Sunday, May 28, 2006

“Ironhead” Heyward loses battle with recurring tumor

SO, so, so young…

By Len Pasquarelli
ESPN.com

ATLANTA—Former NFL fullback Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, who played 11 seasons in the league with five different franchises, died here Saturday after a seven-year battle with a recurring brain tumor.
Heyward, who retired from the league following the 1998 season, was 39.

Craig Heyward played for five different NFL teams, including the Colts in 1998. 
Given the severity and aggressiveness of Heyward’s tumor, known as a chordoma, and the inability of surgeons to completely remove it during two operations, his death was not unexpected. Heyward also suffered a stroke a few years ago that left him partially paralyzed.

But friends who had visited recently with Heyward, including one-time NFL quarterback Bobby Hebert, a former teammate in both New Orleans and Atlanta, certainly did not expect his death to come so quickly.

Hebert told ESPN.com two weeks ago that he was apprised that the tumor had wrapped itself around Heyward’s brain, that further surgical attempts were not planned, and that the once-mighty fullback would likely survive another three to five years.

“The one thing he’s still got and that hasn’t changed a bit,” Hebert said at the time, “is that devilish sense of humor of his. Hopefully, that will keep him going for a while.”

In a statement released by the University of Pittsburgh, coach Dave Wannstedt, who helped direct Heyward to the school and also coached him with the Chicago Bears, said: “I will always remember him as a tremendous player who had an irrepressible attitude on and off the field. We spoke just a few weeks ago and I was struck by the typical upbeat ‘Ironhead’ attitude he displayed despite his health. The thoughts and prayers of the entire Pitt family are with Craig’s loved ones during this time of sorrow.”

Heyward departed Pitt as an underclassman to enter the NFL draft and was the first-round selection of the New Orleans Saints in 1988. He played from 1988-92 for the Saints and then had stints with Chicago (1993), Atlanta (1994-96), St. Louis (1997) and Indianapolis (1998).

In 149 games, Heyward registered 1,031 carries for 4,301 yards and 30 touchdowns. He also posted 177 receptions for 1,559 yards and four touchdowns. His finest season came with the Falcons in 1995, when he rushed for 1,083 yards and six touchdowns and earned his lone Pro Bowl berth.

Posted by CHANNI on 05/28 at 04:02 AM
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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Understanding Saudi Arabia, is it a Friend or Foe?

Since it was discovered that 15 out of the 19 September 11 hijackers were Saudis, every aspect of Saudi Arabia has come under scrutiny by members of the U.S. government, advocacy organizations and members of the media.  Ironically, the increased scrutiny of Saudi Arabia has not brought America any closer to understanding Saudi Arabia.

The confusion about Saudi Arabia is in part due to the credibility of the parties who have made irreconcilable conclusions about whether Saudi Arabia is an ally in the war on terror.  On one hand, President Bush, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and former Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz have argued that Saudi Arabia is a strong ally in the war on terror and a great friend to the United States.  On the other hand, certain members of congress, various think tanks and other non-profit organizations have argued passionately that Saudi Arabia is no friend of the United States and a major supporter
of extremist ideologies and groups. 

Most recently a Washington Post article written by Nina Shea of the Center for Religious Freedom at Freedom House revealed language from Saudi text books that encourage an ideology of hatred towards Christians, Jews and Muslims who don’t follow the Saudi version of Islam (Wahabism).  Nina Shea argued that the disturbing material found in Select Saudi text books “are shaping the views of the next generation of Saudis and Muslims world wide.  Unchanged, they will only harden and deepen hatred, intolerance and violence toward other faiths ad cultures.”

So is the Saudi Arabian government a friend of the United States or does Saudi Arabia propagate hate and intolerance among American Muslims and Muslims world wide? The answer to both of these questions is yes.  The Saudi Arabian government is a great friend to the United States and at the same time many in Saudi Arabia, including some who receive government funding propagate hate and intolerance against anyone who does not share their Wahabi inspired ideology.  The answers to both these questions may seem inconsistent and counter intuitive but these seemingly inconsistent answers
reflect the complexity of modern day Saudi Arabia.

