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Divernan's Journal
Divernan's Journal
December 3, 2012

John Cleese explained why you don't want to piss off a Scot!


The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent events in Syria and have therefore raised their security level from "Miffed" to "Peeved." Soon though, security levels may be raised yet again to "Irritated" or even "A Bit Cross." The English have not been "A Bit Cross" since the blitz in 1940 when the tea supplies nearly ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from "Tiresome" to "A Bloody Nuisance." The last time theBritish issued a "Bloody Nuisance" warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.

The Scots have raised their threat level from "pissed off" to "Let's Get the Bastards!" They don't have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used in the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.

I sent this to a friend whom I stayed with in the Highlands last year and she said that as a Scot she felt the description was not far off.

Here's a link to the national anthem the Scottish "tartan army" football fans sing - I've never heard a national song sung with more passion. It's called Flower of Scotland

O Flower of Scotland
When will we see
Your like again
That fought and died for
Your wee bit hill and glen
And stood against him
Proud Edward's army
And sent him homeward
Tae think again.

The hills are bare now
And Autumn leaves
Lie thick and still
O'er land that is lost now
Which those so dearly held
That stood against him
Proud Edward's army
And sent him homeward
Tae think again.

[- From: http://www.elyrics.net -]
Those days are past now
And in the past
They must remain
But we can still rise now
And be the nation again
That stood against him
Proud Edward's army
And sent him homeward
Tae think again.

O Flower of Scotland
When will we see
Your like again
That fought and died for
Your wee bit hill and glen
And stood against him
Proud Edward's army
And sent him homeward
Tae think again.

On edit, as per Muriel Volstranger's post, the song refers to the victory of the Scots, led by Robert the Bruce, over England's Edward II at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.
An earlier Edward, Edward I,was known as Edward Longshanks. The joke tells how:

He came to Scotland to conquer the Scots. He brings 4,000 men with him.
As he nears the battlefield there suddenly appears a solitary figure on the crest of the hill. A short, ginger-haired guy in a kilt.

'Hammer O the Scots?' yells the wee Scottish guy on the hill. 'Come up here, ye English b*st*rds, and I'll give ye a hammerin'!'

Edward turns to his commander. 'Send 20 men to deal with that little Scottish upstart,' he says.

The commander sends 20 of his best men over the hill to kill the Scotsman. Ten minutes later, at the crest of the hill, the wee Scot appears again.

'Ye English diddies!' he yells. 'Come on the rest of ye!! Come on, I'll have ye all!'

Edward is getting somewhat annoyed. He turns to his commander. 'Send 100 men to kill that little guttersnipe!'

The commander sends 100 men over the hill to do the job. Ten minutes later, the wee Scot appears at the top of the hill once more, his hair all sticking up, his shirt a wee bit torn.

'Ye English SCUM!' he yells.. 'I'm just warming up!! Come and get me, ye English sh*te!!'

Edward losses patience. 'Commander, take 400 men and personally WIPE HIM OFF THE FACE OF THE EARTH!' he yells. The commander gulps, but leads 400 men on horseback over the crest of the hill.

Ten minutes later, the wee Scotsman is back. His clothing is all torn, his face is covered in blood and snot.

'Is that the best ye can do??? Ye'r bloody WUMMIN!!! Come on!! Come and have a go, ye bunch of English sh*te!!!' he yells.

Edward turns to his second in command. 'Take 1,000 men over that hill and don't come back till you've killed him!' he commands. The second in command gathers the men and they ride off over the hill to their fate. Ten minutes later, one of the English troops appears back at the top of the hill. He's covered in blood and his clothes are all torn.

'Your Majesty!' he yells. 'It's a trap.................There's TWO of them!!!'
December 1, 2012

Sea Trial Leaves Shell's Arctic Oil-Spill Gear "Crushed Like a Beer Can."

In an all too rare example of excellent investigative reporting, KUOW (Seattle) radio station's John Ryan used Freedom of Information Requests to crack the tight lipped wall of silence by Shell and its federal regulators on the spectacular failure of oil spill gear last September, which has forced the energy giant to postpone drilling into oil-bearing rocks beneath the Arctic Ocean until next summer, at the earliest.

