Thursday, May 31, 2007

Double Nickel

The star 55 Cancri observed with the coronagraph: possibly one of the
highest quality stellar images ever made. The symmetric "speckles" arising
from atmospheric effects and imperfections in the telescope optics are clear.

Today's Birthdays

People born on May 31
Brooke Shields (1965): Actress who began a modeling career at 11 months as the Ivory Snow baby. Shields starred in her first movie, Holy Terror at age 9, and was a top model by the tender age of 12. Shields has graced the covers of hundreds of magazines including, "Time" and "Life." Her film credits include, The Blue Lagoon, Endless Love, The Weekend, Black and White, and After Sex. In 1994, Shields starred on Broadway as Rizzo in the award-winning musical, "Grease," and in 1996 starred in the NBC sitcom "Suddenly Susan" which ran for 4 years. In 1997 and 1998, Shields was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Television Series, and won the People’s Choice Award in 1997 for Favorite Female Performer in a Television Series. Shields is the author of two books, "The Brooke Book" and "On Your Own."

Lea Thompson (1961): Actress who began a career at the age of 14 as a professional ballet dancer. At 19, Thompson decided to pursue acting and quickly was cast in Burger King and Twix commercials. The role which brought her to the attention of critics was as Tom Cruise’s girlfriend in the 1983 film, All the Right Moves. Thompson went on to star in Red Dawn and The Wild Life, but it was the 1985 smash, Back to the Future that launched her into superstardom. Thompson played Lorraine McFly in all 3 of the Back to the Future films, and her transformation from a middle-aged parent to a bubbly teenager, prevented her from being typecast as just a "teen star." In 1995, Thompson started work on the TV series, "Caroline in the City," which ran for 4 years. Thompson won a People’s Choice Award in 1996 for Best Female in a New Comedy Series, for her role as Caroline. She most recently starred in the Lifetime TV series, "For the People" and the USA Television Movie Haunted Lighthouse.

Joe Namath (1943): Football player who began his successful career in High School, leading his team to an undefeated season. In 1962, Namath played college ball at the University of Alabama and was drafted by the New York Jets in 1964. Namath was named the American Football League’s Rookie of the Year and the Most Valuable Player in the All-Star Game in 1965. From 1966 to 1977, Namath lead the league in passing attempts and completions. In 1969, Namath received the American Football League MVP award, the Hickok Belt and the George Halas award for Most Courageous Pro Player of the Year. Namath retired in 1977 to begin his broadcasting career, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985.

Clint Eastwood (1930): Actor and director who was given a contract with Universal Studios in 1954 and was dropped in 1956. A few years later, Eastwood was given his big break when he was cast as Rowdy Yates in the series, "Rawhide." In 1971, Eastwood made his directorial debut with, Play Misty For Me and he filmed the blockbuster, Dirty Harry. Eastwood took a break from his film career in 1985, when he was elected Mayor of Carmel, California. His hiatus was brief though, for in 1988 Eastwood starred in The Dead Pool, and went on to be the leading man in such box office hits as, Unforgiven (1992) and In the Line of Fire (1993). Eastwood won the Best Picture and Best Director Oscars for Unforgiven in 1992, and the honorary Irving G. Thalberg Award from the Academy in 1995. He has since gone on to star in and direct The Bridges of Madison County, Absolute Power, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, True Crime, Space Cowboys and Blood Work.

Walt Whitman (1819): Poet who started to write after learning the printer’s trade at the age of 12. Whitman’s education in the art of the written word was self-taught through his readings of the works of Shakespeare, Dante and the Bible. From 1836 to 1841 Whitman was a teacher, and he later decided to pursue a career in journalism. Whitman founded the weekly newspapers the "Long Islander," and the "Brooklyn Freeman," and began to develop his own, unique poetic voice during his years as an editor. In 1955, Whitman published a compilation of his poetry entitled, "Leaves of Grass." In 1856, Whitman released the second edition of his work containing 33 poems and a letter from Ralph Waldo Emerson, praising his talents. "Leaves of Grass" is a classic work of free verse that continues to touch students of poetry to this day.


