It's not really an exaggeration to say that the Edwardian era was a time of unprecedented innovation. The much longer Victorian era did introduce many brands that are still around, but both in the UK and across the pond, inventions and culinary experiments were numerous between 1901 and 1910. (The greatest of all these is, of course, The King's Ginger, first produced in 1903. Hopefully you're all sipping its fiery warmth in snowbound homes across the pond, and slightly nippy ones in the UK, as you read this). It was also a time of great change in British society, from women's liberation and right to education, as well as the suffragette movement - something I'll write more on in the future. Women were even interacting with the King's favourite technology and driving cars! I know! One huge invention that completely changed the life of many women was the motorised vacuum cleaner.


In 1901, Hubert Cecil Booth patented his ideas for the first ever motor-powered vacuum, which rather marvellously sucked dirt up instead of just blowing or brushing it into a different area. A completely revolutionary idea which sent shockwaves through domestic servants everywhere, who feared they would soon be replaced by machinery. Indeed, the adverts used to promote smaller appliances would seem to agree, though the first one was so huge it had to be drawn about the streets by a horse and so expensive that almost no one could have afforded one for their own household. Instead, it would be hired out to several houses at once, parked outside and long hoses fed through windows on different floors. It was so loud when operating that cab-horses apparently went beserk, which led to Booth actually being sued a few times by cabbies!

Outside a Wines & Spirits merchants too! Maybe he even did Berry Bros. & Rudd?!

What's the link, you may well ask? Well Booth's vacuum cleaner was actually used to clean the carpets of Westminster Abbey before Edward VII's coronation. Look & Learn says,

"[Booth's] biggest breakthrough came early, for just before the Coronation of King Edward VII in 1902, it was found that the blue carpet beneath the thrones was filthy. The word went out: “Send for Booth! Only he can save us.” So into the Abbey went Booth and his operatives and hoses and the result was a triumph. When the King and Queen heard what had happened, they demanded a Command Performance and were so delighted that they bought one cleaner for the Palace and another for Windsor."
Booth's company, the British Vacuum Co. is still going today, although they now make industrial cleaners rather than household ones. A shame, as we could be using his name instead of his American rival Hoover (established 1908) as a verb. 'Boothing' the floor doesn't have quite the same ring, though.

Image courtesy of the Museum of Brands

So what else can we thank the Edwardian era for today? Marmite (which happens to be my favourite foodstuff of all time, no exaggeration) came about in 1902. The way in which it's associated with King Edward VII is convoluted but interesting, so stick with me here. Baron Justus von Liebig was a 19th-century German organic chemist, who invented beef extract. This process was commercialised and turned into a brand - Liebig's Extract of Meat Company, or LEMCO. They then patented Oxo, which I have mentioned here before as they sponsored the London Olympic Games in 1908, during Edward's reign (the Wikipedia page smugly notes that they were the first commercial sponsor of the Olympics, despite claims by Coca-Cola) and the lucky Olympic athletes received fortifying Oxo drinks during their exertions!

Johnny Hayes, running the marathon in 1908. Oxo just out of shot.

In fact, the 1908 Marathon course had booths along its length, similar to the water and sports-drink stations in a modern race, offering hot and cold Oxo for the refreshment of the runners. They could also take a flask to sip from along the way! According to the Public Domain Review, 'Many Edwardian trainers believed drinking water during a race was bad for the runner, though a little brandy or champagne was considered a useful stimulant.' *cough* Or King's Ginger! It also notes that marathon day was one of the hottest of the whole summer in 1908, but at least the salt in the Oxo might have brought some benefit to the sweaty competitors...


Image courtesy of the Museum of Brands

Moving swiftly on from hot beef drinks on summer days, Fry's have been making their chocolate cream bar (which surprisingly enough is vegan) since 1866, but in 1902 they launched their milk chocolate and captured a nation's hearts with their 'five boys' campaign. Fry's was taken over by none other than Cadbury in 1919, the latter of course launched their Dairy Milk in 1905! I'd like to think Bertie, who was a connoisseur of all things food, would have also been partial to a square or two of 'C.D.M'! This spread with its sheer range of confectionary would indicate that much of Edwardian Britain had a sweet tooth, to be fair.

Image reproduced courtesy of the Museum of Brands

Typhoo Tea and Perrier all emerged in 1903 - I've touched on those both before. Daddies Sauce was also launched in 1904. Unlike many Edwardian brands, Daddies was not actually the inventor of brown sauce, that honour goes to the Victorian H.P. but they have both endured over a century of production. Though a couple of weeks ago, the Guardian wrote of the falling fortunes of brown sauce... it must be said that the writer is a self-confessed hater, saying of the 'nefarious brown':
'This was the perfect table sauce for jowly, Victorian and Edwardian gentlemen whose palates were so befogged by years of brandy and cigars, grouse and spotted dick, that only this shrill alarm of a sauce could pierce that bleary, weary gastronomic gloom.'
Harsh. Sounds like a familiar figure, though. I wonder which sauce the King preferred?

Edwardian pantry, reproduced courtesy of the Museum of Brands

Now, using 'celebrities' to promote products is something the Victorians kicked off, but in the days before television there could be no nationally-famous superstars to promote tea, chocolate and tobacco... with one exception.

His Majesty the King, of course!

Image reproduced courtesy of the Museum of Brands

Retailers went a little overboard for tie-ins for the Coronation (if you enlarge above, you might see The Peacemaker Whisky and Coronation Butterscotch, even a commemorative box of starch!) and continued the theme throughout Bertie's reign. Imperial this and Royal that, King of all Toffee and Queen Chocolate as well as rather classist names like 'Chocolat d'Elite' and Aristocrat cigarettes. Sadly, these brands were all limited-edition! 


But this leads me onto another of the King's favourite vices - 'gaspers' (also known as cigarettes). He reputedly smoked more than 12 cigars and 20 cigarettes every day, which inevitably contributed to his death in 1910. Unfortunately a lot of the populace probably went the same way, due to the increasingly fashionable pastime that was smoking. The Imperial Tobacco Company was formed in 1901 and in the days before lung cancer (the discovery, not the actual disease), brands like Woodbines were selling an astonishing 500 million a year. It was becoming so prevalent to smoke, with new brands emerging designed to appeal to men and women separately, and children cottoning on, that a clause in the Children’s Act of 1908 was made, forbidding the sale of tobacco to under-16s.

I could go on about a lot more unglamorous brands from the time like Cherry Blossom shoe polish (1903), Brasso (1905), Toblerone (1908) and Persil (1909), but as this is a piece in association with The King's Ginger, itself a most glamorous product, I'll end with a little bit about cosmetics and perfumes.


The ladies of the era like their Victorian predecessors liked both exotic fragrances that evoked the far-flung lands of the Empire and beyond, and more homely scents. So Japanese-inspired Hasu-no-Hana jostled side-by-side with Yardley's April Violet and Plantol soap (launched by Levers to try to oust Pears...it didn't) in the Edwardian toilette. Sadly, I can't see a single perfume in the spread above, other than Yardley's, which is still around today (and The Internet suggests that the latter was launched in 1913, so not sure even about that). 

Lastly, any excuse for a bit of Art Nouveau, which was used to advertise everything from biscuits to books in the 1900s. I recommend the Museum of Brands' founder Robert Opie's Edwardian Scrapbook this is reproduced from as a fabulous bit of Art Nouveau inspiration! 


In summary, there are many, many more brands that were contemporary of King Edward VII that I could have written about today, but I shall leave it there. If you're interested in these things, do visit the Museum of Brands if you can, I thoroughly recommend it... though there is one brand conspicuously missing... 

Side-note, been styling my hair in a softer style lately - what do you think? 

May I therefore take this opportunity to recommend a certain cockle-warming recipe to you all, if you have decided that this is the time to give the old KGL a try!


Happy historical supping!

Fleur xx
DiaryofaVintageGirl.com
          How To Stop Your Divorce        
To stop your divorce, you need to take stock of what’s really important in life and grab hold. How bad do you want to stop your divorce?  Sounds like a silly question huh?  Well, it’s really important to focus on just how much you want to keep your marriage.  How important is it to you?  Are you a better person now that you are married?  To what lengths would you go to make sure your marriage is secure.  Answering these initial questions will help you figure out the next part of your journey. If you feel that you need to stop your divorce at all costs, that if you were to be divorced, your life would be effectively crushed, then I’m glad you’ve figured it out.  See, I always ask people how much they want to stop their divorce, because it helps them think about why it is they value their relationship.  One problem in long term relationships is that you get so familiar with a single person that you start to forget the many reasons why it is you treasure them. The best advice I can give you on how to stop a divorce is based on rediscovering what it is you find irresistible about your partner, and having them rediscover it with you.  One exercise I find that helps people a lot is for them to list the five most wonderful things about their partner that they can think of.  It sounds weird, I know. If you’re in the middle of a fight, how could you possibly be thinking good things about your partner?  This exercise takes the strife and anger out of the situation and instead focuses both members on the positive. If you really feel that focusing on the positive is not going to cut it for stopping your divorce, then I highly recommend for you to see a marriage counselor immediately. They can delve into the complex psychological reasons you and your spouse are having problems.  You may need a professional to help you wade through any abuse or trauma you or your partner may have experienced from an earlier relationship. Now that you’ve read about how to stop your divorce, check out more info on how to save your relationship. My FREE video presentation shows you how to “rewind” your relationship to a strong, blissful stage. Click here NOW to see the secret…
          The Shows #26: Central States Fair wrap up        

Although it started with a bang, I only really had one more big day. However, I still had the 2nd biggest week ever and I am having my biggest month ever. So would I have wanted to sell more? Of course, that’s the idea. But I can’t be disappointed with the results. I also have several of what I consider “very possible” custom orders. If most of them come through it will be a huge show for me.

Another thing, is pricing. I have always been criticized for under pricing my goods. My main excuse has been that until I feel my work was worthy of higher prices, let would not raise them much. I am not saying that I am as good as I need to be, but I decided that it was time to start a move towards “right pricing”. The formula that I am going by is based on LJ huff’s blogs on business pricing and structure. Read it if you haven’t, it was a great inspiration for me. Anyway, I raised prices almost 50% across the board. I had to grit my teeth a little when I did it, but I knew that it was the right thing to do. Oddly, I never had a single person complain about the prices. Maybe it cost me a couple sales, but the reality is that I can’t compete with Walmart.

some other really important advances, the booth. I spent much more time making sure I had a much more professional setup. More organized and easily accessible. I received a lot of compliments on the booth layout. I am already planning improvements for next years booth. Another thing I did late that people liked was showing the rough lumber. Last week I put out the topic of High Pressure vs Low pressure sales. Several really good suggestions. Since I didn’t have time to put together a presentation on sawing the wood through finishing the products nI chose to put some rough lumber out to show what I look for in selecting the wood for a project. Many seemed interested and I probably will get orders for just rough lumber.

Things that need improvement. First and most painfully obvious. About the 3rd day of the show, I realized that I did not have a sign with the business name on it ANYWHERE! It was one of those moments that I threatened to fire myself. I put up a paper banner, but I consider it awful considering what I was trying to accomplish in the booth. Second thing is small items. I was completely sold out of small items by mid week. Odds are that I could have had more sales with a better inventory. I had every intention of having more small items, but you can’t eat good intentions.

My biggest show of the year is not till February. But I am already planning improvements for then. I still feel that I am going in the right direction and I can’t take me foot off the gas now.

Thanks for reading. I hope everyone can learn from my experience and the comments of the others.


          Confirmed – You Don’t Have to Smoke Pot to Get the Marijuana Munchies!        

While it’s not strictly marijuana news…we thought we’d be clear about that before anyone else pointed it out for us…it’s nonetheless a story we thought our readers might be interested in. Apparently, those trademark munchies we all know so well that follow a stellar smoking session are not in fact limited only to those who use cannabis. In fact, scientists have suggested that those who do not get sufficient sleep may in fact find themselves with exactly the same cravings and proclivities for pigging out as those who are well and truly stoned.

 

It was a team of researchers from the United States that made the discovery, having found that insufficient sleep has pretty much the same effect on the brain as cannabis when it comes to sparking insatiable hunger and cravings for snacks and foods that aren’t exactly the healthiest. Suffice to say, it’s the kind of news that’s likely to go down well with 24-hour convenience store owners already having their profits bolstered by the cannabis crowd.

 

In order to investigate the alleged link, the researchers examined exactly how otherwise healthy volunteers behaved in terms of their food cravings and choices, in relation to how much sleep they had. When deprived of sleep, they were found to instinctively make a beeline for higher calorie snacks about twice as much as the choices they made when they’d slept well.

 

What’s more, University of Chicago researcher Erin Hanlon said that just like millions of stoners the world over, those who haven’t had enough sleep were also more inclined to continue pigging out despite the fact that they are clearly full. Why did they bother looking into the phenomenon in the first place? Well, it all comes down to the fact that scientists in general firmly believe that obesity risk is directly linked to sleep patterns in a wide variety of ways. Obesity and troubled sleep are known to be interconnected in both directions – this was however the first study that focused on the way in which insufficient sleep can apparently trigger the marijuana munchies.

 

Exploring the idea for himself, Hanlon invited a small group of 14 women and men to undergo a series of tests over two sessions, each of which lasted for four days. In one instance they were given approximately 4 hours sleep every night, while in the next instance they slept for 7.5 the hours on average. They were given exactly the same amount of food at exactly the same time each day, though after the fourth day were offered various snacks and drinks they can choose from themselves.

 

The results were pretty conclusive – pretty much every single person who sleept less dove headfirst into the kinds of unhealthy snacks even they admitted they wouldn’t normally choose first. Even though they had eaten a large meal 2 hours earlier, they still indulged and indeed overindulged in what was offered to them. By contrast, when they had plenty sleep, they made much healthier choices.

 

“We know that marijuana activates the endocannabinoid system and causes people to overeat when they are not hungry, and they normally eat yummy sweet and fatty foods,” Hanlon said.

 

“Sleep restriction may cause overeating by acting in the same manner.”

 

Far from just an interesting finding, the researchers reckon that it could be extremely significant in bringing about new and effective preventative measures and treatments for obesity. As for cannabis users on the other hand…well, dealing with the munchies is really just something that comes with the territory and most likely something that you wouldn’t want to get rid of any way.

 

After all, get it right with a stocked kitchen at the time and it can be one of the most enjoyable parts of the evening by far!

 

 

 


          Ten Enjoyable Weed Fables Guaranteed to Quell Critics’ Smugness         

There’s only one thing more annoying than a judgmental sod doing his or her utmost to tell you your weed lifestyle is a bad one – and that’s a judgmental sod armed with a bunch of BS facts and stats. The problem is that every single person with an opinion to share…sadly…will have heard something somewhere that makes them think they’re right and you’re wrong, even when they’re not. A friend told them, it’s a simple ‘factoid’ or they read it in a reliable source…i.e. a tabloid rag.

Chances are, however, that as you prefer to live, breathe and do your business on planet Earth, you’re more about real facts and truths rather than trumped-up opinions. Should this be the case, the good news is that with a few genuine facts and figures from real sources of value, it’s perfectly possible to wipe a fair few smug grins off a few faces and walk away proud for doing so.

And when it comes to the possible/eventual legalisation of weed, the pickings are particularly rich!

The next time you’re in that conversation with the person who’s dissing marijuana legalisation, you can deliver these knockout statistics to shut them up.

1 – Legal Pot Will Hook Too Many Kids

It’s a common misconception that just because something is made readily available, it means the kids of the country in question will end up with a serious problem. There are so many countries where stuff like beer and cigarettes can be bought from vending machines, on the streets, by anyone at any time. Is the whole childhood population hooked on booze and ciggies? Of course not. Just to quote a stat, the number of under-17 weed smokers across the West has actually been on the decline for the past decade and most legal states in the US report a drop in use by teens (I guess it's not so cool when 'old' people are doing it!).

2 – Weed is More of a Threat on the Roads than Alcohol

First of all, ask a sample group of a thousand weed users during the middle of a session if they reckon they could drive and chances are about 998 of them wouldn’t dare or be stupid enough. By contrast, alcohol makes you think you’re a superhero and can do anything. As for a stat on the subject – since the legalisation of weed in Colorado and Washington State, their respective smoke-driver rates have actually fallen even lower than those of states where weed is still illegal.

3 – Weed Causes Brain Damage

Folk always bang on about the hard-core ‘evidence’ that weed rots the brain. In reality however, while there have been links drawn between OTT weed use and certain cognitive problems, there is still, even after so many generations of studies, NO hard evidence whatsoever that regular weed use is bad for the brain…there just isn’t.

4 – Weed is Addictive

No, no and no again. The confusion here comes in the way that smoking pot can of course be habit forming…it’s somewhat on the moreish side to say the least. But in terms of actual addiction in the same sense as say heroin or even tobacco, it’s a totally different story. Sure, a life-long smoker may feel they can’t live without their buds, but this doesn’t count as full-scale medical addiction.

5 – Marijuana is Worse than Tobacco For Your Lungs

This is another one of those examples that seems to have come out of nowhere on the back of wild theory and opinion with no hard evidence at all. Studies over the years have shown that ‘sensible’ use of marijuana on a pretty regular basis isn’t just less harmful that tobacco smoking – it’s totally harmless for the lungs. Yes, you might do some damage if you’re toking from dusk ‘til dawn every day, but in terms of being worse that tobacco…yeah, right!

6 – Pot Today is Too Strong to Be Safe

Are buds getting better year after year? Damn right they are! Does this make today’s pot less safe than that of a generation ago? Hell no! First of all, these days you can at least get a good idea of where and how your weed’s been grown, meaning no real dangers in that department. And as far as strength goes, considering there’s been a pill available with dose of 100% THC that’s been on the market since the 80s, it’s hardly logical to call any weed of any strength ‘risky’ or ‘strong’ by comparison.

7 – Legal Weed Will Lead to Legal Cocaine, Heroin etc.

No, it won’t. Not now, not ever. The big difference between weed and other drugs like these is the plain and simple fact that heroin, meth, crack and so on are all potentially lethal. They mess you up, they’re stupidly addictive and they can kill you in one go – no benefits at all. Recent studies have shown that while over 80% of adults are in favour of legalised weed, less than 2% think it would be a good idea to legalise any harder drugs…so there you go.

8 – Weed Use Breeds Criminal Behaviour

When temporary legalisation tests have been carried out across towns, cities and even whole countries, crime levels during such periods haven’t just fallen, they’ve plummeted. Weed has never been associated with crime, violence or any real antisocial behaviour – it’s more associated with kicking back at home and letting the outside world do whatever the hell it wants. By legalising it you force criminals out of the market, which can only be a good thing.

9 - Legal Weed Will Cause Higher Costs for Health Insurance

Simply not true. Recent studies showed than on average, a standard weed smoker costs 95% less in medical bills each year than a standard habitual drinker. Which in turn means that if the US put down the bottle and picked up a blunt, the cost of medical insurance could actually lower as payouts become less....maybe.

10 – Legalisation Sends the Wrong Message

OK, so there’s one glaring problem with this theory – we’re supposed to live in a democracy. If 80% of the population want something, the whole idea of living in a democracy is that it should happen. Heck, even if just 60% want it, there’s really no grounds upon which a reasonable government should be able to say no. If anything, to legalise weed on the back of public pressure would be to send the message that it is in fact the people that run the country, not some kind of dictatorship.

 


          AMENDED BY-LAWS OF PHILIPPINE BIBLE COLLEGE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION, INC.        
AMENDED BY-LAWS OF PHILIPPINE BIBLE COLLEGE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION, INC.

(1) CERTIFICATE OF FILING OF AMENDED ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION issued by Benito A. Cataran, Director, Company Registration and Monitoring Department is on file. Approval is dated 24th May 2005.
(2) Note: Amendments adopted on October 29, 2004 by a majority vote of the Board of Trustees and on December 25, 2004 by a vote of at least two-thirds of the members of the corporation.

AMENDED BY-LAWS OF PHILIPPINE BIBLE COLLEGE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION, INC.

KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS:

The undersigned incorporators, all of legal age and a majority of whom are residents of the Philippines, have this day voluntarily agreed to form a non-stock corporation under the laws of the Republic of the Philippines.

