Thursday, August 30, 2007

Remember This! … Fibroblast-Neprilysin

UNTREATED Alzheimer's Brain Cells

TREATED Alzheimer's Brain Cells

Plaques comprised of amyloid-beta are the hallmark pathology of Alzheimer's disease. In this study, the scientists used an amyloid-degrading enzyme to clear these amyloid cobwebs from the brain - as illustrated in these untreated (top) versus treated (bottom) brain images. Image Credit: Harvard Photographic Services

Remember This! … Fibroblast-Neprilysin

In a report that first appeared August 27 on the Web site of the Public Library of Science, experiments centered on new methods to relieve the damaging effect of Alzheimer’s disease are showing great promise.

Simply stated, it is believed that when some humans grow older, the ability to control the build up of protein based plaques in the brain becomes reduced. These proteins create toxic clumps and tangled fibers that ultimately kill cells and interfere with the brains’ ability to recall memories and think (a situation similar to the build up of cholesterol in arteries that reduce the flow of blood).

An enzyme named Neprilysin has shown great promise in breaking down the toxic clumps of fibrous protein in the brains of mice. What has been found through these tests, and may be unique, is the method of the delivery of this enzyme to the effected portions of the brain under the toxic grip of Alzheimer’s protein-fiber goo.

Skin from the patient may actually provide the best method to first create the Neprilysin enzyme and further, through a process termed Fibroblast create a combo that can be implanted back into the patient for the desired result – a freer thinking brain.

This Fibroblast-Neprilsin combo type of tratment process has shown and may prove to have a positive benefit to the treatment of cancers, blood, muscle, and eye diseases, spinal cord injuries, stroke, Parkinson’s and Huntington diseases, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease).

Journey inside a cell as you follow proteins and learn about cellular interactions. This 3-D animation brings to life the inner workings of a fibroblast cell as it responds to external signals. YouTube Credit: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Interactive Knowledge, Inc.

This from Harvard University Gazette Online -

Brain implants relieve Alzheimer’s damage
Toxic plaques cleared away

William J. Cromie - Harvard News Office - August 28, 2007

Genetically engineered cells implanted in mice have cleared away toxic plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

The animals were sickened with a human gene that caused them to develop, at an accelerated rate, the disease that robs millions of elderly people of their memories. After receiving the doctored cells, the brain-muddling plaques melted away. If this works in humans, old age could be a much happier time of life.

Alzheimer’s involves a protein called amyloid-beta.
“Delivery of genes that led to production of an enzyme that breaks up amyloid showed robust clearance of plaques in the brains of the mice,” notes Dennis Selkoe, Vincent and Stella Coates Professor of Neurologic Diseases at Harvard Medical School. “These results support and encourage further investigation of gene therapy for treatment of this common and devastating disease in humans.”
The first published report of the experiments, done by Selkoe and other researchers from Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s and McLean hospitals, appeared Aug. 27 on the Web site of the Public Library of Science.

The gene delivery technique employed by the research team has been used in several other trials with animals that model human diseases, including cancers. The procedure involves removing cells from patients, making genetic changes, and then putting back the modified cells, which should treat a disease or disability.
“Several of these potential treatments have advanced to human trials, with encouraging outcomes for patients,” says Matthew Hemming, lead author of the report and a graduate student in Selkoe’s lab.
The Harvard team used skin cells from the animal’s own body to introduce a gene for an amyloid-busting enzyme known as neprilysin. The skin cells, also known as fibroblasts, “do not form tumors or move from the implantation site,” Hemming notes. “They cause no detectable adverse side effects and can easily be taken from a patient’s skin.” In addition, other genes can be added to the fibroblast-neprilysin combo, which will eliminate the implants if something starts to go wrong.

Fibroblast Process - Primary chick embryo fibroblasts, expressing RFP-actin, doing their thing. Sped up approximately 300 times (each frame is 30 seconds apart in real life). YouTube Credit: cooloriginaltwic - Added: March 14, 2007

The experiments proved that the technique works, but will it work in humans?

One major obstacle, Selkoe says, is the larger size of a human brain compared to that of a mouse. That difference will require an increase of amyloid-busting activity throughout a much larger space.

One solution might involve implanting the genes and fibroblasts where they have the best access to amyloid-beta, in the spinal fluid for example, instead of trying to inject them into a small target. The amyloid-killing combo might be put into capsules that would secrete neprilysin into the blood circulating in the brain, eliminating the need to hit an exact spot.

This or some other clever maneuver that does not require surgery might eliminate the gooey plaques, but will that improve a person’s memory? And will the change be long-lasting? “Further work is needed to determine if reducing the plaque burden has cognitive benefits over a long period,” notes Hemming, “but there’s a wealth of evidence arguing that it will.”
Reference Here>>

(original posting from Oblate Spheroid)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

"Burning Man" Burns ... But Will Be Replaced

"Burning Man" - The event is named after its Saturday night ritual, the burning of a wooden effigy. Image Credit: Aaron Logan

"Burning Man" Burns ... But Will Be Replaced

In 1986, Larry Harvey and a couple of friends thought it would be a great idea to set out over Labor Day and hold a “Counter Culture” festival.

Today, the Burning Man festival has morphed into an eight-day-long annual festival in the desert East of Reno and draws about 40,000 people.

The event is described by organizers as an experiment in community, radical self-expression, and radical self-reliance and takes its name from the ritual of burning a large wooden sculpture of a man on the sixth day.

Last night, the incendiary object of the festival’s namesake was torched by an arsonist.

Funny That!

In the ultimate act of counter culture, a counter culture festival (organized by Black Rock City, LLC – a corporation ... one might say is the epitome of being a mainstream symbol in a capitalist culture) was disrupted when the original Burning Man 2007 sculpture was prematurely burned.

"Burning Man" 2006 - Snapshots from my forth trip to the most amazing place on earth. Burning Man! I realize these images are just snapshots to most who'll visit here but for me, I feel the emotion well up inside me when I relive each moment. I feel lucky to have been there! I LOVE Burning Man. You will to, It changed me. Let it change you too. "Participate". YouTube Credit: oneluckydog

This from Reuters -

Burning Man burns too soon, man charged with arson
Reuters - SAN FRANCISCO - Tue Aug 28, 2007 6:14PM EDT

The Burning Man effigy, whose torching marks the highlight of the annual eponymous countercultural festival in the Nevada desert, was set on fire prematurely with arson suspected, organizers said on Tuesday.

The symbol of the week-long festival, scheduled to go up in flames on Saturday night, was set on fire overnight on Tuesday and one man was arrested.

With tens of thousands of people heading toward the area east of Reno hoping to see the famed mascot end its short existence in a massive bonfire, organizers say they will construct a new Burning Man in the coming days.

