Closing Out Women’s History Month With Dr. Mary Schweitzer, Ground-Breaking Molecular Paleontologist, and a Special T. Rex

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

At the beginning of the month there were a rash of blogs posting about Women’s History Month. IA decided to honor the month as it ends as a “bookend” and a last reminder this month of women’s accomplishments.

The woman I’d like to focus on is a scientist named Mary Schweitzer.

Mary Schweitzer

Dr. Mary Schweitzer

Schweitzer is an Associate Professor in North Carolina State University’s Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.  She earned her B.A. degree in 1977, married, had children and eventually completed her PhD in 1995 (a “roundabout” career path, according to the author of the Smithsonian piece quoted below).

One of her research/teaching areas of interest is in the area of molecular paleontology, which focuses on the “preservation and detection of original molecular fragment in well preserved fossil specimens.”

What is her claim to fame? In 2005 she made headlines by reporting in Science her discovery of soft tissue…in the bones of a 68-million-year old T. Rex.  Here’s the abstract:

Science 3 June 2005:
Vol. 308. no. 5727, pp. 1456 – 1460
DOI: 10.1126/science.1112158

Reports
Gender-Specific Reproductive Tissue in Ratites and Tyrannosaurus rex

Mary H. Schweitzer,1,2,3* Jennifer L. Wittmeyer,1 John R. Horner3 Unambiguous indicators of gender in dinosaurs are usually lost during fossilization, along with other aspects of soft tissue anatomy. We report the presence of endosteally derived bone tissues lining the interior marrow cavities of portions of Tyrannosaurus rex (Museum of the Rockies specimen number 1125) hindlimb elements, and we hypothesize that these tissues are homologous to specialized avian tissues known as medullary bone. Because medullary bone is unique to female birds, its discovery in extinct dinosaurs solidifies the link between dinosaurs and birds, suggests similar reproductive strategies, and provides an objective means of gender differentiation in dinosaurs.

(By the way, that mention of medullary bone is important because it enabled Schweitzer to identify the specimen, originally thought to be male, as actually being a pregnant female T. Rex…)

In 2006, the Smithsonian Magazine described Schweitzer’s discovery this way (my bolding):

Dinosaur Shocker

Probing a 68-million-year-old T. rex, Mary Schweitzer stumbled upon astonishing signs of life that may radically change our view of the beasts that once ruled the earth

  • By Helen Fields
  • Smithsonian magazine, May 2006

Neatly dressed in blue Capri pants and a sleeveless top, long hair flowing over her bare shoulders, Mary Schweitzer sits at a microscope in a dim lab, her face lit only by a glowing computer screen showing a network of thin, branching vessels. That’s right, blood vessels. From a dinosaur. “Ho-ho-ho, I am excite-e-e-e-d,” she chuckles. “I am, like, really excited.”

SNIP

It was big news indeed last year when Schweitzer announced she had discovered blood vessels and structures that looked like whole cells inside that T. rex bone—the first observation of its kind. The finding amazed colleagues, who had never imagined that even a trace of still-soft dinosaur tissue could survive. After all, as any textbook will tell you, when an animal dies, soft tissues such as blood vessels, muscle and skin decay and disappear over time, while hard tissues like bone may gradually acquire minerals from the environment and become fossils. Schweitzer, one of the first scientists to use the tools of modern cell biology to study dinosaurs, has upended the conventional wisdom by showing that some rock-hard fossils tens of millions of years old may have remnants of soft tissues hidden away in their interiors. “The reason it hasn’t been discovered before is no right-thinking paleontologist would do what Mary did with her specimens. We don’t go to all this effort to dig this stuff out of the ground to then destroy it in acid,” says dinosaur paleontologist Thomas Holtz Jr., of the University of Maryland. “It’s great science.” The observations could shed new light on how dinosaurs evolved and how their muscles and blood vessels worked. And the new findings might help settle a long-running debate about whether dinosaurs were warmblooded, coldblooded—or both.

