Saturday, August 1, 2009

Amelia Earhart Mystery Solved? 'Investigation Junkies' to Launch New Expedition

DNA Evidence on a Remote Island May Reveal the Truth About Earhart's Disappearance


It has been 72 years since famed aviator Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan disappeared while attempting to fly around the world. But the mystery remains unsolved: Nobody knows exactly what happened to Earhart or her plane.

Now researchers at the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, or Tighar, say they are on the verge of recovering DNA evidence that would demonstrate Earhart had been stranded on Nikumaroro Island (formerly known as Gardner Island) before finally perishing there.

During May and June of next year, Tighar will launch a new $500,000 expedition, continuing the archaeological work it has been doing on the island since 2001.

"We think we will be able to come back with DNA," said Tighar's Executive Director Ric Gillespie, who is working with two DNA labs in Ontario, Canada, Genesis Genomics and Molecular World. "We were out there in 2007 under the impression that in order to extract DNA we would need to find a piece of a human, and we didn't find anything like that. But we did find what's best described as personal effects of the castaway that died there."

Photo and story via ABC News online

Pen pals: Giraffe and goat form unlikely friendship when kept in same enclosure

They'll always have a very different outlook on life.

But even though Gerald the giraffe is rather lofty and Eddie the goat is more down to earth, they are the perfect pairing.

They have formed an unlikely bond after Eddie was placed with 15ft Gerald as a short-term solution to keep the giraffe company at Noah's Ark Zoo Farm in Bristol.

Read more:

Friday, July 31, 2009

Republican moms for marijuana: 'Time to legalize is now'

It will take conservatives and women to help turn tide against pot prohibition

— As a Republican mother committed to legalizing marijuana, political life can be lonely. But while many in my party whisper about the Drug War's insanity, we should shout it from the rooftop: the time to legalize is now.

Calling for a new approach doesn't make me a pothead. In fact, while I freely admit to having previously smoked marijuana -- as do more than 95 million other Americans, including our last three presidents -- I choose not to be an active marijuana user today.

While opponents may argue that legalization is all about a bunch of twentysomethings wanting to get high, the debate deserves a more respectful and truthful analysis.

Take medical marijuana. On July 20, Colorado's Health Board voted down a proposal that would have effectively shuttered the medical marijuana dispensaries serving as crucial sources of legal marijuana across the state. As a result, courageous patients, including AIDS survivor Damien LaGoy, will not have to take to dangerous streets to obtain marijuana.

Instead, the state's nearly 10,000 patients can continue their existing relationships with dispensaries, many of who deliver to the homebound and hold extensive knowledge about the benefits and side effects of specific strains.

Click here to read the rest at the Colorado

photo is of Jessica Peck Corry

Why Asians Are Good At Math, Finally, A Legit Theory

Whether you admit it or not, being raised in America, we all know the racial stereotypes that have traversed through our colorful history.

For Asian Americans, we are all good at math right? It’s a stereotype, but a good stereotype right? Despite my frequent ramblings, political correctness concerns me little. Instead, I am interested in the roots and explanations to social phenomenon that we humans, out of ignorance, simplify with racial stereotypes.

What do people really think about the Asians-good-at-math stereotype? Oh, I know, it’s because they’re smarter. Well, no, if we accept Asians are good at math because Asians are smarter, we fall into the same whirlpool of ignorance the Conquistadors used to justify their dominance over Meso-Americans or 19th century American slave owners who believed African slaves could only become civilized through hard work. Fortunately, Malcolm Gladwell’s most recent book, Outliers, has shed some light on the Asian math stereotype.

To continue reading click here at Chinese & Japanese

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Massachusettes police chiefs legalize marijuana

By J.D. Tuccille
Civil Liberties Examiner

Police chiefs in towns like Auburn and Clinton, Massachusetts would undoubtedly deny that they have any interest in legalizing marijuana, but that's what they've effectively accomplished.

Bent out of shape by the details of Question 2, the decriminalization measure that voters passed in November, those law-enforcement officials have announced that they won't bother issuing tickets to people caught smoking marijuana.

The new law, in effect since January, replaces criminal penalties with a $100 fine for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. The text of the law also forbids any repercussions whatsoever, from denial of student loans to inclusion in a criminal record to consideration during applications for status as an adoptive parent.

But in what is likely a clever sleight of hand by legalization advocates, the law, by pulling arrest off the table as an option, deprives police officers of any means to compel people caught with marijuana to show identification. Anybody willing to say "Donald Duck" to a cop who nabs him with a joint and asks for a name can escape even the $100 fine.

And that's a good thing.