AND WE HEREBY CERTIFY:
FIRST: That the name of said association shall be:

PHILIPPINE BIBLE COLLEGE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION, INC.

SECOND: That the purpose or purposes for which the association is incorporated are:
1.To foster fraternal relations, brotherhood and camaraderie among its members;
2. To extend mutual aid and assistance to members and to promote their general welfare;
3. To help provide quality training and direction for professional, cultural and spiritual growth; and
4. To undertake projects which will enhance New Testament church leadership.

THIRD: That the principal office of the association is No. 18 Rimando Road, Baguio City
FOURTH: That the term for which the said association is to exist is FIFTY (50) YEARS from and after date of incorporation.
FIFTH: That the names, nationalities and residences of the Incorporators of the association are as follows:
Name Nationality Residence
1. Silverio A.. Biteng Filipino 159 Avocado St., Purok 1
Sta Rita, Olongapo City
2. John C. Quiniones Filipino Catbangen, San Fernando City, La Union
3.Conrado P. Mapalo Filipino 15 Rose St., Payatas A, Quezon City
4. Gavina B. Yen Filipino 73 Bayan Park, Aurora Hill, Baguio City
5. Mardonio Bernardo Filipino PCIB-Carmen Branch, Rosales, Pangasinan

SIXTH: That the number of Trustees of the association shall be ELEVEN (11) and the names, nationalities and residences of the first trustees of the association are as follows:
Name Nationality Residence
1. Silverio A. Biteng Filipino 159 Avocado St., Purok 1, Sta. Rita, Olongapo City
2. John C. Quiniones Filipino Catbangen, San Fernando City, La Union
3. Conrado Mapalo Filipino 15 Rose St., Payatas A, Quezon City
4. Gavina B. Yen Filipino 73 Bayan Park, Aurora Hill, Baguio City
5. Mardonio Bernardo Filipino PCIB-Carmen Branch, Rosales, Pangasinan

SEVENTH: That the present members of the association with their contributions are the following (List of additional members shall be submitted to the SEC from time to time):
Names Contributions
1. David Annague P 20.00
2. Ismael Gurtiza P 20.00
3. Silverio Biteng P100.00
4. John Quiniones P 20.00
5. Conrado Mapalo P100.00
6. Gavina Yen P100.00
7. Mardonio Bernardo P100.00
8. Pablo Lachica P100.00
9. Rodolfo Mapile P100.00
10. Marlow Garlitos P100.00
11. Jovita Lazaro P 20.00
12. Eugene Awingan P 20.00
13. Daton Palitayan P 20.00
14. Edwin Valencia P 20.00
15. Eusebio Tanicala P 20.00
16. Philip Marania P 20.00

EIGHT: That Mrs. Gavina B. Yen has been elected by the members of the association as Treasurer of the association to act as such until her successor is duly elected and qualified in accordance with the by-laws, and that as such Treasurer, she has been authorized to receive for and in the name and for the benefit of the association, all contributions or donations paid or given by the members.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, we have hereunto signed this Articles of Incorporation this 28th day of October 1989 in Baguio City, Province of Benguet, Republic of the Philippines.

Sgd. SILVERIO A. BITENG Sgd. JOHN C. QUINIONES

Sgd. CONRADO P. MAPALO Sgd. GAVINA B. YEN

Sgd. MARDONIO B. BERNARDO

Signed in the presence of:

Sgd. DATON A. PALITAYAN Sgd. DAVID A. ANNAGUE


Note: TRUSTEES’ AND SECRETARY’S CERTIFICATE of the amendments is on file signed by the following: John Quiniones, Bonifacio Patricio, Jr., Felix Garlitos, Mardonio Bernardo, Rolando Dumawa.


Notarized by JOEL G. GORDOLA, Notary Public, on January 3, 2005.




AMENDED BY-LAWS OF PHILIPPINE BIBLE COLLEGE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION, INC.

ARTICLE I MEETINGS
Section 1. Annual Membership Meetings – The annual general meeting of the members shall be held at the principal office of the association on the last Friday of March of each year. During such meeting the President will render his Annual Report to the members.

Section 2. Special Membership Meetings – The special general membership meeting may be called as the need thereof arises by the Board of Trustees or upon petition of one-third (1/3) of the general membership.

Section 3. Monthly Board Meeting – Monthly meeting of the trustees and the officers shall be called every end of the month by the President of the association. During such meetings, the President shall render his monthly report to the trustees and officers.

Section 4. Special Board Meeting – Special meeting of the trustees and the officers may be called as the need thereof arises by the President or upon petition of a majority of the trustees.

Section 5. Notices of the date, time and place of annual, monthly or special meetings of the members and of the trustees shall be given personally or by special delivery mail, at least one week before the date set for such meeting. In urgent cases, the notice may be communicated at least two days before the meeting personally or by telephone or by telegram, if personal contact is not possible. No other business shall be considered at such meeting except with the consent of all the members present.

Section 6. Waiver of notice – Notice of meeting may be waived verbally by any member attending it.

Section 7. Quorum -- A quorum for any meeting of the members shall consist of a majority of the members and a majority of such quorum may decide any question at the meeting except those matters where the Corporation Code requires the affirmative vote of a greater proportion.

Section 8. Order of Business – The order of business at the annual general meeting of the members shall be as follows:
a. Proof of service of the required notice of meeting, except when such notice is waived by the members constituting a quorum
b. Proof of the presence of a quorum.
c. Reading and approval of the minutes of the previous annual meeting, except when such Reading is dispensed with by a majority vote of those present.
d. Unfinished business.
e. Report of the President.
f. Election of the Trustees for the ensuing year.
g. Other matters.


The order of business at any meeting may be changed by a vote of the majority of the members present.

Section 9. Voting by Proxy -- Members shall be entitled to one vote each, and they may vote in person or by proxy, which shall be in writing and filed with the Secretary of the association before the scheduled meeting.

ARTICLE II TRUSTEES
Section 1. Board of Trustees – The corporate powers of the association shall be exercised, its business conducted and its property controlled by the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees shall exercise its powers and perform its functions as a collegial body and no trustee shall have individual power or function apart and separate from the board. They shall be elected at large by the members and shall hold office for three (3) years and until their successors are duly elected and qualified.

Section 2. Qualification – No member shall be eligible for election to the Board of Trustees unless he has the following qualifications:
1. An active member of the New Testament Church of Christ and of good moral standing In his/her congregation;
2. An active member of the PBCAA, Inc. and of good standing;
3. At least a graduate of Associate in Theology from PBC;
4. Willing to serve the association without compensation.
Section 3. Disqualification of Trustees or Officers – No member convicted of final judgment of an offense punishable by imprisonment for a period exceeding six (6) years, or violations of this code committed within five (5) years prior to the date of election or appointment, shall qualify as trustee or officer.

ARTICLE III OFFICERS
Section 1. Officers – The officers of the association shall be a President, an Executive Vice President, a Vice President for Luzon, a Vice President for the Visayas, a Vice President for Mindanao, a Secretary, a Treasurer, an Auditor, two Business Managers, and a Public Relations Officer. They shall be elected by the Board of Trustees from among themselves. The Board may combine compatible offices in a single person.
Section 2. Term of Office – All officers of the association shall hold office for three (3) years and until their successors are duly elected and qualified.

ARTICLE IV FUNCTIONS & POWERS OF OFFICERS
Section 1. President – The President shall be the Chief Executive Officer of the association. In addition to duties as such, he shall preside in all meetings of the Board of Trustees and of all the meetings of the members of the association.
He shall execute all resolutions and/or decisions of the Board of Trustees. He shall be changed with directing and overseeing the activities of the association. He shall appoint and have control over all employees of the association, review and approve expense vouchers. Together with the Secretary of the Association, he shall present to the Board of Trustees and to the members an annual budget and, from time to time as maybe necessary, supplemental budgets. He shall submit to the Board as soon as possible after the close of each fiscal year, and to the members at each annual meeting, a complete report of the activities and operations of the association for the fiscal year under his term.
Section 2. Executive Vice President – The Executive Vice President, if qualified shall exercise all powers and perform all duties of the President during the absence or incapacity of the latter and shall perform duties that maybe assigned by the Board of Trustees.
Section 3. Vice President for Luzon – The Vice President for Luzon shall be the contact person for all members in Luzon and shall coordinate activities of the Association in his area of responsibility. He maybe designated by the Board of Trustees as Executive Vice President in the event of vacancy of such office. He shall perform other functions as maybe assigned by the Board of Trustees.
Section 4. Vice President for Visayas – The Vice President for Visayas shall be the contact person for all members in Visayas and shall coordinate all activities of the Association in his area of responsibility. He maybe designated by the Board of Trustees as Executive Vice President in the event of vacancy in such office. He shall perform such other duties as maybe assigned by the Board of Trustees.
Section 5. Vice President for Mindanao – The Vice President for Mindanao shall be the contact person for members in Mindanao and shall coordinate all activities of the Association in his area of responsibility. He maybe designated by the Board of Trustees as Executive Vice President in the event of vacancy in such office. He shall perform such other duties as maybe assigned by the Board of Trustees.
Section 6. Secretary – The Secretary shall give all the notices required by these by-laws and keep the minutes of all meetings of the members and of the Board of Trustees and of all meetings of all committees in a book kept for the purpose. He shall keep the seal of the association and affix such seal to any paper or instrument requiring the same. He shall have custody of the correspondence files and all other papers that are to be kept by the Treasurer. He shall maintain the member’s register, have charge of the bulletin board at the principal office of the association. He shall also perform all such other duties and works as the Board of Trustees may from time to time assign to him.
Section 7. Treasurer – The Treasurer shall have charge of the funds, receipts and disbursements of the association. He shall keep all moneys and other valuables of the association in such bank or banks as the Board of Trustees may designate. He shall keep and have charge of the books of accounts which shall be open to inspection by any member of the Board of Trustees, whenever required, an account of financial condition of the association and of all transactions made by him as Treasurer. He shall also perform such other duties and functions as may be assigned to him by the Board of Trustees. (Last sentence which read, “He shall post a bond in such amount as maybe fixed by the Board of Trustees” was deleted).
Section 8. Auditor – The Auditor shall examine financial records and audit money. He shall also perform other functions as may be provided for by the Board of Trustees.
Section 9. Two Business Managers – The two Business Managers shall initiate and submit to the Board of Trustees a business plan for the association. They shall assist the President in the proper implementation of the business plan whenever approved by the Board of Trustees. They shall perform other functions as may be assigned to them by the Board of Trustees.
Section 10. Public Relations Officer – The Public Relations Officer shall be responsible for the promotion and protection of the name and public image of the association. He shall be in charge of all media relations and exposure. He shall assist the President and the Secretary in the proper dissemination of the information among members of the association. He shall perform such other functions as maybe assigned to him by the Board of Trustees.

ARTICLE V MEMBERS

Section 1. Qualification for Membership – The Board shall determine the qualifications of an applicant for membership.
Section 2. Rights of Members – A member shall have the following rights:
a. To exercise the right to vote on all matters relating to the affairs of the association;
b. To be eligible to any elective or appointive office of the association;
c. To participate in all deliberations/meetings of the association;
d. To avail of all the facilities of the association;
e. To examine all the records or books of the association during business hours;
f. To receive all benefits approved by the Board of Trustees.
Section 3. Duties and Responsibilities of Members – A member shall have the following duties and responsibilities:
a. To obey and comply with the by-laws, rules and regulations that may be promulgated by the association from time to time;
b. To attend all meetings that may be called by the Board of Trustees;
c. To pay membership dues and other assessments of the association.

ARTICLE VI BOARD OF ADVISERS
Section 1. Board of Advisers – A Board of Advisers shall be composed of Fifteen members to be selected by the Board of Trustees who will serve in a consultancy and advisory capacity to the association. It will be a collegial body which shall elect among its members a Chairman who shall be an ex officio member of the Board of Trustees of the association.
Section 2. Members – Members of the Board of Advisers shall be selected by the Board of Trustees from a list of nominees who are willing to serve. These may be persons who by virtue of their education, experience and stature in the community shall be able to contribute wise counsel and provide guidance to the association.
Section 3. Term of Office – The term of office of the Board of Advisers shall be co-terminus with the term of office of the Board of Trustees.
Section 4. Compensation – Members of the Board of Advisers shall receive no compensation for their services. Subject to an appropriation by the Board of Trustees, a reasonable amount of honorarium or per diem may be given each member of the Board of Advisers.

ARTICLE VII SUSPENSION, EXPULSION AND TERMINATION OF MEMBERSHIP
Section 1. Suspension, expulsion and termination of membership shall be in accordance with the rules and regulations of the association. Any member of the association may file charges against a member by filing a written complaint with the Secretary of the association. The Board of Trustees shall call a special meeting of the members to consider the charges. The affirmative vote of one third (1/3) of all the members of the association shall be necessary to suspend a member, provided, that where the penalty is expulsion, the affirmative vote of at least two thirds (2/3) of all the members shall be necessary to expel a member.

ARTICLE VIII FUNDS
Section 1. Funds – The funds of the association shall be derived from admission fees, annual dues and special assessments of members, gifts, donations or benefits.
Section 2. Fees and Dues – Every member of the association shall, in addition to the membership fee, pay dues and/or assessments that may be imposed by the association from time to time.
Section 3. Annual Membership Fee – Every member shall pay an annual membership fee of Php600 payable at Php50 per month provided, however, that a member may pay in advance the annual membership fee at a discounted amount of Php500. The Board of Trustees may increase/decrease the annual membership fee subject to the approval of a majority of the members at each annual general meeting.
Section 4. Lifetime Membership Fee -- Any member may choose to pay a lifetime membership fee in the amount of Php2500 payable once in advance in lieu of the annual membership fee. The Board of Trustees may increase the lifetime membership fee subject to the approval of a majority of the members at the annual general meeting, provided that such increase shall not apply to those who have already paid a lifetime membership fee prior to the approval of such increase.
Section 5. Disbursements -- Withdrawal from the funds of the association, whether by check or any other instrument, shall be signed by the Treasurer and countersigned by the President. If necessary, the Board of Trustees may designate other signatories.
Section 6. Fiscal Year – The fiscal year of the association shall be from January 1 to December 31 each year.

ARTICLE IX CORPORATE SEAL
Section 1. Form – The corporate seal of the association shall be in such form and design as may be determined by the Board.

ARTICLE X AMENDMENTS OF THE BY-LAWS
Section 1. Amendments – These by-laws, or any portion thereof, may be amended or repealed by a majority vote of the Board of Trustees and ratified by a majority vote of the members at any regular or special meeting of the general membership duly held for the purpose.

Adopted this 28th day of October 1989 in Baguio City by the affirmative vote of the undersigned members representing a majority of the members of the association in a special meeting duly held for the purpose.

Sgd. SILVERIO A BITENG Sgd. JOHN C QUINIONES

Sgd. CONRADO P. MAPALO Sgd. GAVINA B. YEN

Sgd. MARDONIO B. BERNARDO
          By-Laws of the PBCAA (Amended)        

AMENDED BY-LAWS OF
PHILIPPINE BIBLE COLLEGE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION, INC


ARTICLE I

Meetings

Section 1. Annual Membership Meetings – The annual general meeting of the member shall be held at the principal office of the association on the last Friday of March of each year. During such meeting the President will render his Annual Report to the members.

(As amended on December 25, 2004)

Section 2. Special Membership Meetings – The special general membership meeting may be called as the need thereof arises by the Board of Trustees or upon petition of one-third(1/3) of the general membership.

(As amended on December 25, 2004)

Section 3. Monthly Board Meeting – Monthly meeting of the trustees and the officers shall be called every end of the month by the President of the association. During such meetings, the President shall render his monthly report to the trustees and officers.

(As amended on December 25, 2004)

Section 4. Special Board Meeting – Special meeting of the trustees and the officers may be called as the need thereof arises by the President or upon petition of a majority of the trustees.

(As amended on December 25, 2004)

Section 5. Notices – Notices of the date, time and place of annual, monthly or special meetings of the members and of the trustees shall be given either personally or by special delivery mail, at least one week before the date set for such meeting. In urgent cases, the notice may be communicated at least two days before the meeting personally or by telephone or by telegram, if personal contact is not possible. The notice of every special meeting shall state briefly the purpose or purposes of the meeting. No other business shall be considered at such meeting except with the consent of all the members present.

Section 6. Waiver of notice – Notice of meeting may be waived verbally by any member attending it.

Section 7. Quorum – A quorum for any meeting of the members shall consist of a majority of the members and a majority of such quorum may decide any question at the meeting except those matters where the Corporation Code requires the affirmative vote of a greater proportion.

Section 8. Order of Business – The order of business at the annual general meeting of the members shall be as follows:

a) Proof of service of the required notice of meeting, except when such notice is waived by the members constituting a quorum.

b) Proof of the presence of a quorum.

c) Reading and approval of the minutes of the previous annual meeting, except when such reading is dispensed with by a majority vote of those present.

d) Unfinished business.

e) Report of the President.

f) Election of the Trustees for the ensuing year.

g) Other matters.

The order of business at any meeting may be changed by a vote of the majority of the members present

Section 9. Voting Proxy – Members shall be entitled to one vote each, and they may vote either in person or by proxy, which shall be in writing and filed with the Secretary of the association before the scheduled meeting.

ARTICLE II

Trustees

Section 1. Board of Trustees – The corporate powers of the association shall be exercised, its business conducted and its property controlled by the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees shall exercise its power and perform its functions as a collegial body and no trustee shall have individual power or function apart and separate from the board. They shall be elected at large by the members and shall hold office for three (3) years and until their successors are duly elected and qualified.

(As amended on December 25, 2004)

Section 2. Qualifications – No member shall be eligible for election to the Board of Trustees unless he has the following qualifications:

  1. An active member of the New Testament Church of Christ and of good moral standing in his/her congregation;

  1. An active member of the PBCAA, Inc. and of good standing;

  1. At least a graduate of Associate in Theology from PBC;

  1. Willing to serve the association without compensation.

(As amended on December 25, 2004)

Section 3. Disqualification of Trustees or Officers – No member convicted of final judgment of an offense punishable by imprisonment for a period exceeding six (6) years, or violation of this code committed within five (5) years prior to the date of election or appointment, shall qualify as trustee or officer.

ARTICLE III

Officers

Section 1. Officers – The officers of the association shall be a President, an Executive Vice President, a Vice President for Luzon, a Vice President for Visayas, a Vice President for Mindanao, a Secretary, a Treasurer, an Auditor, two Business Managers and a Public Relations Officer. They shall be elected by the Board of Trustees from among themselves. The Board may combine compatible offices in a single person.

(As amended on December 25, 2004)

Section 2. Term of Office – All officers of the association shall hold office for three (3) years and until their successors are duly elected and qualified.

(As amended on December 25, 2004)

ARTICLE IV

Function & Powers of Officers

Section 1. President – The President shall be the Chief Executive Officer of the association. In addition to duties as such, he shall preside in all meetings of the Board of Trustees and of all the meetings of the members of the association.

He shall execute all resolutions and/or decisions of the Board of Trustees. He shall be charged with directing and overseeing the activities of the association. He shall appoint and have control over all employees of the association, review and approve expense vouchers. Together with the Secretary of the Association, he shall present to the Board of Trustees and to the members an annual budget and, from time to time as may be necessary, supplemental budgets. He shall submit to the Board as soon as possible after the close of each fiscal year, and to the members at each annual meeting, a complete report of the activities and operations of the association for the fiscal year under his term.

Section 2. Executive Vice President – The Executive Vice President, if qualified shall exercise all powers and perform all duties of the President during the absence or incapacity of the latter and shall perform duties that maybe assigned by the Board of Trustees

(As amended on December 25, 2004)

Section 3. Vice President for Luzon – The Vice President for Luzon shall be the contact person for all members in Luzon and shall coordinate activities of the Association in his area of responsibility. He maybe designated by the Board of Trustees as Executive Vice President in the event of vacancy of such office. He shall perform other functions as maybe assigned by the Board of Trustees.

(As amended on December 25, 2004)

Section 4. Vice President for Visayas – The Vice President for Visayas shall be the contact person for all members in Visayas and shall coordinate all activities of the association in his area of responsibility. He maybe designated by the Board of Trustees as Executive Vice President in the event of vacancy in such office. He shall perform such other duties as maybe assigned by the Board of Trustees.

