Archive for April, 2010
Do you remember when Hurricane Katrina hit the gulf coast? I sure do. I remember seeing people at our local truck stop who had nowhere to go. I remember talking to those people, and they questioned our government. They wanted to know why it took so long to respond after the hurricane hit.
Then President George W. Bush was criticized, along with his administration, for the slow response. So what’s happening in the gulf now?
Officials in the Obama administration began for the first time Friday to publicly chastise BP America for its handling of the spreading oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico, calling the oil company’s current resources inadequate to stop what is unfolding into an environmental catastrophe.
That’s right. Ten days after the oil rig exploded and eight days after the oil rig sank, the Obama administration began criticizing BP. Uh, hello?!?
This oil spill could cause a complete and catastrophic failure of the commercial fisheries along the gulf coast because the Obama administration, not BP, waited more than a week to send any kind of response to the region.
The Defense Department has the equipment needed to help disperse the oil before it reaches shore. The Defense Department has the technology needed to help mitigate the damage from the leak. The Obama Administration waited a week, oblivious to the fact that they were capable of doing anything to help.
Doesn’t that explain this administrations entire record? They are oblivious to the facts, and they are incapable of doing anything except tearing apart the fabric of our country.
I got word from a reader, via email, that an important bill was coming up in the House of Representatives today.
I was away from the computer most of the day, and by the time I got back it was too late to talk about it before it was voted on.
The Puerto Rico Democracy Act states,
111th CONGRESS 2d Session
H. R. 2499
To provide for a federally sanctioned self-determination process for the people of Puerto Rico.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ‘Puerto Rico Democracy Act of 2010′.
SEC. 2. FEDERALLY SANCTIONED PROCESS FOR PUERTO RICO’S SELF-DETERMINATION.
(a) First Plebiscite- The Government of Puerto Rico is authorized to conduct a plebiscite in Puerto Rico. The 2 options set forth on the ballot shall be preceded by the following statement: ‘Instructions: Mark one of the following 2 options:
‘(1) Puerto Rico should continue to have its present form of political status. If you agree, mark here XX.
‘(2) Puerto Rico should have a different political status. If you agree, mark here XX.’.
(b) Procedure if Majority in First Plebiscite Favors Option 1- If a majority of the ballots in the plebiscite are cast in favor of Option 1, the Government of Puerto Rico is authorized to conduct additional plebiscites under subsection (a) at intervals of every 8 years from the date that the results of the prior plebiscite are certified under section 3(d).
(c) Procedure if Majority in First Plebiscite Favors Option 2- If a majority of the ballots in a plebiscite conducted pursuant to subsection (a) or (b) are cast in favor of Option 2, the Government of Puerto Rico is authorized to conduct a plebiscite on the following 4 options:
(1) Independence: Puerto Rico should become fully independent from the United States. If you agree, mark here XX.
(2) Sovereignty in Association with the United States: Puerto Rico and the United States should form a political association between sovereign nations that will not be subject to the Territorial Clause of the United States Constitution. If you agree, mark here XX.
(3) Statehood: Puerto Rico should be admitted as a State of the Union. If you agree, mark here XX.
(4) Commonwealth: Puerto Rico should continue to have its present form of political status. If you agree, mark here XXX.
SEC. 3. APPLICABLE LAWS AND OTHER REQUIREMENTS.
(a) Applicable Laws- All Federal laws applicable to the election of the Resident Commissioner shall, as appropriate and consistent with this Act, also apply to any plebiscites held pursuant to this Act. Any reference in such Federal laws to elections shall be considered, as appropriate, to be a reference to the plebiscites, unless it would frustrate the purposes of this Act.
(b) Rules and Regulations- The Puerto Rico State Elections Commission shall issue all rules and regulations necessary to carry out the plebiscites under this Act.
(c) Eligibility To Vote- Each of the following shall be eligible to vote in any plebiscite held under this Act:
(1) All eligible voters under the electoral laws in effect in Puerto Rico at the time the plebiscite is held.
