Tuesday, August 31, 2010

NAFTA’s Chapter 11: The Latest Giveaway

August 30, 2010
from Jim Stanford

Canada’s federal government made an important announcement this week. It was kept deliberately quiet: with a news release issued at 4:45 pm on a calm Tuesday in the middle of the late-summer news “dead zone.” But it should set alarm bells ringing for anyone concerned with the anti-democratic direction of global trade law.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government reached a $130 million out-of-court settlement with the bankruptcy trustees overseeing the restructuring of AbitibiBowater Inc., a failed forestry and paper giant. The settlement relates to a claim that Abitibi brought against Canada under NAFTA’s notorious Chapter 11 process. This process is a bizarre kangaroo court in which investors from one NAFTA partner (and only investors – normal people aren’t allowed in) can sue another NAFTA government for actions which are deemed to break NAFTA’s broad investment rights provisions. If a Chapter 11 tribunal rules against the offending government, it can order damages be paid to the aggrieved investor. Whole article here

Monday, August 30, 2010

Pen Meets Paper Aug.30'10

Opinion by Helge Nome
My economic soap box platform is getting decidedly crowded lately. The doom-and-gloom crew are rapidly increasing in numbers as all the fancy penwork on corporate balance sheets is coming to light: The “recovery” was just a figment of the imagination, engineered by cost cutting involving, among other things, massive layoffs in staff by employers. It was all good for the balance sheet and bad for business. The rationale behind this behavior was to sail through the recession and hit the next bubble on the upslope. Instead, it has become “Custer’s Last Stand”: Arrogance turned into humiliation.
So, in a desperate scramble to get out of their predicaments, corporations are now beginning to use their inflated balance sheets to eat each other in mergers and acquisitions. They are about to find out, the hard way like Custer did, that all the unemployed “Indians” will encircle them, and unlike Custer’s Indians, starve them out of existence through their lack of purchasing power for the corporations’ products and services. Nevertheless, the result is the same: Dead corporations.
A lot of people are about to learn something that has been largely forgotten, even by people in the financial system who should know better, that fiat money like the Dollar, Yen, Euro and all the rest of them, have no inherent value that can be multiplied by a printing press. Their value only exists in relation to what they can legally purchase, such as goods and services of all kinds. And if you start “messing with the money”, as our financial predators have done for a long time now, the uncertainty and risk introduced into the productive system has the effect of making it shrink, rather than expand.
So as FED Chairman, Helicopter Ben Bernanke, gets ready to climb aboard his chopper, once again, with bags of money to be released into the economy as his final “nuclear option” for fixing things up, the financial corporations are eagerly holding up their hands anticipating even more inflated balance sheets to fund ever bigger corporate mergers and acquisitions. So that even more people can be laid off, reducing effective purchasing power in the community again.
This is the outcome of collective tunnel vision taken to the nth. degree. The vision of an ostrich with his head firmly planted in the sand and about to get his backside soundly kicked.
Custer and his men walked into a trap set for them by their Indian opponents. Our financial generals are walking into a trap set by themselves. Unlike Custer’s men, we don’t have to follow them.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Caroline Library summer reading program wraps up

59 children participated in the summer reading program this year and had their names entered in a draw for prizes. The winner was Angel Somers who won a push bike and Blaine Pengelly and Dominik Hanson were runners up with digital cameras to show for it. The program was run by coordinator Nevada Collins-Lee and volunteer Kira Shippelt in the background.

Warning: Why Cheaper Money Won’t Mean More Jobs

By Robert Reich
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Can the Fed rescue the economy by making money even cheaper than it already is? A debate is being played out in the Fed about whether it should return to so-called “quantitative easing” – buying more mortgage-backed securities, Treasury bills, and other bonds - in order to lower the cost of capital still further.
The sad reality is cheaper money won’t work. Individuals aren’t borrowing because they’re still under a huge debt load. And as their homes drop in value and their jobs and wages continue to disappear, they’re not in a position to borrow. Small businesses aren’t borrowing because they have no reason to expand. Retail business is down, construction is down, even manufacturing suppliers are losing ground. Full article here

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Kepler Discovers Multiple Planets Transiting a Single Star

August 26, 2010: NASA's Kepler spacecraft has discovered the first confirmed planetary system with more than one planet crossing in front of, or transiting, the same star.
The transit signatures of two distinct Saturn-sized planets were seen in the data for a sun-like star designated "Kepler-9." The planets were named Kepler-9b and 9c. The discovery incorporates seven months of observations of more than 156,000 stars as part of an ongoing search for Earth-sized planets outside our solar system. The findings will be published in Thursday's issue of the journal Science. Story here

Should the Alberta government be subsidizing ethanol plants?