As one environmentalist observed, The equipment failed under very calm, tranquil conditions in the best time of year in the Pacific Northwest (Puget Sound). "If it can’t handle the best we have here, I really have my doubts it can handle even a little adversity in the Arctic."


“Breached like a whale" and "Crushed like a beer can."

According to BSEE internal emails obtained by KUOW, the containment dome test was supposed to take about a day. That estimate proved to be wildly optimistic.

Day 1: The Arctic Challenger's massive steel dome comes unhooked from some of the winches used to maneuver it underwater. The crew has to recover it and repair it.
Day 2: A remote-controlled submarine gets tangled in some anchor lines. It takes divers about 24 hours to rescue the submarine.
Day 5: The test has its worst accident. On that dead-calm Friday night, Mark Fesmire, the head of BSEE’s Alaska office, is on board the Challenger. He’s watching the underwater video feed from the remote-control submarine when, a little after midnight, the video screen suddenly fills with bubbles. The 20-foot-tall containment dome then shoots to the surface. The massive white dome “breached like a whale,” Fesmire e-mails a colleague at BSEE headquarters.
Then the dome sinks more than 120 feet. A safety buoy, basically a giant balloon, catches it before it hits bottom. About 12 hours later, the crew of the Challenger manages to get the dome back to the surface. “As bad as I thought,” Fesmire writes his BSEE colleague. “Basically the top half is crushed like a beer can.”

November 25, 2012

LOL, Judi - thought the thread was about Lonesome George Gobel!

Talk about a blast from the past! Not to mention, showing my age. So when George the Galapagos Tortoise was discovered in 1972, he might have been named after the comedian. Don't mean to highjack your thread, but older DUers will enjoy remembering George Gobel.

'Lonesome George' Gobel, early TV comic, dies
February 25, 1991|By Los Angeles Times

GEORGE GOBEL, the sad-eyed comic with the flat-top haircut whose battles with his television wife, "Spooky Old Alice," added a dimension to domestic warfare in the 1950s, died yesterday.
Gobel carried several sobriquets throughout his lengthy career, which began when he was 11 and singing as "Little George Gobel" on radio's "The National Barn Dance." He next became "Lonesome George," singer of sad cowboy ballads in which he would pick at his guitar while pining for lost loves, or evenings on the prairie.

But his flair as a short, 5-foot-5 teller of tall tales, kept him at, or near, the top of the ratings throughout the 1954-to-1960 run of "The George Gobel Show." (Later, he was a regular on Hollywood Squares.)

Gobel learned to fly and in 1943 enlisted in the Army Air Corps. Although he wanted to be a fighter pilot, he was assigned as a B-26 pilot instructor to Frederic, Okla. As Gobel recalled: "You might laugh at that, but we must have done a good job down there because not one enemy plane got past Tulsa."

And from Wikipedia:

"Gobel began a comedy show on NBC in 1954.[6] It showcased his quiet, homespun style of humor, a low-key alternative to what audiences had seen on Milton Berle's shows. A huge success, the popular series made the crewcut Gobel one of the biggest comedy stars of the 1950s. The weekly show regularly featured guest artists, and the biggest stars of the day appeared (including Jimmy Stewart, Henry Fonda and Tennessee Ernie Ford). In 1955, Gobel won an Emmy Award for "most outstanding new personality."[7] Gobel and his business manager David P. O'Malley[8] formed a production company, Gomalco, a composite of their last names Gobel and O'Malley. This company also produced the first four years (1957–61) of the 1957-63 television series Leave It to Beaver.

The centerpiece of Gobel's comedy show was his monologue about his supposed past situations and experiences, with stories and sketches allegedly about his real-life wife, Alice (nicknamed "Spooky Old Alice" and played by actress Jeff Donnell). Gobel's hesitant, almost shy delivery and penchant for tangled digressions were the chief sources of comedy, more important than the actual content of the stories. His monologues popularized several catchphrases, notably "Well, I'll be a dirty bird" (spoken by the Kathy Bates character in the 1990 film Misery), "You don't hardly get those any more" and "Well then there now" (spoken by the James Dean character during a brief imitation of Gobel in the 1955 film Rebel Without a Cause)."