(As amended on December 25, 2004)

Section 5. Vice President for Mindanao – The Vice President for Mindanao shall be the contact person for members in Mindanao and shall coordinate all activities of the Association in his area of responsibility. He maybe designated by the Board of Trustees as Executive Vice President in the event of vacancy in such office. He shall perform such other duties as maybe assigned by the Board of Trustees.

(As amended on December 24, 2004)

Section 6. Secretary – The Secretary shall give all the notices required by these by-laws and keep the minutes of all meetings of the members and of the Board of Trustees and of all meetings of all committees in a book kept for the purpose. He shall keep the seal of the association and affix such seal to any paper or instrument requiring the same. He shall have custody of the correspondence files and all other papers that are to be kept by the Treasurer. He shall maintain the members’ register, have charge of the bulletin board at the principal office of the association. He shall also perform all such other duties and works as the Board of Trustees from time to time assign to him.

Section 7. Treasurer – The Treasurer shall have charge of the funds, receipts and disbursement of the association. He shall keep all moneys and other valuables of the association in such bank or banks as the Board of Trustees may designate. He shall keep and have charge of the books of accounts which shall be open to inspection by any member if the Board of Trustees, whenever required, an account of financial condition of the association and of all transactions made by him as Treasurer. He shall also perform such other duties and functions as may be assigned to him by the Board of Trustees. (Last sentence which read, “He shall post a bond in such amount as may be fixed by the Board of Trustees” was deleted).

(As amended on December 25, 2004)

Section 8. Auditor – The Auditor shall examine financial records and audit money. He shall also perform other functions as may be provided for by the Board of Trustees.

Section 9. Two Business Managers – The two Business Mangers shall initiate and submit to the Board of Trustees a business plan for the association. They shall assist the President in the proper implementation of the business plan whenever approved by the Board of Trustees. They shall perform other functions as may be assigned to them by the Board of Trustees.

(As amended on December 25, 2004)

Section 10. Public Relations Officer – The Public Relations Officer shall be responsible for the promotion and protection of the name and public image of the association. He shall be in charge of all media relations and exposure. He shall assist the President and the Secretary in the proper dissemination of information among members of the association. He shall perform such other functions as may be assigned to him by the Board of Trustees.

(As amended on December 25, 2004)

ARTICLE V

Members

Section 1. Qualifications for Membership – The Board shall determine the qualification of an applicant for membership.

Section 2. Rights of Members – A member shall have the following rights:

  1. To exercise the right to vote on all matters relating to the affairs of the association;
  2. To be eligible to any elective or appointive office of the association;
  3. To participate in all deliberations/meetings of the association;
  4. To avail of all the facilities of the association;
  5. To examine all the records or books of the association during business hours;
  6. To receive all benefits approved by the Board of Trustees.

(As amended on December 25, 2004)

Section 3. Duties and Responsibilities of Members – A member shall have the following duties and responsibilities:

  1. To obey and comply with the by-laws, rules and regulations that may be promulgated by the association from time to time.
  2. To attend all meetings that may be called by the Board of Trustees;
  3. To pay membership dues and other assessment of the association.

ARTICLE VI

Board of Advisers

Section 1. Board of Advisers – A Board of Advisers shall be composed of Fifteen 15) members to be selected by the Board of Trustees who will serve in a consultancy and advisory capacity to the association. It will be a collegial body which shall elect among its members a Chairman who shall be an ex officio member of the Board of Trustees of the association.

Section 2. – Members – Members of the Board of Advisers shall be selected by the Board of Trustees from a list of nominees who are willing to serve. These may be persons who by virtue of their education, experience and stature in the community shall be able to contribute wise counsel and provide guidance to the association.

Section 3. Term of Office – The term of office of members of the Board of Advisers shall be co-terminus with the term of office of the Board of Trustees.

Section 4. Compensation – Members of the Board of Advisers shall receive no compensation for their services. Subject to an appropriation by the Board of Trustees, a reasonable amount of honorarium or per diem may be given to each member of the Board of Advisers.

(As amended on December 25, 2004)

ARTICLE VII

Suspension, Expulsion and Termination of Membership

Suspension, expulsion and termination of membership shall be in accordance with the rules and regulations of the association. Any members of the association may file charges against a member by filing a written complaint with the Secretary of the association. The Board of Trustees shall call a special meeting of the members to consider the charges. The affirmative vote of one third (1/3) of all the members of the association shall be necessary to suspend a member, provided, that where the penalty is expulsion, the affirmative vote of at least two thirds (2/3) of all the members shall be necessary to expel a member.

ARTICLE VIII

Funds

Section 1. Funds – Te funds of the association shall be derived from admission fees, annual dues and special assessments of members, gifts, donations or benefits.

Section 2. Fees and Dues – Every member of the association shall, in addition to the membership fees, pay dues and/or assessments that may be imposed by the association from time to time.

Section 3. Annual Membership Fee – Every member shall pay an annual membership fee of Php600 payable at Php50 per month provided, however, that a member may pay in advance the annual membership fee at a discounted amount of Php500. The Board of Trustees may increase/decrease the annual membership fee subject to the approval of a majority of the members at each annual general meeting.

(As amended on December 24, 2004)

Section 4. Lifetime Membership Fee – Any member may choose to pay a lifetime membership fee in the amount of Php2,500 payable once in advance in lieu of the annual membership fee. The Board of Trustees may increase the lifetime membership fee subject to the approval of a majority of the members at the annual general meeting, provided that such increase shall not apply to those who have already paid a lifetime membership fee prior to the approval of such increase.

(As amended on December 25, 2004)

Section 5. Disbursements – Withdrawal from the funds of the association whether by check or any other instrument, shall be signed by the Treasurer and countersigned by the President. If necessary, the Board of Trustees may designate other signatories.

Section 6. Fiscal Year – The fiscal year of the association shell be from January 1 to December 31 of each year.

ARTICLE IX

Corporate Seal

Section 1. Form – The corporate seal of the association shall be in such form and design as may be determined by the Board.

ARTICLE X

Amendments of the By-Laws

Section 1. Amendments – These by-laws, or any portion thereof, may be amended or repealed by a majority vote of the Board of Trustees and ratified by a majority vote of the members at any regular or special meeting of the general membership duly held for the purpose.

(As amended on December 25, 2004)

Adopted this 28th day of October, 1989 in Baguio City by the affirmative vote of the undersigned members representing a majority of the members of the association in a special meeting duly held for the purpose.

Sgd. SILVERIO A. BITENG

Sgd. JOHN C. QUINIONES

Sgd. CONRADO P. MAPALO

Sgd. GAVINA B. YEN

Sgd. MARDONIO B. BERNARDO

TRUSTEES’ AND SECRETARY’S CERTIFICATE

We, the undersigned Trustees and Secretary of the PHILIPPINE BIBLE COLLEGE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION, INC. do hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and correct copy of the Amended By-Laws of the PHILIPPINE BIBLE COLLEGE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION, INC. as amended and approved by the Board of Trustees in its meeting held on October 29, 2004 and as approved by the majority of members in the General Membership Meeting held on December 25, 2004

February 25, 2005 at Baguio City, Philippines

Sgd. JOHN C. QUINIONES

Sgd. BONIFACIO PATRICIO JR.

Sgd. FELIX R. GARLITOS

Sgd. MARDONIO B. BERNARDO

Sgd. ROLANDO C. DUMAWA

SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN TO before me this April 26, 2005 at Baguio City.

JOEL G. GORDOLA

Notary Public


          By-Laws of the PBCAA (Amended)        

ARTICLE I

Meetings

Section 1. Annual Membership Meetings – The annual general meeting of the member shall be held at the principal office of the association on the last Friday of March of each year. During such meeting the President will render his Annual Report to the members.

(As amended on December 25, 2004)

Section 2. Special Membership Meetings – The special general membership meeting may be called as the need thereof arises by the Board of Trustees or upon petition of one-third(1/3) of the general membership.

(As amended on December 25, 2004)

Section 3. Monthly Board Meeting – Monthly meeting of the trustees and the officers shall be called every end of the month by the President of the association. During such meetings, the President shall render his monthly report to the trustees and officers.

(As amended on December 25, 2004)

Section 4. Special Board Meeting – Special meeting of the trustees and the officers may be called as the need thereof arises by the President or upon petition of a majority of the trustees.

(As amended on December 25, 2004)

Section 5. Notices – Notices of the date, time and place of annual, monthly or special meetings of the members and of the trustees shall be given either personally or by special delivery mail, at least one week before the date set for such meeting. In urgent cases, the notice may be communicated at least two days before the meeting personally or by telephone or by telegram, if personal contact is not possible. The notice of every special meeting shall state briefly the purpose or purposes of the meeting. No other business shall be considered at such meeting except with the consent of all the members present.

Section 6. Waiver of notice – Notice of meeting may be waived verbally by any member attending it.

Section 7. Quorum – A quorum for any meeting of the members shall consist of a majority of the members and a majority of such quorum may decide any question at the meeting except those matters where the Corporation Code requires the affirmative vote of a greater proportion.

Section 8. Order of Business – The order of business at the annual general meeting of the members shall be as follows:

a) Proof of service of the required notice of meeting, except when such notice is waived by the members constituting a quorum.

b) Proof of the presence of a quorum.

c) Reading and approval of the minutes of the previous annual meeting, except when such reading is dispensed with by a majority vote of those present.

d) Unfinished business.

e) Report of the President.

f) Election of the Trustees for the ensuing year.

g) Other matters.

The order of business at any meeting may be changed by a vote of the majority of the members present

Section 9. Voting Proxy – Members shall be entitled to one vote each, and they may vote either in person or by proxy, which shall be in writing and filed with the Secretary of the association before the scheduled meeting.

ARTICLE II

Trustees

Section 1. Board of Trustees – The corporate powers of the association shall be exercised, its business conducted and its property controlled by the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees shall exercise its power and perform its functions as a collegial body and no trustee shall have individual power or function apart and separate from the board. They shall be elected at large by the members and shall hold office for three (3) years and until their successors are duly elected and qualified.

(As amended on December 25, 2004)

Section 2. Qualifications – No member shall be eligible for election to the Board of Trustees unless he has the following qualifications:

1. An active member of the New Testament Church of Christ and of good moral standing in his/her congregation;

2. An active member of the PBCAA, Inc. and of good standing;

3. At least a graduate of Associate in Theology from PBC;

4. Willing to serve the association without compensation.

(As amended on December 25, 2004)

Section 3. Disqualification of Trustees or Officers – No member convicted of final judgment of an offense punishable by imprisonment for a period exceeding six (6) years, or violation of this code committed within five (5) years prior to the date of election or appointment, shall qualify as trustee or officer.

ARTICLE III

Officers

Section 1. Officers – The officers of the association shall be a President, an Executive Vice President, a Vice President for Luzon, a Vice President for Visayas, a Vice President for Mindanao, a Secretary, a Treasurer, an Auditor, two Business Managers and a Public Relations Officer. They shall be elected by the Board of Trustees from among themselves. The Board may combine compatible offices in a single person.

(As amended on December 25, 2004)

Section 2. Term of Office – All officers of the association shall hold office for three (3) years and until their successors are duly elected and qualified.

(As amended on December 25, 2004)

ARTICLE IV

Function & Powers of Officers

Section 1. President – The President shall be the Chief Executive Officer of the association. In addition to duties as such, he shall preside in all meetings of the Board of Trustees and of all the meetings of the members of the association.

He shall execute all resolutions and/or decisions of the Board of Trustees. He shall be charged with directing and overseeing the activities of the association. He shall appoint and have control over all employees of the association, review and approve expense vouchers. Together with the Secretary of the Association, he shall present to the Board of Trustees and to the members an annual budget and, from time to time as may be necessary, supplemental budgets. He shall submit to the Board as soon as possible after the close of each fiscal year, and to the members at each annual meeting, a complete report of the activities and operations of the association for the fiscal year under his term.

Section 2. Executive Vice President – The Executive Vice President, if qualified shall exercise all powers and perform all duties of the President during the absence or incapacity of the latter and shall perform duties that maybe assigned by the Board of Trustees

(As amended on December 25, 2004)

Section 3. Vice President for Luzon – The Vice President for Luzon shall be the contact person for all members in Luzon and shall coordinate activities of the Association in his area of responsibility. He maybe designated by the Board of Trustees as Executive Vice President in the event of vacancy of such office. He shall perform other functions as maybe assigned by the Board of Trustees.

(As amended on December 25, 2004)

Section 4. Vice President for Visayas – The Vice President for Visayas shall be the contact person for all members in Visayas and shall coordinate all activities of the association in his area of responsibility. He maybe designated by the Board of Trustees as Executive Vice President in the event of vacancy in such office. He shall perform such other duties as maybe assigned by the Board of Trustees.

(As amended on December 25, 2004)

Section 5. Vice President for Mindanao – The Vice President for Mindanao shall be the contact person for members in Mindanao and shall coordinate all activities of the Association in his area of responsibility. He maybe designated by the Board of Trustees as Executive Vice President in the event of vacancy in such office. He shall perform such other duties as maybe assigned by the Board of Trustees.

(As amended on December 24, 2004)

Section 6. Secretary – The Secretary shall give all the notices required by these by-laws and keep the minutes of all meetings of the members and of the Board of Trustees and of all meetings of all committees in a book kept for the purpose. He shall keep the seal of the association and affix such seal to any paper or instrument requiring the same. He shall have custody of the correspondence files and all other papers that are to be kept by the Treasurer. He shall maintain the members’ register, have charge of the bulletin board at the principal office of the association. He shall also perform all such other duties and works as the Board of Trustees from time to time assign to him.

Section 7. Treasurer – The Treasurer shall have charge of the funds, receipts and disbursement of the association. He shall keep all moneys and other valuables of the association in such bank or banks as the Board of Trustees may designate. He shall keep and have charge of the books of accounts which shall be open to inspection by any member if the Board of Trustees, whenever required, an account of financial condition of the association and of all transactions made by him as Treasurer. He shall also perform such other duties and functions as may be assigned to him by the Board of Trustees. (Last sentence which read, “He shall post a bond in such amount as may be fixed by the Board of Trustees” was deleted).

(As amended on December 25, 2004)

Section 8. Auditor – The Auditor shall examine financial records and audit money. He shall also perform other functions as may be provided for by the Board of Trustees.

Section 9. Two Business Managers – The two Business Mangers shall initiate and submit to the Board of Trustees a business plan for the association. They shall assist the President in the proper implementation of the business plan whenever approved by the Board of Trustees. They shall perform other functions as may be assigned to them by the Board of Trustees.

(As amended on December 25, 2004)

Section 10. Public Relations Officer – The Public Relations Officer shall be responsible for the promotion and protection of the name and public image of the association. He shall be in charge of all media relations and exposure. He shall assist the President and the Secretary in the proper dissemination of information among members of the association. He shall perform such other functions as may be assigned to him by the Board of Trustees.

(As amended on December 25, 2004)

ARTICLE V

Members

Section 1. Qualifications for Membership – The Board shall determine the qualification of an applicant for membership.

Section 2. Rights of Members – A member shall have the following rights:

a. To exercise the right to vote on all matters relating to the affairs of the association;

b. To be eligible to any elective or appointive office of the association;

c. To participate in all deliberations/meetings of the association;

d. To avail of all the facilities of the association;

e. To examine all the records or books of the association during business hours;

f. To receive all benefits approved by the Board of Trustees.

(As amended on December 25, 2004)

Section 3. Duties and Responsibilities of Members – A member shall have the following duties and responsibilities:

a. To obey and comply with the by-laws, rules and regulations that may be promulgated by the association from time to time.

b. To attend all meetings that may be called by the Board of Trustees;

c. To pay membership dues and other assessment of the association.

ARTICLE VI

Board of Advisers

Section 1. Board of Advisers – A Board of Advisers shall be composed of Fifteen 15) members to be selected by the Board of Trustees who will serve in a consultancy and advisory capacity to the association. It will be a collegial body which shall elect among its members a Chairman who shall be an ex officio member of the Board of Trustees of the association.

Section 2. – Members – Members of the Board of Advisers shall be selected by the Board of Trustees from a list of nominees who are willing to serve. These may be persons who by virtue of their education, experience and stature in the community shall be able to contribute wise counsel and provide guidance to the association.

Section 3. Term of Office – The term of office of members of the Board of Advisers shall be co-terminus with the term of office of the Board of Trustees.

Section 4. Compensation – Members of the Board of Advisers shall receive no compensation for their services. Subject to an appropriation by the Board of Trustees, a reasonable amount of honorarium or per diem may be given to each member of the Board of Advisers.

(As amended on December 25, 2004)

ARTICLE VII

Suspension, Expulsion and Termination of Membership

Suspension, expulsion and termination of membership shall be in accordance with the rules and regulations of the association. Any members of the association may file charges against a member by filing a written complaint with the Secretary of the association. The Board of Trustees shall call a special meeting of the members to consider the charges. The affirmative vote of one third (1/3) of all the members of the association shall be necessary to suspend a member, provided, that where the penalty is expulsion, the affirmative vote of at least two thirds (2/3) of all the members shall be necessary to expel a member.

ARTICLE VIII

Funds

Section 1. Funds – Te funds of the association shall be derived from admission fees, annual dues and special assessments of members, gifts, donations or benefits.

Section 2. Fees and Dues – Every member of the association shall, in addition to the membership fees, pay dues and/or assessments that may be imposed by the association from time to time.

Section 3. Annual Membership Fee – Every member shall pay an annual membership fee of Php600 payable at Php50 per month provided, however, that a member may pay in advance the annual membership fee at a discounted amount of Php500. The Board of Trustees may increase/decrease the annual membership fee subject to the approval of a majority of the members at each annual general meeting.

(As amended on December 24, 2004)

Section 4. Lifetime Membership Fee – Any member may choose to pay a lifetime membership fee in the amount of Php2,500 payable once in advance in lieu of the annual membership fee. The Board of Trustees may increase the lifetime membership fee subject to the approval of a majority of the members at the annual general meeting, provided that such increase shall not apply to those who have already paid a lifetime membership fee prior to the approval of such increase.

(As amended on December 25, 2004)

Section 5. Disbursements – Withdrawal from the funds of the association whether by check or any other instrument, shall be signed by the Treasurer and countersigned by the President. If necessary, the Board of Trustees may designate other signatories.

Section 6. Fiscal Year – The fiscal year of the association shell be from January 1 to December 31 of each year.

ARTICLE IX

Corporate Seal

Section 1. Form – The corporate seal of the association shall be in such form and design as may be determined by the Board.

ARTICLE X

Amendments of the By-Laws

Section 1. Amendments – These by-laws, or any portion thereof, may be amended or repealed by a majority vote of the Board of Trustees and ratified by a majority vote of the members at any regular or special meeting of the general membership duly held for the purpose.

(As amended on December 25, 2004)

Adopted this 28th day of October, 1989 in Baguio City by the affirmative vote of the undersigned members representing a majority of the members of the association in a special meeting duly held for the purpose.

Sgd. SILVERIO A. BITENG

Sgd. JOHN C. QUINIONES

Sgd. CONRADO P. MAPALO

Sgd. GAVINA B. YEN

Sgd. MARDONIO B. BERNARDO

TRUSTEES’ AND SECRETARY’S CERTIFICATE

We, the undersigned Trustees and Secretary of the PHILIPPINE BIBLE COLLEGE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION, INC. do hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and correct copy of the Amended By-Laws of the PHILIPPINE BIBLE COLLEGE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION, INC. as amended and approved by the Board of Trustees in its meeting held on October 29, 2004 and as approved by the majority of members in the General Membership Meeting held on December 25, 2004 February 25, 2005 at Baguio City, Philippines

Sgd. JOHN C. QUINIONES

Sgd. BONIFACIO PATRICIO JR.

Sgd. FELIX R. GARLITOS

Sgd. MARDONIO B. BERNARDO

Sgd. ROLANDO C. DUMAWA

SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN TO before me this April 26, 2005 at Baguio City.

Sgd. JOEL G. GORDOLA

Notary Public


          10 Reasons why I liked Rajneeti        
In no particular order..

1. Loved the Mahabharat angle and the turns in the plot

2. Liked the sly grabs from Godfather (this wasn't a tribute, like Sarkar)

3. Liked every single performance. Hats off to both Ajay Devgan and Ranbir Kapoor for putting themselves in an ensemble cast. And I much prefer the Prakash Jha Ajay Devgan (Apharan and Gangajal) to the Mani Ratnam Ajay Devgan (Yuva).

