Thursday, August 25, 2011


Loituma is a Finnish quartet whose members combine the Finnish vocal tradition with the sounds of the kantele.

Things of Beauty / Notes on the Songs
Lyrics in Finnish and English:

Listen to individually:
Eriskummainen kantele / My kantele

Kun mun kultani tulisi

Ieva's polka

Viimesen Kerran

Listen to a mix for Loituma (automatic play):
    2:37 Ieva's Polka
    5:14 Kun Mun Kultani Tulisi
    3:42 Eriskummainen Kantele
    3:11 Viimesen Kerran
    3:50 Beach Cooing
    4:26 Utu
    3:20 Dissertation Polka
    6:50 Suo
    3:31 Laulu laiskana pitävi
You can click on individual titles to listen to independently:

If you have an area that gets blistered by the summer sun, you have a great spot to raise Purslane (low-growing annual succulents). They take very little watering (less than Bermuda grass) and provides thick green ground cover with bountiful flowers that are constantly blooming. I have it in 5 different rich and vibrant colors growing on bare ground -- though I've topped it lately with a layer of pea gravel. My first Purslane plant I discovered in the yard growing wild (a seed from somewhere had been somehow deposited there). I added other colors from nurseries. Once established, they come back from seed each summer. Small butterflies love it. And it's very nutritious - munch on it as you will.

My favorite method for propogating new starts of Purslane is to use a stick to poke a hole a few inches into moistened ground and insert a length of Purslane broken off of the main plant -- then gently cave in the sides of the hole to seal the start into place. Keeping it slightly moist for a while gets it established.



[Since the AAS Reader Blogs will cease at the end of the month, I'll post this now / I'd wanted to do more with it... however...]

Two hundred trillion microscopic organisms -- bacteria, viruses, and fungi -- are swarming inside of you right now. The largest collection, weighing as much as four pounds in total, clings to your gut. Collectively, it's called the 'human microbiome' -- and in a healthy individual, they are in symbiosis with their host (you) and usually manage to even protect you from the 'not good' microbes. There are 20 times as many of these microbes as there are cells in the body, and each of us hosts at least 1,000 different species. Seen through the prism of the microbiome, a person is not so much an
individual human body as a super-organism made up of diverse ecosystems.
In-depth analysis of the human body’s microflora has been possible only in the past few years—a by-product of the same new gene sequencing techniques that have allowed scientists to cheaply and accurately identify the DNA of the human genome. Gene sequencing has opened a huge door to how complex these communities are.

Like a lush rain forest, a healthy microbiome in the human gut is a diverse ecosystem that thrives only when all the interdependent species are healthy too. In an ecological sense, more diverse communities are healthy. No one species is dominant, and the ecosystem is more productive and resistant to major changes. Imbalances in the microbiome might very well be linked to diseases such as diabetes, allergies, and obesity.

Now in its second season, "Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman" is an American science documentary television series:

Through The Wormhole (with Morgan Freeman) Episodes:

Latest episode:
Is there a sixth sense? This episode attempts to provide some possible insight into this question --
Part 1 of 4
Global Consciousness Project using random number generators /
Morphic Fields -- part 2
9/11 Global Consciousness Event? Presentiment? part 3
Sexual precognition? part 4

Radical 'fundamentalists' believe that because millions of children were not conceived because of "birth control pill" contraception then that makes it evil. Reasonable people see that because unwanted children were not produced, countless suffering has been abolished (including decreases in crime, child abuse, and ecological nightmares). Regardless, with women gaining more control over their reproductive fate, society has changed. Reliable birth control became as easy as taking a pill, which some call the single greatest factor in helping women achieve equality.

Although religious people may debate whether a fertilized egg (zygote) should be accorded the same rights as a child, no one debates that the pill has decreased the suffering of fully formed, multicellular humans.

    Note that "zygotic personhood" (the idea that a fertilized egg is a person) is a recent concept. Historically, many believed that the embryo was not a person until it was 40 days old. Thus, a human did not have a soul until day 40.
Note: This was the belief before the invention of Christian fundamentalism one hundred years ago / the movement reflected the cultural disorientation of poorer, more rural, less well-educated Americans in a rapidly urbanizing America, especially in conjunction with WWI.

But perhaps the real issue here is the question of when the soul is created (and by whom)? Some believe that the soul is created at conception (thus making the human coupling the creators). However, I believe that the soul exists much prior to this -- and that the soul does not even "begin" the long process of incarnating until about the time the embryo loses it's "vestigial tail".

[Since the AAS Reader Blogs will cease at the end of the month, I'll post this now / I'd wanted to do more with it... however...]

Krakatoa is a volcanic island in Indonesia (also called Rakata) that dramatically exploded in 1883.
Video Clip (03:25)

As huge as the 1883 explosion was, it was dwarfed by an earlier 535 A.D. eruption that was so huge that the emissions into the atmosphere caused such serious climatic disruptions that historians have known for centuries that a cataclysmic event somewhere had occurred. Worldwide records from cultures all over the world describe the same thing:
The sun dimmed for 18 months which caused famines and plagues that toppled governments and upset the status quo (including tipping Europe into the Dark Ages).

