Lasitha Silva’s Web’log

Archive for February 2009

Over the last thirty years or so, group think has become a term against which all employers rebel because it signifies the end of creative and independent thought. When you have a tightly-knit group of people who work together, they are likely to conform to one another’s thought processes, making it almost impossible to foster independent thought. This is something that should be avoided at all costs, so here are a few tips for avoiding group think during a business meeting.

Avoid Groupthink During a Business Meeting: Don’t Get Mad

One of the ways that you can promote groupthink is by getting angry every time an employee opposes your viewpoint. If you send the message that contradicting the boss is “bad”, the group as a whole will avoid inciting conflict. Instead, make new ideas and arguments a pleasant experience, and take every idea into consideration. Further, if one or two members of the group consistently berate another member for their ideas, take them aside and advise them that all ideas are welcome. Make the business meeting a positive atmosphere.

Avoid Groupthink During a Business Meeting: Appoint a Co-Leader

Often, one leader of a business meeting can seem overwhelming to the rest of the group. Since you have your own opinions, they may assume that there’s aren’t welcome, which promotes groupthink. To battle this problem, appoint a co-leader for your business meetings — preferably someone who is likely to disagree with you. Show your staff that new and previously unmentioned ideas are not only acceptable, but welcome.

Avoid Groupthink During a Business Meeting: Assign Discussion Leaders

You might take a page out of the educational rule book and assign discussion leaders for each meeting. For example, let’s say that there are four topics on the agenda, and there will be twelve members of the meeting. A week before the meeting takes place, assign those four topics to groups of three. This gives each group a chance to brainstorm ideas and to come up with possible solutions for the meeting. This will help battle groupthink because they won’t be asked to come up with ideas on the spot in front of all their colleagues.

Avoid Groupthink During a Business Meeting: Give Breaks

A business meeting doesn’t have to be a three-hour-long marathon; it can be broken up. You might want to schedule two meetings for the day — one before lunch and one right after. This will allow your staff to come up with new ideas, to argue those ideas, and then to take a mental and emotional breather. When you reconvene, they’ll feel fresh and ready to start anew.

Avoid Groupthink During a Business Meeting: Provide a Venue for Anonymous Feedback

One of the reasons why groupthink is so prevalent is because people are reluctant to voice a controversial idea in front of their colleagues. In order to allow everyone a voice, come up with a venue for anonymous feedback. For example, after every meeting, you can leave a closed box in a room with small slips of paper. Allow your staff to write down their reactions to the meeting as well as new ideas they weren’t comfortable with bringing up. Make sure the box cannot be opened and that there is a slit in the top for the pieces of paper.

Source: http://www.associatedcontent.com

Advertisements

Although you may have heard or read a great deal about the environmental consequences of global warming, man will probably be affected through famine, or war long before the health of the population as a whole is harmed to a serious degree by the temperature change. However increasing extremes of temperature, as a result of climatic change, could result in increased mortality even in temperate climates.

Important issues concerning physical hazards include those relating to health effects of electromagnetic radiation and ionising radiation. If one excludes the occupational environment, then noise and other physical hazards may present a nuisance to many inhabitants, and impair general well being. Environmental noise does not usually contribute to deafness but notable exceptions may include noisy discotheques and “personal stereos”.

Electromagnetic radiation ranges from low frequency,relatively low energy, radiation such as radio and microwaves through to infra red, visible light, ultraviolet, X-rays and gamma rays. These last as well as other forms of radioactivity such as high energy subatomic particles (e.g. electrons – Beta rays) can cause intracellular ionization and are therefore called ionizing radiation. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation carries a increased risk of skin cancer such as melanoma, and of cataracts which are to an extent exposure related. Some pollutants such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) used as refrigerants or in aerosol propellants or in the manufacture of certain plastics can damage the “ozone layer” in the higher atmosphere (stratosphere) and thus allow more UV light to reach us, and harm us directly. Ultraviolet light may also cause harm indirectly by contributing to an increase in ozone in the troposphere (the air we breathe) – see below under chemical hazards, or elsewhere in connection with air quality.

Radioactivity is associated with an exposure dependent risk of some cancers notably leukaemia. Contrary to popular belief however, most radiation to which the average person is exposed is natural in origin, and, of the man made sources, medical diagnosis and treatment is on average the largest source to the individual. A very important issue is the extent to which radon gas arising from certain rock types beneath dwellings can contribute to cancer risk. According to some estimates it could result in a few thousand cancer deaths per year in the U.K. (but still probably less than one twentieth of the cancer deaths alone caused by tobacco smoking).

