Thursday, July 31, 2008

Is THIS Why We Have The Olympic Games?

Hope you're feeling a bit politically aware, I'm on a rant.

This is what Sen. Sam Brownback (D-KS) of the State Judiciary Committe discussed today:


Beijing announced months ago they planned to have "open internet" facilities at all hotels to better accomodate the world's representatives coming to China.  No one seemed to have misgivings about it and indeed, it sounded like progressive movement of China toward an historic re-emmergence into the world as a major commercial power.  In other words, no military regime.  How could we be so beguiled? so naive?  How could we forget the Chinese are socialists?


According to Senator Brownback, they now admit these internet options are to SPY ON AMERICANS USING THE NET in order to TRACK, ARREST and IMPRISON DISSEDENTS.  Unknowingly, people will be helping a regime with an atrocious human rights record to locate those Chinese citizen's working for honest changes in their government.  The abolishment of communism.  We'll be used by China to further more of what history shows is their reputation for torture, murder, silencing the voices of freedom and human rights.  Their record is criminal.

All you need to remember is the Dalai Lama barely escaping to India while the Chinese invaded Tibet and murdered thousands of peaceful Buddhist monks, burying them alive in the bombed-out temples of the mountains. 

I support the Olympics (or any action that brings peoples of differing agendas together in peace, for peace).  I wouldn't cry "boycott" here, but let's at least be AWARE.  Let's not beused. 


Death As Penalty

Repost of 9/16-06

An Assignment from blogger John Scalzi Weekend Assignment #129: It Just Doesn't Make Sense!by way of Paul Little's place Aurora Walking Vacation seems to be to write about that which GETS YOUR GOAT, which makes NO SENSE but exists anyway, which is covered in IRONY and you can't wrap your head around.  This one's too easy for me: 

                                  "CAPITAL PUNISHMENT"

                                   "THE DEATH PENALTY"

If I were being punished or penalized, it would mean I'd be taken to task in hopes my deed won't be re-committed by me.  If you kill me, you're assured I'll never do it again, but I'd be DEAD so that's no good.  If I killed your friend or relative or someone you don't know or ANYONE AT ALL, please explain the logic in killing me?  I can put it in scientific terms, even visceral ways, any old way; but the simplest seems the best:  Why is killing the answer to stopping killers?  Some say, "Well at least HE won't kill again."  Right, and how many times have we said that, and how many MORE?  Every time someone is murdered by the State?  "At least those 50,000 won't kill again!"  He's DEAD and the reason he's dead is because he made someone ELSE dead and it CONFOUNDS me, am I simple?  What did I miss??  Isn't killing wrong, morally, ethically, though some say it's instinctual well, yes perhaps in war that instinct is necessary to survive, but isn't the idea of plotting and stalking for the sake of eventually capturing and killing just wrong?  Other animals stalk, capture and kill so they can survive.  We don't need to, we have supermarkets to acquire our needs, we're evolved (ha).    

Our presently sitting Supreme Court says capital "punishment" is legal, but leaves it to each State's discretion whether or not to kill.  Texas, Florida and California lead the way in what I call State-sanctioned murder.  It's clean, but it's not quick.  It's orderly, but it's not painless.  I'll explain that further on.  I know the thinking is "Why shouldn't these vermin be tortured before dying anyway?"  I leave it to you to answer that in your own heart.  As I say, for me it's beyond reason.   

In the forensic/legal world, we have a saying: "L-WOPPED" and if a Judge L-wopps you, kiss the world goodbye.  It means "Life without the possibility of parole" and is there any reason we can't keep our own laws and USE this sentence, making SURE these killers are never freed?  For true killers I say use it more often, stop this 25 to life nonsense - that amounts to approximately 8 years, less with good behavior.  If you take a life, you should forfeit your freedom.  But no one has a right to forfeit your life.  That's why you're in prison, that's what YOU did, you took life, which is wrong, and it's either wrong ALWAYS or it doesn't work.  Some things are just wrong and they'll ALWAYS be wrong and I believe taking another's life is one.  That includes the State.       

