Tuesday, October 31, 2006

it's called jumping the shark George

"The federal government's 'no sex without marriage' message isn't just for kids anymore.
Now the government is targeting unmarried adults up to age 29 as part of its abstinence-only programs, which include millions of dollars in federal money that will be available to the states under revised federal grant guidelines for 2007.
The government says the change is a clarification. But critics say it's a clear signal of a more directed policy targeting the sexual behavior of adults.
'They've stepped over the line of common sense,' said James Wagoner, president of Advocates for Youth, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit that supports sex education. 'To be preaching abstinence when 90% of people are having sex is in essence to lose touch with reality. It's an ideological campaign. It has nothing to do with public health.'
Abstinence education programs, which have focused on preteens and teens, teach that abstaining from sex is the only effective or acceptable method to prevent pregnancy or disease. They give no instruction on birth control or safe sex.
The National Center for Health Statistics says well over 90% of adults ages 20-29 have had sexual intercourse.
But Wade Horn, assistant secretary for children and families at the Department of Health and Human Services, said the revision is aimed at 19- to 29-year-olds because more unmarried women in that age group are having children. "



I haven't posted recently due to terrible head cold. I hate head colds. I would much prefer lung congestion so I could at least think. I am soon to be taking more drugs and napping. I wanted to post an update though before I went offline for a while.

My sister gets married on Saturday and boatloads of relatives are arriving shortly. This will mean much logistical planning and likely many trips to Logan airport, oh the joy. My brother is bringing his girlfriend though and that is very exciting. Best part of the wedding agenda I have seen so far is that us bridesmaids will enter the reception to J/ Lo's "get right". Real best part is my two friends from high school are flying up to come to the wedding which should be awesome.

As for me, life is changing so quickly I think I am only kinda keeping up. I am likely leaving current employer and seeking employment back in the Boston area. Phoenix and I will never be friends, it just can't work. So it is back to Boston for me, for now. Till I get a new bug up my but to go somewhere else.

That's all for now.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Daily Kos: Press Freedom In America Sinks To New Lows -New Study

"The fact that this country, whose Constitution explicitly honors a free press, fares so poorly in this report is shameful. But what makes it worse is that, while the press in other nations is often suppressed by threats of violence, the main reason our media suffers is due to its own cowardice and ineptitude. This report is an exclamation mark for media reform and the movement to break up the Big Media conglomerates.
This sorry appraisal for the United States reflects squarely on the Bush administration and its open antagonism for the press. In its alleged quest to protect America from enemies whom we are told hate us for our freedoms, Bush has alighted on a unique defense:
If he takes away our freedom, they won't hate us anymore.
20 Countries Ranking Highest In GDP
Ordered By Freedom Index ScoreRankCountryScore
7United Kingdom6.50
8South Korea7.75
14United States13.00

20 Countries Ranking Highest In Both Population And GDP
Ordered By Freedom Index Score
3United Kingdom6.50
4South Korea7.75
8South Africa11.25
10United States13.00

Women under attack in Iraq, Afghanistan - Yahoo! News

"'In Afghanistan, attacks on school establishments put the lives of girls at risk when they attempt to exercise their basic rights to education,' Guehenno said. 'Women and girls are raped when they go out to fetch firewood in Darfur. In Liberia, over 40 percent of women and girls surveyed have been victims of sexual violence. In the eastern Congo, over 12,000 rapes of women and girls have been reported in the last six months alone.'"

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I liked the destiny stuff better...

