Wednesday, April 30, 2008

RIP Albert Hoffman

Father is dead: Albert Hofmann, the father of the mind-altering drug LSD whose medical discovery inspired—and arguably corrupted—millions in the 1960s hippie generation, has died. He was 102.

The Swiss chemist discovered lysergic acid diethylamide-25 in 1938 while studying the medicinal uses of a fungus found on wheat and other grains at the Sandoz pharmaceuticals firm in Basel.

He became the first human guinea pig of the drug when a tiny amount of the substance seeped onto his finger during a laboratory experiment on April 16, 1943.

"I had to leave work for home because I was suddenly hit by a sudden feeling of unease and mild dizziness," he subsequently wrote in a memo to company bosses.

"Everything I saw was distorted as in a warped mirror," he said, describing his bicycle ride home. "I had the impression I was rooted to the spot. But my assistant told me we were actually going very fast."

Upon reaching home, Hofmann began experiencing what he called "wonderful visions."

Three days later, Hofmann experimented with a larger dose. The result was the world's first scientifically documented bad trip.

"The substance which I wanted to experiment with took over me. I was filled with an overwhelming fear that I would go crazy. I was transported to a different world, a different time," Hofmann wrote.

Hofmann and his scientific colleagues hoped that LSD would make an important contribution to psychiatric research. The drug exaggerated inner problems and conflicts and thus it was hoped that it might be used to recognize and treat mental illnesses like schizophrenia.

For a time, Sandoz sold LSD 25 under the name Delysid, encouraging doctors to try it themselves. It was one of the strongest drugs in medicine -- with just one gram enough to drug an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 people for 12 hours.

LSD was elevated to international fame in the late 1950s and 1960s thanks to Harvard professor Timothy Leary who embraced the drug under the slogan "turn on, tune in, drop out."

Hofmann died Tuesday at his home in Burg im Leimental, said Doris Stuker, a municipal clerk in the village near Basel where Hofmann moved following his retirement in 1971. To his dying day he enjoyed an occasional "trip." "Thinking is the best way to travel"

Pastor Blaster

"It contradicts everything that I am."

When things go down, they go down fast... Michelle Malkin writes "My syndicated column today deconstructs Barack Obama’s pitiful performance yesterday. Try as he might, he simply cannot disown the un-disownable preacher of hate. That press conference yesterday renders the Philadelphia speech from March null and void...Speaking of the Philly speech, Jeff Emanuel notes that Obama is actually selling DVDs of the speech to raise money. All aboard the Jive Talk Express."

"I did not have sex with that woman."

According to Politico, Capitol Hill insiders say the battle for congressional superdelegates is over, and one Senate supporter of Barack Obama is hinting strongly that he has prevailed over Hillary Rodham Clinton. You know what this means: McCain wins in November.

PRX believes RACE will be a definite factor come election time: "Wright believes this controversy and criticism against him is actually an attack against the black church. Here, Obama artfully/despicably dodges by saying that the black church is one of “struggle” and that instead of “black liberation theology” he uses “social gospel.”

Just looking at polling data (and to some degree the tactics of the other campaigns) race will be a deciding issue."

Also from Michelle Malkin» Obama’s “big press conference” on Wright: “I’m outraged by the comments that were made and saddened by the spectacle;” Wright’s remarks “a bunch of rants that aren’t grounded in truth”
Stop The ACLU» Obama’s Wright Damage Control
JustOneMinute» If Wright Should Be Mercifully Silent...
Hot Air» Audio: Limbaugh suspends Operation Chaos over Obama’s Wright meltdown

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Around The Blogosphere 29 April 08

Monday April 28th this blog had 23,204 hits. Want more TRAFFIC to your blog? You gotta learn to speak searchenginese! Keep checking back for a link to a special tutorial I am preparing!

Like VIDEO? You will LOVE!
Into ART? La BD c’est de l’art. C’est juste plus drôle will spin your think...

Seth's Blog: The McCarrison Society is named for Robert McCarrison, a British doctor who studied nutrition in India. Its website is full of important nutritional info, including this:
When I worked in East Africa from 1960 - 1965, there was not a single case of breast, colon or prostate cancer, no cardiovascular heart disease and any diabetes seemed relatively mild.
read more... »

Here's a link to Ukrainiana's extensive post on the 22nd anniversary of Chernobyl. Here's a link to Albany, Troy, Nuclear Fallout 1953, and Elena's Motorcyle Ride through Chernobyl is one of the most interesting URL's you'll ever surf to! Check this one out late at night when you have time!

Two great posts from The Big Picture: Bear Stearns Bailout "Worst Fed Mistake in a Generation" and Read It Here First: "De-Financializing" the WSJ

MTV has partnered with Oddcast to provide avatar-centric Voki Playgrounds for some of their most popular shows. Visitors to these so-called playgrounds (really just a fancy word for sub-sites) can create customizable avatars that mouth your recorded voice online. The avatars can be viewed on the sub-sites, emailed to friends, or embedded elsewhere like MySpace. Users are encouraged to create vokis for the shows Pimp My Ride, The Hills, and perennial favorite The Real more... »

Two new Sidekicks coming to T-Mobile this summer? The Boy Genius reports TmoNews is claiming to have the scoop on not one, but two new Sidekick devices. The first, codenamed the SK Gekko, is scheduled to launch on the 27th of July, while the second, codenamed the "Sidekick Aspen", is currently slated for a July 30th launch.

WhereCamp 2008 May 17th / 18th Googleplex Campus Mountain View CA. was updated...

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Franklin and Lucy: President Roosevelt, Mrs. Rutherfurd, and the Other Remarkable Women in His Life

Every now and then a great book comes along, one that you just can't put down so you try to read it in one sitting... this is that kind of work!

President Roosevelt, Mrs. Rutherfurd and the Other Remarkable Women in His Life by Guilderland historian Joseph Persico eclipses previous FDR biographies and is an absolute must-read for anyone wanting to get closer to the mechanics of WW2-era 20th Century politics.

The Washington Post's Jonathan Yardley offers "The women who made a man out of FDR"

Publisher: Random House Adult Trade Publishing Group
Pub. Date: April 29, 2008
B&N Sales Rank: 462

This title will be released on April 29, 2008. Pre-order now! Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.

