Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Revolt! A Patriot's Guide

A book review

From the bestselling authors of Outrage, Fleeced, Catastrophe and 2010: Take Back America comes a blueprint Republicans can use to roll back President Obama's legislation and establish conservative policies.

Now that the Republicans have taken the House, How can they use their majority to reverse Obama's Socialist agenda?

"Revolt!" lays out a game plan for success. Morris and McGann explain how to use the debt limit and budget fights to force Obama to accept Republican policies while, at the same time, undermining his chances of victory in 2012.

Obamacare? Morris and McGann explain how to block the IRS enforcement of the requirement that everyone buy health insurance and how to stop the Medicare cuts and rationing.

Crippling Talk Radio and Taking Over the Internet? They explain how to prevent the FCC from blocking free speech in America.

Cap and Trade? They offer a blueprint for how to cut off EPA funding to stop it from imposing carbon taxes and regulation.

Unless we read their plan and act to implement it, Obama will raise taxes, end the mortgage interest and charitable deduction, raise Social Security taxes, and add trillions more to the federal deficit in the process. Conservatives need to fight back - and Morris and McGann explain how to do it.

"Revolt!" is their most important book yet. The GOP won the elections of 2010. "Revolt!" explains how to translate this avalanche of votes into power and action in Washington. Their plea: Don't surrender. Don't compromise. Don't give in. Just push ahead and win! Revolt! is the next step.

Morris and McGann's Outrage, Fleeced, Catastrophe, and 2010: Take Back America laid out the problem, predicted Obama's polices and their results, and articulated a plan for victory in 2010. Now Revolt! explains how to use this new power to defeat Obama.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Purple Heart Homes

Highly motivated  Iraq war veterans Dale Beatty and John Gallina
 Iraq war veterans Dale Beatty and John Gallina

This is a quite remarkable story. A story of personal healing and transformation. A story of success. An American story. A story that should inspire everyone searching for meaning in these economically difficult times. 

Dale Beatty and John Gallina are two friends who joined the North Carolina National Guard in 1996 when they were still in high school. 

The two men were deployed to Iraq where they almost died together when they drove over an anti-tank mine in their humvee. They both survived, but their lives changed forever on that ominous day in November 2004. Dale lost both legs. John sustained traumatic brain injury, multiple cuts and bruises, damaged back, and suffers from a severe post-traumatic stress disorder. 

Upon their return home, Dale was offered some help from the home builders association in North Carolina, while John was left with very little support. 

The home builders in Statesville, NC, offered to build a home on Dale's family land and Dale helped to build it. It wasn't a fancy home, but it was designed to accommodate a double amputee. 

Dale realized that working on his home together with others brought some comfort and relief he did not experience on days when he wasn't working. He decided to ask his friend John to join him. 

John who has a background in construction, experienced his own transformation while working on Dale's home. The physical work initiated a healing process and gave John enormous satisfaction and a sense of peace he was not able to experience otherwise. 

The two friends took their experience to the next stage. When the construction of Dale's home was finished, they decided to form an organization dedicated to construction and re-construction of homes for the disabled war veterans. They called it the Purple Heart Homes. 

The soldiers are trained never to leave a fallen fellow soldier in the field, but they are also aware of the fact that very often those who survived on the front are left completely alone when they return home. Although the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans seem to be a bit better taken care of than the Vietnam veterans, many of them fall into an emotional limbo upon their return. 

Very often they remain unemployed, lose their spouses and friends, become homeless. Some become violent and turn to life of crime or commit suicide. 

It is an outrage that the veterans do not receive the support they deserve. But receiving "alms" can be just as demoralizing as receiving none since the greatest satisfaction comes from the sense of purpose and the genuine acknowledgment of their war experience. 

I believe that in today's handout society the story of Dale and John is an inspiration for all of us. Instead of waiting for things to simply happen, we should follow their example and take action. Our dignity lies in our ability to recognize our own strength and live it despite the circumstances we are in.

By Dominique Allmon ©2011

To find out more about the Purple Heart Homes please click here

Change We Can Believe In?

"Change in America doesn't start from the top down. It starts from the bottom up."