It didn’t take long for creationists to take aim at Schweitzer. Ironically, Schweitzer is an evangelical Christian.  From the Smithsonian article:

Meanwhile, Schweitzer’s research has been hijacked by “young earth” creationists, who insist that dinosaur soft tissue couldn’t possibly survive millions of years. They claim her discoveries support their belief, based on their interpretation of Genesis, that the earth is only a few thousand years old. Of course, it’s not unusual for a paleontologist to differ with creationists. But when creationists misrepresent Schweitzer’s data, she takes it personally: she describes herself as “a complete and total Christian.” On a shelf in her office is a plaque bearing an Old Testament verse: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future

In a 2007 interview for PBS in conjunction a NOVA segment about her discovery, Schweitzer answered viewer questions and had this to say:

Q: Many creationists claim that the Earth is much younger than the evolutionists claim. Is there any possibility that your discoveries should make experts on both sides of the argument reevaluate the methods of established dating used in the field?
Carl Baker, Billings, Montana

A: Actually, my work doesn’t say anything at all about the age of the Earth. As a scientist I can only speak to the data that exist. Having reviewed a great deal of data from many different disciplines, I see no reason at all to doubt the general scientific consensus that the Earth is about five or six billion years old. We deal with testable hypotheses in science, and many of the arguments made for a young Earth are not testable, nor is there any valid data to support a young Earth that stands up to peer review or scientific scrutiny. However, the fields of geology, nuclear physics, astronomy, paleontology, genetics, and evolutionary biology all speak to an ancient Earth. Our discoveries may make people reevaluate the longevity of molecules and the presumed pathways of molecular degradation, but they do not really deal at all with the age of the Earth.

So, let’s celebrate Dr. Mary Schweitzer and her work and her ability to separate her faith from her science.  And let’s also celebrate her willingness to breaking out of what the “conventional wisdom” mold to do what “no right-thinking paleontogist” would do.

Dr. Mary Schweitzer–an inspiration for us all!

  • **

More on Mary Schweitzer and the religious controversy that swirled around her in this long 2006 piece by Barry Yeoman.

An example of the types of attacks on Schweitzer’s work (Check out the left sidebar categories) … http://stupiddinosaurlies.org/

China, the Treasury, and Real Estate (As in the New World Trade Center); Cross-Pollination:The New America Foundation/Council of Foreign Relations

Editor’s Note: Last week’s post, Russia-China Proposals; “Rebalancing” Global Currency Reserves: Why the U.S. Can’t Take Anything for Granted Re: the Dollar, inspired American Lassie to develop a few observations/opinions:

~~By American Lassie

China won’t be buying any more Treasury Bonds, for a while at least, because the yield is too low. Not enough bang for the buck. The Federal Reserve has been buying Treasury Bonds like a drunken sailor for a reason. To keep the yield low. They don’t want China to buy any more bonds, IMO. China has too great a strangle hold on America as it is. Bernanke and Geithner don’t want the people of America to buy bonds right now, another reason for keeping the yield low.

It is my opinion, and many people will differ with me on this, that Geithner and Bernanke want Americans to invest in stocks to help bolster Wall Street and the banks, and to buy, buy, buy durable goods to help move the economy along.

The plan being that if the banks are strengthened and do what they have been given all this bail-out money to do, they will lend more freely to make it possible for the people to buy these durable goods– cars, washing machines, refrigerators, household furniture, etc.  If they free up the money needed by business to continue producing these goods, there might be a slim chance that this thing could turn around. But if the banks continue to put the bail-out money where they have been putting it, it will be the same old same old.

It stands to reason that Americans won’t buy Treasury Bonds with such a low yield, especially when they have so little faith in their government.

***

China may not be in the market for any more Treasury Bonds because of the low yield, or the fear that the large investment they already have in the notes is losing their vallue. But this hasn’t prevented their continued buying and leasing of U.S. real estate.

The Vantone Industrial Co., Ltd, a Chinese real estate group has just become the first commercial tenant of the still under construction skyscraper to replace the Twin Towers destroyed on 9/11.

They have taken a 20-year lease on the top floors of the 70 floor building to begin when the building is completed. It is projected to be completed in 2013.

The floors 64 through 69 will be known as the China Center. Wonder what the 70th floor penthouse will be used for? Any guesses?

Vantone Industrial provided the Port Authority with a $10 million dollar letter of credit. What goes on here?

No more Treasury notes, but a real estate coompany establishing itself in the new trade center. This is indeed food for thought. Know thine enemy. Our intelligence people had better be on hand constantly while that 70th floor is under construction, and after, IMO.

Our government notes aren’t so valuable right now, but the soil of the United States is still coveted by many. What better way to keep your ears peeled than to set up shop on the top floors of the tallest building in the city.

http://www.costar.com/News/Article.aspx?…&ref=1&src=rss

***

Regarding the 1st Bernard Schwartz Economic Policy Symposium sponsored by the New America Foundation (See this post for more details: A Reminder: Live Streaming of the First “Bernard L. Schwartz Economic Policy Symposium” Today (3/26) With a Rather Interesting Group & Agenda [To End “Fumbling” on Economic Policy]):

It’s important to note: “The Honorable Laura Tyson holds the Chair in Global Management and Public Policy, at the Haass School of Business at the U of C at Berkley.” (Haas being Richard Haass, the President of  The Council on Foreign Relations [CFR].)