Marijuana is now not only de facto legal in a few Massachusetts communities because police find the requirements of decriminalization too demanding, it is now effectively sanction-free in the entire state for anybody willing to face down a cop.

The added benefit is that the state will not be collecting much revenue from those fines. Anything that denies resources to the government is a good thing.

Governments never had the right to tell consenting adults what they can and can't buy from and sell to each other, or put into their own bodies. We're not quite at the point where politicians are willing to concede that point. But we're getting closer when police simply throw up their hands and effectively allow people to exercise their rights unmolested.

Article from the National Examiner

Bobcat and Fawn find friendship after fire

For your Thursday morning "Ahhh Gee!" moment while drinking that first cup of coffee.

Thanks to the tireless dedication of volunteer efforts of the
Animal Rescue Team, and the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network, these two animals, and many others were rescued from the destructive Jesusita fire.

As noted in an Animal Planet blog post:

“All of these Santa Barbara area animal rescue organizations have put out a national plea for donations because of the overwhelming need for animal food, medicines, and space to house displaced animals. ART currently leases a 1.5-acre plot of land that houses rescued animals in enclosures on the property, which require around-the-clock care, and the organization is desperate to purchase the land. The morning after Di Sieno – along with an insanely cute bobcat cub and fawn photo – appeared on the Ellen Degeneres show – the landowner decided he needed to sell it and she’s concerned for the future of the animals she and her fellow workers just rescued. The WCN also seeks funds for their Oiled and Injured Seabird Rehab Center, and receive no City, State or federal funding. One of their volunteers, Nancy Callahan, runs W.I.L.D.E. Services which focuses on raccoons and opossums, had her home and facility burnt to the ground and must start over from scratch. After rehabilitation, the groups reintroduce rescued animals to the wild.”

Fire season is just starting, and with drought conditions in Southern California, there could be more wildfires in the coming months. If you’d like to make a donation to help the animal rescue organizations, follow the links above to the non-profits’ websites. Bobcat and fawn thank you!

Text via Peachy Green

(Photo Credit Lisa Mathiasen/ Animal Rescue Team)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Victim Treats His Mugger Right

“If you’re going to be robbing people for the rest of the night,
you might as well take my coat to keep you warm…”

This is the amazing story of social worker, Julio Diaz, who was on his way home one evening. His normal routine was to get off the train one stop early, to visit his local diner.

The station platform was empty, but as he was walking towards the stairs something dramatic and unexpected happened.

Suddenly a young teenager came up to Julio, pulled a knife and demanded money.

Julio just handed over his wallet, saying: “Here you go”.

But as the teenager turned to go, Julio said: “Hey, wait a minute. You forgot something. If you’re going to be robbing people for the rest of the night, you might as well take my coat to keep you warm.”

The story unfolds with Julio offering to take the teenager to the diner to eat with him. He explains: “If you’re willing to risk your freedom for a few dollars, then I guess you must really need the money… I figure, you know, if you treat people right, you can only hope that they treat you right. It’s as simple as it gets in this complicated world.”

When they have finished eating, Julio asks for his wallet back in order to pay for the meal. He then offers to give the teenager $20 in exchange for one thing…

His knife.

Listen to Julio tell his story (opens in a new window)

Read the Full Story on

Compiled by Zen Moments

The 13 Most Brutal and Inhumane Judicial Punishments Still Used Today

Public Stoning

Iranian courts still order public stonings, and those sentenced are often severely whipped before they are stoned.

Women are buried up to their necks before a stoning. If convicted of adultery, Iranian law requires the stones not be too big or too small so that the probable death is not merciful or prolonged. If a woman miraculously survives a stoning, she must then serve a jail sentence.

For men, the stoning procedure is a bit different. Men are buried up to their waists before a stoning. If they confess and manage to escape, they are free.

To read about a dozen more methods

click here at BRAINZ

Researchers say 'Organic has no health benefits'

Organic food is no healthier than ordinary food, a large independent review has concluded.

There is little difference in nutritional value and no evidence of any extra health benefits from eating organic produce, UK researchers found.

The Food Standards Agency who commissioned the report said the findings would help people make an "informed choice".

But the Soil Association criticized the study and called for better research.

Researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine looked at all the evidence on nutrition and health benefits from the past 50 years.

Click here to read the rest at BBC News
Photo via BBC News

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I now have another blog - As It StandsII

Can't get enough of my opinions, sometimes bizarre posts, interesting photos, news, and entertaining columns?

No problem.

Click here to visit As It Stands II, an imperfect mirror to this blog.

Marijuana Legalization Progress: Pot activists file state ballot measure

From The Associated Press today

Oakland pot activists fresh off a victory at local polls on the taxing of medical marijuana took their first official step Tuesday toward asking California voters to legalize pot.