"I’m asking you to believe.  Not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington. I'm asking you to believe in yours."

2008 Campaign slogans of Barack Obama

The way things look right now, Americans have been duped! And no matter how bad things are, some people still drink the cool-aid served by the leftist propaganda. Didn't they know that cool-aid causes blindness?

Image by Homeless Jake
Image source here

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Causes of Hair Loss

Still from the movie Men in Black

Stop hair loss with a system

Hair loss is one of the body changes that most people fear of. Just like menopause, hair loss can easily divulge a person's age. But unlike menopause, which can be kept from everyone but yourself, hair loss can be detected or seen by almost everybody. At about the age of 35, the effect of hair loss can already be seen in men - either their hair line recedes or a "dome" begins to appear at the back of their hair; some even experience both. The renown hair loss specialist Profollica.com, holds that 65% of all men are suffering from the effects of hair loss and a majority of them have Male Pattern Baldness. Women, on the other hand, are affected by hair loss in a different way. Starting at the age of 30, their hair gradually thins out. By the age of 50 or shortly after their menopausal stage, the scalp becomes more noticeable because of lessened hair strands all over the head.

Different factors may cause hair loss. Aging and genetics are only a few. But in men, basically, it is caused by dehydrotestosterone hormone, or DHT. This hormone's chief purpose is to develop the traits of men such as deep voice, larger muscles, and mustache. However, it also develops Male Pattern Baldness. What this hormone does is it accumulates and develops in the DHT receptors found around the follicles of hair. As the hormone has established itself, it will eventually kill the hair as well as the follicle, making it hopeless for hair to grow back. According to Profollica.com, DHT production in women is as not as high as in men, hence, women do not suffer from the same radical hair loss as men do.

DHT increases as men age, killing more and more of the hair follicles. Excess production of DHT can lead to baldness. Although every person has this hormone, there are some who only produce enough amount of DHT. Fortunately, they are the ones not suffering from extreme hair loss.

Other factors for hair loss in both men and women are:

1. Disease or illness - Losing hair could be a sign of being unhealthy. Illnesses such as systemic lupus erythematosis and syphilis, or thyroid disorder show hair loss as a symptom. Chronic kidney dysfunction may also cause lots of hair to fall as it makes them unhealthy, dry, and breakable.

2. Side effects of medications - Drugs that contain lithium, beta-blockers, warfarin, heparin, amphetamines, and levodopa (Atamet, Larodopa, Sinemet) can cause numerous hair to fall off. In addition, some medications being used in treating cancer like doxorubicin can cause rapid but temporary hair loss.

3. Hormones - Different kinds of hormones compromise the human system and an imbalanced production of those could affect the normal growth of hair. An example of this is women's menstrual cycle. Hormonal changes take place in the ovulation period that could cause some hair to lose, so as thyroid and pituitary disorders.

4. Zinc deficiency - Along with diarrhea and eczema, hair loss appears to be a symptom if one has inadequate intake or if the body poorly absorbs zinc.

5. Hair abuses - Too much treatments to hair such as coloring, perming, bleaching, corn rows, and usage of curling irons can wear out and eventually kill the hair. Even excessive use of comb and strong shampoo products can add up to hair loss. Combing the hair for about a hundred times will not really make it healthy; rather, it will lessen the strength of the hair and make it brittle. Shampoos' strong chemicals, on the other hand, can dry the hair up.

6. Giving birth - About a month after a woman gives birth, some of her hair strands have the tendency to fall off easily. Hair strands that fall off are usually from one portion of the head, leaving moon crater-like hair. The falling off of hair in this instance actually does not lead to baldness and it is not permanent, though the recovery period will take up to a year.

These and some other factors cause hair loss. There may be a lot, but the good thing is, there are also quite a lot with regard to medical options of treating this condition. Medicating hair loss can be done by undergoing surgical treatments like scalp grafting, taking oral medications like finasteride pills, or using topical applications such as ProFollica.

