Saturday, April 9, 2011

As It Stands Takes a Peak at the Blogs of Humboldt County Sunday

Venture where no non-blogger has gone before in this Sunday’s Op-Ed section of the Times-Standard.

I take a look at the blogs that form our regional blogisphere, and share their stories.

Bloggers – don’t miss out on this dead-tree edition; you might be in it! It’ll make a great souvenir. Of course you can read it online at the T-S or here. Is the column controversial?

You’ll have to decide that.


Let’s take a look at some of the world’s most unusual Theme Parks

Performance at Gatorland Zoo, Les Cheveldayoff portrays Jesus at the Holy Land Experience & the Suoi Tien water park (© Stuart Pearce/agefotostock; John Raoux/AP; Alfred/SIPA)

When you think theme park, you think roller coasters and family fun. As for gas masks or watching a reenactment of the crucifixion? Not so much. But then you haven't checked out some of most unusual theme parks in the world yet.

Skip ahead to read about:


Dickens World

Tierra Santa

Article source

From Somalia to Sweden with love: man finds job training camels to accept riders

Swedish Camel trainer Ali Abdullah Hassan

Imagine Ali Abdullah Hassan's surprise when he emigrated from Somalia in 2007 and after working some odd jobs found secure permanent employment training and caring for a pack of camels.

Hassan's new home, of course, is Sweden, near Gyttorp, to be precise. The camels are a family, in fact, mother, father and son. Hassan is training them to carry riders and sings to them in Arabic. Source

User Alert - In spite of scam, Facebook not 'closing' today

Users on social networking site should not click on link seeking confirmation

Despite the best efforts of online scammers — and the dreams of its competitors — Facebook is not closing today.

A scam is currently spreading through Facebook, hitting accounts with a prophetic message that the social networking giant is shutting its doors, the security firm Sophos reported.

“Facebook is closing all accounts today. They can’t handle so many accounts,” the message reads. “Most of the old accounts are not active, so they are deleting everything.”

Then comes the bait: In order to make sure your account stays alive, the message informs users they must confirm they are active Facebook users, otherwise their account will be automatically trashed.


Friday, April 8, 2011

Should we cheer because our government isn’t shutting down tonight, even though they’ve only come to a temporary agreement?


Via Stumbleon

Volunteers help family after farmer dies sandbagging

Image: Son of farmer who died with volunteers

'This is just the Midwest attitude,' says man's son, 'it's all about helping people out'

I’m impressed by this show of concern among neighbors. It harkens back to the day when most Americans helped each other out without question. It’s good to know people are still willing to step up for others – especially strangers - during this miserable economy. This is the kind of thing America needs right now, more than ever.

Story Here

Earth to get very close look at a huge asteroid

Let’s hope we don’t have to divert this asteroid because someone’s off on their calculations. I’m reminded of those disaster movies where the hero’s are trying to shoot a monster asteroid down before the earth is destroyed.

Anyway, mark your calendars (November 8th, 2011) for an impressive and upcoming flyby of an asteroid that’s one of the larger potentially perilous space rocks in the heavens – in terms of smacking the Earth in the future.

Story Here

Thursday, April 7, 2011

What about Mom? LeBrons’ mother in trouble with law again

Police Okay…so everyone knows who LeBron James is right? He’s that famous basketball player with more endorsements than Tiger Woods. It seems his Mom has some problems with booze. Has his fame gone to her head?

She was arrested for DUI in Cleveland in 2006, and now she got herself arrested for slapping a valet at a swanky Miami hotel. No problem though, LaBron’s money will get the best lawyer available and they’ll probably turn this case around and sue the assault victim for getting in the way of her hand!

New Car Engine Sends Shock Waves Through Auto Industry


This new engine sure sounds good to me, but I wonder if it will ever go on the market? Seems to me Big Oil might get nervous and put up some roadblocks.

Researchers at Michigan State University have built a prototype gasoline engine that requires no transmission, crankshaft, pistons, valves, fuel compression, cooling systems or fluids.

Their so-called Wave Disk Generator could greatly improve the efficiency of gas-electric hybrid automobiles and potentially decrease auto emissions up to 90 percent when compared with conventional combustion engines.

Story here

Relatives of George Washington selling collection of his artifacts

This article doesn’t explain why the family decided to sell these family keepsakes. It’s usually a matter of needing money, but not always. Washington memorabilia is extremely popular with presidential collectors and history buffs.

