Archive for February, 2008

???? Yesterdays tragedy in Illinois brings sadness to my heart and no doubt all of you. The investigation is still in its infancy and as time goes by we will learn more of what happened and what may have caused this individual to go nuts and start killing people. Maybe my saying “going nuts” is not politically correct but thats how I feel about anyone who would do something so senseless. I can almost understand someone being mad at another and killing them. I can’t condone it as all killing is wrong. But it is easier to understand than killing people you do not know and can’t have a gripe with. Suicide is wrong but killing a bunch then committing suicide is even worse. If he was hell bent to kill himself he could have done that easy enough alone, and without involving others.

??? We might be better off if some of the students or professor had been armed themselves. At least they might have been able to stop him before he killed and wounded as many as he did. Something to think of as I am sure there will soon be some kind of bill to potentially outlaw guns or make them more difficult to obtain. As I understand it Illinois has one of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation. When guns are outlawed all it will do is embolden the criminal and make the law abiding citizen helpless and unable to protect themselves or others.

??? I did find some good news with a gun involved. In Texas a WWII veteran, successfully fought off two attackers who forced their way into his home and sent one of them to the hospital. Police said they believe the brothers went to 80-year-old James Pickett’s home with the intent to rob him, and even possibly kill him. It all began when Pickett said he opened his door and two men barged inside. According to Mr Pickett, “He just came through that door stabbing and beating.” However, Pickett said just before he went to answer the door, he had first placed a pistol into his pocket. The two brothers, Paul and Holden Perry, ran, but didn’t get far before calling an ambulance. One of the bullets just missed Paul Perry’s spine. I saw the interview and you could tell that he [Mr Pickett] had went through a heck of a fight, showing numerous bruises and stitches from where he was beaten and knifed. I got tickled when he told the interviewer that the only problem was he ran out of bullets. Those two deserve all they got and more and I for one applaud the the old gentleman for standing up for himself.

??? Even though it’s his last year in office, President Bush’s administration plans to go ahead with its ill-conceived exploitation of public lands in Utah. They want to open up public land that has never been mined, farmed or had roads built into it for developers. Thankfully we have a bill that was introduced into Congress that would ban them from doing this. America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act would protect more than 9.5 million acres of wilderness-quality lands in Utah. They seem still to believe, against all contrary evidence, that resource extraction is the best economic use of our public lands, and that their highest recreational purpose is as an arena for the depredations of dirt bikes and other off-road vehicles. I know there is a lot of fun and recreation with motorized vehicles but at the same time we need to save some of our pristine land. This land would take centuries to recover if ever from depredations of this sort.

??? One area of this bill, protects the greater Zion-Mojave region, which is currently threatened by proposed legislation that fails to protect wild lands in the region and authorizes the sale of up to 40 square miles of public lands in southwestern Utah to development projects. This is our land and we should have a say in whether it is sold and I for one do not wish to see any of our wild lands sold to anyone at all much less developers who are only in it for the money. And I feel that is where the votes will come from, lawmakers that take hush money from these developers and their lobbyists. The wild lands in Utah contain remote twisting canyons, mesas topped with groves of juniper and pinyon pine, rivers, and stark mountain peaks. The wilds of Utah hold much to behold. there are areas where you feel as if no one has set foot there in hundreds of years there are areas so vast that the stone and sky seem to intermingle.

??? If you are like me and a lover of the land, who feels like we cannot own the land but only care for it for the next generations to follow. Then you should keep an eye on H.R. 1919: America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act of 2007 this was inroduced by?Rep. Maurice Hinchey [D-NY] or S. 1170: America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act of 2007 introduced by?Sen. Richard Durbin [D-IL]. Please contact your representatives in Congress or the Senate to encourage them to co-sponser or vote yes to the bill.

??? It appears that Obama has won yet another victory over Ms Clinton.They are projecting Virginia is in Obamas camp as well as the District of Columbia. That makes it 7 straight victories in as many races. The polls are open an extra 90 minutes tonight in Maryland as they have had gridlock on the highways due to icy weather. But the way things are going it will not surprise me in the least if he [Obama] wins Maryland too. After an early lead by Huckabee, the Republican primaries in Virginia and the District of Columbia are now too close to call.

??? That gives Obama 1,184 delegates and Clinton with 1,155, with 2,025 needed to clinch the Democratic nomination. On the other side of the aisle McCain still holds a commanding lead of 765 to Huckabees’ 199. That doesn’t count todays delegates for the Republicans as the race is still too close to call.

