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January 30, 2008

Edwards Bid shows Poverty not Big Campaign Theme

By Matthew Bigg
ATLANTA (Reuters) - "The inability of John Edwards to gain traction in his bid for the U.S. Democratic presidential nomination indicates that fighting poverty in America has limited appeal for voters.
Edwards told audiences it was 'the issue of my life.' But he dropped out of the race on Wednesday because too few responded to his anger at inequality, his heart-rending stories of suffering and his passion about combating corporate greed."

January 27, 2008

NPR: Senate Democrats Have Plans for Stimulus Package

I've sat staring at the walls for about 10 minutes now trying to compose my thoughts on this subject. There is so much I don't know about the impact this or that strategy may have, all that I 'do' have to draw on is the experience that is my life and the scant amount of common sense allotted me. I have fleeting thoughts about the direness of the situation, they tend toward "we've been living in the bubble, we were fine before the bubble, the bubble was great while it lasted". I back pedal toward.. and here is where it gets fuzzy...toward what? Staying the course? Maintain the status quo? No...common sense interjects, values are too high, quality is too low. Compensation for value is out of whack. Over consumption and waste are evidence. There needs to be a stimulus package, but not only for the reasons of impending doom, but for the morale of the nation after what feels like a 10 year beat down. But I believe it should be targeted toward the food stamp and UE benefits, the individual compensations and small business targeted tax relief and backing start up costs for small business only. Large multi-national corporations that have benefited from the 'Bubble' should take the bonus with thanks and get back to business as usual, as in 'Pre-Bubble' usual.

NPR: Senate Democrats Have Plans for Stimulus Package

Q&A: What's in the Tentative Stimulus Deal?
by Heidi Glenn

January 24, 2008

Shame on the Media, Again

I woke to the local FOX news station this morning, reporting on the rise in ridership for our local Metro bus system. I was initially excited, but soon aggravated. I thought to myself 'YEAH', people thinking green! Even if it was the higher gas prices that contributed. This station chose to announce the cause as increased employment downtown and increased fuel costs, but then went on to conclude ONLY that this means people can't afford to drive anymore. That's it. Nothing else was discussed. Not that the point had finally been reached where concern for the environment combined with the rising cost of fuel resulted in a greener lifestyle swing, no rational as to how higher employment results in fewer people with money to drive. Appalled, I switched over to the local CBS news to see if they were taking this same stance. Fortunately they were not. They reported the facts as presented by the Metro Transportation media service. Cheers CBS! As a sidenote, if CBS ran watchable late night television I might wake to CBS news. As a second thought, this sort of goes along with a previous blog "Not all is As it Appears".

View the MetroKC News Release Here.

January 23, 2008

Database assembles U.S. warnings of Saddam threat | Reuters

The Bush administration's warnings about prewar Iraq, from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's "mushroom cloud" to Vice President Dick Cheney's statements on weapons of mass destruction, were released on Wednesday in a searchable online database.

The Center for Public Integrity, a Washington research group highly critical of U.S. policy in Iraq, put together 935 comments uttered by eight top administration officials including President George W. Bush in the run-up to the March 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

January 19, 2008

It Bears Repeating

People against efforts to improve our environment have long perplexed me. It's not that I don't understand that some people are more concerned with personal gain, I think it may be that I don't understand how a person could put a price on their own and their families lives. Have they convinced themselves that they breath somehow cleaner air? That their food is grown in magically pure soil? Are their cows of a level they can move away from the grass accidentally sprayed with this or that toxin by a stray strong wind?

I've come to understand, if not accept, that it all comes down to money. I still don't get it.
If your town's waterfront (usually the highest income producing area in town if there is one) floods, even by a few inches, that is economic disaster. No supplies, no jobs, no taxes and no revenues.
If your town's farmlands are struck by drought, economic disaster. No food, no jobs, no taxes and no revenues.
If your town is struck by heat/cold wave and aging power grids fail.....
Now realize this is happening around the world...

Now no one cares about the newest car model, or fashion lines or football scores or....
No one is spending any money on anything except food shelter and protection...

There is money to be made in this endeavor, just like any other thing. Climb on board now, be a pioneer, those guys always make a ton of dough!
And if we are wrong, the worst thing that happens is we have clean air to breath, water to drink and food to eat

Please take 15 minutes to watch the 2 videos below
And then take 5 minutes to forward or post it.