As for amenities, no amount of cable or basketball or air-conditioning can detract from the reality of losing your freedom for the rest of your life, and not always naturally.  (Besides, death row inmates don't get any of that).  You WILL die in prison either by violence or old age.  If you hurt a child, you're put into protective custody because every con wants a piece of you.  Every condemned prisoner spends 23 HOURS A DAY in a 6 by 8 foot cell, they're allowed exactly ONE HOUR a day for shower, and walking in a circle on the roof with several armed guards watching.  It's during those times someone can slit your throat, as the guards either watch or turn their backs.  Everyone hates a killer, especially when it involves children and mothers.  But if we decide to kill the killers, we are .... what?  Carrying out justice?  Or vengeance.  Why are WE not then killers, and isn't it just that simple?  Yes, the State is carrying out the Death Warrant signed by the Governor which is law, so you might decide "Well, we're obeying the law".  But these are man's laws, they change, morality shouldn't.  We have to PROgress not REgress in our evolution.  We need to better understand what we now can't control.  In the meantime, lock them down for good.  A LIFE SENTENCE SHOULD NOT BE GIVEN UNLESS YOU'RE PREPARED TO CARRY IT OUT AND KEEP THAT PERSON LOCKED AWAY FROM SOCIETY FOR THEIR NATURAL LIFE.  You don't have to do what they did:  kill.  Segregate and study them, for heavens sake.  As Freud said, "A man with no conscience is hardly human and may be a separate species altogether.  Our conscience is what makes us human." 

The same man who built Florida's present "Old Sparky" also concocted the so-called "painless" lethal injection.  There is no such thing, and forensic evidence bears this out.  As for electrocution: 

This is basically cooking someone from the inside out.  Like microwave.  The protocol for the total amount of electricity used is 5,000 volts in 2 separate shocks.  The first shock of 2500 volts is meant to paralyze.  It does not.  Although semi-comatose, the condemned can feel.  How do we know this?  Read on.  The second 2500 volts is meant to stop the heart, which it usually does, otherwise a third shock is administered.  Between shocks, a Doctor carefully checks the condemn's heart, and must wear gloves with his stethescope because the body is intensely hot.  Smoke is seen from the cross copper plating surrounding the man's head and right leg (used for grounding, in order to complete the cycle of electric flow).  How many times this procedure has gone wrong would definitely startle you.  (These are things mainstream Americans never hear, and it's because they'd "rather not".  But a jury of those same citizens can vote for death, so why not have them as witnesses to the execution?  If you never see one, you shouldn't have the right to inflict it by virtue of your jury vote.)  I digress.  Now, there's a sponge used under the cap meant to help the conduction of electricity but it must be natural sea-sponge.  Once, a guard was sent to purchase more when they ran low, and unknowingly bought synthetic ones.  The first man to endure the infernal consequences was Jesse Cordero in Starke, Florida, and his shaved head caught fire.  His flesh.  Flames emanated from his skull.  I know, you may be thinking, well so what he deserved it.  But how do you justify torture?  If you plan to kill someone, just do it.  I never heard of a Judge ordering "tortured until you WISH you were dead, then we'll try and kill you off properly."  Here is some forensic evidence of how we've come to understand that one is still very much aware after the first shock:  EVERY person who is killed by this method has an autopsy done, and in many cases the Medical Examiner finds that the bladder still contains urine, which can only happen if the prisoner had use of his muscles and contracted them so as to prevent loss of control.  Eventually he does.  If urine is found in the bladder it means it was expelled while the person was alive and conscious, he had to be aware enough to contract his muscles.  So he felt it.  I know, you're thinking "So what, the bastard deserved it".  Again I leave you to ponder your reason for chosing torturous death over justice.   

