Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What is True Love

something that touches
your heart
framed in ways
shared emotions
looked at
caring for one
soul mate
kindred spirits
locked in step
meant to be
long time
or scarred
willing to try
hand reaching
out for other
be there
for me
will give my
to be loved
once again

Monday, June 29, 2009

Michael Jackson Environmentalist

A segue way today from my poetry to show a very strong video that was not shown in the United States, done by Michael Jackson.

Please watch. It is powerful. Maybe this should be his legacy.

Thank you.

Friday, June 26, 2009

They Die In Three's

why does it seem
famous ones
die in one
two three

knew his abc's
six he started
world renown
moon walk
dance a thriller
what did happen
did they say
bad things done
in never neverland
be like elvis
the doctor say

talented angel
farrah poster
hair style
smile to dazzle
charlie said
get them girls
bosley you drive
time passes
acting better
burning bed
long time
big c
now no more

perfect sidekick
so many years
har har har
almost on cue
johnny is here
tonight after
night pitchman
ed better known
banana the 2nd
alpo and bud
sold them all
did that best
searching for stars
fall on neck
hard times here
time to go

famous they are
watch what they do
part of family
was their time
who is next

Ponzi, Madoff, Stafford, Oh My!

the list grows
lived the style
many wish
they could do
same right now
at what cost
not robin hood
robbed from poor
give to them
king of cons
make believe

know not right
not to care
greed the fuel
sucker born
every minute
get out
before shoe drops
house of cards
must fall
wears no clothes

blind eye
who gets hurt
best intentions
not smart
wise ones fail
brag to others
biggest chumps
they laugh
gullible sheep
flock to slaughter

how why
they do it
know in heart
will fail
in time
prison calls
convince themselves
its ok
biilions born
billions die
their name
in history
no benifit
for mankind
money money
do no harm
forgot golden rule

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Season Doldrums

dog days of summer
named after star
sirius I am
summer soltice
hot times
no relief
in sight
only inside
crank ac
bill cranks too

sweat dripping
pool beckons
chores pushed aside
sound of waterfall
soothe the soul
sounds and solitude
mixed as one
splash the water
kid again
hot again
need the cold
stop the heat
cool down
bring on the winter

other world
other side
dark winter now
sun hides
and seeks
cold rain
dreary day
spirits dampen
look for light
winter soltice
please come out
and play
wind blows
not nice
collar goes up
shoulders hunch down
soon be over
warm again
bring on summer
warm me up

Monday, June 22, 2009

Pressure Of The Open

game for athletes
no 40 yard dash
strength needed
skills sharpened
how hard can
it be
hitting ball
not moving

make contact
bank it
football blitz

you and the ball
play it
where it lies
you call
cheating none
they will know
all about trust

pro know
mental crumbling
mind not sure
all have shots
must be clear
in the lead
nipping at heels
roar of crowd
here comes hero
be the one

each shot counts
not guaranteed
thursday friday
play good
or go home
slam the trunk

got the lead
its the open
I'm the man
one more shot
all my life
no doubts
sink it
at last

rush of feelings
where is loved one
shaking hands
sign the card
get the check
hoist the trophy
how it feels
winner at last

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Remembered today
thought from Kat
maybe missed
enjoyed for now
did something right
that they care
not just one day
or two

some presents
cards given
one made me laugh
one made me smile
one almost
made me cry

thoughts when young
holding hands
watching out
show them how
teach what I know
hope its enough
bumps and bruise
hugs will fix
help the hurt

try this and that
one plus one
soon they pass
grow on their own
talents hidden
rise to the surface

bigger faster stronger
maybe taller
had a part
in the making

boy friends
girl friends too
some nice
some hurt
learn to trust
deserved ones

smart in school
smart in life
no short cuts
do it right
right thing to do

almost time
leave the nest
holding breath
hand always out
help on the way

can't do it all
tried my best
be dad forever
good times
bad times
be remembered
best times


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Neighborhood Gone

families lived
the houses in a row
nobody moved
stay forever

school mates
from little
to tall
had the dream
make it big

house was home
factory work
done by all
neat and nice
pride in living
sunday car wash
wax it too
do it again
come Monday

jobs get scarce
bills pile up
all touched
where to turn
bad times coming
we closing sign
all our life
now all gone

move away
leave the house
dreams have died
banker knocks
want it back
no one home
keys on table

path of tears
leads away
family breaks
on their own
no one to care
house on fire
none to save

dust wind
blows down the street
garbage litter
at the curb
once proud people
shuffle away

grandparents warned
could happen
words so true
couldn't be right
end of the world
depression again

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Manly Art Of Shopping

buy some nuts
and bolts
tools that gleam
promise solution
new pathway
how to man
saw and hammer
noisy stuff
cut and pound
count the fingers

big box store
shines in the sun
everything needed
some to want
build it
they will come
aisles and aisles
new surprises

can I help you
too proud to ask
directions not needed
list forgotten
size I'm guessing
surprise her he will
in his mind's eye
like in the picture
mortise and tendon
rabbit and biscuit
concrete and mortar
home improvement

wait it's a grill
smell the cooking
the boy's be proud
have a cold one
ice chest full
party started

all a dream
at the store
milk and bread
diapers too
what size
who knows

paper towels
and shampoo
women stuff
one package or two
hates to shop
it's not fun
let her do it
back to his dream
she is the gatherer
he is the hunter
back in the day
he was
the man

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Social Networks Oh My!

lost contact
my space
out of touch
what's it about
I am all
a twitter

don't care
don't need
don't want
not to me
friends from school
not so nice
not needed
class reunion
miss again

real friends
I know and
care for
have my number
all others
what I do
day to day
not important
what I say
even less so

follow celebrities
millions they say
watching and waiting
one wonders for what

new social craze
like school of fish
first this away
then that
change new trend
what for tomorrow
will it end
never it seems
down the rabbit hole

