Saturday, May 2, 2009

For all of you political types: This is the link you've been waiting for!

A map of the states shows where each party, Democratic and Republican, is strong or weak. There's updated political news along with other features that help you evaluate what's coming up in the 2010 senatorial election. It's non-partisan, which says a lot right there! I hope you find it scratches your political itch and is another resource in the search for truth in American politics. Go to Vote From Abroad to view.

Banned Books in America: Brave New World shook people up!

There have been many controversial books in American history, and Brave New World is among the most controversial. From Dir Journal Info Blog archives....

"Published in 1932, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World is his most popular novel; although, it may not have been his most important.

It was frequently challenged with several banning attempts, and is still considered controversial. The reader is swept into Huxley’s vision of a future based on science and technology.

The novel depicts drugs, sexuality and suicide, and reveals Huxley’s disdain for the culture of the United States.

An attempt to get the book banned was made by a group of parents as they felt it centered on negativity. (more…)"

For more bizarre, Interesting and Unusual, Discoveries, Photos, Cover Ups go to Dir Journal Info Blog.

image via Dir Journal Info Blog

Friday, May 1, 2009

Vintage Poison Labels: Art is often in the eye of the beholder!



To see more labels go here.

I'd like to introduce you to the Zombie Preparedness Initiative!

 Here it is Friday and you're wondering if you can get through the day.

You think, "I've heard it all," as you wait for the weekend. Then you find out about a community of loons who are ready for an invasion from Zombies 365 days a year!

The members have a finely detailed plan on what to do when Zombies finally make their move and try to rule the earth.

  Say what? This can't be on up-and-up. No one believes in Zombies right?

   I quote:

"The Zombie Preparedness Initiative is a knowledge base provided by a community of citizens concerned about the impending zombie invasion and the imminent disaster that is sure to follow.

We are not claiming to be experts on anything, we are merely doing what we can to gather knowledge and share the acquired information with the public. By doing this, we hope to help people prepare for the very real threat that we shall face when zombies show up and governments have not taken the time to prepare.

We are working to do what we can to help people find others in their area that are interested in fighting against the zombies so that when the time comes there can be safe locations all around the world. We have recently moved to a new content management system, so if there are any problems with anything, please report it to the site administrator." Check out the whole site here.

Image via

Underground Living: What do you think about Alice City?


Clear domes (left) to subterranean concrete living spaces (right) offer a new lifestyle.

For an idea of the future direction of architecture look down at your feet. One day you may unsuspectingly be walking on top of housing, offices and even cities.

by Simon Jones for Future Facing web site

     Country living offers the ideals of a relaxed, gentler way of life that many of us have bought into. Yet our desire to be cocooned by nature has involved bulldozing it into oblivion. So how can we regain a more harmonious relationship between the often opposing sides of large-scale development and rural ecology? By developing a green utopia - underground.
    The Taisei Company's ambitious plan for subterranean living imaginatively titled Alice City from Alice in Wonderland offers a utopia that is almost as fantastical as the book.  Read the rest of the story here.

images via future facing

Prohibition of Marijuana is often compared to prohibition of alcohol

This cartoon by Dr. Seuss in 1942, echoed what most Americans of the day thought about banning booze. It was an unpopular law. Dr Suess's political cartoons are all nicely displayed at this Catalog of Political Cartoons You may be in for a surprise at just how political Dr. Seuss was. His children books are still read in schools across the country, but most people aren't aware of his other body of works in war and domestic issues. Enjoy!

Image via

Thursday, April 30, 2009

How worried should we be about the Swine Flu outbreak? Some say it's a great way for Big Pharma to make a profit!

From The Lay Scientist today...

Swine Flu - The Conspiracy

By Martin

It's close to becoming a truism now that every unusual event is immediately greeted with a chorus of conspiracy theories, and Swine Flu is no exception. If you want to see some extremely impressive analysis of the situation, then you should head on over to the guys at Effect Measure, who are putting the mainstream media to shame. But the people I'm about to present to you have a rather different take.

As an example of just how different this take is, the title of the piece I'm about to quote is "It is Time to Shoot Back."

Read the rest of the story here.

From Mother Jones this morning...

Swine Flu Deja Vu--and SNAFU

By James Ridgeway

The more we learn about the current swine flu outbreak, the more it all begins to sound like what happened in 2005, when the world faced a possible pandemic of avian flu. But with the exception of stocking up on Tamiflu, most governments seem to have taken little meaningful action in response to the bird flu scare, and learned few lessons.

