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Haven't we all had days like this? Where we feel like this poor dog, that others just don't get that we don't want to do something?

This Howling Husky Just Does NOT Want To Leave The Dog Park

Here's Zippy, 52, in dog years displays a great deal more dignity, discipline, and composure.

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Kimberly Yam shows us a dog in serene bliss in Pooch Is Completely Blissed Out On Swing, Finds Perfect Way To Unwind After A Ruff Day.


In a video uploaded to YouTube, a precious little pooch named Juggy casually relaxes in a baby swing while her owner pushes her. Juggy looks like she's feelin' downright dreamy as she enjoys the sun in her face and the breeze through her fur.

At the 0:18 mark, a silly smile spreads across the pup's face, and she looks like she's soaking up all life has to offer.

If I had more time, I'd find a cartoon of a dog golfing and finding himself in the rough. But, I am a rough day, so you will just have to imagine it.

How about a thoughtful Golden Retriever in a deep meditation.

Josh Gottsegen h/t Avery Stone Huffington Post.
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And me Howling at the Moon.

Howling at Moon
Hope you are enjoying the last hours of this weekend.

Cheers

Poll

Do you agree that even though life can get ruff sometimes, it's basically a dog's world?

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| 129 votes | Vote | Results

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Stonehenge
(Reader Alert: Now For Something Completely Different is a Daily Kos group that enjoys taking a humorous angle in reporting real news or news already funny, amusing, thought-provoking, or odd.)

Amesbury in Wiltshire confirmed as oldest UK settlement, reports the BBC.  

The town of Amesbury, which includes the famous monument Stonehenge, "has been confirmed [to have] been occupied since 8820 BCE" making it the longest continuous settlement in the United Kingdom. Researchers also discovered evidence of frogs' legs being eaten in Britain 8,000 years before any evidence of frog leg eating in France. No one from France was available for comment at the time of this post, however, we can easily imagine them "steaming" about what smug bas*&^ds many of the British can be in situations like this. (Snark alert. No more silly puns or I may croak. Ribbit.) The British should be careful because further research may show these frog legs were left at Stonehenge by French tourists who became bored with the local cuisine of crickets and bark.

Stonehenge is still widely recognized today as the icon used as a stage set for the heavy metal band Spinal Tap.

From our second article we learn The Stonehenge Hidden Landscape Project team used ground-penetrating radar, and 3-D laser scanning, to create a map of a wide area around the Stonehenge monument. One interesting discovery is a long trough bisecting an east-west ditch that is thought to be aligned the sun rise locations of the fall and spring equinoxes.

First from the BBC we learn:

David Jacques, from the University of Buckingham, said: "The site blows the lid off the Neolithic Revolution in a number of ways. .. "The area was clearly a hub point for people to come to from many miles away, and in many ways was a forerunner for what later went on at Stonehenge itself. ... The first monuments at Stonehenge were built by these people. For years people have been asking why is Stonehenge where it is, now at last, we have found the answers." ...

"We have found remains of big game animals, such as aurochs and red deer, and an enormous amount of burnt flint from their feasting fires."

The dig in Amesbury also uncovered 31,000 worked flints in 40 days as well as animal bones such as frogs' legs.

Mr Jacques said our ancestors were eating a "Heston Blumenthal-style menu".

 

It's about time someone "blew the lid off of" this whole Neolithic Revolution thing, which I'm sure many others were beginning to find to be a tad annoying as well.

But, what is this about "Heston Blumenthal-style menu?" What the heck is this supposed to mean? Winston Churchill once quipped that America and England are 'two nations divided by a common language." He could have "beefed-up " this quote a tad by adding and and uncommon diet. Can anyone find one restaurant in all of American where on can go in and ask, "May I have some frog legs served in the Heston Blumenthal style, and make them extra medium, please? And, oh yes, I'll some Patriot Fries with that."

Maybe I'm just in a rotten mood today, but does anyone else find it "a tad odd" that Andy Rhind-Tutt, the founder of Amesbury Museum and Heritage Trust, is deducing that there must be "something unique and rather special about the area" to keep people there from the end of the Ice Age, to when Stonehenge was created and until today?" Heck, isn't this sort of like saying "why yes, there must be something very 'unique unique and rather special about the area' to keep people living around Pittsburgh, since the early colonial days, when so many obviously better places are to the west an all around in every direction. (Sorry Pittsburgh, I mean this in the most sympathetic possible way.)

Let'a face it, most people are lazy. Once they find a place to put a sofa and now a TV that's pretty much where you find most of their descendants for hundreds of years. Must of been more so back in the days when one had to crawl through forests with no roads to get "elsewhere," and the major source of news of the "world" was drunkards and criminals thrown out of, or escaping from, other areas.  

Well this "gruel is a little thin." While trying to "dig up" more facts for our readers I found  Archaeologists Discover 15 Previously Unknown Monuments Buried Around Stonehenge, at Huffington Post, and an odd reversal of perusal direction for more substantive articles.  

 

The mystery surrounding Stonehenge has suddenly deepened -- literally. A first-of-its-kind study suggests that 15 previously undiscovered or poorly understood monuments lie hidden under the ancient stone monument and its surroundings.

For the study, researchers used a variety of techniques -- including ground-penetrating radar and 3D laser scanning -- to create a highly detailed subsurface map of the entire area. According to a release from the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology, one of the partners in the study, the technologies are notable for being much less destructive than traditional, digging-based exploratory techniques.

The trough and the other newfound monuments have "absolutely transformed" how archeologists view the area, Gaggney said. Yet "until you dig holes," he acknowledged, "you just don’t know what you’ve got."

"Absolutely transformed?" Does he mean this literally or figuratively? Does he mean that in regard to the English eating frogs legs thousands of years before the French? Yes, but is it much of a risk guessing they did not cook them as well. Because we've known Stonehenge has been a major religious and trade hub for early pagans for a long time. So, although I find this to be exciting it seems a bit of stretch and maybe even cheeky to declare this to be "an absolute transformation" of our understanding of the era. A substantial "relative extension" seems more accurate to me.