Each treatment is different in approaches, processes, requirements, and applications. For example, hair loss surgery is a proven effective method and so are pills. But both can only be applied to and taken by men. The surgery is usually recommendable to severe cases of hair loss, while pills like finasteride can cause harmful effects to women. Perhaps, the most convenient way to address hair loss treatment, for both men and women, is through applying topical products. The best kind of remedy, like ProFollica, usually comes in a system. This system has natural ingredients, which make it safe for anyone's usage with hair loss condition. It is up to the person and to the doctor, if he is to consult one, what treatment he'll rather or willingly try.

Old beliefs, such as cap wearing bringing about hair loss or combing the hair more than one hundred times will make it healthier, have long been proven untrue. With some tips and causes given above, indeed, knowing the right causes will make one smart on choosing the right solutions.

Article courtesy of ProFolica website

*This information is for educational purpose only. It is not meant to diagnose or cure a disease.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Atlas of American Artisan Cheese

The Atlas of American Artisan Cheese is the first reference book of its kind and a must-have for even the most casual foodie library.

Jeffrey P. Roberts lavishes loving attention on the growing local food and farmstead movement in what is fast becoming a national trend.

This fully illustrated encyclopedia of contemporary artisan cheeses and cheese makers will not only be a mainstay in any cookery and cuisine library guiding consumers, retailers, restaurateurs, and food professionals to the full breadth and unparalleled quality of American artisan foods, it will be the source of many a fabulous food adventure.

Organized by region and state, the Atlas highlights more than three hundred fifty of the best small-scale cheeses produced from cow, sheep, and goat milk in the United States today. It provides the most complete overview of what is to be had nationwide - shippable, attainable, delectable.

"The American cheese revolution is in full swing. Cheese makers are sprouting up faster than you can say 'cheese,' and American cheeses are crowding out imports on cheese shelves across America. This makes the timing just right for Jeff Roberts’s comprehensive Atlas of American Artisan Cheese. Chockfull of charming cheese maker stories and explanations of the cheeses they make, the Atlas of American Artisan Cheese provides us with an indispensable road map to American cheeses and helps us navigate the ever-growing collection of artisan cheeses made from California to Maine." - Laura Werlin, author of The All American Cheese

Each entry describes a cheese maker, its products, availability, location, and even details on the cheese making processes. The Atlas of American Artisan Cheese captures Americas local genius for artisan cheese: its capacity for adaptation, experimentation, and innovation, while following old-world artisanship. The book is destined to become a classic resource and reference for food lovers and cooks alike.

 About the author:

Jeffrey P. Roberts lives in Montpelier, Vermont, and works in the areas of agriculture and food policy, conservation, and the environment. During his career, Jeff was a meteorologist, historian, and museum curator. At the University of Pennsylvania, he was director of development at the Morris Arboretum and the Associate Dean for Development and Planning at the School of Veterinary Medicine. In 1995, he became the Vice President for External Affairs at the Vermont Land Trust.

As a co-founder and principal consultant to the Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese at the University of Vermont, he is responsible for development of international initiatives, public education programs, and marketing. For the US National Park Service, he is researching, photographing, and writing Stewardship Begins with People, a prototype compendium of national parks and their unique products.

Jeff is active in Slow Food USA as a director and treasurer of the national board and a Northeast Regional Governor. He co-chaired "Artisan Cheeses of America" at Cheese 2001 and 2003 and the US presence at Salone del Gusto 2002 and 2004. He is one of organizers of Slow Food USA's American Raw Milk Cheese Presidium. Jeff is a frequent speaker on artisan cheese, sustainable agriculture, and the working landscape. He serves as a director of the Vermont Arts Council and previously was on the Vermont Fresh Network board.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Power of Reading

You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture.
Just get people to stop reading them. - Ray Bradbury


Saturday, August 20, 2011

When Liberals Talk, Is it Racism?

 President Obama enjoying his vacation on Matrha's Vineyard, August 2011

In a country that prizes itself for the exceptional freedom of speech, people who dare to criticize President Obama are usually decried as bigots and racists. The critics usually come from the conservative camp and have to face the most acrid accusations.

But what happens when the liberals voice their dissatisfaction with Obama's performance?

Only few days ago a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, Maxine Waters, criticized President for his inattention to the problems of black Americans. The unemployment among Blacks is around 16% and many black communities are on the verge of a total collapse. 

