Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The story behind the World Press Photo of the Year 2006

Well ZEE, imagine my surprise when I was trolling for something to post and lo and behold, I saw this picture that you had posted before. This time though, it comes with a complete background story (which I am sure you did not know about:
The World Press Photo of the Year 2006 shows upscale young Lebanese men and women visiting a bombed-out Beirut neighborhood like disaster tourists -- or at least that's what everyone thought. Bissan Maroun, one of those featured in the photograph, told SPIEGEL ONLINE the true story.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Is America Burning?: Twenty Years of Heartbreak and Oceans of Tears#links

Is America Burning?: Twenty Years of Heartbreak and Oceans of Tears#links

Does anyone know of any tv shows (local or nat'l) who I could send this story too? It deserves telling as I am sure that it is not an isolated case.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Lasagna Gardening part 1

Patricia Lanza
Before I get all the stuff together to make the layers of this sheet composting (aka lasagna gardening), let me see if I can give you a preview of what it is supposed to look like.
Alright, found a site where they go over it step by step:

starting the first layer with garden refuse.

I've been offered materials and I will go around to ask the nearby Starbucks and Scooters for their coffee grinds. I just had the bright idea to ask the two nearby grocery stores for their cut up veggies..
To be continued...

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Yikes! Gaining weight from Lexapro?

from famsa

My dear (blogger) buddies know that a few months ago I started taking Lexapro as I had started to experience panic attacks and the good doctor prescribed me the Lexapro. I had started to feel better and have not experienced any more attacks but a few weeks ago I felt as if I started to gain weight. At first I dismissed it thinking, ah well, I have to accept that I AM getting older (ouch) and that is what happens (big SIGH) but today I all of the sudden had a bright (yet scary) thought; what if the meds made me gain weight? And well, it's not that significant in terms of the number of poundage,ahem.. but I can 'feel' it, ("and that's all I have to say about that", ok forest) anyhoo, where was I? Ah! I can 'feel it'! Let the records show that I have always been a slender tall (yes hate me already) 100lbs until I was 39, and got pregnant with my second child who gave me hips (thank you dear) and turned my body in what it was 'supposed' to be. I weigh around 124lbs now. But it's not the actual weight, but how it feels. (Yes I am familiar with you all but I don't want to get that familiar, alright? ahem, where was I again..) AH! the feeling part. Anyone who's experienced fluxuations of the weight gaining kind probably knows what I am talking about. (the feeling part)
My husband said that I definitely needed the lexapro because I was in a bad shape for a few weeks. Well, after reading about it online about all these people who gained weight from Lexapro and other anti depressants, I decided to stop. Not cold turkey, but slowly as you can supposedly experience nasty side effects if you come off it too quickly.

Oh brother. Well, good thing I have been getting ready to plant my first lasagna garden (aka sheet composting in which to plant), and hopefully I'll be able to start tomorrow..I've been itching to do so and I have re-visited the non profit a friend and I started (half heartedly since we forgot about it ..ahem) , the permaculture initiative. Since my friend is much too busy to follow through with the pursuit of the non profit, I have decided to write a business proposal so I can approach more people to get on the board. Hopefully once I'm off the lexapro, that 'feeling' will dissapate and my ehm..area will go back to where it was... good grief, if it's not from having children it's from meds.. wish me luck!
I'll try to post some pics of my lasagna gardening..
and now, if you will excuse..I will go and find my happy place!

Finding Nemo

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Rodrigo y Gabriela

check out the latest music sensation.. and happy Valentine's day.. (especial tu, Roberto, wink wink!)

And then there is their version of Stairway to Heaven

Their official site

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Withinsight: Close Guantanamo Bay#links

Withinsight: Close Guantanamo Bay#links

This is why I am part of Bloggers against Torture.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Ray McGovern on NIE's

Ray McGovern explains a little on NIE's, National Intelligence Estimates. McGovern, an ex-intelligence officer gone activist, has quite a few good insights:

NIE, which leaned so far forward to support the White House’s warnings of a
made-in-Iraq “mushroom cloud,” remains the negative example par excellence of
corrupted intelligence. The good news is that Tenet and his lackeys were
replaced by officers who, by all indications, take their job of speaking truth
to power seriously. Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Analysis, Tom
Fingar, is a State Department professional not given to professionally selling
out. And his boss, John Negroponte, is too smart to end his government career by
following the example of his servile predecessors in conjuring up “intelligence”
to please the president—not even for a Presidential Medal of
Freedom. Unvarnished NIEs sent to the White House by the Negroponte/Fingar
team have not shied away from unwelcome conclusions undercutting administration
claims, and have gone over like proverbial lead balloons. An estimate on Iran
completed in early 2005, for example, concluded that the Iranians will not be
able to produce a nuclear weapon before “early to mid-next decade,” exposing
Cheney’s fanciful claims of more proximate danger. And an NIE produced in April
‘06 on global terrorism concluded that the invasion of Iraq led to a marked
increase in terrorism, belying administration claims that the invasion and
occupation had made us “safer.” Worse still from the administration’s point
of view, patriotic truth-tellers (aka leakers) inside the government apparently
decided that administration rhetoric on both of these key issues had
deliberately misled the American people, who were entitled to know the
truth. The two unwelcome estimates meant two strikes on Negroponte. Then
the White House learned of an impending strike-three—this one an NIE assessing
the future in Iraq and apparently casting doubt on the advisability of U.S.
escalation. In a classic Cheneyesque pre-emptive strike, the estimate was put on
hold; Negroponte was given a pink slip and assigned back to the State
Department. There are rumors that Fingar is clearing out his desk as

Let's cross our collective fingers and hope no idiotic strike on Iran will go through.

