Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Islam, Trade, and the Camel

The camel is a truly amazing animal !

delanceyplace logo | www.delanceyplace.com
In today's excerpt - founded by the prophet Muhammad in the sixth century C.E., Islam spread faster than Christianity and its kingdom grew larger than the Roman Empire. By one estimate, the Islamic caliphate's revenue in 820 C.E. was no less than five times greater than that of the Christian Byzantine Empire. This fortune was built on trade and the marketplace, and that trade was built on the backs of camels:
"Water scarcity presented the primary obstacle standing between Islam and its historic rise to greatness through trade. First and foremost, it needed a way to cross the long expanse of its own hot, waterless interior deserts. Its first triumphant innovation, which at a stroke transformed the barren desert barrier into an insulated, exclusive Islamic trade highway, came by its disciplined organization of the hardy camel, with its prodigious water-storing capacity, into long trade caravans and military supply transports. A caravan of 5,000 to 6,000 camels could carry as much cargo as a very large European merchant sailing ship or a fleet of barges on China's Grand Canal. Islam's quasi-monopoly over this powerful pack animal provided it with the mobility to cross and exit its desert homelands - and to make its mark on world history.

"The one-humped Saharan dromedary was specially adapted for the hot deserts. It could go without drinking water for a week or more, while plodding some 35 miles per day across the desert sands with a 200-pound load on its back, Water was stored in its bloodstream - its fatty hump, which grew flaccid during long journeys without nourishment, functioned as a food reserve - and it maximized water retention by recapturing some exhaled water through its nose. Once at a water source the camel speedily rehydrated by consuming up to 25 gallons in only ten minutes. It even could tolerate briney water. It possessed an uncanny memory for the location of water holes. Moreover, it could eat the thorny plants and dry grasses that grew on and lands and were indigestible by most other animals. During a trip, camels could lose one-quarter their body weight, twice the amount fatal to most other mammals. The camel's extraordinary physical attributes made it possible for caravans to make the two-month, trans-Sahara trip from Morocco to Walata at the frontiers of the Mali Empire in Africa, which included one notorious stage of ten waterless days. ... Camels took Arab merchants and soldiers everywhere."

Author: Steven Solomon   
Title: Water
Publisher: Harper
Date: Copyright 2010 by Steven Solomon
Pages: 133-135
Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization
Read more at campaign.r20.constantcontact.com

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sybil Ludington of Ludingtonville Mass.

Click on the link for the entire story. The former governor from Alaska should read this!

delanceyplace logo | www.delanceyplace.com
In today's excerpt - with all deference to a former governor from Alaska, not only was the purpose of Paul Revere's ride to warn the revolutionaries of an impending British attack, there was another heroic ride of warning twice as long as Revere's. The rider was  sixteen year old Sybil Ludington:
"[The militia rallied and] discouraged the British from any further attacks in the area. As a result, the Americans in the vital region gained precious time to organize and resist, in large part due to the efforts of sixteen-year-old Sybil Ludington,
"And, unlike Revere, Sybil Ludington completed her mission without being captured. Yet she remains largely unknown.
In perhaps the ultimate tribute, the name of her hometown was to be changed from Fredericksburg to Ludingtonville.
Read more at campaign.r20.constantcontact.com

Sunday, June 12, 2011

In These Times

This nonprofit and independent newmagazine established in 1976 is probably exactly what we need to be in wide circulation and widely read today!

Amplify’d from www.inthesetimes.com
In These Times
In These Times is a nonprofit and independent newsmagazine committed to political and economic democracy and opposed to the dominance of transnational corporations and the tyranny of marketplace values over human values.
The late Sen. Paul Wellstone, one of the first subscribers to In These Times, put it this way: “Meaningful democracy cannot survive without the free flow of information, even (or especially) when that information threatens the privileged and the powerful. At a time of growing media concentration, In These Times is an invaluable source of news and information that the corporate media would too often prefer to ignore.”
“If it weren’t for In These Times, I’d be a man without a country.” —Kurt Vonnegut
Read more at www.inthesetimes.com

The Second-String Psychopaths

Must of what has happened lately in politics sadly seems to support this thesis.

Amplify’d from www.commondreams.org

The Rise of the Second-String Psychopaths

The great writer Kurt Vonnegut titled his final book A Man without a Country. He was the man; the country was the United States of America. Vonnegut felt that his country had disappeared right under his – and the Constitution’s – feet, through what he called “the sleaziest, low-comedy Keystone Cops-style coup d’état imaginable.” He was talking about the Bush administration. Were Vonnegut still alive in the post-Bush era, he would not have felt that his country had returned.

