Good Old Fashioned TOUGH LOVE….

This content community relies on
user-generated content from our member contributors.
The opinions of our members are not those of site ownership
who maintains strict editorial agnosticism and simply provides
a collaborative venue for free expression.

ATS Server:
Header data: 0.002 seconds
Page processed in: 0.006 seconds

250m skyscraper in flames, Moscows tallest to be building

So of what material composition is it that is on fire?

It’s basically an empty office tower, minus (hopefully) flame-resistant building materials?

Thanks for the news though.

I’ll assume that the crane leaked fuel onto some conduit and a smoker unwittingly tossed his ciggy on it.

I am not God [WRC]

An idea I had a long time ago. My first Short Story EVER! And fairly long…

“I walk among you. The righteous should not fear me. The wicked must.”

I placed my coffee next to a large envelope on the desk, smiling, and turned to address the speaker. I was mildly surprised that any other engineers
had shown up to the office so early on a Sunday.

“I didn’t even hear you come in.” My voice faded into the soft ambient hum of the office machines. From my desk to the door and wall to wall, the
large cubicled room stood silent and vacant of life, save myself. “What the…”

“I’m not there in the room, with you.” The voice, soft and commanding, seemed to have no point of origin. I felt a small pang of adrenaline
coupled with nervous tension in my stomach. “I am not in your vehicle, or on your radio. My voice is coming from within you.” With narrowed eyes,
I began scanned the room intensely, searching for any sign of a prank. “For many of you, this is the first time you’ve had the pleasure of hearing
anything at all. I mourn for the lost years you have bourne. To have never heard the complexities of Rachmaninov, the pure laughter of a child, or
the sound of a breeze through the fields. You are no longer deaf. The blind can now see. The sick are made well, and the cripple made whole.

Just as I was about to call out for the culprit to reveal himself, the ailments of life vanished. Sinus pressure regulated, the small tension
headache that had been developing simply vanished. The unknown pain in my right knee disappeared. I stood in shock for a moment, realizing that a
miracle had just occurred. Knowing, without doubt, that the stress of life, and the results of that life, had just disappeared. In wonder, I
realized just how much I’d grown accustomed to the wear of the years. I felt emotion begin to churn inside me. What was this?

“I am not God,” the voice continued. I sat in my chair, overcome with the awesome revelation that I was the recipient of a miracle. I closed my
eyes to take in the voice. “I am but a man, tired of the petty squabbles of our race. The decision to do what I have done was not an easy one. The
gift of health and longevity are yours. But there is a price to be paid for it.” A tone of warning reverberated through the lilting voice and sent
a shock of electric fear up my spine. “While I am not God, I have given myself the power to judge and sentance Mankind itself. Within each of you
is a mutation in your genetic structure. All life on this planet has been modified. This process took the course of years to fulfill, but it is
complete. The design was simple in the extreme and the virus that changed you was harmless, undetectable, and readily transmitted through the
atmosphere. The purpose was simple: To repair a human through the basest of means, by rewriting our DNA to force the body to rejuvenate and repair
itself, to activate certain switches which would allow the body to regrow teeth, eyes, arms, legs, anything which life has deprived you of. Even now,
lost limbs are regrowing in amputees. I have taken the liberty of blocking the pain of the process to make this as easy as possible.”

I was braced for what came next, but it still hammered into me like a blow to the gut. Nothing in this world comes without a price. “I can give you
perfect health, but can end your life in the span of a moment. The mutation in your genetic structure also gives me the ability to play God. I have
a small electronic device of my own design, which allows me to vaporize any organic material on the planet at will. Simply stated, it disolves the
link that holds hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen together. Unfortunately, a demonstration is needed to prove this ability. I apologize to all of

Hell itself was then unleashed inside my body. Every nerve ending flared with raw pain. Such was the force of convulsion, my spasming muscles
snapped rigid, foring my body to arc against the chair. When I hit the the floor after clearing the five foot cubicle wall before me, I saw smoke, or
fine dust rush away from me in a cloud. The pain was maddening.

I sank to the mat carpeting as the pain vanished. I could FEEL my body repairing itself.

“No further proof is needed. Again, I apologize to my race.” My heart hammered in my chest. This couldn’t be happening! “What you just felt
was the exposure of your nerves to air as the skin on your body decomposed. This was only a minor display. There is no immunity. I experienced
exactly what you did. No one man should have this power, and so I have chosen fifty men and women around the globe to hold hands as we wade forth
into a new world, to share this responsiblity with. You do not know who these people are, and they are forbidden to reveal themselves. These people
were chosen with great care. They do not know who they are, yet, and they have no way to identify each other. Only I will ever know them.” My mind
spun with the possiblities. A small army of unidenfied individuals associated with this Voice would be able to end life at will, inflict pain and
suffering on a level beyond imagining.

