Resolve to be Ready in 2013

Are you fully prepared for a disaster? There is always something more to do to make sure that you and your loved ones are ready in case an emergency happens. That’s why we’re suggesting a New Year’s resolution: Resolve to be ready in 2013!

The “resolve to be ready” reminder comes from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Ready campaign, and this year the agency is focusing on getting people to include technology in their preparedness plans. For example, almost 55 percent of Americans now own smartphones, so FEMA wants to help people “turn the technology in their purses and pockets into a life-saving tool during and after an emergency or disaster.”

Among FEMA’s technology preparedness tips:
  • Store important documents such as personal and financial records online or on a flash or jump drive.
  • Buy batteries and car-charger adapters for wireless devices and make sure to keep batteries charged.
  • During a disaster, send text messages rather than voice calls, as text messages may be more likely to get through when networks are busy.
  • If you need life-saving aid, call 9-1-1. Don’t text or tweet to 9-1-1.
Get Ready can help you learn how to use technology to be prepared in the New Year, too. Check out our recent podcast about learning to be tech-ready.

Here’s to a healthy, happy and safe New Year!

What are your preparedness resolutions this year? Tell us in the comments!

New report asks: Are we ready or not?

It can be hard to measure how ready we are for emergencies. A new report from Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation tries to answer that question. The report, “Ready or Not? Protecting the Public from Diseases, Disasters and Bioterrorism” comes out every year and can tell us how prepared we are, state-by-state and as a country.

The report finds that as a country, we have made some progress in getting prepared since 2001 by improving the availability of vaccines and bettering disease monitoring, among other measures. However, budget cuts at the national and state level have stopped the U.S. from making even more progress.

The report ranked states from most to least prepared on a scale of one to 10, with 10 the most prepared. Overall, 35 states and Washington, D.C., scored a six or lower. No states scored 10 out of 10, but five states were ranked as the most prepared, at eight out of 10: Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Vermont and Wisconsin. Kansas and Montana were the least prepared, the report found, scoring a three out of 10. Check out this map to see where your state falls.

[Map, courtesy Ready or Not? 2012,
Trust for America's Health and
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation]

Read the report to learn more about why your state was ranked high or low.

How did your state do? What do you think of the report? Let us know in the comments below!

Iran What Are We Going To Do With You?

Perhaps we should, as some suggest, bomb you back to the Stone Age, because if these two stories are anything to go by, that's where you want to be.

Apart from having a nuke that is.

And they bitch in America about the mentally deficient having access guns, they wouldn't be a patch on you lads.

Women at Iranian Nuclear Plant Violate Islamic Dress Code
Myles Collier
Dec 26 2012

Reports from Iran indicate that women working at the country's only nuclear power plant are not adhering to the country's strict Islamic dress code for women, even though they are paid to do so.

The Battle for Equal Rights in the Arab World

The Taliban's recent shooting of a 15-year-old Pakistani girl for speaking out ...

The Iranian Student News Agency (INSA) a quasi-official news organization revealed that a prominent Iranian lawmaker made accusations detailing that Russian women working at the nuclear power plant continually defy the country's Islamic dress code, which states that all women must cover themselves so as only to expose the eyes while in public.

The ISNA reported on Tuesday that Iranian lawyer Mahdi Mousavinejad, a representative of the southern Iranian port of Bushehr where the nuclear plant is located, said that the violation of the dress code by Russian workers had a "corrupting and negative impact" on the people of Bushehr.

Mousavinejad explained that he will take the issue to the Iranian parliament. The lawyer did not reveal how many women were involved or the exact actions that led to his decision.

President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu both have continually stated that they are against Iran obtaining nuclear weapons and have been in close discussions over how to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

"The two leaders underscored that they are in full agreement on the shared goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon," the White House previously stated.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta also has taken a hard stand against Iran's nuclear ambitions.

