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31 May, 2011

Currency Devaluation in Belarus Causes a Run on Toilet Paper

Get ready, folks. Especially nowadays, with all the recent talk of raising the debt ceiling, etc., hyperinflation here in the U.S. before much longer is a near certainty for the future, and it will likely be much like what they're experiencing in Belarus right now.
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Currency Devaluation in Belarus Causes a Run on Toilet Paper - Truth is Treason: "The destruction of a currency is, without doubt, positively devastating for a society. History is generous with examples dating all the way back to 212 BC when Rome first devalued its denarius silver coin by 50%. Recent examples are also plentiful.

Zimbabwe’s hyperinflationary period is well documented; what most people don’t realize is that after inflating several trillion percent, the government simply discontinued the currency… literally devaluing the Zimbabwe dollar to zero. People holding Zimbabwe dollars lost their entire savings overnight.

Argentina’s devaluation in 2002 sent its peso from 1:1 vs. to roughly 4 pesos to the dollar. Banks closed, taking depositors’ savings with them. Those with any cash savings were paying four times as much for goods, practically overnight. Unemployment soared. Even now, over ten years later, the economy has yet to fully recover.

Belarus is the latest example. This is a country where the autocratic president Alexandr Lukashenko controls 80% of the economy through state-owned entities. He rules in the old Soviet style with KGB and secret police, demanding total servitude from his people.

Earlier this week, Lukashenko ordered his central bank to devalue the Belarusian ruble by 56%, immediately. The ruble’s official exchange rate is now 4,930 per US dollar and 6,914 per euro.

Unfortunately, dollars and euros are extremely hard to come by in Belarus… so the lack of supply and strong demand is pushing up street prices to several times the official rate.

News headlines picked up on this major leap; what you won’t see in the media is that local Belarusians knew this was coming… the warning signs were there.

Last month, most banks stopped trading foreign currencies. People rushed to the foreign banks to withdraw any dollars they had on deposit, many having to wait up to 7-days after making the request before the bank could actually provide cash.

While the official devaluation to 4,930 occurred on May 23rd, the banks were running out of foreign currency fast. Several of our local friends on the ground in Minsk confirm that by May 16th, a full week before the official devaluation, banks were charging between 10,000 to 12,000 rubles per dollar.

Grocery prices (in ruble terms) have tripled in this short period as most of the food is imported from companies who require dollar or euro payments. It now costs an entire year’s wages just to buy a simple refrigerator.

Our local contacts report that many store shelves are near empty as people are rushing to spend every ruble they have in anticipation of further rising prices. Some of my local friends have emailed saying that it’s getting difficult to even find toilet paper as people are buying up absolutely everything they can..."


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45 Seconds: Memoirs of an ER Doctor from May 22, 2011

45 Seconds: Memoirs of an ER Doctor from May 22, 2011 | Mercy: "My name is Dr. Kevin Kikta, and I was one of two emergency room doctors who were on duty at St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Joplin, MO on Sunday, May 22, 2011.

You never know that it will be the most important day of your life until the day is over... As I drove to the hospital I mentally prepared for my shift as I always do, but nothing could ever have prepared me for what was going to happen on this shift. Things were normal for the first hour and half. At approximately 5:30 pm we received a warning that a tornado had been spotted. Although I work in Joplin and went to medical school in Oklahoma, I live in New Jersey, and I have never seen or been in a tornado. I learned that a “code gray” was being called. We were to start bringing patients to safer spots within the ED and hospital.

At 5:42 pm a security guard yelled to everyone, 'Take cover! We are about to get hit by a tornado!' I ran with a pregnant RN, Shilo Cook, while others scattered to various places, to the only place that I was familiar with in the hospital without windows, a small doctor’s office in the ED. Together, Shilo and I tremored and huddled under a desk. We heard a loud horrifying sound like a large locomotive ripping through the hospital. The whole hospital shook and vibrated as we heard glass shattering, light bulbs popping, walls collapsing, people screaming, the ceiling caving in above us, and water pipes breaking, showering water down on everything. We suffered this in complete darkness, unaware of anyone else’s status, worried, scared. We could feel a tight pressure in our heads as the tornado annihilated the hospital and the surrounding area. The whole process took about 45 seconds, but seemed like eternity. The hospital had just taken a direct hit from a category EF5 tornado.

Then it was over. Just 45 seconds. 45 long seconds. We looked at each other, terrified, and thanked God that we were alive..."


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30 May, 2011

10 Indications The United States Is A Dictatorship

Activist Post: 10 Indications The United States Is A Dictatorship: "For a people to be free, they must first be honest with themselves, their government, and the world at large. History is filled with stories of free nations that fell under the spell cast by their governments who exploited the threat of terror.

In fact, numerous presidents in American history already have used various specific threats to sidestep their Constitutional restraints. Today we are entering a nebulous world where our 'enemy' cannot be defined, has no particular allegiance to one country, and is able to adopt new leaders at will. Rather than encourage a sense of resilience and independence in its citizens, America has chosen to amplify the terror threat in order to concentrate power in the hands of the State. The very first signpost on this historically familiar road to tyranny is an atmosphere of hate, suspicion, and vindictiveness. It first begins as an outwardly directed aggression and then rather abruptly turns inward upon itself..."

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Obama: We're Working on Gun Control 'Under the Radar'

Obama: We're Working on Gun Control 'Under the Radar' - Guns - Fox Nation: "On March 30, the 30th anniversary of the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, Jim Brady, who sustained a debilitating head wound in the attack, and his wife, Sarah, came to Capitol Hill to push for a ban on the controversial 'large magazines.' Brady, for whom the law requiring background checks on handgun purchasers is named, then met with White House press secretary Jay Carney. During the meeting, President Obama dropped in and, according to Sarah Brady, brought up the issue of gun control, 'to fill us in that it was very much on his agenda,' she said.

'I just want you to know that we are working on it,' Brady recalled the president telling them. 'We have to go through a few processes, but under the radar.'..."

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27 May, 2011

10 Ways We Are Being Tracked, Traced, and Databased

Activist Post: 10 Ways We Are Being Tracked, Traced, and Databased: "The war on terror is a worldwide endeavor that has spurred massive investment into the global surveillance industry - which now seems to be becoming a war on 'liberty and privacy.' Given all of the new monitoring technology being implemented, the uproar over warrantless wiretaps now seems moot. High-tech, first-world countries are being tracked, traced, and databased, literally around every corner. Governments, aided by private companies, are gathering a mountain of information on average citizens who so far seem willing to trade liberty for supposed security. Here are just some of the ways the matrix of data is being collected..."

