Morning Greens Open Thread - September 8, 2015

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Aerial pictures reveal rampant illegal logging in Peru's Amazon forest


Only from the air is it possible to make out the scale of three illegal logging roads which have been carved into Peru’s eastern Amazon, while local authorities in the jungle Ucayali region seemingly turn a blind eye.

Huddled in a twin-engine Cessna 402, the Guardian saw as many as 20 lorries carrying tree trunks plying their way up and down three dirt roads, each estimated to measure up to 32 miles. Dotted by stockpiles of logs and workers’ camps, the roads led to barges on a dock on the Ucayali river, a major tributary of the Amazon, a few dozen miles from the regional capital Pucallpa.

[…]
Beyond the economic losses and environmental destruction, the illegal trade has led to murder and fosters impunity. Prominent anti-logging campaigner and indigenous leader Edwin Chota and three companions were murdered last year by illegal loggers. Last month, his village was finally granted the land title which could have protected their ancestral land.


Paris climate talks could fail, warns Francois Hollande

“There is a risk of failure,” he told journalists, after a meeting on the issue of providing financial assistance to poor countries affected by climate change. “If we don’t conclude [with a successful agreement], and there are no substantial measures to ensure the transition [to a climate-affected world], it won’t be hundreds of thousands of refugees in the next 20 years, it will be millions.”

His warning comes after an inconclusive week of UN negotiations in Bonn, and ahead of a crucial meeting of world leaders later this month in New York.

Hollande has staked his political capital on a successful outcome in Paris, where countries will meet in the hopes of hammering out a global agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, to come into force from 2020.


California Announces Plans to Label Monsanto’s Roundup Herbicide as Cancer-Causing

Following the WHO cancer research division’s report of ingredients known to cause cancer, EPA decided to officially put a key ingredient of the popular Monsanto’s Roundup on a list of chemicals hazardous to human health.

Under a classification of Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, any chemicals that threaten human life require a business to provide a “clear and reasonable” warning label before exposing individuals to a chemical on the list.

After the Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) In March classified glyphosate as being “probably” carcinogenic to humans, Monsanto launched a campaign to dispute that claim. Being the key component of one of their best selling products since 1974, agrochemical giant dismissed accusations arguing that there is no proof Glyphosate is linked to a cancer.
[…]
An international group of scientists, however, released a study last week, connecting the long-term intake of Monsanto’s herbicide, even in very small doses, as being linked to kidney and liver damage.


Food Industry Enlisted Academics in G.M.O. Lobbying War, Emails Show

WASHINGTON — At Monsanto, sales of genetically modified seeds were steadily rising. But executives at the company’s St. Louis headquarters were privately worried about attacks on the safety of their products.

So Monsanto, the world’s largest seed company, and its industry partners retooled their lobbying and public relations strategy to spotlight a rarefied group of advocates: academics, brought in for the gloss of impartiality and weight of authority that come with a professor’s pedigree.

The push has intensified as the Senate prepares to take up industry-backed legislation this fall, already passed by the House, that would ban states from adopting laws that require the disclosure of food produced with genetically modified ingredients.

NYTimes Front Page Print Edition headline ran:
Emails Reveal Academic Ties in a Food War. Which I think is an attempt to show equivalence with the Organic Food Industry as in GMO vs Organic. It’s a false equivalence because the spokesman for the organic farming industry was telling the truth. I don’t see where he received any funding from the Organic Group.

This is the explanatory paragraph the NYTimes used to discredit Charles M. Benbrook.

A Washington State Program, With Company Help
As he left a nonprofit group, Dr. Benbrook set up this program at Washington State, with funding from companies including Whole Foods, Organic Valley, United Natural Foods and Stonyfield Farm. His goal was to get more public and media attention for his research, which examined the benefits of organic foods and the potential risks associated with genetically modified crops.

Notice that the NYTime’s headline is “Food Industry” instead of Monsanto. I think of Monsanto as a Pesticide Industry due to it's invention of Agent Orange.

From another earlier source:


GM-crop opponents expand probe into ties between scientists and industry


Activist group compels records from 40 researchers at US public universities.