Intro: In 2001, federal government outlays were $1.86 trillion. Since 9/11, this annual figure has increased to $3 trillion (adjusted for inflation). In 2001, the federal outlay was 18.2% of GDP -- in 2011, 25.3%.

“The Coming American Spring” appeared in AAS’s 08-14-2011 Sunday issue under a different title in the business section:

In 2020, $1 of every $5 in the economy will spent on health care (average of $13,710 for every man, woman and child). This year, it's a 1-to-6 ratio ($8,650 per)). Though the government health care tab is growing, Obama's health care overhaul will only be a modest contributor to the 2020 figure because many of the newly insured will be younger and healthier (though they'll balloon the increasing costs in their later years). The contemporary higher costs are being driven by innovations and an aging population / which will only further inflate health care costs for the decades to come.

Though cost controls are slated to bite down before 2020, the political reality is that medical health care groups will derail that process. [The same groups that are fattening now. It'll continue to be: "Whatever the market will bear" -- prices that hospitals charge different insurers and patients varies dramatically. Lately, I've seen one person have cataract surgery that Medicare paid for on one eye at one place cost twice as much as the other eye cost at another location for the same exact procedure (using the same doctor). I've seen a private insurance company be charged $100,000+ for tests alone on an individual whose prognosis is terminal within one year / no matter what is done or not done.]

Perchlorate is an environmental pollutant primarily associated with  releases by defense contractors, military operations and aerospace  programs, as it  is a key ingredient in rocket fuel. It is now found in virtually all  humans tested, and it is continually making its way up  the food chain  through ground and drinking water into feed and edible  plants, animals products, milk and breast milk -- contaminating  conventional and organically grown food, alike. It is distributed widely throughout North America, as depicted by the image below:

Health Risks of Perchlorate? Perchlorate is an endocrine-disrupting chemical known to disrupt thyroid function and hormone production by inhibiting your thyroid gland's iodine uptake. Iodine deficiency or conditions that prevent its use in making thyroid hormone lead to decreased amounts of thyroid
hormone circulating in your blood, which can manifest as symptoms of "hypothyroidism", along with other health problems. Because of this, perchlorate may affect the normal brain development and growth of fetuses, infants and children, so even a mother's toxic load can place an unborn child at risk. Further, while most people are exposed to perchlorate through their diet in the form of contaminated water and/or foods, infant exposure may be far greater than that of adults, especially if they are fed infant formula, as the toxin may be present in both the formula and the water used to prepare it.

An average two-year-old will exceed EPA's safe dose of perchlorate by drinking water with as little as 4 parts per billion perchlorate:

Take Action:

About 25% of heroin users, 32% of nicotine users, and 15% of alcohol users will become chemically dependent during their lifetimes / a higher percentage for cocaine users -- and even higher still for those who use alcohol and cocaine at the same time (produces 'cocaethylene' in the body)..

Breakthroughs in genetics, neurobiology and neuropharmacology show that some people who drink or use drugs harmfully can develop a full-blown "disease" -- significant numbers of drug users develop the disease of "chemical dependence" (commonly known as 'addiction'). It is a definitive, diagnosable brain pathology.

It is far more serious and different from the other diagnosable drug overuse condition — called 'drug abuse' (which is a self-controllable condition that often is reduced by education, punishment, maturity, increased will power, or sometimes simply learning from an embarrassing or costly experience)).

Drug abusers are the ones who are most likely to respond to the "war on drugs" — take away their drugs or punish their use, and they usually give up. People who are chemically dependent, on the other hand, cannot 'give up'. This would require powerful intervention and intensive treatment that can be expensive and prolonged.

During Prohibition, from 1920 to 1933, the national ban on alcohol manufacturing significantly reduced the amount of alcohol consumed in the United States. Yet the number of alcoholics — those chemically dependent on alcohol — remained the same. Most of these individuals had become 'dependent' before their brains finished fully physically developing at around age 20 (started drinking as teenagers). NOTE: This same higher addiction rate for teens applies to tobacco and all other addictive drugs.

Addiction Science Advances:

End to the "War on Drugs"
Related AAS article:


Blog Image
"There's Justice In The Universe"
After reading a recent AAS article about Evangelical Christians' goals, I'm reminded of other societies in times past and present where one religious sect dominates to the detriment of religious freedom for all. In modern times, the Puritans who fled religious persecution were themselves, in turn, persecutors. The same with Mormons, Sunnis, Shiites, Hindus, etcetera. Anytime anywhere one religious group dominates, there is the potential for persecution to swing like a pendulum -- even if the dogma being preached is atheism.

The only people in America who oppose the separation of the church and the state are those church people who want to control the state. Those of us who are familiar with history and who value freedom understand the value of a balance between religion and secular interests. [The power of the pulpit in a Democratic Republic is enough. And still has little to do with spirituality (Christ's message) / and is properly reinforced by a 1954 law that bars religious organizations and nonprofit groups that accept tax-deductible contributions from endorsing specific candidates.