(2) All United States citizens born in Puerto Rico who comply, to the satisfaction of the Puerto Rico State Elections Commission, with all Commission requirements (other than the residency requirement) applicable to eligibility to vote in a general election in Puerto Rico. Persons eligible to vote under this subsection shall, upon timely request submitted to the Commission in compliance with any terms imposed by the Electoral Law of Puerto Rico, be entitled to receive an absentee ballot for the plebiscite.
(d) Certification of Plebiscite Results- The Puerto Rico State Elections Commission shall certify the results of any plebiscite held under this Act to the President of the United States and to the Members of the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States.
(e) English Language Requirements- The Puerto Rico State Elections Commission shall–
(1) ensure that all ballots used for any plebiscite held under this Act include the full content of the ballot printed in English;
(2) inform persons voting in any plebiscite held under this Act that, if Puerto Rico retains its current political status or is admitted as a State of the United States, the official language requirements of the Federal Government shall apply to Puerto Rico in the same manner and to the same extent as throughout the United States; and
(3) inform persons voting in any plebiscite held under this Act that, if Puerto Rico retains its current political status or is admitted as a State of the United States, it is the Sense of Congress that it is in the best interest of the United States for the teaching of English to be promoted in Puerto Rico as the language of opportunity and empowerment in the United States in order to enable students in public schools to achieve English language proficiency.
(f) Plebiscite Costs- All costs associated with any plebiscite held under this Act (including the printing, distribution, transportation, collection, and counting of all ballots) shall be paid for by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
Passed the House of Representatives April 29, 2010.
On the surface, it sounds like a good thing. This bill gives the people of Puerto Rico a federally sanctioned choice for the future of their country.
But that’s not quite the case.
This bill is nothing but a ploy to force the Puerto Rican people to choose statehood.
Right now, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is a self-governing unincorporated territory of the United States. The citizens of Puerto Rico are protected by the Constitution, they may apply for benefits just like any other person in the United States, and they may enlist in the U.S. military. They have their own government, but their head of state is the President of the United States. Although they are afforded many of the same benefits and programs at the federal level, they do not contribute to our revenue through income taxes.
This bill asks the Puerto Rican people if they want to continue with their current political status or do they want a different one. Who wouldn’t want to keep their current political status? They enjoy many of the benefits with none of the responsibility that goes along with it.
The Puerto Rican people have consistently voted against statehood. If enough Puerto Ricans vote to change their current political status, they have three choices, none of which will allow them to remain a Commonwealth of the United States.
The first choice is full independence. The second choice is sovereignty in association with the United States (they would no longer be a territory or receive protection under our constitution or any of the benefits that go along with being a commonwealth). The third choice is statehood.
The statehood option failed in 1967, 1993, and 1998. This new bill gives the people of Puerto Rico no choice. They know that full independence or sovereignty will place economic and political burdens on them, making statehood their only likely option.
Right now, Puerto Rico is in the midst of a banking crisis of its own that makes our tanked economy look like Nirvana. What do you think the people of Puerto Rico would do? What would you do?
Keep an eye on this one people. I bet there’s a lot more to the story, because President Obama and his fellow liberals would love to add a few senators and representatives to their caucus.
Yeah, I had one of those days today. Hopefully things will wind down here in the next few days and then I can pretend I am all caught up and have completed all the tasks on my to-do list.
Just for the record, my to-do list has about two dozen items on it. I’ll sell you one of them real cheap! Of course, it could be worse.
Despite President Obama’s pledge that all Americans would be able to keep their health insurance plans, the chief actuary of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) concluded that under ObamaCare, half of all seniors who have Medicare Advantage plans will lose their coverage.
I have some things to take care of tomorrow, including a stop at Kennesaw Mountain. Who knows what I’ll have for you tomorrow.
You can’t keep good birders down.
After a fantastic two days birding, the boys wanted to recuperate by, you guessed it, birding.
