Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Elections Count!

Perhaps it is time to note that our votes do count! Just ask the voters of Ohio.

Gov. John Kasich was elected amid a Tea Party surge that brought into office people whom they thought would provide a correction to the direction of their state. Guess what, it did!

Unfortunately, Kasich indulged in overreach and yesterday Ohio's voters told him, Whoa now, Gov., when we said we wanted a correction we didn't mean we wanted over-correction.

But Gov. Kasich didn't pass SB5 (a law that would have stripped Ohio's public employees of virtually all their collective bargaining rights) by himself. The State Legislators that Buckeyes elected last year passed the bill and Kasich gladly signed it.

If this isn't a lesson in civics I don't know what is. It tells us that elections do count. It says, Pay attention to what candidates are saying, and what they mean. If they say they want to make a change, look behind that statement. What kind of change would they make?

Don't vote for a candidate simply because they promise to change your state. Be certain you are choosing a candidate who will bring the kind of change that will benefit you and your state.

Remember, elections count!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Gun Backers Seek Law Allowing Weapons at Work

How safe would you feel knowing that your co-workers could legally bring guns to work? Well, that’s just what the NRA wants.

Last year Indiana’s Gov. Mitch Daniels signed into law a measure that bans employers from telling their workers that they cannot have guns in their cars while at work. Indiana is just one of 13 states that have granted such rights to employees. “Bring your gun to work” or “parking lot” laws originated partly from the 2008 landmark Supreme Court ruling that struck down Washington DC’s handgun ban.

The Indiana law was signed just two weeks after Edgar Tillery went to his employer’s parking lot, grabbed a gun from his parked car, and came back inside firing. Why? Because he had been told by his supervisor at the Indiana Workforce Development Dept that his performance as an auditor was subpar, and that he should shape up or consider resigning. Fortunately the gun jammed, and no one was hurt. But how could any rational personal learn of such an incident and conclude that every employee should be permitted to bring a gun to work?

Well it gets even weirder. After Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-AZ was attacked in Tucson, in January, leaving six dead and several injured (including Giffords), gun rights advocates rushed to push for BROADER rights reasoning, “People see an incident like this and they think, ‘They’re going to take our guns. We better get every law we can,’” said Ladd Everitt, a spokesman for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence in Washington. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. According to the Legal Community Against Violence, a public interest law center in San Francisco, 33 of 37 bills introduced in 16 state legislatures this year involve guns on company property, 33 of them coming after the Tucson attack.

All that in spite of research data clearly showing that just the opposite is called for: Workplaces that allowed guns were about five times more likely to experience a homicide as those where all weapons were banned, according to a May 2005 report in the American Journal of Public Health that analyzed North Carolina employers. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics says workplace shootings caused 420 deaths in 2009 and 421 in 2008.

So where’s the logic in the NRA insisting that workers be allowed to sue their employers for even asking about firearms in vehicles? Both Indiana and North Dakota saw measures proposed this year that champion just such legislation.

“This is spelled out in our Constitution,” says Indiana Sen. Johnny Nugent, a Republican (surprise!) from Lawrenceburg who serves on the NRA board of directors and wrote the pending Indiana bill. “People have a right to defend themselves.”

And the rest of the civilized world wonders why so many people are killed every year in the United States. Well now we know.

Source material from the San Francisco Chronicle Business Section, Monday, April 4, 2011

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Did the Press Engender the Libyan Revolution?

I wonder whether the Libyan Revolution would have drawn in NATO if the press hadn't picked up on the story and run with it. I mean, horrible atrocities are happening in Darfur and yet no western governmental agency has intervened, in spite of the star power and dedication of a George Clooney.

Of course what happened in Tunisia and Egypt contributed to the situation in Libya and without social media it might have taken many more years, but seriously, without the western press pushing the story of Gadhafi would the UN and NATO have taken it on? I doubt it.

Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, Burma, and on and on and on, and no western government has taken up their causes militarily - well maybe the U.S. has dropped a few bombs in Yemen. But would the UN Security Council have passed Resolution #1973 if the western press had ignored the situation in Libya? Think about it...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Cruel & Unusual Treatment of Wikileaks Suspect

One of the reasons I voted for Barack Obama is that he had been a constitutional law instructor. Guess I should have asked whether he actually understands our constitution.

There is no excuse for the treatment Pfc Bradley Manning is receiving at Quantico Prison and I urge POTUS to move quickly to correct this situation. In fact I have Tweeted him and emailed the White House urging him to do just that. Others have urged him to do something. Instead, P.J. Crowley has been pushed out as spokesman for the Secretary of State because he told the truth about it.

Mr.President, it isn't sufficient to simply ask whether the conditions of his confinement are "appropriate." You must learn what the conditions are and ensure that competent medical professionals and constitutional lawyers agree they do not violate the 8th amendment of our constitution, which prohibits cruel and unusual treatment.

