Saturday, May 4, 2013

CIA Bribes Karzai. Gaza Rockets. Turtles and Tortoises. Gulf Oil Spill. Umbilical Cord. Rhode Island. Lincoln. Willie Mays.


For “Summary Saturday”, News, Some New, Some Old:

CIA Bribes Karzai: Millions In 'Ghost Money' Paid To Afghanistan President's Office, New York Times Reports

April 29 (Reuters) - “Tens of millions of U.S. dollars in cash were delivered by the CIA in suitcases, backpacks and plastic shopping bags to the office of Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai for more than a decade, the New York Times says, citing current and former advisers to the Afghan leader.
The so-called "ghost money" was meant to buy influence for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) but instead fuelled corruption and empowered warlords, undermining Washington's exit strategy from Afghanistan, the newspaper quoted U.S. officials as saying. "The biggest source of corruption in Afghanistan", one American official said, "was the United States."

The CIA declined to comment on the report and the U.S. State Department did not immediately comment. The New York Times did not publish any comment from Karzai or his office.
"We called it 'ghost money'," Khalil Roman, who served as Karzai's chief of staff from 2002 until 2005, told the New York Times. "It came in secret and it left in secret." ” More at:


IDF source: Hamas working to stop Gaza rockets

Hamas's Kassam Brigades [file].Hamas's Kassam Brigades [file]. Photo: REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

“Speaking at an IDF event in Sderot, Edelstein confirms that Hamas is acting to thwart rocket attacks from Gaza.  IDF Gaza Division commander Brig.-Gen. Micky Edelstein said Friday that there was "some degree of dialogue" between Israel and parties in Gaza to prevent rocket fire from the coastal territory into southern Israel.

“I want to make clear that we will not tolerate a ‘drizzle’ policy. A ‘drizzle’ of rockets or missiles will be met by a very aggressive reaction, and we will take all necessary action to defend our citizens,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned this week.”  More at:


Turtles and Tortoises Are Losing Their Natural Habitats

Turtle“The Behler Chelonian Center in Southern California is a captive breeding and management facility for the Turtle Conservancy. The center houses some of the world’s most endangered species of turtles and tortoises.

Turtles and tortoises in the wild are losing their habitats to pollution, dams, deforestation and agricultural expansion. They are also taken by poachers. When re-introducing these animals back into the wild, epidemic diseases are an important factor in determining whether a population can be self-sustaining.

Turtles and tortoises possess reproductive characteristics that make them especially vulnerable to extinction. Populations can be quickly decimated, and recovery can take decades.”  More at:   and:

The race to save the tortoise

“Turtles and tortoises have been roaming the planet for 200 million years, but now many of them are endangered by poachers who can sell some animals for as much as $60,000. Lesley Stahl reports from Madagascar, and The Behler Chelonian Center.”


It's Oil For the Best

“One expert explains how the BP spill could be Texas’s greatest boon.  “The Gulf is like a fighter,” he told me. “You can only take so many punches before you go down.”

So imagine my surprise at McKinney’s unbridled optimism in the wake of the BP disaster. After all, the spill was so massive—the largest accidental marine spill in history—that scientists are still struggling to gauge the impact. Tens of millions of gallons of oil tarred the coastline from Louisiana to Alabama and, along with nearly two million gallons of toxic dispersant, coated hundreds of square miles of seafloor.

Texas escaped the worst of the spill, yet many of its bird and turtle species were severely affected. In this ugly aftermath, McKinney sees hope. Thanks to the Restore Act passed by Congress in June 2012, as well as fines levied against BP under the Clean Water Act and a surprise court settlement last November that forced BP to pay $4.5 billion in penalties, Texas will receive a substantial payout. And those funds will go toward extensive new efforts to reverse the longtime degradation of the state’s coast. “Deepwater Horizon was a tragedy,” said McKinney, “but now it offers an opportunity like nothing I’ve ever seen. This investment in our oceans will return a tremendous benefit—economically, environmentally, all of it.” " More at:


Cutting Umbilical Cord Too Early Ups Baby's Risk of Anemia

A baby having its cord tied before it is cut Historically, the cord has been cut within seconds of birth.