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Welcome To Hyperinflation Hell: Following Currency Devaluation, Belarus Economy Implodes, Sets Blueprint For Developed World Future

Welcome To Hyperinflation Hell: Following Currency Devaluation, Belarus Economy Implodes, Sets Blueprint For Developed World Future | zero hedge: "'A ‘91-style meltdown is almost inevitable.' So says Alexei Moiseev, chief economist at VTB Capital, the investment-banking arm of Russia’s second-largest lender, discussing the imminent economic catastrophe that is sure to engulf Belarus following the surprise devaluation of the country's currency by over 50%, which we announced on Monday. 'Unless Belarus heeds Russia’s call for mass privatization of state assets, it is headed for 'hyperinflation, massive un- and under-employment, and a shutdown of production'' Moiseev concludes. Ah: 'privatization' as Greece is about to learn, the lovely word that describes a fire sale of assets to one's creditors, courtesy of a 'globalized' new world order. Ironically, this is precisely the warning that will be lobbed at each country in the developed world, as the global race to devalue currencies, first against each other on a relative basis, and ultimately against hard currencies, or on an absolute basis, as the world realizes that there simply is not enough cash flow to cover the interest payments on a debt load, in both the public and private sectors, that continues to rise at an astronomic rate, even as the world prepares to exit from the latest transitory, centrally-planned bounce in the Great Financial Crisis-cum-Depression that started in earnest in 2007 and has been progressing ever since. Ultimately, Belarus will succumb to hyperinflation, as will each and every other government seeking to devalue its currency (hint: all of them)..."

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25 May, 2011

Cruise Ship Crew Reportedly Faced Hostile Passengers After Engines, Electricity Fail

This situation shows us precisely how society reacts when things get tough and stay that way for too long with no clear indication of when they will be getting better. People are so accustomed to living in a state of ease fomented by our many, many modern conveniences that they have no clue how to act when hardships ensue. Now, multiply this reaction by millions and move it to the streets of one of our cities, and you'll understand why I prepare. Get ready, people!

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Cruise Ship Crew Reportedly Faced Hostile Passengers After Engines, Electricity Fail - FoxNews.com: "A relaxing cruise ship dream vacation was headed toward becoming a nightmare for nearly 1,700 passengers.

The passengers onboard the MSC Opera, sailing in the Baltic Sea, nearly staged a mutiny when the luxury liner broke down, according to the Daily Mail.

The trouble began Saturday when the cruise ship's electricity went down, causing the engines to fail.

It went from bad to worse as the ship began running out of food and the toilets became backed up...

... The near-mutiny began Sunday night, after the cruise ship was on life support for 24 hours..."


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After Altercation, Philadelphia Police Say They Won't Look the Other Way on Open-Carry Gun Owners

I'm all for police safety and I'm glad to see that the officer's abhorrent behavior is being investigated by internal affairs, but this is clearly a case of the Philly P.D. backpedaling and trying to save face by shining an unfavorable light on the real victim whose rights they violated.
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After Altercation, Philadelphia Police Say They Won't Look the Other Way on Open-Carry Gun Owners - FoxNews.com: "With a shocking altercation between Philadelphia police and a 25-year-old IT worker putting the spotlight back on open-carry gun laws, local authorities are warning gun owners that they will be "inconvenienced" if they carry unconcealed handguns in the city. 

Lt. Raymond Evers, a spokesman for the city police, told FoxNews.com that gun owners who open carry, which is legal in the city, may be asked to lay on the ground until officers feel safe while they check permits...
... The warning comes after Mark Fiorino, a suburban Philadelphia IT worker, posted an audiotape to YouTube of his tense, 45-minute encounter with police in February over his exposed handgun. The video went viral and captured national attention.

After Fiorino released the audiotape, he was charged with disorderly conduct and reckless endangerment. He now faces up to two years in prison.

'The police department and assistant district attorney are coming after me, in my opinion, to make an example of me because I stood up to them and exposed them for their lack of knowledge,' Fiorino said, who called the trial 'absolutely inappropriate and a waste of taxpayer money.'

Fiorino said he did nothing reckless, nor did he endanger anyone's life.

'I had a gun pointed at my chest,' he said..."

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USDA Fines Family Outrageous Amount for the Horrible Crime of Selling Bunny Rabbits

Activist Post: USDA fines family four million dollars for selling bunny rabbits: "When the Dollarhite family of Nixa, Mo., first started raising and selling bunnies as part of a lesson to teach their teenage son about responsibility and hard work, they had no idea they would eventually meet the heavy hand of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). According to a recent article covered in Breitbart's Big Government, the USDA recently ordered the Dollarhite family to pay more than $90,000 in fines because they sold more than $500 worth of rabbits in a year -- and if they fail to pay the fine by Monday, May 23, the fine will multiply to nearly $4 million.

It all started back in 2006 when John Dollarhite and his wife Judy rescued two rabbits that ended up breeding. The family cared for and raised the new rabbits, and eventually began to sell them to neighbors, friends, and others for $10 or $15 each. Having started by first selling the animals for meat, and later for show, the Dollarhites carefully and humanely raised the small creatures on their three-acre homestead, all while teaching their son honest values in a business environment similar to running a small lemonade stand...

... All seemed well until a USDA inspector showed up at the family's home in the fall of 2009, and asked to do a "spot inspection" of the rabbitry. The inspector made no indication that anything was amiss, but only that she wished to see the facility. After meandering the premises, the inspector claimed that a few very insignificant aspects of the raising facility were in violation of USDA standards, even though the Dollarhites were not USDA certified, nor were they required to be. She then asked if the Dollarhites wished to be part of the voluntary USDA certification system, upon which they told her they would look into it.

After the inspector left, the Dollarhites heard nothing more from the USDA until January 2010 when a Kansas City-based USDA inspector called the family and said he needed to have a meeting with them because they sold more than $500 worth of rabbits in a single year. When the Dollarhites asked why this was a problem and what law this violated, the man refused to offer an explanation over the phone.

Upon meeting in person, the inspector said he was only there to investigate the rabbitry and take notes for a report, upon which he instructed the family to contact another USDA office if they failed to hear anything further from the USDA after six weeks. As the eighth week arrived without any communication, John called the office and was redirected to the Washington, DC, office where a lady shockingly and bluntly explained to him that she had his report, and that the USDA planned to prosecute him and his family "to the maximum that we can" in order to "make an example" out of him.

Shortly thereafter, the Dollarhites received a letter from the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) ordering them to pay a fine of $90,643 for supposedly violating a mystery law that prohibits the selling of more then $500 in rabbits within a year, even though the Dollarhites were in full accordance with Missouri state law, did not sell their rabbits across state lines, and raised their rabbits humanely and in excess of minimum requirements. The letter outlined that the Dollarhites had until May 23 to pay the exorbitant fine, or else face additional fines totaling nearly $4 million -- all for selling about $4,600 worth of rabbits that netted the family a mere $200 in profits.

The whole scenario proves, once again, that the USDA is nothing more than a tag-team terrorist duo with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Both agencies' insatiable lust for power and control over private affairs is never satisfied, as they continue to prowl around like bloodthirsty predators seeking whoever and whatever they can devour. When will Americans finally stand up to their tyranny and say enough is enough?

To read the full account of the Dollarhite saga, visit:
http://biggovernment.com/bmccarty/2...