"We have the means and the will. The event continues on schedule, and the Man will burn on Saturday night," said Andie Grace, a festival spokeswoman.

An official with Nevada's Pershing County Jail said Paul Addis of San Francisco was being held on charges of arson, possession of fireworks, destruction of property and resisting a public officer.

Reference Here>>

Additional YouTube Video Here>>

UPDATE: Scorched Man 2007 - Booked Man 2007

Scorched Man 2007 - At 3:00 AM on Tuesday, August 28th, at the height of a rare lunar eclipse, an individual armed with a propane torch, burned the Man. Image Credit: DangerRanger via flickr

The arsonist happens to be an actor who recently played Hunter S. Thompson (in “Gonzo, A Brutal Chrysalis”) in the Climate Theater, San Francisco. The one man show is expected to tour the west coast starting next month.

Paul Addis as Hunter S. Thompson – Image Credit: Laughing Squid via flickr

Paul Addis as booked arsonist – Image Credit: Laughing Squid via flickr

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Kid Nation … Why Growing Up Is Hard - Guylan: Age 11

Kid Nation logo - Image Credit: CBS

Kid Nation … Why Growing Up Is Hard - Guylan: Age 11

In the early 1990’s, before Rudy Giuliani became the Mayor, radio talk show host, Rush Limbaugh would always describe New York City as the place where every liberal dream was tried and had come true. Liberal thinking and governance had failed in allowing the city to be a nice place to live.

When people are asked … how did they arrive at looking at politics from a conservative viewpoint - they generally state … well, I grew up and I have responsibilities.

To read some of the quotes attributed to the "Kid" cast members of a new reality television show to be aired on CBS one begins to gain insight to why growing up and taking on responsibility might be a good thing.

Take the following example of an eleven year old kid from Upton, Massachusetts named Guylan. He is quoted as thinking that Fidel Castro is a world leader that should be admired. The specific reasons he sites are Fidel's accomplishments that include the overthrow of a government, the instillation of a socialist system, and his ability to remain in control against every effort put forward by the United States to remove him.

Are we really sure that Guylan wrote these opinions by himself? Honestly, we at MAXINE know a few eleven year old human beings and we DOUBT the validity of the following quotes taken from the CBS website set up to engage potential viewers. Take a read and let us know what you think. Who makes this stuff up?

Excerpted from “Kid Nation on CBS”, the website that holds the claim - “Check out the bios created & designed by the kids” -

Kid Nation on CBS
Premieres Wednesday, September 19, 8PM ET/PT

Guylan: Age 11
Upton, MA

What world leader do you admire?

Fidel Castro is a world leader that I admire for many reasons. Firstly, he led a revolution against a corrupt government ruled by an evil dictator named Fulgencio Batista. Then he went on to lead the country of Cuba by ousting their existing political system in order to instill a socialist government throughout the country. That meant out with the rich and corrupt and in with a more fair and balanced environment for his people. Although he has not always been fair nor kind in how he governed, he is like the energizer bunny, he just keeps going and going and going…! And no matter how many times we try to assassinate him, he just doesn't die. Although it is more difficult for his country to succeed due to the embargo banning trade with Cuba, he and his people have persevered and shown the USA that we can kick him and fight him all the way, but he just won't fall down.
What makes a good leader?

What I think makes a good leader is a person who can wield power without becoming corrupt. I also think that a good leader should have the right balance of courage and common sense. A good leader must be patient and able to deal with people in a manner that gets a good response. Instead of screaming in their faces and calling them incompetent he/she should see what he/she can do to help them succeed. A good leader does not need to be recognized through his or her actions and successes but only though the successes of those he or she leads. That is how he or she knows they have done well.

Who have been some of the best U.S. presidents, and why?

Washington, because without him I don't think our country would be as strong as it is now. He led the war for independence and by being the first president, helped to found and was first to be elected to, a rarely used (at that time) kind of political system.
Thomas Jefferson, because he was another person who played a key role in the founding of our nation. He wrote the first draft of the Declaration of Independence and helped to start the train of ending slavery moving by including a paragraph against slavery. "He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither." Unfortunately it was not included in the final draft and he himself owned many slaves.

Who have been some of the worst U.S. presidents, and why?

One president I think was really bad is James Buchanan. He was pro-slavery and wanted to make Kansas a slave state. Luckily, the Free-Soil cause kept him from doing that. By the time he left office the civil war was bound to happen. George W. Bush is in my opinion one of the worst. No offence to Mr. Bush. Here are a couple reasons. One, he wants to start drilling for oil in Alaska. Why would he do that? Ummmmmm... we need oil? Well, that is true since we haven't done anything to change our dependence on it. What Mr. Bush could do to make oil not so much of a problem is to fund the development of alternative fuels such as solar, hydro and wind. However, I don't believe that we should use nuclear. It may be a fuel that doesn't contribute to global warming, but it has large problems of its own. Another thing, why are we in Iraq? Did they attack us? Maybe I've been watching the wrong news or reading the wrong websites but I don't think they attacked us.
If you had the power to change one or two things about our country right now, what would it be?

Well, I would like to change the president to one who actually cares about global warming and will do something about it instead of just putting it aside until later... I would also increase funds to save the few remaining wild places and wild life parks and reserves in the hopes of being an example for other countries.

If you could put into place one law that pertains to kids in our country, what would it be?

If there were one law that I could put into place it would be for kids 9 and up to have the right to vote.

Why are some people rich and others poor?

People are rich or poor depending on life circumstances. This includes where people come from, what types of opportunity surround them and what decisions they make in life. Some bad decisions can cause different levels of poverty and sadness. An example of a bad decision would be drinking irresponsibly and having unprotected relations which can lead to unwanted children that create financial burdens. An example of decisions that may lead to wealth might be to complete your education by receiving a degree that will allow you to become a wealthy businessman with a wife and two kids and a very stable job that you enjoy doing.

Do you believe global warming is a fact or a myth?

If you think it is a fact, what would you do about it if you were in charge?

I believe it is a fact and If I were in charge I would cut emissions by slowly severing our ties to fossil fuels and exploring different sources of energy such as wind, hydro power, solar power, and last but not least definitely not nuclear power.
Reference Here>>

These “BIOS” are a scam … they have to be a scam … just take a look at the highlighted snippets and ask yourself, “Is this knowledge that a real eleven year old kid would actually write about (even though he might have had the questions in advance)?

Remember, Guylan is only eleven years old ... he wonders why we are in Iraq ... considering that he was only about five years old when the World Trade Towers were taken down with hijacked passenger jet airplanes on September 11, 2001, how could he ever be expected to connect the dots.

