Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas Everyone!! Thank you so much for reading my site. I am wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday! (My posts may be a little slow over the next week – if you haven’t noticed already. I’m spending some much needed quality time.. refreshing and relaxing with my family. I’m at home!) Happy Holidays!

Smooches,

The Caramel Bella




CB’s Green Report: Penguins & Protest

Protection for some penguins but not “Happy Feet.” According to a recent AP story, the Bush Administration is proposing to add six penguin species to the endangered species list and one species, the African penguin, to the threatened species list. Yet, the stars of “Happy Feet” and “March of Penguins”, which are northern rockhopper and emperor penguins, have been denied protection by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. These poor penguins  will not be listed under the 1973 Endangered Species Act. Although grateful for the seven penguin protections, environmentalists are unhappy with the decision to not protect more penguin species. The government claims there isn’t sufficient evidence to warrant protections for certain penguins. “‘Penguin populations are in jeopardy, and we can’t afford to further delay protections,’ said Brendan Cummings, the oceans program director for the Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity, which requested in November 2006 that the administration protect a dozen penguin species.”

More greenies step up to Obama’s environmental challenge. President-elect Barack Obama is continuing to build his pro-environment team. He recently selected John Holdren, a Harvard University physicist, as his presidential science adviser. And Obama chose Jane Lubchenco, an Oregon State University marine biologist, as head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Both selections will be announced formally December 20. Political and environmental analysts think Obama’s recent choices, Holdren and Lubchenco, means he is likely to reverse Bush’s energy and global warming policies.

Let the protest begin. In Utah, the Bureau of Labor Management (BLM) has put up 132 parcels totaling about 164,000 acres for the auction of oil and gas drill leases. Environmentalists and concerned citizens are protesting the sale because “it threatens the state’s wild lands and will bring drilling rigs within view of some national parks.” These groups and even actor Robert Redford are also upset about the so-called “fire sale” because they claim the details were announced only two months ago and the process is too hasty. The auction is occurring only a month before Bush leaves the presidency. More than 100 protesters stood outside the auction with signs reading “Protect Wild Utah” and “Our Home Is Not for Sale.”

Are you still holiday shopping? Treehugger has a great list of gifts for greenies who are also health nuts. Some of the suggestions include Eco Mats, which are “free of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), the unhealthy petroleum product linked to cancer and birth defects.” Or there is the green tea set for the friend or family member that’s into the health benefits of green tea or reducing their coffee intake. The site also features gift suggestions for almost anyone on your list. So, there’s still time to purchase gifts that are good for you and the environment.




The Holiday Wish List Tradition

I realized today after talking with a couple of friends that my hubby and I have a unique holiday tradition. Sometime before December 25, we exchange “holiday wish lists” – complete with items we would love to have for Christmas. They’re akin to the “Dear Santa letters” we wrote as a child but not as formal. And we definitely know that Santa doesn’t exist. In our case, Santa is our joint banking account. Yet, we still delight (at least I do) in exchanging lists. Now before you assume that our lists only include material gifts, I’d have to say “whoa!” “Slow down.” Intermixed in the gift ideas are wishes for our relationship, our families and sometimes the world (dare we get so lofty).

Here is a brief snippet of some of the items on my holiday wish list.

  • New bike
  • More time to spend together
  • Yoga class passes
  • Spiritual peace for myself and others

The list becomes yet another way of expressing our hope for the holidays, our passions and our vision for the next year. It is a way to listen to the other person’s dreams (be they socks or an electric toothbrush). It’s a way of checking in with your spouse on items both big and small… Boy can they reveal the small things. And in actuality, the list is always just a “work-in-progress.”

Try it with your spouse or significant other this season. You may learn a couple of things about each other. Happy Holidays!

XXOO,

The Caramel Bella




CB’s Daily News Break: No Surprise It’s Barack Obama

And Time magazine’s Man of the Year is…(drum roll, please): President-elect, Barack Obama. As if there was any surprise that Obama would be selected. The general consensus in the media world (bloggers and mainstream) is that his choice is one big DUH.

Time magazine wrote, “Obama overcame a lack of experience, a funny name, two candidates who are political institutions, and the racial divide to become the 44th President of the United States.” America’s next president has dominated the headlines since his nomination for the presidency. It’s only fitting that he would take this coveted award too.

