Thursday, February 18, 2010

American Idol Season 9: Top 24 Named, Part 2

One storyline is clear in this season of American Idol: happy thoughts. In the midst of a recession, the producers clearly believe people want to hear good news. So during two nights of choosing the Top 24, we heard a lot more "You're going through" than "This is the end of the road."

On Wednesday, Idol went half an hour and gave smiles to eight people before we finally saw someone sent home with a tearful "no" followed by a montage of goodbyes. Then a slew of more "yes's." The best tweak is they ended the godawful practice of bringing in the last two contestants together. Both were guaranteed to be miserable since the winner could hardly rejoice without looking like a complete jerk.

Finally, everyone has a Twitter/Facebook/MySpace account this season so it'll be interesting to see who makes the smartest use of social media to garner fans. Most of the Idols have maybe a couple dozen followers on Twitter as of early Thursday morning. One or two have a hundred or so. But Garcia has more than 2500, about ten times as the next closest Idol. On Facebook, John Park more than doubles his closest competitor with 700+ fans. Does this mean anything? It certainly can't hurt when they get to the voting stage.

Here's a rundown of the people going through Wednesday (plus two rejections) and whether I agreed.

JANELL WHEELER -- She messed up two out of three times during Hollywood Week so it's hard to see why she's going through.

TYLER GRADY -- The lanky dude with the Seventies vibe, Tyler is right up Idol's alley. An obvious distinctive choice because at least he fits a type. I don't actually have a good sense for his talent.

LACEY BROWN -- Really didn't hear her enough to form an opinion. But they used her rendition of "What A Wonderful World" to montage more winners and frankly, I thought it went off the track a bit at the end.

ASHLEY RODRIGUEZ/ALEX LAMBERT/JOE MUNOZ - Fittingly, montaged together when told yes since they didn't get enough airtime.

CRYSTAL BOWERSOX -- Duh. A ringer.

KATIE STEVENS -- Seems quite young so this appears an iffy choice.

ANGELA MARTIN -- Sent home. We were set up to believe in Martin even though they knew she was going home. Strong backstory and some good performances made this one of their sneaky surprises. But here's a question. Why do Kara and Randy and the other judges urge her to keep going? This is her third season. She may be improved but if she really had star potential, wouldn't they have put her in the Top 24 by now? If they won't even do that, obviously they wouldn't give her a record deal. Either she's got it or she doesn't so unless they think she has some style that just doesn't suit the show (which isn't the case), they are sending her some seriously mixed signals.

LILLY SCOTT -- Sang a pretty good "Rich Girl" and a nice jazzy number. Makes sense but if she's really determined to make it she better lose her lucky earrings.

PAIGE MILES/SIOBHAN MAGNUS/MICHELLE DELAMOR/JERMAINE SELLERS/JOHN PARK -- Most of them didn't have enough airtime to make an impression but seem reasonable choices from the brief snippets we heard.

HAELEY VAUGHN -- Sweet kid but frankly she seemed too inconsistent to go through.

THADDEUS JOHNSON -- Sent home. He was another one we were set up to believe in. Seems the obvious choice to replace Michael Lynche if Lynche is indeed eliminated because family members leaked his getting into the Top 24 to the media. Johnson has a nice combination of confidence and vulnerability that could work in his favor.

ANDREW GARCIA -- Still hoping to see that his cool rendition of "Straight Up" wasn't a fluke, but an obvious choice.

Now unquestionably there will be surprises since a fair number of people in the Top 24 haven't had a chance to score any airtime. But taking that into account, the likely front-runners among the people we've heard are: Crystal Bowersox, Siobhan Magnus, Andrew Garcia, Todrick Hall and Casey James.

So what did you think of the picks? Who didn't deserve to go through and who got shafted?

Original Post By: Michael Giltz


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bible of the Day

Read the Bible:

Exodus 39-40
Psalm 44
Luke 8

Original Post by Emery


Friday, February 12, 2010

Preventing the SBC from Becoming the One View Baptist Convention

In my library I have several books that cover various viewpoints regarding tertiary doctrines over which Christians have historically disagreed. For example, I have read and enjoyed The Meaning of the Millenium: Four Views, and taught the people at Emmanuel all four viewpoints during a Wednesday night study. I taught each of the four millenial positions as if I believed it, and only at the end of the entire series did I give the members of Emmanuel my personal views on the subject of the millenium. I also admitted I could be wrong in my personal view and told those in the Bible study they should search the Scriptures for themselves to arrive at their own conclusions.

Predestination and Free Will: Four Views of Divine Sovereignty and Human Freedom is another book in my library. We have used it in various small group studies in our church. There has never been a demand that people at Emmanuel hold to one particular view on this subject. Interestingly, all four viewpoints on God's soverereignty are represented by different Sunday School teachers in our fellowship. But all of our members understand that we are never to make disagreement over this tertiery doctrine a test of fellowship. Another book, entitled Are Miraculous Gifts For Today? Four Views , is an excellent summary of the different viewpoints Christians hold regarding spiritual gifts.

Again, all four views on the gifts of the Spirit are held by various people within our 4,500 church membership. I'm excited that an agreement has already been reached with Broadman and Holman for another four view book to be published in 2011 called Perspectives on Tithing. A Southern Baptist will serve as the main editor and there will be three other contributors, with Southern Baptist Ken Hemphill providing one view on the subject. There are a number of other books that take handle biblical doctrines by presenting four views on the subject in question. The ability and freedom to learn, discuss, and debate various views on tertiery doctrines is a sign of health and strength for any church or convention. Demands that everybody believe the same thing on tertiery matters is a sign of dysfunction.

