Wednesday, January 18, 2012

New Crowd Control Weapon

Scary new weapon. Really?

The U.S.A. is rapidly becoming a scary place to live.

~ WhackaDoodle Dandy 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Terrorists Buying Guns at Gun Shows?

Yes. Plus, anyone else who has the cashola to lay down. WITHOUT a background check. Yes, my friends, there is a loophole in our laws that not only allows this, but makes it legal. Whaaaat?

Thank you to Theresa Brown Milstein for posting the link to today's Daily Kos article: Al Qaeda leader instructs terrorists to purchase firearms at U.S. gun shows to Facebook. I was so dumbfounded, that I had to verify their information. And found a CNN Article from January 31st: Undercover investigators buy guns without background checks. I. Am. Aghast.

It's a day late, but not everyone is settling for this whackadoodle. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, cited in the CNN article, and Boston mayor, Thomas Menino, co-chair an organization of over 500 mayors that is spearheading project "Close the Loophole". This is from their website:
"A recent multi-state undercover investigation of private sellers at gun shows demonstrates just how easy it is for criminals to take advantage of the Gun Show Loophole. The investigation of 7 gun shows in 3 states involved undercover buys from 47 gun sellers using hidden cameras."
Click over to watch hidden camera videos from the investigation to see how easy it is for criminals to take advantage of the Gun Show Loophole.

 Then finally, this is an excerpt from a NY Daily News article dated June 4, 2011 :
"A chilling Internet video confirms what has long been suspected: Al Qaeda terrorists are eager to launch a gun-fueled rampage against Americans - and they know just how to do it.

Spotted on jihadist forums, the video shows American-born Al Qaeda fighter Adam Gadahn almost cheerily urging followers to action:

"America is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms. You can go down to a gun show at the local convention center and come away with a fully automatic assault rifle without a background check and most likely without having to show an identification card. So what are you waiting for?"

We don't say this often about Al Qaeda types, but: He's right on the facts."
Do you have chills yet? I do. I signed the petition. Tell Congress to get off their hineys and require background checks for all sales at gun shows. And everywhere else. Please?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

My One True Calling

To my friend, Terry Stonecrop, the ingenius creator of Gardner West, Private Eye, and whose post today asked the question: Born To Write...Or To Be Wild? I think both. Wild AND a writer. But then maybe those are synonymous.

Of the callings she listed, the two I never considered were bull fighter and hockey player. Which one was my favorite? Ooo, ooo, fighter pilot!!

In 1975, I had a pen in my hand poised over the dotted line. I was seventeen, a senior in high school and had just scored 98 percentile on the ASVAB. They wanted me. Badly. Here was my chance to be a pilot.

Like Terry, the 'Fighter' part of pilot eluded me.

I 'inherited' my daddy's love for airplanes. He worked for Lockheed, in Marietta, Georgia, at the main base. Next door to Dobbins Air Force Base. The bases enthralled me and the airplanes wove a spell deep down in my bones. The Blue Angels. The Thunderbirds. Still, today, I thrill at the sound of fighters flying maneuvers. My body hears. And knows. As it recognizes the drone of the C130 and the whine of the C5A.

"Top Gun" is one of my favorite movies, and what wins me over every time is Fightertown USA. I long to be there. It's the F16's and the migs and the dogfights.

Oh, and the soundtrack.

And the kiss.

Every time Maverick climbs in the cockpit, I am in that plane with him.

Here's another video to go with the one Terry posted.

My daddy (Melvin Hugo Herrell, RIP) was a sailor, a Navigator in Korea. He wanted to fly, they said he was too short. I had felt his pain and maybe, suddenly, his dream became mine. Who knows. But right then and there I decided to be a pilot and join the U.S. Navy.

I remember the headiness of that moment, standing in the middle of the lunchroom cum testing center with a recruiter from each branch of the U.S. Armed Services fighting over me. No one had ever fought over me. Because of my daddy and the Blue Angels, the other branches didn't have a shot.

Blue Angels Air Show 7/24/2010 by Stephen Lasley
So there I stood, pen in hand. It had happened so fast, yet in slow motion. Surreal and slick all at once. I'm not sure what stopped me. A moment of sanity, maybe. Or some of my daddy's good old-fashioned horse sense kicked in. But, out of the wild blue yonder, a question popped in to my head and I opened my mouth and asked it.

"OH! Do I have to have 20/20 eyesight to be a pilot?"