And did you check out Obama’s (dare I say hot) photos from his freshman year at Occidental College included in the Time magazine pictorial? A sneak peek is below but you should see them for yourself.

But what about Time magazine’s runner-ups? Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was on the short list to win Time’s Wo(man) of the Year. No. Really? Well, this soccer mom did take America by storm. Others under consideration included Secretary of State Henry Paulson, France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy, and creator of the opening ceremonies (The Birds Nest) at the Beijing Olympics, Zhang Yimou.

In other non-Obama related news….The United States’ first-ever complete (80%) face transplant was performed on a woman at The Cleveland Clinic. The woman, who was described as horribly disfigured, now has the face of a donated female cadaver. The patient only retained her own chin, lower lip, forehead and upper eyes. Before the operation, the patient couldn’t smile, taste or smell due to an accident. Since the surgeons also grafted facial nerves and muscles, the woman will be able to smile and perform normal face functions. “Our patient was called names and humiliated,” said Dr. Maria Siemionow, who led that team that performed the 22-hour operation two weeks ago. “You need the face to face the world.”

And on the allegedly corrupt Illinois Governor front. According to an ABC News report Wednesday, Blagojevich is going to break his silence and tell his side of the story in a press conference toward the end of the week. Although arrested over a week ago, Blago hasn’t responded to the charges that he tried to sell President-elect Obama’s former Senate seat. The governor said he couldn’t wait to address the people of Illinois.

And the sad, sad American dollar. The U.S. currency has “declined the most against the euro since the 15-nation currency’s 1999 debut.” And the dollar is at a new 13-year low versus the yen despite an almost zero percent interest rates. Perhaps, the dollar’s value has something to do with America’s increasing budget deficits, which isn’t actually prompting more global investors. Although, the dollar is $1.4437 per euro, the U.S. could be looking at a $1.50 exchange rate for 1 euro or more! Uh-oh, the current economic plans don’t appear to be working. Attention Bernanke: The dollar is sinking.




“The Daily Show” Recaps The Mac’s Best Moments

Whether you wanted Republican Presidential candidate John McCain to win or lose. Whether you like or dislike the Mac. There is one thing that we can all agree on. John McCain has given us some pretty hilarious moments over the last two Presidential elections. Jon Stewart of “The Daily Show” has a great recap of the man most Americans know as “the Maverick.”




Animal Rights Activists Bark about Biden’s Dog Choice

Although everyone in the world seems to be on bated breath waiting for President-Elect Barack Obama to select a dog for his daughters, Vice President-elect Joe Biden recently chose a new dog for his family. Apparently, Biden also had a similar “election doggie” promise. A writer for the Christian Science Monitor reports that if Obama and Biden won the election, Joe promised to get him and his wife a dog.

Well true to his word, Biden got a dog. He purchased a beautiful three-month-old German Shepherd puppy from breeder, Linda Brown of East Coventry Township, Pennsylvania. According to Delaware Online News, Biden chose the dog because he is familiar with the breed.

However, not everyone is happy about Biden’s decision. Animal rights activists are making a big bark about Biden buying a dog from a commercial breeder instead of getting a rescue or shelter puppy. There are an estimated four million dogs that are euthanized each year because they don’t have a home.

“We are surprised that Sen. Biden chose to purchase a dog from a commercial kennel since he has been a leader on animal-protection issues and has championed a number of important animal-welfare reforms in the Senate,” Michael Markarian, executive vice president of the Humane Society of the United States, told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “President-elect Obama can send a stronger message of hope and change for animals by adopting a homeless dog from an animal shelter or rescue group.”

Even People for the Equal Treatment of Animals (PETA) came out with a statement about Biden’s breeder pup.

“I was extremely disappointed to read that Vice President-elect Joe Biden and his wife bought a dog from a breeder instead of adopting one from an animal shelter,” writes Dore on the PETA blog.  “Obviously he or his wife blanked on Ingrid’s letter, which asked him to consider adopting,” she wrote. ”Every year, U.S. animal shelters are forced to euthanize millions of wonderful, deserving dogs and cats because of the lack of good homes.”

Animal rights advocates are still holding out hope that Obama gets a pound puppy. Meanwhile, check out Biden’s cute puppy on the video below.