DEN said...

Get outa my way Granny! I get the senior discount now! HA!!

Yes folks this writer is marching right over to Denny's to demand cheap food, and they better get it here fast or I'll give them a kick!

Don't mess with Senior Citizens!!

DEN said...

Attention hop-heads!

If you stare at the pic on the front page for a while it starts moving, oooooooo, aaaaaaaaah!

Alan said...

Vet May Lose 'Honorable' Status Over Protest

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (May 31) - An Iraq war veteran could lose his honorable discharge status after being photographed wearing fatigues at an anti-war protest.

Marine Cpl. Adam Kokesh and other veterans marked the fourth anniversary of the war in Iraq in April by wearing their uniforms - with military insignia removed - and roaming around the nation's capital on a mock patrol.

After Kokesh was identified in a photo cutline in The Washington Post, a superior officer sent him a letter saying he might have violated a rule prohibiting troops from wearing uniforms without authorization.

Kokesh, a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, responded with an obscenity.

Now, a military panel has been scheduled to meet with Kokesh on Monday to decide whether his discharge status should be changed from "honorable" to "other than honorable."
read the rest at the link and be sure 'n vote too...

Should Kokesh lose his honorable discharge status?
No 73%
Yes 22%
I'm not sure 5%
Total Votes: 50,142

Alan said...

Dr. B ain't gonna like this. Well, none of us will. A political azz-kisser of unequalled quality.

NASA chief doubts global warming is front-burner issue
Remarks called irresponsible by environmentalists

NASA Administrator Michael Griffin, whose agency's observations of the Earth have helped to confirm a global rise in temperature, said he doubts that global warming is an issue mankind should address.

"I have no doubt that global — that a trend of global warming exists," Griffin told National Public Radio's Morning Edition in an interview set for broadcast today. "I'm not sure it's fair to say that is a problem we must wrestle with."

NPR made a transcript of Griffin's remarks available Wednesday.

Carol said...

Happy Birthday!
31 May 1952

Your date of conception was on or about 8 September 1951 which was a Saturday. (more than you needed to know, I'm sure)

You were born on a Saturday
under the astrological sign Gemini

As of 5/31/2007 2:39:23 PM EDT
You are 55 years old.
You are 660 months old.
You are 2,870 weeks old.
You are 20,088 days old.
You are 482,126 hours old.
You are 28,927,599 minutes old.
You are 1,735,655,963 seconds old.

This next bit will interest Dr. B.

There are 366 days till your next birthday on which your cake will have 56 candles.

Those 56 candles produce 56 BTUs,
or 14,112 calories of heat (that's only 14.1120 food Calories!) .
You can boil 6.40 US ounces of water with that many candles.

Forgot to mention, 1952 was a leap year.

Happy, HAPPY birthday, Den!!!! xoxo

micki said...

Happy Day, Birthday Boy!

Gerald said...

Does this mean that Cpl Adam Kokesh can never have a free voice in giving his opinion? Once you are in the military, you are always in the military? It looks to me that a military person no longer has any rights as an American citizen even after he has completed his military duty.

Let me say to military people that you can be active in many ways beside showing up at a rally. You can meet with family and friends and let them know how terrible military service is. Family and friends can spread the message to other friends for the military person.

The military person can share with family and friends the slaughter and carnage of human beings.

If someone asks the military person as to whether a person should join or not join the military, he can voice his opinion. If he feels strongly against the military, he can subtly leave that impression.

Working behind the scenes can be more effective in the long run.

My brother-n-law was a career military person and while he was in the military, he was a kiss ass guy. But, he could not wait to get out. Everyday as he started work at the Pentagon he went up the escalator and as he was going up to his floor, he pictured at the top to his floor was an asshole opening up. After the workday and he was coming down the escalator, he said that it felt like he was about to complete a good shit.

Being part of the military you are swallowed up inside of an asshole and after your military duty you can feel like you have completed a good shit.