4. Thought Kat Kaif was super. Yes she can actually act although you will miss that in her immense hotness (and those cribs about her accent are very yesterday, so grow up)

5. Liked Dayashankar Pandey and Chetan Pandit. Missed the other guys from Jha's crew like Yashpal Sharma and Akhilendra Mishra

6. The multi-layered story. A headline of a review I saw (not read), had the word "over-written". Whatever. I don't think politics is uni-dimensional.

7. Ranbir Kapoor. Is this guy shaping out to be good or what. After Rocket Singh, I think this is his next best movie. Enough of those good boy, saving the day roles please. Reminds me of Leonardo Di Caprio in Romeo and Juliet and then in Blood Diamond.

8. Manoj Bajpai. I have no idea where he was all these years but he just walked into this movie and left his mark. The anger is still there.

9. The songs, of which we don't get to hear much. Liked the two times they play Mora Piya. Thank God FM radio is playing that super song. Also would have liked to see more of that item number.

10. Actually I'd like anything that Prakash Jha makes. So there.
          BIOGRAFI LEE SEUNG GI        
Nama            : Lee Seung Gi
Tanggal Lahir : 13 Januari 1987 
Tempat Lahir : Seoul, Korea Selatan
Profesi          : Penyanyi, Aktor, Pembawa Acara
Tinggi           : 182 cm
Berat            : 70 kg
Zodiak          : Capricorn 
Pendidikan    : Sang Gye High School, Universitas Dong Guk   
Agensi          : Hook Entertainment

           Lee Seung Gi adalah seorang penyanyi, aktor, dan pembawa acara. Lahir pada tanggal 13 Januari 1987 di Seoul, Korea Selatan. Lee Seung Gi memiliki wajah tampan dan jenis suara yang rendah dan kuat yang banyak disukai oleh penyuka musik pop. Memiliki tinggi 182 cm dan berat 70 kg. Seperti pada umumnya masyarakat korea yang tidak memilih agama, Seung Gi pun tidak memiliki agama.

            Lee Seung Gi termasuk selebriti yang sangat menjaga privasi terutama seputar masalah keluarga. Dia tidak ingin media meliput tentang keluarganya. Sehingga hanya sedikit informasi yang didapat media. Menurut informasi, kedua orang tua Lee Seung Gi bekerja di bidang perbankan. Lee Seung Gi adalah anak pertama dari 3 bersaudara. Seung Gi memiliki 1 adik laki – laki dan  1 adik perempuan. Walaupun di luar mereka tidak saling mengenal, namun ketika mereka sekeluarga berkumpul mereka terlihat sangat akrab. Itu diungkapkannya di variety show “1 Night 2 Days” yang dipandunya.
          Lee Seung Gi telah menyelesaikan kuliahnya di Universitas Dong Guk dan lulus sebagai sarjana jurusan Bisnis Internasional. Meski sibuk, dirinya berhasil lulus S1 tepat waktu (4 tahun) dan mendapat special achievement dari kampus. Saat ini dirinya sedang menyelesaikan kuliah S2 di jurusan Trade Theory and Finance di kampus yang sama.


           Seung Gi memiliki hobi mendengarkan musik, sepak bola dan baru-baru ini tertarik dengan dunia fotografi. Dia mulai bermusik ketika dia duduk di bangku sekolah menengah dengan ikut dalam band sekolahnya bernama “Cerebral Hemorrhage” sebagai vokalis. Sementara menunjukkan aksi dengan bandnya, Seung Gi telah dilirik oleh Lee Sun-hee, mantan penyanyi di era  1980 dan '90-an.
       Setelah dilatih keras selama dua tahun, akhirnya Lee Seung Gi memulai debutnya sebagai penyanyi pada tahun 2004 ketika dia masih duduk di bangku SMA di Sang Gye High School. Single perdananya yang berjudul “Because You’re my girl” melejit dan meraih sukses. Dengan kesuksesan tersebut karir Seung Gi terus melejit dengan meluncurkan album baru,“Crazy For U” pada tahun 2006 dan disusul dengan album lainnya di tahun berikutnya. Tidak hanya memiliki suara yang bagus, Lee Seung Gi juga sangat mahir memainkan beberapa alat musik, diantaranya gitar dan piano. Banyak penghargaan yang didapa toleh Lee Seung Gi dengan karirnya sebagai penyanyi. Diantaranya dari Seoul music awards 2004 sebagai Best new comer, Korea Entertaiment artist awards 2008 sebagai Best male singer, dan masih banyak lagi.


           Artis yang menyebut fansclubnya AIREN ini mulai merambah ke dunia akting. Drama  korea pertama yang dimainkannya berjudul Nonstop 5 yang ditayangkan di MBC pada tahun 2005. Namanya semakin popular ketika membintangi drama korea berjudul Brilliant Legacy pada tahun 2009 dan berjudul My Girlfriend is Gomiho pada tahun 2010 di SBS. Dalam kedua drama tersebut Seung Gi merupakan pemeran utama. Dalam dunia akting pun Seung Gi juga mendapat banyak penghargaan. Setelah merambah ke dunia akting, Lee Seung Gi juga menjadi pembawa acara variety show yaitu “strong heart” dan “1 Night 2 Days”. Dan dari variety tersebut Lee Seung Gi juga mendapat banyak penghargaan.



           Dengan segudang prestasi dan bakat yang dimilikinya, semua acara yang dibintangi Seung Gi selalu memiliki rating yang tinggi. Bahkan media sering memanggil Seung Gi dengan sebutan “King of Rating” atau “Emperor Seung Gi’ karenanya.Panggilan media yang lain adalah “Triple Crown” karena dianggap sukses di 3 bidang ( menyanyi, akting dan variety show ).


           Menurut survey dari Institut Penelitian Perdagangan Korea, Lee Seung Gi menempati tempat pertama sebagai selebriti paling populer di Korea. Lee Seung Gi juga menempati tempat kedua setelah G-Dragon Big Bang dalam hal pendapatan selebriti paling tinggi.
           Meski Lee Seung Gi mempunyai segudang prestasi dalam dunia hiburan namun di kehidupan nyata Seung Gi seseorang yang sangat sederhana dan terkesan anak rumahan. Di kesehariannya ia lebih sering ada di rumah saat break. Kegiatannya hanya menonton televisi, pergi ke kampus, pulang ke rumah, ke pusat kebugaran, dan kadang-kadang mengunjungi kantor manajemennya. Hal ini diungkapkannya dalam sebuah wawancara radio.

Penghargaan
2011 SBS Entertainment Awards :
•    Top Excellence MC Award (Strong Heart)
•    Netizen Popularity Award (Strong Heart)
2010 SBS Drama Awards :
•    Top Ten Stars Award (My Girlfriend is a Nine-Tailed Fox)
•    Best Actor Award - Drama Special (My Girlfriend is a Nine-Tailed Fox)
•    Best Couple Award with Shin Min Ah (My Girlfriend is a Nine-Tailed Fox)
2010 SBS Entertainment Awards :
•    Best Variety Award (Strong Heart)
•    Netizen Popularity Award (Strong Heart)
2010 KBS Entertainment Awards :
•    Best in Entertainment Category (Male) (1 Night 2 Days)
2010 Seoul International Drama Awards :
•    Most Popular Actor Award (Shining Inheritance)
2010 46th Baeksang Arts Awards :
•    Popularity Award (Shining Inheritance)
2009 SBS Drama Awards :
•    Top Ten Stars Award (Shining Inheritance)
•    Best Couple Award with Han Hyo Joo (Shining Inheritance)
•    Excellence Award, Special Planning Drama - Actor (Shining Inheritance)
2009 SBS Entertainment Awards :
•    Netizen Popularity Award (Strong Heart)
2009 Mnet 20's Choice Awards :
•    Hot Male Drama Star (Shining Inheritance)
2008 KBS Entertainment Awards :
•    Best Popular Award (1 Night 2 Days)

          revised norms of Postman Establishment        

12/02/10

Revised Norms for Postmen Establishment

Department in Memo No 9-1/2005-WSI/PE-I dated 5.2.2010 has revised the norms for Postmen establishment as follows. The revised norms will also be applicable for GDS MD as per note below Rule 106 of Volume VI Part III.

The Head of Circles and Regional PMsG are requested to undertake a review of the implementation of revised norms after six months and provide the for assessing the impact of new norms and undetaking a fresh review if considered necessary.

Sl No

Item

Congested areas in Minutes

Less congested areas in minutes

Remarks

1

Delivery of unregistered mail (other than in multistoried buildings)

0.72

0.72

-

2

Delivery of unregistered mail in multistoried buildings

0.42

0.42

Note 1 below

3

Delivery of unregistered mail in bulk

2.00 for delivery of seven articles

2.00 for delivery of seven articles

Note 2 below

4

Registered and Parcel mail (including insured value payable and speed post articles

2.50

2.50

-

5

Delivery of Registered and Parcel mail under special lists

4.50 per list

4.40 per list

-

6

Delivery of Value Payable and CD articles

3.00

3.00

-

7

Return of value payable & CD articles

2.50

2.50

-

8

Money Orders Paid

3.85

3.85

-

9

Money orders returned unpaid

2.50

2.50

-

10

Unpaid articles

2.00

2.00

-

11

Delivery of Speed post articles

2.00

2.00

-

12

Delivery of insured articles

3.50

3.50

-

13

Return of insured articles

2.50

2.50

-

14

Delivery of Accountable articles in multistoried building

1.80

1.80

Note 3 below

15

Returns by Postman

20 Mts maximum

20 Mts Maximum

Note 4 below

16

Distance travelled

19 Mts per KM by foot 10 Mts per KM by Bicycle

12 Mts per KM by foot 06 Mts per KM by Bicycle

-

Note 1. Multi storied buildings denote high rise buildings with 4 or more storey

Note 2. Bulk addressee is defined as a single person or firm receiving 7 or more unregustered articles in a day. Therefore, the bulk articles as per revised definition have to be segregated and counted separately. Each bulk Addressee in receipt of 7 or more articles will be given a time factor of 2 Mts. There is no need for deduction of this workload from the total work load as is done now. To illustrate, if a particular Post Office is in receipt of 600 unregistered articles, other than bulk mail, it has to be multiplied by 0.72 and if it receives 80 articles for 7 bulk addressees then, the work for delivery of bulk mail would be 7X2 mts = 14 mts

Note 3. The norm provided at Sl no 13 is in addition to normal time factor provided for different accountable articles, In view of the introduction of this norm, separate statistics is to be maintained for accountable articles to be deliverable in high rise buildings of 4 or more storey.

Note 4.The norm provided for rendering returns by Postman of Sl No 14 is Maximum time that can be allowed per day. The individual time factors provided for return of accountable articles at Sl no 7, 9 and 13 will be applied and allowed if the workload is less than 20 mts. By application of the norms, if the workload for rendering returns works out more than 20 mts, the maximum limit of 20 mts will be applied.

Note 5. Articles delivered through Postboxes/Post bags and through window of the Post office will be excluded from the purview of delivery of unregistered articles.

Note 6. The figures of Accountable Articles should be average of six days statistics collected in the middle of the month and furnished by the incharge of delivery post office.

Note 7. The Postmaster/Sub Postmaster will furnish six days figures for unregistered mail. The verifying officer has to collect two days personal figures in the middle of week and the least of two averages will be adopted for assessing the work load.

Note 8. After having a dencity of population of 2500 per sq. km may be taken as congested area

Note 9. For postmen doing delivery of single beat system their staff hours has to be taken at 450 mts per day and doing delivery in two batches, the staff hours is to be taken as 420 mts per day.

Note 10. The number of Postman justified will be arrived at by dividing the total work load by 450 mts or 420 mts as the case may be. Additional Postman will be sanctioned if the work load is 0.5 or more.

Note 11. Distance travelled means distance covered on the main roads, lanes and bye lanes. Distance travelled covered for entering various houses is included in time factor for delivery of articles.


          John Oliver Wants To Sell You On Why Multi-Level Marketing Stinks        

John Oliver has a pitch for you. Yes, that’s right. In last night’s Last Week Tonight, he asked for just 30 minutes of your time to sell you on something that will change your life forever: an exposé on Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) schemes.

You may have seen the informercials but more likely, you’ve seen your friends on Facebook trying to sell you on them. The companies and products run the gamut from stalwarts Amway and Mary Kay to internet-driven newbies like Jamberry and LuLaRoe. If you’ve seen Herbalife, Rodan and Fields, or Avon products being shilled (or if you’re shilling them) on your Facebook feed, MLM has touched your life.

MLM companies promise to make you money in two ways. One is through the actual direct sales: you buy inventory for one price, and then sell it to your friends and family for a slightly higher price. But the real money for MLM sellers is bringing more people in under them. Each individual makes money when they bring in more individuals below them, and when those individuals then recruit more individuals below them, and so on.

The industry is indeed huge: it brought in $36 billion in sales in 2015, Oliver reports.

Discussing the settlement Herbalife made with the FTC earlier this year, Oliver highlights a clip of FTC chair Edith Ramirez saying that the word “pyramid” doesn’t appear in the legal complaint, but that it’s “not not a pyramid.”

“It’s not a pyramid,” Oliver enthuses about MLM companies, “it’s just pyramid-shaped! Like a Dorito, or an Angry Bird, or just a pile of bulls**t.”

So to teach folks how to avoid pyramid schemes, Oliver — who has in the past made his points through becoming a debt buyer and his own sub-prime lending commercial — decides to spread the news in the most efficient way possible: a pyramid scheme.

Using the hashtag #ThisIsAPyramidScheme, Oliver gushes, “If someone you know is thinking about joining an MLM, this is a huge opportunity. And let me show you how it works.”

Oliver then steps out onto a stage alight with pyrotechnics, lasers, and flashy graphics, to tout a “fantastic product for you to share with friends and family.”

And what is this fantastic product? “This entire video about why MLMs are f**king awful.”

In short: Oliver is trying to sell us all on the MLM scheme to very literally end all MLM schemes.

“Let me break it down for you,” Oliver explains. “By sharing this, you can be an independent distributor for a leading web video about the dangers of MLMs.”

“You can do this full time or part time and give your family the lifestyle they deserve, which is frankly not getting caught up in this bulls**it.”

“Here is how it works: simply watch this video, and forward it to five people. And then instruct them to send it to another five people, and so on and so on. Within fourteen cycles, every single person on Earth will have seen this.”

And because MLMs target the Latino population specifically, Oliver and his team also uploaded Spanish-language version of the entire 30-minute segment, which you can watch in English below.


by Kate Cox via Consumerist
          Ruger's New Stainless LC9s        

Ruger announced a new version of an old gun that has proved to be very popular for concealed carry. The new gun is a stainless version of the LC9s pistol. Less affectionately known as the model 3273, the new LC9s Stainless share all of the same functionality as the original pistols, but with a slide that has a brushed stainless finish. For those shooters that like a two tone look, this pistol will almost certainly appeal to them.

Like the original LC9s, this pistol is chambered in 9mm. The standard Ruger LC9s magazine holds seven rounds. When you include the one round in the chamber, this gives you a full eight rounds before a reload is needed. For the most likely self-defense scenario, this is likely enough to prevail. Of course, I always recommend carrying at least one spare magazine when the gun is carried for personal protection. Unfortunately, Ruger ships the gun with only one magazine.

Ruger LC9s stainless

Ruger makes the frames from a glass filled nylon. This polymer helps keep the weight down. In fact, an unloaded gun weighs just over a pound at about 17 ounces. While polymer frames can be relatively easy to color, this model comes only in black. If you prefer a different color for your frame, you will have to talk to your local gun shop about a special order. A few distributors like Bill Hicks and Talo have paid for special runs from Ruger. These special LC9s pistols are limited in number, but can be had in a rainbow’s worth of colors.

While the slide is stainless steel, the barrel is made of an unknown type of non-stainless alloy. It is blued. There are many different alloys of steel, and stainless types are not always the best choice for a barrel. Regardless, I’ve not heard of a single person who has shot out his LC9s barrel. Since this is a compact pistol, the barrel is kept to a moderate length. In this case, the barrel length is 3.12”.

Ruger LC9s stainless

On top, Ruger uses three dot sights. These are fairly standard for handguns. While not adjustable, the windage can be adjusted by drifting the rear sight with a hammer and punch. I’ve rarely has a pistol that arrived from the factory with sights so out of whack that I needed to drift them to bring them on target.

The pricing on these guns is reasonable. Stainless models tend to command a little more money than plain blued ones, and that is true in this case. Ruger marked the LC9s Stainless with a price tag of $499. Your dealer sets the final price, so I would expect to pay a bit less than that.


          NieR: Automata Original Soundtrack        
NieR: Automata Original Soundtrack composed by Keiichi Okabe (岡部啓一) and MONACA.
NieR: Automata Original Soundtrack
Published By : Square Enix
Release Date : 29 March 2017
Catalog No. : SQEX-10589
Number of Discs : 3

NieR: Automata is a popular game in 2017 by PlatinumGames studio. It's very diverse, as well as featuring outstanding. I love playing this game for many reasons, such as 2B a female character looks so cute. The story is complex and interesting, which is more exotic than any previous action-RPG game. Another thing that makes me passionate about NieR: Automata is the soundtrack. The feeling that I was listening to music, it reflects the greatness in this fantasy world. Many music conveys the game history, which is filled with stories from the past. I highly recommend NieR: Automata if you are looking for a real RPG game. You will experience a fantasy world, literally.


My favorite song is Inochi ni Fusawashii a soulful single performed by amazarashi a mysterious band in Japan. Inochi ni Fusawashii lyrics mention why we have to live, even though we are lonely, but still hopeful.

Disc 1
Tracklist
1. Significance - Nothing - J'Nique Nicole
2. City Ruins - Rays of Light
3. Peaceful Sleep
4. Memories of Dust
5. Birth of a Wish
6. The Color of Depression
7. Amusement Park
8. A Beautiful Song
9. Voice of no Return - Guitar
10. Grandma - Destruction
11. Faltering Prayer - Dawn Breeze
12. Emil's Shop
13. Treasured Times
14. Vague Hope - Cold Rain
15. Weight of the World English Version

Disc 2
Tracklist
1. Significance - Marina Kawano - Emi Evans
2. City Ruins - Shade
3. End of the Unknown
4. Voice of no Return - Normal
5. Pascal
6. Forest Kingdom
7. Dark Colossus - Kaiju
8. Copied City
9. Wretched Weaponry: Medium/Dynamic
10. Posessed by Disease
11. Broken Heart
12. Wretched Weaponry: Quiet
13. Mourning
14. Dependent Weakling
15. Weight of the World Kowareta Sekai no Uta

Disc 3
Tracklist
1. Rebirth & Hope
2. War & War
3. Crumbling Lies - Front
4. Widespread Illness
5. Fortress of Lies
6. Vague Hope - Spring Ruin
7. Song of the Ancients - Atonement
8. Blissful Death
9. Emil - Despair
10. Faltering Prayer - Starry Sky
11. Alien Manifestation
12. The Tower
13. Bipolar Nightmare
14. The Sound of the End
15. Weight of the World Nouveau-FR Version
16. Weight of the World the End of YoRHa

Bonus CD/Hacking Tracks
Tracklist
1. Nokosareta Basho: Chou
2. Sajin no Kioku: Chou
3. Namamarede Zuru Ishi: Chou
4. Yuuen Shisetsu: Chou
5. Bishiki Uta: Chou
6. Igyou no Matsuro: Chou
7. Mori no Ookoku: Chou
8. Zentewo Hakaisuru Kuro Ki Kyojin / Kaijuu: Chou
9. Gukashii Heiki: Chou
10. Toritsukaita Goubyou: Chou
11. Izonsuru Jakusha: Chou
12. Sensou to Sensou: Chou
13. Inishie no Uta: Chou
14. "Tou": Chou
15. Tsui Warino On: Chou
16. Weight of the World: Chou
          Sword Art Online -Ordinal Scale- Original Soundtrack        
Sword Art Online -Ordinal Scale- Original Soundtrack composed by Yuki Kajiura (梶浦 由記).
Sword Art Online Ordinal Scale Original Soundtrack
Published By : Aniplex
Release Date : 22 February 2017
Catalog No. : SVWC-70255
Number of Discs : 2

Sword Art Online Movie: Ordinal Scale is an Action-Fantasy anime movie by A-1 Pictures studio. This is the first film of its series. (。+・`ω・´) The story takes place after the events of Sword Art Online 2. What I like in this regard is the love between the protagonists: Kirito and Asuna. The movie can convey the love feeling very well. (*≧▽≦) Character costumes may not be elegant or stylized like in the previous, however, the background is filled with luxurious and very elegant. The sound effects are still the hallmark of SAO. ლ(́◉◞౪◟◉‵ლ) They have so much quality. I can touch and feel the excitement in every battle scene.


