Thursday, March 27, 2014

The seed chest presented by President Obama to Pope Francis is very symbolic.

Some say it is about planting seeds of hope. I think planting seeds for vegetables is also within the life of a common person. Pope Francis values his life in reflection of the common people he wants to return dignity and opportunity. I thought it was a great gift. No opulence. Simplicity in an expression of many aspects of life.

by Carol Glatz 

VATICAN CITY — One of the many moments (click here) pool reporters look forward to when a head of state meets the pope is the gift exchange.

The Vatican most often offers a unique piece of artisan art with a spiritual or Vatican theme. But when it comes to gifts from visiting dignitaries, it’s anything goes: chess sets, sacred or secular art, traditional and native crafts, books and rare manuscripts or teddy bears.

Today U.S. President Barack Obama gave Pope Francis a small chest full of fruit and vegetable seeds that are used in the White House Gardens.
“If you have a chance to come to the White House, we can show you our garden as well,” the president said.

“Como no!” the pope replied in Spanish, “Why not?” or “Of course.”...

He is going to come to visit. Very exciting.
This is the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, also known as the Baltimore Basilica (click here). It is the first  Roman Catholic cathedral built in the United States and the place where the wood for the seed chest was found.

The Republicans are sincerely laughable. Grandstanding is in, passing legislation is out.

...“Despite recent comments (click here) made by Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin, it is my belief that Russian forces may intend to advance further into Ukraine,” wrote Turner, a member of the Armed Services Committee and one of a few members positioning himself to succeed Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.). “I am concerned that if this information is not presented to Congress or shared with the larger international community to include countries such as Ukraine, there will be little or no opportunity to deter or prepare for further Russian advances.” 

“Any delay in this matter will only increase the likelihood of more violence as it allows Russian military forces to move freely and position themselves for additional advances,” he added.... 

The IMF help to the Ukraine is an incredible step forward.

Associated Press 

KIEV, Ukraine -- The world rushed (click here) Thursday to help Ukraine, with the International Monetary Fund pledging up to $18 billion in loans, the U.N. condemning the vote that drove Crimea into Russian hands and the U.S. Congress backing even harsher sanctions against Russia.
Yet even with such intensive help to prop up the teetering economy, Ukraine's prime minister warned of painful times ahead from economic reforms that were sure to drive up energy prices.
Meanwhile, Yulia Tymoshenko, one of the country's most divisive figures, announced she would run for president — a move sure to impact Ukraine's turbulent politics.
President Barack Obama called the swell of international support a "concrete signal of how the world is united with Ukraine."...

Every citizen of the Ukraine has the right to protest. The death of any Ukraine citizen needs to be investigated. If the Interior Minister is the problem it has to be dealt with. These people have a right to the truth and justice.

Any suspicious death is going to cause concern in the Ukraine. The country has been through a lot in a short period of time. The people aren't really settled into their sovereign nation as if it is not under chronic scrutiny and pressure. This is just one more thing that is causing concern. The leaders need to deal with it now that their first economic hurdle has been accomplished in a timely way. 

Please don't estrange people. The Russians are looking for excuses to state their borders are under threat. Everyone knows that. They will declare anarchy in the Ukraine to justify their agenda. These people have to be satisfied with the truth. Murder is murder if that is what occurred.

Members of the right wing ultra nationalist Right Sector group block the parliament building in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, March 27, 2014. Activists demanded the resignation of the Interior Minister following the recent killing of a Right Sector member Oleksandr Muzychko, who was died during a police operation to detain him. Efrem Lukatsky / AP Photo

There are international observers on their way if they aren't there already. It is their job to monitor what is occurring in the Ukraine. There should be some reassurance that the truth is important to the global community.

Read more here:

The world can't be wrong.

A digital display shows the results of a vote on a draft resolution upholding the territorial integrity of Ukraine at United Nations headquarters. Photo / AP

In a surprisingly strong rebuke of Moscow, (click here) the UN General Assembly has affirmed Ukraine's territorial integrity and deemed the referendum that led to Russia's annexation of the Crimean Peninsula illegal.

The vote on the Ukraine-sponsored resolution in the 193-member world body was 100 countries in favor, 11 opposed and 58 abstentions. Twenty-four countries did not vote.

While Ukraine has a lot of sympathy among UN member states, Russia has a lot of clout. Both sides lobbied hard ahead of the vote, and diplomats had predicted a significant number of abstentions and a maximum 80 to 90 countries supporting the resolution....

