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Gender: Female
Hometown: NYC
Home country: USA
Current location: Raleigh, NC
Member since: Sat May 7, 2005, 11:13 PM
Number of posts: 27,282

Journal Archives

I have a travel photo running in a contest sponsored by our newspaper

that I took on our recent trip.

If you'd like to see the photos--and maybe vote for me!--here's a link, although you will have to register to vote.

This is the photo titled: Night Lights of Salzburg


Yummy smashed pumpkin

I thought about using this photo for the Autumn contest, but decided against it. Thought I'd share, though.
Last year I threw our front yard pumpkin off our back deck--onto the hillside--to provide some food for squirrels,
birds, etc. I did it again this year when I put the Christmas wreath on our front door. Several days ago
I noticed this young deer nibbling on it, but my dog, Snowy, scared it away. When it came back, late one cloudy
and overcast afternoon, I sneaked out on the deck to grab some photos.

Worried about privacy? We're in Austria where hotels are required to monitor--by room--

downloading on guests' computers!

We were in an apartment for a week in Vienna and I had no problem connecting to their network.
We arrived in Salzburg on Wednesday and are staying in a hotel that offers free wi-fi. I couldn't get
my laptop to connect and couldn't figure out what was the problem. Thought maybe I was in a
dead zone in the hotel, so went out to the lobby. Still, kept getting an error message. The desk
clerk couldn't understand it, said she hadn't previously seen the problem. Next day, same thing.

Went up to the local coffee house, where I am now, no problem connecting to their network!
Talked to a different clerk at the hotel today and she confirmed what I was beginning to suspect--
that for some reason my computer was being blocked from connecting. Why would that be?
Could it be privacy settings on my laptop? Yup.

She told me that Austria REQUIRES hotels to monitor all downloads--by each room--in their hotel.
Said they had been fined for not previously doing so! She claims the coffee houses are subject to the
same rules, as well as apartments rented out to guests! Wow! Talk about Big Brother!

My son works in the info tech biz--so he's set up my laptop. I found one place on my browser (Firefox) options
that I could allow monitoring of sites I visited, but even unchecking that privacy setting still wouldn't allow
connecting at the hotel. He must have some other safeguards set up as well, but I decided it's just easier
to walk to the coffee house rather than try to figure out how to get my laptop to work at the hotel.

Has anyone else run into this kind of problem when traveling?

For those following the Monsanto discussion

Hubby and I are in Vienna, Austria.

Took a walk down by the Danube this a.m. It's NOT blue--and hasn't been for many, many years.
I was first here in 1983 and it was muddy brown then. What is different, is the amount
of graffiti on the walls.

Thought those following the Monsanto issues would like this.

Sunday morning walk by the Danube

a few of my favorites from this morning. Unfortunately, another gray day.

GOP "Extemist" Movement prompts NC candidate to switch to Dem

A Republican congressional candidate is renouncing his party and switching his affiliation to Democrat.

Jason Thigpen, who is challenging Republican U.S. Rep. Walter Jones in the 3rd Congressional District, wrote a blistering assessment of his former party, saying his shift was precipitated by the tea party push for a government shutdown.

“I simply cannot stand with a party where its most extreme element promote hate and division amongst people,” Thigpen said in a statement posted to his campaign website Thursday. “Nothing about my platform has, nor will it change. The government shutdown was simply the straw that broke the camels back. I guess being an American just isn’t good enough anymore and I refuse to be part of an extremist movement in the GOP that only appears to thrive on fear and hate mongering of anyone and everyone who doesn’t walk their line.”

Thigpen is a six-year Army veteran who received a Purple Heart, according to his website. He graduated from UNC-Wilmington in May and started a nonprofit group called Student Veterans Advocacy Group. The 36-year-old lives in Holly Ridge with his wife and four children.

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/10/31/3329326/gop-extremist-movement-prompts.html#storylink=cpy

WOW! That ought to get some attention. Don't know whether it will help him in the primary--or whether he could possibly
win against Jones.

There's more in his statement here:

“I didn’t go to war to defend the liberties and freedoms of one party, race, sex, or one income class of Americans. So, to come home from serving our country and see North Carolina legislators using their super-majority status to gerrymander districts and pass a law to deliberately suppress and oppress the voting rights of Democrats but more specifically minorities and college students, is absolutely deplorable.

“This same group of spineless legislators piggybacked a motorcycle safety bill with legislation intentionally geared to shut down women’s health clinics because of their ‘right righteous’ beliefs on abortion, while then cutting funding to the programs which help feed and provide healthcare to the babies they invariably forced the same women to have. Sounds like the Christian thing to do, huh?”