??? In exit polls it seems that the only ones that are actually behind Clinton is white females. It seems that one third of the voters were black and among them nine out of ten supported Obama. It seems that white males preferred Obama to Clinton also. Four in 10 Republican voters said they were born again or evangelical Christians, and roughly 70 percent of them supported Huckabee, an ordained Baptist minister.

??? Clinton’s campaign seems to have hit a snag and may be facing an uphill battle fighting what amounts to a snowball rolling down the hill gathering steam and increasing with every turn. She got rid of her campaign manager and had to loan her campaign $5 million in recent days. Obama isn’t having any trouble raising money and was able to spend 1.4 million dollars to Clinton’s $210,00 airing commercial in the DC region.

??? Right now she [Clinton] is facing loses in the upcoming races in Wisconsin and Hawaii. And desperately needs to win in Texas and Ohio on March 4, where both candidates have already begun television advertising. So let’s see what happens in the days ahead as either way we are in for something new in politics in the U.S. no matter who wins it will be a first.

??? Over the weekend we had several more primary and caucus contests for the office of President. On the Republican side we have McCain still way out front after Romneys abandonment of the quest for President. Even though he pulled out of the race he [Romney] was still the winner in Maine, beating McCain very convincingly with 52 percent of the vote to 21 percent for McCain. But most of the Republican primaries are all or nothing events where the candidate who wins gets all the votes from that state.

??? The Democrats on the other hand do not subscribe to this format and split up delegates depending upon the percentages. This is very good for Hillary Clinton as she was murdered at the polls over the weekend. Obama won very convincingly everywhere they voted. His winning margins ranged from substantial to crushing. In Louisiana, Obama defeated Clinton, 57 percent to 36 percent. He won in Nebraska by a 68 percent to 32 percent margin, In Washington he won with 68 percent to 31 percent.And in Maine, he led 59 percent to 40 percent with 99 percent. Obama holds a very slim lead with 1,134 delegates overall to 1,131 for Clinton.

??? This is going to make tomorrows upcoming primary in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia very important. Especially for Ms Clinton as Obama is on quite a roll as of late. Soon the internal strife amongst the Democrats must cease and they should unify behind one candidate so as to put their best foot forward in the contest with the Republicans for the Presidency.

??? I feel like McCain is going to be hard to defeat in November by either of the two Democrats running. Not because they are unqualified for the job, (and he is so much better), as I truly believe either of them would do an admirable job and the other could make a good vice-president. But I am afraid that too many voters will either not vote for Ms Clinton because of her husband and their pettiness about his morals, or their hidden prejudices. I feel there are a lot of people in this country who -while saying they are not prejudiced – are secretly, and will vote accordingly. Hopefully most of these will not be registered to vote this fall or ever.

??? Myself while on some issues I do not agree with Obama or Clinton, I do feel very strongly on others like health care for all citizens. This is one I feel is way overdue. We can afford to attack a country that was no threat to us for an hidden agenda (more on that another time) and spend somewhere in the neighborhood of 4.9 billion dollars on it and still counting. Surely we can come up with the money it takes to help our sick here at home. I feel more comfortable with a tax and spend Democrat in the Whitehouse than a borrow and spend Republican like we have in there now.

??? Once again the EPA is in the news as Rep. Henry Waxman, (D-Calif) of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee subpoenaed documents reviewed by the agency’s administrator before he blocked a California tailpipe emissions law. There have been indications that the EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson overruled EPA staff who recommended granting the waiver.

??? What California wants to do and along with twelve other states – Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington – was to require automakers to cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by 30 percent in new cars and light trucks by 2016. This would bring the fuel economy standards up to 36.8 mpg four years earlier four years earlier than the new federal law which would result in a nationwide average of 35 mpg by 2020. The governors of four other states -Arizona, Colorado, Florida and Utah – said they also planned to adopt Californias newer tougher rules.

??? According to congressional investigators there are EPA internal documents that said California had a compelling need for the waiver, and that EPA was likely to lose in court if sued over denying it. But once again our executive branch seems to be in the pockets of big business. They have also lost a suit in federal court because they were ignoring the law when they imposed less stringent requirements on power plants to reduce mercury pollution. A three-judge panel – U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia – unanimously struck down a mercury-control plan imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency three years ago. It established an emissions trading process in which some plants could avoid installing the best mercury control technology available by buying pollution credits. such trading of pollution credits would have created hot spots of mercury contamination around power plants across the country. Power plants are one of the biggest sources of of mercury, which finds its way into the food supply, particularly fish. Mercury damages developing brains of fetuses and very young children.