On Sunday, we had planned to head out later in the afternoon, but there was a report of a Wilson’s Phalarope at a pond just 30 minutes up the road. This pond is right around the corner from the pond where we were able to view the Black-necked Stilt just a couple weeks ago.
The boys didn’t want to wait, in case the bird was just making a quick stop before heading north. They made a convincing argument, and we were out the door within 15 minutes.
For all you non-birders out there, the Wilson’s Phalarope is the one nearest the center of the image that looks completely different than the other birds in the photo. Yes, the one with the mask.
After a rather uneventful day today, they convinced me that we should double-check to see if the Wilson’s Phalarope was still hanging around the cow farm. Since it’s just up the road, I figured we could make the trip again.
The bird had moved on to greener pastures (hah), but we did get a chance to observe a few different species of sandpipers, a Green Heron that kept flying in and out of the area. We checked all of the other locations we usually do, and we saw this beautiful Red-Tailed Hawk.
I have several appointments for the remainder of the week, and we probably won’t get a chance to get out much in the next few days, so I hope they got it all out of their system for a bit. I know I did. I need time to recharge and recuperate myself. ;) Now that’s something you don’t see around here very often!
All I can say, is “Wow, what a day!”
We woke up at 4:30 this morning to get a headstart on the day, and to make sure we were at West Point Lake when the sun came up. The kids jumped out of bed as soon as I woke them up, and we were all in the truck, on our way by 5:00 am.
The trip to West Point was a good one, as JM spotted a Whimbrel sitting in a tree on the beach next to the Dam.
The Whimbrel is a coastal bird which breeds across much of subarctic North America, Europe, and Asia. It migrates in the winter to coasts in Africa, South America, Australia and southern parts of North America. They don’t normal make a stopover in inland lakes, let alone one as far inland as West Point Lake here in Georgia.
The boys did great all day, as we traveled from West Point Lake to the Newman Wetland Center and the E.L. Huie ponds, to the Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge, and Jackson Lake. We arrived at the finish line, the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center, about an hour and a half early, so we took the opportunity to bird the grounds there and they added eight more species to their list before we turned it in before 5:00 pm.
The highlight of the night, for JM, was meeting his birding “hero”, Giff Beaton, the author of “Birding Georgia”. Giff signed his book, and was excited to see the photos of the Whimbrel JM spotted at West Point.
At one point, Giff stole my camera! Well, he didn’t really steal it, but he took off with it to show other people. This was only the fifth time that a Whimbrel had been spotted inland in the state of Georgia, and it was the furthest inland too. It was a great find, in fact, for all of us, it was the find of the day.
After everyone checked in we got to eat dinner! Lasagna, macaroni and cheese, chicken fingers, salad, potato skins, broccoli and cheese, dinner rolls, cookies, cheesecake, iced tea and lemonade. It was awesome! As everyone finished dinner we got to see a reptile show and then they handed out prizes.
Our boys, known as Team Swift in the competition, turned in a bird list containing 94 species of birds. They finished in second place for their division, and they each won a pair of Eagle Optics Binoculars.
The Youth Birding Competition was an awesome experience, for our kids as well as ourselves. I was stunned at the number of kids who are really into birding, and I was equally as stunned by the tremendous job that Tim Keyes and his team of people did to pull off such a wildly successful event.
After I decompress, I hope to post more photos of the birds we saw. When I post them, I will put them on my flickr page, of course.
Today was the official start of the 5th Annual Youth Birding Competition. The boys have spent the past three months waiting for this trip. By waiting, I mean asking me if today is the day, marking the day off on their calendar, checking all of their birding equipment (field guides, binoculars, spotting scopes), and asking if we can “practice” a bit before the big day.
We’ve practiced the past several weeks, taking small trips to locations on the weekends, getting them acclimated to quick identification. We’ve spent time at Carter’s Lake, the Bartow County Loop, Tanner State Park, Sweetwater Creek State Park, West Point Dam, and every place in-between those locations.
