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Member since: Sun Sep 14, 2003, 03:27 PM
Number of posts: 4,187

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The Moment When You Realize Violence Is Not The Answer

The Blue Ether of Another World

Once you could sit in a boat right over the spring source, hemisphere of sky above, hemisphere of water below, and it would be as if you hung suspended between the elements inside a perfect globe of morning-glory blue. Once the boat would have been glass-bottomed: you would have watched manatees and mullets swim beneath your feet, and, still farther down, lying on a ledge, the visible bones of a mastodon that died twelve thousand years ago when Florida was still young. Or, if you were a kid or silly (or both), you’d climb up the diving tower and jackknife into the springs, your body plunging down into the depths of limpid turquoise....

Once, but not now, not anymore. On a rare good day, you can still make out a gar or a Suwannee cooter swimming just under the surface. But the sugar-white sand on the spring bed is now carpeted with khaki-colored algae—when you can see it. Fifteen years ago the water was clear as gin; these days it’s a sullen gray-brown. Wakulla’s not alone; most of Florida’s great springs are sick. Silver Springs, Rainbow Springs, Ichetucknee Springs, Wekiwa, Santa Fe, Kings Bay, Ponce de Leon, Chassahowitzka, Homosassa, Lithia, Volusia Blue—of our one thousand artesian springs, an estimated 60 percent are what the hydrologists call “impaired,” polluted by agricultural waste, human waste, the tons of Miracle-Gro we dump on our lawns, trying to make our grass as green as Ireland....

Silver Springs remained like this for another hundred-plus years. In the 1960s, before Disney colonized Central Florida, a million visitors a year descended to marvel at the water, the alligators sunning themselves on cypress logs, ibis, egrets, great blue herons, ospreys, and the lush tangle of candy-toned wildflowers. Weeki Wachee Springs became famous for girls in zip-up fishtails performing arabesques under water; Rainbow Springs was renowned for its peacock-hued waters. At Homosassa Springs, tourists came to watch schools of mangrove snappers, eels, and cooters swim with the manatees while roseate spoonbills landed on the shore and black bears and white-tailed deer made shy appearances from the deep woods....

The electric river cruiser—named Limpkin, as it happens—circled the springs. The driver told us that it had been eight years since the water was clear enough to run a glass-bottomed boat. I looked hard into the place, more or less, where the vent boils up 250 million gallons of water a day. The springs used to be a kind of magic mirror, in which you could see past, present, and future. Now the mirror is clouded. Down there lies limerock formed from the skeletons of fish and coral that began to ossify when Florida slept submerged in shallow water, one hundred million years ago, a geologic history that reaches back to the ur-continent Pangea. Down there in the spring, our present reproaches us. We’re fouling the water that gives us life. If we don’t stop, we’ll destroy Florida. Our marshes and wetlands, filtration systems for storm water, will collapse. Our beaches and rivers will stink of dead fish. If the fish die, the birds leave. If we take too much fresh water from the limestone aquifer, the ancient ocean of salt water that lies under it will invade our drinking water. That will be the end. We will have to give Florida back to the sea whence it came.



Akram Khan and Tamara Rojo teamed up to perform Dust as part of English National Ballet’s production Lest We Forget, which commemorates the centenary of the First World War. Akram Khan’s work Dust is about the empowerment of women in the war, especially as they became the main workforce in the country.

Akram said: “The piece is inspired by two things. First, the concept of a trench, of the young men and old men all going into trenches, and disappearing. The other substantial part was inspired by the women. In WW1 there was a huge social shift towards women. They needed weapons made for the war, they needed a huge workforce. I felt this shift in role was interesting. They knew they would be letting go of fathers, husbands, and sons; they might lose them. Yet they were making weapons that would kill others’ fathers, husbands, and sons. It didn’t matter which side you were on – they both felt loss and death. But in order for someone to live someone else was putting their life on the line. That cyclical thing was what I wanted to explore.

Kick my thread that's almost a week old.


Drone Debate Over Casualties Overlooks Cost to Those Who Survive

Source: PRI's The World

John Brennan, the chief architect of the US drone program, faces a Senate confirmation hearing Thursday for his nomination as the CIA’s new director. The Congressional hearing will be one of the few times Americans will hear a high level official publicly acknowledge and address the military and CIA’s joint drone program. It operates in countries like Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen where the US is not at officially at war, but has conducted hundreds of attacks using drones in covert operations.