Also Available in: Audio CD (Abridged,Audiobook) Hardcover (Large Print) Order it used!

Candy Schultz: I am grateful to Joseph Persico as well for writing such a compelling book...Persico does an excellent job of providing the information which allows you to see how Sara's early influence on Franklin made it always essential that he have women around to listen to and admire him; women who did not demand anything of him...Persico makes a few comments on the morality of FDR's liaisons but, like me, he is not judgmental.

$10 Dollars A Gallon

When I got home from work this evening, I glanced at a New York Sun article that suggests gasoline in America could top out at ten bucks a gallon:
While $7-$10 a gallon would be ground-breaking in America, these prices would not be trendsetting internationally. For example, European drivers are already shelling out $9 a gallon (which includes a $2-a-gallon tax).
Wow, did this ever remind me of something I wrote last week! What BS! Drivers in Saudi Arabia are paying less than a dollar a gallon... shouldn't they be the example we hold ourselves up to?

Time to mothball your gas guzzlers... these "hard times" remind me of an old episode of the Jetsons where the maintenance dude keeps an old-fashioned "car" (like the ones we drive) under a tarp in the parking garage as a "keepsake." Time after time, America (at the hands of the oil barons) has thrown away technology that would have prevented oil from becoming the cancer it is now, eating away at the heart of our economy.

The Deconstruction of Barack Obama

Weeks before the Pennsylvania primary, who among you would have thought that Democrats were going to second-guess Barack Obama? Well, thanks to Jeremiah "Bullfrog" Wright, Barack may be in for a major derailment of his camapiagn train, one even Hillary Clinton could not have imagined!

Michelle Malkin was BUSY today Liveblogging Wright at the National Press Club: The “black church” is under “attack;” “I am open to being vice president;” defends his AIDS conspiracy-theorizing, “God damns,” “Louis Farrakhan is not my enemy;” don’t be dissin’ my mama or my faith...

When Michelle gets a hold of something, she's like a dog on a bone! She blogs: Heard E.D. Hill mention this earlier today. It’s been confirmed: Jeremiah Wright’s bodyguards are Nation of Islam goons. Several Farrakhan acolytes were also in the audience for Wright’s vaudeville performance at the National Press Club, including one of our favorite race clowns, Malik Zulu Shabazz, and America’s favorite race clown politician, Marion Barry. READ THE ENTIRE POST

I don't recall if I saw it on a blog or in an op-ed piece, but yesterday I read where Jeremiah is beginning to have a really negative effect on Barack, and that the Main Stream Media is beginning to line up behind Clinton. I also read where many voters in the early primaries that Obama won now say Hillary would get their vote. This is changing the political landscape heading toward the Democratic convention. What next?

From the Blogosphere:
Michelle Malkin» Protest pics: Damn Wright, not America
Hot Air» Video: “The View” salutes Wright’s “righteous rage”
Gateway Pundit» Jeremiah Wright: "Whites can worship God on Sunday morning wearing a black robe and kill others on Sunday evening wearing a white Klan robe."

Around The Blogosphere 28 March 08

“Grand Theft Auto IV” hits the streets Tuesday and is expected to race into record books as the fastest-selling video game ever - Miss Info Exclusive (nerdgasm): Grand Theft Auto IV a/k/a Don’t call me after midnight on Monday ... Sean Percival : Grand Theft Auto 4 (GTA4) Videos, Walk Throughs and Unboxing ... Martin Johnson: When “Grand Theft Auto IV” reaches stores on Tuesday, the latest chapter in the wildly popular and controversial videogame franchise will make history on several levels. First, it will have the largest soundtrack of any videogame. ...

Prominent Saudi blogger Fouad Alfarhan has been freed... He is back home in Jeddah after 137 days in custody.

Top search term on Technorati: "gadis jilbab" - which is, ??? - another reason T'rati has lost a lot of credibility over the past two years. Links: Download video bokep gadis jilbab -, GADIS JILBAB >> Beauty Veil Girls Gallery and 'gadis jilbab ngentot' Search Result. Typical T'ratitrash! Guys, turn back the Technorati clock to the days before you began allowing MySpace pages to qualify as blogs! Your service was fantastic back then!

Global Voices: Juliana Rincón Parra · On May 10th 2008 at 18:00 GMT, 24 films will be broadcast during a 4 hour event. What makes this different is that this event, PangeaDay will be broadcast from six locations worldwide in seven different languages worldwide to be viewed through internet, television or cellphones with one unique purpose: to make each other know about the lives of others and focus on what makes us similar, instead of what makes us different and let us work together towards peace.

crazyeyes: Details On Windows XP SP3 Leaked (the leak of 7 pages of secret Microsoft information on the upcoming Service Pack for Windows XP)

Practical tech "magic" via Elaine: CD Player Won’t Eject Disk? Here’s the Solution!

Ambiome: Vous vous souvenez de Yes Digitrad ? Mais si, voyons, les appels illimités vers les mobiles en France pour seulement 59 euros par mois ! Eh bien figurez-vous qu’ils n’ont pas fini de nous étonner ! Yes Digitrad à l’heure de la convergence Fixe, Mobile et Web avec le flashphone !

YouTube: Indian Superman sings and dances with Indian Spider-Woman. (SLYT)

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MediaWatch 28 April 08

Israeli startup TuneWiki delivers user generated song lyrics to music playing on a PC or mobile device.

more »

For some 30 years, public radio listeners have tuned to Morning Edition, a newsmagazine carried on more than 600 stations. As of today, that venerable institution has a challenger. The Takeaway, which will air in New York City over WNYC, will favor live reporting and discussion from around the world via pre-recorded and produced segments. The Takeaway will launch on WNYC on the air, online and on demand via podcasts. It will be broadcast initially 6-7 a.m. over WNYC-FM 93.9 and 8-9 a.m. on WNYC-AM 820. The Boston Globe has additional details.

Web guru targets malaria with social network site: a British entrepreneur who sold a football Web site at the age of 17 for $40 million (20 million pounds) has switched his attention to asssit in launching a social networking site on Sunday designed to fight malaria.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Hannah Montana.Miley Cyrus.Vanity Fair

The bigger picture (of this particular image, plus one) is posted on Hollywire, where commenters say they believe it's a hoax...

