Tuesday, November 27, 2012

An Immersion of Historic Proportions

Putting it mildly...

Always a lover of history, I've been enthralled by watching the many BBC documentary series', including "A History of Britain" - "A History of Scotland" - and well, can't you guess, "A History of Ireland". These are all available at You Tube in their entirety. Of course, religion played a big part in all the wars, intrigues, manipulations, and fear-mongering.  So, what else is new?

At the suggestion of my wee Irish GM, I've also watched another BBC series titled "The Coast" presented by archaeologist, Neil Oliver. Breathtaking images of the coast of the British Isles with powerful snippets of history thrown in at various points along the journey.  Great fun to watch.

During all this time I have been captivated by "Tempest at Dawn" by James Best; a novel of the probable events leading to the American Constitutional Convention.  The book brings our founders to life with great writing, historic accuracy and amazing wit. What has amazed me most is how entangled these varied histories are on many levels. Yes, including America.
An overview of Tempest at Dawn:
The United States is on the brink of total collapse. The military has been reduced to near extinction, economic turmoil saps hope, and anarchy threatens as world powers hover like vultures, eager to devour the remains. In a desperate move, a few powerful men call a secret meeting to plot the overthrow of the government. Fifty-five men came to Philadelphia in May of 1787 with a congressional charter to revise the Articles of Confederation. Instead they founded the longest lasting republic in world history. "Tempest at Dawn" tells their story.
Here is a bit of a review of Tempest at Dawn:
Author James Best tackled a massive project when he undertook the writing of this book, which took 5 years to complete.  Tempest at Dawn is a novel about the events surrounding the Constitutional Convention.  While there is no particular mystery, sex, violence, or suspense, the book has plenty of tension.  Best takes characters that textbooks render as flat or one dimensional, and makes them multifaceted human beings.  The fictional vignettes in his story are wrapped around actual compromises and the horse trading that was constant between the delegates. He does not distort history and his surmises about the roles of the participants are entirely plausible and in fact likely.

Readers will find that Tempest at Dawn “matures” as it progresses, and so does the caliber of the writing. Within the first 50 pages the dialog becomes more and more sophisticated. The reader is alternately smiling, laughing or saddened by the poignancy that Best introduces into the telling.  He is especially successful in his portrayal of a realistic and very believable Washington who, Best contends, was the behind-the- scenes puppet master at the Convention.

Best is subtle about including facts throughout the story, successfully weaving in actual quotes, first hand accounts and observations of those who lived through this period. The author has done his research and any reader of history will appreciate these nice touches.  In one scene, Washington is attending a play and leaves his box to get refreshments. The stage manager waits until Washington returns to his seat before resuming the play, a courtesy not extended to just anyone. This vignette provides an example of how the patronage of this hero of the Revolution was sought.  Washington fans will also appreciate a horse race scene in which Washington triumphs, and another in which he visits a carriage maker.  All of these episodes provide insight into Washington’s character.  Best knows his history, but he doesn’t bludgeon the reader with a clumsy display of erudition.

Even though Washington is a key figure in the Convention and the book, he is sparingly used in Best’s tale.  Madison, however, is a pivotal character both in the actual Constitutional Convention and in Best’s story.  The reader gets a sense of a man driven by patriotism to build a “perfect” republic based on the leadership of an enlightened elite.  As the story progresses, he is forced by the stolid Roger Sherman to compromise some of his rigid beliefs and finally comes to realize the validity of the opposition’s argument. As the convention nears its conclusion, former combatants work together to bring their constituents into the fold with a series of machinations that would make Machiavelli proud.
The events of recent years in American Politics and the recent elections bring to mind that "everything old is new again" - "been there, done that, have all the tee-shirts", and then some.

And so it goes.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Beyond Sea Witch, Sandy, and...I forget

We're at the end of the Thanksgiving holiday, and I just realized that I forgot to post photos from Sea Witch/Halloween weekend. In fact, I don't think I would have remembered Sea Witch at all if not for a customer today, asking about our costumes this year.

OK, that weekend and the weeks following were distracting thanks to Hurricane Sandy (remember Sandy?) followed a week later by a nasty nor'easter that battered our shore far worse than Sandy.  Then suddenly we were gearing up for Turkey weekend and all but out of breath.

