Patrap's WunderBlog

Fate of Nations

By: Patrap, 7:42 PM GMT on January 29, 2011






Network News





Guns, death and noise
Sand, oil and blood
Frontiers drawn on paper
No consideration made for
The poor creature who is living
By the grace of God just giving
He's live on network news
Live on network news

Flags, princes, kings
Patriotic tools
As freedom lies in twisted heaps
Whose final breath his soul to keep
Whose greatest foe, the endless sleep
Whose dying wish to reach next week
A bloody star on the network news
A bloody star on the network news

Tanks, boats and planes
Fire, pain and lies
Environmental terrorists
Tease propaganda's paper fist
Whose trade is all the truth that fits
Who often lies but never sits
But on the fence it's the network news
Yes, on the fence it's network news

The lion and the serpent parade out in the sun
All order, flex and gesture
All hail - the techno infidel has come
With satellite bravado and infra-red texture

Beyond these days in time to come
Whose fate is it to measure
Upon these sands such damage done
To spoil God's finest treasure

Beyond these days [etc repeated]

Guns, death and noise
Sand, oil and blood
Guns, death and noise
Sand, oil and blood








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In Memoriam -- A Rededication to Space

By: Patrap, 1:54 AM GMT on January 28, 2011


In Memoriam -- A Rededication to Space


Edwin Buzz Aldrin
Astronaut, Apollo 11 mission, Best Selling Author
Posted: January 28, 2011 02:07 PM





Statement on the 25th Anniversary of the Challenger Tragedy

As we reflect back upon the tragic loss of Challenger and her brave crew of heroes who were aboard that fateful day, I am reminded that they truly represented the best of us, as they climbed aloft on a plume of propellant gasses, reaching for the stars, to inspire us who were Earthbound. They represented the inspiration that is uniquely Space, and planned to share their experiences with the classrooms of future explorers who might one day follow their path and, perhaps, reach higher still -- because of this great mission. A mission so tragically ended was, in a moment, etched forever in our hearts, and memories...

As we grieved at this great loss, President Reagan recited lines from another American hero -- John Gillespie Magee Jr.'s memorable poem -- "High Flight", and reminded a grieving nation -- "they slipped the surly bounds of Earth" to "touch the face of God" -- words that inspired us, describing for us in poetry their great sacrifice, and their noble cause.

I am also reminded of three friends and heroes that we lost in the Apollo-1 fire -- particularly my friend, Ed White, fellow West Pointer, Track Team and Squadron-mate, as we boldly made our way to the Moon -- a journey we would complete in their honor with my colleagues, Neil and Mike, aboard Apollo 11 just two-and-a-half years after that tragic day; and, I think of the brave scientists and explorers of the Columbia tragedy, just eight years ago. They, too, are with us as we turn our attention to science that will one-day help make possible human exploration beyond the constraints of our precious Earth-Moon system -- when the inevitable journey of humankind to the surface of Mars, and into the Cosmos will, indeed, begin in earnest.

These were the tragic beginnings along this path, and we can never forget their passion for Space, their commitment and selfless dedication to it, the joy they experienced in the pursuit of it, and their heroic sacrifice, which took them from us.

It is for us to honor these great pioneers who were paving the way for our future, by continuing this great quest, that their hopes and dreams may be realized by those who were so inspired by their example. In the present uncertainties of the space program, a great transitional opportunity exists, and we must rise to the challenge in the spirit of those who have so bravely shown the way forward, and for those who will follow. A great nation deserves no less, and their memories compel us to continue their journey.

************************************************************











Posted by: Patrap, 7:54 PM CST on January 27, 2011



.."Roger ,,go at throttle up",


Thats the last released voice transcript from the Shuttle Challenger Commander before it happened.

The Shuttle Exploded in the Cold Cobalt Blue Florida Skies and we were changed forever,..again.


What happened was a tragedy of Human errors and bad decisions that ultimately claimed the Challenger crew that day.

Decisions made late in the night as they slept in their crew Quarters,,and a steady falling thermometer sealed their fate long before ignition.


A known design flaw in the Solid Rocket Boosters tang and flange joint was the mechanical fault along with Cold O-rings and the failed Human chain of command that claimed the Lives of these Heroic 7.

My Father came home just moments after the Explosion,,and we watched as millions did at the debris falling,,knowing all too well they were lost.

We thought back to Jan 1967,that took 3 Astronauts Lives as well.


We remember President Reagen's words that Night,



I want to add that I wish I could talk to every man and woman who works for NASA, or who worked on this mission and tell them: "Your dedication and professionalism have moved and impressed us for decades. And we know of your anguish. We share it."

There's a coincidence today. On this day three hundred and ninety years ago, the great explorer Sir Francis Drake died aboard ship off the coast of Panama. In his lifetime the great frontiers were the oceans, and a historian later said, "He lived by the sea, died on it, and was buried in it." Well, today, we can say of the Challenger crew: Their dedication was, like Drake's, complete.

The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and "slipped the surly bonds of earth" to "touch the face of God."

Thank you.






The Crew of the Challenger Shuttle Mission in 1986









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He's on vacation

By: Patrap, 10:26 PM GMT on January 26, 2011

Till Mardi Gras Day....









I believe,...














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'THE FUTURE IS OURS TO WIN'

