Monday, April 30, 2007

Beware of Google's AdSense

I recently "fell" for Google's AdSense, the service that adds clickable ads on a blog site. I was lured by the promise of money - such a good reason for anything, right? Well, it's not. Think very carefully before accepting money from strangers for very little effort.

Setting up AdSense was very easy. A short time later I checked my blog for comments. I won't say what it was, but the ad I saw was very, VERY inappropriate for my blog. Google's Help says there are filters, but I didn't see any offered when I signed up. At first I blocked everyone off of my blog. Then I had to change my blog's template twice to get rid of the ads. It was not such a big task, but I could have been very embarassed for anyone else to see the ad. Someone might have thought that I had placed it there. Anyway, I don't recommend it at this point. Cheers!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Where Have All The Honeybees Gone?

Sing along with me (to the tune of "Where Have All The Flowers Gone" by Pete Seeger):

Where have all the honeybees gone,
A long time buzzing?
Where have all the honeybees gone,
A short time ago?
Where have all the honeybees gone?
Pesticides (and urban spreading and inbreeding) may have killed every one.
When will we ever learn?
When will we ever learn?

(My apologies to Pete Seeger. I usually hate it when someone changes the words of a song to promote something. But what the heck.)

Allegedly millions and millions of honeybees are dying. The cause(s) has/have only been theorized at this time.

On, Craig Mackintosh says, "Huge monocrop farming systems and specialisations, and the spread of suburbia across natural habitat, are removing natural diversity. Bees have been lumped together in the millions, in a factory farm type environment not so unlike that of our chickens and other livestock animals. Many of these bees are transported across several states to perform pollinations in orchards and farms around the country. Today they are in contact with substances they shouldn’t have to deal with - pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, and pollen from genetically modified crops."

Consider these comments from

11. Ellen Anderson says: March 16th, 2007 : "I am a beekeeper (whose bees are not yet dead.) I think there is plenty of indication that the neonicitines (imidacloprid) is responsible and I am worried since all of the garden aisles are full of it this year. It goes by the name of Merit (also Gaucho) and is made by Bayer Crop Science. It is advertised to control grubs and ticks in lawns, virtually all insects on fruit trees, etc. etc. It is also used to control termites. The symptoms, advertised by Bayer, of poisoned termites sound just like the symptoms seen in bees - i.e. overgrowth of disease and loss of memory. It was banned in France but we Americans get no news from abroad anymore. HELP!!!"

20. Strider says: March 25th, 2007 : "Honey bees have a natural way of being that is blocked by our current way of raising bees for profit. We first asked the question: 'How much honey get i get out of my hives?' The[n] we devised ways of getting more honey. We’ve done the same with cattle, chickens, cows… We devised greater efficiencies. In the case of bees: 1. We put them in trucks and carry them to different sites to aid in pollination 2. We discourage them from swarming. 3. We block the natural progression of queens by preventing the mating flight; by killing them before their natural life span is up and we replace them with bought queens (artificially inseminated). 4. We 'steal' too much of their honey and replace it with sugar water. These are just some of the ways we disrupt the bee’s natural systems. If you were to try to see how much you could get out of your mate (how much house cleaning, cooking, sex…), I bet your mate would flee the hive pretty fast. My point is, when we come from the point of view of profit, we lose the thread. If we were to honor the honey bee and ask, 'How can we coexist for mutual benefit?,' we’d find a different, 'natural' way of being and beekeeping. The solution is 100,000 small-time non-profit local and regional beekeepers with small apiaries sustained for mutual benefit and out of respect and love for the honeybee.. Can’t be done commercially. I’m going to start with a few hives. Look up 'natural beekeeping'. People are doing it and have different kinder methods than the damaging commercial methods that weaken the bee’s immune systems. I’ve given a small part of the situation but I bet you get the picture."

22. KAZ says: March 26th, 2007 : "That list, above, should include the huge number of plants that don’t need honeybees at all. Honeybees are invasive to North America, displacing the pollinators that native plants need. NO PLANT native to the Americas needs, or wants, honeybees. This includes tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, cucumbers, corn, most kinds of beans, peas, squash, pumpkins, yams, and many more."

The lesson that I get from all of this is that, if we interfere with the natural order of things and try to force other living beings to do what we want, there will certainly be undesireable - and sometimes even disastrous - consequences.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

What Does Michael Ware Wear?

Michael Ware, a journalist working for CNN in Baghdad, Iraq, said this morning that "Al-Qaeda" is stronger than ever in Iraq and that Iran has more influence than ever in Iraq. But he also said it would be a mistake to have the U.S. military leave Iraq for "things" would only get worse.

I have often been skeptical of the opinions of Michael Ware since, as far as I know, he has never been seriously injured. This indicates to me that he is not in the most dangerous areas. As such, can he really know what is going on?

