Monday, January 31, 2011

Al Jazeera English: Live Stream

The Al Jazeera English's live coverage of the turmoil in Egypt is unmatched by any other outlet. Click here to go to their website.

From US News Source

Study Confirms Broccoli and other Vegetables Prevent Cancer

January 30, 2011 by Bruce Wilson 13 Comments

 Broccoli and other vegetables are extremely healthy and have the ability to fight cancer. They contain antioxidants among other health benefits. For the first time, researchers have discovered how vegetables are blocking the genes that cause cancer. The result of the study has been published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.

To get maximum benefit, it is imperative that broccoli is cooked the right way. Broccoli has to be steamed lightly, in order to have the cancer-preventive component, sulforaphane, present in it. Too many people are overcooking the broccoli, which is destroying the enzyme myrosinaise, and losing its efficiency. Combining the powder supplement with broccoli sprouts maximizes the benefits and makes it twice as efficient to fight cancer. While broccoli sprouts contain a lot of myrosinase, the powder supplement carries the precursor to sulforaphane.

Scientists examined the metabolites in plasma and urine in four men after they had eaten four meals of only broccoli sprouts, then powder supplements only and finally a combination of both. Three hours after consumption, the effect of the broccoli sprouts and the powder supplements was showing, with an increase of sulforaphane absorption, while a combination of both showed plasma and urine metabolites much earlier and at much higher levels than when either was consumed separately.

Other foods that increase health benefits in combination with broccoli are mustard, radishes, arugula and wasabi.

The study was conducted by a team of scientists led by Jenna Cramer from the University of Illinois. Based on the new information, scientists are optimistic about the development of new drugs to treat cancer.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

From A Friend

Are any of these images moving? Or are they perfectly still?

One teacher said, "I felt like they were all moving . . . but slowly. Kind of like, they were breathing."

Supposedly these images are used to test the level of stress a person can handle.

The slower the images move, the better your ability of handling stress.

Criminals that were tested see them spinning around madly; however senior citizens and kids see them standing still.

None of these images are animated – they are perfectly still.

Friday, January 28, 2011

From The DailyShow (A Must See)

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Bill O'Reilly Defends His Nazi Analogies
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

Stewart plays a clip of O'Reilly calling "the DailyKos" a Nazi hate site based on (get this) some random deleted comments by viewers. Stewart  points out that Fox's own website contains comments that are as vile, if not more vile, as the ones O'Reilly calls Nazi-like – except at Fox, the comments were never deleted as they were on DailyKos.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Winter Photos

Frédéric CHOPIN: Nocturne in C-sharp Minor (Op. Posth.)


From The White House

The 2011 State of the Union Address: Enhanced Version

January 25, 2011 | 1:07:30 | Public Domain

President Obama speaks about moving forward to create jobs, out-compete in the global economy by investing in innovation and education, and win the future for our children and our country. This enhanced version features charts, graphs and other visual aids that accompany the President's speech.

A Palette Knife

Melinda Matyas is a Hungarian living in Romania who studied painting at the University of Art and Design Cluj-Napoca (2006-2009) and mural painting at Byzantine Art Bucharest (2002-2007).

I highly recommend visiting her site

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

An Astonishing Twist of Fate

By Dee Newman

Just northeast of the California Pacific Medical Center on Castro Street in San Francisco is Duboce Park. Years ago in 1996 while my friend Jennifer was undergoing a routine physical examination at the medical center, I walked over to the park to read a book.

As I enter the park from Duboce Avenue I began looking for a place to plop down. My eyes were immediately drawn to a bench on the high west end of the park that offered an exceptional view of the commons and the surrounding neighborhood. Unfortunately, the bench was occupied.

I reluctantly chose another spot nearby that provided only an adequate view. Periodically, as I sat there reading I would look up to see if the preferred bench was still in use. Eventually, the young woman and her child who had been sitting there since I arrived stood up to leave.

I quickly marked the page I was reading with a piece of paper and headed towards the bench. As I was sitting down, I noticed on the bench beneath me an astonishing twist of fate. I immediately jumped up.

There, carved into the bench where I had just sat down was my name – DEE.

If you would like to read other slices of my life click here.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

From Robert Reich's Blog

The State of the Union: What the President Should Say
Sunday, January 23, 2011

The President will have to devote a big part of his speech to the economy, but which economy? Corporate profits are up but jobs and wages remain in the doldrums. People with lots of financial assets, or who are deemed “talent” by large corporations, are enjoying a solid recovery. But most Americans continue to struggle.