Lethal injection, once again forensics bear out the serious pain endured.  Have you ever closely looked at the gurney?  Most times they're hidden in pictures, but each one has several heavy leather straps, meant for the sternum, chest, torso, pelvic area, arms, legs, feet and even neck area.  Why would they need straps like that, if he's being "peacefully put to sleep"?  Have you never considered this?  I have, I researched it all in the 1990s, and courtesy of "The Execution Protocol" this is what happens:

Three drugs are used to kill the condemned.  After a line is opened with saline, the first drug is Sodium thiopental, which is meant to render the killer unconscious.  He can still, of course, experience feeling.

The second is the worst, most painful:  Pancuronium bromide. This will paralyze the muscular system, making speech and movement impossible.  The killer is now being suffocated, asphyxiated, and cannot utter a word nor barely move a muscle.  You are completely aware but unable to utter a sound.  The normal reaction of any of us is to fight and struggle against being suffocated, that's where the heavy straps come into play.  Another reason is so the "audience" is lead to believe the condemned feels no pain since they don't see a fight for life, our instinctual reaction.  The truth is there is a very high level of pain, which of course makes many all the happier, and I understand that.  If some monster killed my little granddaughter, my grief would turn to anger and I'd want to make him eat his own intestines.  Since I can't, I'd surely want revenge, vengeancebut eventually I'd need justice.  This may not go over well, but as many families have done I'd plead against sentencing DEATH as punishment during my "VIS" (victim impact statement) because no matter how much I'd want to skin this creep alive, I know I'm the last person to assign what his punishment should be, since that was my grandchild.  Leave me alone with him for 2 minutes, I'd say, because my instinct would be to rip his throat out.  I'd feel better after satisfying my baser instincts, but only for an hour.  It doesn't last, there's no such thing as closure, there's NEVER closure when you lose a loved one to a predator.  The answer, I believe, is to L-WOPP him and MEAN it, LIFE IN PRISON.  If it's law, enforce it please!  Besides now that we know sociopathy exists, why regress back to torture and death as "punishments".         

The third is Potassium chloride, which induces cardiac arrest and the man dies from the combination of suffocation and heart seizure or stoppage.  No one "goes to sleep".  That's what we save for our pets, when we euthanize them.  For that we use phenobarbitol so they fall asleep without pain.  One injection, one easy death.  Why can't we use our vast collective minds in the forensic sciences and medicine to find a more humane way to kill the killers, if kill we must?  Again, I know, you may be thinking why bother.    

None of this is about the prisoners, not about what they did.  We all know what we find reprehensible and indefensible.  A defense attorney is NOT there to defend a killer but to FORCE the prosecution into doing its job.  They failed in the OJ Simpson case.  This is why people should understand defense attorneys better - if they don't bring up all the cracks and questions in the State's case, the prosecution certainly won't!  Case dismissed.

No, what this is about is public policy.  Someday we may evolve a tendency to include ethical values and morally intuitive issues, but until then our prisons are left overcrowded with simple pot growers, and our death rows are crammed with killers some States can't afford to execute, and other they can't kill fast enough.  Oh I could list all the innocent men who died at the hands of the State, but we all know that happens.  We all know innocents were killed and those who came so close before DNA and genome sequencing became so specialized and individual.  But it will always confound me - if I tell a child who's written a bad word on the blackboard, "Now go and write that word on every blackboard in the school" how would I explain this helps him learn anything?  I couldn't because it doesn't.  Capital "punihsment" is the same thing.  Explain to a child that killing is wrong, then tell him why we kill certain people.  That child will see right through such facile arguments.   