A great movie that demonstrates this is "Agora". The historical drama also highlights the relationship between religion and science -- amidst the decline of Greco-Roman polytheism and the Christianization of the Roman Empire.

"Agora" is set in Roman Egypt (Alexandria), concerning a slave who turns to the rising tide of Christianity in the hopes of pursuing 'physical freedom' (but loses his way spiritually) & the female Greek philosopher that both he and Alexandria's Roman prefect are in love with -- but whom neither can have because of her need to remain independent of a man's control (which firebrand Christianity could not tolerate).

Note: As you're watching the movie, sometimes remind yourself of what comes just a few hundred years later. And then use that comparison to examine today's headlines.
Through tax breaks, loopholes and subsidies, billions of our tax dollars are being transferred into corporate coffers.

Meanwhile, corporate lobbyists and their allies in Congress are trying to cut funding for public protections that benefit the American people. Our tax dollars should be used to prevent reckless corporations from ripping us off and poisoning our environment -- not to pad corporate profits.

Big Business lackeys in Congress are trying to cut funding for
public protections that make life better and safer for all Americans.
Tell your Congressmen to fully fund the vital agencies that protect us from wrongdoing.

Take Action:
In the line at the store, the cashier told an older woman that she should
bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the

The woman apologized to him and explained, "We didn't have the green thing back in my day."
The clerk responded, "That's our problem today.  Your generation did not care enough to save our environment."

He was right -- "our" generation didn't have the "green thing" in its day.... we had something more effective... READ:

Are You a Norquistian?

Grover Glenn Norquist:

"Trickle-down economics" is a term attributed to humorist Will Rogers, who said during the Great Depression that "money was all appropriated for the top in hopes that it would trickle down to the needy."

More humor:

Libertarians, Tea Partiers, 'laissez-faire activists', 'fiscal conservatives' all justifiably want to see taxes reduced and government reduced. Except that their leaders don't all 'necessarily' want to see tax breaks and subsidies taken away from big businesses and the wealthy -- Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform, opposes the elimination of $6 billion in ethanol subsidies because removing subsidies and tax breaks is supposedly "the same as raising taxes". Also, recently Boehner changed his mind about accepting Obama's offer to cut $4 trillion from the deficit over ten years through spending cuts, SS & Medicare reform, and tax increases WHEN his "caucus" objected to raising $1 trillion in new revenue over a decade by removing tax breaks for oil companies, corporate-jet owners and hedge fund managers did he reverse course.
For the last ten years, mankind has lived nonstop in space.  Now we need to go beyond the low orbit that the space shuttles and the International Space Station were designed for. Thus, a new space race has begun -- with private aerospace companies selling rides to NASA. Driven by NASA objectives and rewards (for now), every robotic space space probe, satellite and experiment is launched by commercial rockets. And numerous companies are competing to 'provide the rides'.
Americans are underemployed and underpaid. Labor compensation in the USA is at a 50-year low relative to both company sales and USA's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Despite 'supposed' burdens of health care costs, environmental compliance and other regulations, profit margins are at their highest levels in over fifty years. And though innovation and offshoring contributed to increased profits, the major reason is due to reductions in both wages and benefits.

As the conversion of 'wage income' to 'profits' by corporations continues (in conjunction with increasing numbers of Asians entering the world labor force), Americans can expect to have to learn to live more like the immigrant laborers that we still continue to 'onshore'.
When 'No Child Left Behind' standards were put into place, I knew that they'd never be met. Not because of schools failing to do a good job or lack of effort by the students, but because the Normal Distribution Curve wouldn't allow it. Too many students have intelligence quotients too low to master the curriculum at the unrealistic levels targeted by NCLB.

My comment was: "When the rubber finally meets the road on this, there'll be skid marks all the way to Washington." Now the feds are saying that if there are not changes to NCLB standards, 83% of all schools could be listed as failing next year.

Another individual was a more blunt regarding such matters when we were given handouts about such things at teacher meetings: "Yup, too slick (as he plied it between his thumb and forefinger). Don't even make good a$$ wipe,"

AAS article --

Normal Distribution Curve
In the days before ballpoint pens and keyboards, people had to rely on pencils, fountain pens, or quill pens. Printing was easily feasible with pencil, but cursive allowed the user of fountain pens and quills to write a continuous series of letters in a continuous fluid motion without having to start each letter separately (which could cause a small blot when the nib first began the stroke on the paper). Today, printing with a ball point pen is no faster or slower than cursive and usually more legible.

As us baby boomers fade into the twilight, nostalgia for 'cursive writing' occasionally surfaces, sometimes manifesting as a desire to mandate cursive writing be used in schools. Though I think it's a good idea that cursive be mastered by all as a part of a well rounded education, I never (as a secondary level teacher) required cursive be used -- though I did demonstrate its use by writing many of my lessons in cursive to acquaint my students with reading it and with proper letter formations. From them, I did require readable penmanship and would return sloppy, hard-to-read work whether it was in cursive or printing.