Needless to say Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and today were big winners at the restaurant. Records were broken all three days and it isn't over yet. Of course, we're all pretty tired, but it's been great fun for our regular customers, as well as ourselves. After tomorrow, we're looking forward to a brief 10-day lull where we collectively catch our breath as we prepare for Chanukah, Christmas, and the New Year.

All that said, the images will be downloaded from the camera and posted within a few days.

Meanwhile, I smell olives.  Yes, there are priorities!

And so it goes.

Cyber-Shopping Caturday

Sure beats the Black Friday hordes!  Plus FREE Shipping!!!

And so it goes.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving Thanks and Thanksgiving.

The week has been a blur. At times I felt like Ray Milland in Lost Weekend - without the booze. Though I didn't leave the apartment for two days, I worked my widdow fingas to da bone.

Beaucoup loads of laundry, kitchen floor mopped, bathroom cleaned and floor mopped, prepped and ironed shirts & trousers for the work week, listened to music, and cooked up a storm. (I paid dearly for all the exertion.  My back and hands were in spasms for 2 days.) Never mind that.  Marinated pork loin was followed by a new recipe for beef pot roast I found for the crock pot.  Both were delicious.

The landlord sent over a workman on Wednesday to re-seal the inner wall of the bath enclosure and replace the old, broken toilet seat with one that I purchased earlier this month.  I felt guilty for not going out and about, but looking around the place - and all that was accomplished - it was a good investment of my time.  I sort of made up for that by taking a walk on the boardwalk this morning before work. Sort of, but not quite. Guilt dies hard.

Today (Thanksgiving day here in the US) was a busy, delightful, day at the restaurant. There was a special Thanksgiving Menu (turkey, stuffing, many vegetables, and a variety of desserts) for $14.00, plus the regular full menu was available for those not interested in turkey with all the trimmings.

This has been going on for 5 years now and it just seems to grow year after year.  Everyone chills out and relaxes while enjoying the company of their own group and those around them. After so many years, most already know one another, so it's almost like family - without the dysfunctionality.  By 4 pm today we had served over 200 diners and there were reservations for the rest of the evening, too.

I enjoyed a Grande (26 oz.) Margarita after my shift, then the boss sent me packing laden down with a huge package of food for my supper. Turkey, red-skin garlic mashed potatoes, asparagus, stuffing, a baked sweet potato, corn, brussel sprouts, and a huge chunk of apple pie. The package weighed at least 5 pounds! I couldn't eat even a tenth of that.

I had my fill and packaged the rest for later use. I counted my blessings and while there are fewer than last year, I chose to focus on those that I have, anyway.

Tomorrow is "Black Friday" (dun-tu-du-dun!) and previous years tell us that we'll be up to our eyeballs in  shopping bags, frustrated shoppers unsuccessful in their attempts to snag the door-buster deals they wanted.  The margaritas will flow, they'll tell their tales of woe, and laugh at the whole stupid experience.  They will also vow NOT to do it next year...but they will.

And the Sun will rise and the Moon will set, and you learn how to settle for what you get.  It'll all go on if we're here or not.  So who cares, so what? So, who cares, so what?

And so it goes.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tis the Season to Get Trampled...

...Or not!
This is sad and depressing. Stay home.  You could get killed, or worse.

And so it goes.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Barack Obama and McKayla Maroney: not impressed

Absolutely Priceless.  I love this.
From the Guardian:
President imitates gymnast's much-mimicked 'not impressed' look during US Olympic team's visit to the White House.
A comment on the progress of vital fiscal cliff talks in Washington? His verdict of Donald Trump's latest Twitter rant against him? A reaction to Mitt Romney's accusations that he won the presidential election by handing out gifts to minorities and the young?
Whatever the reason, Barack Obama clearly isn't impressed if the latest photo handout from the White House is to be taken at face value.
Captured when the 2012 US Olympics gymnastic team stopped by at the White House earlier this week, Obama took time out to recreate one of the enduring images of the Games – McKayla Maroney's impression of someone sucking a lemon while simultaneously chewing a wasp after she missed out on gold in the vault.
The "not-impressed" look has been much mimicked since, but Obama's mug-pulling in the White House – accompanied by Maroney – has given the meme new life.
I love the playfulness of this picture and the humor behind the shot. I love my president.  He is far from perfect, but he's on the right track.  Keep it goin' Mr. President.