In order for the public to understand what must be done, the President has to be clear about what has happened and why. Corporations are profiting from sales of their foreign operations, especially in China and India. Here at home, they’re catering to rich Americans. But an important key to their profits is their reduced costs, especially payrolls. The result has been fewer jobs and lower pay.

The Great Recession accelerated trends starting three decades ago — outsourcing abroad, automating work, converting full-time jobs to temps and contracts, undermining unions, and getting wage and benefit concessions from remaining workers. The Internet and software have made all this easier.

He should point out that the U.S. economy is now twice as large as it was in 1980 but the real median wage has barely budged. Most of the benefits of economic growth have gone to the top. In the late 1970s, the richest 1 percent of Americans got about 9 percent of total income. By the start of the Great Recession they received more than 23 percent. Wealth is even more concentrated.

This is the heart of our problem. Most Americans no longer have the purchasing power to get the economy moving again. Once the debt bubble burst, they were stranded.

The President should make it clear corporations aren’t to blame. After all, they’re designed to make profits. Nor is it the fault of the rich who have played by the rules. The problem is the rules need fixing. He should stress that a future with no jobs or lousy jobs for most Americans is not sustainable - not even for American corporations, whose long-term profitability depends on the revival of broad-based domestic demand. (Watch out for the upcoming “correction.”)

The solution is to give average Americans a better economic deal.

For starters, he should propose to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (essentially, a wage subsidy) all the way up through the middle class. And he should make the tax system more progressive: The rate on the first $50,000 to $90,000 of income should be cut to 10 percent; the next $90,000 to $150,000, 20 percent; and the next $150,000 to $250,000, 30 percent. Make up the revenue by increasing taxes on the next $250,000 to $500,000, to 40 percent; from $500,000 to $5 million, to 50 percent; and anything over $5 million, 60 percent. Tax capital gains the same as ordinary income.

In addition, he should call for strengthening unions by increasing penalties on employers who illegally deter them.

He will have to call for reducing the long-term budget deficit, but must make sure to distinguish between public investments that build future productivity (education, infrastructure, and basic R&D) and expenditures that improve our lives or keep us safe today. The former — essentially the nation’s “capital expenditures” — shouldn’t be cut at all. Indeed, they should be substantially increased. A “capital budget” separate from the regular federal budget would help draw this fundamental distinction.

Finally, he should recommend that Congress make college affordable by allowing federal loans to be repaid as 10 percent of earnings for the first 10 years of full-time employment.

Importantly, he should make it clear this isn’t redistribution. These measures would be good for everyone. Rich Americans will do better with smaller share of a rapidly-growing economy than a large share of one that remains in a deep hole.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

From Salon (A Must Read)

The Vindication of Dick Cheney

The vindication of Dick Cheney
(updated below - Update II - Update III)
In the early months of Obama's presidency, the American Right did to him what they do to every Democratic politician:  they accused him of being soft on defense (specifically "soft on Terror") and leaving the nation weak and vulnerable to attack.  But that tactic quickly became untenable as everyone (other than his hardest-core followers) was forced to acknowledge that Obama was embracing and even expanding -- rather than reversing -- the core Bush/Cheney approach to Terrorism.  As a result, leading right-wing figures began lavishing Obama with praise -- and claiming vindication -- based on Obama's switch from harsh critic of those policies (as a candidate) to their leading advocate (once in power).

To read the entire article click here.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Keith's Final Countdown

We will miss him!

Update from TMZ

Keith Olbermann -- Fired By MSNBC

Keith Olbermann was fired by MSNBC sources tell TMZ, and we're told it had everything to do with Comcast's acquisition of NBC.

Sources connected with the network tell us ... Comcast honchos did not like Keith's defiance and the way he played in the sandbox.

Our sources say Keith has around two years left on his contract, and he'll be paid his salary -- around $7 million a year.

We don't know if Comcast will let Keith make a deal with another network as part of an exit agreement, but it's a good bet he'll be benched for a minimum of 6 months, and probably longer.

Good News!

The TWRC's Wildlife Management Committee met yesterday. According to those who were there the presentations were impressive. As expected Melinda Welton covered the issues extremely well. Chris Sloan, Jan Shaw, Cyndi  Routledge, Vickie Henderson and others added very effective comments. When the vote was taken the Committee recommended that the hunting of Sandhill Cranes be put on hold for two years until more information could be gathered about the Sandhill Crane population.

The final decision was scheduled to be made this morning by the full Commission. It has been report that the full Commission voted to accept the recommendation of the Wildlife Committee's vote yesterday and postpone decision on the Proposed Sandhill Crane Hunt for 2 years.


