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31 August, 2011

Empty Shelves: Hurricanes, Disasters and Civil Unrest – a Contingency Plan

Empty Shelves: Hurricanes, Disasters and Civil Unrest – a Contingency Plan: "If you think that you’ll be able to simply drive to Wal-Mart or the grocery store and load up on food, water and supplies during an actual emergency, you are living in a fantasy world. We now experience freak weather on a regular basis. Oklahoma has experienced... record-breaking... temperatures, a massive hurricane... [hit] Washington, DC and the New York City area, and NASA continues to amplify their warnings regarding solar storms disrupting our way of life..."

Officially Declared Nuclear Nightmare

Officially Declared Nuclear Nightmare | Dr. Mark's Blog: "Nothing good about the nuclear news at the end of August as we have official recognition (finally) of what is going on in Japan and thus what is threatening the rest of the world, especially the northern hemisphere. It is now being said that the amount of radioactive cesium that has leaked from a tsunami-hit nuclear plant is about equal to 168 of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima at the end of World War II, Japan’s nuclear agency said Friday the 26th.

That’s like dropping one nuclear weapon a day since the beginning of this disaster and this is what they have been calling safe, no problem, don’t worry about it, go home and go to sleep..."

Hurricane Irene vs. The Idiots

U.N. Warns of Possible Bird Flu Resurgence

U.N. agency warns of possible bird flu resurgence - Yahoo! News: "The United Nations warned of a possible major resurgence of bird flu and said a mutant strain of the H5N1 virus was spreading in Asia and elsewhere.

The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Monday urged increased surveillance and preparation for a potential outbreak of the virus, which it says has infected 565 people since it first appeared in 2003, killing 331 of them.

The virus was eliminated from most of the 63 countries infected at its peak in 2006 after mass poultry culling, but since 2008 it has been expanding geographically in both poultry and wild birds, partly due to migration patterns, the FAO said..."

30 August, 2011

Hurricane Irene, Unusual Earthquakes, Unprecedented Tornadoes, Historic Flooding And Horrific Drought: Why Is All Of This Stuff Happening To America?

Hurricane Irene, Unusual Earthquakes, Unprecedented Tornadoes, Historic Flooding And Horrific Drought: Why Is All Of This Stuff Happening To America?: "What in the world is happening to America? In more normal times it would be easy to dismiss Hurricane Irene as an isolated incident, but so far this year we have had some sort of a 'major disaster' almost every single month. In addition to Hurricane Irene, this year we have also had truly unusual earthquakes, unprecedented tornadoes, historic flooding along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, horrific drought, massive wildfires and a continuous onslaught of nuclear radiation from Fukushima. Almost every single area of the United States has been affected by at least one of these disasters. So why is all of this stuff happening to America all of a sudden? Does anyone have any theories? Right now we are having a 'once in a century' disaster every few weeks, and either we are just extremely 'unlucky' or there is a reason why all of this is happening..."

God, Help These People In The Face Of Any REAL Disaster!!!



Hurricane Irene lobster: Shoppers fight over the bottled water, flashlights and lobster... How a city prepared for a very New York hurricane | Mail Online: "I knew something was amiss before I even left my apartment.

My flatmate has locked the front door, presumably in the fear that hurricane Irene would try the handle first before barging in.

He also pulled down the blind on the kitchen window, apparently in the belief that it would stop the 100mph gusts should the glass fail to do so.

‘We’ve got to be prepared,’ he said with a face fit for a funeral. ‘Who knows what might happen’.

I thought he was overreacting to the arrival of the storm in New York, but out on the streets I realised it was I who was out of step.

Inevitably the supermarkets became raw wounds of fear, with shoppers stocking up on what they saw as essential provisions to get them through the hard times ahead.

New York city officials had given explicit instructions that everyone should prepare a ‘Go bag’ in case of disaster containing bottled water and nonperishable food such as granola bars.

But in Gristedes in 1st Avenue by lunchtime on Saturday the shelves had been cleared of frozen pizzas, pastries and potatoes with plenty of cereal bars to spare.

All of the mulitgrain pitta chips had been taken, although even the prospect of a hurricane was not enough to convince anyone to buy the Italian Harvest flavour.

One woman was carrying a shopping list which included soy sauce, crackers and cider.

At the very top she had written, with a star next to it: ‘Lobster’.

‘It’s not very practical, I know,’ she admitted, her cheeks glowing red with embarrassment.

Also in Gristides Giovanna Levy was doing some last minute shopping. Her basket contained tins of tuna, toothpaste and hot dogs.

She said: ‘This is the second supermarket we’ve been to.

‘We’re going to order in loads of food from restaurants and have it just sitting there ready to eat.

‘We’re not sure where we are going to stay yet. We were thinking about going to a hotel downtown but I don’t think we’re doing that now.’

I asked another lady in her early 20s how she was preparing for what could be the worst natural disaster in 26 years to hit New York.

‘I’ve left my air conditioning unit on all day today so my bedroom is nice and cool,’ she said.

‘If the power goes off it won’t work’. I told her: ‘It seems like a sensible precaution’, and she agreed, nodding her head.

Her boyfriend chipped in: ‘You can’t be too sure’.

Gracefully supermarket on 1st Avenue was closed but through the window you could see there was no bread, only one Yucan gold potato but lots of butternut squash left on the shelves.

At Morton Williams supermarket on 23rd St Beth and Jeff Rooney had stocked up on bagels, cream cheese and peanut butter to see them through.

Mrs Rooney said: ‘We’re not really taking it that seriously. People are acting like there will never be any more food but the trucks will start running tomorrow or Monday.

‘It’s like Christmas, only worse’.

Shops which bragged about staying open 24 hours now looked foolish at best and suicidal at worst.

At the CVS on 23rd st staff had been told the store would close at 9pm on Saturday night and reopen at 10am on Sunday, when Irene was right overhead.

‘I don’t know how they expect us to get into work,’ a lady at the checkout said, referring to the closure of the entire New York transit system.

‘Maybe they’ll get us a flying carpet’.

Throughout Manhattan shop closures were widespread but utterly random.

On 1st Avenue the laundries were open but the bars were shut.

You could get a KFC but you couldn’t get a McDonald’s. You could buy computer games but you couldn’t get a coffee.

You couldn’t get your shoes repaired anywhere, and you definitely couldn’t go to the bank.

On 2nd Avenue you couldn’t even die - a sign on the door of the Andrett Funeral Home read: ‘ We are closed due to hurricane Irene’.

It added: ‘Sorry for the inconvenience’.

The predictable things had, of course, sold out. At Radioshack on 1st there were no digital clocks, radios and just a few batteries left.

At Walgreen’s by Union Square candles were in short supply, as were frozen pizzas again.

One man walked around with two bottles of Gatorade in his basket. An elderly gentleman was waiting in line clutching two bars of Lindt chocolate and four tins of sardines.

The hardware store close to my apartment had sold a number of foam guards which sit on top of air conditioning units to soften the noise of the rain falling onto them.

‘I don’t see the point of it,’ said David Rojas, who was working behind the counter at Town and Village Hardware. ‘I’d be more concerned about whether my building was going to stand up than the noise of the rain’.

At the best of times hearing other people’s conversations gives you an idea about what makes New York tick.

But in the new mood of subdued panic, they offered a chance to really see how people were planning ahead.

‘Is that Worcestershire sauce?’ a girl wearing wellington boots asked her friend in one store. ‘They haven’t got any. Damn. Let’s try somewhere else’.

Another woman scolded her husband as they crossed the road close to Union Square.

‘For God’s sakes Harold,’ she said, ‘We still don’t have the mint tea and we’re running out of time!’

Come on Irene...."

Home Alarm Monitoring: 10 Security Threats that Scare Homeowners

Home Alarm Monitoring: 10 Security Threats that Scare Homeowners: "Home ownership is something many American’s take for granted and for others is just a dream. What some don’t realize is that owning a home comes with a whole new set of responsibilities and problems. This is why homeowner insurance is so important and required by mortgage holders. Here are 10 of the security threats that scare homeowners..."

