Thoughts Gallery September 2001
September 1
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A two Man-power driven car, that's what a three wheeled car gets you
September 2
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MEXICO: THE 51ST STATE     By Richard Reeves
LONDON -- Across the English Channel, young men are massing near the beaches of Dunkirk, desperately seeking boats and boatmen to carry them across to England before it is too late.

This is not 1940, when British boats large and small bravely crossed the choppy channel to rescue more than 300,000 of their own soldiers trapped by Hitler's army. This is now, and the brave young men are refugees, from Asia and Africa and the poorer parts of southern Europe, who want asylum and, more important, work in Britain.

And back home in the United States, along the borders of Texas and California, young men from Central America are doing the same thing. And this is not the 1840s, when the armies of Mexican Gen. Santa Anna and American Gen. Zachary Taylor faced off across the Rio Grande.

In Washington, the new president of Mexico, Vicente Fox (news - web sites), spoke to the U.S. Congress last Thursday, in both Spanish and English, urging the Americans to let his people come, give migrant workers, and illegal immigrants too, documents to make them legal residents of the United States. Afterward Sen. Joseph Lieberman (news - bio - voting record), D-Conn., came out and spoke a truth that seems harsh to many: "The bottom line is that the fences are going to go down between these two countries. And it is in the interest of both countries that we make it work."

I had no idea Sen. Lieberman was such a visionary. That vision may not be popular now -- perhaps it never will be -- but the truth is that Mexico is going to become part of the United States because the countries need each other -- or more precisely, and for obvious reasons, they cannot break away from each other. There they are, across 1,946 miles of river, desert and roads, and here we are.

Fox dreams of joining his country to the prosperity of the United States, as Santa Anna fought, unsuccessfully, to keep the potential of Texas and California when they were legally part of Mexico. That's obvious. But what's in it for us? Peace and more prosperity. We can't afford to have a poor and comparatively unstable country on our border. It is just too much trouble -- and there is more trouble latent in the countries south of Mexico. To Guatemala and then on to Honduras and Nicaragua, Mexico is not so much on the way to the United States as it is the biggest and richest country in their immediate part of the world. And we need those people, because they are younger than our aging population and because they are willing to do jobs Americans will no longer do.

That is what is happening all over the world. That is why young men from Pakistan and Nigeria are standing by the channel at Dunkirk. People are on the move everywhere, and it is economic movement, not political. The only way a developed country, the United States or Britain or France, can block those young men is by force and not by law.

"Experts agree," wrote The Daily Telegraph in London last week, "that if illegal immigrants -- and asylum seekers working illegally -- were somehow prevented from working in the United Kingdom, they would not come. Certainly, stopping or reducing welfare payments has had little impact. ... Moreover, the UK economy has a near insatiable demand for labor."

But this is not about such things -- if it were, there would not be tens of millions of Irish-Americans and Italian-Americans. It is about work. We have it, they want it, so they will come -- unless we are willing to resist forcibly, and by that I mean militarily as a police state. That is how it has usually been, and how it will always be now with the development of available and affordable global transportation.

September 3
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A worker shows a can of stewed crocodile meat blended with  Chinese herbs and black mushrooms as the other cuts crocodile meat at a crocodile farm in Nakhon Pathom province, 50 kilometers (31 miles) west of Bangkok, Thailand.  Already a big business in other countries including Australia, selling crocodile meat is starting in Thailand, Thai supermarkets will begin selling for the first time a can of crocodile at Baht 200 (4.55 $US) in early September. 
September 4
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A few genetically modified Medaka fish glow in the dark as they swim in a fishtank in Taipei, September 6, 2001. Taiwan aquatics firm Taikong Group, which developed the fish, plans to start marketing them in six months as the world's first glow-in-the dark pet. 
September 5
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September 6
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September 7
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September 8
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September 9
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September 10 
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September 11
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I made a brief trip over to Brenam today to pick up loan papers for my house as all air overnight planes were grounded from the attacks.

World Reacts with Revulsion to U.S. Attacks
LONDON (Reuters) - World leaders reacted with revulsion on Tuesday to what President George Bush called an '`apparent terrorist attack'' by aircraft that crashed into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington.