To all of you who sent in comments to TWRA and the commissioners, who gave presentations and/or showed up at the meetings yesterday and today – the Cranes thank you. Personally, I would like to thank Melinda Welton who got me involved. She did a tremendous amount of research on Sandhill Cranes and kept everybody informed in the birding community. She also met with TWRA commissioners both here and at the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge during the Crane Days Festival. Her tireless work should not go unrecognized.

Thank you, Melinda.

Now, it is time for all of us to contact the TWRA and TWRC and thank them for their good judgment and good work on behalf of the Cranes and the management of all wildlife here in the state of Tennessee.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Political Verse (from April 24, 2009)

A response to the previous post

Truth, Justice and the American Way

Political Verse
by Dee Newman

Our often-proclaimed arrogant belief
That the United States is the greatest
Nation in the world is one of the chief
Reasons why so many people hate us.

Given our history of discrimination
And that our journey toward justice for all
Remains an unfulfilled aspiration,
The truth is – we’re not that exceptional.

When our fears corrupt what we aim to be
And our means are justified by the end,
We often surrender what we claim to be
Fighting so hard to protect and defend.

Once interrogation techniques were "enhanced"
And torture deemed an acceptable tool
Within an exceptional circumstance,
The exception, once more, became the rule.

Truth, justice and the American way
Are all equally beckoning us toward
A real reckoning for all those who may
Have not, as yet, received their just reward.

Click here to read my first political verse on torture.
Or here to read another.

From Harper's

Australia Opens Probe of CIA Rendition

By Scott Horton

Mamdouh Habib, an Egyptian-born Australian citizen, traveled to Pakistan in 2001, seeking work and religious schooling for his children. On October 5, 2001, he was arrested by Pakistani police while traveling by bus to Karachi. After several months of interrogation, he was sent to Egypt for five months, where he says he was subjected to intense torture including being shocked with high-voltage wires, hung from metal hooks on walls, and beaten. From Egypt he was transported to Guantánamo where he became prisoner No. 661. He was accused by U.S. authorities of having been in Afghanistan and having had advance knowledge of the September 11 attacks. American authorities subsequently conceded, however, that they had no evidence to support these accusations. The Australian government agreed to Habib’s return, and on January 28, 2005, he was returned and became a free man.

Now Australian authorities announce that they believe that Habib’s claims of torture at the hands of Egyptian police are credible and that Habib was transferred to Egypt from Pakistan through a CIA renditions process. They also state that Australian intelligence figures might have been complicit in the rendition to torture and may have been present or close by as he was tortured.

The Australian reports:
[Prime Minister] Julia Gillard requested the new probe [by the Inspector General of Security and Intelligence] amid dramatic claims of Australian government complicity in his 2001 CIA rendition to Egypt, where he was detained and tortured. The investigation follows a secret compensation payout made by the federal government to Mr Habib in December, apparently triggered by untested witness statements implicating Australian officials in his detention and brutal maltreatment in a Cairo military prison.

The new evidence, not previously made public, includes a statement from a former Egyptian military intelligence officer that he was present when Mr Habib was transferred to Cairo in November 2001. In the statement, tendered as part of Mr Habib’s civil case against the commonwealth, the officer says Australian officials were present when Mr Habib arrived in Egypt, handcuffed, with his feet bound, naked and apparently drugged.
Although Australian intelligence officials have consistently maintained that they knew nothing about Habib’s mistreatment in Egypt, their accounts have now been directly contradicted by eyewitness testimony. The evidence was so strong that the Australian Attorney General accepted mediation and agreed to a substantial government settlement on civil claims arising from his torture in Egypt.

The inspector general’s probe is designed to explore more fully the role that Australian intelligence officers played in the rendition and torture and to decide whether a formal criminal probe and prosecutions are appropriate.

With Gillard’s announcement, Australia now joins Britain, Germany, Poland, Spain, and Italy among the nations now conducting formal investigations into CIA renditions operations on their soil or involving their government personnel. Torture allegations figure prominently in each case.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Cherokee-Crane Days Festival (More Photos)

I arrived at the bluffs at the Cherokee Removal Memorial Park viewing area in Meigs County around noon on Saturday. A friend, Melinda Welton (an extremely knowledgeable ornithologist and long-time Tennessee Ornithological Society member, as well as, a highly regarded Tennessee conservationist), was there with her spotting scope. Melinda has been spearheading efforts to help educate the public about TWRA’s proposal to change the status of the Sandhill Crane to a “game bird” in Tennessee.
Later I drove over to the TWRA viewing area about a mile up the Hiwassee River. Much of the water visible there was frozen; as a result, there were very few ducks around to be seen. The field west of the viewing area and the field across the river did have thousands of cranes. I spotted a few Canada Geese, a Great Blue Heron, and took a photo of two Ross's Geese in flight (see previous post) with some Sandhill cranes. I saw four Bald Eagles (two of which were immature) in the distance and two immature Red-shouldered Hawks – all were too far away to take a decent photograph of them.