By: Patrap, 1:59 AM GMT on January 26, 2011

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans: Tonight I want to begin by congratulating the men and women of the 112th Congress, as well as your new Speaker, John Boehner. And as we mark this occasion, we are also mindful of the empty chair in this Chamber, and pray for the health of our colleague - and our friend - Gabby Giffords. It's no secret that those of us here tonight have had our differences over the last two years. The debates have been contentious; we have fought fiercely for our beliefs. And that's a good thing. That's what a robust democracy demands. That's what helps set us apart as a nation. But there's a reason the tragedy in Tucson gave us pause. Amid all the noise and passions and rancor of our public debate, Tucson reminded us that no matter who we are or where we come from, each of us is a part of something greater - something more consequential than party or political preference. We are part of the American family. We believe that in a country where every race and faith and point of view can be found, we are still bound together as one people; that we share common hopes and a common creed; that the dreams of a little girl in Tucson are not so different than those of our own children, and that they all deserve the chance to be fulfilled. That, too, is what sets us apart as a nation. Now, by itself, this simple recognition won't usher in a new era of cooperation. What comes of this moment is up to us. What comes of this moment will be determined not by whether we can sit together tonight, but whether we can work together tomorrow. I believe we can. I believe we must. That's what the people who sent us here expect of us. With their votes, they've determined that governing will now be a shared responsibility between parties. New laws will only pass with support from Democrats and Republicans. We will move forward together, or not at all - for the challenges we face are bigger than party, and bigger than politics. At stake right now is not who wins the next election - after all, we just had an election. At stake is whether new jobs and industries take root in this country, or somewhere else. It's whether the hard work and industry of our people is rewarded. It's whether we sustain the leadership that has made America not just a place on a map, but a light to the world. We are poised for progress. Two years after the worst recession most of us have ever known, the stock market has come roaring back. Corporate profits are up. The economy is growing again. But we have never measured progress by these yardsticks alone. We measure progress by the success of our people. By the jobs they can find and the quality of life those jobs offer. By the prospects of a small business owner who dreams of turning a good idea into a thriving enterprise. By the opportunities for a better life that we pass on to our children. That's the project the American people want us to work on. Together. We did that in December. Thanks to the tax cuts we passed, Americans' paychecks are a little bigger today. Every business can write off the full cost of the new investments they make this year. These steps, taken by Democrats and Republicans, will grow the economy and add to the more than one million private sector jobs created last year. But we have more work to do. The steps we've taken over the last two years may have broken the back of this recession - but to win the future, we'll need to take on challenges that have been decades in the making. Many people watching tonight can probably remember a time when finding a good job meant showing up at a nearby factory or a business downtown. You didn't always need a degree, and your competition was pretty much limited to your neighbors. If you worked hard, chances are you'd have a job for life, with a decent paycheck, good benefits, and the occasional promotion. Maybe you'd even have the pride of seeing your kids work at the same company. That world has changed. And for many, the change has been painful. I've seen it in the shuttered windows of once booming factories, and the vacant storefronts of once busy Main Streets. I've heard it in the frustrations of Americans who've seen their paychecks dwindle or their jobs disappear - proud men and women who feel like the rules have been changed in the middle of the game. They're right. The rules have changed. In a single generation, revolutions in technology have transformed the way we live, work and do business. Steel mills that once needed 1,000 workers can now do the same work with 100. Today, just about any company can set up shop, hire workers, and sell their products wherever there's an internet connection. Meanwhile, nations like China and India realized that with some changes of their own, they could compete in this new world. And so they started educating their children earlier and longer, with greater emphasis on math and science. They're investing in research and new technologies. Just recently, China became home to the world's largest private solar research facility, and the world's fastest computer. So yes, the world has changed. The competition for jobs is real. But this shouldn't discourage us. It should challenge us. Remember - for all the hits we've taken these last few years, for all the naysayers predicting our decline, America still has the largest, most prosperous economy in the world. No workers are more productive than ours. No country has more successful companies, or grants more patents to inventors and entrepreneurs. We are home to the world's best colleges and universities, where more students come to study than any other place on Earth. What's more, we are the first nation to be founded for the sake of an idea - the idea that each of us deserves the chance to shape our own destiny. That is why centuries of pioneers and immigrants have risked everything to come here. It's why our students don't just memorize equations, but answer questions like "What do you think of that idea? What would you change about the world? What do you want to be when you grow up?" The future is ours to win. But to get there, we can't just stand still. As Robert Kennedy told us, "The future is not a gift. It is an achievement." Sustaining the American Dream has never been about standing pat. It has required each generation to sacrifice, and struggle, and meet the demands of a new age. Now it's our turn. We know what it takes to compete for the jobs and industries of our time. We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world. We have to make America the best place on Earth to do business. We need to take responsibility for our deficit, and reform our government. That's how our people will prosper. That's how we'll win the future. And tonight, I'd like to talk about how we get there. The first step in winning the future is encouraging American innovation. None of us can predict with certainty what the next big industry will be, or where the new jobs will come from. Thirty years ago, we couldn't know that something called the Internet would lead to an economic revolution. What we can do - what America does better than anyone - is spark the creativity and imagination of our people. We are the nation that put cars in driveways and computers in offices; the nation of Edison and the Wright brothers; of Google and Facebook. In America, innovation doesn't just change our lives. It's how we make a living. Our free enterprise system is what drives innovation. But because it's not always profitable for companies to invest in basic research, throughout history our government has provided cutting-edge scientists and inventors with the support that they need. That's what planted the seeds for the Internet. That's what helped make possible things like computer chips and GPS. Just think of all the good jobs - from manufacturing to retail - that have come from those breakthroughs. Half a century ago, when the Soviets beat us into space with the launch of a satellite called Sputnik¸ we had no idea how we'd beat them to the moon. The science wasn't there yet. NASA didn't even exist. But after investing in better research and education, we didn't just surpass the Soviets; we unleashed a wave of innovation that created new industries and millions of new jobs. This is our generation's Sputnik moment. Two years ago, I said that we needed to reach a level of research and development we haven't seen since the height of the Space Race. In a few weeks, I will be sending a budget to Congress that helps us meet that goal. We'll invest in biomedical research, information technology, and especially clean energy technology - an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people. Already, we are seeing the promise of renewable energy. Robert and Gary Allen are brothers who run a small Michigan roofing company. After September 11th, they volunteered their best roofers to help repair the Pentagon. But half of their factory went unused, and the recession hit them hard. Today, with the help of a government loan, that empty space is being used to manufacture solar shingles that are being sold all across the country. In Robert's words, "We reinvented ourselves." That's what Americans have done for over two hundred years: reinvented ourselves. And to spur on more success stories like the Allen Brothers, we've begun to reinvent our energy policy. We're not just handing out money. We're issuing a challenge. We're telling America's scientists and engineers that if they assemble teams of the best minds in their fields, and focus on the hardest problems in clean energy, we'll fund the Apollo Projects of our time. At the California Institute of Technology, they're developing a way to turn sunlight and water into fuel for our cars. At Oak Ridge National Laboratory, they're using supercomputers to get a lot more power out of our nuclear facilities. With more research and incentives, we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels, and become the first country to have 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015. We need to get behind this innovation. And to help pay for it, I'm asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies. I don't know if you've noticed, but they're doing just fine on their own. So instead of subsidizing yesterday's energy, let's invest in tomorrow's. Now, clean energy breakthroughs will only translate into clean energy jobs if businesses know there will be a market for what they're selling. So tonight, I challenge you to join me in setting a new goal: by 2035, 80% of America's electricity will come from clean energy sources. Some folks want wind and solar. Others want nuclear, clean coal, and natural gas. To meet this goal, we will need them all - and I urge Democrats and Republicans to work together to make it happen. Maintaining our leadership in research and technology is crucial to America's success. But if we want to win the future - if we want innovation to produce jobs in America and not overseas - then we also have to win the race to educate our kids. Think about it. Over the next ten years, nearly half of all new jobs will require education that goes beyond a high school degree. And yet, as many as a quarter of our students aren't even finishing high school. The quality of our math and science education lags behind many other nations. America has fallen to 9th in the proportion of young people with a college degree. And so the question is whether all of us - as citizens, and as parents - are willing to do what's necessary to give every child a chance to succeed. That responsibility begins not in our classrooms, but in our homes and communities. It's family that first instills the love of learning in a child. Only parents can make sure the TV is turned off and homework gets done. We need to teach our kids that it's not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair; that success is not a function of fame or PR, but of hard work and discipline. Our schools share this responsibility. When a child walks into a classroom, it should be a place of high expectations and high performance. But too many schools don't meet this test. That's why instead of just pouring money into a system that's not working, we launched a competition called Race to the Top. To all fifty states, we said, "If you show us the most innovative plans to improve teacher quality and student achievement, we'll show you the money." Race to the Top is the most meaningful reform of our public schools in a generation. For less than one percent of what we spend on education each year, it has led over 40 states to raise their standards for teaching and learning. These standards were developed, not by Washington, but by Republican and Democratic governors throughout the country. And Race to the Top should be the approach we follow this year as