“I lead the new world. My laws are simple. If you deliver death, it will be delivered to you. War, as you know it, ends now. Murder ends now.
Any military on the planet which fires a single shot from this point forward will be destroyed. I, and those under my command, cannot be perfect. We
will perform acts of God, but we are not Him. Mistakes will be made, but I know that this is necessary. Crimes will be tried in a court system of my
choosing. Those found guilty of the act of murder will be summarily executed. Any person found guilty of rape will lose all Human Rights and become
property of their victim. All theft will indebt the theif into the service of the one robbed.” I was in a daze as this information sank in. These
were not the demands of a would-be tyrant. The Voice warned that it would not identifiy it’s owner. There was no desire for fame and the power that
most people desired resided, in it’s entirety, with a single man.

“Each of my chosen will have absolute dominion over their respective province. They will be able to communicate with you in the exact same manner I
am communicating with you now. I will communicate with them in this manner to answer any questions they may have. They will modify or instute
whatever legal system they see fit, provided it meets my approval. If this person betrays the people, I will eliminate them and chose another to take
their place.”

“While I can change genetics, I cannot change human nature. I know that there are those who are born to violence, those who cannot and will not put
away their desire for battle and glory. If you are such a person, you have a single opportunity to venture forth. You will be given dominion of a
single location and encouraged to utilize your ingenuity and abilities. You will be sterilized or made barren. Your lives can be viewed by all who
chose to view, but you will never return to the general populace. You will live apart with no Chosen to supervise you. This will be the only
exception to the Law of Death.” My mind reeled at this. The implications were staggering. This Voice had just given the human race the opportunity
to excise the violent caste… peacefully.

A 50 feet snake, the titanoboa

Scientists have found the remains of a 50 feet snake which used to live 58 million years ago and weighted a ton:…

I saw it and I figure you would be interested. Apparently it was the largest predator after the dinosaurs for over 10 million years. And they claim
that with global warming and a couple of million years to develop, we could eventually see this sort of creature roaming the world again.

Hearing Childrens Voices When Waking Up.

I’m looking for a little feedback / help understanding something that occurred to me last week. MODS…if this is the wrong forum be move as you
see fit.

My wife and 2 boys took a trip to my in-laws last week for a couple of days while I stayed home because I had to work. While they were gone, each
morning I would wake up and hear children playing and making the loud yelling noises children make when playing. The sounds were very distinct and
always outside of my bedroom. and the sounds would always stop when I opened my bedroom door.

This has never happened to me in the 9 years we have been living in our house. We built the house 9 years ago and no other activities have occurred
as well.

Since my wife and boys returned, I haven’t heard anything out of the norm when waking up in the morning.

Has anyone ever experienced this and what do you believe could cause such a thing?


In Madison, Occupy Camp Cares For Homeless While Seeking New Focus

On an unseasonably warm day in March, Dave Peters cleaned out his tent, removing old newspapers he had been using for insulation. The papers are gone now, but Peters and about 40 other people are still holding their ground.

“We’re part of an ongoing movement,” said Peters, one of the organizers of Occupy Madison. “This thing is going to ebb and flow, that’s to be expected. But the movement itself will continue.”

The Madison camp, which is slated for shutdown by April 30, has evolved mostly into a haven for homeless residents, rather than as a centerpiece of Occupy’s original goal of giving voice to the “99 percent” of residents who supposedly were being ignored by policymakers.

Occupy Madison has maintained a nominal presence eight blocks from the Wisconsin state Capitol, the site of protests that have drawn tens of thousands of people as recently as mid-March. The site’s leaders are optimistic they will find a new location and firmly believe in their movement’s staying power.

Yet it’s clear the Occupy movement, including the Madison encampment, is struggling to maintain relevance.

“Once this (occupying) becomes a ritual, it’s harder and harder to provoke the non-participants to care,” said John Sharpless, a University of Wisconsin-Madison history professor.

Bob Ostertag, a professor of technocultural studies and an expert on the Occupy movement at the University of California-Davis, whose campus was the site of a controversial pepper-spraying of student protesters by campus police, agreed the movement’s initial exuberance has passed.

“The first chapter was marvelous, but I don’t think that can be repeated,” Ostertag said. “You can’t do the same things in the first chapter and expect to have as big an impact.”

Occupy organizers in other cities across Wisconsin have abandoned the movement’s early rhetoric about the necessity of physically occupying a space.