I then drove around and across the Hwy 58 Bridge to the other side of the Hiwassee River where I was able to walk to the edge of a field with thousands of Sandhill Cranes. On my way back I took a photo of a Northern Harrier that flew across the road nearly at eye level no more than ten yards from my car.

When I returned to the TWRA viewing area it was late in the day. After spending a couple hours there, I decided it was time to find lodging for the night.

Early the next mourning I drove to the end of old Blythe Ferry Road on the west side of the Tennessee River. I spent a couple hours there taking photos of several hundred Sandhill Cranes that had congregated along a backwater area for the night. Later I would learn from Cyndi Routledge that a Whooping Crane was spotted during that time on Hiwassee Island from the bluff viewing area at the Cherokee Removal Memorial Park. Cyndi was able to take some magnificent shots of this highly endangered bird.

Returning to the TWRA viewing area across the Tennessee and along the Hiwassee, I crossed paths with Melinda Welton again. She was there allowing visitors to view cranes and other waterfowl with her scope. Melinda informed me that she had an extra ticket for a boat tour at 1:00pm that would take us around Hiwassee Island.

She introduced me to David Trintly and Mike Nelson (both are expert birders) from Knoxville, informing me that they too would be going on the boat tour along with Cyndi and Steve Routledge from Clarksville.

At noon we headed for the boat dock at Sale Creek (Hamilton County). We boarded the Blue Moon for our river tour. I would highly recommend taking the cruise! The Blue Moon Cruise tours will continue until February 26. Click here for more information.

The boat is very large with an upper deck. You may choose to view the scenery and birds from inside or outside. There are two naturalists on board who are very familiar with the area and are able to spot and identify the numerous birds you will see.

One of the highlights of the trip was the Bald Eagle count. We saw at least 28 Bald Eagles – 7 adults and 21 immature eagles . 
After heading North up the Tennessee, we turned east and went up the Hiwassee River as far as the Hwy 58 Bridge. It was there with the aid of binoculars we were able to see the white crown of a mature Bald Eagle sitting on a nest in a tree on the north side of the Hiwassee River.

During the trip we saw thousands of Sandhill Cranes (8-10 thousand), several thousand Mallards around the island, a lot of pairs of Bufflehead, a very dark Peregrine Falcon, some Herons, Cormarants and a Mute Swan.

Here is a list of birds we saw compiled by David Trintly: 

Canada Goose
Mute Swan
American Black Duck
Green-winged Teal
Canvasback - 39
Ring-necked Duck
Hooded Merganser
Pied-billed Grebe
Horned Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle - 28 imm - 7 ad
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Peregrine Falcon
American Coot
Sandhill Crane
Ring-billed Gull
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Blue Jay
American Crow
Carolina Chickadee
Carolina Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet
American Robin
Eastern Towhee
Northern Cardinal

Very Important Meeting

This Thursday (January the 20th) the Wildlife Committee of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission (TWRC) will vote on their recommendations concerning whether Tennessee should initiate a hunting season on Sandhill Cranes in the winter of 2011/12.

The Committee's recommendations will most likely determine the outcome of the full Commission vote on January  21st.

The Tennessee Ornithological Society (TOS)  believes that "the fall arrival and over-wintering of tens of thousands of Sandhill Cranes in Tennessee should be celebrated as a wildlife spectacle and a Watchable Wildlife viewing  opportunity.”

Please plan to attend the TWRC  Wildlife Committee meeting at TWRA at 1:00pm in Nashville on Thursday at the Region II Ray Bell Office Building, 5105 Edmondson Pike  37211 on the Ellington Ag Center campus.

A large number of hunters and their supporters are expected to attend this meeting. We need a large turn out to show the Commission that there is serious opposition to making the Sandhill Crane a "game bird."


From I-65 south of downtown Nashville, take the  Harding Place exit (78-A) and go east.  Just past the railroad  overpass, turn right (south) at the light onto Trousdale Drive.  Stay on  Trousdale until you come to a 4-way stop at Hogan Road.  Turn left onto Hogan  and continue to a "T" intersection at Marchant Drive.  Instead of going  through the Ellington gates here, turn right onto Marchant and follow it through  the center to a 3-way stop. Turn left and the Region II Office Building will be the first building on the right, the one with the bright green  roof.

If you're coming from Edmondson Pike on the east side of Ellington,  after coming through the gates of Ellington and getting to the 3-way stop, go straight, and the Region II office will be the first building on the  right.