By now everyone has heard of the historic compact between the Saudi Royal Family and thefanatical Wahabi religious establishment.  According to this agreement, the Saudi Royalfamily deals exclusively with matters of state while the Wahabi religious establishmentdeals with issues of morality which includes substantial control over the education system and the substantive interpretation of Islam.  It is this division of power that produces the two faces of Saudi Arabia.

As mentioned earlier, the Saudi government is a great friend to the United States. their assistance in the first and second Gulf war was indispensable to the
United States military.  For the last 30 years they have implemented policies that supplied cheep energy to the United States and the rest of the world.  They support the U.S. dollar by accepting only dollars for their oil and they have underwritten American debt by investing in U.S. government bonds.  They also strengthen the U.S. economy by investing billions in the U.S. private sector.

For many, it may come as a surprise to hear that the Saudi Royal family is for the most part progressive and if they had their way Saudi Arabia would be a much more tolerant country today.  However, to become more tolerant and progressive, Saudi Arabia requires strong leadership that has not existed in that country for the last 30 years.

For most of the 20th century, the Saudi royal family was substantially stronger than the Wahabi religious establishment.  However, due to shortsighted policies and a lack of leadership from the Saudi government, the Wahabi religious establishment has gained substantial influence in Saudi Arabia.  Over the last 30 years, radical Wahabis have become restless and unsatisfied with Saudi Arabia’s historical division of power.  Inresponse to the Wahabi’s increasingly assertive demands, the Saudi government adopted a policy of appeasement.  The decision to appease the Wahabis has resulted in the
legislation of internal social policy that is based on the most extreme common denominator.  As is clear, Saudi Arabia’s policy of appeasement has backfired and has resulted in the propagation of a wicked, backward, violent and intolerant interpretation of Islam the likes of which the Muslim world has not experienced in 1400 years of history.

In recent years, Saudi Arabia has become a victim of terrorism with several bombings that killed hundreds of people.  In response to terrorism on its own soil, the Saudi government has finally declared war on terrorism.  It now appears that the Saudi government realizes that the status quo cannot continue and are taking baby steps to reform their policies by organizing tough police actions and ideologically challenging the terrorists’ theological justification for violence.  The Free Muslims Coalition regularly monitors Saudi TV and while we have witnessed intolerant rhetoric by radical Wahabi religious figures, we have also witnessed a sharp increase in the number of religious and government figures who aggressively advocate tolerance, respect for other
religions and attempt to discredit the ideology that leads to extremism and terrorism.

Nevertheless, while we recognize that the Saudi Arabian government has taken steps to fight extremism and terrorism, it is not yet doing enough.  Last year, the Free Muslim Coalition Against Terrorism criticized the Saudi Islamic Academy, a Saudi funded elementary school in Virginia, for using textbooks that taught first grade students that Christianity and Judaism are false religions.  We were particularly outraged by that text book because it was published after Saudi Arabia vetted its curriculum for intolerant material.  Despite our harsh criticism of Saudi practices, we recognize that they are sincerely trying to reform.  However, for the sake of long term stability, Saudi Arabia feels that change must be gradual.  Truth be told, we recognize the enormous challenges the Saudi government has in correcting more than 30 years of unconditional appeasement.

In the mean time, neither the United States nor any other country has to wait on Saudi Arabia to figure out how to reform 30 years of shortsighted policies.  The Free Muslim Coalition Against Terrorism makes the following recommendations to protect the United States and American Muslims from the propagation of intolerant material from radical elements in Saudi Arabia:

1. THAT U.S government officials reach an unofficial secret agreement with the Saudi government so that neither the Saudi government nor individual Saudis may build Islamic schools or mosques in the United States.

2. THAT the Saudi government immediately stop the distributing of religious books toAmerican Muslims and American Muslim institutions.

3. THAT The Saudi government terminate the payment of salaries for Imams and other religious figures in the United States.

4. THAT the Saudi government prevent Saudi charities and religious organizations fromsending books, building mosques, schools or paying the salaries of Imams in the UnitedStates or otherwise operate in the United States.