Unfortunately, some within the Southern Baptist Convention would like to demand that all Southern Baptists conform to ONE VIEW on every tertiery doctrine. This week one Southern Baptist went so far as to write administrators at our cooperative seminaries and suggest that any professor who taught a different view on "storehouse tithing" than that held by "the majority of Southern Baptists" should be removed from faculty. The International Mission Board trustees removed from prospective missionary service any missionary who believed that "a private prayer language" was a legitimate spiritual gift.

Certain Southern Baptist ideologues who believe that a woman cannot teach men in a classroom setting, and wishing to push that singular view on all Southern Baptists who cooperate in the support of our agencies, removed Hebrew professor Dr. Sheri Klouda and Dr. Karen Bullock from their classroom responsibilities at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Southern Baptist pastors and leaders should feel the freedom to hold firm convictions on tertiery issues. They should believe, preach, and defend their views with conviction. But nobody within the SBC should even begin to think about threatening, ridiculing or seeking the removal from leadership or service any Southern Baptist who believes, teaches, or publishes a contrary view. Once we Southern Baptists allow ideologues with intentions of demanding doctrinal conformity to proceed unchecked and unchallenged, our Convention will lose all sense of true Baptist identity. We Baptists, out of all the Christian people in this world, should cherish and protect freedom for our people to hold to various views and interpretations of tertiery Biblical doctrines.

Each of us who care about the future of cooperative mission effort should take a collective stand to prevent the Southern Baptist Convention from becoming the One View Baptist Convention.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson

Original Post by Wade Burleson


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Reactions to Pastor Rony’s Comments

A member of my small group recently wrote a short response to the Rory Tan debacle, currently the centerstage of Singaporean social affairs. Its a balanced, well-thought out response from the Christian’s perspective, and with her permission I have reproduced it here.

Rebecca Tan, a NUS undergraduate

Having sat through a number of Christian-organised talks about other faiths, I have two suggestions:

1) If the aim of the talk is to educate your congregation about the other faith, then teach them respectfully about the basic tenets of that faith. Speaking respectfully about differing faiths doesn’t mean that you are purporting them. In fact, there may be certain aspects of other faiths that we (not of that faith) can learn from, such as the Muslims’ discipline in prayer and respect for their God, the Buddhists’ desire to do what is right etc.

2) If the aim of the talk is to evangelise to non-Christians, then speak about your faith. If the person is satisfied with their current faith, then there is little that you can do which will turn him away from that to another faith, apart from presenting what you believe in. Tearing down what he believes in and practises does nothing but engender disgust and anger.


But what actually stood out to me from this entire issue are two, perhaps peripheral, issues:

1) How quick people were to call this “sedition” and be supportive of the hauling up of Pastor Rony Tan by the ISD. In many other circumstances (like the situation of the racist teenagers on FB), the ISD involvement would be decried as undemocratic and too harsh. I’m not saying that what Pastor Rony said was right, but all of a sudden, many Netizens suddenly supported the ISD (and by extension, the ISA) when they hadn’t previously.

2) The conflation of race and religion. In all the news stories, the main issue that was reported was the need to maintain “racial harmony”. Maybe it’s me nitpicking, but I do think that there needs to be some accuracy here, because not all Chinese are Buddhists or Indians Hindu etc. If anything, such conflation leads to stereotyping and generalisations. We should really be careful about equating religion with race.


Its interesting — the general response I’ve been garnering from netizens’ responses is not that the ISD’s intervention had been too heavy-handed or overly publicized, but that insufficient action was taken. Looks like Blair was right. We’re really headed towards an age where the conflict will no longer be defined by ideological lines (e.g. democracy vs. communism in the Cold War), but by religious ones. And while the secularists won’t be very happy about this, well, pure secularism is pretty much a form of religion by itself.

Original Post by Alastair Su


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

February 2010 Newsletter

From the Disk of the Pastor February 2010

Dear Friends in Christ,
Pontius Pilate asked Christ, what is truth? That is a question that is often not asked today. Pilate’s question suggests that he was a Roman skeptic. In Roman society, there were three basic philosophical positions. The stoics were focused upon duty. The epicureans were focused upon pleasure and self gratification. The skeptics viewed life an unknowable farce. Truth existed, but us fallible human beings could not know truth. Thus, since we could not know truth, our actions would always be flawed. We had no chance of getting it right.

In contrast, today people ask is there such a thing as truth. In fact many have gone beyond this and insisted that there is no truth. We call this “Post Modernism.” Post Modern thought is in fact not new at all. It has its current day roots is in the work of the nineteenth century philosopher Frederick Nitsche. It is also closely tied to Fascist thinking. Philosopher Martin Heidigger is one the heros of post modern scholars. He was a card carrying Nazi and an active supporter of Hitler. The father of post modern deconstructionism was Yale professor Paul de Mann. De Mann was born in Belgium and during World War II was busy writing pro Nazi propaganda. If there is no truth, there is only power. Might makes right. If you have the power to enforce your will, then your will becomes truth.

This the challenge facing the church today. Many of the people we encounter will not believe that there is such a thing as truth. Truth is whatever I think it is. Often times we will have to do some pre-evangelism. We will have to show people that truth is objective. One of the simplest arguments is in medicine. Do you want to go to a doctor who doesn’t think that there is such a thing as truth? Such a doctor might well say you don’t have cancer if you think you don’t. How catastrophic such medicine would be! People would die because they didn’t understand their true situation.

