March 2007


My brother is in the Army National Guard and I hope no President ever uses him for a prop for their photo-ops.

—Freckles

(from Crooks and Liars)

Generals To Bush: “Soldiers Not Props”

I have all sorts of snarky things to say about this, mostly on the plane that all soldiers have ever been to Bush are props, but I think these pictures say it better:

bush-soldiers.jpg bushteleconferencewire.jpg

Chicago Tribune (thanks to all the C&Lers who sent this link)

A trio of retired generals concerned that President Bush might use his scheduled appearance this afternoon at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center to try and score political points against Democrats, urged the president, via a teleconference with reporters, to focus strictly on the problems with military medical care.

The generals were spurred into action by news reports that suggested the president might use the event to take on Democrats as both sides clash over the Iraq and Afghanistan spending bills just passed by the Senate and House which include timelines Bush fiercely opposes for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq.

Some of the pointiest of comments came from retired Army Major Gen. Paul Eaton [..]:

I’m equally happy, Gen. Garde is on target, that the president is going to visit our wounded soldiers. I’m convinced that he would honor them more if he would refrain from using soldiers as props in political theater.

We have a commander-in-chief who does very well when he is unscripted, unrehearsed and engaging with soldiers. But too often those who handle his performances try to turn the American fighting man and woman into a political prop for the scenery.

So I would be very happy to see him do the Water Reed visit more like the commander and secondarily as an inspector general instead of as a politician. The inspector general in the U.S. army is the fellow charged with ferreting out problems such as Walter Reed and delivering the nature of the problem to the commander. So it is best that the commander in chief pursue this visit to Walter Reed as commander in fact of the American fighting man and the American fighting woman.

All I can say to Gen. Eaton: Well done, sir.

President Bush eating with soldiers

President Bush with wounded soldiers

President Bush with soldiers

Is this what the Bush administration considers SUPPORTING THE TROOPS??? This is a horrible thing and they should be ashamed of themselves taking advantage of wounded soldiers and lying to them.

My brother is in the National Guard and I hope that he and his friends read all papers really careful before they sign anything.

The Nation Logo


How Specialist Town Lost His Benefits

by JOSHUA KORS

[from the April 9, 2007 issue]

Jon Town has spent the last few years fighting two battles, one against his body, the other against the US Army. Both began in October 2004 in Ramadi, Iraq. He was standing in the doorway of his battalion’s headquarters when a 107-millimeter rocket struck two feet above his head. The impact punched a piano-sized hole in the concrete facade, sparked a huge fireball and tossed the 25-year-old Army specialist to the floor, where he lay blacked out among the rubble.

“The next thing I remember is waking up on the ground.” Men from his unit had gathered around his body and were screaming his name. “They started shaking me. But I was numb all over,” he says. “And it’s weird because… because for a few minutes you feel like you’re not really there. I could see them, but I couldn’t hear them. I couldn’t hear anything. I started shaking because I thought I was dead.”

Eventually the rocket shrapnel was removed from Town’s neck and his ears stopped leaking blood. But his hearing never really recovered, and in many ways, neither has his life. A soldier honored twelve times during his seven years in uniform, Town has spent the last three struggling with deafness, memory failure and depression. By September 2006 he and the Army agreed he was no longer combat-ready.

But instead of sending Town to a medical board and discharging him because of his injuries, doctors at Fort Carson, Colorado, did something strange: They claimed Town’s wounds were actually caused by a “personality disorder.” Town was then booted from the Army and told that under a personality disorder discharge, he would never receive disability or medical benefits.

Town is not alone. A six-month investigation has uncovered multiple cases in which soldiers wounded in Iraq are suspiciously diagnosed as having a personality disorder, then prevented from collecting benefits. The conditions of their discharge have infuriated many in the military community, including the injured soldiers and their families, veterans’ rights groups, even military officials required to process these dismissals.

They say the military is purposely misdiagnosing soldiers like Town and that it’s doing so for one reason: to cheat them out of a lifetime of disability and medical benefits, thereby saving billions in expenses.