5. THAT the United States impress upon other nations to implement the steps mentioned above.

In conclusion, the Free Muslim Coalition Against Terrorism believes that the building of mosques, Islamic schools and production of religious books must be financed exclusively by American Muslims.  By funding their own religious institutions, American Muslims can better protect themselves from the influences of radical groups from abroad.

Moreover, the Free Muslims Coalition believes that placing unofficial pressure on Saudi Arabia is in the best interest of the Saudi government.  The last few years has shown that the Saudi government takes tough action only if their security is in jeopardy or they can justify tough action by referring to the pressure they are receiving from the rest of the world.

Kamal Nawash is the president of the Free Muslims Coalition Against Terrorism.

Please respond to this article by posting your comments in our Free Speech Zone
at:
http://www.freemuslims.org/blog/

Posted by cricket on 05/24 at 06:40 AM
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Monday, May 22, 2006

Advice from a man and his early retirement.

It is important for men to remember that, as women grow older, it becomes harder for them to maintain the same quality of housekeeping as when they were younger. When you notice this, try not to yell at them. Some are oversensitive, and there’s nothing worse than an oversensitive woman.

My name is Ron. Let me relate how I handled the situation with my wife, Julie. When I took “early retirement” last year, it became necessary for Julie to get a full-time job, both for extra income and for the health benefits that we needed. Shortly after she started working, I noticed she was beginning to show her age.

I usually get home from the golf course about the same time she gets home from work. Although she knows how hungry I am, she almost always says she has to rest for half an hour or so before she starts dinner. I don’t yell at her. Instead, I tell her to take her time and just wake me when she gets dinner on the table. I generally have lunch in the Men’s Grill at the club so eating out is not reasonable. I’m ready for some home-cooked grub when I hit that door.

She used to do the dishes as soon as we finished eating. But now it’s not unusual for them to sit on the table for several hours after dinner. I do what I can by diplomatically reminding her several times each evening that they won’t clean themselves. I know she really appreciates this, as it does seem to motivate her to get them done before she goes to bed.

Another symptom of aging is complaining, I think. For example, she will say that it is difficult for her to find time to pay the monthly bills during her lunch hour. But, boys, we take ‘em for better or worse, so I just smile and offer encouragement. I tell her to stretch it out over two or even three days. That way she won’t have to rush so much.

I also remind her that missing lunch completely now and then wouldn’t hurt her any (if you know what I mean). I like to think tact is one of my strong points.

When doing simple jobs, she seems to think she needs more rest periods. She had to take a break when she was only half finished mowing the yard. I try not to make a scene. I’m a fair man. I tell her to fix herself a nice, big, cold glass of freshly squeezed lemonade and just sit for a while. And, as long as she is making one for herself, she may as well make one for me too.

I know that I probably look like a saint in the way I support Julie. I’m not saying that showing this much consideration is easy. Many men will find it difficult. Some will find it impossible! Nobody knows better than I do how frustrating women can become as they get older. However guys, even if you just use a little more tact and less criticism of your aging wife because of this article, I will consider that writing it was well worthwhile. After all, we are put on this earth to help each other… Ron

EDITOR’S NOTE: Ron died suddenly Thursday, May 26. He was found with a Calloway extra-long 50-inch Big Bertha Driver II (golf club) rammed up his backside, with only 2 inches of grip showing. His wife Julie was arrested, but the all-woman Grand Jury accepted the explanation of her defense that he accidentally sat down on it very suddenly.

Posted by SPN on 05/22 at 12:28 PM
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Choreographer Katherine Dunham dies at 96

Started nation’s first self-supporting all-black modern dance group

The Associated Press
Updated: 12:52 a.m. MT May 22, 2006 @ msnbc.com

NEW YORK - Katherine Dunham, a pioneering dancer and choreographer, author and civil rights activist who left Broadway to teach culture in one of America’s poorest cities, has died. She was 96.

Dunham died Sunday at the Manhattan assisted living facility where she lived, said Charlotte Ottley, executive liaison for the organization that preserves her artistic estate. The cause of death was not immediately known.

Dunham was perhaps best known for bringing African and Caribbean influences to the European-dominated dance world. In the late 1930s, she established the nation’s first self-supporting all-black modern dance group.

