February 9, 2011 archive

from firefly-dreaming 9.2.11

Regular Daily Features:

Essays Featured Wednesday, February :


come firefly-dreaming with me….

Today on The Stars Hollow Gazette

Our regular featured content-

And these articles-

The Stars Hollow Gazette

How to drop the unemployment rate to zero

  The unemployment rate is dropping through the floor, and Republicans are taking credit for it. Don’t believe me? Then look at the latest employment report.

 The unemployment rate is suddenly sinking at the fastest pace in a half-century, falling to 9 percent from 9.8 percent in just two months – the most encouraging sign for the job market since the recession ended.

 That certainly sounds like the job market is going gangbusters to me.

  Now here’s the trick: only 36,000 jobs were created to get the unemployment rate to drop by 0.4%.

 Given those facts, I did a little math.

Want a Taste of the 112th Congress, i.e. House

I started a site, a couple of years back, to help keep track of the Veterans Administration as I was getting pounded by press release after press release as Gen Shinseki took the reigns and came out of the gate, All Positive Pro-Active Moves, and especially as he started filling his Administration with Pro-Active Vets and others, allot has been accomplished.

I also was following the Congressional Hearings, those two years and the two previous, both houses of Congress, as they to were finally tackling what wasn’t done in the 108th and 109th Congresses as the (T)’s waged two Wars of Choice but also kept to their long practice of ignoring veterans except at election time. One of the many positives out of the 110th and 111th Congresses was tghe fact that almost all their hearings were at least live streamed so America could watch and listen.

Well I give you the opening to the 112th Congressional House Veterans Affairs Committee, below.

Oklahoma Shari’a Law Controversy: The Secret Plot Is Finally Uncovered

OKLAHOMA CITY (FNS)-After an exhaustive 18-month investigation, FNS is able to exclusively report that, contrary to popular opinion, Oklahoma’s controversial State Question 755, which is intended to prevent State courts from considering Shari’a law when making legal decisions, was intended to counter an effort already underway to impose such a legal code on the citizens of the State, perhaps as soon as this fall.

Amazingly, the effort to impose Islamic law involves some of Oklahoma’s most prominent business leaders, the National Basketball Association (NBA), and the University of Oklahoma’s Fred Jones, Jr. Museum of Art.

Here’s the story, as it can now be reported:

Tip of the Iceberg

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Banks face $60 billion mortgage hit: S&P

Cleaning up the mortgage mess isn’t getting any cheaper.

Posted by Colin Barr, Fortune

February 8, 2011 12:48 pm

The banking industry could find itself picking up a $60 billion tab for souring home loans, Standard & Poor’s Ratings says in its latest report on so-called mortgage putbacks.

When S&P last looked at the issue in November, it said the six biggest U.S. lenders faced $43 billion in mortgage-repurchase costs. That was itself up from July’s estimate, which held that the leading banks would have to build their reserves to the tune of $24 billion.

February’s estimate stems largely from rising projected costs to settle claims by private mortgage securities investors and monoline insurers.

S&P has been raising its forecasts for the costs of settling disputes with private investors and monoline insurers who promised to pay when borrowers fell behind. The rating agency now estimates the cost of settling those cases at $29 billion, evenly split between the two categories.

Rising projected costs for settling the private label and monoline claims could hit bank earnings at a time when tighter rules and slow economic growth are already weighing on profits. What’s more, the report highlights the risk that the banks could yet take more lumps, depending on how various cases turn out and whether investors become more aggressive in pressing their grievances.

The world’s dumbest banks

Ireland’s disastrous banks continue to punch above their weight.

Posted by Colin Barr, Fortune

February 9, 2011 6:36 am

(A) list of the most reckless banks wouldn’t be complete without a mention of Merrill Lynch, which was sold in distress to Bank of America (BAC) with $668 billion in assets just before Lehman Brothers failed, or Wachovia, which was raffled off to Wells Fargo (WFC) a couple weeks later with $764 billion worth.