My favorite song is Catch the Moment the 11th rousing single performed by LiSA a lovely JPOP singer, songwriter and lyricist who has fantastic voice. ヾ(。・ω・)シ Catch the Moment is used as anime main theme for "Sword Art Online -Ordinal Scale-" movie. ヾ(〃^∇^)ノ♪

Disc 1
Tracklist
1. in the digital world
2. a promise
3. story of the past
4. Augma
5. back ground music No.1
6. welcome to "Ordinal Scale"
7. logging in #1
8. beginning of the fight
9. fight in the OS
10. you won!
11. mystery of OS #1
12. night time
13. logging in #2
14. she has a luminous sword
15. Yuna #1
16. mystery of OS #2
17. starting to solve the mystery
18. Yuna #2
19. logging in #3
20. her dream
21. loss of memory
22. to find her memory
23. to find her memory #2
24. his anger
25. I have to regain her memory
26. logging in #4
27. another field to overcome
28. Yuna #3
29. Yuna #4
30. mystery of OS #3
31. he has something to hide
32. the lost daughter
33. in her room
34. I will be close to you
35. I will fight to regain her memory
36. who are you?
37. it's just only a game
38. he knows something
39. a short break
40. facing each other
41. something wrong is happening
42. father and daughter
43. can we save them?
44. we are always together
45. the place we should have reached
46. for your bravery
47. I will fight with you!
48. let's join swords
49. he is here
50. shooting stars

Disc 2
Tracklist
1. Ubiquitous dB
2. longing
3. delete
4. Break Beat Bark!
5. smile for you
          Koe no Katachi Original Soundtrack - a shape of light        
Koe no Katachi Original Soundtrack - a shape of light composed by Kensuke Ushio (牛尾 憲輔).
Koe no Katachi Original Soundtrack - a shape of light
Published By : Pony Canyon
Release Date : 14 September 2016
Catalog No. : PCCG-1542
Number of Discs : 2

Koe no Katachi (聲の形) or A Silent Voice is an School-Drama anime movie by Kyoto Animation studio. (ノ´ヮ´)ノ*:・゚✧ This movie was very popular in Japan. It can make money up to two billion yen within eight weeks. Now it is the highest-grossing film in KyoAni studio. ヾ(・ω・。)シ The story about love and relationships which had accumulated over the years. The background music and scene are really excellent, filled with colorful and beautiful locations. ヽ(。・ω・。)ノ Overall, it was great and made me cry a lot!


My favorite song is Koi wo Shitano wa (恋をしたのは) sorrowful single performed by aiko a lovely singer and songwriter from Osaka. .+:。(ノ・ω・)ノ゙ Koi wo Shitano wa is used as anime main theme for "Koe no Katachi (聲の形)" movie.

Disc 1
Tracklist
1. tre
2. inv (I.i)
3. roh
4. lvs
5. inv (I.ii)
6. rev
7. inv (I.iii)
8. lvs (var)
9. thn
10. lit
11. bnw
12. htb
13. bll
14. acc
15. int
16. flw
17. mon
18. maw
19. inv (II.i)
20. van
21. inv (II.ii)
22. inv (II.iii)
23. sig
24. aft
25. inv (II.iv)
26. flt
27. prc
28. pst
29. inv (II.v)
30. btf
31. van (var)
32. sus
33. frc
34. inv (II.vi)
35. qut
36. svg
37. slt
38. Invention No.1 C dur (LastPart)
39. lit (var)

Disc 2
Tracklist
1. heart beat
2. round
3. into the sparkle
4. black and white
5. (i can) say nothing
6. night lights
7. blue blur
8. vignette
9. narrow road
10. welcome to the park
11. is your hair real?
12. laser
13. macchina eko
14. green
15. sunlight
16. sketch no.19
17. sustain
18. no one here
19. your silent portrait
20. fractal
21. flare
22. speed of youth
          Apple needs PC support to make FaceTime a Success        
Apple’s iPhone 4 video calling stands a good chance at becoming a widely adopted system. But it’ll rely on a catalyst, and I believe it’s the PC.

Less specifically, I believe “FaceTime”, as Apple not-at-all-questionably calls it, will rely on all computers -- PC, Mac, even Linux and netbooks, and their software -- to support the system in order to really become the revolutionary offering Apple has made it out to be.

I’m certain Apple knows this, and that’s why its uncharacteristic move to make the FaceTime protocol an open standard didn’t surprise me. By doing so, software makers such as Skype can allow their users to turn PCs into FaceTime clients -- eliminating the need for both callers to be using the latest, costly iPhone.

It’s this cost that has traditionally been the hurdle over which video calling has stumbled. Cost, and of course its evil cousins: ghastly image quality, tiny screens and the fact that no-one wants to pay 50 pence per minute to appear to a caller as a mutilated pile of agitated skin and organs.

Case in point: I had a video call-capable phone circa 2003 (an NEC model on the just-launched Three network) and it was atrocious, not to mention expensive and restricted to a limited, just-born 3G carrier. Several months after buying it I called every single person I knew who had a compatible device, and neither of them wanted to talk to me using video. It was uncomfortable for us all, and I couldn’t afford the limited novelty anyway.

The iPhone’s hardly changing the cost issue with its £500 SIM-free price tag. But a number of other factors have changed in the years since: firstly, broadband. Circa 2002, broadband was in just 100,000 UK homes at a typical speed of 512Kbps. Today, my home connection is a 50Mbps fibre-optic line, and the Government saw 2Mbps as a minimum speed requirement for all homes as part of Digital Britain.

Secondly, Facebook, YouTube and our culture’s comfort with using video as a communication medium have all arisen in the time since video calling’s first appearances -- we “broadcast ourselves” without thinking twice, we liveblog over Qik, we show our danglies on Chatroulette. It’s a different social landscape.

Thirdly, thanks to netbooks and the low cost of laptops, I’d struggle to find a modern household today without a camera-equipped computer and Wi-Fi network. That wasn’t necessarily true back when video calling was being pushed as the reason to adopt a 3G cameraphone, and it effectively halves the number of people required to have a compatible mobile device, i.e. an iPhone 4.

Finally, unlike previous video-capable phones that used low-bandwidth 3GP video to fit tiny screens, the iPhone has a massive screen and a stonking good camera. Video calls actually look good; they’re compelling. Unlike before, videos no longer appear as postage stamp-sized collections of pixels fighting for the title of Most Indistinguishable Blob. Instead, when I call my brother from a hotel bar in Japan, he’ll be able to see the 10 cups of sake I’m drinking -- and they’re not big cups.

Combine all these factors and it’s clear that desktop adoption of FaceTime could be the catalyst to its success.

Apple just sold 1.7 million iPhone 4s in three days and claims it will sell “tens of millions of FaceTime devices this year” (a quote that initially led me to wonder if by “devices” Steve Jobs was also including Macs, incidentally). If the only barriers to entry are that one of you needs an iPhone, one of you needs a computer and you both need Wi-Fi, we’re actually ready -- technologically, financially and socially -- to adopt video calling, necessity be damned.

More about Computer Support - Trojan Removal | Multifunctional Printer support | Computer Support London

Source: Wired.co.uk
          Ankh Book Club Suggestion Ideas        
Let's start the discussion on the books we'd like to read. Then we can put it to a poll. My suggestion: Metagame by Sam Landstrom Synopsis: In sci-fi author Sam Landstrom's MetaGame, he creates a believable but disturbing world with fewer than six degrees of separation. In fact, every single person, product, pastime, and proclivity humans take part in is interconnected. Life is the Game -- and winners never die. In the Game, points amount to currency and top scorers are eligible for ...
          Learn the 3 reasons for getting product refund        
So now that you've finally decided to buy that product and can not wait to try it out , you need to know that this is anything but what you expected. Don't worry, you still have a chance to get your money back with the following tips for obtaining a product refund instantly.

1. False advertizement

"Get 10.000 hits to your website in 24 hours". This such attractive promises might sure make you wanna flip out your credit card immediately. But when you apply the methods or use the software and have to find out that those 10.000 hits might really result in 10, then this is a legitimate reason for requesting a refund. Unfortunately it's not always that easy. Many vendors get around such false advertising by stating in the fine print that these results can not be guaranteed. Thus always keep an eye on such statements and if you can not believe what's advertised then search for product reviews using your favorite search engine.

2. Product out-of-date

Believe it or not, but I've seen products that were still advertised and happily took the money out of the customers' pockets but were totally outdated or did not work anymore. I once bought a product that could not be downloaded anymore but still had the sales page up and running, it even exposed the current date pointing the end of a special promotion. Every attempt to contact the creator of the software failed and after I read in a forum that I wasn't the only one not being able to download the software,I contacted the credit card processing company and got my money back.


3. Usability

Not every software is very user friendly as Windows (you got the joke, right?!), which can be frustrating if you want nothing more than use it immediately. For most complicated software products there exist written tutorials that perfecly describe how to use them and sometimes even video tutorials that make the product handling had rather easier. If you've read and watched all tutorials and still cannot manage to use the product, then state this to the creator and you should get that refund.
If you've reached the product creator and still were not able to get a refund despite some legitimate and great causes, not all hope is gone. Most market places offer a refund guarantee for products that were sold through them (e. g. Clickbank offers its customers a general refund policy of 8 weeks after the product purchase, for a vendor like PayDotCom you have to contact the credit card processor like Paypal which has a refund policy of 2 months).

It is always suggested to clearly state the reason for your product return and to keep a friendly communication style. Even if the product is not worth a single penny it doesn't make things better when you insult the creator. Try to show that you've really tried to use the product in an efficient way, maybe attach some screenshots, include suggestions what could be better, etc. The product creator might drooping you as a client but still can benefit from your experience and will most of the time happily give you the refund.

Whatever you do, please be fair.Its not just right to purchase a product and you will request a refund to get your money back, but continue to use the product. Most market places (Clickbank, PayDotCom) tolerate two or even more gives back, but after that you might not be able to purchase anything again through the specific company.












Order Letter Internet Marketing Techniques And RSS Feed Directory
          Quinney, "An Interview with Harold Bloom"        

Geoffrey Hartman and Harold Bloom:
Two Interviews

An Interview with Harold Bloom1

Laura Quinney, Brandeis University

  1. Laura Quinney: Ok, so it's November 27th, in New Haven. We're at Harold's house, and my name is Laura Quinney. This is an interview with Harold Bloom about his latest book Jesus and Yahweh. Tell me what the epigraph was to have been.

  2. Harold Bloom: Well there was originally a double epigraph. One is still there because it explains the subtitle, The Names Divine, and that is the second of the two quatrains of the concluding "To the Accuser who is the God of this World" of the final version of Blake's little emblem book "For the Sexes: The Gates of Paradise," that is to say:

    Though thou art Worshipd by the Names Divine
    Of Jesus and Jehovah thou art still
    The Son of Morn in weary Nights decline
    The lost Travellers Dream under the Hill—

    but originally I had wanted to have with it a very great sentence, spoken by an actual governor of Texas back I think in the early 1930s who rejoiced in the name of Ma Ferguson. And when this lady was inaugurated as governor of Texas, she announced that so long as she was governor, no state-supported school, from junior high up through the University of Texas at Austin would be allowed to teach any foreign language whatsoever, and her reason for this she expressed in one very great sentence: "If English was good enough for Jesus then I suppose it should be good enough for us."

  3. LQ: [Laughs.] Thank you. I wanted to ask you in particular about what it means to be a Jewish Gnostic.

  4. HB: Ah.

  5. LQ: In your book, in the opening paragraphs on "The Jewish Sages on God," you write: "The God of the Gnostics is called the Stranger or Alien God, and has exiled himself from our cosmos, perhaps forever. I do not regard Yahweh in that way" [p. 193, Quinney's emphasis]. And yet you describe yourself as a Gnostic.

  6. HB: Well, I am partly relying upon my great mentor Gerhard or Gershom Scholem, who in many conversations with me, primarily in Jerusalem, but also in Boston, New York City, and here at this table in New Haven, would frequently say to me that the great disaster of Kabbalah was its Neoplatonic scheme or myth of emanation—the sephirot—and that he greatly preferred what he called the Gnostic kabbalah of the early Merkavah mystics, which he thought had been renewed by Moses Cordovero, who was the teacher of Isaac Luria, and then by Isaac Luria in which Ein Soph, the Kabbalistic name of the infinite one, or Yahweh—whose name you're not supposed to use, but I am now—Ein Soph creates the universe by contracting and withdrawing inside himself, or as I say, going back to the original Hebrew of the Zimzum, which means to sharply draw in or take in your breath—it is that act which at once creates and ruins worlds, according to Cordovero and Luria, and those who came after them. But Gnosticism: Scholem was convinced and Moshe Idel, to whom I am much closer in every way—he is a close personal friend—Moshe Idel on this agrees with Scholem though frequently they don't: Idel says that fundamentally he thinks that what someone like Hans Jonas and other scholars after him have called Gnosticism is actually a kind of parody or echo of a kind of archaic Judaism which we don't have any more, though you can find curious versions of it in the different books of Enoch and other apocryphal literature. Even when I was a little boy, the Talmudic rabbi who fascinated me was the one denounced by all the others in the Pirke Abboth or Sayings of the Fathers, the rabbi Elisha Ben Abuyah, whom the others called Akah, meaning the stranger or the alien, and who is reported to have ascended into heaven in a mystical trance and there beheld not one God but two gods, sitting on thrones facing each other, one being Yahweh, and the other being Metatron, the angel of the divine presence who simply was the transmogrified human being Enoch after he is carried off by Yahweh to the heavens without the necessity of first dying. There are all kinds of complex traditions, some of them going back a long, long way, even though we have no texts of what could be called an original Jewish Gnosis. As I understand Gnosticism,—and it seems to me in this I am highly consonant with my hero Ralph Waldo Emerson, as I am with Valentinus of Alexandria or Basilides of Alexandria, or with Luria or Cordovero, let alone that splendid fellow Nathan of Gaza, who wrote the treatise on the dragons and was the spokesperson or prophet for the false Messiah Sabbatai Zevi,—Gnosticism essentially comes down to a few convictions. One is that the best and oldest part of every one of us, even if we don't have immediate access to it, or easy access to it, is part and parcel of God. (I want a very small sliver, dear.) Another is that the creation and the fall are not two separate events, but one and the same event with all of the unfortunate (that's fine dear) the unfortunate pragmatic (thank you dear)—pragmatic consequences of this (mmm . . . it's full of liquor; mmm, it's yummy . . . ).

  7. LQ: [To the tape recorder.] A whisky cake is being consumed.

  8. JB: [Laughs.]

  9. HB: Willie, come and have some whisky cake. A very Yahwistic whisky cake.

  10. Daniel Flesch: Is this yours, Mom?

  11. William Flesch: Shhh . . .

  12. HB: I suppose the remaining basic conviction of Gnosticism is that there is, besides the divinity to which it is so hard to have access, it is very deep in the rock of the self. There is also an exiled component of the true God, who is not Yahweh but presumably the Anthropos, the original man/God of the hermeticists. Except, who knows? Akiba—Akiba who was after all the normative rabbi, the founder of what we call normative Judaism in the second century of the common era, Akiba specifically said that his favorite name for God was ish, which is man. So—in any case I suppose the final tenet of Gnosticism is that there is an exiled component of the Godhead, but it's not in this world, which is governed by the archons and governed by Blake's Nobodaddy as it were, and that far off beyond our solar system, in the cosmological outer spaces there is the—aren't you going to give Willy some of that?

  13. WF: I had some.

  14. HB: Well put it back in there: you don't want it to go to waste.

  15. WF: But I might want more.

  16. JB: Stop talking in the microphone.

  17. HB: Pussycat? Oh, I'm sorry.

  18. LQ: It's ok, it's ok. It can be edited. Or not.

  19. HB: It doesn't matter.

  20. LQ: But your Yahweh is not Blake's Nobodaddy.

  21. HB: No. No no no no no. He is—he was for me the surprise of my book. As I say at one point he usurped this book. Indeed he wasn't supposed to be there at all in the first place. Originally the title of the book was Jesus and Christ, since I regard the two of them as totally separate figures, but I found that as I got into it, it didn't make any sense to me unless I really talked about Yahweh, and I think the really original part of the book is the second half, on Yahweh, which actually goes so far as to apply Lurianic Kabbalah to the whole question of the origin of Yahweh. You will remember that in Kierkegaard Nebuchadnezzar, after he had been changed back from a beast in the field to a man, says of Yahweh, "Nobody knows who his father was, or who taught him the secret of his strength" [quoted from Quidam in Stages on Life's Way] and I speculate in a perfectly Kabbalistic way, I say—I speculate that a perfectly—aren't you going to eat it—?

  22. LQ: Yes I'm going to try it.

  23. HB: In a perfectly, I think, Kabbalistic way that Yahweh may have come into existence by this act of Zimzum, this act of contraction or withdrawal, which means that he diminished himself in order to get started. Which I find fascinatingly parallel to Walt Whitman, in which I again follow Scholem: who used to say in conversations with me, that in a secular world somehow Whitman by some miracle without knowing anything about Kabbalah had in effect reinvented his own Kabbalah, and I think that is true. Whitman throughout Song of Myself and elsewhere is always saying that he is expanding, that he is getting to contain more and more multitudes, that his sense of self is steadily increasing. But in fact he too is always contracting and withdrawing. He is endlessly elusive and evasive, and the worlds that he creates and ruins also seem to come from some process of self-withdrawal.

  24. LQ: This may lead to my next question, which is something that puzzles me about the book. And that is that in some sense I was not sure why you think of the Yahweh of the Hebrew Bible as a true description of a Deity, rather than as a . . . ?

  25. HB: Well, there are Yahwehs—just as I say there are seven versions at least of Jesus or Jesus Christ, or Jesus and Jesus Christ, in the Greek New Testament, there are innumerable versions of God in Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible, but the one who interests me and always has and always will, is the original one, the first Straha, traditionally called J or the Yahwist, probably written as early as the reign of Solomon, 3,000 years ago, in which most certainly he is as I say a stern imp, up to a lot of mischief, something of a trickster God—human all too human: he's always walking around on the ground; he isn't flying up in the air—he's walking around on the ground in order to make personal, you know, sort of on the job inspections of how things are going. He closes the door of the ark—of Noah's ark with his own hands; he even more memorably buries Moses in an unmarked grave, with his own hands; he is very fond of picnics; thus at Mamre he sits beneath the terapim trees because he always likes to be in the shade rather than the sun, thus he walks we are told in Eden in the cool of the day, at Mamre, with two of the Elohim who are his angels he sits beneath the terapim trees, and he has a sumptuous rather full-scale luncheon prepared by Sarah—roast veal and whey and freshly baked sort-of cakes. And how is one to put it—he on Sinai, on the side of Sinai, he sits there and shares a meal with 73 elders of Israel. They stare at him and he stares at them and that's it. He doesn't say a word and they don't say a word, but there he is. And according to Kabbalistic tradition, from the Merkavah thing on, he's enormous, he is I say the King Kong of deities, he is of enormous size.