“We weren’t pushing ‘Black is Beautiful,’ we just showed it,” she later wrote.

During her career, Dunham choreographed “Aida” for the Metropolitan Opera and musicals such as “Cabin in the Sky” for Broadway. She also appeared in several films, including “Stormy Weather” and “Carnival of Rhythm.”

Her dance company toured internationally from the 1940s to the ’60s, visiting 57 nations on six continents. Her success was won in the face of widespread discrimination, a struggle Dunham championed by refusing to perform at segregated theaters.

For her endeavors, Dunham received 10 honorary doctorates, the Presidential Medal of the Arts, the Albert Schweitzer Prize at the Kennedy Center Honors, and membership in the French Legion of Honor, as well as major honors from Brazil and Haiti.

“She is one of the very small handful of the most important people in the dance world of the 20th century,” said Bonnie Brooks, chairman of the dance department at Columbia College in Chicago. “And that’s not even mentioning her work in civil rights, anthropological research and for humanity in general.”

After 1967, Dunham lived most of each year in predominantly black East St. Louis, Ill., where she struggled to bring the arts to a Mississippi River city of burned-out buildings and high crime.

She set up an eclectic compound of artists from around the globe, including Harry Belafonte. Among the free classes offered were dance, African hair-braiding and woodcarving, conversational Creole, Spanish, French and Swahili and more traditional subjects such as aesthetics and social science.

Dunham also offered martial arts training in hopes of getting young, angry males off the street. Her purpose, she said, was to steer the residents of East St. Louis “into something more constructive than genocide.”

Government cuts and a lack of private funding forced her to scale back her programs in the 1980s. Despite a constant battle to pay bills, Dunham continued to operate a children’s dance workshop and a museum.

Plagued by arthritis and poverty in the latter part of her life, Dunham made headlines in 1992 when she went on a 47-day hunger strike to protest U.S. policy that repatriated Haitian refugees.

“It’s embarrassing to be an American,” Dunham said at the time.

Dunham’s New York studio attracted illustrious students like Marlon Brando and James Dean who came to learn the “Dunham Technique,” which Dunham herself explained as “more than just dance or bodily executions. It is about movement, forms, love, hate, death, life, all human emotions.”

In her later years, she depended on grants and the kindness of celebrities, artists and former students to pay for her day-to-day expenses. Will Smith and Harry Belafonte were among those who helped her catch up on bills, Ottley said.

“She didn’t end up on the street though she was one step from it,” Ottley said. “She has been on the edge and survived it all with dignity and grace.”

Dunham was married to theater designer John Thomas Pratt for 49 years before his death in 1986.

© 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

© 2006 MSNBC.com

URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12907478/

Posted by Nuttshell on 05/22 at 11:03 AM
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Peace for Darfur?

Could China be behind the genocide in Darfur?

This month the government of Sudan and one of the three main rebel movements signed a peace agreement. While the agreement has been heralded by politicians as an important step forward, it remains to be seen if the agreement will have a significant impact in the war-torn region of Darfur. Humanitarian agencies estimate that more than 300,000 people have died as a result of the conflict and 2 million more have been forced to flee their homes. 

The African Union has dispatched a force of 7,000 troops to monitor the situation in Darfur. However the force is under-manned and ill-equipped to handle the job. According to a New York Times report “Taking reports and making patrols is nearly all the African Union is mandated to do. Since arriving in 2004, the African Union force has been here to monitor - but not enforce - the cease-fire agreement signed between the rebels and the government...The African Union force is small enough that, spread out, each soldier would oversee an area larger than Manhattan. By contrast, tiny Liberia, which is slightly less than one-quarter the size of Darfur and has a population half of Darfur’s six million, has a United Nations peacekeeping force of 15,000 troops.”

If the situation in Sudan is really as bad as humanitarian groups say it is, why hasn’t something been done to stop the atrocities? Why hasn’t the UN sent a peacekeeping force to the region? The answer to this question can perhaps be found in Sudan’s massive oil reserves. When Sudan began producing oil in 1999, its government began collecting $500 million a year in revenue (about 80 percent of which went to buy weapons). Sudan’s oil minister inaugurated its newest pipeline in April which will raise oil production to 500,000 barrels per day and provides a structure to potentially double output in the coming year. If Sudan’s reserves are really as big as experts suspect, Sudan has the potential to collect tens of billions of dollars a year in oil revenue.

