The (Occasional) Veterans Report
In response to yesterday's disturbing report, I submit this VA pamphlet that offers treatment by the VA for veterans that have experienced...
My apologies for the un-retouched scan of this pamphlet and its flaws. I had planned to do so, but I wanted to get this out ASAP so here it is, as it is...
In closing, I want to say that 'This not your father's VA' anymore... As well it should be...
Life Member - DAV
2 more scans were included, but my computer doesn't like them. At all. Sorry. ~marty
Why It's Good To Have A Dash Camera (YouTube)
"It's especially good when something like this happens. The scam artists in the BMW backed up and caused the "accident," but anyone coming in afterward would assume that the front car was rear-ended. Notice the moment when our driver points out that all this is being recorded." -- Neatorama
Paul Krugman: Is Our Economy Healing? (New York Times)
… there are reasons to think that we're finally on the (slow) road to better times. And we wouldn't be on that road if Mr. Obama had given in to Republican demands that he slash spending, or the Federal Reserve had given in to Republican demands that it tighten money.
Ted Rall: The Corpse-Urinating Kids Are Alright
"Eighteen, 19-year-old kids make stupid mistakes all too often and that's what occurred here." This was the nuanced reaction of Rick Perry, governor of the supposedly important state of Texas, who has signed dozens of death warrants (at least one for an innocent man), who thinks he deserves to be president, to a video of Marines in U.S.-occupied Afghanistan peeing on dead Afghan resistance fighters.
Bill Wyman: So Long, and Thanks for All the Pirated Movies (Slate)
What the Megaupload shutdown means for other traffic-hogging "cyberlockers."
Brian McCollum: "Mitch Ryder blasts back with new autobiography, CD" (Detroit Free Press)
Mitch Ryder knows all about putting his heart on his sleeve: With a career in the soul-singing business for more than half a century, it's practically his job description.
Henry Rollins: Are You Collector Scum? (LA Weekly)
The joy of listening to the record often is outweighed by the slightly trembling, moist handed, mouth-breathing ecstasy of owning the item. The rarer, the better. The scarcity of the music not only makes the music itself enjoyable but it also gives the collector a strange sense of superiority.
Dorian Lynksey: "Leonard Cohen: 'All I've got to put in a song is my own experience'" (Guardian)
Sombre prophet, mordant wisecracker, repentant cad: Leonard Cohen is back with a great new album, Old Ideas - and more wit and wisdom.
Colin McGuire: "'I've Never Been the Coolest Kid in School': An Interview with Jack's Mannequin" (PopMatters)
"I've never been the coolest kid in school," he continued. "But I've reached out to a lot of the older cats who helped form what rock and roll is today. I've been able to work with [Elvis Costello's] Pete Thomas and [Tom Petty's] Steve Ferrone and I feel I've certainly gained a lot from digging deeper into rock and roll. I've been lucky enough to work with some of the elder statesmen of rock and I am grateful for that."
David Bruce has 42 Kindle books on Amazon.com with 250 anecdotes in each book. Each book is $1, so for $42 you can buy 10,500 anecdotes. Search for "Funniest People," "Coolest People, "Most Interesting People," "Kindest People," "Religious Anecdotes," "Maximum Cool," and "Resist Psychic Death."
Michelle in AZ
From The Creator of 'Avery Ant'
from that Mad Cat, JD
In The Chaos Household
Some rain, some sun.
Yoko Ono, Debbie Harry, Jackson Browne and Willie Nelson are among dozens of artists contributing to "Occupy This Album," to raise money for the Occupy Wall Street movement against economic inequality, a publicity firm said on Monday.
Workhouse public relations firm said that the album would be released in the spring "as a celebration that provides a musical voice and ultimately through record sales, financial support to fortify the movements continuation."
The album is being put together by Occupy Wall Street solidarity group "Music for Occupy." Other artists involved with the album are Third Eye Blind, Crosby and Nash, Tom Morello, Thievery Corporation, Warren Haynes, and Immortal Technique.
Newbery, Caldecott Winners Announced
American Library Association
Jack Gantos' "Dead End in Norvelt" has won the John Newbery Medal for the best children's book of 2011. Chris Raschka's "A Ball for Daisy" won the Randolph Caldecott award for best illustrated story.
The Newbery and Caldecott prizes, the most prestigious in children's literature, were announced Monday by the American Library Association during its "Midwinter Meeting" in Dallas. No cash prizes are given, but the awards are watched closely by booksellers and librarians and often lead to increased sales and a lasting place on a school or store bookshelf. Previous winners include such favorites as Louis Sachar's "Holes" and Brian Selznick's "The Invention of Hugo Cabret," the basis for Martin Scorsese's film "Hugo."
