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You know those lucky 5,700 troops stationed in Iraq who are going to win the George W. Bush Christmas Lottery 2007?  What I’d really like is for them to rise up, en masse, and tell Bush to shove it up his lying, hypocritical ass.  I wish those soldiers would refuse to leave the country prior to the end of the full term of their deployment unless all members of Bush’s “surge” are allowed to return to their lives and families in December.   That’s what I really want.

“I was a fortunate and happy man,” Pavarotti told Italian daily Corriere della Sera in an interview published about a month after the surgery. “After that, this blow arrived.”

“And now I am paying the penalty for this fortune and happiness,” he told the newspaper.

Luciano Pavarotti, 1935-2007

(Quote from AP article courtesy of AOL News. I know, I know, but they’re an old friend. A free old friend now.)

Ta ta. Off to find fortune and happiness…

WALTER REED AND BEYOND: The War Inside

A great article, courtesy of the WaPo, which means it will soon fade away into that pay archive black hole. So here it is on the Free Internet Press. Just watch you don’t get squished by that pop-up!

I’m not in the least surprised that this administration, via the Defense department, is seeking to deny mental health services to returning soldiers by claiming they had a pre-existing condition. That’s the thanks our military can expect to receive. Kind of like Vietnam in reverse. The people are warm and welcoming. This time it’s the government spitting on them. Either way, seems like a good reason to burn a flag, now, doesn’t it?

(Yes, I do advocate the burning of the American flag as a form of free expression. It is not something I have ever done and I doubt I ever will. But, by God, we deserve the right to do it if we choose! Go ahead and blast me on that one, too. I also happen to believe it’s perfectly reasonable to declare that English is the official language of the United States. So there.)

Anyway, back to the point. The young man who spearheaded the rape of a fourteen year-old girl and murder of her and her family? Yeah, that is a personality disorder. The young men and women who cannot sleep without waking in terror following their deployment? That’s PTSD. Come on. This one’s a no-brainer.

But, there’s hope on the horizon in the person of our Defense Secretary, Robert Gates. Oh, wait. He’s the one in charge of this, isn’t he?

More recent news…

Pentagon May Drop Mental Health Question

DoD press release on receipt of the task force’s report.

Study Finds 1.8 Million Veterans are Uninsured (Is that on top of the 46 million?)

Here’s the same article, forever free.

George Walker Bush

‘Nuff ranting for one night.  Let’s get back to the good stuff…

 Ah, summertime!

Sam and DaveStax Records will be making a comeback!

I heard it today on Marketplace, a business radio show on my local NPR station. You can listen to that bit here, if you like.

Stax Records started in 1957 (a might fine vintage, if this 50 year-old must say so herself), meaning 2007 marks its 50th anniversary. Stax went bankrupt in 1976, after having provided us with some of the favorite music and musicians of my formative years…Booker T. and the MG’s, Sam and Dave, The Staple Sisters, Otis Redding, Albert King, Eddie Floyd, Johnnie Taylor, Luther Ingram and Isaac Hayes (though his devotion to Scientology is disturbing to me).

This was the place where cutting edge soul music was made through the 60’s and early 70’s. Although I was then too young to be a serious consumer at the time, and, boy, do I wish I had some of those 45’s, Stax artists were the ones I most enjoyed on the radio. Remember the time before FM radio? for me, that meant WFIL in Philadelphia.

Shortly after the early seventies I discovered pot and what was then termed “hard” or “acid” rock. The memories of those wailing saxes and driving rhythms have never left and will always hold a special place in my heart, long after I gave up on Led Zeppelin.

Welcome back, Stax. Looks like everything old is new again and ain’t that just grand?

Gotta run now. I have gardening to do, now that it’s a little cooler outside.

Enjoy!

…some right-wing, right-to-life, so-called Christians can be?