And so it goes.

Common Quote Caturday

I use this quote more often than most. My host station is at the front of the restaurant whose windows are full size - ceiling to floor - and can slide open in good weather to give the al fresco feeling to diners.  This  also provides a view of everyone on the street; what they're wearing (or not wearing), how they behave and other activities I won't even try to explain.  Just be grateful I don't take photos.

More later.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Revealed Secrets

A few days ago I posted a Rumi quote that can be found HERE. A comment was left by Dr. Spo (the dear) asking "what have you learned?"

I have always been a morning person. I've enjoyed watching the sun rise as far back as I can remember.

As a kid living one block from Lake Pontchartrain many a morning found me sitting on the seawall watching the sun come up over the eastern shore.  The morning air was fresh and helped to clear my mind of too many thoughts and worries. No, I won't go into the sordid story that was my childhood. Let's just say, I had to grow up damned quick - and leave it at that.

In NYC, I would ride my bike to the Battery, or East river when I needed my fix of fresh air, sunlight and a clear head.

Now, I live near the Atlantic Ocean, and whenever I have a troubling night or this new life offers particularly disturbing challenges, financial or otherwise, I make my way to the boardwalk in the dark, sit on a bench facing the ocean and await the sunrise.

Mostly it's relaxing, but at times my head clears enough that I find solutions (sometimes difficult ones) to a challenge or situation. I walk back to the apartment with a lighter heart, take a shower, play some music, and get ready for the work day. Refreshed.

When I get to work, a different person is on display. One that hasn't a care in the world, laughs and jokes constantly.  Enjoying the interaction with co-workers and those I serve and entertain.  That person happens to be me, too, so it's all good. The environment lifts my spirits and they remain high for the rest of the day/night.  I never drag my personal business to the work place. My personal life is never discussed.  It's easier that way.

There is no one to confide in, to share intimate thoughts, I'm on my own. The last 6 years have been a roller coaster ride of health issues, and financial woes and it isn't always easy to pull out of a deep funk.  Those quiet moments at dawn really help.

Yes, I know.  I really, really need a holiday.

And so it goes.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

$4.5 B Settlement: BP Employees Charged with Manslaughter

This comes on the heels of yesterday's post and it's quite a shocker.  No really, I thought they would walk away with paying some fines and go back to business as usual.  This is substantial.
BP, the British oil giant, pleaded guilty on Thursday to 14 felony counts related to the 2010 explosion and subsequent oil spill at the site of its Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. The plea agreement with federal prosecutors includes 11 charges of manslaughter for the deaths of workers on the Deepwater Horizon rig, and one felony count for obstruction of justice for false statements made to Congress about the amount of oil leaking from the out-of-control well.
The company will pay $4.5 billion to settle the charges, the largest corporate criminal penalty in U.S. history.
Three former BP employees also face separate felony charges related to the spill, the Justice Department announced. Donald Vidrine and Robert Kaluza, BP drilling managers who oversaw operations on the Deepwater Horizon rig, were charged with 22 counts of negligent manslaughter for the deaths of the 11 rig workers. David Rainey, a former BP vice president in charge of exploration in the Gulf of Mexico, was charged with felony obstruction of justice for allegedly lying to Congress and federal law enforcement officials about the amount of oil leaking from the well.
Attorneys for all three men have vowed to fight the charges. Reid H. Weingarten and Brian M. Heberlig, attorneys for Rainey, slammed BP for acquiescing to the government's charges. "We are profoundly disappointed that the Department of Justice is attempting to turn a tragic accident and its tumultuous aftermath into criminal activity," the attorneys said in an emailed statement. "We are even more disappointed that BP has succumbed to the pressure and agreed to this extortionate settlement. Mr. Rainey did not commit the crimes charged in the indictment, period. We intend to vigorously defend him at trial and are confident he will be exonerated of these baseless charges."
BP's plea agreement, which still requires approval by a U.S. federal court, would free the company from further federal criminal charges and penalties, but it does not obviate a full complement of potential civil claims that could reach well into the tens of billions. 
Of course BP will kick, scream, and fight all civil claims, and G*d knows what else. This will not change the damage to the gulf, wildlife, or the livelihood lost by gulf water-men. That's done and cannot be undone. BP  pleaded guilty, at last, and that's what's important.