November 24, 2012

A response to sore-loser trolls in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Post-Gazette is blessed with an award winning editorial/political cartoonist, Rob Rogers. His editorial cartoons cover national and international issues. His syndicated work regularly appears in The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today and Newsweek, to name a few. Rogers' cartoon "The Gingrich Who Stole Christmas" was the cover for Newsweek's 1994 year-end issue.
His work received the 2000 Thomas Nast Award from the Overseas Press Club and the 1995 National Headliner Award. In 1999 he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He has won 12 Golden Quill Awards.

Rob Rogers is a national advocate for the profession of editorial cartooning. An active member of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, he served as president in 2006-07. He has hosted two national AAEC conventions, the 2003 event in Pittsburgh and the 50th anniversary convention in Washington, D.C., in 2007.

He regularly speaks to public audiences and school groups about his work and his creative process. Rogers has also curated two national cartoon exhibitions, "Too Hot to Handle: Creating Controversy through Political Cartoons" at The Andy Warhol Museum and "Bush Leaguers: Cartoonists Take on the White House" at the American University Museum. In 2009, Rogers celebrated 25 years as a political cartoonist with the release of No Cartoon Left Behind: The Best of Rob Rogers. For more information go to www.robrogers.com.

In other words, this man is a national treasure. However there is a hard core group of neocon/tea party types who have taken to flooding the PG blogs on Rogers' cartoons with dozens of harangues a la Rush Limbaugh.

Here is the response I posted on the PG/Rogers' blog.

Good golly, Miss Molly! Talk about your nattering nabobs of negativism attempting to breathe life into the still born trickle down theory. Plowing through their endless diatribes on this thread is deja vu of Hitler in his Berlin bunker, screaming at his generals for three straight hours in the dying hours of the Third Reich. One pictures the tsar and tsarina waltzing under Rasputin's benevolent eye in the Winter Palace as the gathering mob howls at the gates. Or perhaps, guys in white robes circled around a burning cross, shouting "Save your confederate money, boys! The South's gonna rise agin!"

Facts are facts, and the tide of history, as evidenced in the scientifically CERTAIN projections of demographic changes, has turned and tolls the knell of parting day on conservatism. Yes, angry little pockets will survive, living in their own world, aptly described as Angryoldwhitemenistan, but majority rules.

Some comments indicate a stubborn refusal to even consider modifying the GOP to reflect the will of the new majority. I like that, because the more they convince themselves their loss is due to a failure to communicate, i.e., style, and not the content of their platform, i.e., substance, the faster their numbers will shrink. For example, from earlier posts:

"In the end, conservatism will win out."
"I often see comments on liberal blogs that include statements about how conservatives must be more moderate to get elected in the future.In fact, the exact opposite is true. If anything, conservatives need to double down"

But it is the holiday season! Time for making merry! In that spirit, let's have a sing-along!
Picture a chorus of the resident conservative/tea party trolls in curly red wigs, little red dresses with white collars, and black belts, singing:

Conservatives will come out, tomorrow
Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow
We will whine.

The way that we think about tomorrow
Won’t clear away
our cobwebs and our sorrow
Till there’s none!

When stuck in defeat
All gray and lonely
We stick out our chins
And pout and say,

Conservatives double down,
Stay the course and hang on
‘til tomorrow
Come what may

Tomorrow, tomorrow
Fact free “tomorrow”
It’s only an impossible-reversal-of-demographics away!

November 16, 2012

In PA, Corbett is known as One Term Tom

First he sat on the Sandusky investigation for a couple of years while he was Attorney General and running for Governor, while collecting sizeable campaign checks from board members of Sandusky's foundation/victim pool. Once elected Governor, he incurred the wrath of all graduates and current/future students and their families of the state's public colleges and universities, by slashing state funding 40%. Then he pissed off all the Penn State alumni by bragging how he, Corbett, manipulated the abrupt,over-the-phone firing of Joe Paterno. (Paterno had refused to endorse Corbett in the Governor's race.)