So who has benefited the most from Sudan’s new found oil wealth? China is, by far, the single biggest consumer of Sudanese oil. China’s transformation from an insular, agrarian society into a key force in the global economy has spawned a voracious appetite for raw materials. The pressure to find new sources of oil has grown as China has swelled into the world’s second-largest consumer and as production at the largest of its domestic fields is declining. According to government statistics, China’s imports have grown from about 6 percent of its oil needs a decade ago to roughly one-third today and are forecast to rise to rise to 60 percent by 2020.

The Darfur region is known to have major yet untapped oil reserves, representing a vast amount of potential wealth at a time when crude oil has risen to nearly $75 a barrel. The China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), owned by the Chinese government, has invested over $300 million in an expansion of Sudan’s largest refinery, doubling its output. The refinery now supplies most of Sudan’s petroleum needs. The CNPC began oil production at a field in southern Darfur in 2004 and it holds a large share in Sudan’s southern oil fields. Another Chinese firm, Sinopec Corp., built a 1,000-mile pipeline from that complex to Port Sudan on the Red Sea, where China’s Petroleum Engineering Construction Group has built a tanker terminal. All in all, China buys about two-thirds of Sudan’s oil.

Sudan is China’s largest overseas oil project. China is also Sudan’s largest supplier of arms. Chinese-made tanks, fighter planes, bombers, helicopters, machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades have intensified Sudan’s internal strife.

From its seat on the United Nations Security Council, China has been Sudan’s chief diplomatic ally. In recent months, the council has attempted to pressure Sudan’s predominantly Arab government to protect the African tribes by threatening to sanction its oil sales. However China has used its veto power to stop any Security Council resolutions against Sudan, thus prolonging the cycle of violence in the region.

Please continue to pray daily for those who are suffering in Sudan.

To learn more about the roots of the conflict in Sudan, read the related article in the April 25 issue of the eNews titled ‘Pray for Sudan’.

Posted by Nuttshell on 05/22 at 10:33 AM
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Sunday, May 21, 2006

One reason why talking is better than email?  You can make faces!

This goes for weblog postings as well. Just recently, a cousin of mine and myself were the victims of the lack of adequate communication between each other. We were both the victims of misunderstanding each other's messages. It is great that we are smart enough to know that even the most articulate individual can be misunderstood when writing electronically.
By Daniel Enemark
Michael Morris and Jeff Lowenstein wouldn't have recognized each other if they'd met on the street, but that didn't stop them from getting into a shouting match. The professors had been working together on a research study when a technical glitch inconvenienced Mr. Lowenstein. He complained in an e-mail, raising Mr. Morris's ire. Tempers flared.

"It became very embarrassing later," says Morris, when it turned out there had been a mis-communication, "but we realized that we couldn't blame each other for yelling about it because that's what we were studying."

Morris and Lowenstein are among the scholars studying the benefits and dangers of e-mail and other computer-based interactions. In a world where businesses and friends often depend upon e-mail to communicate, scholars want to know if electronic communications convey ideas clearly.

The answer, the professors conclude, is sometimes "no." Though e-mail is a powerful and convenient medium, researchers have identified three major problems. First and foremost, e-mail lacks cues like facial expression and tone of voice. That makes it difficult for recipients to decode meaning well. Second, the prospect of instantaneous communication creates an urgency that pressures e-mailers to think and write quickly, which can lead to carelessness. Finally, the inability to develop personal rapport over e-mail makes relationships fragile in the face of conflict.

In effect, e-mail cannot adequately convey emotion. A recent study by Profs. Justin Kruger of New York University and Nicholas Epley of the University of Chicago focused on how well sarcasm is detected in electronic messages. Their conclusion: Not only do e-mail senders overestimate their ability to communicate feelings, but e-mail recipients also overestimate their ability to correctly decode those feelings.

