Saturday, February 12, 2011

You can bet Clarence Thomas will be there…

Ed Stein

More from Cartoon Saturday

New Study: Everything you know about beating stress is wrong

Image: Dark chocolate

But these 6 tried-and-true anxiety-busters can relieve your chronically fried nerves

“If deep breaths, weekly yoga classes, and venting to your friends aren't helping you relax, you have plenty of company—and it's not your fault. New studies show that these supposedly tried-and-true anxiety busters are often just... well, a bust. Read on for the surprising truth about what really helps—and what doesn't—when it comes to relieving chronically fried nerves.”

Eating a few pieces of dark chocolate can calm your nerves, a study has found. STORY HERE

Friday, February 11, 2011

Domestic Alert: Alaska oil pipeline 'integrity' at risk, U.S. warns

Image: Marine terminal for pipeline

A U.S. government investigation of the Trans Alaska Pipeline has found potentially major safety issues on the line that ships 12 percent of domestic oil supply, making its operation risky until repairs are made, according to a letter sent by regulators to the operator and viewed by Reuters on Friday.

The 800-mile line known as TAPS appears to have "multiple conditions" that "pose a pipeline integrity risk to public safety, property or the environment," according to the Feb. 1 letter to operator Alyeska from the U.S. Department of Transportation's pipeline safety division.         The Trans Alaska Pipeline ends at this mooring station for oil tankers in Valdez, Alaska

The DOT investigation follows a Jan. 8 leak on the line that forced it to shut down for several days in precarious winter conditions. The closure shut in millions of barrels in production and caused U.S. oil futures to rise for days.” Story here

With Valentine’s Day coming up you may want to check into these Aphrodisiacs from around the globe

Durian: Why It's Provocative                Beware: the smell will gag you!

Famous for its odiferous smell, durian is nonetheless popular throughout Asian cultures because of its creamy texture and flavor. "Though the smell is putrid and you would think it's a turn-off," explains Rosofsky, it's often thought that eating the fruit promotes estrogen and increases fertility. Adventurous? You can find these at most Chinese grocers.

 FROM DELISH:Oysters. Truffles. Chocolate. Whipped cream. Sounds like a night of passion! While those foods might set the mood, do they actually make your heart go a flutter? We talked to Dr. Meryl Rosofsky, noted aphrodisiac expert and leader of the of the popular culinary aphrodisiac walking tour at New York City's Institute of Culinary Education, to find out which foods increase attraction, fertility, and — let's just say — promote blood flow to all the right places”

Let’s look at a contoversial issue and come to a consensus…

I was visiting Tom Seaborn’s blog this morning and thought this post – 

"Why Does Clarence Thomas Get Away With Breaking the Law, As His Wife Shills for Wealthy Right-Wingers?"

was interesting and poised a lot of questions. Because I’m not up on all of this controversy, and don’t know much about the principals involved, I thought I’d throw this item out to my Conservative readers. Like Rose for example. I want to hear any rebuttals to all of the accusations in this article. By now, I know there’s ALWAYS two sides to any story. I suspect this account is slanted left (aren’t I a genius?).

 Journalist Brad Friedman, whose Brad Blog offers a detailed account of the Thomas fiasco, notes that this same set of circumstances would play out completely differently if the shoe were on the other foot. As Friedman told me, "If it were Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg not reporting a million dollars from working for ACORN, the right wing would be all over it and so would the press -- until someone from the Department of Justice agreed to prosecute. The right wing, and eventually the media, would say that Ginsburg should have known the rule of law; they'd be all over her for receiving 'special treatment,' and she'd be gone in a week."

So help me get a full picture and contribute whatever facts you’re aware of to counterpoint the accusations against Clarence Thomas and his wife. I look forward to hearing your comments.

Live video from Cario’s Tahrir Square: Mubarak steps down

Suleiman came out for a few seconds and announced that Marbarak is resigning.

Raucous celebration greets news that Mubarak has resigned

“As word of Mubarak’s resignation spread through Cairo’s Tahrir Square, a raucous celebration erupted among the protesters who have made his departure from power their no. 1 goal.  Mohammed ElBaradei, the Nobel Peace Prize winner who returned to Egypt to join the protests, said, "This is the greatest day of my life. The country has been liberated."

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Crocodile tears don’t work: Study shows how to spot a fake apology

Canadian scientists have discovered that there are ways to tell the difference between people who are sincerely remorseful and those who are just faking it -- but you have to be able to watch them while they’re saying they’re sorry.

The researchers, led by Leanne ten Brinke of the University of British Columbia, rounded up 31 college students who were videotaped while making sincere or insincere apologies, according to a new study published in the journal Law and Human Behavior.