"I think we've made very clear what the policy of the United States is with regards to Iran, and the president has made it clear, I've made it clear that the United States' position is that we will not allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon," Panetta had previously stated during a press conference at the Pentagon.

"This is not about containment; this is about prevention … and so that has been and remains the policy of the United States," Panetta added. Source

Iran bans aircraft flying during Islamic call to prayer

Dec 26 2012

Iran has issued a ban on airplanes flying inside and out of Iran during azan, the Islamic call to prayer, spokesman of Iranian parliament's cultural commission, Seyyed Ali Taheri said, Fars reported.

Taheri noted that the directive was issued by the Civil Aviation organization of Iran.

The adhan, or azan (as pronounced in Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey), is the Islamic call to prayer, recited by the muezzin at prescribed times of the day.

Adhan is called out by the muezzin in the mosque five times a day, traditionally from a minaret, summoning Muslims for mandatory prayers.

According to the directive issued on Nov. 26, the flight is to be suspended for at least half an hour, if the take-off and azan fall to the same time.

Seyyed Ali Tahiri also said that more attention would be given to the females working in the airports, regarding the proper wearing of veil.

Earlier, several lawmakers in Iran's parliament requested the flights falling on azan time to be cancelled, or postponed.

There has been no reaction yet from the Iranian airlines. Source

The video below is featured at: Ahmadinejad: Just Another End Times Religious Nutter?

Royal Babylon: Our Jaundiced Monarchy

Needless to say, I wouldn't have posted a seventy minute documentary had I thought it not worth watching.

This is an investigative poem about the criminal record of the British Monarchy. Heathcote Williams has devised a form of polemical poetry that is unique, no-holds-barred personal and political. It is a great collection of facts that most people are unaware of.

Can we go on bowing and curtsying to people who are just like ourselves? We begin to wish that the Zoo should be abolished.

That the royal family should be given the run of some wider pasturage – a royal Whipsnade. Will the British Empire survive?

Will Buckingham Palace look as solid in 2034 as it does now? Words are dangerous things remember. A Republic might be brought into being by a poem.

The Criminal Record of the British Monarchy
An investigative poem
by Heathcote Williams

“The comfort of the rich depends upon an abundant supply of the poor.”

In 1840, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon the first self-declared anarchist, defined anarchy in ‘What Is Property’, as “the absence of a master, of a sovereign”.

In the year of the Queen’s Jubilee tourists peered as usual
Through the railings of Buckingham Palace,
But her fairy-tale was fading; the fairy queen’s wings were being clipped
By the Sex Pistols putting monarchy in their sights.

“God save the queen,” they sang, “it’s a fascist regime.”
And the song’s hook-line became a new anthem;
Disturbing to clutches of flag-wavers lining the streets
And horrifying to Middle England and the Daily Mail.

The Sex Pistols proclaimed, “She ain’t no human being,”
And their subversive posters for the record
Placed the band’s salacious name right across the Queen’s lips
And they masked her eyes with two spidery swastikas.

Full poem/transcript

5 tips to have a healthier, happier holiday

As the year comes to an end, we may feel pulled to decide to start over next year. 

Instead of gathering debt, weight and negative feelings, celebrate the joy of the season and end this year with a sense of true fulfillment. To fully enjoy the holidays, we have to stay true to what we care about in the face of intense temptations.

Here are some tips to enhance your joy:

1. Accept!
Temptation and difficult feelings can creep up anytime. Sales and sweets understandably lure you. Neither fantasizing nor cringing when you face peppermint mochas, fruitcake, and gingerbread cookies will make them disappear.  If you feel sad or anxious, fighting the feelings will only make you feel more, not less.
We only have so much willpower and can only fight for so long before we give in to our urges. Here’s the great news, we don’t have to fight and exhaust our willpower. We can practice acceptance.  
Cravings exist, they rise and fall, and difficulty sitting with craving is one reason people tend to lose weight and gain it right back. Learning to accept and notice thoughts about needing to indulge rather than indulging frees you up from fighting and emptying your willpower supply. Just think, if you were to wash your dishes with a relaxed face and present focus, it may not be all that bad though when we grimace and scowl and ruminate on the process, it’s misery making.
2. Be kind to yourself.
Self-compassion provides more sustainable soothing than comfort food, which isn’t all that comforting. When we face pain or a diet slip up, we may beat ourselves up and indulge more.  A study found when college women were instructed to eat a donut and then eat candy, the group of women who were compassionately told, “Everyone eats unhealthily sometimes, and everyone in this study eats this stuff, so I don’t think there’s any reason to feel really bad about it,” actually ate less than those who were not provided this explanation. 
Compassion is quite different from self-indulgence. Notice if you’re beating yourself up in general or in the context of slipping up on a weight goal.
3. Give tough people a chance.
Over the holidays, we may face difficult people as we travel and spend time with friends and family members. Anger may lead to overeating, and beyond that, who wants to feel angry? Spending a moment giving a challenging person the benefit of the doubt or searching to find one of his virtues may free you from the inner turmoil anger engenders.  I’ve noticed if you search to find the saint in someone, he begins to act saintly.
4. Get into the holiday spirit.
There is so much to savor this holiday season including decorations, friends’ laughter and spiritual growth. There is a lot to take in beyond the nourishment on the table. We may feel deprived when we focus narrowly on what we believe we can’t have, why not take in the full experience to relish more? Food is fleeting, connecting is completing.
5. Stay sober.
Alcohol intensifies emotions and impairs judgment. So many of my patients notice they thoughtfulness disappears and impulsivity rules when drinking. Rather than risk your reputation at the office or find yourself in a state where you can’t really pay attention to what you care about, actively cope ahead and deciding to consume less alcohol to reduce shame and remember the fun.  If you feel anxious in social situations, you may find yourself relying on drinking. Practicing acceptance of your anxiety and self-compassion will help you learn to actually cope.

Thanksgiving Table Settings Decoration 2013 Ideas from HGTV

Whether your taste in tablescapes is subdued or sumptuous, get ready to give thanks in style. Browse photos of beautiful Thanksgiving table settings, centerpieces and accessories for ideas and inspiration.

By : Shannon Petrie

Natural Elements

Look to nature for easy, elegant ways to embellish your Thanksgiving table. Rate My Space user chasingpaige brought the beautiful colors of fall to her table by incorporating gourds and pumpkins into her centerpiece and topping each place setting with a pear.

Personalized Pumpkins

Small details can make a big impact on your Thanksgiving table. Try tying handmade place cards to mini pumpkins for a personal touch that will make guests feel special. Design by Holly Mathis.

Fall Florals

Create a floral centerpiece fit for Thanksgiving by adding berries or mini pumpkins to an arrangement of red, orange and yellow flowers. Rate My Space user patrick paired this warm floral centerpiece with ice-blue place mats for a striking contrast.

Appealing Palette

Choosing a color scheme is a great starting point for setting your Thanksgiving table. Rate My Space user nyclq opted for chocolate brown contrasted with crisp white — a perfect palette for fall that also complements her dining room's decor.

Candleholder Conversion

Try using items you already own in a creative and unexpected way when designing your Thanksgiving tablescape. Rate My Space user Baubles found that candleholders also make great pedestals for mini pumpkins.

Less Is More

A Thanksgiving table doesn't have to be over the top to be beautiful. Rate My Space user luvmynugz paired a few subtle fall elements with neutral-colored dinnerware for a look that's understated yet elegant.

Adaptable Dinnerware

Investing in a versatile set of china makes setting your table for the holidays a cinch. Rate My Space user eriedecor uses china embellished with fruit and acorns from November to January, changing the accessories and color scheme for each holiday. Chocolate brown and khaki are her hues of choice for fall.