Miley Cyrus will appear in the next issue of Vanity Fair. Truth or Hoax? Apparently it's true" The Orlando Sentinel blogs that Disney has issued a statement critcizing Vanity Fair: "Unfortunately, as the article suggests, a situation was created to deliberately manipulate a 15-year-old in order to sell magazines..."

Last week, A new batch of racy MySpace photos of 15-year-old Hannah Montana star Miley Cyrus made the rounds. The National Ledger reports a photo that is circulating shows the singer and actress on what would appear to be a screenshot from a digital television in freeze frame from a promotional piece.

Last week, the PR dilemma du jour was a green bra; photos online showing Miley Cyrus pulling away her top to flash her underwear. This week, it could be something significantly more...

The New York Times: Some parents reacted with outrage over the weekend when the television program “Entertainment Tonight” began showing commercials promoting a scoop: Ms. Cyrus, the star of the wholesome Disney Channel blockbuster “Hannah Montana,” had posed topless, albeit with her chest covered, for the Vanity Fair photographer, Annie Leibovitz....It is doubtful that one photograph — especially one that is tame in the context of an Internet awash in nude photographs of other starlets — could dent the Hannah Montana machine, said several Wall Street analysts. Retail sales for the franchise are expected to total about $1 billion in 2008. A motion picture is in the works for 2009 and Ms. Cyrus signed a seven-figure book deal with the Disney Book Group last week.

Who's Minding Miley? How will 'Hannah Montana' transition from tween to teen?

  • Is Miley the next Britney?
  • Video: More fallout over photos

  • BuddyTV writes that the racy photos of Miley Cyrus are the latest indication that that the singer is in the midst of a transformation that could take her from a tween sensation to a more mature artist. Hmmm.... like whatever happened to Miley's predecessors, Hillary Duff (who?) and Britney (Bad Girl) Spears?

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    Free Comic Book Day May 3

    Free Comic Book Day is an international event which takes place on the first Saturday of May( ), a single day when participating comic book shops across North America and around the world give away comic books absolutely free to anyone who comes into their stores.

    Albany resident Ron Marz, will be signing for free that day at Earthworld Comics on Central Avenue. Marz is currently writing the very popular Witchblade comic for Top Cow Productions. He is also the writer of Broken Trinity Prelude, the free issue being given away as part of Free Comic Book Day. Marz has had a very prolific career in comics. He has written Witchblade since issue #80 (it’s now up to #117) and he has pledged to stay on the book until at least #150. A run like that on one title is very rare these days in the comics industry. Here is a link to Marz’s wikipedia page if you would like to read more:

    RIP Joshua Szostak

    "...medical examiners frequently don't even consider murder when looking at the body of a drowning victim" - KSTP

    He wasn't a child, although he was somebody's child. He wan't an attractive junior high, high school or college co-ed who disappeared out of the blue. He didn't have a romantic American indian sounding name or a seemingly heartless relative that we know of. His vanishing act was overshadowed by other missing persons cases and news items here in the Capital Region. Was he murdered by a serial killer(s)?

    Joshua Szostak went missing back on December 23rd, after leaving the Bayou Café in downtown Albany. After months of searching and unanswered questions, his body was found floating in the Hudson River near Coxsackie last Tuesday. Astonishingly, the Albany Police Department swiftly closed the case and ruled his death an accidental drowning. However, the Szostak family has accused the Albany PD of coming to a conclusion too quickly and wants further investigation into exactly what happened that night.

    Some suggest that the Albany PD may have wanted to clear the case in anticipation of possible media and public interest in the anniversary of the death of Ken Wilcox aka "K-Wil" who, had he not died in a drunk-driving crash, would be on the hotseat today as a co-conspirator in a variety of scams and defraudings with road buddy Aaron Dare. But I digress...

    Could there be a calculated, cross-country plot to kill young college men, including Josh Szostak? It seems a little hard to believe, but two New York detectives say they can prove it: DETECTIVES: Chris Jenkins murder connects dozens around country

    See also: More College Students Missing Without a Trace - Nicholas Garza & Michael Barbiere

    The murder of University of Minnesota student Chris Jenkins in 2002 may have been related to as many as 40 other river deaths around the country, KSTP 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS reported Thursday.

    In several Capital Region Missing Person cases, Karen Wilson, Suzy Lyall, Jaliek Rainwalker etc. The subject has literally vanished without a trace. The Rainwalker investigation seems to be the only one where police (and I'm sure they're playing their hand close to the vest) have been, to a limited extent, able to keep the fires of investigation burning. Wilson went missing long long ago, andt the Lyall investigation trail had a brief highlight with the "Nike Man" and the use of Suzy's ATM card at a store where (naturally) the hidden ATM camera wasn't working and the store cameras were pointed in all the wrong directions. The strongest lead became a dead end in a hurry! And it all came down. Now Suzy's folks travel around the country on behalf of missing people. But what DID happen to Suzy? To Karen? Who knows, one day when we least expect it we'll flip over to the TV news or the TU website and see that police have made an arrest. Cross your fingers!

    Previoulsy, in the Albany Times-Union: "In the last 10 years much has changed in the way we remember missing persons. They get their own Web sites now, fundraisers are held for reward money, and more media attention is devoted to the cases. But one thing hasn't changed -- they're still missing." [link]

    »Times Union: Missing persons section


    Jeremiah was a Bullfrog...

    I finally watched Bill Moyers interview with Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama's pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ. Like everyone else in the country, I'd seen the inflammatory clips of Wright's "God Damn America" rant. Watch (or read) the Moyers interview and draw your own conclusions.


    [Saturday] Here's the full transcript along with the complete set of video clips. If the link is busy or "down" try here and if digested clips will satisfy your thirst for knowledge, go here.

