Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Best news yet. Children need peace and a safe place to play.

Opening up the visit to Russia provided the Opposition Group with an understanding an end to the violence was in sight. I hope this was a turning point. I hope this breaks the stalemate.

MOSCOW, February 4 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s foreign minister (click here) met with the head of the main Western-backed Syrian opposition group in exile who arrived in Moscow on Tuesday after weeks of delays.

Sergei Lavrov told Syrian National Coalition head Ahmad Jarba and other coalition members that Syrians should be allowed to search for a peaceful solution to the ongoing civil war without any outside pressure.

He also called for the full implementation of a 2012 Geneva communique that stipulates anti-terrorism efforts, a ceasefire, unimpeded humanitarian aid and exchanging prisoners.

The sides also discussed the first round of reconciliation talks that ended in Geneva last week.

“Jarba reconfirmed the National Coalition’s participation in the forthcoming second round of international talks in Geneva due February 10,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Russia, which has supported Syrian President Bashar Assad in the ongoing conflict between armed rebels and government forces in the Middle Eastern country, first invited National Coalition leaders to visit Moscow back in September.

Jarba had earlier expressed interest in visiting Moscow, but said he was unable to come during the period suggested by Russia due to prior commitments.

The protester were jailed before the laws were repealed. It is only right and just they were released.

The leaders of these nations have to talk to their citizens. Really talk to them about the economics of the day and the difficulties the government is facing in improving their lives by increasing jobs.

In the case of the Ukraine, it faces commercial invasion by other nations that will prevent the Ukraine economy from even developing. The WTO has complaints made by the Ukraine leadership which is proof the leaders are attempting to increase industry in the country to provide good incomes to the people. If citizens don't understand what they are facing as a nation, the demonstrations result based on their understanding and what they believe is an oppressive government.

I am not saying the Ukraine government is perfect and the citizens are wrong. The people believe they understand all they need to understand. That is probably not the case and to deprive them of what their country faces is to treat them as though they are unable to understand. The Ukraine people are not stupid. They have a right to know.

I believe in local economies. In the USA local economies were more resistant to collapse than Wall Street. They were the quickest to recover and are growing, not just returning to 2008 status. The Ukraine government has to provide knowledge about how local economies can be beneficial, a culture and a quality of life. The Ukraine has great potential. It needs to achieve. It won't happen without the citizens seeking a resolve to grow their economy.

I congratulate the Ukraine government on this decision. It was the correct and best decision.

A pro-European integration protester throws a Molotov cocktail on Grushevskogo Street in Kiev.

22:26 05/02/2014

KIEV, February 5 (RIA Novosti) – A total of 259 pro-EU protesters (click here) will have criminal cases against them dropped under an amnesty aimed at defusing the ongoing political crisis in Ukraine, the country’s chief prosecutor said Wednesday.
“These are people who were declared crime suspects,” Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka said.
“Some 150 were held under arrest, while others were under house arrest or under oath not to leave the area,” he said.
Last week, President Viktor Yanukovych signed into law bills declaring an amnesty for demonstrators and canceling new unpopular anti-protest laws, in a move that marked his first real concession since mass anti-government protests erupted in November. The demonstrations followed the president’s decision to back away from planned association agreements with the EU in favor of closer ties with Russia....

There is a Part 2 to the interview. There were great. A real coup for women.

Imagine being a member of Pussy Riot, (click here) being freed from a Siberian prison camp and then, in a matter of weeks, attempting to negotiate an interview with Stephen Colbert, a man whose particular form of humor must seem absolutely alien to these ladies. Or maybe not! Pussy Riot members Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alyokhina, Colbert’s guests last night, did an admirable job answering Colbert’s quips with their own, matching his tone but still pounding home their message. 

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President Obama already stated the Olympics are safe.

This is just more proof of the investigations by agencies to be sure nothing can happen. I am looking forward to the Olympics. The airlines and the NTSB are very familiar with this type of threat. This isn't something new. It is just more precautions.

The only difference about these Olympics and past dangers is that this is Russia.

 To better understand (click here) general patterns of terrorism in Olympic host countries, we use the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) to compare the number of terrorist attacks and casualties that happened in the host country during the Olympic Games with the number of terrorist attacks and casualties for the same time period previous year (Figure 1).

Because preparation for the Games and international attention begins long before the official start of the Games, the time periods we evaluate begin six months before opening ceremonies and end on the day of closing ceremonies. We do not assume that all attacks taking place during the “Olympic ” time period are explicitly linked to the Olympics, however one could hypothesize that the same mechanisms that may increase or decrease the likelihood of a terrorist attack in the host city during the Olympics also impact patterns of terrorism at other locations in the country, among all types of perpetrators, and in advance of the Games themselves.

Sochi is not a war zone. It is where people carry out their lives. If one is going to measure previous incidents of violence as a way of determining where the Olympics are going to be held, then the USA should have cancelled the 2002 Olympics.

A statement was made by Former Governor Romney as well. He stated the Olympics are safe, but, there is never an absolute. 

The fact of the matter is, the governments involved in Sochi are doing everything that can be done. Do we stop living because they found a threat within a tube of toothpaste?  

(CNN) -- The United States is advising airlines (click here) with direct flights to Russia to be aware of the possibility that explosive materials could be concealed in toothpaste or cosmetic tubes, according to a law enforcement source.

The source emphasized on Wednesday that there was no known threat to the United States, but the notice to U.S. and international carriers is based on new intelligence information ahead of the start of the Olympics in Sochi this week.

"Out of an abundance of caution, (the Department of Homeland Security) regularly shares relevant information with domestic and international partners, including those associated with international events such as the Sochi Olympics," the agency said in a statement.