"Keys just can't replace cursive":

Making a quill pen Video
A "new" proposed "bi-partisan" federal budget plan supports the core constituencies of the Republicans (corporate welfare entitleliteists) and the Democrats (social welfare entitleliteists), but leaves the middle class supporting both sides of the aisle more than ever -- still without reducing government programs significantly.

The good, the bad and the ugly --
It'd repeal the 'alternative minimum tax' (good).
It'd also keep the $1000 per child tax credit (good).
It'd keep the 'earned income credit' (okay).

It'd reduce tax breaks for mortgage interest, health insurance, charitable giving and retirement saving (not good).

It'd lower the top income tax rate for the top brackets who haven't been able to take advantage of tax breaks and loopholes provided (ugly).
Google: shrinking middle class in America

This gives Tea Partiers a chance to garner some support from the left if they'd go after corporate tax breaks, subsidies and loopholes created for them by Congress (and quit trying to indirectly legislate morality) as strongly as they want to go after social welfare. Of course, this balance won't happen. The Tea Partiers in Washington D.C. will continue to try and make their influence felt in the GOP (Grand Old Party) -- which, ironically, was founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854.
Google 'define: enslavement by taxes'
Since our population density is increasing in the direction of Europe's, I thought I'd take a look at some of their cultural manifestations.

The "Eurovision Song Contest" is an annual competition held among active member countries of the European Broadcasting Union. Each member country submits a song to be performed on live television and then casts votes for the other countries' songs to determine the most popular song in the competition. The Contest has been broadcast every year since its inauguration in 1956 and is one of the longest-running television programs in the world. It is also one of the most-watched non-sporting events in the world, with audience figures having been quoted in recent years as anything between 100 million and 600 million internationally. [Sound familiar?]

Finland- Kuunkuiskaajat

Turkey- Hadise

All Eurovision Winners from 1956-2010 Part One
Part Two



We haven't made televisions in the USA for decades now. Foreign car companies offer better quality products overall, etc. etcetera. The one thing we'd had going for us was our farm land food production. But government subsidies of less than desirable 'agribiz' crop choices and farming methods are going to cost us that as well as topsoil depths decrease -- and this doesn't even factor in the loss of the use of farm land as residential housing expands exponentially (and water once used for irrigation goes to raising lawn grass and household uses).
Google: topsoil loss usa

For example, look at corn production. Subsidizing corn ethanol is foolish, once you crunch the numbers. And the new acreage being put into raising corn is marginal land that requires more care and is more susceptible to erosion of topsoil (that took eons to build up).
Note: Some regions in the world are increasing the depth of their topsoil by simply using appropriate crop selection and methods. [There are not many farmers really left in this country by that definition, plus there are few subsidies for what few small farmers there are).]

Instead of continuing to subsidize corn for fuel, we need to dramatically increase R&D of "cellulosic ethanol". By using the native switch grasses on marginal land that originally built up the soil (and corn stalks, etc.), we can establish a perpetually profitable renewable resource -- instead of letting greedy gut American agribiz corporations "sell us down the river" (literally). Land is the only "real" wealth there is in the world and we're letting it slip between our grubby fingers
A proposed financial reform law would require companies to report the ratio between what it pays its CEOs and what its average employee earns. [The average CEO currently earns 300 times what the average worker does / up from 40 times in the 1970s.] Of course, big companies oppose this. Especially since this could influence corporate tax reform. Many firms pay their executives more than they do in taxes.
Do companies want to hide CEO pay?
July 19, 2011

This is a supplement to postings entitled 'Solutrean Connection' & 'New World's Doggerland Immigrants'. Keep in mind that history does tend to repeat itself - "aka" - Second verse, same as the first...

Doggerland: Lost Beneath The Waves / video (03:57)

Still interested?

select video from --
1st -- Stone Age Atlantis 1-7
then - Stone Age Atlantis 5-7

Still going? then:
Stories from the Stone Age 2 of 15
Ancient Europeans settled in America says artifacts unearthed in the Chesapeake Bay. About 18,000 years ago, Solutrean hunters followed seals and other marine mammals across a partially frozen north Atlantic Ocean to the New World... "Pre-Clovis is a fact in North and South America," archaeologist Michael Collins of the University of Texas at Austin said this year at a symposium on the topic... Pre-Clovis culture represents a transition between Solutrean and Clovis cultures, according to Stanford. Not only do the pre-Clovis sites fill the time gap, but they are conveniently located near the Atlantic coast of Europe and North America, he noted. The Solutrean people lived about 16,000 to 22,000 years ago.
Doggerland is a name given by archaeologists and geologists to a former landmass in the southern North Sea that connected the island of Great Britain to mainland Europe during and after the last Ice Age before it was finally submerged by rising sea levels about 8000 years ago.

