MAXINE

"Aim at Heaven ... you get Earth thrown in - Aim at Earth and you get neither" - C.S. Lewis

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Sheehan: Don’t Cry For Me, America … Exit Stage Left

Peace activist Cindy Sheehan speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2007 where House Democrats were meeting. Sheehan, the soldier's mother who galvanized an anti-war movement with her monthlong protest outside President Bush's ranch, says she's done being the public face of the movement. 'I've been wondering why I'm killing myself and wondering why the Democrats caved in to George Bush,' Sheehan told The Associated Press by phone Tuesday, May 29, 2007 while driving from her property in Crawford to the airport, where she planned to return to her native California. Image Credit: AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke

Sheehan: Don’t Cry For Me, America … Exit Stage Left

Moonbat and grieving mom, Cindy Sheehan, leaves Texas to pursue a “normal” life back in California.

In an open letter posted at the Daily Kos (a politically liberal commentary website), Sheehan finally comes clean as to her love of the country she lives in and will not leave.

Honestly, it is one thing to want to work for the things one wants to change about the country one lives in, it is clearly another to profess to want to better the country without recognizing what the majority of the people really want. In this case, Americans really want to pursue their freely lead lives without interruption … and that includes keeping ones focus on American Idol as opposed to responding to what Cindy Sheehan thinks or does.

I guess it really is “Up To Us Now” ... to live our lives without having to hear how horrible we are, while wanting to KEEP our freedoms.

Excerpts from the Associated Press -

'It's up to you now': Sheehan quits
By ANGELA K. BROWN, Associated Press Writer - 21 minutes ago

FORT WORTH, Texas - Cindy Sheehan, the soldier's mother who galvanized an anti-war movement with her monthlong protest outside President Bush's ranch, said Tuesday she's done being the public face of the movement.

"I've been wondering why I'm killing myself and wondering why the Democrats caved in to George Bush," Sheehan told The Associated Press while driving from her property in Crawford to the airport, where she planned to return to her native California.

"I'm going home for awhile to try and be normal," she said.

In what she described as a "resignation letter," Sheehan wrote in her online diary on the "Daily Kos" blog: "Good-bye America ... you are not the country that I love and I finally realized no matter how much I sacrifice, I can't make you be that country unless you want it.

"It's up to you now."
----
"I have endured a lot of smear and hatred since Casey was killed and especially since I became the so-called "Face" of the American anti-war movement," Sheehan wrote in the diary.

On Memorial Day, she came to some "heartbreaking conclusions," she wrote.

When she had first taken on Bush, Sheehan was a darling of the liberal left. "However, when I started to hold the Democratic Party to the same standards that I held the Republican Party, support for my cause started to erode and the 'left' started labeling me with the same slurs that the right used," she wrote.

"I guess no one paid attention to me when I said that the issue of peace and people dying for no reason is not a matter of 'right or left', but 'right and wrong,'" the diary says.
----
Sheehan said she had sacrificed a 29-year marriage and endured threats to put all her energy into stopping the war. What she found, she wrote, was a movement "that often puts personal egos above peace and human life."
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"Casey died for a country which cares more about who will be the next American Idol than how many people will be killed in the next few months while Democrats and Republicans play politics with human lives," she wrote. It is so painful to me to know that I bought into this system for so many years and Casey paid the price for that allegiance. I failed my boy and that hurts the most."

"I am going to take whatever I have left and go home," Sheehan wrote.

"Camp Casey has served its purpose. It's for sale. Anyone want to buy five beautiful acres in Crawford, Texas?"
Reference Here>>

We at MAXINE, Cindy, feel that your "boy" did not fail the rest of us that love the freedoms this country affords all of us ... including you. Your son died protecting our country and our way of life ... try to be proud of that while you pursue a normal life back in California.


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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Indy 500 - A Slice Of The American Pie

Tux the penguin, the mascot of the Linux kernel – Image Credit: Tux 500, as drawn by Larry Ewing

Indy 500 - A Slice Of The American Pie

As we ramp up to what many believe is the greatest auto racing spectacle in the world today, here is a story that is a little slice of the “American Pie”.

One of the sponsors is a software operating system that really has no single corporate backing in that it is an Open-Source operating system code that runs on platforms that also run Microsoft Windows, known as Linux.

The driver is famous for being a substitute driver for many of the teams who race in American open-wheel racing series and was once a driver of note in the former CART Series before it split up into two different formulas – Indy Car and Champ Car.