To contact the APHIS division of the USDA responsible for this mess and express your thoughts on the matter, write, call, or email:
USDA/APHIS/AC
4700 River Road, Unit 84
Riverdale, MD 20737-1234
ace@aphis.usda.gov
(301) 734-4978

You can also read a follow-up to the original story that includes a response from the USDA here:
http://bobmccarty.com/2011/05/19/us..."

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24 May, 2011

How to Build Using Wattle and Daub


How to Build Using Wattle and Daub: "Wattle construction methods have a long history dating back at least for the past 6,000 years, and in many parts of the world is still used. This method of construction has made a comeback in recent times by those who are searching for a sustainable material for construction. This type of construction is called wattle and daub.

This method of construction started with a series of upright posts driven into the ground with interweaving twigs between them...

... Once the weaving was complete they were daubed with a mixture consisting of clay, earth, dung and some sort of vegetable fiber as reinforcement. This mixture was applied over the woven twig framework on both sides. It was usually pretty weather proof..."



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How to Build a Wattle & Daub House | eHow.com: "Building a wattle and daub house recreates a historical method of building. Wattle and daub are a method of incorporating a basket-like wall (wattle) with an earthen layer (daub) that is plastered into and around the wattle. This method was combined with other methods to form a house. Though the wattle and daub did sometimes form the structure of small houses for the exceptionally poor, the method that was preferred for hundreds of years was to use this method to build walls around a timber-framed home (giving rise to 'Tudor' style architecture)..."



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Build a wattle and daub house.: "Wattle and daub (also referred to as 'ruddle and dab' and 'wattle and dab') is sort of like papier mache for living in. It's something strong and serviceable built of something unlikely.

In Europe, the framework of wattle and daub begins with a timber-framed house. The large spaces between timbers is grooved - splines are inserted vertically in the grooves, parallel to each other. Then thin reeds or splits are woven back and forth between the splines. This provides a framework for mud (daub) which is pressed in from both sides against the woven wood. It all dries together into a solid mass and then is generally whitewashed with a lime solution..."

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Surviving On As Little As Two Acres

First off, the following account is not my writing. I stumbled across it online during a Google search, and if you want to see the original for yourself it can be found here.

It is an account of an Italian immigrant who came to the U.S. in the early 1900s and was able to support a large family, even throughout the Great Depression, on only two acres in Bradford, Massachusetts and some bartering.

I have copied it here verbatim; no editing at all on my part.

"I had an Italian grandfather, he came to this country in 1907.
This is what he did.

He bought 2 acres of land and a rotten, bug infested home in Bradford Massachusetts.

My grandfather, cleared the rocky land and built stone walls with the rocks.
He planted 3 kinds of grapes, He had chickens , pigs, and a pair of goats for milk.
. In that same acre, He had apples, pears, quince trees, some blueberries way down back.
On the other acre, Grampa had the vegetable garden, and a root cellar he dug for the cold veggies to store for the winter.
Corn, peanuts, potatoes,. cabbage, carrots, turnips, parsnips, peas, ALL kinds of BEANS, some for eating some for dried beans, some for next years seed.


My grandfather had a Wife, 10 children, children in law, grandchildren, and neighbors, during the great depression he kept fed on 2 acres of land.
This food was exchanged for cloth to make clothes, other fruit, tools sharpened. rides to town, COAL for the boiler.
He also grew dandelions for greens, the neighbor lady loved to make Dandy lion wine from the blossoms
And my Nana needed flour for bread, this ladies husband owned a grocery store that sold flour.

See it is not exactly the land or the people involved, it is ingenuity and bartering also.
There are a lot of things involved in survival..."


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Some Gun Owners in Mexico Defy the Law to Defend Themselves

Some gun owners in Mexico defy the law to defend themselves | kvue.com Austin: "Despite strict gun-control laws in Mexico, crime scenes are riddled with bullet holes. Both drug cartels and common criminals have guns. Now more private citizens are arming themselves for protection, even if it means breaking the law.

'People are desperate,' said Rogelio 'Chief' Bravo, a private investigator in El Paso who has worked for clients just across the border in Ciudad Juarez too. 'They’re telling the government, if you can’t protect us, let us protect ourselves.'

Juarez is ground zero in the drug war with 8,000 killings since the city exploded in violence in 2008.
Mexican authorities regularly display the weapons they confiscate from powerful drug traffickers.

Earlier this month, federal police raided a home in an upscale neighborhood in Ciudad Juarez looking for kidnapping victims. Instead they found a well-stocked arsenal that included three anti-aircraft guns, a grenade launcher, dozens of grenades, AK47s and several machine guns.

The stash was hidden behind a mirrored wall in a gym that opened at the touch of a button on the floor. Inside with the weapons and ammunition there was a poster of the 1983 movie drug lord 'Scarface' played by Al Pacino.

Many ordinary residents in Mexico believe guns are banned.

'The Mexican constitution allows people to possess firearms,” explained John Hubert, a certified-concealed hand gun instructor in El Paso. “But over the years the government has passed so many requirements and laws and restrictions that it’s basically almost impossible.'
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23 May, 2011

Home Alarm Monitoring: 10 Ways to Monitor the Perimeter of Your Home

Home Alarm Monitoring: 10 Ways to Monitor the Perimeter of Your Home: "Home security involves a lot of precautions, and there are numerous measures you can take to safeguard your family and property. One such measure is to equip your home for perimeter monitoring so that you can be alerted whenever you have company. Let’s take a look at 10 ways you can monitor your home’s perimeter..."

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Mississippi River Flooding: Residents Build Homemade Dams to Saves Houses

Mississippi River flooding: Residents build homemade dams to saves houses | Mail Online: "We've all undertaken home improvements but these residents in flood-stricken Mississippi have had to embark on major construction projects just to protect their houses and livelihoods.

These homes in Vicksburg are all situated along the Yazoo River, a tributary of the overflowing Mississippi River, and their owners have surrounded themselves with tons of earth and sand.

With questions over whether the main levees that protect the area from floods would hold, these farmers took no chances and have so far saved their homes and crops from destruction..."

[Awesome photos at link.]

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21 May, 2011

U.S. Official: Growing Threat From Solar Storms

News from The Associated Press - U.S. Official: Growing Threat From Solar Storms: "A senior official at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says solar storms pose a growing threat to criticial infrastructure such as satellite communications, navigation systems and electrical transmission equipment.

NOAA Assistant Secretary Kathryn Sullivan says the intensity of solar storms is expected to peak in 2013 and countries should prepare for 'potentially devastating effects.'

Solar storms release particles that can temporarily disable or permanently destroy fragile computer circuits..."


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The New Geopolitics of Food

The New Geopolitics of Food - By Lester R. Brown | Foreign Policy: "In the United States, when world wheat prices rise by 75 percent, as they have over the last year, it means the difference between a $2 loaf of bread and a loaf costing maybe $2.10. If, however, you live in New Delhi, those skyrocketing costs really matter: A doubling in the world price of wheat actually means that the wheat you carry home from the market to hand-grind into flour for chapatis costs twice as much. And the same is true with rice. If the world price of rice doubles, so does the price of rice in your neighborhood market in Jakarta. And so does the cost of the bowl of boiled rice on an Indonesian family's dinner table.