There is more HERE.

And so it goes.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

New Oil Sheen at BP Site: Here We Go Again

This will not end in my lifetime.  Sadly.
An overflight inspection of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster site 40 miles south of Grand Isle this weekend found a new, mile-long oil sheen, which has prompted the U.S. Coast Guard to again require BP to inspect the wellhead and debris area on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico with a remotely operated vehicle for the source of the oil.
The flight was piloted by Bonny Schumaker, founder of the California-based non-profit On Wings of Care, which has conducted surveillance flights in the Gulf in the two years since the spill.
Schumaker reported that during her several flights over the wellhead during the past few days, she was able to direct the Schmidt Ocean Institute’s Research Vessel Falkor to the sheen site, where it conducted an inspection of the wellhead with an ROV and found no indication that the oil was coming from the wellhead or the debris field.
"A plan was submitted for an additional remotely operated vehicle to inspect the underwater site of the Deepwater Horizon incident, to determine the source of a surface sheen," said Coast Guard spokesman Ensign Glenn Sanchez. The new inspection will again focus on the wellhead, cofferdam and the riser pipe that once connected the wellhead to the surface.
A BP spokesman said the company continues to work closely with the Coast Guard to investigate possible sources of the sheen.
"After recently confirming for a third time with ROV video inspection that the Macondo well and its associated relief wells are secure, we've capped and plugged an abandoned piece of subsea equipment known as a cofferdam that was identified as a potential source of sheen," said spokesman Craig Savage. "A further investigation is planned to inspect the Deepwater Horizon rig. If it's identified as a potential source of sheen, we'll work with the Coast Guard and rig-owner Transocean to address the matter."
In a Sunday post on her weblog, Schumaker quoted Florida State University marine biologist Ian MacDonald, who is the ship’s chief scientist, as saying the most likely source for the new sheen is one or more natural seeps of oil to the east of the well that are associated with a salt dome beneath the gulf bottom. Oil deposits often are found along the edges of the underground salt formations.
“The bottom near the wellhead is totally transformed by drill cuttings and debris,” MacDonald told Schumaker. “It was unlike any deepsea benthos I have ever seen.”
Benthos is the scientific term for the sediment layer on an ocean’s floor, and for the organisms that live in the sediment.
The rest is here.

And so it goes.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Coffee: From Senseo to Tassimo, Maybe.

Haven't had time for a post of my own; I worked 9 days in a row (including Election day) with today my first of 2 days off.  Yea!

Today is windy, rainy and dismal so I went shopping for a few things to stock the pantry and was disappointed to find no coffee pods for my Senseo.  Wal-mart was supposed to be under contract to Melitta to carry their coffee pods, but today I was told that the k-cups are too popular and the space was needed...you know, supply and demand, and like that. One less reason to visit Wal-mart.

I came home and searched for other single-serve machines and came up with a few options:  Flavia, Keurig, Tassimo, and a new entry by Starbucks - Verismo.  After a few hours of investigating the various options, reviews, pros & cons of each, I wanted to see what was available locally.

So I dropped in at the local gourmet/kitchen supply store (Kitchen & Company) to see what they had to offer.  Their Keurig display of machines and coffees took up a whole aisle that stretched the depth of the store, front to back. And that was it. Keurig.  Period. They had never heard of the other machines or even cared. So much for buying locally.

OK so, I've ruled out Keurig; basically a drip coffee maker, too big and heavy.   They look like something out of the original War of the Worlds movie, and their coffees are overpriced. 

Flavia is out, too. Very complicated and inconvenient for a one-cup machine. The Verismo is compact and interesting, but expensive, and accepts only Starbucks brand of limited products for the machine.

I am leaning toward the Tassimo machines offering a vast array of coffee products, tea, hot chocolate by various well known coffee companies. They're also lighter and more compact to fit into my small space. Called "Brew Bots" the unique feature of these machines is that they use T-discs that contain a bar code which tells the machine what disc is being used, how much pressure to use and how much water at what temperature will be necessary to make the requested cuppa-joe.