“Kid Nation” should be renamed “Lib Village”!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Gee! Let Us Just Enforce 287G ... Really!

DEPORT THEM NOW Logo - Image Credit: Owner and Operators of the website

Gee! Let Us Just Enforce 287(g) ... Really!

This morning, we at MAXINE were listening to Laura Ingraham having a chat with Michelle Malkin and her new website – Deport Them Now.

Through their discussion, it was revealed that a federal law exists that cuts through the worst of what the sanctuary movement has brought to our cities here in the United States. This federal law, 287(g), supersedes any law that the local authorities choose to put forward and/or ignore.

The criminal activity that accompanies illegal immigration is a double assault on our way of life and the freedoms we seek to maintain and legally share … an assault on the real American Way!

Michelle Malkin believes that it is high time that we citizens put pressure on the federal authorities to enforce a law that is already on the books and DEPORT criminals who happen to not be citizens!

One of the latest, well publicized crimes to hit the news cycle - the execution style murders of three innocent, non-criminal, students in New Jersey - involved a person who should NOT have been in the United States … an illegal alien. What has added insult to this criminal murderous act is that this person is a career criminal with a very long rap sheet.

What is wrong with just enforcing the laws we have on our books already? Gee, why don’t we just enforce 287(g) … really!

This from Deport Them Now website –


Law-abiding Americans and legal immigrants are sick of the revolving door that allows convicted criminal aliens to be set free to wreak havoc and violence across the country. These crimes were 100% preventable. How many more criminal alien rapists, kidnappers, and murderers will be let loose before politicians finally act? If you would like to join a grass-roots campaign to pressure Washington to stop this insanity, register here:

Excerpts from a column by Michelle Malkin posted at TownHall –

Sanctuary Nation or Sovereign Nation: It's Your Choice
By Michelle Malkin - Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Will the execution-style murder of three young students in Newark, N.J., finally turn the tide in the immigration enforcement debate? Will we at last abandon the deadly, chaotic, lawless sanctuary nation experiment and restore America's lost status as a sovereign nation under the rule of law?

The death of six innocent men and women and the injury of more than 1,000 at the hands of several illegal alien 1993 World Trade Center bombers wasn't enough to convince politicians in New York and across this country to end illegal alien sanctuary policies.

The death of nearly 3,000 innocent men, women and children at the hands of the 9/11 jihadists who exploited our lax entrance and visa enforcement policies in 2001 wasn't enough.

The death of 10 innocent men and women in the Washington, D.C., area at the hands of an illegal alien sniper and his bloodthirsty mentor in 2002 wasn't enough.

But now we are in the heat of a presidential election cycle. The open-borders opportunists in immigration enforcement clothing are professing to see the light. With illegal alien murder suspect Jose Carranza and his alleged MS-13 gang-banging boy helpers who are being sought in the brutal Newark murder case dominating the news on the Eastern seaboard, politicians can't find a camera fast enough to condemn the very sanctuary policies they promoted and tolerated for decades -- sanctuary policies I've highlighted for years in this column.
From New York to Newark to Seattle to Portland to San Francisco to Los Angeles to San Diego to Houston to Miami, lawmakers have taken this go-with-the-flow attitude toward illegal alien border-crossers and visa overstayers and deportation fugitives. "Let 'em come."

But in the wake of the Newark murders and the illumination of illegal alien gang crime penetrating the country, a new rallying cry came from the lips of Newark Mayor Cory Booker: "Get this evil out of my city." That won't happen without a demonstrated commitment to cooperate with the feds to enforce immigration laws and deport violent and dangerous criminal aliens first.

A few weeks ago, I launched Nearly 8,000 volunteers have signed up to make their voices heard. Our top priorities will be to push for the adoption of a program known as 287(g) to identify criminal illegal aliens in as many cities as possible; to repeal "don't ask-don't tell" sanctuary laws; and to support lawmakers like Newark City Councilman Ron C. Rice, who is pushing a resolution to coordinate efforts between law enforcement when an illegal immigrant is charged with a felony, and New Jersey Assemblyman Richard Merkt, R-Morris, who proposed prohibiting jail officials from releasing illegal immigrants and requiring them to be remanded to federal authorities.

It's time for ordinary Americans to come out of the shadows and remind Washington every day in words and actions that we are a sovereign nation, not a sanctuary nation.

No more promises. No need to wait for Election '08. Just do it.

Read All>>

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Prison Dance Gang Wins At i-CAUGHT

Prisoners at the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center perform a synchronized dance as part of their exercise routine in Cebu, central Philippines in this June 18, 2007 handout photo. Clips of the prisoners grooving in harmony to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" have created a stir on the internet with over a million views since it was posted on Youtube. Image Credit: Donald Moga/Cebu Provincial Information Office/Reuters

Prison Dance Gang Wins At i-CAUGHT

What some win may not be what you think.

What some of the inmates convicted in this corrupt prison system may be world scrutiny.

In a prison system where it would be easy to have someone “disappear” just because it would be easier to kill someone than to put them through a court case, dancing for YouTube may actually give these people an audit trail record for the world to see.

Now, if one of these prisoners happens to disappear, world watch organizations have a record that these people actually exist!

Excerpted from ABC News and Reuters

Prisoners' Dance: Celebration or Human Rights Violation?
Viral Video of Inmates Performing 'Thriller' Video Generates Concerns, Along With Clicks
By TRACIE HUNTE - Aug. 14, 2007

Share A video of 1,500 detainees in orange jumpsuits doing a beat-for-beat remake of Michael Jackson's classic video "Thriller" is the ultimate viral video. It's funny and weird, and the exotic location -- Cebu Province in the Philippines -- adds to its appeal.

The jail "Thriller" remake, uploaded to YouTube July 17, has been viewed 5 million times.

Why "Thriller"?

"I wanted something to thrill the world," said Byron Garcia, security consultant for the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center. He set up the dance and music program when he saw that the prison lacked a physical fitness regimen.

ABC News visited the jail to watch the final, completed version of "Thriller." The performance was to celebrate the founding of Cebu Province and to entertain the governor, Gwendolyn Garcia, Byron Garcia's sister. The governor's favorite is "Sister Act." "I just found it so hilarious, so melodious," Garcia said. "What an irony. They're right here in this jail, considered the rejects of society, and yet these rejects are now making our province and our country proud."

Byron Garcia said he was inspired to see the detainees dance while watching them do calisthenics from his perch above the exercise yard. Before uploading the soon-to-be legendary "Thriller" remake, he'd uploaded prison performances of the Village People's "YMCA" and "In the Navy," Queen's "Radio Ga Ga" and "I Will Follow Him," from the movie musical "Sister Act."

The men and women at CPDRC are all waiting for their cases to go to trial. They have been charged with crimes ranging from shoplifting to murder.