29 August, 2011

Is The Number Of Earthquakes Increasing? Why The 5.8 Virginia Earthquake Might Just Be A Preview Of Things To Come

Is The Number Of Earthquakes Increasing? Why The 5.8 Virginia Earthquake Might Just Be A Preview Of Things To Come: "Is the number of earthquakes increasing? Are major earthquakes becoming more frequent? In the aftermath of the magnitude-5.8 earthquake in Virginia, a whole lot of people are asking those questions. All over the mainstream media, 'experts' are coming on and assuring the public that all of this is 'normal' and that the number of earthquakes is not actually increasing. The USGS continues to insist that the frequency of major earthquakes has been 'fairly constant' and that there is no reason for alarm. But is that really the truth? In this article, you will be presented with evidence that the number of earthquakes is definitely increasing. Please approach the evidence with an open mind. The truth is that this year we are on pace to have more than twice the number of major earthquakes than we did just 10 years ago. The mainstream media is much more interested in keeping people calm than it is in telling them the truth. Our planet is becoming increasingly unstable, and the magnitude-5.8 Virginia earthquake that we just witnessed might just be a preview of things to come..."

Pirate-Fighters, Inc.: How Mercenaries Became Ships’ Best Defense

Pirate-Fighters, Inc.: How Mercenaries Became Ships’ Best Defense | Danger Room | Wired.com: "It was a normal morning in April last year. Normal, that is, by the crazy standards of the fishermen, ship’s crews, navy sailors and Somali pirates plying their dangerous trades on 2.5 million square miles of lawless ocean stretching from India to Kenya.

'Dave,' a 44-year-old from Wiltshire in southwest England, was standing watch on the upper deck of a commercial car carrier bound from Mumbai to Mombasa. Scanning the horizon with a pair of high-powered binoculars, the former British Royal Marine of 24 years’ experience spotted something suspicious ahead of the carrier: a small freighter matching the profile of a pirate “mothership,” a sort of floating base for heavily armed sea bandits and their small boats.

What happened next was like something out of a Hollywood thriller. But for Dave and a fast-growing number of for-profit ship guards, it was just another day on the job — and evidence of a surprising turn in the years-old, international war on piracy.

The world’s governments are waking up to the sobering fact that the gazillion-dollar warships they’ve sent to the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean can’t keep up with the region’s elusive pirates. The hijackers’ simple, brutal tactics are too effective. Their business model is too attractive. And they’ve got nothing to lose but their lives.

The days are probably numbered for 10,000-ton Burke-class destroyers chasing down illiterate Somali thugs sailing in souped-up fishing boats called 'skiffs.' The future of the piracy war could belong to Dave and guys like him, standing lonely guard on gigantic, fortified commercial vessels speeding through pirate-infested waters..."

26 August, 2011

At Least 7 Aftershocks Registered After Virginia Quake

At Least 7 Aftershocks Registered After Virginia Quake - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports: "The 5.8-magnitude earthquake that rattled the East Coast this week has produced at least seven aftershocks.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the aftershocks around the central Virginia epicenter ranged in magnitude from 4.5 to as little as 2.2, following the strongest earthquake to strike the East Coast since World War II. Two of them hit early Thursday.

When the number of aftershocks was still at five, geophysicist Amy Vaughan with the National Earthquake Information Center in Colorado, said the aftershocks so far had been remarkably few.

Vaughan said the agency isn't sure what to expect, but it's likely there will be some more for days, if not weeks. Typically, the larger the quake, the longer and the greater extent of aftershocks.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)"

"Recovery In Centuries, Not Years": Japan Using Fukushima People As Human Guinnea Pigs

Japan using Fukushima people as human Guinnea Pigs - YouTube

What Hunger in America Looks Like

What Hunger in America Looks Like | EcoSalon | Conscious Culture and Fashion: "Could you eat on $4 a day?

There are more people on Food Stamps, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), than ever before in the United States. As of May, 45,753,078 Americans were enrolled in SNAP, an increase of over 60% since the recession began in April 2008 and a jump of 12.1% over May 2010. That’s nearly 15% of the U.S. population, or around 1 in 7 people...

... Though the program was designed to be supplemental, according to data collected by The New York Times, about 6 million Americans receiving food stamps report they have no other income...

... What’s it like to rely primarily on food stamps to put food on the table?

The average amount food stamp recipients receive is $4 a day per person. In 2009 the amount was raised temporarily from $3 to $4, which makes a big difference. However this temporary increase was instituted as part of the economic recovery program and is due to expire in October 2013. To be eligible to receive any food stamps, gross income for a family of four must not exceed 130 percent or less of the Federal poverty guidelines ($2,389 per month/$28,668 per year for a family of four)

What can you buy for $4 a day?..."

14 Conspiracy Theories That The Media Now Admits Are Conspiracy Facts

14 Conspiracy Theories That The Media Now Admits Are Conspiracy Facts - BlackListedNews.com: "How many times have you heard the mainstream media dismiss certain points of view as 'conspiracy theories'? It seems as though one of the easiest ways to brush something off is to label it as something that only 'conspiracy theorists' would believe. Well, you know what? A whole lot of the time the 'conspiracy theorists' are right and the mainstream media is wrong. In fact, we owe a great debt to 'conspiracy theorists' because they will go places and investigate things that the mainstream media would never even touch. The reality is that the mainstream media only tells us what the government and the big corporations want us to hear, and much of the time it is those in the alternative media that are left with the task of trying to figure out what the real truth is. So don't look down on conspiracy theories or conspiracy theorists. In a world where almost everything we are told is a lie, the truth can be very difficult to find..."

25 August, 2011

Can You Survive If You're YOYO?

Can you survive if you're YOYO? | phones, yoyo, power - Colorado Springs Gazette, CO: "What if all power and water went out for a week or longer, cell phones didn’t work, businesses were closed, gas wasn’t available and chaos erupted in the streets? Would you be prepared to survive?

El Paso County Commissioner Peggy Littleton is on a personal and professional crusade to make sure every resident can answer “yes” to that question.

'If you can’t call anyone and go anywhere and YOYO — ‘You’re On Your Own’ — while structure is reorganized, will you be ready?' she asks. 'I want to make sure everyone has a personal preparedness plan with a 72-hour emergency kit packed and in the car or by the front door.'..."

Chinese Think Tank Implies America May Be Falsifying Its Accounting, Says US On Way To Default

Chinese Think Tank Implies America May Be Falsifying Its Accounting, Says US On Way To Default | ZeroHedge: "Joe Biden came to China, saw, and failed to conquer the locals' ridicule. Punctuating just how 'effective' Biden's visit to China was in order to 'reassure that the US is solvent' (no seriously, that's the name of the article) is a just released article in the Securities Times by Wang Tialong, member of Chinese think tank Center for International Economic Exchanges in which he went on to blatantly say that 'The U.S. may be on its way to default on its debt despite the U.S. government's ability to print more money, a Chinese think tank researcher said Monday.' Now this is nothing new in the escalating war of words between the two countries, although increasingly China appears to be attacking the primary loophole that defenders of the unsustainable US debt use, namely the fall back to the USD as a reserve currency. Wang went on further to implicitly accuse the US of fabricating economic data: 'There is also no way to punish the issuer country if it falsifies its accounting and there is no way to restructure the issuer either, Wang said.' Well, when China accuses the US of 'falsifying accounting' you know you have hit rock bottom..."

24 August, 2011

Hurricane Irene Approaches

And our next big worry: Hurricane Irene | HamptonRoads.com | PilotOnline.com: "People stocked up on food, boarded windows and gassed up their cars Tuesday as Hurricane Irene threatened to become the most powerful storm to hit the East Coast in seven years. If the latest forecast holds true, Irene would hit the Outer Banks of North Carolina sometime Saturday.

All Navy ships in Hampton Roads were ordered to prepare to get under way within 24 hours as a precaution.