Saturday January 12, 2008 - 01:37am (PST)

Matching Dollars through Dec 31st to Save the Turtles

The turtle race that you enjoyed watching this past April is in serious jeopardy.
Not because we don't have enough caring people like you to watch but because in just a few years there may not be a single Pacific Leatherback Turtle left to race.
The future for Pacific Leatherback Turtles has reached a critical point. To save these wonderful animals, we need your help now.
After 10 million years of survival making it past dinosaurs, meteors, droughts, floods, tsunamis it's humans that threaten their lives. Their nesting areas are ruthlessly being swallowed up by developments … their breeding grounds polluted and their fragile lives threatened by reckless fishing techniques and the careless dumping of plastic bags that their innocent little eyes see as a life-sustaining jellyfish.
In fact, scientists predict Pacific Leatherback Turtles could be extinct in just 10 years. I don't need to tell you that losing a single species affects our whole planet.
But you can help save the lives of Pacific Leatherback Turtles and all endangered species simply by making a donation today. Your generous year end, tax deductible donation of $10, $20 or even $50 will help Conservation International protect breeding and nesting areas so the Pacific Leatherback Turtles might flourish again. Conservation International, with our partners The Leatherback Trust and Tagging of Pacific Predators, is working right now to protect these charismatic animals.
Donate before December 31st and your donation is worth twice as much! Now is the perfect time to donate because our board members Harrison Ford and Jeff Gale and Chairman’s Council Member Jane Greenspun Gale are matching all donations dollar for dollar up to the $5 million challenge limit. That means when you make a year end, tax deductible donation of $10, the Pacific Leatherback Turtles and other endangered species get $20 … give $25 and a happy Pacific Leatherback and his friends get $50.
The important thing is to act now. Once an endangered species like the Pacific Leatherbacks are gone there's nothing we can do to bring them back. That's why protection right now is urgent. Donate today and you'll be helping us ensure that these gentle giants and their friends are around for another 10,000,000 years.
I can't thank you enough for your generosity.

Vinnie Wishrad Director, Community and Membership Conservation International
You may contact us anytime by emailing or writing to: 2011 Crystal Drive, Suite 500 Arlington, VA 22202 Call us toll free within the US at 1-800-406-2306 or (703) 341-2400.

Friday December 28, 2007 - 12:23pm (PST)

Not All is As it Appears

The media seems ever so concerned about slow spending over the Christmas Holidays while the rest of us seem ever so concerned about commercialization of the season. While watching the Graham Norton Show recently, a very tall dark haired comedian summed it up quite nicely for me when Graham asked him what he hoped to get for Christmas.. "I'm happy to get anything at all really, after all it's Jesus' birthday." I'd heard that one major store chain decided not to put up the holiday glam early, I wonder how their sales were, and if they weren't great, will they hold out and hold on until word gets 'round? I say cheers to that store, and cheers to YOU, consumers, for maybe remembering the reason for the season; maybe making a smarter choice this season. Here's hoping other corporations, advertisers and chains will get the message. He did, after all, turn over the tables of the money changers....

Crucified Santa is one man's message

Published: Dec. 23, 2007 at 4:30 PM© 2007 United Press International. BREMERTON, Wash., Dec. 23 (UPI) -- A home owner in Bremerton, Wash., adorned his lawn with a crucified Santa Claus doll to send a public message about the commercialization of Christmas.

Wednesday December 26, 2007 - 10:36pm (PST)

Washington Flooding Dec 2007

We DID IT! Kitsap County was just added to the list for Federal Storm Aid!

Please, if you have damage and are in other counties, refer to the previous blog for the phone numbers and websites to visit to report your damage. If they don't know the monetary amount of the damage, they can't make the designation.

Kitsap County added to federal storm aid list
Published: December 19th, 2007 12:10 PM

Kitsap County has been added to the list for federal storm aid to individuals.
County officials say they got the word this morning from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The county was previously designated as eligible for aid to local government and a few private agencies. Now individuals with major damage from the windstorms and flooding early this month may also register for assistance.

FEMA previously approved storm-related aid to individuals in Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific and Thurston counties. Gov. Chris Gregoire also has asked that Clallam County be added to the list.

Wednesday December 19, 2007 - 12:52pm (PST)

December '07 Washington Flooding

Federal Disaster designation is based on total monetary damage. It is very important that everyone report their damage to both FEMA and their County. The Stafford Act defines the process that triggers most federal disaster assistance other than assistance for crop losses. The criteria for disaster declarations are vague. The law defines only two categories of presidentially declared disasters: emergencies and major disasters. When the costs of a disaster exceed the resources of state and local government, a governor can ask the President to declare a major disaster.[1] Once the President determines that the event causes damage of sufficient severity and magnitude to warrant major disaster assistance, the affected area becomes eligible for a wide range of assistance coordinated by FEMA. At least 13 federal agencies, including FEMA, provide a combination of services, technical assistance, grants, and low- interest loans for disaster response and recovery. FEMA's Disaster Relief Fund pays between 75 and 100 percent of the costs of immediate emergency services, public facilities repair, and assistance to individual families. Click to read more.

Disaster News from FEMA dated Dec 15 '07 states that only 319 people from the 'Non Designated' counties have applied for assistance. Click to read more.