Melita Thomeczeck, the Philippines' deputy consulate general in New York, is not surprised by the CPDRC's unconventional rehabilitation regimen or the detainees' devotion to dance and music.
One person who doesn't want to add to Garcia's impressive YouTube view count is Dennis Abbarientos, from the Filipino human rights group Karapatan. "I resisted temptation to view it at YouTube, since I detested being counted as one of the viewers," Abbarientos told ABC News in an e-mail.

Since 2004, Karapatan has filed numerous complaints against Byron Garcia, his sister the governor and wardens at the prison, alleging inhumane treatment of detainees.

Garcia denied all this and said the dancing is proof that the prison is a model of modern criminal justice. "The inmates relate to me. I relate to them. You know? We have a good relationship now. Whatever I tell them to do, they do," Garcia said.

But Thomeczeck sees the possibility of the dance program having an even greater positive effect: "It's a way to put themselves together physically and probably spiritually. That's good, isn't it?"

Reference Here>>

Once one gets their head around this YouTube video ... it becomes pretty disturbing on many levels.

Is this really art?

Where is Sean Penn when we really need him? ... Oops, I forgot, he is only involved in something when it trashes the United States!

Microbe Petrol For Better Living

Better biofuel: Stephen del Cardayre, a biochemist and LS9's vice president for research and development. Image Credit: Saul Bromberger and Sandra Hoover

Microbe Petrol For Better Living

What would happen if technology could deliver a renewable way of creating gasoline in relative minutes as opposed to the millions and millions of years it takes to create the base of gasoline we pump out of the ground (you know, the type that comes from dinosaur remains?

Well, if companies like LS9 and Amyris Biotechnologies have their way, we all will be pumping gas into our tanks that is created through having bacteria make hydrocarbons.

If this technology conversion can be made viable, it would lend a new interpretation to the expression – “Man, that car is SICK!”

This excerpted from Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Technology Review -

Making Gasoline from Bacteria
A biotech startup wants to coax fuels from engineered microbes.
By Neil Savage, Technology Review - Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The biofuel of the future could well be gasoline. That's the hope of one biotech startup that on Monday described for the first time how it is coaxing bacteria into producing hydrocarbons that could be processed into fuels like those made from petroleum.

LS9, a company based in San Carlos, CA, and founded by geneticist George Church, of Harvard Medical School, and plant biologist Chris Somerville, of Stanford University, had previously said that it was working on what it calls "renewable petroleum." But at a Society for Industrial Microbiology conference on Monday, the company began speaking more openly about what it has accomplished: it has genetically engineered various bacteria, including E. coli, to custom-produce hydrocarbon chains.

E. coli - Image Credit:

To do this, the company is employing tools from the field of synthetic biology to modify the genetic pathways that bacteria, plants, and animals use to make fatty acids, one of the main ways that organisms store energy. Fatty acids are chains of carbon and hydrogen atoms strung together in a particular arrangement, with a carboxylic acid group made of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen attached at one end. Take away the acid, and you're left with a hydrocarbon that can be made into fuel.

"I am very impressed with what they're doing," says James Collins, codirector of the Center for Advanced Biotechnology at Boston University. He calls the company's use of synthetic biology and systems biology to engineer hydrocarbon-producing bacteria "cutting edge."

In some cases, LS9's researchers used standard recombinant DNA techniques to insert genes into the microbes. In other cases, they redesigned known genes with a computer and synthesized them. The resulting modified bacteria make and excrete hydrocarbon molecules that are the length and molecular structure the company desires.

Stephen del Cardayre, a biochemist and LS9's vice president for research and development, says the company can make hundreds of different hydrocarbon molecules. The process can yield crude oil without the contaminating sulfur that much petroleum out of the ground contains. The crude, in turn, would go to a standard refinery to be processed into automotive fuel, jet fuel, diesel fuel, or any other petroleum product that someone wanted to make.

Next year LS9 will build a pilot plant in California to test and perfect the process, and the company hopes to be selling improved biodiesel and providing synthetic biocrudes to refineries for further processing within three to five years. (See "
Building Better Biofuels.")

But LS9 isn't the only company in this game.
Amyris Biotechnologies, of Emeryville, CA, is also using genes from plants and animals to make microbes produce designer fuels. Neil Renninger, senior vice president of development and one of the company's cofounders, says that Amyris has also created bacteria capable of supplying renewable hydrocarbon-based fuels. The main difference between the companies, Renninger says, is that while LS9 is working on a biocrude that would be processed in a refinery, Amyris is working on directly producing fuels that would need little or no further processing.
LS9's current work uses sugar derived from corn kernels as the food source for the bacteria--the same source used by ethanol-producing yeast. To produce greater volumes of fuel, and to not have energy competing with food, both approaches will need to use cellulosic biomass, such as switchgrass, as the feedstock. Del Cardayre estimates that cellulosic biomass could produce about 2,000 gallons of renewable petroleum per acre.

Producing hydrocarbon fuels is more efficient than producing ethanol, del Cardayre adds, because the former packs about 30 percent more energy per gallon. And it takes less energy to produce, too. The ethanol produced by yeast needs to be distilled to remove the water, so ethanol production requires 65 percent more energy than hydrocarbon production does.

The U.S. Department of Energy has set a goal of replacing 30 percent of current petroleum use with fuels from renewable biological sources by 2030, and del Cardayre says he feels that's easily achievable.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Tick, Tick, Tick – Bird Flu Brings Bali "Low"

The Bali Starling lives only on Bali. As few as six may exist in the wild. Image Credit: Adrian Pingstone in January 2005

Tick, Tick, Tick – Bird Flu Brings Bali "Low"

Indonesia has become the country to watch as it relates to bird flu crossover deaths. Human infection and deaths attributed to Avian Flu virus contracted directly from the raising of birds for food have now claimed 82 victims … the most of any country in the world.

If this virus mutates to where it can be transferred from human to human, the health of the world will be in jeopardy through a pandemic that will have little in the way of vaccines and other tools to counter this threat from the world health community.

If this virus is able to make the crossover from bird - human transmission to human - human transmission, forget the war on terror created by radical Muslim Islamists … a pandemic will become the greatest threat to human life and stability in this world as we know it.

Funny how this threat, Avian Flu crossover, happens to be at its worse in a primarily Muslim believing country (Bali is managed as part of Indonesia while primarily believing in Hindi traditions in religion). One has to ask – What is wrong with these societies and infrastructures that would allow this threat to world health to approach a tipping point? It may be just a coincidence but the world needs answers and a clear counter strategy to combat this potential pandemic.