The good news is that one of the guys who made out like a bandit while running into the ground, former CEO Sean FitzPatrick (of Anglo Irish Bank), has already reached this acceptance state. This after he took 80 million euros in loans from the bank without telling shareholders, then declared he had frittered it all away.

“I am very happy to put my hands up,” he told the Irish Sunday Times last month. “I am very happy to apologize to all my creditors. I don’t feel ashamed, but I do feel regret, very serious regret, and I am sorry that it is going to cause people losses.” Talk about an understatement.

I repeat my offer to lose $24 Billion for a much more reasonable rate than 80 Million Euros.  I bet I could manage to do it for a mere Million or 2 a year.

Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Stars Hollow Health and Fitness weekly diary. It will publish on Saturday afternoon and be open for discussion about health related issues including diet, exercise, health and health care issues, as well as, tips on what you can do when there is a medical emergency. Also an opportunity to share and exchange your favorite healthy recipes.

Questions are encouraged and I will answer to the best of my ability. If I can’t, I will try to steer you in the right direction. Naturally, I cannot give individual medical advice for personal health issues. I can give you information about medical conditions and the current treatments available.

You can now find past Health and Fitness News diaries here and on the right hand side of the Front Page.

Vegetable Casseroles for Frigid Nights


This week’s gratins are made with a couple of pounds of a cooked vegetable, seasoned and bound with eggs, milk and a small amount of cheese. (In Provence, rice is also used to help bind the mixture.) Gratins are a great way to use both fresh and leftover cooked vegetables. . . .

Casseroles need not contain eggs or dairy products. And baked beans, exceptionally creamy after their long simmer in the oven, can be made into perfect vegan fare. Add vegetables of your choice and you’ll have a perfect one-dish meal.

Mushroom and Greens Gratin

Cabbage and Red Pepper Gratin

Slow-Baked Beans With Kale

Beets, Spiced Quinoa and Yogurt

Potato and Chard Stalk Gratin

Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning

Time for a break from poetry…in order to create some art.

Conform and be dull.

–J. Frank Doble

Chains 3

Magento Mobile Extension

Magento Mobile is a product that makes it easy for Magento merchants to create customizable, native storefront apps for the iPhone, iPad and Android using the same product catalog information on their website. Included in the current product is an admin panel to customize and configure your mobile storefront, as well as the ability to submit your app through Magento to iTunes or Android stores. Their dedicated magento mobile team will test the application and manage the submission process to the marketplace on your behalf. With the new Magento-mobile admin, you’ll bring the functional powerhouse of Magento eCommerce to your mobile commerce channel, including full integration with your store’s catalog, checkout, inventory, reporting, and much more!

The Magento Mobile source code allows you to customize and create your own extensions, and to develop a high performing mobile app with a seamless user experience. Customize the app with unique features to meet customer requirements and easily create new magento mobile extension. It provides simple application architecture based on Magento core and extension modules. Now there is a new cheap solution for only $69 a month. You start off by installing the extension in the mobile admin, which is available free of charge, and use it to configure your app. Once you’re ready to submit an application through Magento Mobile, you will be required to enter an “app key”, which can be purchased from the “plans and pricing” tab, or through your My Admin panel on their website. They take care of the process from there and notify you once your app is live in the app store and available for download.

Supporting a native app can be time consuming and tedious, so they manage the submission & support lifecycle. They manage the complexity of mobile apps so you can focus on running your business! Deploy new device-specific features and branded themes with just a few clicks. Quickly update the colors and appearance of your app with the new Magento mobile admin, even after customers have downloaded your app. Magento’s cost-efficient approach allows you to bring best-in-class mobile experience to your customers without the high price tag. Pay only for the features and devices you want while Magento handles the ongoing maintenance of your app in the iTunes and Android marketplaces.

Late Night Karaoke

Neglected Tropical Diseases

Recently I wrote a diary about Dengue Fever, a tropical disease that is caused by a mosquito transmitted virus, I mentioned that it was classed as a “neglected disease” by the World Health Organization. I’d like to talk about some of the other neglected diseases, what causes them, how they are spread and, most importantly, who they affect and how they impact on the rest of the world. In up coming diaries, I will focus on each one as I did with Dengue.