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Elections Like Us

they had a vote
not quite fair
outcome in doubt
redo redo
fix is in
those in power
to stay in power

rig the outcome
the man wins
hated by many
loser revered
outcry by people
storm the streets
fight for rights

some will die
election is special
don't take away
in the news
democracy in doubt
moral outrage
what country
trample the people
Iran this time
you thought
United States
last time
it was us

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Cruel Intentions

written by winner
one would think
better job done
paint rosy picture
instead real

mean to weak
hurt and maim
can't fight back
plead to save
loved ones

women children
because they can

crush the soul
saved by none
swollen belly
desert sands
food missing
drop of water
mother wails
buzzards circle
lonely child

salvation missing
desperate times
why they do
not a right
make docile
kill them all
but a few
kind of life
think is right

millions before
death camps
rise against
try to hope
bugle cry

to the rescue
one must kill
killing to stop

Man's Best Friend

lying asleep
at the ready
for play
for a scratch
favorite snack
always looking
Lab is he
always trust

no conditions
for love
smartest he knows
out the door
game of fetch
again and again
wagging of tail
his hero

pup no longer
getting older
graybeard now
moving slower
life would give
to the end

noble beast
not to judge
love in eyes

absent from room
not from heart
hug and kiss
family member
better then most
man's best friend

Monday, June 15, 2009

What Makes A Friend

friends one makes
a new one
an old one
one better
than another

one who listens
one that knows
been there
done that

does not judge
one that does
both are good
both are needed
shoulder to cry
back to pat
what to do
must be done

feelings to share
yours and mine
strong and silent
suffer don't show
peel away pain
salve the wound

cheer on
make one laugh
to the victors
victory personal
won by two

none at all
always been there
first time now
take turns

vulnerable strong
not to judge
but to care
opinion needed
asked given
talk it through
strength in numbers

not alone
never alone
sigh of relief
withdraw the gloom
same sun
different times

ceiling floor
places traded
be there
I for you
you for me

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Baby I'm Amazed

recently awoke
music of youth
fab four
john paul
george ringo
played so much
tired of it all

forgotten lyrics
told a story
concept album
words meant
much to us
back then
another time

sullivan said
they are beatles
crying girls
hairstyle change
wear it long
pointy shoes
parents panic
what happened
rock and roll
changed forever

years have past
we now parents
elevator music
of favorite tunes
video wake up
stir the blood
this stuff is good

tickled the senses
rigby and 64
hold my hand
mystery so magical
sgt pepper too
paul is dead
music backward
was it said
I am the walrus
what does it mean
egg man baby
I'm amazed
golden medley
ticket to ride
michelle my belle
twist and shout
on my submarine

white album double
revolver rubber soul
to name a few
fields of strawberry
does dorthy know
lucy had her diamonds

cartoons in morning
get music fix
they are everywhere
didn't last
sad ending
bite of the apple

on their own
never the same
almost as good
bullet takes one
health on another
guitar gently weeps

here comes the sun
hey jude
hold my hand
always has been
long winding road
still good to me
stirred the soul
let it be

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Things That Go Boom

little boy
we did it first
the guiltless must die
asleep in their homes
angel of death

from skyward they fell
unknowing direction
kill or be killed
end the war
list is short
stop at two

120 k
died right away
generations to follow
bodies deformed
lineage uncertain

we tell others
do as we say
not as we did
we set the rules
others to follow

cat in the hat
out of the bag
pandora's box
is now open
door won't close
can't be undone

clubs knives
swords guns
cannon bullets
all kill more
race is on
winner loses
losers we all

many want might
scare the neighbors
bully pulpit
new fight
old fight
same old thing
lives in the balance
decision not theirs
self destruction
mass destruction

where will it end
no one knows
life as we know it
to be nevermore
the raven knew
he isn't telling
madman rule
the end of our time
is coming

Friday, June 12, 2009

War, what is it good for?

century of claims
arguments galore
what's mine is mine
what's yours is mine

better than you
our blood is pure
like fine wine
your ancestry in question
your peasant lines

god is against you
guiding light
convert by sword
or perish and die

contrived destruction
reason unknown
someone makes money
young men die

for or against us
no middle ground
whatever the reason
will start the war

stir up the blood
in a faraway land
too many bullets
find the mark

letter sent home
our regrets are many
your son has died
a brave solider he
cries of the mother
anguish of dad

coffin is lowered
taps is played
draped flag is folded
triangle in size
gunshots ring in the air
21 in all
a tribute to the fallen

won't be the last
many to follow
always the young
always to young

Finally, Is It, Cough, Time, To Stop Smoking?

watching when little
on the big screen
larger than life
macho men
pretty women
a spark then a light
smoke from the lips
one likes to be
just like the heroes
want to be like him

cowboys on the range
ruggedly handsome
the wild west vision
horses and cattle
night time glow
almost perfect
want to be like him

puff on the pipe
by jove I've got it
the game is a foot
come watson
want to be like him

school years beckon
all grown up
james dean look
one hangs from the lip
be like your friends
want to be like him

Bogart black and white
hat and raincoatin the shadows
roll your own
tug on the ear
oh so rugged
want to be like him

people are dying
holes in throat
lungs are blackened
can't breathe anymore
gasping for air
all a lie
image was built
cartoon and macho
trick them all
hook the children
replace the dying
tough to look cool
when you lay so still
not to be like him

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Highway Man

driving down the road
a car in trouble
forlornly lights flickered
needing of help
off to the side
kids in tow she waited

dressed to the nines
best outfit ever
someone would stop
it wouldn't be he
late for a dinner
excuses not given

driving by saw the flat
darkness was coming
no help on the way
rain started to fall

right thing to do
he knew in his mind
deep heavy sigh
he knew his task

minutes later
done with the change
covered in grease
and mud and sweat
kids in the car
the look in her eyes
a kiss on the cheek
payment enough

arrived at dinner
with a tale to tell
a hero at last
for all to know

Look In The Mirror, What Do You See?

so many failures
whom to blame
the fault of someone else
didn't try that hard
couldn't make it that way

must be the foreign ones
causing all the troubles
taking all the jobs
we don't do anyway

they have a dream
the American way
streets paved with gold
effort to succeed
will is determined
failure not an option
many are counting
on the shoulders of success
lifting all the others

generations of trying
have not lost their way
ones that are born here
elders soon forgotten
crossed the seas
with dreams of their own

heritage to be remembered
fought and died for
best stuff on earth
people that try
don't blame others
get up and go
make us proud
once again.