Someone might proffer: "Well Cathy, isn't shutting someone up for life immoral and unethical?"  I can only say it's preferable to a "nice clean murder".  It costs taxpayers a million dollars for every year they keep one man on death row.  The State of Florida had to cough up $8 million to execute Theodore Cowell (Bundy).  It costs under $30,000 to keep a man imprisoned for life.  Some would rather die than watch their lives drip away, little by little, see themselves age in the reflection of other prisoners, knowing they'll never leave that place, never walk down a street or into a diner.  You want torture?  Don't you think somone has no peace, having his Death Warrant brought before the Governor every 6 months, never knowing if THIS time he'll sign it?    And I picture an island I do, a place so far out in the mid-ocean that one gets there only by helicopter.  The waters are shark-infested, some Pacific area I think.  Walled in completely, a literal colony of the damned.  This was worked to success in history several times before, and many good decent Australians can trace their ancestry back to Botany Bay prisoners.  I mean an Island of Doom, that's it.  You kill someone, you forfeit your right to live amongst people who prefer to stay alive.  You're separated from any society and when you arrive, there are no amenities waitingIf you want to eat, you grow your food.  Want shelter, build it.  Who knows what could come of such an experiment now, but something has to be found to replace death for death, I believe.        

Note:  No extra credit for me I have absolutely no tunes floating around in my head, & I took this WAY too seriously.  Chill out, Cathy! 

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

One Small Misquote For Man

So what hasn't been said about July 20th, 1969? 


It is the 35th anniversary of Apollo 11's historic adventure and all that can be said about a subject has been said about this.  Except one thing, perhaps:


Mr. Armstrong, a fine astronaut, must've had a ton of butterflies as he extended that leg and foot onto the lunar surface.  The exact quote he was supposed to use is:



He forgot the "a" and although no one really noticed or cared, it does take something from the original meaning.  Anyway, it was a time of energetic hopes and awed inspiration.  And finally, we're going back.  



Sunday, July 20, 2008

You, Me - UNITY

    It's about time we had something


I put it to you, friends of JL, would you set a wrong to right if you could?  What about acts of deception going on for ages - that's lying - would you shine a light and open the door to the truth?  Simple truth.  Stand up for what's decent and right for all peoples, everywhere.  Make a case for what's humane.  FAIR  PLAY FOR ALL. 

If you saw a man beating a small child on the sidewalk you'd propel yourself into the situation, probably place your body between the bully and the baby, make a difference, who knows maybe save the child's life. An act of decency.  ACTION.

On the other hand, when a postage stamp goes up because Congressman feel they need another half million $ raise, you'd not only do nothing, you'd pay it.  No choice, right?  Not quite.


There is always a choice. 

You have a free will to make your own choices. 

Others are making them for you. 

4ALLofUS is looking for solutions. 


4ALLofUS is a group of people who believe the world is in an awful, unacceptabloe state, who are tired of being lied to by politicians, powers-that-be, those with money to continue their deceit, corruption and fouling of the earth, the death, hate, poverty...ENOUGH!  These good folks gathered together and proclaimed their intent:  to make CHANGE.  They mean it.  I belong to this group and feel very proud to, so please take a tour:


That's the website.  Here's something easier, a video that explains a few basics visually.  You will see the truth-images of death, destruction, extreme poverty, bigotry, terror.  You will see the truth.  You can also choose not to bother.     

But I ask you to READ the information on this site, especially the Aims and Ethos, all explained and made very clear.  It costs nothing and means so much.  INVOLVEMENTRegister and be able to post your own views and comments on topics in the Forums or open your own topic for discussion about something you feel strongly about.  I just can't see how anyone wouldn't want to know more - DO MORE.

                        Do anything. 

There's nothing political so much as the loss of decency and FAIR-PLAY that 4ALLofUS is trying to focus on.  That it exists in the political arena is nothing new, these outrages go on day after day everywhere - for too long. 

You have a voice - you have a choice.  Use it! 





Friday, July 18, 2008

Above Your Head This Week

If you're in Europe or Asia you know a total Solar Eclipse is headed your way August 1st.  Eastern Canada will also get a view.


Just look at that alignment of Mars, Saturn and Regulus tonight!  You remember Regulus, the tail of the lion constellation, Leo.  Venus is still very bright in the glow of sunset. 