we replace No Child Left Behind with a law that is more flexible and focused on what's best for our kids. You see, we know what's possible for our children when reform isn't just a top-down mandate, but the work of local teachers and principals; school boards and communities. Take a school like Bruce Randolph in Denver. Three years ago, it was rated one of the worst schools in Colorado; located on turf between two rival gangs. But last May, 97% of the seniors received their diploma. Most will be the first in their family to go to college. And after the first year of the school's transformation, the principal who made it possible wiped away tears when a student said "Thank you, Mrs. Waters, for showing... that we are smart and we can make it." Let's also remember that after parents, the biggest impact on a child's success comes from the man or woman at the front of the classroom. In South Korea, teachers are known as "nation builders." Here in America, it's time we treated the people who educate our children with the same level of respect. We want to reward good teachers and stop making excuses for bad ones. And over the next ten years, with so many Baby Boomers retiring from our classrooms, we want to prepare 100,000 new teachers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. In fact, to every young person listening tonight who's contemplating their career choice: If you want to make a difference in the life of our nation; if you want to make a difference in the life of a child - become a teacher. Your country needs you. Of course, the education race doesn't end with a high school diploma. To compete, higher education must be within reach of every American. That's why we've ended the unwarranted taxpayer subsidies that went to banks, and used the savings to make college affordable for millions of students. And this year, I ask Congress to go further, and make permanent our tuition tax credit - worth $10,000 for four years of college. Because people need to be able to train for new jobs and careers in today's fast-changing economy, we are also revitalizing America's community colleges. Last month, I saw the promise of these schools at Forsyth Tech in North Carolina. Many of the students there used to work in the surrounding factories that have since left town. One mother of two, a woman named Kathy Proctor, had worked in the furniture industry since she was 18 years old. And she told me she's earning her degree in biotechnology now, at 55 years old, not just because the furniture jobs are gone, but because she wants to inspire her children to pursue their dreams too. As Kathy said, "I hope it tells them to never give up." If we take these steps - if we raise expectations for every child, and give them the best possible chance at an education, from the day they're born until the last job they take - we will reach the goal I set two years ago: by the end of the decade, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. One last point about education. Today, there are hundreds of thousands of students excelling in our schools who are not American citizens. Some are the children of undocumented workers, who had nothing to do with the actions of their parents. They grew up as Americans and pledge allegiance to our flag, and yet live every day with the threat of deportation. Others come here from abroad to study in our colleges and universities. But as soon as they obtain advanced degrees, we send them back home to compete against us. It makes no sense. Now, I strongly believe that we should take on, once and for all, the issue of illegal immigration. I am prepared to work with Republicans and Democrats to protect our borders, enforce our laws and address the millions of undocumented workers who are now living in the shadows. I know that debate will be difficult and take time. But tonight, let's agree to make that effort. And let's stop expelling talented, responsible young people who can staff our research labs, start new businesses, and further enrich this nation. The third step in winning the future is rebuilding America. To attract new businesses to our shores, we need the fastest, most reliable ways to move people, goods, and information - from high-speed rail to high-speed internet. Our infrastructure used to be the best - but our lead has slipped. South Korean homes now have greater internet access than we do. Countries in Europe and Russia invest more in their roads and railways than we do. China is building faster trains and newer airports. Meanwhile, when our own engineers graded our nation's infrastructure, they gave us a "D." We have to do better. America is the nation that built the transcontinental railroad, brought electricity to rural communities, and constructed the interstate highway system. The jobs created by these projects didn't just come from laying down tracks or pavement. They came from businesses that opened near a town's new train station or the new off-ramp. Over the last two years, we have begun rebuilding for the 21st century, a project that has meant thousands of good jobs for the hard-hit construction industry. Tonight, I'm proposing that we redouble these efforts. We will put more Americans to work repairing crumbling roads and bridges. We will make sure this is fully paid for, attract private investment, and pick projects based on what's best for the economy, not politicians. Within 25 years, our goal is to give 80% of Americans access to high-speed rail, which could allow you go places in half the time it takes to travel by car. For some trips, it will be faster than flying - without the pat-down. As we speak, routes in California and the Midwest are already underway. Within the next five years, we will make it possible for business to deploy the next generation of high-speed wireless coverage to 98% of all Americans. This isn't just about a faster internet and fewer dropped calls. It's about connecting every part of America to the digital age. It's about a rural community in Iowa or Alabama where farmers and small business owners will be able to sell their products all over the world. It's about a firefighter who can download the design of a burning building onto a handheld device; a student who can take classes with a digital textbook; or a patient who can have face-to-face video chats with her doctor. All these investments - in innovation, education, and infrastructure - will make America a better place to do business and create jobs. But to help our companies compete, we also have to knock down barriers that stand in the way of their success. Over the years, a parade of lobbyists has rigged the tax code to benefit particular companies and industries. Those with accountants or lawyers to work the system can end up paying no taxes at all. But all the rest are hit with one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. It makes no sense, and it has to change. So tonight, I'm asking Democrats and Republicans to simplify the system. Get rid of the loopholes. Level the playing field. And use the savings to lower the corporate tax rate for the first time in 25 years - without adding to our deficit. To help businesses sell more products abroad, we set a goal of doubling our exports by 2014 - because the more we export, the more jobs we create at home. Already, our exports are up. Recently, we signed agreements with India and China that will support more than 250,000 jobs in the United States. And last month, we finalized a trade agreement with South Korea that will support at least 70,000 American jobs. This agreement has unprecedented support from business and labor; Democrats and Republicans, and I ask this Congress to pass it as soon as possible. Before I took office, I made it clear that we would enforce our trade agreements, and that I would only sign deals that keep faith with American workers, and promote American jobs. That's what we did with Korea, and that's what I intend to do as we pursue agreements with Panama and Colombia, and continue our Asia Pacific and global trade talks. To reduce barriers to growth and investment, I've ordered a review of government regulations. When we find rules that put an unnecessary burden on businesses, we will fix them. But I will not hesitate to create or enforce commonsense safeguards to protect the American people. That's what we've done in this country for more than a century. It's why our food is safe to eat, our water is safe to drink, and our air is safe to breathe. It's why we have speed limits and child labor laws. It's why last year, we put in place consumer protections against hidden fees and penalties by credit card companies, and new rules to prevent another financial crisis. And it's why we passed reform that finally prevents the health insurance industry from exploiting patients. Now, I've heard rumors that a few of you have some concerns about the new health care law. So let me be the first to say that anything can be improved. If you have ideas about how to improve this law by making care better or more affordable, I am eager to work with you. We can start right now by correcting a flaw in the legislation that has placed an unnecessary bookkeeping burden on small businesses. What I'm not willing to do is go back to the days when insurance companies could deny someone coverage because of a pre-existing condition. I'm not willing to tell James Howard, a brain cancer patient from Texas, that his treatment might not be covered. I'm not willing to tell Jim Houser, a small business owner from Oregon, that he has to go back to paying $5,000 more to cover his employees. As we speak, this law is making prescription drugs cheaper for seniors and giving uninsured students a chance to stay on their parents' coverage. So instead of re-fighting the battles of the last two years, let's fix what needs fixing and move forward. Now, the final step - a critical step - in winning the future is to make sure we aren't buried under a mountain of debt. We are living with a legacy of deficit-spending that began almost a decade ago. And in the wake of the financial crisis, some of that was necessary to keep credit flowing, save jobs, and put money in people's pockets. But now that the worst of the recession is over, we have to confront the fact that our government spends more than it takes in. That is not sustainable. Every day, families sacrifice to live within their means. They deserve a government that does the same. So tonight, I am proposing that starting this year, we freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years. This would reduce the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade, and will bring discretionary spending to the lowest share of our economy since Dwight Eisenhower was president. This freeze will require painful cuts. Already, we have frozen the salaries of hardworking federal employees for the next two years. I've proposed cuts to things I care deeply about, like community action programs. The Secretary of Defense has also agreed to cut tens of billions of dollars in spending that he and his generals believe our military can do without. I recognize that some in this Chamber have already proposed deeper cuts, and I'm willing to eliminate whatever we can honestly afford to do without. But let's make sure that we're not doing it on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens. And let's make sure what we're cutting is really excess weight. Cutting the deficit by gutting our investments in innovation and education is like lightening an overloaded airplane by removing its engine. It may feel like you're flying high at first, but it won't take long before you'll feel the impact. Now, most of the cuts and savings I've proposed only address annual domestic spending, which represents a little more than 12% of our budget. To make further progress, we have to stop pretending that cutting this kind of spending alone will be enough. It won't. The bipartisan Fiscal Commission I created last year made this crystal clear. I don't agree with all their proposals, but they made important progress. And their conclusion is that the only way to tackle our deficit is to cut excessive spending wherever we find it - in domestic spending, defense spending, health care spending, and spending through tax breaks and loopholes. This means further reducing health care costs, including programs like Medicare and Medicaid, which are the single biggest contributor to our long-term deficit. Health insurance reform will slow these rising costs, which is part of why nonpartisan economists have said that repealing the health care law would add a quarter of a trillion dollars to our deficit. Still, I'm willing to look at other ideas to bring down costs, including one that Republicans suggested last year: medical malpractice reform to rein in frivolous lawsuits. To put us on solid