Third Minnesota sextuplet dies;
others in critical condition

Have I mentioned that I have been a nurse for nearly 23 years? And that I worked 14 of those in a high-risk perinatal setting. In a hospital with a Level 3 designation, providing high-tech, high-quality obstetric care.

Here is the entire text of the brief piece, which CNN got from the AP. And I’m sure they paid the royalties to them, too.

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (AP) — Half of the sextuplets born prematurely to a Minnesota couple have now died, while the others remained in critical condition, hospital officials said Saturday.

A third boy, Lincoln Sean Morrison, died Friday. Two of his brothers, Tryg and Bennet, died earlier in the week.

The four boys and two girls were born last Sunday about 4½ months early at a Minneapolis hospital. Doctors had advised the couple to selectively reduce the number of viable fetuses to two, but they declined.

Parents Ryan and Brianna Morrison released a statement saying it has been “a difficult week” for them, and they thanked everyone for their prayers and support.

“We continue to trust in the Lord and are hopeful for a good outcome for Cadence, Lucia and Sylas,” the statement said.

Hospital officials said no further information would be released.

Can I tell you how frustrating this is for an OB nurse?

When I worked in my last life, I worked with two women with fertility problems. Actually, I worked with quite a few with fertility problems but these two stand out in my mind particularly at the moment.

Linda was in her thirties, happily married and Christian. I can’t remember all the specifics but Linda underwent fertility treatments including drugs like Pergonal and Clomid, the use of which frequently gives rise to conception of serious multiples (quads or greater). Mary was in her twenties, married, Catholic and Italian. I have no idea of her fertility treatment but she conceived quads.

Linda was initially pregnant with four babies, selectively aborted one and carried three babies to over 35 weeks gestation before delivering them, all in the vicinity of five pounds. None of them needed assistance with breathing. They all fed. They may have had a few bumps but, pretty much, were as near a term pregnancy as any triplets are likely to get.

Mary, being from a staunch Catholic upbringing, opted not to selectively terminate and tried to bring her quads to term. I believe they delivered in the vicinity of 33 to 34 weeks, considerably earlier and lighter than Linda’s triplets. Mary required much intervention during her pregnancy, developing preterm labor necessitating medications. Some of those PTL meds are not the kindest or best things for even a relatively healthy, childbearing age woman.

I don’t think any of Mary’s babies was able to leave the hospital with her. If I remember correctly, they all required feeding tubes. Some of them may have had assisted ventilation (probably with nasal C-pap.) I think at least two of Linda’s three went home with Mom…it might have been all three.

I had the pleasure of taking care of Linda in the last few weeks of her pregnancy, when she was confined to the hospital. I also took care of her afterward and helped her to learn to breastfeed. Those are some of the fondest memories I have of my years as an OB nurse.

I never had to deal with Mary when she was hospitalized, thankfully. She was one of those nurses who claimed a moral and religious objection to caring for women during elective terminations. Frankly, I always thought she was just lazy and not really so morally offended, more of a selective Catholic, but that’s an even snarkier post for a really snarky day.

If the Minnesota couple had chosen to reduce the number of fetuses in the pregnancy to three, they might all have left with Mom. Had they reduced the number of babies to four, they would all probably still be alive.

As it stands, they delivered six babies at roughly 22 weeks. A 22-week singleton stands, at best, a 50-50 shot, in my estimation. And that’s a 22-weeker that didn’t have to spend those weeks sharing his environment with five siblings.

As it is, the six babies have required a tremendous amount of health care resources. I’m sure not one was able to breathe on his or her own at birth meaning 6 full teams of neonatal nurses, doctors and respiratory therapists needed to be present. Every effort is made to save any neonate, regardless of gestational age, after the point of potential viability (around 22 weeks when I left OB in 2001).

The three boys who’ve died were each treated by a team of those professionals along with all the ancillary departments necessary for a very sick infant. The three surviving babies, I’m sure, remain in a neonatal intensive care unit, fully ventilated, unable to eat, unable to see yet. Totally unprepared for survival in the environment into which they’ve been thrust.