Update (16:35, 28 August): The University of Florida has announced that the US$25,000 grant from Monsanto to the agricultural biotechnology communication programme directed by Kevin Folta will be donated to a campus food bank. A press release cites personal threats to Folta as prompting the decision. The university had offered to return the money to Monsanto, but the company declined to take it, says University of Florida spokeswoman Beverly James.
[Kevin Folta]
“Nobody ever told me what to say,” says Folta, who considers public outreach to be a key part of his job. “There’s nothing I have ever said or done that is not consistent with the science.”

He adds that he has never accepted honoraria for outreach work, and that the University of Florida does not require him to disclose travel reimbursements. But the e-mails show that Folta did receive an unrestricted US$25,000 grant last year from Monsanto, which noted that the money “may be used at your discretion in support of your research and outreach projects”. Folta says that the funds are earmarked for a proposed University of Florida programme on communicating biotechnology.

Is this what Monsanto is calling "Big Organic?"
MossStMarketOrganic.jpg
Local farms bringing their organic produce to town


Back to School: "Frackademia" Alive and Well at U.S. Universities


The Public Accountability Initiative (PAI) has published a timely “back to school” report concluding that “frackademia” is alive and well at U.S. universities.

Frackademia

frackademia (fræk・ə・di・mi・ə)

n. The complex of oil-and-gas-allied academics, think tanks, consulting firms, and public relations shops producing misleading and flawed research to win public and political support for hydraulic fracturing.

Beginning in 2012, PAI has compiled and released a large quantity of research on the phenomenon now known as “frackademia,” by which the oil and gas industry and its allies have funded and advanced research promoting fracking as environmentally safe and economically beneficial.

This guide is intended to serve as a resource for anyone – journalists, policymakers, activists, and members of the public – seeking additional context on these studies and their industry ties, context that is often missing from press releases and reporting. Below are links to a database of frackademic research with information about the industry ties of more than 100 studies, in-depth reports examining individual studies, professional profiles of prominent authors and their academic institutions, and outside reporting on the phenomenon. You will also find maps of some of the networks behind this research that were created with LittleSis, PAI’s power research tool for documenting and visualizing networks of influence.

The Harvard Business School example, in particular, serves as almost a perfect case study of how frackademia works in action.

“America’s Unconventional Energy Opportunity,” the title of Harvard's report published jointly with Boston Consulting Group in June 2015, was featured in an opinion article by The New York Times writer David Brooks and in an uncritical article distributed to newspaper wires worldwide by Reuters.

Like a prominent 2013 Environmental Defense Fund-convened study on the climate change impacts of fracking, the steering committee of the Harvard study was a who's-who of people with industry ties.
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Harvard Business School Fracking StudyChristie Todd Whitman former administrator of GWB's EPA was the one who swooped into NYC after the 9/11 attacks to assure the public there was no threat to their health from the toxins released from the attacks.

A little good news:


Pictures: Green Roofs Get Lift As France Makes Them de Rigueur


Green roofs have gained popularity in recent years as more cities worldwide promote their use as a way to save energy. Some, including Canada's Toronto or Switzerland's Basel, even mandate rooftop vegetation in building bylaws.
Advocates say these roofs—whether bedecked in sedums, vegetable plants, or wildflowers—help insulate buildings and thereby reduce the need for both heating and air conditioning.
The impact can be substantial. A study this week by Spanish researchers found that dense foliage can reduce the heat entering a building through the roof by 60 percent and act as a passive cooling system.

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joe shikspack's picture

funny that hollande is just now noticing that the odds of failure of the paris climate talks are pretty high. wonder what his plan b is.

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gulfgal98's picture

there is no Plan B. Sad

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Do I hear the sound of guillotines being constructed?

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." ~ President John F. Kennedy

MarilynW's picture

just 3 months before it's due.

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To thine own self be true.

MarilynW's picture

"roundup" was that a pun on your part? Wink

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To thine own self be true.

gulfgal98's picture

I could not get the link to work, so this comment is off the top of my head. I am absolutely appalled at the world's leaders and the United States, in particular, for their failure to address climate change even as it is already upon us. It is criminal. Meanwhile, the US govt. continues to support extractive industries and continues to issue new permits. It is sociopathic for the President to issue a permit for drilling in the Chukchi Sea in the Arctic at the same time he goes to that very area to make a pretty speech on climate change. Dash 1

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Do I hear the sound of guillotines being constructed?