ground, we should also find a bipartisan solution to strengthen Social Security for future generations. And we must do it without putting at risk current retirees, the most vulnerable, or people with disabilities; without slashing benefits for future generations; and without subjecting Americans' guaranteed retirement income to the whims of the stock market. And if we truly care about our deficit, we simply cannot afford a permanent extension of the tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. Before we take money away from our schools, or scholarships away from our students, we should ask millionaires to give up their tax break. It's not a matter of punishing their success. It's about promoting America's success. In fact, the best thing we could do on taxes for all Americans is to simplify the individual tax code. This will be a tough job, but members of both parties have expressed interest in doing this, and I am prepared to join them. So now is the time to act. Now is the time for both sides and both houses of Congress - Democrats and Republicans - to forge a principled compromise that gets the job done. If we make the hard choices now to rein in our deficits, we can make the investments we need to win the future. Let me take this one step further. We shouldn't just give our people a government that's more affordable. We should give them a government that's more competent and efficient. We cannot win the future with a government of the past. We live and do business in the information age, but the last major reorganization of the government happened in the age of black and white TV. There are twelve different agencies that deal with exports. There are at least five different entities that deal with housing policy. Then there's my favorite example: the Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they're in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them in when they're in saltwater. And I hear it gets even more complicated once they're smoked. Now, we have made great strides over the last two years in using technology and getting rid of waste. Veterans can now download their electronic medical records with a click of the mouse. We're selling acres of federal office space that hasn't been used in years, and we will cut through red tape to get rid of more. But we need to think bigger. In the coming months, my administration will develop a proposal to merge, consolidate, and reorganize the federal government in a way that best serves the goal of a more competitive America. I will submit that proposal to Congress for a vote - and we will push to get it passed. In the coming year, we will also work to rebuild people's faith in the institution of government. Because you deserve to know exactly how and where your tax dollars are being spent, you will be able to go to a website and get that information for the very first time in history. Because you deserve to know when your elected officials are meeting with lobbyists, I ask Congress to do what the White House has already done: put that information online. And because the American people deserve to know that special interests aren't larding up legislation with pet projects, both parties in Congress should know this: if a bill comes to my desk with earmarks inside, I will veto it. A 21st century government that's open and competent. A government that lives within its means. An economy that's driven by new skills and ideas. Our success in this new and changing world will require reform, responsibility, and innovation. It will also require us to approach that world with a new level of engagement in our foreign affairs. Just as jobs and businesses can now race across borders, so can new threats and new challenges. No single wall separates East and West; no one rival superpower is aligned against us. And so we must defeat determined enemies wherever they are, and build coalitions that cut across lines of region and race and religion. America's moral example must always shine for all who yearn for freedom, justice, and dignity. And because we have begun this work, tonight we can say that American leadership has been renewed and America's standing has been restored. Look to Iraq, where nearly 100,000 of our brave men and women have left with their heads held high; where American combat patrols have ended; violence has come down; and a new government has been formed. This year, our civilians will forge a lasting partnership with the Iraqi people, while we finish the job of bringing our troops out of Iraq. America's commitment has been kept; the Iraq War is coming to an end. Of course, as we speak, al Qaeda and their affiliates continue to plan attacks against us. Thanks to our intelligence and law enforcement professionals, we are disrupting plots and securing our cities and skies. And as extremists try to inspire acts of violence within our borders, we are responding with the strength of our communities, with respect for the rule of law, and with the conviction that American Muslims are a part of our American family. We have also taken the fight to al Qaeda and their allies abroad. In Afghanistan, our troops have taken Taliban strongholds and trained Afghan Security Forces. Our purpose is clear - by preventing the Taliban from reestablishing a stranglehold over the Afghan people, we will deny al Qaeda the safe-haven that served as a launching pad for 9/11. Thanks to our heroic troops and civilians, fewer Afghans are under the control of the insurgency. There will be tough fighting ahead, and the Afghan government will need to deliver better governance. But we are strengthening the capacity of the Afghan people and building an enduring partnership with them. This year, we will work with nearly 50 countries to begin a transition to an Afghan lead. And this July, we will begin to bring our troops home. In Pakistan, al Qaeda's leadership is under more pressure than at any point since 2001. Their leaders and operatives are being removed from the battlefield. Their safe-havens are shrinking. And we have sent a message from the Afghan border to the Arabian Peninsula to all parts of the globe: we will not relent, we will not waver, and we will defeat you. American leadership can also be seen in the effort to secure the worst weapons of war. Because Republicans and Democrats approved the New START Treaty, far fewer nuclear weapons and launchers will be deployed. Because we rallied the world, nuclear materials are being locked down on every continent so they never fall into the hands of terrorists. Because of a diplomatic effort to insist that Iran meet its obligations, the Iranian government now faces tougher and tighter sanctions than ever before. And on the Korean peninsula, we stand with our ally South Korea, and insist that North Korea keeps its commitment to abandon nuclear weapons. This is just a part of how we are shaping a world that favors peace and prosperity. With our European allies, we revitalized NATO, and increased our cooperation on everything from counter-terrorism to missile defense. We have reset our relationship with Russia, strengthened Asian alliances, and built new partnerships with nations like India. This March, I will travel to Brazil, Chile, and El Salvador to forge new alliances for progress in the Americas. Around the globe, we are standing with those who take responsibility - helping farmers grow more food; supporting doctors who care for the sick; and combating the corruption that can rot a society and rob people of opportunity. Recent events have shown us that what sets us apart must not just be our power - it must be the purpose behind it. In South Sudan - with our assistance - the people were finally able to vote for independence after years of war. Thousands lined up before dawn. People danced in the streets. One man who lost four of his brothers at war summed up the scene around him: "This was a battlefield for most of my life. Now we want to be free." We saw that same desire to be free in Tunisia, where the will of the people proved more powerful than the writ of a dictator. And tonight, let us be clear: the United States of America stands with the people of Tunisia, and supports the democratic aspirations of all people. We must never forget that the things we've struggled for, and fought for, live in the hearts of people everywhere. And we must always remember that the Americans who have borne the greatest burden in this struggle are the men and women who serve our country. Tonight, let us speak with one voice in reaffirming that our nation is united in support of our troops and their families. Let us serve them as well as they have served us - by giving them the equipment they need; by providing them with the care and benefits they have earned; and by enlisting our veterans in the great task of building our own nation. Our troops come from every corner of this country - they are black, white, Latino, Asian and Native American. They are Christian and Hindu, Jewish and Muslim. And, yes, we know that some of them are gay. Starting this year, no American will be forbidden from serving the country they love because of who they love. And with that change, I call on all of our college campuses to open their doors to our military recruiters and the ROTC. It is time to leave behind the divisive battles of the past. It is time to move forward as one nation. We should have no illusions about the work ahead of us. Reforming our schools; changing the way we use energy; reducing our deficit - none of this is easy. All of it will take time. And it will be harder because we will argue about everything. The cost. The details. The letter of every law. Of course, some countries don't have this problem. If the central government wants a railroad, they get a railroad - no matter how many homes are bulldozed. If they don't want a bad story in the newspaper, it doesn't get written. And yet, as contentious and frustrating and messy as our democracy can sometimes be, I know there isn't a person here who would trade places with any other nation on Earth. We may have differences in policy, but we all believe in the rights enshrined in our Constitution. We may have different opinions, but we believe in the same promise that says this is a place where you can make it if you try. We may have different backgrounds, but we believe in the same dream that says this is a country where anything's possible. No matter who you are. No matter where you come from. That dream is why I can stand here before you tonight. That dream is why a working class kid from Scranton can stand behind me. That dream is why someone who began by sweeping the floors of his father's Cincinnati bar can preside as Speaker of the House in the greatest nation on Earth. That dream - that American Dream - is what drove the Allen Brothers to reinvent their roofing company for a new era. It's what drove those students at Forsyth Tech to learn a new skill and work towards the future. And that dream is the story of a small business owner named Brandon Fisher. Brandon started a company in Berlin, Pennsylvania that specializes in a new kind of drilling technology. One day last summer, he saw the news that halfway across the world, 33 men were trapped in a Chilean mine, and no one knew how to save them. But Brandon thought his company could help. And so he designed a rescue that would come to be known as Plan B. His employees worked around the clock to manufacture the necessary drilling equipment. And Brandon left for Chile. Along with others, he began drilling a 2,000 foot hole into the ground, working three or four days at a time with no sleep. Thirty-seven days later, Plan B succeeded, and the miners were rescued. But because he didn't want all of the attention, Brandon wasn't there when the miners emerged. He had already gone home, back to work on his next project. Later, one of his employees said of the rescue, "We proved that Center Rock is a little company, but we do big things." We do big things. From the earliest days of our founding, America has been the story of ordinary people who dare to dream. That's how we win the future. We are a nation that says, "I might not have a lot of money, but I have this great idea for a new company. I might not come from a family of college graduates, but I will be the first to get my degree. I might not know those people in trouble, but I think I can help them, and I need to try. I'm not sure how we'll reach that better place beyond the horizon, but I know we'll get there. I know we will." We do big things. The idea of America endures. Our destiny remains our choice. And tonight, more than two centuries later, it is because of our people that our future is hopeful, our journey goes forward, and the state of our union is strong. Thank you, God Bless You, and may God Bless the United States of America.