Numerous other winners were announced Monday, including John Corey Whaley's "Where Things Come Back," which received the Michael L. Printz Award for best young adult literature; and Kadir Nelson's "Heart and Soul," winner of the Coretta Scott King Book Award for best African-American story. The King prize for best illustrated book was given to Shane W. Evans' "Underground: Finding the Light to Freedom."
Jesmyn Ward's "Salvage the Bones," winner last fall of the National Book Award for fiction, was among 10 recipients of the Alex Award for adult books which appeal to teens. Others cited included Erin Morgenstern's acclaimed debut "The Night Circus" and David Levithan's "The Lover's Dictionary." Bill Wright's "Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy" received the Stonewall award for "exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience."
American Library Association
Letters Donated To USC
The family of Brandon Tartikoff -- the youngest programming chief in NBC history -- has donated the late television and film executive's collection of correspondence and effects to the University of Southern California, the school said Monday.
George Lucas, a USC alumnus and benefactor, had urged Tartikoff's widow, Lilly Tartikoff, to make the donation. Lilly Tartikoff will officially present the documents to Lucas in a USC School of Cinematic Arts ceremony in the fall.
The collection includes more than 4,000 pieces of correspondence that Tartikoff sent and received between 1979 and 1992.
Tartikoff brought NBC from the No. 3 to the No. 1 network and is credited for the original concepts and blueprints of "The Cosby Show," "Miami Vice," "The Golden Girls," "The A-Team" and "Hill Street Blues."
Will Finally Allow Facial Hair
Workers at Disney's theme parks will be allowed to grow beards and goatees for the first time ever.
A Disney spokeswoman said Monday that the new policy will apply to workers in Florida and California starting next month.
Disney had prohibited all facial hair on its theme park workers since Disneyland opened in California in the mid-1950s. The company revised its policy in 2000 to allow mustaches, provided they were grown on vacation and not at work.
Starting Feb. 3, beards, mustaches and other facial growth will be allowed.
Misled UK Police
Journalists from the News of the World tabloid misled police after hacking the mobile phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, action which sparked a scandal engulfing News Corp, a letter from police published on Monday said.
Surrey Police said reporters had lied to police after hacking into Dowler's voicemail messages in 2002 and put pressure on detectives working on her case.
The paper, part of News International, the British arm of Rupert Murdoch's media empire, had demanded answers after claiming it had information Dowler had contacted a recruitment agency, the force said.
One of its reporters had claimed the tabloid had got Dowler's mobile phone details from school children, while the letter discloses someone had called the agency pretending to be Dowler's mother.
It was the revelation by the Guardian newspaper last July that the tabloid's reporters had illegally accessed the voicemail of missing Dowler, who was later found murdered, which caused the phone-hacking to hit the headlines amid widespread public revulsion.
Plans US Spanish-Language TV Network
Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. is launching a Spanish-language broadcast TV network that aims to bring the flavor of the Fox network to Hispanic audiences in the U.S.
The move is touted as a bold entry into a market dominated by top-ranked Univision and No. 2 Telemundo, in the same way that Fox rattled broadcasters ABC, CBS and NBC with its debut a quarter century ago.
The company said Monday that the new network, MundoFox, will be launched in September or October in partnership with Colombia-based RCN Television Group. RCN already produces popular shows for one of Univision's junior networks in the U.S., TeleFutura. RCN's biggest hits include "El Capo" and "La Hija del Mariachi."
Lopez said MundoFox is seeking affiliate agreements with large TV stations that are independent and already broadcast in Spanish, although it would also seek English-language or other language stations willing to make the switch.
Compassionate Conservatism In Action
A cat belonging to an Arkansas Democratic campaign manager was found dead on Sunday night with the word "Liberal" spray-painted across its side, the campaign manager said.
The cat was a pet of Jake Burris, who manages Democrat Ken Aden's bid for Arkansas' 3rd Congressional District. Aden is running against incumbent Republican Representative Steve Womack.
Burris was returning to his Russellville, Arkansas home with his four children when he found the cat on his doorstep, the Aden campaign said in a press release on Monday.
The mixed-breed Siamese cat had one side of its head bashed in to "the point the cat's eyeball was barely hanging from its socket," the release said.
Arkansas' 3rd District is heavily conservative Republican and has been held by a Republican since the 1966 election. Womack first won the congressional seat in 2010 with 72 percent of the vote.
