Archive for September, 2011

We The People Petition the Government

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , on September 27, 2011 by Drogo

For A Redress of Grievances

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

-The First Amendment, United States Constitution

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The right to petition your government is guaranteed by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. We the People provides a new way to petition the Obama Administration to take action on a range of important issues facing our country. If a petition gets enough support, White House staff will review it, ensure it’s sent to the appropriate policy experts, and issue an official response.  – White House Website

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Visit and Vote on “We The People” Issues at the official White House Website Link:  CLICK HERE

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Issues have included:  Legalize Cannabis, Stop Puppy-Mills, Legalize Gay Marriage, etc…

 

Killer Shrooms!!!

Posted in Nature Studies, Organic Agriculture & Horticulture with tags , , , , , , , on September 26, 2011 by Drogo

Poisonous Wild White Mushrooms

Death Cap  =  Amanita phalloides  

Destroying Angel = Amanita bisporigera (ocreata) 

 

Both white mushrooms contain Amatoxin Fatal Poison and are basidiomycete fungi.  These beautiful (but toxic) white mushrooms resemble several edible species (caesar’s and straw) commonly consumed by humans, thus increasing the risk of accidental poisoning. They damage the kidneys and liver, often fatally.

I am posting this article because of the ironic reality that although the common white-brown mushrooms at grocery stores are safe, the wild white mushrooms can be the most deadly.

 

Death Cap:  The color of the cap can be white, brownish-, yellowish-, or olive-green, often paler toward the margins and often paler after rain.

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Destroying Angel:  The cap can be pure white, or white at the edge and yellowish, pinkish, or tan at the center.

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Warning:  Toxicity is not reduced by cooking, freezing, or drying.

 

 

 

Federal Student Loan Secrets

Posted in Education / Schools, Legal / Laws, SCOD Online School with tags , , , , , , on September 26, 2011 by Drogo

I was never told and there is no info about Loan Forgiveness dates for Low Income on my Federal Loan Repayment Website, so for 10 years i have been struggling to repay thousands of dollars that i dont have based on an uneducated choice i made to attend colleges i did not know i would not be able to pay off within the ‘average 10 years’. I never found that ‘promised magic job’ that my father had. I might have been able to pay rent or afford health insurance if i had known about Loan Forgiveness deadlines.

I just heard on NPR that the Department of Education’s Community Service Loan Repayment plan has been in the works since 2009, but there is still no info about it on my Federal Loan Website. I will seek out more information about these ‘secrets’ and post them below. Here are the important issues that every college graduate with a Low Income should know about, but we have not been educated about:

1. Community Service Loan Repayment Plan

(after 10 years or 20 payments?)

2. Low Income Loan Forgiveness Deadline

(after 20-25 years?)

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According to the official White House Government website:

Under this new law, students enrolling in 2014 or later are offered this option –

Forgive Any Remaining Debt after 20 Years, or after 10 Years for Those in Public Service: Borrowers who take responsibility for their loans and make their monthly payments will see their remaining balance forgiven after 20 years of payments, reduced from 25 years in current law.  Public service workers – such as teachers, nurses, and those in military service – will see any remaining debt forgiven after 10 years.

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Federal Student Aid Information Center
1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243)
This is a toll-free number.

Direct Student Loans – 1800-848-0979

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After calling both numbers above, they told me all their information is available online, easy, and straightforward not requiring a business or law degree to understand. Ha!  The Education Department was un-apologetic and said “Most people pay the loan off in 10 years.”  Thanks for that.

The White House and the Education Department call it “Community Service” but you cannot find it on the Direct Loan website by searching for that; they call it “Public Service” Loan Forgiveness Plan.

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From the Federal Direct Loan Servicing Page:

Can my loan ever be discharged?

Yes. A discharge releases you from all obligations to repay your loan. Your loans can be partially or totally discharged if:

  • You become totally and permanently disabled. This cannot be for a condition that existed at the time you applied for the Direct Loan unless a doctor certifies that your condition substantially deteriorated after the loans were made.
  • You are unable to complete a course of study because your school closed or because your school falsely certified your eligibility.
  • Your school signed your name on the loan application or promissory note without your approval.
  • You were a victim of identity theft.
  • Your obligation to repay your loan was discharged in bankruptcy court proceedings. This may occur when conditions of extreme financial hardship are present and a judge orders the discharge of the loan(s) in an adversary proceeding.
  • You die.
  • The student for whom a PLUS Loan was obtained dies.
  • You taught in a selected low-income school for 5 consecutive years. You must also have received new loans after October 1, 1998 and have no outstanding balance on a Direct Loan or FFEL Program loan disbursed before this date. For more information on eligibility requirements for Teacher Loan Forgiveness, please click here.
  • You are and/or were employed in public service field(s) considered eligible under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, during which time you made 120 separate qualifying monthly payments through an eligible repayment plan after October 1, 2007. You must also be employed in a qualifying public service job at the time of your application for forgiveness and when any remaining loan amount is forgiven. For more information on eligibility requirements for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, please click here.
  • You are due but are unable to obtain a refund from your school on your Direct Loan.
  • You have a Consolidation loan obtained jointly with your spouse and one of you dies or becomes totally and permanently disabled.
  • You have a Consolidation loan that includes a Federal PLUS and/or Direct PLUS loan borrowed for a student that has died. The portion of the Consolidation loan attributable to the student that has died may be discharged.