One reason for this, the business-school professors say, is that people are egocentric. They assume others experience stimuli the same way they do. Also, e-mail lacks body language, tone of voice, and other cues - making it difficult to interpret emotion.

To avoid miscommunication, e-mailers need to look at what they write from the recipient's perspective, Epley says. One strategy: Read it aloud in the opposite way you intend, whether serious or sarcastic. If it makes sense either way, revise. Or, don't rely so heavily on e-mail. Because e-mails can be ambiguous, "criticism, subtle intentions, emotions are better carried over the phone," he says.

E-mail's ambiguity has special implications for minorities and women, because it tends to feed the preconceptions of a recipient. "You sign your e-mail with a name that people can use to make inferences about your ethnicity," says Epley. A misspelling in a black colleague's e-mail may be seen as ignorance, whereas a similar error by a white colleague might be excused as a typo.

The professors then handed each interviewer what they said was a photo of her subject. In reality, each got a picture of either an Asian or an African-American woman (in reality, all were white). E-mail interviewers who thought the sender was Asian considered her social skills to be poor, while those who believed the sender was black considered her social skills to be excellent. In stark contrast, the difference in perceived sociability almost completely disappeared when interviewer and target had talked on the phone.

Morris, who studies negotiation at Columbia, led a study that found that negotiators exchange more than three times the information in face-to-face interactions as they do via e-mail. Though Morris and his colleagues concluded that e-mail lets negotiators make "more complex, multiple-issue offers," they ultimately built less rapport, thereby increasing tensions and lowering the average economic value of the agreements.

Rapport "is an interpersonal resonance of emotional expression," Morris says, "involving synchronous gesture, laughing, and smiling together. Once this rapport exists, it's a buffer against a moment in the negotiation when there's some friction." This buffer is hard to develop without speaking over the phone or in person. Those who negotiated by e-mail in Morris's study trusted each other less and weren't as interested in working together again.
Posted by SPN on 05/21 at 11:49 AM
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Saturday, May 20, 2006

BARRY BONDS HITS 714th HOME RUN

Barry Bonds tied Babe Ruth for second place on the career home run list Saturday with his 714th homer, a solo shot into the right-field seats leading off the second inning.

The 41-year-old Bonds hadn’t homered in nine games — a stretch of 29 at-bats — since hitting No. 713 with a 450-foot drive May 7 in Philadelphia. His teenage son, Nikolai, a Giants bat boy, was waiting for him at home plate and they embraced.

Bonds was quickly greeted by his teammates, who surrounded him at the top of the dugout. Bonds tipped his cap and blew a kiss toward his 7-year-old daughter, Aisha, then came out of the dugout and raised his hands.

Left-hander Brad Halsey became the 420th pitcher to give up a homer to Bonds, who was San Francisco’s designated hitter in an interleague series against the Oakland Athletics.

Posted by CHANNI on 05/20 at 03:53 PM
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where the hell is ************

hey, i was wondering where the poetry category went?  is there the possibility that you will add a category for poetry and art?

Posted by bbeard on 05/20 at 12:30 PM
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GOD told me that Robertson is an idiot.

Can I get another supporter?

Robertson: God says storms, possibly tsunami, will hit US in 2006

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va.—Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson says God told him storms and possibly a tsunami will hit America’s coastline this year.

Robertson has made the predictions at least four times in the past two weeks on his news-and-talk television show “The 700 Club” on the Christian Broadcasting Network, which he founded. Robertson said the revelations about this year’s weather came to him during his annual personal prayer retreat in January.

“If I heard the Lord right about 2006, the coasts of America will be lashed by storms,” Robertson said May 8. Wednesday, he added, “there well may be something as bad as a tsunami in the Pacific Northwest.”

Robertson has come under intense criticism in recent months for comments suggesting that American agents should assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s stroke was divine retribution for Israel’s pullout from the Gaza Strip.

---

Posted by SPN on 05/20 at 11:47 AM
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The Apple.com website crashes my browsers.

I’ve tried to visit Apple’s website at http://apple.com with Firefox and Internet Exploder and the site has crashed both browsers.  I wonder what Apple is doing?  Does it crash yours?

