Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Looks like the drought is taking its toll, too. I thought the USA might learn from example this time without more tragedy in New Orleans.

New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu (click title to entry - thank you)declared a state of emergency for New Orleans because of the marsh fire, and now it's pushing foul smelling smoke into Baton Rouge.
Mayor Landrieu said his main reason for declaring the state of emergency is to allow firefighters access to private property as they try to put out the fire that has burned nearly 2,300 acres. The fire is not an immediate threat to life or property because it's in such a remote area of eastern New Orleans, but the mayor said people will still be affected by the smoke for the next few days, especially those with health problems.
"I would ask that you to please heed the warning and take precaution," Landrieu said.
Tuesday Baton Rouge residents like Ellen Keim noticed the smoke creep into Baton Rouge....

56,000 people in all died from the effects of the smog and heat 

Smoke from Russian fires blankets Moscow (click here)

Landmarks reduced to outlines in thick pollution and visibility down to 50 metres in some areas

·         Tom Parfitt in Moscow
·         guardian.co.uk, Friday 6 August 2010 15.36 BST

A woman wears a mask in central Moscow to protect herself from smog caused by fires outside the city. Photograph: Mikhail Voskresensky/Reuters

…Vladimir Stepanov of the National Crisis Management Centre said fires were abating in the Urals and in the Volga region, but the situation remained tense around Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod. "Firefighters and rescuers did not let the fires approach populated areas," he said. "Not a single person has died over the past 24 hours."
The wildfires have so far claimed 50 lives and left more than 3,000 people homeless, prompting criticism of the official response to the crisis….

The USA Needs Revenue !

...Christie said (click title to entry - thank you) he spoke to President Obama last night after he sent the president a letter requiring expedited relief to assist the state, local governments and individuals to receive federal assistance.
“I’m hopeful President Obama will sign off on the declaration, and based on my conversation with him, I think he will.” Christie said.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is visiting the state Wednesday to assess damages.
Christie said all the storm damage he witnessed today confirmed that federal help was needed.
“Some stuff I saw and experienced was pretty incredible. In Wayne, in an area that has not flooded before, I saw just extraordinary despair.”
Christie also paid a visit to Fairfield, where he said he saw at least 20 homes under five feet of water.
“I’ve never seen flooding like that before,” he said....

Not that I doubt the emergency, I sincerely don't, but, how long as Christie lived in New Jersey?  All his life?  He doesn't remember a few of the storms I remember.

Tropical Storm Doria dropped heavy precipitation in New Jersey, peaking at 10.29 in (261 mm) in Little Falls.   The rainfall led to record-breaking river levels and flooding in several houses, resulting in damage to dozens of houses across the state….

One thing to worry about when people start to wade through open water untreated flood waters is typhoid.  It was a problem in 1971, it might be a problem today as well.

The picture is of TS Doria in 1971..

...Stay out of the water.

The flooding caused (click here) by Hurricane Irene has created not only dangerous currents but polluted rivers coursing through New Jersey’s streets.
In Wayne, a state trooper wading through three feet of water to reach stranded residents today listed a sampling of the filth through which he was trudging.
"Everything that was on the roads or picked up in that current is gonna be walking with you waist-high," said the trooper, who declined to give his name. "Garbage, roadkill, oils and chemical runoff, probably a few hungry maggots too."...

The reason the flooding is so bad is because the demographics of the state has changed.  There is about 1.5 million more people in New Jersey today as opposed to 40 years ago.
...In Fairfield, the river crested overnight at 24.1 feet, (click here) shattering the previous record of 23.2 feet set in 1903.
"Twenty homes in Fairfield near the river were completely submerged in at least five feet of water, water damage far more than has been inflicted before," the governor said. " We just can't fathom what these folks have been going through."
In Wayne, along the Passaic River, flood waters crested well above 13 feet, putting areas at risk that were never flood-prone before.
Other swollen rivers include the Ramapo and Pompton rivers, which are overflowing from heavy rain and storm surges from Tropical Storm Irene over the weekend. Flooding continues at Millington, Chatham and Little Falls....

In 1903 there were approximately a million, two hundred thousand people in New Jersey.  It was primarily agriculture then and the flooding today is caused by so much urban development, roads and the like.  Considering the difference in the geography and population from 1903 the flooding at the turn of the century was worse for the conditions of the land.  The people then also didn't have any way of knowing that the flooding was going to be that terrible.  No predictions to help them survive the day.

I hope everyone recovers from this storm; I would hate to think the GOP is using this to assail SSI and Medicare again.  There is a "Super-committee" according to legislation passed by the House and Senate with large majorities to decide about the national debt.  This is an EMERGENCY that occurs in the USA.  If I remember Bush's presidency well, he was in Florida handing out dollar bills with every chance he got standing along side of brother, Jeb.