I will point you to an article, (that I was saving with other research for a possible post), that I think you will want to read. It’s a short article but it is very informative.

http://www.crossroad.to/Quotes/globalism/2008/trends.htm

Let’s take a closer look at THE NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION…

On the matter of the “New America Foundation,” don’t get your hopes up people because this is nothing new.  It’s like the message we used to get continuously during the commercials in the old time soap operas.  “Duz does everything”- “New and Improved” – “Better than Ever”, the blurbs go on and on, but we still got the same old soap only in a different box.  The primary drivers in this group are the same re-cycled Democrats who brought you Hopey Changey politics this past election cycle.

LAURA TYSON, the Chair of Global Management and Public Policy, Haass School of Business, Univ. of Calif. at Berkeley, has an impressive resume and there is no doubt that she is an extremely intelligent economist who need not take a back seat to anyone in her field. She was top economic advisor to former President Bill Clinton.  She was head of the National Economic Council and Chair of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors. In fact, her skill and expertise, in my opinion, played a major part in the financial surplus that Bill Clinton left to the American people when he left office.

I admire Laura Tyson greatly as an economist, but the fact that she is a member of The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) as are the people with whom she associates, disturbs me more than a little. Her association with Richard Haas, President of the CFR bothers me a lot.

The following was written on April 2, 1997 by Fernando Quintero, a reporter for the Rocky Mountain News in Colorado. Mr. Quintero spent a number of years working in higher education. He was a writer and editor for the University of California at Berkeley Office of Public Affairs.

“Over the past four years nearly a quarter of the University’s (U of Calif. at Berkeley) economics faculty at the Business School and the College of Letters and Sciences has taken leave to go to Washington.  No other university outside the Ivy League  has provided the White House with so much economic brain power.”

-snip-

The fact is, a Berkeley Mafia does exist and Tyson is the Godmother.”
http://www.berkeley.edu/news/berkeleyan/1997/0402/tyson.html

BERNARD SCHWARTZ, along with Tyson, is also a member of The Council on Foreign Relations. He is chairman and CEO of BLS Investments, LLC. His concern over our deteriorating infrastructure is legitimate.  This has been his baby for a long time, but as in the case of Tyson his connections are to be questioned.  Mr Schwartz is a very benevolent donor to the Democratic Party.

GEORGE SOROS is another member of the “New America Foundation”.  Mr Soros is a leading figure in the CFR and close with Henry Kissinger (who once made the statement that Jimmy Carter isn’t the President of the United States, the Trilateralist Commission is, and I am the Trilateralist Commission). Soros is also a confidante of Zbigniew Brzezinski and George Soros is also a partner in the Carlyle Group.  He is truly a busy and involved individual.

“The Carlyle Group specializes in seizing control of aerospace and defense contractors and then strong-arming contracts out of the Department of Defense.”

-snip-

“Shortly after September 11, George Soros developed a strategy how to manipulate messages within the media.”…
http://911review.org/Sept11Wiki/CarlyleGroup.shtml
http://911review.org/Sept11Wiki/Soros,George.shtml

It is my personal opinion that George Soros is a very evil man, and anything he touches smells of fire and brimstone.  This nefarious creature has caused untold damage not only to the United States of America, but to other countries.  He is evil personified and he does not wish well for our country and any group that he is connected with, in my opinion, is just as dirty as he is.

I love my country very much, my ancestors fought and died for this country, and to see this foreign-born billionaire, who was able to come to this country and make a fabulous fortune and then turn around and try to ruin us, makes my blood boil.  He is  one of the main players in the quest to level this country to third world status enabling himself and his cohorts to pronounce a New World Order.  He recently said something to the effect that this crisis has satisfied his life’s ambition.  What kind of devil makes it his life’s ambition to see people out of work, losing their homes, going hungry etc.?  Old Beelzebub must be down there dancing a jig.

“COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS, a U.S. think tank.  Some CFR critics say the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights movement were all arranged and approved by the CFR and the insiders.  And that each one has played on a kind of reverse psychology:
The more societal unrest there is , the more people will turn (sic) its govenment for control, eventually becoming so desperate for order that they grant their government more and more power over every citizen’s private life.”