This week it is all about Indy Car for both Linux and Robert Moreno, a Brazilian who recently applied for US citizenship.

Image Credit: TUX 500 website

This from the TUX 500 website -

The TUX 500:
A Community Linux Powered Marketing Program
Linux® is a trademark of Linus Torvalds.

Marketing Linux® has always been a tricky proposition. As a community, we have relied on corporations who have a stake in the Linux operating system to market Linux to the world at large. Today, we have an opportunity to change that, and make Linux marketing as much a community effort as Linux development. That effort begins with the Tux 500 project.

Our goal is simple: we want to collect community donations to enter a Linux sponsored car in the 2007 Indianapolis 500. We need your help! If less than 1% of the Linux community donates $1, this will happen... will you do your part?

Reference Here>>

WE are Linux! - TUX 500 promotional video posted on YouTube

So far, only about $16,000 of the $350,000 goal has been donated for the advertising enterprise effort.

Item #2 from Tux 500 website -

It's Official! We're in the Indy 500!
Sunday, May 20 2007 @ 06:16 PM MDT - Contributed by: Bob Moore - Views: 2,757

I just got back from the track... and what a day for Chastain Motorsports... what a day for Roberto Moreno... what a day for the Linux community!

For those of you who missed it, with less than 1 hour remaining in qualifications for the 91st Indianapolis 500, team owner Tom Chastain made a bold decision. Rather than take a chance on being bumped late in the day, he pulled their already qualified car to see if they could qualify with a higher speed. The idea being that they would put more pressure on the unqualified teams.

Roberto Moreno took the track, and put together the best 4 lap average since the day began... 220.299 mph! This put the car safely in the field, and sits us on the inside of row 11 for the race next weekend!

Roberto Moreno talks with reporters after qualifying run. - Image Credit: Bob Moore

Roberto was in tears as he was interviewed by television crews, newspaper reporters, and snapped by countless photographers. The crew members hugged each other... Tom Chastain gave his wife Carol a kiss. It was a very emotional moment.

As for the Linux community, tonight we can, and should feel a great sense of accomplishment for what we've done! But we're not done yet... tomorrow, we need to start working to reward this racing team which has put us in the middle of a great story... and has rewarded us with some wonderful moments this weekend! And remember that we still have time to make the Linux presence on the car even bigger!

p.s. For those who watched on TV, did we get good screen time like we did for Saturday's qualifications? I haven't been able to check my MythTV yet.

Update
For helios' take on it, check out blog.lobby4linux.com

Also, there were two qualification shows on ESPN2 yesterday, an early one and a late one. I only got a recording of the early one. If anyone has a recording of the late broadcast, which had our qualifying run in it, I'd greatly appreciate a copy!

Reference Here>>

This from the Auto Racing Daily -

91st Indianapolis 500 Bump Day Post-qualifying Quotes - Roberto Moreno
May 21, 2007 - Roberto Moreno (#77 Chastain Motorsports Panoz/Honda/Firestone):

About Bobby More decal on side of car:

“Well, I’ve turned in an application for my (American) citizenship. On the form, it says there, you can choose a different name if you want to. So I went with Bobby More. I just need to get the accent right. I have not figured that one out yet. ”


What did you go through to get up to speed? :

“Basically yesterday, I asked to change the car. We were going in direction quite good. Then we changed the car and got a bit lost. Then people started to get in line (for qualifying). We didn’t have time to trim and fix the car. So we decided to try and qualify with the car as it was. Just in case it decided to rain (Sunday). What if it were to rain tomorrow? The car was really difficult to drive yesterday. We had lots of wing, and it was still difficult to drive. Today, we went back to what we had initially yesterday. We worked on that. My engineer did a great job. He focused really when we needed and he was right on. The car was good today. I was doing 217.1 with race downforce. Then they said it is time to “trim. ” I was a little unsure. But as soon as we trimmed, the car felt good. We trimmed one more step. Then they said lets trim two more steps. I said, ‘No, no. ’ We are quick enough. We had just gone over 219.6, which was good. So we went ahead and trimmed one more step. The car wasn’t really good, so I said to the guys lets go back one step on the trim and go into line (qualify). We did two more laps before qualifying at 220. I said, ‘That is good enough; let’s get in line and qualify. ’ I’m so glad that I got this opportunity. Stephan (Gregoire) is doing well. He will be back racing again. Thank you to the Chastain family gave me this opportunity. It’s an honor. One day, you are nobody sitting at home. Some people think I am too old and I don’t have any more left. But do not forget my spirit. It is so young, my strong desire to succeed. I am 48 years old, and today I feel great. I did it. We got in. I love this place. ”

Reference Here>>

Now even techno-geeks have something to root for in America's greatest automobile race.