I don’t begrudge them the medical care, which will run into millions of dollars if many more survive. God bless them that they were able to provide care for their children. I begrudge their parents’ complete lack of foresight via blind devotion to a religious ideology. It is my opinion their ideology is flawed, is too literal and basic and lacks any sense of nuance. I’m of the opinion that four of those babies might be alive today had two of them been selectively terminated early in the pregnancy.

Imagine that…abortion might have saved the life of a child that is now dead.

Theirs is a black and white world. Too bad most of the world comes at us in lovely and varied shades of grey.

What a waste.

Oh, I’ll link it up later…I’ve got a bath waiting…

Jeffrey Marsalis, sexual assaulterI was sitting in my local diner this afternoon, eating breakfast and reading my paper. The first story to draw my attention was that about the verdict in a Philadelphia rape case involving one Jeffrey Marsalis. I’ll post the whole article here, since it will disappear into archives in a week or so. If Philly Inq lawyers read this, I’m doing this for the purposes of education and elucidation.

No rape on dates, hoaxer’s jury says

It convicted Jeffrey Marsalis, 34, of two counts of sexual assault. Seven women had accused him.

By Robert Moran

Inquirer Staff Writer

A Philadelphia jury yesterday found Jeffrey Marsalis – accused of drugging and raping seven women, six of whom he met on Match.com – guilty of two counts of sexual assault but acquitted him of a slew of rape charges involving all the accusers. The jurors failed to reach a verdict on one rape count against Marsalis, who pretended to be a doctor, a CIA agent and an astronaut to persuade women to date him.

Marsalis, 34, faces up to 20 years in prison for the two counts of sexual assault, defined as intercourse without consent. Rape includes aggravating factors such as force.

Marsalis will remain held without bail until sentencing Sept. 18. He also faces a drugging and rape case in Idaho.

Prosecutor Joseph Khan said a federal investigation of Marsalis continued, and urged anyone with information about other possible crimes to contact the FBI at 215-418-4000.

One of the accusers threw up after learning about the verdict and “felt like someone kicked me in the gut,” the woman said in an interview.

“I feel like the Goldmans,” she said, referring to the family of Ron Goldman, whom O.J. Simpson was found not guilty of murdering.

The jury informed the court that it had reached a verdict after 11/2 hours of deliberation yesterday. It was the fifth day of deliberations, which on Monday had erupted into angry shouting.

Shortly after 1 p.m., the jury foreman was read a list of 35 counts, including 25 rape counts, such as forcible rape, rape of an unconscious person, and rape by substantial impairment.

When the foreman announced the first “not guilty,” Marsalis, dressed in an olive-green suit, looked up. After the third “not guilty,” he began to blink rapidly. But when the foreman announced the first “guilty” for sexual assault, Marsalis gulped.

One of the accusers gazed down with a sad expression when Marsalis was found not guilty of everything involving her. The woman, a lawyer, later sobbed quietly as the jury’s decision was repeated.

One juror, a young man, repeatedly looked at the woman and seemed distressed. The jury was composed of eight women and four men.

Afterward, jurors declined to comment as they rushed from the Criminal Justice Center near City Hall.

The sexual-assault counts involved a New Jersey woman and a woman who lived in Marsalis’ Center City apartment building. It wasn’t clear why the jurors had determined that those women were sexually assaulted rather than raped, or why they believed those two but not the other women.

In those cases, the circumstances differed wildly. One woman had only one contact – a phone call – with Marsalis after the alleged rape. The second woman befriended Marsalis after an alleged rape, and said he had raped her again several months later – the basis for the sexual-assault conviction.

“This is a 100 percent victory,” defense attorney Kathleen Martin said outside the courthouse, answering questions with cocounsel Kevin Hexstall before a media throng.