    [Friday] via Radar: You've read much of the transcript by now, but Hannity and Colmes has scooped a clip of tonight's Bill Moyers interview with Barack Obama's eternal burden, Reverend Jeremiah Wright (above). Note the preacher's use of the bulletproof Ralph Nader-like sarcasm (Oh, it's me, right? Not the system?)—timeless. Have a look, just don't expect to see much of the excellent reverend garb that might have made this more interesting. [LiNk]
    EDITORIAL: Rev Jeremiah Wright interview

    Programming note: Set your DVR tonight to PBS (Channel 17 around here) for the Bill Moyers' show. Special guest: the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, pastor to Barack Obama, says that publicizing sound bites of sermons in which he condemned U.S. policies was "unfair" and "devious," and done by people who know nothing about his church, according to excerpts of a PBS interview. The full interview airs this evening on Bill Moyers Journal at 9 on WMHT (Schenectady) and WNET (New York City) Associated Press. The Baltimore Sun and Washington Post chime in.

    Michelle Malkin: Despite what you may have read or heard, the North Carolina GOP is not pulling its anti-Jeremiah Wright ad. Michelle proclaims NC GOP not caving in: How Republicans should act; McCain attacks NC GOP as “out of touch with reality”

    The creator of the infamous Willie Horton ad used against Michael Dukakis in 1988, has created a new ad slamming Barack Obama, reports Time magazine. The ad is posted on You Tube.

    This afternoon one of the radio talk shows (I was flippin' channels so I'm not sure if it was Sean Hannity, Mark Williams or Dan Lynch) blasted Michelle Obama for being anti-America.

    Friday, April 25, 2008

    Around The Blogosphere 25 April 08

    Lawyers, Guns and Money: Antonin Scalia continues to tell people to "get over" the disgraceful decision in Bush v. Gore. As he must know, that won't happen. Since he continues to do things like say that the equal protection rationale was "7-2," it's worth repeating exactly why the decision was so more... »

    Geoffrey Philp posts an excerpt from Chinese Lanterns from the Blue Child by Anthony McNeill

    Post of the week
    honors go to Mind Hacks for My mind on my money and my money on my mind:

    This is an excerpt from quite possibly the geekiest forensic pathology article I have ever read. Three pathologists discuss the physics of how a Mexican coin ended up in the brain of a dead shooting victim.

    Totally on topic: Seth's Blog has a post about Brain-Enhancing Drugs

    Arjanwrites: British crooner Jamie Lidell rings in the weekend by posting a brand-new track from his upcoming new album "Jim" on MySpace. The song is called "Wait For Me" and if this sun-splashed soul-pop stomper is a good indication of the rest of this new Lidell LP then we're in for a treat. "Jim" will be released in the U.S. and Europe next week. (Click here to pre-order "Jim" on here to read more of what Arjanwrites + get some free listens and some free downloads of tracks including Madonna "Beat Goes On" ft. Pharrell, Kanye and Precise, Jessie Baylin and Boogaloo Stu)

    from Today's Blog Music / The Hype Machine - discover, listen and buy music discussed on the best mp3 blog: Download: Torche - "Healer" [MP3] Download: Boris - "Statement" [MP3] When Boris drummer Atsuo told us in our interview with him that his band would be back in the US this summer for a string of dates, he… (in post Boris, Torche - North American Tour)

    MP3: Akala - Where I'm From (in post Love Music Hate Racism from Music Liberation

    MP3: Gentle Friendly - Ride Symbols

    Miss Info Soulja Boy Scares Me: aka…this is why I’m stuck in the past and another post that's a real shame: Swizz Beatz and Mashonda have agreed to seperate.

    Two from anastasia: Tweens driving 'Idol' eliminations (theorizes this grumpy HuffPo blogger. Plus Reality Blurred reports that Carly thinks it was her singing "Jesus Christ Superstar" that upset Christians and sealed her fate) - and - WeeMes get portable (letting its avatars travel with an open API. Plus there's now a "Blue Book" guide to virtual worlds!) (Mashable) (Association of Virtual Worlds via Izzy Neis)

    As e-mail messages, text messages and social network postings become nearly ubiquitous in the lives of teenagers, the informality of electronic communications is seeping into their schoolwork, a new study says. The New York Times and Sacramento Bee report. Teenagers are online much of the time. At what age is it appropriate for online marketers to try to connect with teenaged surfers? eMarketer

    One of Chikai's blogs is Down Again : I am so pissed with my other blog. I have done everything to make it work but still it remains inaccessible most of the time...

    The Boy Genius Report: Skype releases beta software mass-market handsets

    Princess blogs about a Medical Canister Scandal in Cebu City

    Dom la menagere:
    Qui a trouvé ? C'est comme dans la pub Nutella, les gosses, ils peuvent aligner les carambars, les malabars, deux tartines...

    Thursday, April 24, 2008

    The Continuing Insignificance of the U.S. Dollar

    Have you checked your FOOD BILL lately? You can thank "Big Oil" and it's new best friend, ETHANOL for the big jump in prices! (Soon, we may have to go hunting to feed our families!)

    The erosion of the Dollar and the danger it will be replaced by the Euro as the currency of choice among nations is gathering world news attention, especially since word of the Rice Shortage began to spread. Today I purchased a 20 pound sack of rice at an Albany, NY area supermarket for $7.99 - how much longer will I be able to do that?

    The cause of the erosion of the dollar is the cause of the rice crisis is the cause of what is now being suddenly touted as a full-fledged "Global Food Crisis" - demand for oil, gasoline... whenever the prices rise at ameican gas pumps, local TV stations in major cities send reporters out to the service stations to capture motorists' reactions to the fuel price increases. Every time they get the same reaction: a bunch of idiot drivers yuk-yuk-yukking and smiling and saying "duh, I guess we'll just have to pay it." Gues what, dummies? The big oil company executives are sitting home watching YOU on their $3000 HDTV's, laughing not with you but AT you. As oil companies continue turning record profits, they'll put the screws to you until the price of a gallon gas goes up to 5 dollars and beyond. YOU PEOPLE JUST DON'T GET IT!
    The more you act like stupid "aw shucks, we just have to pay it" imbeciles, the more you are going to be made to pay. The TV newspeople are doing America a great disservice and helping big oil by airing this trash. You folks need to find gas pumpers who are fed up and ready to bike or walk or take the bus.

    Don't believe all that s**t about Europeans having to pay $6 a gallon so we will too... that's like someone telling us certain Africans are starving so must starve too... Europe is Europe, Africa is Africa, the U.S. is the U.S. get it?