By Joe Anglin
The Alberta government has spent tens of millions of taxpayer’s dollars subsidizing bio-mass ethanol plant projects. As a business model, bio-mass ethanol plants are a prime example of corporate welfare that has so far proven to be uneconomical. Most every bio-mass ethanol plant in operation relies heavily on perpetual taxpayer subsidies in one form or another. Now Florida based Dominion Energy Services LLC is proposing to build an ethanol plant in Innisfail, and Aspen Bio-Energy Corp is proposing to build an ethanol plant in Rimbey. What makes them different? Can they change the current model and succeed without continuous government subsidies? Full article here

Monday, August 23, 2010

Pen Meets Paper Aug.23'10

Opinion by Helge Nome
Canada’s long gun registry is coming on the chopping block in Parliament shortly.
A private member’s bill by a ruling conservative party MP is seeking to get rid of this list of names and associated hunting hardware, once and for all. This has been a long standing issue in Canadian politics, for rural people in particular, whose guns are a tool of their trade, just like chain saws, welders and such.
The idea that a long gun registry is some kind of deterrent against crime, is simply considered laughable by rural people. There are few arguments about registering hand guns and semi automatic weapons; it is the long gun registry that is the bone of contention. It is simply seen as an intrusion into the affairs of law abiding citizens.
From the point of view of private people, this white tax money gobbling elephant can probably be seen in the same light as the controversial compulsory census form recently scrapped by the Federal Government: A bureaucratic intrusion into the lives of private citizens.
I have a sense that something is happening in the Canadian psyche at this time: People are getting sick of the tail wagging the dog and politicians are beginning to pick up on that sentiment. Also, in British Columbia, our most western province in Canada, a recent petition to scrap a proposed harmonized sales tax (HST) grab gained enough signatures to give the BC legislature pause for sober second thought. Politicians are beginning to understand that just listening to vested interest groups in the bureaucracy and their media supporters can land them in the ranks of the unemployed after the next election.
We hire civil servants to look after our interests. Our elected people are supposed to ensure that they are doing just that, rather than building little competing empires around themselves. That principle applies to all organizations, from the smallest non-profits to the largest commercial corporations and government bodies. The natural tendency is for the opposite to happen. The only working remedy is eternal vigilance.

Barrie and Shauna Michalsky family fundraiser

Action during a ball tournament in Caroline on the weekend of July 17. Proceeds of the tournament, silent auction and other activities went to a fund to support the young family following a heart attack suffered by Barrie Michalsky. Latest is that Barrie is on the mend.

Mobile sign with a history

This sign, announcing the upcoming heritage days at the Caroline Wheels of Time museum, is likely the final functional remnant of what was Will Sinclair High School in Rocky Mountain House. It served time as an event sign for the Caroline & District Rec. and Ag. Society on main street in Caroline before being mounted on a trailer in the yard in front of the museum. This may be the final step in a long and distinguished career for the sign.

Fundraiser for the Barrie and Shauna Michalsky family

The Legion hall in Caroline was a lively place on Sunday, August 15, as musicians and singers entertained friends and supporters of the Michalsky family. Barrie's mother Yvonne Michalsky said that Barrie is making good progress after his devastating heart attack earlier in the summer. He will be moving out of hospital and into a rehabilitation facility shortly. However, progress may be slow because his heart stopped for several minutes after the heart attack. Barrie and Shauna supports a young growing family.
Here, the Caroline Family Singers filled the hall with the theme of the fund raiser: "Side by Side". Organizer Louise Bystrom reported that about $3,500 were deposited in the bank for the Michalsky family.

