april tulips wallpaper, nobel prize winner gets some vindication over iraq

april tulips wallpaper

april tulips wallpaper

Many of the details of events that lead us into the disastrous invasion of Iraq are fading, like too many other important details tend to do. One of the things the Bush administration did was to get rid of the director of Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, José Bustani. Bustani got some justice when he won the Nobel Peace Prize, To Ousted Boss, Arms Watchdog Was Seen as an Obstacle in Iraq

But Mr. Bustani and some senior officials, both in Brazil and the United States, say Washington acted because it believed that the organization under Mr. Bustani threatened to become an obstacle to the administration’s plans to invade Iraq. As justification, Washington was claiming that Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi leader, possessed chemical weapons, but Mr. Bustani said his own experts had told him that those weapons were destroyed in the 1990s, after the Persian Gulf war.

“Everybody knew there weren’t any,” he said. “An inspection would make it obvious there were no weapons to destroy. This would completely nullify the decision to invade.”

…..Getting Mr. Bustani fired took some doing. Washington failed to obtain a no-confidence motion from the chemical weapons watchdog’s executive council. Then the United States, which was responsible for 22 percent of the agency’s budget at the time, threatened to cut off its financing and warned that several other countries, including Japan, would follow suit, diplomats have said.

Former UN ambassador John Bolton ( and unbelievably also mentioned to be a possible presidential candidate in 2016) said that Bustani did not make the chemical weapons argument until after the invasion. Which is ridiculous considering the timeline, Bustani was working on getting Iraq to join the OPCW since the late 90s and was getting more and more cooperation. Bolton was and still is a very good neocon, he believes in the doctrine of the Big Lie, repeated loud and often, he is a master of bull. He probably suffers from something like O.J. syndrome, he has been BSing for so long he has begun to believe the twisted narrative in his head.

Grand Bal poster for a Swiss film festival, March 23, 1929. They’re difficult to see, but the Cubist-style jazz musicians are an especially nice touch.

mountain dawn wallpaper, government shut down produces hardship and paranoid rants

mountain dawn wallpaper

mountain dawn wallpaper

James Woods claims Hollywood is against him after anti-Obama tweets. Actor and vocal Republican says he won’t ‘work again’ after repeatedly criticizing the president over government shutdown. Woods is not particularly important in the total scheme of things. Another multi-millionaire conservative complaining about how hard life is as he lounges by the pool at his literal mansion. He tweets his opinions, free of facts or logic and tells the maid to bring him another martini. Besides blaming president Obama for the shut-down, he also blames the president for the consequences of the shut-down like the WW II vets  having some of their benefits delayed. I have no inside information as to why Hollywood has some of the most misinformed conservatives in the conservative movement. Woods was just in the Showtime series Ray with comrade in ignorance Jon Voight. Both of them insipid aging actors that, despite their paranoid rants, keep getting work from those mean Hollywood liberals. Though Woods gives us a chance to unpack some basic truths. Who is responsible for the government shut-down. Woods blames Democrats. The lame stream media says there is blame on both sides. The truth is that conservative Republicans are not only to blame, they are seeing the results of their plans, A Federal Budget Crisis Months in the Planning -

….a loose-knit coalition of conservative activists led by former Attorney General Edwin Meese III gathered in the capital to plot strategy. Their push to repeal Mr. Obama’s health care law was going nowhere, and they desperately needed a new plan.

Out of that session, held one morning in a location the members insist on keeping secret, came a little-noticed “blueprint to defunding Obamacare,” signed by Mr. Meese and leaders of more than three dozen conservative groups.

It articulated a take-no-prisoners legislative strategy that had long percolated in conservative circles: that Republicans could derail the health care overhaul if conservative lawmakers were willing to push fellow Republicans — including their cautious leaders — into cutting off financing for the entire federal government.

And of course lots of money from radical conservative groups was involved, The Money Behind the Shutdown Crisis. Some conservatives, backed into a corner on these facts, of which Woods and other true believers are blissfully ignorant or lack the integrity to admit, will say they had no choice. They say the deficit is out of control and a shut-down will force the president to stop his alleged free spending. The problem with that is the deficit has declined steadily under the Obama presidency. Here’s a fact: The deficit is falling. Mr. Woods further claimed, “I don’t expect to work again. I l think Barack Obama is a threat to the integrity and future of the Republic. My country first.” Here is someone using highly inflammatory hyperbole to make brazenly ignorant claims about who is responsible for the shut-down and yet also claims to care about his country.  How can one be a good citizen, try to shift the direction of the nation, yet not know the course or the reasons behind it. Is that patriotism, the blind alliance to a set of weird lies and baseless paranoia. Ultra nationalist throughout history have relied on the ignorance, greed and lack of reflection of people like Woods and Voight. Together they have caused untold misery and death. That is the perverse kind of patriotism Mark Twain was taking about when he defined a patriot as ” the person who can holler the loudest without knowing what he is hollering about.”