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Hurricane Preparation 2011

By: Patrap, 12:22 PM GMT on January 24, 2011









Evacuation Considerations for the Elderly, Disabled and Special Medical Care Issues

Your Evacuation Plan


Disaster Supplies Kit


NOAA Alert Weather Radio's


"Think outside the Cone"
hurricanebuddy.com






History teaches that a lack of hurricane awareness and preparation are common threads among all major hurricane disasters. By knowing your vulnerability and what actions you should take, you can reduce the effects of a hurricane disaster.

5
HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS TIPS



Hurricane hazards come in many forms: storm surge, high winds, tornadoes, and flooding. This means it is important for your family to have a plan that includes all of these hazards. Look carefully at the safety actions associated with each type of hurricane hazard and prepare your family disaster plan accordingly. But remember this is only a guide. The first and most important thing anyone should do when facing a hurricane threat is to use common sense.

You should be able to answer the following questions before a hurricane threatens:

*
What are the Hurricane Hazards?
*
What does it mean to you?
*
What actions should you take to be prepared?

Hurricanes and Your Health and Safety


* The great majority of injuries during a hurricane are cuts caused by flying glass or other debris. Other injuries include puncture wounds resulting from exposed nails, metal, or glass, and bone fractures.
* State and local health departments may issue health advisories or recommendations particular to local conditions. If in doubt, contact your local or state health department.
* Make sure to include all essential medications -- both prescription and over the counter -- in your family's emergency disaster kit.


* Hurricanes, especially if accompanied by a tidal surge or flooding, can contaminate the public water supply. Drinking contaminated water may cause illness. You cannot assume that the water in the hurricane-affected area is safe to drink.
* In the area hit by a hurricane, water treatment plants may not be operating; even if they are, storm damage and flooding can contaminate water lines. Listen for public announcements about the safety of the municipal water supply.
* If your well has been flooded, it needs to be tested and disinfected after the storm passes and the floodwaters recede. Questions about testing should be directed to your local or state health department.

Water Safety

* Use bottled water that has not been exposed to flood waters if it is available.
* If you don't have bottled water, you should boil water to make it safe. Boiling water will kill most types of disease-causing organisms that may be present. If the water is cloudy, filter it through clean cloths or allow it to settle, and draw off the clear water for boiling. Boil the water for one minute, let it cool, and store it in clean containers with covers.
* If you can't boil water, you can disinfect it using household bleach. Bleach will kill some, but not all, types of disease-causing organisms that may be in the water. If the water is cloudy, filter it through clean cloths or allow it to settle, and draw off the clear water for disinfection. Add 1/8 teaspoon (or 8 drops) of regular, unscented, liquid household bleach for each gallon of water, stir it well and let it stand for 30 minutes before you use it. Store disinfected water in clean containers with covers.
* If you have a well that has been flooded, the water should be tested and disinfected after flood waters recede. If you suspect that your well may be contaminated, contact your local or state health department or agriculture extension agent for specific advice.

