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May 27th 2008 – What’s In The Cards
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Image by Stephen Poff
Highest number in explore #5!

Today was my first day back to work after being on vacation last week. I feel refreshed. I feel like I purged a few demons. Good thing is.. I still have about almost 3 weeks vacation left, one of which will be spent on a cruise! 😉

This didn’t come out quite the way I thought, but here it is nonetheless. It’s for our podcast mini challenge of "The Number 365"

Back when I started my project, I didn’t really understand what I had before me. It was really just a simple little thing that was going to take me a year to do and that might also track my hair loss over that year… I’m only half joking. But I soon began to realize what it was doing for me.

The 365 Days project forced me to take a second look at the way I viewed myself and the world around me. I discovered things that I both liked and disliked about myself and because of that I think I made some solid choices to improve my life.

The side benefit was that I was becoming more creative and developing my skills as a photographer. The work I was doing was getting noticed more and it led to a lot of freelance work and consequently I think, the job I have today.

After getting hired for the job and moving to Montgomery, there was another side benefit, the 365 Group. In August, Mav discovered my stream and things haven’t been the same since. I’ve met a lot of good friends and feel like I’ve been able to pass on some some of the things that I’ve learned… which is extremely satisfying.

Will I continue after this year is up? I don’t know. I quit after my first year believing that I had completed my new years resolution and that there wasn’t any real point to doing it again. But here I am 2 years later with you again. This year has been more about the photography and reconnecting with you guys that it has been about self-discovery, but I’m finding out that I’m learning even more about myself than back in ’06… so we’ll see.

More importantly, I’m just glad that I have you guys around this time. January to August 2006 was a lonely time for 365.

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GUARDING CHERNOBYL WITH DISTINCTION.
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Image by DeeAshley
Even on … Those Days.
There will inevitably be one of, well..,
Those.Days.