Welcome to the new food economics of 2011: Prices are climbing, but the impact is not at all being felt equally. For Americans, who spend less than one-tenth of their income in the supermarket, the soaring food prices we've seen so far this year are an annoyance, not a calamity. But for the planet's poorest 2 billion people, who spend 50 to 70 percent of their income on food, these soaring prices may mean going from two meals a day to one. Those who are barely hanging on to the lower rungs of the global economic ladder risk losing their grip entirely. This can contribute -- and it has -- to revolutions and upheaval..."


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20 May, 2011

Supreme Court OKs Warrantless Searches

Supreme Court OKs warrantless searches | Seattle Times Newspaper: "The Supreme Court on Monday gave police more leeway to break into homes or apartments in search of illegal drugs when they suspect the evidence might be destroyed.

The justices said officers who smell marijuana and loudly knock on the door may break in if they hear sounds that suggest the residents are scurrying to hide the drugs.

Residents who 'attempt to destroy evidence have only themselves to blame' when police burst in, Justice Samuel Alito said for an 8-1 majority.

In dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote that she feared the ruling in a Kentucky case had handed the police an important new tool.

'The court today arms the police with a way routinely to dishonor the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement in drug cases,' Ginsburg wrote. 'In lieu of presenting their evidence to a neutral magistrate, police officers may now knock, listen, then break the door down, never mind that they had ample time to obtain a warrant.'

She said the Fourth Amendment's 'core requirement' is that officers have probable cause and a search warrant before they break into a house.

'How 'secure' do our homes remain if police, armed with no warrant, can pound on doors at will and ... forcibly enter?' Ginsburg asked..."


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Growing Vegetables in a Container Garden

Container gardening vegetables indoor outdoor gardens: "Container gardening is an easy way to garden, especially when you lack yard space. Here are our recommendations on which vegetable varieties are container-friendly—and which container types are most suitable for each veggie.

For supplies, you only need a good container, the right soil mix, and appropriate seed (or transplant) varieties. In addition to providing 5 hours or more of full sun, watering is critical. You may need to water daily or twice daily; in hot weather the soil can dry out quickly. The good news: less weeding! Containers are generally low-maintenance..."

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The Tent That Turns Into Concrete in Less Than 24 Hours

BBC News - The tent that turns into concrete in less than 24 hours: "The past 12 months have seen a remarkable number of humanitarian crises with earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand and deadly tornadoes in the southern US being among the most recent.

Among new innovations which could help relief efforts is a fabric shelter that, when sprayed with water, turns to concrete within 24 hours.

Invented by two engineers while at university, Concrete Canvas allows aid teams to construct solid structures in emergency zones quickly and easily..."


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19 May, 2011

Iran to Build Missile Base in Venezuela

Iran to Build Missile Base in Venezuela - Associated Content from Yahoo! - associatedcontent.com: "It appears that Iran is going to build a ballistic missile base in Hugo Chavez's Venezuela, armed with intermediate-range missiles that can strike at the United States. Eerie parallels
with the 1962 Cuban Missile Crises are being noted.

According to an article in Hudson New York:

'According to Die Welt, Venezuela has agreed to allow Iran to establish a military base manned by Iranian missile officers, soldiers of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Venezuelan missile officers. In addition, Iran has given permission for the missiles to be used in case of an 'emergency.' In return, the agreement states that Venezuela can use these facilities for 'national needs' - radically increasing the threat to neighbors like Colombia. The German daily claims that according to the agreement, Iranian Shahab 3 (range 1300-1500 km), Scud-B (285-330 km) and Scud-C (300, 500 and 700 km) will be deployed in the proposed base. It says that Iran also pledged to help Venezuela in rocket technology expertise...'

... Both Iran and Venezuela are sworn enemies of the United States. So, if Iran were to deploy missiles in Venezuela that could hit American cities, it would prove to be a grave threat to the security of the United States. It would not be necessary for Iran to develop nuclear bombs; its bomb program is, in any case, stymied by the stuxmet computer worm. Chemical and/or biological weapons would suffice..."


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Meltdowns. Floods. Tornadoes. Oil Spills. Grid Crashes. Why Disasters Are Becoming More Frequent, and What We Can Do About It

Meltdowns. Floods. Tornadoes. Oil spills. Grid crashes. Why disasters are becoming more frequent, and what we can do about it. - By Joel Achenbach - Slate Magazine: "This will be the century of disasters.

In the same way that the 20th century was the century of world wars, genocide, and grinding ideological conflict, the 21st will be the century of natural disasters and technological crises and unholy combinations of the two. It'll be the century when the things that we count on to go right will, for whatever reason, go wrong.

Late last month, as the Mississippi River rose in what is destined to be the worst flood in decades, and as the residents of Alabama and other states rummaged through the debris of a historic tornado outbreak, physicists at a meeting in Anaheim, Calif., had a discussion about the dangers posed by the sun.


Solar flares, scientists believe, are a disaster waiting to happen. Thus one of the sessions at the American Physical Society's annual meeting was devoted to discussing the hazard of electromagnetic pulses (EMPs) caused by solar flares or terrorist attacks. Such pulses could fry transformers and knock out the electrical grid over much of the nation. Last year the Oak Ridge National Laboratory released a study saying the damage might take years to fix and cost trillions of dollars.

But maybe even that's not the disaster people should be worrying about. Maybe they should worry instead about the ARkStorm. That's the name the U.S. Geological Survey's Multihazards Demonstration Project gave to a hypothetical storm that would essentially turn much of California's Central Valley into a bathtub. It has happened before, in 1861-62, when it rained for 45 straight days. The USGS explains: "The ARkStorm draws heat and moisture from the tropical Pacific, forming a series of Atmospheric Rivers (ARs) that approach the ferocity of hurricanes and then slam into the U.S. West Coast over several weeks." The result, the USGS determined, could be a flood that would cost $725 billion in direct property losses and economic impact.

While pondering this, don't forget the Cascadia subduction zone. That's the plate boundary off the coast of the Pacific Northwest, one that could generate a tsunami much like the one that devastated Japan in March. The Cascadia subduction zone runs from Vancouver Island to northern California, and last ruptured in a major tsunami-spawning earthquake on January 26, 1700. It could break at any moment, with catastrophic consequences..."


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IN Sheriff: If We Need to Conduct RANDOM HOUSE to HOUSE Searches We Will

IN Sheriff: If We Need to Conduct RANDOM HOUSE to HOUSE Searches We Will | Today's Lead Story: "According to Newton County Sheriff, Don Hartman Sr., random house to house searches are now possible and could be helpful following the Barnes v. STATE of INDIANA Supreme Court ruling issued on May 12th, 2011. When asked three separate times due to the astounding callousness as it relates to trampling the inherent natural rights of Americans, he emphatically indicated that he would use random house to house checks, adding he felt people will welcome random searches if it means capturing a criminal..."