The Fine Print

In the Army’s separations manual it’s called Regulation 635-200, Chapter 5-13: “Separation Because of Personality Disorder.” It’s an alluring choice for a cash-strapped military because enacting it is quick and cheap. The Department of Veterans Affairs doesn’t have to provide medical care to soldiers dismissed with personality disorder. That’s because under Chapter 5-13, personality disorder is a pre-existing condition. The VA is only required to treat wounds sustained during service.

Soldiers discharged under 5-13 can’t collect disability pay either. To receive those benefits, a soldier must be evaluated by a medical board, which must confirm that he is wounded and that his wounds stem from combat. The process takes several months, in contrast with a 5-13 discharge, which can be wrapped up in a few days.

If a soldier dismissed under 5-13 hasn’t served out his contract, he has to give back a slice of his re-enlistment bonus as well. That amount is often larger than the soldier’s final paycheck. As a result, on the day of their discharge, many injured vets learn that they owe the Army several thousand dollars.

One military official says doctors at his base are doing more than withholding this information from wounded soldiers; they’re actually telling them the opposite: that if they go along with a 5-13, they’ll get to keep their bonus and receive disability and medical benefits. The official, who demanded anonymity, handles discharge papers at a prominent Army facility. He says the soldiers he works with know they don’t have a personality disorder. “But the doctors are telling them, this will get you out quicker, and the VA will take care of you. To stay out of Iraq, a soldier will take that in a heartbeat. What they don’t realize is, those things are lies. The soldiers, they don’t read the fine print,” he says. “They don’t know to ask for a med board. They’re taking the word of the doctors. Then they sit down with me and find out what a 5-13 really means–they’re shocked.”

Russell Terry, founder of the Iraq War Veterans Organization (IWVO), says he’s watched this scenario play itself out many times. For more than a year, his veterans’ rights group has been receiving calls from distraught soldiers discharged under Chapter 5-13. Most, he says, say their military doctors pushed the personality disorder diagnosis, strained to prove that their problems existed before their service in Iraq and refused to acknowledge evidence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury and physical traumas, which would allow them to collect disability and medical benefits.

“These soldiers are coming home from Iraq with all kinds of problems,” Terry says. “They go to the VA for treatment, and they’re turned away. They’re told, ‘No, you have a pre-existing condition, something from childhood.'” That leap in logic boils Terry’s blood. “Everybody receives a psychological screening when they join the military. What I want to know is, if all these soldiers really did have a severe pre-existing condition, how did they get into the military in the first place?”

(more…)

Hey guys, I’m Brendon and I am going to be cross-posting here. If you would like to read some of my other posts, you can check out NKBPhoto.com. The main thing you should know about me is that I am always up for an educated debate on almost any topic.

This man is walking from California all the way to Washington DC to protest against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Check out his website.

Freckles

wtetw4.JPG

 

Walk To End The Wars

 

My name is Bill McDannell. I am a father of five and grandfather of
four. I am a Vietnam era veteran and a former pastor of the United
Methodist Church. Despite considerable evidence to the contrary, I
still firmly believe that, as a citizen of the United States of
America, I have a voice in the activities of our country, and that my
voice can be heard and can have an impact.

On Saturday, November 4th, 2006 I began to put that belief to the
test. Mindful of my constitutional right to petition my government, on
that date I left my home in Lakeside, California to begin a walk that
will end in Washington, D.C. I am carrying with me a petition I intend
to present to both the executive and legislative branches of our
government requesting that we, as a nation, declare an immediate end to
the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I am only one person, and do not pretend to have the individual
wisdom to dictate exactly what actions should take place as a result of
a declaration of the end of the wars. In fact, this is the reason I am
walking to Washington. I expect it will take me nine or ten months to
walk from California to Washington, D.C., and I believe that the
leaders who managed to figure out a way to get us into these wars in
just a few months ought to be able to figure out a way to get us out by
the time I arrive. The details of how many of our sons and daughters in
the military will be brought home and how soon they will arrive home
must be left to those more familiar with the logistics than myself, but
I certainly believe that a declaration that the wars are over must come
immediately and that, with the wars officially over, our sons and
daughters should begin to return home immediately.

The basis for my petition is quite simple. First, regarding the war
in Iraq. We the people of the United States of America have been given
several reasons why we went to war with Iraq in the first place:

1. We have been told that we went to war to liberate the people of
Iraq from the brutal regime of Saddam Hussein. We have accomplished
that. Saddam Hussein has been deposed, tried, convicted and executed.