If the GOP is going to use this storm to tirade against the National Debt they need to put people first and realize if they continue on this path they should by all rights be impeached as they are incompetent and confusing the job of the "Super-committee" with that of disaster relief for the citizens of the USA.

As I watched the news regarding the flooding across the East Coast I could not help but believe there would be absolutely no reconstruction anytime soon due to GOP lethargy and inappropriate priorities.  (For the wayward GOP, "Irene" is good enough for political fodder.)   I began to realize I was looking at the new geography of the USA compliments of the Climate Crisis.

As I have said over and over, the GOP doesn't know how to govern.  The country shows it.


Houston National Cemetery Director Arlene Ocasio does not hate God. She is a nice lady trying to protect the rights of loved ones.

I remind all the media regarding the circus at the Department of Agriculture over Shirley Sherrod.  Women are easy targets for the Right Wing.

The Right Wing will try anything, including calling a National Cemetary Anti-God.

…I firmly believe (click here) that we telegraph to others who and what we are via our physical appearance. Just think of how many little decisions we make about our visage, hair, and clothing.  This is what Ms. Ocasio looks like, with a butch haircut:

There has been a great deal of controversy surrounding the funerals of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan as they are targeted by extremist religious groups attempting to disrupt ceremonies.  These extremist groups upset families and do horrible things like burn Qurans.  

When I read the directions of this 'regulation' it appears to be in support of FAMILY DECISIONS regarding the cemetery and ceremonies held there.  Any prayer or ceremonial reading is allowed at the request of the family.

The unfortunate reality is that when one group is controlled from causing emotional scars to families and loved ones, that translates into equal treatment of all groups.

...The lawsuit,(click title to entry - thank you)  which alleges religious discrimination by the government, and videos have generated angry letters and Internet commentary against the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as demands from members of the Texas Congressional delegation, mostly Republicans, that the Obama administration fire the Houston cemetery director, Arleen Ocasio....

The question at hand is NOT about National Cemetery Director Ocasio being Anti-God, it is whether or not any group not recognized by the deceased loved ones as permitted to carry out ceremonies at the gravesite of dead soldiers should be allowed to do so.  These are cemeteries that are owned by the government, so they are suppose to have public access.  

There is a solution and the Veterans of Foreign Wars should have thought about this and taken to the Director of Veterans Affairs as a means to settle the issue.  Even with this modification of a Loved Ones consent there remains the question as to whether or not any group can be barred from a pubic display so long as it does not cause or attempt to cause property damage to the cemetery.  

At the time of internment, the loved ones should be asked to give consent to public interest groups that sometimes frequent the cemetery to perform ceremonies.  Of course these public interest groups such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars would have to 'apply and be listed' for permits to use the PUBLIC GROUNDS for appropriate intended purposes.

The Loved Ones of the Deceased Veterans would then approve or disapprove of the public interest organization performing ceremonies near or at the location of the deceased soldier.  The procedure is simple and straight forward, it would identify any public interest group ahead of time for permits to carry out ceremonies and whether or not they have access to any of the grounds or simply certain areas where there is no objection to their ceremony.  It would be a way of filtering out those groups that have detrimental interests to the gravesite of soldiers as identified by their families or significant other.

This isn't about anything, except, the 'acting out' of Texas Politicians looking for a 'leg up' to gain political ground.  This is not about proper policy to honor the dead, it is not about families that seek solice in Christian ceremonies, it is not about the dead and whether or not they are even Christian and it is not about separating dead soldiers from their chosen savior.  It is about making a big deal out of nothing to gain political ground.  End of discussion.

Thursday, June 30, 2011
 We have an update to the fight over saying God and Jesus at Houston National Cemetery.
Texas Congressman Ted Poe wants the head of the cemetery fired for what he calls aggressive, hostile censorship of religion. Veterans' groups and local clergy say Cemetery Director Arlene Osacio them they could not use the words God and Jesus during funerals at the cemetery.

A local pastor went to federal court so he could say Jesus Christ during a Memorial Day event at the cemetery.

Another Congressman wants action over this issue.

"It's shocking and really abhorrent to our veterans that they can't have a proper military burial and not refer to God or Jesus Christ and have the chapel at the military cemetery shut down. To me its very shocking. I think it does cry for action," said Congressman Michael McCaul…


On August 30, VA Deputy Secretary W. Scott Gould spoke at the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention in San Antonio, Texas. Among his remarks: “VA is in the business of serving Veterans, with programs and services that are the envy of the world. We are committed to staying the course for positive change at VA. And above all, we are committed to America’s Veterans —from our Greatest Generation to our latest generation.” VA photo by Lupe Hernandez.