[CAUSE AND EFFECT:]
Those days when you wonder if this is what those T.V. psychiatrists always seem to refer to as "disassociation,’ or perhaps even more accurately, an "acute psychotic breakdown."
Those days that we never expect, yet, incredibly, (unfortunately), virtually all human beings will have one or more of Those days.
Those days when you walk into your office expecting that double chocolate birthday cake.
Yet, much to your utter shock and jaw-dropping, heart-stopping horror, you’re met with dumbfounded stares – blankly and unblinking just like that cute little blond co-worker staring past you (or perhaps, through you?) . . .
She almost appears to be making sounds with her mouth, her big blue eyes appearing to have been holding back oceans now breaking free, although she doesn’t seem to care- or notice – as her corneas are now drowning in a sea of water that might very well be the infinite source of saline – she’s saying something… something… – lay-offs, FBI Interviews, lie detector tests, bankruptcy, and such. You slowly do an uneven 360 degree rotation, feeling the cold clammy pre-vomit symptoms quickly knotting your gut and working diligently and quite efficiently upward toward the diaphragm, and you swallow as hard as you can in hopes of choking back any projectiles – which would sadly consist of this morning’s Sara Lee Fat Free muffin and that and rather healthy dose of quaker’s oatmeal. The accountant comes running toward you as you instinctively take a step backwards, she stops short, wailing something about the end, "This is THE END!!" After her choking sobs were more manageable you were able to make out a little bit…
Something about the CFO embezzling all of the company assets, the investors, the pensions, the retirement, even the petty cash and the quarters unfortunate enough to be left unsupervised in the vending machine, "EVERYTHING!" Her shrieks trail off into whimpers for a moment, but like a tide gathering strength, the choking, hyperventilating, nose running unceremoniously down her pudgy red face, gathers strength once again…
After 15 minutes of careful lipreading, hugging, and firm shoulder shaking, you learn of His last possible sighting: Somewhere near Krakow, Poland; playing Texas Hold Em’ with a group of 8 foot embittered pro-Stalin, ex-soviet military men waiting with baited breath for anyone to provide them the opportunity to work out their personal anger issues with their current political views as well as their new tenured posts guarding the perimeter encompassing a well-known and lovely region most commonly called Chernobyl.
Those Days.
Still in shock staring blankly at the empty road ahead, you receive a phone call. Your son didn’t know that that giant chocolate bunny was bad for the kitty.
Your kitty.
"Mommy? How long do I have to leave this icky red stuff in my hair to make it look like yours? It’s starting to burn…!"
You were just about to ask your little loved one to repeat that last part, when you notice a disturbingly familiar and distinctive sound couple by bright lights that are flashing red and blue.
"What seems to be the problem Officer?"
"80 miles per hour?" "Really?" "In a 40?" (Gasp!) "A School Zone!"
"I’m sorry? What..? Phone?"
"Oh! [insert sheepish giggle] you mean this cell phone?"
"Inspection?" "That’s impossible! It couldn’t have been over a year-" stop. Damn stickers!
"They used to be transparent!"
45 minutes later, clutching 5 crispy new citations so tightly, you notice with no satisfaction that your bitten-to-the-nub nails have been digging some impressive holes through that wretched, foul-smelling carbon paper. The fifth ticket was for insubordination after you tell Officer Pursey what else seems to be a bit puckered as well. Despite his interjections, you were able to also remind him of what a sad excuse for a job he must have, picking on hard-working middle class citizens while there are grown men and women selling crack to kids on the street corners and how could he live with himself???
As you can see, one can never predict one of those days . . .
One must act quickly and decisively and take drastic measures in order to have the slightest chance of maintaining even the most precarious, desperate grip on that sad, thin, weathered thread of sanity remarkably similar to that which you are clawing and grasping for – any shred of mental cohesion to cling to.
[THE RULES:]
First of all, when in a rural environment such as this one, you must scream as loud as you can and bang on your steering wheel until your palms are throbbing. Sometimes it is even necessary to allow the head to slowly find its way onto the steering wheel, resulting in a shrieking noise that may cause the local canines to react in a rather agitated manner, but that’s fine. Just let the horn go, the noise will eventually drown itself out. Next, the helpless exhaustion should naturally give way to a dawning sense of indignation. This will happen rather quickly so prepare yourself to brush away any tears, mascara trails, and beware of any unintended shards of plastics or glass that may have been damaged during the end-of-the-world tantrum.
Thankfully, this horrific despair and painful psychic asphyxiation will rapidly give way to your new friend:
Fury. Rage.
A Seething cauldron of fuck-this-fuck-you-fuck-it-all-don’t-even-think-of-cutting-me-off-because-i-will-bludgeon-you-with-these-q-tips kind of all-consuming anger that flows hot and fast through your entire body. That 230 pound trucker that had intended on cutting you off takes one look into that cold empty stare and instinctively knows that this is one of those times when concessions are in order.
And Here, ladies and gentlemen, a photo is born. Who knew what that Toyota 4-cylinder hybrid sedan was really capable of until now? Although you may still be mostly(?) lucid, you’ve lost just enough of that annoying trait commonly referred to by the layperson as, "good judgement."
Before you know it, those Angus Cows are merely blurs in your peripheral, adrenaline-filled darting glances, you note an odd sensation that is reminiscent to barreling down those hilltops on your mother’s best cookie sheet after the first snow as a child. Ah, yes, that is the hydroplaning. No matter, friction is overrated.
What better way to salvage what’s left of this wretched, god-forsaken, nail-in-the-head, day than this?
You should have thought of this before!
What the hell, may as well take a picture. It could turn out kinda cool.

Supplemental:
*No cows, children, CFO’s, accountants, vending machines, felines, Toyotas, or law enforcement officials were actually harmed in the making of this photo. This sad day and its unfortunate series of events are entirely fictional, although there can be no guarantees as to the psychological wellness of the prefrontal cortex responsible for the creation of said events.*

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THE BIG “GREEN” SCAM IS BLOWING UP
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Image by SS&SS
Obama’s Solar Nightmare
By Ed Lasky
The Democrats have been busy the last two years, and not just reengineering the healthcare industry, restructuring the auto sector, assaulting Wall Street and the financial sector, harming our public finances. They have also been trying to transform America’s energy industry at our expense. This is Barack Obama at his worst — picking losers and winners by personal whim, donations for dollars deals, and ideological zeal.

Who have been the losers and who have been the winners? And have the winners just been taking the taxpayers for a ride while their guy has been driving the bus — with taxpayers sitting in the back?

The Obama administration has tried to kill off the oil industry. Offshore moratoriums have been unilaterally imposed by executive orders and justified using scientific panel studies that were misrepresented-if not distorted- by the administration. The drilling permitting process has been afflicted with sclerosis. Federal lands are becoming less and less available for development.