When that handsome young man in the dashing uniform said yes, I almost cried. The dream, that had been so real for all of five minutes, flew bye-bye.

Since that day I've drifted from one 'career' to another. I've worn many hats, perfected the art of the cameleon. Once I mastered it, I got bored. I moved on. Flew the coop. On to the next calling.

Now here I am, at the end of time, with my one true love: Words. An avid reader from the age of four, books became more central to my life than the real world. Oh, don't get me wrong. The real world was real. But sometimes, looking back, it's easier to recall the plot or character of a book than it is to recall bits of my life.

So here I am. Writing. And loving it. And knowing what I was born to be. In the arts.

P.S. For Wally: the comments should be available now on That Rebel. Go check it out. And thank you so much for not giving up.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Elliot Grace's Powerful Piece on Gulf Crisis

This morning I read a post by Elliot Grace, a fellow writer whose blog I just discovered. His post made me look at a situation I have avoided because it hurts too much.

This picture (which I borrowed from Elliot) cracked me open. My eyes. My heart. My mind.

You see, I ache for the littles. And right now, there is so much pain and terror, I didn't want to be overwhelmed. So I looked away.

I no longer can.

I have a special affinity for pelicans and wrote a yet-published children's book with a pelican as a main character. This prehistoric-looking bird captured my heart years ago on the beaches of Panama City, FL. Then the widespread use of a pesticide known as DDT almost wiped them out in the early '70's. DDT was banned and the pelicans made a come-back.

Until now.

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in April of this year has changed everything. Our Brown Pelican is once again threatened, along with the rest of the life in the Gulf.

My heart breaks. Please click over and read Elliot's piece. It is gut wrenching and true, and it is written from the heart. The WhackaDoodle elements? He points them out. I promise.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

What is this Country Coming To??

For once, I have no words. These two stories horrify me. They anger me. They are both disturbing at the deepest level of common decency.

Multiple Pedestrians Ignore Dying New York Hero Hugo Alfredo Tale-Yax - AOL News

(April 24) -- A homeless man who was stabbed while saving a woman from a knife-wielding attacker lay dying in a pool of his own blood for more than an hour while several New Yorkers walked past without calling for help.

Surveillance video obtained by the New York Post shows that some passers-by paused to gawk at Hugo Alfredo Tale-Yax early Sunday morning and yet kept on more.

You want to get angry about something that *really* matters? Then get angry about this: From the National Center for Lesbian Rights website: Greene v. County of Sonoma et al.

Clay and his partner of 20 years, Harold, lived in California. Clay and Harold made diligent efforts to protect their legal rights, and had their legal paperwork in place—wills, powers of attorney, and medical directives, all naming each other. Harold was 88 years old and in frail medical condition, but still living at home with Clay, 77, who was in good health.

One evening, Harold fell down the front steps of their home and was taken to the hospital. Based on their medical directives alone, Clay should have been consulted in Harold’s care from the first moment. Tragically, county and health care workers instead refused to allow Clay to see Harold in the hospital. The county then ultimately went one step further by isolating the couple from each other, placing the men in separate nursing on, it gets worse.

I read the first article on AOL news today and am passing it on intact, via link. The second article, is courtesy of Colleen Lindsay's blog, The Swivet, which I also pass on intact, via link.

If these horrify you as much as they do me, please follow the links on both sites to write letters to the press, sign the petition, etc.

Why? Because it's the right thing to do. We don't have to stand idly by and let the Whackadoodles rule.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

America's Food Revolution

For the last decade, an Englishman by the name of Jamie Oliver has given his time, his money, and most endearingly, his heart, to changing people's lives for the better.

Jamie grew up in the kitchen of his father's pub-restaurant, the Cricketers, in Essex. At the age of seven he was helping, by 11 he was prepping. At 16, he knew he would be a chef, so he left school and went to Westminster Catering College, then trained in France before returning to England. After working at a couple of area restaurants, he was approached by production companies for a possible cooking show. The Naked Chef series was born.

In 2002, Jamie invested his life's savings into a charity venture to help young people not in school or employed have a career in the catering industry. The program at Fifteen London restaurant is an ongoing success and three others were added in Amsterdam, Cornwall and Melbourne. A TV series called Jamie's Kitchen followed Jamie on this journey. The Fifteen Foundation charity is now funded by proceeds from his bestselling cookbook Cook with Jamie.

This was only the beginning of Jamie's burgeoning mission.

