Sunday, July 29, 2007

Double Billed

Ever been double billed? I have been. I just got a bill from my podiatrist for some work that I already paid for early last month. Just got this very same bill a few days ago with a note attached saying that I am late paying this bill. I have never been later paying them, ever. What I am going to have to do(Ok well, I don't know that I HAVE to) but I am responding to their bill with a copy of their bill and a not that says I have already paid it and a copy of my cancelled check. I realize that folks do make mistakes. Still, it is a little bit aggravating , though. Ever had this happen to you? How did you handle it? Thanks for letting me vent a lil bit:)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

New Computer

Well, yesterday morning before I head off to work, I give my computer a virus scan. That takes a while to do, and I usually leave my computer on all of the time anyway. When I get home from work, I find that I cannot log on to the internet, and my monitor is completely black. So I call tech support. Then I find out that I have to pay for tech support over the phone. Joy. I call them up and the customer service rep, after going through so much testing and testing, tells me that I need a new video card. Joy again. I am told that Best Buy carries them in stock. Now I simply cannot be without my internet for even one night before I start to go insane, so I call Best Buy and confirm that they have video cards. They do, and I hurry my butt down to their store with my tower in tow. I get there and find out that my whole system is basically burnt out and that the video card was not the problem. So what do I do? I do buy a new computer. This one. A Hewlett Packard. I get home and now begins the assembly part. Not too altogether difficult. Just had one minor issue with the monitor, so I go back to the store to get a new one. I did put the new computer on my credit card(yuck) but I know that I will have the card paid off in about a month give or take a few days. Then I had to install a new antivirus program, which was the biggest pain, but I finally worked it through.The people at Best Buy, God Bless em, they were very patient with me. They earned their paycheck last night. And thus far, Hewlett packard has been the Best computer that I have had. And I have had some good ones. My first one was a Gateway and my second was an Emachines. But there is more cool stuff on this new one. Plus the flat screen is sexy.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Anchor babies

Yes, I agree we should build a good strong secure fence. My question is this: Suppose a pregnant woman gets across the border. Lets say that she is from Mexico. She is 9 months pregnant. She gives birth across the border in Texas. Her baby is a legal person of the United States. She is not. Do we deport her? If so, then what will happen to the baby?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

My fave sites

WWW.rotten.com and the Freddie Prinze websites, plus I will surf anywhere. Sorry, I don't do porn sites.

Surfing the web

When I get home from work, I like to relax by surfing the web(since sex is not always readily available HA) and I found this cool website. I will post some links as soon I get it figured out. I simply could not live with out sex, internet or cable tv.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Scary as Hell

By KATHERINE SHRADER and MATTHEW LEE, Associated Press Writers
1 hour, 53 minutes ago



WASHINGTON - U.S. intelligence analysts have concluded al-Qaida has rebuilt its operating capability to a level not seen since just before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, The Associated Press has learned.

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The conclusion suggests that the network that launched the most devastating terror attack on the United States has been able to regroup along the Afghan-Pakistani border despite nearly six years of bombings, war and other tactics aimed at crippling it.

Still, numerous government officials say they know of no specific, credible threat of a new attack on U.S. soil.

A counterterrorism official familiar with a five-page summary of the new government threat assessment called it a stark appraisal to be discussed at the White House on Thursday as part of a broader meeting on an upcoming National Intelligence Estimate.

The official and others spoke on condition of anonymity because the secret report remains classified.

Counterterrorism analysts produced the document, titled "Al-Qaida better positioned to strike the West." The document focuses on the terror group's safe haven in Pakistan and makes a range of observations about the threat posed to the United States and its allies, officials said.

Al-Qaida is "considerably operationally stronger than a year ago" and has "regrouped to an extent not seen since 2001," the official said, paraphrasing the report's conclusions. "They are showing greater and greater ability to plan attacks in Europe and the United States."

The group also has created "the most robust training program since 2001, with an interest in using European operatives," the official quoted the report as saying.

At the same time, this official said, the report speaks of "significant gaps in intelligence" so U.S. authorities may be ignorant of potential or planned attacks.