2. We have been told that we went to war to locate and destroy
weapons of mass destruction and the capability to deliver them. We have
discovered that there were no weapons of mass destruction, neither was
there any means to deliver such weapons. (more…)

UPDATE: Michael Stettler will be interviewed on the radio on Monday 3/26/07 in the third hour of Bob Kincaid’s show on Head-On. The show is on from 6-9pm Eastern time.

This article is cross posted at Political Teen Tidbits and the Texas Mission Site.

destruction of houses in PascagoulaPascagoula, Mississippi is one of those places that’s really hard to spell. Maybe that is why FEMA and the assistance organizations are having such a hard time finding it.

Or

maybe not.

Pascagoula is the county seat for Jackson County and had 26,200 people in 2000 according to its census. Here you can find the history of the city.


Michael Stettler is currently in Pascagoula, Mississippi as a volunteer with the Jackson County Community Services Coalition.

Michael is an electrician and a congressional candidate but a lot of what he is doing in Mississippi is assessing the housing needs of the clients Jim Yancey sees at Jackson County Community Services Coalition.

mold and damage in a house in PascagoulaMichael (or Stetty) is working and living in an old school gym that is still set up as a shelter 19 months after Hurricane Katrina hit, but he is driving to houses all over Jackson County that are still not fixed up. He is helping to see what they need, and then other people help get it installed. There are also lots of volunteers and college students on Spring Break that help with the construction.

Some homeowners got some money from FEMA but they got ripped off by contractors and roofers. Some families have not gotten any money or not nearly enough money. Stetty reports that although 95% of homeowners have at least had their assessment done, he hasn’t seen any houses that are completely fixed from the hurricane’s wind and water. He has met many people whose houses still smell terrible from water damage and mold, and no one has cleaned up the mold or put in new carpets or floors.

Look at this map of Pascagoula.

Google Map Of Pascagoula

The oval looking white area is where thousands and thousands of people displaced by Hurricane Katrina a year and a half ago still live in very unsafe trailer park. All of the blue squares are where people still have tarps instead of real roof for their houses.

More pix here (click to enlarge):

pascagoula03.jpg  pascagoula05.jpg  pascagoula07.jpg

Please write to all of your representatives and senators in Washington and tell them that we can’t let Americans keep on living like this. It is unAmerican!

Trailer park in Pascagoula

administration sour 16 bracket

cp.gif

Wariness

heck of a job

flight suit

congressional oversight

Tigger bouncingI wrote about dress codes when I first started this blog. Here’s that entry. (Also a different post asking if liberals and conservatives dress differently.) But THIS story takes the cake. Do you think that public schools should have a dress code? If so, how strict can it be?

—Freckles


School sued over girl’s socks

A seventh-grader might end up in court for wearing Winnie the Pooh socks to school.

Toni Kay Scott, 14, was sent to an in-school suspension program called Students With Attitude Problems last year for violating a dress code, according to a lawsuit against the Napa Valley Unified School District and Redwood Middle School.

She had donned socks with the Tigger character from the Winnie the Pooh cartoons on them, along with a denim skirt and a brown shirt with a pink border.

But the school’s policy requires students to wear clothes with solid colors in blue, white, green, yellow, khaki, gray, brown and black. Permitted fabrics are cotton twill, corduroy and chino. No denim is allowed.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in Napa County Superior Court by The American Civil Liberties Union and a law firm on the girl’s behalf, alleges that the dress code is unconstitutionally vague and too restrictive.

“We should be able to show everyone who we are and have a way to express ourselves, as long as we aren’t showing off things that shouldn’t be shown off at school,” the teenager said in a statement.

The lawsuit said the policy goes too far and forces aesthetic conformity in the name of safety. The rules violate the California Education Code, said plaintiffs’ attorney Sharon O’Grady.

A telephone message left Tuesday at Redwood Middle School was not immediately returned.

Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.

middle school kids

I don’t know how much I agree with this one, but I think it’s really interesting to look at.

politics religion stupidity venn diagram

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PLEASE don’t tell my social studies teacher, but I don’t understand ALL of this graph.  But I do understand enough to know that “conventional wisdom” is lying to us.