Did people such as the Doggerlanders enter North America from the east concurrently with peoples entering the Americas from the west (Bering Strait)? I think so, yes. Consider that when sea levels were at even lower levels "prior" to 11,000B.C. (before Doggerland began to be flooded), 'water migration' routes along the edges of 'continental shelves' were more conducive to migration -- not only from Asia to western America, but also from Europe to eastern America. Also, take into consideration that there have been peoples adapted to living north of the Arctic Circle for at least 18,000+ years.
Note: Upper Paleolithic style spear points distinctive of European peoples have been excavated from the Chesapeake Bay embankments in layers dated prior to 11,000 BCE.
Note: All human artifacts in this region disappear concurrent with the Canadian comets strike of 11,000B.C.

Continental Shelf:
"For decades, the tug-of-war between left and right has kept government's share of the economy nearly constant, around 19 percent of GDP. But in what you might call the revenge of Lyndon Johnson, the ballooning cost of Medicare is poised to tilt the [current budget debate] decisively toward liberalism."

[If you've seen the Medicare billing of anyone at all, then you know how it feeds the ballooning of medical costs. Getting rich is still the #1 reason that people choose to become doctors.]
In 2009, 51% of American households paid 'no' (zero) income tax. And 30% made money via the "Earned Income Tax Credit" (a policy to encourage low-income Americans to work by refunding tax money through the 'tax code'). The tax system not only collects funds, but also re-distributes wealth -- as with "tax breaks" aka "tax expenditures"  
[Note: Many Americans who pay no income tax do pay payroll taxes (SS, Medicaire, etc.]

[Even though what Cornyn says is true, note he made no mention of the fact that a higher percentage of big corporations pay no federal income tax. Hmmm -- I wonder why not?]
The 'popular' notion is that it's the people receiving "social welfare" who have developed an 'entitlement mentality' in this country. We forget that "corporate welfare" recipients have the original mega-Entitlement Mentality ("blue-bloods", "silver spoons"...) Over half of big corporations pay no federal taxes due to special tax laws and subsidies made just for them. Is it any wonder that they feel entitled?

Define: Entitlement - a government program that guarantees and provides benefits to a particular group.

Republicans defend their special entitlement groups just as the Democrats do. The problem is that they're both doing it so successfully that the 'middle class' is shrinking. So, excuse me if I hold both parties in equal disdain.

Note: Democrats who are wealthy are easy to understand - they can afford to be magnanimous. But staunch Republicans who are poor are a mystery to me -- makes me wonder about the poor whites who fought for the Confederacy. [I know that when a slave owner had hazardous work to be done, he'd not allow his slaves to do it. Instead he'd hire a "free" person to do it. After all, why would the master risk damage to valuable 'property' when he was "entitled" to bring in an 'expendable' worker.] Why fight to preserve a such system?
North Carolina, home state of "laissez faire" activist and newly elected 'Tea Party' Congresswoman "Renee Ellmers", has the dubious distinction of using more antibiotics for livestock production than the entire United States uses for humans.  Chickens, cattle and hogs are fed antibiotics not on a case-specific basis to treat disease, but indiscriminately to make them grow faster -- which increases profit margins for livestock producers -- and prevent disease from teeming in 'filthy conditions'. "Industrial farmers" (agribiz) literally add antibiotics to livestock's food and water, so they are all medicated.

This excessive use of antibiotics in food production is leading to the creation of 'antibiotic-resistant' disease. Medical overuse of antibiotics in humans is one aspect, but the greatest, and most hidden, factor is the extreme and indiscriminate use of antibiotics in food production. It's been unclear just how many antibiotics were really used in the manufacturing of our food -- until now....

An example of how this works has been playing out in the European 'E.coli' "superbug" headlines lately [you already know about MRSA, etc. in the USA]. This particular 'e.coli' variation is a member of the O104 strain, and O104 strains 'had been' almost never (normally) resistant to antibiotics. In order for them to acquire this resistance, they must be repeatedly exposed to antibiotics in order to provide the "mutation pressure" that nudges them toward complete drug immunity.

Take Action:

Meanwhile, I suppose it's 'busine$$ as usual' / "lai$$ez faire" / '$urvival of the Fittest' / or at least the 'luckiest' as determined by random chance...
Daily, I record onto VHS tape the half hour showing of 'Joyce Meyer Ministries' (for my mother). Meyer has an astounding number of episodes that keeps it fresh. You can watch them either on TV or on-line.
Although I don't buy into some of the underlying 'fundamentalism', she does have a very good understanding of applying spiritual Godly principles in daily life. And she knows how to communicate it well.

My point: Her husband, Dave Meyer, made a full program appearance at their the 4th of July conference. Appropriately, it's entitled "Maintaining Godly Heritage" in America. He talks about the importance of historical knowledge and the understanding of the values that our republic was founded upon in a respectable no-nonsense manner that provides a good 'starting point' for those listening who didn't already know what he presented (though it is over simplified). He, also, does a good job in telling how we developed an "entitlement mentality" in this country beginning with the New Deal in 1933 and onward.
[Note: It's very appropriate that they decided to present this lesson in El Paso. My friend lives in El Paso and he is very aware of how our future hinges on the Americanization of our new immigrants. He's also aware of their underlying hunger for 'law and order' -- something that Judeo-Christianity begins with (in the Ten Commandments, etc.). As a retired teacher, he's also knows how the 'entitlement trap' undermines this.]  