Dang, I can see its going to be a long day for me kogs. So many little things are bugging me. Maybe I had caffeinated coffee by accident for breakfast - I seem to bet allergic to it and becoming aggressively irritable all day after drinking it.

P.S. Oh, damn! I couldn't close this article without looking up the Heston Marc Blumenthal style of cooking From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. I was hoping it would say "a style of cooking descended from ancient inhabitants of Stonehenge."


Heston Marc Blumenthal, OBE (ˈbluːmənθɔːl;[1] born 27 May 1966) is an English celebrity chef and owner of several restaurants. He is an advocate for the importance of scientific understanding in cooking and a pioneer of multi-sensory cooking, food-pairing and flavour encapsulation. He has advanced his ideas in books, two long-running newspaper columns and several TV series.

Cherio and all that.

PS: On an encouraging aside we should notice how the United States and England have patched up our differences after the Revolutionary War. When friends visited from England, when I lived up near Concord, Mass I would always take them to show them statues of our founding fathers and mothers, and freedom fighter they thought were terrorists, the shot heard round the world, and the New England stone walls behind with our early colonists rebel forces shot at the British soldiers in what they thought was a crass and savage way to fight a war.

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Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 09:13 AM PDT

Also Sprach Antichristus

by JimSnively

Reposted from Antichristus by HoundDog

Yes, you read that correctly:  I am the one, true Antichrist, and this is my first DK diary.

Let me clarify at the outset that my quarrel is not with Jesus of Nazareth (if he actually existed) but rather with the Greek-derived title "Christ," which implies that Jesus was divine. Since I deny the existence of ALL gods, any supernatural dimension, the soul, and the afterlife, I feel confident that Jesus was a charismatic, though wholly mortal, reformer who remains as dead as roadkill.  Gods were undoubtedly invented by humans even more primitive than today's Republicans to explain natural phenomena that they could not even begin to understand.  As terrifying as it is to religious believers, who are the least sophisticated of contemporary Homo sapiens sapiens (!!!), the universe is almost certainly 100% natural, except for the products and byproducts of intelligent beings' design (and I use the adjective "intelligent" loosely).

As a new diarist I owe it to my fellow Kossacks to say a few more words by way of introduction.  A 70-year-old Caucasian male, I am also (more significantly) an atheist, an anti-theist, a humanist, a neo-socialist, a logical positivist, an environmentalist, and a passionately pro-choice feminist--i.e., I believe in abortion on demand and in the self-evident superiority of the female gender (due largely to the fact that girls have never been conditioned to experience the male sense of unearned entitlement).

My initial diary/rant continues below the squiggle.  Please stay with me.  

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Reposted from PostHuffPost: Connection-Conversation-Community by HoundDog

Terrible images of hundreds of dead, maimed, and wounded children and so many innocent civilians in Gaza wrench our hearts with despair. Deaths of several Israels from thousands of rockets fired from Gaza, apparently by Hamas fighters, are just as terrible, even though fewer in number. Supporters of both Palestine and Israel have described these attacks on each other as war crimes, crimes against humanity, and many have brought up issues of international rule-of-law, including possible violations of the Geneva Conventions by both leaders of Hamas and Israel.

Hamas is a distinct organization from the Palestinian Authority lead by President Mahmoud Abbas who has recognized Israel and remains committed to non-violent change. Abbas is the one who is now making the critical decision of whether or not to sign the Rome Statues which would make Palestine a member of the International Criminal Court in the Hague, Netherlands, and which would be the first step in starting the formal process and investigations of war crimes in the ICC. Gaza is a sub-region of Palestine separated by barriers and until recently rules separately by Hamas. Abbas and the PA are centered in the West Bank.

I am neither an expert on international law, nor even a lawyer, so I present this article by Richard Falk who is "an international law and international relations scholar who taught at Princeton University for forty years, and is also "the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967," to you so you can help us analyze and discuss it.

Richard Falk's article published in Foreign Policy Journal, and entitled Palestinian Recourse to the ICC: The Time Has Come, lays out a number of obstacles to Abbas signing the Rome Statue, which would also make leaders of Hamas vulnerable to investigations of possible crimes against Israel which has not signed this statue and is not a member of the International Criminal Court.  


Ever since this latest Israeli major military operation against Gaza started on July 8, there have been frequent suggestions that Israel is guilty of war crimes, and that Palestine should do its best to activate the International Criminal Court (ICC) on its behalf. The evidence overwhelmingly supports basic Palestinian allegations—Israel is guilty either of aggression in violation of the UN Charter or is in flagrant violation of its obligations as the Occupying Power under the Geneva Convention to protect the civilian population of an Occupied People; Israel seems guilty of using excessive and disproportionate force against a defenseless society in the Gaza Strip; and Israel, among an array of other offenses, seems guilty of committing Crimes Against Humanity in the form of imposing an apartheid regime in the West Bank and through the transfer of population to an occupied territory as it has proceeded with its massive settlement project.

One the significant roadblocks has been that both the United States and Israel have threatened major retaliations against the PA if Abbas should pursue this course of action. The United States Congress has made it clear that it will cut off all funds to Palestine, and Israel has threatened to annex the entire West Bank and all of what is left of East Jerusalem.  

A second potential obstacle concerns the jurisdictional authority of the ICC, which extends to all war crimes committed on the territory of a treaty member, which means that leaders of Hamas would also likely be investigated and indicted for their reliance on indiscriminate rockets aimed in the direction of Israeli civilian targets. There is even speculation that given the politics of the ICC such that crimes alleged against Hamas might be exclusively pursued.

Falk informs us that on May 8, 2014, 17 respected human rights NGOs, (Non-Governmental Organizations), including  Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Al Haq, and the International Commission of Jurists sent a letter to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urging Palestine to become a member of the ICC.    

If Abbas decides to proceed what charges are likely to be considered?

There are several major crimes against humanity enumerated in Articles 5-9 of the Rome Statute for which there exists abundant evidence as to make indictment and conviction of Israeli leaders all but inevitable if Palestine uses its privilege to activate an investigation and somehow is able to produce the defendants to face trial: reliance on excessive force, imposing an apartheid regime, collective punishment, population transfers in relations to settlements, maintenance of the separation wall in Palestine.