Excerpts from Forbes via The Sydney Morning Herald -

Bali bird flu deaths spark tourism fears
By Kate Benson and Mark Forbes in Jakarta - August 14, 2007

AUSTRALIAN health officials are on alert after a deadly outbreak of bird flu on the Indonesian tourist island of Bali.

The finding is another blow to Indonesia's tourism industry, still struggling to recover from the 2002 and 2005 Bali bombings.

Ni Luh Putu Sri Windiani, from north-western Bali, became the island's first human victim of bird flu after she died of multiple organ failure on Sunday.

Doctors at the Sanglah Hospital in Denpasar confirmed last night that the 29-year-old Indonesian woman had tested positive to the H5N1 strain of bird flu.

Ms Windiani's daughter, Dian, 5, died suffering from similar symptoms at the same hospital 11 days ago after playing with sick chickens outside their house, but experts are unable to determine if she had bird flu.

It is also unclear whether Ms Windiani contracted bird flu from the chickens or from her daughter. She started showing symptoms more than a week ago, but was admitted to hospital six days later. She was transferred to Denpasar on Friday and treated in the isolation unit.

Australian officials said they were closely monitoring the investigation into the deaths.
Australia's travel advisory already warns of the risk of bird flu in Indonesia, but states the danger to short-term visitors is relatively low.

A spokesman from the Bird Flu Information Centre in Jakarta, Joko Suyono, said many chickens around Ms Windiani's house had died suddenly in recent weeks.

"The villagers didn't burn the carcasses. Instead, they buried them or fed them to pigs," he said.

The deputy director of the World Health Organisation's Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza, Ian Barr, said yesterday there was no need to panic.

"Most of these cases occur in villages, not in downtown Kuta or Denpasar, so I'm not sure that travellers should be too concerned."

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Ageing, Kay McNiece, said travellers to any bird flu-affected country should steer clear of birds and should practise good hygiene.
Indonesia reported its first human bird flu case in July 2005.
Twenty-one Indonesians diagnosed with the disease have survived.
Reference Here>>

We, at MAXINE, become very concerned when officials are "unclear whether Ms Windiani contracted bird flu from the chickens or from her daughter".
We think it is high time that officials in Bali (and Indonesia) become CLEAR as to the source of this latest death due to Avian flu infection and not be so worried about how this might effect tourism.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Dario Franchitti Survives to “Fly” Another Day - UPDATED ... Dario "Flys" Again!

Andretti Green Racing driver #27 Dario Franchitti celebrates after taking the pole with a speed and time of 218.308 and 32.9810. Image Credit: ERIC SEALS/DFP

Dario Franchitti Survives to “Fly” Another Day

The IndyCar race at Michigan International Speedway was very exciting, close (to close), and virtually unwatched due to a rain delay that pushed the original start time and broadcast outlet off a good four hours (broadcast station from ESPN2 to ESPN Classic which not all standard cable providers carry).

There is no agreement between IndyCar and the MIS to stage another race there and this maybe just fine with Dario Franchitti.

In the late stages of the race, Dan Weldon managed to creep up the track and tangle his tires with Franchitti’s Canadian Club sponsored Andretti Green Racing machine sending him and the car on a wild airborne twisting flip that had the car land upside down. He walked away unscathed! Amazing!

This YouTube video starts at lap 141, moments later Dan Wheldon and Dario Franchitti interlock wheels and Dario goes airborne, bounces off the cars of Scott Dixon and AJ Foyt IV. Note how close Dario's sidepod gets to the helmet of Dixon and the tire marks on AJ IV's helmet.

This morning, on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”, Dario wasn’t as lucky.

Contessa Brewer, while reading (and not understanding) the news, managed to mangle Dario’s last name during the full three hour telecast (again, virtually unwatched after the firing of Don Imus from this timeslot). She persisted in pronouncing Dario’s last name Fran-Chet-tea as opposed to Fran-Key-tea.

It is not as if Dario Franchitti’s name, and how it is pronounced, is not well known … he only won this year’s Indianapolis 500 race and he is part of a Hollywood “Power Couple” in that he is married to Ashley Judd and has been for a few years now.

This situation says more about the clueless-ness of the reporter than the fame of the race car driver.

We, at MAXINE, are happy - all that happened yesterday is that Dario Franchitti lost only one point in his series points lead over rival Scott Dixon … further, we can only hope that Contessa Brewer will soon be catapulted by MSNBC for her lack of attention to detail (trust us on this – it isn’t the first time she showed she could not read and understand) and NOT be around to fly another day.

Excerpts from Autoweek -

The Last IndyCar Race at Michigan Wasn’t Pretty
Tony Kanaan held off Marco Andretti for the win.

By CURT CAVIN - Autoweek - This article was last updated on: 08/06/07, 09:33 et

IndyCar said goodbye—at least for now—to Michigan International Speedway, and no one shed a tear.

Not the drivers who crashed out of the rain-delayed Firestone Indy 400, not the team owners who saw their cars damaged, not the Indy Racing League officials who held their breath through the carnage and not the promoter who hosted one of the smallest crowds of the season.

“I’m in no hurry to come back at this moment,” Dario Franchitti said.

Franchitti survived one of the nastiest accidents in recent memory when his car got turned sideways by Dan Wheldon on lap 144 and vaulted into the air, an estimated 20 feet at its peak.

The car, which won the Indianapolis 500, rotated twice before landing on top of that of fellow championship contender Scott Dixon, whose helmet got scuffed by a tire.

Franchitti, who realized immediately what kind of ride he was in for, said the landing was soft. He headed to Dixon to thank him.

“He really saved me,” he said.

The roll bar on Franchitti’s car was sheared off and parts and pieces scattered everywhere. Some of them struck the helmet and car of A.J. Foyt IV; others bounced off Wheldon’s machine.

The incident also collected Tomas Scheckter, Sam Hornish Jr. and Scott Sharp. The situation looked so grim at first that Hornish climbed from his car to assist with Franchitti’s rescue. As it turned out, Hornish was one of 10 people to help put the car back on its wheels.

Then Franchitti, who had led 101 laps, climbed out unharmed. Amazingly, no one else was injured.

“It’s unbelievable,” the Scot said. “The only other time I’ve been upside-down like that was in a DTM testing crash at Hockenheim.

“I certainly don’t want to do that again.”
Kanaan held off Marco Andretti in the final laps to win by 0.059 second. It was his third win of the season and his 10th overall.
A crowd estimated at 10,000 watched. For now, none of them will return to MIS for an IndyCar race.
Read All>>

UPDATE Aug. 12, 2007 -

Dario Flys Again ... You Just Can't Keep A Good Man Down

Dario Franchitti takes to the air for the second time in as many weeks!