-snip-

“Some of their directors hold important positions in many other worldwide connected companies or government related institutions:  John Deutch, Richard Holbrooke, Theodore Sorenson, George Soros, or David Rockefeller.”
http://911review.org/Sept11Wiki/Cfr.shtml

So you can readily see why I think the New America Foundation is nothing more than the CFR.  New and improved?  Not at all.  This is the same old bunch with the same old ambitions.  Just using a new package to try to fool us old dumb citizens who they think will swallow anything.  Not anymore, Buster.  The cataracts are off our eyes and the wax is out of our ears and we have a steel rod up our spines and we say to you – fool me once, shame on you – fool me twice, shame on me.

No sale,  Mr. Soros and Ms. Tyson. Money is so tight right now that I’m mighty particular what I spend it on and your lying, treacherous words don’t fit into my budget.  Take your global philosophy and eat it– I’m not buying and I’ll bet no other thinking and reading American will either.

The Past Week: March 22-28, 2009 (A Split in Russian Political Forces as Putin Weakens; The Voice of Korea, North Korean Propaganda Outlet; G-20 Protests Begin; A Prescient Wish for a Bush Successor ca. 2006; X-Rated Google Earth)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

We spent some time last week discussing pronouncements by China and Russia re: the dollar.  But here’s some information on what’s going on in Russian politics.

Apparently, the Russian political system is being strained by the current global economic crisis.  The split between military/security officials versus the economic political liberals is beginning to surface. Vladimir Putin was supposed to be the link between the two factions, but his influence as Prime Minister is apparently weakening:

From The Guardian archives (March 3):

Putin and Medvedev factions locked in Kremlin financial power struggle

• Evaporation of wealth eroding PM’s authority
• Security and economic cliques on collision course

SNIP

The sudden evaporation of Russia’s newfound wealth has set the two Kremlin cliques on a collision course and put Putin – now prime minister – in an awkward position. As a former KGB agent he is heavily identified with the security group, known as the siloviki, but he also has strong personal loyalty to a small clique of liberals from his home town of St Petersburg.

Experts say Putin is losing status as he attempts to contain conflict between the factions. Cracks are appearing in his relationship with Medvedev.

“Putin used to act as an arbiter standing above the two main clans – the siloviki and the rational economists,” said Dmitry Oreshkin, a leading political analyst. “Now he’s been dragged down into the fight and he’s under fire from both sides. The siloviki say he’s a weakling incapable of imposing his will and showing the economists their place, while the economists in turn are consolidating around Medvedev.”

Medvedev, handpicked by Putin from among loyal acolytes as a successor, has begun to issue muffled criticism of his mentor, leading some to believe that he may be enjoying the trappings of power and be prepared to flex his political muscle.

MORE

Who will win?

***

With North Korea moving rockets around for a test of a suspected long-range ballistic missile sometime between April 4-8, Japan is ready to launch interceptors:

Japan Readies Missile Interceptors

Published: March 27, 2009

TOKYO — Japan authorized its military on Friday to destroy any debris from a North Korean rocket that might fall on its territory. North Korea has said it intends to put a satellite into orbit as early as next week, and warned that fragments could fall into waters off northern Japan.

Japan, South Korea and the United States suspect the launching is a cover for a test of an intercontinental ballistic missile, the Taepodong-2. In response, Japan will deploy missile interceptors and dispatch two warships to the waters between it and the Korean Peninsula, said the Japanese defense minister, Yasukazu Hamada.

A battery of Patriot land-to-air missiles will also be deployed in Tokyo, he said. “Whether it’s a satellite or a missile, we are extremely uncomfortable with the object flying over Japanese territory,” Mr. Hamada said.

MORE

With the tensions between North Korea back in the headlines, I’m reminded of what it’s like listening to the Voice of Korea, which beams into North American for an hour every day via  shortwave radio.  If you want to listen to what the last Stalinist state sounds like on the radio and don’t have shortwave receiver, here’s a recording off the radio that will give you a sampling of N. Korean propaganda from Pyongyang  (from June 23,2008).  After the sign on, you can fast foward through the martial music and listen to the news and glorification of the “immortal exploits” of Kim Jong II as well as cultural segments… The site also has audio of such inspiring songs as “I Will Be a Solidier of Marshall Kim Jong II”.

Voice of Korea may sound over-the-top,  but, having experienced the glorification of Barack Obama by the media and the glossing over of the news here in the U.S. and the actions of Obama and his sycophants, it makes me wonder if things we’re hearing here are that much different than the propaganda pouring out of North Korea!   (More at the home page of English Radio from North Korea ).

And here’s some fascinating background on other North Korean broadcasts–coded “Numbers Broadcasts” to agents.  You can listen to some of them at the site using Real Player.