Read the rest of the story here.

Also from from Mother Jones (April 2009)...

Swine Flu: Bringing Home the Bacon

By James Ridgeway |

As the world gears up once again for a flu pandemic that may or may not arrive (it actually seems possible this time), we might want to remember some of the lessons of the last flu scare. One of these is that there are winners as well as losers in every high-profile outbreak of infectious disease. First and foremost among them, of course, is Big Pharma, which can always be counted on to have its hand out wherever human misery presents an opportunity to rake in some cash.

Read the rest of the story here.

Pig image via

Salute Your Undershorts! 'No Pants Day' is Coming Soon...


As always, there will be an all-day celebration on the University of Texas campus in Austin. But this year Boise is where the new action is. Check out for more information about what they have planned for the big day!

From the Austin Chronicle...

The secret Hollywood history behind No Pants Day


Conventional wisdom has it that No Pants Day (which takes place this Friday, May 2) had its beginnings in Austin in the mid-1980s and is little more than a good-natured lark free of any political or social intent – just a bunch of breezy young adults with nothing better to do than wander the streets in their underwear, scaring children and dogs. But the truth is actually much more sinister. New research has revealed that Trouser-Free Day was actually started in Hollywood in 1928 by a secret cabal of gin-soaked movie producers, writers, and actors interested as much in flaunting societal convention and toppling democracy as they were in making movies, a group that included such closet anarchists and degenerates as Norma Shearer, Conrad Veldt, Samuel Goldwyn, Adolph Zukor, Lillian Gish, Will Rogers, the entire cast of King Vidor's The Big Parade, and Wallace Beery (who, honoring the wishes of the other members of the group, kept his pants on).

Click here to read the rest of this story.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Whatever happened to the mile-long Freedom Ship?

From ALL VIEWS web site...
By Dave Stancliff
It would make the Queen Elizabeth II look like a peanut shell bobbing in the ocean. It was to be a floating city with condominium housing for 50,000 people. Projected to be a mile long, with an airstrip to accommodate turboprop aircraft, it would have a duty-free and rapid transit.
What would have been the largest unconventional ship (more like a series of linked barges) in the world, the Freedom Ship, is still confined to blueprints, blustering, and the hovering specter of lawsuits.

Read the rest of this story here.

Pirate Bay Trial Spurs New Web Site to Protest the Ruling

From ars technica this morning...

"Pirate Google" sets sail to show copyright hypocrisy

The Pirate Bay defendants wanted to know why they were being prosecuted while Google was not, even though Google also indexes .torrent files. A new site called "Pirate Google" tries to make the same point; we speak with the site's anonymous creator.

By Nate Anderson  April 29, 2009

The Pirate Bay trial saw the defendants trot out "the Google defense" on multiple occasions: Google indexes .torrent files, so what's wrong with our doing it? That point didn't sway the judge, who saw a world of difference between what the two sites did, but it did resonate with at least one Internet coder, who last week rolled out The Pirate Google.

Read the rest of the story here.

I talked about this story back in March 2009 in:

Avast Mate! There's pirates on the high seas, the web, and Wall Street.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Will everyone cool off so we can talk about climate warming?

Last Sunday's As It Stands column - EPA validates global warming threat, but don't expect change soon - has fired up many readers and inspired others.

I learned one thing about the negative responses; they nearly all (99%) had a common denominator; Al Gore. His name is like waving a red flag in front of a bull to Conservatives.

They centered their criticism of the column around my mention of Al Gore. The mere mention of his name resulted in polarization. The rest of my message was lost on them as they lashed out like startled snakes!

Using the term "global warming" seems to polarizes people. Some come back with facts of their own, based upon their research. Those are the ones I like. Others go off in triads that aren't even worth reading.

When I make the mistake of responding to some remarks on the Times-Standard Topix Forum, trolls go on holiday and hang around the thread making hateful and stupid statements.

I think it's one of the only Online topic forums that I've read where so many trolls dwell daily. Sometimes I appeal for mutual respect, but that just makes the trolls bolder. I wish they had the guts to use their real names. Trolls are bored web bottom-feeders.