For us, God’s Word is truth. Here is where we turn to diagnose our condition. In the Word we see that we are sinners who cannot save ourselves. We are lost and damned. We need an objective cure. We need our sins to be taken from us. Christ Jesus does just that in His death on the cross. This is the objective reality that offers hope to the world.

In a couple weeks we will enter the season of Lent. Lent is a time of cold, hard, objective facts. It is a time when we confront our sinfulness. We do this because it is true. We are not like Pilate wondering what truth is. We are not like the post modernists who think that truth is whatever they say it is. We are Christians. As St. Paul says “Love rejoices in the truth.” (I Cor. 13:6) He is echoing the words of the Psalmist: “Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way.” (Ps. 119:104) And so look at the truth of our sins. We do not flinch from it. It is painful, but it is a mark of our love, not only for our Lord and our selves, but also for our neighbor. For by looking at the truth of our sins, we look at how we can better serve our neighbor. But we also look at the truth of our Savior - Jesus Christ. The Law teaches us God’s will, but the Gospel teaches us that Christ has already fulfilled God’s will in our place. This gives us a new reason for seeking to fulfill the Law - love for Christ and love for our neighbor. This is the truth we seek for ourselves and the truth we seek to share with others.

Rev. Jody Walter
Psalm 119:104-105

Original Post by Walt's World of Religion and Politics


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The 2010 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival is June 10-13, 2010 in Manchester, Tenn.

Bonnaroo 2010 lineup announcements were made on the Bonnaroo 2010 MySpace page today. The Bonnaroo 2010 lineup announcements are still ongoing as well, because they are revealing the artists a few at a time in order to draw out the suspense of who will be appearing this year. The Bonnaroo 2010 Music & Arts Festival will be taking place this summer from June 10th to June 13th in Manchester, Tenn., and tickets for this huge event are already on sale. The Bonnaroo concert festivals are typically considered some of the biggest and best of the year, and this summer looks to be no exception with some of the singers and bands already announced.

Some of the artists and groups that are scheduled to appear this year have been at past Bonnaroo Music Festivals, but some might consider this to be one of the best groups of artists that the Bonnaroo Festival has put together. Some of the artists already listed for the Bonnaroo 2010 lineup include Norah Jones, Ingrid Michaelson, Regina Spektor, Zac Brown Band, Dave Matthews Band, and Dave Rawlings Machine. The one solo artist that could draw the most attention is Jay-Z, who will be performing there as well. To put it into perspective how diverse the Bonnaroo 2010 lineup is they also have Weezer, The Flaming Lips, and Jimmy Cliff on the docket.

There are still more names to be released for the Bonnaroo 2010 lineup, and they will continuously announce on the Bonnaroo 2010 MySpace page which we have linked below if you want to watch as they are revealed. The Bonnaroo 2010 lineup is updated every six minutes on the page, so if you keep watching the page, they will reveal more and more names as the day continues. With all of the big names that have been revealed already, it is turning out to be an amazing lineup for Bonnaroo 2010, and it will only get better as the day progresses. This will definitely be one of those can't-miss concert events of the 2010 music season.

Bonnaroo 2010 will take place in Manchester, Tenn., on June 10th to June 13th this summer.


Monday, February 8, 2010

Kitchener 9/11 Truth Street Action Feb. 11, 2010.

For our February 11th street action we will be traveling to our neighbouring city of Stratford and will be out front of the Farmers Market or City Hall located on Downie Street at 2PM.

Anyone who wishes to come out and spread the truth to citizens in the Stratford community is more than welcome. Bring a sign, DVDs or just yourself, your video camera and your will to educate people on this subject.

We video tape all our street actions for our own purposes. Anyone who wants to come out just to cause problems be aware that we will post it on you-tube and other outlets as well as possible legal action.

Those who disagree with our view on 9/11 are more than welcome to come down and discuss 9/11 in a calm mature manner. We look forward to the discussion.

See you on the 11th.

For more info contact:

Source: Posted by Canadian Truther

Friday, February 5, 2010

Daily Kor for February 6, 2010: The truth lie you tell your torturers that they later use for propaganda shall set you free!

Daily Kor is back, suckas! At least for today. I'll try to get back into the swing of things this week. Robert Park was mentioned in yesterday's Loose Change, but it is such a big story that it's lighting up the switchboard at Daily Kor. Well, everywhere except the Los Angeles Times, which will probably carry the story in May or June, about a week after the piece about how Koreans feel about Kim Yuna's performance in Vancouver.

I think the backstory to Mr Park's release is that the Norks were tired of his sanctimonious preaching, but they knew they couldn't release him (good move on his part publicizing his trip ahead of time), so they just let him go. It will be interesting to hear what Mr Park has to say about the KCNA reports that he is "repentant"