Posted by SPN on 05/20 at 11:37 AM
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I’ve just gotten my negatives back from the shop.

Yesterday I got 16 rolls of film back from the photo lab.  One roll I got back was unexposed.  It was a color roll of film and I can’t figure out how that happened.  I want it to be the fault of the photo lab, because I don’t want to think that I made an error like that on an 18 day trip to Las Vegas and Rufisque, Senegal.

I am pleased with the overall quality of the images, but because I ordered contact sheets I’ll not know the REAL quality until I get my scanner and can go through the negatives frame-by-frame.

I’m also very pleased with my exposures.  I took my digital Fuji Finepix S2 Pro and a Mamiya 645 Pro TL .  I took a manual handheld light meter, because I didn’t want to carry the heavy motor and prism finder for the Mamiya.  My backpack, fully-loaded, was 38 pounds with everything I “needed” for 18 days away from home.
imageimage
The reason why I am happy with my exposures is that didn’t rely on fancy electronics in the camera to determine the proper exposure setting.  I checked out a couple of books before I left and one of them talked about determining exposure when a lightmeter or in camera electronics fail.  The rule is called ”Sunny 16”.  I used that rule to do all of my outdoor exposures and the exposures look to be quite good.

I also noticed that the film photos have better contrast than those taken with the digital.  In particular, I took some shots of a friend’s mother that he wants to decorate his new house with. She has beautiful, very dark skin and she wore white head covering and neck wrap.  The digital camera with TTL metering underexposed her features so much that the pictures of her show no texture on her face.  The film camera (with Sunny 16 rule applied) gives lots of detail on her face.  I imagine that if I had manually set up the digital with Sunny 16 I would have had better contrast, but I’ll never know until I try to recreate those conditions here in the US.

Once the scanner is in my posession, I’ll start uploading the images.

Stay tuned…

Posted by SPN on 05/20 at 09:18 AM
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Friday, May 19, 2006

Families are banned from living together in Missouri

So, what’s the deal? Which political party or religious group is behind this craziness?

BLACK JACK, Missouri (AP)—The City Council has rejected a measure allowing unmarried couples with multiple children to live together, and the mayor said those who fall into that category could soon face eviction.

Olivia Shelltrack and Fondrey Loving were denied an occupancy permit after moving into a home in this St. Louis suburb because they have three children and are not married.

The town’s Planning and Zoning Commission proposed a change in the law, but the measure was rejected Tuesday by the City Council in a 5-3 vote.

“I’m just shocked,” Shelltrack said. “I really thought this would all be over, and we could go on with our lives.”

The current ordinance prohibits more than three people from living together unless they are related by “blood, marriage or adoption.” The defeated measure would have changed the definition of a family to include unmarried couples with two or more children.

Mayor Norman McCourt declined to be interviewed but said in a statement that those who do not meet the town’s definition of family could soon face eviction.

Black Jack’s special counsel, Sheldon Stock, declined to say whether the city will seek to remove Loving and Shelltrack from their home.

Posted by SPN on 05/19 at 11:45 AM
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IT’S JOKE TIME!…MAYBE…

Boy: Dad, what’s politics?

Dad: Let me set an example with our family. I
have all the money so we’ll call me the
management. Mom receives most of it so we’ll call
her the government. We’ll call the maid the
working class, you are the people, and your baby
brother is the future. Do you understand now son?

Boy: I still don’t understand dad.

Dad: Think about it for a while son.

That night the boy wakes up because his baby
brother is crying. He goes in and finds out he’s
soiled his diapers. He goes to tell his mom but
she’s asleep he goes in to the maids room but
she’s in there having sex with his dad. He bangs
on the door but no one can here him.

The next day…
Son: Dad I understand politics now.

Dad: Good, explain it to me in your own words
son.

Son: The management is screwing the working class
while the governmenats is fast asleep. The people
are being ignored and the future is full of SH_ _!