Full statement here: http://www.thigpenforcongress.com/hate-has-no-home-in-representation-congressional-candidate-for-nc3-parts-company-with-the-gop-to-run-on-the-democratic-ticket-by-christopher-dean/

You do not negotiate with terrorists and you do not play nice with bullies.

Seems we have quite an argument going here on DU regarding the faction
that is willing to raise the questions of sedition, treason, dereliction of duty,
blackmail, sabotage, etc.
and whatever else that describes the actions
of a minority faction within the Republican party that has convinced
the Speaker of the House to refuse to bring a clean CR to the floor
to approve the budget AND the group that says, "oh, no!"
it's not sedition, treason, etc., it's just the political process
and everyone needs to back off the rhetoric
. Indeed, it has
come to name calling (I alerted last night on one post
that called anyone agreeing with the sedition position
an imbecile and ignorant--and the jury voted 4-2 to HIDE
the post).

So. I think we all agree that the government shut-down is NOT a good thing.
The looming deficit ceiling showdown is NOT a good thing. And I come back
to my thread title, "You do not negotiate with terrorists and you do not play
nice with bullies."
I doubt anyone would agree that the appropriate
action for a pilot who discovers a hijacker aboard who has threatened
to crash the plane unless he gets his way would be for the pilot to go back and have a conversation
with the hijacker.

There is a definite benefit to FRAMING this discussion. Regardless of whether
the Attorney General would ever file any charges that would stick--or
result in the Tea party politician gang behind this mess being brought to trial--I believe there is value to
raising the issue of describing these actions as not supportive of the Constitution of the United States.

There is a battle going on here. The intent of this gang is to tilt the balance of power among
the branches of government way over to a minority faction within one branch of government.
This is not right. And there is nothing wrong with metaphorically identifying the actions
of this gang as blackmail, extortion, or hostage taking.

Are the actions of the Tea Party gang supportive of the Constitution of the United States?
If the answer is "no", then let the chips fall where they may.

Insurance companies in red states snickering all the way to the bank--and blaming Obamacare

Get ready to write LTTE --especially in red states--as folks in the
red states where Republican Governors/Legislatures refused to allow
Medicaid expansion or open state exchanges are now seeing people
furious over the rate increases on their insurance plans--all blamed
on Obamacare, of course.

I opened our local paper (Raleigh News&Observer) this morning to see a bunch of letters from
people complaining about their existing plans being canceled and their rates raised. So,
I fired off a LTTE:

It was disturbing to read the number of letters to the editor regarding the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) from people who have seen their insurance premiums dramatically raised by their insurance carriers (primarily BCBS). However, what is more disturbing is the lack of reporting from the News & Observer explaining why this has happened in North Carolina at the same time in many other states across the country people are overjoyed to discover that, not only can they finally find health insurance, but that it is extremely affordable. The NC Insurance Commissioner, Wayne Godwin, has been happy to explain it: thank the GOP in NC for rejecting the expansion of Medicaid, refusing to set up a state exchange to sell insurance and also passing a law which forbid the Department of Insurance from helping citizens to understand the ACA and recruit insurance carriers to a state exchange which would result in increased competition (and lower rates). I'm sure the Republicans are snickering all the way to the bank on this. Surely the irony has not escaped them: blame it on Obamacare and watch profits rise.

And how did I know what the Insurance Commissioner had said? Thanks to this interview (found on my fb news feed)


So, get ready to counter the complaints that you are bound to see in the red states that refused to expand Medicaid or
run a state exchange.

The Inca: Mysterious Circular Terraces of Moray


This is exactly what happened in NC.

The state actually went for Obama in 2008--first time voted for Dem presidential
candidate since Jimmy Carter.

All the Dems stayed home in 2010 and the Repubs in the State legislature took over.
Gerrymandered districts.

In 2012 MORE NC voters voted for Dem Representatives, but because of the gerrymandering,
the House delegation which had been split 7 Dem 6 Repub, became 9 Repub 4 Dem--EVEN
THOUGH MORE people voted Dem in House Rep races.

North Carolina provides a striking example. The state’s congressional vote and delegation had usually split closely in the decade since 2002. In 2010, for example, the House delegation was 7 to 6 Democratic. After the 2011 gerrymandering however, the results no longer reflected the state’s fairly even partisan split. In 2012, the Democrats won more congressional votes than the Republicans, 50 percent to 48.9 percent, but the new gerrymandering gave the GOP a 9 to 4 congressional majority.


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