There are 4 Tassimo machines available and some are on sale at various outlets.  They are more versatile, brewing not only coffee, but cappuccino, latte, espresso, and tea.

I want a good cup of coffee with a nice crema and rich flavour to kick start my heart in the morning. Is that too much to ask? The Senseo has served me well for about 10 years and it will be a radical adjustment, but I think the Tassimo will be my best option - if a little more expensive for the pods.

I've got Senseo coffee pods left, so I have time to refine my search.  Nothing will have to be decided until around the new year.

I smell olives.

And so it goes.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

I've Known This Since Childhood

"the breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. don’t go back to sleep"  — ~Rumi

And so it goes.

Post-Election Caturday

If the shoe fits, wear it.

And so it goes.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Bookshop Saves Out-of-Print Sci-Fi 1 e-Book at a Time

I just stumbled upon this article and being both a Sci-Fi and Kindle lover I thought it a great idea.  Talk about dedication.  I had no idea that this kind of publishing (Sci-Fi) would be so complicated, but it is.
With its dramatic cover art and fantastical story plots, science fiction dared readers to dream of amazing possible futures filled with aliens, robots, and all sorts of gadgetry. Now, ironically, some of the earliest books of the genre find themselves precariously near extinction, never to make it to the future they describe. Until Singularity & Co came onto the scene, that is.
Lawyer Ash Kalb, musician-anthropologist Cici James, stylist-writer Jamil V Moen, and former Gawker media community manager Kaila Hale-Stern are the intrepid crew behind the Brooklyn-based bookshop. Each month, Singularity & Co—with the help of its community—chooses one great out-of-print or obscure science fiction novel, tracks down the copyright holders and makes that work available in DRM-free PDF, Epub, and Mobi format for subscribers.
Founded in April, after a massively successful Kickstarter campaign that earned them 350 percent of their $15,000 (£9,500) goal and kudos from authors like Neil Gaiman, Cory Doctorow and Ken McLeod, Singularity & Co hasn't always had the easiest time unraveling vintage sci-fi's copyright issues. "We knew it would be difficult to track down the legal status of the books, but it's simply much harder than we thought it would be," said James.
Books get lost along the way for a variety of reasons. There could be no perceived demand for it, publication rights become muddled, or the books are simply forgotten. Sometimes, things get political. "It's really sad because a lot of really great books get lost not because nobody wants them but because people with lots of money who claim they have the rights are stopping people who have the rights from actually doing things. We hope to help these people down the road," said Kalb, the lawyer of the group, who takes charge of helping authors and author estates untangle the copyright mess.
Since April, Singularity & Co moved into a high-ceilinged space that doubles as the team's work area for their respective personal pursuits in Brooklyn's Dumbo (down under the Manhattan Bridge overpass) neighborhood. "We call it the bookshop at the end of the Universe because we're on the edge of Dumbo, where it becomes Vinegar Hill," said Kalb, "We're surrounded by scenery that wouldn't work for anybody else, but it's perfect for us." Views of power grids greet visitors alongside shelves of sci-fi books arranged chronologically, instead of alphabetically.
It has also published two books: A Plunge Into Space by Robert Cromie and The Torch by Jack Bechdolt, both with fresh cover art re-imagined by artists today (in the future, Singularity & Co's plans to find original cover artists and secure rights for reprinting their illustrations). For its soon-to-be-released third book, Mr Stranger's Sealed Packet by Hugh MacColl, the team tracked down the lone copy out of university archives and went on a thousand-mile drive just to scan it.
Despite being out of copyright, none of the universities who owned a copy of Mr. Stranger's Sealed Packet permitted scanning. "If you're part of that university or that consortium then you have access to that book. If you don't then you don't," said James.
"Which is sad," added Kalb, "the default position of the organization seems to be, 'I don't know if this is valuable but, just in case it is, I want to make sure nobody else gets their hands on it.'"
As expected, authors and author estates are quite happy to get the call from Singularity & Co—not only because it means revived readership, but also, surprisingly, a better business deal. "We negotiated our first couple of deals based on what we thought was fair as opposed to what was normally done in the publishing industry," said Kalb, "As a result—especially for backlist stuff—we're offering just a much better deal. That's because we know we can do things efficiently and make enough to keep going that way. We also want to make sure that we're fair to everyone that we work with."
It's that benevolent business spirit that has earned Singularity & Co praise from the community. "This project is about what it appears to be about," said Kalb, "We're not in this business to make a ton of money. It'd be great if we can bring some value to the people that own this stuff and also bring the books back to the world." The bookshop works with a socially responsible enterprise framework—one that doesn't aim for astronomical profits, but simply wants to keep the lights on and the scanner running.
Flush with success, Singularity & Co's looking to extend its service by carrying new sci-fi books in its Brooklyn shop; opening an e-store that offers sci-fi cover art-inspired merchandise; and further along in the future, launching another imprint in charge of reviving books from another genre. Could world domination be next?
Learn more about Singularity & Co here, and you can subscribe to their service here.
And so it goes.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Country Wins