As part of the military you are nothing more than a piece of shit.

carey said...

Den's in a good mood again and is firing on all cylinders.


Ain't life grand? The senior discount at Denny's. What more could you ask for sweetie!

You are a Gemini. So is/was my Dad. You like parties don't you Den?

Absolutely Gerald. It's disgusting.

DEN said...

Thanks everyone, for the kind wishes!

micki said...

I know the surname GRIFFIN is not unusal, but it ain't SMITH.

I wonder if the idiot global warming denialist at NASA, MICHAEL GRIFFIN, is related to that idiot Arkansas U.S. attorney boyfriend of Karl Rove, TIM GRIFFIN, is his related?

micki said...

Poor sentence construction, Micki! Wow. I need a proofreader -- again!

micki said...

Alan, this quote from Michael Griffin absolutely takes the cake!!!!

"To assume that it is a problem is to assume that the state of Earth's climate today is the optimal climate, the best climate that we could have or ever have had and that we need to take steps to make sure that it doesn't change," Griffin said. "I guess I would ask which human beings — where and when — are to be accorded the privilege of deciding that this particular climate that we have right here today, right now is the best climate for all other human beings. I think that's a rather arrogant position for people to take."

Alan said...

Tim Griffin, the federal prosecutor in Arkansas whose appointment was among those that led to calls for the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, is resigning Friday, spokesmen for Arkansas congressional members said.

Griffin, a former assistant to President Bush's top political adviser Karl Rove, stepped in as interim U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas in December, replacing U.S. Attorney Bud Cummins.[..]

micki said...

Is this true?

Tim Griffin is resigning so that he cn be Fred Thompson's campaign manager.

Oy. They are EVERYWHERE! Kral Rove's protege as Thompson's campaign manager...hmmmmm...looks like the Repukes have their man picked out for the WH!

Gerald said...

If there is a 2008 presidential election which I doubt, Thompson will a formidable candidate.

Personally, I do not care if Thompson is the president. What I hope will happen is that the Democrats will pick 30 to 40 more seats in the House and 10 to 12 more seats in the Senate. The Democrats can finally have an ass kicking time.

Unfortunately, with rigged elections and the problem seems to be even worse in 2006, the Democrats will be playing second fiddle for a long, long time.

Gerald said...

I like micki's new name for the repugs - REPUKES. Any name that has puke in it for the Nazis warms the cockles of my heart.

Gerald said...

What Are You Passionate About?

You probably wouldn’t be wrong to consider A. J. Jacobs a man obsessed. In his mid-30s, the Esquire magazine editor decided to read the entire Encyclopaedia Britannica. Thirty two volumes, each weighing four pounds; 33,000 pages; 65,000 articles; 24,000 illustrations; 44 million words.

His wife tried to distract him. “What about eating dinner at every restaurant in New York? You could start with the restaurants with A names and work your way to the Z’s.”

No, it was too late. Jacobs had his mind set.

From a cappella to Aaron to Antartica and on…so it went. Day in and day out. After one year and 55 days, Jacobs finally finished reading the encyclopedia. Then he turned his experience into a book he called The Know-It-All.

If you’re like most people, reading an encyclopedia cover to cover might not interest you. Yet, finding a project or a cause that you’re passionate about – now that is appealing. Live passionately!

I was zealous for the good. (Sirach 51:18)

Jesus, enable us to passionately, zestfully tackle the environmental and human problems of our age.


Gerald said...

Something for the Kids

Wesley Howard spent decades chasing children off his ancestral Jackson County, Oregon, farm, shotgun in hand. Generations of residents considered him the meanest man in the county. So when the life-long bachelor died of a stroke at age 87, there was shock at the reading of his will.

The putative “meanest man in Jackson County” had left his whole estate – valued at more than $11 million – to create a youth sports park on his 68-acre farm.

Jack Gundlach, one of the kids Howard chased away, said, “We always thought he didn’t like kids.” He added, “It changes everything. “It makes me think that maybe I shouldn’t have been such a rotten kid.”