Excerpted from IndyCar website with contribution from YouTube -

Kanaan wins, Dixon moves to eight points behind Franchitti
By Dave Lewandowski -

SPARTA, Ky. – As Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon – locked in a championship duel -- battled for second place through the midsection of the Meijer Indy 300 presented by Coca-Cola and Edy's, Tony Kanaan's No. 11 Team 7-Eleven car was knifing through the twilight air at Kentucky Speedway less than a second ahead.

The lead transferred through pit stop cycles, but Kanaan was never out of the top five.
But the excitement didn't end for the crowd of more than 56,000 and the ESPN audience. Taking the checkered flag, Franchitti's No. 27 Canadian Club car ran into/over the rear of the No. 55 Panasonic Panther Racing car driven by Kosuke Matsuura just past the finish line and flipped backward – again. Franchitti, who walked away from a frightening crash six days earlier at Michigan International Speedway in which his car flipped several times, also was unscathed in the post-race incident.

"That one was completely my fault; there's no excuse," Franchitti said. "I screwed up twice in the race. I screwed up once coming out of the pits and then after the checkered. I didn't realize it was the checkered. I got the 'Hey, it's a checkered' just as I was hitting him. I'm pretty disgusted right now for that -- for both my mistakes today."

Franchitti, who finished eighth mainly because of a pit lane mistake 20 laps earlier, saw his points lead over Dixon sliced to eight. Kanaan moved to 52 points behind.

Reference Here>>

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Real Survivor Fiji – If It Walks Like A Duck …

STRIKING members of the Fiji Nursing Association will report to work from 6am tomorrow. Kuini Lutua talks to the media at a press conference at the FNA headquarters in Suva. "I think one of the main reasons we've decided to go this way (withdraw strike) is due to the non-negotiation done by the interim government from the beginning; meaning when they wanted to reduce the pay by 5 per cent we were not called in to be consulted. Image Credit: Fiji Times

The Real Survivor Fiji – If It Walks Like A Duck …

The biggest problem that confronts Fiji at this time is the lack of intervention by law abiding, democratic countries that know this coup is wrong and should be put down as soon as possible.

A recent article in the Fiji Times shows how this wait and see approach will only empower Commodore Frank and his position as he slowly, very slowly drags Fiji into extreme economic despair.

This from Fiji Times –

Fiji: Like a duck treading water
BRIJ V LAL - Saturday, August 11, 2007

Fiji today is like a duck treading water, a Fijian political operative told me the other day.

'All calm on the surface, but unknown currents churning beneath.' As a description of the current state of affairs in Fiji, the imagery is pretty apt.

From various government quarters, the talk of change and improvement is optimistic. The so-called 'clean up campaign' is proceeding apace, we are told, the economy is on the mend, the country is at peace, and the people are 'moving on.' That is the official line: nonchalance in some circles, assertive self-confidence, arrogance even, in others.

It is true that the country has not descended into the kind of civil strife some feared when the coup took place and people in all walks of life are muddling along, coping as best they can with what they have. But there is a palpable sense of fragility in the air, the sense that things could go wrong at any time.

Mr Taniela Tabu's experience is a case in point. With the Public Emergency Regulations suspended, Mr Tabu thought he was entitled to his freedom of speech guaranteed under the constitution.

He believed the interim administration was in charge of the country. But arrested and taken to the barracks, he was, he has told the country and the international community, physically humiliated and his life threatened if he continued to speak up. The military council was apparently still in place and in control, very much so. There were the predictable denials from the QEB, but Mr Tabu's account was credible, his injured outrage believable.

The extreme touchiness of the interim administration and the military to any criticism of its action is evident. It instills fear and fosters self-censorship in the populace. To be issued death threats for calling for the resignation of a minister from government says a great deal about the state of affairs in Fiji today.
The interim administration's optimistic claims about the economy go against the assessments of virtually all the leading businessmen with whom I have spoken.

Contraction is the order of the day, they tell me, in some sectors by as much as 30-40 percent. There is no new investment, and many projects with huge investment and employment potential have been frozen.
What, I ask, will it take to kick-start the economy?

Firm commitment to returning the country to parliamentary democracy, the businessmen tell me. They place much hope on the interim administration's undertaking given to the European Union that the next general election will be held by March 2009. Without that, the country is looking down at the barrel of the gun, so to speak.

The question is: will general election be held within the time frame stipulated by the EU?

There are those who are optimistic, but I have deep doubts. The Fiji Labour Party has stated that holding general election should not be the country's priority; getting the essential electoral infrastructure right should be: conducting a census, drawing up electoral boundaries, educating the voters. Accomplishing these before 2009 may not be feasible.

The interim Prime Minister has said on various occasions that the timing of the next general election is a matter for Fiji to decide, not for the international community to dictate.
If the Fijian community continues to feel marginalised and excluded from power, its cherished institutions symbolically humiliated and sidelined, there will be Qarases galore in the future. And they could well be less mindful of multi-ethnic sensitivities and the need for multi-ethnic accommodation than Mr Qarase and other politicians of his vintage.

Talking to Fijians on the streets in Suva, admittedly a small sample, I get the definite sense of frustrated silence in the Fijian community. They feel helpless, hobbled and humiliated. 'What can we do,' a man says to me. 'The guns are there.' There is a silent but definite hardening of race relations. The signs are everywhere.

Every issue, every challenge, is viewed through the prism of race. Predominantly Indian trade unions struck an early deal with the interim administration while predominantly Fijian ones struck, I am told. It is not as simple as that, for support for or against the interim administration is divided across the communities. Not all Indians support the coup, nor all Fijians oppose it. But perceptions, right or wrong, do matter. And the omens do not look good.
The government's handling of the strike has left a bitter taste in many mouths. Its rigid and even vindictive approach to industrial relations, its unwillingness to go to arbitration, its determination to frustrate and break up the trade union movement not willing to succumb to its pressure, all done ironically with the support of some compliant trade union leaders, leaves a sad legacy. The government says its coffers are empty, but then spends funds on purchasing vehicles and paying private attorneys to fight its cases. Somewhere, the priorities have gone wrong.
Preoccupied with its own survival amidst unrelenting international pressure unlikely to end any time soon, it has adopted an ad-hoc, fire-containing, approach to the challenges facing it: an enquiry here, a raid there, a plea for aid and assistance and skilled personnel from this country or that.

All this points to one inescapable truth: Fiji is a part of the international community; it is an island, yes, but an island in the physical sense alone. We cannot afford to thumb our noses at the international community and then expect to escape retribution. Sooner rather than later, the larger challenges of the proper way to build a multi-ethnic nation will return to haunt the nation.
Read All>>

Commodore Frank Bainimarama will continue to waddle his way into perpetual power through military rule while the former democratic nation of Fiji suffers.