??? The court decision was the latest in a string of judicial losses for the Bush administration’s environmental policies. You may remember that I mentioned them losing a battle for not regulating greenhouse gases. Courts have also rejected administration attempts to overhaul federal forest policies and streamline fuel economy standards for small trucks. The policy as established under the Clinton Administration required utilities to capture more than 90 percent of mercury releases. The standard as set by the Bush administrations approach was to capture 70 percent of mercury emissions. “This three-judge panel has done the world a favor and helped save lives,” said Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. Connecticut was one of the states that participated in the lawsuit. EPA spokesman Jonathan Shradar said, “This rule is still our policy until we evaluate how to move forward.”

??? It sounds to me as if they are going to drag their feet as long as possible allowing pollution to go on as long as possible so as to generate more profits for the big businesses that seem to have our Environmental Protection Agency in their pockets. Hopefully an administration change will return the EPA back to the role of protecting the citizens and not big business.

I am a little behind on this post but the tragic events in neighboring states really touched me and I had to write about them. There has even been a miracle overnight as they found a little baby boy tossed from the wreckage that was his home – with his mother who they found dead – and landing about a hundred yards away buried under the debris that was once his home. Finding him was truly miraculous as they only decided to search once more after they found the wreckage of a baby carriage. Once again the man upstairs is watching out for us.

Ok that out of the way what I was going to talk about was I reached another milestone in my commitment to quit smoking. I believe that is the correct word too, – commitment – you have to be truly ready to commit to breaking the tobacco habit. Wednesday was a full month of me not smoking or actually the last cigarette I smoked was on a Wednesday night a month ago. Every day it gets easier to not smoke though I do still want one even right now as I type away to you my readers. Every time I sit back to gather my thoughts and put them to page I almost unfailingly reach for a cigarette. It takes a lot of determination not to fall back into that trap again and it is a trap. Cigarettes are a seductress who will wrap her cold fingers around you in a vise as if to never let go. I have read where some people claim that marijuana is the gateway drug to other drugs but I beg to differ as I feel it is cigarettes that are the gateway drug. Once you start smoking cigarettes you are, if you are young, either stealing them or getting someone else to buy them for you. and you are sneaking around to do it. Placing yourself amongst others that are sneaking around smoking and maybe doing even more. Such as smoking pot and or drinking. Smoking cigarettes and drinking seem to go hand in hand anyhow. I am not going to go off on a tirade from the top of the biggest box of soap I can find about the ridiculous laws that foster the violence from the drug trades.

I will say this, smoking is a hard habit to break and you need to muster up all the will power you can to beat it. I have a very close friend who is working on her first week of being smoke free. It is going to be harder on her as there is another smoker in the house and it is too cold to banish him to the outdoors. But having a smoke free home really helped me to quit as I would have to go outside or come down to my computer to smoke. Try making as many areas around you as possible, smoke free. Force yourself to get up and go elsewhere to smoke. Going outside is a very good thing if you are smoking as it protects others from breathing your second hand smoke and especially in the winter months will make you want to hurry back in again. Cutting back the amount of the cigarette you smoke will help too but the only true thing that will ever make you quit smoking is yourself and your will power. There are many aids to assist you in your quest but ultimately it is upon your shoulders to quit or not.

??? The death count has went up since I posted yesterday, They found 7 more souls lost to the killer storms. Lets just hope the federal response time will not be so woefully lacking as it was after Katrina hit the gulf coast. Probably not as these people may not have been as poor as the residents of New Orleans who languished for days on end awaiting help that was so slow to come. Help that was too late for some as they perished awaiting relief. I could write a book articulating the inadequate response from the federal government. The only ones on top of their game were the men and women of the Coast Guard who tirelessly, flew mission after mission saving stranded people. It breaks my heart still to think of the way our president and his staff bent over double to insure that help got there the very next day. (Insert Sarcasm Here) I can say with all honesty that I truly believe that if the storm had flattened an affluent city that the response time would have actually been overnight and I would not have to hold my tongue in cheek when I say that. There is a double standard in this country and it is not based on race or color of skin, though it is based on color and that color is green – money green – that along with the greed it brings out in people. But here I have gotten away from the subject at hand and it is the poor unfortunate people who have lost everything they own and are now trying to pick up the pieces. Now would be a good time to donate to the Red Cross as they can use your help. Right now they have a massive effort across five southern states to bring relief to every storm stricken community. Already Red Cross workers are on the job – providing shelter, feeding victims, and search and rescue workers,- and lending emotional support to all. They are encouraging families forced from their homes to register – or have a friend register you – on the Red Cross Safe and Well web site. On the site, people within a disaster area can register themselves as “safe and well” by selecting and posting messages for friends and family. Since the disaster struck, a total of 14 shelters have sheltered more than 450. Over the past two days, Red Cross volunteers have provided devastated residents and emergency workers with thousands of meals and snacks.?