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Repayment Plan

Changing repayment plans is a good way to manage your loan debt when your financial circumstances change. For example, you can usually lower your monthly payment by changing to another repayment plan with a longer term to repay the loan. There are no penalties for changing repayment plans.

The Direct Loan Program offers the following repayment plans:

  • Standard Repayment Plans
    • Non-Consolidation Loans – fixed payment for up to 10 years.
    • Consolidation Loans – fixed payment for up to 10 to 30 years based on total education indebtedness.
  • Extended Repayment Plans
    • Extended repayment terms are available to Direct Loan borrowers with no outstanding principal or interest balances as of October 7, 1998 and with more than $30,000 in Direct Loans.
      • Fixed Monthly Payment Option – fixed payment for up to 25 years based on Direct Loan balance greater than $30,000.
      • Graduated Monthly Payment Option – smaller payments at first that increase every two years, for up to 25 years based on a Direct Loan balance greater than $30,000.
  • Graduated Repayment Plans
    • Non-Consolidation Loans – smaller payments at first that increase every two years for up to 10 years.
    • Consolidation Loans – smaller payments at first that increase every two years for up to 10 to 30 years based on total education indebtedness.
  • Income Contingent Repayment (ICR) Plan
    • Payment amount is based on a borrower’s family size, annual Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) and the total amount of the borrower’s Direct Loan(s). This can vary year to year for up to 25 years. The ICR Plan is NOT available to a borrower with a Direct PLUS Consolidation Loan(s) made before July 1, 2006 and/or a Direct PLUS Loan(s) made to parent borrowers. However, a borrower is eligible to repay any Direct Consolidation Loan(s) made on/after July 1, 2006 under the ICR Plan even if it includes a PLUS Loan(s) made to parent borrowers.
  • The Income-Based Repayment (IBR) Plan
    • An alternative to the Income Contingent Repayment (ICR) Plan. The IBR Plan is designed to make repaying education loans easier for students who intend to pursue jobs with lower salaries, such as careers in public service. It does this by capping the monthly payments at 15 percent of your discretionary income (the difference between your Adjusted Gross Income and 150% of the poverty guideline for your family size and state of residence). You must have a partial financial hardship to enroll in the IBR Plan. If you are married AND file taxes separately, only your income will be considered when calculating your IBR payment amount. Like ICR, after 25 years of qualifying repayment, any remaining balance on the loan will be forgiven, but you may have to pay taxes on the amount forgiven.

The Direct Loan Program previously offered a range of grandfathered repayment plans prior to 9/10/2007. Borrowers who had already entered repayment on one or more of their loans prior to 9/10/07 and who have one of the grandfathered plans already assigned to their loans remained on those plans. In addition, subsequent loans that are disbursed for those borrowers will be placed on the same grandfathered repayment plans. Please note that if at any time borrowers elect to update their repayment plans, they will only be able to select from the new repayment plans. In addition, once they have changed their repayment plan, they will not be able to return to one of the grandfathered repayment plans.

  • Standard Repayment Plans – fixed payment for up to 10 years.
  • Extended Repayment Plans – fixed payment for up to 12 to 30 years, depending on the total amount a borrower owes.
  • Graduated Repayment Plan – smaller payments at first that increase every two years for up to 12 to 30 years, depending on the total amount a borrower owes.

Please contact the Direct Loan Servicing Center if the above plans do not meet your financial needs.

NOTE :

“Like ICR, after 25 years of qualifying repayment, any remaining balance on the loan will be forgiven, but you may have to pay taxes on the amount forgiven.”

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“The borrower must have made 120 separate monthly payments beginning after October 1, 2007 on the Direct Loan Program loans for which forgiveness is requested.” = 2017 would be the earliest a loan could be forgiven.

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(more information to come)

Zen and the Art of Physical Maintenance

Posted in SCOD Online School, Spiritual, Sustainability with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 24, 2011 by Drogo

Sustainable Spirituality, Philosophy, Psychology, and Martial Arts in Craftsmanship and Stewardship

Class Meets Tuesdays & Thursdays:  3pm -4pm

Class Room:   TBA  (Gmail, Skype, Facebook)

Professor Walton D. Stowell II, M.A.