PLEASE CALL 360-307-5968 TO REPORT YOUR KITSAP COUNTY STROM DAMAGE. Click here for other counties and more info.

Kitsap County IS included in the SBA's list of Approved Disaster Assistance counties. SBA has disaster assistance loans not only for small business, but homeowners and renters as well. Click here for more information.

IRS Disaster Information Center provides details on the tax relief available if you have damage.Click here for info

Saturday December 15, 2007 - 04:47pm (PST)

January 18, 2008

If You Believe in Evolution

Do you ever wonder what our current lifestyles are doing to the evolutionary line? The chemicals we've ingested over the decades changing our physical features along with our body's chemistry, not to mention the combinations of foodstuffs provided to us changing our DNA. What about our sedentary lifestyle? We pay money to walk on treadmills and lift weights without work, yet most of us today couldn't carry out the average work day of 100 years ago, much less the strength diligence and stamina to stay alive during the trek across the continents. I can remember playing when I was a child, running and jumping. I can still remember a vague feeling that I was meant to do this sort of thing, that if I just DID and didn't THINK I could fairly fly. Years (decades) later I witness 'Freerunning' and that thought came flooding back to my memory, "I was RIGHT!" And of course I was, these are the very abilities that brought us from where we were (bottom of the food chain) to where we are (the top of the food chain).

Chimpanzees have an extraordinary photographic memory that is far superior to ours, research suggests.
Counting test
Number memory test

Young chimps outperformed university students in memory tests devised by Japanese scientists. Click Here for the full BBC story

Tuesday December 4, 2007 - 12:17am (PST)

No, Really?

Chinese Dam Projects Criticized for Their Human Costs

Du Bin for The New York Times
The Three Gorges Dam is projected as an anchor in a string of hydropower “mega-bases” planned for the middle and upper reaches of the Yangtze River.

Published: November 19, 2007
JIANMIN VILLAGE, China — Last year, Chinese officials celebrated the completion of the Three Gorges Dam by releasing a list of 10 world records. As in: The Three Gorges is the world’s biggest dam, biggest power plant and biggest consumer of dirt, stone, concrete and steel. Ever. Even the project’s official tally of 1.13 million displaced people made the list as record No. 10.

Choking on Growth

This is the fourth in a series of articles and multimedia examining the human toll, global impact and political challenge of China's epic pollution crisis.
Video: Living With the Dam
Interactive Graphic: Counting the Displaced
Expert Roundtable: Submit a Question

Living in Fear, Tan Zhenyou said soil erosion and tremors had caused the cracks in her home in Pinggao, China, upriver from the Three Gorges Dam.
Today, the Communist Party is hoping the dam does not become China’s biggest folly. In recent weeks, Chinese officials have admitted that the dam was spawning environmental problems like water pollution and landslides that could become severe. Equally startling, officials want to begin a new relocation program that would be bigger than the first

I'll refer you to If only to remember bad doesn't cancel out good.....

Monday November 19, 2007 - 05:30pm (PST)

No Further from the Border(line)

Several months ago I blogged the results of a random online personality 'disorder' test, I was happy to find out I was a functioning psychopathic schizoid narcissist! Today I took another equally random personality 'disorder' test, I really need to get a tutor apparently:

You Are 75% Borderline

Many signs point toward you having a borderline personality.
It's probably a good idea to seek therapy. Or at least read a self help book.

Monday November 19, 2007 - 02:01am (PST)

Not Rocket Science or I Need a Raise

WaMu Accused of Pushing Inflated Appraisals

This perpetration of fraud was noted by me on Sept. 18th in a blog entry titled ( "Confessions of a Mortgage Broker". ) I state this not to shine a light on my powers observation, but to shine a light on the fact that if I as an uneducated individual can see what happened , why is it taking so long for educated people 'In the Know' to realize the situation and take steps. Interest rates went down, so the price people could afford went up. Once the realtors and sellers realized this, they raised their selling prices. Lenders of course wanted these larger loan contracts and so loosened the appraisal requirements. This lead to appraisers 'Bumping' values. They accomplished this by going outside the normal mileage limits for comparables and exagerating details on the appraisals themselves. My own lender stated to me "Don't worry about the appraisal coming through for the price, My appraiser will justify almost any value I need". My own property was listed with a detached garage to accomplish this. (a fact I didn't realize until a year later when it came time to re-appraise).
The situation with the housing market will only get worse quantumly unless someone does something NOW! Those people being refinanced with help from the newly passed legislation regarding ARM's are only the TIP of the iceberg. NO ONE attempting to refinance the home with a 'Pushed' appraisal will be approved once the 'Real' value is re-established. Lenders found to have participated in this (almost all in every market effected) MUST be made to to refinance these loans based on their "Previously Accepted Value" regardless of the customers current circumstance in order to avoid an economic disaster. Lenders pay for their indescresions and gain credibility back from the public, Customers will pay (refinance fee's) for their failure to research the actual value of their home on their own and gain the ability to retain their homes, We as a country will pay in probable higher fee's and less money making it's way into the retail sector, but we will gain stability and the all important Moral that stability brings!