"Relationships are non-linear
In practical terms, this means a small perturbation may cause a large effect (see butterfly effect), a proportional effect, or even no effect at all. In linear systems, effect is always directly proportional to cause. See nonlinearity.
Relationships contain feedback loops
Both negative (damping) and positive (amplifying) feedback are often found in complex systems. The effects of an element's behaviour are fed back to in such a way that the element itself is altered.
Complex systems are open
Complex systems in nature are usually open systems — that is, they exist in a thermodynamic gradient and dissipate energy. In other words, complex systems are usually far from energetic equilibrium: but despite this flux, there may be pattern stability. See synergetics.
Complex systems have a memory
The history of a complex system may be important. Because complex systems are dynamical systems they change over time, and prior states may have an influence on present states. More formally, complex systems often exhibit hysteresis.
Complex systems may be nested
The components of a complex system may themselves be complex systems. For example, an economy is made up of organisations, which are made up of people, which are made up of cells - all of which are complex systems.
Boundaries are difficult to determine
It can be difficult to determine the boundaries of a complex system. The decision is ultimately made by the observer

Dynamic network of multiplicity
As well as coupling rules, the dynamic network of a complex system is important. Small-world or scale-free networks which have many local interactions and a smaller number of inter-area connections are often employ"

Exxon Mobil posts $10.49B profit in 3Q - Yahoo! News

"DALLAS - Oil industry behemoth Exxon Mobil's earnings rose to $10.49 billion in the third quarter, the second-largest quarterly profit ever recorded by a publicly traded U.S. company. Its shares briefly rose to a 52-week high."

Not so invisible hands on your markets....

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

info for those who need it

"The kindness of strangers Getting access to emergency contraception -- always a time-sensitive task -- can be all too difficult for some women. (We're looking at you, Target, for refusing to stock Plan B.) Women who can't get a prescription for E.C. often have to rely on generous friends willing to part with a few birth control pills, or even turn to Facebook, the social networking site that allegedly has several underground networks dedicated to helping provide Plan B to high school and college students.

Now, there's another alternative -- on Wednesday Feministing tipped us off to the cheerily named initiative Emergency Kindness, which launched on Oct. 21. Emergency Kindness makes E.C. available online so that every woman with Internet access can get the drug when she needs it.
It works like this: Users submit Plan B requests using Emergency Kindness' online form. The organization then alerts two of its 'Janes' (members of a volunteer network that, sadly, brings to mind the pre-Roe era's community of underground abortion providers), who arrange to overnight or hand-deliver emergency contraception to the woman in need, free of charge. If asked, the Janes will disguise the E.C. to help keep the client's needs confidential. Emergency Kindness asks that clients disclose any other medications they're taking, and provides information on how Plan B works, but doesn't ask for clients' ages. The woman behind the network, who goes by 'San Cai,' personally screens each potential new Jane. (If you're interested in becoming a Jane, go here.) And we particularly love the manifesto promising a no-judgment, no-shame attitude for those seeking E.C.
It's not a perfect system, by any means, and we sure wish women didn't have to go underground for easy access to emergency contraception. But given the curr"

New ad on bushies

so Orwellian they disturb me viscerally

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Russian commander: Tu-160s penetrate US airspace undetected - Wikinews

"A senior Russian air force commander has claimed that new, upgraded Tu-160 bomber aircraft were unchallenged by US air defense systems when they penetrated a radar zone near the Canadian coast in US territory during an April training exercise, reports the Russian news agency RIA Novosti.
Commander of Russia's long-range strategic bombers, Lieutenant General Igor Khvorov said that the bombers successfully carried out four mock Tu-95MS cruise missile launches, 200 mock bombings, and 53 mock sorties during the exercise. The RIA Novosti reported that the United States Air Force is currently investigating how the Tu-160's escaped detection.
Lieutenant General Igor Khvorov said, 'They were unable to detect the planes either with radars or visually.'
Khvorov denies any link of the tests to the current US-Iranian tension, saying, 'Of course, our exercises did not have anything to do with the situation in Iran, but their organization indirectly echoed in that region.'"

Friday, October 20, 2006

yah don't say? really...DUH morons

"Telling women they can't do well in math may turn out be a self-fulfilling statement. In tests in Canada, women who were told that men and women do math equally well did much better than those who were told there is a genetic difference in math ability.
And women who heard there were differences caused by environment — such as math teachers giving more attention to boys — outperformed those who were simply reminded they were females.
The women who did better in the tests got nearly twice as many right answers as those in the other groups, explained Steven J. Heine, a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.
Expectations, it turns out, really do make a difference.
'The findings suggest that people tend to accept genetic explanations as if they're more powerful or irrevocable, which can lead to self-fulfilling prophecies,' said Heine.
The math study is the latest since Harvard University's president ignited controversy last year by suggesting that innate gender differences may partly explain why fewer women than men reach top university science jobs. The comment eventually cost him his job."