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." ~ President John F. Kennedy

MarilynW's picture

the oil & gas plunderers. The place is too delicate and changing at a rapid pace.

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To thine own self be true.

Big Al's picture

Francois Hollande is a fraud and a liar and one of the last men on earth that should be trusted with such
an important issue as anthropogenic climate change.

That's the problem. The same people who got us in this mess, the same people who are lying about everything
else, are being trusted to address this monumental issue.

It's a recipe for disaster. More disaster.

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Big Al's picture

Is the Navy too small? Do we have enough ships and boats?

Not if you're an Empire you don't.

This is gonna heat up. The military has been used and abused for 14 straight years. During this time the imperialist
agenda and reach has actually expanded making it necessary to upgrade and expand parts of the military, the Navy being
the chief one. This combined with the 20 trillion national debt, the sequester and the budget deficit and the austerity agenda
of the ruling class is going to make for some interesting kabuki in the coming months.

This article is meant to condition the public a little, get them ready for what's next. It's been building. Notice there's never any
discussion about empire and imperialism, or less conspicuously, the need for a global military fighting machine.

http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/08/politics/us-navy-size-military-election-20...

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MarilynW's picture

against climate change. It's our no. 1 enemy right now. And for our unprecedented refugee crisis.

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To thine own self be true.

Big Al's picture

syrrefugee.jpg

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MarilynW's picture

and rainy. Although apparently the drought in Syria was the initial catalyst for the revolt so this situation can be linked to climate change.

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To thine own self be true.

mimi's picture

I can't imagine it, but my son can, especially if there is a sandstorm related to the "wind".

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mimi

Big Al's picture

manufactured by western intelligence agencies and Mossad using the drought as a catalyst to get people to join in,
which wasn't hard. They then turned it into an armed insurrection using their proxy terrorists.
That's why calling the Syria war a "civil war" is incorrect. It was never a civil war, it was a aggressive proxy war by the U.S.
and company from the start.

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MarilynW's picture

earlier. I'm on my way to walk my dog now. But a timeline going back to the initial unrest would be handy right now.

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To thine own self be true.

No, really

Near Fargo, North Dakota, the State Historical Society has acquired a deactivated Minuteman missile launch control center, dubbed it “Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile Site,” and opened it to tourism.
In South Dakota, a retired launch control center is now the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site and is run by the National Park Service. With enough willful blindness -- that if looked at squarely, might be considered a kind of devil worship -- visitors may go underground and personally simulate a missile launch. “Satan laughing with delight.”
Outside Tucson, Arizona, you can tour the Titan Missile Museum which opened in 1986 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1994.
At White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, six hours from Washington, DC, the Greenbrier hideaway was built by the Eisenhower Administration as a nuclear war fallout shelter for 1,000 people -- including members of Congress and their families. The bunker came with a generator, a 60-day supply of food, a hospital, kitchen, dining room, waste-disposal, and a dental operating room. Of course, a nuclear attack on Washington would have rendered evacuation impossible, the airport a smoldering ruin, and the trains unworkable. Now deactivated and elegantly restored, the site is making money by charging visitors for tours.
In 2011, then-Interior Secretary Ken Salazar recommended to Congress that a national historic park be established to honor the Manhattan Project -- the secret program whose atom bombs killed 140,000 people at Hiroshima and 70,000 at Nagasaki. National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis said then in a press release, “Once a tightly guarded secret, the story of the atomic bomb’s creation needs to be shared with this and future generations.” Jarvis insults our intelligence by feigning ignorance of the vast literature concerning the development and use of nuclear weapons which is available in any good library -- histories based on formerly classified documents that demolish the official government myth -- that the Bomb “ended the war” and “saved lives.”

This is just mind-blowing.

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The American Colossus

And for the past 14 years, the American Colossus has been on a Godzilla-like rampage, trampling over the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia: squashing people, flattening homes, and demolishing communities.

Now its specialty is not offering refuge, but making refugees. Not welcoming huddled masses, but mass-producing them. The Iraq War displaced millions. The chaos it engendered, including the rise of ISIS (which didn’t even exist before the war) displaced millions more .