South Pasadena Recreation Center. Photographer, Doug White   (No date, probably late 1950s or early 1960s)

yellow fall wheat wallpaper, the myths of free trade and growth

yellow fall wheat wallpaper

yellow fall wheat wallpaper

 

‘Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism’

Second, the way “infant” economies become “mature” economies is not via free trade. It never has been and never will be. Whether it be the mature economies of Britain (which began to seriously grow in the early 1600s), America (late 1700s), Japan (1800s), or Brazil (1900s), in every single case, worldwide, without exception, the economic strength and maturity of a nation came about as a result not of governments “standing aside” or “getting out of the way” but instead of direct government participation in and protection of the “infant” industries and economy.

The modern history of protectionist trade policies goes back to ancient Rome, stretches through the reigns of a series of King Henry’s in the UK, through Alexander Hamilton’s tenure as Secretary of the Treasury under George Washington, through the trade policies of Dwight D. Eisenhower and JFK, and continues today with China, Korea, the Middle East, and the rapidly-growing Brazilian economy.

[  ]…Once “strategic” and “important” industries are identified, government both encourages and protects their domestic growth in a variety of ways. These include subsidies, legal protections (like patent laws), import tariffs to protect against foreign competition, strong industry regulation to ensure quality, and development of infrastructure to ease manufacture, distribution, sales, and use of the product.

As Ha-Joon Chang points out in his brilliant book Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism,” in 1933 a clothing manufacturing company decided to branch out into the manufacture of automobiles. They had everything going against them – their nation had no really serious domestic auto industry, the company had no experience with the product, and other nations (particularly the US and Great Britain) were already making world-class vehicles that had captured most of the world’s markets.

But the company caught the imagination of its country’s leadership, and a ministry of trade decided to help it along. Government subsidies helped the company develop their first car. Decades of high import tariffs protected it from foreign competition as it grew into a serious contender. Domestic content laws both made sure the company used parts made within the country, and also guaranteed that domestic competitors would have to, thus building a strong base of domestic companies supportive of an auto industry, from tires to plastic components to precision machine tools and electronics.

In 1939 the country even kicked out both GM and Ford from sales within the country, and the nation’s single wholly-owned bank bailed out the struggling textile manufacturer as it moved relentlessly forward in the development of an automobile.

That company, originally known as The Toyoda Automatic Loom Company, is today known as Toyota, and manufactures the infamous Lexus that Tom Friedman mistakenly thought was successful because the world is “flat” and trade is “free.” In fact, the success of the Lexus (and the Prius and every other Toyota) is entirely traceable to massive government intervention in the markets by Japan over a fifty-year period that continues to this very day.

Like so many other words heard in everyday political speech, free trade has been a code word for some time. My neighbors think of it as this nice little system that means they can buy ham slightly cheaper at store X than at store Y. In reality it becomes the nice sounding grand old American tradition morphed into the right to ship jobs to Asia and hobble organized labor – though who object are Marxist radicals who do not want everyone to live up to their potential to be the next billionaire. Free markets is code for not allowing labor to have too much power because it takes away the freedom of rent-seekers to squeeze as much money as they can out of labor without paying them a living wage or simply taking the lion’s share of the profits created by someone else work, ideas, research or invention.

What’s That Smell?

Using advanced statistical techniques, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and Bates College have developed an approach to systematically describing smells.

This work may help guide future studies pertaining to how smells are represented in the brain. The research suggests that there are 10 basic categories of odor including fruity, minty, lemony—and sickening.

Senses such as hearing and vision can be discussed in terms that most people understand and that are tied to measurable physical phenomena. But the sense of smell, or olfaction, has thus far not lent itself to such a systematic understanding of what smells we perceive and how those perceptions relate to physical phenomena.