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18 May, 2011

Philly Police Harass, Threaten to Shoot Man Legally Carrying Gun

Philly Police Harass, Threaten to Shoot Man Legally Carrying Gun - Stossel's Take Blog - FOXBusiness.com: "A story in today's Philadelphia Daily News shows why it's so important that citizens be allowed to videotape cops - it can be citizens' only way to fight back against police abuse of power.

This incident happened several weeks ago in Philadelphia to Mark Fiorino, a 25-year-old IT worker who carries a gun on his hip at all times for self defense. He got the gun after several friends were mugged.

But he didn't count on attacks by police:

On a mild February afternoon, Fiorino, 25, decided to walk to an AutoZone on Frankford Avenue in Northeast Philly with the .40-caliber Glock he legally owns holstered in plain view on his left hip. His stroll ended when someone called out from behind: 'Yo, Junior, what are you doing?'

Fiorino wheeled and saw Sgt. Michael Dougherty aiming a handgun at him.

What happened next would be hard to believe, except that Fiorino audio-recorded all of it: a tense, profanity-laced, 40-minute encounter with cops who told him that what he was doing - openly carrying a gun on the city's streets - was against the law.

'Do you know you can't openly carry here in Philadelphia?' Dougherty asked, according to the YouTube clip.

'Yes, you can, if you have a license to carry firearms,' Fiorino said. 'It's Directive 137. It's your own internal directive.'

Fiorino was right. It was perfectly legal to carry the gun. But that didn't matter to the cop:

Fiorino offered to show Dougherty his driver's and firearms licenses. The cop told him to get on his knees.

'Excuse me?' Fiorino said.

'Get down on your knees. Just obey what I'm saying,' Dougherty said.

'Sir,' Fiorino replied, 'I'm more than happy to stand here -'

'If you make a move, I'm going to f------ shoot you,' Dougherty snapped. 'I'm telling you right now, you make a move, and you're going down!'

'Is this necessary?' Fiorino said.

It went on like that for a little while, until other officers responded to Dougherty's calls for backup.

Fiorino was forced to the ground and shouted at as he tried to explain that he had a firearms license and was legally allowed to openly carry his weapon.

'You f------ come here looking for f------ problems? Where do you live?' yelled one officer.

'I'm sorry, gentlemen,' Fiorino said. 'If I'm under arrest, I have nothing left to say.'

'F------ a------, shut the f--- up!' the cop hollered.

The cops discovered his recorder as they searched his pockets, and unleashed another string of expletives.

Fiorino said he sat handcuffed in a police wagon while the officers made numerous phone calls to supervisors, trying to find out if they could lock him up.

When they learned that they were in the wrong, they let him go.

But only temporarily. Fiorino posted the audio recordings on youtube, and now they are harassing him again:

A new investigation was launched, and last month the District Attorney's Office decided to charge Fiorino with reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct because, a spokeswoman said, he refused to cooperate with police... He's scheduled for trial in July.

If one listens to the audiotapes, it's hard to imagine how a reasonable person could charge Fiorino (and not the cops) for disorderly conduct."


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South Carolina Makes Moves Toward Gold and Silver Being Considered Legal Tender Currency

What do you think about gold and silver coins being proposed as SC tender? : Politics : News : MidlandsConnect.com: "South Carolina lawmakers are proposing a bill that would give the state another form of legal tender.

Sen. David Thomas, a Republican from Greenville, wants to make gold and silver coins another option in the Palmetto State. Lawmakers are calling it the Sound Money Legislation.

'I'm no financial expert but am I smart enough to know that you can't keep printing money when it has no backing,' says SC Republican Representative Mac Toole...

... 'Sound money is fundamental money that has maintained its purchasing power over a very long time. Why does it do that? Because it has intrinsic inherent value. The piece of paper doesn't have intrinsic value,' says Dr. Steve Isom, South Carolina Sound Money..."


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17 May, 2011

Court: Citizens Have No Right to Resist Illegal Law Enforcement Entry Into Private Homes

Court: No right to resist illegal cop entry into home: "Overturning a common law dating back to the English Magna Carta of 1215, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Hoosiers have no right to resist unlawful police entry into their homes.

In a 3-2 decision, Justice Steven David writing for the court said if a police officer wants to enter a home for any reason or no reason at all, a homeowner cannot do anything to block the officer's entry..."

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Secret Weather Weapons Can Kill Millions, Warns Top Russian Politican

Secret Weather Weapons Can Kill Millions, Warns Top Russian Politican :: "A top Duma political leader caused shock waves in a recent television interview when he warned that Russia could deploy an arsenal of new technology to 'destroy any part of the planet' and kill over a hundred million people using secret weather weapons if the United States, the UN or Georgia tried to stop Russia’s entry into the WTO."

"Vladimir Zhirinovsky is Vice-Chairman of the Russian State Duma and leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), the first officially sanctioned opposition party after the fall of communism. The LDPR has deep links with the former KGB and Communist Party and has become a significant force in Russian politics, despite Zhirinovsky himself being branded as a militant neo-fascist.

According to a translation provided by a Russian speaker, during the interview Zhirinovsky went off on a bizarre tangent after he was asked how Russia should treat countries like Georgia and the United States who try and block Russia’s entry into the World Trade Organization.

Saying that the American government in Washington DC had 'no future” and would 'collapse,' Zhirinovsky cited Russia’s supremacy in space and stated that the country had, 'Lots of money, resources, and new weapons that no one knows about.'

'With them we will destroy any part of the planet within 15 minutes,' he sensationally warned.

'Not an explosion, not a ray burst, not some kind of laser, not lightning, but a quiet and peaceful weapon,' added Zhirinovsky, warning that 'whole continents will be put to sleep forever' and that '120 million will die' if anyone interfered with Russia’s claim on the Kuril Islands, which are the subject of a territorial dispute with Japan.

The female presenter of the news program smirked as he made the comments, but Zhirinovsky’s manner was far from jovial.

Zhirinovsky made reference to the recent tsunami in Japan, suggesting that the 'new weapons' to which he refers are related to weather control technology, which has been intensely studied by both the U.S. and Russia since the 1950′s and is commonly used today.

Threatening to annex Georgia completely, Zhirinovsky warned, 'And then there will be another tsunami, on the other side of the planet, in the Caucasus.' Zhirinovsky’s reference to the Kuril Islands in connection with the devastating tsunami that hit Japan in March is a not so subtle suggestion that Russia had something to do with causing the natural disaster that killed thousands, led to the Fukushima crisis and threatened to derail Japan’s economic recovery..."


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Ready-To-Eat Chili

Received the following email yesterday.

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I ran across your blog and thought our web site www.cinchili.com might be of interest for survivalists. We are having an inventory reduction sale and our Ready-To-Eat chili is the perfect survival food. It still has a 36 month shelf life on these packages, if you don’t freeze them. If you freeze them the shelf life is even greater. We only have a limited number at this price but thought if you are interested or any of your blog followers are interested, this is an opportunity not to pass up. Nothing to add just heat and eat. Retorted packaging process keeps food fresh for ever. All the meat seasonings and liquids are already in the pouch. When you open the pouch the chili looks, smells and tastes like a homemade bowl of chunky Texas style chili. Great alternative to Spam!