Well, after just three hours of birding today (the competition started at 5:00 pm), the three boys spotted and identified 54 species of birds.
We started the competition up at Fort Mountain State Park and worked our way down to the dam at Carter’s Lake. We spent some time below the dam, in the sparrow field, and over at the lower re-regulation dam. Before it got too late, we made our way back down to the Bartow County Loop, where they have been “practicing”.
The best part of the day, was the fact that all I had to do was drive. It was their job to spot the birds and identify them.
Tomorrow is going to be a much longer day, as we have to get up early so we can begin our day down at West Point Dam. I’ll post more when we return tomorrow night.
You remember Nidal Hasan don’t you?
He’s the scumbag terrorist who posed as a military psychiatrist who ended up killing 13 people at Fort Hood last year.
During his time “serving” in the U.S. Army, he stated made many statements that could be construed as terroristic, and he even stated that he wanted to murder Christians.
How did the U.S. Army handle the situation? They gave him a promotion. Yes, they promoted him even though they had reports on file that he had made those statements in the past.
You know who Franklin Graham is don’t you?
He’s the son of the one and only Billy Graham, the well-known and legendary evangelist.
It seems Franklin Graham made a statement back in 2001 saying Islam was evil. Then, he dared to voice his opinion again recently by stating that he finds Islam offensive and wants Muslims to know that Jesus Christ died for their sins.
How did the Pentagon handle the situation? They gave him the boot. Yes, they disinvited him from the Army Prayer Day event.
Evangelist Franklin Graham’s invitation to speak at a Pentagon prayer service has been rescinded because his comments about Islam were inappropriate, the Army said Thursday.
Graham, the son famed evangelist Billy Graham, in 2001 described Islam as evil. More recently, he has said he finds Islam offensive and wants Muslims to know that Jesus Christ died for their sins.
Army spokesman Col. Tom Collins said Graham’s remarks were “not appropriate.”
“We’re an all-inclusive military,” Collins said. “We honor all faiths. … Our message to our service and civilian work force is about the need for diversity and appreciation of all faiths.”
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation had raised the objection to Graham’s appearance, citing his past remarks about Islam.
How’s that for you? Your own U.S. Army supported and promoted someone who actually wanted to kill, and did kill, Christians, yet that same U.S. Army thinks Mr. Graham’s opinions (which contained no violent threats or rants) was offensive.
Some people don’t know when to quit.
After posting about the deceptive eBay seller on Monday, he sent two more messages yesterday. Again, I need to warn you about language, even though I’m sure you’ve heard it from this type of person before.
The first one stated,
Another day and you are still a JERK. Once again thanks a shitload for NOTHING.
The second one stated,
Do you have any idea in the world what the word “COPY” means? You are one stupid…
Remember, almost all of his abusive rants came rapid fire one after the other, and I only sent two messages at the beginning of the whole ordeal. All I wanted was the product I paid for (which you saw in the photograph that accompanied his auction listing).
Well, I wasn’t in a good mood tonight, so I reported his harassment to eBay customer service.
Apparently they handled everything quietly and quickly on their end. I received an e-mail from eBay just seven hours after my initial complaint telling me that they had taken appropriate action with the seller.
Due to eBay’s privacy policies they could not tell me how it was handled, but they did say it could range from a warning to closing the member’s account.
It’s pretty clear, looking at the image to the left, which direction they took.
The silence today was golden. For the first time in two weeks I didn’t have a headache at all today, and it was nice knowing that the headache known as “Mr. Photocopy” was also history.
After posting my experience two days ago I was ready to let it drop, but he continued his volley of rants, and performed another “user lookup”, although I still don’t know why. He got his money, I got his photocopy, there was nothing for him to be upset about, other than the fact that I called him out on those all important topics known as honesty and integrity.
The truth is, I paid for a Singer repair manual, not a 3-cent knock off of Singer’s official repair manual. The truth is, I expected to get what I paid for. Some people just aren’t honest, they have no idea what integrity is, and they can’t handle the truth.