Evangelicals losing the kids

Despite their packed megachurches, their political clout and their increasing visibility on the national stage, evangelical Christian leaders are warning one another that their teenagers are abandoning the faith in droves.

Boo hoo hooo...I feel for their plight, I really do. Us secular progessives are claerly luring them to the dark side...heh heh heh.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Asshattery continues

"The letter, written in Spanish and mailed last week to an estimated 14,000 Democratic voters in central Orange County, tells recipients: 'You are advised that if your residence in this country is illegal or you are an immigrant, voting in a federal election is a crime that could result in jail time.'
In fact, immigrants who are naturalized U.S. citizens can legally vote.
State and federal law do prohibit threatening or intimidating voters, though, and the complaints about the letters that began surfacing this week prompted state and federal investigations"

Olbermann: 'Beginning of the end of America' - Countdown with Keith Olbermann - MSNBC.com

"We have handed a blank check drawn against our freedom to a man who has said it is unacceptable to compare anything this country has ever done to anything the terrorists have ever done.
We have handed a blank check drawn against our freedom to a man who has insisted again that “the United States does not torture. It’s against our laws and it’s against our values” and who has said it with a straight face while the pictures from Abu Ghraib Prison and the stories of Waterboarding figuratively fade in and out, around him.
We have handed a blank check drawn against our freedom to a man who may now, if he so decides, declare not merely any non-American citizens “unlawful enemy combatants” and ship them somewhere—anywhere -- but may now, if he so decides, declare you an “unlawful enemy combatant” and ship you somewhere - anywhere.
And if you think this hyperbole or hysteria, ask the newspaper editors when John Adams was president or the pacifists when Woodrow Wilson was president or the Japanese at Manzanar when Franklin Roosevelt was president.
And if you somehow think habeas corpus has not been suspended for American citizens but only for everybody else, ask yourself this: If you are pulled off the street tomorrow, and they call you an alien or an undocumented immigrant or an “unlawful enemy combatant”—exactly how are you going to convince them to give you a court hearing to prove you are not? Do you think this attorney general is going to help you?"

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

California insurer Blue Cross settles lawsuit - Yahoo! News

"Plaintiffs in the case claimed they had been left to pay crippling hospital bills -- some in excess of 100,000 dollars -- after Blue Cross had retrospectively cancelled medical coverage"

I assume they mean retroactively, but still how depressing.

Arizona ranked dumbest in U.S.

"Arizona ranked dumbest in U.S. "
Comparison of states' education systems, per-pupil funding among criteria in survey
John Faherty
The Arizona Republic
Oct. 18, 2006 12:00 AM
Arizona has the dubious distinction of being the dumbest state in the Union, according to an independent research and publishing company in Kansas. "

And um by the way....
2006 smartest states
1. Vermont.
2. Massachusetts.
3. Connecticut.
4. New Jersey.
5. Maine.
45. Alabama.
46. Alaska.
47. California.
48. Mississippi.
49. Nevada.
50. Arizona.

Monday, October 16, 2006

WTF Oprah?

So we had satellite radio for the cross country journey and we listened to a lot of talk radio. I hadn't been that exposed to talk radio before this little sojourn. As such, I only knew of many of the hosts from commentary on their shows. So it was enlightening to actually listen to them for myself. I discovered strange things, such as Dr. laura, depite being an obvious nutbag is quite fun to listen to and often dead on in her assessment of people's situations. So when we ventured over to Oprah and friends I was expecting to really enjoy the programming with the exception of Dr. Phil who I think is an obnoxious, useless blowhard. Here I heard Marianne Williamson. There are not words in existence to describe the idiocy exemplified, but here is a smattering from the XM site, with commentary.