Now, Terry A. Kupers, author of "Prison Madness: The Mental Health Crisis Behind Bars and What We Must Do About It" has spoken out. Dr. Kupers, is not your average psychiatrist; he has been awarded the exemplary psychiatrist award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness in 2005, and the William Rossiter Award from the Forensic Mental Health Association of California in 2009. He testifies as a psychiatric expert in court about prison conditions and the quality of correctional mental health care.

And now he is speaking out about the way Bradley Manning is being treated at Quantico Prison. Dr. Kupers tells us that the conditions in which Manning is being held will likely lead to suicide, although our government insists the conditions protect him from himself. Common sense says that prolonged solitary confinement will warp a person's mind, but add to that the requirement that he sleep without any clothing and you have a recipe for suicide, in my opinion.

I urge you to read the article Dr. Kupers wrote for (link to it above) and then take action. Contact the White House ( and urge the president to correct this horrible miscarriage of justice. Then contact your Congressmember and Senators and urge them to pressure the White House to do something about this now. As a nation we should be demanding Congressional hearings on this situation.

Act now before Pfc Manning is damaged beyond repair or worse.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sunday, February 06, 2011

It's a SIGN of the Times

Sign over a Gynecologist's Office:
"Dr. Jones, at your cervix."

In a Podiatrist's office:
"Time wounds all heels."

On a Septic Tank Truck:
Yesterday's Meals on Wheels
On a Plumber's truck:
"We repair what your husband fixed."
On another Plumber's truck:
"Don't sleep with a drip. Call your plumber."
On a Church's Bill board:
"7 days without God makes one weak."
At a Tire Store
"Invite us to your next blowout."
On an Electrician's truck:
"Let us remove your shorts."
In a Non-smoking Area:
"If we see smoke, we will assume you are on fire and take appropriate action."
On a Maternity Room door:
"Push. Push. Push."
At an Optometrist's Office:
"If you don't see what you're looking for, you've come to the right place."
On a Taxidermist's window:
"We really know our stuff."
On a Fence:
"Salesmen welcome! Dog food is expensive!"
At a Car Dealership:
"The best way to get back on your feet - miss a car payment."
Outside a Car Exhaust Store:
"No appointment necessary. We hear you coming."
In a Vets waiting room:
"Be back in 5 minutes. Sit! Stay!"
In a Restaurant window:
"Don't stand there and be hungry; come on in and get fed up."
In the front yard of a Funeral Home:
"Drive carefully. We'll wait."
And don't forget the sign at a Radiator Shop:
"Best place in town to take a leak."
Sign on the back of yet another Septic Tank Truck:
"Caution - This Truck is full of Political Promises"

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Rhetoric, Illicit Drugs, Mental Illness, How are They Related?

Regarding the horrendous shooting that happened on January 8, 2011 in Tucson AZ: some honestly believe that people's actions are their own responsibility and that their acts are not influenced by the words/acts of others. Clearly the thoughts of those who lack introspection.

Still, I heard an interesting discussion on CNN/State Of The Union this morning that included a psychologist who is schizophrenic. He talked about how heavy marijuana use in adolescence has a clear connection to the onset of schizophrenia.

It reminded me that Jared Loughner (the accused in the shootings) has said his favorite books include Mein Kampf, The Communist Manifesto, & The Wizard of Oz, while he has an arrest record for possession of drug paraphernalia.

I also watched This Week with Christiane Amanpour this morning where I heard a neighbor of Laughner's state that she saw a clear change in his behavior over the last several (4-6) years. Apparently Jared played in a jazz band earlier & the neighbor had enjoyed hearing the beautiful music coming from his home. But, she said, that changed several years ago when he became withdrawn and non-responsive.

Naturally this raises, in my mind, the need for attention to mental health care (another reason NOT to repeal health care reform) and the obvious concern for teenagers who are using unregulated (read illegal) drugs. Their brains are not mature and can be affected by such substances.

I've raised a few issues here & will stop now. What do you think?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

We Must Stop the Madness

In honor of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D)AZ and in memory of those who lost their lives at her side on Saturday, January 8, 2011, I ask you,

DID YOU KNOW? In one year on average, almost 100,000 people in America are shot or killed with a gun.

* In one year, 31,224 people died from gun violence and 66,769 people survived gun injuries (National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC)). That includes:

o 12,632 people murdered and 44,466 people shot in an attack.

o 17,352 people who killed themselves and 3,031 people who survived a suicide attempt with a gun.

o 613 people who were killed unintentionally and 18,610 who were shot unintentionally but survived.

DID YOU KNOW? Over a million people have been killed with guns in the United States since 1968, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated (Childrens’ Defense Fund, p. 20).

* U.S. homicide rates are 6.9 times higher than rates in 22 other populous high-income countries combined, despite similar non-lethal crime and violence rates. The firearm homicide rate in the U.S. is 19.5 times higher (Richardson, p.1).

* Among populous high-income countries, 80% of all firearm deaths occurred in the United States (Richardson, p. 1).