Martin said the jury had rejected the prosecution’s theory that Marsalis was a sexual predator who sought vulnerable woman and then drugged and raped them.

Hexstall said the convictions involved lesser charges that the District Attorney’s Office almost always threw into a case if rape charges didn’t hold up. “I think he was wrongly convicted, but I respect the jury’s decision,” Hexstall said.

Martin said Marsalis “was pleased with the jury’s hard work.”

Khan said the prosecution was “pleased that the jury recognized that Mr. Marsalis is a criminal, a sexual offender.”

He praised the seven accusers for “courageously” coming forward to testify.

Each count of sexual assault carries a maximum of 10 years in state prison, Khan said. Marsalis will be assessed to determine whether he is a sexually violent predator and will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

The jury began deliberating Thursday after 21/2 weeks of testimony highlighted by the appearances of the seven women, who accused Marsalis of drugging and raping them between 2003 and 2005.

At that time, the women were young professionals or obtaining advanced degrees or certifications.

One was a resident in the Metropolitan apartments near Hahnemann University Hospital, where Marsalis frequently roamed the halls in scrubs and a white lab coat with a phony ID.

Hexstall said the prosecution had employed “character assassination” by dwelling on the phony claims, the fake badges and manipulated photos, including one of Marsalis in an astronaut suit, “in order to get the jury to hate him.”

The women did not immediately report the alleged rapes or go to a hospital to be examined, but all did confide to someone later that they had been raped.

Those corroborating witnesses and the similar accounts provided by the women, who did not know one another, were the key elements of the prosecution.

But the women’s continued contacts with Marsalis – one befriended him, another had dinner with him, one called to recommend he go to a self-improvement seminar she was attending – had some trial followers believing the defense’s contention that the women had consensual sex with him and regretted it after authorities told them that he was a fraud.

An official of Women Organized Against Rape, which monitored the trial, said she was pleased that the jury had held Marsalis “accountable for his actions,” but was disappointed it had acquitted him of the most serious charges.

“We had hoped that he would be found guilty of all the charges,” said Kathryn Fidler, the group’s legal services director, who was in court each day of the trial.

“But our primary focus was, first and foremost, on the well-being of the victims in the case,” she said. “It is very difficult to come into an open courtroom and have to talk about the worst experiences of your life. We really respect the women for doing that.”

Marsalis was found not guilty in January 2006 of drugging and raping three other women.

Okay.

So this man meets accomplished professional women over Match.com and gets together with them. He lies about everything in his life, claiming to be a doctor, a CIA agent, a Secret Service agent with direct access to the current president of the United States (as if that’s impressive!), a flight surgeon, an astronaut.

Here is a list of what he was then accused of doing to the women:

A summary of the charges against Jeffrey Marsalis

Prosecutors had contended that Jeffrey Marsalis drugged and raped the seven plaintiffs after they had drinks with him or shared food with him. In most cases, the women had left their drinks with Marsalis when they went to the restroom. The defense argued that the women consented to sex after drinking heavily and there was no evidence of drugging.

Jurors considered three definitions of rape in most cases: rape by forcible compulsion, rape of an unconscious victim and rape by causing substantial impairment.

*** Woman No. 1: Nov 30, of New Jersey. Drank a few beer samplers, then one or two beers at the Independence Brew Pub in January 2003.

– Not guilty on the three counts of rape.

– Guilty on sexual assault.

***No. 2: Now 26, met Marsalis in the Metropolitan Apartments, where both lived.

1) October 2003: She went out with him to Fado pub. Had about two gin and tonics.

– Not guilty on the three counts of rape.

– Not guilty on sexual assault.

2) January 2004: Marsalis came to her apartment after she got out of the hospital. No drinks. The woman testified that he forced himself on her. In this case, prosecutors did not contend she was first drugged.

– Jury hung on a charge of rape by forcible compulsion

– Guilty on sexual assault.