Note: Also on Pop + Politics




Iraqi Journalist Throws Shoes at Bush

Although having someone look at the bottom of your shoe is one of the BIGGEST insults in Arab culture, Bush says he was not offended when an Iraqi journalist (Muntadhar al-Zaidi, a reporter for the TV channel Al-Baghdadia) threw his shoes at him on Sunday. The journalist also called Bush a “dog” for all of the death and terror he imposed upon the Iraqi people. Is Bush simply not aware of the meaning of the shoe throwing? Or does Bush still refuse to believe that the war has done more harm than good in Iraq? For some Iraqis, Bush’s farewell visit couldn’t come a moment too soon.

-The Caramel Bella




Charlotte Say Hello to Uptown Magazine

Uptown magazine is expanding their local edition publishing efforts. In addition to their national publication, they will begin publishing a Charlotte version the first week in February. Uptown is a luxury, lifestyle publication geared toward influential African Americans within the ages of 25-44. The fabulous publication has local editions in New York, DC, Chicago and Atlanta. Hey Uptown, where is the Los Angeles version!!! We’re waiting…

Check out Keija Minor on Uptown.




CB’s Green Report: Obama’s Greenies

Just what we need, a new energy and environmental team. According to Wednesday’s New York Times, Obama’s transition officials said he has selected several key members of this team. For the Secretary of Energy position, Obama has chosen Nobel Prize-winning physicist, Stephen Chu, who also serves as the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. And officials stated he will chose Los Angeles’ deputy mayor for energy and environment, Nancy Sutley, to lead the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Obama’s officials sound as though his selections for head of the Environmental Protection Agency and climate czar are a bit less certain. He has supposedly selected Lisa P. Jackson, New Jersey’s former commissioner of Environmental Protection. If confirmed, Jackson would be the first African American to head the U.S. E.P.A.

And it appears as though Obama’s going to give the top White House position on climate and energy policy to President Bill Clinton’s E.P.A. administrator, Carol M. Browner. If Obama selects Browner, who was an Al Gore follower, she is assumed to have support from several key members of Congress like Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, and Representative “Henry A. Waxman of California, who will be the new chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Senator Barbara Boxer of California, who is returning as chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.” Hopefully, Obama’s choices will work out well because he has a tough road ahead to meet his goal of reducing global warming emissions and creating more “green” jobs.

Can you believe there are E.P.A. fugitives? Well, believe it! The Environmental Protection Agency has a web site that list all of the fugitives sought by its Criminal Investigation Division. Are you wondering what gets you on the environmental bad guys list? The site gives a case summary and how to report information about them in case you see one. It’s like America’s Most Wanted for environmental criminals. (I can hear the theme song playing. “Whatcha gonna do when they come for you? Bad Boys. Bad Boys.”) Surprisingly, Bush and members of his administration are not listed.

This report wouldn’t be complete without green gifts for the holidays. CleanTechnica has a list of the 8 Best Green Gadget Gifts. Some of the items include a power strip that tells you the energy efficiency of your appliances with a numerical reading, and a wind-powered electronics charger. These are just a few of the gifts. Pretty cool stuff for the greenie in your life.

Note: Also featured on Pop + Politics




Wanda Sykes Discusses Gay Marriage on The Jay Leno Show

For those of you that didn’t know Wanda Sykes was gay, here she is on “The Jay Leno Show” discussing gay marriage, Proposition 8 and how she believes gay marriage is about equal rights. She brings humor to a very sensitive subject.




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my luvs

My Maltese puppy; lazy Sunday mornings; a day at the Beach; Yoga; breakfast anytime of the day; my gurls (and you know who you are); my family (I’m a daddy’s girl); making new friends; Los Angeles & Washington, DC; ocean views; Anguilla; healthy foods that don’t taste healthy; politics; "greenie" things; meditating; natural curls and movies.

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Bad drivers, cranky and moody people, lack of sleep, crime, filth

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  • profileCARAMEL BELLA: This is my place to write about my adventures and mis-adventures in this thing called life. I discuss my passions: the environment, politics, art & culture, writing as well as yoga, health and spirituality. The one thing you can expect from this blog is that it is not what you expected. Thanks for reading! To reach me email thecaramelbella at gmail.

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Treat the earth well. It was not given to you by your parents, It was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, We borrow it from our Children - Ancient Indian Proverb

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