Cassidy Crawford, Bob Briand and son Kade performed at the Michalsky family fundraiser

Mathew Moore gave a very professional singing and guitar playing performance at the fundraiser

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Ecstasy of Empire: How Close Is America’s Demise? Without a revolution, Americans are history

by Paul Craig Roberts
The United States is running out of time to get its budget and trade deficits under control. Despite the urgency of the situation, 2010 has been wasted in hype about a non-existent recovery. As recently as August 2 Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner penned a New York Times Column, “Welcome to the Recovery.”
As John Williams (shadowstats.com) has made clear on many occasions, an appearance of recovery was created by over-counting employment and undercounting inflation. Warnings by Williams, Gerald Celente, and myself have gone unheeded, but our warnings recently had echos from Boston University professor Laurence Kotlikoff and from David Stockman, who excoriated the Republican Party for becoming big spending Democrats.
It is encouraging to see a bit of realization that, this time, Washington cannot spend the economy out of recession. The deficits are already too large for the dollar to survive as reserve currency, and deficit spending cannot put Americans back to work in jobs that have been moved offshore. Read full article here

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Pen Meets Paper Aug. 16'10

Opinion by Helge Nome
When was the last time you saw a honeybee moving from flower to flower in your garden? When was the last time you saw one anywhere? Quite a few years in my case.
This last spring my Nanking Cherry tree blossoms were visited by bumble bees and and some very small bee-looking creatures, but no honeybees made their appearance. That is in contrast to some 15-20 years ago when they seemed to be everywhere, beginning with the pussy willow flowers in early spring and moving on to the dandelions when they greeted the spring sun.
The disappearance of the honeybee has now been recognized as the calamity that it is and is called “Colony Collapse Disorder” (CCD for short). So far, it has proven to be impossible to identify one single causal agent, but one major factor has been colony infestations by the Varroa mite which attaches itself to the body of the bee and is a carrier of bee disease agents.
The bigger question is: What has brought about this phenomenon? Is it just a natural cyclical event that recurs from time to time, or do apicultural practices have something to do with it? I think it has to do with the latter, where the bee colonies’ state of health has been drastically diminished by winter feeding practices. For many years, bee keepers have substituted commercial sugar syrup for honey in their bee colonies in order to maximize profits. The bee colonies’ protein supplies, in the form of pollen stored, have also been removed because of a good commercial market for this product.
Antibiotics were then used to deal with emerging colony health issues. It was all about the bottom line without any thought about the future. And now the consequences of these practices are becoming evident: In addition to supplying us with honey, bees are used to pollinate large commercial plant crops in order for them to set seed and provide us with our food. It’s a loose-loose situation.
This is beginning to sound faintly familiar! Where else is something similar happening today? The job market for our young people has seemingly disappeared, just like the honey bee colonies. Is this a natural cyclical event, or is it man made? The answer is that it is an un-natural cyclical event and that it is man made. Our debt ridden financial system is to blame where money is being withheld from the industrial/commercial system and so starving our up and coming honey bees, rendering them weak and vulnerable to predation by pests and diseases such as drug use and related gang activities.
However, unlike the honey bees, they won’t just go away and die somewhere, unless we send them off to some god forsaken war, that is. More likely, they will poison the environment they live in, including us privileged folks. Something to think about - and then do something!

Clouds over Caroline's fire service

Small communities across North America are facing the challenge a lack of available volunteers for fire and rescue services. Caroline has now arrived at the crossroads where decisions have to be made in order to avoid a potential tragedy in the future. As older members have retired from the service new and active members are hard to find. And many have commitments that take them away from home on a regular basis. Read about this problem and a possible solution here.

Landscaping at the entrance to Caroline School

This group from the Living Faith Bible College west of Caroline volunteered their time on Thursday, August 5, to clean up the
landscaped area in front of Caroline School. They removed all the rock and gravel and replaced the underlying landscaping fabric before putting it all back together again. Front: Chloe Mix, Cara Boyce, T.J. Thiessen. Middle: Rylan Strachan, Curtis Olyslager. Back: Joel Runnalls, Ryan Cardwell, Kyle Straughan, Jeff Hemminger, Phil Morrow.

Landscaping complete

Fox puppy in the barnyard

This pup and its two siblings live under the grainery in Paul Duval's farmyard near Eckville.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Is this where Hell is? - Japanese Spacecraft Approaches Venus

August 16, 2010: For the next few months, Venus will be softly resplendent in the evening sky, a treat for stargazers – but looks can be deceiving. Consider this: The Venusian surface is hot enough to melt lead. The planet's 96% carbon dioxide atmosphere is thick and steamy with a corrosive mist of sulfuric acid floating through it. The terrain is forbidding, strewn with craters and volcanic calderas – and bone dry.
Takeshi Imamura can't wait to get there. Imamura is the project scientist for Akatsuki, a Japanese mission also called the Venus Climate Orbiter. The spacecraft is approaching Venus and will enter orbit on December 7, 2010. Imamura believes a close-up look at Venus could teach us a lot about our own planet.Full story here

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Aten sneezes!