And yet, President, who went on a three-day bus tour across the Midwest, did not even schedule a single visit with the black communities there. Instead, he re-visited picture-perfect communities where the satisfied white voters did not have any complaints and were most likely to vote for him again in 2012.

An even stronger blow came from the liberal economist Jeffrey Sachs who is a Director of an Earth Institute at the Columbia University. Here is what he said on Friday, August 19 on the MSNBC's "Morning Joe" show:
“We’re almost three years into this administration, and there’s never been a plan. And that’s what everybody feels. And the president didn’t lead. He waited. The quintessential image, sadly, of an administration that I supported and hoped for much better, is the president waiting by the phone to hear what Congress calls to tell him. It doesn’t work in this country that way. It’s not a matter that it’s August. It’s a matter that it’s August 2011. So we’ve been drifting for a very long time. And we’ve been drifting down. And we had a short-term plan that failed. A short-term stimulus that was supposed to get the economy back on track, but it failed. And now we have nothing behind it. And we have no agreements, and we have no leadership. And, frankly, I do think it’s pretty odd the president’s on vacation right now. Normally I wouldn’t care about such things, but the world markets are in deep crisis. It’s no joke. This isn’t just an up-and-down little blip. This is a very serious situation.”
This must come as a shock to the Obama supporters. And it almost sounds like the critique that was made by the Gov. Mitt Romney: 
"You asked the question why was he so misguided for the last, well almost three years? You know, he came into office and job one was to get America working again, but instead of focusing on that, he focused on Obamacare, cap and trade, and Dodd-Frank bill and all these other things he wanted to do and each of those made the economy softer; made it harder for us to recover and, you know, I think the reason he’s taking the time to wait for his next speech on the economy is that he, frankly, doesn’t know what to do. He hasn’t spent his life in the private sector. He doesn’t understand how jobs come and go. And, he’s looking for help. And the right answer is for him to step aside and let somebody help guide the nation that understands how this economy works.”
Romney and Sachs come from two different political camps and yet, they both express the growing dissatisfaction with Obama's performance in Office. 

No one accuses Rep. Waters or Professor Sachs of racism, though. Not yet. And probably never because they both are the "benevolent" critics exercising their right to criticize the President for his ineptitude.  

The use of double standards is disconcerting. It is simply part of the game. And the game is dirty! If you are a conservative in America today, you have to watch your mouth. This isn't right. And it isn't fair. The conservatives have the same right to express their displeasure as everyone else.

The liberals, who believe that they are living on a higher moral and intellectual plane, are creating a personality cult. Obama cannot be criticized much like the megalomaniac personalities in the East: Mao, Stalin, Ceaușescu, or Kim. No offense, comrades, but politicians are human and they make mistakes. They should be held accountable for their mistakes.

A democracy has at least one great advantage over any totalitarian regime. People are free to express their dissatisfaction with the elected leaders. Protecting a failed politician from a justified critique only does him a big disservice. Self-reflection is a seldom virtue in elected officials and should be encouraged. Instead, the apologetic flatterers try to shut up anyone who dares to disagree with them. But the emperor has no clothes and more and more people can see it.

By Dominique Allmon ©2011

Image by Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press

Friday, August 19, 2011

Quote of the Day

All of us labor in webs spun long before we were born, webs of heredity and environment, of desire and consequence, of history and eternity. Haunted by wrong turns and roads not taken, we pursue images perceived as new but whose providence dates to the dim dramas of childhood, which are themselves but ripples of consequence echoing down the generations. - William Faulkner

Image by Garnett Wren

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Bashing the Tea Party

The New York Times had to add its own three pennies into the quarrel. The paper published an open editorial about the Tea Party movement in which the authors argue that the Republican Party will suffer great losses if it continues to embrace the dubious ideology of the questionable political movement.

It probably should not surprise anyone that the NYT believes the Tea Party to be an anti government, grass root political movement responsible for the US credit downgrade. 

The Tea Party bashing goes on and the polls show that the movement is falling out of grace with the American people. How is it possible? Only a few months ago the Tea Party was seen as a movement of hope and real change. Now it is considered to be no more than a bunch of subversive, hostage-taking terrorists. 