“It was never just about occupying a space,” said Peter Rickman, an organizer for Occupy Milwaukee, which has shifted its attention to organizing rallies instead of permanent occupation. “The 99 percent includes a lot more than just people who sit in a park.”

Many Occupy communities are calling for a new wave of activity. This was discussed at an Occupy the Midwest conference in St. Louis on March 15 to 18 that drew several hundred people.

“The Occupy movement is not over,” said Eric Ott, an organizer of Occupy Appleton, which shut down permanent occupation last November. “We just went into hibernation mode.” He predicted in an email that “our true size and coordination efforts will show” in events this spring.

At one point, the group Occupy Wisconsin listed 16 cities with encampments. Many of them still have active members, even though Madison is believed to be the state’s last remaining encampment.

The site, a parking lot in the 800 block of East Washington Avenue, has operated since November, drawing occasional complaints from neighbors about noise, disturbances and public drunkenness. The city plans to close the encampment by April 30 to make way for a redevelopment project and Madison Mayor Paul Soglin has said he will not allow a new one to open.

In interviews since January, the camp’s residents have expressed their appreciation for the tents, food donated by individuals, and camaraderie that eased the discomforts and perils of homelessness.

Dale Bourgeois, one of the homeless residents of Occupy Madison, appreciates the kinship he shares with other occupants.

“I’ve never met nicer people than here,” Bourgeois said as he sat outside his tent and enjoyed the warm March weather.

“A lot of people are here just because they have nowhere else to go, but some are here because they actually want to make a difference,” Peters said. “It’s easy to look at this campsite and say, ‘They’re just a bunch of bums.’ Well, we are, but we’re bums who are changing history.”

Others in the camp believe Occupy Madison’s presence has helped bring attention to the problem of homelessness.

“We’re overflow for people who fell through the cracks,” said Jeremy Evenson, another member of Occupy Madison who splits his time between the camp and his volunteer work at Bethel Lutheran Church. “(Shelter) is the service we provide by keeping this thing going.”

But Sharpless faults the Occupy movement’s “charming naivete,” and questions its clarity of purpose, compared to other mass movements.

“I’m not sure what their goals were,” Sharpless said. “If it was awareness of inequity, it’s rare that an American wouldn’t already know about poverty. Knowledge about poverty and inequity is out there.”

To see Lukas’ soundslide of the Occupy Madison camp, press the forward arrow to play, below:

Story and slideshow by Lukas Keapproth, a visual journalist intern at the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, in Madison, which collaborates with Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Television, other news media and the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

if (Campaign_121.campaign_info.campaign.picture_url !=null Campaign_121.campaign_info.campaign.picture_url !=”"){
jQuery(‘#moment_right_121′).append(” “);

jQuery(‘#campaign_title_container_121′).append(” “);

CampaignLogin : function(){
HuffConnect.Login.onLoginSuccess = function()
window.location.hash = ‘join_campaign’;

CampaignJoin : function (join_control, campaign_id) { = ‘none’;
jQuery(‘#btn_take_part_in_survey_121′).css(“display”, ”);

alert(‘Sorry, unable to procees your request’);

url: Campaign_121.post_join_actions_url
, success: function(data){
huff.use(‘modal’, function(m){{
content: data,
width: 750,
height: 550
, cache: false


99% Spring Movement On Track To Train 100000 Protestors

You may remember reading about The 99% Spring, a protest movement supported by political groups and organized labor that aspires to be the next Occupy movement.

Occupy Wall Street volunteers man a live-strea...

Occupy Wall Street volunteers (Image credit: AFP/Getty Images via @daylife)

Its 40 co-sponsors include big names the United Auto Workers, the International Brotherhood of  Teamsters,, and UNITE, the hospitality industry union.

When The 99% Spring was announced in February, organizers vowed to train 100,000 people. It looks like they’ll easily make that goal when their training programs kick off next week.

There are already 918 planned around the country. All the group needs is about 10 people at each session to meet its goal, and many of the programs have dozens of participants signed up. (You can look them up by zip code here.) The movement has a Twitter account, @the99spring.

Over the weekend, the UAW sent emails to its members, encouraging them to take part in a training session.  The goal is to make The 99% Spring “as big as possible,” the Teamsters said last week. “We’ll learn to tell the story of our economy and what went wrong, and we’ll learn how we can take action and create great change in this country.”

You can read more about The 99% Spring and its roots at our public media project, Changing Gears.

Any chance you’ll be taking part?