My impression is that Israel will not cooperate with any such investigations, and would not present the Prime Minister Netanyahu and others charged to the court even if warrants were sworn out for Prime Minister Netanyahu, his cabinet Ministers and the entire chain of command involved in any particular atrocities. With existing warrants sworn out against them the charged would dare not venture out of Israel to any nation who was a member of the ICC or they could be arrested, however, without their presence in the court hearings can not proceed against them.

Abbas may be more willing to cooperate and do the "right thing" by turning over leaders of his opposition party over to the court for prosecution. (No humor intended here, it just comes out that way.)  

The experts I've been reading say the likelihood of serious attempts to bring such charges, investigations and prosecutions increase with each passing day and each additional atrocity. Also, if such charges are brought, potential violations going all the way back the previous two incursions by Israel into Gaza can be considered, as well as all rocket attacks against Israel by Hamas leaders and anyone who can be proven to have ordered them. Nations are not charged with war crimes in the ICC, only individuals involved in ordering, allowing, or committing war crimes.

So all eyes now turn to President Mahmoud Abbas who is weighing this decision. Falk reports demonstrators in the streets of the West Bank were demanding this over the last few days.

I hope this summary has provided useful information for you, enabling all of us to better understand and discuss these possibilities in a more serious way better informed of the complicating issues, and with specific data we can cite. Several others I may just append to updates tomorrow, if this still around by then and there is sufficient interest. Our moving truck is coming on Monday, so I do not have much time during this next week when G, our three cats and I will be driving from Boston Mass to our new home in Cape Coral, Florida.

Cheers, and please treat each other with respect. Remember surfacing, challenging and changing our assumptions is critical to group learning, so attacking ideas is fine. Attacking people, especially our fellow Democratic allies is not fine and becomes painful, and counter-productive.

I know it may seem odd, but I would like to extend an invitation to everyone, of all opinions to share their ideas here. So many "moderates" who have seldom participated in I/P post have risen up with such surprising ferocity that I'm concerned that our extremists on both sides have been pummeled into silence.  

If we are going to reach a real solution, and I still hope for a peaceful two-state solution for both Israel and Palestine despite many declaring such hopes are now dead and too late, we are going to need to find away to integrate now opposing ideas and bring together all parties, even those of what now seem to be mutually exclusive and hostile viewpoints.

May I ask that we try an experiment and think of ourselves as engineers who all want a successful solution so we must bang on ideas, and models to find weaknesses, but that we not bang on each other, unless done in a friendly way. (Humor alert.)  If anyone says anything unkind I hope folks just say, "I hope you're smiling when you say that stranger." Seriously, this issue is too important to let ourselves be side-tracked by internecine personal bickering.

Using myself as a model, I invite anyone to challenge any of my assertions or assumptions, and as long as you do it in a friendly way, I'll be glad to lay out my thinking to any test of logic, data, or even casual points of view and if I can improve and upgrade my understanding I will do so with enthusiasm. My goal is to see a fresh set of idea and new approaches to peace emerge so we can move forward. Also, these idea about the international rule-of-law sound promising, so maybe we should try some of them out for real and see if how they work. Such a move would certainly be educational and perhaps establish a precedent that the law of the jungle, and our current "might-makes-right" approach can be improved on by stronger commitments, or experiments with international rule-of-law.

Also, if it would help "loosen things up" I would have no objection to having the ICC prosecute former Presidents George Bush, and V.P. Dick Cheney to show the U.S. is not taking any "holier than thou" position. This is a sacrifice we should be willing to make, not matter how embarrassing or painful. Just to show how sincere I am about this I'm willing to agree to prosecute Donald Rumsfeld, Condallesa Rice, and as manner as the rest the Bush cabinet as necessary to demonstrate sincerity and goodwill. Let it not be said that the HoundDog is not willing to make sacrifices for the good of world peace.

I've been an underdog for so long I've had to place my stock and trade not in having all the answers, or being right all the time or even more than average, but being able to learn faster than any competitors, or evolving situation.

It the only way I've survived posting on such a wide variety of complicated topics on where often nearly everyone in commenting in my posts knows more than I do about it. If I may share an essential survival strategy which seems to help a great deal is don't attach your ego, identity, self-esteem, or approval by others  rigidly to the very ideas we know will be banged on and even assaulted from every direction.

Instead try "floating like a butterfly" as Ali used to say basing your own self-esteem, identity on your skills as thinkers, debaters, agents of change, and even advocates of your causes who are smart, clever, and "slippery enough" they you can move quickly to the next idea while leaving as little personal blood on the floor as possible.  

Remember this is just a blog and most of us are here to get value, friendship, participation, community, a place to contribute, and advancement of our shared Democratic Party goals. For me personally, also progressive goals to help make a better planet for all people. and spread as much compassion, intelligence, and values of justice, human rights, fairness, egalitarianism, democracy, self-determination, the rule-of-law, and other progressive values as I and we can.

Now, as too often happens, I spent so much time doing this that is nearly 2:00 am and nearly everyone will be asleep. Well, it was good for me.

Cheers.  

HD  

Poll

Do you think President Mahmoud Abbas should sign the Rome Statue joining the ICC which would allow war crimes charges to potentially be brought against leaders of Israel, Hamas, and the Palestinian Authority for violations of the Geneva Conventions?

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| 94 votes | Vote | Results

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Reposted from PostHuffPost: Connection-Conversation-Community by HoundDog

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G, Mish-Mish, Kashi, Yeti and I are just six days away from our drive from Massachusetts to Florida so I've been reading up on dreadful tropical diseases that are creeping up from the Mexico and Caribbean as our global temperatures rise. Just to relax after a long day of packing, fixing the car, arguing about what we should keep or throw out, and carrying off many of my valuable lifetime possessions to the dump, I learned this bit of news.  

Rob Garver of The Fiscal Times reports Chikungunya, and Other Diseases You Now Have to Worry About

Last week, Florida health officials confirmed the first cases of the tropical disease chikungunya acquired in the United States. Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne virus native to Africa and South Asia that, until now, has never been endemic to the United States. It causes debilitating fever, and intense joint pain, and though it is seldom fatal, is very dangerous for people whose health is already compromised and can cause long-term arthritis-like symptoms.