Teach children to respect adults’ privacy; to respect private property; to be kind to everyone. And be sure to show them good example through your own words and actions.

Do not speak evil against one another, brothers and sisters. (James 4:11)

Lord, give me wisdom and a share of Your patience and strength.

David B. Benson said...

From The Summer Evergreen, Thursday, May 31, 2007:

Professor works on food contamination problems

Professor helps countries improve food security standards after recent contaminations.

By Fritz Schoepflin, Contributing writer

The recent outbreaks of contamination in imported food products have alerted U.S. citizens on the importance of food safety, and one WSU professor is showing the potential dangers of importing certain foods.
Barbara Asco, a WSU professor of food science and human nutrition, is using her scientific knowledge to help foriegn countries improve their food security standards and liability laws.
Dog and cat food imported from China was found to contain an industrial chemical called melamine that killed dozens of families' pets.
Rasco has been monitoring China's exporting situation and sees no immediate solution to the growing problem of food contamination.
"China's economy is established on the principle of low-cost production," she siad. "The companies that choose to follow the law are losing clients to those that cut corners to make the cheapest product, and the government pretends to have no control over the matter and does not hold their exporters accountable, forcing the honest companies to also downgrade the quality f their product."
The pet food crisis is a perfect example of Chinese businesses cutting corners, she said. Importers often check protein level of pet food by testing for nitrogen content. Nitrogen is one of the main elements in protein, but the much cheaper melamine is also made primarily of nitrogen, she said.
The presence of melamine in the pet food was not detected by the importers, but the nitrogen levels were fine by FDA standards. Many scientists, including Rasco, believe this was done with knowledge and intention.
"Melamine is not a food product. It was expressly implanted into the pet food and used as a 'filler'", she said. "This was carried out scientifically by a clever group of people in China to save as much money as possible."
Rasco believes the pet food industry's motive did not extend to bio terrorism. It was the result of the system set up by the Chinese government. It is a system that promotes competition, but not does insure accountability, and it only works when the entire world relies on its product.
She also said the leaders of CHina, who give the impression of ignoreance to the recent contamination problems, may not be entirely innocent.
"The Chinese government, which released exclusive control of its agriculture system to private firms in the 1970s, still owns about 25 percent of its privatized agricultural businesses. In addtion, the Chinese military is a major contributor to its farming production. It stands to reason that the govenment is indeed a major player in its booming farm business and should be held accountable," Rasco said.
As the world's top food producer, China can resist the threat of a U.S. boycott by distributing to the other nations from which the United States imports. The boycott would not do any good, Rasco said.
If decreases in food contamination are a priority, the United States must petition nations around the world to raise their standards of food security, Rasco said. While this could raise the price of produce, it would also lower the risk of food-borne illness, especially in countries that do not screen food products as rigorously as the United States.
Rasco said the federal money spent on in-plant inspection could be better used to increase liability overseas to the businesses that export these harmful products.
Jeffri Bohlscheid, a research associate of Rasco's said he also sees an immediate need for the enforcement of standards in China.
"China's companies create elaborate paper trails that can't be traced," Bohlscheid said. "Since only one percent of U.S. imports are screened, we need to focus our attention elsewhere. As of now, we're simply trusting China to make sure contamination doesn't occur."
Third-party liability would greatly increase the traceability and accoutability of products, and in a way bypass the Chinese government toward legitimizing the world's number one low-cost supplier, Rasco said.

David B. Benson said...

On TomPaine: An Ohio compnay has been adding melamine to animal feeds --- for years!

DEN said...

The question begs, we are trading with China, why?

Profits for AMERICAN corporations.

We give them what they need to make stuff cheap.
They sell us "cheap" goods of all kinds including food products.

Cease immediately import of all food products from China.

Inspect what is already here.

Spool up American replacements and stimulate production.

We cannot afford to take shortcuts with our food, profit or no profit.

º¿carol said...


