November 2008 archive

Terms of Engagement

(An open series for reflecting on, and overcoming obstacles on the path to finding a World Solution that works.)

This is the first barrier. We are one, but not one, in that our ways are myriad.

Each society has differences, cultural norms of behavior, religious based rules, and laws that may address either equitably or unfairly.

We, as Americans, tend to see all these variations through the glass darkly when they do not align with our biased Western perspective.

I believe the largest obstacle is how to allow the greatest autonomy in cultural preservation and freedom while trying to prohibit abuse of any persons individually.

The answer, in my opinion cannot be raising McDonald’s in the shadow of temples world wide, and demanding homogenization to a Western template.

Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Lie, cheat and steal: high school ethics surveyed

By DAVID CRARY, AP National Writer

51 mins ago

NEW YORK – In the past year, 30 percent of U.S. high school students have stolen from a store and 64 percent have cheated on a test, according to a new, large-scale survey suggesting that Americans are too apathetic about ethical standards.

Educators reacting to the findings questioned any suggestion that today’s young people are less honest than previous generations, but several agreed that intensified pressures are prompting many students to cut corners.

“The competition is greater, the pressures on kids have increased dramatically,” said Mel Riddle of the National Association of Secondary School Principals. “They have opportunities their predecessors didn’t have (to cheat). The temptation is greater.”

Café Discovery: AIDS news

It has been my custom over the past couple of years to observe World AIDS Day by opening a diary somewhere (tomorrow at Daily Kos is my plan this year) called Sharing Our AIDS Stories.

I started that off telling about my therapist and my friend, Kurt Wilhelm.  Then I invited people to tell their own stories.  The response was nearly overwhelming.  I endeavored then, as I will tomorrow, to read and answer every post, until I got some helpers towards the end.  At first the majority of comments were by people who talked about their friends or family who had died or who were living with AIDS, but as the day went on, more and more people living with AIDS started telling their stories.

It will be a little tougher tomorrow since it is a Monday and I will have to be at work for most of that time.  Sadly, they expect me to work when I am at work.

As a lead up to tomorrow, I provide some links to some current AIDS stories in the news.  But first a poem:

Art Link


Days Will Come

Days will come

when sanity will

regain supremacy,

when disease will

be battled without

political consideration,

when people’s deaths

will not be occasions

to seek out

personal advantage.

But not today.

–Robyn Elaine Serven
–December 1, 2005

Gitmo: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

cross posted at The Dream Antilles

This morning’s New York Times reports that Spain will investigate whether a previous government permitted Spanish territory to be used in transporting prisoners to Gitmo.  One thing is obvious.  Yes, Spain permitted its territory to be used to transport prisoners.

According to The Times

Spain will investigate whether a previous government allowed Spanish territory to be used to transport captured terrorism suspects to Guantanamo Bay, the Foreign Ministry said Sunday.

The ministry said in a statement it had not been informed whether the government of Jose Maria Aznar, in power from 1996 to 2004, allowed CIA flights carrying captured foreigners to use Spanish air space or runways.

The newspaper El Pais said in a report Sunday that it had obtained a government document showing that a U.S. official asked the Foreign Ministry for such access in January 2002. El Pais published the document — labeled MUY SECRETO, or top secret — in its paper and Web site editions.

The request was communicated to Josep Pique, who was foreign minister, hours before a CIA flight landed at Moron air base in southwest Spain, the El Pais report said.

Truth and Reconciliation My Ass! America’s Accountability Moment

I believe in compassion, mercy and forgiveness…but when great and grievous wrong has been done, you don’t skip straight to forgiveness.  No, the first stop on the path to redemption is called justice.

When former governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and secretary of state of Alabama, Don Siegleman gets thrown in federal prison for 9 months for being a progressive democrat and has to go around the country begging for justice once they finally let him out on appeal bond (fruitlessly I might add – they never did vote contempt for Karl Rove) then something is desperately wrong in this country.


Leonardo da Vinci, Good Vibes, Unlimited Power, & Who Needs Big Oil?

The executive summary of the final report published on June 30, 2006 by the U.S. Department of Energy of a study headed by Project Director & Principal Investigator Michael M. Bernitsas, PhD, titled Low Head, Vortex Induced Vibrations River Energy Converter (.pdf) states that:

Vortex Induced Vibrations Aquatic Clean Energy (VIVACE) is a novel, demonstrated approach to extracting energy from water currents. This invention is based on a phenomenon called Vortex Induced Vibrations (VIV), which was first observed by Leonardo da Vinci in 1504AD. He called it ‘Aeolian Tones.’

For decades, engineers have attempted to prevent this type of vibration from damaging structures, such as offshore platforms, nuclear fuel rods, cables, buildings, and bridges. The underlying concept of the VIVACE Converter is the following: Strengthen rather than spoil vortex shedding; enhance rather than suppress VIV; harness rather than mitigate VIV energy. By maximizing and utilizing this unique phenomenon, VIVACE takes this “problem” and successfully transforms it into a valuable resource for mankind.

Dr. Bernitsas is also Chief Technology Officer/Interim Chief Executive Officer of Vortex Hydro Energy LLC (VHE), a Michigan based company.