Story Published: Nov 1, 2007 at 10:47 AM PST
Story Updated: Nov 1, 2007 at 3:30 PM PST
By Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said Thursday a major real estate appraisal company colluded with the nation's largest savings and loan companies to inflate the values of homes nationwide, contributing to the subprime mortgage crisis. "This is a case we believe is indicative of an industrywide problem," Cuomo said in a news conference.

Sunday November 4, 2007 - 07:11pm (PST)

Speaking of China

Ever wonder who is funding the recent (relatively) industrial and economic reform in China? It's pretty clear they aren't going to be very grateful for it, nor should they be. It doesn't take a super computer to predict the outcome of this particular model.
American Imports, Chinese Deaths: The human cost of doing business
Their lungs shut down, their kidneys fail, they lose fingers, limbs, all so Americans are guaranteed an unfettered flow of cut-rate merchandise.

Meet Wei Chaihua - he's dying of silicosis.

By Loretta Tofani Special to The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated: 10/21/2007 01:06:01 PM MDT

GUANGZHOU, China - The patients arrive every day in Chinese hospitals with disabling and fatal diseases acquired while making products for America. On the sixth floor of the Guangzhou Occupational Disease and Prevention Hospital, Wei Chaihua, 44, sits on his iron-rail bed, tethered to an oxygen tank. He is dying of the lung disease silicosis, a result of making Char-Broil gas stoves sold in Utah and throughout the U.S. Down the hall, He Yuyun, 36, who for years brushed America's furniture with paint containing benzene and other solvents, receives treatment for myelodysplastic anemia, a precursor to leukemia.
In another room rests Xiang Zhiqing, 39, her hair falling out and her kidneys beginning to fail from prolonged exposure to cadmium, which she placed in batteries sent to the U.S. "Do people in your country handle cadmium while they make batteries?" Xiang asks. "Do they also die from this?" 'Big problem for Americans': With each new report of lead detected on a made-in-China toy, Americans express outrage: These toys could poison children. But Chinese workers making the toys - and countless other products for America - touch and inhale carcinogenic materials every day, all day long. Benzene. Lead. Cadmium. Toluene. Nickel. Mercury. Many are dying. They have fatal occupational diseases.

Sunday October 21, 2007 - 08:16pm (PDT)

Tibet leader awarded top US medal

I was and still am concerned about the decision to hold the Olympics in China. There are many reasons for that, but generally it boils down to my seeing it as giving them a 'nod' when there are still issues such as the destruction of ancestral homesteads (thousands and thousands of years old) for the dam(n) project just to name one. I try to remember that bad does not cancel out good. One of the good effects of the Olympic decision is that now, in my uneducated opinion, that China is in the global spotlight we are able to address many controvertial issues that in the past were apparently deemed "too sensitive". I find it hard to believe the lead in so many products hasn't really been noticed until now. I hope many more people jump on this bandwagon.

Beijing is furious at the US award for the Dalai Lama. Dalai Lama's speech

The Dalai Lama has been awarded a Congressional Gold Medal - the top US civilian honour - in a move that has infuriated China.
George W Bush attended the ceremony in Washington, the first time a sitting US president has appeared in public with the exiled Tibetan leader.
Chinese state media had warned it would "cast a shadow" over ties with the US.
Beijing has been accused of human rights abuses in Tibet, which its communist troops occupied in 1951.

Wednesday October 17, 2007 - 02:10pm (PDT)

Do You have an opinion on Banking Regulation?

There are only a few matters I think worthy of regulation, this is one of them. I will be composing a carefully considered, uneducated, opinionated comment expressing my concerns. How 'bout you?

Comment sought on financial regulation
Thu Oct 11, 6:32 PM ET

WASHINGTON - The recent market turmoil that started with problems in subprime mortgages has increased interest in finding ways to improve government regulation, a top Treasury official said Thursday. "We have a case study right now as to why regulatory structure is critical," David Nason, Treasury's assistant secretary for financial institutions, said in an interview with a small group of reporters.
Treasury on Thursday asked for public comments on what needs to be done to modernize regulation of the nation's financial system. It said those comments could be submitted through a government Web site until Nov. 21.

