Sunday, May 22, 2011

George W. Bush racks up $15 million in speaking fees

How much would you pay to get President George W. Bush to speak at your event?


Almost immediately after leaving office, Bush withdrew from the broader bully pulpit that other former presidents, such as Jimmy Carter, have used to weigh in on matters of public import. But he also joined the storied ranks of former politicians who are now making money on the speaking circuit-- and it's paying off.

Bush spokesman David Sherzer tells iWatch News that Bush has earned at least $15 million for nearly 140 paid speeches since he left office in Jan. 2009. That's an average of about $110,000 per speech. (iWatch News reports that his average fee is pegged between $100,000 and $150,000.)

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Of Politicians And Cricketers

From To All Cricket Lovers - An After Dinner Speech Made by Kadir:

Sri Lanka Foreign Minister Late Lakshman Kadirgamar`s (A Tamil national assassinated by Tamil Tigers)

His after dinner speech OFF THE CUFF, in the UK, with Sri Lankan Cricketers being present.
This was at the World Cup of 2003 in England.)

-----------------------------------------------------------

`Captain Atapattu and members of the Sri Lankan team, Members of the Sri Lankan community, Friends of Sri Lanka, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Some historians say, I think uncharitably, that cricket is really a diabolical political strategy, disguised as a game, in fact a substitute for War, invented by the ingenious British to confuse the natives by encouraging them to fight each other instead of their imperial rulers.

The world is divided into two camps - those who revel in the intricacies of cricket and those who are totally baffled by it, who cannot figure out why a group of energetic young men should spend days, often in the hot sun or bitter cold, chasing a ball across an open field, hitting it from time to time with a stick - all to the rapturous applause of thousands, now millions, of ecstatic spectators across the world. The game has developed a mystical language of its own that further bewilders those who are already befuddled by its complexities.

In the course of my travels I have a hard time explaining to the non-cricketing world - in America, China, Europe and Russia - that a `googly` is not an Indian sweetmeat that a `square cut` is not a choice selection of prime beef that a `cover drive` is not a secluded part of the garden that a `bouncer` is not a muscular janitor at a night club, that a `yorker` is not some exotic cocktail mixed in Yorkshire or that a `leg-break` is not a sinister manoeuvre designed to cripple your opponent`s limbs below the waist.

Ladies and Gentlemen, let me see whether politics and cricket have anything in common. Both are games. Politicians and cricketers are superficially similar, and yet very different. Both groups are wooed by the cruel public who embrace them today and reject them tomorrow.

Cricketers work hard politicians only pretend to do so. Cricketers are disciplined discipline is a word unknown to most politicians in any language. Cricketers risk their own limbs in the heat of honourable play, politicians encourage others to risk their limbs in pursuit of fruitless causes while they remain secure in the safety of their pavilions. Cricketers deserve the rewards they get the people get the politicians they deserve. Cricketers retire young politicians go on for ever. Cricketers unite the country politicians divide it. Cricketers accept the umpire`s verdict even if they disagree with it politicians who disagree with an umpire usually get him transferred. Cricketers stick to their team through victory and defeat, politicians in a losing team cross over and join the winning team. Clearly, cricketers are the better breed.

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"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away" - Philip K.Dick

From How to Build a Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later by Philip K. Dick, 1978:

I mailed the slip of paper to the White House, mentioning that the Chinese restaurant was located within a mile of Nixon's original house, and I said, "I think a mistake has been made; by accident I got Mr. Nixon's fortune. Does he have mine?" The White House did not answer.