The language of empire. Why English will keep America's influence from waning.

Click on title for link

When an article like this pops up saying, "It's not that bad for the USA", one knows that the days of the United States as the supreme super power must be coming to an end. Unless of course, there is a reinvention of this country. But very large entities are at best difficult and cumbersome to change direction. History will judge how well we do.

The language of empire. Why English will keep America's influence from waning.

By Ali Wyne

Mon, 06/08/2009 - 6:38pm

from Foreign Policy

It's easy to be pessimistic about the United States' standing in the world these days. The financial crisis shamed Wall Street for reckless behavior at a time when China's economic clout is fast rising. Leaders at the G-20 called for a multi-polar world, even as their prescriptions looked to be self-fulfilling. Even the U.S. National Intelligence Council concluded that the United States "will be less dominant" a quarter of the way into the new century in last year's Global Trends 2025 report.

But for those who claim that the post-American world is a fait accompli, there is one big problem: The English language is winning hearts and minds faster than politics ever can. With the June 10 addition of "noob" (a pejorative description of a newcomer to a particular task or group) to its lexicon, English will boast one million words - twice as many as Cantonese, four times as many as Spanish, and 10 times as many as French. Half the world's people are projected to be speaking English by 2015. And so long as English is on track to become the world's unofficial language, the United States will likely be center stage.

The stats say it all. In mid-2007, the International Herald Tribune stated that "English is spoken in some form by three times as many nonnative speakers as native speakers." English is a first language for 400 million people, and a fluent second for between 300 and 500 million more, the IHT wrote. Add on top of that the 750 million who have studied English as a foreign language and you have well over 1 billion members of the English-speaking world. Every globally influential newspaper is either written in English or has an English-language version. The same is nearly true for science, where more than 90 percent of the world's major journals are printed in English. With all this at stake, it's no surprise that the global market for English-as-a-second-language training products and services is worth $50 billion (that's more than Lithuania's 2008 GDP).

Why the English explosion? It's all about upward mobility. In China, America's putative superpower replacement, learning English is considered a gateway to middle-class security; 300 million people speak it there, and another 350 million people speak it in India. According to a recent report by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, between 96 and 100 percent of people in China, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, and Vietnam believe children should learn English. Their goal is reflected in the more than 90 percent of Japanese elementary schools that offer English programs. Children in China start learning the language in third grade and more than 50,000 English-training centers there offer further instruction. Chris Gibson, the British Council's director for South India, aims to have every South Indian speaking it by 2010, at which point he believes that English will be a codified world language (Penguin Books' operations in India, meanwhile, are salivating at what they see as the world's fastest-growing English-language market).

Asian countries aren't alone in their anglophilia. Since 1998, Argentinean students have been required to take two hours of English per week from fourth grade through high school. That same year, Chile mandated that government-run schools begin offering English instruction starting in fifth rather than seventh grade. English is the language of choice in the classrooms of many African countries. And even continental Europe has placed growing emphasis on learning English. The Dean of MBA programs at France's ESSEC Business School, Laurent Bibard, told The New York Times that the school is adopting English because "it's the language for international teaching." English, he continued, "allows students to be able to come from anyplace in the world and for our students -- the French ones -- to go everywhere."

The trends suggest that English's influence is primed to increase in the decades ahead. Consider this forecast by the Director of Asia for the McKinsey Global Institute: "By 2100, the world will go from a 7,000-language planet to a couple of hundred languages at the most...English will be the major medium of communication in many countries and the second-most prevalent in China, Japan, Korea, and much of Africa and Latin America - as it already is in most of Europe."

Language quite literally anchors human progress - it allows children to learn, authors to write, consumers to buy, companies to produce, leaders to negotiate, people to travel, and enables just about anything else that you can imagine. Whether it's Latin during the first century or French in the 18th, great powers and global lingua francas tend to go together. So while the unipolar moment may be over, the growing influence of English will ensure that the United States doesn't fade into the sunset anytime soon.

Ali Wyne is a junior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Photo: GOH CHAI HIN/AFP/Getty Images

Monday, June 8, 2009

Who has the better health care system? Canada or the USA?

Click on the title for link

All insurances are very expensive in the United States, prescription costs are out of sight. Many people do not have insurance. You must be working where health care is offered to have any chance of insurance affordability. Illness can wipe out your life savings in an instant. There are many band-aid programs after you retire to try ease the costs that mount up as you get older.

People always fight change, scared of change. Government, business, insurance companies have the most to lose, the people have the most to gain. Please read the following!

Published on Sunday, June 7, 2009 by The Denver Post

Debunking Canadian Health Care Myths
by Rhonda Hackett

As a Canadian living in the United States for the past 17 years, I am frequently asked by Americans and Canadians alike to declare one health care system as the better one.

Often I'll avoid answering, regardless of the questioner's nationality. To choose one or the other system usually translates into a heated discussion of each one's merits, pitfalls, and an intense recitation of commonly cited statistical comparisons of the two systems.

Because if the only way we compared the two systems was with statistics, there is a clear victor. It is becoming increasingly more difficult to dispute the fact that Canada spends less money on health care to get better outcomes.