    America blew TWO seperate chances, one in the early 1900s, the other rather recently to get off the oil merry-go-round... [For those of you haven’t seen the film Who Killed the Electric Car , the premise is quite simple and by the looks of things, it’s a premise that could repeat itself in the next decade or so. read more... »] I take that back. We didn't blow anything: we simply rolled over, yuk-yukked and let big oil take care of everything. Big mistake.

    From the "They Said I was Nuts" department:

    I've blogged in the past (and once discussed on my old radio program) about how General Motors got us into our modern transportation mess by making sure the US trolley system died, much the same way GM made sure all of the EV1 electric cars were junked. In 2006, Edwin Black's four-part investigative series "Hitler's Carmaker" appeared locally in The Jewish World newspaper. It tells how it all went down. The accompanying photograph of Hitler was one of several in a series of booklets given to German citizens in return for donations to Nazi charity Winterhilfswerk. The booklets came with strings so they could be hung on the Christmas tree! For what it's worth, General Motors issued a response to the JTA investigation.

    GM was playing both ends to the middle in the 1930s and 1940s. While GM was busy getting wheels under Hitlers's Third Reich, here at home GM was hatching a lucrative criminal conspiracy to undermine electric mass transit in dozens of American cities.
    The war in Europe had only been over for 16 months when on October 2, 1946, a memo from the Department of Justice landed on the desk of J. Edgar Hoover, outlining the elements of the GM conspiracy.

    At the center of the conspiracy was National City Lines, an Enronesque company that suddenly arose in 1937, ostensibly run by five barely educated Minnesota bus drivers, the Fitzgerald brothers. Yet the Fitzgeralds miraculously marshaled millions of dollars to buy up one failing trolley system after another. Soon, through a patchwork of subsidiaries, the brothers owned or controlled transit systems in more than 40 cities. Generally, when National City Lines acquired the system, the tracks were pulled from the street, the beloved electric trolleys were trashed or burned, and the whole system was replaced with more expensive, unpopular and environmentally hazardous motor buses that helped addict America to oil.

    The Justice Department discovered that National City Lines was just a front company for General Motors, in league with Mack Truck, Phillips Petroleum, Standard Oil of California and Firestone Tires - all petroleum interests. The companies became the major preferred stockholders of National City Lines, but operated behind the scenes.

    The scheme worked this way: The manufacturers purchased NCL preferred stock to acquire transit lines on condition that when the systems were acquired, the trolleys would be dismantled and replaced with motor buses. That is exactly what happened. All the conspirators gained immensely when non-polluting electric systems were replaced by oil-burners. Phillips and Standard sold oil products. Firestone sold the tires. GM and Mack divvied up the bus manufacturing and sales market according to an agreed-upon formula.

    Transit systems in 16 states were converted, adversely affecting millions of Americans, who had to pay higher fares for lesser, more unpopular service. Dozens more cities were targeted in the $9.5m. scheme.
    The series is available online:

    Hitler's carmaker (Part I), (Part II), (Part III), (Part IV)

    Wednesday, April 23, 2008

    Rice Shortage

    PAPER: America faces food rationing?...

    This weekend 20 pound bags of Rice were up for grabs at Capital Region Price Choppers for something like $7.99 - they're probably still on sale and you might want to stock up - before the panic:
    An anonymous high-tech professional writing on an investment Web site, Seeking Alpha, said he recently bought 10 50-pound bags of rice at Costco. "I am concerned that when the news of rice shortage spreads, there will be panic buying and the shelves will be empty in no time. I do not intend to cause a panic, and I am not speculating on rice to make profit. I am just hoarding some for my own consumption," he wrote.
    Yeah, right, okay... Rice prices have been setting new records because of a supply shortage and strong demand. They have also following strong gains by wheat prices in the past 10 months. Chicago Board of Trade July rough rice futures rose by 1.5 percent to $24.43 a hundredweight in early trading on Monday, compared with Chicago's closing price on Friday, but was slightly off its record high of $24.67.

    The latest record high was touched during Friday's trading in Chicago. Rice for May delivery rose 41 cents, or 1.8 percent, to close at $23.71 per 100 pounds on the Chicago Board of Trade, after earlier reaching $24.355, the highest ever. The contract gained 13 percent for the week and has more than doubled in the past year.

    Californians are getting a taste of "rice sticker shock" -
    The global rice panic has come to south Sacramento.

    As word of food riots and export shutdowns in Asia reached California in recent weeks, worried shoppers have been buying up hundreds of pounds of rice at a time from the Asian supermarkets that line Stockton Boulevard, looking for security against rising prices.

    "When people saw the price jump $2 or $3, they started buying like crazy – 10 bags, 15 bags," said Cu Van, a floor manager at Goldstar Supermarket. Each bag weighs 50 pounds.

    In recent weeks, the retail price for a 50-pound sack of Thai jasmine rice, the prized variety served steamed in Chinese and Southeast Asian cuisine, has risen from roughly $20 to $40, straining budgets for families and restaurants.
    Rice looks to be quite volatile, since governments in many nations -- including across Asia's "rice bowl" -- consider rice not just a staple, but a national security priority.

    What makes rice supply/demand special is that almost all of the crop is consumed where it is grown. Only six per cent of world rice is exported, compared with 17 per cent for wheat, the other main food grain.

    Demand for rice would continue to be strong, said Darrell Holaday, president of Advanced Market Concepts in Manhattan, Kansas.

    “There’s no substitute for rice,” Holaday said. “Maybe some people in Asia will eat more noodles and less rice.”

    Thailand, the world’s largest rice exporter, boosted shipments 66 percent in the first three months, according to Commerce Minister Mingkwan Sangsuwan on April 16.

    The nation’s 100-percent Grade B White Rice gained 54 percent in the month to April 9, according to data from the Rice Exporters’ Association.

    The Philippines, the world’s biggest rice importer, received offers for just two-thirds of the grain it sought at a tender on Thursday at prices about 40 percent higher than in March.

    The country, which imported 1.9 million tons of rice last year, fills 10 percent to 15 percent of local needs from external suppliers.

    The jump in rice prices had forced some buyers to cut the size of their orders, said Apichat Chansakulporn, managing director of President Agri Trading, Thailand’s fourth-largest rice exporter.

    “Clients are slowing their purchases because the prices are very high,” Apichat said by telephone from Bangkok.

