Thursday, February 26, 2009

Pentagon lifts media ban on returning coffins: FINALLY!

It is shameful that there ever was a ban. Now people are getting a double whammy; not only was and is the economy NOT ok (hasn't been for a while and it did not just start now with Obama at the helm), but now people will get to see the literal, death toll now the ban is lifted. (and how did the odd picture come out?)

"WASHINGTON - Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Thursday said he was lifting the ban against media photos of soldiers' coffins returning to the U.S. and will instead leave the decision up to families.

Gates told reporters earlier this month that he was reviewing the policy and that if the needs of the families could be met, and the privacy concerns could be addressed, he favored honoring fallen troops as much as possible."

It was about bloody time! It's funny how the GOP is now getting up in arms (no pun intended) over 'big government' and all kinds dramatic slogans that will make their flock reel but finally, reality-politics is coming to town and reality bites! Bad economic times the likes of the Depression, hell, it's supposed to become worse than that really.

Seeing the fallen soldiers return after patriotic notions got them to enlist (that or poverty because in middle schools, the military is trying heavily to recruit already) so here they are. After all that, and then not even to be acknowledged, no, allowed to be acknowledged if the family wants it.. it was one of those shameful laws. That said, it was apparently in place since '91 so that said, there have been fallen, returning soldiers during the Clinton years who did not receive their due recognition either.

Good on you Obama people. I am still the Independent and won't agree with foreign politics (business as usual) but I will have to give kudos when warranted.

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Friday, February 20, 2009

Lullabies if you can't sleep..

I'm looking for some of the songs on my daughter's cd. It's Putumayo's 'Dreamland; world lullabies and soothing songs.

Tanja Solnik's "Numi Numi"

Angelique Kidjo with Carlos Santana "Naima"

Claudia Martinez "Arriba Del Cielo"


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sometimes all you need is a piano and Tim Finn

Tim Finn's "Winter Light" from the >"Chronicles of Narnia" soundtrack. Remember that voice from Split Enz and Crowded House?

Both kids are probably 'flu-free' (try saying three times fast)but I'm just keeping them home for one more, last day. They ought to be out of the woods completely by next week (they're both doing fine, especially 'daughter dearest' who's driving me batty with her motormouth and 'liveliness').

I keep in mind it's the flu. Some kids apparently got the type A flu only to return later to have picked up type B. So..let's not and say we did. I need next week to get ready for my mom's arrival in early March and I need my peace!!

Later peeps or when you look to your right "twitter boys and girls"!

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

the flu

after a 4 day weekend with the kids, at the end, one got the flu and the other one followed suit. Amazingly, so far so good. We all had shots and the oldest, who was asymptomatic but had this chest congestion thing going on..again..was the one who started but seems fine with no fever for several days. In fact, when he must have started having it, he only had very low grade fever the first days with feeling a bit chilled and that mostly at night.
Then, just the night of school starting, the youngest woke up with a fever and we've just finished a day of moaning and groaning, eyes glazed over and 'feeling sad'. When I took her to the doc to confirm it was the flu, she got sick and bless her little independent self, she grabbed the bucket and did her thing without me having to pull over. (I was going as fast as I could).Then she asked for the towel I had brought so she could wipe her little mouth. (5 1/2yrs)

As I parked in the parking lot and saw the 'content', I thought DANG. More than I thought. What to do? Where's the nearest spiggot?? So I ended up composting it ahem, on a strip of grass next to the concrete paved parking lot. Usually, my husband is the one who's the designated 'cleaner upper' for 'that kind of stuff' as I normally gag and try not to follow suit (blech!), but I'm proud to announce I managed to clean the whole thing, stay composed and clean it out to boot with heaps of those antibacterial wipes we always have in the car. Last thing you need is to get back in the car with that 'smell'!

Plus,'s a way to get into your own separate room sooner at the doctors; ask for a bucket for throwing up. We got one and quickly got whisked to our own little room. [g]

Poor baby had fever and was just miserable and aching all day. When we finally got home around 4sh..I put her to bed and at 6:45sh..she woke up, hair looking like she sweated it out and her pajamas feeling accordingly and since that fever! So what to do? If she hasn't had a fever for 24hrs, technically, she could go back to school. She's chipper now and hasn't crashed back into misery as I expected it. I thought it would be a long night last night but no. She did wake me up twice as she of course, slept too much. Now she's happy and watching the Backyardigans.