Yet, the debate rages on. Indeed, it has reached a fever pitch since President Barack Obama took office, with Americans either dreading or hoping for the dawn of a single-payer health care system. Opponents of such a system cite Canada as the best example of what not to do, while proponents laud that very same Canadian system as the answer to all of America's health care problems. Frankly, both sides often get things wrong when trotting out Canada to further their respective arguments.

As America comes to grips with the reality that changes are desperately needed within its health care infrastructure, it might prove useful to first debunk some myths about the Canadian system.

Myth: Taxes in Canada are extremely high, mostly because of national health care.

In actuality, taxes are nearly equal on both sides of the border. Overall, Canada's taxes are slightly higher than those in the U.S. However, Canadians are afforded many benefits for their tax dollars, even beyond health care (e.g., tax credits, family allowance, cheaper higher education), so the end result is a wash. At the end of the day, the average after-tax income of Canadian workers is equal to about 82 percent of their gross pay. In the U.S., that average is 81.9 percent.

Myth: Canada's health care system is a cumbersome bureaucracy.

The U.S. has the most bureaucratic health care system in the world. More than 31 percent of every dollar spent on health care in the U.S. goes to paperwork, overhead, CEO salaries, profits, etc. The provincial single-payer system in Canada operates with just a 1 percent overhead. Think about it. It is not necessary to spend a huge amount of money to decide who gets care and who doesn't when everybody is covered.

Myth: The Canadian system is significantly more expensive than that of the U.S.

Ten percent of Canada's GDP is spent on health care for 100 percent of the population. The U.S. spends 17 percent of its GDP but 15 percent of its population has no coverage whatsoever and millions of others have inadequate coverage. In essence, the U.S. system is considerably more expensive than Canada's. Part of the reason for this is uninsured and underinsured people in the U.S. still get sick and eventually seek care. People who cannot afford care wait until advanced stages of an illness to see a doctor and then do so through emergency rooms, which cost considerably more than primary care services.

What the American taxpayer may not realize is that such care costs about $45 billion per year, and someone has to pay it. This is why insurance premiums increase every year for insured patients while co-pays and deductibles also rise rapidly.

Myth: Canada's government decides who gets health care and when they get it.

While HMOs and other private medical insurers in the U.S. do indeed make such decisions, the only people in Canada to do so are physicians. In Canada, the government has absolutely no say in who gets care or how they get it. Medical decisions are left entirely up to doctors, as they should be.

There are no requirements for pre-authorization whatsoever. If your family doctor says you need an MRI, you get one. In the U.S., if an insurance administrator says you are not getting an MRI, you don't get one no matter what your doctor thinks - unless, of course, you have the money to cover the cost.

Myth: There are long waits for care, which compromise access to care.

There are no waits for urgent or primary care in Canada. There are reasonable waits for most specialists' care, and much longer waits for elective surgery. Yes, there are those instances where a patient can wait up to a month for radiation therapy for breast cancer or prostate cancer, for example. However, the wait has nothing to do with money per se, but everything to do with the lack of radiation therapists. Despite such waits, however, it is noteworthy that Canada boasts lower incident and mortality rates than the U.S. for all cancers combined, according to the U.S. Cancer Statistics Working Group and the Canadian Cancer Society. Moreover, fewer Canadians (11.3 percent) than Americans (14.4 percent) admit unmet health care needs.

Myth: Canadians are paying out of pocket to come to the U.S. for medical care.

Most patients who come from Canada to the U.S. for health care are those whose costs are covered by the Canadian governments. If a Canadian goes outside of the country to get services that are deemed medically necessary, not experimental, and are not available at home for whatever reason (e.g., shortage or absence of high tech medical equipment; a longer wait for service than is medically prudent; or lack of physician expertise), the provincial government where you live fully funds your care. Those patients who do come to the U.S. for care and pay out of pocket are those who perceive their care to be more urgent than it likely is.

Myth: Canada is a socialized health care system in which the government runs hospitals and where doctors work for the government.

Princeton University health economist Uwe Reinhardt says single-payer systems are not "socialized medicine" but "social insurance" systems because doctors work in the private sector while their pay comes from a public source. Most physicians in Canada are self-employed. They are not employees of the government nor are they accountable to the government. Doctors are accountable to their patients only. More than 90 percent of physicians in Canada are paid on a fee-for-service basis. Claims are submitted to a single provincial health care plan for reimbursement, whereas in the U.S., claims are submitted to a multitude of insurance providers. Moreover, Canadian hospitals are controlled by private boards and/or regional health authorities rather than being part of or run by the government.

Myth: There aren't enough doctors in Canada.

From a purely statistical standpoint, there are enough physicians in Canada to meet the health care needs of its people. But most doctors practice in large urban areas, leaving rural areas with bona fide shortages. This situation is no different than that being experienced in the U.S. Simply training and employing more doctors is not likely to have any significant impact on this specific problem. Whatever issues there are with having an adequate number of doctors in any one geographical area, they have nothing to do with the single-payer system.

And these are just some of the myths about the Canadian health care system. While emulating the Canadian system will likely not fix U.S. health care, it probably isn't the big bad "socialist" bogeyman it has been made out to be.

It is not a perfect system, but it has its merits. For people like my 55-year-old Aunt Betty, who has been waiting for 14 months for knee-replacement surgery due to a long history of arthritis, it is the superior system. Her $35,000-plus surgery is finally scheduled for next month. She has been in pain, and her quality of life has been compromised. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Aunt Betty - who lives on a fixed income and could never afford private health insurance, much less the cost of the surgery and requisite follow-up care - will soon sport a new, high-tech knee. Waiting 14 months for the procedure is easy when the alternative is living in pain for the rest of your life.

Rhonda Hackett of Castle Rock, Colorado is a clinical psychologist.

© 2009 The Denver Post

N. Korea Sentences 2 U.S. Journalists to 12 Years of Hard Labor

click on title for link

The Chess game has begun with Korea. They know that the United States takes sentencing of its people to provoke us, very seriously, and this is a continued escalation of hostilities between the two countries. Hard labor? Aren't the citizens of Korea under the same sentence?