    Price gains were “driven more by psychological impact than real demand and supply. The perception is now toward an uptrend.”

    A global food crisis had reached “emergency proportions,” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said April 14. The World Bank has forecast that 33 nations from Mexico to Yemen may face social unrest after food and energy costs increased.

    Souces: Bloomberg, Reuters AP, NY SUN,

    Japan: Where has all the butter gone?

    Guess who is behind the Food Crisis? BIG OIL! Read on...

    Mr. & Mrs. Howell and others of their ilk may soon be the only Americans able to afford bread, milk, eggs, corn and gasoline.

    The top story a few weeks ago in the Saturday 50 cent edition of the Times Union: "Recession Fears" with photos of George Washington next to some Pounds and Pesos, a Wall Street dude and those ever-risin' gasoline prices. The headline screamed "Economy On The Ropes" and according to the Cox News Service article that followed last month saw the "Biggest job loss in 5 years" which "shocks analysts, who expected payrolls to increase in February" [what were they smokin'] and a report that 63-thousand jobs "disappeared" in February.
    See Also: David Leonhardt: Seeing an End to the Good Times (Such as They Were)
    The story we all SHOULD BE CONCERNED ABOUT was tucked down in the lower right-hand column, headlined "Ethanol fuels new worries." To date I'm battin' a thousand when it comes to predictions about gas prices, housing and the economy. NOW HEAR THIS: Ethanol will be what puts the nail in the current economy's coffin."

    The original article appeared in the L.A. Times back on March 2nd...key points:
    Corn is a key element of the U.S. food supply. It is what dairy cows eat to make milk and hens consume to lay eggs. It fattens cattle, hogs and chickens before slaughter. It makes soda sweet. As the building block of ethanol, it is now also a major component of auto fuel...

    Economists are cautioning that the nation's growing dependence on corn would make for a double jolt in the event of a drought across the Midwest: soaring prices not just for food but also for gasoline...

    Because of the interrelationships among crops, a major shortfall in the U.S. harvest could tip global grain and soy markets into chaos. It would affect the prices of food made directly from these commodities, such as bread, pasta and tortillas, and food made indirectly, such as pork, poultry, beef, milk and eggs.

    If it happened this summer, it would be especially bad because of the current pace of global food inflation.
    The bad news is that it COULD happen this summer! The entire original article is available HERE. Every American should read it!

    And we go on...
    What's going on with the economy? Paul Krugman blogs through some basic scenarios.
    "The financial crisis seems to have entered its third wave. Panic in August, then partial recovery thanks to lots of money thrown at the system by the Fed. Renewed panic late fall, then partial recovery thanks to even more money thrown in, especially the Temporary Auction Facility. And panic has set in yet again...This is now the third time Ben & co. have tried slapping the market in the face — and panic keeps coming back"
    Krugman cites Steve Randy Waldman's Interfluidity blog. In an earlier blog posting of his, Waldman makes a distinction between a panic and a reckoning.

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    Fallen Idol

    Trailblazing TV series "American Idol" may go up in a puff of smoke - the popular series has endured despite a few trials and tribulations along the way, but this new flap could de-rail it: FOX News has details...

    "American Idol" contestant David Cook's self-released album, "David Cook," is on the charts and the current season isn’t even over.

    UPDATE: 'IDOL' Contestant Cook mp3s yanked off AMAZON...

    Cook’s 2006 CD, “Analog Heart,” was the No. 1 downloaded album all weekend on Amazon’s MP3 service. It even beat Mariah Carey’s "E=MC2!"

    Isn’t this some strange way to get around the "American Idol" contract for management and a recording contract? In the past, "Idol" contestants had to agree to be managed by 19 Entertainment and give BMG first right of refusal for their albums. But a digitally available album made before the show and released before the winner is known? Hmmm…Seems like that bartender from Omaha was smarter even than wily Simon Cowell.

    David Cook - Always Be My Baby (Studio).mp3

    On a sad note, fans are sending prayers and well-wishes to Jordin Sparks, who possibly may never be able to sing again:
    The reigning "American Idol" winner canceled a concert at Penn State scheduled for last night, an Earth Day show on the National Mall in Washington, DC set for today and - most importantly - the first night of the Alicia Keys tour where she is the opening act Saturday night.

    "Because of the risk of permanent vocal cord damage, Sparks has been ordered to strict vocal rest and will not be able to perform anywhere until her condition improves" - NY POST
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    Tuesday, April 22, 2008

    Earth Day: Ira Einhorn's Legacy

    Tags: ,

    On April 22, 1970, the first Earth Day, over 20 million people participated in about 2,000 colleges and universities, 10,000 primary and secondary schools, and hundreds of cities across the United States. Now in 2007, over 500 million people are expected to participate and observe in about 175 countries.

    Earth Day falls on a day when New York State is enjoying summer-like days, and if nothing else, it is a day to celebrate the return of spring sunshine and a chance to ride bikes, hose off the windows, clean out the car or putter in the garden.

    This simple stuff will save energy -- and money -- right now.

    1. Unplug

    * Unplug seldom-used appliances, like an extra refrigerator in the basement or garage that contains just a few items. You may save around $10 every month on your utility bill.

    * Unplug your chargers when you're not charging. Every house is full of little plastic power supplies to charge cell phones, PDA's, digital cameras, cordless tools and other personal gadgets. Keep them unplugged until you need them.

    * Use power strips to switch off televisions, home theater equipment, and stereos when you're not using them. Even when you think these products are off, together, their "standby" consumption can be equivalent to that of a 75 or 100 watt light bulb running continuously.

    2. Set Computers to Sleep and Hibernate

    * Enable the "sleep mode" feature on your computer, allowing it to use less power during periods of inactivity. In Windows, the power management settings are found on your control panel. Mac users, look for energy saving settings under system preferences in the apple menu.

    * Configure your computer to "hibernate" automatically after 30 minutes or so of inactivity. The "hibernate mode" turns the computer off in a way that doesn't require you to reload everything when you switch it back on. Allowing your computer to hibernate saves energy and is more time-efficient than shutting down and restarting your computer from scratch.

    3. Take Control of Temperature

    * Set your thermostat in winter to 68 degrees or less during the daytime, and 55 degrees before going to sleep (or when you're away for the day). During the summer, set thermostats to 78 degrees or more. (Click here for a more detailed summer energy-saving tip.)