UPDATE 5-27-2007:

Lap 37:
Yellow for contact in T1 by #77 Roberto Moreno.
2007-05-27 13:42:45

Lap 38: He got too high coming out of the turn.
2007-05-27 13:43:01

Lap 38: Moreno is out of the car and into safety vehicle.
2007-05-27 13:43:24

A live update report from the track indicates that Roberto Moreno is complaining of back pain and will be transported to the hospital.

TUX hits the wall on lap 37 - Image Credit: IndyCar.com

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Real Survivor Fiji – Tale Of Three Reports

Fiji’s Minister for Tourism, Labour and Environment: Mrs Bernadette Rounds Ganilau – Image Credit: e-Travel Blackboard

The Real Survivor Fiji – Tale Of Three Reports

The internet is a fascinating resource, one can receive news alerts from all over the world … or just one country and learn about how things are getting along.

For example, at the end of this week, at MAXINE, we had these three news items contained in one news alert for the island nation of Fiji.

This excerpted from e-Travel Blackboard -

Tourism is the way forward for Fiji,
says Fiji’s Minister for Tourism, Labour and Environment.
e-Travel Blackboard - Friday, May 18, 2007

At this week’s Bula Fiji Tourism Exchange (BFTE), Fiji’s Minister for Labour, Tourism and Environment, Mrs Bernadette Rounds Ganilau spoke with e-Travel Blackboard regarding her predictions for the future of Fiji’s tourism.

Although tourism has suffered greatly from the military coup late last year, Minister Ganilau feels that this downturn is already showing signs of recovery. “[Industry stakeholders] are moving even though the movement is not reciprocating from overseas,” she says, “Although I think that numbers are still healthy despite all the travel advisories and media reports overseas.”

In terms of tourism strategies for the short and long term, Minister Ganilau says, “We are trying to move to a clearer, far reaching tomorrow with the forward looking strategies we are putting in place.” This includes the consolidation of a new tourism development plan as well conducting legislative reform to better suit the needs of Fiji’s tourism industry.
----
“Tourism is it for Fiji,” says Minister Ganilau, “Tourism the way forward for Fiji. Tourism was opening doors for us when all the doors were shut. When all the doors were closed to us, tourism was leading the way. [At the same time], industry stakeholders are suffering financially, emotionally, and physically in the hopes that one person or a group of people will walk through.”
----
“We can’t do anything about the budget. We inherited a lemon. So we had to start from somewhere and that included cutting everywhere, tightening belts and being very economical about everything we do,” says Minister Ganilau. This included a 40 precent pay cut by all personnel and administrators.

“I am constantly building bridges and starting new alliances to broaden connections and benefit tourism as well. I definitely think that the cabinet have great faith in tourism,” Minister Ganilau adds.

Mr. Tony Whitton, a representative from the Tourism Action Group (which was re-activated following the coup to help with Fiji’s recovery) said, “Despite all the murmurings in the rest of the world, Fiji remains a safe, hospitable and a resort and holiday experience... It’s important for the industry to come together as one voice and one team to establish the brand Fiji.”

“The resilience of the tourism industry will pay off. Business will be as usual,” admits Minister Ganilau. “When the turnaround is slow, I have a feeling it will be permanent. When it is quick, it is like an onslaught as a result of marketing. I have hope."
Reference Here>>

We really love the quote – “We can’t do anything about the budget. We inherited a lemon.“ – wouldn’t that be … “We stole the lemons and now we are having trouble making lemonade”????

… And this from the Military front -

Does anyone else besides Frank Bainimarama and the military he controls think it is a grand idea to hold a nation hostage to the detriment of the commerce and freedoms of the peoples of the nation - Fiji? - Image Credit: CYBER DIVER News Network

Fiji military closes blogs critical of government and army
The Associated Press - Published: May 18, 2007

SUVA, Fiji: Fiji's military has blocked access to several Web sites that contained damaging allegations against the army and members of the interim government, a senior officer said Friday.

Fiji Land Force Commander Col. Pita Driti said access was cut Thursday to the Web journals, or blogs, which he said were full of lies and a threat to national security.
----
Driti said three blogs, "resistfrankscoup," "intelligensiya" and "fijishamelist" all contained "lies and agitation."