Thursday, May 31, 2007

Posted by Jim Hightower

Here in Austin, Texas, a TV station fired its news director and didn't replace him. Instead, the conglomerate owner decided to put the news director of its Tampa, Florida, station in charge of our "local" news coverage. Rumor has it that the Tampa guy had once visited our fair city, so apparently that qualified him to be the long-distance arbiter of Austin news.

Can journalism sink any lower? Of course it can!

Blazing a new path to the journalistic bottom, a Web journal that covers city politics and government in Pasadena, California, has gone much farther than Tampa to get local coverage. James MacPherson, editor and publisher of, flung his job net all the way to India to find low-cost journalists to report on the happenings in Pasadena.

MacPherson says that since city council meetings can be watched on the Internet, a reporter from anywhere can cover what's happening. Excuse me, but even if you were sitting right in front of most city council meetings, you still wouldn't know what the heck was happening, because the real deals are cut in the back rooms.

Well, says MacPherson, "Whether you're at a desk in Pasadena or a desk in Mumbai, you're still just a phone call or e-mail away from the interview." Yes, but – hello! – it helps if the interviewer has some clue about the cultural nuances and community dynamics at work... something a bit more solid than having seen the Rose Bowl Parade on TV.

Still, MacPherson says he's pleased because he was able to hire not one, but two, Indian reporters for a combined salary of about $20,000. I'm sure these two are smart and capable, but I'm guessing they'll provide as much insight into Pasadena politics as I would into the politics of Mumbai.

They say that a big part of life consists of simply being there. And in real journalism, it seems to me that "being there" requires more than virtual reality.

"California web site outsources reporting," Associated Press, May 10, 2007

DEN said...

Doc, remember Melmac dishes?

Same melamine?

Scraping bits off with sharp edge utensils and ingesting them with food would not be healthy.

Maybe not the same stuff.

DEN said...


"Much of the world has greeted Ahmadinejad's promise to wipe Israel off the map with something close to insouciance. In fact, it could almost be said of the Europeans that they have been more upset by Ahmadinejad's denial that a Holocaust took place 60 years ago than by his determination to set off one of his own as soon as he acquires the means to do so. In some of European countries, Holocaust denial is a crime, and the European Union only recently endorsed that position. Yet for all their retrospective remorse over the wholesale slaughter of Jews back then, the Europeans seem no readier to lift a finger to prevent a second Holocaust than they were the first time around.

Not so George W. Bush, a man who knows evil when he sees it and who has demonstrated an unfailingly courageous willingness to endure vilification and contumely in setting his face against it. It now remains to be seen whether this president, battered more mercilessly and with less justification than any other in living memory, and weakened politically by the enemies of his policy in the Middle East in general and Iraq in particular, will find it possible to take the only action that can stop Iran from following through on its evil intentions both toward us and toward Israel. As an American and as a Jew, I pray with all my heart that he will."

@ Opinion Journal

Get the bucket Gerald, I feel a puke coming on.

Bush IS evil! DUH!

DEN said...

Friends of his from Texas were shocked recently to find him nearly wild-eyed, thumping himself on the chest three times while he repeated "I am the president!" He also made it clear he was setting Iraq up so his successor could not get out of "our country's destiny."

What else is needed to get a straight-jacket on this guy and make him do the Thorazine shuffle?

Knock! Knock! any intelligent life in DC?

Oh nevermind, forget I asked.

micki said...

I'll make a prediction:

Mad cow disease, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, AND Alzheimer's Disease will be found to have something in common. Tainted feed leads to tainted human food supply leads to disease....

But, the powers-that-be will want to keep this quiet for as long as possible.

David B. Benson said...

To the extent possible, I intend to avoid buying any products made in China.

{ò,ó}arol said...

I agree, Micki. Most of the things ailing this country and the world are environmentally caused. There's probably a connection between mad cow and Alzheimer's.

Then there is the rampant asthma in kids. And what about all the autism?

I read a blurb in the Detroit Free Press yesterday about how the people of China will be getting fat and sick just like us pretty soon BECAUSE THEY SMOKE, DRINK AND EAT CRAP. Not ONE mention of the air and the shit in it. According to that book Doc wanted us all to read, Collapse, the shit China belches out every day takes only hours to hit our shores. Blech. We're so doomed!

