My Twitter Page

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

CULTURE/SOCIETY: The Great Obesity Debate

The Pasta Diet, it really works!!!

1) You walk pasta da bakery.

2) You walk pasta da candy store.

3) You walk pasta da Ice Cream shop.

4) You walk pasta da table and fridge.

This joke reminded me of a debate I had with Sassycat at her website - Sassy Says. It's too long to put here as a blog, but I put all the related links below.

The Slate article - which inspired the Pound blog - which inspired Sassycat's blog - which inspired my comments - but I don't know why she swallowed a fly
The Pound blog that inspired Sassycat's blog
First Sassycat blog on obesity and my comments
The response that wouldn't die! - Sassycat's blog in answer to my comments
Wow. You love the fatties. - Sassycat's last blog (so far) on the subject

POLITICS: FEMA Official Says Agency Heads Ignored Warnings

by Laura Sullivan

Morning Edition, September 16, 2005 · In the days before Hurricane Katrina hit land, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, FEMA Director Michael Brown and other top Homeland Security officials received e-mails on their blackberries warning that Katrina posed a dire threat to New Orleans and other areas. Yet one FEMA official tells NPR little was done.

Leo Bosner, an emergency management specialist at FEMA headquarters in Washington, D.C., is in charge of the unit that alerts officials of impending crises and manages the response. As early as Friday, Aug. 26, Bosner knew that Katrina could turn into a major emergency.

In daily e-mails -- known as National Situation Updates -- sent to Chertoff, Brown and others in the days before Katrina made landfall in the Gulf Coast, Bosner warned of its growing strength -- and of the particular danger the hurricane posed to New Orleans, much of which lies below sea level.

But Bosner says FEMA failed to organize the massive mobilization of National Guard troops and evacuation buses needed for a quick and effective relief response when Katrina struck. He says he and his colleagues at FEMA's D.C. headquarters were shocked by the lack of response.

"We could see all this going downhill," Bosner said, "but there was nothing we could do."

National Situation Update: Saturday, August 27, 2005

State of Emergency Declared in Mississippi, Louisiana DueIn anticipation of a possible landfall, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour and Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco declared States of Emergency Friday. In Louisiana, New Orleans is of particular concern because much of that city lies below sea level.

According to Gov. Blanco, Lake Pontchartrain is a very large lake that sits next to the city of New Orleans and if the hurricane winds blow from a certain direction, there are dire predictions of what may happen in the city.

Robert Latham, director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, said evacuations of tourists along the coast could begin late Saturday afternoon, followed by mandatory evacuations of coastal residents on Sunday. The National Guard had been activated to help with storm preparations, he said.

The last time Mississippi or Louisiana saw landfall from a storm classified as Category 4 or stronger was in August 1969, when Hurricane Camille roared ashore with winds in excess of 155 mph, killing 143 people.

In the Gulf of Mexico, six oil companies operating offshore facilities evacuated at least 150 people as a precaution. However, most of those employees were described as "non-essential" to production, and rigs and platforms continued to operate.

At least 12 platforms and nine oil rigs in the Gulf have been evacuated -- a small portion of the 953 manned rigs and platforms operating there, according to the Interior Department's Mineral Management Service.

National Situation Update: Sunday August 28, 2005

Dangerous Category Four Hurricane Katrina Continues West-Northwestward But Expected To Turn Northward

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for the North Central Gulf Coast from Morgan City Louisiana eastward to the Alabama/Florida border including the city of New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain.

A tropical storm warning and a hurricane watch are in effect from east of the Alabama/Florida border to Destin, Florida and from west of Morgan City to Intracoastal City, Louisiana.

National Situation Update: Monday, August 29, 2005

Extremely Dangerous Category Four Hurricane Katrina Moving Northward Toward Southeastern Louisiana And The Northern Gulf Coast

A hurricane warning is in effect for the north central gulf coast from Morgan City Louisiana eastward to the Alabama/Florida border including the city of New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain. Preparations to protect life and property should be completed this evening.

Katrina is moving toward the north near 15 mph and this motion is forecast to continue today. A gradual turn toward the north-northeast at a slightly faster forward speed is expected later tonight and tomorrow. On the forecast track Katrina will move onshore the southeastern Louisiana coast just east of Grand Isle this morning and reach the Louisiana/Mississippi border area this afternoon. Conditions will continue to steadily deteriorate over central and southeastern Louisiana, southern Mississippi, and southern Alabama throughout the day.

Maximum sustained winds are near 150 mph (240 km/hr) with higher gusts. Katrina is a strong category four hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Some fluctuations in strength are likely prior to landfall but Katrina is expected to make landfall as a category four hurricane. Winds affecting the upper floors of high-rise buildings will be significantly stronger than those near ground level.

Katrina remains a very large hurricane. Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 105 miles from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 230 miles. Recently, a sustained wind of 53 mph with gust to 91 mph was reported at Grand Isle Louisiana, and a wind gust to 71 mph was reported in New Orleans.