Obama does not like carbon; he boasted during the campaign that he would bankrupt coal power plants and that his policies would necessarily boost the price of power. Those words were ignored by much of the media, in thrall to the man they so wanted to win. When the rapture swept journalists into ecstasy who cared about little details here and there about Obama’s agenda?

He tried and failed to get a cap and trade bill through Congress. He warned that if that effort failed he would do another end run around Congress and rely on his Environmental Protection Agency to do his dirty work.

Who knows? Maybe Obama has personalized his gripes and made them the basis of public policy. We know how he feels about George Bush and Dick Cheney — both with strong ties to the oil industry. Maybe he just doesn’t care for the South where much of our carbon wealth is found — a Republican redoubt that he may have just written off as a political wasteland for him.

Hence, gas prices approaching dollars a gallon — and this is not yet the summer driving season that typically boosts gas prices as demand increases.

This price hike may make New York Times columnist Tom Friedman gleeful. He considers high priced gas (and Chinese authoritarianism) the answer to all ills. He writes column after column on these topics from the baronial splendor of his homes (here is a photo of one of them; he earned his fortune, by the way, by marrying it). Undoubtedly, he salves his conscience regarding the carbon footprints of his homes with checks to buy carbon credits — and writes more columns castigating us for our addiction to carbon.

But I digress.

How else have the Democrats been trying to change our power industry? By the old-fashioned way: changing the rules of the game (as noted above) and then using our tax dollars to enrich green schemers. The grand champion of spending boosts by Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress has been a 1014% boost in spending for the "Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Program." Then there is something called the Green Jobs Labor Fund-which did not even exist prior to 2009 and has received hundreds of millions of dollars.

But wait…there is more.

Much of the stimulus money also went toward funding green schemes, and one of the major beneficiaries have been solar power promoters. These are, in the words of Washington Post columnist Robert Samuelson, "pipe dreams." Many of the promoters and hucksters behind these "ventures" have chummy relationships with Democrats-as will be covered below.

How are these solar dreams playing out? As nightmares, at least for taxpayers.

The latest to turn off the lights is a Massachusetts venture promoted by its Governor, Deval Patrick.

From the Boston Globe:

Evergreen Solar Inc. will eliminate 800 jobs in Massachusetts and shut its new factory at the former military base in Devens, just two years after it opened the massive facility to great fanfare and with about million in taxpayer subsidies.

The company announced yesterday that it will close the plant by the end of March, calling itself a victim of weak demand and competition from cheaper suppliers in China, where the government provides solar companies with generous subsidies.

Evergreen itself has a factory in Wuhan, China, built in collaboration with a Chinese company, Jiawei Solarchina Co. Ltd., and with money from a Chinese government investment fund. The company had previously said it would shift some production from Devens to the Wuhan plant but yesterday was the first time it said Devens would be closed.

The Devens closing is a major hit to Governor Deval Patrick’s efforts to make Massachusetts a hub of the emerging clean-energy industry. The administration persuaded Evergreen to build at Devens with a package of grants, land, loans, and other aid originally valued at million. The company ended up taking about million, one of the largest aid packages Massachusetts has provided to a private company, and the governor was the featured guest at Evergreen’s ribbon-cutting in July 2008.

Governor Patrick had been criticized during his re-election campaign for providing aid to the plant during a time of economic stress. He ignored the criticism and plowed ahead. He and Barack Obama shared more than plagiarized speech lines and campaign strategist David Axelrod.

There are claw-back provisions allowing the state to recover some of the lost money. But these are mostly window dressing. Officials admit the terms are so complicated and generous that any recovery will be only a token amount. Company officials agree.

This is, of course, an outrage. Money is fungible. Evergreen used its own money to expand in China, took taxpayer dollars to take a fling in Massachusetts, and when that venture failed, just closed the doors and walked away. What a deal! Taxpayers take the risk. If the venture had succeeded, the company and its promoters and investors would have pocketed the gains; when it failed, they just walked away with nary an ounce of obligations to taxpayers. Were the lights, at least, run on solar power?

The landscape of America will be littered with these green scheme boondoggles going belly-up after gorging at the pig trough filled by American taxpayer dollars. Another taxpayer subsidized solar cell maker shut down recently in New York, for example.