Ancient Jewish Scrolls Found
A cache of ancient Jewish scrolls from northern Afghanistan that has only recently come to light is creating a storm among scholars who say the landmark find could reveal an undiscovered side of medieval Jewry.
The 150 or so documents, dated from the 11th century, were found in Afghanistan's Samangan province and most likely smuggled out -- a sorry but common fate for the impoverished and war-torn country's antiquities.
Israeli emeritus professor Shaul Shaked, who has examined some of the poems, commercial records and judicial agreements that make up the treasure, said while the existence of ancient Afghan Jewry is known, their culture was still a mystery.
The hoard is currently being kept by private antique dealers in London, who have been producing a trickle of new documents over the past two years, which is when Shaked believes they were found and pirated out of Afghanistan in a clandestine operation.
It is likely they belonged to Jewish merchants on the Silk Road running across Central Asia, said T. Michael Law, a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at Oxford University's Center for Hebrew and Jewish Studies.
France Returns 20 Maori Heads
Preparing the biggest homecoming yet of its kind, authorities in New Zealand on Monday received 20 ancestral heads of Maori ethnic people once held in several French museums as a cultural curiosity.
French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand and New Zealand's ambassador presided over a solemn ceremony at Quai Branly museum in Paris, where the heads were encased in a box - the largest single handover of Maori heads to be repatriated, New Zealand's embassy said.
France long resisted handing over such cultural artifacts, but a law passed in 2010 paved the way for the return of the Maori heads. They were obtained as long ago as the 19th century, and one as recently as 1999.
Some Maori heads, with intricate tattoos, were traditionally kept as trophies from tribal warfare. But once Westerners began offering prized goods in exchange for them, men were in danger of being killed simply for their tattoos, French museum officials have said.
The practice of preserving heads was begun by Maori as a way of remembering dead ancestors. In the decades after Europeans arrived, the heads became a curiosity and sought-after trade item, prompting Maori to ramp up their production levels.
Largest Since 2005 To Hit Today
Night before last the sun unleashed a flash of radiation called a solar flare, along with a generous belch of ionized matter that is now racing toward Earth at thousands of kilometers a second. The solar storm front from the ionized blast, called a coronal mass ejection (CME), should arrive this morning, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC). The forecasters called the event the strongest solar storm since 2005.
When a solar storm hits Earth, the impact can have a number of consequences, especially in Earth orbit and at high latitudes, where the planet's geomagnetic shielding is thin. Solar storms can knock out satellites, cause blackouts, and force aircraft to avoid polar routes. Storms can also bring the aurora borealis, a.k.a. the northern lights, down to unusually low latitudes.
The SWPC is forecasting that the inbound storm will reach G2 ("moderate") and possibly G3 ("strong") levels on the geomagnetic storm scale, which tops out at G5. A G3 storm should not cause severe problems for satellite operators or power companies but could interrupt satellite-based navigation systems and some radio communications. Such storms can also produce auroras visible as far south as Illinois and Oregon, according to the SWPC.
Researchers predict that the coronal mass ejection should reach Earth around 9:00 A.M. (Eastern Standard Time) on Tuesday, January 24. But that timeline is a bit uncertain; SpaceWeather.com notes that the storm could hit up to seven hours sooner or later than that. It should continue into the following day, according to SWPC forecasts, so auroras could be visible Tuesday night in North America.
2012 Predictions From Chinese Masters
Year of the Dragon
Want to know what's in store for 2012? Who will win the US election? Will the eurozone implode? China's feng shui masters tackle the big issues with their predictions for the Year of the Dragon.
Celebrity astrologer Peter So says the United States will provide some good news late in the year, but his charts for Europe make grim reading.
As for US politics, the soothsayers are more cautious. When asked who will win the US elections, So refuses to make a prediction without precise information about the dates and times of the candidates' births.
"Sometimes luck depends on the country itself, rather than an individual president," he says enigmatically.
"For the US, they are starting to have luck on their side again, so it is going to be a good year no matter who's elected."
Year of the Dragon
Filmmaking executive Bingham Ray has died while attending the Sundance Film Festival. He was 57.
The San Francisco Film Society says Ray died Monday. He was hospitalized Saturday after suffering an apparent stroke while attending the annual showcase of independent film in Park City, Utah. The exact cause of death was not released.
Ray served as president of United Artists for several years, where he shepherded such films as "Bowling for Columbine" and "Hotel Rwanda." He also worked at Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, where he developed marketing and distribution plans for films including "Death at a Funeral" and "Lars and the Real Girl."
The Sundance Institute called Ray's contributions to independent film "indelible."
He is survived by his wife, three children and two sisters.