The minimum central pressure recently reported by an Air Force Reserve unit reconnaissance aircraft was 915 mb (27.02 inches).

Coastal storm surge flooding of 18 to 22 feet above normal tide levels, locally as high as 28 feet, along with large and dangerous battering waves can be expected near and to the east of where the center makes landfall. Some levees in the greater New Orleans area could be overtopped. Significant storm surge flooding will occur elsewhere along the central and northeastern Gulf of Mexico coast. NOAA buoy 42040, located about 50 miles east of the mouth of the Mississippi river recently reported waves heights of at least 46 feet.

National Weather

Hurricane Katrina should make landfall in eastern Louisiana or Mississippi during the morning hours. Katrina reached category 5 status yesterday morning and remains a powerful hurricane. Some fluctuations in intensity are possible prior to landfall, but Katrina is expected to remain a major hurricane as it impacts the Gulf Coast. A storm surge of 20 to 25 feet is possible along and to the east of the center of Katrina. On top of the water level rise (surge), waves of 20 to 40 feet are possible.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

CULTURE/SOCIETY: This I Believe: In Praise of the "Wobblies"

by Ted Gup

Morning Edition, September 12, 2005 · For years I really didn't know what I believed. I always seemed to stand in the no-man's land between opposing arguments, yearning to be won over by one side or the other, but finding instead degrees of merit in both.

I remember some 35 years ago, sitting at a table with the editor of The Washington Post and a half dozen Harvard kids. We were all finalists for a Post internship and the editor was there to winnow our numbers down. He asked each of us what we thought about the hot issues of the day -- Vietnam, Nixon, the demonstrations. The Harvard kids were dazzling. They knew exactly where they stood. Me, I just stumbled on every issue, sounding so muddled. I was sure I had forever lost my shot at the Post. Why, I wondered, could I not see as clearly as those around me?

When the lunch was over and everyone rose to leave, the editor put his hand on my arm and asked me to stay. We talked again about the war and how it was dividing the country. A month later he wrote me a rejection letter. He said I was too young for the job but he liked my attitude. He told me that he "hunched I had a hell of a future" and to keep bugging him. I did.

Seven years later he hired me.

But that first letter, now framed in my office, had already given me an invaluable license. It had let me know that it was OK to be perplexed, to be torn by issues, to look at the world and not feel inadequate because it would not sort itself out cleanly. In the company of the confident, I had always envied their certainty. I imagined myself like some tiny sailboat, aimlessly tacking in whatever wind prevailed at the moment.

But in time, I came to accept, even embrace, what I called "my confusion," and to recognize it as a friend and ally, no apologies needed. I preferred to listen rather than to speak; to inquire, not crusade. As a noncombatant, I was welcomed at the tables of even bitterly divided foes. I came to recognize that I had my own compass and my own convictions and if, at times, they took me in circles, at least they expanded outward. I had no wish for converts -- where would I lead them?

An editor and mentor at the Post once told me I was "Wobbly." I asked who else was in that category and drew comfort from its quirky ranks. They were good people all -- open-minded, inquisitive, and yes, confused. We shared a common creed. Our articles of faith all ended with a question mark. I wouldn't want a whole newsroom, hospital, platoon or -- God forbid -- a nation of us. But in periods of crisis, when passions are high and certainty runs rabid, it's good to have a few of us on hand. In such times, I believe it falls to us Wobblies to try and hold the shrinking common ground.

This I Believe

Monday, September 12, 2005

HUMOR: Amazingly Simple Home Remedies

An email my mom passed onto me that I thought was worth posting.

1. If you are choking on an ice cube, don't panic. Simply pour a cup of boiling water down your throat and presto. The blockage will be almost instantly removed.

2. Clumsy? Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

3. Avoid arguments with the Mrs about lifting the toilet seat by simply using the sink.

4. For high blood pressure sufferers: simply cut yourself and bleed for a few minutes, thus reducing the pressure in your veins. Remember to use a timer.

5. A mouse trap, placed on top of your alarm clock, will prevent you from rolling over and going back to sleep after you hit the snooze button.

6. If you have a bad cough, take a large dose of laxatives, then you will be afraid to cough.

7. Have a bad toothache? Smash your thumb with a hammer and you will forget about the toothache.

Sometimes, we just need to remember what the rules of life really are:
You only need two tools: WD-40 and Duct Tape.
If it doesn't move and should, use the WD-40.
If it shouldn't move and does, use the duct tape.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

SPIRITUALITY/RELIGION: Treating Katrina as a Punishment from God

Letter for The Oregonian and responses

August 31, 2005
Storm is sign from God

The hurricane and floods in the Gulf states are another wake up call from God to the United States. Each warning gets more intense. How many more wakeup calls do we need before this nation turns back to the God of our forefathers?