    * Use sunlight wisely. During the heating season, leave shades and blinds open on sunny days, but close them at night to reduce the amount of heat lost through windows. Close shades and blinds during the summer or when the air conditioner is in use or will be in use later in the day.

    * Set the thermostat on your water heater between 120 and 130 degrees. Lower temperatures can save more energy, but you might run out of hot water or end up using extra electricity to boost the hot water temperature in your dishwasher.

    4. Use Appliances Efficiently

    * Set your refrigerator temperature at 38 to 42 degrees Fahrenheit; your freezer should be set between 0 and 5 degrees Fahrenheit. Use the power-save switch if your fridge has one, and make sure the door seals tightly. You can check this by making sure that a dollar bill closed in between the door gaskets is difficult to pull out. If it slides easily between the gaskets, replace them.

    * Don't preheat or "peek" inside the oven more than necessary. Check the seal on the oven door, and use a microwave oven for cooking or reheating small items.

    * Wash only full loads in your dishwasher, using short cycles for all but the dirtiest dishes. This saves water and the energy used to pump and heat it. Air-drying, if you have the time, can also reduce energy use.

    * In your clothes washer, set the appropriate water level for the size of the load; wash in cold water when practical, and always rinse in cold.

    * Clean the lint filter in the dryer after each use. Dry heavy and light fabrics separately and don't add wet items to a load that's already partly dry. If available, use the moisture sensor setting. (A clothesline is the most energy-efficient clothes dryer of all!)

    5. Turn Out the Lights

    * Don't forget to flick the switch when you leave a room.

    Employers who want to make every day Earth Day could create a carpool program, plant trees on their grounds, or change all light bulbs to Energy Star-qualified bulbs.

    6. 10 Eco-Friendly Gadgets
    Modern propaganda credits the founding of Earth Day to U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin. You won't find Ira Einhorn's name listed in any of the Earth Day promotional literature, as the organizers have taken great pains to distance themselves from the "Unicorn Killer"--- In 1970, during the first Earth Day event, which was televised globally, Ira Einhorn was on stage as master of ceremonies.

    A friend and contemporary of Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, and acquaintance of authors Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsburg, Timothy Leary, Alvin Toffler, and Isaac Asimov, Einhorn held the floor for a half hour, during the first Earth Day celebration, in Philadelphia, kissing Edmund Muskie on the lips before surrendering the microphone to the Senator from Maine. There is no evidence that Muskie rejected his advances, or that anyone associated with the event had ever voiced any disagreement with Einhorn's place as a key organizer until after his arrest for the murder of Holly Maddox. Due in large part to his influence, Einhorn escaped punishment for his crime for a quarter of a century.

    Ira Einhorn knew all of the right people. Executives from Sun Oil and AT&T showered him with support, financial and otherwise. Ira Einhorn was the man who could make Earth Day happen as, it seems, he did, denials notwithstanding.
    Genesys, a global multimedia conferencing service, surveyed more than 18,000 people among its Global 1,000 customers. It found that 88 percent think car and air travel to meetings have the largest negative impact on the environment, far greater than paper and plastic goods used in the course of a physical meeting.

    Genesys has a free tool to help people calculate the cost of attending a meeting in person vs. holding a virtual meeting. The tool, found on its web site, helps users calculate the pounds of carbon dioxide emissions avoided, miles of travel avoided, work hours saved, and dollar, Euro, or pound costs to a company’s travel budget.

    [RE-MIX] MashUp: Mia Mäkilä vs. M.I.A.

    It has been said that there's always more to art (and the artist) that meets the eye... I knew I was onto something when I dreamed that MiaCollision dream. The other day I was perusing YouTube, checking out Mia interviews. That's when I discovered M.I.A. began her so-called "public life" as an ARTIST, y'know, the paint'n'brush variety. The lights went on. Some researchers have found the dream world mirrors reality in that it often picks up information that may have gone unnoticed as well as information that could be drawn from inference.

    Example: you're on the bus. There's an ad for "Stop smoking." You look at it (but you don't really "see" it - you haven't paid attention and if anyone stopped to ask you what ads were displayed inside thebus, you would have no recollection.) That night you have a dream that involves smoking. As your mind rewinds during sleep, the visual data picked up deep in your little brain was played back as "smoking" or perhaps a smoker in your dream.

    Example #2: a co-worker happens to be the thief who has been spiriting away office supplies. Little "cues" that your conscious mind overlooks are registered in your brain and played back in a dream where that co-worker is portrayed as someone who cannot be trusted.

    I'm thinking my brain picked up on M.I.A.'s artistic roots in some similar fashion... anyway, now that that makes sense (at least to me) it only makes more sense to revise and update that previous dreampost...

    Don't laugh when it comes to dreams - they can have deep meanings and wide implications. Like this:
    ...the most unforgettable dream of my life.

    In it, I was in a grassy outdoor place, it was summer, and I was with a tall, thin young man with sandy-coloured hair. His name was Tim - possibly Tim Leighton, but I'm not sure. I thought of him as Tim L. We seemed to be good friends.

    As I walked away from him, I felt that something remained unfinished between us. I returned to say goodbye and we kissed. I seemed to inhale him into me in the deepest breath I had ever taken. I felt like Tim and I would be together for ever. When the dream was over, something had changed.

    I woke up knowing that Tim L was my donor and that some parts of his spirit and personality were now within me.

    I wanted to check this information, but the transplant programme observed a code of strict confidentiality...
    He said he'd been moved by my story and - bizarrely - had had a dream in which he saw my donor's obituary.

    Together, he and I decided to go to Boston (the nearest city to the accident) and search the newspapers for my donor's obituary. Fred was already there when I arrived, scrolling through the newspaper for the week of my transplant. We soon found the item we were searching for - an obituary for an 18-year-old who had died in a motorcycle accident.

    His name was Timothy Lamirande. My dream about "Tim" was true after all... read all
    Years before Maya Arulpragasam ever picked up a microphone or a drum machine she studied fine art, film, and video in London.