*** No. 3: Lived in Bethlehem, Pa. Was 26 when Marsalis allegedly got her pregnant. Testified she had about half a glass of red wine at a restaurant. At her condo, Marsalis later poured her another glass of red wine, of which she drank some.

After she told him she was pregnant and wanted him to pay to end the pregnancy, she said he threatened her with his “CIA connections” if she were to report anything to police.

– Not guilty on the three counts rape

– Not guilty sexual assault

– Not guilty of impersonating a public servant

*** No. 4: Single mother and nurse from New Jersey, now 36. Testified that she had three glasses of merlot and a kamikaze shot with Marsalis at Tir Na Nog on Nov. 12, 2004.

– Not guilty on three counts of rape

– Not guilty on sexual assault

*** No. 5: Now 32, was a law-school student when she met Marsalis on Dec. 30, 2004. She had three beers at Fado. After, at Tir Na Nog, she had ordered a white wine, but didn’t remember drinking it. She recalled parts of her night with Marsalis.

– Not guilty on three counts of rape

– Not guilty on sexual assault

*** No. 6: now 36, of Exeter, Pa., spent a weekend in Marsalis’ apartment, in June 2004. On the first night, they went to Tir Na Nog, where she had two beers and a mixed-drink shot. She said she blacked out. The next day, she said she drank iced tea in Marsalis’ apartment, and sometime after having lunch with him, blacked out again.

– Not guilty on three counts of rape

– Not guilty on sexual assault

*** No. 7: Now 30, public accountant, lived in Downingtown, had medical problems that affected her memory, concentration and word fluency.

1) Feb. 26, 2005: She had one draft beer each at World Cafe Live and later at Continental Midtown. Afterward, they went to Striped Bass, where Marsalis ordered them each a glass of white wine. She said she had a few sips. The only time she testified going to the restroom was at Striped Bass. Shortly after, she said she blacked out.

– Not guilty on three counts of rape

– Not guilty on sexual assault

2) March 1, 2005: She said she agreed to meet Marsalis again. She wanted to confront him with having raped her on their first date, she testified. They went to a Chinatown restaurant, where Marsalis served them food from platters and she had a Coke. She did not go to the restroom.

– Not guilty on three counts of rape

– Not guilty on sexual assault.

Is it possible, I suppose, that these women had consensual sex with Marsalis and later pressed their claims due to embarrassment at having been duped by this asshole. That was the contention of his defense team, though, perhaps, not in those exact words.

I suppose it’s possible that these women, who did not know each other, came up, independently, with scenarios that are remarkably similar in modus operandi.

I imagine it’s possible that other women…

(“Marsalis was found not guilty in January 2006 of drugging and raping three other women.”)

in Philadelphia, or even in another state,…

(“If he is found not guilty, he faces another drugging and rape case in Sun Valley, Idaho. He is alleged to have assaulted a woman in October 2005 while he was awaiting trial here in a similar drugging and rape case. He was later found not guilty in the previous Philadelphia case.

While in the ski-resort town of Sun Valley, he joined the local fire department as a probationary firefighter in the summer of 2005, said Fire Chief Jeffrey Carnes. Marsalis’ mother, Darlene Jevne, owns several condominiums in Sun Valley and a nearby 400-acre ranch.

“He said he was going to be living here,” Carnes recalled.

At that time, he was out on bail in Philadelphia.

“He disappeared shortly after August,” said Carnes.

Marsalis remained in Sun Valley until he was arrested in the alleged rape there and then returned to Philadelphia to face rape charges here.”)

have had the same unfortunate type of encounter with this man. I guess there is some possibility that the Idaho woman could have had the same regrets about having fallen for his bullshit and chosen to falsely accuse him in that case, as well.

I suppose it’s also possible that it may snow overnight here in suburban Philly on June 14th or that Bill Clinton will really be able to keep it zipped for 4-8 years if Hillary manages to get into the White House. Feel free to insert whatever definition of “it” you like.

