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His Last Speech
Author: BobR    Date: 04/25/2008 10:51:38

Since I am heading out of town early this morning, I am going to be lazy with today's blog post. I read this article in the Sunday Parade magazine and thought it was well worth a read for everyone else that may not have seen it. I have someone close to me who's husband is dying from pancreatic cancer, so I am posting this in her honor...

My Last Lecture

At many colleges, professors are asked to give a “last lecture.” In this talk, they ruminate on what matters most to them. As they speak, audiences mull the same question: What wisdom would you impart to the world if you knew it was your last chance?

Last year, I agreed to give a last lecture at Carnegie Mellon University, where I’m a professor in the computer science department. A few weeks later, I learned that I had only months to live—I was dying of pancreatic cancer.

I knew I could cancel. I have three young children, I’m married to Jai, the woman of my dreams, and there were so many things to be done. But by speaking, I knew I could put myself in a bottle that would one day wash up on the beach for my children, Dylan, Logan and Chloe. Here’s what I want to share.
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2 comments (Latest Comment: 04/25/2008 12:23:18 by Will in Chicago)

Scorpions among us
Author: Raine    Date: 04/24/2008 12:35:53

I was reminded of this story last night, perusing the internets.
The Scorpion and the Frog
A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the
scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The
frog asks, "How do I know you won't sting me?" The scorpion
says, "Because if I do, I will die too."

The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream,
the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of
paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown,
but has just enough time to gasp "Why?"

Replies the scorpion: "Its my nature..."

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207 comments (Latest Comment: 04/25/2008 03:32:13 by livingonli)

Famine Wars
Author: AuntAzalea    Date: 04/23/2008 16:12:14

“Do you mind if I eat that piece of cheese you have left over?”
“Of course not, its in our refrigerator, you don’t have to ask.”

This weekly conversation between Velveeta and I highlights my weird idea of a blog.
The famine wars are coming in less then twelve weeks, there will be an explosion of fighting and dying and scrambling to kill over food like we have never seen. How do I know this? Certainly not from ABC, CBS, NBS, or CNN, etc.
I came across a small A.P. article by David Stringer entitled “World Food Program warns of ‘silent tsunami’ of Hunger”,

and then I went on to the CARE website

I grew up poor. I grew up living in five different homes with five women I considered my mother. Food was an issue. In my house if I didn’t have a school provided hot lunch, it meant that I would sometimes have nothing. Food was a thing – Saturdays were for eggs, Friday night plain pizza, and Sunday chicken after church – the rest of the week I was on my own. I had to ask permission before going into the kitchen and taking a banana. I was not to complain I was hungry because there really wasn’t anything to be done.
I was all skin & bones with long pigtails and “cat’s eyes” shaped glasses- lucky thing I went into ballet!
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22 comments (Latest Comment: 04/24/2008 01:26:02 by livingonli)

How to listen to progressive talk the hard way.
Author: livingonli    Date: 04/23/2008 05:54:47

In light of some other bloggers recent comments I felt the need to throw in my own.

Progressive Radio seems to be in another state of flux as a result of the whole Randi Rhodes situation. Here in the New York area, we have always had at least one alternative voice to counter the spin and disinformation of the M$M. For many years, the main choice was Pacifica Radio’s WBAI which always had an eclectic mix of programs to tune in. But, in recent years, the station has been a victim of factions and in-fighting with staff turnover that has turned the station into an un-listenable mess of amateur programming and hacks who are on the air because they are friends with current Program Director Bernard White. Except for Democracy Now! and a handful of smaller shows, I can’t listen to it anymore.

Fortunately, on March 31, 1994, Air America came on the air.
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193 comments (Latest Comment: 04/24/2008 03:34:45 by livingonli)

Ask a Vet
Author: TriSec    Date: 04/22/2008 10:47:35

Good Morning.

Today is our 1,861st day in Iraq.