Posted by CHANNI on 05/19 at 04:36 AM
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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Commentary: Emphasis on Wealth in Some Black Churches Costs in Spiritual Currency

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this commentary are neither the opinions of SoulPhoto.net or its members it is just posted from Black America Web.  If you would like to contact the author of this commentary please utilize Black America Web to do so.  I posted this commentary because it was interesting. I’m just wondering why in the context of this commentary regarding mega churches only Bishop Long was singled out.

Date: Wednesday, May 17, 2006
By: Tonyaa Weathersbee, BlackAmericaWeb.com

It’s the kind of controversy that I pray will turn into a productive conversation among black people of faith.

Last weekend, James H. Cone, a prominent theologian who has used the teachings of compassion for the downtrodden espoused by Martin Luther King Jr. to shape a generation of black ministers, decided to sit out graduation ceremonies at the Interdenominational Theological Center after officials invited Bishop Eddie Long to speak at its commencement. A number of students had also threatened to boycott the ceremony as well.

Long is senior pastor at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, an Atlanta church that boasts more than 25,000 members. Theologians such as Cone and others have begun to speak out against the teachings of many megachurch pastors because they tend to focus on worship as the path towards earning personal riches rather than as a tool to enrich the lives of people who grapple with injustice and oppression.

In other words, they preach—or rather, the message that many in their flock absorb—is that obedience to God is all about making their wallets fatter, not making the world a better place.

That trend troubles Cone. And it troubles me as well.

In a stark turnabout from the days in which King conjured the powers of the black church to fight segregation and other forms of injustice that sapped opportunities and esteem for black people, prosperity gospel has now made the quest for personal riches a spiritual rather than an earthly desire. Not long ago, for example, The Washington Post reported that heavy tithing—an offshoot of the prosperity gospel movement—had catapulted predominantly black Prince George’s County, Md., into the top five counties in the nation for charitable giving. It also reported that among all black people, nine out of 10 charitable dollars went to religious institutions.

Yet, none of the tithing people whom the Post quoted said a thing about giving in the hope that the Lord might bless Prince George’s—which struggles with bad schools and burgeoning crime—with a solution to those problems. All these people talked about was how their own financial situation or their personal blessings improved once they began giving.

In a way, there’s nothing wrong with that. Obviously, if someone’s personal finances improve, he or she is in a better situation to give money to help others or to make a difference. Yet, I rarely, if ever, hear regular church givers make that argument. All I hear them say is that by giving their 10 percent, they’ll get more blessings, i.e., money, in return.

To me, that makes worship more shallow than spiritual.

Now, I’m not one who believes that modest living ought to be the price of piety. I like being able to live well just like everyone else. But when I give to charities—and I give to charities regularly—I don’t give simply on the hope that I will be blessed with more stuff. I give because I want to see others blessed. When I give to Doctors Without Borders, for example, which goes into places like Haiti and the Congo to provide desperately-needed medical care, I do so in the hope that one less child will die from a preventable illness. The reward, for me, comes with the knowledge that I’ve done something to make a difference for those who don’t have the power to make a difference for themselves, not because I’ve contributed to building a new house of worship, or because I might get a new house or car.

Another problem that I have with an emphasis on giving as a means of getting back is that it further exacerbates the crass materialism that, in many ways, has hurt black communities. It feeds a culture that causes young black men to rationalize selling drugs as being business as usual. It also is the thing that drives rappers to have no qualms about thanking God when their profanity-filled, bitch-and-ho videos win awards. Because they see their prosperity as a blessing, they figure they must be doing something right.

That’s a shame.

So I hope that at some point, pastors such as Long and Cone begin a dialogue on the spiritual direction of black people, on how to harness our generosity and compassion so that more of us find our blessings in seeing unjust laws change and social justice realized—not in just getting a raise or a new Mercedes.

If that doesn’t happen, or if too many of us continue to equal material gain with godliness, we’ll be writing a prescription for spiritual death, not life.

Posted by loni on 05/17 at 08:42 AM
Religion / Sprituality • (3) Comments • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

I’ll be posting the photos from the Senegal trip soon.

I’m waiting for my scanner to arrive so I can digitized my film.  Once all of this falls into place, I’ll post some details of the trip along with accompanying photos.

Posted by SPN on 05/17 at 08:40 AM
Photography • (0) Comments • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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