Food Safety

* Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with flood water.
* Discard any food that is not in a waterproof container if there is any chance that it has come into contact with flood water. Food containers that are not waterproof include those with screw-caps, snap lids, pull tops, and crimped caps. Also, discard cardboard juice/milk/baby formula boxes and home canned foods if they have come in contact with flood water, because they cannot be effectively cleaned and sanitized.
* Inspect canned foods and discard any food in damaged cans. Can damage is shown by swelling; leakage; punctures; holes; fractures; extensive deep rusting; or crushing/denting severe enough to prevent normal stacking or opening with a manual, wheel-type can opener.
* Undamaged, commercially prepared foods in all-metal cans and retort pouches (for example, flexible, shelf-stable juice or seafood pouches) can be saved if you do the following:
o Remove the labels, if they are the removable kind, since they can harbor dirt and bacteria.
o Thoroughly wash the cans or retort pouches with soap and water, using hot water if it is available.
o Brush or wipe away any dirt or silt.
o Rinse the cans or retort pouches with water that is safe for drinking, if available, since dirt or residual soap will reduce the effectiveness of chlorine sanitation.
o Then, sanitize them by immersion in one of the two following ways:
+ place in water and allow the water to come to a boil and continue boiling for 2 minutes, or
+ place in a freshly-made solution consisting of 1 tablespoon of unscented liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water (or the cleanest, clearest water available) for 15 minutes.
* Air dry cans or retort pouches for a minimum of 1 hour before opening or storing.
* If the labels were removable, then re-label your cans or retort pouches, including the expiration date (if available), with a marker.
* Food in reconditioned cans or retort pouches should be used as soon as possible, thereafter.
* Any concentrated baby formula in reconditioned, all-metal containers must be diluted with clean, drinking water.
* Thoroughly wash metal pans, ceramic dishes, and utensils (including can openers) with soap and water, using hot water if available. Rinse, and then sanitize them by boiling in clean water or immersing them for 15 minutes in a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water (or the cleanest, clearest water available).
* Thoroughly wash countertops with soap and water, using hot water if available. Rinse, and then sanitize by applying a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water (or the cleanest, clearest water available). Allow to air dry.

Frozen and Refrigerated Foods

* If you will be without power for a long period:
o ask friends to store your frozen foods in their freezers if they have electricity;
o see if freezer space is available in a store, church, school, or commercial freezer that has electrical service; or
o use dry ice, if available. Twenty-five pounds of dry ice will keep a ten-cubic-foot freezer below freezing for 3-4 days. Use care when handling dry ice, and wear dry, heavy gloves to avoid injury.
* Your refrigerator will keep foods cool for about four hours without power if it is unopened. Add block or dry ice to your refrigerator if the electricity will be off longer than four hours.
* Thawed food can usually be eaten if it is still "refrigerator cold," or re-frozen if it still contains ice crystals.
* To be safe, remember, "When in doubt, throw it out." Discard any food that has been at room temperature for two hours or more, and any food that has an unusual odor, color, or texture.

Sanitation and Hygiene

It is critical for you to remember to practice basic hygiene during the emergency period. Always wash your hands with soap and water that has been boiled or disinfected:

* before preparing or eating
* after toilet use
* after participating in cleanup activities; and
* after handling articles contaminated with floodwater or sewage.

If there is flooding along with a hurricane, the waters may contain fecal material from overflowing sewage systems and agricultural and industrial waste. Although skin contact with floodwater does not, by itself, pose a serious health risk, there is risk of disease from eating or drinking anything contaminated with floodwater.

If you have any open cuts or sores that will be exposed to floodwater, keep them as clean as possible by washing them with soap and applying an antibiotic ointment to discourage infection. If a wound develops redness, swelling, or drainage, seek immediate medical attention.

Do not allow children to play in floodwater areas. Wash children's hands frequently (always before meals), and do not allow children to play with floodwater-contaminated toys that have not been disinfected. You can disinfect toys using a solution of one cup of bleach in five gallons of water.

Immunizations

Outbreaks of communicable diseases after hurricanes are unusual. However, the rates of diseases that were present before a hurricane may increase because of a lack of sanitation or overcrowding in shelters. Increases in infectious diseases that were not present before the hurricane are not a problem, so mass vaccination programs are unnecessary.

If you have wounds, you should be evaluated for a tetanus immunization, just as you would at any other time of injury. If you receive a puncture wound or a wound contaminated with feces, soil, or saliva, have a doctor or health department determine whether a tetanus booster is necessary based on individual records.

Specific recommendations for vaccinations should be made on a case-by-case basis, or as determined by local and state health departments.

Mosquitoes

Rain and flooding in a hurricane area may lead to an increase in mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are most active at sunrise and sunset. In most cases, the mosquitoes will be pests but will not carry communicable diseases. It is unlikely that diseases which were not present in the area prior to the hurricane would be of concern. Local, state, and federal public health authorities will be actively working to control the spread of any mosquito-borne diseases.

To protect yourself from mosquitoes, use screens on dwellings, and wear clothes with long sleeves and long pants. Insect repellents that contain DEET are very effective. Be sure to read all instructions before using DEET. Care must be taken when using DEET on small children. Products containing DEET are available from stores and through local and state health departments.

To control mosquito populations, drain all standing water left in open containers outside your home.

Mental Health

The days and weeks after a hurricane are going to be rough. In addition to your physical health, you need to take some time to consider your mental health as well. Remember that some sleeplessness, anxiety, anger, hyperactivity, mild depression, or lethargy are normal, and may go away with time. If you feel any of these symptoms acutely, seek counseling. Remember that children need extra care and attention before, during, and after the storm. Be sure to locate a favorite toy or game for your child before the storm arrives to help maintain his/her sense of security. Your state and local health departments will help you find the local resources, including hospitals or health care providers, that you may need.

Seeking Assistance after a Hurricane

SEEKING DISASTER ASSISTANCE: Throughout the recovery period, it is important to monitor local radio or television reports and other media sources for information about where to get emergency housing, food, first aid, clothing, and financial assistance. The following section provides general information about the kinds of assistance that may be available.

DIRECT ASSISTANCE: Direct assistance to individuals and families may come from any number of organizations, including: the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and other volunteer organizations. These organizations provide food, shelter, supplies and assist in clean-up efforts.

THE FEDERAL ROLE: In the most severe disasters, the federal government is also called in to help individuals and families with temporary housing, counseling (for post-disaster trauma), low-interest loans and grants, and other assistance. The federal government also has programs that help small businesses and farmers.

Most federal assistance becomes available when the President of the United States declares a Major Disaster for the affected area at the request of a state governor. FEMA will provide information through the media and community outreach about federal assistance and how to apply.