The study volunteers were first asked to describe, while being videotaped, a non-criminal event that they felt intensely and genuinely remorseful about. They were then asked to describe an episode of cheating for which they felt no remorse, but to act as if they did.

When researchers compared the two sets of recordings, they saw major differences between the people who were truly sorry and those who were just faking it.”                           Read the rest here.

Noam Chomsky on ‘Why America can’t tackle Climate Change’


Noam Chomsky has a big ol' brain, and over the years, he's devoted it to revolutionizing linguistics, pushing the boundaries of analytic philosophy, formulating trenchant political theory, and pissing off establishment figures. Whether or not you agree with his politics, there's no denying that he's a sharp fella. Which is why it's well worth watching his take on why the United States has thus far failed to tackle climate change: (Video below)

Image: cloud2013, Flickr, CC

Yes, I know YouTube lists the running time as 20+ minutes, but to get the climate-related part, you only need to listen to the first few.

Much of this has been said before -- that vested interests have been successful in confusing the American public by bombarding them with misinformation from various sources, that the media's failure in covering the climate story is twofold, and that the interests that combat climate action have institutional prerogatives to do so -- but Chomsky pulls it together so well, it could serve as a crash course on the roots of climate denial.

There's a bunch of interesting commentary on labor, health care, and the outsourcing of jobs -- even green ones -- that fills the second chapter of the vid, so if you have some time, it's worth a peek as well.

Story, video, photo source 

More on America and Climate Change
33 US Generals & Admirals Say " Climate Change is Threatening National Security"
How Climate Change Could Destroy America

Sculpture on display in Milan: Imaginative portrait head by American filmmaker

A 15-feet-tall fiberglass sculpture by U.S. artist and filmmaker Philip Haas is on display in downtown Milan, Italy on February 10.

The sculpture is inspired by Italian Giuseppe Arcimboldo's painting. Source

Puppies for Parole: deaf dog gets sign language training

A dog who couldn't hear has learned some sign language thanks to inmates at a U.S. prison and children at a school for the deaf.

Inmates at a Missouri prison trained the deaf dachshund named Sparky in sign language and then asked the Missouri School for the Deaf in Fulton to take him in. Today, Sparky is right at home with the school's youngsters, who have taught him additional sign language. And a second deaf dog, a Boston Terrier named Petie, may be on his way to the school soon. STORY HERE

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

As It Stands selection for Scum of the Month: meet Christopher Lee


A married congressman from upstate New York resigned suddenly today after a scandal erupted over emails and a shirtless photo supposedly sent to a woman in response to a Craigslist dating ad.

Republican Christopher Lee had just begun his second term representing New York's 26th District. Just hours after the scandal broke on,announced he was quitting Congress, and a clerk read his letter of resignation on the House floor:

"It has been a tremendous honor to serve the people of Western New York. I regret the harm that my actions have caused my family, my staff and my constituents. I deeply and sincerely apologize to them all. I have made profound mistakes and I promise to work as hard as I can to seek their forgiveness….” and so on.                                                   Story here.

From the ‘Money Talks Department’: Seven-year-old boy buys fighter jet on eBay

This was too good not to share with viewers of this blog. What do you think happened when Dad found out? (Story link at bottom)

The think is, I can see one of my grandchildren doing the same thing! I’m curious about how he planned to pay for it. A lemonade stand in London Square perhaps? And, where did he plan on keeping his Harrier jet? I know for sure his bedroom is out!

Thanks to eBay, a seven-year-old London boy managed to purchase a real-life Harrier fighter jet. It was easy: All he had to do was click on a bright "buy it now" button on the auction site, send a payment of about $113,000, and he'd be ready to live out every young man's fantasy. There was just one problem: He didn't have the money — and his dad found out about his shopping spree.

Story here

NRA, gun group, assure that cartels are well-supplied with AK-47s

Image: Dennis K. Burke

There might have been a time when the NRA actually did some good…but that’s long past.

The NRAs efforts at keeping sales open for large purchases of long guns, especially AK-47s (the cartels weapon of choice), is going to keep the weapons flowing to Mexico. You can’t tell me an average American citizen needs to buy a dozen AK-47s for shooting practice.

No one should be naive enough on this subject to think the NRA is protecting anyone by stopping this flow of weapons into war torn Mexico.

While drug violence continues to spread in Mexico, White House officials have decided the  situation doesn’t rank as an “emergency” under federal rules, officials told NBC News. If that isn’t the biggest crock of shit I ever heard, I don’t know what is! No wonder Mexican authorities are sick of our apparent failure to stop supplying the cartels with AK-47s and other semi-automatic rifles.