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

TX Governor Rick Perry mandates cervical cancer vaccine for girls

I suspect some monetary windfalls. Buzzflash might get some more copy cats with this latest idiocy!
As someone mentioned, this doesn't pass the smell test:

"Bypassing the Texas Legislature, Republican Gov. Rick Perry issued an order
Friday making Texas the first state to require that schoolgirls get
vaccinated against the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical
cancer.By employing an executive order, Perry sidestepped opposition in the
Legislature from conservatives and parents' rights groups who fear such a
requirement would condone premarital sex and interfere with the way Texans
raise their children.Beginning in September 2008, girls entering the
sixth grade — meaning, generally, girls ages 11 and 12 — will have to
receive Gardasil, Merck & Co.'s new vaccine against strains of the human
papillomavirus, or HPV.Perry also directed state health authorities to make
the vaccine available free to girls 9 to 18 who are uninsured or whose
insurance does not cover vaccines. He also ordered that Medicaid offer
Gardasil to women ages 19 to 21."


"Perry has ties to Merck and Women in Government. One of the drug company's three lobbyists in Texas is Mike Toomey, Perry's former chief of staff. His current chief of staff's mother-in-law, Texas Republican state Rep. Dianne White Delisi, is a state director for Women in Government.The governor also received $6,000 from Merck's political action committee during his re-election campaign.The order is effective until Perry or a successor changes it, and the Legislature has no authority to repeal it, said Perry spokeswoman Krista Moody.Legislative aides said they are looking for ways around the order for parents who oppose it.''He's circumventing the will of the people,'' said Dawn Richardson, president of Parents Requesting Open Vaccine Education, a citizens group that fought for the right to opt out of other vaccine requirements. ''There are bills filed. There's no emergency except in the boardrooms of Merck, where this is failing to gain the support that they had expected.''The federal government approved Gardasil in June. "

The Boston Herald inquired a little further.

Now this is what I had written to send in to the Austin-American Statesmand but they accept letters to the editor with only 150 words. At this point I would need to do a little editing..ehem!

Having this mandated vaccination law actually undermines the validity of the abstinence programs here in Texas which actively misrepresent the effectiveness of using condoms (negatively) or not mention condoms at all. (See Human Rights Watch Report To me, it seems like a backwards way to ensure the same thing. Instead of educating and informing children about the dangers of sexual activities (the various sexually transmitted diseases, emotional and inter-social effects), and/or the prevention of them, be they abstinence or proper protection using condoms, the Perry administration sooner inject girls with a vaccine who’s long-term efficacy has not been proven. It is like a parent who’d rather sneak in ‘the pill’ in his/her daughter’s food rather than talk straight about the birds and the bees!
Now to the mandate of vaccination. First of all, since this is not a contagious disease such as Hep A, I am opposed to having this be mandatory. According to the American Cancer Society, they estimate 940 new cases of Uterine/Cervix cancer. Their report on estimated new cancer cases for selected sites in the US for the year 2007 shows that Texas has the highest number in the country. The overall estimated number of new cases in the whole of the US is 11,150. This from an overall population of 300 million Americans and the number is split between uterus and cervical cancer. If the relation of the HPV virus to the cervical cancer is because of sexual transmitted disease, then clearly, knowing the high rate of teen pregnancy in the state of Texas, a vaccination program is not the answer to the root of the problem. Social and educational issues can eliminate a whole slew of issues surrounding teen pregnancies and teen sexual transmitted diseases, some of them, which lead to cervical cancer. Also, the information surrounding the efficacy of this vaccination is suspect, please check out the National Vaccination Information Center.
Mandating this vaccine will only make the rates go up for health insurance and I would be curious to know how much money Merck spends in campaign donations. If anyone looks at funding they deem important and necessary here in Texas, anyone can find areas that can benefit so much more from the millions of dollars that will be spend on these vaccinations: law enforcement, education, increased health coverage for the uninsured you name it. Oh hey, and honest and effective sex education programs! I will not have my daughter be vaccinated. I will do my parental job and talk with her about sex, the pressure of having sex at a young age, and boys! If I could, I would mandate that men and especially the Perry administration watch a few Oprah episodes. Maybe they will learn what goes on with teenagers today in this country.

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Molly Ivin's Memorial Service

For those of you who live in or nearby Austin, this could be of interest. I plan to be there but I imagine it will be busy:

A memorial service for Texas columnist and author Molly Ivins, who died
Wednesday, is slated for 2 p.m. Sunday at First United Methodist Church at 1201
Lavaca St. in Austin. It will be followed by a gathering at Scholz Garten at
1607 San Jacinto Blvd.

This is why she was a well respected, beloved political writer:

As a political satirist, three-time Pulitzer Prize finalist Molly Ivins was
deliciously bipartisan. The Texas-based syndicated columnist once called Bill Clinton 'weaker than bus-station chili' and wrote of Ronald Reagan that 'if you put his brains in a bee, it would fly backwards.' Her book, 'Shrub: The Short but Happy Political Life of George W. Bush,' continued an Ivins tradition of spraying journalistic defoliant on all elected Bush

Please sign the Austin-American Statesman guestbook

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