I’m amazed at how the brain, to an extraordinary degree, links smells with memory. Suede, which is probably partly a smell from the chemical tanning process, brings back very distinct sharp memories of someone I knew as a teenager. While some perfumes/colognes bring back other memories.

blue hyacinth wallpaper, the brain prion from hell, no right to be obnoxious

blue hyacinth wallpaper

blue hyacinth wallpaper

Prions are kinds of proteins. Organic compounds that we ordinarily think of as harmless. After all they’re not bacteria or fungi. Not so with the prions that cause Mad Cow disease or Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. N.H. patients possibly exposed to fatal brain disease

Eight patients at a New Hampshire hospital may have been exposed to a rare, fatal brain disease from surgery equipment that was used on a patient who likely had the incurable disease, state health officials said Wednesday.

The patients underwent brain surgery at Catholic Medical Center in Manchester between May and August and have been notified of their potential exposure, the officials said during a news conference.

The equipment, rented from Minneapolis-based Medtronic, may also have been used on five patients in unnamed other states before health officials realized the instruments were possibly contaminated with tissue from the initial patient. That person had undergone surgery in May, but only last month was it discovered that the patient had symptoms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Standard methods for sterilizing surgical equipment before every operation do not protect against the rare disease, specialists said.

And they’re understating the case when they say the standard methods for cleaning surgical instruments do not kill all the prions. using these steaming hot high pressure autoclaves, the usual sterilizing detergents do not kill them all. A researcher at National Institutes of Health said that some of them can even survive incineration. These specific prions are rare and the people who are mentioned in the article are not positively going to be infected. Though if anyone is, there is no cure.

Saducismus triumphatus

Saducismus triumphatus: or, Full and plain evidence concerning witches and apparitions. In two parts. The first treating of their possiblity. The second of their real existence. By Joseph Glanvil 1636-1680., late Chaplain in Ordinary to His Majesty, and fellow of the Royal Society. The second edition. With two authentick, but wonderful stories of certain Swedish witches; done into English by Anth. Horneck D.D. 1682. Of course they have proof and it must be true since this an old book written by a chaplain. 

Fiona Apple and Dave Chappelle: Are Artists Obligated to Appease Disrespectful Audiences?

Last week, Fiona Apple performed at a Louis Vuitton-sponsored show in Tokyo, one that paid tribute to women like Kate Moss, Sofia Coppola, and Catherine Deneuve (the event was called “Timeless Muses”). As you may expect at this type of event, people were chatty and less interested in the music being performed onstage for their entertainment. Annoyed with the noise coming from the crowd, Apple allegedly cursed at the audience stormed off stage following her set. Her behavior, of course, was labeled as “a meltdown,” and the seemingly unstable Apple — whose public acknowledgement of mental illness has never particularly worked in her favor — was yet again portrayed as a loon.

Apple’s performance at the Louis Vuitton show took place the same day that news broke online of comedian Dave Chappelle’s disastrous stand-up set at Funny or Die’s The Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival in Hartford, Connecticut. In response to visibly and audibly drunk audience members who yelled to the stage to get his attention, Chappelle responded in a way that probably isn’t too surprising: he told them to shut up. When the audience booed and continued to heckle him, he sat on stage until his time was up. Obviously, the media reported that he, too, had a meltdown.

I’m not buying the argument that since someone bought a ticket they are entitled to any kind of obnoxious behavior. Other people paid for their tickets as well. Most of these artists understand that there is going to be some chatter during their performance; one of the reason the amplifiers at concerts are so loud. But purposely disrupting them is not. No one bought the right, along with that ticket to put on their own little show. The performers have every right to be upset, and being upset is no more a meltdown than when the rowdy members of the crowd were upset when they were harassed at work or school. I think this tendency to describe female performers this way is mostly the gossip press, whose sole purpose in life is to get some rise out of people one way or the other. They don’t care as long as readers are agitated for and against what they wrote.

candlelight wallpaper, remotely controlled brain experiment works, the moral deficit of conservatism

candlelight serenade wallpaper

candlelight serenade wallpaper

 

Maybe because of recent news that an NSA employee used their position and authority to stalk an ex-spouse, I’m feeling a little more cynical about this news than I should, Researcher remotely controls colleague’s body with brain

On Aug. 12, University of Washington researcher Rajesh Rao sent the finger-flicking brain signal to his colleague, Andrea Stocco, in a demonstration of human-to-human brain signaling, according to a university announcement.

…A video of the experiment released on the lab team’s website shows Rao observing a cannon-firing video game while wearing an electrical brain-signal reading cap. By imagining his right finger flicking during the game, he triggered the actual motion in Stocco, who sat in a distant lab, wearing a cap designed to send magnetic stimulation signals to his brain. In effect, Rao’s thought was transferred across the campus, via the Internet, to trigger the motion in Stocco, who described it as feeling like an involuntary twitch, according to the announcement.