A proposed ballot measure filed with the California attorney general's office would allow adults 21 and over to possess up to an ounce of pot. Homeowners could grow marijuana for personal use on garden plots up to 25 square feet.

The measure's main backer is Oakland medical marijuana entrepreneur Richard Lee, who helped push a first-of-its-kind tax on city medical marijuana dispensaries that passed with 80 percent of the vote last week.

The statewide measure needs nearly 434,000 signatures to make the November 2010 ballot.

”It's one more pretty amazing element in the momentum toward ending statewide prohibition,” said Stephen Gutwillig, California director of the pro-legalization Drug Policy Alliance.

His group would rather wait until 2012 to build more support for a ballot initiative but would be happy with an earlier victory, he said.

A similar but less restrictive pot legalization initiative was filed two weeks ago by a group of Northern California criminal defense lawyers.

The Tax, Regulate and Control Cannabis Act of 2010 would set no specific limits on the amount of pot adults could possess or grow for personal use. The measure would repeal all local and state marijuana laws and clear the criminal record of anyone convicted of a pot-related offense.

Both ballot measures would be competing with a bill introduced by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol.

The San Francisco Democrat is pushing legalization as a way to generate revenue for the cash-starved state from California's massive marijuana industry. He plans to hold hearings on the legislation this fall.

image via Google Images

Say hi to eavedroppers and ruin their world!

So the U.S. government wants to scan our e-mail, blogs & websites for “our own protection”
I say let’s give them something good to read! Let’s overload their systems.

I think every e-mail that is sent, every website and every blog should include a sentence or two that will trigger an alert.

We should never say (or do) anything threatening but we should say things that can be misinterpreted by a computer. Add a trick line to every e-mail. Make it your signature. Here are some examples:

  • My garden is so overcrowded that I think we will have to kill a bush or two this weekend to make room for our veggies.
  • We are way behind in our paperwork but my staff is planning to attack this problem immediately.
  • We were going to get married in a civil ceremony but my spouse is planning to have a mass. She wants the altar boys to wear black capes. They will look like a murder of crows!

At the end of your trick sentence you can include the phrase: “How are you doing Big Brother? Nice to see you.”

Click here to read the rest at TvNewsLies

The links below will take you to pages on my website where information on the ECHELON system can be found. Visitors can obtain a list of the keywords used by the system along with some of the IP addresses it uses.

You can also discover how to protect your PC from being eavesdropped upon, and how to throw a spanner in the works of ECHELON.

The government does not have the manpower to spy on everyone simutaneously, and if enough of us bombard the system we can inflict chaos on those who seek to monitor us.

Get the real news and subscribe to our free daily newsletter:

image via R.T.D.

Here's a funny parody of Liberals

A liberal (also leftist) is someone who rejects logical and biblical standards, often for self-centered reasons. There are no coherent liberal standards; often a liberal is merely someone who craves attention, and who uses many words to say nothing. Liberalism began as a movement for individual liberties, but today is increasingly statist, and in Europe even socialistic.
A liberal generally supports many of the following political positions and practices:
Click here to read the rest at Conservapedia
grahic via ThePeople'sCube

Home prices increase from April to May

6:24 AM PDT, July 28, 2009

A widely watched index shows home prices posted their first monthly increase since the summer of 2006, indicating prices may be stabilizing.

The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price index of 20 major cities released today rose 0.5% from April, but was still 17.1% below May a year ago.

Click here for the rest of this article.

Monday, July 27, 2009

GOP Headache:
The birther issue:

My recent column on
Obama being my 11th
cousin stirred some
interesting feedback.

They came from so-called "Birthers" who wanted me to know I was wrong about saying Obama was born in the USA. Conspiracies and facts clash in this controversy:
hen lawmakers return home for recess in August, they can expect to hear tough questions from constituents on the economy,
health care and government spending.

But Republicans are preparing for something else: the birthers.

As GOP Rep. Mike Castle learned the hard way back home in Delaware this month, there’s no easy way to deal with the small but vocal crowd of right-wing activists who refuse to believe that President Barack Obama was born in the United States.

Photo via AP of Rep. Mike Castle giving a speech during a press conference.

Your Share of The National Debt


The Outstanding Public Debt as of 27 Jul 2009 at 04:06:54 PM GMT is:

$ 1 1 , 6 2 0 , 2 1 1 , 5 1 9 , 6 3 0 . 5 7

The estimated population of the United States is 306,625,074
so each citizen's share of this debt is $37,897.13.