Those truly responsible for the financial mess used one of the oldest stratagems: attack is the best defense. The defamation went on for days. Verbal violence on the left was without a precedence and not even the Republicans came to the defense of the wrongly accused patriots.

The Tea Party demanded an austerity program. But how can anyone succeed when his  opponents believe that in order to improve the failing economy more taxpayers' money needs to be spent. 

The left believes that the stimulus failed not because it was futile as such, but because not enough money was spent in the first place...

Can this possibly be true? It is almost obscene! But no one seems to care. Except, of course, the Tea Party "villains".

By Dominique Allmon ©2011


The bashing of the Tea Party goes on! Only few days ago Rep. Maxine Water (D-CA) announced that as far as she is concerned the Tea Party can go to hell. Then a grotesque figure, Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL) hollered from a podium that Tea Party was the real enemy! Such excessive rhetoric is offensive and counter-productive.


Things are turning from bad to worse! André Carson, a Democratic representative from Indiana and a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, suggested last week that certain members of the tea party in Congress are indistinguishable from violent racists. "This is the effort that we're seeing of Jim Crow. Some of these folks in Congress right now would love to see us as second-class citizens," Carson said at a caucus event in Miami on Aug. 22. "Some of them in Congress right now of this tea party movement would love to see you and me ... hanging on a tree." This is utterly appalling! Where is the call to civility? Where is the outrage on the left?

To read the New York Times op-ed please click here

Three Sieves of Socrates

One day, the old, wise Socrates walked down the street when all of a sudden an agitated man run up to him yelling: "Socrates, Socrates! I have to tell you something about your friend! You will not believe what I just heard!"

"Hold it right there," Socrates interrupted him. "The story you're about to tell me... did you let it go through the three sieves?"

"Three sieves?" asked the astonished man. "What three sieves, Socrates?"

"Three sieves, my good man. Three sieves. Let's try it," said Socrates.

"The first sieve is the one of truth. Did you examine whether what you were about to tell me was true?" asked the philosopher.

"Well, no, not really. I just overheard the story and was in a hurry to tell you..." said the man.

"Ah! Well, then you must have used the second sieve, the sieve of good?" asked Socrates. "Is it something good that you are about to tell me?"

"Hm, no... on the contrary, my dear Socrates," answered the man.

"Hmmm" the wise man said. "Let us use the third sieve then, the sieve of necessity. Is it absolutely necessary for you to tell me what you are so exited about?"

"Now that I think of it... No, it's not necessary at all," said the man.

"Well," Socrates said with a smile "If the story you are about to tell me isn't true, good, or necessary, just forget it and don't bother me with it anymore."

Sources of the story and the image unknown but greatly appreciated


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Just Two Words

There once was a monastery that was very strict. Following a vow of silence, no one was allowed to speak at all. But there was one exception to this rule. Every ten years, the monks were permitted to speak just two words. 

After spending his first ten years at the monastery, one monk went to see the master. "It has been ten years," said the master. "What are the two words you would like to utter?"

"Bed... hard..." said the monk. "I see," replied the master.

Ten years later, the monk returned to the master's office. "It has been ten more years," said the master. "What are the two words you would like to speak?"

"Food... stinks..." said the monk. "I see," replied the master.

Yet another ten years passed and the monk once again met with the master who asked, "What are your two words now, after these ten years?"

"I... quit!" said the monk. "Well, I can see why," replied the master. "All you ever do is complain."

Some people drift through life never learning anything at all. At times life may seem to be a difficult journey and some people master it better than others. One may wonder if they have particular talents, or more luck than others, but their secret is quite simple. One's circumstances are only a frame that holds the canvas, but each of makes a more or less conscious decision about the painting that appears before us.

Many people live in a state of denial and self-deception. They either refuse to accept what is, or create a distorted vision of their own situation.

The very first step to happiness, however, is to accept what is. This does not mean that one has to resign oneself to one's circumstances. But by simply accepting the reality for what it is, we are able to make some changes.

By accepting that things are the way they are we simply open our minds to new possibilities. Acceptance helps reduce resistance to change and liberates inner potential for growth.