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This is the National Guard’s newest replacement for the humvee, since they’re running out of those. On the other hand, I think it gets way better gas mileage than the humvee. But there may be some other problems. Hmmmm……..



Freckles

 

So is McCain ignorant? Or a wuss?

McCain Stumbles on H.I.V. Prevention

McCainSenator John McCain at a town hall meeting today. (Photo: Greg Brown/Associated Press)

SOMEWHERE in NORTHERN IOWA — The unthinkable has happened. Senator John McCain met a question, while sitting with reporters on his bus as it rumbled through Iowa today, that he couldn’t – or perhaps wouldn’t – answer.

Did he support the distribution of taxpayer-subsidized condoms in Africa to fight the transmission of H.I.V.?

What followed was a long series of awkward pauses, glances up to the ceiling and the image of one of Mr. McCain’s aides, standing off to the back, urgently motioning his press secretary to come to Mr. McCain’s side.

The upshot was that Mr. McCain said he did not know this subject well, did not know his position on it, and relied on the advice of Senator Tom Coburn, a physician and Republican from Oklahoma.

His press secretary, Brian Jones, later reported that Mr. McCain had a record of voting against using government money to finance the distribution of condoms.

All this took place on the second day of the reprise of the “Straight Talk Express” bus trips that Mr. McCain made a central part of his campaign in 2000. It also comes as Mr. McCain has eagerly been trying to ease strains with social conservatives in the party who, for the most part, do not support using government money to pay for condoms.

A transcript of the encounter follows. (Weaver is John Weaver, his senior adviser, and Brian is Mr. Jones, his press secretary):

Reporter: “Should U.S. taxpayer money go to places like Africa to fund contraception to prevent AIDS?”

Mr. McCain: “Well I think it’s a combination. The guy I really respect on this is Dr. Coburn. He believes – and I was just reading the thing he wrote– that you should do what you can to encourage abstinence where there is going to be sexual activity. Where that doesn’t succeed, than he thinks that we should employ contraceptives as well. But I agree with him that the first priority is on abstinence. I look to people like Dr. Coburn. I’m not very wise on it.”

(Mr. McCain turns to take a question on Iraq, but a moment later looks back to the reporter who asked him about AIDS.)

Mr. McCain: “I haven’t thought about it. Before I give you an answer, let me think about. Let me think about it a little bit because I never got a question about it before. I don’t know if I would use taxpayers’ money for it.”

Q: “What about grants for sex education in the United States? Should they include instructions about using contraceptives? Or should it be Bush’s policy, which is just abstinence?”

Mr. McCain: (Long pause) “Ahhh. I think I support the president’s policy.”

Q: “So no contraception, no counseling on contraception. Just abstinence. Do you think contraceptives help stop the spread of HIV?”

Mr. McCain: (Long pause) “You’ve stumped me.”

Q: “I mean, I think you’d probably agree it probably does help stop it?”

Mr. McCain: (Laughs) “Are we on the Straight Talk express? I’m not informed enough on it. Let me find out. You know, I’m sure I’ve taken a position on it on the past. I have to find out what my position was. Brian, would you find out what my position is on contraception – I’m sure I’m opposed to government spending on it, I’m sure I support the president’s policies on it.”

Q: “But you would agree that condoms do stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Would you say: ‘No, we’re not going to distribute them,’ knowing that?”

Mr. McCain: (Twelve-second pause) “Get me Coburn’s thing, ask Weaver to get me Coburn’s paper that he just gave me in the last couple of days. I’ve never gotten into these issues before.”

This went on for a few more moments until a reporter from the Chicago Tribune broke in and asked Mr. McCain about the weight of a pig that he saw at the Iowa State Fair last year.

Yeay me!

Blogmad #1 March 16 2007

Frog Princess DisneyI am really glad that Disney has decided to have a black princess, but will she be allowed to rescue someone else and be strong like Pocahontas, or will she be like the white princesses and wait for a prince to rescue her?

Minnie Mouse princessdisney princesses

Also, why isn’t she called an African-American Princess? Why Black?

Disney introduces its first black princess

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana
(AP) — The Walt Disney Co. has started production on an animated musical fairy tale called “The Frog Princess,” which will be set in New Orleans and feature the Walt Disney Studio’s first black princess.