'We learned last hurricane season with Hurricane Earl that we must be prepared even sooner to make the decision to sortie,' Vice Adm. Daniel Holloway, commander of the U.S. 2nd Fleet, said in a news release.

From Florida to Maine, residents were told to brace for flash flooding and power outages..."


Red Cross Moving Supplies and Volunteers as Hurricane Irene Heads Toward the East... -- WASHINGTON, Aug. 23, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --: "Hurricane Irene is expected to make landfall along the eastern shores later this week with winds gusting as high as 150 mph, and the American Red Cross is getting ready for a full East Coast response by preparing shelters for evacuees, pre-positioning numerous emergency response vehicles and disaster supplies, and mobilizing disaster workers to parts of the country expected to see impact from this large storm.

'This storm is getting stronger as it moves toward the East Coast and people who live in or are vacationing in areas that could see its impact need to get ready now,' said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president of Disaster Services for the Red Cross. 'We urge them to take the threat of Irene seriously and finalize their hurricane preparations and get their emergency kits ready.'..."

Earth Changes: What Is Going On?

Unless you live under a rock, you are no doubt already aware of the earthquake on the East Coast yesterday.  Without being too long-winded, let it suffice to say that it was a rare occurrence that both thrilled and frightened many.

Unusual as it may be, yesterday's quake is not the only odd occurrence that I have noticed over the past few years.  I am not necessarily a proponent of anthropomorphic Global Warming, but anyone with eyes to see would be hard pressed not to agree that the Earth and her climate are definitely going through changes.  Where I live in the Appalachians, the climate is noticeably different than what it was when I was growing up 20 years ago.  As a kid in school, we always had Recess outside right up until the point when school let out for the summer, and I'm talking about without jackets or anything -- temperatures were consistently in the 70s and sometimes even the low 80s as early as mid- to late May.  Now, we wear our jackets throughout May and sometimes even into June.  The only really consistently warm temperatures are in July and August.  Don't get me wrong, there are warm days starting as early as April and extending into October/November, but they are few and far between.  The growing season for our gardens seems shorter because of later frosts.  Winters seem colder.  We seem to get less snow than when I was a child, but more ice and bitter cold temperatures.

On top of that, my area, which had not seen one actually touch down since the 1970s, seems to now be joining other parts of the country in having to deal with tornadoes.  We had a couple last year that, luckily, only caused a small amount of damage, but we were under more official Watches and Warnings than I can count.  I am 34 years old and, let me tell you, that has never happened before in my lifetime... until recently, that is.  My poor Mother was scared out of her wits; she couldn't recall ever having to hide and cower in an internal hallway during storms anymore than I can.  It is, quite simply, new to us -- something has changed.

And now, apparently, we're going to need to prepare for earthquakes as well.

One would have to be blind not to see that something is going on with the earth, climate, et cetera.

Soaring Price Of Gold Ignites Wave Of Robberies In Los Angeles

Soaring Price Of Gold Ignites Wave Of Robberies In Los Angeles at Pat Dollard: "That stunning rise in the price of gold is having a ripple effect: A rash of jewelry store robberies, street muggings and home burglaries. Now, merchants are stepping up security and police are warning everyone against flaunting their bling...

... So far this year, gold chains have been snatched from the necks of at least 110 people during street robberies in... South Los Angeles... officers are circulating fliers and showing up at churches and community centers to warn residents to stop wearing gold in public, or at least to tuck it under their clothes..."

23 August, 2011

Rare Earthquake Rocks U.S. East Coast

I doubt that it is news to anyone at this late hour that a very rare earthquake occurred earlier today with an epicenter just south of Mineral, Virginia and was also felt several states away, but I thought it prudent to mention here nonetheless so that together we can take a look at some of the news generated by the event.  Needless to say, we easterners are not accustomed to such things, so it is a big, big deal regardless of the small amount of damage and lack of fatalities (thank God!) that it caused.

East Coast quake felt in several states (from South Carolina to Maine)

Illinois residents may have felt Virginia quake

Strongest quake since '44 jars East Coast

5.8 earthquake leaves Central Virginia shaken, not stirred

Earthquake aftershock felt in Virginia, more aftershocks likely to come

Earthquake in Virginia felt across W.Va. (video)

Virginia nuclear plant shut down by quake

Quake raises safety concerns as US nuclear plant shut

Va. Earthquake Triggers 'Unusual Event' At Susquehanna Plant

Earthquake centered in Va. rolls across Pa.

Quake affects NYSE traders, sparks brief selloff

Hurrican Irene Strengthens On Path To U.S. Southeast

Irene grows on path to US Southeast - Weather - TODAY.com: "A rapidly strengthening Hurricane Irene roared off the Dominican Republic's resort-dotted northern coast on Monday, whipping up high waves and torrential downpours on a track that could see it reach the U.S. Southeast as a major storm by the end of the week.

Irene grew into a Category 2 hurricane late Monday and the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said it could reach Category 3 as early as Tuesday and possibly become a monster Category 4 storm within 72 hours.

'We didn't anticipate it gaining this much strength this early,' said center meteorologist Chris Landsea, adding that the ocean's warm temperatures and the current atmosphere is 'very conducive' to energizing storms..."

Home Canning Makes a Comeback

Home canning makes a comeback - southbendtribune.com: "Food-filled jars line the walls of Jenica Cory’s pantry, much like they did at her grandmother’s house.

Stewed tomatoes, green beans, applesauce, chicken soup, pickles.

Cory, the mother of two young girls, didn’t grow up preserving, or 'canning,' food in her home. But now, her summer and fall are filled with days spent packing away fruits and vegetables, harvest from her families’ gardens and the area’s farms and orchards...

... She isn’t alone.

What was once thought to be a dying tradition, practiced by grandmothers and folks living in rural communities, the art of home preserving is making a comeback, both nationally and locally.

Bolstered by a recession that has people hoping to cut back on their food bills, and provoked by a new generation of consumers skeptical of mass-produced, trucked-in produce, home canning - the type that uses Mason jars and pressure cookers or hot water baths - is suddenly all the rage again..."

22 August, 2011

Buy a Gun

Buy a Gun: "Buy a weapon to prepare for what may be the most devastating economic downturn our nation has ever faced. As one trained in economics, I never thought I'd write those words.

However, I'll repeat them. Buy a gun.

The coming storm will not only impose financial hardships for those unprepared, but also entail a physical threat to you, your family and your property.

The threat will come from inside the halls of government with the constant attack on savings and investments through inflation, monetary gimmickry and, eventually, the destruction of our currency.

These events will be led by welfare programs gone awry. A recent nearby incident, and events in London, forced me to confront a reality too few wish to believe. Here's what FT.com's Gautam Malkani had to say:

The speed of the disintegration said everything. It took less than 48 hours for London to descend from self-styled capital of the world into a circuit of burning dystopian hells. The speed of BlackBerry messaging; the speed of kids on BMXs; the speed of Molotovs and petrol. Never mind the police, even the media couldn't keep up.

The world around us is deteriorating every day: socially and economically. It's not limited to London.

England seems pretty distant, but when the chaos rears up in your backyard, literally, you begin to prioritize and prepare. I suggest you do the same..."

Long Term Food Storage - Baking with 25 Year Old Wheat

Paratus Familia: Long Term Food Storage - Baking with 25 Year Old Wheat: "There are a lot of methods for the long term storage of wheat touted in survival guides and on the internet but, most people, being fairly new to preparedness, have never had the opportunity to test the validity of any long term storage techniques. Although Sir Knight and I have been storing food for 15 years, we regularly use and rotate our supply, ensuring that our stored foods are never more than about 5 years old.

A month or so ago, my best friend from high school helped her mother prepare to sell their family home. They sorted through years of family memories and accumulations, kept a few precious memento's and prepared the rest for a huge estate sale. As they sifted, they came upon the remnants of their stored foods. Deciding they couldn't sell 25 to 35 year old stored foods, they forwarded them to us.

