Sunday, July 31, 2011


I dig --

deep within me.

For hours, months, even years --
in search where all is still, peaceful.

He does something.
She says something.
Something happens.

And the many selves of myself dug up,

cave in and bury my resting place.

I dig. Again.

**written by petra michelle**

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Forever 27

Amy Winehouse

Kurt Cobain of Nirvana

Jim Morrison of The Doors

Janis Joplin

Jimi Hendrix

Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones

Et al...

For the Norwegian people...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Congratulations, Japan!

One of the most exciting women's soccer games I've seen! Both teams were extraordinary and performed an historic competition!

Sunday is for Poetry: My Soul Is Healed

You split me

And tore my heart open,

You filled me with love.

You poured your spirit over mine,

I knew you

As I know myself.

My eyes are radiant with your light,

My ears delight in your music,

My nostrils are filled with your fragrance,

And my face is covered with your dew.

You have made me see all things shining,

You have made me see all things new,

You have granted me perfect ease

And I have become like Paradise.

And having become like Paradise,

My soul is healed.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"Chevy Volt Newest New York City Police Car" by Peter Valdes-Dapena

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The New York City Police Department has a new cruiser that will be silently plying the city streets very soon.

Among 70 new electrically-driven vehicles purchased by the City of New York will be 50 Chevrolet Volts that will be used for, among other things, police work.

The Volts won't be chasing down bank robbers -- at least not yet. They'll be used by traffic enforcement agents who cruise the city's streets writing parking tickets.

The Volt will be the first electric car used by the New York City Police Department, although the department already uses a number of hybrid cars and electric scooters.

General Motors, which makes the Chevrolet Volt, calls it an "extended-range electric vehicle." It can travel up to 35 miles on a fully charged battery, according to EPA estimates. After that, a gasoline engine generates power for continued driving.

The city also purchased 10 Ford Transit Connect Electric vans and 10 Navistar E-star electric utility trucks.

Among the agencies using the vehicles will be the city's Departments of Correction, Environmental Protection, Sanitation and the Fire Department.

"The largest-ever increase in the City's electric-powered vehicle fleet is not only good for the environment, it's good for city taxpayers, too," Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith said in an announcement. "Using electric vehicles reduces air pollution and carbon emissions while also lowering gasoline consumption."

The vehicles were purchased using grant money from the U.S. Department of Energy and the New York Power Authority.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Elizabeth Anne (Betty) Ford (April 8, 1918-July 8, 2011)

Betty Ford Biography

Elizabeth Anne (Betty) Bloomer was born in Chicago on April 8, 1918 and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She is the third child and only daughter of Hortense Neahr and William Stephenson Bloomer. Mr. Bloomer, a factory parts salesman, passed away in 1934, when Betty was sixteen years old. Mrs. Bloomer, remembered by her daughter as “strong and kind and principled,” survived him until 1948.

At an early age, Betty Bloomer developed a passion for dance. Upon graduation from Central High School in 1936, she attended the Bennington School of Dance, in Vermont, for two summers. While studying there she met and began her long association with choreographer Martha Graham. She continued her studies with Ms. Graham in New York City, becoming a member of her Auxiliary Performance Troupe and performing at Carnegie Hall.

Close family ties took Betty Bloomer back to Grand Rapids In 1941. She became fashion coordinator for Herpolsheimer’s, a locally prominent department store, and continued her interest in dance, forming her own performance group. She also worked with handicapped children, helping them experience the joy of rhythm and movement in dance. In 1942 she married salesman William Warren. The union did not last, and they divorced amicably several years later.

In 1947, a friend introduced her to Gerald R. Ford, Jr., a young lawyer who had served as Navy lieutenant during World War II. By February 1948 the couple was engaged to be married. Their wedding took place on October 15, 1948, two weeks before Mr. Ford was elected to his first term in Congress. They moved to Washington D.C. where he served as member of the House of Representatives for 25 years.

Mrs. Ford quickly assumed the tasks of a congressional spouse of the era, spending much of her time in volunteer work with the Congressional Wives Club, the 81st Congress Club, and the National Federation of Republican Women. She also provided tours of the Capitol to visiting constituents from Michigan.