Coping after a Hurricane Everyone who sees or experiences a hurricane is affected by it in some way. It is normal to feel anxious about your own safety and that of your family and close friends. Profound sadness, grief, and anger are normal reactions to an abnormal event. Acknowledging your feelings helps you recover. Focusing on your strengths and abilities helps you heal. Accepting help from community programs and resources is healthy. Everyone has different needs and different ways of coping. It is common to want to strike back at people who have caused great pain. Children and older adults are of special concern in the aftermath of disasters. Even individuals who experience a disaster �second hand� through exposure to extensive media coverage can be affected.

Contact local faith-based organizations, voluntary agencies, or professional counselors for counseling. Additionally, FEMA and state and local governments of the affected area may provide crisis counseling assistance.

Minimize this emotional and traumatic experience by being prepared, not scared and therefore you and your family will stay in control and survive a major hurricane.

SIGNS OF HURRICANE RELATED STRESS:

* Difficulty communicating thoughts.
* Difficulty sleeping.
* Difficulty maintaining balance in their lives.
* Low threshold of frustration.
* Increased use of drugs/alcohol.
* Limited attention span.
* Poor work performance.
* Headaches/stomach problems.
* Tunnel vision/muffled hearing.
* Colds or flu-like symptoms.
* Disorientation or confusion.
* Difficulty concentrating.
* Reluctance to leave home.
* Depression, sadness.
* Feelings of hopelessness.
* Mood-swings and easy bouts of crying.
* Overwhelming guilt and self-doubt.
* Fear of crowds, strangers, or being alone.

EASING HURRICANE RELATED STRESS:

* Talk with someone about your feelings - anger, sorrow, and other emotions - even though it may be difficult.
* Seek help from professional counselors who deal with post-disaster stress.
* Do not hold yourself responsible for the disastrous event or be frustrated because you feel you cannot help directly in the rescue work.
* Take steps to promote your own physical and emotional healing by healthy eating, rest, exercise, relaxation, and meditation.
* Maintain a normal family and daily routine, limiting demanding responsibilities on yourself and your family.
* Spend time with family and friends.
* Participate in memorials.
* Use existing support groups of family, friends, and religious institutions.
* Ensure you are ready for future events by restocking your disaster supplies kits and updating your family disaster plans.








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Mardi Gras past...

By: Patrap, 7:10 PM GMT on January 20, 2011




New Orleans Mardi Gras 1941 in color





Early 1950's New Orleans Mardi Gras Parade & Crowd


MindsiMedia | March 02, 2008

I came across another old film clip of The Big Easy's Mardi Gras parade. This one is from sometime in the early 1950's and has a nice mixture of floats, marchers and the resplendently dressed crowds.








2006 Mardi Gras Highlights











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Status Update

By: Patrap, 5:10 AM GMT on January 17, 2011



This is America, where a white Catholic male Republican judge was murdered on his way to greet a Democratic Jewish woman member of Congress, who was his friend. Her life was saved initially by a 20-year old Mexican-American gay college student, and eventually by a Korean-American combat surgeon, all eulogized by our African American President." Mark Shields, PBS






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I was Born, under a Wandering Star

By: Patrap, 2:22 AM GMT on January 15, 2011





I was born under a wandrin' star
I was born under a wandrin' star
Wheels are made for rolling, mules are made to pack
I've never seen a sight that didn't look better looking back
I was born under a wandrin' star

Life can make you prisoner and the plains can bake you dry
Snow can burn your eyes, but only people make you cry
Home is made for coming from, for dreams of going to
Which with any luck will never come true

I was born under a wandrin' star
I was born under a wandrin' star

Do I know where hell is, hell is in hello
Heaven is goodbye forever, its time for me to go
I was born under a wandrin' star
A wandrin' wandrin' star

(Life can make you prisoner and the plains can bake you dry)
(Snow can burn your eyes, but only people make you cry)
(Home is made for coming from, for dreams of going to)
(Which with any luck will never come true)

(I was born under a wandrin' star)
(I was born under a wandrin' star)
When I get to heaven, tie me to a tree
For I'll begin to roam and soon you'll know where I will be

I was born under a wandrin' star
A wandrin' wandrin' star













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All of Her Love, again

By: Patrap, 10:48 PM GMT on January 13, 2011

9-year-old shooting victim's organs help save child

by Jaimee Rose - Jan. 13, 2011 08:46 PM
The Arizona Republic



Christina-Taylor Green, the 9-year-old girl killed in Saturday's shootings in Tucson, donated her organs.

She was one of six people killed in the shooting that targeted U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords outside a Safeway store northwest of Tucson. Giffords remains in critical condition.

More than 1,700 people packed St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church, tucked into the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains, for Christina-Taylor's funeral Thursday afternoon. The congregation included Mark Kelly, the husband of Giffords; senators John McCain and Jon Kyl, and baseball greats like Ryne Sandberg and Pat Gillick. Her father, John, is a scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Most Rev. Gerald Kicanas, Bishop of Tucson told the crowd that Christina-Taylor's organs were donated.

And a friend helping the Green family said they received a call yesterday from the organ donation network, telling them that Christina-Taylor's donation had already saved the life of a child on the East Coast.

The little girl loved ballet, gymnastics and baseball, the only girl on her team.

Christina-Taylor was born on Sept. 11, 2001, and liked to think of herself as something good that came into the world that awful day.

Mourners entered her funeral beneath a billowing tribute: the National 9/11 flag, a 45-pound patchwork of tattered fabric rescued from the collapse of the Twin Towers. The 20-by-30-foot banner soared over the sidewalk between the outstretched ladders of two fire engines, and was hand-carried by a New York firefighter to Tucson to honor Christina-Taylor and her ideals.

Read more: http://www.azcentral.com






Should I fall out of love, my fire in the light
To chase a feather in the wind
Within the glow that weaves a cloak of delight
There moves a thread that has no end.

For many hours and days that pass ever soon
The tides have caused the flame to dim
At last the arm is straight, the hand to the loom
Is this to end or just begin?
* Chorus: All of my love, all of my love, All of my love to you,now. (repeat)

The cup is raised, the toast is made yet again
One voice is clear above the din
Proud Arianne, one word, my will to sustain
For me, the cloth once more to spin

Chorus

Yours is the cloth, mine is the hand that sews time
His is the force that lies within
Ours is the fire, all the warmth we can find
He is a feather in the wind




Christina Taylor


















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Why There Are So Many Mentally Ill Among Us

By: Patrap, 6:44 PM GMT on January 10, 2011

Harry Shearer

Just a guy


Why There Are So Many Mentally Ill Among Us


NEW ORLEANS -- In the race to "explain" the Tucson shooting, the sprinters have been those who've found the cause in the rhetoric of one side or the other of the political spectrum. Close behind them have been those who see once again the folly of a society, almost unique in the civilized world, that views gun possession as a birthright.

Now comes another view, at least from me. This country has had toxic political rhetoric since its birth pangs, and there has undeniably followed in the past two centuries an occasional outbreak of political violence. But now we're being told that toxic political rhetoric is dangerous, because of its possible effect on the less rational, more mentally unhinged folks among us. So, maybe it's time to ask this question: Why are they among us?