Down a dimly lit corridor, in the only burn-unit hospital in Yemen lie the severely burned bodies of Sultan Ahmed Mohammed and Nacer Mabkhout al-Sabooly. They’re conscious, but barely able to speak out loud. Sultan, tells me his name and mutters just one sentence before closing his eyes.

“The plane struck me,” he said.

I met the two last September. They were victims of an attack that officially never happened. At the hospital, Abdelrahman Barman, an attorney who runs the Yemeni human-rights organization Hood, that advocates for the rights of drone victims, explained to me how this mini-bus driver and his cousin from a rural town in Central Yemen ended up barely conscious in a hospital in Sanaa....

Read more: http://www.theworld.org/2013/02/drone-debate-over-casualties-overlooks-cost-to-those-who-survive/

I heard this on the radio on the way home tonight. I wonder if the U.S. behind drone strikes everywhere.

Drone Program Under Scrutiny As CIA Nominee Testifies

Source: National Public Radio

...The Obama administration has made its drone program the signature feature of its counterterrorism efforts. But it's not a subject it likes to talk about.

However, the controversial drone program and one of its chief architects came under the spotlight Thursday as John Brennan went before the Senate Intelligence Committee for his confirmation hearing as director of the CIA.

During the Bush administration, fewer than 50 drone strikes were carried out. There have been more than 360 under Obama, according to the website The Long War Journal.

Brennan, who has been President Obama's adviser on counterterrorism, is expected to win Senate approval. But his role in the lethal drone program has drawn public criticism. As Brennan was reading his opening statement, he was interrupted repeatedly by protesters who shouted their opposition to U.S. drone strikes....

Read more: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/02/07/171397729/drone-program-under-scrutiny-as-cia-nominee-testifies

Why are we still alive?

I just read this post by my niece (15) on Facebook. It reminded me of a similar scene at this Burger King in downtown Miami a few years ago.

I am a mother of three (ages 14, 12, 3) and have recently completed my college degree. The last class I had to take was Sociology.

The teacher was absolutely inspiring with the qualities that I wish every human being had been graced with. Her last project of the term was called, 'Smile.' The class was asked to go out and smile at three people and document their reactions..

I am a very friendly person and always smile at everyone and say hello anyway. So, I thought this would be a piece of cake, literally. Soon after we were assigned the project, my husband, youngest son, and I went out to McDonald's one crisp March morning. It was just our way of sharing special playtime with our son.

We were standing in line, waiting to be served, when all of a sudden everyone around us began to back away, and then
even my husband did. I did not move an inch... an overwhelming feeling of panic welled up inside of me as I turned to see why they had moved.

As I turned around I smelled a horrible 'dirty body' smell, and there standing behind me were two poor homeless men. As I looked down at the short gentleman, close to me, he was 'smiling'. His beautiful sky blue eyes were full of God's Light as he searched for acceptance......
He said, 'Good day' as he counted the few coins he had been clutching..

The second man fumbled with his hands as he stood behind his friend. I realized the second man was mentally challenged and the blue-eyed gentleman was his salvation. I held my tears as I stood there with them.

The young lady at the counter asked him what they wanted.

He said, 'Coffee is all Miss' because that was all they could afford. (If they wanted to sit in the restaurant and warm up, they had to buy something. He just wanted to be warm).

Then I really felt it - the compulsion was so great I almost reached out and embraced the little man with the blue eyes. That is when I noticed all eyes in the restaurant were set on me, judging my every action.

I smiled and asked the young lady behind the counter to give me two more breakfast meals on a separate tray.

I then walked around the corner to the table that the men had chosen as a resting spot. I put the tray on the table and laid my hand on the blue-eyed gentleman's cold hand. He looked up at me, with tears in his eyes, and said, 'Thank you.' I leaned over, began to pat his hand and said, 'I did not do this for you. God is here working through me to give you hope.'

I started to cry as I walked away to join my husband and son... When I sat down my husband smiled at me and said, 'That is why God gave you to me, Honey, to give me hope..'