The development of sophisticated electronic surveillance and the ability to store vast quantities of data was also a great advancement in our national security toolbox. Many of as realize that technology has been badly abused. So there is little reason to believe that advances in directly controlled brain technology will not be abused as well. If only our ethical standards would keep pace with technology.

Starry Night

Starry Night, 1893 by Edvard Munch. Oil on canvas. An interesting contrast with Vincent Van Gogh’s painting The Starry Night. Munch is said to have been more interested in conveying the mood of the setting, or his mood anyway, rather than emphasizing the picturesque qualities.

Pennsylvania, Rep. Tom Marino (R) Tells The Elderly ‘We Do Not Have The Money’ To Fund Meals On Wheels

At a visit to the Meals on Wheels program headquarters in Monroe and Lackawanna counties in his home state of Pennsylvania, Rep. Tom Marino (R) said that he supports the program but that he is concerned with reducing long-term debt. While calling the funding of Meals on Wheels a “no-brainer,” he still said “I can’t stand here and tell you your agency won’t be cut.”

“It’s going to take two decades — even if we start now — to try to eliminate this debt,” he said. “Folks, we do not have the money. The revenue is not there. How are you going to pay for it?”

The executive directors of the program delivered comments written on paper plates from the low-income elderly recipients of the meals asking him to help end sequestration cuts and increase the program’s funding. The local programs haven’t had to reduce meal days yet, but Linda Steier, executive director of Meals on Wheels in the area, told the Pocono Record, “It’s looming large.”

Still, those programs are among the fortunate, as many others across the country have had to reduce the number of meals they serve, freeze new enrollees, shutter community centers, and furlough staff. In fact, nearly 70 percent report having to reduce their meals. All told, initial projections were that $41 million in federal funding for the program would be cut, resulting in as many as 19 million fewer meals served.

We, the gov’mint have enough money to pay Tom $179k a year, subsidize his and his family’s health care insurance with a gold plated plan. The deficit has gone down every year since 2009. So he is lying about having some kind of deficit emergency. If you grow old in the USA you’re entitled to the dignity and respect of having enough nutritious food to survive. Tom, who obviously has no interest in representing or respecting elder Americans not only feels differently, he feels so strongly about not feeding seniors he is willing to lie and exaggerate to not feed them or respect them. Tom has an emergency deficit. A deficit of basic morality.,

space bike, wealth gives rise to a sense of entitlement and narcissistic behaviors

Spacelander Bicycle

Spacelander Bicycle. Designed by Benjamin Bowden for a 1946 exhibition of British industrial design. While this great postwar example of streamline futuristic design was a critical success at the exhibition, Bowden had a difficult time finding a manufacturer who would put it into production. By the time it found a manufacturer in the U.S. in 1960, much of the public’s taste in this kind of style had changed. Only around 500 were sold. Though now it is was of the most highly valued old bicycles on the market.

Study finds wealth gives rise to a sense of entitlement and narcissistic behaviors

According to a new study published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin this month, wealth tends to increase a person’s sense of entitlement, which in turn can lead to narcissistic behaviors.

Paul Piff of the University of California at Berkeley told PsyPost “there is something about wealth that gives rise to a sense of entitlement, a sense that one deserves more good things in life than others, which in turn gives rise to an increased or inflated sense of self-importance, vanity, grandiosity, and omnipotence (narcissism).”

“Narcissism is a multi-faceted and complex construct, but that wealth is specifically associated with it suggests that as a person’s level of privilege rises, that person becomes increasingly self-focused – in a sense, becoming the center of their own world and worldview,” he explained.

“The studies in the paper measure narcissism in a whole host of ways, including measuring how likely someone is to stare at their reflection in a mirror (wealthier people do that more often). Even students who come from wealth, but have done little to create their own wealth (yet), report more entitlement. This suggests that wealth shapes an ideology of self-interest and entitlement that’s transferred culturally from one generation to the next.”

This is obviously not always the case, some people with wealth turn out to be great humanitarians. For those people the Spiderman message about great powers  being coupled with great responsibility does sink in with some people. I’ve experienced this quite a bit. There is an attitude of entitlement over the phone or in person – do you know who I am – I want what I want, I want it now and I deserve it because I am a executive VP or a wealthy lawyer or banker. Very strange behavior, I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it.

beach walkway

beach walkway. I noticed this morning that the 6 am sunrises are gone and then along came the big yellow school buses. Summer will soon be gone.