The Aussies are having a difficult time getting their minds around racism.

March 27, 2014
Waleed Aly

...Perhaps the most remarkable (click here) thing about George Brandis’ now infamous comment this week that Australians “have the right to be bigots” is that it was so unremarkable. Sure, it’s a grating soundbite, but as a matter of substance it’s entirely obvious. Of course we have a right to be bigots. We always have.

That’s the point that has been buried here. Nothing in the Racial Discrimination Act as it presently stands precludes bigotry. In fact I’ll go a step further: you’re even allowed to express your bigotry. Happens all the time. Read a newspaper. Bigoted views are published there several times in an average week.

Two things flow from this. First, that critics of the Racial Discrimination Act are simply wrong to suggest that our free speech is so curtailed that we can’t risk saying anything offensive. The courts have long made clear that the Act only contemplates serious cases. The caricature that we’re placed at the mercy of the most delicate people’s sensibilities is nothing less than a gross misrepresentation of the law.

Second, that supporters of the Racial Discrimination Act are wrong if they insist it provides anything like substantial protection against racism. I’ve copped my share of racial abuse both in public and in private, and section 18C wasn’t ever going to do a damn thing about it....

The Aussies need to consider this:

New York's city council (click here) has banned the use of the word "nigger" in an attempt to eradicate the slur from the lexicon of hip-hop musicians and young Americans.

In a country that prides itself on freedom of speech, the "symbolic moratorium" is raising the ire of academics and activists, as well as the artists who use the word with frequency and affection.

"It's a brand-new word," said John McWhorter, a senior fellow with the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, a New York think-tank.

"The people who are doing this, I know their hearts are in the right places. But they're not listening to the language with young ears. They're hearing it in a way that is not intended."

Proponents of the ban say they understand the word's evolution in popular culture -- but are not convinced it belongs there.

What does Paul Bridges and George H. W. Bush have in common?

...But the only elected official (click here) to join the lawsuit was Paul Bridges, the Spanish-speaking, first-term mayor of tiny Uvalda in Montgomery County. He is described in the lawsuit as a Republican, but “swing voter” may be a more apt description.

His farming town has perhaps 600 souls. There is no grocery store, no doctor, no dentist. Bridges regularly ferries workers to nearby Vidalia, the onion capital of the world. The mayor first learned about HB 87, the legislation in question, when he gave a pair of workers a ride to the Mexican consulate in Atlanta.

The primary argument for Bridges’ inclusion in the lawsuit is that he could run afoul of Georgia’s new law, which forbids “knowingly” transporting or harboring illegal immigrants. “Some of them I know are citizens — very young citizens. I’m not sure about their parents. I’m not sure about their grandparents,” Bridges, 59, said during a state Capitol news conference.

(The authors of the legislation say the new law does not apply to Georgians who commit occasional acts of kindness. But this is why we have judges and courthouses.)

Yet Bridges has a more emotional reason for joining the legal action. He talks of Uvalda’s many blended families — migrants who have married legal residents over the years, couples who have produced children.

“For instance, the grandmother who has papers. The daughter doesn’t have papers. The grandson is a citizen,” the mayor said. What happens, he asked, when a supporting husband is sent back to Mexico, leaving a dependent wife and child? Both are likely to end up on welfare.

Late last month, Bridges called for a “summit,” held in the town’s community center, to discuss the situation. Senate President pro tem Tommie Williams, R-Lyons, was there. So was state Rep. Greg Morris, R-Vidalia. Both men voted for HB 87....

The AP poll is an outlier.

By Aaron Blake

Negative views of President Obama (click here) have hit a new high, according to a poll.
The AP-GfK poll shows 59 percent of Americans now disapprove of Obama -- a point higher than the previous high set in December.
Obama's approval rating stands at 41 percent. That's the second-lowest figure the poll has ever found....

The average difference in most of the polls taken of his job approval rating is about 8 points difference between approval and disapproval.

I am not saying the rating is great, but, President Obama is the focus of hatred and negative press with the 2014 elections. Hate Obama and hate a Democrat. Just that simple.

But this is closer to the truth.

The Economist/YouGov Poll (click here)
Does that look like a fun house or what?

I was in the library today and was thinking about some of the reports I had heard from Oso, Washington. 

The emergency responders, in the early hours, simply waded into the slurry to find survivors. They then had to be rescued. But, the reports were the slurry was about chest deep.

Starting to get the picture?