We held hands for a moment and at that time, we knew that only because of the Grace that we had been given were we able to give..

We are not church goers, but we are believers. That day showed me the pure Light of God's sweet love.

I returned to college, on the last evening of class, with this story in hand. turned in 'my project' and the instructor read it. Then she looked up at me and said, 'Can I share this?' slowly nodded as she got the attention of the class.

She began to read and that is when I knew that we as human beings and being part of God share this need to heal people and to be healed.
In my own way I had touched the people at McDonald's, my son,the instructor, and every soul that shared the classroom on the last night I spent as a college student.

I graduated with one of the biggest lessons I would ever learn:


I googled it here: http://www.truthorfiction.com/rumors/s/smiles.htm

Watching TV on web is disrupting cable, broadcast worlds


Veteran programmer Rob Barnett recently attended a breakfast meeting of television executives where the talk turned, as it almost always does these days, to “disruption,” the industry buzzword for the way new technology is upsetting the TV applecart. From somewhere down the table, he heard a question: “Has anybody here cut the cord?” — that is, dropped cable service in favor of just watching TV through the Internet? Barnett shrugged and raised his hand. “Mine was the only one,” he recalls. “But when it went up, I saw beads of sweat break out on the foreheads of some of the guys across the table.”

When Barnett and 5,000 or so others gather Monday for the National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) convention at the Fontainebleau Hotel on Miami Beach, there will be plenty of sweaty foreheads, some acquisitive smiles and — perhaps most numerous — blank looks of confusion. Not since cable turned the old three-channel TV universe on its head in the late 1970s has the industry been in such a state of disoriented befuddlement.

New technologies that give viewers more say in what they watch, where they watch and how much they pay for it are great for consumers. But they’re inducing a collective nervous breakdown among industry executives, who have to figure out new ways to make money in a business facing serious threats to its traditional sources of revenue — advertising and cable-TV subscriptions....

But the biggest tremors came from the Internet, which is threatening to remake television as thoroughly as it already has the newspaper and music industries, by letting viewers bypass cable to watch shows online.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/01/26/3201660/watching-tv-on-web-is-disrupting.html#storylink=cpy

Wounded Knee

Found this on my facebook page. I also found it here.
While I know we're not allowed to reference Libertarian links, I wanted to share it with someone. I'm offended by the use of this tragedy.

December 29, 2012 marked the 122nd Anniversary of the murder of 297 Sioux Indians at Wounded Knee Creek on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. These 297 people, in their winter camp, were murdered by federal agents and members of the 7th Cavalry who had come to confiscate their firearms “for their own safety and protection.” The slaughter began after the majority of the Sioux had peacefully turned in their firearms. The Calvary began shooting, and managed to wipe out the entire camp. 200 of the 297 victims were women and children. About 40 members of the 7th Cavalry were killed, but over half of them were victims of fratricide from the Hotchkiss guns of their overzealous comrades-in-arms. Twenty members of the 7th Cavalry’s death squad, were deemed “National Heroes” and were awarded the Medal of Honor for their acts of heroism.

We hear very little of Wounded Knee today. It is usually not mentioned in our history classes or books. What little that does exist about Wounded Knee is normally a sanitized “Official Government Explanation.” And there are several historically inaccurate depictions of the events leading up to the massacre, which appear in movie scripts and are not the least bit representative of the actual events that took place that day.

Wounded Knee was among the first federally backed gun confiscation attempts in United States history. It ended in the senseless murder of 297 people.

Before you jump on the emotionally charged bandwagon for gun control, take a moment to reflect on the real purpose of the Second Amendment, the right of the people to take up arms in defense of themselves, their families, and property in the face of invading armies or an oppressive government. The argument that the Second Amendment only applies to hunting and target shooting is asinine. When the United States Constitution was drafted, “hunting” was an everyday chore carried out by men and women to put meat on the table each night, and “target shooting” was an unheard of concept. Musket balls were a precious commodity and were certainly not wasted on “target shooting.” The Second Amendment was written by people who fled oppressive and tyrannical regimes in Europe, and it refers to the right of American citizens to be armed for defensive purposes, should such tyranny arise in the United States....

Where may we talk about guns?

The Lounge?
Justice and Public Safety?
Creative Speculations?
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