Thanks,
Bruce Wilkins
www.cinchili.com

14 May, 2011

Smithfield CEO: Higher Food Prices Are Here to Stay

Gains Pains & Capital - A financial investment newsletter published by Phoenix Capital Research: "Here’s a zinger of a news story that most commentators haven’t bothered to take note of…

The CEO of Smithfield Farms, the largest pork producer in the US. Among other things he said:

'Maybe to someone in the upper incomes it doesn’t matter what the price of a pound of bacon is, or what the price of a ham, or the price of a pound of pork chops is,' he says. 'But for many of the customers we sell to, it really does matter. Workers can share cars when the price of oil rises, he quips, but 'you can’t share your food.'

Mr. Pope also worries about the impact on farmers, who are leveraging up operations to afford the ever-rising price of land and fertilizer that has resulted from the increased corn demand. 'There are record prices for livestock but farmers are exiting the business!' he exclaims. 'Why? Farmers know they won’t make money.'

Weather is a factor, too. 'We’ve had the luxury for the last three years of extremely good corn crops, with high yields and good growing conditions. We are just one bad weather event away from potentially $10 corn, which once again is another 50% increase in the input cost to our live production.'
…Not all companies will survive this economic whirlwind. Mr. Pope recalls what happened the last time there was a surge in corn prices, in 2008: 'The largest chicken processor in the United States, Pilgrim’s Pride, filed for bankruptcy.' They 'couldn’t raise prices, so their cost of production went up dramatically.' Could it happen again? 'It darn well could!' Mr. Pope exclaims.

…Mr. Pope says the 'losers' here 'are the consumer, who’s going to have to pay more for the product, and the livestock farmer who’s going to have to buy high-priced grain that he can’t afford because he’s stretching his own lines of credit. The hog farmer . . . is in jeopardy of simply going out of business ’cause he doesn’t have the cash liquidity to even pay for the corn to pay for the input to raise the hog. It’s a dynamic that we can’t sustain.'

So here’s a CEO, someone with actual business experience (not some moron academic who’s never run a business a day in his life) telling us the following:

  • Food prices are up a lot and going higher in the future.
  • Despite high food prices, farmers are quitting farming (lower supplies are coming).
  • Food companies will be going bankrupt (even lower supplies are coming).
In other words, we are rapidly heading into a food crisis. Food prices are NOT going to be coming down. And we’re going to be seeing food shortages in the U.S. in the coming months..."

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Micro-Electrical Grids

RESILIENT COMMUNITY: MICROGRIDS - Global Guerrillas: "Electricity is the lifeblood of modernity, but it is going to become much more expensive (fuel expense/availability) and unavailable (due to an increase in random failures via underinvestment to a plethora of black swan scenarios). As such, communities need to gain control over the flows of electricity in order to become resilient. One of the first steps towards this goal is through the concept of the Microgrid... Essentially it is a local power network connected to the national/regional grid through a smart switch..."

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13 May, 2011

Woodstove Cooking

Fireplace & Woodstove Cookery Article - Plow & Hearth: "A useful skill to know when the power goes out from a winter storm, cooking on the woodstove or in the fireplace is also just plain fun. The dishes that can be made on a wood fire range from roasted hot dogs to whole meals including bread..."

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Wood Stove Cooking - Real Food - MOTHER EARTH NEWS: "Most people only consider their woodstove useful for heating a room. And when we purchased ours to cut oil costs, we never gave a thought to using it as a cooking stove.

But one day, bolstered by the surprising amount of heat dispensed by our stove, we tentatively approached it with tea kettle in hand. Once we were successful (with a little patience), we quickly graduated to soups and stews. Though ours doesn't have the versatility of a wood cookstove designed for kitchen duty, it does have some workable similarities.

The surface of our woodstove isn't usually hot enough for frying foods but it is perfect for simmering and slow cooking. We've even managed to use our 'oven' (firebox) in much the same way as we use our charcoal grill in the summertime..."

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Gun Shows Don’t Increase Crime, Study Finds

Gun Shows Don’t Increase Crime, Study Finds - Ideas Market - WSJ: "Despite the political furor surrounding them, gun shows have little to no effect on murders or suicides in the places where they occur, a new study finds—at least in the weeks immediate following the shows. And the finding holds whether or not the gun shows conduct background checks.

Researchers looked at data involving 3,400 gun shows in in California and Texas, from 1994 to 2004. Those states were chosen not only for their size—they account for nearly 20% of all gun deaths in the United States—but also because they take opposite approaches to regulating gun shows: California demands background checks and a 10-day waiting period while Texas is essentially regulation-free

Researchers compared rates of gun-related and non-gun-related murders and suicides in the four weeks preceding a gun show to the rates in the four subsequent weeks. ZIP codes were the geographical unit examined, but the authors also ran checks 5 miles, 10 miles, and 25 miles from those ZIP codes. They found no spike in gun-related deaths in either state..."


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Consumers and Investors Seek Protection With Guns and Gold

Consumers and Investors Seek Protection With Guns and Gold: "Even after last week’s steep selloff in the commodities markets, the 'Flight to Safety' trade is still on…big time. Gold may have retreated from its all-time high, but applications to purchase a handgun continue soaring to record levels.

According to the FBI, background-check applications for handgun buyers are on a record-setting pace so far this year. 'In this year’s first quarter,' Bloomberg News reports, 'the FBI’s Instant Criminal Background Check System processed 4.25 million requests on prospective gun buyers – up 16% from a year earlier.' If the current pace continues, the number of 'gun checks' would hit a seventh straight annual record..."

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11 May, 2011

Mexican Central Bank Quietly Buys 100 Tons of Gold

Commodities - Mexican Central Bank Quietly Buys 100 Tons of Gold - CNBC: "Mexico has quietly purchased nearly 100 tons of gold bullion, as central banks embark on their biggest bullion buying spree in 40 years.

The purchase, reported in monthly data published by Mexico’s central bank, is the latest in a series of large gold buys by emerging market economies intent on diversifying reserves away from the faltering U.S. dollar..."

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10 May, 2011

Doomsday Scenario From The Treasury Dept. Itself

Doomsday Scenario: "Consider this doomsday scenario:

Catastrophic impacts felt by every American.

A broad range of government payments stopped, limited, or delayed, including military salaries, Social Security, and Medicare payments, interest on debt, unemployment benefits, and tax refunds.

Sharply higher interest rates and borrowing costs, declining home values, and reduced retirement savings for Americans.

In sum, a financial crisis more severe than the crisis from which we are only now starting to recover.

My words? Not a single one!

They are all taken directly from a widely distributed Treasury Department letter dated exactly one week ago.

The letter is addressed to Speaker of the House John Boehner..."