And so, without further ado --
Dave Meyer's "Maintaining Our Godly Heritage" episode / I suggest starting at 10:30:


North Carolinian 'Tea Party' Freshman Congresswoman "Renee Ellmers" introduced a bill (H.R. 2059) last month that would eliminate funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Current funding is $40 million annually. [Hmmm - that's about 12 cents annually per American in a country that's serving as an overpopulation release valve for parts of the world where "increased" (NOT decreased) 'family planning' is needed.]

What else does UNFPA do? It supports countries using population data to develop policies and programs to reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect.  UNFPA helps reduce maternal mortality, infant mortality, and child mortality; helps stem the spread of disease, and helps promote policies that enable people, especially the poorest, to live in dignity.

UNFPA does not provide abortions, abortion services, or abortion-related equipment to governments in other countries, but it does help governments strengthen their national health systems to address complications of unsafe abortion, thereby saving women's lives.

What Representative Ellmers calls "wasteful spending" saves the lives of mothers and infants, keeps families healthy, saves girls from becoming child brides AND reduces the need for abortion by "expanding access to voluntary family planning services to the very poorest".

[Here we go again. Expedient political shortsightedness that will cost us all more in the long run. Evidently it's okay to spend trillions on a war in the Middle East to promote democracy; but, when it comes to supporting what actually engenders freedoms, Tea Partiers are displaying symptoms of being so myopic that they fail to see that they're actually being UN-patriotic [Read the Declaration of Independence and the Preamble to the Constitution for genuine inspiration. Also, they need to stop for a moment and ask themselves: What would Jesus do?]

Irrationality, such as what Ellmers is proposing in order to consolidate her popularity with her constituency, tends to discredit her Tea Party on the national level because it leaves no "room in the middle". If they want to breath new life into our Democratic Republic, then they need to use fresh air -- not gussy up old isolationisms in seguined red, white and blue platitudes. 


Take Action:
Long before gaining attention for sponsoring Rick Perry's 'prayer and praise' meeting, the American Family Association (AFA) was making headlines with tenacious campaigns targeting gay rights, abortion and such that are offensive to fundamentalistic Christianity. The organization has been prominent in the nation's culture wars for more than three decades.

Tax records show that last year, AFA raised $18.4 million in donations and spent $7.5 million on campaigns against activities it deems anti-Christian. To mobilize supporters, the association issues "action alert" emails to publicize the latest offenses.
American Family Association:

Seems to me I remember Bush Jr. hitching his wagon to this same demographic group. It had the advantage of providing a core voting block. However, it narrowed his platform by removing some "planks" that this particular group couldn't support. For example, by focusing on the popular hate of abortions [after all, nobody 'likes' abortions], the need for sex education and contraception gets dumped for a mind-numbing "Just Say No" approach that even Bristol Palin recognizes as inadequate.

Note: All political parties 'effectively' still support an 'open border' policy because various constituencies, be they the Chamber of Commerce or La Raza (both want to defang the E-verify Bill) and support the "granting-amnesty" approach. If we're going to invite the illegals in (by default), then we need to at least provide enough education and family planning services to 'soften the blow' of exponentially higher birth rates.
Foods can be addictive because added chemicals trigger the same kinds of brain activity seen in substance dependence. These addictive reactions are the result of the many refined foods consumed.

The compounded increase in rates of obesity and other modern diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, high triglycerides and hypoglycemia, to name a few are the end result of consuming too many of these ‘engineered’ modern foods in our daily diets.

They all contain refined carbohydrates which, after becoming nutritionally neutered via processing, are often produced with additional refined sweeteners (both real and artificial), fats and problematic trans-fats, unnaturally high amounts of dietary omega-6 fatty acids from vegetable and manufactured oils, salt, a cornucopia of artificial chemicals, dyes and additives that make these packaged items lethal to our health and addictive to many.

Processed food manufacturers know this and deliberately design and create foods that deliberately stimulate and excite our taste buds and brains -- in other words, 'engineered' for addiction. [Remember how this is currently accomplished with tobacco additives].  They work hard to develop "increased sensitivity" to their products. Packaged food items are the highest-profit items in a grocery store; consequently, they are allotted the most space. It is "their" profits, NOT "your" health, that drive these products, advertising and sales.

Manufacturers would like us to believe that if it tastes good, it can’t be that bad and use marketing gimmicks and artificial food dyes to fool consumers into thinking that this stuff is healthier than it is.

Conclusion: Refined and processed foods are hazardous to your health.

[I know that if you are one of those with strong processed food cravings (and this does include foods made from milled flour, etc. -- note previous posting, "The Whiter The Bread"), then you're going to tend to discount what I just said above (which is just as an confirmed alcohol or tobacco user would do). Which is why -- that though it's known that putting graphic pictures on cigarette packs won't deter those already hooked -- it's done to discourage those not yet afflicted from 'falling prey'... ]
... the sooner you're dead. [No, I'm not making an ethnic joke. I'm talking about an across-the-board 'melting pot' issue ofsomething that contributes to poor nutrition.]