  26. LQ: What leads you to think of this God as more than an exceptional fiction?

  27. HB: Well, his metaphysical density, his ferocious and vivid personality, his intensely human traits—I gather you're not going to eat that so I'm going to put it back in there—

  28. LQ: One more bite.

  29. HB: Go ahead, go ahead. He is . . . he is a . . . the reason why I keep invoking Shakespearean characters like King Lear, who is I think Shakespeare's version of Yahweh, or Hamlet, who has a very complex relation I think to Mark's Jesus, is that Yahweh, Mark's Jesus, Hamlet, King Lear, Falstaff, Cleopatra, Iago—they are all more real than you are, whoever you are, and yes, they are fictions, but if they're fictions, what are we? Since they are livelier than we are, exceed us in energy and in dynamism, as Yahweh does also. It seems to me that—I mean he may just be not at all an attractive version of what Mr. Stevens wanted to call the supreme fiction, but he is . . . he's quite a fiction, he's very persuasive and as I keep saying in the book I wish he would go away. I don't like him. I don't feel anybody can like him. His famous definition when Moses asks him his name—his famous self-definition is ehyeh asher ehyeh, translated by William Tyndale as "I am that I am" and that's kept in the Authorized Version of the English Bible. The Hebrew "ehyeh asher ehyeh" actually means "I will be, I will be;" "I will be that I will be," or to make it into better English "I will be present wherever and whenever I choose to be present," but I say throughout the book that also means "And I will be absent wherever and whenever I choose to be absent." And he is very distinguished by his absences, it seems to me. But if he is just a literary character—well first of all I don't recognize any distinction between literary and human characters; I mean I'm notorious for that, and why not be notorious for that—it seems to me that the sacred Bloomstaff, as I call him, is at least as real as old Bloom—Sir John Falstaff, of course. But not even kidding, I mean what can you say about the Yahweh of the J writer? He is endlessly memorable, he is endlessly unreliable. [Pause.] But he gets inside you. I repeat I would like him to go away, but he doesn't seem to go away.

  30. LQ: Why doesn't he go away?

  31. HB: Well, because I'm pretty sure he is our equivalent—I mean, our equivalent for him now is what our Uncle Siggy Freud called "reality testing" and the Reality Principle. Freud says that reality testing means that you have to "make friends with the necessity of dying."

  32. LQ: So he's the name of everything that opposes our will.

  33. HB: Yeah, he is . . . [Pause.] I think I remark somewhere in the book, with a certain amiable—I wouldn't say irony, but a kind of zest, that God had breathing trouble and this trouble created the world. And I think I remark something like, "Try to hold in your breath for as long as possible, and then just before you can't stand it any more, try to think something into creation, try to will or think something, and see what happens." Which always makes me think of Kafka's very grand remark to Max Brod, where he says, "We are one of God's thoughts when he was having a bad day." It seems to me he has mostly bad days. But since I don't think there's any distinction whatsoever between sacred and secular texts, there's only great writing and bad writing (or good writing in between I suppose or fair writing) then it's natural to speak of—in fact, remember what Blake says; he says religion is just choosing forms of worship from poetic tales, and then he adds—this is The Marriage of Heaven and Hell — "Thus men forgot that all Deities reside in the human breast." But that doesn't mean that they don't reside there. And of course, this is now a very tricky business, because I'm not sure anybody—you're not supposed to believe in Yahweh anyway if you are a normative Jew, you're supposed to have Emunah, you are supposed to trust in the covenant with him, but he's never kept the Covenant himself, and I get awfully weary of the Hebrew prophets who are always denouncing the people of Israel for violating their covenant with Yahweh when Yahweh hadn't kept his for a moment, and always seems to be hard at work destroying his chosen people. He seems to resent sometimes, precisely because he had such trouble bringing them into existence I suppose and they are after all according to that story the original people that he brought into existence—

  34. LQ: The title of Frank Kermode's review is "Angry at God." Do you think anger is the correct word?

  35. HB: "Angry at God" is not what Sir Frank says. That's on the front cover of The New York Review of Books. If you look inside, Sir Frank's review is "Arguing with God," and I think that's what this book is, and an old Jewish tradition is an argument with God.

  36. LQ: What adjective would you use to describe your feelings about . . .

  37. HB: Yahweh?

  38. LQ: . . . God?

  39. HB: I don't like him. I repeat I wish he would go away. But somehow he doesn't. I don't think I have any nostalgia for him. I wouldn't dream of praying to him, but then I'm an Emersonian, and Emerson in "Self-Reliance" says quite wonderfully, "As men's prayers are a disease of the will, so are their creeds a disease of the intellect." Now Christianity has creeds; Judaism doesn't. Islam has creeds; Judaism doesn't. There are now one and a half billion so-called Christians in the world and one and a half billion so-called Moslems in the world—those who have submitted: which is what it means, Islam means "submission." There are perhaps fourteen million Jews still left, so obviously it's a thousand to one. The fight got settled a long time ago, but on the other hand there are even more Hindus. Nobody knows how many people there are in India—they don't practice birth control there, unlike the Chinese who so rigorously try to keep their population from getting completely out of hand; there may well be more Indians now than there are Chinese—in any case, if you add up all the Indians, excluding the Pakistanis or the Moslem Kashmiris, if you add up all the Hindus and other modes of religion in India which are not Moslem or Christian, and you add in all the Taoists, Buddhists, and Confuciusts, not only of China but of the rest of Asia, and the Buddhists and Shintoists of Japan, there are more non . . . what are we to call them? Ultimately at the moment it seems to me that with great crusader Bush leading us there is a kind of religious war being fought between the Moslem world and the Christian world, just as there is obviously a religious war being fought between the state of Israel and the Moslem world, which is why Israel is sitting on top of that vast mound of atomic and hydrogen bombs in Dimona, but in the long run I suppose the religious future may well lie with the East.

  40. LQ: Um hm. Would you think the word "disappointed" would be a fair characterization? Would you say that you are disappointed . . .

  41. HB: . . .with Yahweh?

  42. LQ: Yes.

  43. HB: No. I wouldn't have dreamed of trusting him in the first place. So what is there to be disappointed with? He is, he's bad news, he has always been bad news. No, I'm not disappointed; I find him very fascinating, very interesting. As I say, he's even more interesting than King Lear, and to some extent at least—well, Mark's Jesus and Hamlet run almost neck and neck in interest. Each of them has incredible mood swings, as Sir Frank points out, following me in that part of his review. No I'm... [Pause.] Look, I've been teaching how to read for 51 years now. I've been writing and publishing criticism for 51 years. It seems to me that what I've written in this book is really just an extension of the book The Anxiety of Influence, which in its first form was written back in the summer of 1967 when I was 37, and actually contained a rather savage chapter on the Gospel of John, which I detached and later published separately, and now in revised form have put it into this book, so it's a pretty direct line from one to the other. I was rather amused, though, to see my old student Jonathan Rosen, in the review that appeared in today's Sunday Times Book Review, saying that: Well after all what difference does it make that Wallace Stevens strongly misread Shelley in order to produce characteristic Stevens, what matters is religious truth, and, you know, it is the truth or falsehood in regard to one another of, say, Christianity and Judaism or of Islam that matters. That may be Jonathan Rosen, but that isn't me, and that isn't in the book that he's reviewing. Not that I'm ungrateful for his review, which you know certainly shows a warm heart, and reminds me of a wonderful pun I once—quoting from the Hebrew—of an almost Lewis Carrollian or Joyceyan dimension, that I threw into an outrageous public lecture here on the relation between the so-called two covenants or two testaments. I also liked the joke, which I'd seen before but hadn't seen for a long time. It's an old Yiddish remark, that the Christians stole our watch 2,000 years ago, and are still telling us what time it is. I like that. It's almost as good as my favorite Yiddish proverb, as I translate it: "Sleep faster, we need the pillows."

  44. LQ: [Laughs.] I'm still fascinated by the question of your relation to Yahweh, as you can see.

  45. HB: Well, it seems to me no more or no less vital or of concern to you as my close friend or to me, as my relation to King Lear. I would have great difficulty in saying what my relation to King Lear is. I agree with Charles Lamb: you shouldn't even go and see somebody try and act the part, because it's unactable. What can you do with a figure who actually stares up at the sky and cries out, "You heavens, you should take my side because you too are old." That's so marvelous and I can't imagine an actor enunciate it. And I've never seen a Lear that worked. I think that trying to play Lear would be rather like having a drama in which somebody played Yahweh. Inconceivable.

  46. LQ: You do use one phrase here which struck me very much. I was fascinated by it. I'm not sure I can imagine you using it about Lear. You speak of your "waning skepticism" about Yahweh.

  47. HB: Well, I have waning skepticism about Lear also. I mean the difference is that I get fonder and fonder of Lear, irascible old creature as he is. Waning skepticism.

  48. LQ: Yes, that's interesting. It's a good surprising phrase. You expect the reverse.

  49. HB: I drag it in at the end of the book because I got very bored by Sam Harris. You know pragmatically there's no difference between Sam Harris urging an end to faith; I would say fine, Judaism isn't faith anyway. That's Pauline Pistis, the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. No, the only question is whether you trust Yahweh or you don't, and obviously you shouldn't and can't and couldn't and won't, because he's bad news, as I keep saying. He's as good an explanation for why everything goes wrong all the time as we could want. And he's had a terrible effect upon the world. Because in a somewhat altered and perhaps even more aggressive form, he is the Allah, which is a variant in Arabic on Elohim, of the Koran, of the Recitation, and he utterly disappears in Christianity, where God the father is just kind of an unfortunate, weak imitation of Yahweh. [Pause.] Surely it comes back to Leibniz, doesn't it? Which is then picked up by the horrible Heidegger. Why should anything be, anyway, rather than not be? Since Yahweh puns on ehyeh, which is the ancient Hebrew verb for being. I don't know. In the end I suppose if I have to vote and go with any one, I go with Hamlet, who is a nihilist as I read him. I think Shakespeare's ultimately is nihilistic, not Christian, not even Hermetist, just nihilistic, but I don't know that pragmatically there's any difference between Yahwism and nihilism. You know: is this a difference that makes a difference? to invoke William James's, you know, quite Emersonian definition of American pragmatism. It doesn't seem to me that it is a difference that makes a difference.

  50. LQ: I see. So the phrase "waning skepticism" doesn't mean "increasing faith"?

  51. HB: No, there's no faith to be had anyway. Certainly, the only issue is whether or not you trust him. I don't trust him. He's not worthy of trust. He is very bad . He is . . . .

  52. LQ: You speak often of the Holocaust as—I take it that that for you is emblematic.

  53. HB: Oh sure. Oh sure, I mean Yeshua, if he was crucified, was one of hundreds of thousands of Jews who were being crucified by the Romans in those days. And the biggest single holocaust of Jews took place after Rabbi Akiba proclaimed Simon bar Kosba, Simon bar Kochba or son of the star and said he was the Messiah, ben Joseph, that is to say, not the Messiah ben David but the Messiah ben Joseph, the warrior who comes first. And that led all of the Jews in the world into a terrific rebellion against Hadrian, and millions of Jews were eventually slaughtered and Akiba tortured to death at the age of 95; Bar Kochba went down heroically, taking legions of Romans with him. At one point in the book I have a sentence that Jeanne, my wife, reading it, said "Harold, it shouldn't be there; it will get you into trouble." But I'm glad it's there, because you know the great phrase about Yahweh in the Psalms and elsewhere is that Yahweh is a man of war, and I think his most memorable single appearance, and I talk about it, in the Bible, in Tanakh, is in the Book of Joshua, where at one point Joshua—you know it is after the death of Moses and Joshua is in command of the Israelites and they conquered Canaan, and before a crucial battle near Jericho he notices an armed warrior. He doesn't recognize him, and he boldly goes up to him, and he says, "Are you one of us or one of them." And the fellow replies, "The ground upon which you stand is holy. Take off your sandals." At which Joshua takes off his sandals and abases himself because he recognizes that it is Yahweh a man of war come to fight in the battle of Jericho, which he does, as he also fights, you know, with the tribes that came to the battle in the first Hebrew poem that we have, the song of Deborah and Barak in Judges 5. So I have this sentence in the book: "If Yahweh is a man of war, then Allah is a suicide bomber." I think they are all bad news, Judaism and Christianity and Islam. But I wanted to make clear in the book that there is no such thing as a Judeo-Christian tradition. That is absolutely ridiculous. And fascinatingly enough there are two things that I've said throughout my life when I've addressed Jewish audiences, say at the Jewish Theological Seminary or such places, and they always get furious at me. But they're both true. One is that nowhere in the whole of the Tanakh does it say that a whole people can make themselves holy through study of texts. That's a purely Platonic idea, and comes out of Plato's Laws. That simply shows how thoroughly Platonized the rabbis of the second century were. The other one, which I say in this book and it has already given some offense, is that in fact not only is Judaism, which is a product of the second century of the common era—and it's worked out by people like you know Akiba and his friends and opponents like Ishmael and Tarphon and the others, is a younger religion than Christianity is. Christianity in some form exists in the first century of the common era. What we now call Judaism comes along in the second century of the common era. Christianity is actually the older religion, though it infuriates Jews when you say that to them.

  54. LQ: I wanted to go back to your comment . . .

  55. HB: I think my book is good clean fun.

  56. LQ: Well I thoroughly enjoyed it. I wanted to go back to your comment. . .

  57. HB: But I don't think it's irreverent.

  58. LQ: No.

  59. HB: Because I think the category—you know any time you want to say that some text is more sacred than another then you've made a political statement, and I don't like political statements. It is utterly insane that by vote of the United States Congress, the Church of Scientology has a tax exempt status. That means that Dianetics, by L. Ron Hubbard, which I challenge anybody to try to read, is a sacred text, by vote of Congress. And of course what it is is very ninth rate science fiction. Though it now has distinguished believers like, I believe, Tom Cruise and—isn't John Travolta also a Scientologist?

  60. LQ: To go back to your comment about Yahwism and nihilism: What is—I don't know how to put this question exactly—but what is—why do you describe yourself as a Gnostic rather than an atheist or an agnostic?

  61. HB: Ah, that's what my wife always wants to know. She regards herself as an atheist. [Pause.] I don't think I am.

  62. JB: [Whispers.]

  63. HB: Bad wife.

  64. LQ: Sorry, what did you say, Jeanne?

  65. JB: I regard him as an atheist.

  66. LQ: I see. That was "I regard him as an atheist."

  67. HB: No, no I'm not an atheist. It's no fun being an atheist.

  68. JB: True! But what alternative is there?

  69. HB: Well, the alternative is to entertain all of these fictions. Remembering what Uncle Wallace taught us, which is that the final belief he says is to believe in a fiction, with the nicer aspects of belief, that knowing that what you believe in is not true. It's just imaginatively much more interesting to be a Gnostic rather than an agnostic, to be fascinated by Yahweh rather than indifferent to him. Walt Whitman liked to say that the United States are in themselves the greatest poem. Alas they're not, but it's a nice idea. Yahweh is a great poem. [Pause.] I don't think Jesus Christ is a great poem. [Pause.] I never quite make up my mind about Allah, though I'm fascinated by the fact that the Koran is the only book I've ever read in which every single phrase is spoken by God himself. It is the voice of Allah that you hear from the beginning to the end, supposedly by mediation of the angel Gabriel, being dictated to Mohammed, who however doesn't write it down because supposedly he's an illiterate, which baffles me, because he's a successful merchant, and how could you have been a successful merchant if you were illiterate, and couldn't read or write? But supposedly he memorizes it and then he dictates it—a very suspicious process of course, but then no more suspicious than the formation of Tanakh or the Greek New Testament. I don't say it in this book, because I had said it in the book just before, called Where Shall Wisdom be Found, in the chapter there that reprints with a few modifications a commentary that I'd written on the Gnostic or quasi-Gnostic Gospel of Thomas,—I ask every New Testament theologian I've known in this life the same question; I've asked the great Pelikan this question, at which he had just shrugged his shoulders and walked off smiling amiably: How is it that we don't have an Aramaic Gospel? Why is there no Nazarene Gospel? Even though we know that no one who wrote anything that is now in the New Testament had ever seen the historical Jesus, had ever heard him say a word, nevertheless, for any of this to make even an iota of sense, that person did not go around speaking Koiné, speaking demotic Greek. He went around speaking Aramaic. Aramaic and demotic Greek are totally different languages. The nuances of thought, expression and spirituality of one are not readily translatable into the other. How could you believe that you were hearing the ipsa verba, the actual words of the incarnate God, and not write them down and preserve them? And what makes me even more suspicious is, you will notice, as though they throw it in to show the authenticity of this inauthentic schmaltz, all through the Gospels suddenly you're thrown a phrase or two in Aramaic, including, you know, the last words spoken from the Cross. Why? And where's the rest of it?

  70. LQ: You say in the book when you come to the question of why Christianity has been appealing, I believe you say, it's the promise of the resurrection.

  71. HB: Well, even more simply now though: I was on Charlie Rose some weeks ago, and Charlie, I suppose playing straight man—a hard role for Charlie to play—said: To what do you attribute the fact that you've just spoken of, Harold, that there are a billion and a half Moslems in the world and a billion and a half Christians and only fourteen million Jews, how do you explain the enormous appeal of these religions? I said: Well on the one hand, in both Islam and Christianity, you're getting a great deal in exchange for very little. All you have to do in Christianity is say, "I accept that Jesus of Nazareth was also Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the anointed one or Messiah," and as a result you have life eternal. And all you have to do in Islam, as they say, which is what it means, is submit just to the statement that Mohammed, who is certainly not divine and doesn't pretend to be divine is nevertheless the seal of the prophets, the final kind of a prophet and all you have to do is submit to the will of Allah, and in return you get Paradise. And of course there's also the fact, as I said on Charlie Rose, that Christianity triumphed not just because of that but because Constantine the Great looked over what was available to him, including Mithraism and so on, and said, "The right way to hold the Empire together, the right state religion is Christianity." So he swung the sword of Constantine, and out went all the heretical versions of Christianity also, including the Gnostics and we got the Church, the Roman Catholic Church indeed. And then Mohammed, as the Koran makes clear, and all the texts after it—Mohammed is definitely a man of war and kept defeating the Arabian Jews and he defeated the various Arabian pagans, and after his death his Califs went on and on and on magnificently (ah yes, beautiful wife) magnificently went on conquering. So both Islam and Christianity triumphed by the sword, and of course then started engaging with one another—in the Crusades, in Spain, in North Africa, and at the moment, whether we like it or not, in Iraq and Afghanistan, and God knows where next.

  72. LQ: I take it that you find the Hebrew Bible not only aesthetically deeper than the New Testament, but also that you find it—how shall I say it—spiritually deeper?

  73. HB: The only thing in the New Testament that seems to me spiritually valuable is the general epistle of James, undoubtedly written by a disciple of James, that is to say Jacob the brother of Jesus, by tradition anyway the brother. And that is precisely what Martin Luther wanted thrown out of the Bible—he called it an "epistle of straw"—because it said specifically that faith is not enough, that only works matter, and it ferociously, like the prophet Amos and the first Isaiah, cries out against those who oppress the poor. I'm not sure how much spirituality really interests me in the Gospel of Mark. The Gospel of Mark—and a couple of early reviewers, in places like Kirkus and (what's that other one?) Publisher's Weekly, got very angry with me about this—and they both picked this up and a couple of reviewers I've seen since—where I say that in many ways the author of the Gospel of Mark reminds me of Edgar Allan Poe, in that he writes very very badly on a sentence by sentence basis, and yet he's got a spooky kind of universalizing imagination. You know, he dreams universal nightmares, and it's very hard to get them out of your head.

  74. LQ: Like Dreiser, or Mary Shelley. Both bad writers on the sentence level.

  75. HB: Yeah. Oh yeah. Dreiser is endlessly fascinating in that regard. Sister Carrie breaks my heart, and An American Tragedy hurts so much I hate rereading it. But on a sentence by sentence basis they're impossibly drab and dreadful. And it's quite true, Frankenstein and The Last Man, as prose are very badly written, but they work, they work. And the Gospel of Mark I think is very badly written, by an amateur writer, evidently a Jew in Rome, writing at about the time, you know, word is reaching him that the temple is being destroyed and the city is being burned, and—it is very compelling. And then of course I hate the Gospel of John because as I say candidly in the book it hates me so I hate it. It keeps saying that the Jews are all the children of Satan. Now that's very interesting, in the whole of the Hebrew Bible, except for one brief, rather muted reference, I think in the prophet Zachariah, who's late, the only place where Satan enters is not as a fellow named Satan, a personage named Satan, but as the ha-Satana, the accuser, the prosecuting attorney, at the beginning of the Book of Job. But in the Greek New Testament, the only character who matters besides Jesus Christ is Satan, who is onstage almost non-stop. It's a Satan-haunted piece of work.