The company unveiled the plans at its annual shareholders’ meeting in New Orleans.

John Lasseter, chief creative officer for Disney and the Disney-owned unit Pixar Animation Studios, said the movie would return to the classic hand-drawn animation process, instead of using computer animation that has become the industry standard. He called the film “an American fairy tale.”

“The film’s New Orleans setting and strong princess character give the film lots of excitement and texture,” Walt Disney Studios Chairman Dick Cook said.

The movie will be scored by Randy Newman, who also wrote the music for Disney’s “Toy Story,” “A Bug’s Life,” “Toy Story 2,” “Monsters, Inc.” and “Cars.”

Newman performed a song from the score for the shareholders.

John Musker and Ron Clements, who co-directed “The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin,” and “Hercules” will co-direct the movie. The pair also wrote the story for the film.

Disney said its new animated princess — Maddy — will be added to its collection of animated princesses used at the company’s theme parks and on consumer products.

The film is set for release in 2009.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
vert.disney.ap.jpg
Randy Newman and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band
perform a song from the upcoming movie
“The Frog Princess.”

 
 
 

 
Find this article at:http://www.cnn.com/2007/SHOWBIZ/Movies/03/15/disney.newprincess.ap/index.html


This is not about politics. — I want a puppy!!!!!!


kennel puppy Puppy Ozzy

Back to politics tomorrow.

—-Freckles

 

If Austin can do it, then so can other cities!

—Freckles

wind turbines   house with solar panels in austin, tx  solar panels in Austin, TX

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Austin considered nation’s top city for clean energy

City gets high marks for enviro-friendly initiatives


WEST COAST BUREAU
Monday, March 12, 2007

LAS VEGAS — In the 1970s and 1980s, cities across America bet their economic futures on recruiting banks, insurance companies and other white-collar employers to replace factory and farm jobs.

In the 1990s, it was the computer industry. Then came biotech firms. The latest rage in economic development is “clean energy” companies that do everything from building windmills and solar panels to turning cow manure into fuel.

“This is bigger” than previous growth industries, said Lara Valentine, who was hired by the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce to lure clean energy companies to the Texas capital. “Everything we do in this world revolves around energy.”

Austin, which became a hub for high tech during the computing revolution, is fast gaining recognition as a nationwide leader in clean energy and other clean technology ventures.

“Austin right now is the leading city in America” when it comes to energy efficiency and renewable energy efforts, said Michael Eckhart, president of the American Council on Renewable Energy, which promotes the industry.

Austin’s Clean Energy Incubator, a joint effort involving the city, Austin Energy and the University of Texas, is the first of its kind and has garnered national accolades. Started in 2001, the center helps clean energy ventures find funding and get their ideas to market.

About 18 companies have gotten a start in the program, including businesses that make biodiesel fuel, turn waste tires into electricity, make more efficient turbines and use the Internet to reduce irrigation needs.

The city’s Climate Protection Plan, a pet project of Mayor Will Wynn, is considered among the most forward-thinking municipal programs in the country.

The plan, which officials passed last month, calls for all city buildings to be powered 100 percent by renewable energy by 2012 and for the entire fleet of city vehicles to run on either electricity or nonpetroleum fuels by 2020. It also could make Austin building codes the most energy-efficient in the nation.

City-owned Austin Energy is becoming known nationally for its clean energy efforts.

The utility plans to get 20 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2020, and Wynn’s office has said he would not support a traditional pulverized coal plant if a new generating facility is needed.

Austin Energy’s Green Choice program, which lets customers choose whether they want to get their energy solely from renewable sources such as wind and solar power, claims to be the nation’s biggest and has been so successful that there’s a backlog of customers who want to join.

More recently, Austin Energy announced that it would open up its power grid to clean energy companies from across the country looking for a place to test new technologies. Besides providing new sources of clean energy for Austin Energy, the program could help recruit more clean energy companies to the city.

Last month, SustainLane Government, a group that tracks sustainable living programs in U.S. cities, named Austin the nation’s No. 1 city for clean technology.

Balcones Recycling Inc. last week disclosed plans for another clean energy first for the city.