In the bad old days, this nation had a system of mental hospitals -- sad, dreary institutions in which the unhinged were quite often warehoused, sometimes for life. The worst of them were exposed as "snake pits," cruel and uncaring, and a reform movement sprang up. We should, we were told (by, among others, then-California Governor Ronald Reagan), close down these shameful institutions, and return the patients to their communities, where a system of community-based mental health clinics would administer care that was, well, more caring.

So we closed down the mental hospitals. And we neglected to set up community mental health clinics. And suddenly we had a crisis of homeless people, many if not most of whom were mentally ill.

And now we have this: a society where we're being lectured to temper our political rhetoric lest we inflame the crazies to acts of violence.

This moment is, of course, perhaps the worst possible moment to remind ourselves of our unfulfilled pledge to the mentally ill, that promise that warehousing would be replaced by accessible, community-based care. We don't have the money. We could call off our adventure in Afghanistan and we would have the money, but I don't advise holding your breath about that one.

I'm the last person to advocate re-instituting the old system. I personally helped get someone who was involuntarily, and improperly, committed to such a hospital out, when I was working for a state legislator. But the least we can do is acknowledge, amid all the fun finger-pointing, that we all, Dems and Reps, libs and cons, have failed the mentally disturbed among us. And the bill continues to come due.


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www.twitter.com/theharryshearer





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Joan of Arc Parade,

By: Patrap, 2:14 AM GMT on January 03, 2011


On this day of birth for Joan of Arc,
the Maid of Orleans, we celebrate the
rebirth of New Orleans.

We walk on this night to reflect on the
past year and rejuvenate for the New
Year. We honor all those who have fallen
by the sword, fire, and flood.
We burn
candles to brighen this Twelfth Night,
lighting the way for Mardi Gras season.

Joan of Arc, Saint, Warrior, Leader, and
Honorary Maid of New Orleans, we
thank you for shining your golden light
on us and ask you to bless New Orleans
in 2011, on this, the anniversary of the
599th year of your birth.

January 6, 2011
St Joan of Arc Parade-New Orleans
Joan of Arc January 6, 1412-May 31, 1431




By The Times-Picayune


KERRY MALONEY / THE TIMES-PICAYUNE Caye Mitchell rides as Warrior Joan of Arc during the Krewe de Jeanne D'Arc parade Thursday night in the French Quarter celebrating the first day of the Carnival season and Joan of Arc's 499th Birthday.






re-post from Last January

Joan of Arc Parade this week last year.

The Parade Rides for the 3rd year this Thursday Night in the French Quarter January 6th,or Epiphany for the Catholics.



Twelfth night kicks off Carnival and honors Joan of Arc's birthday with festival and parade

By Molly Reid, The Times-Picayune
January 06, 2010, 5:50AM


If you're in the French Quarter Wednesday Night -- Epiphany -- don't be surprised if you see women dressed in medieval garb on horseback and a throng of followers accompanied by bagpipes and Gregorian chants.

It's not a Renaissance fair come to town; it's Joan of Arc's birthday.



The Maid of Orleans, so named for her figurative leadership in France's tide-turning battle against the English at Orleans during the Hundred Years' War, turns 598 on Jan. 6, and for the second year local St. Joan fans will turn Decatur Street into a moving tableau of her life.

The procession is one of two events that help kick off Carnival season on Twelfth Night. The other is the Phunny Phorty Phellows streetcar party, which rolls on Wednesday on the St. Charles Avenue line.


See more Twelfth Night events in New Orleans


For fans of Joan, however, events have grown to include the Joan of Arts Fete on Sunday, featuring costume workshops, a free French class, Medieval chamber music, theatrical performances, a silent auction and panel discussions all celebrating St. Joan.

"She's just such a naturally dramatic character that everyone can really relate to, " said Amy Kirk, founder and leader of the Krewe de Jeanne d'Arc.


Joan of Arc Last Year,Inaugural Procession





Though torrential rain put a damper on the 2009 procession through the French Quarter to the Joan of Arc statue near to the French Market, the response at the event let Kirk know she had the makings of a phenomenon on her hands.

"It ended up being very magical, " Kirk said. "When we got to the Joan of Arc statue, there was this whole group of people that I was not expecting, about 300.

There was a lot of interest. I got a surprising amount of e-mails from people locally and nationally, writing really long e-mails about what Joan meant to them. There's quite a bit of Joan in the city, and there were ones who came forward and said, 'I'm named after Joan!'"

Kirk applied for and received a $2,500 grant from the Arts Council of New Orleans to finance the next event, and she spent the year seeking support from Joan admirers, from academics to devout Catholics and arts lovers.

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"There was enough of that kind of encouragement from people in the arts community, people in the religious community, people in the literary community, " Kirk said. "I mean this has attracted so many kinds of people."

To keep interest alive, Kirk organized several programs appealing to different types of current and potential Joan fans. A book club started over the summer has met every other month to discuss a different nonfiction work about her, and in November a group of New Orleans Center for Creative Arts students performed scenes from George Bernard Shaw's play "St. Joan." After going to the Louisiana Renaissance Festival in Hammond to attract potential tourists to the event, Kirk met a Tulane University professor who happens to study medieval wine as a hobby and signed on to organize a wine tasting for the fete.

"There's so many different entry points for Joan, " Kirk said. "She's cool because she's got this pop culture thing, but then I've got these old ladies who come to me who've written songs for her. I've been trying to consider every point of entry."

The Krewe de Jeanne d'Arc will gather Jan. 6 to form a moving tableau of Joan of Arc's life, going from the statue of Bienville on Conti and Decatur streets to the statue of Joan of Arc near the French Market.On Wednesday, the krewe will gather at the statue of Bienville at Conti and Decatur streets and proceed down Chartres to St. Louis Cathedral, where a costumed Joan of Arc will re-enact the finding of her sword at the chapel of St. Catherine de Fierbois in France. In addition to the main Joan, three other Joans in the procession will portray her as a warrior, as a prisoner and as the gold statue in the French Quarter.

The procession will be led by bagpipers and feature assorted costumed krewe members, including fire dancers and a group of tourists who stumbled upon last year's parade and vowed to come back dressed as Benedictine monks singing Gregorian chants. The costume workshops Sunday are open to anyone who needs help fashioning a costume, Kirk said.

Because it is Carnival, there must be throws, and Joan's have a saintly theme. Members will hand out items such as hand-painted Joan of Arc medallions, magnets featuring the saints and prayer cards.

That the krewe has expanded so much over the past year is no surprise to Kirk, who chalks it up to the sustained appeal of her patron saint.

"It shows you what's possible when there's this dynamic leader, " she said.

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All Pics from Patrap,Joan of Arc Parade,French Quarter,Jackson Square 6 Jan 2010


Joan of Arc 2010 on Royal Street Tonight



Statue of Joan of Arc,St. Peters St.



Joan of Arc directly in front of the Doors to St. Louis Cathedral tonight at 6:15 CST




Joan of Arc on Royal Street,view begins in Jackson Square



Lotsa Candles and Happy Families tonight too.





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