  1. North Korea says it will release "repentant" Korean-American missionary Robert Park, who entered country demanding to meet Kim Jong-il in order to get him to end human rights abuses (NYT, WaPo, BBC, WSJ, Bloomberg, Yonhap, Korea Times, Joongang Daily, Chosun Ilbo)
  2. Senior Chinese envoy visiting Pyongyang to persuade Kim Jong-il to return to six-party nuclear disarmament talks (Reuters via WaPo, AP via WaPo, Yonhap, Korea Times, Korea Herald)
  3. South Korea will deploy 250 peacekeeping troops to Haiti starting next week (Korea Times, Korea Herald, Joongang Daily)
  4. ROK Prime Minister says Japanese Emperor Akihito should express regret over Japan's past wrongdoings if he visits South Korea (Korea Herald, People's Daily)
  5. South Korean won weakens against the US dollar on news of European debt fears (Yonhap)
  6. Ministry of Knowledge Economy says ROK government will invest one trillion won in software industry to help make South Korea a software powerhouse (Yonhap)
  7. Alliance of South Korean women's groups blasts recent crackdown on abortion (Yonhap)
  8. ROK and US forces may hold drill to prepare for contingencies in North Korea (Korea Herald)
  9. United Nations agency which oversees trafficking in endangered species recommends ban on bluefin tuna exports (AP via WaPo)
  10. Two North Koreans will participate in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver (Yonhap)
  11. Both skaters reportedly received their training in the cash-strapped country by repeatedly escaping across the frozen Tumen River
  12. South Korea and Ecuador national teams will hold friendly in May, one month before World Cup (Yonhap)
  13. Kangwon-do government says the number of foreign visitors to area ski resorts from November to January has jumped 18.3% over last year to 168,000 (Yonhap)
  14. White House reaffirms commitment to FTAs with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama (Korea Herald)
  15. A drug-addled Whitney Houston, mistaking two Korean children for Haitian Creole orphans, spirits them off to the Dominican Republic (UPI)

Source: Posted by kushibo

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Minnesota's Governor Pawlenty Fiddles While Rome Burns

Pawlenty wants to build a sports stadium during a funding crisis where more than 88 percent of superintendents said education quality will continue to degrade if action isn't taken now. Yeah that's the ticket, let's build a stadium when home foreclosure rates are up 56% from the year before and where the state has lost 4,100 jobs in December alone...

Minnesota, under Pawlenty's lack of leadership, has dropped to a 37th rank in student-to-teacher ratio and 39th ranked employment growth. Now instead of using time and effort to bring Minnesota back into the top performing states in regards to jobs, education, health care, and transportation, Pawlenty is advocating that the state could help fund a viking stadium with public finance through lottery money and other means. WTF?

Minnesotan children can't afford school books (yes it's true many classrooms have children 'sharing' school books because they couldn't afford enough for each child), and while the cost of colleges is prohibitive to many working families, and Minnesota jobs have disappeared, and we've lost homes and can't put food on the table or care for our veterans and elderly...Pawlenty thinks we should build a new stadium for owner Zygmunt Wilf, a New Jersey real estate developer billionaire.

Just makes me want to cry....

Original Source:Posted by Truth Liberty Justice

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


As the firestorm over Toyota's deadly unintended acceleration problem grows, the story, which Truth With Speedzzter has dubbed "TOYOTA ACCELER-GATE," is literally exploding faster than 'Yoda's now-tattered "quality" image.

Here's a few choice highlights.

13. "U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Tuesday it took pressure from the government to get Toyota to take action over its sticking gas pedals.

'[I]t unfortunately took an enormous effort to get to this point. DOT officials flew to Japan in December to remind Toyota management about its legal obligations and followed up with a meeting at DOT headquarters in January to insist that they address the accelerator pedal issue,' LaHood said"


12. is reporting that "Congressmen Henry Waxman and Bart Stupak are challenging Toyota on its explanation of the problems with the cars because they conflict directly with statements that Toyota officials made last week when they told staffers of a congressional committee that the causes of the issues were, 'very, very hard to identify.'"

11. "To paraphrase L.A. Confidential's Captain Dudley Smith, we wouldn't trade places with Toyota right now for all the whiskey in Ireland." --

10. "Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak told a crowd today of an unintentional acceleration problem with his 2010 Toyota Prius, which isn't under a recall. 'This is software. It's not a bad accelerator pedal,' he told the crowd. 'It's very scary.'"

9. "I have many models of Prius that got recalled, but I have a new model that didn't get recalled. This new model has an accelerator that goes wild but only under certain conditions of cruise control. And I can repeat it over and over and over again--safely." --Steve Wozniak, Id.

8. "'It becomes a whole other ball game if it turns out to be an electronics issue,' said Autoconomy analyst Erich Merkle. 'Not only does it get more expensive to fix, but there's a trust factor between Toyota and its consumer.'"

7. "In recent interviews, two former NHTSA administrators, Ricardo Martinez and Joan Claybrook, have said they believe that some kind of electronic glitch may be causing the Toyota problems. Similar conclusions are being drawn by independent automotive safety experts, forensic mechanics and automotive electronics researchers, as well as many consumers."

6. "Of more than 2,000 motorist complaints of sudden acceleration in Toyota and Lexus vehicles over the last decade, just 5% blamed a sticking gas pedal . . . ." --

5. "Quebec car-owners are joining a class action lawsuit against Toyota, as the car company scrambles to repair faulty gas pedals on millions of vehicles worldwide."

4. "The firm says it has received 3,000 hits on its website since Monday, and of the 400 Canadians who have signed up for the class action lawsuit, 25 percent are Quebecers." Id.