Last week Bill Maher said, "if Obama wins, the country wins - if Romney wins, comedy wins" so, guess what?  Uh-huh. Alright Lady Liberty, you can come out now;

OK, time for all the wingnuts to climb back inside the clown car and follow the Republican Circus Crazy Train into the sunset.

The only winner from the national wingnut brigade, crazy-eyes Michelle Bachmann, will continue representing her state.  I suppose her constituency is as coo-coo as she is - and that's saying something.

It was a good day for the country overall.
  • Elizabeth Warren beat up out tea-party pretty boy, Scott Brown in the Massachusetts senate race.
  • Open lesbian, Tammy Baldwin is heading for the Senate to represent Wisconsin.  Unfortunately, Paul Ryan (Romney's VP choice) will return to his seat in the House also representing WI.  He hedged his bets. Too bad that, but can't win' 'em all.
  • Another gift, Alan Grayson took back his Florida seat after losing the last time round.  Outspoken and always ready to educate the rightwing stoopid, he will be another refreshing change in Congress.
  • Marriage equality succeeded in 4 states, NOM and DOMA suffered severe losses across the board, and the loons opposed to abortion (and knew more about women's bodies than women did) went down in flames.
Shenanigans & dirty tricks:
  • Targeting democrats and minorities with mailers giving the wrong polling place and date which, when discovered, were promptly corrected by local media, word of mouth, and phone calls.
  • Creating bottlenecks for voters (you know who they are!) by limiting voting machines in areas of high progressive/Democratic turnout. Think Florida & Ohio. Word got out early and some waited on long lines for 4 hours or more to cast their ballot. But they would not be denied, they eventually voted, and that's what counts.
  • Rigging or tweaking voting machines so if the voter didn't push the correct button in the proper sequence, their vote was voided, or in some cases switched to the other party.  That one was caught early on election day. No details yet. There is a YT video, however.
  • Photo ID was demanded in states that do not have voter ID laws. While some voters complied, others refused and demanded to cast their ballot.  To avoid mass publicity the poll workers allowed those who refused, to vote anyway.
The majority of schemes the Republicans concocted to fool or deny voters access to the polls, in the end were all for naught and showed them to be the whining, childish cowards they are.

While the media insisted that Obama's base of young people, minorities, and elderly had eroded, it was these very people who discovered and warned about the tricks listed above. 

I was always told as a child that 'cheaters never win and are usually found out'.  Maybe it's Karma.

Results of many local races, (including my state of Delaware where most progressive candidates won easily) show that things are changing in the US. Religious bigotry and overt disdain for those who disagree with the ultra-conservative agenda lost in almost every instance.

There is a dangerous Nor'easter, already named Athena,  heading our way - New Jersey and New York are in its path, too (prayers ascend for everyone in harms way) - but I'm feeling pretty good today.

And so it goes.