The Look for Less

If you want to create an elaborate Thanksgiving tablescape on a budget, scour stores for marked-down or slightly damaged items. Rate My Space user and smart shopper Tamgypsy got a turkey centerpiece at a discount because it was chipped. A bit of glitter to cover the imperfections, and the bird is as good as new.

Dressed-Up Basics

You don't have to buy brand-new dinnerware to create a beautiful Thanksgiving table. Rate My Space user decorating4fun topped simple white plates with crimson napkins for a splash of rich, fall color.

Rustic Elegance

Don't be afraid to mix textures and patterns when setting your Thanksgiving table. Rate My Space user GritsandGlamour paired glossy, gold chargers with course burlap to create a rich look perfect for fall.

Thanksgiving Glam

For a chic fall table, try combining traditional and trendy pieces. Rate My Space user veron paired stylish black-and-white plates with glitzy accessories in classic fall orange.

Vivid Color

As the weather cools down, warm up your dining room with rich reds and oranges. Rate My Space user zahirah1 topped off her welcoming Thanksgiving table with a glowing, candle centerpiece.

Decorative Dishes

Often inexpensive, seasonal plates in bold patterns and colors instantly add pizzazz to any Thanksgiving table. Design by Rate My Space user flamingjune.

Soaring Centerpiece

If your table setting is simple, spice it up with a dramatic focal point. Fall branches spilling from a tall vase add interest to Rate My Space user Faby's Thanksgiving table.

Topped With a Bow

Your Thanksgiving tablescape isn't limited to the table itself. Rate My Space user barbrowe even dressed up her chairs with large bronze bows, putting the finishing touch on a lavish setting.

Thanksgiving Table Setting and Centerpiece Ideas : Fall 2013 Ideas

Designer Erinn Valencich shares tips for setting a Thanksgiving table that balances natural elements with the gleam of metallics.  

By H. Camille Smith

Add a Touch of Glitz

For a sophisticated but not over-the-top look, balance the sparkle of metallics with natural elements, like fall branches or fresh fruit. 
Erinn's Tip: Metallics add a great modern touch to a fall tablescape. Deep copper and bright bronze are a lovely additional to a traditional table. I prefer to bring in natural, textured elements like these seed-beaded placemats so the table doesn't get too glitzy.

Play With Scale

Diminutive pears contrast with elongated stemware for a look that is elegant and playful. 
Erinn's Tip: Slender amber stemware adds height and drama to a simple table while gold pillar candles and votives sparkle as the centerpiece. 

Opt for an Aromatic Centerpiece

Who said a centerpiece needed to time-consuming, expensive or even floral? Erinn created this arrangement by grouping scented candles with an earthy potpourri. 
Erinn's Tip: During the fall, natural elements are the best decorations. This potpourri creates a lovely centerpiece and its subtle fragrance is a great addition to the table. Look for large, chunky potpourris and add elements from your own backyard, like pinecones and seed pods, to the mix.

Gleaming Glass Accents

Golds and ambers pair beautifully with the traditional browns and oranges of fall.
  Erinn's Tip: Glass vases can be found very inexpensively in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes at your local housewares store. They're fantastic for adding a splash of luminescent color to the room. So go wild! Bring a bunch home, try them out and return what you don't use.

Simple Sophistication

This place setting layers basic elements to achieve an extraordinary effect. 
Erinn's Tip: A set of white plates is a great standard to have for your year round table. You don't have to get something special out just for the season. It's all in the presentation a crisp linen napkin folded into thirds and laid under a bronze glass plate topped with a miniature pear sets each guests' plate off with style for very little money, time or fuss. 

Bountiful Centerpiece

Set the stage for an unforgettable Thanksgiving feast with a centerpiece that exemplifies bounty. A ghost white pumpkin, chunky pillar candles and metallic painted gourds add sparkle. 
Erinn's Tip: Create a table that's casual and warm with a modern twist. Play with colors of chocolate, taupe and birch contrasted with crisp white.