3. "CINCINNATI -- An area attorney has filed a major class action lawsuit against Toyota and its affiliates. The suit, filed Tuesday by attorney Stan Chesley, alleges the automaker fraudulently concealed safety hazards and breached its own warranties and contracts. . . . 'It is clear that Toyota is hiding something under the carpet,' Chesley said. 'Toyota has long known about the defect and has done too little, too late to correct it.'" --

2. "In a statement from the law firm filing the [California] class-action lawsuit, attorney David Wright said, 'Neither driver error nor floor mats can explain away many other frightening instances of runaway Toyotas.' Wright also said, 'Until the company [Toyota] acknowledges the real problem and fixes it, we worry that other preventable injuries and deaths will occur.'" --

1. "Since November, at least 10 lawsuits seeking class-action status have been filed against Toyota in U.S. courts and in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Canada. . . . David Owen, a law professor at the University of South Carolina and director of its Office of Tort Law Studies, said Toyota might be more at risk in U.S. states that impose on manufacturers of a "duty to warn" consumers about a defect. . . . 'If it turned out that Toyota delayed the recall beyond the point when a reasonable manufacturer would have done so, then punitive damages in substantial amounts might be available to whoever was physically injured,' Owen added." ]

And to think that all of this could have been avoided . . . . Aftermarket gas pedal "fix"

BTW, has anybody noticed that the 'Yoda pedal fix reduces pedal travel See Diagram of the Toyota pedal fix at that full-throttle motoring is all that likely or rewarding in the WUSSMOBILES that 'Yoda sells .

Source: posted by Speedzzter

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

PHS Vocal Solo and Ensemble District Results

Several PHS student musicians participated in the Vocal Solo and Ensemble District Competition on Saturday, January 30th. The medal tally was 24 gold, 10 silver and 1 bronze. Those students who entered in Division I and received a gold rating will be moving on to compete in the State competition on February 20th in Indianapolis.

The following students received a Gold in Division I:
Katie Galloway
Gouker Ensemble
Sarah Gouker
Priscilla Hammonds
Courtney Harris
Olivia Hilliard
Lenne Ensemble
Danielle Lenne
Tayler May
Amy McLiver
Ortiz Ensemble
Shelly Ortiz
Heather Rohr
Alison Sherk
Switzer Ensemble
Tyler Switzer

The following students received a Silver in Division I:
Grace Anders
Kendall Cooper
Tori Fox
Brittany Hazen
Maggie Howard
Angelina Jung

The following student received a Bronze in Division I:
Anne Marshall

The following student received a Gold in Division II:
Stephanie Diedrich

The following students received a Silver in Division II:
Marie LaValle
Amanda McPherron
Tia Merritt
Ty Shively

The following students received a Gold in Division III:
Cinthia Lua
Morgan O'Neal
Gina Rodeghero

The following students received a Gold in Division IV:
Vanessa Hite
Lauren Rearick
Aimee Ringer

Source: posted by Dan and Rodger

Monday, February 1, 2010

Let the truth be told

Most democratic governments around the world watches two socio-economic factors very closely - namely inflation and economic growth. Hence you get the the likes of RBA hiking rates repeatedly recently to pre-empt unnecessary inflation (predominantly housing inflation) in Australia, and the US Feds trying to balance their imminent hawkishness on interest rates (also to temper inflationary pressures) with continued dovishness to spur economic recovery and growth.
Heck, even a communist country like China is recently reigning in bank lending by increasing reserve ratio to bring down housing inflation, a problem faced by more and more Chinese citizens in recent years, to prevent any political hiccups due to social unrest.

Cutting the story short >>> high economic growth + low inflation = GOOD ECONOMIC GOVERNANCE. Singapore recently experienced the biggest spike in housing inflation during its worst economic downturn. That is bad economic governance, plain and simple.

Singapore's current leaders, instead of owning up to a bad performance, attempts to do their job using the cheapest instrument - words. They insist repeatedly that housing is affordable on one hand, against everyone's common sense, and yet they also claim that the rapid climb in Singapore's housing prices is a positive and purposeful result of PAP's good work in growing our economy and that is where your wealth and your kids' future wealth will come from. (Remember that when the economy is not doing so well, the fault is put squarely on global economies.) To dive into explaining that our recent growth has been merely a result of the blatant increase in population (hence no real net growth) will be asking too much of me at this late hour.

And to top it off, Lee Kuan Yew put forth the assumption that should Mah Bow Tan be ousted from Tampines GRC, everyone should sell their flats because it will become worthless???? I beg you, the reader, to spend some thoughts on how ridiculous the whole situation any case, 80% of us live in HDB flats; what percentage of us have a second investment property? Can you really cash out on your expensive flat? Where are you going to live? Who benefits from property inflation? Your kids? Or millionaires with multiple real-estates in Singapore and their kids? Think.

Maybe it is time for Singaporeans to reflect upon why Singapore's current leaders run our country with such different approaches as the rest of the democratic societies. Are our collective intelligence really this low? Can you imagine an alternate reality where Singaporeans are able to build up their wealth by saving and not by betting most of their hard-earned money on further asset inflation down the road?

I hope our ministers can start giving some honest and intelligent answers that are not merely aimed to stem the loss of support votes. Let the truth be told, and maybe we can find some redemption.

Auburn keeps on rolling, lands Whitaker

There doesn't appear to be much slowing down Auburn on the recruiting trail.

The Tigers landed a commitment Monday from defensive tackle Jeff Whitaker of Warner Robins, Ga., beating out Georgia and Miami.

Whitaker was one of the top prospects in the state of Georgia and rated by ESPN's Scouts Inc. as the 17th best defensive tackle prospect in the country.

Gene Chizik and his staff are making the kind of statement the Tigers needed to make this recruiting period, especially with Alabama coming off a national championship.