We might not always like where we are or even hate everything that our lives may have become. But acceptance is necessary if we want to change our condition: I am in a mess and unless I do something about it, I am destined to fall even deeper. Unless this shift in our minds happens, nothing will ever change.

This is a good starting point. The bed is hard and one may not like it at all and not even be able to do much about it this very moment, but instead of wasting time on contemplating how bad things are, one should shift the attention to one's own potential.

Instead of repeating over and over that "Life sucks" one should say "I accept". But waiting for another ten years makes no sense at all. So why not say "Change now" and work towards a better, more fulfilled life.

By Dominique Allmon ©2011

Also of interest


Image source unknown but greatly appreciated

Monday, August 15, 2011

Nothing Lasts Forever...

Transience is the force of time that makes a ghost of every experience. There was never a dawn, regardless how beautiful or promising, that did not grow into a noontime. There was never a noon that did not fall into afternoon. There was never an afternoon that did not fade toward evening. There never was a day yet that did not get buried in the graveyard of the night. In this way transience makes a ghost out of everything that happens to us. - John O'Donohue in Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Magical Tree

There is an old parable about a poor man who wandered in the woods reflecting upon his many troubles. Exhausted from walking he stopped to take a rest and reclined against a tree. He did not know that this was a magical tree that would instantly grant anyone who came in contact with it all their wishes no matter how grand they were.

The man was exhausted and thirsty and wished he had something to drink. Instantly a cup of cool water was in his hand. Shocked, he looked at the water and did not quite know what to do with it. But he was too thirsty to waste it. He decided that the water was safe and drank it enjoying every single sip.

His thirst satisfied, the men realized that he was very hungry. Indeed, he did not even remember when was the last time he had a meal and wished for something to eat. An opulent meal appeared before him. Astonished, but too hungry to reject the delicacies he began to eat thinking in disbelief: "This really is very strange. There must be some kind of magic because my wishes were granted on the spot. What if I wanted something big? I never had a home... I wish for a beautiful house," he said out loud. And sooner than he could even finish the sentence, a neat home appeared before him.

A huge smile crossed his face and he wished for servants to take care of the house. When they appeared he realized that he wasn't dreaming. Things just materialized out of nowhere. He had somehow been blessed with an incredible power.  

Now that he had a house, he wished for a beautiful, loving, clever woman to share his good fortune. Almost instantly a beautiful woman appeared and smiled at him.
"Wait a minute, this must be an illusion," he said to the woman. "I'm not this lucky. I must be dreaming or something. This cannot possibly be happening to me."

As he uttered this words, everything vanished as quickly as it appeared before him. He shook his head and said, "I knew it! This could not have been real," and then walked away thinking about his many troubles...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

165 Years of Smithsonian Institution

Smithsonian Castle
Smithsonian Castle

 Happy Birthday Smithsonian!

Exactly 165 years ago today, legislation establishing the Smithsonian Institution was passed by the US Congress and signed into law by President James K. Polk.

From today’s perspective, it seems like nothing extraordinary to accept a generous bequest from a little-known Englishman named James Smithson and create an institution in his name. But from the perspective of that era, the founding of the Smithsonian Institution was a very controversial step - one that reflected the battle over states’ rights versus a federal government that led in part to the Civil War.

English scientist James Smithson died in 1829 and left his estate to his nephew, with a curious clause stating that if his nephew died without heirs, the estate would go to the people of the United States to found in the City of Washington, under the name of Smithsonian Institution, an establishment “for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men.”

Smithson’s nephew died without heirs in 1835 so the clause went into effect, immediately engendering controversy.

Then-President Andrew Jackson did not think he had constitutional authority to accept the gift, so he referred it to the US Congress for action.

The powerful South Carolina Senator John C. Calhoun objected to acceptance of the bequest from the outset. Known for his thunderous oratory, on February 25, 1836, he argued, “We accept a fund from a foreigner, and would … enlarge our grant of power derived from the States of this Union… Can you show me a word that goes to invest us with such a power?” He continued, it was “beneath (US) dignity to accept presents from anyone.”

Calhoun and other southern legislators sought to limit the reach of the federal government. They believed there was no constitutional authority for a national organization and its creation would set a dangerous precedent.