Many of these displaced persons sought refuge in Syria. At its 2007 peak, Syria had received 1.5 million Iraqi refugees, on top of the 540,000 Palestinian refugees it already hosted .

But the American Colossus followed them even there, heavily sponsoring and funneling weapons into an uprising in Syria , and escalating it into a ruinous civil war. Within a few years, Syria, as Farrah Hassen put it :

“…moved from being the world’s second-largest host of refugees to the second-largest producer of them.”

Now over 11 million Syrians (more than half its total pre-war population) have been displaced.

The American Colossus also

has waged the longest war in its history in Afghanistan,
sent Libya (370,000 newly displaced in 2014) spiraling into civil war with a regime change operation,
plunged Somalia into famine with an invasion by its Ethiopian proxy,
continues its destabilizing drone war in Pakistan ( 1.8 million displaced),
and is now facilitating a Saudi war on Yemen that has pushed 6 million people to the brink of starvation .
It has even staggered into eastern Europe, triggering (by sponsoring a coup) and supplying an anti-separatist war in Ukraine that displaced over 4 million in 2014.

Due predominantly to this rampage, the number of “internally displaced persons” surged to 38 million in 2014 (4.7 million higher than in 2013) . And the total number of refugees in that year swelled to 60 million, the highest number ever recorded.

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gulfgal98's picture

And most Americans are totally clueless too. Our mainstream media has not begun to cover the devastation we have wrought around the world.

Afghanistan and Iraq are two of the three longest running wars that the United States has been involved in. Both wars were wars of aggression on the part of the United States and both appear to have no end.

Source for these figures below is the Washington Post.

1. Afghan war

October 2001 to 2016
~15 years
1,806 U.S. troops killed in action (source)

2. Vietnam War

March 1965 to May 1975*
10 years and 2 months
47,434 U.S. troops killed in action (source)

3. Iraq War

March 2003 to December 2012
8 years and 9 months
3,519 U.S. troops killed in action (source)

I would argue that the Iraq War is not yet over. It has just spread like a vast oil slick into Syria

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Do I hear the sound of guillotines being constructed?

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." ~ President John F. Kennedy

I honestly don't see the attraction

Support for the vice president is building as speculation grows about his potential entry into the 2016 presidential race, with 22 percent saying they'd back him. That's ahead of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who was picked by 20 percent. The difference is within the poll's plus or minus 5.3 percentage point margin of error.

Clinton, who continues to confront questions about her use of a private e-mail server while secretary of state in the Obama administration, has the support of 42 percent, down from 52 percent a month ago. Biden's number is 10 percentage points higher than a month ago, while Sanders has seen a 4-point increase during that time.

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MarilynW's picture

I can't stand Biden. I hold grudge against him for how he betrayed Anita Hill during the controversial appointment of Clarence Thomas. It's easy to keep the grudge alive because I am reminded every time one of those awful 4-5 Supreme Court decisions come down.

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To thine own self be true.

gulfgal98's picture

to speak your mind. We might just learn something from you. So feel free to speak about the US election, Marilyn.

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Do I hear the sound of guillotines being constructed?

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." ~ President John F. Kennedy

MarilynW's picture

US politics. We are so much effected by them we are sometimes called a branch plant of the USA. Not only Canadians follow USA elections, I imagine the whole world does too.

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To thine own self be true.

shaharazade's picture

a hypocritical huckster as the rest of the Dem. corporate bent pols. He works hard for the credit card companies profits and has made sure that us common people cannot declare bankruptcy and get out of indentured servitude. I don't buy his folksy, I take the train like a regular Joe act at all. My bs meter was set off by Biden along time ago.

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Big Al's picture

He's a neoliberal Zionist imperialist. But hey, he backs $15 an hour by 2020.

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gulfgal98's picture

who are clueless as to what Joe Biden has done during his Senate career, Joe Biden is likable "Uncle Joe." He has name recognition greater than Sanders which is why he might have a higher backing.

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Do I hear the sound of guillotines being constructed?

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." ~ President John F. Kennedy

shaharazade's picture

but it is how most Americans view political reality or is it? What's with the cult of celebrity and buying into a story line that is is no way connected to the reality we all live in. Cultural icons and lifestyle branding seems to engage and be the obsession of the establishment media and the followers of social media. You hate Hillary because your a sexist and you hate Obama cause your a racist and regardless of you support if your white shut up and support what ever racist policy the powers that be implement. Joe what a guy what a twinkle in his eye and yet what does he really represent? Same with Hillary or Obama or any choice we don't have.