The decision scuttles — at least for now — a controversial proposal requiring gun stores in four Southwest border states to report multiple sales of semiautomatic assault rifles and other long guns to authorities.

The decision to delay the proposed federal rule, which comes amid fresh reports that rival cartels are waging murderous gun battles in the once peaceful city of Guadalajara, drew an unusually sharp rebuke from Mexico’s ambassador to the United States.

“It is certainly disappointing that politics trumps sound policy,” Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan said in an email to NBC about the White House decision. “We can’t keep on fiddling while the issue of arms trafficking to Mexico continues to burn.” Story here.

Why doesn’t our government respond to Mexico’s pleas to cut back on sales of AK-47s in large quantities? The answer: because the NRA and a gun industry group lobbied their asses off with key senators to stop any legislation to curb the sale of these semi-automatic long guns in mass quantities.

“But after a ferocious lobbying campaign by the National Rifle Association and a gun industry group, including letters from pro-gun members of Congress, White House budget officials recently confirmed that the rule was being postponed for at least two months.”

So be sure to thank the NRA and all the special interest gun groups that are making these sales possible and fueling the cartels war in Mexico and across to our borders.That’s the spirit boys!   

PHOTO - U.S. Attorney for Arizona Dennis Burke announces the indictment in Phoenix on Jan. 25 of 20 people who allegedly took part in a ring that sought to smuggle more than 700 guns into Mexico for use by a drug cartel.

More stories on The War Next Door

  1. Countless Juarez residents flee 'dying city'
  2. Violence, scandal mar governor's race in Mexico
  3. Gang's terror felt far from drug war on border
  4. 31 dead in 4 days in Mexico's Acapulco
  5. Images from Mexico's drug war
  6. NBC News: ‘War next door’ linked directly to U.S.

Man sues Disneyland after getting stuck on 'Small World'

Looks like the price of tickets will be going up again thanks to this sue happy guy.

A quadriplegic man is suing Disneyland in federal court, alleging the theme park left him on the "It's A Small World" ride for 40 minutes after it had stalled while staff evacuated other passengers.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court, alleges Disneyland violated the Americans With Disabilities Act because it didn't have proper procedures in place for evacuating disabled passengers from the ride.

Jose Martinez is also suing for negligence, emotional distress and liability.

He alleges Disney employees did not summon paramedics when his blood-pressure spiked while he was trapped on the ride. Source/comments

PC Air - Pioneering airline hires 'Ladyboy' flight attendants

PHOTO - Transsexual flight attendants (from left to right): Nathatai Sukkaset, 26, Dissanai Chitpraphachin, 24, Chayathisa Nakmai, 24, and Phuntakarn Sringern, 24, pose for photographers at the PC Air office in Bangkok on Feb. 9.

The president of the first Thai airline to hire transsexuals as flight attendants yesterday said he was a "pioneer" and predicted other carriers would follow his lead.

Fledgling airline PC Air has already recruited six crew of the "third sex" and boss Peter Chan said recruitment, driven by a belief in equal rights, would continue.

More than 100 transsexual people applied for the first round of jobs. STORY HERE.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Meandering With Millie: adventures and good karma…

CapturekkEvery so often I like to check in with readers and share my “Meandering With Millie” musings…just because it’s fun.

Millie (left) and I, walk every day. If possible. We live in a very beautiful area adjacent to McKinleyville; Dow’s Prairie, where there’s large open fields, trees, and very little traffic. This is nice because cars can be distracting.

There’s great scenery, as we walk down our street and head up Baird Avenue toward the Blueberry Farm. Along the way we have our stops. We visit with the three Shetland ponies, and two donkeys that are on our route. There’s another yard where two big dogs bark playfully every time we walk by (I think they’re males and Millie’s strutting her stuff for them!). 

One of our neighbors hired a professional tree cutter yesterday, and as we walked by today we saw the two really large Coastal Oaks in their yard were gone. I don’t know why, but it made me feel kinda sad. I’m not a nutty “tree-hugger” so don’t get yourself worked up on that account. I do, however appreciate and love all the beautiful landscape around me.

Another one of our regular stops has been to see “Mogli” a male Pug. Lately he’s been acting weird and Millie just walks by him like he’s not there. I don’t know what little “doggie exchange” happened between them (not being a dog whisperer), but it looks like we’ll be scratching that stop off of our walk.

The neighbors are all really nice and wave when we walk by. Their probably thinking “There goes that big galoot with his little Pug...wave and hopefully he’ll keep walking!” But, I don’t know that for sure.