The foods that we inherited consisted of a number of 5 gallon buckets full of hard red wheat, about 20 quart jars of honey (harvest from their own bees!) and 25 pounds of pinto beans. What a treasure trove!

Knowing that wheat was recovered from a Pharaoh's tomb, and, after 2000 years was sown and successfully germinated, we thought we would we would attempt breadmaking with our very young 25 (to 35) year old wheat..."

Community Gardens Plagued By Thefts

Community gardens plagued by thefts | The Columbus Dispatch: "When Bill Dawson returned to the community garden at the Franklin Park Conservatory on Tuesday, he saw someone who was busy reaping what others had sown.

Dawson parked his car and walked up to the woman who was wandering through the 40 garden beds, filling a trash bag with plump green tomatoes.

'I had to explain the system and that these vegetables were not hers to take,' said Dawson, community-garden coordinator for the conservatory.

While most gardeners expect rabbits, birds and squirrels to feed on their fruits and vegetables, many are learning that human bandits are lurking among the carrots, peppers and squash..."

At Vacant Homes, Foraging for Fruit

At Vacant Homes, Foraging for Fruit - NYTimes.com: "As she does every evening, Kelly Callahan walked her dogs through her East Atlanta neighborhood. As in many communities in a city with the 16th-highest foreclosure rate in the nation, there were plenty of empty, bank-owned properties for sale.

She noticed something else. Those forlorn yards were peppered with overgrown gardens and big fruit trees, all bulging with the kind of bounty that comes from the high heat and afternoon thunderstorms that have defined Atlanta’s summer.

So she began picking. First, there was a load of figs, which she intends to make into jam for a cafe that feeds homeless people. Then, for herself, she got five pounds of tomatoes, two kinds of squash and — the real prize — a Sugar Baby watermelon.

'I don’t think of it as stealing,' she said. 'These things were planted by a person who was going to harvest them. That person no longer has the ability to. It’s not like the bank people who sit in their offices are going to come out here and pick figs.'

Of course, a police officer who catches her might not agree with Ms. Callahan’s legal assessment. And it would be a rare bank official who would sign off.

But as the world of urban fruit and vegetable harvesting grows, the boundaries around where to grow and pick produce are becoming more elastic.

Over the last few years, in cities from Oakland, Calif., to Clemson, S.C., well-intentioned foraging enthusiasts have mapped public fruit trees and organized picking parties. Volunteers descend on generous homeowners who are happy to share their bounty, sometimes getting a few jars of preserves in return.

There are government efforts to turn abandoned land into food, too. In Multnomah County, Ore., officials offer property that has been seized for back taxes to community and governmental organizations for gardens..."

20 August, 2011

Fukushima Radiation Alarms Doctors

Fukushima radiation alarms doctors - Features - Al Jazeera English: "Scientists and doctors are calling for a new national policy in Japan that mandates the testing of food, soil, water, and the air for radioactivity still being emitted from Fukushima's heavily damaged Daiichi nuclear power plant.

'How much radioactive materials have been released from the plant?' asked Dr Tatsuhiko Kodama, a professor at the Research Centre for Advanced Science and Technology and Director of the University of Tokyo's Radioisotope Centre, in a July 27 speech to the Committee of Health, Labour and Welfare at Japan's House of Representatives.

'The government and TEPCO have not reported the total amount of the released radioactivity yet,' said Kodama, who believes things are far worse than even the recent detection of extremely high radiation levels at the plant..."

Fukushima Worker On Camera: "The Holes And Cracks In The Ground Are Terrifying"

19 August, 2011

Fukushima Now Radiating Everyone: 'Unspeakable' Reality

Fukushima now radiating everyone: 'Unspeakable' reality - National Human Rights | Examiner.com: "Australia's CBS exposed the "unspeakable" realities of the Japanese catastrophe in its 60 Minutes program Sunday night during which leading nuclear scientist Dr. Michio Kaku said radiation from Fukushima will impact of all of humanity. The nuclear energy power industry violation of the right to health is apparent throughout the new Australian report.

'In fact the whole world will be exposed from the radiation from Fukushima,' Dr. Kaku told CBS reporter Liz Hayes.

'We are already getting radiation from Fukushima,' Dr. Kaku said.

Just as Australia's SBS exposed in depth the reality of the 2010 BP Gulf of Mexico catastrophe unlike any U.S. mainstream news station, Sunday, Australia's CBS has now exposed in depth the Fukushima catastrophe..."

Tornado Shelters Dominate Joplin's Rebuilding Plans

Apparently, some folks have learned the value of living a more prepared lifestyle.

PhotoBlog - Tornado shelters dominate Joplin's rebuilding plans

Ultimate Survival Kit in a Water Bottle

ThinkGeek :: Ultimate Survival Kit in a Water Bottle: According to the folks who build those awesome rovers that drive around on Mars, water is a pretty essential element for the existence of life. Liquid water is an especially important form necessary to support life, and fortunately for us, we have plenty of that here on Earth. Most other places in our solar system the water is all locked up as ice.

The Ultimate Survival Kit in a Water Bottle doesn't contain any liquid water (but of course you can easily add your own) but that doesn't mean it cannot help support life. What is does contain could help with your survival while you roam around the surface of our planet in search of outdoor adventures.

Comes packaged as a 32 oz (1 liter) water bottle containing the following supplies.

  • 32 oz/1L water bottle (Color varies)
  • Carabiner
  • Multifunction tool
  • Multifunction whistle/compass
  • Flashlight
  • Batteries (2 pcs)
  • Survival blanket
  • Hand warmer packet (2 pcs)
  • Candle
  • Box waterproof matches
  • Emergency poncho
  • 20pc First aid kit
  • Reusable zipper-lock bag

Chavez: Venezuela Recalling $11B in Gold Reserves

Chavez: Venezuela recalling $11B in gold reserves | National Business News | Idaho Statesman: "President Hugo Chavez announced Wednesday he is nationalizing Venezuela's gold mining industry and intends to bring home $11 billion in gold reserves currently held in U.S. and European banks.

He said the recall of the gold reserves is intended to help protect this oil-producing country from the economic woes in the United States and Europe..."

18 August, 2011

Guest Post: Handguns: The Ultimate Form of Self-Defense

by Madison Parker

You do what you can to protect your family and your home. You install a state-of-the-art home security system. You avoid posting personal information to Twitter or Facebook. You’re careful about who you let into your home. You might take a self-defense course, and you teach your children the basics of what to do when they’re approached by a stranger or when a home invasion occurs.

There’s one way to protect your home, however, that serves as both a last-line deterrent to burglary and the ultimate form of self-defense: the handgun.

If you intend to use a handgun to protect your home and family, you need to come to terms with some things ahead of time:

·        Be ready and willing to kill. Handguns are deadly. That’s one of the things that make them such an effective method of self-defense. If you’re going to wield a handgun, you need to be prepared for the fact that anything you point that handgun toward may die.

·        Pick the right gun. A handgun that you have trouble handling, that isn’t sighted correctly, or that has a reputation for poor craftsmanship isn’t going to help you much in an emergency. If you’re trusting a handgun for self-defense, you need to pick a gun that’s reliable. It needs to be one that’s comfortable in your hands, enjoys a solid reputation for quality, and that isn’t going to misfire.

·        To be used for self-defense, a handgun needs to be accessible. Your handgun doesn’t do much good if you can’t get to it. However, you still need to follow all of the basic safety rules about how you store your gun. A gun safe with a keypad lock is always a good choice, as is a gun box that you can get into quickly. A gun that you can’t get to or that you can’t get to in time does nothing for self-defense.

·        A handgun is the last line of self-defense. There are a hundred other obstacles that someone should have to get through before they find themselves staring down the barrel of your gun. From your home security system to deadbolts to motion-sensitive lighting, there are other deterrents that should do the trick. Having a handgun for self-defense also implies hoping that you never have to use it, but being ready if you do.


Image Credit: Flickr

This is a guest post by Madison Parker. Madison is an expert writer on subjects related to home security systems. Read more on her blog HomeSecuritySystems.net.