I don’t think I’ll be bidding on these items, they’re a little out of my range. For example, there’s a couple of books that are starting at $10,000 each, and you know the final price will be considerably higher. Do you want a piece of George Washington? Go to the link below to get the info:


“Not only is such a sale by an old family unusual, those experts say, but the size of the collection and the variety of items provide a window on the life and times of both outsize and ordinary Americans in two pivotal centuries.” Story Here - Photo source

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Glenn Beck's show sinks in ratings, Fox gives him the boot

Glenn Beck

Well how about that? Someone finally realized Beck was a basketcase!

Sinking ratings, an ad boycott and a focus on conspiracies lead to its demise.

Completing a swift rise and fall from TV stardom, controversial host Glenn Beck will lose his once-popular Fox News show later this year, the network announced Wednesday. Story Here.

The tax man cometh: how much did you pay for America’s wars this year?


What the heck? While you’re figuring out you taxes, due on April 18th, here’s something else you can figure out: How much did you pay to support the USA’s colonialism?

When will we say “Enough?”

Watch the video.
See how much of your income taxes will pay for war.


If the clowns go what would a government shutdown look like?

Forget “Bring on the Clowns,” because the new version for that old phrase is “Watch the Clowns Do Nothing!” in 2011.

Based upon past shutdowns (1995-1996), here’s what we can expect if our dysfunctional government decides to shut down:

First off, forget about going to the National Zoo in Washington. It’ll won’t be open. I hope you don’t plan on going to any national parks when our polarized politicians are playing their games, because they won’t be open.

If you have a refund coming from The Internal Revenue Service, you’re going to have to wait a while because they could stop issuing refund checks.

How serious are these Republican and Democratic morons about going through with their tantrum? Today, “nonessential employees” were told to “..turn off their BlackBerrys during a shutdown, or risk punishment for working while on furlough.”

The Smithsonian Institution has a sign ready: “Closed for government shutdown.” Just think how thrilled  tourists will be when they arrive this spring and find that out. That’s not going to be pretty! It would be nice if they could give fair warning to the public, but guess what? No one knows when the “Bad Day” will arrive, or how long the shutdown will be.

No cleanup work was done at toxic waste sites during the last two shutdowns because contractors could not be paid and Environmental Protection Agency officials could not monitor cleanup work. No reason not to think the same thing will happen again.

As It Stands, if the clowns are no longer funny, then it’s time for a whole new show. Sweep ‘em all out and start over!

Here’s an article on this subject from today’s headlines:

As shutdown looms, agencies brace for impact

Beware of smiling faces–grining lawmaker unveils plan to dismantle Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare

Paul Ryan, Republicans Sign On To End Medicare

Makes you want to move to Wisconsin doesn’t it? Not!!

Here’s the latest attack on middle America from the Greed Only Party. Rep. Ryan plan’s on leaving seniors out in the cold.

Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan officially unveiled his much-anticipated 2012 budget yesterday, which he dubbed the "Path to Prosperity," which includes ambitious plans to dismantle Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. National media tripped all over itself calling it a "conversion" of traditional Medicaid into a voucher program rather than actually report it as an elimination of the program all together, even though it actually changes the system from a national coverage plan to a voucher system that leaves seniors on their own to find private insurance instead.

Story here

Spies and news anchors: Like ABC, Fox Had FBI Mole In Its Midst

From the Smoking Gun this morning…

“Turns out ABC wasn’t the only television outfit to have an FBI mole in its ranks during the 1990s, according to bureau memos.

A “Fox Network News Anchor” was enlisted by New York agents in mid-1992 to obtain the name of a confidential source being used by fellow Fox journalists who were then preparing a story about Jimmy Hoffa’s murder for the syndicated tabloid show “A Current Affair,” records reveal.”

The Buick is back! No, really …

Image: 2012 Buick Verano

Buick not only survived, it’s now starting to thrive. For the first two months of the year, the nameplate, which is being positioned as a mid-luxury brand, outsold Lexus, a vehicle brand that has long been dominant in the U.S. luxury market.”  Story here

I bought a 1956 Buick hard top off my Dad in 1968 (Photo left – not mine, but one like it) when I was a senior in high school.(hail Azusa High!) Back then gas was .19 a gallon! Can you imagine? My buddies and I all would kick in a dollar and we’d fill ‘er up and go adventuring. Aaaaaaahhh…those were the days my friend…we thought they’d never end.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

As the sun slowly settled into the West the clouds glowed bravely


This photo was taken by Carl Young of Fortuna from his front porch. Thanks Carl …

Monster calls suit over mouse in can a 'shakedown'

If I drank this crap, which I don’t, I’d be resting easy now. The drink maker says it was impossible for a rodent to enter the manufacturing process to get in the can. They think the guy left the can open for a long period of time...

