Saturday, September 19, 2009

Deaf puppy learns sign language

A tiny eight week old puppy is learning sign language in Australia after it was discovered that she is profoundly deaf.

Pixie the border collie is currently being taught to recognise hand commands by trainer Liz Grewal in Coffs Harbour.

Liz has been an owner of deaf dogs for six years and so far she has taught the clever youngster to sit, drop and come forth.

"Dogs understand your body language, your hand gestures, they read all of that. They know," Liz comments.

"Consistency is the key to training any dog but you have to emphasise it more with a deaf dog. You've to train them in a different way, they train quicker than a hearing dog as there are no noise distractions."

In order to get the attention of her four deaf dogs, one of the techniques that Liz uses is to squirt them with a little water bottle.

She adds: "I want these dogs to have a fantastic life, and I know they can do it."

Credit: Ananova

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Scientist say sprinkling tomatoes with pee is the key

Gardeners keen to boost their crop of tomatoes may be surprised to learn they can turn to an unusual and free source of fertilizer.

Allotment growers can enrich the soil and therefore their plants using their own wee, according to a new study.

Scientists discovered the unusual addition made crops up to four times larger.

A team of Finnish researchers found that sprinkling tomatoes with human urine mixed with wood ash was the ultimate eco-friendly fertilizer.

It worked just as well with cucumber, corn, cabbage and other crops.

Although scientists have previously tested urine on plants, this is the first one to mix it with wood ash.

Read more: at the dailymail

Friday, September 18, 2009

Insane killer escapes on field trip to county fair!

Authorities searched by air and land today for a criminally insane killer who escaped during a mental hospital field trip to a county fair that has infuriated residents and officials around Washington.


Associated Press Writer

SPOKANE, Wash. —

Authorities searched by air and land Friday for a criminally insane killer who escaped during a mental hospital field trip to a county fair that has infuriated residents and officials around Washington.

Authorities have said they believe Phillip Arnold Paul is heading to the Sunnyside area, where his parents and many siblings live. The Spokane County Sheriff's Office launched a helicopter on Friday in the search, and the public was urged to call 911 if Paul is spotted.

"He is in a bad mental state," his brother, Tom Paul, told The Associated Press. "Why would they load him on a bus and take him to a fair?" Click here to read the rest at The Seattle Times. 

Values Voters Attendees Don't Appreciate The Media Coverage

I was listening to the summit organizers apologies just minutes ago on MSNBC.

They knew the treatment of the reporter didn’t reflect well on the Republican Party. And for good reason. My take is that people who try to chase the media away are afraid of something getting out. Simple as that. People like this woman don’t do conservatives any favors.

“While reporting this afternoon from the floor of the Values Voter Summit, MSNBC reporter Brian Mooar was heckled by several audience members who said he was being rude and disrespectful.

Mooar was giving a live broadcast as Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO) was speaking to a crowd of about 2,000. A woman in white gets up and yells something at him, which is inaudible.

"Somebody here is not liking what we're talking about," Mooar said as he was about to sign off.

Then, a man came up to him. "You're being rude," he said.

Mooar countered: "We were invited guests."

"Too bad," the audience member said. "You're being rude."

Then another man came over.

"Would you mind? This is about the rudest thing you can do," he said, trying to take Mooar's microphone. "You are rude to do this in front of the public."

At that point several security guards came over and escorted the man out, but left the woman, who continued asking Mooar to leave. "I came here to listen, not to be disrupted," she said.

Even after someone was escorted out, another angry attendee came up and said something to Mooar that the mic didn't pick up.

The summit officials "didn't organize it very well," said anchor Norah O'Donnell, "because they didn't seem to put the press in a way that you could do reporting on what's going on and not be harassed."

To View the Video click here at TPM

The 300 pound gorilla in the room…

Nate Beeler, The Washington Examiner, Washington, D.C.
E-Mail Nate. Visit Nate's Locher Award winning college cartoons

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Examining the fear of a Black President

The president reminds Glenn Beck, and those who identify with his neo-white nationalism, of the lie of their own professed superiority. The pride with which this segment of society has rallied the troops around its shared sense of whiteness reveals that their skin color is the one true object of pledged allegiance and determinant of professed patriotism.