"Romantic Love
Original Air Date: Week of October 10, 2006
How do you attract the mate you desire and keep them and yourself happy? Marianne is joined by marriage and family therapist, Dr. Pat Allen, to share advice that she says opened her eyes to the truth (read bland unimaginative hope for conformity) about romantic relationships.

According to Dr. Allen, the success of a romantic relationship rests on two principles:

A man's greatest psychic craving is that his thoughts be respected. (are you thinking to yourself, well what do women want? I was curious on where she was going as I rather enjoy having my thoughts respected by my romantic partner. wait for it....)

A woman's greatest psychic craving is to have her feelings cherished. (that's right ladies, you bundle of misunderstood uncherished emotional vomiting, your deepest pysche just wants to be told that you are loved and cherished...much like puppies do...it gets better)
Based on these underlying desires, Dr. Allen spells out some of the ways couples can achieve a lasting romantic relationship: (because it is deeply and profoundly romantic to have a dynamic of owner and sensitive cute puppy)

Show respect for your man's thought processes, don't coddle his emotions. Don't ask, 'How do you feel?' but rather 'What do you think?'
The key to being loved by a man is not what you achieve or do, but in who you are inside.
A woman is most powerful and most attractive when she exudes her feminine (apparently defined as passive/magnetic..no I'm not kidding ) energy.
Husbands and wives each have within them both masculine and feminine energies that need to be balanced, complementary and noncompetitive. (This sentence is why I hate these asshats so much, because this sentence is true in a lot of ways and yet completely contradicts every other asshat thing she has said)
Focus on complementary energy rather than competitive energy. Competitive energy diminishes intimacy. " (now, not for nothing, but I know more than one couple who find a good wrestle leads to not only intimacy but also to some other very enjoyable activity)

So in summation, avoid listening to this woman, or listen just to remind yourself how sad it is that you aren't getting paid a lot of money to talk, because if she is considered profound....yeah I should be making lots more money.

We need a new plan...soon

"At the moment, vegetable growers and packers are virtually unregulated. “Farmers can do pretty much as they please,” Carol Tucker Foreman, director of the Food Policy Institute at the Consumer Federation of America, said recently, “as long as they don’t make anyone sick.”
This sounds like an alarming lapse in governmental oversight until you realize there has never before been much reason to worry about food safety on farms. But these days, the way we farm and the way we process our food, both of which have been industrialized and centralized over the last few decades, are endangering our health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that our food supply now sickens 76 million Americans every year, putting more than 300,000 of them in the hospital, and killing 5,000. The lethal strain of E. coli known as 0157:H7, responsible for this latest outbreak of food poisoning, was unknown before 1982; it is believed to have evolved in the gut of feedlot cattle. These are animals that stand around in their manure all day long, eating a diet of grain that happens to turn a cow’s rumen into an ideal habitat for E. coli 0157:H7. (The bug can’t survive long in cattle living on grass.) Industrial animal agriculture produces more than a billion tons of manure every year, manure that, besides being full of nasty microbes like E. coli 0157:H7 (not to mention high concentrations of the pharmaceuticals animals must receive so they can tolerate the feedlot lifestyle), often ends up in places it shouldn’t be, rather than in pastures, where it would not only be harmless but also actually do some good. To think of animal manure as pollution rather than ferti"

Saturday, October 14, 2006

things you learn driving across country

We are in Memphis. We went out on Beale street. There was a girl singing jazz at one place. She was a bit giddy to be singing jazz. We went to BB King's after that and the band there was great. We are behind schedule but glad to have stopped. So things we have learned:
  • Oklahoma might possibly be the longest most boring state ever. Avoid.
  • Alburqueque has a balloon festival this weekend. We missed it:( But, we had awesome food with friends and bro got the infection in his finger drained. That was gross, but he had to get a shot in the butt. That was funny.
  • Badly dressed (and I mean feathered hair, one fellow who looked like those guys who compete in fishing challenges in Upper penisula Michigan and another fellow who had his sweater tucked into his jeans) white people over 40 dancing their heart out to Beyonce's "Crazy in Love" is life affirming in a way that should be studied.
  • Bugles are really very tasty.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Friends for Life: An Emerging Biology of Emotional Healing - New York Times