??? Once again the Red Cross beats any efforts from our government. Lets just hope their response won’t be like Katrina’s – too little, too late.

???? I was all set to give you my spin on the elections yesterday but feel a more pressing need to speak out for the 48 that were killed in last nights storms across the south.Dozens of tornadoes roared through the night killing at least 48, where they are standing now on the death toll and it could reach higher but let’s pray it does not. Rescue crews, some with the help of the National Guard, went door-to-door looking for more victims in the southern states of Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas and Alabama. In Jackson, Tennessee the small campus of Union University sits. Though the campus looks like a war zone with practically every building sustaining some damage and having students trapped in the devastated dormitories, no one was killed or critically injured. The man upstairs was looking out for them cause the buildings look like a bomb went off. It is amazing that everyone survived it.

??? My heart goes out to the families and friends of these people who were lost last night. My heart goes out also to the ones who though they may be relatively ok as far as physically. But in dire shape as they lost their homes and or business or even their job as some of the pics I have seen this morning look like a plant with tanks out back that was nearly flattened. There is no way that employees will be able to work there it for weeks or months it looks like. It is times like this I wish I were wealthy so I could help these people out. I am sure the Red Cross will be out there with help and hopefully Bush will declare a disaster area of the effected areas where they can get federal help to rebuild their homes and lives. I hope all of you will keep the survivors, their family and friends in your heart and prayers.

??? Today is a big day for the candidates running for president. Today is Super Tuesday. Voters are heading out to their polling places. States all across the country are having primary’s. The biggest prize will be California followed by New York. The two Democratic candidates, (Obama and Clinton) each thinking they will win today and vowing not to give up no matter the out come. The same goes for the two front running Republicans (McCain and Romney) as they both await the voters decision today. McCain hopes to bury his chief opponent’s presidential aspirations. But Romney has put up a spirited fight in California and said a strong performance by him there would prove “the conservatives in our party are not at all comfortable with Senator McCain leading us.”
An enormous amount of delegates are at stake today, not enough to insure a nomination, but plenty enough to be considered the favorite for both parties. Now we can sit back and watch the returns come in later this evening and tonight and see how the candidates fared with the voters.

super tuesday states

??? I tried to watch the Super Bowl last night and fell asleep during the first half. My not sleeping the night before must have caught up to me as I awoke at 2 am and couldn’t get back to sleep. At 3 am I remembered that I had not taken my bipolar meds and got up to take them about 8 hours late. So I guess my record is still intact of not watching any pro ball games this season. I am a sports lover and avid ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) basketball fan, but no longer watch any professional sports on television. The athletes make sinful amounts of money just for playing a game while being a piss poor roll model for the children that want to be like they are. That along with the strikes they have gone on and the steroid controversy leaves a sour taste to professional sports. We all the time hear of one athlete or another in trouble with the law. And the teams don’t seem to care as long as they can get the players back out there playing again. Though I must admit the Atlanta Falcons wasted very little time in suspending Micheal Vick. Nor did the commissioner of the NFL as they suspended him from playing football in the league. They did act promptly but I think there was more to it than just the public outrage that he was fighting dogs with the money he had gotten from the Falcons. I think part of the reasoning for suspending him was monetary as they wanted as much of their money back as they could get. It’s not just football, it also encompasses baseball and basketball too. They both have very serious issues that really need to be addressed and I won’t watch any of them any longer. Colleges are not immune to the bad behavior of athletes, coaches and supporters but they are held accountable more than pro athletes and teams are. The NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) has strict rules for all sports and enforces them to the letter. Individual teams and coaches also typically enforce suspensions and such when a player goes out of bounds with their on or off court/field life. That type of enforcement insures that the athletes and schools haven’t cheated their way to a better season and places them on higher ground to me than pro ball. Plus the students at the games cheering for their schools make for an exciting atmosphere. This is most noticeable at basketball games where they are enclosed in the gymnasium and cheers are easily heard and noticeably pick up the teams encouraging them to play even harder and better. Thinking of that makes me want to attend a game near me soon even though I am way past the typical ages of students. Student athletes get nothing out of playing other than maybe their education and the love of playing the game. Maybe I can interest my daughter in going to a game at her high school. It’s been an eternity since I was inside a high school gym but used to love it and went to all my schools games.