Office:  Facebook

Office Hours:  Tues & Thurs 12 noon – 1 pm

In this esoteric course we will study Zen, Karma, Dharma, the Doctrine of Reciprocal Maintenance, and many other mental and spiritual concepts that can help us as individuals in preservation work during our life time. We will study the mind’s relationship with our own bodies, natural environment, and our built environment. How do moods, attitudes, and  behavior habits affect our work? Which ones do we want to foster in our own careers and lives?

Required Texts:  Books on Buddhism (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance), Books on Hinduism, Books on Philosophy, and related texts to be chosen from a list during the course.

Course Requirements:

Grades for this course will be determined in fourths by class attendance, participation, assignments, and tests.  There will be a minimum of 3 projects and 3 tests (including the Final Exam).  The Final Exam will be given at the scheduled time during finals week.

The grading scale for the course will be as follows:

Completed = Pass

Accepted Pending Revisions = (APR) Needs some more work

Incomplete = Does Not Pass inspection, too much missing data or errors

Attendance Policy:

All of the vital information for the tests and the final exam will be gone over in class postings, in-class discussions, and question-and-answer.  Therefore regular attendance and note taking is required for mastering the material.  Legitimate excuses received will be honored for some absences, however unexcused absences will result in grade reduction accordingly (ratio to percent).  The more absences, the greater the grade reduction.

Tests and Projects:

Test topics will be taken from lectures on the readings, and question-and-answer class discussions.

The majority of test questions and short essays will be based on the readings as discussed in class.

Projects will include:  art and written essay reports.

Project research and investigation will count towards the overall participation grade.

Final Exam:

A series of long essay questions based on the readings, class discussions, and projects.

Tentative Class Schedule Segments:

1.  Introduction / Reading assignments

2.  Begin Project 1

3.  Development / Discussion / Refinement

4.  Show Project 1 / Test 1

5.  Begin Project 2

6.  Development / Discussion / Refinement

7.  Show Project 2 / Test 2

8.  Conclusions / Discussion / Test 3 = Final Exam

Warning: In many ways this is an alternative class, and student beliefs may be challenged; the subjects are widely debatable due to their controversial natures.

 

 

 

BackCreekDaddy Productions

Posted in Film Reviews, Interviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 20, 2011 by Drogo

Founded in Hedgesville, WV 1997

***RPG File Footage***
The Drac Black Tape (various times throughout 1997 – 2000)***Feature Lengths***
Thrillogy of Horror
– Crossover Alliance (2002)
– Broken Alliance: A New Beginning (2004)
– Out of the Darkness (2005)
Evil Awakening (2010)
The Pawn (In Production, eta 2011)

***microMOVIE***
The Black Estate (2009)
– Co-Produced with Nee-Va Jade Productions.

***Stories***
Revenge is Best Served Dead (2005)
– Written by M.W. Hess

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BackCreekDaddy INTERVIEW 1

Name of Person interviewed:  Edgar (Mark) Hess
Reason interviewed:  Films

1. Why did you start making your films? :
It started with role-playing games, started making little skits. And then decided why not make a film.

2. Describe your films:
They focus around a self made vampire; the good guys and a government agency always try to take him down.

3. Tell us about your Community in relation to making films and showing films:
As far as the community goes there has been no problem with our filming locations. Our showing of films have only been distributed among the cast, family, and friends. Not to be sold or rented.

4. How important is Film-making in your life?
Well my film making brings together the family and friends. It gives us all something to laugh about. It is a good creative outlet.

5. Do you have any other plans for future “Development” of these or any other goals?
Currently writing a new script. Hoping to have an all original soundtrack so it can be publically shown.

6. Give some advice for anyone wanting to do what you have done:
My advice is if you want to do it, don’t say “I can’t,” just do the best you can and look back at it as a creative fun project. You just might surprise yourself.

Thank you Mr. Hess, Blessed be.

6 On The Axe !!!

Posted in Interviews, Music Reviews with tags , , , , , , on September 19, 2011 by Drogo

 

1. What are the origins of ” 6 on the Axe?” (and what does the name mean?):

lets see, Matt and Paul have been playing together and writing songs for years together. Since they were like 13 or so, I (aaron, drummer) had never really played per say, except to mess with Rock Band and such, but for some reason, Paul had a full kit in his basement, one night we all went out together and a few beers later, I had Paul talked into lettin me come mess with his kit, we invited our good friend Jake over who happened to play bass, we had a full band there, and we actually werent half bad, so Matt and Paul broke out a few songs they had in their back pockets and had me put drums to em and jake lay down bass. After that we ended up writing around 10 originals together and learned 8 or 9 covers and decided to try our hand at live shows, and it just kinda took off from there. Recently, Jake decided to leave to dedicate himself to his brand new marriage and baby girl and we added Justino Diaz on the bass, who Matt and paul knew from jazz and marching band in school, he was a perfect fit, picked up right where jake left off. it was all amicable and we remain great friends with Jake. The name comes from a beer feuled practice one evening, Paul has a large battle axe in his basement, he was dancing around like a midevil warrior then proceeded to put it on my drum kit, the next song comes in with a “6” count, so he turned around and said “Hey Aaron, give me 6 on the axe!!”, Much better than Pauls original attempts at naming us like The Cornhole Surprise or Big A and the Astrogliders..