Ionization radiation from the nuclear industry and from fallout from detonations contributes less than 1% of the annual average dose to inhabitants of the U.K. The explanation for leukemia clusters around nuclear power plants is not yet resolved. Similar clustering can occur in other parts of the country. The effect of viral infections associated with population shifts may be important but requires further study.

Non ionising electrical, magnetic or electromagnetic fields are an increasing focus of attention. The scientific evidence of adverse health effects from general environmental exposure to these fields is “not proven”. If there are adverse effects yet to be proven, the risk is probably likely to be very small.

Source : http://www.agius.com

1. Resetcss

Seriously, always use a reset of some sort.

It can be as simple as removing the margin and padding from all elements:

html, body, div, h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6, ul, ol, dl, li, dt, dd, p, blockquote, pre, form, fieldset, table, th, td { margin: 0; padding: 0; }

I feel like you end up resetting everything, and then redefining a lot of properties on the elements. You should not just take this reset stylesheet and drop it in your projects if there is a more effective way of using it. Tweak it. Build on it. Make it your own.

And please, stop this:

* { margin: 0; padding: 0; }

It takes more time to process, and what do you think should happen to a radio button when you remove the padding? Form elements can sometimes do some funky things, so it may be best to just leave some of them alone.

2. Alphabetize

Which example would you think is faster to find the margin-right property?

Example 1

div#header h1 {
z-index: 101;
color: #000;
position: relative;
line-height: 24px;
margin-right: 48px;
border-bottom: 1px solid #dedede;
font-size: 18px;
}

Example 2

div#header h1 {
border-bottom: 1px solid #dedede;
color: #000;
font-size: 18px;
line-height: 24px;
margin-right: 48px;
position: relative;
z-index: 101;
}

You can’t tell me that Example 2 isn’t faster. By alphabetizing your properties, you are creating this consistency that will help you reduce the time you spend searching for a specific property.

I know some people who organize one way and others who organize another, but at my company, we made a consensus decision to all organize alphabetically. It has definitely helped when working with other people’s code. I cringe every time I go into a stylesheet where the properties are not sorted alphabetically.

3. Organization

You should organize your stylesheet so that it is easy to find things and related items are close together. Use comments effectively. For example, this is how I structure my stylesheets:

/*****Reset*****/
Remove margin and padding from elements

/*****Basic Elements*****/
Define styles for basic elements: body, h1-h6, ul, ol, a, p, etc.

/*****Generic Classes*****/
Define styles for simple things like floating to the sides, removing a bottombottom margin on elements, etc
Yes, these may not be as semantic as we would all like, but they are necessary for coding efficiently

/*****Basic Layout*****/
Define the basic template: header, footer, etc. Elements that help to define the basic layout of the site

/*****Header*****/
Define all elements in the header

/*****Content*****/
Define all elements in the content area

/*****Footer*****/
Define all elements in the footer

/*****Etc*****/
Continue to define the other sections one by one

By using comments and grouping similar elements, it becomes much quicker to find what you are looking for.

4. Consistency

Whatever way you decide to code, stick with it. I am sick and tired of the whole 1 line vs. multiple lines for your CSS debate. There is no debate! Everyone has their own opinion, so pick what works for you and stick with it throughout the stylesheet.

Personally, I use a combination of both. If a selector is going to have more than 3 properties, I break it to multiple lines:

div#header { float: left; width: 100%; }
div#header div.column {
border-right: 1px solid #ccc;
float: rightright;
margin-right: 50px;
padding: 10px;
width: 300px;
}
div#header h1 { float: left; position: relative; width: 250px; }

It works for me because 3 properties is about what fits on 1 line in my text editor before wrapping to another line. So just figure out what works for you and be consistent.

5. Start in the right place

Don’t you dare touch your stylesheet until you have written your markup!

When I am preparing to slice a site, I go through and mark-up the entire document from the opening body tag to the closing body tag before even creating a CSS file. I don’t add any superfluous divs, ids, or classes. I will add some generic divs like header, content, footer because I know these things are going to exist.

By marking up the document first, you won’t run into such diseases as divitis and classitis, which can sometimes be fatal! You only need to add in that stuff once you have begun to write the CSS and realize that you are going to need another hook to accomplish what you are trying to achieve.