Site for submitting public comments on financial system overhaul:

Sunday October 14, 2007 - 09:49am (PDT)

Secret Documents Reveal Insurance Strategy

You know, the fact that this strategy exists didn't come as a surprise to me, that it had gone unchallenged for so long, IE no whistle-blowers, did.
I'm not a huge fan of regulation, but I must say that in these times of global repercussions it makes sense that if an industry whose effects touch the entire country doesn't take the steps to necessary to maintain that national focus, operate for the good of the consumer and not the shareholders (who are aware, or should be, of the nature of the industry into which they are investing and should expect slow and steady returns based on sound management, not ever increasing revenues from 'Strategies' that demean human life, citizen moral and distract the country from other issues) they need to be regulated. There is almost NO chance this strategy isn't being used by Medical Insurance Companies. Insurance has far too much an effect on every life in this country for it to be subject to corporate shareholder manipulation.
The information uncovered in this article, while not surprising, is apparently what it is going to take to shake things up, the 'skeleton' that fell out of the closet. The timing is right, with the elections looming, for this to issue to take off, please copy this to your blog and email it to your friends, write letters to whomever you think can and will make a difference.

09:39 AM PDT on Friday, October 5, 2007

Friday October 5, 2007 - 01:20pm (PDT)

Two Voices, One Message on Climate


This year’s Nobel Peace Prize is being conferred for two starkly different ways of communicating about human-caused global warming.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change speaks in the measured voice of peer-reviewed science and government-negotiations. In four reports issued since 1990, it has always focused on the most noncontroversial findings. In 2001, for instance, it concluded, “There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities.”
The other awardee, former Vice President Al Gore, delivers brimstone-laden warnings of an unfolding “planetary emergency.” He has not shied from emphasizing the most emotionally potent, though least certain, consequences of warming, such as its link to hurricane intensity and the likely pace of sea-level rise.

Published: October 13, 2007
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Feb. 6, 2007)

Friday October 12, 2007 - 04:48pm (PDT)

Democrats Reject Michigan Primary - Clinton Intends to Stand

I applaud any move to 'Do the Right Thing' in the face of these overwhelming political parties. It is quite clear most Americans disapprove of and do not trust the big parties, anyone who cares enough to listen to the people in the face of these giants is going to find themselves with a HUGE popular following.

Five Democratic presidential candidates have pulled out of Michigan's primary election because it broke party rules in setting a date of 15 January 2008.
Barack Obama, John Edwards, Joe Biden, Bill Richardson and Dennis Kucinich have all said they will withdraw. Hillary Clinton still intends to stand.
The Democratic candidates had already all agreed not to campaign in Michigan after it jumped ahead in the calendar....

14 Jan: Iowa caucuses
15 Jan: Michigan primary
19 Jan: South Carolina primary (Rep)
22 Jan: New Hampshire primary
29 Jan: Florida primary; South Carolina primary (Dem)
5 Feb: some 20 states including California, New York, New Jersey
Quick guide: US election
Primary and caucus dates

BBC News

Movers Meet Shakers at Third Annual Gathering of Bill Clinton’s Global Initiative

We need more of these sorts of gatherings. Or maybe we just need better coverage. I remember being in a Tokyo hotel lounge in ‘91 and overhearing a group of men, Japanese American and Australian I believe, discussing global warming and the various treaties and other measures currently in place. They were quite animated over the course of about 2 hours. At first I thought (or perhaps presumed) they were corporate magnates gathered to imbibe and complain about the restrictions forced on them. It wasn’t too long before I realized that they were, in fact, passionately discussing the corporate world’s refusal to participate in the cause, instead focusing their efforts (i.e. money) into fighting the regulations. This group formed several smaller groups to take on several projects geared toward improving their company’s efforts and getting the word out to other industries. I never did figure out exactly what industry they represented, but it hardly mattered. I was so happy to witness this I bought the table a round of drinks.
Below are excerpts from the article, the link to read the entire article is at the bottom.

Movers Meet Shakers at Third Annual Gathering of Bill Clinton’s Global Initiative
Published: October 1, 2007

“It was conceived as a kind of activist answer to the gathering of politicians, business people and academics at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “The origin of this is Davos,” said John Podesta, who was Mr. Clinton’s chief of staff in his presidency’s final years. “There was a feeling that everyone was talking about these causes and no one was doing anything.”
The Clinton event, held over three days at a Sheraton Hotel, featured tightly choreographed sessions to come up with solutions to specific world problems. Each participant was required to promise to do something concrete to make the world a better place. This year’s themes were poverty alleviation, global health, education and climate change.
Here, the people with causes gained access to people with seriously deep pockets. Chad Hurley, a YouTube founder; Larry Brilliant, who leads Google’s philanthropic foundation, and Carlos Slim Helú, ranked by Fortune the world’s richest man, were among almost 1,300 participants.
The furious networking was not subtle. Standing in the midst of a loud party at the Museum of Modern Art, Nancy Collins, a journalist who has covered her share of society events, described the gathering as “one of those where you have to look over your left shoulder for someone more important.”

In hallways, at cocktail parties and around conference tables, leaders of nonprofit groups hustled for valuable connections.”