This "Coup Culture" is Quakers!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Ill Opening (continues) At The Boxoffice For SiCKO

“Castro said, under Political Prisoner Health Plan, I could easily lose 90 pounds in 90 days ... and that’s without surgery!” - Caption and Image Credit: Rocketman, Powerline Forum

Ill Opening At The Weekend Boxoffice For SiCKO

Screening Reviews are in:

B- (510 votes)

Slightly above Average but below Good ... not Excellent.

Backdrop From Pre-Release:

This from Internet Movie Database Inc. (IMBd) -

Thursday, June 21 2007

Michael Moore’s Sicko had been downloaded about 4,000 times from peer-to-peer websites PirateBay and Mininova as of Wednesday, according to figures posted on the sites.

Clips from the film were also viewed over 1,000 times on YouTube and Google Video before they were yanked following protests by the Weinstein Company, which produced the health-care documentary. (Trailers and interviews with Moore remain.) Moore has said that the piracy appeared to be an “inside job,” given the fact that a perfect digital print was posted on the file-sharing sites.

CNET News writer Greg Sandoval commented Wednesday that he doubted that the online piracy will hurt the film at the box office. “First,” he wrote, “the controversy ... generated plenty of headlines for Sicko.

Nobody associated with the movie is going to be distressed about that. On the sites where the bootlegs appeared scores of comments were posted and that’s the kind of word-of-mouth promotion marketers love.”

Reference Here>>

The results this weekend leave Michael Moore hoping to match “Bowling for Columbine” numbers as opposed to being able to heat up to “Fahrenheit 9/11”!

Excerpts from a FOX News report (7-2-2007) -

1. "Ratatouille," $47.2 million.

2. "Live Free or Die Hard," $33.15 million.

3. "Evan Almighty," $15.1 million.

4. "1408," $10.6 million.

5. "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer," $9 million.

6. "Knocked Up," $7.4 million.

7. "Ocean's Thirteen," $6.05 million.

8. "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End," $5 million.

9. "Sicko," $4.5 million.

10. "Evening," $3.5 million.

"Sicko," Moore's dissection of the ills of U.S. health care, played in 441 theaters, about half the number for his last movie, 2004's $100 million hit "Fahrenheit 9/11." With a $23.9 million opening, "Fahrenheit 9/11" did five times as much business, though.

Still, "Sicko" had the second-best documentary debut ever behind "Fahrenheit 9/11." By comparison, "Ratatouille" opened in nearly 4,000 theaters, about nine times as many as "Sicko."

Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman of the Weinstein Co., said he wanted to roll "Sicko" out slowly to give it a longer shelf life and keep Moore's stand for universal health care on the front burner.

"The idea is to hold during the summer and just continue to build this thing," Weinstein said. "I just think the debate in this country is going to catch up with the movie, so we've got to keep it slow."

Weinstein and Moore said they hoped "Sicko" would do in the range of the $21.6 million total for the filmmaker's 2002 Academy Award winner "Bowling for Columbine."

(ht: FOX News)
Regardless of the spin Harvey Weinstein is putting on the numbers, “SiCKO” NOT the success that Michael Moore was aiming for.

I guess with SiCKO, it is just going to be less for Moore!

UPDATE 7-10-2007:

LOS ANGELES — Robots were Hollywood's big wage-earners over the weekend as "Transformers," the sci-fi saga about warring machines, debuted with $70.5 million.

The top 20 movies at U.S. and Canadian theaters Friday through Sunday, followed by distribution studio, gross, number of theater locations, average receipts per location, total gross and number of weeks in release, as compiled Monday by Media By Numbers LLC are:

1. "Transformers," Paramount, $70,502,384, 4,011 locations, $17,577 average, $155,405,412, one week.

2. "Ratatouille," Disney, $29,014,293, 3,940 locations, $7,364 average, $109,531,598, two weeks.

3. "Live Free or Die Hard," Fox, $17,730,149, 3,411 locations, $5,198 average, $84,424,123, two weeks.

4. "License to Wed," Warner Bros., $10,422,258, 2,604 locations, $4,002 average, $17,838,076, one week.

5. "Evan Almighty," Universal, $8,719,135, 3,460 locations, $2,520 average, $78,706,785, three weeks.

6. "1408," MGM, $7,088,979, 2,631 locations, $2,694 average, $53,738,325, three weeks.

7. "Knocked Up," Universal, $5,222,680, 2,213 locations, $2,360 average, $132,089,425, six weeks.

8. "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer," Fox, $4,239,993, 2,618 locations, $1,620 average, $123,881,586, four weeks.

9. "Sicko," Lionsgate, $3,600,179, 702 locations, $5,128 average, $11,452,560, three weeks.

10. "Ocean's Thirteen," Warner Bros., $3,525,366, 2,102 locations, $1,677 average, $109,145,316, five weeks.

SiCKO Only:

Date - Jul 6–8
Rank - 9 Weekend Gross - $3,600,179 % Change = -20.0% Theater Count - 702 Change - +261 / Avg. - $5,128 Gross-to-Date - $11,452,560 Week# - 3

Even Michael Moore would have to agree that the trend is not what he and Harvey Weinstein of Lionsgate (the film's distributor) would like to see ... operative number? ... % Change = -20.0%.

UPDATE #2 - 7-15-2007:

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Media By Numbers LLC. Final figures will be released Monday.

1. "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," $77.4 million.

2. "Transformers," $36 million.

3. "Ratatouille," $18 million.

4. "Live Free or Die Hard," $10.9 million.

5. "License to Wed," $7.4 million.

6. "1408," $5.01 million.

7. "Evan Almighty," $5 million.

8. "Knocked Up," $3.7 million.

9. "Sicko," $2.65 million.

10. "Ocean's Thirteen," $1.9 million.

SiCKO Only:

Date - Jul 13-15
Rank - 9 Weekend Gross - $2,604,139 % Change = -27.7% Theater Count - 756 Change - +54 / Avg. - $3,444 Gross-to-Date - $15,830,046 Week# - 4

Again, "Moore" bad news ... operative number? ... % Change = -27.7%.

It is going to be a tall order for Michael Moore and Lionsgate to reach the hoped for $21,600,000 that "Bowling for Columbine" achieved for its domestic gross.

UPDATE - Week #5

Date - Jul 20–22
Rank Weekend - 11
Gross - $1,945,723
% Change -25.3%
Theater Count – 1,117
Change +361
Avg. - $1,741
Gross-to-Date – $19,185,853

... In a couple of more weeks, Michael Moore just might make the $21,600,000 he Grossed for “Bowling For Columbine” ... he will have to open in even more theaters though (up nearly 48%), if the take per theater drops any further (this weekend's average per theater gross ticket sales was down slightly over 50%).