The arrival of this new disease comes on top of the increasing frequency in the U.S. of Dengue fever, a condition similar in its effects to chikungunya, and is also not native to the United States.

So far this year the U.S has experience 497 cases of the the tropical disease caused by the Chikungunya virus so far in 2014 - much higher than our historical average yearly rate of 28 cases per year. Kitty Appel, of HuffPost Healthy Living reports 9 Must-Know Facts About The Chikungunya Virus, for which there is no vaccination, nor cure. The World Health Organization report the Carribbean and rest of the America experiences 436,586 suspected cases a year.  

Onset of symptoms usually starts three to seven days after the mosquito bite.
The symptoms can include headache, joint swelling, rash and muscle pain, with fever and joint pain being the most common symptoms, according to the CDC. Symptoms usually only last two to three days. ... The disease does not usually kill. Most people will feel better within a week, though some are never relieved of the debilitating joint pain.

Like we are learning with shingles, hepatitis, HPV, and Epstein Barre many of the viruses that cause short term diseases like the measles, herpes, mononucleosis, never really leave our body, but either simmer at a low level, or wait - lurking like a coiled jungle tiger (apologies to Woody Allen), for a moment when our defenses are down to come back and strike with a vengeance.

Recent cases reported in Florida included two locally acquired cases among patients who had not left the country. There have been 10 cases reported throughout North Carolina, just this week and three cases recently reported on Long Island, NY, though both the North Carolina and New York patients acquired the disease from mosquitoes they encountered in other countries.

Humans contract the virus through mosquito bites, according to the World Health Organization. The Aedes species of mosquito, particularly Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, transmits the virus. It's not spread human to human, though, in rare cases, it can be spread from mother to newborn; it can also theoretically be spread via blood transfusion, though this has never happened before, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If an infected person is bitten by a mosquito, they can spread it to others. (They = mosquito, not the person bitten. We need some creative Sci Fi writers to create a new kind of Zombie to describe what happens if an infected person bites you. Although it is probably generally good health advice not to let people infected with things to bite you, even for fun.) (Humor alert!)

Chikungunya is one of those ailments where all we can do is rest, drink lots of fluids and take pain relievers. As they say "smoke em if ya got em."

It is sometimes misdiagnosed as dengue which has many of the same symptoms but dengue also causes bleeding from odd places, which is another unpleasant new tropical disease that is common in the tropics but is now showing up in North America as well. More on that another day.

Your best bet is to protect yourself against mosquitoes which you should already be doing anyway due to Eastern equine encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis, West Nile virus, Western equine encephalitis, Dengue Fever. And in other parts of the world Malaria, Japanese encephalitis, and La Crosse encephalitis,

 photo ebola-suit-1_slide-361a142046f38abb5fe36da77883619cbb68fd2d-s5-c85_zpsd7551d1d.jpgHere's a picture of me getting ready to water our garden and check the mailbox at our new place in Florida.



The best way to protect ourselves from becoming life-long brew kettles for dreadful virus is to never go outdoors, unless absolutely necessary, and then bath our skin with DEET, wear long-sleeve shirts, pant, and hats with mosquito netting. I wash my clothes in industrial strength DEET to create an atmospheric bubble around me, but experts don't usually advise going this far. (Humor alert.)

Heck after reading the WHO and CDC sites all week for my Ebola, SARS, MERS, Avian Flu, and PDS articles, if I dare ventures outdoors I'm going to make my own Personal Protective Equipment, PPE, and use duck tape around my pant legs, and shirt sleeves, and make myself a mosquito hat with some of that transparent black hanging stuff Betty Davis used to wear to look dramatic. Oh yeah, also don't bite people, or allow yourself to be bitten by people with dreadful diseases, or ghastly skin rashes, and boils no matter how much fun it may seem at the time. For some, this may mean cutting back on intoxicants and hallucinogens, or at least use a "buddy system."

Well, have fun this Friday night. I'm going to go back to the dump and see if I can sneak some of my valuable lifetime possessions back into the moving truck while G is asleep.

Cheers and Woof, woof!

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Reposted from SciTech by HoundDog

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Thanks to Mopshell for sending in this article describing good news in the wind energy electrical genertion, Wind power’s set for a comeback: World capacity to more than double by 2018, written by Lindsay Abrams in Salon. Starting from our current 3% of world's electricity, Navigant Research reports world wide generating capacity will double in the next five years.

Navigant Research, which has been following wind trends for 19 years now, projects that wind, both onshore and offshore, will provide 7.3 percent of the electricity consumed worldwide by 2018. That’s despite a 20 percent dip between 2012 and 2013, which the researchers attribute to the effects of the 2008 financial crisis on European markets.

This growth is projected to occur, CleanTechnica notes, despite the non-efforts of countries like Spain and the U.S., the latter of which has “failed to demonstrate an ongoing political commitment and renew tax credits for wind development, which have traditionally stimulated investment.” New wind installations here plummeted 93 percent in 2013.

The slack, according to the report, is being picked up by developing countries. “Last year was the first in which the wind industry experienced negative growth since 2004, but there are signs that the 2013 slowdown will turn out to be an anomaly,” explained research director Feng Zhao in a statement.  “As wind turbine vendors search for new opportunities in emerging markets, primarily in Latin America and Africa, and develop machines for maximum energy production in low wind speed areas, the industry is expected to add another 250 gigawatts of capacity through 2018.”

We can thank the Republicans for "bonking" the Production Tax Credit incentive essential for kickstarting our nation's wind energy production. We have some small hope, this may be restored after the election, however, if there is one thing investors in multi-billion dollar projects can not stand is regulatory uncertainty. This glaring example of how the anti-government attitudes of our Tea Party and extreme right-wing ideological zealots are damaging our country and our economy. (And I mean this in the nicest possible non-partisan way i can muster.)