Utilize CSS’s descendant selectors to target children elements; don’t just automatically add a class or id to the element. Just remember, CSS is worthless without a well formatted document.

asthma01Asthma is a chronic disease of the respiratory system and may turn even fatal at times. It is therefore important for the asthma patients to take proper care and precautions regularly. Asthma patients suffer from attacks that enforce the system to breathe with difficulty. Wheezing, choking, gasping for breath and suffocation are the symptoms of asthmatic attack.

The attacks may last up to several minutes and leave a person thoroughly exhausted. There can be severe organ damage due to problem in respiration during the asthma attack. Also the system may suffer from lack of oxygen for a longer duration of time. It is therefore imperative to exercise proper caution and avoid the onset of an attack to the extent possible.

Some easily followed precautions everyday may keep an asthmatic without suffering an attack. These precautions are:

1. An asthmatic needs to follow routines. This is because it is generally seen that people do not suffer the agony of an asthmatic attack if they continue to live their life in a regular way. The problem arises mainly when the people go out of their way and break all the routines. The system thus gets unnecessarily pressured and reacts badly by manifesting the symptoms of the disease in the oddest of ways and without many warning signs. Sometimes the body does give the warning signs but the person may ignore them completely.

2. Daily morning walk does wonders to the system. But in the case of asthma patients the benefit from early morning exercise is enhanced manifold. This is because the early morning is the time when the air is pure and at its best. Exercising the lungs with the early morning air does wonders to the asthmatic lungs and respiratory tract.

asthma

3. Daily morning exercise schedule needs to be followed religiously in case of an asthma patient. Not only does this help in exercising the whole system but it also makes a person live a more disciplined and regularised life. This is because if a person gets into the habit of getting up early, in all probability he would try and sleep early too and his routine will automatically be set and fixed.

4. The daily diet of an asthma patient should be kept simple and nutritious. He should take care of not eating heavy meals as they would tax the system unnecessarily. Care should be taken to keep the meals small and frequent if need be, rather than consuming standard heavy meals at set hours. Also the food should be cooked with less oil and spices to keep it easily digestible. The diet should be mainly vegetarian with less of fats and carbohydrates. Sweets should best be avoided at night time. Dinner should be consumed at least two hours before sleeping so that the stomach is almost empty before sleeping. Dietary intake of fruits and vegetables should be enhanced. Snacks should be mainly in the form of fresh fruits and vegetables only and fatty, oily and salty or sweet snacks should be avoided completely.

5. Asthma patients should avoid smoking completely. Smoking fills the system with many toxins and the respiratory system gets flooded with them. These toxins are major irritants to the respiratory tract and create an undue pressure on the system that may be too much for an asthmatic to handle. An asthmatic may get more bronchial spasms and is more likely to be affected with respiratory infections if he continues to smoke.

6. An asthmatic person should also not indulge in drinking too much. This is because drinking causes a person to lose sense and become more prone to breaking disciplines of routine and diets. An asthmatic may become careless with his diet and may tend to overeat to counteract the influence of alcohol if he indulges in drinking too much.

7. Asthma patient’s surroundings should be kept neat and tidy. As far as possible clutter should be completely avoided to steer clear of dust induced allergies that may create an attack. Clutter in the surroundings inhabits several mites and allergy causing organisms. It is therefore necessary that the furniture and other stuff should be arranged in such a way, which allows proper dusting and cleaning on a daily basis.

asthma1

8. Asthma patients may have difficulty with the atmospheric pollution also. It is very important to assess whether the patient may be allergic to any particular kind of allergen present in the atmosphere around his place of dwelling or occupation. Sometimes certain professions support the excessive usage of one kind of toxin or the other, in which case a change in profession or occupational conditions may remain to be the only option.

9. Asthmatics should also be very careful of not getting mentally excited too much. This is because the mental aggravation may lead to appearance of asthmatic symptoms in patients. On a daily basis it is better not to accumulate taking decisions, whether in the personal life or in the professional life. The work should also be handled as far as possible on a daily basis to avoid excess stress and anxiety.

10. In order to manage asthma it is very necessary to accept the disease and the limitations attached with it in one’s daily life. If proper discipline is maintained a patient can have a long and problem free life.