Some World Reaction to the Re-election

This is from the AP via HuffPo:
President Barack Obama's re-election in the United States elicited strong feelings — from optimism to skepticism — around the world. A sampling of global reaction:
"One of the first things I want to talk to Barack about is how we must do more to try and solve this crisis (in Syria). Above all, congratulations to Barack. I've enjoyed working with him, I think he's a very successful U.S. president and I look forward to working with him in the future."— British Prime Minister David Cameron, on a visit to Syrian refugees on the Jordanian border.
"Your re-election is a clear choice in favor of an America that is open, unified, completely engaged in the international scene and conscious of the challenges facing our planet: peace, the economy and the environment." — French President Francois Hollande.
Pope Benedict XVI sent a message to Obama expressing hope that "ideals of liberty and justice, which guided the founders of the U.S.A., may continue to shine on the road ahead for the nation." — Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi.
"When you were elected in 2008, you inspired the world with a call to take responsibility for the problems we face as global citizens. Since then, you have made earnest efforts to live up to that great hope and trust placed in you by the American public. I believe you have been re-elected now in recognition of that effort." — the Dalai Lama.
"The bond between Europe and North America, based upon the shared values on which our alliance was founded over 60 years ago, remains as strong, and as important to the preservation of Euro-Atlantic peace and security, as ever. President Obama has demonstrated outstanding leadership in maintaining this vital bond." — NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
"I will continue to work with President Obama to preserve the strategic interests of Israel's citizens." — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has had a strained relationship with the American president over Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"During the last four years when Obama was U.S. president, no breakthrough happened in relations between Iran and the US. At the beginning of his first term the situation was a bit better, but as he went on the relations got much worse, with the sanctions being imposed. So I think the outcome of the elections that was just held will not make any difference for Iran." — Amir Karimi, a resident of the Iranian capital, Tehran.
"As a mother and as a grandmother who raises boy children, I think that the symbolism of having a black man occupy the highest office is something that can make my children very aspirational to know that this is possible, you know, in their lifetime" — Zindzi Mandela, daughter of former South African President Nelson Mandela.
"If both parties try to overcome the accumulated distrust and turn over a new leaf, if America comes to realize that it needs to work with Vladimir Putin instead of thinking that it doesn't like the Russia that we live in, then we could achieve results." — Alexei Pushkov, chairman of the Russian Duma's foreign affairs committee, calling for a new start to U.S.-Russia relations.
"Sandy was a climate change warning. Obama must now take the stage and fulfill the promise of hope the world needs." — Kumi Naidoo, international executive director of Greenpeace.
The trust that the American people wanted to renew in you will allow the international community, Europe and Italy to benefit from your leadership without interruptions. ... With your confirmation at the White House, Italy knows it can count on a strong and united America." — Italian Premier Mario Monti.
"I think Obama is a man eminently capable of building bridges between the Democrats and Republicans. And if you look at the challenges ahead for America — bringing down unemployment, getting the economy going again, strengthening the political and trade relationships with Europe and Asia — there are plenty of reasons to do so." — Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
 Interesting and mostly positive comments; a far cry from what was forecast in 2004 when Dubya went back to the White House.

I am pleased with the election results from around the country and maybe I'll share some thoughts on other races that surprised and made me even happier.  History was made again last night.

And so it goes.

It's Over. Now, Back to Work!

This appeared in my inbox yesterday morning and I was praying that I would be able to display it today. Yes!  We can.
Congratulations, Mr. President.

More later, after coffee and breakfast.  I have to catch up on the other races and I am off today.  Thanks to the Nor'easter coming at us, I will be indoors much of the day.

And so it goes.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


If you don't exercise your right to vote, you will lose your right to complain later.

I'm out the door shortly to vote, then cross the street to the restaurant to work the lunch shift today. I have been told that Election day is a very big day at the restaurant. I wasn't working there in 2008, so I'll have nothing to compare to this experience.

More later.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Ali Forney Drop-In Center Destroyed By Hurricane Sandy

I have nothing more to add; the fact that young people are suffering this kind of hate from their own biological families in 2012 is mind-boggling enough.  Help if you are able.  These kids have no one, but our caring community. Reposted from JMG:
A terrible message from Carl Siciliano:
Dear Friends,  Yesterday we were finally able to inspect our drop-in center in Chelsea, half a block from the Hudson River. Our worst fears were realized; everything was destroyed and the space is uninhabitable. The water level went four feet high, destroying our phones, computers, refrigerator, food and supplies.

This is a terrible tragedy for the homeless LGBT youth we serve there. This space was dedicated to our most vulnerable kids, the thousands stranded on the streets without shelter, and was a place where they received food, showers, clothing, medical care, HIV testing and treatment, and mental health and substance abuse services. Basically a lifeline for LGBT kids whose lives are in danger.