Thanks again to Mopshell who has one of the coolest personalized emoticons I've seen and has really set this blog on fire (in a good way) since recently joining us with other refugees from the Great Huffington Post Exodus of 2014. She is also co-founder with murphtheSurf3, navajo, 2thanks, and 47songs of our new PostHuffPost group which I recommend you consider joining as it is bursting with new energy and excitement, and has a special focus for people who like to read,  write, and talk about cool articles with a sense of community, participation, and connection. LOL Although, it is open to people who do not like this kinds of things as well. And you don't even need to be a HuffPo refugee.  

Here's a link to our Home Page if you would like to click the little heart to follow or send a note to Mopshell, or MurftheSurf to join.

PostHuffPost: Connection-Conversation-Community  

Same goes for Kosowatt, Keynsian Kossacks, SciTech, Climate SOS, and Now For Something Completely Different, and Good News!

Discuss
Reposted from SciTech by HoundDog

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Sarah Zhang of Gizmodo brings us the interesting news of a The Plan to Store Wind Energy In Giant Underwater Air Bubbles,  well, actually, they would be stored in compressed air inside giant balloons deep underwater, displacing highly pressurized deep sea water.  

Like many good ideas, the seeds of compressed-air energy storage, or CAES, were sowed long ago, in the 1870s. Today, a handful of operations store energy as compressed air in sealed-off caves or pipe systems. But that's all on land. Bringing CAES deep underwater, where water pressure naturally keeps air compressed, is a novel and tantalizing idea for the massive offshore wind farms of the future.

In August, IEEE Spectrum reports, the Toronto-based Hydrostor will make the first commercial deployment of underwater CAES technology. It'll use electricity to fill several balloon-like bags tethered to the bottom of Lake Ontario with compressed air. To turn that stored air back into electricity, they'll run the compressed air through a turboexpander.

Proponents of CAES have their sights set on grand scales. Maxim de Jong, CEO of Thin Red Line Aerospace—a company that also makes the energy bags—recently calculated how underwater CAES would be used to store energy from the London Array, currently the largest offshore wind array in the world. One day's worth of energy from the array would require 812,000 cubic meters of compressed air, or a whopping 27,500 of his company's five-meter diameter balloons. If we made much bigger balloons, say 41 meters in diameter, de Jong calculates you'd only need 23 of them.

A commercially viable way to store large amounts of energy generated by wind would constitute a significant breakthrough, as the variability of wind places a cap on the fraction of the total electrical generation wind can make up.

Also, storage provides generators the ability to sell their energy a the most profitable time.

The article provide no details on the economics of this system, or how efficient this storage is. How fascinating it is to watch a new technology, and industry churn through such creative processes to seek solutions to every problem that arises.

I can't wait to see prototypes installed so we can start seeing data.

Discuss
Reposted from SciTech by HoundDog

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Stephen O'Brien, of The Motley Fool, writes in The Business Insider that, The US Military Could Drive Solar Energy Growth, telling us that the Department of Defense, DOD, spends $20 billion a year on energy making them the largest energy consumer on earth. The DOD intends to derive 25% of its energy from renewable sources by 2025, and is already moving aggressively in that direction.  
 

The Military just recently began construction of a solar power plant at Fort Huachuca in Arizona, where solar panels will be installed over 68 acres, constituting the largest solar array of any military base in the U.S. According to the commanding general of the base, Maj. Gen. Robert Ashley, the project reflects the military's commitment to energy security.

Whether it be engaged in disaster relief, humanitarian missions or in military operations, the military needs reliable energy that is "off the grid," since public electrical utilities are vulnerable to adverse weather conditions and potential sabotage. The military also needs to be ready for possible disruptions to the oil supply, which could cripple it and the nation's economy.  

 

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One strategy our armed forces is using to achieve its renewable goals, is "the creation of "net-zero" environments, where energy consumption equals the energy created on-site."  In Afghanistan this is achieved by using solar arrays at  fixed-site locations, which reduces the high transportation cost that can bring the cost of gasoline to up to $400 per gallon.

More importantly, reducing conspicuous truck convoys carrying highly explosive fuel supplies has reduced casualties, and the need to risk soldier's lives defending vulnerable targets and routes. O'brian cites a U.S. Army study finding that from 2003 to 2007, one out of eight U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq where near such fuel conveys.

DOD is pushing the expansion of residential solar photovoltaics in its stateside bases.  


SolarCity seems particularly well situated to serve the militagy projects for a number of military housing communities. The plan, called "Project SolarStrong," looks to be the largest solar photovoltaic project for residential homes in American history. Up to 120,000 military housing units will be served, with up to 300 megawatts of solar generation.
 

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SolarCity also encourages veterans to apply for employment and features a marine on its website.

So the U.S. armed forces are only keeping our country safe, "sunny and bright," and cutting our carbon footprint as well.

Discuss

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David Martosko, U.S. Political Editor for The Daily Mail writes He's baaaack!: Romney destroys all other potential Republicans in N.H. presidential primary poll (but Chris Christie leads the field if Mitt doesn't run), according to a WMUR/Granite State Poll, of New Hampshire Republicans.  When Mitt Romney's name was taken off the list Chris Christie rises to first place with 19 percent.

Paul Ryan has the highest 'favorable' numbers of the field, at 55 per cent
Christie's 46 per cent favorable number is soft since a separate 36 per cent say they don't like him

When asked which potential White House hopeful they would never support, More Republicans name Christie than any other pol

While 46 per cent of New Hampshire Republicans like him, another 36 per cent don't. And he topped the list when GOP respondents were asked who they definitely would not vote for.

But with 19 per cent support in a hypothetical presidential primary, Christie has emerged as the flavor-of-the-month front-runner.

Hillary Clinton's numbers have come down to 59% from 74%, but she still maintains a hefty lead.

Hillary Clinton                                59 per cent,  
Vice President Joe Biden                 14 per cent
Sen. Elizabeth Warren                      8 per cent.
Sen. Bernie Sanders                         5 per cent
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo            3 per cent
Virginia Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia    1 per cent

Although many often say polls this far out don't mean a lot, and can change, I think we can see the handwriting on the wall - it's going to be Hillary Clinton versus Mitt Romney in 2016. (Humor alert!)

