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Mira's Journal
Mira's Journal
April 26, 2012

More about a stop at 100 year old Don Pedro's farm - request by Celebration

We went in a rubber boat down a shallow river full of crocodiles. I saw 8 photographed 7.
The tour, 45 bucks a person, was at least 3 1/2 hours with a guide who spoke perfect English.
The mid stop of the tour was a visit to Don Pedro's farm. They have batteries there for Don Pedro's little radio that get brought to them by our guide when he stops with tourists like ourselves.
They have no electricity.
He has taught one of Don Pedro's aging daughters how to work a battery operated cell phone, and he calls ahead. She then prepares tea and cheese bits and some other nibbles for the folks that dare the river and the stop.

Don Pedro does not speak English. I speak Spanish only haltingly, but I have the sentence of "May I please take your photograph, Senor" down pat.
His answer was "Do what you want, Senora, if it makes you happy". I am told he is up and about some every day.

The river and a crocodile

Arriving at the "pier" of Don Pedro's farm. One walks up on the sacks of sand for traction

Critter along the path
Loud monkey. Called howler monkeys - supposedly next to the whale the second loudest animal in nature

bench along the path

Welcoming crows

Calm animals

Walking about the farm - a few vistas

The outhouse

The closet

The family sitting in their kitchen

And a couple of shots of an old boat, right there behind the family

April 26, 2012

Random bits from my recent trip

I grabbed a few, no particular theme or order

A snapshot of the oldest church in Costa Rica

Huge old tree

and another

100 year old Don Pedro - taken with permission by him - lying in bed in a corner room on the farm he lives on with his family. He has never ever left the farm to set foot elsewhere in his entire life

throwing in a little color

a cat taking a NAP

can you hear Peter Sellers saying it?

I liked this animal, it belongs to Don Pedro

A little Costa Rican boy sitting on some sacks of coffee

April 24, 2012

An intolerable intolerance: informed editorial about Virginia Foxx's latest utterances/student loans

An intolerable intolerance
by Ken Ilgunas

(my comment: this visual is my favorite about my Congress Critter Virginia Foxx, it lives in my archives and needs to be aired every now and then)

Ken Ilgunas is a writer who lives in Stokes County, NC. He is writing a book on student debt that will be published in May 2013.

Last week, Rep. Virginia Foxx offered the nation's 36 million student debtors a lesson in tolerance.
She told radio show host G. Gordon Liddy that she has "very little tolerance" for student debtors who have as much as $80,000 or $200,000 in student loans.
"There's no reason for that," Foxx said.
Actually, there are a lot of reasons why student debtors have over $1 trillion in debt. And Foxx is one of them.
But before I get to that, it bears mentioning how the cost of education has gone up since Foxx got her B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1968.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 1968 tuition, room and board cost an average of $1,169 for an in-state student enrolled at a four-year university (or the equivalent of $7,705 today, adjusting for inflation). In 2012, a student pays $17,131 a year, according to the College Board.
"I worked my way through [college]," said Foxx. "I never borrowed a dime of money."
While Foxx's thrift and hard work are to be admired, bragging about avoiding student debt in the '60s is like bragging about having avoided some disease decades before an epidemic started. (When Foxx was enrolled at Chapel Hill, the tuition was $87.50 a semester.)
Older generations reminding younger generations about how much harder they had it seems to be a predictable pattern of human nature. And though there may sometimes be truth to such claims, Foxx's generation — due in large part to the Higher Education Act of 1965, which made college affordable to students from low-income families — had it far easier than today's students, at least when it comes to affording college.
To further illustrate my point, consider how much it would cost to work your way through college in 1968. In Foxx's day, to pay for tuition, room and board, a student at a public university needed to work 14 hours a week at a minimum-wage job, year-round. Today, however, a student would have to manage working 46 hours a week, year-round.
Foxx's "very little tolerance" attitude would be permissible if she was just an ill-informed, out-of-touch anybody, with no responsibility for the educations of young people today. But because she is the chairwoman of the House Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training and is responsible for students' welfare, there is something particularly disturbing about her statement — disturbing because she has opposed legislation that was crafted to make college more affordable for students.
Foxx voted against the 2007 College Cost Reduction and Access Act that increased the Pell Grant award to low-income students and reduced interest rates on federal loans. She also voted against the 2008 reauthorization of the Higher Education Act — the very act that made education affordable for her generation.
Foxx has not only tried to obstruct the passage of helpful legislation, she has supported an industry that profits when students go into debt.