White bread is made from wheat flour from which the bran and the 'wheat germ' have been removed through a process known as milling.

The bran is then sold separately as livestock food and put into bran flakes.

The wheat germ is then sold separately as a health food.

In 1911, white bread, which made up 40% of the diet in Britain, was blamed for widespread poor health. Modern nutritional science confirms the accuracy of this assessment. White flour contains almost no natural minerals and vitamins. Then white bread was actually banned during World War II in Britain -- Britons were said to be in better health by 1947 after subsisting on limited rations of wholegrain breads for eight years.

Add to this the greater percentage of today's foods being refined / and also, a greater number of additives and flavor enhancers that 'improve' the appeal of the food to compensate for the missing natural flavor that was stripped out when the nutrients were removed by our improved technological advances -- and you have the formula for trouble. 
Note: Combinations of certain additives help create habituations 'aka' cravings -- which helps sell more. 

Note: There's no such thing as whole wheat bread unless the baker grinds the wheat himself and avoids using milled flour.

Further note: Not everyone's biochemistry is amenable towards grains (especially wheat). If someone is suffering from depression or any other mental condition, you may want to totally eliminate any grain sourced food (or drink, like beer, etc.) for a few weeks to see if you notice any improvement. One possible link: wheat can inhibit production of serotonin.
Kudos to Arnold Garcia in today's AAS paper (D-6) "Sanctuary cities bill's death..." for pointing out that the so-called 'sanctuaries cities bill' had some powerful business types who wanted the legislation dead because of its possible impact on a cheap labor pool that keeps their overheads down. So they hired some equally high-powered lobby talent to kill it.

Dovetailing nicely with the article (and picture gallery) is the opinion piece, "In Texas, faces of newly minted U.S. citizens". A good article that bears reading it in its entirety:

One thing that struck me in this was that of the nearly 620,000 people being naturalized this year, only 67,062 were from Mexico (as compared to 61,142 from India). With the astounding number of Latin American immigrants swelling our population, how does one account for their missing numbers? [That's a rhetorical question: Some are legal immigrants, but many are here illegally waiting for the next amnesty to be granted. I asked it this way because I'm wondering what the number of "newly minted U.S. citizens" will be after that?]
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates calls NATO "militarily irrelevant" because of the failure of Europeans to spend on military hardware and training. As an example, he observes that NATO has already ran out of ammunition for the Libyan mission and is turning to the U.S. for more. The Europeans have cut back on military spending to the point that the U.S. funds 75% of NATO's cost. Only four of NATO's other 27 members spend 2% of their GDP on defense, as "required by treaty".

[Note: The following is a copy and paste of the article summarized above. I couldn't provide a link. It's from "The Week" / 06-24-2011.]

"In his farewell speech in Brussels, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates took his European colleagues to task over their failure to spend enough money on defense."

"This is what’s called “going out with a bang,” said Jean-Jacques Mevel in the Paris Le Figaro. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who is retiring in the next few weeks, bade farewell to his European counterparts in Brussels last week with a withering speech accusing them of “collective military irrelevance.” Gates said the failure of European leaders to spend on military hardware and training had consigned the alliance to a “dim, if not dismal future.” His fellow NATO defense ministers sat in stunned silence as Gates listed their failings. Just 11 weeks into the Libya mission, he noted, NATO was already running out of ammunition and turning to the U.S. for more. There is an “unacceptable” division, he said, “between those willing and able to pay the price and bear the burdens of alliance commitments, and those who enjoy the benefits of NATO membership—be they security guarantees or headquarters billets—but don’t want to share
the risks and the costs.”

"European leaders greeted this tongue-lashing with “a deafening silence,” said Pablo Pardo in the Madrid El Mundo. And really, what can they say? Even 10 years ago, when the U.S. was preparing to invade Afghanistan after 9/11, it “explicitly rejected the proposal to involve NATO in the overthrow of the Taliban,” preferring instead to cobble together a “coalition of the willing.” And since then, European countries have slashed their defense budgets, with the result that, while the U.S. used to account for half of NATO’s funding, it now makes up 75 percent. Spain, in particular, has resisted U.S. pleas to increase its defense spending, but we’re not alone. Only four of NATO’s other 27 members spend 2 percent of their GDP on defense, as required by the treaty."

"But this isn’t just about a budgetary discrepancy, said the London Observer in an editorial. “In venting American anger, Gates has articulated the existential questions that have been hanging over NATO since the fall of the Berlin Wall, in 1989, when its primary purpose evaporated: What is NATO for and can it actually deliver?” It sat idly by during the Yugoslav wars, only to jump in on the side of the Kosovars at the very end, in 1999, with the bombing of Serbia’s capital, Belgrade—a job it botched, by the way. In Afghanistan, which NATO took on only after the U.S. had toppled the Taliban, very few member states are willing to shoulder combat missions. And in Libya, it lacks not only ammunition but also a clear mandate. “The reality is that NATO feels like an anachronism, risk-averse, bloated, and militarily inefficient.”