Northern legislators, led by former President John Quincy Adams, now in the House of Representatives, favored a strong federal government and supported creating a national institution with Smithson’s bequest.

Adams, chairman of the Congressional select committee to determine what to do about the bequest, maintained that the endowment could have far-reaching consequences for the young country and advocated applying the money toward scientific research, especially astronomy.

The committee’s House Report 181 urged that the bequest be “faithfully carried into effect” so that the Congress would meet its moral obligations. Adams’ group prevailed, and on July 1, 1836, the Congress passed legislation authorizing the President to pursue the bequest.

Another decade would pass before the bequest wended its way through the British Court of Chancery and the US Congress decided what to do with it. Adams remained ever vigilant, believing that he must protect the bequest from charlatans, “as from a rattlesnake’s fang, the fund and its income, forever from being wasted and dilapidated in bounties to feed the hunger or fatten the leaden idleness of mountebank projectors and shallow worthless pretenders to science.” And some southern congressmen even converted to the Smithsonian camp during the debates.

In 1836 South Carolina Senator William Campbell Preston argued in that if the US accepted Smithson’s bequest, it violated states’ rights and “every whippersnapper vagabond … might think it proper to have his name distinguished in the same way.” But by the time the Institution was founded in 1846, he became a strong advocate for the Smithsonian and served on its Board of Regents from 1846 to 1852.

Today, Smithsonian is the world's largest museum complex and research organization, comprising nineteen different museums and nine research centers.

Article source Smithsonian Institution

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Mitsouko - The Fragrance of Mystery and Romance

The legendary perfume Mitsouko was created by Jacques Guerlain in 1919 at the end of the Great War, a time of great fascination with the Japanese culture and aesthetics. 

The creation of Mitsouko was inspired by the heroine of Claude Farrère's novel "La bataille", a story of an impossible love between Mitsouko - a wife of Japanese Admiral Togo - and a British officer. The story takes place in 1905, during the war between Russia and Japan. Both men go to war, and Mitsouko, hiding her feelings with dignity, waits for the outcome of the battle to discover which of the two men will come back to her and be her companion.

Mitsouko is a mysterious fragrance that does not simply reveal its beauty to everyone. The opening is long, like a play of all beautiful notes, and, of course, this fragrance is not for ordinary day use. On the skin it sounds as if it starts from far away, without any allusion to its intensity and sensual side. 

Mitsouko is one of the well known aromas of chypre olfactory group with cool top notes and oak moss in the base. But it also has a note of a juicy peach, which gives a clear and quite gourmand nuance. It features bergamot, peach, jasmine, may rose, spices such as cinnamon, oak moss, vetiver, and wood. The fragrance is exuberant, unusual and very elegant. It is neither too sweet, nor too heavy, well balanced and never overwhelming. Eau de Toilette is a bit more aggressive, while Eau de Perfume is warmer and nicer. The full richness of the composition, however, is revealed only in the perfume concentration.  

Mitsouko is said to herald the end of World War I. Because of the shortage of glass bottles at the end of the war, this perfume was marketed in the bottle of its predecessor, the L'Heure Bleue which was created in 1912. Mitsouko is sometimes considered to be the warm and much more cheerful counterpart of the melancholic L'Heure Bleue.


Saturday, August 6, 2011

How Mushrooms Can Clean Up Radioactive Contamination

The mushroom cloud by Peter Kuran
The mushroom cloud by Peter Kuran

Eight-step clean-up plan by Paul Stamets

Many people have written me and asked more or less the same question: "What would you do to help heal the Japanese landscape around the failing nuclear reactors?"

The enormity and unprecedented nature of this combined natural and human-made disaster will require a massive and completely novel approach to management and remediation. And with this comes a never before seen opportunity for collaboration, research and wisdom.