Palestinian and Israeli leaders joined Europe in condemning the devastating attacks that caused as yet unknown casualties.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (news - web sites) expressed deep sympathy to the American people ``in connection with this terrorist act, this terrible tragedy.''

President Jacques Chirac expressed outrage and assured the United States of France's support and sympathy.  ``France is deeply upset to learn of the monstrous attacks,'' he said as he broke off a regional tour to rush back to Paris.  ``France has always condemned terrorism, condemns it without reserve and thinks we must fight terrorism by all means.''

British Prime Minister Tony Blair (news - web sites) expressed his horror before racing back to London from a conference in the south.

``This mass terrorism is the new evil in our world today. It is perpetrated by fanatics who are utterly indifferent to the
sanctity of life,'' he said.  Berlin said it was shocked and said Germany's security council was convening, chaired by Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.  German air traffic authorities said all European flights to the United States had been suspended.

``I send my condolences, the condolences of the Palestinian people to American President Bush and his government and to the American people for this terrible act,'' Palestinian President Yasser Arafat told reporters in Gaza.  ``We completely condemn this serious operation...We were completely shocked. It's unbelievable, unbelievable,
unbelievable.''

Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer told Israel's Army Radio it was ``simply a tragedy.''  ``I sympathize with the American people,'' he said. ``It's simply a terrible thing.''

In Brussels, Chris Patten, European Commissioner for External Affairs, said: ``We are all watching events with absolute horror. Our prayers and deepest sympathies go out to our friends in the United States.'' 


September 12
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It's sad to see a brainwashed population throwing candy to children in the streets when another nations is shocked over a terrorist attack.

Palestinians in West Bank Celebrate Attacks on U.S.
       NABLUS, West Bank - Hundreds of Palestinians distributed sweets in the West Bank city of Nablus to celebrate a series of aircraft attacks on two major U.S. cities on Tuesday.  Palestinian President Yasser Arafat condemned the attacks which leveled the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and struck the Pentagon in Washington.
      Palestinians who have often burned U.S. flags in protests during their 11-month-old uprising against Israeli occupation
celebrated in the streets of Arab East Jerusalem.  ``I feel I am in a dream. I never believed that one day the United States would come to pay a price for its support to Israel,'' said Mustafa, a 24-year-old Palestinian gunman.
      Several dozen Palestinian youths gathered in Arab East Jerusalem to celebrate as well, honking out wedding tunes on their car horns.  ``We are so happy that America was hit. America is against us in supporting Israel,'' Suleiman, one of the demonstrators, said.
      In Nablus, motorists honked their horns and gunmen fired into the air from assault rifles to cheer on the attacks which unfolded in the space of a few hours and stunned people around the globe.
     Israel and the Palestinians have been locked in nearly a year of fighting since a Palestinian uprising against occupation erupted last September after peace talks stalled. 

September 13
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It's interesting to see that the market is hemoraging, but interest rates continue to fall. Wish I had more money to invest in more real estate property to take advantage of the difference between the 10 cap rates and the 6% interest rates.

I ate goat today for the first time.  It definitely has a unique distinct taste.  I was prepared to enjoy the meal, but thought it would come prepared in a different form.  It came looking like chicken wings and ribs.

September 14
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State officials in Texas, Michigan, Illinois, Idaho and several other states vowed to crack down on price gouging at gasoline service stations. Anxiety and fear about disruptions in oil from the Middle East led to long lines, price spikes, and, in at least in one case, a fistfight and arrest. Stations around the country raised prices to $5 a gallon or more after Tuesday morning’s attack on America. 

Brokers said that at any one time about 50 Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs) would be steaming from West Africa, the North Sea and the Gulf to the Louisiana Offshore Oil Platform (LOOP), which suspended operations on Tuesday. Each would carry two million barrels. 

September 15
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I mulched today.  Now i understand why most people pay $20 for a 20 pound bag of mulch, when a commercial mulcher cost $120 a day to rent.