SOHO captured this video clip of a full halo coronal mass ejection (CME) that blasted a substantial cloud of particles away from the Sun (Aug, 7, 2010). The majority of the cloud went to the left with only a smaller portion heading to the right, suggesting that it would not likely have any strong impact on Earth. A “halo” cloud is one that appears to surround the Sun on all sides as it expands, meaning it is heading somewhat towards Earth or away from it. The still and movie are generated by processing the changes from one frame to the next to highlight those changes, thus, we call this a “difference movie.” Check out movie here

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The State of Accountability!

by Joe Anglin

In 2001 EPCOR Generating Inc (now called Capital Power Management Inc), along with its partner TransAlta Corporation applied to the Energy Utilities Board (EUB) for approval to construct and operate a 490-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant at Genesee, some 80 km west of Edmonton.
Touted as the cleanest-ever coal-fired generator, EPCOR obtained approval to construct the plant, known as Genesee #3, with the promise that they could operate the plant at greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) levels equivalent to that of a natural gas combined cycle plant.
During the approval process EPCOR and TransAlta both boasted that Genesee #3 would be the province's first coal-fired generator to incorporate advanced environmental technologies, which included a sulphur emissions scrubber, high-efficiency burners and a bag filter system. All of which was designed to significantly reduce the lethality of SO2 and NOx emissions and other particulate matter.
The Alberta Energy Utilities Board bought EPCOR and TransAlta’s promise, and based its decision to approve the plant by stating, “The Board would not only direct EPCOR to fulfill its voluntary commitment of offsetting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, such that they are equivalent to those from a natural gas combined cycle plant. The Board also directs those offsets to be updated to correspond to any future changes in emission standards for coal-fired power plants or a corresponding gas-fired power plant.”
Now just barely five-years into operation, Capital Power Management Inc is applying to the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) to be exempted from any requirement that they must meet natural gas plant GHG emissions standards. Claiming that other coal generating plants are not held to this GHG emission standard, they say this GHG requirement places them at a competitive disadvantage. As a result, Capital Power and its partner TransAlta are asking the board’s permission to pollute as much as the other coal generators that are held to a lesser standard.
By just asking for this exemption Capital Power and TransAlta are displaying little shame and/or integrity. They received approval to build the plant under the promises and assurances that they could achieve a higher standard of GHG emissions. Touting themselves as the cleanest-ever, the insinuation being no other coal plant could meet these GHG emission standards, they obtained approval. Now that the plant is built, Capital Power and TransAlta are belly-aching and acting surprised at the discovery that other coal plants are not held to the same GHG emission standard.

What will the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) do? Will they hold Capital Power and TransAlta accountable? If the AUC grants the exemption to allow Genesee #3 to pollute more, contrary to the very reason it was approved, in effect the AUC will be confirming what some in the public allege. Approvals can be obtained by telling the board what it wants to hear, absent of accountability.

Joe Anglin
Rimbey, AB
(403) 843-3279

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The surface of the sun

This composite close-up photo of our sun by the orbiting Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) gives us a glimpse into what keeps us alive and well. More here

Monday, August 9, 2010

Defining Prosperity Down

Published: August 1, 2010

I’m starting to have a sick feeling about prospects for American workers — but not, or not entirely, for the reasons you might think. Yes, growth is slowing, and the odds are that unemployment will rise, not fall, in the months ahead. That’s bad. But what’s worse is the growing evidence that our governing elite just doesn’t care — that a once-unthinkable level of economic distress is in the process of becoming the new normal. Read article here