Wednesday October 3, 2007 - 05:07pm (PDT)

Firms seek access to Myanmar oil fields

By THOMAS HOGUE, AP Business Writer

Sat Sep 29, 5:19 AM ET

BANGKOK, Thailand - Just last Sunday — when marches led by Buddhist monks drew thousands in Myanmar's biggest cities — Indian Oil Minister Murli Deora was in the country's capital for the signing of oil and gas exploration contracts between state-controlled ONGC Videsh Ltd. and Myanmar's military rulers.
'Altogether, nine foreign oil companies are involved in 16 onshore blocks exploring for oil, enhancing recovery from older fields, or trying to reactivate fields where production has been suspended, according to Total's Web site. A block is an area onshore or offshore in which an oil company is granted exploratory and discovery rights.
Offshore, nine companies, including Total, Petronas, PTTEP, South Korea's Daewoo International Corp., Chinese state-run companies China National Offshore Oil Corp., or CNOOC, and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., or Sinopec, are exploring or developing 29 blocks, Total said.
Despite economic sanctions against Myanmar by the United States and the European Union, Total continues to operate the Yadana gas field, and Chevron Corp. has a 28 percent stake through its takeover of Unocal. Existing investments were exempt from the investment ban.
Both Total and Chevron broadly defended their business in the nation.'

Can anyone say "East Timor"?

Tentatively recommending "Update, I now fully recommend this organization!"

Saturday September 29, 2007 - 09:38am (PDT)

Bush to Skip U.N. Talks on Global Warming

WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 — Dozens of world leaders are to gather at the United Nations on Monday for a full agenda of talks on how to fight global warming, and President Bush is skipping all the day’s events but the dinner.
Published: September 24, 2007
The New York Times

Monday September 24, 2007 - 03:15pm (PDT)

People still want to know if Global Warming is real...

The people way up north say its getting warmer is this true?
sorry the same GW debate but still it is still alarming!

Posted question in Yahoo! Answers 9/24/07 by Yowsie

I pulled 4 documents from a general search phrase "average daily temperature England 1910" to include 'North' and avoid unreasonable data methods. I chose the pages used from the first page of results, and those listings showing highest on the page containing most of my search terms in a way that seemed relevant to the question. One of those documents studied and commented on warming only in relation to fluctuations in average daily min's and max's, so was disregarded. These are the result from the 3 remaining pages.

Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (Thats pretty north eh?) The period is 1946–99, a warming episode. Averaged over all stations, the indices of temperature extremes indicate “symmetric” warming of the cold and warm tails of the distributions of daily minimum and maximum temperature in this period. However, “asymmetry” is found for the trends if the period is split into two subperiods. For the 1946–75 subperiod, an episode of slight cooling, the annual number of warm extremes decreases, but the annual number of cold extremes does not increase. This implies a reduction in temperature variability. For the 1976–99 subperiod, an episode of pronounced warming, the annual number of warm extremes increases 2 times faster than expected from the corresponding decrease in the number of cold extremes. This implies an increase in temperature variability, which is mainly due to stagnation in the warming of the cold extremes. This page finds the average mean temperature of the city for the period of 54 years (1873-1926) covered by Weather Bureau statistics was 49.8º. A comparison of average mean temperatures for the past 10 years with those of Boston and New York shows New Haven's figure, 50.34º to be only 0.15º higher than that of Boston and 1.88º lower than that of New York. And the mean annual temperatures for the ten years 1916-1925 52.22. And this one says NY mean temp 1961-90 is 60.7

So, we've gone (generally) from 49.8 in 1873-1926 to 52.2 in 1916-1925 up to 60.7 in the years 1961-1990.....I could probably go on...

Monday September 24, 2007 - 04:27am (PDT)

Scientists Report Severe Retreat of Arctic Ice

FAIRBANKS, Alaska, Sept. 20 — The cap of floating sea ice on the Arctic Ocean, which retreats under summer’s warmth, this year shrank more than one million square miles — or six Californias — below the average minimum area reached in recent decades, scientists reported Thursday.
The minimum ice area for this year, 1.59 million square miles, appeared to be reached Sunday. The ice is now spreading again under the influence of the deep Arctic chill that settles in as the sun drops below the horizon at the North Pole for six months, starting Friday.
The findings were reported by the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo., and posted online at
While satellite tracking of polar sea ice has been done only since 1979, several ice experts who have studied Russian and Alaskan records going back many decades said the ice retreat this year was probably unmatched in the 20th century, including during a warm period in the 1930s. “I do not think that there was anything like we observe today” in the 1930s or 1940s, said Igor Polyakov, an ice expert at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.
The ice retreat has been particularly striking this year. The Alaskan side of the Arctic Ocean has stretches of thousands of square miles of open water; the fabled Northwest Passage through the islands of northern Canada was free of ice for weeks; and the sea route between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans north of Russia was nearly clear a week ago, with one small clot of ice around a group of Siberian islands.
Mark Serreze, a senior researcher at the snow and ice center, said it was increasingly clear that climate change from the buildup of greenhouse gases was playing a role in the Arctic warming, which is seen not only in the floating ice but also in melting terrestrial ice sheets, thawing tundra and warming seawater.
“We understand the physics behind what’s going on,” Dr. Serreze said. “You can always find some aspect of natural variability that can explain some things. But now it seems patterns that used to help you don’t help as much anymore, and the ones that hurt you hurt you more.”
“You can’t dismiss this as natural variability,” he said. “We’re starting to see the system respond to global warming.”
Still, he and other scientists acknowledged that both poles were extraordinarily complicated systems of ice, water and land, and that the mix of human and natural influences was not easy to clarify.
Sea ice around Antarctica has seen unusual winter expansions recently, and this week is near a record high.