In 2004, he launched the School Dinners program to bring healthy food to Britain's school system. In 2008, after realizing the kids weren't eating any better at home than at school, he started the Ministry of Food program. Last year in 2009, he brought his fight for healthy food for children across the pond. And Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution was born.

This is Jamie's message, straight from his website: "I believe that every child in America has the right to fresh, nutritious school meals, and that every family deserves real, honest, wholesome food. Too many people are being affected by what they eat. It's time for a national revolution. America needs to stand up for better food!..."

"Okay," you say. "What's so whackadoodle about that?"

Not a thing. I applaud Jamie and embrace his mission with open arms.

What IS whackadoodle, though, is this. Following are two short clips. One was filmed in England and one in America. In both, Jamie shows school kids (of about the same age) how chicken nuggets, a common, even prevalent 'food' are made. In England, the kids are disgusted and refuse to eat the proferred nuggets, after their secret is revealed. The American kids dive right in. Even after admitting that the processed 'nuggets' were disgusting, they still chose to eat them.

Now that, my friend, defies common sense! Definitely and completely. And qualifies for my current Whackadoodle Dandy.

Here are those clips:

The American kids actually wanted to eat this crap. I mean...come on already! I, for one, have never liked these critters. Now I know why.

For some reason, the embedding is disabled for the second video, where the English school kids reject the icky stuff. Here, however, is the link to watch it over there.

Happy watching. And, hey, click on over to Jamie's Food Revolution website and sign the petition.

Maybe together we can wrest our food out of corporate American's clutches and get healthy food back on our collective tables.

Picture entitled The Spirit of '76 (aka Yankee Doodle) is an oil painting by Archibald MacNeal Willard that hangs at the U.S. Department of State.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Rewriting History...Literally!

AUSTIN, Tex. — After three days of turbulent meetings, the Texas Board of Education on Friday approved a social studies curriculum that will put a conservative stamp on history and economics textbooks, stressing the superiority of American capitalism, questioning the Founding Fathers’ commitment to a purely secular government and presenting Republican political philosophies in a more positive light.

This is the first paragraph of an article (written by James C. McKinley, Jr.) published today in The New York Times. I first saw it on Facebook. Then on Twitter, where it's been tweeted and retweeted all day long. The country is abuzz.

It's a sad day when politics is allowed to rewrite history.

Particularly disturbing is this one, also taken from the New York Times article: "Cynthia Dunbar, a lawyer from Richmond who is a strict constitutionalist and thinks the nation was founded on Christian beliefs, managed to cut Thomas Jefferson from a list of figures whose writings inspired revolutions in the late 18th century and 19th century, replacing him with St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and William Blackstone. (Jefferson is not well liked among conservatives on the board because he coined the term “separation between church and state.”)

While this is not the first incidence of history being rewritten, it is the whackadoodle incident that forced the birthing of this blog.

Will we let Texas get away with this?

Will we allow them to write our third President, a man consistently ranked by scholars as one of the greatest U.S. presidents of all times, out of our history books?

Will we allow Texas to remove from our history books the man who was one of this country's Founding Fathers and the architect of our Declaration of Independence?

Will we stand by and let Texas write him out of our history books, just because he happened to support the separation of church and state? (Which is, after all, just plain common sense.)

Thomas Jefferson also supported the separation of bank and state. He should certainly be included in our history books for this warning:

“The Central Bank is an institution of the most deadly hostility existing against the Principles and form of our Constitution. I am an enemy to all banks discounting bills or notes for anything but coin. If the American people allow private banks to control the issuance of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that grow up around them will deprive the people of all their property, until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their Fathers conquered.” Thomas Jefferson

Ouch. This has come to pass. The banks and corporations that grew up around them have deprived people of all their property, and their children are waking up homeless all across this continent. This has happened to me. I am a doctor. A good one. Yet, I have lost all my property to the banks. And am encumbered by usurious, astronomical student loan debt for the rest of my life. I am also basically homeless, except for a dear friend who took me in.

It's happening all around us. Maybe even to you.
How could we possibly write Thomas Jefferson out of our history, this luminary who had the foresight, 200 years ago, to predict and warn our country against what is currently happening in our country, on so many different fronts? Is this another, more hidden motive for Texas moving to strike him?

Shame on you Texans. Do not let this stand.

More eerily insightful quotes by Thomas Jefferson

In case you, like me, had no idea who William Blackstone is/was this will make interesting reading...

Pictures courtesy of Samuel P. Huntington on Flickr;