The National Debt has continued to increase an average of
$3.91 billion per day since September 28, 2007!
Concerned? Then tell Congress and the White House!

Squatters in paradise say it's job from hell!

Staking a claim on isolated Pagasa Island for the Philippine government, inhabitants eventually 'go crazy.'

Philippine air force personnel unload supplies for inhabitants of isolated Pagasa Island in the South China Sea.The happiest day on Pagasa is when the boat comes to take you off, says one former resident. (Jim Gomez / Associated Press)

Reporting from Puerto Princesa, Philippines - Roel Robles had been on Pagasa Island for less than a week when he found himself wondering, with something like despair: Is it possible for one white-beached, palm-studded place to be both heaven and hell, paradise and prison?

"When you first get there, you see this little island resort," said the 30-year-old sergeant in the Philippine National Police. "Then after about five days, something snaps. You begin telling yourself, 'I have to get out of here -- now, today.' "

Pagasa plays tricks with your mind.

Its few dozen inhabitants can walk around the pint-sized perimeter in 30 minutes. From its highest point, nine feet above sea level, they gaze out at turquoise seas all around.
It's a stunning view. But it's the same view, day after day.

Click here to read the rest of this article in the Chicago Tribune today.

Sarah Palin's parting shots:

Criticism and advice for the media in the former Alaska governor's farewell speech

Best opinion: Financial Times, Scared Monkeys, Wash. Post

From The Week

Sarah Palin's farewell speech was "an astonishing performance," said Gideon Rachman in the Financial Times, "and not in a good way." Her "inarticulate," unscripted opening was bad enough, but then Palin scolded her media critics by saying, "In honor of the American soldier, you quit making things up." She was saying that reporters are abusing press freedom and therefore betraying troops fighting to protect the American way of life—that's twisted, and "faintly sinister."

"Not to disappoint," said the blog Scared Monkeys, the liberal media are lashing out at Sarah Palin for lashing out at them. Palin spoke from the heart when she asked reporters to "stop making things up." (watch Sarah Palin's parting criticism of journalists) Let's hope this is the end of the unfair coverage that has dogged Palin since she was nominated as the Republican vice presidential candidate.

This is definitely the end of a "tumultuous chapter" in Sarah Palin's life, said Dan Balz in The Washington Post. Now that she has voluntarily relinquished power as Alaska's governor—"in classic Palin style"—Palin is free to do what she wants, whether it's writing her memoirs, hitting the lecture circuit, or preparing for a 2012 presidential bid. The question is, "does she have a second act in her repertoire?"

Photo: A frame grab of Sarah Palin's resignation speech


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Whistleblower tells of America's hidden nightmare for its sick poor

When an insurance firm boss saw a field hospital for the poor in Virginia, he knew he had to speak out.

By Paul Harris

Wendell Potter can remember exactly when he took the first steps on his journey to becoming a whistleblower and turning against one of the most powerful industries in America.

It was July 2007 and Potter, a senior executive at giant US healthcare firm Cigna, was visiting relatives in the poverty-ridden mountain districts of northeast Tennessee. He saw an advert in a local paper for a touring free medical clinic at a fairground just across the state border in Wise County, Virginia.

Potter, who had worked at Cigna for 15 years, decided to check it out. What he saw appalled him. Hundreds of desperate people, most without any medical insurance, descended on the clinic from out of the hills.

Potter resigned shortly afterwards. Last month he testified in Congress, becoming one of the few industry executives to admit that what its critics say is true: healthcare insurance firms push up costs, buy politicians and refuse to pay out when many patients actually get sick.

In chilling words he told a Senate committee: "I worked as a senior executive at health insurance companies and I saw how they confuse their customers and dump the sick: all so they can satisfy their Wall Street investors."

Click here to read the rest of the article at the Guardian

(Photo Above: Patients without health insurance get dental care at a free clinic in Wise, Virginia, held every July for the past three years. More than 25,000 were treated in a weekend Photograph: John Moore/Getty Images
Study says swearing helps reduce pain
By Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard

Did you know swearing is common in all cultures? OK, that might not be too surprising. Did you know swearing can help you withstand pain? Got your interest now?

Before you assume I had a revelation one day when I hurt myself, let me introduce you to a guy who spent a lot of hours on this subject: Dr. Richard Stephens. He recently conducted a study on the relationship between swearing and pain at Keele University's School of Psychology, U.K. He thinks he knows why swearing is so universal.

Results of his study were recently published in the journal NeuroReport. It involved 64 students who were willing to suffer pain in the name of science. Or maybe they wanted the opportunity to swear in front of a lot of people without repercussions!

Click here to read the rest in the Times-Standard

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...