Well, as I said earlier, an author of a work supposed fiction might write the truth and not know it. To quote Xenophanes, another pre-Socratic: "Even if a man should chance to speak the most complete truth, yet he himself does not know it; all things are wrapped inappearances" (Fragment 34). And Heraclitus added to this: "The nature of things is in the habit of concealing itself" (Fragment 54). W. S. Gilbert, of Gilbert and Sullivan, put it: "Things are seldom what they seem; skim milk masquerades as cream." The point of all that is that we cannot trust our senses and probably not even our a priori reasoning. As to our senses, I understand that people who have been blind from birth and are suddenly given sight are amazed to discover that objects appear to get smaller and smaller as they get farther away. Logically, there is no reason for this. We, of course, have come to accept this, because we are use to it. We see objects get smaller, but we know that in actuality they remain the same size. So even the common everyday pragmatic person utilizes a certain amount of sophisticated discounting of what his eyes and ears tell him.

Little of what Heraclitus wrote has survived, and what we do have is obscure, but Fragment 54 is lucid and important: "Latent structure is master of obvious structure." This means that Heraclitus believed that a veil lay over the true landscape. He also may have suspected that time was somehow not what it seemed, because in Fragment 52 he said: "Time is a child at play, playing draughts; a child's is the kingdom." This is indeed cryptic. But he also said, in Fragment 18: "If one does not expect it, one will not find out the unexpected; it is not to be tracked down and no path leads us to it." Edward Hussey, in his scholarly book The Pre-Socratics, says:

If Heraclitus is to be so insistent on the lack of understanding shown by most men, it would seem only reasonable that he should offer further instructions for penetrating to the truth. The talk of riddle-guessing suggests that some kind of revelation, beyond human control, is necessary... The true wisdom, as has been seen, is closely associated with God, which suggests further that in advancing wisdom a man becomes like, or a part of, God.

This quote is not from a religious book or a book on theology; it is an analysis of the earliest philosophers by a Lecturer in Ancient Philosophy at the University of Oxford. Hussey makes it clear that to these early philosophers there was no distinction between philosophy and religion. The first great quantum leap in Greek theology was by Xenophanes of Colophon, born in the mid-sixth century B.C. Xenophanes, without resorting to any authority except that of his own mind, says:

One god there is, in no way like mortal creatures either in bodily form or in the thought of his mind. The whole of him sees, the whole of him thinks, the whole of him hears. He stays always motionless in the same place; it is not fitting that he should move about now this way, now that.

This is a subtle and advanced concept of God, evidently without precedent among the Greek thinkers. "The arguments of Parmenides seemed to show that all reality must indeed be a mind," Hussey writes, "or an object of thought in a mind." Regarding Heraclitus specifically, he says, "In Heraclitus it is difficult to tell how far the designs in God's mind are distinguished from the execution in the world, or indeed how far God's mind is distinguished from the world." The further leap by Anaxagoras has always fascinated me. "Anaxagoras had been driven to a theory of the microstructure of matter which made it, to some extent, mysterious to human reason." Anaxagoras believed that everything was determined by Mind. These were not childish thinkers, nor primitives. They debated serious issues and studied one another's views with deft insight. It was not until the time of Aristotle that their views got reduced to what we can neatly—but wrongly—classify as crude. The summation of much pre-Socratic theology and philosophy can be stated as follows: Thekosmos is not as it appears to be, and what it probably is, at its deepest level, is exactly that which the human being is at his deepest level—call it mind or soul, it is something unitary which lives and thinks, and only appears to be plural and material. Much of this view reaches us through the Logos doctrine regarding Christ. The Logos was both that which thought, and the thing which it thought: thinker and thought together. The universe, then, is thinker and thought, and since we are part of it, we as humans are, in the final analysis, thoughts of and thinkers of those thoughts.

Thus if God thinks about Rome circa A.D. 50, then Rome circa A.D. 50 is. The universe is not a windup clock and God the hand that winds it. The universe is not a battery-powered watch and God the battery. Spinoza believed that the universe is the body of God extensive in space. But long before Spinoza—two thousand years before him—Xenophanes had said, "Effortlessly, he wields all things by the thought of his mind" (Fragment 25).