And, I predict that after a surprisingly close, grueling, and back and forth race, with record spending on both sides, and much hand-wringing, Hillary Clinton will win by less than 1/2% of the popular vote and one electoral state. Karl Rove will be hospitalized after trying to commit suicide, and losing a challenge to the election results, demanding recounts, by insisting that Romney really won by 5%.

And, you can take this to the bank! (Second humor alert!)

Discuss
Reposted from SciTech by HoundDog

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Daniel Gross' article in Slate entitled The Other Sunshine State:North Caralina, proclaims that North Carolina has come out of the blue to capture the title of forth leading solar capacity state in the nation.

The Solar Energy Industries Association, or SEIA, notes that last year, North Carolina added 335 megawatts of capacity—the third-best tally of any state in the country. With a total of 592 megawatts of solar capacity installed, North Carolina ranks fourth among the 50 states. So far this year, according to SNL Energy, North Carolina ranks second in the number of solar farms under construction, behind only California.

The solar industry has gained so much power in the state that when Rep. Mike Hager tried to initiate a bill to repeal the state's progressive Renewable Portfolio Standards it died in the energy committee he chairs. ALEC has been pushing such efforts nation-wide, and even succeeded in Ohio where Governor Kasich just signed a bill freezing the state's RPS for two years. What a happy and funny victory that progressive solar industry forces are just too strong to succumb to such regressive ALEC backed backsliding. Ho, ho, ho.

Maybe we can get North Carolina to send out progressive solar missionaries to the more backward states to help bring them into the 21st century? (Humor alert.)  

How did such North Carolina pull of such an audacious advance?

Well, in addition to being a state widely admired for leading the nation on a wide variety of progressive issues, North Carolina's praiseworthy advance in solar capacity seems to have been driven by three factors.

First off, in 2007, North Carolina passed an extremely modest renewable portfolio standard, declaring that within five years, utilities must have ensured that 12.5 percent of the electricity they supply derives from renewable sources. (By contrast, California’s three largest utilities are now at about 23 percent renewables.) Like many other states, North Carolina has a renewable energy tax credit that helps bring down the cost of production. But according to Ivan Urlaub, executive director of the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association, North Carolina’s regulatory scheme had an important wrinkle. The utilities decided to offer a deal to renewable developers: If they could develop renewable energy facilities with capacities below 5 megawatts and deliver the power below a specified cost, the utilities would agree to buy the output. Figuring that not many developers would be able to pull this off, the utilities didn’t put a cap on the program.
That small wrinkle opened a door that, combined with a renewable energy tax credit, were sufficient to take what was otherwise a small market and carve out a space for entrepreneurs to jump in and compete on price and quality,” Urlaub says.

As the price of solar panels plummeted 75% over the last four years 4.99-megawatt small scale solar farms started "popping up" across the "North Carolina countryside."

I can't help but insert "Good Day Sunshine" here - what is becoming one of our signature song for "Good News" solar articles which leaving with that Happy HoundDog feeling. Extra biscuits for everyone! Hurrah!'  

 Good Day Sunshine






A second powerful force came from the West Coast. North Carolina has aggressively courted big technology companies to locate data centers in the state. But many of these firms have their own agendas when it comes to energy: They want to be powered by renewable energy produced close by. So when Apple built its huge data center in Maiden, it also constructed its own 20-megawatt farm on 100 acres nearby; it has since added 20 megawatts of solar in Conover. Google, which had already spent $600 million on a data center in Lenoir, North Carolina, said it would invest another $600 million in its facilities. But Google and other companies encouraged Duke Energy to push for a so-called Green Source Rider. Under the rider, if companies pay the utility a rate slightly above the usual fee, the utility will either build renewable energy capacity itself or make deals with third-party suppliers. That has stimulated more construction. ...

The SEIA says $787 million was invested in solar plants in the state last year, and Urlaub says 570 green energy firms in the state employ 18,400 people.

Hello! Can we talk? Hey you other states rolling back or freezing state RPS by succumbing to back room ALEC backed pressures, you may want to rethink this. And, hey sleeping media in Ohio, please think about asking John Kasich why he thinks Ohio already has so many surplus jobs and economic growth that he thinks the people of Ohio can afford to pass up these kinds of opportunities.

I wish I hadn't used up all my fair use paragraphs, so I could tell you more about a number of major new projects undertaken by Duke Energy Renewable, and SunEnergy1 to build solar farms, and also the big deal it has just closed with "three academic institutions based in Washington, D.C. (American University, George Washington University, and George Washington University Hospital), to supply them with some 52 megawatts of capacity to be provided by three plants to be constructed in the state."

You'll have to read the original for this extra bonus good news.

So let's have all kogs join hands and sing along with our other favorite "Good Solar News" signatury son "Here Comes the Sun!

I am reminded of that famous old progressive anthem, "If You Can Make It in North Carolina, You Can Make It Anywhere!"

Have a bright and sunny day kogs!

The Beatles- Here Comes The Sun




 photo Texas31_zpsa9bed104.jpg

Woof, woof, aaaaaawwwwhhhhhhhhoooooooooooo!

Discuss
Reposted from HoundDog by HoundDog

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Cynthia Shahan of Clean Technica reports Residential Solar Cheaper Than Grid Electricity In 25 States By 2015, Utility CEO States. The cost of solar panels has come down 75% in the last four years. Although a trade war with China and India over low cost solar panels will be a "bump in the road," this basic trend is going to continue as the learning curve for the global solar photovoltaic industry is now well established at a 20% reduction of unit manufacturing cost for every doubling of the installed base.

David Crane, CEO of utility NRG sees major disruptive impact for the traditional U.S. utilities industries, and he has decided to "switch rather than fight."

David Crane, who runs NRG Energy, says that in fully half the states of the union, electricity from residential solar panels will be cost-competitive with that delivered by local electric utilities by next year.

Another important matter is that electric vehicles will enable a more decentralized, self-sufficient energy system. John writes: “Once homes can not only generate but store energy, it’s at least possible they could decouple from the grid entirely–meaning they’re lost to their local utility forever.”