By Jonathan L. Walton Obama’s America the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering, “Yay, right on, right on, right on, right on,” and, of course, everybody says the white kid deserved it, he was born a racist, he’s white.Newsweek magazine told us this. We know that white students are destroying civility on buses, white students destroying civility in classrooms all over America, white congressmen destroying civility in the House of Representatives. —Rush Limbaugh,
Sept. 15, 2009

Ever the statesman, and often candid to a political fault, President Jimmy Carter asserted this week that much of the animosity directed toward President Barack Obama is “based on the fact that he is a black man.”

A lifelong Southerner, Carter acknowledged that the inclination of racism still exists, and that “it has bubbled up to the surface because of the belief among many white people, not just in the South but around the country, that African Americans are not qualified to lead this great country.”

Click here to read the rest at religion dispatches.

Meet Dr. Whippy – and be happy!

Dr. Whippy is a machine which proffers soft scoop ice cream according to the perceived unhappiness level of the customer.

Employing a voice-stress analysis of the user’s answers to specific questions, varying degrees of unhappiness are measured and the counteractive quantity of ice cream is dispensed: The more unhappy you are, the more ice cream you need!

Credits: DashnDem

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

My first car was a 1963 Chevrolet Biscayne, and the story behind it might interest you…

When I was a senior(1968)at Azusa High School, I bought a White 1963 Chevrolet Biscayne from my Dad. I loved the “Three-on-a-Tree shifter,” and it’s economical V-6 engine. It had plenty of power, but it was no muscle car.

I took it out-of-state several times, and put a lot of miles on it before going into the Army in 1969. When I came home from Vietnam in 1970, the car was up on blocks and the tires were gone. I had left it at my Mom and Dad’s house. My Dad let my cousin (who had been kicked out of his house) use it, and stay with them so he could get a job and find a place of his own.

He did a job alright. Blew about every gasket the car had and fried the engine! It only took him about a year, while I was tromping around in the jungles of Vietnam to accomplish this act of destruction.

I was so glad to be back in the good ol USA I never got mad at him, and wrote it off. I’d learned a few things about prioritization in my young life and understood it wasn’t worth getting mad over.

He is no longer alive, and I’m glad that I reacted the way I did when I saw my car on those concrete blocks and knew he was the culprit. He went on to become an ordained minister, and had his own church in Oregon.

He did a lot of good, and sometimes told people the story of how he ruined my car and how I didn’t get angry with him. That made me feel good, like maybe I had done at least one thing right when I first came back into civilization.

He died playing basketball with some of the church’s youth. He was a big man, and died of a massive heart attack that dropped him like a tree! I was told he died instantly. Life is full of lessons, and I’m sure there’s many more I’ll learn before checking out for the final time.

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New health proposal is industry's favorite so far

This story this morning, paints a pretty positive picture. If you read the whole article however, you’ll see this plan is not acceptable to everyone. Democrats that wanted a public option, didn’t get it. During the presidential campaign last year Obama promised voters change in the health care industry, in particular a public option.

It looks like business as usual, as the health care industry monopoly has got their way again. It’s pretty hard to compete with the millions of dollars that health care lobbyists have been pouring into the right political pockets. Add false rumors that we’ll become socialists if we go with a public option, and you have the recipe for ripping common Americans off again.


“The latest health overhaul plan circulating on Capitol Hill gives health insurers, drug makers and large employers reasons to heave sighs of relief, sparing them the higher costs and more burdensome rules included in other Democratic-written alternatives.

Industry players that have already struck bargains with President Barack Obama's administration and leading Democrats to help pay for revamping the health system saw most of those deals left intact — and in some cases sweetened — in the $856 billion proposal unveiled Wednesday by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., the Finance Committee chairman.Click here to read the whole story at AP (Photo-Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus, D- Mont. leaves his health care news conference on via AP) 

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Czar’s in question: why the name & the controversy?

Two Views: The First


Czar is a nick name, not a job title

By David Phillips

“With the spin by the right wing media on the use of the word "Czar", a certain demographic of our country now believes people are actually holding jobs in the White House that have the title "Czar" in their job description.

The right-wing talking heads play gloomy music while talking about Obama's "Czar‘s" and equating the job to Russia, or more to the point, communism.
That's right Fox News Channel wants you to think that Obama is hiring communists, socialists, Stalinists and all the other "ists" to work for him as a “Czar“.
Sean Hannity recently said of Obama‘s advisers that “they were unconfirmed, un-vetted and a shadow government“, in “The Land of the Czars“. Click here to read the rest the

The Second View:

Senators Express Concern With Number of Czars in Administration

In a letter to the President,
Senator Susan Collins, Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, questioned the number of "czars" within the Executive Office.
In the letter, Senator Collins expresses concern that the growing number of czars may be undermining the constitutional oversight responsibilities of Congress.The letter was also signed by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Kit Bond (R-MO), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Bob Bennett (R-UT).