We are currently scrambling for a plan to provide care to these desperate kids while we prepare to ultimately move into a larger space that will better meet our needs. The NYC LGBT Center has very kindly and generously offered to let us temporarily use some of their space, and we hope to determine the viability of that on Monday.

We have been deluged with kind offers from people who wish to volunteer and donate goods. Unfortunately, we will have to provide our services in the time being in much smaller spaces that won't accommodate volunteers or allow for much storage space. The best way people can reach out to help in this very challenging time is by making monetary donations. Please go to our website.

It is heartbreaking to see this space come to such a sad end. For the past seven years it has been a place of refuge to thousands of kids reeling from being thrown away by their parents for being LGBT. For many of these kids coming to our drop-in center provided their first encounter with a loving and affirming LGBT community. I thank all of you for your care and support in a most difficult time.
And so it goes.

Sandy Destroys Dunes, Closes New Bridge

This is probably the worst news for the coastal highway and the coastal beaches of Delaware and Maryland. It appears the bridge will not reopen until November 4 or 5.
Cape Gazette:
By late afternoon Nov. 1, state transportation officials were still not sure whether the Indian River Inlet bridge would reopen for weekend traffic. The bridge was closed Oct. 28 as Hurricane Sandy approached the Delaware coast.
On Oct. 31, one lane of Route 1 south was opened to emergency vehicles only.
As Hurricane Sandy pushed northward toward the Mid-Atlantic region, a wind-driven high tide and waves pushed tons of sand and water across the highway, eventually reaching across to the marsh on the west side of the roadway. The water came first, followed by blowing sand that piled up quickly as storm conditions worsened during the day and into the night of Oct. 28.
As soon as conditions improved, state officials assessed the situation, and what they saw was astounding.
Several feet of sand covered both sides of Route 1 for half a mile on the north side of the bridge.
At least a half mile of dunes was lost, said Frank Piorko, director of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control's Division of Watershed Stewardship. The good news is that nature is already starting to rebuild the destroyed beach, said Tony Pratt, administrator of DNREC's Shoreline and Management Section.
More HERE. Plenty of pictures, too.

And so it goes.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Two Timely Reminders

I believe that says it all.

And so it goes.

Beautiful Autumn Caturday

And it really is a beautiful Autumn day. Blustery and bright sunshine. Good leaf-raking day.

And so it goes.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

FEMA Head To Michael Brown: 'Better To Be Fast Than To Be Late'

On Tuesday I posted an interview with Michael Brown, BushCo's head of FEMA, who botched the Katrina disaster and now has the gall to criticize Obama's quick response to Sandy's devastation.  My personal views aside, the current head of FEMA, no longer the gutted agency it was under Dubya, responds to Brownie's comments today.
FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate dismissed criticisms of President Barack Obama's response to Hurricane Sandy lobbed by Michael Brown, who oversaw the disastrous Bush administration response to Hurricane Katrina.
"Better to be fast than to be late," Fugate said in an interview on NPR Tuesday morning.
Brown, whom President George W. Bush infamously praised for doing a "heckuva job" in the aftermath of Katrina in 2005, told a Denver paper that Obama had acted too quickly in mobilizing relief for Sandy.
"Here's my concern," Brown told Denver's Westword on Monday, suggesting that the prompt official response was actually making people complacent. "It's premature [when] the brunt of the storm won't happen until later this afternoon."

Fugate also addressed the role of FEMA, which has been a hot topic since Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said he wanted to abolish the agency so that states would have direct responsibility for disaster response.

His campaign later clarified that he would not eliminate FEMA.

"Governor Romney believes that states should be in charge of emergency management in responding to storms and other natural disasters in their jurisdictions,” said campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg. “As the first responders, states are in the best position to aid affected individuals and communities and to direct resources and assistance to where they are needed most. This includes help from the federal government and FEMA.”

But as Fugate explained on Tuesday, this is exactly how FEMA already works.

"We're a federal government; we're not a national government," he said "Disasters are local. Through state constitutions, the governors are the primary incident commanders for the entire state response in support of that. And the role of the federal government is to support the states when the disaster exceeds their capabilities. And when it's this bad, we work as one team. But we are in support of the governors, as they are in support of the local officials. It's a federal system of government."
Read the rest and listen to the NPR interview HERE.

And so it goes.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...