It could get even better for Auburn. Top running back prospect Marcus Lattimore of Duncan, S.C., has it down to Auburn and South Carolina and is scheduled to announce his college choice on Tuesday night.

Source: By Chris Low

Friday, January 29, 2010

Lalah Hathaway

LATES NEWS UP DATEKurt Elling is one of today’s leading jazz vocalists, and this Sunday, he’s co-hosting the Grammy Awards. Ok, it’s the Grammy Pre-Telecast Ceremony, but the event, which presents many of the awards that aren’t seen in the main ceremony, is filled with musical eminences in its own right: Elling himself is slated to perform, and artists like Mick Fleetwood, LMFAO and Colbie Caillat will introduce award winners. Video of the proceedings will also be streamed live online at the Grammy Web site.Elling has a long history with theGrammy Awards : namely, that he keeps getting nominated, and keeps not winning. He’s got a good chance this year with Dedicated To You: Kurt Elling Sings The Music Of Coltrane And Hartman, up for the Best Jazz Vocal Album prize. But he’s also logged a lot of time at the ceremonies waiting for his number to be called, and has some good stories to share.

I shot Elling a few questions over e-mail, and he was gracious enough to respond quickly.It’s been quite a career for Lalah Hathaway. She’s one of those singers that make you just shake your head after hearing her sing. It’s so effortless. So rich. So deep. So good. It was in her genes, as both of her parents were accomplished artists, her father of course being soul singer Donny Hathaway, and her mother Eulaulah, after whom she was named, an accomplished musician. She officially began her career in 1989, after signing with Virgin Records and releasing the single, “Inside The Beat.” And four years later released her self-titled debut album.

That’s when the magic started.This year, for the first time in a more-than-successful career, Lalah Hathaway has garnered her first Grammy nomination for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for the ballad “That Was Then” off of her latest album Self Portrait. Today, as we celebrate her birthday (she looks damn good for 41!!!), SoulBounce says both Happy Birthday and Congratulations to Donny’s daughter. To one of soul’s greatest ambassadors. To the one and only Ms.Lalah Hathaway. Melanie Fiona has insisted she already feels like a winner after being nominated for a Grammy Award.

The singer faces still competition in the Best Female RnB Vocal Performance category from Beyonce, Jazmine Sullivan, Ledisi and Lalah Hathaway.

“If I don’t win the Grammy, that’s OK because the company I’m in feels like a Grammy (win) already, and that’s Beyonce - like I have to pay a lot more dues before I get to Beyonce’s status,” she said.

Original Source By: Tariq

Bank of America's Website Has Been Down All Morning

The website for Bank of America has been malfunctioning all morning. Attempts to load the page produce nothing at all.

A tipster speculates that it is possible that Bank of America has been the victim of a cyber-attack. For now, we're assuming it is a much more mundane problem. All websites occasionally go down.

A call to a spokesperson for Bank of America was not immediately returned.

Source :

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Author J.D. Salinger dead at 91

Reclusive U.S. author J. D. Salinger has died of natural causes at his home in Cornish, N.H., his literary agency said. He was 91.

"Despite having broken his hip in May, his health had been excellent until a rather sudden decline after the new year. He was not in any pain before or at the time of his death (Wednesday)," Salinger's literary representative, Harold Ober Associates, said in a statement issued to The New York Times.

Published in 1951, his novel "Catcher in the Rye" marked Salinger as a major voice in American fiction.

After that, readers scrambled to read his works as they appeared in The New Yorker magazine, before their publication in book form. His collection, "Nine Stories," in 1953, was followed by "Franny and Zooey" in 1961, and "Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters" and "Seymour an Introduction" in 1962.

Salinger took his solitude seriously. Not only did he eschew newspaper interviews and television talk shows, he lived alone in rural New Hampshire, outside the town of Cornish, with guard dogs.

Jerome David Salinger was born New Year's Day 1919 in New York. He attended Valley Forge Military Academy and began writing at the age of 15. He studied short story writing under Whit Burnett at Columbia University and attended two other colleges without graduating.

Salinger's first published story, in Story Magazine in 1940, was followed by a score of others for such magazines as Harper's, Saturday Evening Post, Esquire and Cosmopolitan. But he did not attract wide attention until the publication of "Catcher in the Rye," the first-person story of Holden Caulfield, a prep school student who spends a weekend in New York.

The book mainly deals with its hero's resistance to growing up in a world of adult phonies who betray youthful integrity. The title evokes Caulfield's desire to protect younger children from the scourge of adulthood. The theme made "Catcher" especially appealing to young readers and college students, and the quality of writing soon qualified the book for inclusion in college literature courses.

With "Nine Stories," Salinger began his story of the Glass family Les and Bessie, a former Jewish-Irish vaudeville act, and their gifted children. The eldest, Seymour, commits suicide in his 30s and that becomes central to all that follows.

In 1953, a high school student managed to interview the author for her school newspaper. The closest anyone else came was in 1978. A Canadian police reporter determined to meet the celebrated writer so pestered Salinger that the author prepared an ambush at the end of his gravel driveway. Before being driven off, the intruder recorded Salinger's view of life, later published in a newspaper account of the experience. It quoted Salinger as saying:

"I've gone through this so many times. There's no gracious way to tell you to leave. I'm becoming embittered.

"The words are a little different each time. People with problems, people needing to communicate, people wanting help for their careers. They've collared me in elevators, on the street, even here. I get stacks of mail and questions every day.