John Kringen, who heads the CIA's analysis directorate, echoed the concerns about al-Qaida's resurgence during testimony and conversations with reporters at a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Wednesday.

"They seem to be fairly well settled into the safe haven and the ungoverned spaces of Pakistan," Kringen testified. "We see more training. We see more money. We see more communications. We see that activity rising."

The threat assessment comes as the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies prepare a National Intelligence Estimate focusing on threats to the United States. A senior intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity while the high-level analysis was being finalized, said the document has been in the works for roughly two years.

Kringen and aides to National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell would not comment on the details of that analysis. "Preparation of the estimate is not a response to any specific threat," McConnell's spokesman Ross Feinstein said, adding that it would probably be ready for distribution this summer.

Counterterrorism officials have been increasingly concerned about al-Qaida's recent operations. This week, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said he had a "gut feeling" that the United States faced a heightened risk of attack this summer.

Kringen said he wouldn't attach a summer time frame to the concern. In studying the threat, he said he begins with the premise that al-Qaida would consider attacking the U.S. a "home run hit" and that the easiest way to get into the United States would be through Europe.

The new threat assessment puts particular focus on Pakistan, as did Kringen.

"Sooner or later you have to quit permitting them to have a safe haven" along the Afghan-Pakistani border, he told the House committee. "At the end of the day, when we have had success, it is when you've been able to get them worried about who was informing on them, get them worried about who was coming after them."

Several European countries — among them Britain, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands — are also highlighted in the threat assessment partly because they have arrangements with the Pakistani government that allow their citizens easier access to Pakistan than others, according to the counterterrorism official.

This is more troubling because all four are part of the U.S. visa waiver program, and their citizens can enter the United States without additional security scrutiny, the official said.

The report also notes that al-Qaida has increased its public statements, although analysts stressed that those video and audio messages aren't reliable indicators of the actions the group may take.

The Bush administration has repeatedly cited al-Qaida as a key justification for continuing the fight in Iraq.

"The No. 1 enemy in Iraq is al-Qaida," White House press secretary Tony Snow said Wednesday. "Al-Qaida continues to be the chief organizer of mayhem within Iraq, the chief organization for killing innocent Iraqis."

The findings could bolster the president's hand at a moment when support on Capitol Hill for the war is eroding and the administration is struggling to defend its decision for a military buildup in Iraq. A progress report that the White House is releasing to Congress this week is expected to indicate scant progress on the political and military benchmarks set for Iraq.

The threat assessment says that al-Qaida stepped up efforts to "improve its core operational capability" in late 2004 but did not succeed until December of 2006 after the Pakistani government signed a peace agreement with tribal leaders that effectively removed government military presence from the northwest frontier with Afghanistan.

The agreement allows Taliban and al-Qaida operatives to move across the border with impunity and establish and run training centers, the report says, according to the official.

It also says that al-Qaida is particularly interested in building up the numbers in its middle ranks, or operational positions, so there is not as great a lag in attacks when such people are killed.

"Being No. 3 in al-Qaida is a bad job. We regularly get to the No. 3 person," Tom Fingar, the top U.S. intelligence analyst, told the House panel.

The counterterror official said the report does not focus on al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, his whereabouts or his role in the terrorist network. Officials say al-Qaida has become more like a "family-oriented" mob organization with leadership roles in cells and other groups being handed from father to son, or cousin to uncle.

Yet bin Laden's whereabouts are still of great interest to intelligence agencies. Although he has not been heard from for some time, Kringen said officials believe he is still alive and living under the protection of tribal leaders in the border area.

Armed Services Committee members expressed frustration that more was not being done to get bin Laden and tamp down activity in the tribal areas. The senior intelligence analysts tried to portray the difficulty of operating in the area despite a $25 million bounty on the head of bin Laden and his top deputy.

"They are in an environment that is more hostile to us than it is to al-Qaida," Fingar said.

___

Associated Press writer Deb Riechmann contributed to this report.

___

On the Net:

Scary as Hell

By KATHERINE SHRADER and MATTHEW LEE, Associated Press Writers
1 hour, 53 minutes ago



WASHINGTON - U.S. intelligence analysts have concluded al-Qaida has rebuilt its operating capability to a level not seen since just before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, The Associated Press has learned.