From the New York Times

N. Korea Sentences 2 U.S. Journalists to 12 Years of Hard Labor


Published: June 8, 2009

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea on Monday sentenced two American journalists to 12 years of hard labor in a case widely seen as a test of how far the isolated Communist state was willing to take its confrontation with the United States.

Euna Lee, top, and Laura Ling.

The Central Court, the North’s highest court, held the trial of the two Americans, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, from Thursday to Monday and convicted them of “committing hostilities against the Korean nation and illegal entry,” the North’s official news agency, KCNA, said in a report monitored in Seoul.

Ms. Ling and Ms. Lee were detained by North Korean soldiers patrolling the border between China and North Korea on March 17.

“We are deeply concerned by the reported sentencing of the two American citizen journalists by North Korean authorities and we are engaged through all possible channels to secure their release,” Ian C. Kelly, a State Department spokesman, said in statement quoted by Reuters. “We once again urge North Korea to grant the immediate release of the two American citizen journalists on humanitarian grounds.”

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has called the charges “baseless” and the government had demanded that the North forgo the legal proceedings and release the two women.

The trial was closed to foreign observers, including diplomats from the Swedish Embassy who have met the journalists on Washington’s behalf because the United States and North Korea have no diplomatic relations.

The sentence, which cannot be appealed, came amid rising tensions between Washington and Pyongyang. Earlier Monday, North Korea threatened to retaliate with “extreme” measures if the United Nations punished it for its nuclear test last month, and Washington warned that it might try to restore the North to its list of states that sponsor terrorism, a designation that could subject the impoverished state to more financial sanctions.

“Our response would be to consider sanctions against us as a declaration of war and answer it with extreme hard-line mes,” the North Korea’s state-run newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, said in a commentary.

Ms. Ling and Ms. Lee were on a reporting assignment from Current TV, a San Francisco-based media company co-founded by Al Gore, the former vice president, when they were detained by the soldiers. The reporters were working on a report about North Korean refugees — women and children — who had fled their homeland in hopes of finding food in China.

The circumstances surrounding their capture remain unclear.

Analysts said they were pawns in a rapidly deteriorating confrontation between the United States and North Korea — a potential bargaining chip for the Pyongyang regime and a handicap for Washington in its efforts to pressure the government over its recent missile and nuclear tests.

The sentence to North Korea’s infamous prison camps came despite repeated appeals for clemency from the journalists’ families.

International human rights groups and defectors from the Communist state deplore the conditions at North Korean labor camps, where they say malnutrition, beatings and other rights abuses were rampant.

Ms. Ling is said to suffer from an ulcer and needs medication. Ms. Lee has a four-year-old daughter at home.

The sentence surprised some observers.

“They meted out a verdict somewhat harsher than I had expected. It means that North Korea doesn’t want to release them without Washington paying a price,” said Lee Woo-young, a North Korea specialist at the University of North Korea Studies in Seoul. “It sends a signal to Washington to become more active in negotiations.”

Lee Sang-hyun, an analyst at the Sejong Institute, said that North Korea would eventually free the two journalists — _ as Iran expelled Roxana Saberi, an American journalist who spent four months in an Iranian prison — but not before Washington sends a prominent envoy to Pyongyang.

Ms. Saberi was originally sentenced to eight years in prison on charges of spying for the United States but was released May 11 after an appeals court reduced her sentence to a two-year suspended sentence.

Defying not only its traditional foes — the United States, Japan and South Korea — but also its longtime ideological allies, China and Russia, North Korea launched an intermediate-range rocket on April 5 and conducted an underground nuclear test on May 25.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Are Women Smarter Than Men? This Study Confirms It! Women Everywhere Not Surprised

Click on title for link

From the BBC

Page last updated at 09:10 GMT, Sunday, 7 June 2009 10:10 UK

Students give their views on the success of women

Female students are ahead of men in almost every measure of UK university achievement, according to a report from higher education researchers.

A Higher Education Policy Institute report shows that women are more likely to get places in the top universities and go on to get better grades.

Women also outnumber men in high status subjects, such as law and medicine.

The institute's director, Bahram Bekhradnia, says the cause of this gender gap remains uncertain.

Women have been entering university in greater numbers than men in recent years - with the participation rate for young women standing at 49%, compared with 38% of young men.

'Good degrees'

The study disproves the notion that men dominate in the most highly-regarded subjects and institutions.

It found that women are taking more places at prestigious Russell Group universities and on the most sought-after courses.

It means changing a mindset that continues to see males as advantaged and females as disadvantaged... that is emphatically not the case in higher education.

Higher Education Policy Institute
The only exception is for Oxford and Cambridge, where men and women are now level.

There are also still some subject areas, such as courses related to maths, physics and technology, where men are in the majority.

But the overall picture shows a consistent trend in women substantially outnumbering men.

There are more women on part-time and full-time courses and women account for a higher proportion of younger and mature students.

In degree grades, women are more likely to gain "good degrees" - taking first class and upper seconds together - while men are more likely to gain lower seconds and thirds.

However male students still maintain a narrow lead in firsts - 13.9% to 13% of those who graduate.

According to the report, women's greater success in gaining university places and achieving better degrees extends across different social classes and ethnic groups.

Exam barrier

But finding the cause for this is less straightforward.

"We just don't know," said Mr Bekhradnia.

The success of female students is a global trend
The introduction of GCSEs in the late 1980s coincided with the time that girls began to overtake boys in academic achievement.

However the report also shows that the greater success of women in education is a global pattern - suggesting it is more than the local circumstances of particular types of exam.

Another factor suggested in the gender gap is that boys' academic performance is weakening as much as girls' is improving.

A science test taken by 11 and 12-year-olds in the mid-1970s had been successfully passed by 54% of boys and 27% of girls.