Source : http://www.articlesbase.com

barack-obama-speech000x0527x600

To Chairman Dean and my great friend Dick Durbin; and to all my fellow citizens of this great nation;

With profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States.
.
Let me express my thanks to the historic slate of candidates who accompanied me on this journey, and especially the one who traveled the farthest – a champion for working Americans and an inspiration to my daughters and to yours — Hillary Rodham Clinton. To President Clinton, who last night made the case for change as only he can make it; to Ted Kennedy, who embodies the spirit of service; and to the next Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, I thank you. I am grateful to finish this journey with one of the finest statesmen of our time, a man at ease with everyone from world leaders to the conductors on the Amtrak train he still takes home every night.

To the love of my life, our next First Lady, Michelle Obama, and to Sasha and Malia – I love you so much, and I’m so proud of all of you.

Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story – of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren’t well-off or well-known, but shared a belief that in America, their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to.

It is that promise that has always set this country apart – that through hard work and sacrifice, each of us can pursue our individual dreams but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams as well.

That’s why I stand here tonight. Because for two hundred and thirty two years, at each moment when that promise was in jeopardy, ordinary men and women – students and soldiers, farmers and teachers, nurses and janitors — found the courage to keep it alive.

We meet at one of those defining moments – a moment when our nation is at war, our economy is in turmoil, and the American promise has been threatened once more.

Tonight, more Americans are out of work and more are working harder for less. More of you have lost your homes and even more are watching your home values plummet. More of you have cars you can’t afford to drive, credit card bills you can’t afford to pay, and tuition that’s beyond your reach.

These challenges are not all of government’s making. But the failure to respond is a direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed policies of George W. Bush.

America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this.

This country is more decent than one where a woman in Ohio, on the brink of retirement, finds herself one illness away from disaster after a lifetime of hard work.

This country is more generous than one where a man in Indiana has to pack up the equipment he’s worked on for twenty years and watch it shipped off to China, and then chokes up as he explains how he felt like a failure when he went home to tell his family the news.

We are more compassionate than a government that lets veterans sleep on our streets and families slide into poverty; that sits on its hands while a major American city drowns before our eyes.

Tonight, I say to the American people, to Democrats and Republicans and Independents across this great land – enough! This moment – this election – is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive. Because next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third. And we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look like the last eight. On November 4th, we must stand up and say: “Eight is enough.”

Now let there be no doubt. The Republican nominee, John McCain, has worn the uniform of our country with bravery and distinction, and for that we owe him our gratitude and respect. And next week, we’ll also hear about those occasions when he’s broken with his party as evidence that he can deliver the change that we need.

But the record’s clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush ninety percent of the time. Senator McCain likes to talk about judgment, but really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush has been right more than ninety percent of the time? I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready to take a ten percent chance on change.

The truth is, on issue after issue that would make a difference in your lives – on health care and education and the economy – Senator McCain has been anything but independent. He said that our economy has made “great progress” under this President. He said that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. And when one of his chief advisors – the man who wrote his economic plan – was talking about the anxiety Americans are feeling, he said that we were just suffering from a “mental recession,” and that we’ve become, and I quote, “a nation of whiners.”

A nation of whiners? Tell that to the proud auto workers at a Michigan plant who, after they found out it was closing, kept showing up every day and working as hard as ever, because they knew there were people who counted on the brakes that they made. Tell that to the military families who shoulder their burdens silently as they watch their loved ones leave for their third or fourth or fifth tour of duty. These are not whiners. They work hard and give back and keep going without complaint. These are the Americans that I know.

Now, I don’t believe that Senator McCain doesn’t care what’s going on in the lives of Americans. I just think he doesn’t know. Why else would he define middle-class as someone making under five million dollars a year? How else could he propose hundreds of billions in tax breaks for big corporations and oil companies but not one penny of tax relief to more than one hundred million Americans? How else could he offer a health care plan that would actually tax people’s benefits, or an education plan that would do nothing to help families pay for college, or a plan that would privatize Social Security and gamble your retirement?

It’s not because John McCain doesn’t care. It’s because John McCain doesn’t get it.

For over two decades, he’s subscribed to that old, discredited Republican philosophy – give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society, but what it really means is – you’re on your own. Out of work? Tough luck. No health care? The market will fix it. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps – even if you don’t have boots. You’re on your own.

Well it’s time for them to own their failure. It’s time for us to change America.

You see, we Democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress in this country.