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Family Details How Woman Survived in Wilderness for 48 Days

Family details how woman survived in wilderness for 48 days | KTVB.COM Boise: "Family members say Rita Chretien and her husband, Albert, wanted to take the scenic route as they were on their way from Canada to Las Vegas. But after getting lost and stuck, that scenic route turned into a life-changing ordeal that lasted 48 days for Rita...

... That road turned out to be not much more than some tire tracks in the mountains of northern Nevada. Rita and Albert Chretien got stuck miles from civilization. After three days, Albert set out for help...

... Albert didn't find help, and the search for him continues.

Rita never left the area around the van. For 48 days, she waited and made due with limited supplies.

'She had a small amount of trail mix that lasted a week, a tablespoon a day,' said Raymond Chretien. 'A couple fish oil pills a day, and a hard candy a day, and the melted snow and water she got from the stream or mud puddle or whatever it was; that's what kept her going. She's a Christian, she reads her Bible every day. She had books she was reading, she had time to think and pray.'

Rita tried to start a fire a few times, but everything was just too wet..."


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An Alien in My Own Land

An alien in my own land - Opinion - ReviewJournal.com: "I got a little postcard from the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles a few weeks ago, reminding me it's been eight years since I last had my picture taken, and that I had to go renew my driver's license in person.

So I headed over to the North Decatur Boulevard DMV on Wednesday. Filled out the form. Passed the eye test. Provided my residence address, now mandatory for police wishing to kick in our doors at night. (For 18 years my license bore only my P.O. box, all they need to send me my renewal notices.) Then the lady at the desk spoke up.

'Your name doesn't match,' she said.

'Doesn't match what?'

'Your name doesn't match.'

We went around on that one long enough to change partners and allemande left. Apparently, she was comparing my license data to a Social Security database.

'All that matches is the date of birth,' she said.

Ah.

'As you can see,' I said, 'the name on my driver's license -- the one I've been using without a problem for 18 years -- is 'Vin Suprynowicz.' But the Social Security database may still be showing my birth name, the same name that appears here on my original 1965 Social Security card,' I said, sliding it across the desk at her. 'That card was issued to 'Vincent Anthony Suprynowicz Jr.' That's also the name listed on these two pieces of identification,' I said, presenting her with my draft registration card and my Selective Service Notice of Classification.

'Those are no good,' she said. 'The name doesn't match.'

'Here's my current driver's license, with my picture on it, which you people issued,' I said. 'You can't see that's me?'

'You're going to have to go to the Social Security Administration and have them change your name, or else bring in your birth certificate or a passport or your immigration documents,' she said.

I asked to speak to a supervisor. One Sheri Olsen, who is paid $49,614 per year plus amazing benefits for the job of refusing to renew valid driver's licenses for native-born Americans with an unusually large number of authentic identification documents, was finally located to (of course) repeat the same lunacy.

'Your name doesn't match,' she said.

Why was this never a problem before? Especially when Franklin Roosevelt swore up and down that our Social Security numbers would always remain confidential between us and the single appropriate federal agency -- never to be used for purposes of identification the way the Nazis did?

'It's because of 9/11,' she said.

So I'm trying to imagine a scenario under which some member of al-Qaida is showing up at the North Decatur DMV, seeking to renew a Nevada driver's license which he's had for 18 years, with his plainly recognizable photo on it, because doing so will somehow further his plans to blow up skyscrapers. But, fortunately, he's being foiled by this Sheri Olsen, who won't let him renew his driver's license because no one in their right mind could imagine someone who now calls himself 'Vin Suprynowicz' could possibly be the person born in New Haven, Conn., all those years ago, named at the time 'Vincent Suprynowicz.'

The documents this Sheri Olsen rejected were accepted for re-entry by U.S. Customs and Immigration a few years back when I flew to Canada to give a speech, trusting the airline that told me I didn't need my passport.

Still, Ms. Olsen is insisting, 'You're going to have to go to the Social Security office and have your name changed.'

'I don't want my name changed. I like my name just fine. You can issue the license in either name. Issue it as 'Vincent Anthony Suprynowicz Jr.,' if that'll make you happy, or as 'Vin Suprynowicz,' whichever.'

Nope.

'You're telling me there are, what, 20,000 illegal Mexicans driving around this town with fake driver's licenses that they bought at the local swap meet, and no one ever arrests them when they show these bogus pieces of crap, but I can't renew an 18-year-old driver's license because for 30 years I've been going by 'Vin' instead of 'Vincent'?'

'We don't care to discuss your political views,' Olsen said.

She really said that.

So, no driver's license for me.

I called the city of New Haven. They'll sell me a copy of my birth certificate. It will take four to six weeks by mail, or I can go in person, Monday through Friday. It's only 2,000 miles away.

What we are dealing with, here, is a national ID. The folks in Washington said they'd dropped plans to impose one. Instead, they've just ordered the states to do it -- despite the fact the Constitutional grants the central government no power to meddle in such state functions.

There are two -- and only two -- other people allowed to go to the New Haven Office of Vital Statistics to buy a copy of my birth certificate: my parents. What better example of the infantilization of the populace than to make me call my Mommy? As I write this, my 85-year-old mother is in downtown New Haven -- a 90-minute drive from where she lives -- to buy me the document this Sheri Olsen insists on seeing before she'll believe I'm me.

What do people do if their parents have not survived into their 80s?

It's offensive even having to go to the DMV. Commercial freight hauling may be an excisable activity, but merely traveling on the public roads is a right, not a privilege. From whom did George Washington have to beg the 'privilege' of riding his horse from Virginia to Boston in 1775?

A once free people, we only seek to pay 'our' taxes and obey the law, jumping through the ever-greater assemblage of hoops set out for us. Yet now we are increasingly lined up, numbered and humiliated by a police state so perverse it punishes only those who try to obey the laws, until we are treated as aliens in our own land, while the invaders receive protection from the police who should be arresting them as they march in our streets with their foreign flags, demanding to have our immigration laws overturned while collecting checks from our government.

Do the bureaucrats really think there will never be a price to pay?"



Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the Review-Journal, and author of the novel "The Black Arrow" and "Send in the Waco Killers." See www.vinsuprynowicz.com.

09 May, 2011

Old Bikes Transformed Into Pedal-Powered Water Pumps, Blenders and More

Maya Pedal Transforms Old Bikes into Pedal Powered Water Pumps, Blenders and More | Inhabitat - Green Design Will Save the World: "We’ve seen some incredible innovations in bicycle technology lately – from self-charging components such as the Copenhagen Wheel to designer fixies by Diesel. But what happens to these and all other bikes when their owners move on? That’s where Guatemalan NGO Maya Pedal comes in – they transform donated bicycles into pedal-powered machines including water pumps, blenders and tile makers for use where electricity is too expensive or inaccessible. We say more (pedal) power to you, Maya Pedal!..."