This recent editorial is a good example of the culture of entitlement and narcissistic behavior that guides our economy, The Leveraged Buyout of America

According to legal scholar Saule Omarova, over the past five years, there has been a “quiet transformation of U.S. financial holding companies.” These financial services companies have become global merchants that seek to extract rent from any commercial or financial business activity within their reach.  They have used legal authority in Graham-Leach-Bliley to subvert the “foundational principle of separation of banking from commerce”. . . .

It seems like there is a significant macro-economic risk in having a massive entity like, say JP Morgan, both issuing credit cards and mortgages, managing municipal bond offerings, selling gasoline and electric power, running large oil tankers, trading derivatives, and owning and operating airports, in multiple countries.

A “macro” risk indeed – not just to our economy but to our democracy and our individual and national sovereignty. Giant banks are buying up our country’s infrastructure – the power and supply chains that are vital to the economy.

These assets – airports, toll roads, and ports; control power plants; and store and hoard vast quantities of commodities of all sorts – are being packaged as investment instruments, a bet on their future value, much like the collateralized debt obligations that contributed so much to the Great Recession of 2007. And their are doing it with your money, your deposits – the excess of deposits over loans – as collateral for borrowing. Once again making bets that they cannot pay, if like the housing market, values should go down.

forest greens wallpaper, light and space, holier than thou rushrush

forest greens wallpaper

forest greens wallpaper

 

Meteor Pieces Hammered Into Iron Jewelry In Egypt 5,000 Years Ago. Ancient craftsmen would make rolls of the metal extracted from meteorites, than take small pieces and roll them into a shape that could be strung on a necklace.

Light and Space

Light and Space, 1946 by Carlotta M. Corpron. Silver gelatin print.

 7 Idiotic and Dangerous Statements From Right-Wing Nut-Jobs Just Last Week

4. Rush Limbaugh bullies listeners into choosing between God and science.

One mark of a borderline personality, we’re told, is seeing the word in black-and-white terms — either/or — no nuance allowed. An armchair diagnosis of Rush Limbaugh suggests that syndrome may apply to him. Another diagnosis: intellectual (using the word loosely) bullying.

And so it was this week when Limbaugh made it plain to his listeners that they could not simultaneously believe in God and in climate change science. Take your pick, he said, ‘cause you can’t have both. His comments were occasioned by Secretary of State John Kerry having the audacity to say in a speech to the Office of Faith-Based Community Initiatives that climate change was “a challenge to our responsibilities as the guardians — safe guarders of God’s creation.”

Here’s how Limbaugh put listeners between a rock and hard place:

“See, in my humble opinion, folks, if you believe in God, then intellectually you cannot believe in manmade global warming … You must be either agnostic or atheistic to believe that man controls something that he can’t create.”

Black or white. See? Simple.

There seem to be some Christians who disagree, ” Christians for Environmental Stewardship is dedicated to reaching the Evangelical and Conservative Christian churches with a scriptural message of environmental stewardship. We measure our stewardship by healthy ecosystems and sustainable, responsible consumption. We are calling on all Christians to search the scriptures to better understand the heart of God in relation to His creation. The Bible says that God expects, even demands, that we be stewards of His creation. Scripture is undisputable. God created the different species of plants and animals, blessed them, protected them and made a covenant with them.

Every time we, as humans, drive a species to extinction, we are stating that what God created, we can destroy. There is no scripture to support that view. Every time a species goes extinct, we are defaulting on the account that God has called us to manage. We are at the crossroads, able to choose to save or to destroy. It is our choice. The Bible is clear that creation expresses Gods wisdom and power. Christians are called to be stewards, to nurture, to protect, to preserve His creation. ” I’m not in agreement with some of the details of their thinking either, but at least they seem to get the big picture, humans must take care of the earth. There is no escape plan, no other planet to fly to – in the near future, should we continue pushing this one to the point of being uninhabitable. Limbaugh is on marriage number four, avoided being drafted to serve in the military during the Vietnam era by claiming his anal cyst was too painful, has been a drug addict, made his maid doctor shop for him to maintain his drug supply, vacations in $5,000 a day hotels in London whee he drinks French champagne, buys his illegal in the U.S. Cuban cigars, has called women every derogatory epitaph under the sun,  and leads a generally decadent lifestyle. Now he is the expert, the last word, the go-to guy on what constitutes being a good Christian. And some Christians leaders wonder why the U.S. is becoming a more and more secular country.