After the Horror, Radio Stations Pull Some Songs
Clear Channel Communications has circulated a list of 150 songs and asked its stations to avoid playing them because of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Clear Channel Communications, the Texas-based company that owns about 1,170 radio stations nationwide, has circulated a list of 150 songs and asked its stations to avoid playing them because of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

September 16
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I mulched today again.  I ended up with 1,100 pounds of cedar mulch in a big pile on my driveway.  Not bad for 13 hours of hauling wood to feed into the loud mulching machine.
September 17
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I was surprised to see that the stock market only dropped about 5%.  I was anticipating at least a 10% hit from the terrorist events in New York.  I am surprised that the terrorist didn't hedge the market and get commodity bonds predicting a lower market.  They could make billions from getting those future shares prediciting a decrease on the market place.
September 18
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Upon being asked if I would go serve my county I have to stop and ponder for a second....  I think I could be a hacker that would attack and penetrate foreign networks and computers from the safety of my own home or underground bunker equiped with a T3 line.
September 19
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Rodhocetus, a whale that lived 47 million years ago is depicted based on new Eocene fossils from Pakistan. The ankle bones indicate a close relationship of early whales to hoofed land mammals such as hippopotami and pigs. Forefeet retain hooves on the central digits, but hind feet with slender webbed toes indicate that Rodhocetus was predominantly aquatic.

Fossils recently unearthed in Pakistan show that whales evolved from land animals related to sheep and pigs, and that hippos could be their closest living kin, scientists said on Wednesday.  How whales evolved and who their ancestors were has been hotly debated for decades.

Scientists knew they were related to land mammals but they have been divided on which ones because fossil evidence of the whale's 10-million-year transition from land to water has been sketchy.

But paleontologists have discovered 50-million-year-old fossils of early whales that lived on land, and ankle and skull bones from primitive aquatic whales that fill in the gaps.  ``With these new discoveries the whale fossil record is now so complete,'' Hans Thewissen, of Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, said.

September 20
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Maggots Crawling Back to Medicine's Mainstream
Yes, they're icky and disgusting. But maggots are also being used more and more frequently as a safe, effective means of speeding healing in patients recovering from serious wounds.  In fact, experts say the increasing popularity of maggots for wound debridement--the removal of dead or damaged tissue and dirt from the wound surface--may signal the resurgence of a very old treatment.
     `In the first half of the 20th century, maggot debridement therapy...was used by thousands of surgeons in hundreds of hospitals throughout the world,'' note researchers led by Dr. Ronald A. Sherman of the University of California, Irvine. However, by the 1940s the use of maggots in debridement had largely disappeared.  A rekindled interest in alternative therapies may be changing all that, according to Sherman's team. ``As this report was being written, the number of US and Canadian clinicians using maggot therapy increased to more than 100,'' they say, ''with nearly 1,000 clinicians using maggot therapy worldwide.''
     Sherman's team examined the safety, tolerability and effectiveness of outpatient maggot debridement therapy in a group of 21 adult patients, ranging from 35 to 95 years of age. Nearly all the patients suffered from some type of serious leg or foot wound, with eight patients having wounds so resistant to conventional therapies that they were left with few options outside of amputation.
     Writing in the September issue of the journal Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, the researchers explain that disinfected larvae of either the Phaenicia sericata or Neobellieria bullata species of maggot were placed into the wound. The colony was then contained with a gauze wrap or cage-like dressing and left in place for between 24 to 72 hours, after which time it--and the maggots--were removed.
     Sherman's group reports that in 17 of the 21 patients, maggot therapy completely or significantly debrided the wounds, with significant healing occurring within a few weeks after treatment, ``even though most of these wounds had failed to respond to three or more conventional (treatments) administered for 6 months or longer.''  Eleven of the treated wounds healed completely without the need for additional surgical procedures, the study authors add, including seven that healed within 6 months. Two patients did go on to require amputation despite successful debridement.
     The majority of patients had few qualms about receiving outpatient maggot therapy, with just eight expressing serious concern. Some worried that the maggots would escape into their homes or in public, and one patient remained so anxious about this that treatment had to be discontinued.  Other patients worried that they might not receive immediate attention for pain or other complications. Pain was treated successfully with oral analgesics, and no patient discontinued treatment due to discomfort or ineffectiveness. However, ``two physicians and three patients complained about foul odors during therapy,'' the investigators report.  Nevertheless, the use of maggots in wound healing is finding increasing acceptance among physicians in the US and elsewhere.  ``In addition to being safe and effective,'' the authors note, outpatient maggot therapy also ``makes good fiscal sense'' because it gives the patient round-the-clock healing without the need for expensive hospitalization or surgery.
September 21
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America Unmasked as a Paper Tiger     by Ted Rall
NEW YORK -- "Power is an illusion," columnist Jimmy Breslin wrote during Watergate. At no time in our lives has that truism been more evident.
The demise of the Soviet Union, we know as surely as we can know anything nowadays, left us Americans in charge of the planet. What we never considered was how little it took to bring down our rival superpower: the CIA dumping dollars on the floors of Moscow lavatories to destabilize the ruble. A nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl.