We'll start this morning as we always do, with the latest casualty figures from the warron terra, courtesy of Antiwar.com:

American Deaths
Since war began (3/19/03): 4041
Since "Mission Accomplished" (5/1/03): 3902
Since Capture of Saddam (12/13/03): 3580
Since Handover (6/29/04): 3182
Since Election (1/31/05): 2604

Other Coalition Troops: 309
US Military Deaths - Afghanistan: 494

We find today's cost of war passing through $ 513, 326, 850, 000.00

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205 comments (Latest Comment: 04/23/2008 03:38:21 by jd_in_ny)

Clinton on Larry King and Keith Olbermann
Author: Raine    Date: 04/21/2008 23:59:28

The headline itself is too funny... (I apologize )

From the Nation...

On the eve of the Pennsylvania Democratic primary that will make or break her campaign for the presidency, Hillary Clinton is embarking on a cable campaign swing.

The New York senator will appear tonight on two national television programs.

She will do three segments on CNN's Larry King Show.

The CNN promo reads: "Larry King Monday Night! Hillary Clinton! Hours before what may be the final showdown with Barack Obama -- Hillary Clinton talks to Larry King! Could their conversation change your vote? Find out only on Larry King Live!"

Clinton will also appear on MSNBC's "Countdown with Keith Olbermann."

Here's the MSNBC promo: "On the eve of the primary election we've all been waiting for, tonight at 8pm ET Keith will host an interview with Senator Clinton on her lead the Democratic Pennsylvania Primary (First Read is calling it Hillary's Race to Lose)...and what happens after all the votes are counted in the Keystone state. Obama over the weekend said "This is not going to be a blow-out race. We're looking for a win, and we think it's going to be close." It's going to be an amazing next 48 hours...we hope you tune in."

Guess which interview will have more teeth to it?

Here's a hint: More than a month ago, Olbermann directed a special comment toward Clinton, saying, "You are campaigning as if Barack Obama were the Democrat and you were the Republican."

55 comments (Latest Comment: 04/22/2008 03:36:17 by shelaghc)

Keystone Eve.
Author: Raine    Date: 04/21/2008 12:37:30

Good Morning. Do you have your flag pin on? Is your phone set to speed dial Hillary at 3 am? Are you ready for today?

It's the last day of campaigning for the Pennsylvania Primary. I am so glad that it is nearly over. The fight for the Keystone state is nearly over.
This morning we wake up to find that Obama is flush with cash on hand, while Clinton is, well, she is in debt. From the AP:
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177 comments (Latest Comment: 04/22/2008 00:08:59 by Raine)

The Internets is awesome!
Author: velveeta jones    Date: 04/20/2008 12:57:52

I love the internets. Not just for the reason that you might think, that Velveeta is still so sick that she can't come up with anything to write about. Though you would be correct on that point, I also love the fact that there is so much news that'd normally be missed without the internet.

Some cases in point.

The "gansta" book con:

Last month, it was revealed that the New York Times and Manhattan publishing world were deceived by Love and Consequences, a faked memoir by a white girl who claimed to live the life you only hear about in Dr. Dre songs. The damage control was so good, the book never saw daylight, and we never knew how big of an embarrassment this cartoonishly racist gangster fantasy should have been. But last week a copy arrived at my doorstep.

Supposedly written by gangsta moll Margaret B. Jones, Love and Consequences turned out to be the work of middle-class liar Margaret Seltzer. She had invented the tale behind a laptop at Starbucks, tricking not only her publisher, but also her fans at the Times, which graced the memoir with repeated coverage.

After it was revealed her work was a forgery, the damage control was swift and successful. On March 5, with the book just out the door, the New York Times revealed the hoax, if not just how bad it was. Her agent, Faye Bender, told the paper, reassuringly, that "there was no reason to doubt her, ever." And that set the tone for the coverage. Love & Consequences, wrote the L.A. Times, must have seemed "edgy, sexy, cinematic."

Except it's not. As a true story, this book would have been less about "love" and more about crude racial stereotypes. As a hoax, it reads as easily the laziest forgery ever to receive a six-figure advance and a rave review in the Times.

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11 comments (Latest Comment: 04/21/2008 03:43:14 by Raine)

Scatterbrain Saturday
Author: TriSec    Date: 04/19/2008 10:37:16

Good Morning!

By now you know...if it's a Saturday blog before 7am, your loyal TriSec is off to donate platelets. But I'll come back to that in a moment.