How had our country disappeared? Vonnegut proposed that among the contributing factors was that it had been invaded – as if by the Martians – by people with a particularly frightening mental illness. People with this illness were termed psychopaths.
Read more at www.commondreams.org

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Two obscure events that saved the union....interesting!

This www.delanceyplace.com excerpt got me thinking about the civil war, slave states vs. free states.....the Erie Canal, and the Mississippi River, all at the same time. It is all interesting history, and very interesting events that tend to shape what this country is today! I,m currently reading Mark Twain's "Life on the Mississippi", and find it an eye opener into that period of American history. Mark Twain was a Mississippi river boat pilot, and I recommend the book for an education in the importance of this big muddy river. Apparently Samuel Langhorne Clemmons (1835-1910) was smack-dabe in the middle of all these important events and turns of American history!

delanceyplace logo | www.delanceyplace.com

In today's excerpt - the completion of the Erie Canal and the extension of Illinois' border north to include the land that became Chicago saved the Union. The Mississippi River held an economic dominance over the middle of the country in the early 1800s, and put that dominance in the hands of Louisiana, Missouri and other slaveholding states. It was only the opening of the Erie Canal that created a self-contained East-West economic region among the Great Lakes states, and thus gave them economic independence from this Mississippi dominance. So when Congress was carving out the new state of Illinois under the dictates of the "Northwest Ordinance" - one of the three key "founding documents" in American History since it helped define how new states could be admitted to the country - it was careful to extend its borders to include a port on Lake Michigan:

Read more at campaign.r20.constantcontact.com

Sunday, June 05, 2011

The Diminishing Social Security Safety Net

At age 68, after working hard and raising three kids, and help in the raising of two grandkids, Social Security and Medicare, are the only way my wife Carolyn, 67yrs.) ,and I are able to stay alive for a few more years, and maintain a semblance of dignity.

I recently had "open heart" surgery that replaced a broken Aorta Valve, and a damaged Aorta Artery. There is no question that without this operation, I would not be here. We were not able to save enough money during our working years to keep us financially independent. Ergo, we would now probably now be a financial burden on our kids.

I am very grateful for the social safety nets that are now in place, and I constantly try to appreciate the days, months, and years that I may still participate in our world of family and friends. Our participation is good not just for ourselves, but for our extended family.

So, the way I see it, the social safety net is a benefit to everyone. The social safety nets are, and should be considered a benefit to our country and our society. It saddens me to think that the future is looking so bleak for the younger generation, and for our country, and our society. We are all together in this great adventure called life!

Amplify’d from finance.yahoo.com

3 Ways Your Social Security Payments Are Already Being Cut

by Alicia Munnell
Friday, June 3, 2011

Policy experts have focused on alternative ways of eliminating Social Security's 75-year financing gap, but lost in the debate is the fact that even under current law Social Security will provide less retirement income relative to previous earnings than it does today. Combine the already legislated reductions with potential cuts to close the financing gap, and Social Security may no longer be the mainstay of the retirement system for many people.

1. The Extension of the Full Retirement Age
2. The Increase in Medicare Premiums
3. The Taxation of Social Security Benefits
Read more at finance.yahoo.com

Pit bulls as "Nanny dogs"

That muscular chest.....that big head.....that massive and strong looking jaw! I just don't like seeing that dog next to that little baby! :(

Amplify’d from beta.news.yahoo.com

Pit bulls’ surprising past: Nanny dogs

By Claudine Zap | The Upshot – Thu, Jun 2, 2011

Try to quickly summon an image of good-with-small-children dog, and chances are you'll picture something adorably Benji-shaggy. Or maybe a sweetie-pie golden retriever, or a loveball of a lab. It's not likely, at least not in today's perception of the breed, that an American pit bull terrier leaps to mind.

But not so long ago, pit bulls were brought in as "nanny dogs," the trusted caretaker pups to watch over kids.

Vintage photographs recently posted on a personal blog show off the breed as babysitter.

See more at beta.news.yahoo.com

Homeowner Forcloses on the Bank!

Sweet Justice! :)

Amplify’d from www.realclearpolitics.com

Florida Homeowner Forecloses On ... Bank

Instead of Bank of America foreclosing on some Florida homeowner, the homeowners had sheriff's deputies foreclose on the bank. (More ...)

Read more at www.realclearpolitics.com

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Native of the Philadelphia "Kensington and Alleganey" northeast area. I spent 4 years in the Air Force (Titan-II missles in Tuscon Arizona). I Am currently retired, and among other adventures I spent 28 years working for AT&T in Telecommunications. I've lived in Florida for 33 years....20 years in Hollywood Fla., and 13 years North Florida. I've been married 42 years, and am a proud father of three adult offspring. All of them contributing to society in a very useful and creative manner.