It happened to Afganistan. Now it's happening to us.  Integral to the shaking fists and the flag-waving hysteria and the funerals -- thousands and thousands more of those to come, by the way -- is a rage born of impotence. Conservatives applaud and liberals deplore our expensive governmental monitoring systems -- what would we have argued about had we known that neither the CIA nor the NSA knew what was going to go down Sept. 11? For what does it profit a country to starve its schools if its fattened Pentagon can't even protect its own headquarters from a terrorist attack?

The United States has finally been unmasked as the greatest Potemkin ever conceived -- "great magnificent shapes, castles and kingdoms," in Breslin's words. Or to paraphrase Edward G. Robinson's classic diss of Fred MacMurray in "Double Indemnity": We thought we were smart, but we
were wrong. We're just a little bigger.  Air-traffic controllers realized fairly quickly that those four jets had been hijacked. American Flight 11,
out of Boston, took 46 minutes to hit Tower One of the World Trade Center. United Flight 175 struck Tower Two 65 minutes after leaving Boston.

Most damning, American Flight 77 was aloft a total of 88 minutes -- nearly an hour and a half -- making it from Washington/Dulles to southern Ohio en route to Los Angeles before turning around.  Math: The flight did a 180-degree turn at least 44 minutes away from the Pentagon. Why weren't our F-16s on top of that plane within 10 minutes? Why wasn't it shot down during the next 34 minutes after that? The answer, sheepishly admitted and buried deep amid the assorted tales of horror, was that there is no policy for forcing down a civilian airliner.

Unless, of course, there was. The Air Force denies shooting down United Flight 93, which crashed and burned in Shanksville, Pa., the government's silence certifying called-in media stories of heroic passengers rebelling against their captors. Those accounts, however, are cast into doubt by the
government's refusal to release the plane's voice cockpit recorder tapes to the public. It's a safe bet, after all, that a bold struggle for control would at least make it out in transcript form. So it's possible that Bush or other officials made a terrible, yet courageous, decision to act; if so, the need to keep it secret provides ample testimony to the aftermath of last year's election-that-never-was: If Bush is the perfect president for this time, he's the empty-headed embodiment of our national cluelessness.

America's embarrassment of embarrassments continues apace. CIA superspooks admit that their posse of white Mormons from Utah never learned Pashto or Tajik, Afghanistan's two principal languages. The loss of four planes and a few days of airport closures decimate the biggest airline industry in the world, resonating through the economy in the form of the biggest stock-market crash ever. Half a dozen buildings accounting for less than 1 percent of New York City's office space vanish; the national economy plunges decidedly into recession and beyond.  What would we do if we really were at war? How can the richest superpower in the history of mankind have been brought so low by 18 guys?

The United States, it turns out, entered the 21st century atop a crumbling house of cards. When the Soviet Union went away, we lost the ideological and economic competition that had kept us sharp after World War II. We became complacent, smug and arrogant. History, Francis Fukuyama told us in 1993, had ended. Global free-market capitalism, epitomized and led by U.S. corporations, represented the pinnacle of achievement of historical evolution.

A power vacuum opened in Central Asia. Afghanistan disintegrated into civil war, anarchy and religious madness. Surrounding republics -- Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Pakistan -- were sucked into a vortex of instability and anti-Western sentiment fueled by clumsy U.S. attempts to suck all the oil out of the region without paying off any of the locals. This, and America's blank check to Israel, inspired tens of thousands of militant Muslims to their facile conclusion: Sometimes the bull in the china shop won't leave voluntarily. That's when you kill it.