Contrast Materials

A humble pinecone adds an organic touch to each place setting. 
Erinn's Tip: Have fun with materials; contrast ceramic with glass, wood and gleaming metal. Forgo the old standby tablecloth and opt for glamorous, polished silver chargers and chocolate-brown linen napkins.

Decorate the Whole Room

This buffet sparkles with candles and glassware in shades of amber and gold. Natural elements like wood grain candles and a rustic, hand-carved bowl filled with fall apples complete the look.  Erinn's Tip: "When decorating for Thanksgiving guests, don't stop at setting the table. The buffet, side tables and coffee table will benefit from a few fall touches as well. Bring in large branches of fall foliage and place in a tall vase for a seasonal decoration that is chic and free the best of both worlds. 

Kids' Thanksgiving Table Decorating 2013 Ideas

Feathered headdress place markers and Thanksgiving-themed crafts make this kids' table colorful and playful. Minimal prep work will ensure small guests stay happily entertained while the adults enjoy conversation and a peaceful meal nearby.

By : Marian Parsons

Functional Tablecloth

Cover the table in brown craft paper to provide a place for creative minds and idle hands to color doodle or play games. Simply roll out craft paper and securely tape it under the table's edges. Bonus: This durable surface protects your tabletop and makes cleaning up spills and crumbs a snap.

Wearable Place Cards

Inspired by the story of the first Thanksgiving, these Indian headdresses are customized with each child's name as a creative way to mark their seat. They can be made ahead of time by the hostess or children who are old enough to use a glue gun. 

Assemble Headdresses

Cut a strip of leather (available in craft or fabric stores) into approximately 21" - 23" lengths. Place ends of length together to form a circle and hot glue into place. Glue feathers onto inside back of headdress. 

Paint Headdresses

Using a paint pen or acrylic craft paint and an artist brush, paint each child's name onto the front of their headdress. Embellish the sides with painted symbols or decorate with beads and hot glue. 

Kid-Friendly Centerpieces

Centerpieces for a kids' table shouldn't be fussy; they'll need to withstand possible spills and rough-housing so opt for heavy vessles like ironstone pitchers and small mixing bowls. Fill them with mums, pumpkins, acorn squash or gourds and embelish further with raffia, ribbons and feathers. 

Mess-Free Crafts

Craft projects are a great way to entertain and encourage creativity, but the dining table shouldn't be cluttered with paints and glue sticks. Instead, stock the table with an assortment of colorful beads, leather cording and feathers so the kids can create a necklace or bracelet to wear with their headdress.

Color and Create

Fill jelly jars or juice glasses with crayons so kids can color the brown paper tablecloth as well as fun Thanksgiving paper crafts and printables, like these turkey finger puppets. Children can also be encouraged to write a list of things they are thankful for. 

All in the Details

Making a special kids' table is all about the little things. Pay attention to the scale, practicality and playfulness of the centerpiece and each place setting. Your pint-sized guests should feel relaxed to be themselves and have a great time.

Educational Decor

Use plates and utensils that are similar to what colonists and Native Americans may have used. Pewter and wood plates can be paired with "bone" handled or simple silver flatware. This can spark discussions over what clothes might have been worn and food might have been served at the first Thanksgiving. 

Fresh Christmas Colors 2013 Ideas from HGTV

Try something new this season! Decorate your home with haute holiday hues that are anything but conventional.

 By : Brian Patrick Flynn

Kelly Green + Baby Blue + White 
While kelly green is often paired with red for holiday flair, it works surprisingly well in a seasonal sense when paired with baby blue and white. The key to successfully using this color combination is the proper balance of white. With a strong white backdrop, such as a white tree or tablecloth, the color scheme often seen on beach blankets and sailboats can take on a wintry appearance.

Green + Brown 
Colors seen together in nature always work well in decorating, so don't be afraid to take a cue from Mother Nature. This is especially true when pairing brown and green, two of the most-popular earth tones used in home decor. For sophisticated simplicity, try decorating a green tree using only brown ornaments. Consider using several different shades of green for a layered, multi-toned look when decorating walls and hallways.