Here's something to look for: Find the Big Dipper then look for the handle which will have the star Mizar and its companion star, Alcor, visible with binocs.  Draw a line through them and it takes you directly to VEGA in the easterly sky, the brightest star directly overhead.      

Saturday, Jupiter's Red Spot will transit, or cross, the planet's meridian at 10:02 PM, EDT.  It will appear pale-orange but you'll see it.  It will continue to transit, or pass across the surface, every 10.5 hours (10:20 to 20:14).                

Sunday, if you're up at 11:00 PM, EDT, look for the Great Square of Pegasus looming up in the east - an early foreshadowing of Fall.  It'll be a bit bigger than your fist held at arm's length.              

Monday, Red Spot transits at 11:40 PM, EDT.    

Tuesday, my favorite moon, Io, belonging to Jupiter, will disappear behind its western limb at 10:05 PM, EDT.  It will reappear out of the eclipse of Jupiter's shadow, easterly, at 12:41 AM, EDT, early Wednesday morning.

Wednesday, another transit of the Red Spot at 1:18 AM, EDT, early Thursday morning.  What else are you doing at that hour anyway?  Sleeping?  Get up, make a cuppa, go outside, have a look.

Thursday, the modest but long-lasting Delta Aquarid meteor shower is strongest.  Look in southern latitudes before dawn.

Friday, last-quarter Moon, 2:42 PM, EDT.

Saturday, transit of Red Spot, 10:48 PM, EDT.


This time belongs to Jupiter.  An historical first, astonomers have witnessed the birth of a new "red spot" or storm, on the giant planet, which is located half a billion miles away.                 

The new storm is roughly half the diameter of its bigger cousin, the Giant red spot storm.  It is believed the new spot is the result of major climatic changes on Jupiter. 


Basics courtesy of JPL, NASA, Science Daily, star maps, Gryphon.   







Total Eclipse Of The Sun 8/1 - Partial Lunar Eclipse Later in August

Both dangerous and awe-ful, amazing and still able to blind you if not careful - the first TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN since 2006 is headed our way for August 1st.


The above partial eclipse was made using metal-covered glass solar filters.  Gazing at the Sun, eclipse or not, is dangerous but more so at the time of an eclipse, as you're prone to keep gazing for a length of time you wouldn't normally do.  That's how the optical damage occurs.

More than a billion people will get to see a bite taken out of the Sun that day.  From sunrise on the northeastern fringes of North America, to sunset in China, Korea and Southeast Asia, a partial eclipse of the Sun sweeps across a wide area of the world.  But there's more, of course.


Remember February's lunar eclipse, phases shown above?  We'll also be getting a PARTIAL LUNAR ECLIPSE later in August.  The shadow of the Earth will be cast onto the moon once again, visible. 

Heads up in August.    



Monday, July 14, 2008

Misplaced Trust Is Killing Our Children

How do you talk about something so visceral?  But if you don't bring something into the light, it'll stay hidden and dangerous, so I venture forth:

You know how easily children are diagnosed as having ADHD and perhaps your child has been that route, might even take Ritalin for the so-called symptoms.  A few things you may want to know:

For every child "labelled and drugged" as it's called, that school receives subsidies, extra funding, from both the State and Fed.

Once a child has been diagnosed, they are considered mentally ill according to the physician's bible, DSM-4.  Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of disorders.

If you've taken Ritalin for 12 years, you are not eligible for military service, ever.  This may be a hidden blessing but still...

Ritalin, a stimulant, an amphetamine, can actually produce the symtoms for which it advertises relief.  The DEA says publically, after strident research, that there is no difference in affect between the so-called normal child and the medicated one.  Meaning, Ritalin makes no difference in either child.  But it's toxic.