Osama and his jihad boys sized us up fairly well. Behind the high-tech metal detectors in our airports were underpaid incompetents. Manning our tactical defenses were dimwitted dolts devoid of imagination. Bolstering our outsized economy was a mountain of debt and an easily spooked securities market. And behind the boast that the World Trade Center could withstand a collision with a jumbo jet was the horrible, awful truth: No amount of bluster can cancel out basic physics. As the cliche goes, we believed our own hype and now we're paying the price.

Our close-to-the-bone brand of capitalism turned out to be our economic Achilles' heel. Corporations that fill metal tubes with highly combustible fuel and upper-middle-class citizens and propel them eight miles over the surface of the Earth at high speeds ought to be prepared for an occasional mishap, but they're not -- and neither are insurers who are, after all, in the business of risk appraisal. A week of reduced productivity has ruined crops (no crop dusters during the flight ban) and trashed the economies of states dependent on tourism.

This, since George W. Bush and his tax-cutting maniacs have forgotten, is why governments and companies both need savings and surpluses. "It's my money," Republicans like to say, "and I can use it better than the government can." Worst of all, decades of increasing disparity of wealth have made it impossible for ordinary people to help out the only way they really could, by spending discretionary income. Now that we've let them steal all of our money, where are all the jobs rich people are supposed to create? This is the way empires end, with a bang and a whine.

September 22
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I installed my bathroom light fixtures today.  I attempted to start cleaning and renovating my upstairs bathroom.  A simple cleaning of the walls ended up being a 4 hour endever.  I had to remove all the old wallpaper and then scrub the walls with bleach to get rid of the mildue residue.  After doing wall paper on one wall I decided to stop and see what other things needed to be done.  At least my bathroom has a nice clean smell now.
September 23
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Catholic Church Shuts Down Orgy
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (Reuters) - A three-day sex orgy just steps away from Rio de Janeiro's famous tropical beaches has been canceled at the request of Brazil's Catholic Church, party organizers  said on Saturday.
``The Catholic Church filed a complaint with the city government and it was canceled, but it will happen in 10 to 15 days in a bigger and better complex because attendance has increased by a lot,'' said Alice Oliveira, a spokeswoman for Brazil's Hedonist Club, which is hosting the bash.  It was canceled on Friday night.

The party had been scheduled for a large sauna and brothel complex called Venus Prateada (Silver Venus) in the beachside Rio suburb of Recreio. Prostitution is legal in Brazil.  Oliveira said the city government shut down the event because Venus Prateada lacked a license to operate but that the Hedonist Club had all the right paperwork to throw the party.

``We were expecting 1,500 people per day for this weekend's party,'' Oliveira said. ``But since it's been in all the Brazilian (news - web sites) media, the demand for tickets has increased by a lot. So we don't even know how many people we'll have.''

Organizers said the proportion of men and women at the party was being controlled via ticket sales to keep a relative parity. Anyone age 18 or over can buy tickets for between $20 and $35. 

September 24
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September 25
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We had the first real cold front come through, so I spent a few hours caulking my windows and doors.  I still have yet to do much with my 1000 pounds of mulch on my driveway.
September 26
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Seems that you can't even trust your bank these days to be efficient and timely in providing you service.  After it taking the bank 3 months to decide to approve the loan, it has taken another 3 weeks after all the papers are signed for the loan to be closed.  Yet now they have booked the loan, (I now owe them the loan amount of $30,000) yes it has not been funded, ( I don't have another dime in my name).  So after spended a good 2 hours at the bank they decided I was telling the truth & they still didn't know where the bank check ended up.
September 27
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Well the money finally showed up today. I'm temporarily $30,000 richer.  I paid the first construction chck to my contractor to start the remodeling process next week.  I've been struck by a image.... three stories sounds awfully nice.  To have another loft room upstairs on each side and gain a view of the downtown area.  Maybe more than just a dream... only time will tell.
September 28
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September 29
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I moved the 1100 pounds of mulch from my front driveway to my backyard.  It was a 5 hour processes with 2 people doing the work.  I also chopped down another cedar tree.  That brings the total up to 8 trees that I have chopped down.
September 30
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Today I went rock hunting again.  Maybe one more load of rocks and I'll have enough to do my dry creek and waterfall design I came up with.