I am sitting here in my 62-degree F apartment in ski socks, fuzzy slippers, Polartec sweats and a velour sweater on June 14th, after all.

Possible.

Not likely.

But here’s what I really don’t get.

“Marsalis, 34, faces up to 20 years in prison for the two counts of sexual assault, defined as intercourse without consent. Rape includes aggravating factors such as force.”

According to this passage, the law in Pennsylvania defines “rape” as involving some sort of aggravating factor, such as force. Since when is drugging someone to the point of rendering them incapable of giving consent not “force?” I know that the verdict was more about believing the defense attorneys’ contention that there was no drugging and that the women merely later regretted an incredible lapse of judgment in having consented to fuck the loser. I simply don’t understand how a reporter could not come to the conclusion that doping does not constitute the use of “force.”

In my browsing this afternoon, I happened upon the definition of “rape” at the website of a district justice in Chester County. (Another thing I don’t get is the whole “District Justice” thing in PA, or judges running for the office at all, but that’s a whole ‘nother post.) That website was the closest I could come to finding the criminal code of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania online, despite the name of this site. What’s up with that? Do I not, as a resident of PA, have the right to ready access to the laws governing the commonwealth in which I live? Where’s that ACLU phone number again?…

I don’t understand the tendency of our species to perpetually denigrate the female. Women in some Muslim countries are not allowed to attend school, read books, drive cars or leave the house without head-to-toe coverage or male escort. Women here in America may be lied to and deceived, drugged and sexually penetrated without significant penalty, without calling it what it is, without defining it as “rape?” Somebody please remind me how these things benefit the species from an evolutionary standpoint? How, again, does this make sense?

I suppose a world of mutual love and respect is possible.

But not likely.

(Another tidbit I offer for your perusal is a stunning letter from the Women’s Law Project to then-FBI director Robert Mueller about the definition of “rape” in the Uniform Crime Report.)

Oh, one more thing I can’t understand is how any woman could represent this man but; as a woman, a feminist, a Christian, a mother and grandmother, a liberal/progressive/libertarian/borderline socialist; I respect and defend Kathleen Martin’s right to make her own mistakes.

I listened to NPR‘s Weekend Edition on Saturday morning as part of my usual wake-up routine before work. It was then I learned about the devastating tornado that struck the town of Greensburg, Kansas, sweeping overhead as the 1800-plus residents (according to the town’s website/1,500 according to the AP) sat huddled in small spaces in their basements Friday night.

The town was flattened. Nearly every building in town. Gone.

I traveled through Kansas a couple of years ago on a 7,000 mile road trip. I drove west along Route 400, across the bottom of the state, a little north of the Oklahoma state line. Kansas still stands out in my mind as one the most inhospitable climates I’ve ever visited. Everywhere I looked was a vast expanse of hot, dry, brown earth. Little broke up the horizon. It was July when I visited and the nation’s mid-section was in the middle of a serious heat wave (over 100 degrees F for that part of my trip). I couldn’t get out of Kansas too soon.

I had planned my trip, in part, based on attractions I’d discovered on Roadside America. It’s amazing, some of the things you can see in America. The world’s largest ball of twine. Trees with thousands of cast-off shoes hanging from their branches. Stone monoliths created by hermits or monks. Fields of 6-foot tall cement ears of corn. Buildings shaped like baskets, hot dogs, donuts.

There wasn’t a whole lot to be seen in Kansas and I really hadn’t planned on stopping anywhere once I decided the ball of twine was too far off my route. But I had printed out a couple of items from Roadside America’s website in case I decided to stop and gape. As it turned out, I had time enough to stop by the world’s largest hand-dug well. It happened to have been dug in Greensburg, Kansas. (The fate of the Big Well is as yet unknown as it is completely covered in debris from the storm.)

A small town in the middle of America. A quiet, tree-lined main street with a gas station, school, restaurants and shops. The silos of a giant grain elevator one short block off the main street. Children. Families. Churches. Friendly people.

