My boys are performing right now as part of the Nets’ pregame entertainment with their Chinese Lion Dance troupe, but they don’t like to stay on for the game itself. Aside from the fact that last year when the troupe performed the Nets players treated the troupe very shabbily, clasping their hands securely behind their backs as they jogged past the all-kids troupe members so the kids couldn’t make an attempt to high-five the players or grasp their hands, my sons and I were completely united in our distaste for the game itself. The kids don’t care to sit through another game and I personally, would have to be offered quite a pretty penny to ever consider watching even part of a game again [last time they performed I sat through half the game].
My friend Joe Rosenberg, CPA reports:
Quickbooks users? In case you were thinking of upgrading your current edition, or trying it out if you don’t have quickbooks, the free 2009 Pro edition is available at no cost Monday 12/22 only in store or online at Staples.
This is offered in store or online by Staples. Since quickbooks is used by about 90% of the small business market in the US and they are offering (after mail in rebate of $159.95) their current product for free (you do pay sales tax on the purchase). There were some problems with online banking in this edition but they are being worked out.
I was just speaking with a new friend, Harold C, about the plastic quality of middle American living. “Kimi, Disney’s like a religious experience for a lot of my friends,” he said. And so it is. A completely guided experience where people can live in simulations of the illusions they are accustomed to watch in the comfort of their living rooms on TV screens all across America. Disney World makes it possible for an American parent to take his/her spouse and children to a place which is actually a ‘sovereign country’ not ruled by American law and still not need to deal with foreign accents or foreign languages, driving on the wrong side of the street, calculating currency exchanges or having to decide whether to drink plain or mineral water. I told Harold about this National Geographic article which describes in detail the Disney World phenomenon, how it was achieved and in what ways it’s meant to affect American society. Here is a teaser of the contents . . .
Thomas Friedman of the New York Times wants us to think about the future as we consider the crises of our times. In an op-ed piece he says basically, that the Detroit crisis is happening because American auto manufacturers will not be innovative and they refuse to build cars with great mileage. Although they probably could. I, myself, look at the mileage rates in our cars and the price and consumption of gasoline and it’s pretty clear to me that there’s some kind of collusion taking place between the auto and gas industries.
In California the air pollution control agency AQMD is offering a program to replace traditional 2-cycle leaf blowers with models that are much cleaner. This is why:
“These machines are a significant source of smog-forming emissions. In one year, the average two-stroke backpack leaf blower emits as much pollution as 80 new cars.” The blowers in the exchange program, manufactured by STIHL Inc., are nearly five times cleaner than the California Air Resources Board’s most stringent standard for new blowers. By scrapping 1,500 old blowers and replacing them with low-emission STIHL blowers, the program will reduce at least 14 tons per year of smog-forming emissions.
An email is circulating advising people to be careful when buying gifts cards because many stores are closing.
“Stores that are planning to close after
Christmas are still selling the (gift) cards through the holidays even though
the cards will be worthless January 1. There is no law preventing them
from doing this. On the contrary, it is referred to as ‘Bankrupcy
I always check announcements of this type out through a little web investigation. Here’s today’s crop of research.
Defining what success means to YOU: success will mean different things to different people. In these modern times, traditional ideas of success involving impressive job titles and high salaries are being challenged by such ideas as “time affluence”. Decide what is important to you, and don’t waste time chasing someone else’s idea of success.
An open mind: some of our beliefs and actions are so ingrained that we automatically disregard any evidence that we should think or act otherwise. Keep an open mind, and you may just come across a better way of seeing or doing things.
Here’s a resource food lovers will enjoy. This spiffy web interface allows you to choose several foods and see how they compare with each other in dozens of nutritional categories including vitamin content, carbohydrate, protein and cholesterol. Comparisons appear one after the other in each category so it’s easy to see how values stack up.
Apart from reaching outside the box for staff members, Obama plans to make a couple of important changes to White House relations with the people.
The transition team is exploring new approaches to communications that could undercut West Wing traditions such as the daily briefings to reporters, including making more announcements over the Internet to ensure that information reaches not only journalists but the millions of individuals who enlisted in Obama’s campaign and consider themselves invested in his presidency.
What’s different between Obama and the McCain-Palin ticket? This video explains it and will make you laugh too.
We need to balance respect for the environment, and individual privacy, against company’s needs to promote their products and services. Allowing the expensive waste of natural resources (trees and oil) used to produce and deliver useless mail which gets tossed in the trash without anyone ever looking at it, also encourages large-scale pollution of our environment. Moving unwanted junk mail makes a huge impact on erosion of the ozone layer and the quality of the air we breathe.
Opt-out of catalogue mail
There are several services you can now use to opt-out of junk catalogue mail.
A colleague alerts me that illegal wiretapping began before 911, and I located a well-written article on this very subject at Truthout. Truthout is a great resource for well-documented articles on matter which doesn’t get looked at in depth in the major news media outlets.
The NSA’s vast data-mining activities began shortly after Bush was sworn in as president and the document contradicts his assertion that the 9/11 attacks prompted him to take the unprecedented step of signing a secret executive order authorizing the NSA to monitor a select number of American citizens thought to have ties to terrorist groups.
Congress last week reversed its March decision to not allow immunity to telecomunications providers who have allowed phone wiretapping without court orders and voted to approve S2248, the FISA Amendment Act 2008. The senate vote is expected as soon as today. Yesterday a test vote showed strong support in the senate to approve the FISA bill with the amendment granting immunity to telecom providers for 6 years of wiretapping without the knowledge or approval of a secret court which was set up expressly for the purpose of reviewing and approving applications for surveillance.
In the majority ruling on the right of Guantamo prisoners to have their day in court to challenge the legality of their arrest, Kennedy writes:
The Framers viewed freedom from unlawful restraint as a fundamental precept of liberty, and they understood the writ of habeas corpus as a vital instrument to secure that freedom.
I love that statement. To be free, a person cannot be subject to unrightful restraint.
Glen Greenwald expands on the supreme court decision at Salon.