Solar power subsidies have helped bankrupt the Spanish economy, and the very government officials who have peddled these schemes are backpedaling furiously to keep their jobs as their taxpayers rise in revolt. The government is slashing subsidies left and right, but may already be too late to save their economy. Meanwhile, at least one Spanish solar power company has found a temporary bandage to slow its fiscal hemorrhaging — the American taxpayer. Democratic Congressman Paul Kanjorksi, who was not reelected in November, has a nephew who "worked" for the Spanish solar company Abound. Somehow this foreign company was blessed with a 400 million dollar federal grant. Abound will probably join its rivals in Spain into ruin — the Spanish landscape will be littered with uneconomic solar power plants that will bear more than a little resemblance, metaphorically speaking, to the windmills of Miguel Cervantes Don Quixote.

Even the Spanish media have warned America that Obama is driving America off the green energy cliff. Other European governments are slashing solar tariffs as fast as they can as they to save themselves from drowning in red ink.

Does anyone believe that Barack Obama listens or that this self-declared "student of history" would learn from the Spanish tragedy? Did he listen to Larry Summer, his own resident genius (who recently left the administration) when Summers highlighted a study from the OMB and Treasury Department that found severe problems with the "economic integrity of government support for renewables"?

Only in Washington would a term such as ‘economic integrity" be used to describe a fiscally foolish program that will lead to massive problems in the future.

This tsunami of bankruptcies is headed our way.

Many of the execs and investors behind these green schemes are Democratic donors and those who have toiled in Democratic party politics for years. Solyndra was another solar scheme that received 535 million dollars in federal tax dollars. The "investment" was widely touted by the Obama administration. The firm was chock-full of investors and executives who were generous Democratic donors and activists. One of its biggest investors was a big bundler for the Obama-Biden campaign.

Solyndra also closed one of its plants and laid off workers after gouging on the aid .

But wait… there is more. The hucksterism runs rampant.

Solyandra’s auditor could not issue an opinion that would have allowed the company to go public and for its investors to cash out. The reason? Solyndra was so badly run that doubts were raised regarding its ability to continue as a going concern. The backers may have lacked much as investors and scientists. But as crony capitalists, they excelled.

A cloud is passing over these solar schemes.

They are inefficient boondoggles. They generate electric power at a cost vastly more expensive than electricity generated by natural gas (a relatively clean-burning fuel), hydro, coal — and of, course, nuclear. But the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress are on a crusade to foreclose the use of these fuels to power our nation. The Democrats are "enemies" (to use a word Obama has used to describe opponents) of natural gas development (see my column Cheap Natural Gas and its Democratic Enemies ); want to blow up dams; kill coal — the EPA is on a rampage against Big Coal; and choke off nuclear power plants by stopping the development of a repository for nuclear waste. We are being force-fed green schemes like so much spinach Michelle Obama might forcing down our gullets.

Solar power plants are inefficient and cannot survive on their own. Instead, they survive by virtue of an IV flowing from taxpayers to tax-takers. Eventually, reality catches up to fantasy and they close. Solar stocks are losers in the stock market, that harsh judge of economics.

Death panels would be better used to evaluate the values of these ventures, not the value of our lives.

Much of the stimulus money, as well as the Department of Energy budget, went toward these renewable green energy schemes. A quarter of a billion dollars (chump change in Washington; but real money to us who are paying for it) went to fund a weatherization program in Obama’s hometown of Chicago that was marked by fraud and shoddy work. That is but just one example.

The solar power schemes will become one bright, shining example of liberal politics run amok. We will be paying the price for these schemes and boondoggles for years to come. Meanwhile, the Chinese are happy that we are in hock to them as we borrow billions to pay for these fantasies and schemes. They also benefit since many of the green jobs that Obama touts happen to be in China — a nation that may be violating World Trade Organization rules when it exports solar panels (don’t believe the hype regarding China and solar power; they will sell us uneconomic solar panels but meanwhile, back at home, burn massive amounts of coal to fuel their growing economy).

The government is a notoriously bad investor when it comes to clean energy. Barack Obama and his band of zealots have very little real world business experience — and seem to disdain free enterprise. But this green energy crusade may have more than just ideological zealotry fueling its drive. Recall, Obama likes to pick winners and losers, and not just in basketball tournaments.

He hails from Chicago, after all.

Darrell Issa, now chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, will investigate these green energy projects and get to the bottom of how we have been ripped off by green schemers and their friends in high places. He has already announced that one item on his agenda will be how the Obama administration has spent our money. He may have misspoken a bit when he called the Obama administration the most corrupt in history, but corruption there has been and he is ideally positioned to ferret it out and to prevent it from happening in the future.

