Tuesday, September 28, 2004

John Edwards is a trial lawyer.

Wow. Big News according to www thetruthabouttriallawyers com.

An awful lawyer. Jerk. Did you need know that ALL of the major corporations that control this country have actual lawyers working for them? I had know idea. A real shocker.


Now that Big Corporation has got its main man in the White House and pretty much owns Congress, they have a pig pile of ideas they would like to pass to make it easier on business. Easier to keep the prying eye of government out of their books. Easier for them not to be responsible for employees that are injured on the job. Easier for them to be off the hook when they cheat a bunch of retirees out of their pensions. Easier for them to walk away from streams they polluted and kids who have asthma because of their factory.

If you help elect old George Bush, don't forget I told you so when you need a helping hand and there isn't anyone from the government to help. And there is no way for you to get help because Congress has cracked down on "frivolous lawsuits".

Monday, September 27, 2004

Unexpected Perfection 

After considering all options for a couple of seconds Jeep and I decided to go camping this past Saturday at Jackson Washington State Park. It was the right decision. Sky was blue, weather perfect, moon blindingly bright...and no one else around to bother us! Every time we go to this park we marvel at just how no one else seems to use it. Fantastic campsites, numerous trails- and aside from a few fishermen it is always empty. I believe it may be the absence of shower facilities that discourage a lot of campers, and although staying clean is great, it's a price I'll pay for a quiet private time camping.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Monday we were shocked to here about the shooting of a security guard at the Illinois State House in Springfield. We had just visited the palatial capitol building on Sunday after having brunch with the Watts-Grade wedding party on Lake Springfield.

On Monday a shooter entered the capitol and shot an unarmed guard. When we visited the state house, the guard asked for our photo id. I didn't realize the guard was unarmed. We were able to catch a short tour through the 390 foot tall domed building. The craftsmanship involved makes it a real gem. Imported marble, wrought iron, cut crystal, painted plaster. Eye opening. A palace dedicated to democracy and the rule of law. Too bad it became a place of violence with a coward's actions.

Pics of this great building.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Join Up Today, Its The Season for the Deceasin' 

Date: Wed, 15 Sep 2004 16:08:02 -0500
From: jagnews@IUPUI.EDU
Subject: The Scary Movie and Haunted Attraction Enthusiast Group

1. The Scary Movie and Haunted Attraction Enthusiast Group

The Scary Movie and Haunted Attraction Enthuasist Group will hold its FIRST
meeting. The purpose of this club is to meet with people just like yourself,
and have a good time while watching scary movies or while going through
haunted attractions.

This meeting will be a very quick and informal meeting to see how many people
are interested. If you can't make this meeting, there will be another meeting
the following week, or you can email and get more info.

This event will take place on 9-23-04 at 3p, and will only last for about 1/2
an hour.

As the room has not been assigned yet, email scareme@iupui.edu to find out
where we meet.

What the monkey knuckles. 

Kerry is now trailing the Man in Charge.

Yikes. What are you people thinking? Holy bag balm.
Iraq is going to hell. Now that the Whitehouse is asking to move another Three Thousand Million Dollars from reconstruction to security, congressman are asking about what kind of mess the president has delivered to the nation.

"It's beyond pitiful, it's beyond embarrassing. It's now in the zone of dangerous," said Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., referring to figures showing that about 6 percent of the reconstruction money approved by Congress last year has been spent.

But Hagel said the shift in funds "does not add up in my opinion to a pretty picture, to a picture that shows that we're winning. But it does add up to this: an acknowledgment that we are in deep trouble."

Dick Lugar, another Republican, didn't have much better things to say.

A report given to the president says civil war is a likely outcome of failed Iraqi policy.

But back to the point, why do people think Bush is doing a good job on terrorism. Terrorism is up. Iraq, which is central to our terrorism policy, is failing. There are more poor people in this country than when Bush took over. More people don't have healthcare. Illegal immigrants are pouring unchecked across the Mexican border. The president can't get a transportation policy moving. His energy policy is same-old-same-old.

Why do you vote for this guy? Because you agree with the few cultural bones he throws your way. Stop them gays from ruining our marriages? Free prayer for all?

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Shamil Basayev, Heads list of Terrorists Under Forty  

Shamil Basayev, the man thought to behind the school massacre in Chechnya, has a biography highlighted in today's New York Times. It may answer some questions people have about this horrifying event.

"(Basayev)focused his rage against Russia, and, even after the deaths of his family members, often wisecracked.
"Moscow will be destroyed- not one person will be left," but he(Basayev in 1996) then leavened the threat with a punch line, "I'm just warning you so if you have any flats there you'd better sell up."