***

In 2006, Antonia Juhasz published* a book entitled “The Bush Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time.”  It went beyond the Bush Adminstration, however, as it traced the history of U.S. corporations in the growth of globalization and detailed the role of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization.

I happened to pick up the book again in light of recent events and couldn’t help being struck by the opening paragraph of the book’s jacket description…especialy the last sentence.

In this important book, renowned international trade and finance policy expert  Antonia Juhasz exposes a radical corporate globalization agenda more befitting of a ruthless empire than a world leader in democracy.  This agenda has been refined by leading members and allies of the Bush Administration over decades and has reached its most aggressive implementation under George W. Bush. And Bush Agenda adherents hope it will outlast him.

Reading that last sentence has simply reinforced my suspicions about WHY we had Barack Obama shoved down our throats…

By the way, G-20 protests have already begun…

Thousands join London G-20 protest

***

Finally, on a lighter note,we see a kid in the  UK who decided to get Google Earth’s attention.  While many of us try to avoid Google at all costs, this guy decided to use it to full advantage:

Teenager’s 60ft painting of penis on parents’ roof spotted in space

When ancient Britons drew male genitalia on chalk hillsides, little did they know people would ape their customs millennia later…

SNIP

Teenager Rory McInnes painted a giant phallus on the roof of his parents’ West Berkshire mansion, apparently after watching a programme about Google Earth.

The BBC delicately describes it as a “comedy painting”, saying it was there for a whole year before his parents found out.

MORE

And this isn’t the first try at this, either. I must say, it’s a find rendition. Go take a peek for yourself…

***

THE PAST WEEK

*By Kenosha Marge

Saturday Sanity: The Antidote to the Madness (March 28, 2009) First Hummingbird and First Cactus Flower!; Wisconsin Robin; Happy Birthday, TORO the Dog!; Trooper Shows Off)

Russia-China Proposals; “Rebalancing” Global Currency Reserves: Why the U.S. Can’t Take Anything for Granted Re: the Dollar

EXPOSED! ACORN Behind Protests at AIG Homes, Under S.E.I.U. Rent-a-Mob Contract

A Reminder: Live Streaming of the First “Bernard L. Schwartz Economic Policy Symposium” Today (3/26) With a Rather Interesting Group & Agenda (To End “Fumbling” on Economic Policy)

The Scanner-Politics: March 25, 2009 (G-20; Glenn Beck’s “The One Thing” Segment on the Dollar [Video]; “The Big Takeover”; Al Gore Releasing New Book on Election Day 11/3/2009; Augie the Dog Sends a Deposit to the U.S. Treasury)

The Scanner–International Edition, March 24, 2009: Say Goodbye to the Dollar? China, Russia Proposing a New World Currency for “Non-Credit” Based Economies, Echo G-20 Agenda of Expanding IMF; China Will “Consider” Buying IMF Bonds; 10th China Develpment Forum Underway (UPDATE 1X–Geithner Supports China Proposal??)

*When is Being “Reasonable” Simply “Unreasonable”? (Especially When It Comes to Our Money?)

The Past Week: March 15-21, 2009 (Home Gardens on Alert?; “Practical” Democrats Group; Federal Education Stimulus $$ Going to Rich Schools; Soldiers Pledge to Refuse Illegal Orders; New Marxist President of El Salvador Compares His Message of Change to Obama’s)

***
*Publishing information:
Juhasz, Antonia. The Bush Agenda: Invading One Economy at a Time.  2006, HarperCollins (Regan Books), New York.
(yes, THAT Judith Regan)

Saturday Sanity: The Antidote to the Madness (March 28, 2009) First Hummingbird and First Cactus Flower!; Wisconsin Robin; Happy Birthday, TORO the Dog!; Trooper Shows Off)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Just because we’ve been enjoying some great spring weather lately (although the last couple of days have been cool and windy), it doesn’t mean there aren’t signs of spring in other places, too.

Kenosha Marge sent in this report from way up north in Wisconsin after reading last week’s Saturday Sanity:

SO and I have seen a couple of Robins the past few days and were getting that “Spring Is Coming Soon” spring in our step. Yes, yes I know that the offical first day of Spring was Friday the 20th. That’s what the calendar says. When a Robin is in your backyard birdbath and on one of your backyard bird feeders that really means Spring is coming. Or maybe not. Here’s some expert who just had to rain on my parade.