His first two assertions are probably correct. His last assertion is only a guess. He cannot predict the future any more than any of the rest of us can. There are a lot of possible scenarios. It is just as likely that the fighting and killings would eventually decrease as certain groups gain control over their territories. After all, modern Iraq was patched together by the British a long time ago. There's no natural reason that "Iraq" has to stay together. In fact, given the different groups, it makes more sense that there be separate nations.

What will happen, no one knows or can know. What I do believe is that the U.S. government should not force its plan on them. The people there should be able to plan their own destinies as we should be able to plan our own destinies.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

They're Pulling You In, Again

Yahoo! News reported today that the Dow Jones industrial average rose from 12,000 to 13,000 in only six months. It said there "MAY be more reason to worry than rejoice." (emphasis added) Well, duh! They're pulling you in, until they dump you again. That's my theory anyway. After all, what goes up, must come down - I think this even applies to methane from cows.

Ever want to know what composes the Dow 30? Check out what I think is the easiest-to-understand entry at Wikipedia: (Hope it doesn't change too much by the time you view it.) My theory (I have plenty, as you can see) is that it's all rigged in some way or other to benefit those with lots of money. Perhaps they even buy the components to increase the average, then sell out. Cheers!

Lower the Flag

A soldier has asked why the flag is not lowered to half-mast when soldiers are killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, as it was lowered to honor the 32 students & teachers at Blacksburg, VA. Well, duh! If they did that, the flag would be permanently in that position. I suppose they could raise and lower it each day. But then we would be more conscious of the deaths. We just couldn't have that, could we?

And then, too, someone might want the flag lowered for unnecessary deaths from cancers and strokes and heart attacks and neglect and road wrecks and killings of "ordinary" people and... Where would we stop? Do we have to stop? Why can't we show more respect for all people?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

American Idol Tries to Change Its Reputation

American Idol says it wants "to give back' by using Charity Projects Entertainment Fund, "a new [why do we need a NEW one?] charitable organization established to raise money and awareness to benefit children and young people." I think American Idol is just trying to counterbalance its bad record of insulting people needlessly.

In one segment, Ryan Seacrest said that some children in Africa could eat three meals a day for 50 cents. Wow! I need to know where this place is, because I can't eat for that. Perhaps he didn't factor in the cost of the items donated.

Anyway, I don't think American Idol will abandon its use of demeaning comments about contestants next year - if there is a next year. Obviously, people like seeing other people make fools of themselves, thinking they can sing. So just tape the program and enjoy the singers that you like. Cheers!

Abolish the FDA Safely & Effectively

Yesterday Lou Dobbs on CNN reported that the FDA knew of contamination in spinach as far back as 1995 and in peanut butter in 2005 but did very little about it. Well, Lou, governments are slow to act and sometimes barely move at all. So how about using that free enterprise system to which so many people like to give lip-service ... when it's convenient? Non-monopolistic agencies - like the Consumer Union - would certify whatever it is that you want certified. I know it sounds scary, not having a government nanny allegedly protecting us. But research the FDA's history: google "abolish FDA."

The U.S. Declaration of Independence of 1776 said we had the right to "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." We need freedom from the stifling, one-size-fits-all decisions of the FDA.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Offensive Words

According to Yahoo News today, a U.S. hip-hop executive has recommended removing offensive words from their music. This was in response to the removal of Don Imus for using offensive words. But what will this do to hip-hop music? What will be left? Will they have to hum it? Don’t get me wrong. I’m all in favor of removing the words to which he was referring. So I hope it happens ... but I won't hold my breath any time soon.

What's Left Out about Cho Seung-Hui

Since the killings at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia, by Cho Seung-Hui have been on TV for almost a week now, I have more questions:

1. Who was financing Cho Seung-Hui's college education?

2. Where did Cho Seung-Hui get the money to buy those guns and ammunition and target practice?

3. Was anyone monitoring his activities?

If Cho Seung-Hui had a job or savings to pay for his purchases, then I can see how he could do it without many people knowing about them. But, if he was charging the purchases and someone else was paying for them, then why didn't that person question the use of those purchases?

Once again, what's left out of the stories is very important for learning how these tragedies could have been prevented.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

April 19 American Tragedies – In Memoriam

Fourteen years ago today, in 1993, 19 men, 34 women, and 23 children died in their home at Mount Carmel in Waco, TX. (Source: Did enough people care then? Do enough people care today?

Twelve years ago today, in 1995, 149 men & women and 19 children were killed in the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City, OK. (Source: Did enough people care then? Do enough people care today?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Gun Control & Protection

The massacre at Virginia Polytechnic on Monday has many people talking about the need for more gun control. Obviously, without guns, people would not get killed with guns. But they would be killed with other means, such as explosives, knives, bats, sticks, steel pipes, chemicals, string, wire, tape, hands – you get the idea. So, therefore, the real need is for PROTECTION.