My son who's been sequestered in his room and the guest room (tv and bathroom) is now still asleep. Having the flu but no fever for days and asymptomatic. could be worse. So another reason for not having posted. Again!
Later peeps. I've been collecting all these articles I had wanted to comment on but they're all old news now..c'est la vie!

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Signs of the time; it's time to learn economics!

John Mauldin in The Market Oracle "Back to the 1998 Crisis, Subprime's to Impact for a Longtime"

Even though all the pro-Obama voters (and non-voters the world over) have experienced an anti-climax "bleh" after the whole election kerfafle was done, I do know, we are far from being out of the woods. There are forces at work to the conspiracy theorists, who are determined to undermine and undo the American dollar. Globally, financially, we are connected to whatever, whomever, where ever, a stock market or industry would collapse.

Most recently, US Treasury Geithner accused China of manipulating their currency. However, what has been common practice in most American administrations, republican or democrat is having a discussion be two way. 'Cause apparently, the Obama administration hasn't been listening.

Simon Smelt, New Zealand economist

Here is Simon Smelt, writing for "Seeking Alpha";

"China’s leadership likes to communicate by brief but loaded signals, both to its own population and beyond. They are less inclined – have less need - to posture than politicians in the West. That is, they mean what they signal.

Whilst China is reliant on the U.S. as its biggest market and for the investments it has made there, the U.S. is reliant on China for ongoing cheap credit and goods. Given this inter-dependency, what is China signalling about its intent amidst current market turmoil?

The signals are clear but don’t seem to have been well picked up by the media. I suggest that there are three loud “No”s to be found in what China has been saying on the international stage, as well as some quieter “Yes”s."

Here are Simon's three 'NO's':

1 - "...In 2005 a bilateral Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) between China and the U.S. was set up. Reportedly, Beijing has put a lot of effort into this and sees the SED as the primary channel for dealing with pressing economic issues. It is the mechanism for dialogue between the G2 on strategic issues, including those of worldwide importance.

What all this boils down to is that China expects to be involved in the big decisions. The message is:

No more U.S. hegemony in the financial world

Lacking a suitable multi-national mechanism (memo from China: “don’t blame us – we’ve been calling for one”), the G2 will do fine instead."

2 - "...The U.S. has long run a trade deficit with China. The U.S. fiscal deficit by the government is more recent. It stems from the Bush years and is about to get much worse due to the various bail-out and stimulus packages. The Chinese can scarcely object to the trade deficit – they have funded it for years. So, the message is: don’t rely on us to buy your extra bond issues caused by your economic mismanagement.

So, the second Chinese “No”:

No extra U.S. bond purchases by China above the normal level"

3 - "...China will voice its concerns over U.S. government finances and the potential for a weaker dollar when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visits China on Feb. 20. The idea has been floated that a guarantee might be “one of the prerequisites for more (bond) purchases”.

What’s going on here? The Chinese know full well that “guarantees” in the normal sense of the word can’t be given. What they are communicating is more than a bit of anxiety. It is the third “No”:

No policies that could lead to sharp depreciation of the U.S. $"

Read the whole, very well explained financial relationship and US/Chinese exchange on the current financial situation at Seeking Alpha's "China's Three No's to the U.S.: Is Washington Listening?"

Well people, time to stop being an unconscious consumer and use the time to learn some economics instead!

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Sunday, February 08, 2009

Getting the twitter bug - Stephen Fry, do you hear me now?

Stephen Fry

In the spirit of publicity, I figured I needed to be more web savvy. So I figured I'd check out Twitter, having seen the twitter feed on Utah Savage's page, plus dh is on it. I started out yesterday and boy, it's a 'viral' and addictive thing. I'm keeping it under control as much as possible (i.e. don't follow many and not have that much followers, that'll get you tagged as an online marketing schemer). I have as of writing 15 followers and I am following 26. That includes CNNinthefield, Het Parool(a Dutch newspaper I grew up with) and 4 bloggers that I know. I don't necessarily follow whomever is following me either since they are following gezillion people and they are obviously in it for the marketing part. Of course, can't blame them but, it is not considered impolite NOT to follow someone who follows you.