Steve Lewis of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Division of Migratory Birds in Minneapolis said some robins in northern Wisconsin might have come south from Canada, “but they’re not birds that are coming back early from their wintering areas.”
Some may wonder how a bird weighing under 3 ounces can survive in a climate that can drop below zero degrees without warning.
For robins and other winter birds, it’s simply a matter of sprouting a few more down feathers for extra insulation and finding a steady source of food.
Frozen ground means no worms and frozen air inhibits crowds of insects, so robins and other birds like cedar waxwings will seek out fruit from crabapple trees and other berries still hanging on branches.
If they can keep their stomachs full, they see no reason to leave, said Dick Verch, a retired DNR employee who organizes the annual Christmas bird count for the Chequamegon Audubon Society.
“If you look at a lot of the fruiting trees – mountain ash and others – they still have fruit on them, and very often at this time of the year they’ve been stripped by birds,” Verch said. “That’s an indication there’s a good quantity of food, so maybe as the birds went into the winter with a lot of food around them, it kept them here.”
Verch said participants in the 2008 count spotted 76 robins – 56 more than the previous record of 20, set in 2004.
A few weeks ago we had this in WI...

A few weeks ago folks in in WI were doing this...

Wisconsin Robin!

Last week...a Wisconsin Robin!

While we’re on the subject of our animal buddies, I thought I’d share a pic of  Toro, our first dog, who turns 10 on March 31st!  Happy Birthday, TORO!  With spring in the air, Toro has taken a fancy to eating al fresco!

Birthday Boy Toro

Birthday Boy Toro

Here’s an update on TROOPER, my betta fish.  Over the last few weeks he seems to have really “grown up” in his behavior….he’s gotten larger and more aggressive about going after his food. He’s probably reached maturity and he certainly is robust in health, especially since I change him every 4 days!  I picked up a calendar at my State Farm office which feature golf courses…and the greens and traps seem to bring out Trooper’s colors very nicely.  He’s such a dark blue that he needs the contrast to be seen at his best!

Trooper likes to hang out on the 18th hole...

Trooper likes to hang out at the 18th hole...

Disappointing news…I’ve had to give up hope that I could entice Mario, the runaway chihuahua. The food was being eaten by birds, so it seems Mario is gone.  Best of luck, little guy…

But, some good news…On Tuesday (3/24) I was buzzed. A few moments later I saw my first hummingbird of the season!  The feeder is up and it looks like it’s being used.

The desert plants are beginning to wake up and within a couple of short days, the cactus in the front yard started blooming!

Cactus flower

Cactus flower

The NM privet that was flowering last week is now leafing out and the larger privet in the front yard is also starting to show some leaves.

Backyard NM privet

Backyard NM privet

The peach, fig, pomegranate and apricots are all continuing to bud out and the baby figs and peaches are really growing fast.  And my oldest grape vine is really starting to rev up:

Flame grape

Flame grape

Finally, here’s a shot of my garden beds with a lot of the plants waiting for transplanting under the sun shade. I cover them at night because it still gets chilly and the wind over the last few days dries things out in a very short time.  By the way, I found Ichiban eggplant and those fantastic pimiento peppers this week, so I can’t wait to get all these wonderful things into the ground!!

Waiting for a little less wind...

Waiting for a little less wind...

Hope spring is happening wherever you are!

Russia-China Proposals; “Rebalancing” Global Currency Reserves: Why the U.S. Can’t Take Anything for Granted Re: the Dollar

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Nothing like tuning into Turner Classic Movies to find the 1936 film “Things to Come,” a version of the H.G. Wells’ novel about a post-World War collapse of Western civilization and rebuilding efforts through that year.

Not very cheery…and neither is the following…

We touched on Timothy Geithner’s “slip” about the dollar, but this article for yesterday’s Guardian details how the proposal China has put forth for a new role for the IMF (International Monetary Fund) is gaining ground.  And the RIA Novosti news outlet (government run), is reporting that Russia wants a conference that will remove the dollar as the world’s reserve currency.

From The Guardian:

Thursday 26 March 2009 14.42 GMT

Global currency flies with push from Russia and slip from Timothy Geithner

The dollar drops back as China’s proposal for an IMF alternative gains ground

Russia plans to hold an international conference to discuss the creation of a global currency to replace the dollar.

According to the RIA news agency, Andrei Denisov, Russia’s first deputy foreign minister, said: “This proposal is aimed at a practical realisation of the idea about a new global accounting unit or a new global currency. It is a question that should be discussed to create a consensus.”

Denisov’s comments came only hours after the US treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, shocked the markets by saying Washington was open to the idea, though he later qualified his remarks.