And I haven't even mentioned how he's whored out the state to the fracking industry by refusing to impose extraction fees (even Bush's Texas and Palin's Alaska collect hefty extraction fees) on Big Gas; over-riding local communities zoning restrictions; and gutting the state's Dept. of Environmental Protection to prevent reasonable scientific monitoring/testing of the impact of fracking operations on public health and welfare, and local government's infrastructures.

He doubtless will be appointed to multiple boards of oil and gas companies and make millions, once he leaves public office. I think he should be run out of the state.

October 12, 2012

Your extreme view is woefully uninformed as to the current state of negotiations.

You also demonstrate no knowledge of the EU's charter and treaties, the scope of its court's jurisdiction, etc., and basically conflate and confuse the EU with the United Nations, NATO, etc. And there is no binding international law, other than treaty law. None of the treaties to which the EU member states are party requires them/it to assume responsibility for the long-standing hostilities between Israel and Palestine.

A multi-stage effort is required to resolve the volatile dispute and is ongoing. In point of fact, in an Associated Press report, Hamas stated in May of this year it is holding back-channel discussions with 5 major member states of the EU.

"In the backchannel talks, Hamas is seeking assurances that European countries will recognize the outcome of future Palestinian elections, Hamdan said. It's not clear when such elections would be held, since they are linked to a stalled reconciliation agreement between Hamas and its main rival, Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas."
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/05/02/hamas-says-it-holding-talks-with-5-eu-countries/#ixzz295sGwDG4

So you, being the expert on Hamas, should be able to share with us what's happened to the stalled reconciliation agreement between Hamas and its main rival. And what is the source of this rivalry, anyway? Why don't you contribute some facts/links to the discussion. You pose questions with no (documented) answers.

From another source, the Jerusalem Post: "However, at an earlier press briefing on Monday, EU representative Christian Berger said there had been no change in the EU’s position regarding engagement with Hamas. Berger said there was another condition as well, and that was Hamas’s acceptance of the “principle of tolerance” and “rule of law.”

Berger, asked whether the current financial problems plaguing the EU could impact the amount of aid the EU gave to the Palestinians, said that the current budget was locked in until 2013. The EU, as an organization, currently provides the PA with about €500 million in annual aid, with another €500m. coming from the individual states. This is the EU’s largest per capita foreign aid contribution.

Berger said that much of the aid was going toward building Palestinian institutions for eventual statehood, and that if it appeared that the statehood was not in the offing, there would likely be questions about the continuation of that aid. However, he said,if there would be a diplomatic breakthrough and a Palestinian state would be created, EU support would probably increase to ensure its success.


October 12, 2012

The EU is the single largest donor of foreign aid to Palestinians.

I've studied the history and law of the very democratic European Union at an Irish university. Your completely undocumented accusations/conclusions are so fact free as to be beyond bizarre. Given the EU's demonstrated history of setting provision of humanitarian aid, improved and equal standards of living for all citizens, and protection of ethnic minorities as prerequisites for membership to some very troubled Eastern European countries, I think the EU is the best hope to force an equitable two state solution on Israel and Palestine. Further, one poll showed 81% of Israelis want EU membership. This gives the EU tremendous leverage to push the peace process as a condition for membership.

Here are some facts as to Palestine-European relations:


EU position on Israeli issues

The EU has insisted that it will not recognise any changes to the 1967 borders other than those agreed between the parties. Israel's settlement program has therefore led to some tensions, and EU states consider these settlements illegal under international law.[8][9]

In 2008, during the French presidency of the Council, the European Union strived to increase cooperation with the US on Middle-Eastern issues, inter alia with a view to coordinating common pressures on Israel.[10]