Yes, toxic.  Parents have buried their children because of Ritalin and other psychotropic drugs.  And how does drugging a child help them form intelligent opinions about medications?  Most likely, that a prescription is the answer to just about anything that bothers you.  Young adults given Ritalin as kids are highly prone to drug abuse.  Here, read this and be informed.  It was set up by parents who had to bury their child.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

9-Year Voyage On Its Way


A little girl from England gave it its name, and Walt Disney was so taken by its discovery he named a cartoon character after it.  The discovery of Pluto, Roman god of the underworld because it is perpetually in the dark, caused a tremendous stir.  The artist's rendition above shows Pluto with the shadow of one of its moons, Charon, passing on the left.  Before it was truly seen in 1930, four other objects just like it were discovered, and categorized as ice dwarfs, meaning not big enough to be planets, and consisting mostly of rock and ice.  Pluto is a "dwarf planet" composed of 70% rock and 30% ice, with a poisonously cold atmosphere of which little is known, except it holds nitrogen, carbonmonoxide and methane.  It's freezing out there.  But don't think it was "downgraded" because it's no longer considered a planet.  It is now far more interesting and mysterious.  Ice dwarfs are the most populous objects in space, and 4 billion years ago they helped to form Earth by bringing it the matter from which our planet is made - water, for one.  Water also arrived here via comets.   

              Look how small Pluto and Charon are !!     

Pluto, if it were closer to the sun, would behave like a comet as its ice melted in an erratic orbit.  Its present orbit is eccentric, in fact as the smallest object in our star-sol system, it rotates in reverse of the 8 planets.  It even interferes within the orbit of Neptune.  Pluto has always been thought to have one satellite (moon) called Charon, another mythological character - the ferryman of the River Styx.  But there may be others.  We've discovered at least two, seen in the picture below.


Pluto revolves around the sun ONCE EVERY 248 YEARS!  This dwarf planet is the subject of incredible curiosity, and guess what:  it takes NINE YEARS to get there and WE'RE ON THE WAY!!  At over 10 miles a second!  A voyage back in time.  And we only get one chance.   


This is "NEW HORIZONS" our satellite probe, as it made its flyby in 2007 past Jupiter to pick up speed.  Back then I posted about it Jupiter Flyby This Morning New Horizons was launched in 2006 and as it makes its 9-year journey to Pluto, will gather information about our star-sol system previously unknown.  Out by Neptune is an area called the Kuiper Belt, of which Pluto was thought to be a part because of its small size.  As you see below, "Xena" was thought to be our 10th "planet".


NASA's New Horizons will study everything from Earth to Pluto to the Kuiper Belt and beyond.  It is the fastest craft ever launched, and when it passed Jupiter in February of 2006, the Jovian gravity accelerated it away from the sun by an additional 9,000 miles per hour.  That pushed it up to 52,000 mph as it hurls towards Pluto, expected to reach it by July of 2015.  Even if we blow up the Earth, New Horizons will go on and on and on.....After passing Jupiter, NH began sending back its precious data in March.  This incredible craft has undergone a full range of system and instrument checkouts, callibrations, software enhancements, and propulsive maneuvers to adjust its trajectory accurately.  The image below is what NH sees of Pluto.  Just LOOK at all this!!


We expect to stay five months at Pluto and its (now) 3 moons, conducting geological experiments, mapping the surface, temperature and atmospheric studies, you name it.  But it will extend its mission into the ancient, rocky, icy, planetary building blocks of the Kuiper Belt.  Just amazing.  Fantastic.  The information we retrieve will form the foundation of future missions.  Below is an artist's conception of Pluto and Charon. 


Below is a launch photo of January 19, 2006.


Digital image of Pluto below.  Right now, Pluto is in the stage all planets once went through, but hasn't gone as far, hence its corrected category.  I can't help wondering what the sophisticated cameras of NH will reveal - will these electro-magnetic spectrum eyes show us ice caps? mountains? craters?  The study of this world will most definitely re-write much of what we know of our star-sol system, indeed our galaxy, how it formed, and what's ahead.   


Basics courtesy of NASA, Science Daily, JPL, NHWS, Gryphon.







Friday, July 4, 2008

To All Free People



                 DAY ! !