Do-It-Yourself Battlefield Medicine Saves Lives

Do-It-Yourself Battlefield Medicine Saves Lives: "When Army Ranger Leroy Petry's hand was blown off by a grenade as he was saving his comrades in battle, he knew just what to do. He used his remaining hand to twist a tourniquet around his arm to avoid bleeding to death.

Sgt. 1st Class Petry, awarded the Medal of Honor last month, was with a regiment trained in do-it-yourself battlefield treatment. That kind of quick care on the field led to a 92 percent survival rate for the regiment over more than seven years, a study found.

Of the 32 deaths, just one had wounds considered potentially survivable, in this case massive bleeding. That Ranger died from post-surgery complications.

The study found a 3 percent death rate from potentially survivable causes in the 75th Regiment between October 2001 and April 2010. That compares with a 24 percent rate in a previously reported set of U.S. military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, which included troops who didn't have the Ranger-style training, the study authors said..."

17 August, 2011

On The Front Line Of The Riots

On the front line of the riots with the police - Telegraph: "A police officer, whose anonymous blog has captivated thousands, tells of his shock, exhaustion and terror after confronting the mob.

'I have worked every night and every day this week. Since last Saturday, when I was on the streets of Tottenham in north London in the early hours as rioting and looting broke out, through to the early hours of yesterday morning. I have clocked up around 125 hours, too many of them being pelted by stones, petrol bombs and, in one case, in the chaos of it all, by a 4ft ornamental palm tree.

All that has sustained me has been a few hours of snatched sleep between shifts, plenty of tea, the occasional packet of Haribo sweets to provide a much-needed energy burst – and an unshakeable belief, shared with my fellow officers, that I have a responsibility for the safety of my colleagues, and for the decent, law-abiding majority of the community here in London where I live'..."

Silicon Valley Billionaire Funding Creation of Artificial Libertarian Islands

Silicon Valley billionaire funding creation of artificial libertarian islands | The Lookout - Yahoo! News: "Pay Pal founder and early Facebook investor Peter Thiel has given $1.25 million to an initiative to create floating libertarian countries in international waters, according to a profile of the billionaire in Details magazine.

Thiel has been a big backer of the Seasteading Institute, which seeks to build sovereign nations on oil rig-like platforms to occupy waters beyond the reach of law-of-the-sea treaties. The idea is for these countries to start from scratch--free from the laws, regulations, and moral codes of any existing place..."

16 August, 2011

Why is George Soros Selling Gold and Buying Farmland?

Why is George Soros selling gold and buying farmland?: "Food prices are skyrocketing all across the globe, and there's no end in sight. The United Nations says food inflation is currently at 30% a year, and the fast-eroding value of the dollar is causing food prices to appear even higher (in contrast to a weakening currency). As the dollar drops in value due to runaway money printing at the Federal Reserve, the cost to import foods from other nations looks to double in just the next two years -- and possibly every two years thereafter.

That's probably why investors around the globe are flocking to farmland as the new growth industry. 'Investors are pouring into farmland in the U.S. and parts of Europe, Latin America and Africa as global food prices soar,' reports Bloomberg magazine. 'A fund controlled by George Soros, the billionaire hedge-fund manager, owns 23.4 percent of South American farmland venture Adecoagro SA.'

Jim Rogers is also quoted in the same story, saying, 'I have frequently told people that one of the best investments in the world will be farmland.'..."

15 August, 2011

England Used to Be a Country of Men

The editorial piece quoted and linked to below was written from a decidedly British perspective regarding the recent rioting in England, but the sentiment can easily be applied to today's culture as a whole, regardless of country. The hard truth is that the majority of people these days are soft and spoiled, apparently lacking the ability (and perhaps even the inclination) to face hardships head-on by simply squaring their shoulders and pushing ahead. Add to those the hundreds of millions (probably billions) of individuals, whose sanity and behavior is being held in check solely through the daily use of mood and brain chemistry altering pharmaceuticals, and I am at a loss to understand how there is anyone left who *CANNOT* see the precarious needlepoint upon which our society is dancing... except, of course, for those who simply do not want to see.

England Used to Be a Country of Men - Frank Miniter - National Review Online: "With London succumbing to looters and muggers, it’s time to ask what happened to the once-manly English people. The August 9 issue of the Daily Mail, for example, includes a photo of a young man taking off his pants on the street as an impatient looter waits with the emasculated Briton’s sneakers and shirt already in his hands. Luckily the feeble Englishman chooses boxers over briefs, but I can’t help wondering if men such as T. E. Lawrence, Winston Churchill, or Lord Acton could have stomached the state of manliness in this generation of Englishmen.

Consider that this latest explosion of looting, robbing, and burning began in Tottenham, a dicey corner of north London, after police shot and killed a 29-year-old Tottenham resident named Mark Duggan. As typically happens, two competing personality profiles of Duggan are being told, depending on the politics of the teller...

... The facts of this incident may be in dispute, but the unmanly actions of Tottenham’s gangster youth are not. In retaliation for Duggan’s death (or using it as an excuse for mayhem), they’ve burned autos, looted stores, and mugged people along Tottenham’s High Road and around parts of London. This reaction says something horrific about the culture in these neighborhoods, just as much as the 1992 Los Angeles Riots displayed that all wasn’t right with the culture in the poorer neighborhoods of Los Angeles.

For context, consider the “Tottenham Outrage” of 1909. Two men in Tottenham, armed with semi-automatic handguns, attempted to rob a payroll truck, but the guards resisted. After one robber fired his gun, police came running. The robbers fled on foot. The chase lasted two hours and covered about six miles as other officers and armed civilians pursued and engaged the robbers. One of the thieves committed suicide and the other later died in surgery. One officer and one civilian also were killed. The bravery of the officers and civilians prompted the creation of the Kings Police Medal and the funeral processions for the slain officer the civilian passed through streets lined with mournful Londoners. Those weren’t the kind of people who demonize police officers or take off their pants for thieves...

... These aren’t the proud men who once made the whole world look them in the eyes. I submit that one of the chief causes of their now emasculated spirit is the loss of so much of their individual liberty — like a child used to a parent fighting his or her battles, a people dependent on their government for everything cannot take care of themselves and are prone to childish outbursts.

By giving up their natural right to self-defense, for example, England’s law-abiding citizens have become defenseless both physically and psychologically. The loss of their right to self-preservation has created a culture of dependency on government (for protection and so much more) that has helped neuter the English male. This has also prompted some English citizens to blame the police for the crime rates that law enforcement is legally constrained from doing anything practical to fight.

Britain’s licensing of gun owners and the registration of their firearms made it easy for the government to take guns from law-abiding citizens after a mass-murderer in Hungerford killed 16 people in 1987. Within the next decade, British politicians criminalized possession of most handguns — the final deadline for turning them in was Feb. 27, 1998. (This is something liberals would like to do in the U.S., too.) Yet, few have subsequently pointed to the victims of this anti-freedom gun confiscation. The English papers haven’t interviewed victims of rape and other crimes and asked what they might have done if they had the ability to defend themselves from criminals..."

11 August, 2011

Economic Uncertainty Leading to Global Unrest

Global Unrest—Economic Uncertainty Leading to Global Unrest - CNBC: "... Great Britain and other parts of the world are experiencing unrest at a time of global economic uncertainty and stock market volatility.

Here's a look at what's happening around the world and how economic downturns are bringing protestors into the streets..."

[Follow Link Above]

Ron Paul: "Gold Is Not A Bubble"

Pay especially close attention to what Dr. Paul says from about 4:43 into the video onward.

Ron Paul: "Gold Is Not A Bubble" | RealClearPolitics: "'What's happening today and what I see is such a serious thing is I think what we're dealing with is the end of the dollar reserve standard. That's a worldwide phenomenon. It's not just for the United States, just think of how many dollars we've exported. How many people hold dollars. If this dollar is in big trouble, which is what I think is the problem, I mean this is not just a minor problem. This is probably a bigger problem than the world has faced before. Never has been a fiat currency been used as a reserve standard as so pervasively around the world. And there's not many other places to go, even though Treasury bills but eventually they're going to give up. I mean, just ooh what's happening to the Swiss Franc. So there's not much left other than commodities, you know, and real values. Actually, I think that is what is going to happen but it is going to reflect the devaluation of the dollar,' Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) told CNBC. Paul is also a Republican candidate for President."