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9/11 WTC Employee Discusses pre 9/11 Power downs

Gary Corbett , World Trade Centre employee discusses the power down at the WTC the weekend before 9/11.

'Team Frankenstein' launch bid to build a human brain within decade

Henry Markram, a neuroscientist at the École Polytechnique Fédérale in Lausanne, Switzerland, has assembled a team of nine top European scientists for the research effort.

‘This is one of the three grand challenges for humanity. We need to understand earth, space and the brain. We need to understand what makes us human.’ Markram told Germany's Spiegel magazine.

The scientists and researchers working with the Human Brain Project believe that if they secure the funding, they will be able to replicate mankind's most vital organ in 12 years.

The applications for it if successful are enormous; drug companies for instance would be able to dramatically shorten testing times by bypassing humans to test new medicaments on the computer model.

Supercomputers at the Jülich Research Center near Cologne are earmarked to play a vital role in the research which Makram says will involve ‘a tsunami of data.’

Jülich neuroscientist Katrin Amunts has begun work on a detailed atlas of the brain which involved slicing one into 8,000 parts which were then digitalized with a scanner.

Makram added: ‘It is not impossible to build a human brain. We can do it in just over 10 years.

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Project Blue Beam Documentary


Sun's Nemesis Pelted Earth with Comets, Study Suggests

By Leslie Mullen, Astrobiology Magazine

A dark object may be lurking near our solar system, occasionally kicking comets in our direction.?

Nicknamed "Nemesis" or "The Death Star," this undetected object could be a red or brown dwarf star, or an even darker presence several times the mass of Jupiter.

Why do scientists think something could be hidden beyond the edge of our solar system? Originally, Nemesis was suggested as a way to explain a cycle of mass extinctions on Earth.

[ ... ]

The Footprint of Nemesis

A recently-discovered dwarf planet, named Sedna, has an extra-long and usual elliptical orbit around the Sun. Sedna is one of the most distant objects yet observed, with an orbit ranging between 76 and 975 AU (where 1 AU is the distance between the Earth and the Sun). Sedna's orbit is estimated to last between 10.5 to 12 thousand years. Sedna's discoverer, Mike Brown of Caltech, noted in a Discover magazine article that Sedna's location doesn't make sense.

"Sedna shouldn't be there," said Brown. "There's no way to put Sedna where it is. It never comes close enough to be affected by the Sun, but it never goes far enough away from the Sun to be affected by other stars."?

Perhaps a massive unseen object is responsible for Sedna's mystifying orbit, its gravitational influence keeping Sedna fixed in that far-distant portion of space.?

"My surveys have always looked for objects closer and thus moving faster," Brown said to Astrobiology Magazine. "I would have easily overlooked something so distant and slow moving as Nemesis."??

John Matese, Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, suspects Nemesis exists for another reason. The comets in the inner solar system seem to mostly come from the same region of the Oort Cloud, and Matese thinks the gravitational influence of a solar companion is disrupting that part of the cloud, scattering comets in its wake. His calculations suggest Nemesis is between 3 to 5 times the mass of Jupiter, rather than the 13 Jupiter masses or greater that some scientists think is a necessary quality of a brown dwarf. Even at this smaller mass, however, many astronomers would still classify it as a low mass star rather than a planet, since the circumstances of birth for stars and planets differ.

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Secret Service interrogates 13-year-old over Facebook post

"My 13-year-old son, who's a minor, who's supposed to be safe and secure in his classroom at school, is being interrogated without my knowledge or consent by the Secret Service," Robertson told Q13 Fox News reporter Dana Rebik. She only got wind of the interrogation because a school security guard tipped her off and arrived a half-hour after the agent had already begun questioning her son. Tacoma police were also present.

The school said they began without her because she didn't take their call seriously, which Robertson called a "blatant lie."


By the end of the interview, which occurred May 13, the agent told the boy he was free to go and wasn't in trouble.

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image from http://www.spitting-image.net

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