Probably right after this photo was taken…

 Story here.

photo source

Top 10 US Corporate Tax Avoiders Named on Senate Floor

Top 10 US Corporate Tax Avoiders Named on Senate Floor

While you’re making out your taxes due April 15th, corporate America is laughing all the way to the bank!

Despite the Supreme Court 's finding that corporations are basically people in the eyes of the law, corporations themselves cannot be moral or immoral -- they are entities, not sentient beings. We have a system that rewards the gamers, where winners take all, and influence peddling is rife; where the defense for a highly profitable company not paying taxes is that it is within the law.

“Despite complaints about the U.S.'s burdensome 35% corporate tax rate, two-thirds of American corporations pay no taxes in a given year. In a speech last week on the Senate floor, Senator Bernie Sanders (pictured here) (I) of Vermont called out the top 10 corporate tax avoiders:

Among those actually getting money back from the Feds:

  • ExxonMobil made $19 billion in profits in 2009, paid no federal income taxes, received a $156 million rebate
  • Bank of America received a $1.9 billion IRS refund despite $4.4 billion of profits
  • General Electric had $26 billion in profits, and $4.1 billion refund (GE made it onto another top 10 list of top corporate lobbyists in 2010, spending $39 million)
  • Chevron nabbed a $19 million refund after making $10 billion in profits
Wall Street made the list as well; the Senator's office notes,"Goldman Sachs in 2008 only paid 1.1 percent of its income in taxes even though it earned a profit of $2.3 billion and received an almost $800 billion from the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury Department." Full Story.

The cow jumped over the...

Now here’s a real cowgirl!

I never heard of riding cows before, but that just shows you how little I know. Apparently there was a time when it was common to ride cows in Europe!

“When Regina Mayer's parents dashed her hopes of getting a horse, the resourceful 15-year-old didn't sit in her room and sulk. Instead, she turned to a cow called Luna to make her riding dreams come true.”  Story Here

Monday, April 4, 2011

Now you too can be an expert on radiation exposure…with this

Radiation Dosage Chart - Information Is Beautiful

H&P Industries Inc: Wipe-maker shuts doors after U.S. Marshals arrive

For months now, FDA officials have been aware H & P Industries has had a problem with contaminated Povidone Iodine Prep Pads, but just fooled around playing politics instead of instantly taking them off the market.

How does this kind of thing happen? Can you say Lobbyists? Bribe, bribe, and more bribe.They’ve probably been aware for a long time, but it’s become so public lately they had to perform a “dog and pony show” and send in some U.S. Marshals in a dramatic attempt to sooth the public outrage. Only in America…

“A Wisconsin firm accused of making contaminated medical pads and wipes is closed after U.S. Marshals on Monday arrived at H&P Industries Inc. with orders to seize products.”  Story here  image source

Family dog kept missing boy alive, sheriff says

A mixed Labrador retriever was being hailed as a hero after it was found with a 22-month-old boy who had gone missing the night before.

"That dog is what kept him alive," Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews told The State newspaper of Columbia, S.C.

Wearing only a T-shirt and diaper, Tyler Jacobson had gone missing from his Elgin, S.C., home on Friday night. His mom and her boyfriend told police that he vanished after leaving the family bedroom, where they were watching TV, to get some juice, The State reported.

Temperatures had dipped into the 40s overnight, and while police searched with bloodhounds and a helicopter until midnight, they couldn't find the boy.

The search resumed the next morning, when the boy's crying led rescuers to him. He and his family's dog were behind a neighbor's home across the street.

Linda Harr, who lives in the house near where Tyler was found, said she had heard the helicopter and thought a criminal was on the loose. "So I locked the door," WIS TV reported her as saying. "The last thing I was gonna do is go outside."

"I just wish I'd have known, I could have warmed him up, called the cops," she said.