"They are all fighting for one cause and saying the same thing," said Driti. "All we are trying to say is the blog sites are full of lies and deception."

The three sites advocated passive resistance against the military-backed government, including urging Fijians not to go to work.

They also regularly posted critical comments of the government and military, including Bainimarama, and slammed the administration's ongoing crackdown on corruption as a "farce" as it failed to result in any arrests.

FINTEL, the company that governs Fiji's Internet access, confirmed the Home Affairs Ministry had approached it to shut off access to the blogs, said Chief Executive Sakaraia Tuilakepa.
----
Driti said the military would continue to hunt down bloggers critical of the government, noting emergency regulations remain in place in the wake of the coup, and "people should realize that certain freedoms are restricted, including freedom of speech."

"When we get to these bloggers we will take them up to the barracks and warn them of the dangers of what they are doing. They will just be warned and advised," he said.

Since the coup there have been hundreds of reported cases of people being detained, threatened, intimidated and in some cases beaten. Most such reports have been denied by military chiefs.
Read All>>

The top quote being - "people should realize that certain freedoms are restricted, including freedom of speech." – this should not set well with the citizens of a formally free and democratic nation.

The websites advocated passive resistance against the military-backed government, including urging Fijians not to go to work … this may not be a real problem in that there is little work to be had because the world does not want to visit a JAIL run by the military.

A jail is a jail even though it may be located in a cultural island paradise!

Of course, there is always “The Fire Sale” … this excerpted from the CYBER DIVER News Network (a report from Fiji Daily Post) -

Desperate Fiji resorts cut rates in half
Powered by CDNN - CYBER DIVER News Network

SUVA, Fiji (17 May 2007) -- Hotels and resorts in Fiji have now resorted to discounts of up to 50 percent to try to lure tourists to Fiji.

Tourism Action Group Chair Damend Goundar said, "They are now unable to come up with any new strategies because the hotels and resorts have done all they can."

Goundar said the main factor, keeping tourists from coming to Fiji was the continued extension of the Public Safety Regulation.

He said the Fiji Visitors Bureau should be given additional funding to better market Fiji in overseas markets.

The Tourism Action Group (TAG) was set up to revive the flagging fortunes of the tourism industry after the December 5 coup.

It has had the benefit of donations from stakeholders in the industry and the Interim Government.

TAG was instrumental in reviving the industry after the 2000 crisis but there are indications that the after-effects of the 2006 coup on the industry would be far more devastating.

An industry insider pointed to the large number of workers in the industry left jobless after last year's military coup.
Reference Here>>

Jobless due to the coup … NOT THE INTERNET, Commodore Frank!

Does anyone else besides Frank Bainimarama and the military he controls think it is a grand idea to hold a nation hostage to the detriment of the commerce and freedoms of the peoples of the nation - FIJI?

Again, no one wants to visit a JAIL!

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Of Amnesty Burgers And Beltway Fools

Image Credit: Michelle Malkin

Of Amnesty Burgers And Beltway Fools

The people we elect to run our Government and protect us ... Do Not Care!

This from Michelle Malkin (with edits from MAXINE)-

The J. Wellington Wimpy immigration plan:
Amnesty now, enforcement later
By Michelle Malkin - May 18, 2007 - 01:10 PM

It was true in 1986. It's as true as ever in 2007. Wimpy will get his amnesty burgers and the Beltway fools who keep deluding themselves about the false promise of immigration enforcement will be left empty-handed. Again.

Amnesty is the hamburger. Enforcement is the payment that will never come. I've reported this reality over and over and over and over and over again. All the leaked memos and graphs and analysis in the world, however, cannot sum up the deportation/enforcement/border security sham--and the mess at DHS--more clearly than the reality expressed by an illegal alien quoted by the Associated Press today:

"If I get deported and need to cross the border again, that's not a problem," he said.

Republicans in Washington who are embracing the Bush-Kennedy amnesty will tell you the package is tough on enforcement because the millions of illegal aliens who are here now will be deported later if they fail to meet the requirements of their so-called "Z visas."

Here is how the clueless Republican National Committee is selling it:

No Amnesty For Illegal Immigrants: Illegal immigrants who come out of the shadows will be given probationary status. Once the border security and enforcement benchmarks are met, they must pass a background check, remain employed, maintain a clean criminal record, pay a $1,000 fine, and receive a counterfeit-proof biometric card to apply for a work visa or "Z visa." Some years later, these Z visa holders will be eligible to apply for a green card, but only after paying an additional $4,000 fine; completing accelerated English requirements; getting in line while the current backlog clears; returning to their home country to file their green card application; and demonstrating merit under the merit-based system.