Pen Meets Paper Aug. 9'10

Opinion by Helge Nome
In the case of an emergency such as a house fire, traffic accident, or the like, most of us probably expect an ambulance or fire truck to arrive on scene shortly after being called. That may turn out to be wishful thinking in some smaller communities in Alberta.
The Village of Caroline (population 500+) and surrounding rural area has had its own volunteer fire service for some 50 years and a volunteer based ambulance service for the better part of 30 years. Over that period the character of the community has changed with greatly increased traffic on area highways and an influx of retired city people looking for a retreat in the countryside in
the scenic eastern foothills of the Rocky Mountains in West Central Alberta. While the call volume to the local fire department is relatively low, the complexity of the situations encountered have increased along with more sophisticated equipment to deal with contingencies. As well, on long weekends in May and August, some 40,000 city dwellers stream into the back country to “get away from it all”. That puts a strain on volunteers who might want to join in the festivities rather than going to rescue the foolhardy.
As older volunteers retire, the strains are now beginning to show up, and a fire crew may, or may not, show up when they are needed the most. To make matters worse, their training and experience may fall short of what is required to successfully deal with the situation.
There is a great tradition of volunteerism in emergency services in North America, but the world is changing. Some 15 years ago the Caroline & District Volunteer Ambulance Association had the same problem and developed a unique solution that has withstood the test of time. As the number of local volunteers shrunk towards an unsustainable number, professional Emergency Medical Responders (EMRs), Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and Paramedics from larger metropolitan areas were enticed to come and volunteer on the ambulance’s 24/7 roster in return for having their travel costs reimbursed. They needed to log in a certain amount of time on duty in order to keep their professional licenses current. So it was a win-win situation and it has worked ever since. All of a sudden the pool of prospective volunteers was vastly increased and the prospect of spending time in a very attractive area helped matters along. This system, which relies on a local manager dedicated to the service, has worked very well and is now funded by Alberta Health Services.
Is this a model that the Caroline Fire Department could adopt for 24/7 coverage?

Comment by Andy Plunkett in Queensland, Australia:
G'day Helge
Boy, these Opinions seem to come thick and fast. I hope you never want for topics.
You would remember me visiting the Caroline Ambulance Centre. The Paramedics on duty explained the manning situation which to me was very interesting. As you mentioned in your article it appears to work quite well.
At Capella which is similar in size as Caroline there are three resident paramedics. One is OIC and the other two relievers. Steve, the OIC has been here around 4 years. Relievers Ben and his wife Kerry share their 7 day roster as they have two young children. They have moved to Capella from the Sunshine Coast where they own their own home. At Capella they can work the sharing timetable as the Ambulance Station is beside the relief paramedic's house. They like Steve have grown to love living in Capella. At an LAC meeting (Local Ambulance Committee) following my return from Canada I explained the Caroline Ambulance Station manning situation. Steve had heard of it. The QAS (Queensland Ambulance Service ) is a State Govt entity with paramedics being State public servants. We pay for the QAS through an addition to the monthly electricity bill. The QAS has had its hiccups but it is reasonably well managed.
The Capella Fire brigade is all voluntary but they receive payment for training evenings/days and call outs of course. At present it appears to be well manned but for a period numbers were low due to retirements and people moving away.


Sportsfield update

Work has continued on Caroline School's new sportsfield over the summer. The surface has been leveled and seeded with grass that is coming along nicely with all the ground moisture and recent heat. However, the amount of rain over the summer has created some problems in establishing the running track around the field, according to project volunteer and coordinator, Bruce Johnson. The grader in this photo taken on July 27 got bogged at the other end of the field and had to be pulled out. Johnson said that drain tile will be installed along both sides of the field with drainage to the south. It is hoped to have the field ready for use in September. Virtually all materials, machine time and labor required for this project have been donated.

Summer camp funny faces

These participants in the Aspen Ranch Science Summer Camp showed some attitude in front of Aspen Ranch owner Dante Muzzo's antique CP Rail car. Four week long science day camps are hosted at the ranch this summer, with the last one starting on August 16. Two art camps are put on as well with one coming up on August 9. The participants are from grades 3-6 and instructors are local high school graduates working under the guidance of Dante Muzzo who has a long history of hosting these camps at his ranch, previously under the umbrella of the University of Calgary program "Minds in Motion". The camps are free to participants, thanks to the sponsorship of Shell. In the photo, back row: Shell public relations employees, Marcie Nieman (Burnt Timber operation), Eric Berg (Shell Caroline Gas Plant), Instructors: Nick Kennedy, Meagan Byrt and Casie Gano. Far right: Dante Muzzo who can be contacted at info@aspenranchcanada.com. Aspen Ranch is located about a 25 minute drive south east of Caroline and the website is