Source, and the rest of the editorial, every sentence is important:

April 23, 2012

Help needed for the contest - should the polling abilily materialize in the next month

Dear Photographers:

I can't do it in May, and May is approaching speedily. My Mom is arriving and we will be driving down to the Florida Keys.
I'll be pre-occupied with her during that month.
To remind you, here she is, last year. Now she is 88 - and though it does not look like it - she needs me.

As long as she lives and is able our benefactor allows us to stay in a condo for free every year, who would turn that down?
Her motto is, I'm quoting: "I mostly sit. I absolutely cannot fall. I have only one goal: FLORIDA."
So, as you see, I have no choice in the matter.

If the polls appear before the end of May, and someone wants to run the contest, please feel free to take it over. The photos are pinned to the top of the forum. If I were running it, I'd give the entrants a day or so to switch their photo out if they want to. Folks may have come up with a newer photo they like better in the last half a year.

It could well be that it's not necessary, the polling may not appear before I'm back, or maybe nobody steps in.
At least please be advised that I can't be on standby for the next 30 days.

(I've always wanted to use that little icon for something)

April 18, 2012

Enjoy watching an "Old Lady" dance

I had some issues in my life today that involved folks of truly advanced age, and this was sent to me out of the blue, and it made my heart sing


April 17, 2012

Five top N.C. Democratic elected officials ask party chairman to resign

Five top N.C. Democratic elected officials ask party chairman to resign

Five top N.C. Democratic officials called on Party Chairman David Parker to resign Tuesday as the fallout from a scandal concerning sexual harassment allegations and a secret settlement agreement continues.
The letter is signed by State Treasurer Janet Cowell, Superintendent June Atkinson, Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin and State Auditor Beth Wood.
Gov. Bev Perdue, Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton and Attorney General Roy Cooper did not sign the letter. (See Perdue's reaction on blog below.)
"We believe that it is in the best interest of the North Carolina and the Democratic Party for Democratic Party Chair David Parker to step aside and enable new leadership to begin the rebuilding process," the five elected officials said in a statement. "We believe Mr. Parker can no longer be as effective a leader as he needs to be under the circumstances. Given the importance of this election to our state and our country a change needs to be made as we prepare for the general election in November."
In a statement release through the party, Parker refused to step down. "I have no plans to resign and I am moving forward with the work of the Democratic Party," he said.
A number of Democratic activists have called for Parker to resign in recent days. The Council of State members joined the chorus Monday evening by sending Parker a letter that asked him to resign quietly. If he didn't respond by noon Tuesday, the top Democrats said they would make their call public, sources close to the officials said.



April 16, 2012

Battleground America - One Nation, under the Gun by Jill Lepore / The New Yorker

U.S. Chronicles
Battleground America
One nation, under the gun.
by Jill Lepore April 23, 2012