We measure progress by how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage; whether you can put a little extra money away at the end of each month so you can someday watch your child receive her college diploma. We measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was President – when the average American family saw its income go up $7,500 instead of down $2,000 like it has under George Bush.

We measure the strength of our economy not by the number of billionaires we have or the profits of the Fortune 500, but by whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a new business, or whether the waitress who lives on tips can take a day off to look after a sick kid without losing her job – an economy that honors the dignity of work.

The fundamentals we use to measure economic strength are whether we are living up to that fundamental promise that has made this country great – a promise that is the only reason I am standing here tonight.

Because in the faces of those young veterans who come back from Iraq and Afghanistan, I see my grandfather, who signed up after Pearl Harbor, marched in Patton’s Army, and was rewarded by a grateful nation with the chance to go to college on the GI Bill.

In the face of that young student who sleeps just three hours before working the night shift, I think about my mom, who raised my sister and me on her own while she worked and earned her degree; who once turned to food stamps but was still able to send us to the best schools in the country with the help of student loans and scholarships.

When I listen to another worker tell me that his factory has shut down, I remember all those men and women on the South Side of Chicago who I stood by and fought for two decades ago after the local steel plant closed.

And when I hear a woman talk about the difficulties of starting her own business, I think about my grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle-management, despite years of being passed over for promotions because she was a woman. She’s the one who taught me about hard work. She’s the one who put off buying a new car or a new dress for herself so that I could have a better life. She poured everything she had into me. And although she can no longer travel, I know that she’s watching tonight, and that tonight is her night as well.

I don’t know what kind of lives John McCain thinks that celebrities lead, but this has been mine. These are my heroes. Theirs are the stories that shaped me. And it is on their behalf that I intend to win this election and keep our promise alive as President of the United States.

What is that promise?

It’s a promise that says each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but that we also have the obligation to treat each other with dignity and respect.barack-obama-speech

It’s a promise that says the market should reward drive and innovation and generate growth, but that businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create American jobs, look out for American workers, and play by the rules of the road.

Ours is a promise that says government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves – protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools and new roads and new science and technology.

Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who’s willing to work.

That’s the promise of America – the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation; the fundamental belief that I am my brother’s keeper; I am my sister’s keeper.

That’s the promise we need to keep. That’s the change we need right now. So let me spell out exactly what that change would mean if I am President.
.
Change means a tax code that doesn’t reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the American workers and small businesses who deserve it.

Unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America.

I will eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and the start-ups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow.

I will cut taxes – cut taxes – for 95% of all working families. Because in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle-class.

And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as President: in ten years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.

Washington’s been talking about our oil addiction for the last thirty years, and John McCain has been there for twenty-six of them. In that time, he’s said no to higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars, no to investments in renewable energy, no to renewable fuels. And today, we import triple the amount of oil as the day that Senator McCain took office.

Now is the time to end this addiction, and to understand that drilling is a stop-gap measure, not a long-term solution. Not even close.

As President, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I’ll help our auto companies re-tool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America. I’ll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars. And I’ll invest 150 billion dollars over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy – wind power and solar power and the next generation of biofuels; an investment that will lead to new industries and five million new jobs that pay well and can’t ever be outsourced.

America, now is not the time for small plans.

Now is the time to finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world-class education, because it will take nothing less to compete in the global economy. Michelle and I are only here tonight because we were given a chance at an education. And I will not settle for an America where some kids don’t have that chance. I’ll invest in early childhood education. I’ll recruit an army of new teachers, and pay them higher salaries and give them more support. And in exchange, I’ll ask for higher standards and more accountability. And we will keep our promise to every young American – if you commit to serving your community or your country, we will make sure you can afford a college education.

Now is the time to finally keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care for every single American. If you have health care, my plan will lower your premiums. If you don’t, you’ll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves. And as someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies while she lay in bed dying of cancer, I will make certain those companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most.

Now is the time to help families with paid sick days and better family leave, because nobody in America should have to choose between keeping their jobs and caring for a sick child or ailing parent.

Now is the time to change our bankruptcy laws, so that your pensions are protected ahead of CEO bonuses; and the time to protect Social Security for future generations.

And now is the time to keep the promise of equal pay for an equal day’s work, because I want my daughters to have exactly the same opportunities as your sons.

