Pssssst… Wanna Buy A Bridge?

No, not the Brooklyn Bridge, just a small railroad bridge, as reported by USA Today:

Police say they’re trying to figure out who made off with a 4-ton railroad bridge in the Czech Republic.

The iron span disappeared between Dec. 5 and Jan. 11, according to the Czech News Agency.

“We are not sure if it was taken for personal use or for its scrap value,” police spokeswoman Martina Hruskova tells AFP. “It is the first time we have dealt with this type of theft.”

Somehow we don’t think the bridge was taken by any budding railroad tycoon, more likely criminal entrepreneurs with an eye towards cashing in on Chinese smelters hungry for raw materials.  Now if that bridge was previously installed over a canal or a river, truly smart thieves would park a barge in the waterway, beneath where the bridge stood, then they might score a train engine for the scrap market.

Watch for a new event at the 2008 Olympics, bridge toting.

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Taking A Lesson From A Sixth Grader

Michael Guggenheim is a sixth grader at Los Encinos School in Encino, California, a suburb of Los Angeles.  Michael suffers from dysgraphia which is a learning disorder related to dyslexia and that severely impairs your ability to physically write with pen or pencil.  There apparently is no cure for this condition, if you have it, you have it for life.  However, there is a way to not only cope with this condition, but for a young student, a way to excel in school, and that is by typing.  It seems that while the condition prevents one from handwriting, it does not preclude the ability to type.  Michael first discovered this while in the third grade when he was allowed to use a laptop computer in the class room.  Now Michael earns straight “A’s” in school, because he has acquired the skill and knowledge to type via the laptop keyboard.

So the first lesson we can take from Michael is that where there is a will, there is a way.

Being able to overcome his disability was not enough for Michael.  He took it upon himself to share what he has learned with other kids that are afflicted with dysgraphia and worked out an arrangement with his school in which he is able to take some time every week to conduct class at a transitional learning center, teaching other kids how to type and how to use the laptop.  Together with his parents he has started a 501 (c) (3) non-profit foundation named Splat Charity, “splat” being the acronym for “Showing People Learning And Technology“.  Through SPLAT Michael has been soliciting donations of laptop computers, software and cash and he is using those resources to reach out to other victims of dysgraphia, and teach them how to use the laptops, and providing the collected laptops to his students.

Michael was profiled by the Los Angeles Times on January 7 of this year and the story was picked up by the media, world-wide.  CNN and Good Morning America recently profiled Michael and he was recently presented with a Volunteer Service Award from Margaret Spellings, the United States Secretary of Education.

The second lesson that we can take from Michael is that each of us has it in ourselves to reach out and give a friendly helping hand to another human being, no matter our own inherent limitations.

A third lesson might be that the future may prove to be unlimited to our children, if we just give them the smallest amount of encouragement and allow them to exercise their imagination.

You can find Michael and SPLAT at his blog and learn more about his foundation and how you might be able to help.

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George Bush Whitehouse Situation Room

Observed hanging on the wall:

Illustration: Stanley & Ollie

For larger, clearer image, click here.

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Another Step Backwards: Cupid Outlawed By Saudi Arabia

As previously noted in our posting titled The Veil Of Islam: Saudis Take A Step Backwards the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice does not permit the congregating of males and females in public if they are not family members.  Now the repressive religious zealots have gone one step further in to ludicrousness and suppression of their society, they have banned gift shops and florists from selling anything that is the color red this week.

However, as USA Today reports, love always finds a way:

Naturally, true love knows no bounds, so hopeless romantics can turn to the robust black market for red roses, which even delivers — under cover of darkness.

“I send e-cards to all my special friends online,” said one university student.

“We are planning on going to Dubai Wednesday night to celebrate Valentine’s Day as a couple,” a Saudi teacher said of her plans with her husband.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all the love birds out there, especially those residing in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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This Is What The United States of America Is All About

It is all about a proud 86 year old grandmother, Sarah H. Obama, in her home in Kogel, Kenya holding close to her heart a picture of her grandson, Barack Obama, a successful,  educated man, nurtured, sustained and embraced by a free American society to live the American dream.

Let us all exercise our freedom and rights and vote, and take back our country from those who would deny us the freedoms that The Founders fought for.

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Bush’s Last Defiant Act As President: Fomenting Another War

In an article headlined “Bush Urges Arab Allies to Confront Iran” in the New York Times Steven Lee Myers reports:

In an address to government and business leaders here, Mr. Bush focused not only on what the United States suspects are Iran’s nuclear ambitions but also its suspected support for Islamic groups and militants in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. He called Iran’s government “the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism” and accused it of imposing repression and economic hardship at home.