"That’s because it is an anachronism, said the Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Arab News. “What will it take for the West to face the reality that the Cold War is over and that NATO is long past its sell-by date?” The alliance played a useful role in controlling the Soviet Union. But with that empire long gone, there is no need for a U.S.-dominated alliance to play global policeman. “If the world needs an international peacekeeping force to deal with trouble spots like Libya, it should exist under the U.N.’s command.”

[Note: With NATO fading and the UN peacekeeping force being only marginally effective, that still leaves us as the world's policeman, a role that's bankrupting us as we continue to guard oil supplies that everyone shares in (but without contributing much towards). It's a long-term losing proposition as conflicts in overpopulated Asia Minor will increase no matter what anybody does or doesn't do.]
In chemistry, pH is a measure of the acidity or basicity of an aqueous solution. Pure water is said to be neutral, with a pH close to 7.0 -- solutions with a pH less than 7 are said to be acidic and solutions with a pH greater than 7 are basic or alkaline. Bacteria, viruses and fungi do not like weak alkaline blood conditions.
The pH of blood is usually slightly basic with a value of pH 7.365.
Different parts of the body have different pH levels. So, if you're using litmus paper to generally gauge your body's pH level, know that urine should be about 6.0

Foods can be considered alkaline or acidic based on the residues they produce in the body, rather than whether they are alkaline or acidic themselves.  For example, acidic grapefruit and apple cider vinegar are metabolized into alkaline residues (but regular vinegar is acidic). 
Internal fungal infections have been known to have been dealt with by drinking apple cider "vinegar-ade". The typical American diet is rich in protein, cereal grains and other acid-producing foods.


After reading the above chart, if you find yourself eating heavily from the right hand chart, you need to re-evaluate your diet.

pH Scale
 Wisdom is where you find it:

Non Sequitur
Doctor-Patient Underprivilege, part 2
Non Sequitur

Ben Sargent

Who killed Syed Shahzad? Was it 'al Qaida' or sympathizers from ISI - Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan's premier intelligence agency?
A Pakistan reporter, Syed Shahzad (bureau chief of "Asia Times Online"), was brutally beaten to death after revealing ties between the Pakistani navy and 'al Qaida'. Several navy personnel had been jailed for links to the the terrorist group -- and the Navy was negotiating over their possible release. The attack on the Karachi naval base last month (and other attacks against the navy) was a reaction to massive internal crackdowns on al-Qaeda affiliates within the navy...
[those arrested were held in a specific  location, but before proper interrogation could begin, those in-charge of the investigation received direct threats from militants who made it clear they knew where the men were being detained. The detainees were promptly moved to a safer location, but the threats continued. Officials involved in the case believe the militants feared interrogation would lead to the arrest of more of their loyalists in the navy. The militants therefore made it clear that if those detained were not released, naval installations would be attacked]. 

A 'must read' article, the one that got him killed:

What really put the nails in his coffin was the subtitle:
"This is the first article in a two-part report...
Next: Recruitment and training of militants"

I think whoever killed him wanted for Part Two not to surface. I'd imagine that it was already written / at least in rough draft form. Will his news agency be brave enough to publish it? If he had it to do over again, he'd have printed everything he had.

Note: Significant is the article's quote of a Pakistani naval officer:
"Islamic sentiments are common in the armed forces. We never felt threatened by that. All armed forces around the world take some inspiration from religion to motivate their cadre against the enemy. Pakistan came into existence on the two-nation theory that Hindus and Muslims are two separate nations and therefore no one can separate Islam and Islamic sentiment from the armed forces of Pakistan.

"Nonetheless, we observed an uneasy grouping on different naval bases in Karachi. While nobody can obstruct armed forces personnel for rendering religious rituals or studying Islam, the grouping we observed was against the discipline of the armed forces. That was the beginning of an intelligence operation in the navy to check for unscrupulous activities....."
NOTE: I am turning the Comments off. I'm going to be preoccupied with family business & will not have the time and energy to properly monitor and respond to comments being made. I'll try to continue posting -- though it may be intermittent.
The left and right halves of the brain have separate stores for  'working memory' (of information that we actively keep in mind). People can usually hold only four pieces of information in their working memory (working memory capacity is 'two plus two' / two items stored in each side of the brain).
Moral: When trying to make a point, keep it simple and make it short.

This reminds me of the fact that many animals are able to 'count' up to four.  'Number sense' allows them to 'intuitively' know if there's one or two, three or four items -- but after that, it becomes a 'more than' or 'less than' approximation. It is language that allows humans to conceptualize numbers 'ad infinitum'.

Do the above two articles correlate? Maybe yes, maybe no; but, it does remind me 'how much' our consciousness is dependent upon precise vocabulary in language usage in order to allow us to formulate, express and utilize concepts. Successful individuals and viable human cultures depend upon a "pattern of knowledge, belief, and behavior that demonstrate a capacity for continued learning".

"Don't judge what you don't understand."

NOTE: I am turning the Comments off. I'm going to be preoccupied with family business & will not have the time and energy to properly monitor and respond to comments being made. I'll try to continue posting -- though it may be intermittent.