The debate about a global reserve currency run by the International Monetary Fund was sparked by a proposal from China this week.

snip

China’s bold proposal has been made before by independent economists, but it has until now met with resistance from the US and other countries with large dollar holdings. Zhou has acknowledged that such a shift could take a long time.

Zhou says it could “take a long time” but if you heard Peter Schiff last night on the Jerry Doyle show, you would have heard him say that China alone can do the job.  They’ve already expressed doubts about U.S. Treasury bonds and we reported a couple of days ago that they are not going to be purchasing any more.

Just yesterday a talking head on FOX’s Shepherd Smith show predicted that the dollar wouldn’t be replaced as the world’s currency at the G-20 meeting, but the agenda of that meeting on April 1-2 sounds an awful lot like what’s coming out of China and Russia.  See our prior posts for details (below).

We also covered the Steve Clemons’/New America Foundation-sponsored Economic Policy Symposium held yesterday in D.C. which featured Laura Tyson and George Soros. Unfortunately, every browser I tried crashed repeatedly as I tried to listen and also when I tied to click through the link below to see the agenda.

I guess we have to be satisfied for now with a summary of sorts by someone I know nothing about, a certain Douglas Rediker,  which was posted yesterday after the forum was over. But I still would love to be able to read/listen to whatever is on the site, without it crashing!

Here’s an excerpt from Rediker’s short post…I suggest reading the whole thing because it has some hard numbers of interest. He takes a different view than Schiff does on what China can do or will do, but the warning is clear (my bolding):

http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/2009/03/rebalancing_glo/

Rebalancing Global Currency Reserves

Thursday, Mar 26 2009, 2:05PM

At this morning’s superb economic event at the New America Foundation and in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday, there was a lot of discussion about China’s recent proposal to consider a move away from the US dollar and towards the use of a new “super-sovereign reserve currency.” The intention according to China’s central bank governor, Zhou Xiaochuan, would be to ultimately “create an international reserve currency that is disconnected from individual nations and is able to remain stable in the long run.”

SNIP

…The short term risk is not that China is about to dump its dollar holdings. Rather, it is the trading floors and fund managers around the world, whose job it is to be ahead of the curve, who may well start to re-weight their holdings on the marginally increased probability that this re-weighting might actually occur in the future. As the numbers above suggest, even a relatively small shift could represent a meaningful shift of capital and resulting impact on the dollar’s value.

There are, of course, multiple forces at work in foreign exchange markets and, among the sure-fire ways to lose money in this world are: 1) to play currency markets and 2) to bet against the US and the US dollar. Nevertheless, the fact that this is now likely to be a discussion topic on the agenda for the London Summit, suggests that the US should not take for granted that the US dollar will retain its current role in the world forever. Currencies are traditionally viewed as a reflection of a country’s economic strength. The US cannot lose sight of the crucial role that the “exorbitant privilege” to print the world’s currency provides and do what it can to ensure that this privilege is not lost. We can’t take anything for granted.

Feeling better now? I’m not…

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Related Posts:

The Scanner–International Edition, March 24, 2009: Say Goodbye to the Dollar? China, Russia Proposing a New World Currency for “Non-Credit” Based Economies, Echo G-20 Agenda of Expanding IMF; China Will “Consider” Buying IMF Bonds; 10th China Develpment Forum Underway (UPDATE 1X–Geithner Supports China Proposal??)

The Scanner-Politics: March 25, 2009 (G-20; Glenn Beck’s “The One Thing” Segment on the Dollar [Video]; “The Big Takeover”; Al Gore Releasing New Book on Election Day 11/3/2009; Augie the Dog Sends a Deposit to the U.S. Treasury)

A Reminder: Live Streaming of the First “Bernard L. Schwartz Economic Policy Symposium” Today (3/26) With a Rather Interesting Group & Agenda (To End “Fumbling” on Economic Policy)

EXPOSED! ACORN Behind Protests at AIG Homes, Under S.E.I.U. Rent-a-Mob Contract

~~By InsightAnalyitical-GRL

–Via W.A.M. (Wake Up America)

From the W.A.M. Newsroom (includes the video of the interview summarized below):

A Glenn Beck interview on March 24 with an election attorney has exposed the fact that the SEIU (Service Employees INTERNATIONAL Union) contracted the angry mob which intimidated AIG employees at their own homes this past week. According to this report,  the “Muscle for Money” program, revealed by a former A.C.O.R.N.employee at hearings held last October, involves formal work contracts between the SEIU & A.C.O.R.N. in which poor persons are paid to make targeted, aggressive protests.

These “protests” are then covered by the MainStream Media with the appearance of spontaneous events led by “everyday citizens.”

Beck followed up on the mobs which terrorized AIG executives homes when he noticed the protesters were arriving in organized buses, which were rented by A.C.O.R.N. Referencing A.C.O.R.N.’s shady history, the reporter referred back to A.C.O.R.N.’s arrangements of voting booths in Nevada casinos as their instrument for assuring Obama’s “win”  of last year’s primary caucus in the state. A.C.O.R.N is also being investigated on criminal vote fraud complaints in several other states for related misconduct.

The “bus tour” attack on AIG families was, specifically, arranged by Connecticut’s Working Families Party as one of A.C.O.R.N. & S.E.I.U.’s many public faces. Cleta Mitchell, an attorney who has followed the underlying connections of these groups,  explained that the S.E.I.U. has spent tens of millions of dollars on all kinds of organizations over the last five years. Federally funded in part, and also supported by George Soros, one of A.C.O.R.N.’s multifold “campaigns” for change includes the legalization of drugs in the U.S.

As Beck noted, former A.C.O.R.N. employees repulsed by the organization’s methods and associations have contributed to exposing their tactics but avoid public statements. One such witness invited on air declined, expressing fear for her two-year-old daughter’s safety.

Beck followed up on March 25 with an interview with Mark McKinnon, Vice Chairman of  Public Strategies, Inc. and former Bush media consultant. Don’t be put off by that…starting at about Minute 2:10, Beck connects all the dots in a series of questions that clearly illustrates what S.E.I.U. is up to.

Here’s the video:

W.A.M. ALERT

The spider-web of socialist intrigue doesn’t stop there. The recent TV network attention on waves of AIG protests has been used to fuel public enmity toward corporations in order to gain Congressional passage of CARD CHECK. This union-organizing legislation, spearheaded by the S.E.I.U, abolishes the secret ballot and would open the door for this INTERNATIONAL union to propagate intimidation tactics, similar to those above, on successful non-union companies and small businesses across the nation.

If you, as an “ordinary citizen” (not paid by A.C.O.R.N. or the S.E.I.U.) and have not yet contacted Washington to block passage of this “Employee Free Choice Act” (aka CARD CHECK) link here to sign in and send  your Senators a FREE FAX now:

http://www.wam08.org/GetInvolved.html

If you prefer to call your Senators, use the 800 numbers in the sidebar to the right.  Tip: The AMA line is a very fast way to connect via a short menu.

A Reminder: Live Streaming of the First “Bernard L. Schwartz Economic Policy Symposium” Today (3/26) With a Rather Interesting Group & Agenda (To End “Fumbling” on Economic Policy)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

This might be something to keep an eye on…

From the Washington Note:

Bernard Schwartz, Laura Tyson, Martin Wolf, George Soros,  Mark Zandi and Others to Headline Major NAF Economic Policy Forum on London G-20 Meeting and What Will Replace US Consumer

http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/2009/03/george_soros_be/

This conference will be STREAMED LIVE at the WN site…

Excerpt from the above archived  post/ URL:

The first “Bernard L. Schwartz Economic Policy Symposium” will take place in Washington at the New America Foundation offices on Thursday, 26 March 2009. Attendance information is here.

Financier and former Loral CEO Bernard Schwartz has been trying to push the administration and Congress to realize that there are different kinds of deficits the nation has to struggle with — and the most important in his mind is leaving an “infrastruture deficit” to the next generation. He will be helping to open this important conference.

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I will be moderating the meeting along with my colleague Sherle Schwenninger and New America Foundation President and New Yorker staff writer Steve Coll.

Bernard Schwartz. . .George Soros. . .Laura Tyson. . .Martin Wolf. . .Clyde Prestowitz. . .Desmond Lachman. . .Tom Gallagher. . .Steve Coll. . .Mark Zandi. . .William Gerrity. . .Leo Hindery. . .Richard Vague. . .Nicholas Lardy. . .Jeff Madrick. . .Sherle Schwenninger. . .and others make up quite a line up for a great meeting.

snip

This entire conference will STREAM LIVE on this blog, The Washington Note between approximately 8:30 am and 1:00 pm EST on Thursday, 26 March 2009.

snip

The purpose we have in organizing this meeting is to try and position some of the key issues that should be considered at the London G-20 meeting and to begin to emphasize that the fumbling on economic policy needs to stop. (my bolding)

It’s time to begin organizing a Team B economic policy effort — even if it is organized by a network of concerned civil society leaders.

MMMa “Team B” ….”even if it is organized by a network of concerned civil society leaders.”

Remember Laura Tyson during the Clinton years?  And what’s George Soros got to say??