[Video At Link]

‪Purifying Water for Long Term Storage

‪Water Purification - Purifying Water for Long Term Storage‬‏ - YouTube

10 August, 2011

Alan Greenspan Is A Moron

Apparently, no matter how bad things get there are those who will not be content until it gets even worse. Regarding the recent danger of a U.S. debt default, Alan Greenspan basically told CNBC that we shouldn't sweat it; we can always just print the money.

Now, I know that everyone does not agree with the Austrian school of economics; but when a concept has been proven again and again to be true, at what point does dissent on the part of supposedly intelligent people pretty much prove that they aren't so intelligent after all. Look at the former Weimar Republic. Look at Zimbabwe. The absolute disasters that befell those economies is exactly where we are headed with morons like this in positions of influence.

Get ready for hyperinflation, folks! They obviously aren't going to be satisfied until they get us there.

Polite Society's Desperately Thin Veneer Shows Its Fragility Yet Again in Recent London Rioting

London riots: breakdown of Monday night's violence - Telegraph: "The trouble initially flared on Saturday night following a peaceful protest in Tottenham over the fatal shooting of Mark Duggan by police.

But by Tuesday morning a large number of London boroughs had been left devastated by the trouble, with violence also erupting in cities away from the capital..."


London riots: residents fight back - Telegraph: "Locals in Clapham Junction, Dalston and Whitechapel took to the streets and faced down the mob on Monday night after realising that police were too over-stretched to help.

In south London, officers were nowhere to be seen as shopfronts were smashed in St John’s Road, Clapham Junction.

But the gangs of youths were prevented from carrying on their rampage south into Northcote Road, site of restaurants - specialist food stores and boutiques - by locals who guarded the top of the street..."

09 August, 2011

Letter RE: "ECB To 'Actively Implement' Bond-Buying"

In response to yesterday's article "ECB To 'Actively Implement' Bond-Buying," reader Otis T. said:

"The ECB screwed up. They should have started buying Spain’s and Italy’s bonds now, instead of saying they would start in October.

I am betting on Bernanke to start QE3 [Tuesday] after the Fed meeting. They will have the PPT and ESF and Treasury and the Fed in the markets with both hands buying indexes and stocks and bonds and selling the shit out of gold and silver (Dow was down 5%, Nasdaq down 7% and my gold stocks went down 12% to 50% even though gold is now above $1700 an ounce. How does THAT make sense?)."

08 August, 2011

ECB To "Actively Implement" Bond-Buying

First, we heard:

ECB to intervene decisively on markets - source | Reuters: "The Euro system of central banks has decided to intervene decisively on markets to respond to the escalating debt crisis, a euro zone monetary source said after a European Central Bank conference call on Sunday.

Officials on the conference call carefully considered the situation in Italy and Spain, and took note of a statement by France and Germany which stressed their commitment to European financial reforms, the source said.

'The Euro system will intervene very significantly on markets and respond in a significant and cohesive way,' the euro zone monetary source said, adding a statement by the ECB will be issued shortly..."

Then, a bit later, it was announced:

ECB says will "actively implement" bond-buying - Yahoo! News: "The European Central Bank said on Sunday it would 'actively implement' its controversial bond-buying programme to fight the euro zone's debt crisis, signaling it will buy Spanish and Italian government bonds to halt financial market contagion.

After a rare Sunday night conference call, the ECB welcomed announcements by Italy and Spain of new deficit cutting measures and economic reforms as well as a Franco-German pledge that the euro zone's rescue fund will take responsibility for bond-buying once it is operational, probably in October..."

06 August, 2011

China Blasts U.S. Over Credit Rating Downgrade

And so it begins. China was first to deliver a smackdown. Funny though, they’re right. Very vexing to admit.

China blasts US over credit rating downgrade - Yahoo! News: "China, the largest foreign holder of U.S. debt, demanded Saturday that America tighten its belt and confront its 'addiction to debts' in the wake of Standard & Poor's decision to downgrade the U.S. credit rating.

China currently owns $1.2 trillion of U.S. Treasury debt, the largest stake of any central bank. The commentary carried by the state-run Xinhua News Agency was Beijing's first official response to the S&P decision.

'The U.S. government has to come to terms with the painful fact that the good old days when it could just borrow its way out of messes of its own making are finally gone,' Xinhua said.

It said the rating cut would be followed by more 'devastating credit rating cuts' and global financial turbulence if the U.S. fails to learn to 'live within its means.'

'China, the largest creditor of the world's sole superpower, has every right now to demand the United States to address its structural debt problems and ensure the safety of China's dollar assets,' it said..."

Letter RE: "S&P Cuts U.S. Credit Rating"

In response to one of my quotes from the article, "S&P Cuts U.S. Credit Rating," reader Otis T. chimed-in with some very interesting and insightful things to say.

My quote: "... The long and the short of it is that if the dollar is no longer seen as such a staunch investment, fewer and fewer Treasury bonds will be sold..."

His response: "Actually same amount will be sold, just at a higher interest rate or lower bond price. Same thing that’s happened to all those EU countries and PIIGS. Some folks are only allowed to hold AAA+ bonds in certain funds and retirement accounts/state pension funds etc. As those pension fund managers have to sell AA+ bonds and buy AAA Canadian or German bonds, the price of the bonds drop and, inversely, the rates go up. As people sell bonds the coupon goes up. As people buy bonds the rates go down. Bernanke has bought 1.2 trillion in bonds to drive the rates down to keep the housing market from imploding.

As the Gubbernmint has to pay more to get people to hold lesser quality bonds, then those rates that have to increase will directly affect all the ARMs about to reset, your interest rate next month on your credit cards. Everything.

Monday will be interesting. I will be watching Japan and the Hang Seng come 3am Monday. One of two things will happen:

Over the weekend Obama and Geithner call Japan, China, Germany France and England. They all agree to hammer the FRACK out of everyone that’s going to try to short the markets Sunday night. They will hammer gold so it will NOT be a safe haven. The Japanese will buy another gajillion bucks of US bucks.

OR … they let the markets collapse and we get our mondo fear/panic selling/blood in the streets capitulation move. They allow a frackton of funds and black boxers to get HEAVILY short. Then the PPT and ESF come in Tuesday morning (or in the Access Market Monday evening) and they start buying indexes and everything else and you see a 600 point short-covering rally like the one I lost $65,000 in back in October 1998 at the height of the LTCM debacle. Greenspan did this surprise move and forced everyone who was RIGHT, and positioned in the markets according to reality, to eat their own shit. Over 60% of the S&P futures traders were bankrupted in a 60-minute move. The market went up for two years after that because most of the normal sellers (short side players) were gone. Nothing but buyers, a massive amount of buyers, chasing the few sellers that were left, paid up. And up. And up. And another layer of short side players lost everything. The market never really corrected again until the tech wreck."

05 August, 2011

S&P Cuts U.S. Credit Rating


Not a surprise, but pretty big news nonetheless. A downgrade in our credit rating could mean nasty things for the dollar. Pretty much the only reason the dollar has been so valuable all of these decades, despite being backed by nothing but promises and empty air, is that it was seen as such a solid investment that more than half of the world converted their wealth into our currency to protect it from the fluctuations in their own native currencies (well, that and the deal we made with the Saudis for them to trade their oil exclusively in U.S. Dollars, meaning that anyone who wanted to buy from them first had to "buy" our worthless funny money). The long and the short of it is that if the dollar is no longer seen as such a staunch investment, fewer and fewer Treasury bonds will be sold. Already, most of the really wise investors have begun to diversify away from the dollar and into other currencies. If this becomes a widespread problem, the results could be dire. Higher interest rates mean fewer jobs and higher prices.