First, why are these diseases neglected? It is mostly because they are diseases of of poverty. Until these diseases impact on the wealthy in some way, treatment and prevention will remain a struggle for the countries and people where they are endemic. The lives of over one billion people are impacted in developing regions of Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Some of these diseases have known preventive measures or acute medical treatments which are available in the developed world but which are not universally available in poorer areas. In some cases, the treatments are relatively inexpensive. For example, the treatment for schistosomiasis is $0.20 per child per year. In the last few years, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and The Carter Center have brought attention to the diseases caused by flavivirus, trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) and parasitic worms.

These are the diseases classified as neglected by WHO:

   * Buruli Ulcer

   * Chagas disease(American trypanosomiasis)

   * Cysticercosis

   * Dengue/dengue haemorrhagic fever

   * Dracunculiasis (guinea-worm disease)

   * Echinococcosis

   * Fascioliasis

   * Human African trypanosomiasis

   * Leishmaniasis

   * Leprosy

   * Lymphatic filariasis

   * Onchocerciasis

   * Rabies

   * Schistosomiasis

   * Soil transmitted helminthiasis

   * Trachoma

   * Yaws

I’m fairly certain most of you have never heard of most of them and might be a bit surprised by one that is on that list, Rabies, which is a virus spread by wild and domestic animal bites. It is endemic on every continent except Antarctica and is easily treatable and can be controlled and prevented. Yet, here it is on a list of neglected diseases.

I look forward to your comments and questions which I will try to answer as best I can.

The next diary will focus on Dracunculiasis (guinea-worm disease) and its eradication.

Patriot Act Extension FAILS!!! Up Date

The Patriot act Extension has FAILED to pass in the House!

House rejects measure that would extend key Patriot Act provisions through December

A measure to extend key provisions of the Patriot Act counterterrorism surveillance law through December failed the House Tuesday night, with more than two-dozen Republicans bucking their party to oppose the measure.

The House measure, which was sponsored by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and required a two-thirds majority for passage, failed on a 277-to-148 vote. Twenty-six Republicans voted with 122 Democrats to oppose the measure, while 67 Democrats voted with 210 Republicans to back it. Ten members did not vote.

The measure would have extended three key provisions of the Patriot Act that are set to expire on Monday, Feb. 28, unless Congress moves to reauthorize them. One of the provisions authorizes the FBI to continue using roving wiretaps on surveillance targets; the second allows the government to access “any tangible items,” such as library records, in the course of surveillance; and the third is a “lone wolf” provision of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorist Prevention Act that allows for the surveillance of targets who are not connected to an identified terrorist group.

The vote came as several tea party-aligned members of the new freshman class had been expressing doubts about the measure.

Primary those Democrats that voted for “Yes”. This is the second issue that I have to agree with Sen. Rand Paul and the Tea Party Republicans. The second issue: cutting defense spending not Social Security or Medicare. Paul has said that he would vote against extension next month when the bill comes before the Senate.

Up Date: This is the statement from Rep. Dennis Kucinich:

“The defeat of the reauthorization of the PATRIOT Act, under the suspension of the rules, signals the potential for a new coalition. Twenty-six Republicans joined one hundred and twenty-two Democrats to block passage, forcing a new debate on these critical questions of privacy and civil liberties. It was thought that reauthorization would be non-controversial, which is why it was placed under a suspension of the rules, but the fact that it failed to get the two-thirds vote required indicates that it is controversial. This is a surprising development and it will lead to more debate about the PATRIOT Act. I credit Conservative Republicans, Libertarians and members of the Tea Party for standing by their beliefs and thank my fellow Democrats for providing one of the first major challenges to the PATRIOT Act.

“It is expected that the bill will be brought up again, but the opposition has now surfaced. I look forward to working with this new coalition to continue to rally support to defeat the PATRIOT Act,”

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