The EU has also been highly critical of Israeli military actions in the Palestinian territories and Lebanon, often referring to them as "disproportionate" and "excessive force" and calling for an immediate cease-fire. During Operation Defensive Shield, the European Parliament passed a non-binding resolution calling for economic sanctions on Israel and an arms embargo on both parties. Following the Gaza War, the European Parliament endorsed the Goldstone Report. The EU has also been critical of Israel's Gaza blockade, referring to it as "collective punishment"

EU Position on Palestinian statehood

In July 2009, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana called for the United Nations to recognise the Palestinian state by a set deadline even if a settlement had not been reached: "The mediator has to set the timetable. If the parties are not able to stick to it, then a solution backed by the international community should ... be put on the table. After a fixed deadline, a UN Security Council resolution ... would accept the Palestinian state as a full member of the UN, and set a calendar for implementation."[11]

In December, the Council of the European Union endorsed a set of conclusions on the Israeli–Palestinian conflict which forms the basis of present EU policy.[12] It reasserted the objective of a two-state solution, and stressed that the union "will not recognise any changes to the pre-1967 borders including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties." It recalled that the EU "has never recognised the annexation of East Jerusalem" and that the State of Palestine must have its capital in Jerusalem.[13]

A year later, in December 2010, the Council reiterated these conclusions and announced its readiness, when appropriate, to recognise a Palestinian state, but encouraged a return to negotiations.[14] Eight of its 27 member states have recognised the State of Palestine.

In 2011, the Palestinian government called on the EU to recognise the State of Palestine in a United Nations resolution scheduled for 20 September. EU member states grew divided over the issue. Some, including Spain, France and the United Kingdom, stating that they might recognise if talks did not progress, while others, including Germany and Italy, refused. Catherine Ashton said that the EU position would depend on the wording of the proposal.[15] At the end of August, Israel's defence minister Ehud Barak told Ashton that Israel was seeking to influence the wording: "It is very important that all the players come up with a text that will emphasise the quick return to negotiations, without an effort to impose pre-conditions on the sides."[16]

October 12, 2012

EU's financial sector (Eurozone crisis) originated in US's unregulated banking practises

European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso blames US banks for eurozone crisis at G20 summit
"The opening of the G20 summit in Mexico has been overshadowed by comments from European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso that US banks are ultimately to blame for the eurozone crisis.
As European leaders come under intense pressure to resolve the sovereign debt crisis, Mr Barroso told a Canadian journalist Europe had not come to the resort town of Los Cabos to receive 'lessons'.

'Frankly, we are not here to receive lessons in terms of democracy or in terms of how to handle the economy,' he said in answer to a question on why North Americans should help the EU.

'This crisis was not originated in Europe; seeing as you mention North America, this crisis originated in North America and much of our financial sector was contaminated by, how can I put it, unorthodox practices, from some sectors of the financial market.

Read more: http://www.metro.co.uk/news/902494-eu-chief-barroso-blames-us-banks-for-eurozone-crisis-at-g20-summit#ixzz295IGO3SX

And more from the Nobel prize committee link in the OP:

"The EU is currently undergoing grave economic difficulties and considerable social unrest. The Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to focus on what it sees as the EU's most important result: the successful struggle for peace and reconciliation and for democracy and human rights. The stabilizing part played by the EU has helped to transform most of Europe from a continent of war to a continent of peace. "

The work of the EU represents "fraternity between nations", and amounts to a form of the "peace congresses" to which Alfred Nobel refers as criteria for the Peace Prize in his 1895 will.

"In the 1980s, Greece, Spain and Portugal joined the EU. The introduction of democracy was a condition for their membership. The fall of the Berlin Wall made EU membership possible for several Central and Eastern European countries, thereby opening a new era in European history. The division between East and West has to a large extent been brought to an end; democracy has been strengthened; many ethnically-based national conflicts have been settled.

The admission of Croatia as a member next year, the opening of membership negotiations with Montenegro, and the granting of candidate status to Serbia all strengthen the process of reconciliation in the Balkans. In the past decade, the possibility of EU membership for Turkey has also advanced democracy and human rights in that country."