Russian transportation officials this week banned liquids in airline carry-on luggage, according to a report from the Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

The Obama administration has not indicated it is not safe to travel to the Olympics....
Any argument about trains vs pipeline isn't appropriate. It assumes the Tar Sands Oil is a viable choice. It is not. The argument is irrelevant. The damage done to the land in the process of extracting Tar Sands permanently removes carbon sinks. PERMANENTLY. There is no method of moving this garbage that is efficient to the point it will ELIMINATE the carbon dioxide absorbed by those carbon sinks. The discussion is silly.

I can make the argument for trains over pipelines, it is easy. But, that is not what is best. Arguing this mess is simply a method to encourage discussion that is already closed. It is an attempt to turn scientists into morons and anti-American. I won't do it. The attack on the science is egregious. It is an argument of stupidity. It addresses nothing constructive.

The USA is capable of overcoming this disaster of the petroleum industry and the thirst of Wall Street. Americans have high values and protecting Earth is one of them. The scientists are correct when it comes to tar sands. That fact has nothing to do with trains or otherwise. The greedy want to ignore the science and the scientists. That is simply stupid and a very bad habit.

I'll address all my insights to President Obama. No one else needs to know them.

I think CVS is very conscientious. We have new health care in the USA. It make these companies pause.

By selling cancer causing products, CVS would be creating their own market. I applaud them. We have seen the pharmaceutical industry take strides in promoting health care.

It was Walgreens that moved their employees to a private health care exchange. 

But, this is huge. I'll be visiting CVS more often now.

2/05/2014 @ 7:00AM
Andrew Harper
Forbes Staff

CVS, the largest pharmacy chain in the United States, (click here) will stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products in all of its 7,600 stores by October 1, its parent company CVS Caremark CVS +0.49% announced this morning. It is the first time any retailer has ever dropped this deadly cash cow, and it is part of a major shift in direction for the drugstore giant.

“We’ve got 26,000 pharmacists and nurse practitioners who are helping millions of patients each and every day,” said Larry Merlo, the chief executive of CVS Caremark. “They manage conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes — all conditions that are worsened by smoking. We’ve come to the decision that cigarettes have no place in an environment where healthcare is being delivered.”...

I'd like to see gay families marching in the St. Patrick Day's Parade.

I always think of the parade as a family event. I think every participant has to maintain that focus. Parades have themes. And the St. Patrick's Day Parade is mostly a family thing with a lot of fun 'wearin' the green.'

By Erin Durkin AND Corinne Lestch 
Wednesday, February 5, 2014, 1:12 AM

For the first time in 20 years, (click here) the mayor is boycotting the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in a protest over its ban on marchers who carry gay-pride signs.
“I am not planning on marching in the parade,” Mayor de Blasio said at a City Hall press conference on Tuesday.
“I will be participating in a number of other events to honor the Irish heritage of this city, but I simply disagree with the organizers of that parade,” he added....

At the age of 27, has Shaun White reached the high point of his career?

Shaun White (click here) created one of the most memorable moments in the 2010 Olympics Wednesday when he topped his own Gold Medal run down the halfpipe with a victory lap that put an exclamation point on the snowboarder's win.

In 2010, Shaun White topped his own record. Can he do it again? The pressure is on and he is older and wiser.

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia — Shaun White's quest (click here) for two golds in one Olympics ended Wednesday.

Less than 24 hours before he was slated to compete here, the American snowboarder announced on NBC's TODAY that he would not compete in slopestyle as he had previously planned. The two-time defending gold medalist in the halfpipe, White is seeking to become the first American man to win an event in three consecutive Winter Olympics.

"After much deliberation with my team, I have made the decision to focus solely on trying to bring home the third straight gold medal in halfpipe for Team USA," White said in a statement shared exclusively with TODAY. "The difficult decision to forego slopestyle is not one I take lightly as I know how much effort everyone has put into holding the slopestyle event for the first time in Olympic history, a history I had planned on being a part being a part of."...

His life was surrounded by enablers.

Philip Seymour Hoffman (click here) was out like a light minutes after boarding a plane in Georgia last week ... after he was seen hitting the bottle at an Atlanta bar ... TMZ has learned.

According to a passenger ... Hoffman was out almost as quickly as he took his seat for the NY-bound jet Thursday ... his head falling forward into his chest.

We're told sometime after the plane took off ... PSH came to ... groggy and disheveled.  After the flight touched down, we're told he was quickly put on a waiting airport cart and whisked away.

As we first reported ... Hoffman had been drinking in a downtown Atlanta bar earlier that day -- just 3 days before his death --  witnesses said he appeared drunk and made repeated trips to the bathroom.

He withdrew $1200 from an ATM before he died. I love the way TMZ states 4 have been arrested and then backs down to state the arrest warrant was issued and are now on the scene. It can't be both, either arrests or warrants.

New York cops have just made 4 ARRESTS (click here) in connection with Philip Seymour Hoffman's death … Law enforcement sources familiar with the situation tell TMZ.

Our sources tell us … police have obtained a search warrant and are currently on scene at a NY apt. We're told police are targeting two individuals who they believe sold PSH heroin.  Sources say cops raided 3 units in the same building.

Sources also tell us … someone involved in the heroin market in NYC contacted police and gave them the names and addresses of two alleged drug dealers who pushed the drug.

We're told the heroin user told cops he buys from the same dealer Hoffman frequented and sometimes saw Hoffman in the dealer's apartment.  The informant says Hoffman would buy "bundles" of heroin at a time ... 

Enablers. The same thing happened to Whitney Houston.

How does it happen that an assistant to a performer believes they are more valuable as a enabler? Keep the addiction going and provide the goods, huh? Wow. Can we do better than this? Please.