Outreach programmes such as Aimhigher seek to engage and inspire young boys to go to university

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills spokesman
When the same test was taken in 2003, the scores for both boys and girls had fallen to 17% - a much more rapid decline for boys.

While young women have been entering university in greater numbers and achieving academic success, too many young men have been underperforming, suggests the report.

And while there is still a "mindset that continues to see males as advantaged and females as disadvantaged... that is emphatically not the case in higher education".

In response to the report, a spokesman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, said: "This government is committed to ensuring that everyone with talent and ability to succeed should be given the opportunity to do so whatever their background, gender or race.

"It is essential that we continue to tackle differences in aspirations, which is why outreach programmes such as Aimhigher seek to engage and inspire young boys to go to university through targeted activity around sport, science and music."

Saturday, June 6, 2009

3 Billion Go To Bed Hungry, 3 Billion Go To Bed Looking For Love

to have love
to lose love
like grasping at the fog
to find a kindered spirit
out of reach
out of mind

the comfort of years later
never to be shared
the laughter
the cries
footpath for two
walked as one

words can be hollow
when they can't be heard
words dance in your head
somebody's love song
better than yours

what is meant to be
no truer words
heavy heart to be lighter
journey without end
hand in hand
what is meant to be

Friday, June 5, 2009

Susan Boyle Is A Real Winner!

Susan Boyle is a real winner in my eyes. She vaulted into the limelight which captured the world's heart and mind. But like anything else, people became critical of her new found fame.

Instead of concentrating on her voice, they didn't like her looks or the way she dressed, where she lived, her love life , etc.

Which one of us wouldn't have changed, overwhelmed by the new found fame that this competition had given her. She became a curiosity, showing up on the top TV shows around the world. Demands on her time and the notoriety had drove her to the point of exhaustion.

So she came in second after all, runner up in this talent competion. I honestly don't know who won, but in this case it doesn't matter.

Susan Boyle, you won our hearts and for that, there is no second place.

How Many Balloons Would It Take To Lift a House?

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How Many Balloons Would It Take To Lift a House?

The physics of Pixar's Up.

By Nina Shen Rastogi

In the new Pixar film Up, a crotchety old man named Carl ties thousands of balloons to his house and proceeds on an awesome flying adventure to South America. This left several Explainer readers wondering: Just how many balloons would it take to lift a house?

Between 100,000 and 23.5 million. The lower figure comes from the Wired Science blog, which took a crack at the calculation last week. After consulting with a house mover, Wired estimated that Carl's home in Up would be about 100,000 pounds. (Most houses weigh between 80,000 and 160,000 pounds.) Given that 1 cubic foot of helium can lift 0.067 pounds, it would take 1,492,537 cubic feet of helium to lift the house—or about as much as would be contained in 105,854 balloons, each 3 feet in diameter.

This figure doesn't account for the weight of the balloons themselves, however. A 3-foot latex balloon—which is bigger than your average party balloon but smaller than the ones used in the extreme sport of cluster ballooning—might weigh about 1 ounce. So 105,854 of them would add 6,615 pounds to the weight of the house. The weight of the strings also needs to be taken into account. (A Wired Science commenter estimates that "non-optimal rigging" would require about 1,800 pounds of rope.) The Wired piece noted that it would take more balloons to lift Carl's house above the cloud cover, but according to experienced cluster balloonists, that's not necessarily true. If the balloons are made out of an elastic material like latex and haven't been fully inflated beforehand, they'll expand as they rise into the thinner atmosphere, which should keep the house rising steadily.

If Carl were trying to use regular old party balloons to fly his house, he'd need a whole lot more. A typical party balloon—11 inches in diameter, with 26 inches of curling ribbon—can lift 4.8 grams, or about 0.17 ounces. Assuming these flimsier balloons could withstand the strain—and not counting the extra string that would be involved—it would take more than 9.4 million balloons to lift Carl's house.

Meanwhile, Up co-director Pete Docter recently told Ballooning magazine that technicians at Pixar estimated it would take 23.5 million party balloons to lift a 1,800-square-foot house like Carl's, though it's unclear exactly what size balloon they were using to make their calculations. (In the film, the animators used 20,622 balloons for the liftoff sequence, but most of the other floating scenes have just 10,297.)

These figures all assume that Carl's house is simply being lifted off the ground. In the movie, however, Carl's house rips free from its foundation, which would likely require a dramatic increase in the number of balloons needed. (Consider that in a storm situation, shifting a house clean off its foundation requires wind speeds of around 120 mph, which is what you'd find in a Category 3 hurricane.) Plus, if the cluster were big enough to have that much lifting force, the house wouldn't leisurely float away after being unmoored, as it does in the film—it would shoot off like a rocket. Another physicist has taken issue with the manner in which the balloons were deployed in the film, noting that Carl didn't seem to have factored in the need for an anchor to keep the house weighed down until he was ready to unleash his balloons.

Bonus Explainer: Is it legal to set off in a flying house? Not without the proper certification. Most cluster-balloon systems, which carry a solo flier in a harness or chair, are considered ultralight vehicles, like hang gliders or para-gliders. Under Federal Aircraft Regulations, the pilots of these vehicles must follow certain rules, such as flying only during daylight hours and staying out of particular airspaces. But Carl's house would clearly surpass the 155-pound cutoff for unpowered ultralight vehicles, which means he'd need to have his house certified as an airworthy experimental aircraft by the Federal Aviation Administration. Inspectors would probably use guidelines designed for "manned free balloons" to determine whether Carl's house was safe for American skies.

Posted Thursday, June 4, 2009, at 6:35 PM ET

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The 'New GM': Layoffs, Factory Closing, and Offshoring

click on title for link

If you think the new GM will fix all the past problems and move swiftly and painlessly into the new era, think again.
Please read the following.

The 'New GM': Layoffs, Factory Closing, and Offshoring
by John Nichols
Published on Tuesday, June 2, 2009 by The Nation

The trouble with the whole "Nixon goes to China" theory -- which is grounded in the calculus that big progress is made when a politician goes against type to address a seemingly intractable challenge -- is that sometimes the "bold" gesture is really just more of the same.