233 years ago at this very hour, not quite 5 miles from where I sit, a small band of rebels led by Captain Parker faced down the world's largest and most powerful superpower.

Of course, we all know this action as "The Shot Heard 'Round the World", and the story is always worth retelling. I'll let the eyewitness Sylvanus Wood tell us about it today.
"I, Sylvanus Wood, of Woburn, in the county of Middlesex, and commonwealth of Massachusetts, aged seventy-four years, do testify and say that on the morning of the 19th of April, 1775, I was an inhabitant of Woburn, living with Deacon Obadiah Kendall; that about an hour before the break of day on said morning, I heard the Lexington bell ring, and fearing there was difficulty there, I immediately arose, took my gun and, with Robert Douglass, went in haste to Lexington, which was about three miles distant.

When I arrived there, I inquired of Captain Parker, the commander of the Lexington company, what was the news. Parker told me he did not know what to believe, for a man had come up about half an hour before and informed him that the British troops were not on the road. But while we were talking, a messenger came up and told the captain that the British troops were within half a mile. Parker immediately turned to his drummer, William Diman, and ordered him to beat to arms, which was done. Captain Parker then asked me if I would parade with his company. I told him I would. Parker then asked me if the young man with me would parade. I spoke to Douglass, and he said he would follow the captain and me.

By this time many of the company had gathered around the captain at the hearing of the drum, where we stood, which was about half way between the meetinghouse and Buckman's tavern. Parker says to his men, 'Every man of you, who is equipped, follow me; and those of you who are not equipped, go into the meeting-house and furnish yourselves from the magazine, and immediately join the company.' Parker led those of us who were equipped to the north end of Lexington Common, near the Bedford Road, and formed us in single file. I was stationed about in the centre of the company. While we were standing, I left my place and went from one end of the company to the other and counted every man who was paraded, and the whole number was thirty-eight, and no more.

Confrontation at Lexington Green
Just as I had finished and got back to my place, I perceived the British troops had arrived on the spot between the meeting-house and Bucknian's, near where Captain Parker stood when he first led off his men. The British troops immediately wheeled so as to cut off those who had gone into the meeting-house. The British troops approached us rapidly in platoons, with a general officer on horseback at their head. The officer came up to within about two rods of the centre of the company, where I stood, the first platoon being about three rods distant. They there halted. The officer then swung his sword, and said, 'Lay down your arms, you damned rebels, or you are all dead men. Fire!' Some guns were fired by the British at us from the first platoon, but no person was killed or hurt, being probably charged only with powder.

Just at this time, Captain Parker ordered every man to take care of himself. The company immediately dispersed; and while the company was dispersing and leaping over the wall, the second platoon of the British fired and killed some of our men. There was not a gun fired by anv of Captain Parker's company, within my knowledge. I was so situated that I must have known it, had any thing of the kind taken place before a total dispersion of our company. I have been intimately acquainted with the inhabitants of Lexington, and particularly with those of Captain Parker's company, and, with one exception, I have never heard any of them say or pretend that there was any firing at the British from Parker's company, or any individual in it until within a year or two. One member of the company told me, many years since, that, after Parker's company had dispersed, and he was at some distance, he gave them 'the guts of his gun.'"

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18 comments (Latest Comment: 04/20/2008 03:02:06 by BobR)

Support The Troops
Author: BobR    Date: 04/18/2008 12:47:44

Over the last 5 years we've been inundated with "Support the Troops" propaganda, yellow ribbon magnets, Freedoms Fries, and all other sorts of nonsense designed to test the patriotism of the average American. It almost seemed like if you couldn't reflexively say "I Support the Troops", you were branded a traitor. But how many people could look beyond the jingoism of that phrase to explain what it meant?

A news item yesterday got me thinking about our priorities within the military and the Pentagon, and who REALLY "Supports the Troops". The news reported the story of how a soldier was being denied benefits and asked to return a signing bonus because THEY had discharged him due to his two brothers being killed in action. It seemed so petty when you think of the billions of dollars being flushed down the commode that is the war in Iraq. I decided to dig around a little and see how the U.S. government supports the troops, and how they support the Military-Industrial complex.
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147 comments (Latest Comment: 04/19/2008 03:13:13 by Mondobubba)

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