“Iran’s actions threaten the security of nations everywhere,” Mr. Bush said. “So the United States is strengthening our longstanding security commitments with our friends in the gulf and rallying friends around the world to confront this danger before it is too late.”

“Confront this danger before it is too late” sounds like code for “provide me the cover to invade another sovereign nation to further the agenda of my true masters, the disaster capitalism corporate complex.”

Don’t let this “train leave the station”, folks, contact your representatives in Congress and tell them to exercise some character and stop writing Bushiliburton blank checks.  Tell them to stand up to everything that is evil, greedy, rapacious and mercenary about Bushliburton and the disaster capitalism corporate complex and to stop dragging our country in to Fascism.


Illustration: The Worried Shrimp

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151,000 - The Forgotten Number

We are all familiar with the number that is currently 3,921, but how many of the members of the American Executive and Legislative branches of government are familiar with, or have any interest in the number 151,000 which is an order or magnitude 38.25 times greater than 3,921.

It is without question that the death of 3,921 American service members at the hands of enemy combatants is a terrible tragedy for the American people.  But what of the 151,000 Iraqi civilians, that have been killed in Iraq since the invasion by the United States in 2003?  Those casualties are also a terrible tragedy for the American people, as are all of the other uncounted or unreported deaths of all other parties, whether civilian contractors of the United States or enemy combatants, occurring within the borders of Iraq since spring of 2003.

The number 151,000 comes from the latest survey conducted by the United Nations Word Health Organization, and could actually be as high as 223,000 in the estimation of the World Health Organization.  The full survey results are available in the New England Journal of Medicine in an special article titled Violence-Related Mortality in Iraq from 2002 to 2006.

Logic dictates that those 151,000 deaths are the responsibility of president George W. Bush and the Bushliburton administration initially, but they are also the responsibility of the Congress of the United States for their inaction, and apparent complicity, after it was factually established that the administration’s justification for starting the war was a sham, and that continuation of combat operations and occupation of the sovereign nation of Iraq is illegal.

The deaths of 151,000 Iraqi citizens are also on the hands of all of the American people, as long as we allow our government, through the actions and in-actions of the Executive and Legislative branches, to prolong our occupation of Iraq.

Now some might make an argument that had the United States not intervened, and not overthrown Saddam Hussein, that left to his own devices, Saddam might have by this time killed as many, or more, innocent people than that 151,000 figure.  That is a hypothetical that one can only speculate about, but what might be worth considering, in that hypothetical situation, in which the United States never invaded Iraq and in which Saddam was never deposed, captured, tried and executed, is that just possibly, given Saddam’s iron fist-ed control of the country, that inter-tribal violence, that inter-sect violence, that violence effected by internal insurgents and external agents of Al Qaeda or other government or extremist groups would never have been able to begin in the first place.  Strange as it may seem, that Saddam Hussein, while left to his own devices might have murdered more of his own countrymen, it is also within the realm of possibility that he might have not exterminated the lives of his countrymen on a scale as large as the current death toll.  We will never know.  But what we can conclude, is that had the United States not invaded and occupied Iraq, the people of the United States would not have been complicit in any deaths, that the credibility and reputation of the United States in world opinion would not have hit rock bottom, as it has now.

Is it not time for the American people to demand that our government cease operating as an arm of big business interests and return to operating in the interests of the people?  Is it not time for our government to accede to the will of the people and extract our country from the disaster that we have created in Iraq?

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The Catholic Church: Upside Down Logic, Again

In an article dated January 8 in the Guardian, Tom Kington reports that the Catholic Church wants to exhume the body of a priest who has been dead 40 years, and then place it on display:

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the death of Padre Pio, Italy’s favourite saint, his body will be exhumed, given a “check-up” and put on display for a few months, church leaders have decided.

Renowned for his stigmata and miracle work, St Pius - still known as Padre Pio by his followers - was canonised in 2002 to popular acclaim and around 7 million pilgrims visit his tomb annually at the friary in Puglia, southern Italy, where he died in 1968.

To mark the anniversary of his death, the local archbishop, Domenico Umberto D’Ambrosio, said on Sunday that the Capuchin friar’s body would be exhumed from its tomb at the sanctuary church “to check on the state of it and to carry out all the necessary work to guarantee the best conditions for its conservation.”

When the work is completed, the body will go on display in April for “a few months”, he added. Antonio Belpiede, spokesman for Padre Pio’s Franciscan chapter, denied reports that the procedure would also be a chance to remove relics from the saint’s remains. “This is not on the agenda,” he said.

This follows an article on January 7 in the Guardian in which John Hooper reports that the Vatican now expects its parishioners to atone for the crimes committed by its priests:

The Vatican has called on Catholics to atone for the sex abuse scandals that have engulfed their church in recent years by taking part in what may be the largest global prayer initiative ever seen.