Not the best science writing I have seen, but still I find this fascinating. I think is some ways I found it counter-intuitive that being around an angry person would affect my level of anger. It simultaneously decreases your level of control over your mood, while increasing your responsibility for the people you surround yourself with. I suppose, though, that if you believe that the below is an accurate interpretation of the data, that Oprah, Wicca and the Golden Rule are speaking to a universal truth now proved out by science. It comforts me when perception of how the world works seems to align with scientific data. Sometimes just because you feel it...it really is true:)

"Mirror neurons offer a neural mechanism that explains emotional contagion, the tendency of one person to catch the feelings of another, particularly if strongly expressed. This brain-to-brain link may also account for feelings of rapport, which research finds depend in part on extremely rapid synchronization of people’s posture, vocal pacing and movements as they interact. In short, these brain cells seem to allow the interpersonal orchestration of shifts in physiology.
Such coordination of emotions, cardiovascular reactions or brain states between two people has been studied in mothers with their infants, marital partners arguing and even among people in meetings. Reviewing decades of such data, Lisa M. Diamond and Lisa G. Aspinwall, psychologists at the University of Utah, offer the infelicitous term “a mutually regulating psychobiological unit” to describe the merging of two discrete physiologies into a connected circuit. To the degree that this occurs, Dr. Diamond and Dr. Aspinwall argue, emotional closeness allows the biology of one person to influence that of the other.
John T. Cacioppo, director of the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago, makes a parallel proposal: the emotional status of our main relationships has a significant impact on our overall pattern of cardiovascular and neuroendocrine activity. This radically expands the scope of biology and neuroscience from focusing on a single body or brain to looking at the interplay between two at a time. In short, my hostility bumps up your blood pressure, your nurturing love lowers mine. Potentially, we are each other’s biological enemies or allies.
Even remotely suggesting health benefits from these interconnections will, no doubt, raise hackles in medical circles. No one can claim solid data showing a medically significant effect from the intermingling of physiologies.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Arizona's Urban Sprawl Stretches Shelter System

"In 2004, the Governor's State Plan on Domestic and Sexual Violence reported over 100 domestic violence-related homicides in Arizona during the previous year. In 'Breaking the Cycle,' a resource book developed to assist victims and service providers, Napolitano wrote that domestic violence was the No. 1 call for service among state law-enforcement agencies and that Arizona had the second highest domestic violence murder rate in the country."

I wonder what rank Massachusetts is?

Monday, October 09, 2006

my gypsy heart....

Attached is the route I'm taking home. I'm leaving again. I'm very happy I get to spend the next few months at home, but spent the week struggling with all of this. Life really does change on a dime and while normally I'm happy as long as its not boring, this has been a little much, even for me. It's a long drive....at least I have satellite radio:)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Feeling a little crazy? there is a reason...

"Tonight's full Moon will be almost 12 percent bigger than some of the full Moons this year, according to NASA, setting up a fine viewing opportunity when it rises in the evening.
The reason: The Moon is near perigee, the point on its slightly out-of-round orbit that is closest to Earth.
This Moon is called the Harvest Moon, owing to its timing of being nearest the autumnal " Farmers in the past relied on it to harvest all night. The Harvest Moon is not always closer and bigger than normal.
"Harvest Moon"
Come a little bit closer
Hear what I have to say
Just like children sleepin'
We could dream this night away.
But there's a full moon risin'
Let's go dancin' in the light
We know where the music's playin'
Let's go out and feel the night.
Because I'm still in love with youI want to see you dance again
Because I'm still in love with youOn this harvest moon.
When we were strangersI watched you from afar
When we were lovers I loved you with all my heart.But now it's gettin'late
And the moon is climbin' highI want to celebrate
See it shinin' in your eye.Because I'm still in love with youI want to see you dance again
Because I'm still in love with you
On this harvest moon.

more reasons for city living....