This is an important reality to recognize as the major media in the United States begins to play up the reshaping of General Motors by the Obama administration's auto-industry task force as a courageous or groundbreaking "new" initiative to "save" domestic automaking.

It's not.

The GM bankruptcy and bailout is the continuation of post-industrial policies of the Clinton and Bush years. Those policies, which encouraged companies to shutter factories in the US and move operations to foreign countries with lower wages and weaker regulations, were defined by Wall Street rather than Main Street. The model of a "healthy" American company was defined by stock and bond speculators, who rewarded short-term thinking and brutal cost-cutting, even if these strategies resulted in the loss of millions of jobs, the closing of hundreds of functional factories and the deindustrialization of communities, regions and whole states that had once been among the most productive in the world.

Nothing about the old way of doing business made sense, and it made a wreck of GM. After decades of closing factories, laying off workers and shifting production overseas, the company now finds itself with $172.8 billion in debt.

It would make sense to change course, radically.

But the Obama administration is not doing anything radical.

Rather, it wants to create a "New GM" that stays the course of the old GM.

If all goes according to plan, the "New GM" will close down as many as 20 factories in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Delaware. Additional plants in Tennessee and Michigan will be put on "standby," for probable closing. At least 21,000 family-supporting jobs will be lost, as the corporation shifts production to new facilities in China and other foreign countries. Those cuts come on the heels of GM factory closings last year that cost tens of thousands of jobs and shattered communities across the Great Lakes states just as the downturn was developing into a deep recession.

This massive de-industrialization plan -- with its rapid offshoring of work once done in the United States -- will be paid for by the federal government.

It will cost US taxpayers a great deal to eliminate this many US jobs -- Washington has already handed GM $20 billion and is expected to shift another $30 billion into the coffers of the corporation. "Whether that investment will ever be recovered is still an open question," suggests the New York Times report.

So what should taxpayers make of a scheme to risk $50 billion on a project to layoff US workers, close US factories and shift work overseas in order to satisfy speculators who continue to reward only race-to-the-bottom strategies?

The Times suggests that we ought to be impressed with the "Nixon-goes-to-China" courage being displayed by the president and his auto-industry task force. "The company will also have to shed 21,000 union workers and close 12 to 20 factories, steps that most analysts thought could never be pushed through by a Democratic president allied with organized labor," the paper chirps on its front page.

Spare us.

It takes very little courage for a Democratic president to side with multinational corporations, in the same way that his Democratic and Republican predecessors have.

Courage involves breaking pattern and doing something bold, like recognizing that the United States needs a manufacturing sector and making a commitment to modernizing basic industries and keeping skilled workers on the job. This is not a rejection of globalization; rather, it is an embrace of the future that says the US chooses to compete rather than give up.

An investment of $50 billion in federal money to close 20 major factories and shed 21,000 jobs is not a plan to "save," let alone revitalize, manufacturing in this country. It is an abandonment workers and communities that speeds up the de-industrialization of the United States. And it encourages GM executives -- be they "old" or "new" -- to be more concerned about the company's stock value than the adoption of smart long-term strategies.

© 2009 The Nation
John Nichols is Washington correspondent for The Nation and associate editor of The Capital Times in Madison, Wisconsin. A co-founder of the media reform organization Free Press, Nichols is is co-author with Robert W. McChesney of Tragedy & Farce: How the American Media Sell Wars, Spin Elections, and Destroy Democracy - from The New Press. Nichols' latest book is The Genius of Impeachment: The Founders' Cure for Royalism.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I Don't Have Time To Be Tired And Stressed Out!

Sometimes life gets in the way of life. You try to accomplish many things and maybe get nothing done. Add in a lifestyle change of losing some extra pounds, being creative, and a new position at work that I am trying to learn, and you get the idea.

Retail in this case means strange working hours and strange days off from work. There is a constant pull from many directions, from customers, vendors and different parts of management all at once, plus riding herd on a few talented sales people to keep on the course of the expectations of great customer service.

I know that it will all work out for me because I am focused on the end result, but getting everything the way I want and they want and do it without thinking about it will take some time.

It good to stretch once in awhile, and try something out of my comfort range, at least that is what I say now.

And then I have this idea of starting a new blog. Time for a cold beer. Meet you at the 19th hole!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Goodbye, GM, from Michael Moore