The idea is to assess the entire physics of the slide and decide the type of material that has to be used for the stilts to support homes in areas where landslides are possible. It might have to be steel I-beams, but, even they can be coated with material to make them look like wood.

This type of design is not at all unusual along the shores of the USA, especially the East Coast. The homes usually treat the lower story as a storage area and parking slab. Some have walls and doors, but, they are break away when flooded and receiving tide pressure. 

I think the name of the community is Long Beach Island and it is in New Jersey. There was a hurricane that passed over the community and the ocean and the bay met from flooding. The island was completely covered with water. When the water receded the homes on stilts were still standing, albeit without the walls of the first floor, but, the homes were intact. 

Now, landslide slurry is not water. Even wind driven water. But, this is less about homes and their preservation, so much as the lives inside. There needs to be a design researched and then legislated to enforce the requirement for such supports to save lives.

I don't know why we haven't done this before? It came into my head and I wanted to scream. It is so very, very obvious how to protect those people's lives. 

One other thing, the slurry viscosity will effect the design of the structure, but, there were reports of some people (at least two children, one an infant) riding the wave of the slurry and surviving. All people need is a chance to breath and stay away from the weight of the slurry in order to survive. We have to decide how best to insure their well being because there has to be a way. 

Saving their lives can't be based on a warning. The eyewitnesses stated the slide completed it's fall within seconds. Whatever is going to save these folks lives has to be built into their life and is automatically engaged in order to protect them. There is no time for them to react.

The scourge of polio ends in India (click here) with a lively 4-year-old girl, Rukhsar Khatoon, who became ill as a baby after her parents forgot to get her vaccinated.

Her barely perceptible limp the only lingering sign of the disease, Rukhsar was the last person to contract polio in the nation of 1.2 billion people.

The World Health Organization formally declared India polio-free on Thursday, after three years with no new cases. It said the milestone means the entire Southeast Asian region, home to a quarter of the world's population, is considered free of the disease.

Being declared polio-free once was considered all but impossible in a nation hobbled by corruption, poor sanitation and profound poverty. Although the disease could return, eradicating it is a landmark public health achievement....

Mark Zuckerberg violates crowd funding.

This is no joke. My 35 year old son closed his Facebook account.

Dolphins are an endangered species and do not have nationalities.

This criticism is not so much about Russia as it is about laws that protect species. I protested the use of dolphins by the USA government in sworn testimony at a hearing in Raleigh, North Carolina as well. This is immoral use of innocent creatures to carry out military protocols that humans are unable or unwilling to perform. It is immoral.

The species name is Tursiops tuncatus (Mediterranean subpopulation) and it is listed on the IUCN as Vulnerable. (click here) 

I might point out, on this museum edition of the species, is fitted with a 'anti-bit' device. So much for being willing. Basically, the Russian military doesn't trust their performance and are afraid of them.

27 March 2014, 14:16

The basic area (click here) to engage dolphins in is the naval forces. "This involves looking for objects in the seabed, patrolling the nearby area, spotting extrasmall submarines and combat swimmers. We are expecting our work to be a self-contained part of Russia’s Navy combat training," the source pointed out. It was earlier reported that Sevastopol state oceanarium was getting ready for combat dolphins’ and seals’ training in line with the new Russian Navy initiated program.

It is sort of like the Climate Crisis. You need to know what you are looking at and "head it off at the pass."

The mining sector (click here) is responsible for some of the largest releases of heavy metals into the environment of any industry. It also releases other air pollutants including sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides in addition to leaving behind tons of waste tailings, slag, and acid drainage. Occupational and environmental exposure to heavy metals, silica, and asbestos can occur during mining and milling operations. The smelting process (extracting the metal from the ore) is associated with the highest exposures and environmental releases.

The hazards to human health caused by exposure to heavy metals – including lead, cadmium and mercury – have been thoroughly documented. These metals are associated with a range of neurological deficits in both children and adults in addition to a range of other systemic effects. Exposure to airborne silica and asbestos can cause lung cancer, pneumoconiosis and numerous other health effects....

Summary (click here) 

Iron is tough.  It is tough to win from native ore, tough to work and shape, and tough in its application as technology's primary structural metal.  And the iron and steel production industry is, appropriately enough, a particularly tough sector for U. S. businesses to survive in.