  76. LQ: Oh, speaking of being haunted, there's a beautiful passage at the end of the book, where you say "I very much want to dismiss Yahweh as the ancient Gnostics did, finding in him a mere demiurge who had botched the creation . . . . But I wake up these days, sometime between midnight and two A.M., because of nightmares [of] Yahweh" (p. 236).

  77. HB: Oh, yeah.

  78. LQ: And so . . .

  79. HB: He frequently looks like Uncle Siggy, in a three piece Edwardian suit, with a beautifully groomed beard and hair, and flashing a cigar at me. But Uncle Siggy—If asked what Yahweh looks like, I wouldn't think of Blake's Nobodaddy, I would think of Uncle Siggy.

  80. LQ: Ah. It's a figure of authority.

  81. HB: Yes.

  82. LQ: But . . .

  83. HB: Uncle Siggy is obviously a kinder and more humane personage than Yahweh.

  84. LQ: I think I understand...

  85. HB: All this is just confirming my wife's view that I am an atheist. But I'm not, I'm not. [Laughs.] How uninteresting it is to be an atheist. I mean, you can't make literature out of that.

  86. LQ: Are you being diplomatic when you say that? Do you think atheism is possible?

  87. HB: Diplomatic?

  88. LQ: Well, I thought when I read the book: I've always described myself as an atheist, but maybe it's dishonest, maybe I should say I'm a Gnostic. I'm angry with God. Perhaps that's Gnosticism.

  89. HB: Yeah, I think if you argue with God, or you're angry at God, if you have a grudge against him, then that's much more fun than just saying he's not there at all.

  90. LQ: Do you think genuine indifference is possible?

  91. HB: Well, remember we live in the United States of America, under the reign of W. the Great, who is on record as saying that Jesus Christ is his favorite philosopher, and is sitting there in Camp David at this moment, telling his intimates that he's on a mission from God to install democracy in Iraq, and will not cease, you know, till he either leaves office or has done it. And I believe him, I think he is that crazy. He is an authentic crusader, unlike his Papa, who knew when to come home. And this is Jesus Christ CEO, you know this is the American Jesus of the Christian right. It's very interesting. There is no Yahweh in the United States. I mean God the Father is just about gone. There is of course the BVM, or as I like to call her, thinking of her manifestation in the Houston Astrodome, visiting the refugees there, the BBB, the Blessed Barbara Bush. That's our deity, or one of our deities. My wife is particularly fond of the Blessed Barbara Bush. I guess I like her too. She is very good value. It's fascinating that we have an American Jesus, and he's always been an American, not a Jew at all, but the Christian right has now so compromised him, that when Hispanics come pouring into this country from south of the border or the Caribbean or further down, like so many African-Americans and like so many increasingly poor whites in the South or even in the Midwest, they're turning to Pentecostalism, which is the fastest growing religious movement in the United States, which has nothing to do with Jesus really, or Jesus Christ. It's all about the Holy Spirit, which is pouring down upon them and they're all shouting and jumping with him. I'm not so sure that in the end this will not be a Pentecostal nation. In which case it's true pre-Scripture will turn out to have been The Crying of Lot 49.

  92. LQ: Where does the idea of the Holy Spirit come from?

  93. HB: Ah. On the basis of almost no New Testament evidence—a dove or two—Christian theology manufactured, needing a third person for the trinity, along with God the father, to finish Yahweh and Jesus Christ the theological God—they needed another entity, so they gave us the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost. But he never really took root in European or Middle-Eastern Christianity, or in East European and Russian Christianity. It's here in the United States that Pentecostalism really took off, and it's burgeoning, you know, every day. The largest single Pentecostal unit is the Assemblies of God, and they just sort of surge on in number all the time. There are independent Pentecostal groups all over the country. I've got some former students in Atlanta, who shall be nameless—charming people—who are literary critics, teachers of literature by profession, and they are ferocious Pentecostalists. They—I attended one such service in Atlanta, and there they were all whooping it up and shouting when the Spirit hits them indeed and crying out in strange tongues and defying the laws of gravity, and it's all wonderful stuff. I'm not being ironic. So it was his mother.

  94. LQ: The kids are getting restless, so just one more question.

  95. HB: I know you must go home, because it's going to be 10:30 before you get those pussycats in bed.

  96. LQ: Ok, one last question then. To come back to this passage about wanting to dismiss Yahweh . . .

  97. HB: Yes. Who wouldn't want to dismiss him?

  98. LQ: . . . and being haunted. Now the question is, why do you think you're—what is it that—why are you haunted, what keeps bringing you back?

  99. HB: I read the Hebrew Bible. I brood about it. It's a very strong text. Whether you read it in the original, or you read William Tyndale and Miles Coverdale, who between them write about eighty-five to ninety percent of what you find in the authorized version, and who are, with Shakespeare and Chaucer the four great writers of the English language as far as I can tell. Tyndale writes prose, Coverdale does Psalms and battle hymns and so on. Both terrific writers. And as I say, with Shakespeare and Chaucer, the most powerful writers.

  100. LQ: But you read the texts because you're already haunted.

  101. HB; Well, Laura, you reread King Lear and Hamlet because you are already haunted, and then you get more haunted by reading them. They are infinite. They go on forever, in the same way the war song of Deborah and Barak or the great chant in the Second Isaiah about the suffering servant, palpably meant to be the people of Israel, which becomes however in the Christian interpretation the suffering Christ—

  102. LQ: Yes. I just wondered if you wanted to pinpoint what it is—what it was—

  103. HB: Remember you have to get your pussycats home.

  104. LQ: Ok.

  105. HB: But go on—one last thing.

  106. LQ; One last thing—just if you wanted to pinpoint a little what it is that prevents you from dismissing Yahweh.

  107. HB: [Pause.] I think it's an aesthetic matter.

  108. LQ: I see.

  109. HB: But you know, how do we know what an aesthetic matter is? Its dimensions are endless.

Notes

1This interview was conducted on November 27, 2005 after dinner. Present are Harold Bloom, Laura Quinney, Jeanne Bloom, Daniel Bloom, William Flesch, Daniel Flesch (9), and Julian Flesch (5). The interview was transcribed by William Flesch.

Authored by (Secondary): 

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          Almond Counting         
I belong to an online forum designed to support professional and educational achievement for LDS women. It’s full of both married and single women who don’t fit the traditional mold for my culture and has become for me a nice place to discuss issues that are rarely broached on Sunday. As an older, single, Obama loving, gay marriage supporting, unapologetic feminist, I don’t always feel like I fit in my church and this forum has connected me to other women who are also trying to figure out their place.

So it was with a bit of disappointment that I followed one particular thread that caught fire there this week.  A woman posted that her, by all accounts pretty amazing, 28-year-old daughter was beginning to despair that she would ever meet a nice LDS boy and get married and start a family. I expected support that 28 was young to worry about such a thing and that there are a multitude of ways to have a fulfilling life and instead, it devolved into tales of how horrifyingly late in life these ladies finally got married and got to leave the nightmare of single life and don’t worry, someone is out there for you girl, keep your chin up while you slog through your poor, poor sad lonely life until you find someone. Maybe it wasn’t that extreme.  However, married woman after married woman told her anecdote about how she or someone she knew had “not married until (insert an age where you can hardly believe someone was willing to take on the old crone)”. Their loud voices managed to drown out the single women here and there who were trying to say, “hey actually it might not happen and here’s how to have a good life no matter what” or “you know, let’s not tell this girl to move to another state to find a better dating pool because everywhere and nowhere is an ideal place to date”. I worried that maybe the forum’s usual encouragement of everyone having their own path and no one’s worth being contingent on their marital status was all lip service to cover a deep, abiding need for a prince to come along and save us.

I don’t believe it was intentional, or that any of those women realized that what they were  making being single sound a form of torture, but I’m turning 40 in three weeks and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about what sort of advice would have been legitimately helpful from someone actually in the trenches of singledom when I was her age. So here we go, my old spinster advice to a 28-year-old single gal.

“So. I hear you are beginning to worry that the relation-ship has sailed for you and that you will be spending the rest of your life alone. First of all, may I say 28, that I have so much empathy for how you feel right now. But I feel equal parts like rolling my eyes right out of my head. I know that as an LDS woman, you have been watching your friends get married for ten years, but man, 28. It’s early to start thinking it’s already over.  

But this isn’t about age, and it’s not about dating. It’s about a promise to you, that your life will be infinitely better if you take the time right now to learn that your fundamental self does not change with your relationship status.

A couple of weeks ago I was listening to a podcast by a woman who has spent her whole life struggling with her weight. She talked about how she had always been heavy, but because it’s shameful to be fat, she spent her time interacting with thin people by always assuring them that she was definitely doing all she could to lose weight and be “one of them”. And then one day, she decided that being thin wasn’t going to change the fact that she was a smart, fun, interesting person and she didn’t want to waste her life counting almonds. So she told her friends, “guess what guys? I’m fat. And I’m ok with it, so let’s stop talking about it eh?”.

Don’t spend your life counting the dating almonds. Don’t relate to the married people around you by stressing how hard you are working to escape being a single person. Don’t position your value to yourself or any of the people in your life on a relationship status scale. You will have all manner of well-meaning friends and family assuring you that it’s going to happen for you, that they just know you will get married. The truth, my young awesome friend, it that you might. But it might be a few years, it might be a lot of years, and it really might be not at all. If you waste those years wallowing in worry and fear, I can promise you from a place of authority that you will regret every second you lost to being sad about something that is essentially out of your control. I have willed and worked myself into nearly every dream on my teenage checklist so I assure you that if a family was a thing you could earn, you would not know dozens of incredible men and women who have achieved success in every other aspect of their lives who are alone. You can go to every singles ward and be on every app and accept every set up, and it doesn’t mean you’ll find a partner. I approached a lot of experiences in my twenties and early thirties with the anticipation that maybe this is where I would meet “him”. I regret the opportunities that I allowed to be dampened by the disappointment of not being romantically fruitful.  So you can decide right now if you want to savor all the advantages of this season of your life or if you want to spend the next unknown amount of years always feeling like a little bit of a failure.   

I want you to do a little exercise for me. I want you to think about all the people you know who are married and ask yourself if any of them became fundamentally different people when they found a mate. Do you know a bunch of people who were lame but then they got married and became kind and good and interesting? No, you do not. Because getting married does not alter the core of a person. Are there unique lessons that only marriage can teach you that will make you grow in certain ways? Definitely. Can the same be said for being single? Absolutely.  Who you are, and what you can contribute to the world is unaffected by your marital status. There are douchey married guys, and mean and gossipy married ladies, and loads and loads of weirdos who manage to get hitched. Just like there are rad single people who are weary of hearing “gosh, you are a catch, why are you single?”. 

I turn 40 in about three weeks. I’m on the tail end of getting over a breakup so I am square one single right now. I have had an unreal, fulfilling, meaningful life so far. I used to feel like I needed to downplay how fortunate I’ve been so it didn’t seem like I was enjoying being single too much. When a friend would say something about all the interesting things I was doing I would always be sure to say, “oh but I would trade it all for a family!”. Here’s the truth. No I wouldn’t. I haven’t been stuck in a back-up version of my life, this isn’t some “plan B” I’ve had to endure because I am not part of a couple. I am so fucking proud of the person I have become and I’m here as a result of the twists and turns of a life that I know is exactly the right one for me. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I might be different in some ways had I married, but I wouldn’t actually be a better or more worthwhile human.  


So here’s the net of my advice. Tell your friends, and your family, “guess what guys? I’m single. And I’m ok with it, so let’s stop talking about it eh?”. And then go live your life. Do things, try things, fail at things, succeed at things. Say yes more often than you say no. And when you turn 30, or 35 or 40 or 80, you will be the very best and most fulfilled version of yourself no matter who does or doesn’t fall in love with you.

          Sleepyhead        

I belong to a church where all of the work is done by volunteers. If you are an adult in a Mormon congregation, you likely have a "calling" in addition to to whatever you do professionally. 

Because my work schedule for the last 14 years has ranged from random to truly insane, I have had mostly teaching callings or responsibilities I can do on the road. I could write a zillion words on the alternating feelings of guilt and glee I have felt about that situation but that is a post for another day.  It's also sometimes tricky for family oriented LDS "wards" as they are called to figure out what to do with single people. I have no global solutions to that stickiness but I currently have a ward leader who is more sensitive to trying to include me than some have been in the past and it feels nice. He asked me in a meeting at Christmas what I thought I could do in a down year from an Olympics and I said that I didn't want to do something I constantly had to flake on but I was up for whatever he needed. 

So that is how I found myself being asked to be an advisor for 25 high school juniors and seniors at Girl's Camp this summer. Every year for a long, long time LDS wards have been taking all their teenage girls into the woods for a week of detox from boys and makeup and technology and teaching them how to hike, light fires and have some spiritual experiences. I'm sure it will not surprise you that Girl's Camp memories account for some of the best AND worst of my 12-17 years. 

When I came home from my mission 14 years ago (ouch) all I wanted to do was work with the teenage girls. I wanted them to see an example of a woman who had gone to college, served a mission and was working at a great job. I had a lot of good leaders as a kid but the teenage Katie sure would have appreciated a role model who had taken a different path than marrying early and starting a family right away. I wanted to be that leader.

I also wanted to date Mormon boys and a pretty great way to meet them was to be in one of the special "singles" congregations and even though I lived in Utah and there was a Mormon boy behind every corner, I was seduced by post Church dinners and campouts in Moab and I jumped ship from the Young Women's program. And then I left Utah and singles wards became the best shortcut to a social life and then suddenly you are 31 and they are tossing you out (which is another blog post as well) and you are back in a family ward after 10 years of never seeing a child or an old person at church. It takes some readjusting and since my own migration out of the singles ward came just as I was moving to Colorado and didn't know a soul, I definitely haven't done a great job of jumping into the family community. I have made a few good friends at church and just sort of left it at that. The chance to get to know the girls and their families a little bit seemed like a good way to finally make a contribution even if it means taking some vacation days I would likely rather use holding baby Nina or chasing nephews. 

All of this long intro is to say that a few weeks ago we had a Camp Kick-off activity where the other leader and I hosted a sleepover with all the older girls who will be helping out with various camp responsibilities and setting good examples for the younger ones. 

I have been apprehensive about these girls. What if a bunch of nice Mormon teenagers look at me and all they see is their worst nightmare? I'm 36 so to 16 year olds I am definitely an old maid. I was a relatively feminist youngster and I for sure thought unmarried ladies in their 30s were kind of sad. And while I have all manner of mixed feelings about being this age and this single, I do not want to look out into a sea of teenage pity when I have a really, really great life. Also, I was not popular with teenage girls when I WAS a teenage girl so there is a fear that they will just find me hopelessly uncool. 

All day at work on the Friday of the sleepover I was so nervous. I want them to like me but I still want them to see me as an adult and I don't want them to feel bad for me but I do want them to see that life is so good even if it doesn't go exactly how their romantic teen brains are planning and I want to keep their attention but I want them to have time on their own and really I just want to drill it into all their little heads that the very best thing they can learn in the mountains is how to have a relationship with God and honestly everything else falls into place but I know they have to figure that out on their own. It's a lot. It's a lot to put on a sleepover. It's a lot to put on kids who don't even know me. 

So we get there. And right away they are spilling out of minivans with braces and sleeping bags and long hair and cell phones and they all seem so cool and confident even though I know (and have to remind myself) that they are not. I take a deep breath and separate from the other leader even though I kind of want to be her siamese twin all night. I plop down at a table where they are filling out forms and I ask them questions. And I know I'm trying just a little bit too hard but I also know they are a little nervous because even thought it was 20 years ago I still remember what it was like. I think one advantage to never doing some of the "grownup" things everyone my age has done is I am still worrying about boys and shifting social groups and if the size of my thighs is the reason I'm not dating much. I have a lot of the same fears and problems they do so I can get myself back there quickly. 

The girls have been there about 30 minutes when I discover that a dear friend of mine taught one of them in sophomore English class. She's a cute little thing who takes AP classes and does theater and is having an easy time talking to an adult. I am relieved to see that a) there are still teenagers who take AP classes and become Thespians and want to please adults and b) that my singleness and kidlessness has so far not caused her to eyes to glaze over. 

I'm not completely clueless when it comes to kids so I have brought a piece of Olympic apparel as a prize for a game. The girls eat it up. The other advisor is also my age and has three little kids. She moved here after a few years in Japan and she has long hair and she's pretty and halfway through our presentation I feel like we are really killing it. We have to shush them a few times and we lose them to their screens a couple of times but for the most part, it really seems like they like us! It helps that the other leaders have introduced us as "the fun ones" which I think lets us a bit off the hook. I am a way better good cop than bad cop so I think my role is the right one. 

We have dinner, we make s'mores, we do some leadership training (well, the bad cops do, the other leader and I do some yoga moves in the back and maybe I post some Facebook updates because I have to document this). I show them some photos of Ryan Lochte trying on his medals stand jacket which I believe lays to rest any concerns because I do not have a boyfriend. We manage to stay up until about 1 but the girls are so good that we don't worry when they are still laughing as we find our ways to our sleeping bags and pass out. I'm sure chasing a few little kids around all day is tiring but I cannot believe how much energy that many raging hormones can zap. 

The next morning we go to the church where all the younger girls will be gathering to do some hiking and fire training in preparation for Camp. As we drive over the girl in my passenger seat, a girl with big brown eyes and a pixie cut who tells me she's headed to college on the other side of the country, asks me what we are listening to. It's a quiet folksy band and I assume she'd rather it was One Direction but she says "no I really like this-do you have any other recommendations like this?" and of course she is now my favorite. 

These older girls are going to be the advisors for this activity and they are taking it seriously. They fan out and take control of various groups and call roll and give instructions. These are such good girls.  We didn't have of the eye rolling, "I'm over this" variety and I am grateful. I am powerless in the face of cynicism in general and it makes me especially sad in young people. I am glad that even though we for sure have some awkward girls and some odd little ducks in some cases, they are nice. They are good. They are taking younger girls under their wings and they are trying to be examples. 

I like these girls. I am not afraid of these girls. 







          I wanted to install Hathway Broadband at home        
I wanted to install Hathway Broadband at home, and promptly a sales person visited my home on 21st Dec, 2005. He took the
full payment, and informed me that wiring wiuld be complete in 5 days, and the connection would start on 1st Jan, 2006. Till
date ( 11th Jan, 2006), forget about wiring, not a single person from Hathway tried to contact me. I call them up everyday,
I get a response that there is some wiring work still pending at the back-end, which will be done in 2 days. They take my
number everyday, but never call me.

I asked the person (Anil Kalap), who come to my house and took the cheque, to refund the money, but that also has not
happenned.

I hope higher management in Hathway will notice this and respond to me.
          Outburst Biografía        
 Repasando el Heavy Metal clásico en un país como Finlandia, los pioneros. Este país está muy influenciado por Suecia. En Estocolmo se desarrolló una prolífica escena metalera, con bandas de metal clásico como los Heavy Load o Gotham y otras de metal mas melódico como Q5 o Europe, muy influenciados por la Nwobhm inglesa.
Finlandia sigue los pasos de Suecia aunque sin tantas bandas y tantos medios a su disposición, en un plano mas discreto. Sarcofagus fueron los pioneros del metal en este país y después se crearía el sello Poko Records, el cual por cierto, sigue en activo y dio cabida a todas estas bandas de metal, sello creado en 1976.

Hoy toca hablar de los Outburst, una banda de metal clásico melódico con buenos temas que tuvo una carrera de lo mas breve. Banda creada en la pequeña ciudad, o casi diría pueblo de Nokia, en las proximidades de Turku, la segunda ciudad del país mas poblada después de Helsinki.
Tan solo editaron dos EP. El primero de ellos se titulo " Stranglers in the Night", editado por Poko Records en 1986 en formato vinilo, producido por Heiki ( guitarrista de los Tabula Rasa y productor accidental) un trabajo de 18 minutos de duración compuesto por cinco temas cantados en inglés.
En 1987 sale editado un single pero que finalmente adopto la forma de ep " Lonely Nights" compuesto por dos temas, editado en cassette y vinilo y editado de nuevo por Poko Records,  Este segundo ep mucho mas comercial y melódico que el primero. Nunca hubo cambio de formación en la banda y ninguno de sus músicos continuo con su carrera musical, lo dejaron definitivamente en 1987.
          How To Make Solar Power        

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          Why Can’t Americans Get a Raise?        