Some people say that, if the police had all the weapons (usually guns), other people wouldn’t need them to protect themselves. But can we rely on police protection? A number of court decisions have been made that say that police have NO OBLIGATION to protect you. (Source: Their job is to investigate and to apprehend ... after the fact. So where does that leave us? ... Sleep well.

April Tragedy

Another tragedy occurred in America on Monday, April 16, 2007. THIRTY-TWO people at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia, were killed by South Korean national Cho Seung-hui. He first killed two students at a dormitory around 7:15AM. The university should have been put on alert, but it wasn’t. At least the instructors should have been notified, but they weren’t. Those in charge should have assumed that the killer was roaming the campus, but they didn’t… But then, we’re so used to killings these days... especially when we don’t really know the victims.

Around 9AM the killer reportedly chained the door to Norris Hall to prevent people from leaving. Where did he get the chain and the lock? How long could this have taken? He then killed THIRTY more people.

Could this have been prevented? WHAT IF people had done things differently than they did?

An instructor had had him removed from her class because of his violence-laden writings and complaints from other students of being afraid of him. Even his private instructor said that she was afraid of him, to the point that she had a code word to get help. Why weren’t his writings scrutinized more? Why wasn’t any more action taken? Why wasn’t he required to have a psychological examination? Oh, I know: that would violate his entitlement to express his views in any way that he wants. That’s true, as far as the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution goes. But – and this is the “But” that can get you – he didn’t have that right on everyone’s property. If this had been a private school, he might have been removed – unless the “entitlement police” intervened.

If his writings had just been taken more seriously… But then we might have to criticize the junk that’s been coming out of Hollywood (etc.) for decades. Look at the shows on TV and most movies. What do you see? Killing, killing, and more killing. When are people going to stop glorifying it?

Monday, April 16, 2007

Ditch Wolfowitz & Abolish the World Bank

I was disgusted when I read that Paul D. Wolfowitz, president of the World Bank, helped his girl friend (another World Bank employee) get a new job and a salary increase to $193,590. ( I’ve long thought that the World Bank should be abolished. Here are some reasons:

1. “World Bank Said to Waste Money, Use False Data in Fighting Malaria” by Celia W. Dugger, New York Times, April 26, 2006.

2. It frequently promotes fraud, waste, & abuse.

3. It promotes favoritism. “Wolfowitz and the World Bank: Democratizer or Kleptocrat?” by Charlie Cray, March 31, 2006.

4. Few of its projects are “sustainable.” “Waste Not” by Herbert Werlin, May/June 2005.

5. It lacks proper auditing. “Audit the World Bank’s Performance” by Adam Lerrick, June 20, 2006.

6. It loans our money to U.S. competitors. “World Bank to Invest Huge Money in Shanghai Urban Environment Program,” June 21, 2003.

7. It continues incompetence as usual. “Is the World Bank’s Word Good Enough?” by Adam Lerrick, March 28, 2006.,filter.all/pub_detail.asp

8. “World Bank Favours Clean Fossil Fuels.”

I’m sure that one can find “successes” for the World Bank. But what’s LEFT OUT are the alternative uses of the resources. Those same resources, in private hands, would have accomplished so much more.

North Carolina Injustice

On MSNBC this morning, Reade Seligmann stated again how he was accused of sexual assault even though he had cell phone records proving that he was not even near the alleged victim when she claimed he was. He asked: What would have happened if he had not had those records? Did he now need to remember every place he went and every person he met so as not to be falsely accused again?

What is even more scary to me is that Mike Nifong’s supervisor – I assume it’s North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper – did not stop this injustice a LONG time ago. Was he afraid to “step on Nifong’s toes”? Did he know of other cases of injustice and did not want to set a precedent of intervening? This case should deeply concern all of us.

But I suppose that most of us will just forget about it and secretly hope that it only happens to other people. One lesson we can get from all this is to watch what company we keep. If there hadn’t been a party that included an “exotic dancer”, none of this would have started. So keep in mind Peter McWilliams’ CPA test: what do you create, promote, or allow to happen in your life?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Don Imus Silence – Yippee!

MSNBC said that it would not longer simulcast the Don Imus’ radio program. Oh, my! What will I do? How will I get along without all that boring, unintelligent content? Well, I guess I can just turn to another channel.

I’ve tried to watch Don Imus – several times, in fact. But it was just not interesting enough. I guess he thought he had to spout out more racial/ethnic/professional slurs to try to spice things up. As is usually the case with people like him, he went one too far. So he’s gone … hopefully forever. Wonder what will replace him? I have some songs I could sing. La la la la la!