What? The power of music is a valuable resource for mankind?

Who would have thought such a thing, except for musicians, artists, hippies, and other liberal dreamers?

What are Aeolian Tones? And why should Big Oil be afraid of them?

Follow me downstream, here…

Out of Balance

My thoughts are pretty random this Sunday morning. But if I reach for a theme, I think I can find one in the idea that so much in our world is out of balance.

My theme might not be apparent at first in this story. But I was struck by Bill Moyers’ closing remarks on his show this week (you can find the transcript here).

If this was anyone but Moyers, I’d be thinking it was someone who looks at the world through the eyes of American exceptionalism. But we all know that’s not his take. Perhaps what we are seeing is a world out of balance when it comes to power…people all over the world who’s fate is tied to what happens in the US.  

Sunday music retrospective: Queen


Bohemian Rhapsody

Greening the School House

Barack Obama is speaking of the necessity to move toward a better energy future, of energy efficiency, and the potential for a green stimulus package creating 2.5 million jobs. Congress is looking toward working in the two weeks between their swearing in and President Barack Obama’s inauguration.  One thing to expect in those two weeks: Legislation to green the nation’s schools.

Taking aggressive action to green schools is about one of the smartest steps the nation can take, action that should go beyond bipartisanship to true unity of action as it is a win-win-win-win strategy along so many paths:

  • Save money for communities and taxpayers
  • Create employment
  • Foster capacity for ‘greening’ the nation
  • Reduce pollution loads
  • Improve health
  • Improve student performance / achievement
  • And, well, other benefits.

    When faced with such an opportunity, “The Bush White House threatened a veto, saying it was wrong for the federal government to launch a costly new school-building program.

    Night Shift Tales

       Ajay and Camille had not finished receiving hand off report from the day Clinical Leaders when Ajay’s beeper went off. They all engaged in a collective eye roll.

        “Yup”, said Ajay, returning the page. Camille told Janet and Marjie to leave. Generally by the time they had all finished report things had changed anyway. Stable units were crazy and crazy units were worse.

         “I’m working a double, I haven’t had a break and you’ve got a

         race riot here, my people and the Filipinos,” said Grace Henderson.

         “On my way”, sighed Ajay.

         “Mind if I take my break now ?”

         “After I settle this.”

        Camille glance at her, Ajay waved her off and hustled herself down to the surgical ICU. Grace was settled in with a cup of tea, absently massaging her left hip, watching the dispute.

          “Been here thirty seven years, I worry you won’t make it that long,

           country time,” offered Grace.

        The African American nurses called Ajay “country time”, just to remind her that she never lost the accent, everybody else called her Jay Jay, for reasons she didn’t understand.

         “Sometimes, I worry that I will,” returned Ajay,” Hey,

          has anybody noticed we have patients int his unit.”

        Stacy Harris and three of her colleagues were waving and cussing at Lisa Hernandez

    and three Filipinos nurses who were also growling and stamping back. Ajay watched them for a few minutes, arms crossed, humming loudly.

        Stacy jabbed a finger at Lisa Hernandez,

         “They were all yapping before report

         in their damn language, maybe they forgot what country they are in

         so damn many of them in this hospital, but she did say mean Niger bitch in


         “Lisa, did you?”, asked Ajay.


         “Did somebody else?”


    Good Mood Foods: You Know You Want To Read This

    Having written some scary diaries on water scarcity, tainted foods and global food shortages among others, it’s high time to write about something positive for this festive holiday. Like the types of foods that would boost your moods in these recessionary (and uncertain) times. Recent research has confirmed the existence of a link between eating certain types of foods and the act of feeling better, relaxed and even happy. Further research from the University of Cambridge in England found regularly skipping, or skimping on meals can mean you’re not getting enough serotonin, a brain chemical that helps keep anger in check. Serotonin needs the amino acid tryptophan (also known as the turkey drug, more on that below) to work, and it only comes from food.

    Eating for a better mood boils down to this simple exercise: control your blood sugars by eating every 4 to 5 hours throughout the day, eat a diet rich in soluble fiber, and incorporate foods rich in omega 3 fats, folic acid, B12 and Vitamin D – four nutrients that all researchers have found to be mood lifting.

    Which foods, you ask. And will it be expensive?

    Bush: “I did not sell my soul in order to accommodate the political process.”

    I wrote this and posted it on Progressive Blue and Daily Kos yesterday.  I think many people agree.  I was asked to post here at DD.

    As incredible as that may sound, President George W. Bush tells us in an interview with his sister, Doro Bush Koch, that not only did he not sell his soul while making difficult decisions in the White House, he actually told her that “I darn sure wasn’t going to sacrifice my values.”

    Oh Really?  What values might that be, Sir?  The values you learned growing up that included do unto others before they do it to you?  Art for art’s sake, money for God’s sake?  Profits before People?  Repeat the lie over and over again until it becomes common knowledge that the lie is fact?  Sulk at all times when not given exactly what you want and then try to do damage to whatever or whomever that didn’t agree with you (like the American people, Georgie)?

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