    Here, for the first time, she began to piece together some of the different strands of her life experience. In an early incarnation of what was later to become M.I.A., she learned how to play off her different cultural personae against each other; layering rap iconography with the warfare pictures from her youth, Asian Britain with American new-wave film making style and St. Martin’s fashion sense with refugee outlooks.

    A successful art career beckoned and, for a while, seemed to be Maya’s destined path. Her first-ever public exhibition of paintings in 2001 at the Euphoria Shop in Portobello, London, featured candy coloured spray-paint and stencil pictures of the Tamil rebellion movement. Graffitied tigers and palm trees mixed with orange, green and pink camouflage, bombs, guns and freedom fighters on chip board off-cuts and canvases. The show was nominated for the Alternative Turner Prize, every painting sold and a monograph book of the collection was published by Pocko (which was simply entitled M.I.A.).


    Maya arrived in London in 1985 at the age of ten, as a war refugee from the Tamil struggle for freedom in Sri Lanka in which her family was closely involved. At that time she only spoke two words in English that were perhaps prophetic of the clash of cultures she was destined to navigate, “Michael” and “Jackson”. Published by Pocko Editions, available in October 2002. ISBN: 1-903977-10-X

    The official Pocko site is sold out of the book, but you can buy it here and get more info about it here. Pull Up the People has lots of cool M.I.A. footage for download.

    I had a dream that I created a mash-up post where the world of Swedish artist Mia Mäkilä collided with the persona of Sri-Lankan rapper M.I.A. I told Mia about it, and asked if it would be okay if I desecrated one of her artworks in a valiant attempt to drag my dream out into reality. She said yes, so here it is. Mia's original work is titled Marching Band. Let's call this one Rapping Paper. If you want to listen to M.I.A., click on the picture. If you want to visit The Wonderland of Mia Mäkilä, I'll take you there. ..:::This is oNlY a TeSt:::..

    Don't try this at home. I did, using an old 386PC equipped with Microsoft Paint. I would be a monster if I had Photoshop... first time I ever sat down and played around with images like this, and only because of that darn dream!

    Around The Blogosphere 22 April 08

    TWO CHEERS FOR POLITICAL CORRECTNESS....Henry Farrell passes along this charming poster used by the Northern League in the recent Italian elections. "Guess who comes last?"

    Happy Earth Day!
    Michelle Malkin is ready to have some fun: she blogged Celebrate Earth Day: Destroy capitalism

    OhGizmo! writes "Ever wonder what would happen if a pelican hit an F-111 that was flying at just over 340mph? Well these two photos should give you a pretty good idea."

    YPulse: Teens still love soaps (ratings up for CBS), The CW pulls 'Gossip Girl' from the web, plus this bunch: MySpace music will save the music biz (says Chris DeWolfe. Plus good times for music blogs. And..Facebook fatigue, what fatigue?) (Wired) (, reg. required) (Alley Insider)

    Bettina Perroni: México Mágico...
    Eres un espíritu libre, tu inquietud me ha hecho volver a mis raíces

    A Nairobian's Perspective! highlights 10 most visited websites in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa: “Its interesting which sites are most visited by African surfers on the internet. One thing for certain though is that we are visiting more foreign based websites than local site! That is quite informative especially for investors in the Advertisement industry... A comparative analysis between the three Countries reveals that Kenyans are lagging in the use of the internet and this is mainly due to disinterest in maximizing the power of the internet by the corporates.”

    FaceStat is a new application which makes use of Amazon Mechanical Turk to run a mini-survey on faces visitors pull from their Facebook profile.

    Would you like YOUR blog to be featured in a future "Around the Blogosphere?" Send me a link to your work - click on my picture in the sidebar for my email addy! I'm always looking for guest-posters too! In case you're wondering why I'm up so late / early, it's another toothache... I don't know why... last time I was at the dentist (for that root canal) all the other pearly whites got a clean bill of heath... it was only 6 months ago...

    Monday, April 21, 2008

    Pennsylvania Primary

    Finally! The Pennsylvania Primary takes place Tuesday, and remember, "it ain't over 'til it's over." Forget all the polls and Barack Obama clucking that Hillary is going to win. The VOTERS will decide who wins the day in PA. A friend of mine will be in Allentown tomorrow, and I'm hoping to get a good idea from her as to the real "pulse of the people." The chart below was prepared and is featured on a post within Outside The Beltway blog: Click on it for the large version (plus the post)
    OTB poster Dave Schuler writes that he believes Obama has the advantage, and it does make me wonder. Nevertheless, I still think that come what may, Mrs. Clinton will take the fight for the nomination to the convention floor. If she is not prepared to do that, she'd better get going. If you like to read books, you really should get a hold of books by and about Hillary (and Bill) Clinton. They are professional politicians who know what it takes to deliver. (Can't forget my girl Chelsea! I can see her entering politics as a candidate in the near future). Let's face it: American politics hasn't been this much fun since the Kennedy Days.

    Now what about when we get to that convention. What are the real chances there could be a Clinton-Obama (in either order) ticket? I think that particular one-two punch would K.O. John McCain. But but but... Clinton minus Obama or Obama minus Clinton makes McCain tougher to beat. Some of the pollsters report Hillary could topple MCain, Barack has a 50-50 shot... Whatever the case, we've got three great candidates here, each with his or her own set of skills, experience and human baggage. Think about it: these three represent America more than any other previous contenders. The great mix, this melting pot, this place of liberty, offers. You can be a woman. you can be a minority. you can be a Senior Citizen. In this country, you can be president.

    How old are you? Whether you are reading this article in the States or someplace else, there is a little "rule" that seems to apply to entertainers, politicians, poets, authors, bloggers, pundits --- anyone striving to "make a name, gain some fame" for himself or herself --- you decide what you want to do, you hone your craft, and you jump into the frying pan of fame. This can be done in 5 years. Let's say right now, you're sittin' around, you think you're a big nobody. If you develop a goal, a plan and LEARN a craft or trade or something, stay focused and most importantly believe you can do it, you will do it. Read comedienne Whoopi Goldberg's story. Age, race, class, sex - should not be perceived as "barriers" to your personal success.

    So, no matter if you're Democrat or Republican or Independent: if you live in PA, get out and vote - if you're anyplace else in the U-S, please continue to follow the candidates, get behind one and get involved in our wonderful political process. it's what "free society" is all about.


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