Aug. 10, 2011, 3:53 p.m. EDT

VA and Federal Agencies Enthusiastically Open Doors for Veteran Owned Businesses (click here)

National Veterans Small Business Conference and Expo Begins

WASHINGTON, Aug 10, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- The upcoming National Veterans Small Business Conference and Expo will attract some 4,000 attendees from Veteran Owned Businesses and Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Businesses. Of 27 million small businesses in the United States, 3.6 million are veteran or service-disabled veteran-owned. These businesses employ 8.2 million people and contribute $1.6 trillion to the U.S. economy. Veterans are a values-based, motivated, and highly trained workforce ready to work and contribute to our economy.
The President has challenged the private sector to hire or train 100,000 unemployed Veterans or their spouses by the end of 2013. As the President said last Friday at the Washington Navy Yard, our small business base needs innovative and skilled workers -- like our veterans -- to grow.

Where was Perry during Irene? Begging for money.

When on elects Perry the minions that come with him are a sincere distaste to democracy.
…Barton, (click title to entry - thank you) a former head of the Texas Republican party, has faced criticism for claiming that Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders don’t deserve credit for the monumental changes in the nation's civil rights laws that took place in the 1950s and 60s. He and other conservative Texas millionaires have launched a series of campaigns to revise the state's textbooks to dispute that the Constitution provides for separation of church and state, and also to frame U.S. history in the context of ongoing clashes between Christian and Muslim civilizations.
But Barton's profile pales in comparison to that of Leininger, the state's leading social-conservative activist whose influence on Perry is legion.  Texans for Public Justice  has dubbed Leininger Perry's "Heavenly Host," outlining just how interconnected the two have been over the years, with Leininger donating $239,233 in official contributions to Perry's gubernatorial campaigns, and Perry doling out a series of government grants to Leininger's various business enterprises.
In fact, Leininger was instrumental in a last-minute financial boost that helped catapult Perry into the lieutenant governor's post in 1998, setting him up to ascend to governor when his predecessor, George W. Bush became president in 2000. Perry narrowly won that race against Democrat John Sharp, and did so only after taking out a $1.1 million loan to help fuel a last-minute media blitz. Leininger, along with two other conservative Texas businessmen, guaranteed the mega-loan.
Leininger also played a role in a scandal involving former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's (R-TX) fundraising, which was aimed at improperly meddling in Texas state politics and redistricting….

The Texan Supporters of Perry 'pay to play.'  

Mon, 8 August 2011

Rev. Barry Lynn's speech on August 5, 2011 at the Family, Faith and Freedom Rally at Mt. Ararat Baptist Church in Houston, Texas.  The rally was sponsored by Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the American Civil Liberties Union in response to the prayer rally called by Texas Governor Rick Perry to launch his 2012 Presidential ambitions.

James Leininger (click here)
Paymaster of the Radical Republican Religious Right in Texas

Houston Chronicle
 Austin Bureau Staff
Sunday, September 21, 1997
"Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass.'' Psalms 37:5. - From Kinetic Concepts Inc. annual report.
Dr. James R. Leininger, a conservative and devoutly religious Republican businessman, probably is known by few Texans outside his hometown of San Antonio.
During the past decade Leininger has spent more than $1.4 million of his personal fortune to affect how Texans vote and another $3 .2 million to change how Texans think on political issues such as tort reform and private school vouchers.
Others have spent more money to affect Texas elections, but likely none has spent so much so broadly to affect both elections and Texas public policy.
Leininger, with a focus on candidates who support private school vouchers, was among the largest contributors in the 1996 elections. His political giving topped $550,000 last year, about 50 percent more than the $365,775 spent by the wealthy political action committee of the Texas Medical Association….

The Christian Conservatives can't live without their 'Big Money' donors because 'their base' is very small.  Average citizens don't have a chance against the Texas Christian Political Machine.  Why does this sound like the dynamics now amplified across the nation in the Citizen's United Decision?  Why?  Because the corrupt Robert's Court knows that if TRUE EQUITY existed in the political field of the USA, the Christian Conservatives could never achieve domination of the federal government or any other government, except, local governments.  The Citizens United decision is more of the spread of the corruption instilled during the Bush years and then people want to know where it all went "W"rong.  

To put this in perspective...

There are many small political parties across the USA.  Some have their successes, but, none have this much success because they don't have the money backers Christian Coalition does.  Why should the Christian Coalition, a small political party in the USA, have any more leverage than any other small political party?  The Citizens United decision is corrupt.