Those who refuse to return home, comply with the visa provisions, or who remain here illegally and don't apply, supposedly would be deported ... Later.

Department of Homeland Security chief and Ted Kennedy cheerleader Michael Chertoff regurgitated the same talking points at a press conference earlier today. Open-borders Republicans in the Senate are committing them to memory pronto.

Image Credit: Michelle Malkin

Does this empty promise of the amnesty/deportation trade-off sound familiar?

Why, yes, yes it does.

Let me boil it down to fundamentals: Bush-Kennedy amnesty is the J. Wellington Wimpy plan:

"I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."
Reference Here>>

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Real Survivor Fiji - Frank Hates People's Opinions

Commodore Frank Bainimarama, Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces - Image Credit: Wikipedia

The Real Survivor Fiji - Frank Hates People's Opinions

In a move that can only mean the worst has yet to come, the self-appointed (he would never have been elected - not bright enough) leader of the nation of freedom loving island peoples, Fiji, is attempting to shut down the ... get this ... The Internet!

Of course, this act is beyond hubris. It reminds me of the boast that Al Gore made during the run up to America's 2000 presidential elections (to paraphrase) "I invented the Internet!"

What does Commodore Frank Bainimarama plan to say ... "I killed the Internet!"???

To which the collective response should be ... "Was that before or after you killed the country and peoples you forcibly took rule over?"

Frank hates people's opinions so that is why we at MAXINE do not really care for Frank.

This from All Headline News -

Fiji Military Moves To Close Down Blogging Sites
Richard Bowden - AHN Staff Writer - May 11, 2007 7:01 p.m. EST

Suva, Fiji (AHN) - The Fijian ruling military junta has moved to close down blog sites critical of the regime after unsuccessful attempts to find those responsible for the sites.

Senior military commander Colonel Pita Driti told Pacific Radio Friday that access to the sites would be closed yesterday.

A spokesman for Fiji's only internet provider FINTEL confirmed they had been asked to shut down the web sites by the Government "for security purposes."

"They asked us to address a few things. We have given them some options to consider, because we can't just go into the web and stop access. It would be unfair to the general public," the spokesman said.

He said if the military directed them to block the offending web sites the provider would have no choice but to agree.

"If the directive is to block, then we have no other option but to comply. ... we are seeking authorization on that from our administration," he said.

Three blog sites which have published stories which have embarrassed the military Government since their coup in December 2006 are Intelligentsiya, Resist Frank's Coup and Discombobulated Bubu.
Reference Here>>

Hey Frank! ... BLOCK THIS!

Security reasons ... who's security, Frank?

And Frank thinks to himself, "This is all such an embarrassment."

Hey Frank, GET OVER IT!

To the folks over at Intelligentsiya, Resist Frank's Coup, and Discombobulated Bubu - If you all get shut down, write to MAXINE and we will publish what you have to say. Frank can't shut us down here in the sunny Southland of the good ol' USA!

UPDATE May 17, 2007:

Fijian free speech websites have been inactive for approximately one week. Maybe the writers have "gone to ground" or is Frank and his weak kneed military followers slamming the free speech door shut?

This from Fijilive.com -

Anti-military blogsites become inactive
Thursday May 17, 2007

All activity on the controversial "resistfrankscoup" blogsite has stopped with the last entry now glaringly standing at May 9.

Last week, the Fiji Military Forces had said it was talking with Fiji International Telecommunications Ltd (FINTEL) to stop blog spots on the Internet which it claimed were a threat to national security.

But FINTEL spokesperson Iowane Koroivuki says they haven't done anything to the blogsite.

"If somebody has done something, then it is not us. It has got nothing to do with FINTEL," he said.

"If we had done something we would have told the truth anyway."

The army commander Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama told Fijilive.com that he has informed his people not to waste their time on blogs.

"The blog will take you back its not going to do any good for us.

"It's meant to depress us, it's meant to tell people anti-military stories. It's all lies and there is no use reading it," said Bainimarama.

Another blog site "Intelligentsia" shows no activity either.

Last week, Land Force Commander, Colonel Pita Driti had said they were trying to close all anti military sites namely, Intelligentsia.com, Resistfrankscoup and Fijishamelist.

He claimed the blog spots have continued to annoy the public with their lies and racists comments and they must be stopped.