* Gun violence impacts society in countless ways: medical costs, costs of the criminal justice system, security precautions such as metal detectors, and reductions in quality of life because of fear of gun violence. These impacts are estimated to cost U.S. citizens $100 billion annually (Cook, 2000).

DID YOU KNOW? Where there are more guns, there are more gun deaths.

* An estimated 41% of gun-related homicides and 94% of gun-related suicides would not occur under the same circumstances had no guns been present (Wiebe, p. 780).

* Higher household gun ownership correlates with higher rates of homicides, suicides, and unintentional shootings (Harvard Injury Control Center).

* Keeping a firearm in the home increases the risk of suicide by a factor of 3 to 5 and increases the risk of suicide with a firearm by a factor of 17 (Kellermann, 1992, p. 467; Wiebe, p. 771).

* Keeping a firearm in the home increases the risk of homicide by a factor of 3 (Kellermann, 1993, p. 1084).

DID YOU KNOW? On the whole, guns are more likely to raise the risk of injury than to confer protection.

* A gun is 22 times more likely to be used in a completed or attempted suicide, criminal assault or homicide, or unintentional shooting death or injury than to be used in a self-defense shooting. (Kellermann, 1998, p. 263).

* Guns are used to intimidate and threaten 4 to 6 times more often than they are used to thwart crime (Hemenway, p. 269).

* Every year there are only about 200 legally justified self-defense homicides by private citizens (FBI, Expanded Homicide Data, Table 15) compared with over 30,000 gun deaths (NCIPC).

* A 2009 study found that people in possession of a gun are 4.5 times more likely to be shot in an assault (Branas).

DID YOU KNOW? Assaults and suicide attempts with firearms are much more likely to be fatal than those perpetrated with less lethal weapons or means. Removing guns saves lives.

* There are five times as many deaths from gun assaults as from knife assaults, where the rates of assault with knives and with guns are similar (Zimring, p. 199).

* More than 90 percent of suicide attempts with a gun are fatal (Miller, 2004, p. 626). In comparison, only 3 percent of attempts with drugs or cutting are fatal (Miller, 2004, p. 626).

DID YOU KNOW? Guns can be sold in the United States without a background check to screen out criminals or the mentally ill.

* It is estimated that over forty percent of gun acquisitions occur in the secondary market. That means that they happen without a Brady background check at a federally licensed dealer (Cook, p. 26).

* Sales from federal firearm licensees (FFLs) require a background check. Sales between individuals, under federal law, do not require a background check. This means that felons can “lie and buy” at gun shows and other places where guns are readily available.

We must stop the madness. Private citizens do not need handguns.

The second amendment to our constitution reads, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." It means that so long as the people were needed to maintain "... a well regulated militia..." they retained the right to bear arms. That is no longer the case. We now go to great expense to maintain a professional "militia."

We must outlaw the sale of handguns to private citizens. I hope you will join me in lobbying Congress to make this happen.

No, it won't be easy, but since when do we let that stop us from accomplishing what is right?

Access all references at the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence website by clicking on the title of this post.


Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Dead Birds, Dead Fish, Murdered author of the first Biological & Chemical Joint Munitions Effectiveness Manual. Connected?

Quoting Ron Tibbs, an American Expat living in Sweden:

"We have 5,000+ birds and around 100,000 fish dead in Arkansas within 100 or so miles of one another and the former Special Assistant to the Acting Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Logistics and Environment murdered around the same time.

"The connection between all of these deaths may stem from Mr. Wheeler's (John Wheeler III) background. Here's a quote from his bio at the Mitre Corp.

""Mr. Wheeler graduated from West Point in 1966, serving as a staff officer in Vietnam, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the Joint Staff before leaving active service in 1971. While on active duty, he authored the first Biological and Chemical Joint Munitions Effectiveness Manual and the analysis supporting the President’s decision that the U.S. will not use biologicals."

"He seemed to be against the use of biological weapons, probably as a result of his service in Vietnam, and it wouldn't be a long stretch for him to have had enough of the bulls$!7 and threatened to spill the beans about the... incident(s).p

"It's also important to note that the Pine Bluff Arsenal (America's Arsenal) is in Arkansas. What do they do there? Quote taken from the home page of the official site:

"Serving the needs of the joint war fighter and the citizen, a full spectrum logistics center providing expertise in specialized munitions and chemical-biological defense products and services."

"A report apparently prepared by the GRU for Prime Minister Putin states that the USA has large quantities of Phosgene Gas stored at Pine Bluff and that this is the result of the deaths of the birds and fish. I'm still looking into the authenticity of this report and it's origin but it wouldn't surprise me in the least that some sort of test went horribly wrong and Mr. Wheeler decided he felt the public should know.

"The company hired to do the clean-up appears to be United States Environmental Services.

"I guess they didn't want to take any chances. I'm sure it's all just coincidence though."

So now let's see whether the American mainstream press has the smarts to look into this.