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Here are the runs of all top three women in the Downhill at World Cup Finals. American Julia Mancuso won while Swiss skier Laura Gut and Austiran skier Elizabeth Goergl came in third. All three runs are shown here. Julia's is the last. Listen to the announcers go wild at her run.

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Julia Mancuso won the Downhill during world cup alpine skiing finals.  She has pledged to give half of her winnings to the charity skiers helping japan that she helped found with two Japanese skiers and her friend the British skier Chemmy Alcott. The goal is to raise at least $100,000.00.  The funds will be dispersed to various Japanese charities working with earthquake victims chosen by Japanese skier Akira Sasaki . 

Julia had this to say after her win:

"I worked really close with a Japanese skier the last four years. She’s helped me go to the Olympics. She emailed a week ago asking to give back and help. I’ve pledged to give half of my winnings today and I hope other people can jump on board. Please check out our website, http://skiershelpingjapan.com/ to see how you can help."

Julia has hopes for more wins and more gifts to Japan. Unfortunately both the men and women's Super G was canceled due to weather, as was the men's Giant Slalom.   Let's hope the women's Giant Slalom and both men and women's Slalom can be run and the winners of those events  will be generous.

The cancellation of the Giant Slalom was sad because the American skier Ted Liggety was a favorite after already winning the season Globe in that event for the third year. He too  had pledged to give half his winnings. Maybe they will expand the giving for winnings outside of Finals to give Ted a chance?

If you would like to join these skiers you can.  Fan gifts are welcome, just page down to the bottom of the donations page.  Gifts are made through paypal and will be paid in Yen.  The starting  level of 1000 Yen is less than $13.00. Almost anyone can take part.

For a nice happy break watch Julia Mancuso's winning run in the downhill, as always she is best in the tough conditions. 

For the American coverage at Universal sports hit this link.


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"If everyone's got nothing, everyone's got the same," Isao Nagai, 62, said, standing in a cold junior high school gym in Ofunato. About 150 survivors huddled under blankets. Some dozed, others talked or read the newspaper. "There's a comfort we get from each other. It's simple. We've all got nothing. Not half or some. Nothing."

Kinuyo Kojima, whose house in Ofunato was washed away, agreed.

But, the 65-year-old woman said, "We live like animals." The stench of backed-up toilets has made some retch, and they complain of constipation from the diet of rice and little or nothing else.

"You should have seen us when we got a piece of chicken yesterday," Kojima said Thursday. "We were so excited over a tiny piece of meat. It had been so long."


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nursing home in Japan

I can't embed this video: www.cnn.com/video/#/video/world/2011/03/16/dnt.japan.elderly.shelter.NHK

A nursing home full of frail elderly people within the evacuation area, can not move their residents because of lack of petrol and the weakness of the patients.  They have no heat to avoid drawing radiation into the building and only a few days of food.  Staff would like to join family in a shelter but can not leave to a place of safety because the patients can not care for themselves.  They call for help.
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Sometimes you feel like a motherless child

People in shelters for those evacuated from the area around the Nuclear plants feel abandoned by the world:

Aid agencies are reluctant to get too close to the plant. Shelters set up in the greater Fukushima area for "radiation refugees" have little food, in part because nobody wants to deliver to an area that might be contaminated. And with little or no gasoline available, not everyone who wants to leave can get out.

Radiation fears mingled with a sickening sense of abandonment Wednesday.

"People who don't have family nearby, who are old or sick in bed, or couldn't get gasoline, they haven't been able to get away from the radiation," said Emi Shinkawa, who feels doubly vulnerable. Her house was swept away by the tsunami.

Doctors without Borders is there, as is World Vision.

Casey Calamusa, a communications officer with Federal Way, Wash.-based World Vision who is coordinating the operation in Tokyo, said a three-member team went to Fukushima on Wednesday to distribute supplies such as water, blankets and diapers at an evacuation center. The team was equipped with protective masks and suits and stayed outside the exclusion zone, he said.

"They were playing it pretty safe. They were talking to local authorities and letting them know we wanted to help the evacuees," Calamusa said. "There is an imperative to help those people — they've had to leave their belongings behind and they're staying in shelters in near-freezing weather."


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Helping Japan

I told you I was in a spam-a-lot mood. 

The People in Japan who have taken refuge in schools and community centers  are suffering in cold, crowded unheated buildings without sanitation and little food or water.  Many of them are old people who have no medication and are in danger from cold and dehydration. They suffer the most: 

"For survivors, in a still-wintry climate, the battle is to keep the elderly healthy and alive.