Emily DuBose, another neighbor, called it surreal. "Just thinking that a dog would watch a baby over the night, it's kind of like a movie instead of real life," WIS TV quoted her as saying.

Matthews noted that living conditions in the boy’s home were “deplorable" and that the state Department of Social Services had been notified, The State reported.

Story source  photo source

Sunday, April 3, 2011

As It Stands: Peak Oil: It's not if it will happen, but when

By Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard

Posted: 04/03/2011 09:12:51 AM PDT

While filling my car's gas tank the other day I had a sense of foreboding. Watching the dollars add up as each gallon registered, I suspected $4.25 a gallon was going to look good by this time next year.

What's happening? Why are prices steadily going up? You can thank oil speculators for that. Those daring, greedy gluttons are making us dance like puppets at the pumps. But there are other things going on that drive up oil prices.

Have you ever heard of Peak Oil? I won't attempt to go into the whole subject in this limited space, but I will share some points on this controversial subject with you.

M. King Hubbert, a Shell geoscientist, correctly predicted in 1956 that the United States would pass its peak oil production between 1965 and 1970. Since then, U.S. production has dropped steadily, and we've become more dependent on foreign oil.

Fast forward to an April 2009 meeting in Washington where Department Of Energy (DoE) bigwigs discussed the growing demand for liquid fuels. Glen Sweetnam, who heads the publication of DoE's annual International Energy Outlook, told his peers the decline of liquid fuels production between 2011 and 2015 could be the first stage of the “undulating plateau” pattern, which will start “once maximum world production is reached (Peak Oil).”

A hint of worry there, but the DoE dismissed the controversial Peak Oil theory, which assumes that world crude oil production should irreversibly decrease in the near future.

Lauren Mayne, responsible for liquid fuel prospects at the DoE, recently told the French newspaper Le Monde, “Once maximum world oil production is reached, that level will be approximately maintained for several years thereafter, creating an undulating plateau. After this plateau period, production will experience a decline.” The Obama Administration goes along with this line of thought.

Sweetnam's warning was followed by warnings from The Wall Street Journal, The Houston Chronicle (main daily newspaper of the world capital of crude oil trade), the CEO of Brazilian oil company Petrobras, former Saudi national oil company Aramco and an International Energy Agency (IEA) “whistleblower” on Nov. 9, 2009.

The whistleblower was a senior IEA official who claimed the U.S. was influential in encouraging the watchdog to underplay the rate of decline from existing oil fields and overplay the chances of finding new reserves.

Today, the U.S. fears that Saudi Arabia, the world's largest crude oil exporter, may not have enough reserves to prevent oil prices from rising. In a Feb. 8 article in the Guardian, U.K., cables released by WikiLeaks urged Washington to take seriously a warning from a senior Saudi government oil executive, al-Hussenini, that the kingdom's oil reserves have been overstated by as much as 300 billion barrels -- nearly 40 percent.

The U.S. consul warned Washington, “While al-Hussenini fundamentally contradicts the Aramco company line, he is no doomsday theorist. His pedigree, experience and outlook demand that his predictions be thoughtfully considered.”

Here's the thing: Everyone agrees we will run out of oil someday. It's when we will run out that predictions vary. Now I'm going to throw in another factor. It's not just how much oil is left -- it's also how much oil can be extracted at a significant energy profit. The bottom line.

Howard Odum wrote in the early 1970s, “The true value of energy to society is net energy, which is that after the energy costs of getting and concentrating that energy are subtracted.”

That net energy is what powers our world, from cars to planes and everything in between. In 2005, the DoE commissioned a report to examine the impact of Peak Oil. The Hirsch Report, named for its lead author, energy advisor Robert Hirsch, put the problem in stark terms. It recommended 10 to 20 years of “accelerated effort” to implement alternative fuels before Peak Oil hits and causes a “major economic upheaval.”

The general consensus is we will have big problems in an undetermined future, starting in 10 to 50 years (depending upon who you talk to), unless we change our fuel habits quickly and convert our economy to alternative energies. So who should we believe? How close are we to reaching Peak Oil and economic disaster?

As It Stands, it doesn't take a seer to see $4.25 a gallon will actually seem cheap sooner rather than later.

Websites carrying this column:

Energy Shortage – World Wide Energy Shortages

The PowerSwitch Peak Oil Dailyscroll down to Business

Peak Oil News - Exploring Hydrocarbon Depletion

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...