The Fords became the parents of four children: Michael Gerald, born March 14, 1950; John Gardner, born March 16, 1952; Steven Meigs, born May 19, 1956; and Susan Elizabeth, born July 6, 1957. Clara Powell, hired in 1949 to assist in housekeeping, became an extended family member over the next twenty years.

While in Congress, the Fords lived in Alexandria, Virginia. There, in addition to her congressional spouse activities, Mrs. Ford supervised the home, did the cooking, undertook volunteer work, and taught Sunday school at Emmanual-on-the-Hill Episcopal Church. She was active in PTA and devoted much time to supporting her children’s pursuits in Scouting, baseball, and football and the many other activities of a young growing family.

By 1973, the Fords were planning retirement from Congress when a turn of political events shook the nation and reshaped their own future. After the 1972 break-in of Democratic Headquarters in the Watergate Hotel, the Nixon administration gradually became mired in an unfolding scandal and consumed by legal investigations. Then, when Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned amidst a scandal of his own, President Nixon nominated Congressman Ford to replace Agnew. After President Nixon himself resigned on August 9, 1974, Gerald Ford took the oath of office as 38th President of the United States. Instead of retiring, the Fords moved to the White House.

As the new First Lady, Betty Ford immediately revealed the openness and good-natured candor that became her trademark. She held her first press conference on September 4, 1974. Expressing herself with humor and forthrightness on controversial issues of the day, she answered questions about women in politics, abortion rights, and a proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer later that month, she broke with social conventions by fostering public discussion of her diagnosis and treatment. In doing this, she purposefully raised public awareness of screening and treatment options and reassured the many women already suffering from similar ordeals. As soon as possible, she resumed her public duties at the Executive Mansion.

During her tenure as First Lady, Betty Ford addressed public issues that were important to her. She was an outspoken advocate of women’s rights and aspirations in an era when there was much debate on the matter, encouraged the appointment of more women to senior government posts, supported the U.N. International Women’s Year in 1975, and supported passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. On the CBS show 60 Minutes, Mrs. Ford candidly shared her opinions on such provocative issues as abortion rights, pre-marital sex, and marijuana use. Her statements drew the ire of many conservatives at a time when former California governor Ronald Reagan was already challenging her husband for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in 1976. At the White House, public opinion initially ran two to one in criticism of her remarks, but within months her public approval rating had climbed to 75%.

She continued to promote programs for handicapped children and brought public attention to the importance of the performing arts. While in the White House, Mrs. Ford encouraged her husband’s decision to present the Presidential Medal of Freedom to her mentor Martha Graham, the first dancer so honored.

Mrs. Ford did not shirk the extensive social duties of a First Lady, as she and her husband hosted numerous State dinners and other events, bringing an informality and warmth that guests and the nation welcomed. In 1975, she accompanied the President in journeys to fourteen countries, from China to the Vatican.

Betty Ford was an enthusiastic supporter of her husband during the 1976 Presidential election campaign. She made several speaking tours throughout the east and mid-west. Her popularity was reflected on lapel buttons that proclaimed “Betty’s Husband For President!” When Gerald Ford was defeated by former Georgia governor Jimmy Carter, the couple left Washington and moved to Rancho Mirage, California.

In 1978, her prescription drug and alcohol use led to a family intervention and her self-admittance to Long Beach Naval Hospital for treatment.

In facing her personal problems, Betty Ford again dealt openly and honestly with the public. Her 1978 autobiography, THE TIMES OF MY LIFE, chronicled her life through the White House years and concluded with a candid, unplanned chapter on her admittance to Long Beach. Her second book, BETTY: A GLAD AWAKENING, published in 1987, recounted her experience of recovery from chemical dependency. She became an active and outspoken champion of improved awareness, education, and treatment for alcohol and other drug dependencies.

In 1982, her good friend, Ambassador Leonard Firestone, joined Mrs. Ford in co-founding the non-profit Betty Ford Center at the Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, California. Mrs. Ford worked tirelessly to raise funds and to help research and design treatments to assist men, women and families in recovery from alcoholism and other drug dependency. Today, The Betty Ford Center is regarded as one of the most outstanding treatment facilities in the world.

Mrs. Ford has been the recipient of many honors and awards. In 1991 she was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George H. W. Bush for providing “selfless, strong, and refreshing leadership on a number of issues.” In 1999 President and Mrs. Ford were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for "dedicated public service and outstanding humanitarian contributions."