UPDATE - Week #6 -

Date - Jul 27–29
Rank Weekend - 15
Gross - $1,173,740
Change -39.7%
Theater Count – 850
Change -267
Avg. - $1,380
Gross-to-Date – $21,493,605


Just shy of the re-established BIG GOAL!

This is a pretty poor showing for a film-maker who had "broken through" and made it to the big time. "Bowling For Columbine" numbers from an unknown film-maker is a grand feat ... but these numbers from somebody as well known as Michael Moore simply has to hurt ... and the pre-release to the internet can not explain this train wreck of a showing after six weeks!

Final UPDATE Aug. 9, 2007

Going, Going, … GONE!

SiCKO has played its hand and should be leaving us all soon to be replaced in short order by Blu-ray and DVD.

After seven weeks, SiCKO couldn’t hit the lofty target of $25,000,000 and even though the film only costs a reported $9,000,000 to make this has to be a big disappointment to Lions Gate Films and Michael Moore … especially in a world governed by “Hollywood Math”!

Date – Aug. 3–5
Rank Weekend - 20
Gross - $503,702
% Change -57.1%
Theater Count – 349
Change -501
Avg. - $1,443
Gross-to-Date – $22,640,294
Week# - 7

Friday, August 03, 2007

The Slide Continues - Gay Episcopal Bishop Backs "Muslim" For President

"Person Of The Year", 2007 Affirmation Conference Keynote Speaker, Episcopal bishop, the Reverend V. Gene Robinson - Image Credit: The Advocate via 2007 Affirmation Conference

The long, slow slide to the bottom rung of respected, tradition based, organized religion ladder in America ... continues - Gay Episcopal Bishop Backs "Muslim" For President

What ever happened to the separation between Church and State?

Obama feels his experience living in Indonesia, being taught in Muslim schools for four years as a child, and his ability to speak to Muslims could make him a better president. Apparently so does Episcopal bishop, Reverend V. Gene Robinson.

This is really rich … why don’t we all just throw standards to out the window entirely and not have an election at all! Why don’t we just appoint whomever the Episcopal Church of these United States endorses ... you know, the one that has a good percentage of traditional Episcopal churches seeking to be associated with Episcopal/Anglican governing bodies as far away as ... Africa!

This from the Boston Globe -

N.H.'s Episcopal bishop backs Obama's run
By JAMES W. PINDELL, Boston Globe - August 3, 2007

New Hampshire's Episcopal bishop, the Reverend V. Gene Robinson, endorsed US Senator Barack Obama's presidential campaign, saying Obama had a background in faith and activism to which he could relate.

Robinson became an internationally controversial figure in 2003 when he became the first openly gay bishop of the Episcopal Church.

His appointment created a schism that led many to leave the church. The international Anglican Communion has threatened to split from the American church.

The public endorsement of Obama could set off even more uneasiness within the church, which has not been overtly involved in electoral politics.

In a conference call with reporters yesterday, Robinson said that after the Obama campaign reached out to him he became impressed with Obama and "shared his values."

"His experience as a community organizer and as one that did it from a faith background represents the kind of change we need," Robinson said.

Robinson said he has never publicly endorsed a candidate before and will not use the pulpit to advocate for Obama. Yet, his endorsement of Obama is the latest sign in Robinson's growing political profile. Earlier in the year Robinson lobbied New Hampshire lawmakers to become the first state in the nation to approve same-sex civil unions without a court mandate. He also said he plans to enter into a civil union with his partner.

In addition, he has been a public advocate against the state's death penalty.

When it comes to gay marriage, Robinson says he disagrees with Obama's stance of only favoring allowing civil unions.

"At this moment we have no viable candidate who is where we would like them to be on these issues," he said.

Unlike many Democratic candidates in the past the Obama campaign has actively sought out religious groups. In New Hampshire, Obama volunteers organized discussions around the state about the interplay of faith and activism.

Reference Here>>

And this excerpted from NewsMax -

Obama: My Muslim Ties Are a Strength
NewsMax - Tuesday, April 24, 2007 10:00 p.m. EDT

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on Tuesday tried to reassure Jewish voters concerned about his Muslim ties, arguing that his commitment to Israel's security is unwavering.
"If I go to Jakarta and address the largest Muslim country on earth, I can say, 'Apa kabar,' — you know, 'How are you doing?' — and they can recognize that I understand their common humanity," Obama said. "That is a strength, and it allows me to say things to them that other presidents might not be able to say. And that's part of what's promising, I think, about this presidency."

Obama's stepfather was Indonesian, and the future senator lived in the country from ages 6 to 10.
Read All>>

This can only be a marriage ... ahhh - errr, “Union” made in Daily Kos heaven.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Real Survivor Fiji – Nurses & Teachers Go “Industrial”

Teachers strike in solidarity with Nurses in Fiji (see video at link below). Image Credit: TV3 News, New Zealand

The Real Survivor Fiji – Nurses & Teachers Go “Industrial”

Life is hard under an illegal military rule and despotic regime.

The economy begins to tank, people do not want to visit, citizens have trouble supporting the Commodore’s agenda, and eventually someone … everyone has to pay the price.

In the latest round of “payments”, the nurses and teachers are having their pay cut and their retirement paired back in an effort for the Commodore’s government to be able to meet its obligations.

Does it need to be stated? … Would the Fijian economy and its ability for the government to meet its obligations be in this position if Commodore Frank weren’t so selfish and cavalier in his actions to have the military perform a coup and oust a democratically elected government?

This from TV3 News, New Zealand –

Teachers join nurses striking in Fiji
TV3 News - Thu, 02 Aug 2007 06:23p.m.

Another sector joined the striking nurses in Fiji today as turmoil in the public sector continued.

About 1000 teachers took industrial action in the form of a peaceful sit-in.

But Fiji’s Police Commissioner urged unions and all Fijians to remain calm and act within the law.

At the teachers’ union headquarters in central Suva, striking took the form of unity songs, speeches from union reps and kava.

After threats from the military and warnings from police, union organisers ensured the protest was peaceful.

The teachers were joined by some striking nurses whom police tried to stop at the gate.

1400 nurses are still on strike after a week of industrial action.

300 public works, water and sewerage workers also took industrial action today.

Just after December’s coup, the interim government slashed pay for civil servants by five percent, and the retirement age from 60 to 55.

The unions want both restored and a further 10 percent payrise.

Last night union leader Taniela Tabu was returned to his family after being detained by army and police, and other union leaders have been targeted.

Fiji's Police Commissioner told a news conference today their presence at hospitals and schools is not meant to intimidate.

The strikes are due to continue tomorrow.
Reference Here>>

Video Report Here>>

Detentions were not meant to intimidate ... yea, right!