ADVERTISEMENT

The conclusion suggests that the network that launched the most devastating terror attack on the United States has been able to regroup along the Afghan-Pakistani border despite nearly six years of bombings, war and other tactics aimed at crippling it.

Still, numerous government officials say they know of no specific, credible threat of a new attack on U.S. soil.

A counterterrorism official familiar with a five-page summary of the new government threat assessment called it a stark appraisal to be discussed at the White House on Thursday as part of a broader meeting on an upcoming National Intelligence Estimate.

The official and others spoke on condition of anonymity because the secret report remains classified.

Counterterrorism analysts produced the document, titled "Al-Qaida better positioned to strike the West." The document focuses on the terror group's safe haven in Pakistan and makes a range of observations about the threat posed to the United States and its allies, officials said.

Al-Qaida is "considerably operationally stronger than a year ago" and has "regrouped to an extent not seen since 2001," the official said, paraphrasing the report's conclusions. "They are showing greater and greater ability to plan attacks in Europe and the United States."

The group also has created "the most robust training program since 2001, with an interest in using European operatives," the official quoted the report as saying.

At the same time, this official said, the report speaks of "significant gaps in intelligence" so U.S. authorities may be ignorant of potential or planned attacks.

John Kringen, who heads the CIA's analysis directorate, echoed the concerns about al-Qaida's resurgence during testimony and conversations with reporters at a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Wednesday.

"They seem to be fairly well settled into the safe haven and the ungoverned spaces of Pakistan," Kringen testified. "We see more training. We see more money. We see more communications. We see that activity rising."

The threat assessment comes as the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies prepare a National Intelligence Estimate focusing on threats to the United States. A senior intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity while the high-level analysis was being finalized, said the document has been in the works for roughly two years.

Kringen and aides to National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell would not comment on the details of that analysis. "Preparation of the estimate is not a response to any specific threat," McConnell's spokesman Ross Feinstein said, adding that it would probably be ready for distribution this summer.

Counterterrorism officials have been increasingly concerned about al-Qaida's recent operations. This week, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said he had a "gut feeling" that the United States faced a heightened risk of attack this summer.

Kringen said he wouldn't attach a summer time frame to the concern. In studying the threat, he said he begins with the premise that al-Qaida would consider attacking the U.S. a "home run hit" and that the easiest way to get into the United States would be through Europe.

The new threat assessment puts particular focus on Pakistan, as did Kringen.

"Sooner or later you have to quit permitting them to have a safe haven" along the Afghan-Pakistani border, he told the House committee. "At the end of the day, when we have had success, it is when you've been able to get them worried about who was informing on them, get them worried about who was coming after them."

Several European countries — among them Britain, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands — are also highlighted in the threat assessment partly because they have arrangements with the Pakistani government that allow their citizens easier access to Pakistan than others, according to the counterterrorism official.

This is more troubling because all four are part of the U.S. visa waiver program, and their citizens can enter the United States without additional security scrutiny, the official said.

The report also notes that al-Qaida has increased its public statements, although analysts stressed that those video and audio messages aren't reliable indicators of the actions the group may take.

The Bush administration has repeatedly cited al-Qaida as a key justification for continuing the fight in Iraq.

"The No. 1 enemy in Iraq is al-Qaida," White House press secretary Tony Snow said Wednesday. "Al-Qaida continues to be the chief organizer of mayhem within Iraq, the chief organization for killing innocent Iraqis."

The findings could bolster the president's hand at a moment when support on Capitol Hill for the war is eroding and the administration is struggling to defend its decision for a military buildup in Iraq. A progress report that the White House is releasing to Congress this week is expected to indicate scant progress on the political and military benchmarks set for Iraq.

The threat assessment says that al-Qaida stepped up efforts to "improve its core operational capability" in late 2004 but did not succeed until December of 2006 after the Pakistani government signed a peace agreement with tribal leaders that effectively removed government military presence from the northwest frontier with Afghanistan.