The Austin-based company said it plans to build a 125-acre Environomics Park northeast of downtown to recruit similar clean tech companies from around the globe. Balcones eventually wants to build a plant at the site to make alternative fuel pellets from recycled paper, similar to another plant it operates in Arkansas.

The city’s leadership role in clean energy is starting to pay off by attracting new companies to the area.

Among them: DT Solar, which last month picked Austin for its Southwest headquarters, which will probably create about 25 jobs. DT Solar, which is backed by media mogul Ted Turner, develops solar energy plants.

But Austin isn’t alone.

One year ago at the annual Power-Gen renewable energy conference in Las Vegas, Austin was the only city trying to recruit clean tech and clean energy companies, Valentine said.

Last week, economic development officials from New York, Washington, Oregon, the United Kingdom, Germany and elsewhere also had booths.

“Clean tech . . . is the next big thing,” Oregon economic development liaison Glenn Montgomery said.

This month, German solar cell company Solarworld AG said it had picked Hillsboro, Ore., for a plant that will employ at least 1,000 workers.

Other states are getting into the clean energy act, too.

Florida officials last month awarded the first of $15 million in renewable technology grants for clean tech ventures. Among the winners were projects to promote solar energy use, to make ethanol from citrus and sugar cane waste and to replace natural gas in factories with gas from switch grass and other plant materials. Gov. Charlie Crist recently recommended a $68 million spending package on other ways to encourage alternative energy businesses.

California, the leader in solar energy and other alternative energy use, is investing heavily too. Late last year, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed a $95 million package to support research, and this year, he launched an unprecedented solar power initiative.

In a major coup, the state and the University of California at Berkeley in February landed a $500 million clean energy research program funded by petroleum industry giant BP.

Whenever a new solar power company comes to town, whenever an ethanol refinery opens up, whenever a new wind turbine operation starts spinning, it creates jobs, Eckhart said.

Running a wind energy farm or installing solar panels doesn’t take as many workers as a factory churning out personal computers or semiconductors. And for now, clean energy initiatives are absorbing subsidies from states and cities, not creating tax revenue.

But governments are making the investment because they see the new businesses as requiring less infrastructure, polluting less and providing energy rather than consuming it.

“For every kilowatt of energy produced by renewable energy, about five jobs are created,” Valentine said.

What’s different about clean energy today is that it’s not just environmentalists talking about the benefits, Eckhart said. It “has now become a positive growth industry.”

Top cities for clean technology

1. Austin: Although cited specifically for its Clean Energy Incubator and Austin Energy’s plans to open up its grid to clean energy companies that want to test innovations, the city’s ambitious green energy plans also count.

2. San Jose, Calif.: Got good marks for its abundant venture capital sources and its major push into solar technologies.

3. Berkeley, Calif.: Could become a hotbed for biofuel research after the University of California at Berkeley landed a $500 million grant from petroleum giant BP and additional state funding to create an Energy Biosciences Institute.

4. Pasadena, Calif.: Got accolades for its Entretech high-tech development group and energy research being done at the California Institute of Technology, or Caltech.

5. Boston: Besides California, it leads the nation in clean technology venture capital investments. Programs such as the Ignite Clean Energy Competition at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology also are fostering clean energy industry growth.

Runners-up: San Francisco, New York, Seattle, San Diego and Houston.

Source: March rankings by SustainLane, which tracks sustainable living and clean technology initiatives

bkeefecoxnews.com

 
 
 


Find this article at:
http://www.statesman.com/news/content/news/stories/local/03/12/12cleantech.html

 

Also check out: GreenChoice® Energy Sources from AustinEnergy.

electronic voting machineI just got this in my mail box from VoteRescue.org, and I think it is really cool!

—Freckles

Vote


Call to Action: Print & Sign Our Petition (PDF)

Volunteer to Hand Count Paper Ballots

House Bill 3894 Introduced

VoteRescue in Austin, Texas is proud to announce the submission yesterday of HB 3894 by Texas Rep. Lon Burnam of Tarrant County, which calls for hand-counted paper ballots, and the elimination of electronic voting systems for our elections in Texas. The exception would be ballot marking machines such as Automark. Our founder, Karen Renick, had a major hand in crafting this bill.