Cardinal Cláudio Hummes told the Vatican’s official daily, L’Osservatore Romano, that every diocese in the world should name a priest to work full-time on the arrangements for the “perpetual adoration” of the eucharist. This would involve parishioners taking turns to keep a round-the-clock vigil in front of a consecrated host representing the body of Jesus.

So it seems, the latest load of BS that church is trying to foist off on its flock is that they, the members of the church, the very people that the church is supposed to serve, are to atone for the crimes that the church commited against them, the members, and to worship the dead body of a previous member of the same clergy that committed the crimes they are to atone for.

No doubt the church will be passing the collection basket, and filling it on Sunday too.  Quite a racket, the teachings of the Catholic church.

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Spread The Word: Free Fouad & Don’t Allow It To Happen Here

Fouah al-Farhan, a citizen of The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been arrested and is being held in jail by Saudi authorities because he has been doing something that many of us take for granted, publishing his blog.

As reported by Katherine Zoepf in the New York times:

Mr. Farhan, 32, of Jidda, was arrested Dec. 10 at his office, local news sources reported. Two weeks before his arrest, he wrote a letter to friends warning them that it was imminent…

“The issue that caused all of this is because I wrote about the political prisoners here in Saudi Arabia, and they think I’m running an online campaign promoting their issue,” the letter continued, saying that Mr. Farhan had been asked to sign a statement of apology.

“I’m not sure if I’m ready to do that,” he wrote. “An apology for what? Apologizing because I said the government is a liar when they accused those guys to be supporting terrorism?”

It is time that Americans forget about shopping for the latest in electronic gadgets, fashions or entertainment, forget about dubious musical acts who glorify thuggishness, forget about over paid, chemically enhanced athletes, forget about the latest celebuwrecks, and think about what the Bushliburton administration has been doing for the past seven years to undermine the freedoms guaranteed to us by the Constitution.  Bushliburton has done its best to eliminate habeas corpus, to undermine our privacy rights, to conduct illegal wire tapping, to torture and illegally hold prisoners in contravention of the Geneva Convention, to sub-contract out its military responsibilities to their cronies, the lawless mercenaries, to cover up crimes committed by their operatives and to reward their operatives’ criminal acts. 

Do not think for one second that Bushliburton would not hesitate to muffle any one of us (by any means legal or not) for exercising our freedom of speech if it would help to squelch any dissent from their agenda, and they thought they could get away with it.  The Constitution is not standing in their way, only the collective moral and ethical values of the majority of our citizens, and the efforts of honest journalists, honest bloggers, and non-passive, aware Americans, is holding them back.

Do not be a fool to complacency, what happened to Fouad can happen to any one of us, if we are not vigilant.

Visit Fouad’s blog here, and learn more about his plight here.

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Decision 2008: “NIXon Clinton”

We have already suffered through the Bush dynasty, we don’t need a Clinton dynasty.  Hillary talks through both sides of her mouth, just like most of the other mainstream pols, no matter what party.  Hillary is also part of the party establishment, that despite the 2007 elections, has allowed Bushliburton to continue to usurp the Constitution in service to their corporate masters.

We do not need Billary Clinton in the White House.

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Iraq Moratorium Friday is organizing Moratorium Fridays, the third Friday of every month.  Since this Friday also happens to be the shortest, darkest day of the year, with many schools closed, and many people ducking out early from work for holiday shopping, they are asking people to organize or join in the various events planned around the country to drum up support for the anti-war advocacy.

Information about planned events can be found on this page.

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BFD Blog! - Proud To Be On The Cutting Edge Of Technology

Always concerned about Internet security, the information security team at BFD Blog! keeps their noses to the ground and our rabid security experts have sniffed out a new user authentication product from a small Silicon Alley start-up that promises to revolutionize the computer industry.  After deployment of this product business, industry, academia, the government and the military will all have the most accurate, fool-proof, impostor defeating, cutting edge, user authentication protocol available on the planet.

No more need to issue user passwords, no more need to enforce complex and convoluted password “rules”, no more need to juggle hard to remember passwords, no more session aborts due to invalid passwords, no more nasty memos from security officers when failing to comply with password protocols, no more sharing of ID’s and passwords, no more non-productive staff because they have forgotten their password and it will take three days to get a new one from information security, no more titillation of security officers when perusing password exception reports for sexually explicit passwords.  This revolutionary new computer security technology is the perfect marriage of biology and electro-mechanics.  It is all laid out below, in the circular that came over our transom today:

BFD Blog! - Proud To Be On The Cutting Bleeding Edge Of Technology…

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