Every American can be his own policeman; the country has nearly as many guns as it has people. Photograph by Christopher Griffith.
Just after seven-thirty on the morning of February 27th, a seventeen-year-old boy named T. J. Lane walked into the cafeteria at Chardon High School, about thirty miles outside Cleveland. It was a Monday, and the cafeteria was filled with kids, some eating breakfast, some waiting for buses to drive them to programs at other schools, some packing up for gym class. Lane sat down at an empty table, reached into a bag, and pulled out a .22-calibre pistol. He stood up, raised the gun, and fired. He said not a word.
Russell King, a seventeen-year-old junior, was sitting at a table with another junior, Nate Mueller. King, shot in the head, fell face first onto the table, a pool of blood forming. A bullet grazed Mueller’s ear. “I could see the flame at the end of the gun,” Mueller said later. Daniel Parmertor, a sixteen-year-old snowboarder, was shot in the head. Someone screamed “Duck!” Demetrius Hewlin, sixteen, was also shot in the head, and slid under the table. Joy Rickers, a senior, tried to run; Lane shot her as she fled. Nickolas Walczak, shot in his neck, arm, back, and face, fell to the floor. He began crawling toward the door.
Ever since the shootings at Columbine High School, in a Denver suburb, in 1999, American schools have been preparing for gunmen. Chardon started holding drills in 2007, after the Virginia Tech massacre, when twenty-three-year-old Seung-Hui Cho, a college senior, shot fifty-seven people in Blacksburg.
At Chardon High School, kids ran through the halls screaming “Lockdown!” Some of them hid in the teachers’ lounge; they barricaded the door with a piano. Someone got on the school’s public-address system and gave instructions, but everyone knew what to do. Students ran into classrooms and dived under desks; teachers locked the doors and shut off the lights. Joseph Ricci, a math teacher, heard Walczak, who was still crawling, groaning in the hallway. Ricci opened the door and pulled the boy inside. No one knew if the shooter had more guns, or more rounds. Huddled under desks, students called 911 and texted their parents. One tapped out, “Prayforus.”
From the cafeteria, Frank Hall, the assistant football coach, chased Lane out of the building, and he ran off into the woods.
Moments later, four ambulances arrived. E.M.T.s raced Rickers and Walczak to Chardon’s Hillcrest Hospital. Hewlin, Parmertor, and King were flown by helicopter to a trauma center at MetroHealth Medical Center, in Cleveland. By eight-thirty, the high school had been evacuated.
At a quarter to nine, police officers with dogs captured Lane, about a mile from the school.
“I hate to say it, but we trained for exactly this type of thing, a school emergency of this type,” Dan McClelland, the county sheriff, said.
Danny Parmertor died that afternoon. That evening, St. Mary’s Church opened its doors, and the people of Chardon sank to their knees and keened. At the town square, students gathered to hold a vigil. As night fell, they lit candles. Drew Gittins, sixteen, played a Black Eyed Peas song on his guitar. “People killin’, people dyin’,” he sang. “People got me, got me questionin’, Where is the love?”
Russell King had been too badly wounded. A little after midnight, doctors said that they couldn’t save him.
There are nearly three hundred million privately owned firearms in the United States: a hundred and six million handguns, a hundred and five million rifles, and eighty-three million shotguns. That works out to about one gun for every American. The gun that T. J. Lane brought to Chardon High School belonged to his uncle, who had bought it in 2010, at a gun shop. Both of Lane’s parents had been arrested on charges of domestic violence over the years. Lane found the gun in his grandfather’s barn.
The United States is the country with the highest rate of civilian gun ownership in the world.

continue and read all of it:

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/04/23/120423fa_fact_lepore?printable=true¤tPage=all#ixzz1sE3M6p5w

April 16, 2012

NC Democratic Chief Resigns

The executive director of the North Carolina Democratic Party resigned Sunday amid increasing ire among party activists over high turnover at the party headquarters and harassment allegations there.
Jay Parmley, who became the top administrator last year after holding a similar post in South Carolina, submitted a resignation letter in which he vehemently denied harassing any party worker.
Party leaders raised concerns after emails began circulating in the media late last week that mentioned the allegations. The party has been guarded in directly addressing the substance of the allegations.
"Let me be clear: I have never harassed any employee at any time at the (state party) or in any other job," Parmley wrote in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press. Parmley also said that the more than 1,000 people who have worked with him over the years "know this kind of behavior would be unconscionable to me."

to keep reading:

April 14, 2012

U.N. Security Council Agrees to Send Ceasefire Monitors to Syria

Source: NYTimes

U.N. Security Council Agrees to Send Ceasefire Monitors to Syria

The United Nations Security Council on Saturday unanimously authorized the deployment of ceasefire monitors to Syria.
Russia and China joined the other 13 council members and voted in favor of the Western-Arab draft resolution. The first 30 unarmed military monitors are expected to leave within days.

The vote had been expected Friday but was held up by Russian objections to much of the text.. The Russian ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, said Saturday that “substantive changes had been made to make it more balanced.”

Read More:

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/15/world/middleeast/in-syria-city-of-homs-is-shelled-activists-say.html?emc=na

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