Issa made his fortune creating and selling Viper car alarms.

He does not care for wrongdoers, and neither should we because we, the taxpayers, are the ones being ripped off.

Ed Lasky is news editor of American Thinker.

www.americanthinker.com/

LOL HEY KIDDIES THIS IS HOW GLOBAL WARMING REALLY WORKS (OR GLOBAL WARMING SIMPLY EXPLAINED FOR SIMPLE PEOPLE)

www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdxaxJNs15s

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2006-12-15 – KC-Artspace – Cryptozoology-0107
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Image by smiteme
From the exhibition Cryptozoology: Out of Time Place Scale, as shown at the Kansas City Art Institute’s Artspace, October 28 – December 20, 2006:

A marginalized practice or a farcical adventure, cryptozoology is the quest for unknown, rumored, or hidden animals. Three themes are traced through the exhibition and catalog: Artists, Adventurers, Environmentalists; History of Science, Taxonomy, Dioramas, and Museum Displays; and Pop Culture, Myth, Spectacle, and Fraud. The exhibition is organized by the H&R Block Artspace at the Kansas City Art Institute and Lewiston Maine’s Bates College Museum of Art.

The exhibition is curated by Mark H. C. Bessire and Raechell Smith and organized by the Bates College Museum of Art and H & R Block Artspace.

Artists include: Rachel Berwick, Sarina Brewer, Walmor Correa, Mark Dion, Sean Foley, Ellen Lesperance, Robert Marbury, Jill Miller, Vic Muniz, Jeanine Oleson, Rosamond Purcell, Alexis Rockman, Marc Swanson, Jeffrey Vallance and Jamie Wyeth.

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Karma

The Thylacine

was the largest known carnivorous marsupial of modern times. It is commonly known as the Tasmanian Tiger (because of its striped back), the Tasmanian Wolf, and colloquially the Tassie (or Tazzy) Tiger or simply the Tiger. Native to continental Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea, it is thought to have become extinct in the 20th century. It was the last extant member of its genus, Thylacinus, although several related species have been found in the fossil record dating back to the early Miocene.

The Thylacine became extinct on the Australian mainland thousands of years before European settlement of the continent, but it survived on the island state of Tasmania along with several other endemic species, including the Tasmanian Devil. Intensive hunting encouraged by bounties is generally blamed for its extinction, but other contributory factors may have been disease, the introduction of dogs, and human encroachment into its habitat. Despite its official classification as extinct, sightings are still reported. […]

The last captive Thylacine, later referred to as "Benjamin" (although its sex has never been confirmed) was captured in 1933 and sent to the Hobart Zoo where it lived for three years. […] This Thylacine died on 7 September 1936. It is believed to have died as the result of neglect—locked out of its sheltered sleeping quarters, it was exposed to a rare occurrence of extreme Tasmanian weather: extreme heat during the day and freezing temperatures at night. This Thylacine features in the last known motion picture footage of a living specimen: 62 seconds of black-and-white footage showing it pacing backwards and forwards in its enclosure in a clip taken in 1933 by naturalist David Fleay. National Threatened Species Day has been held annually since 1996 on 7 September in Australia, to commemorate the death of the last officially recorded Thylacine. […]

The Thylacine held the status of endangered species until 1986. International standards state that any animal for which no specimens have been recorded for 50 years is to be declared extinct. Since no definitive proof of the Thylacine’s existence had been found since "Benjamin" died in 1936, it met that official criterion and was declared officially extinct by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

In December ’06, Shane and I caught the exhibit Cryptozoology: Out of Time Place Scale at the Kansas City Art Institute’s Artspace. While most of the pieces dealt with cryptids – animals thought, but not proven to exist – one exhibit caught my eye.

In front of a projection screen sat a statute of the Tasmanian Tiger (pictured below). There playing, on a never ending loop, was the 62 seconds of Benjamin’s life immortalized on film. 62 long, lonely seconds, spent pacing – in what? Frustration? Anger? Sadness? Boredom? Heartbreak? Only to die of human neglect, one of the last of her kind. I found the footage haunting then; I still do, upon recollection.

As an atheist, I don’t believe in unprovable religious concepts like karma. As an animal advocate, I sometimes wish I did.