An open letter from Michael Moore

Goodbye, GM
by Michael Moore
June 1, 2009
I write this on the morning of the end of the once-mighty General Motors. By high noon, the President of the United States will have made it official: General Motors, as we know it, has been totaled.
As I sit here in GM's birthplace, Flint, Michigan, I am surrounded by friends and family who are filled with anxiety about what will happen to them and to the town. Forty percent of the homes and businesses in the city have been abandoned. Imagine what it would be like if you lived in a city where almost every other house is empty. What would be your state of mind?
It is with sad irony that the company which invented "planned obsolescence" -- the decision to build cars that would fall apart after a few years so that the customer would then have to buy a new one -- has now made itself obsolete. It refused to build automobiles that the public wanted, cars that got great gas mileage, were as safe as they could be, and were exceedingly comfortable to drive. Oh -- and that wouldn't start falling apart after two years. GM stubbornly fought environmental and safety regulations. Its executives arrogantly ignored the "inferior" Japanese and German cars, cars which would become the gold standard for automobile buyers. And it was hell-bent on punishing its unionized workforce, lopping off thousands of workers for no good reason other than to "improve" the short-term bottom line of the corporation. Beginning in the 1980s, when GM was posting record profits, it moved countless jobs to Mexico and elsewhere, thus destroying the lives of tens of thousands of hard-working Americans. The glaring stupidity of this policy was that, when they eliminated the income of so many middle class families, who did they think was going to be able to afford to buy their cars? History will record this blunder in the same way it now writes about the French building the Maginot Line or how the Romans cluelessly poisoned their own water system with lethal lead in its pipes.
So here we are at the deathbed of General Motors. The company's body not yet cold, and I find myself filled with -- dare I say it -- joy. It is not the joy of revenge against a corporation that ruined my hometown and brought misery, divorce, alcoholism, homelessness, physical and mental debilitation, and drug addiction to the people I grew up with. Nor do I, obviously, claim any joy in knowing that 21,000 more GM workers will be told that they, too, are without a job.
But you and I and the rest of America now own a car company! I know, I know -- who on earth wants to run a car company? Who among us wants $50 billion of our tax dollars thrown down the rat hole of still trying to save GM? Let's be clear about this: The only way to save GM is to kill GM. Saving our precious industrial infrastructure, though, is another matter and must be a top priority. If we allow the shutting down and tearing down of our auto plants, we will sorely wish we still had them when we realize that those factories could have built the alternative energy systems we now desperately need. And when we realize that the best way to transport ourselves is on light rail and bullet trains and cleaner buses, how will we do this if we've allowed our industrial capacity and its skilled workforce to disappear?
Thus, as GM is "reorganized" by the federal government and the bankruptcy court, here is the plan I am asking President Obama to implement for the good of the workers, the GM communities, and the nation as a whole. Twenty years ago when I made "Roger & Me," I tried to warn people about what was ahead for General Motors. Had the power structure and the punditocracy listened, maybe much of this could have been avoided. Based on my track record, I request an honest and sincere consideration of the following suggestions:
1. Just as President Roosevelt did after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the President must tell the nation that we are at war and we must immediately convert our auto factories to factories that build mass transit vehicles and alternative energy devices. Within months in Flint in 1942, GM halted all car production and immediately used the assembly lines to build planes, tanks and machine guns. The conversion took no time at all. Everyone pitched in. The fascists were defeated.
We are now in a different kind of war -- a war that we have conducted against the ecosystem and has been conducted by our very own corporate leaders. This current war has two fronts. One is headquartered in Detroit. The products built in the factories of GM, Ford and Chrysler are some of the greatest weapons of mass destruction responsible for global warming and the melting of our polar icecaps. The things we call "cars" may have been fun to drive, but they are like a million daggers into the heart of Mother Nature. To continue to build them would only lead to the ruin of our species and much of the planet.
The other front in this war is being waged by the oil companies against you and me. They are committed to fleecing us whenever they can, and they have been reckless stewards of the finite amount of oil that is located under the surface of the earth. They know they are sucking it bone dry. And like the lumber tycoons of the early 20th century who didn't give a damn about future generations as they tore down every forest they could get their hands on, these oil barons are not telling the public what they know to be true -- that there are only a few more decades of useable oil on this planet. And as the end days of oil approach us, get ready for some very desperate people willing to kill and be killed just to get their hands on a gallon can of gasoline.
President Obama, now that he has taken control of GM, needs to convert the factories to new and needed uses immediately.
2. Don't put another $30 billion into the coffers of GM to build cars. Instead, use that money to keep the current workforce -- and most of those who have been laid off -- employed so that they can build the new modes of 21st century transportation. Let them start the conversion work now.
3. Announce that we will have bullet trains criss-crossing this country in the next five years. Japan is celebrating the 45th anniversary of its first bullet train this year. Now they have dozens of them. Average speed: 165 mph. Average time a train is late: under 30 seconds. They have had these high speed trains for nearly five decades -- and we don't even have one! The fact that the technology already exists for us to go from New York to L.A. in 17 hours by train, and that we haven't used it, is criminal. Let's hire the unemployed to build the new high speed lines all over the country. Chicago to Detroit in less than two hours. Miami to DC in under 7 hours. Denver to Dallas in five and a half. This can be done and done now.
4. Initiate a program to put light rail mass transit lines in all our large and medium-sized cities. Build those trains in the GM factories. And hire local people everywhere to install and run this system.
5. For people in rural areas not served by the train lines, have the GM plants produce energy efficient clean buses.
6. For the time being, have some factories build hybrid or all-electric cars (and batteries). It will take a few years for people to get used to the new ways to transport ourselves, so if we're going to have automobiles, let's have kinder, gentler ones. We can be building these next month (do not believe anyone who tells you it will take years to retool the factories -- that simply isn't true).
7. Transform some of the empty GM factories to facilities that build windmills, solar panels and other means of alternate forms of energy. We need tens of millions of solar panels right now. And there is an eager and skilled workforce who can build them.
8. Provide tax incentives for those who travel by hybrid car or bus or train. Also, credits for those who convert their home to alternative energy.
9. To help pay for this, impose a two-dollar tax on every gallon of gasoline. This will get people to switch to more energy saving cars or to use the new rail lines and rail cars the former autoworkers have built for them.
Well, that's a start. Please, please, please don't save GM so that a smaller version of it will simply do nothing more than build Chevys or Cadillacs. This is not a long-term solution. Don't throw bad money into a company whose tailpipe is malfunctioning, causing a strange odor to fill the car.
100 years ago this year, the founders of General Motors convinced the world to give up their horses and saddles and buggy whips to try a new form of transportation. Now it is time for us to say goodbye to the internal combustion engine. It seemed to serve us well for so long. We enjoyed the car hops at the A&W. We made out in the front -- and the back -- seat. We watched movies on large outdoor screens, went to the races at NASCAR tracks across the country, and saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time through the window down Hwy. 1. And now it's over. It's a new day and a new century. The President -- and the UAW -- must seize this moment and create a big batch of lemonade from this very sour and sad lemon.
Yesterday, the last surviving person from the Titanic disaster passed away. She escaped certain death that night and went on to live another 97 years.
So can we survive our own Titanic in all the Flint Michigans of this country. 60% of GM is ours. I think we can do a better job.
Michael Moore


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