San Francisco Building Occupied During Occupy Wall Street Day of Action

Beyond San Francisco, there was also some activity in New York City, where some 100 protesters, including a contingent of the Granny Peace Brigade, returned to the Brooklyn Bridge to mark the anniversary of the mass arrests there six months ago. And in Boston, a similar number turned out for an April Fools’ Day rally in Dewey Square, carrying signs like “Tax the Poor” and “Bigger Cages, Longer Chains.”

Why do bankers get to decide who pays for the mess Europe is in?

What you’re about to read does, I admit, sound like a conspiracy theory. It involves powerful people meeting in private offices, hundreds of billions of euros, and clandestine deals determining the fates of entire countries. All that’s missing is a grassy knoll or a wandering band of illuminati. There are, however, two crucial differences: these events are still unfolding – and they’re more worrying than any who-killed-JFK fantasy I’ve ever heard.

Cast your mind back to the euro crisis talks last year, when the future of Greece was being decided. How much Athens should pay its bailiffs in the banks, on what terms, and the hardship that ordinary Greeks would have to endure as a result.

There were times when the whole of 2011 seemed to be one long European summit, when you heard more about Papandreou and Merkozy than was strictly necessary. Yet you probably didn’t catch many references to Charles Dallara and Josef Ackermann.

They’re two of the most senior bankers in the world – among the top 1% of the 1%. Dallara served in the Treasury under Ronald Reagan, before moving on to Wall Street, while Ackermann is chief executive of Deutsche Bank. But their role in the euro negotiations, and so in deciding Greece’s future, was as representatives of the International Institute for Finance.

The IIF is a lobby group for 450 of the biggest banks in the world, with members including Barclays, RBS and Lloyds. Dallara and Ackermann and their colleagues were present throughout those euro summits, and enjoyed rare and astounding access to European heads of state and other policy-makers. EU and IMF officials consulted the bankers on how much Greece should pay, Europe’s commissioner for economic affairs Olli Rehn shared conference calls with them.

You can piece all this together by poring over media reports of the euro summits, although be warned: you’ll need a very high tolerance threshold for European TV, and financial newswires. But Dallara and co are also quite happy to toot their own trumpets. After a deal was struck last July, the IIF put out a note bragging about its “catalytic” role and claiming its offer “forms an integral part of a comprehensive package”.

By now you’ll have guessed the punchline: that July agreement was terrible for the Greeks, and brilliant for the bankers. It was widely panned at the time, for slicing only 21% off the value of Greece’s loans, when Angela Merkel and many others agreed that financiers ought to be taking a much bigger hit. As the German government’s economic adviser, Wolfgang Franz, later remarked in an interview: “If you look at the 21% and our demand for a 50% participation of private creditors, the financial sector has been very successful.” Another way of putting it would be to say that the bankers overpowered even the strongest state in Europe.

None of this was inevitable. Iceland had made it clear that simply defaulting on one’s loans didn’t immediately lead to economic apocalypse. Across Greece, there were massive, repeated protests about the enormous spending cuts that citizens would suffer by paying off Goldman Sachs and the rest. And there was a growing movement in Greece and Portugal and France, among other countries, questioning the legitimacy of some of these loans.

None of these voters, none of these opinions got even a fraction of the consideration, let alone the face time, that was extended to Dallara and Ackermann. At Corporate Europe Observatory in Brussels, Yiorgos Vassalos has been tracking the negotiations over Greece: by his reckoning only the IIF got to have such personal, close-up access. These were summits settling how much misery would be imposed on the Greek people – and no trade unions or civil society groups got a say in them. “The only key players in those meetings were European governments and the bankers,” says Vassalos.

Mindful of appearances, the EU has been less eager to admit to the influence of the bankers’ lobby. When European officials were first asked by Corporate Europe Observatory about the extent of IIF access, they responded that it was limited to the Greek government. Only when it was pointed out that the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg were reporting that Dallara met Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy at midnight at an October summit to finalise a bigger reduction of the value of Greek debt did the officials back down: the IIF, they agreed, had been negotiating with a range of governments, on a whole host of issues to do with Greece’s future.

So the bankers whose excesses helped land Europe in this mess then get to sit round the big EU table, like any other government, and decide who should pay for it. And the answer, unsurprisingly, is: not them. The bigger question is: why finance has been granted such power? In a forthcoming paper entitled Deep Stall, the Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change gives one compelling reason: because so many countries across Europe are, through both their public and private sectors, so dependent on financiers in other countries for credit. That includes Britain, which relies on 10 eurozone countries for loans worth over 70% of its annual national income – a higher proportion even than Italy. The tale of the IIF and how it got such a powerful say on the fate of ordinary Greeks is really a chapter in a much bigger story of how governments across the western world got swallowed up by their finance industries.

China: UFO Photographed Over Busy Expressway In Beijing

« Older Entries