In an interesting email message, David Walker warned me that "I was being taken for a ride by Al Gore." My email response to him was, I thought I made a miscalculation using Al Gore's name because it polarized so many readers, and for using the term "global warming." Walker was one of many who pointed out how much money Gore is making, and that he believes Gore is a phony. I have no problem with people who feel this way, but I wish they would calm down and watch their blood pressure. No one's name (and that includes ex-president Bush) should have so much power over a person that they loose the senses!

I noticed on the forwarded email addresses that Walker sent my column to Senator Fran Pavely (Senate District 23) with a wry comment (before going off about Al Gore) "I wish I had what Dave was smoking!" Walker also forwarded Sen. Pavely this May 25, 2004 Associated Press article by Don Thompson, Fire and water drive western growth, prompt warming conference Pavely describes herself on her web site as an Environmental Crusader.

More links provided were, The Union Tribune Online edition "Reader comments section" which led to the full article

LAO confirms fraudulence of claims AB 32 is benign

which ran in the Marin Independent Journal's Online edition.

I've always been aware of the power of words. Most writers are.

I guess I didn't realize how politically charged Al Gore's name really is. I've seen him called every name in the book in the last few days. But I also read that many people believed in what he was doing. In this case some readers could only focus on his name. I don't believe they took the column as a whole. The moment they saw Gore's name it was over and the blinders descended.

I'm really considering not using the term "global warming" anymore because it's too politically charged. I don't want to lose readers who freeze up when they see it. Climate warming might not be a bad idea. If you have any thoughts on terms that would be less polarizing feel free to make a comment below.

As It Stands,Labels can be divisive. I have a column coming down the pipe on that subject soon.

Scott seemed to savor being propelled into space suddenly!


Image via

Lakers wrap up Round One and eliminate a tough Jazz team

  Like a cat teasing it's prey, the Lakers let the Jazz back into the game in the fourth quarter, then pounced and put their opponent down.

  The final score was 107-96 Lakers. Now they get to sit back, after closing out the 1st round of the playoffs 4-1, and wait for the winner of the Portland vs Houston series. Houston leads 3-1.

  There's no doubt in my mind that Andrew Bynum isn't ready to play yet. He's looked horrible in the first round. Fortunately, other Lakers are stepping up for the playoffs.

  Lamar Odom has been a monster and finished last nights game with 26 points and 15 rebounds. Kobe...well he was Kobe with 31 points, and a lot of acrobatic moves. It doesn't look good for Walton however.

  Team doctors say he has a partly torn ligament in his ankle. It's too bad because he was playing tough and smart ball. Ariza looked like his usual hustling self after a poor game four.

  It was a hard fought series that got chippy at times. In a rare ejection for him, Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, had to head for the locker room during the final two minutes of play. The Jazz proved to be a rough and tumble opponent.  

Photo by Wally Skalij/LA Times

Monday, April 27, 2009

Living On The Edge: Thrill Seekers in the Animal Kingdom



Top Photos and Bottom left via Amazing Animals  Bottom right Photo via

Debtor Prisons in the 21st Century USA: Did you know that Americans can be locked up because they can't afford to pay court fines?


By Eric Ruder

The jailers of the 19th century — even in the pre-Civil War South — largely abandoned the practice of imprisoning people for falling into debt as counterproductive and ultimately barbaric. In the 1970s and ’80s, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that incarcerating people who can’t pay fines because of poverty violates the U.S. Constitution.

Apparently, though, some states and county jails never got the memo. Welcome to the debtors’ prisons of the 21st century. Click here to read the rest of the article.

image via

Monday Madness: The start of a work week depresses many Americans


Do Mondays depress you? Or, is it just another work day with no significance?

Let me know what your Monday's are like. Meanwhile, feel free to look over the links provided here on the subject.

Click here to read The Times of India newspaper article titled: Battling the onset of Monday Depression.

Click here to read one blogger's opinion, Christine Stapleton's: Monday, Monotony and Depression.

Click here to read another blogger's, Phil Monroe, thoughts: Anecdotal Science Monday: Anxiety-Depression-Anger

image via stumble

Sunday, April 26, 2009

America's grudging recognition of global warming isn't going to bring changes soon enough for some....

I discuss global warming and the EPA's admission that it is a real threat to Americans today - 4/26 -

in the Times-Standard.

Are we too late to reverse the deadly trends that have polluted the earth?

After all of our governments nice talk about recognizing global warming is industry going to make any meaningful environmental changes soon?

image via stumble

Blog Break Until Presidential Election is Over

I finally hit the wall today. I can't think of what to say about all of the madness going on in this country right now. I'm a writer...