“Crane is positioning NRG to be the supplier of solar arrays, fuel cells, and microturbines to power customers in this age of grid obsolescence,” Navigant Research writes. “It’s remarkable to see a utility betting on the grid’s eventual obsolescence, but it’s important to note that within that framework, NRG is still maintaining its core business as a power provider.”

Crane certainly seems to be the exception among utility leaders Many have joined efforts with ALEC to rollback or delay state Renewable Portfolio Standards, RPS, to add fees, or minimum bills to those solar customers who use net metering, and also to reduce the price payed to external solar producers.  

China has taken a more positive and wiser strategy using this knowledge to buy its way down the solar industry learning curve. Rather than ask, "how long will it be before solar energy generation can match, or beat the cost of coal generation?" They asked, "how much would it cost to make solar energy less expensive than coal?  [Update: China is currently either one of the worst, or I think possibly the worst coal polluter in the world and as becoming even more so by building more new coal plants even now than any other country. And China has an enormous self-induced pollution problem. (Thanks to duhban for reminding me of this. My point here is not to glorify China but send a wake-up call to us in the U.S. by taking a poke at our automatic assumptions of superiority and exceptionalism without regard to facts.)']  

Reports are when Chinese leaders heard how small this cost was compared to the damage in health cost coal is causing them, and the size of their economy, they laughed and said "make it so."

This is the explanation behind the mysterious series of $10 to $30 billion per year of Chinese government sponsored solar projects  over the recent years. Some short-sighted critics here scoffed, however, the Chinese were investing in their future - priming the pump. Now they may reap the returns on that clever investment for centuries.

Hundreds of years from now stories of this victory my be read in history books like we read about great battles from the past like WWII. Maybe this brilliant investment will be retold in Chinese history books as one of the key factors enabling China to pull ahead in the economic wars and leave us in the dust. Maybe they will have a special day of celebration like we have Pearl Harbor day?  

The latest report I've read, which I am writing up in between moving, is that in China, solar energy will achieve grid parity in 2016 or at latest 2017 - a full four to five years sooner than they expected because of their brilliant use of learning curve strategy.

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Yes, the U.S has enacted trade barrier tariffs against them because of what we call
"unfair subsidies" of their industry, however, the Chinese seem to feel confident they made the wiser strategic decision for four reasons.

1. From 2016 on-wards there will be no economic reason to build any more coal plants, and shortly thereafter they can start phasing out existing plants at a profit.

2. China can gain geopolitical prestige and soft-power by leading the rest of the world into the future and then chastising the U.S. for our backward coal burning ways. In a move that will be poignant and even galling to many of us here, China may even eventually propose global trade sanctions against backward countries like the U.S. who selfishly insist on burning coal and fossil fuels, thereby jeopardizing the earth's atmosphere with global warming, like an anti-social drug addict, or sociopath who cares not about how how actions impact others around the world.

An, argument many of of us have been using to fend off climate change deniers who skeptically ask, "what if we make our industries convert away from coal, but the Chinese do not" - I'm one of many who have suggested the rest of the world is so eager to avoid global environmental and economic disaster that punishing sanctions will be imposed on any laggards who refuse to curtail the burning of fossil fuels. So we should push ahead, regardless of what the Chinese do. What a sad irony that our own arrogance may be turned around against us, in a surprising move of jui-jitsu.  

3. China's cost savings from the learning curve  will be able to exceed the extra cost of U.S. solar panel trade tariffs the next time the installed base doubles, then achieve profits with the strategy after that.

4. China then emerges as the dominant global player in solar energy technologies invented, and cultivated down the first 50 years of the learning curve by the U.S. when the new technologies were outrageously expensive. But sadly, our backwards political leaders slept, or solve themselves, and our country, out to coal industry lobbyists, and ALEC, for a few pieces of silver.  

For a sound track for this post just select the play triangle while you continue to read.


The Beatles- Here Comes The Sun




What an inspiring display of superior strategic thinking, and action. Germany now seems to be in the process of using the same industrial strategy with solar batteries. This has been one of my areas of professional consulting, and if the Chinese succeed in this strategy I will have to say it will be on the most brilliant examples of successful application of learning curve strategy since the Japanese  returned from a bombed out wasteland after WWII to capture our consumer electronics and auto industries.

In both cases, too many in the U.S. have their heads up their .... in the clouds talking about free markets, and spouting anti-government tripe opposing any national U.S. economic development strategies and industrial policies that nearly every other nation of the world eagerly seizes upon.

Germany is now positioning itself to dominate the solar storage (battery) industry.

While it is sad to see America stumbling like a drunk at a track meet, it is encouraging in a way to know the rest of the human race is picking up the torch of leadership, to move ahead with or without us.

Our traitorous right-wing science deniers, and ALEC organized coal lobbyist may be powerful enough to sadly bring down our great nation, but they will not be powerful enough to bring down humankind. When one country fails in its capability and willingness to lead, they fall, and another country picks up the torch.

We've seen it dozens of times throughout history. We might have go face the chilling truth that with so many right-wing ideologues, and their backers from ALEC willing to subvert the best interests of our country, the extra burden of this albatross around our necks, we may not be able to compete or keep up with other nations who are united in their efforts to succeed, thrive, and revitalize their economies and jobs base.

Of course, theoretically, it is no too late for the U.S. to decide to jump back into the game, however, we would have to find a way to convert, or "offload" the anti-government  Republicans and Tea Party extremists  into realizing that one of the roles all most all other nations assign to their government is to use the most strategic, and advantageous economic and industrial policies to cultivate and maintain their nations' economic superiority and competitiveness.

I've proposed many times over the last years that we organize ourselves to make a play for the most intelligent of the foreign policy and pro-defense, Republicans as well as the most patriotic and educated of the pro-economic growth Republicans, with almost zero support in response.

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My hope is that at some point the number of high paying, high-value added jobs, industries, and technologies we have lost to other countries who are successively working explicit, public non-secret, plans to take these from us, will be enough to wake up a sufficient number of people to the fact that we need to wake up, smell the coffee, or pull our heads out of .... the clouds, or whatever metaphor works for folks and get back into the game of making our economy a thriving prosperous, world class economic power once again.