We have already been experiencing a form of hidden inflation in that nearly everything at the grocery store has had its packaging reduced, so that you are either paying more for an item or you are paying the same amount and getting less for your money.  Expect to see more and more is, if things take an ugly turn.  Hyperinflation is not entirely out of the question, in fact, it has happened many times in many different places throughout history.  My advice: hope for the best, but plan for every eventuality.  Now would be a good time to hit the big-box store and sink a couple of hundred dollars (while they still hold considerable value) into things like toilet paper, canned food, candles (real candles, not the ones that smell really good but burned up super quick), and a portable ceramic water filter like the ones hikers and backpackers carry.  If nothing happens, you aren't out anything.  You can still eat the food and use the toilet paper.  Even the water filter could later be resold to someone who isn't into the outdoors (though I would suggest you keep it, and call it an insurance investment).  None of us balk about buying homeowners or car insurance even though we all hope to never need it, yet folks think you're a nutjob if you fill your pantry with canned food.  I've never understood that distinction.

Glenn Beck Talks About The Need To Prepare For What Is Coming

Whether you like the guy or you don't, he is right on the money with what he is saying here.  This isn't the first time I have heard Glenn Beck make comments that make it, more or less, obvious that he is at the very least a closet preparedness advocate.

Drive Your Own Freshwater Well

Drive your own freshwater well by Len McDougall Issue #128: "Whether it's home to animals or humans, every habitat must contain a source of drinking water. And because most homes in most places are not sited on the bank of a stream or lake, it has been a practice since biblical times to obtain the water needed by creating an access to aquifers concealed below the earth's surface. Before the industrial era made pumps and pipes common hardware items, wells were created by simply digging a narrow hole down to the water table, then drawing the water that seeped into its bottom upward in a bucket attached to a rope.

An improved version of the open seepage well is the driven well. In its simplest form, this method of bringing safe groundwater to the surface uses a pointed, rocket-shaped 'well point' to drive downward through soil until it reaches the water table..."

Super Congress To Target Second Amendment

Super Congress To Target Second Amendment Alex Jones' Infowars: There's a war on for your mind!: "The so-called “Super Congress” that is about to be created with the debt ceiling vote will have powers far beyond just controlling the nation’s purse strings – its authority will extend to target the second amendment – eviscerating normal protections that prevent unconstitutional legislation from being fast-tracked into law.

As the Huffington Post reported last month, the debt deal that has already been passed by the House and faces the Senate tomorrow will create an unconstitutional 'Super Congress' that will be comprised of six Republicans and six Democrats and granted 'extraordinary new powers' to quickly force legislation through both chambers...

... But far from just being a committee that would make recommendations concerning the debt ceiling, the body is now to be granted 'even greater super powers, according to multiple news reports and congressional aides with knowledge of the plan,' writes Michael McAuliff.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pulled no punches in making it plain that the Super Congress would have supreme authority. 'The joint committee — there are no constraints,' Reid said on the Senate floor. 'They can look at any program we have in government, any program. … It has the ability to look at everything.'

That includes introducing laws to restrict the second amendment, states a Gun Owners of America bulletin, warning that the body would be 'a super highway for gun control legislation'..."

04 August, 2011

War 2.0: China Suspected in Massive Cyberattack on U.N., U.S. Gov't, and More

According to this rather unsettling article in DailyTech, we must now acknowledge a whole new kind of threat looming in the future. This isn't the first time (as stated in the article) that China has shown itself willing to use instances of so-called "cyber-aggression," and I cannot imagine that it will be the last. Of course, China has not actually been named as the source of the attack officially, but as you will see when you read the article, all the signs point to them.

More and more every day, all aspects of our life become intertwined to a greater extent with advancing technologies; and, with those technologies, come these greater and greater vulnerabilities. This time, they were after information. What happens if the next attack targets our infrastructure?

A quote from the article:

"... Government victims included United States, Taiwan, India, South Korea, Vietnam, and Canada. A number of multinational organizations including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the World Anti-Doping Agency, and the United Nations. Numerous defense contractors and high-tech companies were also infiltrated in the U.S. and abroad.

In one of the highest profile attacks -- the infiltration of the United Nations' servers, the attacker gained access to systems belonging to the secretariat in Geneva in 2008 and then proceeded to lurk for two years, stealing valuable classified documents...

... Unsurprisingly most suspect China, given who was attacked and the nation's long history of cyberaggression.

Neither China or McAfee have officially commented on this possibility. But the timing lines up remarkably...

... Jim Lewis, a cyber expert with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, states, 'Everything points to China. It could be the Russians, but there is more that points to China than Russia.'

One unnamed briefed expert affirms that the classified version of the information McAfee presented points to China..."

Guest Post RE:Wood Cookstoves

Wood Cookstoves; The alternate source to your everyday life.
By: Sarah Chain

Wood heat; is it really the best source, and why? This seems to be a popular question. I’m sure you have heard about the many benefits of an alternative energy source, but how much do you really know about wood heat? Maybe you remember that you grandmother used to cook on a wood cookstove back in the day, but you probably assume that wood cooking is old fashioned and outdated -- think again!  How much do you spend a year to heat your home? Not to mention the additional cost of cooking your food, and heating your water. We just filled up our propane tank the other day, and the cost was over $1,200! For that price, you can almost buy an alternative heat source, water source, and cooking source. If your interested in switching your home to a simpler, cheaper, more self-sufficient abode, you’ve come to the right place. In the following paragraphs I plan to answer common questions about heating with wood; I will share with you what I’ve learned about using wood heat, and how beneficial it has been for my family.

I have been living in Montana since age six. For many of my younger years, my parents chose to live a very simple lifestyle; one that happened to be off grid.  Having lived off grid, I am now able to understand the benefits of solar energy and biofuel.  My dad became interested in solar energy and pursued building a house completely disconnected from all electricity. We powered our home from sources such as the sun, wind, and wood. My family lived off the land. We had a wood cookstove called the “Kitchen Queen” to heat our home. Before moving to Montana, my parents started an e-commerce business called Obadiah’s Woodstoves which sells products used for a more self-sufficient lifestyle. We sell many different products such as wood furnaces, free standing stoves, fireplace inserts, zero clearances fireplaces and other fuel burning products such as gas and pellet burning appliances. After working the business for nearly 10 years, I have learned much about using alternate sources as a way of life.

For the first few years living in Montana, we didn’t have “instant” hot water. We had a ten gallon water tank that had a wood firebox underneath the tank to heat the water. Every time we wanted to take a shower, we had to go outside and chop kindling to build a fire for hot water. After a few years, this became a major hassle; it took nearly an hour to get a tank of hot water large enough for two very quick showers. My dad came to the realization we needed a more efficient source to heat our hot water. He began to research how we could possibly heat our water through our Kitchen Queen cookstove and found an invention called the “thermo-front” hot water heater.  Not only did the Kitchen Queen heat our home, it was plumbed into our domestic hot water as well. The thermo-front is a steel box, lined with Teflon; this box fits inside your firebox on the right-hand side. You then plumb from the thermo-front directly into your domestic hot water system. You also have the option of plumbing this into radiant heating; which is another option to heat your home. The only thing better than hot water, is free hot water!

Domestic hot water is not the only water source the Kitchen Queen has to offer; it also has an optional stainless reservoir that sits on the rear of the stove. The reservoir can be plumbed through your firebox with a stainless water coil. However, it is not a pressurized system; since the tank is not pressurized, it cannot be plumbed through your domestic hot water. You have the option to install a water spigot on the side of the reservoir for easy access to the water, otherwise the water is accessed through the lids on the top of the reservoir.  Many folks without access to electricity or plumbing such as the Amish, will use the water reservoir for their main hot water needs. You can use the water for bathing, doing dishes, cleaning up around the house, or taking care of children. When installing the water coil with the reservoir, you have to be sure not to let the water boil in the reservoir; if this happens, it can cause mold and mildew to grow in your home. However if the reservoir is used properly, it works great as a humidifier. Although the reservoir is made of stainless steel, the water is not safe to drink.  Standing water in the tank creates a breeding ground for bacteria and other airborne contaminants.