Mrs. Ford has passed the leadership of the Betty Ford Center to her daughter, Susan Ford Bales, but she remains active and interested in the work that is done there. She continues to reside in Rancho Mirage, California.

After her husband's death on December 26, 2006, Mrs. Ford led her family and the nation with grace and strength through several days of national memorial observances. The world has come to expect such strength and guidance from the woman whose Grand Rapids upbringing helped her become an outstanding and well loved First Lady. She died on July 8, 2011 in Rancho Mirage, California due to complications of a stroke.

**Source, Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Masdar Project is an environmental model for all countries and their cities

Masdar is a project in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. Its core is a planned city which is being built by the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, a subsidiary of Mubadala Development Company, with the majority of seed capital provided by the government of Abu Dhabi. Designed by the British architectural firm Foster & Partners, the city will rely entirely on solar energy and other renewable energy sources with a sustainable, zero-carbon, zero-waste ecology. The city is being constructed 17 kilometres (11 mi) east-south-east of the city of Abu Dhabi beside Abu Dhabi International Airport.


The project is headed by the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (ADFEC). Initiated in 2006, the project was projected to cost US$22 billion and take some eight years to build, with the first phase scheduled to be completed and habitable in 2009. However, due to the impact of the financial crisis, Phase 1 of the city will be completed in 2015 with the final completion occurring by 2020-2025. The estimated cost of the city has also declined by 10 to 15 per cent, putting the development between US$18.7 and 19.8 billion. The city is planned to cover 6 square kilometres (2.3 sq mi) and will be home to 45,000 to 50,000 people and 1,500 businesses, primarily commercial and manufacturing facilities specialising in environmentally friendly products. More than 60,000 workers are expected to commute to the city daily. It will also be the location of the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (MIST), which will be assisted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Automobiles will be banned within the city. Travel will be accomplished via public mass transit and personal rapid transit systems with existing roads and railways connected to other locations outside the city. The absence of motor vehicles coupled with Masdar's perimeter wall, designed to keep out the hot desert winds, allows for narrow and shaded streets that help funnel cooler breezes across the city.

Masdar City will be the latest of a small number of highly planned, specialized, research and technology-intensive municipalities that incorporate a living environment similar to Novosibirsk, Russia or Tsukuba Science City, Japan.


Masdar will employ a variety of renewable power resources. Among the first construction projects will be a 40 to 60 megawatt solar power plant built by the German firm Conergy which will supply power for all other construction activity. This will later be followed by a larger facility, and additional photovoltaic modules will be placed on rooftops to provide supplemental solar energy totalling 130megawatts. Wind farms will be established outside the city's perimeter capable of producing up to 20 megawatts, and the city intends to utilise geothermal power as well. In addition, Masdar plans to host the world's largest hydrogen power plant.

Water management has been planned in an environmentally sound manner as well. A solar-powered desalination plant will be used to provide the city's water needs which is stated to be 60 percent lower than similarly sized communities. Approximately 80 percent of the water used will be recycled and waste water will be reused "as many times as possible," with this greywater being used for crop irrigation and other purposes.

The city will also attempt to reduce waste to zero. Biological waste will be used to create nutrient-rich soil and fertiliser and some may also be utilised through waste incineration as an additional power source. Industrial waste, such as plastics and metals, will be recycled or re-purposed for other uses.

The exterior wood used throughout the city is Palmwood, a sustainable hardwood-substitute developed by Pacific Green using senile plantation coconut palms. Palmwood features include the entrance gates, screens and doors.


The project is supported by the global conservation charity World Wide Fund for Nature and the sustainability group BioRegional. In response to the project's commitment to zero carbon, zero waste and other environmentally friendly goals, WWF and BioRegional have endorsed Masdar City as an official One Planet Living Community.

Some skeptics are concerned that the city will only be symbolic for Abu Dhabi and that it may become just a luxury development for the wealthy. Nicolai Ouroussoff calls it the ultimate gated community, "the crystallization of another global phenomenon: the growing division of the world into refined, high-end enclaves and vast formless ghettos where issues like sustainability have little immediate relevance."

Masdar City will be a carbon-neutral city being built from the ground up where no internal combustion vehicles will be used within the city limits. People will get around on foot or bike above ground or with driverless pods beneath the city. An inspiration! The world must come together to help make this happen everywhere!