"But there are no generalizations. I'm not a teacher or a seer. I pose questions a little differently, perhaps. But I don't pretend to know the answers.

"When I started in this business I had no idea this was going to happen. In ways, I regret ever having been published. I'm a private person. Why can't my life be my own? I never asked for this and have done absolutely nothing to deserve it."

A reporter for United Press International in July 1987 got close enough to Salinger at his Cornish home, well-hidden by birch and maple trees, to describe the author as tall and pale with receding white hair, shaggy eyebrows and round shoulders.

In January 1987, a New York federal appeals court barred Random House from publishing a biography of Salinger that Salinger claimed violated his privacy.

Cornish's 1,000 residents seldom saw Salinger and conspired with the author to guard his privacy.

The author married Claire Douglas, a Jungian analyst, in 1953 and they had two children -- a daughter, Margaret, a writer, and a son, Matthew, an actor and film producer. The couple divorced in 1967.

Salinger is also survived by Colleen O'Neill, a nurse he wed in the 1980s. The Times said little is known about the marriage since O'Neill respected Salinger's desire for seclusion and didn't speak publicly about their relationship.

A service of YellowBrix, Inc.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

President Obama State of the Union Address Time Set

27 January 2010
Posted on BlackState 27 January 2010

President Obama's first State of the Union is scheduled for January 27, 2010 at 9 PM Eastern Time and 6 PM Pacific Time. He's expected to address the economic crisis, jobs, reducing government spending, and health care coverage for Americans.

President Obama remains popular despite a barrage of right wing and health insurance sponsored lies this past summer and fall about health care reform. Deliberate misinformation such as death panels and rationing by some on the right led to confusion to some not following the bill closely. When discussing the difficulty in passing health care most in the media fail to mention the role the campaign of lies has had on the way Americans are polled about health care reform. Early on the debate before the mass excursion of money to oppose reform, over 70 percent of Americans supported some form of a public option, whether government competing against industry or lowering Medicare to age 45 or 55. Public opinion changed when the lies backed by an onslaught of money entered the sphere.

We can probably expect more of the sort of corporate sponsored opposition especially in light of the Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United. Which allows corporations to spend any amount of money in politics. President Obama and the Democrats still have the numbers to pass health care reform. Its easier if the House passes the Senate's version of the health care bill and fixes its concerns through reconciliation after the midterm elections. Every expert agrees that health care reform pays down the deficit and will give Americans one less thing to worry about if they lose their job or have lost their job and because of preexisting conditions can not get covered.

Original Post:

Monday, January 25, 2010

Holiday Cram part 2

I am so busted. A few days before the holidays, and I still haven’t got my presents ready. Work has been tight, with the year-end reports to finish and holiday parties to attend.I still get a little things to parcel up sooner than I head-off my journey. But time is small. I have deadlines pending. I’m really cramming exactly this very instant to get the whole thing finished. I extreme dislike my lethargy; I blame it on my missing social life.

But you know what?

I just realized that all these trials, deadlines, and pressure are here to make me commit to my responsibility better, even if it’s freaking hard.

There are times when the anxiety makes me suicidal, but that’s not the attitude.

The feeling of finally getting the fruits of something I worked hard for is incomparable.

And in a few years, I’ll look back to everything that has happened, and just grin. Then, I’ll tell myself it was all a good memory and a worthwhile experience.

So, whatever problems come my way, I’ll just enjoy it. Feel the trial. Fall. Cry.

Maybe I want to create on those presents now. I’m sentiment a bit overjoyed in a shopping mood after writing this situation. Pleased holidays each one!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

My Life’s Drama

The night was cold and quiet; a perfect night to stroll and enjoy the fresh, humid air. So, instead of hurrying home, I took the time to enjoy the night. The stillness of the surrounding was so inviting; it was a perfect night to ponder on a dream I thought I already lost into naught.

I walked past a middle aged woman jogging with her dog. She seemed so absorbed in her jog she didn’t even noticed me. From the looks of her, she seemed content with her life. She must be the VP or better yet, the CEO of some multinational company. A few meters ahead, I passed a group of young students. They looked so happy and carefree exchanging stories, oblivious to the world around them.

I looked at the books in my hand and thought I want a life like these people around me, blithe and easy. But, I would only get to that state if I get back my long lost dream. I want to pursue it now more than ever. I want to be more than just anybody. The world is huge out there. And it would take a lot of preparation to be that somebody I desire. The road is still long, and there’s a lot to do and experience along the way.

This is a battle I want to achieve on my own. I know that the space left for me in this world has not yet been filled, and so, I won’t falter working on that space to realize my dream.

Of Edward and the Shadowhunters

I spent most of my teenage years locked in my room, skimming over pages and pages of romance novels and fantasy books. I was a bookworm then. In fact, I think I missed all the fun in the Friends show or the sassy episodes of Beverly Hills 90210 from staying glued to a book. So much for my teenage life.

But when I started working, I lost interest in books; maybe because of exhaustion and stress or simply because I already outgrew romance novels. Since then, I find it hard to pick up a book and sit for long hours crying or getting excited over a book. BUT, all that changed with the whole gothic, vampire era people seem to live these days. I was among those who got hooked with Edward and Bella. Thanks to them, my book days are back again.

There’s one book I’m so hooked today—The Mortal Instruments trilogy. Like the story of Edward and Bella, the book combines the magical world with the real world. A normal girl suddenly finds herself in a different world complete with demons, warlocks, vampires and the like. Of course, there’s a touch of romance in the novel. After all, what good is a novel without the written pages of admiration and affection?