I didn’t stop to eat in Greensburg. Now I wish I had but it was mid-afternoon and I meant to make Colorado that evening. I stopped and gawked down into the hand-dug well, though. I admired the 1,000 pound pallasite meteorite in the Big Well gift shop, the largest of its kind ever unearthed. I chatted with the girl at the counter in the shop and with a mother/daughter who stopped in. I bought a bottle of Big Well water and a Big Well toothpick holder (which I still keep in my car). I filled up at the gas station and headed out.

Greensburg struck me, though. I’ve always remembered it vividly. I was struck by the friendliness of the people, the flatness of the land, the importance of the basics in daily life. I remember the feel of old-town middle America in the town; small town life, the heartland.

I listened to an interview with a survivor of the tornado on Day to Day on NPR this afternoon. He talked about huddling in his basement with his family, riding out the F-5 tornado. He talked about staying and rebuilding. He said the entire town was flattened except for a small area on the east edge of town near the golf course. You can see from news photos that the grain elevator survived.

Greensburg, KS

07tornado-600.jpg

Later in the day, before I headed out to the garden and creek bank preservation / stabilization work, I listened to All Things Considered as Michelle Norris interviewed Dennis McKinney, who road out the tornado in a bathtub in his basement with his 14 year-old daughter. Mr. McKinney happens to be a representative in the Kansas state legislature. I strongly encourage you to take a listen to that one. It’s heart-rending.

I don’t know what the point of this post is, really. The devastation of nature, the resilience of humans, the vagaries of fate. I suppose it’s mostly about memories and small-town life and community and my longing for that.

I am sorry that the Greensburg I visited two years ago is no more and thankful that only nine of the 1,800 (1,500) residents succumbed to the storm (so far). I am grateful that they found a survivor last night. I wish them luck, love and all the good wishes, positive vibes and prayers I can spare for them.

This is the America I admire. God bless Sweetwater, OK, Greensburg, KS and all the other small towns affected by this terrible storm system. God bless the people of Greensburg and Mullinville, Kansas, both of which I visited in July of 2005.

God bless America!

Related links:

AOL news (AP)

Photo and radar images from Google Earth

AP story from my Philadelphia Inquirer

NYT article from today (5-7-2007) (source of the fabulously painful photo above)

Kind of creepy storm chasers web site

Photos and videos page of the kinda creepy storm chasers site

AP story on CBS News

McClatchy News Services story on the NY Daily News

NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center report for May 4, 2007

Enhanced Fujita scale for tornado damage

All Things Considered story (NPR / audio)

Day to Day story (NPR / audio)

Greensburg tornado radar loop on You Tube

You Tube video of a group of young men (storm chasers, fools or both?) following in the tornado’s path.

The AP and NYT articles will, of course, be moved to their pay archives after this week. The NPR stuff should be there for decades, especially if you contribute during their spring fund drive!

I’m an amateur US Constitution and Supreme Court buff. I was quite happy, therefore, to find a couple of great feeds for news on the court.

Okay, okay, I’ll share.

Here’s the other.

While I was on Medill’s On the Docket site, I happened upon a decision from Monday, April 2. It is fitting that on Earth Day I should find “Court sides with environmental interests in landmark car emissions case.” Of course, environmental non-activist that I am, I found it necessary to go read the original case, Massachusetts v. EPA, which dates to 1999.

Our wonderful Environmental Protection Agency declared in 2003 that it did not have jurisdiction over the regulation of greenhouse gases and that, even if it were within its power, it would opt not to regulate them.

Here’s an excerpt of the article on On the Docket that I found particularly compelling:

…in 1999, environmental groups unsatisfied with the federal government’s response to global warming filed a petition with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from new motor vehicles. They said greenhouse gases should be considered air pollutants and thus, regulated under the federal Clean Air Act.