Duke Lacrosse Players Cleared

The three male Duke Lacrosse players, accused of sexual assault, have been vindicated – if that’s possible. The charges were dropped today. Now they can get back to normal - yeah, right! It took long enough: over a year. What took the North Carolina Attorney General so long? I could have done it in a week. What is wrong with our system? (That was a rhetorical question. I already know what’s wrong with it.)

The first clue should have been when it was revealed that the line-up was rigged. There was no one in it except Duke Lacrosse members. Duh! What kind of protocol is that? (Rhetorical again.)

CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said earlier in the day that the players should just move on and not sue. I say, sue ‘em (whoever ‘em is) and make that local district attorney Mike Nifong pay for his unjust ways. The only way people change is by holding them accountable for their deeds.

Not Left Out, But Twisted Around

Since my last post "What's Left Out, Again", I contacted a newsroom about the dam's true height. This is what was emailed to me:

from Newsroom Apr 10

date Apr 10, 2007 8:25 AM

subject RE: Contact KRIS Communications - Complaint


Press Release

Date: April 6, 2007 Contact: PA1 Adam Eggers(832) 293-1304


HOUSTON - The Coast Guard rescued four people from the Colorado River after their boat went over a dam in Bay City, Texas, early tonight.

A Coast Guard Sector Houston/Galveston watchstander received a call from the Matagorda County Sheriff's Office requesting assistance to help save two people in the water after their boat went over a dam and became wedged near the bottom. It was later discovered that the boat also had two children onboard.

Coast Guard Air Station Houston launched a rescue helicopter and lowered their rescue swimmer into the rushing water. The swimmer spotted and rescued a 5-year-old and a 7-year-old boy. The pair were flown to a nearby golf course where emergency medical technicians were standing by. The helicopter flew back out over the submerged boat, this time hoisting the two adult men. One boy and one adult were immediately flown to the hospital by a medical evacuation helicopter.

The dam is 150 feet high.

Video footage of the rescue is available at the military security gate on Ellington Field.

Not being content with the response, I emailed the LCRA (Lower Colorado River Authority). I figured the LCRA should know a few things about its own dam. This is what I was emailed:

Hello, Roger. The news story gave incorrect measurements for the dam. Seems they mistook the width for the height.

The Bay City Dam is in fact 227'6" wide from inside to inside of the abutments. The height is 16' 5" from the floor of the dam to the top of the abutments. It is 14'0" from the floor of the dam to the bottom of the stilling basin. I hope this will help with answering the questions you had. Also, please let me know if this is the information you were wanting. Because your e-mail came in to our open records request mailbox, I need to make sure you have gotten what you need from us so we can avoid going through the entire official open records request process. Thanks and have a great day.


Krista Umscheid
Lower Colorado River Authority
Spokesperson/Senior Communications Specialist

Office: (512) 473-3365
or 1-800-776-5272, Ext. 3365

It's still a bit murky to me, but at least we all now know that the dam is NOT 150 feet high. I emailed back and told them they need to check their "facts" better. Isn't the internet a wonderful thing? I didn't even have to get out of my chair.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

What’s Left Out, Again

Friday it was reported that four boaters (two adults and two boys) went over a 150-foot dam on the Colorado River near Bay City, TX. The implication to most people – especially from the video on TV – was that the fall was 150 feet. I wondered why the injuries were so slight. I didn’t think the elevation by Bay City could be that high. Turns out, Bay City is at about 50 feet elevation. For a dam to be 150 feet high there, the poor Colorado River would be backed up for – well, I can’t do the math.

Today it was reported that the dam was 20 feet high. (Apparently it is 150 feet wide.) That’s still quite a fall, but still doable, as evidenced by the outcome. Of course, now they’re trying to eliminate accountability for the adults by suggesting that they “lost control.” Duh! They got too close to the dam. It seems that the media used some more of their HYPE. The lesson is (as Peter McWilliams said, there is a lesson in everything): Be skeptical – very skeptical – with what the media “reports.”

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Sanjaya Malakar closer to winning

Well, Sanjaya Malakar is closer to winning first place in American Idol. This week he moved out of the lowest group and into the middle group. I've heard that people like Howard Stern are asking people to vote for him. (I'm still holding on to my India-also-calls-back theory, though.) I think a lot of people are tired of the "arrogance" of Simon Cowell. I actually think he's the most honest "judge." But I am very envious that he is paid so much money for so little. But then, that applies to a LOT of people. After all, the "world" really is not fair. Never has been; never will be. Just ask the dinosaurs... Anyway, we'll see what happens. I sort of hope that the show is not renewed next year. I'd like to see something along the line of the old Star Search. I used to enjoy sitting in a hot tub, snacking on nachos, and sipping champagne. Star Search had more variety and didn't resort to ridiculing the contestants. You think we had more class back then? Wonder what has changed? ... Well, maybe Sanjaya will make my show return. Cheers!