 

2. What style / genre is ” 6 on the Axe”?

toughie there, we have been compared to Chevell, The Sword bands with more of a hard musical edge as far as instrumentation goes but the vocals are 95% clean singing with some accent screams in there, so, I guess hard rock very close to the “metal” area but not quite..

 

3. What keeps you playing?

we dont do it to get famous or rich, we all have families, financial obligations and such that dont allow us to take off and do what it takes to become big, so as cliche as it sounds, the comraderie, and making original music we love is really an honest answer. We love the live aspect also, we try and give a good show whether its 3 or 300 in front of us, i can say though, we feed off it, if the crowd is into it, the show tends to be better.

 

4.  Give some advice for anyone wanting to do be in a band like yours:

just have fun with it, be creative, dont fall into the trap of playing what people wanna hear if its not fun, you will fail quickly, there is some AMAZING LOCAL talent out here that never gets heard because people dont come out to original shows in droves, how do you think big bands got big? they were mostly in areas where people cared about original music, we need to jump start this scene around here and get folks out, you dont know what ur missing when it comes to local shows..

 

5. Does the band have any plans for the future?

we are gonna keep playin shows, and loggin money on the books to pay for the rest of our originals to go on CD, the first 5 songs are done and recorded, on CD, professionally  with Todd Stotler @ Echoes Recording Studios, Just hit us up on Facebook to request a copy and we will get it to you..

Thank you 6-on-the-Axe, Blessed Be.

History of Art, War, & Civilization

Posted in SCOD Online School with tags , , , , , , , on September 18, 2011 by Drogo


“The Effects of Art and War on the History of Civilization”

FINANCING ETHICS – HISTORY   /  SEMESTER – TBA

Class Meets Tuesdays & Thursdays:  5pm -7pm

Class Room:   TBA  (Gmail, Skype, Facebook)

Professor Walton D. Stowell II, M.A.

Office:  Facebook

Office Hours:  Tues & Thurs 12 noon – 1 pm

Although it is commonly said ‘History is written by the victors,’ that is not the final conclusion of this class.  We will explore how architecture, archeology, art, and war affect the way that we perceive cultures in the past and present.  Art and the liberal arts in general are used to express a zeitgeist which may or may not be in concert with the winners of a military conquest.  This course asks the question “How do these factors contribute to the History of Human Civilization; and should they be supported or funded, and if so then in what ways?”  This course is for students interested in architecture, historic preservation, anthropology, environmental science, art, military history, and the ethics of financing.

Required Texts:   The Art of War, War & Peace, For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Declaration of Independence, The US Constitution, and related texts to be chosen from a list during the course

 

Course Requirements:

Grades for this course will be determined in fourths by class attendance, participation, assignments, and tests.  There will be a minimum of 3 projects and 3 tests (including the Final Exam).  The Final Exam will be given at the scheduled time during finals week.

The grading scale for the course will be as follows:

Completed = Pass

Accepted Pending Revisions = (APR) Needs some more work

Incomplete = Does Not Pass inspection, too much missing data or errors

Attendance Policy:

All of the vital information for the tests and the final exam will be gone over in class postings, in-class discussions, and question-and-answer.  Therefore regular attendance and note taking is required for mastering the material.  Legitimate excuses received will be honored for some absences, however unexcused absences will result in grade reduction accordingly (ratio to percent).  The more absences, the greater the grade reduction.

 

Tests and Projects:

Test topics will be taken from lectures on the readings, and question-and-answer class discussions.

The majority of test questions and short essays will be based on the readings as discussed in class.

Projects will include:  art and written essay reports.

Project research and investigation will count towards the overall participation grade.

Final Exam:

A series of long essay questions based on the readings, class discussions, and projects.

Professor Stowell, M.A.

History of Art, War, and Civilization 

Tentative Class Schedule Segments:

1          Introduction to Civilization and socio-economic conditioning / Project 1

2          Ancient History

3          Medieval History / Project 2

4          The Enlightenment / Test 1

5          The Industrial Age /  Project 3

6          Modern Art and Warfare /  Effects of the Technology of Tomorrow

7          All Projects due, collected, displayed and reviewed in class /  Test 2 

8          TEST 3  Final Exam

In many ways this is a new subject, and students will be participating in groundbreaking research that is cutting-edge and widely debatable due to its controversial nature.