And when we invent amazing new, industry creating technologies we ought to make serious, strategic, smart, effective national economic and industrial policies for using them to create jobs and economic prosperity in our country, and not give them away while our political leaders line their pockets with silver from ALEC and the coal industry.

It's why I founded Keynesian Kossacks to get this message out along with the need to support and expand President Obama's infrastructure expansion projects, (which include upgrading electric transmissions lines making solar and wind more cost competitive in broader regions, and improves intermittency issues with wider areas load averaging.

All these this work together in an excellent, powerful, what should be an easy to implement plan.

If we put it together and articulate such a plan, much better than we have so far, we should be able to convert enough pro-economic growth, and pro-national defense Republicans to pass it even in a GOP dominated house.

I admit Keynesian Kossacks may have been a poor choice for a name, and we never really articulated our strategy, so I guess I have to take personal responsibility for our nation's puttering economic, however, let's not give up yet. If anyone else wants to take the reigns, I will stand aside.  

What's a better name? What's is the better communication strategy? Who are the more vigorous leaders who can move this agenda forward?

What's a better way to communicate this message of the enormous potential for economic growth and good, solid, green jobs in developing a national economic development and industrial policy based on accelerating our conversion to renewable energy sources, and modernizing our nations infrastructure the way China, and nearly all other advanced industrial economies are doing?

Let's focus some creativity, passion, and intelligence here folks, and keep some of America's leading new technologies, industries, and jobs in America. A strong thriving economy benefits us all. The need to convert to cleaner, non-fossil-fuel burning energy sources is overwhelmingly clear.

We know what the new technologies are going to be, because we invented them. We still have smart, bold, entrepreneurs like Elon Musk (Chairmen of one of America's top solar companies, SolarCity, he is also CEO of Telsa Motors and SpaceX.) and enough of an industrial base we should be able to stay in this game, despite the fact that we fell asleep at the wheel and let the Chinese take the lead. We still have American entrepreneurs and workers who know how to make things and want to make things.

But, right now right-wing ideologues are shooting themselves in the foot, (and the rest of us too) by joining with ALEC to fight solar energy, and roll back state Renewable Energy Portfolios, RPSs. A few weeks ago Governor John Kasich (R-OH) signed an ALEC backed law delaying Ohio's RPS plans for two years and getting rid of some of the incentives for solar. Now they are shooting up their legs. Let's intervene and get them to stop before they start shooting off some really important parts.  

If we were thinking like the Republicans we would be demanding that John Kasich be arrested and shot for treason. Here we are in a global economic war with the largest, most powerful bunch of real communists in the world, who is eating our lunch, - drinking our milkshake, and this treacherous traitor John Kasich, aids and abets the enemy by trying to chop off America's patriotic Ohio solar and wind power entrepreneurs who are fighting a battle to keep America strong and competitive while China tries to steal our core American advanced technologies?  

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Reposted from HoundDog by HoundDog

Michael Brenner, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations, and  Professor of International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh writes a scathing indictment our American Intelligence Failure in Iraq, tracing it back to delusional thinking and lack of accountability in the Bush-Cneney administration.

His last three paragraphs are such a brilliant  indictment not only of the failure of our foreign intelligence function but also of our lack of accountability for violations of civil liberties and the Forth Amendment with of domestic intelligence agencies that I want to share them with you here without trying to summarize his entire analysis of intelligence failures in Iraq.

The theme Brenner builds up running into these three paragraphs are the problems that arise when "belief substitutes for strategy, policy results are automatically spun, failure is a world unspoken -- and, therefore, no one is held accountable for it, especially the intelligence agencies." He doesn't mention the neocons and Dick Cheney by name but I will plant the idea in you mind as we join Michael Brenner in his best tree paragraphs.  

The distressing truth is that our leaders have inhabited a policy world so twisted out of shape by deceit and self-delusion that that their grip on reality has been dangerously loosened. The dishonesty at the core of George Bush's "war on terror" has had the deleterious effect of distorting the lens through which Americans -- including his successor -- view themselves, the world around them, and the dangers that emanate from it. Multiple delusions follow. One of these delusions -- shared by the President and his entourage -- is that we are protected by highly motivated, super competent and relentless intelligence agencies directed by people of great probity. A companion delusion is that it is unpatriotic to look too critically at those leaders and what they actually are doing. The inevitable outcome: abuse, failure and squandered resources.

Of course, there is an advantage to perpetuating delusions about the performance of the intelligence agencies: you don't learn things that inconveniently discredit other delusions. We have one striking example of this psychological pattern at work. Revelations about the NSA's trespass on the Fourth Amendment evoked a response conditioned by the near universal conviction among Washington elites that the Agency's activities were invaluable and, therefore, any conjectural curtailment -- however modest -- had to be balanced against that supposed benefit. Senior officials gave solemn testimony under oath that indeed the information gleaned had been vital in protecting Americans.

Those pronouncements by Clapper, Alexander, Brennan et al turn out to have been outright untruths. It is now established that there is no evidence that a single terrorist threat in the United States, of any magnitude, was prevented as a result of these massive assaults on civil liberties. Or the electronic surveillance of foreign leaders and other public figures. The President's own select Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies has so concluded. Yet, neither the Congress, nor any part of the Executive Branch nor the MSM have drawn the logical conclusion that the threat has been hugely inflated and the siege mentality that has driven American policies at home and abroad without sound basis. Concealing that logical connection helps to explain the absence of any serious effort to come to terms with the NSA abuses, those who have orchestrated the deception about their justification, those who lied about them and those (including the President) who have used the same methods against the Senate Intelligence Committee itself. To tear the tissue of delusion about the one is to risk the pain and embarrassment of tearing other tissues of delusion as well.

Freedom of conscience about the truth of the "terrorism years" is not prized or sought. It is the comfort and convenience promised by "corrected" truth that better serves what our leaders' crave and need most.

Damn, this is fine writing. How I wish I had written this. This is so important, however, I am pleased just cut and paste it here for your perusal and discussion.

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