Stephen Fry and the guy who plays Seeley Booth, sorry, can't find the time to check right now

That said, I wished Stephen Fry would follow me, he's a wonderfully accomplished, HILARIOUS comedian/actor (latest gig being Agent Seeley Booths' British psychiatrist on Bones)AND since I am on the board of the Gilbert and Sullivan society, having a famous brit for possible publicity/fundraising activities would be great!

My board and publicity committee doesn't know it yet, but I'm trying to think of non-Gilbert and Sullivan ways to raise money for our productions. Since Gilbert and Sullivan is inherintly British, I would suspect an actor like him could appreciate the endeavour. any of my blogger buddies, Enigma, Jim, Billie, Kel, Paula, Maria, Mary, Cyber Otter, Lindsay, Gary, Zee, DK, Ruth, Heathlander I missing anyone? Get on the Twitter train, it's fun!

That said, gotta get off the computer to get ready. My 11yr old has his first classical guitar recital and I need to boogie. I will explain more about twitteretiquette too.

Stephen Fry, do you hear me now? [do you hear me now?]

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Saturday, February 07, 2009

Publicity hound


In the last couple of weeks, since getting on the board of the Gilbert and Sullivan society, I've been asked to join the publicity committee AND the fundraising committee. Both up my alley interest-wise. Since we are getting ready for auditions for Iolanthe, I was asked to contact all high schools here in Austin and the various colleges and universities. I tell you, I've been having fun with that. My brain is wired for PR. This morning, it hit me.

Gilbert and Sullivan society for Austin, audition info follow the link

Over 20 yrs ago (crap, time flies), a girl friend of mine was working in PR back in Ottawa Canada. She had worked previously for the Canadian Opera company as well (in Toronto) and during an outing, she turned to me and said, you know, you should go into PR because you've got "it". I asked, what is "it"? (being the newly emigrated, young naief person that I was) She said, I don't know, if I did, I would be better at it.
Entrance to Lady Birds' Wildflower Center..peace and more peace to be had..

Well somehow, life for me took many twists and turns (= many moves, in and outside Canada) but somehow PR was never a part of any endeavour. Until now. And I'm lovin' it! At 45, I finally know what I want to do 'when I grow up'. Yikes!

That said, I'm not going to fret about my age, it cannot be helped. I am not going to dwell on all those supposed missed opportunities as I a)can't do anything about it, and b)I've never been in such a supportive environment as I find myself right now being on the Gilbert and Sullivan society's board!

Hence, that, plus my scattered life in the past weeks what with doctor's appointments and the mondane things in life (laundry, grocery shopping, picking kids up from school etc) has kept me from even wanting to post.

My mind is in PR gear and I'm finally being appreciated for it. It's nice for a change! I have kept my eye out on politics too mind you, but have not had the umph to comment on it. I am having too much to do and I need to get my house environment in order as well, literally. If I need to do a lot of 'thinking-work', I cannot function in chaos and we have ehem, a bit of that.

So..there you have it. I haven't fallen of the face of the earth nor intend to do so. I do realize in blog time, I have been away for ages so I will try to make amends. Robert R..thanks for your email update and take care, I'll be thinking of you. Cyber Otter, it was awesome hearing from you the other week (when was that again??) I have honestly missed you so please come back [s]. The rest of 'yuus' know you're in my favourites list and I will always return to check in with you. Now with getting a life, which I had wanted for so long, I have to learn time management AND stress management..yes yes, join your club. Well, I'll get there. In the mean time, bear with my apparent absence but know I'm still there, I just can't promise anything.

oh and..can anyone read Japanese? Someone posted on my babies know obama post (in Japanese) but for the life of me (thank you sitemeter, ehem), i cannot 'see' where. All I see is the occasional english word (but nothing pertaining to this blog) and a lot of Japanese script (does it have a name?) and a ton of cutesy flora and fauna pics.. so Japanese I tell ya {g].

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