"The findings show that, across a wide range of settings, women are more at risk of violence by an intimate partner than from any other type of perpetrator,' said Dr Claudia Garcia-Morena of the World Health Organization.
The prevalence ranged from four percent in cities in Japan and Serbia to more than 30 percent in rural areas in Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Peru. The violence was most severe in rural rather than urban settings, the report said."

Marijuana may help stave off Alzheimer’s - Alzheimer's Disease - MSNBC.com

"WASHINGTON - Good news for aging hippies: smoking pot may stave off Alzheimer’s disease.
New research shows that the active ingredient in marijuana may prevent the progression of the disease by preserving levels of an important neurotransmitter that allows the brain to function."


"Virtue describes the inner qualities that we are born with and develop throughout our life. The truth is, in order to be in harmony you need to be able to create the flow for your own existence. Many times when things are not working out for us, it may simply be that we have not have discovered the type of virtue or internal power we need (to apply) in order to overcome an obstacle or manoeuvre a situation. Having the power to apply or manifest the virtue (appropriately) is yet another part of this equation. "

The crossroads are moving and I am taking a long path. I felt certain for a moment, but in the cold light of travel planning I am shook to the bone. I wish for savvy. I am heading east for awhile. It's a long way from here and I hope crossing the long way lets me get there in time. I am so sad. I don't want to be. I want this to have been worth it in hindsight. Still I fear the whole adventure was a terrible waste of precious time.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Daily Kos: Garrison Keillor: Roll call of Senate damned

" The U.S. Senate, in all its splendor and majesty, has decided that an 'enemy combatant' is any non-citizen whom the president says is an enemy combatant, including your Korean greengrocer or your Swedish grandmother or your Czech au pair, and can be arrested and held for as long as authorities wish without any right of appeal to a court of law to examine the matter. If your college kid were to be arrested in Bangkok or Cairo, suspected of 'crimes against the state' and held in prison, you'd assume that an American foreign service officer would be able to speak to your kid and arrange for a lawyer, but this may not be true anymore. Be forewarned. "

Slimming photos with HP digital cameras - HP Digital Photography Center

How vain am I for wanting this?

so should have learned stats...

ECHIDNE OF THE SNAKES: "Let's not go quite that fast. I looked at the original research summary, and what it states is that weeks worked by the mother had no correlation with childhood obesity. So when moms work, kids don't get fat. Get it? What the study did demonstrate was that childhood obesity was positively associated with mothers who work long hours per week, and only then for the educated white mothers, and that is the percentage Harford chooses to cite in his article. There was no relationship between childhood obesity and working hours for the black or Hispanic mothers. It might be worthwhile to dig out the sample numbers here. How many white and educated mothers did the study include?Let's not go quite that fast. I looked at the original research summary, and what it states is that weeks worked by the mother had no correlation with childhood obesity. So when moms work, kids don't get fat. Get it? What the study did demonstrate was that childhood obesity was positively associated with mothers who work long hours per week, and only then for the educated white mothers, and that is the percentage Harford chooses to cite in his article. There was no relationship between childhood obesity and working hours for the black or Hispanic mothers. It might be worthwhile to dig out the sample numbers here. How many white and educated mothers did the study include?"

Lazy, lazy lazy

"No, not that way. A study released last month in the journal Psychological Science appeared to show that what we think is attractive, or beautiful, is whatever requires the least amount of effort."