History had already begun to be recorded well before early metallurgists discovered the conditions necessary to reduce the iron in naturally occurring ores to the metallic state.  Copper and bronze had been in widespread use for millennia before iron made an appearance (perhaps around 2,500 BC).  The iron smelting process requires intense heat, far higher than can be reached in an open flame.  Not until enclosed furnaces had been developed (probably for the original purpose of firing pottery), along with techniques for producing particularly hot flames (through the use of hardwood or charcoal, and of bellows for supplying a stream of air), were the prerequisites in place for iron reduction. 

But while iron metal is difficult to make, iron ore is easy to find.  Iron is one of the most abundant elements in the earth's crust (about 5% by weight), and usable deposits of iron ore are geographically widespread.  Thus, possession of the mine does not confer control of the market.  The prize goes to the most efficient producer, the one that can carry out an energy-intensive process, involving the processing of great quantities of raw materials, and can produce a finished material within tightly controlled specifications at the lowest cost.  Adding to the already intense pressure on primary producers to minimize production costs are two further factors:...

Pacific Southwest, Region 9: Superfund (click here)

The contaminants of concern at this site are arsenic, lead, and sulfate. The primary sources of contamination are: 

• Iron King Mine Main Tailings Pile and Impoundment/Ponds
• Iron King Mine Small Tailings Pile
• Humboldt Smelter Ash Pile
• Humboldt Smelter Impoundment/Pond
• Humboldt Smelter Tailings Pile
• Lower Chaparral Gulch

The locations of these source areas are shown on the map titled "Site Map" below. These sources contain average arsenic and lead levels from one to two orders of magnitude greater than average background arsenic and lead levels. Exposure to these metals could present a health risk if a person is in contact with them over a long period of time. EPA recommends that residents, especially children and the elderly, limit or avoid contact with soils and any water in these areas, and obey EPA caution signs until these areas can be addressed through cleanup actions. Residents should limit or avoid spending time in Chaparral Gulch as tailings have been deposited along most of its length....

If I had more natural gas then I knew what to do with, I would build a mine and smelt iron.

There ain't nothing like creating your own markets.

...“Their company, (click here) these guys are worth $40 billion, they don’t have to answer to anybody, and it is a private company and they avoid some reporting that public companies have to do,” Pickens added.
Koch — which is helmed by billionaire brothers active in conservative causes — is opposing the natural-gas legislation alongside an array of right-leaning groups, including the Koch-founded Americans for Prosperity, Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, and the Club for Growth. They allege it represents undue government meddling in energy markets.
Informed that Charles Koch had declined the network’s invitation to appear, Pickens replied, “They won’t come on. They just send a statement is all they do.”...

The Koch's are creating their own demand for energy which drives prices.

A crew moves a drilling rig to a new location at the proposed Gogebic Taconite mining site near Mellen in Ashland County in this July file photo.


March 23, 2014

By Lee Bergquist of the Journal Sentinel


Americans for Prosperity (click here) — a group backed by industrialists David and Charles Koch spending millions of dollars on political races nationally — has jumped into a local election in northern Wisconsin by attacking opponents of a proposed iron ore mine.
The group's Wisconsin organization mailed fliers to voters in Iron County, identifying seven candidates challenging Iron County Board incumbents as "anti-mining radicals," in advance of the April 1 election.
The mailing claims the county is "being targeted by wealthy environmental groups from outside Wisconsin," and says opponents of mining "do not care if our stores close and our families go on welfare."
Gogebic Taconite is proposing to construct a $1.5 billion iron ore mine in both Iron and Ashland counties. The project has bitterly divided environmental and business interests, especially during the fight over new mining regulations friendly to Gogebic that passed the Legislature in 2013.
But considerable attention has shifted to the proposed mining site on private forest land, where Gogebic has an option on mineral rights....

Now. If I hated unions as much as these boys hate unions, I'd make my own steel and compete to put them out of business.

Creating Steel (click here)

­Steel is iron that has most of the impurities removed. Steel also has a consistent concentration of carbon throughout (0.5 to 1.5 percent). Impurities like silica, phosphorous and sulfur weaken steel tremendously, so they must be eliminated. The advantage of steel over iron is greatly improved strength....

Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Chuck Goudie
September 14, 2011 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- A team of FBI agents (click here) executed search warrants at a home on the east side of Madison, Wisconsin, Wednesday.
In this Intelligence Report: The raid was on a former top aide to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in what appears to be an expanding corruption investigation.
Wednesday's raid is the latest carried out by federal authorities on several of Governor Scott Walker's top staffers, all state employees who recently resigned.... 

"How stuff works" (click here or listen to the tape below)