"We are doing everything we can to put an end to these deceitful rumors by people behind this blogs because they are creating more problems for us and the country," he had said.

"How can we move forward when we have people like this destroying the peace and citizens of this country would be stupid to read their site and fall into their trap?"
Reference Here>>

WHAT TRAP??

You, Frank, have taken upon yourself to DEPRESS the future of your whole country by force and you think, through your EGO colored glasses, ALL decisions and opinions that are made by you are the ONLY opinions that are valid.

Very sad, this!

We, at MAXINE, say - Frank is the problem and as his name suggests --- Frank IS the BAIN of the Fijian people!

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Friday, May 11, 2007

The "Other White Meat" Of Fuel

Phill - The world's first appliance that lets you refuel your Natural Gas Vehicle indoors or outdoors from your household natural gas line! - Image Credit: FuelMaker Corporation

The "Other White Meat" Of Automobile Fuel

That's right, there is another fuel alternative that would allow all of us to become less dependent on foreign sources for fuel in our automobiles and this one gets very little respect.

Just as in Pork having to advertise that it is the other white meat in order to get attention … Natural Gas should launch a similar campaign.

Almost everyone is aware of E85 Ethanol as THE fuel alternative of the future, but Natural Gas should also be considered into the calculation. It's cheap, it's plentiful, it's produced locally, and the infrastructure is almost all in place for those who do not mind a little planning.

For example, only three E85 re-fueling stations exist in California (and only one of those is available to the general public) whereas there are over 200 Natural Gas stations open for general public use with another 50 under construction.

And now, with "Phill" in you garage, you will have a Natural Gas station to get any trip started.


Excerpts from USA TODAY -

Natural-gas powered cars: Who even knows they exist?
By Chris Woodyard, USA TODAY - LOS ANGELES

Imagine paying as little as $1.25 a gallon to run your car.

Not for gasoline. Instead, you would pump a fuel that's readily available, North American-produced and virtually pollution-free. Many motorists could even fill up in their own garages every night just like they would power-up with one of the gas-electric plug-in hybrids still under development.

Now, what if this magical car were available today, and no one cared. Not government officials. Not auto executives. Not consumers. Not even some environmentalists.

Therein lies the paradox of the natural-gas powered car. Most major automakers offered them in the 1990s, primarily for government and corporate fleets. Back then, smog was the chief national concern. Yet today, when natural gas offers a common-sense, immediate and ecological relief valve to the nation's dependence on foreign oil, only one major automaker still makes a production model — and sales stink.

Only about 1,000 of the more than 300,000 Civic subcompacts that Honda (HMC) sells every year in the USA are the natural-gas GX version. Most still go to corporate or government fleets. Consumers can buy them only through select dealers in California and New York.

Some natural-gas proponents quietly seethe. They feel natural gas is being overlooked for cars, pickups and SUVs at a time when the nation's energy supply is dwindling and gasoline prices stair-step ever upward.

"It's like shouting in the wind sometimes," says Ron Cogan, publisher of the Green Car Journal and a big believer in natural gas. "It seems crazy we are not exploring more natural-gas vehicles, because the technology is here."

Natural-gas cars have some significant drawbacks. There aren't enough stations selling natural gas to make them practical for cross-country drives. They don't have as much driving range as gasoline-powered cars. And their fuel tanks take up more space in the trunk of the cars.

But every alternative-energy vehicle has disadvantages.
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Ethanol vs. natural gas for cars

E85 is backed in farm states because its 85% ethanol content is made from corn. But ethanol is heavily subsidized by the government. And it, too, is available at a limited number of stations — 1,200 at present — mostly in the Midwest. Ethanol's growing popularity threatens to drive up food prices even as farmers finish planting the most acreage in corn since 1944.

Automakers and government agencies are pouring billions into development of hydrogen-powered vehicles. But ironically, the vast majority of hydrogen made in the USA right now is derived from converting natural gas.

Advocates call compressed natural gas, or CNG for short, one of the nation's best-kept secrets when it comes to powering cars. "It bugs the hell out of me" that more isn't being done to get the word out, says Mike Eaves of the California Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition.

Natural gas is:

•Cheap. In Los Angeles this week, one chain was charging $2.55 for the natural-gas equivalent of a gallon of gasoline. By comparison, self-serve regular gasoline was hitting records, averaging $3.49 a gallon Tuesday in L.A. and California as a whole, said AAA's daily Fuel Gauge Report. California currently has the nation's highest fuel prices.