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

Thursday September 20, 2007 - 11:27pm (PDT)

Confessions of a Mortgage Broker

Lenders, their agents, and the appraisers who backed it all up made their money on this and should now be ready to cut deals with these people. Refinancing anyone who requests it, regardless of their current situation or property value, into a fixed rate loan with appropriate interest rates. Sure, they'll lose some money in the long run but less than if they allow them all to foreclose. Consumers should have known better too, and will have to pay another round of closing costs as well as deal with years of repercussions from bad credit.

Watch the ABC News Video Here

Tuesday September 18, 2007 - 05:40pm (PDT)

One Answer to Global Warming: A New Tax

One Answer to Global Warming: A New Tax

New York Times
September 16, 2007
Economic View

IN the debate over global climate change, there is a yawning gap that needs to be bridged. The gap is not between environmentalists and industrialists, or between Democrats and Republicans. It is between policy wonks and political consultants.
Among policy wonks like me, there is a broad consensus. The scientists tell us that world temperatures are rising because humans are emitting carbon into the atmosphere. Basic economics tells us that when you tax something, you normally get less of it. So if we want to reduce global emissions of carbon, we need a global carbon tax. Q.E.D.
The idea of using taxes to fix problems, rather than merely raise government revenue, has a long history. The British economist Arthur Pigou advocated such corrective taxes to deal with pollution in the early 20th century. In his honor, economics textbooks now call them “Pigovian taxes.”
Using a Pigovian tax to address global warming is also an old idea. It was proposed as far back as 1992 by Martin S. Feldstein on the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal. Once chief economist to Ronald Reagan, Mr. Feldstein has devoted much of his career to studying how high tax rates distort incentives and impede economic growth. But like most other policy wonks, he appreciates that some taxes align private incentives with social costs and move us toward better outcomes.
Those vying for elected office, however, are reluctant to sign on to this agenda. Their political consultants are no fans of taxes, Pigovian or otherwise. Republican consultants advise using the word “tax” only if followed immediately by the word “cut.” Democratic consultants recommend the word “tax” be followed by “on the rich.”
Yet this natural aversion to carbon taxes can be overcome if the revenue from the tax is used to reduce other taxes. By itself, a carbon tax would raise the tax burden on anyone who drives a car or uses electricity produced with fossil fuels, which means just about everybody. Some might fear this would be particularly hard on the poor and middle class.
But Gilbert Metcalf, a professor of economics at Tufts, has shown how revenue from a carbon tax could be used to reduce payroll taxes in a way that would leave the distribution of total tax burden approximately unchanged. He proposes a tax of $15 per metric ton of carbon dioxide, together with a rebate of the federal payroll tax on the first $3,660 of earnings for each worker.
The case for a carbon tax looks even stronger after an examination of the other options on the table. Lawmakers in both political parties want to require carmakers to increase the fuel efficiency of the cars they sell. Passing the buck to auto companies has a lot of popular appeal.
Increased fuel efficiency, however, is not free. Like a tax, the cost of complying with more stringent regulation will be passed on to consumers in the form of higher car prices. But the government will not raise any revenue that it can use to cut other taxes to compensate for these higher prices. (And don’t expect savings on gas to compensate consumers in a meaningful way: Any truly cost-effective increase in fuel efficiency would already have been made.)
More important, enhancing fuel efficiency by itself is not the best way to reduce energy consumption. Fuel use depends not only on the efficiency of the car fleet but also on the daily decisions that people make — how far from work they choose to live and how often they carpool or use public transportation.
A carbon tax would provide incentives for people to use less fuel in a multitude of ways. By contrast, merely having more efficient cars encourages more driving. Increased driving not only produces more carbon, but also exacerbates other problems, like accidents and road congestion.
Another popular proposal to limit carbon emissions is a cap-and-trade system, under which carbon emissions are limited and allowances are bought and sold in the marketplace. The effect of such a system depends on how the carbon allowances are allocated. If the government auctions them off, then the price of a carbon allowance is effectively a carbon tax.
But the history of cap-and-trade systems suggests that the allowances would probably be handed out to power companies and other carbon emitters, which would then be free to use them or sell them at market prices. In this case, the prices of energy products would rise as they would under a carbon tax, but the government would collect no revenue to reduce other taxes and compensate consumers.
The international dimension of the problem also suggests the superiority of a carbon tax over cap-and-trade. Any long-term approach to global climate change will have to deal with the emerging economies of China and India. By some reports, China is now the world’s leading emitter of carbon, in large part simply because it has so many people. The failure of the Kyoto treaty to include these emerging economies is one reason that, in 1997, the United States Senate passed a resolution rejecting the Kyoto approach by a vote of 95 to zero.
Agreement on a truly global cap-and-trade system, however, is hard to imagine. China is unlikely to be persuaded to accept fewer carbon allowances per person than the United States. Using a historical baseline to allocate allowances, as is often proposed, would reward the United States for having been a leading cause of the problem.
But allocating carbon allowances based on population alone would create a system in which the United States, with its higher standard of living, would buy allowances from China. American voters are not going to embrace a system of higher energy prices, coupled with a large transfer of national income to the Chinese. It would amount to a massive foreign aid program to one of the world’s most rapidly growing economies.
A global carbon tax would be easier to negotiate. All governments require revenue for public purposes. The world’s nations could agree to use a carbon tax as one instrument to raise some of that revenue. No money needs to change hands across national borders. Each government could keep the revenue from its tax and use it to finance spending or whatever form of tax relief it considered best.
Convincing China of the virtues of a carbon tax, however, may prove to be the easy part. The first and more difficult step is to convince American voters, and therefore political consultants, that “tax” is not a four-letter word.
N. Gregory Mankiw is a professor of economics at Harvard. He was an adviser to President Bush and is advising Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, in the campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.
Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