October 9, 2012

Corbett's appointed acting Secretary of Health not MD, but was lobbyist for Big Pharma, Pfizer

By the by - I just looked up the bio of Avila's replacement, one Michael Wolf, now Acting Secretary of Health. http://www.portal.health.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/department_of_health_information/10674/secretary_of_health/556772

Quelle surprise - not! that he is NOT a physician, but a professional politician, with an MBA from that really impressive for-profit, on-line school, The University of Phoenix. He started his career with 6 yrs. of political campaign work for the Republican Party in PA & came to the Dept. of Health from six years as a lobbyist for Big Pharma, specifically Pfizer, the world's largest drugmaker. And we all know how much Big Pharma values safe health care over corporate profits.

So what's in it for One Term Tom? Is Corbett angling for a post-gubernatorial slot on Pfizer's Board? Total compensation to each Pfizer board member in 2011 was $314,023, according to Forbes. http://www.forbes.com/profile/michael-brown-6/
Department of Health Information
Effective Oct. 4, 2012, Governor Tom Corbett announced Michael Wolf, MBA, as the Acting Secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

October 9, 2012

Corbett's actions in direct violation of PA Constitution

In the past week, Corbett has ousted both his Secretary of Health and the head of the state's award-winning park system.

First he forced the resignation of Secretary Avila for for having the audacity!, the temerity! of advocating keeping track of health impacts of natural gas drilling. As the conservative Wall Street Journal reported:
"In 2011, Avila told a governor's advisory commission that creating an official state registry of people who complain about adverse health impacts could help 'refute or verify claims that the public health is being impacted by drilling in the Marcellus Shale.'
"The state House of Representatives approved $2 million to help create such a registry as part of a bill to regulate the rapid growth of natural gas exploration, but the money was STRIPPED during last-minute negotiations between GOP legislative leaders and the Republican(Corbett) administration."

Today, news broke that Corbett forced the resignation of Mr. Norbeck, who dared block one of Corbett's campaign contributors from mining for limestone in a state park. Norbeck has six years of outstanding job evaluations in his personnel file and was known to regularly work 50 or 60 hours a week.
"... we were doing great stuff in the state's parks," he said. "I've talked to hundreds of people in the last week, and they are scared about what's going to happen to the department and the parks bureau.
"Morale is seriously low and there's concern about the lack of leadership coming out of the administration."

Mr. Norbeck worked in Maryland's state parks system for 29 years before he was appointed to head Pennsylvania's parks in 2006 by Gov. Ed Rendell. Under his stewardship, the state's system of 117 parks won the 2009-11 National Gold Medal for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management awarded by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration and the National Recreation and Park Association.

During Mr. Norbeck's tenure, the Bureau of Parks, working with a shrinking staff, has seen park visitation increase from 35 million to 38 million a year, and income from rentals and services jump from $13 million in 2006 to $21.5 million last year.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/state/pa-parks-director-says-he-was-forced-out-by-corbett-administration-656785/#ixzz28obtbZuR

Commenter Doug Shield posted the following at the Post-Gazette blog, pointing out how Corbett is directly violating the PA Constitution.

Here is the Pa Constitution’s commandment relating to OUR Parkland. Now, the right to Bear Arms provision is at Section 21. Corbett seems get’s that part. He seems to think Section 27 is a merely a suggestion. Looks like it is time to go to Court again.

"SECTION 27 Natural Resources and the Public Estate.
The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania's public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people."


"Christina Novak, a DCNR spokeswoman, declined to discuss the resignation because it's a personnel matter.”.

No Christine, it is a matter of our Constitutional rights and public policy. We know why you fired Mr. Norbeck. I want an explanation as to why Section 27 doesn’t mean anything to Governor Corbett.
(end of Shields' comment)

So there you have it, yet more evidence that any public servant who puts public health and welfare or the state's natural environment ahead of Corbett paying back his past and future campaign contributors will be shown the door. Bad enough Corbett's sucking up to anything remotely to do with profiteering from the Marcellus Shale, but now he's going after "Big Limestone"! What's next? How much more profiteering can Corbett squeeze in to the next two years for his donor buddies?

Gives a new alternative definition to the term "Friends With Benefits".

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