Vote-PADS or Equalivote systems, both non-electronic voting systems, will be recommended for use with the disabled community to fulfill the Help American Vote Act mandate.

This victory follows many weeks of preparation, lobbying with the state House Committee on Elections and their legislative aides, and a multi-pronged presentation to this Committee on February 21st to argue against any bill that would add printers to electronic voting machines, (one of which was presented that day; at least two more are in the wings) and for hand-counted paper ballots.

VoteRescue presenters of that perspective at the Capitol that day, February 21st, included Karen Renick, Abbe Waldman DeLozier, Vickie Karp, Joni Ashbrook, Kathleen Wynne, Paul Alotto, Babs Warren; from Tarrant County, Texas, were Doreen Geiger and Jerry Lobdill. Laura Killins was unable to attend due to illness, but did a lot of the preparation with Joni for cost analyses between electronic voting systems and hand-counted paper ballot elections.

This presentation led to a meeting with Rep. Burnam in which he expressed alignment with our HCPB position and a willingness to help us move forward in this direction.

We believe this victory is a FIRST in the nation since the “takeover” of our elections by electronic voting system beginning around 2000 – 2002.

Thank you to all VoteRescuers and supporters for your help! We will be announcing soon a date, time and place for a celebration!

Press release to follow, which will include major points of the bill.

 

It’s been almost a year since I took US history, but I am pretty sure i remember something in there about freedom of speech.

Unless you work for the government?? Was that in there?? Can somebody check for me?? They stole the constitution pages out of my history book!

Freckles

Fish and Wildlife Service

 

“‘Don’t discuss polar bears”: memo to scientists

By Deborah Zabarenko, Environment CorrespondentThu Mar 8, 5:27 PM ET

Polar bears, sea ice and global warming are taboo subjects, at least in public, for some U.S. scientists attending meetings abroad, environmental groups and a top federal wildlife official said on Thursday.

Environmental activists called this scientific censorship, which they said was in line with the Bush administration’s history of muzzling dissent over global climate change.

But H. Dale Hall, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said this policy was a long-standing one, meant to honor international protocols for meetings where the topics of discussion are negotiated in advance.

The matter came to light in e-mails from the Fish and Wildlife Service that were distributed by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Center for Biological Diversity, both environmental groups.

Listed as a “new requirement” for foreign travelers on U.S. government business, the memo says that requests for foreign travel “involving or potentially involving climate change, sea ice, and/or polar bears” require special handling, including notice of who will be the official spokesman for the trip.

The Fish and Wildlife Service top officials need assurance that the spokesman, “the one responding to questions on these issues, particularly polar bears” understands the administration’s position on these topics.

Two accompanying memos were offered as examples of these kinds of assurance. Both included the line that the traveler “understands the administration’s position on climate change, polar bears, and sea ice and will not be speaking on or responding to these issues.”

ARE POLAR BEARS ‘THREATENED’?

Polar bears are a hot topic for the Bush administration, which decided in December to consider whether to list the white-furred behemoths as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act, because of scientific reports that the bears’ icy habitat is melting due to global warming.

Hall said a decision is expected in January 2008. A “threatened” listing would bar the government from taking any action that jeopardizes the animal’s existence, and might spur debate about tougher measures to cut the greenhouse gas emissions that spur global warming.

Hall defended the policy laid out in the memos, saying it was meant to keep scientists from straying from a set agenda at meetings in countries like Russia, Norway and Canada.

For example, he said, one meeting was about “human and polar bear interface.” Receding Arctic sea ice where polar bears live and the global climate change that likely played a role in the melting were not proper discussion topics, he said.

“That’s not a climate change discussion,” Hall said at a telephone briefing. “That’s a management, on-the-ground type discussion.”

The prohibition on talking about these subjects only applies to public, formal situations, Hall said. Private scientific discussions outside the meeting and away from media are permitted and encouraged, he said.

“This administration has a long history of censoring speech and science on global warming,” Eben Burnham-Snyder of the Natural Resources Defense Council said by telephone.

“Whenever we see an instance of the Bush administration restricting speech on global warming, it sends up a huge red flag that their commitment to the issue does not reflect their rhetoric,” Burnham-Snyder said.

 

polar bear on ice

 

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