Billmon: "This guy obviously was confused. He seemed to be under the impression he was living in a free country:
Mr. Howards, 54, said . . . he was taking his 8-year-old son to a piano lesson on June 16 at the Beaver Creek Resort about two hours west of Denver when he saw Mr. Cheney at an outdoor mall. Mr. Howards said he approached within two feet of Mr. Cheney and said in a calm voice, “I think your policies in Iraq are reprehensible,” or as the lawsuit itself describes the encounter, “words to that effect.”
Mr. Howards said he then went on his way. About 10 minutes later, he said, he was walking back through the area when Agent Reichle handcuffed him and said he would be charged with assaulting the vice president. Local police officers, acting on information from the Secret Service, according to the suit, ultimately filed misdemeanor harassment charges that could have resulted in up to a year in jail.
Good to see the Secret Service is living up to its initials.
I think Cheney must still be sore about this incident. Mr. Howards should consider himself lucky he didn't get a shotgun blast in the face."

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Timing, luck & good planning

For each and every person, there is a destination to which they are bound in their lifetime. In addition, no two people can play the same role. We are in the process of creating our destination every minute of the day via our decisions and interactions. Each and every one of us is born with an intrinsic series of dynamics existing within our unique potential - our personality - which we enact throughout our lives accordingly.

I am again at a crossroads, faced with options with ambiguous pros and cons. I committed to "going with my gut", but find my gut is as confused as my mind when faced with the actual options. I get envious of imaginary people who have some innate structure for seeing all options as opportunities. I envy true optimists who see experience and wisdom in every/any road taken. My less rational parts cling to the idea that there is a correct choice, a path that will really crack open the world for me to explore. I still wish for things I don't really believe exist. Is that hope? Is that self destructive? I know enough now to realize that everyone struggles. Confidence does not mean certainty and ambivalence doesn't mean lack of focus or ambition. I know this viscerally and yet still have ridiculous nostalgia for the time when I thought confidence, ambition and focus would yield the BEST plan ever. I will continue forward,a s there really is no other option. I struggle to embrace whatever folly may result from the best laid plans.


"'The patent system is being abused by private actors to the detriment of the mostly unaware public. Our health, our freedom, and our economic prosperity are all under assault from bogus rights meted out to the few with the power and expertise to game a system originally established hundreds of years ago to promote progress within society as a whole. The government, through primarily a captured patent office utterly failing to achieve its mission and skewed policies implemented into patent law by Congress and the courts, is not just failing to defend the public interest from abuse of the patent system, but is omplicit in and supportive of such efforts.'
Them's fighting words!
The Monsanto patents in question involve the methods by which genes from one organism are inserted into another. Ravicher's contention is that by the time Monsanto got around to patenting these methods, they were not new and unusual enough to constitute an invention worthy of protection.
Despite Ravicher's previous success, one would have to guess that the odds of success in invalidating these patents are long. But seen in a larger context, the attack on the patents is just one element of a broader pushback against Monsanto's assertion of intellectual property rights in an ongoing clash with traditional farming practices. "


"'In principle, the stock market represents the discounted value of the future profits of corporate America. If the value rises because the economy can now be seen as growing more rapidly, then this is certainly good news. But, if future profits are projected to be higher because of lower wages or lower corporate taxes (e.g. a higher tax burden on workers or fewer public services), why should the mass of the population, who own little or no stock, celebrate?'
Good question -- especially when most indicators suggest that the economy is actually slowing. In fact, one theory for why oil prices are declining so rapidly is that speculators are selling off their holdings precisely because they fear an economic slowdown next year will depress worldwide energy demand.
Which brings us back to square one. If it is true that the Dow's recent vim and vigor is a result of falling oil prices, then what investors are actually celebrating is the likelihood of an oncoming recession. Woo hoo!"

Monday, October 02, 2006


"Oct 2, 2006 — NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is pushing to create a cheaper, more flexible work force by capping wages, using more part-time workers and scheduling more staff on nights and weekends, The New York Times reported on Monday.
Wal-Mart executives say they embraced the new policies for a large number of their 1.3 million workers to better serve customers, the newspaper said.
But some Wal-Mart workers say the changes are further reducing their modest incomes and putting a strain on personal lives, the Times reported.
Investment analysts and store managers say Wal-Mart executives have told them the company wants to transform its work force to 40 percent part-time from 20 percent, the Times reported. "