I always feel better after our walk. It’s such a pure and simple way to enjoy one’s self. Especially if you bring a friend along. Millie has been my companion for seven years now. It still amazes me how much I love her. There was a time….but we won’t go into that now gentle reader.

As for good Karma, look at what I found out today: 

“In healthy adults, the hippocampus — a part of the brain important to the formation of memories — begins to atrophy around 55 or 60. (PS – I’m 60!) Now psychologists are suggesting that the hippocampus can be modestly expanded, and memory improved, by nothing more than regular walking. That’s right. I’ve been doing something right all these years.

In a study published on Jan. 31 in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers randomly assigned 120 healthy but sedentary men and women (average age mid-60s) to one of two exercise groups.”

Games On! Look what’s getting popular again…Skee-ball!

Eric Pavony

While back in New York in the summer of 1969, my high school buddy and I ran across Skee-ball in a bar. To tell the truth, we weren’t very impressed. But I do remember noting how serious players were while competing at it.

Talk about lo-tech…

Now, after decades of decline…it’s BACK!

The game is simple. Players roll light wooden balls up a sloped ramp or lane and try to land them in a series of rubber pockets. The more challenging pockets offer more points.
It's easy entertainment, but the game's popularity peaked decades ago. As the boardwalk culture crumbled, skee-ball slipped out of fashion. Read the Story here.

Notorious Website–4chan - has another user busted by the FBI

I don’t know if you ever heard of this website, but it appears to attract dangerous nuts on missions. This is the latest controversy surrounding the popular site.

Another 4chan devotee, Ali Saad, 19 (left), has been arrested by the FBI, this time for downloading child porn from the notorious web site and posting threats to go on a shooting spree at his Michigan college that would result in dozens of fatalities, The Smoking Gun has learned.

The Saad probe is the latest federal case to involve 4chan and its enthusiasts. Last April, site founder Christopher “Moot” Poole testified as a government witness at the criminal trial of David Kernell, the 4chan user who hacked Sarah Palin’s e-mail account and then posted stolen material on 4chan. Last month, a 4chan user was sentenced for his role in a vicious cyberbullying campaign launched on the site’s “/b/” forum. And at least two ongoing cases involve Poole’s creation--one examining the downloading of child porn by a Navy sailor, and the other probing computer attacks launched against PayPal and other perceived corporate enemies of WikiLeaks. STORY HERE.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Weird Moments in TV History: The Max Headroom Broadcast Signal Intrusion Incident

Not all pirates wear eye patches and talk funny. Some dress up as characters from TV shows, hijack broadcast signals and troll people who are just trying to watch the news.

This is what happened on November 22, 1987. Sports anchor Dan Roan was live on The Nine O’Clock News on WGN in Chicago, narrating video of the day’s football highlights. The picture on the station monitors, as well as any TV tuned to WGN, suddenly began twitching and flickering. Then the clips from the Bears game gave way to static.

From the snow emerged a clear picture of the grinning face of Max Headroom, the titular character of a TV show and pitchman for “New Coke.” More accurately, it was man in a Max Headroom mask, standing in front of a swaying sheet of corrugated metal, awash in the sound of a high, harsh buzz.

The airwave hijacking, known in the television business as broadcast signal intrusion, was stopped quickly when WGN on-site engineers switched the modulation of the studio link to an alternate transmitter and less than 30 seconds later, the Max impostor, having said nothing, having hardly moved, was gone. Viewers were brought back to a visibly flustered Dan Roan saying, “Well, if you’re wondering what happened, so am I.”

The weirdness had only begun. About two hours after the first incident, viewers of the local PBS affiliate WTTW were interrupted in the middle of an episode of Doctor Who. In the middle of a scene, the signal pirate made another intrusion. The picture danced for a second and Max was back in front of the twirling metal panel again. The pirate, this time transmitting with audio, launched into a bizarre diatribe. While his words were distorted, viewers clearly made out several bits, including New Coke’s slogan, “Catch the Wave” (while Max holds a Pepsi can); a remark about sports reporter and announcer Chuck Swirsky; “Your love is fading”; humming of the theme song to TV series Clutch Cargo; and as Max held up a glove, “My brother is wearing the other one.”

After the rant, the picture cut to a shot of the pirate’s exposed butt being spanked with a flyswatter by an accomplice wearing a dress, as he cries “They’re coming to get me!” The transmission then cut to black and returned viewers to Doctor Who with a flash of static.

The second intrusion lased about 90 seconds and WTTW was unable to stop it. Unlike WGN, WTTW had no engineers on location at the transmission tower, which sits at the top of what was then the Sears Tower. By the time technicians could begin to take corrective measures, the incident was over. READ THE REST OF THE STORY HERE.