Giant ice island breaks away from Greenland

Petermann glacier is now 260 square km smaller. (Greenpeace.org/international: Nick Cobbing)

An ice island measuring 260 square kilometres broke off from one of Greenland's two main glaciers, scientists say, the biggest such event in the Arctic in nearly 50 years.
The new ice island, which broke off on Thursday, will enter a remote place called the Nares Strait, about 1,000 kilometres south of the North Pole between Greenland and Canada.
Professor of ocean science and engineering at the University of Delaware, Andreas Muenchow, said he had expected an ice chunk to break off from the Petermann Glacier, one of the two largest remaining ones in Greenland, because it had been growing in size for seven or eight years. But he did not expect it to be so large. Full story here

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Planets Align for the Perseid Meteor Shower

August 5, 2010: You know it's a good night when a beautiful alignment of planets is the second best thing that's going to happen. Thursday, August 12th, is such a night.
The show begins at sundown when Venus, Saturn, Mars and the crescent Moon pop out of the western twilight in tight conjunction. All four heavenly objects will fit within a circle about 10 degrees in diameter, beaming together through the dusky colors of sunset. No telescope is required to enjoy this naked-eye event: sky map.
The planets will hang together in the western sky until 10 pm or so. When they leave, following the sun below the horizon, you should stay, because that is when the Perseid meteor shower begins. From 10 pm until dawn, meteors will flit across the starry sky in a display that's even more exciting than a planetary get-together. Full story here

Monday, August 2, 2010

Pen Meets Paper Aug 2'10

Opinion by Helge Nome
I recently had a conversation with a very interesting lady. She is a Russian engineer, trained in the design of electrical systems for large industrial plants. Now in her sixties, she received her training under the Soviet system and worked in Western Siberia for some 14 years involved in the design of processing plants in the oil and gas sector there. During that time she also gained some insight into what happens to soldiers that return from a theatre of war, in this case the Soviet involvement in Afghanistan: One such individual who was part of her team wandered off and disappeared one day. He was located in an empty room in a vacant building staring into the wall. Valerie also told me that many young Russians did physical harm to themselves in order to avoid the draft and go to Afghanistan and drug use was rampant. We now know why: Afghanistan was the straw that broke the back of the Soviet camel: The resentment caused at home by the Afghan campaign had a material impact on the dissolution of that great ideological elephant, causing it to fragment into smaller pieces.
Having long forgotten Vietnam, the Americans are now in Afghanistan, with a tail of compliant minions behind them, including Canada. And the curious thing is that the Russians are being very helpful in this enterprise, providing air corridors and refueling, I believe. It is all part of a geopolitical struggle over Caspian Sea basin energy riches.
So why would Russia be so helpful and polite? You probably guessed it: There may not be a throne at the end of the red carpet. More likely an abyss, and who would know more about that than the Russians?
There is a kind of unique mentality in the United States: “We can do whatever we want; after all, that’s how the west was won!” Like: “Go and clean up the commos in Korea and Vietnam”. “History began when we kicked the British arse in 1781”. “If you can’t beat the enemy, put ‘em all on the payroll. It sure works in Iraq”. And so on. Forgetting that being cocky and ignoring history is a sure way of repeating it.
The people that pay the price for this kind of insanity are mostly innocent civilians, the war veterans themselves and their families who are the human feedstock of the process. And you know what - After all the bleeding is over most people can’t even remember what it was all about in the first place, apart from some oft repeated platitudes, like “terrorists lurking on every corner”. (Used to be communists).
It is positively amazing to observe the same tricks being used again and again to justify violence against innocent people and deflect attention away from the real objectives of the war perpretrators.
One thought has occurred to me. It may not be an accident that Afghanistan is the world’s center for opium production: Anyone coming out of there is in dire need of self medications. The locals are likely very helpful in this respect.

Community Rewards donation to Caroline School

Caroline's Pioneer Store owner Ben Choi hands over a cheque for $749.60 to Laurie Speight from Caroline School. The money comes from a joint initiative between the store and its suppliers where 10 cents from the sale of certain items go towards a chosen community group which was Caroline School this year, which also had a sidewalk hot dog and pop sale on the May long weekend using donated items.

Sunspots: What Lies Beneath (July 30, 2010)

By fading back and forth between a filtered white light image of the Sun and a magnetic image (in black and white), we can show the correlation of sunspots to their magnetic underpinnings...
Story and video here