Now, many of these plans will cost money, which is why I’ve laid out how I’ll pay for every dime – by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens that don’t help America grow. But I will also go through the federal budget, line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less – because we cannot meet twenty-first century challenges with a twentieth century bureaucracy.

obama08_podcast1And Democrats, we must also admit that fulfilling America’s promise will require more than just money. It will require a renewed sense of responsibility from each of us to recover what John F. Kennedy called our “intellectual and moral strength.” Yes, government must lead on energy independence, but each of us must do our part to make our homes and businesses more efficient. Yes, we must provide more ladders to success for young men who fall into lives of crime and despair. But we must also admit that programs alone can’t replace parents; that government can’t turn off the television and make a child do her homework; that fathers must take more responsibility for providing the love and guidance their children need.

Individual responsibility and mutual responsibility – that’s the essence of America’s promise.

And just as we keep our keep our promise to the next generation here at home, so must we keep America’s promise abroad. If John McCain wants to have a debate about who has the temperament, and judgment, to serve as the next Commander-in-Chief, that’s a debate I’m ready to have.

For while Senator McCain was turning his sights to Iraq just days after 9/11, I stood up and opposed this war, knowing that it would distract us from the real threats we face. When John McCain said we could just “muddle through” in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights. John McCain likes to say that he’ll follow bin Laden to the Gates of Hell – but he won’t even go to the cave where he lives.

And today, as my call for a time frame to remove our troops from Iraq has been echoed by the Iraqi government and even the Bush Administration, even after we learned that Iraq has a $79 billion surplus while we’re wallowing in deficits, John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war.

That’s not the judgment we need. That won’t keep America safe. We need a President who can face the threats of the future, not keep grasping at the ideas of the past.

You don’t defeat a terrorist network that operates in eighty countries by occupying Iraq. You don’t protect Israel and deter Iran just by talking tough in Washington. You can’t truly stand up for Georgia when you’ve strained our oldest alliances. If John McCain wants to follow George Bush with more tough talk and bad strategy, that is his choice – but it is not the change we need.

We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don’t tell me that Democrats won’t defend this country. Don’t tell me that Democrats won’t keep us safe. The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans — Democrats and Republicans – have built, and we are here to restore that legacy.

As Commander-in-Chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm’s way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home.

I will end this war in Iraq responsibly, and finish the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts. But I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression. I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation; poverty and genocide; climate change and disease. And I will restore our moral standing, so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future.

These are the policies I will pursue. And in the weeks ahead, I look forward to debating them with John McCain.

But what I will not do is suggest that the Senator takes his positions for political purposes. Because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other’s character and patriotism.

The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America – they have served the United States of America.

So I’ve got news for you, John McCain. We all put our country first.

America, our work will not be easy. The challenges we face require tough choices, and Democrats as well as Republicans will need to cast off the worn-out ideas and politics of the past. For part of what has been lost these past eight years can’t just be measured by lost wages or bigger trade deficits. What has also been lost is our sense of common purpose – our sense of higher purpose. And that’s what we have to restore.

We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country. The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than for those plagued by gang-violence in Cleveland, but don’t tell me we can’t uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination. Passions fly on immigration, but I don’t know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers. This too is part of America’s promise – the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort.

I know there are those who dismiss such beliefs as happy talk. They claim that our insistence on something larger, something firmer and more honest in our public life is just a Trojan Horse for higher taxes and the abandonment of traditional values. And that’s to be expected. Because if you don’t have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare the voters. If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.

You make a big election about small things.

And you know what – it’s worked before. Because it feeds into the cynicism we all have about government. When Washington doesn’t work, all its promises seem empty. If your hopes have been dashed again and again, then it’s best to stop hoping, and settle for what you already know.

I get it. I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office. I don’t fit the typical pedigree, and I haven’t spent my career in the halls of Washington.

But I stand before you tonight because all across America something is stirring. What the nay-sayers don’t understand is that this election has never been about me. It’s been about you.

For eighteen long months, you have stood up, one by one, and said enough to the politics of the past. You understand that in this election, the greatest risk we can take is to try the same old politics with the same old players and expect a different result. You have shown what history teaches us – that at defining moments like this one, the change we need doesn’t come from Washington. Change comes to Washington. Change happens because the American people demand it – because they rise up and insist on new ideas and new leadership, a new politics for a new time.

America, this is one of those moments.

I believe that as hard as it will be, the change we need is coming. Because I’ve seen it. Because I’ve lived it. I’ve seen it in Illinois, when we provided health care to more children and moved more families from welfare to work. I’ve seen it in Washington, when we worked across party lines to open up government and hold lobbyists more accountable, to give better care for our veterans and keep nuclear weapons out of terrorist hands.