The liberals are trying to remove everything godly from our nation: prayer in schools and other public arenas, the Ten Commandments from public places. They allow immorality of every type to be promoted. It is time we pray for revival in this nation, which was founded on all the things we are gradually losing. Wake up, America!

JAN LANDIS Southeast Portland

September 1, 2005
Did God make a mistake?

I wondered how long it would take a benighted fundamentalist Christian to nominate Hurricane Katrina as a sign that their God is in a snit over liberalism ("Storm is sign from God," Letters, Aug. 31). Odd that the punishment meted out by Jan Landis' God would strike three Southern red states that probably contain more Baptists and Pentecostalists per square mile than they do heedless and hedonistic liberals.

Apparently, this protest by God could have been more intelligently designed.

STEFFEN SILVIS Southeast Portland

Where superstition leads . . .

So those darn liberals are the cause of Hurricane Katrina and probably global warming, too? What's next? Sacrificing a couple of virgins into Mount St. Helens' crater every week or so?

Better get that Hubble telescope out of orbit soon because it allows us to see a universe that has been billions of years in the building. Should burning NASA scientists at the stake be the next order of business?

BILL POWELL Northeast Portland

Hurricane Katrina: God's Punishment for a 'Wicked' City?
Urban Legends and Folklore Blog

August 31, 2005
A reader writes: Is it true that Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans on a day that was to observe "Southern Decadence Day" with 100,000 homosexuals gathering to commit unspeakable acts in public?

In a word, no. Despite the fact that some fundamentalist Christians appear eager to characterize the disaster as "God's judgment" on the "wicked" city of New Orleans, and despite their attempt to link its timing to a gay celebration held there annually, the claims are patently absurd:

The hurricane struck on Monday, August 29. This year's Southern Decadence, sometimes called the "Gay Mardi Gras," was scheduled to open today, Wednesday the 31st, and continue through Sunday. The storm obviously did not strike on "the day" of the celebration. Many, perhaps most, of the revelers had not even arrived yet.

Southern Decadence is a 35-year-old tradition in New Orleans. Why did God choose to wait till 2005 to "punish" the city for it?

Why is the French Quarter, the district where the event (now canceled) was to be held, one of the least devastated parts of the city so far?

If this tragedy occurred because God is angry at New Orleans, what was the point of the awful devastation and loss of life wrought in Mississippi and Alabama? (And, if I - OlderMusicGeek speaking here - may add a point, Katrina was heading for New Orleans, but switch directions before hitting land. Did God get distracted and let his aim go off? Let it hit Mississippi more ?)

Lastly, if I may vent a bit, I find it shameful, given the massive destruction, loss of innocent life, and ongoing hardships suffered by the hundreds of thousands of victims of Hurricane Katrina, that any self-appointed spokesperson for God would have the nerve to suggest that these people in any sense deserved their fate. Natural disasters happen all the time, and Katrina was certainly not the first hurricane to strike the southern United States this season. By what logic, and by what right, does any human being arbitrarily declare that this natural disaster was a punishment meted out upon sinners by God?

Hurricane Katrina: Al Qaeda leader in Iraq sees ”start of US collapse”

Al Qaeda group in Iraq, which is led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, on Sunday praised in an Internet statement what it said was the "start of the collapse" of the United States after the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina.

"Congratulations to the Islamic nation, to our sheikh Osama abu Abdullah (Osama bin Laden) and to sheikh Ayman Zawahiri (bin Laden's deputy) for the destruction of America, which is at the forefront of evil. It is the start of its collapse."

The statement was referring to the hurricane which left some 10,000 dead.

In recent days, Islamists website connected between the storm and the "US war against Islam." According to them, Katrina was sent by God to torment the American empire.

An interesting take on God, race and Katrina

Dogpile.com Report on one Fundamentalist view of Katrina
BeliefNet's "Did God Send the Hurricane?"

Saturday, September 03, 2005

POLITICS: Looking for Leadership in a Storm

Looking for Leadership in a Storm by Linda Wertheimer

Weekend Edition - Saturday, September 3, 2005 · Sitting on the sidelines during a disaster is tough to do, even for a seasoned journalist. Hurricane Katrina provides many difficult choices for Americans who want to do something -- anything -- to assist victims of the storms. But the most valuable commodity may be leadership.

Blog Archive

My Blog List

My Twitter Page

My Twitter Page On Entertainment

Ask Me Anything From FormSpring.Me


Some Of The Lastest Songs I've Enjoyed

My Internet Radio Stations

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Some Movies I've Seen (Or Reseen) Recently

Sorry for the funky layout. It's the only one Flixster has.

The Last 20 Movies I've Reviewed On Flixster

Sorry for the funky layout. It's the only one Flixster has.

The Movies I Want To See The Most, But Haven't Yet

Sorry for the funky layout. It's the only one Flixster has.

My Favorite Movies

Sorry for the funky layout. It's the only one Flixster has.