There’s a disturbance in the force of the U.S. economy. An airline canceled flights because it couldn’t find enough pilots to steer them. Despite high demand, homebuilders in Colorado are throttling back activity because they can’t find the workers to erect frames. Farmers in Alabama are fretting that crops may rot in the ground for a lack of workers to bring in the harvest.

This state of things has left analysts stumped. For nearly a decade, the Federal Reserve has kept interest rates at extraordinarily low levels in order to initiate growth and rising demand, inflation, and ultimately higher wages. But the higher wages have been stubbornly slow to materialize. Americans are working—but they’re not making more. Which really means that they’re making less. Average hourly earnings have risen just 2.5 percent in the past 12 months.

Want to listen to this article out loud? Hear it on Slate Voice.

By many measures, workers are in a good position to rate higher pay: a record 82 straight months of jobs growth, an unemployment rate of 4.4 percent, and a record 146.4 million Americans with payroll jobs. There are a whopping 5.7 million job openings (well over twice the level of eight years ago). Meanwhile, baby boomers are aging out of the workforce at a rapid clip and Mexicans, many of whom crossed the border to work, have been leaving the U.S. for years. The demand for workers is high.

Given these conditions, wages should be rising sharply. But look at this chart from the Atlanta Federal Reserve: They haven’t been, and they’re not. Every month when the government releases its latest employment data, newspapers call up small business or large companies, usually in the Midwest or Sun Belt, who testify to their frustration. Last week, the New York Times featured a Columbus, Ohio, cleaning company owner mystified that he couldn’t find applicants for his $9.25-per-hour jobs (“I sometimes wish there was actually a higher unemployment rate,” he actually said) and a Nebraska roofer who couldn’t figure out why nobody applied for the $17-an-hour jobs she was offering. “The pay is fair,” she said.

Actually, if not a single person applies for your job, the pay probably isn’t fair. But that’s where America remains stubbornly stuck: Employers won’t pay enough, and workers either won’t or can’t demand more. There are likely a lot of reasons, but the biggest, or least most fixable, may be psychological: From an economic perspective, both sides of the hiring market should have the power to increase overall wages in the current climate—but they aren’t.

It’s funny to laugh, of course, at the cluelessness of employers who are supposed to understand the fundamentals of supply and demand. But their inability to fill jobs is really bad economic news for several reasons. Every unfilled position is a personal tragedy: Imagine what your life would be like if someone in your household lost (or couldn’t find) a payroll job, or hadn’t received a raise in eight years, even as your family’s spending power had shrunk and its costs had grown. And they are likewise a serious economic issue. Americans tend to spend most of what they make on consumer goods, on their rent and mortgage payments, buying cars, investing, and so on. If just 1 million of those 5.7 million job openings were filled at a median pay of $47,000, that would mean an extra $47 billion annually moving from corporate balance sheets into the wallets of Americans. And from there, quickly into the economy.

Why isn’t the labor market functioning the way we would expect? Why aren’t employers bidding more aggressively to fill open positions? And why are American workers, at a time of low unemployment and high job openings, settling for the crappy or nonexistent raises they’re getting?

There could be a skills gap in which the workers out there simply don’t have the training necessary to fill the open jobs. Or it could be that, as Binyamin Appelbaum of the New York Times ventured on Twitter, that “a lot of American businesses have lost the muscle memory of how to compete for workers.” That is to say, they have literally forgotten the words to use, and the tools to deploy, when workers aren’t lining up in droves to fill their positions.

But these aren’t really reasons. They’re symptoms of something deeper at work. The stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression left deep scars and influenced consumer and investor behavior for decades. Americans remained risk-averse and shied away from stocks for whole generations after the breadlines and Hoovervilles had faded into sepia-hued memory. We haven’t completely come to grips with it, but the financial panic of 2008 and the Great Recession that followed inflicted similarly deep wounds on both businesses and workers that have changed behavior and norms—and it’s those norms that are depressing wages more than anything else.

How did we get here?

We live in an age of long business cycles and rare and shallow stumbles: In the 25 years between November 1982 and December 2007, there were only two recessions, each of which lasted just eight months. But the 18-month recession of 2008 to 2009, and the remarkably destructive debt crisis that fell in the middle, led to near-death experiences for many companies (and real-death experiences for large chunks of the banking and auto industries).

Corporate America went into survival mode and took an axe to what, in most instances, was its largest single cost: labor. Between January 2008 and February 2010, private-sector companies slashed 8.8 million jobs. At the same time, they slashed the wages and benefits of the workers they continued to employ. This was the playbook for getting through the worst financial downturn since the Great Depression. And as the economy began to expand, companies remained parsimonious on wages and benefits, and continued to push the obligation and cost of training onto workers.

They were able to do that in part because there was immense slack in the labor market. The unemployment rate peaked at 10.0 percent in October 2009. And so for a long period of time, companies became accustomed to getting all the labor they needed at the (low) price they wanted to pay, and managed to hold onto staff despite not raising wages. This mentality hardened into something like a permanent mindset, incorporated into business models and pro forma projections. In an era when overall economic growth was slowing, companies simply couldn’t countenance raising wages consistently.

Businesses encountered surprisingly weak countervailing forces. Only 6.4 percent of private-sector workers are represented by unions who can bargain on their behalf, and many of those unions are in a permanent defensive crouch. While several states raised the minimum wage, the federal wage floor remained stuck at $7.25.

At the same time, a similar scarring was happening on the other side to workers at every skill level, in every profession, at every rung of the income ladder. Given the weak safety net and low level of savings, the massive job losses and long-term unemployment suffered in 2007–2009 were devastating. Foreclosures and bankruptcy filings spiked.

In the wake of these losses, the mindset changed. What became paramount to the traumatized is simply to have a job with a steady paycheck, and to worry less about wages and the potential for raises. Someone out of work for a year—and who had difficulty making mortgage payments as a result—is more likely to take the first job he could get, try to hold on to it for dear life, and accept poorer wages because the alternative to not having the job is difficult to imagine. Seven years after the recession, Americans are quitting jobs at a relatively low rate despite the apparent abundance of positions. Out of fear or abundance of caution, they are sticking it out where they are, even if the pay is worse.

This amounts to a mutually reinforcing feedback loop. Companies are psychologically and emotionally geared not to raise wages as a matter of course. And many people who work are reluctant to aggressively ask for higher wages, or to quit and seek a better opportunity.

What can be done about this? In theory, time heals all wounds. People are now entering the workforce, and making hiring decisions, who didn’t suffer through the 2007–2009 crisis (though their older siblings and parents certainly did). After several years of being unable to fill positions at wages they offer, companies are starting to become slightly more willing to loosen the purse strings.

But we desperately need new norms surrounding pay. Policy can certainly help: The $15 minimum wage movement we’re seeing in many cities and states will certainly push some employers to raise wages. It would be more effective if more states and the federal government would follow the lead of states like New Jersey and Alaska, which index the minimum wage to rise with inflation. That way, businesses at the lower end of the wage scale know that they have to expect wage increases every year.

But what’s really needed, for Americans’ sake, is for businesses to stress-test and question their own assumptions. Is it realistic to assume that wages will lag inflation for a decade? Is it reasonable to expect that you can fill open posts—or retain workers—amid high employment without offering wages that are above the market? If the answer to both those questions is “no”—and it is—then you need to redesign your business model and working assumptions.

What’s worked until now won’t work much longer. You need to pay more. You need to do it now.


          Indoctrination into deception danger, 2011-2012!        
Since the speech John F. Kennedy presented to the public warning people about what's going on, trying to redeem himself and his ancestors, because of his Nazi past, we're truly facing the enemy that is described in the holy books like Bible and Quran. First of all JFK would never become the president if he had no past and connection with the ruling elite, since the elections are just a fraud made to control the public giving them a false hope that things will change for the better. Also elections buy time for the elite to find new ways of control.

I don't think there is a single person on this planet who didn't listen to JFK's speech about worldwide conspiracy that was broadcast on all televisions and radio stations. Now, it is very strange that the majority of people don't think there is a worldwide conspiracy. I had my doubts too until I stopped eating processed food, drinking tap or processed water, sodas, etc. I also stopped eating meat, sugar and using processed salt. I only eat natural food that grows in the yard and this has become very difficult to find these days.

So, what's going on? Why are majority of people behaving like zombies, not reacting to anything, going with the flow, like evil retards? What's the cause of all of this? Unfortunately, in a world where the elite servants and slaves control all the resources, enforce all the rules, it is made sure that an individual won't be able to find out what is going on. And even if an individual or a group of individuals manage to find out, they won't be able to reach the majority of population and wake them up.

We only know and accept what they serve us through their machinery of brainwashing, like TV, ads, movies, music, etc. And I've been noticing how hard they're trying to indoctrinate us into a deep story of some alien enemy that will come to this planet to harvest the gold, because the gold is very important to them. We will unite to fight that enemy, as that is the only enemy we have. Some of such movies, sharing the same story over and over are Stargate, Cowboys and Aliens, etc. They even invented the stories and made documentaries about Anunnaki, Nibiru, how Bible is written by Anunnaki hostile enemy aliens who needed a way to control their workforce (us, humans) to harvest the gold for them, etc.

For someone to accept this kind of BS, one must be a complete retard unable to think and connect the dots, and is only able to accept what's being served to him at one specific moment. Now, there are chemicals, hypnotics and audio / visual combinations of various frequencies that make one behave like that.

While they serve you documentaries, movies, etc. you only accept what's in front of you without thinking much, because you're unable, your brain activity is lowered by something. Brain activity can be lowered with damaged or occupied immune system, for example, not just chemicals.

So, who is the real enemy? Some evil aliens or is the enemy much closer than we think? Who is producing viruses, some evil aliens located on some distant planet that we're about to collide with or someone who is already on our planet? We know that viruses are of short existence, so who's making them, some evil aliens on some planet or someone on this planet? Who is polluting our environment telling us that he's finding new ways of helping our environment, some evil aliens on some other planet or someone who is much closer, maybe even right here, on our planet? Why is the cancer rising and who is radiating entire planet, some evil aliens that will come to take our gold or maybe a group of people who are already on this planet? Whose existence depends on us being sick all the time, the existence of some distant evil aliens or someone else, maybe someone who's already on this planet? Who is bombing countries, killing civilians and then covering all that up, some evil aliens from another planet who came to harvest our gold or NATO? Is NATO made out of some evil aliens from another planet or evil humans right here, born and raised on this very planet, maybe even in our neighborhood?

These are all good questions and some of them were either already answered by recent events or long before. Unfortunately, most of the answers are right in front of your face. The ones who produce vaccines and chemicals that afflict your bodies are the ones whose existence depends on your sickness. And they already have a name. They call themselves health-care system. It's a vast machinery. Instead of ceasing the production of viruses they're actually inventing new ones, all in favor of population reduction. They need to produce viruses to keep the threat real and the demand of medications and vaccines at the level which will keep the flow of money.

Everything we use today is made to deceive us into thinking it's made to benefit us. For example, cars, they're useful, right? They take us from one place to another, right? Public transportation too. But they all damage our environment. And why do we have to travel great distances to do some BS job in some cubicle anyway? Can't we just work in some cubicle that is close by? And why do we even have to do some pointless "job" anyway? Why do we have to eat genetically modified food that makes us sick? Why only ruling elite has the right to do nothing, have the access to all the resources and the money, to eat natural, organic, food, take vaccines that help (vaccines without adjuvants), etc.?

So, who's the real enemy here? "Evil" aliens on another planet or some evil humans located around pentagon / pentagram, servants of lucifer and satan, who are trying to put a blame on some aliens?

And here's the JFK's speech, they could have waited more than a year to kill him afterward, but they just got impatient because JFK didn't play how they wanted him to play. And guess what, those are not some aliens, but evil humans. In fact, when aliens come to this planet, I'd be on their side fighting against the only evil I know: pentagon / pentagram servants of lucifer and satan and all their minions. Because, Father gave us life and those evil degenerates are killing us slowly, all of us. And despite all the vast brainwashing machinery of propaganda and disinformation, lies and BS, I'm still able to see through all of it and see who the real evil enemy is. And that's all we need to know and keep in mind and remind ourselves each and every day. I wrote it on a sticker to remind me every day, in case they come up with some amnesia chemical or a virus.





Added on November, 21st 2011.
I was thinking about the story about aliens who're going to come and take our gold away, the story ruling elite is trying to mind-fu*k us with for decades. And, if those aliens would wipe out pentagon / pentagram and all their minions, I'd gladly give all my gold to aliens. I'd even throw in some silver, as a bonus, if aliens would make them suffer and die slowly and painfully. I'd even throw in some bronze and kitchenware if aliens would let me watch. But aliens should hurry up or we'll all start dying from various bio-engineered viruses, nano-tech, chemicals, disorders, cancers, etc.
          Raglan Road Review: A Disney Springs Restaurant        
Every time we visit Disney, we try to eat somewhere new. We have our old standbys, family favorites that we have to eat at every time, but this year, we added a few new restaurants, including Raglan Road.


Raglan Road is located in Disney Springs (which is awesome, by the way). If you're on the Disney Dining Plan, you can eat here for one table service credit each. They also have a quick service restaurant called Cookes of Dublin, though we didn't eat there.

The inside of this place is so, so cool!! From the moment we walked in, we knew we'd found something special! There's a stage on the far right of the photo below, and a small, single person stage  below the left center chandelier. 


They have Irish singers and dancers, and they even picked a few kids to join them on stage. If you know my kids in real life, you'll know who ran up there and who stayed at the table. ;-) I'll give you a hint; Brody's nickname is Crazy (or Trouble...just depends on the day).


They bring Irish soda bread to the table to start along with a beer and oil dip. Chris liked the oil but the kids and I requested butter. The soda bread was so good!

For dinner, Chris had fish and chips. While it was very good, he prefers the fish and chips at Epcot in the UK. I had braised beef and it was outstanding. I loved the presentation!


Since we were on the dining plan, we also received dessert. I had the flourless chocolate cake. It was good but not great. I only took two or three bites, but in fairness I was pretty full from my entree.


Chris had the peach and apple crumble. It's totally not my thing, so I didn't even try it, but he said it was just okay. If you were paying out of pocket I would recommend skipping dessert here and instead getting something from Sprinkles Cupcakes or the Ghiradelli ice cream shop.


Overall, we will definitely be going back to Raglan Road. It has earned a place on our favorites list because it's just so cool! They have a bar that was directly behind our table that they brought over from Ireland and it's 195 years old! The food was pretty good, though not our favorite, but the atmosphere is what makes this place!


          Dimantshtein Family        
The Dimantshtein family originated in Polotsk, Belarus and moved to various towns in Latvia: Rekekne (Rezhitza), Daugavpils (Dinaburg/Dvinsk), Riga, Karsava (Korsovka), Ludza (Lutzin). The family were Leviim.

The family were Chabad Chassidim in Latvia. They were quite prosperous trading in flax, timber and fish. One branch of the family set up a fishery in Aberdeen, Scotland. Some changed the name to Diamond.The earliest generation which has been traced in archival records was Zev Wulf Halevy Dimantshtein, born about 1770 In Polotsk and died before 1839. His children were Greinen, Eliyahu and Moshe.

Eliyahu was born about 1800 and died before 1885. His children were David, Avraham, Shmuel and Zev-Wulf.

Documents in Latvian archives including the 1889 list of Jews who lived in the rural areas of Lutzin district: David Dimantshtein, born in 1823 in Polotsk, moved to Korsovka in 1872 from Rezhitza. He must have moved at an earlier date from Polotsk to Rezhitza. He is described in this list as a merchant. According to family tradition he and his wife operated an inn on the outskirts of Korsovka. The circumstances which led to his burial in Lutzin rather than Korsovka are not known. The birthdates and birthplaces of his children are estimated. Information about some of his family taken from a family drawn up in England in 1948 by Norman Nygate.


Tombstone of David, son of Eliyahu Halevy Dimantshtein, Ludza 1901.
(Photographed by Aleksanders Feigmanis, Riga).


Vulf, (son of Elyash) was born in 1839 Polotsk, and moved to Korsovka in 1878.Vulf 's children: Abram, Elye, Treina, Dveira, Liba, Itka, Musya. All born between 1869-1885.

David’s wife was Keila-Tsirel. Her parentage is not known but Genetic testing revealed matches with several families such that she may have been related to families in the Vitebsk region such as Popkovitch, Leviyan (Gamerov), and others. Keila Tsirel was a short woman who had very definite views about bringing up her family. She wanted her daughter Rivka to know how to milk a cow so she had the maid Marfa teach Rivka. David and Keila-Tsirel were wealthy farmers and publicans, operating an inn on the outskirts of Korsovka. Once an inspector paid a visit to the inn and while sampling the food found an insect in a bun. Anxious to save her parents from prosecution, Rivka ate the bun quickly claiming that the insect was only a raisin.

The family developed widespread trading enterprises supplying the markets in the capital Riga with timber and flax for which trade they held a license. They also marketed herring on a large scale caught in the lakes near Lutzin. These business enterprises took several sons to live in Riga, in particular Tsvi-Hersh and from there expanded the trade to England in the late 1870’s which led to several members of the family settling there from 1880.

David and Keila-Tsirel's children were:

1) Zissa (c.1844-1932) married Pesakh Gordin and lived in Berzpils.

2) Yehudah Leib c.1848 - 1917 Korsovka.

3) Tsvi Hersh 1850 -1930 Riga.

4) Rivka (Rashka/Rebecca) 1851 or 1856-1834 married Mordekhai Zev Vulf (Max) Bull 1853-1931 London (see separate article).

5) Reuven c.1852, died 1934 London.

6) Zev Vulf 1856-1920 Korsovka.

7) Getzel c.1857-1890 Korsovka.

8) Moshe (Marks) 1860 - 1942 London.

9) Yeshaya c.1860 - 1933 London.

10) Zalman (Solomon) 1865 -1937 New York.

11) Meir, b.1865 never married, Riga.

12) Barukh . Identity unclear. According to Patricia Levitsky's history of the family, Barukh was a brother of her grandmother Rivka Bull. But Llyoyd Nygate's family tree does not include Barukh. He may have been a brother-in-law to Rivka's husband Max Bull, the husband of his sister.

1) Zissa and Pesakh Gordin lived in Berzpils and lost many of their family in the Holocaust. Their son Yaakov-Zev-Wulf settled in Korsovka where he was killed by the Nazis together with his children Raisa, Zalman and Mikhail. The surviving children Liuba Kalinkov, Gitta Tsiplevitch and Pesakh-Eliyahu settled in Israel. Zissa’s sons Mendel and Dan also perished in Berzpils. Mendel’s son Aba Gordin survived and lived in Korsovka. He possessed a Sefer Torah and took upon himself to organize religious servives for the small community that survived the Holocaust

2) Yehudah-Leib’s son Moshe-Eliyahu operated the family trade from Riga, settling in Lodon in the 1920’s where he opened a wooden barrel factory importing timber from Riga. He married his cousin Sonya, daughter of his uncle Getzel Dimantshtein.

3) Tzvi- Hersh left his hometown Korsovka and moved to Riga to engage in business. He became wealthy and started the Dimantshtein export business to England of herring, timber and flax. With the expansion of this business a number of his relatives immigrated to England. Tzvi’ son Bernard travelled to Aberdeen, Scotland to conduct his father's business and opened a fish processing plant and a factory to produce barrels from the timber his father exported from Riga. The barrels were sent back to Riga, filled with herring, and exported back to Scotland. Bernard changed his surname to Diamond.

4) Rivka – see separate article “Mordekhai-Zev (Max) Bull”.

Mordekhai-Zev and Rivka Bull, 50th Wedding Anniversary, London 1922.

5) Reuven
According to Maurice Bull's memoirs Reuven was very tall, over six feet, and had a large spade beard. He was a very excitable man who once reacted violently to an anti-Semitic remark made in the street. He was a furrier and settled in England in 1897.

Reuven’s son Yehudah-Leib was killed in the Arab riots of 1929 while working in the Diskin orphanage in Jerusalem.