The agreement allows Taliban and al-Qaida operatives to move across the border with impunity and establish and run training centers, the report says, according to the official.

It also says that al-Qaida is particularly interested in building up the numbers in its middle ranks, or operational positions, so there is not as great a lag in attacks when such people are killed.

"Being No. 3 in al-Qaida is a bad job. We regularly get to the No. 3 person," Tom Fingar, the top U.S. intelligence analyst, told the House panel.

The counterterror official said the report does not focus on al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, his whereabouts or his role in the terrorist network. Officials say al-Qaida has become more like a "family-oriented" mob organization with leadership roles in cells and other groups being handed from father to son, or cousin to uncle.

Yet bin Laden's whereabouts are still of great interest to intelligence agencies. Although he has not been heard from for some time, Kringen said officials believe he is still alive and living under the protection of tribal leaders in the border area.

Armed Services Committee members expressed frustration that more was not being done to get bin Laden and tamp down activity in the tribal areas. The senior intelligence analysts tried to portray the difficulty of operating in the area despite a $25 million bounty on the head of bin Laden and his top deputy.

"They are in an environment that is more hostile to us than it is to al-Qaida," Fingar said.

___

Associated Press writer Deb Riechmann contributed to this report.

___

On the Net:

Monday, July 09, 2007

Been kinda

Been kinda sick lately. I have this stupid head cold and it makes me miserable. On Thursday, I went to see my doctor, this one a specialist in endocrinology. My numbers, bloodsugars and what not were much better and I am down by 11 pounds since last month. The Byetta seems to be working. I go to diabetes classes tomorrow night. I am actually looking forward to it. Maybe I will make some new friends:)

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Birthday America!

Ok, now it is a little late to say. Happy Belated birthday!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Interesting...

Baby Born from Frozen Egg Jeanna Bryner
LiveScience Staff Writer
LiveScience.com
Mon Jul 2, 12:05 PM ET



The first baby created from an egg that had been matured in the laboratory, frozen, thawed and then fertilized, was born in Canada, scientists announced today.

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The baby girl marks the first in what the scientists hope will be a viable option for women who become infertile due to certain types of cancer or polycystic ovary conditions in which liquid-filled sacs called cysts accumulate on the ovaries.


“It has the potential to become one of the main options for fertility preservation,” said study team leader Hananel Holzer of the McGill Reproductive Center in Montreal, Canada.


The breakthrough was presented at an annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in France.


Growing eggs


Three other women are pregnant by the same laboratory technique. All are part of a clinical trial at the McGill Reproductive Center of 20 patients with an average age of 30 who were infertile due to polycystic ovaries.


The scientists collected nearly 300 oocytes (eggs before they have matured) from the patients and grew them in the lab for up to 48 hours before freezing them. It takes days for the same maturation to occur in a woman’s body, Holzer said. The eggs remained frozen for no longer than a few months before they were thawed.


Of these, 148 eggs survived the thawing process and were fertilized with a type of sperm-injection technique. Then, 64 embryos were transferred to the patients. Since in-vitro maturation is known to have low rates of implantation, the scientists transferred more than one egg to each patient.


With the exception of one pregnancy, the resulting pregnancies were for single maturing embryos. The scientists attribute their success to some tweaks they made to the medium in which the immature oocytes were matured in the laboratory.


Lab hope


Under some circumstances, women don’t have time to undergo so-called ovarian stimulation in which hormones trigger egg maturation. Also, for certain types of cancer, such as oestrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer, hormone stimulation can aggravate the disease. This freezing technique would allow the preservation of immature eggs.


“Freezing a woman’s eggs (or oocytes) has become an important and integral part of fertility treatment,” Holzer said. But until now, scientists didn’t know if immature eggs could be collected from unstimulated ovaries, successfully matured, frozen, thawed, fertilized and transferred into a woman’s body for a viable pregnancy.


Holzer warns the research is still in its early stages and it hasn’t been proven to work in cancer patients.


“As for all methods for fertility preservation, they should be looked at as preliminary and experimental,” Holzer said. “We need to inform the patients about the early stage of these treatments without giving any false hopes.”

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