“Childbirth experts in the United Kingdom are urging the National Health Service (NHS) to review and reverse its policy on the timing of early clamping and cutting baby's umbilical cord. The experts cite mounting evidence that it deprives newborns of vital blood from the placenta.

The practice of clamping and cutting the placenta within seconds of delivery has been common since the 1960s, and is backed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which advises the NHS on medical practices to follow.

But medical bodies, senior doctors, and the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) disagree with the practice. They want the placenta left untouched from 30 seconds to whenever it stops pulsating naturally (which is usually between two and five minutes).

As reported by the Guardian, the NCT wants the NHS's position to be one that leaves the cord attached for a few minutes, unless the baby's or mother's health necessitates clamping to allow urgent medical intervention. Such emergencies include the cord being wrapped around the baby's neck in childbirth, or the mother experiencing postpartum hemorrhaging.

The delayed clamping may help prevent the baby from developing iron-deficiency anemia.”  More at:  and: 



From me: Then there are mothers like Jay’s, who haven't cut the cord after 50 years!!


On This Day:

Rhode Island declares independence, May 4, 1776:

“On this day in 1776, Rhode Island, the colony founded by the most radical religious dissenters from the Puritans of Massachusetts Bay Colony, becomes the first North American colony to renounce its allegiance to King George III. Ironically, Rhode Island would be the last state to ratify the new American Constitution more than 14 years later on May 29, 1790.”


Lincoln is buried in Springfield, Illinois, May 4, 1865:

“On this day in 1865, Abraham Lincoln is laid to rest in his hometown of Springfield, Illinois.

His funeral train had traveled through 180 cities and seven states before reaching Springfield. At each stop, mourners paid their respects to Lincoln, who had been assassinated on April 14. Lincoln's son Willie, who died at age 11 from typhoid fever in 1862 and had originally been buried in Washington while Lincoln was serving as president, was interred next to his father in the family plot that same day.”


Willie Mays breaks National League home run record, May 4, 1965:

“On May 4, 1965, San Francisco Giants outfielder Willie Mays hits his 512th career home run to break Mel Ott’s National League record for home runs. Mays would finish his career with 660 home runs, good for third on the all-time list at the time of his retirement.

In addition to winning the National League MVP in 1954 and 1965, Mays played in a record 24 All-Star games, winning the All-Star MVP in 1963 and 1968. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979. His base running, power, fielding, ability to hit for average and outstanding arm in the outfield made him the prototype "five-tool" player for whom baseball scouts search. Any argument over who deserves the title "greatest baseball player in history" has to include Willie Mays.”



Muffie, Jay’s neighbor’s dog arrived to stay for a couple of days.  Her ‘Dad’ has gone to a family grave-cleaning out of town.  Because I didn’t know how she and Gumdrop would interact, I have to keep Gumdrop in my bathroom, as Muffie always sleeps on my bed when she is here. 

It’s cocklebur season, so I took Misty in the Grooming Room and cut her down into a Kennel Clip.  I don’t like her in that clip, but for the next few weeks it will be easier to get them out of her hair.  I found quite a few hidden in her long fluffy hair while I was cutting her down.  We don’t have cockleburs here, but I take her walking other places.

Just as I was going to groom Muffie, Kenya my SPCA boss, called.  There are a couple of cats who need an immediate foster or they will be taken to the pound tomorrow, so I volunteered.  The people who have them are moving and can’t take them with them.  Kenya and I always chat for quite a while and she let slip another piece of information about my Misty.  When I got Misty, the vets only gave her a year to live, and I have had her for 3 years and 4 months!  That was sad, but glad news.

We also discussed Gumdrop, and Kenya realizes that Gumdrop would be happier in a home with more going on.  Gummie gets lonely and bored while I am working, which is most of the time.  Having Siamese in her, makes her an active cat, and that is why she gets into so much stuff around here.  She found out how to open the food bin, and when I put it in a cupboard, she opened the cupboard, even though she has some food in her bowl.  She is always moving things, jumping up on things, and knocking things down.  She is just bored. I love her very much and she loves me, but she needs more than that.  She needs a home where she can get more attention.

After church, I will be taking her to Adoption Day, so that she can go home with her previous foster mom, and I will be picking up the other two cats.  So the dynamics in this house will change today.

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