Monday September 17, 2007 - 10:30am (PDT)

Carlins Plan for a Balanced Budget

Carlin Plan to Balance the Budget
Check out this video: George Carlin - Balance The Budget

George Carlin - Balance The Budget

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Saturday September 15, 2007 - 05:31pm (PDT)

Greenspan Attacks Bush on Economy

The former chairman of the US Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan has said President George W Bush pays too little attention to financial discipline.
In a book to be published next week, Mr Greenspan says Mr Bush ignored his advice to veto "out-of-control" bills that sent the US deeper into deficit.
And Mr Bush's Republicans deserved to lose control of Congress in last year's elections, he charges.
Mr Greenspan, 81, stepped down last year after nearly 19 years in the post.
In The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World, Mr Greenspan - who has described himself as a "lifelong libertarian Republican" - spares no criticism of the Republican party.
He writes that he advised the White House to veto some bills to curb "out-of-control" spending at the time Republicans controlled Congress.
President Bush's failure to do so "was a major mistake", he said.
"Little value was placed on rigorous economic policy debate or the weighing of long-term consequences," he says of the Bush administration.
And he charges that Republicans in Congress "swapped principle for power" and "ended up with neither". "They deserved to lose."

Mr Greenspan retired in early 2006 after serving under six US presidents - either as Federal Reserve chairman or adviser.

He now runs a private consulting company - and is an honorary adviser to the UK government.

Story from BBC NEWS: Published: 2007/09/15 15:29:44 GMT © BBC MMVII

Saturday September 15, 2007 - 09:46am (PDT)

Personality Test Results

Personality Test Results

Your personality type is ISTJ.

Introverted (I) 61%
Extraverted (E) 39%
Sensing (S) 50%
Intuitive (N) 50%
Thinking (T) 90%
Feeling (F) 10%
Judging (J) 50%
Perceiving (P) 50%

Saturday September 8, 2007 - 03:09am (PDT)

Personality Disorder Test Results

Personality Disorder Test Results

Disorder Rating
Paranoid:Very High
Schizoid: High
Schizotypal: Moderate
Antisocial: High
Borderline: Low
Histrionic: Moderate
Narcissistic: Very High
Avoidant: Moderate
Dependent: Moderate
Obsessive-Compulsive: High

URL of the test:
URL for more info:

Saturday September 8, 2007 - 03:03am (PDT)

President of the USA Job Opening

President of the USA Job Opening

Do you want to be president? There is a job listing on an internet jobsearch site, so go ahead, brush up your resume and go for it!

Thursday September 6, 2007 - 07:08pm (PDT)

The Center for Public Integrity

The 380,000-plus-word database presented here allows, for the first time, the Iraq-related public pronouncements of top Bush administration officials to be tracked on a day-by-day basis against their private assessments and the actual “ground truth” as it is now known. Throughout the database, passages containing false statements by the top Bush administration officials are highlighted in yellow. The 935 false statements in the database may also be accessed by selecting the “False Statements” option from the “Subject” pull-down menu and may be displayed within selected date ranges using the selection tool below. Searches may also be limited by person or subject, or both, by using the appropriate selections from the pull-down menus.