The full text of the letter is here via Reuters

Following the signs of a so-called ‘civilized’ society’s collapse…

What’s going on in American society?

Why is there so many cases of public outbursts, aka calling president Obama a “liar” before the joint houses? 

Do they seem like reasonable people to you? How much of a role does the first African-American president play in the growing dementia? The so-called “birthers” are a good example of the growing demonization of our president. Teabaggers carrying signs depicting the president as a monkey, Hitler, a witch doctor, and other racist epitaphs, don’t strike me as a good example of Americans getting their point across in a sane manner.

Former president Jimmy Carter thinks racism has “bubbled to the surface” because of his election. What are your thoughts? According to the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, there’s been a huge increase of hate blogs and people joining right-wing groups dedicated to getting a black man out of office- by whatever means. Here’s some theories for your consideration:

Snippet via the LA Times:

“So maybe it's not swine flu, but the nation seems to have come down with a serious case of impulse control disorder.Many Americans have found themselves asking what is going on. To some, it's not a coincidence but rather the manifestation of a deepening social dysfunction.
"It's extremely regrettable, but not shocking," said Pepper Schwartz, a University of Washington sociologist. "And there is a viral element to it. It's like Malcolm Gladwell's book 'The Tipping Point.' You get to a critical mass of something and it spreads like wildfire."
Theories for the behavior abound.
Some say it reflects a general collapse of manners, rooted in the anti-authoritarian strains of the late 1960s. Some offer a psychological explanation: that such outbursts reveal the person beneath the mask of a public persona. Some see an element of racial animus at work.
And one etiquette authority offered an uncomplicated explanation, in particular for West: He just wanted attention.”
Click here to read the rest.

Snippet from The Chicago Tribune:

“Responding to an audience question at a town hall at his presidential center in Atlanta, Carter said Tuesday that Joe Wilson's outburst (calling the president a liar) was also rooted in fears of a black president.
"I think it's based on racism," Carter said. "There is an inherent feeling among many in this country that an African-American should not be president."


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

In my defense: take a moment and read this…

My column “Let’s face it, no one will take the high road to gun control” has caused controversy.

There’s some things I’d like to clear up. See below (submitted to the Times-Standard Forum this morning):

“It’s interesting to see the fear and hatred in this thread.
Some negative comments have been legitimate, and put forth in a civil way. Many others are just people with knee-jerk reactions to the word “gun control.”
Why am I under siege? Let’s look at the accusations.
People are calling me a liar because I said “I’ve seen no signs of new gun control legislation since Obama was elected.” Fact - no gun control laws have been enacted yet. Someone mentioned AB 962, which is lying on the floor in the California Senate. Take a moment and really look at the chances of that bill passing. The NRA is tapping it’s paid-for politicians to put pressure on it. Don’t hold your breath, if you think that’s going to pass. Would anyone else care to show me a gun control bill that stands a chance of passing anywhere? Now that would be interesting. We could see how the NRA stifles any dissent.
Speaking of the NRA. Most readers glossed over one of the main points in the column. The NRAs omnipotent power to control politicians on both sides of the aisle. Who wants to intelligently discuss that without getting so emotionally involved that you have to call me names?
The 2009 June GAO Report on Firearms Trafficking has been battered about. Let’s take a look at it; a common attack on this report has come from a right-wing blog called “NewsBusters.” They challenge the US Secretaries statements that 90 percent of the weapons come from Mexico. Fair enough. Some wanted to know if I read the 84 page report. I did, without bias eyes. A few people pointed out that the ICE and ATF reports said only 17 percent of weapons recovered from cartel-related crime scenes in Mexico actually originate in the U.S. They’re right. One section did mention this. Now think about this statement: weapons recovered in Mexico (not at the border or from the Mexican mafia and cartels)...just some figures put together by a corrupt Mexican government. The U.S. secretary challenged that assertion by saying there were sampling issues in the report. In other words, it’s what they (Mexican government) said, and what our U.S Secretary said. Who are you going to believe? I think there’s a problem there.
Perhaps my biggest crime was a semantical error. I said “machine gun” instead of “assault rifle.” That immediately made me a liar to those with an agenda. I wish I could take that wording back, but it was a mistake and I can live with that.
I know that I should have been more specific about laws constricting sales of “assault rifles.” By using M-16s, AK 47s, and Uzi’s, I opened the doors for someone looking to discredit this column. I should have been more careful in my wording. I do know about the laws people have been bringing up regarding automatic weapons/assault weapons. A simple change or wording would have eliminated that onrush of information. Was I wrong to be concerned over “assault” weapons? I don’t think so, but some people don’t even want to see that discussion come up. So be it.
Claiming that I’m using the race card when talking about the spike of guns sales and ammunition since Obama ran for office last years, is another agenda-driven opinion. Anyone that really cares about the facts can check FBI reports, secret service reports. There are other sources, but if I give them then I’ll be no better than my critics, because they are coming from an agenda-driven sources. I have never written about gun control. It’s not something I’ve crusaded for in the past. Claiming I’m a messenger on behalf of liberal nut cases, is ridiculous and I defy anyone to ever find an article where I addressed this before.
The biggest issue, from what I’ve read of the comments, is the following statement by me “It’s no secret that automatic weapons are so easy to buy that American gun dealers supply the Mexican cartels with 90 percent of the weapons they use to terrorize people on both sides of the border” I already addressed the 90 percent thing. The other part that has riled up some people is my assertion that “it’s easy to get automatic weapons.” I should have added,“If you really want them.”
I should have noted that there are plenty of laws in place restricting gun dealers from selling automatic weapons, but there are still loopholes in the system that allow criminals and others to get them. Otherwise, where are these clowns getting the weapons? To suggest it’s just a tiny population of bad boys who get these weapons is inaccurate. Plenty of “honest Americans” have them (some buying them before the 1986 ban). Where they end up is anyone’s guess.
What I didn’t see much discussion on were the main points of the article. The NRA owns all of our politicians. Gun sales are up for many reasons. I suggested that the gun and ammunition industry are thriving in this these hard times.
I hope this helps those who have open minds.