{ò,ó}arol said...

Doc, that's near impossible! The only good thing is that you and I are....are of an age where we don't buy a lot of stuff anyway. Otherwise, everything comes from China. Your underwear, your shoes. Stuff we....older....I mean mature folks still HAVE to buy.

David B. Benson said...

Carol --- Vietnam, Malaysia, South Korea, ...

•¿•arol said...

Are you saying you'd buy from them, just not China? You see, those places still upset me BECAUSE THE STUFF ISN'T BEING MADE HERE! I want those factories back. I think this country has had enough. We NEED jobs and product.

Alan said...

Carol, I think we are just in stage one. Stage two is... we'll be the illegal aliens sneaking into other countries for the better paying jobs, so we can send $'s back home.

DEN said...

I am a firm believer in producing goods right here, price is the driving force behind import goods.

Cheaper stuff sells more, Wally Mart shoppers are the lower end of the wage spectrum, Nordstroms the high end, both feed from the same labor trough, cheap overseas labor.

It is really up to us to dictate what sells as buyers.

Chinese appliances are coming in now, the job loss for American workers in that area is huge, but those same folks go to Wally Mart for their bigscreen TV made in China, like shooting your own foot only worse, you shoot your kids feet too by losing your job to China, your footsteps won't be worth following.


Do you think we are pals? What about Taiwan?

micki said...

Yeah, it would be great to have some of those manufacturing jobs back in Michigan (or other Rust Belt states), but the hard facts are that China is also taking manufacturing jobs -- not only from developed countries -- but from India, and Bangladesh and Mexico for example. Things are not so great for workers in those countries, either, but they're a lot better than in China. Everything is relative. Some countires are moving towards more humanitarian conditions, but China is a real slacker.

Even in Cambodia, some workers have union representation. Not China.

I try to avoid ALL products from China. I know this is kinda of silly, but Bill brought home some frozen mixed veggies the other day. We routinely buy organic and local, and FRESH, as much as possible. What a conundrum! Use up fuel to return the crap or just bite the bullet and eat the crapola in a soup? Or turn it into compost? I looked at the label -- everything was grown in the USA, except the WATER CHESTNUTS were from CHINA. I picked through the veggies and threw out the water chestnuts.

That's how little trust I have in China products -- especially food products.

Bill has been instructed to never, ever buy that crap again. He wondered if it was a senior moment...

micki said...

China is moving from communism to fascism.

Any questions?

micki said...

Den, you must know about senior moments now that you are one?


micki said...

A senior. Not a moment.

DEN said...

Oh Jeez, Wayne Madsen went "Members Only".

I got a member for ya Wayno!

OOPS, meant NUMBER, yea thats it.


micki said...

I've said this before, but I'll say it again.

My older daughter believes that much of the obesity, diabetes, general poor health in the USA is a consequence of hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup. (Plus sitting on one's ass.)

Check the labels. It's ubiquitous! It is everywhere.

DEN said...

Micki, I'd pick them out too.

DEN said...


micki said...

I sure as hell won't join Wayne's World!

He's a screwball. I have no interest in his private club.

micki said...

Den, it's the end of the day...and I just want to say, once again, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Hope it's been a memorable day for you and all your wishes come true.

DEN said...

Well, gonna wrap up this day and have another shot, day off tomorrow, can sleep in, AAAAAAAHHHHH!

I might be in later than usual.

Hiccup! UUURRPP!

Pardon me.

happy b-day 2 me, happy b-day 2 me, happy b-day dear den...........

Gerald said...

No normal person can say that Hitler Bush is not a psycho who unleashes a torrent of psycho bubble upon the world.

Most posters are aware by now that I have my barf bucket alongside me when I read about Hitler Bush and his Nazi Party. I also have with me several towels just in case the bucket overflows with my puke. If this happens, my wife would be very, very upset at me.