The petitioners cited Section 202 of the act, which states that the federal government is to regulate “any air pollutant” that can “reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.”

The EPA denied the petition in August 2003, saying that the act does not authorize the agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and, even if it did, the EPA would not exercise such authority.

The agency cited a study by the National Research Council that concluded that “a causal linkage” between greenhouse gases emissions and global warming “cannot be unequivocally established.” EPA said it was inappropriate for the agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions without more understanding about the causes of global warming.

Again, Section 202 of the act “states that the federal government is to regulate “any air pollutant” that can “reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.” Can we not make a fair assumption that greenhouse gases contribute to global warming which is likely to have devastating effects on American citizens in the nearer rather than distant future. I fully expect to see horrible global consequences within my lifetime, don’t you?

What better US agency, you may ask, to regulate an air pollutant which can “reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare” than the Environmental Protection Agency?

Oh, I guess I’m just one of those ill-informed, bleeding-heart liberals who’s screaming that the sky is falling for no good reason!

I smile sardonically at the irony of all this. The things today’s “noted scientists” are now proclaiming as truths are all the things the rowdy, smelly environmentalists were ranting about back in 1970, on the first Earth Day. Now the whole world is up in arms over something the tree-huggers were being irrational and extremist over way back when and still the money grubbers don’t want to give an inch.

Record profits for any US company…ever.

Redux.

Happy Earth Day, all!

Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

1922-2007

 

Dog Reunites with Family after Six Years

(AP) ST. LOUIS Cujo was a frisky 7-year-old when he sneaked out of his owners’ south St. Louis yard in July 2000. Now, thinner and grayer and with a tale that would be fascinating if only he could tell it, the golden retriever is back with the Barczewski family.

“It’s a miracle,” Noreen Barczewski, 41, said at Friday’s reunion. “We found him!”

Six years and a side trip to Columbia can do a lot to a dog, but it was unmistakably Cujo. There was the heart-shaped patch of white on his forehead, the white fur on his toes, his manner of greeting people by rubbing against them cat-style.

Cujo’s homecoming was orchestrated by Dirk’s Fund, a golden retriever rescue group that has found homes for more than 900 dogs in the past decade.

After slipping away from home, Cujo somehow ended up 120 miles in Columbia in the home of an elderly woman. When the woman entered a nursing home, the dog was sent to the Central Missouri Humane Society in Columbia.

Bob Tillay, president of Dirk’s Fund, spotted the dog _ by then renamed Willy _ on an adoption Web site and arranged to have him brought to St. Louis.

“Sweet old man! He knows how to sit and shake,” the Web site cooed.

The dog’s ears were so infected he couldn’t hear. His coat was so matted he had to be shaved. And Dirk’s Fund paid to have some cysts removed.

The group eventually took Cujo/Willy to a nursing home in Clayton, to serve as a pet for residents. But things didn’t work out _ the dog needed a yard where he could run off the leash _ and his picture went up on the Dirk’s Fund Web site.

A week ago, Noreen Barczewski’s brother-in-law, Michael Barczewski, went to the Web site on a fluke. He’d been looking for a dog to adopt and saw the picture of the old dog with the white heart mark and white feet. Michael and his wife, Gail, had been the original breeders of Cujo. He recognized the dog immediately, and the reunion followed within days.

Now 13, Cujo had never been forgotten by the his original family _ especially Kayla, who was just 4 when the dog disappeared. Kayla insisted on hanging the retriever’s red felt Christmas stocking each year, confident he’d someday come home.

“I had something in my heart,” the fourth-grader said Friday, patting her pet’s soft golden coat, “and I knew he wasn’t gone.”

(© 2007 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. )

Now I’m wondering whether this is publishing, broadcasting, rewriting or redistributing…or some form of all. Well, I consider it giving kudos to the AP for a wonderful story. If they don’t want me to do thhat, they can just let me know.

Still dabbing a tear from my eye…

Before that she bitched about: