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Flying on a jet plane

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I was born with a "let's go" gene. I would sit in a chair at my grandparents' house with a view of the driveway. If I heard my mom's car or my dad's pickup start, I was out the door like a shot. I asked the destination only once we were en route. True, the worst place was the electrical store where my dad would buy stuff for his ham radio set up (his call sign was K6JYP -- anyone out there remember?) There was nothing there that interested me so I would root through the truck and always found treasures in the back of the seat, loose change included. I mean, what did my dad do? Throw change over his shoulder? He also had a penchant for cherry danish. If I was lucky, they were only a day old upon discovery.

Then I entered the convent, a never-ending journey, smooth, bumpy, stormy and beautiful, that far surpassed family adventures, school field trips, and Girl Scout camping jaunts.

Money talks - and sings in Arizona

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They say "money talks" and it has raised its voice in Arizona.

CNN reports today anecdotal evidence from business owners, real estate agents and community leaders that indicates that Arizona's new immigration law has created a culture of fear among Hispanics in Arizona that's slowly paralyzing sectors of the economy. In addition, economic boycotts adopted by other states and cities have hit Arizona's meeting and convention business. Since groups nationwide began announcing boycotts of the state because of SB 1070, at least 40 meetings have been canceled, which resulted in the loss of $12 million in lodging alone, according to Kristen Jarnagin, spokeswoman for the Arizona Hotel & Lodging Association.

Wikileaks and the war in Afghanistan

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I've been listening with interest to the reports of Wikileaks, and the documents they released on the war in Afghanistan. The administration says in one breath that the revelations are "old news," and in the next breath that they will endanger our soldiers in the field. I don’t think one can have it both ways ... "old news" should not present a present danger to anyone.

1 Soldier or 20 Schools?

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New York Times op-ed writer Nicholas Kristoff's essay today places in stark relief the financial costs of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars versus the priority of educating people. It's sobering reading.

"The war in Afghanistan will consume more money this year alone than we spent on the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Civil War and the Spanish-American War — combined."

Ocean plankton in decline, study says

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Despite their size, the ocean's plant plankton are crucial to much of life on Earth. Plankton are the foundation of the marine food web, produce half the world's oxygen and suck up harmful carbon dioxide.
According to a study published Jul. 28 in the journal Nature, plankton levels in the oceans worldwide are down 40 percent since the 1950s, and the probable cause, the study says, is global warming, which makes it hard for the plant plankton to get vital nutrients.

The numbers are both staggering and disturbing, say the Canadian scientists who did the study and a top U.S. government scientist.

"It's concerning because phytoplankton is the basic currency for everything going on in the ocean," said Dalhousie University biology professor Boris Worm, a study co-author. "It's almost like a recession ... that has been going on for decades."

US-Indonesia military ties spark outrage

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From UCA News: US-Indonesia military ties spark outrage

Jakarta human rights groups have criticized the lifting of a US ban on military cooperation with Indonesian special forces troops.

A statement by several human rights groups including the Indonesian Association of Families of the Disappeared (IKOHI) and Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS) slammed the resumption of cooperation with the Kopassus (Special Force Command) while human rights violations in Timor Leste, Aceh and Papua remain unresolved.

“As part of civil society and the human rights community in Indonesia, we are very disappointed,” Catholic human rights activist Maria Katharina Sumarsih told a July 23 press conference in Central Jakarta.

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