If the Shadowhunters and their magical world are real, I would love to live there. Maybe the next time I hit the club, I’d check out the dark corners. Who knows, I might find them there.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Age doesn’t matter, or does it?

If someone asks your name with your age, how would you respond? Would you tell your real age? Or would you just tell your name, no age attached?

In today’s world of yuppies, high-tech gadgets, and online world, it’s often hard to tell what a person’s real age is, whether we are talking about health age, cognitive age, or just plain age. Different professionals have different ways of measuring a person’s age. But the calendar age, which all of us follow, is often the source of scrutiny to most people. Many don’t want to reveal their real age for fear of being called old.

It’s really funny ‘cause I myself don’t want to tell my real age when asked. There was a certain point in my life when I started answering age questions with a blank stare. Since then, all age-related inquiries were either answered with a stare, a smile, or a guffaw; a seemingly clever maneuver to avoid a seemingly simple question.

I’m not ashamed with my age or anything. But experience-wise, if people don’t know your real age, it keeps them interested. They treat you like a pal, minus the phony ‘elderly’ respect. But of course, there’s a downside to that. When people don’t know if you are older or younger than they are, they neglect to respect you altogether. Most of the time, they just snob you or give you the cold shoulder.

So, if they say that age doesn’t matter, then why do people still cower when asked of their age? Why do people act like they are answering a difficult Physics question when the age question arises? As my mother would often say, ‘people don’t usually think and act their age’, so why bother telling your age?

At the end of the line

When you’ve reach a certain peak in your life, everything starts to stop and move in a slow motion. It’s like reaching the highest point of a mountain. As you reach the top, you feel so overwhelmed with your achievement and everything you see around. But then as you stay longer on top, things seem to come to a halt. The landscape becomes so familiar; soon you’ll feel tired of seeing the same thing over and over again. Ultimately, you would want to experience something new; something more fun and exciting.

That’s when you’ll start your descend to get to a new mountain top. But along the way, every step you’ll take will feel like a huge endeavor. Usually, it’s on the descent that flashbacks of the past will come to mind. It’s the stage you pay for your mistakes and regret for what you’ve done and missed doing. It’s also the time you’ll learn to accept the consequences of your mistakes.

It’s like death—a slow, painful death. There’s no turning back, no point of return. There’s only one way in and no way out. Frustrating. Confusing. Just when you think life has been good, you suddenly find yourself on a sinking ground. It’s the end for you.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Pursuit of Happiness

Suppose you suddenly get hold of a genie lamp. After careful scrutiny and a few rubs, a genie appears and gives you one wish, just one wish. But you can’t just wish for anything; he will give you two options and you have to pick only one.

Option one: he will give you a palace complete with servants and a garage full of luxurious cars and a carriage; millions of cash enough to last for a lifetime; and vacation houses all over the world. In other words, you’ll get to live like a royalty. BUT, everyone else gets twice apiece of what you have.

Option two: you get ten million dollars, but no one else gets anything.

There’s even a bonus. Whichever you choose, the genie will erase your memory of making the choice, so you’ll stay guilt-free.

Now, which would you choose? A luxurious life in your palace where everyone else gets more than what you have? Or a life where you get to be the only one millions richer?

I know, you’re thinking of option one; you get what you want while your friends get theirs, too. Everyone wins; everyone is happy. Ultimately tough, I don’t think you’ll be happy with that choice. Who would ever get to stay happy when you know that your friends have more than what you have? Humans are simply not wired like that. Would you be happy if what you have is less than what you think you should have?

The ugly truth is that maximizing happiness for humans mean spoiling everyone else’s life while spoiling themselves only half as much. No one seems to be content of what life offers to them today. It’ll always be getting more than what others have.

Crying out Loud

The blissful mood of the hundreds or so women, men, and children happily playing and resting in the park was suddenly disrupted by a loud wail. It was coming from a girl of no more than four or five years old. Everyone was looking at her, including me, for fear that something terrible was happening to her.

I gawked at her a long time, trying to see if she was faking it. Some children are such con artists, you know; they love crying at inopportune moments just to catch everyone’s attention. Trust me; I know that for a fact.

But this kid wasn’t a fake; she was indeed crying. She was muddy and dirty, with dry leaves and flowers dangling from her hair; looks like she just had a bad fall. Beside her was her mother angrily muttering incomprehensible chides while trying to get the dirt off her.

The scene was something I saw often in that place. It happened to me before when I was her age, my mother scolding me in a public place for doing something appalling. It maybe a typical mother-daughter moment, but I don’t think it should be done in public.

Have you ever experienced being shouted at by your boss in front of your colleagues? How did you feel when he told everyone of your mess? Embarrassing, right?

The little girl may be feeling the same way. She may not only be crying for her mistake, but for humiliation as well. We all make a mistake. That’s a fact. If the mother was scolding her child to teach her a lesson or show the kid her love, I don’t think she should yell at her in public.

Why not explain to the kid why what she did was wrong instead of shouting at her? She should have just hugged her and tell her it’s okay to fall down. Comforting her instead of embarrassing her would tell the kid that it’s okay to fall and eventually she would realize that it’s best to clean up and stand up instead of cry out.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m mistaken. May be the kid did something worse than what I saw. Maybe I’m misjudging the mother. But still, I believe that teaching a child good ideals don’t have to be done through humiliation, and worse, in public.