And I’ve seen it in this campaign. In the young people who voted for the first time, and in those who got involved again after a very long time. In the Republicans who never thought they’d pick up a Democratic ballot, but did. I’ve seen it in the workers who would rather cut their hours back a day than see their friends lose their jobs, in the soldiers who re-enlist after losing a limb, in the good neighbors who take a stranger in when a hurricane strikes and the floodwaters rise.

This country of ours has more wealth than any nation, but that’s not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military on Earth, but that’s not what makes us strong. Our universities and our culture are the envy of the world, but that’s not what keeps the world coming to our shores.

Instead, it is that American spirit – that American promise – that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain; that binds us together in spite of our differences; that makes us fix our eye not on what is seen, but what is unseen, that better place around the bend.

That promise is our greatest inheritance. It’s a promise I make to my daughters when I tuck them in at night, and a promise that you make to yours – a promise that has led immigrants to cross oceans and pioneers to travel west; a promise that led workers to picket lines, and women to reach for the ballot.barack_obama_speech000x0432x479

And it is that promise that forty five years ago today, brought Americans from every corner of this land to stand together on a Mall in Washington, before Lincoln’s Memorial, and hear a young preacher from Georgia speak of his dream.

The men and women who gathered there could’ve heard many things. They could’ve heard words of anger and discord. They could’ve been told to succumb to the fear and frustration of so many dreams deferred.

But what the people heard instead – people of every creed and color, from every walk of life – is that in America, our destiny is inextricably linked. That together, our dreams can be one.

“We cannot walk alone,” the preacher cried. “And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.”

America, we cannot turn back. Not with so much work to be done. Not with so many children to educate, and so many veterans to care for. Not with an economy to fix and cities to rebuild and farms to save. Not with so many families to protect and so many lives to mend. America, we cannot turn back. We cannot walk alone. At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future. Let us keep that promise – that American promise – and in the words of Scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.

Thank you, God Bless you, and God Bless the United States of America.

I got a chance to say “Hello World!!” truely, not in a Java coding. 2007 Bangkok Universiade. Of cource Hello again Bangkok! My sister would never visit Bangkok, as she repeats after the experience she had the last time (2002, Asain Athletic Championships).

Universiade was a place where it concentrated the true meaning of sportsmanship. I’ve been to other games which were competed in a professional manner but to say; Universiade is better to witness what sports truly does.

Students all over the globe stand as one. Get to know each other, congratulate, shake hands and become brothers and sisters. Well by the means of sportsmanship, they act as true sportsmen.

Bangkok carried lots of memories from the past and the country is a milestone in my life. With my team members, I experienced the world saying, “Hello World!!”.

Non of us won medals or got near to one, but winning medals is not the intention of participating in such event.

Making connections, building your network with other undergraduates, been friendly to others and lots more cultures and qualities to be learnt at  a Uniersiade.

obama1

Most recenlt, President Obama won the votes for his “stimulus plan” for $787 billion showing the voters’ interest on his mission.

“This historic step won’t be the end of what we do to turn our economy around, but the beginning,” Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address.

Obama has scored a significant victory as the Congress on Friday finally approved his massive stimulus package, an unprecedented attempt to jump-start the ailing American economy.

The 787 billion dollar package was approved by a vote of 246-183 in the House of Representatives but with no Republican support. Hours later, the bill advanced in the Senate by a vote of60-36. Three centrist Republicans joined Democrats to move the legislation forward.

But Obama expressed his confidence that the U.S. could work through the economic crisis.

“It will take time, and it will take effort, but working together, we will turn this crisis into opportunity and emerge from our painful present into a brighter future,” he said.

In addition to roughly 286 billion dollars in tax cuts and 54 billion dollars for cash-strapped states, the package contains 311billion dollars in appropriations, including 120 billion dollars in infrastructure, 14.2 billion dollars for health care, 105.9 billion dollars for education and training.

All these dollars he wish to spend and recover I hope will do good for the US and globally recovering the crisis. We in Sri Lanka didn’t feel the crisis much for a reason unknown to me. But the businesses with global sharing suffered with tax imposes and other penalties resulting a bad accounting session. However if the stimulus fails, Obama would try another dart. Lets keep watching..

Source : http://news.xinhuanet.com/