A hospital in Tagajo was cleaning off muddy medicine Thursday and trying to keep its 90 patients alive without water or electricity. A large generator and two portable toilets were delivered by the Japanese military.

"We've been told we'll get medicine sometime next week," said Daisuke Toraiwa, a physical therapist at the hospital." 


"Fourteen older patients died after being moved to a temporary shelter in a school gym because their hospital was in the evacuation zone near the overheating plant.

Two of the patients died in transit Monday and 12 more at the gym, said Chuei Inamura, a Fukushima government official. It took until Thursday to get all the remaining patients into other hospitals.

"We feel very helpless and very sorry for them," Inamura said. "The condition at the gymnasium was horrible. No running water, no medicine and very, very little food. We simply did not have the means to provide good care."

Doctors Without Borders is working in Japan fighting dehydration, hypothermia, and shock especially among the elderly. Their team is small and they are not yet accepting funds earmarked for Japan, as their work is being funded from their general fund.  Donations to this group will always do good as they are at work in war zones and disaster areas through out the world many of them places to which few pay attention (Ivory Coast for instance).

 Food shipments and aid have been slowed by the lack of petrol, damage to roads, and what is most poignant, fear of radiation. 

World Vision has a team in the affected area.  They have found children and old people sleeping on the floor on nothing but a sheet of cardboard. http://wvi.org/wvi/wviweb.nsf/updates/311A691F4CBEC17888257854005817DA?opendocument

A blog of a world vision relief worker, Mitsuko Sobata can be found here: http://blog.worldvision.org/stories/notes-from-a-japan-aid-worker/?lpos=ctr_txt_readmore_NotesfromaJapanaidworker

An old man describes his experiences after the tsunami to her: “The night was cold and only 2 houses remained unwashed by the tsunami, we put up two nights there. There was no electricity, it was dark. We started a small fire and I used snow water to boil rice. It was just a small amount but 30 of us shared that meal together. There were some children too.”

Text ’4JAPAN’ to ’20222′ to give a $10 donation. Or donate online by following any of the above links.
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Superhero to the rescue in Japan

An experienced surfer and swimmer, Hideaki Akaiwa, 42, was at work miles from home when the tsunami hit. He rushed back to find a ten foot high sea of water between him, his neighborhood and his wife of twenty years.  He found scuba gear and swam in freezing temperatures through the floating piles of debris, dodging traps and wreckage till he was able to rescue his wife and get her to safety.  Days after searching for his mother fruitlessly in area shelters he went into the water again returning to the neighborhood where she had last been seen. Making his way through water up to his neck he found  and rescued her as well. 

Now frustrated with the high water levels and the lack of help from the outside, he searches for survivors himself through hazardous debris laden water in freezing temperatures, an action hero in cast off clothes and salvaged goggles. 

This man is my hero for the day.  Read about him here: www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-japan-quake-scuba-20110317,0,7192950.story

I think I may be spamming your accounts with earthquake posts.  Sorry ahead of time.

For those who are interested, a live feed from Japanese english language television of the earthquake coverage can be accessed here: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nhk-world-tv
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For Japan

The American skier Julia Mancuso teamed up with two Japanese skiers to raise money for the earthquake victims in Japan.  The three of them are asking skiers at the World Cup Finals this week to donate some or all of their winnings to the relief work in Japan.  The winnings from such an event can be tens of thousands of dollars.  Neither Japanese skier is competing as the Finals are only open to the top 25, but Julia could win some medals and some money in more than one event.  She is a very well connected and successful skier so her name lends a lot to this request.  I think it is great that she has come forward and made such a generous commitment.


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What's all the anger at NPR.  So one of their fundraisers believes the Republican party is anti-intellectual and the Tea Party is inspired by racism?  These are unspeakable opinions?  Really?

Well I'll speak them now.  The modern Republican Party whatever the intellectual heft of its members has since 1980 gotten attention and votes by enlisting shallow arguments against everything from climate change to the artist Mapplethorpe and openly ridiculing studies of everything from earthquakes to contraception and Aids.  If that's not anti-intellectual I don't know what is.

As to the Tea Party I will quote my white, well-off  retired parents who spend most of their day watching Cspan, Msnbc, business news on various channels (how else to track their retirement investments) and Cnn.  "Most of these guys are a bunch of white people terrified by the thought that they are no longer the source of all power."  On the Birthers:  "People who will grasp at any straw rather than admit they lost."

My father on Obama:  "This guy could fund the national debt by passing golden eggs and these people would complain that they weren't shiny enough."