Hahahaha. A real card.

Speaking of real cards, writer/editor Morgan Jones is having a birthday today.
Happy Birthday Jones.

Friday, September 10, 2004


I am sitting here running sound in the conference center for 'an educational health forum' on Homeland Threats and the Local Response.

Its a conference in terrorism and healthcare's response. The first speaker, Ken Thompson, is a somber gentleman, but then he is the directoor of External Affairs for the National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism (MIPT), Oklahoma City.

Mr. Thompson brough back all of those 'good' memories of the Oklahoma City Bombing. I about lost it when he mentioned the story of the 'Survivor Tree', the century old American Elm tree that got hit by a flying car, and burned twice, yet survives today. And survivors of the bombing come and collect seeds each year to plant new trees.

At the end of Mr. Thompson's talk, he showed a photo of the last person identified at the Oklahoma City Bombing. That was his mother, Virginia Thompson. Virginia Thompson worked at credit union in the federal building.

I remember walking through the Cincinnati Convention Center, working a show, listening to my walkman. Hearing what I thought was a joke. Hearing the description of what was happening live, yet all around me people were going about their business not knnowing what happened. Then slowly people started to talk about it.

Looking at the MIPT site I see many good things that will help prevent terrorism in the future. And help mitigate the effects of terrorism. Information on bioterrorism and consequence management is here. Combating terrorism is covered in depth. But what I could not find was a section discussing how we can defuse the terrorists. Don't get me wrong.

You would have to be an damn fool if you believe we shouldn't go out and hunt these terrorists down. Or that we shouldn't try to root out terrorist cells. If we don't better prepare our first responders, police, and medical workers to deal with the consequences of terrorism, we haven't learned anything. But there is an important part mssing from this discussion on terrorism. Why did Timothy McVeigh bomb the Murrah Building?

Some people think they know why.
Some people are kooks.

Why do we have terrorism? Why did 9/11 happen? Why did all of those people have to die in Chechnya?

Sure, questioning the motives of terrorists strikes some as trying to fight a 'sensitive' war on terrorism. And it may appear to make their means as valid. But if we don't try and mitigate some of this anger before the terrorist strikes, we are going to get hit more often. We could spend billlions more trying to stop terrorists. We can invade countries and take away rights until we are blue in the face, but a crafty terrorist who isn't afraid to die will find a way. We can't watch everywhere at once.

There will always be an achille's heel.

We must also work to defuse tensions that feed the hatred that makes an intelligent person decide to choose the path of destruction.

An interesting site. Try the Important Dates in Terrorism. http://www.mipt.org/tacalendar.asp

Another view of OK City.

Monday, September 06, 2004

What about Indiana? 

For this Labor Day the Indianapolis Star writes that Indianapolis has fallen to near the bottom of the list for job growth in large metro areas. Indianapolis lost 6900 jobs last month. While much of the nation has enjoyed modest growth, Indy has had a decline.

You don't have to tell me. While I have a job I like, its nice to have that possibility to improve me lot. My homeowners insurance just doubled (I think my insurer thinks we soon to see a tornado in the back yard) and since raises at Indiana University are slow in coming, its good to look around. And there aint much to look at.

So instead I looked at the recent report,
The State of Working America 2004-2005
, released by the Economic Policy Institute. It doesnt paint a rosy picture of life for working Americans. Despite great productivity gains in the market, job growth has lagged. Worse real income for most Americans has continued to shrink.

* Real median family income declined 1.2% per year from 2000 to 2002, a twoyear
drop of $1,300 in 2003 dollars.
* For the average family (in the middle fifth of the income range) income dropped
by 2.2% during 2000-2002. About 80% of that decline occurred because of a
decrease in annual work hours.
* 2002 set the record for the slowest growth in nominal income growth for the
median family since 1954. Income rose only 0.5% and fell behind inflation in
2001 and 2002. The cumulative two-year real income decline for 2000-2002
reached 2.4%, the largest two-year percentage loss since 1992.

Just a few of the details you can get about the way things are going in America.

* The middle-earning group of households, defined as those with income
from half to twice the median, shrunk to 60.7% in 2002 from 68.0% in

For more of a hoot, I suggest the section on wealth. At least some people in America are doing better.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Monk Parakeets 

A couple years ago we visited Calumet City near the Illinois/Indiana border south of Chicago to see the flocks of small green parrots that have made a home there. These monk parakeets have descended from local escapees who were brought from Argentina for the American pet trade.

In a residential neighborhood of small Calumet City, the parakeets live in communal nests weighing several hundred pounds. Truly worth a visit.

This article in the NY Times talk about the monk parakeet along with other animals that do well living in the human world.


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