 I know it won’t make a difference to those who have set agendas, and who will continue to peck away in order to obscure the main messages of my column.
Thanks for reading this.

Surfing dogs help raise awareness…

A two-year-old Pug named Bentley rides a wave as he competes in the 20lbs and under heat at the 4th annual Helen Woodward Animal Center "Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon" at dog beach in Del Mar, California September 13, 2009. The event helps raise awareness and money for orphaned pets while promoting responsible pet ownership.

via “Most Emailed” by Yahoo


Monday, September 14, 2009

This looks about right to me…

By Steve Greenberg - Freelance, Los Angeles * Posted 9/12/2009 12:00:00 AM

Don’t bring up gun control if you don’t want to face the wrath of extremists!

 My column “Let’s face it, no one will take the high road” received a lot of attention yesterday. Most of it negative, and coming from over a dozen blogs featuring NRA poster children. The Times-Standard Forum is full of examples. Comments under yesterday’s blog, which carried the column, are some more examples.

Despite the fact that I said I didn’t want to take away everyone’s guns, the idea that I dared to suggest there should be more safeguards against assault weapons awakened the wrath of extremists.

Talk about irony. I was talking with a friend in Fortuna today and he told me that he sold his shotgun. He explained that he knew a guy that would sell it for him, and it took him less than 24 hours to get $350 for it. Did anyone pay taxes or get their fingerprints taken during this transaction? No. Now, how often do you think that happens nationwide? It starts to get scary when you reflect upon it.

Related subject - Click here to read:

“Ban Assault Weapons”

Meanwhile, would you like your very own assault/automatic weapon? No problem! Just go here and they’ll be glad to take care of you.

I found another web site that I highly recommend the NRA crowd go to. Maybe it’ll bring them down to earth. Try it, click here and read on.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Let's face it, no one will take the high road to gun control

By Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard

Posted: 09/13/2009 01:27:16 AM PDT

The Beatles were spot on with their song lyrics that suggested “Happiness is a warm gun.” That gun has to have bullets, and these are at a premium right now, for several reasons.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) scare tactics claimed when President Obama came into office he would take people's warm guns away from them.

The response was almost immediate. Sales of guns and bullets skyrocketed on this rumor. And make no mistake. It was a rumor. That fact doesn't seem to bother the people who went on a buying spree. There seems to be no end to this spree while people believe they may lose the constitutional right to purchase and own weapons.

In California alone, about 60,000 more guns were sold in the first seven months of this year, than in the same period last year, a 26 percent increase, according to the state Attorney General's Office. Click here to read the rest of this column.

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...