Steve Ellis, alternative fuels manager for Honda's U.S. operation, says he has never heard of an instance in which natural-gas prices exceeded those of gasoline.

With a home unit made by a company called FuelMaker, refilling a car overnight from a home's own natural-gas supply can drop the price even more. In California right now, the price equates to about $1.25 in natural gas for the equivalent gallon of gasoline.

The home unit, called Phill, mounts on a garage wall and is about the size of an old pay telephone. It costs about $3,900, but is eligible for a $1,000 federal tax credit and, at least in Southern California, another $2,000 in local incentives.

Honda GX starts at $24,590 and is eligible for a $4,000 federal tax credit. It compares feature-wise to a midlevel, gasoline-powered $17,760 Civic LX. The 2007 natural-gas GX is government rated at 28 miles a gallon in the city, 39 on the highway.
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•Plentiful. While natural gas isn't renewable like ethanol, there's lots of it. Reserves point to at least a 60-year supply, says the Natural Gas Supply Association. Only 56% of crude oil for U.S. refineries comes from North America, compared with 98% of the natural gas consumed. About half of all American homes are equipped for natural gas.

•Environmentally friendly. Natural gas creates so few emissions that Civic GX is the cleanest internal-combustion powered car on the road. It's greener than a Toyota Prius gasoline-electric hybrid and tied with the Civic hybrid, according to the Energy Department rankings for 2007 models.

Prius and the two Civics are the only vehicles clean enough to qualify for stickers that allow solo drivers to take them in California's car pool lanes. But the allotment of stickers has run out for the hybrids. Only Civic GX can still receive one.

Ellis says that on a smoggy day, the GX's exhaust is cleaner than the polluted air its engine sucks in. Natural gas is more than 20% better for carbon dioxide emissions, blamed for climate change, than comparable gasoline engines.

•Ready to go. Other major automakers sell natural-gas-powered cars in Europe, Asia, South America and elsewhere, just not in the USA. General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner mentioned natural gas at a Switzerland auto show in March as one of the alternative fuels the automaker has intensified efforts to develop for foreign markets.

About 1,500 fueling stations nationwide
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Natural gas is held back by the limited but growing number of fueling stations. Nationwide, there are about 1,500 natural-gas vehicle stations, about half of which sell to the public.
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The auto industry's past interest was driven primarily by the need to try to fulfill government requirements at the time designed to spur development of clean alternative energy. Automakers saw interest fall apart when rules were modified to allow government fleet operators to switch from natural gas to flex-fuel vehicles, which burn either E85 ethanol or regular gasoline.

Ford Motor (F) phased out natural gas pickups and vans after the 2004 model year, but it still does after-sales CNG conversions in India. GM (GM) stopped sales in the USA as well.

"The (sales) volume went down every year," GM spokeswoman Nancy Libby says. "Even when Ford and Chrysler stopped making natural-gas vehicles before us, it didn't change that fact."

That was before the advent of home fueling. It was also ahead of the soaring gasoline prices of the last couple of years and President Bush's call for a 20% reduction in gasoline use.
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"CNG faces the same challenges as hydrogen but without the benefits of zero emissions," says DaimlerChrysler spokesman Nick Cappa. Chrysler stopped making natural-gas-powered cars for U.S. sales in 1996 and has no immediate plans to sell hydrogen-powered vehicles, still in development.
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Honda deserves credit for continuing to market a natural-gas car, says Tim Carmichael, president of the Coalition for Clean Air, a California environmental-advocacy group. But consumers are still largely unaware of it, and the heavy-vehicle market holds more potential. Even a major oil executive whose company is involved in natural gas isn't enthusiastic. "It's going to require some sort of incentive before people go for it," says Shell Oil President John Hofmeister.

It didn't require much of an incentive, however, for 2003 Civic GX owner Jeff Church, 51, an airline pilot who lives in San Dimas, Calif. He says his natural-gas car, which he has driven about 53,000 miles, saves him a bundle. He estimates his home fueling unit delivers natural gas as cheap as 98 cents a gallon. The even bigger incentive is his car pool lane sticker, which allows him save 15 to 50 minutes zipping 42 miles from home to work at Los Angeles International Airport.

"For a lot of miles, it's the ideal vehicle," he says.
Read All>>


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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Commanding Military Control Freaks Shut Down Mil-Bloggers

Season of Remembrance Begins - The gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery are graced by U.S. flags on Memorial Day. Image Credit: Kathleen T. Rhem

Commanding Military Control Freaks Shut Down Mil-Bloggers

In a move that can only be described as BONEHEADED, the Army, today, has just outlawed blogging by members of the military. Thank-You General Casey (Maj. Ray Ceralde, the Army OPSEC program manager and author of the revision, announced the decision but the General signed the order)!!!