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All perfectly normal

Turkish ground troops entered northern Iraq on Tuesday as part of a short-term operation to capture Kurdish rebels who had crossed the border after an attack that killed 16 soldiers, a government official in Turkey said.

The military was pursuing militants from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or P.K.K., who had been involved in recent attacks against Turkish security forces, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity in line with government protocol.

The size of the operation was not immediately clear, but the Dogan news agency, citing military sources, said two battalions had entered northern Iraq.

No reason to worry. It's under control.

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Nothing to see here

An official from the People’s Democratic Party’s (HDP) has accused Turkey on Tuesday of waging a war against the Kurds, claiming that 128 of the pro-Kurdish party's buildings were attacked Monday.

HDP Co-chair Figen Yuksekdag said in a press conference Tuesday that the Kurds have been subject to harassment and attacks have been carried out on Kurdish political party buildings, homes and vehicles by groups across Turkey.

Yuksekdag said "facist" groups killed a worker on Monday for speaking Kurdish and Turkish police did not intervene.

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MarilynW's picture

can't find the link. I read that yesterday. Imagine finding refuge in a country that is being invaded while at the same time barely recovering from a long US military invasion and occupation. Shaking my head.

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To thine own self be true.

lotlizard's picture

Shows the number of Syrian refugees taken in by countries in the Middle East.
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-aVoUt8qDmj8/Vejh-CjwmZI/AAAAAAAAF7g/wXvGTu7ugQ...

Turkey    1.8m
Lebanon   1.2m
Jordan     628,427
Iraq       247,861
Egypt      133,000
Saudi Arabia 0
Kuwait       0
Qatar        0
U.A.E.       0

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janis b's picture

I really appreciate you doing the environmental research for us.

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MarilynW's picture

I'm lucky to have a platform. If I posted this over there --> I would be fending off the GMO/Monsanto supporters right now.

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To thine own self be true.

janis b's picture

because there are also so many there that would appreciate and be informed by it. I also really dislike how personal and selfish an agenda so many there have.

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MarilynW's picture

on certain topics. For sure there are industry reps shutting down debate there, but the mention of "shilling" or "plants" or "sock puppets" can get a person banned by HR pile ons. We can tell the reps exist because it's always the same commenters disrupting the debate with similar insults and talking points.

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To thine own self be true.

gulfgal98's picture

Not just in your subject area but also concerning some of the poorly sourced and downright misleading stuff that one FP'er has posted there. Those criticizing his work were characterized as being something very ugly. It is funny in that another FP'er of color posted an excellent diary yesterday that was very well sourced and thorough and it never made the Front Page, probably because it was not outrage porn and click bait.

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Do I hear the sound of guillotines being constructed?

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." ~ President John F. Kennedy

MarilynW's picture

but while I was over there, I saw a diary on the rec list all about White America. How is that for stereotyping? And yet it was called a "thoughtful and sensitive" diary in the comments. How Orwellian is that? and click bait too.

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To thine own self be true.

lotlizard's picture

Oh, that way we don't have to talk about the cost of military empire, loss of civil liberties, Wall Street fraud, etc.

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If your concerns are hard economic time and paying the bills, well, that's just white privilege.

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I know you didn't want to believe it Big Al, but this proves it. It also raises other questions.

Moscow on Tuesday demanded answers from Greece and Bulgaria after Sofia banned Russian supply flights to Syria from its airspace and Athens said it had been asked by Washington to do the same.
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Big Al's picture

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Another great Morning Greens! Your Morning Greens series needs to be on the Front Page and since we generally don't front page open threads I renamed this OT to "Morning Greens Open Thread" to make it more suitable for the Front Page, just to let you know. Thank you.

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MarilynW's picture

I'm really enjoying this site. I started using all those things on top ^^^ of this rectangle and they really speed things up.

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To thine own self be true.

gulfgal98's picture

Once I learned about all those things up top, it made formatting so much easier. It is far easier than the other place. Smile

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Do I hear the sound of guillotines being constructed?

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." ~ President John F. Kennedy