Violet + Brown + Bronze + White 
Make it masculine! A color combination of violet, brown, bronze and white is a great way to add manly appeal to your home this holiday season. For proper balance, stick with brown and bronze as the dominant colors, with sprinkles of violet for accent, and set it all against a white tree.

White + Brown 
White and brown is simple, elegant and gender neutral. This combination is also incredibly versatile; add a few accents of blue or red to make it masculine, or add pink for a feminine touch.

Hot Pink + Lime Green + White + Red 
During the past few years, hot pink has become a haute hue for modernist holiday decor and is often paired with silver or gold. To add a little more Yuletide pop, pair hot pink with lime green, red and white.

Turquoise + White + Parchment 
Beige as an accent color? Yep! While turquoise is often paired with jewel tones and metallics in holiday decor, pairing the jewel tone with a muted, neutral tone such as parchment is much less expected. 
This is an excellent way for colorphobes to introduce more saturated hues into their holiday decor without being overwhelmed.

White + Gold 
Since the days when frankincense and myrrh were acceptable holiday gifts, gold has been commonly paired with silver and/or violet. To put a contemporary spin on this classic color, consider pairing gold with white. The juxtaposition of gold's warm undertones and white's coolness strikes the perfect balance.

Bubblegum Pink + Purple 
Bubblegum can be used for something other than a dentist's worst nightmare of a stocking stuffer. 
Lovers of retro and kitsch can put a regal spin on the nostalgic 1950s tone by using bubblegum pink as the dominant color toned down with the dark richness of purple.

Robin's-Egg Blue + Red + White 
Midcentury modernists can add vintage flair this holiday season with a color scheme of robin's-egg blue, red and white. In the 1950s, decorators paired robin's-egg blue with olive green and/or red orange. 
By pairing the hue with red and white, the beloved color takes on an entirely new identity as a contemporary holiday classic.

Teal + Red + White 
Thanks in part to candy canes and Kriss Kringle's wardrobe, red and white is one of the most iconic holiday color combinations; depending on how you pair it, though, the classic combo can be totally fresh and fun. Consider using teal as your dominant color this holiday season, with traces of red and white as accents.

Parchment + White 
Neutrals are a safe bet in interior design, and they can work just as well for holiday decorating. 
For understated elegance, consider pairing white with parchment. 
This less is more approach is timeless and easily adaptable.

Parchment + White 
Design tip: For greater dimension, throw a metallic into the mix whether it's silver, gold or bronze. 
The introduction of the metallic will help break up the tone on tone appeal and add layered depth to the overall color scheme.

How to Make a Fringed Christmas Tree Centerpiece 2013 Ideas from HGTV

Create a snow-covered Christmas tree centerpiece using white burlap or a loose-weave linen. Decorate the tree with accents to match your holiday color palette.

Winter White Meets Festive Color

We cut white burlap (you could use linen or another loose-weave fabric) into long strips then glued them around a cone-shaped form to make these textured mantel decorations or centerpieces. Use any color fabric to match your decor and dress it up with your favorite color palette.

Cut the Burlap Into Strips

Cut strips of fabric about 2 inches wide. Pull out the threads lengthwise to fringe one side of the strips.

Attach Fabric to the Cone

Add double-stick tape around the entire bottom of the cone, about a 1/2 inch up from the edge. Add a strip of fringed burlap (fringe-side on the bottom) and press into the tape. Trim off the excess where the two edges meet and overlap. 

Fluff the Fringe

Continue to wrap layers of fabric around the cone until you get to the top. Using your fingers, fluff the burlap fringe so it curves up slightly. 

Finish and Add to Tabletop or Mantel

Place the trees on medium-sized mercury-glass jars as the stumps. Add mason jars filled halfway with faux snow and sprinkle extra snow around the tabletop or mantel. Add a few pinecones or ornaments.