The MSM does not give us the straight scoop as to what is happening in the field.

Congress does not give us (the citizens who are paying for our protection) unvarnished, un-politicized and clear updates from their committee update meetings.

The Executive Branch of our Government is under political fire so anything they have to say is twisted and distorted and condemned before anyone gets the information.

Mil-Blogs allow each and every citizen of our country an open access window through which one can gage the attitude and understandings of our best and brightest in the theater of the war on terror. Morale is enhanced, family updated communications are real-time, and the MSM subterfuge is given a counterpoint.

In a free society, this decision is a disaster and will trash the last best chance to have our citizens in the military to remain connected to the society they serve.

It is not like the Military is shutting down something that didn't work.

At MAXINE, we hope this is not the death of the Mil-Blogger.

Excerpts from ARMY News Service -

Army Releases New OPSEC Regulation
Apr 19, 2007 - BY Mr. J.D. Leipold

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, April 20, 2007) - Changes to the Army's operations security regulation address accountability, new technology and the inclusion of all Army personnel in OPSEC practices.

The revised Army Regulation 530-1, "Operations Security," provides updated definitions; aligns the Army's policies, terms and doctrine with the Defense Department; and brings Army Contractors into the fold while addressing the role Army Family Members have in OPSEC.

"The change includes Army Civilians and Contractors, who are not subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice," said Maj. Ray Ceralde, the Army OPSEC program manager and author of the revision. "The reason we included Contractors in the regulation is they're more involved in operations today than ever before. If you have all your Soldiers and DA Civilians practicing OPSEC and your Contractors - who are an integral part of your operations - aren't ... well, you have a gaping hole in security that could affect everyone's lives."

Maj. Ceralde said OPSEC is a "total Army concept" and includes Families and friends though he acknowledged they aren't subject to a commander's orders.
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Regulation changes also address how technology, specifically the Internet, has changed the face of OPSEC since the last major revision to the regulations in 1995. A 2005 revision addressed new technology, but the new revision addresses technological concerns not covered in the 2005 revision.

"The Internet, personal Web sites, blogs (Web logs) - those are examples of where our adversaries are looking for open-source information about us," said Maj. Ceralde. "Open-source information isn't classified and may look like nothing more than innocuous bits of information, a piece here, a piece there, like pieces of a puzzle. But when you put enough of the pieces together you begin to realize the bigger picture and that something could be going on."
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While Army personnel may maintain their own Web sites or post information on blogs, Maj. Ceralde said they have to be careful about what they write and what they post because even unclassified information can provide significant information to adversaries.

"For example, photos of deployed Soldiers to share with Family and friends are acceptable. However, when the photo includes a background of the inside of their camp with force protection measures in plain view, an adversary who is planning to attack their camp and sees a photo like this on the Internet now knows how to counter their force-protection measures," Maj. Ceralde said.

The regulation also puts a greater emphasis on commanders' responsibilities to implement OPSEC.

"We tell commanders what they must to do to get their people to understand what's critical and sensitive information and how to protect it, but commanders have to make that perfectly clear in the form of orders and directives," Maj. Ceralde said. "The other part of this tells Soldiers that if they fail to comply they may be punished under article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice for disobeying a lawful order."

Other key changes to the regulations include the addition of punitive measures for violations of specific directives, the designation of "For Official Use Only" as a standard marking on all unclassified products that meet at least one exemption of the Freedom of Information Act, directing encryption of e-mail messages that contain sensitive information on unclassified networks, and emphasizing operations security in contracts and acquisitions.

"OPSEC is not traditional security, such as information security like marking, handling and classifying information; it's not the physical security of actually protecting classified information though they're all related and part of OPSEC," Maj. Ceralde said. "OPSEC is different from traditional security in that we want to eliminate, reduce and conceal indicators, unclassified and open-source observations of friendly activity that can give away critical information."
Reference Here>>

Like it or not, web communication has become a fabric that brings a commonality to our society that transcends all differences as well as highlights them ... for the betterment of societal understanding.

For the "Brass" to slam the door of access on this communications outlet to the personnel in the military, it is not a good thing. It cuts them out of the current culture process here in North America.

Not Good - It's BONEHEADED!

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