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Our Taxes Barely Cover Our Social-Welfare Programs; Everything Else Is On Credit

No Accounting for Benefits: Our Taxes Barely Cover Our Social-Welfare Programs; Everything Else Is On Credit - Barrons.com: "After months of political argle-bargle about debts and deficits, most Americans still do not understand as much as they should about the finances of the U.S. government. Here's what may be the most important fact—certainly it is one very commonly ignored:

All federal revenues—from income taxes, Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes, corporate taxes, excise taxes, customs duties, estate and gift taxes and user fees—are consumed to pay Americans myriad federal benefits. These include Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, veterans' benefits, food stamps, farm subsidies and the many other forms of social insurance and welfare, including economic stimulus and job-creation.

Put another way: The federal government borrows everything it needs to operate what we ought to think of as the government as an institution, such as defense (including the support of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq); highway construction; foreign aid; aid to states and localities; land management and pollution control; regulation of this, that and all the other things; scientific research; payment of federal employees' salaries; and payment of interest on the national debt.

Name anything that the federal government does or would like to do, other than sending checks to people who need or want some cash, and you will find that it is being done with borrowed money..."


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Sunspots More Active Now Than in Past 8000 Years

Sunspots more active than for 8000 years - space - 27 October 2004 - New Scientist: "The Sun has been more active in the last 70 years than it has for the previous 8000, according to an analysis of tree rings dating back 11,400 years. But researchers say its recent bout of hyperactivity does not account for the rapidly rising temperatures recorded on Earth over the last three decades.

Sunspots are surface concentrations of the star's magnetic field and the more there are, the more energy the Sun is emitting. The dark features have been observed and recorded regularly since 1610.

Scientists have tried to reconstruct previous sunspot activity using ice cores and tree rings. These contain isotopes, such as carbon-14 and beryllium-10, created when high-energy particles from deep space, called cosmic rays, slam into the atmosphere. Fewer cosmic rays reach the Earth when the Sun is very active, because the charged particles from the Sun deflect them.

Now, a team led by Sami Solanki of the Max-Planck-Institut fur Sonnensystemforschung in Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany, has analysed records of trees preserved in riverbeds and bogs that date back 11,400 years to produce the most precise study yet of sunspot history..."


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06 May, 2011

Proof That Strict Gun Control Laws Fail to Curb Violent Crime

Proof That Strict Gun Control Laws Fail to Curb Violent Crime - IPS ipsnews.net: "The country invented gun power and developed one of the world’s first guns, known as the 'fire spear.' Rifles played a major role in China’s modern history, from the fight against the Japanese army to the Communist’s victory over the Nationalists. In 1938, Mao Zedong famously said that 'political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.'

That comment perhaps foreshadowed the gun control laws later implemented by Mao and the Communist Party – some of the most severe firearms laws in the world. China has imposed a blanket ban on gun ownership, including replicas. Since 1966, the government has prohibited the private manufacture, sale, transport, possession and import or export of bullets and guns.

Possessing a single gun can yield a three-year prison sentence, while perpetrators of gun crimes are often executed.

Yet despite harsh penalties, China’s Ministry of Public Safety (MPS) has said it increasingly faces armed suspects. In the most recent high-profile case last month, a security guard in Hunan province in south-central China, apparently upset by a court-imposed divorce settlement, shot and killed three judges and wounded three others before turning the gun on himself.

It was not an isolated incident. In early 2007, a man in north-east China killed five family members and neighbours in a rampage with a homemade pistol. In September 2007, a man in Guangzhou city in southern China was sentenced to 19 years after using a replica gun to rob a bank customer. And in December 2008, a guard at a munitions depot shot and killed a colleague over a chess match, and was shot to death himself by police two days later.

Guns figured prominently during the 2008 unrest in the Tibetan Autonomous Region, when a policeman and a Tibetan insurgent were killed during a gun battle...

... China introduced gun control in 1966, after children armed with rifles shot out a window at the Great Hall of the People at the Tiananmen Square in Beijing while trying to hit a sparrow, according to official MPS history. The government cracked down harder on gun ownership after the 1989 pro- democracy demonstrations.

It needs to crack down even harder on today’s rising gun crime."


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On Small Farms, Hoof Power Returns

On Small Farms, Hoof Power Returns - NYTimes.com: "ON a sunny Sunday just before the vernal equinox, Rich Ciotola set out to clear a pasture strewn with fallen wood. The just-thawed field was spongy, with grass sprouting under tangled branches. Late March and early April are farm-prep time here in the Berkshires, time to gear up for the growing season. But while many farms were oiling and gassing up tractors, Mr. Ciotola was setting out to prepare a pasture using a tool so old it seems almost revolutionary: a team of oxen.

Standing just inside the paddock at Moon in the Pond Farm, where he works, he put a rope around Lucas and Larson, his pair of Brown Swiss steer. He led them to the 20-pound maple yoke he had bought secondhand from another ox farmer, hoisted it over their necks and led them trundling through the fence so they could begin hauling fallen logs..."

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05 May, 2011

How to Turn a Pallet into a Garden


How to Turn a Pallet into a Garden

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As Pirate Attacks Increase, Shipowners Take-Up Arms in Defense

Special report: As pirate attacks grow, shipowners take arms - Yahoo! News: "Upstairs in a public house on the English south coast, 18 men are preparing to take on the pirates of the Indian Ocean.

Around antique polished wooden tables scattered with laminated charts, handouts and smartphones, they sit in attentive silence as teachers in jeans and T-shirts discuss pirate tactics and the hazards of the law. Almost to a man, the students -- their haircuts short, their arms muscled and tattooed -- have military experience: some on well-paid, dangerous private security contracts in Iraq or Afghanistan.

It almost feels as if history is repeating itself. The Blue Boar pub is in a building that dates back to the 18th century, when Poole was one of England's busiest trading ports and ships sailed the globe with cargoes of cotton, silk, tea, cotton, spices and opium. Those privately owned vessels were armed like warships, equipped to fight off pirate attacks and privateers far from naval help. Now, it seems, one ocean at least is becoming lawless again..."


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03 May, 2011

Your Tax Dollars At Work: Do You Feel Safer?

Feds sting Amish farmer selling raw milk locally - Washington Times: "A yearlong sting operation, including aliases, a 5 a.m. surprise inspection and surreptitious purchases from an Amish farm in Pennsylvania, culminated in the federal government announcing this week that it has gone to court to stop Rainbow Acres Farm from selling its contraband to willing customers in the Washington area.

The product in question: unpasteurized milk..."

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New Scientific Basis for New Madrid Seismic Hazard is Sound

New Scientific Basis for New Madrid Seismic Hazard is Sound: "The National Earthquake Prediction Evaluation Council has issued a new report in which independent experts conclude that current USGS estimates for significant earthquake hazards in the New Madrid Seismic Zone—affecting eight central and eastern U.S states—are based on sound science.

The Council, a federal advisory committee, recently presented the report to USGS Director Marcia McNutt. Prepared by a panel of scientists from many disciplines and organizations, the report comes during the Bicentennial commemoration of the three violent “New Madrid” earthquakes and hundreds of aftershocks that struck the Mississippi River Valley in 1811-1812..."


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