Playing by the same rules reduces the differences between humans, chimps and monkeys

You’ve been asked to compete against some of your friends in a game of skill, but you realize something is amiss. They’ve been given precise instructions and details about the game’s mechanics. You’ve been given a couple of pieces and left to figure things out on your own. On this uneven playing field, no one could fairly compare your performance with that of your friends. This seems obvious, but it’s a problem that plagues a lot of research into the behavior of humans and other animals. STORY HERE.

The Super Bowl was boring but I loved this Doritos commercial!


My pug Millie, and I rated this commercial #1! By the way, she things this star pug is a a “hunk.”

Sunday, February 6, 2011

As It Stands: 'Ivory Wave' hit's America's shores with stealth and speed

By Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard

Posted: 02/06/2011 05:34:25 AM PST

Remember the good old days when you used bath salts in your bath to ease those tired muscles? There's a new designer drug now called "bath salts" that's raising concerns around the country. A synthetic amphetamine, these bath salts are a dangerous stimulant that has effects akin to cocaine or meth. At least four deaths have been blamed on the substance as local, state and federal agencies move to ban or control it, according to

The reports began to come in 2010. Little packages labeled bath salts trickled into St. Louis, Missouri, from Great Britain. They contained a new recreational drug that is legal and potentially lethal: "Ivory Wave."

KTVI-FOX2 News reported last October - after months of investigation - that emergency ward doctors were warning the public about a new drug that was poisoning people. "Ivory Wave" turned out to be the forerunner for dozens of brands that have flooded 33 American states. It's currently available at selected head shops and online websites.

 According to the Wall Street Journal (Jan. 22) these bath salts are an emerging menace in the United States." The small packages the bath salts come in are labeled "not for human consumption" - obviously a dodge to get around strict laws governing pharmaceuticals in Britain and America. The true purpose is no secret online. You can find reviews of all kinds of legal highs, including Ivory Wave, on dedicated Internet forums. The toxic stimulants in these so-called bath salts are already known to cause hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, and increased heartbeats. The stimulants are mephedrone and methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV).

The controversial bath salts were outlawed in Louisiana by an emergency order on Jan. 6, after the state's poison center got more than 125 calls in the last three months of 2010 involving exposure to MDPV and mephedrone. Dr. Mark Ryan, director of Louisiana's poison-control center told the Wall Street Journal, "Cathinone, the parent substance of the drugs, comes from a plant grown in East Africa and is regulated." The plant is known as "khat."

Part of the reason why these bath salts have gone under the radar is because they're relatively new. In 2009, there were no reported cases to Poison Control Centers in this country. In 2010, that number jumped to 236. This year alone, we've ready surpassed that with 248 cases. Poison Control Centers in 33 states have reported bath salts poisoning thus far. There have been only a handful of reported cases of bath salt poisoning in California, according to Dr. Rick Gellar, medical director for the California Poison Control System.

Ivory Wave - and it's numerous counterparts - is similar to those designer drugs the DEA temporarily banned for a year last year; K2 and Spice. Designer stimulants are produced in underground laboratories. Other names include, Purple Wave, Vanilla Sky, Snow Leopard, Lunar Wave, Toxic Waste, Ivory Snow, Bliss and Cloud Nine, just to name some of them.

In December 2010, the National Drug Intelligence Center and the American Association of Poison Control centers issued alerts about synthetic stimulants marketed as bath salts. The alert noted how easy it is to get these dangerous designer drugs.

Authorities say their biggest concern is that young people will see designer drugs as safe because so far they aren't illegal. According to a Redwood Toxicology Laboratory report on Jan. 19, " these synthetic stimulants appear to affect users in ways similar to amphetamines and cocaine." The report also note aggression, tachycardia, paranoia and suicide as side effects. It summarizes by stating designer drugs may be acutely toxic.

Synthetic amphetamines are already banned in Europe where 39 deaths have been reportedly related to their usage. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is currently calling for a federal ban on them. Last month Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi issued an emergency order banning the sale or possession of the controversial bath salts.

Despite these actions, I think banning them is a futile effort. We can't stop people from experimenting with new ways to get high. How many products are we willing to ban every time a new designer drug comes up? Continuing knee-jerk reactions in response to this growing threat to public health won't work. History tells us banning substances doesn't stop their use. Take meth for an example.

As It Stands, the answer lies in educating people, especially our youth, about the terrible risks of taking these dangerous new designer drugs.

Websites carrying this column:

Newsdesk International's Blog – International News Stories discussed every day.

USA FOCUS – USA Latest News Updates


SF GATE Home of the San Francisco Chronicle

Examiner San Jose

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...