The nuclear fallout will make continued human habitation in close proximity to the reactors untenable. The earthquake and tsunami created enormous debris fields near the nuclear reactors. Since much of this debris is wood, and many fungi useful in mycoremediation are wood decomposers and build the foundation of forest ecosystems, I have the following suggestions:
  1. Evacuate the region around the reactors.
  2. Establish a high-level, diversified remediation team including foresters, mycologists, nuclear and radiation experts, government officials, and citizens.
  3. Establish a fenced off Nuclear Forest Recovery Zone.
  4. Chip the wood debris from the destroyed buildings and trees and spread throughout areas suffering from high levels of radioactive contamination.
  5. Mulch the landscape with the chipped wood debris to a minimum depth of 12-24 inches.
  6. Plant native deciduous and conifer trees, along with hyper-accumulating mycorrhizal mushrooms, particularly Gomphidius glutinosus, Craterellus tubaeformis, and Laccaria amethystina (all native to pines). G. glutinosus has been reported to absorb – via the mycelium – and concentrate radioactive Cesium 137 more than 10,000-fold over ambient background levels. Many other mycorrhizal mushroom species also hyper-accumulate.
  7. Wait until mushrooms form and then harvest them under Radioactive HAZMAT protocols.
  8. Continuously remove the mushrooms, which have now concentrated the radioactivity, particularly Cesium 137, to an incinerator. Burning the mushroom will result in radioactive ash. This ash can be further refined and the resulting concentrates vitrified (placed into glass) or stored using other state-of-the-art storage technologies.
By sampling other mushroom-forming fungi for their selective ability to hyper-accumulate radioactivity, we can learn a great deal while helping the ecosystem recover. Not only will some mushroom species hyper-accumulate radioactive compounds, but research has also shown that some mycorrhizal fungi bind and sequester radioactive elements so they remain immobilized for extended periods of time. Surprisingly, we learned from the Chernobyl disaster that many species of melanin-producing fungi have their growth stimulated by radiation.

The knowledge gained through this collaborative process would not only benefit the areas affected by the current crisis, but would also help with preparedness and future remediation responses.

How long would this remediation effort take? I have no clear idea but suggest this may require decades. However, a forested national park could emerge - The Nuclear Forest Recovery Zone - and eventually benefit future generations with its many ecological and cultural attributes.

I do not know of any other practical remedy. I do know that we have an unprecedented opportunity to work together toward solutions that make sense.

For references, please consult Paul's latest book, Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World or his website www.fungi.com


Also of interest


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Which Way, America?

The recent heated national debt debate demonstrated how divided America really is. Amidst anger, acrimony, and unimaginable political cowardice the deal was finally struck in Congress leaving millions of people deeply disappointed. As one Congressman put it, this was not the best deal possible, but the best possible deal. Was it really? 

The deal was accepted by the President and has yet to be ratified by the Senate.

The saddest thing of all, however, is the fact that the debate took place in a most hateful  political climate. The treatment the Tea Party patriots received in the media and in Congress itself was simply unbelievable. 

In a country which refuses to call the real terrorists terrorists, the movement that sprung out of deep concern for the country's future, was compared to hostage takers, terrorists trying to destroy the American Dream, economic terrorists holding a gun to the President's head, the jihadists, the Hezbollah, and the Wahhabis, etc, etc. Of all people, even the Vice-President Biden dared to compare the negotiations with Tea Party Republicans to the negotiations with the terrorists.  

How is it possible that people who are deeply concerned with America's future, receive so much contempt?

Such lack of civility is deeply appalling and leaves one wonder what actually happened to a fair political discourse. Why  are people who are willing to drive the country into its financial demise more respected than those who want to save it? How is it possible that outdated ideologies are experiencing their revival in the United States? 

Much more can be written here, but I will leave it at that. America is a unique country and its people have an unlimited capacity for healing and forgiveness. It is time to roll up the sleeves and return to work. American economy needs a serious make over. Ideological dispute should not stand in the way to reconstruction.

Dominique Allmon ©2011


According to the leftist opinion makers, the House GOP made a huge mistake to even allow the Tea Party freshmen to dominate the debt debate. The Tea Party freshmen are compared to immature adolescents who should not even seat at the dinner table when the elders are talking. They are being compared to immature boy-men. I find this is outrageous! The problems that we have right now stem from the "mental ossification" of those who hold on to their Congressional seats for too long. They, on both sides of the, believe that only they have the wisdom and experience to say anything of importance. But look where we are! The establishment does not want to be challenged.

Image by Rodney Smith
Image source here