A wood cookstove has many options and benefits to suffice your domestic needs. One of my favorite features of a wood cookstove is that it offers the luxury of a wood heat oven; it is much like one on an electric stove -- minus the fixed temperature. This oven serves two purposes; it gives your home that cozy warm to the bone feeling and it also has potential to make the best apple pie you’ve ever tasted. Talk about killing two birds with one stone! Many cookstoves offer a large firebox, which is great for overnight burn times; no hassle, no worries. If you burn properly seasoned firewood, and have knowledge of how to pack a full firebox; you can sometimes get a 20 hour burn time!

Because I work in sales for alternative energy products, I come across many people who have no expertise in wood heat. Most people don’t realize how simple it is to use wood as your main energy source. Most wood cookstoves are non-catalytic, which implies they aren’t as efficient. Although cookstoves may not be as efficient as a catalytic wood stove; cookstoves are a care free stove; you can easily burn paper and bark in your firebox with no problems. Catalytic wood stoves have a type of a filter that reburns the smoke, thereby reducing emissions and making the stove more efficient.  With a catalytic converter, you cannot burn any green wood, wet wood, bark, paper, or any trash without clogging the catalyst.   Currently, there is a national exemption by the E.P.A. for wood cookstoves.  This means that a wood burning cook stove does not have to be E.P.A compliant for emissions.  Emissions measures the amount of particulate that is being put into the air when the stove is burning.  Studies indicate that more pollution is created in the environment from fallen dead trees that are left in the forest to rot.  These trees off -gas more pollution than a wood stove!  We can thank our environmentally friendly “green” organizations for closing the woods off to the public.  The roads are literally gated to prevent the harvesting of firewood, hunting, or other recreational use of the vast national forests here in Montana.  Well, that is another subject for discussion at a later time.

The average household will use between 8-12 cords of wood a year. According to Consumer Energy “The dimensions of a “standard cord" is a stack of wood piled 8 feet long, 4 feet wide and 4 feet high. You won't get a full 128 cubic feet of firewood with a standard cord because of the airspace between the pieces of the wood; the amount of wood in such a stack will depend upon the size and straightness of the pieces, how they are split and how the wood is stacked. Because of this, the total cubic feet in a cord can vary from 70 to 90 or more cubic feet.” Depending on your location, a cord of wood cost around $100, or you always have the option of chopping your own wood for free -- it doesn’t get any better than free. Its comforting to know that no matter what happens with the economy, you can always chop down a tree to provide heat, water, and food for your family.

Not only was our heat and water sourced from alternative energy, we also had solar panels that produced on sunny days; if the sun wasn’t shining, we also had a back up generator that would keep our battery bank charged. It is reassuring to know that no matter what happens you can always be warm, cook your food, make hot water, and light your home! By using alternative energy sources you are able to do all things listed above. It’s amazing how simple, economical and self-sufficient a person can survive when having the correct tools.

Cited Sources:

"Kitchen Queen 380 Wood Burning Cookstove." Obadiah's Woodstoves. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Jul 2011. <http://www.discountstoves.net/Kitchen_Queen_380_p/kitchenqueen.htm>.

"Firewood." Consumer Energy Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Jul 2011. <http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/home/heating_cooling/firewood.html>.

"Kitchen Queen Cookstove." Obadiah's Woodstoves. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Jul 2011. <http://www.woodstoves.net/queen.htm>.

03 August, 2011

Comments, Clarifications and Ramblings RE: Recent Y2K Mention

Recently, I mentioned a good friend of mine in the article "Do The Elite Know Something We Don't? What Is Coming?" By way of saying:

"Without naming any names, I personally know an individual plugged into the technology industry who stockpiled food in his basement leading up to to Y2K, because he himself was unsure if enough had been done to mitigate the issue before it was too late. Call it being lucky or being good, the fact remains that there was a definite threat -- luckily, we managed to avoid it, but that doesn't make it a joke."

I e-mailed him a link to the article, and he had the following comments to add that shed a lot of light on the run-up to Y2K as well as the broader implications regarding the innate vulnerability of our interconnected and interdependent systems of daily life:

"Let me say (better yet RAMBLE) this about that …

I was ALL OVER the Y2K thing and did so for 3 years before the date. I was even betting on stocks that were Y2K oriented. What a load of hooey in most cases. Y2K was a non-event because of people like me. I put a metric frackton of food in the basement, yes. But why? There was only one reason. All of us folk in the technology industry worked out asses off handling our individual clients, doing BIOS fixes and upgrades and installing patches and stuff and we had all our clients 100% READY for y2K. And all of us who had OUR clients ready had one huge question mark hung in our collective universes. The railroads.

That was the linchpin to the whole Y2K threat. It was discreet chips that ran the automated switching network. None of us knew for SURE if they were going to work. There was no way to replace them all in time.

I talked to people all over the country for 2 years leading up to Y2K. I am sure you can go back and find all these same conversations on the internet. There were forums of guys like me, and we were talking to each other, laying out what we had done to avoid the problem, what we were worried about and openly discussed what we were planning on doing. And to a man we all worried about infrastructure. The transportation of food, the transportation of petroleum products, and the transmission of electricity.

Funnily enough the vast majority of us didn’t fear a power grid failure. I think the most consternation derived from thoughts of the food distribution network breaking down, stuff not moving, just rotting in silos, cattle ready for slaughter but no way to transport them to the slaughterhouses. Milk. Cows blowing up in the fields because they couldn’t be milked (auto-milking machines going belly up due to chip problems or power grid). There was a lot of discussion about exactly what it took to get a bowl of cereal to your table and with enough milk to eat it.

We saw two things. A potential problem with the food supply making us hungry. And an ancillary problem of other people being hungry to the point where they would gladly bonk you on the head and run away with YOUR food in order to keep THEIR family alive. So besides putting more than a full year’s supply of food in the basement, I got a Mossberg 590 Special Purpose tactical/swat shotgun and you wanna talk about planning for ANY eventuality, I researched stuff to the point that I had special loadouts for that puppy. I could load 6, 8 or 9 shells in the booger. And I could mix and match the shells so the first couple were better at 'long range,' while the next two or three were perfect for mid-range and the last few were maxed for those REALLY 'up-close-and-personal' situations. I had a loadout for an approaching vehicle trying to run me over. I had a load out for a slew of people trying to run up my sidewalk and steps and trying to storm my front door. I had home-invasion prevention planned out. I had just about every scenario I could think of well in hand. I had no fear. None. And I knew that I’d probably never get that thing out of its case. But I had all my ducks lined up in a row in case I HAD to.


I had never owned a shotgun in my life. Why all this preparations then? Well, it was planning for the worst (watching people lose their sense of humanity and ethics and become ravenous feral creatures willing to kill their fellow man for a fracking peanut butter sammich. I didn’t fear a Zombie apocalypse. I feared the Hungry Stomach Apocalypse. A REALLY empty tummy can cause a sane man to do some insane things.

So I got food. And I got something to make sure my food stayed MY food. And not a fracking thing happened on Y2K. Yes there WERE problems. But they were expected, so people didn’t freak. They called me up, I fixed their stuff, and all was right with the world in a matter of minutes, or at worst a few days while we ordered a part or 6 and did an upgrade etc.

I ended up trading the shotgun and its 300 rounds of ammo for a 1983 Trans Am for my oldest daughter. 

I am currently looking for another 590. :)

But I digress and reminisce. Y2K happened. Minor problems reared their ugly heads, and we IT guys worked like madmen, playing computer bug Whack-A-Mole and beat everything into total submission.

Funny thing is, I never heard from the guys that worked on the railroads. I never heard what exactly happened (or didn’t) to the switching network. Never heard from any of the transportation and energy infrastructure guys. Not a fracking peep.

And after 7 days I didn’t care. Apparently neither did anyone else on the planet."